A Complete Analysis Of Trump’s 140th Unpresidented Week As POTUS
President Trump’s authoritarian corruption has gone too far, triggering an impeachment inquiry and a scandal that could lead to his downfall.
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 140.
It’s hard to imagine a man more unfit for the presidency than Donald Trump. A fragile, simple-minded, egomaniac con man who is so driven by self-interest, that he is willing to bring down American democracy as we know it in his depraved, cowardly, bottomless pursuit of power.
Our democracy is facing one of its greatest tests at the hands of this man. We have long been in the midst of a slow-moving Constitutional crisis, but this week, we reached an inflection point. I have been documenting Trump’s presidency since day one and there have been only a few other occasions in which I was this ashamed of the man in the Oval Office.
This is the bottom line: President Trump, his personal attorney Rudy Giuliani, and various members of the Trump Administration have illegally sought to extort the Ukrainian government into interfering in the 2020 election. On a July 25th phone call, one day after the Mueller hearings, President Trump asked Ukrainian President Zelensky to investigate his political rival Joe Biden and his son while military aid was being withheld. Members of the Trump Administration then actively worked to cover up that conduct. But luckily for our democracy, a few White House officials alerted a soon-to-be whistleblower of this misconduct.
It’s because of this courageous whistleblower, who Trump has since mused about executing, that we know of these corrupt acts. It’s because of this whistleblower that the White House released a memo of Trump’s call with Zelensky that confirmed the request to investigate Biden and that it came in the context of military aid. It’s because of this whistleblower that we were made aware of the Trump Administration’s subsequent effort to hide the transcript of the call on a classified system, an allegation that the White House also confirmed. Trump’s own Acting DNI confirmed that the whistleblower was credible.
These acts were objectively illegal, but the William Barr-led Justice Department declined to pursue the Intelligence Community Inspector General’s criminal referral. Enter Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi. House Democrats are now pursuing a formal impeachment inquiry into President Trump. The narrative that Trump wants to be impeached quickly dissipated, as Trump panic-tweeted into oblivion and reportedly called Pelosi to try and prevent her from moving forward with it.
The dam has broken. Even mainstream journalists, including some at Fox News, have begun an unprecedented effort to push back on President Trump’s lies about this Ukraine scandal. Former and current Trump administration officials appear to be moving to protect themselves. While they try and throw Rudy Giuliani under the bus, Giuliani is further implicating the State Department.
This sequence of events can only be compared to the week of August 5, 1974, when the release of tapes revealed President Richard Nixon’s involvement in the Watergate coverup. President Trump isn’t likely to resign, but like with the inquiry into Nixon, the shifts in public opinion have swayed towards support of the newly launched impeachment inquiry. In spite of Trump and his allies’ efforts to lie about this allegation, polls find a majority of Americans in support, and one CBS News poll found 23% of Republicans and 49% of Independents support it. This is why Trump is terrified. He has been irreparably politically damaged.
This week, we also learned that President Trump told Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov and former Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak that he was unconcerned with Russia’s interference in US democracy. This reportedly occurred in their May 10, 2017, Oval Office meeting the day after Trump fired James Comey as FBI Director. It brought Russia back into focus, and reminded Americans that what we are witnessing with Ukraine is just a condensed, and more blatant, version of the Russia collusion scandal with the addition of presidential abuses of power.
Below, you’ll find a day-by-day breakdown of the most consequential week of Donald Trump’s presidency – a week that changed the course of history.
Trump’s Disgraceful First Day At The UNGA
Day 977: Monday, September 23
Today, President Trump continued to cede America’s global leadership. Heading into the first day of this year’s United Nations General Assembly (UNGA), questions swirled around Trump’s effort to pressure Ukraine to interfere in the 2020 election by investigating Joe Biden and his son. Trump made some news when it comes to that, but first, let’s talk about the most important topic of day one of UNGA: the UN Climate Summit.
Fresh off the global climate strike on Friday, 16-year-old climate activist Greta Thunberg delivered a fiery speech calling on leaders around the world to address climate change.
