A Complete Breakdown Of Donald Trump’s 76th Unpresidented Week As POTUS

Donald Trump speaks during a campaign rally at the James L. Knight Center, Friday, Sept. 16, 2016, in Miami. (AP Photo/ Evan Vucci)

A Complete Breakdown Of Donald Trump’s 76th Unpresidented Week As POTUS

“The presidency doesn’t change who you are, it reveals who you are.” – Michelle Obama

Week after week, the full extent of the depravity, dishonesty, and dysfunction with which President Trump and the Republican Party are leading this country continues to astound me – even after writing this column for 76 weeks straight.

The Trump presidency has not only revealed who Donald is at his core, it’s revealed the true character of his appointees, his Republican sycophants in Congress, his allies in conservative media, and his voters.

The Trump administration’s anti-immigrant policies will leave a dark mark on American history that will be frowned upon for centuries. They separated immigrant children from their parents with no plans to reunite them, leading to parents being lost or deported without their children. President Trump is repeatedly calling for the end of immigrants’ due process rights at the border, all while his “denaturalization task force” takes aim at immigrants already residing in the U.S. And now, the Trump administration is reportedly discharging immigrants who are fighting for our country in the U.S. military.

While commentators claim President Trump is only governing for his base, his actions beg to differ. Trump may push rhetoric and depraved immigration policies that appeal to his base, but he’s waging a regressive trade war that directly harms them economically.

When it comes to “Making America Great Again,” all President Trump’s policies have done is isolate America into a state of waning global influence. Leaving the Trans-Pacific Partnership and handing the reins to China, abandoning the Paris Climate Accord, desperately trying to revive coal while placing tariffs on clean energy, and attacking NATO allies while praising dictators has only made America appear as an unhinged bad faith actor who will soon lack an innovative edge. The only thing being made great again is the Trump family business, who has gone out of their way to profit from their dealings with foreign nations.

President Trump cozies up to Russian President Vladimir Putin, who interfered in American democracy to help him get elected, while screaming “America First.” While Americans celebrated the birth of American democracy, Republican lawmakers partied with the Russians who are actively working to undermine it. The party of “Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall!” has become the party of “Putin’s fine,” all while President Trump degrades western alliances and undermines Americans’ faith in U.S. institutions – some of Putin’s main objectives.

And as this all occurs, President Trump’s supporters attack anyone who doesn’t express blind loyalty to Trump as unpatriotic or un-American.

It’s become clear to anyone who doesn’t only watch Fox News what kind of President Donald Trump is. The American people must make clear who we are.

There’s nothing more patriotic than standing up for what you believe is best for your country, even if that means standing against the man leading it. And there is no better place to do that than at the ballot box.

Here’s a complete breakdown of week 76:

Day 529: Monday, July 2

The Strategy Of Collins
President Donald Trump, center, speaks as he meets with Republican senators on health care in the East Room of the White House in Washington, Tuesday, June 27, 2017. Seated with him, from left, are Sen. Dean Heller, R-Nev., Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, Sen. Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, and Sen. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)

President Donald Trump, center, speaks as he meets with Republican senators on health care in the East Room of the White House in Washington, Tuesday, June 27, 2017. Seated with him, from left, are Sen. Dean Heller, R-Nev., Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, Sen. Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, and Sen. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)

At the center of the speculation surrounding President Trump’s replacement of Justice Kennedy is how the next Justice will rule on Roe v. Wade. It appeared we were beginning to see how some of the pro-choice Republicans would justify voting for the nominee. Rantt’s Managing Editor Remy Carreiro reported:

One of the most important swing votes in the upcoming appointment battle is Republican Senator Susan Collins of Maine, a moderate who has occasionally voted against party lines in the past (something nearly unheard of in Trump’s Republican Party). On a circuit of Sunday shows this weekend, Collins said she would not vote for a nominee who showed hostility to Roe or stated a desire to overturn the legal precedent, which she views as the law of the land.

What we’re starting to see here is a potential route moderate Republicans (namely Collins and Sen. Murkowski of Alaska) might use to give themselves some plausible deniability in the likely case that a nominee they supported helped overturn Roe. By voicing support of Roe publicly, but whispering caveats under their breath, they might be able to reckon with their collaboration in what could become one of the largest affronts to women’s rights in this generation. At best, it’s transparent politicking, and at worst it’s an attempt to gaslight one of the largest voting blocs in this country whilst attacking their civil rights.

In other news…

During the special counsel’s Russia investigation, Konstantin Kilimnik has been described as a fixer, translator or office manager to President Donald Trump’s ex-campaign chairman Paul Manafort.

