A Complete Breakdown Of Donald Trump’s 26th Unpresidented Week As POTUS

Trump is running out of options

President Donald Trump — July 18, 2017 (AP/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)

President Donald Trump — July 18, 2017 (AP/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)

Will America be a nation where the president and their family are above the law?

Six months into Donald Trump’s presidency and we are on the verge of one of the greatest tests of American democracy in history.

As evidence of potential Trump-Russia collusion creeps closer into his inner circle and the investigation moves towards his finances, we’ve seen President Trump grow increasingly paranoid. So paranoid that he is doing everything in his power to find a way to fire Special Counsel Robert Mueller and has even considered pardoning himself and his associates.

I’ve said this before and I’ll say it again; An innocent man would not want to fire Robert Mueller. What is Trump trying to prevent Mueller from discovering? Russian money laundering? Direct coordination between his campaign and Russian operatives?

We’ve reported on the evidence heavily at Rantt, but those are questions only an uninterrupted investigation can conclusively answer. So we’re left with the most important question of all. One that will test the strength of our nation: If President Trump were to pardon himself or move to fire Robert Mueller, will Republican lawmakers do anything about it?

Obstruction of justice. Abuse of power. Those were the first two articles of impeachment that were levied against President Richard Nixon. During the time of Nixon, Congress enforced the rule of law. One could make a credible argument that President Trump is guilty of both with his handling of former FBI Director James Comey, but if Trump were to fire Mueller we’d be in uncharted territory given the spineless state of the Republican Party.

Needless to say, the American people are fed up. We’re tired of Trump’s lying. We’re tired of his lack of respect for American institutions. We’re tired of the way he cozies up to Putin. And we’re tired of his repeated efforts to undermine Robert Mueller’s investigation. We want the truth.

After the events that transpired this week, we demand a moment of clarity from members of the Grand Old Party. What’s at stake here is bigger than their short-sighted agenda.

We’re standing at the crossroads of our democracy here. As paranoia continues to burden President Trump, we hope the weight of history will begin to burden the GOP more than the weight of their donors.

Here’s a complete breakdown of Donald Trump’s 26th week as POTUS:

26th Weekend (July 15–16)

Distorting Democracy

President Trump arrived home from his trip to France in defense mode. The news of his son’s June 9, 2016, meeting with a Russian lawyer in an effort to obtain damaging information on Hillary Clinton had developed quite a bit.

Earlier in the week, the roster of that meeting was; Donald Trump Jr., former Campaign Manager, Paul Manafort, Senior Advisor and son-in-law, Jared Kushner, British publicist, Rob Goldstone, and Russian lawyer, Natalia Veselnitskaya. By the end of the week, it was reported that at least 8 people were at Trump Tower that day, one of them being Russian-American lobbyist, and “former” Soviet counterintelligence officer accused of an international hacking conspiracy, Rinat Akhmetshin.

Other than an interpreter, there was still a mystery as to who that 8th person was…Although there was speculation it might be Donald Trump or Reince Priebus since they were at Trump Tower that day (which also led many to question how Trump can claim he didn’t know about the meeting), the 8th person ended up being yet another Russian…but more on that in a bit…

Meanwhile…

  • An FEC filing revealed that President Trump’s reelection campaign paid Don Jr.’s lawyer $50,000 on June 26th. Yahoo News reported that this was around the time that Jared Kushner’s lawyers discovered the emails detailing the June 9th, 2016 meeting at Trump Tower. This was two weeks before the emails were revealed to the public and seem to discredit President Trump’s claims that he was only made aware of the meeting a few days before the reports
  • President Trump attended the U.S. Women’s Open at Trump National Golf Club Bedminster which drew protests
  • After John McCain (R-AZ) went into surgery to remove a blood clot above his eye, McConnell announced that the Senate would delay the health care vote until his return…

26th Week (July 17–21)

Monday, July 17

The Death Of The BCRA

The day McConnell delayed the health care vote, President Donald Trump met with Republican senators in the White House. Seated with him, from left, are Dean Heller (R-NV), Susan Collins (R-ME), Lisa Murkowski (R-AK), and Sen. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah — Tuesday, June 27, 2017 (AP/Susan Walsh)

The day McConnell delayed the health care vote, President Donald Trump met with Republican senators in the White House. Seated with him, from left, are Dean Heller (R-NV), Susan Collins (R-ME), Lisa Murkowski (R-AK), and Sen. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah — Tuesday, June 27, 2017 (AP/Susan Walsh)

Although much media attention has been paid to the perceived divisions within the Democratic Party, not much has been paid the deep ideological divides within the Republican Party. And on Monday these divisions were on full display as the latest version of the Better Care Reconciliation Act (BCRA) had its hopes of robbing health care from millions of Americans, crushed.

