POLITIKS OF GRAFFITI 92: ENTRENCHED IN THE SWAMP

Week 91 of this administration: Experts in authoritarianism advise to keep a list of things subtly changing around you, so you’ll remember.

August 11, 2018 https://medium.com/@Amy_Siskind/week-91-experts-in-authoritarianism-advise-to-keep-a-list-of-things-subtly-changing-around-you-so-1fe8c655810b

This was a week of widespread and outrageous corruption in the Trump orbit — from Congressman Chris Collins and insider trading, to Secretary Wilbur Ross and grifting, to Secretary of State Kris Kobach miscounting votes, to the “Mar-a-Lago Crowd” controlling the Department of Veterans Affairs, and more. The phrase “drain the swamp” has disappeared from Trump’s vernacular, as he and his apostles appear to be squarely inside the swamp.

As Paul Manafort’s trial sped along, several associates of Roger Stone were subpoenaed, suggesting he is a point of focus in the Mueller probe. Trump and his surrogates continued to ramp up attacks on the Mueller probe, and related areas like the FBI — and several plan to focus on a new shiny coin: Bruce Ohr. A surreptitiously taped and leaked audio of a Republican fundraiser revealed House Intelligence Committee chairman Devin Nunes’ plans to protect Trump at all costs, including the possible impeachment of deputy AG Rod Rosenstein.

Themes of white nationalism were front and center this week with a diatribe by Fox News host Laura Ingraham on changing demographics, and the regime’s continued efforts to whiten America, while ignoring brown lives lost in Puerto Rico and inhumanely separated at our Southern border. As the week came to a close, on the one-year anniversary of Charlottesville, Trump condemned “all types of racism,” in simpatico with white nationalist leader Jason Kessler who stated, “White people should be able to have the same rights as other groups.”

Below: “Doomsday Donald” by UK artist Chris Czee Tampin. August 2018. https://www.czee13.com/czee13

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  1. On Saturday, at a rally in Ohio, Trump staked out a new position on U.S. elections interference, saying, “It’s a lot of people…Russia is there, China is there. We are doing well with North Korea, but they’re probably there.”
  2. Trump said the meddling will “happen really big now” because the U.S. is “taking our wealth back.” Trump also criticized the media and the “elite” class, saying “it drives them crazy” that he won the presidency.
  3. On Sunday, Sen. Amy Klobuchar told “Meet the Press” that she is very concerned the midterm elections could come under digital assault, adding Trump is still “undermining this on national TV” and saying “it’s a hoax.”
  4. Klobuchar also said the Russians are not stopping with election interference, saying she would “love to see” concerns “broadened out” to discuss the threats to our power grid system and our financial system.
  5. On Wednesday, the Tampa Bay Times reported Sen. Bill Nelson of Florida said Russian operatives have “penetrated certain counties in the state” ahead of the midterms, and “they now have free rein to move about.”
  6. Nelson and GOP Sen. Marco Rubio wrote a letter in July to 67 county election supervisors about potential threats. Nelson is running for re-election against Gov. Rick Scott, who denied knowledge of the allegations.
  7. Sen. Mark Warner, ranking member of the Senate Intelligence Committee, said in a statement, “Russian activities continue to pose a threat…I hope all state and local elections officials, including Florida’s, will take this issue seriously.”
  8. Security activists filed a federal lawsuit against the state of Georgia that included exhibits from activists and voters who experienced a series of irregularities in the 2016 election and May 2017 primary.
  9. The lawsuit comes amid swelling public concern for the security of Georgia’s voting systems. Mueller’s July 2018 indictment indicated that Russian operatives visited county election websites in Georgia.
  10. Cybersecurity experts warned there were security flaws on the state election website leading up to the 2016 contest that permitted the download and manipulation of voter information.
  11. On Monday, Sen. Rand Paul led a U.S. delegation to visit Moscow in what he characterized as a continuation of Trump’s diplomatic outreach to Putin. Paul met with members of the Russian Council.
