A Complete Breakdown Of Donald Trump’s 48th Unpresidented Week As POTUS
Last week, a new hope. This week, the empire strikes back.
“You all just got a lot richer.” — President Trump to friends, Friday night at a Mar-a-Lago dinner
Some truths are inherently self-evident while others need to be forcefully reaffirmed until they become universally recognized as fact.
There are not two sides to the truth, and this must be reflected in the media. I say this because week after week, we watch as members of the media report on the developments of Trump’s presidency in a vacuum under the pretense of objectivity.
You can’t report on the tax bill as a “huge victory for the Trump administration,” without also reporting that it’s a huge defeat for vulnerable Americans.
You can’t report on the GOP’s anti-American attacks on the FBI, DOJ, and Special Counsel Robert Mueller, without also reporting that these attacks are baseless efforts to obstruct justice.
When one side is being clearly dishonest, you must provide necessary context. Otherwise, false equivalency runs rampant and gives the inaccurate impression that “both sides” have valid arguments.
While some truths are of little consequence (like the fact there never was a war on Christmas), others carry the weight of American democracy on their backs.
It’s our civic duty to defend these truths and not let President Trump distort our sense of reality. The mainstream media needs to prepare for what’s coming.
All I want for Christmas is the truth, and Trump and his cronies can’t be allowed to prevent Robert Mueller from getting to it.
Here’s a complete breakdown of Donald Trump’s 48th week as POTUS:
48th Weekend (December 16–17)
The Dangerous Propaganda War On Robert Mueller
As the weekend progressed, Democratic Representative Jackie Speier bolstered the already mounting speculation that Donald Trump was going to fire Robert Mueller before the end of the year.
The rumor on the Hill when I left yesterday was that the president was going to make a significant speech at the end of next week. And on Dec. 22nd, when we are out of D.C., he was going to fire Robert Mueller."-@RepSpeier A Saturday Night Massacre 2.0.
This rightfully raised alarms, as Twitter exploded. Right-wing propaganda was beginning to reach new levels of absurdity, and House Republican Representatives like Jim Jordan began to echo them…
@TomFitton: "I think the FBI's been compromised. Forget about shutting down Mr. Mueller. Do we need to shut down the @FBI because it was turned into a KGB-type operation by the Obama administration?" https://t.co/zBParrU9QJ
The only thing that remains is whether we have the fortitude to not just fire these people immediately, but to take them out in cuffs…." My #OpeningStatement : https://t.co/BNUtLVydah
After Robert Mueller surprised Trump officials in interviews with tens of thousands of transition emails he obtained, including some from Jared Kushner, the Trump transition team tried to falsely claim that Robert Mueller obtained them unlawfully. Fox News pushed that narrative…which was quickly dismantled by Mueller’s team and legal experts.
Update: Special Counsel's Office spokesperson responds with a rare on-the-record comment on this transition emails story. https://t.co/mg6heu2BZq
THREAD: Why are Trump's lawyers upset that Mueller obtained transition emails from a government agency? (Hint: They're just playing politics, but this is a bad sign for them.)
When it comes to the firing of Mueller, I had a different take than Robert Mueller being fired by the end of the year. I went full Seth Abramson (minus the sometimes dubious claims) and published a thread on the topic. My main argument was that Trump has lived in a bubble, believing he will be exonerated and it’s far more likely that the House will launch an initiative to try and undermine the investigation by the end of the year rather than an outright firing.
A lot of speculation that Trump will fire Mueller very soon While it's entirely possible Trump impulsively fires Mueller, here's why I think Trump & @HouseGOP may be planning a review to undermine Mueller's investigation rather than an outright firing right now (THREAD)
2) The last thing Trump's lawyers want him to do is fire Mueller. This is why Cobb & his team have been creating a bubble around Trump, convincing him he'll be fully exonerated by this probe.
