A Complete Analysis Of Trump’s 151st Unpresidented Week As POTUS

In yet another historic week, House Democrats voted to put articles of impeachment to a full House vote and Republicans continued to put party over country.
Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA), House Judiciary Chairman Jerry Nadler (D-NY), and President Donald Trump (AP and Wikimedia Commons)

Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA), House Judiciary Chairman Jerry Nadler (D-NY), and President Donald Trump (AP and Wikimedia Commons)

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 day of his presidency. This is week 151.

“Historic” has been one of the most used descriptors in recent weeks, and this week was no different.

For the fourth time in American history, a President of the United States has had articles of impeachment against him approved by the House Judiciary Committee. And by this time next week, there will have been a third President impeached by the full House of Representatives and his name is Donald John Trump.

The past month of impeachment hearings culminated in marathon sessions this week with the Democrats presenting their closing arguments. On Monday, the House Judiciary Committee held a hearing in which Democrats presented the findings of the House Intelligence Committee’s Official Impeachment Report while Republicans presented their fact-averse counter-arguments.

From Wednesday night until around midnight Friday morning, the House Judiciary held what felt like an endless public markup session on the two articles of impeachment against President Trump. Republicans spent all of their time repeatedly yelling and screaming their various conspiracy theories and false narratives to no avail. The amendments they tried to put forth were all struck down by the Democratic majority. In a Friday morning 10 am vote, the House Judiciary Committee passed both the Abuse Of Power and Obstruction Of Congress articles of impeachment against PresidentTrup.

As this vote was taking place, Rudy Giuliani, Trump’s personal attorney at the center of the Ukraine extortion plot, was at the White House with President Trump. Rudy Giuliani had just returned from Ukraine where he was still pursuing probes of Trump’s political targets. President Trump is still engaging in the conduct he is being impeached for.

We also learned that Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) is coordinating the Senate trial with the White House and they have pre-determined President Trump’s acquittal. They are prejudging the case in order to protect the corrupt leader of their party. From House Republicans’ gaslighting lies throughout the impeachment hearings to Senate Republicans’ authoritarian fealty to President Trump, the GOP continues to show the depths of their democracy-eroding sycophancy.

In other news this week, Inspector General Horowitz presented his findings on the Russia probe, President Trump met with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov for the second time in the White House, and the Supreme Court has agreed to take up a consequential case regarding President Trump’s tax returns.

Let’s dive into another Unpresidented week.

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House Judiciary Presents Final Impeachment Case

Day 1,054: Monday, December 9

House Judiciary Chairman Jerrold Nadler (D-NY) and Ranking Member Doug Collins (R-GA) – (AP)

House Judiciary Chairman Jerrold Nadler (D-NY) and Ranking Member Doug Collins (R-GA) – (AP)

Today, House Democrats outlined their final case for impeaching President Donald Trump. Democratic Counsels Barry Berke and Daniel Goldman laid out a clear case that President Trump extorted Ukraine to interfere in the 2020 election by investigating his political targets. Republicans, on the other hand, presented nothing but stunts and false narratives.

While this second House Judiciary impeachment hearing was framed as the Democrats’ last chance to convince the American people to support impeachment, it was actually the Republicans’ last chance to convince them out of it. Impeachment support has remained steady at around 50% and Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) has announced that articles of impeachment are in the works. Given the fact Pelosi knows how to count votes better than most, you can bet she has them. Donald Trump will be the 3rd President of the United States impeached in the House of Representatives. When it happens, it will be because of his corrupt conduct and the GOP’s weak defenses, like the ones we saw today.

Aside from pushing the false Russia-created Ukraine meddling conspiracy theory and attacks on the impeachment process, House GOP Counsel Steve Castor specifically listed four key counter-arguments to the facts Democrats have outlined:

1. Castor claims the July 25 Trump-Zelensky call shows there was no “quid pro quo” or pressure.

2. Castor cites the fact President Trump and President Zelensky claim there was no pressure.

3. Castor falsely claimed that Ukraine did not know military aid was being withheld on the day of the July 25 call.

4. Castor claims that the hold on aid was released without any announcement of the probes.

I debunked all four of these defenses and more in my latest analysis for The Independent:

Castor spent time during his presentation discussing the debunked allegations against the Bidens and Russia’s Ukraine meddling conspiracy theory. Castor claimed a few Ukrainian officials spoke out and wrote an op-ed against then-candidate Trump in 2016. Those Ukrainian remarks came after Trump said he’d consider recognizing Crimea as part of Russia. Castor then tried to make the case that this was election interference. This is an asinine false equivalency that seeks to conflate a few outspoken Ukrainians with the top-down, Vladimir Putin-ordered, Russian hacking and spread of propaganda reaching millions of Americans.

