A Complete Analysis Of Trump’s 181st 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 181.
Yes, that is Roger Stone in the above photo at Donald Trump’s side. At the time, Roger Stone was advising President Trump when he formed an exploratory committee for the presidential nomination of the Reform Party in 1999. After attacking his potential primary opponent Pat Buchanan’s racism and accusing him of appealing to the “staunch right wacko vote” (tactics Trump would later use), Trump quickly dropped his bid… but he never dropped Roger Stone. Stone stood by Trump’s side then, and he did so again throughout the Russia probe and lied to investigators on his behalf, and now he’s been rewarded for it.
On Friday, America’s coronavirus cases hit over 70,000 according to NBC News, the largest single-day case growth ever. That same day, President Trump commuted the sentence of his longtime advisor and friend Roger Stone. You read that right. Stone had been convicted and sentenced for obstruction, false statements to investigators, and witness tampering. Trump commuted his sentence days before he was set to go to prison.
What made this worse was that it appeared Stone withheld incriminating information about Donald Trump from investigators, and was rewarded for breaking the law. Meanwhile, Trump’s former fixer Michael Cohen, who turned on Trump and told the truth of Trump’s involvement in the hush-money schemes, was taken into custody again this week.
Roger Stone lied about his conversations with Wikileaks to protect President Trump. After being charged, he refused to cooperate and continued to lie to protect Trump. Stone could’ve told investigators that he spoke on the phone with Trump multiple times about the Wikileaks drops (which unredacted pages of the Mueller report indicate he did). Stone could’ve provided more details about how robust his coordination with then-Campaign Manager Paul Manafort and then-Campaign CEO Steve Bannon was, and how much Trump was involved. But he didn’t.
After Stone was convicted, Attorney General William Barr improperly interfered in the case to reduce the sentencing recommendations for Stone, as testified to by US Attorney Aaron Zelinsky. Now, we have this Friday night commutation, which follows other Friday night efforts to undermine the rule of law. Trump has fired multiple Inspectors General on Friday nights and 2 weeks ago, Barr moved to fire Geoffrey Berman as the head prosecutor at the Southern District of New York.
In the official White House statement, the Russia investigation was falsely blasted as a witch hunt, unfair, and improper, in spite of the DOJ’s own Inspector General concluding otherwise. Roger Stone’s commutation is not normal. None of this is normal. It’s normal of authoritarian regimes, but not of American administrations. Not only is this blatantly dictatorial, it upholds a “justice” system that distorts the law for well-connected white people while systemically incarcerating and murdering black people.
The gravity of this abuse of power should not be understated. It’s objectively corrupt and un-American. It appears the gravity of this moment was felt by one particular person of importance to this case and investigation: former Special Counsel Robert Mueller broke his silence by publishing an op-ed in The Washington Post.
Mueller’s op-ed reminded Americans that Roger Stone is still a convicted felon and that the Russia investigation was run legitimately. The op-ed served as a defense of the Russia probe, not just a condemnation of the Stone commutation. It’s important to watch what happens in the Barr-Durham probe in the coming months. They’re still criminally probing the Russia probe. Mueller is clearly concerned, otherwise, he wouldn’t have spoken out. We may hear more from him as Senator Lindsey Graham (R-SC) is calling on him to testify before the Senate Judiciary Committee.
During the impeachment trial of President Trump, Rep. Adam Schiff (R-CA) said: “You may be asking, how much damage can he really do in the next several months until the election? A lot. A lot of damage…This is why, if you find him guilty, you must find that he should be removed.” Schiff was right. The Stone commutation is just part of the damage Trump has done since impeachment.
We are looking for leadership on COVID-19 and racial justice so Trump does this for Roger Stone? How does commuting the sentence of Roger Stone, who was legitimately convicted and sentenced, help Americans put food on your table? Does it defeat COVID-19? How does it benefit America? It doesn’t. It was Trump protecting a friend who didn’t tell the truth.
These authoritarian moves came one day after the Supreme Court (SCOTUS) ruled that the president is not above the law. SCOTUS rejected Trump’s argument of absolute immunity in the Trump tax case brought by Manhattan DA Cy Vance. The Manhattan prosecutor can subpoena Trump’s tax returns but Trump may still fight in lower courts. The Congressional case was sent back to a lower court.
I know these cases are nuanced and we likely might not see Trump’s tax returns before the election, but it is a great victory for the rule of law that SCOTUS unmistakably rejected Trump’s dictatorial argument of absolute immunity. This was bigger than Trump’s taxes. SCOTUS ruled that the president is not immune to criminal investigation, which marks a huge precedent.