3) The process to go about firing Mueller could end up being extremely messy. Trump would have to order people down the chain of command at the DOJ to fire Mueller starting with Rosenstein, who will likely decline. If Brand and Boente decline, Trump will look like a despot
4) If all Trump has to work with as grounds for firing is Peter Strzok's anti-Trump texts, then that won't fly. Top Senate Republicans like Grassley and Graham have expressed confidence in Mueller and thought the texts didn't discredit Mueller https://t.co/QUKaEmV67k
12) What I think could be more likely is that the GOP-led House Intelligence Committee is about to shut down their Trump-Russia probe and launch a review into Mueller's investigation to try and seek a passable excuse to fire Mueller or undermine the investigation in other ways
By the end of that night, my theory was confirmed. The House had acted as expected…
NEW: Congressman says top FBI officials will be subpoenaed by the judiciary committee as they investigate claims of bias in Mueller probe. Rep. Jim Jordan says he got the commitment from Chairman @RepGoodlatte. https://t.co/gJ4b57Qx97
And Trump does indeed have unrealistic expectations of exoneration.
Trump is privately striking a less agitated tone about Mueller's probe, buoyed by a rosy timeline for exoneration presented by his legal team. He's even boasting he'll soon get a letter of exoneration. From me, @SaraMurray & @mkraju: https://t.co/bgT83pcuyJ
We’ll know more after Trump’s lawyers and Mueller’s team meet in the coming days. All we can predict right now with 100% certainty is that Trump will likely be unpredictable.
14) That being said if/when Kushner is indicted, Trump may realize his lawyers have been lying to him and he could impulsively try and fire Mueller. All bets are off when it comes to Trump. So we should hope for the best and prepare for the worst https://t.co/fl0JZMNkno
Idk if Trump will fire Mueller or if it'll be some other move to try & undermine the investigation, but either way MSM must prepare. The people are ready. We will resist. But media MUST not "both sides" this. Only one side: Trump is a wannabe authoritarian obstructing justice.
Later in the week, we saw more moves from House Republicans to aid the President in his campaign to obstruct justice…
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48th Week (December 18–22)
Monday, December 18
NBC News reported that “In the weeks after he became the Republican nominee on July 19, 2016, Donald Trump was warned that foreign adversaries, including Russia, would probably try to spy on and infiltrate his campaign.” The warning came in the form of an intelligence briefing. Hillary Clinton got a similar briefing, and both candidates were advised to alert the FBI if any such overtures were made. Trump never alerted the FBI, and as we now know, there were plenty of overtures/meetings that the Trump campaign experienced with Russian operatives.
There were at least 12 Trump associates who had contacts with Russian operatives during the 2016 campaign and transition, including 19 face-to-face meetings and 51 communications. Some of these occurred before Trump received this warning. To name a few:
- The Trump Tower meeting with Donald Trump Jr., Jared Kushner, Paul Manafort, and Russian operatives on June 9, 2016, which was revealed to have been an attempt to obtain damaging opposition research on Hillary Clinton from the Russian Government.
- Trump campaign foreign policy advisor George Papadopoulos’ attempts to set up a meeting between President Trump, his campaign, and the Russian Government in an attempt to obtain “dirt” on Hillary Clinton. White House adviser to the U.S. Department of Agriculture Sam Clovis (former*, he resigned after this news) was one of 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 and then-candidate Donald Trump were made aware of the contacts at a March 2016 meeting.
- Carter Page already 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 reportedly discussed the prospect of lifting sanctions on Russia.
- In May 2016, a conservative operative emailed then-Senator Sessions’ Chief of Staff Rick Dearborn (subject line “Kremlin Connection”) seeking Sessions’ advice on arranging a secret meeting between Russian President Vladimir Putin and then-candidate Donald Trump at an NRA convention. Dearborn moved on to become Trump’s Deputy Chief of Staff but is now set to resign.
- The April 27th, Mayflower Hotel event where there was reportedly a private meeting that occurred between Donald Trump, Jeff Sessions, Jared Kushner, and Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak.
There were also contacts that occurred after this briefing, like when Wikileaks and Donald Trump Jr. corresponded. At the risk of droning on, there are a few more I haven’t listed, but you can check those out here:
The point is, the Trump campaign was well aware that Russians had made overtures before the briefing where Donald Trump was warned against these as potential attempts to infiltrate the campaign. That still didn’t stop Trump associates from communicating with Russian operatives afterward.
