This was a week of historic proportions.
The United States Justice Department indicted Russians for their attacks on American democracy, and the President of the United States and the Republican Party continued to do Russia’s bidding.
Never in the history of this great nation has the President of the United States been so petulant in attacking his own allies while at the same time being subservient to the foreign adversary that is actively working to undermine American democracy.
Never has a U.S. political party, in coordination with the President of the United States, sought to undermine the only U.S. institutions that are seeking to hold Russia accountable, all with the goal of obstructing a criminal investigation the President is a subject of.
Never has the President of the United States governed with such ruthless inhumanity that they would fear-monger and commit human rights abuses simply to score points with their base of voters.
Never has the President of the United States been so blatantly corrupt, milking the presidency for every dollar that it’s worth and benefiting the businesses he has not divested from.
Never has the President of the United States been so determined to dismantle the US-led liberal world order that the United States spent 70 years carefully crafting while cozying up to authoritarian leaders.
President Donald Trump is brazenly acting against America’s interests and executing on Vladimir Putin’s goals while screaming “America First.”
The Republican Party is brazenly acting against the American people’s interests while executing on conservative interest group’s goals.
Conservative media is brazenly acting against the truth, assisting President Trump and the GOP in their mission to gaslight the American people.
And decent people have made clear that they will not stand for this depravity, dishonesty, and delusional dereliction of duty.
Seemingly unhappy with rolling back Obama-era policies and regulations, President Trump has set out to rollback Obama-era global goodwill.
The only thing Donald Trump is making America again is hated.
Let’s dive into another Unpresidented week.
Day 536: Monday, July 9
The Pick: President Trump nominated D.C. District Court Of Appeals Judge Brett Kavanaugh to replace Justice Kennedy, who has been a consequential swing vote on the Supreme Court. If confirmed, Kavanaugh would secure what conservatives expect to be a reliable 5th judge in the 5-4 conservative majority.
Kavanaugh’s Record: Kavanaugh, a Yale graduate, clerked for Justice Anthony Kennedy. Kavanaugh was also the Associate Counsel in the Office of Independent Counsel Kenneth Starr. In this position, Kavanaugh helped write the impeachment referral of President Bill Clinton where he argued broad grounds for impeaching a President – including lying to his staff and misleading the public. In 2009, after he began working as an aide for President George W. Bush, however, Kavanaugh changed his tune. Kavanaugh claimed that Clinton shouldn’t have been the subject of the investigation while in office and that indicting a sitting President “would ill serve the public interest, especially in times of financial or national-security crisis.” Kavanaugh expanded on this view:
In rethinking his views, Judge Kavanaugh wrote in 2009 in the Minnesota Law Review that Congress should pass laws that would protect a president from civil and criminal law suits until they are out of office. In any event, he said, there was always a way to remove a “bad-behaving or lawbreaking President.”
Kavanaugh dissented after a ruling on Garza v. Hargan was overturned, and wrote that it was not the constitutional right for “unlawful immigrant minors in US Government detention to obtain immediate abortion on demand.”
ON ROE V. WADE — JUDGE BRETT KAVANAUGH was asked about the issue of abortion during his confirmation hearings to the DC Court of Appeals. He said he believes Roe v. Wade is binding precedent.
— Samantha-Jo Roth (@SamanthaJoRoth) July 10, 2018
The Future Of The Supreme Court: Kavanaugh’s confirmation would tip the balance of the Supreme Court for a generation, and will have wide-ranging ramifications for women’s reproductive rights, civil rights, workers’ rights, human rights in general, healthcare (pre-existing conditions), as well as the rule of law. The Supreme Court will likely have to make key decisions on the extent of presidential power, with rulings surrounding pardon power, compliance with subpoenas, and presidential immunity. Given how consequential Nixon v. United States was, this pick will likely determine the legal liability of President Trump. Although Kavanaugh did claim Roe was binding precedent, he has been cleared by the conservative Federalist Society, who is against the ruling.
As Senator Susan Collins (R-ME) signaled last week, she would oppose any nominee who has shown open hostility to Roe v. Wade. Given Kavanaugh’s ambiguous stance on Rode, pro-choice Senators like Collins, Lisa Murkowski (R-AK), and red state Democrats may use this as cover in order to vote for Kavanaugh’s confirmation.
Day 537: Tuesday, July 10
The Big Story: The deadline to reunite the 102 separated migrant children under 5 with their families was today, and the Trump administration failed to meet it. Less than half have been reunited, with only four children so far and 34 expected be reunited by the end of the day. The Trump administration claims 27 children are not “eligible” to be reunited and 10 parents have already been deported. The others are being held up by DNA tests and pending confirmation of the migrants’ parenthood.
