POLITIKS OF GRAFFITI 154: DECONSTRUCTING OUR DEMOCRACY

OCTOBER 19, 2019

Week 153

Experts in authoritarianism advise to keep a list of things
subtly changing around you, so you’ll remember. https://theweeklylist.org/weekly-list/week-153/

This week they just said it out loud: Trump’s acting chief of staff Mick Mulvaney scolded reporters, saying Ukraine was a quid pro quo, and “Get over it!” This was yet another in a series of unending trial balloons to gauge just how far Trump could push boundaries, and what he could normalize on his path to deconstructing our democracy. At the same news conference, Mulvaney informed reporters that Trump would host the 2020 G7 summit at his Doral Resort, an unprecedented act and another trial balloon. By the end of the week, Republicans were tiring of Donald J. Trump.

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A patriot waiting for his train at Old Town Depot. San Diego, CA 12oct19

Further evidence of shifting moods was the flow of career professionals and Trump appointees defying his stonewall and testifying before Congress. Unlike his successful dodge of the Mueller probe, the reporting and testimony all seem to point to Trump being at the center of demanding help from a foreign government, and withholding Congressionally-approved funds as a hammer. At week’s end, in a congressional hearing on Hurricane Maria, it became clear it had done the same to Puerto Rico, withholding aid approved by Congress at his whim.

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Old Town Depot. San Diego, CA 12oct19

Trump has also shown his utter ineptitude on foreign policy, and the consequences of his withdrawal of troops from Syria resulted in calamity one week later. By week’s end, diplomats were questioning if the U.S. could be held responsible for Crimes Against Humanity for ethnic cleansing, due to Trump’s callousness and indifference, at times seeming to encourage Turkish brutality.

As noted by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, “All roads lead to Putin” — Trump has handed Russia two huge victories by hobbling support to Ukraine and leaving a vacuum which Moscow quickly occupied in Syria. Hillary Clinton posited Trump being compromised by Russia, and Admiral Michael McRaven said in an op-ed, “Our Republic is Under Attack from the President.” Again, we seem to be teetering on the end of Trump or the end of American democracy.

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Wynwood, Florida 17oct19 – photo by Pascal Doytier
  1. WAPO reported Trump has made 13,435 false or misleading claims heading into his first 1,000 days in office. Nearly 20% of his lies come from his prolific tweeting. Fewer than 3 in 10 believe his most common lies.
  2. Trump has averaged 22 lies per day over the last 65 days. When Trump crossed 10,000 lies in April, he was averaging 14 lies per day. The most common subjects are trade, the economy, and the Russia investigation.
  3. On Wednesday, an analysis by ProPublica and Columbia Journalism Investigations found halfway through Trump’s first term, his regime has hired 281 lobbyists, one in every 14 hired. Watchdog groups called it a “staggering” number.
  4. On Friday, a Brookings Institute analysis found turnover in the Trump regime at 80% of “A-Team” members of the executive office. Additionally, the tenth Senate-confirmed cabinet member resigned this week.
  5. On Thursday, Russian news agency TASS reported Russia and the U.S. are gradually resuming cooperation on cyber security. It was unclear what this meant, and no U.S. media reported on it.
  6. On Tuesday, the family of British teenager Harry Dunn, who was killed in a crash involving a U.S. diplomat’s wife, was surprised when Trump invited them to the White House, then said the suspect was in the next room.
  7. The shocked family declined the meeting. A spokesperson for the Dunn family said Wednesday, “Reflecting on it this morning, I think Charlotte and Tim realize that the President was only doing it for himself.”
  8. On Saturday, speaking at the Values Voter Summit in D.C., Trump threatened to sue House Democrats Adam Schiff and Speaker Nancy Pelosi over impeachment, adding, “Or maybe we should just impeach them.”
  9. On Saturday, Trump had lunch with Rudy Giuliani at his golf course in Sterling, VA in a show of support, after appearing to distance himself late last Friday. Later on Fox News, Trump called him “a great gentleman.”
  10. On Saturday, Politico reported on an April 2014 photo of Trump standing shoulder to shoulder with Lev Parnas, both smiling. In Week 152 Trump said, “I don’t know those gentlemen.”
  11. On Saturday, WAPO reported Gordon Sondland, U.S. ambassador to the E.U., is expected to tell Congress this week in testimony that the no quid pro quo with Ukraine text he sent was dictated to him by Trump.
  12. A person close to Sondland said he believed at the time what Trump told him when he replied to William Taylor, acting ambassador to Ukraine, but that he had no direct knowledge if Trump was telling the truth.
  13. On Sunday, an NBC/WSJ poll found 55% are in favor of an impeachment inquiry, with 39% against. Within the GOP, 91% of Trump Republicans say there is not enough evidence, but just 58% of party Republicans agree.
  14. On Sunday, Trump continued his attacks on a Fox News newsman, tweeting, “Somebody please explain to Chris Wallace of Fox, who will never be his father (and my friend), Mike Wallace,” about his call with Ukraine.
  15. Trump added, “It was only Schiff’s made up version of that conversation that was bad!” Fox News anchor Chris Wallace responded, “One of us has a daddy problem, and it’s not me.”
  16. On Sunday, a CBS News poll found 63% say Trump should cooperate with the impeachment inquiry, 37% said he should not. Republicans remain opposed (16%), Democrats for (88%) and Independents divided (47%).
  17. On Sunday, Trump warned Democrats, tweeting “the Democrats are going to lose a lot of House Seatsbecause of their Fraudulent use of Impeachment,” adding, “Senate Seats will also be put at risk.”
  18. On Sunday, NYT reported Trump plan to bring on former Rep. Trey Gowdy failed after discovering due to lobbying rules disclosed by Gowdy 30 minutes after the statement about his joining the team had gone public.
  19. On Sunday, NYT reported a violent video of the likeness of Trump shooting, stabbing, and assaulting the news media and his political opponents was played at a conference at Trump National Doral Miami.
  20. The conference was hosted by pro-Trump group, American Priority, and speakers included Donald Jr., Sarah Huckabee Sanders, and Florida Gov. Rick DeSantis. Sanders and Donald Jr. claimed they did not see the video.
  21. White House press secretary Stephanie Grisham tweeted Monday that Trump had not seen the video. Trump was not involved in creating the video, but refused to comment on or condemn it on Twitter or in public.
  22. On Saturday, a 28 year-old black woman, Atatiana Koquice Jefferson, was killed in a bedroom in her apartment in Fort Worth, Texas by a police officer, after her neighbor called for a wellness check on her.
