A Complete Analysis Of Trump’s 97th Unpresidented Week As POTUS
As Special Counsel Robert Mueller moves closer to the truth of Russia’s attack on US democracy, President Trump drifts deeper into a state of paranoia.
Trump’s first major typo after winning the election was spelling Unprecedented incorrectly. He infamously tweeted “Unpresidented.” This typo is a personification 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 97.
First, they said the Trump campaign had no contacts with the Russian government. Then, they said there was no collusion. Then, they said collusion isn’t a crime.
Now, as the walls are closing in, President Trump and his loyal sycophants have resorted to falsely painting Special Counsel Robert Mueller as a “rogue prosecutor” so their base won’t believe any of the damning developments.
This was the most significant week in Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation thus far. “Individual 1,” the President of the United States, has now officially been named as a subject of Mueller’s probe. This strikes down conservatives’ primary talking point, claiming the guilty pleas have not pertained to collusion. This week’s developments had everything to do with collusion, or in more legal terms, Conspiracy Against The United States. We are now beginning to see an even clearer story of the 2016 Russian government-assisted version of Watergate.
All five of Trump associates who have been charged with crimes have now pleaded guilty and cooperated with Special Counsel Robert Mueller. Trump’s former fixer Michael Cohen, who had already pleaded guilty to the Southern District of New York and led to Trump becoming an unindicted conspirator in two campaign finance felonies, is lucky number five.
Michael Cohen’s admission that he lied about the Trump Tower Moscow deal will have some serious repercussions. Not only does Cohen admit that he and Felix Sater were working the deal well into June 2016, Cohen also admits that he kept Trump and members of his family in the loop while he speaking with Russian President Vladimir Putin’s press secretary. Sater later told Buzzfeed that the Trump Organization offered Putin a $50 million penthouse in the future Tower.
If there is one thing that Donald Trump will always capitulate to and allow to be leveraged against him, it’s personal financial gain. Leverage is the key word here. This Moscow Project was being worked at the same time the Russian government was waging cyber espionage and propaganda campaigns against US democracy. Putin was offering Donald Trump a lucrative financial opportunity while he was trying to help get him elected. The deal was still in the works the month of the June 2016 Trump Tower meeting where Russian informant and lawyer Natalia Veselnitskaya was offering “dirt” on Hillary Clinton to Donald Trump Jr. and the Trump campaign. Also, while Russia friendly policies were added to the Republican platform.
Clearly, their offers for help were reciprocated. As the stolen Clinton emails were being released through Wikileaks, President Trump was one of their main disseminators. The Trump campaign remained on message with the Russian government until the day of his election victory, after which the Kremlin literally popped champagne. After Trump’s attempts to assuage sanctions on Russia and his performance in Helsinki, that celebration wasn’t in vain. There is no question as to whether Trump boosted Russia’s efforts to help his campaign, the only question that remains is “was there an official agreement between the Trump campaign and the Russian government? And was Trump aware of it?”
Another set of developments this week that further built the case for obstruction of justice was the breached plea agreement of former Trump Campaign Chairman Paul Manafort. Manafort was caught lying to Mueller’s team and feeding information to Trump’s lawyers. If Trump coordinated his written answers with Manafort’s lies, and also advised him to lie while dangling a pardon, that’s blatant witness tampering. This coming week, we may not only see Michael Flynn’s sentencing, but a court filing outlining why Manafort lied. This could be the closest thing we’ve seen yet to a de facto public report outlining a potential conspiracy between the Trump campaign and Russia.
And while this is occurring, Mueller’s sights are set on Roger Stone as he uses his 2016 communications with Jerome Corsi about incoming Wikileaks against him.It’s also important to note that President Trump is plagued by numerous other federal investigations. American Media, Inc. CEO, and longtime Trump ally David Pecker, as well as Trump Organization CFO Allen Weisselberg, have already been granted immunity by federal prosecutors in New York as they continue their probe into the Trump Organization.
For a more in-depth breakdown of everything mentioned above, dive into this consequential week.
You’ll need this knowledge in the coming weeks.
Unlike Trump, Mueller doesn’t take Christmas off.
Day 676: Monday, November 26
On Monday, much of the news coverage was captured by the inhumanity the Trump administration unleashed on migrants as they approached the southern border on Sunday. US border patrol agents fired tear gas at them.
Trump’s America: “Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free” and we will fill their lungs with tear gas.
This is an abomination. https://t.co/eTTRtnALdx
— Rantt Media (@RanttMedia) November 25, 2018
That child has a diaper on…
This is sickening me to my core.
