A Complete Analysis Of Trump’s 141st Unpresidented Week As POTUS

President Trump, members of his Administration, and the Republican Paty are engaged in the most dishonest, corrupt, un-American behavior in modern history.
President Donald J. Trump participates in a joint press conference with Finnish President Sauli Niinistö Wednesday, Oct. 2, 2019, in the East Room of the White House. (Official White House Photo by Shealah Craighead)

President Donald J. Trump participates in a joint press conference with Finnish President Sauli Niinistö Wednesday, Oct. 2, 2019, in the East Room of the White House. (Official White House Photo by Shealah Craighead)

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 141.

Donald Trump is a president in freefall, desperately grasping at thin straws of disinformation that only seem to accelerate his descent into historical infamy. As his actions become more brazen – and his defenses fall flat – support for impeachment is rising and he is growing increasingly unhinged.

As I wrote in my article on Friday, this is a truly unprecedented moment in history. The President of the United States is abusing his power and systemically pressuring foreign countries (allies, enemies, and authoritarian regimes alike) to investigate his political opponents. This is in blatant violation of election law. He is doing this while using the full force of the US Government to pressure, and in some cases extort, these countries. His administration is filled with officials who are complicit in both the corrupt acts and coverups.

Attorney General William Barr is investigating a conspiracy theory seeking to undermine the Mueller probe with foreign help. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo is attempting to block State Department officials from cooperating with the House’s impeachment inquiry, even after it was revealed he was on Trump’s Ukraine call. Vice President Mike Pence was deployed twice in President Trump’s effort to pressure Ukrainian President Zelensky to investigate the Bidens.

This week, we learned of text messages from US diplomats that bolstered evidence of the Trump-Ukraine quid pro quo. We learned of the existence of more whistleblowers who may come forward with more information pertaining to Trump’s Ukraine scandal and potential improper conduct at the IRS. But, as we’ve seen this week, President Trump is blowing the whistle on himself. On the South Lawn of the White House, President Trump directly called for China to investigate the Bidens.

While these actions are objectively outrageous, the Republican Party is contorting itself into knots in an attempt to appease their leader. Their messaging boils down to telling their base crimes aren’t crimes if President Trump commits them, lies are truth, and while Trump is committing treacherous acts, it’s actually the Democrats who hate America. This next-level gaslighting will not work. Reality always catches up, even to the delusional.

Let’s dive into yet another Unpresidented week.

We’re building a community and want you to be part of it.

The “Enough Already” Phase Of Trump’s Presidency

Day 984: Monday, September 30

President Trump and protestors from the January 2017 Women's March (AP)

President Trump and protestors from the January 2017 Women’s March (AP)

We are beginning to see real chinks in President Trump’s armor. The man once referred to as Teflon Don is apparently unable to stop recent scandals from sticking. Over the course of his presidency, Donald Trump has tested the resolve of the American people through cruel, corrupt, and chaotic actions. Trump’s avalanche of unhinged tweet sprees, oppressive policies, corrupt actions, false accusations of treason, lies, and efforts to place himself above the law have taken their toll on Americans. It appears they’ve had enough.

President Trump has long had over 60% disapproval, but support for impeachment has had trouble surpassing 50% – until now. President Trump’s illegal effort to extort Ukraine into interfering in the 2020 election was a bridge too far. Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) has launched an impeachment inquiry, and as Trump’s disinformation defense flails, the public is rallying behind House Democrats.

NBC News reported that President Trump has told allies that if national support for impeachment and removal from office rises above 50%, Trump fears losing Republican support. Recent polling indicates we’re on the cusp of that threshold. There have been more nuanced questions being asked in these new polls, which now paint a more accurate depiction of where Americans stand. As we have outlined in our impeachment explainer, impeachment is merely an indictment from the House. Removal from office is a separate matter that occurs in the Senate.

Polls after news first broke of President Trump’s call with Ukrainian President Zelensky indicated a surge in support for impeachment. And this was before the transcript notes and whistleblower complaint was released.

Over the weekend, there was a CBS News poll that showcased a majority of Americans support the impeachment inquiry into President Trump. It also contained some concerning signs of waning Republican support.

On Monday, there were two polls that showcased support for impeachment and removal from office is reaching Trump’s worry zone. A new Quinnipiac poll saw impeachment and removal at 47%, while support for an impeachment inquiry is at 52%.

A CNN poll bolstered that trend, also bringing in a 47% impeach and remove number.

It appears we are at the “enough already” phase of Donald Trump’s presidency.

