A Complete Breakdown Of Donald Trump’s 41st Unpresidented Week As POTUS

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In this July 21, 2016, photo, then-Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump, his daughter Ivanka Trump, then-campaign manager Paul Manafort, right, and Rick Gates, left, on stage during a walk through at the Republican National Convention, Thursday, July 21, 2016, in Cleveland. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

In this July 21, 2016, photo, then-Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump, his daughter Ivanka Trump, then-campaign manager Paul Manafort, right, and Rick Gates, left, on stage during a walk through at the Republican National Convention, Thursday, July 21, 2016, in Cleveland. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

In a world where the President of the United States and right-wing propaganda push nothing but disinformation, we must tell the truth as ferociously as they sell their lies.

So, here’s the blunt truth:

Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s charges indicate Trump and his associates have a lot to fear and the Trump-Russia investigation is far from a “witch hunt.”

President Trump, Attorney General Jeff Sessions, and their associates lied about their knowledge of, and participation in, discussions that explored the possibility of meeting with the Russian government.

The “lack of compromise” that led to the Civil War John Kelly was referring to was whether or not to expand the enslavement of black human beings.

The Republican Party’s tax cuts will disproportionately help the wealthy.

The President of the United States’ continued assertions that the DOJ and FBI should investigate his political opponent on false charges is the language of a wannabe authoritarian and should be treated as such…and yet, the GOP does nothing.

The blunt truth is, week after week, Donald Trump continues to degrade the office of the presidency. But there is hope.

Robert Mueller is moving and the American people are resisting. The future is in our hands.

Patriotic Americans have a long memory. Let’s hope that is reflected at the ballot box.

Here’s a complete breakdown of Donald Trump’s 41st week as POTUS:

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41st Weekend (October 28–29)

Disinformation And Anticipation

Sean Hannity of Fox News (AP)

Sean Hannity of Fox News (AP)

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 had filed the first sealed indictments in the Trump-Russia probe. They were approved by a grand jury and at least one person was expected to be taken into custody on Monday. While everyone speculated as to who the charges would be filed against, the right continued their coordinated effort to undermine Robert Mueller.

Fox News Commentator “Judge” Jeanine Pirro really took it to the next level, calling for Mueller’s investigation to be ended and for Hillary Clinton to be “locked up” for the dossier funding…which wasn’t illegal.

The Wall Street Journal’s Editorial Board even called for Mueller to resign, feeding speculation that Trump may move to fire him. 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 Washington Post

The Washington Post

The speculation over whether Trump would move to fire Mueller 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.”

Over the weekend, President Trump put his paranoia on full display.

The president’s intentions were clear. But come Monday, nothing was the same…

41st Week (October 30–November 3)

Monday, October 30

Indictment Day

Trump’s former Campaign Chairman Paul Manafort and his deputy Rick Gates were slapped with a 31-page, 12-count indictment. These counts include laundering $18 million of the $75 million dollars they made acting as unregistered foreign agents while lobbying on behalf of the Government of Ukraine between 2006–2016 and making false statements to the Justice Department. Both Manafort and Gates pled “Not Guilty” to these charges. (Might not be the last we’ve heard from Manafort either. Mueller has reportedly been cooperating with New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman, so state charges may come as well.)

This was no surprise. The Trump White House was reportedly relieved at the news and had already revved up their spin machine with talking points. The usual distancing from Manafort, claiming this had nothing to do with Trump, etc. Then came former Trump campaign foreign policy advisor George Papadopoulos’ guilty plea and the revelation that he’s been cooperating with Mueller’s investigation for months. This sent a shockwave through the White House who could no longer accurately say that the charges weren’t related to the campaign.

It also paints the picture that Papadopoulos pled guilty to lying to the FBI in January of 2017 about his attempts to set up meetings between President Trump, his campaign, and the Russian Government in an attempt to obtain “dirt” on Hillary Clinton. The indictment details how Papadopoulos told a “Senior Policy Advisor,” “Campaign Supervisor,” and “High-Ranking Campaign Official” about the efforts. We now know who they are…but more on that later.

Mueller’s team gives us insight into what direction this investigation will be moving. The Special Counsel’s office consists of more than three dozen investigators, staffers, and attorneys. These experts include his former partner James Quarles (was an assistant Watergate prosecutor), Andrew Weissman (head of the Justice Department’s criminal fraud unit), and Michael Dreeben (deputy solicitor general) to name a few. Mueller has also 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 (now indicted) and Michael Flynn (👀).