But Kilimnik, an elusive figure now indicted alongside Manafort on witness tampering charges, was far more involved in formulating pro-Russia political strategy with Manafort than previously known, according to internal memos and other business records obtained by the AP.

Axios has obtained a leaked draft of a Trump administration bill — ordered by the president himself — that would declare America’s abandonment of fundamental World Trade Organization rules.

  • President Trump claimed that Democrats’ calls to abolish ICE are tantamount to declaring war on “Law & Order.”

Day 530: Tuesday, July 3

The Impossible Ultimatum
Ever Castillo, left, and his family, immigrants from Honduras, are escorted back across the border by U.S. Customs and Border Patrol agents Thursday, June 21, 2018, in Hildalgo, Texas. The parents were told they would be separated from their children and voluntarily crossed back to Mexico after trying to seek asylum in the United States. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip)

Ever Castillo, left, and his family, immigrants from Honduras, are escorted back across the border by U.S. Customs and Border Patrol agents Thursday, June 21, 2018, in Hildalgo, Texas. The parents were told they would be separated from their children and voluntarily crossed back to Mexico after trying to seek asylum in the United States. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip)

The Scoop: NBC News obtained a copy of a government form that issued new instructions to border patrol agents. The asylum seeking parents from Central America who have been separated from their children are now faced with two choices: be reunited with your child and return to the violence-plagued country you are fleeing or continue to seek asylum and remain separated from your child…and you still have to return to your country while you await a decision on your asylum claim. The U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) form reportedly contains the following options for migrant parents to sign:

  1. “I am requesting to reunite with my child(ren) for the purpose of repatriation to my country of citizenship.”
  2.  “I am affirmatively, knowingly, and voluntarily requesting to return to my country of citizenship without my minor child(ren) who I understand will remain in the United States to pursue available claims of relief.”

Immigrant rights activists are panning this as a direct attempt to deter asylum. Couple this policy with the policy Attorney General Jeff Sessions is reportedly considering, and you have an administration who is seeking to end asylum as we know it. Vox reported:

The Department of Justice, under Attorney General Jeff Sessions, is drafting a plan that would totally overhaul asylum policy in the United States.

Under the plan, people would be barred from getting asylum if they came into the US between ports of entry and were prosecuted for illegal entry. It would also add presumptions that would make it extremely difficult for Central Americans to qualify for asylum, and codify — in an even more restrictive form — an opinion written by Sessions in June that attempted to restrict asylum for victims of domestic and gang violence.

Context: President Trump’s June 20th, Executive Order rolled back some of his own administration’s “zero tolerance” policy. The EO prevented new asylum-seeking families from being separated, and Border Patrol was later returned prosecutorial discretion when it comes to immigrant families. A June 26 federal court decision required that the over 2,500 children (we’ve learned of even more being separated through the 2017 pilot program) who were separated from their parents be reunited with their parents. Also on June 26, the Department of Health and Human Services claimed they have 2,047 children still in their custody…they’ve since stopped releasing data on the children.

What’s Next? It appeared indefinite migrant internment camps is what comes next, with the Trump administration reportedly preparing to house over 100,000 migrants on military and naval bases. But on Monday, a federal judge in DC blocked the Trump administration’s efforts to systematically detain these migrant families and called for them to abide by prior government policy and release asylum seekers when appropriate. In the past, migrants who were awaiting a hearing on their asylum claim were released and/or put on ankle bracelets. It appeared effective given the fact a U.S. Government Accountability study found that 95% of migrants who were detained at the border and given ankle bracelet returned for their court date. It’s unclear exactly what will happen next given these legal challenges, but the Supreme Court might have to make some decisions if the Trump administration challenges these rulings in the future…a Supreme Court which looks set to obtain another conservative Justice.

In other news…

The Trump administration said Tuesday that it was abandoning Obama administration policies that called on universities to consider race as a factor in diversifying their campuses, signaling that the administration will champion race-blind admissions standards.

Now, BuzzFeed News has obtained documents reconstructed by the FBI. A close examination shows that the records are a combination of documents that prosecutors already had, handwritten notes about a taxi business, insurance papers, and correspondence from a woman described in court filings as a “vexatious litigant” who claims she is under government surveillance.

Day 531: Wednesday, July 4

Independence Day In Russia
Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, second right, greets U.S. Sen. Richard Shelby, R-Ala., during his meeting with the U.S. congressional delegation in Moscow, Russia, Tuesday, July 3, 2018. (AP Photo/Alexander Zemlianichenko)

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, second right, greets U.S. Sen. Richard Shelby, R-Ala., during his meeting with the U.S. congressional delegation in Moscow, Russia, Tuesday, July 3, 2018. (AP Photo/Alexander Zemlianichenko)

The scene was celebratory. A band was playing songs from the band Chicago, as Republican Representatives of the United States Congress toasted cocktails to celebrate America’s Independence Day…in Russia.