  23. On Monday, Aaron York, the police officer, was arrested, hours after he resigned. York shot Jefferson at 2:25 a.m. while she was babysitting her nephew. A SWAT-type presence responded to the wellness check call.
  24. On Saturday, in White Plains, a suburb of New York City, a man wearing a baseball cap with a swastika drawn on top walked into a diner at lunchtime. Police were called and he was escorted out.
  25. On Monday, the home page of the State Department website showed Secretary of State Mike Pompeo giving a speech to the American Association of Christian Counselors, headlined: “Being a Christian Leader.”
  26. Attorney General William Barr gave a speech at University of Notre Dame, where he blamed “secularists” and “so-called progressives” for destroying society and precipitating the crises of family dissolution, crime, and drugs.
  27. On Thursday, NBC News reported Brittany Spencer, a waitress in Wisconsin, was fired for refusing to serve customers making transphobic comments about a transgender person seated at the bar.
  28. The restaurant, Fat Joe’s Bar and Grill, disabled their Facebook page. Spencer said she is looking for a new job, and filed a complaint with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.
  29. On Thursday, at a Justice Department ceremony, Matthew Shepard’s parents rebuked Barr and the Trump regime for siding with employers, saying they can legally discriminate against gay and transgender workers.
  30. On Thursday, the Council on American-Islamic Relations said in a complaint that Madinah Brown was barred from wearing a hijab to her job at a Delaware agency, the New Castle County Detention Center.
  31. On Sunday, Hunter Biden said in a statement he is stepping down from the board of Chinese firm BHR, and will not engage in any foreign work if Joe Biden wins 2020. Biden has not been accused of any wrongdoing.
  32. On Monday, Trump tweeted, “Wow! Hunter Biden is being forced to leave a Chinese Company,” adding, “Now watch the Fake News wrap their greasy and very protective arms around him.”
  33. On Monday, Trump demanded the whistleblower testify and be identified, tweeting, “Adam Schiff now doesn’t seem to want the Whistleblower to testify. NO!” adding, “he got my Ukraine conversation sooo wrong.”
  34. Trump added, “We must determine the Whistleblower’s identity to determine WHY this was done to the USA,” and calling it “A total Impeachment Scam!
  35. On Monday, WAPO reported amid Trump’s attacks on Chair Schiff, including accusations of treason, Schiff has faced escalating threats of violence from Trump’s fans such as “SHIFTY SHIFF NEEDS TO BE HUNG.”
  36. On Monday, Trump again attacked the Fox poll from Week 152, tweeting, “the Fox Impeachment poll has turned out to be incorrect” based on a questionable analysis in the Murdoch-owned New York Post published on Friday.
  37. Trump attacked the NYT for mentioning the poll, tweeting, “the Corrupt New York Times used this poll” despite the New York Post analysis, “Fox News Pollster Braun Research Misrepresented Impeachment Poll.”
  38. On Tuesday, a new poll by conservative pollster Scott Rasmussen found 50% favor impeachment and removal of Trump, 38% disapprove. Net support for impeach and remove is up 16 points since early September.
  39. On Tuesday, a new poll by Axios found 76% of college students support an impeachment inquiry, including 76% of Independents. Support for an impeachment inquiry was 52% in May.
  40. On Monday, Fiona Hill, the White House’s former top Russia adviser, testified before the House Intelligence, Oversight, and Financial Services committees behind closed doors for close to 10 hours.
  41. In a letter, the White House tried to limit her testimony, citing executive privilege. Hill’s attorney responded Sunday saying in part, executive privilege disappears when there is possible government misconduct.
  42. Rep. Matt Gaetz pulled a stunt, trying to attend though not a member of the committees hosting. After the parliamentarian ruled he had to leave, he called it “further evidence that Adam Schiff’s clown show” continues.
  43. Hill said Giuliani ran a shadow foreign policy in Ukraine that circumvented U.S. officials and career diplomats, in order to personally benefit Trump. Hill also said she was infuriated with Marie Yovanovitch’s removal.
  44. Hill also said she confronted Sondland about Giuliani’s activities. Giuliani told the Post, “I don’t know Fiona and can’t figure out what she is talking about.” Chair Schiff said transcripts of the deposition will be made public.
  45. NYT reported Hill testified former national security adviser John Bolton got into a tense exchange with Sondland on July 10 about efforts to press Ukraine to investigate Trump’s political opponents.
  46. Bolton told her to notify the chief lawyer for the National Security Council about the rogue effort by Sondland, Giuliani, and acting White House chief of staff Mick Mulvaney. He referred to Giuliani as “a hand grenade.”
  47. Hill also said Bolton told her to inform White House lawyers, “I am not part of whatever drug deal Sondland and Mulvaney are cooking up.” Bolton had frequently expressed concerns about Giuliani’s activities.
  48. Hill testified when she confronted Sondland, whose portfolio included the E.U., he told her he was in charge. She compared it to Alexander Haig Jr.’s declaration he was in charge after the assassination attempt on Reagan.
  49. Hill testified that Sondland was viewed as a potential national security risk because he was a donor and hotelier, but unprepared for his job. Hill said she raised concerns with intelligence officials inside the White House.
  50. On Wednesday, NYT reported European officials were struck by Sondland’s self-confidence, bordering on arrogance. An official said at a dinner party, Sondland said his job was “to destroy the European Union.’’
  51. During Hill’s closed door testimony, Trump tweeted a clip of Mark Levin on Fox News saying, “This is a Democrat Party Impeachment” not a “FULL HOUSE,” and calling it “a silent COUP effort.”
  52. On Monday, WSJ reported federal prosecutors in the Southern District of New York are examining Giuliani’s business dealings with Ukraine. Witnesses have been questioned since at least August.
  53. The SDNY is examining Giuliani’s finances, meetings, and work for Vitali Klitschko, a mayor in Kharkiv. Giuliani tried to do a deal with Klitschko in 2014 to restore order in the city, but the fee of $300,000 was too high.
  54. In May 2017, Giuliani Security & Safety inked a contract with the city administration of Kharkiv. Pavel Fuks, a Kharkiv native who had made a fortune in Russian real estate, paid the contract.
  55. On Monday, Giuliani told Reuters he was paid $500,000 by Lev Parnas’ company, Boca Raton-based Fraud Guarantee, in August 2018 as a technologies consultant and legal advisor on regulatory issues.
  56. According to the SDNY indictment unsealed in Week 152, an unidentified Russian businessman arranged for two $500,000 wires in September and October 2018 to bank accounts controlled by Igor Fruman.