Robert Mueller’s Indictments Reveal Who Could Be Charged Next

Meanwhile…

  • President Trump took the news of the indictments about as well as you’d expect…

  • Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders held a press conference where she tried to state that Mueller’s indictments had nothing to do with Trump and they were way before the campaign, etc (not true). She also started off the press briefing with a drinking analogy, pitching tax reform.

  • Tony Podesta stepped down from his company, Podesta Group, after it was revealed his organization was one of the companies that Manafort and Gates solicited in 2012 to lobby on behalf of the Ukrainian government. Tony is the brother of John Podesta, who is not under investigation.
  • The Daily Beast reported that “More Than 50% of President Trump’s Nominees Have Ties to the Industries They’re Supposed to Regulate.”
  • A D.C. Federal judge blocked President Trump’s attempt to ban transgenders from serving in the military, stating the policy “does not appear to be supported by any facts.”
  • Trump’s approval rating hit an all-time low

  • Laura Ingraham opened up her new Fox News show defending Confederate statues and then held an interview with Chief of Staff John Kelly. Kelly made absurd claims about the Civil War, called Robert E. Lee an honorable man, and claimed that the Civil War occurred because of a lack of compromise…Needless to say, the “lack of compromise” was over whether or not to expand the enslavement of black human beings. Kelly stepped way over the line here, further bolstering the overall suspicion that those in the White House hold some views that align with white supremacists.

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Tuesday, October 31

Papadopoulos

Jeff Sessions (far left), George Papadopoulos (two seats over from Sessions), Donald Trump (you see where he is)

Jeff Sessions (far left), George Papadopoulos (two seats over from Sessions), Donald Trump (you see where he is)

Technology. The enemy of liars. President Trump once again revved up his spin machine on Halloween morning, trying to downplay George Papadopoulos’ role in the campaign and distance himself.

Unfortunately for him, video, audio, and social media technology exists. Not only did he post to Twitter and Instagram the above photo of Papadopoulos at a national security meeting with high-level Trump campaign officials on March 31, 2016, in an interview with The New York Times on March 21, 2016 Trump named Papadopoulos as one of his foreign policy advisors and called him an “excellent guy.”

This week, we found out who Papadopoulos emailed about the potential Russian meetings. The indictment claims that Papadopoulos told a “Senior Policy Advisor,” “Campaign Supervisor,” and “High-Ranking Campaign Official” about the efforts. White House adviser to the U.S. Department of Agriculture Sam Clovis (former*, he resigned after this news and was questioned by Robert Mueller the previous week) was one the campaign members who told Papadopoulos to pursue a trip and foster ties with the Russian government. Corey Lewandowski and campaign chairman Paul Manafort were also involved in the email exchanges. On Wednesday, we learned more about what Attorney General Jeff Sessions President Trump knew…

Meanwhile…

  • There was a terrorist attack in New York City that killed 8 people. The killer had been radicalized by viewing ISIS propaganda online and then drove a Home Depot truck down a bike path in Manhattan.

Unlike after the Vegas shooting, which killed over 50 people and injured over 500 more, President Trump immediately began advocating for policy initiatives and blamed Democratic Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (NY) for the shooting. It continued into the next day.

  • Steve Bannon has been advising Trump to replace his lawyers and to be less cooperative when dealing with Robert Mueller.
  • Robert Mueller will meet with White House Communications Director Hope Hicks. Hicks has been involved with President Trump’s decision making since he launched his campaign, and will likely provide valuable insight.

Wednesday, November 1

“I Do Not Recall”

Attorney General Jeff Sessions testifies on Capitol Hill in Washington before the Senate Intelligence Committee — June 13, 2017 (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)

Attorney General Jeff Sessions testifies on Capitol Hill in Washington before the Senate Intelligence Committee — June 13, 2017 (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)

In typical form, nothing in Trump world gets admitted to until it’s uncovered by the press. In the case of Trump’s interactions with Papadopoulos, this was also the case.

CNN reported that in the March 2016 meeting (photo on Tuesday), Papadopoulos told everyone in the room, including Donald Trump and Jeff Sessions, about how he could utilize his contact in London to arrange a meeting between Donald Trump, his campaign, and the Russian government…and Donald Trump didn’t oppose the idea. It was Jeff Sessions who said it would be a bad idea.

This, of course, runs contrary to the narrative coming out to the White House and the sworn testimonies we’ve heard from Jeff Sessions. In the case of Sessions, he may have committed perjury…again. After having previously lied multiple times to congressional investigators about never having communications with the Russians, it was later being revealed that he not only had communications but meetings with Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak. Now, it appears that Sessions lied about not having knowledge of anyone in the Trump campaign communicating with Russians.

