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

Seventeenth Weekend (May 13–14)

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

President Donald Trump in the Oval Office of the White House in Washington — Thursday, May 18, 2017 (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)

President Donald Trump in the Oval Office of the White House in Washington — Thursday, May 18, 2017 (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)

The White house is in crisis. The news cycle is dizzying. And the American people are vigilant…the truth is coming.

Obstruction of justice. Criminal investigation. Independent counsel. Collusion. Cover-up. Impeachment.

These aren’t the string of words a sitting president wants to hear. But unfortunately for Trump, this week those became more than just words. They became possibilities — and in some cases, a reality.

While details from President Trump’s Oval Office meeting with the Russians and his firing of FBI Director James Comey reverberated throughout this week, Trump’s staff grappled with the repercussions as their boss constantly undercut them at every turn.

Meanwhile, the investigation into the Trump campaign’s potential collusion with Russia entered an entirely new phase, as the puzzle pieces began to fall into place. The events that transpired this week even have skeptics asking, would an innocent man do that?

Here’s a complete breakdown of Trump’s wild seventeenth week as President of the United States:

A Quick Break From The Chaos

President Donald Trump, May 13, 2017 (Claritza Jimenez/The Washington Post)

President Donald Trump, May 13, 2017 (Claritza Jimenez/The Washington Post)

Coming fresh off of a week where he:

  • Fired the FBI Director in an attempt to obstruct the Trump-Russia investigation
  • Met with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov and Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak in the Oval Office
  • And essentially admitted to obstruction of justice in an interview with Lester Holt

President Trump sought a friendly audience at Liberty University in Lynchburg, Virginia. Trump was well received by the Christian school and his commencement speech went off without a hitch or gaffe. It was a quick break from the chaos that is his presidency.

But as a New York Times report citing GOP Senators pulling away Trump was circulating, and his approval rating hit 39%, a frustrated Trump and his team were considering a “reboot” and a big staff shake up.

The White House wanted nothing more than a relaxing week as they prepared for the president’s first foreign trip…but oh man, did they get the opposite. And we thought last week was crazy.

Seventeenth Week (May 15–19)

Monday May 15

Loose Lips Sink Ships

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov (Left), President Donald Trump (Middle), and Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak (Right) meeting in the Oval Office — May 10, 2017

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov (Left), President Donald Trump (Middle), and Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak (Right) meeting in the Oval Office — May 10, 2017

If it wasn’t bad enough already that President Trump met with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov and Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak in the Oval Office, the day after firing the FBI Director investigating his campaign’s ties to Russia, we learned what happened in that meeting…It was a disaster.

President Trump reportedly boasted about highly classified intelligence, revealing the location of a US intelligence source critical to the fight against ISIS and a potential plot involving laptops on commercial flights. Trump also dove into detail about the military precautions that the US would take in Iraq and Syria. The intelligence was so sensitive that our own allies and some in the US government were unaware of it. Just when you thought Trump couldn’t appear more hypocritical…

It was revealed later in the week that the source was provided by the Israelis, and was “the most valuable source of information on external plotting by Islamic State.” Needless to say, Israel was furious. Many feared Russia would pass this info to Iran, who would pass to Hezbollah. This was a reckless move that put lives at risk…all for the sake of small talk with the Russians.

As we see later in the week, this wasn’t all that Trump said to the Russians during that meeting.

In other news…

  • North Korea lauded a successful ballistic missile test they ran on Sunday which launched 489 miles. Experts say it indicates they have made progress towards developing an ICBM
  • The 9th circuit court of appeals heard Trump’s Muslim ban case
  • The Supreme Court shut down North Carolina Republican’s attempt to revive a discriminatory voter ID law
  • White supremacist Richard Spencer led a torch lit protest of the sale of Robert E. Lee’s statue in Charlottesville, VA. It was reminiscent of the KKK

Tuesday May 16

The Comey Memo

Former FBI Director James Comey (AP)

Former FBI Director James Comey (AP)

Tuesday, The New York Times reported that FBI Director James Comey took meticulous notes and left a paper trail documenting every time he believed Trump made improper moves to influence the FBI’s investigation. And one of those memos contained a bombshell.

