A Complete Analysis Of Trump’s 126th Unpresidented Week As POTUS
This week was filled with high stakes international developments and consequential decisions.
Trump’s first major typo after winning the election was spelling Unprecedented incorrectly. He infamously tweeted “Unpresidented.” This typo is emblematic 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 126.
Volatility, indecisive foreign policy moves, immigrant fear mongering, false treason charges, suspicious transactions under investigation, and a sexual assault allegation – another week in Donald Trump’s America.
This week, President Trump officially launched his 2020 campaign, after having already filed for re-election on the day of his inauguration. In his Orlando rally, Trump decided to use the same old tired messaging he used in 2016. Attacks on Hillary Clinton, cries of persecution, and fear mongering about immigration. While this false rhetoric about the dangers of migrants were spewed at Trump’s rally, news of the poor conditions child migrants are enduring spread.
When it comes to Iran, the Trump Administration has propelled us to this point through their reckless actions. Iran was complying with the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) when President Trump withdrew from the deal. Now, the region is on the brink of conflict. Luckily, President Trump couldn’t bring himself to retaliate to Iran’s downing of a US drone with force, backing down from a strike at the last minute. Instead, the Trump Administration opted for a cyber attack and additional sanctions. Let’s hope cooler heads prevail and National Security Adviser, and Iran hawk, John Bolton is left curling his mustache in anger that he didn’t get his way.
It wouldn’t be a week in the United States without a new potential corruption scandal involving a Trump family member. Jared Kushner’s Deutsche Bank transactions were reportedly flagged by an anti-money laundering expert in 2016. The transactions included money sent to Russians in 2016. We learned that those transactions are now under scrutiny as part of a broader money laundering investigation by the FBI.
The end of the week brought with it a bombshell. Advice columnist and writer E. Jean Carrol accused the President of the United States of rape.
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, completely ad-free, 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. If you like the work we do, please consider supporting us by signing up for our newsletter or joining our community chatroom where you can talk news with our team and other like-minded individuals:
Another False Treason Charge
Day 879: Monday, June 17
The New York Times published an article revealing new US cyber operations against Russian power grids. It also revealed that national security officials reportedly had fears about telling Trump about the operations out of concern for how he would react.
…..ALSO, NOT TRUE! Anything goes with our Corrupt News Media today. They will do, or say, whatever it takes, with not even the slightest thought of consequence! These are true cowards and without doubt, THE ENEMY OF THE PEOPLE!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) June 16, 2019
Looks like their concerns were justified. President Trump accused one of the largest newspapers in the world of treason.
In other news…
- The New York Times: U.S. Escalates Online Attacks on Russia’s Power Grid
- NBC News: New York Times slams Trump: ‘Accusing the press of treason is dangerous’
- CNN: US sending 1,000 additional troops to Middle East amid Iran tensions
- Axios: Pentagon releases new photos alleging Iranian forces responsible for oil tanker attacks
- The Daily Beast: Supreme Court Reaffirms ‘Double Jeopardy’ Exception With Mueller Probe Implications
- ABC News: Democrats in Virginia win at Supreme Court in racial gerrymandering case
- The Washington Post: Trump says supporters might ‘demand’ that he serve more than two terms as president
- Axios: U.S. to permanently end foreign aid for Guatemala, Honduras, El Salvador
- The New York Times: Paul Manafort Seemed Headed to Rikers. Then the Justice Department Intervened.
- NBC News: Trump campaign cutting ties with pollsters after internal numbers leaked
- HuffPost: California Raises First Pride Flag At Its Capitol, Defying Trump
- Dallas News: Gunman shot dead after opening fire on federal courthouse in downtown Dallas
- The Daily Beast: Mitch McConnell Wonders Why Jon Stewart Is ‘All Bent Out of Shape’ Over 9/11 Victim Compensation Fund
Trump 2020 = Trump 2016
Day 880: Tuesday, June 18
Four years ago this week, President Trump descended down the golden escalators in Trump Tower and announced his candidacy for president. And he never really stopped campaigning, even after being inaugurated. Rather than suggest productive solutions to real problems like income inequality, climate change, and student loan debt, Trump has opted to sow anger.
