The Weekly List is a podcast hosted by Amy Siskind, author of The List. It supplements the popular Weekly List on our website, www.theweeklylist.org, which tracks the ever changing new normals of American politics. The podcast gives greater context to the "not normal" news items from the previous week, and will highlight a few stories and changing norms from the Trump regime that you may have missed.
I am grateful, with all your input, to have continued this project through inauguration. Since I started tracking Donald Trump in November 2016, I have posited that he cared about two things: making money and staying in power; admittedly, events in this final list caught even me by surprise.
The pace of broken norms had slowed considerably in our AFTER lists for November and December. My biggest concern over those two months was Michigan, and the potential for Republicans in that state to overturn the results in a county with majority Black voters — and therefore the implications for the future our democracy. It was close — too close — but in the end we passed the safe harbor deadline for every state, and I falsely assumed we would cruise through inauguration.
As I complete this project on January 20 at noon, with Joe Biden assuming the presidency, along with our first Black and South Asian woman vice president, Kamala Harris, we are still learning of Trump’s schemes to overturn the election. The reporting will undoubtedly continue for months and years, as the truth finds its way to open light. History will record how close we came to teetering on the brink of becoming an authoritarian state.
Trump propagated, starting months before the election, what historian Timothy Snyder described as the “big lie,” that our election was rigged and stolen, and he had actually won. Trump was aided and enabled throughout his time in office, but also in the big lie, by Republican lawmakers too cowardly and cloaked in self-interest to uphold their oath, and a far-right media ecosystem willing to spin his lies for ratings. As we finish this project, three-quarters of Republicans believe the big lie, and have “little or no confidence” that the election results reflected the will of the people. This legacy of Trump’s disinformation will be with us for years as we try to trace our way back to the truth.
January was a shocking month. We learned that Trump had pressured and threatened state officials in Georgia to overturn election results. Days later, Trump supporters, emboldened into rioters by his big lie, stormed our nation’s Capitol. It was the first time our Capitol was under siege since the War of 1812, and the first time ever by American citizens. What ensued was a near massacre of our members of Congress and Vice President, which Trump joyfully watched unfold on television from the White House, refusing to call off the mob he had unleashed or call in troops to help over hours. Documentarian Ken Burns noted, “Our founders feared two things above all else, the mob and an autocrat,” and here we were.
Our system of government held up, but barely, and as this project comes to an end, it is still doubtful that Senate Republicans — themselves mere minutes away from slaughter — will finally hold Trump accountable for the insurrection and sedition at the upcoming impeachment trial. Over four years of the endless stream of broken norms, their enabling Trump has not only desecrated our democracy, but also exposed the cracks in its armor for future wannabe autocrats.
As we leave this project, Biden is inheriting three major crises — a surging pandemic, a struggling economy, and the threat of white supremacist violence. And on top of these crises, a battle for the truth. The steps we take in the coming years to restore the truth — there can only be one — will determine our ability to not only find common ground, but also to continue the American experiment with democracy and forming a more equitable union.
Read the full list here: https://theweeklylist.org/weekly-list/after-january/
In December, Trump continued to push lies and conspiracy theories about the election, not only failing to concede, but pushing efforts to overthrow the election results. During this month, Trump became increasingly isolated as even loyalists pushed back on his false allegations or resigned, leaving an inner circle composed almost entirely of his family members and conspiracy theorists. Trump continued to avoid the press and the American people, seeming to hide in the White House, other than a brief holiday trip to Mar-a-Lago.
This month the Supreme Court, which Trump had viewed as loyalists who would act at his behest, rejected his election challenges. Other setbacks came on December 8 when the safe harbor deadline passed, and then on December 14 when the Electoral Colleges in each state cast their votes, and ratified Biden’s victory — a typically mundane process that goes unnoticed, which was for first time was broadcast live and closely watched. After the results were ratified, Senate Republican leadership recognized Biden as president-elect, while House leadership continued to demure. Trump raged against all those who refused to go along with his despot coup, while his supporters took to threatening election officials and other subjects of his ire.
This month, a major Russian hacking — perhaps the most significant of modern times — of federal agencies and corporations was revealed. As has been a familiar pattern, Trump refused to acknowledge Russia’s involvement or condemn the attack, which some lawmakers likened to an act of war. December also marked the most deadly month of the worsening pandemic, which Trump almost completely ignored, along with any and all other presidential responsibilities.
Although Trump had yet to admit defeat, he did grant several controversial pardons, including four figures that were subjects of the Mueller probe, as well as Jared Kushner’s father, and employees of a company run by loyalist Erik Prince who were found guilty of murdering Iraqi civilians. As the month came to a close, Trump continued to push for allies to overturn the election and hence America’s still young experiment in democracy. And tragically, many Republicans appeared all too happy to comply with his antics, despite the damage to our democracy and world standing, in order to benefit their own political futures.
Read the full list here: https://theweeklylist.org/weekly-list/after-december/
This project could not have ended in a more perfect way (she writes while sipping champagne): Donald J. Trump was defeated shortly before noon on Saturday, the cutoff time each week, and so I was able to gloriously write “THE END” at the end of Week 208 — something I have been waiting to do for four long years.
This week, the U.S. held its election, and it was different than any other due to the pandemic and the resulting record early vote. It took days for the race to be called for Biden, as early votes were counted. Nonetheless, as he telegraphed he would do in the weeks and months leading up to November 3rd, Trump tried to steal the election, declaring victory at a hastily assembled news conference at 2 a.m. on election night.
As you read this week’s list, you can see the intent: dismantle the U.S. Postal Service so mail-in ballots mostly availed of by Democrats don’t arrive in time; have GOP state legislatures disallow early vote counting so Trump can claim a lead and declare victory on election night; and stack the courts so the judicial branch will determine the outcome. Thankfully, the American people voted in numbers too great for these plans to work, with a record 75 million Americans voting for the winning candidate, Joe Biden (with votes still to be counted).
As we leave the final weekly list, we enter the most dangerous phase of the pandemic so far. The week starts with Drs. Anthony Fauci and Deborah Birx taking the unusual step of warning us publicly, ahead of the election, of the dire state of things. By week’s end the nation recorded daily record cases for three days in a row.
On an administrative note, I will continue to document broken norms until inauguration, although not in the weekly format of the past four years. They too will be recorded as part of our road map back to normalcy.
In the final full week heading into the election, the seeds of Trump’s bungled pandemic response came back to haunt him, with the twin challenges of record daily cases and hospitalizations in many states, along with the worst week for the stock market since March. Even as a new outbreak hit Vice President Mike Pence’s staffers, Trump’s chief of staff Mark Meadows all but conceded the regime had thrown the white flag on any federal response, saying, “We are not going to control the pandemic.”
Trump barn-stormed battleground states, all of which were facing surges in cases, and continued to hold rallies with supporters packed together without face masks. Unthinkable. Polling showed nearly 6 in 10 Americans disapproved of Trump’s rallies, and evidence continued to come out that the rallies were leading to sickness and death.
This week Amy Coney Barrett was confirmed as a Supreme Court justice, for the first time in 151 years without a single vote from the minority party, heading into a highly litigious election with Republicans and the Trump campaign bringing hundreds of lawsuits in an effort to suppress voting. Nevertheless, a record 90 million Americans had voted by the end of the week, two-thirds of the total 2016 vote, as the country braced for violence on Election Day.
Read the full list here: https://theweeklylist.org/weekly-list/week-207/
This week, with Election Day nearing, the coronavirus raged out of control, with a record number of new daily cases on Thursday, and then again Friday, topping 83,000. Hospitalizations also soared in many states, and the death toll started to rise. Trump meanwhile continued to hold campaign rallies in battleground states, almost all of which were in the midst of surging cases. His supporters stood packed together, shoulder-to-shoulder, and mostly without face masks. It was unthinkable that a leader would do such a thing — but Trump proved once again his care is only for himself and his re-election, even though many of his supporters will end up getting sick and some will die.
Meanwhile, Americans voted in record number, by Thursday topping the early votes for all of 2016, and by week’s end, 56 million had voted, 40% of all who voted in 2016. Record turnout continued in multiple states, with registered Democrats far outpacing Republicans. Despite the huge turnout, Senate Republicans continued to push through Trump’s Supreme Court nominee — even as Democrats boycotted the Judiciary Committee vote — and while eschewing a Covid relief bill, as 8 million more Americans descended into poverty.
Trump spent the week all over place: attacking Dr. Anthony Fauci, then “60 Minutes” anchor Lesley Stahl, and gaining no ground as Americans voted and Election Day neared. News of foreign interference loomed large, as did acts of violence and intimidation from far-right groups.
Read the full list here: https://theweeklylist.org/weekly-list/week-206/
This week, despite millions of Americans having voted already, Senate Republicans started the process of confirming Trump’s nominee for the Supreme Court. With Republicans in control of the Senate, there was little Democrats could do to address the hypocrisy and outrage over Trump’s actions, other than show up to vote, which they did in record numbers.
Behind in the polls, Trump got out on the campaign trail, claiming he was no longer contagious and holding daily rallies in states, many of which were experiencing coronavirus outbreaks. As the virus surged nationally, there was no federal government response, and in fact Trump seemed increasingly to lean on Dr. Scott Atlas, who continued to push the notion of herd immunity. Trump also made increasingly desperate statements at his rallies, indicating he did understand the gravity of Election Day approaching and Biden’s lead.
State officials braced for violence on Election Day, as Trump continued to give credence to the QAnon conspiracy theory, and encouraged an “army” of supporters to sign up as poll watchers. Meanwhile, Attorney General Bill Barr remained conspicuously absent from the public eye, as the “unmasking” probe quietly and unceremoniously ended, and he had yet to comment on the alleged plot against Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer. Trump allies Rudy Giuliani and Stephen Bannon introduced a supposed hard drive belonging to Hunter Biden in a “smoking gun” story at the New York Post, that was soon under investigation by the F.B.I. as a possible Russian intelligence operation.
Read the full list here: https://theweeklylist.org/weekly-list/week-205/
This week the public was given little information about Trump’s health and recovery from the coronavirus, including basic questions like when he last tested negative or his medical status. Even by Trump’s standards, this week he acted extraordinarily crazed and erratic — both in his actions and his words. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi questioned if Trump was in “an altered state,” as it was unclear if a steroid he was taking as treatment, which can result in mild to moderate psychiatric side effects, was to blame.
Despite being hospitalized for Covid-19, Trump did not change his approach to the pandemic, like caring about the wellness of those around him, or adhering to safety guidelines. As he plummeted further in the polls, and there was talk of a landslide, he returned to the White House, then the Oval Office, and was eager to get back on the campaign trail, despite likely being contagious. It was remarkable.
Later in the week, Trump made a series of long appearances on Fox and other conservative media, coughing and sounding unhinged, and repeatedly calling on the Justice Department to indict his political enemies. After Michigan law enforcement and the FBI announced arrests in an alleged plot by domestic terrorists to kidnap Gov. Gretchen Whitmer and orchestrate a coup of sorts, Trump, whose words had incited their actions, fanned the flames further by seeming to side with the 13 suspects, some who had links to the national “boogaloo” anti-government movement, and criticizing Whitmer.
Read the full list here: https://theweeklylist.org/weekly-list/week-204/
On Thursday of this week, around 5 p.m., I tweeted that this week was unusually quiet in terms of the chaos, and was on pace for the fewest broken norms in 2020. I wrote that I was not sure what to attribute it to, but “We might be heading toward the end.” Hours later, Bloomberg News reporter Jennifer Jacobs broke the news that Hope Hicks had tested positive for coronavirus, which led to a cascade of disclosures. Shortly after midnight that evening, Trump announced on Twitter that both he and First Lady Melania were also positive.
The original plotline seemed to set Hicks up to be the patsy, but within the next 24 hours, it became clear that most top Republicans contracted the virus at a White House reception for the announcement of Trump’s nominee for the Supreme Court, Amy Coney Barrett, held Saturday, even before Ruth Bader Ginsburg was buried.
Ahead of these disclosures, this week was the first presidential debate, which many pundits pegged as the worst in modern history. Trump was an unhinged, raging, maniacal mess, who delivered no campaign message but anger. One startling takeaway was Trump’s refusal to condemn white supremacists. Again. In fact, he ordered far-right hate group the Proud Boys to “stand back and stand by.” He also spewed a series of lies about election fraud, and continued to undermine the validity of the upcoming election. The Times noted in a front page story that the country has successfully held presidential elections since 1788, but “now faces the gravest challenge in its history to the way it chooses a leader and peacefully transfers power.”
As the week came to an end, Trump was admitted to Walter Reed Medical Center. As has been the case in all his years in office, there was no clear communication or truth about his condition. The American people sat on edge with Election Day one month away, unsure about his condition, and even when he tested positive for the virus.
Read the full list here: https://theweeklylist.org/weekly-list/week-203/
This week Trump said he would not accept a peaceful transition of power — a remarkable, unprecedented statement. While there was pushback in the form of the Senate voting for a resolution affirming its commitment to a peaceful transition — without mentioning Trump by name or condemning his statement — Trump persisted with his lies about mail-in ballot voter fraud, and refused to back down.
While polls show Biden winning nationally and in battleground states won by Trump in 2016, Trump’s threat, accompanied by an article in The Atlantic saying Trump might try a coup if he loses, left the country on edge — especially with Trump moving forward to appoint a Supreme Court nominee, stacking the court 6–3 ahead of legal challenges. Even Pentagon leaders were reported to be discussing what they would do if Trump tried to use troops on protestors. Yet, while Trump continued to sow doubt about the election, voters requested mail-in ballots in record numbers. States that revealed voting requests data by party identification showed a huge margin of Democrats requesting and sending back their ballots over Republicans.
This week, the U.S. passed the grim milestone of 200,000 dead and over 7,000,000 infected with the coronavirus. By week’s end, the virus was coming back into the spotlight, not only amid rising concerns about the politicization of a possible vaccine and federal health agencies, but also with a new surge in daily cases.
Read the full list here: https://theweeklylist.org/weekly-list/week-202/
It’s hard to express the sense of loss this year has brought to the our country: already we’ve endured three years of division, broken norms, lawlessness, kleptocracy, bigotry and hate, gaslighting and non-stop lies — leaving our country anxious and exhausted entering 2020.
This year has brought illness, unemployment, starvation, death, wildfires, hurricanes, social unrest, and now the loss of a revered and beloved Supreme Court justice, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, 46 days before the election. It’s hard to put into words the cumulative stress, sorrow, and anger our country is experiencing. Now, as Trump continues to lie and sow doubt about the integrity of the election, we face the unthinkable of a Supreme Court stacked in his favor possibly deciding the outcome of a contested election.
On top of that, this week brought more questions about Trump’s handling of the deadly pandemic as we approach an unthinkable 200,000 deaths. Bob Woodward’s book, combined with a town hall appearance by Trump this week, raised serious questions about Trump’s mental health and attachment to reality. Woodward concluded there is a nervous breakdown of the executive branch and Trump “is the wrong man for the job.” As the country starts voting this week in record numbers, America stands on edge.
Read the full list here: https://theweeklylist.org/weekly-list/week-201/
Things are getting worse in America, week by week. This week, as the West Coast saw wildfires spread, with much of California, Oregon, and Washington covered in smoke so thick the sun couldn’t break through and the sky was a hazy gray or shade of yellow and orange, Trump ignored it. Just as he skipped a commemorative ceremony in lower Manhattan for the anniversary of 9/11 — as if the blue states were not his responsibility — repeating a theme from the start in office: leader of his supporters, not the country.
This week Trump was engulfed in a second major scandal, as journalist Bob Woodward released tapes of conversations he had with Trump on a variety of topics, including Trump admitting he knew in early February that Covid-19 posed a dire risk — a fact he hid and lied about for months. One historian described it as “the greatest dereliction of duty” in presidential history.
This week reporting revealed the Trump regime’s embrace of tactics more familiar to an authoritarian regime than a democracy. Department of Health and Human Services officials sought to hide information and alter reports on the extent of the Covid-19 outbreak, while a whistleblower complaint portrayed Department of Homeland Security officials hiding intelligence on Russian interference, and altering reports to blame left-leaning groups for violence. There was more shocking news about the Justice Department intervening in a case for Trump on a personal matter, while a top deputy of John Durham resigned from his investigation of the investigators, citing pressure from Attorney General William Barr to finalize a report before the election. The Treasury Department sanctioned Andrii Derkach, described as an active Russian agent, who had been a source of information for both Rudy Giuliani and Senate Chairs Ron Johnson and Chuck Grassley in their investigations of Democratic nominee Joe Biden.