In an Oval Office meeting in February, President Trump asked Comey to drop his investigation into former national security advisor Michael Flynn.

“I hope you can see your way clear to letting this go, to letting Flynn go,” Mr. Trump told Mr. Comey, according to the memo. “He is a good guy. I hope you can let this go.”

Many pointed to this as the clearest evidence of obstruction of justice yet, and also as grounds for impeachment.

House Oversight Committee Chairman Jason Chaffetz (R-UT) demanded that the FBI hand over all “memoranda, notes, summaries and recordings” of communications between Trump and Comey.

In other news…

  • President Trump took to Twitter to defend his sharing of classified intel with a foreign adversary and spoke about how he asked Comey to find leakers…Looks like Comey would’ve had to look no further than the Oval Office

  • Trump’s national security adviser, Lt. Gen. H.R. McMaster defended his sharing of classified intel with the Russians, saying it was “wholly appropriate”
  • Within a New York Times report outlining the chaos within the White House as they try and handle this endless flow of negative developments, three administration officials said:

Mr. Trump, a hasty and indifferent reader of his briefing materials, simply did not possess the interest or the knowledge of the granular details of intelligence gathering to leak specific sources and methods of intelligence gathering that would harm American allies.

  • Senator John McCain (R-AZ) said he was “deeply disturbed” by reports that Trump gave classified intel to the Russians as Mitch McConnel said we “could do with a little less drama from the White House.” When speaking about the scandal currently shrouding the White House, McCain drew comparisons to Watergate:

“The only thing I can say is I think we’ve seen this movie before. I think it’s reaching the point where it’s of Watergate size and scale.”

  • As President Trump met with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Erdogan’s bodyguards assaulted American protestors outside of the Turkish embassy in DC…As of the writing of this piece, there still has been no response from the White House

Wednesday May 17

The Special Counsel

James Comey and Robert Mueller (Getty Images)

James Comey and Robert Mueller (Getty Images)

On Wednesday, the Trump presidency entered a new era as the Trump-Russia investigation got taken to an whole new level. In a stunning move, Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein appointed Former FBI Director Robert Mueller as special counsel to independently oversee the investigation into Russia’s meddling in our election, including potential collusion between Trump’s campaign and Russia.

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.

Now, Mueller will helm the pivotal investigation into Trump’s potential collusion with Russia. Key figures in the investigation are Michael Flynn and Paul Manafort. Wednesday it was revealed that Paul Manafort has been subpoenaed for records related to a $3.5 million mortgage he took out after he left the Trump campaign. And in regards to Michael Flynn, the hits just kept coming.

In other news…

  • In transcripts obtained by The Washington Post, House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) joked that he “thinks Putin pays” Trump as Speaker Paul Ryan and his colleagues laughed
  • Republicans and Democrats alike continued their requests for Comey’s memos and testimony
  • Although he’s not the first to discuss the matter, Rep. Al Green (D-TX) became the first congressman to officially call for the impeachment of President Trump, citing Trump’s firing of James Comey as obstruction of justice
  • When asked whether the allegations in the Comey memo are grounds for impeachment, Rep. Justin Amash (R-MI) said “yes”
  • Paul Ryan continued his defense of President Trump, despite the wild developments. Of the Comey memo, he stated:

“We can’t deal with speculation and innuendo, and there’s clearly a lot of politics being played. Our job is to get the facts and be sober about doing that.”

  • Trump’s education budget looks to significantly cut public school funding
  • In a commencement address to Coast Guard cadets, President Trump said:

“No politician in history — and I say this with great surety — has been treated worse or more unfairly.”

I can think of a few…

Thursday May 18

Collusion

President Donald Trump, accompanied by, from second from left, Chief of Staff Reince Priebus, Vice President Mike Pence, White House press secretary Sean Spicer and former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn, speaks on the phone with with Russian President Vladimir Putin, Saturday, Jan. 28, 2017, in the Oval Office at the White House in Washington. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)

President Donald Trump, accompanied by, from second from left, Chief of Staff Reince Priebus, Vice President Mike Pence, White House press secretary Sean Spicer and former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn, speaks on the phone with with Russian President Vladimir Putin, Saturday, Jan. 28, 2017, in the Oval Office at the White House in Washington. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)

Reuters reported that Michael Flynn and other Trump campaign officials had at least 18 undisclosed calls and emails with Russia officials during the last 7 months of the campaign, six of which were calls between Michael Flynn and Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak. These contacts took place during the peak of the cyber attacks on domestic organizations and the subsequent release of that data through Wikileaks.

