A Complete Breakdown Of Donald Trump’s 37th Unpresidented Week As POTUS

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President Donald Trump in San Juan, Puerto Rico — Tuesday, Oct. 3, 2017 (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

President Donald Trump in San Juan, Puerto Rico — Tuesday, Oct. 3, 2017 (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

I write to you from a nation where over 33,000 people die from guns each year but its leaders refuse to pass gun legislation.

A nation where a tape of a sexual predator bragging about sexual assault is released, and a year later, he’s the President signing Executive Orders rolling back women’s reproductive rights.

A nation where the President belittles and attacks the citizens and leaders of a U.S. territory recovering from the largest hurricane that has hit its shores in 85 years.

A nation where the President tests the American people’s resilience with every tweet, constantly hinting at what appears to be nuclear war.

A nation where the President is under criminal investigation.

But I also write to you from a nation where the people are more vigilant than ever before.

A nation where we will not stand idly by as one man undermines our democratic institutions, attempts to roll back human rights, flamboyantly flaunts his indecency, and threatens the future of its people.

I write to you from a nation where the President is a moron, the Republican Congress is complicit, and the people are fired up and ready to change the world.

Welcome to the United States of America. We didn’t want it to be this way, but we are damn sure making the best of it.

Here’s a complete breakdown of Donald Trump’s 37th week as POTUS:

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37th Weekend (September 30–October 1)

Ego Maniac

President Donald Trump boards Air Force One at Morristown Municipal airport, Sunday, Sept. 24, 2017, in Morristown, N.J. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

President Donald Trump boards Air Force One at Morristown Municipal airport, Sunday, Sept. 24, 2017, in Morristown, N.J. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

President Trump entered the weekend after Elaine Duke, the acting secretary of Homeland Security, called the recovery of Hurricane Maria a “good news story.” This received appropriate backlash given the fact that the aid efforts have been slow and people are suffering. As President Trump took to Twitter praising his own efforts in Puerto Rico, San Juan Mayor Carmen Yulín Cruz pleaded for help.

On Saturday, President Trump responded with a disgraceful tweestorm.

Not only did he say Puerto Ricans “want everything to be done for them,” he said Mayor Carmen Yulín Cruz has “such poor leadership.” Meanwhile, she was working to save lives.

Trump Lets Puerto Ricans Know That He Views Them As Second Class Citizens

And then….he undermined his Secretary of State on North Korea.

In his unjust attacks on San Juan Mayor Carmen Yulín Cruz and his threats to North Korean Despot Kim Jong-un, President Donald Trump proved that common human decency and national security are not as important to him as his sweet sweet ego.

Sign the Petition: Puerto Ricans Are Americans – Support Maria Recovery NOW

37th Week (October 2–6)

Monday, October 2

The Endless Loop Of Condolences

President Donald Trump stands with National Rifle Association Executive Vice President Wayne LaPierre, right, and Chris W. Cox, executive director of the National Rifle Association Institute for Legislative Action as he arrives for the National Rifle Association Leadership Forum, Friday, April 28, 2017, in Atlanta. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

President Donald Trump stands with National Rifle Association Executive Vice President Wayne LaPierre, right, and Chris W. Cox, executive director of the National Rifle Association Institute for Legislative Action as he arrives for the National Rifle Association Leadership Forum, Friday, April 28, 2017, in Atlanta. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

On Sunday night, 64-year-old Stephen Paddock carried out the deadliest mass shooting in U.S. history in Las Vegas, Nevada. From the 32nd floor of the Mandalay Bay hotel, Paddock shot down at a crowd of more than 22,000 people at the Route 91 Harvest festival, where country artists were performing. Over 50 people were killed and over 500 injured. Police found at least 23 weapons in the hotel room, which were mostly rifles and about half were retrofitted with “bump stock” (accessories that allow rifles to fire at a more rapid rate). Police found 19 more firearms at his home and explosives.

We’ve since discovered that this was premeditated. Not only did he have cameras surveilling the hallway of the hotel, he had purchased 33 firearms over the last 12 months. Paddock had purchased hotel rooms in Chicago overlooking a concert over the Summer but never used them. That’s indicative of him having had this intention for quite some time.

