A Complete Breakdown Of Donald Trump’s 64th Unpresidented Week As POTUS
“As [Mussolini] was consolidating his power, he said, ‘if you pluck a chicken one feather at a time, nobody notices.’ And so, I have been concerned about the feather-plucking that is going on in the United States…I think [Trump] is the least democratic president that I’ve observed.” — The first female Secretary of State Madeleine Albright discussing her new book “Fascism: A Warning” on Pod Save The World
This was the week President Trump’s personal lawyer Michael Cohen (who’s under criminal investigation) had his offices, home, and hotel raided by the FBI. It was the week Speaker Paul Ryan announced his upcoming retirement. It was the week the US, UK, and France struck Syria. It was the week Americans sat on the edge of their Twitter timelines, wondering when President Trump was going to make yet another attempt to obstruct the Russia investigation and fire Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein.
But it was also the week Madeleine Albright (who fled Czechoslovakia with her parents in March 1939, just ten days after the Nazis invaded) released her book on fascism. A book that serves as a powerful reminder of what’s at stake and how today’s challenges echo the historic, never-ending tug of war between democracy and autocracy. Between decency and depravity. Between truth and fallacy.
President Trump has relentlessly eroded democratic norms, or as Italian Dictator Benito Mussolini put it, ‘plucked a chicken one feather at a time’ since the day he announced his candidacy, and this week was no different.
Although President Trump is far from the autocrats of the past (both in intellectual capacity and the fact he doesn’t hold absolute power), our responsibility in the media is to make sure everyone notices when the feathers of democracy are being plucked before it’s too late.
Each time President Trump calls honest reporting “fake news,” and his administration empowers thinly-veiled propaganda like Fox News and Sinclair Broadcast Group, another feather is plucked.
Each time President Trump brazenly calls for one of his political opponents to be jailed and it’s met with less outrage as if it’s being normalized, another feather is plucked.
When President Trump called a lawful federal investigation into Russian interference in our democracy (an investigation he is a subject of) an “attack on our country,” another feather is plucked.
When President Trump convinces his base that Republican investigators in the Justice Department, multiple judges, the Intelligence Community, all Democrats, and the media are executing a “deep state” conspiracy against him, another feather is plucked.
When President Trump fired then-FBI Director James Comey and told Russian officials in the Oval Office the very next day “I just fired the head of the FBI. He was crazy, a real nut job. I faced great pressure because of Russia. That’s taken off. I’m not under investigation.” — several feathers are plucked.
While this is all occurring, the Republican Party remains complicit as long as they can continue to get their agenda passed and engineer minority rule through voter suppression, gerrymandering, and coordinated propaganda.
Once we notice how many feathers have already been plucked, it’s our responsibility as Americans to vote with such resounding volume that our collective voice is too powerful to be suppressed.
Then, and only then, can the chicken be placed in more responsible hands.
Here’s a complete breakdown of Donald Trump’s 64th week as POTUS:
64th Weekend (April 7–8)
Syrian Dictator Bashar al-Assad committed yet another chemical attack on his own people.
Disturbing reports tonight of some kind of poison gas attack in the Damascus suburb of Eastern Ghouta in Syria that has killed as many as 110 people so far. Some shocking photos of dead children, recalling the 2013 attack, in the same location.
Here is one of the horrifying videos coming out of Douma in Syria tonight showing the aftermath of what seems to be a chemical gas attack. These people were hiding underground from the bombing, leaving them more vulnerable to gas. https://t.co/mm9jgBZ4V8
Russia and Assad denied the use of chemical weapons, but U.S. intel begged to differ. The BBC reported:
US intelligence agencies believe the Syrian government struck Khan Sheikhoun in response to a rebel offensive in northern Hama province, and that senior military leaders were probably involved in planning the attack.
US military radar systems monitored Syrian Air Force Sukhoi Su-22 fixed-wing aircraft take off from the government-controlled Shayrat airbase on 4 April and fly over Khan Sheikhoun on two occasions — at 06:37 (03:37 GMT) and 06:46.
Officials told NBC News that the radar systems picked up flashes on the ground, indicating that ordnance had been dropped on the rebel-held town about the same time that the first casualties with breathing difficulties were reported.
This came after President Trump, contradicting the Defense Department’s plans, announced his intention to withdraw from Syria —which is now a problematic proposition, to say the least. President Trump then made his first direct verbal attack on President Putin.
Many dead, including women and children, in mindless CHEMICAL attack in Syria. Area of atrocity is in lockdown and encircled by Syrian Army, making it completely inaccessible to outside world. President Putin, Russia and Iran are responsible for backing Animal Assad. Big price…
to pay. Open area immediately for medical help and verification. Another humanitarian disaster for no reason whatsoever. SICK!
If President Obama had crossed his stated Red Line In The Sand, the Syrian disaster would have ended long ago! Animal Assad would have been history!
Trump and his supporters had claimed last year's missile strike in effect enforced the red line as Obama had not. This new chemical attack shows that strike had little real effect. https://t.co/OrLTP1aSc6
Trump's true Syria policy is finally clear: pull out, do nothing, and complain from the sidelines. I've never seen America so impotent on the world stage. https://t.co/6j95eFbNvK
John Bolton’s first day as national security adviser was set to begin the following day.
- Trump’s National Security Council spokesman Michael Anton announced he was ending his tenure at the White House. Anton was brought in by then-National Security Adviser, now-convicted felon, Michael Flynn but spent most of his time as a spokesman for former National Security Adviser H.R. McMaster.
