A Complete Analysis Of Trump’s 112th Unpresidented Week As POTUS
Trump’s first major typo after winning the election was spelling Unprecedented incorrectly. He infamously tweeted “Unpresidented.” This typo is a personification of his administration: An impulsive, frantically thrown together group of characters with virtually no oversight. After Trump was sworn in, I started writing the weekly “Unpresidented” column, analyzing his every move. This is week 112.
Weeks like this test the resilience of humanity. 50 lives taken at the hands of a white supremacist terrorist in New Zealand. Radicalized by right-wing extremism and driven by a deep-seated Islamophobia, this radical right-wing terrorist unleashed depravity on two mosques and live streamed it on Facebook.
In this dark moment, the world was looking for a leader, and we got one in New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern, whose words and displays of empathy brought communities in New Zealand together. New Zealand’s Attorney General has already announced they would ban semi-automatic weapons. In America on the other hand, no matter how many white supremacist terrorist attacks or mass shooting incidents occur, our Republican leaders refuse to act.
After the terrorist attack, President Trump was asked if he sees white nationalism as a growing global threat. In spite of all of the evidence indicating otherwise, President Trump says he does not see it as a threat. After one tweet offering condolences, President Trump embarked on a weekend tweeting spree attacking everything from the Special Counsel to deceased Republican Senator John McCain. President Trump proposed that the FEC or FCC look into Saturday Night Live and Late Night Shows and, without evidence, accused them of colluding with Democrats and Russia (which he is accused of doing). President Trump went on to demand that Fox News bring Judge Jeanine Pirro’s show back on the air after her Islamophobic comments about Rep. Ilhan Omar.
President Trump, the GOP, and Fox News’ dangerous, xenophobic fear-mongering is having deadly consequences. Right-wing terrorists are being radicalized by the rhetoric coming out of the Oval Office and the president couldn’t care less. President Trump is incapable of rising to the occasion. Even when it would suit him to be silent, he can’t help but continue his divide and conquer strategy. Donald Trump is unfit for the office of the presidency and continues to tell us why week after week. Trump has shown us who he is and ultimately, what the Republican Party has become. Some still don’t believe him, or even worse, they do and support him nonetheless.
Why is the president increasingly unhinged lately? Perhaps it’s because he just had to issue the first veto of his presidency after 12 Senate Republicans voted with Democrats in an effort to block his fake national emergency declaration. Perhaps this is due to the numerous House investigations probing his lifetime of corruption. Perhaps it’s the fact the Manhattan District Attorney’s office has charged his former Campaign Manager Paul Manafort with counts he can’t pardon. Perhaps it’s because the New York Attorney General is diving deep into the Trump Organization’s potentially fraudulent activity.
Only time will tell. Let’s dive into another Unpresidented week.
This comprehensive column sources great reporting from top news organizations, but it’s also built on brilliant analysis from my team at Rantt Media. We are independently-owned and take pride in being reader-funded so that we are beholden to you, not corporate interests. If you like the work we do, please consider supporting us by signing up for a monthly subscription. Below, you’ll see daily breakdowns that are derived from our exclusive Rantt Rundown newsletter, which you can subscribe to:
A Shift In The Impeachment Strategy
Day 781: Monday, March 11
Today, Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi’s (D-CA) wide-ranging interview with The Washington Post made waves. Aside from claiming President Trump isn’t fit for office “ethically” “intellectually” or “curiosity-wise,” Pelosi’s comment about impeachment is drawing the most attention:
I’m not for impeachment. This is news. I’m going to give you some news right now because I haven’t said this to any press person before. But since you asked, and I’ve been thinking about this: Impeachment is so divisive to the country that unless there’s something so compelling and overwhelming and bipartisan, I don’t think we should go down that path, because it divides the country. And he’s just not worth it.