Senator Al Franken: “If there is any evidence that anyone affiliated with the Trump campaign communicated with the Russian government in the course of this campaign, what will you do?”

Jeff Sessions: “Senator Franken, I’m not aware of any of those activities. I have been called a surrogate at a time or two in that campaign and I didn’t have — did not have communications with the Russians, and I’m unable to comment on it.”

Sounds like a lie right? That’s because it is…on many fronts. Also, I’d like to remind you all of a Mr. Rick Dearborn. Dearborn, former Chief of Staff to then-Senator Jeff Sessions and current Deputy Chief of Staff to President Trump, reportedly sent an email to Trump campaign officials seeking to arrange a meeting between Russian President Vladimir Putin and the Trump campaign.

The email relayed information about an individual who was eager to make the connection between Trump officials and Putin. It was sent around the time of the June 9, 2016, Trump Tower meeting with Donald Trump Jr., Paul Manafort, and Russian operatives, which was revealed to have been an attempt to obtain damaging opposition research on Hillary Clinton from the Russian Government. The email was discovered by congressional investigators from within the 20,000 documents the Trump campaign turned over this past summer.

The CNN report on the matter was a bit vague, but it did mention that Dearborn had also helped to set up the April 27, 2016, Mayflower Hotel speaking event for the Trump campaign. At this event, there was potentially a private meeting that occurred between Donald Trump, Jeff Sessions, Jared Kushner, and Russian Ambassador Kislyak.

Dearborn has flown under the radar but watch this space.

Meanwhile…

  • As representatives from Facebook, Google, and Twitter testified on Capitol Hill, they revealed some troubling developments. Facebook’s General Counsel said that approximately 126 million people may have seen the fake ads that were created by the Russian government to influence our democracy. Google said that 1,108 videos were created on Youtube by the Russian trolls. And Twitter stated that “2,752 accounts controlled by Russian operatives and more than 36,000 bots that tweeted 1.4 million times” were discovered. The House Intelligence Committee released some of the ads, and they ranged from stirring up racial discord, to ripped Bernie Sanders, to tying Hillary Clinton to Satan…

  • Further bolstering the widespread notion that Twitter didn’t do enough to combat Russian propaganda, it was revealed that the company offered RT (Russia Today aka state-run TV/Kremlin propaganda) up to a 15% share of all of Twitter’s U.S. election advertising.
  • Gabriel Sherman of Vanity Fair continued his great insight and Trump palace intrigue with a report that revealed in a phone call with Steve Bannon, Trump blamed Jared Kushner for his decisions surrounding the firing of James Comey and Michael Flynn. Also, Roger Stone piled on top of this, telling Trump that Kushner gives bad political advice. Bannon and Stone both advised Trump to be tougher in dealing with Robert Mueller. But, former Trump campaign aide Sam Nunberg told Gabriel Sherman something that struck quite a different tune…

“Here’s what Manafort’s indictment tells me: Mueller is going to go over every financial dealing of Jared Kushner and the Trump Organization. Trump is at 33 percent in Gallup. You can’t go any lower. He’s fucked.”

Thursday, November 2

Tax Cuts For The Rich

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, Senate Majority 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, Senate Majority 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)

A couple weeks ago, the party that preached fiscal conservatism put yet another nail in the coffin of what they’re party supposedly stands for. Both chambers of Congress passed a $4 trillion budget that 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. The GOP has used the deficit as a talking point for years, and here they are, willingly boosting it to get tax cuts for themselves and their donors…And on Thursday, they unveiled those tax cuts.

NBC News reports:

“Under the new brackets, taxpayers who make less than $24,000 a year would pay no income tax, those who make under $90,000 would pay 12 percent, those under $260,000 would pay 25 percent, and those under $1 million would pay 35 percent. Income over $1 million would still be taxed at the current top rate of 39.6 percent.”

The Washington Post reports:

“Thomas A. Barthold, chief of staff of the Joint Committee on Taxation, said the up to 38 million Americans with annual incomes between $20,000 and $40,000 would, on average, see a tax increase starting in 2023 under the House GOP plan.”

Who the GOP aims to help, and who they aim to hurt, is clear.