“You are still not mature enough to tell it like it is,” teen climate activist Greta Thunberg tells world leaders at #UNGA. “You are failing us, but young people are starting to understand your betrayal.”
— ABC News (@ABC) September 23, 2019
After her speech, there was a priceless moment caught of her staring down Trump.
Greta Thunberg’s glare at Donald Trump is giving me the energy to get through this Monday pic.twitter.com/xdM0rdI2ln
— Sam Stryker (@sbstryker) September 23, 2019
President Trump showed up at the Climate Summit, but for only 14 minutes, according to the White House press pool.
After about 10 minutes in the Climate Summit, Pres Trump departs. He soon hosts a Conference on Religious Freedom. pic.twitter.com/K1crSbAYQN
— Mark Knoller (@markknoller) September 23, 2019
14 minutes of attention is what the President of the United States spent on the biggest existential threat humanity faces. This matches his record. President Trump has called climate change a hoax, left the Paris Climate Accord, and rolled back countless environmental regulations.
As we’ve seen with the man-made fires in the Amazon rainforest, humans contribute to climate change in profound ways. We are rapidly approaching climate tipping points and unless significant action is taken, there will be irreparable damage done to our planet and life on Earth as we know it.
As Rantt has previously reported, climate change will alter every level of our existence. We’ll see rising sea levels, massive floods, stronger hurricanes, heat waves, droughts, poisoned food, an increase in terrorism, mass extinctions, the list goes on. In 2016, the first mammal went extinct due to climate change. If these warming trends continue at the rate they are currently trending, large regions like North Africa and the Middle East could become uninhabitable by the end of this century, creating an unprecedented migration crisis.
Aside from President Trump’s disregard for climate change, Trump continued to spread his lies about Joe Biden and essentially admitted to the quid pro quo (withholding military aid to pressure Ukraine to investigate Biden).
Trump again basically cops to asking Ukraine about Biden: “We’re supporting a country. We want to make sure that country is honest…it’s very important to talk about corruption. if you don’t talk about corruption, why would you give money to a country that you think is corrupt?” pic.twitter.com/u2zlloPl1X
— Aaron Rupar (@atrupar) September 23, 2019
And finally, there was a disgusting moment during Trump’s meeting with the Polish President.
Trump just said Joe Biden would get the “electric chair” if he was a Republican, even though there is no evidence of wrongdoing on the part of Biden.
He then called journalists in the room “crooked as hell.”
— Rantt Media (@RanttMedia) September 23, 2019
The fact the President is speaking like this at all, let alone at the United Nations, is objectively depraved. This is authoritarian rhetoric unbecoming of a President. Tomorrow, Trump is set to address the United Nations and is reportedly going to “affirm America’s leadership role” and “underscore that America is a positive alternative to authoritarianism…”
In other news…
- NBC News: ‘The dam could break’ on impeachment this week
- The Week: Trump’s allegations about Joe and Hunter Biden don’t seem to have any merit or even make much sense
- NPR: Trump Returns To The U.N. This Week Facing Growing Unease About U.S. Leadership
- NBC News: ‘Off the charts’: White House turnover is breaking records
- Business Insider: Netanyahu’s grip on power slips after Arab parties endorse his rival for Israeli prime minister
- ABC News: FBI arrests Army soldier who allegedly discussed plans to bomb major news network
- Politico: DNC raises threshold to make November debate stage
- Axios: Earth on track for the warmest 5-year period on record, UN warns
- Reuters: Hundreds of thousands stranded after British travel firm Thomas Cook collapses
- AP News: AP photographer wounded as senator fires gun during protest
- USA TODAY: Elizabeth Warren leads Iowa Poll for the first time, besting Joe Biden and Bernie Sanders
- Axios: GOP allies circulate data showing vaping ban will sink Trump in 2020
- Vox: 8 winners and 5 losers from the topsy-turvy 2019 Emmy Awards
Pelosi Launches Impeachment Inquiry
Day 978: Tuesday, September 24
Donald Trump’s critics have argued that he is the most corrupt President in American history. They’ve cited his receptiveness to Russia’s interference in 2016, his efforts to obstruct the investigation into that interference, his ongoing endeavor to profit from the presidency, his dangling of pardons to officials he’s told to violate immigration law, stonewalling, market manipulation, abuse of human rights, authoritarian tactics, the list goes on. But the straw that broke the House Democrats’ hesitation to impeach President Trump was his corrupt effort to get Ukraine to interfere in the 2020 election – the day after the Mueller hearing.
