Hello all, I’m posting from Kraków, Poland this week and I actually found some politiKal graffiti right here in the city!
Week 97 of this attack on democracy: Experts in authoritarianism advise to keep a list of things subtly changing around you, so you’ll remember.
This week the news was dominated by accusations of sexual assault against Trump’s nominee for Supreme Court, Brett Kavanaugh, as the accuser, Dr. Christine Blasey Ford came forward. Trump restrained himself from attacking Dr. Ford until Friday, but Republican senators and GOP operatives were out in full force all week. Senate Judiciary Committee member Orrin Hatch called Dr. Ford, “mixed up,” while conservative legal commentator Ed Whalen tried to pin the blame for the assault on Kavanaugh’s classmate. Meanwhile, Republicans sought to temper comparisons to the Anita Hill hearings with midterms approaching, amid concerns about the party’s declining standing with suburban women voters.
The Mueller probe continues to move ahead, as this week we learned Michael Cohen is cooperating, along with Paul Manafort. Trump took unprecedented steps in an effort to undermine the FBI and the Mueller probe by ordering the declassification and release of Carter Page’s surveillance documents and other officials’ text messages, but later in the week reversed his decision. Rumors and concern swirled Friday that Trump may fire Rosenstein, using a NYT article claimed Rosenstein secretly suggested recording Trump and discussed the 25th Amendment as a pretext. The story was later contradicted in reporting by the Post and NBC News, which suggested Rosenstein was being sarcastic and did not mention the 25th Amendment.
On the walls in Kraków, Poland 🇵🇱 21sep18
European biggest economic powers, led by France, Germany, and Britain, are planning to create a “special purpose” financial company to thwart Trump’s sanctions and allow Iran to continue to sell oil in the EU.
In an email, the Texas Farm Bureau, the largest farm organization in Texas, instructed employees not to wear Nike apparel while at work.
The WNBA Champion Seattle Storm have not been invited by Trump to the White House, nor would the team reportedly attend if an invitation is offered. Trump did not invite the Minnesota Lynx last year, breaking years of tradition.
On Sunday, two days after the announcement that Paul Manafort is cooperating in the Mueller probe, Trump tweeted the “illegal Mueller Witch Hunt continues in search of a crime.”
Trump also tweeted, “there was never Collusion with Russia, except by the Clinton campaign,” adding the “17 Angry Democrats” are looking for anything, and calling it “Very unfair and BAD for the country.”
On Sunday, on “Meet the Press,” FEMA director Brock Long defended Trump, questioning the relevance of independent studies which found thousands of deaths in Puerto Rico in the aftermath of Hurricane Maria.
Long tried to differentiate between direct deaths and “indirect deaths” to refute the George Washington study, saying there was a tenuous link between indirect deaths and the federal government’s response.
On Sunday, WAPO reported Long is resisting an effort by Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen to fire him in the midst of hurricane season over his alleged misuse of government vehicles.
The number two position at FEMA is also vacant as Trump’s nominee, Peter Gaynor, awaits confirmation. Trump’s first nominee, Daniel Craig, withdrew over falsified work and travel records under George W. Bush.
On Monday, NYT reported the House Oversight Committee will launch an investigation into whether Long repeatedly misused government vehicles to commute from Washington to his home in North Carolina.
Committee chair Rep. Trey Gowdy sent a letter to Long on Monday requesting documentation and other information. Gowdy gave Long until October 1 to produce relevant documents.
On Tuesday, Politico reported John Veatch, a senior official and Trump appointee at FEMA was suspended without pay on Friday related to a DHS inspector general investigation into Long.
On Monday, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo announced the Trump regime will lower the cap on the number of refugees that can be resettled in the U.S. to 30,000 for 2019.
The number represents the lowest cap since the program was put into place in 1980. Trump had set the cap to 45,000 for 2018, significant lower than the cap in place of 110,000 under Obama for 2017.
The reduced cap is the culmination of efforts by Stephen Miller, who had advocated for a 25,000 cap as part of his efforts to severely restrict the number of refugees offered protection inside the country.
To justify the reduction, Pompeo cited the backlog of 800,000 asylum seekers who are awaiting a decision by immigration authorities. NYT reported, according to DHS, the number is just under 320,000.
Advocates accused the regime of pitting those seeking asylum against refugees. Although the cap is 45,000, thus far the regime has only admitted 20,918 so far in 2018, less than half the cap.
