POLITIKS OF GRAFFITI 161: “the reason the Constitution provided for impeachment was to anticipate a situation like the one that is before you today.”

DECEMBER 07, 2019

Week 160

Experts in authoritarianism advise to keep a list of things
subtly changing around you, so you’ll remember. *FROM ACTIVIST AMY SISKINDhttps://theweeklylist.org/weekly-list/week-160/ 
EJ8i5IYUEAI7SFG
“His reign will soon be over. Woe to the loyal subjects of this counterfeit king.” – Jim Carrey                                                                                                                                                        21nov19

This week, Trump traveled to London for the NATO summit as impeachment hearings got underway in the House Judiciary Committee, and Democrats on the House Intelligence Committee issued a scathing 300-page report. While Trump sought to display strength abroad, and used the summit as an excuse not to participate in impeachment hearings, a video at a Buckingham Palace reception surfaced Tuesday night showing world leaders openly mocking and laughing at him. He abruptly left early Wednesday, seething and returning in disgrace as the constitutional scholars testified in House impeachment hearings. Harvard Law School professor Noah Feldman said, “the reason the Constitution provided for impeachment was to anticipate a situation like the one that is before you today.”

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NYC. November 2019

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NYC. November 2019.

On Thursday, shortly after Trump tweeted “if you are going to impeach me, do it now, fast,” House Speaker Nancy Pelosi announced in somber tones and invoking the Founders and Constitution, that the House would begin drafting articles of impeachment. Meanwhile, Rudy Giuliani traveled back to Budapest and Kyiv, seeking dirt on the Bidens, meeting with Ukrainian officials, including one with ties to Russia.

This week Trump continued his feud with the so-called deep state, now growing to include the military — while his remaining conspiracy theories were set to be debunked in a report by the Justice Department Inspector General, in consultation with Attorney General William Barr’s handpicked prosecutor, John Durham.

  1. For 2019, Dictionary.com chose the word ‘existential’ as the word of the year, saying “the choice reflects months of high-stakes threats and crises, real and pondered, across the news, the world and throughout 2019.”
  2. On Saturday, NYT reported Trump’s intervention in the SEALs case has pitted him against military commanders who are committed to enforcing longstanding rules of combat, while Trump has never served.
  3. A former sniper who served in Chief Edward Gallagher’s platoon said Trump’s actions have “turned into a national clown show,” adding Trump is “saying he doesn’t trust any of the troops or their leaders.”
  4. Gallagher’s lawyer, Marc Mukasey, also represented Trump, but claimed he did not discuss the case with him. Also Bernard Kerik, New York police commissioner under Rudy Giuliani, spoke out for Gallagher on Fox News.
  5. Active-duty and retired officers say Trump’s intervention emboldens war criminals and erodes military order. Trump has also feuded with the intelligence community, law enforcement agencies, and diplomatic corps.
  6. On Saturday, Trump tweeted, “The Democrats are holding the most ridiculous Impeachment hearings in history,” adding, “Read the Transcripts, NOTHING was done or said wrong!”
  7. Uncharacteristically, it was his only tweet on Saturday related to impeachment. On Sunday, Trump also did not tweet about impeachment until shortly before midnight. He golfed both days near Mar-a-Lago.
  8. On Saturday, Rep. Doug Collins, the ranking Republican on the House Judiciary Committee, asked Chair Jerrold Nadler to expand the list of impeachment witnesses beyond the four constitutional law scholars.
  9. Collins cited in his letter the request was “to ensure fairness and restore integrity to the ongoing impeachment process,” but did not clarify whom Republicans wanted to call to testify.
  10. On Saturday, Politico reported the House Intelligence Committee will begin circulating a draft of the Trump-Ukraine report on Monday. Lawmakers had a 24 hour review period before voting.
  11. On Sunday, Rep. Val Demings told “This Week” that Democrats hope Trump will participate in impeachment hearings, saying, “If he has not done anything wrong, we’re certainly anxious to hear his explanation.”
  12. On Sunday, White House counsel Pat Cipollone told Nadler in a letter that Trump would not participate in the first hearing scheduled for Wednesday, saying it does not provide Trump “with any semblance of a fair process.”
  13. WAPO reported there is conflict within the GOP over how much Trump and his defenders should engage in the hearings. Some say Trump could benefit from the due-process protections that Nadler has offered.
  14. Trump did not tweet about the decision during the day. Meanwhile, Republicans renewed attacks on the process, with Rep. Collins calling on Intelligence Chair Adam Schiff to testify, and complaining “we’re rushing this.”
  15. On Sunday, Sen. John Kennedy told “Meet the Press” that “both Russia and Ukraine meddled in the 2016 election,” adding, “it’s been well documented in the Financial Times and Politico and The Economist,” and more.
  16. Host Chuck Todd asked Kennedy if he knew he was doing “exactly what the Russian operation is trying to get American politicians to do,” Kennedy responded “what harm would it do” for Trump to introduce evidence.
  17. On Monday, Kennedy doubled down, telling reporters he based his comments on “reporting in the Politico magazine, on reporting in the Financial Times, The Economist, the Washington Examiner.”
  18. Kennedy claimed that unlike other Senators, he had not been briefed by the intelligence community on the matter, and said Fiona Hill was “entitled to her opinion.”
  19. On Tuesday, Sen. Lindsey Graham broke from Trump, Kennedy, and other Trump allies, telling reporters, “I’m 1,000% confident that the hack of the DNC was by Russian operatives, no one else.”
  20. On Sunday, former FBI lawyer Lisa Page broke her silence, telling the Daily Beast of Trump’s attacks, “It’s like being punched in the gut,” adding, “My heart drops to my stomach when I realize he has tweeted about me again.”
  21. Page said Trump reading texts between her and Peter Strzok at an October rally in Minnesota, and mocking her having an orgasm on stage, was “the straw that broke the camel’s back” on her speaking out publicly.
  22. Page said Trump had accused her of “treason by name” and was trying to “destroy my life,” adding, “It never goes away or stops, even when he’s not publicly attacking me,” saying she has struggled to lead a normal life.
  23. Page said DOJ spokesperson Sarah Flores had selectively released her texts to reporters, saying, “Those texts were selected for their political impact. They lack a lot of context. Many of them aren’t even about him or me.”
  24. Page said, of the DOJ under Trump, “It’s crushing to see the noble Justice Department, my Justice Department, the place I grew up in, feel like it’s abandoned its principles of truth and independence.”
  25. On Sunday, “60 Minutes” reported Google and YouTube took down more than 300 Trump video ads, mostly over the summer, for violating company policy. A “60 Minutes” review found lack of transparency on the violations.
  26. On Monday, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg defended the decision not to take down political ads with false information on “CBS This Morning,” saying people should “judge for themselves the character of politicians.”
  27. Co-host Gayle King asked Zuckerberg what was discussed in his meeting with Trump at the White House, which was not disclosed until reported by news outlets. He answered, “it was a private dinner and… private discussion.”
  28. On Tuesday, BuzzFeed reported four Google employees who were fired last month for trying to organize workers said they will file charges with the National Labor Relations Board and push for a federal investigation.
  29. On Monday, the November Institute for Supply Management report found manufacturing activity contractedfor the fourth straight month. Experts attributed the contraction to Trump’s trade wars.
  30. Trump blamed his appointee, Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell, tweeting: “Manufacturers are being held back by the strong Dollar, which is being propped up by the ridiculous policies of the Federal Reserve.”
  31. Trump added the Fed “has called interest rates and quantitative tightening wrong from the first days of Jay Powell,” adding, “The Fed should lower rates,” claiming, “manufacturing will SOAR!”
  32. On Tuesday, an analysis by the solar industry showed Trump’s tariffs on solar panels in 2018 have cost the industry more than 62,000 jobs and nearly $19 billion in new private sector investment.
  33. On Wednesday, Reuters reported that Jared Kushner will assume a bigger role in U.S.-China trade talks, as the two countries try to reach an initial agreement to avoid new U.S. tariffs on December 15.
  34. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer and Treasury Sec. Steven Mnuchin have been leading. Kushner already has a considerable portfolio including Middle East peace, Trump’s wall, opioid addiction, and problems at the VA.
  35. On Monday, the Trump regime lifted a mysterious hold on $105 million in aid to Lebanon approved by Congress, after reporting in Week 159. The money was held up by the Office of Management and Budget for months.
  36. Aid to Lebanon also had the backing from the State Department, Pentagon, and National Security Council officials. An official declined to provide a reason for the regime putting a hold on the aid, citing the “process.”
  37. On Monday, Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelensky said in an interview with TIME that despite the ongoingimpeachment hearings, Ukraine still needs U.S. support to get back the territory seized by Russia in 2014.
  38. Zelensky denied he and Trump discussed withholding aid in the context of political favors, but pushed back on Trump’s claim of corruption and questioned the fairness of his decision to withhold aid.
  39. Zelensky said, “Look, I never talked to the president from the position of a quid pro quo,” adding, “I don’t want us to look like beggars,” and “I think that’s just about fairness. It’s not about a quid pro quo.”
  40. When asked if he trusts Putin ahead of their December 9 summit, Zelensky said, “I don’t trust anyone at all,” and said of Trump, “We’re at war. If you’re our strategic partner, then you can’t go blocking anything for us.”
  41. Shortly after, Trump tweeted that Zelensky, “just again announced that President Trump has done nothing wrong with respect to Ukraine,” adding, “If the Radical Left Democrats were sane…it would be case over!”
  42. Trump later told reporters before leaving for the NATO summit, Zelenksy “said very strongly that President Trump did absolutely nothing wrong. That should be case over.” The tweet and statement are misleading.
  43. On Monday, Rudy Giuliani threatened to sue Fox News host Steve Hilton for recommending Trump fire him, saying he “recklessly disregarded the truth,” and if not for him, Hilton “wouldn’t even be covering Burisma.”
  44. On Monday, former Trump campaign foreign policy adviser Carter Page lost an appeal, as a federal appeals court upheld a trial judge’s decision to throw out his defamation lawsuit against a pair of media outlets.
  45. On Monday, lawyers for Lev Parnas petitioned the federal court to release documents and recordings seized by federal prosecutors during Parnas’ arrest to the House committees leading the impeachment inquiry.
  46. Federal prosecutors described the materials seized from Parnas and his three co-defendants to be “voluminous,” and said, “We think a superseding indictment is likely” ahead of the trial, but did not specify the target.
  47. On Monday, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi led a delegation to the 2019 U.N. Framework Convention on Climate Change, saying, “on behalf of the House of Representatives and the Congress of the United States, ‘we’re still in it.’”
  48. On Monday, the Trump campaign announced it would no longer allow Bloomberg News reporters to get credentials for events, citing the outlet would no longer do investigative journalism on Democratic 2020 candidates.
  49. Although Trump campaign manager Brad Parscale claimed it was to avoid bias, the 2016 Trump campaign revoked press credentials from journalists working for WAPO, Politico, and BuzzFeed News.
  50. On Monday, Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson rejected the DOJ’s request to stay her order on Don McGahn’s testimony in Week 159, saying further delay “causes grave harm to both the Committee’s investigation.”
  51. However the DOJ has secured a January 3 hearing with an appeals court, and said it would keep on fighting if it loses its requests for a stay at the D.C. Circuit and petition the Supreme Court.
  52. On Monday, Fox News host Sean Hannity urged his listeners to call Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp and tell him to go with Trump’s pick, Rep. Doug Collins, for the open Senate seat, not “centrist businesswoman” Kelly Loeffler.
  53. On Tuesday, Trump ally Rep. Matt Gaetz said Kemp would end his career by picking Loeffler, tweeting, “Kemp announces the funeral time & location for his political career.”
  54. On Wednesday, Kemp bucked Trump, announcing he would appoint Loeffler to fill Sen. Johnny Isakson’s seat. Kemp said he hoped to strengthen the GOP’s appeal to women voters.
  55. On Monday, WAPO reported AG William Barr has told associates he disagrees with the DOJ IG findings in his report that the FBI had enough information in July 2016 to launch an investigation of the Trump campaign.
  56. Barr has not been swayed by IG Michael Horowitz’s rationale for the FBI having had a sufficient basis, possibly creating a fissure within the DOJ on the controversial issue ahead of the report’s release next week.
  57. It was not clear how Barr planned to make his disagreement known. Barr has privately said Horowitz did not have enough information to reach his conclusion, and agencies like the CIA hold information that could alter it.
  58. Part of Barr’s reluctance is related to John Durham’s investigation which is ongoing and Barr is involved with. It is not usual for an AG to disagree with an IG’s findings, but typically it is over the IG being too critical.
  59. On Monday, Roll Call reported a dozen House races have shifted towards Democrats in recent weeks, citingslow recruitment, self-inflicted wounds, and a shift in suburban voters towards Democrats.
  60. On Monday, CNN reported the IRS whistleblower declined to voluntarily appear for a transcribed Senate Finance Committee interview, after meeting in November with Republican and Democratic staffers.
  61. A source said the whistleblower was concerned about violating IRS code 6103, which says IRS employees can be fired, fined, or jailed for disclosing taxpayer information. It was unclear what lawmakers will do next.
  62. On Monday, North Dakota-based Fisher Sand and Gravel was awarded a $400 million contract by the Defense Department to build a portion of the border wall across an Arizona wildlife refuge.
  63. Trump had repeatedly pushed the Army Corps of Engineers to hire Fisher, but was told the company’s bid did not meet standards. Some officials have expressed concern with Trump getting involved in government contracts.
  64. Trump learned of Fisher through its CEO Tommy Fisher’s repeated appearances on Fox News where he promoted his firm and said it could do a better job than those chosen by the government.
  65. On Wednesday, House Homeland Security Chairman Bennie Thompson asked the Defense Department’s IG to investigate the contract to Fisher Sand and Gravel, which has a history of environmental and tax violations.
  66. Thompson said in his letter that a series of actions “raise concerns about the possibility of inappropriate influence” on the decision to award the firm a contract. The IG said it is reviewing the request.
  67. On Thursday, Sen. Kevin Cramer (R-ND) blocked the Armenian genocide resolution on the Senate floor at the request of the White House, saying it was not “the right time.” Fisher is a donor to Cramer.
  68. This marked the third time a Republican (also Sens. Graham and Ted Cruz) blocked the measure, opposed by Turkish government, at the request of the White House. It passed in the House 405-11.
  69. On Monday, in response to a FOIA request, the DOJ turned over a second set of summaries of FBI interviews, known as “302 reports” from the Mueller probe to BuzzFeed.
  70. The second batch included interviews with Michael Cohen, John Kelly, Corey Lewandowski, Hope Hicks, Rick Gates, Omarosa Manigault, Chris Christie, and Rod Rosenstein.
  71. Cohen said Trump knew about the negotiations for Trump Tower during the campaign, and that Trump family lawyer Jay Sekulow told him to make false statement to the House and Senate Intelligence committees.
  72. Gates said that Paul Manafort urged him not to take a plea deal, saying in October and November 2017 that the White House would protect them, and that they had two legal defense funds and would “take care of us.”
  73. Hicks said Trump was “angry, surprised, and frustrated” when Robert Mueller was appointed, and that when Jeff Sessions recused himself, the only time she had seen him “like that” was when the Access Hollywood tapes came out.
  74. Rosenstein said in May 2017 that Mueller had taken himself out of the running for FBI director position by time he met with Trump about the job. Trump had claimed Mueller applied and he turned him down.
  75. Rosenstein said he was “angry, ashamed, horrified and embarrassed” about the abrupt firing of James Comey, and how it was handled. He spoke to Mueller about becoming special counsel the next day.
  76. On Monday, former deputy DNI Susan Gordon told the Women’s Foreign Policy Group Trump’s most common response to intelligence briefings was not to believe what he was being told.
  77. Gordon also said it was difficult to figure out where Trump got information that shaped his opinion, saying he is probably “the first president that arrived with no framework,” and received input from “infinite people.”
  78. On Monday, Fox News host Tucker Carlson said, “I think we should probably take the side of Russia if we have to choose between Russia and Ukraine.” Carlson made similar remarks last week and said he was joking.
  79. On Thursday, Tucker Carlson said on his show that the House was trying to impeach Trump for holding up aid to Ukraine, adding, “Aid we shouldn’t be sending in the first place, in my view.”
  80. On Monday, Reuters reported Russia has set up a new online site for its national encyclopedia, after President Vladimir Putin called Wikipedia unreliable and said it should be replaced.
  81. On Saturday, the Columbus Dispatch reported a cyber attack on the Ohio Secretary of State’s office on Election Day originated in Panama and was traced back to a Russian-owned company.
  82. The Ohio Secretary of State said it was a “relatively unsophisticated” effort to insert malicious code and was thwarted, adding the cyberattack was looking for vulnerabilities in his office’s website.
  83. On Saturday, NBC News reported a new study by the Urban Institute found the three rule changes proposed by the Trump regime would cause millions of people to lose food stamps, known as SNAP.
  84. The study found 3.7 million fewer people would receive SNAP each month, 5.2 million households would seeaverage monthly benefits drop, and 982,000 students would lose access to free or reduced lunches.
  85. On Wednesday, the Trump regime formalized the first rule change, with the USDA mandating a work requirement for those who receive food stamps as of April 1. Nearly 700,000 were expected to lose food stamps.
  86. Agriculture Department Sec. Sonny Perdue told CNBC of the rule changes, “We’re trying to help these people get back into personal dignity of work and become part of the productive economy.”
  87. On Wednesday, the Senate confirmed Trump pick Sarah Pitlyk to the federal judiciary along party lines. Pitlyk, who opposes abortion, surrogacy, and fertility treatments, was rated “Not Qualified” by the American Bar Association.
  88. On Tuesday, a Texas judge temporarily blocked construction of a private wall along the U.S.-Mexico border by We Build the Wall, after the National Butterfly Center argued the new construction was “illegal.”
  89. On Tuesday, NYT and ProPublica reported newly uncovered documents reveal consulting company McKinsey was brought in by Immigration and Customs Enforcement to help the regime carry out its immigration policy.
  90. McKinsey’s advice included cutting spending on migrants’ food, medical care, and supervision, and looked for ways to speed deportations to meet Trump’s goals. Their advice made some career ICE staffers uncomfortable.
  91. Some ICE workers even complained the firm’s cost-cutting proposals jeopardized the health and safety of migrants. McKinsey also advised to move detainees to less expensive, less safe facilities, like rural county jails.
  92. McKinsey did $20 million of consulting work, even ghostwriting the firm’s contract extension. The firm was deeply involved in executing policies to effectuate Trump’s immigration crackdown. The work ended July 2018.
  93. A week after the McKinsey partner announced their work with ICE was over given McKinsey employee and partner outrage, the firm signed a new $2 million contract to advise CBP, which could be worth $8.4 million.
  94. On Wednesday, WAPO reported on 48 undocumented staffers who worked illegally for Trump at 11 of his properties, performing manual labor for years or decades. They said when hired, managers knew of their status.
  95. They noted when Trump entered the presidential politics, and denounced illegal immigrants as criminals and job-stealers, it upended their lives, causing many to be fired or to walk away after media reports about them.
  96. On Thursday, ProPublica reported Carlos Gregorio Hernandez Vasquez, 16, a Guatemalan migrant, died in Border Patrol care on May 19, after becoming seriously ill. He was held for 6 days, despite the 72 hour limit.
  97. Carlos was put in a small concrete holding cell in South Texas with another boy who was also sick, and who later alerted guards that Carlos was dead. He is the sixth child to die in care in government care in less than a year.
  98. On Wednesday, BBC reported more than 100 graves at a Jewish cemetery in France were defaced with swastikas and the number 14, which is linked to a white supremacist slogan.
  99. On Friday, WAPO reported West Virginia fired three state employees and suspended 34 more without pay after a photo surfaced showing a basic training class of correction officers giving a Nazi salute.
  100. On Tuesday, speaking to reporters at the NATO summit in London, Trump said French President Emmanuel Macron’s comments saying NATO is in a state of “brain death” were “very insulting” and “nasty.”
  101. Trump, while standing alongside NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg, also said Macron’s statement was “very disrespectful” and “very dangerous,” adding, “Nobody needs NATO more than France.”
  102. Trump also defended AG Barr, calling him “a great gentleman,” adding, “I do think the big report to wait for is going to be the Durham report…he’s highly respected. And we’re — and he’s worked very hard.”
  103. Trump also said of France imposing a digital services tax on U.S. technology companies, “I’m not going to let people take advantage of American companies,” and threatened to tax French companies in return.
  104. Trump called the impeachment inquiry “a hoax,” saying, “It’s done for purely political gain. They’re going to see whether or not they can do something in 2020, because otherwise they’re going to lose.”
  105. Trump also called impeachment a “witch hunt” and “very unpatriotic,” and said of censure being floated, “Now they want to go to censure because they have no case for impeachment, so they want to go to censure.”
  106. Later, in a news conference with Trump and Macron speaking on Syria and Turkey, Trump said, “Would you like some nice [IS] fighters? You can take everyone you want.” Macron scolded Trump, saying, “Let’s be serious.”
  107. Later, in a news conference with Canadian President Justin Trudeau, Trump called Chair Schiff a “maniac,” a“deranged human being,” and a “liar,” adding, “I think he’s a very sick man and he lies.”
  108. Trump continued, “This is a sick person. He’s a liar,” adding, “Pelosi knew he was lying and she went on the show, Stephanopoulos and said he told the truth. She was lying, too,” and, “These people are deranged.”
  109. When Pelosi was asked about impeachment while in Madrid Monday, she declined, citing her policy of not criticizing U.S. president while overseas, saying, “We’re here to talk positively about our agenda to save the planet.”
  110. Trump and British Prime Minister Boris Johnson did not meet ahead of the British election on December 12, an admission Trump is unpopular in Britain and per the U.S. ambassador, “any intervention would be counterproductive.”
  111. Asked about the U.K. election, Trump changed the subject to talking about gubernatorial races in Kentucky and Louisiana, where Republicans lost, adding, but in the U.K., “They may not like me because I’m representing us.”
  112. Trump later attended a reception at Buckingham Palace, where Prince Andrew was absent after association with Jeffrey Epstein. Trump, who has been pictured with the prince, said, “I don’t know Prince Andrew.”
  113. On Tuesday, House Intelligence Committee Republicans released a 123-page minority report, claiming there is “no direct, firsthand evidence” to suggest Trump pressured Ukraine to investigate the Bidens.
  114. The report claimed Trump did nothing wrong, including, “There is nothing inherently improper with Mayor Giuliani’s involvement,” and dismissed Trump’s behavior as “outside the beltway thinking.”
  115. Shortly after, House Intelligence Democrats released a 300-page impeachment report summarizing its two month probe, laying out in searing fashion what is likely to result in articles of impeachment next.
  116. The report cited Trump tried to “use the powers of his office to solicit foreign interference on his behalf in the 2020 election” and “placed his own personal and political interests” above the national interests.
  117. The report cited Trump’s “misconduct was not an isolated occurrence,” noting Trump “was elected in 2016with the benefit of an unprecedented and sweeping campaign” by Russia which he “welcomed and utilized.”
  118. The report said his “scheme subverted U.S. foreign policy toward Ukraine and undermined our national security in favor of two politically motivated investigations that would help his presidential re-election campaign.”
  119. The report made more than 100 references to the Constitution, and cited, ‘The evidence of the President’s misconduct is overwhelming, and so too is the evidence of his obstruction of Congress.”
  120. The report also cited an “unprecedented campaign of obstruction of this impeachment inquiry” by Trump for blocking witnesses and document release from the State Department, Pentagon, and OMB.
  121. The report called it unprecedented, saying Trump is “the first and only President in American history to openly and indiscriminately defy all aspects of the Constitutional impeachment process.”
  122. The report said even Nixon, “who obstructed Congress by refusing to turn over key evidence- accepted the authority of Congress […] permitted his aides and advisors to produce documents and testify.”
  123. The report also called White House efforts to block the inquiry “an existential threat to the nation’s Constitutional system of checks and balances, separation of powers, and rule of law.”
  124. The report described a months-long campaign driven by Trump to bend foreign policy, which included Vice President Mike Pence, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, acting chief of staff and Director of the OMB Mick Mulvaney, Energy Sec. Rick Perry, and others.
  125.  The report said these senior officials were “either knowledgeable of or active participants in an effort to extract from a foreign nation the personal political benefits sought by the President.”
  126. The report raised doubt about whether the September 9 call referenced by Gordon Sondland and amplified by Trump actually occurred, saying it was “not backed up by any records the White House was willing to provide.”
  127. The report cited Trump “engaged in a brazen effort to publicly attack and intimidate witnesses,” saying it raises “grave concerns about potential violations of the federal obstruction statute and other criminal laws.”
  128. The report cited threats to the 2020 election to explain the rush: “Given the proximate threat of further presidential attempts to solicit foreign interference in our next election, we cannot wait to make a referral.’
  129. Chair Schiff told reporters there is a “grave risk to the country” if lawmakers wait until they have “every last fact” before proceeding, saying we are inviting “further corruption of our elections.”
  130. The report included call records showing House Intelligence ranking member Devin Nunes had numerous calls in April with Giuliani, Parnas, and John Solomon — around the time Marie Yovanovitch was fired.
  131. There were also 16 calls between Giuliani and Parnas in early April and 10 calls between Parnas and Solomon. There were also Giuliani and White House phone numbers, including one “associated with” the OMB.
  132. Records show on April 24, the day Yovanovitch was summoned to D.C. and told she lost Trump’s confidence, Giuliani called the White House seven times, and received a call from “-1” and spoke to that person for eight minutes.
  133. Giuliani spoke to Parnas and Solomon on the day Biden announced his candidacy. He received a call from “-1” then called Sean Hannity. Trump appeared on Hannity’s show that night and discussed Solomon’s story.
  134. Schiff said, “the phone records show that there was considerable coordination among the parties, including the White House,” calling it “deeply concerning” a lawmaker might be complicit with Trump’s efforts.
  135. Schiff also said Trump action’s towards Ukraine meet the Constitutional definition of bribery, saying, “This is certainly, I think, what the founders had in mind when they used that word in the Constitution.”
  136. Schiff also said the intelligence panel is investigating whether Trump is the “-1” referenced in the call logs as making frequent calls to Giuliani in the House report.
  137. Shortly after, a lawyer for Parnas told reporters, “With appropriate protections, Mr. Parnas would be able to tell this story and fill in all the blanks.” Parnas has asked for immunity which Congress is unlikely to give.
  138. Shortly after, Bob Cusack, editor in chief of The Hill, tweeted the newspaper “is conducting a meticulous review” of Solomon’s work. The report revealed Solomon spoke with Nunes, Giuliani, and Parnas.
  139. On Tuesday, Sen. Kamala Harris dropped her 2020 presidential bid. Trump tweeted, “Too bad. We will miss you Kamala!” Harris responded, “Don’t worry, Mr. President. I’ll see you at your trial.”
  140. On Tuesday, Nunes filed a defamation suit against CNN for a story on his travel to Vienna to meet with foreign officials on getting dirt of the Bidens, saying CNN is “the mother of fake news” and “must be held accountable.”
  141. On Tuesday, when asked by Fox News host Sean Hannity if he spoke to Parnas, Nunes said, “it’s possible, adding, “I don’t really recall,” and “it seems very unlikely that I would be taking calls from random people.”
  142. On Tuesday, Giuliani told NYT he had nothing to do with the decision to withhold aid to Ukraine, saying, “I never discussed military assistance. I am expert on so many things it could have been some very esoteric subject.”
  143. On Tuesday, the House passed a resolution 339-to-71 disapproving of any future attempts to include Russia in the Group of Seven summits, which Trump has repeatedly floated.
  144. On Wednesday, a video circulated of NATO leaders Trudeau, Macron, Johnson and others at a reception at the Buckingham Palace gossiping and mocking Trump’s freewheeling news conference earlier in the day.
  145. The video opened with Johnson asking Macron, “Is that why you were late?” Trudeau jumps in and responds, “He was late because he takes a 40-minute press conference off the top.”
  146. Trudeau says shortly after, “I just watched his team’s jaws drop to the floor.” Prior to the reception, Trump had a 38 minute press event with Macron, and prior for 53 minutes with Stoltenberg.
  147. On Wednesday morning, standing alongside German Chancellor Angela Merkel, Trump called Trudeau “two-faced,” adding, “ he’s a nice guy,” but “I called him out” for not paying 2% and “I guess he’s not happy about it.”
  148. Trump, who has repeatedly demeaned domestic political rivals for being laughed at around the world, abruptly canceled a scheduled news conference, saying he had already answered too many questions, and left.
  149. Earlier in the week, Trump had blasted Democrats, saying, “Do Nothing Democrats purposely scheduled an Impeachment Hoax hearing on the same date as NATO. Not nice!” Now he was headed back to the U.S.
  150. On Wednesday, WAPO reported in a closed-door meeting of House Democrats, before the day’s hearing, Speaker Pelosi made clear to her caucus that impeachment is coming, possibly as soon as this month.
  151. Reportedly, Pelosi said, “Are you ready?” and, “We’re moving forward,” to which the caucus erupted with shouts of approval. Pelosi then turned the floor to Schiff who received a standing ovation.
  152. Pelosi then described “the gravity and somber nature of this moment,” and “a situation that the founders feared.” Vice President Pence held a similar meeting to rally House Republicans on Wednesday morning.
  153. On Wednesday, House Whip Steny Hoyer told reporters House Democrats would be considering congressional action against Nunes: “I think there are serious questions that have been raised by Mr. Nunes’ actions.”
  154. On Wednesday, the House Judiciary Committee held its first impeachment hearing, featuring four constitutional lawyers — three picked by Democrats and one by Republicans.
  155. Chair Nadler opened by addressing why hearings must be held now, saying, “We are all aware that the next election is looming — but we cannot wait,” adding, “The integrity of that election is the very thing at stake.”
  156. Nadler also said Trump “has shown us his pattern of conduct. If we do not act to hold him in check now” he “will almost certainly try again to solicit interference in the election for his personal, political benefit.”
  157. The hearing was acrimonious with ranking member Doug Collins calling the impeachment probe a “partisan coup d’etat,” and Republicans forcing roll call votes of the 41 members three time in the first 90 minutes.
  158. The hearings lasted eight hours. A couple of hours into the hearings, Trump left London to fly back to Washington. During the hearings Trump actively retweeted House Republicans and other allies’ accounts.
  159. Four legal scholars testified: Professors Noah Feldman of Harvard Law, Pamela Karlan of Stanford Law, Michael Gerhardt of North Carolina Law, and Jonathan Turley of George Washington University Law.
  160. Pam Karlan chastised Collins who accused her of not having read the report, saying she read all testimony and added, “I’m insulted by the suggestion that as a law professor I don’t care about those facts.”
  161. Noah Feldman said, “the reason the Constitution provided for impeachment was to anticipate a situation like the one that is before you today.” He noted he was not for impeachment based on Mueller report.
  162. Feldman also testified, “If we cannot impeach a president who uses his power for personal advantage, we no longer live in a democracy, we live in a monarchy or a dictatorship.”
  163. Feldman noted, “The possibility that the president might get caught in the process of attempting to abuse his office and then not be able to pull it off does not undercut in any way the impeachability of the acts.”
  164. Karlan called Trump’s action “an abuse that cuts to the heart of democracy,” and “It’s your responsibility to make sure that all Americans get to vote in a free and fair election next November.”
  165. The third Democratic witness, North Carolina Law professor Michael Gerhardt said, “If what we’re talking about isn’t impeachable, then nothing is impeachable,” citing bribery and obstruction of justice in the report.
  166. The Republicans’ witness, Jonathan Turley, said impeaching Trump for going to the courts is an “abuse of power,” saying the facts presented by House Intelligence do not meet the necessary standard for impeachment.
  167. Turley said, “I am concerned about lowering impeachment standards to fit a paucity of evidence and an abundance of anger,” and said of charges of bribery, “close enough is not good enough.”
  168. Republicans used a comment by Karlan, “The Constitution says there can be no titles of nobility. So while the President can name his son Barron, he can’t make him a baron,” to distract and fundraise. She later apologized.
  169. Nadler concluded by saying “all three parts” of his test for whether Trump should be impeached were met: he committed an impeachable act, that act was a “direct threat” to the Constitution, and some Trump supporter will be with them.
  170. Before Trump left NATO, he told reporters the hearing “is the most unfair thing that anybody’s ever seen.” Chair Nadler paused during questioning and noted the point where Trump’s lawyers could have participated.
  171. Asked about the House report, Trump said, “it’s a joke,” adding, “I watched the reviews….I watched Hannity, Sean Hannity, I watched Laura Ingram, I watched Tucker Carlson, I watched a lot of other legal scholars, frankly.”
  172. On Wednesday, Rep. Jim Banks wrote a letter to Senate Judiciary Committee chair Lindsey Graham, asking him to subpoena phone records of Schiff, Joe and Hunter Biden, and whistleblower attorney Mark Zaid.
  173. On Wednesday, Democrat Rep. Denny Heck said he would not seek re-election, citing he was “discouraged” by his Republican colleagues on impeachment, and “Civility is out. Compromise is out. All or nothing is in.”
  174. On Wednesday, WAPO reported John Durham, Barr’s handpicked prosecutor, said he could offer no evidence to the DOJ IG to support the right-wing conspiracy theory the Russia case was a U.S. intelligence setup.
  175. IG Horowitz contacted Durham and several U.S. intelligence agencies in compiling his report. Among the questions was whether Joseph Mifsud was an intelligence asset sent to ensnare Trump’s campaign.
  176. Horowitz’s report is set to come out Monday, and his interaction with Durham may dull expectations by Barr and Trump allies that Durham’s report will back various right-wing conspiracy theories.
  177. On Wednesday, NYT reported while House Democrats issued their report and held impeachment hearings, Giuliani traveled to Europe to interview Ukrainians to shift focus to wrongdoings by Trump’s political rivals.
  178. Giuliani met with former Ukrainian prosecutor, Yuriy Lutsenko, in Budapest on Tuesday, and met withViktor Shokin and Kostiantyn Kulyk in Kyiv Wednesday. All have faced allegations of corruption.
  179. Giuliani is using the trip to tape a documentary for One America News (OAN) promoting his pro-Trump, anti-impeachment narrative. He hoped to gather new material to undercut the House and Senate impeachment.
  180. Andrii Telizhenko and Andrii Artemenko, former Ukrainian officials who support Trump, joined Giuliani and the OAN crew. The two, along with Mykhaylo Okhendovsky, recorded interviews with OAN last month.
  181. Giuliani’s visit to meet with the same Ukrainian characters in the impeachment probe has sparked concern at the State Department. An official called it “shocking” he is unbowed by issues he faces at home.
  182. Asked about the trip, Giuliani texted the Times: “If S.D.N.Y. leaks and Democrats’ threats stopped me, then I should find a new profession,” and “I am gathering evidence to defend my client against the false charges.”
  183. On Thursday, Giuliani tweeted that an investigation into Biden’s conduct has not been resolved, claiming,“Obama embassy urged Ukrainian police NOT to investigate!” adding, “Stay tuned to find out why.”
  184. On Thursday, Andriy Derkach, a former Ukrainian lawmaker who served as a member of a pro-Russia party and attended a KGB-affiliated high school in Moscow, posted a photo with Giuliani on his Facebook page.
  185. On Friday, former Ukrainian diplomat Telizhenko tweeted a photo with Giuliani, saying, “Thank you @RudyGiuliani for your work and what you do for @realDonaldTrump, because we are fighting for the #TRUTH!”
  186. Pelosi called Giuliani’s trip an indication of “the arrogance of it all.” Asked if Trump was backing Giuliani, White House deputy press secretary Hogan Gidley said, “That’s a question between Rudy and the president.”
  187. On Wednesday, CNN reported federal prosecutors, who are investigating Giuliani and his associates, have deepened their focus on Naftogaz and have interviewed its CEO, Andriy Kobolyev.
  188. Prosecutors have also interviewed U.S. embassy official Suriya Jayanti, a foreign service officer based in Kyiv, who handles Naftogaz issues at the embassy and communicates with the company’s management.
  189. Sec. Perry said he told Jayanti about Parnas and Fruman’s corrupt intent with Naftogaz to replace Kobolyev as CEO. Andrew Favorov also said he relayed his concerns about the two to her.
  190. Jayanti was also identified as among those who overheard the July 26 call between Sondland and Trump. She was listed to give a closed-door deposition in October, but the deposition never occurred.
  191. On Wednesday, WSJ reported Zelensky is withholding his support for a proposed parliamentary investigation into Burisma, citing wanting to avoid Ukraine getting more caught up in U.S. politics.
  192. On Wednesday, WSJ reported the Trump regime is considering sending an additional 14,000 troops to the Middle East, as well as ships and other military hardware, to counter Iran.
  193. The deployment would double the number of troops sent to the region since Trump started a buildup in May. There is growing concern by military leaders that an attack on U.S. interests could leave few options.
  194. The Pentagon denied WSJ reporting: press secretary Alyssa Farah tweeted, “The U.S. is not considering sending 14,000 additional troops to the Middle East.” The U.S. has no diplomatic process in place with Iran.
  195. On Thursday, Politico reported Pentagon’s policy chief acknowledged the reporting on the additional 14,000 troops, after trying to knock it down Wednesday, after Defense Secretary Mark Esper said he is considering it.
  196. On Tuesday, at the NATO summit, Trump said, “We’re by far the most powerful country in the world,” and he still had “a good relationship” with Kim Jong Un, but “He definitely likes sending rockets up, doesn’t he?”
  197. On Thursday, North Korea’s first vice foreign minister threatened if Trump stoked “the atmosphere of confrontation,” citing his reference to “Rocket Man,” the North would resume calling Trump bad names like “dotard.”
  198. On Saturday, North Korea’s U.N. envoy said denuclearization is off the negotiating table with the U.S., adding“sustained and substantial dialogue” sought by the United States was a “time-saving trick.”
  199. On Thursday, Trump tweeted, “The Do Nothing Democrats had a historically bad day yesterday in the House,” adding, “They have no Impeachment case,” and, “they have gone crazy.”
  200. Trump also tweeted, “Therefore I say, if you are going to impeach me, do it now, fast, so we can have a fair trial in the Senate, and so that our Country can get back to business.”
  201. Trump also threatened, “We will have Schiff, the Bidens, Pelosi and many more testify, and will reveal, for the first time, how corrupt our system really is. I was elected to “Clean the Swamp,” and that’s what I am doing!”
  202. An hour later, in a formal address at 9 a.m. that lasted less than six minutes, Speaker Pelosi announced the House of Representatives would begin drafting impeachment articles against Trump.
  203. Pelosi announced in a somber tone, frequently invoking the Constitution and the founders, it had become clear from the two month investigation that Trump violated his oath by seeking foreign help for 2020 election.
  204. Pelosi stood in front of American flags, and said, “Our democracy is what is at stake. The president leaves us no choice but to act because he is trying to corrupt, once again, the election for his own benefit.”
  205. Pelosi said, “This isn’t about Ukraine; this is about Russia,” adding, “So sometimes people say, ‘Well, I don’t know about Ukraine, I don’t know that much about Ukraine.’”
  206. Pelosi added that it was Russia “who benefited by our withholding of that military assistance” to Ukraine, adding, “our adversary is Russia,” and repeating the phrase, “All roads lead to Putin.”
  207. Pelosi added, “Sadly, but with confidence and humility, with allegiance to our founders and a heart full of love for America, today I am asking our chairmen to proceed with articles of impeachment.”
  208. In instructing “chairmen,” Pelosi directed the chairs of the six House committees, meaning the articles could be broader than just Trump-Ukraine, as other investigations continue.
  209. Shortly after, Trump tweeted, “Radical Left Democrats have just announced that they are going to seek to Impeach me over NOTHING,” and, “they hang their hats on two totally appropriate (perfect) phone calls.”
  210. Trump also tweeted now the “act of Impeachment will be used routinely to attack future Presidents. That is not what our Founders had in mind,” adding, “the Republicans have NEVER been more united. We will win!”
  211. Shortly after, at her weekly news conference, Pelosi said she was sorry Trump “made this necessary,” but “If we do not act on this, the message to any future president would be, ‘You can do whatever you want.’”
  212. When asked if she was concerned about a backlash, Pelosi said, “This has absolutely nothing to do with politics…Democrats and Republicans…It’s about the Constitution of the United States…So no, I’m not concerned.”
  213. Referencing Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, she said, “The Grim Reaper says all we’re doing is impeachment… We have 275 bipartisan bills on your desk,” and called McConnell the “rogue Senate leader.”
  214. As Pelosi was leaving, a reporter from Sinclair asked if she hated Trump, invoking a comment by Rep. Collins that is why they are doing it. Pelosi said, “I don’t hate anybody,” and walked back to the microphone.
  215. Pelosi said she thinks Trump “is a coward” for not taking on gun violence, and “he is cruel” for not helping our Dreamers, and “he is in denial” about the climate crisis, adding, “However, that’s about the election.”
  216. Pelosi said, “This is about the Constitution,” adding, “as a Catholic, I resent your using the word ‘hate’ in a sentence that addresses me,” adding she prays for Trump “all the time,” and closed out with, “Don’t mess with me.”
  217. Shortly after, Trump tweeted, “Nancy Pelosi just had a nervous fit,” adding, “She says she “prays for the President.” I don’t believe her, not even close,” and, “Help the homeless in your district Nancy.”
  218. On Thursday, the House Judiciary Committee announced the next impeachment hearing will take place Monday, at which investigators will present evidence, the final step to drafting articles of impeachment.
  219. On Thursday, Republican Rep. Tom Graves, 49, of Georgia announced he would retire, saying it was time to “pass the baton.” Graves was the 21st Republican to announce they will not seek re-election in 2020.
  220. On Friday, Republican Rep. George Holding said he would not seek re-election in 2020, citing North Carolinaredrawing the congressional map. Holding was the 22nd Republican.
  221. On Thursday, the House Ethics Committee told Rep. Duncan Hunter in a letter he can no longer vote in the House, citing a House rule relating to any member convicted of a crime who could serve a prison sentence.
  222. Hunter changed his plea to guilty on Tuesday, and faces five years of prison. He and Chris Collins, the first two members of the House to support Trump, have both pleaded guilty to crimes.
  223. On Friday, Hunter announced he will resign from his seat after the holidays. Two Republicans will vie for his seat, including Darrell Issa who called on Trump to pardon Hunter.
  224. On Tuesday, a federal appeals court ruled Deutsche Bank and Capital One must turn over Trump’s financial records to the House Intelligence and Financial Services committees, and must turn over records next week.
  225. The court ruled, “The Committees’ interests in pursuing their constitutional legislative function is a far more significant public interest” than risking Trump being distracted from disclosing his private financial transactions.
  226. On Thursday, Trump asked the Supreme Court to void a subpoena from the House Oversight Committee that seeks his tax returns. The Supreme Court will decide as early as mid-December if it will hear the case.
  227. On Thursday, Karen McDougal sued Fox News, saying host Tucker Carlson had intentionally defamed her on his show by falsely accusing her of extortion, and she was “harassed, embarrassed and ridiculed” after.
  228. On Thursday, the Trump regime disputed some of the details in the House Intelligence Committee report about Giuliani’s calls to “White House Phone Number” and “-1” in an effort to weaken the Democrats’ case.
  229. Although the call logs show Giuliani was in frequent contact with the White House at key times of the Ukraine pressure campaign, an OMB official claimed he did not speak to anyone in OMB, or to Mick Mulvaney.
  230. On Thursday, WAPO reported phone records released in the House report revealed Trump routinely communicated with Giuliani and others speaking on cellphones vulnerable to monitoring by Russia and others.
  231. Additionally, the call between Giuliani and other Trump officials were also not on encrypted or otherwise shielded lines, raising concerns that Russia was about to learn of Trump’s efforts to withhold aid for investigations.
  232. Security experts suspected Giuliani would be a target of Russian surveillance given his focus on Ukraine. Experts said Russians could enlist its own operative in Ukraine to feed Giuliani disinformation while in Kyiv.
  233. Giuliani has used WhatsApp, but also had pocket-dialed a reporter, and had to go to an Apple store after losing his password. U.S. officials said Russia likely has him under physical surveillance on his trip this week.
  234. Officials said Trump’s use of unsecured lines has become the subject of renewed concerns by senior officials at the White House, who have repeatedly tried unsuccessfully to break him of the habit.
  235. On Thursday, Judge Richard Berman excoriated the Turkish government for an “extraordinary, sustained” pressure campaign to scuttle the case against state-owned Halbank for criminal money laundering charges.
  236. The judge also noted the Turkish government hired Giuliani to defend trader Reza Zarrab, and cited contacts between “Turkish and U.S. officials, lobbyists and attorneys” for Zarrab’s release despite criminal charges.
  237. On Friday, a Saudi military student, Ahmed Mohammed al-Shamrani, opened fire in a classroom, killing three and wounding eight at a naval base in Pensacola, Florida.
  238. An initial FBI investigation found no apparent connection to a foreign terrorist group, although Florida Republicans Sen. Rick Scott and Rep. Matt Gaetz claimed it was an act of terrorism.
  239. Trump took an unusually measured tones, seeming to defend the Saudis, tweeting, “King Salman of Saudi Arabia just called to express his sincere condolences and give his sympathies to the families and friends.”
  240. Trump also tweeted, “The King said that the Saudi people are greatly angered by the barbaric actions of the shooter,” and, “this person in no way shape or form represents the feelings of the Saudi people.”
  241. On Friday, Trump told reporters at a White House roundtable on small business and red tape reduction that“we’re looking very strongly at sinks and showers and other elements of bathrooms,” including low flow toilets.
  242. Trump said “at my suggestion” the EPA “is looking at that very strongly” saying, “People are flushing toilets 10 times, 15 times, as opposed to once. They end up using more water.”
  243. Trump said, “we’re looking very strongly at sinks and showers,” adding, “you turn the faucet on, in areas where there’s tremendous amounts of water, where the water rushes out to sea because you could never handle it.”
  244. Trump added, “You turn on the faucet; you don’t get any water. They take a shower and water comes dripping out. It’s dripping out — very quietly dripping out.” Trump continued on the subject for several minutes.
  245. Trump also complained about energy-efficient light bulbs, calling them “many times more expensive,” and “it doesn’t make you look as good,” adding, “It gives you an orange look. I don’t want an orange look.”
  246. On Thursday, 350 psychiatrists and other mental-health professionals submitted a petition to Congress, warning Trump’s mental health is rapidly deteriorating amid the impeachment inquiry.
  247. The petition said what makes Trump “so dangerous is the brittleness of his sense of worth. Any slight or criticism is experienced as a humiliation and degradation,” and he will react with “narcissistic rage.”
  248. They also wrote, “failing to monitor or to understand the psychological aspects” of impeachment on Trump “or discounting them could lead to catastrophic outcomes.”
  249. On Friday, Rep. Justin Amash said he will vote for impeachment, saying he believes there is “sufficient evidence” against Trump for obstruction of Congress, obstruction of justice and abuse of power.
  250. On Friday, more than 500 law professors signed an open letter saying Trump committed “impeachable conduct” and Congress would be well within their rights if they vote to remove him from office.
  251. The letter cites “overwhelming evidence” that Trump “betrayed his oath of office by seeking to use presidential power to pressure a foreign government to help him distort an American election.”
  252. They added, Trump’s “conduct is precisely the type of threat to our democracy that the Founders feared when they included the remedy of impeachment,” adding they “take no position” on if he committed a crime.
  253. On Friday, in a letter from White House counsel Pat Cipollone to Chair Nadler, the White House rejected the House Judiciary’s invitation to participate in Monday’s impeachment hearing before the 5 p.m. deadline.
  254. While not explicitly saying if the White House would participate, Cipollone called the inquiry “completely baseless” and said House Democrats had “violated basic principles of due process and fundamental fairness.”
  255. Cipollone also said, “House Democrats have wasted enough of America’s time with this charade. You should end this inquiry now and not waste even more time with additional hearings.”
  256. Nadler responded, saying Trump and team “cannot claim that the process is unfair” if they refuse to participate, adding Trump’s failure to respond “will not prevent us from carrying out our solemn constitutional duty.”
  257. On Friday, deputy press secretary Gidley told Fox News the impeachment inquiry is a “sham” and “doesn’t do anything to put food on the tables of the Americans people” — 48 hours after the USDA enacted a rule that cut food stamps for 700,000.
  258. On Friday, Chair Schiff revealed Jennifer Williams submitted additional classified evidence in the impeachment probe of a phone conversation between Pence and Zelensky that took place on September 18.
  259. In a letter to Pence, Schiff asked Pence’s office to declassify, saying classifying “certain portions” of the call “cannot be justified on national security or any other legitimate grounds we can discern.”
  260. On Friday, Trump tweeted, “Fake News @CNN is reporting that I am “still using personal cell phone for callsdespite repeated security warnings.” This is totally false information.” CNN stood by its reporting.
  261. On Friday, the Supreme Court granted Trump’s emergency request to temporarily block the House subpoena to Deutsche Bank and Capital One for Trump’s records until December 13.
  262. The temporary halt will allow the court to deliberate on a longer stay, while giving Trump’s lawyers time to prepare for a formal appeal.
  263. On Friday, WAPO reported Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov will travel to Washington next week to meet with Secretary of State Pompeo, his first visit since the Oval Office controversy where Trump shared classified information.
  264. Pompeo has kept Lavrov at arms length. It is unclear if Lavrov will meet with Trump. The White House refused to comment. One day before his arrival, Zelensky and Putin will meet in Paris.
  265. On Saturday, the LA Times Editorial Board said, “We’ve seen enough. Trump should be impeached,” citing “overwhelming evidence that Trump perverted U.S. foreign policy for his own political gain.”
  266. On Saturday, the House Judiciary Committee released a 55-page report laying out the “Constitutional Grounds for Presidential Impeachment,” saying Trump’s conduct rises to the level of impeachment.
  267. The report cited, “The Framers worst nightmare is what we are facing,” adding, “Trump abused his power, betrayed our national security, and corrupted our elections, all for personal gain.”
  268. The report concluded, “A President cannot escape impeachment just because his scheme to abuse power, betray the nation, or corrupt elections was discovered and abandoned.”
  269. Shortly after, Trump tweeted, “Read the Transcripts! Also, see where I say “us” (our Country) as opposed to “me” (meaning me) and where I then say that the Attorney General (of the United States) will call you.”
  270. Trump also tweeted, “People still remember Schiff’s made up and fraudulent version of my conversation. Witch Hunt!” adding, “our Country is doing better, perhaps, than it has ever done before. Jobs, Jobs, Jobs!”