As news of the shooting overwhelmed Americans, we were inundated with more of the same from our Republican elected officials. President Trump called it “an act of pure evil” and offered his condolences. The rest of the GOP followed suit. “Thoughts and prayers” without action or forethought. The day of the shooting, Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders echoed what many in the administration had been saying throughout the day, that now was not the time to talk policy. More than 33,000 people are fatally shot in the U.S. each year. Nearly two-thirds of which are suicides. If we can’t discuss policy after the deadliest mass shooting in history, then when?

Although later in the week Republicans in Congress, and the National Rifle Association (NRA), signaled they would support a ban on bump stocks and Speaker of the House pulled a bill what would deregulate silencers, this all comes a little too late. Until they support comprehensive gun control measures, we will never see a reduction in gun deaths in this country. They must get behind the majority of Americans and pass some meaningful legislation, otherwise, we’ll continue to be caught in the never-ending loop of “thoughts and prayers.”

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Meanwhile…

  • Congressional investigators have discovered two more undisclosed contacts between the Trump Organization and Russian operatives. Both involved Trump’s personal attorney and former Executive Vice President of the Trump Organization, Michael Cohen. One was an invitation to an economic conference in Russia sent around the time of the Republican National Convention in July 2016 and the other was a second proposal regarding a Trump-branded residential property in Moscow. This isn’t the first time Cohen has corresponded to Russia regarding a Trump-branded property. I won’t get into all that here but if you want a deeper dive, check our cheat sheet

The Ultimate Cheat Sheet To The Trump-Russia Investigation

  • Trump’s former Campaign Chairman Paul Manafort made headlines again. Julia Ioffe of The Atlantic reported that Manafort was trying to leverage his work on the Trump campaign to curry favor with his old pal, and Russian Oligarch, Oleg Deripaska. Manafort reportedly had a $10 million a year contract with Oleg Deripaska. The contract was part of a plan to assert pro-Russia influence in U.S. politics and lasted from 2006–2009. Paul Manafort moved into Trump Tower in 2006. What Ioffe reported on, however, was new emails between Manafort and one of his old associates. Manafort reportedly met twice with his former Russian-Ukrainian aide, from his Ukraine lobbying days, Konstantin Kilimnik during the 2016 campaign. A Kiev operative suggests that Kilimnik may have played a role in the Trump campaign’s gutting of anti-Russian stances from the Republican Party platform. Kilimnik also sent in emails regarding Deripaska, and they met in August to speak on it. Mueller is examining this
  • Facebook turned over the 3,000 ads over to Congressional investigators. A quick recap: A Russian “troll farm” bought $100,000 worth of Facebook advertising (3,000 ads) starting in the Summer of 2015 and throughout the 2016 election, spreading divisive political posts, including posts that sought to sow racial divides, damage Hillary Clinton, and prop up Donald Trump. These ads also benefitted Senator Bernie Sanders (I-VT) in the primary and Green Party candidate Jill Stein in the General. The ads targeted key swing states and may have been shared billions of times. Special Counsel Robert Mueller had 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

Tuesday, October 3

“Congratulations On Your Death Count :)” — XOXO POTUS

In his visit to Puerto Rico on Tuesday, President Trump continued his seemingly endless disrespect of the Puerto Rican people. In a press conference, he complained about the cost of Hurricane Maria, compared it to a “real” catastrophe like Hurricane Katrina, and told them they should be proud of their death count.

“Now, I hate to tell you Puerto Rico but you’ve thrown our budget a little out of whack because we’ve spent a lot of money on Puerto Rico and that’s fine, we’ve saved a lot of lives…every death is a horror but if you look at a real catastrophe like Katrina and you look at the tremendous hundreds and hundreds and hundreds of people that died and you look at what happened here…what is your death count? [PAUSE] 16 people versus in the thousands…you can be very proud.”

And he wasn’t done yet. Now, if this visit didn’t occur in the backdrop of numerous attacks on San Juan Mayor Carmen Yulín Cruz, the continuous mentions of Puerto Rico’s debt, the slow logistical relief effort (FEMA still hadn’t authorized full disaster relief), and Trump’s overall treatment of Puerto Ricans as second class citizens, then maybe this wouldn’t have been as superficial and disrespectful as it was, but here we are.

