Is Donald Trump a threat to democracy? From his executive orders targeting immigrants, to his personal attacks on federal judges (and many others), to his demonization of the media as the "enemy of the American people," the 45th president's actions have alarmed political observers of all stripes. Below is a running timeline tracking Trump's numerous displays of authoritarian behavior, beginning from the day he was sworn in.
Editor's note, 4/5/18: After more than 14 months of daily documentation here we have capped this timeline, as Trump continues to attack and politicize the US "Justice" Department, go after "stupid" corporations he dislikes, blast the media as "sick," praise a conservative local TV network for a "fake news" script, lie about DACA policy, call for militarizing the US-Mexico border, reiterate wildly false claims of voter fraud, and bizarrely defer to Russian dictator Vladimir Putin. We will continue to report on Trump's further accumulation of anti-democratic actions elsewhere in Mother Jones.
Week 62: Floating pardons for Flynn and Manafort; throwing the 2020 census into crisis; going after Amazon; decrying unprecedented "fake news" in the wake of Stormy Daniels; claiming there are "enemy combatants pouring into our Country" (March 24 - March 30)
Day 434: Trump reiterates his long-running disdain for Amazon, while his 2020 campaign manager Brad Parscale criticizes the company for its ownership of "a political newspaper, The @washingtonpost." (March 29)
Day 433: The New York Times reports that John Dowd, Trump's recently resigned lead attorney in the Mueller investigation, floated the idea of presidential pardons to lawyers for top ex-Trump advisers Michael Flynn and Paul Manafort as the special counsel closed in on them. "The talks suggest that Mr. Trump’s lawyers were concerned about what Mr. Flynn and Mr. Manafort might reveal were they to cut a deal with the special counsel in exchange for leniency," the Times reports. "Mr. Mueller’s team could investigate the prospect that Mr. Dowd made pardon offers to thwart the inquiry, although legal experts are divided about whether such offers might constitute obstruction of justice."
- Axios reports that people close to Trump say he is "obsessed" with gunning for Amazon, in part due to the tech giant's ownership of The Washington Post, which Trump reportedly views as CEO Jeff Bezos' "political weapon." (March 28)
Day 432: Trump's Commerce Department announces plans to include a question about citizenship on the 2020 census, a move clearly designed to target immigrant populations and one that could dramatically distort the census results. Speaking to reporters, White House press secretary Sarah Sanders lies about the question being included almost continuously since 1965, when in fact it hasn't been included since 1950.
- The Daily Beast reports on a mysterious effort by Trump ally American Media Inc. to flood supermarkets and other retailers with a 100-page glossy magazine promoting the "New Kingdom" of Saudi Arabian Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, a subject of concern with regard to self-dealing foreign policy in the Trump White House.(March 27)
Day 431: The morning after 60 Minutes airs a highly anticipated interview with porn actress Stormy Daniels about her relationship with Donald Trump, the president voices a sweeping attack on the media. "So much Fake News," he tweets. "Never been more voluminous or more inaccurate." (March 26)
Day 430: Commenting on the recent passage of a congressional budget bill, including funds for the military and his proposed "border wall," Trump claims that there are "enemy combatants pouring into our Country" and suggests that the wall should be built "through" the military as a matter of national defense. (March 25)
Week 61: Congratulating Vladimir Putin on his reelection; blasting a fired Andrew McCabe, "corrupt" FBI leadership, and the Mueller investigation by name; a growing problem with Sessions' role in the McCabe firing; a call from Trump's lawyer to shut down the Mueller investigation; hiring an anti-FBI conspiracy theorist featured on Fox News (March 17 - March 23)
Day 427: Trump personally attacks "Crazy Joe Biden" on Twitter in response to comments from the former vice president about hypothetical physical violence against Trump over Trump's glorification of sexual assault.
- As White House staff turnover continues apace, including the departure of Trump's attorney John Dowd, New York Times correspondent Maggie Haberman reports that Trump may believe he is less and less in need of presidential advisers; Trump, according to one current adviser, is "starting to see the White House as Trump Org." (March 22)
Day 426: ABC News reports that Attorney General Jeff Sessions was previously under investigation by former FBI deputy director Andrew McCabe concerning Sessions' misleading comments to Congress about contacts with the Russian ambassador during the Trump campaign. Sessions—who has repeatedly violated his own recusal from any Justice Department matters related to the 2016 campaign—went on to fire McCabe.
- In a Justice Department memo, Sessions instructs federal prosecutors to pursue the death penalty for drug dealers, as President Trump has proposed.
- Trump rips the "Fake News Media" as "crazed" for reporting criticism of his embrace of Vladimir Putin's reelection. (March 21)
Day 425: Trump calls Vladimir Putin to congratulate him on his reelection victory, less than three weeks after an assassination attempt in Britain using a military-grade nerve agent that Putin's regime was almost certainly behind. "We had a very good call," Trump tells reporters in the Oval Office, which did not include any discussion of the nerve agent attack.
White House press secretary Sarah Sanders tells reporters that the Trump administration isn't interested in the fact that the Russian election was a sham. "We don't get to dictate how other countries operate," she says, continuing a long pattern of Trump and his aides showing a bizarre deference to Putin.
Trump's latest posturing on Putin is met with intense criticism from Sen. John McCain and Sen. Mark Warner, among others, while drawing a notably more tepid response from Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell.
According to the Washington Post, Trump's conversation with Putin went directly against the counsel of his national security advisers, whose written briefing materials for Trump warned "DO NOT CONGRATULATE" the Russian leader on the election results. As the Post further notes, "Trump’s applause of Putin’s victory was in line with other congratulatory calls he has made, including to Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan for winning a much-disputed referendum that increased his already autocratic powers and to China’s President Xi Jinping for his 'extraordinary elevation' after Xi last month engineered the Communist Party’s elimination of presidential term limits." (March 20)
Day 424: Trump hails a morning appearance by Sean Hannity on "Fox & Friends" and soon decries "a total WITCH HUNT with massive conflicts of interest," presumably again regarding the Mueller investigation.
- Trump adds to his legal team battling the Mueller investigation, hiring Washington lawyer Joseph E. diGenova, who has pushed anti-FBI conspiracy theories in support of Trump on Fox News. "Mr. diGenova has endorsed the notion that a secretive group of FBI agents concocted the Russia investigation as a way to keep Mr. Trump from becoming president," the New York Times reports. "'There was a brazen plot to illegally exonerate Hillary Clinton and, if she didn’t win the election, to then frame Donald Trump with a falsely created crime,' [diGenova] said on Fox News in January. He added, 'Make no mistake about it: A group of FBI and DOJ people were trying to frame Donald Trump of a falsely created crime.'"
Day 423: In a series of morning tweets, Trump escalates his attacks on McCabe, Comey, and the Mueller investigation, including citing "Fox & Friends" and suggesting that evidence examined by Mueller from the two top FBI officials fired by Trump comes from "Fake Memos." (March 18)
Day 422: In a celebratory tweet just hours after the firing of FBI deputy director Andrew McCabe by Attorney General Jeff Sessions, Trump mocks McCabe as a "choirboy," also denouncing his "sanctimonious" former boss James Comey and "the lies and corruption going on at the highest levels of the FBI."
John Dowd, one of Trump's lawyers defending him against the Mueller investigation, tells the Daily Beast that the investigation should be shut down and suggests Mueller should be fired. Dowd says in a statement:
I pray that Acting Attorney General Rosenstein will follow the brilliant and courageous example of the FBI Office of Professional Responsibility and Attorney General Jeff Sessions and bring an end to alleged Russia Collusion investigation manufactured by McCabe’s boss James Comey based upon a fraudulent and corrupt Dossier.
Dowd says that he is speaking on behalf of Trump, "as his counsel." He then backtracks after publication of the story, according to the Daily Beast, clarifying that he was speaking in his personal capacity, not on the president’s behalf. The McCabe firing and Dowd's remarks draw scathing rebuke from senior Democratic senators Richard Blumenthal and Mark Warner, among others. As the New York Times notes: "Mr. McCabe was among the first at the FBI to scrutinize possible Trump campaign ties to Russia. And he is a potential witness to the question of whether Mr. Trump tried to obstruct justice. Mr. Trump has taunted Mr. McCabe both publicly and privately, and Republican allies have cast him as the center of a 'deep state' effort to undermine the Trump presidency."
Hours later, Trump again aims to discredit the Mueller investigation, reiterating corruption at the "highest levels" of the FBI, DOJ, and State Department, and attacks against the "Fake News" and McCabe, Comey, and others. He also disparages the Mueller investigation directly by name for the first time. (March 17)
Week 60: The disparagement and firing of FBI deputy director Andrew McCabe; evidence of a political purge at the State Department; Trump's war on "fake news" undermines local reporting on political corruption; a push to weaken the reach of federal courts; lying about a New York Times reporter; crass personal attacks during a campaign rally (March 10 - March 16)
Day 421: After months of political and personal attacks by President Trump against FBI deputy director Andrew McCabe, Attorney General Jeff Sessions fires McCabe less than two days before McCabe is eligible for retirement. Sessions cites an internal DOJ report alleging that McCabe misled the DOJ inspector general over contacts with the media—but neither Sessions nor the DOJ makes public the report or any further details from it. McCabe says he is the target of a political attack by the Trump White House designed to discredit both him and the ongoing investigation by special counsel Robert Mueller.
- Nuclear diplomacy by way of nepotism? On the heels of Rex Tillerson's abrupt, chaotic firing as secretary of state, KBS World Radio reports that South Korea's foreign minister will meet with Ivanka Trump, among others, during an upcoming trip to the United States. (March 16)
Day 420: Senior Democratic lawmakers Elijah Cummings and Eliot Engel seek documents regarding what they call "extremely disturbing" whistleblower evidence that the Trump White House worked with Newt Gingrich, a former Dick Cheney aide, and others to conduct a political purge of State Department employees deemed insufficiently loyal to Trump. The targeted employees, including one involved in the Iran nuclear deal, were described with terms including “Turncoat,” “leaker and a troublemaker,” and “Obama/Clinton loyalists not at all supportive of President Trump’s foreign policy agenda.” As detailed by the two congressmen, such actions would likely violate federal laws protecting federal civil servants from undue political influence.
- As Attorney General Jeff Sessions considers whether to fire deputy FBI director Andrew McCabe just days before McCabe's retirement, White House press secretary Sarah Sanders disparages McCabe, an accomplished career civil servant, as a "bad actor." Sessions' involvement is the latest of multiple violations of his own recusal from Justice Department investigations in which he has a clear ethical conflict. (March 15)
Day 419: Despite successfully installing federal judges at a record pace, Trump falsely accuses senate Democrats of unprecedented obstruction against his nominees, calling it the "worst in US history!" (March 14)
Day 417: Trump's incessant drumbeat against "fake news"—meaning unflattering reporting that he doesn't like—continues to be taken up by conservative politicians around the country as a means to undermining reporting on political corruption. The spread of that tactic comes as Trump tells the public to tune out the media: "Turn off the show - FAKE NEWS!"
- Mother Jones' Pema Levy reports that, after various setbacks for Trump's executive orders on immigration, the administration is seeking to permanently remove the ability of federal judges to issue nationwide injunctions—orders that stop a policy from taking effect until the court has officially ruled on its legality. (March 12)
Day 416: Trump adds New York Times reporter Maggie Haberman to the long list of journalists he has personally attacked, calling her a lying "Hillary flunky" who supposedly was "not given access" to Trump in the Oval Office—an obvious lie. (March 11)
Day 415: In a series of caustic, crass remarks during a campaign rally on behalf of a Republican congressional candidate in Pennsylvania, Trump goes on the attack against Oprah Winfrey ("I know her weakness"), NBC anchor Chuck Todd ("a sleeping son of a bitch"), and Democratic Rep. Maxine Waters ("a low-I.Q. individual"). He also hits on familiar themes including disparaging the free press, praising the dictators of China and North Korea, talking up capital punishment for drug dealers, and reiterating the need for cops to physically assault criminal suspects. Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin soon defends Trump's remarks as just a bunch of "funny" talk—simply a matter of what Trump likes to do at campaign rallies. (March 10)
Week 59: Hailing the "great" Xi Jinping's power grab in China; policy planning for executing drug dealers—with advice from Singapore; citing a right-wing conspiracy theorist; anger over a photo of "disloyal" DOJ leaders; promoting yet another friend's new book; seeking to brand Trump golf courses with the US presidential seal; slurring Gary Cohn as a "globalist" (March 3 - March 9)
Day 414: The Trump administration continues to consider executions as part of a solution to the opioid crisis: The Washington Post reports that Trump officials are studying policy that could allow prosecutors to seek the death penalty for drug dealers—and that the White House has received briefings on the issue from Singaporean representatives. (March 9)
Day 413: As national economic advisor Gary Cohn prepares to resign, Trump refers to Cohn during a cabinet meeting as a "globalist"—a slur popular on the political far right that has virulently antisemitic origins. Trump's remarks echo the same from his budget director, Mick Mulvaney. (March 8)
Day 412: Trump uses his social media platform to promote the new book of yet another personal connection: Roma Downey—who is married to Mark Burnett, producer of Trump's longtime NBC show "The Apprentice"—joins a growing list of people who stand to benefit commercially from Trump's presidential endorsement, including Sean Hannity, Brian Kilmeade, Sheriff David Clarke, Dr. Robert Jeffress, Corey Lewandowski and David Bossie. (March 7)
Day 410: Trump claims that the counterintelligence investigation opened by the FBI in 2016 concerning the Trump campaign and Russia was a ploy by the Obama administration to discredit him “so Crooked H would win.” He adds that Obama did "nothing" to stop Russian interference in the US election.
- ProPublica reports that the Trump Organization has ordered the manufacture of tee markers for its golf courses that are emblazoned with the seal of the President of the United States, possibly violating federal law. (March 5)
Day 408: In a closed-doored gathering with Republican donors at Mar-a-Lago, Trump lauds President Xi Jinping of China for recently consolidating his power, possibly indefinitely. Riffing to laughter from the group, Trump suggests he could see doing the same for himself. "He's now president for life. President for life. And he's great," Trump says, according to a recording of the event obtained by CNN. "And look, he was able to do that. I think it's great. Maybe we'll give that a shot some day."
- The Washington Post reports that Trump became enraged over a photo that appeared in the media the previous Wednesday after he again publicly excoriated Attorney General Jeff Sessions; according to the Post, the image of Sessions dining that night with Rod Rosenstein, who remains in charge of the Russia investigation, and another top DOJ prosecutor left Trump "venting to friends and allies about a dinner he viewed as an intentional show of disloyalty." (March 3)
Week 58: Talk of taking guns away without due process; blasting Jeff Sessions and the Russia investigation again; more personal attacks on the Florida cop who didn't pursue the mass shooter; concealing Trump Organization profits; rejecting "inappropriate" media questions; potential nepotism at the FAA; death for drug dealers; hailing a Sandy Hook hoaxer (Feb. 24 - March 2)
Day 406: Trump openly expresses his interest in executing drug dealers (following a media report that he's said so privately). He suggests that autocratic regimes elsewhere in the world "have much less of a drug problem than we do" thanks to their use of the death penalty.
- At the State Department, asked whether the US might sanction Russia over chemical warfare used by the Kremlin-backed regime in Syria, spokesperson Heather Nauert accuses reporters of being "so obsessed" with Russia's attack on the 2016 US elections. The familiar theme often floated from the podium in the White House press briefing room does not go over well: "I'm sorry," retorts one reporter, "I reject your assertion that everybody in this room is obsessed. It's not germane to the question at hand. The question at hand is, What is the US going to do to hold Russia accountable?" (March 1)
— ABC News Politics (@ABCPolitics) March 1, 2018
Day 405: Trump renews his fierce public attack on Jeff Sessions, calling the attorney general he appointed "DISGRACEFUL" for utilizing the Justice Department's inspector general while failing to aggressively investigate what Trump alleges was "potentially massive FISA abuse" by his political opponents.
In a sign of how toxic the relationship may have become, Sessions pushes back against Trump in a statement: "As long as I am the attorney general, I will continue to discharge my duties with integrity and honor, and this department will continue to do its work in a fair and impartial manner according to the law and Constitution." The Washington Post reports that behind the scenes Trump has derisively referred to Sessions as “Mr. Magoo” and lamented that he is stuck with Sessions, who he believes has been insufficiently loyal to him.
- In a discussion with lawmakers about gun regulations broadcast live from the White House, Trump talks up his desire to aggressively take guns away from potentially dangerous people without first allowing due process. After Vice President Mike Pence says "Allow due process, so that no one's rights are trampled,” Trump jumps in to contradict him: "Or, Mike, take the firearms first and then go to court. Because a lot of times, by the time you go to court, it takes so long to go to court, to get the due process procedures. I like taking the guns early, like in this crazy man's case that just took place in Florida...To go to court would have taken a long time." (Feb. 28)
— CNN (@CNN) February 28, 2018
Day 403: During a meeting with governors at the White House, Trump continues personally attacking the Broward County Sheriff's deputy who failed to go into Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School during the Feb. 14 gun massacre, referring to him as "disgusting" and "a disgrace." (Trump also claims that he would've "run in there" himself, "even if I didn't have a weapon.")
- The Trump Organization continues refusing to disclose how much it has profited from foreign governments spending money at Trump hotels during the Trump presidency.
- Ivanka Trump, who officially serves in the role of assistant to the president of the United States, says in an interview with NBC News that it is "pretty inappropriate" for the media to ask her about credible allegations of sexual misconduct against the president of the United States. She makes the remarks while representing the US at the Winter Olympics in South Korea. (Feb. 26)
“Do you believe your father’s [sexual misconduct] accusers?” -@PeterAlexander
“I think it’s a pretty inappropriate question to ask a daughter if she believes the accusers of her father when he’s affirmatively stated there’s no truth to it.” -@IvankaTrump pic.twitter.com/23AVPgcOdE
— TODAY (@TODAYshow) February 26, 2018
- Axios reports that Trump has privately been talking up his desire to execute major drug traffickers, a la policy in China, Singapore, and the Philippines, whose murderous strongman leader, Rodrigo Duterte, Trump has repeatedly praised. (Feb. 25)
Day 401: "This whole Witch Hunt is an illegal disgrace," Trump again says of the ongoing Russia investigation, "and Obama did nothing about Russia!" Trump also distorts a quote from Fox News to again smear Democratic Rep. Adam Schiff—a member of a House committee investigating the Trump campaign and Russia—who Trump calls a "total phony."
- On Fox News, Trump accuses Schiff of "probably illegal" leaking. "He's a bad guy," Trump says.
- On Twitter, Trump blasts "Democrat judges" in Pennsylvania, citing Fox News and again wading into the ongoing fight in that state over partisan gerrymandering.
