A Complete Analysis Of Trump’s 129th 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 his every move. This is week 129.
This week, President Trump’s racist ideology and xenophobic fear-mongering took center stage.
While the nation digested the news of the first sexual assault allegation from a 15-year-old migrant girl perpetrated by a border patrol agent, the horrible conditions in President Trump’s migrant detention centers were highlighted.
Vice President Mike Pence visited some of those centers and the conditions were abhorrent. Of course, after we saw images of men in standing cells, Pence falsely claimed the conditions were good.
The Trump Administration announced, and later executed on, raids of undocumented migrants. This is all about instilling fear in the immigrant community while firing up his base.
Then came this weekend, when the President of the United States told four freshmen congresswomen of color to go back to their country, even though they are all American citizens and 3 were born here.
Bottom line, President Trump’s con is very transparent: scapegoating migrants for his base’s economic plight while passing tax policy for the 1% and using the presidency to fill his own pockets.
Let’s dive into all of this in more detail in yet another Unpresidented week.
This comprehensive column sources great reporting from top news organizations, but it’s also built on brilliant analysis from my team at Rantt Media. We are independently-owned, completely ad-free, and take pride in being reader-funded so that we are beholden to you, not corporate interests. If you like the work we do, please consider supporting us by signing up for a monthly subscription. Below, you’ll see daily breakdowns that are derived from our exclusive Rantt Rundown newsletter. If you like the work we do, please consider supporting us by signing up for our newsletter or joining our community chatroom where you can talk news with our team and other like-minded individuals:
Epstein’s Time In The Barrel
Day 900: Monday, July 8
Rantt Contributor T.N. Stern highlights the Epstein case:
On Saturday, convicted sex offender and pedophile Jeffrey Epstein was arrested for allegedly sex trafficking dozens of underage women in New York and Florida between the years 2002–2005. The arrest was the culmination of a cooperative effort between the FBI and the Southern District of New York. Epstein appears in federal court in Manhattan on Monday, and could face up to 45 years in prison if convicted of the charges.
The new two-count indictment was unsealed on Monday morning and charged Epstein with sex trafficking and conspiracy. The indictment describes sex acts with girls as young as 14.
In 2008, Epstein was similarly charged with multiple sex crimes involving dozens of underage girls. Despite the seriousness of the charges in 2008, Epstein escaped significant jail time - and reportedly received immunity from federal charges due to a controversial plea agreement reached at the time. The curious circumstances of his prior plea deal, and more details surrounding that case have only recently become more widely known due to both reporting in the Miami Herald late last year, and recent developments in an ongoing court case.
In fact, Epstein’s arrest on Saturday comes on the heels of developments earlier last week in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 2nd Circuit. In particular, the 2nd Circuit vacated a lower court’s earlier ruling, which had previously sealed thousands of pages, and ordered certain materials released, while at the same time remanding the case to the lower court for consideration of the release of the remaining records in a case involving Epstein.
As reported previously by the Miami Herald and subsequently in other publications, Epstein, in a controversial, secret deal had pleaded guilty in 2008 to certain state sex crimes and, at the time, received immunity from all federal charges. Those crimes included allegations of sex trafficking and rape of underage girls, at least 36 of whom alleged criminal conduct by Epstein, and which had previously led to a 53-page federal indictment. The plea deal shut down the federal investigation and resulted in Epstein and his co-conspirators receiving immunity on the federal charges with all documents sealed.
As a result of the prior plea deal, Epstein served only 13 months in prison in Florida, which included extremely limited “work release” which allowed him extensive travel outside of Florida. This curious plea agreement was arranged by Alexander Acosta, then a U.S. attorney. According to the Miami Herald, he did so, without notifying the alleged victims. As reported by ABC News, Acosta’s failure to notify the alleged victims violated the law according to a U.S. district court ruling in Florida in February of this year. This ruling could have the effect of nullifying Epstein’s earlier plea deal, although the district court ruling is currently being challenged, and the ultimate remedies are unclear for such a violation.
That said, the Epstein case (including these new charges) bears close watching not only on its own merits, but for the potential ties to Donald Trump. Unfortunately, and wrongly, this is an issue which has been severely underreported by the mainstream media to date.
