A Complete Analysis Of Trump’s 138th Unpresidented Week As POTUS
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 138.
This week, Congress was back in session, Democratic presidential candidates debated, and the bigoted cruelty of President Trump once again took center stage.
Let’s dive into yet another Unpresidented week.
A Comprehensive Look At Gun Violence In America
Day 963: Monday, September 9
No one can dispute that 2019 has been a bad year for the United States in terms of mass shootings. There are different definitions of mass shootings: federal legislation has considered three or more deaths to qualify, while the Federal Bureau of Investigation uses four or more deaths. It is high-profile mass shootings, however, that have brought America to what appears to be a critical juncture in considering the significance of these events and the urgency of preventing them.
In other news…
- NBC News: Secret Taliban peace talks at Camp David floated, scrapped within a week, U.S. officials say
- The New York Times: C.I.A. Informant Extracted From Russia Had Sent Secrets to U.S. for Decades
- The New York Times: Commerce Chief Threatened Firings at NOAA After Trump’s Dorian Tweets, Sources Say
- The New York Times: Democrats Plan Vote to Formalize Procedures for Impeachment Investigation
- CNBC: Three House committees investigate Trump, Giuliani pressure on Ukraine to hurt Biden’s campaign
- The New York Times: How Trump’s Plan to Secretly Meet With the Taliban Came Together, and Fell Apart
- CNN: Bahamas: As evacuations continue, dozens of islanders were told to get off a ferry headed to the US
- Sky News: Boris Johnson would not win an election outright, polling seen by No 10 suggests
- CNN: House panel says Flynn failed to comply with subpoena
- Newsweek: Chrissy Teigen is Trending After Donald Trump Referred to Her as John Legend’s ‘Filthy Mouthed Wife’
- Business Insider: Chrissy Teigen calls Trump ‘p— a— b—’ for not tagging in tweet insult
A Comprehensive Look At Gun Violence In America
Day 964: Tuesday, September 10
The day was May 10, 2017. Less than 24 hours earlier, President Trump had fired then-FBI Director James Comey, who was overseeing the FBI’s investigation into Russian interference. In a brazen move, Trump met with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov and then-Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak in the Oval Office (in the photo collage above).
President Trump told Lavrov and Kislyak that he fired “nutjob” Comey and the pressure of the Russia probe had been “taken off.” Trump then revealed classified Israeli intelligence about ISIS to the Russian officials. This exchange, among others, reportedly raised so many concerns about President Trump’s mishandling of classified information that it resulted in a key Russian spy for the CIA being extracted from Russia in 2017. CNN was first to report on this story on Monday:
The removal happened at a time of wide concern in the intelligence community about mishandling of intelligence by Trump and his administration. Those concerns were described to CNN by five sources who served in the Trump administration, intelligence agencies and Congress.
Those concerns continued to grow in the period after Trump’s Oval Office meeting with Kislyak and Lavrov. Weeks after the decision to extract the spy, in July 2017, Trump met privately with Russian President Vladimir Putin at the G20 summit in Hamburg and took the unusual step of confiscating the interpreter’s notes. Afterward, intelligence officials again expressed concern that the President may have improperly discussed classified intelligence with Russia, according to an intelligence source with knowledge of the intelligence community’s response to the Trump-Putin meeting.
The New York Times expanded on this reporting by revealing just how close the CIA operative was to Russian President Vladimir Putin:
The Moscow informant was instrumental to the C.I.A.’s most explosive conclusion about Russia’s interference campaign: that President Vladimir V. Putin ordered and orchestrated it himself. As the American government’s best insight into the thinking of and orders from Mr. Putin, the source was also key to the C.I.A.’s assessment that he affirmatively favored Donald J. Trump’s election and personally ordered the hacking of the Democratic National Committee.
An asset of this value is cultivated over the course of decades. It’s unlikely we’ll glean that much insight into the Kremlin for quite some time. President Trump’s mishandling of classified intelligence directly damaged America’s intel-gathering operation, and materially damaged our insight into Russia’s activities.
The New York Times went on to cite Trump Administration sources who claimed Trump has not mishandled classified information, but objective reality says otherwise.
The Oval Office meeting with Lavrov and Kislyak wasn’t the last breach of security on the part of the Trump administration. As recently as 11 days ago, President Trump tweeted out a classified image of an Iranian rocket site, which sparked backlash among intelligence experts.
President Trump has reportedly had his personal iPhone calls spied on by Russia and China. Also, a Chinese national named Yujing Zhang was arrestedat Mar-a-Lago with several cell phones, a laptop, and a thumb drive that had “malicious malware” on it. Another Mar-a-Lago guest, Cindy Yang, was reportedly selling Chinese nationals access to President Trump at Mar-a-Lago.