Trump went on quite a few tweetstorms:
- Tweeted about the fire at Trump Tower which killed an art collector (see that there is no condolence message and only a reference to a “well-built building”). We later learn that the building did not have required sprinkler systems, which he lobbied against.
- Attacked his own Justice Department again.
- Repeated China trade deficit lie.
- Praised Scott Pruitt.
- Said him and Xi Jinping will “always be friends” lol.
- Attacked American media.
Very stable genius.
64th Week (April 9–13)
Monday, April 9
Raiders Of The Lost Cohen
On Monday, news broke that would send the president into a fury and could potentially have huge legal ramifications for him.
Breaking News: The FBI raided the office of President Trump's personal lawyer, seizing records on many topics, including payments to Stormy Daniels https://t.co/RsLccMlias
🚨 Michael Cohen's office raided 🚨 "Federal prosecutors in Manhattan obtained the search warrant after receiving a referral from the special counsel… The seized records include communications between Mr. Trump and Mr. Cohen." Cohen has been Trump's lawyer for years… https://t.co/cTB8XTpNnO
But then, we found out it was far more than just his office that was raided, and we learned a little bit more about what was seized (we would learn much more later in the week.)
Reports -Michael Cohen's offices, home, & hotel raided -NY attorneys got warrants after Rosenstein-approved referral from Mueller -Includes communications between Trump & Cohen Cohen knows of -Stormy Daniels -Trump Tower Moscow -Ukraine peace deal -Potential Trump org misconduct
MORE: Michael Cohen is reportedly being investigated for possible bank fraud and campaign finance violations Note: Michael Cohen isn't just Trump's lawyer. He's been executive Vice-President of the Trump Organization & co-President of Trump Entertainment https://t.co/yxsms3JgAB
Among the material seized: tax documents. https://t.co/pWP0BccPeG
Special Counsel Robert Robert Mueller found evidence of a potential crime and brought it to Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein who then decided it would be better handled by the US prosecutors in the Southern District of New York (Preet Bharara’s old district).
Bloomberg: DAG Rosenstein told Mueller to refer the evidence gathered to the U.S. attorney for the Southern District of New York https://t.co/q3CzOr3vg4
LINT (short thread). This is significant and the "Mueller is on a witch hunt" camp should take note. Remember that Mueller has to get Rosenstein's approval for significant steps taken in his investigation. https://t.co/RTywy1nv7V
As many rightfully pointed out, a raid of this nature could’ve only been approved by a judge if there was significant evidence that would create probable cause and perhaps a fear Cohen may destroy evidence.
Wowza. They must have some reason to believe he would destroy evidence, or they'd just send a subpoena. https://t.co/Pjk5hBNqTh
The nation anxiously awaited President Trump’s reaction.
In light of this Michael Cohen news, the only thing I know for certain is that we are about to see @realDonaldTrump at his most unhinged yet.
Unfortunately…I was right. Surrounded by his national security team at a meeting where President Trump was supposed to discuss Syria, he went on a tirade attacking the Russia investigation, Rosenstein, and Mueller.
JUST IN: President Trump responds to question "why don't you just fire Mueller?" "Well, I think it's a disgrace what's going on. We'll see what happens … many people have said you should fire him. Again, they found nothing." https://t.co/1k1bkdb7LZ
Breaking: Trump responds to Michael Cohen raid "It's a disgrace… it's an attack on our country" https://t.co/TcuHJ6y8Fb
The President of the United States just spoke more forcefully against a lawful federal investigation than he ever has about Russia's interference in American democracy. https://t.co/lSNt2eNqOc
Here are a few terms the President of the United States used today to refer to the FBI lawfully executing search warrants: "They broke into the office" "Disgraceful situation" "An attack on our country" "Attack on what we all stand for" "Total witch hunt" "Ridiculous" "Disgrace
While this wild story unraveled, Fox News covered the issues that really matter.
Hold up friends, there's even more. Imagine being the person that had to write this segment. Well, it worked. I'm not thinking about Michael Cohen anymore 😂 https://t.co/KnIVEnDAoz
Regardless of the president and his supporters’ spin, this was a new stage in the many investigations pertaining to the president. With attorneys outside of Mueller’s team handling this, it would be harder for President Trump to obstruct (more on that later.) One thing is for sure; this is all eating away at President Trump.
Trump is angrier than he has been at any point in the many fuming news cycles, according to two people close to him. What that ultimately translates to is unclear.
- President Trump made a promise for a major decision on Syria within 48 hours. It came later than that, of course.
President Donald J. Trump calls the suspected chemical attack in Syria "atrocious" and says, "we'll be making some major decisions over the next 24 to 48 hours" https://t.co/PCNwdDWAuF https://t.co/qxKqe0X4xF
- President Trump finalized his Trump University fraud settlement.
The $25 million Trump University settlement has been finalized
How dare you all question the integrity of the president on the same day *checks notes* his fake university's fraud settlement was finalized https://t.co/EdzFRK6CrC
- EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt came under increased fire for his unethical behavior. The Atlantic revealed that an email contradicted Pruitt’s denial of any knowledge surrounding a controversial pay raise he gave to two of his favorite aides after the White House denied the raises.
An email that suggests Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Scott Pruitt personally signed off on a controversial pay raise for a favored aide last month is roiling the agency.
In the last few days, top staffers became aware of an email exchange between one of two aides who received such a raise and the agency’s human resources division. In mid-March, Sarah Greenwalt, senior counsel to the administrator, wrote to HR in an attempt to confirm that her pay raise of $56,765 was being processed. Greenwalt “definitively stated that Pruitt approves and was supportive of her getting a raise,” according to an administration official who has seen the email chain
The federal government’s top voice on ethics has sent a letter to the Environmental Protection Agency outlining areas of concern regarding agency chief Scott Pruitt.
