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Archives

Weekly Lists

Experts in authoritarianism advise to keep a list of things
subtly changing around you, so you’ll remember.
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November 09, 2019

Week 156

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.

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November 02, 2019

Week 155

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.

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October 26, 2019

Week 154

This week marked a major shirt 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.

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October 19, 2019

Week 153

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.

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October 12, 2019

Week 152

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).

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October 05, 2019

Week 151

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.

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September 28, 2019

Week 150

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.

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September 21, 2019

Week 149

This week, the contents of a whistleblower complaint were reported to be a conversation between Trump and the new Ukrainian president, in which Trump seemed to suggest withholding financial and military support from Ukraine if President Volodymyr Zelensky did not order an investigation of Trump’s 2020 political foe. Trump later in the week openly admitted to having made the request, and called it “appropriate,” instead blaming the “partisan” whistleblower and the media. Republicans stood behind Trump.

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September 14, 2019

Week 148

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.

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September 07, 2019

Week 147

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 startling 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.

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