“Trollump and the Ring” by London-based artist Fanakapan. In Soho, New York City, November 2017
Week 53 of trump’s presidency: Experts in authoritarianism advise to keep a list of things subtly changing around you, so you’ll remember.
November 18, 2017 https://medium.com/@Amy_Siskind/week-53-experts-in-authoritarianism-advise-to-keep-a-list-of-things-subtly-changing-around-you-so-577dcb601736
This week the headlines and narrative were dominated by women (and men) sharing their stories of sexual assault and harassment — Stories entered the political domain with accusations against men of both parties, reopening questions about Trump’s sordid past. Trump tweeted himself into the sexual assault discussion, almost as if to be part of the zeitgeist, despite the perilous risks. This is the shortest list in many weeks as Trump was largely absent from the narrative and headlines. a historic movement.
This week the Russia probe entered Trump’s inner-circle, as more lines of direct and indirect communications surfaced, and efforts at cooperation between the Trump campaign and Russia were revealed. A political backlash against Trump continued as a special election in Oklahoma 37, a district Trump comfortably won by 40 points, went to a Democrat — a 26 year-old lesbian whose wife is African American.
Despite messaging during his Asia trip about using diplomacy with N. Korea, late Saturday, Trump tweeted, “
Why would Kim Jong-Un insult me by calling me ‘old,’ when I would NEVER call him ‘short and fat’?” On Sunday, in response to Trump siding with Putin over US intelligence on Russian interference in Week 52,
ex-intelligence chiefs James Clapper and John Brennan said Trump is being “played” by Putin. When asked about why his regime had yet to implement sanctions on Russia after the Senate and House voted almost unanimously to do so,
Trump said he would rather have Russia “in a friendly posture.” As Trump returned from his trip,
former diplomats and Asia experts said China came out ahead and Trump came home largely empty-handed. The former Australian PM wrote Trump ceded economic leadership to China. During Trump’s Asia trip, world leaders from 11 countries reached agreement on the
core elements of the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership trade deal, without the US. On Monday, Trump met with controversial leader Duterte.
Trump boasted of their “great relationship,” and laughed when Duterte called journalists “spies.” At least 177 Filipino media workers have been killed since 1986. The
WH said the two leaders “briefly” discussed human rights, but Duterte’s spokesman denied that the issue was discussed. Tuesday, Trudeau did bring up human rights, which Duterte called an “insult.” On Tuesday evening, as Trump returned from his Asia trip, he tweeted “May God be with the people of Sutherland Springs.”
That shooting took place 9 days prior. Tuesday, there was a mass shooting in Northern CA.
NYT reported Trump is rapidly reshaping the judiciary, including eight appellate judges, seats Republicans held open during Obama’s final two years in office, with extremist conservative judges. On Monday
, WAPO reported Jeff Sessions is considering a second special counsel to investigate GOP concerns, including the Clinton Foundation, Uranium One, and Hillary’s emails. Trump has been encouraging this.
NYT reported Sessions is shattering longstanding norms by doing so, and so the credibility of any investigation presumably would be called into question since Trump is publicly going after a political rival. On Saturday,
Trump was once again tweeting about his former political rival: “Crooked Hillary Clinton is the worst (and biggest) loser of all time…give it another try in three years!”
WAPO reported in Trump’s first 298 days, he has made 1,628 false or misleading statements. Despite having no criminal record,
a MI woman Zahrija Purovic, 50,who lived in the US for 30 years, worked and paid taxes and raised her three children here, was deported to Montenegro.
Seattle Times reported on Pacific County, which voted for Trump but now laments a spike in deportations of their neighbors. There have been 28 ICE arrests this year so far, up from eight last year and zero many years before.
NYT reported due to the Post Office unusually long delays of delivering DACA applications, including ones sent by certified mail, at least 74 young immigrants’ applications in NYC and Chicago were rejected for being late.
Vox reported the Trump regime has rejected 4,000 “late” DACA renewal applications, some of which were sitting in mailboxes. A lawsuit alleges USCIS is being stricter than usual, and arbitrarily denying applications.
On Thursday, in a reversal, acting DHS director Elaine Duke instructed the immigration agency to allow applicants to re-submit their paperwork if they have proof that they mailed their renewal on time.
San Francisco Chronicle reported the Trump regime plans to stop granting work permits to spouses of H-1B visa holders, overturning a 2015 rule. Last year, 100K spouses and children of H-1B holders came to the US.
AP reported Trump is choosing white men as judges at the highest rate in decades. So far, 91% of Trump’s nominees are white, and 81% are male. After nine months of trusting Trump to protect them for living in pro-Trump states,
farming groups are moving to fight Trump’s effort to withdraw from NAFTA, saying the move would be a disaster for farmers. The Trump administration’s US Fish and Wildlife Service said it
plan to reverse an Obama-era ban on bringing elephant trophies back from two African countries. The regime claims Zimbabwe and Zambia support reversing the ban. On Friday,
following public backlash, Trump said he would delay the new policy on elephant trophies until he can review “all conservation facts.”
ABC News confirmed the Trump regime’s US Fish and Wildlife Service also began issuing permits for lion trophies hunted in Zambia and Zimbabwe about a month ago. The
University of SC women’s basketball team declined an invitation from Trump to celebrate their 2017 NCAA championship at the WH. Trump’s controversial judicial nominee
Brett Talley did not disclose he is married to Donald McGahn’s chief of staff. In Week 52, Talley is also viewed as unqualified to be a federal district judge due to lack of experience. On Wednesday,
Richard Cordray announced he would step down as head of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, an agency created by Sen. Elizabeth Warren after the 2008 financial crisis. Republicans have taken steps under Trump to dismantle the agency.
Trump is expected to nominate Mick Mulvaney to acting head of the CFPB, an agency Mulvaney said he wanted to kill. Mulvaney will not require confirmation since he is serving as WH budget director.
Jamie Johnson, a Trump DHS appointee, resigned after CNN uncovered tapes of his radio show in which he claimed blacks turned cities into “slums” and Islam’s only contribution to society was “oil and dead bodies.” On Wednesday,
a bipartisan group of Senators wrote a letter to Rex Tillerson expressing “deep reservations” about lack of staffing, which threatens “to undermine the long-term health and effectiveness” of US diplomacy. The
FCC repealed a 1970s rule put in place to ensure a diversity of voices and opinions by prohibiting ownership of a newspaper and tv-station in the same market. Trump ally Sinclair will be the biggest beneficiary. On Wednesday,
13 Senate Democrats called for the FCC Inspector General to open an investigation into potential quid pro quo between FCC chair Ajit Pai, the Trump regime, and Sinclair Broadcasting. The
Koch brothers provided a half-billion dollar equity investments in a Meredith bid for Time Inc., potentially moving another major media company into the hands of conservative billionaires. On Wednesday,
Steven Mnuchin and his wife caused a stir by posing for pictures with him holding sheets of money at the Bureau of Engraving, while the Republicans push a tax plan which benefits the rich and corporations.
USA Today reported taxpayers are paying the legal costs for at least 10 DOJ lawyers and paralegals to work on four lawsuits related to Trump’s unprecedented decision not to divest of his private businesses.
WAPO reported the Interior Department’s watchdog Deputy IG Mary Kendall sent a letter to Ryan Zinke’s office saying management of his travel was “deficient” and lacked oversight. Zinke has failed to keep complete records. A federal judge heard arguments Friday on
whether Trump’s own tweets about the Steele dossier should force the federal government to reveal more information about its efforts to verify the claims in the dossier. On Friday,
Bloomberg reported Trump will begin paying his legal bills related to the Russia probe from his own pocket, relieving the Republican Party of future payments. WH lawyer Ty Cobb said the OGE and a tax firm are also working on a
mechanism for Trump to contribute to staffers’ legal bills, raising ethical concerns that Trump is doing this to influence staffer testimony. On Monday morning,
WAPO released a list of at least 30 known times the Trump campaign was in contact with Russians during the campaign. On Monday,
Russian state-funded . RT registered with the DOJ as a foreign agent RT is now required to publicly disclose details about its funding and operations, and mark certain content with labels.
