A Complete Analysis Of Trump’s 149th 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 day of his presidency. This is week 149.
The Republican Party is willing to excuse outright extortion in order to defend President Trump. They’re willing to become a vehicle for Russian disinformation. They’re willing to tell blatant lies to the American people on a daily basis. Nothing is a bridge too far. They fear losing Trump’s base more than they love America.
This was a short week due to the Thanksgiving festivities, but nonetheless, the gaslighting continued.
Let’s dive into another Unpresidented week.
Republicans Are Witting Assets Of Russia
Day 1,040: Monday, November 25
“I would ask that you please not promote politically driven falsehoods that so clearly advance Russian interests.” – Dr. Fiona Hill to House Republicans
There is only one word to describe the recent actions of the Republican Party: treacherous. Former Special Counsel Robert Mueller spent two years investigating whether the Trump Campaign wittingly conspired with the Russian government to interfere in the 2016 election. Mueller found evidence of collusion in the Trump Campaign’s coordination of Wikileaks dumps, but not enough to charge a criminal conspiracy. At this very moment, President Trump, Republican representatives, senators, and pundits are wittingly pushing a disinformation campaign straight from the Russian government… again. Russia’s attack on American democracy never stopped.
Over the last month, President Trump and House Republicans have been pushing a conspiracy theory that tries to frame Ukraine for Russia’s interference in the 2016 election. On Friday, former Russia expert on the National Security Council Dr. Fiona Hill took House Republicans to school. Dr. Hill delivered testimony that essentially depicted the entire Republican Party as not even unwitting perpetrators of Russia’s active measures, but knowing accomplices. Dr. Hill’s testimony debunked the “harmful” Ukraine meddling conspiracy theory and sent an unmistakable message to Republicans:
“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.”
This was surely not the first time these lawmakers had heard that this was disinformation straight from the Kremlin. We’ve since learned, thanks to a report from The New York Times, that in recent weeks, intelligence officials briefed Senators on Russia’s yearslong disinformation campaign to frame Ukraine for interfering in the 2016 election. The New York Times article also had a bombshell detail that indicated President Trump has spoken directly to Russian President Vladimir Putin about this conspiracy theory:
That muddy brew worked its way into American information ecosystems, sloshing around until parts of it reached Mr. Trump, who has also spoken with Mr. Putin about allegations of Ukrainian interference. Mr. Trump also brought up the assertions of Ukrainian meddling in his July 25 call with President Volodymyr Zelensky of Ukraine, which is at the heart of the impeachment inquiry into whether he abused his power by asking for a public commitment to investigations he stood to gain from personally.
But wait, it gets worse. Lev Parnas, recently indicted associate of Rudy Giuliani, is claiming that House Intelligence Committee Ranking Member Devin Nunes (R-CA) is implicated in the extortion plot he’s been defending. Parnas claims Nunes went to Vienna last December to meet with former Ukrainian Prosecutor General Victor Shokin where Nunes spoke about the need for those probes into the Bidens and this very same Ukraine meddling conspiracy theory.
Dr. Hill’s testimony and the Senate briefing did not stop President Trump and his allies from continuing to push this false narrative.
“They gave the server to CrowdStrike … that’s what the word is” — here’s Trump pushing the absolutely insane, debunked conspiracy theory that the DNC’s server is in Ukraine and that Russia was framed for interfering in the 2016 election pic.twitter.com/PXClTXfJhd
— Aaron Rupar (@atrupar) November 22, 2019
WALLACE: Senator Kennedy, who do you believe was responsible for hacking the DNC & Clinton campaign? Russia or Ukraine?
KENNEDY: I don’t know. Nor do you.
W: The entire intel community says it was Russia.
K: Right. But it could be Ukraine. Fiona Hill is entitled to her opinion pic.twitter.com/KQAUkWeJIo
— Aaron Rupar (@atrupar) November 24, 2019
.@SenatorWicker: Fiona Hill is correct that Russia tried to interfere in 16. Also, Ukrainians tried to interfere
TODD: Isn’t there a big difference? Individual Ukrainians who didn’t like Trump, vs. Putin ordering a full-fledged interference campaign?
W: I’m concerned about both pic.twitter.com/pZhzBIX1cR
— Aaron Rupar (@atrupar) November 24, 2019
Rep. @leezeldin just went onto CNN and lied endlessly.
He pushed the Ukrainian meddling conspiracy theory, smeared Hunter Biden, and defended Trump’s lawlessness.
Let’s make this clear: if you’re still pushing the conspiracy theory, you are being a witting asset of Russia.
— Ahmed Baba (@AhmedBaba_) November 24, 2019
So, in a nutshell, Russian President Vladimir Putin reportedly spoke to President Trump about the Ukraine meddling conspiracy theory. Trump mobilized his entire party to push this narrative. Aside from a counter-narrative to the Ukraine scandal, this can also be perceived as an extension of President Trump’s own efforts to undermine the U.S. intelligence community’s conclusion that Russia interfered in the 2016 election. This doesn’t even begin to touch on President Trump’s countless actions of capitulation towards Russia.
The party that once declared “Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall,” is now the party of “Mr. Putin, what can we do for you?”