  57. On Tuesday, Giuliani told the Post the $500,000 from Fraud Guarantee was legitimate and originated in the U.S., saying, “I will prove beyond any doubt it came from the United States of America.”
  58. On Tuesday, the Detroit News reveals photos of Parnas and Fruman at Florida Gov. DeSantis’ election night party. DeSantis returned $50,000 in donations from entities controlled by the two last week.
  59. On Tuesday, former Rep. Pete Sessions was subpoenaed by a SDNY grand jury about his interactions with Giuliani and associates. An attorney for Sessions said he is not a target, and is cooperating.
  60. The subpoena sought documents on Giuliani’s business dealings with Ukraine and his role in Yovanovitch’s ouster, as well as on his interactions with Giuliani and the four men who were indicted in Week 152.
  61. On Wednesday, David Correia, the fourth man in the SDNY probe of Giuliani associates who tried to bribe Nevada officials on behalf of a Russian businessman, was arrested after getting off a flight at JFK Airport.
  62. On Tuesday, WAPO reported Giuliani privately pressed Trump to extradite cleric Fethullah Gulen to Turkey, a top priority for Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan. Giuliani pushed the issue so often, one official described it as his “hobby horse.”
  63. It is unclear why Giuliani was pushing the cause. In Week 152 he also pressed former Secretary of State Rex Tillerson. Giuliani was not registered as a foreign lobbyist, which would be required if he were paid.
  64. On Tuesday, the SDNY announced it had charged Halkbank, a Turkish state-owned bank, in a 6-count indictment for “fraud, money laundering, and sanctions offenses” relating to helping Iran evade U.S. sanction.
  65. Reza Zarrab, a client of Giuliani, testified that he helped orchestrate the deals with Iran, including bribing Turkey’s finance minister, and alleged, “Erdogan knew of and supported the laundering effort on behalf of Iran.”
  66. On Wednesday, USA Today reported that the federal investigation of Giuliani includes a counterintelligence probe, indicating prosecutors in the SDNY are looking at a broader set of issues.
  67. Kenneth McCallion, who has represented several Ukrainian clients, said FBI counterintelligence agents interviewed him in February or March, and asked about Giuliani’s business dealings with Parnas and Fruman.
  68. On Tuesday, Giuliani refused to comply with a Congressional subpoena to turn over documents about his efforts with Ukraine, calling the impeachment inquiry “unconstitutional, baseless, and illegitimate.”
  69. Giuliani also parted ways with John Sale, whom he hired to represent him in the inquiry, and wrote the letter to Congress, tweeting Sale represented him for this matter only, adding, “At this time, I do not need a lawyer.”
  70. Pence also refused to comply with the House request to turn over documents, saying the “self-proclaimed impeachment inquiry…calls into question your commitment to fundamental fairness and due process rights.”
  71. The Defense Department and Office of Management and Budget also refused to comply with Congressional subpoenas to turn over documents. All claimed the inquiry was illegitimate without a full House vote.
  72. On Tuesday, after meeting with House Democrats, Speaker Pelosi told reporters at a news conference on the impeachment inquiry that “All roads seem to lead to Putin with the president.”
  73. Pelosi also said the full House would not be voting on the impeachment inquiry “at this time,” despite pressure from Trump and Republicans to do so, saying “We’re not here to call bluffs. We’re here to find the truth.”
  74. On Tuesday, NYT reported the White House has opened an internal review of the Ukraine call, which some fear is a hunt for a scapegoat. The review threatened Trump’s narrative that the call was “perfect.”
  75. It was not clear who sought the review, but Mulvaney encouraged it and his aides are helping White House counsel Pat Cipollone conduct it. The review could also center on how deputy White House counsel John Eisenberg handled the transcript.
  76. On Tuesday, NYT reported Kostiantyn Kulyk, the Ukrainian prosecutor behind a dossier on Hunter Biden, has been indicted on corruption and has ties to a Ukrainian warlord accused of working for Russian intelligence.
  77. On the July 25 call, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky told Trump the prosecutor “will look into the situation” on Hunter Biden. It was unclear if Kulyk, who remains a department head in the prosecutor general’s office, is still on this case.
  78. On Tuesday, TIME reported Ukrainian oligarch Dmitry Firtash, who has has spent the last five years in Vienna fighting extradition to the U.S., provided dirt to Trump associates on Robert Mueller and Joe Biden.
  79. On Wednesday, NBC News reported Parnas and Fruman were advocating on behalf of Firtash when they pitched a natural gas deal, and Firtash produced a document that Giuliani used to attack Joe Biden.
  80. The DOJ has yet to respond to a query by GOP Sen. Roger Wicker on why Firtash has yet to be extradited from Austria. Giuliani claimed said he has “nothing to do with Firtash,” and never spoke to Trump about his case.
  81. On Wednesday, ProPublica reported Trump’s businesses used two different sets of figures for two properties, to make them appear more profitable to a lender and less profitable to officials who set the buildings’ property tax.
  82. Documents for 40 Wall Street and the Trump International Hotel and Tower were the two of the four properties obtained under the FOIA. One real estate professional said the discrepancies are “versions of fraud.”
  83. On Sunday, NPR reported all U.S. forces involved in fighting ISIS were prepared to evacuate from Syria, after troops were endangered by Turkey’s incursion. Turkey’s rapid military invasion put U.S. troops in danger.
  84. Trump came under considerable criticism from both Democrats and Republicans. Former NSA Susan Rice called it “nothing short of a self-inflicted catastrophe,” adding ISIS will “rejuvenate and reconstitute itself.”
  85. On Sunday, Trump tweeted, “Very smart not to be involved in the intense fighting along the Turkish Border, for a change,” adding, “Those that mistakenly got us into the Middle East Wars are still pushing to fight.”
  86. Trump also tweeted, “The Kurds and Turkey have been fighting for many years. Turkey considers the PKK the worst terrorists of all,” and, “Others may want to come in and fight…Let them!” adding, “Endless Wars.”
  87. On Sunday, when asked on “This Week” why there was a delay in imposing sanctions on Turkey, Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin responded that “it is a complicated, developing situation involving a NATO ally.”
  88. On Sunday, Defense Secretary Mark Esper defended the withdrawal of troops on “Fox News Sunday,” saying their presence would not stop Turkey’s advance and, “I’m not one to … classify them as a tripwire.”
  89. Esper also told “Face the Nation” that Trump ordered 1,000 troop to be withdrawn, a larger withdrawal than initially indicated, amid reports Turkey was expanding its offensive.
