A Complete Breakdown Of Donald Trump’s 28th Unpresidented Week As POTUS

28th Weekend (July 29–30)

President Donald Trump walks to Marine One on the South Lawn of the White House — Thursday, Aug. 3, 2017, in Washington (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)

President Donald Trump walks to Marine One on the South Lawn of the White House — Thursday, Aug. 3, 2017, in Washington (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)

“They see weakness in this president…” — Senator John McCain

The Trump administration is a ship leaking from all sides while on a collusion — I mean collision — course with an iceberg. The captain, rather than place his focus on steering or repairing the structure, is busy tweeting about how the iceberg is fake, reorganizing and berating his crew, and throwing people off the ship. Meanwhile, the crew, frustrated by the captain’s instability, is at war with each other and the friction is causing more leaks. All the while, the upcoming iceberg continues to expand.

The incompetent captain is Trump, his crew are White House sycophants, and the iceberg is Robert Mueller’s expanding investigation.

As President Trump embarks on his 17-day vacation, he leaves a White House in disarray. His approval rating hovers around record lows, the most meaningful legislation he’s passed thus far imposes congressional restraints on his own power, the power struggles within his administration have his staff constantly targeting each-other with leaks, he continues to expose his own incompetence, and the Trump-Russia investigation continues to move full speed ahead.

If President Trump focuses on getting his head right and steering the ship, he may be able to slow how quickly the White House is taking on water, but as we saw this week, there is nothing he can do to avoid that iceberg…And some in the GOP, finally recognizing the toxic nature of this presidency, are beginning to jump ship.

Here’s a complete breakdown of Donald Trump’s 28th week as POTUS:

The Shakeup

President Donald Trump shakes hands with Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY), center. Also in the room are from left, Vice President Mike Pence, SenateMajority Whip John Cornyn (R-TX), House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA), House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI)., and Senior adviser to President Donald Trump Jared Kushner — June 6, 2017 (AP)

President Donald Trump shakes hands with Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY), center. Also in the room are from left, Vice President Mike Pence, SenateMajority Whip John Cornyn (R-TX), House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA), House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI)., and Senior adviser to President Donald Trump Jared Kushner — June 6, 2017 (AP)

President Trump went into the weekend fresh off a week that can only be described as turbulent. The Republican effort to repeal and replace Obamacare failed in dramatic fashion, Anthony Scaramucci was unhinged, and Chief of Staff Reince Priebus was replaced by DHS Secretary John Kelly. As the White House struggled to regain its footing, Donald Trump took to Twitter to vent his frustrations about China’s handling of North Korea, the Russia “Witch Hunt,” and healthcare.

First of all, Republicans couldn’t manage to get even 50 votes so Trump’s calls to move to a 51 vote majority seem pointless. Second, the “BAILOUTS” Trump is referring to are the Obamacare Cost Sharing Reduction subsidies that the US government provides so that insurers are able to reduce costs for low income Americans. It’s been reported that Trump would consider cutting off this subsidy if he doesn’t get his way on repealing Obamacare, essentially threatening to harm the most vulnerable people’s coverage because his repeal “win” remains elusive. Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) responded:

Meanwhile…

  • Russian President Vladimir Putin retaliated against Congress’ sanctions announcing the expulsion of hundreds of US diplomats from Russia
  • North Korea fired a ballistic missile that can reach major US cities in our mainland
  • Having already recognized the downhill trend of this presidency, Senator Jeff Flake (R-AZ) began to re-position himself. Flake hit the press circuit to promote his new book which takes a very tough tone against Trump. On Face The Nation on Sunday, he stated that Republicans are complicit if they don’t call out President Trump when he’s wrong…Important to note that Flake has voted along party lines, so at the moment it is just rhetoric. We’ll see how this unfolds moving forward

28th Week (July 31–August 4)

Monday July 31

Orchestrated

Donald Trump and Donald Trump Jr. at the Republican National Convention in Cleveland — July 20, 2016. (AP/Matt Rourke)

Donald Trump and Donald Trump Jr. at the Republican National Convention in Cleveland — July 20, 2016. (AP/Matt Rourke)

The June 9th, 2016 Trump Tower meeting. It’s the never-ending story that continues to unfold as the weeks roll on. Donald Trump Jr., Paul Manafort, Jared Kushner, the Kremlin-connected lawyer Natalia Veselnitskaya, Rob Goldstone, Rinat Akhmetshin, a Russian interpreter, and a representative for Aras Agalarov, Ike Kaveladze, were at the meeting. But that’s not how the story began.

