A Complete Analysis Of Trump’s 103rd Unpresidented Week As POTUS

As Trump’s government shutdown becomes the longest in US history, new reports once again raise an urgent question: is Donald Trump a Russian asset?

President Donald Trump, Russian President Vladimir Putin, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, and Former Sergey Kislyak (AP)

President Donald Trump, Russian President Vladimir Putin, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, and Former Sergey Kislyak (AP)

Trump’s first major typo after winning the election was spelling Unprecedented incorrectly. He infamously tweeted “Unpresidented.” This typo is a personification 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 his every move. This is week 103.

This was one of the most significant weeks of the Trump presidency. Federal workers, contractors, local businesses, and their families continued to suffer from Trump’s government shutdown as it became the longest in American history. President Trump still refused to compromise with Democrats as he considered declaring a national emergency over his manufactured crisis so he can build an unnecessary wall at the southern border. And new reports led the American people to grapple with a real national emergency: the possibility that the President of the United States is a Russian asset.

The U.S. Intelligence Community concluded that Russia’s longstanding objectives have been to dismantle the US-led liberal democratic order, erode western alliances like NATO, and undermine Americans’ faith in their democratic institutions. They’ve also sought to lift sanctions. For decades, Russian propaganda has aimed to stir racial divisions, attack the credibility of the U.S. government, and try to weaken western influence.

As we’ve covered here at Rantt for over the last two years, President Trump, backed by the full support of his party and propaganda arms like Fox News, are executing on our foreign adversary’s primary objectives. It took the report of the FBI’s investigation for some mainstream journalists to finally take the prospect of Trump being a Russian agent seriously. But all one needed to do was look at the facts.

Donald Trump’s personal history is riddled with Russian business ties and deals that appear to be money laundering for Russian oligarchs. The Trump campaign’s coordination with the Russian government grows more likely by the day. Just this week, we learned that Campaign Chairman Paul Manafort discussed a Ukraine peace plan and handed polling data to a Russian Intelligence operative.

Upon taking office, the Trump administration immediately tried, and failed, to lift sanctions on Russia. Meanwhile, Trump’s former fixer Michael Cohen and associate Felix Sater worked the secret Russia-Ukraine peace plan (which would’ve lifted sanctions) and reportedly delivered it to former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn. Trump ran a presidency friendly to Russia until Congress literally forced his hand to apply new sanctions. Trump’s anti-NATO stance plays directly into Putin’s hands. Trump’s summit with Putin at Helsinki in the Summer of 2018 was a disaster. Trump publicly sided with Putin over the U.S. Intelligence Community in front of the entire world. We now know Trump seized the notes of his interpreter who witnessed a private meeting with Putin. Russia, who has an economy smaller than that of New York and California, has the President of the United States in the palm of his hand. Why?

Well, the FBI apparently was so concerned by Trump’s conduct in the days surrounding his firing of FBI Director James Comey, they opened up an inquiry into whether he was working on behalf of the Russian government and posed a national security threat. Special Counsel Robert Mueller took it over.

This is unprecedented. We now know that Donald Trump has been under a counterintelligence and criminal investigation from the earliest days of his presidency. Now, as Benjamin Wittes points out in his “obstruction is the collusion” theory, Mueller’s obstruction of justice probe is much more significant. It may be probing whether or not Trump may have had the intent to end the counterintelligence probe into Russian interference on behalf of Russia, not just for the purpose of protecting himself.

With Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s report coming soon, and Cohen’s testimony coming next month, Donald Trump is rightfully worried. Even though this government shutdown is hurting people and is growing more politically toxic by day with the majority of Americans blaming Trump and the GOP, Trump is likely cherishing every moment of it. These are some of the last moments he’ll feel in control.

After this, the Democratically-controlled House probes and Mueller’s report are going to consume his presidency.

Buckle up.

This comprehensive column sources great reporting from top news organizations, but it’s also built on brilliant analysis from my team at Rantt Media. If you like the work we do, please consider supporting us by making a one-time donation or signing up for a monthly subscription.

A Manufactured Crisis Built On Lies

Day 718: Monday: January 7

President Donald Trump listens during a cabinet meeting in the Cabinet Room of the White House, Wednesday, Oct. 17, 2018, in Washington. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

President Donald Trump listens during a cabinet meeting in the Cabinet Room of the White House, Wednesday, Oct. 17, 2018, in Washington. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

On Monday, President Trump continued his refusal to negotiate on his campaign promise. When framing any article about the government shutdown, every journalist has a responsibility to point out some necessary context.

  1. The shutdown is entirely the fault of President Trump and the Republican Party.
  2. The crisis at the border is not a national security crisis, but a humanitarian crisis that has been exacerbated by President Trump’s immigration policies.
  3. The Trump administration’s arguments for the wall are built on fear mongering lies.

In other news…

Evidence Of Collusion

Day 719: Tuesday, January 8

Created By Rantt Media Production Designer Maddie Anderson

Created By Rantt Media Production Designer Maddie Anderson

Rather than spend this day talking about the fear mongering prime time address President Trump delivered in his Oval Office address on Tuesday night, I’m going to spend time talking about the huge Tuesday news Trump doesn’t want us talking about. In court filings made in response to Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s accusation that Turmp’s Campaign Chairman Paul Manafort lied to him, Manafort’s lawyers made a grave error. Due to improper redactions, they accidentally revealed details about Manafort’s communications with his old ally and suspected Russian Intelligence operative Konstantin Kilimnik. Paul Manafort met with Kilimnik in Madrid and gave him polling data related to the 2016 election and discussed a Ukraine Peace deal.