Another line of defense from Castor was that the $391 million military aid was withheld for a good reason, and that President Trump was concerned about corruption in Ukraine generally. This is contradicted by witness testimony that indicated the aid was withheld to pressure Ukraine and reports that indicate a retroactive attempt to find a legit justification for the hold. That line of defense also runs contrary to the July 25 transcript memo where President Trump specifically asked for investigations into the Bidens and the Ukraine meddling conspiracy theory, not corruption broadly. Multiple witnesses testified that Trump was only concerned about those investigations and former White House adviser Fiona Hill testified that “corruption” was code for the Bidens.

Castor also stated that the aid was released for a good faith reason and no probes were announced. In reality, it was released on September 11 after the White House was made aware of the whistleblower complaint and two days before Zelensky was scheduled to announce the probes on CNN. Castor also claimed that Ukraine didn’t know the military aid was withheld until it was publicly reported in August. Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Russia Laura Cooper’s testimony directly contradicted this. Cooper said that Ukrainians sent emails on July 25, the very same day as the Trump-Zelensky call, asking about the withheld aid.

Castor also claimed that there was “no pressure” on the July 25 phone call, citing President Zelensky’s public statements about feeling no pressure. First off, do you expect the victim of an extortion plot to admit they were being extorted, especially if they’re still at the whim of the perpetrator? The pressure was clearly implicit on the call since it came in the context of Ambassador Gordon Sondland repeatedly relaying the quid pro quo directly to Ukrainian officials. Also, Ukraine is a country that is dependent on aid from the US. As Lt Col Alexander Vindman testified, when the President asks a country like Ukraine for a “favor,” it’s actually a demand. It’s important to note Zelensky still has not received a White House meeting.

All Republicans have left to grasp on are straws. House Republicans are handing Senate Republicans a tough case to defend. The Senate will likely acquit President Trump, but it will surely be hard for vulnerable purple state GOP Senators to defend the acquittal vote to their constituents.

In other news…

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Articles Of Impeachment Announced And Released

Day 1,055: Tuesday, December 10

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

Tuesday’s top stories:

Marathon Impeachment Debate Begins

Day 1,056: Wednesday, December 11

House Judiciary Chairman Jerrold Nadler (D-NY) and Ranking Member Doug Collins (R-GA) – (AP)

House Judiciary Chairman Jerrold Nadler (D-NY) and Ranking Member Doug Collins (R-GA) – (AP)

Wednesday’s top stories:

Marathon Impeachment Debate Continues

Day 1,057: Thursday, December 12

Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA), House Judiciary Chairman Jerry Nadler (D-NY), and President Donald Trump (AP and Wikimedia Commons)

Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA), House Judiciary Chairman Jerry Nadler (D-NY), and President Donald Trump (AP and Wikimedia Commons)

Thursday’s top stories:

Abuse Of Power: House Judiciary Approves Impeachment Of Trump

Day 1,058: Friday, December 13

President Donald J. Trump talks to members of the press on the South Lawn of the White House Saturday, November 2, 2019, prior to boarding Marine One to begin his trip to New York City. (Official White House Photo by Joyce N. Boghosian)

President Donald J. Trump talks to members of the press on the South Lawn of the White House Saturday, November 2, 2019, prior to boarding Marine One to begin his trip to New York City. (Official White House Photo by Joyce N. Boghosian)

History has been made. The House Judiciary Committee has just passed articles of impeachment against President Trump. The impeachment resolution has two articles, abuse of power and obstruction of Congress. It passed by a party-line 23-17 vote and will now move to a full House vote next week. This impeachment inquiry was sparked by President Trump’s extortion of Ukraine to interfere in the 2020 election and subsequent stonewalling of Congress.

Donald J. Trump is now the fourth President of the United States to have articles of impeachment passed against him in the House Judiciary Committee. Trump joins the ranks of President Andrew Johnson, President Bill Clinton, and President Richard Nixon. Unlike Johnson and Clinton, Nixon avoided a full House vote on impeachment by resigning. Although President Trump’s obstruction has followed in the footsteps of Nixon, he will not go as far as to resign. So this move means Trump will be the 3rd President in history to be impeached in the House and face a Senate trial.

The vote came after days of marathon hearings in the House Judiciary Committee debating the resolution. The hearings began on Wednesday night at 7 pm, continued on Thursday at 9 am and lasted 14 hours before House Judiciary Chairman Jerry Nadler (D-NY) postponed the vote until this morning.

Throughout the past few months of hearings, House Republicans have pushed the same debunked false narratives while House Democrats have outlined the facts of President Trump’s misconduct. Now, we head into a likely January 2020 impeachment Senate trial where Senate Republicans are set to acquit President Trump in spite of the overwhelming evidence supporting a conviction.

In other news…

Unpresidented // Donald Trump / Impeachment / Republican Party