Despite Michael Flynn being the subject of the FBI investigation into his potential collusion with Russia, President Trump has reportedly been in contact with Flynn as recently as April 25th. Trump is said to have texted Flynn with the message, “stay strong.”

As this news broke, Chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee Senator Richard Burr (R-NC) stated that Flynn’s lawyers still haven’t responded to the subpoena for documents regarding Flynn’s communications and ties with Russian operatives.

In other news…

  • As President Trump awoke on Thursday, he took to Twitter:

  • Mike Pence is launching his own PAC ahead of 2020
  • As Trump is frustrated with Press Secretary Sean Spicer, he is reportedly weighing whether or not to downsize his role
  • Trump gave formal notice to Congress that he wants to renegotiate NAFTA
  • After leaving the highly anticipated briefing with Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, Senators stated that Rosenstein already knew Comey was going to be fired before writing the “recommendation.” This flies in the face of the White House’s assertions that it was due to Rosenstein’s letter that the choice to fire Comey was made (Trump also continues to discredit this statement with his repeated assertions that indicate otherwise). Also, Senator Lindsay Graham (R-SC) said that his takeway from the briefing was that, “You need to treat this investigation as if it may be a criminal investigation.”

Friday May 19

“Nut Job”

President Donald Trump (AP)

President Donald Trump (AP)

As President Trump boarded Air Force One to head out on his first trip abroad as POTUS, we were hit with bombshell after bombshell. First, there was the New York Times report that revealed another detail of Trump’s Oval Office meeting with Kislyak and Lavrov. Trump gave what appeared to be yet another confirmation of his attempt to obstruct justice…And to the Russians of all people.

“I just fired the head of the F.B.I. He was crazy, a real nut job,” Mr. Trump said, according to the document, which was read to The New York Times by an American official. “I faced great pressure because of Russia. That’s taken off.”

Mr. Trump added, “I’m not under investigation.”

Next, it was a Washington Post report revealed that a current White House official is now a significant person of interest in the Trump-Russia probe. Many speculated it was Trump’s son-in-law and adviser Jared Kushner, who held a secret meeting with Russian Ambassador Kislyak and Michael Flynn at Trump Tower in December. Reports later in the day added to the idea that this was indeed the case.

Later in the day, McClatchy reported that “Investigators into Russian meddling in the U.S. presidential elections are now authorized to probe whether White House officials have engaged in a cover-up, according to members of Congress who were briefed Friday by Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein.”

One of the most damning reports came at night. CNN reported that US intelligence officials have intercepted communications from during the campaign where Russian officials bragged about their “ally” Michael Flynn, and how they could use him to influence Trump and his team.

In other news…

  • Former FBI Director James Comey has agreed to testify in an open session of the Senate Intelligence Committee

  • CNN reported that James Comey “now believes that President Donald Trump was trying to influence his judgment about the Russia probe”
  • The Associated Press reported that Trump’s attorneys initially wanted him to submit an updated financial disclosure without certifying the information as true”
  • Jared Kushner aided in closing a $110 Billion weapons sale to Saudi Arabia
  • Attorney General Jeff Sessions and the Justice Department are reportedly telling lawyers to stop representing immigrants in deportation proceedings
  • The White House is reportedly already looking into a way in which to undermine independent counsel Robert Mueller
  • White House lawyers have reportedly begun researching impeachment procedures…

This week was yet another for the history books. As more details leak that paint a picture of campaign collusion, it appears as if the walls are closing in on President Trump, as he is beginning to take actions that make him look increasingly guilty…

With the appointment of Robert Mueller as special counsel, we will know once and for all if that is the case.

Unpresidented // Donald Trump / Government / Journalism / Politics