- For reasons unclear, Trump promotes a three-year-old tweet riffing about black conservatives who "love America" and don't "vote Democrat," from fringe media figure Wayne Dupree. With the Florida high school massacre continuing to dominate the news, Trump's effusive tweet seems especially bizarre given that Dupree has long pushed ugly conspiracy theories about mass shooting victims and survivors. Dupree has said that the Sandy Hook Elementary School massacre in 2012 was a hoax involving "crisis actors" posing as grieving parents, and made a similar claim about the Florida high school survivors. A month after 20 first graders and six educators were murdered at Sandy Hook, the man whose words Trump highlighted on this Saturday morning wrote about Sandy Hook parents: "Unemotional, detached, contrived. With two real children involved, if this were real, they would be real and would be with their children, consoling them, not promoting the New World Order agenda of total control, including the control of children’s minds." (Feb. 24)
Week 57: Blaming the Florida school massacre on the Russia investigation; siding with Putin over Democrats and the US media; lying about denying Russia's attacks on the 2016 elections; selling access to Donald Jr. in India; attacking Oprah; calling a critic in Congress a "monster"; promoting another anti-CNN cartoon and a CNN conspiracy theory (Feb. 17 - Feb. 23)
Day 400: Trump personally rebukes the Broward County Sheriff's deputy who failed to go after the mass shooter at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, on Feb 14. "When it came time to get in there and do something, he didn’t have the courage, or something happened, but he certainly did a poor job—there’s no question about that," Trump says, also suggesting the officer was "a coward."
- Trump underscores the importance of his daughter Ivanka leading US diplomacy in South Korea. (Feb. 23)
Day 399: CNN reports that US Citizenship and Immigration Services has changed its mission statement to no longer include the term “nation of immigrants.”
- Trump cites a conspiracy theory promoted by Fox News pundit Tucker Carlson regarding CNN's allegedly "scripted" handling of a Parkland shooting survivor; Trump uses the false claim to trash CNN once again. (Feb. 22)
Day 398: Trump returns to attacking the federal law enforcement system over the Russia investigation, including undermining his own attorney general, Jeff Sessions, and again calling for the prosecution of his Democratic political opponents. (Feb. 21)
Day 397: During a White House briefing, press secretary Sarah Sanders reiterates Trump's comments blaming the FBI for allegedly failing to prevent the Florida school massacre because of the ongoing Russia investigation, which Sanders calls "clearly a hoax."
- The president inserts himself into a highly partisan state-level battle over gerrymandering in Pennsylvania, suggesting a fight "all the way to the Supreme Court."
- Trump ridicules CNN and MSNBC and its "two really dishonest newscasters" for covering "the anti-Trump Russia rally wall-to-wall." (Feb. 20)
Day 396: The Washington Post reports that Donald Trump Jr., while on a business trip in India to promote the Trump Organization's real estate investments, will also deliver a foreign policy speech on behalf of the Trump administration. The price of admission? About $38,000, according to the Post. “Trump’s company is literally selling access to the president’s son overseas,” says an ethics watchdog group. (Feb. 19)
Day 395: Blaming Democrats and the Obama administration for failing to combat Russian interference in US elections, Trump says, "They are laughing their asses off in Moscow." He also claims that he "never" denied the existence of Kremlin interference in the 2016 US elections—when in fact he denied its existence many times.
- Trump tweets another anti-CNN cartoon, this time by a person who also drew Hillary Clinton in blackface.
- Oprah Winfrey makes Trump's ever-growing list of individual people targeted for insults and personal attacks over politics: Trump calls her "very insecure" and says he hopes she runs for president in 2020 "so she can be exposed and defeated just like all of the others!" He also goes after Democratic Rep. Adam Schiff again, referring to him as a "monster." (Feb. 18)
Day 394: Trump blames the Florida school massacre on the Russia investigation. "Very sad that the FBI missed all of the many signals sent out by the Florida school shooter," he tweets. "They are spending too much time trying to prove Russian collusion with the Trump campaign—there is no collusion. Get back to the basics and make us all proud!"
As Trump reiterates "NO COLLUSION" and tries to deflect focus from Robert Mueller's bombshell indictment of 13 Russians, Trump's deputy press secretary Hogan Gidley suggests on Fox News that "Democrats and the mainstream media" have done more harm to America than Putin's regime has. (Feb. 17)
— Fox News (@FoxNews) February 17, 2018
Week 56: Lying about a US intelligence assessment of Russia's attack on the 2016 elections; the tactics of Trumpism spread further into Congress; a new conspiracy theory on the Mueller probe (Feb. 10 - Feb. 16)
Day 391: Speaking in an interview with Axios about Russia's attacks on the US political system, Vice President Mike Pence claims that “it is the universal conclusion of our intelligence communities that none of those efforts had any effect on the outcome of the 2016 election.” Pence's claim is flat-out false—the US intelligence community did not assess the impact on the elections from the Russian operations. (Feb. 14)
Politico reports that GOP House Intelligence Committee chairman and key Trump ally Devin Nunes has taken a page out of the White House playbook to end-run the media, launching a partisan "alternative" news site of his own. (It does not go well.)
- Trump lets loose another broadside against the media, "whose approval ratings are correctly at their lowest levels in history!" (Feb. 11)
Day 387: Citing a New York Times story, Trump suggests a new, if vague conspiracy theory about the Russia investigation. (Feb. 10)
Week 55: Evidence that Trump and his press secretary lied about FBI communications on James Comey's firing; calling Democrats "un-American" and "treasonous" for their response to the State of the Union; ordering up a costly military parade; politicizing the death of a NFL player; smearing two former US intelligence chiefs and accusing a congressman of a federal crime without evidence; claiming the Nunes memo "totally vindicates 'Trump'" (Feb. 3 - Feb. 9)
Day 383: Turning again to the ongoing battle in Washington over immigration policy, Trump quickly politicizes the tragic death of Edwin Jackson, an African American NFL player.
- Press secretary Sarah Sanders and other White House aides claim that Trump calling Democratic lawmakers "un-American" and "treasonous" the prior day was just him "joking"—an excuse the White House often uses to mop up incendiary and offensive remarks from Trump.
- The Washington Post reports that Trump, who got five draft deferments instead of serving during the Vietnam War, has ordered plans drawn up for a large-scale, costly military parade in the nation's capital. “The marching orders were: I want a parade like the one in France,” an unnamed military official told the Post. (Trump was quite taken with a display of martial power during his July 2017 visit to Paris.) “This is being worked at the highest levels of the military.” (Feb. 6)
Day 382: The national security experts at Lawfare reveal more than 100 pages of FOIA'd communications from the FBI showing that Trump and his press secretary Sarah Sanders lied about the state of morale at the bureau as well as "countless" FBI officials allegedly telling the Trump White House that they supported Trump's decision to fire director James Comey. "This material tells a dramatic story about the FBI’s reaction to the Comey firing," the Lawfare experts write, "but it is neither a story of gratitude to the president nor a story of an organization in turmoil relieved by a much-needed leadership transition."
As the special agent in charge of the Detroit field office said of Comey's firing, "I hope this is an instance of fake news." His counterpart in the Knoxville field office wrote: "Unexpected news such as this is hard to understand but I know you all know our Director stood for what is right and what is true!!!...He truly made us better when we needed it the most."
The 103 pages of FBI communications obtained by Lawfare, published in their entirety, show "that no aspect of the White House’s statements about the bureau were accurate—and, indeed, that the White House engendered at least some resentment among the rank and file for whom it purported to speak. As Amy Hess, the special agent in charge in Louisville, put it: 'On a personal note, I vehemently disagree with any negative assertions about the credibility of this institution or the people herein.'"
- On Twitter, Trump attacks the ranking member of the House Intelligence Committee, blasting "Little Adam Schiff" as "one of the biggest liars and leakers in Washington" along with Comey, Sen. Mark Warner, and former US intelligence chiefs John Brennan and James Clapper. Without evidence, Trump accuses Schiff of a serious federal crime: "Adam leaves closed committee hearings to illegally leak confidential information. Must be stopped!"
- Later in the day, speaking after a factory tour in Ohio, Trump derides Democrats as "un-American" and "treasonous" for not applauding enough during his recent State of the Union address. “Honestly, it was bad energy,” Trump says. “Even on really positive news…they were like death,” he continues, emphasizing: “And un-American. Un-American. Somebody said ‘treasonous’—yeah, I guess, why not. Can we call that treason? Why not. I mean, they certainly didn’t seem to love our country very much.” (Feb. 5)
Trump says Democrats who didn't clap for him at the State of the Union are "un-American" and "treasonous." pic.twitter.com/lKUx0m3KKK
— BuzzFeed News (@BuzzFeedNews) February 5, 2018
Day 380: Trump suggests the 2016 election was tilted against him by corrupt actors at the FBI, selectively citing a Wall Street Journal opinion piece. He also says of the now-public and highly controversial document from ally Devin Nunes, "This memo totally vindicates 'Trump' in probe. But the Russian Witch Hunt goes on and on." (Feb. 3)
Week 54: Smearing Republican leaders of the FBI and DOJ as corrupt Democratic partisans; collaborating with Sean Hannity—who threatens Jim Comey; asking Rod Rosenstein for a "team" loyalty pledge; seeking power to fire any federal employee; a call from Paul Ryan to "cleanse" the FBI; a refusal to enforce congressionally mandated Russia sanctions (Jan. 27 - Feb. 2)
Day 379: As House Republicans release the deceptive Nunes memo on the Trump-Russia investigation, Trump blasts the "top Leadership and Investigators of the FBI and Justice Department" as corrupt Democratic partisans. His remarks defy that those leaders are longtime Republicans who were appointed by Republican presidents, including the current FBI director, Christopher Wray, who Trump himself appointed six months earlier with high praise.
Adding to his affront against US law enforcement leaders, Trump quotes and cites Judicial Watch's Tom Fitton, a Fox News regular who has led a smear campaign depicting the FBI and DOJ as deeply corrupt. When later asked by reporters in the Oval Office whether the Nunes memo will lead him to fire Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, Trump replies, "You figure that one out."
Meanwhile, Trump's close ally Sean Hannity—whose Fox News network got exclusive early access to the Nunes memo prior to its release, and who Trump reportedly speaks with regularly—threatens former FBI Director James Comey with the implication that Comey may be arrested.
On his evening Fox News broadcast, Hannity declares that "Comey is running scared. He's out of his mind right now, now that he is exposed with this memo." Hannity reiterates that "crimes have been committed" by the leaders of the FBI and Justice Department, and that "Comey, McCabe, Rosenstein and others all need to be investigated and, in many cases, prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law."
- Trump promotes a divisively partisan opinion piece showering him with Dear Leader-esque praise, authored by a Washington Times/Fox News contributor who declares: "President Trump has officially transformed himself from merely a great American president into a historic world leader." (Feb. 2)
Day 378: The Daily Beast reports that President Trump has been in frequent contact with Fox News anchor Sean Hannity about releasing the Nunes memo to the public: "In their conversations, Trump and Hannity discussed the Nunes memo’s supposed bombshell-level significance, and how it could shed light on the alleged anti-Trump bias and “corruption” at the FBI. On these calls, Trump has directly referenced specific recent Hannity segments related to #ReleaseTheMemo, according to one of three sources with knowledge of their conversations."
- Together with praise for Fox News, Trump notes that 45.6 million people watched his State of the Union address. He claims this is "the highest number in history," which is false by millions. (Feb. 1)
Day 377: A report from CNN reveals yet more of a pattern of Trump seeking personal loyalty from top US officials involved in investigating him and his presidential campaign. During a White House meeting in December, CNN reports, Trump asked Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein for information about the special counsel's investigation, and whether Rosenstein was "on my team." Trump also reportedly gave GOP lawmakers questions they should ask Rosenstein during his congressional testimony. (Jan. 31)
Day 376: During his first official State of the Union address, Trump signals he will continue to target the Mueller investigation: He tells a GOP lawmaker that he plans to release the Nunes memo "100 percent"—following a speech in which he calls on Congress to give his White House the authority to summarily fire any federal employee deemed to “undermine the public trust, or fail the American people.”
- Republican House Speaker Paul Ryan explicitly backs the Trump White House campaign to release the Nunes memo, telling the hosts of "Fox & Friends" that there is a need to "cleanse" the FBI.
- In a textbook example of "whataboutism" concerning the Russia investigation, Trump adviser Kellyanne Conway says that much of the media that was critical of Donald Trump during the 2016 campaign "tried to interfere in the election." (Jan. 30)
Day 375: Bloomberg reports that on his recent flight to Davos, Trump erupted in anger over news that a top Justice Department official pushed back hard against releasing the Nunes memo, and that Trump's chief of staff John Kelly had recently been leaning on top DOJ officials and "lecturing them about White House expectations."
- The Trump administration declines to enforce congressionally mandated sanctions against Russia, stating that the law itself is a deterrent and therefore does not need to be enforced. (Jan. 29)
Week 53: Lying about attempting to fire Mueller; participating in a smear campaign against the Mueller investigation; politically pressuring the acting FBI director in the Oval Office; attacking "Fake News CNN" again despite a mass murder threat; targeting Hispanic voter data; using US troops as a political prop (Jan. 20 - 26)
Day 372: Speaking at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Trump denies a bombshell report from the New York Times that he moved to fire special counsel Robert Mueller in June 2017 and only backed down when White House counsel Don McGahn threatened to quit. "Fake news, folks. Fake news. Typical New York Times," Trump says of the Mueller story, which is also confirmed by reporting from the Washington Post, Wall Street Journal, CNN, Fox News, and other outlets. (Fox News backs away from its own reporting after Trump calls the story "fake.") In other remarks from him at Davos, Trump gets booed for emphasizing "how fake the press can be." (Jan. 26)
- Trump returns to taunting "Cryin' Chuck Schumer" about negotiations over immigration policy.
Day 370: Talking to reporters at the White House just ahead of departing for the World Economic Forum in Davos, Trump again points up a conspiracy theory about “missing texts” from FBI officials Peter Strzok and Lisa Page, who Trump and some Republican lawmakers allege were lined up against Trump and for Hillary Clinton during the 2016 election. Trump also half-heartedly denies, as reported by the Washington Post, that he asked acting FBI director Andrew McCabe how he voted in 2016 during an Oval Office meeting with McCabe shortly after Trump fired James Comey. “I don’t think so,” Trump says of asking about McCabe's vote—and then goes on to suggest that it wouldn’t matter if he had asked the FBI leader: “I don't know what's the big deal with that, because I would ask you who you voted for, who did you vote for? I don't think it's a big deal, but I don't remember that, I saw that this morning, I don't remember asking him that question.” (Jan. 24)
Day 369: As Fox News and Trump partisans in Congress push a story about "missing texts" that is aimed at discrediting Robert Mueller's special counsel investigation, Trump personally joins in on the effort: He calls out two senior FBI officials—one of whom he recently accused of "treason"—and refers to the issue as "one of the biggest stories in a long time."
Later in the day, Trump goes after "FBI lovers" Peter Strzok and Lisa Page again on Twitter. With questions swirling anew about Attorney General Jeff Sessions' role in the Trump-Russia investigation, Sen. Mark Warner warns that there could be long-term damage to American democracy from the sustained attacks against the FBI and DOJ spearheaded by Trump allies in the House.
- Less than 24 hours after news breaks that a Michigan man cited "fake news" as he made racist and antisemitic comments and threatened to commit mass murder at CNN headquarters, Trump freshly taunts "Fake News CNN." Trump also adds correspondent Jim Acosta to the long list of individuals he goes after with bullying nicknames, dubbing him "Crazy Jim Acosta."
- The Washington Post reports that shortly after firing FBI Director James Comey in May 2017, Trump summoned acting FBI director Andrew McCabe to the Oval Office for a conversation and, despite the ongoing political firestorm, asked him who he voted for in the 2016 presidential election. (McCabe told Trump he didn't vote in November 2016.) The Post further reports that Trump "also vented his anger at McCabe over the several hundred thousand dollars in donations that his wife, a Democrat, received for her failed 2015 Virginia state Senate bid from a political action committee controlled by a close friend of Hillary Clinton." An unnamed White House official quoted in the story says that Trump "frequently complained" about McCabe, "labeling him a Democrat." (Jan. 23)
Day 368: The Washington Post reports that the Trump administration's recently dissolved voter fraud commission specifically targeted Hispanics with its request for data from Texas, home to the nation's second largest Hispanic population. (Jan. 22)
Day 367: On the second day of a US government shutdown, Vice President Mike Pence uses the US military as a political prop to blame Democrats in Congress for the impasse. "The president, the vice president, and the American people are NOT GOING TO PUT UP WITH IT," Pence says, speaking to American troops stationed in the Middle East. (Jan. 21)
NEXT: WEEKS 27 - 52 —>
Week 52: Another smear campaign against Mueller; promoting Eric Trump's political commentary on Fox News; ordering White House reporters "out" while meeting with Kazakhstan's autocratic leader; adding another US senator to the bullying list; undermining public confidence in news reporting after an unprecedented missile scare in Hawaii (Jan. 13 - 19)
Day 365: Trump repeats the claim, with no evidence, that FISA law was "so wrongly abused" during the 2016 election to target his campaign. His remarks dovetail with the latest smear campaign against special counsel Robert Mueller's investigation, involving Rep. Devin Nunes and other GOP allies of Trump in Congress, Fox News' Sean Hannity, and Russian-linked trolls. (Jan. 19)
Day 363: Trump promotes an appearance on "Fox and Friends" by his son Eric, who defends his father against worldwide condemnation over President Trump's racist remarks about Haiti, El Salvador, and Africa. ("My father sees one color—green," Eric Trump says on his father's favorite cable news show. "That is all he cares about. He cares about the economy. He does not see race.")
- Trump announces the winners of his "Highly-Anticipated 2017 Fake News Awards," posted on the temporarily failing official website of the Republican National Committee. "The content of the 11-point list was perhaps less notable than its premise," notes the New York Times, "a sitting president using his bully pulpit for a semi-formalized attack on the free press." (Jan. 17)
Day 362: Trump continues attacking the national press, using Twitter to blast the "Fake News Mainstream Media" and declare "the Russian Collusion Hoax is dead," while citing "Fox and Friends." At the White House, while honoring the autocratic leader of Kazakhstan, Trump orders the media "out."
President Trump pointing the press corps to the door: "Out." https://t.co/6U4CHKHuea
— Brian Stelter (@brianstelter) January 16, 2018
CNN correspondent Jim Acosta reports: "As I attempted to ask questions in Roosevelt Room of Trump, WH press aides shouted in my face to drown out my questions."
