A Complete Breakdown Of Donald Trump’s 78th Unpresidented Week As POTUS

Russian President Vladimir Putin, right, and U.S. President Donald Trump give a joint news conference at the Presidential Palace in Helsinki, Finland, on Monday, July 16, 2018. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)

A Complete Breakdown Of Donald Trump’s 78th Unpresidented Week As POTUS

President Trump stands by President Putin. And by doing so he stands against America’s interests and therefore, his oath of office.

The day was November 9th, 2016. The mood was joyous in the Kremlin as President Vladimir Putin, along with Russian officials, celebrated the election of Donald J. Trump as 45th President of the United States. Champagne was reportedly popped, and toasts were made, as this foreign adversary touted their interference in American democracy.

“It turns out that the United Russia has won the elections in the United States!” — then-Russian Governor, Viktor Nazarov

It appears their celebration was justified.

This week, the world watched as the President of the United States called his own country foolish and cozied up to a foreign adversary who is actively working to undermine American democracy.

In Helsinki, Donald Trump once again proved himself to be in over his head and under Vladimir Putin’s heel.

In their attacks on the Justice Department, President Trump and the Republican Party continue to try and place the presidency above the law while he’s under investigation.

In his attacks on the media, President Trump continues to try to suppress the truth, because the truth paints a damning picture of him.

The truth is this: what we’re seeing is the surrender of the United States to Russia, a country that just completed a successful attack on American democracy with the intention of helping elect Donald Trump. Given the fact there is evidence the Trump campaign may have been complicit in this attack, the word surrender is not hyperbole.

Aside from the destruction of Western alliances (NATO, EU, NAFTA, etc.), the U.S. Intelligence Community concluded that Russia’s longstanding objectives are the lifting of sanctions on Russia, undermining the US-led liberal democratic order, and eroding Americans’ faith in democratic institutions.

Whether or not you believe he colluded with the Russian government or he’s compromised (via money laundering, or otherwise), it’s indisputable that President Trump is actively executing on Russian President Vladimir Putin’s objectives. President Trump’s criticisms of his NATO allies and the EU and his capitulation to President Putin at their summit in Helsinki is yet another example of that.

With the Republican Party refusing to hold President Trump accountable, it’s up to the American people.

Their next chance will be this November, just after President Trump is set to meet again with President Putin…this time in the White House that Russia believes they’ve won.

So far, Russia appears to be right. The American people can prove them wrong.

Day 543: Monday, July 16

Surrender Summit
U.S. President Donald Trump, left, and Russian President Vladimir Putin, right, shake hand at the beginning of a meeting at the Presidential Palace in Helsinki, Finland, Monday, July 16, 2018. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)

U.S. President Donald Trump, left, and Russian President Vladimir Putin, right, shake hand at the beginning of a meeting at the Presidential Palace in Helsinki, Finland, Monday, July 16, 2018. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)

The Big Story: Just days after 12 Russians were indicted for their criminal espionage on the 2016 U.S. election, the President of the United States sided with the man who ordered this attack on American democracy and helped him get elected. President Trump’s summit with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Helsinki, Finland was one for the history books. It’ll be panned in a chapter that will be known as the great capitulation.

The day started with President Trump sending out tweets attacking Americans and the investigation that just sent a strong message to Russia about their interference. Then, while Putin remained measured, Trump was over-complimentary and did not even mention meddling in their pre-meeting statements.

After an hours-long one-on-one meeting, Trump held a disastrous press conference with Putin where he failed to challenge Russia on their interference in the 2016 election. Instead, Trump attacked the Democrats, panned the Russia probe as a witch hunt, and called the U.S. “foolish.”

When asked whether he holds Russia responsible for anything, Trump said:  “I hold both countries responsible…I think that the United States has been foolish.”

When asked about Russia’s interference and the fact the U.S. Intelligence Community is conclusive in their findings, Trump said: “I will tell you that President Putin was extremely strong and powerful in his denial today.”

When Trump was pressed by AP’s Jonathan Lemire to call out Russia for their election interference, Trump responded by asking where the DNC server is and asked where Clinton’s 33k emails. Trump went on to say “[Putin] just said it’s not Russia…I will say this: I don’t see any reason why it would be.” This was before he went off on another tirade about Clinton’s emails and called the idea of Russian interference an excuse Democrats came up with for losing the election.

President Putin, who couldn’t have scripted this presser better himself, was giddy. He denied interfering in the election but did not explicitly deny a question as to whether or not Russia has compromising material on President Trump. One of the more notable statements that Trump called “an incredible idea” was an exchange for Putin’s rival of Magnitsky Act fame Bill Browder.

When asked whether he wanted Trump to win, Putin said: “Yes, I did.”

