LAHORE , PAKISTAN 🇵🇰: ODD JOBS

A beggar sits on the sidewalk in front of a Pakistan Flag mural early in the morning.

Boys go to an fro transporting things on a donkey cart.

Checking his phone…

Bikes are for more than just riding.

It’s mango season and some men are grabbing some to take home after work on a Friday evening.

July2018. Lahore , Pakistan 🇵🇰

Advertisements

JACKSONVILLE, FLORIDA GRAFFITI: WE’RE GOLDEN

IMG_9149IMG_9138

Miami, FL – based Golden 305. To check out more of his work, here is his Instagram link:https://www.instagram.com/golden305/

27feb18. Jacksonville, FL

POLITIKS OF GRAFFITI 67: “INCONTROVERTIBLE” ~ RUSSIA INTERFERED WITH THE 2016 ELECTION

Week 66 of this presidency: Experts in authoritarianism advise to keep a list of things subtly changing around you, so you’ll remember.

February 17, 2018 https://medium.com/@Amy_Siskind/week-66-experts-in-authoritarianism-advise-to-keep-a-list-of-things-subtly-changing-around-you-so-a3c69c829741

For the first time in quite a while, this week Trump had no control over the narrative. What was supposed to be his Infrastructure Week, was quickly supplanted by the Rob Porter scandal, which carried over from Week 65 and escalated, highlighting the Trump White House dysfunction. Another mass shooting shook the country and left Trump and his regime flat-footed ahead of bombshell indictments unsealed by Mueller against Russians on Friday.

The indictments highlight what heads of US intelligence unanimously agreed to in Senate hearings, and what H.R. McMaster called “incontrovertible” — that Russia interfered in the 2016 presidential election. Trump’s continued denial of Russian meddling leaves him in an isolated and untenable position, as the country awaits his response to Russia.

Of note, this week there was push-back from inspector generals, watchdog groups, and the judicial branch against the regime’s kleptocracy and corruption — some of the first signs of accountability.

