A Complete Analysis Of Trump’s 145th Unpresidented Week As POTUS

As the impeachment inquiry gains momentum, President Trump endeavors to deceive the American people and defame respected officials exposing his corruption.
President Donald J. Trump addresses his remarks to the nation Sunday morning, Oct. 27, 2019, in the Diplomatic Reception Room of the White House. (Official White House Photo by Shealah Craighead)

President Donald J. Trump addresses his remarks to the nation Sunday morning, Oct. 27, 2019, in the Diplomatic Reception 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 every day of his presidency. This is week 145.

This was a historic week. There is now a formally voted upon impeachment inquiry in the House of Representatives investigating whether President Trump is guilty of high crimes and misdemeanors. This makes Trump the fourth president in American history to face such a probe. With each passing day, the case for impeachment gains momentum and gathers damning evidence.

On Tuesday, Purple Heart veteran Lieutenant Colonel Alexander S. Vindman testified before House impeachment investigators. Vindman, a National Security Council official, confirmed that there was a quid pro quo, in other words, an extortion campaign to pressure Ukraine to investigate President Trump’s political targets. Vindman, like Ambassador Bill Taylor told House investigators the previous week, also testified that the quid pro quo was explicitly relayed to Ukrainian officials by then-Ambassador Gordon Sondland.

On Thursday, National Security Council official Tim Morrison confirmed Bill Taylor’s testimony as well, building upon the quid pro quo evidence. As we’ve reported on many occasions, a “quid pro quo,” is not required to generate an impeachable offense. The request for foreign interference in the 2020 election violates election law on its own.

But the fact that this daming testimony has built upon the White House transcript memo, and other first-hand accounts, paints a terrible picture for President Trump. Many legal experts have stated that what President Trump did fits the bribery statute in the impeachment clause.

Given the overwhelming nature of the evidence against President Trump, the defense he has mounted does not address the substance of his corrupt conduct. Instead, Trump and his Republican allies have decided to launch dishonest smear campaigns against witnesses, including Vindman. They’ve decided to lie about the content of the July 25th phone call between President Trump and President Zelensky. They’ve tried to smear the whistleblower, whose complaint has been fully corroborated.

It doesn’t matter to them that their arguments are completely dishonest or that they put the life of the whistleblower in danger. The Republican Party has thrown caution and decency to the wind as they’ve embraced their new primary function: to protect a lawless president.

Let’s dive into another Unpresidented week.

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House Democrats Strike

Day 1,012: Monday, October 28

Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA), House Intelligence Chairman Adam Schiff (D-CA), and House Judiciary Chairman Jerry Nadler (D-NY) - Associated Press

Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA), House Intelligence Chairman Adam Schiff (D-CA), and House Judiciary Chairman Jerry Nadler (D-NY) – Associated Press

On Monday, Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) announced that the House will hold a vote to formalize the procedures of their impeachment inquiry. The vote will be held on Thursday and comes amid the unprecedented stonewalling of the Trump Administration.

The vote serves multiple purposes. Aside from outlining the processes for the impeachment inquiry moving forward, it undermines President Trump and the GOP’s bad faith claims of “no due process” and “no transparency.” House Democrats announced this incoming vote fresh off a court win that found their impeachment inquiry was legally recognized even without a formal vote.

The Trump Administration has declared they will not cooperate with the impeachment inquiry until a formal vote is held. Their political calculation appeared to be that it would hurt House Democrats in red districts who vote for it, but they’ve misread the country. As more evidence of Trump’s corruption is made public, support for impeachment continues to remain above 50% and is currently rising.

The resolution has yet to be finalized but Speaker Pelosi detailed what the resolution will entail in a statement:

“This resolution establishes the procedure for hearings that are open to the American people, authorizes the disclosure of deposition transcripts, outlines procedures to transfer evidence to the Judiciary Committee as it considers potential articles of impeachment, and sets forth due process rights for the President and his Counsel.”

For weeks, President Trump and Republicans have called the House impeachment inquiry invalid because there hadn’t been a formal vote. They claimed House Democrats were afraid to vote on the impeachment inquiry. They’ve attacked the process and claimed House Democrats are being secretive even though the committees holding depositions of Trump officials are bipartisan. This culminated last week when House Republicans (including some who were actually on those committees) stormed a SCIF.

