This the first in a series. It is to be read before the midterms. Commit to vote here.
– Sexual Misconduct & Harassment
– White Supremacy
– Public Statements / Tweets
– Collusion with Russia & Obstruction of Justice
– Trump Staff /Administration
– Trump Family Business Dealings
BEFORE JANUARY 2017
- – February 10, 2011 – In 2011, Donald Trump stoked false claims that Barack Obama had lied about his education. During a speech to the Conservative Political Action Conference, Trump said, “Our current president came out of nowhere. Came out of nowhere. In fact, I’ll go a step further: The people that went to school with him, they never saw him, they don’t know who he is. It’s crazy.” This is false. Numerous accounts from Obama’s college classmates refute Trump’s claim, including Obama’s Columbia roommate, Phil Doerner.
- – March 30, 2011 – Donald Trump was a vocal proponent of the “birther” myth, claiming Barack Obama was not born in the United States. In 2011, Trump told Bill O’Reilly, “If you are going to be president of the United States you have to be born in this country. And there is a doubt as to whether or not he was… He doesn’t have a birth certificate. He may have one, but there’s something on that, maybe religion, maybe it says he is a Muslim. I don’t know. Maybe he doesn’t want that. Or he may not have one. But I will tell you this. If he wasn’t born in this country, it’s one of the great scams of all time.” In response to the “birther” conspiracy theory, the State of Hawaii released Barack Obama’s short- and long-form birth certificate.
- – August 6, 2012 – Over a year after the White House released Obama’s long-form birth certificate, Donald Trump again promoted the “birther” myth, tweeting, “An ‘extremely credible source’ has called my office and told me that @BarackObama’s birth certificate is a fraud.” President Trump has publicly attacked media outlets for citing anonymous sources, but has himself cited anonymous sources numerous times to support the claim that Barack Obama lied about his biography.
- – December 12, 2013 – Years after first stirring controversy about Barack Obama’s birthplace, Donald Trump implied a conspiracy surrounding the death of the Hawaiian State Official who had released Obama’s long-form birth certificate in 2011. Trump tweeted, “How amazing, the State Health Director who verified copies of Obama’s “birth certificate” died in plane crash today. All others lived.”
- – May 27, 2015 – Continuing to build on the debunked “birther” conspiracy, Donald Trump said Barack Obama could have claimed Kenya as his birthplace for special treatment from colleges. Trump said, “There are three things that could happen. And one of them did happen. He was perhaps born in Kenya. Very simple, OK? He was perhaps born in this country. But said he was born in Kenya because if you say you were born in Kenya, you got aid and you got into colleges. People were doing that. So perhaps he was born in this country, and that has a very big chance. Or, you know, who knows?"
- – June 16, 2015 – In his speech announcing his candidacy for President of the United States, Donald Trump said, “When Mexico sends its people, they’re not sending their best. They’re sending people that have lots of problems. They’re bringing drugs. They’re bringing crime. They’re rapists. And some, I assume, are good people.”
- – June 16, 2015 – In the same speech announcing his candidacy, Donald Trump said, “I will build a great wall—and nobody builds walls better than me, believe me—and I’ll build them very inexpensively. I will build a great, great wall on our southern border, and I will make Mexico pay for that wall. Mark my words.” Trump’s belief that Mexico should finance construction for the wall led Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto to cancel a meeting with Trump in June 2017, and again in February 2018. Peña Nieto has repeatedly said that Mexico will not fund the border wall.
- – July 18, 2015 – Donald Trump insulted the military service of Senator John McCain, a decorated Vietnam War veteran who endured torture and solitary confinement as a POW in Hanoi. Trump said in a speech at the Family Leadership Summit in Iowa, "He’s not a war hero. He was a war hero because he was captured. I like people who weren’t captured.” Trump’s comments drew boos from his audience in Iowa, as well as widespread condemnation from Republicans and Democrats alike. Donald Trump himself was exempted from military service after receiving four student deferments between 1964 and 1968, and a medical deferment for a “bone spur in his foot” after graduating from college.
- – August 7, 2015 – During the first Republican primary debate in 2015, Donald Trump clashed with moderator Megyn Kelly regarding his many controversial statements against women. In one exchange, Trump claimed his disparaging remarks about women were limited to comments about Rosie O’Donnell, to which Kelly responded, “Your Twitter account has several disparaging comments about women’s looks. You once told a contestant on Celebrity Apprentice it would be a pretty picture to see her on her knees. Does that sound to you like the temperament of a man we should elect as president?” The next day, Trump told a CNN interviewer that Kelly had been “off-base” in the way she treated him. “She gets out and she starts asking me all sorts of ridiculous questions,” Trump said. “You know, you could see there was blood coming out of her eyes, blood coming out of her wherever.”
- – August 19, 2015 – In August of 2015, just three months after Trump announced his candidacy for president, two of his supporters in Boston beat a homeless Latino man with a metal pipe, and then urinated on him. Asked by the arresting officer why they had done it, one of the attackers said, “Trump was right—all these illegals need to be deported.” During a press conference shortly thereafter, Trump said he hadn’t heard about the assault. “It would be a shame,” he told the crowd of reporters, before continuing, “I will say, the people that are following me are very passionate. They love this country and they want this country to be great again. They are passionate.”