IMG_8552
by Consumerart in the East Village, NYC ~ Feb2018
  1. NBC News reported Associate Attorney General Rachel Brand resigned due to her frustration that key positions in her jurisdiction were unfilled, and her concern that Rod Rosenstein’s job was in danger and she would assume oversight of the Russia probe.
  2. On Sunday, Kellyanne Conway, Mick Mulvaney, and Marc Short appeared on Sunday shows to defend the White House’s handling of the Rob Porter abuse allegations. Mulvaney’s timeline on “Face the Nation” was differentthan John Kelly’s version.
  3. When asked if Hope Hicks was in danger dating Porter, Conway said “I’ve rarely met somebody so strong with such excellent instincts and loyalty and smarts.” Porter’s first ex-wife, Colbie Holderness, responded in an op-ed about domestic abuse.
  4. On Tuesday, Politico reported in the hours after Daily Mail broke the story about Porter’s abuse, press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders hastily arranged an off-the-record meeting between Porter and four reporters to tell his side of the story.
  5. On Sunday, WAPO reported under Trump ICE arrests have surged by 40%. The biggest jump has been arrests of immigrants with no criminal convictions: 37,734 arrests in fiscal 2017, more than doubling 2016’s arrests.
  6. Street-level ICE officers and field directors have greater latitude to determine whom they arrest and under what conditions. Trump officials call it taking “the shackles off,” and happily report morale is up at ICE.
  7. Houston Chronicle reported Carlos Gudiel Andres, husband and father of five, was arrested early morning while packing his tools for work, the latest case of ICE targeting predominantly Hispanic apartment complexes.
  8. Community members held a rally in CT for Zhe Long Huang and Xiang Jin Li, known as “Kris and Tony,” who face deportation to China. The couple, who own a local nail salon, fear being separated from their two sons.
  9. In Kansas, ICE handcuffed a chemistry professor, Syed A. Jamal, who has been in the US for 30 years, as he was leaving to drive his daughter to school. Jamal, who coached kids in science and sports, awaits deportation.
  10. In Phoenix, ICE was set to deport Jesus Armando Berrones-Balderas, a father of five who has lived in the US since he was one and has a son battling cancer. After media coverage, ICE granted him a one-year stay.
  11. Toronto Star reported US Border Patrol is boarding buses and trains within 100 miles of Canada and asking passengers if they are citizens. A 1953 law gives the patrol the right to do this within 100 miles of our borders.
  12. On Tuesday, BuzzFeed reported Raphael Sanchez, while chief counsel for ICE in Seattle, stole the identities of multiple immigrants while their immigration cases were under review.
  13. Sanchez pleaded guilty to using the immigrants’ information to open up credit cards and loans in their names, taking payments of more than $190,000 from the false accounts. He resigned from the agency.
  14. Reuters reported the Trump regime is considering closing more than 20 US resettlement offices, and cutting back operations at more than 40 others as part of the State Department’s plan to reduce the number of refugees allowed in.
  15. On Tuesday, a second judge, US District Judge Nicholas Garaufis in Brooklyn, ruled DACA could not end in March, saying the regime could eventually rescind DACA, but the reasons given in September were too arbitrary to stand.
  16. Vox analyzed the hiring records for three Trump properties in New York and Florida and found only one out of 144 jobs went to a US worker from 2016 to the end of 2017. The rest were foreign workers under H-2B visas.
  17. Jocelyn Morfii, an elementary school teacher at Saints Peter and Paul Catholic School in Miami for seven years, was fired after marrying a woman. The principal said it was “difficult and necessary decision.”
  18. USA Today reported that 92% of Trump’s federal judge nominees are white. Of the 87 picks so far, just one is African American, one is Hispanic, and five are Asian American.
  19. Boston Globe reported Charles Johnson, a 29 year-old who questions if six million Jews died in the Holocaust, argues black people are “dumber” than white people, and is part of white supremacist circles, has found mainstream acceptance working for a pro-Trump super PAC in DC.
  20. On Sunday, Rick Blood, the GOP deputy mayor of Mendham, ex-Gov. Chris Christie’s hometown, published a Facebook post comparing immigrants to raccoons in the basement, and lauded Trump as the exterminator.
  21. Blood deleted the post, which was a version of a post circulating on conservative blogs since early 2016. On Monday he faced Mendham residents, and then, after a township committee meeting, resigned.
  22. On Monday, Brandon Defrain, GOP chair in Bay County, Michigan resigned his post and from the party. In a Facebook post he said “I can no longer remain silent” about Trump, citing racism, hatred, and violation of civil rights.
