A Complete Analysis Of Trump’s 143rd 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 every day of his presidency. This is week 143.
In the above photo, Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi is the personification of how the majority of Americans feel about President Trump right now.
As of this week, Donald Trump has been President for over 1,000 days. In those 1,000 days, President Trump has lied and made misleading claims over 13,000 times, according to The Washington Post. Trump has repeatedly violated the Constitution, undermined democratic norms, reduced America’s global standing, abused human rights, profited from the presidency, and corruptly sought to place himself above the law.
In that photo, Pelosi was angry about the latest result of Trump’s disastrous presidency – the betrayal of our allies in Syria. In a press conference, Pelosi said Trump told her that he was withdrawing troops from Syria because he promised in his campaign to bring them home. Pelosi says she asked: “Is Saudi Arabia home? Why are our troops going to Saudi Arabia?” She said Trump replied: “Well the Saudi Arabians are paying for it.”
That exchange, in which President Trump discussed the US military as if they’re a band of paid mercenaries, crystalizes the amoral, transactional nature of the Trump presidency. Leaving our Kurdish allies to die in Syria after they helped us diminish ISIS was bad enough, but later this week, the Trump administration reached a “ceasefire” deal with Turkey that essentially endorsed their ethnic cleansing of the Kurds.
In corruption news, President Trump’s Acting Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney confessed to the quid pro quo between Ukraine and the Trump Administration for investigations that would benefit Trump’s 2020 campaign. Mulvaney then walked it back but the damage was done. Mulvaney also announced that Trump would be hosting the G7 at the Doral Trump resort, which would’ve been a blatant violation of the emoluments clause. The move was so brazen, Trump walked it back by Saturday.
An under-discussed story this week was the ProPublica report that revealed a new example of Trump tax fraud. The organization reported that Donald Trump’s business downplayed profits to tax officials and exaggerated profits to lenders. This behavior was similar to what Trump’s former fixer Michael Cohen testified to earlier this year.
As all of this news flowed, support for impeachment remained over 50% and growing, as support for “impeach and removal” also rose. President Trump is in a dire moment of political weakness when it matters most.
We’ll dissect all of this and more below, as we analyze yet another Unprsidented week.
The Result Of Trump’s Reckless Incuriosity
Day 998: Monday, October 14
Genocide is an awful word. When assigned preemptively it’s either an unforgivably offensive, false accusation or a dire warning that an unforgivable mass murder is imminent.
It’s too soon to say whether or not Donald Trump will become an unindicted co-conspirator for the second time, this time for the crime of genocide. It’s not too soon to say that innocent people have died in the last few days because of Trump’s uninformed, unintelligible decision to recall less than a hundred troops from the Turkish border in Northern Syria. It’s not too soon to postulate that Trump was either steamrolled by Turkish President Recep Erdoğan or promised something in return for the troop withdrawal, or both.
Now that the Turks invaded Northern Syria, casualties and crimes against humanity have been reported and the consequences of Trump’s inhumane incuriosity are unfolding in real-time it may be impossible to put the war genie back in self-centered the bottle. The only hope for the Kurds, at this juncture, may be a devil’s bargain signed with Syrian president Bashar al-Assad.
In other news…
- The Guardian: US nuclear bombs at Turkish airbase complicate rift over Syria invasion
- NBC News: Top special ops Marine who fought with Kurds blasts Trump move in Syria as betrayal
- CNN: Retired Marine Gen. John Allen: ‘There is blood on Trump’s hands for abandoning our Kurdish allies’
- Axios: Behind the scenes of the Trump bluff that kicked off Turkey’s invasion
- The New York Times: Macabre Video of Fake Trump Shooting Media and Critics Is Shown at His Resort
- Reuters: Saudi visit showcases Putin’s growing Middle East influence
- CNN: Hong Kong protests: Xi says attempts to split China will ‘end in crushed bodies and shattered bones’
- Politico: Ronan Farrow: National Enquirer shredded secret Trump documents
- GQ: How the Trump Kids Have Profited Off Their Dad’s Presidency
- CNN: Elizabeth Warren escalates Facebook ad feud
- BuzzFeed News: The possibility of Murdoch changing direction remains a liberal fantasy, but he is navigating deep political divides inside his own empire.