Reuters reported, in retaliation, Russia named nine US-government sponsored media outlets likely to be labelled “foreign agents” in a new law that is being rushed through Russian parliament. On Monday,
The Atlantic reported on Twitter direct messages between . The messages have been turned over to Congressional investigators. WikiLeaks and Donald Jr. starting September 20, 2016 and through July 2017 US intelligence believes
WikiLeaks was chosen by Russia to disseminate hacked emails. Donald Jr. forwarded one email to Steve Bannon, Kellyanne Conway, Jared Kushner, and Brad Parscale. Kushner in turn forwarded the message to Hope Hicks.
Kushner has told congressional investigators he did not communicate with on the campaign who had. WikiLeaks, and did not recall anyone On October 3, 2016, the day after Roger Stone tweeted, “Wednesday @Hillary Clinton is done. #Wikileaks,”
Donald Jr. messaged ” WikiLeaksasking, “What’s behind this Wednesday leak I keep reading about? On October 12, 2016,
WikiLeaks messaged Donald Jr. about the upcoming release of Podesta hacked emails and asked that Trump tweet about it. Trump did in fact tweet about it, fifteen minutes later. In the
last 30 days of his presidential campaign, Trump mentioned . WikiLeaks 164 times In a message on Election Day,
,” and instead focuses on “CHALLENGING the media and other types of rigging.” WikiLeaks encouraged Donald Jr. that if Trump loses he “DOES NOT concede
WikiLeaks suggested they be the means for releasing Trump’s tax returns to help them appear impartial. After Trump won, ambassador to DC.” WikiLeaks asked to have Trump suggest “Australia appoint Assange On July 11, 2017, three days after the
the emails himself. NYT reported on Donald Jr.’s June 9 Trump Tower meeting and emails, WikiLeaks suggested they make the emails public. Hours later, Donald Jr. tweeted CNN reported the Russia-linked trolls that meddled in US politics
posted dozens of pro-Brexit messages on the day of the UK referendum. CNN reported the
House Intelligence Committee will interview Russian-American lobbyist Rinat Akhmetshin next week about his involvement in the June 9 Trump Tower meeting.
BuzzFeed reported the FBI is investigating 60 money transfers sent through Citibank accounts by the Russian Foreign Ministry, most with a note saying the money was to be used “to finance election campaign of 2016.” On Thursday,
NBC News reported Reza Zarrab, a dual Turkish-Iranian national with close ties to Turkey’s Erdogan is cooperating with federal investigators in a money-laundering case. Legal experts say
prosecutors may be looking for ties to Mike Flynn. Mueller is investigating whether Erdogan offered Flynn $15 million to use his position as NSA to extradite a cleric and drop charges against Zarrab. In Week 20 in March 2017, the acting US attorney told a judge
Rudy Giuliani and Marc Mukasey had joined Zarrab’s defense team to “explore a potential disposition of the criminal charges.” Both met with Erdogan in Turkey.
WSJ reported Mueller has subpoenaed more than a dozen top Trump officials seeking documents and emails that reference a set of Russia-related keywords. This is Mueller’s first official order to the campaign. In a letter, the
Senate Judiciary Committee said it has uncovered evidence that Kushner was forwarded a document about a “Russian backdoor overture” that he failed to turn over the Congressional investigators.
Kushner also failed to turn over a September 2016 email he received about WikiLeaks, and communication with Russian-born businessman Sergei Millian, former head of the Russian-American Chamber of Commerce. The letter also criticized Kushner for
not turning over a copy of a government document that Mr. Kushner completed to obtain a security clearance, a SF-86, which has been amended at least twice. On Friday,
CBS News reported the “ Russian backdoor overture and dinner invite” to Kushner was requested by Alexander Torshin in May 2016 and his assistant, Maria Butina. Torshin has
close ties to Putin. He was a senator and appointed deputy governor of the Bank of Russia. He also is suspected of having ties to organized crime. Torshin and Butina had requested
to meet with Trump, and then have Trump travel to Russia to meet Putin. The request was made through an intermediary who was attached to a NRA event in Kentucky. The intermediary forwarded the five-page request
to the Trump campaign, including Paul Manafort and Rick Gates. Eventually it was forwarded to Kushner.
NBC News reported the two hoped to meet Trump on the sidelines of the NRA convention in Louisville. Torshin also hoped to meet a high-level Trump campaign officials, saying he may have a message from Putin for Trump. Kushner received a lengthy email exchange between the intermediary and Rick Dearborne, who now serves as deputy chief of staff in the WH.
Kushner told Dearborne and others in the campaign not to move forward. While Kushner was telling Dearborne and others not to accept,
Torshin was seated with Donald Jr. at a private dinner on the sidelines of the NRA event, according to an account Torshin gave to Bloomberg.
Yahoo reported the WH abruptly canceled a February meeting between Trump and Torshin after national security discovered Torshin was named by Spanish police as a suspected “godfather” of an organized crime ring.
Politico reported Kushner is still operating on interim security clearance ten months in. He continues to work on sensitive foreign policy issues while his application for a permanent clearance remains under review.
NYT reported the US Office of Acquisitions has hired Elite Security to guard the Moscow Embassy and consulates in St. Petersburg, after Putin ordered the US to slash their staff by 755 employees in July in retaliation. The contract was
no-bid. Elite Security is a company with run by Putin’s former KGB boss, an 82-year-old veteran spy who spent 25 years planting agents and hunting down operatives in Western countries. A new book,
Collusion: How Russia Helped Donald Trump Win, quotes Steele as telling friends he believes 70–90% of the dossier is accurate, and his report will be vindicated by the Mueller investigation. On Wednesday, in nearly
seven hours of testimony to the House Intel Committee, Fusion GPS co-founder Glenn Simpson defended the Steele dossier, saying nothing in it has been disproven and some has been corroborated. Simpson also said
Steele did not pay the sources he used to compile the dossier. Simpson is now cooperating with the three congressional committees investigating Russian meddling. CNN reported the
DOJ’s probe into Deutsche Bank’s role in a $10 million Russian money laundering scheme has gone dormant. The DOJ and the US attorney for SDNY were investigating how the bank missed red flags. The investigation has been closely watched
Democrats, who have asked Deutsche to turn over documents, but the bank has been non-responsive. Trump and Kushner have extensive banking relationships with Deutsche.
Judicial Watch filed under the FOIA against the DOJ for all records relating to Veselnitskaya’s immigration parole. At the time she met with Donald Jr. at Trump Tower, Veselnitskaya wasn’t supposed to be in the US. British publicist
Roger Goldstone, who helped set up the Trump Tower meeting between Donald Jr. and Veselnitskaya, is ready to come to the US and meet Mueller’s team. Goldstone is currently living in Bangkok.
Foreign Policy reported Kushner’s newspaper, hacked emails shared by The Observer, pursued a relationship with WikiLeaks starting in 2014. During the 2016 election, the newspaper actively published WikiLeaks. Although Kushner claimed to keep a distance from his newspaper,
he spoke to EIC Ken Kurson daily. Kurson also sat with the Trump family at the RNC.
Politico reported in interviews with Greek media last year, George Papadopoulos boasted of a “blank check” for a job in the Trump regime, and to representing Trump in meetings overseas with foreign leaders.
AP reported Congressional investigators are looking into a June 2017 meeting between Rinat Akhmetshin and Ike Kaveladze in Moscow. Both had attended the June 9, 2016 meeting at Trump Tower with Donald Jr. Congressional investigators want to know if the meeting was to know
whether there was some effort to get their stories straight before it became public on July 8, when the NYT broke the story. Mueller is also investigating the
June 9 meeting which occurred weeks after Trump clinched the nomination. A grand jury has already heardtestimony about the meeting which Kushner and Manafort also attended.
NYT reported Whitefish Energy billed PREPA $319 an hour for linemen, 17 times higher than what is typical in Puerto Rico. Senior linemen coming from Florida to work in Puerto Rico were paid $100 or less. Power in Puerto Rico is spotty almost two months after Hurricane Maria.