- Responding to a reporter's question, White House press secretary Sarah Sanders refuses to confirm or deny Trump's previously announced "Fake News Awards" for Jan. 17, referring to it as a "potential event." (Jan. 16)
Day 361: Amid the uproar over failing DACA negotiations and Trump's "shithole" remarks, Trump adds Illinois Sen. Dick Durbin to his ever-growing list of individuals targeted for personal ridicule, dubbing him "Senator Dicky Durbin." (Jan. 15)
Day 359: Just hours after widespread panic in Hawaii over a false alert of an imminent ballistic missile strike, Trump continues his endless campaign to undermine the credibility of information provided by the news media, underscoring the potential for perilous confusion under his leadership during a real attack or some other catastrophic state of emergency. (He also again personally attacks writer Michael Wolff, calling him "mentally deranged.") (Jan. 13)
Week 51: Trashing the FBI again and accusing a senior agent of treason; multiple threats regarding libel laws; undermining a US circuit court; calling for Republicans to "finally take control" of the Russia investigation; a message to Tennesseans who voted for Trump: "You are so lucky that I gave you that privilege"; encouraging the firing of a private-sector employee; erasing a key line from a White House transcript; a hostile throwdown with CNN; a self-proclaimed "very stable genius" (Jan. 6 - 12)
Day 357: After watching "Fox and Friends" coverage about a House vote to reauthorize warrantless surveillance of suspected foreign enemies of the United States, Trump revives his false claim that the Obama administration illegally spied on his 2016 campaign. (Apparently confused or uninformed about the bill, he later walks back his criticism of it.) Citing "Fox and Friends," he also trashes the FBI for allegedly trying to "use Intel tool to influence the Election" and suggests that Hillary Clinton and the Democrats were in cahoots with the Russians.
- In an interview with the Wall Street Journal, Trump accuses senior FBI agent Peter Strzok of "treason." Referring to private text messages involving Strzok that were released by the Justice Department in December, Trump puts comments in Strzok's mouth, alleging with no evidence that Strzok said of Trump during the campaign, "We'll go to phase two and we'll get this guy out of office." (Jan. 11)
Day 356: Amid continued fallout from Michael Wolff's book exposé on the Trump White House, Trump vows to go after "sham" libel laws. "Our current libel laws are a sham and a disgrace and do not represent American values or American fairness, so we’re going to take a strong look at that," Trump reads from a statement during a cabinet meeting. "You can’t say things that are false, knowingly false, and be able to smile as money pours into your bank account."
- On Twitter, Trump adds another top US senator to his list of targets for personal bullying, blasting "Sneaky Dianne Feinstein" for releasing closed-door testimony from the founder of the firm behind the Trump-Russia dossier. He says it's disgraceful that Feinstein would release the transcript "in such an underhanded and possibly illegal way." Trump also declares that Republicans should "finally take control" of the Russia investigation, which he again dubs the "single greatest Witch Hunt in American history."
- Following a ruling keeping the DACA program in place for an interim period, Trump returns to attacking the federal court system for going against his policies. (Jan. 10)
Day 355: With the dismissal of Steve Bannon, Breitbart News becomes the first company to fire a person among at least five private businesses whose employees have been singled out by the Trump White House for termination over politics. Also fingered by Trump to be axed after enraging the president: NFL players, and individual journalists from the Washington Post, ABC News, and ESPN.
- The Washington Post reports that the official White House transcript from Trump’s live-broadcast negotiating session on immigration policy with members of Congress omits a key moment in which Trump agreed with a proposal from Democratic Sen. Dianne Feinstein to shore up protection unconditionally for DACA recipients—“Yeah, I would like to do it,” went the missing line from Trump. (Jan. 9)
Day 354: During a speech in Nashville ahead of signing an executive order on broadband for rural communities, Trump reiterates that Twitter is his "only way" to get around the "fake media." He also tells the audience at the American Farm Bureau Federation's annual convention: "Oh, are you happy you voted for me. You are so lucky that I gave you that privilege." The official signing event, notes CNN's Jim Acosta, conflates White House policy business with Trump's campaigning activity, wrapping up to the same music Trump used on the 2016 trail (the Rolling Stones' "You Can't Always Get What You Want.") (Jan. 8)
Day 353: Trump personally attacks news anchor Jake Tapper, calling him a "CNN flunky" after a lengthy, increasingly hostile on-air exchange between Tapper and White House senior policy adviser Stephen Miller. (Miller, who pilloried Tapper and CNN at length during the interview, reportedly refused to leave the set after Tapper ended the interview and was escorted out by CNN security personnel.)
- Evoking the conventions of reality TV, the president continues to promote a "Fake News Awards" contest for "the most corrupt & biased of the Mainstream Media," an event he says he has postponed and rescheduled for Jan. 17 due to exceptional interest. (Jan. 7)
Day 352: With national debate continuing over Trump's fitness for office, the president reiterates that the Russia investigation is "a total hoax on the American public," that he is "like, really smart" and "a very stable genius"—and that free speech should be further restricted. "It's a disgrace that he can do something like this," Trump tells reporters at Camp David, referring to "Fire and Fury: Inside the Trump White House," the controversial book by columnist and author Michael Wolff. "Libel laws are very weak in this country," says Trump. "If they were stronger, hopefully, you would not have something like that happen." (The remarks continue a pattern of threats from Trump regarding libel laws; also see March 30 and April 30, 2017.) (Jan. 6)
Week 50: A wave of evidence that Trump pressured DOJ to target political enemies; blaming "Democrat States" for a failed investigation into nonexistent voter fraud; attacking the "Deep State Justice Dept"; taking personal credit for a year with no airline deaths; promoting a "corrupt media" contest (Dec. 30 - Jan. 5)
Day 351: Amid renewed calls from Trump for the Justice Department to go after "Crooked Hillary" and throw her top aide, Huma Abedin, in "jail," the New York Times and other media report that the FBI has reopened an investigation into alleged corruption at the Clinton Foundation.
- Attacking the press and the "phony new book" on the Trump White House by Michael Wolff, Trump reiterates that the investigation into possible collusion between the Trump campaign and Russian operatives is a "total hoax." He also continues personally attacking Wolff ("total loser") and ex-chief strategist Steve Bannon ("dumped like a dog"). (Jan. 5)
Day 350: The Daily Beast reports that the US Justice Department is investigating Hillary Clinton's emails yet again, apparently under pressure from Trump himself. (Almost certainly no coincidence of timing, the Fox-friendly news comes amid the firestorm unleashed by journalist Michael Wolff's book exposé on the Trump White House, which includes explosive comments from former chief strategist Steve Bannon about top Trump officials' "treasonous" involvement with Russians.) The Daily Beast cites an unnamed ally of Attorney General Jeff Sessions, who says that DOJ leaders "are acutely aware of demands from President Donald Trump that they look into Clinton's use of a private email server while secretary of State—and that they lock up her top aide, Huma Abedin"—an action Trump just publicly called for, on Jan. 2.
- A bombshell story from the New York Times reports that President Trump, through White House counsel Don McGahn, put pressure on Attorney General Jeff Sessions in early 2017 not to recuse himself from the Justice Department's Russia investigation—because Trump wanted Sessions to protect him from it. (Trump also recently stated he believes that is the attorney general's role.) The story further reports that White House officials either lied or were uninformed when they previously told the Times that the first termination letter Trump drafted (but then never sent) to FBI director James Comey did not discuss the Russia investigation; according to the Times, the draft called the investigation "fabricated and politically motivated." The story also reports a disturbing account of an apparent effort by a Sessions aide to target Comey and undermine his credibility with the public after the ex-FBI director testified to Congress:
Two days after Mr. Comey’s testimony, an aide to Mr. Sessions approached a Capitol Hill staff member asking whether the staffer had any derogatory information about the F.B.I. director. The attorney general wanted one negative article a day in the news media about Mr. Comey, according to a person with knowledge of the meeting.
(A DOJ spokesperson denies the account.)
- Following the news that the Trump administration's failed "voter fraud" commission has been dissolved, Trump blames "Democrat States" for allegedly refusing to cooperate and reiterates his false claim that "many people are voting illegally."
- The Trump White House again openly suggests that a private business should fire an employee, adding to a list of perceived political opponents who Trump has said should be axed, including NFL players and individual journalists from the Washington Post, ABC News, and ESPN.
- Trump tries to block publication of Michael Wolff's explosive new book on the Trump White House, with the president's personal lawyer threatening Wolff and his publisher with a lawsuit. On Twitter, Trump appears to personally threaten Wolff and his main driving source for the book, Steve Bannon: "[W]atch what happens to him and Sloppy Steve!" (The latter, "Sloppy Steve Bannon," also adds Trump's former chief strategist to an ever-growing list of political adversaries who he bestows with taunting schoolyard-style nicknames.) (Jan. 4)
- Before taking questions in the White House briefing room, press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders directs reporters to watch a canned video of Trump touting his economic policies.
Day 349: Trump taps Geoffrey Berman as the next US attorney for the Southern District of New York—a candidate Trump personally interviewed for the role, who will have jurisdiction where Trump Tower is located and who may have conflicts of interest connecting to Rudy Giuliani, Trump, and the Turkish government. (Jan. 3)
Day 348: As 2018 begins, Trump continues attacking the US law enforcement system, using the presidential platform to push for political prosecutions: He claims without evidence that former Hillary Clinton aide Huma Abedin "put Classified Passwords into the hands of foreign agents" and declares that she should be put in "jail!" He also repeats a conspiratorial slur against the "Deep State Justice Dept," which he says must "finally act" against former FBI director James Comey and "others." Trump's remarks, apparently in response to a story in the far-right Daily Caller, draw sharp rebukes from Democratic leaders in Congress, former top DOJ officials, and others.
White House press secretary Sarah Sanders later walks back Trump's comments by suggesting that he "obviously" doesn't believe "the entire" Justice Department is part of a so-called deep-state conspiracy.
- In a pair of tweets, Trump congratulates and mocks the newly installed publisher of the New York Times, A.G. Sulzberger, inaccurately describing the news outlet's finances and declaring that the Times should "lose all of your phony and non-existent 'sources,' and treat the President of the United States FAIRLY."
- Echoing his proposal back on Nov. 27 to hold a contest among news networks for a "FAKE NEWS TROPHY," Trump says he will announce "THE MOST DISHONEST & CORRUPT MEDIA AWARDS OF THE YEAR" on Jan. 8 at "5:00 o’clock."
- Trump tells his more than 40 million Twitter followers to "Watch @seanhannity tonight at 9:00 P.M." ahead of the Fox News host's show. Under the headline "Trump’s Accomplishments," Hannity spends the first five minutes of the show lauding the president: "Despite vicious media attack and many political obstacles, 2017 was a very successful first year for President Trump," he says, citing the economy and the fight against ISIS. Trump—who as president has praised Hannity on multiple occasions and also personally promoted Hannity's commercial film project (see Nov. 14)—later deletes the tweet. (Jan. 2, 2018)
Day 345: After a major story in the New York Times sheds new light on the provenance of the Trump-Russia probe and debunks a rising partisan attack on the Mueller investigation, Trump lets loose with another broadside against the press. (Dec. 30, 2017)
Week 49: Declaring an "absolute right" to control the US Justice Department; free publicity for Ivanka's products; a phony war on "merry Christmas"; a bloodied CNN logo under Trump's shoe; more attacks on FBI leaders (Dec. 23 - Dec. 29)
Day 343: In a one-on-one interview at Mar-a-Lago with New York Times reporter Michael Schmidt, Trump reiterates his belief that he has total power over the federal law enforcement system. "I have absolute right to do what I want to do with the Justice Department," he says, also stating that the ongoing Trump-Russia investigation "makes the country look very bad, and it puts the country in a very bad position." Pointing to Eric Holder in the Obama administration, Trump further expresses his view that the attorney general's role is to protect the president:
"I don’t want to get into loyalty, but I will tell you that, I will say this: Holder protected President Obama. Totally protected him," Mr. Trump said. He added: "When you look at the things that they did, and Holder protected the president. And I have great respect for that, I’ll be honest."
- In the wake of a widely panned video about Hillary Clinton from Vanity Fair, Trump ridicules magazine editor Anna Wintour as "beside herself in grief & begging for forgiveness." (Wintour, a major Clinton campaign supporter, is in fact the editor-in-chief of Vogue.) (Dec. 28)
Day 342: The Wall Street Journal publishes an analysis of Ivanka Trump's public appearances as a White House adviser, in which she wore and publicized her own fashion line most of the time, likely boosting her personal financial interests. (Dec. 27)
Day 341: Citing "Fox and Friends" coverage, Trump continues to smear the FBI over the Russia investigation; referring to the so-called Steele dossier, he says, "they used this Crooked Hillary pile of garbage as the basis for going after the Trump Campaign!" (Dec. 26)
Day 339: On Christmas Eve, Trump continues going after FBI deputy director Andrew McCabe, pats himself on the back for defending the nation against a nonexistent war on the phrase "merry Christmas", attacks the credibility of the free press, and retweets a "WINNING" image of himself with CNN squashed as a bloody spot on the bottom of his shoe. (Dec. 24)
Day 338: Citing coverage on Fox News, Trump continues attacking FBI leaders involved in the Trump-Russia investigation, calling out deputy director Andrew McCabe, ex-director "leakin' James Comey," and general counsel James Baker. (Dec. 23)
Week 48: More praise for Fox News; another propaganda-style cabinet celebration; questioning Neil Gorsuch's "loyalty"; monitoring critics at the EPA; promoting former Trump campaign officials' new book (Dec. 16 - Dec. 22)
Day 337: Trump touts his daughter, Ivanka Trump, as she serves as a White House spokesperson on Fox News.
- The Wall Street Journal reports that the Trump administration plans to grant mining leases that will benefit a Chilean billionaire who is Ivanka Trump's landlord.
- The Washington Post reports that Trump has given the the official US presidential coin a makeover in his own image, including replacing the national motto, "E pluribus unum," with his campaign slogan, "Make America Great Again." (Dec. 22)
Day 336: Trump continues to praise "Fox and Friends" while disparaging "Fake News Media" and "their Democrat bosses." (Dec. 21)
Day 335: At a televised White House cabinet meeting, reminiscent of a similar one on June 12, Trump sits back with arms crossed as his top lieutenants heap praise on him. Vice President Mike Pence celebrates Trump at length, including for achieving a "middle-class miracle" with the passage of tax cuts by Congress. "I’m deeply humbled, as your Vice President, to be able to be here," Pence says, going on to conclude: "But mostly, Mr. President, I’ll end where I began and just tell you, I want to thank you, Mr. President. I want to thank you for speaking on behalf of and fighting every day for the forgotten men and women of America. Because of your determination, because of your leadership, the forgotten men and women of America are forgotten no more. And we are making America great again."
- After having made controversial comments about the possible merger of AT&T and Time Warner, Trump praises AT&T for giving bonuses to employees in the wake of the passage of GOP tax cuts: "That's because of what we did," Trump says. "That's pretty good." (Dec. 20)
Day 334: The Washington Post reports that Trump privately raged about his then Supreme Court nominee, Neil Gorsuch, for being insufficiently "loyal" to him; Gorsuch's criticism of Trump's attacks on the federal judiciary in early 2017 reportedly left Trump considering rescinding the nomination. (Trump blasts the Post story as "FAKE NEWS.") (Dec. 19)
Day 333: Trump promotes an appearance by his daughter Ivanka on "Fox and Friends." (Dec. 18)
Day 332: The New York Times reports that Environmental Protection Agency employees critical of Trump administration policies had their emails monitored.
Day 331: Trump promotes a new book, "Let Trump Be Trump," by two former senior campaign officials, Corey Lewandowski and David Bossie, continuing to add to the list of partisan supporters whose commercial products Trump has personally endorsed as president including Fox News’ Brian Kilmeade (see Dec. 7) and Sean Hannity (see Nov. 14), Sheriff David Clarke (see Aug. 27), and others. (Dec. 16)
Week 47: Floating a Flynn pardon and further disparaging the FBI; Orwellian orders at the CDC; a sexually degrading rebuke of Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand; singling out another individual journalist to be fired; more broadsides against the news media (Dec. 9 - Dec. 15)
Day 330: En route to Quantico to speak at a FBI graduation ceremony, Trump attacks the bureau again in the context of the special counsel's Trump-Russia investigation, telling reporters "it’s a shame what happened with the FBI." Echoing a recent wave of attacks by Fox News pundits and guests, Trump says that "when you look at what’s going on with the FBI and the Justice Department, people are very, very angry." (He does not specify who is angry.) He also signals that he may be considering pardoning his disgraced former national security adviser Michael Flynn, who pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI about his contacts with the Russian ambassador. "I don’t want to talk about pardons for Michael Flynn yet," Trump says.
At the FBI event, Trump goes on to say that 70 percent of the press is "fake news."
Trump getting pretty big laughs from those in attendance at the FBI graduation with his "fake news" lines here. pic.twitter.com/w3Hqq4VhKL
— Pat Ward (@WardDPatrick) December 15, 2017
- Federal contracting records reveal that Trump's Environmental Protection Agency hired a Republican opposition research firm to help EPA administrator Scott Pruitt's office track and influence news coverage.
- The Washington Post reports that the Trump administration is prohibiting officials at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention from using a list of seven words or phrases in official documents being prepared for the 2018 budget. The banned language includes:
In some cases, CDC officials were directed to use alternative language: Instead of “science-based” or “evidence-based,” a CDC source told the Post, the suggested phrase is “CDC bases its recommendations on science in consideration with community standards and wishes." (Dec. 15)
Day 328: Citing "Fox and Friends," Trump tweets that "90% of Fake News Media coverage of me is negative, with numerous forced retractions of untrue stories." He reiterates the importance of his using social media to "get the truth out" and declares, "Much of Mainstream Meadia has become a joke!" (Dec. 13)
Day 327: Trump personally attacks Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand of New York, after Gillibrand and other Democratic lawmakers call for Trump to resign over allegations of sexual misconduct against him. In a morning tweet targeting Gillibrand, Trump calls her a "lightweight" and claims that she came to him "begging" for campaign donations and would “do anything” for them—remarks widely seen as sexist if not sexually degrading.
- CNN's Jim Acosta reports that Trump press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders has threatened to block him from future White House coverage if he asks Trump during a bill signing event about his morning attack on Sen. Gillibrand. (Acosta asks anyway, and Trump ignores him.) (Dec. 12)
Day 326: An hour after being briefed on an attempted suicide bombing in New York City, Trump takes to Twitter to insult the "failing" New York Times and CNN's Don Lemon regarding a story published by the Times over the weekend about Trump's TV-viewing habits. (In response to Trump's rant, the Times says it stands by its reporting, "sourced from interviews with 60 advisers, associates, friends and members of Congress, including many who interact with President Trump every day.") (Dec. 11)
Day 325: Trump again goes off on "the Fake News Media," denouncing "major lies" and calling the press "a stain on America." (Dec. 10)
Day 324: In a pair of early Saturday morning tweets, Trump launches another broadside against CNN, accusing the network of making a "vicious and purposeful mistake" in its reporting on Friday (which the network quickly corrected) and calling CNN "a fraud on the American Public."