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In this grab taken from video on Tuesday, Dec. 3, 2019, Britain’s Prime Minister Boris Johnson, right, speaks during a NATO reception. While NATO leaders are professing unity as they gather for a summit near London, several seem to have been caught in an unguarded exchange on camera apparently gossiping about Trump’s behavior. In footage recorded during a reception at Buckingham Palace on Tuesday, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau was seen standing in a huddle with French President Emmanuel Macron, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte and Britain’s Princess Anne.

POLITIKS OF GRAFFITI 160: “ROCKY’

NOVEMBER 30, 2019
Week 159
Experts in authoritarianism advise to keep a list of things
subtly changing around you, so you’ll remember.
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This week, more conspiracy theories were debunked, as a draft of the Department of Justice Inspector General report found the FBI did not try to place spies in Trump’s 2016 campaign, nor did Obama wiretap him. Trump allies continued to push the conspiracy that Ukraine, not Russia, may have interfered in 2016, despite it being thoroughly and widely disproved.
Trump sought to portray strength — firing the Navy Secretary and tweeting an image of his face super-imposed on the body of Sylvester Stallone in “Rocky.” He told supporters in Florida how hard he was working for them — as opposed to Democrats’ focus on impeachment — then clandestinely flew to Afghanistan on Thanksgiving to visit U.S. troops under false pretenses.
The House Judiciary Committee announced the start of impeachment hearings next week, as Trump and his team weighed whether to participate. The committee did not rule out an article related to the Mueller probe. Reporting revealed the September 9 call between Trump and Gordon Sondland — central in Trump’s defense of his actions towards Ukraine — may not have happened, and Rudy Giuliani faces a broad probe of possible criminal activity.
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1 On Saturday, NBC News reported the Trump regime is also holding back $105 million in congressionally-approved military assistance to Lebanon. Trump’s national security team is also in favor of the aid.
2 The aid was mentioned by David Hale in his closed-door impeachment hearing deposition. The Office of Management and Budget has not explained the reason for the delay.
3 On Sunday, House Intelligence Committee Chair Adam Schiff told “Meet the Press” the hearings produced “overwhelming” evidence Trump conditioned aid on investigations to help his re-election.
4 Schiff said it is “urgent” for the House to move forward and not do “months and month of rope-a-dope in the court,” adding, “we have another election where the president is threatening more foreign interference.”
5 On Sunday, ABC News reported the House Intelligence Committee is in possession of video and audio recordings, and photographs provided by Lev Parnas which include Rudy Giuliani and Trump.
6 Chair Schiff said on “Meet the Press” that Parnas and Igor Fruman were subpoenaed. Fruman has not cooperated. Parnas’ lawyer said his cooperation is “non-partisan,” and for “the best interests of our nation.”
7 On Sunday, WAPO reported a confidential White House review of Trump’s decision to put Ukraine aid on hold revealed emails showing extensive after-the-fact communication to come up with justification of his decision.
8 The research by the White House Counsel’s Office, triggered by the House impeachment inquiry, included emails between chief of staff Mick Mulvaney and other officials in early August on the hold Trump placed in mid-July.
9 Trump decided on the hold without a rationale or legal justification. Mulvaney asked OMB director Russell Vought in early August for a legal rationale. Vought said it was legal, but the NSA and the State Department disagreed.
10 Mulvaney’s request came as he learned the whistleblower made a complaint to the CIA’s general counsel. The White House released aid on September 11, two days after the House was notified of the complaint.
11 White House counsel Pat Cippollone’s office has overseen the review, and has kept tight control of his findings, exasperating tensions between he and Mulvaney, whose aides said they need information for public inquiries.
12 On Saturday, Rep. Adam Smith, a high ranking Democrat, said an ethics investigation of Rep. Devin Nunes is likely over allegations he met with Ukraine’s former top prosecutor, Viktor Shokin, to get dirt on the Bidens.
13 According to the lawyer for Parnas, a top aide for Nunes, Derek Harvey, also joined a group that frequently met at the Trump Hotel DC in the spring of 2019 to discuss the Biden matter and other topics.
14 Nunes told Breitbart, these “false and scandalous stories published by the Daily Beast and CNN are the perfect example of defamation and reckless disregard for the truth,” and threatened to sue for the “fake stories.”
15 Newsweek reported Nunes spent $57,000 of taxpayer monies on flights and other expenses for travel to Europe for himself and three staffers, Scott Glabe, George Pappas, and Harvey.
16 Rudy Giuliani appeared on Fox News on Saturday, saying “Devin Nunes says he didn’t meet with Shokin. I have no reason to believe that he did,” adding, “If he did, there would’ve been nothing wrong with it.”
17 Giuliani also said that he has a good relationship with Trump, adding, “I’ve seen things written like he’s going to throw me under the bus,” but “when they say that, I say he isn’t, but I have insurance.”
18 On Sunday, in an interview with NYT, former White House press secretary Sarah Sanders said, “I was attacked for everything, not just my performance,” and, “I don’t like being called a liar.” Sander repeatedly lied.
19 On Sunday, Rick Perry told “Fox & Friends” Trump is “the chosen one” and “sent by God to do great things.” Co-host Peter Hegseth said what Trump withstood is “unlike what really any other mortal could understand.”
20 On Monday, Nikki Haley told Christian Broadcasting Network on Trump, “I think God sometimes places people for lessons and sometimes places people for change. And you can look at everything that has happened.”
21 On Tuesday, First Lady Melania was booed while addressing a group of middle school and high school students in Baltimore in a speech about youth opioid use, four months after Trump publicly disparaged the city.
22 On Wednesday, former Democratic governor Martin O’Malley confronted acting deputy secretary of Homeland Security Ken Cuccinelli at Dubliner, a Capitol Hill Irish bar, on Thanksgiving Eve over immigration policy.
23 Onlookers said as the two passed, O’Malley unloaded on Cuccinelli over separating migrant children from their parents, invoking “kids in cages,” and telling him his immigrant parents would “be ashamed of him.”
24 On Wednesday, WAPO reported White House adviser Stephen Miller has emerged unscathed from leaked emails tying him to white nationalists and racist talking points. He boarded Air Force One with Trump on Tuesday.
25 The White House has vigorously defended Miller, and Republican lawmakers have refrained from commenting. Two dozen Senate Democrats and 100 in the House have called on him to step down.
26 On Wednesday, the editorial board for the Sacramento Bee, Nunes’ local paper, said in an op-ed he should “cease silly lawsuits and answer serious questions” about the roughly $60,000 spent on his trip to Europe.
27 The board cited Nunes’ ongoing lawsuit against Twitter accounts known as “Devin Nunes’ cow” and “Devin Nunes’ mom,” calling the suits a “mockery” and saying he was “eviscerated” in court filings this week.
28 On Thursday, NYT reported at least nine Republican organizations have bought Donald Jr.’s book in bulk in an effort to bolster sales. Nonetheless, “Triggered” dropped to number 2 this week as Anonymous’ book came out.
29 On Sunday, Trump tweeted about a non-existent poll, claiming, “Polls have now turned very strongly against Impeachment, especially in swing states. 75% to 25%. Thank you!”
30 On Monday, Trump tweeted again about an non-existent poll: “Support for Impeachment is dropping like a rock, down into the 20’s in some Polls,” adding, “Dems should now get down to work.”
31 Later Monday, Trump quoted “Fox & Friends” host Brian Kilmeade saying impeachment “is getting less and less popular by the day.” This tweet is also false.
32 In all three tweets, Trump did not cite a polling source for his numbers, and it appeared rather than cherry-picking polls which Trump has done in the past, he instead invented polls.
33 On Tuesday, a new CNN poll found 50% of Americans say Trump should be impeached, 43% say he should not — unchanged since October despite impeachment hearings. Independents are 47% in favor, 45% opposed.
34 The gender gap for impeachment was 40 points: women 61% in favor, 34% against; men 40%, 53%. The poll also found Trump’s approval with women was 32% with women, and 52% with men.
35 Relative to past presidents, CNN found support for Trump’s impeachment was high: Bill Clinton at his highest point was 29%, Obama was 33%, and George W. was 30%.
36 On Tuesday, a Politico/Morning Consult poll found support for impeachment up to 48%, with 45% against. Support has increased from +3 to +5 in the past week.
37 On Wednesday, Reuters/Ipsos found support for impeachment up to 47% for, 40% against. Net support is up 4 points in the poll since impeachment hearings began.
38 On Saturday, AP reported Secretary of Navy Richard Spencer said he does not consider a tweet by Trump to be a formal order, saying, “I need a formal order to act,” relating to a sailor who could lose his status as a Navy SEAL.
39 On Saturday, NYT reported Spencer and the admiral who leads the SEALs have threatened to resign or be fired if Trump halted their plan to expel the sailor, Chief Petty Officer Edward Gallagher.
40 On Sunday, Gallagher appeared on “Fox & Friends,” saying the Navy was retaliating against him and trying to take his Trident pin “after the president restored my rank,” and that he was “overjoyed” by Trump’s help.
41 Ahead of Gallagher’s appearance, Trump tweeted, “Navy Seal Eddie Gallagher will be on @foxandfriends this morning at 7:30 A.M.,” adding, “Have no fear, all will end well for everyone!”
42 Later Sunday, Trump tweeted, “I was not pleased with the way that Navy Seal Eddie Gallagher’s trial was handled,” saying, “he was treated very badly.” Trump also cited “large cost overruns” by the last administration.
43 Trump added, “Therefore, Secretary of the Navy Richard Spencer’s services have been terminated by Secretary of Defense Mark Esper,” and, “Eddie will retire peacefully with all of the honors” and his Trident pin.
44 Sec. Esper claimed Spencer privately proposed to White House officials that Gallagher could retire as SEAL with his pin if they did not interfere, but did not share the proposal with him, and so he lost confidence in him.
45 Shortly after, Spencer resigned in a letter to Trump, saying, “Unfortunately it has become apparent that in this respect, I no longer share the same understanding with the Commander in Chief who appointed me.”
46 Spencer added, “I cannot in good conscience obey an order that I believe violates the sacred oath I took in the presence of my family, my flag and my faith to support and defend the Constitution of the United States.”
47 On Wednesday, in an op-ed, Spencer responded to his firing, saying, “We are effective overseas not because we have the best equipment but because we are professionals. Our troops are held to the highest standards.”
48 Spencer noted, “Trump involved himself in the case almost from the start. Before the trial began,” and that Trump’s interest in the case “stemmed partly from the way the defendant’s lawyers” talked about it on Fox News.
49 Spencer wrote to Trump on November 14 to ask him not to get involved, and next day, White House Counsel Pat Cipollone called to say Trump would remain involved. Cipollone called again to tell Spencer to restore Gallagher’s rank.
50 Spencer said, “This was a shocking and unprecedented intervention,” adding Trump “has very little understanding of what it means to be in the military, to fight ethically,” or to be governed by “rules and practices.”
51 On Sunday, Sen. John Kennedy told “Fox News Sunday” he was not sure if it was Russia or Ukraine that interfered in the 2016 election, saying, “I don’t know, nor do you, nor do any others.”
52 On Monday, Kennedy backtracked, telling CNN, “I was wrong,” adding, “It was Russia who tried to hack the (Democratic National Committee) computer. I’ve seen no indication that Ukraine tried to do it.”
53 On Monday, Fox News host Tucker Carlson joked he was siding with Russia over Ukraine: “Why do I care what is going on in the conflict between Ukraine and Russia?…Why shouldn’t I root for Russia? Which I am.”
54 On Monday, Trump also quoted lawyer Sam Dewey, a frequent cable news commentator, tweeting, “President Trump is facing a process which is unprecedented for its unfairness.”
55 On Monday, Trump claimed credit at a ceremony for signing the Woman’s Suffrage Centennial Coin Act, saying, “I’m curious why wasn’t it done a long time ago?” adding, “now I’m president, we get things done.”
56 The bill, introduced in April 2019 with bipartisan support of all 25 female senators, commemorates the 100 year anniversary of when the 19th Amendment was ratified, giving women the right to vote.
57 On Monday, U.S. District Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson found that the White House claim that Don McGahn is “absolutely immune” to be “baseless,” saying he must comply with the House Judiciary subpoena.
58 In an 118-page opinion, the judge said, “per the Constitution, no one is above the law,” adding, “the primary takeaway from the past 250 years of recorded American history is that Presidents are not kings.”
59 The ruling also says that the House should have subpoena power over other top regime officials, and that Trump himself may not be immune from testimony.
60 Jackson’s wording was some of the strongest yet to criticize the White House’s approach to investigations into Trump. The Justice Department, which represents McGahn, said it would appeal.
61 On Tuesday, the lawyer for John Bolton said the court decision did not impact Bolton, claiming his “responsibilities are focused exclusively on providing information and advice to the president on national security.”
62 Jackson’s ruling said there was not “any difference whether the aides in question are privy to national security matters, or work solely on domestic issues,” saying that aides could cite executive privilege, but should testify.
63 On Tuesday, Trump attacked the ruling, tweeting, “the D.C. Wolves and Fake News Media are reading far too much” into it, and, “I am fighting for future Presidents and the Office of the President.”
64 Trump claimed, “I would actually like people to testify. Don McGahn’s respected lawyer has already stated that I did nothing wrong,” and complimented John Bolton as a “patriot” for not testifying.
65 Trump added, “I would love to have Mike Pompeo, Rick Perry, Mick Mulvaney and many others testify about the phony Impeachment Hoax,” adding, “It is a Democrat Scam that is going nowhere.”
66 On Tuesday, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said the debunked conspiracy theory that Ukraine, not Russia, interfered in the 2016 election is worthy of investigation, saying we have “a duty to make sure we chase that down.”
67 Pompeo told reporters that in his time as CIA director, he learned “there were many countries that were actively engaged in trying to undermine American democracy, our rule of law.”
68 Pompeo refused to say what he and Giuliani discussed in two March phone calls revealed in State Department records in Week 158, telling reporters, “I don’t have much to say with respect to the Ukraine investigation.”
69 Pompeo also side-stepped questions about Trump’s morning tweet, in which he said he would “love to have Mike Pompeo” and other officials testify, responding, “When the time is right, all good things happen.”
70 Later Tuesday, Bolton tweeted, “our country’s commitment to our national security priorities is under attack from within,” and, “America is distracted. Our enemies are not.” It was unclear what Bolton meant or his intention.
71 On Wednesday, a federal judge on the DC Circuit Court temporarily stayed Jackson’s order for McGahn to comply with a House subpoena to testify, and said the appeals court would hear arguments on January 3.
72 On January 3, the DC Circuit Court will also hear arguments on whether the DOJ must turn over Mueller grand jury testimony to the House. The DOJ is also representing McGahn.
73 On Monday, the Supreme Court blocked the House Oversight Committee from immediately obtaining Trump’s tax returns, giving Trump’s lawyers until December 5 to file a petition stating why it should accept the case.
74 If the petition is denied, the lower court ruling will go into effect. If accepted, the case will be heard before June. The House lawyer said, “Each day of delay harms Congress by depriving it of important information.”
75 On Tuesday, the House Oversight Committee sued AG William Barr and Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross for failing to turn over documents related to the regime’s failed attempt to add a citizenship question to the 2020 Census.
76 On Saturday, WAPO reported during the team’s visit to the White House as NCAA champions, the Columbia fencing team was not able to give Trump a letter critical of his gender equity policies, nor wear pins in support of it.
77 On Monday, WAPO reported José Ricardo Villalta Canales sued Maryland Natural Resources Police for turning him over to ICE where he remained in custody for three months, after being fined for cutting down a tree.
78 On Monday, WAPO reported the Education Secretary is poised to issue sweeping rules governing campus sexual assault, requiring universities to allow cross examination of those alleging sexual assault.
79 The proposal received an astounding 124,196 public comments, criticism from advocacy groups, survivors of sexual assault and campus leaders. Secretary Betsy DeVos said the new system would restore balance.
80 On Monday, DOJ Pride, a group of DOJ employees who are LGBTQ, sent a letter to AG Barr arguing the department’s stance against Title VII of the Civil Rights Act had a “clear and negative impact on employee morale.”
81 The letter cited concern the DOJ does not “support its LGBTQ workforce” or believe they “need or deserve anti-discrimination protections,” and the department “will be less able to recruit and retain talented employees.”
82 On Monday, Google fired Rebecca Rivers, the employee who helped organize a petition against its working with Customs and Border Protection. She was placed on administrative leave earlier this month.
83 On Monday, Trump ally and conservative broadcaster Rick Wiles warned on his show of a “Jew Coup,” saying Jewish members of Congress, the media, and the government were trying to take down Trump with impeachment.
84 On Wednesday, LA Magazine reported Tom Bowers, a Deutsche Bank executive who signed off on bank’s unorthodox loans to Trump, committed suicide. Rosemary Vrablic, Trump’s private banker, reported to Bower.
85 On Wednesday, Detroit Free Press reported 90 foreign students were arrested at a fake university set up the Department of Homeland Security in metro Detroit, bringing the total to 250 since it was set up in January.
86 University of Farmington was set up as part of a sting operation to entice foreign-born students, mostly from India, to register for a school that claimed it offered graduate programs in technology and computer studies.
87 The students arrived legally in the U.S. on student visas, but since the school was revealed to be a federal creation, they lost their immigration status, and 250 were arrested by Immigration and Customs Enforcement.
88 On Wednesday, WSJ reported according to a report by the DHS IG, the department did not have the necessary process in place to track how many migrant children were separated from their families.
89 The report found U.S. Customs and Border Protection was aware of the deficiency in November 2017, but the agency did little to address the problem ahead of mass separations that took place from May to June 2018.
90 The report found Trump’s “zero-tolerance” policy backfired, citing CBP agents were so overwhelmed, they released more migrants from detention and failed to turn over children in the required 72 hour window.
91 The report found at least 1,200 migrant children were not properly tracked by the government, and it is not known if they were reunited with their families.
92 On Thursday, WSJ reported that immigration judges in San Diego are quietly disrupting Trump’s new “Remain in Mexico” rule. Between January and September, 33% of the cases before the nine judges were terminated.
93 On Wednesday, ProPublica and Portland Monthly reported three women say they experienced sexual misconduct by Gordon Sondland in business settings before he become ambassador, including one saying he exposed himself.
94 All three women described professional retaliation when they rebuffed him, including one saying he backtracked from investing in her business. All three women agreed to be named in the reporting.
95 In a letter to ProPublica, Sondland’s attorney accused it of trying to “affect Ambassador Sondland’s credibility as a fact witness,” and suggested the news organizations of “veiled witness tampering.”
96 On Thursday, associates of Sondland said he had no plans to resign over the allegations, which he denied.
97 On Friday, Guardian reported the Ohio legislature introduced a bill that required doctors to “reimplant an ectopic pregnancy,” a procedure that does not exist in medical science, or face charges of “abortion murder.”
98 The bill, one of the most extreme anti-abortion introduced to date, marks the second time obstetricians and gynecologists have told Ohio legislators that an idea is medically impossible.
99 On Saturday, Rep. Ilhan Omar’s 2020 opponent, Danielle Stella, was permanently banned from Twitter, after tweeting the congresswoman “should be tried for #treason and hanged.”
100 Stella took to Facebook to defend her rhetoric and the accompanying image, citing a conspiracy theory and claiming, “I believe all involved should be thoroughly investigated. I did not threaten anyone.”
101 On Monday, Hong Kong voters delivered a landslide victory to pro-democracy candidates, who won almost 90% of districts. China-backed leader Carrie Lam said she will “listen humbly” to the views of the public.
102 However, the Chinese foreign minister warned, “Whatever happens, Hong Kong is always a part of China and any attempts to create chaos in Hong Kong or to jeopardise its prosperity and stability will not be successful.”
103 On Sunday, Axios reported that White House officials directed Sen. Lindsey Graham to block the Armenian genocide resolution after leaving a meeting with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan in the Oval Office.
104 On Monday, Sen. Ron Wyden said in his investigation of Turkish state-run bank Halkbank, accused of the biggest money laundering scheme in US history, he learned that Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin attended lunch with Erdoğan.
105 The Treasury Department disclosed Mnuchin had six other meetings with top Turkish officials. Wyden said Treasury “does not deny” Trump tasked Mnuchin “with intervening in the criminal investigation of Halkbank.”
106 On Monday, Reuters reported Turkey will test its new Russian S-400 missile defenses, despite pressure from the Trump regime to drop the system, which is incompatible with NATO defenses.
107 On Thursday, CNN reported the Trump regime plans to cut its financial contribution to NATO, seen as a symbolic move, ahead of Trump attending a summit of NATO’s 70th anniversary in London next week.
108 U.S. officials say the regime plans to reduce the U.S. contribution down to 16% of the overall budget, in line with Germany which provides 15% but has a smaller economy. Other NATO members will make up the shortfall.
109 On Thursday, speaking alongside the NATO chief, French President Emanuel Macron criticized Turkey’s operation in Syria against Kurds, who were critical in the fight against ISIS, after Trump’s withdrawal.
110 On Friday, Erdoğan called Macron “brain dead,” and “inexperienced” for saying Turkey should not be part of NATO. France summoned the Turkish envoy to explain Erdoğan’s comment.
111 On Thursday, Seoul said North Korea fired two short-range projectiles, the 13th major public weapons test by Kim Jong Un this year.
112 On Tuesday, WSJ reported Trump secretly met Sunday morning with Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp and his preferred pick to fill the state’s Senate seat, Kelly Loeffler, at the White House — and told Kemp not to pick Loeffler.
113 Reportedly, Trump did not inform White House aides about the meeting which turned acrimonious. Trump pushed for Rep. Doug Collins, who would be a certain vote against impeachment.
114 On Friday, Trump ally Rep. Matt Gaetz called for a primary challenge to Kemp for not obeying Trump, tweeting, “maybe you need a primary in 2022,” adding, “Let’s see if you can win one w/o Trump.”
115 On Sunday, WSJ reported Andrew Favorov, the head of natural gas for Naftogaz, told SDNY federal prosecutors that Parnas and Fruman tried to recruit him in March to help oust Naftogaz CEO Andriy Kobolyev.
116 Favorov said the two described Kobolyev and Marie Yovanovitch as part of “this Soros cartel” working against Trump, and said he should take over as CEO of Naftogaz. Favorov said he reported their plan to Kobolyev.
117 On Monday, WSJ reported prosecutors have subpoenaed Giuliani Partners, Giuliani’s consultant business, and sent subpoenas and other requests to possible witnesses for records and information on Giuliani, Parnas, and Fruman.
118 Subpoenas list eight possible charges, including obstruction of justice, money laundering, conspiracy to defraud, making false statements, serving as an agent of a foreign government without registering with the DOJ.
119 Other charges include donating funds from foreign nationals, making contributions in the name of another person or allowing someone else to use one’s name to make a contribution, and mail fraud and wire fraud.
120 On Monday, WAPO reported SDNY federal prosecutors are also investigating Parnas and Fruman’s interactions with Giuliani and the main pro-Trump super PAC, America First Action, set up after the election.
121 Investigators are scrutinizing Giuliani Partners’ donations to the PAC. Parnas and Fruman attended an America First dinner in April 2018, at which they spoke to Trump about Yovanovitch.
122 On Monday, NYT reported Giuliani targeted two Ukrainian oligarchs with legal trouble in the U.S., Dmitry Firtash and Ihor Kolomoisky, to help him dig up damaging information on Joe Biden.
123 Kolomoisky said he met with Giuliani and Parnas under a made-up pretense, and Giuliani asked him to set up a meeting with Zelensky. He said no, so Giuliani tweeted an uncomplimentary article about him.
124 Firtash initially said he did not have information on the Bidens, but hired lawyers Victoria Toensing and Joseph diGenova, recommended by Giuliani, who approached the DOJ on his behalf.
125 Confidential documents on Firtash made their way to John Solomon, who was a client of Toensing. Giuliani and Solomon obtained a sworn affidavit from Shokin saying Biden wanted him fired, taken by Firtash’s legal team.
126 On Tuesday, WAPO reported Venezuelan energy executive Alejandro Betancourt López hosted Giuliani in Madrid in August, and hired him to help him in a DOJ investigation of money laundering and bribery.
127 A month later, Giuliani was part of a legal team for Betancourt that met with the chief of the DOJ’s criminal division and other government attorneys, saying he should not face criminal charges.
128 The $1.2 billion money laundering case is the latest example of Giuliani using his access in the Trump regime to offer his services to foreign clients. The Madrid meeting took place as Giuliani pursued the Ukraine campaign.
129 On Tuesday, in an interview with former Fox News host Bill O’Reilly, Trump distanced himself from Giuliani and contradicted witnesses, saying of Giuliani’s efforts with Ukraine, “No, I didn’t direct him.”
130 Asked what Giuliani was doing in Ukraine, Trump said, “You have to ask that to Rudy,” and “I don’t even know,” adding, “I know he was going to go to Ukraine and I think he canceled a trip,” and “Rudy has other clients.”
131 In Week 130 NYT reported Giuliani had planned a trip to visit Zelensky to push for investigations, but canceled after political blowback. Gordon Sondland and Kurt Volker mentioned him 430 times in their testimony.
132 On Wednesday, WAPO reported Giuliani was in talks with Ukraine’s former top prosecutor, Yuri Lutsenko, on a deal for Giuliani Partners to work for Ukrainians. Legal agreements were drafted, but not signed.
133 Talks occurred between the two in New York in January and Warsaw in February, as Giuliani was gathering information on the Bidens and Ukraine 2016 interference, and wanted Lutsenko’s help with that.
134 Lutsenko wanted a pipeline to top U.S. officials arranged by Giuliani. Notably, Giuliani told WAPO that he does not charge Trump any fees for legal services.
135 Giuliani’s firm would have been paid a $200,000 retainer, then a $300,000 monthly fee from the Ministry of Justice. Toensing and diGenova were also mentioned, and were part of a separate proposal with the Ministry.
136 On Wednesday, Reuters reported Giuliani called Trump to say he was joking about having an “insurance policy” if Trump turned on him on the Ukraine scandal.
137 Giuliani’s lawyer Robert Costello said the call was made “at my insistence,” adding of Giuliani, “He shouldn’t joke, he is not a funny guy. I told him, ‘Ten thousand comedians are out of work, and you make a joke.’”
138 On Monday, WAPO reported Trump has made Jared Kushner the de facto project manager for constructing his wall, following frustration with the lack of progress ahead of the 2020 election.
139 Kushner has pushed CBP and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to expedite the process of taking over private land. More than 800 filings to seize private property are expected to be made in the coming months.
140 Kushner has started convening biweekly meetings in the West Wing, and has clashed with career officials who question his ideas and say he lacks knowledge on policy issues and politics of the immigration debate.
141 On Monday, Daniel Walsh, the deputy White House chief of staff, who had significant and broad responsibility, resigned. He was one of the last senior officials remaining from day one of the regime.
142 It was unclear what Walsh would do next, but the White House said he planned to join the private sector. Senior officials leaving the Trump regime have had mixed luck with their professional careers.
143 On Tuesday, the House committees released transcripts of OMB official Mark Sandy’s closed-door deposition in the impeachment inquiry. Sandy, a career official, was the only OMB official to testify.
144 Sandy, the deputy associate director for national-security programs, said he flagged concerns with his boss at OMB that the hold on Ukraine aid could violate appropriations laws.
145 Sandy said on July 12 he received an email from Mulvaney’s office, notifying him that Trump had directed the regime to freeze Ukraine’s military aid.
146 Sandy said he signed the paperwork for the hold in July, but was not given a reason for the hold until September, when he was told it was Trump’s desire to have other countries contribute aid to Ukraine.
147 Sandy said Michael Duffey, a political appointee took over the process for Ukraine aid on July 30, and began personally approving foreign aid and defense accounts, a task typically overseen by career officials.
148 Sandy said he first got questions on aid from Duffey on July 19 when Duffey said Trump had questions. On July 25, Sandy approved a temporary freeze after getting guidance from OMB lawyers.
149 Sandy said that two OMB officials had expressed frustration and quit, in part because of the hold on Ukraine aid. One was in the legal division and had a “dissenting opinion” over whether aid could be put on hold.
150 On Tuesday, the House also released the deposition transcript for Philip Reeker, a senior State Department official. The two transcripts were the final two to be released from closed-door impeachment depositions.
151 Reeker defended Yovanovitch, and described a State Department leadership failure, including by Pompeo, to defend her.
152 Reeker had a call with Ulrich Brechbuhl, counselor at State and confidant of Pompeo on April 24, who told him things had gotten “suddenly much worse” for her and there was “a lot of unhappiness” in the White House.
153 On Tuesday, the House Budget Committee said in a report that the OMB engaged in a “pattern of abuse” of its authority and the law by withholding State Department and Pentagon aid to Ukraine approved by Congress.
154 The report said limiting the spending is a violation of the Impoundment Control Act of 1974, adding the funds were not released until September 12, when the House was notified of the whistleblower complaint.
155 On Tuesday, the House Judiciary Committee announced its first public hearings on impeachment will start on December 4, with a panel on the “constitutional grounds for presidential impeachment.”
156 Chair Jerrold Nadler said Trump’s counsel can participate in the hearing and question witnesses. The House Intelligence report will be released shortly after Congress returns from Thanksgiving recess.
157 Chair Nadler in a letter to Trump, gave him until December 1 to inform the committee if he plans to participate in the hearings. House Judiciary has the power to draft articles of impeachment against Trump.
158 On Tuesday, NYT reported that Trump had already been briefed by lawyers from the White House counsel’s office about the whistleblower in late August — well before he released aid to Ukraine in September.
159 At the time lawyers briefed Trump, they were trying to determine if they were legally required to give the complaint to Congress, after it was given to the intelligence committee’s inspector general in mid-August.
160 In late August, the intelligence committee IG Michael Atkinson concluded the complaint should go to Congress. White House counsel Pat Cipollone and his deputy John Eisenberg disagreed, citing executive privilege.
161 Given the disagreement, advice was sought from the DOJ’s Office of Legal Counsel. A week later the OLC concluded the regime did not have to turn over the complaint.
162 On Tuesday, CNN reported according to a House Budget Committee summary, the OMB’s first official action to withhold $250 million in Pentagon aid to Ukraine came on the evening of July 25.
163 Trump spoke to Zelensky at 9:00 a.m. ET. Laura Cooper said an email from the State Department came at 2:31 p.m., saying, “Ukrainian embassy and House foreign affairs committee are asking about security assistance.”
164 Another email from State at 4:25 p.m. said, “The Hill knows about the FMF situation to an extent and so does the Ukrainian embassy.” Cooper said “my staff got a question from a Ukraine embassy contact” too.
165 A letter from Michael Duffey, an OMB political appointee, on August 9 said the OMB would begin releasing 2% of State Department funds each day. When Politico reported on August 29 of aid being withheld, 25% of funds were released each Sunday.
166 On Tuesday, at a rally near Miami, Florida which Trump dubbed a “homecoming rally” — the first in the state since he switched his primary residence — Trump lashed out at the impeachment inquiry.
167 Trump accused Democrats of “trying to rip our nation apart” with investigations, saying, “First it was the Russia hoax,” and “now the same maniacs are pushing the deranged … impeachment” narrative.
168 Trump continued to say that he did nothing wrong, and that Democrats are moving forward on impeachment because “they know that they cannot win the next election.”
169 Trump claimed he beat the “Clinton dynasty,” adding, “And then we beat Barack Hussein Obama and whatever the hell dynasty that is!” —  stressing Obama’s middle name. It was unclear what he meant.
170 Trump added, “we won these last two weeks so solidly,” and “You see what’s happening in the polls? Everybody said, ‘That’s really bulls***,” and described his supporters as the “super elite.”
171 Trump added, “They said he went into the hospital. And it’s true, I didn’t wear a tie,” adding, “first thing they do is say, ‘Take off your shirt, sir, and show us that gorgeous chest. We’ve never seen a chest quite like it.’”
172 Trump said he pushed back by pardoning and granting clemency to military members, saying, “I stuck up for three great warriors against the deep state,” and, “you know what I’m talking about.”
173 Trump added, “I had so many people say, ‘Sir, I don’t think you should do that,’” adding, “I will always stick up for our great fighters,” and, “People can sit there in air-conditioned offices and complain.”
174 Trump also claimed the “radical left” wants to “change the name Thanksgiving. They don’t want to use the term Thanksgiving.” The idea came from Fox News segments on the “War on Thanksgiving.”
175 Trump compared it to the so-called War on Christmas, saying, “Now everybody is using Christmas again,” saying of Thanksgiving, “Everybody here loves the name Thanksgiving and we’re not changing it!”
176 On Wednesday, WAPO reported while Trump’s phone conversation with Sondland on September 9 where he said, “I want nothing. I want no quid pro quo,” is a centerpiece of GOP defense, it may not have happened.
177 There are no other witness testimony or documents to corroborate Sondland’s impeachment inquiry testimony about the call. Trump referred only to what Sondland said in his written notes speaking to the press.
178 The White House has not located a record in its switchboard logs of the September 9 call, raising questions about the accuracy of Sondland’s testimony. Trump has cited the call as proof he was not seeking favor.
179 There was however a call between them in early September in which Trump said he wanted “no quid pro quo,” but that he did want Zelensky to publicly announce investigations into his political opponents.
180 Tim Morrison said after Sondland described that call to him on September 7, he had sinking feeling, saying he “did not think it was a good idea for the Ukrainian president to . . . involve himself in our politics.”
181 Sondland has been confronted about September 9 because of his WhatsApp messaging with William Taylor, and five hour delay in responding. His account of his conversation has evolved in his testimony.
182 Given the time difference, the call would have taken place at roughly 5:30 a.m. ET — two hours before a colleague said Sondland typically would have called. Trump’s first tweet on September 9 was at 6:21 a.m.
183 On Wednesday, NYT reported in a draft of his soon to be released report, DOJ IG Michael Horowitz found no evidence the FBI attempted to place undercover agents or informants inside Trump’s 2016 campaign.
184 The finding undercuts the conspiracy theories frequently cited by Trump and his allies that not only did the FBI spy, but also frequent accusations by Trump that Obama had ordered his phone to be tapped.
185 The report will also undercut a claim by Trump allies that Joseph Mifsud was an FBI informant. George Papadopoulos has helped spread the false claim, saying he was set up by the FBI and CIA, without offering proof.
186 The report was also expected to debunk a theory that the FBI relied on the Steele dossier information to open their investigation. The dossier was cited in the wiretap applications for Carter Page.
187 On Wednesday, ProPublica reported according to a review of documents, the Trump Org reported higher numbers to lenders, and lower to tax officials for Trump Tower, the third Trump property known to do so.
188 On Wednesday, Trump tweeted an image of his head superimposed on the body of Sylvester Stallone in his boxing gear from the movie “Rocky.” It was unclear why.
189 On Thursday, CNN reported there is worry and a morale problem at the Pentagon over Trump’s decision making, including intervening in the cases of service members, and sporadic and impulsive decision making.
190 Military leaders are also concerned that Trump is being influenced by Fox News commentators in ways that encourage him to politicize the military, an institution that is meant to stay above the fray of politics.
191 Military leaders also cited Trump’s intervention in war crimes has created “confusion,” making it appear there is no accountability if people violate their oath or commit crimes so long as they can get Trump in their corner.
192 They also cite concern of Trump’s divisive rhetoric and mercurial management style, including frequently issuing orders in tweets, which undermines national security by making planning increasingly difficult.
193 On Thursday, Thanksgiving, Trump made a surprise visit in Afghanistan. His flight was shrouded in secrecy and kept from the media until he arrived, in what was described as “a made-for-TV drama” display with the military.
194 Trump’s three-and-a-half-hour stop marked his second visit to a combat zone while in office, after facing criticism for going two years without a visit to troops overseas. He had hinted recently, “I’m going to a war zone.”
195 While visiting troops, Trump claimed he came because the Taliban “wants to make a deal. And we’re meeting with them, and we’re saying it has to be a cease-fire.” Trump broke off talks with the Taliban in September.
196 Trump also claimed, “They didn’t want to do a cease-fire, but now they do want to do a cease-fire,” adding, “It will probably work out that way…We’ve made tremendous progress.” It was unclear what Trump meant.
197 On Friday, WAPO reported neither the Taliban nor the government of Afghan President Ashraf Ghani indicated that a cease-fire was near, or even being discussed.
198 A spokesperson for the Taliban told the Post, “We are ready to talk, but we have the same stance to resume the talks from where it was suspended.” Back home, the Trump regime also lowered expectations on talks.
199 On Friday, Daily Beast reported Trump invoked Section 412 of the PATRIOT Act, which permits indefinite detention of resident aliens on national security grounds, on Palestinian Adham Amin Hassoun.
200 This marks the first time in the 18 years since the act was enacted that this obscure provision has been used. Hassoun was never accused of an act or plot of violence, but for cutting checks to extremist-tied Muslim charities.
201 On Friday, HuffPost reported that Trump has spent $115 million on travel and security expenses at golf trips. Some of those expenditures have gone to Trump’s personal benefit for staffers who stay and eat at his properties.
202 The exact amount cannot be determined, because the White House has repeatedly refused to provide documentation on aides staying at his properties, or receipts for the charges they incurred.
203 On Friday, Chair Nadler asked Trump in a letter if he intends to mount a defense during the committee’s consideration of impeachment articles, asking if his lawyers will present evidence or call witnesses.
204 Nadler gave a December 6 deadline. Nadler also said the committee has been investigating if Trump engaged in “obstruction of justice” detailed in the Mueller report, and may draft an impeachment article on the report.
205 Nadler said the committee will hear a public defense of Trump during the week of December 9, and the entire House plans to vote on impeachment during the week of December 16, before leaving for holiday break.
206 The White House had not yet responded to an email seeking comment on Friday, and Trump weighs whether to participate in the impeachment hearings, which he has called a sham and unfair.
207 On Friday, NYT after facing an outcry from Trump allies on Fox News for his silence on impeachment, Sen. Graham has emerged as a Trump defender. He tweeted on Wednesday, “Salem witches got a better deal than this!”
208 On Friday, CNN reported Ukrainian officials are discussing ways to improve the country’s standing with Trump, and may still announce investigations that would politically benefit Trump.
209 The discussions come as Zelensky is slated to meet with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Paris on December 9, along with leaders of France and Germany, and is eager to show that Ukraine has U.S. support.
210 On Friday, presidential historian David Brinkley predicted support for Trump will collapse “once the vote is taken by Congress to impeach him and he’s wearing the ‘I’ on his chest.”
211 Brinkley added after Congress votes, “you’re going to see that movement grow even more,” adding, “It tells you he doesn’t have a lot of friends, he’s a base politician. He doesn’t know how to turn this around.”
212 On Saturday, the Hill reported no Republican senators want to take over as chair of the Senate Ethics Committee, with Sen. Johnny Isakson retiring, an unusual occurrence to have a chair position difficult to fill.
213 The Ethics committee is responsible for enforcing standards of behavior for senators and their staff, and investigating potential violations of federal law or the Senate’s rules. One senator said “I’d rather have a root canal.”
214 On Saturday, CBS News reported Speaker Nancy Pelosi will lead a delegation of Democratic House and Senate members next week to the annual international climate summit known as COP25 in Madrid.
215 The trip comes after Trump formally withdrew from the Paris climate accord. Pelosi said, “On behalf of the U.S. Congress, I am proud to travel to COP25 to reaffirm the commitment of the American people.”
216 On Saturday, NYT reported on voting machines that malfunctioned in Northampton County, Pennsylvania in the 2019 election, and left officials scrambling to count paper ballots by hand overnight.
217 The machines were ExpressVoteXL, made by Election Systems & Software, and are among their newest and most high-end machines, which combines a touch-screen with a paper ballot. Problems were identified in testing.
218 The suburbs of Philadelphia will play a critical role in the 2020 election. The snafus highlighted the fears, frustrations, and mistrust over election security that many voters are feeling ahead of the election.
219 Concerns are heightened in an era when candidates and incumbents have challenged or discredited a close loss, either using unfounded allegations of voter fraud or claims of a “rigged” election.
220 On Saturday, WAPO reported as Trump faces impeachment, he and his aides have staged photo opportunities and public events to showcase him on the job and make him seem hard at work.
221 At his rally in Florida, Trump told supporters, “I’m working my ass off,” and “The failed Washington establishment is trying to stop me because I’m fighting for you and because we’re winning.”
222 Trump recently met with former Clinton strategist Mark Penn, who counseled him to focus on governing and travel more. Trump is seeking to draw a contrast to Democrats as they try to impeach and remove him.
223 On Saturday, Trump was uncharacteristically quiet on Twitter, unlike tweet storms in recent weeks. Between Friday, and the close of Week 159 mid-Saturday, Trump sent only four tweets.
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POLITIKS OF GRAFFITI 159: WHO WILL SURVIVE IN AMERICA?

