A Complete Breakdown Of America’s 61st Week With Donald Trump As POTUS

The Great Generation

March For Our Lives. Pennsylvania Avenue, Washington D.C. — March 24, 2018 (Photo Credit: Adam A/Co-Founder Rantt Media)

March For Our Lives. Pennsylvania Avenue, Washington D.C. — March 24, 2018 (Photo Credit: Adam A/Co-Founder Rantt Media)

The excitement in the air was palpable. You could feel the winds of change and see the dawn of a new era. It was hard not to be inspired while brushing shoulders with America’s future leaders on stage, and in the crowd, as they bravely marched for what they believe in.

18-year-old Emma Gonzalez silenced the most powerful country’s capital for six minutes and twenty seconds.

11-year-old Naomi Wadler became a voice for the “African-American girls whose stories don’t make the front page of every national newspaper.”

9-year-old Yolanda King (Martin Luther King Jr.’s granddaughter) painted her dream of a great generation.

Countless young people registered to vote.

The March For Our Lives was powerful, intersectional, and downright historic. The march was focused on gun control with a major emphasis placed on voting. One thing was for certain: if these organizers keep this up heading into the midterms, we could see historic youth turnout and the effects will go far beyond gun reform. Needless to say, the Republican Party should be very worried.

Meanwhile, in Trump world, there were legal team shakeups as the Mueller investigation continued to consume the president. And in perhaps the most consequential foreign policy appointment of this presidency, Trump selected John Bolton as national security adviser.

In other news, Donald Trump congratulated Vladimir Putin — a hostile authoritarian leader who interfered in American democracy — for his unfair election win, slapped tariffs on China, and the DOJ indicted 9 Iranians.

As all this was occurring, Cambridge Analytica was exposed for committing potentially illegal acts, and Facebook was under fire for mishandling user’s data.

In spite of a week that felt like business as usual, the March For Our Lives brought with it a glimmer of hope. Although some of these kids may be too young to cast a ballot, they have proven they aren’t too young to lead.

As you may have noticed, I switched up this week’s headline a bit. As I’ve said before, with each passing week Unpresidented becomes less about the shenanigans of Donald Trump and more about the resilience of the American people. And by the end of this week, Donald Trump seemed even smaller.

Here’s a complete breakdown of Donald Trump’s 61st week as POTUS:

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61st Weekend (March 17–18)

“Trump’s About To Fire Mueller” Round 1,000

Special Counsel Robert Mueller (AP)

Special Counsel Robert Mueller (AP)

After a week rattled by the undignified firings of Rex Tillerson and Andrew McCabe and reports of President Trump feeling empowered, many people began to speculate who Trump had his sights on next. Trump’s lawyer John Dowd gave a not so subtle signal as to what his boss might be thinking.

Over the weekend, Trump’s lawyer John Dowd told The Daily Beast reporter Betsy Woodruff that it’s time for Deputy Attorney Rod Rosenstein to shut down the Russia probe.

Our analysis was later confirmed. Trump was triggered by the Trump Organization subpoena.

This precluded a series of tweets where President Trump explicitly attacked Mueller for the first time on Twitter.

By the end of the weekend, as backlash mounted over the comments and fear that Trump may move to fire Mueller, GOP Senator Lindsay Graham had a stern response.

By Sunday night, John Dowd — who had already tried to walk back his initial statement and say he was speaking for himself — released this statement.

And then, The Daily Beast reported this…

I’m of a different opinion than many people on Twitter. I personally think the next step will be some kind of “review” of Rosenstein’s role. The administration didn’t even move to fire McCabe until after the IG probe. But still, anything can happen — especially if a wild new indictment comes along and scares Trump (Probably hacking — fancy bear, Cozy Bear, Wikileaks and potentially American co-conspirators/Roger Stone perjury — will be next up on Mueller’s list).

Who knows? It’s 2018. The only thing I’ll predict with 100% certainty is that Donald Trump will continue to become gradually more unhinged with each passing day. One could make a fortune betting on that.

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Meanwhile…

U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions’ testimony that he opposed a proposal for President Donald Trump’s 2016 campaign team to meet with Russians has been contradicted by three people who told Reuters they have spoken about the matter to investigators with Special Counsel Robert Mueller or congressional committees.