In February of 2017, President Trump coordinated his response to a North Korean missile test in open view at an unsecured dinner table in Mar-a-Lago with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe. This all occurred in clear view of resort guests, with staff using the flashlights on their phones to help illuminate the sensitive documents. Pictures of the episode popped up on Facebook. After the ordeal, then-Press Secretary Sean Spicer said those discussions occurred in a SCIF (Sensitive Compartmented Information Facility). This was clearly not the case.
And then there’s the unsecured email situation. According to House Oversight and Reform Committee Chairman Elijah Cummings (D-MD), President Trump’s son-in-law and White House Adviser, Jared Kushner, has been relying on his private email account and the encrypted messaging app WhatsApp for government business.
Rep. Cummings wrote: “These communications raise questions about whether these officials complied with the Presidential Records Act…” Cummings is also requesting information from the White House about alleged private email use on the part of Ivanka Trump, former deputy national security adviser K.T. McFarland, and former Chief Strategist Steve Bannon. The Washington Post previously reported Ivanka Trump sent hundreds of emails on her private account in 2017.
All of this, is of course, dangerous and incredibly hypocritical. Donald Trump, the candidate who waged his presidential campaign against Hillary Clinton’s use of private email has run an administration full of individuals that have done exactly that. Trump lambasted Clinton for putting classified information at risk, even though there were never any breaches of her server.
As for President Trump, he has put classified information at risk on several occasions and impulsively revealed classified intelligence. If Republican voters’ opposed Hillary Clinton, in part, because of her potentially putting classified information at risk, wouldn’t they be up in arms at the fact President Trump is blatantly doing so?
In other news…
- The New York Times: Trump Ousts John Bolton as National Security Adviser
- CNN: At least 10 names being discussed to replace John Bolton
- NBC News: As frustration with Bolton mounted, Trump reached out to ex-adviser McMaster
- CNN: Trump skeptical of using foreign spies to collect intel on hostile countries, sources say
- The New York Times: Trump Had Deal With Scotland Airport That Sent Flight Crews to His Resort
- NBC News: FEMA official among those arrested in post-hurricane Puerto Rico fraud case
- The New York Times: Share of Americans With Health Insurance Declined in 2018
- The Washington Post: Michael Flynn sentencing set for Dec. 18 in case where he pleaded guilty to lying to FBI
- Newsweek: Donald Trump’s approval rating drops below 40 percent in three new polls
18 Years Later
Day 965: Wednesday, September 11
When tragedy strikes, the American people must have faith that they can believe what the President says. When it comes to Donald Trump, that isn’t possible.
In other news…
- NBC News: U.S. won’t give temporary protected status to people who fled Bahamas
- NBC News: Supreme Court allows Trump administration to enforce toughest restriction yet on asylum requests
- BuzzFeed News: A Mexican Man Has Died In ICE Custody. He’s The 8th Death In US Custody This Year.
- The New York Times: Trump Pressed Top Aide to Have Weather Service ‘Clarify’ Forecast That Contradicted Trump
- The New York Times: House Panel to Investigate Report That Cabinet Official Coerced NOAA Chief
- NBC News: Trump administration plans to ban sale of flavored electronic cigarettes
- CNN Exclusive: Michael Cohen is interviewed for probe into Trump Organization
- CBS News: Federal watchdog to probe Trump’s land seizures to build border wall
- Yahoo News: Trump’s trade war has killed 300,000 jobs
- AP News: North Korea confirms 2nd test of multiple rocket launcher
- Reuters: Three Bolton aides submit their resignations at White House
- NBC News: ‘Shame on you’: North Carolina GOP votes to override veto while Democrats were absent
- NBC News: September Democratic debate: Everything you need to know
- NBC News: Chinese businesswoman found guilty of lying to gain access to Trump’s Mar-a-Lago
- The Daily Beast: Donald Trump’s Gun Policy Team Includes a Former Gun Lobbyist
- Associated Press: Still on: Iowa, New Hampshire won’t nix 2020 GOP contests
Day 966: Thursday, September 12
Hurricane Dorian ravaged the Bahamas earlier this month, killing at least 50 people and leaving 1,300 people missing. At least 70,000 people have been left homeless after the Category 5 storm swept over the island. After natural disasters of this magnitude, those affected have historically been able to find refuge in the United States of America. Not anymore.
This week, President Trump’s xenophobia has turned its ire towards the survivors of Hurricane Dorian. On Monday, Trump warned, with no evidence, of “very bad people” and gang members who would try and enter the U.S. from the Bahamas. Trump’s remarks came as Bahamians who didn’t have a visa were kicked off a ferry headed to the U.S.