In other news…

Looking to make a difference? Consider signing one of these petitions:

Support Impeachment Proceedings Against Trump
Sign Now
Support The Fight Against Plastic Pollution Sign Now
Support Abolishing The Electoral College Sign Now

Slavery And The Second Amendment

Day 985: Tuesday, October 1

Washington standing among African-American field workers; Mt. Vernon in background. Hand-colored lithograph by Régnier (lithographer), after a painting by Junius Brutus Stearns (1810-1885). Printed by Lemercier, Paris (printer) - Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division

Washington standing among African-American field workers; Mt. Vernon in background. Hand-colored lithograph by Régnier (lithographer), after a painting by Junius Brutus Stearns (1810-1885). Printed by Lemercier, Paris (printer) – Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division

Part 3 of a Rantt Series on gun violence in America.

It sometimes seems that the debate over the meaning of the Second Amendment has been going on since the moment the Amendment was ratified. It has not. The standoff between gun control advocates and gun “rights” advocates dates only to the 1970s. Even into the later 20th century, there really was no debate about whether the Second Amendment created an individual right to keep and bear arms.

The Second Amendment is not as easily understood as the other nine amendments that form the Bill of Rights. Other Amendments are easy to translate into plain English. We know what they mean upon first reading, generally. The Second Amendment is much more mysterious, especially to those of us living in a new-millennium world.

A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.

It is a single sentence with three commas. Yet we are in the midst of a furious debate over what it actually means. One interpretation gives it the noble meaning that we expect from our Founders in balancing the powers of nation and state. That interpretation is supported by a less pretty picture of the Founders-as-slave-owners. The alternative interpretation advocated by “gun rights” activists seems to turn the Second Amendment on its head.

Read This New Comprehensive Look At The 2nd Amendment From Carol Armen

In other news…

#TrumpMeltdown

Day 986: Wednesday, October 2

President Trump holds a joint press conference with Finnish President Sauli Niinistö - October 2, 2019 (PBS)

President Trump holds a joint press conference with Finnish President Sauli Niinistö – October 2, 2019 (PBS)

#TrumpMeltdown was trending at number 3 on Twitter in the United States before the press conference even began. By the end of it, it had reached number one, and for good reason.

President Trump has had a rocky few weeks. A whistleblower complaint and the White House’s release of a memo detailing Trump’s illegal effort to extort Ukrainian President Zelensky into interfering in the 2020 election triggered a formal impeachment inquiry last week. As each day passes, we learn new details about the White House’s effort to coverup this corrupt act, as well as his other calls with foreign leaders.

President Trump’s Republican supporters have floundered with dishonest defenses of the call as support for the impeachment inquiry has topped 50%. The apparent strategy is to create conspiracy theories about the whistleblower complaint and hope their voters don’t read the damning memo the White House released. Trump, who believes himself to be his best messenger, has taken to Twitter in a flurry of unhinged tweets, ranging from false accusations of treason to defamatory, dangerous rhetoric about the whistleblower.

Wednesday’s press conference began in routine fashion, with both Finnish President Sauli Niinistö and President Trump giving statements. There was, however, an interesting moment:

President Trump then began taking questions. First, a question about impeachment from Fox News’ John Roberts. In response, President Trump proceeded to launch into a rant attacking House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff (D-CA) for paraphrasing Trump’s call with the Ukrainian President, stating “I think he had some form of a mental breakdown.” Trump then goes on to falsely accuse Schiff of treason:

President Trump went on to continue his absurd defense of his request for President Zelensky to investigate Joe Biden, claiming it was a perfect call:

Then, without any evidence whatsoever, President Trump claimed that Schiff helped write the whistleblower complaint:

That talking point came from a New York Times story that reported Schiff was given advanced notice about the complaint, but that was actually a standard protocol:

President Trump proceeded to launch into another defense of his call with the Ukrainian President and lied about it being word-for-word. The memo itself says it’s not verbatim.

President Trump went on to call himself a stable genius (again) and to make false claims against Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation. It’s important to note that the Trump Administration is seeking cooperation from Ukraine, Italy, the UK, and Australia (that we know of) in their effort to discredit the Mueller probe.

If Mueller’s report was so totally and completely exonerating of President Trump as he has claimed, then why is he seeking help from multiple foreign powers to discredit it?

President Trump then went on to angrily attack Reuters White House Correspondent Jeff Mason.

If President Trump was hoping to convince the American people he wasn’t guilty of the illegal act he has already admitted to (asking Ukraine for the Biden probe), his defensiveness has backfired.