NOVEMBER 23, 2019

Week 158

Experts in authoritarianism advise to keep a list of things
subtly changing around you, so you’ll remember. AMY SISKIND’S LIST: https://theweeklylist.org/weekly-list/week-158/
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On the Bowery in New York City, USA 21Nov19

This was a remarkable week in impeachment hearings as nine witnesses testified. By week’s end, it was clear that there was a coordinated effort that included multiple senior Trump officials “in the loop” seeking investigations from Ukraine in exchange for aid and a White House visit — an effort that went against U.S. national security interests. Trump and his allies’ defense, claiming Ukrainian corruption and 2016 interference, was also debunked, leaving by week end their only defense to be lack of a firsthand witness to Trump directing the activities. The impeachment hearings were stunning as, with each passing day, it became all the more clear how irreverently and irresponsibly Trump has acted, yet how unwilling the Republican Party was to stand up to him and hold him accountable.

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West Village, NYC, USA 21nov19

Another conspiracy theory was also debunked as a draft of the Department of Justice Inspector General found there was no political bias by senior FBI officials against Trump in getting the wiretap of Carter Page. Trump took an unusual trip to Walter Reed Medical Center early in the week that led to speculation of a health issue, and spent the rest of the week ranting and bullying about impeachment, mostly on Twitter and Fox News, and largely avoiding the press. Trump and his allies continued to attack and discredit impeachment witnesses publicly, and blocked testimony from senior officials and subpoenaed documents from the State Department. Trump continued his battle with the U.S. military, flexing his commander in chief might to overturn their rules.

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East Village, NYC, USA 22nov19

As the week came to end, and Congress left for Thanksgiving break, it was unclear where the impeachment investigation would head next. The House Intelligence Committee started writing its report, but did not rule out further hearings, and the Judiciary Committee also considered follow up on information gleaned from the Roger Stone trial related to Trump’s written testimony in the Mueller probe.