Border Patrol agent Juan David Ortiz confessed to killing four people on the Southern border in September 2018. The victims — three women and one transgender women — who he shot in the head, were prostitutes.
On Wednesday, in an opinion, Jeff Sessions wrote that immigration judges don’t have “free-floating power” to end deportation cases. Sessions reversed an immigration judge’s decision to terminate a removal case.
A representative of the national union of immigration judges said Sessions’ move is part of a broader effort to limit judges’ independence, and shows the Trump regime’s “political approach” to immigration courts.
CNN reported, confirming of the worst fears of immigrants and their advocates, ICE has arrested dozens of undocumented immigrants who came forward to take care of migrant children in government custody.
On Friday, ICE in Detroit halted the deportation of Francis Anwana for at least 30 days after public outcry. Anwana is deaf and cognitively disabled.
PBS reported on a Republican Party “identity crisis” as a handful of GOP congressional candidates this year have openly expressed or supported racist views. One appeared alongside Jason Kessler, a white nationalist.
The Cap Times reported a constituent called 911 on Dane County Supervisor Shelia Stubbs as she was out canvassing for an Assembly seat. The caller reported a suspected drug deal. Stubbs is a black American.
News Star reported a white teen in Louisiana was jailed after reportedly putting a noose around a black students neck. The teen said he wanted to see how many black boys’ necks he could put it around and get photos.
The Fort Bend County Republicans in Texas issued an apology, after releasing a campaign ad in the India Herald with an image of Ganesha, the elephant-headed Hindu deity, and likening it to the GOP elephant.
Mother Jones reported that new documents released as part of a lawsuit by New York state directly contradict Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross’ claims about the origins of the census citizenship question.
An email reveals when Ross asked a top aide to get the DOJ to come up with a pretext for adding the question, they balked. The aide cited the bad press Justice was getting at the time with “the whole Comey matter.”
On Friday, a federal judge ruled Wilbur Ross must sit for a deposition in a lawsuit challenging the department’s decision to ask U.S. residents about their citizenship, saying his “intent and credibility are directly at issue.”
On Monday, a judge ruled that Georgia will continue using its touchscreen voting machines for the midterms, despite concern that the technology of the machines leaves them vulnerable to hacking.
The judge rebuked Georgia and state election officials over their handling of election security. Georgia is one of 14 states using machines that do not leave a paper trail voting record.
On Tuesday, Politico reported newly released records reveal Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao flew on Federal Aviation Administration planes rather than commercial flights on seven occasions.
Records show the total cost to taxpayers for flights between January and August 2017 was roughly $94,000, including one flight to and around Europe that cost taxpayers an estimated $68,892 for her and five staffers.
On Tuesday, Trump released a video praising the response to Hurricane Florence, saying Florence was a “tough” hurricane, and that it is one of the “wettest we’ve ever seen, from the standpoint of water.”
NYT reported at the one-year anniversary of Hurricane Maria, much of Puerto Rico is still in ruins. Hundreds of thousands of people across the island are still living in homes in desperate need of repair.
Of the 1.1 million households that sought help, FEMA inspected 754,336 homes for damage, and just 138,572 household received a grant for repairs. Two-thirds of the grants were for less than $3,000.
The Hill reported, according to a letter sent to Sen. Tom Carper, the Office of Special Counsel warned Stephanie Grisham, First Lady Melania Trump’s spokesperson, over a tweet found to be in violation of the Hatch Act.
Several other members of the Trump regime, including Kellyanne Conway and U.S. ambassador to the U.N. Nikki Haley have also been in violation of the Hatch Act, but no punishments have been levied by the White House.
On Wednesday, Sen. Ron Wyden wrote a letter to Senate leaders alerting them that his office has discovered a number of senators and Senate staff members were warned that their emails were being targeted.
On Thursday, Google confirmed that it has warned some senators and Senate aides that their personal Google accounts have been the targets of attempted hacks backed by foreign governments.
BuzzFeed reported based on internal emails it obtained, Trump’s July 26, 2017 tweet on the transgender military ban caused chaos at the Pentagon, where policy changes are typically rolled out after months or years.
Despite Trump claiming to have consulted with “my Generals and military experts,” the Pentagon was blindsided. One email sent shortly after Trump’s tweets said, “Boss needs to see this now,” and “Unbelievable!”
On Sunday, WAPO reported California professor Christine Blasey Ford is the author of the confidential letter on Brett Kavanaugh, detailing allegations of sexual assault when they were in high school.
