The Weekly List is a podcast hosted by Amy Siskind, author of The List. It will supplement the popular Weekly List on our website,www.theweeklylist.org. The podcast will give greater context to the "not normal" news items from the previous week, and will highlight a few stories that you may have missed.
his was a heartbreaking week in America, after several domestic attacks left the country shaken, frightened, and on edge. On Monday, an explosive device mailed in a package to the home of George Soros was discovered. Then starting Wednesday, one by one, 13 more packages addressed to high profile Democrats, all of whom were Trump critics and people Trump had publicly and repeatedly attacked, were found. There was a deadly shooting of two Black Americans in a supermarket in Kentucky, minutes after the shooter was unable to gain access to a predominantly black church in Jeffersontown. Then, the week closed with mass shooting during Shabbat services at Pittsburgh’s oldest Jewish congregation, killing 11 and injuring 6, likely the deadliest attack on the Jewish community in U.S. history, which was charged as a hate crime.
ith midterms approaching, the country is electrified and on edge. This week Trump recycled themes from his 2016 campaign to help boost Republican messaging: stoking fear of “the others” (a caravan of immigrants), accusing Democrats of being the party of open borders and crime and claiming the left is encouraging violence (“the mob”). Journalists and watchdog groups in several states continued to report and document overt efforts by the Republican Party to suppress the votes of people of color.
In an alarming reveal of his authoritarian bent, Trump refused to condemn Saudi Arabia’s murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi despite a bipartisan Congressional outcry and diplomatic actions by world leaders. Trump also glorified Rep. Greg Gianforte at a campaign rally in Montana for shoving a journalist in 2017, sparking further condemnation for encouraging violence against the free press.
Read the full list here: https://theweeklylist.org/weekly-list/week-101/
This week as Republicans celebrated the confirmation of Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh, polling told a different story: more Americans disapprove of the confirmation, are concerned about Kavanaugh politicizing the court and believe there should be further Congressional investigation. Under Mitch McConnell’s Senate leadership, a record number of Trump judicial nominees have been pushed through, including restacking 15 percent of circuit court judges.
In the final weeks before midterms, Democrats poured record donations to House candidates, and Beto O’Rourke, the Senate candidate from Texas, pulled in a record-smashing haul of $38.1 million for the last quarter. Republicans sought to counter Democrats’ enthusiasm by riling their base by vilifying the left as paid protestors or a “mob” that threatens violence against the right. These tactics serve as an acknowledgment that traditional issues like tax cuts and the economy no longer excite the Republican base.
Read the full list here: https://theweeklylist.org/weekly-list/week-100/
Read the full list here: https://theweeklylist.org/weekly-list/week-99/
his was all predictable. The descent to authoritarianism follows a predictable path in history. Masha Gessen, one of the “experts in authoritarianism” I read before starting the project of making the weekly list, wrote this in a New York Review of Books article on November 10, 2016, “There is little doubt that Trump will appoint someone who will cause the Court to veer to the right; there is also the risk that it might be someone who will wreak havoc with the very culture of the high court.” Prescient indeed.
This week, veering off norm after norm, and stoking a culture war between #MeToo and his newly coined #HeToo movement, Trump, with the help of Sen. Mitch McConnell plowed through to confirm Brett Kavanaugh, Trump’s second Supreme Court nominee. Kavanaugh’s 50–48 confirmation vote margin was the lowest since Stanley Matthews’ 24–23 vote 1881. Bookending Gessen’s piece, this week in the New York Review of Books Christopher Browning, in a piece titled “The Suffocation of Democracy,” compares McConnell to Hitler-era German President Paul von Hindenburg — both of whom he refers to as “gravediggers” of democracy.
This week our country was riveted as new allegations of sexual assault surfaced against Trump’s Supreme Court nominee, Brett Kavanaugh. On Thursday, 20 million Americans tuned in to the watch the Kavanaugh hearings. Despite Dr. Christine Blasey Ford coming across as poised and credible, while a belligerent Kavanaugh delivered testimony riddled with inaccuracies, Republicans planned to push forward for a confirmation vote on Friday. In a stunning turn, the power of the #MeToo movement and protests changed a key senator’s vote early Friday, pushing off Kavanaugh’s confirmation and forcing Trump to open a one-week FBI investigation into the sexual assault allegations against his nominee.