  12. Paul met with Konstantin Kosachev, the chairman of the council’s foreign policy panel, who was put under U.S. sanction for Russia’s actions againstthe U.S. government in April 2018.
  13. Paul said Monday he invited Russian lawmakers to visit Washington. When asked by CNN whether the issue of Russian interference came up, Paul said he had “general discussions about a lot of issues.”
  14. Paul was joined by Texas State Sen. Don Huffines, and his twin brother Phillip who ran unsuccessfully for a Texas state senate seat. On Tuesday, Sen. Huffines took to Twitter to defend his visit to Moscow.
  15. On Wednesday, Paul delivered a letter from Trump to Putin that Paul said “emphasized the importance of further engagement” between the two leaders on issues such as countering terrorism.
  16. On Saturday, WAPO reported Trump is privately brooding about the widening fallout of the Russia probe, and fretting that he is not getting enough credit for what he claims are political triumphs.
  17. Trump is concerned the Mueller probe could ruin the lives of what he calls “innocent and decent people,” including Donald Jr. who he believes may have inadvertently wandered into legal jeopardy with the June 9 meeting.
  18. On Sunday, Trump tweeted about the WAPO story, saying the “Fake News” is reporting “a complete fabrication” about the meeting “my wonderful son, Donald, had in Trump Tower.”
  19. Trump also admitted, “this was a meeting to get information on an opponent,” and falsely claiming it was “totally legal and done all the time in politics.” Trump also added, “I did not know about it!”
  20. Trump also tweeted, without evidence, “Mueller and the 17 Angry Democrats” are biased, saying, “This is the most one sided Witch Hunt in the history of our country,” calling it again a “Rigged Witch Hunt.”
  21. On Sunday, Trump attorney Jay Sekulow told “This Week” that he made a mistake by denying Trump was involved in a misleading statement last year on Donald Trump Jr.’s meeting, saying he had “bad information.”
  22. Hope Hicks, who was reportedly visiting Ivanka and Jared at Trump’s Bedminster golf club, ended up joining Trump aboard Air Force One on Saturday to attend his rally in Ohio that evening.
  23. Hicks’ presence sparked speculation she might rejoin the regime, but also noted was her role in July 2017 in helping Trump draft a misleading statement on Air Force One about the June 9 Trump Tower meeting.
  24. On Saturday, First Lady Melania Trump issued a statement in support of LeBron James, saying he is doing “good things on behalf of our next generation,”after Trump disparaged James in Week 90.
  25. On Sunday, Portland, Oregon’s police chief ordered a review of her officers’ behavior at a far-right rally Saturday, after accusations the police were heavy-handed in their crackdown against anti-fascist protesters.
  26. On Wednesday, Fox News host Laura Ingraham complained that changing U.S. demographics have been “foisted” on the American people, saying “it does seem like the America we know and love doesn’t exist anymore.”
  27. Ingraham also said of the demographic changes, “none of us ever voted for and most of us don’t like,” adding, “much of this is related to both illegal, and in some cases, legal immigration that, of course, progressives love.”
  28. On Thursday, Ingraham tried to distance herself from the white supremacists cheering her comments, saying her comments had “nothing to do with race or ethnicity” but a “shared goal of keeping America safe.”
  29. On Friday, Trump slammed the NFL players who knelt during preseason games, tweeting, “the NFL players are at it again — taking a knee when they should be standing proudly for the National Anthem.”
  30. Trump suggested players who “make a fortune doing what they love” should “Be happy, be cool,” adding, “Find another way to protest. Stand proudly for your National Anthem or be Suspended Without Pay!”
  31. On Sunday, Trump again attacked the media, tweeting “it’s true” that they are “the Enemy of the People,” saying they “purposely cause great division & distrust,” can also “cause War,” and they are “very dangerous & sick!”