In other news…
- NBC News: N.Y. Gov. Cuomo signs bill allowing Congress to access Trump’s state tax returns
- The New York Times: ICE Used Facial Recognition to Mine State Driver’s License Databases
- The New York Times: Iran Says It Has Surpassed Critical Nuclear Enrichment Level in 2015 Deal
- The Washington Post: Britain hunts for leaker of cables calling Trump ‘inept,’ while Trump says U.S. ‘will no longer deal’ with British ambassador
- The Washington Post: Trump has referred to his Wharton degree as ‘super genius stuff.’ An admissions officer recalls it differently.
- The Daily Beast: Kris Kobach Enters U.S. Senate Race, Misspells Own First Name
- The Hill: Swalwell to drop out of presidential primary
- Newsweek: #JusticeForElijah trends after man brutally stabs black teen to death for listening to rap music
- The Week: Trump’s tariffs might be a factor in ‘Steelmageddon’
- Lawfare: If I Had Five Minutes to Question Robert Mueller
- USA TODAY: The U.S. women’s soccer team just won big. So did Nike.
Census Fight Continues
Day 901: Tuesday, July 9
Today, the Trump Administration received a setback in their effort to place the citizenship question on the 2020 census. A federal judge ruled that they cannot switch out their legal team. Attorney General William Barr has claimed that the administration has a path forward to adding the citizenship question but gave no details.
This comes after Chief Justice John Roberts sided with liberals in a 5-4 ruling rejecting the Trump Administration’s current request to include a citizenship question on the 2020 Census. They claimed that the Trump Administration provided a pretext in their effort to justify their reasoning – which was innately political. While this is currently on hold and the Trump Administration will likely try and provide the courts with a new explanation, the timeline needed to print the 2020 Census means it will exclude the question.
The census provides the basis for government funding to states and also lays the framework that politicians use for redistricting. Adding a citizenship question would reduce the number of respondents and heavily benefit Republicans in their gerrymandering efforts to engineer minority rule.
Initially spearheaded by Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross, the Trump Administration effort to put the citizenship question on the 2020 census seemed all but halted after the Supreme Court ruling. Just last week, Ross said: “The Census Bureau has started the process of printing the decennial questionnaires without the question.”
Now, they appear to be making moves towards that end.
In other news…
- NBC News: Migrant kids in overcrowded Arizona border station allege sex assault, retaliation from U.S. agents
- Yahoo News Exclusive: The true origins of the Seth Rich conspiracy theory. A Yahoo News investigation.
- HuffPost: Future Of Obamacare Uncertain As Appeals Court Grills Democratic Defenders
- The Washington Post: Trump praises Acosta,who faces growing calls to resign over earlier Epstein case
- Politico: House Dems set to subpoena Kushner, Sessions and 10 other Mueller witnesses
- Mother Jones: ICE just quietly opened three new detention centers, after Congress told it not to
- The New York Times: Trump Can’t Block Critics From His Twitter Account, Appeals Court Rules
- Bloomberg: Barr Won’t Recuse Himself From New Case Against Jeffrey Epstein
- Politico: Mike Pompeo unveils panel to examine ‘unalienable rights’
- Politico: Trump dossier author Steele gets 16-hour DOJ grilling
- CNBC: Joe and Jill Biden made more than $15 million in two years after leaving the White House, tax returns show
- AP News: Amy McGrath announces bid for Mitch McConnell’s Senate seat
- CNN: Marines charged with smuggling immigrants into the United States
- CNN: CNN announces rules for next Democratic presidential debates
Rantt Is Ad-Free – Support Independent Journalism
Day 902: Wednesday, July 10
Dan Stone is Professor of Modern History and Director of the Holocaust Research Institute at Royal Holloway, University of London and is the author of Concentration Camps: A Very Short Introduction (OUP, 2019)
When UN Special Rapporteur on Poverty, Philip Alston, published a report late last year saying that 14 million people in the UK were living in poverty as a result of the gutting of local services – ‘not just a disgrace, but a social calamity and an economic disaster, all rolled into one’ – he was for the most part ignored. We do not like to hear unpleasant truths. Something similar has happened in reaction to Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s claim that detention centers for migrants along the Mexico-US border in Texas are ‘concentration camps’. Ocasio-Cortez’s claim has been greeted with ridicule rather than with silence, as Alston’s report was, and has given rise to outraged rejections.