America is a country at war with itself, with Trump stoking division as a campaign strategy. The apocalyptic skies of the West seemed to capture the dystopian feel of an exhausted, anxious, fearful, downtrodden America. Having failed to truly tame the coronavirus over the summer with no federal strategy and Trump refusing to even encourage face masks, the country now heads into fall and winter, with dire predictions on illness and death.
Read the full list here: https://theweeklylist.org/weekly-list/week-200/
This week, with no discernible post-convention bounce and the election two months away, Trump was frenzied. He started the week with a storm of tweets, and then embarked on espousing a series of bizarre conspiracy theories that made him appear mentally unfit to lead, some of which were then backed in part by Attorney General William Barr — our country’s chief law enforcement, who openly lied and obfuscated in a television interview.
While continuing to attack the integrity of the election, Trump encouraged his supporters, at campaign rallies in two swing states and on Twitter, to vote twice, an illegal act. Notably, reporting this week indicated the attack lines used by his campaign, including disparaging the integrity of mail-in voting, nearly mirrored those of Russian intelligence. The entire week felt not only chaotic, but almost surreal given the bizarre conspiracies, lies, and calls for both violence and illegal acts Trump openly floated.
The week closed with blockbuster reporting by the Atlantic on Trump’s disparaging of members of the U.S. military, calling them “losers” and “suckers” for the ultimate sacrifice. A story Trump denied, but was confirmed by the Post, the AP and even Fox News. The story shook the nation, and Trump could not shake its impact on his image as a pro-military strong man as the week came to a close.
In between, this was the longest week so far, by far. There are so many stories that needed focus, and got very little or none. They are recorded here for posterity and to be undone when this nightmare of an era is over. Notably also in the midst of the gravest public health crisis in a century, Trump has managed to undermine the trust in all our public health agencies, as we near 200,000 Americans dead, with projections showing more than double that could die by year-end in the pandemic.
Read the full list here: https://theweeklylist.org/weekly-list/week-199/
This week, the Republican Party held its convention — which was likened to a Trump convention — a four-day span of shattered norms, and possibly multiple violations of the law. Gone were names familiar to the Grand Old Party, replaced by Trump loyalists and his family members. Republicans, for the first time 1856, didn’t even produce a platform! Instead, the convention was akin to a reality television show, starring Trump every night, full of lies, misinformation, and an alternative reality in which the pandemic was over.
As the election approaches, the Trump regime continues to be increasingly brazen and lawless. This week, the regime threatened a Post reporter by telling him they were building a dossier on him and others, mail continued to pile-up as Trump’s Postmaster General continued to obfuscate, and by week’s end, the director of the Office of the Director of National Intelligence said his agency would no longer brief Congress in person on foreign interference.
Jacob Blake, a Black man, was shot seven times in the back by police in Kenosha, Wisconsin, setting off protests, and later killings by an armed militia member who came from out of state. Disturbing videos from Kenosha, as well as Portland, Oregon, seemed to show police officers in cahoots with far-right hate groups and armed militants. Major league teams protested Blake’s shooting and systemic racism by canceling games, while Trump stoked division and hate.
Read the full list here: https://theweeklylist.org/weekly-list/week-198/
This was the longest weekly list, and it was simply exhausting. The Democrats held a very successful first virtual Democratic National Convention, while Trump spent the week advancing lies and conspiracy theories about voting to undermine the election. Polls continue to show he will lose by a wide margin.
In a break from tradition, both former First Lady Michelle and President Barack Obama gave historic speeches, focused on warning the American people that Trump is a danger to our democracy, and is not capable of doing the job. The emotional speeches were a call to action, from the former first family who had largely has given Trump a chance to grow into the position. Barack in particular portrayed Trump as a grave threat. Meanwhile, nominee Joe Biden gave what was widely heralded as the best speech of his career, in a moving, emotional, optimistic speech of unity, promising light, hope, and competence.
This week, the U.S. Postal Service was front and center, as Postmaster General Louis DeJoy faced public outcry for the slowing mail, and Congressional hearings got underway. Trump tried to gaslight, suggesting the slowing mail was, ironically, a conspiracy theory by Democrats. This week a nearly 1,000 page shocking Senate Intelligence Committee report was released, revealing a deep connection between the Trump campaign and Russia during the 2016 presidential election.
Trump largely abandoned his so-called daily coronavirus briefings, instead holding campaign rallies and some Q&A sessions with the media. Dr. Deborah Birx has largely disappeared from the public, as Trump switched to a radiologist who frequently appeared on Fox News for advice and shares his point-of-view. College reopening, like K-12 openings the week before, got off to a rocky start, with outbreaks on several campuses — again a result of a patchwork strategy, with inadequate testing and few guidelines.
Read the full list here: https://theweeklylist.org/weekly-list/week-197/
This week, presumptive Democratic nominee Joe Biden chose his running mate, Sen. Kamala Harris, the first Black and Asian American vice presidential candidate. An oddly unprepared Trump campaign and Republican Party reacted with a deluge of sexist and racist attacks, including shameful accusations of “birtherism.” Trump also threw his support behind a House candidate who espouses the QAnon conspiracy theory and is openly racist, raising serious concerns again about the future of the Republican Party.
This week, as polls continued to show Trump down to Biden nationally and in key battleground states, and despite the pandemic continuing to impact much of the country, Trump openly said he would block needed funding for the U.S. Post Office in an effort to thwart mail-in voting for the November election. An incredible admission, but yet Republicans seemed largely unwilling to call him out, or band with Democrats to protect this basic tenet not only of American democracy, but of everyday life. As democracies around the world looked on in horror at a stolen election in Belarus, Americans were left to wonder if we were next — with Trump’s efforts to compromise the upcoming election.
This was another week full of stories of corruption, kleptocracy, and division, as an exhausted America, that couldn’t even agree on a scientifically proven measure like wearing masks, faced an uncertain election in 80 days. Even as tens of millions of Americans were still without a weekly unemployment payment, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell adjourned the Senate until mid-September, and Trump headed back to the golf course.
Read the full list here: https://theweeklylist.org/weekly-list/week-196/
This week U.S. intelligence revealed Russia is actively interfering in the 2020 presidential election, with a goal of harming presumptive Democratic candidate Joe Biden. Democratic leaders pressed NCSC Director William Evanina to inform the American people, while Republicans, reminiscent of 2016, tried to obfuscate intelligence by publicly claiming it was unclear Russia was helping Trump, and using the whataboutism that other countries, China and Iran, were also interfering.
This week Trump continued to push for schools to reopen, falsely claiming on Fox News that children are “almost immune” — a clip of which was then pulled by Twitter and Facebook over it being false information on Covid-19. Schools that reopened however, had a shaky start with unclear guidance and patchwork approach. Trump also had another disastrous interview with Axios’s Jonathan Swan, revealing a lack of basic knowledge about the pandemic, and raising concerns about his mental acuity and competency.
This week with the virus spreading and Trump regurgitating the same disinformation, tens of millions of unemployed Americans were without an essential $600 weekly payment to help make ends meet. Trump left town for a long weekend at his Bedminster club, and Republican leaders also skipped town.
Read the full list here: https://theweeklylist.org/weekly-list/week-195/
This week, for the first time, Trump publicly floated the idea of delaying the November election, drawing swift condemnation from Democrats and a mild rebuke from Republican leadership. The co-founder of conservative Federalist Society said in an op-ed that Trump should be removed if he tries to follow through. Undeterred, Trump spent the week continuing to sow doubt about the results of the “rigged” and “most fraudulent” upcoming election. His U.S. Postal Service appointee meanwhile took steps to slow the flow of mail ahead of the expected surge of mail-in and absentee ballots in less than 100 days.
This week, the pace of coronavirus deaths started to increase as the U.S. passed another grim milestone of 150,000 deaths, and while Trump outwardly suggested that large areas of the country were “corona-free,” an internal White House document showed the exact opposite: a virus spreading to new states and out of control.
Portland was front and center this week, as Trump’s stormtroopers tear-gassed and shot non-lethal bullets in the faces of largely peaceful protestors. Trump continued to invoke decades-old racist tropes about suburbia in a failed effort to win over white suburban voters, especially women, who largely disapproved of his handling of the social unrest. By week’s end, Trump pulled out the troops, leaving the city to peaceful protests and calm. Attorney General William Barr finally testified in a cantankerous bad-and-forth with Congressional Democrats, filled with disinformation and gaslighting.
Read the full list here: https://theweeklylist.org/weekly-list/week-194/
This week, as the coronavirus raged out of control, passing 4 million U.S. cases and 145,000 deaths, Trump resurrected his daily coronavirus briefings — by himself, with no health officials. He also sought to divert attention to Portland, Oregon, where alarming images of unmarked federal law enforcement were seen shoving and tear-gassing growing crowds of Black Lives Matter protestors. Reporting indicated Trump has purposefully picked Portland to create imagery and video content of a culture war, which he continues to flame.
This week a series of stories came out about the corruption of the Trump regime, but in the chaos, got little attention. Reporting indicated Attorney General William Barr was behind Michael Cohen being sent back to prison, and Barr’s rationale for pushing out U.S. Attorney Geoffrey Berman was related to the Cohen investigation, and Barr potentially outed a F.B.I. source on Russia. The Department of Homeland Security was also under fire for admitting the agency had provided false information to justify Trump retaliating against New York.
Meanwhile, Trump was forced this week to retreat on several issues, as his poll numbers continued their plummet, and even some Republicans turned on him or refused to do his bidding. Trump abruptly canceled the Republican National Convention, amid his already imperiled re-election campaign.
Read the full list here: https://theweeklylist.org/weekly-list/week-193/
This week, as the coronavirus raged out of control in many states, Trump sought to discredit Dr. Anthony Fauci, with several members of the regime publicly attacking Fauci’s credibility. Reporting indicated Trump had lost interest in the pandemic, with an adviser telling the Post, Trump’s “not really working this anymore. He doesn’t want to be distracted by it” — as the country hit a daily record 77,000 new cases.
As Trump continued his fall in the polls, he fired his campaign manager, but stuck with his strategy of us vs. them: this week repeatedly invoking the white “suburbs” and stoking not-so-well disguised racist tropes of integration. He turned a Rose Garden speech meant to address deregulation into a bizarre, meandering, hour-long campaign speech — drawing ire from even Fox News.
In new tests of authoritarian boundaries, Trump sent federal law enforcement to Portland, Oregon — uninvited and unwelcome — to quell protests. In what House Speaker Nancy Pelosi described as “unidentified stormtroopers” and “Trump’s secret police,” law enforcement in unmarked cars were seen grabbing protestors off the streets and whisking them away. Trump also sought to hide the extent of the pandemic, by ordering hospitalization data to be sent to Washington rather than the CDC, and threatening to block funding for testing in the upcoming coronavirus relief bill.
Read the full list here: https://theweeklylist.org/weekly-list/week-192/
This week, the pandemic continued to worsen, with many states seeing new highs and the death toll starting to rise. By week’s end, the U.S. registered an unthinkable nearly 70,000 new daily coronavirus cases. Amid the surge, issues that plagued the April wave of cases in New York and elsewhere, like shortages of PPE and testing, reappeared, making it clear the federal government had done nothing to address or plan for a new surge. Trump continued to deny the severity of the virus, falsely claiming “99 percent of [cases] are totally harmless,” and then pushing for schools to reopen.
This week Trump lost a landmark case, with the Supreme Court ruling 7-2 that Trump cannot keep his tax returns and financial records from the Manhattan U.S. Attorney; however, the ruling would likely mean the public will not see the documents ahead of the election. Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman retired from the Army, citing bullying by Trump after he testified in the impeachment inquiry. Days later, Trump commuted Roger Stone’s sentence days before his former associate was set to serve 40 months in prison. Republican Sen. Mitt Romney called the commuting of Stone’s sentence “unprecedented, historic corruption,” but he was — as would be typical — the lone GOP voice to criticize Trump, as an exhausted, outraged country had dejectedly grown accustomed and normalized to such lawlessness from our budding authoritarian leader.
Read the full list here: https://theweeklylist.org/weekly-list/week-191/
This week the coronavirus spread further out of control, topping 50,000 daily cases for three consecutive days — more than 10,000 higher than the early peak in April. Trump continued to largely ignore the pandemic, refuse to wear a mask, and make the most trusted source of information, Dr. Anthony Fauci, less accessible, leading to confusion in the patchwork of state responses.
This week reporting indicated Trump knew as early as 2019 that Russia had put bounties on U.S. troops in Afghanistan, and several U.S. Marines were killed as a result. Trump pretended he had not been briefed, and after he officially was briefed Tuesday, continued to call the matter a “hoax” repeatedly, and took no steps to hold Russia accountable.
Trump continued to stoke an us vs. them divide in America, invoking a straw man “new far-left fascism” in a divisive, dystopian July Fourth speech at Mount Rushmore, claiming to be the savior of law enforcement and our “heritage.” Even as Trump continued to fall in the polls, and the mood of the nation continued to darken, Trump seemed unable to rise to the occasion, and do anything other than revert to racism and divisiveness — moving in the opposite direction of the country’s mood amid what the New York Times coined the broadest social movement in history. By week’s end, even Republican lawmakers worried Trump would forever associate their party with racial animus.
Read the full list here: https://theweeklylist.org/weekly-list/week-190/
This week started with a humiliating return to the campaign trail for Trump, as a mere 6,200 supporters showed up for his rally in Tulsa, after the campaign bragged more than one million had registered. Trump’s poll numbers continue to sag amid his mishandling of the pandemic and racial justice protests. Instead of rising to the challenge, Trump reverted to drumming up racism and division — resulting in even the conservative Wall Street Journal Editorial Board warning he was in danger of not only losing to Democrat Joe Biden, but also taking the Republican Senate down with him.
This week the coronavirus pandemic got out of control in several states that reopened without proper precautions. Trump ignored the record number of daily cases, repeatedly lying that the increase was due to an increase in testing. The White House Coronavirus Task Force returned after a two month hiatus, and Vice President Mike Pence likewise used it as an opportunity to lie to the American people that the curve was flattened and states were reopening safely. The Trump regime refused to take any leadership in testing or contact tracing, leaving states on their own, as the death toll passed 125,000 Americans in just four months’ time.
As the week came to a close, shocking reporting indicated that Russia had put a bounty on U.S. soldiers in Afghanistan, and that Trump had been informed months ago, yet took no action, raising renewed questions and concerns about his strange relationship with President Vladimir Putin.
Read the full list here: https://theweeklylist.org/weekly-list/week-189/
This week grave polling results revealed a downtrodden country feeling the impact of concurrent and intersecting crises, as national pride fell to its lowest level in two decades, while just 20% were satisfied with the direction of the country. Trump received poor marks for his handling of the coronavirus and for dividing the country amid social unrest.
The coronavirus was back with a vengeance this week, as several states experienced spikes and daily record highs, weeks after reopening and Memorial Day celebrations. Nonetheless, Trump denied the new surge, claiming the virus was “dying out” and it would “fade away.” Vice President Mike Pence also pivoted to get behind Trump as a denier, falsely claiming that cases “had declined precipitously” and blamed the media in an op-ed. Despite numerous warnings and pleas from Oklahoma officials to postpone, Trump planned what the campaign claimed would be a huge rally there for Saturday night — claiming as many as one million had registered to attend.
There was another Friday night firing this week, of U.S. attorney general for the SDNY Geoffrey Berman, who initially resisted late Friday and said he would not leave, leading to a standoff as the week came to an end. Berman’s SDNY has several investigations relating to people in Trump’s orbit, and there was much speculation about the abrupt departure of a Trump appointee. One explanation put forth was information gleaned from former NSA John Bolton’s book, which was released to the media, and pointed to Trump wanting to help out his dictator friends.
Read the full list here: https://theweeklylist.org/weekly-list/week-188/
This week Trump seemed to fade into the background, unsure of how to respond to a triple set of crises that gripped the nation: continuing social unrest, a second wave of coronavirus, and the stock market plunging with the economy officially entering a recession.
Trump spent most of the week locked up in the White House, behind the layers of fencing he had constructed, which protestors in turn decorated with signs reading “Black Lives Matter,” “Fuck Trump,” “I Can’t Breathe,” and other such posters. Trump finally emerged on Thursday, heading to Dallas, but still without addressing the killing of George Floyd whose funeral was in Houston days earlier, or coming up with any policies or plans despite one of the most rapid shifts in opinion in our country’s history: support for Black Lives Matter and the need for police reform.
