The Weekly List
By Amy Siskind
The Weekly ListAug 21, 2023
Democracy at Risk - Trump Reindicted
Host Amy Siskind discusses former US President Donald J. Trump's indictment in Georgia
Democracy at Risk - Trump's Indicment
Host Amy Siskind discusses former US President Donald J. Trump's March 30th indictment.
Democracy at Risk - We Did What We Had to Do
Host Amy Siskind discusses the aftermath of the 2022 US midterm elections
Democracy at Risk - Are We Sleepwalking into Autocracy?
Host Amy Siskind discusses the last few weeks of US news and the upcoming midterm elections.
Democracy at Risk - FBI at Mar-a-Lago
Host Amy Siskind discusses the last few weeks of US political news including primary updates and Donald Trump's legal troubles.
Democracy at Risk - Roe v. Wade Overturned
Host Amy Siskind discusses the last few weeks of political news.
Democracy at Risk - Leaked Supreme Court Decision
Host Amy Siskind discusses the last few weeks of political news.
Democracy at Risk - The Price of Authoritarianism
Host Amy Siskind discusses Russia's invasion of Ukraine (Recorded April 6th, 2022.)
Democracy at Risk - Russia Invades Ukraine: How Did We Get Here?
Host Amy Siskind discusses the factors at play in Russia's invasion of Ukraine (Recorded March 7th, 2022.)
Democracy at Risk - Nine Months Until the Midterms
Host Amy Siskind discusses the last few weeks in American politics.
Democracy at Risk - One Year After the United States Capitol Attack
Host Amy Siskind discusses the last few weeks in US politics.
Democracy at Risk - Looking to 2022
Host Amy Siskind discusses the last few weeks in US politics.
Democracy at Risk - Electoral Apathy
Host Amy Siskind discusses the last few weeks in US politics.
Democracy at Risk - Handmaid's Tale
Host Amy Siskind discusses the last few weeks in US politics.
Democracy at Risk - January 6th Commission
Host Amy Siskind discusses the last few weeks in US politics.
Democracy at Risk - Six Months After the Insurrection
Democracy at Risk - The Cult of the GOP
Host Amy Siskind discusses the last few weeks in US politics.
Democracy at Risk - Two Sides, One Truth
Host Amy Siskind talks about the progress of the Biden administration and the continuing attacks on democracy.
Returning to Normalcy - Republicans in the Post-Trump Era
Host Amy Siskind discusses the political events of the last few weeks.
Returning to Normalcy - Nearing 100 Days
Host Amy Siskind discusses the vaccine rollout, improving economy, and the latest instances of police brutality.
Returning to Normalcy - Violence Against Asian Americans
Host Amy Siskind talks about the wave of attacks against Asian Americans during the last year and the Biden administration's work toward coronavirus relief.
Returning to Normalcy - Insurrection Debrief
Host Amy Siskind discuss additional facts about the attack on the Capitol that have come to light in the last few weeks.
Repairing Our Democracy - Impeachment
Host Amy Siskind talks about Donald Trump's second impeachment trial.
Repairing Our Democracy - The First Days
Host Amy Siskind talks about the shift to "normalcy" after the end of the Trump administration.
After - January
I am grateful, with all your input, to have continued this project through inauguration. Since I started tracking Donald Trump in November 2016, I have posited that he cared about two things: making money and staying in power; admittedly, events in this final list caught even me by surprise.
The pace of broken norms had slowed considerably in our AFTER lists for November and December. My biggest concern over those two months was Michigan, and the potential for Republicans in that state to overturn the results in a county with majority Black voters — and therefore the implications for the future our democracy. It was close — too close — but in the end we passed the safe harbor deadline for every state, and I falsely assumed we would cruise through inauguration.
As I complete this project on January 20 at noon, with Joe Biden assuming the presidency, along with our first Black and South Asian woman vice president, Kamala Harris, we are still learning of Trump’s schemes to overturn the election. The reporting will undoubtedly continue for months and years, as the truth finds its way to open light. History will record how close we came to teetering on the brink of becoming an authoritarian state.
Trump propagated, starting months before the election, what historian Timothy Snyder described as the “big lie,” that our election was rigged and stolen, and he had actually won. Trump was aided and enabled throughout his time in office, but also in the big lie, by Republican lawmakers too cowardly and cloaked in self-interest to uphold their oath, and a far-right media ecosystem willing to spin his lies for ratings. As we finish this project, three-quarters of Republicans believe the big lie, and have “little or no confidence” that the election results reflected the will of the people. This legacy of Trump’s disinformation will be with us for years as we try to trace our way back to the truth.
January was a shocking month. We learned that Trump had pressured and threatened state officials in Georgia to overturn election results. Days later, Trump supporters, emboldened into rioters by his big lie, stormed our nation’s Capitol. It was the first time our Capitol was under siege since the War of 1812, and the first time ever by American citizens. What ensued was a near massacre of our members of Congress and Vice President, which Trump joyfully watched unfold on television from the White House, refusing to call off the mob he had unleashed or call in troops to help over hours. Documentarian Ken Burns noted, “Our founders feared two things above all else, the mob and an autocrat,” and here we were.
