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The Weekly List
34 minutes | 20 days ago
Returning to Normalcy - Nearing 100 Days
Host Amy Siskind discusses the vaccine rollout, improving economy, and the latest instances of police brutality.
24 minutes | 2 months ago
Returning to Normalcy - Violence Against Asian Americans
Host Amy Siskind talks about the wave of attacks against Asian Americans during the last year and the Biden administration's work toward coronavirus relief.
22 minutes | 2 months ago
Returning to Normalcy - Insurrection Debrief
Host Amy Siskind discuss additional facts about the attack on the Capitol that have come to light in the last few weeks.
28 minutes | 3 months ago
Repairing Our Democracy - Impeachment
Host Amy Siskind talks about Donald Trump's second impeachment trial.
27 minutes | 3 months ago
Repairing Our Democracy - The First Days
Host Amy Siskind talks about the shift to "normalcy" after the end of the Trump administration.
111 minutes | 3 months ago
After - January
January 2021 I am grateful, with all your input, to have continued this project through inauguration. Since I started tracking Donald Trump in November 2016, I have posited that he cared about two things: making money and staying in power; admittedly, events in this final list caught even me by surprise. The pace of broken norms had slowed considerably in our AFTER lists for November and December. My biggest concern over those two months was Michigan, and the potential for Republicans in that state to overturn the results in a county with majority Black voters — and therefore the implications for the future our democracy. It was close — too close — but in the end we passed the safe harbor deadline for every state, and I falsely assumed we would cruise through inauguration. As I complete this project on January 20 at noon, with Joe Biden assuming the presidency, along with our first Black and South Asian woman vice president, Kamala Harris, we are still learning of Trump’s schemes to overturn the election. The reporting will undoubtedly continue for months and years, as the truth finds its way to open light. History will record how close we came to teetering on the brink of becoming an authoritarian state. Trump propagated, starting months before the election, what historian Timothy Snyder described as the “big lie,” that our election was rigged and stolen, and he had actually won. Trump was aided and enabled throughout his time in office, but also in the big lie, by Republican lawmakers too cowardly and cloaked in self-interest to uphold their oath, and a far-right media ecosystem willing to spin his lies for ratings. As we finish this project, three-quarters of Republicans believe the big lie, and have “little or no confidence” that the election results reflected the will of the people. This legacy of Trump’s disinformation will be with us for years as we try to trace our way back to the truth. January was a shocking month. We learned that Trump had pressured and threatened state officials in Georgia to overturn election results. Days later, Trump supporters, emboldened into rioters by his big lie, stormed our nation’s Capitol. It was the first time our Capitol was under siege since the War of 1812, and the first time ever by American citizens. What ensued was a near massacre of our members of Congress and Vice President, which Trump joyfully watched unfold on television from the White House, refusing to call off the mob he had unleashed or call in troops to help over hours. Documentarian Ken Burns noted, “Our founders feared two things above all else, the mob and an autocrat,” and here we were. Our system of government held up, but barely, and as this project comes to an end, it is still doubtful that Senate Republicans — themselves mere minutes away from slaughter — will finally hold Trump accountable for the insurrection and sedition at the upcoming impeachment trial. Over four years of the endless stream of broken norms, their enabling Trump has not only desecrated our democracy, but also exposed the cracks in its armor for future wannabe autocrats. As we leave this project, Biden is inheriting three major crises — a surging pandemic, a struggling economy, and the threat of white supremacist violence. And on top of these crises, a battle for the truth. The steps we take in the coming years to restore the truth — there can only be one — will determine our ability to not only find common ground, but also to continue the American experiment with democracy and forming a more equitable union. Read the full list here: https://theweeklylist.org/weekly-list/after-january/