Trump Jr.’s initial statements about the meeting claimed it was specifically about Russian adoptions, and at that time we only knew Kushner, Manafort, Goldstone, and Veselnitskaya were at the meeting. Then, Trump Jr.’s emails explicitly revealed that the meeting was organized in an effort to obtain damaging information on Hillary Clinton that was part of the Russian government’s support for his father. By the end of that week, it was revealed that 8 people were at the meeting.

We’ve since learned that the initial misleading account of events that came from Donald Trump Jr. was personally dictated by President Trump while he was at the G20 summit. The New York Times reported:

Flying home from Germany on July 8 aboard Air Force One, Trump personally dictated a statement in which Trump Jr. said he and the Russian lawyer had “primarily discussed a program about the adoption of Russian children” when they met in June 2016, according to multiple people with knowledge of the deliberations. The statement, issued to the New York Times as it prepared a story, emphasized that the subject of the meeting was “not a campaign issue at the time.”

The claims were later shown to be misleading.

After this, many questions arose in the minds of the public. Why would Trump feel equipped to characterize a meeting he didn’t attend and, in his words, wasn’t aware of? Was this an attempt to cover-up the details of the meeting? If there was nothing to hide about the meeting, why not disclose all the details up front?

“You’re boxing in a witness into a false story. That puts them under enormous pressure to turn around and lie under oath to be consistent with their story. I think it’s obstruction of justice.” — Richard Painter, chief White House ethics lawyer for George W Bush, told The Guardian

One thing we do know is that this isn’t the only interaction between the Trump campaign and Russian operatives…

Donald Trump Jr.’s Emails Are Just The Tip Of The Collusion Iceberg

Meanwhile…

  • After a week of vulgar interviews, Anthony Scaramucci was removed from his role as White House Communications Director, a role he hadn’t even officially started yet

  • John Kelly was sworn in as Chief of Staff. Since he was effective in convincing Trump to fire Scaramucci, many in the media began branding his arrival as a “reset” for this administration. One that will create a new structured White House with less instability. As we saw throughout the week, nothing has changed
  • There was a leak to CNN that revealed Kelly called former FBI Director James Comey expressing his anger with the way Trump handled Comey’s firing, and also mentioned he may resign. Kelly was barely even sworn in and leaks had already began to target him
  • Some Republican leaders reportedly signaled that they’re ready to move on from healthcare and focus on other legislation…This comes after Donald Trump sent out this weekend tweet

  • Republican National Committee employees have been asked to preserve all documents related to the 2016 campaign
  • Jeff Flake continued his campaign against Donald Trump and dropped a scathing op-ed in Politico entitled “My Party Is in Denial About Donald Trump”
  • At the end of yet another tumultuous day at the White House, President Trump took to Twitter

In other words…

Tuesday, August 1

State-Run TV

Sean Hannity of Fox News (AP)

Sean Hannity of Fox News (AP)

Fox News. The network has spent years pushing lies, fear-mongering, and successfully gaslighting their audience into believing their version of reality. Since Trump has come into office, they act as a propaganda arm for his administration. With the exclusion of anchors like Shepard Smith, the entire network appears to be dedicated to defending and trial ballooning messaging for this administration. But they went way too far with Seth Rich…

DNC staffer Seth Rich’s death was the subject of a fake news story that Fox News and Sean Hannity recklessly pushed back in May. The story pushed a manufactured right-wing conspiracy theory, that is still to this day pushed by Russian interference denialists on the far right and left, that claimed Seth Rich was the source of the DNC’s leaked emails. It was quickly discredited and Fox News was forced to retract it. On Tuesday, NPR reported on a bombshell lawsuit from former DC homicide detective Rod Wheeler, claiming that Fox News, a Trump supporter, and the White House made up this story to try and discredit Russia’s interference:

The Fox News Channel and a wealthy supporter of President Trump worked in concert under the watchful eye of the White House to concoct a story about the death of a young Democratic National Committee aide, according to a lawsuit filed Tuesday.

The explosive claim is part of a lawsuit filed against Fox News by Rod Wheeler, a longtime paid commentator for the news network. The suit was obtained exclusively by NPR.

Wheeler alleges Fox News and the Trump supporter intended to deflect public attention from growing concern about the administration’s ties to the Russian government. His suit charges that a Fox News reporter created quotations out of thin air and attributed them to him to propel her story.

The lawsuit goes on to claim that, “Trump himself had reviewed drafts of the Fox News story just before it went to air and was published.”

If these accusations are true, not only is Fox News essentially state-run TV, the President of the United States aided in the creation of a completely fabricated news story in an effort to distract and deflect from an investigation targeting him and his campaign.

