A Complete Breakdown Of Donald Trump’s 58th Unpresidented Week As POTUS
The president is under investigation and in over his head.
Triggered by the Russia investigation closing in on him and overwhelmed by his chaotic administration, Donald Trump’s behavior validated the concerns Americans have been expressing since the day he announced his candidacy — A candidacy that makes his presidency look like a swamp of hypocrisy.
Candidate Trump said that Hillary Clinton didn’t have the stamina to be president. President Trump can’t seem to hold it together. Trump’s private angry tirades are triggering public regressive policy in his efforts to start a trade war with America’s allies.
The Trump campaign ran on a message lambasting Hillary Clinton for mishandling classified information. The Trump administration just had to significantly downgrade numerous White House officials’ security clearances because they had access to America’s top secrets without permanent security clearances. Among them was Trump’s son-in-law, and White House adviser, Jared Kushner.
Speaking of the Secretary of Nepotism (credit to Jon Lovett for that one), Jared Kushner is the personification of why an administration riddled with conflicts of interest is a threat to America’s national security interests. This week, it was revealed that foreign countries have discussed manipulating Kushner by playing to his business interests. Worth mentioning that candidate Trump repeatedly called Clinton corrupt.
Aside from this torrent of hypocrisy, we learned that Special Counsel Robert Mueller is leaving no stone unturned. Mueller has been questioning witnesses about Trump’s pre-2016 Russian business dealings, probing Trump’s efforts to fire Attorney General Jeff Sessions, preparing charges for the Russians who hacked and leaked Democratic emails, looking into whether Trump knew about and/or coordinated the release of said hacked emails, and examining whether Kushner’s business interests have influenced White House policy. This all came as we learned the full extent to which President Trump has neglected to fight back against Russian interference.
When it comes to the gun violence epidemic, while the president held a meeting with members of Congress full of false promises, the private sector took gun control into their own hands. All the while, the kids from Parkland continued to speak out.
Teachers in West Virginia demanded higher wages and the Supreme Court gave over 700,000 undocumented Americans (that is what they are — they are Americans in every way except on paper) a much-needed sigh of relief.
Oh, and the president lost one of his closest confidants while Americans tried not to lose their minds.
What a week. We never truly know what will happen next but one thing is for sure: Robert Mueller’s investigation is eating away at Donald Trump.
Here’s a complete breakdown of Donald Trump’s 58th week as POTUS:
58th Weekend (February 24–25)
Over the weekend, the Democrat’s rebuttal to the dishonest Nunes memo — which tried to paint the FBI as an anti-Trump deep state operation waging an Illuminati coup — was released. It completely debunked every argument made in the Nunes Memo.
1) So the House GOP Intelligence committee has finally released the Democratic memo about Trump's collusion with Russia, Carter Page, and the Steele (aka Pee Pee) memo. Let's pull out some of the good stuff.
2) The Dem memo confirms that "the FBI assessed [Trump campaign top foreign policy aide Carter Page] to be an agent of the Russian government." That doesn't sound good.
3) The FBI did not use Steele's dossier as justification for beginning the Russia probe, which started in July 2016. The FBI didn't get Steele's memo until mid-September, 7 weeks AFTER the probe was begun.
4) The initial FISA warrant to spy on Page was granted by a GOP-appointed judge, and then renewed by 3 different judges – four different federal judges in total – all appointed by GOP presidents. They were Republican judges who approved spying on Page.
6) The FBI corroborated parts of the Steele dossier, and presented that to the FISA court, but that's such a secret it got blacked out in the memo. Oh yeah, and the evidence corroborating Steele contradicts what Carter Page told the House Intelligence Committee.
8) Devin Nunes lied. The FBI told the FISA court all about Steele, and that the memo was paid for by people who wanted "to discredit" Trump's campaign. And DOJ never paid Steele for the dossier – Nunes lied about this.
9) And Nunes lied about the Yahoo news story. Nunes claimed the DOJ used the Yahoo story as proof of the Steele dossier. No. The article was used to quote Page's denials of secret Moscow meetings, which makes the meetings all the more suspect.