  90. On Sunday, Retired Marine Gen. John Allen told CNN, “There is blood on Trump’s hands for abandoning our Kurdish allies,” adding, “a full blown ethnic cleansing is underway by Turkish supported militias.”
  91. On Sunday, Hevrin Khalaf, the Secretary-General of the pro-Kurdish Future Syria Party, was pulled from her SUV and executed by a Turkish-backed militia in Syria, along with 10 others.
  92. On Sunday, Kurdish forces, abandoned by the U.S. after five years of fighting together, announced a new deal with the government in Damascus, an enemy of the U.S. that is backed by Russia.
  93. On Monday, Trump attacked “Fox & Friends” co-host Brian Kilmeade who called the withdrawal a mistake, tweeting he “got it all wrong,” adding, “Europe had a chance to get their ISIS prisoners, but didn’t want the cost.”
  94. Trump also claimed without evidence the Kurds “may be releasing some” of the ISIS fighters “to get us involved,” adding, “The same people who got us into the Middle East mess are the people who most want to stay there!”
  95. On Monday, the Trump regime called on Turkey to implement an immediate cease-fire and imposed sanctions. Vice President Pence said he will lead a delegation to travel to Turkey in the “immediate future.”
  96. Pence told reporters Trump spoke to Turkish President Erdogan on Monday and communicated to him “very clearly” to “stop the invasion.” Turkey ignored Trump and continued its military aggression.
  97. Later Monday, Trump again defended himself, tweeting, “After defeating 100% of the ISIS Caliphate, I largely moved our troops out of Syria. Let Syria and Assad protect the Kurds and fight Turkey for their own land.”
  98. Trump also defended abandoning the Kurds, tweeting, “I hope they all do great, we are 7,000 miles away!” and, “I would much rather focus on our Southern Border which abuts and is part of the United States of America.”
  99. On Monday, WAPO reported a U.S. official with knowledge of military operations in Syria said it was likely Russia would move into the northern city of Manbij to take the place of U.S. troops that left.
  100. On Tuesday, Russia said that its troops were patrolling territory in northern Syria between Syrian and Turkish forces, filling a vacuum left by Trump’s withdrawal and illustrating the change of power in the area.
  101. On Tuesday, NYT reported Trump following his gut on Syria had resulted in bloody carnage, civilians displaced, the end of peace at a volatile border, and provided a victory for Russia, Iran, the Syrian government, and ISIS.
  102. Rarely has presidential decision resulted in such calamity in so short a time frame. Trump ignored months of warnings from his depleted, inexperienced foreign policy team, and had no back-up plan.
  103. Reportedly over the weekend, State and Energy Department officials quietly reviewed plans for extracting roughly 50 tactical nuclear weapons at Incirlik Air Base in Turkey, about 250 miles from the Syrian border.
  104. On Tuesday, Trump told reporters, “We want to bring our soldiers back home after so many years, and they’re the greatest warriors in the world,” promised “Massive tariffs on steel,” and halted trade negotiations.
  105. On Tuesday, Russian President Vladimir Putin invited Erdogan to visit Russia “in the coming days,” and Erdogan accepted. Kurdish troops looked to Damascus and Moscow to help stop the Turkish onslaught.
  106. On Wednesday, Erdogan told Sky News he would not meet with Pence and his delegation, saying, “I’m not going to talk to them. They will be talking to their counterparts. When Trump comes here, I’ll be talking.”
  107. Erdogan’s communications director later clarified that he would not meet with the U.S. delegation Wednesday, but would meet with Pence and Pompeo Thursday. It was unclear what Erdogan meant in his comments.
  108. On Wednesday, in the Oval Office before Pence and Pompeo left for Turkey to try to negotiate a ceasefire, Trump told reporters his handling has been “strategically brilliant,” adding, “It’s not our problem.”
  109. On Wednesday, WAPO reported Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell briefed Senate Republicans over lunch to be ready for an impeachment trial of Trump — the third in U.S. history — as soon as Thanksgiving.
  110. Later Wednesday, in a news conference with Italian President Sergio Mattarella, Trump said the ongoing conflict was between Turkey and Syria, not the U.S., saying, “They’ve been warring for many years.”
  111. Trump said of the Kurds, “They’re no angels. They’re no angels. Go back and take a look,” but adding the Kurds would be fine because they “know how to fight,” and, “Let them fight their own wars.”
  112. Trump assessed the region saying, “There’s a lot of sand they can play with,” and, “It’s possibly never going to be very stable,” and said the PKK was respected by ISIS “because they’re as tough, or tougher than ISIS.”
  113. Trump also confirmed NYT reporting on the existence of roughly 50 nuclear weapons in Turkey, the first U.S. official to do so, saying, “We’re confident, and we have a great — a great air base there.”
  114. While defending his pullout from Syria, Trump praised his decision to send more troops and equipment to Saudi Arabia, saying the U.S. is sending missiles and “great power,” and “they’re paying for that.”
  115. On Wednesday, WSJ reported the Pentagon carried out an airstrike to destroy an ammunition-storage facility at a U.S. base in Syria that housed the headquarters of anti-ISIS efforts, so it would not get into enemy hands.
  116. Brett McGurk, the former Special Presidential Envoy for the Global Coalition to Counter ISIS, tweeted the strike was part of a “break glass” procedure “reserved for an extreme worst-case scenario.”
  117. On Wednesday, Fox Business reported on an unconventional letter Trump sent to Erdogan on October 9, three days after the two spoke by phone, in which he warned he could destroy Turkey’s economy.
  118. Trump suggested they “work out a good deal,” adding history “will look upon you forever as the devil if good things don’t happen,” and, “Don’t be a tough guy. Don’t be a fool!” The letter closed out: “I will call you later.”
  119. Trump told reporters of the letter, “I didn’t give them a green light,” adding, “if anybody saw the letter…I wrote a letter right after that conversation, a very powerful letter, that was never giving a green light.”
  120. Later Wednesday, the House voted 354-60 on a nonbinding resolution condemning Trump’s withdrawal of U.S. troops from Syria. House Republicans called the withdrawal “disastrous” and a “catastrophe.”
  121. Trump ally Sen. Lindsey Graham said Trump will “be held accountable” for ISIS re-emerging, and Leader McConnell said he was “sorry we are where we are,” and called the U.S.-Kurd partnership “a terrific alliance.”
  122. On Wednesday, Foreign Policy reported Turkey advanced on the Kurdish-held border town of Kobani, despite Erdogan’s promise to Trump that he would not attack the symbolically important town.
