A Complete Analysis Of Trump’s 148th Unpresidented Week As POTUS

The evidence that Trump extorted Ukraine is overwhelming, but the GOP still stands by him as they continue to push a conspiracy theory straight from Russia.
President Donald Trump walks on the South Lawn of the White House after stepping off Marine One, Thursday, July 26, 2018, in Washington. Trump is returning from a trip to Iowa and Illinois. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)

President Donald Trump walks on the South Lawn of the White House after stepping off Marine One, Thursday, July 26, 2018, in Washington. Trump is returning from a trip to Iowa and Illinois. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)

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 148.

In the public impeachment hearings, we saw foreign service officials put America’s interests over their personal interests. Republican lawmakers, on the other hand, put their loyalty to Trump above their loyalty to country, even if it meant wittingly pushing Russian propaganda.

In a marathon of hearings from Tuesday-Thursday, multiple witnesses, under oath and threat of perjury, revealed even more details about President Trump’s effort to extort Ukraine to interfere in the 2020 election on his behalf. By Thursday, it was very clear that a White House meeting and military aid was withheld from Ukraine in an effort to pressure them into investigating the Bidens and the 2016 election. And more than that, we learned that “everyone was on the loop.”

On Tuesday, Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman offered up a moment of hope with his aspirational vision of America. When asked by Rep. Sean Maloney (D-NY) why he felt he could tell his father that he shouldn’t worry about him speaking out against the President, Vindman replied: “Congressman, because this is America. This is the country I’ve served and defended. That all of my brothers have served. And here, right matters.”

Vindman’s testimony highlighted a key meeting where he saw Ambassador Gordon Sondland discuss the “quid pro quo” in a  July 10 meeting with Ukrainian officials. Special Advisor to Vice President Pence Jennifer Williams, former US special envoy for Ukraine Kurt Volker, and former NSC official Tim Morrison also testified on Tuesday, providing additional damning testimony.

On Wednesday, Sondland finally testified and corroborated the testimony of the various foreign service officials who mentioned him. In a bombshell opening statement, Sondland explicitly confirmed the extortion plot and provided email evidence that proved Secretary of State Mike Pompeo was in the loop. Sondland said that he didn’t know how this could be “shadow diplomacy” if he was coordinating direction with Trump’s Cabinet and with President Trump via Rudy Giuliani. This was the most important quote of Sondland’s testimony:

“Was there a ‘quid pro quo?’ As I testified previously, with regard to the requested White House call and White House meeting, the answer is yes.”

On Thursday, former Russia expert on the National Security Council Dr. Fiona Hill looked Republican lawmakers in their faces and said:

“Based on questions and statements I have heard, some of you on this committee appear to believe that Russia and its security services did not conduct a campaign against our country — and that perhaps, somehow, for some reason, Ukraine did. This is a fictional narrative that has been perpetrated and propagated by the Russian security services themselves.”

In the face of this overwhelming evidence of Trump’s extortion scheme, Republican lawmakers resorted to smears of witnesses and continued to perpetuate the conspiracy theory that Ukraine interfered in the 2016 election. In the following days, President Trump and multiple Republican lawmakers went on news networks and pressed this conspiracy theory further.

The entire Republican Party is complicit in the Russian government’s effort to frame Ukraine for 2016 election interference.  By doing so, they are being witting assets of Russian President Vladimir Putin. The lows they are willing to stoop to protect this president continue to stretch the imagination.

Let’s dive into yet another Upresidented week.

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The Calm Before The Hearings

Day 1,033: Monday, November 18

President Donald J. Trump, joined by Vice President Mike Pence, addresses his remarks Wednesday, Oct. 23, 2019, in the Diplomatic Reception Room of the White House. (Official White House Photo by Shealah Craighead)

President Donald J. Trump, joined by Vice President Mike Pence, addresses his remarks Wednesday, Oct. 23, 2019, in the Diplomatic Reception Room of the White House. (Official White House Photo by Shealah Craighead)

Monday’s top stories:

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Impeachment Hearing Marathon Begins

Day 1,034: Tuesday, November 19

Army Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman, a military officer at the National Security Council, departs a closed door meeting after testifying as part of the House impeachment inquiry into President Donald Trump, Tuesday, Oct. 29, 2019, on Capitol Hill in Washington. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)

Army Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman, a military officer at the National Security Council, departs a closed door meeting after testifying as part of the House impeachment inquiry into President Donald Trump, Tuesday, Oct. 29, 2019, on Capitol Hill in Washington. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)

Tuesday’s top stories:

“Everyone Was In The Loop”

Day 1,035: Wednesday, November 20

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).