As members of the media and Democrats condemned the press conference, most Republicans remained silent in the immediate aftermath. But then the responses began to pour in. While most Republicans were spineless, Senator John McCain (R-AZ), Senator Jeff Flake (R-AZ), and Senator Bob Corker (R-TN) spoke strongly. You can read all their responses here:

One of the most powerful responses came from Former Director of National Intelligence John Brennan.

You can watch the full conference yourself, the final words of which were “witch hunt,” and judge for yourself whose interests President Trump was representing at this summit.

Context: This comes after Friday, when 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. It also included the theft of 500,000 Illinois voters’ data.

The investigation that Trump called a witch hunt on the world stage is a multi-faceted counterintelligence investigation that 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 Friday’s indictments, 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.

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).

When it comes to potentially compromising information, the answer could be as simple as following the money.

A quick reminder that we were warned:

The Look Ahead: What everyone saw today was the President of the United States repaying a foreign adversary for helping him get elected. What will President Putin feel empowered to do in light of this large-scale surrender? What we know is that 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. Will Trump be named? Will he be found potentially guilty of obstruction of justice? The question is whether or not Republicans will do anything about it.

In other news…

  • An indictment today could spell out a stunning complicity on the part of the GOP and the NRA.

Day 544: Tuesday, July 17

The Art Of The Walk-Back
Wax model of US President Donald Trump, left, stands near to a portrait of Russian President Vladimir Putin, displayed in the wax museum in Sofia, Friday March 31, 2017. (AP Photo/Valentina Petrova)

Wax model of US President Donald Trump, left, stands near to a portrait of Russian President Vladimir Putin, displayed in the wax museum in Sofia, Friday March 31, 2017. (AP Photo/Valentina Petrova)

After President Trump attempted to create the perception of him “walking back” one of his statements at the Helsinki summit with Russian President Vladimir Putin, you likely saw several headlines and push notifications that looked something like this:

That is not what happened.

In scripted remarks to reporters, President Trump made a dishonest attempt to “clarify” just one of the countless capitulating statements to Vladimir Putin.

But, in those same remarks, Trump also continued his consistent effort to cast doubt on whether Russia attacked our democracy. In doing so, the President of the United States sides with a foreign adversary over the U.S. Intelligence Community.

The entire world heard what he really said.

Photos of the scripted remarks revealed what Trump wrote in the margins and what he omitted…(collusion is misspelled btw.)

Even if he did misspeak in that single moment, which no one with eyes and ears believes he did, Trump did not “clarify” his tirade about Clinton’s 33,000 emails, his claim about the idea of Russian interference being an excuse Democrats came up with for losing the election, or the fact he called the Russia investigation a witch hunt and the U.S. foolish. The entirety of the summit was riddled with surrender.

This also doesn’t reverse President Trump’s years of money ties to Russian oligarchs, his campaign’s contacts with Russian operatives, or his overall conciliatory policy position towards Russia. Not to mention, Trump’s post-summit tweets undermine his statements.

This half-baked statement was clearly designated for a specific target audience: Republicans on Capitol Hill and conservative media. This gave them breathing room to try and obfuscate what Trump meant and attempt to quell the unanimous backlash. But as we saw, President Trump continues to contradict himself in the aftermath.

One can only hope the media covers this appropriately.

Even the lights fact-checked him.

It was actually Chief of Staff John Kelly.

In other news…

Russian intelligence agencies are planning to ramp up operations targeting western countries now that the World Cup and the Trump-Putin Helsinki summit have ended, according to sources familiar with intelligence collected by the United Kingdom, the US and other allies.

  • In an interview with Fox News’ Tucker Carlson, President Trump doubled down on many of his talking points, and in one moment questioned why the United States is upholding Article 5.

  • At an event in South Africa commemorating what would’ve been Nelson Mandela’s 100th birthday, former President Barack Obama spoke out.

Day 545: Wednesday, July 18

#TrumpKnew
U.S. President Donald Trump and Russia’s President Vladimir Putin talk during the family photo session at the APEC Summit in Danang, Vietnam, Saturday, Nov. 11, 2017. (Jorge Silva/Pool Photo via AP)

U.S. President Donald Trump and Russia’s President Vladimir Putin talk during the family photo session at the APEC Summit in Danang, Vietnam, Saturday, Nov. 11, 2017. (Jorge Silva/Pool Photo via AP)

Donald Trump has denied the fact Russia attacked America’s democracy since before he took the oath of office. Many thought once he became President, that would change. It didn’t. And this week President Trump sided with Russian President Vladimir Putin, a foreign adversary who personally ordered the attacks on America’s 2016 election, over the U.S. Intelligence Community on the world stage. Now, we have a report from The New York Times that indicates not only was President Trump briefed on Russian interference before his inauguration; he was briefed on raw evidence that showed Putin ordered the attack. The NYT report was sourced by nearly a dozen people who attended the meeting or were briefed on it.