Since he announced in 2015, Trump has been constantly spreading disinformation, fear mongering, manufacturing crises to rally his base, scapegoating immigrants, and villainizing his critics. Rather than the aspirational politics of many of his predecessors, Trump’s core political message is grievance and fear. Today’s kickoff rally for his 2020 campaign was no different.
Vice President Mike Pence began the rally in Orlando, Florida by naming alleged promises President Trump has kept and then lied about Democrats advocating for infanticide. Pence then launched into a misleading tirade about how Democrats are trying to replace America’s way of life with socialism and are targeting “freedom.” How is trying to provide healthcare and education to Americans targeting freedom?
After spending the past few days tweeting about the incoming deportation of “millions” of immigrants (disputed by his administration), Trump’s rally struck a familiar tone. President Trump’s core message is that immigrants are flooding over the border and that Democrats are seeking to rob his supporters of their livelihood. Trump is also relitigating the past, falsely claiming he is a victim of an illegal witch hunt, and complaining more about Hillary Clinton than he is about the 2020 Democratic candidates.
During his rally, President Trump continued his authoritarian tendencies by attacking the media. Of the Democrats, Trump said: “Our radical Democrat opponents are driven by hatred, prejudice, and rage. They want to destroy you and they want to destroy our country as we know it.” It appears Trump forgot one of his supporters mailed pipe bombs to CNN and his Democratic critics or he just doesn’t care.
Trump falsely claimed that former Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s report found no collusion or obstruction when it actually outlined over 100 pages of collusion evidence and 10 key areas of obstruction. Trump repeated the false claims that his campaign was spied on. Trump accused Democrats of wanting to use the law to target their opponents while he has Attorney General William Barr investigating people he falsely accused of treason. Trump also tried to claim he has drained the swamp in spite of the countless corruption scandals plaguing his administration.
Perhaps the biggest representation of the con that is this presidency, President Trump called “Make America Great Again” the greatest slogan of all time and claimed it is his. It was originally Ronald Reagan’s…
In other news…
- The New York Times: Shanahan Withdraws as Defense Secretary Nominee, and Mark Esper Is Named Acting Pentagon Chief
- NBC News: Paul Manafort expressed concern about going to a New York prison. Then the DOJ stepped in.
- First on CNN: Controversial political appointee expected to be named Customs and Border Protection press secretary
- Mediaite: Trump Tells April Ryan He Won’t Apologize to Exonerated Central Park 5: ‘They Admitted Their Guilt’
- The Hill: Progressive nonprofits sue White House over missing notes from Putin meeting
- BuzzFeed News: Mitch McConnell Says He Doesn’t Support Reparations: “We’ve Elected An African American President”
- Newsweek: #AnybodyButTrump2020 trends after Orlando Sentinel editorial board endorses anyone but Trump
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Kushner Transactions Under Investigation
Day 881: Wednesday, June 19
Whenever Deutsche Bank is in the news, it usually spells trouble for either Jared Kushner or Donald Trump. Today continued that trend. The New York Times reported:
Federal authorities are investigating whether Deutsche Bank complied with laws meant to stop money laundering and other crimes, the latest government examination of potential misconduct at one of the world’s largest and most troubled banks, according to seven people familiar with the inquiry.
The investigation includes a review of Deutsche Bank’s handling of so-called suspicious activity reports that its employees prepared about possibly problematic transactions, including some linked to President Trump’s son-in-law and senior adviser, Jared Kushner, according to people close to the bank and others familiar with the matter.