Ford feared for her life during the attack, and later told her husband in 2012 and her therapist in sessions. She held off going public for fear of her and her family’s safety, but said reporters were close to outing her identity.
Ford engaged Debra Katz, a Washington lawyer known for her work on sexual harassment cases. Ford took a polygraph test administered by a former FBI agent in early August, and passed.
On Sunday, Donald Jr. mocked Ford on his Instagram account, posting a meme depicting a grade school love letter, written in crayon, asking “will you be my girlfreind” and was signed “love, Bret.”
Sen. Jeff Flake slammed Donald Jr.’s Instagram post, tweeting “This is sickening. No one should make light of this situation.”
On Monday, Sens. Flake, Bob Corker, Lisa Murkowski, and Susan Collins said the Senate should delay the vote and hear from Ford. Chairman Chuck Grassley said Ford deserves to be heard, but would not say if the vote would be delayed.
On Tuesday, in an op-ed, Anita Hill said, “the Senate Judiciary Committee still lacks a protocol for vetting sexual harassment and assault claims that surface during a confirmation hearing,” and gave suggestions.
On Tuesday, in a letter to Grassley, Katz called for an FBI investigation: “A full investigation by law enforcement officials.” Katz has also called for other witnesses including Mark Judge, who was allegedly in the room.
On Tuesday, Trump said he does not think the FBI should involved in investigating Ford’s allegations, falsely claiming this “is not what they do.” The FBI did investigate allegations by Anita Hill against Clarence Thomas.
On Tuesday, NYT reported Ford has been inundated with vulgar email and social media messages, and death threats. She has gone into hiding, and has arranged for private security for herself and her family.
On Tuesday, Vanity Fair reported Kavanaugh’s imperiled confirmation has unsettled Trump and the White House. The threat of losing the Senate and the House in midterms has stopped Trump from attacking Ford.
Trump is also concerned about losing in the midterms, and reportedly told a friend in the Oval Office last week that it would be Mitch McConnell and Paul Ryan’s fault if Republicans lost the House and the Senate.
On Wednesday, Trump told reporters that it is “very hard for me to imagine anything happened” between Brett Kavanaugh and Christine Blasey Ford, calling Kavanaugh an “outstanding man.”
Trump also said of the possibility of Ford testifying, “If she shows up and makes a credible showing, that will be very interesting, and we’ll have to make a decision.”
On Monday, Bloomberg reported Mueller’s team will seek to have Michael Flynn sentenced as soon as November 28, indicating his cooperation with the Special Counsel is complete.
According to federal guidelines, Flynn could face as long as six months; although others who cooperated received lighter sentences: George Papadopoulos got 14 days and Alex van der Zwaan got 30 days.
Politico reported Manafort’s plea deal contains several provisions that appear intended to discourage Manafort from seeking a pardon from Trump, and rein in the impact of any pardon Trump might grant.
The deal says if Manafort’s guilty pleas or convictions are wiped out for any reason, prosecutors have the right to charge him with any other crimes he may have committed or confessed to during plea negotiations.
On Monday, AP reported that in a November 2010 letter it obtained, Julian Assange gave a friend authority “to both drop off and collect my passport” as he tried to relocate to Russia. Interpol issued a red alert, preventing it.
A trove of emails obtained show when Wikileaks planned to publicize 250,000 U.S. State Department cables. When Swedish authorities moved in on Assange, he wrote to the Russian Consulate in London for help.
Guardian reported Russian diplomats held secret talks in London last year with people associated with Julian Assange to set up a secret plan to help him escape the U.K.
The involved smuggling Assange out of Ecuador’s London embassy on Christmas Eve in 2017 in a diplomatic vehicle and transporting him to another country, with the ultimate destination being Russia.
The plan was put in place to avoid having Assange extradited to the U.S. as part of the Mueller investigation, but was abandoned after being judged as too risky.
On Tuesday, NYT reported although Trump’s legal team has expanded to nearly a dozen lawyers, they are struggling to understand where the investigations could be headed and the extent of Trump’s legal exposure.
Trump’s legal team is representing him in two federal investigations, one in Washington and one in New York. Reportedly it is not clear if Trump has given his lawyers a full account of his decades running the Trump Org.
His legal team also has limited knowledge of what senior regime officials and Trump’s business associates have told investigators. Manafort cooperating brings a new level of uncertainty.