- CNBC: Mike Bloomberg signals he would run if Biden struggles against Warren
- Dallas Morning News: Fort Worth officer jailed on murder charge after fatally shooting Atatiana Jefferson
- CNBC: Trump could ‘walk across my pond’ and I won’t vote for him again: Ohio farmer
Day 999: Tuesday, October 15
Top stories from Tuesday:
- The New York Times: Bolton Objected to Ukraine Pressure Campaign, Calling Giuliani ‘a Hand Grenade’
- ABC News: 5 key takeaways from the 4th Democratic debate
- he Hill: Ex-Trump aide on Russia testifies for 10 hours as part of impeachment inquiry
- CNN: US troops express anger at Trump’s Syria policy: ‘We betrayed’ the Kurds
- Reuters: Trump lawyer Giuliani was paid $500,000 to consult on indicted associate’s firm
- The Daily Beast: U.S. Surveillance Turns Away From ISIS—and to Its Own Troops
- Associated Press: Turkish, Kurdish forces battle for key Syrian border town
- ABC News: Democrats seek to question Trump budget chief in Ukraine impeachment probe
- Sky News: #DeleteFacebook: Zuckerberg slammed over secret meetings with conservative politicians
New Trump Tax Fraud
Day 1,000: Wednesday, October 16
There’s a reason President Trump’s finances have always been his “red line.” Trump’s history of fraud has been public and brazen. On Wednesday, ProPublica published a report adding yet another piece of evidence to the mountain of bank and tax fraud evidence known to the public. The report highlights documents they received which reveal Donald Trump’s businesses downplayed profits to New York tax officials and exaggerated them to lenders:
Documents obtained by ProPublica show stark differences in how Donald Trump’s businesses reported some expenses, profits and occupancy figures for two Manhattan buildings, giving a lender different figures than they provided to New York City tax authorities. The discrepancies made the buildings appear more profitable to the lender — and less profitable to the officials who set the buildings’ property tax.
For instance, Trump told the lender that he took in twice as much rent from one building as he reported to tax authorities during the same year, 2017. He also gave conflicting occupancy figures for one of his signature skyscrapers, located at 40 Wall Street.
A dozen real estate professionals told ProPublica they saw no clear explanation for multiple inconsistencies in the documents. The discrepancies are “versions of fraud,” said Nancy Wallace, a professor of finance and real estate at the Haas School of Business at the University of California-Berkeley. “This kind of stuff is not OK.”
These documents appear to confirm behavior similar to what President Trump’s former fixer Michael Cohen (and campaign finance violation co-conspirator) testified to in February. A line of questioning from Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) garnered the revelation. Cohen testified that Trump inflated his assets to insurance companies and may have committed tax evasion. Cohen also told the Committee that Donald Trump inflated the worth of his assets in an effort to obtain a loan from Deutsche Bank to buy the Buffalo Bills.
Trump has a documented history of fraudulent behavior. The New York Times reported that Donald Trump received, at least, the equivalent of $413 million from his father’s real estate empire and used shady methods, sometimes constituting fraud, to funnel the money to himself. There are also allegations of money laundering for Russian oligarchs through the sale of overvalued properties. And one cannot forget that Donald Trump paid a $25 million settlement for defrauding customers with Trump University – a payment made after winning the presidency.
All of this evidence bolsters the case House Democrats have for seeking to obtain President Trump’s tax records. Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus R. Vance Jr. recently won a court case in his pursuit of documents related to Trump’s hush-money payments of Karen McDougal. Also, the DC Court of Appeals ruled that the House Committee on Oversight and Reform can get financial records from Trump’s accounting firm. Of course, Trump will appeal all of these up to the Supreme Court.
New York Attorney General Letitia James subpoenaed records from Deutsche Bank earlier this year, to which they are reportedly complying. Other banks have handed over documents subpoenaed by the House Finance Committee and House Intelligence Committees. While we’re on the subject of Trump’s finances, we have to talk about the IRS.
Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin has been actively violating the law by withholding President Trump’s tax returns from House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Richard Neal (D-MA). There has been new reporting that makes this behavior more stunning – the IRS whistleblower. We’ve known about the existence of this whistleblower for a couple of months thanks to a lawsuit Chairman 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.