Here is the full story we put together after getting off the ferry this morning. Hurricane evacuees kicked off the boat. Crew on the boat blamed US Customs and Border Protection, CBP now blames the ferry company @Balearia . pic.twitter.com/QLRcxbALdk
— Brian Entin (@BrianEntin) September 9, 2019
By Wednesday, those words turned into action. Reuters reported:
The United States will not give temporary protected immigration status to people from the Bahamas who evacuated after the archipelago was battered by a Category 5 hurricane, the White House said on Wednesday.
The status would have allowed Bahamians to live and work in the United States while their country recovers from the worst hurricane in its history.
The United States has a long history of granting the status to refugees of wars and natural disasters, with over 300,000 people from around 10 countries currently living in the United States under the programme.
Three of the top five Democratic candidates for president tweeted their reactions to the news (Bernie Sanders and Pete Buttigieg did not):
The Trump Administration is denying Temporary Protected Status to Bahamians escaping the devastation of Hurricane Dorian. It’s heartless and goes against everything we stand for as a nation.
The cruelty of this administration truly knows no bounds. https://t.co/e56k78Rpda
— Joe Biden (@JoeBiden) September 12, 2019
Let’s be clear: This decision is racist and cruel. We should grant Temporary Protected Status to Bahamians fleeing Hurricane Dorian. A Warren administration will reinstate TPS to protect refugees who are at risk in their home countries. https://t.co/aBObQAKA4r
— Elizabeth Warren (@ewarren) September 11, 2019
More than 70,000 Bahamians are suddenly homeless after Hurricane Dorian. They’ve lost practically everything.
Denying TPS status to them is heartless.
We can’t grant Trump a second term.https://t.co/nudcheb5LK
— Kamala Harris (@KamalaHarris) September 11, 2019
President Trump’s personal history of racism has been well-documented and has not only manifested itself in his words, but it has also been expressed in his policies. Over the past two years, President Trump’s racist rhetoric has fueled the threat of white supremacist terrorism while he has actively restrained government efforts to combat it. This move to deny protected status to Bahamians is the latest in a series of cruel acts targeting foreigners of color.
President Trump previously implemented the cruel “zero tolerance” policy which led to over 3,000 migrant children to be separated from their parents. Trump currently has in place metering policies that limit the number of asylum claims that can be processed at the border. Trump has made illegal efforts to end the asylum process as we know it, made continued calls to end due process rights for migrants, and detains migrants in inhumane conditions.
We can only assume the Bahamas is one of the “shithole countries” President Trump thinks is unworthy of gaining access to the United States. But then again, Trump didn’t treat the American survivors of Hurricane Maria in Puerto Rico with any more kindness than this.
In other news…
- Rantt Media: The Radical Right Seeks To Recruit Among Anti-Corporate Activists
- The Washington Post: Justice Department authorized prosecutors to charge Andrew McCabe
- NBC News: Impeachment inquiry ramps up as Judiciary panel adopts procedural guidelines
- The Washington Post: Administration finalizes repeal of 2015 water rule Trump called ‘destructive and horrible’
- Bloomberg: U.S. Posts $1 Trillion Budget Gap, Full-Year May Be Lower
- Vox: Justice Sotomayor warns the Supreme Court is doing “extraordinary” favors for Trump
- CNN: Exclusive: How John Roberts killed the census citizenship question
- Gizmodo: Defender of Brazil’s Indigenous Tribes Murdered ‘Execution-Style’ in Amazon Town
The Path To Climate Action
Day 967: Friday, September 13
In a long-form New York Times piece, novelist Jonathan Franzen decided to summarize a recent rash of studies warning us about the possible worst-case scenarios of letting global warming go on unchecked and how unprepared for them we are. But not being a scientist or having enough respect for his audience to research the topic to any degree, the only conclusion he wanted us to draw was that we’re all doomed, which mildly infuriated actual scientists and engineers who read the piece, and for good reasons.
In other news…
- CBS News: Democratic debates 2019: Democrats trade barbs on health care and immigration in third debate in Houston Thursday
- Vox: Trump’s bizarre speech during the Dem debate illustrated the stark differences between the parties
- The Washington Post: House Democrats pursue Sessions for testimony in impeachment probe of Trump
- NBC News: Trump’s plan to pay for border wall with Air Force funds risks national security, report says
- Politico: Air Force says it sent crews to Trump’s Scottish resort up to 40 times
- ABC News: Appeals court reinstates case alleging Trump illegally benefits from properties
- Politico: Court reinstates suit against Fox News over Seth Rich murder saga
- The New York Times: U.S. Poised to Send 150 Troops to Patrol Northeastern Syria
- The Daily Beast: House Dems Leaning Against Calling Stormy Daniels as a Witness
- Politico: Ivanka tells donors she got her moral compass from her dad
- CNN: CNN and New York Times to co-host next Democratic presidential debate
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