The July 4th party reportedly came after a delegation of eight Republican lawmakers held meetings with Russian officials in an effort to “improve our relationship” with Russia – the foreign adversary who interfered in America’s 2016 election and is set to do so again in the midterms. The first congressional delegation since Russia annexed Crimea in 2014 consisted of Senators Richard Shelby (AL), Ron Johnson (WI), Steve Daines (MT), John Thune (SD), John Kennedy (LA), Jerry Moran (KS), John Hoeven (ND), and Representative Kay Granger (TX). The meetings were held in preparation of the July 16th Trump-Putin summit in Finland, which is just days after the NATO summit in Brussels.

According to NPR, they were welcomed to St. Petersberg by Governor Georgy Poltavchenko, a former KGB officer, and Putin ally. Then in Moscow, the Republicans notably met with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov and Former Ambassador (now a member of Russia’s parliament) Sergey Kisylak, who met with multiple Trump campaign officials (including AG Jeff Sessions) during the 2016 campaign and spoke about sanctions relief with Michael Flynn during the Trump transition. (Reminder: President Trump met with Lavrov and Kisylak in the Oval Office the day after he fired FBI Director James Comey, reportedly telling them “I just fired the head of the F.B.I. He was crazy, a real nut job…I faced great pressure because of Russia. That’s taken off.”)

The meetings were reportedly conciliatory, with Senator Shelby telling Duma speaker Vyacheslav Volodi, “I’m not here today to accuse Russia of this or that or so forth…I’m saying that we should all strive for a better relationship.”

Senator Kennedy claimed pressed Russia on various issues, but referred to them as “our friends.”

“I asked our friends in Russia not to interfere in our elections this year. I asked them to exit Ukraine and allow Ukraine to self-determine. I asked for the same thing in Crimea. I asked for their help in bringing peace to Syria. And I asked them not to allow Iran to gain a foothold in Syria.”

Russia appeared to have a different recollection. Rant’s Greg Fish translated some of the coverage. Russian state media said the delegation appeared to put a “weak foot forward.” Russian Commentator Igor Korotchenko, said of the delegation, “We have to talk to them from higher ground. They came here. That means they need us; we don’t need them.”

Russian media also played bombastic rhetoric from the Senators and asked officials who met them whether their rhetoric in private matched their tough talk. In response, the official pointed out Senator Kennedy, whose hammering on Russia’s apparent economic weakness and shortsightedness was featured at length. The Russian official said, “at the end of our discussion, when the leader of the delegation, Richard Shelby asked Senator Johnson if he had any questions or comments for us, he said ‘I have nothing to say.’ He chose to remain silent.” This amused the audience. The official went on to say that he hoped “during this trip, our discussion partners will manage to turn their brains around to a normal direction.”

A member of the Russian parliament recalled the meetings, striking a similar tone. The Washington Post reported:

Duma member Vyacheslav Nikonov, on the other hand, said he had met with many American lawmakers in years past and that this meeting “was one of the easiest ones in my life.” The question of election interference, he said, was resolved quickly because “the question was raised in a general form.”

These meetings were held as the bipartisan Senate Intelligence Committee released a report reiterating their unequivocal support of the U.S. Intelligence Community’s conclusion that Russia not only interfered in the 2016 election but that their goal was to help candidate Donald Trump become President Donald Trump.

Last week, President Trump once again expressed doubt about the U.S. Intelligence Community’s conclusion, taking President Vladimir Putin’s word.

Trump continued this praise of Putin at a rally in Montana this week.

This comes after President Trump spent weeks attacking America’s NATO and G7 allies with tariffs and insults that many see as unjustified. All while striking a conciliatory tone with authoritarians like Putin and North Korean Dictator Kim Jong-un.

What we witnessed in 2016 was an orchestrated effort by Russia, a hostile foreign power, to undermine American democracy and help elect Donald Trump. What we appear to be witnessing today, is the return on their investment.

All the while, Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into Russian interference (espionage, coordinated propaganda, etc.), the Trump campaign’s potential collusion, and President Trump’s potential obstruction of justice is still in full swing. It also probes financial crimes on the part of Trump’s associates as well as international corruption involving Russia, UAE, Saudi Arabia, etc. The investigation has yielded at least 76 charges against 23 people or companies, and 5 guilty pleas (3 of which came from Trump’s associates). With new reports regarding Russian oligarchs attending exclusive parties at Trump’s Inauguration and Mueller’s increased interest in probing the money that flowed through Trump’s inaugural committee, this is far from over.