13) Bottom line: Four Republican federal judges found sufficient evidence that former top Trump campaign foreign policy aide Carter Page was acting as a Russian agent, to issue a FISA warrant permitting the FBI to spy on him. And, they received useful info during that spying.
Trump had some words.
The Democrat memo response on government surveillance abuses is a total political and legal BUST. Just confirms all of the terrible things that were done. SO ILLEGAL!
But of course, reality can’t be distorted by his tweets.
Now that another of Nunes' efforts to undermine Mueller's probe has been debunked-media must cover his future attempts in context In every lede: 1-Nunes was on the Trump transition (subject of Russia probe) 2-Nunes made multiple dishonest attempts to undermine the Russia probe
The end result of this entire Nunes escapade is Steele looks more credible, the Trump campaign looks more culpable, and the FBI looks more responsible. Well done, Devin.
- After trying to smear the Parkland kids didn’t work, the far-right moved onto their next conspiracy theory which alleged CNN scripted the town hall — A theory the president quickly latched onto. It turns out, it was all based on falsified emails.
After CNN pushed back, they gave the real emails to the press, revealing that the student’s father had doctored the correspondence.
This has been debunked. Emails were doctored to make it look like CNN tried to script the responses of a Parkland shooting survivor, then sent to conservative media. @FoxNews, @realDailyWire, and @realDonaldTrump spread literal fake news. Story on it: https://t.co/pznURqogkd https://t.co/XUcswrUESa
According to the father's Facebook, he's a supporter of Donald Trump, Glock handguns, Paul Ryan, and, in a review of a local realtor wrote "She's a BITCH!" https://t.co/ftC3w2nx7m
- After a testy phone call where President Trump refused to back off his “demand” that Mexico pay for his border wall, Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto canceled his scheduled trip to the White House.
- President Trump continued his efforts to fill his administration with his buddies.
Trump wants his personal pilot to be head of the Federal Aviation Commission. (Not making this up.) https://t.co/9DykAU5knL
- Axios reported that President Trump often talks about how the U.S. should kill drug dealers:
In Singapore, the death penalty is mandatory for drug trafficking offenses. And President Trump loves it. He’s been telling friends for months that the country’s policy to execute drug traffickers is the reason its drug consumption rates are so low.
“He says that a lot,” said a source who’s spoken to Trump at length about the subject. “He says, ‘When I ask the prime minister of Singapore do they have a drug problem [the prime minister replies,] ‘No. Death penalty’.”
He often jokes about killing drug dealers… He’ll say, ‘You know the Chinese and Filipinos don’t have a drug problem. They just kill them.’ — A senior administration official to Axios
- In a new CNN poll, Trump’s approval rating slid back to the lowest point of his presidency at 35%.
58th Week (February 26–March 2)
Monday, February 26
The Supreme Court delivered a major blow to Trump’s efforts to rescind DACA and a major victory for the over 700,000 Dreamers. Pete Williams at NBC News reports:
The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday declined to hear the Trump administration’s appeal of a federal judge’s ruling that requires the government to keep the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program going.
Under a lower court order that remains in effect, the Department of Homeland Security must continue to accept renewal applications from the roughly 700,000 young people who are currently enrolled in the program, known as DACA. The administration had intended to shut the program down by March 5, but that deadline is now largely meaningless.
In a brief order, the court said simply, “It is assumed the court of appeals will act expeditiously to decide this case.”
Monday’s denial also gives Congress more time to come up with a legislative solution, though repeated bipartisan efforts have failed so far.
On MSNBC, Williams said that this ruling would give the Dreamers at least another year while the case is reviewed again by the lower courts.
The fight is not over. Congress must act.
- Republican lawmakers continued to refuse to show their spines.
