We need your help now

Support from readers like you keeps The Journal open.

You are visiting us because we have something you value. Independent, unbiased news that tells the truth. Advertising revenue goes some way to support our mission, but this year it has not been enough.

If you've seen value in our reporting, please contribute what you can, so we can continue to produce accurate and meaningful journalism. For everyone who needs it.

crisis mode

Donald Trump's worst week in Washington

It’s been a tough week for the US President.

Trump Coast Guard Trump speaks during a US Coast Guard graduation, Steven Senne / PA Images Steven Senne / PA Images / PA Images

FOR DONALD TRUMP, the week just passed was the most damaging of his presidency.

Each day, a fresh scandal appeared to engulf Trump’s administration at a speed not seen since he took office.

So let’s take five minutes to look at how it played out.


At the beginning of the week, the shockwaves from Trump’s decision to fire FBI Director James Comey were still being felt.

That decision by Trump had been described as ‘Nixonian’ and Trump’s hint that there may be ‘tapes’ of their meetings only heightened the Watergate comparisons.

So here’s what happened next.

Russia leaks

On Monday evening at 10pm Irish time the Washington Post published the following story.

The story outlined how Trump had passed on classified information to Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and Russian Ambassador to the US Sergey Kislyak during their meeting in the Oval Office.

The information related to a threat from the so-called Islamic State about the potential use of laptops on aircraft.

The US President has the power to declassify information so there was nothing illegal in his actions – the criticism came from the fact that the source of the information had not consented to it being passed on.

Intelligence experts pointed out that Trump’s actions risked straining the relationship between the US and its intelligence partners in the region.

The source of the intelligence was later reported to be Israel.

The White House at first denied the story, but the following morning Trump appeared to confirm the story in a Tuesday morning tweet, saying he had an ‘absolute right’ to share the information.

PastedImage-66297 Twitter / realDonaldTrump Twitter / realDonaldTrump / realDonaldTrump

Later that day, the Trump administration sent out its national security adviser HR McMaster to further defend the president’s actions.

In a rather bizarre defence of Trump, McMaster said that the president ’wasn’t aware’ where the intelligence came from.

CNN / YouTube

Comey memo

Later on Tuesday at about 10.25pm Irish time, a potentially more damaging story for Trump was broken by the New York Times.

The story said that Donald Trump asked former FBI Director James Comey to end the bureau’s investigations into Trump’s former national security advisor Michael Flynn.

Flynn was being investigated over his dealings with Russian officials.

“I hope you can see your way clear to letting this go, to letting Flynn go,” Trump told Comey, according to a memo taken by Comey of a meeting between the pair.

He is a good guy. I hope you can let this go.

The revelation led to people speculating that Trump had effectively intervened in a federal investigation and the word impeachment was being used more seriously than it ever had before.

The House’s top Democrat Elijah Cummings called said the memo appears to show “a textbook case of criminal obstruction of justice”.

Veteran Senator and former Republican presidential candidate John McCain called it of “Watergate size and scale”.

CBS News / YouTube


Trump’s response to all this was to claim that he is being victimised.

His first public comments following the revelation of the Comey memo came during a commencement address at the US Coast Guard Academy.

Speaking to the graduates, he claimed that “no politician in history” has been treated “worse or more unfairly” than he has.

Ruptly TV / YouTube

Towards the end of the week there was extra impetus added to the FBI’s investigation into alleged connections between the Trump campaign and Russia.

US Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein named former FBI director Robert Mueller as special counsel tasked with investigating the claims.

Comey had been leading the investigation until he was dismissed by Trump. Mueller now takes over.

Trump responded to this by making accusations about Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton.

PastedImage-32119 Twitter / realDonaldTrump Twitter / realDonaldTrump / realDonaldTrump

Read: Trump slams Russia probe as ‘greatest political witch hunt in history’ in morning tweets > 

Read: From ‘Lock her up’ to ‘You’re Fired’: The incredible timeline of Trump, Comey, Clinton and Russia >

Readers like you are keeping these stories free for everyone...
A mix of advertising and supporting contributions helps keep paywalls away from valuable information like this article. Over 5,000 readers like you have already stepped up and support us with a monthly payment or a once-off donation.

Your Voice
Readers Comments
    Submit a report
    Please help us understand how this comment violates our community guidelines.
    Thank you for the feedback
    Your feedback has been sent to our team for review.