Those arguments were already built on a shaky foundation before this announced vote. House impeachment investigators were not handed a Special Counsel report on President Trump’s efforts to extort Ukraine into investigating his political targets, so they have to gather the evidence themselves. These closed-door depositions are standard practice. In spite of the fact the Trump Administration has tried to block multiple State Department witnesses, they’ve testified anyway, providing damning evidence of this corrupt effort.

Senate Republicans are now reportedly scrambling on how to respond and whether or not to support a planned resolution to condemn the House impeachment inquiry. The White House and House Republicans responded to the announced House vote predictably, grasping at new straws. They’re now trying to claim that the process was “illegitimate” before this vote, even though a court ruled it wasn’t.

The GOP has never had a credible defense of President Trump’s corrupt conduct, so they’ve tried to focus fire on the impeachment process. This vote appears to address all of their remaining, although unjustified, criticisms. But Republicans have never let reality get in their way before. Keep a watchful eye on how their messaging develops in the coming weeks as public hearings approach.

In other news…

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Resorting To Smears Of A Purple Heart Veteran

Day 1,013: Tuesday, October 29

Fox News Anchor Laura Ingraham - October 28, 2019

Fox News Anchor Laura Ingraham – October 28, 2019

President Trump and his surrogates continue to stoop to new lows. President Trump has a long history of attacking gold star families and war veterans, Senator John McCain included. He’s at it again. Their new target: Lieutenant Colonel Alexander S. Vindman.

Vindman is a Purple Heart recipient and Iraq War veteran and now serves on the National Security Council. Vindman is the first witness who House impeachment investigators have deposed that was on the July 25th call between President Trump and Ukrainian President Zelensky. Vindman reported his concerns about the call to the NSC’s lead counsel. Vindman testified that he “did not think it was proper to demand that a foreign government investigate a U.S. citizen, and I was worried about the implications for the U.S. government’s support of Ukraine.”

In Vindman’s opening statement on Tuesday, he outlined a new situation he also reported that involved former National Security Adviser John Bolton and Ambassador Sondland (whose testimony is being contradicted):

On July 10, 2019, Oleksandr Danylyuk, the Secretary of the National Security and Defense Council for Ukraine, visited Washington, D.C. for a meeting with National Security Advisor Bolton. Ambassadors Volker and Sondland also attended, along with Energy Secretary Rick Perry.

The meeting proceeded well until the Ukrainians broached the subject of a meeting between the two presidents. The Ukrainians saw this meeting as critically important in order to solidify the support of their most important international partner. Amb. Sondland started to speak about Ukraine delivering specific investigations in order to secure the meeting with the President, at which time Ambassador Bolton cut the meeting short.

On Monday night, Vindman’s damning opening statement circulated among the public. Trump’s defenders, incapable of defending Trump’s actions, attacked the messenger. Fox News Anchor Laura Ingraham slandered Vindman and questioned his patriotism:

Ingham said: “Now, wait a second, John. Here we have a U.S. national security official who is advising Ukraine, while working inside the White House, apparently against the president’s interest, and usually, they spoke in English. Isn’t that kind of an interesting angle on this story?”

Former Justice Department official John Yoo responded: “You know, some people might call that espionage.”

On Tuesday morning, former Republican congressman, and current CNN political commentator, Sean Duffy echoed Ingraham and Yoo’s smears:

Fox & Friends Host Brian Kilmeade struck the same note:

President Trump joined the pile-on by claiming, without evidence, that Vindman is anti-Trump.

Some Republicans like Senator Mitt Romney (R-UT) and Rep. Liz Cheney (R-WY) came to the defense of Vindman, but the damage was already done.

Former Bush Administration official, and current MSNBC Anchor, Nicole Wallace gave a powerful response to the baseless attacks on Vindman.

As we can see, there is no depth to which Trump’s staunchest defenders are willing to sink to defend President Trump’s lawless actions.

In other news…

The Anti-Semitism Of The Vindman Smears

Day 1,014: Wednesday, October 30

Army Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman, a military officer at the National Security Council, departs a closed door meeting after testifying as part of the House impeachment inquiry into President Donald Trump, Tuesday, Oct. 29, 2019, on Capitol Hill in Washington. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)

Army Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman, a military officer at the National Security Council, departs a closed door meeting after testifying as part of the House impeachment inquiry into President Donald Trump, Tuesday, Oct. 29, 2019, on Capitol Hill in Washington. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)

Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman is an American and a Ukrainian immigrant. But he’s also a Jew. This makes Trump allies’ accusations of dual loyalty even worse.