  • The Associated Press dropped a damning exclusive on Jared Kushner:

When the Kushner Cos. bought three apartment buildings in a gentrifying neighborhood of Queens in 2015, most of the tenants were protected by special rules that prevent developers from pushing them out, raising rents and turning a tidy profit.

But that’s exactly what the company then run by Jared Kushner did, and with remarkable speed. Two years later, it sold all three buildings for $60 million, nearly 50 percent more than it paid.

Now a clue has emerged as to how President Donald Trump’s son-in-law’s firm was able to move so fast: The Kushner Cos. routinely filed false paperwork with the city declaring it had zero rent-regulated tenants in dozens of buildings it owned across the city when, in fact, it had hundreds.

  • On Friday, Cambridge Analytica, the data firm that worked with the Trump’s 2016 campaign, was exposed. After a professor claimed to be running a survey for academic purposes, close to 300,000 people gave permission to access their Facebook data, and apparently all their friends’ data. Cambridge Analytica allegedly then acquired what would be 50 million Facebook users’ data from that professor.

Revealed: 50 million Facebook profiles harvested for Cambridge Analytica in major data breach

Over the weekend, there was more.

This was far from the end of the story…

61st Week (March 19–24)

Monday, March 19

Data Firm Or Dirty Trick Operation?

(Unsplashed/Hack Capital)

(Unsplashed/Hack Capital)

After the news of Cambridge Analytica’s alleged Facebook data collection, their reported outreach to Wikileaks, and meetings with a Russian oil company, it seemed it was impossible to get any more bad press. Well…

I highly suggest you watch for yourself.

As Facebook’s stock plunged 7% (losing $37 billion in value), Senator Ted Cruz’s (R-TX) collaboration with Cambridge Analytica during his presidential campaign came under scrutiny.

Under fire for his connections to a voter-targeting firm that used data taken from 50 million Facebook users without their knowledge, Texas Sen. Ted Cruz insisted Tuesday that he was unaware of any impropriety.

The Cruz presidential campaign touted its collaboration with Cambridge Analytica as a sign of a cutting edge run for the White House, allowing the Texan to carefully identify likely supporters. The firm shifted allegiance to Donald Trump once the Texan dropped out of the GOP primaries.

This was far from the end of the story. There was more to come the following day. But, as expected, the House Intelligence Committee saw it as the end of the story.

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Meanwhile…

  • Donald Trump started his morning off with what we’ve come to expect from this president: Claims that an investigation — which has yielded indictments of 13 Russians, plea agreements from 3 of Trump’s associates, and just had sanctions based on it — is a WITCH HUNT.

President Trump’s attorneys have provided the special counsel’s office with written descriptions that chronicle key moments under investigation in hopes of curtailing the scope of a presidential interview, according to two people familiar with the situation.

Trump’s legal team recently shared the documents in an effort to limit any session between the president and special counsel Robert S. Mueller III to a few select topics, the people said. The lawyers are worried that Trump, who has a penchant for making erroneous claims, would be vulnerable in an hours-long interview.

  • President Trump hired Joseph E. diGenova, a lawyer who has made several appearances on Fox News spouting false “deep state” conspiracy theories about how the Trump-Russia investigation began as a covert op to exonerate Hillary Clinton and launch a “coup d’etat” against Trump. The status of this hiring would prove to be uncertain by the end of the week.

  • Trump ended his day the same way he started it: With a false tweet.

  • Speculation surrounding another shakeup of Trump’s legal team was sparked by a New York Times report.

Tuesday, March 20

DO NOT CONGRATULATE

During an oval office press briefing with Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, President Trump told reporters that he spoke to President Vladimir Putin and congratulated him on his election “victory.” A victory which was deemed “controlled” and unfair by election watchdogs.

As if the congratulations wasn’t bad enough, President Trump made some glaring omissions in his call with Putin.

Senator John McCain (R-AZ) responded.

Later in the day, it was reported that President Trump ignored the advice of his advisers ahead of this call.

President Trump’s supporters, as well as some reporters, correctly pointed out that President Obama called to congratulate Putin after his 2012 election win. But of course, they omitted some crucial context.

The following day, President Trump chimed in.

Simply put:

And if you don’t want to take our word for it, take the word of Former CIA Director John Brennan.

I know. Dire stuff. So here’s a meme.

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Meanwhile…

  • The Senate Intelligence Committee made recommendations to protect the integrity of the vote heading into the midterms.
  • Channel 4 News dropped yet another bombshell.