Meanwhile…

  • The White House confirmed The New York Times’ reporting. White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said of Trump Jr.’s statements on the Trump Tower meeting, “The President weighed in as any father would, based on the limited information that he had”
  • The New York Times reported that “The Trump administration is preparing to redirect resources of the Justice Department’s civil rights division toward investigating and suing universities over affirmative action admissions policies deemed to discriminate against white applicants…”
  • Resisting any form of bipartisanship and having apparently learned nothing from the failure of the Obamacare repeal, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnel (R-KY) reportedly plans on passing tax reform with only Republican votes
  • The Senate confirmed Christopher Wray as the new FBI Director
  • The DOW hit an all time high and President Trump took to Twitter

Wednesday, August 2

Sanctions, Statues, And Stephen

President Trump reluctantly signed a bill that imposes new sanctions on Russia and also limits his own power to lift them. The sanctions target Putin and members of his inner circle, and also targets North Korea and Iran. The bill passed the Senate in a 98–2 vote — “no’s” were Rand Paul (R-KY) and Bernie Sanders (I-VT) — and the House with a 419–3 vote — “no’s” were Justin Amash (R-MI-3), Tom Massie (R-KY-4), and John Duncan (R-TN-2). The congressional restraints within the bill prevent the president from unilaterally lifting or even modifying the sanctions on Russia. This was a nearly unanimous acknowledgement that President Trump can not be fully trusted with crafting Russia policy.

Without the usual fanfare of a signing ceremony we’ve come to expect from President Trump, the bill was signed into law. He then released statements declaring that the bill overstepped by limiting his power and that it encroached on the Executive Branch’s ability to negotiate with Russia. Trump also took to Twitter the following day complaining about the law he just signed.

That tweet is really something, for a few reasons.

The President of the United States is consistently more eager to attack his fellow Americans than a hostile foreign nation that just successfully interfered in our democracy. If Trump really wants us to believe that he didn’t collude with Russia or that the Kremlin doesn’t have any compromising information (Kompromat) on him, he’s going to have to stop insulting us and making himself look guilty.

Speaking of insulting us, President Trump along with Republican Senators Tom Cotton (AR) and David Perdue (GA) unveiled a bill that would cut annual legal immigration by half. It would implement a merit-based system that would require immigrants to be skilled, able to speak English, and able to financially support themselves. Needless to say, these are not based on the principles in which the United States was founded on, and many Americans recognize that they themselves might not exist if this was law when their parents immigrated here.

The White House sent out Senior Adviser Stephen Miller to run a presser on the topic and it was a disaster. When CNN’s Jim Acosta pointed out how this seems to run contrary to what America is all about, they ended up debating the Statue of Liberty’s legality. The exchange was truly something.

The bill will likely fail in the Senate.

Meanwhile…

  • Congressional investigators want the phone and email records from everyone involved with the June 9th, 2016 Trump Tower meeting with Russians
  • The lawyer for Rod Wheeler’s lawsuit against Fox News for the Seth Rich wants Trump and former Press Secretary Sean Spicer to testify
  • While US Ambassador to the United Nations Nicki Haley tweeted about how the US is “done talking” to North Korea and Trump sent out aggressive tweets directed towards North Korea, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson stated of North Korea, “We are not your enemy,” and called for talks between the two nations. The uncoordinated messaging coming out of this administration harms our credibility and makes diplomacy more difficult. How does a nation know who’s word to take seriously?
  • Rex Tillerson is reportedly refusing to use the $80 million allocated for anti-propaganda efforts against ISIS and Russia because “any extra funding for programs to counter Russian media influence would anger Moscow.” You can’t make this up folks
  • In a leak from his meeting with his generals, President Trump reportedly berated them, claimed we aren’t winning the war in Afghanistan, and compared Afghanistan to a New York restaurant
  • After President Trump made up a story about how the head of the boy scouts called him saying his speech was the greatest they ever received (the boy scouts denied this call happened), the White House conceded that this was a lie
  • President Trump reportedly told friends at his NJ golf course that, “That White House is a real dump.”
  • Trump’s approval ratings in Nate Silver form

  • Trump’s approval ratings in gif form

Thursday, August 3

Mueller Makes Major Moves

Special Counsel Robert Mueller (AP)

Special Counsel Robert Mueller (AP)

Special Counsel Robert Mueller is the extremely competent investigative monster of President Trump’s own making. President Trump’s move to fire James Comey in an effort to end the investigation into his campaign’s potential collusion with Russia did the exact opposite. The investigation was then dramatically expedited. From there, we had the series of events that led up to Robert Mueller’s appointment and now, his investigation is expanding in scope.

This was the day that two Trump-Russia bombshells dropped. The first one was that Robert Mueller has impaneled a DC grand jury to oversee the Trump-Russia investigation. A grand jury can subpoena witnesses, documents, and obtain sworn testimonies. The grand jury has already issued subpoenas related to the June 9th, 2016 Donald Trump Jr. meeting. This throws a wrench in Donald Trump’s plans because he can’t simply “fire” a grand jury.

