“Loneliness is the poverty of self; solitude is richness of self.” 
– May Sarton
Cocoa Beach Florida 27jan20


҉ 𝙕𝙚𝙣 ҉ 𝙞𝙨 ҉ 𝙩𝙝𝙚 ҉ 𝙡𝙞𝙗𝙚𝙧𝙖𝙩𝙞𝙤𝙣 ҉ 𝙤𝙛 ҉ 𝙩𝙞𝙢𝙚҉ .҉ .҉ . -A.Watts
ya gotta get up to stand up

26jan2020. Cocoa Beach, FL


JANUARY 25, 2020

Week 167

Experts in authoritarianism advise to keep a list of things
subtly changing around you, so you’ll remember.

This week the Senate impeachment trial of Donald J. Trump began, even as evidence continued to trickle out. House Democrat impeachment managers made their case for the two articles over three days, laying out their argument with an intricate presentation and appealing to Republicans’ better angels to put partisanship aside for the sake of preserving our fragile democracy. As the week came to a close, it appeared Senate Republicans were unwilling to do so.

The atmosphere of the largely obfuscated Senate chamber was described as that of a middle school classroom, with Senate Republicans joking and, at times, leaving the chamber in violation of Senate rules while Democrats were speaking. It was unclear by week’s end if Republicans would heed the polling which consistently showed the overwhelming majority of Americans wanted to hear from first-hand witnesses.

At the start of the trial, Trump visited Davos, Switzerland for the World Economic Forum as staffers sought to portray him as a hard working president above the fray; but as would be typical with Trump’s trips abroad, he quickly devolved into making outlandish statements and insulting U.S. allies. On Wednesday, as he returned to Washington, Trump was sending a record volume of tweets and fuming over impeachment and that his defense would be presenting on Saturday, the “death valley” of television ratings.