It can be quite hard to compartmentalize all of the corrupt behavior on the part of President Trump. Keep an eye on this beat.
In other news…
- CNN: Trump claims Turkish incursion into Syria ‘has nothing to do with us’ and Kurds are ‘not angels’
- Bloomberg: Trump Defends His Syria Pullout While House Delivers Rebuke
- The Washington Post: Giuliani pressed Trump to eject Muslim cleric from U.S., a top priority of Turkish president, former officials say
- CNN: Federal investigation of Rudy Giuliani includes counterintelligence probe
- NBC News: Pence refuses House request to provide documents related to Ukraine call
- Reuters: Erdogan says Turkey will never declare ceasefire in northern Syria
- Reuters: U.S. carried out secret cyber strike on Iran in wake of Saudi oil attack: officials
- Axios: Turkey’s Erdogan walks back refusal to meet with Pence and Pompeo
- NBC News: Defense Secretary Mark Esper will no longer comply with impeachment inquiry
- USA TODAY: Nancy Pelosi: No need for House to hold formal vote on impeachment inquiry already under way
- CNN: A Northeast storm will intensify into a bomb cyclone, forecasters say
- NBC News: Cuomo signs law aimed at weakening Trump’s pardon power, closes ‘double jeopardy’ loophole
- Axios: House unanimously passes bill expressing support for Hong Kong protestors
- Sky News: PM will write letter to EU asking for Brexit delay if no deal by Saturday
- The Hill: House Republicans expected to force vote on revised Schiff censure
Day 1,001: Thursday, October 17
In a single press conference, Acting White House Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney admitted to multiple crimes and impeachable offenses on the part of President Trump. The most consequential admission was that there was a quid pro quo between the Trump Administration and the Ukrainian government. Mulvaney also announced that Trump’s Doral resort will be the hosting site for the G7 in June, 2020. Mulvaney said it was Trump who broached the idea.
So, we have an admission of the quid pro quo at the heart of House Democrat’s impeachment probe, and an admission that President Trump directed a violation of the emoluments clause in another brazen effort to profit from the presidency. Let’s dive into the quid pro quo admission first.
As we know, 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. The effort spans multiple months and includes numerous Trump officials. It culminated in the now-infamous July 25th phone call, one day after the Mueller hearings, where President Trump asked Ukrainian President Zelensky to investigate his political rival Joe Biden and his son while military aid was being withheld. Trump also sought an investigation regarding Democrats and the 2016 election.
The White House released a memo of President Trump’s call with President Zelensky that confirmed the request for the investigations came in the context of military aid. Texts from former Ambassador to the EU Gordon Sondland revealed further evidence of the quid pro quo. In spite of this, the Trump Administration has denied that military aid was withheld in connection with their demand for investigations that help Trump’s 2020 election bid… until now.
Mulvaney, whose involvement in the effort to pressure Ukraine has been further exposed in recent days, held a press conference on Thursday. Mulvaney admitted that the Trump Administration withheld military aid from Ukraine while they were seeking an investigation into the 2016 election (a conspiracy theory about how Ukraine interfered in the election and framed Russia on behalf of Democrats):
“To be clear, what you described is a quid pro quo” — Here’s Mick Mulvaney casually admitting that Trump held up aid to Ukraine as leverage to get the Ukrainian government to investigate the 2016 election pic.twitter.com/ylz7BKEmKd
— Aaron Rupar (@atrupar) October 17, 2019
When challenged, Mulvaney proceeded to lie and claim that this is something the US has always done and went on to say: “Get over it. There is going to be political influence in foreign policy.”
After @jonkarl points out the White House’s explanation for its dealings with Ukraine was quid-pro-quo, the chief of staff replies: “We do that all that time with foreign policy.”
To those concerned about political influence in foreign policy, he says, “Get over it.” pic.twitter.com/AYoTajGLTL
— Josh Campbell (@joshscampbell) October 17, 2019
Mick Mulvaney then went on to admit that the Trump Administration was seeking a deliverable from Ukraine (releasing a statement announcing the probes Trump requested) amid withheld military aid. Mulvaney was clearly confirming much of Sondland’s Thursday testimony in real-time.