The substantial findings of the Russia investigation haven’t stopped the White House, House Republicans, and conservative media from waging a disinformation campaign in an attempt to discredit the Justice Department.

This investigation also hasn’t deterred President Trump from wanting to maintain a relationship with President Putin. In spite of the evidence of collusion between his campaign and the Russian Government, President Trump is reportedly planning for a one-on-one, off-the-record meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin at the July 16th summit.

I end this day with a reminder that Russia hacked the Republican National Committee’s servers and domains but never leaked the information.

In other news…

We reminded our followers not to be ashamed of their patriotism.

Day 532: Thursday, July 5

The Exit Of The Swamp Thing
Supreme Court associate justice Samuel Alito, right, swears in Scott Pruitt as the Environmental Protection Agency Administrator in the Eisenhower Executive Office Building in the White House complex in Washington, Friday, Feb. 17, 2017. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)

Supreme Court associate justice Samuel Alito, right, swears in Scott Pruitt as the Environmental Protection Agency Administrator in the Eisenhower Executive Office Building in the White House complex in Washington, Friday, Feb. 17, 2017. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)

EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt has been the personification of the swamp Donald Trump falsely claimed he was headed to Washington to drain. The last few months have been plagued with reports revealing new examples of the stunning corruption of Scott Pruitt. The White House has stood by Pruitt throughout these scandals…until now.

Pruitt was taking more heat this week as more stories of corruption were revealed and Kristin Mink’s video calling for Pruitt to resign went viral.

As Oklahoma Attorney General, Pruitt repeatedly sued the EPA in an attempt to block environmental regulations. He ran the EPA as you’d expect someone with deep ties to the fossil fuel industry would. Not only was Pruitt very effective in his rollback of meaningful environmental regulations, he’s been very effective in his ability to create such a mountain of ethical scandals it was seemingly impossible to keep up with them.

Pruitt has been grilled on Capitol Hill by the House Energy and Commerce Committee and the House Appropriations Committee about these issues and faces at least a dozen federal inquiries.

Here are a few:

  • Renting a $50 a night luxury condo linked to fossil fuel industry lobbying firm Williams & Jensen, who won approval for a project while Pruitt was staying there.
  • A six-figure trip to Morroco which involved Pruitt reportedly promoting issues that benefit his past donors and Williams & Jensen.
  • Unauthorized raises for his favorite staffers.
  • Ordering an EPA aide to make calls to get his wife a Chick-fil-A franchise.

  • More wastes of taxpayer money.

Here they are in graphic form.

Source: MSNBC

Although scandal-plagued Scott Pruitt is gone, this administration’s EPA under Pruitt’s deputy Andrew Wheeler (former fossil fuel lobbyist) will continue to deregulate the industries this agency is meant to keep in check. And without the consistent stream of negative news stories Pruitt brought to the agency, Wheeler might be able to continue this deregulation with less scrutiny…

In other news…

President Donald Trump last August asked several top foreign policy advisers about the possibility of invading Venezuela during a meeting about diplomatic sanctions the US was enacting on the autocratic government, a senior administration official familiar with the comments said.

Trump’s aides, including then-national security adviser HR McMaster, vigorously urged him against the notion of a military invasion of Venezuela, warning him it could backfire and explaining that US allies in the region were firmly opposed to such drastic action. Taking military action against Venezuela would be a dramatic escalation of the US’s so-far solely diplomatic and sanctions-focused response to the political and economic crisis roiling the South American country.

Bill Shine, who was co-president of Fox News Channel and Fox Business Network, has officially joined the Trump administration, the White House said Thursday.

Shine will join the White House staff as President Donald Trump’s assistant and deputy chief of staff for communications.

Shine resigned from Fox in May 2017, trailing the departure of Fox’s ex-chairman, Roger Ailes, who resigned 10 months earlier after being accused of sexual harassment by a former host.

  • President Trump once again called for ending due process rights for migrants at the Southern border.

  • President Trump had a rally in Montana where he mocked the #MeToo movement, attacked Rep. Maxine Waters, and praised Vladimir Putin. The New York Times reported:

President Trump lobbed personal and derogatory attacks at two Democratic senators, mocked the #MeToo movement and vouched for President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia on Thursday during a freewheeling, raucous rally ostensibly intended to solidify support for Montana’s Republican Senate candidate.

  • The horrific details about the children separated from their parents continued to flow, and the number continued to rise.

