A Complete Breakdown Of Donald Trump’s 44th Unpresidented Week As POTUS

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President Donald Trump, left, walks with House Speaker Paul Ryan of Wis., Thursday, Nov. 16, 2017, as they leave a meeting with House Republicans on Capitol Hill in Washington (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin)

President Donald Trump, left, walks with House Speaker Paul Ryan of Wis., Thursday, Nov. 16, 2017, as they leave a meeting with House Republicans on Capitol Hill in Washington (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin)

Over 300 days into the Trump presidency and it’s time for some brutal truths about the state of the GOP.

The modern Republican Party is an inherently indecent political apparatus that takes advantage of a base of fact-averse, anti-intellectual, hateful individuals for political gain. We’ve known this for a while now, but now they wear their true nature on their sleeves. Gone are the days of dog whistles and regressive policies hidden within the fine print. Now, the Grand Old Party transparently flaunts their despicable motivations.

Some claimed the election of Donald Trump marked the moment racism, intolerance, greed, and indecency was permanently tattooed on the platform of the Republican Party. They’re wrong. Trump was merely the culmination of decades of work the Republican Party had been doing, from the Southern Strategy to the Tea Party. Trump merely ripped the mask off and bore the party’s ugly face.

Now Roy Moore, the personification of the degradation of the GOP, is running for Senate in Alabama. A pedophile who preaches religious scripture. A bigot with a messiah complex. A fool in a Judge’s clothing. Mitch McConnell and Paul Ryan can call for Moore to drop out all they want but this is who their party is. One of delusion, hypocrisy, and hate. A party that will throw all morality and logic to the wind, as long as it inches them closer to a tax cut for their donors.

Meanwhile, President Trump proclaims America First while capitulating to Vladimir Putin and pushing isolationist policies that surrender Asia to Xi Jinping. Trump wages disinformation campaigns straight out of an authoritarian’s playbook assisted by right-wing propaganda like Fox News and Breitbart. Trump lambasts Al Franken, despite being accused by over a dozen women for doing the very same thing. And Trump continues to degrade the office of the presidency, one oppressive policy decision, and tweet, at a time. All while impulsively reacting to Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s increasingly fast-moving probe.

Luckily, the American people are watching. We see through the lies and charades of the GOP and their ringleader. We see through the attempts at voter suppression, attacks on women’s reproductive rights, anti-immigration stances, and the mission for tax cuts that so drives them. We see that they have led their hateful base backward, rather than choosing to lead them forward.

Just like it did in the 2017 special elections, the American people’s vigilance will pay off in 2018 and beyond. It has to.

Here’s a complete breakdown of Donald Trump’s 43rd week as POTUS:

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43rd Weekend (November 11–12)

“No, You’re The Puppet”

Russian President Vladimir Putin, left, and U.S. President Donald Trump talk as they arrive for the family photo session during the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Summit in Danang, Vietnam, Saturday, Nov. 11, 2017. (AP Photo/Hau Dinh)

Russian President Vladimir Putin, left, and U.S. President Donald Trump talk as they arrive for the family photo session during the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Summit in Danang, Vietnam, Saturday, Nov. 11, 2017. (AP Photo/Hau Dinh)

Nearing the end of a trip to Asia that can only be described as weak, President Trump continued his odd capitulation to authoritarian Russian President Vladimir Putin, stating that he believes Putin when he says Russia didn’t meddle in the 2016 election.

Trump continued his pro-Russia tirade:

What more is there to say than what Sally Yates stated…

Well, maybe, we can say this…

He has since walked that statement back, but not before former CIA director John Brennan said on CNN that “I think it demonstrates to Mr. Putin that Donald Trump can be played by foreign leaders who are going to appeal to his ego and try to play upon his insecurities, which is very, very worrisome from a national security standpoint.”

Trump wasn’t done there. He wanted to reaffirm to the world that he had the emotional sturdiness and steadfast leadership necessary to lead the U.S. in these uncertain times…

It reads like a text a middle schooler meant to send to their friend about their ex-boyfriend but accidentally send it out on Twitter.

43rd Week (November 13–17)

Monday, November 13

“I Love Wikileaks”

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 above photo was taken at the Republican National Convention in July of 2016. At that time, the public was unaware that just a month beforehand, Donald Trump Jr., now-indicted former Campaign Chairman Paul Manafort, and Trump Sr.’s son-in-law/White House Adviser Jared Kushner had met with Russian operatives in Trump Tower in an effort to gather damaging information on Hillary Clinton.