In a nutshell, President Trump’s Ukraine defense messaging essentially went from “no quid pro quo” to “hell yeah, quid pro quo, get over it” in the blink of an eye. It’s also important to note that Trump asked China to investigate Biden as well. The White House appears to be admitting these crimes in an effort to normalize them. Not only is it a crime to solicit foreign election help, but the quid pro quo and withheld military aid also brings in potential extortion offenses.
House Democrats leading the impeachment inquiry have already jumped at Mulvaney’s admission.
Mulvaney just said that U.S. military aid for Ukraine was held up pending Ukraine’s investigation of Democrats.
Things just went from very, very bad to much, much worse. https://t.co/HSVtX9yOBg
— Adam Schiff (@RepAdamSchiff) October 17, 2019
Mulvaney later released a statement that tried to walk this admission back and say his words were misconstrued.
When it comes to the unconstitutional Trump Doral G7 debacle, it’s fairly simple how this is impeachable. The Foreign Emoluments Clause of the Constitution (Article I, Section 9) reads:
No Title of Nobility shall be granted by the United States: And no Person holding any Office of Profit or Trust under them, shall, without the Consent of the Congress, accept of any present, Emolument, Office, or Title, of any kind whatever, from any King, Prince, or foreign State.
There’s a Domestic Emoluments Clause as well. It’s unconstitutional for the President to profit from his office, but Trump has been doing it throughout his presidency. It appears that Trump is doing this G7 move to help save his failing Doral resort.
— Jonathan O’Connell (@OConnellPostbiz) October 17, 2019
Mulvaney admitted that this was Trump’s idea.
Mulvaney is now saying: “If we wanted to cover this up” would we have just admitted everything, released the transcript etc? I guess this is the crux of the impeachment investigation.
— Abby D. Phillip (@abbydphillip) October 17, 2019
In an impeachment inquiry, House investigators usually have to dig deep to gather evidence necessary to file articles of impeachment. The White House has just done much of the leg work for them.
In other news…
- AP: Powerful Democratic Congressman Elijah Cummings has died
- The Daily Beast: Pence Just Ratified All of Turkey’s War Aims in Syria
- The New York Times: Inside the Derailed White House Meeting
- Newsweek: U.S. Says It Made ‘Ceasefire’ Deal in Syria But Turkey and Kurdish Forces Reject Claim
- The Daily Beast: Russia Gloats Over Trump’s Syria Debacle and Putin’s ‘Victory’
- Jerusalem Post: Turkish attack on Kurds inspires joint Jewish-Arab protest – Middle East
- The Independent: Elijah Cummings ‘signed subpoenas from his hospital bed’ for Trump impeachment before his death
- NBC News: Giuliani’s work for Iranian group with bloody past could lead to more legal woes
- NBC News: Sondland asked Ukrainian officials during private White House talk about gas firm linked to Hunter Biden
- TheHill: Judge rules DOJ improperly redacted court filing related to Mueller probe
- HuffPost: ‘National Boss’ Pelosi Lights Up Twitter After Viral Photo Of Her Standing Up To Trump
- Reuters: Russia’s Putin revokes Geneva convention protocol on war crimes victims
- BBC News: Brexit: EU and UK reach deal but DUP refuse support
Day 1,002: Friday, October 18
President Trump has singlehandedly undone years of progress in Syria, enabled atrocities against our allies, and eroded America’s credibility in a matter of days. The situation in Syria was relatively stable until the self-proclaimed stable genius decided to launch a betrayal of historic proportions and throw the region into chaos.
On October 6, Trump announced the spontaneous withdrawal of 50-100 troops from Northern Syria and the abandonment of Kurdish forces who helped us diminish ISIS. The announcement came after a phone call with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, who wasted no time commencing his slaughter of the Kurds.
Since last week, the Kurds have reported at least 218 civilians killed, including 18 children, and 650 injured. More than 160,000 people have been displaced. Over 700 ISIS supporters have fled prisons the Kurds were guarding. There have been reports of white phosphorous used against Kurdish civilians, which would constitute a war crime on the part of Turkey. After all of that, the Trump Administration then cut a deal with Turkey that puts a rubber stamp on all of their goals.