Our system of government held up, but barely, and as this project comes to an end, it is still doubtful that Senate Republicans — themselves mere minutes away from slaughter — will finally hold Trump accountable for the insurrection and sedition at the upcoming impeachment trial. Over four years of the endless stream of broken norms, their enabling Trump has not only desecrated our democracy, but also exposed the cracks in its armor for future wannabe autocrats.
As we leave this project, Biden is inheriting three major crises — a surging pandemic, a struggling economy, and the threat of white supremacist violence. And on top of these crises, a battle for the truth. The steps we take in the coming years to restore the truth — there can only be one — will determine our ability to not only find common ground, but also to continue the American experiment with democracy and forming a more equitable union.
Read the full list here: https://theweeklylist.org/weekly-list/after-january/
After - December
In December, Trump continued to push lies and conspiracy theories about the election, not only failing to concede, but pushing efforts to overthrow the election results. During this month, Trump became increasingly isolated as even loyalists pushed back on his false allegations or resigned, leaving an inner circle composed almost entirely of his family members and conspiracy theorists. Trump continued to avoid the press and the American people, seeming to hide in the White House, other than a brief holiday trip to Mar-a-Lago.
This month the Supreme Court, which Trump had viewed as loyalists who would act at his behest, rejected his election challenges. Other setbacks came on December 8 when the safe harbor deadline passed, and then on December 14 when the Electoral Colleges in each state cast their votes, and ratified Biden’s victory — a typically mundane process that goes unnoticed, which was for first time was broadcast live and closely watched. After the results were ratified, Senate Republican leadership recognized Biden as president-elect, while House leadership continued to demure. Trump raged against all those who refused to go along with his despot coup, while his supporters took to threatening election officials and other subjects of his ire.
This month, a major Russian hacking — perhaps the most significant of modern times — of federal agencies and corporations was revealed. As has been a familiar pattern, Trump refused to acknowledge Russia’s involvement or condemn the attack, which some lawmakers likened to an act of war. December also marked the most deadly month of the worsening pandemic, which Trump almost completely ignored, along with any and all other presidential responsibilities.
Although Trump had yet to admit defeat, he did grant several controversial pardons, including four figures that were subjects of the Mueller probe, as well as Jared Kushner’s father, and employees of a company run by loyalist Erik Prince who were found guilty of murdering Iraqi civilians. As the month came to a close, Trump continued to push for allies to overturn the election and hence America’s still young experiment in democracy. And tragically, many Republicans appeared all too happy to comply with his antics, despite the damage to our democracy and world standing, in order to benefit their own political futures.
Read the full list here: https://theweeklylist.org/weekly-list/after-december/
After - November
Week 208 - Victory
This project could not have ended in a more perfect way (she writes while sipping champagne): Donald J. Trump was defeated shortly before noon on Saturday, the cutoff time each week, and so I was able to gloriously write “THE END” at the end of Week 208 — something I have been waiting to do for four long years.
This week, the U.S. held its election, and it was different than any other due to the pandemic and the resulting record early vote. It took days for the race to be called for Biden, as early votes were counted. Nonetheless, as he telegraphed he would do in the weeks and months leading up to November 3rd, Trump tried to steal the election, declaring victory at a hastily assembled news conference at 2 a.m. on election night.
As you read this week’s list, you can see the intent: dismantle the U.S. Postal Service so mail-in ballots mostly availed of by Democrats don’t arrive in time; have GOP state legislatures disallow early vote counting so Trump can claim a lead and declare victory on election night; and stack the courts so the judicial branch will determine the outcome. Thankfully, the American people voted in numbers too great for these plans to work, with a record 75 million Americans voting for the winning candidate, Joe Biden (with votes still to be counted).
As we leave the final weekly list, we enter the most dangerous phase of the pandemic so far. The week starts with Drs. Anthony Fauci and Deborah Birx taking the unusual step of warning us publicly, ahead of the election, of the dire state of things. By week’s end the nation recorded daily record cases for three days in a row.
On an administrative note, I will continue to document broken norms until inauguration, although not in the weekly format of the past four years. They too will be recorded as part of our road map back to normalcy.
Week 207 - The Final Countdown
In the final full week heading into the election, the seeds of Trump’s bungled pandemic response came back to haunt him, with the twin challenges of record daily cases and hospitalizations in many states, along with the worst week for the stock market since March. Even as a new outbreak hit Vice President Mike Pence’s staffers, Trump’s chief of staff Mark Meadows all but conceded the regime had thrown the white flag on any federal response, saying, “We are not going to control the pandemic.”
Trump barn-stormed battleground states, all of which were facing surges in cases, and continued to hold rallies with supporters packed together without face masks. Unthinkable. Polling showed nearly 6 in 10 Americans disapproved of Trump’s rallies, and evidence continued to come out that the rallies were leading to sickness and death.