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East Village, NYC, USA 22nov19
  1. On Saturday, the White House said Trump underwent a partial examination at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center ahead of his annual physical. Trump had his last physical in February.
  2. Press secretary Stephanie Grisham said Trump made the unscheduled visit, citing, “Anticipating a very busy 2020, the President is taking advantage of a free weekend here in Washington, D.C.”
  3. Grisham later appeared on Fox News’ “Justice with Judge Jeanine” and said Trump is as “healthy as can be,” and that any speculation is “wholly irresponsible & dangerous for the country.”
  4. Later, just after midnight. Trump tweeted, “Visited a great family of a young man under major surgery,” adding, “Also began phase one of my yearly physical. Everything very good (great!). Will complete next year.”
  5. On Monday, Dr. Sean Conley, Trump’s physician, said in a memo said Trump “has not had any chest pain, norwas he evaluated or treated,” adding the visit was a “routine, planned interim checkup.”
  6. On Tuesday, Trump recounted First Lady Melania asking him about reports he had a heart attack, telling reporters he told her, “These people are sick, they’re sick, and the press really in this country is dangerous.”
  7. On Saturday, Democrat John Bel Edwards won the election for governor of Louisiana, after Trump held two rallies for the Republican running, and told the crowd days before, “You got to give me a big win, please, O.K.”
  8. Edwards won a red state, similar to Andy Beshar in Kentucky in Week 156, by energizing African-Americans and moderate whites in and around the urban centers. Trump won Louisiana by 20 points in 2016.
  9. On Saturday, House investigators released the transcript of Tim Morrison’s testimony. Morrison testified that Gordon Sondland was in regular touch with Trump, and claimed to be acting on his orders.
  10. Morrison said Sondland briefed Trump before the July 25 call, and that until he spoke to Sondland on September 1, he had not drawn a connection between withholding Ukraine aid and an investigation.
  11. Morrison said he did not hear anything troubling on the July 25 call, unlike Alexander Vindman, but recommended access to it be limited. He claimed the call was placed on a highly-classified server by mistake.
  12. Morrison disputed Vindman’s account that he asked for edits to the July 25 transcript to include a mention of Burisma, saying, “I believe it was accurate and complete,” and Vindman’s proposed changes were accepted.
  13. Morrison said John Bolton met with Trump privately in August in an effort to get him to release the $400 million in military aid to Ukraine. He said Bolton emerged and said Trump was “not yet ready” to release the money.
  14. The House also released the transcript of Jennifer Williams’ testimony. Williams testified she was on the July 25 call and her contemporaneous notes reflected Ukrainian President Zelensky did mention Burisma.
  15. Williams said Trump’s request for investigations on the July 25 call struck her as “unusual and inappropriate” and “shed some light on possible other motivations” for his decision to freeze military aid to Ukraine.
  16. She added she found the call to be “more specific to the president in nature, to his personal political agenda,” than “foreign policy objective” of U.S. She put a hard copy of the call transcript in Vice President Mike Pence’s briefing book.
  17. Williams also said that Pence canceling his trip to Zelensky’s inauguration was decided by Trump. She said she was given no explanation for the change of plans.
  18. On Sunday, Trump attacked Williams, referring to her as a Never Trumper, tweeting, “Tell Jennifer Williams, whoever that is, to read BOTH transcripts of the presidential calls, & see the just released ststement [sic].”
  19. Trump added, “Then she should meet with the other Never Trumpers…& work out a better presidential attack!” In her testimony, Williams said she had reviewed the April 21 call transcript with Pence.
  20. Trump also tweeted, “The Crazed, Do Nothing Democrats are turning Impeachment into a routine partisan weapon. That is very bad for our Country, and not what the Founders had in mind!!!!”
  21. Trump added, “Republicans & others must remember, the Ukrainian President and Foreign Minister both said that there was no pressure placed on them,” adding, “But why isn’t Germany, France (Europe) paying?”
  22. Trump also tweeted, “Where is the Fake Whistleblower?
  23. On Sunday, Trump attacked Fox News host Chris Wallace, tweeting he is “nasty & obnoxious,” and his “dumb and unfair interview” of Trump ally Rep. Steve Scalise “would never have happened in the @FoxNews past.”
  24. On Monday, Fox Business host Neil Cavuto defended Wallace, saying journalists are “obligated to question,” adding, “The best we can do as journalists is be fair to all,” and, “That’s not fake doing that.”
  25. On Sunday, WSJ reported Sondland plans to testify Wednesday that he kept several Trump regime officials apprised of his Ukraine push, including White House chief of staff Mick Mulvaney and Energy Secretary Rick Perry.
  26. On Sunday, Speaker Nancy Pelosi told “Face the Nation” she has “no idea” if the impeachment inquiry will wrap by year-end, noting depositions could continue into Thanksgiving week, and could lead to more hearings.
  27. Pelosi also said, “I will make sure he does not intimidate the whistleblower,” adding, “I told the president, you’re in my wheelhouse when you come after the whistleblower.”
  28. Pelosi also invited Trump to testify, saying, “If he has information that is exculpatory…then we look forward to seeing it,” adding, “He could come right before the committee and talk, speak all the truth that he wants.”
  29. Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer echoed Pelosi, telling reporters if Trump does not agree with what he is hearing, “He should come to the committee and testify under oath,” adding, “What is he hiding?”
  30. On Monday, Trump tweeted, “Our Crazy, Do Nothing…Speaker of the House, Nervous Nancy Pelosi…suggested on Sunday’s DEFACE THE NATION that I testify about the phony Impeachment Witch Hunt.”
  31. Trump said he will “strongly consider” testifying “in order to get Congress focused again,” adding, “Even though I did nothing wrong, and don’t like giving credibility to this No Due Process Hoax.”
  32. On Monday, an ABC News/Ipsos poll found 70% of Americans think Trump’s request for Ukraine to investigate a political rival was wrong, 25% say his actions were not wrong.
  33. The poll also found 51% say Trump should be impeached and removed, 6% say his actions were wrong but he should not be impeached, 13% impeached but not removed, and 25% he did nothing wrong.
  34. On Monday, NBC News reported Trump has turned his ire in the impeachment hearings to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo as diplomats from State testify, threatening to bring down his presidency.
  35. Trump confronted Pompeo at an October 29 White House lunch about his lackluster effort to stop diplomatsfrom testifying. Trump also blames him for choosing William Taylor, who has provided damaging testimony.
  36. Trump criticized Pompeo for hiring a “Never Trumper” on Twitter on October 23. On October 26, Pompeo was excluded as Trump sat with his national security team during the raid that killed ISIS leader al-Baghdadi.
  37. Pompeo is also under siege from State Department staffers. His decision to allow the State Department to help cover legal of officers ensnared in the impeachment inquiry could further strain his relationship with Trump.
  38. On Monday, Pompeo told reporters, “I always defend State Department employees,” but declined to answer questions related to William Taylor and Maria Yovanovitch’s impeachment hearing testimony.
  39. Pompeo denied any “nefarious purposes” for Yovanovitch’s recall, adding, “The State Department is doing a fantastic job. I think we’ve delivered in a way that the Obama administration has not delivered on Ukraine.
  40. On Tuesday, Time reported Pompeo planned to stay at the State Department until early spring 2020, then run for Senate, but is worried the impeachment inquiry is hurting his reputation, and straining his relationship with Trump.
  41. On Monday, the Hill Editor-In-Chief Bob Cusack said in an email to staffers the paper was reviewing and updating John Solomon’s Ukraine columns. Yovanovitch testified his work was part of the smear campaign against her.
  42. On Tuesday, CNN reported Jimmy Finkelstein, the owner of the Hill, has been friends with Trump for decades, and boasts of their close friendship. Hill staffers revolted over Solomon’s columns and how they were handled.
  43. On Monday, Politico reported David Holmes said in testimony that he “vividly” recalled the conversation because Trump spoke so loudly that it caused Sondland to wince and hold the phone away from his ear.
  44. Holmes was concerned Russia was monitoring the call given two of the three mobile networks in Ukraine are Russian-owned, and “We generally assume that mobile communications in Ukraine are being monitored.”
  45. Holmes said, “I’ve never seen anything like this,” adding, a “conversation of this level of candor, colorful language.” He reported the call to his supervisor. He will testify publicly on Thursday, alongside Fiona Hill.
  46. On Monday, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said he “can’t imagine a scenario” under which the Senate would remove Trump, saying House Democrats are “seized with Trump derangement syndrome.”
  47. McConnell also complained about the lack of civility in political discourse, saying, “People are acting out,” and “We need to learn how to behave better, how to disagree without anger.”
  48. On Monday, CNN reported prosecutors in the SDNY have contacted people associated with Ukraine’s state-run oil-and-gas company, Naftogaz, as part of an investigation into Rudy Giuliani and associates.
  49. Prosecutors are investigating whether Giuliani, Igor Fruman, and Lev Parnas tried to secure energy deals. Fruman and Parnas also worked to oust CEO Andriy Kobolyev, who is known for his anti-corruption reforms.
  50. On Tuesday, AP reported a lawyer for Andrew Favorov, the director of the integrated gas division at Naftogaz, said he will cooperate with the probe into Giuliani and will meet voluntarily with the DOJ.
  51. On Sunday, Trump tweeted, “Our great Farmers will recieve [sic] another major round of “cash,” compliments of China Tariffs.” The payments are the second part of a three-tranche $16 billion federal aid package.
  52. On Monday, Trump met with Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell at the White House. Trump tweeted the meeting was “good & cordial” and “everything was discussed including interest rates.”
  53. While it is not uncommon for a president to meet with a Fed Chair, it is uncommon to discuss rates. In a statement after, the Fed said monetary policy is “based solely on careful, objective and non-political analysis.”
  54. On Monday, CBS News reported San Diego billionaire Doug Manchester, Trump’s nominee for U.S. ambassador for the Bahamas, was asked by the RNC for another $500,000 donation as he awaited Senate confirmation.
  55. Manchester, whose nomination has been stalled in the Senate, was first appointed by Trump the day after he was sworn in, after donating $1 million to Trump’s inaugural fund.
  56. On Monday, Mina Chang, a high-ranking State Department staffer who in Week 157 was reported to have inflated her resume, resigned, saying it “is the only acceptable moral and ethical option for me at this time.”
  57. On Monday, Paul Erickson, the former boyfriend of Russian agent Maria Butina, pleaded guilty to wire fraud and money laundering. The case was separate from the one against Butina.
  58. On Monday, WAPO reported the IRS whistleblower, who filed a complaint in August saying at least one Trump political appointee at Treasury tried to interfere with an audit of Trump or Pence, filed additional documents.
  59. The IRS whistleblower met with staffers for Sens. Charles Grassley and Ron Wyden, the chair and ranking member of the Senate Finance Committee, earlier this month. Follow-up interviews are expected.
  60. On Monday, Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts temporarily halted a ruling that required Trump’s accounting firm to turn over his tax returns, and gave the House Oversight Committee until Thursday to respond.
  61. On Thursday, House lawyers urged the Supreme Court to reject Trump’s attempt to shield his tax returns, citing the “rapidly advancing impeachment inquiry” puts their case on even stronger grounds.
  62. On Thursday, Manhattan DA Cy Vance urged the Supreme Court in an opposition brief to stay out of the fightfor Trump’s tax returns, citing the courts have already ruled unanimously in two seminal cases.
  63. On Tuesday, lawyers for the House Judiciary Committee asked a federal judge for an expedited ruling on whether Don McGahn should abide by their subpoena to testify “as part of the House’s impeachment inquiry.”
  64. Lawyers noted the “need for McGahn’s testimony has become even more pressing.” Part of the committee’s inquiry is related to whether Trump was truthful in his written testimony, as Roger Stone was convicted of lying.
  65. On Tuesday, the judge said she would rule by November 25 on the House lawsuit seeking to enforce a subpoena against McGahn, who skipped testifying in May. House Democrats filed a lawsuit in August.
  66. On Tuesday, a Manhattan appeals court judge dismissed Trump’s request to dismiss Summer Zervos’ defamation lawsuit, and cleared the way for Trump to be deposed. The judge agreed to fast-track Trump’s appeal.
  67. On Tuesday, watchdog group American Oversight obtained emails under the FOIA showing U.S. ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley sent confidential information on private email after losing her classified system password.
  68. On Tuesday, the White House faced fresh allegations of dishonesty after press secretary Grisham said in a radio interview that Obama aides left “you will fail” and other disparaging notes for the incoming Trump regime.
  69. No other Trump aides have made similar allegations. Obama aides pushed back at the suggestion, saying it was a lie. Later in the day, Grisham tried to walk back her story, saying she viewed the action as a harmless prank.
  70. On Thursday, Politico reported newly released documents show the Secret Service spent more than $250,000 at Trump properties in the first five months of 2017. The majority was spent at Trump’s golf courses.
  71. On Sunday, Hong Kong police stormed Hong Kong Polytechnic University, which was occupied by protestors. Universities have become the new battlegrounds for protests after months of arrests.
  72. On Sunday, Guardian reported UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson met with an ex-KGB agent at a lavish Italian party in April 2018, without his personal security detail, a month after the nerve agent attack in Salisbury.
  73. Senior UK officials blame the delayed release of UK intelligence’s investigation into Russian interference in Brexit on wanting to protect Johnson’s relationship with Trump, given what the report says on Trump.
  74. On Sunday, AP reported Defense Secretary Mark Esper said the U.S. and South Korea have indefinitely postponed joint exercises in an “act of goodwill” towards North Korea to keep the door open to diplomacy.
  75. The move comes as Japan’s defense minister, whose country feels threatened by North Korea, told Esper that “no one could be optimistic about” changing the North’s behavior.
  76. On Sunday, Trump tweeted, “Mr. Chairman, Joe Biden may be Sleepy and Very Slow,” adding, “I am the only one who can get you where you have to be,” and, “You should act quickly, get the deal done. See you soon!”
  77. On Monday, an adviser to North Korea leader Kim Jong Un snubbed Trump saying, “we are no longer interested in such talks that bring nothing to us,” adding Trump has not earned a new summit to “brag about.”
  78. On Tuesday, NBC News reported the Foreign Policy Research Institute found among 2020 Democrats, Tulsi Gabbard is the most popular with Russian propagandists (46% favorable, 44% unfavorable) and Joe Biden the least (3% favorable, 53% unfavorable).
  79. Researchers, which analyzed more than 1,700 news stories put out by Sputnik, Russia Today and RT, found a similar pattern to Russia backing Trump over Hillary Clinton in 2016.
  80. On Wednesday, NBC News reported that Trump hosted a previously undisclosed dinner for Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg and board member Peter Thiel in October — the second meeting in recent months.
  81. On Wednesday, Benny Gantz failed to form a government in Israel, deepening the political crisis, and making it likely Israel will need to hold its third national election in less than a year.
  82. On Thursday, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was indicted on bribery, fraud, and breach of trust charges. Netanyahu is not legally required to step down, but the charges put his political future in doubt.
  83. This is the first time in Israeli history that a sitting prime minister has been indicted. Members of Netanyahu’s right-wing Likud party called for a primary challenge ahead of the next election.
  84. Shortly later, in a televised statement, Netanyahu called the corruption charges against him an “attempted coup” which is “tainted by extraneous considerations, aiming to bring down a right-wing prime minister.”
  85. On Friday, Netanyahu told reporters, “Police and investigators are not above the law,” and parroting Trump, said, “The time has come to investigate the investigators.”
  86. On Thursday, a Federal Elections Commission disclosure showed the RNC paid $94,800 to Books-a-Million on October 29 to buy Donald Jr.’s new book, days before it was released.
  87. On Saturday, the FBI revealed Richard Tobin, 18, of Brooklawn, New Jersey, directed a far-right network to vandalize networks in Michigan and Wisconsin last September, in what he called “Operation Kristallnacht.”
  88. On Sunday, Christine Blasey Ford received the ACLU courage award. Dr. Ford said, “I was not prepared for the venom, the persistent attacks. I was not prepared to be physically threatened and forced out of my home.”
  89. On Monday, NBC News reported the Trump regime is preparing to publish a rule that would send migrants who pass through Guatemala, El Salvador, or Honduras back to those countries before they can seek asylum.
  90. Immigration advocates said the three countries should not be deemed “safe third countries,” and that the Trump regime bullied the governments into signing agreements that will be deadly for asylum seekers sent back.
  91. On Monday, Media Matters reported Clarence Mason Weaver, an advisory board member of “Black Voices for Trump,” believes women should strive to be “handmaidens,” “be submissive,” and stay out of the workplace.
  92. On Tuesday, Patrick Carlineo Jr., 55, an Islamophobic man from Addison, New York, pleaded guilty to threatening to kill Rep. Ilhan Omar. Although he faces 10 years, Omar asked the judge for “compassion” in his sentencing.
  93. On Tuesday, NBC News reported a second batch of leaked emails showed Stephen Miller had more editorial influence over Breitbart during the 2016 campaign than was previously known.
  94. At the time, Miller not only pushed anti-Marco Rubio stories, but also fed the website anti-immigrant stories. More than 80 Democratic members of Congress have called on Miller to resign.
  95. On Wednesday, University of Georgia confirmed reports that swastikas were drawn on Jewish students’ doors earlier this year. One student said the letters for a Jewish sorority, Sigma Delta Tau, were torn off her door.
  96. On Thursday, a jury acquitted humanitarian worker Scott Warren, who was arrested by Border Patrol in Week 135 for harboring two migrants and providing them food and shelter in the Arizona desert.
  97. On Tuesday, just after midnight Trump falsely quoted Fox News, tweeting, “Pelosi just stated that ‘it is dangerous to let the voters decide Trump’s fate.’” The quote was from Fox News reporter Mike Emanuel an hour prior.
  98. Trump continued, “In other words, she thinks I’m going to win and doesn’t want to take a chance on lettingthe voters decide,” adding, “Like Al Green, she wants to change our voting system,” and, “Wow, she’s CRAZY!”
  99. Pelosi said in a Dear Colleague memo, “The weak response to these hearings has been, “Let the election decide,” calling that a “dangerous position,” citing Trump is “jeopardizing the integrity of the 2020 elections.”
  100. Late Monday, Sen. Ron Johnson wrote in a letter, Vindman fits the profile of “a significant number of bureaucrats and staff members within the executive branch [who] have never accepted President Trump as legitimate.”
  101. Trump called Vindman a “Never Trumper;” Fox Host Laura Ingaham said he worked “against the president’s interests;” and Rep. Douglas Collins cited “concern regarding the credibility and judgment” of Vindman in a letter.
  102. Tim Morrison questioned Vindman’s “judgment” and was critical of his going directly to White House attorney John Eisenberg, rather than up the chain of command. Eisenberg had told Vindman to come directly to him.
  103. WSJ reported the Army is ready to relocate Vindman and his family to an Army base to protect him, and has stepped up patrols of his home and security assessment after Trump and allies have attacked him.
  104. On Tuesday, Vindman and Jennifer Williams testified in the morning in the impeachment inquiry. Both were on the July 25 call. In the afternoon, Kurt Volker and Tim Morrison testified.
  105. In his opening statement, Vindman denounced smears of government officials testifying, saying, “The vile character attacks on these distinguished and honorable public servants is reprehensible.”
  106. Vindman closed out his statement addressing his father: “Dad, my sitting here today…is proof that you made the right decision forty years ago to leave the Soviet Union. Do not worry, I will be fine for telling the truth.”
  107. Vindman said of the July 25 call he took Trump’s requests to Zelensky to open investigations into the “2016 election, the Bidens and Burisma” as demands, citing the power disparity between the two men.
  108. Vindman said, “Frankly, I couldn’t believe what I was hearing,” it was “in certain regards, my worst fear of how our Ukraine policy could play out,” and “was likely to have significant implications for U.S. national security.”
  109. Both Vindman and Williams said they knew of no one at the National Security Council, the State Department, or Pentagon who was in favor of holding up aid to Ukraine, and described Giuliani’s outsized influence.
  110. Williams was asked by House Democrats about Trump’s Sunday tweet attacking her, saying it looked like witness intimidation. She said, “It certainly surprised me. I was not expecting to be called out by name.”
  111. Republican’s counsel questioned Vindman over dual loyalties, asking about an offer to be Ukraine’s defense minister. Vindman said he took the offer as a joke, and reported it to his superiors and counterintelligence.
  112. Fox News picked up on the inquiry, and moments later sent out an alert, saying, “Vindman says Ukrainian official offered him the job of Ukrainian defense minister.”
  113. GOP Rep. Jim Jordan said Morrison and Hill raised questions on his judgment. Vindman read his performance review by Hill: “Alex is a top 1 percent military officer and the best Army officer I have worked with.”
  114. During the testimony, the official White House Twitter account, tweeted, “Tim Morrison, Alexander Vindman’s former boss, testified in his deposition that he had concerns about Vindman’s judgment.”
  115. Rep. Joaquin Castro asked Vindman if he was aware of any evidence that Ukraine interfered in 2016, Vindman responded, “I am not, adding, “This is a Russian narrative that President Putin has promoted.”
  116. Later Tuesday, Trump spoke to reporters from a cabinet meeting, his first public appearance in days. He said of Vindman, “I understand now he wears his uniform when goes in. No, I don’t know Vindman at all.”
  117. Trump also said, “We have to get USMCA signed. Nancy Pelosi can’t get it off her desk,” adding, “The woman is grossly incompetent. All she wants to do is focus on impeachment, which is just a little pipe dream she’s got.”
  118. Trump also accused Pelosi of using the USMCA to get impeachment votes, calling it “a kangaroo court headed by little Shifty Schiff, where we don’t have lawyers, we don’t have witnesses, we don’t have anything.”
  119. Trump added, “they’re using this impeachment hoax for their own political gain” to damage the GOP and him, saying, “but it’s had the opposite effect,” and falsely claiming, “I’m the highest I’ve ever I’ve ever been in the polls.”
  120. Shortly after, Lt. Gen. Keith Kellogg, NSA to Pence who was on the July 25 call, contradicted Williams’ testimony, saying he heard “nothing wrong or improper on the call.”
  121. On Tuesday, ahead of his public testimony, Kurt Volker revised his closed door House testimony, citing, “I have learned many things that I did not know at the time of the events in question.”
  122. Volker had testified that investigations were not discussed at the July 10 meeting. He said he now recalled that Sondland made a “generic comment about investigations” and that “all of us thought it was inappropriate.”
  123. Volker testified, “I opposed the hold on U.S. security assistance as soon as I learned about it on July 18,” but thought they could “turn it around” before Ukrainians knew, adding, “I did not know the reason for the hold.”
  124. Volker claimed he did not understand that requests that Ukraine investigate Burisma was related to the Bidens, saying the former investigation would be “appropriate and unremarkable,” and the latter “unacceptable.”
  125. Volker said there was no direct quid pro quo, but in his attempts to set up a summit between Trump and Zelensky, he tried to negotiate a statement by Zelensky promising investigations of the 2016 election and Burisma.
  126. Volker disputed being part of an “irregular” channel of Ukraine policy, and said he had never heard the term “three amigos” referencing himself, Secretary Perry, and Sondland, adding, “I frankly cringe when I hear it.”
  127. Morrison said being on the July 25 call he feared “how its disclosure would play in Washington’s political climate. My fears have been realized,” and urged lawmakers “not to lose sight” of the ongoing conflict in Ukraine.
  128. Morrison said he recommended that access to the July 25 call transcript be restricted, but that its placement onto a highly classified computer system was an “administrative error.”
  129. Morrison said he was surprised that Vindman went to Eisenberg, not him, after the July 25 call. Vindman said he did so at Bolton’s direction. Morrison said Vindman was frustrated over being excluded from meetings.
  130. Morrison said he did not skip his own chain of command by going to Eisenberg after the call, saying he was required to go to Charles Kupperman for “administrative matters.”
  131. Morrison said he was told on a September 1 conversation Sondland said “Ukrainians would have to have the prosecutor general make a statement with respect to the investigations as a condition of having the aid lifted.”
  132. WAPO Editorial Board noted the two witnesses requested by Republicans, Volker and Morrison, added to the evidence that Trump abused his office. Their testimony was sharply different than the narrative pushed by Rep. Devin Nunes.
  133. Later Tuesday, the Washington Examiner reported Republicans are shifting strategy to accepting “quid quo pro” did occur, but now saying it does not matter, and it relatively common occurrence with foreign aid.
  134. On Wednesday, Russian President Vladimir Putin said at an investment conference in Moscow that he has “great respect” for the U.S., and hopes Russia will not be accused of meddling in the 2020 U.S. election.
  135.  Putin noted the blame has been shifted to Ukraine, saying, “Hopefully no one accuses us of election interference in the United States. Now they’re accusing Ukraine. We’ll let them deal with that themselves.”
  136. On Wednesday, Sondland testified in the impeachment inquiry. In his opening statement he said of the central question in the impeachment inquiry, “Was there a ‘quid pro quo?’” that “the answer is yes.”
  137. Sondland’s 19-page opening statement included texts and emails not previously made public, and was filled with new details and disclosures, saying his memory had been refreshed by other testimony.
  138. Sondland complained several times about the State Department’s refusal to turn over his materials, which he said would have been “helpful” in reconstructing who he spoke to and met with, when and what was said.
  139. Sondland said that he and other senior regime officials “followed the president’s orders,” coordinating with Giuliani on getting Ukraine to launch investigations. Trump directed them to “talk to Rudy.”
  140. Sondland said, “Giuliani was expressing the desires of the president of the United States,” and that they were carrying out Trump’s wishes, saying, “we knew that these investigations were important to the president.”
  141. He said he worked with Giuliani on this “at the express direction of the president of the United States,” adding “there was no secret” about what was happening in the regime, and “Everyone was in the loop.”
  142. He said Perry, Volker, and himself did not want to work with Giuliani: “We did not want to work with Mr. Giuliani. Simply put, we were playing the hand we were dealt,” adding, “we followed the president’s orders.”
  143. Sondland said that Zelensky “had to announce the investigations — he didn’t have to actually do them.” He said although he was not directly told aid was tied to investigations, it was “abundantly clear” that was the case.
  144. Sondland said he did not know why aid was being withheld, but that he “shared concerns of the potential quid pro quo regarding the security aid with Sen. Ron Johnson,” and Ukrainian officials.
  145. Sondland said Pompeo “was aware that a commitment to investigations was among the issues we were pursuing” and the “State Department was fully supportive of our engagement” and “commitment to investigations”
  146. Sondland also testified, “based on my communications with Secretary Pompeo” that he felt comfortabletelling a top Zelensky aide that funds would not be unfrozen until Ukraine committed publicly to investigations.
  147. Sondland said he spoke to Pence before he met with Zelensky in Warsaw on September 1 and told him “that I had concerns that the delay in aid had become tied to the issue of investigations.”
  148. Sondland read from a July 19 email he sent to Mulvaney, Pompeo, Perry and others, in which he told them Zelensky would conduct a “fully transparent investigation” and “turn over every stone.”
  149. Fox New anchor Chris Wallace said Sondland “took out the bus and ran over President Trump, Vice President Pence, Mike Pompeo, John Bolton, Rudy Giuliani, Mick Mulvaney,” adding, “He implicates all of them.”
  150. Fox News contributor Ken Starr questioned if Sondland flipping would cause GOP senators to push Trump to resign, and later added, “articles of impeachment are being drawn up if they haven’t already been drawn up.”
  151. Sondland also confirmed David Holmes’ account of his July 26 call with Trump, saying it “did not strike me as significant,” and “I would have been more surprised” if Trump did not mention investigations.
  152. However, Sondland said in that call, and in others, he had no “recollection of discussing Vice President Biden or his son.” Sondland, Morrison, and Volker all claimed they did not connect Burisma to the Bidens.
  153. An August 26 email from Sondland showed he provided Bolton with Giuliani’s contact information, days before Bolton traveled to Ukraine, saying Bolton’s office had “requested Mr. Giuliani’s contact information.”
  154. During the testimony, Trump spoke to reporters outside the White House before heading to Texas, while reading off a piece of paper. He said of Sondland “seems like a nice guy,” but added, “I don’t know him very well.”
  155. Trump read from his notes recounting a September 9 conversation with Sondland, when he told him, “I want nothing. I want nothing. I want no quid pro quo. Tell Zelensky — President Zelensky to do the right thing.”
  156. September 9 was the day the House Intelligence Committee learned of the whistleblower’s complaint. Sondland was relaying in testimony what Trump had told him to tell Taylor.
  157. Trump also told reporters, “That means it’s all over,” and read again from his notes in all capitalized, bold black letters, “This is the final word from the president of the United States: ‘I want nothing.’”
  158. Shortly after, Trump tweeted, “Impeachment Witch Hunt is now OVER!” citing he said, “I WANT NOTHING!I WANT NOTHING! I WANT NO QUID PRO QUO! TELL PRESIDENT ZELENSKY TO DO THE RIGHT THING!”
  159. During the testimony, Giuliani tweeted Sondland was “speculating based on VERY little contact. I never met him and had very few calls with him, mostly with Volker.” Minutes later, Giuliani deleted the tweet.
  160. Shortly after, Marc Short, Pence’s chief of staff, issued a statement saying Pence never spoke to Sondland about “investigating the Bidens, Burisma, or the conditional release of financial aid to Ukraine.”
  161. A State Department spokesperson said “Sondland never told Secretary Pompeo that he believed the president was linking aid to investigations of political opponents. Any suggestion to the contrary is flat out false.”
  162. Later Wednesday, Laura Cooper and David Hale testified in the impeachment hearing. Cooper said military aid to Ukraine was critically important and she did not know over the summer why it was withheld.
  163. Cooper said since her closed door deposition, she has learned from her staffers Ukraine reached out to them as early as July 25 to ask what was going on with military aid, significantly earlier than previously known.
  164. Trump allies have claimed Ukrainians did not know aid was being withheld until August 28. Cooper also said during the week of August 6, her staffers interacted with Ukrainian officials who raised the hold on aid.
  165. Although Republicans repeatedly claimed Democrats would not allow their witnesses, Hale was the third on their list. Hale said Pompeo did call Fox News host Sean Hannity about Yovanovitch, which Pompeo denied.
  166. Hale also said that Giuliani was behind allegations that led to Yovanovitch being ousted, adding, “I believe that she should have been able to stay at post and continue to do the outstanding work.”
  167. Hale said the first time he heard of investigations into the Bidens and 2016 election was in March when Yovanovitch emailed him “speculating on the motives of various actors” behind “the smear campaign.”
  168. Hale said at a July 26 interagency meeting chaired by Kupperman, all agencies advocated for resuming aid to Ukraine. The Office of Management and Budget said aid was on freeze, and that the order came from Trump through Mulvaney.
  169. On Wednesday, a Gallup poll found Trump’s approval for November 1–14 was up to 43% from 41% in October. His disapproval fell from 57% to 54%. Trump’s handling of the economy remains his strongest area.
  170. On Thursday, American Research group found Trump’s approval at 37%, while 60% disapprove. The net -23 approval is the lowest for the past year.
  171. On Thursday, an Emerson College poll found 34% of independents support impeachment, 49% are against it — a sharp move from October when 48% supported it and 39% were against it.
  172. On Wednesday, Yahoo News reported the FBI reached out to a lawyer for the CIA whistleblower to ask to interview them. No interview has been scheduled, and it is unclear what the scope of the questioning would be.
  173. On Wednesday, lawyers for Vindman sent a warning letter to Fox News seeking a retraction or correction of an October segment by host Laura Ingraham suggesting Vindman might be guilty of espionage.
  174. The letter said the segment “sparked a torrent of republications and copycat false charges.” The letter also highlighted other inflammatory statements made on Fox News by Donald Jr. and host Tucker Carlson.
  175. Fox News responded on the Ingraham segment: “as a guest on Fox News, John Yoo was responsible for his own sentiments,” and “he has subsequently done interviews to clarify what he meant.”
  176. Later Wednesday, Trump held a publicity stunt at an Apple plant that has been making high-end computers since 2013. Trump accepted a plate with the words “Assembled in USA.”
  177. Shortly after, Trump tweeted the falsehood, “Today I opened a major Apple Manufacturing plant in Texasthat will bring high paying jobs back to America.” Apple needs waivers on components from China.
  178. On Thursday, Sen. Johnson said in a radio interview Sondland “never used the word ‘quid pro quo,’” saying “he described to me some kind of arrangement” and when he asked Trump, he “adamantly denied” it.
  179. On Thursday, Trump attacked Fox News for its impeachment coverage, tweeting why they “waste airtime on Democrat Rep. Eric Swalwell,” saying, “Fox should stay with the people that got them there, not losers!”
  180. Trump added, “The Republican Party, and me, had a GREAT day yesterday with respect to the phony Impeachment Hoax,” but you “would have no idea they were reporting on the same event. FAKE & CORRUPT NEWS!”
  181. Trump also tweeted, “Bob Mueller, after spending two years and 45 million dollars, went over all of my financials, & my taxes, and found nothing,” adding, “the Witch Hunt continues,” and “is not legal.”
  182. Trump added, “But I’m clean,” adding, “when I release my financial statement (my decision) sometime prior to Election,” it will show “that I am much richer than people even thought — And that is a good thing.”
  183. Trump continued, “I never in my wildest dreams thought my name would in any way be associated with the ugly word, Impeachment!” adding the calls “were PERFECT,” and, “Great corruption & dishonesty by Schiff.”
  184. Trump also called Democrats “human scum,” saying, “Corrupt politician Adam Schiff’s lies are growing by the day,” telling Republicans, “Keep fighting tough,” and citing “the most unfair hearings in American History.”
  185. Trump also tweeted, “But we are winning big, and they will soon be on our turf,” referring to the Senate.
  186. Trump quoted attorney Sam Dewey on Fox News, tweeting, “The new House Resolution gives Adam Schiff (the most dishonest man in politics) the power unilaterally to release edited transcripts.”
  187. Trump again quoted Dewey, tweeting, “Nothing gives Schiff jurisdiction over Impeachment.” Trump then retweeted his first tweet of the morning. Trump then tweeted, “Read the two Transcripts of Ukrainian calls!”
  188. On Thursday, at her weekly news conference, Speaker Pelosi told reporters “we haven’t made any decision,” on whether there is enough evidence to impeach Trump, adding “the day’s not over.”
  189. Pelosi also indicated there may be more witnesses, saying “testimony of one person may lead to the need for testimony of another.” And lashed out at Republicans for “the defense” of Trump’s behavior.
  190. Pelosi said Trump violated his oath of office, saying, “the facts are uncontested as to what happened,” and adding, “when we see a violation of the Constitution, we have no choice but to act.”
  191. Pelosi said Trump “used his office for his own personal gain,” undermined U.S. “national security” by withholding aid to Ukraine “to the benefit of the Russians,” and “undermined the integrity of our elections.”
  192. Pelosi said on reluctant witnesses, “we’re not going to wait till the courts decide,” adding, “That might be information that’s available to the Senate,” and “it’s a technique. It’s obstruction of justice, obstruction of Congress.”
  193. On Thursday, Fiona Hill and David Holmes testified in the impeachment hearing. Hill is the co-author of a 500-page book analyzing the psyche of Putin, and is a foremost expert on Russia.
  194. Hill criticized Republicans for propagating a “fictional narrative” that Ukraine interfered in the 2016 elections, saying, “These fictions are harmful even if they are deployed for purely domestic political purposes.”
  195. Hill said of the investigation, “I would ask that you please not promote politically driven falsehoods that so clearly advance Russian interests,” adding, “I refuse to be part of an effort to legitimize an alternate narrative.”
  196. Hill said, “President Putin and the Russian security services operate like a super PAC,” deploying millions of dollars to interfere, and that Russia will do again in 2020, saying time is “running out of time to stop them.”
  197. Hill said Russia’s goal “is to delegitimize the president,” and to put whoever won in 2016, Trump or Clinton, “under a cloud,” adding, “It’s a playbook they will run again in 2020.”
  198. Hill said Trump’s pressure campaign was purely political and had nothing to do with reforming corruption in Ukraine, the explanation frequently cited by Trump and Republicans.
  199. At her deposition, Hill had described a “shadow foreign policy” being run by Sondland, but said after his testimony, she realized he kept Trump, Mulvaney, and Pompeo “in the loop” about his efforts.
  200. Hill described a July 10 meeting with Ukrainians, after which Sondland told her “That he had an agreement with chief of staff Mulvaney that in return for investigations this meeting [with Trump] would get scheduled.”
  201. Hill said when she told Bolton, he said, “I am not part of whatever drug deal Sondland and Mulvaney are cooking up,” and told her to report the conversation to White House lawyer Eisenberg.
  202. Hill said Bolton told her that “Giuliani’s a hand grenade who’s going to blow everybody up, which she took to mean Giuliani was “pushing views that would come back to haunt us,” adding, “that’s where we are today.”
  203. Hill said after Yovanovitch’s ouster, she had confronted Sondland with her concerns, and he told her that “he was in charge of Ukraine,” and when she asked, “who put you in charge?” Sondland said, “the president.”
  204. Hill said she now realized Sondland was “ involved in a domestic political errand, and we were being involved in national security, foreign policy,” adding she had told him “this is all going to blow up. And here we are.”
  205. Holmes said he was convinced in late August that Trump froze military aid for the investigations, calling it “an expression of dissatisfaction with the Ukrainians who had not yet agreed to the Burisma/Biden investigation.”
  206. Both Hill and Holmes made it clear that Burisma was “code” for Biden, and that anyone who worked on Ukraine would know that, contradicting public testimony by Volker, Morrison, and Sondland.
  207. Holmes testified about the July 26 call between Trump and Sondland, saying after the call Sondland told him that Trump cared only about “big stuff that benefits the president” like the “Biden investigation.”
  208. As Holmes testified, Trump tweeted, “I have been watching people making phone calls my entire life,” adding, “My hearing is, and has been, great,” questioning Holmes being “able to hear or understand a conversation.”
  209. Holmes also said at the lunch someone asked why Giuliani was “so active in the media with respect to Ukraine” and Sondland responded, “‘Dammit Rudy. Every time Rudy gets involved he goes and f — -s everything up.’”
  210. On Thursday, during the hearings, Trump hosted Senate Republicans for lunch, including Susan Collins and Mitt Romney, who have shown tepid support, to woo them. Lisa Murkowski was invited but did not attend.
  211. At the lunch, with roughly six senators attending, Trump passed around a transcript of his first phone call with Zelensky, and discussed which witnesses should be called in a Senate trial.
  212. On Thursday, AP reported public testimony provided loads of evidence, but the one hole is no witness could attest to Trump directly conditioning the release of $400 military aid to an announcement of the investigations.
  213. Without direct proof, Republican support in the House seemed to remain intact despite witnesses showing Trump was willing to leverage the presidency to push a foreign government for personal political help.
  214. On Thursday, Daily Beast reported that according to Andriy Yermak, Lev Parnas was with Giuliani in Madrid when he met them in Madrid earlier this year and urged him to investigate the Bidens.
  215. On Thursday, after the impeachment hearings, Senate Judiciary Committee Chair Lindsey Graham sent to a letter to Secretary Pompeo as part of launching a probe of Biden, Burisma, and Ukraine.
  216. Graham asked for any calls Joe Biden had with former Ukraine president Petro Poroshenko relating to the firing of the country’s top prosecutor and Burisma, investigating unsubstantiated claims on the prosecutor’s firing.
  217. On Friday, Joe Biden said in an interview, “Lindsey is about to go down in a way that I think he’s going to regret his whole life,” adding of Lindsey, “I’m just embarrassed by what you’re doing, for you. I mean, my Lord.”
  218. On Thursday, former Fox News anchor Shepard Smith announced at a Committee to Protect Journalists event, that he would donate $500,000 to the nonprofit group, which advances press freedoms around the world.
  219. Smith told the crowd, “Autocrats have learned how to use those same online tools to shore up their power. They flood the world of information with garbage and lies, masquerading as news. There’s a phrase for that.”
  220. On Friday, Trump appeared on “Fox & Friends” for 53 minutes. PolitiFact found many of Trump’s points “were either inaccurate or repeated debunked conspiracy theories.”
  221. Trump falsely claimed, “They were spying on my campaign,” adding, “This was an overthrow attempt at the presidency. They tried to overthrow the presidency. This is a disgrace.”
  222. Trump said, “Adam Schiff is a sick puppy,” but that his July 25 call was “appropriate,” “perfect” “nice,” and “everything,” adding Zelensky said, “what are they talking about? They must think we’re nuts in this country.”
  223. Trump said of impeachment, “Frankly, I want a trial,” adding Pelosi is “crazy as a bedbug. She is nuts, ” and “the one I want to testify most is ‘Shifty Schiff,’ and I want to find out why did he make up my statement?”
  224. Trump said he knew the identity of the whistleblower: “I know exactly who it is,” telling the hosts, “By the way you know who the whistleblower is too, otherwise you’re not doing your job. Everybody knows it.”
  225. Trump said a “historic” report by the DOJ IG is coming, and, “I don’t like to use the word ‘deep state.’ I just say they’re really bad, sick people,” and mentioned the “modern-day version of whatever wiretapping may be.”
  226. Trump repeated the debunked conspiracy theory about Ukraine’s 2016 involvement, saying, “They gave the server to Crowdstrike, or whatever it’s called….which is a company owned by a very wealthy Ukrainian.”
  227. Crowdstrike is a U.S. cybersecurity firm hired by the DNC in May 2016 to investigate the breach of its server. Conspiracy theorists claim the company’s chief technology officer is Ukrainian, but he was born in Russia.
  228. Trump asked, “Why isn’t Germany putting up money? Why isn’t France putting up money (for Ukraine)?Why isn’t all of the European nations, why aren’t they putting up?” The EU has put up $15 billion since 2014.
  229. Trump falsely claimed of Volker, “I don’t know him,” and “This guy, Sondland, hardly know him,” and praised Giuliani, adding if he goes to a country and “you hear it’s a corrupt country, I mean it means a lot.”
  230. Trump said of Yovanovitch, “she’s an Obama person,” adding, “everybody says is so wonderful, she wouldn’t hang my picture in the embassy,” and, “This was not an angel, this woman, OK?.”
  231. Trump also said of Yovanovitch, “I said, ‘Why are you being so kind?’ ‘Well, sir, she’s a woman. We have to be nice,’” adding, “She’s very tough. I heard bad things.”
  232. Shortly after, lawyers for Yovanovitch said in a statement, “The Embassy in Kyiv hung the official photographs of the President, Vice President, and Secretary of State as soon as they arrived from Washington, DC.”
  233. Trump also said, If it weren’t for me Hong Kong would have been obliterated in 14 minutes.” In was unclear what he meant. He added “we have to stand with Hong Kong but I’m also standing with President Xi.”
  234. Trump also said of Kellyanne Conway’s husband, George, “I don’t know what Kellyanne did to that guy” calling him “some kind of a nut job,” and, “She must have done some bad things to him because that guy’s crazy.”
  235. On Friday, NYT reported in addition to Hill’s testimony, U.S. intelligence officials informed senators and their aides that Russia was behind the years-long campaign to frame Ukraine for hacking the 2016 U.S. election.
  236. The revelations showed the Russian’s success not only at sowing discord in the U.S., but also in undermining the government of Ukraine and influencing the American political debate.
  237. On Thursday, Trump intervened and reversed a U.S. Navy decision to oust Edward Gallagher from the SEALs, and lose his Trident pin, after Gallagher had been at the center of a high-profile war crimes prosecution.
  238. Trump tweeted, “The Navy will NOT be taking away Warfighter and Navy Seal Eddie Gallagher’s Trident Pin,” adding, “This case was handled very badly from the beginning. Get back to business.”
  239. On Friday, Navy Secretary Richard Spencer said Gallagher should face a planned “trident review board,” which could lead to his ouster from the SEALs, despite Trump’s tweet.
  240. On Friday, WAPO reported Trump took the advice of Pete Hegseth, a Fox News personality, when he issued pardons in Week 157. Trump called Hegseth numerous times to discuss the issue.
  241. Defense Secretary Mark Esper and Army Secretary Ryan McCarthy tried to persuade Trump not to, and senior military officials brought documents and data to a meeting to show Trump he was fed bad information.
  242. Trump was lobbied with information that the three cases involved overly restrictive rules of engagement during the Obama administration. Trump tweeted Sunday, “Our great warfighters must be allowed to fight.”
  243. On Friday, CNN reported DOJ IG Michael Horowitz found a former FBI lawyer is under investigation for allegedly altering a document related the 2016 surveillance of a Trump campaign adviser, Carter Page.
  244. However, the alterations, outlined in a draft of the IG’s soon to be released report, were made by a low-level FBI lawyer who has since been forced out of the agency, and did not effect the validity of the surveillance subpoena.
  245. Horowitz turned the evidence over to U.S. Attorney John Durham for his investigation of the investigators. The IG report is expected to be released on December 9.
  246. Later Friday, Trump told reporters at the White House, “I think we had a tremendous week with the hoax,” adding, “They call it the impeachment hoax. And that’s really worked out incredibly well.”
  247. Trump added he has “tremendous support” from Republicans, adding, “I don’t think I’ve ever seen support in the Republican Party like we do right now,” and “We’ve never had this kind of support.”
  248. Asked if the whistleblower should be fired, Trump said, “ What whistleblower? I don’t think there is. I consider it to be a fake whistleblower,” falsely claiming the complaint did not track what he said.
  249. On Friday, Chair Schiff told the LA Times that his committee has begun work on its report in the impeachment inquiry, which will be handed off to the House Judiciary Committee, but is not ruling out further hearings.
  250. Schiff added, “We’re not foreclosing the possibility of additional depositions or hearings,” but added, “we’re also not willing to wait months and months and let them play rope-a-dope with us in the courts.”
  251. On Friday, Politico reported after Thanksgiving, House Democrats are planning to hold at least one hearing on Trump’s misdeeds in the Mueller report, fueling possible additional articles of impeachment.
  252. Democrats say Roger Stone’s trial raised the question of whether Trump provided false statements in his written testimony to Mueller’s team relating to WikiLeaks. Democrats also hope to get McGahn’s testimony.
  253. On Friday, Bolton tweeted, “Glad to be back on Twitter after more than two months,” and later explained the White House “refused to return access to my personal Twitter account. Out of fear of what I may say?
  254. A White House spokesperson denied it, saying, “The White House did not block Mr. Bolton.” Trump also denied it on “Fox & Friends,” saying, “of course not,” and, “No, I actually had a good relationship with John.”
  255. On Friday, a group of conservative-leaning lawyers called Checks & Balances told the Times in a statement: “In recent months, we have become concerned by the conduct of Attorney General William Barr.”
  256. The group said they were so alarmed by Barr’s speech last week, they felt the need to push back on his expansive view of executive power. The group sharply denounced abuses of power by Trump.
  257. The group also said Barr’s interpretation set a dangerous precedent, with one member saying, “Conservatism is respect for the rule of law,” and another saying, “It’s important for conservatives to speak up.”
  258. On Friday, AG Barr said in an interview with AP that the death of Jeffrey Epstein was a “perfect storm of screw-ups,” refuting statements from Epstein’s family that he may have been murdered.
  259. Later Friday, NYT reported the highly anticipated DOJ IG report will sharply criticize lower-level employees for sloppiness, but absolve top ranking officials of abusing their power over bias against Trump.
  260. The report, while not finalized, is expected to show a proper legal basis for the government’s applications to monitor Carter Page, but find errors were made, including the use of human sources in the report.
  261. IG Horowitz found a low-level lawyer, Kevin Clinesmith, altered an email used in court to renew the Carter Page wiretap. Horowitz referred the matter to John Durham for a potential criminal charge.
  262. Clinesmith left the Russia investigation in February 2018 after the IG found he was one of a handful of FBI officials who expressed animus towards Trump in text messages. Clinesmith resigned two months ago.
  263. The report was expected to find no politically biased actions by top officials targeted by Trump, including James Comey, Andrew McCabe, and Peter Strzok, debunking conspiracy theories used by Trump and his allies.
  264. On Friday, Trump tweeted an altered video of a CNN segment mocking host Chris Cuomo, replacing the voice of Cuomo’s mother with Trump screaming things like “I want no quid pro quo,” and “fake news.”
  265. On Friday, a lawyer for Lev Parnas said he is willing to tell Congress that Devin Nunes, the ranking member on the House Intelligence Committee, met with former Ukrainian Prosecutor Victor Shokin about digging up dirt.
  266. The lawyer told CNN Parnas learned from Shokin that he met Nunes “in Vienna last December.” Congressional records show Nunes and three aides traveled to Europe from November 30 to December 3, 2018.
  267. The lawyer told CNN, “Nunes had told Shokin of the urgent need to launch investigations into Burisma, Joe and Hunter Biden, and any purported Ukrainian interference in the 2016 election.”
  268. On Friday, CBS News reported according to a “Memorandum of Investigative Activity,” the whistleblower reached out to the intelligence committee IG on October 8 to clarify the nature of their contact.
  269. The IG passed the October 18 memo to House and Senate intelligence committees, saying the whistleblower acknowledged reaching out to Chair Schiff, but clarified that nothing substantial was discussed.
  270. On Friday, WAPO reported Trump has opened up Camp David as an “adult playground” and venue to woo Republican lawmakers during the impeachment inquiry, hosting by Mulvaney and White House officials.
  271. Trump has called in to compliment lawmakers at the dinners. Trump has also in recent weeks stopped attacking Republicans. He has also brought them along to sporting events in an effort to woo them.
  272. In recent weeks, Trump has also invited groups of Senate Republicans for lunch on Thursdays. Trump’s message at lunches echoes what he says publicly, and attendees claim they feel no overt pressure to stay on his side.
  273. Late Friday, the State Department released nearly 100 pages of documents to the FOIA to watchdog group American Oversight, just before the midnight court-imposed deadline. More documents will be released.
  274. Documents revealed a clear paper trail between Giuliani and Pompeo in the weeks before Yovanovitch was ousted. The two also spoke on the phone on March 26 and March 29, before her recall in April.
  275. Late Friday, Trump quoted Jason Chaffetz appearing on Fox News, tweeting, “The support for Impeachment is not there. I think the Democrats will have to come up with a new game plan.”
  276. On Saturday, Trump tweeted, “Adam Schiff will be compelled to testify should the Democrats decide” despite his calls which were “totally appropriate (perfect), to go forward with the Impeachment Hoax.”
  277. Trump added, “Polls have now turned very strongly against Impeachment!” and tweeted an Emerson College poll, quoting Joe Concha tweeting, “You see why Pelosi is reluctant to go in with this.”
  278. On Friday, in a speech at the ADL’s International Leadership Award, Sacha Baron Cohen said social media giants, Facebook, Twitter, and Google are “the greatest propaganda machines in history.”
  279. On Saturday, WSJ reported James Barnes, the Facebook employee who was embedded in the Trump 2016 campaign and helped him win using its powerful tools, left Facebook and will work for Democrats in 2020.

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Fiona Hill, former senior director for Europe and Russia at the National Security Council, and David Holmes, political counselor for the US Embassy in Ukraine, are sworn in before testifying during the House Select Intelligence Committee hearing on the impeachment inquiry into Trump on Thursday, Nov. 21, 2019.

POLITIKS OF GRAFFITI 157: “NOT COMPETENT ENOUGH”

NOVEMBER 09, 2019

Week 156

Experts in authoritarianism advise to keep a list of things
subtly changing around you, so you’ll remember. https://theweeklylist.org/weekly-list/week-156/

This week, House Democrats released transcripts of eight depositions, and announced a schedule for public hearings next week. As support for impeachment plateaued, Democrats tentatively planned to fast-track hearings, with a vote on articles of impeachment before the holiday break. Republicans meanwhile, careened from varying defenses of Trump, from it was not a bad quid pro quo, to he is not competent enough to carry out quid pro quo, to targeting witnesses and the whistleblower, to considering sacrificing a fall guy in Trump’s stead.

The Mueller probe was again back in the news, as the Justice Department released FBI 302 summary reports of interviews, and the trial of Roger Stone got underway. Documents revealed the source of the conspiracy theory that Ukraine, not Russia, interfered in the 2016 election was actually Konstantin Kilimnik, an employee of Paul Manafort who the FBI determined has ties to Russian intelligence. Stone and Trump’s possible involvement in seeking emails stolen by Russia from WikiLeaks was also back in the spotlight.

Election night provided victories for Democrats, taking control of the Virginia legislature for the first time in 26 years, winning the governorship of red state Kentucky, and historic victories in the suburbs of Philadelphia. As we head toward the 2020 election, U.S. intelligence again warned of election interference underway, something that Trump, and Republicans who continue to block legislation to protect voting, oddly seem to welcome.