  32. On Sunday, Fox News’ Chris Wallace challenged national security adviser John Bolton about Trump’s tweet, asking “What wars have we started?” Bolton avoided the question, and said media bias has been around for a long time.
  33. Newseum issued an apology for selling “You Are Very Fake News” t-shirts in its gift shop and online, saying, “ A free press is an essential part of our democracy and journalists are not the enemy of the people.”
  34. On Monday, GOP strategist Karl Rove told Fox News that Trump should “tone down” his attacks on the media, comparing Trump’s use of the phrase “enemy of the people” to that of Stalin against his enemies.
  35. Politico reported the networks are boosting security staff for the first time to protect reporters at Trump’s rallies. Reporters say at recent events there is a sense that violence could easily break out at any time.
  36. Guardian reported the Trump regime rescinded an Obama-era ban which prohibited farmers from planting biotech crops engineered to resist insects. The pesticides are linked to declining bee populations.
  37. Rolling Stone reported the EPA is evaluating allowing asbestos, enacting the Significant New Use Rule, which allows the government to evaluate use on a case-by-case basis. Trump has long supported the use of asbestos.
  38. Not included in the evaluation process are the potential effects of exposure to chemicals in the air, ground, or water, allowing the EPA to circumvent an Obama-era law for evaluating potentially dangerous chemicals.
  39. Until recently, 95% of asbestos used in the U.S. came from Brazil, with the balance from Russia. Brazil recently banned asbestos, leaving Russia. A Russian asbestos company shared an image featuring Trump on Facebook.
  40. On Friday, NYT reported, according to internal emails, the EPA’s in-house scientists and lawyers objected to the agency’s new rules on a measure to review applications for using asbestos in consumer products.
  41. Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey is leading an effort among Democratic state attorneys to fight the asbestos plan. Exposure to asbestos has been linked to lung cancer, mesothelioma, and other ailments.
  42. Reuters reported that the second annual ‘America First Energy Conference’ this week was attended by some of the country’s most vocal climate change doubters, as well as by a handful of Trump administration officials.
  43. The presence of Trump officials gave a boost to outlandish ideas such aspumping carbon dioxide into the air makes the planet greener, and the United Nations produces fake science to control the global energy market.
  44. On Friday, Betsy DeVos’s Department of Education released a document outlining a proposal to scrap an Obama-era rule aimed at protecting students from career training programs.
  45. The “Gainful Employment” regulations required programs at for-profit-colleges that prepare students for careers to prove graduates were earning enough to repay the debt they incurred to complete the program.
  46. On Sunday, WSJ reported Canadians, upset with Trump over tariffs and treatment of their prime minister, are boycotting products made in the U.S. and buying Canadian.
  47. On Monday, South Carolina TV-maker Element Electronics said it will close its Winnsboro plant in response to tariffs imposed by Trump.
  48. On Monday, NBC News reported the limited number of H-2B visas being issued by the Trump regime is leaving companies that depend on foreign seasonal workers, like landscaping and crabbing businesses, struggling to stay afloat.
  49. Small business owners are losing revenue, saying American workers don’t want temporary jobs, leaving them unable to fill positions. The Trump family continues to use H-2B visas for their businesses.
  50. First lady Melania Trump’s parents, Viktor and Amalija Knavs, were sworn in as U.S. citizens, obtaining citizenship through a path referred to by Trump as “chain migration,” which Trump is currently trying to eliminate.
  51. The Knavses were eligible for green cards and to apply for citizenship because their daughter Melania is a citizen, the most common way immigrants to the U.S. get green cards and eventually become citizens.
  52. Trump’s paternal grandfather and mother, who migrated from Germany and Scotland, also used chain migration to become citizens, as did Ivana, Trump’s first wife and mother to his three oldest children.
  53. On Tuesday, NBC News reported that White House senior adviser Stephen Miller is working on a plan to limit the number of migrants who obtainlegal status in the U.S. His plan would circumvent Congress.