Six GOP chairmen of key panels tell us they see little reason to dig into Trump family finances – or made no commitment to do so. They call it a fishing expedition, or something in Mueller's purview. Ds say it's essential to Russia probes. w/ @jeremyherb. https://t.co/U2G0h7RONe
I don't see the link at this stage," said Rep. Mike Conaway, the Texas Republican leading the House Russia investigation. "Deutsche Bank is a German bank — I don't see the nexus." https://t.co/8IDjWUZOxF
@NatashaBertrand The GOP refuses to probe Trump's finances "I don't see the link at this stage," said Rep. Mike Conaway, the Texas Republican leading the House Russia investigation. "Deutsche Bank is a German bank — I don't see the nexus" @ConawayTX11…here's the nexus👇https://t.co/1TceO2tHlM
Trump owes Deutsche Bank (DB) $364 M Kushner owes them $285 M DB has a cooperating agreement with Vnesheconombank (VEB), who is under US sanctions If DB transferred Kushner and Trump's loan to VEB, the POTUS has a personal incentive to lift US sanctions https://t.co/jtPkTWphIu
- Trump tried to use a photo of his visit with survivors of the Parkland shooting to solicit donations to his re-election campaign.
- Trump attacked the armed guard who didn’t run into the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School while the shooting transpired. Trump, who is a draft dodger, said he would’ve run into the school without a weapon.
- Ivanka Trump had quite the exchange with Peter Alexander of NBC News.
Do you believe your father's [sexual misconduct] accusers?" –@PeterAlexander "I think it's a pretty inappropriate question to ask a daughter if she believes the accusers of her father when he's affirmatively stated there's no truth to it." –@IvankaTrump https://t.co/23AVPgcOdE
- Every public school in West Virginia was closed as teachers went on strike, demanding higher wages.
Tuesday, February 27
Jared Kushner has always been a problematic figure in the White House. From his repeatedly amended SF-86 forms adding additional foreign contacts to his family’s brazen attempts to profit from Trump’s presidency, Kushner is a pinnacle of corruption. Many have warned about the fact he hasn’t separated himself from his businesses and how that may affect his tenure as a White House adviser (a similar critique has been made of President Trump).
On Tuesday, there was additional details that further built this case. Kushner’s interim security clearance, along with several other White House officials, was downgraded from top secret due to their checkered pasts and/or susceptibility to blackmail. Politico reported:
Presidential son-in-law and adviser Jared Kushner has had his security clearance downgraded — a move that will prevent him from viewing many of the sensitive documents to which he once had unfettered access.
Kushner is not alone. All White House aides working on the highest-level interim clearances — at the Top Secret/SCI-level — were informed in a memo sent Friday that their clearances would be downgraded to the Secret level, according to three people with knowledge of the situation.
How Kushner — who has been acting as a shadow Secretary of State, diplomat to China, and tasked with overseeing Middle East peace (ridiculous, I know) — will be able to carry out his duties is unknown.
On top of this news piled a damning report about how foreign countries have discussed manipulating Kushner via his business interests. The Washington Post reported:
Officials in at least four countries have privately discussed ways they can manipulate Jared Kushner, the president’s son-in-law and senior adviser, by taking advantage of his complex business arrangements, financial difficulties and lack of foreign policy experience, according to current and former U.S. officials familiar with intelligence reports on the matter.
Among the nations that have discussed manipulating Jared Kushner: China Israel United Arab Emirates Mexico "H.R. McMaster…learned that Kushner had contacts with foreign officials that he did not coordinate through the National Security Council or officially report. https://t.co/CJVrAccrj6
- The first of many reports this week revealed another component of Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s Russia probe. CNN reported:
Investigators for special counsel Robert Mueller have recently been asking witnesses about Donald Trump’s business activities in Russia prior to the 2016 presidential campaign as he considered a run for president, according to three people familiar with the matter.
Questions to some witnesses during wide-ranging interviews included the timing of Trump’s decision to seek the presidency, potentially compromising information the Russians may have had about him, and why efforts to brand a Trump Tower in Moscow fell through, two sources said.
The lines of inquiry indicate Mueller’s team is reaching beyond the campaign to explore how the Russians might have sought to influence Trump at a time when he was discussing deals in Moscow and contemplating a presidential run.