Evangelicals pretending to be followers of Jesus Christ—Do you support this?
The self-proclaimed @GOP of “family values”—Do you support this?
Have you no sense of decency?
Look yourselves in the mirror team MAGA. https://t.co/RwDUSHCwuv
— Ahmed Baba (@AhmedBaba_) November 25, 2018
Elementos de la patrulla fronteriza, disparan balas de goma a los migrantes que intentaron cruzar el muro, en Tijuana.
— Oscar Augusto (@_OscarAugusto) November 25, 2018
I spoke with the mother in the iconic photo of Sunday’s teargassing at the border.
“I thought my kids were going to die with me because of the gas we inhaled.” https://t.co/tFT6oSb4rP
— Adolfo Flores (@aflores) November 26, 2018
President Trump doubled down in response.
Mexico should move the flag waving Migrants, many of whom are stone cold criminals, back to their countries. Do it by plane, do it by bus, do it anyway you want, but they are NOT coming into the U.S.A. We will close the Border permanently if need be. Congress, fund the WALL!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) November 26, 2018
SIGN THIS PETITION AND DEMAND DHS SECRETARY KIRSTJEN NIELSEN RESIGN AFTER THEY TEAR GASSED MIGRANT CHILDREN
In other news…
- The Washington Post: Mueller says Manafort lied after pleading guilty, should be sentenced immediately (an explainer on this subject is on Wednesday’s breakdown – keep scrolling)
- CNN: Climate change will shrink US economy and kill thousands, government report warns
- Per usual, the Trump administration lied about their family separation policy.
No senior official would speak to 60 Minutes for this story, but the president ended his separation policy after 11 weeks. The White House says more than 2600 children were separated, but reports show that number is closer to 5000. https://t.co/PyiVQbZvfc
— 60 Minutes (@60Minutes) November 26, 2018
- Meanwhile, in Ukraine, another test for the Trump administration looms. NBC News: Russia attacks and seizes three Ukrainian naval vessels off the coast of Crimea in Black Sea
- The Daily Beast: Trump Ramped Up Drone Strikes in America’s Shadow Wars
- CNN: Judge orders Papadopoulos to report to prison on Monday
- USA TODAY: Bill Shine got $15 million payout from Fox News before taking White House job, report says
- CNN: US agency opens case file on potential Whitaker Hatch Act violations
- Politico: Shutdown fight over border wall nears
- Reuters: Top U.S. House tax writer floats tax bill on retirement plans, IRS
Day 677: Tuesday, November 27
The Outcome Of The Southern Strategy
The road to the Mississippi runoff has been riddled with racism. Over the weekend the SF Giants owner and Major League Baseball’s donations to Mississippi Senator Cindy Hyde-Smith were revealed, in which they both rescinded their donations. Rantt Contributor Nancy Levine wrote an excellent article on the topic ahead of Hyde-Smith’s runoff election against Democrat Mike Espy on Tuesday:
She went to a segregation academy
She posed in a photo wearing a confederate hat
She “joked” about a public hanging in a state with a history of racist lynchings@cindyhydesmith stands on the wrong side of history
— Rantt Media (@RanttMedia) November 24, 2018
Rantt Editor Matthew Reyna was on the ground in Mississippi and was unable to get a comment from Cindy Hyde-Smith.
This doesn’t quite capture it, but @cindyhydesmith and her team literally ran (hustled might be a better word) from journalists to avoid taking questions at the end of her Meridian rally. #mssen pic.twitter.com/4xIgNP2MTQ
— Matthew Reyna (@MatthewReynaTX) November 25, 2018
On Monday, Nancy Levine of Rantt Media was first to report Blue Cross Blue Shield’s request for a refund of their donation to Cindy Hyde-Smith. They were among several others.
— Rantt Media (@RanttMedia) November 27, 2018
“Rantt Media first reported that BCBSA asked Hyde-Smith’s campaign to return the donation.”
— Ahmed Baba (@AhmedBaba_) November 27, 2018
President Trump held two rallies with Hyde-Smith on Monday night ahead of the election.
Meanwhile, Rantt’s Matthew Reyna interviewed Congresswoman-elect Ayanna Pressley about her effort to boost Mike Espy in Mississippi.
Don’t worry about the polls! You have a right to make your voice heard. There are still a few hours left to vote in #Mississippi. Make sure to vote, and make sure that your friends and family voted as well. And please support @espyforsenate! https://t.co/pdEASrvZTy
— Ayanna Pressley (@AyannaPressley) November 27, 2018
In the end, the result was as expected. Cindy Hyde-Smith won. The Senate makeup in 2019 will now be 53-47, with Republicans in control. Her win fit in line with the GOP’s last few decades of mounting white nationalism as a result of their southern strategy. It makes you wonder: did she win in spite of her racism, or because of it?