The June 26 federal court decision required that the 102 younger children be reunited by today while the remaining almost 3,000 still in the custody of Health and Human Services (HHS) were ordered to be reunited by July 26th. The Trump administration’s request for an extension was rejected by a federal judge on Friday, and given what we now know, it’s clear why they requested an extension – the Trump administration had no plan to reunite these families.
The Context: The Trump administration has separated over 3,000 immigrant children from their parents at the southern border since 2017. President Trump’s June 20th Executive Order rolled back some of his own administration’s “zero tolerance” policy, preventing new asylum-seeking families from being separated, and Border Patrol was later returned prosecutorial discretion when it comes to immigrant families.
It’s become clear that the Trump administration separated immigrant children from their parents with no plans to reunite them, given the fact some parents have been lost or deported without their children. The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) did not put proper tracking processes in place for these families before handing the children over to HHS and detaining the parents separately in ICE custody. There have even been reports that they destroyed the records.
When migrant families were separated per Trump administration policy, CBP destroyed hundreds of records in which the children were listed w their parents under family ID #s. So now they can’t find & reunify the families @itscaitlinhd https://t.co/AdU5xmYA9J
— Julie Davis (@juliehdavis) July 6, 2018
Because of this lack of tracking, the government is resorting to DNA tests (run by private contractors) which they’re reportedly forcing the migrants to pay for. As news of this was occurring, Buzzfeed reported that multiple migrant women in ICE custody had been denied medical care, leading them to bleed for hours and have miscarriages.
The Look Ahead: With the July 26th deadline approaching, one can only hope the Trump administration allocates more resources to fix the humanitarian crisis their own depravity and incompetence created. In light of this depravity, the American people are stepping up. RAICES raised $20 million from more than 1 million donors, in an effort to pay for the bonds of migrant mothers. They brought it to the White House.
Hey @realDonaldTrump we’re leaving Capital Hill now and en route to the White House with a check of $20m to pay bail bonds for over 2,000 mothers.
— RAICES (@RAICESTEXAS) July 10, 2018
Aside from the separated children, it appeared that indefinite migrant internment camps was what would come next, with the Trump administration reportedly preparing to house over 100,000 migrants on military and naval bases. But 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 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.
Today, it appears we may return to that, with the Trump administration claiming they will release hundreds of migrant families with ankle bracelets, effectively returning to the Obama-era policy (which Trump has widely condemned). This came after a judge on Monday rejected the Trump administration’s request for long-term detainment. The Justice Department, however, still claims the “zero tolerance” policy is intact. As with everything the Trump administration does, it’s important to monitor if they follow through.
Nonetheless, President Trump has been 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.
There are still countless questions to be answered, thousands of families to be reunited, and multiple reports of abuse that must be addressed.
In other news…
- President Trump launched $200 billion worth of new tariffs on China.
- President Trump attacked unlawful immigration, in response to a question about the child separation.
“Well, I have a solution: Tell people not to come to our country illegally. That’s the solution: Don’t come to our country illegally. Come like other people do—come legally. I’m saying this very simply: We have laws, we have borders. Don’t come to our country illegally.” pic.twitter.com/kiwB8rJVDl
— The White House (@WhiteHouse) July 10, 2018
The Trump administration has forced some asylum seekers to enter the country illegally by turning them away at legal ports of entry, therefore creating more unlawful entries
Trump doesn’t want to end illegal immigration
He wants to end legal immigration and asylum as we know it https://t.co/2biS9NaVpQ
— Rantt Media (@RanttMedia) July 10, 2018
- Trump’s former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn’s sentencing was delayed, indicating he’s still talking to Special Counsel Robert Mueller.
- The Trump administration slashed grants for Obamacare.
- President Trump moved to make administrative law judges partisan appointments.
- Ahead of the NATO summit tomorrow, President Trump had kind words for Russian President Vladimir Putin and the opposite for America’s allies. Meanwhile, the Senate voted 97-2, to reaffirm the US commitment to Article 5.
Will keep calling it out every time he capitulates to the man who helped get him elected.
Putin’s objectives are weakening western alliances (NATO, EU, etc), lifting sanctions, and undermining Americans faith in U.S. institutions.
Trump relentlessly attempts to do all of these. https://t.co/Eh84yP1CcN
— Ahmed Baba (@AhmedBaba_) July 10, 2018
Day 538: Wednesday, July 11
The Big Story: Ahead of his summit with Russian President Vladimir Putin, President Trump began day one of the two day NATO summit in Brussels on an apparent mission to undermine the US-led liberal world order and upend 70 years of American diplomacy. In contentious public displays, Trump belittled America’s most important allies and lied about a debt owed to the U.S. In the breakfast pictured above, Trump accused Germany of being “a captive of Russia,” lying about Germany’s reliance on Russian gas.