The pointed letter from David Apol, the acting director and general counsel of the Office of Government Ethics, summarizes reports of Pruitt’s conduct, including a rental agreement with a lobbyist whose husband’s firm lobbies the EPA as well as EPA spending on Pruitt’s travel and security.
- The CBO released a report that reflects poorly on the fiscal responsibility of the GOP’s tax cut plan and undercuts their argument that the plan would sufficiently boost the US economy to offset the costs. Bloomberg reported:
The U.S. budget deficit will surpass $1 trillion by 2020, two years sooner than previously estimated, as tax cuts and spending increases signed by President Donald Trump do little to boost long-term economic growth, according to the Congressional Budget Office.
Spending will exceed revenue by $804 billion in the fiscal year through September, jumping from a projected $563 billion shortfall forecast in June, the non-partisan arm of Congress said in a report Monday. In fiscal 2019, the deficit will reach $981 billion, compared with an earlier projection of $689 billion.
The nation’s budget gap was only set to surpass the trillion-dollar level in fiscal 2022 under CBO’s report last June.
- Former Trump Campaign Chairman Paul Manafort was denied bail again as his lawyers moved to keep key evidence against Manafort out of court.
Tuesday, April 10
After President Trump’s rant (not the good kind with two t’s) attacking the Russia investigation, remarking on Rosenstein, and openly pondering whether or not he’d fire Mueller, everyone expected to see reports that he was considering firing one of the investigators. But we didn’t expect to get two reports…
🚨 @nytimes-Trump tried to fire Mueller in December after reports of a Deutsche Bank subpoena (https://t.co/kJ30XegitD) @CNN-Trump is considering firing Rosenstein and reining in Mueller's probe. @SenateMajLdr @SpeakerRyan…do your job & #ProtectMueller https://t.co/xGEeDifyNt
There have been others https://t.co/8PCjQL3U97
The New York Times reported that after reports of the potential Deutsche Bank subpoena into his associates’ finances, President Trump freaked out and tried to fire Mueller in December but didn’t do so after learning the subpoena was about his son-in-law Jared Kushner, not him. This marks the second reported time he tried to fire Mueller, and it explains why Democrats were so worried he’d try and do it in the month of December. But of course, as we know, President Trump can’t fire Mueller directly, he’d have to fire Mueller’s boss, Rosenstein. Which is where the CNN report comes in.
Trump doesn't have to fire Mueller to obstruct his probe As @AshaRangappa_ notes-if Rosenstein is fired his replacement can challenge Mueller's actions &/or limit the probe's scope If Congress really wants to protect the probe, they'll beef up their bill https://t.co/0BNcrygfeC
Reupping my piece from December to make sure we keep our eyes on *all* the balls in play https://t.co/xWzSf937WD
Important to remember Trump doesn't have to get rid of Mueller to obstruct the Russia investigation. If he replaces Rosenstein with a sycophant, that new Deputy AG can intervene and challenge Mueller's actions, prematurely end the probe, and/or limit its scope. https://t.co/iFnIugqRCf
Firing Rosenstein could prove to be the more dangerous and strategically intelligent move on President Trump’s part. It would receive less political fallout from the GOP. The replacement could then rein in Mueller’s probe by limiting its scope, challenge Mueller’s moves, and/or make an effort to prematurely end the probe.
This is a great thread on the order of succession and what would happen if Trump went full Saturday Night Massacre:
Even if Trump can fire Mueller directly – I doubt he can legally, but he might try – there's no value in firing *only* Mueller. Rosenstein could just appoint a replacement, and the investigation would continue. Let's examine what Trump might do instead. 1/
The Senate is currently moving on a measure that would give added protections to Mueller if a move was made to try and fire him, but it doesn’t go far enough to protect Rosenstein or put protections in place for Mueller if his replacement meddles in the probe.
I'm glad this is moving forward but I don't think it goes far enough. Sure, it gives Mueller some safeguards surrounding his firing, but it doesn't look like it has protections in the case of a Rosenstein replacement meddling with the scope of the probe. https://t.co/ekRxgxP4mq
I'll say it again: the Mueller protection bill does not go far enough. Rosenstein is the smarter move on Trump's end. Trump may claim since Rosenstein is a witness in the obstruction case, he has to be recused or fired. Less political fallout and replacement can restrict probe https://t.co/wIhNFWP1OU
@frenchrevtoo I agree. As the bill progresses, we need to pressure lawmakers to make some additions. At the very least, give the Special Counsel the ability to challenge a decision regarding the investigation by the AG or Deputy AG and take it through the review process outlined in this bill.
Firing Rosenstein should be treated the same as firing Mueller. Period.
Former Deputy Attorney General Sally Yates chimed in over the weekend.
Make no mistake about what's at stake here: firing Rosenstein would be the same unconscionable assault on the rule of law as firing Mueller. He controls scope of the Mueller investigation and what becomes public. Both D's and R's should reject sham excuses to fire Rosenstein.1/2
Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Senator Chuck Grassley (R-IA) said firing Mueller would be “suicide” for President Trump and Senator Lindsay Graham (R-SC) said it would be the beginning of the end of Trump’s presidency.
“Whether we shall continue to be a government of laws and not of men is now for Congress and ultimately the American people [to decide].” — Watergate Special Prosecutor Archibald Cox after being fired by President Richard Nixon (October 20, 1973)
- President Trump sent some tweets…
Attorney-client privilege is dead!