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BERNIE. San Diego, CA 9nov19
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New York City, May 2019
  1. On Saturday, the Department of Justice released the first installment of documents related to the Mueller probe to BuzzFeed News in response to a court order, after five separate Freedom of Information Act lawsuits.
  2. The documents were FBI 302 report summaries of interviews. Rick Gates said Paul Manafort pushed the conspiracy theory that Ukraine, not Russia, hacked the Democratic National Committee in the summer of 2016.
  3. Gates said Manafort “parroted a narrative” told to him by Konstantin Kilimnik, a Manafort employee who the FBI determined has ties to Russian intelligence and indicted on witness tampering in the Muller probe.
  4. Gates also said Michael Flynn was “adamant” Russia was not responsible for the hacking, and told Trump U.S. intelligence “was not capable of figuring it out,” and that Ukraine, not Russia likely carried it out.
  5. Gates also said shortly after the Democratic convention and Russia hacking the DNC server, while in a car with Trump to the airport, Trump received a call related to WikiLeaks and said more leaks were coming.
  6. Michael Cohen said before he testified to Congress, he was told “to keep TRUMP out of the messaging related to Russia and keep TRUMP out of the Russia conversation.” Cohen said false testimony was “not his idea.”
  7. Steve Bannon testified that Manafort worked on the campaign until days before the election, and they needed to hide it. Bannon wrote in an email, “They are going to try to say the Russians worked with wiki leaks to give this victory to us.”
  8. Also close to the campaign as more on Russia interference came out, Erik Prince suggested to Bannon “an alternative narrative” about Russia’s efforts, that they wanted Clinton to win. Trump used this narrative.
  9. On Tuesday, the trial for Roger Stone got off to an unusual start in Washington, as Stone left the courtroom twice to use the restroom during jury selection, and later was excused for the day citing food poisoning.
  10. Stone’s case is the last filed in the Mueller probe. On Wednesday, in opening statements, prosecutors said Stone lied to Congress “because the truth looked bad for Donald Trump,” linking the case to Trump.
  11. Prosecutors said on June 14, 2016, the day the DNC server was hacked, Stone called Trump, and again in July after WikiLeaks began releasing DNC material. An hour later he tried to make contact with Julian Assange.
  12. On Wednesday, conspiracy theorist Alex Jones said on his InfoWars broadcast that he had the name of a jurist in the Stone trial who was anti-Trump, threatening, “We’ve got her name, and we’re going to release it.”
  13. On Thursday, prosecutors said Stone had lied and obstructed, threatening Randy Credico about testifying in a message: “You are a rat. A stoolie. You backstab your friends,” and, “I am so ready. Let’s get it on. Prepare to die…”
  14. On Friday, Bannon testified for 40 minutes, saying he was doing so under subpoena. He said the campaign viewed Stone as “an access point” to WikiLeaks, citing his implied relationship with WikiLeaks and Assange.
  15. Bannon said Stone implied he could get information from WikiLeaks. He said Stone was an expert in opposition research and dirty tricks, “the type of things that campaigns use when they have to make up some ground.”
  16. On Friday, Paul Manafort’s son-in-law Jeffrey Yohai was sentenced to nine years in prison for an array of scams. The judge said Yohai was a serial scammer whose “horrific” crimes posed a significant threat to the public.
  17. On Saturday, while entering Madison Square Garden for the Ultimate Fighting Championship, Trump was greeted by loud boos in his former home state of New York. There were roughly 150 protestors outside.
  18. On Monday, the World Series champion Washington Nationals visited the White House. Eight of the key players chose not to attend.
  19. On Wednesday, ahead of Trump’s visit to the Alabama vs LSU football game on Saturday, the Alabama Student Government Association warned protestors risk losing their reserved seating for the rest of the season.
  20. On Saturday, WAPO reported when Rick Perry and other top advisers met with Trump in May to say the new Ukraine leader could be an ally, Trump said, “They tried to take me down,” and “are horrible, corrupt people.”
  21. In 2017 Trump tried to block aid to Ukraine saying it was not a “real country” and was “totally corrupt,” and claiming “everyone” was telling him it would anger Russia, although the opposite was true.
  22. On Saturday, Trump continued his attacks on the whistleblower, tweeting, “The Whistleblower has disappeared. Where is the Whistleblower?”
  23. On Sunday, Trump continued, tweeting, “The Whistleblower got it sooo wrong that HE must come forward,” and “Fake News Media knows who he is but, being an arm of the Democrat Party, don’t want to reveal him.”
  24. Trump also tweeted, “Many people listened to my phone call,” and “I never heard any complaints,” adding, “The reason is that it was totally appropriate, I say perfect. Republicans have never been more unified.”
  25. Trump also tweeted, “The Angry Majority!” — a phrase he first used athis rally Friday to describe supporters angered by the impeachment inquiry.
  26. Later Sunday, speaking to reporters at the White House, Trump threatened to expose information on Alexander Vindman, calling him a “Never Trumper,” and saying, “We’ll be showing that to you real soon.”
  27. Trump also told reporters the whistleblower “hated Trump,” and “You know who it is. You just don’t want to report it. CNN knows who it is, but you don’t want to report it…You’d be doing the public a service if you did.”
  28. Trump also said, “The whistleblower should be revealed because the whistleblower gave false stories. Some people would call it a fraud. I won’t go that far. But when I read it closely, I probably would.”
  29. Later Sunday, Mark Zaid, the attorney for both known whistleblowers, told NBC News the first whistleblower had offered to provide written answers to questions by House investigators, to protect his or her identity.
  30. On Monday, Trump tweeted, “The Whistleblower gave false information & dealt with corrupt politician Schiff,” adding, “He must be brought forward to testify. Written answers not acceptable!”
  31. Trump also tweeted, “Where is the 2nd Whistleblower? He disappeared after I released the transcript. Does he even exist?” adding, “Where is the informant? Con!”
  32. On Monday, Zaid tweeted, “we have offered to Rep. Devin Nunes,” the ranking member on the Intelligence Committee, written answers, saying the whistleblower “is not a partisan..nor is impeachment an objective.”
  33. On Sunday, an NBC/WSJ poll found net approval for impeachment and removal up 9% from last month, to 49% approve and 46% disapprove, up from 43% approve and 49% disapprove.
  34. On Sunday, Trump dismissed polls showing growing support for impeachment, telling reporters, “I have the real polls. The CNN polls are fake. The Fox polls have always been lousy.”
  35. On Monday, Fox News host Sean Hannity parroted Trump, blasting Fox News polling on his radio show, saying the methodology used by the network was “really wrong” and was “oversampling” Democrats.
  36. On Sunday, as wildfires rages in California, Trump tweeted, “The Governor of California, @GavinNewsom, has done a terrible job of forest management,” saying he told Newsom “he must “clean” his forest floors.”
  37. Trump also again threatened to pull federal aid from California, tweeting: “Every year, as the fire’s rage & California burns, it is the same thing-and then he comes to the Federal Government for $$$ help. No more.”
  38. On Sunday, Republicans shifted strategy to saying quid pro quo is not impeachable. Rep. Tom Cole told “Meet the Press” that “Concern is different than rising to the level of impeachment.”
  39. Trump tweeted, “False stories” are claiming “Trump may have done a quid pro quo,” and added, “but it doesn’t matter, there is nothing wrong with that, it is not an impeachable event.”
  40. On Saturday, a federal judge blocked the Trump regime’s plan set to go into effect on Sunday that would require immigrants to prove they have health care or the financial resources to get it in order to obtain a visa.
  41. On Sunday, the White House slammed the court, saying, “Once again, a nationwide injunction is permitting a single judge to thwart the President’s policy judgment,” calling it “wrong and unfair.”
  42. On Saturday, officials in Norway arrested Greg Johnson, a high-profile U.S. white supremacist, hours before he was scheduled to give a speech at the Scandza Forum, a network known for its anti-Semitic and racist views.
  43. On Sunday, NBC News reported a group of white people carrying a white nationalist flag were caught trying to record a video in front of the Emmett Till memorial. An official of the memorial called it a propaganda video.
  44. On Monday, ABC Milwaukee reported Mahud Villalaz, a U.S. citizen and Latino, suffered second-degree burns to his face when a white man threw acid at him, accusing him of being in the country illegally.
  45. On Monday, Buffalo Wild Wings fired employees in Naperville, Illinois who asked a black family and their party to change tables, because a white man did not “want black people sitting near him.”
  46. On Monday, NBC News reported Richard Holzer, 27, a white supremacist, was taken into custody and charged with plotting to blow up Temple Emanuel, the oldest synagogue in Colorado.
  47. Holzer told undercover investigators he was planning for a “racial holy war,” after investigators reached out to him after he promoted racially motivated acts of violence on Facebook.
  48. On Monday, Adrian Vergara, 26, pleaded guilty to a hate-crime for striking a teenage Syrian refugee who was speaking Arabic on a cellphone in the face five or six times while riding a trolley in Encanto, California.
  49. On Monday, former evangelical megachurch pastor and author Joshua Harris said the support Trump has gotten from the evangelical community has been “incredibly damaging to the Gospel and to the church.”
  50. On Monday, WSJ reported Navajo people took control of the San Juan County, Utah commission, 2-1, for the first time in 150 years in 2017 and plan to oppose Trump’s plan to develop federal lands like Bear’s Ears.
  51. Conservative white people, a minority who are pro-Trump, sought to dilute the commission by growing it from three to five seats through Proposition 10 in Tuesday’s election. Prop 10 failed in a close election.
  52. On Monday, the first day possible under the accord’s rules, the Trump regime formally served notice to the United Nations that it would withdraw the U.S. from the Paris Agreement on climate change.
  53. On Monday, a report by 11,258 scientists in 153 countries declared the planet “clearly and unequivocally faces a climate emergency,” and provided six broad policy goal to address the crisis.
  54. On Tuesday, USA Today reported millions of poor people lost access to a cellphone service through Lifeline, one of a number of federal assistance programs being targeted by the regime. Enrollment has dropped 21% since 2017.
  55. On Tuesday, WAPO reported the Citrus County, Florida commission voted 5-0 to block a librarian’s request for a NYT subscription on Oct 24, the same day the Trump announced canceling federal agency subscriptions.
  56. The vote took place before reporting on agencies, but after Trump’s public statements. The commissioner said, “Do we really need to subscribe to the New York Times?” and another added, “it’s fake news, and I’m voting no.”
  57. On Tuesday, 70% of Kansas City voters voted to remove Dr. Martin Luther King’s name from one of the city’s most historic boulevards, less than a year after The Paseo was renamed for King.
  58. On Tuesday, Somali refugee Safiya Khalid, 23, won a seat on the Lewiston City Council in Maine, after enduring vile abuse during her campaign by online trolls from as far away as Alabama and Mississippi.
  59. On Wednesday, the EPA’s inspector general said Ryan Jackson, the chief of staff to administrator Andrew Wheeler, refused to cooperate with an inquiry into whether he pressured a scientist to alter her Congressional testimony.
  60. In a letter, the IG said Jackson was in “open defiance” of two separate inquiries, an audit and an investigation, calling his actions a “flagrant problem” and referring the matter to Congress.
  61. On Thursday, the San Diego Union Tribune reported, in at least 14 cases, Customs and Border Protection agents in CA and TX are writing fake court dates on asylum seekers’ paperwork and sending them back them Mexico.
  62. On Monday, CNN reported the DOJ sent a letter to the agent of the upcoming book “A Warning,” saying the author may be violating “one or more nondisclosure agreements” with their anti-Trump book.
  63. On Monday, Hillary Clinton told Guardian that Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg “should pay a price” for what he is doing to democracy, and said false information, or “propaganda,” will have an impact on elections.
  64. On Tuesday, Daily Beast reported Russian FSB Gen. Alexander Bortnikov, Vladimir Putin’s top spy, is continuing to publicly push that Russia has a behind-the-scenes cooperation with the U.S. on cybersecurity.
  65. On Wednesday, an investigation by OpenDemocracy revealed British Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s Conservative Party has received a surge in donations from Russians with ties to Putin in recent months.
  66. Johnson is also under increased scrutiny for his refusal to sign off on the public release of a report on possible Russian interference in the UK’s 2016 Brexit referendum, ahead of the December 12 election.
  67. On Wednesday, in a joint statement by the DOJ, Department of Defense, DHS, FBI, and the NSA said “Russia, China, Iran, and other foreign malicious actors” will seek to interfere in the 2020 election.
  68. On Wednesday, a complaint unsealed in the U.S. District Court in San Francisco revealed the Saudi government, frustrated by criticism of its leaders and policies, recruited Twitter employees to spy on its critics.
  69. The Saudis sought employees to look up private Twitter data on its critics, including news personalities and a popular personality, including their email address and internet protocol addresses that can reveal a location.
  70. Two employees Ahmad Abouammo, a U.S. citizen, and Ali Alzabarah, a Saudi citizen, were charged as acting as agents of Saudi Arabia without registering. They got designer watches and tens of thousands of dollars in exchange for their spying.
  71. A third man who ran a social media marketing company that did work for the Saudi royal family was also charged. This marks the first time the Kingdom has been accused of spying in America.
  72. On Monday, the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Manhattan unanimously upheld a lower court decision that Trump’s accountant must turn over his tax returns to New York prosecutors.
  73. Later Monday, attorney Jay Sekulow said Trump will ask the Supreme Court to take up the case. The appeals court rejected the argument that Trump is immune from criminal investigation while in office.
  74. On Friday, Trump’s personal lawyers told a federal judge they intend to petition the Supreme Court next week to appeal the decision.
  75. On Monday, E. Jean Carroll said she would sue Trump for defamation, after Trump countered her allegations of rape by calling her a liar who wanted to sell books, said he never met her and “she’s not my type.”
  76. On Tuesday, Summer Zervos said new public cell phone records released by the Trump Org “corroborate” her allegations of sexual assault by Trump. Records show six calls made by Trump in late 2007 and early 2008.
  77. On Thursday, a federal judge in New York said Trump misused the Trump Foundation to further his political and business interests, and ordered him to distribute the remaining $1.7 million in funds to other charities.
  78. In the settlement, Trump admitted to giving his campaign complete control over $2.8 million the foundation raised at a fundraiser for veterans in Iowa in January 2016, saying it was campaign event.
  79. Trump also admitted to using the foundation funds to settle the legal obligations of his companies and Mar-a-Lago. Donald Jr., Ivanka, and Eric will go through training to ensure they do not repeat his improprieties.
  80. On Thursday, in a speech at an annual gathering, U.S. District Judge Paul Friedman said Trump’s rhetoric “violates all recognized democratic norms,” adding, “We are in unchartered territory.”
  81. He added, Trump “criticizes virtually every judicial decision that doesn’t go his way and denigrates judges who rule against him,” and views courts “as obstacles to be attacked and undermined…not as a coequal branch.”
  82. On Monday, four White House officials scheduled to testify in the impeachment probe refused to appear: John Eisenberg, Michael Ellis, Robert Blair, and Brian McCormack.
  83. An attorney for Ellis said his client was instructed by the White House not to appear, calling the congressional subpoena “invalid,” citing Democrats have not allowed Trump’s counsel at depositions and other concerns.
  84. Eisenberg’s attorney, William Burck, who also represents Don McGahn, said the DOJ advised him Sunday that as a senior adviser to Trump, Eisenberg is “absolutely immune from compelled congressional testimony.”
  85. On Monday, NYT reported at an “Off the Record” dinner for the Republican National Committee, officials shared they swamped House Democrats phone lines in recent weeks with anti-impeachment calls.
  86. The effort targeted nearly three dozen House Democrats and generated roughly 11,000 automated calls, in an effort to defend Trump by shaping opinion on impeachment and tying up phone lines.
  87. On Monday, the House released transcripts of its depositions with Marie Yovanovitch and Michael McKinley. McKinley said he repeatedly tried to get Secretary of State Mike Pompeo to come to Yovanovitch’s defense publicly.
  88. Pompeo did not, and McKinley resigned citing the State Department being used for politics. Pompeo recently said in an interview on ABC McKinley never expressed concerns, saying, “I never heard him say a single thing.”
  89. Yovanovitch said she got a call at 1 a.m. in April from the Director General of the Foreign Service telling herto get the next flight home, citing control of her “security.” When she asked why, she was told, “I don’t know.”
  90. When asked about Pompeo’s refusal to defend her, Yovanovitch said she was told Pompeo or someone around him would need to call Fox News host Sean Hannity to find out about allegations against her on his show.
  91. Yovanovitch said Gordon Sondland urged her to tweet support of Trump to save her job, saying, “you know the sorts of things that he likes. You know, go out there battling aggressively and, you know, praise him or support him.”
  92. Yovanovitch said she felt threatened by Trump telling Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky she was “bad news” and would “go through some things,” and feared Trump could retaliate: “I didn’t know what it meant. I was very concerned. I still am.”
  93. Yovanovitch said Ukrainian Interior Minister Arsen Avakov expressed concern to her in February about the country getting embroiled in U.S. politics, citing Manafort’s “black ledger” and a Biden investigation.
  94. Yovanovitch said Ukraine’s then-prosecutor general, Yuri Lutsenko, teamed up with Rudy Giuliani to work around the system, and worked to smear her as undermining Trump’s agenda with Ukraine, which he later recanted.
  95. On Monday, NYT reported Pompeo faces his most perilous time in office as the impeachment inquiry looks into what he knew, and diplomats are revolting against his leadership and testifying in the inquiry.
  96. Notably as CIA director, Pompeo testified to Congress that Russia interfered in the election. Now as Secretary of State, he has reversed and is openly backing the conspiracy theory that Ukraine, not Russia, did the hacking.
  97. Pompeo helped Trump and Giuliani oust Yovanovitch. McKinley testified Pompeo refused to “say a single thing” about her ouster. Pompeo has also tried to block State Department officials from testifying in the inquiry.
  98. Career officials accused Pompeo of abandoning veteran diplomats and allowing Trump’s personal agenda to infect foreign policy. He is facing a revolt as officials say he has damaged the department and morale is at rock bottom.
  99. He has also drawn fire for four trips to Kansas while he considers a Senate run , most recently with Ivanka. The Kansas City Star Editorial Board wrote, “Pompeo should quit and run for Senate or do his job at State.”
  100. On Monday, Reuters reported lawyers for Lev Parnas said he will comply with the impeachment inquiry. Parnas helped Giuliani look for political dirt on Joe Biden.
  101. Parnas’s new attorney, Joseph Bondy, who replaced John Dowd, explained the change of heart, saying, “Parnas was very upset by President Trump’s plainly false statement that he did not know him.”
  102. NYT reported Trump had signed off on Parnas using Dowd in an October 2 email. Dowd had said Trump’s support was sought “simply as a courtesy.” Parnas had previously been in Trump’s camp, and refused to cooperate.
  103. On Monday, Reuters reported Ukraine plans to fire prosecutor Kostiantyn Kulyk, who led the investigations into Burisma. The decision comes as Ukraine tried to avoid getting drawn into U.S. partisan politics.
  104. On Monday, Trump ally Sen. Lindsey Graham said on Fox News that the Senate Foreign Relations Committee should investigate Joe Biden and Hunter Biden, and “the State Department’s role in all of this.”
  105. On Tuesday, Michael Duffey, a top official on the White House budget office, and Wells Griffith, a senior aide to Energy Department Sec. Rick Perry, refused to appear before the House impeachment inquiry.
  106. On Tuesday, the impeachment depositions of Kurt Volker and Sondland were released by the House. The day prior, Sondland released four pages of new sworn testimony, laying out his involvement in the quid pro quo.
  107. Sondland claimed reading the testimony of William Taylor and Timothy Morrison had “refreshed my recollection.” He provided a description of his involvement in telling Ukraine military aid was dependent on opening investigations.
  108. Sondland said he was not forthcoming in his testimony about his texts to Taylor, acknowledging he did know by then that military aid to Ukraine was contingent on the investigations.
  109. His new testimony contradicted that he was pushing the quid pro quo as a lone wolf, instead claiming he was just the messenger, who understood that aid was linked to investigations, and articulated it that way to others.
  110. Sondland said on September 1, while PresidentZelensky was meeting with Vice President Mike Pence to discuss aid, he discussed the linkage to aid to opening investigations with Andriy Yermak, a top Zelensky adviser.
  111. On Tuesday, the White House pushed back on his new testimony, saying Sondland failed to cite a “solid source,” and “no amount of salacious media-biased headlines” change that Trump “has done nothing wrong.”
  112. On Wednesday, Graham questioned why Sondland changed his testimony on Fox News, musing, “Was there a connection between [Sondland] and Democratic operatives,” or “Did he talk to Schiff” or his staffers?
  113. On Tuesday, the transcripts revealed both Volker and Sondland testified that at a May 23 meeting, Trump complained about suspicions Ukraine tried to undermine his 2016 campaign, and they were “trying to take him down.”
  114. Volker also testified that Trump said of Ukraine, “They are all corrupt, they are all terrible people,” and “I don’t want to spend any time with that.” Volker said Giuliani amplified Trump’s “negative narrative” about Ukraine.
  115. Volker said he told Giuliani the theories on Ukraine were “not credible.” And said Ukrainians asked to be put in touch with Giuliani, saying because they believed “that information flow would reach the President.”
  116. Volker said he was surprised and troubled by what was said on the July 25 call, but claimed he did not have a conversation about quid pro quo “because I didn’t know that there was a quid pro quo.”
  117. Volker said he became aware of the hold-up of aid on July 18, saying although it “struck me as unusual,” he claimed, “Nobody ever gave a reason why.”
  118. Volker said “the news about a hold on security assistance did not get into Ukrainian government circles” until “the end of August” — bolstering a Trump defense there was not a quid pro quo since Ukraine did not know.
  119. On Wednesday, WAPO reported Giuliani was cited 480 times in Sondland and Volker’s testimony, and appears to have played a central role in driving Ukraine policy. Trump seemed to refer to him too, saying, “Talk to Rudy.”
  120. Their testimony showed Trump grew disinterested and pushed responsibility for Ukraine to Giuliani, who took the lead over the State Department, even checking the statement Zelensky was prepared to give.
  121. On Wednesday, Giuliani announced on Twitter that he has assembled a legal team for the criminal investigation into his activities related to Ukraine, including his longtime friend, Robert Costello.
  122. Giuliani tweeted, “The evidence…will show that this present farce is as much a frame-up and hoax as Russian collusion, maybe worse.” Hiring counsel shows how seriously Giuliani is taking the inquiry in Manhattan.
  123. NYT reported it took Giuliani weeks to find lawyers willing to represent him. At least four prominent lawyers turned him down, including Mary Jo White, Theodore Wells Jr., Daniel Stein, and Paul Shechtman.
  124. On Wednesday, NYT reported the $500,000 paid to Giuliani’s firm by Lev Parnas and Igor Fruman’s Fraud Guarantee in September and October 2018 came from lawyer Charles Gucciardo, a GOP donor and Trump supporter.
  125. On Monday, at a rally in Lexington, Kentucky, Trump again attacked the whistleblower, saying they “said lots of things that weren’t so good, folks. You’re going to find out,” adding, “These are very dishonest people.”
  126. WAPO reported Trump has made the false claim that the whistleblower misrepresented the call more than 100 times in the past six weeks. Experts noted a form of gaslighting: repeating the falsehood to make a lie credible.
  127. Trump has called the whistleblower’s allegations “false,” “fraudulent,” “wrong,” “incorrect,” “so bad,” “very inaccurate,” and “phony.” At the rally, supporters behind him wore t-shirts saying, “Read the Transcript.”
  128. Trump also told supporters that Matt Bevin losing “sends a really bad message” adding, “you can’t let that happen to me!” The most recent Kentucky governor poll had Bevin up by five points.
  129. Also at the rally, Sen. Rand Paul demanded the media expose the whistleblower, saying, “do your job and print his name.” The whistleblower’s lawyer said Paul “betrays the interests of the Constitution and the American people.”
  130. On Tuesday, Paul told reporters he “probably will” disclose the name. He later said on Fox News that he “may” disclose the name, saying, “There’s nothing that prevents me from saying it now.”
  131. Shortly after, Paul tweeted an article by Real Clear Investigations which speculated on the whistleblower’s identity and gave considerable detail including the name, photograph, and political history of a CIA professional.
  132. Shortly after, Russia state media outlets TASS, RT, and Rossiya-1 disseminated the information speculatingon the whistleblower, but falsely claimed the source was the Washington Post.
  133. On Wednesday, Donald Jr. tweeted a Breitbart story that named the person believed to be the whistleblower, and added the name to the text of his tweet. Fox News hosts have been instructed not to mention the name.
  134. On Wednesday, a lawyer for the whistleblower said, “Identifying any name for the whistleblower will simply place that individual and their family at risk of serious harm,” and “we will not confirm or deny any name.”
  135. A second lawyer called Donald Jr. speculating on the identity “disgusting and reckless,” adding, “It puts the individual in danger, no matter if he is the whistleblower or not, and is an insult to the federal whistleblower law.”
  136. On Thursday, Donald Jr. defended himself on “The View.” When a co-host called the outing “something dictators do,” he responded “For days, he’s been out there in the media,” and “I’m a private citizen.”
  137. On Wednesday, Paul blocked a Senate resolution put forward by Minority Leader Chuck Schumer and Sen. Mazie Hirono which acknowledged “the contributions of whistleblowers” protected them from retaliation.
  138. On Wednesday, NYT reported Donald Jr. also retweeted an unsubstantiated claim shared by right-wing commentator Jack Posobiec that Alexander Vindman had bashed America to Russian officers in 2013.
  139. On Tuesday, Election Day, Democrats won control of the Virginia House and Senate, giving Democrats control of the state government for the first time in 26 years. Democrats also won the Kentucky governor seat.
  140. Democrats won decisively in Philadelphia and the surrounding suburbs. Democrats won control of the Delaware County Council for the first time since the Civil War. Pennsylvania is an important swing state.
  141. On Wednesday, WAPO reported the outcome in Kentucky embarrassed Trump who had just campaigned there, and worried Republicans for 2020. Trump won the state by 30 points in 2016.
  142. While aides tried to spin the loss as an anomaly, saying the candidate was unpopular, the GOP candidate had run on embracing Trump and his agenda, and ran against the House Democrats’ impeachment inquiry.
  143. On Wednesday, Trump held a ceremony at the White House to mark that more than 150 of his judicial pickshad been confirmed by the Senate, musing, “How ‘bout adding another 100 or so?”
  144. Trump said his picks might only be topped by George Washington, and lamented liberal “activist” judges, including ones who have blocked his travel bans and attempts to limit immigration.
  145. Trump also said he will host Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on November 13 at the White House, despite Turkey’s invasion of Syria, on the same day public impeachment hearings begin.
  146. On Thursday, NYT reported in a searing internal memo, the top American diplomat in Syria, William V. Roebuck, criticized the Trump regime for not doing enough to stop the Turkish military offensive.
  147. Roebuck said Turkish-backed militia fighters committed “war crimes and ethnic cleansing,” and Trump’s policy shift left Syrian Kurdish allies abandoned and opened the door for a possible Islamic State resurgence.
  148. Roebuck added, “One day when the diplomatic history is written” people will wonder why officials did not do more to stop “an unprovoked military operation” that killed 200 civilians and displaced over 100,000 people.
  149. On Thursday, Foreign Policy reported the position of U.S. special envoy to Ukraine, formerly held by Kurt Volker, is expected to be scrapped, and its responsibilities taken up by someone else at the State Department.
  150. On Thursday, French President Emmanuel Macron told the Economist that Europe can no longer count on the U.S. to defend its NATO allies, after Trump’s withdrawal of U.S. troops from Syria.
  151. Macron said Trump “doesn’t share our idea of the European project,” and “What we are currently experiencing is the brain death of NATO,” and Europe needs to needs to start thinking of itself as a geopolitical power.
  152. On Wednesday, WSJ reported the White House is bringing on Pam Bondi, a former Florida attorney general, and Tony Sayegh, a former Treasury Department spokesman, to bolster Trump’s impeachment strategy.
  153. Bringing on Bondi and Sayegh is a tacit acknowledgement by the Trump regime that it needs a strategy and coordinated response to impeachment. Trump has resisted forming a team despite pressure from GOP lawmakers.
  154. On Wednesday, a Morning Consult poll found support for impeachment fell to 47% from a mid-October high of 51%. Voters who heard “a lot” about the House vote were more likely to support impeachment.
  155. On Tuesday, Roll Call reported according to the transcripts released in the inquiry, most GOP members of the three committees have not shown up. Democrats outnumbered Republicans 2-to-1 during Sondland’s testimony.
  156. On Tuesday, CBS News reported Republicans are considering moving Rep. Jim Jordan to the House Intelligence Committee, and having him take the lead role from Rep. Devin Nunes as the impeachment inquiry heats up.
  157. On Thursday, a professional referee became the second person who said he told Jordan about sexual misconduct at Ohio State by a former doctor who allegedly sexually abused nearly 300 men over 17 years.
  158. On Friday, House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy announced that Jordan would officially be joining the House Impeachment Committee for hearings next week, replacing Rep. Rick Crawford.
  159. On Wednesday, David Hale, the State Department’s third-ranking official, testified behind closed doors in the impeachment inquiry for more than six hours, and was expected to testify about Yovanovitch’s ouster.
  160. AP reported Hale was expected to say Secretary Pompeo and other senior officials determined publicly defending Yovanovitch would hurt efforts to free up military aid to Ukraine, and would upset Giuliani.
  161. On Wednesday, two other witnesses who were scheduled to testify — Russ Vought, the acting director of the White House Office of Management and Budget, and Energy Department Sec. Rick Perry — did not show up.
  162. On Wednesday, the House released a 300-page transcript of William Taylor’s testimony. Taylor said it was Giuliani’s idea to have Zelensky commit to the political investigations.
  163. Taylor said there was clear quid pro quo, saying, “that was my clear understanding, security assistance money would not come until the President [of Ukraine] committed to pursue the investigation.”
  164. Taylor also said there was a second quid pro quo, involving a meeting with Trump: “By mid-July, it was becoming clear to me that the meeting President Zelensky wanted was conditioned on investigations.”
  165. Taylor also mentioned a “nightmare” scenario where Zelensky would publicly promise an investigation, which got him into “big trouble” in the U.S. and Ukraine, and ultimately benefited Russia.
  166. Taylor said Giuliani spearheaded the drive to get Zelensky to announce investigations into Trump’s political rivals, and that Giuliani was acting on behalf of Trump.
  167. Taylor said Bolton “was very sympathetic” to his concerns about aid, and Bolton “was also trying, with the two secretaries [Pompeo and Defense Sec. Mark Esper] and the director of the CIA, to get this decision reversed.”
  168. Taylor said an NSC meeting to discuss Ukraine aid was hard to schedule because the focus was on Trump’s desire to buy Greenland, and there was “discomfort” in the State Department about Sondland’s role in Ukraine.
  169. Taylor said he kept “careful notes” in a “little notebook where I take notes on conversations.” He also had “handwritten notes…on a small, little spiral notebook in my office of phone calls that take place in my office.”
  170. On Wednesday, Sen. Graham, Chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee, said he will not read the transcripts of testimony, calling the process an illegitimate “sham” and “bunch of B.S.”
  171. Graham also tried a new defense of Trump, claiming Trump’s Ukraine policy was “incoherent,” and saying, “They seem to be incapable of forming a quid pro quo.”
  172. On Wednesday, Trump held a rally in in Monroe, Louisiana. Sen. John Kennedy of Louisiana stood on stage with Trump, and said of Speaker Nancy Pelosi, “I don’t mean any disrespect but it must suck to be that dumb.”
  173. Trump raged against House Democrats for pursuing a “deranged, delusional, destructive, and hyper-partisan impeachment witch hunt,” adding, “It’s all a hoax, it’s a scam.”
  174. Trump also accused Democrats of “ becoming increasingly totalitarian,” accusing them of “staging show trials” and “trying to overthrow American democracy to impose their socialist agenda.”
  175. Trump also said, “I had a perfect phone call, a totally perfect phone call,” and said the whistleblower made a “horrible statement” about his July 25 call, and then “disappeared” after the transcript was released.
  176. Trump also falsely claimed that Joe Biden pushed for the removal of a Ukrainian prosecutor investigating his son, saying, “That’s called a quid pro quo. Not here.”
  177. Trump made a brief mention of Hillary Clinton, whom he called “Crooked Hillary,” leading his supporters to chant, “Lock her up!” He also referred to Democratic 2020 candidate Sen. Elizabeth Warren as “Pocahontas.”
  178. Reporters indicated that starting around halfway through Trump’s 72-minute speech, a steady stream of supporters stood up and left. The venue was filled to capacity according to Trump’s campaign.
  179. On Wednesday, WAPO reported around September 25, when the White House released the July 25 call transcript, Trump wanted Attorney General William Barr to hold a news conference and say Trump did not break the law in the call.
  180. The request traveled from Trump to White House officials, who then passed it on to the DOJ. Barr declined to do so, but the DOJ issued a statement saying it would not investigate for campaign finance violations.
  181. The DOJ pushed to release the transcript following reporting on the whistleblower complaint, wrongly assuming it would quell the controversy since Trump did not explicitly push for quid pro quo.
  182. Trump has mentioned Barr’s unwillingness to make a statement to associates in recent weeks, saying he wished he had done so, but the two remain on good terms. The DOJ had tried to distance itself from Trump and Giuliani on the matter.
  183. Later Wednesday, just after midnight, in a series of tweets, Trump pushed back on the story, tweeting, “Years ago, when Media was legitimate…“Fact Checkers” would always call to check and see if a story was accurate.”
  184. Trump also tweeted now, “they just write whatever they want!” adding, “The story in the Amazon Washington Post, of course picked up by Fake News CNN…is totally untrue and just another FAKE NEWS story.”
  185. Trump also again evoked the phrase “enemy of the people,” tweeting, “the LameStream Media, which is The Enemy of the People,” of “working overtime with made up stories in order to drive dissension and distrust!”
  186. On Thursday, Trump continued his attacks in the morning, tweeting, “Bill Barr did not decline my request to talk about Ukraine,” calling it a “Fake Washington Post con job with an “anonymous” source that doesn’t exist.”
  187. Trump also tweeted, “The degenerate Washington Post MADE UP the story about me asking Bill Barr,” adding,“Never happened, and there were no sources!” In a separate tweet, Trump wrote “Read the Transcript!”
  188. Shortly after, Trump continued, tweeting, “The Amazon Washington Post and three lowlife reporters, Matt Zapotosky, Josh Dawsey, and Carol Leonnig, wrote another Fake News story, without any sources.”
  189. Trump also called WAPO, “a garbage newspaper!” and accused “The Radical Left Dems and LameStream Media” of making it harder for him to win, and citing the “new Impeachment Hoax” turning against them.
  190. In a statement, WAPO Executive Editor Marty Baron responded, saying the Post fully stands by the story and its reporters. The story was also later confirmed by NYT and ABC News.
  191. On Friday, Democratic Sens. Kamala Harris, Richard Blumenthal, and Sheldon Whitehouse filed a FOIA request seeking documents related to Trump’s alleged call for Barr to hold a press conference.
  192. In their filing, the three cited “serious concerns” about Trump’s perception of the DOJ “as a partisan political instrument and his willingness to use the power of federal law enforcement in pursuit of his own objectives.”
  193. Trump also called for the end of the impeachment inquiry, citing a 2017 tweet by Mark Zaid, “the Fake Whistleblowers attorney,” predicting his impeachment, and tweeting “the Impeachment Hoax should be ended IMMEDIATELY!”
  194. Trump also falsely claimed, “I get NO LAWYER & NO DUE PROCESS. It is a Pelosi, Schiff, Scam against the Republican Party and me,” adding, “This Witch Hunt should not be allowed to proceed!”
  195. On Thursday, Daily Beast reported Trump and “Apprentice” creator Mark Burnett have discussions about doing another TV series together, possibly “The Apprentice: White House.” Trump misses being a reality TV host.
  196. On Thursday, in response to a request for witnesses sent by Chair Adam Schiff to ranking member Nunes, Jim Jordan responded instead, saying Republicans want to subpoena the whistleblower.
  197. On Thursday, NYT reported Zelensky met with two U.S. Senators in early September and was told if the $400 million in military aid was not released by Trump by September 30, it could be lost entirely.
  198. All of Zelensky top aides were in favor of bowing to Trump’s demands except Alexander Danyliuk, the director of the NSC, who resigned and said Zelensky would need to “correct the mistakes” in U.S. relations.
  199. Negotiations for a statement for Zelenksy happened between Kurt Volker and his senior aide Andriy Yermak in August. U.S. diplomats agreed to drop mention of Ukraine interference in the 2016 election.
  200. Taylor testified that Trump wanted the statement made on CNN. Aides for Zelensky, cautious not to upset Trump, noted his negative tweets about CNN, but then also noticed Trump was attacking Fox News.
  201. Zelensky decided to make a statement on September 13 on CNN show hosted by Fareed Zakaria. Two days before, news had been leaked out about the aid, Congress was in an uproar and aid was released. Zelensky canceled the interview.
  202. On Thursday, Jennifer Williams, a career foreign service officer and special adviser to Pence for Europe and Russia, appeared before the House committees on the impeachment inquiry. She was issued a subpoena.
  203. Williams likely would have briefed Pence ahead of his meeting with Zelensky on September 1. She was also the second on the July 25 call to testify. Pence claimed he was not aware of Trump’s demands to Zelensky.
  204. John Bolton however did not appear for his scheduled impeachment deposition. Bolton has not been issued a subpoena. WAPO reported Bolton is willing to appear if the federal court clears the way.
  205. On Thursday, House Democrats dropped efforts to get testimony from Bolton, after his lawyer threatened to file a lawsuit if he was subpoenaed. Both Democrats and Republicans have said they want to hear from Bolton.
  206. House Democrats also withdrew their subpoena from Charles Kupperman on Wednesday, citing the drawn out time for a legal battle. Oral arguments would have started December 10.
  207. Instead the House will rely on the outcome of a similar ongoing case with Don McGahn, heard by a different judge in the same courthouse. She is likely to issue an opinion in November.
  208. On Thursday, CNN reported House Democrats plan to fast-track the impeachment inquiry, limiting the number of witnesses and avoiding court battles. Sources say the timeline has not been finalized.
  209. Democrats plan to hold public hearings for two weeks, write a report over Thanksgiving break, have two weeks for debate, and then a full House vote before Christmas. Trump would be the third president to be impeached.
  210. On Thursday, House investigators released the transcript of George Kent’s testimony. Kent said he had written contemporaneous memos of specific conversations he had witnessed related to quid pro quo.
  211. Kent testified he believed the Trump-Ukraine conduct was “injurious to the rule of law, both in Ukraine and the U.S.” His notes are in the property of the State Department, and have not been turned over despite a subpoena.
  212. He told Catherine Croft on August 15, on asking Ukraine to investigate, “that goes against everything that we are trying to promote in post Soviet states for the last 28 years, which is the promotion of the rule of law.”
  213. Kent also testified Giuliani started a “campaign of slander” against Yovanovitch in mid-March, and was aided by journalist John Solomon, and Fox News hosts Sean Hannity and Laura Ingraham.
  214. On Thursday, WAPO reported House Republicans’ strategy to shield Trump is raise motives about his deputies — Sondland, Giuliani, and Mick Mulvaney — and say they could have acted alone, and make them the fall guy.
  215. On Thursday, Pence denied allegations in the anonymous author’s book that he would have backed removal of Trump under the 25th Amendment, and added, “I never heard any discussion in my entire tenure.”
  216. Pence also told reporters there was “no quid pro quo,” adding Trump “made military support available for Ukraine,” and, “The American people have the transcript” of Trump’s call.
  217. On Thursday, lawyers for the whistleblower sent the White House a cease and desist letter, demanding Trump stop calling for the outing of the whistleblower’s name, and citing his “reckless and dangerous” comments.
  218. The letter to White House counsel states: “should any harm befall any suspected named whistleblower or their family, the blame will rest squarely with your client.”
  219. On Thursday, journalist Bill Moyer called on PBS to televise the impeachment hearings live, and repeat the broadcast in primetime for Americans who work to see, as was done with Watergate.
  220. On Thursday, a USC Dornsife/LA Times poll found 44% believe the House should vote to impeach, 30% say they should not, and 26% say they do not know or it is too soon to tell.
  221. On Thursday, advance copies of “A Warning” came out, describing Trump as cruel, inept, and a danger to the nation. Anonymous said the ‘quiet resistance’ inside the regime would not steer Trump in the right direction.
  222. The author described Trump as unfit, reckless, and without full control of his faculties, saying he is “like a twelve-year-old in an air traffic control tower, pushing the buttons of government indiscriminately.”
  223. The author claimed senior regime officials considered resigning en masse in a “midnight self-massacre” to sound the public alarm, but decided not to, citing it would destabilize the already fragile government.
  224. On Friday, Trump said he has not agreed to scrap tariffs on China including finalizing “phase one” of the trade deal, after holding a celebratory ceremony in the Oval Office in Week 152.
  225. On Friday, before heading to Georgia, Trump stopped and spoke to reporters on the South Lawn, after avoiding the press for two days — highly unusual for Trump.
  226. Trump told reporters of Sondland, “Let me just tell you: I hardly know the gentleman.” Sondland donated $1 million to Trump’s inaugural fund and has flown several times on Air Force One.
  227. Trump said of the impeachment hearings next week, after complaining about closed door hearings recently, “they shouldn’t be having public hearings,” adding, “This is a hoax. This is just like the Russian witch hunt.”
  228. Trump also said, “Everybody that’s testified, even the ones that are Trump haters, they’ve all been fine. They don’t have anything,” again saying his call “transcript is perfect,” and My phone call was perfect.”
  229. Trump also said the whistleblower “is a disgrace to our country,” and their identity “should be revealed,” and their lawyer “should be sued. And maybe for treason. Maybe for treason.”
  230. Trump also said “Nancy Pelosi should go back to her district, which is horrible. It’s filthy. It’s drug-infested. The stuff’s being flown out to the ocean — it’s being wiped out to the ocean through their drainage systems.”
  231. Trump said of the WAPO story, “if I asked Bill Barr to have a press conference I think he’d do it,” placing him at odds with Barr. Then he added, “But I never asked him to have a press conference. Why should I?”
  232. Trump complained about the media and Democrats, saying, “you’ve really shaped my behavior,” citing “phony stuff” and “false investigations,” adding, “a lot of my behavior was shaped by the fake news and by the other side.”
  233. Trump also told reporters Putin invited him to Russia’s Victory Day parade on May 9, and he is “thinking about it,” adding, “It is right in the middle of political season,” but “I would love to go if I could.”
  234. Later Friday, Trump courted African-American voters at the launch of “Black Voices for Trump” in Atlanta. Roughly 300 attended. Trump told reporters Democrats’ “sinister effort” to get him out of office will not work.
  235. Trump said the inquiry is a “deranged, hyperpartisan impeachment witch hunt,” and “failing fast. It’s all a hoax,” and blamed Democrats for urban issues like crime, saying, “Pelosi should go back home to San Francisco.”
  236. On Friday, acting White House chief of staff Mick Mulvaney defied a House subpoena and skipped his scheduled closed door deposition, saying he was not coming because he had “absolute immunity.”
  237. On Friday, the transcripts of Alexander Vindman and Fiona Hill’s testimony were released by House impeachment investigators. Both Vindman and Hill are in discussion about publicly testifying.
  238. Hill said after it became public that she would cooperate, she was threatened: “I received…death threats, calls at my home. My neighbors reported somebody coming and hammering on my door.”
  239. The transcripts showed Chair Schiff sparred with Rep. Matt Gaetz when he attempted to enter the closed door hearing while Hill testified, with Schiff saying, “You’re not permitted to be in the room,” and “absent yourself.”
  240. Hill testified there was a “good chance” Russia had kompromat on Trump during the 2016 campaign, and it “often is factual,” adding, “then they will sprinkle into that disinformation.”
  241. Hill testified that Giuliani and Sondland side-stepped typical NSC and White House processes for foreign policy, and Giuliani undercut and derailed U.S. diplomats charged with the U.S.-Ukraine relationship.
  242. Hill said the ouster of Yovanovitch was a turning point for her leaving, and that Giuliani was behind Yovanovitch’s “defamation.” Bolton’s reaction was Giuliani is a “hand grenade that is going to blow everyone up.”
  243. Hill also said the campaign against Yovanovitch was “ruthless and nasty,” and had “a really devastating effect” on career diplomats like herself, and on female diplomats in particular.
  244. Hill said reading the July 25 transcript and Volker’s texts were her “worst fears and nightmares” realized, adding there were “an awful lot of people” involved in turning “a White House meeting into some kind of asset.”
  245. Hill said Sondland told her on multiple occasions he was overseeing the Ukraine relationship, on Trump’s authority. She worried Sondland would become a “target for foreign powers” for offering White House access.
  246. Hill and Vindman testified Sondland told Ukrainian officials at a July 10 meeting they would need to open an investigation to secure a White House meeting. Sondland said he was acting at the direction of Mulvaney.
  247. Hill and Vindman testified that the quid pro quo effort was coordinated by Mulvaney. Vindman said he heard of the first hold on Ukraine aid by July 3, and later learned it came from Mulvaney’s office.
  248. Vindman said “there was no doubt” that Trump was seeking political investigations of political rivals, and that Zelensky would “need to fulfill this particular prerequisite in order to get the meeting.”
  249. In total, Democrats released 2,677 pages of testimony from eight impeachment witnesses. Overall, the House committees have called 33 witnesses to testify and 16 have appeared so far.
  250. Later Friday, in a letter to Congress, Bolton’s attorney said his client knows about “many relevant meetings and conversations” connected to the Ukraine pressure campaign that the House has not yet covered.
  251. Bolton’s attorney said his client would be willing to testify, but would first need a court ruling hat he should ignore White House objections. The attorney, Charles Cooper, also represents Kupperman.
  252. Cooper also argued, unlike others who have testified in the inquiry, Bolton and Kupperman did not have the same constraint since they “did not provide direct advice to the president on a regular or frequent basis.
  253. Late Friday, attorneys for Mulvaney asked to join a federal lawsuit filed by Kupperman seeking a judicial ruling on whether Congress can compel Trump’s senior advisers to testify in the impeachment inquiry.
  254. In reaction to the House asking the judge to dismiss Kupperman’s case on Wednesday, Cooper said in a letter Friday that Kupperman and Bolton want to get a “definitive judgment” on whether to testify.
  255. Mulvaney’s attorneys said he and Kupperman face identical competing demands, although Kupperman has left his position. Mulvaney said he fears the House will hold him in contempt for not appearing.
  256. On Friday, WSJ reported in late February, Parnas and Fruman urged former Ukraine President Petro Poroshenko to announce investigations in Trump’s political opponents in exchange for a White House meeting.
  257. The three met at the offices of then Ukrainian general prosecutor Yuriy Lutsenko, shortly after Parnas and Fruman met with Giuliani and Lutsenko in New York in late January, and then again in Warsaw in mid-February.
  258. Poroshenko was in a tight race and wanted to have a state dinner with Trump, then do an interview with a news outlet, then he would announce the investigations. His approval sagged and the meeting did not happen.
  259. Lutsenko told the Hill in March that he was opening an investigation into interference by Ukraine in 2016, and had evidence to present to the DOJ on Joe Biden and Burisma. He later found no wrongdoing by the Bidens.
  260. On Saturday, early in the morning and continuing through the day, Trump sent a flurry of tweets attackingthe impeachment probe, witnesses, and Democrats. He retweeted 17 messages in one hour alone, hammering Democrats.
  261.  Trump also tweeted, “Fake News is reporting that I am talking to Mark Burnett about doing a big show,” adding, “which I would assume they mean in 5 years,” and “This is not true,” and “False reporting!”
  262. Trump also promoted his son’s book, tweeting, “Just finished reading my son Donald’s just out new book, “Triggered.” It is really good! He, along with many of us, was very unfairly treated. But we all fight back.”
  263. In his book, Donald Jr. wrote that a visit to Arlington National Cemetery reminded him of all his family’s sacrifices, saying, “we’d already suffered as a family, and about all the sacrifices we’d have to make.”
  264. Trump also promoted another book, tweeting, “Bringing the word “Nationalism” back into the mainstream — great job by Rich Lowry!” adding, “Very important book.”
  265. Trump also tweeted, “the Witch Hunt continues. After 3 years of relentless attacks against the Republican Party & me,” adding, “the Do Nothing Dems are losers for America!” and “PRESIDENTIAL HARASSMENT!”
  266. On Saturday, House Republicans sent a list of witnesses they want to call in the impeachment hearings, including Hunter Biden, Nellie Ohr, a board member of Burisma, Volker, Morrison, and the whistleblower.
  267. Chair Schiff responded, “This inquiry is not, and will not serve…to undertake the same sham investigationsinto the Bidens or 2016 that the President pressed Ukraine to conduct for his personal political benefit.”
  268. On Saturday, NPR annotated the whistleblower complaint based on public record of testimony in the impeachment inquiry, and found most of the content has already been corroborated.
  269. On Saturday, Trump told reporters he will “probably” release the transcript on Tuesday of a second call with Zelensky on April 12 after he won the election, saying, “They ask for it, and I gladly give it.”
  270. Trump also said on the hearings, “I don’t care if public — they should be public. What I said it was misreported as usual. What I said is very simple. There should not be anything. There should not be impeachment hearings.”