104 minutes | 4 months ago
After - December
In December, Trump continued to push lies and conspiracy theories about the election, not only failing to concede, but pushing efforts to overthrow the election results. During this month, Trump became increasingly isolated as even loyalists pushed back on his false allegations or resigned, leaving an inner circle composed almost entirely of his family members and conspiracy theorists. Trump continued to avoid the press and the American people, seeming to hide in the White House, other than a brief holiday trip to Mar-a-Lago. This month the Supreme Court, which Trump had viewed as loyalists who would act at his behest, rejected his election challenges. Other setbacks came on December 8 when the safe harbor deadline passed, and then on December 14 when the Electoral Colleges in each state cast their votes, and ratified Biden’s victory — a typically mundane process that goes unnoticed, which was for first time was broadcast live and closely watched. After the results were ratified, Senate Republican leadership recognized Biden as president-elect, while House leadership continued to demure. Trump raged against all those who refused to go along with his despot coup, while his supporters took to threatening election officials and other subjects of his ire. This month, a major Russian hacking — perhaps the most significant of modern times — of federal agencies and corporations was revealed. As has been a familiar pattern, Trump refused to acknowledge Russia’s involvement or condemn the attack, which some lawmakers likened to an act of war. December also marked the most deadly month of the worsening pandemic, which Trump almost completely ignored, along with any and all other presidential responsibilities. Although Trump had yet to admit defeat, he did grant several controversial pardons, including four figures that were subjects of the Mueller probe, as well as Jared Kushner’s father, and employees of a company run by loyalist Erik Prince who were found guilty of murdering Iraqi civilians. As the month came to a close, Trump continued to push for allies to overturn the election and hence America’s still young experiment in democracy. And tragically, many Republicans appeared all too happy to comply with his antics, despite the damage to our democracy and world standing, in order to benefit their own political futures. Read the full list here: https://theweeklylist.org/weekly-list/after-december/
97 minutes | 5 months ago
November - After
Summary of the continuing broken norms in the weeks after the election of Joe Biden as the 46th President of the United States.
65 minutes | 6 months ago
Week 208 - Victory
This project could not have ended in a more perfect way (she writes while sipping champagne): Donald J. Trump was defeated shortly before noon on Saturday, the cutoff time each week, and so I was able to gloriously write “THE END” at the end of Week 208 — something I have been waiting to do for four long years. This week, the U.S. held its election, and it was different than any other due to the pandemic and the resulting record early vote. It took days for the race to be called for Biden, as early votes were counted. Nonetheless, as he telegraphed he would do in the weeks and months leading up to November 3rd, Trump tried to steal the election, declaring victory at a hastily assembled news conference at 2 a.m. on election night. As you read this week’s list, you can see the intent: dismantle the U.S. Postal Service so mail-in ballots mostly availed of by Democrats don’t arrive in time; have GOP state legislatures disallow early vote counting so Trump can claim a lead and declare victory on election night; and stack the courts so the judicial branch will determine the outcome. Thankfully, the American people voted in numbers too great for these plans to work, with a record 75 million Americans voting for the winning candidate, Joe Biden (with votes still to be counted). As we leave the final weekly list, we enter the most dangerous phase of the pandemic so far. The week starts with Drs. Anthony Fauci and Deborah Birx taking the unusual step of warning us publicly, ahead of the election, of the dire state of things. By week’s end the nation recorded daily record cases for three days in a row. On an administrative note, I will continue to document broken norms until inauguration, although not in the weekly format of the past four years. They too will be recorded as part of our road map back to normalcy.