  54. According to a draft, immigrants living legally in the U.S. who have used, or whose households have used, popular public welfare programs like Obamacare or food stamps would be blocked from becoming citizens.
  55. On Tuesday, the ACLU sued Attorney General Jeff Sessions and others over policies instructing asylum officers that claims based on domestic or gang violence will not establish the basis for asylum or refugee status.
  56. The ACLU claims asylum seekers will be deported to places where they face grave danger. The Trump regime claim the asylum process is exploited by immigrants to pass credible fear screenings and be released into the country.
  57. The Texas Observer reported an ICE transport company van transporting eight Central American mothers separated from their children under “zero-tolerance” crashed in July. ICE denied the incident happened.
  58. When pressed further by the Observer, citing a San Marcos Police Department report on the accident and significant injuries to migrant mothers, ICE changed the story to the incident being a “fender bender.”
  59. On Thursday, Helen Aguirre Ferré, the White House director of media affairs for Latino and African-American news outlets, quietly resigned. The White House did not comment on her reason for leaving or her future.
  60. The Trump regime still does not offer a Spanish version of the White House website, available under the W. Bush and Obama administrations. The Spanish site was supposed to launch in late 2017.
  61. On Thursday, a federal judge in Washington halted a deportation of a woman and her daughter while a hearing appealing their deportations was underway, and threatened to hold Sessions in contempt of court.
  62. The ACLU said government attorneys in another case informed them that the pair was on a flight to El Salvador. When Judge Emmet Sullivan in Washington was informed, he ordered the government to “turn the plane around.”
  63. WAPO reported, according to government data, the number of migrant families taken into custody along the border remained nearly unchanged from June to July, suggesting separating families did not deter migrants.
  64. WAPO reported, as of August 9, 559 of the 2,551 children separated from their parents remain separated. Since the July 26 deadline imposed by the court, the Trump regime has made almost no progress in reunificiations.
  65. The latest figures provided by the Trump regime show just 34 migrant parents waived the right to be reunified with their children, compared with the 120 that the government reported a week prior.
  66. On Thursday, NYT reported in a report to Congress, the Puerto Rico government acknowledged that Hurricane Maria killed an estimated 1,427, far more than the official death toll of 64.
  67. The estimate comes from comparing deaths in the last four months of 2017 to previous years. Officials say they await the outcome of the George Washington University study to provide certainty around final numbers.
  68. On Monday, Trump quoted Dan Bongino on “Fox & Friends,” saying “Collusion with Russia was very real,” and repeating his false claims that “Hillary Clinton and her team 100% colluded with the Russians.”
  69. Trump also parroted Bongino’s claim without evidence,“so did Adam Schiff,” saying he tried to collude with Russians “to obtain compromising material on DJT,” and adding “ we should demand a full investigation.”
  70. On Monday, Bloomberg reported the Senate Intelligence Committee’s Russia probe is likely to extend beyond the midterms, longer than chairman Richard Burr had hoped, for the panel plans to interview more witnesses for its final report.
  71. On Monday, at the Manafort trial, Rick Gates testified he and and Manafort had 15 foreign accounts which were not disclosed to the federal government. Gates said they also did not submit required forms at Manafort’s direction.
  72. Gates testified he committed crimes alongside and at the direction of Manafort. Gates said Ukraine former pro-Russian President Viktor Yanukovych’s backers moved money from accounts in Cyprus to Manafort.
  73. Gates also testified he cheated Manafort out of “several hundred thousand” dollars by submitting false expense reports. The monies were taken out of some of the undisclosed foreign bank accounts in Cyprus.
  74. On Tuesday, Gates admitted on cross-examination to having an affair, as Manafort’s defense team continued to try to hammer Gates’ credibility. Gates denied using company money for his affair.
  75. Gates testified that Manafort was paid $4 million a year to help Yanukovych govern after he was elected president in 2010. Yanukovych pivoted towards Moscow, which led to protests and his ouster in 2014.