This news is confirmation that Trump’s campaign was well aware that they were participating in nefarious behavior and they still never reported these contacts to the FBI…not until they got caught a year later.
- Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s team believes their Trump-Russia investigation will continue well into 2018. This conflicts with Donald Trump’s expectations, given the fact his lawyer Ty Cobb has been lying to him about an imminent exoneration.
Ty Cobb better bring a 12 pack of Diet Coke with him when he breaks the news because Trump is gonna be piiiissed Once Trump finally realizes his lawyers have been lying to him…we will see an unhinged Trump like never before https://t.co/X6xsAzH6uO
- The Senate Intelligence Committee is investigating potential collusion between the Russian government and Green Party candidate Jill Stein’s campaign in the 2016 election. We interviewed her:
What happened at the RT anniversary dinner? What did she and Michael Flynn speak about? What happened to the recount money? We asked the questions on everyone's minds, and Jill Stein answered, in an hour-long interview. https://t.co/EhxJPcNYXY
- Trump unveiled his National Security Strategy and omitted Climate Change as a national security threat.
The fact that @realDonaldTrump is removing climate change as a threat in his #NationalSecurityStrategy is further proof of not only his scientific ignorance but his foreign policy recklessness. Climate change contributed to the rise of ISIS. https://t.co/PbxD9NCri1
- Several people died in a train derailment in Washington. Trump plugged his infrastructure plan.
The train accident that just occurred in DuPont, WA shows more than ever why our soon to be submitted infrastructure plan must be approved quickly. Seven trillion dollars spent in the Middle East while our roads, bridges, tunnels, railways (and more) crumble! Not for long!
- Remember the anti-Muslim videos Trump retweeted from the Britain First leader? She got banned from Twitter. So the President of the United States retweeted content that was deemed too inappropriate for Twitter.
Tuesday, December 19
Paul Ryan’s Dream Come True
Speaker of the House Paul Ryan (R-WI), who has dreamed about cutting Medicaid since he was drinking out of a keg (his words, not mine), got one step closer to his goal with the passage of the GOP tax bill through the House. I’ll dive into the specifics of the bill in a bit, but here, I’ll just touch on the fact the $1.5 trillion tax cuts sets up an opportunity next year for drastic cuts to entitlements in order to cover the deficit. Ryan has already signaled he is eager to fulfill this college dream of his next year.
Paul Ryan gave a speech that drastically misrepresented the content of the bill and then the House held a vote. The House rushed this bill through so quickly, they had to revote on it due to rule violations.
BREAKING: Democrats say 3 provisions in GOP tax bill violate Senate rules and will be removed, forcing House to revote Wednesday.
But after this, it was off to the Senate…
- The Washington Post reported that President Trump considered rescinding Justice Neil Gorsuch’s Supreme Court nomination after Gorsuch called Trump’s attacks on the judiciary “disheartening.” Trump responded as predictable as ever.
A story in the @washingtonpost that I was close to "rescinding" the nomination of Justice Gorsuch prior to confirmation is FAKE NEWS. I never even wavered and am very proud of him and the job he is doing as a Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court. The unnamed sources don't exist!
Wednesday, December 20
The Self-Enrichment Act Of 2017
A week after the crushing defeat of their alleged pedophile candidate Roy Moore in Alabama, the Senate passed the GOP tax cuts in a 51–48 vote. Every Republican voted for the bill with the exception of Senator John McCain who is at his home in Arizona. With the individual mandate repeal still included, 13 million people would be set to lose healthcare according to the CBO. It still contains a corporate tax cut from 35% to 21% and a tax cut on the top bracket from 39.6% to 37%. According to an analysis from the Tax Policy Center, by 2027, 83% of the benefits from the law will go to the top 1% of Americans.
An additional tax break for pass-through entities was included that helps real estate owners like Donald Trump and Tennessee Senator Bob Corker (who was opposed to the bill but changed his vote to a yes…). If you want all the specifics, Bloomberg did a great breakdown.