Big news: @CNN reports Mueller is probing Trump's Russian business dealings pre-2016 election. Mueller asked witnesses about potentially compromising info Russians may have on Trump & about Trump Tower Moscow. If Mueller looks further back, he may find… https://t.co/sqV866xJ9d
- NSA and Cyber Chief Mike Rogers said that President Trump has not granted him the authority to go on the offensive against Russia’s hacking efforts…By the end of the day, we learned this:
This morning we learned Trump hasn't granted Cyber Chief Mike Rogers the authority to disrupt Russian election hacking Now we learn that state websites or voter registration systems in 7 states were compromised by Russian operatives Trump's inaction is a threat to our democracy https://t.co/Ihs8aNZWO7
- Robert Mueller proposed dismissing some of former Trump deputy campaign chairman Rick Gates’ charges in light of his recent plea agreement. A likely sign that Gates is providing Mueller the goods.
Mueller's team has officially proposed dismissing charges against RICK GATES, following last week's guilty plea.
- Trump selected Brad Parscale, who ran his digital campaign under Jared Kushner in 2016 and has been a subject of Mueller’s Russia probe, to be his 2020 campaign manager.
- The Hill reported:
A federal environmental office that works to test the effects of chemical exposure on adults and children is being merged as part of a proposed consolidation at the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).
The National Center for Environmental Research (NCER) will no longer exist as a standalone entity following plans to combine three EPA offices, the agency confirmed to The Hill on Monday.
An EPA spokesperson said that under the planned overhaul, employees currently working at the NCER would be reassigned elsewhere within the department, the EPA said, and the management of NCER’s research grants would continue.
- The Guardian reported:
A senior career official in the US Department of Housing and Urban Development has alleged that she was demoted and replaced with a Donald Trump appointee after refusing to break the law by funding an expensive redecoration of Ben Carson’s office.
- Melania Trump’s friend and adviser parted ways with the first lady after controversy over the way Inauguration money was spent. The New York Times reported:
The first lady, Melania Trump, has parted ways with an adviser after news about the adviser’s firm reaping $26 million in payments to help plan President Trump’s inauguration.
Stephanie Winston Wolkoff, who has been friends with Mrs. Trump for years, had been working on a contract basis as an unpaid senior adviser to the office of the first lady.
- Congress began their debate over whether or not to restore net neutrality.
- White House Communications Director Hope Hicks stonewalled the House Intelligence Committee during a 9-hour testimony, refusing to answer questions about her time in the White House. But she did admit that at times, she’s had to tell “white lies” on behalf of Donald Trump…
Wednesday, February 28
Get Me Roger Stone
Yes, this is the day Hope Hicks resigned, but for the main piece of this day, I wanted to drill down on the report that indicated Robert Mueller is probing whether or not Trump was aware of the incoming Wikileaks. NBC News reported:
Special counsel Robert Mueller’s team is asking witnesses pointed questions about whether Donald Trump was aware that Democratic emails had been stolen before that was publicly known, and whether he was involved in their strategic release, according to multiple people familiar with the probe.
Mueller’s investigators have asked witnesses whether Trump was aware of plans for WikiLeaks to publish the emails. They have also asked about the relationship between GOP operative Roger Stone and WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, and why Trump took policy positions favorable to Russia.
The line of questioning suggests the special counsel, who is tasked with examining whether there was collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia during the 2016 election, is looking into possible coordination between WikiLeaks and Trump associates in disseminating the emails, which U.S. intelligence officials say were stolen by Russia.
Mueller's investigators have asked witnesses whether Trump was aware of plans for WikiLeaks to publish the emails." Remember: Trump Jr. & Papadopoulos knew Russians had dirt on Hillary Clinton. Roger Stone bragged about speaking to Wikileaks and called out future email leaks. https://t.co/bXJjLplDfD
Cozy Bear, Fancy Bear (entities who Russia directed to hack the DNC), and Wikileaks (disseminated hacked emails) notably haven't been indicted…yet. If they do get indicted, this line of questioning indicates that Mueller is seeking to rope in American co-conspirators. https://t.co/WT1H6ta0De
We know that George Papadopoulos was well aware that Russia had dirt on Hillary Clinton, it was why the FBI investigation into the Trump campaign began in the first place. We also know that Trump Jr. directly corresponded with Wikileaks and President Trump actively promoted them once the emails were released. But Roger Stone is who I want to touch on quickly.