This understandably received widespread reaction from both sides of the aisle, with many calling it an outright dismissal of the prospect of impeachment proceedings. But Pelosi is not known for throwing out words thoughtlessly, so it might not be that simple. She could be ruling out impeachment altogether, or Pelosi may be:
- Trying to appear measured and get Trump to reduce his discussions of impeachments.
- Making an effort to quell the “Democrats are overreaching” narrative that has already begun to appear in mainstream media after House Democrats recently requested documents from Trump associates and organizations.
- Giving her future self the ability to appear as if her mind has been swayed by evidence. She can then say something along the lines of “As I’ve said in the past, I’m against impeachment, but the evidence is just way too overwhelming to not act upon…”
It’s important to point out that public opinion on impeachment has fluctuated since the new Democratic Congress has taken power. In December 2018, 60% of voters wanted Trump to be impeached or censured but this month a Quinnipiac poll found that 59% of respondents do not want impeachment proceedings to begin now.
President Trump has long used the prospect of impeachment as a method to motivate his base to rally behind him. Trump has pounced onto Rep. Rashida Tlaib’s “we’re gonna impeach the motherfucker” comment and has tried to pan all Democratic investigations as politically motivated (in spite of the mounting evidence of corruption.)
Perhaps Nancy Pelosi is taking all of these factors into consideration as she awaits more evidence to make the case to the public. Ultimately, the decision to impeach Presiden Trump will fall on House Judiciary Chairman Jerry Nadler (D-NY), who backed Pelosi’s statement. House Intelligence Chairman Adam Schiff (D-CA) has also echoed Pelosi’s sentiment. Only time will tell how this plays out, but with Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s report coming soon, the Southern District of New York’s investigations ongoing, and the numerous other corruption probes plaguing Trump, this is far from the end of the impeachment conversation.
In other news…
- The Washington Post: Trump seeks $4.7 trillion budget with domestic cuts, $8.6 billion in wall funding
- Axios: Trump tells RNC donors: “The Democrats hate Jewish people”
- The Washington Post: Fox News host Tucker Carlson uses racist, homophobic language in second wave of damaging audio
- The New York Times: Jeanine Pirro’s Remarks on Muslim Legislator Are Condemned by Fox News
- The New York Times: DeVos Illegally Delayed Special Education Rule, Judge Says
- CNN: Democrats pick Milwaukee for 2020 national convention site
New York Probing Trump Finances
Day 782: Tuesday, March 12
New York Attorney General Letitia James has subpoenaed records from Deutsche Bank. According to multiple reports, the subpoenas are related to loans President Trump’s company received from the bank. This comes after Michael Cohen claimed Trump inflated his assets in an effort to try and obtain a loan from Deutsche Bank for the purchase of the Buffalo Bills – a loan he didn’t receive. Cohen also testified that Trump inflated his assets to insurance companies (also being probed by New York State Department of Financial Services) and may have committed tax evasion.
In 2017, Robert Mueller also subpoenaed Deutsche Bank. According to reports, the Trump Organization owes Deutsche Bank $364 million and his son-in-law Jared Kushner’s company owes the bank $285 million. In November 2018, Deutsche Bank was raided in a money laundering investigation related to the Panama Papers (there is no evidence this was related to Trump).
This New York subpoena comes after the previous acting-New York Attorney General shut down the Trump Foundation amid the investigation into Trump’s illegal self-dealing. Just like the case of the Trump Foundation, the New York Attorney General has the power to dissolve the Trump Organization if fraudulent conduct is discovered – which there is a history of. Donald Trump Jr. and Ivanka Trump were nearly indicted for fraudulently misleading their customers when selling units of their Trump SoHo project.
Trump has a documented history of other shady behavior. The New York Times reported that Donald Trump received, at least, the equivalent of $413 million from his father’s real estate empire and used shady methods, sometimes constituting fraud, to funnel the money to himself. There are also allegations of money laundering for Russian oligarchs through the sale of overvalued properties. And one cannot forget that Donald Trump paid a $25 million settlement for defrauding customers with Trump University – a payment made after winning the presidency.