When a member of its staff tweeted in support of Ocasio-Cortez, the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum issued a statement in which it ‘unequivocally’ rejected any form of ‘Holocaust analogy’ and specifically rejected ‘recent attempts to analogize the situation on the United States southern border to concentration camps in Europe during the 1930s and 1940s.’ Alan Dershowitz, emeritus professor at Harvard Law School, went even further, claiming that Ocasio-Cortez’s assertion made her a Holocaust denier. Unsurprisingly, the back and forth of social media and op-ed pieces has seen many vicious attacks in the first category as well as some more considered pieces in the second, notably by Waitman Wade Beorn, Andrea Pitzer, and Timothy Snyder. Ocasio-Cortez’s words have been talked over, but with a rush to condemn without thinking through the implications of her claim. The net result is the same as in the case of Alston’s report: the substance of what she wants to say has been missed.
In other news…
- NBC News: Appeals court dismisses emoluments clause case against Trump involving Washington hotel
- The New York Times: Justice Dept. Tells Mueller Deputies Not to Testify, Scrambling an Agreement
- NBC News: New Jeffrey Epstein accuser: He raped me when I was 15
- The Atlantic: Instead of an Apology, Acosta Offers Epstein’s Victims Implicit Blame
- The Week: Trump reportedly held a VIP party that was just him, Jeffrey Epstein, and 28 women providing ‘entertainment’
- The Daily Beast: Acosta, Who Cut Deal With Epstein, Tried to Slash Anti-Trafficking Program by 80 Percent
- The Hill: Second judge rejects Justice Department request to change census lawyers
- NBC News: Trump officials warn of ‘active threats’ to U.S. elections
- CNBC: Trump has reportedly asked aides to find a way to weaken the US dollar
- The Washington Post: Strip club to host golf tournament at Trump resort in South Florida
- The Washington Post: Intelligence aide, blocked from submitting written testimony on climate change, resigns from State Dept.
- NBC News: Trump’s costly July Fourth event bankrupted Washington’s security, anti-terror fund
- BuzzFeed News: Revealed: The Explosive Secret Recording That Shows How Russia Tried To Funnel Millions To The “European Trump”
- CNN: Louisiana declares a state of emergency ahead of possible hurricane
- Mediate: CNN New Day Blasts Tucker Carlson’s ‘Flat Out Racist Comment’ on Ilhan Omar: ‘Garbage’
- NBC News: 3 trans women shot and killed in Honduras in July
- USA TODAY: Harvard suspends famed professor Roland Fryer for 2 years over ‘unwelcome sexual conduct’
Trump’s Smoke And Mirrors Presidency
Day 903: Thursday, July 11
Donald Trump is the greatest con man in American history. That’s been established by his career and further confirmed by his presidency. As a businessman, Trump convinced the American people he was self-made and successful while he was losing billions of dollars, taking his companies bankrupt six times, and inheriting $413 million from his father.
As President, Trump has convinced his base that he is an effective leader through symbolic executive orders, lies, and the false perception that he is fighting for them and making progress. This week was no different.
Today, President Trump held a press conference with Attorney General William Barr to announce his next move when it comes to putting the citizenship question on the 2020 Census. After speculation that he would add the question via executive order, Trump backed down on his effort to defy the Supreme Court’s ruling on the matter. Trump has claimed he will seek that data through other means, but this is all in an effort to show his base that he is not giving up, when in reality, he is.
President Trump has ordered the raid of at least 2,000 undocumented immigrants this Sunday. The effort is obviously an attempt to show his base he is tackling the issue of illegal immigration head-on. But this is far from a comprehensive immigration strategy. In fact, moves like these are meant to distract from the fact his other policies, like cutting off aid to Central American countries and metering at the border, actually contribute to the migration crisis.
Let’s be real: President Trump doesn’t actually want to solve the border crisis, he wants to inflame it. The perception of a crisis and the appearance of a fight is the fear-mongering bait he wants to turn out his base in 2020. Trump is a predictable demagogue.
There are plenty of other examples like those mentioned above. Some of President Trump’s favorite tactics are taking credit for things the previous administration accomplished, making it appear progress is being made when there is none, and acting as if progress was made on something previously agreed upon.
Last year, President Trump claimed he got NATO nations to agree to increase their defense commitment to 2% of their GDP (that was already previously agreed upon in 2014 according to NATO’s own joint communique). Last month, Trump claimed he cut a groundbreaking deal with Mexico to avoid tariffs. It turns out the deal consisted of provisions that were already previously agreed upon.
