A Complete Analysis Of Trump’s 157th Unpresidented Week As POTUS
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.
3 Years In Office
Day 1,096: Monday, January 20
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:
The First Day Of The Senate Trial
Day 1,097: Tuesday, January 21
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.
Tuesday’s top stories:
- TheHill: Pelosi rips McConnell over ‘sham’ impeachment resolution ‘designed to hide the truth’
- NBC News: White House may assert executive privilege to block Bolton testimony, Republicans say
- Monmouth University Polling Institute: Majority Support Allowing New Impeachment Evidence
- CNN poll: 51% say Senate should remove Trump from office
- The New York Times: ‘Constitutional Nonsense’: Trump’s Impeachment Defense Defies Legal Consensus
- Rantt Media: Who Is Impeachment Manager Hakeem Jeffries?
- Rantt Media: Who Is Impeachment Manager Jason Crow?
- Rantt Media: Who Is Impeachment Manager Val Demings?
- Rantt Media: Who Is Impeachment Manager Zoe Lofgren?
- Rantt Media: Who Is Impeachment Manager Sylvia Garcia?
- NBC News: 1st case of coronavirus from China confirmed in U.S.
- NBC News: Trump calls impeachment trial a long-running ‘hoax’ at Davos
- Politico: Why Congress Must Keep Investigating Trump After the Impeachment Trial
- The Guardian: Amazon boss Jeff Bezos’s phone ‘hacked by Saudi crown prince’
- HuffPost: Brazilian Prosecutors Charge Glenn Greenwald With Cybercrimes
- CBS News: Sanders apologizes to Biden for surrogate op-ed
- The Washington Post: Virginia pro-gun rally: Despite anger, threats of insurrection, massive rally is carried out peacefully outside state Capitol
- Rantt Media: What Is Public Option Health Insurance?
Trial Day Two: Democrats’ Outline Details Of Extortion Plot
Day 1,098: Wednesday, January 22
Wednesday’s top stories:
- The Washington Post: Adam Schiff’s brilliant presentation is knocking down excuses to acquit
- Rolling Stone: Trump Brags About Concealing Impeachment Evidence: ‘We Have All the Material, They Don’t’
- NBC News: OMB releases 192 pages of Ukraine-related documents to watchdog group
- The Daily Beast: White House Budget Officials Prepared to Freeze Ukraine Aid the Night Before Trump Call, Email Shows
- The New York Times: Bezos Phone Hack Tied to Saudi Crown Prince Puts New Pressure on Kingdom
- The Washington Post: Chief Justice Roberts admonishes impeachment lawyers, telling them to ‘remember where they are’
- CNN: Kushner’s FBI interviews to be held for review, Justice Department says
- Yahoo News/YouGov poll: Two-thirds of voters want the Senate to call new impeachment witnesses
- HuffPost: Mitch McConnell’s Impeachment Witness Comments Come Back To Haunt Him
- The New York Times: Barr Once Contradicted Trump’s Claim That Abuse of Power Is Not Impeachable
- NBC News: D.C. attorney general charges Trump inaugural committee enriched the family business
- NBC News: China virus toll rises to nine as officials tackle growing epidemic
- NBC News: U.S. to impose visa restrictions for pregnant women
- The Daily Beast: Trump Seems to Think an American Invented the Wheel
- NPR: Seattle-Area Voters To Become 1st With Full Option To Vote Via Smartphone
- The Florida Times-Union: Pam Bondi attempts to return $25,000 to Trump charity
- NPR: Election Security Boss: Threats To 2020 Election May Now Be ‘Broader And Deeper
Trial Day Three: Democrats’ Make Abuse Of Power Case
Day 1,099: Thursday, January 23
Thursday’s top stories:
- The Washington Post: House managers focus on alleged abuse of power in second day of opening arguments against Trump
- Politico: Dems unload ‘overwhelming’ impeachment case on the Senate — even as they press for more
- Vox: Republicans complain about the impeachment trial’s lack of new evidence while blocking new evidence
- Politico: Trump’s trial may hinge on Lamar Alexander
- CNN: Trump tapes help incriminate the President at his own trial
- LawAndCrime: ‘21 Empty Seats’: More Than One-Third of GOP Senators Reportedly Left Room During Schiff’s Speech
- The Daily Beast: Trump Scraps Obama’s Controls That Stopped Pollution From Being Dumped in Streams
- Vanity Fair: Trump Casually Confirms Medicare Is on the Chopping Block
- Newsweek: ‘Marsha’ Trends After GOP Senator Blackburn Questions Vindman’s Patriotism, Admits to Reading Book During Impeachment Trial
- TheHill: Trump sets record for tweets as president on day House makes impeachment case
- NBC News: Three Chinese cities on lockdown, travel disrupted amid coronavirus outbreak
- TheHill: DeVos compares pro-choice to being pro-slavery
- CBS News: Air tanker crash kills 3 Americans battling Australian wildfires
- Axios: University of Minnesota student jailed in China for tweets critical of government
- BBC: Fear grips Chinese city as virus lockdown begins
- CNBC: Mnuchin says Greta Thunberg can tell us what to do ‘after she goes and studies economics in college’
Trial Day Four: Democrats, And Adam Schiff, Bring It Home
Day 1,100: Friday, January 24
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.
Friday’s top stories:
- The Daily Beast: Adam Schiff Chokes Up in Closing Argument: ‘If Right Doesn’t Matter, We’re Lost’
- The Washington Post: Impeachment trial: House managers turn attention to obstruction-of-Congress charge against Trump
- ABC News: ‘Take her out’: Recording appears to capture Trump at private dinner saying he wants Ukraine ambassador fired
- The Guardian: Trump’s threat to muzzle Bolton could undermine constitution, experts say
- NBC News: Pompeo berated, cursed at NPR reporter over Ukraine questions, she says
- CNN: Trump becomes first president to speak at annual anti-abortion March for Life event
- Business Insider: Americans under the age of 30 support removing Trump from office by a nearly 3-to-1 ratio
- NBC News: China imposes travel restrictions on 33 million people as virus toll climbs
- Reuters: China virus death toll rises to 41, more than 1,300 infected worldwide
- NBC News: 34 U.S. service members diagnosed with brain injuries after Iran attack
- CNN: Hundreds of thousands protest US troop presence in Iraq
- ABC News: 66% call for witnesses in Trump’s impeachment trial: Poll
- Rantt Media: Chief Justice John Roberts Must Not Allow Trump’s Lawyers To Lie
- NBC News: Judge sets high bar for former Trump adviser Flynn to withdraw guilty plea
- Earther: A Massive Locust Swarm Poses an ‘Unprecedented Threat’ to East Africa
- Sky News: EU’s top two leaders sign off on Brexit deal with promise ‘our friendship will remain’
- Business Insider: Trump administration accused by the UK of a ‘denial of justice’ after refusing to extradite a diplomat’s wife accused of killing a British teenager
- Bloomberg: George Soros Says Facebook Is Conspiring to Re-Elect Trump