The military continued to turn on Trump, as the nation’s top military officer, Gen. Mark Milley, publicly apologized for his role in Trump’s photo op at St. John’s. He and Defense Secretary Mark Esper were called out in a letter signed by more than 700 West Point alumni, as Trump delivered a commencement address there Saturday. More than 1,250 former Justice Department officials also called for an investigation of Attorney General William Barr for his role in gassing peaceful protestors.
Read the full list here: https://theweeklylist.org/weekly-list/week-187/
This week, in a scene reminiscent of a crackdown in an authoritarian regime, U.S. troops stationed in our nation’s capital at Trump’s behest fired tear gas and rubber bullets on peaceful protestors to disperse them as Trump delivered a “law and order” speech from the White House Rose Garden. The sounds of protestors screaming and shots being fired could be heard in the background as Trump spoke tough talk, and threatened to send the U.S. military to cities to take control. Trump then awkwardly swaggered to St. John’s Church, with a few in his inner circle, and held up a Bible. It was a scene evoking a democracy in collapse —while the country and the world looked on in horror.
While Republicans largely remained silent and went along, top generals, some of whom formerly worked in the regime, spoke out about the violation of our Constitution, and Trump and the military troops he used, violating their oath. Democracies turned on Trump, while he embraced strongmen from Russia and Brazil, and by week’s end said he would pull troops out of Germany.
Trump spent most of the week cowering in the White House — having extended its perimeter with, ironically, walls of his own — and continued his tough talk, using term like “dominate” and referring to protestors as “terrorists.” As with his inability to show any empathy for 100,000 Americans dead from the coronavirus, Trump made no effort to acknowledge the social unrest with healing words or actions.
But the American people were not deterred. Protests continued, and by Wednesday, the 9th day, had turned mostly peaceful. Americans, who had been cooped up at home for months from the coronavirus took to the street in the broadest protest in U.S. history, spreading to more than 650 cities and towns, across all 50 states — and even in cities worldwide.
Read the full list here: https://theweeklylist.org/weekly-list/week-186/
This was one of the darkest weeks since I started the list. The week began with Trump spinning conspiracy theories to distract from the country reaching the grim milestone of losing 100,000 Americans to the coronavirus, and ended with our country literally burning in the flames of our racial divide, with Trump throwing kerosene on the flames.
Susan Glasser, a writer for the New Yorker, noted the year 2020 has been some horrible combination of the 1918 (the deadly Spanish flu pandemic), 1929 (the Great Depression), and 1968 (the Civil Rights Movement). The heaviness, sorrow, and sheer exhaustion our country felt this week was the summation of Americans suffering, dying, and starving from the pandemic, and yet another death of a Black American at the hands of police. Trump was ill-equipped to handle any of it — let alone all at once. He golfed, tweeted, threatened Twitter for fact-checking tweets, and played upon every worse impulse in some hope of salvaging his approval and re-election prospects.
As we head into the November election, and Trump plays at every ploy he can to make voting less accessible, and raise concerns about the validity of an election with mail-in ballots, it is starkly clear that our country may hobble through to the election, but we could not withstand another four years of Trump — that would spell the end of the great American experiment.
Read the full list here: https://theweeklylist.org/weekly-list/week-185/
This week, Trump fully transitioned from leader to salesman, leaving the states to fend for themselves, while he promoted a “transition to greatness.” After a week when two White House employees tested positive for the coronavirus, Trump made the remarkable claim he has been taking hydroxychloroquine prophylactically — leading public health experts to sound the alarms to American citizens not to follow Trump’s lead. Days later, the largest study yet on the drug’s efficacy to date found no benefit, but severe cardiac risks for Covid-19 patients.
This week, Trump continued campaign stops at battleground states, visiting a Ford Motor plant in Michigan that had been reconfigured to manufacture ventilators. Despite requests from the company and demands by the state’s attorney general to abide by restrictions requiring a face mask, Trump refused, later saying, “I didn’t want to give the press the pleasure of seeing it.”
Trump also battled with Michigan’s secretary of state (notably Michigan’s governors, SoS, and AG are all women), and with Nevada, over those states offering voters the option to vote by mail given the pandemic. Without offering any evidence or proof, Trump made accusations of voter fraud and threatened both states with withholding federal funding — something he cannot do. Days later he commanded houses of worship to reopen immediately as “essential,” and similarly threatened governors not to get in the way — another power he does not have.
As the week came to an end, and the death toll neared 100,000 Americans in less than three months, Trump started Memorial Day weekend by golfing at one of his clubs.
Read the full list here: https://theweeklylist.org/weekly-list/week-184/
This week Trump tried out a new, more positive approach as the death toll passed 80,000 and more than 36 million Americans were unemployed, claiming, “We have met the moment and we have prevailed.” Trump bragged the U.S. leads the world in testing, then later seemed to indicate testing was not important, and if we didn’t test so much, we wouldn’t have so many cases — leading an NYT health and science reporter to say of Trump, “This is not somebody whose grasp of the science is even third-grade-level.”
Contrary to Trump’s upbeat assessment, this week Dr. Anthony Fauci and CDC Director Dr. Robert Redfield gave somber testimony before the Senate, warning of dire consequences of reopening too soon. Whistleblower Dr. David Bright warned the House in testimony, “Without better planning, 2020 could be the darkest winter in modern history.”
This week Trump turned to an old strategy of blaming former President Barack Obama and accusing him of “Obamagate” — although it was unclear what this was, and Trump never clarified. Nonetheless, Fox News and the conservative media compliantly spent the week on this shiny coin, turning coverage away from the growing death toll, and grim economic news. Health experts pressured the FDA to issue a warning after a growing body of data showed hydroxychloroquine, the drug touted by Trump and his cohorts, could be deadly.
The week closed with an emboldened Trump firing another inspector general, the fourth in recent weeks, as he continued to retaliate and surround himself by incompetent loyalists — sadly, with little pushback and no consequences.
Read the full list here: https://theweeklylist.org/weekly-list/week-183/
This week, despite a White House model showing ending social distancing would result in a spike of 200,000 new cases a day and deaths of 3,000 a day, the majority of the country started to reopen. Public health officials warned of dire consequences, with one likening the premature reopening to genocide, but Trump triumphantly declared Phase 1 was over, and now the American people would need to be “warriors” and return to work — a possible death sentence for many of the vulnerable.
Trump was back out on the campaign trail, visiting a factory in swing state Arizona, where his campaign music played in the background, and Trump continued his strange bravado of not wearing a face mask. Within days, it was discovered that two White House employees in direct contact with Trump and Vice President Mike Pence had tested positive, as had 11 members of the Secret Service, yet Trump continued to flout advice from experts on wearing a mask and social distancing.
This week, the country lost 3.2 million additional jobs, and the April unemployment rate came in at 14.7%, the highest since the Great Depression. It became clear this week, as Trump said the White House coronavirus task force would be shuttered, and then under pressure, instead reconfigured its purpose to planning the reopening, that indeed, Trump and the federal government did not actually have a plan of what to do, or have interest in developing one. Instead, Trump was willing the roll the dice with American lives in hopes of reopening in time to spur the economy ahead of the November election. As one op-ed writer noted, while numerous countries with mass testing and contract tracing were returning to normal, Trump had essentially quit.
Read the full list here: https://theweeklylist.org/weekly-list/week-182/
This week, with his approval dropping and Republicans alarmed about losing the Senate in 2020, Trump shifted away from holding daily task force briefings. Instead, he and his regime sought to portray a great economic recovery coming soon, with the worst of the pandemic behind us. Trump told reporters, “I see the light at the end of the tunnel very strongly,” and Jared Kushner told “Fox & Friends” that the regime’s handling of the crisis was “a great success story.”
While Trump tried to shift the narrative, the death toll passed another milestone — deaths during the Vietnam War — and ended the week with more than 65,000 Americans dead. Trump sought to move the goal posts again for what he could call a “good job,” from 60,000 on April 10, to 70,000 early this week, then by the end of the week to hopefully less than 100,000. As Trump continued to agitate for states to reopen and to back protestors, a patchwork of reopenings played out, as Dr. Anthony Fauci warned that opening too soon would “get us right back in the same boat that we were a few weeks ago.”
This week Trump and his regime focused on shifting blame to China as part of Trump’s re-election strategy. Trump contradicted U.S. intelligence claiming, without evidence, that Covid-19 originated in a lab in Wuhan. Others in his regime and Republican lawmakers turned up the rhetoric and threats of retaliation.
Read the full list here: https://theweeklylist.org/weekly-list/week-181/
This week opened and closed with Russia: opening with a bipartisan Senate Intelligence Committee report reaffirming U.S. intelligence’s January 2017 conclusion that Russia interfered to help install Trump, and closing with Trump surreptitiously signing an unusual joint statement with Russian President Vladimir Putin amid the pandemic.
This week the country passed the tragic milestone of 50,000 deaths from the coronavirus — more than 1 in 4 deaths worldwide. The country is losing 10,000 Americans every four days now, and as New York sees its cases and deaths ebb, several other states surged. Trump flipped from encouraging states to reopen, to pulling back, to encouraging again. Polling showed the vast majority of Americans want to stay home, despite the optics of protest rallies, some fomented by far-right groups or groups with ties to Trump himself. He and his regime have yet to come up with a plan or strategy to control the pandemic, as the U.S. continues to be the global epicenter. Data this week revealed the virus was already in major U.S. cities in February, quietly spreading undetected to thousands of Americans.
After a major study cautioned against the use of hydroxychloroquine, Trump later in the week made a remarkable suggestion to try ultraviolet light or disinfectant. Following the uproar thereafter, Trump finally backed off from his daily task force briefings, which had morphed into campaign rallies, some two hours long. Republicans, Trump aides, and campaign staffers fretted the briefings and his lack of response to the outbreak have hurt him in 2020 polling in battleground states, and threaten to drag down not only Trump in 2020, but also Republicans could lose the Senate.
Read the full list here: https://theweeklylist.org/weekly-list/week-180/
This week Trump threw a series of shiny coins to distract from the growing death toll and his mishandling of the coronavirus response. On Monday, he proclaimed he, not the governors, had “absolute authority” to reopen the country; on Tuesday he halted funding to the World Health Organization in the midst of a global pandemic; on Wednesday he threatened to adjourn Congress to make recess appointments; on Thursday he announced his plan to reopen the economy to much ballyhoo and which wasn’t actually a plan; and on Friday he encouraged protestors with tweets to “liberate” states from lockdown orders. Each item was remarkable on its own, and the media spent their days dissecting the legality of the pronouncements and whether they were presidential, as the death toll surpassed live lost in three years of the Korean War and kept going.
As the week came to an end, the United States accounted for nearly 1 in 3 worldwide coronavirus cases, and nearly 1 in 4 deaths. The U.S. is just 4.2% of the world’s population. It became increasingly clear that months of inaction, lies, and disinformation had turned a country which up through the Obama administration had been a leader in preventing global pandemics, into the epicenter of infection, death, and dysfunctionality.
As the U.S.counted 2,000 or more deaths per day, with no slow down in sight, Trump, Fox News, and conservative commentators minimized the import with various whataboutisms, and not-so-subtly pushed for the country to reopen. Not that the country was ready — it was definitely not according to public health experts. Rather Trump was singularly focused on getting re-elected, which required an economic upturn, as 22 million Americans filed for unemployment — even if that meant inciting insurrection.
Read the full list here: https://theweeklylist.org/weekly-list/week-179/
This week, nearly 12,000 Americans died of the coronavirus. The U.S. became not only the country with the most cases by a factor of three, but also the country with the most deaths in the world. As American bodies piled up, Trump was obstinate and refused to change his approach, instead continuing to tweet grievances and holding daily campaign rallies masquerading as task force briefings, some lasting hours long.
It became clear this week that neither Trump nor our federal government would have a plan or much of a role to play in stopping the growing outbreak — unthinkable in the history of our country. Instead, states were left to fend for themselves, and Americans learned to count on one another to stay home and volunteer to help. Trump’s short-lived bump in the polls disappeared, and approval of his and the federal government’s handling of the outbreak fell considerably.
This week Trump pushed the unproven drug hydroxychloroquine as his game changer, amplified by Fox News — taking a page from the Roger Ailes playbook of casting Trump as a hero bringing hope, and the “other media” and Democrats as villains who downplayed the drug to get back at Trump. Fox News and Trump allies also pushed other conspiracy theories, including that the death count was overstated.
As the week came to an end, Trump seemed on unfamiliar ground, unable to deploy his typical strategy of casting blame and making it stick and redirecting as Americans were dying, and dying alone — and the virus developed new hot spots in major cities and rural America.
This week coronavirus cases and deaths in the U.S. spiked, adding close to 200,000 reported cases, and by midweek, more than a thousand Americans were dying each day. Trump pivoted from denying the crisis and wanting to reopen the country, to suddenly acknowledging the gravity and claiming if 100,000 to 200,000 Americans die, he will have done a “very good job” — a remarkable claim! Only two times in American history, the Civil War and World War II, did more Americans die.
Trump continued to blame governors, the media, and this week accused hospital workers in New York City — as that city became the global epicenter of the pandemic — of stealing masks and selling them off for a profit. Trump made this accusation three times. As New York prepared for the apex of cases, Trump denied Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s request for more ventilators, and when asked by reporters Friday if New York had enough for the expected weekend surge, responded, “we’ll see.”
This week Jared Kushner was introduced at a task force briefing as leading much of the federal government response, despite his background as a real estate developer with no public health and scarce government experience. Kushner parroted Trump, saying the states are on their own and the national stockpile is not for them, and then when questioned by reporters on his misstatement on the stockpile, changed the associated language on the government’s website overnight. Reporting continued to reveal how poorly Trump has handled the pandemic response, including spending the first 70 days denying the problem existed and taking almost no action.
This was perhaps the most frightening time since Trump took office, as he appeared unmoved by the growing number of American deaths, and unwilling and unable to take any sort of action to improve matters, as the pandemic continued to ravage the U.S. By week’s end, the U.S. accounted for 1 in 4 worldwide cases, and 1 in 8 deaths.
Throughout the week, Trump tried throwing shiny coins to change the narrative: from launching a military counternarcotics operation, to bragging about a phone call with Saudi Crown Prince MBS on oil prices, to a blistering letter sent to Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, to firing Intelligence Committee Inspector General Michael Atkinson late Friday night. But none of these acts distracted from the slew of American people dying.
Read the full list here: https://theweeklylist.org/weekly-list/week-177/
This week the U.S. continued exponential growth of coronavirus cases, finding itself with the most cases in the world on Thursday — surpassing Italy and China. The number of deaths likewise continued to grow exponentially. New York was hardest hit, accounting for roughly half the cases, but was also ahead of the rest of the country in aggressively testing and quarantining.
An impetuous Trump, eager to put this all behind him, and concerned about the stock market and his re-election, continued to minimize the pandemic, saying Monday he wanted to reopen the economy at the end of a 15-day period, meaning next Monday. On Tuesday, he tweaked that slightly to say he wanted to have the churches full by Easter Sunday, saying it would be “beautiful.” Dr. Anthony Fauci, who seemed to be the sole voice of reason in the task force, pushed Trump to be flexible and watch the virus. This week, the daily coronavirus task force briefing devolved into Trump campaign rallies, filled with lies and disinformation — causing one death in Arizona where a man and his wife ingested Trump’s supposed coronavirus cure.
This week, Trump shifted from blaming China and using the term “Chinese virus,” to blaming New York as a “hot spot” — by week’s end, threatening a quarantine of the state and neighboring New Jersey and Connecticut. During the week, as confusion reigned with Trump’s inaction, states were left to fend for themselves, often bidding against one another amid a nationwide shortage of medical supplies. Rather than leading and unifying, Trump targeted governors who were, in his view, not nice enough to him — singling out Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer as that state saw a surge in cases and deaths for his ire, refusing to declare the state a disaster, and according to Whitmer, telling vendors not to fulfill orders for medical supplies. States also started to follow Trump’s lead and target one another.
Congress passed a $2.2 trillion coronavirus relief package, as more than 3 million Americans filed for unemployment. Trump continued to attack the media for their coverage of his and his regime’s failures to lead and take action on this national emergency.