  23. Lissa Luca, a Democratic candidate in West Virginia’s House of Delegates, was forcibly escorted out after using a public hearing on the House floor to list the donations GOP lawmakers had received from the oil and gas industry.
  24. On Monday, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, led by acting director Mulvaney, dropped its lawsuit against Golden Valley Lending, a payday lender that allegedly charged people interest rates of up to 950 percent.
  25. On Monday, is a speech to the National Sheriffs Association, Sessions broke from his prepared written remarks — “The sheriff is a critical part of our legal heritage” — to instead invoke the “Anglo-American heritage.”
  26. On Thursday, the US appeals court in Virginia said Trump’s Muslim Ban was probably unconstitutional, putting it on hold pending Supreme Court review. Trump’s comments and tweets were reviewed in the case.
  27. On Thursday, the House voted to amend the Americans with Disabilities Act, to require written notice of violations, and giving businesses 60 days to come up with a plan and an additional 60 days to take action.
  28. On Thursday, Planned Parenthood and eight other groups sued Trump’s Department of Health and Human Services, saying the agency unlawfully canceled their five-year grants for teen pregnancy prevention midstream and with no explanation
  29. Heath Hall, the Federal Railroad Administration’s acting chief since June, resigned following another deadly Amtrak crash. Politico reported Hall was simultaneously working as a public relations consultant in Mississippi.
  30. Trump’s pick to run the Census Bureau, Thomas Brunell, a deeply partisan professor with no government experience who had defended racial gerrymandering and voter suppression, withdrew from consideration.
  31. According to data obtained by McClatchy, the State Department is promoting 50% fewer people into the first levels of senior Foreign Service positions, creating a crisis for the future diplomatic corps and a leadership vacuum.
  32. The Trump regime has also proposed another steep cut in the diplomatic budget of more than 25%, raising concerns the regime is intentionally undercutting the department’s work and US influence in the world.
  33. According to WAPO in partnership with Partnership for Public Service, after 13 months in office, Trump has yet to put forth a nominee for 1 in 3 key roles in the executive branch: 225 of 636 positions have no nominee.
  34. On Sunday, Politico reported Rep. Devin Nunes created his own alternative news site. The website, “The California Republican,” is paid for by Nunes’ campaign committee, and is classified on Facebook as a “media/news company.”
  35. On Sunday, WAPO reported based on information obtained under the FOIA, unlike his predecessors, Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Scott Pruitt travels first-class and on military jets, and stays at very high-end hotels, costing taxpayers tens of thousands.
  36. Pruitt also tends to bring a larger entourage of political advisers on his trips than past administrators, and rarely discloses his schedule in advance citing “security concerns” and that it could be a “distraction.”
  37. NYT reported that a $225,000 donation resulted in special treatment for Fitzgerald trucks, as Pruitt helped the company secure a pollution loophole that Obama tried to close, and the Trump regime is championing.
  38. A federal court ruled Trump’s Department of Energy must implement four Obama-era energy efficiency regulations, which have been delayed for more than a year, saying failure is “a violation of the department’s duties.”
  39. The Veterans Affairs inspector general found Secretary David Shulkin’s chief of staff doctored an email and made false statements to justify having taxpayers cover expenses for his wife on a 10-day trip to Europe.
  40. The inspector general also found Shulkin improperly accepted tickets to Wimbledon worth thousands of dollars and other gifts, and directed an aide to act as a “personal travel concierge” to him and his wife.
  41. On Thursday, Shulkin refused to resign, instead saying his chief of staff’s email account had been hacked: “We’ve seen that somebody is impersonating her, and we have to fully investigate that.”
  42. NYT reported the FCC inspector general opened an investigation by the end of 2017 into whether commissioner Ajit Pai and his aides improperlypushed for rule changes which benefitted Sinclair Broadcasting.
  43. AT&T will seek testimony from the Department of Justice’s antitrust chief, in exploring whether Trump influenced the department’s decision to block the company’s proposed acquisition of Time Warner to retaliate at CNN.
  44. WAPO tabulated that in Trump’s first 13 months in office, more than 40% (9 out of 22) of the people he originally picked for Cabinet-level jobs have faced ethical or other controversies.