Early in the week, 50% of the island had power, then a major transmission line failed, reducing it to 22%. Whitefish Energy had repaired the line. The
USNS Comfort departed Puerto Rico. Since arriving Comfort staff have treated 1,899 patients, performed 191 surgeries, provided 76K liters of oxygen, and ten tons of food and water. On Tuesday, Sessions testified before the House Judiciary Committee.
Sessions again revised his account of what he knew about the Trump campaign’s dealing with Russia, despite saying, “ my story had never changed.” Asked about Papadopoulos statements placing
Sessions in a meeting where Russia was discussed, he answered, “I had no recollection of this meeting until I saw these news reports.” Sessions claimed his memory was refreshed after reading Papadopoulos’ account, and
said to the best of his recollection, Papadopoulos “was not authorized to represent the campaign with the Russian government.” The day after Sessions’s testimony, Sergey Kislyak told
Russia-1, a popular Russia state-owned channel, that it would take him more than 20 minutes to name all of the Trump officials he’s met with or spoken to on the phone. On Friday,
Sessions joked before a speech at the Federalist Society, “Is Ambassador Kislyak in the room? … Any Russians?” On Tuesday special elections,
Allison Isley-Freeman, a 26 year-old lesbian, won in an Oklahoma district Trump had carried+40. Democrats won the mayor of Albuquerque, NM for the first time in eight years, in a blowout. On Wednesday,
six Democrats demanded impeachment hearings citing the Comey firing, violations of the emoluments clause, and Trump’s undermining of the federal judiciary and freedom of press. A Texas woman,
Karen Fonseca, made news for a pickup truck bumper sticker with an expletive-filled message to Trump and his supporters. Fonseca said she’s been stopped by police, but is exercising free speech. On Wednesday,
Sheriff Troy Nehls posted a photo of the truck on Facebook and asked for information on the driver. The post was taken down. On Thursday, Fonseca was picked up for an outstanding warrant from August.
Breaking with tradition of nearly two decades, Trump will not meet with the eight American Nobel laureates before they travel to Sweden to receive their prizes. One honoree said he was “relieved.” On Thursday, the
Department of Defense’s Twitter account retweeted, then deleted a post calling on Trump to resign. The chief spokesperson tweeted, the account “erroneously retweeted content that would not be endorsed.” On Tuesday, Speaker Paul Ryan announced
a new mandatory anti-harassment and discrimination training for all House members and staff. On Thursday, Trump tweeted about Al Franken’s sexual misconduct, saying “The Al Frankenstien picture is really bad […] Where do his hands go in pictures 2, 3, 4, 5 & 6 while she sleeps?……”
Press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said in a press briefing that
the difference between Trump and Franken, she said, is that “Franken has admitted wrongdoing” but Trump has not. In an interview with
Mother Jones, Hillary questioned the legitimacy of the 2016 election citing Russian interference and voter suppression. In WI, voter suppression possibly impacted 45K voters, Trump won by 23K votes.
Politico reported Trump is obsessed with polls, and decries those that show his popularity falling as fake. Aides in the WH often show him only the polls that make him feel good. Air Force Gen. John Hyten,
a top US nuclear commander of the of the Strategic Command (STRATUM), said he would push back against Trumpif he ordered a nuclear launch the general believed to be illegal.
The New York City art scene continues to RESIST!
Portland, Oregon. 11Nov2017. Courtesy of Paul Hehn.
Week 52 of trump’s disastrous presidency: Experts in authoritarianism advise to keep a list of things subtly changing around you, so you’ll remember.
November 11, 2017 https://medium.com/@Amy_Siskind/week-52-experts-in-authoritarianism-advise-to-keep-a-list-of-things-subtly-changing-around-you-so-fe8c054ee82
This week started and ended in , with a respite in-between as Trump traveled to Asia and stayed on script. The length of this week’s list is a testament to how broad-based the attacks on and the erosion of norms and our democracy have become — well beyond Trump as the sole actor. chaos
The Resistance that started as Trump took office has grown in both impact and power, as evidenced by Tuesday’s elections, which were a wipe-out for Republicans and an amazing display of diversity. A revolution around sexual assault and harassment is gathering steam, with offenders being outed daily.
All the while, the Mueller probe progresses. This week , and questions surfaced as to the knowledge and engagement of senior people on the campaign, including Trump. more ties between the Trump campaign and Russia were exposed
WAPO reported as the winter tourism season kicks in, Trump has secured 70 H-2B visas from the Labor Department to hire cooks, maids, and servers to work at Mar-a-Lago, despite urging the country to hire American.
Dallas Morning News reported GOP campaigns for Trump, Mitch McConnell, Marco Rubio, Scott Walker, Lindsey Graham, Kris Kasich, and John McCain took in $7.35 million in donations from Leonard Blavatnik, a Ukrainian oligarch with ties to Putin. Blavatnik donated $1 million to Trump’s Inaugural Committee.
Blavatnik also has close relationship with Oleg Deripaska, the Russian oligarch who has ties to Paul Manafort over a decade, and appears frequently in The Weekly List.
Saudi Arabia arrested 11 princes, four ministers and tens of former ministers. Trump tweeted his approval, saying he had “great confidence” in Mohammed and his father, King Salman. In
Week 51, Jared Kushner returned from a previously undisclosed trip to Saudi Arabia, and Trump tweeted he would appreciate if Saudi Arabia would list the IPO of Aramco on the NYSE. Juli Briskman, the cyclist who flipped off Trump as his motorcade drove by,
was fired from Akima LLC, a government contracting firm, under a social media policy, although she wasn’t wearing anything company related. Ironically, Briskman oversaw the firm’s social media presence, and flagged a middle-aged executive man for a violation, writing “You’re a f — — — Libtard a — — — .”
He cleaned up the comment and was not fired.
Sessions’ DOJ dropped their case against Desiree Fairooz, a retired children’s librarian affiliated with Code Pink, who laughed at Sessions during his Senate confirmation hearing. Republican
Reb. Rob Bishop moved closer to his goal of invalidating the Endangered Species Act. Bishop has shepherded five bills out of the House Natural Resources Committee he chairs that would dismantle the law piece by piece. In his most aggressive step yet to reverse Obama’s “war on coal,”
Energy Secretary Rick Perry announced a proposal to alter electricity markets, which would provide a huge windfall for coal magnate Bob Murray, a big Trump donor. On Tuesday,
Syria joined the Paris Climate Accord, leaving the US as the sole country rejecting the global pact. On Thursday,
Trump’s EPA proposed reversing an Obama-era regulation which tightened emissions standards for heavy-duty trucks with older engines, part of Obama’s efforts to reduce soot and other pollutants. Carrier Corp., the plant Trump promised to save, announced less than four months after it
laid off 340 employees at its Indianapolis factory that the company will terminate an additional 215 employees in January. Rep. Scott Allen, a lawmaker in WI,
said women should be forced to give birth to grow the labor force: “Labor force shortages are tied to population declines. Labor force shortages are a limiting factor in economic growth.” On Monday,
Trump’s DHS announced it would not renew temporary protections which expire January 5 for 5.3K Nicaraguans. The regime gave a six-month reprieve to 86K Hondurans covered by the program.
WAPO reported John Kelly tried to pressure acting DHS Secretary Elain Duke to expel Hondurans too. In a call while traveling in Japan, Kelly was “irritated” and admonished her not to “kick the can down the road.” Despite Trump’s efforts to derail Obamacare by starving the exchange of sign-ups,
ACA registration spiked at open enrollment’s start: over 200K chose a plan on November 1, more than doubling last year.
WAPO reported that Betsy DeVos has shrunk the Education Department, shedding 350 workers since December, and buyouts offered to an additional 255 employees. Only 8 of the 15 key roles requiring Senate confirmation have nominees.
WAPO reported the US Agency for International Development (USAID) sent letters to 70 foreign service jobs applicants saying the positions had been canceled. This comes amidst a State Department hiring freeze.
Foreign Policy reported scores of senior diplomats, including 60% of career ambassadors, have left the State Department since Trump took office. There are 74 key roles at State which are vacant and have no nominee. Top US diplomat, AFSA President Ambassador Barbara Stephenson, blasted the Trump regime in an open-letter, “
Time to Ask Why,” citing it’s not just top leadership leaving, but recruitment is falling dramatically too.