In other news…
- ABC News: House Intelligence Committee in possession of video, audio recordings from Giuliani associate Lev Parnas
- The Washington Post: Former White House counsel Donald McGahn must comply with House subpoena, court rules in case that could affect impeachment inquiry
- Vanity Fair: Emails Show the White House Knew Trump Was Extorting Ukraine
- CNBC: Giuliani ally would testify that Nunes staffers hid Ukraine meetings from Schiff
- The Washington Post: White House review turns up emails showing extensive effort to justify Trump’s decision to block Ukraine military aid
- CNN: Navy Secretary forced out after Trump’s war crimes intervention causes division and chaos in military
- CNN: Giuliani’s associates boasted of US government ties, Ukraine gas executive says
- CNN: Republicans buy into Trump conspiracies to blunt impact of impeachment hearing
- CNN: National Enquirer company chief David Pecker talking with New York prosecutors
- Axios: Sen. John Kennedy repeats Ukraine conspiracy theory about DNC server
- The Washington Post: Investigators scrutinize Giuliani firm and donations to Trump super PAC as part of broad probe
- Axios: Judge orders Pentagon and White House budget office to release Ukraine aid records
- AP: Esper says Trump ordered him to stop SEAL review board
- Mother Jones: Mitch McConnell’s Opposition to Federal Election Security Is Hitting Home
- Reuters: Landslide democratic win puts pressure on leader of Chinese-ruled Hong Kong
- The Drive: Turkey Tests F-16s And F-4s Against S-400 Radars In Defiance Of U.S. Sanctions Threats
- Reuters: U.S. charges former Outcome Health executives in $1 billion fraud
- TheHill: Kentucky governor pardons man serving life sentence for sexually abusing 6-year-old
Day 1,041: Tuesday, November 26
Tuesday’s top stories:
- The New York Times: Trump Knew of Whistle-Blower Complaint When He Released Aid to Ukraine
- CNN: Trump administration officially put hold on Ukraine aid same day as Trump call
- NBC News: Two OMB staffers quit after expressing frustration about frozen Ukraine aid, top official says
- NBC News: House Judiciary Committee announces first impeachment hearing, invites Trump to attend
- The Washington Post: A wealthy Venezuelan hosted Giuliani as he pursued Ukraine campaign. Then Giuliani lobbied the Justice Department on his behalf.
- Axios: Trump denies sending Giuliani to Ukraine to dig up dirt on political opponents
- The Daily Beast: Trump Tells Allies He Wants Absolved War Criminals to Campaign for Him
- TheHill: White House chief of operations leaving administration
- TheHill: White House chief of operations leaving administration
- Reuters: Net support for impeachment grew steadily during U.S. congressional hearings, poll shows
- Politico: Judge halts Trump’s insurance mandate for immigrants
- The Washington Post: U.S. Resumes Large-Scale Operations Against ISIS in Northern Syria
- AP: Trump’s actions raise concern about role in military justice
- The Daily Beast: GOP Sen. John Kennedy: ‘I Was Wrong’ to Say Ukraine May Have Hacked DNC Server
- CNN: Melania Trump booed at youth opioid summit in Baltimore
- Newsweek: Tucker Carlson Repeatedly Says He’s Rooting for Russia and ‘I Don’t Care’ About Ukraine Conflict
- Axios: Billionaires dominate 2020 presidential election ad spending
- Reuters: Russia hopes to agree new S-400 missile deal with Turkey next year
- Hong Kong Free Press: Hundreds return to Hong Kong’s streets to demand release of protesters trapped on PolyU campus
- NBC News: Deadly earthquake rattles Albania
- Rantt Media: Zelensky Struggles To Contain Ukraine’s Neo-Nazi Problem
- Rantt Media: Why It’s So Important For Us To Discuss White Privilege
Trump’s Legacy Of Fraud
Day 1,042: Wednesday, November 27
Wednesday’s top stories:
- ProPublica: Trump Tax Records Reveal New Inconsistencies — This Time for Trump Tower
- The New York Times: Russia Inquiry Review Is Expected to Undercut Trump Claim of F.B.I. Spying
- The New York Times: Giuliani Pursued Business in Ukraine While Pushing for Inquiries for Trump
- Bloomberg: Trump Denies Sending Rudy Giuliani to Ukraine for Biden Probe
- CNN: New revelations put Trump on shakier ground
- CBS News: “Anonymous” op-ed author pledges to reveal identity
- TheHill: Pompeo-Trump relationship tested by impeachment inquiry
- MSNBC: Analysis shows Russian media is favorable of candidate Trump
- NBC News: Democrats question why DOJ inspector general isn’t investigating Trump’s attorneys general
- Business Insider: Trump bizarrely claimed at a wild Florida rally that liberals wanted to rename Thanksgiving
- CNN Poll: Biden leads nationally as Buttigieg rises
- BBC: UK would be ‘outgunned’ in a war with Russia, says report
- AP: Iran supreme leader claims protests a US-backed ‘conspiracy’
Trump’s Surprise Visit To Afghanistan
Day 1,043-1,044: Thursday-Friday, November 28-29
President Trump, who is desperately seeking a foreign policy win ahead of the 2020 election, made his first trip to visit the troops in Afghanistan. But he caused some confusion. The New York Times reported:
After abruptly axing nearly a year of delicate peace talks with the Taliban in September, President Trump put the negotiations back on the front-burner this week in a similarly jolting fashion by seeming to demand a cease-fire that his negotiators had long concluded was overly ambitious.
Despite a sense of relief at the prospect of resuming talks to end the 18-year conflict, Western diplomats and Taliban leaders were scrambling to figure out whether Mr. Trump had suddenly moved the goal posts for negotiations.
They were particularly confused by his remarks, made during an unannounced Thanksgiving visit to Afghanistan, that the United States was once again meeting with the Taliban to discuss a deal, but that “we’re saying it has to be a cease-fire.”
Demanding a cease-fire would amount to a big shift in the American position and require a significant new concession from the Taliban — one that the Americans have little leverage to extract.
In other news…