Today’s public impeachment hearing was the fourth and most devastating thus far. Ambassador to the European Union Gordon Sondland confirmed the “quid pro quo” (Ukraine extortion plot) at the heart of the House impeachment inquiry and delivered hard evidence that proved multiple Cabinet officials were fully aware of it.

In a nutshell, Sondland testified that Ukraine’s proposed White House meeting was directly tied to the Trump-demanded investigations of Burisma (the Bidens) and the Ukraine 2016 meddling conspiracy theory. Sondland also said he later presumed Ukraine’s military aid was also tied to these investigations. Sondland repeatedly said he was acting on President Trump’s orders and that he saw Rudy Giuliani as a conduit through which Trump was delivering orders.

Sondland also claimed that President Trump just wanted a public statement and didn’t put an emphasis on the investigations to be followed through on. This took down the narrative that Trump was concerned about corruption more broadly, and that builds the Democratic case that Trump was just seeking investigations of his political targets ahead of 2020.

What we’ll highlight here is the fact Sondland revealed the extent to which Secretary of State Mike Pompeo was kept in the loop of key developments in this extortion plot, and that Sondland directly told Vice President Mike Pence as well.

Sondland testified that “Everyone was in the loop. It was no secret.” I broke this down in my analysis for The Independent:

Sondland went on to take a different route than the career diplomats who testified before him. While they painted this plot as “shadow diplomacy,” Sondland essentially stated that the pressure campaign against Ukraine was the official policy of the Trump Administration. Sondland stated that: “As a presidential appointee, I followed the directions of the President.” Sondland proceeded to show emails proving he kept Trump Administration officials at the highest level updated on this campaign to get Ukraine to announce the investigations.

In a single email, Sondland implicated Pompeo, Secretary of Energy Perry, Brian McCormack (Perry’s Chief of Staff), Executive Secretary at the State Department Lisa Kenna, Acting Chief of Staff and OMB Director Mick Mulvaney, and Mr. Mulvaney’s Senior Advisor Robert Blair. Sondland sent them a July 19th email that read: “I Talked to Zelensky just now… He is prepared to receive Potus’ call. Will assure him that he intends to run a fully transparent investigation and will ‘turn over every stone.'”

Sondland sent subsequent updates to Pompeo. Sondland also testified that before the Warsaw meeting with Zelensky, Sondland told Pence he had concerns that the hold on Ukraine’s military aid had become tied to the issue of investigations. Sondland said that Pence nodded his head. Pompeo and Pence previously denied all knowledge of the pursuit of these investigations.

It’s also important to note that Mick Mulvaney previously admitted to the “quid pro quo,” and his involvement in the withheld military aid has been corroborated by multiple witnesses. Bill Taylor alleged that an OMB staffer said: “the directive [to withhold aid] had come from the President to the Chief of Staff to OMB.” Jennifer Williams alleged that OMB representatives told her that Acting Chief of Staff Mulvaney directed the hold on Ukraine military aid.

As this impeachment inquiry continues to unfold, more Trump Administration officials are being exposed for the complicit sycophants that they are – and so are the Republicans defending this conduct. The American people should keep this in mind at the ballot box.

In other news…

Fiona Hill Calls Out The GOP

Day 1,036: Thursday, November 21

Thursday’s top stories:

Republicans Continue To Stand By Trump

Day 1,037: Friday, November 22

Ranking member Rep. Devin Nunes, R-Calif., talks to Rep. Jim Jordan, R-Ohio, right, as Steve Castor, Republican staff attorney for the House Oversight Committee, center listens during the House Intelligence Committee on Capitol Hill in Washington, Wednesday, Nov. 13, 2019. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)

Ranking member Rep. Devin Nunes, R-Calif., talks to Rep. Jim Jordan, R-Ohio, right, as Steve Castor, Republican staff attorney for the House Oversight Committee, center listens during the House Intelligence Committee on Capitol Hill in Washington, Wednesday, Nov. 13, 2019. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)

Friday’s top stories:

Unpresidented // Donald Trump / Impeachment / Ukraine