78 minutes | 6 months ago
Week 207 - The Final Countdown
In the final full week heading into the election, the seeds of Trump’s bungled pandemic response came back to haunt him, with the twin challenges of record daily cases and hospitalizations in many states, along with the worst week for the stock market since March. Even as a new outbreak hit Vice President Mike Pence’s staffers, Trump’s chief of staff Mark Meadows all but conceded the regime had thrown the white flag on any federal response, saying, “We are not going to control the pandemic.” Trump barn-stormed battleground states, all of which were facing surges in cases, and continued to hold rallies with supporters packed together without face masks. Unthinkable. Polling showed nearly 6 in 10 Americans disapproved of Trump’s rallies, and evidence continued to come out that the rallies were leading to sickness and death. This week Amy Coney Barrett was confirmed as a Supreme Court justice, for the first time in 151 years without a single vote from the minority party, heading into a highly litigious election with Republicans and the Trump campaign bringing hundreds of lawsuits in an effort to suppress voting. Nevertheless, a record 90 million Americans had voted by the end of the week, two-thirds of the total 2016 vote, as the country braced for violence on Election Day. Read the full list here: https://theweeklylist.org/weekly-list/week-207/
71 minutes | 6 months ago
Week 206 - Record-Setting Week
This week, with Election Day nearing, the coronavirus raged out of control, with a record number of new daily cases on Thursday, and then again Friday, topping 83,000. Hospitalizations also soared in many states, and the death toll started to rise. Trump meanwhile continued to hold campaign rallies in battleground states, almost all of which were in the midst of surging cases. His supporters stood packed together, shoulder-to-shoulder, and mostly without face masks. It was unthinkable that a leader would do such a thing — but Trump proved once again his care is only for himself and his re-election, even though many of his supporters will end up getting sick and some will die. Meanwhile, Americans voted in record number, by Thursday topping the early votes for all of 2016, and by week’s end, 56 million had voted, 40% of all who voted in 2016. Record turnout continued in multiple states, with registered Democrats far outpacing Republicans. Despite the huge turnout, Senate Republicans continued to push through Trump’s Supreme Court nominee — even as Democrats boycotted the Judiciary Committee vote — and while eschewing a Covid relief bill, as 8 million more Americans descended into poverty. Trump spent the week all over place: attacking Dr. Anthony Fauci, then “60 Minutes” anchor Lesley Stahl, and gaining no ground as Americans voted and Election Day neared. News of foreign interference loomed large, as did acts of violence and intimidation from far-right groups. Read the full list here: https://theweeklylist.org/weekly-list/week-206/
68 minutes | 7 months ago
Week 205 - Early Voting
This week, despite millions of Americans having voted already, Senate Republicans started the process of confirming Trump’s nominee for the Supreme Court. With Republicans in control of the Senate, there was little Democrats could do to address the hypocrisy and outrage over Trump’s actions, other than show up to vote, which they did in record numbers. Behind in the polls, Trump got out on the campaign trail, claiming he was no longer contagious and holding daily rallies in states, many of which were experiencing coronavirus outbreaks. As the virus surged nationally, there was no federal government response, and in fact Trump seemed increasingly to lean on Dr. Scott Atlas, who continued to push the notion of herd immunity. Trump also made increasingly desperate statements at his rallies, indicating he did understand the gravity of Election Day approaching and Biden’s lead. State officials braced for violence on Election Day, as Trump continued to give credence to the QAnon conspiracy theory, and encouraged an “army” of supporters to sign up as poll watchers. Meanwhile, Attorney General Bill Barr remained conspicuously absent from the public eye, as the “unmasking” probe quietly and unceremoniously ended, and he had yet to comment on the alleged plot against Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer. Trump allies Rudy Giuliani and Stephen Bannon introduced a supposed hard drive belonging to Hunter Biden in a “smoking gun” story at the New York Post, that was soon under investigation by the F.B.I. as a possible Russian intelligence operation. Read the full list here: https://theweeklylist.org/weekly-list/week-205/
78 minutes | 7 months ago
Week 204 - Altered State