In other news…

Cracks In The GOP Dam

Day 720: Wednesday, January 9

President Donald Trump, center, meets with Republican senators in the East Room of the White House in Washington, Tuesday, June 27, 2017. Seated with him, from left, Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine and Sen. Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)

President Donald Trump, center, meets with Republican senators in the East Room of the White House in Washington, Tuesday, June 27, 2017. Seated with him, from left, Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine and Sen. Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)

As President Trump’s government shutdown entered its 19th day, some high profile Republicans were beginning to break ranks. Many on the left have seen the shutdown as unnecessary, as President Trump is refusing to drop his demand for his ineffective, unpopular, and costly wall ($5.7 billion) to end a crisis at the border of his own making. House Democrats have already passed the bill without border wall funding the Senate unanimously passed, but Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) is now refusing to put the bill on the floor since Trump is refusing to compromise. But time is running out, as some on the right are coming to terms with the political toxicity of carrying on this shutdown.

In other news…

The Next John Dean Hearing?

Day 721: Thursday, January 10

Michael Cohen and Donald Trump (AP)

Michael Cohen and Donald Trump (AP)

President Trump’s former personal attorney/fixer Michael Cohen (also former RNC Deputy Finance Chairman and Trump Organization Executive) has agreed to testify in a public hearing on February 7th. Cohen will sit before the House Oversight Committee chaired by Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-MD-7) and has said he will “give a full and credible account of the events which have transpired.” This hearing will take place just before Cohen begins to serve his 3-year prison term for crimes that include conduct President Trump directed.

Special Counsel Robert Mueller has cleared Cohen to testify, yet another sign his probe is nearing its end. This upcoming testimony is drawing preemptive comparisons to John Dean’s, whose testimony on the conduct of Richard Nixon helped end his presidency. It will capture the attention of the nation, and more broadly, the world.

In other news…

Is President Trump A Russian Asset?

Day 722: Friday, January 11

Artwork By Rantt Media Production Designer Madison Anderson

Artwork By Rantt Media Production Designer Madison Anderson

On Friday night, The New York Times published one of their most damning stories on the Trump presidency yet.

The details of the report are damning and I suggest you read it in full but here’s an excerpt:

In the days after President Trump fired James B. Comey as F.B.I. director, law enforcement officials became so concerned by the president’s behavior that they began investigating whether he had been working on behalf of Russia against American interests, according to former law enforcement officials and others familiar with the investigation.

The inquiry carried explosive implications. Counterintelligence investigators had to consider whether the president’s own actions constituted a possible threat to national security. Agents also sought to determine whether Mr. Trump was knowingly working for Russia or had unwittingly fallen under Moscow’s influence.

The report goes on to say that Special Counsel Robert Mueller took over the probe. This has enormous ramifications. Although the notion that Trump may be a Russian agent didn’t surprise many, the report itself if significant. As I mentioned in the intro, it confirms that President Trump has been under a counterintelligence and criminal investigation from the earliest days of the investigation. The confirmed components of Mueller’s probe that Trump was a subject of was the obstruction of justice and campaign collusion inquiries. Now, we know it is much, much wider in scope.

This means that Mueller has seen all of Trump’s Russia friendly moves during his presidency through the lens of that probe, and his report may be significantly more damning than we previously thought. I also highly suggest this piece from Benjamin Wittes on the point I also mentioned in the intro about the “collusion is obstruction.”

In other news…

What is President Trump Hiding?

Day 723-724: Saturday-Sunday, January 12-13

Russian President Vladimir Putin, right, and U.S. President Donald Trump give a joint news conference at the Presidential Palace in Helsinki, Finland, on Monday, July 16, 2018. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)

Russian President Vladimir Putin, right, and U.S. President Donald Trump give a joint news conference at the Presidential Palace in Helsinki, Finland, on Monday, July 16, 2018. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)

Over the weekend, the government shutdown became the longest in American history and we received even more evidence that Donald Trump may be a Russian asset. As we know, President Trump’s appearance at the Helsinki summit with Russian President Vladimir Putin was an embarrassing capitulation to a foreign adversary.  What we don’t know is what was said in the private meeting they had behind closed doors. And we also don’t know what happened in their previous meeting in 2017. Well, a new report from The Washington Post gives us insight into the lengths Trump went to hide what they discussed:

President Trump has gone to extraordinary lengths to conceal details of his conversations with Russian President Vladimir Putin, including on at least one occasion taking possession of the notes of his own interpreter and instructing the linguist not to discuss what had transpired with other administration officials, current and former U.S. officials said.

Trump did so after a meeting with Putin in 2017 in Hamburg that was also attended by then-Secretary of State Rex Tillerson. U.S. officials learned of Trump’s actions when a White House adviser and a senior State Department official sought information from the interpreter beyond a readout shared by Tillerson.

The constraints that Trump imposed are part of a broader pattern by the president of shielding his communications with Putin from public scrutiny and preventing even high-ranking officials in his own administration from fully knowing what he has told one of the United States’ main adversaries.

House Democrats responded by exploring the possibility of seeking the testimony of the interpreter.

President Trump responded to the two days of damning reports in a series of tweets that did not help his case.

In other news…

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Unpresidented // Donald Trump / Russia / Shutdown / Vladimir Putin