Newsweek reported Lara Trump has taken on WH duties, hosting high-level meetings on domestic policy initiatives with cabinet members, lawmakers, and Trump advisers. Leaked documents, the “
Paradise Papers,” reveal Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross failed to disclose his interest in Navigator Holdings, a shipping company with significant ties to Russia, during his confirmation hearing.
Navigator’s most important business relationships is with SIBUR, an energy company controlled by Putin’s son-in-law and Russian oligarchsTimchenko and Michelson, both who are on the Treasury’s sanction list. Penny Young Nance, Trump’s likely nominee for ambassador for global women’s issues, is a strong opponent of abortion and gay rights, and said the movie
Frozen sends a harmful message about the role of men.
Kyle Yunasaka, the brother of Eric Trump’s wife, Lara Trump, was named chief of staff at the Energy Department’s Office of Energy Policy. Yunasaka has no education or work experience in energy.
Trump’s nominee William Wehrum was confirmed to a key post in the EPA despite oil industry ties. As an attorney, Wehrum represented the American Petroleum Institute, American Fuel & Petrochemical Manufacturers, and the American Chemistry Council.
Daily Beast reported Trump appointed David Kautter to become the interim IRS commissioner. Kautter’s firm had to pay $123 million to the US Treasury in 2013 as part of a settlement for a tax shelter scheme.
Brett Talley, a blogger nominated by Trump for federal judge in AL, who has never tried a case and was unanimously rated “not qualified” by the American Bar Association, passed the Senate Judiciary Committee on a party-line vote.
A fourth Trump judicial nominee, Seung Min Kim, was deemed not qualified by American Bar Association. It is highly atypical to have a nominee be deemed not qualified, let alone four already.
Politico reported the House Rules Committee, which is controlled by Speaker Paul Ryan, set a record for the most closed rules in a session. Ryan has yet to allow a single piece of legislation to be governed by an open rule.
NYT reported there has been a spike in deaths in Puerto Rico, but few are being attributed to Maria. Puerto Rican officials acknowledged 472 more people died this September compared with the same month last year. On Tuesday, Natalie Jaresko, executive director of the Financial Oversight and Management Board for Puerto Rico
told Congress nearly 60% of Puerto Rico is without electricity and thousands remain in shelters. NPR reported
federal troops have started to leave Puerto Rico, while many are still without a steady supply of food and running water, and while schools remain closed. On Friday, 3 star Army General
Jeffrey Buchanan, who coordinated the federal military response in Puerto Rico following Hurricane Maria, said in a news conference, “we’re out of the crisis” and is leaving next week.
Tuesday’s election was a trouncing for the Republican Party, including governor seats in NJ and VA, and 15 legislative seats shifting hands in VA (3 undecided still), and a key race in Westchester County, NY. History was made in many races nationwide as women, people of color and LGBTQ individuals won their races, including
numerous “firsts.” In the VA legislature,
11 of the 15 Democrats who won were women — including two who are the first Hispanic women to serve in the state’s legislature. Women candidates racked up victories around the country.
Danica Roem was elected in VA as the first openly transgender legislator, defeating Bob Marshall, an outspoken opponent of transgender rights who introduced the controversial transgender “bathroom bill.” Republican John Carman,
a NJ politician who joked about the Women’s March asking if it would be “over in time for them to cook dinner,” was defeated by a 32 year-old woman, Ashley Bennett, a first-time candidate.
More than two dozen House Republicans have announced they won’t be running again in 2018, well above the average number of House retirements per election cycle. More announcements are expected. Starting
with accusations against Harvey Weinstein and the #MeToo campaign, scores of women and men have come forward to share their stories of sexual assault, harassment, and rape as adults and children. Accusations have come against men in Hollywood, academia, sports, corporate America, politics and more. On Thursday,
CNN hosted a primetime town hall, ” “Tipping Point: Sexual Harassment in America . On Thursday, a Senate resolution introduced by Sens. Amy Klobuchar and Chuck Grassley
requiring mandatory harassment training for all senators, officers, employers and interns unanimously passed. On Thursday,
WAPO reported AL senate candidate Roy Moore sexually assaulted a 14 year-old girl when he was in his early 30s. Moore denied the allegations, employing a Trump distraction: blame the liberal, fake media.
WSJ reported, based on examining 159K deleted tweets, Kremlin-backed support for Trump on Twitter started as early as June 2015. Russian accounts attacked Hillary and Jeb Bush, the GOP frontrunner at the time. In the
two weeks ahead the November 2016 election, Russian account activity escalated. Trump campaign insiders like Flynn and conservative pundits like Sean Hannity followed and retweeted these accounts.
NYT reported Russian billionaire investor Yuri Milner made major investments in US social media companies Twitter and Facebook using money from state-owned Russian banks VTB and Gazprom Investholding. Milner ultimately
owned more than 8% of Facebook and 5% of Twitter, and later sold these stakes, but retains large US technology holdings. He also has investments in real estate partly owned by Kushner. NBC reported
Mueller has enough evidence to bring charges against Flynn and his son. Mueller is applying pressure on Flynn after the Manafort indictment, and speaking to witnesses around his lobbying work.
Mueller is looking into whether Flynn was behind a request to the FBI in the weeks after Trump’s inauguration to conduct a new review of Turkey’s 2016 request to extradite Fethullah Gülen, an elderly Muslim cleric. CNN reported
Michael Flynn and his wife Lori are concerned about their son’s legal exposure in the Mueller probe, and this could factor into Flynn’s decision on how to respond to Mueller. On Sunday,
Sen. Lindsey Graham said Sessions needs to return to the Senate Judiciary Committee and answer questions about Trump campaign ties to Russia, after revelations in Week 51 show Sessions’ previous statements were false. Sessions is set
to face questions about Russia from the House Judiciary Committee in an open hearing next week as part of DOJ oversight. Sessions will also likely speak to the House Intel Committee in a closed setting.
WAPO reported, based on a review of court documents and interviews, at least nine members of the Trump regime had meetings with Russiansduring the campaign and transition. The nine include: George Papadopoulos, Paul Manafort, Jeff Sessions, Donald Jr., Michael Cohen, Jared Kushner, Michael Flynn, Carter Page, and J.D. Gordon.
Questions arose as to whether the Kremlin sought to infiltrate the Trump campaign, or if it is a coincidence. On Monday,
a transcript of Page’s 6.5 hours of testimony to the House Intel Committee was released. The testimony disputes Page’s initial claims that his visit to Moscow in July 2016 was in a private capacity.
Page testified that he sent an email in advance of his trip to Corey Lewandowski, Hope Hicks and Gordon. Page said Lewandowski gave him the okay to go. Page said he also mentioned his trip to Sessions. Gordon told CNN he “
discouraged Carter from taking the trip to Moscow because it was a bad idea,” but Page ignored him: “he eventually went around me directly to campaign leadership.” Page met with
Russian deputy PM Arkady Dvorkovich. Page reported to the campaign after his trip that Dvorkovich “expressed strong support for Mr. Trump and a desire to work together.” Page also acknowledged
meeting with other high-level Russian officials and said they discussed the US presidential election, “in general terms.” Page acknowledged
he met with Andrey Baranov, head of investor relations at Rosneft, a Russian state-oil company. He also met with an investor-relations official at energy company Gazprom. Rep. Adam Schiff asked if there was
a discussion about the 19% stake in Rosneft in exchange for the lifting of US sanctions on Russia. Page said, “he may have briefly mentioned it,” but the quid pro quo was not discussed directly.
