Follow the Presidency: Feb. 2017

By Darrell Roberts

Welcome to the Follow the Presidency” series that will provide a month-by-month highlight of relevant events pertaining to the Trump administration. After all, knowledge is power. More importantly, the American society must never forget and certainly never normalize the behavior of the current regime.

Feb. 1, 2017: National Security Adviser Michael Flynn announces that Iran is “on notice” after their recent missile test.

Also on Feb. 1:  Details of Trump’s call with Mexican President Nieto is publicly leaked.    The transcript proves that Trump declared a possible invasion of Mexico to put an end to the problem with “bad hombres down there.”

Also on Feb. 1: Additionally, Trump’s call with Malcolm Turnbull, the Australian Prime Minister, is made public in which Trump declares, I have had it. I have been making these calls all day and this is the most unpleasant call all day. Putin was a pleasant call. This is ridiculous.”

Feb. 2, 2017: President Trump speaks at the National Prayer Breakfast.  Trump uses the time to call out Arnold Schwarzenegger for his Celebrity Apprentice ratings, saying, “And I want to just pray for Arnold, if we can, for those ratings, OK.”

Also on Feb. 2: Trump pledges to repeal the Johnson Amendment, that prohibits tax-exempt groups (to include religious organizations) to engage in politics.

Feb. 3, 2017: Trump signs two executive orders to review (and perhaps terminate) financial regulations covered under Dodd-Frank.

The first executive order calls for Dodd-Frank to be evaluated.

The second ends a federal rule that requires financial advisers to serve their clients best interest.

Also on Feb. 3: President Trump sanctions Iran for conducting a ballistic missile test.

Also on Feb. 3: Trump’s executive order on immigration (known as a travel ban) is temporarily blocked by a Senior federal judge in the Court for the Western District of Washingon.

Feb. 4, 2017: After having just assumed the Presidency, Trump travels to his Mar-A-Lago resort in Palm Beach, Florida for the weekend.

Also on Feb. 4: After the court’s temporary block of his travel ban, Trump tweets:

Feb. 5, 2017:  During an interview (video of the interview) with Bill O’Reilly (that aired during halftime of the Super Bowl):

O’Reilly asks, “Is there any validity to the criticism of you that you say things that you can’t back up factually, and as the President you say there are three million illegal aliens who voted and you don’t have the data to back that up, some people are going to say that it’s irresponsible for the President to say that.”

Trump answers, “Many people have come out and said I’m right. When you see illegals and people who aren’t citizens and they’re on the registration rolls … Look Bill, we can be babies, but you take a look at the registration you have illegals, you have dead people, you have this. It’s really a bad situation. It’s really bad.”

Later in the segment, O’Reilly points out “Putin’s a killer.”

Trump hastily counters, “There are a lot of killers. We’ve got a lot of killers. What do you think — our country’s so innocent. You think our country’s so innocent?”

Also on Feb. 5: A request to reinstate Trump’s travel ban is denied by the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals.

Feb. 7, 2017: Vice President Pence becomes the first VP (since 1945) to cast the tie-breaking 51-50 Senate vote.  Pence’s vote confirms Betsy DeVos as the Secretary of Education.

Also on Feb. 7: A bill is proposed in the Senate to ban Trump’s ability to lift sanctions against Russia.

Feb. 8, 2017: Mike Flynn publicly denies the discussion of Russian sanctions with the Russian ambassador.

Also on Feb. 8: Jeff Sessions is confirmed (by a 52-47 vote) as the new Attorney General.

Feb. 9, 2017: The President signs an executive order to change the Department of Justice line of succession.

Also on Feb. 9: Jared Kushner arranges a call between Trump and China’s President Jinping.  After the call, President Trump changes his previous position and continues the America’s “One China Policy.”

Also on Feb. 9: Mike Flynn claims not to remember if Russian sanctions were discussed with Ambassador Kislyak.

Feb. 10, 2017: Trump claims to have no knowledge of Flynn’s discussions on Russia sanctions with Kisylak.

Also on Feb. 10: Reports surface that confirms Flynn discussed Russian sanctions with Kislyak despite his denials.

Also on Feb. 10: Trump heads to Mar-A-Lago with Japanese Prime Minister Abe.

Also on Feb. 10: The infamous Russian “Fertilizer King” happens to visit Miami while President Trump is at his Mar-A-Lago resort.  Coincidentally, this same oligarch’s plane had previously shown up on at least two occasions at the same place as the Trump campaign.  Furthermore, this is the same Russia oligarch that substantially overpaid to purchase Trump’s Florida mansion.

Feb. 11, 2017: President Trump plays golf with Japanese Prime Minister Abe.

Also on Feb. 11: It is reported that Trump placed the press corp in a basement suite at his Jupiter golf course.  Oddly, the windows in the press corp basement suite were covered with black plastic–to ensure the President’s “privacy.”

Feb. 13, 2017: News breaks that acting Attorney General Sally Yates had warned the White House that Flynn had lied about his conversations with the Russian ambassador.  Yates explained that Flynn’s deceit exposed him as a likely target of Russian blackmail.

Also on Feb. 13:  After Flynn’s alleged conversations with Kisylak on Russian sanctions and the Yates warning become public, Flynn resigns from his National Security Advisor position.

Feb. 14, 2017: During the daily press briefing, Sean Spicer adamantly denies any contact between the Trump campaign and Russia had ever occurred.

