A Complete Analysis Of Trump’s 157th Unpresidented Week As POTUS

The first week of President Trump's impeachment trial started with a powerful case from Democrats and an incredibly weak defense from Trump's lawyers.

Trump’s first major typo after winning the election was spelling Unprecedented incorrectly. He infamously tweeted “Unpresidented.” This typo is emblematic of his administration: An impulsive, frantically thrown together group of characters with virtually no oversight. After Trump was sworn in, I started writing the weekly “Unpresidented” column, analyzing every week of his presidency. This is week 157.

“And you know you can’t trust this president to do what’s right for this country. You can trust he will do what’s right for Donald Trump. He’ll do it now. He’s done it before. He’ll do it in the next several months; he’ll do it in the election if he’s allowed to. This is why, if you find him guilty, you must find that he should be removed. Because right matters. Because right matters. And the truth matters. Otherwise, we are lost.” – Adam Schiff

The impeachment trial of President Donald Trump has begun. There are some unmistakable truths that this week highlighted. President Trump definitely did what he is accused of. Trump’s lawyers have no credible defense of his actions. The House Impeachment managers made an overwhelming case. And Rep. Adam Schiff, with his tireless performances defending American democracy, rose to the occasion and solidified his place as a historic figure of profound eloquence and patriotism.

During their opening arguments, the House impeachment managers made a compelling case, proving President Trump’s execution of the Ukraine extortion plot. Trump’s lawyers, on the other hand, unleashed an avalanche of lies that further eroded the office of the presidency as their gaslighting words echoed off the walls of the once hallowed Senate chamber. Meanwhile, more evidence was obtained by House impeachment managers, including audio of President Trump saying “take her out” when speaking about former Ambassador Marie Yovanovitch at a dinner with Lev Parnas in 2018.

By the weekend, excerpts from former Trump National Security Adviser John Bolton’s book confirmed that President Trump told Bolton he would not release the aid to Ukraine until he got the investigations into his political targets. This makes it impossible for vulnerable purple state Senate Republicans to justify voting against Bolton testifying or the inclusion of new documents. The fact around 70% of Americans want witnesses and documents in the trial doesn’t help them either. More about the impeachment trial is covered in the day-by-day breakdown below, but first, the pattern of GOP indecency was further exposed this week.

In the past 3 days: President Trump threatened Schiff on Twitter, claiming that he hasn’t “yet” paid the price for his actions. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo yelled at an NPR reporter then called her a liar. GOP Senator Marsha Blackburn questioned the patriotism of purple heart recipient Lt. Col. Vindman. Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin attacked Greta Thunberg. It’s been definitively proven that Trumpism not only cultivates a culture of corruption, it fosters a disease of depravity.

In the effort of glamorizing indecency and this twisted view of toughness, Trump’s presidency has given people a license to proudly expose the fact that they aren’t good people. The veil of decorum in polite society continues to erode every day Trump occupies the Oval Office.

Let’s dive into yet another Unpresidented week.

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3 Years In Office

Day 1,096: Monday, January 20

Donald Trump – October 15, 2016, Edison, NJ (Photo: Joe Sohm/Dreamstime. Graphics: Rantt Co-Founder Adam Al-Ali).

Donald Trump – October 15, 2016, Edison, NJ (Photo: Joe Sohm/Dreamstime. Graphics: Rantt Co-Founder Adam Al-Ali).

Monday was the 3rd anniversary of Donald J. Trump’s inauguration as the 45th President of the United States. Tuesday was set to be the first official day of his Senate impeachment trial, the 3rd in American history. How did we get here? How did one con man successfully transition from defrauding customers in his businesses to defrauding the American people while occupying the highest office in the land? How did one demagogue so effectively tap into the dark underbelly of botched Reconstruction America and twist the party of Lincoln into a state of such corrupt sycophancy that they’re willing to bring America to the brink of authoritarianism for the sake of maintaining power?

Read my summary of America’s experience in President Trump’s first three years and an index linking to contemporaneous analysis covering every single day:

Your Guide To Every Day Of Trump’s First 3 Years As President

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The First Day Of The Senate Trial

Day 1,097: Tuesday, January 21

In this image from video, President Pro Tempore of the Senate Sen. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa., swears in Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts as the presiding officer for the impeachment trial of President Donald Trump in the Senate at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, Thursday, Jan. 16, 2020. (Senate Television via AP)

In this image from video, President Pro Tempore of the Senate Sen. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa., swears in Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts as the presiding officer for the impeachment trial of President Donald Trump in the Senate at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, Thursday, Jan. 16, 2020. (Senate Television via AP)

I covered day one of the Senate trial in The Independent:

You may have seen some coverage depicting the start of this trial as a bitter circus with “both sides” going into their partisan corners. That is falsely equivalent framing. The dishonest and undignified behavior was far from equal. House Democrats represented the interests of the US Constitution. Senate Republicans represented the interests of the president. And President Trump’s impeachment lawyers represented a false reality upheld by a foundation of Fox News-enabled disinformation.