Read the full list here: https://theweeklylist.org/weekly-list/week-98/
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This week the news was dominated by accusations of sexual assault against Trump’s nominee for Supreme Court, Brett Kavanaugh, as the accuser, Dr. Christine Blasey Ford came forward. Trump restrained himself from attacking Dr. Ford until Friday, but Republican senators and GOP operatives were out in full force all week. Senate Judiciary Committee member Orrin Hatch called Dr. Ford, “mixed up,” while conservative legal commentator Ed Whalen tried to pin the blame for the assault on Kavanaugh’s classmate. Meanwhile, Republicans sought to temper comparisons to the Anita Hill hearings with midterms approaching, amid concerns about the party’s declining standing with suburban women voters.
Read the full list here: https://theweeklylist.org/weekly-list/week-97/
ncreasingly, Trump stands alone. Reporting indicates his sense of betrayal from current and former officials speaking out in Bob Woodward’s book and in the anonymous Times op-ed has left Trump outraged and paranoid — canceling meetings, and trusting a shrinking circle of his family and Stephen Miller. The sense of a pending coup from the “deep state” was further exacerbated by the stunning news that Trump’s former campaign manager, Paul Manafort, is cooperating fully in the Mueller probe.
Even by Trump standards, his behavior this week was unbalanced and alarming. On the solemn anniversary of 9/11, Trump acted entirely inappropriately, with no one to rein him in. With Hurricane Florence approaching and questions about his past handling of hurricanes resurfacing, Trump bragged about his regime’s performance in Puerto Rico, and then careened into conspiracy theories about the actual death toll.
Read the full list here: https://theweeklylist.org/weekly-list/week-96/
This week, the country watched the contentious Senate hearings for Trump’s Supreme Court nominee, Brett Kavanaugh. Senator Patrick Leahy called it the “most incomplete, most partisan, least transparent” vetting of a Supreme Court nominee in his forty-four years in the senate. As hearings wrapped up, questions linger about whether Kavanaugh has lied under oath in this and past judicial hearings, as well as whether Trump had selected Kavanaugh, who was not on his 2016 campaign list, in order to protect himself from the Mueller probe.
This week was also dominated by previews of Bob Woodward’s upcoming book “Fear” on Trump’s White House, and an explosive opinion piece in the Times by an anonymous senior official in the Trump regime. Both seemed to suggest that Trump is unfit for office, and his White House is operating chaotically, potentially exposing the country to danger.
Read the full list here: https://theweeklylist.org/weekly-list/week-95/
This week the death of Senator John McCain loomed large. McCain’s military and public service, and his statesmanship stood in sharp contrast to Trump, who acted like a petulant child, refusing to issue a statement of praise or keep the White House flag at half-staff. As the week ended, and virtually every official in D.C. attended a nationally televised farewell for McCain, Trump busied himself tweeting false statements, before heading to a Trump golf course in Virginia.
This week, Trump said he would push out two more senior officials, Attorney General Jeff Sessions and White House counsel Don McGahn, from his dwindling ranks of insiders. Trump aides and allies worry that his legal team is vastly understaffed to address the fallout of Democrats taking control of the House, as well as the growing list of legal exposures facing him.
Read the full list here: https://theweeklylist.org/weekly-list/week-94/
This was an ominous week for Trump, as three longtime allies turned on him. If you’ve come to one of my book events, I’ve said one of the three paths to ending Trump’s time in office was through the #MeToo movement, as in this case with hush money payments to silence women and the cover-up. This week in court, Michael Cohen essentially called Trump an unindicted co-conspirator in the crime of making hush money payments with the “principal purpose of influencing” the 2016 presidential election. Cohen was also subpoenaed in New York’s probe of the Trump Foundation. News later in the week indicated Trump’s bookkeeper for decades, Allen Weisselberg, and his longtime ally David Pecker, chairman and CEO of American Media, were both granted immunity in Manhattan court in exchange for their testimony.
Read full list: https://theweeklylist.org/weekly-list/week-93/
This week Trump met his match in former White House aide Omarosa Manigault Newman, who launched a new book and publicly shared her stories and perspectives on Trump and his regime members. Their feud played out like a reality TV show, as Omarosa released recordings and White House staffers reportedly are living in fear of the next shoes to drop.