- – July 30, 2016 – Donald Trump belittled Khizr and Ghazala Khan, the parents of a Muslim American soldier who had been killed while serving in the Army, for their speech at the Democratic National Convention. In his speech at the DNC, Khizr Khan had addressed Trump’s stringent anti-Muslim immigration policies, saying, “Have you even read the United States Constitution? I will gladly lend you my copy. In this document, look for the words liberty and equal protection of law.” In response to the speech, Trump suggested that Khan had “no right” to criticize him.
- – April, 2016 – Jill Harth accused Donald Trump of sexual assault. In a 1997 lawsuit, Harth stated in court documents that Trump harassed and groped her in 1993. She later dropped the suit but stood by her story.
- – May 5, 2016 – For the Mexican holiday of Cinco de Mayo, Donald Trump posted a photo of himself eating a taco bowl to Facebook and Twitter, captioned, “Happy #CincoDeMayo! The best taco bowls are made in Trump Tower Grill. I love Hispanics!”
- – May 31, 2016 – Donald Trump attacked Gonzalo Curiel, the federal judge who presided over the Trump University fraud case, saying that Curiel’s assignment to the case represented "an absolute conflict because the judge was “of Mexican heritage.” “I’m building a wall,” said Trump, “It’s an inherent conflict of interest.”
- – May 2016 – Temple Taggart, former Miss Utah in the 1997 Miss USA pageant, claimed Donald Trump sexually harassed her. Taggart said that Trump, on multiple occasions, had kissed her on the lips without her consent.
- – June, 2016 – Cassandra Searles, Miss Washington 2013, accused Donald Trump of sexual misconduct at the Miss USA pageant. Searles posted a photo of contestants with Trump on Facebook, saying, “One guy treated us like cattle,” and “proceeded to have us lined up so he could get a closer look at his property.”
- – October 7, 2016 – In the 2005 Access Hollywood tape, Donald Trump bragged to Billy Bush about grabbing women by their genitals without consent. In the video published by the Washington Post, Trump said, “I don’t even wait. And when you’re a star, they let you do it, you can do anything… grab them by the pussy.” Trump said his statements were “locker room banter” and apologized “if anyone was offended.” He later issued a further response to the tape’s release, saying, “I’ve never said I’m a perfect person.”
- – October 7, 2016 – Donald Trump reiterated his false claim that the young men known as the “Central Park Five” were guilty of sexually assaulting a jogger in 1989, despite DNA evidence that exonerated them.
- – October 11, 2016 – Tasha Dixon, a former Miss Universe contestant, accused Donald Trump of sexual misconduct. Dixon asserted that Trump walked into their changing room in 2001 while contestants were changing. On the Howard Stern Show in 2005, Trump said about the pageant, “I’ll go backstage before a show and everyone’s getting dressed and ready and everything else. And you know, no men are anywhere. And I’m allowed to go in because I’m the owner of the pageant. And therefore, I’m inspecting it. You know they’re standing there with no clothes. And you see these incredible looking women. And so I sort of get away with things like that.”
- – October 12, 2016 – Mariah Billado, a former Miss Teen USA contestant, claimed that Donald Trump behaved inappropriately during the pageant. Billado said that in 1997 Trump walked into the changing room when contestants were not fully clothed. She is one of four former Miss Teen U.S.A. contestants to tell the same story of Trump’s sexual misconduct.
- – October 12, 2016 – Rachel Crooks claimed Donald Trump sexually harassed her. Crooks said that when she met Trump for the first time in 2005 while working as a receptionist for a company in Trump Tower, Trump would not let go of her hand and inappropriately kissed her.
- – October 12, 2016 – Jessica Leeds alleged Donald Trump made inappropriate sexual advances towards her. Over 30 years ago Leeds sat next to Trump on a plane, where he lifted the armrest, grabbed her breasts, and put his hand up her skirt. She described him as an “octopus,” saying, “his hands were everywhere.”
- – October 12, 2016 – Mindy McGillivray accused Donald Trump of groping her. McGillivray alleged that Trump touched her without her consent while she was attending a concert at Mar-a-Lago in 2003.
- – October 12, 2016 – Jennifer Murphy, a former contestant on the television show “The Apprentice,” said that Donald Trump kissed her without her consent after a job interview in 2005. She claimed that he had made multiple inappropriate comments to her while she was on the show and when she met with him later about job opportunities.
- – October 12, 2016 – Natasha Stoynoff, a journalist, accused Donald Trump of sexual harassment. Stoynoff said that Trump insisted on giving her a tour of his Palm Beach estate while she was interviewing him and his wife, Melania. Trump pinned her to a wall and kissed her. Trump called her a “liar” and responded to Stoynoff’s story, saying, “Look at her… I don’t think so.”
- – October 13, 2016 – Lisa Boyne accused Donald Trump of sexual misbehavior. Boyne asserted that at a dinner in 1996, Trump and modeling agent John Casablancas paraded women in front of their table, looking under their skirts to determine whether each woman was wearing underwear.
- – October 14, 2016 – Kristin Anderson claimed Donald Trump groped her in the early 1990s. Anderson was at a club in Manhattan with friends when, she asserted, Trump reached into her skirt and touched her without consent, leaving her and her friends “very grossed out.”
- – October 14, 2016 – Samantha Holvey described Donald Trump’s sexual misconduct at the 2006 Miss USA pageant. While participating in the competition, Holvey noted that Trump inspected each contestant before the event. She noted, “He would step in front of each girl and look you over from head to toe like we were just meat, we were just sexual objects, that we were not people.”
