A Complete Breakdown Of Donald Trump’s 50th Unstable Week As POTUS

2017: “I’m the wildest year ever!” 2018: “Hold my covfefe.”

Donald Trump, seen in reflection, poses for a portrait following an interview with the Associated Press at the Trump National Golf Club in Sterling, Va., Wednesday, Dec. 2, 2015 (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)

Donald Trump, seen in reflection, poses for a portrait following an interview with the Associated Press at the Trump National Golf Club in Sterling, Va., Wednesday, Dec. 2, 2015 (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)

“He’s going to unravel, and we are seeing the signs.”

— Yale University psychiatry professor Dr. Bandy X. Lee briefing a dozen lawmakers on Capitol Hill

Wow. What a start to the new year. Where do I even begin?

If you have a pair of eyes and ears, chances are you’ve noticed that there is something a bit…off with our President.

Impulsive outbursts, an affinity for conspiracy theories, and an aversion to facts: President Trump has deluded himself into an alternate reality.

This week, Michael Wolff’s book “Fire and Fury” corroborated several months of reporting and sparked a much needed national conversation about the President — Is Donald Trump’s mental health deteriorating?

The 25th Amendment wasn’t the only thing on people’s minds this week. The beef between Donald Trump and his former Chief Strategist Steve Bannon dominated headlines for much of the week as the future of the once tight-knit power couple remains up in the air.

Meanwhile, the Trump administration and the GOP made a series of consequential moves that didn’t get nearly enough attention.

The Trump administration moved to expand offshore drilling, targeted legal marijuana, moved to make it more difficult for defrauded students seeking loan forgiveness, and froze aid to Pakistan.

The DOJ is investigating the political opponent of the President of the United States after he publicly called for her to be jailed.

And the GOP is openly probing the person who helped expose Russian interference rather than the perpetrators themselves.

Despite all of this, the Trump-Russia investigation moved full speed ahead, with Robert Mueller lazer-focused on seeking the justice this President is desperately trying to obstruct.

Here’s a complete breakdown of Donald Trump’s 50th week as POTUS:

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New Years Day — Monday, January 1

George Papa-Plea Agreement Back At It Again

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)

By far the biggest story in the final days of 2017 was The New York Times’ report. It completely dismantled the GOP’s narrative that the Christopher Steele dossier is what sparked the Trump-Russia investigation. It was in fact, non-other than George Papadopoulos:

During a night of heavy drinking at an upscale London bar in May 2016, George Papadopoulos, a young foreign policy adviser to the Trump campaign, made a startling revelation to Australia’s top diplomat in Britain: Russia had political dirt on Hillary Clinton.

About three weeks earlier, Mr. Papadopoulos had been told that Moscow had thousands of emails that would embarrass Mrs. Clinton, apparently stolen in an effort to try to damage her campaign.

Exactly how much Mr. Papadopoulos said that night at the Kensington Wine Rooms with the Australian, Alexander Downer, is unclear. But two months later, when leaked Democratic emails began appearing online, Australian officials passed the information about Mr. Papadopoulos to their American counterparts, according to four current and former American and foreign officials with direct knowledge of the Australians’ role.

The hacking and the revelation that a member of the Trump campaign may have had inside information about it were driving factors that led the F.B.I. to open an investigation in July 2016 into Russia’s attempts to disrupt the election and whether any of President Trump’s associates conspired.

After George Papadopoulos pleaded 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 Trump administration dismissed him as a mere “coffee boy.” The New York Times report also revealed that this was not the case:

While some of Mr. Trump’s advisers have derided him as an insignificant campaign volunteer or a “coffee boy,” interviews and new documents show that he stayed influential throughout the campaign. Two months before the election, for instance, he helped arrange a New York meeting between Mr. Trump and President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi of Egypt.

With Papadopoulos’ guilty plea, we discovered who he 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 of the campaign members who encouraged 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. We also learned more about what Attorney General Jeff Sessions President Trump knew.

CNN reported that in the March 2016 meeting (Instagram photo above), 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. Sessions, of course, denied knowledge of any arrangements to meet with Russians during many sworn testimonies.

The New York Times report indicated that this wasn’t the last time Papadopoulos attempted to set up meetings with Russians…

If the campaign wanted Mr. Papadopoulos to stand down, previously undisclosed emails obtained by The Times show that he either did not get the message or failed to heed it. He continued for months to try to arrange some kind of meeting with Russian representatives, keeping senior campaign advisers abreast of his efforts.

Some speculated that this latest leak from the FBI indicates that they are fed up with Trump’s attacks, and that in 2018, we may see a new approach…

Meanwhile…

  • More women than ever before are running for Governor. The Washington Post reports:

This year, at least 79 women — 49 Democrats and 30 Republicans — are running for governor or seriously considering it…The numbers are more than double what they were four years ago and on track to surpass the record 34 women who ran for governor in 1994.

  • President Trump took shots at Iran and Pakistan.