Meanwhile…

  • While everyone was focused on the upcoming election, former DNC Chair Donna Brazile made the bold claim that the DNC rigged the primary for Hillary Clinton after they signed a joint fundraising agreement (Bernie signed one too) that gave Clinton “control” over the DNC. Elizabeth Warren echoed the claims. Important to note that her book’s release date is also November 7th….I won’t spend more time on this than it deserves because I’m too focused covering a wannabe authoritarian and his band of enablers. We soon found out the agreement she referenced wouldn’t take effect until the General election. Brazile conflated the 2015 agreement with the 2016 agreement. Brazile then began to backtrack on Twitter, retweeting accounts stating that the primary wasn’t rigged, and subsequently tweeting it herself.

It was too late. The damage was already done.

Not only were her assertions based on false information, there is still no actual evidence that any rigging occurred. Now, let me return to reporting on the aforementioned wannabe authoritarian.

  • President Trump continued tweeting about the New York terrorist attack, this time calling for the attacker to get the death penalty.

A few things:

  • Jared Kushner turned over documents to the Senate Intelligence Committee.
  • The Wall Street Journal reported that The Department of Justice has identified more than six members of the Russian government that were involved in the hacking of U.S. institutions during the 2016 election. They are considering charges.
  • Robert Mercer, the billionaire backer of Breitbart and Steve Bannon, resigned from his company. Mercer stated that he did not like the fact that the venture he backed became a hub for hatred…but I’m skeptical his stepping down was a stroke of conscience. Wonder if it has anything to do with this?

  • Secretary of Energy Rick Perry made a comment suggesting that somehow Fossil Fuels can mitigate sexual assault?

Friday, November 3

Carter Page, Distraction Don, And The Mutterings Of A Wannabe Authoritarian

Carter Page (Reuters)

Carter Page (Reuters)

Carter Page told congressional investigators that he told Jeff Sessions about the trip he took to Moscow in July of 2016. Before I dive into that trip, some context…

Page was a former adviser to candidate Trump until the Trump campaign distanced themselves from him after his Russia ties were reported on. Page is the founder of Global Energy Capital, an investment firm in New York, where he partnered with Sergei Yatsenk. Yatsenk is a former Gazprom executive, a Kremlin-owned energy company Page did business with during the time he lived in Russia from 2004–2007. Page’s July 2016 trip to Moscow (which he now says Sessions was aware of), meeting with a Russian spy in 2013, and admitted communications with Russians during the campaign made him a focus of this investigation.

Page has been a subject of FBI FISA (Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act) surveillance since 2014, has undergone repeated FBI questioning, and over 10 hours of questioning by congressional investigators this year. The important point about his FISA surveillance is that the FBI obtained the warrant because they believed Carter Page is “an agent of the Russian government and knowingly engaged in clandestine intelligence activities on behalf of Moscow.” Given the fact that Manafort and Gates received this charge for knowingly and willfully acting as agents of the Government of Ukraine,” the likelihood Carter Page could be hit with this charge is high. Could Page already be cooperating? Here are some of the activities that may have contributed to the FBI’s belief he is a foreign agent:

  • Page met with Victor Podobnyy, who turned out to be a Russian spy, in 2013.
  • Page communicated with Russian operatives during the campaign.
  • Russians have reportedly attempted to cultivate Page as a way to infiltrate the Trump campaign.
  • Page went on a campaign approved trip to Moscow in July of 2016 to meet with Igor Sechin, the chairman of the Russia State-owned oil company Rosneft, and may have discussed the prospect of lifting sanctions on Russia. This is important because the Christopher Steele dossier (Glenn Simpson recently testified on Capitol Hill on the dossier) mentioned the meeting with Page and “that the Rosneft President was so keen to lift personal and corporate Western sanctions imposed on the company, that they offered Page and his associates the brokerage of up to a 19 percent (privatized) stake in Rosneft.” Business Insider reports:

Rosneft…ultimately signed a deal that was similar to the one the dossier described: On December 7, the oil company sold 19.5% of shares, worth roughly $11 billion, to the multinational commodity trader Glencore Plc and Qatar’s state-owned wealth fund. Page was back in Moscow on December 8, one day after the deal was signed, to “meet with some of the top managers” of Rosneft, he told reporters at the time.

Meanwhile…

President Donald Trump seized on the Donna Brazile news and continued his torrent of tweets that indicate he doesn’t understand the DOJ and FBI are independent entities…

He also voiced his thoughts on the verdict of Bergdahl.

We can’t let him try and deflect.

Earlier in the week, Trump called our justice system a “joke,” and by Friday he continued his efforts to influence the actions of the DOJ and FBI to go on a witch hunt and investigate his political opponent. It’s important we keep pushing the fact that this is not normal…at least not in America. And neither are his constant attacks on the media. This is how authoritarians speak.

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Unpresidented // Donald Trump / Government / Journalism / Politics