Read the full list here: https://theweeklylist.org/weekly-list/week-176/
This week the United States had the highest spread rate of the coronavirus of countries reporting, starting the week with roughly 2,500 cases, and ending the week fourth in the world with more than 22,000. Countries that had early testing available like South Korea saw their daily adds ebb to below 100, while daily growth in U.S. cases was close to 50%. Despite Trump’s promises last Friday for 1.4 million tests this week, a new Google testing website and drive-thru testing at retailers — none of it happened. Trump continued this week to hold daily press briefings in which he lied, spread disinformation, and attacked the media, while self-aggrandizing — resembling and replacing Trump’s campaign rallies.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average traded down another 17%, the worst week since October 2008, and hitting levels below where the market traded when Trump took office. Goldman Sachs estimated 2.25 million Americans filed for initial unemployment this week — a record — while the Trump regime asked states not to report their data, lest the stock market, 30% off its highs, would trade further down. Several banks said the U.S. economy was already in a recession, and projected the second quarter gross domestic product would fall double digits, some estimating a fall of more than 20%. The Senate reconvened this week, but finalized little as businesses small and large shut down, and the nation came to a standstill.
Amid fear and panic, Trump assured the country all was well and he had matters in control — blaming China for the “Chinese virus,” while blustering we are at war with an “invisible enemy” that he will defeat. Fox News sharply shifted its tone on the virus, but much of the country, which has not been impacted, viewed it as a problem for three blue states. Hospitals around the country — especially New York and California — sounded alarms about lack of masks and other surgical gear, as well as ventilators and ICU beds. Trump shifted his tone from promising states help to telling governors, “We’re not a shipping clerk” — you’re on your own.
Read the full list here: https://theweeklylist.org/weekly-list/week-175/
This week Trump finally was no longer able to sustain a narrative minimizing the severity of the coronavirus outbreak. The week started with 387 cases in 28 states, and ended with more than 2,500 cases in 49 states, D.C., and Puerto Rico, with 51 Americans dead. Trump continued to blame everyone but himself: the Obama administration for lack of testing, the Federal Reserve for stock market volatility, the media for creating panic and holding him to account. On Friday, he called a national emergency as the country was gripped with fear and uncertainty.
The stock market, to which Trump has hitched his re-election, had another tumultuous week, gyrating up and down with historic movements, and entering bear territory. A furious Trump addressed the country some days, and hid on others as one by one, normal parts of American life, from professional sports to Broadway shows, were cancelled. Million of K-12 and college students will also start Monday with weeks long school closures and remote learning, with an unknown return date.
This week, numerous Republican lawmakers who attended the Conservative Political Action Conference and Mar-a-Lago self-quarantined due to exposure to those who tested positive. Nonetheless, all week both Trump and Pence continued to shake hands and, until week’s end, refused to be tested. The first containment zone was established in New Rochelle, New York after a single case last week mushroomed to over 173 in Westchester County by the end of the week. A lack of testing meant the country really had no idea how widespread the outbreak had become, as reporting indicated Trump knew about the threat from the virus months ago, but sought to hide it by minimizing testing and avoid taking action to warn the public.
Read the full list here: https://theweeklylist.org/weekly-list/week-174/
This week the coronavirus spread in the U.S. from 15 to 387 cases in 28 states, with at least 19 people dead. The number of cases is likely well under-reported due to the lack of available testing kits — one of many signs that the Trump regime is ill-equipped to tackle what is likely to become a global pandemic. The lack of verified information, combined with the constant disinformation put forward by Trump and his regime, led to a general sense of panic, as travel, conferences, and other events were canceled.
The economy showed signs of cracks, with a highly volatile stock market, and interest rates hitting historic lows as investors sought safety. Trump tried one day to urge people to go to work even if sick, then reversed himself, and all along used his own “hunch” about death rates and spread of Covid-19, parting from scientists and the World Health Organization. Amid the public crisis, Friday evening, Trump fired Mick Mulvaney and installed loyalist Rep. Mark Meadows as his fourth White House chief of staff in just 38 months.
As Joe Biden emerged on top of the 2020 Democratic pack, Trump and his allies in Congress sought to launch investigations into Hunter Biden and Burisma. A federal judge appointed by George H.W. Bush sharply criticized Attorney General William Barr’s handling of the Mueller report, saying that he put forward a “distorted” and “misleading” account of its findings to protect Trump, and his “lack of candor” had harmed not only his reputation, but also that of the Justice Department. The judge demanded to see a full version of the report to determine if redactions were appropriate.
Read the full list here: https://theweeklylist.org/weekly-list/week-173/
This week the coronavirus consumed the country and the world, as it spread from continent to continent. Trump’s strategy in recent weeks of ignoring and minimizing the virus’ import became untenable as his precious stock market plummeted, and country by country news spread of deaths and disruptions. The global stock markets have lost $6 trillion in value from the outbreak, while the Dow Jones Industrial Average and Standard & Poor’s 500 lost 12% and 11% this week alone, the worst fall since the recession of 2008.
Trump held an impromptu news conference Wednesday, where he openly contradicted the experts by his side. He spent the week blaming the market’s plunge on the media, the Democrats, and even the Federal Reserve. Trump’s firing of the U.S. pandemic response team, and cuts to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s budget and focus, left the country flat-footed and ill-prepared.
As the week came to a close, the first American died from the coronavirus, and shortly after the news was publicly reported, Trump held his second news conference on Saturday afternoon, appearing somber and disoriented. Negative global economic news continued to come up, suggesting the stock market’s turmoil was far from over — and Trump, who has centered his re-election around the stock market price, started to see polling suggesting trouble.
Read the full list here: https://theweeklylist.org/weekly-list/week-172/
This week the country strayed further from democracy, as Trump purged the Office of the Director of National Intelligence. The firings started when Trump learned a senior official at ODNI had briefed House lawmakers on Russia’s efforts to interfere in the 2020 election, with the intent to help Trump. Trump fired his acting director, installing a loyalist with no intelligence experience, who then started the process of cleaning house of those not loyal to Trump. Admiral William McRaven, who oversaw the raid that killed Osama Bin Laden, noted in an op-ed, “We should be deeply afraid for the future of the nation. When presidential ego and self-preservation are more important than national security, there is nothing left to stop the triumph of evil.”
At the end of the week, as Democrats were about to vote in their third primary contest, reporting also indicated that U.S. intelligence found Russia was interfering in the Democratic primary, with the intention of helping Sen. Bernie Sanders and sowing discord within the party. Predictably, chaos ensued as Sanders questioned the Washington Post for reporting the story the day before the primary, and tweeted his own version of deep-state rhetoric, saying the “Democratic establishment…can’t stop us!” Trump fueled the flames on Twitter and sought to raise concern with the validity of the Nevada caucus results at a campaign rally.
Trump also issued a series of pardons to wealthy, well-connected white men — several of whom will able to help fund his re-election race. He also publicly threatened to intervene in the Roger Stone case, despite an apparent threat to resign by Attorney General William Barr over Trump’s continued public remarks about Justice Department matters. Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor issued a stark warning in a withering dissent opinion, accusing the court of bias towards Trump.
Read the full list here: https://theweeklylist.org/weekly-list/week-171/
This week, unchecked by checks and balances, Trump continued his retaliation tour, unabashedly showcasing his will to control the Justice Department. After career prosecutors made recommendations for sentencing for his longtime associate Roger Stone, which were overridden by the DOJ, a mass exodus ensued, nicknamed the ‘Tuesday massacre’ — a nomenclature now familiar in the era of Trump. Feeling unshackled, Trump publicly criticized prosecutors, judges, and even jurors, seeming to openly seize the DOJ as a department under his control, without a hint of independence.
Trump also flexed his political will by deploying the Department of Homeland Security to impose measures on so-called sanctuary cities, while inviting the New York governor to the White House, after suggesting in a tweet that the state should terminate lawsuits against him and his businesses in exchange for reopening Global Entry to New York citizens. Trump continued to threaten his perceived political enemies and the so-called deep state with retribution for his grievances despite aides’ attempts to calm him down.
Senators, now fully recognizing Trump had only been further empowered by their impeachment acquittal, reigned in his ability to strike Iran, and expressed odd surprise that this was indeed the outcome of their lapse in holding Trump accountable. Without consequences for his actions, the public increasingly worried about what an unbridled Trump will do next.
Read the full list here: https://theweeklylist.org/weekly-list/week-170/
This was one of the most frightening weeks, as Trump seized on his impeachment acquittal to retaliate against his perceived enemies. Within 48 hours, Trump’s Department of Homeland Security suspended the Global Entry program for New York residents, Trump’s Treasury Department turned over confidential records on Hunter Biden to Senate Republicans opening investigations at his behest, and Trump ousted Alexander Vindman and his twin brother from the National Security Council and recalled Gordon Sondland from his post as U.S. ambassador to the European Union.
The only brakes on Trump’s momentum in seizing power were a visual rebuke by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, who ripped up Trump’s State of the Union speech on national television while standing behind him, and Sen. Mitt Romney voting to convict Trump of abuse of power, the first senator in U.S. history to vote to remove from office a president from the same party, denying Trump a strictly partisan vote.
Trump closed the week with an event at the East Room in the White House, where he openly praised only those who had stood unequivocally by him, while promising revenge against his enemies, including Pelosi, Romney, and a long list of others, including institutions like the FBI.
Some of us have been calling out Trump’s authoritarian impulses since November 2016. This week the rest of the country not already there, caught up!
Read the full list here: https://theweeklylist.org/weekly-list/week-169/
This week, despite explosive new allegations implicating Trump in leaked portions of the manuscript for John Bolton’s upcoming book, the Senate voted 51–49 on Friday not to call witnesses, all but ensuring Trump will be acquitted in the impeachment trial. This marks the first time in U.S. history that an impeachment trial will occur with no witnesses. Both House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer asserted an acquittal without witnesses and documents would be meaningless.
The gravity of what many viewed as a cover-up was summarized by presidential historian Jon Meacham, who noted after the Senate vote, “Trump may well have now become the most powerful president in American history,” and he is “functionally a monarch at this point.” Meacham added, “think about the long term implications of having a president who is above the law.”
In fact, Trump’s lawyer Alan Dershowitz actually asserted Trump’s actions of seeking foreign help were in the U.S. interest, before reversing himself and blaming the media for misinterpreting his words. The rest of Trump’s legal team danced around questions and obfuscated the truth, leading Pelosi to call on them to be disbarred. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo continued his battle with NPR, kicking one of their reporters off his plane, while Trump congratulated him for verbally attacking reporter Mary Louise Kelly, saying, “You did a good job on her.”
Read the full list here: https://theweeklylist.org/weekly-list/week-168/
This week the Senate impeachment trial of Donald J. Trump began, even as evidence continued to trickle out. House Democrat impeachment managers made their case for the two articles over three days, laying out their argument with an intricate presentation and appealing to Republicans’ better angels to put partisanship aside for the sake of preserving our fragile democracy. As the week came to a close, it appeared Senate Republicans were unwilling to do so.
The atmosphere of the largely obfuscated Senate chamber was described as that of an elementary school classroom, with Senate Republicans joking and, at times, leaving the chamber in violation of Senate rules while Democrats were speaking. It was unclear by week’s end if Republicans would heed the polling which consistently showed the overwhelming majority of Americans wanted to hear from first-hand witnesses.
At the start of the trial, Trump visited Davos, Switzerland for the World Economic Forum as staffers sought to portray him as a hard working president above the fray; but as would be typical with Trump’s trips abroad, he quickly devolved into making outlandish statements and insulting U.S. allies. On Wednesday, as he returned to Washington, Trump was sending a record volume of tweets and fuming over impeachment and that his defense would be presenting on Saturday, the “death valley” of television ratings.
Read the full list here: https://theweeklylist.org/weekly-list/week-167/
This week the articles of impeachment were transmitted to the Senate, and the impeachment trial formally began. Senators were sworn in, but it was unclear if they planned to follow the oath they swore to deliver impartial justice.
This week the House released hundreds of pages of documents provided by Lev Parnas, an associate of Rudy Giuliani. Parnas made stunning disclosures in MSNBC and CNN interviews of other Trump regime members being “in the loop” on Trump’s plan to withhold aid from Ukraine pending the announcement of investigations, including Vice President Mike Pence, former Energy Secretary Rick Perry, and many others.
As the Senate trial was about to begin, the nonpartisan Government Accountability Office found Trump had violated the law by withholding Ukraine aid. The government of Ukraine also announced it would open a criminal investigation into Trump regime members’ alleged surveillance of former U.S. ambassador to Ukraine Maria Yovanovitch disclosed in the Parnas documents, while Secretary of State Mike Pompeo skipped scheduled Congressional hearings on Iran, and largely hid from the media for the balance of the week.
Read the full list here: https://theweeklylist.org/weekly-list/week-166/
This week as the country was on the brink of war with Iran, we stood alone, with the Trump regime having neglected to consult with our allies in Europe or the region. Reporting indicated the decision to strike that precipitated the latest crisis was made by Trump and Trump alone, amid his shrinking circle of less experienced but more compliant national security experts. After Iran retaliated, Trump seemed flat-footed, saying he would address the country that night, then backing off. The next morning he addressed the nation in a speech which he seemed to struggle to deliver, full of lies and misinformation, and which clarified little on strategy or the reason for the escalation. One of the numerous unintended consequences of the escalation was a downed Ukrainian Air plane, with 176 passengers killed over Tehran in the fog of war.
The basis for the strike was in dispute during the week, as the regime failed to provide Congress or the American people with information to back their ever-changing rationale. By the end of the week, the regime indicated it was threats to U.S. embassies that led to the strike, with Trump specifying, without providing evidence, four embassies in total. Reporting also indicated there was another planned strike the day Soleimani was killed, targeting a senior Iranian military official in Yemen, that failed — indicating a broader attack may have been underway, and further muddying the regime’s account of events.
This week former National Security Advisor John Bolton offered to testify in the Senate impeachment trial, which Trump later said he would likely block, as House Speaker Nancy Pelosi scheduled a vote to send the articles to the Senate. Republicans continued to largely stand behind Trump, even as he nearly brought the country to war without reason, and as the impeachment trial is set to get underway.
Read the full list: https://theweeklylist.org/weekly-list/week-165/
Throughout my time keeping the list, I have been concerned that since Trump would do anything to stay in power, when he felt he was losing his grip, we risked him taking extraordinary actions. This week, Trump assassinated Iran’s top general Qasem Soleimani — a decision he made while vacationing in Mar-a-Lago, and unilaterally, without seeking approval or consulting with Congressional leaders.
As a backdrop, this week additional reporting and documents released under Freedom of Information Act requests painted a far more dire picture for Trump heading into a Senate impeachment trial. As House Speaker Nancy Pelosi continued to hold the articles of impeachment, the mood seemed to shift with Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell trying to defend his statements about pre-judging the matter and his actions of moving in lock-step with the White House.
This week the country was again rocked by an anti-Semitic attack, amid a massive increase of hate crimes in U.S. major cities. Trump remained passive on the rise of hatred of all kinds, which continued to escalate to record levels in 2019.
Read the full list here: https://theweeklylist.org/weekly-list/week-164/
This was the quietest week in months as Congress left Washington for a two-week holiday break. After House Speaker Nancy Pelosi refused to transmit articles of impeachment to the Senate, Trump spent the week stewing and repeatedly attacking her on Twitter and in his limited public appearances. Sen. Lisa Murkowski became the first Republican Senator to speak out against Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s handling of the impeachment trial, saying she was “disturbed” by his “total coordination” with the White House.
Trump spent the week at Mar-a-Lago, removed from White House staffers and consumed with airing his personal grievances and amplifying far-right conspiracy theorists. He and his allies attacked Canadian Broadcasting Corporation for cutting out his cameo appearance in a Christmas showing of “Home Alone 2.” Trump also spent much of his days quoting hosts and guests on Fox News, and retweeting allies and conspiracy theorists.
This week the media did a bit of reckoning on its coverage of Trump, after Rolling Stone published an interview of “Meet the Press” host Chuck Todd, in which he admitted he has been “naive” in his coverage and complicit in the spread of disinformation. Evangelical leaders continued their online battle over whether Trump’s moral unfitness was grounds for his removal.