- Trump attacks Washington Post reporter Dave Weigel over a tweet by Weigel from his personal account that mischaracterizes a photo from Trump's rally in Pensacola; after Weigel quickly corrects his mistake, deletes the tweet and apologizes, Trump says he should be fired. (Dec. 9)
Week 46: Stark attacks on the US "Justice" Department and FBI "in tatters"; days of blasting a San Francisco court decision; arguing the president is above the law in the Russia probe; urging the public to buy a Fox News host's book; escalating attacks on Mueller and the "evil people" going after Trump (Dec. 2 - Dec. 8)
Day 323: At a rally in Pensacola, Florida, where he stumps for GOP senate candidate Roy Moore, Trump berates the "fake news" media at length, including attacks on CNN and on ABC News correspondent Brian Ross, who Trump says is a "fraudster" who should be fired. Amid a rising wave of attacks by Fox News and other right-wing outlets against special counsel Robert Mueller's investigation, Trump also refers obliquely in his speech to perceived enemies among a "corrupt" and "rigged" system in the nation's capital. "There are powerful forces in Washington trying to sabotage our movement," he inveighs. "These are bad people. These are very, very bad and evil people. They know who they are….They will lie and leak and smear because they don’t want to accept the results of an election where we won by a landslide."
- Politico reports that authoritarian leaders in at least 15 countries around the world are using Trump's "fake news" line to attack critics of their own. (Dec. 8)
Day 322: Trump urges the public to “go get the new book” by “Fox & Friends” host Brian Kilmeade, adding to a list of partisan supporters whose commercial products Trump has personally endorsed as president including Fox’s Sean Hannity (see Nov. 14), Fox regular Sheriff David Clarke (see Aug. 27), and others. (Dec. 7)
Day 320: Trump advertises ticket sales to an upcoming campaign-style rally in Florida, replete with a Dear Leader-style promotional video. (Dec. 5)
Day 319: John Dowd, Trump's outside attorney handling special counsel Robert Mueller's ongoing Russia investigation, argues that Trump is essentially above the law and cannot be found guilty of obstruction of justice. The "president cannot obstruct justice because he is the chief law enforcement officer under [the Constitution's Article II] and has every right to express his view of any case," Dowd tells Axios. Met with strong skepticism from former FBI agents and federal prosecutors, the argument evokes some famous remarks from a past president.
- Trump promotes what he calls a "must watch" segment of "Fox and Friends," reiterating that the Russia investigation is "the greatest Witch Hunt in U.S. political history." (Dec. 4)
Day 318: Renewing his attacks on James Comey, Trump launches an extraordinary broadside against the FBI, declaring that the bureau's reputation is "in tatters" and the "worst in history!" He further suggests that the FBI has been tainted by a pro-Hillary Clinton anti-Trump conspiracy.
Day 317: In the wake of former Trump national security adviser Michael Flynn pleading guilty to lying to the FBI about interactions with the Russian government, Trump attacks the US Justice Department—referring to it derisively as the "Justice" Department—for allegedly failing to prosecute "Crooked Hillary."
- Trump personally ridicules ABC News journalist Brian Ross for a reporting error Ross made in a story about what Trump calls "the Russia, Russia, Russia Witch Hunt." (The following day, Trump urges people to sue ABC for damages over the way the erroneous reporting from Ross allegedly affected the stock market.) (Dec. 2)
Week 45: Multiple attempts to shut down the Trump-Russia investigation; pushing inflammatory anti-Muslim videos; an "Access Hollywood" lie; reprising "Pocahontas" mockery for Navajo war heroes; hawking Trump holiday merchandise; attacking CNN International; promoting a hub for far-right conspiracy theories (Nov. 25 - Dec. 1)
- The New York Times reports that Trump repeatedly pressured Senate Republicans over the summer to end their ongoing investigations into the Trump campaign's ties to and possible collusion with Russia.
- Trump blasts a San Francisco court ruling acquitting an undocumented Mexican immigrant of murder and manslaughter charges in the death of Kathryn Steinle—a case Trump himself helped to make highly politically charged by exploiting it during his presidential campaign. (Nov. 30)
Day 314: Trump draws global outrage after he promotes graphically violent and falsely framed anti-Muslim videos posted on social media by a far-right hate group in Britain. Among the response are forceful rebukes from Prime Minister Theresa May and a member of Britain's parliament, who says: "The president of the United States is promoting a fascist, racist, extremist hate group whose leaders have been arrested and convicted. He is no ally or friend of ours." White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders defends Trump's tweets by stating that it doesn't matter whether the videos were real or not.
- After NBC star Matt Lauer is fired in the wake of sexual harassment revelations, Trump ridicules several NBC personalities and executives, including pushing a baseless conspiracy theory about a young intern who died in Joe Scarborough's congressional office in 2001.
- Citing Fox News, Trump tweets about a "Deep State" conspiracy regarding "surveillance of associates of Donald Trump." (Nov. 29)
Day 313: Citing unnamed presidential advisers and Republican US senators, the New York Times reports that Donald Trump denies that it was his voice on the infamous "Access Hollywood" tape in which Trump bragged about sexually assaulting women. (After the tape emerged during the height of the 2016 campaign, Trump admitted in a televised statement that it was him and apologized for his crude remarks.) The Times also reports that Trump continues in private to push false conspiracy theories about former President Barack Obama's birth certificate and about massive voter fraud in the 2016 election. (Nov. 28)
Day 312: Trump continues his long-running campaign to undermine the news media, mocking TV networks as "dishonest" and "corrupt"—with the exception of Fox News—and suggesting a contest to award a "FAKE NEWS TROPHY" to the worst one.
- Trump provokes outrage for returning to his mockery of Sen. Elizabeth Warren as "Pocahantas"—during a ceremony honoring Navajo code talkers who served in World War II. (Nov. 27)
Day 310: For the second time in two days, the sitting president of the United States uses his personal Facebook page to hawk "OFFICIAL Trump Merchandise" on sale for Black Friday and the Christmas season.
- The New York Times reports that one way in which Secretary of State Rex Tillerson continues to decimate the ranks of senior US diplomats is with a demoralizing campaign to expedite the release of any remaining Hillary Clinton emails, which CNN recently reported to be an explicit goal of Trump's.
- While continuing to praise "important" Fox News, Trump rips CNN International as "a major source of (Fake) news" and says "they represent our Nation to the WORLD very poorly." His latest broadside against media he dislikes comes the same day that Russia's Vladimir Putin attacks the international press. CNN points out that Trump mischaracterized the network's role.
Week 44: Trump's latest string of personal attacks against African Americans (Nov. 18 - Nov. 24)
Day 307: After heading to his Mar-a-Lago estate for the Thanksgiving break, Trump again lashes out at LaVar Ball over the case involving his son and two other UCLA basketball players temporarily detained in China, calling Ball an "ungrateful fool" for his apparent lack of deference to Trump. The president also retweets a comment that reiterates his position by way of reference to "hatred" for Hillary Clinton and her "corrupt ass." (Nov. 22)
Day 305: Trump singles out Oakland Raiders player Marshawn Lynch for sitting down during part of the US national anthem at a game in Mexico City, declaring that the NFL should suspend Lynch for the remainder of the season.
- On Fox News, senior Trump adviser Kellyanne Conway speaks supportively of Roy Moore while advocating against Doug Jones in the special election for US senator from Alabama, likely violating the Hatch Act. (Nov. 20)
The player's father, LaVar Ball, is the latest on a growing list of African Americans personally attacked and insulted by Trump, whose other targets have included the widow of a US soldier killed in Niger, a Florida congresswoman who defended the widow, an ESPN sportscaster, and NFL and NBA players who have criticized and peacefully protested against the Trump White House. (Nov. 19)
Week 43: Mocking journalist "spies" along with Duterte; defending a "very insulted" Vladimir Putin against America's own intelligence agencies; more attacks on former US national security leaders and the news media; endorsing Sean Hannity again; continued pressure to prosecute Hillary Clinton (Nov. 11 - Nov. 17)
Day 300: Trump suggests that three African American basketball players from UCLA arrested by the Chinese government for alleged shoplifting should thank him personally for getting them released. Trump's tweet follows him calling the players "knuckleheads," and comments from him and a top aide suggesting deference to the harsh Chinese justice system: "They do not play games," Trump told reporters. "These are law and order guys," said White House chief of staff John Kelly, "they have pretty swift justice."
Day 299: As Fox News anchor and top Trump booster Sean Hannity continues to face withering criticism and an exodus of advertisers over his defense of accused sexual predator Roy Moore, Trump promotes a tweet lavishing praise on Hannity's work for Fox and a Christian-themed film he executive produced. Trump's show of support for Hannity—by way of promoting a tweet posted 10 days earlier—also represents the second time in three weeks that Trump has used his large platform on social media to endorse Hannity's film (also see Oct. 26). (Nov. 14)
Day 298: Speaking briefly to reporters as he meets with Trump in Manila, President Rodrigo Duterte of the Philippines mocks questions about human rights, declaring "you are the spies" as Philippine security personnel "jostle some of the reporters roughly" and soon usher them out of the room, according to the New York Times. Trump responds with a hearty laugh, as Duterte repeats the insult.
The roughly 40-minute meeting between Trump and Duterte includes Jose E. B. Antonio, a real estate developer who is Trump’s business partner on a $150-million, 57-story luxury tower in Manila, and who currently serves as Duterte’s trade envoy to the United States.
- The Justice Department announces that Attorney General Jeff Sessions is considering appointing a new special counsel to investigate Hillary Clinton, apparently in support of Trump's explicitly stated desire to see a prosecution of his former political opponent. John Danforth, a former Republican US senator who also served as special counsel after the 1993 Waco disaster, calls the prospect "grotesque": "To have the winning side exploring the possibility of prosecuting the losing side in an election—it’s un-American, and it’s grotesque," he says. "The proliferation of special counsels in a political setting is very, very bad." (Nov. 13)
Day 296: In comments to reporters aboard Air Force One, Trump speaks at length in defense of Vladimir Putin—against the US intelligence community—after conversing with the Russian dictator on the sidelines of an economic summit in Vietnam. Trump says that Putin rejects the unanimous conclusion of America's security agencies that Russia interfered in the 2016 US presidential election: "He says that very strongly, he really seems to be insulted by it, and he says he didn’t do it. He is very, very strong in the fact that he didn’t do it. You have President Putin very strongly, vehemently, says he has nothing to do with that." Trump also says of Putin's stance: "Every time he sees me he says, 'I didn't do that,' and I believe, I really believe that when he tells me that, he means it....I think he is very insulted by it, which is not a good thing for our country."
Trump also calls the special counsel's ongoing Russia investigation an "artificial Democratic hit job," again impugns former FBI director James Comey as a "liar" and a "leaker," and labels former US intelligence chiefs James Clapper and John Brennan "political hacks."
- Trump's remarks to reporters also include his denying current involvement in the AT&T-Time Warner controversy, but he reiterates his earlier stated desire to see the deal blocked—which he justifies in part by attacking the credibility of the press. "I do feel that you should have as many news outlets as you can," he says. "Especially since so many of them are fake."
- The Trump administration stymies coverage by White House pool reporters traveling with the president, continuing a pattern of press "blackouts" seen on previous foreign trips by Trump and by Secretary of State Rex Tillerson. (Nov. 11)
Week 42: Snubbing the media at Tiananmen Square; an alleged Flynn plot; pushing the CIA chief on a 2016 conspiracy theory; endorsing Saudi Arabia's "harsh" royal purge; taking personal credit for the stock market; gutting State Department leadership; strong-arming CNN? (Nov. 4 - Nov. 10)
Day 295: The Wall Street Journal reports that special counsel Robert Mueller is investigating whether Trump's former national security adviser Michael Flynn was involved in an alleged plan whereby he and his son were to be paid millions of dollars to help kidnap a Turkish national living in the United States and hand him over to Turkey's government. (Nov. 10)
Day 294: During his state visit to China, Trump reportedly declines to raise the issue of human rights, shuts out the media at China's "insistence," and lavishes praise on President Xi Jinping, congratulating Xi on his recent consolidation of power and calling him "a very special man" and "a highly respected and powerful representative of his people." (Secretary of State Rex Tillerson frames Trump's flattery of Xi as strategic, aimed at improving trade and getting Chinese help with disarming a nuclear North Korea, though it also adds to a well-established pattern of Trump venerating authoritarian leaders from around the world.) Trump's snub of the media—breaking with the approach of the three previous US presidents, who underscored press freedom while on Chinese soil—takes place at Tiananmen Square.
- After former Trump aide Carter Page's congressional testimony puts attention on a mysterious trip Page took to Hungary at the height of the 2016 presidential campaign, Mother Jones' Dan Friedman reports that Trump, after being inaugurated, went on to engage and develop a warm rapport with Hungary's far-right Prime Minister Viktor Orbán.
- The Washington Post reports that White House chief of staff John Kelly put politically motivated pressure on Elaine Duke, the acting secretary of the Department of Homeland Security, to expel tens of thousands of Hondurans from the United States. (Nov. 9)
Day 293: The Financial Times reports that the Trump administration is threatening to block AT&T's acquisition of Time Warner if the media and entertainment giant doesn't sell CNN, a top target of Trump's war on "fake news."
- Former US Ambassador Barbara Stephenson warns that State Department leadership is being "depleted at dizzying speed" under the Trump administration, with the loss of "60 percent of its Career Ambassadors since January"—against the stated wishes of Congress.
- Eric Trump's brother-in-law, Kyle Yunasaka, is tapped to be the head of a policy shop in the US Department of Energy, despite his reportedly having no background in energy. (Yunasaka is the brother of Eric Trump's wife, Lara Trump, who recently was exposed for an ethically dubious mixing of policy work inside the White House and campaigning for Donald Trump's reelection; see Nov. 3 entry below.)
- Tweeting from Air Force One as he continues his 12-day Asia trip, Trump mockingly congratulates "all of the 'DEPLORABLES'" and reiterates his "MASSIVE Electoral College landslide victory" of one year ago. (Nov. 8)
Day 292: The Intercept reports that, at Trump's urging, CIA chief Mike Pompeo met in October with a former US intelligence official who pushed a conspiracy theory on Fox News that the hacking of the Democratic National Committee during the 2016 election was an "inside job" rather than the work of the Russian government. (Nov. 7)
The comments follow reporting from Washington Post columnist David Ignatius that Trump's son-in-law and senior adviser Jared Kushner spent late nights "planning strategy" with Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman in Riyadh in late October, as well as a recent Trump tweet calling for Saudi Arabia to do their IPO of oil giant Aramco with the New York Stock Exchange. (Nov. 6)
Day 290: Axios reports that when Trump met with Native American tribal leaders at the White House in June he urged them to ignore federal regulations and more aggressively extract natural resources from their lands. "The government's different now," Trump reportedly told the tribal leaders. "Obama's gone, and we're doing things differently here....Once you get it out of the ground are they going to make you put it back in there? I mean, once it's out of the ground it can't go back in there. You've just got to do it." (Axios reports that the White House did not dispute the story.) (Nov. 5)
Day 289: Talking to reporters on Air Force One en route to Japan, Trump takes sole credit for the rising US stock market. "The reason our stock market is so successful is because of me," he says. "I’ve always been great with money, I've always been great with jobs, that's what I do." (Nov. 4)
Week 41: Blaming a US senator for a terrorist attack; demanding the death penalty; impugning a witness in a federal probe into his own campaign; false comments about special counsel charges; appointing his own private club members; calls to prosecute his former political opponent (Oct. 28 - Nov. 3)
Day 288: Just before embarking on an 12-day trip to Asia, Trump makes a series of false and inflammatory statements on Twitter:
- Without any evidence, he accuses Hillary Clinton of "major violation of campaign finance laws and money laundering" (a tactic associated with Russian propaganda known as "whataboutism") and emphasizes that his former political opponent should be prosecuted by the US government
- Citing a Fox News segment, he trashes the FBI and former director James Comey
- He suggests the Justice Department and FBI are failing to do their jobs adequately by not going after Clinton, a theme he reiterates to reporters
- He calls out a US senator by way of Native American mockery
- He falsely claims that revelations about DNC infighting in 2016 were not covered by mainstream news outlets, after mainstream news outlets did major coverage of the story.
- Newsweek reports that Trump's daughter-in-law, Lara Trump, has been conducting high-level policy meetings inside the White House while also serving as a senior adviser on her father-in-law's reelection campaign, an unprecedented ethics breach. "This White House is being run like a family business," says David Gergen, a former adviser to four presidents, "and campaigning is their bread and butter." (Nov. 3)
Day 287: Trump declares emphatically for the second time in two days that the terrorist who struck in New York City should get the death penalty, potentially putting a thumb on the scales of the criminal justice process.
- USA Today reports that Trump has installed at least five people who've been members of his private clubs to high-level roles in his administration: "Never in modern history has a president awarded government posts to people who pay money to his own companies."
- In a radio interview, Trump laments that he can't directly control criminal investigations and prosecutions carried out by the federal government: “You know, the saddest thing is that because I’m the president of the United States, I am not supposed to be involved with the Justice Department,” he says. “I am not supposed to be involved with the FBI. I’m not supposed to be doing the kind of things that I would love to be doing. And I’m very frustrated by it.”
- In an interview aired on Fox News, Trump dismisses the importance of high-level posts at the State Department, some of which remain vacant. "I'm the only one that matters," he tells Fox's Laura Ingraham, "because when it comes to it, that's what the policy is going to be. You've seen that, you've seen it strongly." (Nov. 2)
Day 286: The morning after a deadly terrorist attack in New York City, Trump blames the attack on an immigration policy that he attributes to Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY). Trump's tweets on the matter reflect that he is parroting commentary from a Fox News morning show; his misleading, divisive remarks in the immediate aftermath of the tragedy—including that the Diversity Visa Lottery Program is "a Chuck Schumer beauty"—fail to acknowledge that the immigration policy was passed in 1990 with overwhelming bipartisan support and signed into law by the first President Bush.
- Commenting at a cabinet meeting on the terrorist attack, Trump declares that the US justice system is “a joke” and “a laughing stock.” He says, “we have to come up with punishment that’s far quicker and far greater than the punishment these animals are getting right now.”
— CNN (@CNN) November 1, 2017
- Vanity Fair is the latest to report that former White House chief strategist and continuing Trump adviser Steve Bannon is pressuring the president to declare war on Robert Mueller, including pushing GOP-controlled Congress to defund the special counsel's investigation. (Nov. 1)
Day 285: Trump personally impugns a witness who is cooperating with the special counsel's investigation into possible collusion between Trump's 2016 presidential campaign and the Russian government. (Oct. 31)
Day 284: After Robert Mueller's special counsel investigation unseals major charges against three former Trump campaign officials—including George Papadopoulos, a Trump foreign policy adviser who admitted lying to the FBI about efforts to obtain hacked Hillary Clinton emails from the Russian government during the 2016 election—White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders falsely declares that the bombshell news "has nothing to do with the president's campaign or campaign activity."