Meanwhile…

  • Special Counsel Robert Mueller and his all-star team of lawyers are looking into ways to preempt a presidential pardon. This is indicative of just how serious they are taking this investigation and increases the already incredibly high possibility that indictments will be levied. At the moment, the most likely individuals to be charged are Paul Manafort and Trump’s former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn
  • The House passed an abortion ban that would ban abortions after 20 weeks. The bill passed largely along party lines (237–189), with Republican Representatives in favor. The bill still has to pass the Senate, but it’s important to note that this is the day after the deadliest shooting in U.S. history and also a few days after Congress let funding for the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) — which provides low-cost healthcare coverage to 9 million kids — expire. Their priorities are clear
  • It was revealed that in January, the Justice Department overruled memos that found it illegal for a President to appoint relatives to positions in the White House. This cleared the way for the nepotism we are currently witnessing with Trump’s son-in-law Jared Kushner and daughter Ivanka Trump as Senior White House Advisors
  • Speaking of JaVanka, it was reported that hundreds of emails were sent on a third email account that was hosted on their private domain. This news comes after The New York Times reported that at least six of President Trump’s former and current aides have used private email accounts to conduct government work. Hillary Clinton called it “the height of hypocrisy.” Democrats on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee want to know if these unsecured accounts were used for diplomacy

  • Vice President Pence’s Chief of Staff called for a “purge” of all anti-Trump Republicans
  • Jimmy Kimmel delivered an impassioned plea for gun control measures

“I think now is the time for political debate. President Trump is visiting Las Vegas on Wednesday, he spoke this morning, said he’s praying for those who lost their lives. In February, he also signed a bill that made it easier for people with severe mental illness to buy guns legally. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, Speaker of the House Paul Ryan, a number of other lawmakers who won’t do anything about this because the NRA has their balls in a money clip, also sent their thoughts and their prayers today, which is good. They should be praying. They should be praying for God to forgive them for letting the gun lobby run this country because it’s so crazy.”

Wednesday , October 4

M̶o̶r̶o̶n̶ “Fucking Moron”

Secretary of state, former ExxonMobil CEO, Rex Tillerson, on Capitol Hill in Washington (AP/J. Scott Applewhite)

Secretary of state, former ExxonMobil CEO, Rex Tillerson, on Capitol Hill in Washington (AP/J. Scott Applewhite)

NBC News dropped a report that detailed a July 20th meeting in a secure room in the Pentagon called “The Tank.” We’ve read reports of this meeting before. It’s the one where Trump compared the strategy in Afghanistan to renovating a restaurant in New York City. And on Wednesday, we found out that Secretary of State Rex Tillerson was having the same thoughts we were about that meeting. NBC News reported that Tillerson called Trump a “moron” to colleagues after the meeting. In typical fashion, President Trump took to Twitter to call the news fake.

Tillerson then held a press conference where he reaffirmed his commitment to the administration and President Trump. Notably, he did not explicitly deny calling the President a moron.

But President Trump, of course, took it as vindication.

He was right to a certain extent. The report wasn’t 100% correct. One of the writers of the story, MSNBC Anchor Stephanie Ruhle, clarified…

Meanwhile…

Ivanka Trump and Donald Trump Jr. with their father (AP)

Ivanka Trump and Donald Trump Jr. with their father (AP)

The New Yorker published a bombshell collaborative report with ProPublica and WNYC. We at Rantt have written extensively about Trump SoHo in the past, so we won’t get into too much detail about the project here, we’ll just touch on this new report. In a nutshell, the report detailed how Donald Trump Jr. and Ivanka Trump narrowly avoided criminal indictment after in 2012 after they used lied to prospective tenants to lure them into purchasing condos at their Trump SoHo property. They used inflated numbers to create a false perception of how well the condos were selling. Emails revealed they were well aware that what they were doing was wrong.

Prosecutors were on their tail, that is until Trump Sr.’s personal lawyer Marc Kasowitz went directly to Manhattan District Attorney, Cyrus Vance, to ask that the case be dismissed. Vance then overruled his own prosecutors and dismissed the case. Six months after the case was dropped, Kasowitz donated $50,000 to Vance’s campaign.