Former attorney John Dowd’s strategy of cooperating with the Mueller probe has failed. Dowd has told associates that strategy was based on his believing Trump when he said he did nothing wrong.
The Times compiled an interactive article titled, “The Plot to Subvert an Election: Unraveling the Russia Story So Far,” which gave a two year summary of what we have learned and what it means.
Over the two years, Trump’s position on contacts with Russian has evolved from: there were none; then, that they did not amount to collusion; next, that in any case collusion was not a crime.
Russians had dozens of contacts during the campaign with Trump aides and associates, who seemed enthusiastic about meetings in Moscow, London, New York, and Louisville, Kentucky.
Russian intervention involved American companies including Facebook and Twitter; engaging American feelings about immigration and race; and using American journalists eager for scoops; as well as Russian trolls.
On Wednesday, Trump attorney Jay Sekulow told CNN, without evidence, that NBC edited the interview in which Trump told Lester Holt he was thinking of “this Russia thing” when fired Comey.
On Thursday, ABC News reported over the past month, Michael Cohen has participated in multiple interview sessions lasting for hours with investigators from Mueller’s office.
The interviews took place in New York and Washington, D.C., and parts were attended by prosecutors from the Southern District of New York. Cohen’s participation was voluntary.
Mueller’s team has primarily questioned Cohen on Trump’s financial and business dealings with Russia, and alleged collusion by the Trump campaign with Russia to influence the 2016 election.
Cohen has reportedly also been questioned on whether Trump or any of his associates had discussed the possibility of a pardon with Cohen. Cohen recently launched a GoFundMe page to help pay his mounting legal fees.
On Friday, WSJ reported as head of Trump’s legal defense team, Dowd tried to help pay legal fees for Manafort and Gates, initially trying to divert money from the White House legal defense fund, then later, to solicit funds.
On February 22, 2018, Dowd said in an email Manafort and Gates need funds immediately, and that he planned to donate $25,000 to Manafort’s defense. The next day, Gates pleaded guilty and agreed to cooperate.
Trump aides and associates warned Dowd his efforts to donate and raise money would look improper. Dowd told the WSJ he “did not make that contribution.”
On Friday, ABC News reported Roger Stone associate Jerome Corsi, who until recently served as the Washington, D.C., bureau chief for Infowars, met with the federal grand jury convened in Mueller’s Russia probe.
At least 11 people associated with Stone have been contacted by Mueller’s team including Michael Caputo, Sam Nunberg, Kristin Davis, John Kakanis, Jason Sullivan, and Andrew Miller.
On Friday, BuzzFeed reported $3.3 million began moving on June 3 between two of the men who orchestrated the June 9 Trump Tower meeting: Aras Agalarov and Irakly “Ike” Kaveladze.
NYT reported Russian billionaire oligarch Konstantin Nikolaev, who was recently revealed as a backer of Maria Butina, has been a source of funds for business ventures useful to the Russian military and security services.
On Saturday, WAPO reported K.T. McFarland, who served briefly as Michael Flynn’s deputy, revised her statement to investigators about a key event in the probe of Russian interference in the 2016 election.
In the summer of 2017, McFarland denied to FBI investigators that she had spoken to Flynn about his discussion of sanctions with Russian ambassador Sergey Kislyak in December 2016, during the transition.
On Monday, in a surprise announcement, Trump ordered the Justice Department to declassify declassify significant materials from the investigation of Russian interference in the 2016 election.
Trump ordered the DOJ to immediately declassify 20 pages of a surveillance application that targeted Carter Page, as well as the the unredacted text messages of several former high-level DOJ and FBI officials.
Trump ordered text messages sent by Comey, Andrew McCabe, Peter Strzok, Lisa Page and Bruce Ohr to be released — all of whom have been targets of Trump’s continued ire.
The White House said the order came at the request of “a number of committees of Congress” and was done “for reasons of transparency.”
Trump’s Republican allies in the House like Reps. Mark Meadows and Devin Nunes have been pushing for the release, suggesting it would help show anti-Trump bias at the highest levels of the FBI.
WAPO reported former officials described Trump’s order as “totally unprecedented,” saying even though he has the authority to do this, it is tainted by severe conflict of interest since he is the subject of investigation.
WAPO also reported the Justice Department did not receive any advance instructions about the materials covered in Trump’s order, and signaled its intention to slow-walk the request.
