A Complete Breakdown Of Donald Trump’s 34th Unpresidented Week As POTUS
Donald Trump started this week off with pundits proclaiming that he may have turned a corner…He ended the week retweeting a gif of himself assaulting Hillary Clinton with a golf ball and called Kim Jong-un “Rocket Man.”
It seems we are in a perpetual state of learning the same lessons week after week. Another “deal” with Democrats. Another week where folks in the media begin to call President Trump a new man. But the fact remains: Regardless of the staff shakeups, news filtering, or other control measures Chief of Staff John Kelly attempts to impose, Trump is, and will always be, Trump.
Although some laughed off Donald Trump’s Sunday morning impulsive retweet, we must remember what that really was. It was the President of the United States sharing a post depicting himself assaulting his former political opponent. If the media does not hold the line on what is unacceptable and continues to normalize his behavior, Trump will slowly chip away at what is seen as the norm. We can’t allow one man to lower the bar to such depths that he diminishes the office of the presidency any further than he already has. How far will we let him go?
Maybe the appropriate question is, how much time does President Trump have before Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation overwhelms his administration into a state of complete stagnation. It appears we’re closer to an answer as new developments in the investigation, tension in Trump’s legal team, and paranoia among the staff rock the White House.
Here’s a complete breakdown of Donald Trump’s 34th week as POTUS:
34th Weekend (September 9–10)
Irma The Hurricane And Trump The Independent
President Trump was coming fresh off the agreement with Democratic Minority Leaders Senator Chuck Schumer and Rep. Nancy Pelosi on attaching a three-month debt ceiling extension to a Hurricane Harvey relief bill. In typical form, pundits began to proclaim that Trump is now behaving like an Independent.
Now *four* stories today pushing a narrative that Trump is his own man. Pretty laughable how readily journos regurgitate WH talking points.
But in an Axios report, we discovered that this shift in tone was driven by factors other than political independence. Trump, in a vulnerable position, and reportedly now fully aware of how he is perceived, bent to the wishes of the Democrats and enjoyed the positive news coverage as a result.
“People really [email protected]&@ing hate me.” — Donald Trump (according to Axios)
Having written about every move of this man’s presidency for 34 weeks, I’ve learned that Trump is really a very simple man. Trump is not trying to do the right thing, he’s simply trying to win. The factors that are driving his newfound cooperation with the Democrats are:
- As Hurricane Irma made landfall in Florida on Sunday, President Trump said that these recent fatal hurricanes are improving the Coast Guard’s brand…
“What they’ve done — I mean, they’ve gone right into that, and you never know. When you go in there, you don’t know if you’re going to come out. They are really — if you talk about branding, no brand has improved more than the United States Coast Guard.”
- Attorney General Jeff Sessions has reportedly floated the idea of members of the National Security Council taking lie detector tests in an effort to find leakers…
- Pope Francis challenged President Trump’s decision to rescind DACA, stating:
“The President of the United States presents himself as pro-life and if he is a good pro-lifer, he understands that family is the cradle of life and its unity must be protected….I think this law comes not from parliament but from the executive. If that is so, I am hopeful that it will be re-thought.”
- After playing the role of Trump whisperer and spearheading a failing presidency as Chief Strategist, Steve Bannon has returned to his role as the head of right-wing propaganda arm and self-proclaimed platform for the alt-right, Breitbart. 60 minutes gave the white nationalist a platform where, among many other claims, he said he thinks that firing former FBI Director James Comey was the biggest mistake “maybe in modern political history.” Bannon went on to state that “We would not have the Mueller investigation in the breadth that clearly Mr. Mueller is going.” Bannon is right. As we saw this week, Mueller continues to make major moves
34th Week (September 11— September 17)
Monday, September 11
Keeping Up With Kushner
Late Monday, the Wall Street Journal reported that earlier this summer, some in Donald Trump’s legal team had urged Jared Kushner, son-in-law and senior adviser to the president, to step down over likely legal complications that would arise given the fact he is a subject of the Trump-Russia investigation. While the Congressional investigations move forward, Special Counsel Robert Mueller has expanded his investigation in scope to potential collusion between Russian operatives and the Trump campaign, potential financial crimes committed by Trump and his associates, potential obstruction of justice on the part of President Trump in the firing of James Comey, and Trump’s personal dictation of Donald Trump Jr.’s initial misleading characterization of the June 9, 2016 Trump Tower meeting with Russian operatives in an effort to obtain damaging opposition research on Hillary Clinton.