  123. On Wednesday, in a meeting on Syria, the first between Trump and Congressional leaders since the impeachment inquiry, Democratic leaders walked out after Trump called Speaker Pelosi a “third-grade politician.”
  124. Trump also called former Defense Secretary James Mattis “the world’s most overrated general,” adding, “He wasn’t tough enough. I captured ISIS. Mattis said it would take 2 years. I captured them in 1 month.”
  125. Speaker Pelosi told reporters Trump appeared visibly “shaken up” after House passage of a bipartisan condemnation, adding they could not continue because “he was just not relating to the reality of it.”
  126. Pelosi also said, “He just couldn’t handle it,” adding, “I think now we have to pray for his health. Because this was a very serious meltdown on the part of the president.”
  127. Pelosi told reporters she said to Trump that Russia had long sought a “foothold” in the Middle East, and Trump’s decision to pull out the troops has offered an opportunity, and told him, “All roads with you lead to Putin.”
  128. Later Wednesday, Trump tweeted Pelosi had the “meltdown” and is a “very sick person,” and that she “needs help fast! There is either something wrong with her “upstairs,” or she just plain doesn’t like our great Country.”
  129. Trump tweeted a photo from the meeting of Pelosi standing while speaking while others sit, adding, “Nervous Nancy’s unhinged meltdown!” Pelosi, the only woman at the table, made the photo her Twitter cover.
  130. On Thursday, BBC reported on Trump’s letter, saying the mixture of threats and locker-room banter enraged Erdogan. His staff said he threw the letter in the trash and launched the Syrian operation in the same day.
  131. On Thursday, Syria said it would counter Turkey “by all legitimate means.” According to the Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, dozens of civilians have been killed and 300,000 have been displaced.
  132. Shortly after, Pence met with Erdogan at the Turkish presidential palace for a private meeting with only translators. The meeting was scheduled to be a 10-minute precursor, but lasted more than one hour.
  133. On Thursday, WAPO reported ISIS is racing to capitalize on the instability, and is stepping up attacks to free prisoners and warning of more, calling weakened Kurdish forces an abandoned American ally.
  134. On Thursday, Pelosi told reporters Trump had a “meltdown” when she and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer pressed him for his plans in the region and to combat ISIS.
  135. She said Trump defended the withdrawal, citing his campaign promise to bring troops home. Pelosi said her question to him was, “is Saudi Arabia home?” and he responded, “well the Saudi Arabians are paying for it.”
  136. Pelosi told reporters in the now iconic photo Trump tweeted of her standing and pointing her finger at him, she questioned his loyalty to the country, asking, why do “all roads lead to Putin?
  137. On Thursday, Sen. Rand Paul blocked an effort to bring the House-passed Syria resolution up for a vote. Majority Leader McConnell earlier in the day said he wanted a resolution stronger than what passed in the House.
  138. On Thursday, Turkey agreed to a five day cease-fire to allow Kurds to retreat to a safe zone. Pence claimed the agreement “ends all violence,” but Turkey’s foreign minister contradicted him, calling it a “pause.”
  139. The agreement was heralded as a victory for Turkey: Kurdish forces will disarm and clear the safe zone, Turkey is not obligated to withdraw troops, and Trump lifted sanctions. Kurds were not party to the agreement.
  140. Trump celebrated the deal, tweeting, “Great news out of Turkey,” and “Millions of lives will be saved!” adding, “There needed to be some “tough” love in order to get it done,” and, “Great for everybody. Proud of all!”
  141. Trump told reporters his unorthodox approach made a deal possible, and praised Erdogan as “very smart” and a “friend,” claiming, “Everybody agreed to things that three days ago they would have never agreed to.”
  142. Trump said Turkey “had a legitimate problem,” referring to Kurds living along the Turkish border in Syria, adding, “And they had to have it cleaned out.” Trump drew criticism for seeming to endorse ethnic cleansing.
  143. Shortly after, Sen. Mitt Romney took to the senate floor, saying, “Are we so weak and so inept diplomatically that Turkey forced the hand of the United States of America? Turkey?”
  144. Romney said the “decision to abandon” the Kurds “strikes at American honor” and “will stand as a bloodstain in the annals of American history.” And of complex situations, “Russia seems to have figured it out.”
  145. On Thursday, Admiral Michael McRaven, a former commander of the U.S. Special Operations Command who oversaw the raid that killed Osama bin Laden, said in an op-ed, “Our Republic is Under Attack from the President.”
  146. McRaven cited “the assaults on our institutions,” including intelligence, the State Department, and the press, and added, “our leaders stand beside despots and strongmen, preferring their government narrative to our own.”
  147. He added, “We are the most powerful nation…because our ideals of universal freedom and equality…protectors of the less fortunate,” adding these virtues “have sustained this nation for the past 243 years.”
  148. McRaven said if “Trump doesn’t demonstrate the leadership that America needs, then it is time for a new person in the Oval Office,” adding, “the sooner, the better,” and “The fate of our Republic depends upon it.”
  149. Later Thursday, at an annual dinner, Jim Mattis mocked Trump, saying, “I’m not just an overrated general. I’m the greatest, the world’s most overrated,” adding, “So I guess I’m the Meryl Streep of generals.”
  150. Mattis said people asked him if Trump calling him “overrated” bothered him, and he said, “Of course not. I have earned my spurs on the battlefield,” adding, “Donald Trump earned his spurs in a letter from a doctor.”
  151. On Thursday, Pew Research found 54% approve of an impeachment inquiry, 44% disapprove. A majority 58% say Trump has definitely or probably done things that are grounds for impeachment.
  152. On Friday, Erdogan told reporters that Trump’s letter to him broke “diplomatic and political courtesy,” adding, “we will not forget this lack of respect,” and “we will take the necessary steps” when the time comes.
  153. On Friday, the Times of London reported Turkey is suspected of using white phosphorus, known as chemical weapons, against Kurdish civilians in Syria. UN chemical weapons inspectors announced an investigation.
  154. On Friday, NBC News reported fighting continued on the Turkey-Syria border, despite the U.S.-led cease-fire, or pause. Kurdish forces claimed Turkish forces were not slowing down their assault.
  155. Later Friday, Trump tweeted that he spoke to Erdogan, saying, “he told me there was minor sniper and mortar fire that was quickly eliminated,” adding, “He very much wants the ceasefire, or pause, to work.”
  156. Trump added the Kurds want “the ultimate solution” to happen — again invoking terminology of genocide — adding, “it was always held together with very weak bandaids, & in an artificial manner.”