@realDonaldTrump Someone hasn't heard about the crime-fraud exception "Communications in furtherance of a contemplated or ongoing crime or fraud" are not protected under attorney-client privilege Via @ABAesq https://t.co/yg5sireTbZ https://t.co/w0k61BQ53y
A TOTAL WITCH HUNT!!!
- Among the evidence obtained from Michael Cohen were records pertaining to the hush money payments to Stormy Daniels and Karen McDougal.
Breaking News: FBI agents who raided the office of President Trump's lawyer sought records of payments to 2 women who claim they had affairs with Trump https://t.co/n2n80Z7pPA
WASHINGTON — The special counsel is investigating a payment made to President Trump’s foundation by a Ukrainian steel magnate for a talk during the campaign, according to three people briefed on the matter, as part of a broader examination of streams of foreign money to Mr. Trump and his associates in the years leading up to the election.
Investigators subpoenaed the Trump Organization this year for an array of records about business with foreign nationals. In response, the company handed over documents about a $150,000 donation that the Ukrainian billionaire, Victor Pinchuk, made in September 2015 to the Donald J. Trump Foundation in exchange for a 20-minute appearance by Mr. Trump that month through a video link to a conference in Kiev.
Michael D. Cohen, the president’s personal lawyer whose office and hotel room were raided on Monday in an apparently unrelated case, solicited the donation. The contribution from Mr. Pinchuk, who has sought closer ties for Ukraine to the West, was the largest the foundation received in 2015 from anyone besides Mr. Trump himself.
President Trump attacked this story the following day, only to be called out by Maggie Haberman.
The Failing New York Times wrote another phony story. It was political pundit Doug Schoen, not a Ukrainian businessman, who asked me to do a short speech by phone (Skype), hosted by Doug, in Ukraine. I was very positive about Ukraine-another negative to the Fake Russia C story!
Political pundit Doug Schoen, who works for that Ukrainian businessman, arranged the speech …as our story says. https://t.co/JCr0CYoPI5
Search warrant documents used by special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigators reveal how agents zeroed in on potential criminal activity related to Paul Manafort’s time as Donald Trump’s campaign chairman.
The documents, used to obtain a search warrant in building the case against Manafort, were revealed in a court filing late Monday night. Manafort has pleaded not guilty in two federal cases, and the charges he faces do not include allegations about his time on the campaign.
- Unsurprisingly, it was reported that President Trump is now “less inclined” to sit down for an interview with Special Counsel Robert Mueller.
- The Trump-appointed US attorney in the Southern District of New York, Geoffrey Berman, is recused from the investigation into Michael Cohen.
- Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg faced questions in front of the Senate’s Commerce and Judiciary committees. Although it was clear some of the lawmakers had a limited knowledge of how the tech platform functions, it was overall a meaningful hearing about user data and how Facebook will handle their fake news/propaganda problem.
As #Zuckerberg faces Senate questions, their missteps are far beyond mishandling data. Facebook is a home for fake news & propaganda intended to delude, distract, & divide Americans. Some of the most popular sites are run by people in foreign nations…https://t.co/t433XYRqxp
Minus Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX).
Of all the important issues to discuss, Senator Cruz used his time to question #Zuckerberg about whether Facebook is censoring conservatives and asked the political leanings of some of Facebook's employees. You sir, are a partisan hack @tedcruz
I had some dumb jokes. Can’t blame me. Levity is required to maintain sanity these days.
Aaron Sorkin made The Social Network entirely too soon. https://t.co/gTtN6htBws
Zuckerberg clearly should've sent Jesse Eisenberg in his place. https://t.co/ixeDTsilS8
- Handwritten notes from Dana Boente, former acting attorney general now-FBI general counsel, corroborated much of Comey’s memos.
Exclusive: Handwritten notes we believe were written by Dana Boente on his talking with James Comey about the "cloud" of the Russia investigation:
@MaddowBlog Dana Boente's notes outlined on #Maddow corroborated much of Comey's testimony. If you want to take a walk down obstruction memory lane, this timeline is worth your time https://t.co/nNttbKgvhS
- The Associated Press reported:
U.S. President Donald Trump’s company appealed directly to Panama’s president to intervene in its fight over control of a luxury hotel, even invoking a treaty between the two countries, in what ethics experts say was a blatant mingling of Trump’s business and government interests.
- John Bolton made more moves. Tom Bossert resigned as Trump’s homeland security adviser upon Bolton’s request.
NEWS: Bossert is essentially being fired. He is resigning at the request of new National Security Adviser John Bolton, I'm told.
- Fox News seemed to push Trump to fire Mueller.
Very Revealing Framing from Fox: Trump facing "most serious and consequential personnel decision of his life tonight". i.e., whether to fire DOJ leadership and Bob Mueller. https://t.co/WkzN8JR1NZ
This is the President's primary source of information and advice communicating to him that an impeachable offense is merely a staffing decision. Fox is a cancer on America. https://t.co/Mc7Tp0ELaK
- Sinclair Broadcast Group continued their propaganda efforts.
Sinclair is now using their local TV stations to attack CNN. A link on top of station homepages goes to a Sinclair YouTube video. "Never have they done something like this," a staffer tells me. "I'm mortified." https://t.co/Zx5k6MYcWp
Sinclair’s Chairman David D Smith met with the White House to pitch them new technology and effectively pledge allegiance. The Guardian reported:
The chairman of Sinclair Broadcast Group met Donald Trump at the White House during a visit to pitch a potentially lucrative new product to administration officials, the Guardian has learned.