This week the public was given little information about Trump’s health and recovery from the coronavirus, including basic questions like when he last tested negative or his medical status. Even by Trump’s standards, this week he acted extraordinarily crazed and erratic — both in his actions and his words. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi questioned if Trump was in “an altered state,” as it was unclear if a steroid he was taking as treatment, which can result in mild to moderate psychiatric side effects, was to blame. Despite being hospitalized for Covid-19, Trump did not change his approach to the pandemic, like caring about the wellness of those around him, or adhering to safety guidelines. As he plummeted further in the polls, and there was talk of a landslide, he returned to the White House, then the Oval Office, and was eager to get back on the campaign trail, despite likely being contagious. It was remarkable. Later in the week, Trump made a series of long appearances on Fox and other conservative media, coughing and sounding unhinged, and repeatedly calling on the Justice Department to indict his political enemies. After Michigan law enforcement and the FBI announced arrests in an alleged plot by domestic terrorists to kidnap Gov. Gretchen Whitmer and orchestrate a coup of sorts, Trump, whose words had incited their actions, fanned the flames further by seeming to side with the 13 suspects, some who had links to the national “boogaloo” anti-government movement, and criticizing Whitmer. Read the full list here: https://theweeklylist.org/weekly-list/week-204/
70 minutes | 7 months ago
Week 203 - Super-Spreader
On Thursday of this week, around 5 p.m., I tweeted that this week was unusually quiet in terms of the chaos, and was on pace for the fewest broken norms in 2020. I wrote that I was not sure what to attribute it to, but “We might be heading toward the end.” Hours later, Bloomberg News reporter Jennifer Jacobs broke the news that Hope Hicks had tested positive for coronavirus, which led to a cascade of disclosures. Shortly after midnight that evening, Trump announced on Twitter that both he and First Lady Melania were also positive. The original plotline seemed to set Hicks up to be the patsy, but within the next 24 hours, it became clear that most top Republicans contracted the virus at a White House reception for the announcement of Trump’s nominee for the Supreme Court, Amy Coney Barrett, held Saturday, even before Ruth Bader Ginsburg was buried. Ahead of these disclosures, this week was the first presidential debate, which many pundits pegged as the worst in modern history. Trump was an unhinged, raging, maniacal mess, who delivered no campaign message but anger. One startling takeaway was Trump’s refusal to condemn white supremacists. Again. In fact, he ordered far-right hate group the Proud Boys to “stand back and stand by.” He also spewed a series of lies about election fraud, and continued to undermine the validity of the upcoming election. The Times noted in a front page story that the country has successfully held presidential elections since 1788, but “now faces the gravest challenge in its history to the way it chooses a leader and peacefully transfers power.” As the week came to an end, Trump was admitted to Walter Reed Medical Center. As has been the case in all his years in office, there was no clear communication or truth about his condition. The American people sat on edge with Election Day one month away, unsure about his condition, and even when he tested positive for the virus. Read the full list here: https://theweeklylist.org/weekly-list/week-203/
66 minutes | 7 months ago
Week 202 - Peaceful Transition of Power
This week Trump said he would not accept a peaceful transition of power — a remarkable, unprecedented statement. While there was pushback in the form of the Senate voting for a resolution affirming its commitment to a peaceful transition — without mentioning Trump by name or condemning his statement — Trump persisted with his lies about mail-in ballot voter fraud, and refused to back down. While polls show Biden winning nationally and in battleground states won by Trump in 2016, Trump’s threat, accompanied by an article in The Atlantic saying Trump might try a coup if he loses, left the country on edge — especially with Trump moving forward to appoint a Supreme Court nominee, stacking the court 6–3 ahead of legal challenges. Even Pentagon leaders were reported to be discussing what they would do if Trump tried to use troops on protestors. Yet, while Trump continued to sow doubt about the election, voters requested mail-in ballots in record numbers. States that revealed voting requests data by party identification showed a huge margin of Democrats requesting and sending back their ballots over Republicans. This week, the U.S. passed the grim milestone of 200,000 dead and over 7,000,000 infected with the coronavirus. By week’s end, the virus was coming back into the spotlight, not only amid rising concerns about the politicization of a possible vaccine and federal health agencies, but also with a new surge in daily cases. Read the full list here: https://theweeklylist.org/weekly-list/week-202/