This is in keeping with the Trump family tradition of paying off AGs, settling lawsuits, and overall buying their way to avoiding consequences for their devious actions. This is yet further proof that the Trump culture of dishonesty runs in the family. I highly suggest you read, or listen to, this piece in full when you get the chance:

How Ivanka Trump and Donald Trump, Jr., Avoided a Criminal Indictment

  • The Senate Intelligence Committee Chairman and Vice-Chairman, Senators Richard Burr (R-NC) and Mark Warner (D-VA), held a press conference updating the public on the status of their Trump-Russia investigation. They verified the Intelligence Community’s initial report that found Russia did indeed interfere in the 2016 election via coordinated propaganda campaigns and hacks targeting U.S. political entities including John Podesta’s email account and the DNC. Although they did not outline definitive evidence of collusion between the Trump campaign and Russian operatives, they did say that the investigation is still ongoing. What Warner and Burr did stress is how important it is to release their findings before 2018. The two were very concerned about doing everything they can to prevent Russian interference in future elections
  • Senator Diane Feinstein (D-CA), backed by two dozen Democrats, introduced legislation that would ban bump stocks. Republicans, and the NRA, signaled support for the ban
  • A Texas judge ruled that Trump’s Voter Fraud Commission would be violating state privacy laws if it received the voter information they were requesting
  • Facebook and Twitter have agreed to testify in a public hearing in front of the Senate Intelligence Committee on November 1st as part of their Trump-Russia investigation
  • Two former heads of the CIA, Michael Morell and Michael Hayden, said in two separate interviews that Russia could not have targeted the voters in the way they did on Facebook without help
  • President Trump visited Las Vegas to meet with the victims of the horrific shooting that took place earlier this week. When asked about gun control…he still dispelled it, saying he would discuss it “later”

Thursday, October 5

More Mueller Moves

(Rantt News/Maddie Anderson)

(Rantt News/Maddie Anderson)

On Thursday, it was reported that Special Counsel Robert Mueller has already interviewed the author of the famous Trump-Russia dossier, Christopher Steele, this past Summer. Now, Steele is in talks with the Senate Intelligence Committee about meeting with them.

Yes, this is the same dossier with the alleged pee-pee tape. But that’s likely not what Mueller is examining. Much of the dossier has been confirmed, including various contacts that have occurred between Trump associates and Russian operatives. The CNN report confirmed that the FBI and Intelligence Community have taken the dossier seriously. And clearly, so has Robert Mueller.

While the President continues to tweet out “Russia Hoax” and “FAKE NEWS,” the Special Counsel moves forward, undeterred. Mueller has reportedly teamed up with the IRS’ Criminal Investigations unit, which has 2,500 agents who focus on financial crimes like tax evasion and money laundering. This unit has already handed over records related to Paul Manafort and Michael Flynn. This fast-moving Special Counsel has already impaneled a D.C. grand jury to oversee the investigation. A grand jury can issue subpoenas, request documents, obtain sworn testimonies, and bring charges. The grand jury has already issued subpoenas and sought testimony.

Along with its counterintelligence component examining Russia’s meddling, this investigation has expanded greatly. It dives into:

  • The repeated contacts between the Trump campaign and Russian operatives
  • Potential coordination between Trump associates and Russia in the dissemination of anti-Clinton fake news and Russian propaganda
  • Potential obstruction of justice on the part of President Trump
  • Perhaps most importantly, the investigation has expanded to include potential financial crimes committed by Donald Trump and some of his associates, who have been widely accused of money laundering for Russian oligarchs

Meanwhile…

  • The Wall Street Journal reported that “Hackers working for the Russian government stole details of how the U.S. penetrates foreign computer networks and defends against cyberattacks after a National Security Agency contractor removed the highly classified material and put it on his home computer”
  • House Republicans passed their $4.1 trillion budget which makes deep cuts to social programs
  • Attorney General Jeff Sessions rescinded a policy that protects transgender people from discrimination in the workplace
  • Politico reported that GOP donors are closing their wallets, frustrated that Republicans are not able to deliver on their promises
  • BuzzFeed News published a phenomenal piece of in-depth journalism based on internal documents from Breitbart that revealed the tactics Steve Bannon used to bring the white nationalist movement into the mainstream. I highly recommend this read
  • Reports began to circulate that President Trump will decertify the Iran Deal which was put in place by President Obama to keep their nuclear proliferation in check. They’ve been complying with the deal, so why decertify? Well, because it has Obama’s name on it and Trump doesn’t care about consequences. Decertifying would kick this back to Congress for 60 days where they can decide whether or not to impose new sanctions on Iran. Even if they re-certify, the act of kicking it to Congress will reduce America’s credibility in future negotiations, not just with Iran, but with other nations. Why would North Korea want to strike a deal with the U.S. if the President may, at any moment, discard the deal because he’s pissed that day?
  • I’ll end this day with the way Trump started it, by calling on congressional entities to investigate members of the press…that’s pretty, pretty, pretty (in my best Larry David impression) authoritarian