This week Amy Coney Barrett was confirmed as a Supreme Court justice, for the first time in 151 years without a single vote from the minority party, heading into a highly litigious election with Republicans and the Trump campaign bringing hundreds of lawsuits in an effort to suppress voting. Nevertheless, a record 90 million Americans had voted by the end of the week, two-thirds of the total 2016 vote, as the country braced for violence on Election Day.
Read the full list here: https://theweeklylist.org/weekly-list/week-207/
Week 206 - Record-Setting Week
This week, with Election Day nearing, the coronavirus raged out of control, with a record number of new daily cases on Thursday, and then again Friday, topping 83,000. Hospitalizations also soared in many states, and the death toll started to rise. Trump meanwhile continued to hold campaign rallies in battleground states, almost all of which were in the midst of surging cases. His supporters stood packed together, shoulder-to-shoulder, and mostly without face masks. It was unthinkable that a leader would do such a thing — but Trump proved once again his care is only for himself and his re-election, even though many of his supporters will end up getting sick and some will die.
Meanwhile, Americans voted in record number, by Thursday topping the early votes for all of 2016, and by week’s end, 56 million had voted, 40% of all who voted in 2016. Record turnout continued in multiple states, with registered Democrats far outpacing Republicans. Despite the huge turnout, Senate Republicans continued to push through Trump’s Supreme Court nominee — even as Democrats boycotted the Judiciary Committee vote — and while eschewing a Covid relief bill, as 8 million more Americans descended into poverty.
Trump spent the week all over place: attacking Dr. Anthony Fauci, then “60 Minutes” anchor Lesley Stahl, and gaining no ground as Americans voted and Election Day neared. News of foreign interference loomed large, as did acts of violence and intimidation from far-right groups.
Read the full list here: https://theweeklylist.org/weekly-list/week-206/
Week 205 - Early Voting
This week, despite millions of Americans having voted already, Senate Republicans started the process of confirming Trump’s nominee for the Supreme Court. With Republicans in control of the Senate, there was little Democrats could do to address the hypocrisy and outrage over Trump’s actions, other than show up to vote, which they did in record numbers.
Behind in the polls, Trump got out on the campaign trail, claiming he was no longer contagious and holding daily rallies in states, many of which were experiencing coronavirus outbreaks. As the virus surged nationally, there was no federal government response, and in fact Trump seemed increasingly to lean on Dr. Scott Atlas, who continued to push the notion of herd immunity. Trump also made increasingly desperate statements at his rallies, indicating he did understand the gravity of Election Day approaching and Biden’s lead.
State officials braced for violence on Election Day, as Trump continued to give credence to the QAnon conspiracy theory, and encouraged an “army” of supporters to sign up as poll watchers. Meanwhile, Attorney General Bill Barr remained conspicuously absent from the public eye, as the “unmasking” probe quietly and unceremoniously ended, and he had yet to comment on the alleged plot against Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer. Trump allies Rudy Giuliani and Stephen Bannon introduced a supposed hard drive belonging to Hunter Biden in a “smoking gun” story at the New York Post, that was soon under investigation by the F.B.I. as a possible Russian intelligence operation.
Read the full list here: https://theweeklylist.org/weekly-list/week-205/
Week 204 - Altered State
This week the public was given little information about Trump’s health and recovery from the coronavirus, including basic questions like when he last tested negative or his medical status. Even by Trump’s standards, this week he acted extraordinarily crazed and erratic — both in his actions and his words. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi questioned if Trump was in “an altered state,” as it was unclear if a steroid he was taking as treatment, which can result in mild to moderate psychiatric side effects, was to blame.
Despite being hospitalized for Covid-19, Trump did not change his approach to the pandemic, like caring about the wellness of those around him, or adhering to safety guidelines. As he plummeted further in the polls, and there was talk of a landslide, he returned to the White House, then the Oval Office, and was eager to get back on the campaign trail, despite likely being contagious. It was remarkable.
Later in the week, Trump made a series of long appearances on Fox and other conservative media, coughing and sounding unhinged, and repeatedly calling on the Justice Department to indict his political enemies. After Michigan law enforcement and the FBI announced arrests in an alleged plot by domestic terrorists to kidnap Gov. Gretchen Whitmer and orchestrate a coup of sorts, Trump, whose words had incited their actions, fanned the flames further by seeming to side with the 13 suspects, some who had links to the national “boogaloo” anti-government movement, and criticizing Whitmer.
Read the full list here: https://theweeklylist.org/weekly-list/week-204/
Week 203 - Super-Spreader
On Thursday of this week, around 5 p.m., I tweeted that this week was unusually quiet in terms of the chaos, and was on pace for the fewest broken norms in 2020. I wrote that I was not sure what to attribute it to, but “We might be heading toward the end.” Hours later, Bloomberg News reporter Jennifer Jacobs broke the news that Hope Hicks had tested positive for coronavirus, which led to a cascade of disclosures. Shortly after midnight that evening, Trump announced on Twitter that both he and First Lady Melania were also positive.