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In this Tuesday, Nov. 5, 2019, photo Delaware County Council candidate Monica Taylor high-fives a supporter during the Delaware County Democratic Committee’s election watch party. Democrats won all three seats and took control of the council for the first time since the Civil War.

POLITIKS OF GRAFFITI 156: LOCK HIM UP!

NOVEMBER 02, 2019

Week 155

Experts in authoritarianism advise to keep a list of things
subtly changing around you, so you’ll remember. https://theweeklylist.org/weekly-list/week-155/

This week, further testimony in the impeachment probe brought the fifth and sixth public confirmation of a quid pro quo between Trump and Ukraine, including so far William Taylor, Gordon Sondland, Sen. Ron Johnson, Mick Mulvaney, Alexander Vindman and Tim Morrison. By week’s end, Senate Republicans discussed shifting their defense of Trump to acknowledging his quid pro quo, but saying it was not illegal — differing from House Republicans who continued to deny it, and Trump who maintained he had a “perfect” call and tested out new explanations for what occurred. Allegations of a possible White House cover up of Trump’s July 25 call also surfaced in this week’s testimony.

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IMPEACH. CRIMINAL. VOTE OUT. North Park, San Diego, CALIFORNIA. 2nov19.

The House of Representatives took its first full, public vote on impeachment, passing a resolution to proceed with public hearings, and setting out ground rules to proceed. In the meantime, aspects of the Mueller probe came back into the spotlight as ongoing court cases played out, and Speaker Nancy Pelosi said she would not rule out including new information in the impeachment inquiry.

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CLOSE UP. 

Trump tried to pivot and focus attention on a successful raid that killed the head of ISIS, seeking to turn it into a Hollywood story to distract attention and legitimize his haphazard foreign policy. This week hundreds of U.S. troops abandoned Kurdish allies in Syria, while hundreds of others moved back to Syria to protect oilfields not owned by the U.S. Trump attended his first Major League Baseball game for the World Series, and was treated to boos when he was announced, and chants of “Lock him up!” an inning later.

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V O T E. Downtown San Diego, CALIFORNIA 2nov19
  1. On Saturday, former White House chief of staff John Kelly said at a conference that he warned Trump if he replaced him with “a ‘yes man,’ someone who won’t tell you the truth,” he would “be impeached.”
  2. Trump said Kelly “never said anything like that,” or he would have thrown him “out of the office.” White House press secretary Stephanie Grisham said Kelly “was totally unequipped to handle the genius” of Trump.
  3. Late Saturday, Trump tweeted, “Something very big has just happened!” The White House said Trump will make a major announcement on Sunday at 9 a.m. EST. It was not immediately clear what Trump would discuss.
  4. On Sunday, Trump announced an operation by U.S. Special Forces on Saturday killed Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, the founder and leader of ISIS. Trump notably thanked other countries before thanking U.S. troops.
  5. Trump particularly emphasized Russia, thanking “the nations of Russia, Turkey, Syria, and Iraq” and the “Syrian Kurds,” then later saying “Russia was great, Russia let us fly through space. Russia hates ISIS as much as us.”
  6. Trump delivered an unusually vivid account, saying al-Baghdadi “died after running into a dead-end tunnel, whimpering, screaming and crying all the way,” adding, “He died like a dog, he died like a coward.”
  7. Trump also said of oilfields, “We have taken it and secured it,” and repeated his 2016 campaign rhetoric, “I said keep the oil,” confirming the world’s worst suspicions about American motives in the region.
  8. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said in a statement that Trump notified Russia before telling Congress, saying,“The House must be briefed,” adding, “the Russians but not top Congressional Leadership were notified.”
  9. Trump only informed two Senate Republicans, Sens. Richard Burr and Lindsey Graham, and claimed he did not tell Speaker Pelosi because he “wanted to make sure this kept secret.”
  10. A spokesperson for the Russian Defense Ministry refuted Trump’s announcement, saying Russia did not provide access to air space for U.S. air units, and calling Trump’s victory lap nothing but “propaganda.”
  11. On Sunday, NYT reported Trump’s Syria troop withdrawal complicated the Pentagon’s plans for the al-Baghdadi raid, which were underway for months, and caused a risky night raid before the pullout was complete.
  12. On Monday, Trump told reporters he is considering releasing parts of the video of the raid, saying “it was an amazing display of intelligence and military power,” and evoking comparisons to a reality-TV type rollout.
  13. Trump also defended not notifying Democratic leaders beforehand, saying, “I’ve watched Adam Schiff leak,” calling him a “corrupt politician” and “the biggest leaker in Washington.”
  14. On Monday, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said he was not notified ahead of the raid, but Trump tried to connect before the news conference. House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy also was not notified.
  15. On Monday, Gen. Mark Milley, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, told reporters the Pentagon could not confirm al-Baghdadi died “screaming, crying and whimpering,” and was not sure how Trump got his information.
  16. On Monday, NBC News reported some of the details Trump gave were false, while others may have revealed highly classified or tactically sensitive information. Officials cited his entertainment background.
  17. On Monday, NBC News reported a Kurdish informant provided key information to U.S. intelligence that was essential to the raid. Trump said Sunday that Kurds provided “some information that turned out to be helpful.”
  18. On Monday, Defense Secretary Mark Esper announced a broad defense of Syrian oilfields, saying U.S. troops would use “overwhelming force” to protect the oilfields from not only ISIS, but also Syria and Russia.
  19. On Wednesday, NBC News reported acting White House chief of staff Mick Mulvaney learned of the raid after it was already underway, an extraordinary move by Trump not to notify his chief of staff.
  20. On Wednesday, Trump tweeted a fake photo of him placing a medal around the neck of a hero dog involved in the raid — an altered photo of Trump awarding a Medal of Honor to James McCloughan, an army medic.
  21. On Wednesday, NYT reported in Syria, hundreds of U.S. troops are abandoning Kurdish allies, while hundreds arrive to guard oil fields: troops at the oil fields are expected to reach 900, as 1,000 are withdrawn.
  22. On Friday, NYT reported Trump seemed to have made up his vivid comments about the death of Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, when he claimed he was “whimpering and crying and screaming all the way.”
  23. In addition to Gen. Milley, Defense Sec. Esper, and the regional commander who oversaw the operation, other senior Defense Department officials all say they have no idea what Trump is talking about.
  24. On Monday, Politico reported U.S. policy toward Ukraine is in shambles. Officials in Kiev wondered who they can trust in Washington, given recent departures and the inquiry. Experts worry about “lasting damage.”
  25. On Tuesday, British Parliament voted to dissolve and set up an early election on December 12, the first December election since 1923, at which the issue of Brexit will be front and center.
  26. On Wednesday, Russia’s Defense Ministry said it had successfully test-launched a Bulava intercontinental ballistic missile for the first time from a nuclear submarine, striking a target thousands of kilometers away.
  27. The test came as Trump pulled out of the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty, which banned deployment of short- and medium-ranged missiles in August.
  28. On Friday, Syrian President Bashar Assad told NBC News that Trump is “the best” president, citing his transparency, saying, “Trump speaks with transparency to say ‘we want the oil.’”
  29. On Sunday, Trump attended Game 5 of the World Series between the Nationals and Astros. When his presence was announced, the crowd let out thunderous boos. One inning later, fans chanted “Lock him up!
  30. The Lerner family, the principal owners of the Nationals, put in a request to the MLB not to be put in a position to turn down a request to be seated with Trump. Trump sat with a group of his Republican allies.
  31. This marked the first time Trump attended a MLB game since taking office. Until Trump, every president since William Taft had throw out a ceremonial first pitch. Trump left the game early after being booed.
  32. On Monday, when asked about Trump being booed, White House deputy press secretary Hogan Gidley told reporters, “I didn’t talk to [Trump] about it. I know that there were some people there cheering as well.”
  33. On Monday, WAPO reported on concerns raised by Democratic campaigns who reporting indicated were targeted by a Russia-based disinformation campaign on Instagram, the first of 2020, and have been left in the dark.
  34. Democratic lawmakers, campaigns, and security experts worry the Trump regime and social media companies do not have a response or strategy in place for 2020. China and Iran have also manipulated social media.
  35. On Monday, in a letter to Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg and his lieutenants, more than 250 Facebook employees said they “strongly object” to the decision to let politicians post any claims they wanted.
  36. On Wednesday, Facebook said it took down three Russian-backed influence networks aimed at African countries. Russia has been testing disinformation networks ahead of the 2020 U.S. election.
  37. The networks were linked to Yevgeny Prigozhin, the Russian oligarch known as “Putin’s chef,” who was indicted in the U.S. and accused of interfering in the 2016 U.S. election.
  38. On Wednesday, Twitter’s CEO Jack Dorsey announced the company will ban all political ads starting November 22, tweeting, “We believe political message reach should be earned, not bought.”
  39. Trump’s campaign manager Brad Parscale said in a statement it was “a very dumb decision,” calling it a partisan act meant to silence conservatives. Democrats praised the decision.
  40. On Wednesday, former CIA director John Brennan said Russia’s influence operation swayed votes in the 2016 election, a statement that went further than past public statements by U.S. intelligence officials and lawmakers.
  41. Brennan said there was possibly some effect on the final result, which gave Trump the presidency, adding, “How many, in which states, I don’t know. Whether it changed the outcome, I don’t know.”
  42. On Wednesday, Georgia state officials announced the state plans to purge 300,000 names from its voter rolls, roughly 4% of registered voters, removing voters who have moved away or stop casting ballots.
  43. On Sunday, Senate Judiciary Committee ranking member Dianne Feinstein released a letter from committee Democrats, calling on Attorney General William Barr to recuse himself from matters relating to Ukraine.
  44. On Monday, AG Barr told Fox News the accusation that he acts as Trump’s personal lawyer are “completely wrong and there is no basis for it,” adding, “I act on behalf of the United States.”
  45. On Monday, WAPO reported Senate Republicans are struggling to defend Trump: while Trump allies have strained to argue about the inquiry process, others are having trouble defending facts and are not speaking up.
  46. Several GOP senators cited being a “juror” in their unwillingness to comment to the press. Senators have also complained about a lack of strategy from the White House and their limited grasp of the full facts.
  47. One veteran senator said, “It feels like a horror movie.” Leader McConnell is prioritizing keeping control of the Senate, as support for impeachment has grown in several swing districts up for re-election in 2020.
  48. On Monday, Sens. Susan Collins and Lisa Murkowski joined Mitt Romney saying they would not co-sponsor Graham’s resolution. Leader McConnell, although a co-sponsor, did not commit to bring the resolution to the floor.
  49. On Sunday, chairs of the three House committees insisted that Charles Kupperman, a deputy to former NSA John Bolton, appear before their committees on Monday, saying he could face a contempt citation if he declines.
  50. On Monday, Kupperman did not appear. His attorneys asked the courts for an expedited hearing of their lawsuit filed last Friday, after the House subpoenaed him, and the White House claimed “constitutional immunity.”
  51. Chair Schiff told reporters it was “deeply regrettable” that Kupperman was a “no-show,” saying witnesses like Kupperman “need to do their duty and show up,” adding his refusal “may warrant a contempt proceeding.”
  52. Schiff also said Kupperman’s decision to not show has “no basis in law,” and was further evidence of Trump’s efforts to obstruct Congress. Later, a federal judge set a court date of Thursday for Kupperman’s lawsuit.
  53. Schiff added, “We are not willing to let the White House engage us in a lengthy game of rope-a-dope in the courts, so we press ahead,” citing the previous stonewalling by the Trump regime in the Mueller probe.
  54. Later Monday, Speaker Pelosi said in a letter the House will vote Thursday to bring the impeachment inquiry public, establishing rules for presentation of evidence and outlining due process, saying, “Nobody is above the law.”
  55. Pelosi said, “We are taking this step to eliminate any doubt as to whether the Trump administration may withhold documents, prevent witness testimony, disregard duly authorized subpoenas or continue obstructing.”
  56. On Monday, WAPO reported Sen. Ron Johnson met with Ukrainian diplomat Andrii Telizhenko for at least 30 minutes on Capitol Hill in July about the unsubstantiated claim the DNC worked with Ukraine in 2016.
  57. Johnson’s staffers also met with Telizhenko for five hours. The meetings point to his emerging role as the most involved member of Congress on Ukraine, and could make him a person of interest in the inquiry.
  58. On Monday, Rep. Greg Walden, ranking member on the House Energy and Commerce Committee, announced he will retire in 2020, becoming the fourth GOP ranking member to depart in 2020.
  59. On Monday, during his first visit to Chicago for the International Association of Chiefs of Police, Trump blasted Chicago police superintendent Eddie Johnson, who boycotted the event, for “not doing his job.”
  60. Trump attacked Johnson, a Black man, over Chicago’s “sanctuary city” policies, saying, “People like Johnson put criminals and illegal aliens before the citizens of Chicago,” adding, “Frankly, those values, to me, are a disgrace.”
  61. Trump also attacked Chicago, whose officials have been outspokenly against his immigration policies, saying, “It’s embarrassing to us as a nation,” adding, “Afghanistan is a safe place by comparison.”
  62. Thousands in Chicago gathered outside of Trump Tower to protest his first visit to their city with homemade signs, and chants like “Lock him up!” and “This is what democracy looks like!” Trump did not see the protests.
  63. On Monday, the Fraternal Order of Police, the largest police union with 330,000 members, attacked the impeachment process in a statement, accusing Congress of violating due process “to score political points.”
  64. The statement, which was also tweeted, accused “many Members of Congress” of “undermining that trust in due process,” adding, “Just as local law enforcement officers are often convicted in the media.”
  65. On Friday, Trump again attacked Johnson, tweeting, “Chicago will never stop its crime wave with the current Superintendent of Police,” and thanking allies Kevin Graham and “the GREAT Chicago Police Officers.”
  66. On Monday, the DOJ filed a motion asking Judge Beryl Howell to stay her order to turn over grand jury materials in the Mueller probe, pending review of an appeals court.
  67. On Tuesday, a three-judge appeals court temporarily blocked the release of the Mueller probe materials while Judge Howell has “sufficient opportunity to consider the emergency motion” by DOJ.
  68. On Saturday, WAPO reported Republican lawmakers loyal to Trump have used the impeachment inquiry to ask questions related to the whistleblower, reportedly in an effort to “unmask” their identity.
  69. On Monday, Daily Beast reported Derek Harvey, a top aide to Rep. Devin Nunes, has provided notes to House Republicans with the supposed name of the whistleblower, in hopes of getting the name added to transcripts.
  70. On Tuesday, Trump promoted Nunes’ new book, tweeting, “A great new book just out,” adding, “The True Story Of How Congressman Devin Nunez [sic] Uncovered the Biggest Political Scandal In U.S. History.”
  71. On Monday, NYT reported Army officer Alexander Vindman, the top Ukraine expert on the NSC, will testify Tuesday he twice reported concerns about Trump’s pressure tactics on Ukraine out of a “sense of duty.”
  72. According to his opening statement, Vindman was expected to testify he heard Trump ask Ukraine’s president to investigate his political rivals. Vindman will be the first person present on the July 25 call to testify.
  73. Vindman said, “I did not think it was proper to demand that a foreign government investigate a U.S. citizen,” adding he was worried about the implications for Ukraine in what would be considered a “partisan play.”
  74. Vindman worried “This would all undermine U.S. national security,” and added, “I am a patriot, and it is my sacred duty and honor to advance and defend our country irrespective of party or politics.”
  75. Vindman planned to say he is not the whistleblower, but that his account will corroborate the complaint, and that he watched with alarm as “outside influencers” began pushing a “false narrative” about Ukraine.
  76. Vindman said he first brought concerns to John Eisenberg, the NSC top lawyer, on July 10 when Sondlandspoke about “Ukraine delivering specific investigations in order to secure the meeting with the president.”
  77. Vindman went again to Eisenberg on July 25, accompanied by his twin brother Yevgeny, who is a lawyer on the National Security Council. Both serve as lieutenant colonels in the Army.
  78. Vindman’s testimony aligns with that of Fiona Hill, and her concern of the July 10 call along with Bolton, as well as that of William Taylor; but differed from Sondland who testified no concerns were ever raised to him on Ukraine.
  79. Shortly after, Rep. Joaquin Castro, a member of the House Intelligence Committee, tweeted based on Vindman’s testimony, “I believe that Ambassador Gordon Sondland committed perjury.”
  80. Shortly after, Fox News host Laura Ingraham attacked Vindman on her show, speculating he was a double-agent for Ukraine, given he was born there and is fluent in their language. Her guest accused him of espionage.
  81. Shortly before midnight, Trump quoted Ingraham, tweeting, “There is no underlying crime in that transcript,” and added, “Where is the Whistleblower? That is why this is now called the Impeachment Hoax!”
  82. Trump also tweeted, “The only crimes in the Impeachment Hoax were committed by Shifty Adam Schiff,” saying “he totally made up my phone conversation” and “should be Impeached, and worse.”
  83. On Tuesday, “Fox & Friends” co-host Brian Kilmeade continued the attack on Vindman, saying although he got a purple heart, “He is from the Soviet Union, he emigrated here and has an affinity for the Ukrainian people.”
  84. On Tuesday, CNN contributor Sean Duffy also suggested Vindman’s loyalty was to Ukraine, saying, “He has an affinity, probably, for his homeland,” and “I don’t know that he’s concerned about American policy.”
  85. On Tuesday, Trump tweeted, “Why are people that I never even heard of testifying about the call,” adding, “Just READ THE CALL TRANSCRIPT…THE IMPEACHMENT HOAX IS OVER! Ukrain [sic] said NO PRESSURE.”
  86. Trump called Vindman a “Never Trumper” in a series of tweets, saying, “Where’s the Whistleblower?” and “Just read the Transcript, everything else is made up garbage by Shifty Schiff and the Never Trumpers!”
  87. Trump also tweeted, “The Do Nothing Democrats are working hard to make everyone forget the Best Economy Ever, the monumental weekend raid,” adding, “The Impeachment Hoax is a disgrace. Read the transcript!”
  88. Trump also tweeted, “How many more Never Trumpers will be allowed to testify about a perfectly appropriate phone call” adding, “READ THE TRANSCRIPT! I knew people were listening in on the call.”
  89. Trump also tweeted, “according to the Corrupt Media, the Ukraine call “concerned” today’s Never Trumper witness,” adding, “Was he on the same call that I was?” and “ask him to read the Transcript,” and “Witch Hunt!”
  90. Vindman and his twin brother fled to the U.S. from Ukraine at age 3. He has served in the U.S. Army for two decades under Democrats and Republicans, and earned a Purple Heart from fighting in the Iraq War.
  91. Later Tuesday, top Republicans pushed back on the Vindman attacks, with No. 2 GOP Sen. John Thune saying “He’s a patriot,” and Rep. Liz Cheney calling it “shameful” to question Vindman’s loyalty or patriotism.
  92. When Leader McConnell was pressed by a reporter about Vindman’s testimony, he side-stepped answering, instead responding, “I’m not gonna question the patriotism of any of the people who are coming forward.”
  93. Later, Trump also tweeted, ““Nervous Nancy Pelosi” is trying to destroy the Republican Party, but that “The Do Nothing Dems will lose many seats in 2020. They have a Death Wish, led by a corrupt politician, Adam Schiff!”
  94. On Tuesday, NYT reported Vindman testified that the White House transcript of the July 25 call between Trump and Zelensky omitted crucial words and phrases, and two of his corrections were not incorporated.
  95. The two omissions were Trump’s assertion there was a recording of Biden discussing Ukraine corruption, and a mention by Zelensky of Burisma Holdings. He also hinted that Trump aides left things out of the transcript.
  96. The call transcript has ellipses at three points where Trump is supposedly trailing off. Vindman said the third set were Trump referencing a tape of Biden commenting about his efforts to oust Viktor Shokin.
  97. On Tuesday, WSJ reported House Democrats accused Republicans of trying to unmask the whistleblower during their questioning of Vindman. Vindman said he is not the whistleblower, and does not know who it is.
  98. Lawyers for the whistleblower told the Journal the team has received abusive communications and multiple death threats — that have led to at least one law-enforcement investigation.
  99. On Wednesday, Politico reported Vindman testified after attending Zelensky’s inauguration he hoped to brief Trump and give a positive review. His briefing was canceled as aides said it might confuse Trump.
  100. Vindman said he was instructed “at the last second” not to attend the debriefing, as Trump believed Kashyap Patel, a former staffer of Rep. Devin Nunes with no Ukraine expertise, was the NSC’s top Ukraine expert.
  101. On Wednesday, CNN reported Vindman believed a quid quo pro existed on July 10 when Sondland told Ukrainian government officials they would need to deliver “specific investigations” to get a meeting with Trump.
  102. He realized Trump was behind withholding aid on August 15 when Bolton had him to write an interagency memo asking for Trump to release the aid. Trump refused after a meeting at Bedminster on August 16.
  103. On Tuesday, the House released the resolution detailing next steps in the public impeachment inquiry. The vote on Thursday will mark the first time House members will go on the public record voting for the inquiry.
  104. The eight-page resolution laid out the format for public hearings, permitting staff counsels to question witnesses for up to 45 minutes per side. Transcripts of past interviews will be redacted and publicly released.
  105. The measure allows Trump or his attorneys to participate in impeachment proceedings held by the House Judiciary Committee. If Trump “refuses to cooperate” the Chair has the discretion to impose appropriate remedies.
  106. The measure gives Republicans subpoena power, but only with the approval of the chairman or full committee.
  107. Trump and Republicans have repeatedly called on House Democrats to hold a vote, and Pelosi choosing to do so nullifies this talking point. House Republicans criticized the resolution in a letter before it was released.
  108. The White House said in a statement the resolution “confirms that House Democrats’ impeachment has been an illegitimate sham from the start as it lacked any proper authorization by a House vote.”
  109. NBC News reported what shifted Pelosi’s mind on holding a vote were the facts in evidence, and wanting the American public to hear from witnesses. Republicans had been complaining about closed-door hearings.
  110. On Tuesday, Sen. Bob Menendez asked the Office of Special Counsel to open a probe into whether Secretary of State Mike Pompeo violated the Hatch Act by recent trips to Kansas, as Republicans urge him to run for senate in 2020.
  111. On Tuesday, a federal judge in Florida said Lev Parnas can be questioned under oath about financial transfershe made to Republican political campaigns, including Trump. Parnas is under house arrest in Florida.
  112. On Tuesday, federal prosecutors blasted what they said was an “extraordinary” new claim by Michael Flynnthat he is the victim of a “plot to set up an innocent man.” Flynn is set to be sentenced December 18.
  113. On Tuesday, George Papadopoulos filed paperwork to run for a House seat vacated by Democrat Katie Hill, after she resigned Sunday. Hill said she was a victim of “revenge porn.”
  114. On Tuesday, a poll by Grinnell College found 81% of Americans say it is not okay for political candidates to ask for assistance from a foreign government to help them win an election, including 81% of Republicans.
  115. However most Republicans do not feel that rises to the level of impeachment: 42% overall believe Trump should be impeached and removed, while 44% say he should not (including 87% of Republicans).
  116. On Wednesday, Trump tweeted, “Republicans are very unified and energized in our fight on the Impeachment Hoax with the Do Nothing Democrats,” citing the “very infair [sic] Process.”
  117. Trump also tweeted, “the Transcript leads EVERYBODY to see that the call with the Ukrainian President was a totally appropriate one,” calling impeachment “a continuation of the Witch Hunt Hoax.”
  118. Trump also again attacked Vindman, tweeting “Yesterday’s Never Trumper witness could find NO Quid Pro Quo in the Transcript,” adding Zelensky “found NOTHING wrong with it. Witch Hunt!”
  119. Trump also quoted “Fox & Friends” co-host Steve Doocy who said Pelosi is putting impeachment up to a vote “because that’s what her political left really wants,” adding, “A disgraceful use of Impeachment. Will backfire!
  120. On Wednesday, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer asked the Army in a letter to provide Vindman, who returned to work Wednesday, the same protections against retaliation as those provided to whistleblowers.
  121. On Wednesday, CNN reported House Republicans plan to stick to the messaging strategy focused on criticizing the impeachment process, but not pushing back on the underlying facts as Trump pushed them to do.
  122. Republicans have expressed exasperation that the White House has not done more to coordinate their message with lawmakers, and has not provided guidance or even a point person to contact on impeachment.
  123. On Wednesday, Catherine Croft, a State Department employee who worked on Ukraine issues for the NSC, and worked under Kurt Volker, testified before the three House committees behind closed doors.
  124. Both the White House and the State Department had directed Croft not to appear for her deposition, and to limit the scope of her testimony. The House Intelligence Committee issued a subpoena to compel her testimony.
  125. In her opening statement, Croft said lobbyist Robert Livingston called her repeatedly, and “told me that Ambassador Yovanovitch should be fired,” calling her an “Obama holdover” and “associated with George Soros.”
  126. Croft said she notified her boss, Fiona Hill, and George Kent. Croft said he learned of military aid being withheld from Ukraine on a July 18 call with the Office of Management and Budget “at the direction of the President.”
  127. Croft and Christopher Anderson, a career Foreign Service officer who also testified on Wednesday, both had a positive view of Ukraine’s new president Zelensky, in contrast to Trump, Rudy Giuliani, and the regime.
  128. Both testified that Livingston’s lobbying firm was in touch with them during 2018, and that his firm has ongoing business in Ukraine, including some relating to former prime minister Yulia Tymoshenko.
  129. Livingston’s firm accompanied Tymoshenko to a meeting with Anderson in December 2018. Anderson also said Bolton told him that Giuliani “could be an obstacle to increased White House engagement” on Ukraine.
  130. On Wednesday, Just Security reported that over the summer, alarmed officials at the Pentagon strongly warned the White House about withholding Ukraine funding, repeatedly advising to release the funds.
  131. After the Pentagon certified Ukraine in late May, it repeatedly told the White House that if aid was not released, at least in part, before fiscal year-end September 30, it might never make its way to Ukraine.
  132. In late July, the Pentagon told the White House it could be at risk of violating the Impoundment Control Act, which punishes the executive branch for not spending money appropriated by Congress.
  133. On Wednesday, ranking Senate Democrats Ron Wyden and Menendez, asked U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer in a letter for details on the Trump regime delay in restoring Ukraine’s trade privileges.
  134. On Wednesday, in another stunt outside the secured facility, Trump ally Rep. Matt Gaetz told reporters he filed an ethics complaint against Schiff, claiming Schiff has violated rules overseeing the impeachment inquiry.
  135. On Wednesday, House Democrats asked Bolton to testify in the impeachment inquiry. Later Wednesday, Bolton’s attorney, who also represents Kupperman, said he would not testify without a subpoena.
  136. House Democrats also invited John Eisenberg and his deputy Michael Ellis to testify on Monday. It was doubtful they will appear as their office wrote the legal memo spelling out the regime’s unwillingness to cooperate.
  137. On Thursday, a federal judge said he will fast-track the case on Kupperman’s testifying, calling it a “matter of great public interest and a matter of great urgency.” Oral arguments will begin December 10.
  138. On Thursday, another federal judge heard a case on Don McGahn testifying to the House on the Mueller report. She chided the DOJ for blocking him and claims of “absolute immunity,” and said she will rule soon.
  139. On Wednesday, Politico reported Leader McConnell met privately with Trump and warned him to stop attacking Republican Senators, reminding him they will be deciding his fate at the impeachment trial.
  140. After the meeting, the one major shift is that Trump has stopped publicly attacking Republican Senators, such as Sen. Mitt Romney who last week he called a “pompous ass.”
  141. On Wednesday, John Sullivan, Trump’s nominee to be U.S. Ambassador to Russia, testified at a Senate confirmation hearing. Sullivan claimed he was unaware of what was happening with Ukraine policy.
  142. Sullivan broke from Trump, saying, “Soliciting investigations into a domestic political opponent” would not be “in accord with our values,” although he said Trump has “denied that there was any quid pro quo.”
  143. Sullivan acknowledged that he was the one who notified Yovanovitch that she was being recalled, but said despite trying to find out why, he was not given a reason, and that Giuliani was involved in her recall.
  144. On Wednesday, former GOP senator William Cohen, who sat on the Judiciary Committee during Watergate said Trump sounds like a dictator, invoking the book “1984” and repeating lies until they become the truth.
  145. On Wednesday, Secretary of State Pompeo falsely claimed on Fox News that the reason the Obama administration did not give Ukraine lethal defensive military equipment was related to Hunter Biden.
  146. On Wednesday, WAPO reported after Trump’s July 25 call, Vindman rushed to Eisenberg’s office and told him what Trump did was wrong. Eisenberg scribbled notes on a yellow legal pad.
  147. Eisenberg then proposed moving the transcript of the call to a highly classified server and restricting access to it, a step that goes against long-standing White House protocol.
  148. On July 10, two top Ukrainian officials in Zelenksy’s new administration, Andriy Yermak and Oleksandr Danyliuk, came to Washington, and met in Bolton’s office with Vindman, Sondland, Hill, and Volker.
  149. According to Vindman and Hill, rather than speak about combating corruption, Sondland turned the conversation to pursuing investigations important to Trump, causing an alarmed Bolton to cut the meeting short.
  150. Vindman said Sondland told the officials that Ukraine must deliver on “investigations into the 2016 election, the Bidens, and Burisma.” He and Hill reported the incident to Eisenberg, but it is unclear if he took action.
  151. On Thursday, WSJ reported Vindman’s identical twin, Yevgeny Vindman, an NSC lawyer handling ethics issues, may be called to testify. He was not on the July 25 call, but was present when his brother reported to Eisenberg.
  152. On Wednesday, Tim Morrison, the top Russia official on Trump’s National Security Council who is a conservative hawk and lifelong Republican, resigned. Morrison was expected to testify on Thursday.
  153. Morrison was brought on by Bolton, and served on the NSC for 15 months. In July, he replaced Fiona Hill as Trump’s top Russia adviser. He will be replaced by Andrew Peek, a deputy assistant secretary of state.
  154. In William Taylor’s testimony, he said Morrison told him that he had alerted NSC lawyers that Sondland had informed a top Ukrainian official that military aid was contingent on opening an investigation into Burisma.
  155. NYT reported the White House directed Morrison not to appear on Thursday, but he agreed to appear under a subpoena. He told colleagues he did not want anyone to think his testifying was related to his departure.
  156. On Thursday, Morrison testified before the House committees. He was expected to confirm Taylor’s testimony that Trump used his office to pressure Ukraine to investigate the Bidens, or quid pro quo.
  157. Morrison was also expected to testify that he alerted Taylor that Trump and his deputies were planning to withhold both military aid and a White House visit until Ukraine investigated the Bidens and the 2016 U.S. election.
  158. Morrison was expected to corroborate he spoke to Taylor at least twice in early September, first to alert him to Sondland, and then to share a “sinking feeling” about a conversation between Sondland and Trump.
  159. On Thursday, NYT reported Morrison confirmed quid pro quo, saying Sondland told him military aid for Ukraine would not be released until the country committed to investigations wanted by Trump.
  160. Morrison also said he was told about a September call between Trump and Sondland, where Trump said he was not looking for quid pro quo, but went on to “insist” that Zelensky publicly announce investigations of Democrats.
  161. Morrison also said of the July 25 call, “I want to be clear, I was not concerned that anything illegal was discussed,” but still asked Eisenberg to review, citing concern that a summary could leak out.
  162. Morrison however confirmed Taylor’s testimony that he had “a sinking feeling” when he learned Trump was asking Zelensky to announce investigations, even as Trump denied it was quid pro quo.
  163. Morrison also testified he tried to find out if Sondland went rogue— referring to him as a “free radical” — or if he was acting at the direction of Trump, even asking Trump’s executive secretary if he spoke to Sondland.
  164. On Thursday, Trump seized on Morrison saying matters discussed on the call were not illegal, tweeting, “But the Crooked Democrats don’t want people to know this!” and “Thank you to Tim Morrison for your honesty.”
  165. On Thursday, an AP-NORC poll found 61% of Americans say Trump has little or no respect for the country’s democratic institutions and traditions, including 1 in 4 Republicans. Trump’s approval remained steady at 42%.
  166. On Thursday, a WAPO/ABC News poll found Americans are split over impeachment, with 49% for and 47% against — split along party lines, and unchanged from an earlier poll in October.
  167. The poll found Trump’s approval remained at 38%, but that his support with Republicans dropped to 74%, the lowest approval since taking office, and down eight points from September.
  168. On Thursday, before the House voted, Trump sent a series of tweets, quoting Fox News host Laura Ingraham saying, “Now is the time for Republicans to stand together and defend the leader of their party.”
  169. On Thursday, as the House was debating the measure before voting and the stock market dipped, Trump tweeted, “the Impeachment Hoax is hurting our Stock Market. The Do Nothing Democrats don’t care!”
  170. On Thursday, the House voted 232-196 to approve the impeachment resolution with just two Democrats joining Republicans, and Rep. Justin Amash voting with Democrats.
  171. Shortly after, Trump slammed the impeachment vote, tweeting, “The Greatest Witch Hunt In American History!
  172. After the vote, House Republicans gathered to speak to reporters. Rep. Louie Gohmert called the measure a “coup” against Trump and warned of a potential “civil war.”
  173. Whip Steve Scalise held up a poster showing a communist hammer-and-sickle behind the Kremlin, saying, “Maybe in the Soviet Union you do something like this,” calling it “a sham process, a tainted process.”
  174. On Thursday, the Minneapolis Star Tribune reported Trump will be the only name that appears on the Minnesota Republican primary ballot, the fifth state to take his three primary competitors off the ballot.
  175. On Thursday, Politico reported Trump is tapping his vast donor network as a tool to reward Republican Senators who have his back on impeachment, and send a message to those who are not on board.
  176. Trump’s reelection campaign sent a fundraising appeal to its massive email list to support three senators up in 2020 who supported the anti-impeachment resolutions: Cory Gardner, Joni Ernst, and Thom Tillis.
  177. Sen. Susan Collins, who recently has been critical of Trump and did not sign the resolution, was omitted. A senior Republican strategist said Trump “has the ability to turn on the money spigot like no one else.”
  178. On Thursday, CNN reported Trump had lunch with some Senate Republicans at the White House after the vote, signaling a change in approach and an outreach effort.
  179. Part of the reason for the outreach is White House concern that Senate Republicans’ part of the process will not be as predictable as what unfolded in the House.
  180. On Thursday, Trump told conservative Washington Examiner in a interview that he had “a good call” with Zelensky, and may read it for a “fireside chat” on live television “because people have to hear it.”
  181. Trump also shuffled through a pile of papers and held up a copy of news clippings reporting on Morrison’s opening statement, and said it was “fantastic,” adding, “This was going to be their star witness.”
  182. On Monday, Arizona Central reported a 33 year-old Mexican woman died on Saturday at an area hospital, after being in Customs and Border Patrol custody for two weeks, likely from complications caused by dehydration.
  183. Her death is the second in two weeks: a 49 year-old Mexican man died hours after Border Patrol took him into custody near Casa Grande, likely of a preexisting heart condition.
  184. On Tuesday, a federal judge issued a preliminary injunction against Alabama’s abortion ban, that was signed into law in May, pending a full hearing, saying it “violates an individual’s constitutional right.”
  185. On Tuesday, Missouri state health director, Dr. Randall Williams, testified at a state hearing on Planned Parenthood’s license that he kept a spreadsheet to track the menstrual periods of women who visited them.
  186. The spreadsheet was used to help identify patients who had undergone failed abortions, and whether complication reports were filed. The hearings will decide if PP keeps its license to perform abortions.
  187. On Tuesday, CNN reported the U.S. is on track to not admit any refugees in the month of October, citing a State Department moratorium in place through November 5. Roughly 500 flights were canceled in October.
  188. The Trump regime proposed capping refugees at 18,000 in the coming fiscal year, a historic low. The consistent delays in incoming travel suggests Trump may not have signed off on the new ceiling.
  189. On Tuesday, NYT reported the White House is considering using a loophole for Trump to be able to replace acting DHS Sec. Kevin McAleenan with an immigration extremist, in line with Trump’s views.
  190. To bypass Senate confirmation and other laws, Trump would tap that person as assistant secretary of the Countering Weapons of Mass Destruction Office, then elevate them to be the acting secretary of DHS.
  191. On Wednesday, CBS 13 Sacramento reported a Nazi flag was removed from a California corrections department window visible to the public following public outcry. Officers said it was meant to be a learning tool.
  192. On Wednesday, five swastikas were found drawn in chalk on the wall of the University of Massachusetts Amherst Fine Arts Center. University police were informed of the matter.
  193. On Wednesday, Miami Herald reported Dr. Michael Baden, a world-leading forensic pathologist hired by Jeffrey Epstein’s brother Mark, said Jeffrey’s injuries are consistent with strangulation, not suicide.
  194. On Thursday, the Trump regime said it was considering adding two more countries to its Muslim ban, branded as a travel ban. It was unclear which two countries were under consideration.
  195. On Thursday, Sens. Kamala Harris and Richard Blumenthal demanded the DOJ investigate whether ICE broke the law by failing to preserve video of a transgender woman, Roxsana Hernández, who died in their custody.
  196. On Friday, the Department of Health and Human Services proposed a new rule that would roll back an Obama-era regulation protecting against sexual orientation- and gender identity-based discrimination in adoption agencies and foster cares.
  197. The regime’s new rule would allow recipients of federal grants, including faith-based adoption agencies and foster care providers, to turn away same-sex couples.
  198. On Friday, officer Kevin Wilcox retired from the East Hampton Police Department, a week after the APreported he was formerly a member of hate group the Proud Boys, and had donated to its leader.
  199. On Friday, ProPublica reported that the Trump regime is creating a new center in suburban Virginia that will allow immigration agents access to classified intelligence information, for the first time.
  200. The classified information will be eventually be used in screening every person coming into the U.S., including foreign vacationers, people applying for permanent residency, and immigrants requesting asylum.
  201. On Monday, automakers General Motors, Toyota, Fiat Chrysler, and Hyundai said in a court filing they sided with the Trump regime against California on the states ability to set its own auto emissions standards.
  202. On Tuesday, Trump attacked the Federal Reserve as policymakers met on rates, tweeting, “The Fed doesn’t have a clue! We have unlimited potential, only held back by the Federal Reserve,” but “we are winning anyway!”
  203. On Wednesday, the Federal Reserve voted to cut rates for a third time this year, with two regional governors dissenting, and following repeated and frequent bullying by Trump.
  204. On Thursday, Trump continued to attack the Federal Reserve, tweeting, “People are VERY disappointed in Jay Powell and the Federal Reserve. The Fed has called it wrong from the beginning, too fast, too slow.”
  205. Trump also tweeted, “China is not our problem, the Federal Reserve is! We will win anyway,” and added, “We are now, by far, the biggest and strongest Country, but the Fed puts us at a competitive disadvantage.”
  206. On Thursday, NYT reported in late September, Trump, who was a lifelong New Yorker, changed his primary residence to Palm Beach, Florida, saying Mar-a-Lago will be his primary residence.
  207. On Friday, NY Gov. Andrew Cuomo told MSNBC, “I think it is a desperate legal move where he’s now going to argue ‘Well the state should have no right to my taxes,’” adding if you defrauded the state, “you defrauded it.”
  208. Later Friday, Trump tweeted, “I love New York, but New York can never be great again under the current leadership of Governor Andrew Cuomo,” adding, “Cuomo has weaponized the prosecutors to do his dirty work.”
  209. On Monday, a federal judge said after reviewing an amended version of the lawsuit filed by Nick Sandmann against WAPO, which was previously dismissed, three of the 33 libel statements could proceed into discovery.
  210. On Wednesday, Trump cheered, tweeting, “the Nick Sandman [sic] libel suit” is moving forward against “the thoroughly disgustingPost, which he noted “is no longer available at the White House!”
  211. On Tuesday, Murray Energy Holdings, the private coal company owned by Trump mega-donor Robert Murray, filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy.
  212. On Wednesday, the American Farm Bureau Federation reported for the 12-month period ended September 30, farm bankruptcies rose 24% from the year prior, and to the highest level since 2011, due to Trump’s trade wars.
  213. On Thursday, a new report by the American Farm Bureau Federation found that 40% of 2019 farm income will come from federal aid programs and insurance, again, related to Trump’s trade war with China.
  214. On Thursday, NYT reported Trump’s EPA is set to roll back Obama-era regulations which control the leaking of heavy metals like arsenic, lead, and mercury into water supplies from coal-fired power plants.
  215. On Tuesday, the American Bar Association said after 60 interviews, it concluded Trump nominee for the 9th Circuit Lawrence VanDyke was “not qualified.” Of the seven other “not qualified,” five have been confirmed.
  216. The ABA cited VanDyke is “arrogant, lazy, an ideologue, and lacking in knowledge.” VanDyke got teary-eyed when asked during confirmation hearings about the ABA saying he would not treat LGBTQ litigants fairly.
  217. On Thursday, Sen. Graham said he would hand back chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee to Chuck Grassley, saying Grassley asked if he could return after his tenure on the Senate Finance Committee.
  218. On Thursday, Catherine Herridge, a founding employee of Fox News in 1996 and a leader in the network’s Washington bureau, resigned to join CBS News. In her departing statement, Herridge noted, “facts matter.”
  219. Herridge was the latest to depart, amid a shrinking role for real reporting, replaced by opinion-based talk shows Trump and his supporters prefer. Fox News’ president claimed, “Journalism is a huge part of the mandate here.”
  220. On Thursday, Yahoo News reported the State Department agreed to release documents related to Trump’s handling of aid to Ukraine to the House, after a court decision in a lawsuit filed by American Oversight.
  221. Among the documents being turned over are communications between departmental officials and Trump’s private lawyers and associates, including Giuliani, Victoria Toensing, and Joseph diGenova.
  222. Documents also include communications by Pompeo, and two of his close associates at State, Ulrich Brechbuhl and Brian Bulatao, as well as the calendar related to Yovanovitch’s dismissal and Giuliani meetings.
  223. On Thursday, a federal judge denied Igor Fruman’s request to lift his house arrest. SDNY prosecutors also signaled his brother Steve “could be involved” in the alleged campaign finance scheme.
  224. On Thursday, CNN reported a video from an October 2018 midterm election rally in Nevada shows Lev Parnas standing directly behind Trump before and during the rally.
  225. On Friday, Trump tweeted, “Wow, a blowout JOBS number just out,” falsely claiming 303,000 had been added minutes after an official government report said 128,000 jobs were added in October.
  226. Trump also tweeted, “Louisiana, I’ll see you tonight,” and then deleted the tweet. Trump has a political rally in Tupelo, Mississippi on Friday evening.
  227. Trump also bragged, tweeting, “ISIS has a new leader. We know exactly who he is!” Nathan Sales, the U.S. counter-terrorism coordinator later clarified to reporters that the U.S. is researching the new leader.
  228. Trump also quoted a guest on Fox News, tweeting, “Adam Schiff has taken all of the power for himself. That is very unfair,” adding, “There were dozens of people on this call,” and, “this is not about Impeachment.”
  229. Trump also tweeted, “The public is watching and seeing for themselves how unfair this process is,” adding, “Corrupt politicians, Pelosi and Schiff, are trying to take down the Republican Party. It will never happen.”
  230. On Friday, press secretary Stephanie Grisham told Fox News “We are prepared for an impeachment to happen,” adding she hoped Democrats would “come to their senses” but it seems “a foregone conclusion.”
  231. Grisham also said Trump was serious about hosting a fireside chat to read the Ukraine call, saying “it’s always a serious consideration,” but “I don’t know what the logistics of it would look like just yet.”
  232. Grisham also shot down the prospect that White House daily briefings would return, saying, “we’re doing just fine,” and Trump “continues to speak to the American people.” The last daily briefing was on March 11.
  233. On Friday, Speaker Pelosi said in an interview with Bloomberg that she assumes “there would be public hearings in November,” but added the case first “has to be ironclad.”
  234. Pelosi said closed door hearings will continue as long as they are productive, adding she does not know the timetable, and, “We have not made any decisions on if the president will be impeached.”
  235. Pelosi also said it is possible the inquiry could continue into 2020. When asked if Trump was correct that his call with Zelensky was perfect, Pelosi responded, “No, it’s perfectly wrong — you can’t do that.”
  236. Asked about parts of the Mueller probe re-emerging in recent weeks, Pelosi said, “There were 11 obstruction of justice provisions in the Mueller report,” she added later, “Perhaps some of them will be part of this.”
  237. Pelosi also said of impeachment, We had no choice. We took an oath to protect and defend our democracy,” adding, “If Republicans have a higher loyalty” to Trump than to their oath of office, “that’s their problem.”
  238. On Friday, the Energy Department’s spokesperson said outgoing Sec. Rick Perry refused to testify in the impeachment inquiry, saying he will “not partake in a secret star chamber inquisition.”
  239. On Friday, Independent reported UK intelligence official are shaken by requests made by AG Barr, in what is seen as an effort to overturn the conclusions of U.S. intelligence and Mueller on Russian interference.
  240. Officials say the information requested by Barr “ is like nothing we have come across before,” saying Barr is looking for help in doing “a hatchet job on their own intelligence services.”
  241. On Friday, before leaving for a rally, Trump told reporters “you cant impeach a president who did nothing wrong,” and, “You can’t impeach a president that has the greatest economy of the history of our nation.”
  242. Trump praised House Democrats for voting against the resolution, saying “I think the Republicans have been amazing,” and adding, “We even had Democrats…because they said, ‘this is not impeachable.’”
  243. When asked about his call being not perfect, Trump cited Morrison, saying, “all they have to do is read the transcript now the gentleman that came in yesterday … he was terrific…he said he didn’t see anything wrong with it.”
  244. Trump also told reporters Homeland Security official Chad Wolf is now acting DHS secretary. DHS disputedTrump’s statement minutes later saying McAleenan is still in charge, and is not leaving until November 7.
  245. On Friday, WAPO reported Vindman testified that Eisenberg instructed him not to discuss his concerns about the July 25 call with anyone outside the White House — another alleged attempt to cover up.
  246. Vindman said the request came after White House lawyers learned on July 29 that a CIA employee had anonymously raised concerns about the call, revealing concern at the White House that the call was not “perfect.”
  247. Vindman also said while meeting with Eisenberg, he heard him turn to another attorney in the room and propose steps to restrict access to the call transcript — what the whistleblower called “lock down” the transcript.
  248. Vindman said the CIA employee’s concerns were relayed to the White House. Vindman’s testimony provided several steps White House officials took which could be interpreted as attempts to cover up Trump’s conduct.
  249. On Friday, WAPO reported a possible shift in strategy by Republican Senators on impeachment, as a growing number consider acknowledging Trump’s quid pro quo with Ukraine.
  250. The senators planned to claim that Trump’s actions were not illegal and do not rise to the level of an impeachable offense. The strategy was a main topic at a private GOP Senator lunch on Wednesday.
  251. Conservative Senators are considering saying that quid pro quo is not illegal unless there is “corrupt intent.” The strategy would clash with House Republicans who continue to say there was no quid pro quo.
  252. With House Democrats’ vote taking away the GOP narrative about a secretive process, Republicans have been frantically seeking a new strategy to defend Trump, who has frustrated them with his shifting message.
  253. On Friday, before the rally, Trump tweeted, “The Whistleblower must come forward to explain why his account of the phone call with the Ukrainian President was so inaccurate (fraudulent?).”
  254. Trump also tweeted, “Why did the Whistleblower deal with corrupt politician Shifty Adam Schiff and/or his committee?” adding, “You can’t Impeach someone who hasn’t done anything wrong!
  255. On Friday, in his first rally since the House impeachment vote, Trump railed against impeachment, saying House Democrats have been “plotting to overthrow the election since the moment I won.”
  256. Trump said, “Yesterday, the Democrats voted to potentially nullify the votes of 63 million Americans,” saying Democrats were “disgracing” themselves, and bringing “shame” to the House.
  257. Trump seemed to test a new alibi, saying he withheld aid to Ukraine because he wanted European allies, including Germany and France, to do more to support the country.
  258. Trump also complained he got less media attention than Obama did for the raid that killed Osama Bin Laden, saying, “Conan, the dog, got more publicity than me” — the dog used in the al-Baghdadi raid.
  259. Trump also attacked Biden, saying “He’s dropping like a rock,” and chided Beto O’Rourke, who withdrew from the 2020 race, saying he “quit like a dog,” and he “wasn’t smart.”
  260. Trump also attacked CNN repeatedly, pointing at their camera and falsely telling the crowd, “Their light just went off. See? Look. Their light was on — they just turned it off.” The light was on the entire time.
  261. On Friday, Sean Doolittle became the first member of the World Series champion Washington Nationals to decline a White House visit, citing Trump’s rhetoric, enabling conspiracy theories, and divisiveness.
  262. Doolittle also said, “My wife and I stand for inclusion and acceptance, and we’ve done work with refugees, people that come from, you know, the ‘shithole countries.’”
  263. On Saturday, WAPO reported smugglers in Mexico are sawing through new sections of Trump’s border wall using commercially available power tools, creating gaps for people and drugs to pass through in recent months.
  264. According to U.S. agents, the breaches have been made using a popular cordless household tool known as a reciprocating saw, which retails for as little as $100 and can cut through steel-and-concrete bollards in minutes.
  265. On Saturday, NYT found in an analysis that Trump’s Twitter feed is full of conspiracy-mongers and racists. He has retweeted white supremacists and 145 unverified accounts, some of which appear to be fake.
  266. The analysis also found fake accounts tied to intelligence services in China, Iran, and Russia had directed thousands of tweets at Trump. Russian accounts tagged Trump more than 30,000 times.
  267. Among his most fervent followers, at least 23,000 have QAnon references in their profiles, and he also has a large anti-Muslim following. Followers have been able to game Trump into repeatedly spreading propaganda.