President Trump has signed executive orders that later were proven un-acted upon, announced new auto jobs that were later lost, and promises that there is a wall being built when in reality, it’s not. Trump claims he gave a tax cut to his base, but he actually just signed tax cuts that disproportionately helped the richest 1% of Americans.
Most recently, President Trump met with North Korean Dictator Kim Jong-un on the North Korean border. Trump sought to make it appear he was making diplomatic progress, but all he really did was give Kim Jong-un more legitimacy and a propaganda victory.
Of course, President Trump keeps his based convinced of his alternate reality through loyal right-wing media and a steady stream of disinformation on his Twitter feed. President Trump’s campaign slogan for 2020 is “Promises Made, Promises Kept”. The reality is closer to “Promises Made, People Conned”.
In other news…
- CNN: Trump drops another drug pricing proposal after court blocks TV ad plan
- Politico: House Judiciary approves subpoenas for 12 key witnesses, including Jared Kushner
- Politico: House to vote next week on criminal contempt against Barr and Ross
- Splinter: Trump’s Social Media Summit Was a Brain-Melting Horror Show
- HuffPost: Trump Even More Unhinged Than Usual In Extensive Morning Twitter Rant
- Rantt Media: Democrats Need To Reverse Engineer Republican Gaslighting
- NPR: Tropical Storm Barry Forms In Gulf; Louisiana Goes Into State Of Emergency
- The Hill: Puerto Rico governor under pressure over corruption probe, leaked messages
- NBC News: NBC/WSJ poll: Biden, Warren top 2020 Democratic field
- The New York Times: Jeffrey Epstein’s Fortune May Be More Illusion Than Fact
- Yahoo News: Colin Kaepernick’s skin appears darkened in Republican campaign fundraiser ad
- CNN: Chinese real estate billionaire Wang Zhenhua arrested for alleged child molestation
- CBS News: Ship seized in $1.3 billion cocaine bust is owned by JP Morgan Chase
Deepfakes Are Here
Day 904: Friday, July 12
Social media today is a hive of hoaxes, propaganda, outrage, and disinformation, with a few rare bright spots. Younger generations are fleeing in droves for social apps which offer up a lot less data to its operators and give them a reprieve from the angry screeds and racist memes posted by their relatives and family friends, who after 2016 didn’t have to pretend to not be bigots anymore. In this context, a number of tech pundits have been rightfully worried about the emergence of deepfakes, doctored images and videos made by artificial neural networks originally intended for special effects.
These creations can make you say whatever a hoaxer wants you to say, insert you into a place you’ve never been, even strip you naked and add you to a porn video. With the current most active denizens of social media seemingly unable and unwilling to tell truth from fiction, deepfakes seem poised to destroy the very fabric of our social interaction online. But there’s hope. By virtue of how artificial neural networks work, the images they generate will contain obvious artifacts, and while they may be hidden to the human eye, other computers will be able to detect them.
This is the approach behind technology currently powering a tool to identify images that have been photoshopped, and a system to detect whether videos of famous politicians have been artificially created. Unfortunately, the rest of us schlubs are going to have a hard time finding this sort of digital protection because there will be too few images of us in order for computers to really understand whether they’ve been faked, but at the same time, this gives deepfake networks less to work with to generate passable frauds. So, in other words, while deepfakes may be coming for us like the Night King with his army of wights marching on Westeros, we do have the tools to stop them.