Two weeks before his inauguration, Donald J. Trump was shown highly classified intelligence indicating that President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia had personally ordered complex cyberattacks to sway the 2016 American election.

The evidence included texts and emails from Russian military officers and information gleaned from a top-secret source close to Mr. Putin, who had described to the C.I.A. how the Kremlin decided to execute its campaign of hacking and disinformation.

The January 6, 2017 intelligence briefing took place at Trump Tower and included the top brass of the U.S. Intelligence Community. In attendance was then-CIA Director John Brennan, then-Director of National Intelligence James Clapper, then-Director of National Security Agency and commander of United States Cyber Command Adm. Michael Rogers, and then-FBI Director James Comey.

They briefed Donald Trump on intelligence that outlined the complex operation that Putin ordered against the 2016 election. Aside from the emails and texts, there were reportedly several human sources referenced – including one that was so sensitive Brennan didn’t even use the name when briefing President Obama on the intelligence.

After reviewing this concrete evidence from the most powerful intelligence apparatus on the planet, President Trump immediately began to cast doubt on it…that same day.

Trump continued the following day, and the rest is history.

As we know, President Trump has consistently tried to cast doubt on Russia’s interference, pushed various conspiracy theories, and called the Russia investigation a witch hunt. This all culminated this week when President Trump stood shoulder to shoulder with President Putin and said “I don’t see any reason why it would be” Russia, claimed the idea of Russian interference is an excuse Democrats came up with for losing the election, called the Russia investigation a witch hunt, and panned the U.S. as “foolish.”

Even when President Trump tried to “walk-back” one of these statements the following day, Trump couldn’t help himself from adding a caveat: “I accept our intelligence community’s conclusion that Russia’s meddling in the 2016 election took place. Could be other people also. A lot of people out there.”

Then, on Wednesday, when President Trump was asked if Russia is still interfering in America’s democracy, Trump contradicted his own Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats and said “no.” Which the White House, of course, tried to walk back.

With The New York Times’ latest reporting, we have a situation where the President of the United States was shown definitive evidence that proved not only the fact Russia interfered in American democracy but that Russian President Vladimir Putin personally ordered the attack…and he still denies that this is the case.

This should startle every American because it goes beyond the President simply wanting to have a good relationship with an authoritarian leader because he “admires strongmen.” This report demonstrates that the President has been knowingly attempting to cover up Russia’s crimes against the United States. Crimes his 2016 campaign may be complicit in…

Needless to say, the world will be awaiting Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s report on potential collusion (which there is evidence of) between Trump’s campaign and the Russian government and his obstruction of justice report. In the meantime, the evidence of compromising material has been in front of us all along.

In other news…

Day 546: Thursday, July 19

Olympus Has Fallen
Russian President Vladimir Putin, left, and U.S. President Donald Trump talk as they arrive for the family photo session during the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Summit in Danang, Vietnam, Saturday, Nov. 11, 2017. (AP Photo/Hau Dinh)

Russian President Vladimir Putin, left, and U.S. President Donald Trump talk as they arrive for the family photo session during the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Summit in Danang, Vietnam, Saturday, Nov. 11, 2017. (AP Photo/Hau Dinh)

The Big Story: After days of the White House attempting to walk-back statements made at, and about, the Trump-Putin summit in Helsinki, President Trump has decided to double down. The White House announced that President Trump has asked National Security Adviser John Bolton to invite Russian President Vladimir Putin to Washington this fall. This caught the country by surprise, and it apparently caught Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats by surprise as well. MSNBC’s Andrea Mitchell appears to have broken the news to him in a live interview.

The Context: This comes amid a whirlwind last several days where:

  • 12 Russians were indicted for their criminal espionage on the 2016 U.S. election.
  • The President of the United States held a summit and sided with Putin who ordered this attack on American democracy.
  • A report from The New York Times indicated not only was President Trump briefed on Russian interference before his inauguration; he was briefed on raw evidence that showed Putin personally ordered the attack.
  • The President considered turning over American citizens (including former Russian Ambassador Mike McFaul) to Russia as part of Putin’s longtime goal of locking up rival Bill Browder. Have since denied the request in a deferential statement.
  • A report from Bloomberg indicated Putin made an offer to hold a referendum in Crimea and Trump asked Putin not to disclose it so he could consider it.

That was just the last few days. The backdrop of this is, of course, Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s multi-faceted counterintelligence investigation probing Russian interference, the Trump campaign’s potential collusion with Russia, and potential obstruction of Justice on the part of President Trump. Adding another dimension to this are 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.