The 5 conservatives on SCOTUS could’ve ruled that POTUS had absolute immunity, and broke our democracy, but they didn’t. Roberts, Gorsuch, and Kavanaugh ruled with liberals. If this ruling came before impeachment, Trump’s lawyers would’ve had to scrap their entire defense. The big picture is encouraging for our democracy. This precedent ensures future presidents can’t make the same arguments of immunity. This was also a big loss for the unitary executive theory, Barr’s lifelong philosophy.
Meanwhile, President Trump continued to further botch his response to the coronavirus. While the US overall continued to hit new highs, Florida over the weekend hit over 15,000 cases in a single day, which tops what New York reached during their peak. Trump continued to claim that the US only has a high number of cases because of high testing but every single other developed country in the world is still testing but aren’t finding as many cases. That’s because their leaders contained coronavirus and Trump has not.
On top of the excuses, there were several moves that would genuinely make our situation worse. The Trump Administration responded to what they say is increasing influence from China on the World Health Organization by… announcing America will leave the World Health Organization and ensuring China has more influence? The move made no sense. Domestically, we were living in Idiocracy.
In spite of his own health experts at the CDC warning of schools and universities being at the “highest risk” of becoming coronavirus hotspots, President Trump not only demanded they reopen, he used extortion tactics to pressure them into doing so. Trump threatened to withhold funding from schools if they don’t reopen and threatened international students with deportation if they don’t attend on-campus classes, further pushing schools to reopen.
Secretary of Education Betsey DeVos echoed these calls, and drew backlash after a CNN interview in which she ignored the CDC’s guidelines on reopening and pushed for schools to reopen regardless. I’m surprised she didn’t make the case that we need to reopen schools so kids can protect the buildings from grizzly bears.
President Trump is pushing schools to reopen in spite of the CDC warnings. Trump pushed for premature reopenings in states that led to the spikes we’re currently seeing, leaving states like Texas, Florida, and Arizona with overwhelmed hospitals. What more does Trump need to do for his base to realize he doesn’t care about their lives, just their votes?
But have no fear, over the weekend President Trump finally wore a mask while visiting Walter Reed Hospital. This drew “BREAKING NEWS” headlines. The fact that the President of the United States utilizing the most basic of COVID-19 preventative measures makes headlines just shows you how low this anti-science, anti-intellectual ignoramus has sunk the office.
While images of President Trump with a mask circulated on social media, so did new oppo research on Dr. Anthony Fauci that the White House sent to reporters. They pointed out all the times Fauci has been wrong. Rather than put his head down, learn from his failures to combat the virus, and move forward with a better approach (like any sane, secure human would do), Trump is launching a smear campaign against Dr. Fauci to divert blame.
Oh, and how can we forget President Trump’s attacks on NASCAR and Bubba Wallace for banning the Confederate flag this week. Trump demanded Bubba Wallace apologize for the noose misunderstanding but he still hasn’t demanded Russian President Vladimir Putin apologize for putting bounties on US troops and interfering in US democracy. Trump hasn’t uttered a negative word about Putin or the Confederacy. Instead, he defends both… but somehow Black Lives Matter are the ones who are unpatriotic?
So let’s get summarize this, shall we? President Trump’s 2020 message is to let COVID-19 run rampant and let the death count pile up while he pretends it doesn’t exist, he protects himself and his cronies from accountability, owns the Libs, and protects the legacy of the Confederacy.
The Trump Campaign appears to believe it’s 1968 and he can win on a mixture of George Wallace and Richard Nixon’s messaging. They’re wrong. This is not 1968. Trump’s COVID-19 failures are akin to Vietnam in the way it’s damaged the incumbency, but Trump is the incumbent who happens to be down by double digits in multiple polls. Also, opinions on racial justice have shifted dramatically, with the vast majority supporting the cause. Perhaps most important of all, former Vice President Joe Biden is not former Vice President Hubert Humphrey.