Here are a few of the reasons Kushner is a subject of the investigation and why Trump’s lawyers felt it necessary to suggest Kushner step down:
- The Mayflower Hotel meeting with Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak in April 2016 — The one Jeff Sessions attended but “didn’t recall”
- The Trump Tower meeting with Donald Trump Jr., Paul Manafort, and Russian operatives on June 9, 2016, which was revealed to have been an attempt to obtain damaging opposition research on Hillary Clinton from the Russian Government (Kushner denied he was aware of the purpose of the meeting)
- The December Trump Tower meeting with Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak and Michael Flynn where a back channel line of communication with Russia was proposed
- The December meeting with Sergey N. Gorkov who runs VneshEconomBank (VEB), a Russia owned bank that is currently under U.S. sanctions that were put in place in 2014. Gorkov is an FSB Academy graduate (essentially a trained spy) and known as a “Putin crony” in the intelligence community. Once VEB was sanctioned, Putin had to authorize $22 Billion in state funding to cover their debts
- Kushner has had to amend his SF-86 at least three times, adding over 100 meetings with officials from over 20 countries and over 100 foreign contacts — willful omission on an SF-86 is a felony
- Kushner oversaw the Trump campaign’s data operation which is under intense scrutiny by Mueller. Will detail this later in the week when I speak on the Facebook warrant
- The Justice Department filed an appeal to the Supreme Court, requesting that the Justices allow the administration to continue its temporary ban on refugees
- According to Yahoo News, “The FBI recently questioned a former White House correspondent for Sputnik, the Russian-government-funded news agency, as part of an investigation into whether it is acting as an undeclared propaganda arm of the Kremlin in violation of the Foreign Agents Registration Act (FARA).” The FBI has reportedly obtained a drive with Sputnik documents and emails
- Former Chief of Staff Reince Priebus and current White House Legal Counsel Don McGahn (who we’ll hear more about later in the week) have both obtained legal counsel of their own for the Trump-Russia investigation
- Russian operatives remotely organized anti-immigrant and anti-Muslim rallies in the U.S. using Facebook events
- The United Nations implemented its toughest ever sanctions on North Korea
Tuesday, September 12
Hillary Clinton leapt back onto the scene on Tuesday as her book was released to the public. Some of the reactive responses to the book were written before some even read it. Some claimed that Clinton should just “go away.” If you remove your personal feelings about Clinton, this book is an important memoir from a woman who made history. It’s a noteworthy piece of literature that any historian would see value in and any aspiring young woman who wants to break a glass ceiling may find inspiration in.
One of the main criticisms is that Clinton isn’t taking responsibility for her loss, despite having explicitly done so in her book. Simply outlining other factors that contributed to a loss isn’t avoiding responsibility, it’s speaking your truth. And Clinton’s truth happens to be very close to reality. Her story is one that needs to be heard. To blame the 2016 election loss of Hillary Clinton solely on the Clinton campaign, would be like pointing to a house that was taken down by a 200 mph tornado and saying “it collapsed only because it had weak infrastructure.”
Sure, the Clinton campaign could’ve executed better. But it is inaccurate to act as if there were not other factors at play. Media malpractice. Russian interference. The Comey letter. All of these contributed to Clinton’s loss. If we don’t learn from our mistakes, we’re doomed to repeat them. A media that continues to feed into their worst impulses is a detriment to our democracy.
NBC News reporter Katy Tur also released her book called Unbelievable on her time covering the Trump campaign. This is what likely prompted President Trump’s tweet.
Fascinating to watch people writing books and major articles about me and yet they know nothing about me & have zero access. #FAKE NEWS!