  76. On Wednesday, the forensic accountant showed Manafort controlled or had a stake in 31 bank accounts in Cyprus, St. Vincent, the Grenadines, and the U.K., opened by Manafort, Gates, and Konstantin Kilimnik.
  77. On Wednesday, Fox News judicial analyst Andrew Napolitano said Judge T.S. Ellis has shown “an extraordinary bias” against prosecutors in the Manafort trial, and added, “He’s making too much of the case about him.”
  78. On Thursday, Judge Ellis apologized to jurors after berating prosecutorsfor allowing a witness to watch the proceedings, despite having given his earlier approval, saying, “It appears I may well have been wrong.”
  79. On Thursday, in a court filing, Mueller’s team asked to keep a discussion between trial attorneys and the judge regarding a question to Gates secret,signaling Gates may also be assisting in Mueller’s Russia probe.
  80. On Friday, for the second time in two days, prosecutors asked Judge Ellis to take back a critical remark directed at them in front of the jury, saying it could “sow confusion among the jurors about the merits of that charge.”
  81. On Friday, Dennis Raico, a former senior vice president at Federal Savings Bank, testified CEO Steve Calk “expedited” approval of $16 million in loans for Manafort, adding it “made me very uncomfortable.”
  82. On Friday, there was an unexplained five-hour delay in the Manafort trial. Before the lunch break, Judge Ellis stressed to jurors the importance of not discussing the case and told them to “keep an open mind.”
  83. NBC News reported Kristin Davis, the “Manhattan Madam” is scheduled to testify this week before Mueller’s grand jury in Washington. Davis said in July she believed it was in regard to her relationship with Roger Stone.
  84. On Thursday, MSNBC host Ari Melber reported Mueller’s office had “indicated” it plans to subpoena Randy Credico, the associate of Stone who was his alleged connection to Wikileaks during the 2016 election.
  85. On Friday, Credico said that he had received a subpoena to testify before the grand jury in Mueller’s investigation of Russian interference on September 7, and said he did not plan to fight it.
  86. On Friday, U.S. District Chief Judge Beryl Howell found Andrew Miller, a Stone associate, in contempt for refusing to testify before the grand jury. Miller’s attorney plans to appeal the decision.
  87. According to a June court transcript, the subpoena of Miller seeks information about Stone and key figures in the hacking of the Democratic National Committee, and the release of Democrats’ emails by Wikileaks.
  88. On Friday, Stone told the NYT, “the ongoing attempt to interrogate themappears to be an effort to fabricate some other ‘crime’ to pressure me into testifying” against Trump, adding, “It really has the smell of a witch hunt.”
  89. On Friday, BuzzFeed reported FBI agents and congressional investigators are examining a series of transactions which GOP operative Peter W. Smithmade as his effort to procure Clinton’s emails heated up.
  90. A day after he finished a report saying he was working with Trump campaign officials, he transferred $9,500 from an account to fund the email project to his personal account, and withdrew $4,900 in cash.
  91. Responding to an FBI subpoena, Smith’s bank, Northern Trust turned over documents showing 88 suspicious cash withdrawals totaling about $140,000 between January 2016 and April 2017.
  92. On Wednesday, Politico reported, according to a Russian document, Putin presented Trump with a series of requests in Helsinki, including new talks on controlling nuclear arms and prohibiting weapons in space.
  93. Russian officials, including Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov complained about the document being leaked. U.S. officials have yet to be fully briefedby Trump on the contents of his two hour meeting with Putin.
  94. On Wednesday, more than a month past a statutory deadline and after being called out by Republican members of Congress, the Trump regime issued new sanctions against Russia for the U.K. Skripal poisoning.
  95. The U.S. had joined European countries in publicly blaming Moscow within days of the March attack, but the Trump regime had yet to issue the formal determination that triggers automatic sanctions in a 1991 law.
  96. The Chemical and Biological Weapons and Warfare Elimination Act of 1991 will impose sanctions in two tranches: the first has little impact, the second, if Russia does not provide “reliable assurances” will be substantial.