Almost every organization Donald Trump has led in recent years is under criminal investigation. The Trump campaign, the Trump administration, the Trump transition, the Trump Organization, the Trump Inaugural Committee, and the Trump Foundation. President Trump has already been implicated in two campaign finance felonies committed by his former fixer Michael Cohen. The Southern District of New York, Special Counsel Robert Mueller, House Democrats, multiple state attorneys general, and numerous lawsuits are still probing President Trump’s conduct. Given what we know about Donald Trump’s past, it won’t be surprising if more wrongdoing is discovered.
In other news…
- The New York Times: The Brexit Plan Just Failed Again: What Happened, and What’s Next?
- Bloomberg: Boeing’s Muilenburg Said to Assure Trump of 737 Safety in Call
- The New York Times: Two-Thirds of the 737 Max 8 Jets in the World Have Been Pulled From the Skies
- Dallas News: Boeing 737 Max 8 pilots complained to feds for months about suspected safety flaw
- The New York Times: Who’s Been Charged in the College Admissions Cheating Scandal? Here’s the Full List
- ABC News: Donald Trump at risk for alleged role in hush payments, Stormy Daniels’ former lawyer believes
- NPR: Adam Schiff – Evidence Available Already Shows That Trump Should Be Indicted
- Reuters: Former Trump adviser Flynn asks judge to delay sentencing: court filing
- NBC News: House Democrats introduce bill to give citizenship to DACA and TPS recipients
Game-Changing State Charges
Day 783: Wednesday, March 13
Today, Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus R. Vance Jr. announced a 16-count grand jury indictment against former Trump Campaign Chairman Paul Manafort. The charges include mortgage fraud, conspiracy, and falsifying business records. The new charges were unsealed shortly after Judge Amy Berman Jackson sentenced Paul Manafort to 3.5 years in prison for his obstruction of justice and conspiracy convictions resulting from Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation. Last week, Manafort received a 47-month sentence from Judge T. S. Ellis (well below the sentencing guidelines). This brings the total sentence for Manafort’s federal crimes to 7.5 years in prison.
Manafort is the first member of Trump’s inner circle to be charged with state crimes. Manafort could face up to 25 years if convicted. As many have reported, this is significant because President Trump does not have the power to pardon state crimes. These state investigations are also out of President Trump’s obstructive reach – he can’t fire the investigators. But there’s another reason this should concern the president.
Manafort is being charged with falsifying business records to obtain millions of dollars in loans. This is very similar to what Trump’s former fixer Michael Cohen has accused the Trump Organization of doing. During his testimony in front of the House Oversight Committee, Cohen claimed Trump inflated his assets in an effort to obtain a loan from Deutsche Bank for the purchase of the Buffalo Bills – a loan he didn’t receive. Cohen also claimed that similar tactics were used when obtaining insurance. Given the Trump Organization’s reported history of fraudulent behavior, Cohen’s allegations are being taken seriously by the state of New York.
New York state investigators are actively looking for fraudulent activity on the part of Donald Trump, and they apparently have already discovered some of that activity on the part of Paul Manafort. This marks a shift in the investigations surrounding President Trump and raises questions about whether or not there are other indictments already in New York. As almost every organization he has led is under investigation, these new state charges against Paul Manafort send a clear signal Trump and his associates. As Manhattan DA Vance said in his statement about Paul Manafort’s charges: “No one is beyond the law in New York…”
In other news…
- The Washington Post: Whitaker ‘did not deny’ talking to Trump about Cohen, top Democrat says
- CNN Exclusive: Lawyer said Michael Cohen could ‘sleep well tonight’ after speaking to Rudy Giuliani
- The New York Times: Prosecutors Seek Records on Cohen’s ‘Back Channel’ With Giuliani
- The Washington Post: FAA’s emergency order grounding Boeing jets came after the agency identified similarities between crashes in Ethiopia, Indonesia
- The New York Times: In Rebuke to Trump, Senate Votes Again to End Aid to Saudi War in Yemen
Day 784: Thursday, March 14
1. A rare rebuke: In a 59-41 vote, a resolution to block President Trump’s national emergency passed the Senate. After President Trump declared this national emergency in an effort to reallocate funds to build a wall at the southern border, the House first passed the resolution which, under the National Emergencies Act, forced the Senate to take up a vote. The power to appropriate funds is bestowed upon the legislative branch by Article 1 of the Constitution. Many see Trump’s move as a blatantly unconstitutional executive overreach. Democrats have pointed to the lack of evidence and false claims Trump has made to justify the national emergency, and also the fact Trump said “I didn’t need to do this… I just want to do it faster.”