- – October 14, 2016 – Summer Zervos, a former contestant on The Apprentice, accused Donald Trump of sexual assault. Zervos claimed that Trump assaulted her on several occasions, kissing and grabbing her, and during one business meeting, “began thrusting his genitals.”
- – October 15, 2016 – Cathy Heller accused Donald Trump of sexual misconduct. Heller said she was having Mother’s Day brunch in 1997 at Mar-a-Lago when Trump grabbed her, tried kissing her, and became angry when she twisted away.
- – October 21, 2016 – Karen Virginia accused Donald Trump of groping her. Virginia described how she’d seen Trump with a group of men at the U.S. Open in 1998, and overheard him say about her “Hey look at this one!” and “Look at those legs.” After his comments, Trump approached Virginia, grabbed her by the right arm, and touched her breast. The incident lingered with Virginia for years, and she came forward with her story alongside Gloria Allred: “I now understand that I was not to blame. Mr. Trump, perhaps you do not remember me or what you did to me so many years ago, but I can assure you that I remember you and what you did to me as though it was yesterday," she said. "Your random moment of sexual pleasure came at my expense and affected me greatly.”
- – October 22, 2016 – Jessica Drake, an adult film actor and director, accused Donald Trump of inappropriate sexual contact. Drake said that Trump grabbed and kissed her without her consent at a charity golf tournament in 2006, then made further unwanted advances by inviting her to his suite. After Drake repeatedly declined his invitations, Trump asked her, “What do you want? How much?”
- – October 27, 2016 – Ninni Laaksonen, a former Miss Finland, alleged that Donald Trump had sexually harassed her. Laaksonen described an incident in which Trump groped her from behind in 2006.
- – November 13, 2016 – Ivanka Trump accompanied her father on his presidential interview with 60 Minutes. Ivanka’s upscale jewelry brand used her father’s political appearance to promote a $10,800 bracelet she had worn during the broadcast.
- – November 18, 2016 – One week after Trump’s election, 100 foreign diplomats gathered at the Trump International Hotel in Washington, D.C. to drink champagne and tour the building. One diplomat told the Washington Post, “Why wouldn’t I stay at his hotel blocks from the White House, so I can tell the new president, ‘I love your new hotel!’ Isn’t it rude to come to his city and say, ‘I am staying at your competitor?’” This indicated a conflict of interest that could have violated the Emoluments Clause of the Constitution, which forbids government officials from accepting “any present, Emolument, Office, or Title, of any kind whatever, from any King, Prince, or foreign State.”
- – November 18, 2016 – Even though he said he would not settle the case, Donald Trump agreed to pay $25 million to settle his Trump University fraud lawsuits. The real estate seminar program was not an accredited university and used misleading marketing tactics to recruit students.
- – November 27, 2016 – Without citing evidence to support his claim, Donald Trump tweeted, “In addition to winning the Electoral College in a landslide, I won the popular vote if you deduct the millions of people who voted illegally”. This claim has been repeatedly debunked.
- – End of December 2016 – In December of 2016, Donald Trump’s senior adviser Jared Kushner, incoming national security adviser Michael Flynn, and Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak met at Trump Tower to establish a “line of connection.” The meeting occurred around the time that the Obama administration was placing sanctions on the Russian government for interfering in the 2016 election.
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- January 10, 2017 Robert F. Kennedy Jr. said Donald Trump approached him about leading an investigation into “Vaccine Safety.” The prospect that vaccination can lead to autism has been repeatedly debunked by long-running, peer-reviewed studies. Trump had supported the anti-vaccination theory on stage at the 2015 presidential debates. In September 2015 he publicly stated, “We had so many instances, people that work for me, just the other day, two years old, a beautiful child, went to have the vaccine and came back and a week later got a tremendous fever, got very, very sick, now is autistic.”
- – January 11, 2017 – Donald Trump’s lawyer Sheri Dillon stated that Trump would “voluntarily donate all profits from foreign government payments made to his hotel to the United States Treasury.” Two months into his presidency, no evidence existed that Trump had followed through with this promise. If Trump did accept payments from foreign states through his businesses, as his lawyer claimed, he may have been in violation of the Emoluments Clause of the U.S. Constitution. This clause forbids government officials from accepting “any present, Emolument, Office, or Title, of any kind whatever, from any King, Prince, or foreign State.”
- – January 11, 2016 – Donald Trump refused to divest from his real estate companies or place his assets in a blind trust, as encouraged by the U.S. Office of Government Ethics. The United States Government designates a “Qualified Blind Trust:” for executive branch employees as one where the trustee has no relation whatsoever to the government official. Contrary to this, President Trump opted to entrust business operations of his companies to his sons, Eric Trump and Donald Trump Jr. According to the Director of the U.S. Office of Government Ethics, Trump’s arrangement “doesn’t meet the standards that the best of his nominees are meeting and that every President in the past four decades has met.” By continuing to maintain a direct connection with his businesses, Trump may have violated the Emoluments Clause of the Constitution. This clause forbids government officials from accepting “any present, Emolument, Office, or Title, of any kind whatever, from any King, Prince, or foreign State.”