  97. On Wednesday, WAPO reported the White House is drafting a sanctions order to punish foreign interference in U.S. elections, in an effort to appear serious about combatting Russian disinformation and hacking.
  98. The draft order is meant to stave off aggressive legislation introduced in the Senate in Week 90, and to answer continuing criticism that Trump has sided with Putin over U.S. intelligence on Russian hacking.
  99. In an effort to make the order palatable to Trump, Russia is not singled out, and reference is made to past attempts by the “Soviet Union” to interfere in U.S. elections. The draft grants Trump discretion on sanctions.
  100. A recent Gallup Poll found 40% of Republicans regard Russia as an ally or at least as a country friendly to the U.S., double the percentage from 2014.
  101. A new public opinion survey conducted by Ipsos found 43% of Republicans said that they believed Trump “should have the authority to close news outlets engaged in bad behavior.” Just 36% disagreed.
  102. On Tuesday, Trump tweeted congratulating “Troy Balderson on a great win in Ohio, and took credit for the win. The race remains undecided at the week’s end in a traditionally safe GOP district that Trump won by 11 points.
  103. On Tuesday, after election primary victories, Rashida Tlaib of Michigan was poised to become the first Muslim woman in Congress, and Sharice Davids of Kansas the first Native American. Davids is also openly gay.
  104. On Wednesday, Corey Stewart, the neo-Confederate Republican nominee for Senate in Virginia tweeted about Michigan gubernatorial candidateAbdul El-Sayed who lost her primary, calling her an “ISIS commie.”
  105. On Wednesday, in a tape obtained by “The Rachel Maddow Show” of a July GOP fundraiser, Rep. Devin Nunes said impeaching Rosenstein would delay the Senate’s ability to confirm Trump’s Supreme Court nominee.
  106. In the audio from fundraiser for Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers, Nunes said “Rosenstein deserves to be impeached,” and added, “if Sessions won’t unrecuse and Mueller won’t clear the president, we’re the only ones.”
  107. Nunes also suggested the Republicans must keep the House majority to protect Trump from the Mueller probe, saying, “We have to keep all these seats…We have to keep the majority.”
  108. Nunes also said, hypothetically, if a campaign received and released stolen emails from a foreign government — using an example of McMorris Rodgers and the country of Portugal — “Well, if that’s the case, then that’s criminal.”
  109. On Tuesday, Forbes reported on numerous allegations against Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross from his business days which have sparked lawsuits, reimbursements, and an SEC fine of more than $120 million.
  110. Mother Jones reported ex-Trump campaign aides Jason Osborne and Mike Rubino are lobbying for a Russian-backed Serbian separatist party in Bosnia, whose leader has been sanctioned by the Treasury Department.
  111. The two registered with the Justice Department to lobby for the political party of Milorad Dodik. Party officials have met with Steve Bannon, Corey Lewandowski, and Rep. Dana Rohrabacher.
  112. On Tuesday, WSJ reported Michael Cohen is under investigation by federal prosecutors for possible tax fraud, for underreporting income for his taxi-medallion business in federal tax returns.
  113. Prosecutors also are looking into whether any employees at the Sterling National Bank, which provided financing for Cohen’s taxi-medallion business, allowed Cohen to inflate collateral value to obtain loans.
  114. ProPublica reported three of Trump’s Palm Beach cronies — Marvel Entertainment chairman Ike Perlmutter, Bruce Moskowitz, and Marc Sherman — have had significant influence in shaping veteran’s policies.
  115. None of the three have any military or government experience. VA insiders refer to them as the “Mar-a-Lago Crowd.” Trump has been a powerful ally — speaking on the phone and dining with Perlmutter frequently.
  116. Hundreds of documents obtained under the FOIA reveal the three hovered over public servants without transparency, accountability, or oversight, and have been calling the shots at Veterans Affairs since Trump took office.