- In an interview with Fox News host Laura Ingraham, White House Chief of Staff John Kelly says the Justice Department should investigate Hillary Clinton over a debunked uranium "scandal," joining Trump himself in support of a right-wing media campaign designed to distract from the deepening Mueller investigation.
Day 282: Continuing his long-running efforts to undermine the mainstream news media, Trump claims there has been "very little reporting" about the latest GDP growth, despite that the news was covered on the front pages of the New York Times, Washington Post, and Wall Street Journal. (Oct. 28)
Week 40: Promoting Sean Hannity's movie; stonewalling on Russia sanctions; celebrating mistrust of the media; making bogus claims about a lack of news coverage; disparaging evidence in an ongoing investigation of himself (Oct. 21 - Oct. 27)
Day 280: In the latest example of Trump using the platform of the presidency to promote the financial interests of his family, friends, and political allies, Trump personally endorses a new "faith-based" movie produced by Fox News' Sean Hannity. (Oct. 26)
Day 277: Trump continues to attack the NFL over peaceful political protest by some of the league's players. He responds to criticism from the pregnant widow of a US soldier killed in Niger by effectively calling her a liar.
- The Daily Beast reports that the Trump administration is failing to implement new sanctions against Russia mandated by Congress. (Oct. 23)
Day 276: Trump celebrates a poll suggesting that nearly half of Americans believe national news organizations "fabricate stories" about him (perhaps in part due to his incessant attacks on factual reporting he dislikes.)
His emphasis on the "lost cred" of the media follows a series of Trump tweets claiming that news outlets have failed to cover positive developments regarding the economy, the stock market, and congressional passage of a budget—all of which got prominent and widespread media coverage. (Oct. 22)
Day 275: Trump continues attempting to publicly discredit the so-called Steele dossier, intelligence memos implicated not only in the ongoing Trump-Russia probes but also the ongoing investigation by special counsel Robert Mueller into whether Trump committed obstruction of justice.
- Trump reportedly pledges at least $430,000 of his own money to help cover White House aides’ legal costs related to the Russia probes, a move the former head of the US Office of Government Ethics blasts as fraught with conflicts. (Oct. 21)
Week 39: Threatening McCain; another lie about Barack Obama; more personal targets on Twitter; possible jail for journalists; endorsing Fox News content; promoting an adviser's new book; a thumb on the scales with US attorneys? (Oct. 14 - Oct. 20)
Day 274: Geraldo Rivera and "Fox & Friends" hosts blame "the media and the opposition" for dividing the country with a conspiracy to depict Trump as evil; Trump agrees, thanking them and posting the Fox segment for his 40 million-plus Twitter followers.
- Fallout continues over Trump's condolence call to a US military widow: When challenged by a reporter about White House chief of staff John Kelly mischaracterizing a speech by a Florida congresswoman critical of Trump, press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders says the reporter's question is out of line: "If you want to get into a debate with a four-star Marine general, I think that's something highly inappropriate."
- On Twitter, Trump personally promotes a new book by Dr. Robert Jeffress, an adviser to Trump who recently backed the president's attacks against the NFL in part by saying that players kneeling in protest during the national anthem would be "shot in the head" if they were in North Korea. (Oct. 20)
Day 273: CNN reports that Trump made the highly unusual move of personally interviewing candidates for US attorney posts in New York City and Washington, DC—where Trump has financial and campaign dealings under legal scrutiny. "What's most alarming," says Sen. Richard Blumenthal, himself a former US prosecutor, "is that these chief federal prosecutors are going to decide whether to indict Trump campaign advisers or staff if there's collusion between the Trump campaign and Russians proven, and possibly consider criminal charges against the president himself."
- Trump also retweets praise for himself from an account with the handle "missK" (@USArmy333), generating big exposure for a user who the previous day shared a meme suggesting Hillary Clinton is too ugly to be raped. (Trump used a similar theme himself during the 2016 campaign to deny allegations against him of sexual assault.) (Oct. 19)
Day 272: Raising concerns about Trump's threats against freedom of the press, Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) asks Attorney General Jeff Sessions during a Judiciary Committee hearing if he will "commit to not putting reporters in jail for doing their jobs." Sessions' answer: No. (Oct. 18)
Day 271: In a radio interview, Trump threatens John McCain, warning he'll "fight back" after the Arizona senator repudiated "half-baked, spurious nationalism" in a speech plainly directed at the White House. On Twitter, Trump also continues to rail against the media, attacking "dying magazines and newspapers" as well as NBC, CBS, ABC and CNN. (Oct. 17)
Day 270: Questioned about his long silence on four US soldiers killed in Niger by ISIS-affiliated fighters, Trump claims at a White House press conference that "most" US presidents, including Barack Obama, didn't call the families of fallen troops to offer condolences. His lie provokes a scathing rebuke from a former Obama White House aide; when pressed by a reporter following up, Trump partially walks back his claim: "President Obama, I think probably did sometimes, and maybe sometimes he didn't, I don't know, that's what I was told."
Trump says he'll call the families of the Green Berets killed in Niger https://t.co/V8LdJXm3Z8
— Meg Wagner (@megwagner) October 16, 2017
- At the press conference, Trump also reiterates his long-running message that foreign interference in the 2016 election, unanimously confirmed by the US intelligence community, is a partisan ruse: "The whole Russia thing was an excuse for the Democrats losing the election," he says. (Oct. 16)
Day 269: After authoring a story highlighting Trump's failure to deliver on big campaign promises, New York Times journalist Peter Baker becomes the latest individual to be singled out by Trump on Twitter, a continuing tactic from the president freshly documented by Axios reporter Stef Kight. (Oct. 15)
Week 38: Another barrage of media and personal attacks; Pence's scripted walkout on NFL players, and a tax threat against the league; a nepotistic interview (Oct. 7 - Oct. 13)
Day 265: Escalating his attacks against NBC News and the broader media, Trump suggests that it may be time to begin revoking media networks' "licenses." (One financial executive and staunch Trump supporter quickly chimes in, "NBC and CNN were given their licenses to provide NEWS, not Leftist Propaganda!" It's unclear, however, what Trump means; TV stations, not networks, are subject to FCC licenses.) Trump's threat comes on the heels of a morning scoop from NBC News that the president recently said he wanted a tenfold increase in the US nuclear arsenal. (Those comments came during the same July 20 meeting, according to NBC News, that reportedly provoked Secretary of State Rex Tillerson to call Trump a "moron.") Trump's "license" remark also follows his recent claim that "more and more people are saying" that he should be given "equal time" on TV in the face of "one-sided" coverage.
- Addressing reporters at the White House, Trump says: "It's frankly disgusting the way the press is able to write whatever they want to write, and people should look into it."
President Trump: "It's frankly disgusting the way the press is able to write whatever they want to write, and people should look into it." pic.twitter.com/gT9FhI94tJ
— NBC News (@NBCNews) October 11, 2017
- Ten hours after Trump suggests NBC News and other media could lose their "license" for supposed bias and "fake news"—and after much subsequent coverage pointing out that Trump's declaration has little basis in reality—the president doubles down on the threat, perhaps pushing the idea for another reason. (It's a strategy that now goes way back.) (Oct. 11)
Day 264: Trump continues the prolific use of his large social-media platform to level personal attacks against organizations and people he views as adversaries. He declares that the NFL, some of whose players continue to protest during the national anthem, should pay more taxes; he disparages ESPN sportscaster Jemele Hill, who continues to criticize Trump and his allies; and he coins his latest schoolyard moniker, calling out "Liddle' Bob Corker" after the powerful GOP senator talks openly about Trump's unfitness for office and potential danger to the country.
- Following Trump's declaration that tax laws favorable to the NFL should be changed, Dow Jones reports that NFL owners are considering a rule change that would make it mandatory for players to stand during the national anthem. (Oct. 10)
Day 262: Renewing a Trump administration effort to put a chill on the First Amendment-guaranteed right to peaceful political protest, Vice President Mike Pence carries out an orchestrated plan to walk out of a Sunday NFL match between the Indianapolis Colts and the San Francisco 49ers, after 49ers players again kneel during the national anthem. “I left today’s Colts game because @POTUS and I will not dignify any event that disrespects our soldiers, our Flag, or our National Anthem,” Pence states in a series of threaded tweets, comments also distributed in an official press release. He suggests that while players are "entitled to their own opinions" they should keep those opinions to themselves during the pre-game ritual. Less than an hour after Pence tweets about his departure from the stadium, Trump announces that he instructed Pence to leave the game as a message to NFL players “disrespecting our country.” Pence had flown to Indianapolis from Las Vegas, where he attended a memorial service for victims of the recent mass shooting, and reportedly left immediately for Los Angeles after his departure from the football game.
- Trump continues to attack the media over reporting on Hurricane Maria's aftermath in Puerto Rico, promoting a lengthy video from the White House that purports to debunk "fake news media" coverage of US relief efforts. The video concludes with a montage of Trump shaking hands with various residents and recovery personnel on the island. "Nobody could have done what I’ve done for #PuertoRico with so little appreciation," Trump declares. "So much work!" (Oct. 8)
Day 261: Trump announces to his Twitter audience of more than 40 million that he will give a rare TV interview to help boost the inaugural episode of a new show hosted by his press secretary's father. (Oct. 7)
Week 37: A call to investigate the US news media; sowing division over disaster in Puerto Rico (Sept. 30 - Oct. 6)
Day 260: FEMA removes statistics about a lack of drinking water and electricity in Puerto Rico from its website, in an apparent effort to bolster President Trump's claims of "tremendous reviews" for his administration's recovery efforts in the wake of Hurricane Maria. (Oct. 6)
Day 259: On the heels of congressional investigators reaffirming Russia's attack on the 2016 US presidential election, Trump calls on Congress to investigate the news media: “Why Isn't the Senate Intel Committee looking into the Fake News Networks in OUR country to see why so much of our news is just made up-FAKE!” White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders reiterates that the media lacks credibility and isn't providing enough positive coverage of Trump, which she says is “a real concern, and something that certainly should be looked at.” (Oct. 5)
Day 258: Following a NBC News report that Secretary of State Rex Tillerson called Donald Trump a "moron" after a July 20 meeting at the Pentagon—in fact, reportedly a "fucking moron"—Trump thunders in a series of tweets that the "Fake News Media is out of control!" He singles out NBC News as "more dishonest than even CNN" and demands that the network "issue an apology to America." (Oct. 4)
Day 254: As a major humanitarian crisis continues to mount in hurricane-devastated Puerto Rico, Trump attacks the mayor of San Juan for criticizing a sluggish White House response. "Such poor leadership ability by the Mayor of San Juan, and others in Puerto Rico, who are not able to get their workers to help," he tweets, from his lavish golf resort in Bedminster, New Jersey, where he is spending the weekend. Trump's divisive response also includes attacking the media repeatedly, aiming to pit the "Fake News Networks" against the US military and first responders. (Sept. 30)
Week 36: Erasing a US Senate candidate; more attacks on the First Amendment and America's athletes (Sept. 23 - Sept. 29)
Day 251: Trump attempts to erase, literally, a political defeat: After GOP senate candidate Luther Strange loses a primary runoff in Alabama, Trump deletes multiple tweets from the previous several days in which he enthusiastically endorsed Strange. "Luther Strange has been shooting up in the Alabama polls since my endorsement," read one of them. It remains unclear why Trump deleted the tweets, but according to CNN's Jim Acosta, the president was "embarrassed and pissed" that his chosen candidate lost. Government watchdog groups point out that the deletions may be illegal per the Presidential Records Act. (Sept. 27)
Day 250: Trump continues with multiple days of attacking the NFL and its players for exercising their First Amendment right to conduct peaceful political protest during the national anthem. He plays up what he calls "great anger" at the players among the public, and he continues to use his presidential platform to order the league to change its rules and fire players who don't comply. (Sept. 26)
Week 35: Attacking "son of a bitch" NFL players, clinging to a "Russia hoax"; return to media-bashing at CIA headquarters; a violent satirical tweet against Hillary Clinton (Sept. 16 - Sept. 22)
Day 246: As Facebook, Twitter, and Google become more deeply implicated in the multiple ongoing congressional and FBI investigations into Russian interference in the 2016 election, President Trump once again denounces the whole thing as a "hoax." Trump's conspicuously blind eye to the Kremlin's attack comes just three days after his nominee for US ambassador to Russia, Jon Huntsman, tells the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, "There is no question, underline no question, that the Russian government interfered in the US election last year, and Moscow continues to meddle in the democratic processes of our friends and allies." As CNN's Jake Tapper points out, Trump now stands literally alone in the face of consensus on Russian interference from the entire US national security apparatus.
There is only one major figure in the national security apparatus who doesn’t accept that Russia meddled in our election – the President. pic.twitter.com/dowv5JU9Wk
— The Lead CNN (@TheLeadCNN) September 22, 2017
- During an evening speech at a rally for Alabama Republican Senate candidate Luther Strange, Trump slams National Football League players for exercising their First Amendment rights. He refers to ex-49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick and other players who have knelt in protest during the national anthem as "son of a bitch" and declares that NFL owners should fire them. (Sept. 22)
Day 245: Just hours after a speech by Turkey's President Recep Tayyip Erdogan in a New York City hotel, where protesters face violence at the hands of Erdogan's security personnel, Trump meets with Erdogan and calls the Turkish autocrat "a friend of mine," showering him with praise: "He's running a very difficult part of the world. He's involved very, very strongly and, frankly, he's getting very high marks." The violent incident and Trump's posture with Erdogan are a repeat performance. (Sept. 21)
Day 242: Trump wishes the CIA a happy 70th anniversary by reposting a video clip from his controversial visit to CIA headquarters in January (shortly after he likened US intelligence officers to Nazis). The short clip features him bashing the media: "So I can only say that I am with you a thousand percent and the reason you're my first stop, is that as you know I have a running war with the media. They are among the most dishonest human beings on earth." (Sept. 18)
Day 241: Trump retweets a satirical GIF depicting him striking Hillary Clinton violently with a golf ball. The GIF comes from an account called "@Fuctupmind" that reportedly has a history of using anti-Semitic and anti-gay slurs. (Sept. 17)
Week 34: Going after Jemele Hill and ESPN; the continued assault on voting rights (Sept. 9 - Sept. 15)
Day 239: For the second day in a row, the Trump White House attacks ESPN and its high-profile sportscaster Jemele Hill over her comments criticizing the president (which the network in a statement rejected as "inappropriate"). White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders reiterates that Hill should be fired by the network for her widely circulated tweet calling Trump a white supremacist, which Sanders said was "outrageous." The president himself tweets that ESPN "is paying a really big price for its politics" and should "apologize for untruth!" Political analysts, including conservatives, say that it is highly unusual and "grotesquely irresponsible" for the White House to pressure a media company to fire a commentator over criticism of the president. (Sept. 15)
Day 237: For the second day in a row, White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders suggests that ex-FBI director James Comey broke the law when he gave information to the news media about his interactions with President Trump regarding the Russia investigation, and that Comey should be prosecuted. (Sept. 13)
Day 236: The Trump administration's "election integrity" commission meets in New Hampshire on the heels of a Breitbart News piece by vice chair Kris Kobach, which alleges widespread voter fraud in that state based on no real evidence. Kobach and fellow commission members "have been busy promoting falsehoods like these, exacerbating concerns that they’ll use any pretense to restrict access to the ballot under the guise of eliminating voter fraud," write MoJo's Ari Berman and Pema Levy. The witness list for the New Hampshire meeting, they note—which consists of 100 percent white men—includes John Lott, a long discredited gun lobbyist who proposes requiring background checks for voting. (Sept. 12)
Week 33: Mocking the media with the Kuwaiti emir; turning DACA data against immigrants; punishing a cabinet official for criticism (Sept. 2 - Sept. 8)
Day 231: At a White House press conference with President Trump, Kuwait's Emir Sabah bin Ahmed al-Sabah derides the news media in Middle Eastern countries as “against the people.” Trump jokes in response to the Kuwaiti leader, whose country has a history of cracking down on speech and press freedoms. “Well, that is a problem that we will get resolved,” Trump says, cracking a big smile, “and I’m very, very honored and happy to know that you have problems with the media also.” (Sept. 7)
Day 230: As the Trump administration moves to end the DACA program for young immigrant children brought illegally into the United States, a White House memo signals that the administration will potentially allow US Immigration and Customs Enforcement to use personal data provided by DACA recipients to the federal government to find and deport them.
- The Wall Street Journal reports that Trump has changed his mind about nominating his top economic adviser, Gary Cohn, to be the next Federal Reserve chairman, due to Cohn's pointed criticism of Trump's equivocating response to violence by white supremacists in Charlottesville, Virginia. "Mr. Cohn may have doomed his chances for the top Fed job with comments he made to the Financial Times last month, according to people close to the president," the Journal reports. "Mr. Trump wasn’t aware such a blunt critique was coming, said one person familiar with the president’s thinking. One White House official said the president visibly bristles at the mention of his economic adviser." (Sept. 6)
Week 32: Putting Sheriff Arpaio above the law; plugging Sheriff Clarke's book in the eye of a hurricane (August 26 - Sept. 1)
Day 220: As Hurricane Harvey devastates Texas, Trump intercuts a series of tweets regarding the disaster with a plug for Sheriff David Clarke’s book. "A great book by a great guy, highly recommended!" he tweets to his 37 million followers, continuing a pattern of using the presidency to promote the financial interests of his friends and family. (August 27)
Day 218: Trump pardons controversial Arizona Sheriff Joe Arpaio, undermining a federal court that found Arpaio guilty of criminal contempt for blatantly disregarding a court order to cease from racially profiling immigrants. (August 25)
Week 31: Smearing journalists as anti-American, "sick people"; a revisionist history of Charlottesville (August 19 - August 25)
Day 215: At a campaign-style rally in Phoenix, Trump goes on a tirade against the news media, calling them "sick people" and declaring that "I really don't think they like our country." The attack increases fears that American journalists could be targeted with violence. Despite even the creeping normalization of Trump's war on "fake news," his extended remarks drip with an unusual degree of scorn and vitriol:
TRUMP: You're taxpaying Americans who love our nation, obey our laws, and care for our people. It's time to expose the crooked media deceptions, and to challenge the media for their role in fomenting divisions.
And yes, by the way -- and yes, by the way, they are trying to take away our history and our heritage. You see that.
TRUMP: And -- and I say it, and you know, we're all pros. We're all, like, we have a certain sense. We're smart people. These are truly dishonest people. And not all of them. Not all of them. You have some very good reporters. You have some very fair journalists. But for the most part, honestly, these are really, really dishonest people, and they're bad people. And I really think they don't like our country. I really believe that. And I don't believe they're going to change, and that's why I do this. If they would change, I would never say it.