Cocoa Beach, Florida 24jan2020
  1. On Saturday, the National Archives apologized for an altered image of the 2017 Women’s March, saying, “We made a mistake,” and adding, “we are committed to “preserving our archival holdings, without alteration.”
  2. The Archives noted the image is not one of its archival records, but stated, “Nonetheless, we were wrong to alter the image.” The ACLU demanded an explanation, saying the National Archives took “the Orwellian step of trying to rewrite history.”
  3. On Monday, WAPO reported in his first three years in office, Trump has made 16,241 false or misleading claims. In both 2018 and 2019, Trump made the most false or misleading statements in October and November.
  4. The pace of lying has accelerated: from 1,999 claims in 2017 to 5,689 in 2018 — for a total of 7,688 in his first two years. In 2019, he made 8,155 false or misleading claims.
  5. Also three years in, WAPO and Partnership for Public Service found 23% (170 of the 741) of key positions in the executive branch have yet to have a nominee from Trump. Many positions have turned over multiple times.
  6. On Monday, the Edelman’s 2020 Trust Barometer study found 57% of people globally believe the media is “contaminated with untrustworthy information,” and 76% believe false information is being used as a weapon.
  7. On Saturday, in a detailed legal briefing, the House impeachment managers submitted their 46-page trial memorandum, asserting Trump tried to enlist a foreign government to help him win re-election.
  8. The memo also said Trump tried to conceal those actions from Congress, posing “a serious danger to our constitutional checks and balances” by ordering regime officials not to testify or turn over documents.
  9. On Saturday, Trump’s lead impeachment lawyers Jay Sekulow and White House counsel Pat Cipollone released their response to House Democrats’ articles of impeachment titled, “Answers of President Donald J. Trump.”
  10. Atlantic called the brief “a howl of rage,” noting it did not read like a legal argument, but like a grievance, calling impeachment “a dangerous attack on the right of the American people to freely choose their President.”
  11. The seven-page brief called it “a brazen and unlawful attempt” to overturn the 2016 election and “interfere with the 2020 election,” calling the process “rigged,” and saying the articles “must be rejected.”
  12. On Sunday, Alan Dershowitz refused on “This Week” to say if Trump did anything wrong, and had no comment on the brief, saying, “I didn’t sign that brief,” and adding abuse of power is not an impeachable offense.
  13. Dershowitz argued Trump should not be impeached even if House Democrats prove their case, saying, “If the allegations are not impeachable, then this trial should result in an acquittal, regardless.”
  14. Lead impeachment manager Adam Schiff told “This Week” that Dershowitz’s argument that a president cannot be impeached for abuse of power is “absurdist.”
  15. Schiff added “the facts aren’t seriously contested,” adding, “because they can’t contest the facts, that the president cannot be impeached for abusing the power of his office,” just as they did in the House hearings.
  16. On Sunday, Sen. Lindsey Graham told “State of the Union” the Senate GOP does not “have the votes” to dismiss the impeachment trial, but that Trump wants “this behind him” by the time of the State of the Union address.
  17. On Sunday, Schiff told CNN that the National Security Agency is withholding “potentially relevant documents” from Congress relating to the “issue of Ukraine” ahead of the trial, calling it “deeply concerning.”
  18. Schiff added there “are signs that the CIA may be on the same tragic course,” but did not elaborate. The NSA did not respond to CNN for comment.
  19. On Sunday, NYT reported journalists are up in arms about restrictions put in place by Senate Republican leadership that will limit their movement within the Capitol, and access to interview lawmakers, during the trial.
  20. Journalists would be confined to roped-off areas. C-SPAN is also calling on the Senate to allow television crews to document the trial, instead of the government-controlled cameras which limit what viewers see.
  21. On Saturday, Andrew Peek, the senior director for European and Russian affairs at the National Security Council, was put on leave, pending an investigation. The role was formerly filled by Fiona Hill and Tim Morrison.
  22. On Sunday, AP reported Peek was placed on administrative leave pending a security-related investigation, and was escorted out of the White House on Friday, after two-months in the role.
  23. On Sunday, Bloomberg reported Rear Admiral Peter Brown, Trump’s third homeland security and counter-terrorism adviser, is expected to be reassigned after six months in office.
  24. Brown was one of Trump’s staunchest defenders after Trump claimed Hurricane Dorian might hit Alabama. He will take a new role overseeing Puerto Rico recovery. It was unclear why he was reassigned.
  25. On Monday, Martin Luther King Jr. Day, Trump had nothing planned to honor MLK, according to the White House schedule. Trump did make an unscheduled, unannounced visit to the National Mall as he did last year.
  26. Unlike the past three presidents, Trump has not taken part in service projects to mark MLK Day, or observed the holiday publicly by making remarks or attending events. In 2018, Trump golfed on MLK Day.
  27. When asked about Trump’s MLK Day schedule, White House counselor Kellyanne Conway told reporters Martin Luther King Jr. would oppose impeaching Trump.
  28. On Monday, according to a new Gallup poll, Trump’s approval is at 44%, holding steady in the range of 43–45% in recent weeks. The poll found 46% want Trump to be convicted and removed by the Senate, 51% do not.
  29. On Monday, a new CNN poll found 51% say Trump should be removed, 45% said he should not. Notably, 69% say the Senate trial should include testimony from new witnesses who did not testify in the House inquiry.
  30. On Monday, the attorney for Lev Parnas asked Attorney General Bill Barr in a court filing to recuse himself from Parnas’ case, given Parnas’ public statement in Week 166 on Barr, and appoint a special prosecutor.
  31. On Monday, thousands of gun-rights advocates packed the Virginia Capitol, including armed militias carrying assault-style weapons. The rally unfolded peacefully despite fears of violence like Charlottesville in 2017.
  32. Roughly 6,000 protestors cleared metal detectors to Capitol Square to cheer fiery speeches, while roughly 16,000 remained outside the square. Police made one arrest.
  33. Trump tweeted, “The Democrat Party in the Great Commonwealth of Virginia are working hard to take away your 2nd Amendment rights. This is just the beginning. Don’t let it happen, VOTE REPUBLICAN in 2020!”
  34. Trump also tweeted on impeachment: “They didn’t want John Bolton and others in the House…Now they want them all in the Senate,” adding, “Not supposed to be that way!” This is a false — Bolton refused to testify.
  35. Trump also tweeted, “Cryin’ Chuck Schumer is now asking for “fairness,”” claiming, “he and the Democrat House members worked together to make sure I got ZERO fairness in the House.”
  36. Trump also tweeted, “I have never seen the Republican Party as Strong and as Unified as it is right now. Thank you!” and “95% Approval Rating in the Republican Party, A Record” — both of which are false statements.
  37. On Monday, in an 110-page briefing submitted to the Senate, Trump’s legal team argued the two charges were constitutionally flawed since they were approved on party lines and “do not remotely” reach the threshold.
  38. The briefing cited “the diluted standard” would “permanently weaken the presidency and forever alter the balance among the branches of government” in a way that “offends the constitutional design.”
  39. Trump’s team did not contest the basic facts of the House case, but claimed he did “absolutely nothing wrong,” saying he is being punished for a foreign policy decision, and calling the case against him “flimsy.”
  40. The briefing cited “House Democrats were determined from the outset to find some way — any way to corrupt the power of impeachment” in order to “overturn” in the 2016 election and “interfere” in the 2020 election.
  41. On Monday, The Hill reported Senate Democrats are pressing Supreme Court Justice John Roberts to rule in favor of calling witnesses in the impeachment trial, saying without them it would not be a fair trial.
  42. While Roberts is expected to refer major disputes back for a Senate vote, Democrats are hoping he will make a ruling, citing the precedent of then-Chief Justice Salmon Chase in the impeachment trial of Andrew Johnson.
  43. Late in the day on Monday, shortly after the briefing was submitted, Majority Leader Mitch McConnell unveiled ground rules for the Senate trial, which would speed the process along and not allow witnesses without a separate vote.
  44. McConnell’s trial rules would limit each side to 24 hours of testimony over two days, and left open the possibility that the Senate could block new evidence not uncovered in the House impeachment inquiry.
  45. Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer called it “a cover-up,” adding, McConnell “is saying he doesn’t want to hear any of the existing evidence, and he doesn’t want to hear any new evidence.”
  46. On Monday, WAPO reported Trump’s impeachment lawyers and his Senate GOP allies are quietly putting together a strategy should Democrats get enough votes to have witnesses publicly testify, especially Bolton.
  47. The final option would be to have Bolton testify in a classified setting, citing national security concerns, which would require Trump’s attorneys to request a classified setting and likely require 51 votes.
  48. Republicans say first they would try to fight his testifying in court, noting the potentially explosive nature of his testimony, but blocking him could carry political risks for Republicans.
  49. The ongoing discussions show the uncertainty Trump’s team faced as to how the trial would play out. Some Republicans noted while Trump’s team is trying to control the process, it is not up to them to decide.
  50. On Monday, Kellyanne Conway warned Democrats on Fox News that Republicans would call Hunter Biden, saying, “Be careful what you wish for…Witness number one would have to be Hunter Biden.”
  51. On Monday, Axios reported Cipollone plans to argue that calling Bolton would infringe on executive privilege, and weakening that privilege would make presidents less candid when they seek counsel going forward.
  52. On Monday, Trump picked eight House Republicans to advise Trump’s impeachment team: Reps. Jim Jordan, John Ratcliffe, Mike Johnson, Mark Meadows, Debbie Lesko, Lee Zeldin, Elise Stefanik, and Doug Collins.
  53. The White House said the House members “have provided guidance to the White House team, which was prohibited from participating in the proceedings concocted by Democrats in the House of Representatives.”
  54. On Monday, the Sacramento Bee Editorial Board wrote on the revelations in Parnas’ documents regarding Rep. Devin Nunes and his aide Derek Harvey, saying his “Ukraine lies are a betrayal. Voters in his district deserve better.”
  55. On Monday, as he headed to Davos for the World Economic Forum, Trump tweeted he would meet “World and Business Leaders and bring Good Policy,” adding, “We are now NUMBER ONE in the Universe, by FAR!!
  56. On Tuesday, in a speech at Davos, Trump warned the international community against heeding the advice of environmental activists, we must reject the “prophets of doom and their predictions of the apocalypse.”
  57. Trump called activists “alarmists,” saying they want “absolute power to dominate, transform and control every aspect of our lives,” and they “want to destroy our economy, wreck our country or eradicate our liberty.”
  58. On Tuesday, CNN reported Trump was hesitant about leaving for Davos, and did not make a final decision until late last week, siding with aides who convinced him looking presidential on the world stage would be best.
  59. Some Trump aides had been against him traveling and thought he would be better positioned to respond from Washington. Trump was scheduled to be back in his hotel room by 2 p.m. in time for the trial.
  60. As is typical when Trump travels abroad, aides have ensured his hotel room has a TiVo-like device that allows him to watch Fox News. He will also have a phone to call aides and his phone for tweeting.
  61. On Monday, CNN reported Mohammad Shahab Dehghani Hossein, 24, a student at Northeastern University from Iran, was deported Monday, despite an emergency stay granted by a Massachusetts district court.
  62. A federal detention hearing for Dehghani, who was returning to the U.S. on a student visa, was scheduled for Tuesday. U.S. Customs and Border Protection revoked Dehghani’s student visa and expedited his removal.
  63. On Tuesday, NBC News reported Vice President Mike Pence spoke at a church service Sunday in which religious leaders described the “demonic” nature of homosexuality, and said it was caused by “the devil.”
  64. On Tuesday, WVVA/NBC News reported a West Virginia biracial high school basketball player, Jace Colucci, found a drawing of a stick figure hung by a noose with his name in a rival team’s visiting team locker room.
  65. The incident is being investigated as a possible hate crime. Jace’s mother said this is not the first incident — at a game in 2019, a Snapchat video was forwarded to her of kids chanting: “hang Jace, hang Jace.”
  66. On Tuesday, Politico reported next Monday, the three-year anniversary of Trump’s original Muslim Ban, he is expected to announce an expansion of the travel ban to place restrictions on additional countries.
  67. The list of countries has not been finalized, but countries under consideration included Belarus, Myanmar, Eritrea, Kyrgyzstan, Nigeria, Sudan, and Tanzania. Trump does not have properties at any of the countries on the list.
  68. On Wednesday, Trump tweeted he would attend the anti-abortion March for Life rally, the first president to do so. In Week 71, Stormy Daniels said Trump paid her for unprotected sex shortly after Barron was born.
  69. On Wednesday, the D.C. Attorney General sued Trump’s inaugural committee, saying it violated its nonprofit status by paying $1 million for a ballroom at Trump Hotel DC when it staff knew it was overpriced.
  70. The complaint cites, “These charges were unreasonable and improperly served to enrich” Trump’s business, and noted under D.C. law nonprofits cannot seek to generate profits for private individuals.
  71. Trump inaugural committee chair Thomas Barrack Jr. responded to accusation that the ballroom was also barely used, noting “elegance and seamless excellence without incident or interruption” of the inauguration.
  72. On Tuesday, the House Democrat impeachment managers argued in a letter to Cipollone that he is a “fact witness” in the impeachment case, and demanding that he disclose all first-hand involvement to the Senate.
  73. Democrats alleged Cipollone was part of the regime’s “efforts to conceal” Trump’s decision to withhold aid, and his representation “threatens to undermine the integrity” of the trial, as he may be “a material witness.”
  74. On Tuesday, a SurveyUSA poll found 71% of Republicans, 93% of Democrats, and 81% of Independents said McConnell should allow witnesses to testify. Just 15% of Republicans said he should not.
  75. On Tuesday, a Monmouth poll found 80% of Americans say Trump officials, as well as Trump himself, should be invited to testify at the Senate trial.
  76. On Tuesday, the Senate began an acrimonious impeachment trial with nearly 13 hours of debate starting at 1 p.m. on the rules and procedures for the trial, ending after 2 a.m.
  77. McConnell had to make changes to rules due to pressure from moderates including Sens. Susan Collins, Rob Portman, and Lisa Murkowski, who said the rules strayed too far from the Clinton trial, and would be seen as unfair.
  78. At a closed door luncheon before the trial, the Senators argued against opening remarks being limited to two days, and not admitting the findings of the House inquiry into evidence without a separate vote.
  79. McConnell rushed to submit a revised copy of the resolution, which included handwritten changes, to extend opening remarks to three days per side and House records would be admitted into evidence.
  80. Schumer told reporters of the last minute changes, “The public realizes how unfair the McConnell proposal is, and the pressure that we have put on them and on Republican senators has gotten them to change.”
  81. Also an hour before trial, the House impeachment managers submitted a written rebuttal rejecting Trump’s claims that abuse of power was not an impeachable offense and that it was legal to block officials from testifying.
  82. Democratic impeachment managers urged Senators to reject McConnell’s proposed rules, which would delay debate over witnesses and documents to the middle of the trial, with no guarantee they would be called.
  83. Lead manager Schiff said, “If the Senate votes to deprive itself of witnesses and documents, the opening statements will be the end of the trial,” saying McConnell wants to “sweep this all under the rug.”
  84. Democrats used digital slides and video clips, including video statements by Trump, to make their argument. They argued the process McConnell had laid out was rigged on Trump’s behalf.
  85. From Davos, 45 minutes into the trial, Trump tweeted, “READ THE TRANSCRIPTS!
  86. Trump also told reporters on impeachment, “It goes nowhere because nothing happened. The only thing we’ve done is a great job,” adding, “That whole thing is a total hoax, so I’m sure it’s going to work out fine.”
  87. Impeachment manager Rep. Zoe Lofgren argued the White House was sittings on hundreds of pages of relevant materials, saying, “Attorney-client privilege cannot shield information about misconduct.”
  88. Trump’s lawyers argued the charges against him are baseless, and amount to criminalizing Trump’s foreign policy decisions, and replayed many of Trump’s grievances calling impeachment a “ridiculous charade.”
  89. Cipollone said, “A partisan impeachment is like stealing an election,” adding, “Talk about the framers’ worst nightmare. It’s a partisan impeachment that they delivered to your doorstep in an election year.”
  90. Breaking from most constitutional scholars, Trump’s lawyers also argued the impeachment was unconstitutional because the articles do not include a specific violation of the law.
  91. Cipollone and Sekulow made false statements: Sekulow claiming Trump could not have an attorney at the House inquiry, and Cipollone claiming House Republicans did not have access to closed-door depositions.
  92. Sekulow also falsely claimed that the Mueller report “came up empty on the issue of collusion with Russia. There was no obstruction, in fact.” Both of those claims are false.
  93. Sekulow also argued House Democrats “in their rush to impeach, have refused to wait for judicial review” — a direct contradiction to the pending Don McGahn case where the DOJ argued courts should not step in.
  94. Cipollone noted the four Democratic presidential candidates off the campaign trail (Sens. Amy Klobuchar, Elizabeth Warren, Bernie Sanders, Michael Bennet), saying, “some of you are upset because you should be in Iowa.”
  95. During the trial, Fox News anchor Chris Wallace said on the station’s coverage, “If I were the President watching this I would not be especially pleased.”
  96. Wallace noted of Trump’s lawyers, “They are basically saying, there’s nothing to see here, all of this is bogus, while the House managers are taking every second of their one hour to make whatever case they want.”
  97. Republicans rejected a total of 10 amendments along party lines, 53–47. An 11th amendment to lengthen the timetable for the prosecutors and defense to file trial motions got one vote from Sen. Susan Collins.
  98. An exasperated McConnell asked Schumer if he would “stack” his amendments, and Schumer said no: “We believe witnesses and documents are extremely important and a compelling case has been made for them.”
  99. The seven House impeachment managers used their time to make an argument for each amendment, with Trump’s lawyers responding, and both giving a preview of their opening arguments.
  100. Amendments voted down included subpoenaing White House, State Department, and OMB documents, and staffers including Mick Mulvaney, Robert Blair, Michael Duffey, and John Bolton.
  101. At 9:30 p.m. McConnell halted the trial to try to negotiate an end to the debate as the Senators faced fatigue, but after a brief recess, the two sides did not reach a deal to speed things up.
  102. Just before 1 a.m., Chair Jerrold Nadler accused Republican senators of being complicit in a cover-up to help Trump. Cipollone responded that Nadler should be “embarrassed” for his rhetoric toward senators.
  103. After, Chief Justice Roberts admonished the managers and Trump lawyers to “remember where they are” and return to “civil discourse,” saying, “They are addressing the world’s greatest deliberative body.”
  104. Just before 2 a.m., the Senate voted along party lines to ratify McConnell’s plan, setting the stage for the trial to begin on Wednesday. The session concluded at 2:15 a.m.
  105. On Tuesday, WAPO reported that a small group of Senate Democrats are privately consider a Biden-for-Bolton trade for testimony, and are sounding the idea off their colleagues.
  106. These Democrats believe having Hunter or Joe, who served in the Senate for 36 years, could backfire and paint Trump and the GOP as being obsessed with trying to damage one of Trump’s 2020 rivals.
  107. The Biden campaign has been against them testifying, calling the notion “a stupid Republican talking point,” and an associate saying, “Biden and his people don’t want to give it credibility, so there is a stalemate right now.”
  108. Late Tuesday, just before midnight deadline, the final batch of 192 pages of heavily redacted documents were released by the DOJ under the FOIA to nonprofit group American Oversight on Ukraine.
  109. NYT reported while there were no major new revelations, the documents did reveal the friction between the Department of Defense and the White House on the aid freeze over the summer.
  110. The documents revealed confusion from lawmakers, including Republicans: on August 23 an aide to Sen. Rob Portman wrote to Michael Duffey, asking him to “lay out for me the reason behind the O.M.B. hold.”
  111. Calls and emails for an explanation on the hold also came from Senate Armed Services Committee Chair James Inhofe and Rep. Mac Thornberry, ranking member of the House Armed Services Committee.
  112. Documents also showed on the evening of July 24, the night before Trump’s call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, OMB officials shared a “Ukraine Prep Memo” with Duffey. The contents of the memo were redacted.
  113. On Tuesday, the Guardian reported a U.N. investigation found Amazon founder Jeff Bezos’ cellphone was hacked after he got a WhatsApp message that came from an account belonging to Saudi crown prince MBS.
  114. The investigation found “high probability” that Bezos’ phone was infected with malware that came from MBS. Soon after the message was delivered, a massive amount of data was extracted from his phone.
  115. Bezos and MBS were engaged in a friendly chat on WhatsApp on May 1, 2018, when MBS sent an apparently infected video file. Bezos’ head of security, Gavin de Becker, wrote in March he suspected the Saudis.
  116. On Wednesday, the White House Correspondents’ Association confirmed that the White House had given press credentials to virulent anti-Semite Rick Wiles of TruNews. The WHCA said it has raised the issue with the WH.
  117. Right Wing Watch reported after receiving the credentials, Wiles claimed on his broadcast that this “‘impeach Trump’ effort is a Jew coup and the American people better wake up to it really fast.”
  118. On Thursday, WAPO reported, despite Trump’s promises that weakening federal mileage standards would make cars cheaper and “substantially safer,” the opposite has happened.
  119. A new analysis found Trump’s rollback of Obama’s standards would not save costs, citing drivers would spend more at the gas pump over time by driving less efficient vehicles.
  120. On Thursday, HuffPost reported Trump’s Doral resort is expected to spike its room rates ahead the club hosting his speech to the Republican National Committee’s winter meeting from $254 to $539.
  121. The higher rate is just under the maximum rate federal government rules permit for a hotel in South Florida, and will dramatically increase taxpayer costs for housing Secret Service and other Trump staffers.
  122. On Wednesday, a Reuters/Ipsos poll found 72% of Americans believe the trial “should allow witnesses with firsthand knowledge of the impeachment charges to testify.”
  123. On Wednesday, from Davos, Trump sent dozens of retweets on the impeachment trial before dawn, retweeting statements and videos tweeted by his Republican defenders.
  124. Trump also tweeted, “Americans are sick of the Swamp. They want results, not partisan theater,” adding, “No matter what manufactured drama is unfolding in Washington,” he “will never stop fighting for you.”
  125. Before a breakfast meeting with American business leaders, which was abruptly closed-off to reporters, Trump tweeted, “Tremendous numbers of companies will be coming, or returning, to the USA. Hottest Economy!”
  126. Shortly after, at a surprise press conference, Trump opened with a long series of remarks about the economy, then turned to impeachment, saying he was not “enjoying” it, but it will be a “very important” victory for him.