Trump reportedly sought to distract from Omarosa’s tour by revoking the security clearance of former CIA director John Brennan, an unprecedented, authoritarian-like move that set up another public battle with intelligence officers, while Republicans largely stood silent. As the first Paul Manafort trial went for jury deliberation, Trump and Manafort’s attorney seemed strangely simpatico, raising concerns.
Read the full list here: https://theweeklylist.org/weekly-list/week-92/
This was a week of widespread and outrageous corruption in the Trump orbit — from Congressman Chris Collins and insider trading, to Secretary Wilbur Ross and grifting, to Secretary of State Kris Kobach miscounting votes, to the “Mar-a-Lago Crowd” controlling the Department of Veterans Affairs, and more. The phrase “drain the swamp” has disappeared from Trump’s vernacular, as he and his apostles appear to be squarely inside the swamp.
As Paul Manafort’s trial sped along, several associates of Roger Stone were subpoenaed, suggesting he is a point of focus in the Mueller probe. Trump and his surrogates continued to ramp up attacks on the Mueller probe, and related areas like the FBI — and several plan to focus on a new shiny coin: Bruce Ohr.
Read the full list here: https://theweeklylist.org/weekly-list/week-91/
This week Trump’s battle with the media escalated as he ramped up his “enemy of the state” rhetoric, and his staffers and supporters followed his lead. The United Nations Human Rights office issued a statement condemning Trump’s media attacks, which this week put a CNN reporter in danger at a Trump rally in Tampa, Florida.
As the first trial for Paul Manafort got underway, Trump called on Attorney General Jeff Sessions to end the Mueller probe. Even as his top national security officials took the unusual step of appearing together and briefing the press on the ongoing Russia cyber threat, and as social media companies and experts revealed ongoing attacks, Trump continued to label the Russian investigation as a hoax, and took no leadership steps to address the threat and protect our country.
Read the full list here: https://theweeklylist.org/weekly-list/week-90/
This week there were dramatic developments in several areas which could be perilous for Trump: a federal judge ruled an emoluments clauses lawsuit can proceed; Michael Cohen asserted Trump knew about, and approved, the June 9 Trump Tower meeting with Russians to get dirt on Hillary; Trump’s decades-long bookkeeper was subpoenaed to testify in the Southern District; leaked tapes revealed Trump knew about the payments to silence former Playboy model Karen McDougal just before the election — all as the trial of Trump’s former campaign manager, Paul Manafort, is set to kick off Tuesday.
Seeking to counter these closing walls, Trump continued to promote his alternative version of the truth, telling a crowd in Kansas City, “Just remember, what you’re seeing and what you’re reading is not what’s happening,” and pushing a new storyline that Putin wants to help Democrats win the midterms.
Read the full list: https://theweeklylist.org/weekly-list/week-89/
This week it was hard to believe what was happening right before our eyes: Trump stood on stage in Helsinki, after a two hour, private meeting with Putin, and sided with our former foreign adversary over the U.S. intelligence community. The free-world looked on in horror, and there was bipartisan outrage back at home — even concern raised that Trump may be compromised — and yet, as the week came to a close, Trump suffered no real consequences. The Republicans even rewarded him by inexplicably backing his partial ban of Chinese telecom company ZTE.
Trump stumbled defiantly through the rest of a shocking week: shifting his positions on backing U.S. intelligence, considering an offer to allow Russian intelligence to question the former U.S. ambassador to Russia, publicly criticizing the Federal Reserve, and threatening his former fixer Michael Cohen who had taped their conversations.
Read the full list here: https://theweeklylist.org/weekly-list/week-88/
This week Trump continued his ramped up level of lying and unhinged behavior as he once again made a spectacle of himself on the world stage at the NATO Summit in Brussels. Trump continued his pattern of hostility towards allies, while maintaining an overtly collegial tone towards Putin, even as the Mueller probe indicted 12 members of Russian military intelligence on charges of hacking and disrupting the 2016 U.S. election and Director of National Intelligence Coats warned, “warning lights are blinking red” for further attacks.