Read the full list here: https://theweeklylist.org/weekly-list/week-163/
In this historic week, Trump became the third president in U.S. history to be impeached. Unlike his recent predecessors who faced the process, Richard Nixon and Bill Clinton, Trump showed no remorse; rather as the vote was occurring, Trump blasted impeachment and his political opponents in a two-hour meandering speech at a campaign rally in Michigan. Even by his standards, his rhetoric was mean and petty — invoking a deceased Congressman, and suggesting he was watching from hell as his wife, Rep. Debbie Dingell, voted for impeachment.
Republicans continued to stand by Trump like sycophants. The hubris of Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and Sen. Lindsey Graham, saying their minds were made up and the Senate impeachment trial would not be fair, led House Speaker Nancy Pelosi to hold the articles of impeachment, refusing to transmit them before Congress recessed for the holiday break. Reporting continued to expose Trump’s strange ties to Russia, while in plain sight Trump allied with Russian President Vladimir Putin while continuing his frosty relationship with Ukraine.
As Trump continued his war on the so-called deep state, the exodus of senior employees at the Pentagon continued, and morale at Secretary of State Mike Pompeo’s office plummeted. The country felt on edge and divided as Congress and Trump departed, with Pelosi in control of the process, and no clear road ahead. Christianity Today, a mainstream evangelical magazine, called for Trump’s removal in a scathing op-ed, calling him “profoundly immoral.”
Read the full list here: https://theweeklylist.org/weekly-list/week-162/
This week, the House Judiciary Committee debated and voted to approve two articles of impeachment against Donald J. Trump, for abuse of power and obstruction of Congress. After two fiery days of debate, the panel took a somber vote Friday, marking the fourth time in U.S. history the Judiciary passed articles of impeachment. Remarkably, Senate Leader Mitch McConnell appeared on Fox News the night prior, saying he was in “total coordination” with the White House, and there was “zero chance” Trump would be removed from office.
On the same day Democratic House leadership announced the House would move forward on impeachment, Trump hosted Russian foreign minister Sergey Lavrov in the Oval Office, closed to U.S. press. Notably, the day prior, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, who has yet to be invited to the White House, met with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Paris, without Trump issuing any sort of statement or tweet in support of Ukraine.
This week the Justice Department Inspector General report was released, and although IG Mike Horowitz found no political bias and said the FBI was justified in opening its investigation, Trump and Attorney General William Barr both publicly disparaged the report. Former AG Eric Holder called on Barr to step down.
With impeachment in full gear, Trump, who fears the stain on his legacy, while portraying strength, has taken to binge tweeting — on one day alone tweeting or retweeting 123 times. The full House will vote on impeachment next Wednesday, and as the week came to a close, only one moderate House Democrat had defected.
Read the full list here: https://theweeklylist.org/weekly-list/week-161/
This week, Trump traveled to London for the NATO summit as impeachment hearings got underway in the House Judiciary Committee, and Democrats on the House Intelligence Committee issued a scathing 300-page report. While Trump sought to display strength abroad, and used the summit as an excuse not to participate in impeachment hearings, a video at a Buckingham Palace reception surfaced Tuesday night showing world leaders openly mocking and laughing at him. He abruptly left early Wednesday, seething and returning in disgrace as the constitutional scholars testified in House impeachment hearings. Harvard Law School professor Noah Feldman said, “the reason the Constitution provided for impeachment was to anticipate a situation like the one that is before you today.”
On Thursday, shortly after Trump tweeted “if you are going to impeach me, do it now, fast,” House Speaker Nancy Pelosi announced in somber tones and invoking the Founders and Constitution, that the House would begin drafting articles of impeachment. Meanwhile, Rudy Giuliani traveled back to Budapest and Kyiv, seeking dirt on the Bidens, meeting with Ukrainian officials, including one with ties to Russia.
This week Trump continued his feud with the so-called deep state, now growing to include the military — while his remaining conspiracy theories were set to be debunked in a report by the Justice Department Inspector General, in consultation with Attorney General William Barr’s handpicked prosecutor, John Durham.
This week, more conspiracy theories were debunked, as a draft of the Department of Justice Inspector General report found the FBI did not try to place spies in Trump’s 2016 campaign, nor did Obama wiretap him. Trump allies continued to push the conspiracy that Ukraine, not Russia, may have interfered in 2016, despite it being thoroughly and widely disproved.
Trump sought to portray strength — firing the Navy Secretary and tweeting an image of his face super-imposed on the body of Sylvester Stallone in “Rocky.” He told supporters in Florida how hard he was working for them — as opposed to Democrats’ focus on impeachment — then clandestinely flew to Afghanistan on Thanksgiving to visit U.S. troops under false pretenses.
The House Judiciary Committee announced the start of impeachment hearings next week, as Trump and his team weighed whether to participate. The committee did not rule out an article related to the Mueller probe. Reporting revealed the September 9 call between Trump and Gordon Sondland — central in Trump’s defense of his actions towards Ukraine — may not have happened, and Rudy Giuliani faces a broad probe of possible criminal activity.
The full list is here: https://theweeklylist.org/weekly-list/week-159/
This was a remarkable week in impeachment hearings as nine witnesses testified. By week’s end, it was clear that there was a coordinated effort that included multiple senior Trump officials “in the loop” seeking investigations from Ukraine in exchange for aid and a White House visit — an effort that went against U.S. national security interests. Trump and his allies’ defense, claiming Ukrainian corruption and 2016 interference, was also debunked, leaving by week end their only defense to be lack of a firsthand witness to Trump directing the activities. The impeachment hearings were stunning as, with each passing day, it became all the more clear how irreverently and irresponsibly Trump has acted, yet how unwilling the Republican Party was to stand up to him and hold him accountable.
Another conspiracy theory was also debunked as a draft of the Department of Justice Inspector General found there was no political bias by senior FBI officials against Trump in getting the wiretap of Carter Page. Trump took an unusual trip to Walter Reed Medical Center early in the week that led to speculation of a health issue, and spent the rest of the week ranting and bullying about impeachment, mostly on Twitter and Fox News, and largely avoiding the press. Trump and his allies continued to attack and discredit impeachment witnesses publicly, and blocked testimony from senior officials and subpoenaed documents from the State Department. Trump continued his battle with the U.S. military, flexing his commander in chief might to overturn their rules.
As the week came to end, and Congress left for Thanksgiving break, it was unclear where the impeachment investigation would head next. The House Intelligence Committee started writing its report, but did not rule out further hearings, and the Judiciary Committee also considered follow up on information gleaned from the Roger Stone trial related to Trump’s written testimony in the Mueller probe.
Read the full list here: https://theweeklylist.org/weekly-list/week-158/
This week public impeachment hearings started, with three career diplomats testifying before the House Intelligence Committee. Senate Republicans were notably quiet in their defense of Trump, while Republican House members focused mostly on the process, especially for the third witness, Maria Yovanovitch, who proved unassailable. William Taylor testified about a previously unknown phone call on July 26 overheard by his staffer David Holmes, in which Trump asked about “the investigation,” and Sondland assured him Ukraine would comply. Closed door hearings continued as well, as more career officials came forward to testify.
This week, Trump faced threats on other fronts, as longtime ally Roger Stone was found guilty on all charges of lying to Congress, tampering with witnesses, and concealing evidence in an effort prosecutors said was to shield Trump. Stone’s conviction was the sixth of a senior Trump official arising from the Mueller probe. This week Trump lawyers appealed two cases to the Supreme Court, both of which would require him to turn over eight years of his tax returns.
The world order continued to shift, as Trump hosted and praised Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan at the White House, weeks after Turkish-forces invaded Northern Syria, and notably in contrast to having not yet hosted Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky. French President Emmanuel Macron announced France would host a Ukraine summit on December 9, inviting leaders of Ukraine, Russia, and Germany, while pledging unwavering support to Zelensky.
Read the full list here: https://theweeklylist.org/weekly-list/week-157/
This week, House Democrats released transcripts of eight depositions, and announced a schedule for public hearings next week. As support for impeachment plateaued, Democrats tentatively planned to fast-track hearings, with a vote on articles of impeachment before the holiday break. Republicans meanwhile, careened from varying defenses of Trump, from it was not a bad quid pro quo, to he is not competent enough to carry out quid pro quo, to targeting witnesses and the whistleblower, to considering sacrificing a fall guy in Trump’s stead.
The Mueller probe was again back in the news, as the Justice Department released FBI 302 summary reports of interviews, and the trial of Roger Stone got underway. Documents revealed the source of the conspiracy theory that Ukraine, not Russia, interfered in the 2016 election was actually Konstantin Kilimnik, an employee of Paul Manafort who the FBI determined has ties to Russian intelligence. Stone and Trump’s possible involvement in seeking emails stolen by Russia from WikiLeaks was also back in the spotlight.
Election night provided victories for Democrats, taking control of the Virginia legislature for the first time in 26 years, winning the governorship of red state Kentucky, and historic victories in the suburbs of Philadelphia. As we head toward the 2020 election, U.S. intelligence again warned of election interference underway, something that Trump, and Republicans who continue to block legislation to protect voting, oddly seem to welcome.
Read the full list here: https://theweeklylist.org/weekly-list/week-156/
This week, further testimony in the impeachment probe brought the fifth and sixth public confirmation of a quid pro quo between Trump and Ukraine, including so far William Taylor, Gordon Sondland, Sen. Ron Johnson, Mick Mulvaney, Alexander Vindman and Tim Morrison. By week’s end, Senate Republicans discussed shifting their defense of Trump to acknowledging his quid pro quo, but saying it was not illegal — differing from House Republicans who continued to deny it, and Trump who maintained he had a “perfect” call and tested out new explanations for what occurred. Allegations of a possible White House cover up of Trump’s July 25 call also surfaced in this week’s testimony.
The House of Representatives took its first full, public vote on impeachment, passing a resolution to proceed with public hearings, and setting out ground rules to proceed. In the meantime, aspects of the Mueller probe came back into the spotlight as ongoing court cases played out, and Speaker Nancy Pelosi said she would not rule out including new information in the impeachment inquiry.
Trump tried to pivot and focus attention on a successful raid that killed the head of ISIS, seeking to turn it into a Hollywood story to distract attention and legitimize his haphazard foreign policy. This week hundreds of U.S. troops abandoned Kurdish allies in Syria, while hundreds of others moved back to Syria to protect oilfields not owned by the U.S. Trump attended his first Major League Baseball game for the World Series, and was treated to boos when he was announced, and chants of “Lock him up!” an inning later.
Read the full list here: https://theweeklylist.org/weekly-list/week-155/
This week marked a major shift in the world order, as Trump finalized the evacuation of troops on Turkey-Syria border, and the void of leadership was instantaneously filled by Russia. Russian President Vladimir Putin hosted Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan in Sochi, before hosting 40 African nations there, at what was dubbed the first Russia-Africa summit. As House Speaker Nancy Pelosi suggested to Trump in Week 153, “All roads with you lead to Putin.” Later in the week, Trump zig-zagged and sent U.S. troops and armored vehicles back to the region to guard oil fields, and suggested to millions of Kurdish civilians, displaced and endangered by his withdrawal, that they should relocate there.
This week marked a major shift in the impeachment inquiry, as career diplomats continue to defy Trump’s order not to testify. In a case related to the Mueller probe, Chief District Judge Beryl Howell ruled the House impeachment inquiry is legal, dealing another blow to Trump’s strategy of stonewalling the inquiry based on it not being legally authorized. Nine witnesses have testified so far, crystallizing a picture of clear quid pro quo. Despite stunts and distractions by Trump’s Republican allies, House Democrats continued to prevail in the messaging battle. By week’s end, Trump was forced to bring in additional lawyers and convene staffers to come up with a strategy to defend himself from impeachment.
This week Trump’s Department of Justice turned the investigation of the investigators into a criminal probe — raising concerns Attorney General William Barr is acting to give Trump a political victory and punish his enemies. Barr too is increasingly being drawn into the impeachment probe, while drawing rebukes for his handling of the whistleblower complaint.
Read the full list: https://theweeklylist.org/weekly-list/week-154/
This week they just said it out loud: Trump’s acting chief of staff Mick Mulvaney scolded reporters, saying Ukraine was a quid pro quo, and “Get over it!” This was yet another in a series of unending trial balloons to gauge just how far Trump could push boundaries, and what he could normalize on his path to deconstructing our democracy. At the same news conference, Mulvaney informed reporters that Trump would host the 2020 G7 summit at his Doral Resort, an unprecedented act and another trial balloon. By the end of the week, Republicans were tiring of Donald J. Trump.
Further evidence of shifting moods was the flow of career professionals and Trump appointees defying his stonewall and testifying before Congress. Unlike his successful dodge of the Mueller probe, the reporting and testimony all seem to point to Trump being at the center of demanding help from a foreign government, and withholding Congressionally-approved funds as a hammer. At week’s end, in a congressional hearing on Hurricane Maria, it became clear it had done the same to Puerto Rico, withholding aid approved by Congress at his whim.
Trump has also shown his utter ineptitude on foreign policy, and the consequences of his withdrawal of troops from Syria resulted in calamity one week later. By week’s end, diplomats were questioning if the U.S. could be held responsible for Crimes Against Humanity for ethnic cleansing, due to Trump’s callousness and indifference, at times seeming to encourage Turkish brutality.
As noted by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, “All roads lead to Putin” — Trump has handed Russia two huge victories by hobbling support to Ukraine and leaving a vacuum which Moscow quickly occupied in Syria. Hillary Clinton posited Trump being compromised by Russia, and Admiral Michael McRaven said in an op-ed, “Our Republic is Under Attack from the President.” Again, we seem to be teetering on the end of Trump or the end of American democracy.
Read the full list here: https://theweeklylist.org/weekly-list/week-153/
In addition to the number of not normal items surging since the start of the impeachment inquiry, Trump’s Twitter activity has proliferated — in one 25 minute span on Friday alone, he sent 33 tweets! In past weekly lists, we have covered that the potency of his tweets have had decreased, both in impact and visibility, as his time in office wears on. Also, notably, the media coverage of Trump’s frenzied tweeting has dropped off, making it harder each week to find sources that put what amounts to official pronouncements from the leader of our country into some context (and for me to link to for historical purposes).
In the past two weeks, there has been a striking shift in the country’s sentiment towards impeachment — approval of not only an inquiry, but also removing Trump, has shifted in favor. Thus far, breaking news coming from our media has done most of the fact finding and informing. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi is keeping the focus of the inquiry narrow, but with reporting gushing out the scope of the July 25 Trump-Ukraine call has broadened in several different subplots which are commensurately unfolding.
This week Trump abruptly pulled U.S. troops from Syria, enabling possible genocide by Turkey against the Kurds who fought alongside us, and allowing ISIS fighters to escape and regroup. It’s a calamity of our times — and yet few voices in the Republican Party, let alone the decorated military officials who served in the Trump regime, are willing to speak out. If anyone had doubts of how close we are to becoming an authoritarian state, this week’s list will remind you.
Read the full list here: https://theweeklylist.org/weekly-list/week-152/
With impeachment looming, Trump started this week by attacking the credibility of House Intelligence Committee Chair Adam Schiff and the whistleblower, both of whom he also endangered with his rhetoric. Midweek, Trump shifted strategy, openly soliciting foreign help from China and Ukraine in the 2020 election on national television, speaking to reporters on the South Lawn of White House. Republicans remained silent on Trump’s unprecedented request, which the head of the Federal Election Commission reminded the country, in a tweet, is illegal.
This week others in the regime became ensnared in the inquiry, as reporting revealed the involvement of not only Trump’s personal lawyer, Rudy Giuliani, but also Attorney General William Barr, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, and possibly Vice President Mike Pence, among others. Three House committee chairs sent subpoenas to Pompeo, Pence, and at the end of the week, the White House, and witnesses started to appear before House investigators in private hearings. Polling showed a dramatic shift in attitudes towards impeachment, with the majority of Americans now in favor.
As noted last week, I had always thought as we approached the end of Trump’s time in power, the lists would balloon: following last week’s 225 not normal items — 20 items longer than any previous list — this week we hit 240 items. In addition to the news on impeachment, this week’s list has many important stories on the continued degradation of American values and the regime’s cruelty, which got lost in the chaos of the news cycle.
Read the full list here: https://theweeklylist.org/weekly-list/week-151/
This week House Speaker Nancy Pelosi announced a formal impeachment inquiry of Trump. I’ve always had the sense that when we were finally on the road to the end of the Trump regime, the weekly list would ramp up big time. Week 150 has 225 not normal items, 10% more than any other week — a sign of the bedlam we will face as the truth slowly drips out, and Trump uses every means possible to distract from it and remain in power.