Day one was focused on debating the rules of the trial proceedings. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) was forced to make two key changes due to pressure from more moderate Republicans. Rather than 24 hours and two days of debate allocated to each side, the debate will now be spread across three days and the House impeachment evidence will be automatically entered into the Senate record. But there will be no witnesses sought at the onset of the trial, even though a majority of Americans want them. Senate Republicans claimed this is the Clinton impeachment precedent, but during that trial, there wasn’t a White House that stonewalled all witnesses and documents from the House impeachment inquiry.

What followed was more than 12 hours of debate on McConnell’s resolution starting shortly after 1 pm. It ended at about 2am this morning, with all 53 Senate Republicans voting against every amendment presented by Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) seeking witnesses and documents. The end result is, of course, important, as Senate Republicans definitively proved they do not want to guarantee the American people a fair trial. But what happened during those 12 hours of debate must not be ignored or accepted as normal.

Read My Full Piece On Day One

Tuesday’s top stories:

Trial Day Two: Democrats’ Outline Details Of Extortion Plot

Day 1,098: Wednesday, January 22

Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA), House Intelligence Chairman Adam Schiff (D-CA), and House Judiciary Chairman Jerry Nadler (D-NY) – Associated Press

Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA), House Intelligence Chairman Adam Schiff (D-CA), and House Judiciary Chairman Jerry Nadler (D-NY) – Associated Press

Wednesday’s top stories:

Trial Day Three: Democrats’ Make Abuse Of Power Case

Day 1,099: Thursday, January 23

President Trump (AP), Ambassador Gordon Sondland (Official Photo), President Trump and Mike Pence, and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo (AP).

President Trump (AP), Ambassador Gordon Sondland (Official Photo), President Trump and Mike Pence, and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo (AP).

Thursday’s top stories:

Trial Day Four: Democrats, And Adam Schiff, Bring It Home

Day 1,100: Friday, January 24

By Gage Skidmore from Peoria, AZ, United States of America – Adam Schiff

By Gage Skidmore from Peoria, AZ, United States of America – Adam Schiff

I covered the three days of Dem arguments of the Senate trial in The Independent:

Over the past three days, Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA) and his team of impeachment managers presented a convincing case against President Trump, grounded in documentary evidence and witness testimony. While Senate Republicans killed Democrats’ attempts to have new witnesses at the onset of the trial, the impeachment managers cleverly integrated video clips of the House impeachment inquiry’s testimony. Wednesday was focused on presenting the facts of the alleged Ukraine extortion plot. Thursday was focused on how such a plot might constitute an abuse of power on the part of President Trump. Friday was focused on President Trump’s unprecedented stonewalling and alleged obstruction of Congress. And each day, the impeachment managers repeated rebuttals of the incoming White House defenses.

When outlining the details of the Ukraine extortion plot, Democrats ran through the entire timeline. They covered the smearing and ousting of former Ambassador Marie Yovanovitch, made claims that President Trump used Rudy Giuliani and various diplomats to pressure Ukraine to announce an investigation into the Bidens, and detailed how the White House meeting and $391 million in military aid were withheld from Ukraine. Throughout the arguments, the House impeachment managers detailed how individual pieces of documentary evidence the White House is withholding would fill the gaps and corroborate their arguments.

Rep. Jerry Nadler (D-NY) led the effort to show that Trump’s conduct is exactly the kind of abuse of power the Founding Fathers had in mind when crafting the impeachment clauses. Nadler then undercut the current arguments of Trump’s defenders with their own past assertions that an impeachable offense doesn’t have to be a crime. Nadler played a 1998 clip of Trump impeachment lawyer Alan Dershowitz’s statement and a 1999 clip from then-impeachment manager Lindsey Graham (R-KY). Graham was conveniently in the restroom at that moment, which is unfortunate because it would’ve been priceless to see the expression on his face while his hypocrisy was laid bare on the Senate floor.

The impeachment managers then debunked the false allegations against the Bidens and the Ukraine meddling conspiracy theory, saying that President Trump’s motive for seeking these investigations wasn’t a real hunt for corruption, but a hunt for political dirt.

Read My Full Piece On The Dem Arguments And Why They Mattered

Friday’s top stories:

Unpresidented // Adam Schiff / Donald Trump / Impeachment