  117. An analysis done by NBC News of revenue at Trump Hotel DC based on public filings and social media found substantial spending at the hotel by federal agencies, Trump’s political allies, and foreign governments.
  118. Trump took in more than $40 million in revenues from the hotel in 2017, and Ivanka took in $3.9 million. Trump loyalists and senior aides like Mike Pence, Rudy Giuliani, Larry Kudlow, and Lewandowski frequent the hotel.
  119. PACs and GOP campaigns have spent the most at the hotel. Religious groups and lobbyists for the petroleum and banking industries have held events there, as have foreign governments like Kuwait and Saudi Arabia.
  120. On Wednesday, Rep. Chris Collins, the first member of Congress to endorse Trump in February 2016, was charged with insider trading. In Trump‘s early days, Collins served as an informal liaison to Congress.
  121. A video was uncovered of what appears to be Collins calling his son to tell him to sell stock in Australian biotech company Innate while at the White House picnic on June 22, 2017.
  122. On Saturday, Rep. Collins reversed course and suspended his bid for re-election in 2018, saying he had decided it was “in the best interests” of his district, the Republican Party, and Trump’s agenda.
  123. On Wednesday, Reuters reported the Trump regime cut 40 jobs at the Office of Financial Research, a government agency tasked with identifying looming financial risks, created in the wake of the 2008 financial crisis.
  124. On Thursday, Kansas Gov. Jeff Colyer called on his opponent Secretary of State Kris Kobach to recuse himself from vote counting after multiple counties reported voting totals on the secretary of state’s website were inaccurate.
  125. Kobach was ahead by just 191 votes on election night, but at least two known errors had cost Colyer roughly 100 votes. Late Thursday, Kobach agreed to recuse himself.
  126. On Wednesday, Daily Beast reported Omarosa Manigault-Newman, the former “Apprentice” star who followed Trump to the White House, has secret recordings she made of Trump — the contents of which will be in her upcoming book.
  127. Omarosa said the tapes reveal Trump frequently used the word “nigger” while he was the host of the reality television show “Celebrity Apprentice,” although she did not personally hear him use the word.
  128. On Friday, WAPO reported Omarosa was offered a $15,000-a-month contract by Trump campaign adviser Lara Trump to stay silent after being fired from her job as a White House aide in December 2017.
  129. The West Hollywood city council unanimously approved a proposal to remove Trump’s star from the Hollywood Walk of Fame, citing costs of acts of vandalism and demonstrations.
  130. On Thursday, Tribune Media terminated its merger agreement with Sinclair Broadcast Group, and sued the owner, alleging it failed to make sufficient efforts to get their $3.9 billion deal approved by regulators.
  131. After over a year of supporting the merger, Trump’s FCC Chair had soured on it in Week 88. The Hollywood Reporter noted Fox News, a competitor to Sinclair, was the big winner of the deal not going through.
  132. On Thursday, NYT reported senior American national security officials pushed to complete the NATO deal before the July 11 summit in Brussels began, to protect from Trump blowing up the deal while at the summit.
  133. National security adviser Bolton communicated through U.S. ambassador to NATO Kay Bailey Hutchison. On July 4, NATO’s secretary general toldambassadors the usual infighting over the agreement had to be dropped.
  134. The new agreement, completed in advance of the summit, gives American national security officials the ability to assure the public and skittish allies, even while Trump continues to publicly bash NATO.
  135. On Wednesday, the 45th anniversary of Nixon’s resignation, Giuliani told Fox News host Sean Hannity in contrast to Nixon’s downfall, this time the wrongdoing is on the side of the investigator, not the president.
  136. Giuliani said, “In this case, the investigation was much worse than the no-crime,” and called the Mueller probe “Corrupt investigations through and through,” that is “going to lead to some very big reforms.”
  137. On Thursday, Trump lashed out, tweeting the Mueller probe is “an illegally brought Rigged Witch Hunt run by people who are totally corrupt and/or conflicted,” and ended his tweet with a foreboding, “Stay tuned!”
