A Complete Breakdown Of Trump’s Nineteenth Unpresidented Week As POTUS

Make America Covfefe Again

President Donald Trump in the Rose Garden of the White House in Washington — Thursday, June 1, 2017 (AP)

I’ve been reading and writing so much about Trump lately that I almost forgot what a great leader looks like. I decided to start doing some reading on great leaders of the past. The ones that shaped American democracy and propelled us into the future.

Great leaders don’t need to use disinformation to convince their supporters that their policies are great. They simply strive to create great policies.

Great leaders own up to their mistakes. They don’t pass it off on their subordinates and think staff shake ups will solve all their problems.

Great leaders reassure their people in the midst of adversity. They don’t stoke fear for political gain.

Great leaders embrace justice, not obstruct it.

Great leaders are supposed to be rocks. They are supposed to be everything the people can’t be. And right now, our president is everything the people shouldn’t be.

Donald Trump is not a great leader. He’s barely a leader at all and this week we saw that in full force once more, as the President of the United States continued to disgrace the honor of his position.

Here’s a complete breakdown of Trump’s nineteenth week as POTUS:

Nineteenth Weekend (May 27–28)

Leading From Behind

We ended last week’s Unpresidented with a mention of the final moments of Trump’s first trip abroad. Needless to say, it didn’t end well. Trump returned to the US amid news the FBI’s Trump-Russia investigation now involves his son-in-law Jared Kushner. And the details of Kushner’s efforts to create a back channel with Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak at that secret December meeting in Trump Tower didn’t help soften the blow.

Before he returned, Trump made sure to get one more embarrassing moment out of his trip. As the world leaders walked the streets, President Trump rode behind them in a golf cart.

After accusing Obama of “leading from behind,” here was President Trump literally doing just that. It was a microcosm for how the trip went. Like we covered last week, President Trump spent the trip cozying up to autocrats like Saudi Arabia and insulting our democratic NATO allies. He disparaged NATO allied nations for not paying their fair share, didn’t explicitly affirm the US’ commitment to NATO’s core tenet Article 5 (“an attack against one ally is considered as an attack against all”), and shoved the Prime Minister of Montenegro. Trump was surely behind them, but was he even leading?

On Sunday, while President Trump was tweeting about “fake news” and his “great success” of a trip, German Chancellor Angela Merkel gave us insight into how she felt about the week. She made a statement that shook the western world: That Europe can no longer rely on the U.S.

“The times in which we could completely depend on others are on the way out. I’ve experienced that in the last few days. We Europeans truly have to take our fate into our own hands.”

If the goal of Trump’s first foreign trip abroad was to get played by the Saudi’s and shake our allies confidence in America’s ability to deliver on its commitments, then Trump was right. The “trip was a great success.” But for who?

Nineteenth Week (May 29–June 2)

Monday May 29

Memorial Day

White House Adviser, and Trump’s Son-in-Law, Jared Kushner and Donald Trump (Jabin Botsford/The Washington Post)

As families around the US gathered around the grill and newly opened pools for Memorial Day, the First Family wasn’t doing much relaxing. The White House was rattled by the news that Jared Kushner is a focus of the FBI’s Trump-Russia investigation for trying to set up a secret channel of communication between Russia and the Trump transition team. Kushner tried to set this up in a meeting with Kislyak and Michael Flynn at Trump Tower in December.

Another focus of the investigation is Kushner’s December meeting with Russian banker Sergey Gorkov. Gorkov runs VneshEconomBank (VEB), a Russia owned bank that is currently under US sanctions that were put in place in 2014. Gorkov is a FSB academy graduate (essentially a trained spy) and known as a “Putin crony” in the intelligence community. Once VEB was sanctioned, Putin had to authorize $22 Billion in state funding to cover their debts.

It remains unclear whether the meeting was another attempt to create a back channel line of communication between the Trump transition and the Kremlin. But what is clear is that the meeting raises countless questions. We don’t know for sure what the purpose of the meeting was just yet, but I find it odd given the administration’s early efforts to lift sanctions on Russia. The New York Times:

During the Trump administration’s first week, administration officials said they were considering an executive order to unilaterally lift the sanctions, which bar Americans from providing financing to and could limit borrowing from Mr. Gorkov’s bank, Vnesheconombank. Removing the sanctions would have greatly expanded the bank’s ability to do business in the United States.

We learn more about these early efforts to lift sanctions later in the week.