  127. Trump added, “When I finish, I think that this is going to go down as one of the greatest things I’ve done for our country,” claiming he had “exposed government corruption” against him, not by him.
  128. Trump said of the trial, “I’d sort of love to sit right in the front row and stare at their corrupt faces,” and, “These are bad, corrupt people…and very bad for our country,” and calling impeachment managers “major sleazes.”
  129. Trump claimed he would like to have witnesses testify, but not Bolton, claiming: “I would rather go the long way. I would rather interview Bolton. The problem with John is that it’s a national security problem.”
  130. Trump added on Bolton, “He knows other things, and I don’t know if we left on the best terms. I would say probably not,” adding, “So you don’t like people testifying when they didn’t leave on good terms.”
  131. Trump’s remarks on witnesses disrupted the GOP’s strategy of not calling witnesses, and threatened to derail plans put in the carefully assembled framework by McConnell to finish the trial as soon as next week.
  132. Trump also seemed to admit obstructing Congress, the second article of impeachment, telling reporters, “But honestly, we have all the material. They don’t have the material.”
  133. Trump also again denied knowing Lev Parnas, saying, “I don’t know him, other than he’s sort of like a groupie,” adding, “He shows up at fundraisers. I don’t know anything about him.”
  134. Trump also railed against Europe, saying, “They have trade barriers where you can’t trade. They have tariffs all over the place,” adding, “They are, frankly, more difficult to do business with than China.”
  135. When asked about reports that 11 U.S. servicemen were injured in the Iran airstrike, Trump said, “I heard that they had headaches, and a couple of other things,” adding, “and I can report, that it is not very serious.”
  136. After threatening huge sanctions on Iran recently, asked about the status Trump said, “We’ll see what happens,” adding they would be necessary only “if we’re not treated with respect.”
  137. When asked about climate activist Greta Thunberg’s criticism of his regime’s climate change record, Trump responded, “She beat me out on Time Magazine.”
  138. Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin also jabbed at Thunberg from Davos, saying on the climate change emergency, “After she goes and studies economics in college she can come back and explain that to us.”
  139. Shortly after, in an interview with CNBC, Trump said of the trial, “I did get to see some of it. It’s a hoax. It’s a total hoax,” praising his team as “really good,” and claiming “the Republican Party has never been this unified.”
  140. On Wednesday, 2020 presidential candidate Rep. Tulsi Gabbard filed a $50 million lawsuit against Hillary Clinton, claiming she permanently damaged her reputation by describing her as a “Russian asset.”
  141. On Wednesday, a Pew Research poll found 51% approve of removing Trump from office, 46% disagree. The poll also found 63% say Trump definitely (38%) or probably (25%) did things that are illegal.
  142. Later Wednesday, Trump tweeted “NO PRESSURE” as Schiff was delivering his opening arguments in the Senate trial. Trump returned to the White House after his trip to Davos.
  143. Wednesday was Trump’s busiest day of tweeting since taking office. As of 11:30 p.m. Trump tweeted 142 times. His previous record was 123 tweets in a day on December 12, 2019.
  144. On Wednesday, Schumer nixed the idea of a Bolton-Biden trade, telling reporters it was “off the table.” On the campaign trail, Joe Biden called it “a constitutional issue,” adding, “we’re not going to turn it into a farce.”
  145. Some Senate Republicans and Democrats took issue with Nadler’s accusing Republicans of “treacherous” behavior Tuesday, saying the Senate is not a “clown circus” like the House, and he should tone it down.
  146. On Wednesday, the Senate trial resumed at 1 p.m. as the Democratic House impeachment managers began formal arguments, presenting a meticulous and scathing case for convicting and removing Trump.
  147. As the trial was set to begin, the Senate chaplain, Barry Black, urged senators to “remember that patriots reside on both sides of the aisle,” noting the divisive nature of the first day of trial.
  148. In a stunning speech, Schiff invoked the founders and their fears that a self-interested leader would subvert democracy for personal gain, saying the remedy of impeachment was meant to combat this “evil.”
  149. Schiff said if Trump is not convicted and removed it would “permanently alter the balance of power among the branches of government,” adding, Trump believes “he’s above the law and scornful of constraint.”
  150. Schiff described a broader impulse by Trump to cede America’s foreign policy to Russia, noting the July 25 call occurred the day after Robert Mueller’s public testimony in which Trump escaped accountability.
  151. Schiff accused Trump of using a “corrupt scheme” to pressure Zelensky “to publicly announce investigationsinto two discredited allegations” that would benefit Trump’s 2020 campaign.
  152. In a series of methodical speeches, the other Democratic managers laid out the case that Trump enlisted the help of a foreign government to hurt his domestic political rivals and help him get re-elected to a second term.
  153. Rep. Sylvia Garcia showed the video of Trump telling George Stephanopoulos of ABC News last spring he would be willing to accept damaging information from Russia or other foreign governments.
  154. Schiff addressed Trump’s lawyer saying impeachment is outdated and no longer a viable instrument to hold a president accountable. “If it is a relic, I wonder how much longer our republic can succeed.”
  155. Politico reported as Schiff finished his three-hour presentation, there were as many two dozen GOP senators out of their seats at once, a clear violation of rules that bar senators from leaving their seats during the trial.
  156. Later Wednesday, Sen. Marsha Blackburn appeared on Fox News while the Senate was still in session.
  157. Roberts said he would give Senators access to a classified document shared by the House of Jennifer Williams’ testimony on the September 18 call between Pence and Zelensky. Schiff has asked repeatedly for it to be declassified.
  158. During the first day of their case, the seven managers included screenshots of deposition transcripts, emails, text messages, and about 50 video clips — more than three times what House Republicans used against Bill Clinton.
  159. Democrats provided a torrent of intricate information in making their case witnesses should be called. Rep. Matt Gaetz said Democrats presented like “cable news,” and Trump’s defense like “an 8th grade book report.”
  160. On Thursday, 21 state attorneys general said in a letter submitted to the Senate that Trump’s impeachment “establishes a dangerous historical precedent.”
  161. Shortly after, four attorneys general appeared on “Fox & Friends,” saying impeachment is “tearing at the threads of our democracy,” and claiming it is based on a “constitutionally legally flawed argument.”
  162. Shortly after, Trump tweeted, “Attorney Generals [sic] from 21 States are urging the Senate to reject Impeachment,” noting, “the Democrats case sets a dangerous historical precedent.”
  164. Trump also tweeted the false claim, “The Democrat House would not give us lawyers, or not one witness, but now demand that the Republican Senate produce the witnesses,” adding, “Most unfair & corrupt hearing.”
  165. Trump also tweeted, “No matter what you give to the Radical Left, Do Nothing Democrats, it will never be enough!”
  166. Trump also tweeted, “The Democrats & Shifty Schiff, whose presentation to the Senate was loaded with liesand misrepresentations,” refuse to say which countries the Obama Administration withheld aid from.
  167. Trump also tweeted at Mike Bloomberg who has ramped up spending on 2020 ads, repeatedly calling him “Mini Mike” to insult his small stature. WAPO reported Bloomberg has gotten under Trump’s skin.
  168. After an ad appeared on “Fox & Friends,” Trump tweeted, “when Mini losses [sic], he will be spending very little of his money on these ‘clowns’ because he will consider himself to be the biggest clown of them all.”
  169. Reportedly, Trump frequently talks about Bloomberg to his campaign advisers and White House staff, calling him “evil” and saying his ads are “lies.” Advisers have encouraged him to attack his other opponents instead.
  170. On Thursday, NYT reported despite the Senate rules, Senators are increasingly leaving their seats for short or long breaks, for 15 to 20 minutes — some were seen in the cloakroom on their phones.
  171. As the trial began, the Senate chaplain reminded senators to take their role seriously, cautioning them against “fatigue or cynicism,” and insisting that “listening is often more than hearing.”
  172. The sergeant-at-arms admonished senators “on pain of imprisonment” not to speak during the trial, but few listened. The atmosphere resembled an elementary school classroom, with whispering and passing notes.
  173. On day two of their opening arguments, Democrats focused on the abuse of power charge against Trump, with 16 hours and 42 minutes of their 24 allotted hours remaining.
  174. Democrats repeatedly referenced Russia. Schiff noted the debunked conspiracy theory that Ukraine interfered in 2016 was “brought to you by the Kremlin,” and it played a central role in Trump’s Ukraine policy.
  175. Democrats make a strategic decision to focus on Joe and Hunter Biden, working to dispel allegations ahead of Trump’s defense team’s turn, claiming there was no basis to say the Bidens had done anything wrong.
  176. Democrats repeatedly used clips of Trump to make their case against him, including him asking for help from China and accusing Ukraine of interfering, to show he was not really interested in Ukrainian corruptions.
  177. One of the clips played by the impeachment managers was a 1999 video of Sen. Graham in which he contradicts a central tenet of Trump’s defense. When Senate colleagues turned to see his reaction, Graham was out of the room.
  178. Sen. Rand Paul, who on Wednesday did a crossword puzzle, was seen sketching a photo. Sen. John Cornyn swiped at an Apple Watch, despite a ban on electronics. Sen. Richard Burr passed out fidget spinners.
  179. On Thursday, CNN reported at a closed-door lunch with former Bush AG Michael Mukasey on Wednesday, some Senate Republicans discussed the implications of subpoenas for witnesses.
  180. The notion of a long, drawn-out court fight will weigh heavily on senators’ decisions. Under Senate rules, there will be four hours of debate on whether witnesses should be called before voting.
  181. Overall, most Senators remained attentive. However, Republicans remained dismissive and said they were “bored,” with some saying it was hard to stay attentive because material was repetitive.
  182. Later Thursday, Schiff closed the day with a rousing, fiery speech, saying, “you know you can’t trust this president to do what’s right for this country,” reportedly earning him respect by some Republicans.
  183. Fox News, however, described the speech as “Amateur Thespian Schiff Tries Out Some New Lines” on the chyron, while host Tucker Carlson mocked Schiff, calling him a “wild-eyed conspiracy nut.”
  184. During the trial, Trump tweeted, “The Democrats don’t want a Witness Trade because Shifty Schiff, the Biden’s, the fake Whistleblower” and the second whistleblower, saying “it would be a BIG problem for them!”
  185. Trump also continued to actively tweet and retweet during the trial. Trump quoted former White House press secretary Ari Fleischer, saying, “The Democrats have now conceded that President Trump has not committed a crime.”
  186. On Thursday, WAPO reported as Trump boarded Air Force One at 8 p.m., the television on board was tuned to Fox News. Although the impeachment was still going on, Fox covered it only in a small corner box.
  187. The Fox News shows covered the day’s news, before slamming the impeachment trial, including numerous false statements, and claims by host Sean Hannity that the trial was boring (which Trump retweeted).
  188. Matt Gertz, who compares Trump’s tweets to what’s airing on Fox News, found Trump live-tweeted Fox New a record amount of times on Thursday. He continued Friday morning with “Fox & Friends.”
  189. On Friday, Trump started tweeting at 6:18 a.m. Within two hours, he had already sent more than 50 tweets.
  190. Trump quoted Fox News, saying, “Frances Hakes, former Federal prosecutor, ‘This is really significant. The FBI had debunked the Steele Dossier in January 2017’” and they knew Carter Page “was not the agent.”
  191. Trump also quoted from her appearance, “and yet they still asked for the renewal, two more times.” He then added, “So how bad & illegal is that?
  192. Trump also complained his defense would “start on Saturday, which is called Death Valley in T.V.” after having to “endure hour after hour of lies, fraud & deception by Shifty Schiff, Cryin’ Chuck Schumer & their crew.”
  193. Trump also tweeted, “The Impeachment Hoax is interfering with the 2020 Election — But that was the idea behind the Radical Left, Do Nothing Dems Scam attack,” adding, “They always knew I did nothing wrong!”
  194. On Friday, the Pentagon said 34 U.S. troops have been diagnosed with concussions or traumatic brain injuryas a result on the Iranian missile on January 8, more than triple the number previously reported.
  195. Trump initially told reporters no one had been harmed in the attack, then last week the Pentagon said it had conducted follow-on screenings for 11 troops who were pulled out of Iraq with brain injuries.
  196. On Friday, in an interview with Fox News at the March for Life, Trump said his advice to his defense team was to be honest: “What my people have to do is just be honest. Just tell the truth.”
  197. Trump added, “But they say it doesn’t have to be a crime,” and said, referring to Democrats, “Well, maybe it doesn’t have to be a crime, but can you imagine being impeached if you didn’t commit a crime?”
  198. Speaking at the rally, Trump did not mention the impeachment trial happening down the street. Trump told the crowd, many wearing his garb, “Unborn children have never had a stronger defender in the White House.”
  199. Trump also referenced the “far-left Democrats” who he claimed were “working to erase all our God-given rights,” and adding, “They are coming after me because I am fighting for you.” Trump previously was pro-choice.
  200. On Friday, CBS News reported a Trump confidante warned Republican senators on impeachment that “a vote against the president and your head will be on a pike.”
  201. On Friday, ABC News reported on a tape from an April 30, 2018 intimate dinner at Trump Hotel DC with Parnas and Igor Fruman, in which Trump can be heard calling for the firing of Marie Yovanovitch.
  202. Parnas and Fruman can be heard telling Trump that she is bad-mouthing him, and Trump responded, “Get rid of her!” and “Get her out tomorrow. I don’t care. Get her out tomorrow. Take her out. OK? Do it.”
  203. On Friday, WAPO reported the recording’s existence helps bolster Parnas’ claim that he was part of Trump’s inner circle. Parnas’ attorney said the recording did not come from them. Fruman’s attorney did not comment.
  204. Later Friday, Trump told Fox News, “Well, I wouldn’t have been saying that. I probably would have said — it was Rudy there,” and, “I have every right, I want ambassadors that are chosen by me.” Giuliani was not at the dinner.
  205. On Friday, Sen. Graham told reporters, “Nobody has done an investigation anywhere near like the Mueller investigation of the Bidens, and I think they should,” calling for “an outside entity” to do it.”
  206. Graham added, “You know why I don’t want to do it? I love Joe Biden. I don’t want to do this,” and “I don’t want it to be Lindsey Graham, because it will be hard for me, but if I have to I will do it.”
  207. On Friday, Vanity Fair reported Republicans are increasingly concerned that Trump’s lawyers will not be able to counter House Democrats’ meticulous, fact-based case for removing Trump.
  208. Trump, who has been rage-tweeting despite aides’ advice, is angry that Republicans are not publicly saying his call with Zelensky was perfect. Impeachment is also putting a serious drag on his campaign.
  209. Impeachment has also put Trump in a particularly foul mood, as White House staff brace for more turmoil. Reportedly, Trump recently told some Republicans he decided to say “fuck it” and kill General Qasem Soleimani.
  210. Trump is also reportedly upset about Kushner being on the cover of Time Magazine, and is considering replacing acting chief of staff Mick Mulvaney with Chris Christie, who hates Kushner, to reign him in.
  211. On Friday, the Senate chaplain opened the final day of the Democrats’ case, calling for “civility and respect” and asking senators to “distinguish between facts and opinions without lambasting the messengers.”
  212. Democrats focused their third and last day on the theme that Trump’s behavior is like that of a dictator, and allowing him to remain in office would continue to threaten the country’s security.
  213. Democrats used most of their remaining seven hours and 53 minutes to make the case that Trump obstructed Congress, the second article, alleging a cover-up for not allowing witnesses or turning over documents.
  214. Rep. Zoe Lofgren pointed out that Nixon was more cooperative than Trump, ticking off a list of White House officials who obeyed Trump’s orders and refused to testify.
  215. House manager Val Demings laid out several examples of Trump allegedly “misusing” his power, calling it “a declaration of total defiance” and “a wholesale rejection of congress’s ability” to hold him accountable.
  216. Demings added if Trump is not held accountable, “we will inflict lasting damage on the separation of powers,” and “It would inflict irreversible damage” for “future presidents to act correctly or abusively.”
  217. Since the impeachment managers did not get a chance to respond to Trump’s defense lawyers, Schiff spent much of the day addressing possible defenses from Trump team.
  218. During the trial, a group of Senate Republicans were seen studying a document titled “Burisma Timeline” in bold black letters with bright yellow highlights of important dates relating to the Bidens.
  219. The same senators also looked at a report titled “Obtaining Witnesses In an Impeachment Trial,” which laid out scenarios and legal reasoning for how subpoenaing John Bolton could play out.
  220. Rep. Hakeem Jeffries closed his presentation, saying, “There’s a toxic mess at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue,” adding, “I humbly suggest that it’s our collective job on behalf of the American people to try to clean it up.”
  221. Chair Nadler compared Trump to a king, calling him “the first and only President ever to declare himself unaccountable,” adding if Trump is left unchecked, “He is a dictator. This must not stand.”
  222. Schiff closed with a moving speech, calling on Republicans to have “moral courage” and acknowledging that real political bravery would be needed in “disagreeing with our friends — and our party.”
  223. Schiff added if we decide “the president can simply say, ‘Under Article 2, I can do whatever I want, and I don’t have to treat a coequal branch of government’[…] that will be an unending injury to this country.”
  224. The respectful mood in the chamber shifted after Schiff added, “CBS News reported last night that a Trump confidant said that key senators were warned, ‘Vote against the president and your head will be on a pike.’”
  225. At 8:45 p.m. the House Democrats concluded their remarks, with Schiff telling the Senate that the facts presented add up to an impeachable offense, and that “We have met our burden.”
  226. After, several Republicans complained about Schiff’s “pike” comment. Sen. Susan Collins said, “I know of no Republican senator who has been threatened in any way by anyone in the administration.”
  227. Sen. Lisa Murkowski, also a possible swing vote said, “That’s when he lost me.” As the trial concluded, GOP Sens. John Cornyn and John Barrasso made a beeline to Collins’ desk and she shook her head, and said “No.”
  228. On Friday, after an interview with NPR reporter Mary Louise Kelly on U.S. policy in Iran, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo summoned her into his private living room at the State Department.
  229. NPR reported, once there, Pompeo shouted at Kelly for questioning him about Ukraine, using repeated expletives, and asking “Do you think Americans care about Ukraine?” and adding, “People will hear about this.”
  230. Kelly said Pompeo had staffers bring in an unlabeled map, and asked her to identify Ukraine: “I pointed to Ukraine he put the map away, he said, people will hear about this, and then he turned and said he had things to do.”
  231. During the interview, Pompeo defended his treatment of Yovanovitch, saying, “I’ve defended every single person on this team,” and “I’ve done what’s right for every single person on this team.”
  232. On Saturday, Pompeo attacked Kelly in a statement, saying Kelly “lied to me, twice. First, last month, in setting up our interview,” and claiming she agreed to “have our post-interview conversation off the record.”
  233. Pompeo added, “It is shameful that this reporter chose to violate the basic rules of journalism and decency.” Kelly said she did not agree to be off the record, and said she told his office they would discuss Iran and Ukraine.
  234. Pompeo did not dispute Kelly’s claim that she had correctly identified Ukraine, saying, “It is worth noting that Bangladesh is NOT Ukraine,” Kelly has a masters degree in European Studies from Cambridge University.
  235. Pompeo added, “This is another example of how unhinged the media has become in its quest to hurt President Trump and this Administration,” and “It is no wonder that the American people distrust many in the media.”
  236. On Friday, a WAPO-ABC News poll found Trump’s approval improving to 44% approve, 51% disapprove, with an increase in support from men to 57% — the highest in his time in office — and independent voters.
  237. The poll also found 66% think the Senate should call witnesses, including 87% of Democrats, 65% of Independents, and 45% of Republicans. Roughly half (47%) say Trump should be removed 49% disagree.
  238. On Friday, Trump appointed Rodney Scott as the new head of the U.S. Border Patrol. Scott, who has been a member of CBP for 27 years, replaces Carla Provost, who had been in the position since August 2018.
  239. On Friday, NYT reported Trump is considering skipping the 2020 debates. His advisers recently met with the nonprofit Commission on Presidential Debates to complain about the debates it hosted in 2016.
  240. Trump’s advisers complained the debate commission included “anti-Trumpers,” and complained about past moderators. Trump’s campaign manager Brad Parscale is investigating other options for hosting debates.
  241. On Saturday, Trump tweeted on impeachment: “Our case against lyin’, cheatin’, liddle’ Adam “Shifty” Schiff, Cryin’ Chuck Schumer, Nervous Nancy Pelosi, their leader, dumb as a rock AOC, & the entire Radical Left.”
  242. Trump urged his base to watch the his legal team, tweeting, “starts today at 10:00 A.M. on @FoxNews, @OANN or Fake News @CNN or Fake News MSDNC!” — mocking MSNBC by calling it MSDNC.
  243. On Saturday, House Democratic impeachment managers delivered 28,578 pages of transcripts and other evidence collected during their inquiry to the Senate, wheeled over in four carts in white boxes.
  244. Trump’s lawyers claimed Democrats want to “ tear up all of the ballots,” and “re-litigate the Mueller case,” and claimed it could not be quid pro quo since they alleged Ukraine did not know aid was being withheld.
  245. Trump’s lawyers also repeatedly jabbed at Schiff, and during their brief two hour presentation, repeatedly told restless Senators that Democrats had presented for “21 hours, or more than 21 hours.”
  246. Trump lawyer Mike Purpura opened by playing a clip of Schiff, often used as fodder by Trump, deriding Schiff’s September House hearing parody on Trump’s July 25 call, saying the retelling was “fake.”
  247. Later Saturday, the AP released the entire 80-minute recording of Trump’s 2018 dinner first reported by ABC News. Trump is also heard asking on Ukraine, “How long would they last in a fight with Russia?
  248. Parnas said, “The biggest problem there, I think where we need to start is we got to get rid of the ambassador,” and “She’s basically walking around telling everybody, ‘Wait, he’s gonna get impeached. Just wait.’”
  249. On Saturday, BuzzFeed reported that on Wednesday and Thursday State Department officials interviewed hundreds of diplomats and employees at the U.S. embassy in Kyiv about whether Yovanovitch was under surveillance..
  250. One official said the State Department’s federal law enforcement and security arm, the Diplomatic Security Service, is coordinating with Ukrainian authorities who announced a criminal investigation a week before State.
  251. One diplomat described the investigations as “cynical” and a “cover your ass” for Pompeo, who is scheduled to visit Kyiv on January 30 and 31. The 300 embassy employees were told not to speak to the press.
  252. On Saturday, Politico reported although the trial has not had any major surprises and thus far it appears Trump will not be removed from office, recent information dumps have hurt Trump politically.
  253. Trump allies worry that even after the impeachment trial, there will be more document releases and investigations over the coming months heading up to the 2020 election.