“I just wanted them to be aware of the technology,” Smith said in an interview. He also recalled an earlier meeting with Trump during the 2016 election campaign, where he told the future president: “We are here to deliver your message.”
Wednesday, April 11
Goodbye Paul Ryan
After a career full of attempts at “entitlement reform” and pushing bills that would harm the most vulnerable Americans, House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) announced that he would not be seeking reelection.
AXIOS SCOOP: Paul Ryan confidants say he's not running again. He plans to tell colleagues today. https://t.co/5MZr4teH0S
Paul Ryan absolutely succeeded in transferring hundreds of billions of dollars into the pockets of capital and for that he will be handsomely rewarded.
Paul Ryan leaves the House intelligence committee in tatters and trillion-dollar deficits as far as the eye can see
This is Paul Ryan's legacy and don't let anyone try and paint it differently. https://t.co/VQfq864Mtp
Paul Ryan's a bit like John Kelly in that the media started out with a caricature of him-in Ryan's case, as a wonkish, reasonable, deficit hawk and fiscal conservative-that was pretty impervious to contrary evidence.
This entirely. And the Paul Ryan gauzy fiction held through dozens of votes on his budgets, which would have decimated the poor, the sick and the elderly. His contempt for the social safety net, and the fact that his numbers never added never marred his "boy wonder" image. https://t.co/agWBHb29aL
Add “enabler of President Trump” to his legacy.
Speaker Paul Ryan is a truly good man, and while he will not be seeking re-election, he will leave a legacy of achievement that nobody can question. We are with you Paul!
Ryan’s retirement announcement followed a wave of GOP retirements, and certainly won’t be the last.
Rep. Dennis Ross, R-Fla, informed staff this morning he is retiring. https://t.co/GM24cxSbmp
- President Trump took to Twitter early Wednesday morning. From threatening a strike on Syria to attacking the Russia investigation, it was a doozy.
Russia vows to shoot down any and all missiles fired at Syria. Get ready Russia, because they will be coming, nice and new and "smart!" You shouldn't be partners with a Gas Killing Animal who kills his people and enjoys it!
@realDonaldTrump "One of the things I think you've noticed about me is militarily I don't like to say where I'm going and what I'm doing," President Trump said in April 2017 in remarks about Syria Here's President Trump today, April 2018, in remarks about Syria 👇 https://t.co/pw6o6DjibK
Then, President Trump appeared to soften his tone?
Our relationship with Russia is worse now than it has ever been, and that includes the Cold War. There is no reason for this. Russia needs us to help with their economy, something that would be very easy to do, and we need all nations to work together. Stop the arms race?
Dude just threatened to bomb them and now's all "Come on, baby, why you make me act like this, huh?" https://t.co/6Yb52hioEX
President Trump then tried to blame the tense relationship between the US and Russia on the Russia investigation. Trump notably didn’t cite Russia’s interference in our democracy, annexation of Ukraine, hacking of US infrastructure, or use of a nerve agent in the UK for justification of poor US-Russia relations.
Much of the bad blood with Russia is caused by the Fake & Corrupt Russia Investigation, headed up by the all Democrat loyalists, or people that worked for Obama. Mueller is most conflicted of all (except Rosenstein who signed FISA & Comey letter). No Collusion, so they go crazy!
We have a sitting US President who is ignorant of decades-long "bad blood" with a hostile foreign government, and doesn't see election meddling as a cause for further contention. Cause you know… https://t.co/s3tRoxcUtb
- The New York Times reported even more details about what was sought in the Cohen raids. The records are in reference to potential attempts to suppress the reports of the Access Hollywood “grab ‘em by the pussy” tape, which would be in violation of election law.
The FBI sought records on the "Access Hollywood" tape in its raid and any evidence that President Trump's lawyer suppressed damaging reports https://t.co/jj5xfLbaUL
- The Mueller protection bills I referenced the previous day merged, but as I said, doesn’t have protections for Mueller if a Rosenstein replacement meddles in the probe.
NEW: Sens. Tillis & Coons have merged their special counsel protections bill with Sens. Graham & Booker's proposal to make "one unified, bipartisan bill." Here's what the Special Counsel Independence & Integrity Act does:
- Fox News continued…
Joe diGenova on Fox calls for Sessions to fire Rosenstein "tomorrow morning" and calls Comey a "dirty cop." (This is the segment the president wanted everyone to watch.)
Are folks not getting that this is all coordinated? Bannon/diGenova/Dobbs etc https://t.co/EcDxnl1wY7
- Mueller asked a Virginia judge to issue 35 subpoenas for witnesses regarding Manafort’s trial.
- Bloomberg reported:
President Donald Trump personally ordered the Department of Justice to hire a former White House official who departed after he was caught up in a controversy over the release of intelligence material to a member of Congress, according to people familiar with the matter.
Ezra Cohen-Watnick, who was forced out of the National Security Council last year, will advise Attorney General Jeff Sessions on national security matters. He left the White House in August for a job at Oracle Corp. following reports that he had shown House Intelligence Chairman Devin Nunes classified documents.
- The Associated Press reported:
The Trump administration is considering a plan that would allow states to require certain food stamp recipients to undergo drug testing, handing a win to conservatives who’ve long sought ways to curb the safety net program.
- Trump judicial nominee Wendy Vitter drew controversy.