  45. On Thursday, the Trump regime agreed to settle a pending lawsuit by nonprofit group Public Citizen filed last August, and will post visitor logs for some White House offices, including Office of Management and Budget and the drug czar’s office.
  46. On Sunday, the day before the White House released its 2019 budget,Mulvaney told “Fox News Sunday” that the US will post a larger budget deficit this year and could see a “spike” in interest rates as a result.
  47. On Monday, Trump unveiled his $1.5 trillion infrastructure plan which his aides told Axios is not expected to pass, and his $4 trillion budget which his aides said reads like “science fiction.”
  48. The aides told Axios Trump’s real focus in 2018 is “looking for opportunities to stir up the base” — “unexpected cultural flashpoints” like the NFL and kneeling that Trump can latch onto in person and on Twitter.
  49. As part of the infrastructure plan, Trump would give Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke the unilateral power to approve construction of pipelines through national parks. Currently, construction requires an act of Congress.
  50. Also as part of the infrastructure plan, the Trump regime wants to sell off or privatize a broad array of government assets, including the Reagan National Airport and the George Washington Memorial Parkway.
  51. As part of the budget, the Trump regime wants to shake-up the SNAP program (food stamps). Under the regime’s proposal, recipients would get half their benefits in a “USDA Foods package” determined by the regime.
  52. The package includes “shelf-stable milk, ready to eat cereals, pasta, peanut butter, beans and canned fruit and vegetables,” but not fresh produce. The regime says it will save $129 million over 10 years with these limitations.
  53. Trump’s budget also proposed ending federal funding for the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, which provides some funds to PBS and NPR. PBS CEO Paula Kerger said this would result in closing some local PBS stations.
  54. On Wednesday, Mulvaney told a congressional panel Trump’s military parade could cost up to $30 million, but it is not included in the budget because it came up late.
  55. On Tuesday, in Senate testimony, Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats said the nation’s debt, likely to escalate with the Republican’s $1.5 trillion tax cut and other fiscal measures, “represents a dire threat to our economic and national security.”
  56. AP reported the amount of money spent lobbying by corporations, trade associations, and special interest groups spiked in the final months of 2017, in the battle for tax breaks in the Republican tax bill.
  57. The GOP tax bill was mostly written in private. Watchdog group Public Citizens reported more than 4,600 lobbyists were engaged specifically on the tax rewrite, an average of 13 lobbyists for every member of Congress.
  58. On Monday, Trump tweeted, “4.2 million hard working Americans have already received a large Bonus and/or Pay Increase.” This is false. A survey found less than 2% of America benefited from the GOP tax law.
  59. Democratic Gov. Tom Wolf of Pennsylvania announced a directive for counties replacing electronic voting systems to buy machines with a paper backup, citing hackers scanned voter registration databases in the 2016 election.
  60. Foreign Policy reported BuzzFeed has hired Anthony Ferrante, who works for FTI Consulting and is a former FBI and National Security Council cybersecurity expert, to lead a team in verifying the Steele dossier.
  61. BuzzFeed is being sued for libel by Russian technology executive Aleksej Gubarev who claims the website was reckless in publishing the dossier. A source said of BuzzFeed’s strategy: “If it’s fact, it’s not libel, that’s the idea.”
  62. On Monday, Russia news agency Tass was again the first to report a telephone conversation between Trump and Putin. According to Tass, the content discussed had to do with diplomacy in the Middle East.
  63. On Monday, Putin hosted Palestinian President Abbas in Moscow and reportedly told him Trump coveys “his best wishes.” Reuters reportedAbbas told Putin he wants the US peace role diluted.
  64. On Monday, CNN reported Sens. Chuck Grassley and Lindsey Graham sent a letter to former National Security Adviser Susan Rice asking why she sent an email to herself the day of Trump’s inauguration about an Oval Office meeting on Russian interference.
  65. The email details a January 5 meeting attended by Rice, Obama, James Comey, Sally Yates, and Joe Biden. Obama stressed he wanted every aspect handled by the Intelligence and law enforcement communities “by the book.”
  66. In January, Comey, James Clapper, John Brennan, and Mike Rogers released a public report saying Russia meddled in the election to help Trump win. Obama was also briefed on conversations between Michael Flynn and Sergey Kislyak.
  67. The email states: “Obama said he wants to be sure that, as we engage with the incoming team, we are mindful to ascertain if there is any reason that we cannot share information fully as it relates to Russia.” The email was sent at 12:15 p.m., just minutes before Obama left office.