Page again met with Baranov in Moscow a month after the election. The Russian government owns a majority stake in Rosneft. The Treasury Depart sanctioned Rosneft after Russia annexed Crimea in 2014. Page acknowledged he has
met with the FBI several times, and answered questions about events described in the Steele dossier. Page said Mueller has not made any indication he will indict him. After the trip,
Page offered the Trump campaign a readout. He also spoke to national co-chairman Sam Clovis, whom Page said separately asked him to sign a non-disclosure agreement. Page acknowledged
he praised Gordon and five others on the Trump policy team in an email for changing the Republican Party platform on Ukraine, “As for the Ukraine amendment, excellent work.” Page received
a text, and then a call from Steve Bannon in January advising him not to appear on MSNBC. He also received a letter from Trump campaign law firm Jones Day imploring him not to say he is part of the campaign. In an interview with
Bloomberg, Veselnitskaya said Donald Jr. hinted the Magnitsky Act would be re-examined if Trump won, in exchange for written evidence that illegal proceeds went to Hillary’s campaign.
The Intercept reported CIA director Mike Pompeo met with William Binney, an advocate for a fringe DNC hack theory, on October 24. Binney has accused intelligence of subverting the Constitution and violating civil rights. Binney argues that the DNC data was “
leaked,” not hacked, “by a person with physical access” to the DNC’s computer system. US Intel official assessment is that Russian intelligence was behind the DNC hack. NBC reported that
according to Binney, Pompeo took the meeting at the behest of Trump. It is extremely unusual for a CIA director to meet with someone like Binney, who also makes frequent appearances on RT. On Wednesday, U.S. District Judge Berman Jackson
issued a gag order in the Manafort and Rick Gates criminal cases, directing prosecutors and defense to refrain from making statements to the media or in public settings. CNN reported
Joseph Mifsud, the academic suspected of being a link between the Papadopoulos and Russian officials on Hillary’s emails, has vanished. In court documents, Mifsud is referred to as “Foreign Contact 1.”
Politico reported Congressional investigators are also probing the GOP platform fight as part of the Russia investigation. Gordon acknowledged being interviewed by lawmakers, but wouldn’t say if he met with Mueller.
Papadopoulos, Manafort, and Gates were also involved in the convention. Without naming names, Gordon said others in the Trump campaigninvolved in pushing the platform change are also being interviewed.
AP reported Russian Twitter trolls organized to deflect from Trump’s Access Hollywood tapes, instead touting damaging emails hacked and leaked from John Podesta.
AP reported on Russia’s cyber-meddling strategy: swiftly react, distort. and distract attention from any negative Trump news. There were spikes in Twitter activity on September 16, October 6, and November 8.
Mueller interviewed Stephen Miller, bringing the Russia investigation into Trump’s inner-circle. Miller is the highest-level aide still working at the WH known to have talked to Mueller’s team. CNN reported
Miller was questioned on his role in the firing of James Comey, and about the March 2016 meeting where Papadopoulos said he could arrange a meeting between Trump and Putin through his connections.
Business Insider reported many Trump advisers are facing sky-high legal bills. Roger Stone blasted out a statement asking for help paying the nearly $460K in legal fees he has incurred in the Russia probe.
Gordon told .” Gordon said he has incurred an almost five-figure legal bill. Business Insider the RNC is taking care of Trump and Donald Jr., and “the rest of us who aren’t billionaires must fend for ourselves On Thursday,
. RT’s EIC Margarita Simonyan called the timing a “cannibalistic deadline,” and an attempt to RT said the DOJ has ordered the broadcaster to register as a foreign agent by Monday “drive [ RT] out of the country.” On Friday,
WSJ reported that Cambridge Analytica’s outreach to Julian Assange happened as the company was in advanced stages of contract negotiations with the Trump campaign, and had already dispatched employees. In addition to the previously disclosed $9 million paid by the Trump campaign for providing data, polling and research services,
Cambridge Analytica was also paid an additional $6 million routed through Parscale.
Cambridge Analytica is partly owned by Rebekah and Robert Mercer, who made his first donation to Trump on June 21. Bannon served on Cambridge Analytica’s board and holds a stake in the company. According to a person with knowledge of the investigation,
Papadopoulos initially misled FBI agents out of what he claimed was loyalty to Trump: he didn’t want to contradict Trump’s statement of no contact with Russians.
Business Insider reported Devin Nunes, who was then chair of the House Intel Committee, attended a breakfast on January 18 that Flynn and the Turkish foreign minister, also attended. Press was excluded. NBC reported
Mueller is probing a meeting on September 20 in DC between Flynn and Rep. Dana Rohrabacher, set up by Flynn’s lobbying firm, the Flynn Intel Group. Two of Flynn’s business partners and his son also attended.
Mueller is reviewing emails sent from Flynn Intel Group to Rohrabacher’s congressional staff thanking them for the meeting as part of the probe into possible collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia. On Friday,
NYT reported on a meeting in London on March 24, 2016 between Papadopoulos, Mifsud, and Olga Polonskaya, a 30-year-old Russian, who was introduced as Putin’s niece. Putin has no niece. Mueller is interested in interactions between
the three and a fourth man with contacts inside Russia’s Foreign Ministry as a central part of the investigation into the Kremlin’s role in the 2016 election.
Papadopoulos met Mifsud for breakfast in April. As per Week 51, Mifsud bragged about having “dirt” on Hillary: “thousands of emails.” Mifsud’s outreach began after Papadopoulos joined the Trump campaign. The day before his breakfast,
Papadopoulos emailed Stephen Miller, saying Trump has an “open invitation” from Putin to visit Russia. The day after he wrote, “some interesting messages coming in from Moscow.” Together with items involving Page,
there is increasing evidence not only of contact between the Trump campaign and Russians, but also that senior campaign officials were aware of the contacts. NBC reported Mueller is
probing a possible quid pro quo between Flynn and Turkey during presidential transition. Flynn met with senior Turkish officials in December 2016 at the 21 Club restaurant near Trump Tower. Mueller is looking into whether
they discussed orchestrating the return of Turkish cleric, Fethullah Gülen, who lives in Pennsylvania, as well freeing Turkish-Iranian gold trader, Reza Zarrab, who is jailed in the US.
Flynn was allegedly offered a $15 million payment if he could orchestrate the deal. Flynn’s son may have also been involved. Trump campaign senior adviser Rudy Giuliani is part of Zarrab’s defense team.
Reuters reported Mueller questioned Clovis this week on whether Trump or top aides knew of the extent of the campaign’s contacts with Russia, and who approved and directed the contacts. A
WAPO/ABC News survey found just 37% approve, 59% disapprove of the job Trump is doing, lower than any leader in the last seven decades, nine months in. 55% think Trump is not keeping his campaign promises. The poll found just
one-third believe Trump is honest and trustworthy, and 65% say he has accomplished “not much” or “little or nothing.” On Thursday, Tom Steyer said
he would spend an additional $10 million on his campaign to impeach Trump. Nearly 2 million people have signedhis online petition to demand Trump be impeached. On Monday,
Trump’s DOJ told AT&T that in order for the planned takeover of Time Warner to go through, the company must sell off CNN. As detailed in The Weekly List, Trump has a long-running feud with CNN. On Wednesday, AT&T’s CFO said on a conference call this type of merger hasn’t been blocked for over 40 years. AT&T has signaled it intends to
challenge the regime in court over the requirement. On Thursday, AT&T’s CEO told CNBC, “
I have never been told that the price of getting the [Time Warner] deal done was selling CNN,” and I have never offered to sell it either. On Friday,
Reuters reported Trump ally Rupert Murdoch called AT&T’s CEO on May 16 and August 8 to ask if CNN was for sale. On Friday,
a federal judge dismissed, for a second time, a pair of lawsuits seeking to force the State Department to do more to recover Hillary’s emails. As per Week 51, Trump has been tweeting and speaking out to get her emails. The judge
cited the FBI’s use of grand jury subpoenas sent not only to Hillary’s provider and accounts, but ones used by people she corresponded with, as satisfying the State Department’s obligation to take reasonable steps. On Wednesday,
Sen. Bob Corker announced as chair of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, he will hold hearings on Trump’s ability to use nuclear weapons. Corker said it has been four decades since Congress looked at the issue. A NBC/
WSJ poll found in counties that voted for Trump, a plurality — 41 % — say the country is worse off now than it was when Trump took office. 32% believe the country is better off, and 26% believe the same. After repeatedly bashing China for unfair trade and saying the country was “raping” the US economy during his campaign, while visiting Beijing, Trump praised Xi saying, “
I don’t blame China.” The crowd applauded. The
two leaders did not take questions from the press, a victory for Xi who oversees an authoritarian system that limits press freedom. Former Democratic and Republican aides called it an “embarrassing capitulation.”