After last week’s news of President Trump’s July 25th phone call with Ukrainian President Zelensky where Trump reportedly asked 8 times for Ukraine to investigate Joe Biden, calls for impeachment increased. It began to hit a fever pitch on Monday as the number of House Democrats calling for impeachment continued to rise closer to 200 Reps. on Tuesday.
Congressman—and civil rights icon—John Lewis calls for an impeachment inquiry into Trump.
“I truly believe the time to begin impeachment proceedings against this president has come. To delay or to do otherwise would betray the foundation of our democracy.”pic.twitter.com/RO1pPo8m1B
— Rantt Media (@RanttMedia) September 24, 2019
At 5 pm on Tuesday, Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi announced that House Democrats are moving forward with an “official impeachment inquiry” into President Trump.
BREAKING: Speaker Nancy Pelosi: “Today, I’m announcing the House of Representatives is moving forward with an official impeachment inquiry.”
— ABC News Politics (@ABCPolitics) September 24, 2019
After spending the afternoon meeting with Democratic chairs of House Committees and Democratic leadership, Pelosi told the Democratic caucus that it’s time to launch official impeachment proceedings against Donald Trump. In her speech, announcing the effort, Pelosi highlighted President Trump’s violations of the Constitution. Pelosi then said that the six House Committees will be operating under the umbrella of an impeachment inquiry as opposed to a Select Committee.
It’s unclear whether they will formalize this inquiry through a full House vote as the process dictates. A formalized inquiry provides the House with increased investigatory powers that allows them to more effectively compel testimony, obtain documents, enforce subpoenas, and strengthens their position in court.
This morning, President Trump addressed the United Nations General Assembly with a muted speech about nationalism. By the evening, he was facing an impeachment inquiry. There was also some movement in the Senate where Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) hotlined, and allowed Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer’s (D-NY) unanimous consent request, to call for the release of the whistleblower complaint.
Adopted by Unanimous Consent: S.Res.325 – Transmission of Whistleblower Complaint:
Expressing the sense of the Senate that the whistleblower complaint received on 8/12/19, by the IG of the Intelligence Community should be transmitted immediately to Intelligence Committee
— Senate Cloakroom (@SenateCloakroom) September 24, 2019
President Trump has said he will release the transcript of his call with President Zelensky, but his Administration has been obstructing Congress’ legal right to see the whistleblower complaint. Needless to say, stay tuned over the next days and weeks. Turbulent times are ahead.
In other news…
- CNN: Trump admits he delayed Ukraine aid but claims it was unrelated to Biden
- The Washington Post: Giuliani pursued shadow Ukraine agenda as key foreign policy officials were sidelined
- NBC News: Trump says he will release a transcript of call with Ukraine president
- CNN: Schiff says whistleblower wants to talk to House Intelligence Committee
- Vox: Trump’s rationale for withholding aid to Ukraine changed overnight
- MSNBC: Sources: Pelosi says Trump called her today trying to ‘figure something out’ about whistleblower complaint
- Axios: How the odds of Trump impeachment changed in a flash
- CBS News: Trump says future belongs to “patriots,” not “globalists,” in U.N. General Assembly speech
- BuzzFeed News: Egypt Wanted To Arrest A New York Times Reporter, And The Trump Administration Was Reportedly Going To Let It Happen
- The New York Times: Trump Administration Threatens to Cut U.S. Highway Funds From California
- USA TODAY: Calling Trump a ‘corrupt human tornado,’ Hillary Clinton backs impeachment
- Politico: New York prosecutors reject Trump’s immunity claim in tax returns case
- Mediate: Andrew Napolitano: What Trump Has Admitted to Is a Crime
- Politico: DNC raises threshold to make November debate stage
- USA TODAY Poll: More good news for Elizabeth Warren, within striking distance of Joe Biden in Nevada
- ABC News: Puerto Rico rocked by 6.0 magnitude earthquake
- BBC News: Supreme Court: Suspending Parliament was unlawful, judges rule
- BBC News: U.K. Parliament to Resume Wednesday, Speaker Says: Brexit Update
The Smoking Gun Was Released By The White House
Day 979: Wednesday, September 25
The saga of President Trump’s unprecedented abuses of power continued to unfold in a whirlwind day of explosive developments and brazen corruption.