The impeachment inquiry, although narrow in scope, has already turned over and intertwined troubling items from earlier weekly lists, which like so many in the chaos, were normalized and forgotten. Although the impeachment inquiry is focused on Trump’s conversations and actions towards Ukraine, we already have reporting of similar cover-ups of communications with leaders from Russia and Saudi Arabia. As the inquiry expands it is also ensnaring others, including Rudy Giuliani and Attorney General William Barr, whose repeated efforts to cover up for Trump are gradually being assembled into a mosaic of behavior unbefitting his office.
It is remarkable that it took 150 weeks for a courageous whistleblower to bring Trump’s actions into the light of day, after all the highly decorated and reputable officials who worked for the regime at one time or another allowed Trump to operate our government in the fashion of a mob boss, and left in silence without speaking out or exposing corruption and criminal activity for the good of the country.
Read the full list here: https://theweeklylist.org/weekly-list/week-150/
As Congress returned to session, House Democrats had conflicting messages on impeachment. The Trump regime’s Justice Department seized on the divergence, saying lawmakers were not entitled to see the full Mueller report or grand jury information — the rationale used for seeking the documents. The emboldened regime also said it would pursue criminal charges against Trump opponent former FBI deputy director Andrew McCabe, and more stories emerged of the regime threatening agency officials in the National Oceanic and Atmosphere Administration. The Supreme Court again sided with Trump on an important anti-asylum decision, and Trump took new steps to roll back protections against the environment.
The Air Force said it would investigate crews’ stays at Trump’s property in Turnberry, Scotland, and almost 40 visits were identified. Meanwhile, Vice President Mike Pence and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo thumbed their noses at the emoluments clause, headlining events at Trump Hotel DC. A federal appeals court overturned a lower court ruling that will allow a Emoluments Clause lawsuit to proceed.
This week, Trump invited the Taliban to Camp David days before the anniversary of 9/11. The invitation was canceled and days later he fired his third national security advisor, giving him the highest turnover in presidential history of senior foreign policy advisors and NSAs. The Taliban visited Moscow later in the week.
Read the full list here: https://theweeklylist.org/weekly-list/week-148/
This week is not the longest list with Congress out on summer break for the sixth and final week, but it is perhaps the most alarming in terms of the irreverent authoritarian actions by Trump, who continues to push boundaries having suffered no consequences for anything yet. Examples of his power base expanding were reported, including the Pentagon refusing to cooperate in a probe of spending at Trump’s Turnberry resort, the Justice Department filing a bogus anti-trust case against four auto companies cooperating with California to cut emissions, and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration backing Trump over its own scientists. Even the Republican Party continues to fold to Trump, as four states canceled their GOP 2020 presidential primaries, while those unhappy with the tone or direction of the party continued to retire rather than speaking out. Trump is also ramping up attacks on the free press, journalists, and now, social media companies ahead of the 2020 election.
Reporting this week also signaled continued concern about Trump’s mental health, and he spent the week fixated on a false statement made Sunday about Alabama being in the path of Hurricane Dorian, and continued on the story until Friday. As the economy weakens, and having no real accomplishments over the summer, Trump was likened to a bull seeing red, and again spent the week as much of his summer striking out at familiar and random targets. Court filings this week indicated Trump has no plans to cooperate with House Democrats when they return next week.
Meanwhile, news in Europe indicates that far-right populism there may have peaked as Britain’s new Prime Minister Boris Johnson suffered setbacks, and far-right Matteo Salvini was pushed out of Italy’s new government. China acquiesced to protestors’ demands in Hong Kong, following 13 weeks of protests.
Read the full list here: https://theweeklylist.org/weekly-list/week-147/
This week Trump’s strange behavior towards Russia drew renewed concern as he advocated for adding Russia back at the Group of Seven summit in France, then held up military aid to Ukraine. A vacated seat unfilled by Trump at the Federal Elections Commission left the election watchdog group without a quorum ahead of the 2020 election, while voting irregularities were reported this week in Mississippi and Georgia.
Fresh signs of Trump’s authoritarian bent went unchecked, as reporting surfaced a loose network of his allies seeking to discredit journalists, and Trump offering pardons to aides if they break the law in fast-tracking his wall ahead of 2020. Concerns of a pending recession heightened, as Trump’s trade war with China continued to escalate, and for the first time while Trump has been in office, more Americans think the economy is getting worse than better.
This week there was public outcry as the regime continued to take steps to limit immigration, while troubling conditions at detention centers persisted, and the regime is considering DNA testing of migrants. As Hurricane Dorian headed towards Florida, for the second time in two weeks, Trump canceled a scheduled trip to visit European allies, supposedly to stay back and monitor the storm, but instead spent Saturday golfing.
Read the full list here: https://theweeklylist.org/weekly-list/week-146/
This week, renewed questions surfaced about Trump’s mental health, as he referred to himself as the “King of Israel,” the “chosen one,” and “hereby ordered” U.S. companies to change their dealings with China. Trump created another unprovoked international crisis with long-time ally Denmark, cancelling a trip he invited himself on, last minute, over the country’s unwillingness to discuss selling him Greenland.
As fears of a recession loomed and his approval rating weakened, Trump went on the attack of the Federal Reserve and its chairman, Jerome Powell, as well as oddly blaming the media for being in cahoots with Democrats to hurt the economy ahead of the 2020 election. As conditions worsened, Trump doubled-down on his trade war with China, claiming presidential power from a 1977 Act which was not meant to address trade disputes.
More than two dozen mass shooting were thwarted by law enforcement since the El Paso and Dayton shootings, yet Trump reversed himself on taking any action on gun control, and tweeted support of a white supremacist hate group at a rally in Portland. Trump’s paranoia, erratic behavior and authoritarian maneuvers seemed magnified by Congress being out of town for their long summer break. The narrative again this week was dominated by Trump and his never-ending series of shiny coins and not normal, authoritarian-like actions.
Read the full list here: https://theweeklylist.org/weekly-list/week-145/
This week Trump’s beloved economy faltered under pressure from his trade war with China, a ballooning U.S. budget deficit, and other global factors. An anxious Trump, realizing a strong economy is essential to his re-election, lashed out at the Federal Reserve, while confiding in allies his plan to blame any downturn on Fed Chair Jerome Powell. Meanwhile his shrinking inner-circle of sycophants assured him forecasts were wrong.
Trump held two rallies this week, one at a Shell Chemical plant outside Pittsburgh, where later it was revealed union employees were mandated to attend — “No scan, no pay” — and warned not to protest. At a second rally in New Hampshire, Trump rambled, veering off script and repeating points he made earlier in the speech.
This week the concerns of an uprising and mainstreaming of white nationalism continued, while Trump regime officials continued to make blatantly racist and xenophobic statements, and defend cruel and inhumane treatment of people of color. The Republican Party remained silent, instead seeking to downplay white nationalism and blame Democrats. Trump urged his authoritarian ally in Israel, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, to deny entry for two Muslim members of Congress — an unprecedented thwart of democracy. Protests heated up in Russia and Hong Kong.
This week has the most incidents of violence, attempted violence, and acts of hate inspired by Trump and his rhetoric since I started keeping track. The week started with two deadly mass shootings — one directly linked to the language used by Trump and Fox News — and rather invoking the role of consoler, Trump instead further stoked division and hate. What many may have missed in Week 143 is the amount of close calls by other white men — seemingly activated by Trump’s rhetoric and gaslighting on white supremacy and hate — that could have led to even more bloodshed. Or the remnants of racism and xenophobia that Trump has brought into the mainstream with his actions and words.
The Republican Party saw further defections of House members retiring in 2020, but still lawmakers refused, with few exceptions, to condemn Trump’s mishandling of the mass shootings, his continuing divisiveness and hate, or his blocking of the FBI and other agencies’ attempts to confront domestic terrorism carried out by white supremacists. This week once again there was a bevy of resignations from key roles, as power continues to consolidate into the hands of Trump and his band of sycophants. A mass raid in Mississippi, the largest in U.S. history, produced images of children crying as their parents were taken by ICE agents from places of work. Again, not a peep from the Republican Party.
This week House Democrats quietly escalated what appears to be the start of a stealth impeachment inquiry, suing to have former White House counsel Don McGahn appear for public testimony. While Congress is away for six weeks — a noticeable hiatus given Trump’s now unfettered control of the narrative and acting seemingly unchallenged — court cases filed by House panels continued to move forward.
The week closed with the shocking revelation that Jeffrey Epstein was found dead in his prison cell, allegedly by suicide, the day after court documents were unsealed, revealing other powerful men involved in his ring of sex trafficking and rape of girls. Conspiracy theories, some fanned by Russian-backed bots, exploded shortly after, seeking to distract from the strange occurrence of Epstein’s death.
Read the full list here: https://theweeklylist.org/weekly-list/week-143/
This week started with Trump’s attacks on Black leader House Oversight Committee Chair Elijah Cummings, whose panel has several ongoing investigations targeting Trump and his family. Trump used dehumanizing language like “rats” and “infest” to disparage Cummings’ home district of Baltimore, then broadened his attack during the week to other prominent Black men including Al Sharpton, who he called a “con man” and CNN host Don Lemon who he called “dumb.” Trump refused to back off, escalating his racist attacks — gaslighting the country that he is not the racist, but Cummings is — as news of hate-based shootings and instances of overt racism spread in an anxious and increasingly divided country.
A new label for Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell — Moscow Mitch — struck a nerve with the leader, and as the media and Democrats questioned his unwillingness to secure the country’s election, his other ties to Russia came under scrutiny. Headwinds for impeachment continued post Mueller’s testimony as over half the House Democrats formally called for the start of an impeachment inquiry, while Trump continued to deny Russia interference happened or is happening now. Trump pushed out the Director of National Intelligence, Dan Coats, one of the few remaining voices who stood up to Trump on foreign policy, and perhaps the last non-partisan stop-gap to future Russia interference.
The future of the Republican Party came into question this week, as Rep. Will Hurd, the only Black American member of the House for the GOP, became the ninth Republican to say he will not seek re-election in 2020. Among the nine are also two of the 13 GOP women, including Rep. Susan Brooks, who was meant to recruit more women to run.
Read the full list here: https://theweeklylist.org/weekly-list/week-142/
This week Robert Mueller testified before the House Judiciary and Intelligence Committees about his 448 page report. The testimony was the first glimpse many Americans had of its findings, especially Mueller’s stark warnings on Russia’s past and ongoing interference, and Trump’s and other regime members’ financial and other conflicts. While the media quibbled over whether Mueller was made-for-television articulate, the House Judiciary Committee took the first steps to effectively start an impeachment investigation, as over 100 House members have now come out in favor of impeachment. Despite testimony by Mueller and FBI director Christopher Wray, as well as a bipartisan Senate Intelligence Committee sounding alarms about Russia’s ongoing efforts at election interference, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell continued to halt efforts by Congress to counter Russian meddling.
Troubling signs of eroding norms and Trump seizing power at an alarming rate continued. Trump ramped up attacks on the media, calling them “fake” and “the enemy of the people,” and saying the press has lost all credibility. Trump continued his diatribe on the Federal Reserve and targeted U.S. companies with his ire. A disturbing Supreme Court ruling allowed Trump to take funds from the Pentagon to build his wall, while he continued to push to end asylum and ramp up rhetoric on deportation — further fanning the flames of “us” versus “them” in America.
Read the full list here: https://theweeklylist.org/weekly-list/week-141/
This week, in a shocking display of racism, Trump tweeted that four congresswomen of color should “go back” to the countries they came from. Amid Republican silence, rather than backing off, Trump ramped up his attacks, leading to a mid-week rally where his supporters chanted “send them back.” At first Trump seemed to distance himself from his supporters’ chants, but the next day doubled-down, calling the supporters “incredible patriots,” while escalating his attacks on the congresswomen further. Still, by week’s end, no Republicans publicly criticized Trump, rather backing him or seeking to redirect his racist comments to a discussion of political ideology.
This week as the House voted to condemn Trump’s racist tweet, and to hold Attorney General William Barr and Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross in criminal contempt on the citizenship question — yet both votes were symbolic gestures, having no real impact. Questions were raised by members of Congress about Barr’s involvement with dismissing charges against the police officer who allegedly strangled Eric Garner to death, and in ending the Southern District of New York’s investigation into campaign finance violations over hush-money payments to silence two women. The House also entertained an impeachment resolution from Rep. Al Green, which 95 House Democrats voted to advance — the highest level of support so far — as Robert Mueller prepares to testify next week.
Read the full list here: https://theweeklylist.org/weekly-list/week-140/
This is the longest week so far, and it felt that way. The chaos of our lives has obfuscated the damage and extremes under Trump, as each week blurs into the next week’s crises and unprecedented actions. This week’s turmoil centered on Jeffrey Epstein’s arrest and the resignation of Labor Secretary Alex Acosta, the 13th Cabinet member to depart the regime — next week there will certainly be new plot lines to engage and exhaust the American people.
This week the Democrats seemed to take a step back, amid party infighting. Notably, the Trump regime continues to successfully stonewall all the House efforts at accountability, and seemingly Democratic leadership is taking a slight uptick in Trump popularity as a rationale to back off in tone, while in actuality, the lack of action by the Democrats has normalized the previously unthinkable of accepting foreign help and obstructing justice. While the country eagerly awaited Robert Mueller’s testimony on July 17, that too evaporated and became a moving target.
Trump careened from one rage to another this week, but notably, he is largely getting his way. When things go against him, he finds new ways to re-center and seize the narrative. His central message of immigration continues to be front and center and Fox News seized on the theme of “these are not our children” to dull the news on conditions at detention centers, as deportation raids were set to start. Trump continued to repeat his themes that the media is “the enemy of the people,” that he will serve more than two terms, and that Democrats are enabling millions of “illegal aliens” to vote — all setting the stage for an unpredictable 2020 election.
Read the full list here: https://theweeklylist.org/weekly-list/week-139/
This week, two years after visiting France for Bastille Day and admiring its military display, Trump hosted a “Salute to America” on July Fourth, replete with an expansive array of military hardware and troops. The scenes of tanks rolling into the nation’s capital drew comparisons to other authoritarian regimes who flaunt their military might through public displays, including North Korea, where Trump paid a surprise visit as the week began.
This week, Trump thumbed his nose at the Supreme Court’s decision in Week 137 not to allow a citizenship question on the 2020 Census. The Justice and Commerce Departments, after stating the questionnaire was being printed without the citizenship question, completely reversed themselves 24 hours later following a single tweet by Trump. By weeks’ end, the DOJ said it would, at Trump’s behest, try to put forth a new argument in court justifying the question, while Trump mused he had four or fives options to get his way. Notably, Trump has now challenged the authority of both the legislative and judicial branches — including the nation’s highest court — to counter his unilateral power. And the Justice Department, under the leadership of Attorney General William Barr has been rendered a tool to help his efforts.
Reports by the Department of Homeland Security Inspector General revealed dire conditions at immigrant detention facilities at the border. Trump defended the facilities and Border Patrol agents, as protests and uproar from Democrats continued. Republicans remained silent.
Read the full list here: https://theweeklylist.org/weekly-list/week-138/
This week as Trump backed off mass deportations, public outcry grew over conditions at detention centers for migrant children. Reminiscent of Theresienstadt Ghetto in the Nazi era, the Trump regime offered limited tours of detention centers to the media — viewings that contradicted interviews of immigration lawyers and advocates who described first-hand the inhumane conditions and traumatized children. Much of the country was moved and heartbroken over a photo of a Salvadoran father and daughter who drowned on the bank of the Rio Grande trying to cross to the U.S.
This week Trump headed to the G-20 summit in Osaka, Japan, ahead of which he attacked Japan, China, and European countries. While there, he cozied up to Russian President Vladimir Putin and reveled in joking about 2016 election interference and attacking the free press. Trump had a second private meeting with Saudi Arabia Crown Prince MBS despite United Nations findings of his likely involvement in the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi.
The Supreme Court made two major decisions on gerrymandering and a Census citizenship question, and seemed to signal a shift towards revisiting controversial issues with the now five conservative justices. Robert Mueller agreed to testify before two House committees on July 17, as the Trump regime continued to stonewall all congressional investigations.
Read the full list here: https://theweeklylist.org/weekly-list/week-137/
This week Trump manufactured two major story lines: an almost war with Iran, and mass roundups and deportations of “millions” of immigrants. The two stories occupied much of the national attention, while Trump continued to stonewall Congressional attempts at oversight.
