Here’s Every Action Trump Took In His Eighth Unpresidented Week As POTUS
This is my eighth weekly roundup of President Trump’s shenanigans, and spoiler alert: Sanity has not returned to Washington.
Trump has not stopped lying. The GOP has not stopped enabling. And as a result, the nation has not stopped resisting.
This week was a lot like the others. Plenty of dysfunction and a lot of acting. Seriously, these were some Oscar worthy performances that would give the cast of Moonlight a run for their money.
Republicans tried to act as if their party isn’t deeply divided and their Obamacare replacement isn’t on life support, as it was struck with a crippling report from the Congressional Budget Office. The Trump administration carried on with their wiretapping lie, as their ineffective Muslim immigration and travel ban was struck with legal setbacks. And the nation continued to try and act as if we aren’t scared shitless, as we were struck with…well…Donald Trump.
Here is every action President Trump, and his administration, took during his eighth week as President of the United States:
Eighth Weekend (March 11–12)
- The Trump administration continued to execute on it’s purge of Obama-era appointees. This time at the justice department. Attorney General Jeff Sessions ordered the resignation of all 46 remaining United States attorneys who were appointed by President Obama. This included Preet Bharara, the United States attorney in Manhattan. Bharara refused to resign, and was promptly fired on Saturday. Bharara’s firing has come under increased scrutiny due to the nature of the investigations he was taking on at the time of his firing. It has been reported that he was investigating Trump’s HHS Secretary Tom Price for making potentially illegal stock trades in health companies while he sponsored and voted on legislation that would affect health companies. Bharara was also in the middle of a high-profile federal investigation of Fox News. It’s also important to note that Bharara was asked to investigate Trump’s potential violations of the emoluments clause a few days before his firing
Eighth Week (March 13–17)
Monday March 13
The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) released their report on the GOP’s Obamacare replacement, the AHCA. Here were the key takeaways:
- 14 million more people will lose insurance by 2018 than under the current law
- 24 million people by 2026
- 25% less Medicaid funding by 2026
- Insurers can charge older people 5x more
- Will reduce federal deficits by $337 billion over the 2017–2026 period
The Trump administration continued their tireless defense of Trump’s lie about how Obama “wiretapped” him
- After deflecting a question about Trump’s wiretapping lie by saying, “there are many ways to surveil each other now, unfortunately,” including “microwaves that turn into cameras,” Kellyanne Conway claimed she had no evidence for the lies but was happy the House Intelligence committee was investigating
- In a press conference later on in the day, Press Secretary Sean Spicer appeared to begin backtracking on the lie, telling reporters:
“I think there’s no question that the Obama administration, that there were actions about surveillance and other activities that occurred in the 2016 election. The President used the word wiretaps in quotes to mean, broadly, surveillance and other activities”
Trump signed an executive order titled “Comprehensive Plan for Reorganizing the Executive Branch,” which allows the President to eliminate, merge, and reorganize federal agencies
Tuesday March 14
- The terrible CBO report hit the GOP hard as moderate Republicans began to drop their support. Speaker Paul Ryan scrambled to salvage his flailing healthcare bill and tried to spin the CBO report as a positive telling Fox News the report “actually exceeded my expectations.” As the White House attacked the credibility of the CBO, their own Office of Management and Budget forecasted an even worse loss of insurance than the CBO, with 26 million people losing coverage over the next decade, versus the 24 million from the CBO estimates
- Washington, California, Maryland, Massachusetts, New York, and Oregon joined forces in a legal effort to block Trump’s Muslim ban executive order. Hawaii had also sued separately
- Rachel Maddow had the nation on the edge of their seats when she tweeted this:
BREAKING: We’ve got Trump tax returns. Tonight, 9pm ET. MSNBC. (Seriously).
You can see by the amount of retweets that this was huge. Everyone grabbed their popcorn and anxiously awaited for Maddow’s show to air. She used the first 20 minutes of her segment to discuss Trump’s ties to a Russian oligarch and how important it is for Trump to release his taxes. Then, she dove into the 2005 return which revealed, “Trump paid $38 million in federal income taxes on reported income of $150 million, an effective tax rate of 25%. By claiming losses from previous years, Trump was able to save tens of millions of dollars in taxes that he otherwise might have owed.”
Trump took to Twitter to voice his thoughts.
Does anybody really believe that a reporter, who nobody ever heard of, “went to his mailbox” and found my tax returns? @NBCNews FAKE NEWS!
Pulitzer Prize-winning investigative reporter David Cay Johnston received the two pages of the return in his mailbox. Johnston said that Trump may have leaked the tax return himself. Adding to that speculation is the fact that the return was labeled “Client Copy.”