Last week, reporters revealed the fact President Trump asked Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky to launch an investigation into Joe Biden and his son on a July 25th phone call. On Monday, we discovered that President Trump personally ordered the freeze of military aid to Ukraine a week before that phone call. On Tuesday, Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi announced a formal impeachment inquiry into President Trump. By Wednesday morning, that impeachment inquiry was given even more fuel.
The White House released 5 pages of non-verbatim notes memorializing President Trump’s call with President Zelensky, and it was more damning than many expected. In a nutshell, Trump tells Zelenksy that the US has been very good to Ukraine, but it hasn’t been reciprocal. That comment sets up the fact Trump expects something from Ukraine. Zelensky then says that his country is almost ready to buy more weapons from the US. This is where the potential quid pro quo comes into play. Trump then immediately asks for a favor.
The most important word in the entire “transcript” is when Trump says “though”
Zelensky: We want to buy more Javelins.
Trump: Cool, cool, I need you to do us (me) a favor “though”
The favors? Nothing NatSec related. All domestic politics. And that’s why it’s impeachable. pic.twitter.com/JRNbjeL5nl
— Adam “there’s merit in not discussing that” (@aalali44) September 25, 2019
Trump goes on to ask Zelensky to look into the origins of the Mueller probe and work with Attorney General William Barr and his personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani to investigate Joe Biden. It’s important to keep in mind that there is no evidence of wrongdoing against Joe Biden or Hunter Biden.
While the country was absorbing this news, we learned that the Trump-appointed Intelligence Community Inspector General thought this conduct was so improper that he referred it for a criminal investigation to the Justice Department. The William Barr-led Justice Department cleared Trump of wrongdoing. And as we know, the Justice Department then blocked the release of the whistleblower complaint, which references the July telephone call. It is important to note that AG Barr is referenced in the non-verbatim transcript numerous times.
So, let’s break that down. Legal experts claim that President Trump’s request for foreign interference in the 2020 election violates election law. The Justice Department claims it does not, but their claim appears to contradict how Special Counsel Robert Mueller and the FEC see a matter of this nature:
The DOJ claims there was no “thing of value” solicited, so Trump’s Ukraine call did not violate election law.
The Mueller report cites FEC regs that contradict this.
— Ahmed Baba (@AhmedBaba_) September 25, 2019
When it comes to a quid pro quo (extortion, bribery), some have argued that it was implicit, given the context of suspended military aid and Trump’s request for a favor directly following the topic. In any case, Democrats argue that a quid pro quo isn’t necessary for their impeachment probe, as the request for an investigation itself is impeachable in its own right.
“That a president of the United States would interfere with our national security,” Rep. Adam Schiff says, “and do so for the illicit purpose of trying to advance his election campaign…is the most fundamental betrayal of his oath of office.” https://t.co/63XYrAqIAR pic.twitter.com/gxpNmPkNwq
— ABC News (@ABC) September 25, 2019
Republicans made their best efforts to spin this news and spread their talking points. In spite of the evidence, President Trump’s allies like Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-FL) and Senator Lindsey Graham (R-SC) claimed there was no quid pro quo and no election law violation. Senator Mitt Romney (R-UT), however, called the phone call troubling while other Republicans were privately concerned. But, the day wasn’t over. There was more to come.
