A Complete Breakdown Of Donald Trump’s 40th Unpresidented Week As POTUS
The Dangers of Deflection and Disinformation
“Same untruths from an utterly untruthful president. #AlertTheDaycareStaff” —Republican Senator Bob Corker
With every Trump distraction, there is a Mueller move not far behind. And this move was big.
Since some in media decided to remain ambiguous in their coverage this week, I’ll be very clear: The President of the United States and his propagandists at Fox News are waging a desperate disinformation campaign with the intent to obstruct the Trump-Russia investigation.
The Uranium One story is a nothingburger. The dossier funding story is irrelevant. And neither change the fact that Trump associates have money ties to Russia and had multiple meetings with Russian operatives during the course of the 2016 campaign. Despite this, the White House spent the week trying to blend the two stories together in a blatant attempt to gaslight their base and divert attention to their favorite straw woman, Hillary Clinton. By the end of the week, we knew why.
Special Counsel Robert Mueller has filed the first indictments in his investigation into Russia’s interference in our democracy and potential collusion between Russian operatives and the Trump campaign. In light of this, right-wing propaganda (I won’t call them news or media anymore) have been calling for Mueller to resign. The question is, will any Republican have the patriotism to protect the rule of law or will they allow our nation to stumble towards authoritarianism for the sake of petty partisanship?
If President Trump were to try yet another blatant attempt to obstruct justice, it would test the resilience of our nation and the effectiveness of the rule of law. We’ll soon see who will be remembered in history as a patriot or who will descend into obscurity as yet another partisan tool.
We’re standing at the crossroads of our democracy here. As paranoia continues to plague President Trump, we hope the weight of history will begin to burden the GOP more than the weight of their donors.
Whether or not the GOP will heed the words of Republican Senator Jeff Flake, is yet to be determined:
“It is time for our complicity and our accommodation for the unacceptable to end. There are times when we must risk our careers in favor of our principles. Now is such a time…We must stop pretending that the degradation of our politics and the conduct of some in our executive branch are normal. They are not normal.”
One thing is for certain: if the Republican Party let’s President Trump get away with undermining our democracy, the American people won’t.
Let’s dive in.
Here’s a complete breakdown of Donald Trump’s 40th week as POTUS:
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40th Week (October 23–27)
Monday, October 23
The Day Trump Accused A Pregnant Gold Star Widow Of Lying
Just when we thought President Trump couldn’t stoop any lower, he sinks into the floor. I’d prefer not to talk about this condolence call any longer and focus on what happened in Niger, but in the spirit of not normalizing Trump’s indecent behavior, here we are.
After being called out for his silence on Niger, President Trump called the families of the 4 fallen soldiers. And much like in the Niger ambush, Sergeant La David Johnson had a different experience than his counterparts.
Congresswoman Frederica Wilson (D-FL), who was in the car with Johnson’s pregnant widow Myeshia Johnson and his family during the phone call, told reporters that in the call President Trump told Mrs. Johnson that “he knew what he signed up for … but when it happens, it hurts anyway.” Rep. Wilson also said that Mrs. Johnson was crying throughout the phone call and that after she got off the phone, she said President Trump didn’t even remember Sergeant Johnson’s name.
After a drawn-out week of false attacks on Congresswoman Frederica Wilson’s (D-FL) credibility, at the hands of President Trump and Chief of Staff John Kelly, Sgt. La David Johnson’s pregnant widow Myeshia Johnson confirmed the congresswoman’s account of the phone call.
In response to the interview, President Trump sent out this tweet, essentially calling this gold star widow a liar.
I had a very respectful conversation with the widow of Sgt. La David Johnson, and spoke his name from beginning, without hesitation!
There you have it. Now, let’s move onto the more important matter at hand. What happened in Niger?
On October 4th, 50 ISIS-affiliated insurgents ambushed a group of 30 Nigerien troops and 12 U.S. troops after they were leaving a village. 4 Americans were killed, including two Green Berets, and two American soldiers were wounded. Six Nigeriens were wounded. The four Americans killed were Staff Sergeant Bryan C. Black, Staff Sergeant Jeremiah W. Johnson, Staff Sergeant Dustin M. Wright, and Sergeant La David Johnson.
The 4 Americans who were killed reportedly tried to outflank the ambushers and were separated from the main group. There was a firefight that took place for 2–3 hours and then French helicopters, CNN reports the evacuators were private contractors, finally arrived for rescue but 4 of the Americans were left behind.
For some reason, it took 48 hours to recover Sergeant La David Johnson’s body, which was a mile away from the ambush site. Sergeant La David Johnson wasn’t able to have an open casket funeral, which suggests that his body may have been mutilated.
Reports stated that villagers may have stalled the squad and tipped off the ISIS-affiliated fighters, but unanswered questions still remain.