“Germany is totally controlled by Russia,” Pres. Trump tells NATO Secretary General Stoltenberg as they sit down together for bilateral breakfast ahead of Brussels summit. https://t.co/CmyplgrxzN pic.twitter.com/6RnFk8Drgs
— ABC News (@ABC) July 11, 2018
German Chancellor Angela Merkel later addressed this:
“I wanted to say that, because of current events, I have witnessed this myself, that a part of Germany was controlled by the Soviet Union. And I am very happy that we are today unified in freedom as the Federal Republic of Germany.”
Seemingly unhappy with the fact NATO members have already agreed to increase their NATO defense commitment to 2% of their GDP, Trump demanded they increase it to 4% (the U.S. only commits 3.58%).
In what was symbolic of President Trump’s preference of world leaders, when walking to take the “family photo,” Trump lingered behind the pack speaking to authoritarian Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan. One of the photos taken was also symbolic of the new world order.
Photo of the day from NATO >>> pic.twitter.com/wpJjIIZisB
— Christina Wilkie (@christinawilkie) July 11, 2018
Behind closed doors, the President was reportedly much more conciliatory with our allies, but the public message was loud and clear, leaving allies in disbelief.
The Context: Anyone who knows their history is aware that the post-WWII order was crafted by the United States. NATO was founded 70 years ago to promote the shared values of democracy and uphold the common security of the West. America’s disproportionate investments in NATO yield dividends in American dominance. Not to mention an alliance that has come to America’s defense (see Article 5’s invocation after 9/11). The peaceful Europe of today is the result of decades of U.S. leadership, which President Trump is seemingly trying to destroy. This comes after President Trump began levying tariffs on NAFTA partners and insulting allies at the G-7 summit. All of this within the context of President Trump cozying up to Russian President Putin ahead of their July 16th summit, while his campaign is under investigation by Special Counsel Robert Mueller for potentially colluding with Russia to win the 2016 election.
The Look Ahead: The damage that President Trump has done can’t be simply undone by the next president. From pulling out of the Paris Climate Accord to violating the Iran Deal, America’s allies and adversaries will see the United States as volatile. A nation that holds no concrete values and sways with whoever is currently holding the office of the presidency. Long-term agreements will mean less and diplomatic efforts will be shrouded in a cloud of distrust.
Day 2 of the NATO summit should be interesting as well. And with all eyes on the Trump-Putin summit just days away, the optics could not be worse.
Trump is checking off Putin’s wish list.
Weaken western alliances (NATO) ✅
Undermine the US-led liberal democratic order ✅
Undermine Americans’ faith in their institutions ✅
Lift sanctions (IN PROGRESS)
— Rantt Media (@RanttMedia) July 11, 2018
Trump’s behavior at NATO is disgraceful.
Trump is blatantly executing on Putin’s goal of weakening western alliances, and then immediately meeting with him for a one-on-one debrief.
Whether you think he colluded or not, Trump is acting like someone who is paying back a debt.
— Ahmed Baba (@AhmedBaba_) July 11, 2018
In other news…
- The Washington Post: Paul Manafort to be moved from jail where prosecutors say he has ‘VIP’ treatment
- The New York Times: Rosenstein Asks Prosecutors to Help With Kavanaugh Papers in Unusual Request
- The Guardian: Officials admit they may have separated family – who might be US citizens – for up to a year
- The New York Times: Trump Pardons Oregon Ranchers Whose Case Inspired Wildlife Refuge Takeover
Day 539: Thursday, July 12
The Coverup Caucus
The Big Story: FBI Agent Peter Strzok, whose anti-Trump text messages have become Republicans main talking point to try and undermine the Russia investigation, volunteered to testify at a hearing in front of the House Judiciary and Select Committees. At the hearing, Republicans continued their efforts to undermine the Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation and Americans’ faith in U.S. institutions (some of Russian President Vladimir Putin’s goals) and made a fool of themselves. You can read Vox‘s great breakdown of the hearing here, but here are some of the highlights.
Watch Peter Strzok take Rep. Trey Gowdy to task over his attacks on the FBI.
Gowdy grimaces. The audience applauds.https://t.co/JzQgr59Slb
— Rantt Media (@RanttMedia) July 12, 2018
Reps Gowdy & Goodlatte’s attempt to force FBI Agent Strzok (who isn’t even under subpoena) to answer questions about an ongoing investigation, despite FBI Counsel’s direction he may not answer, is a political stunt & the very picture of a witch hunt.