- The Supreme Court allowed the Trump administration to continue their ban on refugees that are part of the U.S. resettlement program
- Trump’s Voter Fraud Commission headed to New Hampshire
- The Supreme Court reinstated Texas Congressional districts that were found to be discriminatory
- The officers responsible for the death of Freddie Gray received no charges from the Justice Department
- Both the House and the Senate unanimously passed a resolution that challenges President Trump to denounce white supremacist groups
- Senators Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) and Susan Collins (R-ME) introduced a bipartisan amendment to block President Trump’s transgender military ban
Wednesday, September 13
Michael Flynn’s Habit Of Undisclosed Meetings
The Wall Street Journal (WSJ) reported that Trump’s former national security adviser Michael Flynn pushed for a $100 billion dollar deal that would entail nuclear reactors being built in Jordan and other Middle Eastern countries and involved Russia’s nuclear agency. The WSJ claims that he didn’t disclose the fact he was working on the deal after December 2016. House Democrats provided evidence to Mueller that Flynn did not disclose his 2015 trip to the Middle East to try and promote the deal. On January 5th, During the time the deal was being pushed and leading up to the Inauguration — Flynn, Jared Kushner, and Steve Bannon met with Jordanian King Abdullah II. A source told Buzzfeed News that this deal was one of the topics discussed.
This news came as Flynn declined new requests to appear as a witness in front of the Senate Intelligence Committee as part of the Trump-Russia investigation and his son became a subject of the investigation. The above trip to the Middle East is just one of the many reasons Flynn is of interest to U.S. investigators:
- Flynn had multiple communications with Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak in 2016 and lied about them to the FBI in 2017
- Russian operatives bragged about cultivating a relationship with Flynn
- Flynn attended a secret meeting in Trump Tower in December 2016 as a member of the Trump transition team with Jared Kushner and Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak. Kushner asked to set up a back-channel line of communication between the Trump transition and Moscow
- Flynn was paid $530,000 as part of a $600,000 contract to lobby for the Turkish government. He then continued to participate in classified briefings and influence Turkey-policy
- The Trump transition team was told Michael Flynn may need to register as a foreign agent and it raised no alarms. President Trump and his administration knowingly allowed a foreign agent to participate in meetings where the United State’s most classified national security secrets were discussed. Flynn registered as a foreign agent in 2017
- Flynn was paid $11,250 by an American subsidiary of a Russian cyber security firm called Kaspersky Lab in October of 2015
- Flynn was paid more than $33,750 by Russia Today for attending their 10th anniversary gala in Moscow in December 2015
- Flynn was paid $11,250 by Volga-Dnepr Airlines, a Russian cargo plane company, for speaking at an event in August 2015. He did not disclose this payment until his resignation as NSA
- Flynn reportedly met with Turkish officials during the transition and discussed the possible expulsion of Turkish cleric and Erdogan rival, Fethullah Gulen, from the United States
- GOP operative Peter Smith sought Hillary Clinton’s 33,000 deleted emails from who he thought were Russian hackers…And he was coordinating with Flynn and his son’s company
- Flynn was also reportedly involved in an attempted back-channel Ukraine peace deal effort involving Michael Cohen and Felix Sater, but more on that later…
- Senator Bernie Sanders (I-VT) introduced his universal healthcare plan with the support of Democrats who had an eye towards 2020
- Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin requested the use of a government plane to take his wife on their honeymoon
- The only black Republican in the Senate, Tim Scott of South Carolina, sat down with President Trump to speak about his response to Charlottesville
- Trump took to Twitter to vent about Hillary Clinton and spread fake news about China’s corporate tax rate
Crooked Hillary Clinton blames everybody (and every thing) but herself for her election loss. She lost the debates and lost her direction!
The “deplorables” came back to haunt Hillary.They expressed their feelings loud and clear. She spent big money but, in the end, had no game!
China has a business tax rate of 15%. We should do everything possible to match them in order to win with our economy. Jobs and wages!
Thursday, September 14
No deal was made last night on DACA. Massive border security would have to be agreed to in exchange for consent. Would be subject to vote.
It appeared there was yet another Wednesday deal discussed with Pelosi and Schumer. Democrats announced on Wednesday that they had agreed to work towards a deal with Trump that would protect DACA recipients while at the same time enhance border security. But there would be no wall included. Trump said that he was close to getting Republican lawmakers on board. In the midst of the backlash from his base, trending #AmnestyDon, Trump tried to let them know that he was still committed to the wall and also tried to convince them that he was making the right move.
The WALL, which is already under construction in the form of new renovation of old and existing fences and walls, will continue to be built.
Does anybody really want to throw out good, educated and accomplished young people who have jobs, some serving in the military? Really!…..