The original plotline seemed to set Hicks up to be the patsy, but within the next 24 hours, it became clear that most top Republicans contracted the virus at a White House reception for the announcement of Trump’s nominee for the Supreme Court, Amy Coney Barrett, held Saturday, even before Ruth Bader Ginsburg was buried.
Ahead of these disclosures, this week was the first presidential debate, which many pundits pegged as the worst in modern history. Trump was an unhinged, raging, maniacal mess, who delivered no campaign message but anger. One startling takeaway was Trump’s refusal to condemn white supremacists. Again. In fact, he ordered far-right hate group the Proud Boys to “stand back and stand by.” He also spewed a series of lies about election fraud, and continued to undermine the validity of the upcoming election. The Times noted in a front page story that the country has successfully held presidential elections since 1788, but “now faces the gravest challenge in its history to the way it chooses a leader and peacefully transfers power.”
As the week came to an end, Trump was admitted to Walter Reed Medical Center. As has been the case in all his years in office, there was no clear communication or truth about his condition. The American people sat on edge with Election Day one month away, unsure about his condition, and even when he tested positive for the virus.
Read the full list here: https://theweeklylist.org/weekly-list/week-203/
Week 202 - Peaceful Transition of Power
This week Trump said he would not accept a peaceful transition of power — a remarkable, unprecedented statement. While there was pushback in the form of the Senate voting for a resolution affirming its commitment to a peaceful transition — without mentioning Trump by name or condemning his statement — Trump persisted with his lies about mail-in ballot voter fraud, and refused to back down.
While polls show Biden winning nationally and in battleground states won by Trump in 2016, Trump’s threat, accompanied by an article in The Atlantic saying Trump might try a coup if he loses, left the country on edge — especially with Trump moving forward to appoint a Supreme Court nominee, stacking the court 6–3 ahead of legal challenges. Even Pentagon leaders were reported to be discussing what they would do if Trump tried to use troops on protestors. Yet, while Trump continued to sow doubt about the election, voters requested mail-in ballots in record numbers. States that revealed voting requests data by party identification showed a huge margin of Democrats requesting and sending back their ballots over Republicans.
This week, the U.S. passed the grim milestone of 200,000 dead and over 7,000,000 infected with the coronavirus. By week’s end, the virus was coming back into the spotlight, not only amid rising concerns about the politicization of a possible vaccine and federal health agencies, but also with a new surge in daily cases.
Read the full list here: https://theweeklylist.org/weekly-list/week-202/
Week 201 - May Her Memory Be a Blessing
It’s hard to express the sense of loss this year has brought to the our country: already we’ve endured three years of division, broken norms, lawlessness, kleptocracy, bigotry and hate, gaslighting and non-stop lies — leaving our country anxious and exhausted entering 2020.
This year has brought illness, unemployment, starvation, death, wildfires, hurricanes, social unrest, and now the loss of a revered and beloved Supreme Court justice, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, 46 days before the election. It’s hard to put into words the cumulative stress, sorrow, and anger our country is experiencing. Now, as Trump continues to lie and sow doubt about the integrity of the election, we face the unthinkable of a Supreme Court stacked in his favor possibly deciding the outcome of a contested election.
On top of that, this week brought more questions about Trump’s handling of the deadly pandemic as we approach an unthinkable 200,000 deaths. Bob Woodward’s book, combined with a town hall appearance by Trump this week, raised serious questions about Trump’s mental health and attachment to reality. Woodward concluded there is a nervous breakdown of the executive branch and Trump “is the wrong man for the job.” As the country starts voting this week in record numbers, America stands on edge.
Read the full list here: https://theweeklylist.org/weekly-list/week-201/
Week 200 - West on Fire
Things are getting worse in America, week by week. This week, as the West Coast saw wildfires spread, with much of California, Oregon, and Washington covered in smoke so thick the sun couldn’t break through and the sky was a hazy gray or shade of yellow and orange, Trump ignored it. Just as he skipped a commemorative ceremony in lower Manhattan for the anniversary of 9/11 — as if the blue states were not his responsibility — repeating a theme from the start in office: leader of his supporters, not the country.
This week Trump was engulfed in a second major scandal, as journalist Bob Woodward released tapes of conversations he had with Trump on a variety of topics, including Trump admitting he knew in early February that Covid-19 posed a dire risk — a fact he hid and lied about for months. One historian described it as “the greatest dereliction of duty” in presidential history.