  157. Trump quoted an Erdogan tweet, saying, “many more lives will be saved when we defeat terrorism, which is humanity’s arch enemy,” and added, “DEFEAT TERRORISM!” — seeming to again endorse ethnic cleansing.
  158. Later Friday, Trump told reporters the situation is “fragile,” and saying of critics of his decisions in the region, “these are the same people that have been failing for the last 20 years,” who “didn’t know what they were doing.”
  159. On Friday, Speaker McConnell said in an op-ed “Withdrawing U.S. forces from Syria is a grave strategic mistake,” but did not mention Trump by name.
  160. On Saturday, BBC reported Kurdish and Turkish forces accused the other of violating the pause. Erdogan said if Kurds do not withdraw by Tuesday, “we will start where we left off and continue to crush the terrorists’ heads.”
  161. On Monday, Politico reported Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg has been hosting secretive talks and off-the-record dinners with conservative journalists and commentators to discuss free speech and partnerships.
  162. Zuckerberg has met with Tucker Carlson, Sen. Graham and others. Reportedly, he is concerned Attorney General Barr will take action to break up the company, and is looking to appease the Trump regime.
  163. On Thursday, Zuckerberg made the decision to allow politicians to post political ads with misleading or false claims on Facebook, saying tech companies should not decide what is true, and it’s “something we have to live with.”
  164. On Monday, China said it wanted another round of trade talk before signing phase one of the trade deal, after Trump’s grand rollout last Friday in the Oval Office. It was unclear when the next round would take place.
  165. On Tuesday, The Chronicle of Higher Education reported Trump trade adviser Peter Navarro repeatedly quoted economist Ron Vara in his book on China. Ron Vara does not exist, but is an anagram of his last name.
  166. On Tuesday, George Kent, the deputy assistant secretary in the Bureau of European and Eurasian Affairs, testified for seven hours behind closed doors to the three House committees about Trump-Ukraine.
  167. The State Department directed Kent not to appear, and tried to limit his testimony. The House Intelligence Committee then issued a last-minute subpoena compelling him to appear, and he complied.
  168. Similarly, the State Department and the White House told Hill and Yovanovitch not to appear as part of its “full halt” to any cooperation. The three fit a pattern of current of former officials disregarding Trump.
  169. Kent testified he, along with others whose portfolios included Ukraine, were sidelined from all decision making relating to Ukraine after a May 23 meeting organized by Mulvaney. Kent called it “wrong.”
  170. Kent said three people declared themselves responsible for Ukraine: Sondland, Kurt Volker, and Energy Sec. Rick Perry. The three had just returned from President Zelensky’s inauguration, and urged Trump to meet him.
  171. They called themselves the “three amigos.” Perry said on Tuesday he “was involved in that [Ukraine policy] more than anybody. And I never saw or heard anything that was untoward, not by the president, not by anybody.”
  172. Kent testified Giuliani relied on former Ukrainian prosecutor general Yuriy Lutsenko for damaging information on Yovanovitch, which was also shared with John Solomon, a former columnist for the Hill.
  173. Giuliani and the Hill claimed Yovanovitch provided a “do not prosecute list” to Ukrainian officials to protect the Bidens and others. Kent testified the document was phony, noting most of the names are misspelled.
  174. Kent testified he was told to “lay low” after raising concerns about Giuliani. Kent came to lawmakers’ attention after his emails were cited in a packet provided to Congress by the Intelligence Community’s IG Michael Atkinson.
  175. On Wednesday, WAPO reported Mulvaney was a key facilitator of the campaign to pressure Ukraine, driven by a desire to please Trump. He listened to Trump and Giuliani discuss enlisting Ukraine in conspiracies.
  176. Mulvaney met frequently with Sondland, and details were kept from Bolton and others raising concerns. Mulvaney was not on the July 25 call, but his top aide Rob Blair was and briefed him.
  177. On Trump’s order, he placed $400 million of aid on hold the week before the call. The off-the-book effort with Ukraine could not have proceeded without his facilitating meetings, circumventing national security, and blocking aid.
  178. On Tuesday, Trump complained, tweeting, “Democrats are allowing no transparency at the Witch Hunt hearings,” adding, “If Republicans ever did this they would be excoriated by the Fake News.”
  179. On Tuesday, Trump tweeted a video by Project Veritas, a group that has been discredited, claiming bias against him by CNN. Trump later tweeted, “rumor has it that Jeff Zucker will be resigining [sic] momentarily?”
  180. On Friday, in a four-page letter to CNN, Zucker, and EVP David Vigilante, Trump’s attorney threatened to suethe network over their alleged pro-impeachment bias, demanding a “substantial payment.”
  181. On Tuesday, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 4th Circuit agreed to rehear the emoluments clause lawsuit relating to the Trump Hotel DC brought by the attorneys general of Maryland and the District.
  182. On Wednesday, Trump tweeted support of Rep. Andy Biggs reintroducing a censure of Chair Schiff for a vote in the House, saying, “Hope all House Republicans, and honest House Democrats” will vote to “CENSURE.”
  183. Trump accused Schiff of “fabricating (making up) a totally phony conversation with the Ukraine President and U.S. President, me.” Biggs has support of leaders Kevin McCarthy, Liz Cheney, and Minority Whip Steve Scalise.
  184. On Wednesday, Schiff said in a letter to colleagues he will make interview transcripts public when they do not “jeopardize investigative equities.” He noted special counsels for Nixon and Clinton investigated privately.
  185. On Wednesday, a Gallup poll found support for impeaching AND removing Trump is up 14 net points since June: 52% say he should be impeached, 46% disagree — up from 45% for impeachment, 53% against in June.
  186. Approval for Congress rose dramatically from 18% in September to 25%, driven mostly by Democrats and some Independents. Trump’s approval dropped slightly to 39% from 40% in late September.
  187. On Wednesday, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo signed a measure into law, closing the “double jeopardy” loophole, and allowing the state of New York to pursue charges against people who have been pardoned by a president.
  188. On Wednesday, Michael McKinley, a former senior adviser to Pompeo who resigned in Week 152, testified before the three House committees behind closed doors. Pompeo did not thank him for his 37 years of service.
  189. WAPO reported according to portions of his testimony, he said, “I was disturbed by the implication that foreign governments were being approached to procure negative information on political opponents.”
  190. He said he resigned over “the utilization of our ambassadors overseas to advance domestic political objectives” and the failure to “offer support to Foreign Service employees caught up” in the impeachment inquiry.
  191. He also cited “the unwillingness of State Department leadership to defend Yovanovitch.” He said, “I was convinced that this would also have a serious impact on Foreign Service morale and the integrity of our work overseas.”