75 minutes | 8 months ago
Week 201 - May Her Memory Be a Blessing
It’s hard to express the sense of loss this year has brought to the our country: already we’ve endured three years of division, broken norms, lawlessness, kleptocracy, bigotry and hate, gaslighting and non-stop lies — leaving our country anxious and exhausted entering 2020. This year has brought illness, unemployment, starvation, death, wildfires, hurricanes, social unrest, and now the loss of a revered and beloved Supreme Court justice, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, 46 days before the election. It’s hard to put into words the cumulative stress, sorrow, and anger our country is experiencing. Now, as Trump continues to lie and sow doubt about the integrity of the election, we face the unthinkable of a Supreme Court stacked in his favor possibly deciding the outcome of a contested election. On top of that, this week brought more questions about Trump’s handling of the deadly pandemic as we approach an unthinkable 200,000 deaths. Bob Woodward’s book, combined with a town hall appearance by Trump this week, raised serious questions about Trump’s mental health and attachment to reality. Woodward concluded there is a nervous breakdown of the executive branch and Trump “is the wrong man for the job.” As the country starts voting this week in record numbers, America stands on edge. Read the full list here: https://theweeklylist.org/weekly-list/week-201/
93 minutes | 8 months ago
Week 200 - West on Fire
Things are getting worse in America, week by week. This week, as the West Coast saw wildfires spread, with much of California, Oregon, and Washington covered in smoke so thick the sun couldn’t break through and the sky was a hazy gray or shade of yellow and orange, Trump ignored it. Just as he skipped a commemorative ceremony in lower Manhattan for the anniversary of 9/11 — as if the blue states were not his responsibility — repeating a theme from the start in office: leader of his supporters, not the country. This week Trump was engulfed in a second major scandal, as journalist Bob Woodward released tapes of conversations he had with Trump on a variety of topics, including Trump admitting he knew in early February that Covid-19 posed a dire risk — a fact he hid and lied about for months. One historian described it as “the greatest dereliction of duty” in presidential history. This week reporting revealed the Trump regime’s embrace of tactics more familiar to an authoritarian regime than a democracy. Department of Health and Human Services officials sought to hide information and alter reports on the extent of the Covid-19 outbreak, while a whistleblower complaint portrayed Department of Homeland Security officials hiding intelligence on Russian interference, and altering reports to blame left-leaning groups for violence. There was more shocking news about the Justice Department intervening in a case for Trump on a personal matter, while a top deputy of John Durham resigned from his investigation of the investigators, citing pressure from Attorney General William Barr to finalize a report before the election. The Treasury Department sanctioned Andrii Derkach, described as an active Russian agent, who had been a source of information for both Rudy Giuliani and Senate Chairs Ron Johnson and Chuck Grassley in their investigations of Democratic nominee Joe Biden. America is a country at war with itself, with Trump stoking division as a campaign strategy. The apocalyptic skies of the West seemed to capture the dystopian feel of an exhausted, anxious, fearful, downtrodden America. Having failed to truly tame the coronavirus over the summer with no federal strategy and Trump refusing to even encourage face masks, the country now heads into fall and winter, with dire predictions on illness and death. Read the full list here: https://theweeklylist.org/weekly-list/week-200/
102 minutes | 8 months ago
Week 199 - Vote Twice