In other news…

Looking to make a difference? Consider signing one of these petitions:

Support Impeachment Proceedings Against Trump
Sign Now
Call On Senators To Protect Funding For Head Start, Pre-K And Child Care
Sign Now
Support Abolishing The Electoral College Sign Now

China, If You’re Listening…

Day 987: Thursday, October 3

President Donald J. Trump speaks with reporters Thursday, Oct. 3, 2019, along the driveway outside the South Portico entrance of the White House, prior to boarding Marine One for his flight to Joint Base Andrews, Md., to begin his trip to The Villages, FL. (Official White House Photo by Tia Dufour)

President Donald J. Trump speaks with reporters Thursday, Oct. 3, 2019, along the driveway outside the South Portico entrance of the White House, prior to boarding Marine One for his flight to Joint Base Andrews, Md., to begin his trip to The Villages, FL. (Official White House Photo by Tia Dufour)

On Thursday, President Trump continued to illegally solicit foreign interference in the 2020 election. President Trump, in public view, reiterated his call for Ukraine to interfere in the 2020 election and made that same request to China.

Right before President Trump delivered those remarks, Trump talked about his ongoing trade war with China stating: “I have a lot of options on China, but if they don’t do what we want, we have tremendous power.” Trump has said that he wants China to investigate Biden, so this appears to be yet another quid pro quo the President is floating.

This request comes after President Trump has already asked Ukrainian President Zelensky to investigate Joe and Hunter Biden amid withheld military aid. This conduct has sparked an impeachment inquiry as evidence Trump sought a quid pro quo mounted.  President Trump and Attorney General William Barr have also sought cooperation from Ukraine, Italy, the UK, and Australia (that we know of) in their effort to discredit former Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation.

After President Trump made his request to China, Ellen L Weintraub, the Chair of the Federal Election Commission (FEC),  retweeted a statement she made in June:

“Let me make something 100% clear to the American people and anyone running for public office: It is illegal for any person to solicit, accept, or receive anything of value from a foreign national in connection with a US election.”

This statement sends a powerful message that President Trump’s conduct is objectively illegal, but unfortunately, the FEC currently can’t do anything about it.

Why is the FEC shut down?

In order for the FEC to function at full capacity, it needs 4 commissioners. In August, that number was reduced to 3 when Vice-Chair Matthew Petersen announced his resignation. With his resignation, the FEC was unable to have a quorum. President Trump has nominated Republican Trey Trainor to the FEC, but the GOP-led Senate has yet to confirm him, leaving the FEC crippled. The Center for Public Integrity offered a potential explanation for the stalled nomination:

The U.S. Senate has long observed a tradition in which the president nominates FEC commissioners in pairs — one Republican, one Democrat, one reason Trainor’s nomination may have stalled.

While FEC staff can still perform transparency functions, accepting public disclosures from campaigns, etc., they cannot take any enforcement action without a quorum. They are unable to issues fines or investigate potential campaign finance violations. Former senior counsel at the FEC, Daniel Weiner, expressed concern to NPR in August:

“To not have the FEC able to take action right now is deeply concerning… After 2016, it’s become very clear that it is almost certain that the Russian government and potentially other U.S. rivals will seek to interfere in the U.S. election, including through online propaganda, cybersecurity incursions, and other tactics..”

That statement was given before President Trump’s conversation with the Ukrainian President was made public and his subsequent public violations of election law. Amid these violations, FEC Chair Weintraub attempted to publish a memo on foreign election interference but was blocked by her GOP colleague. Weintraub then published it directly to Twitter:

It’s interesting that a GOP member of the FEC would seek to block this memo amid President Trump’s actions. But what’s far more pressing a question is the following: Why hasn’t Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) taken up President Trump’s FEC nomination? That would immediately end this shutdown and allow the FEC to reach a quorum. Perhaps a question a reporter should press McConnell on at his next press conference.

In other news…

All The President’s Men

Day 988: Friday, October 4

President Trump with Attorney General William Bar, Vice President Mike Pence, and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo (Source: DOJ, Gage Skidmore, and State Department)

President Trump with Attorney General William Bar, Vice President Mike Pence, and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo (Source: DOJ, Gage Skidmore, and State Department)

We are in a new phase of the Trump presidency. Since President Trump’s effort to extort the Ukrainian President into interfering in the 2020 election sparked an impeachment inquiry, the dam has broken. Over the course of this week, the corruption scandals surrounding Trump have snowballed and engulfed multiple members of his team. Before we talk about the new developments, let’s put this in perspective.