- – January 17, 2017 – After accusing him of sexual misconduct, Summer Zervos also filed a defamation lawsuit against Donald Trump. Zervos claimed Trump had tarnished her reputation when he issued false statements against her and others who had accused him of sexual harassment, calling them “liars” who were telling their stories for “ten minutes of fame.”
- – January 20, 2017 – During Inauguration Day, Melania Trump’s biography on the White House’s official website, whitehouse.gov, included a paragraph that promoted her jewelry line, “Melania™ Timepieces & Jewelry.”
- – January 20, 2017 – Before his election, Donald Trump had promised to entrust management of his companies to his children. But on the day Trump took office as president, state officials still had not received paperwork demonstrating that Trump had relinquished ownership in his companies. In order to transfer his ownership stake, Trump would have needed to file documents with state offices in Florida, Delaware, and New York—the states where his holdings reside. State officials from all three states confirmed with ProPublica that they had not received the necessary documentation when Trump took office.
- – January 20, 2017 – Within hours of his inauguration, Donald Trump took aim at the Affordable Care Act in his first executive order as president. Following up on his campaign’s recurring promise to dismantle Obamacare, the order weakened the program by allowing states to “waive, defer, grant exemptions from or delay implementation of any provision or requirement” that would place a “fiscal burden” on the state.
- – January 21, 2016 – In his first conference as White House press secretary, Sean Spicer stated emphatically that the gathering on the National Mall for Trump’s inaugural address, “was the largest audience to ever witness an inauguration, period.” Photo evidence of Barack Obama’s first inauguration and subsequent crowd analyses of Trump’s crowd proved this was untrue.
- – January 22, 2017 – Senior White House counselor Kellyanne Conway said that Sean Spicer’s false statements about the crowd size at Donald Trump’s inauguration were not lies, but “alternative facts.”
- – January 22, 2017 – Donald Trump refused to release his tax returns to the public, both during the campaign and after his election. He is the first president in over 40 years to withhold his financial information from the American public. Upon Trump’s election, senior counselor Kellyanne Conway explained his refusal, saying, “The White House response is that he’s not going to release his tax returns… we litigated this all through the election. People didn’t care. They voted for him.” Donald Trump and his administration have justified his decision to break with historic precedent and keep his financial information from public scrutiny by saying that Trump is under a “routine audit” from the Internal Revenue Service. Officials from the IRS have clarified that an audit does not restrict a citizen from revealing their tax information.
- January 23, 2017 – Three days after Donald Trump took office, the Trump Organization filed paperwork confirming Trump’s resignation from over 400 companies. This suggests that, for his first three days as President of the United States, Trump was also an executive in over 400 private companies. When he did eventually file paperwork to relinquish his ownership, he still did not follow the advice of ethics experts by divesting from his assets—meaning Trump had visibility on his private business interests.
- – January 24, 2017 – Donald Trump signed executive memos to advance construction of the Keystone XL and Dakota Access oil pipelines, both of which had been blocked by Barack Obama. The Dakota Access inspired fervent protests from Native Americans and environmentalists, who asserted the proposed pipeline would taint drinking water and threaten sacred worshipping grounds. Speaking to a crowd of auto industry executives, Trump explained his decision to greenlight both pipelines, saying, “I am, to a large extent, an environmentalist… But it’s out of control, and we’re going to make it a very short process. And we’re going to either give you your permits, or we’re not going to give you your permits. But you’re going to know very quickly. And generally speaking, we’re going to be giving you your permits.”
- – January 24, 2017 – Donald Trump barred all employees of the Environmental Protection Agency from posting on social media or speaking with reporters about their work.
- – January 25, 2017 – Following up on his campaign promise to crack down on immigration, Donald Trump signed an executive order to both bolster the United States deportation force and direct construction of a wall along the Mexican border. The executive order also expanded the definition of “priority for deportation” to include anyone charged with a criminal offense. Rather than requiring a conviction by a court, “priority for deportation” would henceforth apply to any “acts that constitute a chargeable offense”—including minor offenses such as traffic violations and shoplifting.
- – January 25, 2017 – After Donald Trump won the presidential election, his Palm Beach resort, Mar-a-Lago, doubled its initiation fee to $200,000.
- – January 25, 2017 – Donald Trump signed an executive order directing the Departments of Justice and Homeland Security to withhold “federal funds, except as mandated by law” from so-called “sanctuary cities.” Sanctuary cities are municipalities where local police will not necessarily contact federal deportation officials if they find an arrestee is undocumented. Because they prevent reflexive deportation, these areas are considered shields against deportation for established undocumented immigrants. After Trump’s executive order to restrict federal funding, some sanctuary cities protested the order, saying they would not comply with deportation forces. Of the 168 counties where a majority of America’s 11 million undocumented immigrants live, 69 of them (including Los Angeles, Chicago, and New York) said they would not comply federal requests to hold undocumented arrestees for ICE deportation forces.
- – January 26, 2017 In advance of a meeting with Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto, Donald Trump tweeted that, If Mexico is unwilling to pay for the badly needed wall, then it would be better to cancel the upcoming meeting. Peña Nieto canceled the meeting.
- – January 27, 2017 – At a private dinner, Donald Trump allegedly demanded loyalty from FBI Director James Comey. Comey claimed Trump said to him, “I need loyalty, I expect loyalty.” Comey had replied that he would always be honest with [Trump], but that he was not ‘reliable’ in the conventional political sense. Comey went on to explain why the Department of Justice and FBI should remain independent of each other. Director Comey was dismissed from office four months later.