In other news…
- The Washington Post: Turkey tried to influence the Trump campaign through Michael Flynn, prosecutors say
- CBS News: Acosta resigns: U.S. Labor Secretary Alexander Acosta resigns amid questions about handling of Epstein case
- The New York Times: Epstein Paid $350,000 to Possible Witnesses Against Him, Prosecutors Say
- CNN: House report: At least 18 migrant children under the age of 2 were separated from parents for 20 days to 6 months
- CNN: ICE raids are looming. Panicked immigrants are skipping work, hiding out and bracing for the worst
- CNN: US government is running out of money faster than expected, Mnuchin warns
- The New York Times: House Passes $733 Billion Defense Bill Checking Trump’s War Powers
- CNN: Prosecutors unlikely to charge Trump Org executives, sources say
- Politico: Mueller testimony delayed by one week
- Business Insider: The FTC has approved a roughly $5 billion settlement with Facebook
- Associated Press: Pentagon in its longest-ever stretch of leadership limbo
- ProPublica: Border Patrol Agents Are Passing Around A Commemorative Coin Mocking Care for Migrant Kids
- HuffPost: NRA Gets Subpoenas From D.C. Attorney General To Hand Over Financial Records
- Axios: Trump tells confidants he’s eager to remove Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats
- NBC News: R. Kelly’s federal charges say he took underage girls across state lines for sex
- The Hill: California lawmakers pass bill requiring Trump, presidential hopefuls release tax returns to appear on ballot
Over the weekend…
President Trump’s White Nationalism
President Trump’s racism is well-documented. Trump was sued by the Justice Department for housing discrimination in the 70s. In 1989, Trump took out a full-page ad in The New York Times calling for the Central Park Five to be executed and still claimed they were guilty after DNA evidence exonerated them in 2002.
Trump spent years falsely claiming that President Barack Obama was born in Kenya. And as President, Trump has pushed xenophobic policies, called African countries shitholes, dehumanized migrants, gotten into racist feuds with celebrities and lawmakers, and ignored the threat of white supremacist terrorism while fueling their hatred with his rhetoric. Today, President Trump continued to uphold his political platform of divisive bigotry.
This morning, President Trump took to Twitter and spouted the classic racist “go back to your country” line against Representatives Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY), Rashida Tlaib (D-MI), Ilhan Omar (D-MN), and Ayanna Pressley (D-IL).
So interesting to see “Progressive” Democrat Congresswomen, who originally came from countries whose governments are a complete and total catastrophe, the worst, most corrupt and inept anywhere in the world (if they even have a functioning government at all), now loudly……
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) July 14, 2019
….it is done. These places need your help badly, you can’t leave fast enough. I’m sure that Nancy Pelosi would be very happy to quickly work out free travel arrangements!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) July 14, 2019
All four are, of course, American citizens, 3 of whom were born in America with the exception of Omar (but she is no less American than any other U.S. citizen). This is a familiar racist attack that has targeted outspoken people of color, including myself.
President Trump is telling brown congresswomen that they are essentially not American and therefore, not worthy of being in Congress. This is an unAmerican attack on sitting congresswomen who are seeking to represent their constituents to the best of their ability.
The tweet appeared to be triggered by Fox News’ coverage of Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s (D-CA) recent back and forth with those congresswomen.
On Tuesday, Fox host and sometime Trump adviser Tucker Carlson said Rep. Ilhan Omar “has an awful lot to be grateful for, but she isn’t grateful, not at all,” adding, “maybe we are importing people from places whose values are simply antithetical to ours.” https://t.co/m4c4AwUp35
— Matthew Gertz (@MattGertz) July 14, 2019
Pelosi, AOC, Omar, and Tlaib fired back.
When @realDonaldTrump tells four American Congresswomen to go back to their countries, he reaffirms his plan to “Make America Great Again” has always been about making America white again.
Our diversity is our strength and our unity is our power. https://t.co/ODqqHneyES
— Nancy Pelosi (@SpeakerPelosi) July 14, 2019
Mr. President, the country I “come from,” & the country we all swear to, is the United States.
But given how you’ve destroyed our border with inhumane camps, all at a benefit to you & the corps who profit off them, you are absolutely right about the corruption laid at your feet. https://t.co/HLKQCotR8T
— Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (@AOC) July 14, 2019
As Members of Congress, the only country we swear an oath to is the United States.
Which is why we are fighting to protect it from the worst, most corrupt and inept president we have ever seen. https://t.co/FBygHa2QTt
— Ilhan Omar (@IlhanMN) July 14, 2019
Want a response to a lawless & complete failure of a President?
He is the crisis.
His dangerous ideology is the crisis.
He needs to be impeached.
— Rashida Tlaib (@RashidaTlaib) July 14, 2019
In other news…
- The New York Times: ICE Launches Raids Targeting Migrant Families
Rantt Media’s comprehensive articles source reporting from top news organizations, but they’re also built on brilliant analysis from our team. We are independently-owned and completely ad-free. We strive for quality, not clicks. We take pride in being reader-funded so that we are beholden to you, not corporate interests. If you like the work we do, please consider supporting us by signing up for our newsletter or joining our community chatroom where you can talk news with our team and other like-minded individuals: