A Complete Analysis Of Trump’s 137th 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 137.
To call this week Orwellian would be an understatement.
The American people should be able to believe the words that come out of the President’s mouth, Twitter feed, and press statements. In the era of Trump, that is far from the case. We exist on the receiving end of a steady firehose of disinformation, wielded by a demagogue con man and aided by a crew of authoritarian sycophants.
The President of the United States spent the week contorting the US government into knots in order to justify his lie that Hurricane Dorian was set to hit Alabama. Not only did he use a black sharpie to unlawfully doctor a Hurricane Dorian forecast he presented to the American people, but the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration also released a statement attempting to justify this lie. While this was ongoing, several other more important storylines developed.
The unprecedented corruption of the Trump Administration continued unimpeded. President Trump has been profiting from the presidency since the moment he took the oath of office, and this week, more of this conduct was revealed. Vice President Mike Pence stayed at Trump’s Ireland resort, it was revealed an Air force crew was diverted to stay at Trump’s Scottish resort this past Spring, and Attorney General William Barr spent $30,000 on his birthday party at a Trump hotel.
As The New York Times reported, “At least 90 members of Congress, 250 Trump administration officials and more than 110 foreign officials have been spotted at Trump properties since 2017…” House Democrats are now investigating these visits as possible violations of the Constitution’s emoluments clause.
We also had new reporting this week when it comes to President Trump and Rudi Giuliani’s effort to pressure Ukraine into investigating former Vice President Joe Biden (the Democratic frontrunner) and his son. The 2020 general election hasn’t even begun and Trump is already seeking help from a foreign power.
President Trump has just completed a wild August filled with efforts to dangle pardons to Trump officials if they were willing to violate the law to build his border wall and dishonest tweets that purposely manipulated the market. Now, all eyes are on House Democrats as Congress returns from recess this Monday.
House Chairman Jerry Nadler (D-NY) has signaled they may take formal steps in their impeachment investigation into President Trump’s corruption. Meanwhile, gun reform will also take center stage as pressure mounts on Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) to take action on gun violence.
Let’s dive into yet another Unpresidented week, as we look forward to more unprecedented times ahead.
As Nadler Eyes Impeachment, A Reminder Of How It Works
Day 957: Tuesday, September 3
Among Americans, there tends to be confusion about what exactly impeachment means. At times, impeachment has been conflated with removal from office and a nuanced understanding of the process goes unexplained. While impeachment can be directed at any civil officer of the United States, we’re going to discuss what it means for the President of the United States.
In other news…
- BBC News: Brexit: Boris Johnson defeated as MPs take control
- NBC News: Hurricane Dorian weakens slightly but grows in size as it moves toward U.S.
- NBC News: Rescue crews locate remains of 25 people after California boat fire
- The Daily Beast: Mike Pence’s Political Team Has Spent Nearly a Quarter Million Dollars at Trump Properties
- ABC News: House Judiciary Democrats planning subpoenas related to Trump hush-money probe
- The Hill: ACLU to ask court to block $3.6B reallocated from military projects to border wall
- Roll Call: McConnell: No votes on gun measures that Trump won’t sign
- The New York Times: North Korea Missile Tests, ‘Very Standard’ to Trump, Show Signs of Advancing Arsenal
- BBC News: West ‘may be held responsible for Yemen crimes’
- Vox: A North Carolina court just threw out Republicans’ gerrymandered state legislature map
- Axios: Trump allies want to raise $2 million to target reporters at top outlets ahead of 2020
- CNN: Cherokee Nation names first ever delegate to Congress
- CNN: Elizabeth Warren embraces Jay Inslee’s climate change platform
- NBC News: Julián Castro releases part of new climate plan, with Jay Inslee’s input
Day 958: Wednesday, September 4
Today, as Hurricane Dorian heads north, up America’s southeast coast, President Trump sought to justify his false claims that Alabama was set to be impacted by the hurricane. In a move that is unlawful, Trump presented a fake forecast map that included Alabama in Hurricane Dorian’s path. Unfortunately for Trump’s disinformation effort, it was very obviously drawn on with a black marker.