Tuesday May 30

“Says Who?”

President Trump’s personal lawyer Michael Cohen (Stephanie Keith/Reuters)

Trump’s personal lawyer, Michael Cohen. You may remember him from his viral “Says who?” moment during the campaign.

Well, he’s back in the spotlight but for a less hilarious reason. Michael Cohen is now a subject of the Senate Intelligence Committee’s Trump-Russia investigation. After the committee asked Cohen to provide information and testimony, he told ABC News that he would not cooperate. Shortly afterwards, Sen. Richard Burr of North Carolina, and ranking Democrat, Sen. Mark Warner of Virginia were given full authority to issue subpoenas when they see fit.

Other than the unsubstantiated claims made in Michael Steele’s dossier alleging meetings between Russians and Cohen, here’s what we know about Michael Cohen. On January 27th, Cohen and shady businessman Felix Sater (a longtime Trump associate) met with Ukrainian lawmaker Andriy Artemenko at a dinner in New York in an attempt to create a back channel peace deal with Ukraine and Russia. A move many saw as a covert method to lift sanctions. Artemenko left the sealed plan with Cohen who was supposed to deliver it to former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn. Artemenko confirmed the dinner took place and that the intention was to create this deal. Cohen confirmed the dinner took place but denies this was the content discussed.

Andriy Artemenko has since had his Ukrainian citizenship revoked and is being investigated for treason for discussing the plan.

In other news…

  • CNN reported that “Russian government officials discussed having potentially “derogatory” information about then-presidential candidate Donald Trump and some of his top aides in conversations intercepted by US intelligence during the 2016 election”
  • President Trump’s Communications Director Mike Dubke has left the White House, part of a broad White House shake up Trump is planning. This is a trend we’ve seen with the president. Rather than taking responsibility and look inward, Trump blames his own shortcomings on others. It appears Trump thinks one of the problems causing his negative media coverage is a bad communications team. For example, he lashed out at them after he fired Comey. No staff shake up can fix the man’s incompetence
  • Texas State Rep. Matt Rinaldi (R-Irving) called Immigration & Customs Enforcement (ICE) with the intention of having Mexican Americans protesting at the State Capitol in Austin removed and threatened to “put a bullet” in the head of Rep. Poncho Nevárez (D-Eagle Pass)
  • For the first time, the US successfully intercepted a missile. This technique could potentially intercept a nuclear warhead

Wednesday May 31

Climate And Covfefe

Ah, another presidential typo. Covfefe just beat out Unpresidented as Donald’s most famous one. And he kept the typo up for over 5 hours. This midnight tweet set the internet ablaze. Even Merriam webster joined in.

Comedy aside, many took this as another sign of the President Trump’s reckless impulsiveness and lack of oversight. A microcosm of how this administration governs. Meanwhile, climate change advocates and other humans who care about planet Earth were reacting to the news that President Trump was set to announce the US’ withdrawal from the Paris Climate Accord. The accord had 190 countries signed onto it in an effort to reduce carbon emissions and combat climate change.

The United Nations responded to the news:

SpaceX and Tesla CEO, Elon Musk, announced he would quit President Trump’s advisory council if the US pulled out of the accord. Musk joined Apple CEO Tim Cook in and dozens of other executives in a final push to try and get the White House to remain within the accord.

In other news…

  • FBI Director James Comey will testify publicly about his allegations that President Trump tried to pressure him to end the Trump-Russia investigation
  • The Associated Press reports that Trump has been handing out his cell phone number to world leaders and asking them to call him directly, raising security concerns
  • Jared Kushner reportedly found a way to use federal loans that were designated for projects in poverty stricken areas to build a luxury skyscraper
  • “The White House disclosed Wednesday evening that it has granted ethics waivers to 17 appointees who work for President Trump and Vice President Pence, including four former lobbyists.” — The Washington Post

Thursday June 1

The Paris Climate Discord

President Donald Trump and EPA Chief Scott Pruitt (Conservative Review)

President Trump announced that the US will pull out of the Paris Climate Accord come 2020 (the earliest the US can withdraw from the agreement). In a White House Rose Garden statement riddled with falsehoods, Trump outlined his “reasoning” for pulling out of the accord and said he would be willing to renegotiate the US’ reentry. France, Italy, and Germany swiftly shot that down, saying the accord is non-negotiable.