This week reporting revealed the Trump regime’s embrace of tactics more familiar to an authoritarian regime than a democracy. Department of Health and Human Services officials sought to hide information and alter reports on the extent of the Covid-19 outbreak, while a whistleblower complaint portrayed Department of Homeland Security officials hiding intelligence on Russian interference, and altering reports to blame left-leaning groups for violence. There was more shocking news about the Justice Department intervening in a case for Trump on a personal matter, while a top deputy of John Durham resigned from his investigation of the investigators, citing pressure from Attorney General William Barr to finalize a report before the election. The Treasury Department sanctioned Andrii Derkach, described as an active Russian agent, who had been a source of information for both Rudy Giuliani and Senate Chairs Ron Johnson and Chuck Grassley in their investigations of Democratic nominee Joe Biden.
America is a country at war with itself, with Trump stoking division as a campaign strategy. The apocalyptic skies of the West seemed to capture the dystopian feel of an exhausted, anxious, fearful, downtrodden America. Having failed to truly tame the coronavirus over the summer with no federal strategy and Trump refusing to even encourage face masks, the country now heads into fall and winter, with dire predictions on illness and death.
Read the full list here: https://theweeklylist.org/weekly-list/week-200/
Week 199 - Vote Twice
This week, with no discernible post-convention bounce and the election two months away, Trump was frenzied. He started the week with a storm of tweets, and then embarked on espousing a series of bizarre conspiracy theories that made him appear mentally unfit to lead, some of which were then backed in part by Attorney General William Barr — our country’s chief law enforcement, who openly lied and obfuscated in a television interview.
While continuing to attack the integrity of the election, Trump encouraged his supporters, at campaign rallies in two swing states and on Twitter, to vote twice, an illegal act. Notably, reporting this week indicated the attack lines used by his campaign, including disparaging the integrity of mail-in voting, nearly mirrored those of Russian intelligence. The entire week felt not only chaotic, but almost surreal given the bizarre conspiracies, lies, and calls for both violence and illegal acts Trump openly floated.
The week closed with blockbuster reporting by the Atlantic on Trump’s disparaging of members of the U.S. military, calling them “losers” and “suckers” for the ultimate sacrifice. A story Trump denied, but was confirmed by the Post, the AP and even Fox News. The story shook the nation, and Trump could not shake its impact on his image as a pro-military strong man as the week came to a close.
In between, this was the longest week so far, by far. There are so many stories that needed focus, and got very little or none. They are recorded here for posterity and to be undone when this nightmare of an era is over. Notably also in the midst of the gravest public health crisis in a century, Trump has managed to undermine the trust in all our public health agencies, as we near 200,000 Americans dead, with projections showing more than double that could die by year-end in the pandemic.
Read the full list here: https://theweeklylist.org/weekly-list/week-199/
Week 198 - Republican Nepotism Convention
This week, the Republican Party held its convention — which was likened to a Trump convention — a four-day span of shattered norms, and possibly multiple violations of the law. Gone were names familiar to the Grand Old Party, replaced by Trump loyalists and his family members. Republicans, for the first time 1856, didn’t even produce a platform! Instead, the convention was akin to a reality television show, starring Trump every night, full of lies, misinformation, and an alternative reality in which the pandemic was over.
As the election approaches, the Trump regime continues to be increasingly brazen and lawless. This week, the regime threatened a Post reporter by telling him they were building a dossier on him and others, mail continued to pile-up as Trump’s Postmaster General continued to obfuscate, and by week’s end, the director of the Office of the Director of National Intelligence said his agency would no longer brief Congress in person on foreign interference.
Jacob Blake, a Black man, was shot seven times in the back by police in Kenosha, Wisconsin, setting off protests, and later killings by an armed militia member who came from out of state. Disturbing videos from Kenosha, as well as Portland, Oregon, seemed to show police officers in cahoots with far-right hate groups and armed militants. Major league teams protested Blake’s shooting and systemic racism by canceling games, while Trump stoked division and hate.
Read the full list here: https://theweeklylist.org/weekly-list/week-198/
Week 197 - Bannon Charged
This was the longest weekly list, and it was simply exhausting. The Democrats held a very successful first virtual Democratic National Convention, while Trump spent the week advancing lies and conspiracy theories about voting to undermine the election. Polls continue to show he will lose by a wide margin.
In a break from tradition, both former First Lady Michelle and President Barack Obama gave historic speeches, focused on warning the American people that Trump is a danger to our democracy, and is not capable of doing the job. The emotional speeches were a call to action, from the former first family who had largely has given Trump a chance to grow into the position. Barack in particular portrayed Trump as a grave threat. Meanwhile, nominee Joe Biden gave what was widely heralded as the best speech of his career, in a moving, emotional, optimistic speech of unity, promising light, hope, and competence.
This week, the U.S. Postal Service was front and center, as Postmaster General Louis DeJoy faced public outcry for the slowing mail, and Congressional hearings got underway. Trump tried to gaslight, suggesting the slowing mail was, ironically, a conspiracy theory by Democrats. This week a nearly 1,000 page shocking Senate Intelligence Committee report was released, revealing a deep connection between the Trump campaign and Russia during the 2016 presidential election.