The President of the United States altered a National Hurricane Center map with a sharpie to falsely extend the official forecast toward Alabama so he didn’t have to admit he was wrong in a tweet. https://t.co/i0CJcYV4yq pic.twitter.com/pR57IL6WfT
— Dennis Mersereau (@wxdam) September 4, 2019
It is a violation of federal law to falsify a National Weather Service forecast and pass it off as official, as President Trump did here.
— Dennis Mersereau (@wxdam) September 4, 2019
It’s unclear whether President Trump drew it on himself or if it was his staff trying to vindicate his previous lies, but either way, the act itself was unlawful. NBC’s Al Roker tweeted out an image that showed the original map being presented to Trump before it was doctored:
The August 29 11am @NHC_Atlantic path of #HurricaneDorian and the #coneofuncertainty and @realDonaldTrump being briefed that am with that same graphic. Sadly, someone else must’ve then shown him this erroneous sharpied addition to the cone that included Alabama pic.twitter.com/ZSH3ehohaV
— Al Roker (@alroker) September 4, 2019
When asked about this, President Trump made the lie significantly worse.
Trump falsely claims the NOAA gave Alabama a “95% probability” of being hit by Hurricane Dorian pic.twitter.com/ELCjfxJokd
— Timothy Burke (@bubbaprog) September 4, 2019
This all started on Sunday when President Trump sent out a tweet falsely claiming that Alabama was in the path of Hurricane Dorian.
In addition to Florida – South Carolina, North Carolina, Georgia, and Alabama, will most likely be hit (much) harder than anticipated. Looking like one of the largest hurricanes ever. Already category 5. BE CAREFUL! GOD BLESS EVERYONE!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) September 1, 2019
20 minutes later, the National Weather Service Birmingham Alabama corrected President Trump.
— NWS Birmingham (@NWSBirmingham) September 1, 2019
The facts didn’t stop President Trump from doubling down on this lie in a tweet attacking an ABC News reporter.
….when in fact, under certain original scenarios, it was in fact correct that Alabama could have received some “hurt.” Always good to be prepared! But the Fake News is only interested in demeaning and belittling. Didn’t play my whole sentence or statement. Bad people!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) September 2, 2019
The President of the United States chose to unlawfully present a false forecast of Hurricane Dorian to justify a lie he told rather than admit he was wrong. This is just one of the over 12,000 lies Donald Trump has told as president, according to The Washington Post. This should factor into Americans’ decisions in 2020 when they enter the ballot box. Do they want to vote for a president who is incapable of telling the truth and places his ego everything?
In other news…
- Rantt Media: Hong Kong Protests: How They Started And Where We Go From Here
- Rantt Media: San Antonio Democrats Call For A Special Session On Gun Violence
- BBC: Boris Johnson’s call for general election rejected by MPs
- The New York Times: White House to Relax Energy Efficiency Rules for Light Bulbs
- Politico: Judiciary panel issues subpoena on Trump’s alleged offer to pardon DHS officials
- Yahoo News Exclusive: Document reveals the FBI is tracking border protest groups as extremist organizations
- Mother Jones: These 127 military projects will lose funding because of Trump’s border wall
- CNN: Democratic candidates unveil sweeping climate proposals ahead of CNN town hall
- The Daily Beast: Steve King Claims He Drank From Toilet at Border Detention Center
After The Climate Town Hall, A Look At How To Tackle It
Day 959: Thursday, September 5
Democratic Presidential candidate Pete Buttigieg is calling for the Department of Defense to take a leading role in combating climate change. Is he right?