  68. On Tuesday, leaders of the US intelligence agencies testified before the Senate Intelligence Committee. DNI Coats warned, “There should be no doubt that Russia perceives its past efforts as successful and views the 2018 US midterm elections as a potential target for Russian influence operations.”
  69. Leaders laid out the challenges which include the flow of Russian misinformation and shoring up defenses of electoral systems. Almost every state is taking steps to protect voter databases and election equipment.
  70. Coats said, “We need to inform the American public that this is real,” adding, “there needs to be a national cry for that.” Trump continues to deny that Russia interfered in the 2016 election, calling it “a hoax.”
  71. Sen. Jack Reed asked the leaders if Trump has directed them to take “specific actions to confront and to blunt” Russian interference activities. All are taking some actions, but none have been specifically directed by Trump.
  72. On Wednesday, WAPO reported at the behest of Trump in April, Don McGahn called Dana Boente at DOJ and tried to get him to persuade Comey to publicly state Trump was not personally under investigation in the Russia probe.
  73. McGahn’s office has also reportedly prepared a detailed reconstruction of the 18 days between the time of Yates’s warning and Flynn’s firing, and turned the document over to Mueller for his review.
  74. On Thursday, CNN reported Rick Gates is finalizing a plea deal with Mueller, indicating he will become the third regime member to cooperatein the investigation. The plea negotiations had been ongoing for about a month.
  75. Gates has already had a “Queen for a Day” interview, in which he can answer any questions about his own case and other potential criminal activity he witnessed, and not have it used against him if he cooperates.
  76. On Friday, as part of the wrangling over Paul Manafort’s bail, Mueller’s team told a federal judge they have found evidence of “additional criminal conduct” by Manafort not addressed in their indictment last October.
  77. Mueller’s filing shows Manafort obtained a mortgage using “doctored profit and loss statements” which overstated his consulting company’s income “by millions of dollars.” There are also references to “conspiracies,” suggesting that someone beyond Manafort was involved in the fraud.
  78. NBC News released, in a public database, more than 200,000 malicious activity tweets created by Russian-linked accounts during the 2016 presidential race, which were deleted by Twitter.
  79. Russia threatened to block YouTube and Instagram if they did not removecontent posted by opposition leader Aleksei Navalny of Russian oligarch Oleg Deripaska and deputy prime minister Sergei Prikhodko on Deripaska’s yacht.
  80. On Thursday, Steve Bannon told the House Intelligence Committee he has been instructed by the White House to invoke executive privilege on behalf of Trump, saying he could only answer 25 pre-approved questions on the Russia investigation.
  81. Rep. Adam Schiff said Bannon’s claim of executive privilege is “breathtaking and insupportable.” He added Democrats will push for initiating contempt charges against Bannon, but it is unclear if Republicans will go along.
  82. On Thursday, NBC News reported Bannon spent 20 hours with Mueller’s team at multiple meetings over the past week as part of the investigation of Russian interference and other issues that have arisen in the probe.
  83. Daily Beast reported Mark Corallo, former legal spokesperson for Trump, was interviewed this week by Mueller. In Week 64, Corallo was said to be planning to share information relating to obstruction of justice.
  84. FBI director Christopher Wray contradicted the White House timeline on Porter. Wray said the FBI submitted a partial report to the White House in March, completed it in late July, and followed up in November with additional information requested by the White House, before closing the file in January.
  85. Later Tuesday, the White House again changed its story on Porter: Sanders said the White House Office of Personnel Security didn’t consider the investigation complete until November, and it had not made a final determination thereafter.
  86. On Tuesday, at the Senate hearings, Coats said officials with an interim clearance should have limited access to sensitive information. He called the security clearance process in Trump’s White House “broken.”
  87. On Tuesday, Rep. Trey Gowdy announced the House Oversight Committee has opened an investigation into Trump’s employment of Porter, and what White House officials knew about domestic abuse accusations against him.
  88. On Tuesday, WAPO reported many White House staffers feel misled and blame chief of staff John Kelly. One White House official called Kelly “a big fat liar,” and added, “his handling of the Porter scandal amounts to dereliction of duty.”