This week, with no discernible post-convention bounce and the election two months away, Trump was frenzied. He started the week with a storm of tweets, and then embarked on espousing a series of bizarre conspiracy theories that made him appear mentally unfit to lead, some of which were then backed in part by Attorney General William Barr — our country’s chief law enforcement, who openly lied and obfuscated in a television interview. While continuing to attack the integrity of the election, Trump encouraged his supporters, at campaign rallies in two swing states and on Twitter, to vote twice, an illegal act. Notably, reporting this week indicated the attack lines used by his campaign, including disparaging the integrity of mail-in voting, nearly mirrored those of Russian intelligence. The entire week felt not only chaotic, but almost surreal given the bizarre conspiracies, lies, and calls for both violence and illegal acts Trump openly floated. The week closed with blockbuster reporting by the Atlantic on Trump’s disparaging of members of the U.S. military, calling them “losers” and “suckers” for the ultimate sacrifice. A story Trump denied, but was confirmed by the Post, the AP and even Fox News. The story shook the nation, and Trump could not shake its impact on his image as a pro-military strong man as the week came to a close. In between, this was the longest week so far, by far. There are so many stories that needed focus, and got very little or none. They are recorded here for posterity and to be undone when this nightmare of an era is over. Notably also in the midst of the gravest public health crisis in a century, Trump has managed to undermine the trust in all our public health agencies, as we near 200,000 Americans dead, with projections showing more than double that could die by year-end in the pandemic. Read the full list here: https://theweeklylist.org/weekly-list/week-199/
81 minutes | 8 months ago
Week 198 - Republican Nepotism Convention
This week, the Republican Party held its convention — which was likened to a Trump convention — a four-day span of shattered norms, and possibly multiple violations of the law. Gone were names familiar to the Grand Old Party, replaced by Trump loyalists and his family members. Republicans, for the first time 1856, didn’t even produce a platform! Instead, the convention was akin to a reality television show, starring Trump every night, full of lies, misinformation, and an alternative reality in which the pandemic was over. As the election approaches, the Trump regime continues to be increasingly brazen and lawless. This week, the regime threatened a Post reporter by telling him they were building a dossier on him and others, mail continued to pile-up as Trump’s Postmaster General continued to obfuscate, and by week’s end, the director of the Office of the Director of National Intelligence said his agency would no longer brief Congress in person on foreign interference. Jacob Blake, a Black man, was shot seven times in the back by police in Kenosha, Wisconsin, setting off protests, and later killings by an armed militia member who came from out of state. Disturbing videos from Kenosha, as well as Portland, Oregon, seemed to show police officers in cahoots with far-right hate groups and armed militants. Major league teams protested Blake’s shooting and systemic racism by canceling games, while Trump stoked division and hate. Read the full list here: https://theweeklylist.org/weekly-list/week-198/
95 minutes | 9 months ago
Week 197 - Bannon Charged
This was the longest weekly list, and it was simply exhausting. The Democrats held a very successful first virtual Democratic National Convention, while Trump spent the week advancing lies and conspiracy theories about voting to undermine the election. Polls continue to show he will lose by a wide margin. In a break from tradition, both former First Lady Michelle and President Barack Obama gave historic speeches, focused on warning the American people that Trump is a danger to our democracy, and is not capable of doing the job. The emotional speeches were a call to action, from the former first family who had largely has given Trump a chance to grow into the position. Barack in particular portrayed Trump as a grave threat. Meanwhile, nominee Joe Biden gave what was widely heralded as the best speech of his career, in a moving, emotional, optimistic speech of unity, promising light, hope, and competence. This week, the U.S. Postal Service was front and center, as Postmaster General Louis DeJoy faced public outcry for the slowing mail, and Congressional hearings got underway. Trump tried to gaslight, suggesting the slowing mail was, ironically, a conspiracy theory by Democrats. This week a nearly 1,000 page shocking Senate Intelligence Committee report was released, revealing a deep connection between the Trump campaign and Russia during the 2016 presidential election. Trump largely abandoned his so-called daily coronavirus briefings, instead holding campaign rallies and some Q&A sessions with the media. Dr. Deborah Birx has largely disappeared from the public, as Trump switched to a radiologist who frequently appeared on Fox News for advice and shares his point-of-view. College reopening, like K-12 openings the week before, got off to a rocky start, with outbreaks on several campuses — again a result of a patchwork strategy, with inadequate testing and few guidelines. Read the full list here: https://theweeklylist.org/weekly-list/week-197/
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