Day 533: Friday, July 6

3,000 Children And Countless Questions
A mother migrating from Honduras holds her 1-year-old child as surrendering to U.S. Border Patrol agents after crossing the border Monday, June 25, 2018, near McAllen, Texas. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip)

A mother migrating from Honduras holds her 1-year-old child as surrendering to U.S. Border Patrol agents after crossing the border Monday, June 25, 2018, near McAllen, Texas. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip)

As the deadline to reunite the 101 migrant children under 5 with their families by July 10th approached, and everyone else by July 26th, the Trump administration’s request for an extension was rejected by a federal judge. The news on Friday made it even more clear that this administration had no plan to reunite these families, and that they’ve already lost track of some. NBC News reported:

Government lawyers said Friday that they cannot locate the parents of 38 migrant children under the age of 5, as a federal judge indicated he is open to extending the deadline for reuniting nearly 3,000 children separated from their mothers and fathers while crossing the US-Mexico border.

In a status hearing with U.S. District Judge Dana Sabraw of the Southern District of California, who ordered the reunification, government lawyers said the Health and Human Services Department would only be able to reunify about half of approximately 100 children under the age of 5 by the court-ordered deadline of July 10.

For 19 children, their parents have been released from custody into the U.S. and their whereabouts are unknown. The parents of another 19 children have been deported.

On top of this, there was a truly troubling story about a child who was returned to their mother. Vox reported:

One of the children separated from his parents at the US-Mexico border was returned months later with lice, looking as if he hadn’t been bathed in weeks, and with irrevocable changes to his personality, his mother said, according to documents filed in a lawsuit against the Trump administration.

That detail comes from PBS’s Lisa Desjardins reporting for PBS Newshour. The lawsuit, from 17 states and the District of Columbia, calls for an end to Trump’s “zero tolerance” immigration policy and demands the administration reunite all families that were separated at the border.

According to Desjardins, one mother, Olivia Caceres, alleged that she was separated from her son in November at a legal point entry, according to PBS, and wasn’t with him for 12 weeks. When he was returned to her custody, Caceres’s son was infested with lice and appeared as though he had not been bathed for the entirety of their separation, PBS reported.

With children as young as age 1 appearing in court, one can only hope this nightmare comes to a close sooner than later.

In other news…

  • Michael Cohen’s choice of lawyer signaled the most definitive evidence yet that he is about to flip on President Trump. The New York Times reported:

Michael D. Cohen, the former personal lawyer to President Trump who is under investigation by federal prosecutors in Manhattan, has hired Lanny J. Davis, the Washington lawyer and public relations consultant best known for serving in the Clinton White House, to represent him.

The pairing is unusual. Mr. Davis has tried to position himself as a key defender of Bill and Hillary Clinton — particularly Mrs. Clinton, whom Mr. Trump defeated in the 2016 presidential election and continues to attack as “totally crooked.” Mr. Cohen was once a fierce defender of Mr. Trump.

Some immigrant U.S. Army reservists and recruits who enlisted in the military with a promised path to citizenship are being abruptly discharged, the Associated Press has learned.

The AP was unable to quantify how many men and women who enlisted through the special recruitment program have been booted from the Army, but immigration attorneys say they know of more than 40 who have been discharged or whose status has become questionable, jeopardizing their futures.

Over the weekend…

Kim Jong Won
Mike Pompeo, listens during a Senate Intelligence Committee hearing, on Capitol Hill in Washington, Thursday, May 11, 2017. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin)

Mike Pompeo, listens during a Senate Intelligence Committee hearing, on Capitol Hill in Washington, Thursday, May 11, 2017. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin)

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo’s visit to North Korea signaled the failures of the Trump-Kim summit. Rantt’s Foreign Affairs Editor Jossif Ezekilov reported:

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo concluded a visit to North Korea yesterday, the tone of which marked a stark contrast to the historic summit last month. While Pompeo categorized the talks with officials as “productive” and said that there had been progress on major issues, a statement by the North Korean government called the talks “regrettable” and described American negotiating tactics as “gangster-like.” More importantly, the statement seemed to repudiate American demands of complete, verifiable and irreversible denuclearization (so-called CVID), the standard the US and its regional allies have always maintained as necessary for a diplomatic resolution.

This move by the North Koreans was all too predictable. As many (including this paper) pointed out, the Hermit Kingdom has agreed to similar stipulations as the ones signed by Kim Jong-un in June many times over the last thirty years. However, they have consistently gone back on their word once sanctions and other punitive measures were eased. This statement indicates that North Korea will be again adopting the same approach and President Trump spoke too soon.

In other news…

Ahead of the NATO Summit, news of President Trump’s hostility to our allies continued to be reported.

Unpresidented // Donald Trump / Immigration / News / Russia Investigation