Wednesday March 15
- A federal judge in Hawaii placed a temporary restraining order nationwide on Trump’s muslim immigration and travel ban, hours before it was set to go into effect. It targeted section 2 and 6 of the March 6th executive order, blocking the travel and immigration ban. They ordered briefs from the Trump administration
With only 6 hours to go, Trump’s travel and refugee ban has been halted by a federal judge in Hawaii https://t.co/pUyXNcGvPr
- Senate Republicans suggested changes to the Trump administration regarding the healthcare bill, “they wanted to see lower insurance costs for poorer, older Americans and an increase in funding for states with high populations of hard-to-insure people”
- The Justice Department officially charged Russian spies and criminal hackers in the 2014 Yahoo hack that compromised 500 million user accounts
- “The FBI was investigating former Trump national security adviser Michael Flynn as recently as December, a high-level US intelligence official has told BuzzFeed News”
- The U.S. military has reportedly drafted plans that would involve the deployment of up to 1,000 troops to northern Syria. This would double the number of US troops there, and would be a strategic shift in the US approach to Syria. The move is meant to bolster the offensive of the ISIS de facto capital of Raqqa. The proposal claims these troops would be in an advisory role, but the likelihood of them getting into combat is high given the contentious situation in the region. With multiple sectarian groups involved in the conflict, as well as the Russia-backed Assad regime, things could get complicated real fast
Thursday March 16
- Former Trump National Security Advisor Michael Flynn, collected nearly $68,000 in fees and expenses from Russia-related entities in 2015, including from the Russian propaganda network RT (Russia Today). He also did work related to Turkish government interests. The Trump transition team was told of his foreign agent status, but still permitted him to attend classified national security briefings
- President Donald Trump unveiled his budget. It has $54 billion in cuts which defund several agencies entirely, including arts, public broadcasting and development groups, and also proposes steep cuts to agencies like the State Department and Environmental Protection Agency
- The top Republican and Democrat on the Senate Intelligence Committee said that there is no evidence of any surveillance on Trump Tower, which runs contrary to Trump’s repeated wiretapping lies. Richard Burr (R- NC) and Mark Warner (D-VA), said in the joint statement Thursday:
“Based on the information available to us, we see no indications that Trump Tower was the subject of surveillance by any element of the United States government either before or after Election Day 2016”
- Despite the rejection the wiretapping lie from the Senate Intelligence Committee, Press Secretary Sean Spicer held a combative press conference where he relentlessly defended the President’s lie. He quoted Fox News commentator, and New Jersey judge, Andrew Napolitan who suggested that Obama used a British intelligence agency to spy on Trump. A spokesperson for the Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ), the British intelligence agency, called the allegations “nonsense” and said “they are utterly ridiculous and should be ignored”
- Another federal judge in Maryland blocked the 90-day ban on immigration from the six Muslim-majority countries. The Trump administration said they plan to appeal this and the Hawaii ruling
- According to Buzzfeed News:
“Although the Trump administration publicly says it’s backing the House bill to replace Obamacare, in private meetings, senior aides have criticized the way Speaker Paul Ryan has dealt with the proposal, calling it a ‘botched rollout’ and expressing frustration about the lack of coalition building beforehand”
Friday March 17
- President Trump hosted German Chancellor Angela Merkel as they tried to determine their approach to the US-Germany alliance. The moments that stood out were when Trump stood by his wiretapping lies and disrespectfully refused to shake Angela Merkel’s hand
National embarrassment Donald Trump continues wiretapping lie, telling Merkel-“at least we have something in common” https://t.co/XposWbUq91
Photographers: Can we get a handshake? Merkel (to Trump): Do you want to have a handshake? Trump: *no response* Merkel: *makes awkward face* https://t.co/ehgpCnWPg7
Despite the apparent awkwardness of the meeting, President Trump awoke on Saturday and shared his own characterization of the meeting:
Despite what you have heard from the FAKE NEWS, I had a GREAT meeting with German Chancellor Angela Merkel. Nevertheless, Germany owes…..
vast sums of money to NATO & the United States must be paid more for the powerful, and very expensive, defense it provides to Germany!
- Sean Spicer flat out denied that the White House apologized to the British government despite the spokesman for the UK Prime Minister saying that Britain had received assurances
- Secretary of State Rex Tillerson struck a hawkish tone during his visit to the Asia Pacific as the Trump administration tries to decide on the appropriate strategy to dealing with North Korea’s reckless nuclear proliferation. After Japan said they would not rule out a pre-emptive strike against North Korea’s nuclear facilities, Tillerson ruled out negotiations saying that the “the policy of strategic patience has ended.” Tillerson also said that the Trump administration “might be forced to take pre-emptive action ‘if they elevate the threat of their weapons program’ to an unacceptable level.” Meanwhile, President Trump continued his brand of “diplomacy” on Twitter
North Korea is behaving very badly. They have been “playing” the United States for years. China has done little to help!
- “The GOP health care bill advances despite opposition from three conservatives on the panel. The budget panel passed the American Health Care Act, which now heads to the House Rules Committee. The vote was 19–17” — ABC News
Another week for the books. As the days drag on, it’s becoming increasingly difficult to remain measured as it continues to set in that the President of the United States is a pathological liar.
Donald Trump continues to embarrass himself and the United States on the world stage, and it is measurably diminishing our global perception.
40% of colleges are reporting overall declines in applications from international students. That is a huge deal. https://t.co/5QnVrpOSVZ
Germans who believe US is a trustworthy ally November, 2016: 59% February, 2017: 22% (Infratest Dimap)
Despite the damage Trump is already doing to how the US is perceived abroad, there is hope. As we saw this week, the Judicial Branch is continuing to prove that they will be a necessary check on President Trump’s power. The question is, will the Legislative Branch step up?
There are numerous emoluments clause violations to investigate, the Trump campaign’s Russian ties continue to pile up, and the instability displayed by our President is growing by the day. When the time comes, will the GOP act?
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