  89. There is also infighting as press secretary Sanders and her deputy Raj Shah echoed Vice President Pence saying the White House could have been handled this better, while Kelly disagrees, telling the WSJ Monday, “It was all done right.”
  90. WAPO’s Philip Rucker, a reporter on the story, told MSNBC they tried to get a subordinate of Kelly to go on the record and say something positiveabout him for balance, but were unable to find one.
  91. On Wednesday, Politico reported nine days into the Porter scandal, press secretary Sanders is pushing for senior officials who made the decisions around Porter’s security clearance to speak to the press directly.
  92. On Wednesday, NBC News reported more than 130 appointees working in Trump’s Executive Office did not have permanent security clearances as of November 2017, including Ivanka, Kushner, Dan Scavino, and McGahn.
  93. On Trump’s National Security Council, 10 of 24 officials had only interim security clearances as of November, including Dina Powell (who has resigned), Fiona Hill, Kevin Harrington, John Rader, and Joshua Steinman.
  94. On Wednesday, National Economic Council official George David Banks who served since February 2017 became the third White House official to resign after being told he would not receive permanent security clearance.
  95. NBC News reported that in addition to the basic questionnaire to gain security clearance, some members of the Trump regime were required to answer supplemental questions asking if they are vulnerable to blackmail.
  96. On Friday, WAPO reported, amid fallout from the Porter scandal, Kelly announced an overhaul of the White House security clearance processwhich places the onus on the FBI and DOJ to hand-deliver updates and information.
  97. The five-page document begins, “We should — and in the future, must — do better,” is addressed to McGahn and McMaster, with Sessions and Wray copied, and gives 48 hours to report derogatory information to the White House.
  98. Also Friday, Kelly announced starting next week, the White House will no longer allow some employees with interim security clearances access to top-secret information, which could impact Kushner in his role as senior adviser.
  99. Kushner may not be able to maintain his extensive portfolio, which necessitate classified briefings. Kushner has also attended meetings where classified info was discussed, and had access to the President’s Daily Brief.
  100. Bloomberg reported the IRS and DOJ have issued subpoenas for documents from lenders and investors in real estate projects managed by Kushner’s family in New York and New Jersey within the past year.
  101. Talking Points Memo reported that Kushner quietly filed an addendum to his personal financial disclosure on January 3, 2018, adding a number of additional business interests which were previously undisclosed.
  102. According to a recent update by Ivanka, Kushner has taken out millions more in loans, signaling liquidity issues. The couple is battling a lawsuit accusing them of illegally omitting information on 32 other companies.
  103. TPM asked Kushner’s lawyer about public documents of other undisclosed business interests. The lawyer said Kushner “has provided complete information” on his financial disclosure, but there may be further updates.
  104. On Friday, Reed Cordish, a senior Trump adviser on government-to-government and technology initiatives, and close friend of Kushner and Ivanka, resigned.
  105. On Tuesday, Michael Cohen told the NYT he paid $130,000 of hush money to Stephanie Clifford out of his own pocket, saying neither the Trump Organization nor the Trump campaign was a party to the transaction.
  106. On Wednesday, NYT reported Cohen’s payment has raised potential legal questions ranging from breach of contract to ethics violations. Cohen has also been vague on whether he was reimbursed for his payment.
  107. On Thursday, tax documents released by Trump’s Inaugural Committee show the committee spent nearly all of the $107 million it raised. The majority of the funds, $57 million, went to four event-planning companies.
  108. The largest payment of $25.8 million went to WIS Media Partners, an event-production company formed 45 days before the inauguration, led by Stephanie Winston Wolkoff, a friend and now unpaid adviser to Melania.
  109. On Friday, Ronan Farrow reported on Trump’s nine month affair with Playboy model Karen McDougal starting in 2006, which she memorialized in an eight-page handwritten document provided to The New Yorker.
  110. McDougal was paid $150,000 by American Media, Inc. (AMI), publisher of the National Enquirer, on November 4, 2016 for exclusive rights to her story. David Pecker who owns AMI is a friend of Trump, and never ran her story.
  111. Six former employees of AMI said Pecker routinely made arrangements with women called “catch-and-kill” — paying for stories that would never run. One employee said Pecker used the unpublished stories as leverage.