Trump largely abandoned his so-called daily coronavirus briefings, instead holding campaign rallies and some Q&A sessions with the media. Dr. Deborah Birx has largely disappeared from the public, as Trump switched to a radiologist who frequently appeared on Fox News for advice and shares his point-of-view. College reopening, like K-12 openings the week before, got off to a rocky start, with outbreaks on several campuses — again a result of a patchwork strategy, with inadequate testing and few guidelines.
Read the full list here: https://theweeklylist.org/weekly-list/week-197/
Week 196 - Post Office Under Attack
This week, presumptive Democratic nominee Joe Biden chose his running mate, Sen. Kamala Harris, the first Black and Asian American vice presidential candidate. An oddly unprepared Trump campaign and Republican Party reacted with a deluge of sexist and racist attacks, including shameful accusations of “birtherism.” Trump also threw his support behind a House candidate who espouses the QAnon conspiracy theory and is openly racist, raising serious concerns again about the future of the Republican Party.
This week, as polls continued to show Trump down to Biden nationally and in key battleground states, and despite the pandemic continuing to impact much of the country, Trump openly said he would block needed funding for the U.S. Post Office in an effort to thwart mail-in voting for the November election. An incredible admission, but yet Republicans seemed largely unwilling to call him out, or band with Democrats to protect this basic tenet not only of American democracy, but of everyday life. As democracies around the world looked on in horror at a stolen election in Belarus, Americans were left to wonder if we were next — with Trump’s efforts to compromise the upcoming election.
This was another week full of stories of corruption, kleptocracy, and division, as an exhausted America, that couldn’t even agree on a scientifically proven measure like wearing masks, faced an uncertain election in 80 days. Even as tens of millions of Americans were still without a weekly unemployment payment, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell adjourned the Senate until mid-September, and Trump headed back to the golf course.
Read the full list here: https://theweeklylist.org/weekly-list/week-196/
Week 195 - Back to School
This week U.S. intelligence revealed Russia is actively interfering in the 2020 presidential election, with a goal of harming presumptive Democratic candidate Joe Biden. Democratic leaders pressed NCSC Director William Evanina to inform the American people, while Republicans, reminiscent of 2016, tried to obfuscate intelligence by publicly claiming it was unclear Russia was helping Trump, and using the whataboutism that other countries, China and Iran, were also interfering.
This week Trump continued to push for schools to reopen, falsely claiming on Fox News that children are “almost immune” — a clip of which was then pulled by Twitter and Facebook over it being false information on Covid-19. Schools that reopened however, had a shaky start with unclear guidance and patchwork approach. Trump also had another disastrous interview with Axios’s Jonathan Swan, revealing a lack of basic knowledge about the pandemic, and raising concerns about his mental acuity and competency.
This week with the virus spreading and Trump regurgitating the same disinformation, tens of millions of unemployed Americans were without an essential $600 weekly payment to help make ends meet. Trump left town for a long weekend at his Bedminster club, and Republican leaders also skipped town.
Read the full list here: https://theweeklylist.org/weekly-list/week-195/
Week 194 - Delay the Election?
This week, for the first time, Trump publicly floated the idea of delaying the November election, drawing swift condemnation from Democrats and a mild rebuke from Republican leadership. The co-founder of conservative Federalist Society said in an op-ed that Trump should be removed if he tries to follow through. Undeterred, Trump spent the week continuing to sow doubt about the results of the “rigged” and “most fraudulent” upcoming election. His U.S. Postal Service appointee meanwhile took steps to slow the flow of mail ahead of the expected surge of mail-in and absentee ballots in less than 100 days.
This week, the pace of coronavirus deaths started to increase as the U.S. passed another grim milestone of 150,000 deaths, and while Trump outwardly suggested that large areas of the country were “corona-free,” an internal White House document showed the exact opposite: a virus spreading to new states and out of control.
Portland was front and center this week, as Trump’s stormtroopers tear-gassed and shot non-lethal bullets in the faces of largely peaceful protestors. Trump continued to invoke decades-old racist tropes about suburbia in a failed effort to win over white suburban voters, especially women, who largely disapproved of his handling of the social unrest. By week’s end, Trump pulled out the troops, leaving the city to peaceful protests and calm. Attorney General William Barr finally testified in a cantankerous bad-and-forth with Congressional Democrats, filled with disinformation and gaslighting.
Read the full list here: https://theweeklylist.org/weekly-list/week-194/
Week 193 - Person. Woman. Man. Camera. TV.
This week, as the coronavirus raged out of control, passing 4 million U.S. cases and 145,000 deaths, Trump resurrected his daily coronavirus briefings — by himself, with no health officials. He also sought to divert attention to Portland, Oregon, where alarming images of unmarked federal law enforcement were seen shoving and tear-gassing growing crowds of Black Lives Matter protestors. Reporting indicated Trump has purposefully picked Portland to create imagery and video content of a culture war, which he continues to flame.