Most Americans unequivocally agree that segregation is unjust, unconstitutional, & inhumane… Not Trump's lifetime judicial nominee Wendy Vitter At her confirmation hearing, Vitter refused to explicitly agree with the ruling of Brown v Board of Education https://t.co/KrXLQVhCVo
- In a letter to Senator Ron Wyden (R-OR), the NRA disclosed that they have received donations from 23 Russians. This came after Steven Hart, an outside counsel for the NRA, previously stated they only received one Russian donation. Speaking of the NRA, Clapback of the week goes to Rantt’s Managing Editor Remy Anne.
We have entire stores of these items here in America what should we do https://t.co/sIF4XIqsn5
When someone kills 58 people in 10 minutes from 32 floors up with a pair of scissors, I'll be first in line to rally for greater hardware tool regulation Until then, you should probably find some less asinine talking points https://t.co/lklraK3kgd
- President Trump hosted Republican leaders at the White House.
Honored to have Republican Congressional Leadership join me at the @WhiteHouse this evening. Lots to discuss as we continue MAKING AMERICA GREAT AGAIN!
I feel like if I stare at this photo for too long I'll die in 7 days https://t.co/07LZ9LBu3e
Thursday, April 12
More Hush Money
The drip, drip, drip of salacious details about President Trump continued. We learned that the National Enquirer, who the Federal Election Commission is investigating for allegedly paying Karen McDougal $150,000 for a story about her affair with Donald Trump which they never published, paid for another story.
In late 2015, the parent company of the National Enquirer, AMI-whose CEO, David Pecker, is a close ally of Trump's-paid a former Trump Tower doorman $30,000 for the rights to a shaky claim, then added what sources said was an unusual $1,000,000 penalty if he ever disclosed it.
NEW: Trump doorman Dino Sajudin releases statement: "I was instructed not to criticize President Trump's former housekeeper due to a prior relationship she had with President Trump which produced a child." (via @soniamoghe)
@mj_lee @soniamoghe If true, no need for a DNA test. We'll know the kid's a Trump just by looking at him/her A compulsive need to say "tremendous." Their hands' resting state curls into a 👌without their consent. A proneness to corruption-The classic symptoms of Trumphood https://t.co/QGLve2RmiS
$30,000 is a hefty price for a simple rumor…
- President Trump continued to take to Twitter.
If I wanted to fire Robert Mueller in December, as reported by the Failing New York Times, I would have fired him. Just more Fake News from a biased newspaper!
Never said when an attack on Syria would take place. Could be very soon or not so soon at all! In any event, the United States, under my Administration, has done a great job of ridding the region of ISIS. Where is our "Thank you America?
I have agreed with the historically cooperative, disciplined approach that we have engaged in with Robert Mueller (Unlike the Clintons!). I have full confidence in Ty Cobb, my Special Counsel, and have been fully advised throughout each phase of this process.
- We learned more details about what was reportedly seized in the Cohen raids.
Oh Lordy "Trump's personal attorney Michael D. Cohen sometimes taped conversations with associates…and allies of the president are worried that the recordings were seized by federal investigators in a raid of Cohen's office and residences this week." https://t.co/fIDN0fBq6b
- The White House prepared to undermine Rosenstein.
I hate that I was right about how they'd try and undermine Rosenstein… "One area of conflict the White House wants its surrogates to highlight: Rosenstein's role as a key witness to the Comey firing, sources said." https://t.co/950ktZUPjh
The nation’s intelligence chiefs had just finished briefing Donald Trump on Russia’s interference in the 2016 election when FBI Director James B. Comey stayed behind to discuss some especially sensitive material: a “widely circulated” intelligence dossier containing unconfirmed allegations that Russians had filmed Trump interacting with prostitutes in Moscow in 2013.
The president-elect quickly interrupted the FBI director. According to Comey’s account in a new memoir, Trump “strongly denied the allegations, asking — rhetorically, I assumed — whether he seemed like a guy who needed the service of prostitutes. He then began discussing cases where women had accused him of sexual assault, a subject I had not raised. He mentioned a number of women, and seemed to have memorized their allegations.”
- This came as CNN touched on the White House’s upcoming strategy to try and discredit Comey.
- Oklahoma teachers scored a victory. The New York Times reported:
Saying it had achieved all that it could with a walkout, Oklahoma’s largest teachers’ union on Thursday called for educators to return to the classroom and to shift their efforts to supporting candidates in the fall elections who favor increased education spending.
At a news conference, Alicia Priest, president of the Oklahoma Education Association, characterized the nine-day walkout as “a victory for teachers,” even as it fell short of its goals.
In a deep-red state that has pursued tax and service cuts for years, teachers won a raise of about $6,000, depending on experience, while members of schools’ support staff will see a raise of $1,250.
- The Washington Post reported that Steve Bannon is trying to push for Robert Mueller to be fired.
- The Trump administration is reportedly trying to reenter the Trans-Pacific Partnership.
Breaking News: President Trump, in a surprising reversal, asked his advisers to look into rejoining the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade pact https://t.co/IaBKEUf4P5
Would only join TPP if the deal were substantially better than the deal offered to Pres. Obama. We already have BILATERAL deals with six of the eleven nations in TPP, and are working to make a deal with the biggest of those nations, Japan, who has hit us hard on trade for years!
I wonder why 🤔 Oh, that's right. Because leaving was a stupid move in the first place. This is what happens when you elect a president whose policy doctrine is "me hate Obama, me undo Obama legacy" https://t.co/H8u6ul6my6
- The FCC Chairman declined a request for an investigation into Sinclair Broadcast Group on Thursday.