Trump isn’t an accident.
He’s the natural outcome of the @GOP‘s Southern Strategy.
Since it began, Republicans have gaslit their base into believing minorities are to blame for their economic woes, all while filling their donors’ pockets.
It’s the biggest con job in US history pic.twitter.com/VMaM1XL0v0
— Rantt Media (@RanttMedia) October 31, 2018
In other news…
- The Washington Post: Trump slams Fed chair, questions climate change and threatens to cancel Putin meeting in wide-ranging interview with The Post
- The Washington Post: Trump calls Mueller a ‘conflicted prosecutor gone rogue’
- Bloomberg: Trump’s Threat to Kill GM’s Subsidies Prompts Skeptical Response
- The Daily Beast: ‘Fox & Friends’ Fed Interview Script to Trump’s EPA Chief, Emails Show
- The Guardian: White House denies Haspel prevented from briefing Senate on Khashoggi murder
Day 678: Wednesday, November 28
Mueller Closes In On Trump And Manafort In
The Lede: With every unhinged tweet by President Trump, there is likely a move from Special Counsel Robert Mueller not far behind. And that appears to be the case this week.
On Wednesday morning, President Trump retweeted a meme that displayed several people he has deemed to be his political opponents, and his current Deputy Attorney General, behind bars for “treason.” (Important to note none of these people have been charged with any crimes.)
The Context: This comes after multiple reports last week revealed that President Trump tried to order the Justice Department to prosecute James Comey and Hillary Clinton, a move legal analysts have deemed a blatantly unconstitutional attempt to jail political opponents. President Trump has long publicly mused about his eagerness to jail political opponents, an effort more akin to a despot than a president. In recent weeks, Trump has escalated his personal attacks on Special Counsel Robert Mueller, both verbally and through obstructive moves. Trump fired Jeff Sessions and appointed Matthew Whitaker to be acting Attorney General, a sycophant who has criticized Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s probe and wrote an op-ed claiming he would prosecute Hillary Clinton.
Analysis: Why is Trump increasing his efforts to obstruct and cast doubt on Mueller’s investigation? All signs point to the conclusion that President Trump is terrified of its incoming outcome. For starters, Mueller called out Trump’s former Campaign Manager Paul Manafort for lying to investigators and breaching his plea deal. The New York Times reported that Manafort has been feeding Trump information and filling in Trump’s lawyers on what he’s told the Special Counsel. Trump’s attorney Rudy Giuliani confirmed this report.
There are four main reasons this should worry Trump:
1. If Trump’s written responses to Mueller’s questions were coordinated with the lies that Manafort told Mueller, that could pose some additional legal troubles for the President.
2. Mueller can use a court filing outlining why Manafort lied as a method through which to circumvent Whitaker and issue a de facto public report outlining a potential conspiracy between the Trump campaign and Russia.
3. If Trump offered a pardon to Manafort in exchange for lying, legal experts have said that would qualify as blatant witness tampering and build on Mueller’s overall obstruction of justice case. The pardon would be an impeachable offense.
4. Legal experts told Ken Dilanian of MSNBC that Manafort’s conversations with Trump’s lawyers are not covered under executive privilege, and “Mueller could haul them all before the grand jury and make them testify under oath about them.”
Meanwhile, more reports outlining evidence of a potential conspiracy between the Trump campaign and Russia’s interference in the 2016 election continue to be released. The Guardian reported that Paul Manafort met with Wikileaks founder Julian Assange (who has reportedly been indicted under seal by the DOJ) at least three times at the Ecuadorian Embassy in London, including in March of 2016 ahead of Wikileaks’ dump of Hillary Clinton’s emails which were stolen by the Russian government. This was also right after he began to work for Trump’s campaign, unpaid. Mueller also reportedly has emails from Jerome Corsi, conspiracy theorist, and Roger Stone associate, that prove he emailed Stone about incoming releases of Clinton emails from Wikileaks. The report signaled Corsi may have had direct contact from Wikileaks about the incoming leak.
This is important because of this key point.