As the Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) attempted to secure the necessary 50 votes to get a motion to begin debate for his Obamacare replacement, the Cruz Amendment didn’t seem to appease moderate or very conservative Republicans’ concerns. GOP Senators Mike Lee (UT) and Jerry Moran (KS) joined Susan Collins (ME) and Rand Paul (KY) in their opposition to the latest iteration of the BCRA — dooming this version of the bill.

After news of these Senators killing the bill, Trump and McConnell took to Twitter and announced a new effort to repeal Obamacare now with a 2-year delay to give time for repeal…

By the next day, the repeal effort appeared to stall as GOP Senators Susan Collins, Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV), and Lisa Murkowski (AL) expressed their opposition to a vote on repeal with no replacement. This didn’t stop McConnell for pushing for a repeal-only vote in the near future…

Meanwhile…

  • President Trump took to Twitter and called his son’s efforts to knowingly accept what was clearly identified as help from a hostile foreign power, “politics”

White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer decided to undercut both Trump’s tweet and Don Jr.’s own statements.

  • Despite Donald Trump Jr. himself tweeting out the emails verifying the meeting, going onto Fox News’ Hannity to discuss the details of the meeting, and his own father also verifying the meeting, more than half of President Trump’s supporters still don’t believe it happened…

  • Dean Heller, the Nevada Senator who was the first Republican to publicly oppose the BCRA, had his office burglarized
  • Thousands of voters around the US are unregistering themselves from voter rolls out fear of getting their personal information revealed by Trump’s ridiculous voter fraud panel
  • Trump’s lawyers are fighting an effort to get him testify in a case brought by protestors at a Kentucky rally who claim he incited violence

Tuesday, July 18

The Secret Meeting

Two weeks ago, President Trump held a meeting with Russian President Putin on the sidelines of the G20 summit. The meeting was scheduled to be thirty minutes. It ended up lasting for 2 hours and 16 minutes. The meeting yielded a ceasefire in southwest Syria, but what was on the minds of the American people was whether or not President Trump addressed Russia’s attack on our democracy. Leaving the meeting there were, of course, conflicting accounts of the events that transpired since the only people allowed in the meeting with Putin and Trump were Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov and Secretary of State Rex Tillerson. The former being Russia’s top diplomat and the latter being the recipient of Russia’s 2013 Order of Friendship award.

Tillerson claimed that Trump pressed Putin on more than one occasion about Russia’s interference and after Putin denied it, they moved on to other discussions while Lavrov claimed Trump accepted Putin’s denials. Trump also claimed they discussed a Cyber Security Unit. Trump has since backtracked on this but a report this week claimed that they were still in talks about this.

The American people were frustrated with the way this meeting went and Trump’s overall eagerness to cozy up to the man responsible for one of the most blatant assaults on American democracy in history. Well, this week we discovered that there was a previously undisclosed second meeting between Trump and Putin that same evening during a dinner. It reportedly lasted for nearly an hour and Trump spoke through a Russian translator without one of his own.

Later in the week, Trump said they discussed “adoption” which means they discussed the given the Magnitsky Act which was expanded in 2016 and now sanctions 44 people worldwide. In other words, Trump claims they talked sanctions. But given Trump’s nonexistent relationship with the truth, we will likely never know what was really said during that meeting.

Meanwhile…

  • The identity of the 8th man at the June 9th, 2016 Trump Tower meeting was revealed as a representative for Aras Agalarov. Ike Kaveladze can be seen below with President Trump

As we know, the meeting was set up by Rob Goldstone upon the urging of his pop star client Emin Agalarov, the son of Russian real estate billionaire oligarch Aras Agalarov, who said that Natalia Veselnitskaya had “information about illegal campaign contributions to the D.N.C.” The fact that a representative of his was in attendance makes sense.