The FBI and Secretary of Defense James Mattis, launched a probe into what actually happened that October 4th day. Mattis also met with Senator John McCain (R-AZ) who was demanding answers.
Did the U.S. use a private contractor for their rescue efforts? How could U.S. Intelligence be so off that they missed a threat of this magnitude?
Why was Sergeant La David Johnson left behind?
- As Republicans began floating various ideas to find a way to pay for the budget hole their proposed tax cuts will create, President Trump shot down one of them
There will be NO change to your 401(k). This has always been a great and popular middle class tax break that works, and it stays!
- A small utility company called Whitefish Energy, who has ties to Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke and has little experience handling the scope of the request at hand, said they signed a $300 million contract to help restore Puerto Rico’s power grid. This immediately raised red flags given the company’s ties to Zinke. There were then calls to cancel the deal.
- Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos rescinded 72 guidelines that outlined the rights of students with disabilities, calling the guidelines “outdated, unnecessary, or ineffective.”
Tuesday, October 24
Clapback Corker And 2020 Flake
Early on Tuesday ahead of a lunch with Senate Republicans, GOP Senator Bob Corker (who isn’t seeking re-election) hit the press circuit, touching on his numerous concerns about President Trump’s fitness for office and his fears that Trump’s recklessness could lead our nation into World War 3. Later in the day, it appeared to be a calculated alley-oop for Jeff Flake’s incoming announcement.
In predictable form, President Trump impulsively took to Twitter.
Bob Corker, who helped President O give us the bad Iran Deal & couldn't get elected dog catcher in Tennessee, is now fighting Tax Cuts….
Corker dropped out of the race in Tennesse when I refused to endorse him, and now is only negative on anything Trump. Look at his record!
Just like that, Corker was back at again with the clapbacks.
Same untruths from an utterly untruthful president. #AlertTheDaycareStaff
President Trump took to Twitter again (yes, we witnessed a back and forth Twitter beef between the most powerful men in America) and attacked Corker in three additional tweets, calling him “the incompetent head of the Foreign Relations Committee,” “liddle’ Bob Corker,” and a “lightweight.”
While Trump tweeted his responses, Corker was speaking to reporters on the Hill.
Bob Corker: "I don't know why he lowers himself…and debases our country" Says "no way" he'd support Trump in 2020 https://t.co/SHqKl7e0US
All eyes were on the incoming Senate Republicans’ lunch with the President. As President Trump and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) walked into the lunch, a protestor threw Russian flags with the words “Trump” printed on them while yelling “Trump is treason.”
After the lunch, Senator Jeff Flake (R-AZ) who after releasing a book critical of the President began to drop in the polls in his home state of Arizona, announced he would not seek re-election in 2018. Flake then Delivered the most powerful rebuke of President Trump from a Republican yet…and it was on the Senate floor.
GOP Senator Jeff Flake, who just announced he won't seek reelection: "Mr. President, I rise today to say…Enough" https://t.co/MTzlpdZhQK
This was historic. His words rang true. But will they be backed by action?
Corker is the Chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and Flake is a member.
Corker’s rebuke isn’t the first time the Chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee got into a feud with a sitting President. In 1966, after having been a longtime ally of President Lyndon Johnson, the Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman at the time — Senator J. William Fulbright (D-AR) — split with Johnson after he announced the continuation of operation Rolling Thunder in Vietnam. Fulbright then began a campaign against the President’s war efforts and pointed out many flaws in President Johnson’s leadership.
Corker and Flake have an opportunity to be remembered for more than their rebukes on Tuesday. We’ll see.
- In yet another bone thrown to Republicans’ banker buddies, Vice President Mike Pence cast the tie-breaking vote along with Senate Republicans to pass a bill that prevents consumers from filing class-action lawsuits against financial institutions…
- Republican lawmakers in the House announced new investigations into the 2010 Russia-Uranium deal (more on that in a bit) and a review of the FBI’s investigation into former FBI Director James Comey’s handling of the private email server investigation…talk about a witch hunt.
- The House Intelligence Committee met with Trump’s personal lawyer, and former Executive VP of the Trump organization, Michael Cohen. Of interest is Cohen’s dealings with Trump’s longtime mob-connected associate, Felix Sater when trying to set up the Trump Tower Moscow deal during the campaign.
- The House Intelligence Committee met Trump campaign Digital Strategist Brad Parscale. He is a subject of 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 on Facebook.
- Mueller is investigating Democratic lobbying firm the Podesta Group, ran by Tony Podesta — brother of John Podesta — for the group’s lobbying efforts in the Ukraine.