Mueller draft doc connects Stone-Corsi plot to Trump campaign and Donald J Trump by name:
Says Corsi “understood [Stone] to be in regular contact with senior members of the Trump Campaign, including…Donald J. Trump” with goal to get docs “relevant to the presidential campaign” pic.twitter.com/4ih7n3v1Y4
— Ryan Goodman (@rgoodlaw) November 28, 2018
It appears the 2016 Trump Tower meeting and President Trump’s repeated public promotion of Clinton’s hacked emails may be just the tip of the collusion iceberg. The question of “did Donald Trump have foreknowledge of Russia’s hack of Clinton’s emails and the plan to release them through Wikileaks?” may soon be answered. And judging by Trump’s behavior, he may not want the public to know the answer.
In other news…
- NBC News: McConnell, Senate Republicans block vote on ‘Mueller protection bill’
- Associated Press: US waived FBI checks on staff at growing teen migrant camp
- The Senate took a rare bipartisan vote to end the US involvement in Yemen, and by extension, their support of Saudi Arabia’s proxy war.
Trump once again chooses an autocrat’s money over democracy
His admin is running PR for Saudi Arabia & ignoring US intel tying Khashoggi’s murder to MbS
His @WhiteHouse halted CIA Director Gina Haspel from brieing the Senate
The Senate is taking a stand https://t.co/I7nA9vXWn7
— Rantt Media (@RanttMedia) November 29, 2018
- The Daily Beast: The NRA Just Reported Losing $55 Million in Income
- CNN: Trump reiterates demand: $5B for wall funding or face shutdown
- Jerome Corsi had quite the appearance on The Beat With Ari Melber:
“I openly admitted to” Mueller about lying to Congress
Jerome Corsi admits he and Roger Stone put forward false information about source of Podesta tip: pic.twitter.com/h0HmOZGPXD
— TheBeat w/Ari Melber (@TheBeatWithAri) November 28, 2018
Day 679: Thursday, November 29
Michael Cohen Goes Full John Dean
Another day, another game-changing development in Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into Russia’s interference in the 2016 election and their potential conspiracy with Donald Trump’s campaign. Trump’s former fixer and personal attorney Michael Cohen has pleaded guilty for lying in his August 2017 letter to the Senate and House Intelligence Committees. This brings the total number of Trump associates who have pleaded guilty to five. There are three lies in Cohen’s plea, all of which pertain to the Trump Tower Moscow deal (referred to as The Moscow Project) that Cohen worked on with Trump’s Russia-connected associate, and former FBI informant, Felix Sater.
In his letter to Congress, Cohen said the Trump Tower deal ended in January of 2016 and it was not discussed with other members of the Trump Organization. In his plea, Cohen is now confirming that not only was the deal still in the works in June 2016 (same month as the Trump Tower meeting), but it was discussed with “Individual 1” (Trump) and his family members. Cohen also originally wrote to congressional investigators that he never agreed to travel to Russia and never considered asking Trump to travel with him. Cohen is now confirming that not only did he agree to travel, there was an effort for Trump to travel and set up a meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin around the time of the Republican National Convention. The final lie was that Cohen never got a response from the Russian government about The Moscow Project. Turns out, Cohen received a response from President Putin’s own press secretary.
The court documents outline the hard evidence, including emails, that paint the picture of what transpired. The timeline also confirms Buzzfeed’s original report that revealed Sater and Cohen were still discussing the deal into June 2016. Buzzfeed is now reporting, sourced by Felix Sater, that the Trump Organization also planned to give Putin a $50 million penthouse at the proposed Trump Tower Moscow. It’s important to note that Trump has been eager to obtain a Trump Tower Moscow deal for years and has a history of alleged money laundering for Russian oligarchs.
Not only does this plea potentially make Donald Trump Jr. susceptible to criminal liability for lying to congressional investigators, it paints a picture of a possible conspiracy. If Trump had foreknowledge of Russia’s hack of Hillary Clinton’s emails and the plan to release them through Wikileaks, then the Trump Tower meeting and Trump’s repeated public promotion of Clinton’s hacked emails may be just the tip of the collusion iceberg. If there was a quid pro quo, Trump Tower Moscow in exchange for helping Russia’s election interference, that’s the ballgame.
All this news comes after Cohen’s August 2018 guilty plea as part of the criminal investigation being conducted by federal investigators in the Southern District of New York (SDNY). That probe led to President Trump becoming an unindicted co-conspirator in two campaign finance violations for his hush money payments to Karen McDougal and Stormy Daniels.
This Mueller-Cohen plea appears to have caused President Trump to cancel all his bilateral meetings in the upcoming G20 summit, including his planned meeting with President Putin. But that wasn’t the only news on Trump’s mind on Thursday morning. Deutsche Bank (DB) was raided in a money laundering investigation in Germany sparked by the Panama Papers. One of the components of the probe involves an investigation into whether or not DB helped clients set up offshore accounts for illegal activity. We don’t know if it’s related, but it’s important to note Trump’s company owes Deutsche Bank $364 million and Jared Kushner’s company owes Deutsche Bank $285 million. Also, the FBI ordered a raid of Ed Burke, a Chicago attorney who also happened to be Trump’s attorney for 12 years. There are minimal details as to what the raid was about.