  • House Republicans unveiled their budget which as expected, cuts billions from social programs like Medicaid and aims for tax reform
  • The White House announced former Utah Governor Jon Huntsman as Ambassador to Russia. A quick reminder of Trump’s past thoughts on the man

  • The US certified that Iran is complying with the nuclear deal, then levied new sanctions against them
  • Ian Bremmer reported that Trump’s coziness to Putin during the previously undisclosed meeting startled US allies

“It’s very clear that Trump’s best single relationship in the G20 is with Putin,” he added. “U.S. allies were surprised, flummoxed, disheartened. You’ve got Trump in the room with all these allies and who is the one he spends time with?”

Trump took to his usual defense…when in doubt, cry fake news I guess.

Wednesday, July 19

The Undercutting Of Jeff Sessions

Attorney General Jeff Sessions, right, accompanied by White House press secretary Sean Spicer, talks to the media during the daily press briefing at the White House in Washington, Monday, March 27, 2017. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)

Attorney General Jeff Sessions, right, accompanied by White House press secretary Sean Spicer, talks to the media during the daily press briefing at the White House in Washington, Monday, March 27, 2017. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)

In a revealing interview with The New York Times, President Trump vented his frustrations. Trump claimed that Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation is riddled with conflicts of interest and stated that Mueller would be crossing a “red line” if he looked into the Trump family’s finances. Trump went on to accuse former FBI Director James Comey of blackmailing him when Comey briefed him on the Trump-Russia dossier. Trump also attacked Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein and acting FBI Director Andrew G. McCabe. But most notably, Trump made a claim about Attorney General Jeff Sessions that can only be described as coming from a president who thought he was hiring a personal lawyer when selecting an AG:

“Jeff Sessions takes the job, gets into the job, recuses himself, which frankly I think is very unfair to the president,” he added. “How do you take a job and then recuse yourself? If he would have recused himself before the job, I would have said, ‘Thanks, Jeff, but I’m not going to take you.’ It’s extremely unfair — and that’s a mild word — to the president.”

President Trump claims that he wouldn’t have appointed Jeff Sessions if he knew he would recuse himself from the Trump-Russia investigation…He is essentially stating that he expected Sessions to protect him from the investigation and the fact he didn’t, frustrates him.

This is consistent with Trump’s past statements about Sessions’ recusal. Trump, unable to take responsibility for his own actions, sees Sessions’ recusal as a direct catalyst to Deputy AG Rod Rosenstein’s choice to appoint Robert Mueller as special counsel. If Trump could look past his own ego he would see clearly that his obstructive move to fire James Comey in an effort to end the Trump-Russia investigation was the reason Mueller was appointed. Many speculated that Trump is signaling he wants Jeff Sessions to resign…if the leak that occurred later in the week was from the White House, then those speculations are correct.

Meanwhile…

  • Trump held a White House lunch where he urged Republicans to try and get a repeal and replace measure through, despite having tweeted a few days before calling for just a repeal measure. Republicans met that night to try and revive the repeal and replace effort
  • The Daily Beast reported that “after being given a secret document by officials in Moscow, Rep. Dana Rohrabacher sought to alter sanctions legislation and tried to set up a virtual show trial on Capitol Hill”
  • The Supreme Court upheld a Hawaii district Judge’s ruling that gave an exemption for grandparents of US citizens from the banned countries to enter the US
  • The New York Times reported that according to financial disclosures, Paul Manafort appeared to be in “debt to pro-Russia interests by as much as $17 million before he joined Donald J. Trump’s presidential campaign in March 2016”
  • The Washington Post reported that “President Trump has decided to end the CIA’s covert program to arm and train moderate Syrian rebels battling the government of Bashar al-Assad, a move long sought by Russia”
  • 20 Democratic House Reps sent a letter to acting FBI Director Andrew McCabe requesting the review of Assistant to the President, Ivanka Trump’s security clearance to make sure that she filled out her SF-86 forms correctly
  • Attorney General Jeff Sessions made it easier for police to seize assets
  • The US Military is paying $130,000 a month to lease space in Trump Tower
  • War hero and veteran Senator John McCain (R-AZ) was diagnosed with brain cancer

Thursday, July 20

The Fear Of Robert Mueller

Special Counsel Robert Mueller (AP)

Special Counsel Robert Mueller (AP)

President Trump is terrified of Robert Mueller, and for good reason. Not only is he an incredibly competent investigator, he has wide-ranging authority to go wherever this investigation may lead him. Whether it takes him down a path that reveals Trump laundering Russian money or brings to light a clearer picture of collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia, Donald Trump has made it clear he does not want this investigation to move forward uninterrupted. Now, he is planning his next grand attempt to obstruct justice.