This week a series of stories came out about the corruption of the Trump regime, but in the chaos, got little attention. Reporting indicated Attorney General William Barr was behind Michael Cohen being sent back to prison, and Barr’s rationale for pushing out U.S. Attorney Geoffrey Berman was related to the Cohen investigation, and Barr potentially outed a F.B.I. source on Russia. The Department of Homeland Security was also under fire for admitting the agency had provided false information to justify Trump retaliating against New York.
Meanwhile, Trump was forced this week to retreat on several issues, as his poll numbers continued their plummet, and even some Republicans turned on him or refused to do his bidding. Trump abruptly canceled the Republican National Convention, amid his already imperiled re-election campaign.
Read the full list here: https://theweeklylist.org/weekly-list/week-193/
Week 192 - Secret Police
This week, as the coronavirus raged out of control in many states, Trump sought to discredit Dr. Anthony Fauci, with several members of the regime publicly attacking Fauci’s credibility. Reporting indicated Trump had lost interest in the pandemic, with an adviser telling the Post, Trump’s “not really working this anymore. He doesn’t want to be distracted by it” — as the country hit a daily record 77,000 new cases.
As Trump continued his fall in the polls, he fired his campaign manager, but stuck with his strategy of us vs. them: this week repeatedly invoking the white “suburbs” and stoking not-so-well disguised racist tropes of integration. He turned a Rose Garden speech meant to address deregulation into a bizarre, meandering, hour-long campaign speech — drawing ire from even Fox News.
In new tests of authoritarian boundaries, Trump sent federal law enforcement to Portland, Oregon — uninvited and unwelcome — to quell protests. In what House Speaker Nancy Pelosi described as “unidentified stormtroopers” and “Trump’s secret police,” law enforcement in unmarked cars were seen grabbing protestors off the streets and whisking them away. Trump also sought to hide the extent of the pandemic, by ordering hospitalization data to be sent to Washington rather than the CDC, and threatening to block funding for testing in the upcoming coronavirus relief bill.
Read the full list here: https://theweeklylist.org/weekly-list/week-192/
Week 191 - Daily Records
This week, the pandemic continued to worsen, with many states seeing new highs and the death toll starting to rise. By week’s end, the U.S. registered an unthinkable nearly 70,000 new daily coronavirus cases. Amid the surge, issues that plagued the April wave of cases in New York and elsewhere, like shortages of PPE and testing, reappeared, making it clear the federal government had done nothing to address or plan for a new surge. Trump continued to deny the severity of the virus, falsely claiming “99 percent of [cases] are totally harmless,” and then pushing for schools to reopen.
This week Trump lost a landmark case, with the Supreme Court ruling 7-2 that Trump cannot keep his tax returns and financial records from the Manhattan U.S. Attorney; however, the ruling would likely mean the public will not see the documents ahead of the election. Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman retired from the Army, citing bullying by Trump after he testified in the impeachment inquiry. Days later, Trump commuted Roger Stone’s sentence days before his former associate was set to serve 40 months in prison. Republican Sen. Mitt Romney called the commuting of Stone’s sentence “unprecedented, historic corruption,” but he was — as would be typical — the lone GOP voice to criticize Trump, as an exhausted, outraged country had dejectedly grown accustomed and normalized to such lawlessness from our budding authoritarian leader.
Read the full list here: https://theweeklylist.org/weekly-list/week-191/
Week 190 - Russian Bounties
This week the coronavirus spread further out of control, topping 50,000 daily cases for three consecutive days — more than 10,000 higher than the early peak in April. Trump continued to largely ignore the pandemic, refuse to wear a mask, and make the most trusted source of information, Dr. Anthony Fauci, less accessible, leading to confusion in the patchwork of state responses.
This week reporting indicated Trump knew as early as 2019 that Russia had put bounties on U.S. troops in Afghanistan, and several U.S. Marines were killed as a result. Trump pretended he had not been briefed, and after he officially was briefed Tuesday, continued to call the matter a “hoax” repeatedly, and took no steps to hold Russia accountable.
Trump continued to stoke an us vs. them divide in America, invoking a straw man “new far-left fascism” in a divisive, dystopian July Fourth speech at Mount Rushmore, claiming to be the savior of law enforcement and our “heritage.” Even as Trump continued to fall in the polls, and the mood of the nation continued to darken, Trump seemed unable to rise to the occasion, and do anything other than revert to racism and divisiveness — moving in the opposite direction of the country’s mood amid what the New York Times coined the broadest social movement in history. By week’s end, even Republican lawmakers worried Trump would forever associate their party with racial animus.
Read the full list here: https://theweeklylist.org/weekly-list/week-190/
Week 189 - Out of Control
This week started with a humiliating return to the campaign trail for Trump, as a mere 6,200 supporters showed up for his rally in Tulsa, after the campaign bragged more than one million had registered. Trump’s poll numbers continue to sag amid his mishandling of the pandemic and racial justice protests. Instead of rising to the challenge, Trump reverted to drumming up racism and division — resulting in even the conservative Wall Street Journal Editorial Board warning he was in danger of not only losing to Democrat Joe Biden, but also taking the Republican Senate down with him.
