Trumpocracy: Tracking the Creeping Authoritarianism of the 45th President

Conspiracy theories, attacks on the press, praise for tyrants, and other troubling moves by the Trump administration.

Timothy L. Hale/ZUMA

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. Check back regularly for updates, posted from the top down.


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!”

Trump also praises Rep. Devin Nunes—whose duplicitous memo aimed at giving Trump cover from the Russia investigation caused a political firestorm—a “Great American Hero.” 

– 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)

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) 

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.”

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.”

– Trump suggests that he deserves personal credit for a lack of deaths resulting from commercial aviation in 2017, apparently after learning of that stat while watching Fox News.

– 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)


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)

Bill O’Leary / The Washington Post

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.”

– 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:

  • vulnerable
  • entitlement
  • diversity
  • transgender
  • fetus
  • evidence-based
  • science-based

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.

– Trump continues days of rebuking a court decision in which an undocumented Mexican immigrant with a criminal history was found not guilty of murdering Kathryn Steinle in San Francisco. (Dec. 3) 

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)

Day 315: State Television in reverse: As Trump watches “Fox and Friends,” he mimics partisan talking points from the show, including to attack the New York Times.

– 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.

– On Twitter, Trump promotes a site called “MagaPill,” which pushes wild conspiracy theories popular with white nationalists and other far-right extremists. (Nov. 25)

Week 44: Trump’s latest string of personal attacks against African Americans (Nov. 18 – Nov. 24)

Day 309: Trump again attacks the NFL, after his social media director singles out another black player over peaceful political protest. (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)

Day 304:  Following criticism from the father of a UCLA basketball player detained in China, Trump retorts that he should’ve left the three young American citizens in the hands of the Chinese regime.

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.” 

– In a pair of earlier morning tweets, Trump fawns over favorable coverage of his Asia trip from Fox News and trashes CNN as “FAKE” and “loser!” (Nov. 15)

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)

Day 291: En route to South Korea, Trump endorsesleadership purge among Saudi Arabia’s authoritarian regime, applauding the “harsh” treatment of those arrested for alleged corruption.

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.

Trump also again points out the importance of his Twitter account—briefly tampered with the prior evening in a troubling security breach—echoing his past boasts about circumventing the news media.

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.”

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.
(Oct. 30)

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 TimesWashington 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 281: Trump personally attacks Tom Steyer, declaring the California billionaire “wacky & totally unhinged,” presumably in response to Steyer’s call for Trump to be impeached. (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.”

– On Twitter, Trump blasts Florida Rep. Frederica Wilson as “crazy” and falsely claims Wilson “secretly” listened in on his controversial condolence call with the widow of a US soldier KIA in Niger.

– 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)

Screen shot of Trump’s retweet; this account shared a Hillary Clinton “rape” meme on Oct. 18

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.”

– 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.”

– 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  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.

– 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)

Screen shot from White House video

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.

(APPLAUSE)

And yes, by the way — and yes, by the way, they are trying to take away our history and our heritage. You see that.

(BOOING)

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…

(APPLAUSE)

… 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.

– After Sen. Richard Blumenthal appears on CNN talking about the Russia investigation, Trump launches a sustained attack on him regarding Blumenthal’s military service during Vietnam.

– 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)

(For more on the Trump “real news” broadcasts—”How very Soviet,” scoffed one GOP conservative—see this withering takedown from CNN’s Jake Tapper.)

Week 28: Global democracy no longer important; Trump alternative “news” (July 29 – August 4)

Day 197:  Trump praises an “excellent” jobs report 15 minutes after its release, violating a federal rule. (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)

Lara Trump reports, you decide

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)

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)

The Energy Department’s deleted anti-Obamacare tweet

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)


WEEKS 1 – 26 —>

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