At the United Nations General Assembly, President Trump held an afternoon bilateral meeting with President Zelensky and repeated the request he made during their July 25th phone call. When asked if Trump wanted Ukraine to investigate Biden, Trump said he wants them to investigate corruption and then proceeds to claim what Biden and his son did was corrupt:
Here’s Trump urging the Ukrainian president to investigate Biden right out in the open, on camera. Totally shameless. pic.twitter.com/Alku4LayT4
— Aaron Rupar (@atrupar) September 25, 2019
President Trump went on to rant about the origins of the Mueller probe (which Trump asked Zelensky to investigate during their call) and ranted about Hillary Clinton. Zelensky looked visibly uncomfortable throughout the meeting. Zelensky claimed that he felt no “push” from Trump in regards to investigating Biden, but reporting indicated Ukraine felt pressured. ABC News reported a statement from a Ukrainian official:
“It was clear that [President Donald] Trump will only have communications if they will discuss the Biden case,” said Serhiy Leshchenko, an anti-corruption advocate and former member of Ukraine’s Parliament, who now acts as an adviser to Zelenskiy. “This issue was raised many times. I know that Ukrainian officials understood.”
In the 4 pm ET hour, President Trump gave a meandering press conference where he repeated his false allegations against Biden and falsely accused President Obama of seeking foreign election help. Trump also claimed there was a first phone call between Trump and Zelensky and Pence also had phone calls.
Meanwhile, the whistleblower complaint, which reportedly contains details of how records of the Ukraine call were handled, was sent to the Senate and House Intelligence Committees. House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff (D-CA), and other members of the committee, expressed concern:
SCHIFF after reading whistleblower complaint:
“I found the allegations deeply disturbing. I also found them very credible. I can understand why the IG found them credible …The complaint was very well written and certainly provides information for the committee to follow up…”
— Andrew Desiderio (@AndrewDesiderio) September 25, 2019
By the end of the day, 218 House Representatives, the vote threshold needed to formalize an impeachment inquiry, came out in support of impeachment proceedings. The House also passed a resolution calling for the release of the whistleblower complaint. This week still has more consequential plot points to develop.
The Acting Director of National Intelligence, who denied reports that he threatened to resign if he wasn’t allowed to speak freely before Congress, testifies before the House Intelligence Committee on Thursday morning. Expect more to come.
In other news…
- Reuters: Ukraine president thought only U.S. side of Trump call would be published
- The Hill: Giuliani says State Department asked him to take call from Ukrainian official
- The Daily Beast: U.S. Ambassador Roped Into Rudy’s Quest to Smear Biden
- Axios: Ukraine whistleblower wants to speak to House and Senate Intelligence Committees
- Roll Call: White House threatens to shut down legislative process during impeachment inquiry
- Newsweek: Republican Group Supports Trump Impeachment Inquiry: If Allegations Against President Are True, ‘That’s Simply Unacceptable’
- Bloomberg: Senate Votes Again to Block Trump’s Border ‘Emergency’ Wall Fund
- The Scottsman: Trump Turnberry resort singled out in airport’s pitch to US military
- The Washington Post: Trump administration rule could end free school lunches for about 500,000 children
- CNN: Cindy McCain says GOP no longer the ‘party that my husband and I belonged to’
- Mediate: Shepard Smith Rips Fox Guest Who Called Napolitano ‘Fool,’ Swipes at Tucker: ‘Repugnant’ Comment Went ‘Unchallenged’
- The New York Times: Juul Shake-up: C.E.O. Steps Down
The Whistleblower Complaint And DNI Hearing
Day 980: Thursday, September 26
The historic nature of this week cannot be overstated. We are witnessing a blatant endeavor on the part of the President of the United States to solicit foreign election interference in the 2020 election. This was the focus of the Acting Director of National Intelligence Joseph Maguire’s hearing.