Despite this bill’s unpopularity on every poll leading up to this vote, the GOP overruled the will of the people and passed it anyway. It’s one thing to appease your donors…it’s another thing entirely to pass a bill that clearly enriches yourselves.
At the event, after it passed the Senate, Republican lawmakers each took turns slobbering all over Trump. Even Senators who had previously been attacked by him like Senator Lisa Murkowski (R-AL). Utah’s Orrin Hatch went as far as to say this could end up being the greatest presidency ever…
After this moment where the entire Republican Party embraced Trump, they now own everything that Trump does moving forward. Trump’s war on the FBI is now the GOP’s war on the FBI, and so on and so forth.
While this was going on, the mainstream media was quick to call this act of defiance of the American people’s wishes a victory for the Trump administration.
Congress has sent their tax bill to Trump's desk.
Remember these laughing faces… Remember the fact they chose to pass a tax bill that enriches themselves at the expense of the vulnerable Remember they chose to give their donors a "win" before Christmas rather than healthcare & peace of mind to the 9 million children on CHIP https://t.co/tDJfnIbXJk
- Foreign Policy reported that, “The White House turned over records this fall to special counsel Robert Mueller revealing that in the very first days of the Trump presidency, Don McGahn researched federal law dealing both with lying to federal investigators and with violations of the Logan Act, a centuries-old federal law that prohibits private citizens from negotiating with foreign governments.” This further validates previous reporting that proves the White was aware Flynn had committed crimes before Trump urged Comey to back off Flynn. This further bolsters the obstruction of justice case.
Obstruction: Jan 26-AG Yates warns McGahn of Flynn lying to FBI. (In Jan. McGahn tells Trump) Jan 27-Trump asks for Comey's loyalty Jan 30-Fires Yates Feb 14-Asks Comey to back off Flynn May 9-Fires Comey Many times-Says he fired Comey for 🇷🇺probe https://t.co/qlqsZ8kf68
- Ahead of the UN’s vote on whether or not to condemn the Trump administration’s embassy move to Jerusalem, UN Ambassador Nikki Haley said that President Trump would be taking the vote “personally” and “taking names.” The administration also hinted that they might pull funding from those who vote to condemn Trump’s action.
Donald Trump and Nikki Haley's kindergarten mobster approach to foreign policy is beyond counterproductive #UNGA
- Ranking Democratic Member on the Senate Intelligence Committee Senator Mark Warner (D-VA) gave a speech on the Senate floor, touching on the dangerous attacks on Robert Mueller’s investigation. Warner set a “red line” for President Trump and touched on how important it is for all American citizens to speak out against these efforts to undermine the Trump-Russia investigation.
Mark Warner just gave a speech on the Senate floor about Mueller's investigation and set a "red line" for Trump "Congress must make clear…that firing the special counsel…is unacceptable & would have immediate & significant consequences" Full speech: https://t.co/YxCxTWSBIf https://t.co/eMuseHttqI
Thursday, December 21
Party Over Country
Politico reported that House Republicans, led by Chairman of the House Intelligence Committee Devin Nunes, have launched a probe into alleged bias and corruption within the Department of Justice and the FBI. They did this without alerting their democratic colleagues. This is further evidence that House Republicans are on a mission to help the President obstruct justice. They claim to be working on a report they will release in early 2018. My guess is, Trump will likely try and use this as the excuse to fire Mueller.
They appear to be doing this in coordination with the White House.
A trio of House Republicans lobbing attacks on Mueller – Jim Jordan, Matt Gaetz, and Ron DeSantis – have been in touch with the White House https://t.co/YE3IT2mFXn
This news came amid Democratic lawmakers making a major statement of support for Robert Mueller’s investigation.
House Dems will hold a press conference today to announce their support for Mueller, will also announce a letter of support signed by 171 members of Congress. (Between this & Warner's speech yesterday, Dems seem really worried Trump will move to fire Mueller over the holidays.)
I pointed out in a piece on this that the GOP’s attacks to undermine the credibility of the DOJ and FBI aren’t just efforts to obstruct justice, but they are playing directly into the hands of Vladimir Putin.