Chinese state media approved of the summit, saying Trump “respects our head of state and has repeatedly praised” Xi publicly. On Friday, press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said there would be
no formal meeting between Trump and Putin in Vietnam, but that they might “bump into each other.” After staying mostly on-script during his Asia trip, on Saturday,
Trump reverted to lies and dangerous statements in a 26-minute question-and-answer session with reporters aboard Air Force One. On Saturday,
Trump had his second private, “sideline” meeting with Putin(in Week 36 it was revealed Trump had a clandestine meeting with Putin at the G20) without media access.
Trump told reporters of his conversation with Putin, “He said he didn’t meddle — I asked him again,” adding Putin “means it.” Trump also said, “I think he is very insulted by it, which is not a good thing for our country.”
Trump dismissed the Russia probe as an “artificial Democratic hit job,” and said it would put American lives at risk, saying it “gets in the way and that’s a shame because people will die because of it.”
Trump attacked US intelligence, saying “I mean, give me a break, they are political hacks…I mean, you have Brennan, you have Clapper and you have Comey.” Trump sided instead with “President Putin, very strong.” Following that statement,
Gen. Michael Hayden tweeted, “CIA just told me: The Dir stands by and has always stood by the January 2017 Intelligence Community Assessment,” and questioning which side Trump is on.
Check out Amy Siskind’s weekly FACT list and my photos of graffiti around New York City depicting the sad state of USA politics, below:
Week 50 of trump’s presidency: Experts in authoritarianism advise to keep a list of things subtly changing around you, so you’ll remember.
October 28, 2017 https://medium.com/@Amy_Siskind/week-50-experts-in-authoritarianism-advise-to-keep-a-list-of-things-subtly-changing-around-you-so-8e5b958887dc
The feelings of anxiety and fear amid continued chaos and were palpable in this second-consecutive, record-setting week. The Trump regime continued their eroding norms , while the Republican Party split deepened after a attacks on rights and protections by Senator Jeff Flake. historic anti-Trump/save our country speech
The week closed with the unexpected news that the Mueller probe has produced its first results: charges filed in federal court. The news provided the first relief, and possible accountability after The unending news of corruption, incompetence and kleptocracy. amid news of an humanitarian crisis in Puerto Rico worsened , as Trump continued to turn a blind eye of indifference. insider-deal and cover-ups
Axios reported Trump pledged to spend at least $430k of his own money to pay some of the legal bills for WH staff due to the Russia investigation. The RNC has paid roughly $430k to cover Trump’s and Donald Jr.’s lawyers.
Reuters reported Canada is granting asylum to people who fear being deported by Trump. More than 15K people crossed the U.S.-Canadian border to claim refugee status this year. Many were in the US legally. The US Air Force responded to Trump’s executive order in Week 49 which allows them to recall retired pilots,
saying the Air Force did not know about it in advance and does not “currently intend to recall retired pilots.”
Defense One reported the Air Force is preparing to put nuclear-armed bombers back on 24-hour ready alert, a status not seen since the Cold War ended in 1991. On Sunday, on the same day the Kremlin added him to the Interpol list, the
State Dept revoked a visa for British citizen Bill Browder, a hedge fund manager turned human rights activist responsible for the Magnitsky Act. On Monday night, the US cleared Browder to enter. The explanation given anonymously by a Trump regime member is
the initial action blocking had been taken automatically in response to an Interpol notice filed by Russia.
Veselnitskaya detailed the Kremlin’s gripes with Browder in a memo she brought to the June 9 meeting with Donald Jr., Kushner and Manafort.
POLITICO reported that four officials at three different federal agencies are doing substantially similar work to the position for which they have been nominated, despite not having been confirmed yet.
Atlantic reported Trump is rush-shipping condolences to Gold Star families following his false claim he had called “virtually all” of the families. Four families received next-day UPS letters from Trump. McCain took a swipe at Trump on C-SPAN3 saying those “at the highest income level”
avoided the draft by finding a doctor who “would say that they had a bone spur.” The women of the
Congressional Black Caucus demanded Kelly apologize to Rep Wilson, citing the Sun Sentinel video which shows Kelly’s public statement in Week 49 was false. On Monday, Myeshia Johnson told “Good Morning America”
Trump “made me cry even worse.” She also said she didn’t like Trump’s tone, and that she broke down when Trump fumbled her husband’s name.
Trump tweeted immediately after her interview, refuting Myeshia, “I had a very respectful conversation with the widow of Sgt. La David Johnson, and spoke his name from beginning, without hesitation!” On Wednesday,
Trump again said Myeshia’s recollection is incorrect, telling reporters he did say La David Johnson’s name, and he has “one of the great memories of all time.” DeVos’s Education Department
rescinded 72 special education policy documents that outline the rights of students with disabilities, saying the guidelines were “outdated, unnecessary or ineffective.”
Anti-Semitic posters which read, “Just Say No to Jewish Lies!” and “Join the White Gang” adorned with swastika, were found on Cornell University’s campus and Collegetown. The
NAACP issued a travel advisory for African Americans who fly on American Airlines. The group cited a disturbing pattern of black passengers being removed from flights and other troublesome conduct. Georgia Rep Betty Price, wife of former HHS Secretary Price,
in a study committee asked if the government could “quarantine” people with HIV. In a meeting of NFL owners and league executives regarding player protests,
Texans owner Robert McNair said of the players, “We can’t have the inmates running the prison.” He later apologized.
A post-it which read, “JEWS WILL BURN” was left on the locker of a Jewish sixth grade student at Middlebrook School in Wilton, CT, one of several recent anti-Semitic incidents at the school.
White supremacist group Identity Evropa hung flyers across Rutgers University campuses which read, “Our Generation. Our Future. Our Last Chance.” The group’s founder has close ties to Richard Spencer.
Mahway, NJ proposed rules aimed at barring Orthodox Jews from moving in. A complaint by the state AG cited “1950s-era white flight suburbanites who sought to keep African-Americans” out from their communities. Viviana Andazola Marquez, a senior at Yale, wrote
while bringing her father, who works and raised four children, for a final interview with Immigration Services, he was detained and faces deportation proceedings. Rosa Maria Hernandez, a
10 year-old Mexican girl with cerebral palsy, is potentially facing deportation after going through a Border Patrol checkpoint in South Texas to get emergency gallbladder surgery. On Wednesday, the immigrant teen known as “Jane Doe” was able to terminate her pregnancy. The
ACLU said this is part of the Trump regime’s efforts to drastically restricts abortion access for minors in their custody. Scott Lloyd, head of Office of Refugee Resettlement, has tried to block abortions for teens in custody.
WSJ reported his work is part of a broader push by the Trump regime “to deliver socially conservative policies.” At a House hearing Thursday,
Lloyd refused to answer many questions posed by Democrats who charged he had overstepped his expertise and authority in his dealing with female detainees. In the wake of numerous men in high-profile positions being accused of sexual misconduct, when asked about Trump at a press briefing,
Sanders said all the women who accused Trump of sexual harassment are lying.
Trump’s EPA canceled speaking appearance of three agency scientists scheduled to discuss climate change at a conference in RI. The cancelations highlight concern the EPA will silence government scientists.
CBC reported Kelly Craft, the new US ambassador to Canada, says she believes “both sides” of the climate change science. Trump’s FCC Chairman, Ajit Pai,
announced a vote in November to rollback regulations passed in 1975 which bans media cross-ownership of newspaper, radio and television at the local level to protect consumers. Pai’s move comes as
Trump ally Sinclair Broadcasting seeks to acquire Tribune Media. The combined company would reach 72% of households.
AP reported a computer server crucial to a lawsuit against Georgia election officials in Week 34 was quietly wiped clean by the Center for Elections Systems at Kennesaw State University just after the suit was filed.