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Tuesday, January 2

Out Of Control

President Donald Trump in the Rose Garden of the White House in Washington — Thursday, June 1, 2017 (AP/Rantt News Edits)

President Donald Trump in the Rose Garden of the White House in Washington — Thursday, June 1, 2017 (AP/Rantt News Edits)

The president decided to start his year off on the same foot he ended 2017 with: Tweets that made the public question his grasp of reality.

Donald Trump continued his authoritarian calls to jail his political opponents. This time his target was Hillary Clinton’s aide Huma Abedin. This was prompted by a report that claimed Abedin “ forwarded sensitive State Department emails, including passwords to government systems, to her personal Yahoo email account.”

The fact he wanted Abedin to go to “Jail!” for using her personal email account to handle classified information is beyond hypocritical. President Trump loves to give the impression that he cares deeply about protecting classified information, but he revealed highly classified intelligence to Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak and Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov in the Oval Office. Trump also allowed unregistered foreign agent Michael Flynn into classified national security briefings. And when it comes to his false anger over the use of personal email accounts for government work, President Trump should start with his own administration…

Trump’s mention of the DOJ as the “deep state” is yet another way that Trump degrades America’s confidence in its institutions.

Speaking of “beyond abnormal” and dangerous behavior coming from the President, he didn’t stop there. After sending out some additional tweets attacking the media and North Korea, President Trump responded to North Korean Dictator Kim Jong-un’s speech where the despot claimed: “the button for nuclear weapons is on my table.”

He also announced a fake awards show to disparage the media.

Our take on the tweets of the day was clear.

Meanwhile…

  • Republican Utah Senator Orrin Hatch announced he would not be seeking reelection this year, clearing the way for Mitt Romney.
  • The Fusion GPS founders published a scathing op-ed in The New York Times defending their work with Christopher Steele and the Trump-Russia dossier as well as exposing the GOP’s efforts to deflect from the heart of the investigation.

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Wednesday, January 3

Fire And Fury

White House Chief Strategist Steve Bannon stares at President Donald Trump during a meeting in the Roosevelt Room of the White House in Washington — Tuesday, Jan. 31, 2017. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

White House Chief Strategist Steve Bannon stares at President Donald Trump during a meeting in the Roosevelt Room of the White House in Washington — Tuesday, Jan. 31, 2017. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

As America was grappling with yet another reminder that the nuclear codes are in the hands of a man who can’t control his Twitter fingers, a bombshell dropped.

Excerpts from Michael Wolff’s exposé of the White House began hitting the press. From Steve Bannon disparaging Trump’s family to White House aides’ serious concerns about Trump’s mental health, the details were beyond damning.

Bannon also called Ivanka Trump “dumb as a brick.” It appears that Bannon was the primary contact for Michael Wolff when he ran several interviews in the White House. As expected, President Trump was not happy. Rather than wait for Bannon to deliver his inevitable apology, Trump went after him, causing Bannon to lose the financial support of the Mercer family and Breitbart’s board to question his involvement with the company.

They later sent a cease and desist letter.

Question’s swirled as to how this would affect the Trump base. Who had more influence over them? Trump or Bannon? The answer was clearly Trump.

There were some notable excerpts that claimed Trump didn’t really want, or expect, to win the election and was positioning himself for a Trump TV network. Some that detailed a dinner between Steve Bannon and the late Roger Ailes and others that referred to additional instances of Trump’s misogyny. Also, this:

There have been some questions as to the accuracy of the book given a couple errors but by far the biggest theme of the book was corroborated by months of reporting from various news outlets: The concerns about Trump’s deteriorating mental health from people close to him.

These excerpts matched a pattern of forgetfulness we’ve seen in the President as well as his odd grade-school style of speaking. Needless to say, the public had some serious questions about whether or not the President is mentally fit to serve.

And to think I wrote a piece on how the 25th Amendment should be invoked after I read the transcripts to Trump’s call with the Australian Prime Minister back in February. Oh my, how young we all were. Had no idea what was to come.

Donald Trump Is Unstable — And He Could Be Removed From Office

Meanwhile…

  • As questions around the President’s mental health swirled, Politico reported:

Lawmakers concerned about President Donald Trump’s mental state summoned Yale University psychiatry professor Dr. Bandy X. Lee to Capitol Hill last month for two days of briefings about his recent behavior.

In private meetings with more than a dozen members of Congress held on Dec. 5 and 6, Lee briefed lawmakers — all Democrats except for one Republican senator, whom Lee declined to identify. Her professional warning to Capitol Hill: “He’s going to unravel, and we are seeing the signs.”

In an interview, she pointed to Trump “going back to conspiracy theories, denying things he has admitted before, his being drawn to violent videos.” Lee also warned, “We feel that the rush of tweeting is an indication of his falling apart under stress. Trump is going to get worse and will become uncontainable with the pressures of the presidency.”

  • Newly elected Alabama Senator Doug Jones and Al Franken’s replacement Tina Smith were sworn into office.

  • Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein and FBI Director Christopher Wray met with Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) about documents that House Intelligence Committee Chairman Devin Nunes was requesting from the DOJ about the handling of the Trump-Russia dossier. As we saw later in the week, the DOJ capitulated to Nunes’ demands, and Paul Ryan supported Nunes’.
  • CNN reported:

North Korea and South Korea established contact on a hotline that’s been dormant for almost two years Wednesday, a major diplomatic breakthrough following a year of escalating hostility and a move that could pave the way for future talks.

  • News of Betsy DeVos’ latest moves towards defrauded students was revealed but didn’t receive much coverage.

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Thursday, January 4

Obstruction Of Justice

Former FBI Director James Comey (AP)

Former FBI Director James Comey (AP)

There have been numerous reports since Trump fired Comey that depict a president who was eager to end the investigation into his campaign’s potential collusion with Russia, and from what we got from Comey’s testimony, that appears to be the case. Comey’s prepared opening statement confirmed President Trump’s demand for loyalty in a private dinner, Trump’s request to end the FBI’s investigation into former national security adviser Michael Flynn, and that Comey did indeed write detailed memos of all his interactions with Trump. And recent news, as well as Trump’s own admission, confirmed that Trump was told that Flynn lied to the FBI before he asked Comey to back off the investigation.

Perhaps the most damning details were released in a January 4, 2018, New York Times report that the White House Counsel Don McGahn tried to lobby Attorney General Jeff Sessions to not recuse himself from the Trump-Russia investigation so that Trump could be protected. Also, four days before Trump fired Comey, an aide of Sessions tried to find dirt on James Comey.

These details combined with President Trump’s own admission that he had the Trump-Russia investigation in mind when he fired Comey and his comments to Russian officials in the Oval Office further bolstering this admission, has left many thinking the president was trying to halt the FBI’s investigation. Some are going as far as to say there is an obstruction of justice case to be made against Trump. Obstruction of justice was President Richard Nixon’s First Article of Impeachment. These are serious charges, and given the evidence, these charges should be taken seriously.

Meanwhile…

  • Attorney General Jeff Sessions rescinded an Obama-era policy of federal non-interference with states who legalized marijuana.

  • The White House banned all personal devices from use by government employees while at work.
  • A Virginia delegate race was decided by pulling a name from a bowl after one vote created a tie. The Republican won, giving them a 51–49 majority in the house of delegates.
  • Trump’s Voter Fraud Commission (which was a fraud within itself) was finally disbanded. Not without some departing words from Trump, of course.

  • After President Trump tried to get the publisher to remove “Fire and Fury” from bookshelves, Michael Wolff announced it would be released to the public early…And he also said that there are tapes.

  • President Trump froze all aid to Pakistan.
  • President Trump made yet another environmentally reckless move by announcing that his administration would permit offshore drilling in nearly all American coastal waters.

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Friday, January 5

GOP Complicity

President Donald Trump, with Republican leaders behind him, speaks during the tax bill passage event on the South Lawn of the White House — Wednesday, Dec. 20, 2017 (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

President Donald Trump, with Republican leaders behind him, speaks during the tax bill passage event on the South Lawn of the White House — Wednesday, Dec. 20, 2017 (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

After the events of Friday, it might be time to ask some serious questions about what was in the emails Russia stole from the RNC. The GOP’s complicity in helping Trump get away with trying to obstruct Mueller’s investigation is getting out of hand.

After this interview, we learned of the first criminal referral from Congress in the Trump-Russia investigation. After several months of investigating Russian interference in the 2016 election and the Trump campaign’s potential collusion, the first criminal referral the Senate Judiciary Committee made was for the man who set out to expose it: Christopher Steele.

Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley (R- IA) and Senator Lindsey Graham (R-SC) claimed that made “potentially false statements about the distribution of claims from the dossier.”

This effort is in line with what we’ve been seeing from the right. What at first started on the far-right has now seeped into mainstream Republican dogma. There’s been a coordinated effort by the GOP, right-wing media, and the White House to discredit Robert Mueller’s investigation and direct attention towards Hillary Clinton. From Uranium One to the dossier funding, the GOP has been on witch hunt after witch hunt… Well, it appears the Justice Department is heeding the demands of the President.

On Thursday, we discovered that the DOJ is looking into Hillary Clinton and her aides’ use of a private email server again and is investigating whether there was any pay-to-play within the Clinton Foundation. (A reminder: The Trump Foundation had to shut down because of their illegal conduct.)

These are dangerous developments and the American people must be ready for whatever may come. It’s becoming increasingly more likely the GOP will protect Trump if he fires Mueller.

Meanwhile…

  • President Trump continued to express his frustrations with Michael Wolff’s book.

  • Oh, and we have a new nickname for Bannon.

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Saturday, January 6

“Stable Genius”

As questions of Trump’s mental health dominated headlines, President Trump took to Twitter to claim that he is in fact, not stupid or, like, unstable.

Comparing himself to Reagan in this instance isn’t very “genius” of him, given the fact questions about Reagan’s mental health were later validated when his family revealed that he had Alzheimer’s disease.

This was a tough week. A lot to digest and process moving forward. For now, let’s just enjoy the memes.

Unpresidented // Donald Trump / Government / Journalism / Politics