The Weekly List podcast is here! You can find more information here by clicking here.

THE LIST — weeks 1–52 of The Weekly List is out as a book! You can order your copy by clicking here.

Reporters were kept behind ropes outside the chamber during a break as the Senate continues with the impeachment trial of Trump on charges of abuse of power and obstruction of Congress, at the Capitol in Washington, Wednesday, Jan. 22, 2020. Journalists are being restricted to “press pens” during the trial without normal access to lawmakers. Credit: congressional reporter Matt Laslo


“Yes, you’re right. I never lived before,’ she cried. ‘I never lived. Frightened of everything all my life. Frightened of death. Why did I ever give a fuck? I want my life back! Give me back my life, you bastards. You bastards filled me with fear and I never lived a single moment of my life. I want my life back, you bastards…” Excerpt From
The Freedom Artist
Ben Okri


Big Sun Fun over the Banana River


“I мυѕт ɴoт ғeαr. Feαr ιѕ тнe мιɴd-ĸιller. Feαr ιѕ тнe lιттle-deαтн тнαт вrιɴɢѕ тoтαl oвlιтerαтιoɴ. I wιll ғαce мy ғeαr. I wιll perмιт ιт тo pαѕѕ over мe αɴd тнroυɢн мe. Aɴd wнeɴ ιт нαѕ ɢoɴe pαѕт I wιll тυrɴ тнe ιɴɴer eye тo ѕee ιтѕ pαтн. Wнere тнe ғeαr нαѕ ɢoɴe тнere wιll вe ɴoтнιɴɢ. Oɴly I wιll reмαιɴ.” .
– Frαɴĸ Herвerт, Dυɴe


24jan20. Cocoa Beach, FL



𝒲𝒶𝓁𝓀 𝑜𝓃 𝓉𝒽𝑒 𝑜𝒸𝑒𝒶𝓃
𝒮𝓉𝑒𝓅 𝑜𝓃 𝓉𝒽𝑒 𝓈𝓉𝑜𝓃𝑒𝓈
𝐹𝓁𝑒𝓈𝒽 𝒷𝑒𝒸𝑜𝓂𝑒𝓈 𝓌𝒶𝓉𝑒𝓇
𝒲𝑜𝑜𝒹 𝒷𝑒𝒸𝑜𝓂𝑒𝓈 𝒷𝑜𝓃𝑒
𝒯𝑜𝒶𝒹 𝓉𝒽𝑒 𝒲𝑒𝓉 𝒮𝓅𝓇𝑜𝒸𝓀𝑒𝓉 .
𝒞𝑜𝒸𝑜𝒶 𝐵𝑒𝒶𝒸𝒽, 𝐹𝐿 𝟤𝟢𝒿𝒶𝓃𝟤𝟢𝟤𝟢


[̅“̲̅𝗬̲̅𝗼̲̅𝘂̲̲̅] [̅𝗱̲̅𝗼̲̲̅] [̅𝗻̲̅𝗼̲̅𝘁̲̲̅] [̅𝗻̲̅𝗲̲̅𝗲̲̅𝗱̲̲̅] [̅𝘁̲̅𝗼̲̲̅] [̅𝗸̲̅𝗻̲̅𝗼̲̅𝘄̲̲̅] [̅𝗽̲̅𝗿̲̅𝗲̲̅𝗰̲̅𝗶̲̅𝘀̲̅𝗲̲̅𝗹̲̅𝘆̲̲̅] [̅𝘄̲̅𝗵̲̅𝗮̲̅𝘁̲̲̅] [̅𝗶̲̅𝘀̲̲̅] [̅𝗵̲̅𝗮̲̅𝗽̲̅𝗽̲̅𝗲̲̅𝗻̲̅𝗶̲̅𝗻̲̅𝗴̲̅,̲̲̅] [̅𝗼̲̅𝗿̲̲̅] [̅𝗲̲̅𝘅̲̅𝗮̲̅𝗰̲̅𝘁̲̅𝗹̲̅𝘆̲̲̅] [̅𝘄̲̅𝗵̲̅𝗲̲̅𝗿̲̅𝗲̲̲̅] [̅𝗶̲̅𝘁̲̲̅] [̅𝗶̲̅𝘀̲̲̅] [̅𝗮̲̅𝗹̲̅𝗹̲̲̅] [̅𝗴̲̅𝗼̲̅𝗶̲̅𝗻̲̅𝗴̲̅.̲̲̅] [̅𝗪̲̅𝗵̲̅𝗮̲̅𝘁̲̲̅] [̅𝘆̲̅𝗼̲̅𝘂̲̲̅] [̅𝗻̲̅𝗲̲̅𝗲̲̅𝗱̲̲̅] [̅𝗶̲̅𝘀̲̲̅] [̅𝘁̲̅𝗼̲̲̅] [̅𝗿̲̅𝗲̲̅𝗰̲̅𝗼̲̅𝗴̲̅𝗻̲̅𝗶̲̅𝘇̲̅𝗲̲̲̅] [̅𝘁̲̅𝗵̲̅𝗲̲̲̅] [̅𝗽̲̅𝗼̲̅𝘀̲̅𝘀̲̅𝗶̲̅𝗯̲̅𝗶̲̅𝗹̲̅𝗶̲̅𝘁̲̅𝗶̲̅𝗲̲̅𝘀̲̲̅] [̅𝗮̲̅𝗻̲̅𝗱̲̲̅] [̅𝗰̲̅𝗵̲̅𝗮̲̅𝗹̲̅𝗹̲̅𝗲̲̅𝗻̲̅𝗴̲̅𝗲̲̅𝘀̲̲̅] [̅𝗼̲̅𝗳̲̅𝗳̲̅𝗲̲̅𝗿̲̅𝗲̲̅𝗱̲̲̅] [̅𝗯̲̅𝘆̲̲̅] [̅𝘁̲̅𝗵̲̅𝗲̲̲̅] [̅𝗽̲̅𝗿̲̅𝗲̲̅𝘀̲̅𝗲̲̅𝗻̲̅𝘁̲̲̅] [̅𝗺̲̅𝗼̲̅𝗺̲̅𝗲̲̅𝗻̲̅𝘁̲̅,̲̲̅] [̅𝗮̲̅𝗻̲̅𝗱̲̲̅] [̅𝘁̲̅𝗼̲̲̅] [̅𝗲̲̅𝗺̲̅𝗯̲̅𝗿̲̅𝗮̲̅𝗰̲̅𝗲̲̲̅] [̅𝘁̲̅𝗵̲̅𝗲̲̅𝗺̲̲̅] [̅𝘄̲̅𝗶̲̅𝘁̲̅𝗵̲̲̅] [̅𝗰̲̅𝗼̲̅𝘂̲̅𝗿̲̅𝗮̲̅𝗴̲̅𝗲̲̅,̲̲̅] [̅𝗳̲̅𝗮̲̅𝗶̲̅𝘁̲̅𝗵̲̲̅] [̅𝗮̲̅𝗻̲̅𝗱̲̲̅] [̅𝗵̲̅𝗼̲̅𝗽̲̅𝗲̲̅.̲̅”̲̲̅] [̅.̲̲̅] [̅―̲̲̅] [̅𝗧̲̅𝗵̲̅𝗼̲̅𝗺̲̅𝗮̲̅𝘀̲̲̅] [̅𝗠̲̅𝗲̲̅𝗿̲̅𝘁̲̅𝗼̲̅𝗻̲̲̅]

jan2020. cocoa beach, florida



JANUARY 18, 2020

Week 166

Experts in authoritarianism advise to keep a list of things
subtly changing around you, so you’ll remember.

This week the articles of impeachment were transmitted to the Senate, and the impeachment trial formally began. Senators were sworn in, but it was unclear if they planned to follow the oath they swore to deliver impartial justice.


This week the House released hundreds of pages of documents provided by Lev Parnas, an associate of Rudy Giuliani. Parnas made stunning disclosures in MSNBC and CNN interviews of other Trump regime members being “in the loop” on Trump’s plan to withhold aid from Ukraine pending the announcement of investigations, including Vice President Mike Pence, former Energy Secretary Rick Perry, and many others.