On Wednesday, in an interview with Hill.TV, Trump criticized attorney general Jeff Sessions, saying, “I don’t have an attorney general. It’s very sad,” adding, “I’m disappointed in the attorney general for many reasons.”
Trump also said of Sessions’ confirmation process that he “did very poorly,” adding Sessions “was mixed up and confused” over “answers that should have been easily answered.”
Trump also said Sessions did not need to recuse himself, saying “now it turned out he didn’t have to recuse himself,” and that would have prevented the Mueller investigation.
When asked if he would fire Sessions, Trump said, “We’ll see what happens. A lot of people have asked me to do that,” adding, “We’ll see how it goes with Jeff. I’m very disappointed in Jeff. Very disappointed.”
When asked about the term “deep state,” Trump said, “I don’t like to use it because it sounds so conspiratorial and believe it or not I’m really not a conspiratorial person. But I think it’s a sad day for our country.”
On Comey, Trump said, “If I did one mistake with Comey I should have fired him before I got here,” adding, “I should have fired him the day I won the primaries. I should have fired him right after the convention.”
Trump also said, “I’ve always said that the Russia hoax was an excuse for them losing the election,” and said of Mueller’s team, “not only that it’s fraudulent what they did…you have the 17 angry Democrats.”
Speaking about his order Monday to declassify and release documents, Trump also said exposing the “corrupt” FBI probe could become one of the “crowning achievements” of his presidency.
Trump admitted he had not read the documents he ordered declassified and released, but said he expected they would prove the FBI case started as a political “hoax.”
Trump also added he had “been asked by many people in Congress” to release the documents, as well “many people that I respect…the great Lou Dobbs, the great Sean Hannity, the wonderful great Jeanine Pirro.”
WAPO reported the interview with Hill.TV reflects that Trump feels betrayed by Sessions, and increasingly believes he is unprotected against the Mueller probe with midterms coming.
Trump, family members, and longtime loyalists worry about who they can trust, rattled by Woodward’s book and the NYT op-ed. Trump is confronting crises from every direction — legal, political and personal.
On Friday, Trump said he would delay the release, tweeting, the DOJ “agreed to release them” but said it may have a “perceived negative impact on the Russia probe.”
Trump also tweeted, “key Allies’ called to ask not to release.” He did not specify which allies, although the U.K. and other international intelligence agencies have provided information on attempts to hack the 2016 election.
Trump tweeted the Inspector General was asked to review “documents on an expedited basis,” adding, “I believe he will move quickly on this (and hopefully other things which he is looking at).”
Trump reportedly changed his mind after talks with intelligence officials, including deputy attorney general Rod Rosenstein, who explained to Trump about the ramifications of his order.
On Wednesday, quoting Peter Ferrara, former advisor to President Reagan, Trump took credit for improvements in the U.S. economy, falsely claiming in tweets, “The recovery got started on Election Day 2016.”
Trump also falsely claimed, “Before that it was the worst and slowest economic recovery since the Great Depression.” Ferrara made these claims while appearing on “Fox & Friends.”
On Wednesday, when asked by reporters if he is worried about Manafort talking with prosecutors, he responded, “I believe that he will tell the truth, and, if he tells the truth, no problem.”
When asked if he would pardon Manafort, Trump responded, “I don’t want to talk about it now.”
Bozeman Daily Chronicle reported when Donald Jr. and Kimberly Guilfoyle announced a campaign rally at a Montana restaurant, the owner said he would not host the event, citing wanting to “stay politically neutral.”
NYT reported a record 244 lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender candidates will be on the ballot for midterms. Of the 430 candidates who ran in the primaries, only 20 were Republican.
According to Spanish newspaper El País, Trump advised Spanish officials to build a wall to stop migrants, saying “the border with the Sahara can’t be bigger than ours with Mexico.”
Spanish officials reportedly explained that the Sahara is much larger. Reportedly, the remarks were made when Foreign Minister Borrell accompanied the Spanish royal family to the White House in June.
On Thursday, a poll by Abacus Data found that 9% of Canadians have a positive view of Trump, 10% are neutral, and 80% have a negative view.
On Thursday, seven women who have come forward with sexual harassment allegations while working in Congress made a public plea for lawmakers to finalize a deal to strengthen the misconduct policing system.
In their letter, the former aides said they were, “dismayed and disheartened by Congress’s failure to act,” and described a “culture of secrecy and an unforgiving, flawed system that protects those in power.”