This reporting comes after earlier reporting from The Times which told the story of how whistleblower Tammy McFadden flagged suspicious transactions involving Kushner’s company in 2016. McFadden is an anti-money laundering expert, and at the time told Deutsche Bank about the transactions and that she found “money had moved from Kushner Companies to Russian individuals.” In 2017, her colleagues flagged suspicious transactions involving President Trump’s companies, but it’s unclear if Trump’s transactions are part of this new probe. The F.B.I. has contacted McFadden as part of their investigation.
As we know, Deutsche Bank is the German bank that was the only major financial institution willing to do business with businessman Donald Trump when he was deemed too risky an investment for US banks. According to reports, the Trump Organization currently owes Deutsche Bank $364 million (his companies have received over $2.5 billion in loans over two decades) and his son-in-law, and White House Adviser, Jared Kushner’s company owes the bank $285 million. In November 2018, Deutsche Bank was raided in a money laundering investigation and has a documented history of money laundering for Russians.
New York Attorney General Letitia James has subpoenaed records from Deutsche Bank related to loans President Trump’s company has received from the bank, according to multiple reports. This came 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. The New York Times reported in March that President Trump inflated his wealth to Deutsche Bank, citing bank officials.
When House Democrats subpoenaed records from Deutsche Bank pertaining to Trump’s family, President Trump responded by suing Deutsche Bank to prevent them from complying with the subpoena. President Trump’s lawsuit failed in court. A federal judge in New York ruled that Deutsche Bank and Capital One can hand over Trump’s financial records to Congress.
Several questions come to mind. Why were Kushner’s companies paying Russians during the height of Russia’s attack on US democracy that the Trump Campaign benefitted from? Were these transactions money laundering related? Why did Deutsche Bank executives refuse to report these transactions to the government? Will President Trump lash out at FBI Director Christopher Wray or try and obstruct this investigation? It’s not clear exactly what these transactions were, but given Deutsche Bank’s history and Donald Trump’s alleged history of money laundering for Russian oligarchs, this is an important story to watch.
In other news…
- The Washington Post: Trump EPA finalizes rollback of key Obama climate rule that targeted coal plants
- The Guardian: ‘Credible evidence’ Saudi crown prince liable for Khashoggi killing – UN report
- Politico: Khashoggi’s fiancée says Washington has not done enough to bring his killers to justice
- Politico: ‘It’s a farce’: Dems livid as Hope Hicks dodges questions
- The Hill: Senate to vote Thursday to block Trump’s Saudi arms deal
- CNBC: Mexico becomes first country to ratify USMCA trade deal via Senate vote\
- Axios: Canada accepts more refugees than the U.S. for first time since 1980
- HuffPost: 18 Years Later, The House Finally Repeals The President’s 9/11 War Authority
- CNN Fact check: Trump’s Orlando rally featured more than 15 false claims over 76 minutes
- BBC News: Biden under fire for segregationist senators remarks
- HuffPost: Senate Confirms Judge Who Attacked Roe v. Wade, Called Being Transgender ‘A Delusion’
- Axios: Ta-Nehisi Coates tears into McConnell for arguing no one alive was responsible for slavery
- The Daily Beast: It’s Juneteenth, and a White Nationalist Is President
Iran On The Brink: How We Got Here
Day 882: Thursday, June 20
We are living with the inevitable results of President Trump’s unjustified withdrawal from the Iran Nuclear Deal. A US drone has been shot down by Iran. While officials claim it was shot down in international airspace over the Strait of Hormuz, Iran claims that it was in Iranian airspace. The Trump Administration has yet to announce its retaliatory measures, but President Trump has said it could’ve been unintentional, seemingly signaling he’s not too keen on conflict.
There are reports that President Trump disagrees with National Security Adviser John Bolton on exactly how the US should retaliate.
Sr WH official tells me it’s Bolton vs Trump on how to proceed on Iran. Trump does not want conflict. Pompeo, Pence, Esper are “swing votes.” Pompeo is “a triangulator,” source tells @MichLKosinski, “the goal is re-establishing deterrence, but that is still very risky.”