Minutes before Thursday’s hearing was set to begin, the whistleblower complaint and the Intelligence Community Inspector General’s (IGIC) letter to Maguire were released. It implicates President Trump, multiple US officials, and Rudy Giuliani, in the illegal, months-long, pursuit of foreign election interference and a subsequent coverup.
In summary, the whistleblower’s August 12th complaint alleges that approximately a dozen White House officials listened to Trump’s July 25th call with Zelensky. After the call, there was an effort to “lock down” the transcript. Officials were allegedly directed by White House lawyers to move the digital transcript of the call to a classified electronic system in an effort to hide it. The complaint alleges that this was “not the first time” a Trump transcript was placed in that system.
The complaint also claimed that Attorney General William Barr may have been involved in the effort to pressure Ukraine. It also highlighted Giuliani’s outreaches to Ukraine in May and that his August 2nd meeting with one of Zelensky’s advisers in Madrid was a direct follow up to Trump’s July 25th request. The complaint also alleges that on May 14th, Trump ordered Vice President Mike Pence not to attend Zelensky’s inauguration, and that it was “made clear” Zelensky wouldn’t get a meeting until Trump saw how he acted in office and if he “played ball”.
It was in this context that Thursday’s hearing began. Chairman Schiff used his opening statement to claim Trump “betrayed his oath of office”.
In other news…
- The New York Times: Trump Attacks Whistle-Blower’s Sources and Alludes to Punishment for Spies
- The Washington Post: Former Ukraine prosecutor says Hunter Biden ‘did not violate anything’
- The New York Times: Seven days: Inside Trump’s frenetic response to the whistleblower complaint and the battle over impeachment
- The Atlantic: Rudy Giuliani: ‘You Should Be Happy for Your Country That I Uncovered This’
- NBC News: Majority of House members now back some type of impeachment action against Trump
- Politico: Support for impeachment jumps in new poll
- NBC News: Israel’s president taps Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to form next government
- Reuters: Khashoggi murder ‘happened under my watch,’ Saudi crown prince tells PBS
- BBC: Boris Johnson faces fury in Parliament after Brexit showdown
- CNBC: Anti-immigration conservative Kurz set to win election in Austria
- Reuters: Ukraine president thought only U.S. side of Trump call would be published
- Yahoo Finance: Trump’s potential impeachment and the stock market: What history tells us
Pelosi’s Impeachment Patience Paid Off
Day 981: Friday, September 27
President Trump thought he got away with it. It was July 25th, the day after Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s hearings on Russia’s interference in the 2016 election. The hearings highlighted the Trump Campaign’s receptiveness to Russia’s election help and President Trump’s subsequent effort to obstruct the investigation into that conduct. Because Mueller didn’t find a criminal conspiracy between Russia and the Trump Campaign, Trump felt vindicated. What Trump did next was the most brazenly corrupt act of his presidency.
As we now know, President Trump used his July 25th phone call with Ukrainian President Zelensky to do the very thing he was accused of over the previous 2 years, sparking a renewed coverup. Trump’s effort to pressure Zelensky to interfere in the 2020 election was not only unlawful, it undermined America’s democratic system. Trump’s call came amid suspended military aid that was apparently being held over Ukraine’s head (quid pro quo). Trump’s own transcript notes of their call confirmed this wrongdoing, as did Trump’s public meeting with Zelensky at the UN. As I wrote in The Independent on Thursday, the whistleblower complaint that was released before Acting DNI Joseph Maguire’s hearing put the icing on the corruption cake.
While these corrupt acts were going on in secret, Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) was publicly expressing reluctance when it came to impeaching President Trump. After the Mueller report was released in April, and after the hearings on July 24th, calls for impeachment hit a fever pitch. Nevertheless, Pelosi felt that the best way forward was for House Democrats to rack up court wins as they combatted the Trump Administration’s stonewalling. Pelosi’s unwillingness to impeach Trump likely led him to believe he would never be held accountable. It appears that misplaced belief led Trump down a path that would could prove to be his undoing.