As the Senate trial was about to begin, the nonpartisan Government Accountability Office found Trump had violated the law by withholding Ukraine aid. The government of Ukraine also announced it would open a criminal investigation into Trump regime members’ alleged surveillance of former U.S. ambassador to Ukraine Maria Yovanovitch disclosed in the Parnas documents, while Secretary of State Mike Pompeo skipped scheduled Congressional hearings on Iran, and largely hid from the media for the balance of the week.

East Village, NYC Nov2019
East Village, NYC Nov2019
East Village, NYC Nov2019
  1. On Friday, WAPO reported that in a National Archives exhibit celebrating the centennial of women’s suffrage, a 49-by-69-inch photograph of the 2017 Women’s March was altered to blur posters carried by marchers critical of Trump.
  2. The Archives acknowledged in a statement to the Post that it made multiple alternations to the original photo blurring signs held by protestors that were critical of Trump or referenced women’s anatomy.
  3. The Archives said the decision was made by agency managers and museum staff members. Officials did not provide the Post with examples of other photographs being altered to avoid engaging political controversy.
  4. On Monday, Trump retweeted a doctored image of Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer wearing Muslim garments in front of an Iranian flag, which said, “The corrupted Dems trying their best to come to the Ayatollah’s rescue.”
  5. Jasmine El-Gamal, Obama’s adviser for the Middle East, called Trump’s tweet “deeply damaging” to Muslims in the U.S. as it suggests being Muslim is incompatible with being loyal to America.
  6. On Saturday, Trump tweeted support for anti-government protests in Tehran for victims of the plane crash, “To the brave, long-suffering people of Iran: I’ve stood with you since the beginning of my Presidency.”
  7. On Sunday, Trump continued, tweeting, “To the leaders of Iran — DO NOT KILL YOUR PROTESTERS. Thousands have already been killed or imprisoned by you, and the World is watching.”
  8. On Sunday, a new ABC News/Ipsos poll found 56% disapprove of Trump’s handling of Iran, 43% approve. The polls also found 52% feel less safe after the strike, 25% feel more safe, and 22% say they are not effected.
  9. On Sunday, Trump attacked Obama’s secretary of state, falsely claiming John Kerry admitted giving funds“ridiculously to Iran were used to fund attacks on the USA,” calling Kerry a “complete fool.”
  10. Trump also tweeted before Speaker Pelosi appeared on “This Week,” “ask Crazy Nancy why she allowed Adam “Shifty” Schiff to totally make up my conversation,” adding, “He got caught!”
  11. On Sunday, Pelosi told “This Week” that she would not rule out the House subpoenaing former NSA John Bolton to testify if the Senate trial does not include witnesses.
  12. Pelosi also said she has not ruled out the possibility of additional articles of impeachment against Trump, saying, “Let’s just see what the Senate does. The ball will be in their court soon.”
  13. When asked about Trump’s tweets, she said, “I don’t like to spend too much time on his crazy tweets, because everything he says is a projection,” adding, “Everything he says you can just translate it back to who he is.”
  14. Pelosi also said, “The president is impeached for life, regardless of any gamesmanship on the part of Mitch McConnell,” adding, “There is nothing the Senate can do to ever erase that.”
  15. Pelosi also said, “As I have said in terms of this president, all roads lead to Putin,” adding, “And sometimes I wonder about Mitch McConnell, too. Why is he an accomplice to all of that?
  16. Heading into impeachment, a Morning Consult/Politico poll found 57% of registered voters think the Senate should call witnesses at the impeachment trial, 24% do not.
  17. Shortly after Pelosi’s interview on “This Week,” Trump quoted Fox News analyst Gregg Jarrett, tweeting, “Pelosi has made a mockery of Impeachment. Her Articles are so weak,” and “she thought she could extort the Senate. She couldn’t.”
  18. Trump also tweeted a clip of Fox News host Jeanine Pirro’s show, adding, “This phony Impeachment Hoax should not even be allowed to proceed. Did NOTHING wrong. Just a partisan vote. Zero Republicans.”
  19. Shortly after, Trump tweeted, “Why did Nervous Nancy allow corrupt politician Shifty Schiff to lie before Congress? He must be a Witness, and so should she!”
  20.  Trump also tweeted, “Why should I have the stigma of Impeachment attached to my name when I did NOTHING wrong?” calling it “a totally partisan Hoax,” and “Very unfair to tens of millions of voters!”
  21. Trump also suggested the Senate should dismiss House charges, tweeting, “Many believe that by the Senate giving credence to a trial based on the no evidence, no crimes” gives it “credibility that it otherwise does not have.”
  22. Trump also attacked David Kris, a Justice Department official appointed to review the FBI’s wiretap reform, mimicking a Fox Business News segment in which Rep. Devin Nunes attacked Kris.
  23. Trump tweeted, “You can’t make this up! David Kris, a highly controversial former DOJ official, was just appointed by the FISA Court to oversee reforms,” adding, “Zero credibility. THE SWAMP!”
  24. Trump also lashed out at Michael Atkinson, his appointee for Intelligence Committee Inspector General, tweeting, “ICIG Michael Atkinson facing serious questions,” and suggesting he is part of an anti-Trump conspiracy.
  25. On Sunday, House Intelligence Committee Chair Adam Schiff told “Face the Nation” that his committee is “considering” subpoenaing Bolton, adding, “Americans want to see a fair trial in the Senate.”
  26. On Sunday, Defense Secretary Mark Esper told “Face the Nation” that he “didn’t see a specific piece of evidence” backing Trump’s claim that Iran was preparing to attack four U.S. embassies.
  27. Esper said Trump was making the point that such an attack was “probably” in the works, adding he shared that view, saying, “my expectation was they were going to go after our embassies.”
  28. On Monday, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo declined an invitation by the House Foreign Affairs Committeeto testify on the Soleimani strike. Chair Eliot Engel said he was “disappointed and frustrated” by the decision.
  29. On Monday, NBC News reported Trump authorized the killing of Iranian Gen. Qassem Soleimani in June 2019, in a directive that gave Trump the final sign-off on any specific operation.
  30. The idea initially came up in 2017 under former NSA H.R. McMaster, but came under more serious consideration in 2018 under Bolton. Trump signed off on the strike after the attack on the U.S. embassy in Baghdad.
  31. The directive’s existence explained why the option of the strike on Soleimani was on the menu provided to Trump, but undermined the regime’s stated rationale for carrying out the strike.
  32. On Monday, Trump tweeted, “The Democrats and the Fake News are trying to make terrorist Soleimani into a wonderful guy,” adding, “because I did what should have been done for 20 years.”
  33. Trump also tweeted, “it doesn’t really matter” whether “the future attack by terrorist Soleimani was “imminent” or not,” claiming, “because of his horrible past!” The original tweet misspelled “imminent” as “eminent.”
  34. On Monday, Pompeo shifted the explanation for the strike in a speech saying it was part of a larger strategy of deterrence, saying Iran “must now understand what we will do if they ever again pose risk to American lives.”
  35. Pompeo also responded to questions, saying, “There was in fact a set of imminent attacks that were being plotted by Qassem Soleimani,” and “It was unmistakable,” that “the risks were real and growing.”
  36. On Monday, CNN reported State Department officials say they were not notified of “imminent” threats against four U.S. embassies, and did not issue specific warnings to the embassies before the strike.
  37. On Thursday, Defense One reported 11 U.S. troops were injured in the January 8 Iran missile strike and airlifted to Kuwait and Germany. The Trump regime did not share this information with the American public.
  38. On Monday, Trump tweeted, falsely claiming, “I was the person who saved Pre-Existing Conditions in your Healthcare,” and “rid you of the expensive, unfair and very unpopular Individual Mandate.”
  39. Trump later tweeted “I stand stronger than anyone in protecting your Healthcare with Pre-Existing Conditions. I am honored to have terminated the very unfair, costly and unpopular individual mandate for you!”
  40. AP Fact Check reported Trump’s claims are false: his alternatives to Obamacare does not cover preexisting conditions, while they are covered with Obamacare in place.
  41. NYT reported the Trump regime said in a filing to the Supreme Court that its lawsuit to invalidate Obamacare is not in any rush, and can wait until after the elections while lower courts consider questions more carefully.
  42. The Republican states who filed the lawsuit, and had pushed the Supreme Court to settle the case quickly, reversed too, saying in a filing “the current petitions do not justify immediate, emergency review by the court.”
  43. On Monday, Trump tweeted, “Bernie Sander’s volunteers are trashing Elizabeth “Pocahontus” [sic] Warren, Everybody knows her campaign is dead,” and, “Mini Mike B is also trying, but getting tiny crowds.”
  44. Trump also tweeted, “Really Big Breaking News (Kidding): Booker, who was in zero polling territory, just dropped out,” adding, “I was sooo concerned that I would someday have to go head to head with him!”
  45. On Monday, Joseph Bondy, the attorney for Lev Parnas, tweeted a photo of Parnas and Trump together, and said they provided “a trove of Lev Parnas’ WhatsApp messages, text messages & images” to the House.
  46. On Monday, the White House urged Senate Republicans to preserve the option to speed through a Senate impeachment trial and dismiss charges as Trump looked for a quick end to the proceedings.
  47. Republicans debated including a provision in the resolution to dismiss the charges, which would require 51 votes and would stop the trial. Senate Majority Leader McConnell told Republicans he does not want to hold that vote if it would fail.
  48. On Monday, Trump tweeted, ““We demand fairness” shouts Pelosi and the Do Nothing Democrats, yet the Dems in the House wouldn’t let us have 1 witness, no lawyers or even ask questions,” calling it a “witch-hunt.”
  49. Pelosi responded, accusing Trump of a cover-up, contrasting it to the “Clinton impeachment process,” in which “66 witnesses were allowed to testify including 3 in the Senate trial, and 90,000 pages of documents were turned over.”
  50. Pelosi added in a tweet, “Trump was too afraid to let any of his top aides testify & covered up every single document,” adding, “The Senate must #EndTheCoverUp.”
  51. Later Monday, Sen. Roy Blunt, the No. 4 Republican, told reporters there “certainly there aren’t 51 votes for a motion to dismiss” articles of impeachment against Trump.
  52. On Monday, a Quinnipiac poll found 46% believe the Senate trial should remove Trump from office, 48% did not. The poll also found 66% say they would like to see Bolton testify.
  53. Later Monday, CBS News reported the White House is preparing for at least four GOP Senators to defect and vote to call witnesses, including Sens. Lisa Murkowski, Susan Collins, Mitt Romney, and possibly Cory Gardner.
  54. Other possible defections included Sens. Rand Paul and Lamar Alexander, a Senate “institutionalist.” White House officials also said they expected Trump to invoke executive privilege to block Bolton from testifying.
  55. On Monday, NYT reported Russians hackers from a military intelligence unit GRU successfully hacked Ukrainian gas company Burisma, which is at the center of the impeachment trial.
  56. It was unclear what hackers found, or what they were looking for; experts suggested they were searching for potentially embarrassing information on the Bidens, such as Trump sought in investigations he requested from Ukraine.
  57. The Russian tactic is similar to the one used in the 2016 election: the GRU set up fake websites that mimicked Burisma subsidiaries, and emailed them to Burisma employees in what looked like internal company emails.
  58. On Tuesday, CNN reported behind closed doors, Pelosi raised concerns to her caucus about the Russian hack into Burisma. Pelosi said she learned of the hack through reporting and the Gang of Eight had not been briefed.
  59. Pelosi also said McConnell is acting like a rogue Senate leader, and mused that she sometimes wonders if he has Russian connections.
  60. On Sunday, Axios reported Russian President Vladimir Putin urged Syrian President Bashar al-Assad to invite Trump to Damascus in a video that aired Sunday on Russia-1 television channel.
  61. On Wednesday, in his annual state-of-the-nation speech, Putin called for constitutional changes which would give him a path to hold on to power after the end of his term in 2024, as he reaches a two term limit again.
  62. In response, Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev, a long-time Putin ally, unexpectedly resigned, along with his entire cabinet. The change would weaken the presidency and give the cabinet and PM more power.
  63. On Monday, the Treasury Department released data showing the U.S. budget deficit surpassed $1 trillion in 2019, a 17% increase from 2018, and its highest level since 2012.
  64. On Monday, a Wisconsin judge found the state Elections Commission and three of its members in contemptfor not having removed more than 200,000 voters from the voter rolls, and fined them $250 per day each.
  65. On Monday, George Nader, a key witness in the Mueller probe, pleaded guilty to child sex charges. Nader also still faces federal court charges of conspiring to funnel illegal campaign contributions.
  66. On Wednesday, lawyers for Michael Flynn said he is looking to withdraw his guilty plea he offered two years ago, just two weeks before he was set to face his long-delayed sentencing.
  67. On Thursday, a federal judge agreed to postpone Flynn’s sentencing for another month while he considers the request to withdraw his plea.
  68. On Thursday, Time magazine’s cover story featured Kushner, with the headline, “The Family Business: the Unusual Power of Jared Kushner.” Campaign manager Brad Parscale refers to Kushner as “No. 2 after Trump.”
  69. On Monday, the Trump regime asked the Supreme Court to lift a lower court order blocking its effort to make it more difficult for immigrants who rely on public assistance, known as public charge, to gain legal status.
  70. On Monday, WAPO reported Trump is preparing to divert an additional $7.2 billion in Pentagon funds for his wall, five times the amount Congress had authorized — and bringing the total to $18.4 billion.
  71. The regime took $2.5 billion from military counterdrug programs in 2019 and will increase it to $3.5 billionin 2020. The regime will also divert $3.7 billion in military construction funding, up from $3.6 billion in 2019.
  72. Trump viewed the court ruling in his favor in Week 165 as encouragement to take more money. The regime has completed 101 miles of new barrier wall so far, far less than the 450 miles Trump promised by election day.
  73. On Monday, Nelly Jordan, a Republican Party leader in Delaware, was removed from her position as vice chair after posting on Facebook that Jewish people who support impeaching Trump are Jews “in name only.”
  74. On Tuesday, a high school student in Kentucky was expelled from Whitefield Academy after a photo of her 15th birthday celebration was shared on social media, showing her wearing a rainbow shirt.
  75. An official at the school said the picture “demonstrates a posture of morality and cultural acceptance contraryto that of Whitefield Academy’s beliefs,” and was one of her “lifestyle violations.”
  76. On Tuesday, leaked emails show Trump advisor Stephen Miller suggested to Breitbart the idea of shipping immigrants out of the U.S. on trains as a scare tactic, saying migrants might “replace existing demographics.”
  77. On Tuesday, Yahoo News reported that in addition to appointing judges who are extremists, out of 187 confirmed judges, 85% of Trump nominees have been white and 76% have been men.
  78. On Tuesday, Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee announced he will sign a measure into law which allowed continued funding to faith-based foster care and adoption agencies that exclude LGBTQ families based on religious beliefs.
  79. On Thursday, NYT reported the FBI arrested three men suspected of being members of a neo-Nazi hate group called The Base, on their way to a pro-gun rally in Virginia, in anticipation of a possible race war.
  80. On Friday, HuffPost reported three additional neo-Nazis were arrested in the lead-up to the Virginia gun rally: three Georgia men were arrested on charges of conspiracy to commit murder as part of The Base.
  81. Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam declared a state of emergency and banned firearms and other weapons on the Capitol grounds for the week. On Friday, the Supreme Court upheld the ban after it was challenged.
  82. On Friday, a WAPO-Ipsos poll found more than 8 in 10 black Americans describe Trump as racist, and has made racism a bigger issue in the country. The poll also found 9 in 10 disapprove of the job he has done.
  83. On Friday, Pew Research found 68% of Hispanic voters disapprove of Trump, and 67% are dissatisfied with the country’s direction under him. Among Democrats, 87% place a high importance on the 2020 election.
  84. On Friday, the Supreme Court agreed to consider whether the Trump regime can allow employers to limit women’s access to free birth control under the Affordable Care Act.
  85. On Tuesday, Parnas attorney Bondy shared a photo with the Daily Beast of Parnas with Ivanka and Jared at an event. A White House official called it “one of tens of thousands of pictures they take every year.”
  86. On Tuesday, Sen. Tim Kaine told reporters that as many as 10 Republican Senators are considering supporting his resolution that would direct Trump to remove forces from any hostilities against Iran within 30 days.
  87. On Tuesday, Politico reported Sen. Ted Cruz pitched the idea of witness reciprocity, saying if Democrats wanted to hear from Bolton as a witness, Republicans would be able to call Hunter Biden.
  88. On Tuesday, NYT reported behind the scenes, Trump’s team was inviting conservative activists to the White House to plan and strategize as they braced for a damaging period.
  89. Lawmakers were also anxious as they faced an unpredictable process, and debates raged publicly and privately about whether to call witnesses and compel no evidence.
  90. Later Tuesday, House Democrats released dozens of pages of notes, text messages, and other records provided by Parnas to the four House committees on the day before articles were set to be transmitted.
  91. Documents were sent to the Senate in a letter from Schiff saying, “Despite unprecedented obstruction” by Trump, “the committee continues to receive and review” evidence and will make “supplemental transmittals.”
  92. Documents included Parnas’ handwritten notes on Ritz-Carlton Hotel in Vienna paper, which he claimed were instructions from Giuliani, saying, “get Zalensky [sic] to announce that the Biden case will be investigated.”
  93. Documents also included exchanges with Ukrainian prosecutor Yuriy Lutsenko in March 2019 on WhatsApp, in which he complains to Parnas about Maria Yovanovitch: “you can’t even get rid of one [female] fool.”
  94. Documents also showed Parnas helped set up a video interview for Lutsenko with John Solomon at The Hillnewspaper on Yovanovitch. After the interview, Parnas texted it to Ahearn and wrote, “Have jr retweet it.”
  95. Ahearn replied “Sent,” then Parnas texted, urging him to “Watch Hannity.” Other texts indicate Trump tweeted about the Hannity segment, and Donald Jr. tweeted the U.S. needs “less of these jokes as ambassadors.”
  96. Texts from a Trump donor, former Marine and 2020 House candidate Robert Hyde, to Parnas seemed to indicate he had Yovanovitch under surveillance in March, and made comments that appeared threatening.
  97. On March 25, Hyde texted Parnas, “She’s talked to three people. Her phone is off. Computer is off.” Then later, “They know she’s a political puppet,” followed by, “They will let me know when she’s on the move.”
  98. Hyde also texted, “They are willing to help if we/you would like a price … Guess you can do anything in Ukraine with money … what I was told.” Parnas responded: “Lol.”
  99. Documents also included a May 10, 2019 letter from Giuliani to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky requesting a meeting, in which he said Trump had “knowledge and consent” of his actions, the first public document to state this.
  100. Giuliani also said in the letter that he was acting in Trump’s personal capacity, writing, “In my capacity as personal counsel to President Trump,” and added that he would “be accompanied by my colleague Victoria Toensing.”
  101. On Tuesday, Trump held a campaign rally in Milwaukee, Wisconsin during a Democratic debate. Trump said of Soleimani, “Great percentages of people don’t have legs or arms because of this son of a bitch.”
  102. Trump also mocked Democrats, saying it, “doesn’t matter” to them that Soleimani killed “hundreds of thousands of people,” claiming, “they’ll start a new investigation” over whether there was really any imminent threat.
  103. Trump also implied the number of embassies under attack could have been more than four — a charge his own regime did not back — saying, “If I didn’t kill him, and let’s say we lost three, four, five embassies or bases.”
  104. Trump blamed Obama for Soleimani, the “king of roadside bombs,” saying, “He should have been killed 20 years ago.” He also attacked Pelosi, saying, “her district is filthy dirty,” telling her to spend more time at home.
  105. Trump also touted a war crime, saying, “People said to me, ‘why are you staying in Syria?’” adding, “Because I kept the oil. Which frankly, we should have done in Iraq.”
  106. Trump also veered off, saying, “Somebody said, ‘Oh, sir, don’t mention the lightbulb,’” adding, “The new lightbulb costs five times as much, and it makes you look orange,” and he cares more about the orange light than the cost.
  107. Trump also commented on dishwashers, hyping “new dishwashers that give you more water so you can actually watch and rinse your dishes without having to do it 10 times.”
  108. NYT reported Trump’s voice was uncharacteristically hoarse as he delivered his standard rambling speech, delivering rosy memories of 2016 and airing grievances. He also faced protestors in the sea of red t-shirts.
  109. On Wednesday, Chair Schiff said the Parnas documents make clear Giuliani “is acting at the behest and with the knowledge and consent of the president,” and the documents represent a small sample of what Trump is withholding.
  110. On Wednesday, House Foreign Affairs Committee Chair Engel requested documents from the State Department related to Hyde, Parnas, and Yovanovitch, noting alarm that Hyde texted he had “a person inside.”
  111. On Wednesday, Politico reported the State Department abruptly canceled two classified congressional briefings on embassy security and the U.S. relationship with Iran scheduled for Wednesday.
  112. The cancellations coincided with the release of Parnas’ documents. A House aide said staffers were “furious” and noted briefings are required by law every month. The State Department gave no explanation.
  113. On Wednesday, WAPO reported White House lawyers are trying to engineer the fastest impeachment trial in American history, with a goal of concluding the trial in a few days without calling witnesses.
  114. White House aides were also concerned about managing Trump and his tweeting during the trial. They plan to have several surrogates on television defending Trump during the trial.
  115. White House counsel Pat Cipollone is expected to lead Trump’s defense team after Trump took advice not to appoint House members. Some aides worry if Cipollone will perform well enough on television for Trump.
  116. On Tuesday, European countries triggered a dispute mechanism in the Iran nuclear deal that could lead to the return of U.N. sanctions. Britain, France, and Germany said Iran’s recent statements left them “no choice.”
  117. On Wednesday, WAPO reported days before Britain, France, and Germany warned of the violation, Trump had threatened to impose a 25% tariff on European automobiles if they refused to call out Iran.
  118. On Wednesday, NPR reported the Trump regime is expected to release more than $8 billion allocated through a Department of Housing and Urban Development disaster recovery fund to Puerto Rico.
  119. The aid was supposed to be released months ago to help Puerto Rico rebuild in the wake of Hurricanes Irma and Maria in 2017. So far $1.5 billion has been made available after Congress approved $20 billion.
  120. Congressional Democrats have continuously complained about the delay. They sought to ramp up pressure on the regime after Puerto Rico recently faced a series of earthquakes recently.
  121. HUD was meant to release $8.2 billion of aid in September, but did not. Forty members of Congress asked HUD Sec. Ben Carson in a letter for “an explanation as to why your Department has chosen to violate the law.”
  122. On Wednesday, Politico reported that U.S. intelligence officials have quietly asked the House and Senate intelligence committees not to hold open hearings this year on election security, fearing anger by Trump.
  123. The request came from the Director of National Intelligence, saying they did not want intelligence chiefs to be seen on camera disagreeing with Trump on big issues like threats from Iran, Russia, or North Korea.
  124. On Thursday, AP reported federal officials announced in a change of policy, the FBI plans to notify state officials, in most cases the secretary of state, if local election systems have been breached.
  125. In the past, only local officials were notified, meaning state officials might certify an election without realizing there had been a breach in individual counties. The change is meant to bolster federal-state cooperation.
  126. On Friday, acting DHS Secretary Chad Wolf said at an event that Homeland Security “fully expects” Russia to attempt to interfere in U.S. elections in 2020, but added, “Let me be clear: We are prepared.”
  127. Wolf said, “As we saw in 2016,” Russia will “attempt to interfere in the 2020 elections to sow public discordand undermine our democratic institutions.” He also highlighted threats from China and Iran.
  128. Wolf said agencies are “laser-focused” on securing the 2020 elections, and praised reforms made since 2016 which he claimed ensure that “over 90 percent of votes cast in 2020 will have a corresponding paper ballot.”
  129. On Friday, the Kansas City Star reported a local Kansas City radio station, KCXL, signed a lease to broadcast six hours of programming from a Russian state-owned media outlet Radio Sputnik.
  130. The station is owned by RM Broadcasting in Florida. The owner, Arnold Ferolito, disputed the DNI’s 2017 assessment that Sputnik and RT were involved in Moscow’s efforts to influence the 2016 election.
  131. On Wednesday, Pelosi announced her impeachment managers, a diverse group led by Chair Schiff, including Chairs Jerrold Nadler and Zoe Logren, and Reps. Hakeem Jeffries, Sylvia Garcia, Val Demings and Jason Crow.
  132. There have been 20 impeachment managers in U.S. history and all have been white men. Pelosi picked three women to be part of the seven, and three people of color.
  133. As Pelosi was naming her managers in a ceremony, Trump tweeted, “Here we go again, another Con Job by the Do Nothing Democrats,” adding, “All of this work was supposed to be done by the House, not the Senate!”
  134. Pelosi said the managers would walk the articles to the Senate at 5 p.m. McConnell’s office said the Senate must first notify the House managers that they are ready to receive the articles and asked for Thursday at noon.
  135. In opening debate on the resolution, Nadler said Trump “gravely abused the power of his office” and “betrayed our country” by using the “powers of his office” to pressure a “government to help him win reelection.”
  136. Pelosi stood next to a poster of an American flag and a quote from the Pledge of Allegiance, and said “once somebody is impeached, they are always impeached. It cannot be erased,” adding Trump “gave us no choice.”
  137. Pelosi also said Trump was guilty of “an assault on the Constitution of the United States,” and addressing Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, added, “It’s not personal. It’s not political. It’s not partisan. It’s patriotic.”
  138. The resolution to send the articles passed 228-193. Pelosi held an engrossment ceremony at 5 p.m., then impeachment managers marched to the Capitol Rotunda to present the articles to the secretary of the Senate.
  139. Pelosi signed the resolution with black impeachment pens with her signature emblazoned in gold, and used one pen for each letter, then handed them out to members of Congress. Republicans complained.
  140. After the articles were delivered, McConnell announced the details for Thursday’s proceedings. As promised earlier, in the latest gamesmanship, McConnell did not accept articles Wednesday from Democrats’ procession.
  141. On Wednesday, as the House voted on impeachment, Trump signed phase one of the trade deal with China, months after initially claiming the countries had made a deal. The phase offered modest changes.
  142. Trump held a grandiose ceremony in the White House with Chinese officials, flanked by his team of all white men, inviting 27 members of Congress, four cabinet secretaries, two governors, and a Fox Business host.
  143. Trump told reporters, “Some of the congressmen may have a vote,” calling it “the impeachment hoax,” adding, “it’s not going to matter…But I’d rather have you voting than sitting here listening to me introduce you, OK?”
  144. Later Wednesday, Rep. Demings, one of the impeachment managers, called on McConnell to recuse himself from the impeachment trial given his statement on Fox News that he is coordinating with the White House.
  145. Deming’s statement noted: “The moment Senator McConnell takes the oath of impartiality required by the Constitution, he will be in violation,” adding, “he has effectively promised” to let Trump manage his own trial.
  146. Later Wednesday, Parnas told MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow, “Trump knew exactly what was going on,” adding, “He was aware of all my movements. I wouldn’t do anything without the consent” of Giuliani or Trump.
  147. Parnas also said of Zelensky and his inner circle, “they have no reason to speak to me,” adding, “They were told to meet with me. And that’s the secret that they’re trying to keep. I was on the ground doing their work.”
  148. Asked if the Ukraine effort by Giuliani was to hurt Joe Biden, Parnas said, “it was never about corruption. It was never — it was strictly about Burisma, which included Hunter Biden and Joe Biden.”
  149. Parnas said when he arrived in Kyiv in May, he was given a clear directive by Giuliani to make clear to Zelensky that unless he publicly announced an investigation, Ukraine’s relationship “would be sour” with the U.S.
  150. Parnas said that one of the consequences he threatened was that Vice President Pence’s planned trip to attend Zelensky’s inauguration, a high-level recognition urgently sought by Ukrainians, would be canceled.
  151. The next day, Trump instructed Pence to cancel his trip to the inauguration. Parnas said that Pence was aware of what they were up to, and that the Ukrainians got the message.
  152. Parnas also said Attorney General William Barr was likely aware of what was going on, saying, “Mr. Barr had to have known everything. I mean, it’s impossible,” adding, “Attorney General Barr was basically on the team.”
  153. Parnas also said that he met several times with Rep. Devin Nunes, who had denied knowing him Parnas to Fox News, and said he was referred to a Nunes aide who was aware of what he and Giuliani were doing.
  154. Parnas said he wants to testify because “I want to get the truth out,” adding, “it’s important for our country,” and, “There’s a lot of things that are being said that are not accurate.”
  155. A spokeswoman for the DOJ told MSNBC that Parnas’ claims regarding Barr were “100 percent false.” Maddow said her show asked for a comment from Pence’s office, but did not get a response.
  156. While the show was airing, Giuliani said in a statement to MSNBC that Parnas “never” spoke on behalf of Trump. Asked if Parnas was lying, Giuliani said, “All I can say is the truth,” and, “He’s a very sad situation.”
  157. Later Wednesday, Rep. Nunes changed his previous story on Fox News, saying he can now remember the call, but describing it as “very odd and random, and saying Yovanovitch was not discussed.
  158. Shortly after, Rep. Ted Lieu tweeted that Nunes wrote him a letter threatening that he “will sue me if I didn’t apologize for saying last month that Nunes conspired with Parnas.”
  159. Shortly after, Hyde told Sinclair Broadcasting he had “absolutely not” been monitoring Yovanovitch, saying, “It was just colorful, we were playing — I thought we were playing.”
  160. Later Wednesday, NYT reported on their interview with Parnas. Parnas expressed regret for having trusted Trump and Giuliani. His lawyer said Parnas was eager to cooperate with prosecutors investigating Giuliani.
  161. Parnas said he did not speak with Trump on Ukraine, but he met with him several times and was told by Giuliani Trump was in the loop. Parnas said of a text from Giuliani, “It’s going to work I have no 1 in it,” “no 1” is Trump.
  162. Texts and call logs turned over by Parnas revealed he was in contact with Tom Hicks Jr., a Trump family friend, and Joseph Ahearn, a fundraiser for Trump, about the developments in Ukraine.
  163. In one photograph from May 2018, Parnas is pictured with Hicks and Donald Jr. That month, Parnas and his associate Igor Fruman donated $325,000 to a pro-Trump super PAC, with which Hicks and Ahearn were affiliated.
  164. Texts revealed a circle of communications on the topic of Yovanovitch between Parnas, Hicks, and Giuliani, and conservative media Fox News host Sean Hannity, the Daily Caller, and One America News Network.
  165. Later Wednesday, WAPO reported Hyde has a history of turbulent behavior including being involuntarily committed to a psychiatric hospital after an incident at Trump’s Doral resort in May 2019.
  166. Hyde was also had a restraining order against him for “inappropriate behavior and advances” against a female political consultant. His social media posts included him at the bowling alley at the White House in May.
  167. Later Wednesday, NYT reported Hyde was often seen in Trump circles at the Trump Hotel DC, and gained access to Trump events having donated $25,000 to Trump’s inaugural committee, and other GOP causes.
  168. On Thursday, in an interview with CNN, Parnas said he met Ukrainian officials another time to demand an investigation of the Bidens: the first was in early 2019 with then-Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko.
  169. Parnas said he told Poroshenko he would need to announce an inquiry of Burisma: “Trump would either invite him to the White House or make a statement for him, but basically would start supporting him for president.”
  170. Parnas said he later told a Zelensky aide unless they announced an investigation “there was no aid,” “no inauguration, Pence wouldn’t be at the inauguration,” and “no visit to the White House.”
  171. Parnas also said Joe diGenova and Victoria Toensing arranged a sit-down with Barr and senior DOJ officials on behalf of their client Ukrainian oligarch Dmytro Firtash, who agreed to get dirt on the Bidens.
  172. Parnas said Barr was aware of the arrangement, saying, “Bill Barr basically did (the meeting) as a favor to Joe diGenova.” Parnas also got a cut of the $1 million retainer Firtash paid for the lawyers.
  173. On Thursday, NYT reported Ukraine has opened a criminal investigation into allies of Trump, following reports that Yovanovitch was under surveillance while stationed in Kyiv as revealed in Parnas’ documents.
  174. The Internal Affairs Ministry of Ukraine said documents “contain facts of possible violations of Ukrainian law and of the Vienna Convention on diplomatic relations, which protect the rights of diplomats.”
  175. The statement also noted Ukraine “cannot ignore such illegal activities” on its territory. The move was a remarkable departure for Zelensky, who has tried to avoid any hint of partisanship dealing with the U.S.
  176. On Thursday, Ukraine also said it has asked the FBI for help in investigating the reported hacking of Burisma by hackers working for Russia.
  177. On Thursday, Pence told reporters of Parnas, “I don’t know the guy,” and called the allegation that he was aware of efforts to pressure Ukraine to investigate the Bidens as “completely false.”
  178. On Thursday, the non-partisan federal watchdog agency Government Accountability Office said the White House’s Office of Management and Budget violated the law when it withheld $391 million from Ukraine.
  179. At issue is the Impoundment Control Act which limits a president’s power to withhold money that has been allocated by Congress without legislative branch approval. The Act was enacted in 1974 over Nixon’s veto.
  180. The Trump regime rejected the findings. This is the third time the GAO has found Trump violated the act, including in December 2017 related to Energy Department funds and December 2018 related to the DHS funds.
  181. Although the report does not result in any action or specific penalty against the White House or Trump, it will focus attention in the impeachment trial on the legality of Trump freezing Ukraine aide.
  182. On Thursday, GOP Sen. Martha McSally lashed out at a CNN reporter asking her about impeachment, saying, “You’re a liberal hack. I’m not talking to you.” McSally also tweeted a video clip of the encounter.
  183. On Thursday, at her weekly news conference, Pelosi said of Republicans who do not want the Parnas evidence introduced at the trial, “They’re afraid of the truth,” and “want to ignore anything new that comes up.”
  184. Pelosi added, “Public opinion will have a lot to do with this,” adding, “public opinion has grown enormously for seeing witnesses…and documentation,” and “they’ll just have to contend with the public on that.”
  185. Pelosi also criticized Facebook, calling the company “shameful” and accused it of acting in an “irresponsible” way, adding, “They didn’t even check on the money from Russia in the last election.”
  186. Pelosi added, “The Facebook business model is strictly to make money,” adding, “They don’t care about the impact on children” or the “truth,” and they intend “to be accomplices for misleading the American people.”
  187. On Thursday, the Senate began the formal impeachment trial. The House impeachment managers again walked the articles of impeachment to the Senate. Schiff read aloud the articles of impeachment to the Senators.
  188. Schiff added Trump “warrants impeachment and trial, removal from office, and disqualification to hold and enjoy any office of honor, trust, or profit under the United States.”
  189. Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts administered an oath to 99 senators in session (Sen. James Inhofe was absent), requiring them to swear to deliver “impartial justice” as jurors in the trial.
  190. The clerk then called each Senator by name for their turn to sign the oath book on a table in the well of the Senate, meant to convey the gravity of presidential and judicial impeachment trials.
  191. On Thursday, Senators voted unanimously to allow the sergeant-at-arms to “install appropriate equipment and furniture in the Senate chamber.” Cell phones, computers, and other electronic gadgets will not be allowed.
  192. On Thursday, shortly after the Senate trial got underway, Trump tweeted, “I JUST GOT IMPEACHED FOR MAKING A PERFECT PHONE CALL!”
  193. On Thursday, following calls from Democrats led by Sen. Kamala Harris, Senate Judiciary Committee Chair Lindsey Graham paused judicial nominations during the impeachment trial.
  194. On Thursday, NYT reported the DOJ will investigate a years-old leak of classified information about a Russian intelligence document, and appear to be focusing on former FBI director and Trump adversary James Comey.
  195. The investigation marked the second time the DOJ has investigated Comey, who Trump has called a “leaker” and said he should face prison time, and will focus on Comey providing details to reporters.
  196. Prosecutors are examining articles in the NYT and WAPO in 2017, which cite a Russian government document. The document played a key role in Comey’s decision not to recommend charges against Hillary Clinton.
  197. The timing of the investigation was highly unusual given leaks are typically investigated when they happen. It is being conducted by the U.S. attorney office in Washington, which is also investigating Andrew McCabe.
  198. On Thursday, in the second part of his MSNBC interview, Parnas said, “it was all about 2020, to make sure [Trump] had another four years,” adding, “There was no other reason for doing it.”
  199. Parnas also said then Energy Secretary Rick Perry was involved, noting on his way to Zelensky’s inauguration, he called Giuliani “to ask him what to discuss, and Rudy told him to make sure to give [Zelensky] the message.”
  200. Parnas added that Perry called Giuliani after the inauguration, saying “that he spoke to Zelensky, and Zelensky’s going to do it.” Parnas said the effort did lead to Zelensky making a general announcement.
  201. Parnas noted, “Giuliani blew his lid,” because the announcement “wasn’t supposed to be a corruption announcement,” adding, “It had to be about Joe Biden and Hunter Biden and Burisma.”
  202. Parnas also recalled a conversation with Trump at a super PAC dinner and saying something negative about Yovanovitch to him, then Trump immediately turning to an aide, John DeStefano, and said “fire her.”
  203. Parnas also said Trump lawyer Jay Sekulow was “in the loop,” adding he “didn’t agree with what Rudy was doing, but he knew what he was doing,” adding Selulow “didn’t want to be involved in the Ukraine stuff.”
  204. Parnos said Sekulow held discussions about getting a visa for Ukrainian general prosecutor Viktor Shokin so Giuliani could “debrief him in front of Lindsey Graham and certain other people like the attorney general.”
  205. Parnas also said that former Trump attorney John Dowd visited him in jail and told him to be a “good boy” and to “be quiet.” Records show Trump and Sekulow spoke about Dowd representing Parnas and Igor Fruman.
  206. Parnas also compared Trump to a “cult leader,” adding he believes he is more safe telling his story than leaving it in the hands of Barr, saying, “I’m more scared of our own justice department than I am of these criminals.”
  207. On Thursday, presidential historian Douglas Brinkley compared Trump to Billy the Kid and Al Capone, saying, “he’s going to be seen as acting in a demagogic way and acting in a dictatorial way.”
  208. On Friday, Trump announced his made-for-tv impeachment legal team, with the addition of former independent counsel Ken Starr and celebrity lawyer Alan Dershowitz.
  209. Trump also enlisted Robert Ray, Starr’s successor as independent counsel, who negotiated a settlement with Clinton as he left the White House. All three appear on Fox News, and face controversies.
  210. Dershowitz represented Jeffrey Epstein. Starr was fired as president of Baylor University over his mishandling of sexual misconduct by the football team. Ray was charged with stalking a former girlfriend.
  211. Trump’s legal team will be led by White House counsel Pat Cipollone, and his personal lawyer Sekulow, who will also be charged with preserving Trump’s support with Senate Republicans.
  212. Other lawyers on the team included Pam Bondi, the former Florida attorney general who declined to pursue charges against Trump University, along with Jane Serene Raskin, and Eric Herschmann.
  213. On Friday, Pompeo broke 72 hours of silence over alleged surveillance and threats to Yovanovitch, saying he believed the allegations were false, but that he had an obligation to evaluate and investigate the matter.
  214. Pompeo claimed in a radio interview that he had no knowledge of the allegations prior to the release of the Parnas documents, and claimed he did not know and had not met Parnas.
  215. On Friday, Chair Engel threatened in a letter to subpoena Pompeo to appear if he does not show up for the scheduled House Foreign Affair Committee hearing on January 29 to discuss Iran policy.
  216. On Friday, Trump tweeted, “The GOA got it exactly backwards,” meaning the GAO, citing quotes by Dershowitz and Sean Hannity on Fox News, adding, “They do what the House asks. The Swamp!”
  217. On Friday, the Trump regime proposed additional changes to former first lady Michelle Obama’s signature achievement of stricter nutritional standards on the school lunch menu. Friday was also Michelle’s birthday.
  218. USDA Deputy Under Secretary Brandon Lipps announced the changes would allow schools to cut the amount of vegetables and fruits on the menu, and sell more pizza, burgers, and fries.
  219. On Friday, newly released Parnas documents revealed repeated contact via text messages between Nunes’ aide, Derek Harvey, and Parnas relating to Giuliani’s Ukraine efforts.
  220. Text messages also revealed the three met at the Trump Hotel DC, and that Parnas set up calls for Harvey with the same Ukrainian prosecutors who were working with Giuliani.
  221. Text messages showed that Harvey sent Parnas Nunes’ contact information on April 10, two days before the two spoke. Parnas told MSNBC Nunes “couldn’t be in a spotlight,” citing “something to do with an ethics committee.”
  222. On Friday, Rep. Lieu tweeted a response to Nunes’ lawyer over his threat to sue him, saying, “It is true” Nunes worked with Parnas “and conspired to undermine our own government,” adding, “take your letter and shove it.”
  223. On Friday, Hyde pointed the finger at ardent European Trump supporter Anthony de Caluwe for surveilling Yovanovitch, claiming he had copied and pasted information received from him and sent it to Parnas.
  224. De Caluwe denied the allegations, telling NBC News that Hyde’s statement was “incorrect,” and saying he declined to provide the information Hyde sought, claiming, “I informed him it’s against the law.”
  225. On Saturday, de Caluwe reversed after an additional batch of documents were released, telling NBC News he did send the messages to Hyde, but that there was no actual surveillance and it was meant as a joke.
  226. De Caluwe said in a statement, “My engagement in this exchange with Rob is something that has no credibility. My friendship with Rob was jovial and this exchange was just a part of a ridiculous banter.”
  227. On Friday, in a court filing submitted shortly before midnight, former Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein said he was the one who made the decision to release Peter Strzok and Lisa Page texts.
  228. Rosenstein said he decided to release the texts to the media before his testimony citing concerns that they would be cherry-picked in a manner to undermine the DOJ, as well as Strzok and Page.
  229. On Saturday, Trump lawyer Bondi dismissed the new evidence on “TODAY,” saying, “Parnas liked to take pictures with a lot of people. He showed up at events pretty much everywhere where Republicans were.”
  230. When asked about evidence that Parnas had a breakfast meeting with Trump in September, just days before Parnas was arrested, Bondi replied, “I don’t know what that matters,” and “We’re going to stick to the facts” and law.
  231. On Saturday, WAPO reported at a Friday night fundraiser at Mar-a-Lago, Trump delivered a dramatic account, including new details, of the strike against Soleimani to donors.
  232. Trump did not mention an “imminent attack” or threats to U.S. embassies, instead saying Soleimani was responsible for “every young, beautiful man or woman who you see walking around with no legs, no arms.”
  233. Trump said to applause, “He was saying bad things about our country, like we’re going to attack, we’re going to kill your people. I said, ‘listen, how much of this shit do we have to listen to, right?’”
  234. Trump also described the Situation Room moments before the attack: ‘Sir, they have two minutes and 11 seconds.’ No emotion. ‘two minutes and 11 seconds to live, sir. They’re in the car….Then all of a sudden, boom.”
  235. Trump also bragged he increased the defense budget by $2.5 trillion (the actual amount is $738 billion), and said to those who criticize the budget deficit, “Who the hell cares about the budget? We’re going to have a country.”
  236. On Saturday, Trump retweeted, “Your 2nd Amendment is under very serious attack in the Great Commonwealth of Virginia,” and “That’s what happens when you vote for Democrats, they will take your guns away.”
  237. Trump’s tweet came as thousands were expected in Richmond to protest Gov. Northam’s measures put in place after arrests made by the FBI. The State Capitol was enclosed by a chain-link fence and barricades.
  238. On Saturday, thousands marched in the fourth Annual Women’s March in Washington DC and other U.S. cities. Participants said that this year demonstrators said they felt something new: hope.