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

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

House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) speaks at Republican leaders press conference after the House vote on a resolution formalizing the impeachment inquiry on Capitol Hill in Washington on October 31, 2019. Notably, those who immediately surrounded him were all white and male.

POLITIKS OF GRAFFITI 155: “QUID PRO SCHMO!”

OCTOBER 26, 2019

Week 154

Experts in authoritarianism advise to keep a list of things
subtly changing around you, so you’ll remember. https://theweeklylist.org/weekly-list/week-154/
EHMmvdxUUAAJPho
“Bye, Mick! by Jim Carrey – 18oct19 – “Quid Pro Schmo!”

This week marked a major shift in the world order, as Trump finalized the evacuation of troops on Turkey-Syria border, and the void of leadership was instantaneously filled by Russia. Russian President Vladimir Putin hosted Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan in Sochi, before hosting 40 African nations there, at what was dubbed the first Russia-Africa summit. As House Speaker Nancy Pelosi suggested to Trump in Week 153, “All roads with you lead to Putin.” Later in the week, Trump zig-zagged and sent U.S. troops and armored vehicles back to the region to guard oil fields, and suggested to millions of Kurdish civilians, displaced and endangered by his withdrawal, that they should relocate there.

This week marked a major shift in the impeachment inquiry, as career diplomats continue to defy Trump’s order not to testify. In a case related to the Mueller probe, Chief District Judge Beryl Howell ruled the House impeachment inquiry is legal, dealing another blow to Trump’s strategy of stonewalling the inquiry based on it not being legally authorized. Nine witnesses have testified so far, crystallizing a picture of clear quid pro quo. Despite stunts and distractions by Trump’s Republican allies, House Democrats continued to prevail in the messaging battle. By week’s end, Trump was forced to bring in additional lawyers and convene staffers to come up with a strategy to defend himself from impeachment.

This week Trump’s Department of Justice turned the investigation of the investigators into a criminal probe — raising concerns Attorney General William Barr is acting to give Trump a political victory and punish his enemies. Barr too is increasingly being drawn into the impeachment probe, while drawing rebukes for his handling of the whistleblower complaint.

IMG_1173
San Diego, CA – October 2019 – State Street
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Image for t-shirts being sold in Pacific Beach. October 2019. San Diego, CA. – Interesting because of the FIVE DEFERMENTS and stuff…
IMG_3448
Image for t-shirts being sold in Pacific Beach. October 2019. San Diego, CA. – There’s definitely an element… – Interesting because there’s no wall and stuff…
IMG_3445
Image for t-shirts being sold in Pacific Beach. October 2019. San Diego, CA. – Interesting because he’s a SUPER DIPSHIT and stuff…

 

  1. On Saturday, the NYT Editorial Board cited the “crisis of the Republican Party,” writing Trump has repeatedly “acted against the national interest,” and reminding Republicans of their sacred oath to the Constitution.
  2. On Saturday, former chief strategist Steve Bannon told the New York Post Trump will be “impeached by Pelosi in the next six weeks,” and the White House needs to take it more seriously and establish an impeachment squad.
  3. On Saturday, NBC News reported Attorney General William Barr has expanded the investigation of the investigators to dig into the origins of the Russia probe, amid concern about whether it has legal or factual basis.
  4. U.S. Attorney John Durham has requested to speak to CIA analysts involved in the intelligence assessment, raising tensions between the CIA and the Department of Justice over what documents he can examine.
  5. Politico reported among the conspiracy theories being investigated by Durham and Barr is that Joseph Mifsud was a Western intelligence asset, and the CIA under then Trump adversary John Brennan was involved.
  6. On Wednesday, Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte took the unusual step of publicly stating Italy’s intelligence services had informed Barr the country played no rule in the events leading up to the Russia investigation.
  7. On Thursday, the DOJ shifted the administrative review of the Russia investigation into a criminal inquiry, raising alarms that AG Barr is looking to give Trump a political victory, and going after his perceived enemies.
  8. The shift gave Durham power to subpoena for testimony and documents, to impanel a grand jury, and to file criminal charges. It also gave rise to the unusual situation of the DOJ conducting a criminal investigation of itself.
  9. It was not clear what potential crimes Durham is investigating. Trump has made clear that he sees the DOJ as a political tool to wield against his enemies, not an independent agency.
  10. On Saturday, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and a bipartisan congressional delegation made an unannounced trip to visit Jordan and Afghanistan, highlighting differences with Trump on troop withdrawal from Syria.
  11. After the meeting with Jordan, Pelosi said, “With the deepening crisis” the group discussed “regional stability, increased flow of refugees, and the dangerous opening that has been provided to ISIS, Iran and Russia.”
  12. In Afghanistan, the delegation was also joined by Defense Secretary Mark T. Esper and top U.S. military commanders and diplomats to visit Afghan President Ashraf Ghani and top Aghan officials, and then U.S. troops.
  13. On Saturday and Sunday, Trump skipped golf and stayed at the White House, avoiding the media. Trump sent over 50 tweets on Saturday alone.
  14. On Sunday, Trump defended his Syria withdrawal, tweeting the incorrect name of his defense secretary — “Mark Esperanto” —  and quoting him saying ,“The ceasefire is holding up very nicely,” with some “minor skirmishes.”
  15. On Saturday, Trump abruptly announced in the late evening that his Doral golf resort would not host the 2020 G7 summit, tweeting, “as usual, the Hostile Media & their Democrat Partners went CRAZY!”
  16. Trump also tweeted, “I thought I was doing something very good for our Country,” adding, “I announced that I would be willing to do it at NO PROFIT or, if legally permissible, at ZERO COST to the USA.”
  17. Trump also tweeted, “based on both Media & Democrat Crazed and Irrational Hostility…We will begin the search for another site, including the possibility of Camp David, immediately. Thank you!”
  18. WAPO reported the Doral’s net operating income decline 69% from 2015 to 2017, and the G7 would have promoted it. Last week’s announcement had sparked criticism from both Democrats and Republicans.
  19. On Sunday, acting White House chief of staff Mick Mulvaney told “Fox News Sunday” that Trump “still considers himself to be in the hospitality business,” adding Trump “was honestly surprised at the level of pushback.”
  20. Host Chris Wallace told Mulvaney a “well-connected” Republican told him there is a 20% chance enough GOP senators will vote to impeach Trump. Mulvaney said that person “doesn’t know what they’re talking about.”
  21. On Sunday, Sen. Lindsey Graham reversed his position, claiming Trump’s withdrawal could succeed, saying he was “increasingly optimistic” that was can have “historic solutions in Syria that have eluded us for years.”
  22. On Sunday, Graham told Axios he was open to changing his mind on impeachment: “If you could show me…Trump actually was engaging in a quid pro quo, outside the phone call, that would be very disturbing.”
  23. On Sunday, the DOJ took the unusual step of publicly distancing itself from Giuliani, saying department officials would not have met with him about his clients if they knew the SDNY was investigating Igor Fruman and Lev Parnas.
  24. In Week 153, NYT reported the head of the DOJ Criminal Division and lawyers from the Fraud Section met with Giuliani a few weeks ago. Barr was informed of the SDNY investigation in February.
  25. On Sunday, the DOJ said the two names in the Mueller report, who Judge Beryl Howell said in Week 153should not have been redacted since they did not testify before the grand jury, were Donald Jr. and Don McGahn.
  26. On Monday, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said he could not form a new government after the deadlocked election in September. His rival Benny Gantz will have an opportunity to form a government.
  27. On Monday, Quartz reported Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and Jared Kushner will attend Saudi Arabia’s third annual investment conference that many U.S. officials skipped last year after the murder of Jamal Khashoggi.
  28. According to a federal procurement filing, the State Department recently booked 45 rooms at Riyadh’s Burj Rafal Hotel for two “VVIP visitors” taking part in the Saudi’s Future Investment Initiative.
  29. On Tuesday, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson lost a critical vote in Parliament that would have enabled him to meet his Brexit deadline of October 31, throwing the process into disarray.
  30. On Wednesday, amid continued protest in Hong Kong, its government formally withdrew an amended version of the extradition bill that sparked protests. Hong Kong leader Carrie Lam said she would drop the bill.
  31. On Sunday, NYT reported Turkey President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has nuclear ambitions. In September, he told a meeting of his governing party that the West insists “we can’t have them,” adding, “This, I cannot accept.”
  32. On Monday, NYT reported Trump’s Syria withdrawal handed ISIS its biggest win in more than four years, allowing its re-emergence as a network of terrorists. As many as 18,000 fighters remain in Iraq and Syria.
  33. ISIS fighters are assassinating local village headmen as a way to intimidate government informants in Syria. American withdrawal also set off jubilation and lifted morale on social media and encrypted chat networks.
  34. On Monday, Kurds heckled U.S. troops as they withdrew from Syria and moved towards Iraq. Sec. Esper saidthe U.S. was considering keeping a small force in Syria to prevent oil fields from falling into ISIS’s hands.
  35. Shortly after, Trump told reporters at a cabinet meeting, “We have a good relationship with the Kurds, but we never agreed to protect the Kurds” adding, “We never agreed to protect the Kurds for the rest of their lives.”
  36. Asked about leaving troops to secure oil fields, Trump said, “there is no reason for it.” Trump added, on bringing troops home, “you’re going to have people fighting like they’ve been fighting for 300 years, it’s very simple.”
  37. On Tuesday, NBC News reported after Graham and Retired Gen. Jack Keane, a Fox News analyst, repeatedly showed Trump a map of oil fields in northern Syria, Trump reversed again, agreeing to leave some troops.
  38. On Monday, in a rare joint statement, House Foreign Affairs Committee Chair Eliot Engel and top foreign affairs lawmakers from the multiple European allies condemned Trump and Turkey for actions in Syria.
  39. On Monday, NBC News reported the Pentagon has drawn up plans for a quick withdrawal from Afghanistan in case Trump blindsides military leaders by ordering an immediate withdrawal.
  40. On Tuesday, Erdogan met with Russian President Vladimir Putin for an hours-long meeting in Sochi. Turkey and Russia came to an agreement as the deadline expired for the “pause” agreed to with the U.S. last week.
  41. The deal bolstered Russia’s ally, Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, to regain control over more territory and be recognized in the region, and elevated Putin to a prominent role in the region as U.S. troops withdrew.
  42. Under the deal, Russia and the Syrian government would start removing Kurdish militias from a far larger part of the border, then once gone, Turkey and Russia would begin jointly patrolling the border region.
  43. Trump applauded the deal, tweeting, “Good news seems to be happening with respect to Turkey, Syria and the Middle East.” As U.S. forces arrived in Iraq from Syria, Iraq’s military said they would have to leave.
  44. On Wednesday, Trump announced in a press conference that Turkey had agreed to a permanent cease-fire in northeast Syria, claiming credit for bringing peace to the region after decades of U.S. failed efforts.
  45. Trump said the cease-fire may be temporary. “You would define the word ‘permanent’ in that part of the world as somewhat questionable,” adding, “Turkey, Syria and all forms of the Kurds have been fighting for centuries.”
  46. Trump added, “We have done them a great service and we’ve done a great job for all of them. And now, we’re getting out,” adding, “Let someone else fight over this long bloodstained sand” — although there is no sand there.
  47. Trump pushed back on criticism, saying the people giving him and the U.S. advice “are the ones that got us into the Middle East mess, but never had the vision or the courage to get us out; they just talked.”
  48. Trump said “a small number of U.S. troops will remain in the area where they have the oil,” and that he would now permanently lift sanctions on Turkey providing it agrees to “protect religious and ethnic minorities.”
  49. Trump said, “I have just spoken to General Mazloum, a wonderful man, the Commander-in-Chief of the SDF Kurds…he was extremely thankful.” Trump meant Ferhat Abdi Şahin. It is doubtful that he was thankful.
  50. Trump said of ISIS, “there were a few that got out…and they’ve been largely recaptured.” Sec. Esper said “a little bit more than a hundred,” and James Jeffrey, Trump’s envoy to Syria said we do not know where they are.
  51. Many Democrats and Republicans called Trump’s retreat a historic foreign policy debacle, which undermined U.S. credibility with allies, empowered American adversaries, and gave ISIS a chance to regroup.
  52. Later Wednesday, Syrian state news media reported Syrian government troops were deployed to the area for the first time in five years, and that Russian forces were also in the area.
  53. On Thursday, Gen. Mazloum Abdi, a senior Kurdish commander, said Turkey resumed attacks in northeastern Syria, within 48 hours of saying it would no longer use force, and 24 hours after Trump heralded a cease-fire.
  54. On Thursday, Trump shifted his focus to protecting oil fields, tweeting, “We will NEVER let a reconstituted ISIS have those fields!” and adding, “Perhaps it is time for the Kurds to start heading to the Oil Region!”
  55. It was not immediately clear if Trump was suggesting that the entire Syrian Kurdish population, which numbers in the millions, should uproot and move themselves to the Arab majority area near the oil fields.
  56. Trump’s tweet highlighted a complete shift in policy from allying with Kurds in fighting ISIS, to keeping Syria and ISIS from possessing oil fields in the country. The oil fields are under control of Syrian Kurdish forces.
  57. On Thursday, Sen. John Cornyn, the No. 3 Republican in the senate, defended Trump’s withdrawal, saying it was not a bad idea to get U.S. troops out of the way if Turkey planned to “ethnically cleanse the Kurds.”
  58. On Friday, Trump defended his troop withdrawal in a series of tweets, saying, “Turkey fully understands not to fire on the Kurds,” adding, “I don’t have to repeat that large scale Sanctions will be imposed for violations.”
  59. Trump also tweeted, “USA has gained Trillions of Dollars in wealth since November 2016,” adding, “Oil is secured. Our soldiers have left and are leaving Syria for other places, then COMING HOME! “
  60. Trump also tweeted, “We were supposed to be there for 30 days — That was 10 years ago,” adding, “I simply say, THE OIL, AND WE ARE BRINGING OUR SOLDIERS BACK HOME, ISIS SECURED!”
  61. On Friday, Esper told reporters that the U.S. will leave troops and armored vehicles in Syria to prevent ISIS from gaining control of oil fields. Esper did not provide details, and the statement marked another shift in policy.
  62. On Saturday, Erdogan said if Russia fails to clear Kurdish fighters, who he called “terrorists,” from within 30 km of Turkey’s border, “then we will handle the situation by ourselves and will do all the cleansing work.”
  63. On Friday, NYT reported when Trump froze military aid to Ukraine, its military struggled in a bare-bones fight with Russian-backed separatists. Ukrainian soldiers said the move hurt their confidence in their U.S. ally.
  64. On Friday, WAPO reported amid Trump’s retreat, Putin has been forging stronger ties with African countries. Putin hosted 40 African counties in Sochi this week in what was dubbed the first Russia-Africa summit.
  65. On Monday, a U.K. judge refused to delay Julian Assange’s extradition hearing. Assange mumbled and paused as he gave his name, blaming a “superpower” with “unlimited resources,” saying he “can’t think properly.”
  66. On Monday, Trump held a 71-minute cabinet meeting open to the media, which was billed as a discussion of the regime’s “successful rollback of the abuses and the high cost of the bloated regulatory state.”
  67. The cabinet meeting, like others under Trump, consisted of him boasting about his supposed accomplishment and attacking his critics, while cabinet members took turns showering him with praise.
  68. Trump told at least 21 lies during the meeting. He falsely claimed Obama tried to call North Korea’s Kim Jong Un 11 times, but said Kim did not take Obama’s calls, claiming, “Lack of respect. But he [Kim] takes my call.”
  69. Trump defended his decision to withdraw troops, saying, “I’m the one who did the capturing,” adding, “I’m the one who knows more about it than you people or the fake pundits.”
  70. Trump complained about having to change the venue of the G7 summit, saying, “You people with this phony emoluments clause,” saying, “It would have been the best G7 ever,” and he would have held it “for free.”
  71. Trump added, “I’m very good at real estate,” and said of claims that hosting the G7 at the Doral was for promotion, “I don’t need promotion. I get more promotion than any human being that’s ever lived.”
  72. Trump claimed again, without evidence, being president was costing him “between $2 billion and $5 billion,” and falsely claimed he was the only president other than George Washington to give up his salary.
  73. Trump said of Democrats, “They’re vicious and they stick together. They don’t have Mitt Romney in their midst, they don’t have people like that.” He repeatedly used the words “illegitimate” and “phony.”
  74. Trump also said, “Republicans have to get tougher and fight,” adding, “We have some that are great fighters, but they have to get tougher and fight,” saying, “Democrats are trying to hurt the Republican Party for the election.”
  75. On Monday, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer said in a letter to acting Director of National Intelligence Joseph Maguire and IG Michael Atkinson that he is concerned Trump could expose the whistleblower.
  76. On Monday, Pelosi released a four-page “Fact Sheet,” laying out Democrats’ most compelling evidence so far on impeachment in three sections: the “shakedown,” “the pressure campaign,” and “the cover up.”
  77. On Monday, House Republicans introduced a resolution to censure House Intelligence Committee Chair Adam Schiff for his handing of the impeachment inquiry. The House voted along party lines 218-195, failing. Rep. Justin Amash voted with Democrats.
  78. On Monday, WAPO reported Republican lawmakers, donors, and advisers are increasingly concerned about Trump’s unsteady and bombastic behavior, and want a more disciplined approach to impeachment.
  79. Trump continued to spearhead his own impeachment defense. After Mulvaney’s performance in Week 153, a growing number of Trump allies called for sweeping changes, citing uncertainty and mixed messages.
  80. Trump was reluctant to set up an impeachment war room, feeling confident he can defend himself, and believing Democrats are divided and scattered on how to proceed.
  81. On Monday, WAPO reported according to testimony by George Kent, Trump was urged by Putin and Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban to adopt a hostile view of Ukraine, saying the country was hopelessly corrupt.
  82. Putin told Trump in May Ukraine was “just a den of corruption.” Members of the Trump regime who blunted Putin and Orban’s influence had resigned. The two did not push to investigate Biden or the 2016 election.
  83. On Monday, Trump did an hour-long interview on the Fox News show “Hannity.” Trump seemed to reference “Fast and Furious,” saying Obama could have been impeached “where guns went all over the place.”
  84. Trump pushed unfounded Biden conspiracies, and said if his sons Donald Jr. and Eric accepted payments from questionable foreign sources “it would be the biggest story of the century.” Of note, both of his sons do.
  85. Trump told Sean Hannity he wants to cancel the White House subscription to the NYT, saying, “We don’t even want it in the White House anymore,” and adding, “We’re going to probably terminate that and the Washington Post.”
  86. On Tuesday, a new CNN poll found support for impeaching AND removing Trump at an all-time high at 50% overall, including 87% of Democrats, 50% of Independents, and 6% of Republicans.
  87. On Tuesday, Bloomberg reported that Trump has floated Mnuchin and his counselor Kellyanne Conway as possible replacements for Mulvaney as chief of staff.
  88. On Tuesday, Trump compared the impeachment to a lynching, tweeting he was “without due process or fairness or any legal rights,” and adding, “Republicans must remember what they are witnessing here — a lynching.”
  89. Trump has increasingly used incendiary language to describe impeachment as the risk increases. Some saw his stoking racial tensions as part of his long pattern of rallying his base behind him by evoking racism.
  90. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell called it “an unfortunate choice of words,” while Sen. Graham defended Trump, saying, “that’s exactly what’s going on in the U.S. House of Representatives right now”.
  91. On Tuesday, William Taylor Jr., the acting U.S. ambassador to Ukraine, testified behind closed doors to the three House committees. WAPO obtained his 15-page opening statement, describing quid pro quo.
  92. The State Department tried to block Taylor’s deposition on Tuesday, prompting House Democrats to issue a subpoena for this testimony.
  93. Taylor, a West Point graduate, served in the Army and is one of the country’s most experienced diplomats having served in every administration for both parties since 1985. He kept meticulous notes.
  94. Taylor said there were two channels to Ukraine, official, which he headed, and an unofficial channel includingKurt Volker, Gordon Sondland, Energy Sec. Rick Perry, and Rudy Giuliani, calling it “a confusing and unusual arrangement.”
  95. Taylor said, “By mid-July it was becoming clear to me that the meeting President Zelensky wanted was conditioned on the investigations of Burisma and alleged Ukrainian interference in the 2016 U.S. elections.”
  96. Taylor expressed shock and bewilderment, as U.S. policy toward was overtaken, and Trump demanded Zelensky “go to a microphone and say he is opening investigations of Biden and 2016 election interference.”
  97. Taylor cited AG Barr, saying, “We also discussed the possibility that the Ukrainian Prosecutor General,” not Zelensky, would make a statement about investigations, “in coordination” with Barr’s 2016 election probe.
  98. Taylor cited Giuliani’s role, saying the push to make Zelensky commit to investigating Burisma and the 2016 election showed how official U.S. foreign policy “was undercut by the irregular efforts led by Mr. Giuliani.”
  99. Taylor wrote, “I sat in astonishment” on a July 18 call with White House officials, when he heard an Office of Management and Budget official off camera say she had been instructed not to release military aid to Ukraine.
  100. Taylor said on a July 19 call, NSC staffers Fiona Hill and Alexander Vindman said “Sondland had connected “investigations” with an Oval Office meeting” for Zelensky, causing then-NSA John Bolton to walk out.
  101. Taylor said he was concerned Russian forces would kill more Ukrainians if aid was withheld: “Over 13,000 Ukrainians had been killed in the war…More Ukrainians would undoubtedly die without the U.S. assistance.”
  102. Taylor said of the July 25 call, “strangely,” he received no readout even though he was scheduled to meet with Zelensky and Volker the next day, adding, “The Ukrainian government issued a short, cryptic summary.”
  103. Taylor said in an August 29 cable to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo he expressed concern about withholding aid, and that Pompeo carried these concerns into a White House meeting, but did not respond to him.
  104. Taylor testified that he learned at a meeting with Zelensky and Vice President Pence on September 1 that Ukrainians were informed by Sondland that aid was conditioned on an investigation into Burisma.
  105. Taylor said on a September 8 call, the day after his text exchange with Sondland expressing concern about withholding military aid, Sondland told him Ukraine had to “pay up” before Trump would “sign a check.”
  106. Taylor described demands for secrecy: on a June 28 call between himself, Sondland, Volker, and Perry, Sondland said before Zelensky got on the call that “he wanted to make sure no one was transcribing or monitoring.”
  107. Taylor’s testimony contradicted that of Sondland in Week 153 who said Trump was not seeking a quid pro quo — a red line for some Republicans — saying it was clear to him the arrangement met the dictionary definition.
  108. CBS News reported lawmakers were stunned by Taylor’s testimony, and there were audible gasps at points. Democratic Rep. Stephen Lynch, a senior member of the oversight committee said, “This is a sea change.”
  109. Shortly after, Speaker McConnell denied Trump’s account that McConnell said his July call 25 was “innocent” on October 3, telling reporters, “I don’t recall any conversations with the president about that phone call.”
  110. White House press secretary Stephanie Grisham said in a statement, “Trump has done nothing wrong,” calling it a “coordinated smear campaign from far-left lawmakers and radical unelected bureaucrats.”
  111. The statement also said, “Today was just more triple hearsay and selective leaks from the Democrats’ politically-motivated, closed door, secretive hearings,” adding, “there was no quid pro quo.”
  112. On Tuesday, a DOJ official told Politico the department was unaware ambassadors were discussing linking the Ukraine investigation to AG Barr’s probe into investigations into interference in the 2016 election.
  113. On Tuesday, Sen. Amy Klobuchar released new evidence the DOJ buried the whistleblower complaint by failing to refer it to the Federal Election Commission, despite a longstanding agreement between the agencies.
  114. The 1978 memorandum of understanding requires that complaints involving campaign finance violations are turned over to the FEC even if the DOJ declines to launch a criminal investigation.
  115. On Tuesday, in an extraordinary letter, more than 60 IGs, led by the DOJ IG and National Science Foundation IG, slammed the DOJ Office of Legal Counsel for not turning over the whistleblower complaint to Congress.
  116. The letter cited the OLC “substituted its judgment,” and created uncertainty for federal employees and contractors “about the scope of whistleblower protections, thereby chilling whistleblower disclosures.”
  117. On Wednesday, the New York City Bar Association demanded Barr recuse himself from the Ukraine matter, saying he viewed “his primary obligation as loyalty to the President individually rather than to the nation.”
  118. On Tuesday, the anonymous author of the September 2018 NYT op-ed, “I Am Part of the Resistance Inside the Trump Administration,” announced the publishing of a tell-all-book, titled “A Warning” on November 19.
  119. The author will remain anonymous, did not take a book advance, and will donate some proceeds to government accountability causes. There is no modern day precedent for a firsthand account by an anonymous author.
  120. The book’s back cover says: “You will hear a great deal from Donald Trump directly, for there is no better witness to his character than his own words and no better evidence of the danger he poses than his own conduct.”
  121. On Tuesday, Kirstjen Nielsen said in a speech at the FORTUNE Most Powerful Women Summit that she resigned because “saying no” and refusing to do things that others in the regime wanted was “not going to be enough.”
  122. Singer-songwriter Brandi Carlile dropped out of the summit, citing the “atrocity of family separation.” A truck was parked outside the event with a billboard reading: “Powerful women don’t put kids in cages.”
  123. On Monday, WSJ reported Lev Parnas’ private Instagram account revealed photos showing he had VIP access to Trump dating back to 2015. He is also seen in photos with Trump’s family and Giuliani.
  124. On Tuesday, WAPO reported that federal prosecutors in Chicago who had been investigating a Ukrainian oligarch, Dmytro Firtash, reached out to their New York counterparts after Igor Fruman and Parnas were arrested.
  125. Parnas had been a translator for lawyers representing Firtash since late July. At Parnas’s suggestion, Firtash switched attorneys, firing Lanny Davis and hiring Trump allies Victoria Toensing and Joseph diGenova.
  126. Toensing and diGenova were able to secure a rare face-to-face meeting with AG Barr and other DOJ officials. Barr did not intercede, and the DOJ claimed they are working closely with Austria on having Firtash expedited.
  127. While Firtash was still represented by Davis, Giuliani accused him of having ties to the Russian mob, then shifted. In 2017, U.S. prosecutors said Firtash had ties to the “upper echelons” of Russian organized crime.
  128. Parnas and Fruman hoped to see new leadership at Ukrainian state oil and gas giant Naftogaz. As part of that deal, the company would put aside a financial dispute with Firtash, resulting a windfall of $1 billion for Firtash.
  129. Parnas and Fruman put Giuliani in touch with former Ukrainian prosecutor Viktor Shokin in January, who swore in an affidavit Joe Biden was behind his firing. Lawyers for Firtash were behind the document.
  130. On Tuesday, BuzzFeed reported a grand jury subpoenaed records of Parnas and Fruman as part of the investigation into their extravagant spending at Trump hotels and millions of dollars in financial transfers.
  131. Documents obtained show dozens of transfers into Parnas’s accounts, totaling more than $3 million, as he and Fruman traveled around to different counties in search of damaging information on Joe Biden.
  132. On Tuesday, Vanity Fair reported Michael Cohen is cooperating with state and federal prosecutors while in prison, on the matters of what Trump means by “quid pro quo,” and the investigations into Parnas.
  133. Cohen’s lawyer also asked the three House committee chairs for help reducing his prison sentence, citing Cohen provided the SDNY with “fresh information, of additional possible crimes by Mr. Trump or his associates.”
  134. On Wednesday, the lawyer for Parnas tied his case to Trump, telling a judge that some evidence could be subject to executive privilege since Parnas used Giuliani as his attorney at the same time as Trump did.
  135. On Wednesday, CNN reported Giuliani is looking for a defense attorney. He said in Week 153 he would not seek a new lawyer unless he felt one was needed.
  136. Wednesday evening, Giuliani tweeted citing the “Fake News” and saying “everything” was “to defend my client against false charges,” adding Democrats “don’t believe Trump has rights,” and “Justice will prevail.”
  137. On Thursday, Politico reported that lawyers diGenova and Toensing are also representing journalist John Solomon, an ally of Giuliani who appeared in the SDNY indictments of Parnas and Fruman.
  138. On Friday, CNN reported since Parnas and Fruman’s arrest, prosecutors subpoenaed Fruman’s brother, and issued multiple subpoenas and conducted several property searches — in one, blowing the door off a safe.
  139. On Friday, Tampa Bay Times reported Parnas and Fruman were given VIP seating at the January inauguration of Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis. The two also got access to an area reserved for an exclusive crowd of dignitaries.
  140. On Monday, AP reported a DOJ official said the Trump regime is planning to collect DNA samples from asylum-seekers, and add the information to a massive FBI database used by law enforcement hunting for criminals.
  141. The DOJ issued amended regulations that mandated collecting DNA, and said the regime hopes to have a pilot program in place after a 20-day comment period, and expand from there.
  142. On Monday, the Anti-Defamation League said 2019 is on track to be another high year for anti-Semitic incidents: in the first six months of 2019 there were 780 incidents, similar to record years in 2017 and 2018.
  143. On Monday, two University of Connecticut students, Jarred Mitchell Karal and Ryan Gilman Mucaj, were arrested after a video surfaced showing the two yelling racial slurs at a campus apartment complex parking lot.
  144. On Tuesday, NYT reported between December 2017 and June 2019, more than a million children lost coverage on the two main programs for low-income children, Medicaid and the Children’s Health Insurance Program.
  145. Officials blame new paperwork making registration much harder, and immigrant parents concerned that signing up their children, who are citizens, will make it harder to get a green card or increase the risk of deportation.
  146. On Tuesday, a South Carolina Senate subcommittee stripped exceptions for rape and incest from a bill that would outlaw abortion in the state after six weeks of pregnancy. The bill will now advance to full committee.
  147. On Wednesday, Noor Abukaram, a high school junior in Ohio, was disqualified after running her best time in a meet, for wearing a Nike hijab. A High School Athletic Association official said she needed a waiver.
  148. On Wednesday, the Phoenix New Times reported Jose Segovia-Benitez, a 38-year-old Marine Corps veteran who served two tours of duty in Iraq, was deported by ICE to El Salvador. He lived in the U.S. since he was 3.
  149. On Thursday, a grand jury failed to indict ICE officer Capt. Thomas Woodworth, who in Week 144 drove his truck into group of Never Again Action activists blocking the entrance of an ICE detention facility.
  150. On Thursday, the Trump regime acknowledged in a federal court that 1,556 more migrant families were forcibly separated under its “zero-tolerance” policy before the policy was halted than was previously known.
  151. The information came in response to demand by the ACLU, and revealed 4,300 total families, many more than the 2,800 previously reported, were separated. The ACLU said it is not know if the 1,556 have been reunited.
  152. The ACLU said the Trump regime has separated a total of 5,460 migrant children since July 2017, including the 1,090 separated since the judge ordered the practice to stop in June 2018 except in limited circumstances.
  153. On Friday, the lawyer for the family of Roxsana Hernandez, a Honduran transgender woman who died while in U.S. custody, said video footage of her death at a privately run detention facility was deleted by ICE.
  154. On Monday, Facebook announced it had found and taken down four state-backed disinformation campaigns, three from Iran and one from Russia. Facebook has taken down dozens already ahead of the 2020 election.
  155. One network linked to the Internet Research Agency, a Kremlin-backed troll farm, used the same strategies as 2016. IRA trolls posed as locals in swing states, praising Trump and attacking Joe Biden.
  156. On Wednesday, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg testified before the House Financial Service Committee. Chair Maxine Waters said, “You have opened up a serious discussion about whether Facebook should be broken up.”
  157. Waters cited monopolistic practices; lack of diversity in leadership ranks; enabling housing discrimination through its ad platform; infringing on users’ privacy; and facilitating foreign election interference.
  158. On Friday, Facebook announced will add high quality journalism including USA Today, WSJ, WAPO, and NYT; but included Breitbart, a far-right website which has been accused of inaccurate and incendiary reporting.
  159. On Tuesday, WAPO reported that Trump’s company has removed his name from a pair of skating rinks in Central Park, Wollman Rink and Lasker Rink. Trump’s company still runs the two rinks.
  160. On Tuesday, Senate Republicans blocked two election security bills: John Thune blocked the Honest Ads Act, sponsored by Amy Klobuchar, and John Kennedy blocked the Election Security Act by Dick Durbin.
  161. On Wednesday, Axios reported an internal White House memo on cybersecurity from the Office of the Chief Information Security Officer warned the White House is at risk of being “electronically compromised.”
  162. At least a dozen high-ranking officials have resigned or been pushed out of the cybersecurity missionestablished under Obama to protect the White House from Russian hacking and other threats.
  163. On Thursday, the Senate confirmed Justin Walker, an ex-Kavanaugh clerk deemed “Not Qualified” by the American Bar Association, for a seat on the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Kentucky.
  164. On Wednesday, a Quinnipiac poll found 59% believe Trump pursued his personal interests in Ukraine, while 33% said he was acting in the U.S.’s interests. Approval for an impeachment inquiry held steady at 55%.
  165. On Wednesday, the Daily Caller reported it spoke to the 53 Republican senators about impeachment, and only seven completely ruled it out.
  166. On Wednesday, Trump lashed out at Democrats and the impeachment probe in a storm of tweets and retweets that started after midnight and continued into the early dawn.
  167. Trump attacked the impeachment inquiry, saying, “The Witch Hunt continues!” and “The Democrats Scam goes on and on! They Do Nothing!” and, “It never ends. The Do Nothing Dems are terrible!”
  168. Trump also tweeted, “Where is the Whistleblower?” and “The Do Nothing Dems case is DEAD!” and continued his rants about closed-door hearings, quoting other calling it “shady backroom tactics” and a “mockery.”
  169. On Wednesday, Laura Cooper, the Pentagon official who oversees Ukraine policy, was scheduled to testify before the three House committees behind closed doors on the White House decision to withhold Ukraine aid.
  170. NYT reported the Pentagon sent a letter to Cooper on Tuesday, signed by David Norquist, the No. 2 Pentagon official, warning her not to speak to Congress. She was subpoenaed by the House same day and appeared.
  171. On Wednesday, dozens of House Republicans, led by House Minority Whip Steve Scalise, stormed the secure facility where the committees were holding hearings, after Trump demanded the GOP “get tough and fight.”
  172. At a news conference before entering the hearing, House Republicans spoke to the press, calling the impeachment process as a “sham,” and lambasting House Democrats for closed door hearings.
  173. Trump ally Rep. Matt Gaetz told reporters, “Behind those doors they intend to overturn the results of an American presidential election. We want to know what’s going on.”
  174. Bloomberg reported that Trump knew in advance of House Republicans’ plan to disrupt the hearings, and approved of it. Members of the House Freedom Caucus chanted, “Let us in! Let us in!”
  175. Axios reported 13 of the 41 House Republicans who were on a list compiled by Gaetz as planning to storm the hearings were part of the three House committees allowed inside the hearings already.
  176. Chair Schiff delayed the hearing, and consulted with the House’s sergeant-at-arms on removing the protesters. Schiff also threatened House Republicans with ethics violations.
  177. The protest violated House rules on entering a Sensitive Compartmented Information Facility (SCIF) during a classified hearing, including bringing in electronic devices which are strictly prohibited inside.
  178. Rep. Alex Mooney tweeted the audio of a phone call he made inside the SCIF, adding “My report from inside the SCIF hearing room where we are exposing Adam Schiff’s secret so-called impeachment inquiry.
  179. On Wednesday, House Homeland Security Committee Chair Bennie Thompson asked the sergeant-at-arms to “take action with respect to the members involved in the breach,” and remind them of protocol.
  180. Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy excused cellphones brought in, saying, “These are individuals who have never been in Intel Committee before or anywhere else. So it’s nothing serious from that matter.”
  181. The WSJ Editorial Board, a newspaper owned by Rupert Murdoch, said in an op-ed titled, “Schiff’s Secret Bombshells,” that if the testimony about Trump is so damning, “why not make it public?
  182. After a five-hour delay caused by House Republicans, Cooper testified for more than three hours, starting around 3 p.m. The SCIF required a full security sweep before the deposition resumed.
  183. On Wednesday, top Republicans on the three House committees demanded in a letter to Chair Schiff that he bring the whistleblower in to testify publicly.
  184. On Wednesday, Trump tweeted Republicans who do not support him are “human scum,” saying, “The Never Trumper Republicans…are in certain ways worse and more dangerous…than the Do Nothing Democrats.”
  185. Trump also attacked Taylor and his lawyer of both being “Never Trumpers.” Taylor served as a diplomat starting under Ronald Reagan, and was asked by Pompeo to take over as ambassador after Marie Yovanovitch was ousted.
  186. On Thursday, press secretary Grisham defended Trump’s “human scum” remark on “Fox & Friends,” saying, “The fact that people continue to try and negate anything that he’s doing…they deserve strong language.”
  187. On Friday, White House counselor Kellyanne Conway distanced herself from Trump’s “human scum” remark, telling reporters “I would have used different words.”
  188. On Thursday, a female reporter for conservative Washington Examiner said Conway described herself as a “powerful woman” and threatened to investigate the reporter’s personal life for mentioning Conway’s husband.
  189. Conway denied threatening the reporter on Friday, despite the Examiner publishing a transcript of the call, saying, “I never threatened anyone,” and “If I threaten someone you’ll know it.”
  190. On Wednesday, NYT reported that high-level Ukrainian officials knew about the aid freeze by the first week in August, undercutting Trump’s denial of a quid pro quo based on Ukrainians not knowing about it.
  191. Ukrainians were told they should reach out to Mulvaney to address aid being frozen. On September 1, Sondland, Volker, and Giuliani drafted a statement for Zelensky to deliver to say he was opening an investigation.
  192. Taylor said Zelensky met with Sens. Ron Johnson and Christopher Murphy on September 5 in Kiev, and was told he should “not jeopardize bipartisan support by getting drawn into U.S. domestic politics.”
  193. On Wednesday, NYT reported White House aides feared another Ukraine back channel involving Kashyap Patel, a former aide to Rep. Devin Nunes, who helped the committee try to undermine the Russia investigation.
  194. When the GOP lost the House, Patel moved to Trump’s NSC staff and won his ear advancing unsubstantiated facts. Trump referred to Patel as one of his top Ukraine policy specialist, though he works on counterterrorism.
  195. On Wednesday, speaking at the annual Shale Insight Conference in Pittsburgh, Trump said, “we’re building a wall in Colorado,” which is not on the U.S. border. It was unclear what he meant.
  196. Trump added, “you can’t get over, you can’t get under.” Some supporters gave Trump standing ovation. He added, “And we’re not building a wall in Kansas, but they get the benefit of the walls that we just mentioned.”
  197. On Wednesday, NYT reported that Steve Bannon has started a radio show called “War Room” from his home in Washington, where he and Trump loyalists offer advice for Trump on handling the impeachment inquiry.
  198. On Thursday, Trump thanked House Republicans for storming the SCIF, tweeting, “Thank you to House Republicans for being tough, smart, and understanding in detail the greatest Witch Hunt in American History.”
  199. On Thursday, NYT reported after a meeting between Trump and McConnell on Monday evening, Trump complained privately that Senate Republicans were not doing enough to protect him from House Democrats.
  200. At a White House lunch on Thursday, Trump complained to Senate Republicans that he was a victim of never-ending political assaults by his enemies wielding an unfair process, claiming he has done nothing wrong.
  201. Privately, White House officials conceded they are losing the messaging battle, as Democrats prepare to call a string of high-profile witnesses in public hearings that could start as soon as mid-November.
  202. On Thursday, shortly after the lunch with Trump, Sen.Graham pulled another stunt, claiming he had 44 Republicans, including McConnell, as co-sponsors on a resolution to condemn the House’s impeachment inquiry.
  203. On Thursday, WSJ reported Trump’s White House instructed federal agencies not to renew their subscription to the NYT and WAPO, saying in an email that not renewing “will be a significant cost saving.”
  204. On Thursday, WAPO reported White House trade representative Robert Lighthizer withdrew a recommendation to restore some of Ukraine’s trade privileges in late August, after John Bolton warned him Trump would oppose it.
  205. Bolton told Lighthizer Trump would be against action that benefited Ukraine. It is not clear if Trump directed Bolton to intervene on trade privileges or if he was aware of the discussion.
  206. In his testimony before Congress on Tuesday, Taylor said that Tim Morrison, the National Security Council’s top Russia official, told him on August 22, “The president doesn’t want to provide any assistance at all.”
  207. A White House official told the Post the presidential proclamation about the trade status of Ukraine was held up, along with that of two other countries, as part of a routine “country review process.”
  208. In March 2018, Trump reauthorized the program through 2020. In early October, Lighthizer sent paperwork to the White House again, then withdrew it on October 17 amid the storm of the impeachment inquiry.
  209. The regime now plans to restore some of Ukraine’s suspended privileges in a package of measures later this month. Bolton resigned September 10, one day before Ukraine’s military aid was released.
  210. On Thursday, CNN reported that Tim Morrison, a top Russia and Europe adviser on Trump’s NSC who was mentioned 15 times in Taylor’s opening statement, is scheduled to testify next week before the House committees.
  211. Morrison is a current White House official, and he will be the first witness who was on the July 25 phone call. Morrison is expected to use his notes as a basis for this testimony and corroborate Taylor’s testimony.
  212. On Friday, Politico reported according to his attorney, Tim Morrison plans to testify before Congress in the impeachment probe next Thursday, even if the White House attempts to block him.
  213. On Friday, NBC News reported lawyers for Bolton have been in contact with officials for the three House committees about his possibly testifying in the impeachment probe.
  214. On Friday, Bolton aid Charles Kupperman, a former top national security aide to Trump, asked a federal court to rule on whether he must comply with a House subpoena and testify in the impeachment inquiry.
  215. On Wednesday, Trump’s private attorney William Consovoy told a federal appeals court that a sitting president could not be prosecuted while in office, even for shooting someone in the middle of Fifth Avenue.
  216. Consovoy also argued immunity extended to Trump’s business, the Trump Org., and asked the court to block a subpoena for Trump’s tax returns from the Manhattan DA, calling it “a bad faith effort to harass” Trump.
  217. On Wednesday, a federal judge ordered the State Department to begin releasing Ukraine-related records, including communications between Trump and Giuliani, to House impeachment investigators in 30 days.
  218. The release was ordered after a lawsuit filed by a government watchdog group, American Oversight, on October 1. The lawsuit also seeks documents related to the recall of Yovanovitch.
  219. On Wednesday, State Department counselor T. Ulrich Brechbuhl headed a delegation to Greenland, which Trump tried to buy in August. House Democrats are seeking Brechbuhl’s testimony about the July 25 call.
  220. On Thursday, Trump’s DOJ filed a lawsuit against California, saying the state’s emissions-trading system with Quebec is an unconstitutional foray in the federal government’s role of collaborating with foreign countries.
  221. On Thursday, Education Secretary Betsy DeVos was held in contempt of court and fined $100,000 after violating a court order to stop collecting student loans from defunct for-profit Corinthian College.
  222. On Thursday, A. Wayne Johnson, a top education official appointed by DeVos, resigned and called for canceling most of the outstanding student loans, saying the student-loan system is “fundamentally broken.”
  223. On Thursday, Politico reported that the National Archives and Records Administration launched a probe of Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross’ use of private emails for official business based on an article in the Post.
  224. On Thursday, the House Transportation Committee issued a subpoena to the General Services Administration seeking financial records on the Trump Hotel DC, which is housed on federally-owned land.
  225. On Friday, WSJ reported that the Trump Organization is exploring a sale of Trump Hotel DC, motivated in part by continuing accusations that Trump is flouting government ethics by profiting from the property.
  226. On Friday, Judge Beryl Howell ordered the DOJ to release all secret grand jury materials in the Mueller probeto the House Judiciary Committee, citing its possible use as Congress is conducting an impeachment inquiry.
  227. Judge Howell gave the DOJ until Wednesday to turn over materials, saying the committee has shown it needs the materials cited in the Mueller Report “to avoid a possible injustice in the impeachment inquiry.”
  228. Judge Howell turned down the White House Counsel’s office argument that the House did not vote on impeachment, saying “a House resolution has never, in fact, been required to begin an impeachment inquiry.”
  229. On Friday, acting Homeland Security Secretary Kevin McAleenan said in response to a House Homeland Security Committee subpoena that he will not testify next Wednesday, one day before departing office.
  230. On Friday, NYT reported career civil-servants are facing unprecedented legal bills under Trump. Legal advice for testifying in the impeachment inquiry can cost $15,000 or more. Some have asked for donations.
  231. On Friday, NBC News reported Giuliani had mistakenly dialed an NBC reporter and left a three-minute long voicemail message at 11:07 p.m., during which he was speaking to someone else in the room.
  232. On the voicemail Giuliani says, “I expected it would happen…The minute you touch on one of the protected people, they go crazy. They come after you,” seeming to refer to Democrats. The other man says, “You got the truth on your side”
  233. Giuliani can be heard saying, “I gotta get you to get on Bahrain.” He later says, “Is Robert around?” and when the other man answers he is in Turkey, Giuliani says, “The problem is we need some money.”
  234. On Friday, Maria Butina, who infiltrated conservative U.S. political groups as Trump rose to power, was released from prison after serving an 18-month sentence. She is expected to be immediately deported to Russia.
  235. During her flight back to Moscow, the crew of Aeroflot escorted her to business class, where Russia-state media outlet RT and Sputnik heralded her return. She received a hero’s welcome back in Moscow.
  236. On Thursday, Trump pressured the Federal Reserve, tweeting it would be “derelict in its duties if it doesn’t lower the Rate” ahead of the Fed’s meeting next week, and added the Fed is “way too slow to cut!”
  237. On Friday, the Treasury Department announced the U.S. deficit hit $984 billion in 2019, up 26% in the past year, and the largest deficit in 7 years. When Trump took office, budget deficit was $665 billion in 2017.
  238. Overall, after Trump campaigned on eliminating the deficit in eight years, the deficit is up 50% in the Trump era. The Trump regime did not defend the increased deficit, but blamed Congress for not cutting expenditures.
  239. On Friday, Treasury Secretary Mnuchin said the U.S. is close to finalizing phase one of a trade deal with China. Trump held a ceremony in the Oval Office and bragged on Twitter that this phase was complete in Week 152.
  240. On Friday, after Trump announced he would attend Game 5 of the World Series, the Nationals announced that José Andrés, a naturalized citizen from Spain and long-time critic of Trump, would throw the first pitch.
  241. On Friday, Major League Baseball umpire Rob Drake apologized, after sending tweets warning that if Trump is impeached, “ YOU WILL HAVE ANOTHER CIVAL WAR!!! #MAGA2020.”
  242. On Friday, former presidents Obama and Clinton, Speaker Pelosi, and Hillary Clinton eulogized Rep. Elijah Cummings at a funeral in Baltimore. Trump did not attend. The White House did not respond as to why.
  243. Maya Rockeymoore Cummings, the wife of Rep. Cummings, said the “attacks on his beloved city,” Baltimore, had “hurt” and been personally painful for him in his final days, without mentioning Trump by name.
  244. On Friday, Trump spoke to reporters at the White House, dismissing the need for an impeachment team, saying, “I don’t have teams, everyone’s talking about teams,” adding, “I’m the team. I did nothing wrong.”
  245. Trump also warned of a recession, saying, “If anything ever happened with this phony witch hunt that the Democrats are doing…I really believe you’d have a recession-depression, the likes of which this country hasn’t seen.”
  246. Later Friday, Trump spoke at Benedict College in South Carolina, a historically black college. Fewer than 10 students were given tickets. More than half the 300 seats were reserved for allies, some from out of state.
  247. In an hour long speech on criminal justice, Trump claimed he had done more for black people than any other president, and belittled Obama’s record, saying he had done “not too much” for black people.
  248. Later Friday, Trump tweeted an apparent reference to his new iPhone, saying to Apple CEO Tim Cook, “To Tim: The Button on the IPhone was FAR better than the Swipe!”
  249. Trump also attacked the impeachment inquiry, tweeting, “The entire Impeachment Scam was based on my perfect Ukrainian call,” adding, “The Democrats must end this Scam now. Witch Hunt!”
  250. Trump complained, “Democrats just announced that they no longer want the Whistleblower to testify,” falsely claiming that the whistleblower complaint “bore NO RELATIONSHIP to the call itself.”
  251. Trump also threatened to sue Democrats, tweeting, “My lawyers should sue the Democrats and Shifty Adam Schiff for fraud!”
  252. On Friday, WAPO reported as the week comes to a close, a frustrated Trump has realized White House efforts to block witnesses from testifying have failed, and the inquiry poses a serious threat to his keeping power.
  253. Trump brought back criminal defense attorneys, Jane and Marty Raskin, who were part of his legal team during the Mueller probe, an acknowledgement the fact are bad, and they need to get in front of them.
  254. White House officials have also begun holding regular strategy sessions, some time in the Situation Room, and are considering adding veteran impeachment lawyers and communications specialists to the team.
  255. The belated scramble showed the strategy of claiming in a White House letter, much of which Trump dictated, that the impeachment inquiry was invalid has failed. Nine key figures have already testified in the inquiry.
  256. Judge Howell’s ruling took away counsel Pat Cipollone’s main argument that the House impeachment inquiry was not legally authorized. Trump expressed anger at people testifying, asking why they cannot be stopped.
  257. On Saturday, Trump denied WAPO reporting, tweeting, “The Fake Washington Post keeps doing phony stories,” adding he is not concerned “because I did nothing wrong,” and adding, “Witch Hunt continues!”
  258. Trump also lashed out at Pelosi, tweeting her San Francisco district “is in such horrible shape that the City itself is in violation of many sanitary & environmental orders,” adding, “all she works on is Impeachment.”
  259. Trump also quoted Fox News host Tucker Carlson, tweeting, “Not a single American citizen has been charged with anything related to Russian Collusion.” This is false. Trump added, “It was all an illegal Witch Hunt!”
  260. On Friday, Microsoft was awarded a $10 billion contract for the Joint Enterprise Defense Infrastructure over Amazon. Trump had threatened to intervene in July. In a statement, Amazon said it was surprised.
  261. On Saturday, CNN reported that in a new biography, “Holding The Line: Inside Trump’s Pentagon with Secretary Mattis,” former Defense Secretary James Mattis said Trump told him to “screw Amazon” on the contract.
  262. On Saturday, WAPO reported CertiPath, a company with financial ties to Trump’s younger brother Robert, was awarded a $33 million government contract, raising protests over possible favoritism by the two other bidders.
  263. On Saturday, Phil Reeker, the assistant Secretary of State for Europe and Eurasian Affairs, testified in the impeachment inquiry. Trump ally Rep. Jim Jordan asked in a letter to postpone Reeker’s Saturday deposition.