  192. While he was testifying, Trump told reporters while seated beside Italian President Sergio Mattarella that Pelosi hands out subpoenas “like cookies,” and, “I have all these people testifying. . . . I don’t even know these people.”
  193. Trump also continued his complaint echoed by loyal Republicans about closed-door hearings, saying, “We’re not allowed to representation. We’re not allowed to lawyers. We’re not allowed to have anything.”
  194. On Wednesday, in an interview with the WSJ, Sec. Perry said he sought out Giuliani at the direction of Trump in the spring, to better understand Trump’s concerns about Ukrainian corruption.
  195. Perry said when he called Giuliani to ease a path between Trump and Zelensky, Giuliani described unsubstantiated claims about Ukraine’s alleged interference in the 2016 election on behalf of Hillary Clinton.
  196. Perry claimed that he never heard Trump, any of his appointees, Giuliani, or Ukrainian officials discuss investigating Joe and Hunter Biden, and that Trump did not make an explicit demand for a meeting with Zelensky.
  197. On Thursday, Mulvaney announced that Trump awarded the 2020 G-7 summit to his Trump Doral golf resort, marking the first time in modern history a sitting president has awarded a massive contract to himself.
  198. Mulvaney also acknowledged to reporters that Trump held up military aid to Ukraine in part over Trump’s request for the country to investigate an unfounded conspiracy about the Democratic National Committee server.
  199. Mulvaney cited three reasons for holding up the aid: corruption in Ukraine, frustration that European governments were not providing more aid to Ukraine, and Trump’s demand that Kiev investigate the DNC server.
  200. When asked by a reporter if this amounted to quid pro quo, Mulvaney said, “We do that all the time with foreign policy.” He claimed holding up aid was not related to the Bidens, despite the July 25 phone call.
  201. When pressed on foreign policy, Mulvaney told reporters, “Get over it,” adding, “There’s going to be political influence in foreign policy. That is going to happen. Elections have consequences.”
  202. Later Mulvaney added, “Did [Trump] also mention to me, in the past, the corruption related to the DNC server? Absolutely. No question about that. But that’s it. And that’s why we held up the money.”
  203. Shortly after, Jay Sekulow, one of Trump’s personal lawyers, told the Times that Trump’s “legal counsel was not involved in acting chief of staff Mick Mulvaney’s press briefing.”
  204. On Thursday, Chair Schiff said, “I think Mr. Mulvaney’s acknowledgment means that things have gone from very, very bad to much, much worse.”
  205. Later Thursday, the Post Editorial Board wrote Mulvaney’s comments reveal “It was a quid pro quo. It was corrupt,” and he confessed it “in the cynical expectation…Republicans would not hold Trump accountable.”
  206. Later Thursday, Mulvaney reversed himself in a written statement, claiming, “Once again, the media has decided to misconstrue my comments to advance a biased and political witch hunt” against Trump.
  207. Mulvaney wrote, “there was absolutely no quid pro quo between Ukrainian military aid and any investigation,” and Trump “never told me to withhold any money until the Ukrainians did anything related to the server.”
  208. On Friday, Pelosi called Mulvaney’s statement a “confession,” and said “it’s also a cavalier attitude of get over it,” saying the Trump regime has “tried to make a lawlessness normal and even make lawlessness a virtue.”
  209. On Thursday, Sondland testified before the House committees behind closed doors for more than nine hours, saying he believed it was improper for the White House to withhold aid pending opening an investigation.
  210. Sondland said in an opening statement Trump directed him and others to work with Giuliani to push Ukraine to conduct investigations, but said he was not aware of their motives — a claim House Democrats found suspect.
  211. He said that he and other senior administration officials did not want to work with Giuliani, but that they could not ignore Trump’s directive. He said he and others later pieced together the scheme.
  212. He said in responding to Bill Taylor’s text,“I asked the president: ‘What do you want from Ukraine?’ The president responded, ‘Nothing. There is no quid pro quo.’ The president repeated: ‘no quid pro quo’ multiple times.”
  213. On Thursday, in the House Judiciary Committee’s effort to obtain grand jury materials in the Mueller probe, Judge Beryl Howell ruled the DOJ improperly redacted a court filing.
  214. The judge said the DOJ redacted two names who figure prominently in the probe, invoking grand jury secrecy protections even though they did not testify before a grand jury, and ordered the DOJ to reveal their names.
  215. On Thursday, Bloomberg reported in what may be an off-shoot of the Mueller probe, U.S. federal authorities are seeking records seized from Terra Services, a U.K. company associated with Oleg Deripaska.
  216. On Thursday, AP reported a farming business owned by billionaire West Virginia Gov. Jim Justice received $125,000 in soybean farm aid, the maximum amount. The median amount in Trump’s program is $6,438.
  217. On Thursday, Rick Perry resigned as Energy Secretary. Perry oversaw a 25% expansion of the department’s budget in his two years. Trump said as he arrived in Texas that Perry would leave at the end of the year.
  218. Perry said he was resigning to spend more time with his family. He said he and Energy Department lawyers would not comply with a Friday deadline in a congressional subpoena for documents related to his work in Ukraine.
  219. On Thursday, at a campaign rally in Dallas, Trump said he was smart to let Turkey attack the Kurds, comparing them to “two kids in a lot,” saying, “sometimes you have to let them fight,” and “then you pull them apart.”
  220. Previously, Trump had denied he had given the green light to Erdogan to attack the Kurds, but changed his story at the rally, saying, “Without a little tough love, they would never have made this deal.”
  221. Trump accused the “radical Democrats” of “trying to overthrow the results of a great, great election — maybe, maybe the greatest election,” in order to “impose their extreme agenda,” saying they do not love our country.
  222. Trump also attacked Pelosi, calling her “Crazy Nancy,” and saying, “She is Crazy,” as well as the whistleblower, saying, “Who’s the whistle-blower? Who is the whistle-blower? Is the whistle-blower a spy?”
  223. On Thursday, Hillary Clinton said in an interview that Putin has kompromat on Trump, and that Russia is grooming a third-party candidate in the Democratic field to upset the race in 2020.
  224. On Friday, White House press secretary Stephanie Grisham emailed press on the 2020 G7 summit, saying, “Everything will be done at cost due to the emoluments clause,” but did not give details to answer what that meant.
  225. On Thursday, outgoing Homeland Security Secretary Kevin McAleenan announced the regime would reinstate aid to Guatemala, Honduras, and El Salvador, after Trump had abruptly cut off aid due to an influx of migrants.