After the reports of that meeting surfaced, Trump Jr. himself lied that this was the end of his story…

Well, excellent reporting from Julia Ioffe at The Atlantic revealed that this was not the case. Donald Trump Jr. corresponded via Twitter direct message with Wikileaks on multiple occasions. The DMs consisted of Wikileaks sharing links with Donald Trump Jr. that he and his father shared, lobbying for Donald Trump Jr. to get Trump Sr. to leak his tax returns to them so that it could appear that they were not “pro-Trump,” and Wikileaks requested that if elected, could Trump make Wikileaks Founder Julian Assange the Ambassador to Australia.

To summarize in part: Donald Trump Jr., the son of then-candidate Donald Trump, shared links that Wikileaks “a nonstate hostile intelligence service” asked him to share…

Trump Jr. didn’t respond to all the messages, but did respond to a few, and also asked about the Podesta email leaks. Trump Jr. released the DMs on Twitter, validating everything that Ioffe reported.

This was quite the development, given the fact Wikileaks has been identified by the U.S. Intelligence Community as an organization that works on behalf of Russia’s interests and played a big part in their campaign to interfere in the 2016 election. These messages also link up with a lot of Trump Sr.’s Wikileaks loving rhetoric…

This revealed more direct contact between people very high up in the Trump campaign and entities involved in Russia’s interference campaign. Given the fact these were in the possession of congressional investigators, you can bet they’re on Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s radar as he dives into potential collusion.

“It’s time to call out WikiLeaks for what it really is: a nonstate hostile intelligence service often abetted by state actors like Russia” — Trump’s CIA Director Mike Pompeo

Meanwhile…

  • Trump’s Alabama Federal District Judge nominee Brett J. Talley, currently awaiting Senate confirmation, failed to disclose the fact that he is married to a White House lawyer who is also a witness in the Special Counsel’s Trump-Russia investigation. Talley was controversial enough already as is, given the fact he has never tried a case…
  • Alex Azar, former pharma executive, was nominated to replace Tom Price as Secretary of Health and Human Services.

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Tuesday, November 14

“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)

I’m pretty sure I’ve used this day’s title in a previous week’s Unpresidented, but it’s happened so many times that I can’t recall. Attorney General Jeff Sessions was back at it again with his congressional testimony greatest hits. From “I do not recall” to “I have no clear recollection,” it was a hearing full of denials and deflections. During this hearing before the Senate Judiciary Committee, Sessions claimed he remembered shooting down former campaign adviser George Papadopoulos’ now infamous request to arrange a meeting between candidate Trump and President Vladimir Putin in March 2016. But this came after Sessions initially denied remembering the meeting whatsoever, but now he suddenly remembers the important detail of rejecting the idea of a meeting with Putin?

This came after Sessions started the hearing claiming that he has never lied while under oath and his answers have not changed. Unfortunately for him, video is a thing that exists.

Sessions may have committed perjury…again. After having previously lied multiple times to congressional investigators about never having communications with the Russians, it was later revealed that he not only had communications but he held at least 3 meetings with Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak. Then, Sessions lied about not having knowledge of anyone in the Trump campaign communicating with Russians, and yet here he is claiming that he was aware of Papadopoulos’ communications with people representing Russia’s interests.

Another noteworthy moment was when Representative Jim Jordan (R-OH) pushed Sessions on whether or not he would appoint a Special Counsel to investigate the Clinton Foundation over the Uranium One non-story. This came after a memo was sent out that the DOJ would look into appointing one. Sessions seemed to aim to maintain some air of impartiality and stated it looked like there was not enough there to appoint a Special Counsel. Shephard Smith of Fox News seems to agree…

Meanwhile…

  • It appears Republicans have learned nothing from their last foray into Obamacare repeal. Senate GOP leaders moved to include a provision in their tax cut bill that would repeal the individual mandate, which the CBO said would drive up premiums and leave millions of Americans without healthcare.
  • After Putin expelled more than 700 US diplomats from Russia, the U.S. needed to make up for some of the loss. The State Department has hired a Russian company to guard their embassy in Moscow…the company has ties to the KGB.
  • Buzzfeed reports:

The FBI is scrutinizing more than 60 money transfers sent by the Russian Foreign Ministry to its embassies across the globe, most of them bearing a note that said the money was to be used “to finance election campaign of 2016.”