On Thursday, South Carolina Republican congressman Ralph Norman joked about the Kavanaugh allegations, saying, “Ruth Bader Ginsburg came out that she was groped by Abraham Lincoln.”
On Wednesday, Sen. Susan Collins told WVOM in Maine, “My office has received some pretty ugly voicemails, threats, terrible things said to my staff.”
On Thursday, Sen. Dianne Feinstein said her office has received threats of bodily and sexual harm against staff, some naming specific employees.
On Thursday, 56 protesters who were targeting the offices of swing vote Republican senators on the Kavanaugh nomination, and chanting things like, “We believe women,” were arrested by U.S. Capitol Hill Police.
On Wednesday, HuffPost reported Amy Chua, a Yale Law School professor, advised students seeking judicial clerkships with Kavanaugh on their appearance, saying he liked his female clerks to have a “certain look.”
On Thursday, the dean of Yale Law School said in a letter to the law school community regarding “alleged faculty misconduct,” saying “the allegations being reported are of enormous concern to me and to the School.”
According to reports, Jed Rubenfeld, Chua’s husband, who is also a professor at Yale Law School, also once told a student seeking a clerkship that Kavanaugh “hires women with a certain look.”
On Friday, in an open letter from Yale Law School Faculty to the Senate Judiciary Committee, faculty said “we are concerned about a rush to judgment that threatens both the integrity of the process and the public’s confidence in the Court.”
On Tuesday, Ed Whelan, a conservative legal commentator and former law clerk to Justice Scalia, tweeted, “By one week from today, I expect that Judge Kavanaugh will have been clearly vindicated on this matter.”
On Thursday, in a series of tweets, Whelan claimed Ford had mistaken Kavanaugh with a classmate at Georgetown Prep. Ford responded she knew them both, so “there is zero chance that I would confuse them.”
On Thursday, WAPO reported Kavanaugh and his allies have been discussing a defense that would not question whether the assault happened, but instead would raise doubts the attacker was Kavanaugh.
On Friday morning, Whelan tweeted he had made an “inexcusable mistake” by identifying Kavanaugh’s classmate. The PR firm that helped Whelan was CRC Public Relations, the firm behind the swift boat ad.
The faculty also pushed for a FBI investigation, writing, “a partisan hearing alone cannot be the forum to determine the truth,” adding allegations “require a neutral factfinder and an investigation.”
On Thursday, at a rally in Las Vegas, Trump said, “do you remember the tears from the fake news media, when it was obvious that we were going to win?” adding, “They’re still crying. Look at them. They’re still crying.”
Trump also continued to talk about the 2016 election, “And we won big, 306–223. Remember? There is no way, right? There is no way that Donald Trump gets to 270. No, we got to 306.”
Trump also said of today’s Democratic Party that it is “held hostage by left-wing haters, angry mobs, socialist fanatics, ‘deep-state’ bureaucrats, and their fake news allies.”
On Friday, Trump abandoned his self-restraint, attacking Ford in a series of morning tweets. He called Kavanaugh “a fine man, with an impeccable reputation, who is “under assault by radical left wing politicians.”
Trump also tweeted, “I have no doubt that, if the attack on Dr. Ford was as bad as she says, charges would have been immediately filed,” asking that she bring filings forward so we “can learn date, time, and place!”
Trump also tweeted, “The radical left lawyers want the FBI to get involved NOW,” adding, “why didn’t someone call the FBI 36 years ago?
Trump was criticized for his tweets, including by Sen. Collins who said, “I was appalled by the president’s tweet,” and by Sen. Flake who said, “I thought that was incredibly insensitive.”
In response to Trump’s tweet, thousands tweeted using the hashtag #WhyIDidntReport to share their stories of why they did not report being sexually assaulted. #WhyIDidntReport was the top trender on Friday.
Trump later tweeted, “Senator Feinstein and the Democrats held the letter for months,” adding, “done very purposefully to Obstruct & Resist & Delay. Let her testify, or not, and TAKE THE VOTE!”
On Friday, Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said in remarks at the Values Voter Summit, “Here’s what I want to tell you: In the very near future, Judge Kavanaugh will be on the United States Supreme Court.”
On Friday, Sen. Grassley set an ultimatum for Friday at 10 p.m. for Ford to say if she would testify next Wednesday, with no witnesses or FBI investigation as Ford had requested, else he threatened a vote on Monday.