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Tuesday, Oct. 22, 2019, Russian President Vladimir Putin, right, and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan shake hands after a joint news conference, hours before a five-day cease-fire between Turkish troops and Kurdish fighters in northeastern Syria was set to expire, in Sochi, Russia. Russia and Turkey reached an agreement that would cement their power in Syria, deploying their forces across nearly its entire northeastern border to fill the void left by President Donald Trump’s abrupt withdrawal of U.S. forces.

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.

IMG_3049
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)

POLITIKS OF GRAFFITI 153: KURDISH “DELIGHT” a.k.a. “GENOCIDE”

OCTOBER 12, 2019

Week 152

Experts in authoritarianism advise to keep a list of things
subtly changing around you, so you’ll remember. https://theweeklylist.org/weekly-list/week-152/
EGN1-3uUUAAwUSQ
The Fraudfather made Zelensky “an offer he couldn’t refuse”. – Jim Carrey

In addition to the number of not normal items surging since the start of the impeachment inquiry, Trump’s Twitter activity has proliferated — in one 25 minute span on Friday alone, he sent 33 tweets! In past weekly lists, we have covered that the potency of his tweets have had decreased, both in impact and visibility, as his time in office wears on. Also, notably, the media coverage of Trump’s frenzied tweeting has dropped off, making it harder each week to find sources that put what amounts to official pronouncements from the leader of our country into some context (and for me to link to for historical purposes).

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At Ocean Beach in San Diego, CA 8oct19

In the past two weeks, there has been a striking shift in the country’s sentiment towards impeachment — approval of not only an inquiry, but also removing Trump, has shifted in favor. Thus far, breaking news coming from our media has done most of the fact finding and informing. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi is keeping the focus of the inquiry narrow, but with reporting gushing out the scope of the July 25 Trump-Ukraine call has broadened in several different subplots which are commensurately unfolding.

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Ocean Beach, San Diego, CA 8oct19
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“Stay Woke” – San Diego, CA oct2019
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He has some supporters in San Diego. oct2019 – california

This week Trump abruptly pulled U.S. troops from Syria, enabling possible genocide by Turkey against the Kurds who fought alongside us, and allowing ISIS fighters to escape and regroup. It’s a calamity of our times — and yet few voices in the Republican Party, let alone the decorated military officials who served in the Trump regime, are willing to speak out. If anyone had doubts of how close we are to becoming an authoritarian state, this week’s list will remind you.

  1. On Saturday, Politico reported U.S. District Judge Amy Berman Jackson ordered the White House to preserve records of all of Trump’s dealings with foreign leaders, including his interactions with Ukraine.
  2. On Saturday, Trump called for Sen. Mitt Romney’s impeachment, tweeting, without evidence, Utahnsconsider their vote for him “a big mistake,” and calling him “a fool” who plays into the hands of Democrats.
  3. Trump also tweeted, “So Crooked Hillary Clinton can delete and acid wash 33,000 emails AFTER getting a Subpoena,” adding, “but I can’t make one totally appropriate telephone call,” calling it a “Witch Hunt!”
  4. Trump also tweeted, “the first so-called second hand information “Whistleblower” got my phone conversation almost completely wrong, so now word is they are going to the bench.” This claim is false.
  5. Trump also tweeted that the other ““Whistleblower” is coming in from the Deep State,” falsely claiming, “also with second hand info,” adding, “Meet with Shifty. Keep them coming!”
  6. On Saturday, Axios reported on a conference call with House Republicans on Friday, Trump said he called Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky on July 25 at the urging of Energy Secretary Rick Perry.
  7. Trump claimed he did not want to make the call, signaling a new shift in strategy to distance himself. According to texts revealed in Week 151, Rudy Giuliani was the person pushing Trump to call. Perry is not mentioned.
  8. On Monday, AP reported businessmen and GOP donors used ties to Trump and Giuliani to install new board members at Ukraine’s massive state gas company Naftogaz under former president Petro Poroshenko.
  9. When Zelensky took office, Sec. Perry met with him and advanced a board slate for Naftogaz that included a past GOP donor from Texas. It is unclear if Perry’s efforts were coordinated with those of Giuliani’s allies.
  10. On Saturday, USA Today reported Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell is fundraising off impeachment in a new campaign ad on Facebook, saying “the way that impeachment stops is a Senate majority.”
  11. On Sunday, in an op-ed, Joe Biden said of Trump’s time in office, “It all comes down to the abuse of power. That is the defining characteristic of the Trump presidency,” adding, “You won’t destroy me” or my family.
  12. On Sunday, in a series of tweets, Trump attacked Joe Biden, saying, “It is INCREDIBLE to watch and read the Fake News and how they pull out all stops to protect Sleepy Joe Biden” and his “thrown out of the Military son.”
  13. Trump tweeted Hunter Biden “was handed $100,000 a month (Plus,Plus) from a Ukrainian based company, even though he had no experience in energy” and got “1.5 Billion Dollars from China despite no experience.”
  14. Trump added, “The Biden family was PAID OFF, pure and simple!” calling on the “fake news” to “stop making excuses for something that is totally inexcusable.” All of Trump’s statements in the tweets are false.
  15. On Sunday, Trump accused the House Speaker of treason, tweeting, “Pelosi knew of all of the many Shifty Adam Schiff lies and massive frauds” and “illegal meetings with a highly partisan “Whistleblower” & lawyer.”
  16. Trump added, “This makes Nervous Nancy every bit as guilty as Liddle’ Adam Schiff for High Crimes and Misdemeanors, and even Treason,” adding they must “be immediately Impeached!
  17. On Sunday, NBC News reported a second whistleblower has come forward, who, according to the attorney for the first whistleblower, “has first-hand knowledge” of Trump’s call with the Ukrainian president.
  18. The second whistleblower did not plan to file a separate complaint, and is entitled to legal protections for cooperating with the inspector general. On Sunday shows, Republicans brushed off the second whistleblower.
  19. On Sunday, Columbia Journalism Review reported the White House refused to send a representative on the Sunday talk shows. Host on major Sundays shows pushed back on Trump allies and their talking points.
  20. On Sunday, Sen. Lindsey Graham said on Fox News “Sunday Morning Futures” if the whistleblower allegations “are turned into an impeachment article,” he “will make sure” the whistleblower faces public questioning.
  21. On Sunday, in a contentious interview with “Meet the Press” host Chuck Todd, Sen. Ron Johnson said he does not trust the CIA or FBI, and parroted Trump citing Ukraine helped Hillary Clinton in the 2016 election.
  22. ABC host George Stephanopoulos said to Rep. Jim Jordan on Trump’s asking of China, “You’re telling us not to believe what we’ve seen with our own eyes,” and “you still can’t say whether you think it’s right or wrong.”
  23. On Monday, House Democrats took the extraordinary steps to protect the whistleblower of considering testimony at a remote location and obscuring their appearance and voice, after repeated threats by Trump.
  24. Democrats are concerned that without precautions, Republicans on the House Intelligence Committee could leak the identity. The whistleblower’s attorney is also in talks with the Senate Intelligence Committee.
  25. On Monday, Vanity Fair reported although Sen. Romney will not primary Trump in 2020, his aides say he is casting himself as “the lone voice of conscience,” to sway other Republicans as impeachment unfolds.
  26. On Sunday, WSJ reported Attorney General William Barr is sparking discord with long-time allies Italy, Australia, and the U.K. by working outside the usual channels in his investigation of the investigators.
  27. On Barr, Sen. Graham said, “He is simply doing his job,” while ranking Democrat of the Senate Intelligence Committee, Mark Warner warned, “This could put the Five Eyes relationship in jeopardy.”
  28. On Sunday, the Sunday Times reported British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, in an unprecedented move, will challenge Queen Elizabeth II to fire him rather resign, in an attempt to drive through Brexit on October 31.
  29. Late Sunday, after speaking to Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Trump for a second time in a year upended U.S. strategy in Syria, abruptly announcing the withdrawal of U.S. troops, abandoning Kurdish allies.
  30. Former defense secretary James Mattis resigned after Trump first threatened to pull out troops in December 2018 after his call with Erdogan. Mattis however did not speak out publicly this week.
  31. Some senior Pentagon officials were blindsided by Trump’s decision. In a White House statement Sunday and in Trump’s tweets Monday, Trump cited the U.S. shouldering too much of the cost of fighting ISIS.
  32. On Monday, Trump tweeted, “It is time for us to get out of these ridiculous Endless Wars, many of them tribal, and bring our soldiers home,” and, “WE WILL FIGHT WHERE IT IS TO OUR BENEFIT, AND ONLY FIGHT TO WIN.”
  33. On Monday, AP reported State Department and Pentagon officials held out hopes of persuading Turkey to abandon its expected invasion. Kurds had fought alongside U.S. forces for years in taking on ISIS.
  34. Sen. Graham called it “a major blunder,” and “an impulsive decision.” Leader McConnell warned “a precipitous withdrawal” would benefit Russia, Iran, and Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, and help ISIS regroup.
  35. Brett McGurk, the former U.S. envoy for the global coalition against ISIS who resigned with Mattis, tweeted Trump “is not a Commander-in-Chief,” and, “He makes impulsive decisions with no knowledge or deliberation.”
  36. Later Monday, Trump tweeted, “if Turkey does anything that I, in my great and unmatched wisdom, consider to be off limits, I will totally destroy and obliterate the Economy of Turkey.” It was unclear what Trump meant.
  37. When asked about Turkey attacking the Kurds, Trump told reporters “I have told Turkey that if they do anything outside of what we would think is humane..they could suffer the wrath of an extremely decimated economy.”
  38. Later, responding to widespread Republican and evangelical Christian leaders’ criticism, Trump defended himself, saying he had “consulted with everybody,” and adding, “I could name other people who are thrilled.”
  39. On Monday, former secretary of state Republican Colin Powell said, “The Republican Party has got to get a grip on itself” as GOP lawmakers flocked to defend Trump, adding, our foreign policy is “in shambles right now.”
  40. On Tuesday, Trump tweeted, “We may be in the process of leaving Syria, but in no way have we Abandoned the Kurds, who are special people,” adding, “Turkey, a NATO and Trading partner, has been very good.”
  41. Trump added, “any unforced or unnecessary fighting by Turkey will be devastating to their economy and to their very fragile currency.” On Tuesday night, Turkish forces were seen moving into the area.
  42. On Tuesday, Trump also tweeted, “Turkey is an important member in good standing of NATO,” adding Erdogan “is coming to the U.S. as my guest on November 13th. #ENDENDLESSWARS”
  43. On Tuesday, Sen. Graham threatened Turkey on Twitter with “sanctions from hell” if they move into Syria. Graham said he could gather a veto-proof majority in the Senate.
  44. On Wednesday, Turkey launched an offensive against Kurdish fighters in northeastern Syria after U.S. troops pulled back. Erdogan announced the start of the campaign in a tweet.
  45. On Wednesday, Trump tweeted, “Fighting between various groups that has been going on for hundreds of years. USA should never have been in Middle East,” adding, “The stupid endless wars, for us, are ending!”
  46. Trump also tweeted, “GOING INTO THE MIDDLE EAST IS THE WORST DECISION EVER MADE … IN THE HISTORY OF OUR COUNTRY!” and “BIG PICTURE! THE USA IS GREATER THAN EVER BEFORE!”
  47. On Wednesday, Sen. Graham tweeted, “Pray for our Kurdish allies who have been shamelessly abandoned by the Trump Administration,” adding, “I urge President Trump to change course while there is still time.”
  48. Rep. Liz Cheney, also a reliable Trump ally prior, tweeted, “Trump’s decision to withdraw U.S. forces from northern Syria is having sickening and predictable consequences,” adding lawmakers “must and will act.”
  49. On Wednesday, Gulnur Aybet, Erdogan’s senior policy adviser, told CNN Trump and Erdogan “reached an understanding over precisely what this operation is,” adding Trump “knows what the scope of this operation is.”
  50. On Wednesday, NBC News reported intelligence officials warn the 12,000 ISIS fighters being guarded by Kurds, the world’s largest concentration of terrorists, could escape, regroup, and attack America and Europe.
  51. Later Wednesday, Trump defended his decision to abandon the Kurds, telling reporters, “They didn’t help us in the Second World War; they didn’t help us with Normandy.” This statement is factually incorrect and nonsensical.
  52. Trump also said the Kurds battled alongside U.S. forces for “their land,” adding, “With all of that being said, we like the Kurds,” and said it will not be hard for the U.S. to form new partnerships: “Alliances are very easy.”
  53. Asked about ISIS fighters escaping prisons, Trump said “they are going to be escaping to Europe…they want to go back to their homes,” adding, Turkey and the Kurds have “hated each other for many, many years.”
  54. On Friday, BBC reported at least 11 Kurdish civilians along with dozens of fighters were killed as Turkey moved into northern Syria. Tens of thousands of civilians fled their homes.
  55. On Friday, Sen. Graham pleaded with Trump to “change course while you still can,” adding, “the reemergence of ISIS is on the way,” and the “ability to recruit partners to fight radical Islam…has been virtually destroyed.”
  56. On Friday, AP reported as Turkey captured more Kurdish-held villages in the border region, aid agencies have warned of a humanitarian crisis, with nearly a half-million people at risk near the border.
  57. Kurdish forces guarding prisons holding more than 10,000 Islamic State members were forced to abandon their posts. Putin said he doubts the Turkish army has resources to control the prison camps, and warned of mobilizing.
  58. On Friday, Defense Secretary Mark Esper confirmed the Pentagon planned to send an additional 2,000 troops and equipment to Saudi Arabia, “to assure and enhance the defense of Saudi Arabia.”
  59. On Friday, Trump told reporters, “Saudi Arabia at my request has agreed to pay us for everything we are doing. That is a first,” and, “we appreciate that,” adding, “Saudi Arabia, and other countries soon now.”
  60. On Friday, a bipartisan group of House lawmakers, led by Foreign Affairs Committee Chair Eliot Engel drafted a resolution condemning Trump’s decision to pull troops. The four-page resolution does not rebuke Trump by name.
  61. On Friday, a Pentagon spokesperson confirmed U.S. troops in the vicinity of Kobani, Syria came under fire from a Turkish incursion. Earlier an official told NPR troops were departing, as strikes were “too close for comfort.”
  62. On Saturday, AFP reported Turkey stepped up its assault in Syria, defying threats of sanctions from Europe and the U.S. The United Nations said the operation has already displaced 100,000 people.
  63. On Saturday, CNN reported the commander of the Kurdish-led forces told the Deputy Special Envoy to the Global Coalition to Defeat ISIS, William Roebuck, on Thursday, “You are leaving us to be slaughtered.”
  64. On Monday, a federal judge in San Francisco warned Education Secretary Betsy DeVos she could send her to jail for ignoring a court order by continuing to collect debt payments from Corinthian Colleges students.
  65. On Tuesday, Leader McConnell’s re-election campaign touted a Politico report showing his wife, Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao’s record of granting meetings to Kentuckians, calling McConnell a “Kentucky Asset.”
  66. The Trump regime’s Bureau of Land Management announced it would make 725,000 acres of land in California’s central coast open to oil and gas lease sales, paving the way for more fracking after a five-year moratorium.
  67. On Wednesday, the Hill reported the Trump regime eliminated a decade-old, Obama-era advisory board that advised on smart grid innovation, as part of a Trump executive order to cut federal advisory boards by a third.
  68. On Friday, Sen. Gary Peters, the ranking member of the Senate’s Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, criticized Vice President Mike Pence for not sharing requested information on his recent stay at Trump’s Doonbeg resort.
  69. On Monday, WAPO reported Trump’s company canceled an event for anti-Muslim group ACT for Americascheduled for November 7 at Mar-a-Lago. ACT of America said Trump’s company had “caved to the Left’s bullying tactics.”
  70. On Wednesday, Esquire reported a forthcoming book on Trump called “All the President’s Women: Donald Trump and the Making of a Predator,” includes 43 new accusations of sexual misconduct against Trump.
  71. One of the 43, Karen Johnson, told the authors Trump grabbed her vagina without her consent and forcibly kissed her at Mar-a-Lago resort in the early 2000s. She said she was afraid to come forward because of who he was.
  72. On Wednesday, a neo-Nazi killed two people on Yom Kippur, after unsuccessfully trying to force his wayinside a synagogue in Halle, Germany, while broadcasting his rampage on Twitch.
  73. The WAPO Editorial Board warned of the connection to mass murders at a synagogue in Pittsburgh, mosques in New Zealand, and a Walmart in El Paso, and called for resources and attention to “the enemy within.”
  74. On Tuesday, NYT reported Western security officials have concluded an elite unit inside the Russian intelligence system, known as Unit 29155, has led a campaign to destabilize Europe over at least the past decade.
  75. The unit underscores Russian President Vladimir Putin’s efforts to use hybrid warfare including propaganda, hacking attacks, and disinformation — as well as military confrontation — in fighting the West.
  76. On Tuesday, the second report from the