At home, Trump and his allies are taking every possible step to discredit the Mueller probe and attempt to preview FBI information. This week Trump continued his hostility towards the free press and his attacks on free markets, while taking steps to consolidate power.
Read the full Week 87 list here: https://theweeklylist.org/weekly-list/week-87/
This week Russia was front and center as a delegation of seven Republican Senators traveled to Moscow, without any Democrats or U.S. media along, for what was described as “conciliatory” meetings with their Russian counterparts. The meetings took place on the same day the Republican-led Senate Intelligence Committee released a report saying Russia interfered in the 2016 presidential election with the intent of helping Trump win.
As former Trump lawyer and fixer Michael Cohen publicly hinted he will cooperate and the Mueller probe continued to broaden, Trump seemed increasingly unhinged, attacking Democrats and Republicans, as well as the media and corporations. His rhetoric of “anarchy” and “better take it easy” and ICE “liberating” towns became increasingly hostile and inflammatory.
Read the full list at: https://theweeklylist.org/weekly-list/week-86/
This was a devastating week for our country. People — especially women, people of color, people with disabilities, and LGBTQ people —are legitimately scared. Much is at stake as our country shows increasing signs of sliding towards authoritarianism.
While some voices on the left called for civility, Trump ramped up threats and attacks on members of Congress, a restaurant owner, a publicly-traded US corporation, and our media on his Twitter account and at campaign rallies. The week of stoked up rhetoric and hatred flamed culminated with a mass shooting at the Capital Gazette in Annapolis, where five employees were killed.
Early in the week, Trump celebrated a Supreme Court victory for his Muslim Ban, and the retirement of Supreme Court Justice Kennedy — giving Trump the power to potentially reshape our highest court and place issues like abortion and civil rights, gay marriage, and healthcare in jeopardy.
Read the full list at : https://theweeklylist.org/weekly-list/week-85/
This week the world looked on in horror as the atrocity of separating families at our southern border was finally exposed by widespread media coverage. That coverage was limited as the press and even members of Congress were denied access to detention centers and newly constructed tent cities. Other than audio that was leaked to ProPublica of a young child wailing for her mother, there are almost no videos or photos of girls, toddlers or babies. The AP reported on “tender age” shelters — three already built and a fourth coming soon.
This week the atrocities at our southern border finally garnered widespread attention, as stories on the scope and the devastating impact of the Trump regime’s zero-tolerance policy were reported. Sessions invoked the Bible to justify the regime’s practice of separating migrant children from their parents, and exacerbated the crisis by ordering immigration judges to stop granting asylum to most victims of domestic abuse and gang violence. Amid widespread condemnation, Trump repeated false claims blaming Democrats for the border crisis — continuing his pattern of constructing an alternative version of reality to feed his base.
This week started with Trump pushing yet another norm, saying he could pardon himself. This comes after a string of recent pardons, and Trump bragging to reporters that he is considering 3,000 more—crowning himself the arbiter of what is fair, not the judicial branch. In two moves that alarmed legal experts, Sessions’ Justice Department sided with a frivolous lawsuit instead of defending the Affordable Care Act, and seized phone and email records from a New York Times reporter.
Read the full list here: https://theweeklylist.org/weekly-list/week-82/
The news stories for this week speak to critical degradations of the fabric of our country — the inhumane treatment of immigrants at our border and calamity unfolding in Puerto Rico — got drowned out by drama and controversies fueled by, and in some cases, created by Trump. I hope The Weekly List podcast can help rectify this issue in some small way, by covering stories and trends that deserve more attention.
This week, Trump is pushing for meetings with North Korea and Russia, while aggressively confronting some of our closest allies, Canada, Mexico, and the European Union with an ill-planned, unprovoked trade war — reminiscent of a theme we’ve covered at The Weekly List: Trump cozying up to authoritarian regimes and alienating our democratic allies. As noted before, this new world alignment, distancing our country from our democratic allies, benefits and empowers Russia.
Read the full list here: https://theweeklylist.org/weekly-list/week-81/
Welcome to The Weekly List podcast, hosted by Amy Siskind, author of the book The List. Every week the podcast will give greater context to the news items of that week's Weekly List and highlight a few stories that you may not have heard. For the full lists, visit our website is www.theweeklylist.org.