In other news…
- NBC News: Called out by meteorologists, Trump clings to claim Dorian could have hit Alabama
- CNN: Trump called Fox News correspondent into Oval Office to argue he wasn’t wrong about Alabama
- The Daily Beast: Shep Smith Torches Trump Over Dorian Map: ‘It Was Fake News Defined’
- The Daily Beast: Boris Johnson’s own Brother Resigns in Protest at His Handling of Brexit
- The Hill: Federal judge says 11 parents separated from children can return to US
- NBC News: Federal judge rules FBI terrorism watchlist violates constitutional rights
- The Hill: Pelosi accuses Pence of ‘selling out the Constitution to line Trump’s pockets’
- Bloomberg: China, U.S. to Hold Trade Talks in October as Mistrust Remains
After The Climate Town Hall, A Look At How To Tackle It
Day 960: Friday, September 6
President Trump couldn’t win in 2016 without foreign help, so he’s seeking it out again ahead of 2020. Over the last several months, there has been an ongoing effort by President Trump and Rudy Giuliani to push the Ukrainian government to pursue an investigation into former Vice President Joe Biden and his son.
When President Trump suspended military aid to Ukraine, many assumed it was the latest example of Trump doing Russian President Vladimir Putin’s bidding. It appears that is not the case. This move is reportedly tied to Trump’s effort to get the Ukrainian government to investigate his political opponent, who is the current frontrunner in the Democratic primary. The Washington Post reported:
Not only has Mr. Trump refused to grant the Ukrainian leader [President Volodymyr Zelensky] a White House visit, but also he has suspended the delivery of $250 million in U.S. military aid to a country still fighting Russian aggression in its eastern provinces.
Some suspect Mr. Trump is once again catering to Mr. Putin, who is dedicated to undermining Ukrainian democracy and independence. But we’re reliably told that the president has a second and more venal agenda: He is attempting to force Mr. Zelensky to intervene in the 2020 U.S. presidential election by launching an investigation of the leading Democratic candidate, Joe Biden. Mr. Trump is not just soliciting Ukraine’s help with his presidential campaign; he is using U.S. military aid the country desperately needs in an attempt to extort it.
This is exactly what it sounds like. The President of the United States, his personal attorney, and the United States Government have been actively and publicly pressuring a foreign power to dig up dirt on a political opponent and interfere in American democracy.
In May, Rudy Giuliani, with the full support of President Trump, announced that he was traveling to Ukraine to meet with the then-comedian turned President-elect Volodymyr Zelensky to try and get them to probe Joe Biden and his son.
“We’re not meddling in an election, we’re meddling in an investigation, which we have a right to do. There’s nothing illegal about it. Somebody could say it’s improper. And this isn’t foreign policy — I’m asking them to do an investigation that they’re doing already and that other people are telling them to stop. And I’m going to give them reasons why they shouldn’t stop it because that information will be very, very helpful to my client, and may turn out to be helpful to my government.”
This trip was canceled soon after, but there was another development over the Summer that showed the effort was ongoing. In August, NBC News reported that Giuliani was able to secure meetings with a Ukrainian official and it was aided by the State Department:
Specifically, Giuliani has wanted Ukrainian officials to look into any impropriety related to the former vice president’s push to crack down on corruption in Ukraine and his son Hunter Biden’s involvement in a natural gas company there. Giuliani also sought to have Ukraine examine whether the Democratic National Committee worked in connection with Ukrainian officials to harm Trump’s 2016 campaign by releasing damaging information on the president’s former campaign chairman, Paul Manafort.
Giuliani has spoken with Ukrainian official Andriy Yermak, a lawyer and close ally of recently elected President Volodymyr Zelensky, on the phone and in an in-person meeting in Madrid over the last few weeks to encourage him to ramp up probes into the matters, The New York Times reported Wednesday.
Trump’s attorney confirmed to NBC News that the State Department helped put him in touch with Yermak.
This comes after President Trump has openly welcomed more interference in the 2020 election. In June, Trump made remarks that can only be compared to his July 2016 “Russia, if you’re listening…” moment where he begged for the hacking of Hillary Clinton. In an interview with ABC News, President Trump said that he would accept dirt on a political opponent from a foreign power – which is against the law:
“It’s not an interference, they have information — I think I’d take it,” Trump said. “If I thought there was something wrong, I’d go maybe to the FBI — if I thought there was something wrong. But when somebody comes up with oppo research, right, they come up with oppo research, ‘oh let’s call the FBI.’ The FBI doesn’t have enough agents to take care of it. When you go and talk, honestly, to congressman, they all do it, they always have, and that’s the way it is. It’s called oppo research.”
EXCLUSIVE: Pres. Trump tells @GStephanopoulos he wouldn’t necessarily alert the FBI if approached by foreign figures with information on his 2020 opponent: “It’s not an interference. They have information. I think I’d take it.” https://t.co/yWRxMOaFqW pic.twitter.com/qwLw53s5yc
— ABC News (@ABC) June 12, 2019
President Trump’s remarks not only invite Russia to interfere in American democracy again, it tells other foreign powers like Saudi Arabia that it’s open season in America. This isn’t the first time the Trump Administration has egged on future election meddling. White House Adviser Jared Kushner downplayed Russia’s interference and we also have Rudy Giuliani’s comments. This comes as the Trump Administration has done nothing to prevent Russia’s future election interference in 2020, as intelligence officials warn of Russia’s intent to repeat their successful interference of 2016.
Former Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s report clearly outlines how Russia’s interfered in the 2016 election and how the Trump Campaign was receptive to it. Over the lifetime of the probe, the Special Counsel levied 37 indictments, 6 of which were indictments from Trump associates – 5 pleaded guilty. That included the indictments of 25 Russian individuals or entities for hacking and leaking Democratic emails as well as running the Russian troll operation.
Mueller did not charge the Trump campaign with a criminal conspiracy but the report did outline over 100 pages of collusion evidence. The Trump Campaign was receptive to Russia’s help. In his testimony, Mueller called the conduct “unpatriotic.” Mueller’s report also included 10 key obstructive acts on the part of President Trump, which over 1,000 former federal prosecutors say Trump would be indicted for if he wasn’t President.
While Mueller could not find a criminal conspiracy between Russia and the Trump Campaign, it’s fair to wonder whether the current conduct between the Trump Administration and Ukraine would meet that criminal threshold. We’ll have to wait and see if this corrupt act moves forward.
In other news…
- The New York Times: Justice Dept. Investigates California Emissions Pact That Embarrassed Trump
- The New York Times: Trump Administration Considers a Drastic Cut in Refugees Allowed to Enter U.S.
- CNN: Republicans move to nix primaries in show of support for Trump
- TIME: Hurricane Dorian Rips Roofs Off Bahamas Oil Storage Tanks, Causes ‘Catastrophic’ Spillage
- The New Yorker: The Secret Files of the Master of Modern Republican Gerrymandering
- CNBC: Job growth falls short of expectations as August payrolls rise just 130,000
- The Daily Beast: ThinkProgress, a Top Progressive News Site, Has Shut Down
- The Hill: US congressional probe finds possible failures in Deutsche Bank controls with Russian oligarchs: report
- Los Angeles Times: Column: A Republican senator hints at gutting Social Security ‘behind closed doors’
- Politico: Trump drags his Alabama hurricane claims into 6th day
- Reuters: China CO2 emissions to peak in 2022, ahead of schedule: government researcher
- Gizmodo: In a Dangerous Move, NOAA Debases Itself in the Name of Trump’s Bad Tweet
- Politico: Air Force crew made an odd stop on a routine trip: Trump’s Scottish resort
- NBC News: Prosecutors call for Felicity Huffman to spend a month in jail
- The Hill: Journalists rally around Washington Post reporter after Eric Trump criticizes email
Over the weekend…
President Trump canceled peace talks with the Taliban and claimed he had invited them to Camp David, the weekend before the commemoration of 9/11…
Unbeknownst to almost everyone, the major Taliban leaders and, separately, the President of Afghanistan, were going to secretly meet with me at Camp David on Sunday. They were coming to the United States tonight. Unfortunately, in order to build false leverage, they admitted to..
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) September 7, 2019
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