Stone has admitted to speaking to Guccifer 2.0; the online persona believed to be a front for Russian intelligence officials and behind the hacks on the DNC
In October, Roger Stone boasted about being in regular contact with Wikileaks Founder Julian Assange, through “mutual friends.” This boast appeared to be validated by his eerie knowledge of upcoming Wikileaks concerning Clinton Campaign Chairman John Podesta’s emails. Several months before it occurred, Stone tweeted about an October surprise involving Podesta that would disrupt Clinton’s campaign.
But this week, Natasha Bertrand of The Atlantic reveals that Stone actually had direct contacts with Wikileaks.
NEW: Roger Stone and WikiLeaks exchanged private Twitter messages during the election. They show, among other things, that WikiLeaks sought to keep its channel to Stone open after Trump won. My latest: https://t.co/bEHbCi3n26
Mueller has his sights set.
- After announcing they would no longer be selling assault rifles, Dick’s Sporting Goods released this statement.
At the same time, we implore our elected officials to enact common sense gun reform and pass the following regulations: https://t.co/J4OcB6XJnu
- President Trump held a meeting with members of Congress where he appeared to show interest in gun control measures but later backpedaled.
Wow. Trump just said the police should have taken away the Parkland shooter's guns, whether they have the right to or not. That sentiment is the very reason the NRA exists, and is everything they fight for. He is all over the place.
JUST NOW: "I like taking the guns early," President Trump says. "Take the guns first, go through due process second.
Obama: "We won't take your guns!" @NRA: "He lies! The Kenyan Muslim commie usurper lies!" Trump: "We're going to take your guns if we don't want you to have them, no matter what the law says." NRA: "Wait, what the…?" https://t.co/WWErMo5s4C
- President Trump took to Twitter and attacked Attorney General Jeff Sessions once more.
Why is A.G. Jeff Sessions asking the Inspector General to investigate potentially massive FISA abuse. Will take forever, has no prosecutorial power and already late with reports on Comey etc. Isn't the I.G. an Obama guy? Why not use Justice Department lawyers? DISGRACEFUL!
@realDonaldTrump Things Trump is quick to criticize: His own Attorney General His own Justice Department His own FBI His own intelligence community His political opponents His fellow Republicans His country's journalists Things Trump refuses to criticize: Vladimir Putin https://t.co/C8oIic9XfN
In a show of solidarity, Attorney General Jeff Sessions dined with his colleagues at the DOJ.
Sessions dined tonight with Rosenstein and Francisco, Axios reports. "The symbolism was unmistakable: The three top ranking officials in the Justice Dept… in a show of solidarity on the same day Trump is publicly and privately raging about Sessions." https://t.co/wRhSQJD0FL
We later learn the following detail about Mueller’s investigation, which makes one wonder whether Trump was reached out to for comment about this story and that is what triggered his morning tweet.
Mueller has homed in on Trump's effort to shame and fire Sessions in late July as a pivotal moment. Questions include: Was he trying to push Sessions out so he could seize control of the probe? Has brought witnesses back for additional interviews. https://t.co/XzHWfNZOyD
- More news of Jared Kushner’s corrupt business dealings.
Breaking News: One company lent the Kushners' business $184 million. Another put up $325 million. Both had held White House meetings with Jared Kushner. https://t.co/WczexQIZJw
- Bloomberg reported:
New York’s banking regulator has asked Deutsche Bank AG and a pair of local lenders to provide information about their relationships with Jared Kushner, his family and the Kushner Cos., according to people familiar with the matter.
The state’s Department of Financial Services sent letters to the German lender as well as Signature Bank and New York Community Bank last week, said one of the people, who described the letter. The request was broad, covering the banks’ relationships with Kushner and his business properties; documents and communications about certain loan applications; and descriptions of the banks’ processes for approving Kushner loans.
- HUD Secretary Ben Carson came under fire for overspending. The New York Times reported:
Department of Housing and Urban Development officials spent $31,000 on a new dining room set for Secretary Ben Carson’s office in late 2017 — just as the White House circulated its plans to slash HUD’s programs for the homeless, elderly and poor, according to federal procurement records.
The White House was reportedly furious about this story.
North Korea has been shipping supplies to the Syrian government that could be used in the production of chemical weapons, United Nations experts contend.
The evidence of a North Korean connection comes as the United States and other countries have accused the Syrian government of using chemical weapons on civilians, including recent attacks on civilians in the Damascus suburb of eastern Ghouta using what appears to have been chlorine gas.
The supplies from North Korea include acid-resistant tiles, valves and thermometers, according to a report by United Nations investigators. North Korean missile technicians have also been spotted working at known chemical weapons and missile facilities inside Syria, according to the report, which was written by a panel of experts who looked at North Korea’s compliance with United Nations sanctions.
- White House Communications Director resigned, setting off a firestorm within Donald Trump, piling on top of all of his other problems.
SCOOP – Hope Hicks resigning White House in coming weeks https://t.co/UsgOnYCDQx
A staunch Trump loyalist inside the administration texted me this just now (reacting to the Sessions and trade announcement craziness): "This is venturing into 'okay, this is just too much' territory.
Trump is hopping mad tonight. In a bad place. I think when we do the tick tocks we'll find this was a moment where he said "F it." (Though I think this one is still very TBD, and I assume at *some point* tonight John Kelly will locate the steering wheel again.)
The latest developments are weighing on Trump -Gates plea -Scandal plagued Kushner -Mueller probing what Trump may know about the hacked DNC emails (potential collusion), his efforts to fire Sessions, and also pre-2016 Russian business dealings Expect heightened unhinged antics https://t.co/BB9tr9Fs0j
Unfortunately, my prediction was correct…
Thursday, March 1
President Trump announced that he would be levying new tariffs on steel and aluminum imports.
Our Steel and Aluminum industries (and many others) have been decimated by decades of unfair trade and bad policy with countries from around the world. We must not let our country, companies and workers be taken advantage of any longer. We want free, fair and SMART TRADE!
When a country (USA) is losing many billions of dollars on trade with virtually every country it does business with, trade wars are good, and easy to win. Example, when we are down $100 billion with a certain country and they get cute, don't trade anymore-we win big. It's easy!
In an almost universally panned move, Donald Trump finally acted on one of his more ill-advised campaign promises by mandating tariffs on steel and aluminum. As a consequence, we have Canada livid at this development and the EU drafting retaliatory measures against the main exports of states which put the current Republican leadership in office. Meanwhile, in his typical style, The Donald proclaims that trade wars are easy to win and good for the economy because he seems to inhabit some bizarro world where no nation can survive not selling something to the United States. All in all, it’s an ugly mess that will do us absolutely no good, and even worse, this all started not as a result of a policy debate, but because Trump was angry and needed to lash out.
We learned the following day that this move occurred out of sheer frustration over his chaotic administration. This led him to take the fringe advice of Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross and adviser Peter Navarro over his economic adviser Gary Cohn.
According to two officials, Trump’s decision to launch a potential trade war was born out of anger at other simmering issues and the result of a broken internal process that has failed to deliver him consensus views that represent the best advice of his team.
On Wednesday evening, the president became “unglued,” in the words of one official familiar with the president’s state of mind.
A trifecta of events had set him off in a way that two officials said they had not seen before: Hope Hicks’ testimony to lawmakers investigating Russia’s interference in the 2016 election, conduct by his embattled attorney generaland the treatment of his son-in-law by his chief of staff.
Trump, the two officials said, was angry and gunning for a fight, and he chose a trade war, spurred on by Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross and Peter Navarro, the White House director for trade — and against longstanding advice from his economic chair Gary Cohn and Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin.
- Keep in mind everything I just said in the previous day about Wikileaks and the Trump campaign. Now, check out this news.