A threat to democracy. @AjitPaiFCC rejected a Senate request to investigate @WeAreSinclair for their "news distortion operation." Sinclair airs pro-Trump propaganda into 40% of American households. Their pending Tribune Media merger could get them 72%…https://t.co/Sja0N13QEs
I don't think the FCC Chairman who's currently under investigation by the FCC's inspector general for whether or not he improperly pushed through rules in an effort to benefit Sinclair Broadcast Group, should have the right to approve or reject an investigation into Sinclair https://t.co/H0Msv6Dxvo
- During his confirmation hearing, Secretary of State nominee, and current-CIA Director, Mike Pompeo confirmed that he has been interviewed by Special Counsel Robert Mueller.
- The Los Angeles Times reported:
Judges on a federal appeals court panel Thursday appeared hesitant to overrule President Trump and install the deputy director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau as the agency’s temporary leader.
But two of the three judges from the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit indicated they had a problem with the person Trump selected to take the position, Mick Mulvaney, because he also heads the White House Office of Management and Budget. The 2010 law that created the bureau as an independent federal agency specifically said OMB should not have oversight or jurisdiction over it.
- President Trump ordered a review of the U.S. Postal Service which was a not so subtle attempt to hurt Amazon.
This is not about improving efficiency. This is the president's assault on the First Amendment. He wants to punish Jeff Bezos for the @washingtonpost's accurate coverage of him. https://t.co/SmNpCe1E7w
- Another example of why it’s not a great idea to arm teachers.
A teacher at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High who said he'd be willing to arm himself at school to protect students has been accused of leaving his loaded handgun in a public restroom, where it was picked up and fired by a drunk homeless man. https://t.co/MHHopF1IZq
@kylegriffin1 It's like the universe is providing every worst case "what if" scenario imaginable to convince us out of pushing for this dumb policy but nevertheless, the GOP persists https://t.co/pPRIwkD46f
Friday, April 13
Oh Lordy There Are Tapes, A Syria Strike, Attacks On Comey, And A Pardon
I made the title of this day a bit discombobulating because that’s what this day felt like. The only way to tell the story of this day is to start at the beginning.
President Trump started Friday off with Twitter tantrums targeted at Comey.
@realDonaldTrump President Trump-who has told thousands of lies and is a subject of more than one criminal investigation-says Former FBI Director James Comey is an "untruthful slime ball" who should be prosecuted.
As @realDonaldTrump attacks James Comey, Trump voters must objectively ask themselves: What's more likely? That Republican investigators in the DOJ, multiple judges, the IC, Dems, & the media are executing a deep state conspiracy. Or Trump might have done something illegal.
Um…Scooter Libby is a proven LEAKER & LIAR who leaked CLASSIFIED information and was prosecuted. And you're going to pardon him. 🤔 https://t.co/9xe1UVedNx
The statement came on Friday when the president granted a full pardon to I. Lewis Libby Jr., who was Mr. Cheney’s top adviser before he was convicted in 2007 of perjury and obstruction of justice in connection with the disclosure of the identity of a C.I.A. officer, Valerie Plame. Mr. Libby, the president declared, had not received justice.
This pardon of Scooter Libby is simply outrageous. I worked for President Bush from 1999 to 2005, and Scooter is a felon whom President Bush would not even pardon. He was convicted of obstruction of justice, lying, and perjury.
GOP source to me just now: "the Libby pardon is aimed at Manafort.
As if this day wasn’t wild enough, more Comey excerpts were released.
Trump told @Comey that he did not stay overnight in the Moscow Ritz in 2013, according to Comey's new book. But Trump's own bodyguard, Keith Schiller, testified that he did.
As this was happening, Rosenstein was reportedly preparing for what he saw as a likely firing.
NEW: Exclusive: "Here I stand." Deputy AG Rod Rosenstein is telling confidantes that he is prepared to be fired by President Trump, according to three sources who have spoken to Rosenstein. https://t.co/aOaGr3CWJM
If Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein is fired, his replacement would have the power to challenge Mueller's actions and/or limit the probe's scope. This action must be treated with the same outrage as if Special Counsel Robert Mueller was fired. https://t.co/XSn7sqxtTQ
Later in the day, President Trump took aim at Former Deputy FBI Director Andrew McCabe (who Attorney General Jeff Sessions fired less than two days before his retirement) after the Inspector General report was released about his conduct.
DOJ just issued the McCabe report – which is a total disaster. He LIED! LIED! LIED! McCabe was totally controlled by Comey – McCabe is Comey!! No collusion, all made up by this den of thieves and lowlifes!
Trump obviously didn't read full report, which makes clear that Comey and McCabe had contrasting accounts of what happened. At one point, Comey asked McCabe to drop off a call about Clinton emails on Weiner laptop and had to recuse himself from 2nd probe https://t.co/aBvOkxiObY
A major donor with close ties to the White House resigned on Friday as deputy finance chairman of the Republican National Committee after the revelation that he had agreed to pay $1.6 million to a former Playboy model who became pregnant during an affair.
The deal was arranged in the final months of 2017 by President Trump’s personal lawyer and fixer, Michael D. Cohen.
Under the terms of the deal, the Republican donor, Elliott Broidy, would pay the woman in installments over the course of two years, and she would agree to stay silent about their relationship, two people with knowledge of the arrangement told The New York Times. The deal was first reported by The Wall Street Journal.
Before anyone could digest this, The New York Times reported on how startled the Michael Cohen investigation is making President Trump.