— Joyce Alene (@JoyceWhiteVance) July 12, 2018
The Peter Strzok hearing is another example of Trump accusing Dems of what the @GOP is actually doing.
Trump: Claims the Mueller investigation is a politically motivated witch hunt.
Reality: GOP Reps Gowdy & Goodlatte try to undermine an investigation for political advantage.
— Remy Carreiro (@Remy_Anne) July 12, 2018
.@RepJeffries: Strzok is here for 1 reason to serve as a major distraction from the investigation into Russian interference and collusion. The “coverup caucus” needed a public enemy and unfortunately for Strzok, “tag you’re it.”
— Adam (@aalali44) July 12, 2018
.@replouiegohmert accuses Strzok of lying about not having any professional bias, invokes the lies Strzok allegedly told “looking into his wife’s eyes” (given his affair with Lisa Page). House Democrats erupt, one suggesting Gohmert needs to take his “medication.”
— Jake Tapper (@jaketapper) July 12, 2018
Listening to Benghazi Trey Gowdy lecture Peter Strzok about the importance of running investigations without bias is like listening to an alcoholic with a beer in his hand lecture someone on the importance of sobriety.
— Ahmed Baba (@AhmedBaba_) July 12, 2018
WATCH Raskin remind everyone that insults toward Donald Trump do not mean deep state conspiracy as he points out overwhelming Republican hypocrisy. These greatest hits insults are delicious. pic.twitter.com/vEwy9jqQp3
— Amee Vanderpool (@girlsreallyrule) July 12, 2018
This is the point that explodes every accusation and conspiracy theory about Strzok. He could’ve ended the Trump campaign and prevented a Trump presidency with one phone call to the press, yet he never did. https://t.co/dqqPsCewua
— Matthew Miller (@matthewamiller) July 12, 2018
FBI agent Peter Stzrok: In the fall of 2016, I had info that could “derail, and quite possibly, defeat Mr. Trump. But the thought of exposing that information never crossed my mind….This investigation is not politically motivated, it is not a witch hunt, it is not a hoax.”
— Ken Dilanian (@KenDilanianNBC) July 12, 2018
The Context: It’s important to note that Strzok also had negative texts about Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders, and there was no evidence of bias affecting his role in the Russia investigation. Also important to note that right when Special Counsel Robert Mueller was made aware of the text messages, Strzok was removed from the team. And most importantly: this is nothing more than a coordinated campaign on the part of President Trump, House Republicans, and conservative media to undermine the Russia investigation. This effort has extended into efforts to discredit the DOJ, FBI, and the U.S. Intelligence Community as a whole.
The U.S. Intelligence Community concluded that Russia’s longstanding objective has been to undermine the US-led liberal democratic order and our faith in democratic institutions. For decades, Russian propaganda has aimed to stir racial divisions, attack the credibility of the U.S. government, and try to weaken western influence. Today, we have a President, backed by the full support of his party and propaganda arms like Fox News, executing on our foreign adversary’s primary objectives.
In other news…
Day one of the NATO summit on Wednesday was plagued with misrepresentations and unfounded insults directed at America’s closest allies. From accusing Germany of being “a captive of Russia” to obfuscating the purpose of NATO, President Trump was in peak “dismantle the US-led, post-WWI, liberal world order” form. All of this before President Trump meets with Russian President Vladimir Putin on July 16th, a foreign adversary who has a vested interest in a weak NATO.
On Thursday, in a presser filled with contradictions, President Trump changed his tone on NATO but repeated the same lies….
Day 540: Friday, July 13
“Russia, If You’re Listening…”
The Big Story: Just days before President Donald Trump’s summit with Russian President Vladimir Putin, Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein announced the most significant indictments from Special Counsel Robert Mueller thus far. The indictments were levied against 12 Russian intelligence officers (GRU) for hacking the DNC, DCCC, and Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign during the 2016 election and leaking through DCLeaks and Guccifer 2.0. This comes after 13 Russian entities were indicted earlier this year for their propaganda campaign. The evidence detailed further bolsters the U.S. Intelligence Committee’s conclusion that Russia’s objective was to help Donald Trump become President Trump.
The White House responded by trying to claim the indictment vindicated President Trump. Rather than remark on this historically profound attack on American democracy, the President of the United States decided to speak about the indictments like a defendant. House Republicans responded by moving to impeach…Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein. Rosenstein said Trump was briefed on these indictments earlier this week. But that didn’t stop President Trump from calling the Mueller probe a witch hunt today or just yesterday saying that he would ask Putin “if” he meddled.