The U.S. Intelligence Community concluded that Russia’s longstanding objective has been to undermine the US-led liberal democratic order and our faith in democratic institutions. For decades, Russian propaganda has aimed to stir racial divisions, attack the credibility of the U.S. government, and try to weaken western influence. Today, we have a President, backed by the full support of his party and propaganda arms like Fox News, executing on our foreign adversary’s primary objectives. And they’re doing this all under the guise of “America First” (which actually has 20th century anti-Semitic roots).
The media must not “both sides” this. There is only one side: The President of the United States is waging a disinformation war, undermining his supporters’ faith in American institutions. What this is leading to could be a constitutional crisis, as Senator Warner notes.
In the meantime, we must do our best to ring the alarm and call this what it is.
Robert Mueller isn't just investigating potential collusion, he's probing Russia's entire interference campaign Let's be real here @HouseGOP isn't just trying to obstruct justice when they attack Mueller, the DOJ, & FBI They are betraying their country https://t.co/Xuehim4xYG
- The UN voted overwhelming in favor of a rejection of Trump’s Jerusalem move.
Breaking News: In a stinging rebuke, the UN General Assembly condemned the U.S. decree on Jerusalem. The vote was 128 to 9, with 35 abstentions. https://t.co/Zx2SPpWNZ6
- Attorney General Jeff Sessions ordered the DOJ to seek information from the FBI about the now debunked Uranium One-Hillary Clinton conspiracy.
AG Jeff Sessions has ordered the DOJ to seek info from the FBI on Uranium One… A reminder that President Trump has repeatedly urged the Justice Department to investigate Hillary Clinton (his political opponent) and Uranium One specifically https://t.co/an6zJuWCYp
- Vanity Fair dropped a must-read profile of Steve Bannon. It did have one notable tidbit about Comey’s firing that I think didn’t get enough attention. It appears Ivanka Trump may have also played a role in the decision to fire James Comey:
Over the weekend of May 6 and 7, Bannon was in Washington when Kushner, Ivanka, and Stephen Miller accompanied Trump to his golf club in Bedminster, New Jersey, where the decision to fire Comey was finalized. The White House announced Comey’s dismissal on the afternoon of Tuesday, May 9. Bannon was furious when he found out.
Friday, December 22
Ahead of signing the tax bill into law, President Trump said, “I was going to wait for a formal signing some time in early January, but then I watched the news this morning and they were all saying, ‘Will he keep his promise, will he sign it by Christmas? And I called downstairs and said, ‘Get it ready, we have to sign it now.’”
The reason he was going to wait to sign the bill was due to the fact signing it this year would trigger automatic cuts to Medicaid and other programs. So, once again, the President of the United States sought to fulfill his ego at the expense of the American people.
- Congress passed a stop-gap spending bill to avert a government shutdown. Still, no deal for DACA recipients.
- President Trump arrived in Mar-a-Lago for his 106th visit to a Trump-branded property this year, and at a dinner, stated the quote that I began this article with. That all of his friends just got a whole lot richer.
- The New York Times reported that over 700 people have left the EPA since Trump took office, disheartened by the fact they have rolled back so many protections on the environment.
- Steve Bannon and Corey Lewandowski have been asked to testify before the House Intelligence Committee.
- The Young Turks founder had his run-in with #MeToo.
Cenk Uygur, who routinely smeared Hillary Clinton during the 2016 election, wrote this about women in 2000: "Obviously, the genes of women are flawed. They are poorly designed creatures who do not want to have sex nearly as often as needed…" https://t.co/kPFyTbk97g
- Over the weekend, The New York Times reported how Trump’s racism has influenced his immigration policy.
In Oval Office meeting, POTUS groused that thousands of immigrants from Haiti all have AIDS and that those from Nigeria would never return to "huts" once they saw America @shearm @juliehdavis https://t.co/wiGpOlS7Ik
I don't know what makes me more mad, the hubris with which @realDonaldTrump spews his simple-minded bigotry or the fact that the cowardly sycophants around him don't push back on his comments https://t.co/VqbyzSu6k7