— Alexander Marquardt (@MarquardtA) June 20, 2019
Top members of Congress huddled with President Trump today to talk next steps. Given the new hardline leadership in Iran, this is an important story to watch. As we wait to see whether the US will perform a limited strike or something significantly more measured, some context about Bolton’s hawkish worldview, and how it’s helped us get to this point, is important. As we’ve covered before here at Rantt, Bolton’s hawkish stance on Iran has been well documented. Bolton’s calls for regime change in Iran long predate his tenure in the White House. When he was appointed by President Trump in April 2018, pundits and Democratic lawmakers raised concerns about what could come.
In a nutshell, Bolton has helped to propel President Trump’s foreign policy towards a conflict with Iran. If the Trump administration wanted to reduce Iran’s nuclear capacity, they would’ve stayed in the Iran Nuclear deal, more officially known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA). Bolton wanted an excuse to levy more sanctions on Iran, apply economic pressure on the country, and cause regime change by sparking an uprising among the Iranian people. With that in mind, let’s break down all the developments that led us here.
As a candidate, Donald Trump promised he would tear up the JCPOA. Under the terms of the deal, Iran received relief from economic sanctions in exchange for reducing their nuclear material and uranium enrichment. This was President Obama’s signature diplomatic achievement and took cooperation with the UN Security Council to pull it off. It was signed in 2015. Trump’s criticized the deal and alleged violations on the part of Iran, even as his own administration’s officials, like then-Secretary of Defense James Mattis, said none existed.
President Trump withdrew from the deal in May of 2018 – one month after John Bolton took H.R. McMaster’s position as National Security Adviser. It’s more accurate to say the Trump administration violated the JCPOA, because Iran was complying with the deal and was overseen by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) – who validated Iran’s compliance 9 separate times. In the immediate aftermath, Iran did not choose to violate the terms of the JCPOA and worked with the European signatories (UK, France, and Germany) to continue to receive the deal’s benefits even without America’s participation.
In response, President Trump threatened to sanction America’s own allies if they did business with Iran – mainly by purchasing Iranian oil which is the bedrock of their economy. Those moves crippled Iran’s economy thoroughly, causing them to get frustrated, triggering what we’ve seen since.
In April of this year, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo announced that the US would designate the Iran Revolutionary Guard, an Iranian military branch, as a terrorist organization. In early May, Iran said that it would begin to withdraw from some components of the JCPOA, by enriching small amounts of uranium. On May 5th, the US sent an aircraft carrier to the region, warning of potential attacks from Iran. On May 9th, The New York Times reported that upon Bolton’s request, Acting Secretary of Defense Patrick Shanahan presented plans for the potential deployment of 120,000 to the Middle East if Iran executed an attack – a plan that wasn’t acted upon.
On May 15th, the US cited intelligence indicating that there was an impending threat from Iran and ordered an evacuation of the US embassy in Iraq. It’s important to note that US allies at the time said they saw no impending threat. Even Republican members of Congress like Senator Lindsey Graham (R-SC) had expressed anger at how they were being left in the dark on the intelligence. On June 13, we had an attack on two oil tankers that Iran was allegedly behind. While many were understandably skeptical to trust the Trump administration’s intelligence on the attack, US allies have validated the intelligence. There was then the US’ subsequent announcement of 1,000 additional troops to the region. Now, we have this drone being shot down.
Here is a good thread on the drone.
Cannot stress this enough: It’s a f***ing robot. Specifically one built to replace the U-2, the aircraft that lead to two of the Cold War’s most tense moments during the Gary Powers saga and Cuban Missile Crisis.
Half the RQ-4’s point is that you don’t have to go to war over it.
— Zeddy (@Zeddary) June 20, 2019
The American people do not want a war with Iran. The prospect of a lengthy, deadly, and frivolous war might make conservative hawks like Bolton curl their mustaches but there is no other constituency for this. Given the fact he campaigned on avoiding frivolous wars, President Trump himself has reportedly grown frustrated with some of his more hawkish advisers and told Shanahan he does not want a war with Iran back in May. Trump is well aware that war with Iran would tank his support, and even chip away at his seemingly ironclad base. But if Trump was serious about avoiding conflict, he wouldn’t have hired National Security Adviser John Bolton in the first place.