- Trump’s former Campaign Manager Paul Manafort is facing yet another money laundering probe in New York. More on his other potential crimes later…
Wednesday, October 25
The Anatomy Of A Nothingburger
Clinton campaign & DNC paid for research that led to the anti-Trump Fake News Dossier. The victim here is the President." @FoxNews
President Trump started his day with a dose of deflection, pining onto the story of the dossier funding that right-wing propagandists would latch onto the Uranium One story, claiming collusion between Hillary Clinton and the Russians, not Donald Trump.
So first, let’s touch on Uranium One. It was a deal that took place in 2010 that allowed Rosatom, a Russian nuclear agency to purchase 51% of Uranium One, a Canadian-based mining company. Uranium One has the ability to mine in Wyoming, which has 20% of the U.S.’s Uranium capacity. This deal had to be approved by the Committee on Foreign Investments in the United States.
According to FactCheck.org, “The Committee on Foreign Investments has nine members, including the secretaries of the treasury, state, defense, homeland security, commerce and energy; the attorney general; and representatives from two White House offices (the United States Trade Representative and the Office of Science and Technology Policy).” The deal was approved.
Later in 2015, The New York Times reported that the Clinton Foundation had received millions in donations from investors in Uranium One and Hillary Clinton gave a paid speech in Moscow for $500,000. The story resurfaced when The Hill reported that a Russian spy tried to curry favor with the Clintons…
Aside from the fact that there is no direct evidence that these ties helped move along the approval of the deal, the right-wing media has been pushing this narrative that Clinton “colluded with the Russians” in an effort to “give 20% of U.S. Uranium to the Russians.”
If their narrative is true, it would mean that Hillary Clinton somehow strong-armed the Secretaries of the Treasury, State, Defense, Homeland Security, Commerce, Energy, and everyone else involved in the process. I’ll let Joy Reid take it from here…
Funny thing about the BS Uranium One coverage from @FoxNews is that it threatened our national security BuT I ThOUgHt RuSsIA WaS OUr FrIEnD
Now the issue of the dossier funding. So, this week it was revealed that during the campaign Marc E. Elias (who represented Clinton and the DNC) retained Fusion GPS, a Washington D.C. research firm who then funded Christopher Steele, a former UK intelligence operative, and his efforts to put together a dossier of opposition research on Donald Trump.
That bit of information was blasted by The Washington Post, The New York Times, CNN, and Fox News. But what was either buried or in Fox News’ case not mentioned, was the fact that it was a GOP entity (On Friday we discovered it was the Washington Free Beacon) that first funded the dossier and the Democrats just picked up on it.
Despite the fact that it isn’t illegal to contract a private citizen to conduct opposition resource, the right-wing propaganda tried to draw an equivalence to what Trump and his associates were doing when they sought help from a foreign government at the Trump Tower meeting in June 2016 (We learned later this week that the talking points the Russian lawyer Natalia Veselnitskaya brought with her were cleared by the Kremlin).
Hemingway: "This is a profoundly vindicating day. It turns out the Clinton campaign was doing what it accused the Trump campaign of doing.
Wow. This is deeply wrong. Dems paid to research Trump-Russia connections. Trumpers met secretly with Kremlin emissary, learned of a covert Russia plan & still denied Putin was cyber-attacking the U.S., thus providing cover for the assault. https://t.co/Yu8P91TVAW
And later in the week, Sarah Huckabee Sanders sent this tweet out, trying to make it seem that Russia and Clinton somehow colluded to create the dossier…that they then never released and lost the election 🤔 🤔 🤔.
Just downright false equivalency, conspiracy theories, and disinformation at its worst.
The way the Trump-Russia dossier funding is being covered is some of the worst reporting I've seen since the Comey letter last October
Thursday, October 26
The Real Russia Collusion Scandal
While most news orgs, who lean on both sides of the political spectrum, were busy paying way too much attention to the dossier and Uranium One non-stories, The Daily Beast reported that Alexander Nix, CEO of Cambridge Analytica, emailed Julian Assange in July of 2016 asking about how his firm could help Wikileaks (who released hacked DNC emails provided to them by the Russian government) release Hillary Clinton’s missing emails.
I can confirm an approach by Cambridge Analytica [prior to November last year] and can confirm that it was rejected by WikiLeaks.
Cambridge Analytica is a data firm financed by Trump backers, Breitbart funders, and close friends with Steve Bannon, the Mercer family. The Trump campaign hired Cambridge Analytica and paid them $5.9 million in total, with the first payment being made in July. Steve Bannon was sitting on their board at time Nix reached out to Assange.
Later in the week, more news was revealed…
NEWS: In Aug '16 Bekah Mercer emailed Cambridge Analytica CEO to ask if he could better organize WikiLeaks emails https://t.co/JqjXmKuca2
This outreach appears to be a direct attempt by a firm hired by Donald Trump to collude with a known “non-state hostile intelligence service often abetted by state actors like Russia.” Those aren’t my words. That’s what President Trump’s hand-picked CIA Director Mike Pompeo called Wikileaks.