Breaking News: President Trump's advisers believe the corruption investigation into his lawyer is a bigger threat than the special counsel's Russia inquiry https://t.co/5W593JaqcV
This is because it’s a far harder investigation for him to obstruct than the Russia investigation. If he fired Rosenstein and Mueller, it would still go on.
Note: the career prosecutors in SDNY can't be fired by Donald Trump Trump Sees Cohen Inquiry as Greater Threat Than Mueller https://t.co/KiS1XEOTZ5
Then, McClatchy DC reported on Michael Cohen’s alleged trip to Prague.
NEW: Sources tell us that Mueller has evidence Cohen was in Prague in 2016, confirming part of the dossier https://t.co/Gvu7mLrsFs
Confirmation of the trip would lend credence to a retired British spy's report that Cohen strategized there with a powerful Kremlin figure about Russian meddling in the U.S. election." Yet another component of the Christopher Steele dossier has been corroborated. https://t.co/QjpJGz0HCx
We also learned of a potentially damning revelation, if true of course. Buzzfeed News reported:
A former Russian spy helped Donald Trump’s business team seek financing for a Trump-branded tower in the heart of Moscow during the 2016 presidential campaign, according to two sources familiar with the matter.
This connection between Trump and Russian intelligence — made public here for the first time — is known to special counsel Robert Mueller’s team and raises fresh questions about the president’s connections to the Kremlin. The former agent, who had served in Russia’s military intelligence arm known as the GRU and later worked as an arms dealer, negotiated for financing from a Russian state-owned bank that was under US sanctions at the time.
It’s also worth noting that Michael Cohen and longtime Trump associate Felix Sater worked on this deal.
And then, this bombshell.
BREAKING EXCLUSIVE: FBI seized recordings between Trump's lawyer and Stormy Daniels' former lawyer, a source tells CNN https://t.co/bSO1V5cPE3
At this point, the news day was already out of hand.
So far today Cohen -Under criminal investigation -Paid hush money for Elliott Broidy -Prague trip evidence -Tapes with Cohen and Daniels/McDougal's ex-lawyer were seized Trump -Called Comey a leaker & liar -Pardoned Scooter Libby for leaking & lying -Weighed firing Rosenstein
This news day is insane
Then, it became clear a strike on Syria was imminent.
Press pool in Lima with Vice President Pence is rushing back to the hotel unexpectedly. White House is telling the press pool that's here in Washington to gather.
President Trump announced a strike on Syria, and the Pentagon later confirmed it was on three targets, that harmed Assad’s chemical weapons capability.
Add "Trump, in coordination with the U.K. and France, launched air strikes on Syria and said the U.S. is prepared to sustain this response until the Syrian regime stops its use of chemical weapons" to this list https://t.co/9DVZz6a4gx
gt;> @Maddow went there right after Trump's address: "The perception that the president may have ordered these strikes in part because of scandal will affect the impact and the effectiveness of these military strikes. Unavoidably. Even if the tail is NOT wagging the dog.
Wonder if WH will even bother to make an argument as to why this is legal.
The President must get Congressional approval before attacking Syria-big mistake if he does not!
2013 Donald Trump has some thoughts on 2018 President Donald Trump's Syria strikes https://t.co/RlCKvYDQO5
Over the weekend…
President Trump proclaimed “Mission Accomplished!” in Syria…
A perfectly executed strike last night. Thank you to France and the United Kingdom for their wisdom and the power of their fine Military. Could not have had a better result. Mission Accomplished!
He clearly hasn’t learned a thing from history.
The Syrian conflict is much more than a Civil War. It's become a complex proxy war with a web of countries pushing their own interests. @realDonaldTrump can scream "Mission Accomplished" all he wants, but this conflict is far from over. Via @TheAtlantic https://t.co/GjnuM67L6X
On Sunday, President Trump clearly didn’t get the memo that Sunday is a day for prayer.
Unbelievably, James Comey states that Polls, where Crooked Hillary was leading, were a factor in the handling (stupidly) of the Clinton Email probe. In other words, he was making decisions based on the fact that he thought she was going to win, and he wanted a job. Slimeball!
@realDonaldTrump Trump logic: James Comey thought Hillary Clinton would win the election, so 11 days out he sent a damaging letter to Congress about the private email server investigation that tanked her poll numbers because he wanted a job in the…Clinton administration? https://t.co/KTVn0gBOgq
The big questions in Comey's badly reviewed book aren't answered like, how come he gave up Classified Information (jail), why did he lie to Congress (jail), why did the DNC refuse to give Server to the FBI (why didn't they TAKE it), why the phony memos, McCabe's $700,000 & more?
@realDonaldTrump Yet again, Trump sends a lie-filled tweet calling for a political opponent to be jailed. So again, we will point out that US presidents don't do that. Authoritarians do. Also Trump (again) accuses Comey of committing crimes he pardoned Scooter Libby for. https://t.co/XxapXrAAQf
This is the President of the United States' Twitter feed on a #SundayMorning before 10 am. Disclaimer: Rantt is not responsible for the lies, logical fallacies, random capital letters, and authoritarian rhetoric you are about to read.
- Two black men were arrested for waiting for their friends at a Starbucks…
Swipe through this moment. Then swipe through it again. This is what it's like to be a black man in America. Perceived as a threat. Encumbered by stereotypes. More likely to be arrested at a @Starbucks for simply waiting for your friends… https://t.co/ik5yL1teAf
Can't knock on a neighbor's door without fear of getting shot at Can't wait for friends at Starbucks without fear of getting arrested Can't walk through your neighborhood at night wearing a hoodie without fear of getting killed Guilty until proven innocent… Black in America