Read Rabbi Shaina Bacharach’s Article

In other news…

The Morrison Testimony

Day 1,015: Thursday, October 3

1

On Thursday, National Security Council Official Tim Morrison, and longtime Republican, corroborated Ambassador Bill Taylor’s testimony that President Trump was involved in a quid pro quo with Ukraine. This has been the key allegation at the core of the House impeachment inquiry, which just passed a historic impeachment procedure resolution.

Morrison told House impeachment investigators that the substance of Taylor’s testimony was correct, although he provided some slight corrections that did not alter the definitive extortion allegation:

In preparation for my appearance today, I reviewed the statement Ambassador Taylor provided this inquiry on October 22, 2019. I can confirm that the substance of his statement, as it relates to conversations he and I had, is accurate.

My recollections differ on two of the details, however. I have a slightly different recollection of my September 1, 2019 conversation with Ambassador [Gordon] Sondland. On page 10 of Ambassador Taylor’s statement, he recounts a conversation I relayed to him regarding Ambassador Sondland’s conversation with Ukrainian Presidential Advisor [Andriy] Yermak.

Ambassador Taylor wrote: “Ambassador Sondland told Mr. Yermak that security assistance money would not come until President [Volodymyr] Zelensky committed to pursue the Burisma investigation.” My recollection is that Ambassador Sondland’s proposal to Mr. Yermak was that it could be sufficient if the new Ukrainian prosecutor general — not President Zelensky — would commit to pursue the Burisma investigation.

I also would like to clarify that I did not meet with the Ukrainian National Security Advisor in his hotel room, as Ambassador Taylor indicated on page 11 of his statement. Instead, an NSC aide and I met with Mr. [Oleksandr] Danyliuk in the hotel’s business center.

This testimony comes after, this week, Lieutenant Colonel Alexander S. Vindman also confirmed the fact there was a quid pro quo. Morrison was listening to President Trump’s July 25th call with Ukrainian President Zelensky where Trump tried to extort Zelensky to investigate the Bidens and the 2016 election. This is the part of the testimony that Republicans are grasping at. Morrison said that he didn’t think “anything illegal was discussed” during that phone call. Conservative media and Republican lawmakers grasped tightly on that straw, ignoring the fact Morrison corroborated Taylor’s damning testimony about the quid pro quo/extortion.

As mentioned above, Morrison did not contest the substance of Taylor’s testimony, but nevertheless, the GOP gaslighting persists. Just because Morrison claims that he felt nothing illegal happened on the phone call doesn’t manipulate reality and make Trump’s months-long illegal effort to extort the Ukrainian government into investigating his political targets suddenly less illegal, corrupt, or impeachable.

In other news…

Fact-Checking Trump’s Impeachment Disinformation Machine

Day 1,016: Friday, November 1

President Donald J. Trump speaks with members of the press at Joint Base Andrews, Md., Monday, Oct. 28, 2019, prior to boarding Air Force One en route to Chicago. (Official White House Photo by Shealah Craighead)

President Donald J. Trump speaks with members of the press at Joint Base Andrews, Md., Monday, Oct. 28, 2019, prior to boarding Air Force One en route to Chicago. (Official White House Photo by Shealah Craighead)

There is no credible defense of President Trump’s corrupt effort to extort Ukraine into investigating his political targets. Everyone knows this, including the President and his allies. As the impeachment inquiry ramps up, and public opinion turns against them, Trump and the Republican Party have leaned on their favorite tactic: disinformation.

There are of course the paper-thin lies like the claim that impeachment is “unconstitutional,” even though it’s the definition of constitutional. But the true core of President Trump’s impeachment counter-messaging comes down to these 5 cylinders of gaslighting: claiming there was nothing wrong with the July 25th Ukraine call, claiming there is no quid pro quo, attacking the House impeachment process, smearing witnesses or distorting their testimony, and claiming Democrats are only focused on impeachment.

Let’s debunk these, shall we?

Read My Full Article

In other news…

Unpresidented // Donald Trump / Impeachment / Ukraine