- – January 27, 2017 – Donald Trump signed what would become known as the ”travel ban,” an executive order which imposed a 90-day ban on citizens from seven Muslim-majority countries from entering the United States, while also indefinitely halting incoming refugees from Syria. Trump’s travel ban still allowed travelers from other Muslim-majority countries where he held extensive business interests, such as Saudi Arabia and Turkey.
- – January 29, 2017 – Amid vehement backlash, Donald Trump aggressively defended his travel ban. Trump claimed that limiting immigration and refugees would protect the country from terrorists. He argued, “This is not about religion—this is about terror.” In the fifteen years since 9/11, jihadists have killed a total of 94 people on American soil; none of these jihadists came from the countries banned by Trump.
- – January 29, 2017 – Donald Trump ordered a raid in Yemen during which one Navy SEAL was killed, five American soldiers were wounded, and nearly 30 civilians died. The U.S. Central Command acknowledged that the civilian casualties “may include children.” A month later, U.S. officials announced the raid had yielded no new intelligence.
- – January 30, 2017 – Donald Trump fired acting Attorney General Sally Yates for refusing to defend the travel ban. In a repudiation of the president, Yates had instructed Justice Department lawyers not to defend the executive order from any legal challenges.
- – January 30, 2017 – Trump signed an executive order which instructed federal agencies to remove two regulations on private businesses for each new one added. The order also stipulated new rules should offset additional cost to businesses by eliminating regulations of equal or greater value to business bottom line.
- – January 31, 2017 – Almost a year after Antonin Scalia’s death left one seat vacant on the Supreme Court, Donald Trump nominated Colorado judge Neil Gorsuch to take Scalia’s place. Barack Obama had nominated Merrick Garland to the position in 2016, but Senate Republicans broke with historic precedent and refused to hold Garland’s confirmation hearings.
- – January 2017 – At least two foreign government-owned entities rented space in Trump Tower, including the Industrial and Commercial Bank of China and the Abu Dhabi Tourism and Culture Authority. Donald Trump has announced he would not sell his ownership stake in Trump Hotels, and has argued, through his lawyer Sheri Dillon, that they didn’t think “paying your hotel bill was an emolument”. The Emoluments Clause of the Constitution forbids government officials from accepting “any present, Emolument, Office, or Title, of any kind whatever, from any King, Prince, or foreign State.” A lawsuit brought against Trump for maintaining his ownership stake rebutted Dillon’s argument, saying, “As the Framers were aware, private financial interests can subtly sway even the most virtuous leaders, and entanglements between American officials and foreign powers could pose a creeping, insidious threat to the Republic.”
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- – February 1, 2017 In a rollback of an Obama-era protection, Donald Trump’s White House withdrew the Mercury Effluent Rule, which regulated the safe use and disposal of mercury in American dental offices. The Natural Resource Defense Council estimated the repeal would discharge five tons of the neurotoxic substance into water supplies each year. Even trace amounts of mercury can harm brain function and damage the human nervous system, particularly in pregnant women and infants.
- – February 1, 2017 – Trump and House Republicans rolled back an Obama-era regulation that required oil companies to provide purchasing information! when buying minerals from foreign governments. Concerned that oil companies would purchase oil from corrupt and violent foreign administrations, the SEC had originally said Obama’s regulation would “combat government corruption through transparency and accountability.” The repeal had long been on the oil lobby’s wish list, and will save oil industry giants about half a billion dollars per year in compliance costs.
- – February 2, 2017 – Donald Trump vowed to dismantle the Johnson Amendment, a law which restricted churches and other religious institutions from taking a public political stance while retaining tax-exempt status. When following through on his promised repeal proved legislatively difficult, Trump signed an executive order encouraging leniency on enforcement of the amendment.
- – February 3, 2017 – Federal Communications Commission Chairman Ajit Pai rolled back an agreement with nine internet service providers that had encouraged ISPs to provide affordable internet access to low-income communities. This reversed the decision of Pai’s Obama-era predecessor, Tom Wheeler, and will remove a $9.25 per month credit for low-income households to purchase internet service.
- – February 4, 2017 – Donald Trump posted a report to his Facebook page saying Kuwait would institute a travel ban on many Muslim-majority countries. The report was not truthful; Kuwait did no such thing. The Assistant Foreign Minister of Kuwait responded to Trump’s false Facebook post: “The State of Kuwait believes that granting of visa [sic] is a sovereign matter, and is not linked to terrorism or violence or nationality or faith.”
- – February 4, 2017 – Donald Trump questioned the legitimacy of the federal judge who had blocked his travel ban, calling Judge James Robart a “so-called judge” whose dissenting opinion had taken “law-enforcement away from our country.” Justice Robart had received a unanimous endorsement of “well-qualified” from the American Bar Association before his appointment to the bench by George W. Bush.
- – February 7, 2017 – The Republican-led House Administration Committee voted to eliminate the Elections Assistance Commission, which was the only federal agency charged with ensuring voting machines could not be hacked. Chairman of the committee Rep. Gregg Harper, R-Mississippi, stated the committee had “outlived” its usefulness to the nation. Only weeks prior to the EAC’s dissolution, Donald Trump claimed hacks of voting machines allowed 3 million of people to vote illegally in the 2016 election. No evidence exists to support this claim.