Cummings again called on Gowdy to sign on to a request for documents from Kushner and Ivanka on their use of private email accounts, saying if he doesn’t, the House Oversight Comm should vote on issuing subpoenas.
WAPO reported GEO Group, a giant private-prison company, switched the venue for its annual leadership conference to Trump National Doral. GEO Group gave $250K to a Trump super PAC, and hired two former aides of Sessions and a Trump fundraiser as outside lobbyists.
The company’s stock has tripled since Obama said he would phase out private prisons. Donald Jr. tweeted a photo of him on stage with his father: “Great time with @realDonaldTrump in Texas.”
The two are supposed to maintain a firewall between them as Donald Jr. co-manages the family businesses. The
GAO will probe the Election Integrity Commission’s funding, internal operations and how it is protects and sorts voter files. The probe comes as three Democratic senators said the commission had ignored their requests. On Thursday, at a speech at the Heritage Foundation,
Sessions scolded federal judges who have ruled against or criticized the Trump regime, saying, “co-equal branches of government ought to respect one another.” Sessions also said that
religious expression overrides civil rights laws, saying the First Amendment guarantees “that includes the freedom not to create expression for ceremonies that violate one’s religious beliefs.”
FiveThirtyEight reported under Trump and Sessions, 70% of the tables from the FBI’s “Crime in the United States,” a report considered the gold standard for tracking crime statistics, have been taken offline. Former Trump WH aide Gorka told
Fox News Trump’s former political opponent Hillary Clinton should be tried for treason and executed, saying Uranium One is the equivalent of the espionage of the Rosenbergs in 1951.
CNN reported Trump made it clear to the State Dept he wants to accelerate the release of any remaining Hillary emails in its possession.
Trump has also called on the DOJ to lift the gag order on an undercover FBI informant who played a critical role in an FBI investigation into Russian efforts to gain influence in the US uranium industry.
Trump has yet to implement Russian sanctions from legislation signed August 2, after being approved by an overwhelming majority in the Hose and Senate. The deadline to implement was October 1.
Foreign Policy reported Tillerson shuttered the State Dept’s Coordinator for Sanctions Policy office, which oversees sanctions policy, as part of an overhaul of the department. On Friday, the
Trump regime, facing vociferous public criticism, started to rollout Russian sanctions on a very limited basis: the State Dept listed 39 Russian companies and government organizations to be sanctioned.
NYT reported China’s Xi has succeeded in positioning China as a responsible power by stepping up when Trump has failed, citing speaking up for globalization at Davos and the Paris Climate Accord.
WSJ reported Trump almost deported fugitive businessman Guo Wengui after receiving a letter from the Chinese government, hand-delivered by Steve Wynn, the Republican National Committee finance chairman. Trump allegedly said to his secretary: “
Where’s the letter that Steve brought? We need to get this criminal out of the country.” Wynn’s Macau casino empire cannot operate without a license from the Chinese territory.
Washington Times reported at a meeting this spring, Sessions threatened to resign if the Trump regime deported Guo Wengui . On Wednesday, Trump called to congratulate China’s Xi, as Xi asserted his absolute supremacy over China’s one-party state,
calling it an “extraordinary elevation,” and comparing Xi to a “king.”
Reuters reported that after Trump’s abrupt decision to decertify the Iran nuclear deal, European leaders are nervous. No longer is there confidence Europe can muddle through three more years without disruptions. On Wednesday,
Trump blamed the generals for Niger ambush. In Week 16, Trump also blamed the generals for a SEAL killed in the failed Yemen raid.
Trump repeatedly referred to “my generals” and “my military.” This reference has angered many in the military who believe the reference suggests Trump’s sense of ownership over the country’s armed forces. In an interview with
Fox Business Network, Trump relished in his ability to diminish the press, I “really started this whole fake news thing,” adding “I’m so proud that I have been able to convince people how fake it is.”
WAPO reported lawmakers in both parties are expressing frustration on the inability to accomplish anything with Trump. Lawmakers consider him “untrustworthy, chronically inconsistent and easily distracted.” A
Fox News poll showed Trump’s approval falling to a new low of 38%. Trump is losing support from white men without a college degree (68% last month to 56%) and white evangelical Christians (74% to 66%).
NYT listed the 382 people, places and things Trump has insulted on Twitter since he declared his candidacy. On Wednesday,
Daily Beast reported Alexander Nix, head of Cambridge Analytica, reached out to . WikiLeaks founder Assange for help finding and then publicly releasing Hillary’s 33k deleted emails In response to
Daily Beast reporting, Assange provided this statement: “We can confirm an approach by Cambridge Analytica and can confirm that it was rejected by WikiLeaks.” Late Wednesday,
Michael Glassner. The Trump campaign paid Cambridge Analytica $5.9mm. , Trump campaign executive director, issued a statement seeking to distance the campaign from Cambridge Analytica On Friday, the
WSJ reported Trump donor Rebekah Mercer reached out to Nix on August 26, 2016 to ask whether Cambridge Analytica could better organize the Hillary-related emails being released by WikiLeaks.
WSJ reported Nix’s outreach to Assange came before his company began working for the Trump campaign in July. U.S. intelligence determined the emails were stolen by Russian intelligence and given to WikiLeaks. The Senate Intel Comm sought and
received materials from the estate of Peter W. Smith. which could help determine whether Smith was working with members of the Trump campaign to obtain Hillary’s missing emails.
BuzzFeed reported Russian troll farm Internet Research Agency also used Instagram to exploit divisions and social movements.
Michael Cohen met privately with House and Senate intelligence panels as part of their investigation on Russian interference in the 2016 election. Cohen is still expected to testify publicly later this year.
Daily Beast reported that due to concern over Rohrabacher’s ties to Russia, the House Comm on Foreign Affairs placed heightened restrictions on his trips abroad, committee money for travel, and hearings he can hold.
Tatyana Felgenhaeur, a Russian radio journalist, was stabbed in the throat by an attacker who burst into her studio. There has been a string of attacks against journalists and opposition activists in Moscow.
British lawmakers asked Facebook to provide information on any ads purchased by Russian-linked accounts around June’s general election and last year’s Brexit referendum. The
Senate Judiciary Comm ended its bipartisan investigation into whether Trump obstructed justice or colluded with Russia. Republicans and Democrats saying they will now conduct separate probes.
Daily Beast reported just three of the 13 Republican members of the House Intel Comm regularly attend when Trump-Russia witnesses are grilled behind closed doors. The three participate in a very limited way. Republicans on the committee are instead focused in other areas.
Nunes is working with Reps DeSantis and King, not on the committee, to probe an Obama-era uranium deal which Trump has repeatedly promoted. Former US ambassador to Russia, Michael McFaul compared the recycling of the uranium deal to
classic whataboutism, perfected by the Kremlin.
Nunes said he “would prefer” reporters stop saying he recused himself from the Russia probe, even though, in Week 21, he recused himself from the Russia probe.
Twitter banned ads from Russia state-owned news outlets , saying the move flouted international and domestic laws on free speech RT and Sputnik. The Kremlin said it would respond
WSJ reported the Manhattan US attorney’s office is pursuing an investigation of Manafort for possible money-laundering. The investigation is being conducted in collaboration with Mueller’s probe. At the same time, the
Brooklyn US attorney’s office is pursuing an inquiry involving Kushner Cos. Trump has interviewed, and is said to be close to nominating, candidates to lead both the Manhattan and Brooklyn offices.
Among those interviewed are Geoffrey Berman, who is a law partner of Rudy Giuliani at Greenberg Traurig LLP., and Edward McNally, a law partner of Marc Kasowitz at Kasowitz Benson Torres & Friedman LLP.
POLITICO reported the realtor who helped Manafort buy the Alexandria apartment recently raided by the FBI, testified before a grand jury in the Mueller’s Russia probe, after efforts by the realtor to quash the subpoena.
NYT reported records show Veselnitskaya was working on behalf of the Kremlin when she met with Donald Jr. and others on June 9. This undercuts her account she was working as an independent actor.
On Friday, Carter Page met with the Senate Intel Comm for more than five hour in a closed session. Asked by NBC News whether he answered all the committee’s questions, Page responded, “Thanks, have a great day.”