EXCLUSIVE: Mueller is assembling case for criminal charges against Russians who carried out hacking and leaking of private information designed to hurt Democrats in 2016 election, multiple officials familiar with the matter tell @NBCNews. https://t.co/b78XSHuFRv
The incoming indictments for hacking/leaking democratic emails, along with the 13 Russian entities indicted for their troll operation, covers a lot of ground in Russia's interference. At that point, the underlying crimes are established. Colluders are then co-conspirators. https://t.co/77lXCNua7Y
By establishing the underlying Russian crimes, Mueller makes collusion a crime I don't typically tweet my speculation (I save that for my column) but two weeks ago-after the 13 Russian entities were indicted-I wrote this. It was clear hacking was next: https://t.co/i6dhfc6dqV
- Republican Georgia lawmakers punished Delta Airlines for standing up to the NRA. USA Today reported:
Georgia lawmakers approved a bill on Thursday that stripped out a tax break proposal highly coveted by Delta Air Lines — the most stinging punishment that America’s pro-gun forces have leveled so far on one of the many corporations recalibrating their positions on firearms after the Florida high school massacre.
The $50 million sales tax exemption on jet fuel that was sought by Delta, one of Georgia’s biggest employers, had been included in a broader tax-relief bill. But this week, a number of Georgia Republicans, including Lt. Gov. Casey Cagle, sought to remove the perk as retribution for Delta’s decision to end a promotional discount for members of the National Rifle Association.
- Another shake up was on the horizon. If John Bolton replaces McMaster, the chances of war with Iran significantly increases.
EXCLUSIVE: The White House is preparing to replace H.R. McMaster as national security adviser as early as next month, according to five people familiar with the discussions. More now on @DeadlineWH on @MSNBC. https://t.co/4nIe6POiiQ
- An escalation from President Vladimir Putin.
NEW THIS MORNING: Russia has tested a new generation of nuclear weapons, according to Vladimir Putin. They allegedly include a nuclear-powered cruise missile that he said has unlimited range. https://t.co/cFXBqQ0BYO
- Some more news related to Trump, Russia, and the NRA.
NEW: Russian politician Alexander Torshin methodically cultivated ties with leaders of the National Rifle Association, and documented efforts in real time over six years to leverage those connections and gain access deeper into American politics https://t.co/vWPylKOGRj
These revelations come amid news that the FBI is investigating whether Torshin, the deputy governor of the Bank of Russia, illegally funneled money to the National Rifle Association to assist the Trump campaign in 2016, McClatchy reported in January. https://t.co/Tffcc6fnO1
'I saw him in Nashville' in April 2015, Torshin added later, the date and site of the NRA's 2015 convention. Trump gave a speech at that convention, the outlines of which would become familiar as his stump speech throughout the 2016 presidential campaign."https://t.co/8CO4eudbQc
- After one meeting with the NRA, President Trump appeared to be changing his tune.
Good (Great) meeting in the Oval Office tonight with the NRA!
I had a great meeting tonight with @realDonaldTrump & @VP. We all want safe schools, mental health reform and to keep guns away from dangerous people. POTUS & VPOTUS support the Second Amendment, support strong due process and don't want gun control. #NRA #MAGA
- By the end of the day, we had quite a week of Mueller moves to summarize.
So far this week we learned Mueller is probing: -Trump's pre-2016 Russian business dealings -Trump's efforts to fire Sessions -Russians who hacked & leaked Dem emails (charges incoming) -Whether Trump knew about and/or coordinated the release of Dem emails Mueller is moving
By the next day, that list would grow.
Friday, March 2
Conflicted Kushner = Criminal Kushner?
We’ve known that Kushner was a subject of the Russia investigation for his involvement in the June 2016 Trump Tower, Hillary Clinton “dirt,” meeting with Manafort, Trump Jr., and Russian operatives and his efforts to set up a back channel with Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak. But today we learned that Kushner is under scrutiny for another reason related to his conflicts of interest:
NEW: Special Counsel Mueller wants to know if Jared Kushner's business meetings with Qataris and others during the presidential transition influenced Trump policy, witnesses and other people familiar with the investigation tell @NBCNews. https://t.co/tPxRI7L3hI
Federal investigators are scrutinizing whether any of Jared Kushner’s business discussions with foreigners during the presidential transition later shaped White House policies in ways designed to either benefit or retaliate against those he spoke with, according to witnesses and other people familiar with the investigation.