Let’s dive into another Unpresidented week.Looking to make a difference? Consider signing one of these sponsored petitions:
Trump Defends Confederacy, Attacks US Sports
Day 1,264: Monday, July 6
Monday’s top stories:
- NBC News: Trump attacks NASCAR and Bubba Wallace over Confederate flag banning, noose incident
- Rantt Media: Sports Leagues Try To Rectify Racism While Trump Fuels It
- The Washington Post: Supreme Court says a state may require presidential electors to support its popular-vote winner
- BuzzFeed News: ICE Says International Students Have To Leave The US If Their Classes Are Online-Only Due To COVID-19
- The Washington Post: Trump’s push to amplify racism unnerves Republicans who have long enabled him
- The New York Times: The Fullest Look Yet at the Racial Inequity of Coronavirus
- CNN: Biden campaign reacts to Trump’s Mount Rushmore speech: America is ‘suffering’ from ‘divisive president’
- CNN: Officials say states like Arizona and Texas reopened too quickly after soaring Covid-19 cases
- Axios: Case growth outpacing testing in coronavirus hotspots
- HuffPost: Scientists Plan To Urge WHO To Take Airborne Spread Of Coronavirus More Seriously
- CNBC: Trump administration releases list of companies that received most money from small business bailout loans
- AP: Trump-connected lobbyists reap windfall in COVID-19 boom
- The Washington Post: Evictions are likely to skyrocket this summer as jobs remain scarce. Black renters will be hard hit.
- Business Insider: Mitch McConnell opens the door to another stimulus check for Americans, saying people earning under $40,000 a year have been ‘hit the hardest’
- NBC News: Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms says she tested positive for COVID-19
- CNN: Australia to seal off 6.6 million people in virus-hit state as outbreak worsens
- Evening Standard: UK ‘faces big outbreaks within weeks if Brits continue to flout rules’
- CNN: The bubonic plague is back again in China’s Inner Mongolia
America First? No. America Alone.
Day 1,265: Tuesday, July 7
Tuesday’s top stories:
- NBC News: Trump administration gives formal notice of withdrawal from WHO
- Reuters: U.S. tops three million known infections as coronavirus surges
- NBC News: A grim July: U.S. sees 250,000 new coronavirus cases in just five days
- Miami Herald: Despite rising COVID-19 cases in Florida, state orders public schools to reopen in August
- CBS News: Texas shatters daily record with over 10,000 new coronavirus cases
- AP: Trump state, local leaders to reopen schools in fall
- Rantt Media: Trump Is Desperately Trying To Keep A Job He Doesn’t Want
- Politico: Psychological disorders and family squabbles: 9 details from the book by Donald Trump’s niece
- USA TODAY: Officers investigating alleged racist assault near Indiana lake after video circulates on Facebook
- HuffPost: Trump’s Job Approval Rating Sinks To 38% Amid Record-Busting Partisan Divide
- NBC News: Poll: Americans trust governors more than Trump on coronavirus
- TheHill: Romney, Collins, Murkowski won’t attend GOP convention
- CNBC: Companies with Trump ties got coronavirus small business loans
- The New York Times: They Can’t Stomach Trump. They’re Sufficiently Comfortable With Biden.
- The Guardian: Navajo Nation faces twin threats as wildfires spread during pandemic
- CNN: Live updates: Coronavirus pandemic around the world
- NBC News: U.S. considering banning TikTok, Chinese social media apps, Pompeo says
- CNN: Facebook ad boycott organizers met with Zuckerberg. It didn’t go well
- South China Morning Post: TikTok to quit Hong Kong as tech giant responds to national security law
- The Independent: Renowned Iraqi scholar Husham al Hashimi assassinated outside his home in Baghdad
- Rantt Media: Incels: Alienated Men And Violence In The Digital Age
A New Trump Extortion Scheme
Day 1,266: Wednesday, July 8
Wednesday’s top stories:
- Politico: Trump threatens to cut federal funds from schools that don’t reopen
- CNN: Trump trashes CDC school-reopening guidelines — then CDC updates them
- The New York Times: Supreme Court Upholds Trump Administration Regulation Letting Employers Opt Out of Birth Control Coverage
- Just Security: Trump Pushed CIA to Give Intelligence to Kremlin, While Taking No Action Against Russia Arming Taliban
- ABC News: Coronavirus updates: US sets another grim record with over 60,000 new cases in a day
- The Washington Post: George Floyd warned police he thought he would die because he couldn’t breathe, according to body camera transcripts
- CNN: WHO confirms there’s ’emerging evidence’ of airborne transmission of coronavirus
- CNN: Supreme Court set to issue opinions Thursday on Trump’s financial records
- CBS News: Chief Justice John Roberts hospitalized in June after injuring his head in fall