On Tuesday, Speaker Pelosi announced a formal impeachment inquiry into President Trump. Given the simplicity of Trump’s corrupt Ukraine act, and the digestible nature of the coverup allegations, this is doing serious political damage to President Trump as the White House panics, Republicans privately express concerns, and support for impeachment rises.
Those polls were before the whistleblower complaint was released. Of course, it’s still a far-fetched idea to believe Senate Republicans will turn on President Trump at this time, but keep an eye on Senator Mitt Romney (R-UT) and Senator Ben Sasse (R-NE) who have expressed concerns. At the very least, Trump’s crimes have thoroughly damaged his 2020 re-election odds. This scandal continues to get worse as Trump officials continue to backstab each other in an effort to shield themselves from legal liability.
In May, Pelosi said Trump was “almost self-impeaching” himself. Perhaps this is what she meant.
In other news…
- The Washington Post: Trump told Russian officials in 2017 he wasn’t concerned about Moscow’s interference in U.S. election
- CNN: White House restricted access to Trump’s calls with Putin and Saudi crown prince
- CNN: White House says lawyers directed moving Ukraine transcript to highly secure system
- The New York Times: House Democrats Issue First Subpoena in Impeachment Inquiry
- New Yorker: Nancy Pelosi: An Extremely Stable Genius
- The Daily Beast: Trump Ponders Violent Retribution as the White House Projects Impeachment Calm
- The New York Times: White House Knew of Whistle-Blower’s Allegations Soon After Trump’s Call With Ukraine Leader
- CNN: Schiff threatens subpoenas and opens door to impeachment hearings next week
- CBS News: U.S. special envoy to Ukraine steps down a day after whistleblower complaint was released
- NPR: NRA Was ‘Foreign Asset’ To Russia Ahead of 2016, New Senate Report Reveals
- The Washington Post: Nearly 300 former officials call Trump’s actions concerning Ukraine ‘profound national security concern’
- The New York Times: N.R.A.’s LaPierre Asks Trump to ‘Stop the Games‘ Over Gun Legislation in Discussion About Its Support
- NBC News: ‘Total panic’ as ‘shell-shocked’ White House struggles to find impeachment footing
- CNN: Vermont GOP governor backs Trump impeachment inquiry: ‘These are serious allegations’
- The Washington Post: Federal judge blocks Trump administration from detaining migrant children for indefinite periods
- CNN: Immigration: US sets a refugee cap of 18,000 for next year — a new historic low
- The Texas Tribune: Texas Rep. Will Hurd says he’s considering running for president in 2024
Over the weekend…
Sunday Show Embarrassment
President Trump is running a familiar playbook. After the White House released the memo of President Trump’s call with Ukrainian President Zelensky and the whistleblower complaint was made public, Trump has been scrambling. There is no honest way to defend the President of the United States illegally extorting a foreign power to investigate a political rival and then trying to cover up the effort. Now in a state of desperation amid House Democrats’ impeachment probe, President Trump and his sycophants have launched yet another disinformation campaign. It isn’t working.
President Trump and the Republican Party’s strategy is to lie about the memo that the White House released in the hopes their voters won’t read it. That tactic worked with the 448-page Mueller report, but that won’t work with a 5-page memo. They are also trying to defame the whistleblower and claim that their allegations are all hearsay. This runs contrary to the fact the White House corroborated part of the complaint, the memo itself matches the complaint, and Trump himself has admitted the core allegation.
After they distort the contents of President Trump’s phone call, Trump’s defenders then perform a clumsy deflection by making widely debunked allegations against Joe and Hunter Biden. If the Sunday shows and recent polling are any indication, these tactics are crashing and burning.
First up, we have Rep. Jim Jordan (R-OH), who claimed that he has no problem with President Trump’s effort to solicit foreign interference in the 2020 election.