  226. On Friday, at congressional hearings, two top officials in Housing and Urban Development, Irv Dennis and David Woll, admitted they knowingly failed to “comply with the law,” stalling Puerto Rico hurricane relief funds.
  227. Dennis and Woll, in defending the delays, echoed talking points of Trump and HUD Sec. Ben Carson, citing “alleged corruption” and “fiscal irregularities,” as well as “Puerto Rico’s capacity to manage these funds.”
  228. Two years after Maria hit Puerto Rico, the island has received just a third of the $43 billion Congress allocated toward hurricane recovery. Wolf claimed deadlines were missed because HUD was waiting on audits.
  229. On Friday, WAPO reported George Kent said in his testimony he warned in 2015 Hunter Biden’s position at Burisma could raise conflicts of interest, but was rebuffed, in part as Joe was overwhelmed with his other son Beau battling cancer.
  230. On Friday, WAPO reported after two weeks of closed-door testimony, Trump has emerged as the center of orchestrating efforts to pressure Ukraine to dig up dirt on his political opponents.
  231. Despite Trump White House efforts, a growing number of officials are coming forward with damaging evidence of potential violations of law, including prohibitions on accepting campaign help from a foreign entity.
  232. Testimony has also revealed that although Giuliani took actions outside normal channels and without being a government official and going through normal protocols for those positions, he did so at Trump’s behest.
  233. On Friday, Politico reported according to House Democrats, Republicans are trying to paint Giuliani as a rogue, one-man mission who took actions not sanctioned by Trump.
  234. On Friday, former GOP Gov. John Kasich told CNN Trump deserves to be impeached, calling withholding aid from Ukraine “totally inappropriate” and “an abuse of power,” and adding, “I say it with great sadness.”
  235. On Friday, Rep. Francis Rooney said on CNN of Trump regime’s digging into unproven allegations from linking Ukraine to a DNC server, “What, are we trying to exculpate Russia?
  236. On Friday, Rep. Scalise and Rep. Tom Cole introduced a resolution to change the rules of impeachment, and allow members not on the overseeing committees to have access to proceedings, depositions, and transcripts.
  237. On Friday, Trump attacked Sen. Romney, tweeting a video accusing him of being “exposed by news reports as a Democrat secret asset,” and adding, “REPUBLICANS MUST STICK TOGETHER AND FIGHT!”
  238. On Friday, speaking to Christina Koch and Jessica Meir, the first all-woman spacewalk, Trump incorrectly said this was “the first time for a woman outside of the space station.” The first woman walked in space in 1984.
  239. On Friday, a multiyear State Department probe of Hillary Clinton’s handling of emails with secretary of state concluded, finding no deliberate mishandling of classified information by department employees.
  240. The State Department review examined emails that were up to 9 years-old. The report found 38 employees violated security procedures, but none involved material marked classified, in its review of 33,000 emails.
  241. On Friday, WAPO reported a growing number of Republican lawmakers are exasperated with Trump’s indefensible behavior, including hosting the G7 at his property, the Syria withdrawal, and Ukraine.
  242. Heading into a likely impeachment vote, fewer Republicans are willing to publicly defend Trump’s actions, and as Americans’ sentiment shifts, at least one, Rep. Francis Rooney, is considering voting for impeachment.
  243. On Friday, CNN reported Giuliani pressed the State Department and White House to grant a visa to Viktor Shokin, a Ukrainian prosecutor general fired in 2016 after pressure from the West, Joe Biden, the IMF, and EU.
  244. In House testimony, Kent said Giuliani made the request in January. Giuliani previously told CNN Shokin had promised dirt on Democrats. The visa was rejected by “the political leadership” of the State Department.
  245. On Friday, NYT reported that despite congressional and SDNY scrutiny, Giuliani is continuing to represent clients, and use his access to Trump and his regime to broker deals and take on consulting contracts.
  246. A few weeks ago Giuliani secured a meeting with the head of the DOJ’s criminal division and attorneys in the fraud section to discuss a foreign bribery case involving one of his clients.
  247. Impeachment investigators have subpoenaed records related to Giuliani’s involvement with 45 Energy Group, which was paid $425,000 by a foreign company seeking American support for a methane project in Uzbekistan.
  248. On Friday, a USA Today/Ipsos poll found 54% of Americans believe removing troops from Syria is damaging the U.S. reputation as a trusted ally, and 61% believe we have an obligation to protect the Kurds.
  249. Later Friday, during an appearance on “Real Time,” Trump tweeted that Susan Rice “was a disaster to President Obama as National Security Advisor” and “is now telling us her opinion on what to do in Syria.”
  250. Rice responded, “then why did you come up and hug me…when I’d never met you (which was totally gross),” and say “I had been “very unfairly treated” over Benghazi” and “was doing a great job for the country?”
  251. On Saturday, NYT reported that federal prosecutors, led by John Durham and closely overseen by Barr, have already interviewed about two dozen current and former FBI officials, indicating the investigation is far along.
  252. Durham’s team has also sought help from governments to prove right-wing attacks and conspiracy theories about origins of the Russia investigation, raising concerns that he is looking to deliver Trump a political victory.
  253. Mulvaney mentioned on Thursday that Durham’s team has sought help from Ukraine. Durham has yet to interview former FBI officials who played key roles including Peter Strzok, James Comey, and Andrew McCabe.
  254. The investigations of the investigators, including DOJ IG Michael Horowitz’s work, has grown to include 2,800 subpoenas, 500 search warrants, 13 requests to foreign governments for evidence, and 500 witness interviews.
  255. On Saturday, Rep. Francis Rooney announced he would retire in 2020. Rooney said Friday on possible support for impeachment, “I’ll be looking at my children a lot longer than I’m looking to anybody in this building.”
  256. On Saturday, NBC News reporter Richard Engel tweeted diplomats in DC are alarmed that the U.S. could “be held responsible for Crimes Against Humanity for ethnic cleansing” for knowing and failing to stop it.
  257. On Saturday, Trump tweeted, “Such a disgrace that the Do Nothing Democrats are doing just as their name suggests, Doing Nothing! USMCA anyone?” and separately tweeted, “#StopTheCoup.”
  258. The tweets were two of 31 tweets and retweets sent by Trump before noon on Saturday. Trump skipped golfing to remain in the White House amid the pending crisis.

REST IN POWER ELIJAH CUMMINGS.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi addresses President Donald Trump during a meeting with congressional leaders on Syria in the Cabinet Room at the White House, Oct. 16, 2019 (credit: Official White House Photo by Shealah Craighead)

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