Trump’s lawyers are reportedly digging into Robert Mueller and his team, trying to find conflicts of interest so they can fire him or force him to recuse himself. Trump’s lawyers are also reportedly evaluating the possibility of Trump pardoning himself and his associates who are subjects of the investigation. That being said, firing Mueller isn’t that simple…

Via The Washington Post

Via The Washington Post

Now, if Trump were to either circumvent regulations and fire Mueller or go down the line firing people until someone complied, would the GOP do anything about it? They’ve been largely silent on this issue other than Rep. Michael McCaul (R-TX) who claimed there would be bipartisan backlash.

Trump was particularly alarmed when he heard that Mueller would be able to subpoena his tax returns. Mueller has already expanded his investigation to include Trump’s business transactions, so as this investigation moves forward and continues to pick up velocity, we can only assume the inevitable showdown between Mueller and Trump will come to a head.

Meanwhile…

  • In a press conference, Jeff Sessions claimed he will stay on as AG and the White House claimed they has confidence in Jeff Sessions despite Trump’s own remarks indicating otherwise
  • Donald Trump Jr. and Paul Manafort will testify in a closed hearing in front of the Senate Judiciary Committee next Wednesday and Jared Kushner will testify in a closed hearing in front of the Senate Intelligence Committee on Monday
  • Speaking of Paul Manafort, Mueller is investigating possible money laundering by Mr. Manafort
  • The Trump administration reportedly misused Obamacare funds to run ads against the health care law
  • Trump’s persistent efforts to cozy up to our foreign adversary Russia is creating friction between him and his top advisers

Friday, July 21

“I did not have communications with the Russians”

Sergey Kislyak, Russia’s ambassador to the US speaks with reporters following his address on the Syrian situation, Friday, Sept. 6, 2013 in Washington. (AP Photo/Cliff Owen)

Sergey Kislyak, Russia’s ambassador to the US speaks with reporters following his address on the Syrian situation, Friday, Sept. 6, 2013 in Washington. (AP Photo/Cliff Owen)

Before we dive into breaking news on Friday, let’s go back to Jeff Sessions’ famous exchange with Senator Al Franken (D-NY), where he denied having any communications with Russians during the 2016 campaign.

Since that moment, we’ve learned of multiple interactions he’s had with Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak, which forced him to recuse himself from the Trump-Russia investigation. He has since reformed his testimony to claim he never discussed campaign-related topics with Russian officials. The report from The Washington Post on Friday put that claim to rest. It asserts that on two separate occasions, once in April of 2016 and once in July, Kislyak discussed campaign-related topics with Sessions, including policy issues important to Moscow:

One U.S. official said that Sessions — who testified that he had no recollection of an April encounter — has provided “misleading” statements that are “contradicted by other evidence.” A former official said that the intelligence indicates that Sessions and Kislyak had “substantive” discussions on matters including Trump’s positions on Russia-related issues and prospects for U.S.-Russia relations in a Trump administration.

Some speculated that the White House was behind the leak in an effort to force Sessions to resign…

Meanwhile…

  • Sean Spicer resigned as White House Press Secretary, ending an era
  • Sarah Huckabee Sanders is now the White House Press Secretary and former Trump critic Anthony Scaramucci is the Communications Director. He started off his first day with quite a few exaggerations

  • Much like his omitted contacts and meetings from his SF-86 submissions, Jared Kushner failed to disclose dozens of financial holdings that he was required to declare upon joining the White House
  • Trump went on a wild tweet spree on Saturday morning. There are many but I’ll only post a few here

  • The House has come to an agreement on a Russian sanctions bill that also prevents President Trump ability to roll back sanctions on Moscow. Whether or not he signs it will be quite the test for the president. Is he trying to make America great again or Russia?

Just when you think things can’t get any wilder, they do. President Trump is clearly trying to end the investigation into his potential collusion with Russia out of fear of what they’ll find and questions linger as to what will happen if he successfully does make this move.

I’ve already posed those questions but here’s an even more concerning one. Let’s say Robert Mueller doesn’t get fired. Let’s say he’s able to run this investigation to its conclusion. Let’s say he finds compelling evidence of obstruction of justice and money laundering among other things…

What if the GOP doesn’t move to impeach him?

It’s unfortunate that our country is in a state where one party is so corrupted by their own self-interest that they can’t see past their own ass. If we stay vigilant, we’ll make sure that’s all they see on their way out in 2018.

Unpresidented // Donald Trump / Government / Journalism / Politics