Rep. Jim Jordan on President Trump’s Ukraine call and the impeachment inquiry: “I don’t have any problem with the call. … I respectfully disagree with my colleagues who think there needs to be a further inquiry here” #CNNSOTU pic.twitter.com/qfcMpJcCJA
— CNN Politics (@CNNPolitics) September 29, 2019
CNN’s Jake Tapper wasted no time in putting the allegations Jordan was making against Joe Biden to rest, while reminding Jordan of allegations he himself faces.
Jake Tapper calls out Rep. Jim Jordan over his baseless Hunter Biden accusations: “It’s facts and I would think that somebody who’s been accused of things in that last year or two would be more sensitive about throwing out wild allegations against people.” pic.twitter.com/HkqSVGwZey
— Blake Jones (@BlakeThought) September 29, 2019
This is what Jake Tapper is talking about btw:
At least eight ex-OSU wrestlers came forward—including UFC fighter Mark Coleman—alleging that then-Assistant Coach Jordan ignored allegations that doctor Richard Strauss was sexually abusing wrestlers.https://t.co/SHaAmr0qQq
— Ahmed Baba (@AhmedBaba_) September 29, 2019
Then, we have White House Senior Adviser, and anti-immigrant bigot, Stephen Miller. Fox News’ Chris Wallace called out his lack of answers.
“You have your non-answer" — watch Chris Wallace grill Stephen Miller about why Trump thought it was appropriate to use his private attorney to dig up dirt on Biden — and not let Miller get away with obfuscating. pic.twitter.com/wKr1fpIX5Z
— Aaron Rupar (@atrupar) September 29, 2019
WALLACE: How specifically did the Bidens break the law in Ukraine?
STEPHEN MILLER: [dissembles, can’t cite a singe reason] pic.twitter.com/KKaU1F1yO9
— Aaron Rupar (@atrupar) September 29, 2019
Next, we have Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Lindsey Graham (R-SC), whose stunning shift from Senator McCain’s best friend to chief Trump Senate sycophant has stunned the nation. As usual, Graham was shameless in his defenses of President Trump.
LINDSEY GRAHAM: The whistleblower complaint is just hearsay.
MARGARET BRENNAN: But the whistleblower complaint is matched by the call record in numerous ways.
GRAHAM: Well, you’ve got an opinion, I’ve got an opinion. pic.twitter.com/2L5sweS64L
— Aaron Rupar (@atrupar) September 29, 2019
Finally, we have House Minority Whip Rep. Steve Scalise (R-LA).
WATCH: When asked if he thinks it was “appropriate” for Trump to ask a foreign leader to investigate Biden, Rep. Scalise responds with unfounded allegations implying corruption #IfItsSunday@chucktodd: “Congressman you know the truth behind that.” pic.twitter.com/Jxo4YACUr0
— Meet the Press (@MeetThePress) September 29, 2019
If those clips weren’t enough to prove this strategy isn’t working, polling backs that up. As we’ve seen with multiple polls last week, and a new one this weekend, support for an impeachment inquiry into Trump is rising.
55% of Americans support the impeachment inquiry into Trump.
49% of Independents support the impeachment inquiry.
23% (!) of Republicans support the impeachment inquiry.
We’ve crossed a bridge here.
This is huge. https://t.co/1GjwDVm7dP
— Ahmed Baba (@AhmedBaba_) September 29, 2019
Telling the American people not to believe their eyes and ears is not a sustainable strategy. If President Trump and his defenders want to stop public opinion from shifting away from them, they’ll have to stop treating the American people as if they are stupid. It would also help if they stopped committing crimes.
In other news…
President Trump panic-tweeted his way through the weekend as we learned of the Trump Administration’s authoritarian counter-narrative.
Trump Administration consumed in an impeachment inquiry after seeking foreign election interference and they are literally saying “but her emails.”
Nothing to see here, just an authoritarian administration investigating Trump’s former political opponent. https://t.co/TNSZmrtx1p
— Ahmed Baba (@AhmedBaba_) September 28, 2019
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