- In a 216–212 vote in the House, the Senate GOP’s budget was passed. No Democrats voted for the budget, and as you can see, quite a few Republicans opposed. The $4 trillion budget cuts Medicare by $473 billion and Medicaid by $1 trillion over a ten year period. It also contains protections that were inserted to cover tax cuts for the wealthy and add $1.5 trillion to the deficit over ten years. So much for fiscal conservatism.
- President Trump declared the opioid epidemic a public health emergency.
- Obamacare’s most popular plan’s premiums have spiked 34%. President Trump’s recent healthcare moves contributed to this, feeding market instability.
- The Government Accountability Office is investigating Trump’s voter fraud (cough* voter suppression) commission.
- Mark Halperin, a journalist who has worked for ABC News, NBC News, Bloomberg, and authored the best-selling book Game Change, was accused of sexual assault/harassment of multiple women. He was let go from his contributor position.
- President Trump took a jab at Democratic Lt. Governor Ralph Northam, who is currently running for Governor of Virginia against former lobbyist and freshman fearmonger Ed Gillespie.
Ed Gillespie will be a great Governor of Virginia. His opponent doesn't even show up to meetings/work, and will be VERY weak on crime!
Northam gave Clapback Corker a run for his money.
I served 8 years in the Army, took care of sick kids, and am running to build a more inclusive Virginia. Don't talk to me about showing up. https://t.co/jzDx9bS6mh
- Weeks had passed, and the Trump administration still hadn’t implemented Congress’ veto proof Russian sanctions. We found out it was due to the fact that the Trump administration shut down the State Department office in charge of implementing them….
Friday, October 27
From Russia With Justice
After a week of being inundated with coordinated, nonsensical, and non-stop right-wing propaganda trying to shift attention from Trump-Russia to Clinton-Uranium One-Dossier-Russia (??), on Friday night we got the bombshell.
Special Counsel Robert Mueller has filed the first sealed indictments in the Trump-Russia probe. They have been approved by a grand jury and the first person to be taken into custody is expected to be arrested this Monday. Speculation immediately mounted about who it might be. Would it be Paul Manafort who is facing numerous money laundering probes, has a $60 million relationship with Russian Oligarch Oleg Deripaska, and made millions lobbying for Ukrainian leader Viktor Yanukovych. Or would it be Trump’s former national security adviser Michael Flynn who received undisclosed payments from Turkey while advising Trump and sitting in classified national security briefings as an unregistered foreign agent. (Find out more about their potential crimes here)
Some speculated that it may be one of Manafort or Flynn’s family members, and this first indictment could be an attempt for Mueller to flip one of the bigger fish into a cooperating witness. Some thought it could be Felix Sater, a Russian-born Mafia-linked figure with business ties to Trump. Or it could be an indictment of Russians linked to the Russian troll farm. But while this was all going on, the coordinated effort to undermine Robert Mueller and pivot attention to Clinton continued.
It's happening again.
Judging by the FB comments on Fox's Mueller story, the effort to muddy the waters & discredit him is working
Fox Commentator “Judge” Jeanine Pirro really took it to the next level, calling for Mueller’s investigation to be ended and called on Hillary Clinton to be “locked up” for the dossier funding…which wasn’t illegal.
This is crazy even for Fox. Shut down Mueller probe and arrest Hillary. https://t.co/0XMwdNJi0z
Insanity 1-No illegality 2-She's lying about the $12 mil being specifically for dossier 3-This doesn't erase the VERY real Trump-🇷🇺 ties https://t.co/3dJXZaUl21
Firing Mueller isn’t that simple of course. Trump would have to order various individuals to fire him, starting with Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein.
The speculation over whether Mueller would be fired was exacerbated by the oddly timed resignation of Virginia U.S. Attorney Dana Boente. (See him on that infographic?) NBC News reported that Boente was “asked to step down to make way for a successor to be named by President Donald Trump.”
- Carter Page was questioned by the Senate Intelligence Committee for 5 hours.
- Kellyanne Conway confirmed that “Trump told his staff to work with the Justice Department to allow an undercover FBI informant who played a critical role in an FBI investigation into Russian efforts to gain influence in the uranium industry in the United States during the Obama administration to be free to speak with Congress.” That is problematic given the fact the DOJ is supposed to operate independently of the White House.
- The Whitefish Energy contract with Puerto Rico was canceled by Puerto Rico
- Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders asserted that the White House’s official position was that all of Trump’s sexual assault accusers were lying.
Over the weekend, President Trump put his paranoia on full display.
Trump on message with his right-wing propagandists at @FoxNews Deflection & disinformation from a POTUS trying to undermine the rule of law
The President’s intentions are clear.
Question is, will he get away with them?