This week the coronavirus pandemic got out of control in several states that reopened without proper precautions. Trump ignored the record number of daily cases, repeatedly lying that the increase was due to an increase in testing. The White House Coronavirus Task Force returned after a two month hiatus, and Vice President Mike Pence likewise used it as an opportunity to lie to the American people that the curve was flattened and states were reopening safely. The Trump regime refused to take any leadership in testing or contact tracing, leaving states on their own, as the death toll passed 125,000 Americans in just four months’ time.
As the week came to a close, shocking reporting indicated that Russia had put a bounty on U.S. soldiers in Afghanistan, and that Trump had been informed months ago, yet took no action, raising renewed questions and concerns about his strange relationship with President Vladimir Putin.
Read the full list here: https://theweeklylist.org/weekly-list/week-189/
Week 188 - Tulsa
This week grave polling results revealed a downtrodden country feeling the impact of concurrent and intersecting crises, as national pride fell to its lowest level in two decades, while just 20% were satisfied with the direction of the country. Trump received poor marks for his handling of the coronavirus and for dividing the country amid social unrest.
The coronavirus was back with a vengeance this week, as several states experienced spikes and daily record highs, weeks after reopening and Memorial Day celebrations. Nonetheless, Trump denied the new surge, claiming the virus was “dying out” and it would “fade away.” Vice President Mike Pence also pivoted to get behind Trump as a denier, falsely claiming that cases “had declined precipitously” and blamed the media in an op-ed. Despite numerous warnings and pleas from Oklahoma officials to postpone, Trump planned what the campaign claimed would be a huge rally there for Saturday night — claiming as many as one million had registered to attend.
There was another Friday night firing this week, of U.S. attorney general for the SDNY Geoffrey Berman, who initially resisted late Friday and said he would not leave, leading to a standoff as the week came to an end. Berman’s SDNY has several investigations relating to people in Trump’s orbit, and there was much speculation about the abrupt departure of a Trump appointee. One explanation put forth was information gleaned from former NSA John Bolton’s book, which was released to the media, and pointed to Trump wanting to help out his dictator friends.
Read the full list here: https://theweeklylist.org/weekly-list/week-188/
Week 187 - Questionable
This week Trump seemed to fade into the background, unsure of how to respond to a triple set of crises that gripped the nation: continuing social unrest, a second wave of coronavirus, and the stock market plunging with the economy officially entering a recession.
Trump spent most of the week locked up in the White House, behind the layers of fencing he had constructed, which protestors in turn decorated with signs reading “Black Lives Matter,” “Fuck Trump,” “I Can’t Breathe,” and other such posters. Trump finally emerged on Thursday, heading to Dallas, but still without addressing the killing of George Floyd whose funeral was in Houston days earlier, or coming up with any policies or plans despite one of the most rapid shifts in opinion in our country’s history: support for Black Lives Matter and the need for police reform.
The military continued to turn on Trump, as the nation’s top military officer, Gen. Mark Milley, publicly apologized for his role in Trump’s photo op at St. John’s. He and Defense Secretary Mark Esper were called out in a letter signed by more than 700 West Point alumni, as Trump delivered a commencement address there Saturday. More than 1,250 former Justice Department officials also called for an investigation of Attorney General William Barr for his role in gassing peaceful protestors.
Read the full list here: https://theweeklylist.org/weekly-list/week-187/
Week 186 - Coward-in-chief
This week, in a scene reminiscent of a crackdown in an authoritarian regime, U.S. troops stationed in our nation’s capital at Trump’s behest fired tear gas and rubber bullets on peaceful protestors to disperse them as Trump delivered a “law and order” speech from the White House Rose Garden. The sounds of protestors screaming and shots being fired could be heard in the background as Trump spoke tough talk, and threatened to send the U.S. military to cities to take control. Trump then awkwardly swaggered to St. John’s Church, with a few in his inner circle, and held up a Bible. It was a scene evoking a democracy in collapse —while the country and the world looked on in horror.
While Republicans largely remained silent and went along, top generals, some of whom formerly worked in the regime, spoke out about the violation of our Constitution, and Trump and the military troops he used, violating their oath. Democracies turned on Trump, while he embraced strongmen from Russia and Brazil, and by week’s end said he would pull troops out of Germany.
Trump spent most of the week cowering in the White House — having extended its perimeter with, ironically, walls of his own — and continued his tough talk, using term like “dominate” and referring to protestors as “terrorists.” As with his inability to show any empathy for 100,000 Americans dead from the coronavirus, Trump made no effort to acknowledge the social unrest with healing words or actions.
But the American people were not deterred. Protests continued, and by Wednesday, the 9th day, had turned mostly peaceful. Americans, who had been cooped up at home for months from the coronavirus took to the street in the broadest protest in U.S. history, spreading to more than 650 cities and towns, across all 50 states — and even in cities worldwide.
Read the full list here: https://theweeklylist.org/weekly-list/week-186/