- The Guardian: Warning of serious brain disorders in people with mild coronavirus symptoms
- CBS News: Nearly 84% of Florida’s ICU beds are filled amid rising coronavirus cases
- NPR: States Sue Education Department Over Allocation Of Pandemic Funds To Schools
- BuzzFeed News: Tulsa’s Top Health Official Said Trump’s Rally Likely Contributed To The Surge In COVID-19 Cases There
- CNN: Exclusive: Vindman to retire from military. His lawyer blames White House ‘campaign of bullying, intimidation and retaliation’
- AP: Biden-Sanders task forces unveil joint goals for party unity
- NPR: U.S. Killing Of Iran’s Gen. Soleimani ‘Was Unlawful,’ U.N. Expert Says
- CNN: Massachusetts governor signs bill allowing all voters to vote by mail
- NPR: Several GOP Senators Plan To Skip The Republican National Convention
- NBC News: ‘Sickening’: Biden defends Duckworth after Trump camp, Tucker Carlson question her patriotism
- Forbes: Kanye West Says He’s Done With Trump—Opens Up About White House Bid, Damaging Biden And Everything In Between
Our articles from Wednesday:
- Rantt Media: “Cancel Culture” Isn’t Real
- Rantt Media: We Can’t Combat Right-Wing Terrorism Until We Define It
A Victory For The Rule Of Law
Day 1,267: Thursday, July 9
Thursday’s top stories:
- Rantt Media: Why The Supreme Court’s Tax Rulings Are Bigger Than Trump
- Politico: Ousted U.S. attorney’s testimony sparks Dem concerns that Barr broke the law
- The New York Times: Michael Cohen Returned to Jail in Dispute Over Trump Book
- Miami Herald: Florida’s coronavirus death rate is trending up again after rising hospitalizations
- TheHill: Florida emerges as world’s new epicenter for COVID-19
- The Washington Post: Live updates: U.S. sets another daily record for coronavirus infections
- CNN: Supreme Court rules broad swath of Oklahoma is Native American land for purposes of federal criminal law
- The Washington Post: Biden releases U.S.-centered economic plan, challenging Trump’s ‘America First’ agenda
- USA TODAY: ‘Scared for my life,’ but needing a salary: Teachers weigh risks as COVID-19 looms
- NBC News: Judge in Michael Flynn case wants full appeals court to rehear dismissal of charges
- USA TODAY: Geoffrey Berman to testify before House Judiciary Committee on circumstances of his firing
- NBC News: Taped interviews shed light on police probe of Breonna Taylor shooting
- Axios: Investigation finds NOAA eroded public trust by defending Trump’s Hurricane Dorian claims
- Newsweek: Dems unite as Sanders, Warren, Buttigieg supporters switch to Biden
- AP: US sanctions Chinese officials over repression of minorities
- The Guardian: UK has opted out of EU coronavirus vaccine programme, sources say
- The Hollywood Reporter: ‘Glee’ Star Naya Rivera Reported Missing After Boat Ride in California Lake
- Reuters: Angering China, Australia suspends extradition treaty with Hong Kong, extends visas
New Rantt Interview:
The Commutation Of Roger Stone
Day 1,268: Friday, July 10
Friday’s top stories:
- The Washington Post: Trump commutes sentence of confidant Roger Stone. He was set to go to prison July 14 for lying to Congress and witness tampering.
- The Washington Post: After months of decline, America’s coronavirus death rate begins to rise
- NBC News: Florida’s COVID-19 cases near record levels as nationwide death toll rising again
- The Daily Beast: U.S. Breaks Daily Record for New Coronavirus Cases Three Times in Three Days
- The Daily Beast: AG Barr Moves EDNY Prosecutor Richard Donoghue to Main Justice, Installs Top DOJ Official at EDNY
- CNN: Dozens of Mississippi lawmakers have coronavirus after weeks of refusing to wear masks
- The Washington Post: Time to shut down again? As coronavirus cases surge, a growing chorus makes the case
- NBC News: Inundated Houston hospitals issue grim advisory to ambulances: Go elsewhere
- Rantt Media: Trump Extorts Universities Through Attack On International Students
- ABC News: 13 states now report coronavirus testing issues, in echo of early troubles
- CNN: Pentagon chief confirms he was briefed on intelligence about Russian payments to the Taliban
- ABC News: Broad disapproval for Trump’s handling of coronavirus, race relations: POLL
- CNN: Trump calls Hannity, claims Covid testing is ‘the greatest thing that ever happened for the opposite party’
- ABC News: Trump targets tax-exempt status for schools, universities
- CNN: A rare heat wave event is forecast this weekend, the National Weather Service says
- The Guardian: Drivers target Black Lives Matter protesters in ‘horrifying’ spate of attacks
- NBC News: Record-setting Tropical Storm Fay makes landfall in New Jersey as it makes its way north
- HuffPost: Goya Foods CEO Doubles Down On Trump Support As Boycott Grows
- NPR: Starbucks Says Customers Must Wear Masks At Its Cafes
- Reuters: Hong Kong to suspend all schools due to spike in coronavirus cases