  138. On Thursday, the special master appointed after the Cohen raid said she “has concluded her review” of four million items to determine what is subject to attorney-client privilege.
  139. In the last batch of items reviewed, Cohen claimed 4,808 were privileged, while the special master agreed with the designation for about half. The documents have been turned over to federal prosecutors in New York.
  140. The Hill reported House Judiciary Committee chair Bob Goodlatte is preparing to subpoena people connected to the Steele dossier, including DOJ official Bruce Ohr, his wife Nellie Ohr, and Fusion GPS co-founder Glenn Simpson.
  141. Bruce Ohr is under GOP scrutiny for his contacts with Simpson and Steele during the 2016 election, while Nellie Ohr worked for Fusion GPS at that time. The committee will also go subpoena former FBI and DOJ officials.
  142. Sekulow and Nunes are also speaking out. Sekulow told “This Week” on Sunday that Ohr’s ties to Steele and Fusion GPS “concerned” him, and Nunes said Monday on “Hannity” that Ohr’s involvement is troubling.
  143. It is unclear why Ohr has become the focus of attention from Trump allies. Ohr was removed from the Deputy Attorney’s office when his ties to Steele came to public light. Most of the allegations have been public for months.
  144. On Friday, Sekulow and Giuliani hosted Sean Hannity’s afternoon radio show. The lawyers criticized Mueller’s Russia investigation, with Giuliani claiming Mueller’s investigation was “born in corruption.”
  145. WAPO reported although on vacation this week in Bedminster, New Jersey,Trump continued to actively tweet about the Mueller probe, and ancillary subjects such as the FBI and collusion, sending 10 tweets as of Friday.
  146. On Friday, Trump quoted Fox Business host Maria Bartiromo on the Mueller probe, tweeting, “No evidence to launch even an investigation into potential collusion…and here we are, a year and a half later.” This is false.
  147. Trump also quoted Jenna Ellis of the Washington Examiner, tweeting, “FBI thought they wouldn’t get caught because they thought that Hillary was going to win. There is overt bias…a double standard that needs to stop.”
  148. On Saturday, Trump attacked the FBI’s handling of Andrew McCabe’s text messages in a pair of tweets, asking “What are they hiding? McCabe wife took big campaign dollars from Hillary people…..”
  149. Trump threatened he may “get involved,” and asked, “Will the FBI ever recover it’s once stellar reputation, so badly damaged by Comey, McCabe, Peter S and his lover… FBI have been hurt by these clowns and losers!”
  150. On Wednesday, Donald Jr. posted a poll graphic to his Instagram account which doctored Trump’s approval from 40% up to 50%, ahead of Obama’s 45%, backing his father’s claim that he has better approval than Obama.
  151. After the doctored post was reported on, Donald Jr. deleted it on Friday, but not until after tens of thousands of people had seen, shared, or endorsed the false 50% approval rating.
  152. On Thursday, Vice President Pence laid out Trump’s plans for the Space Force, which would become the sixth branch of the U.S. Armed Forces, equal to the other five. The new branch needs to be approved by Congress.
  153. Shortly after Pence’s speech, Trump tweeted, “Space Force all the way!” and his campaign sent supporters an email asking them to vote on a Space Force logo, and to consider making a campaign donation.
  154. States of emergency were declared for the Commonwealth of Virginia and Charlottesville at the one-year anniversary of the white nationalist “Unite the Right” rally and counter-protests that turned deadly last year.
  155. On Saturday, Trump tweeted “The riots in Charlottesville a year ago resulted in senseless death and division,” and, reminiscent of his “both sides” remarks, said he condemns, “all types of racism and acts of violence.”
  156. Jason Kessler, a white nationalist leader who is organizing the Unite the Right 2018 rally in Lafayette Square on Sunday, said, “White people should be able to have the same rights as other groups.
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