And on top of all of this are 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). Not to mention President Trump’s attacks on western allies, which also fits into Putin’s goals.

The Look Ahead: President Trump appears to not be backing down from this strategy. Although his base is sticking by him, some Republican Congressmen are speaking out. Perhaps, the Republican Party will continue to shrink into Trump loyalists as its leader continues to test the limits of our national psyche.

In other news…

Day 547: Friday, July 20

[Insert “Lordy, There Are Tapes” Joke Here]
Michael Cohen, President Donald Trump's personal attorney, walks down the sidewalk in New York, Wednesday, April 11, 2018. (AP Photo/Seth Wenig)

Michael Cohen, President Donald Trump’s personal attorney, walks down the sidewalk in New York, Wednesday, April 11, 2018. (AP Photo/Seth Wenig)

After Donald Trump’s repeated denials of knowledge of the affair and knowledge of payment to former Playboy model Karen McDougal, the Justice Department reportedly has hard evidence depicting the opposite. The New York Times reported:

President Trump’s longtime lawyer, Michael D. Cohen, secretly recorded a conversation with Mr. Trump two months before the presidential election in which they discussed payments to a former Playboy model who said she had an affair with Mr. Trump, according to lawyers and others familiar with the recording.

The F.B.I. seized the recording this year during a raid on Mr. Cohen’s office. The Justice Department is investigating Mr. Cohen’s involvement in paying women to tamp down embarrassing news stories about Mr. Trump ahead of the 2016 election. Prosecutors want to know whether that violated federal campaign finance laws, and any conversation with Mr. Trump about those payments would be of keen interest to them.

President Trump’s lawyer Rudy Giuliani confirmed the existence of the recording, stating it was less than two minutes long and making the unconfirmed assertion that the payment was ultimately never made. But, Giuliani went on to say that Trump told Cohen if he were to make a payment to use a check instead of cash.

Whether or not attorney-client privilege would’ve protected this tape, it’s likely it fit within the crime-fraud exception. This conversation between President Trump’s former personal lawyer (and fixer) Michael Cohen raises numerous questions. The Washington Post’s report has more details of the recording:

In the September 2016 conversation, Cohen and Trump were discussing a plan by Cohen to attempt to purchase the rights to McDougal’s story from AMI for roughly $150,000, according to one person familiar with recording.

On the tape, Trump can be heard urging Cohen to make sure he properly documents the agreement to buy the rights and urges him to use a check — rather than cash — to keep a record of the transaction, the person said.

As we know, the National Enquirer paid former Playboy Model Karen McDougal $150,000 to purchase and suppress the story about her 2006 affair with Donald Trump. The payment was made in August 2016. David Pecker, the chairman of the National Enquirer’s parent company, is a friend of Donald Trump’s. The Wall Street Journal broke the story on this on November 4, 2016. When then-Trump campaign spokeswoman Hope Hicks was reached out to for comment, she said they had no knowledge of this payment and denied the affair. That was clearly a lie.

There has always been questions as to whether or not Cohen was involved in the National Enquirer deal. McDougal has accused Cohen of such, and told CNN that she later found out her legal representation for the negotiations with the Enquirer, Keith Davidson, was in contact with Cohen.

A major unanswered question is whether or not Cohen reimbursed the Enquirer for their payment to McDougal. Although his latest development doesn’t confirm that, it does provide evidence that makes that possibility more likely. Given the report that the National Enquirer has been subpoenaed by federal prosecutors, it’s definitely of interest. Michael Cohen had a fixer fund he amassed, so if Trump discussed payments to McDougal, whether or not any of that money made its way to the Enquirer is a question that must be answered.

Cohen reportedly obtained the $774,000 through a home-equity line of credit. As we know, Cohen paid $130,000 to Stephanie Clifford (aka Stormy Daniels) in October 2016 to keep her quiet about her affair with Donald Trump. Rudy Giuliani told Fox News’ Hannity that this payment was reimbursed and that President Trump knew about it. Giuliani also claimed that the payment was related to the campaign. Giuliani and Trump have both asserted that Cohen was reimbursed through his $35k monthly retainer. Giuliani went as far as to say Cohen was reimbursed up to $470,000 (later revising it down to $420,000).

As part of the criminal investigation being conducted by federal investigators in the Southern District of New York, Cohen is being probed for potential bank fraud and potentially violating election law by trying to suppress damning information about then-candidate. Recent reports indicate Cohen will likely cooperate with federal investigators.

In light of this, another important question arises: are there more tapes?

Needless to say, this development does not look good for Donald Trump.

In other news…

Over the weekend…

Unpresidented // Donald Trump / Journalism / Russia / Vladimir Putin