Rank #1: Week 119 - The Continuing Rise of White Nationalism
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/
Feb 25 2019
Rank #2: Week 160 - Laughingstock of the World
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.
Dec 09 2019
Rank #3: Week 159 - Donald Balboa
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/
Dec 02 2019
Rank #4: Week 154 - Republican Sit-In
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/
Oct 28 2019
Rank #5: Week 113 - Trump's Prime Time Oval Office Address
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/
Jan 14 2019
Rank #6: Week 114 - 29 Days (and Counting) Government Shutdown
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/
Jan 21 2019
Rank #7: Week 163 - Losing the Evangelicals?
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/
Dec 30 2019
Rank #8: Week 118 - Paul Manafort's Mueller Probe Troubles
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/
Feb 18 2019
Rank #9: Week 115 - The End of the Government Shutdown
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/
Jan 28 2019
Rank #10: Week 130 - Constitutional Crisis
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/
May 13 2019
Rank #11: Week 126 - Stephen Miller: Immigration Czar
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/
Apr 15 2019
Rank #12: Week 158 - Impeachment Hearings Continue
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/
Nov 25 2019
Rank #13: Week 162 - Third in History
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/
Dec 23 2019
Rank #14: Week 156 - Democratic Victories
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/
Nov 11 2019
Rank #15: Week 145 - Greenland is Not for Sale
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/
Aug 26 2019
Rank #16: Week 110 - Defense Secretary Jim Mattis' Resignation
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/
Dec 24 2018
Rank #17: Week 153 - All Roads Lead to Putin
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/
Oct 21 2019
Rank #18: Week 128 - The Redacted Mueller Report
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/
Apr 29 2019
Rank #19: Week 116 - Trump Meets Putin
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/
Feb 04 2019
Rank #20: Week 142 - Moscow Mitch
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/
Aug 05 2019