The only people giving a platform to these hate groups is the media itself, and the fake news.
If I don't have social media, I probably would not be standing.
And do you ever notice, when I go on and I'll put, like, out a tweet or a couple of tweets, "He's in a Twitter-storm again!" I -- I don't do Twitter-storms. You know, you'll put out a little tweet: "I'm going to be with the veterans today." They'll say, "Donald Trump is in a Twitter-storm." These are sick people.
You know the thing I don't understand? You would think -- you would think they'd want to make our country great again, and I honestly believe they don't. I honestly believe it.
If you want to discover the source of the division in our country, look no further than the fake news and the crooked media...
... which would rather get ratings and clicks than tell the truth.
Trump also uses the speech to rewrite the story of how he responded to the mayhem and murder perpetrated by white supremacists in Charlottesville, Virginia; mocking the media for supposedly misrepresenting his comments, he excises all of his remarks blaming "many sides" and the "alt-left" for the violence. (August 22)
Week 30: Equivocating over murder in Charlottesville; a myth about executing Muslims (August 12 - August 18)
Day 211: In response to a major terrorist attack in Barcelona, President Trump perpetuates a myth about a US general executing Muslims with bullets dipped in pigs' blood and returns to attacking the federal court system. (August 18)
Day 207: The White House continues to face a torrent of criticism over Trump's equivocal response to a deadly car attack on a crowd by a white supremacist in Virginia; the president personally attacks the black CEO of the drug company Merck for quitting a Trump advisory council in protest against the president's response to the murder and mayhem in Charlottesville.
Later in the day, Trump makes a statement to reporters inside the White House, now three days after the attack, finally directly condemning far-right hate groups. He takes no questions from the reporters and immediately leaves the room. (August 14)
Week 29: Another press shutout; attacking a US senator; state media-style "real news" from Trump Tower (August 5 - August 11)
Day 200: Following news of Trump's departure from Washington for a 17-day vacation, the president declares he's not on vacation—but correspondents from CNN and CBS News note that the White House won't grant access to media seeking to cover what work Trump might be doing while he's staying at his Bedminster golf resort.
- The day after her debut "anchoring" a pro-Trump "real news" broadcast produced inside Trump Tower (see Day 199 just below), GOP operative Kayleigh McEnany is named the new spokesperson of the Republican National Committee. (August 7)
Day 199: Republican operative Kayleigh McEnany leaves CNN to join a growing "real news" operation produced inside Trump Tower, which so far has exclusively broadcast fawning commentary about the president and his agenda. (August 6)
Week 28: Global democracy no longer important; Trump alternative "news" (July 29 - August 4)
Day 196: As news emerges of a widening grand jury investigation into his campaign, Trump holds a political rally in West Virginia, where he denounces the Russia investigation as "a total fabrication" and again calls for the prosecution of Hillary Clinton, as an ebullient crowd of supporters chants "lock her up." (August 3)
Day 194: The Washington Post reports that Rex Tillerson's State Department is considering excising the goal of promoting democracy worldwide from its official mission statement. "We used to want a just and democratic world," says Elliott Abrams, who served as a deputy national security adviser under President George W. Bush, "and now apparently we don't."
- As Trump continues to reiterate the theme that he is under attack by the "Fake News Media and Trump enemies," BuzzFeed details a new effort by the Trump campaign to provide "real news" content to the public through the president's Facebook page—presented by his daughter-in-law. "Lara Trump, who is married to the president's son Eric, appeared as the video's host in front of a Trump campaign background," BuzzFeed reports. "Speaking to the camera like a TV news anchor, she offered updates on news favorable to her father-in-law. 'I bet you haven't heard about all the accomplishments the president had this week because there's so much fake news out there,' she said." According to the Washington Post, the video—which did not cover major news of the week including the failed health-care vote in Congress and the president's announcement of a transgender ban in the military—was viewed by more than two million people. (August 1)
Week 27: Endorsing police brutality; attacking the attorney general, another congressional leader, and the acting FBI director; politicizing health care via the US Energy Department; relegating the media to the "sewer"; "Complete power to pardon" (July 22 - July 28)
Day 190: In a speech in New York, Trump appears to endorse police brutality, encouraging an audience of law enforcement officers to get violent with gang suspects they arrest. (The White House later claims that Trump was just "joking.") (July 28)
— Matthew Gertz (@MattGertz) July 28, 2017
Day 189: Trump's "voter fraud" czar, Kris Kobach, renews efforts to obtain voters' personal data from all 50 states. The political chill from the first push has already effectively led to purging of voter rolls in battleground states such as Colorado. (July 27)
Day 188: President Trump continues his public attacks on Attorney General Jeff Sessions and the acting FBI director, Andrew McCabe.
- Trump adds Republican Sen. Lisa Murkowski of Alaska to his ever-expanding list of personal targets, singling her out for "letting the country down" with her "no" vote on the health care bill. The Trump administration also threatens to hurt Alaska's economy in retaliation for Murkowsi's position on the matter. (July 26)
Day 187: Trump continues his public assault on his own attorney general, Jeff Sessions, for recusing himself from the Justice Department's Trump-Russia investigation. Trump also rips Sessions for not prosecuting Trump's 2016 political opponent, Hillary Clinton, or pursuing what Trump depicts, without evidence, as a Ukrainian pro-Clinton conspiracy. (The latter no doubt to the delight of Vladimir Putin.) Trump also personally attacks the acting director of the FBI, Andrew McCabe, seeking to smear him as a Democratic partisan.
- Just ahead of a pivotal vote in the Senate on the GOP health care bill, the official communications account on Twitter for the US Department of Energy promotes an op-ed by Energy Secretary Rick Perry criticizing "the burdens and costs of Obamacare." The tweet about health care policy appears to run afoul of DOE guidelines; the agency's policy page for social media states: "Energy Department social media content...is meant to represent official messaging, policy and objectives of the Energy Department"—and its policy page specifically regarding the use of Twitter prohibits "lobbying" or "promoting political viewpoints." (Shortly following this post the tweet was deleted from the DOE account; see the below screen shot.) (July 25)
Day 186: Trump adds Rep. Adam Schiff—the ranking Democrat on the House Intelligence committee investigating Trump and Russia—to the growing list of individuals he has personally attacked, calling Schiff "sleazy" and "totally biased." He continues to call for the prosecution of his 2016 opponent, Hillary Clinton, with the election now eight months past (and attacks his own "beleaguered" attorney general again in the process). And he downgrades the American free press from the "swamp" to the "sewer."
- Appearing at the Boys Scouts National Jamboree in West Virginia, Trump turns the traditionally nonpolitical event into a nakedly partisan rally. Speaking before thousands of cheering kids, Trump extols his electoral victory and attacks his political opponents and the "fake" news media. (July 24)
Day 185: Senior White House adviser Kellyanne Conway tells CNN's Brian Stelter that President Trump "doesn't think he's lying" when he repeats demonstrably false claims about millions of people committing voter fraud in 2016 and President Obama wiretapping Trump Tower during the campaign. (July 23)
Day 184: In a Saturday morning flurry of caustic remarks on Twitter, Trump blames the latest stark revelations about Attorney General Jeff Sessions and Russia on the "Amazon Washington Post." He blasts the New York Times for supposedly foiling a chance for the US military to kill a top terrorist leader—"Their sick agenda over National Security," he tweets. (As the Times notes, "Trump did not specify what he meant, but he may have been referring to a Fox News report, a version of which aired about 25 minutes before the president’s tweet.") He riffs about "many crimes" by Hillary Clinton and James Comey. In response to a wave of media coverage about whether Trump could protect his aides, family members, and even himself from criminal convictions, he rants again about "FAKE NEWS" and declares that he has "the complete power to pardon." (July 22)
NEXT: WEEKS 1 - 26 —>
Week 26: Undermining the special counsel's Russia investigation; sabotaging health care; more voter conspiracy theory; attacks on top US law enforcement leaders; more "fake news" invective and press blackouts (July 15 - July 21)
Day 183: In his first appearance as Trump's new White House communications director, Anthony Scaramucci says there's "probably some level of truth" to Trump's baseless conspiracy theory that millions of people voted illegally in the 2016 election. (July 21)
Day 182: The Washington Post reports that the Trump White House is exploring the theoretical possibility of Trump pardoning team and family members—and himself—for criminal activity. The Post and the New York Times further report that Trump lawyers and aides are working to dig up research that they might use to undermine the independent Justice Department-appointed investigation into Trump and Russia being led by special counsel Robert Mueller.
- A Daily Beast investigation details how the Trump administration has used taxpayer money for a campaign to undermine current federal health care law.
- Via social media and an animated video, the White House continues to actively undermine the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office over the health care issue. (July 20)
Day 181: In an extraordinary exchange with MSNBC's Katy Tur, Kris Kobach, a leader of Trump's so-called voter fraud commission, says "we may never know" whether Hillary Clinton won the 2016 popular vote, which Clinton won by nearly 3 million votes.
- At a White House luncheon with GOP senators aimed at salvaging a disastrous effort on health care legislation, Trump jokes about Sen. Dean Heller potentially fearing for his job as a dissenter. "This is the one we were worried about," Trump says, poking a thumb at Heller. "You weren't there, but you're going to be, you're going to be." Amid broad laughter in the room, Trump adds, "Look, he wants to remain a senator, doesn't he?"
- In a lengthy, jaw-dropping interview with New York Times reporters, Trump attacks top current and former US law enforcement leaders. He derides Attorney General Jeff Sessions for recusing himself from the Russia investigation, threatens Special Counsel Robert Mueller, and again goes after Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein and ex-FBI director James Comey, whose testimony to Congress Trump says was "loaded up with lies."
- A former top climate policy official at the US Department of Interior blows the whistle for being reassigned to an accounting job "with the intent to coerce me into leaving the federal government." (July 19)
Day 180: In a pair of angry tweets about the revelation that he had a second meeting with Vladimir Putin at the G20 with no other Americans present, Trump blasts the "Fake News" media as "sick" and "more and more dishonest." (He doesn't actually address his private interaction with Putin, which the White House already confirmed.) His tweets attacking the American news media as phony now total 95 since he took office. (July 18)
Week 25: A phony Loretta Lynch conspiracy; Trump dynasty at the G20 (July 8 - July 14)
Day 175: Defending his son Donald Jr. at a press conference in Paris amid revelations about a 2016 campaign meeting with Russians, Trump pushes a far-right conspiracy theory about former Attorney General Loretta Lynch. He alleges that Lynch granted a visa to the Russian lawyer who offered to bring dirt on Hillary Clinton to the meeting with is son. "Somebody said that her visa or her passport to come into the country was approved by Attorney General Lynch,” Trump says, standing alongside France's President Emmanuel Macron. “Now, maybe that’s wrong. I just heard that a little while ago, but I was a little surprised to hear that. So she was here because of Lynch.” The conspiracy theory is quickly proven false—Lynch had no role, according to the Department of Homeland Security, which granted the visa to the Russian lawyer. (July 13)
Day 172: Politico reports that the Trump administration pressured the White House Correspondents' Association to single out a reporter and criticize an article. (The WHCA refused to do so. It later emerges that the reporter was Tara Palmeri, who is one of several female journalists previously attacked by Trump and his aides.) (July 10)
Day 170: When President Trump leaves the G20 table, his daughter, in an unprecedented move, takes his place. (Historically a vice president or top cabinet member would fill in for the president.) Ivanka Trump—who has no official role in the US government, and who stated on Fox News less than two weeks ago, "I try to stay out of politics"—is seated among heads of state including China's Xi Jinping, Britain's Theresa May, and Germany's Angela Merkel. A photo of Ivanka at the table, posted by self-described "Russian G20 Sherpa" Svetlana Lukash, is later removed from Lukash's Twitter account.
Week 24: The doctored wrestling video and a sustained assault on CNN; mocking reporters with Putin (July 1 - July 7)
Day 169: Just hours before Trump is set to meet with Vladimir Putin on the sidelines of the G20 in Germany, he attacks the American press yet again on Twitter while declaring he will "represent our country well" overseas. He also personally attacks John Podesta, pushing a muddled conspiracy theory about Podesta hindering an investigation into Russian hacking of the Democratic National Committee (despite that Podesta chaired the Clinton campaign, not the DNC, and despite Trump's continued attempts to sow doubt about Russia's role). Trump implausibly claims that "everyone" at the G-20 is talking about Podesta.
As Putin and Trump meet, Trump appears to mock US reporters in the room at the prodding of a smiling Putin, under whose regime many journalists have been murdered. According to a tweet and video clip from journalist Dmitri Smirnov of Komsomolskaya Pravda, Putin asks Trump, “Are these the ones who insulted you?” As the reporters are being ushered out, Trump replies, “These are the ones.” As Putin laughs, Trump appears to add with a chuckle, “You’re right about that.” (July 7)
Day 168: Against a backdrop at home of far-right activists stalking, harassing, and leveling death threats against CNN journalists and executives, President Trump uses a press conference in Poland to continue to go off on CNN over the wrestling-video controversy. In his diatribe on foreign soil against the American news media, Trump jovially draws in Poland’s President Andrzej Duda—himself a proponent of press crackdowns—as he mocks CNN: "They have been fake news for a long time," Trump says to a smiling Duda. "They have been covering me in a very, very dishonest way. Do you have that also, by the way, Mr. President?" (It's yet another Trump embrace of autocratic leadership.) Trump also attacks NBC, suggesting that network is ungrateful to him, despite his having enriched NBC with his successful reality TV show. His comments come on the heels of the White House floating the chilling prospect of using a proposed merger involving CNN's parent company as leverage against the network. Here are Trump's full remarks: (July 6)
I think what CNN did was unfortunate for them, as you know now they have some pretty serious problems. They have been fake news for a long time. They have been covering me in a very, very dishonest way. Do you have that also, by the way, Mr. President? With CNN and others, I mean, and others. NBC is equally as bad despite the fact that I made them a fortune with The Apprentice, but they forgot that. But, I will say that CNN has really taken it too seriously and I think they've hurt themselves very badly—very, very badly. And, what we want to see in the United States is honest, beautiful, free, but honest press. We want to see fair press. I think it's a very important thing. We don't want fake news. And, by the way, not everybody is fake news. But we don't want fake news. Bad thing. Very bad for our country.
Day 167: The Associated Press confirms that Trump's tweet with the video depicting the president assaulting CNN is his most-shared post on the social-media platform. Donald Trump, Jr. attacks CNN with multiple tweets riffing about "#CNNBlackmail" and Americans' "hate" for the news media after CNN reports on the racist, anti-Semitic source behind the doctored video. (July 5)
Day 164: Three days after White House Deputy Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders asserts that "the president in no way, form or fashion has ever promoted or encouraged violence,” the president tweets an old WWE wrestling video of himself that has been altered to depict Trump assaulting CNN.
The doctored video celebrating Trump's war on the news media goes viral (with Trump also retweeting it from the official @POTUS account) amid rising concerns over violence against journalists, including a Republican congressman's recent conviction for assaulting a reporter. The tweet also continues Trump's long history of promoting social media accounts that traffic in virulently racist and anti-Semitic content. The Trump-CNN wrestling video was posted by a social media user called "HanAssholeSolo," whose recent posts also included an image of CNN personnel stamped with Stars of David (a trope that Trump knows well by now) and various comments about crime and gun violence repeatedly using the term "nigger."
As Mother Jones has long since documented, Trump and his top advisers have courted racists, white nationalists and other bigots on social media since the start of Trump's presidential campaign. (July 2)
Day 163: Trump suggests that there is a conspiracy among the many states refusing to comply with a White House call for the handing over of personal voter data. (Mississippi's GOP secretary of state gave a particularly noteworthy response, including the suggestion that the Trump administration could "go jump in the Gulf of Mexico, and Mississippi is a great state to launch from.”) (July 1)
Week 23: Trump's misogyny returns; a demand for voter data (June 24 - June 30)
Day 162: Senior White House adviser Kellyanne Conway endorses Trump's social-media attacks on the press because much news coverage, she says, is unpatriotic. (June 30)
Day 161: Trump sets off a firestorm with a pair of tweets attacking "Morning Joe" cohosts Joe Scarborough and Mika Brzezinski, mocking Brzezinski as "low I.Q. Crazy Mika" and alleging that she was "bleeding badly from a face-lift" during a social gathering at Mar-a-Lago around New Year's Eve. The couple joins a growing list of individuals personally targeted by Trump. (June 29)
Day 160: Kris Kobach, a leader of Trump's Presidential Advisory Commission on Voter Integrity, calls for states to hand over personal voter data to the federal government, including names, party affiliations, birth dates, felony conviction records, voting histories for the past decade, and the last four digits of all voters’ Social Security numbers. The stated purpose is to help uncover voter fraud—which has been proven to be virtually nonexistent in the United States, despite Trump's unfounded claims from the start of his presidency that millions of people voted illegally in the 2016 election.
- CNN's Brian Stelter notes three fresh examples of the Trump administration eroding press access, from the White House to the Pentagon and Justice Department. (June 28)
Day 159: After CNN retracts a story about an alleged investigation involving a Trump ally, the president renews his sweeping attacks on the press, declaring multiple television networks and top newspapers "all Fake News!" Trump's deputy press secretary, Sarah Huckabee Sanders, encourages Americans "across the country" to watch an anti-CNN video made by infamous right-wing fabricator James O’Keefe, "whether it's accurate or not." (June 27)
Week 22: Trump's "tapes" bluff revealed; press briefing blackouts (June 17 - June 23)
Day 155: In an interview with "Fox & Friends," Trump appears to further confirm that his bluff about the possible existence of secret Oval Office "tapes" was meant to intimidate James Comey ahead of the former FBI director's sworn testimony to Congress. From the New York Times:
When the Fox interviewer suggested that the possible existence of recordings might make sure Mr. Comey “stayed honest in those hearings,” Mr. Trump paused before responding, “Well, it wasn’t very stupid, I can tell you that.”
Referring to Mr. Comey, the president said that “when he found out that I, you know, that there may be tapes out there whether it’s governmental tapes or anything else and who knows, I think his story may have changed.”
Trump has a history of threatening his perceived adversaries with recordings that may or may not exist. Watch the full segment from "Fox & Friends" (which was recorded on June 22 and aired on June 23):
- For the third time in a week, the Trump administration continues an unprecedented policy of forbidding reporters from using cameras during a White House press briefing—an instruction it tells the press is "not reportable." CNN sends its Supreme Court sketch artist to document the briefing. (June 23)
Day 154: More than a month after threatening fired FBI director James Comey with the possibility of secretly recorded Oval Office "tapes," Trump announces that he does not know of or possess any tapes. He says in a pair of tweets: “With all of the recently reported electronic surveillance, intercepts, unmasking and illegal leaking of information, I have no idea whether there are ‘tapes’ or recordings of my conversations with James Comey, but I did not make, and do not have, any such recordings.”