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Clerk of the House Cheryl Johnson, left, and House Sergeant at Arms Paul Irving pass through Statuary Hall at the Capitol to deliver the articles of impeachment against Trump to the Senate, on Capitol Hill in Washington, Wednesday, Jan. 15, 2020. Following are impeachment managers, House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff, D-Calif., left, and House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerrold Nadler, D-N.Y., and other managers Rep. Hakeem Jeffries, D-N.Y., Rep. Sylvia Garcia, D-Texas, Rep. Val Demings, D-Fla., Rep. Zoe Lofgren, D-Calif., and Rep. Jason Crow, D-Colo.



“𝒯𝒽𝑒𝓇𝑒’𝓈 𝒶 𝓈𝓅𝑒𝒸𝒾𝒶𝓁 𝓆𝓊𝒶𝓁𝒾𝓉𝓎 𝓉𝑜 𝓉𝒽𝑒 𝓁𝑜𝓃𝑒𝓁𝒾𝓃𝑒𝓈𝓈 𝑜𝒻 𝒹𝓊𝓈𝓀.” .
– 𝐸𝒹 𝒢.
𝐵𝒶𝓃𝒶𝓃𝒶 🍌 𝑅𝒾𝓋𝑒𝓇


Cocoa Beach, FL 15jan2020


JANUARY 11, 2020

Week 165

Experts in authoritarianism advise to keep a list of things
subtly changing around you, so you’ll remember.

This week as the country was on the brink of war with Iran, we stood alone, with the Trump regime having neglected to consult with our allies in Europe or the region. Reporting indicated the decision to strike that precipitated the latest crisis was made by Trump and Trump alone, amid his shrinking circle of less experienced but more compliant national security experts. After Iran retaliated, Trump seemed flat-footed, saying he would address the country that night, then backing off. The next morning he addressed the nation in a speech which he seemed to struggle to deliver, full of lies and misinformation, and which clarified little on strategy or the reason for the escalation. One of the numerous unintended consequences of the escalation was a downed Ukrainian Air plane, with 176 passengers killed over Tehran in the fog of war.

The Scream was created by the Norwegian artist Edvard Munch in 1893 but it has become a masterpiece – the masterpiece – for our time. There are comparably “iconic” works of art – the Mona Lisa, Van Gogh’s Sunflowers – but they exist in a world of art and beauty. The Scream is ugly and brutal and belongs in the here and now. It is a symbol we reach for as we might for a strong word, to express what we’re feeling this minute.

The basis for the strike was in dispute during the week, as the regime failed to provide Congress or the American people with information to back their ever-changing rationale. By the end of the week, the regime indicated it was threats to U.S. embassies that led to the strike, with Trump specifying, without providing evidence, four embassies in total. Reporting also indicated there was another planned strike the day Soleimani was killed, targeting a senior Iranian military official in Yemen, that failed — indicating a broader attack may have been underway, and further muddying the regime’s account of events.

This week in New York City.

This week former National Security Advisor John Bolton offered to testify in the Senate impeachment trial, which Trump later said he would likely block, as House Speaker Nancy Pelosi scheduled a vote to send the articles to the Senate. Republicans continued to largely stand behind Trump, even as he nearly brought the country to war without reason, and as the impeachment trial is set to get underway.