Special counsel Robert Mueller’s team has asked witnesses about Kushner’s efforts to secure financing for his family’s real estate properties, focusing specifically on his discussions during the transition with individuals from Qatar and Turkey, as well as Russia, China and the United Arab Emirates, according to witnesses who have been interviewed as part of the investigation into possible collusion between Russia and the Trump campaign to sway the 2016 election.
As part of the scrutiny of Kushner’s discussions with Turks, federal investigators have reached out to Turkish nationals for information on Kushner through the FBI’s legal attache office in Ankara, according to two people familiar with the matter. Separately, Qatari government officials visiting the U.S. in late January and early February considered turning over to Mueller what they believe is evidence of efforts by their country’s Persian Gulf neighbors in coordination with Kushner to hurt their country, four people familiar with the matter said.
- A large amount of documents from the Russian troll farm were leaked.
- Either excellent timing or insider trading…
BREAKING: Trump confidant dumped millions in steel-related stock last week, days before tariff announcement https://t.co/HL4wYHivLY
Over the weekend….
- We learned that President Trump’s beef with LaVar Ball was based on lies.
Wow. Trump had absolutely nothing to do with this. It was already resolved before he reached out. How delusional do you have to be to not only lie about this, but carry on a public beef, begging for thank yous for something you didn't do @realDonaldTrump?https://t.co/rW3LUf5p6f
Here are tweets from a man who is supposed to focused on being president Not only did he beg for a thank you for something he didn't do, he then berated LaVar Ball as an "ungrateful fool" & said he should've left his son in jail…
I'm not surprised by Trump carrying on a lie into public discourse and defending it like it's reality (inauguration crowd, Obama birtherism, wiretapping, etc), what continues to astound me is @realDonaldTrump's capacity to actually believe his own lies. That is dangerous.
- Florida inaction.
BREAKING: Amendment to ban assault weapons just failed in the Florida senate. Immediately afterward, members stood to observe a moment of silence in honor of the #MarjoryStonemanDouglasHighSchool victims, at the request of @FLGovScott https://t.co/UVz0g0YI6r
- Trump tried to defend his tariffs by ratcheting up the rhetoric against our own allies.
If the E.U. wants to further increase their already massive tariffs and barriers on U.S. companies doing business there, we will simply apply a Tax on their Cars which freely pour into the U.S. They make it impossible for our cars (and more) to sell there. Big trade imbalance!
Vladimir Putin displayed a video of nukes heading to Florida this week. Silence from @realDonaldTrump. Trump is quicker to start beef with our own allies than make even one direct condemnation of Vladimir Putin. Week after week, Trump gives more signals that he's compromised. https://t.co/T8l5MhUSIp
- President Trump racheted up the authoritarian rhetoric.
Trump on XI Jinping's consolidation of power "He's now president for life. President for life. And he's great," Trump said. "And look, he was able to do that. I think it's great. Maybe we'll give that a shot some day." The words of an aspiring autocrat https://t.co/OuGcXtFhVW
- And a Washington Post report detailed the full extent of President Donald Trump’s deterioting mindset.
This is the most troubling report on Trump's state of mind I've read so far this presidency. https://t.co/VADHDqWZVa
Inside the White House, aides over the past week have described an air of anxiety and volatility — with an uncontrollable commander in chief at its center.
These are the darkest days in at least half a year, they say, and they worry just how much further President Trump and his administration may plunge into unrest and malaise before they start to recover. As one official put it: “We haven’t bottomed out.”
Trump is now a president in transition, at times angry and increasingly isolated. He fumes in private that just about every time he looks up at a television screen, the cable news headlines are trumpeting yet another scandal. He voices frustration that son-in-law Jared Kushner has few on-air defenders. He revives old grudges. And he confides to friends that he is uncertain about whom to trust.
Not very comforting words. These are quite the times we’re living in but with the surge in activism and political engagement currently taking place within the American psyche, I believe we’ll fix this.
We have to.