Just days after Trump's personal legal team insisted that the president is not under investigation by special counsel Robert Mueller for obstruction of justice, top surrogates suggest that Trump carried out the "tapes" charade to intimidate a witness who was preparing to give sworn testimony before the US Senate. Trump was "instinctively trying to rattle Comey,” says former House Speaker Newt Gingrich. “He’s not a professional politician. He doesn’t come back and think about Nixon and Watergate. His instinct is: ‘I’ll outbluff you.’” An unnamed source tells Bloomberg that Trump raised the possibility of the tapes strategically to ensure that Comey told the truth.
For the second time in four days, the Trump administration bars cameras from the White House press briefing room, preventing any live broadcasting of a Trump spokesperson's responses to reporters' questions on a big news day. (June 22)
Day 152: In contrast with Trump's ceaseless attacks on most of the media as "fake news," the president continues his mutual lovefest with Fox News, personally thanking the network for hailing him over the GOP's win in Georgia's congressional special election. (June 20)
Day 151: The Trump administration continues to undermine the press corps, prohibiting reporters from recording any images or audio during a White House briefing.
CNN's Jim Acosta makes a subversive move, photographing...the White House briefing room:
CBS News correspondent Mark Knoller notes that the White House hasn't had an on-camera briefing for more than a week. Acosta further reports that Press Secretary Sean Spicer took a question from a Russian reporter but not from CNN. (June 19)
Week 21: Trump's growing list of personal targets; a bizarrely fawning cabinet meeting (June 10 - June 16)
Day 148: Trump attacks Rod Rosenstein, the deputy attorney general, for leading a "witch hunt" against him, adding Rosenstein to the list of Trump's personal targets. The president also retweets Fox News' Sean Hannity promoting a segment about a "Deep State" conspiracy against the Trump White House. (June 16)
Day 147: Decrying what he calls "the single greatest WITCH HUNT in American political history," Trump appears to add special counsel Robert Mueller and his deputies to the growing list of individuals he has personally attacked as president, insinuating that they are "very bad and conflicted people." (June 15)
Day 145: Trump escalates his attacks against the press on Twitter with some conspicuously debasing language and hyperbole: The "Fake News Media," he says, has "an agenda of hate" and "has never been so wrong or so dirty." He also declares that "Fake News is at an all time high" and demands that the media apologize to him. His invective against the press on Twitter alone now totals 73 attacks since he was sworn into office. (June 13)
Day 144: At a televised cabinet meeting, Trump elicits and then beams through a round of personal praise for him from numerous secretaries and top aides.
His chief of staff Reince Priebus gushes, "On behalf of the entire senior staff around you, Mr. President, we thank you for the opportunity and blessing that you've given us to serve your agenda."
WH Chief of Staff Reince Priebus to Trump: “We thank you for the opportunity and blessing to serve your agenda” https://t.co/L7DEdZUjV3
— CNN Politics (@CNNPolitics) June 12, 2017
Not long after a display seen as highly unusual by many veteran White House observers, Sen. Chuck Schumer ridicules Trump with his own version of the spectacle: "You have great hair," cracks an aide, "nobody has better hair than you." (June 12)
Day 142: Interviewed on Fox News by longtime Trump family friend Jeanine Pirro, Donald Trump Jr. adds to his father's ongoing personal attacks against James Comey. “I think he's proven himself to be a liar in all of this," Trump Jr. says of the ex-FBI director. "I think he's proven himself to be a dishonest man of bad character.” (June 10)
Week 20: attacks on the ex-FBI director and the London mayor (June 3 - June 9)
Day 141: The morning after James Comey's historic, gripping testimony before the Senate Intelligence Committee about his troubling interactions with the president, Trump returns to Twitter to personally attack the former FBI director. He appears to accuse Comey of participating in "so many false statements and lies," which would constitute a serious crime under oath. He also mocks him as a "leaker," apparently in reference to Comey testifying about sharing his personal written notes—unclassified, and as a private citizen—with the news media.
It is the fourth time since he fired Comey on May 9 that Trump has personally threatened and disparaged the former FBI director; previously he warned Comey that he should fear secret Oval Office "tapes" of their interactions, declared to NBC's Lester Holt that Comey was a "showboat" and "grandstander," and told top Russian officials that Comey was "crazy, a real a nutjob."
The attacks on Comey continue a disturbing pattern of Trump using the power of his political platform—first as a Republican candidate and nominee, and then as president—to target individual Americans whose actions or politics he disliked, including federal judges, a NFL quarterback, and a union leader. (June 9)
Day 137: In a series of tweets responding to the Saturday night terrorist attack at London Bridge, Trump derides opponents of his executive order to shut down immigration from majority-Muslim countries and again undermines the US judicial system. "People, the lawyers and the courts can call it whatever they want, but I am calling it what we need and what it is, a TRAVEL BAN!" Oddly, he also seems to misunderstand that as president he is ultimately in charge of the US Department of Justice: "The Justice Dept. should have stayed with the original Travel Ban, not the watered down, politically correct version they submitted to S.C." And he rebukes the courts for being "slow and political!"
Trump also rips London Mayor Sadiq Khan for the second time since the terrorist attack, continuing to mislead the public about Khan's remarks and suggesting that there is a media conspiracy to defend London's first Muslim mayor:
Pathetic excuse by London Mayor Sadiq Khan who had to think fast on his "no reason to be alarmed" statement. MSM is working hard to sell it!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) June 5, 2017
On the TODAY show, White House senior adviser Kellyanne Conway downplays Trump's frequent use of social media to broadcast his political and policy ideas to hundreds of millions of people. She derides the media's "obsession with covering everything he says on Twitter and very little of what he does as president."
— TODAY (@TODAYshow) June 5, 2017
In a surreal twist, Conway's own husband—who recently took himself out of the running for a top Justice Department position—tweets to say that Trump's tweets are likely to damage the administration's case at the Supreme Court. (June 5)
Week 19: the CBO's health care bill "conspiracy"; more attacks on the press (May 27 - June 2)
Day 132: White House Office of Management Director Mick Mulvaney attacks the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office, suggesting there is a conspiracy behind the institution's sobering assessment of the GOP health care bill. "It's almost as if they went into it and said, 'Okay, we need this score to look bad. How do we do it?'" he remarks in an interview with the Washington Examiner. The authority of the long-standing CBO, Mulvaney says, "has probably come and gone." (May 31)
Day 131: With FBI scrutiny intensifying on Trump's son-in-law and key adviser Jared Kushner over his peculiar involvement with top Russian officials, the president returns to vilifying the press. His invective against the "fake news media" on Twitter alone now totals 68 attacks since he was sworn into office. The latest barrage follows on the heels of Trump's first overseas trip as president, where he reportedly kept American media conspicuously at a distance. (May 30)
Russian officials must be laughing at the U.S. & how a lame excuse for why the Dems lost the election has taken over the Fake News.
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) May 30, 2017
Week 18: praise for murderous dictators and iron-fisted regimes (May 20 - May 26)
Day 124: The Washington Post reports that during a call on April 29 with Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte, President Trump praised Duterte for doing an "unbelievable job on the drug problem"—an effort involving thousands of extrajudicial killings by Duterte's regime. "Many countries have the problem, we have the problem," Trump said, according to a transcript of the call obtained by the Post, "but what a great job you are doing and I just wanted to call and tell you that." The details of the call add to the picture of Trump's various praise for authoritarians and tyrants. (May 23)
Day 122: In Saudi Arabia, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson excludes American news media from a press conference; only foreign media reportedly are present. The State Department suggests it was a mistake due to logistical challenges—but it's the third time in three months that Tillerson has ditched the US media while representing the Trump administration overseas, and occurs on the heels of a now infamous Oval Office meeting between Trump and top Russian officials where US media was barred and only a Russian state-sponsored photographer was allowed in.
In an interview with CNBC the following day, US Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross expresses approval for a total lack of political protest during the Trump visit: "There was not a single hint of a protester anywhere there during the whole time we were there," Ross says, "not one guy with a bad placard." After the CNBC anchor interjects to suggest that may have been because the Saudi rulers "control people and don't allow them to come and express their feelings quite the same way we do here," Ross responds, "In theory that could be true, but boy, there was certainly no sign of it, there was not a single effort at any incursion—there wasn't anything. The mood was a genuinely good mood." (May 21)
Wilbur Ross touts the lack of protests in Saudi Arabia during Trump's visit (maybe it's because protesters are jailed & sometimes beheaded?) pic.twitter.com/DQIENgtopz
— Brian Klaas (@brianklaas) May 22, 2017
Week 17: silence on Erdogan's violent thugs in DC; pressure to jail reporters (May 13 - May 19)
Day 118: NBC News confirms that bodyguards for Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan beat protesters the previous day outside the Turkish embassy in Washington, injuring nine people, including some who Erdogan's men kicked in the face. After Trump's meeting with Erdogan—whose recent consolidation of power Trump congratulated him for—the White House remains silent on the altercation, drawing sharp criticism from top US foreign policy experts. (May 17)
Where is WH denunciation of thuggish behavior by Erdogan "security" vs protesters? Our country, our laws. No way he should be invited back.
— Richard N. Haass (@RichardHaass) May 17, 2017
Day 117: Following the stunning revelation from the Washington Post that Trump shared highly classified information with top Russian officials in the Oval Office—which Trump then acknowledged after three of his own top officials denied it—the New York Times reports that the Russian Foreign Ministry has joined the White House in attacking US media institutions as "fake." RFM spokeswoman Maria Zakharova calls the bombshell news "the latest fake," and says, "Guys, you are again reading American newspapers? You should not read them. They can be used in various ways, but there's no need to read them—lately, this is not only harmful, but dangerous."
With the Times' own latest bombshell—the revelation that Trump pressured James Comey to shut down the FBI investigation into Michael Flynn—the Times also reports that Trump pushed the FBI director to focus on putting reporters in prison for publishing classified information. The Washington Post's executive editor Marty Baron responds that Trump's notion of prosecuting journalists "is very menacing, and I think that's exactly what they intend. It's an act of intimidation." (May 16)
Week 16: the firing of FBI Director James Comey; multiple attacks on the media (May 6 - May 12)
Day 113: In a morning tweet storm, Trump attacks the "Fake Media" yet again, including suggesting that, because "it is not possible" for his spokespeople to brief reporters with "perfect accuracy," maybe the White House should cancel all future press briefings and simply hand out written responses. The president also appears to personally threaten the FBI director he fired three days earlier: "James Comey better hope that there are no 'tapes' of our conversations before he starts leaking to the press!"
Trump's threat against Comey draws a stark reaction from Sen. Dick Durbin: "I think we ought to get to the bottom line here—President Trump is dangerous. Dangerous because he may be obstructing justice in terms of the investigation that really goes to the heart of our democracy: the accountability of the president and the people around him to the rule of law, protecting our democracy from an invasion by the Russians." Durbin adds: "His credibility has been destroyed." (May 12)
Day 112: The New York Times and CNN each report via sources close to James Comey that part of President Trump's motivation for firing Comey was the FBI director's refusal to swear political loyalty to the president. The Times details a conversation between Trump and Comey during a one-on-one dinner that took place at the White House on Jan. 27—just one day after former acting Attorney General Sally Yates warned the Trump White House that then National Security Advisor Michael Flynn was vulnerable to blackmail by the Kremlin. Three days before the dinner, on Jan. 24, Flynn had been interviewed by the FBI about his contacts with the Russian ambassador. In the conversation with Yates the day before the Comey dinner, White House Counsel Don McGahn asked Yates for information on Flynn's FBI interview, and Yates declined to answer. (May 11)
Day 111: Fallout continues from Trump's extraordinary firing of FBI Director James Comey:
- Meeting with Secretary of State Rex Tillerson at the State Department, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov mocks a reporter's question about the firing of Comey, acting as if he is unaware of the news.
- Senior Trump adviser Kellyanne Conway says it's "inappropriate" to question the timing of Comey's firing by Trump, adding: "He'll do it when he wants to."
- The Washington Post reports that the Trump administration was "pressuring Comey to more aggressively pursue leak investigations over disclosures that embarrassed the White House and raised questions about ties with Russia."
- Following intense criticism from congressional Democrats, Trump personally attacks Sen. Richard Blumenthal with three tweets: Calling him "Richie," Trump raises comments Blumenthal once made about service in Vietnam and says, "He should be the one who is investigated for his acts."
— CBS News (@CBSNews) May 10, 2017
CNN's Jim Sciutto reports that the US media is barred from Trump's talks in the Oval Office with Russia's ambassador and foreign minister; photos of the meeting are distributed solely via the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
These photos of Trump-Russia meetings are courtesy solely of Russian MFA because no US press allowed in. pic.twitter.com/PI4cSPIqvG
— Jim Sciutto (@jimsciutto) May 10, 2017
A source close to Comey tells CNN's Jake Tapper that there were two reasons for the firing: Comey never assured Trump of his personal loyalty to the president—and the Russia investigation was accelerating.
— The Lead CNN (@TheLeadCNN) May 10, 2017
Day 110: In a stunning development, President Trump fires FBI Director James Comey, who was leading a widening investigation into Trump campaign ties to Russian interference in the 2016 election. In his letter firing Comey, Trump cites the recommendation of Attorney General Jeff Sessions—who previously recused himself from involvement in the Russia investigation. "While I greatly appreciate you informing me, on three separate occasions, that I am not under investigation, I nevertheless concur with the judgment of the Department of Justice that you are not able to effectively lead the bureau," Trump says in the letter. The move quickly draws intense criticism from many quarters:
Members of Congress are flooding Twitter with commentary on the firing. https://t.co/L9i9wtuigC
— Eric Lipton (@EricLiptonNYT) May 9, 2017
Comey should be immediately called to testify in an open hearing about the status of Russia/Trump investigation at the time he was fired.
— Ron Wyden (@RonWyden) May 9, 2017
This is Nixonian. Deputy AG Rod Rosenstein must immediately appoint a special prosecutor to continue the Trump/Russia investigation.
— Senator Bob Casey (@SenBobCasey) May 9, 2017
My staff and I are reviewing legislation to establish an independent commission on Russia. The second paragraph of this letter is bizarre. https://t.co/wXeDtVIQiP
— Justin Amash (@justinamash) May 9, 2017
— John McCain (@SenJohnMcCain) May 9, 2017
House Judiciary should convene tomorrow morning to hold a hearing on abuse of power by the President
— Richard W. Painter (@RWPUSA) May 9, 2017
Comey's firing is an outrage. This is the moment when decent men and women on both sides of the aisle must stand up for what is right. https://t.co/BDoeFHboru
— Susan Hennessey (@Susan_Hennessey) May 9, 2017
This crosses a dramatic new threshold for US and without any congressional oversight from GOP Trump much freer to erode democratic norms
— Ben Rhodes (@brhodes) May 9, 2017
The cancerous partisanship politics is not only obscuring the Russia affair. It is 'dismantling' the basics of our national security.
— Ali H. Soufan (@Ali_H_Soufan) May 9, 2017
Misty water color MEMories pic.twitter.com/RAwuTURI39
— Bill Weir (@BillWeirCNN) May 9, 2017
Firing your secret police chief because he's investigating you is the stuff of banana republics. America as I knew it is gone.
— John Schindler (@20committee) May 9, 2017
This FBI Director has sought for years to jail me on account of my political activities. If I can oppose his firing, so can you. https://t.co/zUp5kquy8q
— Edward Snowden (@Snowden) May 9, 2017
Biggest media question: Why now? Why not dump Comey during the transition if it was about his mishandling of the Hillary probe last year?
— HowardKurtz (@HowardKurtz) May 9, 2017
Trump: "Let's make this look a little more like Watergate."
Bannon: "Hold my beer."
— Rick Wilson (@TheRickWilson) May 9, 2017
Comey & FBI were closing in on their targets. There is no other explanation. This is an abuse of power. We must have a special prosecutor.
— John Weaver (@JWGOP) May 9, 2017
CNN legal analyst Jeffrey Toobin on Comey's firing: "This is not normal" https://t.co/ASBNQrCXoc
— CNN Politics (@CNNPolitics) May 9, 2017
Reporting from NBC News, the New York Times and others quickly raises questions about the motive and process behind Comey's firing:
The White House gives no explanation on Trump's decision to fire Comey, beyond saying AG Sessions and Deputy AG Rosenstein recommended it pic.twitter.com/7zm1UpAXB9
— Vera Bergengruen (@VeraMBergen) May 9, 2017
Former senior FBI official tells me: "I believe the intent here is to replace him with someone who will close" the Russia probe.
— Ken Dilanian (@KenDilanianNBC) May 9, 2017
— Bradd Jaffy (@BraddJaffy) May 9, 2017
Meanwhile, a West Virginia journalist is arrested for "yelling questions" at senior Trump adviser Kellyanne Conway and Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price. Price later commends the police for "doing what they thought was appropriate" and declines to say whether the treatement of the reporter was proper.
- Earlier in the day, the Trump campaign relaunches its website with a focus on circumventing the news media: "Providing a unique experience for online visitors," the campaign says, "the website will include: facts the mainstream media is hiding about policy positions and actions by President Trump; compelling, never-before-seen photos from recent campaign rallies and events featuring President Trump and Vice President Mike Pence; news announcements from Donald J. Trump for President, Inc.; and other materials that you won’t find anywhere else in the media."
Week 15: downgrading human rights; embracing autocrats, pushing a "fake news" ad (April 29 - May 5)
Day 105: Two GOP congressional leaders, Sen. Chuck Grassley and Rep. Jason Chaffetz, warn Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price about a memo sent to HHS employees that restricts employees' communications with Congress; they call the memo "potentially illegal and unconstitutional" and note that it could have a chilling effect on whistleblowers. (May 4)
Day 104: The Trump Justice Department wins a criminal conviction against an activist for a disruption that apparently stemmed from laughing during Attorney General Jeff Sessions' confirmation hearings in January.
Mother Jones' David Corn reports that the administration has dropped "human rights" from the title of a high-level White House job previously dedicated to advancing human rights around the world. (May 3)
Day 103: President Trump's reelection campaign ("Donald J. Trump for President, Inc.") attacks CNN for declining to run an ad praising Trump's first 100 days and declaring CNN and other mainstream news networks "FAKE NEWS." "It's clear that CNN is trying to silence our voice and censor our free speech because it doesn't fit their narrative," says the campaign's executive director, apparently without irony.
CNN responds that the network requested the removal of the misleading graphic: "The mainstream media is not fake news, and therefore the ad is false and per policy will be accepted only if that graphic is deleted." (May 2)
Day 101: On the Sunday morning news circuit, White House chief of staff Reince Priebus warns that cracking down on the media by changing libel laws is "something we've looked at," repeating a threat Trump himself has voiced. Priebus says that "newspapers and news agencies need to be more responsible with how they report the news." The comments come on the heels of Trump using one of his biggest presidential platforms to attack the "fake" media for the 46th time.