  • Amid growing concerns over President Trump’s lack of stability, Senator Bob Corker (R-TN), Chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, held the first hearing on a president’s authority to use nuclear weapons since 1976.
  • A shooting near a school in California left 5 people dead and 12 injured. After the gunman tried to enter a school that was put on lockdown seconds before, he fired bullets into the school, hitting a child twice (the child was injured, not killed). President Trump landed back in the U.S. and sent out a tweet about the shooting…in Sutherland Springs?

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Wednesday, November 15

The Depraved Defense Of Roy Moore

Former Alabama Chief Justice and U.S. Senate candidate Roy Moore speaks at a rally in Fairhope, Alabama — Monday, Sept. 25, 2017 (AP Photo/Brynn Anderson)

Former Alabama Chief Justice and U.S. Senate candidate Roy Moore speaks at a rally in Fairhope, Alabama — Monday, Sept. 25, 2017 (AP Photo/Brynn Anderson)

Alabama Senate Candidate Roy Moore has been accused of initiating sexual contact with a 14-year-old girl when he was 32, and pursuing similar relationships with other young girls. Moore was also accused of kidnapping and violently trying to rape a 16-year-old, and also signing her yearbook. This man has also been banned from a mall for trying to pursue other young girls. And by the end of the week the count of young women accusing him of pedophilia would be 9…and yet, the Alabama GOP persisted.

Despite the fact Moore is now trailing in the polls, Breitbart and Steve Bannon continued to defend Moore and try and cast this as a Democratic hit job and lower-level GOP officials joined in, more directly trying to defend the act in general. One even went as far to say they’d still vote for him if the allegations are true. It was quite the disgusting sight to see. His lawyer attempted to dispute the fact the yearbook was signed (not the sexual assaults, of course). Rantt Politech Editor Greg Fish put it best:

Even worse, 37% of Evangelicals in Alabama said they were now more likely to vote for Moore in light of the new revelations. The values embraced by these so-called values voters appear to be child abuse, homophobia, racism, and authoritarianism. Since mathematically, the “liberal elites” they so despise know them and/or are related to them, it stands to reason that instead of hating urbanites and liberals for demeaning and not understanding them, they loathe them for knowing exactly what lies beneath the media-friendly talking points and insist on holding them accountable for their amoral, abusive tribalism.

Just ask yourself what kind of people want to vote for a lawless, Bible-thumping pedophile whose proclivities were ignored for decades over someone who put KKK terrorists in jail for killing four young girls. How comfortable would you feel around them? Would you call them decent people with a functioning moral compass?

And Rantt Contributor Julie Ruth expertly dissected the evangelical support:

This is what I know: when evangelicals help to elect Roy Moore, choosing a man with pedophilia and numerous assault charges on the record — instead of checking the box next to Doug Jones, a man who has lived a principled life and worked for social justice — they have forfeited any claims they might have once held on moral superiority.

When confronted about their choice for Moore, and for others like him, they’ll remain fierce and proud in their conviction. They have fetishized the issues of abortion and same-sex marriage to the extent that they will go to extreme lengths to protect the unborn but will look the other way when the already-born are in danger. When confronted with facts or dissenting opinions, they’ll cry persecution and thump cherry-picked verses from the Bible. At the end of the day, they’ll be fine with the derision they deserve and that they’ll receive. They’ve been groomed and trained for this very moment.

By the end of the week, Alabama Governor Kay Ivey chose pedophilia over basic human decency. All for short-sighted political gain

Terminal rot indeed.

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Meanwhile…

  • President Trump gave a speech where he tried to make his Asia trip look like more than the start of a new era of Chinese dominance, but the main takeaway ended up being his Marco Rubio moment…

A reminder:

Yes…there’s a hypocritical Trump tweet for this too.

  • As reports and new testimony continue to surface that corroborate the dossier, the author himself Christopher Steele believes that the dossier is 70–90% accurate.
  • Despite their best efforts to pull funding from Obamacare marketing initiatives, over 1.5 million people signed up for insurance plans through the marketplace.
  • Richard Cordray, director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, stepped down.

Thursday, November 16

Et Tu, Franken?