In other news…
- The Washington Post: Senate votes to block Trump’s emergency arms sales to Saudi Arabia, UAE
- Associated Press: Lawyers: 250 children held in bad conditions at Texas border
- Politico: Appeals court says Trump family planning restrictions can take effect
- CNN: Roger Stone violated gag order with social media posts, prosecutors say
- The Washington Post: Former Trump business partner Felix Sater set to testify Friday before House Intelligence Committee
- The Guardian: Ivanka Trump’s 2020 tweet violated Hatch Act, watchdog says
- Fox News: Facebook moderator dies after viewing horrific videos, others share disturbing incidents: report
- CNN: Senators receive classified briefing on UFO sightings
New Rape Allegation
Day 883: Friday, June 21
Well-regarded advice columnist and writer E. Jean Carroll just published a profound article. In her piece that is presented on the cover of New York Magazine, Carroll chronicles the stories of several “hideous men” who have allegedly sexually assaulted her – including Donald Trump.
The New York Magazine’s Intelligencer succinctly summarizes the alleged assault on the then-23-year-old Carroll:
When Carroll meets Donald Trump in Bergdorf Goodman, the encounter starts as a friendly one. Trump recognizes her as “that advice lady”; Carroll recognizes him as “that real-estate tycoon.” Trump tells Carroll that he’s there to buy a gift for “a girl,” and though we don’t learn the identity of this mystery woman, Carroll places the ensuing incident in late 1995 or early 1996, during which time Trump was married to Marla Maples.
When Trump asks Carroll to advise him on what to buy, she agrees, and the two eventually make their way to the lingerie section. Trump suggests a lace bodysuit and encourages Carroll to try it on; she, deflecting, jokingly suggests that he try it on instead. After they reach the dressing rooms, events turn violent. In Carroll’s account, Trump shoves her against a wall inside a dressing room, pulls down her tights, and, “forcing his fingers around my private area, thrusts his penis halfway — or completely, I’m not certain — inside me.”
New York Magazine corroborated Carroll’s claim that she disclosed the alleged assault to two of her friends. This brings President Trump’s sexual misconduct allegations to a total of 24, according to Business Insider. The allegations range from sexual harassment to groping. 16 of the 24 are sexual assault allegations.
President Trump infamously bragged about sexual assault in the Access Holywood tape that was released just before the 2016 election.
Donald Trump: ” I did try and fuck her. She was married…I moved on her like a bitch…I just start kissing them. It’s like a magnet. Just kiss. I don’t even wait. And when you’re a star, they let you do it. You can do anything.
…Grab ’em by the pussy. You can do anything. pic.twitter.com/or1SqeL2uC
— Rantt Media (@RanttMedia) April 4, 2019
Whether this new allegation will factor into the voting decisions of his supporters is unclear, but given the fact they elected him in spite of his other allegations, and the GOP’s reaction to Justice Brett Kavanaugh’s allegations, may tell you all you need to know.
In other news…
- The New York Times: Strikes on Iran Approved by Trump, Then Abruptly Pulled Back
- The Washington Post: ICE raids targeting migrant families slated to start Sunday in major U.S. cities
- CNN: Trump threatened Time journalist with prison over Kim Jong Un letter
- NBC News: Supreme Court rules for black death row inmate over prosecutor’s racial bias
- Rantt Media: Trump And The Global Resurgence Of Fascism
- Rantt Media: Impeaching Trump Isn’t Just A Political Decision—It’s A Moral One
- Rantt Media: How Hedge Funds Helped The 1% Profit From The Great Recession
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 completely ad-free. We strive for quality, not clicks. 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 our newsletter or joining our community chatroom where you can talk news with our team and other like-minded individuals: