A Complete Analysis Of Trump’s 137th Unpresidented Week As POTUS

After a month of market manipulation and abuses of power, President Trump starts his September with disinformation and corrupt conduct.

President Donald Trump walks from the Oval Office to talk to members of the press on the South Lawn of the White House Friday, Aug. 30, 2019, prior to boarding Marine One to begin his trip to Camp David near Thurmont, Md. (Official White House Photo by Joyce N. Boghosian)

President Donald Trump walks from the Oval Office to talk to members of the press on the South Lawn of the White House Friday, Aug. 30, 2019, prior to boarding Marine One to begin his trip to Camp David near Thurmont, Md. (Official White House Photo by Joyce N. Boghosian)

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.

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As Nadler Eyes Impeachment, A Reminder Of How It Works

Day 957: Tuesday, September 3

President Bill Clinton and President Andrew Johnson, the only two US presidents to be impeached. (Official Photos)

President Bill Clinton and President Andrew Johnson, the only two US presidents to be impeached. (Official Photos)

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.

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Day 958: Wednesday, September 4

President Trump presents a fake forecast of Hurricane Dorian that includes black marker - September 4, 2019 (White House Video)

President Trump presents a fake forecast of Hurricane Dorian that includes black marker – September 4, 2019 (White House Video)

The Lede

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.

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:

When asked about this, President Trump made the lie significantly worse.

The Context

This all started on Sunday when President Trump sent out a tweet falsely claiming that Alabama was in the path of Hurricane Dorian.

20 minutes later, the National Weather Service Birmingham Alabama corrected President Trump.

The facts didn’t stop President Trump from doubling down on this lie in a tweet attacking an ABC News reporter.

The Analysis

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…

After The Climate Town Hall, A Look At How To Tackle It

Day 959: Thursday, September 5

Main entrance of U.S. EPA Headquarters; the William Jefferson Clinton Federal Building on 12th Street, N.W., Washington, D.C. (Moreau1, Public domain)

Democratic Presidential candidate Pete Buttigieg is calling for the Department of Defense to take a leading role in combating climate change. Is he right?

Read The Full Article

In other news…

After The Climate Town Hall, A Look At How To Tackle It

Day 960: Friday, September 6

President Trump (AP), Trump's Personal Lawyer Rudy Giuliani (Gage Skidmore/Flickr), and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky (Vadim Chuprina)

President Trump (AP), Trump’s Personal Lawyer Rudy Giuliani (Gage Skidmore/Flickr), and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky (Vadim Chuprina)

The Lede

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.

The Context

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.

In an interview with The New York Times, Giuliani attempted to claim this conduct was completely fine:

“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.

The Analysis

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.”

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…

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…

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Unpresidented // Corruption / Disinformation / Donald Trump / Gun Reform / Impeachment