So this morning, Deutsche Bank was raided in a money laundering investigation.
Trump’s company owes Deutsche Bank $364 million.
Kushner’s company owes Deutsche Bank $285 million.
We don’t know if it’s related, but watch this space.https://t.co/ZJzSSYoxf3
— Rantt Media (@RanttMedia) November 29, 2018
In other news…
- The New York Times: Trump’s Recall of Moscow Deal Matches Cohen’s, President’s Lawyers Say
- The Washington Post: Trump’s night-owl calls to Roger Stone in 2016 draw scrutiny in Mueller probe
- Quick fact-check on Trump’s claim that Mueller’s probe is wasting money and going on for too long.
Trump falsely claims the Mueller probe is wasting money.
Time & Cost:
Watergate—2 years, $32.3 M adj inflation
Whitewater—7 years, $82 M adj inflation
Russia—1.5 years, $26+ M ($40+ M seized from Manafort)@POTUS golf trips…estimated $80+ M cost so farhttps://t.co/mHSG69v0Kk
— Rantt Media (@RanttMedia) November 29, 2018
- Paul Ryan spoke on his regrets. I made a prediction.
Catch up with 80-year-old Paul Ryan, and his answer should be along the lines of “I shouldn’t have been so cowardly and enabled an authoritarian-like president who was compromised by Russia and brought about the beginning of the end of the GOP by going full white nationalist.” https://t.co/0WOJgjrHoV
— Ahmed Baba (@AhmedBaba_) November 30, 2018
- Some media news…
This is great to see.
— Ahmed Baba (@AhmedBaba_) December 1, 2018
Day 680: Friday, November 30
President George H.W. Bush has died, his family says in statement. pic.twitter.com/LcGdOYs0zl
— Jim Acosta (@Acosta) December 1, 2018
As the news of President George H.W. Bush’s death spread, tributes began to pour in on social media. Although we disagreed with him at times, we posted a tribute of our own. Bush had a complicated legacy, but his move to raise taxes to tackle the deficit, efforts to work across the aisle, among other things showed a courage not displayed in today’s GOP.
President George H.W. Bush was a war hero, a dedicated public servant, and true patriot
Throughout his decades of public service, he displayed a love of country and courage sorely missing from today’s @GOP
He had qualities every good president, and American, should embody
— Rantt Media (@RanttMedia) December 1, 2018
In other news…
- NPR: Cohen’s Account Of Russia Talks Raises Questions About Trump Jr. 2017 Testimony
- Yahoo News: Mueller eyes Ivanka and Don Jr.’s work on Trump Tower Moscow
- The Washington Post: ‘Individual 1’: Trump emerges as a central subject of Mueller probe
Individual 1 is somebody who’s done an amazing job and is being recognized more and more.
— Ahmed Baba (@AhmedBaba_) November 29, 2018
- The Wall Street Journal: Mueller Bores Into Trump Adviser Roger Stone’s Ties to WikiLeaks
- CNN: Paul Manafort could face more charges, special counsel says
- Bloomberg: FTC Emails Show Whitaker Fielded Gripes on Miami Firm
- NBC News: 6 Trump officials engaged in political activity that violated Hatch Act
- The Washington Post: Trump administration approves seismic tests that could harm thousands of Atlantic dolphins and whales
- Reuters: U.S., Canada, Mexico sign trade deal, Trump shrugs off Congress hurdle
- It was Shirley Chisholm’s birthday.
Shirley Chisholm was the first black woman elected to Congress
She was a founding member of the CBC
She persisted through assassination attempts
On her birthday, we celebrate her and all the black women who have always been on the frontlines of progress https://t.co/Vhunvhq97E
— Rantt Media (@RanttMedia) November 30, 2018
- And from over the weekend, NPR: Trump Leaves G-20 With China Trade Truce, Plans To Cancel NAFTA Ahead Of New Pact
- We’re in for quite the week ahead.
A LOT OF NEWS in Cohen’s late-night filing.
He conferred with WH and Trump legal team when lying about Trump Moscow deal
He says his primary crimes were done to protect the President
He is cooperating in NY AG investigation of Trump Foundation. @mattzap https://t.co/os6zvHit6v
— Carol Leonnig (@CarolLeonnig) December 1, 2018
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