Democratic Senator Al Franken (D-NY) was accused by model and Sports Anchor Leeann Tweeden of groping and kissing her without consent. While visiting troops abroad in the early 2000s, Franken and Tweeden were preparing for a sketch show they were doing. While rehearsing, Franken forcibly kissed Tweeden after she repeatedly said no. Then, in the above photo, Franken appears to be either grabbing or hovering his hands over her breasts while she was sleeping.

This came as a surprise to many who haven’t seen Franken have a pattern of this kind of behavior. Nonetheless, this was disgusting behavior and Franken must be held accountable.

It appeared, across the aisle, folks agreed as Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) called for an ethics probe into Franken with Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) agreeing. After what was frankly a bad initial statement, Senator Franken released a longer form statement and said he’d cooperate with the ethics probe.

It was good to see that the first thought people had was not whether or not the allegations were true. #MeToo has changed things.

Throughout the day, another thing became clear: This was very different from the way Roy Moore’s pedophilia allegations were handled on the right side of the political spectrum.

And like clockwork, President Trump simply could not resist chiming in, despite having over a dozen women accuse him of doing the very same things Al Franken was accused of and admitting to it in the infamous Access Hollywood tape.

Our take:

Meanwhile…

  • House Republicans passed their version of their tax cuts bill, but there was no celebration like after the AHCA passed the House over the summer. The main battle will be in the Senate and everyone knows that will be far from easy…especially with the individual mandate repeal included. And complicating matters more, this same day, the Joint Committee on Taxation released a report that found Americans making less than $75,000 a year would see a tax increase over the next 10 years under the Senate plan.
  • The Trump administration lifted an Obama-era ban on importing the heads of hunted elephants into the U.S. After much outrage, Trump hinted that he would indeed enforce the ban.
  • Politico reported “Jared Kushner received emails in September 2016 about WikiLeaks and about a ‘Russian backdoor overture and dinner invite’ and forwarded them to another campaign official.”
  • The controversial Keystone pipeline in South Dakota leaked 210,000 gallons of oil. This was exactly what activists protesting the pipeline warned against.

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Friday, November 17

More Mueller Moves

(Rantt News/Maddie Anderson)

(Rantt News/Maddie Anderson)

Special Counsel Robert Mueller is on the move, as usual. After having previously requested documents from the White House and scheduling numerous interviews with White House officials, Mueller has issued his first official subpoena to the Trump campaign, seeking Russia-related communications and documents from several top officials.

Let’s take a quick look at the investigation to highlight the significance of this development. Along with its counterintelligence component examining Russia’s meddling, we know Mueller’s 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

Mueller’s first round of indictments directed at Paul Manafort and Rick Gates mostly pertained to money laundering and lobbying work as unregistered foreign agents. But the guilty plea and indictment of campaign foreign policy advisor George Papadopoulos was pertaining to collusion. 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. We’ve since learned that Papadopoulos is cooperating with Mueller’s investigation, meaning this subpoena was most likely requesting specific information that Papadopoulos helped Mueller narrow down.

The indictment claims that Papadopoulos told a “Senior Policy Advisor,” “Campaign Supervisor,” and “High-Ranking Campaign Official” about the efforts to set up a meeting with Putin. White House adviser to the U.S. Department of Agriculture Sam Clovis (former*, he resigned after this news) 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. And now, we’ve learned that Attorney General Jeff Sessions was made aware of the claims at a meeting with President Trump.

We can expect that some of these communications were subpoenaed, as well as others pertaining to Trump Jr.’s meeting in Trump Tower and his contacts with Wikileaks. Also, communications related to campaign adviser Carter Page, who communicated with the Trump campaign about his July 2016 trip to Moscow. We can also expect a focus on former national security adviser Michael Flynn’s contacts (Flynn is widely expected to be next on the indictment list). Not to mention the several other members of the campaign that had contact with Russians throughout the campaign.

One thing is for certain, Mueller will find the truth.

Meanwhile…

  • The FCC loosened a rule that made it more difficult for media companies to lock down monopolies, which was widely seen as a green light for Sinclair Broadcast Group (essentially a far-right propaganda arm of Trump) to keep purchasing local stations around the U.S.

  • On Saturday, President Trump took yet another shot at his favorite straw woman…

Unpresidented // Donald Trump / Government / Journalism / Politics