Channel 4 News reported:

In a different meeting, Mr Turnbull described how the company created the “Defeat Crooked Hilary” brand of attack ads, that were funded by the Make America Number 1 super-PAC and watched more than 30 million times during the campaign.

Coordination between an official election campaign and any outside groups is illegal under US election law. Cambridge Analytica deny wrongdoing, insisting a strict firewall separated out their activity and that they were transparent about their work on political campaigns and PACs.

After this report, Alexander Nix was suspended as CEO.

Oh, and there’s this.

  • As news of the Federal Trade Commission’s investigation into Facebook rattled their stock, CEO Mark Zuckerberg and COO Sheryl Sandberg did not attend an all-hands meeting about this ongoing Cambridge Analytica scandal.
  • The New York Times reported:

Education Secretary Betsy DeVos will go before a House panel on Tuesday to defend her agency’s budget, including a sweeping overhaul of the Education Department that has strained relations within her agency and with Congress — and defies the White House’s budget office.

In recent weeks, Ms. DeVos has clashed fiercely with department staff members over the plan, which they say she tried to withhold from Congress as she imposed on the department what they call an illegal collective bargaining agreement.

  • A day after Mississippi Governor Phil Bryant signed a law banning abortions after 15 weeks, District Judge Carlton Reeves temporarily blocked it.
  • NBC News reported:

Adult film actress Stormy Daniels underwent a polygraph exam in 2011 about her relationship with Donald Trump, and the examiner found there was a more than 99 percent probability she told the truth when she said they had unprotected sex in 2006, according to a copy of the report obtained by NBC News Tuesday.

Daniels, whose legal name is Stephanie Clifford, took the lie detector test at the request of a magazine that interviewed her in 2011, but didn’t publish the content at the time.

  • Karen McDougal has decided to tell her story once more, this time with a reveal of The National Enquirer’s role. The New York Times reported:

A former Playboy model who claimed she had an affair with Donald J. Trump sued on Tuesday to be released from a 2016 legal agreement restricting her ability to speak, becoming the second woman this month to challenge Trump allies’ efforts during the presidential campaign to bury stories about extramarital relationships.

The model, Karen McDougal, is suing The National Enquirer’s parent company, which paid her $150,000 and whose chief executive is a friend of President Trump’s. The other woman, the adult entertainment star Stephanie Clifford, better known as Stormy Daniels, was paid $130,000 to stay quiet by the president’s personal lawyer, Michael D. Cohen. She filed a lawsuit earlier this month.

  • In more women will take down President Trump news, “New York Supreme Court Judge Jennifer G. Schecter — citing court precedent that ultimately led to the impeachment of President Bill Clinton in 1998 — said that ‘a sitting president is not immune from being sued in federal court for unofficial acts.’” So, this allows Summer Zervos to move forward with her defamation lawsuit regarding alleged sexual harassment on the part of Donald Trump when she was an “Apprentice” contestant.
  • A Fox News Contributor and retired Lt. Col. made quite the exit…

Wednesday, March 21

Long-Suspected Perjury

Attorney General Jeff Sessions testifies on Capitol Hill in Washington before the Senate Intelligence Committee — June 13, 2017 (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)

Attorney General Jeff Sessions testifies on Capitol Hill in Washington before the Senate Intelligence Committee — June 13, 2017 (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)

Remember this March 2017 exchange between then-Senator Al. Franken (D-MN) and Senator Jeff Sessions (R-AL)?

Yeah, me too. After it was revealed that Attorney General Jeff Sessions did indeed meet with then-Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak on multiple occasions during the 2016 election, many speculated that Sessions might be susceptible to perjury charges. Well, it appears that the FBI felt it was worth looking into.

ABC News reported:

Nearly a year before Attorney General Jeff Sessions fired senior FBI official Andrew McCabe for what Sessions called a “lack of candor,” McCabe oversaw a federal criminal investigation into whether Sessions lacked candor when testifying before Congress about contacts with Russian operatives, sources familiar with the matter told ABC News.

One source told ABC News that Sessions was not aware of the investigation when he decided to fire McCabe last Friday less than 48 hours before McCabe, a former FBI deputy director, was due to retire from government and obtain a full pension, but an attorney representing Sessions declined to confirm that.

Last year, several top Republican and Democratic lawmakers were informed of the probe during a closed-door briefing with Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein and McCabe, ABC News was told.