- – February 7, 2017 – In another rollback of Obama-era policies, the House voted to eliminate two regulations on American education: the Teacher-Preparation Rule, which ensured new teachers would enter classrooms fully qualified to teach; in addition to the School Accountability Act, which evaluated the quality of service American schools provided to their students and distributed funds accordingly. Civil rights advocates have explained that the latter rule was vital to providing education budget for low-income schools, and its removal could thereby harm funding for poorer areas of the country.
- – February 7, 2017 – Donald Trump stated the murder rate in America had reached a 47-year peak. This was not true. While there had been a slight increase in murders from 2014 to 2015, the murder rate for both years was still more than 40 percent lower than it had been 47 years ago. In 1970, there were nearly 8 murders per 100,000 people in America; in 2015, the latest year with full data collected by the FBI, that number had fallen to 4.9 murders per 100,000 people.
- – February 7, 2017 – Donald Trump told a sheriff in Rockwell County, Texas, to “destroy” the career of a state senator who had opposed civil asset forfeiture. This controversial law enforcement practice allows police officers to seize cash and assets they believe may be related to a crime, even if the property owners were never arrested or convicted of that crime.
- – February 7, 2017 – Vice President Mike Pence cast a tie-breaking vote to confirm Donald Trump’s appointment of Betsy DeVos as education secretary. At the time of her appointment to lead the Department of Education, DeVos had no government experience and no experience working in public schools.
- – February 8, 2017 – Despite extreme opposition, the Senate confirmed Jeff Sessions as attorney general. Throughout his career as a lawyer and Alabama Senator, Sessions had opposed assurances for the voting rights of minorities, favored heavy criminal punishments for low-level drug offenders, and routinely attacked civil rights.
- – February 8, 2017 – President Trump used Twitter to lash out at Nordstrom for its decision to stop carrying his daughter’s retail brand. He tweeted about the company, “My daughter Ivanka has been treated so unfairly.”
- February 9, 2017 – Donald Trump attacked Senator John McCain on Twitter. McCain had raised objections to the Yemen raid wherein one American soldier was killed and five others were wounded. Trump tweeted about McCain, “Only emboldens the enemy! He’s been losing so long he doesn’t know how to win anymore.” McCain was a prisoner of war in the Vietnam War, enduring torture and solitary confinement after his plane was shot down in North Vietnam.
- – February 9, 2017 – When meeting with senators, Donald Trump addressed Democrats by saying that “Pocahontas is now the face of your party.” The racial epithet referenced Elizabeth Warren, who has claimed Native American ancestry.
- – February 9, 2017 – Three times in one week, White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer referred to “recent terrorist attacks” in Atlanta which never actually happened. The City of Atlanta has not had a terrorist attack in 21 years, in 1997, when Christian extremist Eric Robert Rudolph bombed Centennial Olympic Park. After misspeaking for the third time, Sean Spicer acknowledged his mistake and explained that he meant to reference the nightclub attack in Orlando, Florida in June 2016.
- – February 9, 2017 – Senior White House counselor Kellyanne Conway promoted Ivanka Trump’s retail brand while speaking on television in her official capacity as an aide to President Trump. “Go buy Ivanka’s stuff is what I would tell you,” Conway said, on Fox and Friends, “I’m going to give a free commercial here. Go buy it today, everybody.” Sales for Ivanka’s brand skyrocketed that day, almost tripling after Conway’s appearance. Jason Chaffetz, the Republican Chairman of the House Oversight Committee, joined ranking Democrats in jointly issuing a letter to the Office of Government Ethics calling for a review of Conway’s comments. In response to inquiries on disciplinary action for Conway, Press Secretary Sean Spicer’s stated she had been “counseled” on her behavior.
- – February 9 , 2017 – Before a day of golf with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, Donald Trump tweeted that refugees were flooding in from the seven “suspect” countries his travel ban had outlawed, and that these refugees were “SO DANGEROUS.” In January, Fox News reported that no terrorist attacks had been perpetrated by refugees from countries on Trump’s list.
- – February 9, 2017 – Donald Trump knew about Michael Flynn’s contact with a Russian ambassador for weeks before Flynn’s resignation as a national security adviser. Reportedly, the Justice Department warned Trump about their concerns with Flynn on January 26, 2017; Michael Flynn’s forced resignation did not arrive until February 13, more than three weeks later.
- – February 11, 2017 – Donald Trump claimed without evidence that 3 million illegal votes went to Hillary Clinton in the 2016 election. Politifact and Snopes have both debunked the claim—with Snopes saying “the ‘3 million non-citizens’ may just as well have been plucked out of thin air.” The number appeared to originate from an InfoWars article which sought to explain why Donald Trump lost the popular vote by 2.9 million votes.
- – February 12, 2017 – In a televised interview with George Stephanopoulos, senior White House policy adviser Stephen Miller reaffirmed Donald Trump’s unsubstantiated suspicion of voter fraud in the presidential election. When challenged for evidence by Stephanopoulos, Miller replied, “This morning on this show is not the venue for me to lay out all the evidence. But I can tell you this, voter fraud is a serious problem in this country.” Miller never subsequently offered any evidence for his claim.
- – February 12, 2017 – In a tweet from their official account, the Department of Education misspelled the name of W.E.B. Du Bois. In a follow-up tweet apologizing for the error, the Department of Education misspelled the word “apologies.”