The Senate’s vote today was nothing less than a referendum on unchecked executive power. Senate Democrats voted for the resolution and 12 Republicans defected from President Trump.
- Senator Alexander (TN)
- Senator Blunt (MO)
- Senator Collins (MA)
- Senator Lee (US)
- Senator Moran (KS)
- Senator Murkowski (AK)
- Senator Paul (KY)
- Senator Portman (OH)
- Senator Romney (UT)
- Senator Rubio (FL)
- Senator Toomey (PA)
- Senator Wicker (MS)
Senator Tillis (R-NC) flipped his vote after claiming he would oppose the national emergency declaration in a Washington Post op-ed. Senator Cruz (R-TX) also vote against the resolution. Republican Senator Cory Gardner’s “no” vote has many speculating that his re-election prospects in the state of Colorado may be harmed – The Denver Post has now said their endorsement of Gardner was a mistake. President Trump responded by immediately tweeting simply the word “VETO!” Will the Senate be able to muster the votes to override the veto? Judging by today’s vote count, it appears to be highly unlikely. Critics of the national emergency declaration should watch the lawsuits filed against the emergency declaration closely.
2. House votes for Mueller transparency: In a 420-0 vote, the House passed a nonbinding resolution to urge the Justice Department to release Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s final report in full. There has been much discussion about the release of Mueller’s report after Attorney General William Barr claimed the Justice Department would only release a summary of the incoming report. Senator Lindsey Graham (R-SC) objected to taking the vote up in the Senate unless it included a call an investigation into “alleged misconduct around the handling of the Clinton email investigation” and alleged FISA abuses (there weren’t any).
3. Trump civil suit moves forward: A New York appellate court ruled that former Apprentice contestant Summer Zervos can proceed with her defamation suit against Donald Trump. The suit was filed against President Trump after he called the 19 women accusing him of sexual misconduct liars – Zervos was one of them.
4. He’s running: Former Texas Senate candidate Beto O’Rourke has announced he is running for President of the United States in 2020. O’Rourke spent the day in Iowa and has pledged to visit every county in the state – just like he did in Texas.
In other news…
- Associated Press: Mnuchin says he’ll protect Trump privacy if taxes requested
- ABC News: Pentagon issues new transgender policy limiting service members to birth gender
Day 785: Friday, March 15
On Friday, 50 Muslims were murdered in an act of right-wing terrorism. The two shootings took place at mosques in Christchurch, New Zealand. The 28-year-old terrorist, whose name we will not publish, live streamed the shooting in a horrific act of depravity. The terrorist moved with precision as if he had been tactically training for the attack. Before the attack, he published a manifesto that espoused white supremacist views. The terrorist cited President Trump as “a symbol of renewed white identity” and other various right-wing influencers as inspiration.
After tweeting condolences for the victims, but not condemning Islamophobia, President Trump then described immigrants at the border using rhetoric that the terrorist himself used.
“We are experiencing an invasion on a level never seen before in history.” – White Nationalist terrorist who killed 49 Muslims in a place of worship yesterday
“People hate the word invasion, but that’s what it is.” – Trump, just now pic.twitter.com/RinMRfZy8G
— Robert Maguire (@RobertMaguire_) March 15, 2019
When asked about the threat of white nationalism, President Trump, who has spent his political career fanning the flames of white nationalism and Islamophobia through xenophobic fear-mongering, claimed that he doesn’t believe it is a rising threat.