By then, Sessions had recused himself from the FBI’s probe of Russia’s meddling in the 2016 presidential election, giving Rosenstein oversight of the growing effort.

Within weeks, Rosenstein appointed special counsel Robert Mueller to take over the investigation and related inquiries, including the Sessions matter.

Two months ago, Sessions was interviewed by Mueller’s team, and the federal inquiry related to his candor during his confirmation process has since been shuttered, according to a lawyer representing Sessions.

“The Special Counsel’s office has informed me that after interviewing the attorney general and conducting additional investigation, the attorney general is not under investigation for false statements or perjury in his confirmation hearing testimony and related written submissions to Congress,” attorney Chuck Cooper told ABC News on Wednesday.

According to the sources, McCabe authorized the criminal inquiry after a top Democrat on the Senate Judiciary Committee, Sen. Patrick Leahy, D-Vermont, and then-Sen. Al Franken, D-Minn., wrote a letter in March 2017 to the FBI urging agents to investigate “all contacts” Sessions may have had with Russians, and “whether any laws were broken in the course of those contacts or in any subsequent discussion of whether they occurred.”

Although the article indicates that Sessions was not aware of this investigation before he fired Andrew McCabe less than 30 hours before he was set to retire, it does raise some questions.

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Meanwhile…

  • CNN reported more details about the topics Mueller has been discussing with Trump’s lawyers:

Special counsel Robert Mueller’s team has so far discussed with President Donald Trump’s lawyers four main topics they want to talk about with the President.

According to two sources, the areas that the special counsel investigators have indicated they want to pursue with Trump are the President’s role in crafting a statement aboard Air Force One that miscast Donald Trump Jr.’s campaign June 2016 meeting with Russians in Trump Tower, the circumstances surrounding that Trump Tower meeting as well as the firings of FBI Director James Comey and national security adviser Michael Flynn.

  • According to CNN, “President Donald Trump was infuriated after it quickly leaked that he had been directly instructed by his national security advisers in briefing materials not to congratulate Russian President Vladimir Putin on his recent election victory during their call Tuesday morning, a source familiar with the President’s thinking said.”
  • The Guardian kept the Cambridge Analytica news coming.

  • Mark Zuckerberg finally spoke out about the need to protect Facebook user’s data and tried to explain what happened in regards to Cambridge Analytica.
  • Attorney General Jeff Sessions executed on his boss’ wishes by instructing federal prosecutors to seek the death penalty in drug-related cases “whenever necessary.”
  • As we got closer to the March For Our Lives, it was clear that these kids have successfully reshaped public opinion.

Thursday, March 22

The Nuclear Stache

Thursday brought with it a flurry of breaking news stories, but by far the most consequential was the ousting of National Security Adviser H.R. McMaster and Trump’s choice of John Bolton to replace him.

Bolton is a known warmonger who has a history of wanting war with Iran and North Korea.

A quick montage of his greatest hits.

The ousting of H.R. McMaster, btw, is yet another example of the White House’s complete lack of credibility.

With Mike Pompeo at the State Department (awaiting a likely confirmation), we will likely see the death of the Iran Deal shortly, and increased tensions in the region exacerbated by nuclear proliferation.

The Rantt team stands by what we believe is the best way to prevent his hiring.

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Meanwhile…

  • John Dowd, Trump’s lawyer who earlier this week called for the firing of Mueller, resigned.

Well, looks like we won’t get any more moments like these.

But most importantly, this, along with the hiring earlier this week and the direct attacks on Mueller, mark a shift in Trump’s strategy.

  • And amid this day of shakeups, it was reported that Trump considered firing John Kelly this month and then operating without a Chief of Staff. And we think the White House is chaotic now?
  • The Daily Beast reported a bombshell confirming what we’ve long suspected: The identity of Guccifer 2.0, whom Roger Stone admitted to being in communication with, is a GRU intelligence officer.

But on one occasion, The Daily Beast has learned, Guccifer failed to activate the VPN client before logging on. As a result, he left a real, Moscow-based Internet Protocol address in the server logs of an American social media company, according to a source familiar with the government’s Guccifer investigation. Twitter and WordPress were Guccifer 2.0’s favored outlets. Neither company would comment for this story, and Guccifer did not respond to a direct message on Twitter.