Then, over the weekend, President Trump took to Twitter and condemned…President Obama.
The stories you heard about the 12 Russians yesterday took place during the Obama Administration, not the Trump Administration. Why didn’t they do something about it, especially when it was reported that President Obama was informed by the FBI in September, before the Election?
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) July 14, 2018
Rather than condemn the historic attack on American democracy by the Russians, the President of the United States decides to criticize the previous American administration.
This tells you everything you need to know about where Donald Trump stands. https://t.co/BHSrjt14VV
— Rantt Media (@RanttMedia) July 14, 2018
As Democrats and Republican Senator John McCain called for Trump to cancel the summit, the nation dissected Mueller’s comprehensive indictment.
This indictment confirmed years of reporting on Russia’s interference in American democracy and included some stunning new developments. You can read the indictment here but here are some of the highlights:
- 500,000 Illinois voters’ data was stolen: “In or around July 2016, KOVALEV and his co-conspirators hacked the website of a state board of elections (‘SBOE 1’) and stole information related to approximately 500,000 voters, including names, addresses, partial social security numbers, dates of birth, and driver’s license numbers.”
- Revealed that on July 27, 2016, Russians began spearphishing campaigns targeting Clinton’s personal office emails for the first time and also targeted Clinton’s campaign. This was the same day Donald Trump publicly stated: “Russia, if you’re listening, I hope you’re able to find the 30,000 emails that are missing.”
- Had multiple excerpts that appeared to depict Trump’s campaign advisor Roger Stone, who spoke to Guccifer 2.0 during the campaign. “The conspirators, posing as Guccifer 2.0, wrote to a person who was in regular contact with senior members of the presidential campaign of Donald J. Trump.”
- Detailed a US congressional candidate who requested, and received, stolen documents about his opponent from Guccifer 2.0. There’s already speculation about who it could be.
- The unnamed “entity” that the content was leaked through appears to be Wikileaks.
- Around the June 2016 Trump Tower meeting (we’ll touch on that soon), Russia began using DC Leaks: “Starting in or around June 2016 and continuing through the 2016 U.S. presidential election, the Conspirators used DCLeaks to release emails stolen from individuals affiliated with the Clinton Campaign.”
The Context: Mueller’s multi-faceted counterintelligence investigation probes Russian interference, the Trump campaign’s potential collusion with Russia, and potential obstruction of Justice on the part of President Trump. It also probes financial crimes on the part of Trump’s associates as well as international corruption involving Russia, UAE, Saudi Arabia, etc. Before today’s indictment, the investigation had already yielded at least 79 charges against 23 people or companies, 5 guilty pleas (3 of which came from Trump’s associates), and 1 person sentenced. Some collusion evidence for you:
- Former Trump Adviser George Papadopoulos bragged about Russia’s dirt on Clinton
- Trump adviser Roger Stone communicated with Guccifer 2.0.
- Donald Trump Jr, Former Trump Campaign Chairman Paul Manafort, and son-in-law/White House Adviser Jared Kushner sought Clinton dirt from Russians in Trump Tower
Wow – MSNBC put together video of every single time Trump mentioned @wikileaks during final month of the 2016 campaign.
— Aaron Rupar (@atrupar) July 13, 2018
This also comes amid President Trump and the Republicans’ continued efforts to undermine Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation and Americans’ faith in U.S. institutions (some of Russian President Vladimir Putin’s goals).
Of course, the burglary of the DNC echoes back to Watergate, except this time the burglary was committed by a hostile foreign adversary in an attempt to steal an election and constitutes an act of cyberwar.
The Look Ahead: Special Counsel Robert Mueller has established the underlying crimes on the part of the Russians. What’s next appears to be the American co-conspirators who are currently unnamed. Before then, we have the Trump-Putin summit (which has no defined objective or purpose), where we can only hope that the President of the United States holds him to account rather than capitulating like he’s done thus far.
In other news…
- President Trump was in the UK, continuing his attacks on NATO allies. Trump disrespected Prime Minister Theresa May and the American media. He also made a comment about immigration that had white supremacist undertones. Meanwhile, over 100,000 people protested his visit.
“CNN is fake news. I don’t take questions from CNN. John Roberts at Fox. Let’s go to a real network.”
Degrades American media on the world stage.pic.twitter.com/asjUjbM88Z
— Rantt Media (@RanttMedia) July 13, 2018
This is ugly.
Trump says that immigration is not “good for our country” because it is “changing the culture.” pic.twitter.com/7zTXE9Miyh
— Judd Legum (@JuddLegum) July 13, 2018
— CNBC (@CNBC) July 13, 2018