This week in Rome, Italy. Artist: Qwerty
  1. On Wednesday, the New York Bar Association asked Congress in a letter to investigate Attorney General William Barr, saying his conduct “threatens public confidence in the fair and impartial administration of justice.”
  2. The letter also said Barr’s “recent actions and statements” position the AG, and by extension, the DOJ “as political partisans willing to use the levers of government to empower certain groups over others.”
  3. The request marks the first time the New York bar, or any comparable bar association, has asked Congress to investigate a sitting attorney general.
  4. On Wednesday, Pew Research published a survey of 33 countries which found 64% said they do not have confidence in Trump to do the right thing in world affairs, while just 29% do.
  5. Trump also received the lowest rating of five leaders including German Chancellor Angela Merkel, French President Emmanuel Macron, Russian President Vladimir Putin, and Chinese President Xi Jinping.
  6. On Thursday, the Justice Department ended their two-year investigation of Hillary Clinton, begun to appease Trump and his allies in Congress. The probe ended quietly, finding nothing of consequence.
  7. Former Attorney General Jeff Sessions had appointed U.S. attorney John Huber to “review” the Clinton Foundation, Uranium One, and the FBI’s handling of the investigation into Clinton’s use of a private email server.
  8. On Friday, Bloomberg reported U.S. intelligence and law enforcement officials are probing whether Russia is targeting Joe Biden, the leading Democratic presidential candidate for 2020, with election meddling.
  9. Part of the inquiry is whether Russia is trying to weaken Biden by promoting controversy over debunked allegations of his involvement in U.S. policy in Ukraine while his son Hunter worked for an energy company there.
  10. The strategy would mirror what Russia did in 2016, carrying out a sophisticated operation to damage Hillary Clinton. One expert noted Putin’s ability “to convince people of outright falsehoods.”
  11. Unlike 2016 where Russia hacked documents, in 2020, Trump, Giuliani, and Trump allies are all pushing the narrative about Biden in the public domain and seeking to dig up dirt about him in Ukraine.
  12. Also in 2020, Russia is much more overt in carrying out its influence operation, given the U.S. audience is more receptive. Russia has been using its state-run media RT and Sputnik News as part of its operation.
  13. On Friday, in tracking turnover in the Trump regime, the Brookings Institute found in his first three years in office, Trump’s “A Team” turnover is at 80% (52/65), with 35% of the positions undergoing serial turnover.
  14. On Monday, CNN reported the White House had gone 300 days without an official White House press briefing. White House press secretary Stephanie Grisham has yet to hold a briefing.
  15. On Thursday, authors Stephen King and Don Winslow offered to donate $100,000 each in her name to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital if Grisham holds a press corp briefing for one hour.
  16. On Friday, NYT reported in addition to not holding press briefings, even as the nation was on the brink of war, Grisham has only appeared on Fox News, One America News Network, and Sinclair Broadcast.
  17. On Friday, 13 former White House and military officials, including White House press secretaries for the last three administrations, called for restoring press briefings in an open letter.
  18. They noted, “a well-informed citizenry would be better equipped to understand the difficult choices and decisions presidents must make, especially in times of crisis,” adding it “makes for better democracy.”
  19. On Saturday, the Department of Homeland Security said in a bulletin it had no information of “a specific, credible threat” from Iran, but added, “Iran and its partners” have the capability to conduct operations in the U.S.
  20. On Saturday, the website of the U.S. Federal Depository Library Program was briefly hacked, and the home page replaced with a pro-Iranian message and an image of bloodied Trump being punched in the face.
  21. On Saturday, Trump tweeted from Mar-a-Lago, “Iran is talking very boldly about targeting certain USA assets as revenge,” saying Soleimani “was already attacking our Embassy, and preparing for additional hits.”
  22. Trump threatened, “Let this serve as a WARNING” that if Iran strikes, “we have targeted 52 Iranian sites” — matching the number of American hostages taken in 1979 — including “high level” and cultural targets.
  23. Trump also tweeted, “those targets, and Iran itself, WILL BE HIT VERY FAST AND VERY HARD,” adding, “The USA wants no more threats!”
  24. Trump also tweeted, “They attacked us, & we hit back,” adding, “If they attack again, which I would strongly advise them not to do, we will hit them harder than they have ever been hit before!”
  25. On Saturday, in response, Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif tweeted, “Targeting cultural sites is a WAR CRIME,” and predicted the “end of U.S. malign presence in West Asia has begun.”
  26. International law — the 1954 Hague Convention for the Protection of Cultural Property in the Event of Armed Conflict — prohibits “any act of hostility against fixed cultural property.
  27. On Saturday, NYT reported in response to Iran-led violence in Iraq, the Pentagon presented Trump with a menu of options, including Soleimani — the most extreme response to make other options appear more palatable.
  28. The day after the American contractor was killed, Trump did not take the option to kill Soleimani, but after watching news reports on the attacks on the U.S. embassy in Baghdad, he took the extreme option, stunning top Pentagon officials.
  29. Trump took the action despite disputes within the regime about the significance of new intelligence, said to be thin, and information that the attack was not imminent since it was not yet approved by the ayatollah.
  30. Presidents Obama and W. Bush rejected the option of killing Soleimani, citing it would be too provocative. Trump regime officials said they did not anticipate sweeping retaliation because of divisions in Iranian leadership.
  31. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo was the loudest voice in pushing for the strike. Vice President Mike Pencealso pushed for a response, and his office helped run herd on meetings and conference calls leading up to the strike.
  32. On Saturday, the Trump regime sent Congress a formal, classified notification regarding the strike that killedSoleimani within the required 48-hour time window required by the War Powers Act.
  33. Later Saturday, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi called releasing only a classified version “highly unusual,” and said, “Congress and the American people are being left in the dark about our national security.”
  34. Pelosi also said the notification “raises more questions than it answers,” and “prompts serious and urgent questions about the timing, manner and justification of the Administration’s decision to engage in hostilities.”
  35. U.S. officials who had been briefed on the strike said evidence there was to be an imminent attack on American targets is “razor thin,” and that Soleimani was planning to kill hundreds “an illogical leap.”
  36. On Sunday, Secretary of State Pompeo defended the strike on “Meet the Press,” saying, “It may be that there’s a little noise here in the interim, that the Iranians make a choice to respond.”
  37. Pompeo added, “the risk of doing nothing exceeded the risk of taking the action,” claiming there were plotsagainst American interests, and said, “We would have been culpably negligent had we not taken this action.”
  38. Pompeo also defended Trump’s threat to bomb cultural sites on “State of the Union,” saying, “If we need to defend American interests, we will do so,” adding, “the American people should know we will always defend them.”
  39. On Sunday, senior officials told CNN there is widespread opposition within the regime to targeting cultural sites, with one official saying, “Nothing rallies people like the deliberate destruction of beloved cultural sites.
  40. On Sunday, after golfing at Mar-a-Lago, Trump tweeted, the U.S. “spent Two Trillion Dollars on Military Equipment,” adding if Iran attacks, “we will be sending some of that brand new beautiful equipment their way.”
  41. Trump also warned, “These Media Posts will serve as notification,” saying the U.S. will “fully strike back,” and “perhaps in a disproportionate manner,” adding, “Such legal notice is not required, but is given.”
  42. On Sunday, the Iranian government all but exited from the 2015 landmark nuclear agreement, saying, “Iran’s nuclear program will have no limitations in production, including enrichment capacity.”
  43. On Sunday, Iraq’s Prime Minister Adel Abdul Mahdi advised parliament to expel U.S. troops after the strike which killed Soleimani and eight others, including Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis, the leader of a powerful Iraqi militia.
  44. Abdul Mahdi told the parliament to take “urgent measures” to force the withdrawal of foreign forces, saying, “What happened was a political assassination,” adding, “Iraq cannot accept this.”
  45. Later Sunday, the Iraqi parliament passed a nonbinding resolution calling on the government to end the foreign troop presence; however, Abdul Mahdi, who resigned in November, could not sign the bill into law.
  46. On Sunday, a U.S.-led coalition in Iraq and Syria halted its years-long campaign against ISIS, as the U.S. braced for retaliation from Iran. The U.S. pulled out 5,200 troops from Iraq, crippling the fights against ISIS.
  47. On Sunday, three Americans, including a U.S. service member and two civilian contractors working for the Pentagon, were killed at the Kenya Defense Force Military Base by terrorist group Al-Shabaab.
  48. Later Sunday, aboard Air Force One returning to Washington D.C., Trump doubled down on his threat to attack Iranian cultural sites, telling reporters, “They’re allowed to kill our people?”
  49. Trump added, “They’re allowed to torture and maim our people. They’re allowed to use roadside bombs and blow up our people. And we’re not allowed to touch their cultural site?” adding, “It doesn’t work that way.”
  50. Trump also told reporters he would put “very big sanctions on Iraq” if the country forced out U.S. troops, saying, “if we don’t do it in a very friendly basis. We will charge them sanctions like they’ve never seen before ever.”
  51. Trump also said he expected Iraq to compensate the U.S. for the air base there, saying of the base, “It cost billions of dollars to build. Long before my time. We’re not leaving unless they pay us back for it.”
  52. On Sunday, NYT reported more than 60 Iranian-Americans were held up for hours at Washington State’s border after returning from Canada, as the Department of Homeland Security ramped up security at border points.
  53. Most were released after being questioned for up to 10 hours over the weekend. An advocate called the reports “extremely troubling and potentially constitute illegal detentions of United States citizens.”
  54. On Sunday, Speaker Pelosi told House Democrats in a letter that the House will introduce and vote on a War Powers Resolution relating to Iran this week, similar to the one introduced by Tim Kaine in the Senate in Week 164.
  55. The resolution, to be led by Rep. Elissa Slotkin, a former CIA and Pentagon analyst, “reasserts Congress’s long-established oversight responsibilities” by mandating Trump cease hostilities unless he gets Congressional approval.
  56. On Sunday, House Intelligence Committee Chair Adam Schiff told “State of the Union” that Democrats are in no rush to turn over articles of impeachment, but adding, “I don’t think it’s going to be indefinite.”
  57. On Sunday, Sen. Lindsey Graham told Fox News that Republicans should change the Senate rules and begin the impeachment trial, saying, “we’re not going to let Nancy Pelosi use the rules of the Senate to her advantage.”
  58. On Sunday, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer backed Pelosi on “This Week” saying, “We need the truth, not a coverup, not a sham, not to have some nationally televised mock trial where there’s no evidence.”
  59. On Sunday, Schumer and Sen. Bob Menendez, ranking member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, called on the White House to declassify the War Powers Act Notification for Iran Military Action.
  60. On Monday, Secretary Pompeo told Fox Business News, referring to Trump’s January 5 tweet, that “Trump didn’t say he’d go after a cultural site. Read what he said very closely.” This is clearly a lie. Trump said it twice.
  61. On Monday, Kellyanne Conway, Counselor to Trump, also lied, telling reporters at the White House Briefing Room, “He didn’t say he’s targeting cultural sites.”
  62. On Monday, Defense Secretary Mark Esper said “the laws of armed conflict” prohibit striking cultural sites, and said the Pentagon had no plans to do so despite Trump declaring them as targets.
  63. Esper also acknowledged striking cultural sites with no military value would be a war crime, breaking from Trump who said the sites are legitimate targets.
  64. On Monday, the Pentagon disputed that U.S. troops were leaving Iraq, after a letter was sent from Marine Brig. Gen. William Seely to Iraqi Lt. Gen. Abdul Amir outlining plans for troop departure.
  65. The draft letter, which was delivered, cited plans for “repositioning forces over the course of the coming days and weeks,” and added, “We respect your sovereign decision to order our departure.”
  66. Esper and Army Gen. Mark Milley, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, took the unusual step of hosting an impromptu press conference after the draft letter was leaked to the media.
  67. Milley called the letter a “mistake.” Esper said, “We are repositioning forces throughout the region number one,” adding, “That letter is inconsistent of where we are right now.” The letter added confusion to a murky situation.
  68. On Monday, WAPO reported after Trump’s threatening tweet, the senior regime officials began drafting possible sanctions against Iraq if it proceeded to expel U.S. troops.
  69. On Monday, on his first day back in Washington, Trump tweeted, “The Impeachment Hoax, just a continuation of the Witch Hunt which started even before I won the Election…must end quickly.”
  70. Trump added, “Read the Transcripts,” adding, “NO PRESSURE,” and, “get this done.” Trump also said he and Congress should not “be wasting their time” on the “totally partisan Impeachment Hoax.”
  71. Trump also tweeted, “IRAN WILL NEVER HAVE A NUCLEAR WEAPON!
  72. On Monday, former NSA John Bolton said he is “prepared to testify” in the Senate impeachment trial if subpoenaed, saying he has weighed the issues of executive privilege and after “careful consideration and study” decided he would comply.
  73. Bolton said he left a message for Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell before issuing his statement. His willingness to appear complicated matters for McConnell and his attempts to hold a Senate impeachment trial without witnesses.
  74. Schumer said Bolton’s announcement provided “momentum for uncovering the truth in a Senate trial,” adding it is “now up to four Senate Republicans to support bringing in Mr. Bolton.”
  75. On Monday, Trump told Rush Limbaugh the whole process is “sad for our country,” adding Pelosi does not want a trial, saying, “She doesn’t want to get a vote because how could anybody possibly — it’s totally partisan.”
  76. On Monday, Politico reported despite Bolton’s willingness to testify, the GOP-led Senate was not planning to call him as moderate Republicans, four of which would be needed, backed away.
  77. On Monday, Sen. Josh Hawley announced a resolution to change Senate rules to allow the dismissal of articles of impeachment if they are not transmitted to the Senate within 25 days.
  78. Later Monday, Trump told reporters that Bolton “would know nothing about what we were talking about” if he testifies, and said it would be “up to the lawyers” and the Senate to decide whether Bolton appears.
  79. On Monday, NYT reported Pompeo met with McConnell in the afternoon to say he will not run for the U.S. Senate seat in Kansas.
  80. Later Monday, Trump again slammed Los Angeles and San Francisco, saying “the homeless situation” there, and in “many other Democrat Party run cities,” is a “state and local problem, not a federal problem.”
  81. Trump added, “If however, the city or state in question is willing to acknowledge responsibility, and politely asks for help from the Federal Government, we will very seriously consider getting involved.”
  82. On Saturday, NPR reported the Department of Homeland Security quietly posted on its website on December 27 that it agreed to share certain government records from its databases with the Census Bureau.
  83. With this step, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, Custom and Border Patrol, and Immigration and Customs Enforcement will be sharing information with the Census Bureau to produce data about U.S. citizenship status.
  84. On Sunday, tens of thousands marched in New York City in a show of solidarity for New York’s Jewish community after a series of anti-Semitic attacks in a march organized by Jewish advocacy and community groups.
  85. On Tuesday, Cynthia Abcug, 50, was arrested in Colorado after authorities accused her of plotting with far-right QAnon conspiracy theorists to kidnap her child, who had been removed from her custody.
  86. On Thursday, Oregon man James Lamb, 53, was charged with attempted murder and a hate crime after breaking into a motel office, and beating a 70 year-old woman from India who owns the business.
  87. On Thursday, Mississippi Gov. Phil Bryant tweeted there will be “1000 Years of Darkness” if the state elects Mike Espy, who is a black man, as the state’s first black senator.
  88. On Friday, AP reported the Trump regime is considering dramatically expanding the travel ban heading into the election year. Sources say seven countries could be added to the list, a majority of which are Muslim.
  89. The current version of Trump’s ban includes seven countries, five of which are Muslim: Iran, Libya, Somalia, Syria, and Yemen, as well as Venezuela and North Korea.
  90. On Friday, Texas Gov. Greg Abbott became the first governor of 43 states so far not to accept refugees, after a September 26 executive order signed by Trump gave states the option not to take refugees.
  91. The Trump regime has been blindsided, as 42 of the the 50 states, including 18 Republican governors, have opted to accept refugees. Seven Republican governors have yet to announce.
  92. Trump’s executive order capped refugees at 18,000, and added the condition that cities and states must give written confirmation by January 21 on whether they will accept refugees.
  93. The executive order has also been ignored by many local governments, even in areas that voted for Trump in 2016. Religious groups, especially evangelical leaders, have lobbied political leaders to accept refugees.
  94. On Sunday, Stephanie Hofeller, daughter of deceased prominent Republican redistricting strategist Thomas Hofeller, released a cache of computer files saved on his hard drives onto a public website.
  95. On Sunday, Donald Jr. posted a photo on Instagram of him holding an AR-15-style rifle featuring a magazine with an illustration of Hillary Clinton behind bars, along with the caption, “Nice day at the range.”
  96. On Monday, Rep. Paul Gosar tweeted a fake photo showing Obama smiling and shaking hands with Iranian President Hassan Rouhani, with the caption, “The world is a better place without these guys in power.”
  97. On Tuesday, CNN confirmed it reached a settlement with Covington Catholic student Nick Sandmann, who sued the network saying it defamed him. Terms were not disclosed. Sandmann also sued NBC and WAPO.
  98. On Monday, a bipartisan group of campaign finance lawyers urged the White House and congressional leaders to “work together and immediately” restore a quorum on the Federal Election Commission.
  99. The 31 attorneys noted the FEC cannot enforce the law, vote on investigations, provide guidance, or conduct audits. An August 2019 resignation left the agency without a quorum for the first time in 11 years.
  100. On Tuesday, federal prosecutors reversed course, recommending Trump’s former NSA Michael Flynn serve up to six months in prison, citing his failure to “accept responsibility” and “complete his cooperation.”
  101. On Wednesday, WAPO reported the Trump regime is seeking to delay disclosure of how much Secret Service spends to protect him and his adult children, information sought by Democrats, until after the 2020 election.
  102. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and senators are negotiating legislation to move Secret Service back to Treasury. Mnuchin has balked at Democrats’ demand that costs be disclosed within 120 days of it being passed.
  103. On Thursday, a Manhattan Supreme Court judge denied Trump’s bid to have E. Jean Carroll’s defamation suit against him tossed out. Carroll said Trump hurt her career and reputation by denying her 1995 rape claim.
  104. On Thursday, Lt. Gen. Francis M. Beaudette, the commander of U.S. Army Special Operations Command, denied a Special Forces tab to retired Army Maj. Mathew L. Golsteyn, an officer who was pardoned by Trump.
  105. On Tuesday, WAPO reported Veterans groups say the Trump regime has ignored Russia and other foreign actors targeting U.S. troops and veterans with online disinformation for nearly two years.
  106. Agencies representing veterans and service members said disinformation could be weaponized to sow social discord in their communities. They said a December 18 letter to Trump on the matter has been ignored.
  107. On Wednesday, the Wisconsin Republican Party blocked Trump’s primary challengers, Bill Weld and Joe Walsh, from appearing on the state’s primary ballot, the tenth state to do so.
  108. On Wednesday, WAPO reported an article appearing on Teen Vogue praising Facebook for fighting misinformation ahead of the 2020 election was suddenly taken down without explanation.
  109. Facebook initially denied to WAPO that it had paid for the post, calling it “purely editorial,” but later in a statement, Facebook said it had “a paid partnership” with Teen Vogue, which included sponsored content.
  110. On Thursday, Facebook defied public outcry to rein in political ads, rolling out rules that will not limit political ad targeting tools or stop false claims in ads, but will rather allow users to control more of what they see.
  111. On Friday, NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio’s administration referred findings from WNYC and ProPublica’s October reporting on the Trump Organization’s property tax filings to the Manhattan district attorney’s office.
  112. On Friday, Politico reported Peter Brimelow, an anti-immigration activist who hosts a website that has published the writings of white supremacists, sued the Times for $5 million for labeling him an “open white nationalist.”
  113. On Tuesday, Pompeo defended the strike, telling reporters that he and other officials “evaluated the relevant risks,” saying Soleimani’s activities “were going to lead potentially to the death of many more Americans.”
  114. Pompeo however did not repeat his assertion that an attack was “imminent,” instead saying, “If you’re looking for imminence, you need look no further than the days that led up to the strike.”
  115. On Tuesday, Iran foreign minister Zarif told “CBS This Morning” that Pompeo informed the U.N. secretary-general, who in turn informed him that the State Department would not grant him a visa for a U.N. visit.
  116. Zarif said the trip would give him a chance to discuss the targeted killing of Soleimani. A U.S. official told APthe application could not be processed in time for his travel, but made it unclear if the application was denied.
  117. Under the 1947 agreement, U.S. authorities “shall not impose any impediments to transit to or from” the U.N. headquarters for representatives of U.N. member nations, with few exceptions.
  118. Later Tuesday, Trump hosted Greece Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis at the White House. Trump said “We have a tremendous Greek population,” adding, “I really feel I know most of them. I think I know all of them.”
  119. Trump also told reporters on Soleimani, “He was a monster. And he’s no longer a monster; he’s dead,” and “he was planning a very big attack and a very bad attack for us and other people, and we stopped it.”
  120. Trump also said “we saved a lot of lives by terminating his life,” adding, “A lot of lives were saved. They were planning something, and you’re going to be hearing about it, or at least various people in Congress are going to.”
  121. Trump said of bombing cultural sites, “If that’s what the law is, I will…obey the law…But think of it: They kill our people, they blow up our people, and then we have to be very gentle with their cultural institutions.”
  122. Trump also claimed only Democrats running against him are against the attack, saying, “I don’t hear too many people other than politicians who are trying to win the presidency, those are the ones that are complaining.”
  123. On Tuesday, NYT reported the Trump campaign sought to capitalize on the Soleimani killing, running nearly 800 distinct Facebook ads, referring to Trump’s “leadership as commander in chief.”