Working off the IP address, U.S. investigators identified Guccifer 2.0 as a particular GRU officer working out of the agency’s headquarters on Grizodubovoy Street in Moscow. (The Daily Beast’s sources did not disclose which particular officer worked as Guccifer.)

Donald Trump once tried to offer Karen McDougal money after they had been intimate, the former Playboy model told Anderson Cooper Thursday in an exclusive interview on CNN.

“After we had been intimate, he tried to pay me, and I actually didn’t know how to take that,” she said of their first alleged sexual encounter.

When Cooper asked if Trump tried to hand her money, McDougal said, “He did.”

“I don’t even know how to describe the look on my face,” she said. “It must have been so sad.”

  • President Trump signed new tariffs, tanking the Dow. Bloomberg reported:

The trade conflict between China and the U.S. escalated, with Beijing announcing its first retaliation against metals levies hours after President Donald Trump outlined fresh tariffs on $50 billion of Chinese imports and pledged there’s more on the way.

On Friday, China unveiled tariffs on $3 billion of U.S. imports in response to steel and aluminum duties ordered by Trump earlier this month. The White House then declared a temporary exemption for the European Union and other nations on those levies, making the focus on China clear. Though Beijing’s actions so far are seen by analysts as measured, there may be more to come.

  • Oh, and how could I forget the playground back and forth between Joe Biden and Donald Trump.

  • The march was coming.

Friday, March 23

The Omnibus Bill

President Donald Trump listens during a meeting with lawmakers on immigration policy in the Cabinet Room of the White House in Washington — Jan. 9, 2018 file photo (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

President Donald Trump listens during a meeting with lawmakers on immigration policy in the Cabinet Room of the White House in Washington — Jan. 9, 2018 file photo (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

On Friday, President Trump tweeted this:

This came as a surprise to many. Apparently even his White House staff and members of the Republican leadership. This tweet came a day after…

Of course, Trump signed the bill anyway. But not without complaining first.

President Trump, hours after threatening to veto a $1.3 trillion spending bill and throwing the capital into turmoil, signed it into law on Friday, yielding to advisers and Republican leaders who urged him against manufacturing a government shutdown crisis.

Even as he signed the bill, the president seethed about being forced to swallow legislation that broadly repudiated an agenda that once foresaw the reshaping of the federal government into his “America First” image.

“There are a lot of things that I’m unhappy about in this bill,” Mr. Trump said during a hastily called event at the White House, where the president placed his hand on a foot-high copy of the 2,232-page bill he said he had just signed. “There are a lot of things that we shouldn’t have had in this bill. But we were, in a sense, forced — if we want to build our military — we were forced to have. There are some things that we should have in the bill.”

Meanwhile…

  • Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein announced new indictments against Iran for state-sponsored hacking campaigns.

  • Although John Bolton’s ties to Cambridge Analytica have been previously reported, The New York Times shined additional light on it.

President Donald Trump’s decision to abruptly fire national security adviser H.R. McMaster surprised senior White House aides who had been preparing a single statement announcing the departure of multiple top Trump officials, according to two senior administration officials.

White House chief of staff John Kelly and other top aides were waiting for inspector general reports that they believed would deliver devastating verdicts on Veteran Affairs Secretary David Shulkin and Housing and Urban Development Secretary Ben Carson, who have both been accused of racking up extravagant expenses. They were also debating whether several senior White House aides, including McMaster, should go with them.

Saturday, March 24

The March For Our Lives

March For Our Lives. Pennsylvania Avenue, Washington D.C. — March 24, 2018 (Photo Credit: Adam A/Co-Founder Rantt Media)

March For Our Lives. Pennsylvania Avenue, Washington D.C. — March 24, 2018 (Photo Credit: Adam A/Co-Founder Rantt Media)

The March For Our Lives was an event for the history books. In a protest of massive proportions, young people from around the U.S. gathered on Pennsylvania Avenue with one message: enough is enough.

The first speaker was Cameron Kasky, who knocked it out of the park. And the choice for the second speaker showed how brilliant and aware of the issues these kids are: It was a black kid from Chicago.

Every speaker was incredible.

The D.C march had hundreds of thousands in attendance, including the Rantt team. We had a blast registering voters.

Oh, how could I forget. D.C. was only the beginning. It swept the country and the world.

This movement is far from over.

Unpresidented // Donald Trump / Government / Journalism / Politics