In an interview also aired Sunday, Trump praises murderous North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un as "a pretty smart cookie," adding to the growing list of authoritarians and tyrants Trump has celebrated, including:
- Russia's Vladimir Putin
- China's Xi Jinping
- Turkey's Recep Tayyip Erdogan
- Egypt's Abdel Fattah el-Sisi
- France's Marine Le Pen
- The Philippines' Rodrigo Duterte
The White House defends Trump's embrace of Duterte, saying that he is crucial to dealing with North Korea given the location of the Philippines—which also happens to be home to the recently completed Trump Tower Manila, a deal Trump did with Jose E.B. Antonio, Duterte's new trade envoy to the US. (April 30)
Day 100: As promised, Trump snubs the White House Correspondents Association by ditching its annual dinner in Washington for a campaign-style rally in Pennsylvania. He again goes off on the media at length, continuing his long-running campaign of demonizing journalists from podiums and on social media.
Trump rips into the press at the WHCD: pic.twitter.com/egNdLw83NT
— Axios (@axios) April 30, 2017
Week 14: attacking the US courts; promoting Trump's private club (April 22 - April 28)
Day 97: President Trump takes to Twitter to continue attacking the federal judiciary for blocking his policy aimed at defunding "sanctuary cities." He slams the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, even though the order was handed down by a federal district court judge.
First the Ninth Circuit rules against the ban & now it hits again on sanctuary cities-both ridiculous rulings. See you in the Supreme Court!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) April 26, 2017
Trump also tells the conservative Washington Examiner that he is "absolutely" in favor of a plan to break up the court that he apparently believes just ruled against him. "There are many people that want to break up the Ninth Circuit," he says. "It's outrageous." (April 26)
Day 96: After a US district court blocks a Trump administration directive to withhold federal funding from so-called sanctuary cities for failure to comply with an immigration crackdown, the White House renews its attack on the judiciary, blasting the decision as "egregious overreach by a single, unelected district judge." (April 25)
The discovery that the US State Department and at least two US embassies have been touting Trump's for-profit club, Mar-a-Lago, provokes sharp criticism. "Why are taxpayer $$ promoting the President's private country club?" tweets Democratic Sen. Ron Wyden of Oregon, pointing to what he describes as "the full post in its kleptocratic glory."
(The State Department-run Share America site soon pulls down the content, stating: "The intention of the article was to inform the public about where the President has been hosting world leaders. We regret any misperception and have removed the post.") (April 24)
Week 13: threats against "sanctuary cities" and dissenting Congress members; secret White House waivers (April 15 - April 21)
Day 92: Attorney General Jeff Sessions threatens to withhold federal funding from eight cities and counties and the state of California if they fail to cooperate with the Trump administration's immigration crackdown. (April 21)
Day 90: An Associated Press report sheds further light on the entwining of US foreign policy and enrichment of the Trump family:
On April 6, Ivanka Trump's company won provisional approval from the Chinese government for three new trademarks, giving it monopoly rights to sell Ivanka brand jewelry, bags and spa services in the world's second-largest economy. That night, the first daughter and her husband sat next to the president of China and his wife for a steak and Dover sole dinner at Mar-a-Lago.
Weighing in on the ongoing legal battle over the president's immigration ban, Attorney General Jeff Sessions undermines a federal judge—and, seemingly, the state of Hawaii—by saying he is "amazed" that a judge "sitting on an island in the Pacific" could halt Trump's executive order. (April 19)
Day 89: In his first lengthy public remarks as Trump's head of the Department of Homeland Security, Secretary John Kelly says members of Congress who disagree with the president's immigration crackdown should either change the laws or "shut up" and support the work of DHS, which is subject to congressional oversight. (Sound familiar?) (April 18)
Day 88: Turkish media, Reuters, and other news outlets report that President Trump called Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan to congratulate him on winning a referendum greatly expanding his political powers, a development that appears to put the pivotal Middle Eastern country on a fast track to dictatorship. (Notably, Russia's state-sponsored Sputnik International is among the first to post the news.) Trump's phone call (subsequently confirmed by the White House) comes even as the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe blasts the Turkish election process as conspicuously tilted in Erdogan's favor and "inadequate for the holding of a genuine democratic process."
— ANADOLU AGENCY (ENG) (@anadoluagency) April 17, 2017
The move comes not long after Trump lauds Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi—who rose to power after a 2013 military coup and presided over an authoritarian crackdown—for doing a "fantastic job." (April 17)
Day 87: The New York Times reports that potential conflicts of interest inside the Trump administration have become even more difficult to scrutinize because the White House has secretly been issuing waivers to sidestep regulations. In at least two cases, the Times reports, this may have already led to violations by Trump appointees of the administration's own ethics rules. (April 16)
Week 12: concealing White House visitors; handing over Tillerson coverage to the Kremlin (April 8 - April 14)
Day 85: The Trump administration announces it will discard its predecessor's policy and not disclose who visits the White House, citing "the grave national security risks and privacy concerns of the hundreds of thousands of visitors annually." (April 14)
Day 83: In an interview with Fox Business' Maria Bartiromo, President Trump continues attacking former national security adviser Susan Rice, alleging without any evidence that Rice broke the law, an assertion since debunked by top US intelligence officials and congressional leaders from both parties. With the FBI investigation continuing into Trump campaign ties to Russia, the president also goes after FBI Director James Comey—declaring that Comey helped Hillary Clinton during the election. (To the contrary, there is evidence that Comey's actions on the Clinton email investigation did major damage to her presidential campaign.) Trump suggests Clinton is a criminal—but was rescued by Comey. "When Jim Comey came out, he saved Hillary Clinton—he saved her life," Trump says in the interview. "Director Comey was very, very good to Hillary Clinton. If he weren’t, she would be right now going to trial." Trump adds that he kept Comey in his job "because I want to give everybody a good, fair chance."
In Moscow, Rex Tillerson—who famously barred American reporters from his first trip to Asia as secretary of state—ditches his press pool for his meeting with Vladimir Putin, leaving direct coverage in the hands of the Kremlin. (April 12)
Week 11: seeking to unmask a Trump critic; baseless charges against Susan Rice (April 1 - April 7)
Day 77: Twitter sues the Trump administration's Department of Homeland Security for trying to force the social media company to unmask an account with alleged ties to a federal agency that is critical of Trump policies. (DHS quickly withdraws its summons after Twitter files the suit.) (April 6)
— Alternative CDC (@Alt_CDC) April 7, 2017
Day 76: Citing no evidence, President Trump accuses former national security adviser Susan Rice of committing a crime concerning the use of classified US intelligence. "I think it's a massive, massive story," he says. "It's a bigger story than you know." In the same Oval Office interview with two New York Times reporters, Trump repeats that "the Russia story is a total hoax." (April 5)
Day 74: Trump tweets four more times in 24 hours in defiance of the congressional and FBI Russia investigations, citing Fox News and trying to change the focus to Hillary Clinton's campaign and alleged surveillance of his own presidential campaign. (Notably, in one of the tweets he tags the FBI, though it's unclear why.) He has now tweeted about the widening Russia scandal 16 times in two weeks. Mitch McConnell joins the chorus of political leaders confirming that there is zero evidence to support Trump's claims about being surveilled by the Obama administration. Though it is now five months after the election, Trump also tweets a question about whether Clinton "ever apologized for receiving answers to the debate."
On the conflict-of-interest front, ProPublica reports that an obscure change made to Trump's trust in February allows the president to draw money from his more than 400 businesses, at any time, without disclosing it. (April 3)
Day 72: In a Saturday morning flurry of tweets, President Trump yet again seeks to discredit the multiple Russia probes; he has now tweeted about the matter a dozen times in less than two weeks. He adds "phony" and "total scam" to a list of retorts already including "fake news," "witch hunt," "made up by Democrats," "totally biased," and "a hoax." (April 1)
It is the same Fake News Media that said there is "no path to victory for Trump" that is now pushing the phony Russia story. A total scam!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) April 1, 2017
Week 10: ridiculing female journalists; threatening to roll back press rights (March 25 - March 31)
Day 71: President Trump continues trying to discredit widening Russia probes by two congressional intelligence committees and the FBI, calling the investigations a "witch hunt." Press secretary Sean Spicer reiterates to reporters that "politically motivated" surveillance took place against Trump's presidential campaign; the Obama administration did "very, very bad things," he tells the White House press corps, citing no evidence. (March 31)
Day 70: President Trump tweets a New York Post writer's rant about the "ongoing dishonesty" of the New York Times—for the second time in three days—repeating a legal threat he's leveled against the media many times. (March 30)
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) March 30, 2017
Day 68: The Trump administration's attack on the media continues apace, with press secretary Sean Spicer singling out two female reporters for ridicule. During a White House briefing, Spicer berates correspondent April Ryan of American Urban Radio Networks over a question, telling her to "stop shaking your head." In a story in Breitbart News the same day, Spicer attacks Politico correspondent Tara Palmeri for a tweet in which she reported that chief of staff Reince Preibus' job might be in jeopardy. "She is an idiot with no real sources," Spicer responds.
Meanwhile, the administration says that none of its staff will attend the annual White House Correspondents' Dinner in April, out of "solidarity" with President Trump.
With the RussiaGate investigation continuing to widen, Trump takes to Twitter again to declare the growing scandal "Fake News." It is the eighth time in just over a week that he tweets about it, also denouncing the scandal as "made up by Democrats," "totally biased...such dishonesty," and "a hoax." (March 28)
Day 66: Nepotism watch: The administration announces that Trump's senior adviser and son-in-law Jared Kushner will helm a new White House Office of American Innovation, whose mission will be to overhaul the workings of the federal government. Kushner suggests that American citizens are "customers" rather than the owners of their elected government. "The government should be run like a great American company," he tells the Washington Post. "Our hope is that we can achieve successes and efficiencies for our customers, who are the citizens." The announcement follows the news of Kushner's wife, Ivanka Trump, getting an office in the coveted West Wing, despite her having no official position in her father's administration. (March 26)
Stephen Colbert further explains Kushner's big White House portfolio:
Week 9: "I'm president and you're not"; denying Russian interference; attacking a NFL star (March 18 - March 24)
Day 62: TIME Magazine's Michael Scherer interviews President Trump about numerous false statements Trump has made on subjects ranging from voter fraud to wiretapping. After a series of rambling responses, in which Trump offers neither any evidence nor apologies for his claims, he concludes: "Hey look, in the mean time, I guess, I can't be doing so badly, because I'm president, and you're not." (March 22)
Day 60: As the House Intelligence Committee conducts hearings on the FBI's investigation into possible collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia, the official Twitter account of the president of the United States spins FBI Director James Comey's testimony, saying that Comey "refuses to deny he briefed President Obama on calls made by Michael Flynn to Russia."
FBI Director Comey refuses to deny he briefed President Obama on calls made by Michael Flynn to Russia. pic.twitter.com/cUZ5KgBSYP
— President Trump (@POTUS) March 20, 2017
A subsequent tweet from @POTUS asserts that the FBI and NSA concluded that Russia "did not influence" the US elections, twisting comments from Comey and NSA director Mike Rogers out of context. Asked about the president's tweet by the committee a couple of hours later (a remarkable development of its own), Comey makes clear that this tweet from the president's official account is inaccurate.
Another tweet from @POTUS focuses on attacking leaks in the media.
NSA Director Rogers tells Congress unmasking individuals endangers national security. pic.twitter.com/jTwjPINvNh
— President Trump (@POTUS) March 20, 2017
The Atlantic's McCay Coppins likens the White House's live-tweeting of the hearing to "something akin to a state-run media outlet—deliberately misreporting, in real time, what was happening on Capitol Hill."
Over on his personal Twitter account, Trump pits "Fake News CNN" against Fox News, which he lauds as having "much higher ratings."
At an evening rally in Louisville, Kentucky, the president mocks San Francisco 49ers quarterback and political protester Colin Kaepernick, crediting Kaepernick's unemployment in the NFL to the prospect that Trump might personally attack him. NFL team owners "don't want to pick him up," Trump declares as the crowd roars, "because they don't want to get a nasty tweet from Donald Trump!" (March 20)
— CNN (@CNN) March 21, 2017
Day 59: The Washington Post reports (via records obtained by ProPublica) that the Trump White House has installed a "shadow government" of at least 16 senior political aides inside various federal agencies, in an "unusual" effort to monitor the loyalty of Trump's cabinet secretaries. (March 19)
Week 8: more sketchy wiretap claims; threatening a US circuit court (March 11 - March 17)
Day 57: Citing right-wing pundits and zero evidence, the White House doubles down on Trump's claim that British intelligence helped President Obama spy on Trump before the election. In a rare public statement, Britain's GCHQ calls the claim "utterly ridiculous." In a press conference with German Chancellor Angela Merkel, Trump jokes about the matter. (March 17)
Day 55: Attorney General Jeff Sessions follows on the heels of GOP House Intelligence Committee Chairman Devin Nunes in stating that there is no evidence to support Trump's explosive claim about Obama wiretapping Trump Tower before the election. (Nunes also said that the media was taking Trump's tweet "too literally.") Trump subsequently fine-tunes his claim in an interview on Fox News, saying that "wiretap covers a lot of different things."
At an evening rally in Nashville, after a federal judge blocks a revised executive order from the president banning refugees and immigrants, a visibly irritated Trump tells the crowd: "I think we ought to go back to the first one and go all the way, which is what I wanted to do in the first place." (A statement that could potentially hurt the White House's case in further court proceedings.) He also suggests that the appeals court that ruled against him should be disbanded: "People are screaming, 'Break up the Ninth Circuit!'" (March 15)
Day 53: After the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office estimates that the GOP's American Health Care Act will result in 24 million people losing coverage, the Trump adminstration attacks the CBO as "just not believable." As the New York Times' David Leonhardt notes, this continues a pattern of seeking to delegitimize independent sources of information seen as unfriendly to Trump. (March 13)
Week 7: the explosive Obama "wiretapping" claim; traction with demonizing the media (March 4 - March 10)
Day 47: A Quinnipac University poll shows that nearly 40 percent of Americans—and 81 percent of Republicans—agree with President Trump's statements that certain news organizations "are the enemy of the American people." (March 7)
Day 44 - 45: Citing no evidence, Trump seizes on a conspiracy theory pushed by a right-wing radio host and Breitbart News, accusing former President Barack Obama of illegally wiretapping Trump Tower during the election. FBI Director James Comey subsequently asks the Justice Department to publicly reject the extraordinary claim as false; the Trump White House then raises the stakes even further, signaling opposition to Comey on the matter. (March 4 and March 5)
How low has President Obama gone to tapp my phones during the very sacred election process. This is Nixon/Watergate. Bad (or sick) guy!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) March 4, 2017
Week 6: vilifying the New York Times; (February 25 - March 3)
Day 39: In an Oval Office interview with Breitbart News—the far-right media platform formerly run by White House chief strategist Steve Bannon—Trump describes the "intent" of reporting by the New York Times as "so evil and so bad." (February 27)
Week 5: shutting out the press; tarring the media as the "enemy of the people" (February 17 - February 24)
Day 36: Press secretary Sean Spicer bars the New York Times, CNN, the Los Angeles Times, Politico, and BuzzFeed from an untelevised West Wing press briefing. (February 24)
Day 36: At the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC), Trump reiterates that the media is the "enemy of the people." (February 24)
Week 4: "The powers of the president to protect our country will not be questioned" (February 10 - February 16)
Day 28: In a lengthy White House press conference, Trump works to pivot attention away from leaks within his administration to blaming the media, saying that "the leaks are real…The news is fake." During the same presser, Trump responds to a Jewish reporter's question about a wave of threats to Jewish centers by expressing his personal offense at the question (apparently construing it as a suggestion that he is anti-Semitic) and telling the reporter to "sit down." (February 16)
Day 24: White House senior adviser Steven Miller tells John Dickerson of Face the Nation that "the powers of the president to protect our country are very substantial and will not be questioned." (February 12)
Week 3: personally attacking a federal judge; mocking a state senator (February 3 - February 9)
Day 19: During a meeting, Trump hears about a Texas state senator who wanted to limit asset forfeiture. Trump quips, "Want to give his name? We'll destroy his career." (February 7)
Day 18: Trump tweets that "any negative polls are fake news, just like the CNN, ABC, NBC polls in the election." (February 6)
Day 16: After District Judge James Robart in Seattle issues a stay on Trump's immigration order, Trump tweets, "The opinion of this so-called judge, which essentially takes law-enforcement away from our country, is ridiculous and will be overturned!" (February 4)
Week 2: threatening to defund a university; politicizing the National Security Council (January 27 - February 2)
Day 14: After violent protests at the University of California-Berkley prevent Breitbart News provocateur Milo Yiannopoulos from speaking, Trump suggests that the university should lose federal funding. (February 2)
If U.C. Berkeley does not allow free speech and practices violence on innocent people with a different point of view - NO FEDERAL FUNDS?
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) February 2, 2017
Day 10: The president reorganizes the National Security Council, downgrading the chairman of the joint chiefs of staff and the CIA director, and gives chief strategist Steve Bannon a permanent seat on the NSC's principals committee. (January 29)
Day 8: Trump signs an executive order barring Syrian refugees, immigrants and other visitors from seven predominantly Muslim countries, even those with green cards and legal visas. The order includes what amounts to a religious test for Muslims. (January 27)
Week 1: telling the media to "keep its mouth shut"; a massive voter-fraud conspiracy; "alternative facts" (January 20 - January 26)
Day 7: Trump's chief strategist Steve Bannon says the media should "keep its mouth shut," and describes the media as "the opposition party." (January 26)
Day 6: Trump issues an executive order on immigration mandating the Department of Homeland Security to "make public a comprehensive list of criminal actions committed by aliens" published weekly, and threatens to defund sanctuary cities. (January 25)
Day 4: In a meeting with congressional leaders, Trump ramps up his claim—supported by no evidence—that millions of people voted illegally for Hillary Clinton. (January 23)
Day 3: Senior adviser Kellyanne Conway says the White House is using "alternative facts" in reference to the inauguration crowd size on NBC's Meet the Press. She threatens that the administration may have to "rethink the relationship" with the news media. (January 22)
Day 2: Press secretary Sean Spicer falsely claims that Trump's inauguration had the largest audience ever, angrily stating that "we're going to hold the press accountable" and refusing to take questions. (January 21)
— Binyamin Appelbaum (@BCAppelbaum) January 20, 2017
Day 1: In his inaugural speech, Trump depicts a ravaged, dystopian America, with echoes of his message at the GOP national convention that "I alone can fix it": "This American carnage stops right here and stops right now…From this moment on, it's going to be America First." (January 20)