- – February 12, 2017 – In a tweet from their official account, the Department of Education misspelled the name of W.E.B. Du Bois. In a follow-up tweet apologizing for the error, the Department of Education misspelled the word “apologies.”
- - February 12, 2017 – In the wake of Donald Trump’s travel ban, some international travelers faced increased scrutiny at airports, and in some cases were asked to deliver digital information to Border Protection. Sidd Bikkannavar, a natural-born U.S. citizen and scientist at NASA, was detained at an airport in Texas upon his return from Chile and pressured into unlocking his cell phone for search. Haisam Elsharkawi, an American citizen and electronics salesman from Anaheim, California, surrendered his cell phone after persistent pressure from border control. He said in an interview that border control told him they would confiscate the phone if he did not comply. Elsharkawi said, “I opened the doors of hell when I asked for a lawyer. They just started attacking me verbally. ‘Why do you need a lawyer? Are you a criminal? What are you hiding?’”
- – February 12, 2017 – After receiving news that North Korea had fired a ballistic missile (the first during Donald Trump’s presidency), Trump and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe strategized during dinner in the main dining room at Trump’s Mar-a-Lago resort, in full view of other diners.
- – February 13, 2017 – Less than one month after Trump took office, Michael Flynn resigned as national security adviser. His resignation followed the public revelation that he had misled Vice President Mike Pence about his contact with Russians. Contrary to what Michael Flynn had told Pence, Flynn had discussed Russian sanctions in a December meeting with Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak.
- – February 14, 2017 – Kellyanne Conway told the press that Michael Flynn’s resignation had been voluntary. Just hours later, Sean Spicer said, “Whether or not he actually misled the vice president was the issue, and that was ultimately what led to the president asking for and accepting the resignation of General Flynn.”
- – February 14, 2017 – The day after Michael Flynn resigned, FBI Director James Comey reported Donald Trump requested a private meeting] [BP2] to “talk about Mike Flynn.” Trump told Comey that Flynn had misled Mike Pence about his conversations with Russian representatives, but that Flynn was “a good guy.” Trump said he hoped Comey could “let this go.”
- – February 14, 2017 – In the wake of Michael Flynn’s resignation for lying to senior officials and interacting with Russian representatives after the election, Donald Trump tweeted, “The real story here is why are there so many illegal leaks coming out of Washington? Will these leaks be happening as I deal with N.Korea etc?”
- – February 14, 2017 – The House Ways and Means Committee rejected a Democratic proposal requesting Donald Trump release his tax returns Under federal tax law, the chairman of the committee can request tax information from the treasury. Chairman of the committee, Republican Kevin Brady, declined to exercise that power in Trump’s case, citing invasion of taxpayers’ privacy rights.
- – February 15, 2017 – Vice President Mike Pence falsely stated that no member of the Trump campaign, including national security adviser Michael Flynn, had contact with Russian officials. Pence publicly defended Flynn’s phone calls to Russian Ambassador to the U.S. Sergey Kislyak, claiming Flynn did not discuss sanctions against Russia (Flynn later confessed to the FBI that he had). Pence did not realize that Flynn had misled him until two weeks after he made his public assertion, well after Donald Trump had become aware of Flynn’s Russian contacts.
- – February 16, 2017 – Donald Trump asked April Ryan, an African American reporter and White House correspondent, if she would arrange a meeting with the Congressional Black Caucus. After Ryan asked a question about Trump meeting with the Caucus, he said, “Do you want to set up the meeting? Are they friends of yours?”
- – February 16, 2017 – Staff at the United States Department of Agriculture were given a list of “blacklisted” terms which the agency would no longer use in their scientific research. The memo instructed scientists to replace “climate change” with “weather extremes,” and “reduce greenhouse gases” with “build soil organic matter, increase nutrient use efficiency.” Explaining the decision in an email, the Deputy Chief of Programs wrote, “It has become clear one of the previous administration’s priority is not consistent with that of the incoming administration. Namely, that priority is climate change. Please visit with your staff and make them aware of this shift in perspective within the executive branch.”
- – February 16, 2017 – Using the Congressional Review Act, Donald Trump repealed the so-called “stream protection rule,” which kept coal companies from dumping mining debris into rivers. Barack Obama first implemented the regulation after a growing body of evidence suggested the debris could contain toxic materials, such as selenium, mercury, and arsenic. Trump’s repeal has been on the wish list for the coal industry since the rule’s publication in December of 2016.
- – February 16, 2017 – In the first two months of 2017, Republican lawmakers scheduled only 88 town hall meetings with their constituents. In 2015, by comparison, Republicans held 222 town halls during the same two-month period.
- – February 17, 2017 – In what has become a regular attack on free press, Donald Trump tweeted, “The FAKE NEWS media (failing @nytimes, @NBCNews, @ABC, @CBS, @CNN) is not my enemy, it is the enemy of the American People!”
- – February 18, 2017 – The Department of Homeland Security drafted a proposal to mobilize the National Guard in an effort to arrest undocumented immigrants. While the DHS never implemented the proposal, and the White House denied it had existed in the first place (despite the 11-page memo leaking to the Associated Press), Washington lawmakers saw the draft as an indication that the Trump administration was willing to consider military force as a means of rounding up undocumented immigrants.