On Thursday, Vice President Mike Pence announced that the United States and Turkey agreed to a ceasefire in Syria and promised that Turkey would pause their onslaught for 120 hours. The ceasefire was said to be contingent on the Kurds leaving 20 miles of territory in Northern Syria. This was after the U.S. had already begun the process of withdrawing the remaining 1,000 troops from Northern Syria, destroying our own bases in some cases as we left them in the hands of Russian troops.
Turkey’s objective is to push the Kurds out of Northern Syria. What Pence announced was actually that the US is now backing Turkey’s objective and that the Kurds must leave their homeland or be slaughtered. Meanwhile, Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad and Russia are able to move into newly ceded land. The move was surrender. And before the day was complete, the idea that it was a “ceasefire” at all quickly unraveled when reports of gunfire and shelling began to pour in.
This withdrawal has been blasted by both Democrats and Republicans alike, including by Senator Mitt Romney (R-UT) in a Senate floor speech and in an op-ed from Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) in The Washington Post.
After the announcement, President Trump claimed this surrender was a victory.
This is a great day for civilization. I am proud of the United States for sticking by me in following a necessary, but somewhat unconventional, path. People have been trying to make this “Deal” for many years. Millions of lives will be saved. Congratulations to ALL!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) October 17, 2019
Trump then wasted no time adding insult to casualties for the Kurds that he just sentenced to US-approved ethnic cleansing.
Referring to Kurds living along Turkish border in Syria, Trump says of Turkey, “they had to have it cleaned out.” pic.twitter.com/W8J7IFctO3
— Aaron Rupar (@atrupar) October 17, 2019
At his rally in Dallas, Texas on Thursday evening, President Trump referred to his green-lighting of Turkey’s slaughter of our allies, including civilians and actual children, as “two kids” fighting.
The President of the United States, on Turkey’s ethnic cleansing campaign against the Kurds: “Sometimes you have to let ’em fight, like two kids in a lot.” pic.twitter.com/pm6fqyYmgw
— Timothy Burke (@bubbaprog) October 18, 2019
President Trump has said that this is about bringing the troops home but don’t buy that for a second. The Trump Administration is sending thousands of troops to Saudi Arabia.
The stakes are incredibly high but Trump appears incapable of grasping the gravity of the decision he made. One thing is for sure: we’ll be discussing the ramifications of this decision for years to come.
In other news…
- Bloomberg: To Win Giuliani’s Help, Oligarch’s Allies Pursued Biden Dirt
- CNN: Exclusive: Giuliani pushed Trump administration to grant a visa to a Ukrainian official promising dirt on Democrats
- CNN: Rick Perry informs Trump of his plans to resign later this year as scrutiny over Ukraine heats up
- CNN: Energy Department won’t comply with impeachment subpoena
- Politico: Democrats are zeroing in on Rudy Giuliani to impeach Trump
- NBC News: Hillary Clinton suggests Russia is grooming Tulsi Gabbard for third-party run
- TheHill: Cummings to lie in state at the Capitol
- HuffPost: Florida Can’t Block Former Felons From Voting If They Owe Money And Can’t Pay: Judge
- Rantt Media: The Germany Synagogue Terrorist’s Manifesto Highlights Threat Of Neo-Nazism
- Rantt Media: What Drives Up The Cost Of Health Care?
- Business Insider: The EU is preparing to delay Brexit if the UK Parliament rejects Boris Johnson’s deal
- Business Insider: Former top Navy SEAL who oversaw the Osama bin Laden raid says the US is ‘under attack from the president’
- Bloomberg: Oleg Deripaska-Linked Firm Was Raided for Undisclosed U.S. Inquiry
- CNN: India is trying to build the world’s biggest facial recognition system
- CNN: The first all-female spacewalk happens today
Over the weekend…
President Trump reversed his brazenly corrupt effort to hose the G7 at Trump’s Doral resort.
After talking about it for months, Trump scraps DORAL for G7 site after two days of heavy criticism. Says Camp David, which was last US site and used by President Obama, is now under consideration. https://t.co/Yiww8pKXVB
— Katie Rogers (@katierogers) October 20, 2019
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