The second development was a CNN story detailing the fact that Mueller’s investigation has expanded to include potential financial crimes committed by Donald Trump and his associates. Among the associates are Trump’s former campaign manager Paul Manafort, former National Security Advisor Michael Flynn, former campaign adviser Carter Page, and adviser Roger Stone. Flynn is particularly in deep trouble given the undisclosed payments he received from Turkey while advising Trump and sitting in classified national security briefings as an unregistered foreign agent. And of course, there is Donald Trump, who has widely been accused of money laundering for Russian oligarchs.

Needless to say, this investigation is pursuing the truth, and with a man like Robert Mueller leading it, they will likely find it.

Donald Trump, Russian Oligarchs, And A Trail Of Money Laundering

Meanwhile…

  • The Washington Post released transcripts from phone calls with Mexican President Peña Nieto and Australian Prime Minister Turnbull. It’s the same call we read reports of in February but the transcripts were not released until now, and they are worse than anyone could’ve imagined. Trump was incoherent, insulting, and showed a complete lack of a grasp on basic concepts. I won’t dive into the details here but, if you haven’t already, read it if you’d like to see exactly what we’re dealing with in the oval office
  • Two members of the Senate Judiciary Committee put forth legislation that would prevent Donald Trump from firing Robert Mueller, and would only allow an AG who was confirmed by the Senate be able to make that decision
  • Jared Kushner’s company Kushner Cos. was subpoenaed over an investment-for-visa program

Friday, August 4

First Request For White House Records

President Donald Trump, accompanied by, from second from left, Chief of Staff Reince Priebus, Vice President Mike Pence, White House press secretary Sean Spicer and former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn, speaks on the phone with Russian President Vladimir Putin, Saturday, Jan. 28, 2017, in the Oval Office at the White House in Washington. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)

President Donald Trump, accompanied by, from second from left, Chief of Staff Reince Priebus, Vice President Mike Pence, White House press secretary Sean Spicer and former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn, speaks on the phone with Russian President Vladimir Putin, Saturday, Jan. 28, 2017, in the Oval Office at the White House in Washington. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)

As we know Michael Flynn has quite the tangled web of foreign ties. From his connections and interactions with Russian operatives to the $530,000 he received to lobby for the Turkish government while he was advising Donald Trump.

As The New York Times reports, the latter is what Robert Mueller’s first known request for White House documents is about:

Investigators working for the special counsel, Robert S. Mueller III, recently asked the White House for documents related to the former national security adviser Michael T. Flynn, and have questioned witnesses about whether he was secretly paid by the Turkish government during the final months of the presidential campaign, according to people close to the investigation.

Though not a formal subpoena, the document request is the first known instance of Mr. Mueller’s team asking the White House to hand over records.

Meanwhile…

  • In a move to placate his boss, Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced a crackdown on leaks with new investigations and also made an eerie comment about whether or not that would apply to the media:

Mr. Sessions also said he had opened a review of Justice Department rules governing when investigators may issue subpoenas related to the news media and leak investigations. “We respect the important role that the press plays and will give them respect, but it is not unlimited,” he said. “They cannot place lives at risk with impunity.”

  • The Senate unanimously blocked Trump from being able to make recess appointments, just in case he moves to fire Trump-Russia recused Jeff Sessions to put in place an AG that would be able to influence the investigation
  • After a dispute between the Government and the Secret Service, the Secrete Service has left Trump Tower
  • On Saturday, civil rights groups announced their intention to sue the Trump administration over President Trump’s ban on transgenders in the military

SIGN THIS PETITION AND DEMAND THAT TRUMP NOT IMPLEMENT HIS BAN ON TRANSGENDER SERVICE MEMBERS

  • The New York Times, after interviewing 75 Republicans, dropped a report detailing how Republicans, including Vice President Mike Pence, are preparing for a scenario where President Trump isn’t on the ballot in 2020…

But in interviews with more than 75 Republicans at every level of the party, elected officials, donors and strategists expressed widespread uncertainty about whether Mr. Trump would be on the ballot in 2020 and little doubt that others in the party are engaged in barely veiled contingency planning.

“They see weakness in this president,” said Senator John McCain, Republican of Arizona. “Look, it’s not a nice business we’re in.”

As we saw this week, even Republicans are becoming awakened to the weakness of this president. With President Trump’s political capital all but used up, his approval ratings on a downward spiral, the Trump-Russia investigation in full swing, and showing no regard for the self-reflection required to right the ship, one can only wonder how many more self-inflicted wounds this White House can withstand.

Unpresidented // Donald Trump / Government / Journalism / Politics