- – February 19, 2017 – The Trump administration asked the Council of Economic Advisers to predict a 3.5% surge in economic production over the next decade. Compared to the 1.8% projected by the Federal Reserve, this calculation could be dangerously optimistic. “The risk,” explained the president of the Committee Responsible for Federal Budget, “is that rosy economic scenarios allow us to borrow trillions of additional dollars in the next couple of years, doing real damage.”
- – February 20, 2017 – Donald Trump signed an executive order that instructed the Bureau of Land Management to lift a moratorium on new coal mining leases for federal land. A full 40 percent of the coal mined in America comes from federal property. In one such state-owned region, the Powder River Basin of Wyoming and Montana, private companies produced coal that accounts for 10 percent of all U.S. greenhouse gas emissions. The Obama administration introduced the original moratorium on new mining leases to curb the environmental consequences of coal. Without renewal, the current leases would have allowed mining to continue as is for another 20 years; now, with Trump’s decision to permit renewed leases, that timeframe may extend much further into the future.
- – February 22, 2017 – The Trump International Hotel in Washington D.C. received an estimated $40,000-$60,000 for hosting an event held by the Embassy of Kuwait. This violates the foreign emoluments clause of the Constitution, which forbids government officials from accepting “any present, Emolument, Office, or Title, of any kind whatever, from any King, Prince, or foreign State.” Trump never divested from his companies, and thus has continued to benefit from payments to the Trump Organization.
- – Feburary 22, 2017 – Donald Trump signed an executive order halting an Obama-era directive that allowed transgender students to use the school bathroom corresponding to their gender identity. Civil rights groups said the executive order would reinforce a culture of discrimination and could further endanger transgender students.
- – February 23, 2017 – Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced the Justice Department would renew its contracts with for-profit prisons. This reversed an Obama-era decision to phase out federal use of private correctional facilities. In decades past, privately-run facilities were used to address the U.S.’s overflowing public prisons, which saw the number of incarcerated people skyrocket 800 percent between 1980 and 2013. After Barack Obama introduced a series of significant prison reforms in 2013 (most significantly a directive to lower sentences for non-violent offenders), the Justice Department anticipated less demand for corporate-run prisons as the number of prisoners was expected to dwindle significantly. Because the Trump administration announced a new “crackdown” on crime, Attorney General Jeff Sessions said the Justice Department would need to renew contracts with the private institutions in order “to meet the future needs of the federal correctional system.”
- – February 24, 2017 – After Donald Trump’s speech at the Conservative Political Action Conference, where he declared certain media outlets to be “FAKE NEWS,” White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer temporarily barred the New York Times, CNN, and Politico from the daily White House press briefing. While reporters from these publications were not permitted into the briefing, the Trump administration allowed entrance for correspondents from Fox News and Breitbart News.
- – February 24, 2017 – After Donald Trump’s election, Republican lawmakers in 18 states proposed new legislation intended to curb mass protests. Among these were increased consequences for protests blocking roadways, new punishments for any demonstrators wearing a mask, and, in Arizona, a law which would allow the state to seize the assets of any person attending a protest which later turned violent.
- – February 25, 2017 – Donald Trump announced he would not attend the White House Correspondents’ Dinner. Without further explanation, Trump tweeted, “I will not be attending the White House Correspondents’ Association Dinner this year. Please wish everyone well and have a great evening!” The last president to skip the dinner was Ronald Reagan in 1981, who, at the time, had been recovering from an assassination attempt.
- – February 26, 2017 – The Trump Organization claimed it had made good on its promise to donate all profits earned from foreign governments to the U.S. Treasury. However, it provided no evidence of how much it donated or how that amount was calculated. Since his company has accepted payments from foreign governments (see numbers 41, 42, 63, 102, 135, 210, 277, 319), Donald Trump may have violated the Constitution’s Emoluments Clause, which prohibits any U.S. official from receiving gifts or compensation from another nation’s government. By all recent evidence, Trump has neither divested from his companies nor set up a blind trust for his assets.
- – February 27, 2017 – In his first budget proposal, Donald Trump boosted defense and security spending by $54 billion. He proposed slashing the budget for non-defense spending in areas like education, science, poverty programs, and environmental protection by almost the same amount.
- – February 27, 2017 – The Justice Department dropped its long-standing claim that a Texas voter I.D. law discriminated against black and Latino voters. The announcement ended a 6-year period of opposition against the I.D. law, indicating the DoJ’s new priorities under Attorney General Jeff Sessions and the Trump administration. Sessions has a history of favoring controversial views surrounding voter identity, once going so far as to say the Voting Rights Act—the landmark piece of federal legislation which protected equal voting rights for minority Americans—was “an intrusive act.” The new Texas voter I.D. law has long garnered criticism for imposing hurdles which disproportionately affect minority voters. In August of 2017, a federal judge granted a permanent injunction against the I.D. law, ruling that lawmakers had created it with discriminatory intent.
- – February 28, 2017 – To stop a long string of press leaks, Donald Trump approved a rule allowing White House senior staff to examine the cell phones of anyone working in the White House. According to Politico, senior staffers invited aides to an “emergency meeting” wherein the junior staffers had to relinquish all mobile devices for search. Press Secretary Sean Spicer led the charge on the operation, informing junior staffers that apps such as Signal and Confide—encrypted messaging apps—would violate the Presidential Records Act. Spicer warned staffers against speaking to the press about the “emergency meetings”; the story was almost immediately leaked to the press.
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NEXT: Atrocities 113-197.