Authoritarian expert Masha Gessen wrote about “The Unimaginable Reality of American Concentration Camps,” as a national discussion over conditions at border facilities played out. Journalists, who have been given no access to facilities, reported through interviews on the alarming treatment of migrant children, including overcrowding, illness, and lack of basic necessities.
Trump came close to starting a war with Iran on Thursday, and reportedly was prepared and close to launch a missile attack. Of concern, Trump continued to act unilaterally and not seek Congressional approval — notably Speaker Pelosi said Friday she was not informed of Trump’s planned attack, despite being second in line for the White House. Meanwhile, pressure to start an impeachment inquiry grew as 76 House members called for impeachment as public opinion, largely among Democrats, is shifting in favor of it.
Read the full list here: https://theweeklylist.org/weekly-list/week-136/
This week in an interview with ABC News, Trump suggested he would take damaging information from foreign governments on political adversaries without reporting it to the FBI, setting off alarm bells. The Chair of the Federal Elections Commissions took the unusual step of issuing a public statement reminding campaigns that taking foreign assistance is illegal. Nonetheless, Trump allies largely defended his statement, and continued to block measures to protect the 2020 election.
As this played out on a chaotic Thursday, press secretary Sarah Sanders, one of the few remaining members of the original regime, resigned. Also this week, watchdog Office of Special Counsel recommended the removal of White House counselor Kellyanne Conway, saying she had repeatedly violated the Hatch Act — an unprecedented recommendation.
Trump sparred with the media over reporting on his supposed trade deal with Mexico, while conditions at the southern border continued to deteriorate. Notably, Trump has been linking economic and national security in his recent actions, allowing him to invoke Cold War era acts and bypass Congressional approval. The House voted on a resolution opening the door to contempt of Congress charges for members of the regime.
Read the full list here: https://theweeklylist.org/weekly-list/week-135/
This week Trump traveled to the U.K., where he was met with mass protests which he denied existed, then to his property in Ireland en route to the 75th anniversary of D-Day ceremony in Normandy, where he attacked Robert Mueller and Speaker Nancy Pelosi in an interview. In London, Trump and his children acted more as if a royal family than a head of state, and continued to intertwine their business dealings and the presidency.
Democrats in the House continue to clash over starting impeachment proceedings, as the Trump regime continued its stonewalling Congress for both witnesses and documentation related to the Mueller probe, the 2020 census citizenship question, and even the environment.
This week was notable for the escalation of broad-based attacks on women’s rights and protections, as an actress in “The Handmaid’s Tale” bemoaned how quickly the country is mirroring the fictional dystopian nation of Gilead. Conditions for migrants at the border worsened, with more deaths and army and oil-field worker facilities being requisitioned to house migrant children.
Read the full list here: https://theweeklylist.org/weekly-list/week-134/
This week, special counsel Robert Mueller addressed the nation for the first time since the start of his investigation. Notably, Mueller said, “If we had had confidence that the president clearly did not commit a crime, we would have said so,” contradicting Attorney General William Barr’s statements, and Trump’s repeated proclamations of “no obstruction.” Mueller resigned and closed the special counsel office, and seemed to pass the ball to Congress on whether to pursue charges against Trump. Speaker Nancy Pelosi demurred, but pressure built this week after Mueller’s appearance with 55 members of Congress backing an impeachment inquiry, up from 31 last week, including 13 of the 24 House Judiciary Committee members.
Trump exploded after Mueller’s appearance, seeking to discredit him and the investigation. Later, he shifted the narrative by starting a trade war with Mexico, invoking a decades old act to empower himself to impose tariffs over a so-called “national emergency” at our southern border. As the week came to a close, Trump’s Department of Justice thumbed its nose at a court order to produce documents related to Michael Flynn. The regime has now usurped both the legislative and judicial branch — seizing and consolidating power with increasingly authoritarian actions. Adding to the authoritarian feel were the continued attacks on the rights of marginalized communities and women, the stripping of protections for the environment, and a shocking discovery this week related to the 2020 census citizenship question. And yet, there has been no accountability or consequences for Trump, his family, and the remaining members of the regime.
Read the full list here: https://theweeklylist.org/weekly-list/week-133/
This week the first Republican, Rep. Justin Amash, came out for impeaching Trump. While Trump allies sought to attack and punish Amash to avoid further defections, momentum grew among the House Democratic caucus for impeachment hearings. Feeling the pressure Speaker Nancy Pelosi defended staying focused on policy, but directly attacked Trump for a “cover-up,” leading Trump to storm out of a scheduled meeting with Democratic leaders, saying he refused to work with them until they stop investigating him. The two leaders publicly battled, as altered videos of Pelosi appeared online, a redux of false attacks on Hillary Clinton’s mental acumen used in 2016.
In authoritarian-type moves, Trump granted his attorney general alarming powers to investigate the investigators. Trump bypassed Congress, invoking a national emergency again to sell weapons to Saudi Arabia, and “joked” about serving up to five terms in office. Trump continued to stonewall House oversight as Trump prevented Don McGahn from testifying, and appealed rulings thwarting his efforts to block the release of financial documents from Mazars USA and Deutsche Bank.
Read the full list here: https://theweeklylist.org/weekly-list/week-132/
This week, in a letter, White House counsel Pat Cipollone issued a blanket refusal of records and testimony from Trump and dozens of current and former White House staff, saying Trump did not recognize Congress as a law enforcement body with the legitimate purpose to investigate. While the letter sent shock waves, Congress’s reaction was decidedly muted as House Democratic leaders sought to avoid impeachment, as other deadlines passed without cooperation.
This week Trump welcomed another far-right authoritarian to the White House, Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban, whom Trump likened to a “twin brother.” Tensions escalated with Iran, and the regime issued conflicting statements and stances, and increasingly stood alone.
More troubling stories about atrocities being committed and contemplated against migrants surfaced, including a planned operational blitz to round up 10,000 migrants in 10 U.S. cities. Trump rolled out a new immigration plan, emphasizing skills over family ties, in an uncharacteristically low-energy Rose Garden speech that was met with a cool reception. Attacks on abortion rights were front and center of the national dialogue as Alabama passed the country’s most restrictive ban, setting up a possible challenge for Roe v. Wade. Other states are set to follow.
Read the full list here: https://theweeklylist.org/weekly-list/week-131/
This week marked a subtle shift in House Democrats’ position on impeachment, as House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and her committee chairs cited a “constitutional crisis,” and argued Trump was “goading” them and giving them no choice with his continued stonewalling. The House Judiciary Committee voted to hold Attorney General William Barr in contempt of Congress, and threatened the same for former White House counsel Don McGahn. Trump said he would block special counsel Robert Mueller from testifying, and later in the week backed off. Notably, the Republican-led Senate Intelligence Committee served the first subpoena on a member of Trump’s family, Donald Trump Jr.
There was more reporting on Trump’s irreverence around norms and laws, including his attempts to have McGahn publicly state he did not believe Trump obstructed justice, and dispatching personal attorney Rudy Giuliani to Ukraine to spur investigations likely to help his re-election.
Read the full list here: https://theweeklylist.org/weekly-list/week-130/
This week a leaked letter sent from special counsel Robert Mueller to Attorney General William Barr days after Barr released his four-page “summary” indicated Mueller did not believe that Barr captured the “context, nature, and substance” of his work. Mueller’s letter, leaked in part to the Post the day before Barr was set to testify before the Senate, shook the country and set off a firestorm, including allegations Barr had lied in previous Congressional testimony. His demeanor at his Senate testimony did little to mollify concern that Barr had acted in concert with Trump’s team to shape the narrative ahead of the redacted report’s release, and was continuing to protect Trump from its contents and repercussions.
House Democrats sounded the alarms and escalated matters as Trump, his family, and regime all continued to stonewall Congressional demands, including a lawsuit to block Deutsche Bank from cooperating with House subpoenas and Barr being a no-show for House testimony. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi wore the gravity of the situation in her demeanor at her weekly press conference, admitting she had trouble sleeping after watching the top law enforcement officer’s performance. Pelosi, who has been committed to avoiding impeachment, was reported to be losing patience.
Read the full list here: https://theweeklylist.org/weekly-list/week-129/
This week Trump’s White House refused all requests by House Democrats to interview current or former members of the regime, or to turn over records, including those requested by subpoena. The NYT Editorial Board noted Trump “is effectively declaring lawmakers powerless over him. This, warn the experts, puts the nation in uncharted territory and threatens to erode its democratic foundations.” With Congress out of town for a second holiday week, the feeling of Trump’s omnipotence was all the more palpable.
This week while the country grappled with the contents of the redacted Mueller report, Trump and his allies invoked a failed “coup” and threatened to investigate the investigator. They also sought to downplay Russian interference and its impact in 2016 — with Jared Kushner dismissing Russian efforts as “some Facebook ads.” Alarming reporting indicated Trump is refusing to work to safeguard the 2020 election, nor would his campaign pledge not to take stolen information again, even as FBI director Christopher Wray said Moscow’s interference in the past has been a “dress rehearsal” for the 2020 presidential contest.
Read the full list here: https://theweeklylist.org/weekly-list/week-128/
This week Attorney General William Barr publicly released a redacted version of the Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s report, almost a month after he delivered it to Barr. The redacted report differed substantially from Barr’s March 24 letter, as well as from statements delivered by Barr at a press conference hours before the report’s release — casting Barr more as a defense attorney for Trump than an attorney general. Concerns grew further when it was revealed Trump’s White House attorneys had previewed the report in consultation with the Justice Department days earlier.
On Thursday, as the redacted report was released, Trump, who had expressed no interest in reading the report, seemed confident he had turned the corner and was in the clear. As the press and public finally dug into the contents of the redacted report and statements by current and former White House official witnesses, by Friday, Trump shifted back to anger and attack mode, starting by retaliating against former White House counsel Don McGahn. After reading the report, Senator Elizabeth Warren became the first 2020 contender to call for impeachment hearings.
Read the full list here: https://theweeklylist.org/weekly-list/week-127/
This week, Trump’s frustration with migrants coming to the southern border boiled over, as he purged the Department of Homeland Security, and empowered immigrant hardliner Stephen Miller to be in charge of the regime’s immigration policy. As the week ended, 12 of the 30 senior roles at DHS were either vacant or filled with “acting” leaders. Departures of senior officials at the cabinet level and below are at record levels. Meanwhile, Trump continues to consolidate power, act unilaterally, and welcome the “flexibility” of using “acting” directors whom he can hire and fire at will — without needing the oversight of the Senate to confirm them.
Troubling reporting this week indicated Trump instructed his incoming Secretary of DHS to break the law, assuring him he would be pardoned. Reporting also indicated Trump and Miller had contemplated releasing migrant detainees into sanctuary cities as a means to punish political enemies. When confronted with the story, the White House pushed back, only to have Trump say indeed that was his plan. Trump also looked for ways to increasingly use military troops at the border, including in ways that violate the law.
Read the full list here: https://theweeklylist.org/weekly-list/week-126/
This week, two weeks after Mueller had sent his final report to Attorney General William Barr, members of the special counsel anonymously broke their silence, indicating to the Times and the Post that their findings were more troubling than Barr’s letter had indicated. Meanwhile Trump changed his position on public release of the report, as he and his surrogates went into attack mode against the Democrats and Mueller’s team.
Republicans rebuked Trump this week, failing to stand with him on his threat to close the U.S.-Mexico border and to come up with an alternative to Obamacare ahead of the 2020 election. The House joined the Senate, voting to end U.S. involvement in Yemen, marking the first time both chambers of Congress have voted to invoke the war-powers resolution to end U.S. military engagement in a foreign conflict.
Read the full list: https://theweeklylist.org/weekly-list/week-125/
This week was dominated by news of the Mueller report, which was delivered to Attorney General William Barr last Friday, but has yet to be given to Congress or the American people. On Sunday, AG Barr sent a four-page letter to Congress, which he characterized as a “summary” of the Mueller report, but later in the week, in a second letter, wrote it “did not purport to be, an exhaustive recounting of the Special Counsel’s investigation or report” which was revealed to be nearly 400 pages long.
Barr’s Sunday letter said that Mueller did not find evidence Trump or his campaign knowingly colluded with Russia, but on obstruction of justice charges, Mueller did not render an opinion. Barr and deputy attorney general Rod Rosenstein however concluded not to proceed with criminal charges, and Trump instantly weaponized the information to falsely claim he was fully exonerated, and pivot to attacking Democrats and the media, with the help of his allies. The media was caught on its heels, as some of the initial reporting incorrectly cited the Mueller report, including the front page of Monday’s New York Times. Trump aides who had been jailed or investigated by Mueller’s team were given media opportunities to declare themselves as victims of an overaggressive prosecutor. By Friday, bowing to public pressure, Barr in a second letter said he would release a redacted version of the Mueller report by mid-April or sooner.
Read the full list here: https://theweeklylist.org/weekly-list/week-124/
This week started with maniacal tweeting by Trump: more than 50 tweets over the weekend on a variety of unrelated topics, including multiple retweets of conspiracy theorists. The week’s news was overshadowed by Trump’s daily attacks against deceased Senator John McCain and George Conway, husband of senior White House adviser Kellyanne Conway. The off-kilter — even by his standards — behavior by Trump seemed foreboding, and sure enough, on Friday, Mueller’s final report was delivered to Attorney General William Barr.
Among the subjects of his ire on Twitter this week, Trump continued to focus on alleged and unsubstantiated bias of social media companies, as his ally Rep. Devin Nunes filed a $250 million defamation lawsuit against Twitter and three Twitter accounts. Congressional probes moved ahead, including new revelations that Jared Kushner used WhatsApp to communicate on official White House business, including with foreign officials, and in possible violations of the Presidential Records Act — as did Ivanka Trump for White House business with her use of a personal email account. Meanwhile the White House refused to cooperate with Congressional document requests, as Rep. Elijah Cummings accused them of “stonewalling.”
Read the full list here: https://theweeklylist.org/weekly-list/week-123/
Trump issued his first veto after the House and Senate voted to block his emergency declaration. The veto followed Trump’s declaration of a national emergency after Congress refused to fund his wall, which was unprecedented. Taken together, Trump irreverently thumbed his nose at the separations of power.
Trump also continued his record pace of appointments to the judicial branch, this week with the aid of newly installed ally Sen. Lindsey Graham as Judiciary Committee Chair. Graham discarded a century old norm of allowing in-state senators to submit a “blue slip” to oppose nominations, allowing Trump to appoint two judges to the 9th Circuit Court.
Read the full list here: https://theweeklylist.org/weekly-list/week-122/
This week a bombshell exposé by Jane Mayer on the ties between Trump and Fox News sparked questions of whether America had its first version of state TV. The piece had broad fallout, and sparked a renewed conversation on the line between journalism and propaganda.
This week Democrats ramped up investigations, while Trump hit back and escalated his pace of daily lies and misleading statements. With Congressional hearings finally underway, Trump and his regime continued a pattern of irreverent corruption and kleptocracy, as well as continued efforts to limit transparency and hide information.
A shocking story by an NBC affiliate revealed U.S. Customs and Border Patrol has been keeping a database of journalists and other activists involved at the Southern border, the second list by the Trump regime targeting U.S. journalists that has been uncovered since Trump came into power. The regime also reportedly revoked an award from a journalist who had been critical of Trump on social media.
Read the full list here: https://theweeklylist.org/weekly-list/week-121/
This week the country was riveted by the public testimony of Michael Cohen, Trump’s long-time attorney and fixer, before the House Oversight Committee — the first public testimony in the new Democrat-controlled Congress. Cohen’s testimony overwhelmed the spectacle of Trump’s second summit with North Korea dictator Kim Jong Un in Hanoi — which produced no concrete results, despite a pre-planned joint signing ceremony. Cohen, who said he is now in “constant contact” with federal prosecutors, gave seven hours of testimony, offering an insider’s perspective and many new details which, by week’s end, were already leading Congressional investigators to call more witnesses and open new areas of inquiry.
As Cohen was testifying and Trump meeting with Kim, Jared Kushner met with the Saudi King Salman and Crown Prince MBS, then Turkish President Recep Erdogan. Just as Kushner stayed silent during his Saudi visit on the murder of Jamal Khashoggi, Trump sided with another dictator, saying he believed Kim played no part of the brutal torture and death of American college student Otto Warmbier, before trying to reverse himself the next day. During Kushner’s trip, the Times reported Trump had ordered officials to grant his son-in-law top-secret security clearance, overruling concerns by U.S. intelligence and former White House Counsel Don McGahn.