Needless to say, fighting climate change is now on the ballot at the next presidential election. The US joins Nicaragua (who thought the deal didn’t go far enough to combat climate change) and Syria as the only nations that are not signed onto the deal. If the US retreats from being the leader in combating climate change and encouraging clean energy production, not only will we lesson our contribution to the planet’s recovery but we will lag behind while China takes the lead in clean energy innovation. The market has spoken, and clean energy is the future with or without the US. Environmental and economic ramifications aside, it’s a diplomatic blow shaking the US’ already iffy credibility among its allies.

Elon Musk and Disney CEO Bob Iger quit Trump’s advisory council, Barack Obama released a statement, and French President Macron joined world leaders in condemning the short-sighted decision.

In other news…

  • Important to note that during his announcement on the Paris Agreement, President Trump incorrectly called an attack on Manila a terrorist attack

  • NBC News reported that the FBI and Congress are investigating a April 27th event at the Mayflower Hotel for a potential undisclosed private meeting that occurred between Donald Trump, Jeff Sessions, Jared Kushner, and Sergey Kislyak

  • After stating that the hackers of the DNC could’ve been Russian patriots, Putin then denied it all together, telling Megyn Kelly that the US may have faked hacking evidence
  • The date of Comey’s public hearing has been set to June 8th
  • “Trump administration approves tougher visa vetting, including social media checks” — Reuters
  • Michael Isikoff of Yahoo News dropped a report that expands on the Trump administration’s efforts to life sanctions on Russia we discussed earlier in the week. Not only did Trump administration officials immediately try and lift sanctions on Russia upon taking office, Obama officials tried to stop them

Friday June 2

Mueller Makes Moves

Former FBI Director and Special Counsel Robert Mueller (Getty Images)

While the American people have been watching President Trump diligently working to reduce the US’ credibility, Special Counsel Robert Mueller has been expanding his Trump-Russia investigation. Reuters reported that Mueller is assuming control over the Virginia criminal grand jury investigation into Michael Flynn’s previously undisclosed $530,000 consultancy work with Turkish businessman Ekim Alptekin. Mueller will also reportedly be taking over the criminal probe into Trump’s former Campaign Manager Paul Manafort and may also expand his investigation into the roles Attorney General Jeff Sessions and Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein played in the firing of former FBI Director James Comey, which many saw as a classic case of obstruction of justice.

Widely respected as an apolitical straight arrow, Mueller worked as FBI Director while James Comey was deputy attorney general during the Bush years. They were close friends, and Comey saw Mueller as a mentor.

The AP asked Rosenstein whether or not Mueller would have the authority to investigation Sessions. Rosenstein confirmed he would:

“The order is pretty clear,” Rosenstein responded. “It gives him authority for the investigation and anything arising out of that investigation, and so Director Mueller will be responsible in the first instance for determining what he believes falls into that mandate.”

The broad scope of Mueller’s investigation is beginning to crystalize. This terrible news for the Trump administration and great news for those seeking the truth.

In other news…

  • The Trump administration appealed the travel ban case to the Supreme Court
  • States like California began to step up to the plate and make commitments to combat climate change and 187 US Mayors (and counting) have committed to honor and uphold the Paris Climate Accord
  • Billionaire, and former Mayor of New York, Michael Bloomberg pledged $15 million to cover the US’ contribution to the United Nation’s Framework Convention on Climate Change
  • US Intelligence Agencies have officially requested that the DOJ look into Russia related leaks
  • I’ll end this week with a bit on what happened after the London Bridge terrorist attack. After already mischaracterizing an incident earlier in the week, President Trump jumped the gun again, preemptively retweeting the Drudge Report’s claim that it was a terrorist attack before it was officially deemed one.

He went on to plug his “Travel ban.”

Then moved on to some light fear-mongering.

The statement Trump was referring to in that middle Tweet, was Mayor Sadiq Khan‘s. See for yourself if there is anything wrong with it.

“Londoners will see an increased police presence today and over the course of the next few days. There’s no reason to be alarmed.”

The statement seemed measured enough. Wonder if Trump’s anger towards Mayor Khan has anything to do with their past beefs?

It’s important to remember that although the damage any one president creates has wide ramifications, everything Trump has done so far is ultimately ephemeral. No amount of embarrassment can dampen America’s greatness.

The US has seen much darker times than this. We can and will overcome.

Unpresidented // Donald Trump / Government / Journalism / Politics