They have been in our country for many years through no fault of their own – brought in by parents at young age. Plus BIG border security
Media reacted as expected with more talk of Trump turning a corner although none of this means anything unless meaningful legislation is passed. The MAGA crowd did not take kindly to the news.
Condoning white supremacy, no big deal. Embarrassing us on the world stage, no problem. Protecting educated children of undocumented immigrants from deportation, that’s apparently the line for Trump supporters…
- Trump claims that we’ve had bigger storms than Irma when asked about climate change
- Trump doubled down on his “both sides” rhetoric on Charlottesville
Trump, once again, pushed a false equivalence between neo-Nazis & the people who stood against them… We see you https://t.co/2kBwSoyNlv
Friday, September 15
A Significant Warrant
Special Counsel Robert Mueller obtained a warrant for the Facebook accounts linked to Russian entities. A warrant of this nature is no joke. It means that Mueller may believe he can indict these entities on election law violations. Facebook has told Congressional investigators, and gave information to Mueller, that a Russian “troll farm” bought $100,000 worth of Facebook advertising starting in the Summer of 2015 and throughout the 2016 election, spreading divisive political posts:
Facebook teams then discovered 470 suspicious and likely fraudulent Facebook accounts and pages that it believes operated out of Russia, had links to the company and were involved in promoting the ads.
Senator Mark Warner (D-VA), ranking member of the Senate Intelligence Committee, spoke on the questionable level of sophistication of Russia’s targeting:
“I get the fact that the Russian intel services could figure out how to manipulate and use the bots. Whether they could know how to target states and levels of voters that the Democrats weren’t even aware really raises some questions. I think that’s a worthwhile area of inquiry. “How did they know to go to that level of detail in those kinds of jurisdictions?”
This is where Jared Kushner, who oversaw the Trump campaign’s data operations, and Brad Pascale come into play. Brad Pascale was the Trump campaign digital strategist, and he is a subject of Congressional investigators who are looking into whether or not there was any coordination between Trump’s team and Russian operatives in the spread of fake news — given the sophistication of Russia’s voter targeting.
- After a terrorist incident in London, President Trump immediately plugged his travel ban
The travel ban into the United States should be far larger, tougher and more specific-but stupidly, that would not be politically correct!
- Trump signed Congress’ joint resolution condemning white supremacists…but we know where he really stands
- The DOJ declined a court order to release Mar-a-Lago’s visitor logs
- North Korea fired yet another missile over Japan, escalating tensions ahead of Trump’s week at the UN
- Jemele Hill, co-host of ESPN SportsCenter, stirred controversy on Monday when she tweeted that Trump was “a white supremacist who has largely surrounded himself w/ other white supremacists.” While Sarah Huckabee Sanders seemed to imply ESPN should suspend Jemele, an army of activists mounted a Twitter defense. The Democratic Coalition filed an ethics complaint against Sanders and the #NaziBucketChallenge trended nationally.
ESPN is paying a really big price for its politics (and bad programming). People are dumping it in RECORD numbers. Apologize for untruth!
Over the weekend, The New York Times reported on a conversation their reporter overheard at a D.C. steakhouse. Ty Cobb, a lawyer Trump brought in to help oversee the Trump-Russia investigation, was heard speaking about his disagreements with White House counsel Donald F. McGahn II. It involved how much Cobb believed the lawyers should be cooperating with Mueller. McGahn lobbying for less cooperation to preserve more opportunities to invoke Executive Privilege and Cobb wanting to speed things up by turning over more documents.
Here’s a very telling excerpt from the report touching on the White House’s paranoia:
The uncertainty has grown to the point that White House officials privately express fear that colleagues may be wearing a wire to surreptitiously record conversations for Mr. Mueller.
President Trump proved to the pundits that he was still the same man who tweeted out a gif of himself body slamming CNN.
Not only did he create an Elton John inspired nickname for Kim Jong-un, President Trump retweeted this gif of himself assaulting Hillary Clinton…
I spoke with President Moon of South Korea last night. Asked him how Rocket Man is doing. Long gas lines forming in North Korea. Too bad!
Our take on this is clear.
The President of the United States retweeted a gif of him assaulting his former political opponent Not funny. Not normal 25th Amendment https://t.co/y2CaO7TjP7