Read the full list here: https://theweeklylist.org/weekly-list/week-120/
This week the FBI thwarted a major domestic terrorism plot by a white nationalist serving as a lieutenant in the U.S. Coast Guard, who had called for the establishment of a “white homeland.” His target list included Democratic politicians and cable-TV hosts, almost all of whom were subjects of Trump’s public ire on Twitter or in words. Nonetheless, Trump continued his attacks on the media, calling them the “enemy of the people,” and repeatedly referring to them as “fake news.” When asked if his rhetoric played a role, Trump responded, “No, I don’t. I think my language is very nice.” Trump has also started in recent weeks to attack fact-checkers as fake news.
Trump ally Roger Stone found himself hauled back into court this week for posting an image of a federal judge next to a crosshairs, while other Trump supporters used words like “civil war” and “coup” on-air as the country waited for Mueller’s findings. In conjunction with his new book, former FBI director Andrew McCabe spoke to media outlets about F.B.I. investigations into Trump, the prospect of invoking the 25th Amendment, and concern that Trump is a Russian asset. In response, Trump spent the week attacking his old, familiar target.
Read the full list here: https://theweeklylist.org/weekly-list/week-119/
This was a jarring week as Trump declared a national emergency after Congress refused to fund his wall — perhaps his most brazen authoritarian act yet. Trump’s predilection not to govern, but rather rule by an unprecedented executive fiat, set off alarm bells for Constitutional separation of powers, as Trump departed early Friday for a weekend of golf at Mar-a-Lago.
This week the Mueller probe made news as reporting indicated Trump’s former campaign chair Paul Manafort discussed a peace plan for Ukraine and handed off internal polling data in a secretive meeting to a business associate with ties to Russian intelligence, and a search warrant revealed Roger Stone was in direct contact with WikiLeaks while interacting with the Trump campaign —both in the months before the 2016 election.
Read the full list here: https://theweeklylist.org/weekly-list/week-118/
This week was filled with news of Congressional inquiries, subpoenas, and investigations, as House committee chairs took the first steps to hold Trump and his regime accountable. Leaks from the regime heightened concerns about a White House rapidly devolving to the Trump Organization, with Trump largely freelancing and acting unilaterally, and taking the advice from a small group of sycophantic insiders.
With the government reopened, Trump delivered an otherwise mundane State of the Union speech, with the most memorable part being his attack on the investigations against him, evoking former President Richard Nixon’s 1974 speech shortly before impeachment proceedings began. Trump continued to push his manufactured crisis at the southern border, sending thousands more troops as he stoked racism and fear.
Read the full list here: https://theweeklylist.org/weekly-list/week-117/
This week concerns about Trump’s foreign policy were front and center, as the regime rolled back sanctions against a Russian oligarch, and withdrew from the Cold War-era Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty — both seen as victories for Putin. The Financial Times reported on a previously undisclosed one-on-one meeting between Trump and Putin at the G20 just months after Helsinki. Congress rebuked Trump’s foreign policy again this week in a piece of legislation drafted by Majority Leader Mitch McConnell over Trump’s withdrawal of troops from Syria and Afghanistan. Heads of U.S. Intelligence agencies testified before the Senate on their annual “Worldwide Threat Assessment,” revealing findings in sharp contrast from Trump on Iran, ISIS, and North Korea, as well as the southern border. Trump reacted by castigating his appointed agency heads, then later inviting them to the Oval office and blaming the media instead.
Read the full list here: https://theweeklylist.org/weekly-list/week-116/
This is the longest and perhaps most perilous week for Trump so far. Not only did House Speaker Nancy Pelosi outmaneuver him in the government shutdown, but by week’s end she was publicly questioning if Trump is beholden to Russian President Vladimir Putin, and if his campaign coordinated efforts to subvert the 2016 U.S. election. Meanwhile, House committees, now chaired by Democrats, geared up to challenge Trump and his regime on a number of fronts, including inquiries into Deutsche Bank’s handling of Trump’s accounts and the regime’s process of granting of security clearances.
Following dire warnings from agencies, unions, and former government officials about safety and security risks, public outcries and protests from unpaid furloughed workers, and plummeting approval, Trump finally agreed to reopen the government Friday. The final impetus appeared to be delayed flights at New York’s LaGuardia Airport due to staffing issues with unpaid air traffic controllers.
Read the full list here: https://theweeklylist.org/weekly-list/week-115/
This week marked 29 days of the government being shuttered, with no end in sight. Agencies continued to feel the effects, as thousands of furloughed employees were called back to work unpaid. Federal workers formed blocks-long lines at food banks, and borrowed from retirement accounts to make ends meet. Trump’s approval continued to fall this week, with one poll indicating he is losing support from his base. Conversely, House Speaker Pelosi’s popularity hit a 10-year high as the two did battle, and Trump reckoned with the first check on his power.
This week was full of bombshell stories which, along with the continued shutdown, rocked the country and made people increasingly anxious and scared about the direction of the country. Major storylines included Trump concealing contents of meetings with Russian President Vladimir Putin, Trump’s continued fixation of withdrawing the U.S. from NATO — a boon to Russia, and Michael Cohen paying an IT firm to rig online polls to boost Trump. Trump attorney Rudy Giuliani made headlines, telling CNN, “I never said there was no collusion between the campaign or between people in the campaign,” which he later retracted. A bombshell BuzzFeed News story suggesting Trump directed Cohen to lie to Congress on Trump Tower Moscow was refuted by Mueller’s team, which Trump and his allies quickly weaponized to attack the credibility of the media.
Read the full list here: https://theweeklylist.org/weekly-list/week-114/
This week Trump struggled to create stagecraft and find narratives to justify funding for his border wall, while keeping the government shuttered. Trump delivered a prime-time Oval Office address, visited the U.S.-Mexico border, and held an immigration round-table to make his case, while the reality of the shutdown hurt federal workers and contractors, and agencies started to cut back or cease operations and functions.
This was a week of bombshells on the Trump-Russia front, as an inadvertently unredacted filing by Paul Manafort’s attorneys revealed Manafort had delivered 2016 president campaign polling data to Konstantin Kilimnik, who the FBI believes has ties to Russian intelligence. Michael Cohen set a date to testify before the House, and Natalie Veselnitskaya, the Russian lawyer with ties to the Kremlin who attended the June 9 Trump Tower meeting was back in the news. Late Friday, a bombshell story by the Times revealed the FBI had opened an inquiry in May 2017 into whether Trump was knowingly working for Russia or had unwittingly fallen under Moscow’s influence.
Read the full list: https://theweeklylist.org/weekly-list/week-113/
This week, for the first time since he took office, Trump faced a check on his power as the 116th Congress was sworn in. As House Speaker Nancy Pelosi took back the gavel, she made clear she will take Trump on, telling the Times she considers herself Trump’s equal, and the “TODAY” show that Trump can be indicted while in office. The 116th Congress, the most diverse by race, religion, and gender — on the Democratic side — stood in sharp contrast to Trump, who increasingly surrounds himself with rooms full of white men.
The government shutdown passed three weeks, with no end in sight, as Trump dug in his heels and Pelosi’s House voted to reopen the government without any funding for his wall. As the shutdown’s impact was increasingly felt across the country, including unpaid essential TSA workers calling in sick at four major airports, reporting indicated the Trump regime had not planned for or anticipated a long-term shutdown, and is caught flat-footed. Trump’s lack of empathy for those impacted by the shutdown, and threat to call a national emergency, further belied his autocratic tendencies.
Read the full list here: https://theweeklylist.org/weekly-list/week-112/
Increasingly, Trump stands alone. The generals are gone, much of his experienced and competent senior staffers have resigned or been fired. This week, in a tantrum over his decision to shut down the government, Trump stewed and tweeted and blamed and attacked from the White House, while the rest of Congress was home for the Christmas holiday. At one point on Christmas Eve day, as the stock market was plummeting, Trump bemoaned his self-imposed status, tweeting, “I am all alone (poor me) in the White House.” Presidential historian Douglas Brinkley called it, “a sad and pathetic moment.” As the week came to a close, Trump again complained: “I am in the White House waiting for the Democrats.”
This week the stock market continued wild gyrations, as Trump again publicly lashed out at his Federal Reserve Chair, and privately threatened to fire his Treasury Secretary. Parts of the government were shuttered during the holiday week, and the effects of the shutdown started to be felt. Trump took a surprise visit — his first — to a combat zone, but even that backfired and led to further criticism as he held a campaign rally-style event with U.S. troops at a military base in Iraq, and continued his partisan criticisms of Democrats and demagoguery about his wall and the shutdown while abroad. Iraqi politicians denounced Trump’s visit and demanded U.S. troops leave their country.
Read the full list here: https://theweeklylist.org/weekly-list/week-111/
This week Defense Secretary Jim Mattis, thought to be one of the sane and sober voices remaining in the regime, resigned in a public letter rebuking Trump’s treatment of allies and deference to authoritarians. Trump’s abrupt withdrawal of U.S. troops from Syria was the last straw for Mattis, a decision reportedly made on a call with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan the week before. Mattis’ departure elicited bipartisan concern, and placed the country on edge.
This week Trump’s beloved stock market continued to crater, as the markets entered a correction period with Dow Jones Industrial Average’s worst weekly performance in 10 years, and on track for the worst December since the Great Depression. By the week’s end, Trump was privately agitating about firing Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell, in what would be an unprecedented act.
Read the full list here: https://theweeklylist.org/weekly-list/week-110/
As I’ve been listing, I’ve always suspected things would crescendo as we were moving towards the end of the Trump era. Week 109 is the longest list so far, with 181 not normal items. Up until now, Trump has never been questioned or countered in his authority, other than in rulings by the Judicial branch. Soon he will be facing Democrats as equals — a House that can hold him accountable — as well as the multiple investigations and lawsuits steaming ahead and expanding in scope. Trump is unprepared and understaffed for what is coming his way starting January. He is going to hate 2019.
This week, confronted by presumptive House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, his first check on power in person, Trump cowered and retreated — ill-prepared for how to face a direct challenge to his previously unequivocal power and authority. The Republicans, in small measure, stood up to him on the slaying of journalist Jamal Khashoggi, condemning Saudi crown prince MBS and approving a resolution to end its military support for the Saudi-led war in Yemen. Trump’s small inner circle is in disarray and shrinking — even replacing the chief of staff role became an arduous task.
This week reporting indicates a possible new phase in the Mueller probe relating to Middle East countries, and their attempts to influence the 2016 election to gain access. Meanwhile, cases against Michael Cohen, Michael Flynn, Paul Manafort, and Maria Butina progressed, bringing the investigations closer to Trump, his campaign, and regime. Also this week there were three bombshell stories on Trump’s inaugural committee, relating to unaccounted monies and pay for play, foreign contributions, and overpaying for the Trump Hotel DC with Ivanka a part of negotiations. As Trump prepares to depart for Mar-a-Lago for a 16 day holiday, new or expanding investigations threaten to engulf every part of his life, including his campaign, regime, family and business — with possible felony charges after his time in office.
Read the full list: https://theweeklylist.org/weekly-list/week-109/
This week featured the normalcy and tranquility of the funeral of George H.W. Bush, juxtaposed with bombshells of damning information on Trump coming from the Mueller probe and other investigations. As the Mueller probe is reportedly nearing its close, Mueller’s team filed court memos relating to three of its most high profile defendants: Michael Flynn, Michael Cohen, and Paul Manafort. The Southern District of New York also filed a memo on Trump Friday —including the clearest implication yet that Trump committed felonies. As the country awaits Mueller’s final report, Trump’s White House has no plans to counter it in place, but rather will reportedly wing it.
This week major stock indexes tumbled more than 4%, erasing all the year’s gains, as economic data softened, showing Trump’s trade tariffs and the growing budget deficit are slowing the economy. As Trump’s second year comes to a close, he reportedly has no vision or strategy for 2019, save for his xenophobic and racist agenda, and instead is distracted by the Mueller probe and the incoming Democratic House majority. Continued shake-up in personnel plague the regime, and many key roles remain vacant, or are filled with loyalists who are unqualified.
Read the full list here: https://theweeklylist.org/weekly-list/week-108/
This week started with escalations, both between Russia and Ukraine, and at the U.S.-Mexico border. Heartbreaking images and video surfaced from Tijuana of migrants from Central America, including women and children, some in diapers, being showered with tear gas from U.S. Customs and Border Protection. As Trump and the regime sought to justify the use of force, and Republicans remained almost universally silent, other condemned the action, including the Auschwitz Museum which invoked the uprise of Hitler. This, as data and reporting continues to point to a dangerous uptick in right-wing violence and acts of, and normalization of, hate.
This week the Mueller probe was center stage, as Trump stepped up his attacks to discredit Mueller ahead of the findings being released. The week started with focus on Jerome Corsi and Roger Stone as possible conduits between the Trump campaign and WikiLeaks. Until a bombshell Thursday, when Michael Cohen outlined in a plea agreement how he misled Congress about negotiating on the Trump Tower Moscow. Cohen said negotiations continued until June 2016, and that Trump and his children were also in the loop. Cohen’s documents made clear that other members of the regime, including Donald Jr., may have lied to Congress, and also called into question Trump’s written answers in the Mueller probe, submitted under oath in recent days, on his and his campaign’s contact with Russians.
Read the full list here: https://theweeklylist.org/weekly-list/week-107/
There is no such thing as a slow holiday news week in the era of Trump! This week, in the chaos of news and not normal, reporting of Ivanka Trump’s use of a personal email account for White House business — remarkably similar to Hillary Clinton’s private server on which Trump fixated throughout his 2016 campaign and beyond — was barely mentioned in the news 48 hours later.
This week there were more alarming breaks from norms, including Trump siding with Saudis over U.S. intelligence on the killing of journalist Jamal Khashoggi, Trump bypassing advice by White House counsel to give troops at the U.S.-Mexico border the right to use lethal force, Trump attacking the admiral who oversaw the Osama bin Laden raid, and once again Trump attacking the Judiciary Branch for ruling against him — this time drawing the ire of both Supreme Court Chief Justice Roberts and the American Bar Association.
Read the full list here: https://theweeklylist.org/weekly-list/week-106/
We are back after a midterm hiatus.
Reporting this week indicates Trump is reeling from the midterms, as additional House seats were called for Democrats, possibly leading to a 40 seat pick-up, as well as the Mueller probe, from which additional indictments are expected soon. This week Trump skipped many duties typically carried out by a head of state, instead brooding and threatening to fire more cabinet level officials — the regime continues to operate in utter dysfunction.
As wildfires raged in California, with 71 dead and more than a thousand missing, Trump blamed forest management, insulted the firefighters risking their lives, and showed a complete lack of empathy for the residents impacted. Trump skipped more ceremonies for fallen soldiers in Paris for Armistice Day and in the U.S. for Veterans Day.
Read the full list here: https://theweeklylist.org/weekly-list/week-105/
This 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.
Unlike his predecessors, Trump was unable or unwilling to rise to the occasion and seek to unite and comfort the country. Instead, he blamed the media, lightened but continued his attacks on political opponents, and complained these crimes were distracting from his messaging ahead of midterms. Trump also refused to call out hate or the rise of white supremacist groups, who view themselves as on his side and his defenders. Instead, Trump announced he is a “nationalist” — a term with historical connotations to white nationalism, seemingly a guiding philosophy behind much of his regime’s actions and policies. All the attacks this week were carried out by middle-aged white men.
Read the full list here: https://theweeklylist.org/weekly-list/week-102/
With 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.
This week marked the first charges against a Russian, Elena Khusyaynova, for conspiring to interfere with the 2018 U.S. election. Trump continues to deny 2016 campaign ties to Russia or acknowledge Russian interference in our 2016 election. Reporting this week indicates the Mueller probe is speeding along and could be completed shortly after midterms.
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/
This 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 in 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.
Meanwhile, the acts of hatred against “the others” continued this week. Trump again beat the familiar drum of white men as victims, this time at the hands of women who dare to find their voices. A bombshell article by the NYTrevealed the lie behind Trump’s campaign image of a self-made billionaire; reporters found his fortune was largely handed down by his father, much of it in a fraudulent manner.
Read the full list here: https://theweeklylist.org/weekly-list/week-99/
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/
Increasingly, 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: c
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.