Reporter: “Do you see white nationalism as a rising threat around the world?”
Trump: “I don’t really.”
— Southern Poverty Law Center (@splcenter) March 15, 2019
When asked if she agreed with Trump, New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said “No.” The Prime Minister also said New Zealand would change its gun laws.
While President Trump refused to name the threat, the Australian Prime Minister called the shooter an “extremist, right-wing, violent terrorist.”
I highlighted the growing threat of American radical right-wing terrorism in an article for The Independent:
Last year, the FBI announced that hate crimes rose 17 percent in 2017 — the third consecutive year hate crimes have risen. Just yesterday, The Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) published their “Year In Hate” analysis tracking hate groups around the US. They found hate groups surged by 30 percent over the last four years. That makes 2018 the fourth consecutive year of hate group growth.
To further bolster this point, the FBI and DHS reportedly prepared a report dated May 10, 2017, called “White Supremacist Extremism Poses Persistent Threat of Lethal Violence.” Notably, the report asserted that:
White supremacists “were responsible for 49 homicides in 26 attacks from 2000 to 2016 … more than any other domestic extremist movement.”
On June 23, 2017, the Trump administration cut funding ($400,000) from the “Countering Violent Extremism” program which backed an anti-white supremacist organization founded by former neo-Nazis.
Today, we published a thread that featured research from scholars that include PHDs and experts on the radical right. We covered the history, scope, and drivers of the global threat of white supremacy, nationalism, Islamophobia, and anti-Semitism and what we can do to combat it:
49 Muslims were murdered in New Zealand by a radical right-wing terrorist
In our partnership with the Centre for Analysis of the Radical Right (@C4ARR) we’ve highlighted the threat of right-wing extremism & how to combat it
Trump says it’s not a threat—Let’s educate him
— Rantt Media (@RanttMedia) March 15, 2019
Over the weekend…
President Trump sent a series of tweets.
The President of the United States just proposed that the FEC or FCC look into Saturday Night Live and Late Night Shows and, without evidence, accused them of colluding with Democrats and Russia (which he is accused of doing).
— Rantt Media (@RanttMedia) March 17, 2019
Trump, who dodged the draft 5 times, is mocking the late war hero John McCain for his grades at the Naval Academy.
I know this is nothing new but McCain’s not even here to defend himself and nobody in his party will do it either. Party before country at its best/worst. https://t.co/lSW6zDdiYH
— Jennifer Bendery (@jbendery) March 17, 2019
There is no bottom pic.twitter.com/6Ab2Fbgtux
— Katie Rogers (@katierogers) March 17, 2019
Bring back @JudgeJeanine Pirro. The Radical Left Democrats, working closely with their beloved partner, the Fake News Media, is using every trick in the book to SILENCE a majority of our Country. They have all out campaigns against @FoxNews hosts who are doing too well. Fox …..
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) March 17, 2019
Judge Jeanine Pirro made an Islamophobic comment about Rep. Ilhan Omar
Days later, 50 Muslims were murdered by a white supremacist terrorist who was radicalized by right-wing extremism
Trump dismissed white supremacy as a threat
Now, he defends Pirro https://t.co/mA94ptRxe2
— Rantt Media (@RanttMedia) March 17, 2019
President Trump is now attacking the journalists at @FoxNews who aren’t Trump propagandists.
Now is the time to speak out.
We only have one question:https://t.co/y4lPC39TPe
— Rantt Media (@RanttMedia) March 17, 2019
Rantt Media’s comprehensive articles source reporting from top news organizations, but they’re also built on brilliant analysis from our team. We are independently-owned and strive for quality, not clicks. But the only way to truly have a media for the people is for media to be funded by the people. We take pride in being reader-funded so that we are beholden to you, not corporate interests. If you like the work we do, please consider supporting us by signing up for a monthly subscription.