Sen. Collins said the committee should delay to “make it as comfortable as possible,”and Sen. Murkowski spoke out late Friday, saying “I won’t vote on Kavanaugh until hearing from his accuser.”
Late Friday, Ford’s attorney Katz asked for an additional day, saying the Republicans’ arbitrary deadlines and ultimatums had created stress and anxiety for Ford.
Katz said in a statement, “Your cavalier treatment of a sexual assault survivor who has been doing her best to cooperate with the Committee is completely inappropriate.”
On Friday, a new USA TODAY/Ipsos Public Affairs Poll found 40% to 31% that the Senate should not approve Kavanaugh’s nomination, the first time a plurality have opposed a Supreme Court nominee since polling began.
On Friday, HUD Secretary Ben Carson said in a speech at the Values Voter Summit that allegations against Kavanaugh are part of a centuries-old socialist plot to take over America.
On Friday, in a bombshell report, NYT reported Rosenstein suggested in the spring of 2017 that he secretly record Trump in the White House and discussed recruiting cabinet members to invoke the 25th Amendment.
Reportedly Rosenstein made the remarks in meetings and conversations with other DOJ and FBI officials in the days after Comey was fired and Trump divulged classified information to Russians in the Oval Office.
According to the Times, not only was Rosenstein serious, but according to a memo by acting FBI director Andrew McCabe, Rosenstein suggested that McCabe secretly record his talks with Trump.
In a statement, Rosenstein responded, “The New York Times’s story is inaccurate and factually incorrect,” adding, “based on my personal dealings” with Trump “there is no basis to invoke the 25th Amendment.”
The revelations breaking Friday afternoon immediately drew speculation that Trump would fire Rosenstein. Donald Jr. tweeted, “No one is shocked that these guys would do anything in their power to undermine” Trump.
In a second statement hours later, Rosenstein said, “I never pursued or authorized recording the president and any suggestion that I have ever advocated for the removal of the President is absolutely false.”
WAPO reported both McCabe and Lisa Page, as McCabe’s in-house counsel, took notes of two meetings with Rosenstein on May 16. Both mention the recording device, but Page’s notes do not mention the 25th Amendment.
According to attendees at the meeting, Rosenstein’s comment, in response to McCabe pushing to open an investigation in Trump, were said sarcastically, “What do you want to do, Andy, wire the president?”
NBC News likewise reported that according to a Justice Department senior official and a source who was in the room, Rosenstein’s remark was sarcastic, and Page’s notes make no mention of the 25th Amendment.
Attendees the May 16, 2017 meeting included Rosenstein, McCabe, Page, and four career DOJ officials, including Scott Schools, who would later go on to sign off on the firing of McCabe.
Fox New host Laura Ingraham tweeted that Rosenstein “must be fired today” when the NYT article came out, and on her show said Trump “should seriously consider whether Rod Rosenstein should remain on the job.”
Later that night, at a rally in Missouri, Trump told the crowd, “We have great people in the Department of Justice,” but added, “there’s a lingering stench, and we’re going to get rid of that, too.”
Later that night, Fox News host Sean Hannity said on his show, “I have a message for the president tonight. Under zero circumstances should the president fire anybody.” Ingraham later deleted her tweet.
On Saturday, Garrett Ventry, a communications aid for the Senate Judiciary Committee, resigned amid questions from NBC News about a previous sexual harassment complaint.
Ventry worked for North Carolina House Majority Leader John Bell, and was reportedly fired after an accusation of sexual harassment from a female employee of the NC General Assembly’s Republican staff.
While doing work for the Judiciary Committee, Ventry was also employed by CRC Public Relations, a PR helping promote Kavanaugh’s nomination. CRC was also working with Ed Whalen and the Federalist Society.
Ventry helped coordinate the Republicans on the committee’s messaging around Kavanaugh’s nomination. He had claimed the Judiciary Committee had “no knowledge or involvement” with Whalen and CRC’s suggestions.
On Friday evening, DHS Secretary Nielsen released a statement saying FEMA director Long has been ordered to reimburse the government for his misuse of federal vehicles, but he will be allowed to remain in his job.
A canoeing group filed a federal lawsuit against the Trump regime, claiming Trump’s use of his Trump National Golf Club in Sterling, Virginia has led to illegal restrictions on the abutting Potomac River.
On Saturday, Trump played his 156th round of golf while in office; 155 have been at one of 17 Trump-owned golf courses. Overall, Trump has played golf 1 in 4 days since he took office.