Also on Feb. 14:The New York Times reports,  “Phone records and intercepted calls show that members of Donald J. Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign and other Trump associates had repeated contacts with senior Russian intelligence officials in the year before the election, according to four current and former American officials.

The news verifies previous claims (reported on November 10, 2016) by Sergei Ryabkov (deputy Russian foreign minister) that “there were contacts” during the campaign.  And as Mr. Ryabkov added, “Obviously, we know most of the people from his entourage.”  At the time, Hope Hicks (spokeswoman for President Trump) claimed, “This is not accurate.”

Also on Feb. 14: Jeff Sessions resists pressure to recuse himself from the Russia investigation.

Also on Feb. 14: According to a memo by James Comey, President Trump asks Comey to end the investigation into Flynn.  Comey documents the President as saying, “I hope you can let this go.”

Also on Feb. 14:Trump signs repeal of transparency rule for oil companies:

“The resolution repeals a Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) rule written under the 2010 Dodd-Frank financial reform law. It was meant to fight corruption in resource-rich countries by mandating that companies on United States stock exchanges disclose the royalties and other payments that oil, natural gas, coal and mineral companies make to governments.”

Feb. 15, 2017: Trump attacks through tweets:

Also on Feb. 15: The President holds a meeting/joint press conference with Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu.  During the press conference, Trump refuses to answer questions regarding links between Russia and his campaign.
Also on Feb. 15: A Trump plan to hire his billionaire friend (and loyalist) emerges.  Trump intends to have his friend ‘review’ the U.S. intelligence agencies. 

Also on Feb. 15: Trump’s Chief of Staff asks FBI Deputy Director McCabe to publicly ‘knock down’  the Trump/Russia reports.  The same request is also made to key lawmakers to include both the House and Senate Intelligence Committee chairmen.

Also on Feb. 15: Former Trump aid Carter Page denies meeting with Russians within the past year.
Also on Feb. 15: Comey documents having told Jeff Sessions to Don’t leave me alone with Trump.
Feb. 16, 2017: Trump holds a press conference in which calls the media “dishonest.”  Trump also says, “I can tell you, speaking for myself, I own nothing in Russia. I have no loans in Russia. I don’t have any deals in Russia. President Putin called me up very nicely to congratulate me on the win of the election.”  Trump goes on to add, “Russia is fake news. Russia — this is fake news put out by the media. The real news is the fact that people, probably from the Obama administration because they’re there, because we have our new people going in place, right now.”
Also on Feb. 16: Trump signs a bill to undo Obama approved mining rules to protect waterways from coal mining waste.
Feb. 17, 2017: The Senate asks more than a dozen agencies, a number of individuals, and the White House to preserve all Russian communications.  Longtime Trump adviser Roger Stone is among those asked to preserve their Russia-related records.
Also on Feb. 17: President Trump goes spends his third straight weekend at his Mar-A-Lago resort in Florida.
Also on Feb. 17: Six members of Trump’s White House staff are fired due to failing their background checks required for a security clearance.
Feb. 18, 2017: President Trump holds a rally in Florida.  During the rally, Trump defends himself and criticized the media.  However, many of Trump’s claims can be dubbed dubious (at best).
Feb. 19, 2017: Trump’s Chief of Staff Reince Priebus offers differing accounts of Flynn’s firing.
Feb. 22, 2017: Trump rescinds the Obama administrations policy on transgender students.
Feb. 23, 2017: Sean Spicer says, “I think that’s a question for the Department of Justice — I do believe that you’ll see greater enforcement of it [marijuana].”
Also on Feb. 23: Attorney General Sessions rescinds an Obama memo to phase out private federal prisons.

Feb. 24, 2017: President Trump speaks at the 2017 Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) in Maryland.  Notably, Trump suggests limiting the press’ usage of anonymous sources.  Once again, the President did not allow the truth to stand in the way of his claims.

Also on Feb. 24: The Daily Press briefing is uncharacteristically held off-camera.  Numerous news organizations are barred from covering the event, the excluded include–The New York Times, the BBC, CNN, Politico, The Huffington Post, The Los Angeles Times and BuzzFeed News.

Feb. 25, 2017: Trump announces by tweet:

Also on Feb. 25: President Trump, Florida Governor Rick Scott, Jared Kushner, and Ivanka Trump dine with Nigel Farage. Farage is known as a strong supporter of both Brexit and of Trump’s presidential campaign.
Feb. 27, 2017: Trump seeks a 10 percent (which is a $54 billion-dollar) budget increase for the military at the expense of cuts to other agencies to include the Environmental Protection Agency and the State Department.
Also on Feb. 27: President George W. Bush publicly criticizes Trump’s positions toward both the press and other issues to include religious freedom.
Feb. 28, 2017: By an 18-16 vote, the House GOP “killed a Democratic measure Tuesday to pressure the Trump administration to turn over documents detailing President Donald Trump’s ties to Russia, as well as conflicts of interest stemming from his business empire.”
Also on Feb. 28: A reluctant White House agrees to preserve Russia related documents as requested by the Senate Intelligence Committee.
Also on Feb. 28: Trump makes his debut Congressional speech (which is met with mixed reviews).
Also on Feb. 28: The President signs an executive order to authorize a review of the “Clean Water” rule.
Also of Feb. 28: Trump signs a bill that scraps the NICS Improvement Amendments Act of 2007.  The act was an attempt to close background check loopholes for those purchasing firearms.

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