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Weekly Lists

Experts in authoritarianism advise to keep a list of things
subtly changing around you, so you’ll remember.
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January 25, 2020

Week 167

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. 

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January 18, 2020

Week 166

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. 

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January 11, 2020

Week 165

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.

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January 04, 2020

Week 164

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.

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December 28, 2019

Week 163

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.

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December 21, 2019

Week 162

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.

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December 14, 2019

Week 161

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.

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December 07, 2019

Week 160

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.”

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November 30, 2019

Week 159

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.

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November 23, 2019

Week 158

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. 

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