Friday, October 6

War On Women

Planned Parenthood supporters rally for women’s access to reproductive health care on “National Pink Out Day’’ at Los Angeles City Hall — Sept. 9, 2015 (AP/Nick Ut, File)

Planned Parenthood supporters rally for women’s access to reproductive health care on “National Pink Out Day’’ at Los Angeles City Hall — Sept. 9, 2015 (AP/Nick Ut, File)

President Trump continued his, and the GOP’s, obsession with trying to tell women what they can and can’t do with their bodies. Rather than explain what Trump did myself, I’m going to do what all men who think they have the authority to lead a discussion on women’s health should do: Shut up, stand in solidarity, and let the women speak.

Rantt’s Deputy Managing Editor Remy Anne has already eloquently outlined Trump’s misogynistic move in a piece of her own:

On Friday, October 6th, five days after the largest mass-shooting in modern history, the Trump administration proved exactly where their priorities lie by rolling back the federal requirement for employers to cover birth control in their health insurance plans.

This contraceptive coverage mandate, enacted by the Obama administration under the Affordable Care Act, allowed more than 55 million women to acquire birth control without copayments. I am one of them. The ACA required all insurers and group plans to cover FDA-approved contraceptive methods free of charge, with few exceptions — mainly limited to religious groups and churches.

Now, the GOP and the Trump administration have dealt a scathing blow to the millions of women who benefit from this mandate, by vastly expanding such exceptions to include publicly traded companies and organizations that claim they have intense religious or moral objections to contraception.

This comes on the heels of a myriad of other attacks on family planning, children, and women’s health services. Previously this year, the House of Representatives voted to cut funding for Title X, which supports family planning clinics in low-income areas. And three days before these ACA rollbacks were announced, the House passed a ban on most late-term abortions — a bill which faces near-certain defeat in the Senate.

Limiting access to birth control has neither economic gain nor health benefit. In fact, rolling back regulations such as this are likely to have negative fiscal ramifications and increase the rate of unplanned, unwanted pregnancies. This move has proved one thing, and one thing only.

The GOP and the Trump Administration are waging a war on women.

President Donald Trump Wages War On Women’s Health

Meanwhile…

  • White House officials believe that John Kelly’s personal cell phone has been compromised by hackers as far back as December
  • BuzzFeed News dropped a report that stated the “Treasury Department has repeatedly and systematically violated domestic surveillance laws by snooping on the private financial records of US citizens and companies”
  • Trump nominated coal lobbyist and climate change denier, Andrew R. Wheeler, to be the #2 at the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)
  • During a Hispanic Heritage Month event, President Trump made an attempt at a Spanish accent…

  • After weeks of hinting at nuclear war — from his tweet stating that North Korean leadership “won’t be around much longer” to his UN speech threatening to “totally destroy North Korea” — President Trump decided to keep raising Americans’ anxiety levels. In a photo op with military leaders, Trump made a very odd “calm before the storm” comment

Trump should heed the words of Rantt’s Science/Tech guru, and Politech Editor, Greg Fish. Nuking North Korea would not end well for anyone…

Here’s What Would Happen If Donald Trump Nuked North Korea

After President Trump undercut his Secretary of State the previous weekend, he continued his anxiety provoking tweets hinting at nuclear war.

And on Sunday, he went after Senator Bob Corker (R-TN) who has on many occasions cast doubt on the President’s fitness for office.

And then, Corker struck back, channeling how Americans feel every morning, with perhaps the greatest clap back of 2017.

Bravo, Bob. Bravo.

Unpresidented // Donald Trump / Government / Journalism / Politics