  124. On Tuesday, at 5:30 p.m., Iran fired a series of ballistic missiles at two military bases in Iraq which housed American forces. The attack was Iran’s most direct assault since on the U.S. since the 1979 hostage taking.
  125. Shortly after, Saeed Jalili, former secretary of the Iranian Supreme National Council and nuclear negotiator, tweeted a photo of Iran’s flag, seeming to mock Trump for doing the same after the strike on Soleimani.
  126. Iranian state TV announced the strike was in revenge for the U.S. killing Soleimani, and came as Iran buried him. There was no immediate reports of casualties, but buildings were still being searched.
  127. Iran’s Revolutionary Guard warned the U.S. and its regional allies against retaliating on state TV, saying, “any territory that is the starting point of aggressive acts against Iran will be targeted.”
  128. WAPO reported Defense Secretary Esper, carrying a large dark bag, and Secretary Pompeo were seen entering the White House. Officials sought to portray that the situation was not spiraling out of control.
  129. The White House gave mixed messages, with some staff telling reporters Trump would address the nation in prime time, but later canceled. Press secretary Stephanie Grisham chastised CNN for reporting on the address.
  130. At 9:32 p.m., the Iranian Foreign Minister tweeted, “Iran took & concluded proportionate measures in self-defense under Article 51 of UN Charter,” adding, “We do not seek escalation or war, but will defend ourselves.”
  131. At 9:45 p.m., after five days of tweeting dire threats, Trump tweeted, “All is well,” adding, “Assessment of casualties & damages taking place now. So far, so good!” and, “I will be making a statement tomorrow morning.”
  132. Later Tuesday, longtime NBC foreign affairs correspondent Andrea Mitchell told MSNBC that Trump has “the worse national security team I’ve ever seen,” citing the thinly staffed group and remaining yes men.
  133. WAPO reported more than half of Trump’s key national security advisers started their jobs in the past year. Key positions like director of national intelligence and secretary of DHS are filled by acting directors.
  134. Hours later, a Ukraine Airlines jet suddenly plummeted shortly after taking off from Tehran. Of the 176 on board, there were no survivors. The flight was bound for Kyiv, and was an American airplane, Boeing 737–800.
  135. Ukraine’s Foreign Minister Vadym Prystaiko said passengers included 82 Iranians, 68 Canadians, 11 Ukrainians, 10 from Sweden, four from Afghanistan, three from Germany, and three from Britain.
  136. Iranian authorities said “technical” problems were the cause of the crash. Ukraine’s Embassy in Tehran initially concurred, but later took down their statement, raising questions about the cause of the crash.
  137. On Wednesday, the White House released a photo from the Situation Room on Tuesday night. Of the 14 principals in the room, all were white, and 13 were men (excluding press secretary Grisham).
  138. On Wednesday, Trump addressed the nation in a 10-minute speech just after 11 a.m. at the White House, flanked by Pence, Pompeo, Esper, and other seven other white male military officials.
  139. As Trump came to the podium, he opened with a forceful statement: “As long as I’m president of the United States, Iran will never be allowed to have a nuclear weapon,” but did not offer specifics during his speech.
  140. Trump appeared to seek to de-escalate, saying Tehran “appears to be standing down, which is a good thing for all parties concerned,” adding, “No American or Iraqi lives were lost because of the precautions taken.”
  141. Trump vowed to keep up the pressure on Iran with “punishing” new sanctions, and called Soleimani the “world’s top terrorist,” although he did not provide any information on the supposed imminent threat.
  142. Trump blamed Obama, repeating false claims that “hostilities substantially increased after the foolish Iran nuclear deal was signed in 2013, and they were given $150 billion, not to mention $1.8 billion in cash.”
  143. The $150 billion number is well overestimated and was unfrozen money. The $1.8 billion was money spent by Iran for undelivered U.S. weapons, and was settled in an international court, and the amount was actually $1.7 billion.
  144. Trump mischaracterized, “The missiles fired last night at us and our allies were paid for by the funds made available by the last administration,” and falsely claimed “Iran’s hostilities increased” after the 2015 deal.
  145. Trump also falsely claimed that his regime had destroyed “100 percent of ISIS and its territorial caliphate,” saying, “Tens of thousands of ISIS fighters have been killed or captured during my administration.”
  146. Trump called on world powers, including the U.K., Germany, France, Russia, and China, to “break away from the remnants of” the nuclear deal. The deal was signed in 2015, not 2013 as Trump stated.
  147. After failing to notify allies of the strike, Trump noted, “I am going to ask NATO to become much more involved in the Middle East process,” but did not provide any details on how.
  148. Trump’s speech was notably incoherent, as he struggled with pronunciation and elocution while reading from the Teleprompter. He also sniffled or snorted 58 times, and stuck his tongue out.
  149. Later Wednesday, WAPO reported the White House knew on Tuesday morning an attack was coming from Iran, and by Tuesday afternoon were told by Iraqi officials that Iran intended to strike at U.S. facilities there.
  150. The attack appeared to be a calibrated event intended to cause minimal American casualties but let the U.S. know Iran had capabilities, and give both sides the opportunity to de-escalate.
  151. Later Wednesday, after the House was briefed, Speaker Pelosi announced the House would vote on a measure Thursday to force Trump to cease all military action against Iran unless he gets approval from Congress.
  152. Pelosi said in a statement that members had “serious, urgent concerns” about the Trump regime engaging in hostilities and “lack of strategy moving forward,” which were not addressed by the notification or briefing.
  153. Two Republican Senators, Sens. Rand Paul and Mike Lee, said they would join the House version when it came to the Senate, calling the briefing by Pompeo, Esper, and C.I.A. director Gina Haspel “insulting.”
  154. Lee added the message from the Trump regime is “to run along and be good little boys and girls and not debate” the justification for the strike, adding, “It’s un-American, it’s unconstitutional, and it’s wrong.”
  155. Later Wednesday, Trump ally Doug Collins told Fox Business News that Democrats are “in love with terrorists,” and claiming “they mourn Soleimani more than they mourn our Gold Star families.”
  156. Late Wednesday, the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals lifted a lower court’s order that had blocked the Trump regime from using $3.6 billion of Pentagon money to build sections of his wall along the southern border.
  157. On Thursday, Pence falsely claimed on “TODAY” that the regime could not provide Congress with some of the “most compelling” intelligence on killing Soleimani, claiming it could compromise “sources and methods.”
  158. On Thursday, NYT reported that in the hours leading up to the attack, the White House team was thin, including a handful of seasoned military veterans, but also others who had little foreign policy experience.
  159. On Thursday, WSJ reported Trump’s new national security team was cohesive and less inclined to push back against his wishes than their predecessors. Sen. Graham said the new advisers “understand the president.”
  160. The new security team is also less likely to consult in advance with other members of the regime, Pentagon or State Department officials, congressional leaders, or foreign allies.
  161. Former Defense Secretary James Mattis had challenged Trump at times. Esper and Pompeo, who are West Point classmates, are in lock-step on Iran and do not push back at Trump. Gen. Milley is willing to take more risks than his predecessor.
  162. According to associates, Trump told them after the strike that he was under pressure from GOP Senators, whose support he needs during the impeachment trial, to deal with Soleimani.
  163. On Thursday, Trump then shifted the topic back to impeachment and his record ahead of the election in a series of morning tweets, tweeting, “PRESIDENTIAL HARASSMENT!”
  164. Trump also tweeted of Pelosi, “remember her “speed & rush” in getting the Impeachment Hoax voted on & done. Well, she never sent the Articles to the Senate. Just another Democrat fraud. Presidential Harassment!”
  165. Trump also retweeted a doctored, red-tinted photo of Pelosi originally sent by Rep. Elise Stefanik as a fundraising appeal, saying, “Dems obsessed w/ impeachment but won’t send articles to the Senate. Why?”
  166. Trump also tweeted, “The Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals just reversed a lower court decision & gave us the go ahead to build,” falsely claiming, “Entire Wall is under construction or getting ready to start!”
  167. Trump also bragged about stock market performance, tweeting, “STOCK MARKET AT ALL-TIME HIGH! HOW ARE YOUR 409K’S DOING? 70%, 80%, 90% up? Only 50% up!” then deleted it, and corrected to 401K.
  168. On Thursday, House Armed Services Chairman Adam Smith told CNN it was time for Pelosi to send the articles of impeachment to the Senate, saying, “let Mitch McConnell be responsible for the fairness of the trial.”
  169. Shortly after, in a tweet Smith said he had “misspoke,” saying, “I do believe we should do everything we can to force the Senate to have a fair trial,” saying he supports holding the articles if it will help force a fair trial.
  170. On Thursday, Majority Leader McConnell said the Senate will move forward with the “people’s business” next week if Pelosi does not send over the articles, and urged other Democrats to press her to do so.
  171. McConnell added, “Should future House majorities feel empowered to waste our time with junior varsitypolitical hostage situations?” and “trap our entire country into an unending Groundhog Day of impeachment.”
  172. On Thursday, in her weekly news conference, Pelosi continued to resist transmitting the articles, saying, “We need to see the arena to which we are sending our managers. Is that too much to ask?”
  173.  Pelosi also indicated the articles would probably go to the Senate soon, saying, “I’m not holding them indefinitely,” adding, “I’ll send them over when I’m ready. And that will probably be soon.”
  174. On Thursday, Sen.Hawley announced that McConnell backed his resolution to change the Senate rules to dismiss the impeachment if the House does not turn over articles. Ten other Republicans signed on as well.
  175. On Thursday, a USA Today/Ipsos poll found by 52%-34%, Americans called Trump’s behavior with Iran “reckless,” and 55%-24% believe the attack that killed Soleimani made Americans less safe.
  176. Nearly a third of Republicans said the attack had made the nation less safe. The poll also found by 52%-8%, Americans said the attack made it more likely that Iran would develop nuclear weapons.
  177. On Thursday, asked by reporters about Sen. Lee’s criticism of the Iran briefing, Trump said, “Other people have said it was the best presentation they’ve ever seen,” saying the military “didn’t want to give” all the information.
  178. Trump added, “We caught a total monster. We took them out. And that should have happened a long time ago,” adding, “We did it because they were looking to blow up our embassy” — the first mention of an embassy.
  179. Trump also told reporters he did not believe the plane crash in Iran was caused by mechanical failure, saying, “It was flying in a pretty rough neighborhood and somebody could have made a mistake.”
  180. On Thursday, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau told reporters, “We have intelligence from multiple sources, including our allies and our own” indicating “the plane was shot down by an Iranian surface-to-air missile.”
  181. Trudeau added, “This may well have been unintentional,” and said the new information reinforces the need “for a thorough investigation into this matter.”
  182. On Thursday, Iran denied its military was responsible. A government spokesman called it “a big lie,” blaming accusations on “psychological warfare” and adding the U.S. “is making the pain of the families worse.”
  183. Later Thursday, in a rebuke to Trump, the House voted 224-194 to approve a war powers resolution to restrict him on Iran, with eight Democrats voting against it, and three Republicans voting for.
  184. Earlier Thursday, Trump tweeted, “Hope that all House Republicans will vote against Crazy Nancy Pelosi’s War Powers Resolution.” The three Republicans voting for the resolution were Reps. Matt Gaetz, Thomas Massie, and Francis Rooney.
  185. The resolution directs Trump “to terminate the use of United States Armed Forces to engage in hostilities in or against Iran or any part of its government or military” unless Congress has given authorization.
  186. On Friday, WAPO reported Trump, and other Republicans in Congress, were furious with Trump ally Gaetz, who not only voted for the resolution, but also pushed other House Republicans to do the same.
  187. Gaetz’s legislative director emailed Republicans at 11 a.m.: “Reclaiming Congressional power is the Constitutional conservative position!” adding, “voting in favor of H. Con. Res. 83, and hope you will do the same!”
  188. A senior White House official said Gaetz’s move caught Trump by surprise, and called it “super uncool” and “quite unwise,” adding White House officials would not be returning Gaetz’s phone calls or text messages.
  189. On Thursday, Sen. Tammy Duckworth, an Iraq War veteran, slammed Rep. Collins for saying Democrats love terrorists, telling CNN, “I left parts of my body in Iraq fighting terrorists. I don’t need to justify myself to anyone.”
  190. On Friday, Rep. Collins apologized, tweeting, “Let me be clear: I do not believe Democrats are in love with terrorists, and I apologize for what I said earlier this week.”
  191. On Thursday, Trump held his first 2020 campaign rally in Toledo, Ohio. Standing in front of a giant American flag, Trump bragged about killing Soleimani, calling him “the world’s top terrorist” and a “bad guy.”
  192. Trump also said of Soleimani, “He was a bloodthirsty terror and he’s no longer a terror,” adding, “the radical left Democrats have expressed outrage,” but “they should be outraged by Soleimani’s savage crimes.”
  193. Trump said, “that was going to be another Benghazi. Had they broken through the final panels of glass, they were breaking it, breaking it,” adding Soleimani was “actively planning new attacks.”
  194. Trump also said, “Soleimani was actively planning new attacks, and he was looking very seriously at our embassies,” and not just Baghdad, adding, “But we stopped him, and we stopped him quickly, and we stopped him cold.”
  195. Trump said Pelosi is “not operating with a full deck,” after which some in the crowd responded with cheers of “Lock her up!” Trump called Chair Adam Schiff “You little pencil neck,” and said he would probably leak to the press.
  196. Trump also said Democrats are “stone-cold crazy,” and “they want crime, they want chaos,” adding, “Gee, now I sort of understand why they hate me, right?…But it’s true. It’s true. Their policies are a disaster.”
  197. Trump spoke on immigration, saying, “Innocent Americans are being brutalized and murdered by illegal alien criminals,” mentioning a supposed crime and rape spree in Ohio, and calling them “animals.”
  198. Trump also claimed he played a role in the Nobel Peace Prize going to the Ethiopian prime minister, saying, “I made a deal, I saved a country,” and on the prize, “Did I have something to do with it? Yeah.”
  199. Earlier in the day, Trump took credit for a report showing the largest one-year decline in cancer rates, tweeting, “U.S. Cancer Death Rate Lowest In Recorded History! A lot of good news coming out of this Administration.”
  200. On Thursday, Pompeo told Fox News host Laura Ingraham, “there were a series of imminent attacks” being plotted by Soleimani, adding, “we don’t know precisely when and we don’t know precisely where, but it was real.”
  201. On Friday, at a White House press briefing, Pompeo told reporters, “We had specific information on an imminent threat, and those threats from him included attacks on U.S. embassies. Period. Full stop.”
  202. Pompeo’s statement was different from what he told Ingraham the night prior. When pressed, he said, “I don’t know exactly which minute. We don’t know exactly which day it would have been executed.”
  203. Pompeo added, “Soleimani himself was plotting a broad, large-scale attack against American interests, and those attacks were imminent,” including “embassies, military bases [and] American facilities” in the region.
  204. When asked why he and Trump mentioned embassies but Congress did not hear about that in a classified setting, Pompeo contradicted lawmakers, saying, “We did,” adding, “We told them about the imminent threat.”
  205. Several Democratic senators and representatives, including ranking member Sen. Menendez and Chair Smith, said they were not informed about a possible plot to blow up U.S. embassies.
  206. Shortly after, dictionary Merriam Webster tweeted, “We define ‘imminent’ as “ready to take place; happening soon.”” Other words of the week included ‘assassination,’ ‘mourn,’ and ‘de-escalate.’
  207. Later Friday, in an interview with Fox News host Laura Ingraham, excerpts of which were released Friday afternoon, Trump said of the Soleimani threat, “I believe it probably would’ve been four embassies.”
  208. WAPO reported the State Department did not respond to questions whether alerts were conveyed to four embassies. The CIA and the Office of the Director of National Intelligence also declined to comment.
  209. Senior regime officials say Trump is obsessed with not letting a Benghazi-like attack to happen while in office. An official said the embassy in Baghdad did not receive a threat commensurate to what Trump described.
  210. On Friday, Pelosi said in a letter the House will vote next week to send to the articles to the Senate. She noted “more than 70 percent of the public stating that the President should allow his top aides to testify.”
  211. Pelosi also attacked McConnell’s behavior, saying he “has been engaged in tactics of delay in presenting transparency, disregard for the American people’s interest for a fair trial and dismissal of the facts.”
  212. On Friday, Sen. Susan Collins told the Bangor Daily News that she is working with a “fairly small group” of fellow Republicans to ensure witnesses will be called in the Senate impeachment trial.
  213. On Friday, WAPO reported that on the day of the strike against Soleimani, the Trump regime also targeted Abdul Reza Shahlai, a financier and key commander in Iran’s elite Quds Force in Yemen, but that strike failed.
  214. The unsuccessful operation indicated that Soleimani’s death may have been part of a broader operation to weaken the leadership of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard, not what has been communicated by Trump.
  215. On Friday, the Navy said a Russian navy ship had “aggressively approached” U.S. destroyer USS Farragut, while it was conducting routine operations in the North Arabian Sea on Thursday.
  216. The U.S. ship fired five warning blasts before the Russian ship ultimately changed its course, after initially refusing. A similar incident happened in June, when U.S. and Russian ships nearly collided in the Pacific.
  217. On Friday, police in Palm Beach arrested an Iranian man who was carrying $22,000 in cash and weapons, including a machete, pickax, and two knives near Mar-a-Lago, after receiving a call about a suspicious person.
  218. Later Friday, in his Fox News interview with Ingraham, Trump weighed in on Prince Harry and Meghan, Duchess of Sussex, saying they would step back from royal duties, saying, “I think it’s sad.”
  219. Trump has called the Duchess, who is a black woman, “nasty,” and praised Queen Elizabeth II, saying, “She’s a great woman. She’s never made a mistake, if you look. She’s had like a flawless time.”
  220. Trump said of Bolton testifying, “You can’t be in the White House as president, future, I’m talking about future — any future presidents — and have a security adviser, anybody having to do with security, and legal…”
  221. After first saying he had “no problem” with Bolton testifying, when Ingraham asked if he would invoke executive privilege, Trump changed his position, “Well I think you have to for the sake of the office.”
  222. Trump said of Pelosi, “She is obsessed with impeachment, she has done nothing,” adding, “She is going to go down as one of the worst Speakers in the history of our country,” and “And she’s become a crazed lunatic.”
  223. Trump also falsely claimed, “My numbers are the highest they’ve ever been,” saying, “People love that we took out this horrible terrorist,” and adding, “a lot of it is because of the impeachment hoax.”
  224. Trump also claimed he left troops in Syria to take the oil, a war crime, saying, “And then they say he left troops in Syria. You know what I did? I left troops to take the oil. I took the oil.”
  225. When Ingraham asked to clarify and correct Trump’s statement, asking, “Not taking the oil, they’re not taking the oil,” he responded, “Well, maybe we will. Maybe we won’t,” and, “we’re protecting the oil. We have the oil.”
  226. Trump also said Saudi Arabia was paying for U.S. troops, saying ,“I said, listen, you’re a very rich country. You want more troops?” adding, “They’re paying us. They’ve already deposited $1B in the bank.”
  227. On Friday, WSJ reported that Trump allies are exploring a buyout of news channel One America News Network in an effort to shake up the conservative media market, which is dominated by Fox News.
  228. Investment firm Hicks Equity Partners, owned by the family of Thomas Hicks Jr., co-chair of the RNC and a close friend of Donald Jr., is pitching GOP wealthy donors to be part of a roughly $250 million deal.
  229. Later Friday, Iran admitted it shot down the Ukrainian airliner, saying the the shot was “unintentional” and blaming “human error,” after denying it for four days.
  230. Rouhani tweeted, “The Islamic Republic of Iran deeply regrets this disastrous mistake,” and “My thoughts and prayers go to all the mourning families.” Iranian protestors called for him to step down.
  231. Pompeo tweeted a video of the protests, adding, “The voice of the Iranian people is clear. They are fed up with the regime’s lies, corruption, ineptitude and brutality” of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps.
  232. On Saturday, in a filing to the FISA court made public on Saturday, the FBI apologized for the way it conducted surveillance of a former Trump campaign adviser during the 2016 election.
  233. FBI director Christopher Wray outlined steps taken by the bureau to ensure it does not happen again, saying, “The FBI has the utmost respect for this Court and deeply regrets the errors and omissions identified.”
  234. On Saturday, Trump tweeted to Wray, “Chris, what about all of the lives that were ruined because of the so-called “errors?” Are these “dirty cops” going to pay a big price for the fraud they committed?”
  235. Trump also tweeted, “Where have the Radical Left, Do Nothing Democrats gone when they have spent the last 3 days defending the life of Qassem Soleimani,” adding, “He was also looking to do big future damage!”
  236. Trump also tweeted, “New polling shows that the totally partisan Impeachment Hoax is going nowhere,” without citing a poll, and claiming, “A vast majority want the Do Nothing Democrats to move on.”
  237. Trump also tweeted, “95% Approval Rating in the Republican Party, a record. 53% Approval Rating overall (can we add 7 to 10 percent because of the Trump “thing?”).” There are no polls showing this to be true.
  238. Trump also tweeted, “Nancy Pelosi will go down as the absolute worst Speaker of the House in U.S. history!” This was the third time in two days that Trump has made this claim.
  239. Trump also tweeted, “Now the Radical Left, Do Nothing Democrats, are asking @senatemajldr Mitch McConnell to do the job that they were unable to do,” adding, “They proved NOTHING but my total innocence.”
  240. On Friday, WAPO reported Iraq’s caretaker PM Adel Abdul Mahdi asked Pompeo in a call on Thursday to begin talks about a “mechanism” for U.S. troops to withdraw after the vote by their parliament.
  241. In response, Pompeo said in a defiant statement, “At this time, any delegation sent to Iraq would be dedicatedto discussing how best to recommit to our strategic partnership — not to discuss troop withdrawal.”
  242. On Saturday, WSJ reported the Trump regime warned Iraq that it could shut down Iraq’s access to the country’s central bank account held at the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, if U.S. troops are told to leave.
  243. Iraq maintains government accounts at the New York Fed as a way to manage the country’s finances, including from oil sales. Cutting off access to these funds could jolt Iraq’s already shaky economy.

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Trump addresses the nation from the White House on the ballistic missile strike that Iran launched against Iraqi air bases housing U.S. troops, Wednesday, Jan. 8, 2020, in Washington, as Vice President Mike Pence, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and military leaders, looks on.



“Mєαηωнιℓє тнє ѕυηѕєтѕ αяє мα∂ σяαηgє ƒσσℓѕ яαgιηg ιη тнє gℓσσм….” .
― Jα¢к Kєяσυα¢, Dєѕσℓαтιση Aηgєℓѕ


Artist: David Rothman


jan 2020. cocoa beach, florida