A Complete Analysis Of Trump’s 160th Unpresidented Week As POTUS

Attorney General William Barr has proven again and again that his allegiance is pledged to Trump, not the rule of law. This is corrosive to our democracy.
President Donald Trump and Attorney General William Barr – May 15, 2019 (Office of Public Affairs from Washington DC)

President Donald Trump and Attorney General William Barr – May 15, 2019 (Office of Public Affairs from Washington DC)

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 week of his presidency. This is week 160.

Over the past year, Attorney General William Barr has established himself as President Trump’s authoritarian fixer. But this week, Barr took it to another level.

Barr has previously lied about the substance of Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s report, attempted to exonerate Trump of obstruction of justice, refused to pursue an ICIG criminal referral for the July 25 Trump-Zelensky phone call, and launched probes into Trump’s political targets. Now, Barr has sought to protect President Trump’s allies from accountability.

On Monday, US prosecutors in DC recommended 7 to 9 years of sentencing for Roger Stone. Stone had been convicted of crimes that include one count of obstruction of justice, five counts of making false statements to investigators, and one count of witness tampering. The 7 to 9 years abides by the DOJ’s own sentencing guidelines. But this didn’t stop William Barr.

On Tuesday, President Trump sent a tweet complaining about Roger Stone’s sentencing. Almost immediately after, the DOJ notified Judge Amy Berman Jackson that they would reduce Stone’s sentencing recommendations and their own recommendation they made the day before was “extreme.” 4 federal prosecutors quit the Stone case, with one resigning from the DOJ entirely. This was seen as an act of protest against Barr whose actions undermined the DOJ’s independence.

On Wednesday morning, President Trump thanked Barr on Twitter for interfering in the case, which was essentially him admitting that Barr was operating as his personal fixer, intervening in the case of his longtime adviser Roger Stone.

On Thursday, amid the backlash and inner DOJ turmoil, Barr sat down for an interview with ABC News, in which he said that President Trump’s tweets make it impossible for him to do his job. The public largely didn’t buy this PR stunt and saw it as a smoke and mirrors effort to garner headlines indicating there is a rift between Trump and Barr, take off the heat, reduce DOJ turmoil, and create a narrative that Barr has some semblance of independence. This speculation was bolstered by The New York Times, who reported Barr ran some of what he was going to say by the White House before the interview.

On Friday, the DOJ went even further to try and tamp down criticism by declining to prosecute former Acting FBI Director Andrew McCabe. The case had been dormant for quite some time, so the timing was suspect. This didn’t fool many people, as other reports shrouded this story. A report on Barr’s review of the Mueller probe highlighted how they are seeking to undermine the conclusive finding that Russia interfered in the 2016 election. And in yet another attempt to help protect a Trump ally, The New York Times reported that Barr hired an outside prosecutor to review the Flynn case. This comes after the DOJ already reduced Flynn’s sentencing recommendation

This all fits within President Trump and Attorney General William Barr’s effort to undermine the Russia probe, shield the president of accountability, and now protect his allies as well. In response to this erosion of DOJ independence, over 1,100 former federal prosecutors have called on Barr to resign.

It’s only been a little over one week since Senate Republicans acquitted President Trump and he’s already retaliated against impeachment witnesses, continued dirt digging in Ukraine, had DOJ meddle in probes of his friends, and threatened New York by targeting them with a global entry ban and asking for them to stop investigating him.

We now have Republican Senators essentially calling for President Trump’s political targets to be jailed and complaining about the DOJ decision not to charge McCabe. This is an authoritarian erosion of the rule of law and corruption at its absolute worst.

Let’s dive into a particularly consequential Unpresidented week.

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The Ukraine Plot Continues

Day 1,117: Monday, February 10

President Donald Trump (Source: AP), Attorney General William Barr (Source: DOJ), Senator Lindsey Graham, Senator Chuck Grassley, and Senator Ron Johnson (Source: Gage Skidmore)

President Donald Trump (Source: AP), Attorney General William Barr (Source: DOJ), Senator Lindsey Graham, Senator Chuck Grassley, and Senator Ron Johnson (Source: Gage Skidmore)

Monday’s top stories:

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Trump’s Authoritarian Fixer Strikes Again

Day 1,118: Tuesday, February 11

President Donald Trump and Attorney General William Barr – February 14, 2019 (Department of Justice)

President Donald Trump and Attorney General William Barr – February 14, 2019 (Department of Justice)

Tuesday’s top stories:

Pressure Mounts On Barr

Day 1,119: Wednesday, February 12

Attorney General William P. Barr addresses the 276th graduating class of the National Academy on June 7, 2019 (FBI)

Attorney General William P. Barr addresses the 276th graduating class of the National Academy on June 7, 2019 (FBI)

Wednesday’s top stories:

Barr Runs A PR Ploy With Fake Rift

Day 1,120: Thursday, February 13

Attorney General William Barr and President Donald Trump (DOJ/AP)

Attorney General William Barr and President Donald Trump (DOJ/AP)

Thursday’s top stories:

Meddling In The Flynn Case, McCabe Cleared

Day 1,121: Friday, February 14

In this Feb. 1, 2017 file photo, National Security Adviser Michael Flynn speaks during the daily news briefing at the White House, in Washington. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)

In this Feb. 1, 2017 file photo, National Security Adviser Michael Flynn speaks during the daily news briefing at the White House, in Washington. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)

Friday’s top stories:

Unpresidented // DOJ / Donald Trump / William Barr