The President of the United States is abusing his power and systemically pressuring foreign countries (allies, enemies, and authoritarian regimes alike) to investigate his political opponents. This is in blatant violation of election law. He is doing this while using the full force of the US Government to pressure, and in some cases extort, these countries. His administration is filled with officials who are complicit in both the corrupt acts and coverups.

At the center of it all is President Trump, who already attempted to extort Ukrainian President Zelensky to investigate the Bidens, and the Mueller probe, amid withheld military aid. This conduct has sparked an impeachment inquiry as evidence Trump sought a quid pro quo mounted. But that didn’t stop Trump from publicly asking China to investigate Biden this week, and implicitly offering an apparent quid pro quo for improved trade talks. This was followed by reports that President Trump not only talked about Biden and Elizabeth Warren with Chinese President Xi Jinping in June, Trump also promised not to talk about the Hong Kong protests amid stalled trade talks.

At the office of the Vice President, we have Mike Pence whose denials about any knowledge of President Trump’s efforts to pressure Ukraine have fallen apart. As the whistleblower complaint alleged, Pence was instructed not to attend Zelensky’s inauguration in May. This week, The Washington Post reported that Pence was deployed to tell Zelensky military aid wasn’t being released because of “corruption” in Ukraine. To further diminish Pence’s plausible deniability, on Thursday CNN reported that Pence was told about Trump’s July 25th call with Zelensky the day after it happened. 2019 Mike Pence should have a chat with 2016 Mike Pence.

At the Justice Department, we have Attorney General William Barr protecting Trump from criminal liability and seeking foreign interference in the 2020 election. Barr, who has already tried to clear Trump of obstruction after the Mueller report, is now covering for him once again. The DOJ refused to pursue Intelligence Community Inspector General Michael Atkinson’s criminal referral about Trump’s July 25th call with Ukraine, which Barr was mentioned in. President Trump and Attorney General William Barr have also sought cooperation from Ukraine, Italy, the UK, and Australia (that we know of) in their effort to discredit former Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation.

At the State Department, we have Secretary of State Mike Pompeo moving to block his subordinates from cooperation with the House impeachment inquiry. On Wednesday, the State Department Inspector General briefed Congress on potential retaliation by leaders of the agency against career officials. This conduct is made increasingly problematic amid reports, and subsequent confirmation from Pompeo himself, that he was on the Ukraine call with President Trump.

They’ve clearly reoriented American foreign policy around furthering Trump’s personal political interests. While we’re on the State Department, we have to talk about former US Envoy Kurt Volker, and how his text messages have added quid pro quo evidence.

Politico called these text messages the “smoking texts.” Among these texts was an exchange where Bill Taylor, the top US diplomat to Ukraine, expressed a belief that Trump was withholding military aid specifically to pressure Ukraine to launch investigations into Trump’s political rivals. The texts also showcased that these US diplomats were pushing Ukraine to go on the record and announce their intention to launch the investigations Trump has requested. On Friday, we got further evidence of this quid pro quo:

At the Treasury Department, we have Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin who has been actively violating the law by withholding President Trump’s tax returns from House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Richard Neal (D-MA). And how can we forget the second whistleblower? We’ve known about the existence of this whistleblower for a couple of months thanks to a lawsuit Neal filed, but The Washington Post reported the first details:

An Internal Revenue Service ­official has filed a whistleblower complaint reporting that he was told that at least one Treasury Department political appointee attempted to improperly interfere with the annual audit of the president’s or vice president’s tax returns, according to multiple people familiar with the document.

As we’ve seen over the course of this week, Trump and his supporters have tried to defend all these developments through lies. Polling indicates it’s not working as the impeachment inquiry has garnered over 50% support. On Friday, President Trump continued his strategy of publicly admitting these crimes but claiming they aren’t crimes in the following tweet:

After this week, one thing is clear: if Trump was serious about ending corruption, he would start by resigning.

In other news…

Over the weekend…

We learned more details of Attorney General William Barr’s probe, the second whistleblower, and President Trump’s excuse to Republicans about the Ukraine call.

Rantt Media is independently-owned and completely ad-free. If you like the work we do, sign up for our daily newsletter and join our community newsroom where you can talk news with our team and other like-minded individuals:

We’re building a community and want you to be part of it.

Unpresidented // China / Donald Trump / Impeachment / Mike Pence / Mike Pompeo / Ukraine / William Barr