Dana Boente, a 33-year veteran of the DOJ, abruptly announced his resignation as US attorney for the Eastern District of VA on Thursday. Boente is serving as acting asst AG of the National Security Division. In a statement,
former CIA director Woolsey said he and his wife have been in communication with the FBI regarding his knowledge of former NSA Flynn. Woolsey also claims he is getting smeared. Late Friday,
CNN reported the first charges have been filed in the Mueller investigation. The charges are sealed. Plans were made Friday for anyone charged to be taken into custody as soon as Monday. Reuters confirmed.
WAPO reported Whitefish Energy, a two-year-old company with 2 full-time employees, signed a $300mm no-bid contract, the biggest yet in Puerto Rico, to repair and reconstruct the island’s electrical infrastructure. Whitefish Energy is located in Whitefish, Montana, and i
ts owner Andy Techmanski is friends with Sec Interior Zinke. One of Zinke’s sons had a summer job with Techmanski. Zinke said he played no role in the contract. On Wednesday,
Puerto Rico’s installed an emergency manager at the island’s utility. Sen Murkowski said her Committee on Energy and Natural Resources will hold hearings. House committees are investigating too. Five weeks after Maria hit,
just 25% of Puerto Rico has electricity. San Juan Mayor Cruz expressed her frustration about the Whitefish contract and lack of progress on . She also tweeted to request transparency. CNN In response,
Whitefish Energy tweeted a threat to halt work to the Mayor: “We’ve got 44 linemen rebuilding power lines in your city & 40 more men just arrived. Do you want us to send them back or keep working?” Later Wednesday,
Whitefish Energy tweeted an apology to the Mayor Cruz and everyone in Puerto Rico. A copy of the Whitefish Energy deal documents surfaced Friday, revealing as part of the
contract, the government is not allowed to “audit or review the cost and profit elements” for how the company spends the $300MM. On Friday,
Zinke and the WH sought to distance themselves from Whitefish Energy. Press Sec Sanders said Trump had personally asked Zinke about the deal, which he claimed to know nothing about. Zinke claimed Whitefish Energy contacted him at the Interior Dept, but
in a statement he said the contact occurred only after the company had won the contract with PREPA. The contract was no-bid.
Puerto Rico reported at least 76 cases of suspected and confirmed leptospirosis, including a handful of deaths, caused by contaminated water. Almost a quarter of Puerto Ricans are still without drinking water.
Vox reported the nation’s largest nurses union condemned the federal government’s emergency response in Puerto Rico, saying millions are suffering and accusing the government of leaving people to die.
Nurses cited perilous conditions: doctors performing surgery with light from their cellphones, children screaming from hunger, elderly residents suffering severe dehydration, black mold throughout entire communities.
BuzzFeed reported funeral homes and crematoriums in Puerto Rico are burning the dead. Communication between the central institute certifying official hurricane deaths is broken, so these deaths are not being counted.
BuzzFeed later reported the Puerto Rican government allowed 911 bodies to be cremated without medical examinations to determine if they should be included in the official death toll. On Tuesday morning, Corker and Trump escalated their battle.
Corker said Trump was “debasing” the country with his “untruths,” “name-calling” and “attempted bullying.”
Trump responded in a series of tweets, calling Corker a “lightweight,” who “couldn’t get elected dog catcher in Tennessee.” Trump also falsely claimed that Corker helped Obama “give us the bad Iran Deal.”
Corker responded in a tweet of his own: “Same untruths from an utterly untruthful president. #AlertTheDaycareStaff”
Trump responded again on Twitter, calling Corker an “incompetent head of the Foreign Relations Committee,” and saying people like “liddle’ Bob Corker have set the U.S. way back.” Corker responded, telling
CNN on supporting Trump that he “ would not do that again,” and said Trump has “great difficulty with the truth.” Same day, Trump attended a lunch with Republican senators, and
tweeted how well it went, claiming he received, “multiple standing ovations!” As Trump entered the Republican lunch,
a protestor threw Russian flags at him and yelled, “Trump is treason.” The protestor was arrested. On Tuesday afternoon, Sen Flake gave an impassioned, historical speech on the Senate floor, and said
he would not be seeking re-election. He also wrote an op-ed titled, “Enough,” saying it is time to stand up to Trump.
Flake cautioned against “the new normal,” and said, “we must never adjust to the present coarseness of our national dialogue” set by Trump, including “the regular and casual undermining of our democratic norms and ideals.” On foreign policy, Flake said “
the efficacy of American leadership around the globe has come into question,” and cautioned, “Despotism loves a vacuum. And our allies are now looking elsewhere for leadership.” Flake also criticized Trump for normalizing lies: “calling fake things true and true things fake,” and called
Trump’s behavior “reckless, outrageous, and undignified,” and “dangerous to our democracy.”
Flake appealed to his fellow Republicans, saying the pivot to governing by Trump is not coming, and “when the next generation asks us, why didn’t you do something? Why didn’t you speak up? What are we going to say?” After Flake’s speech, his fellow Arizona senator
McCain took the Senate floor to honor his friend, “When Flake’s service to the Senate is reviewed it will be one of honor, of brilliance, of patriotism, of love of country.” On Wednesday,
Trump continued his attacks on Corker and Flake on Twitter. He also tweeted two more times about the standing ovations. In a 51–50 vote with Pence as tie-breaker, the Senate voted to end consumers’ right to file class-action suits against financial firms,
a step to dismantling the Obama-era Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. Trump’s
USDA withdrew an Obama-era rule which would have made it easier for independent farmers to bring lawsuits against big food companies, on the day before it was set to take effect.
US Ambassador to New Zealand Scott Brown is under investigation by the State Depart for making inappropriate comments during a Peace Corp event in Samoa. Brown blamed it on people at the event not liking Trump.
Bloomberg reported at least a quarter of the pipes used in the Keystone XL pipeline came from a Russian steel company whose biggest shareholder is a Russian oligarch and Trump family friend, Roman Abramovich.
Foreign steel imports are up 24% in 2017. More than 60 steelworkers met with Congress in September to tell them of their growing frustration with the WH delays. Wilbur Ross said the regime is focused on tax reform. On Friday,
Trump tweeted an attack on Tom Steyer, calling him “Wacky & totally unhinged.” Steyer, a California billionaire activist, launched a $10MM national ad campaign calling for Trump’s impeachment. After pledging to release JFK records as required early Thursday, and
Trump bragging about it on Twitter, the Trump regime flubbed the release resulting in only a partial release of records late Thursday. A
federal judge who oversaw the collection of government documents on JFK’s assassination called Trump’s handling of the release “disappointing,” citing so many of the records have been held back for review. On Thursday, Trump
declared the US opioid abuse a national public health emergency in a speech. The formal declaration came more than two months after Trump initially said he would do so on August 10 ( Week 39). Trump pledged
no new money to combat opioid abuse, but offered instead an advertising campaign with a slogan, “ Just Say No” — a concept which has had little success in the past. Information on the Niger ambush continued to slowly trickle out.
Democrats on the House and Senate Armed Services Committees complained the Pentagon has not been forthcoming enough.
McClatchy reported Michael Cohen netted close to $20MM by selling real estate properties well-above market value to mysterious buyer. Experts say such deals are red flags of money laundering. In 2014, a buyer using a
LLC bought a property from Cohen for $10MM in cash that Cohen had paid just $2MM for three years prior. Three other properties in the same time-frame followed a similar pattern. On Friday, Trump gave Halloween candy to kids at the WH.
Trump told one young girl: “Well, you have no weight problems, that’s the good news, right? So you take out whatever you need.”
Anna Wintour said Trump won’t be invited back to the Met Gala. Trump has been a regular at the fundraiser since the 1980s. On Friday,
Trump released a promotional video — “Big announcement next week!” — on Instagram, ahead of this Fed Chair announcement. On Saturday,
200 white nationalists carried a Confederate flag and chanting for closed borders and deportations in Shelbyville, TN. The rally is one of two expected in TN. The rally also drew counter-protestors.