  112. On Friday, First Lady Melania Trump broke with the tradition of walking as a couple across the South Lawn to Marine One amid the new allegations of Trump’s marital affairs.
  113. On Wednesday, 17 people were killed in a mass shooting at a high school in Parkland, Florida. This marks the third mass shooting in the last five months: at a school, church, and concert, done with a AR-15 semi-automatic rifle.
  114. On Thursday, Trump tweeted blaming the shooting on mental illness and later called for mental health action. In February 2017, Trump signed a GOP bill revoking Obama-era gun checks for people with mental illness.
  115. Trump’s budget proposed a $25 million reduction in funds designated for national school safety activities, and the elimination of a $400 million grant program used to prevent bullying and for mental health assistance.
  116. Wired reported that in the aftermath of the shooting, pro-gun Russian bots flooded Twitter. The top hashtags the bots were active in within 24 hours of the shooting included #Parkland, #guncontrol, and #guncontrolnow.
  117. On Thursday, Politico reported the White House is feeling rudderless as this week Trump hung back behind staff rather than take decisive action in the face of the Porter scandal and then the Parkland school shooting.
  118. On Friday, Mueller’s office unveiled criminal indictments against 13 Russian nationals and three foreign entities, which revealed a sophisticated network of interference in the 2016 presidential election.
  119. The 37-page indictment includes conspiracy to defraud the US and aggravated identity theft, and reveals how the campaign also relied on extensive intelligence work by Russian operatives on US soil.
  120. Two operatives, Aleksandra Krylova and Anna Bogacheva, traveled as tourists through at least nine states in June 2014 to gather intelligenceused to evaluate political targets on social media before the campaigns got into full swing.
  121. Russians stole the identities of American citizens and posed as political activists. They also set up US bank accounts and used computer servers located in the US.
  122. Charges say the operation was primarily meant to communicate derogatory information about Clinton, to denigrate Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio, and to support Bernie Sanders and Trump. There was also a push to back Jill Stein.
  123. Political ads sought to chip away Black Americans’ support for Hillary and to lower Muslim American turnout. Operatives also pushed social media hashtags like #Hillary4Prison and #TrumpTrain.
  124. One of the three entities indicted was Internet Research Agency, whose operations targeted US social media and which employed hundreds of people, and at one point had a monthly budget of over $1.25 million.
  125. Starting in June 2016 when Trump had clinched the GOP nomination, the operatives began to organize and coordinate pro-Trump political rallies. In August, the operatives focused on Florida which Trump narrowly won.
  126. NYT reported the Federal Election Commission had also launched its own investigation into Internet Research Agency last year, on whether it may have violated the FEC Act of 1971 with the purchase of Facebook ads.
  127. In September 2017, as social media companies started disclosing Russia’s presence, one defendant, Viktorovna Kaverzina, emailed her family: “We had a slight crisis here at work: the FBI busted our activity (not a joke).
  128. Mueller’s team also unsealed an indictment against 28-year-old Richard Pinedo, a California computer science major whose company opened bank accounts and sold them to shadowy purchasers for cash.
  129. Pinedo pleaded guilty to identity fraud, and has been cooperating with Mueller’s team. He also wrote a plea supporting the indictment of Russian nationals. His lawyer said Pinedo sold accounts to Russians unwittingly.
  130. After the indictments were released, Rosenstein held a press conference. Of note, he stood alone without Mueller or anyone from Mueller’s team. He said the defendants conducted information warfare against the US.
  131. Rosenstein said he and Wray had briefed Trump on the indictments Friday morning. Experts noted the time frame between informing Trump and the public was unusually short.
  132. Rosenstein noted the defendants “communicated with unwitting individuals associated with the Trump campaign,” and added, “there’s no allegation in this indictment” (emphasis added) of knowing collusion.
  133. The DOJ said Mueller’s work is not complete. The charges did not address the hacking of Democratic email systems or whether Trump tried to obstruct the FBI investigation into Russian interference.
  134. None of the defendants were arrested, and it is highly unlikely Russia will extradite its citizens to the US. Experts speculated the level of detail given this may indicate Mueller is perhaps deterring Russia from further action, and it may also elicit relevant documents from businesses and banks.
  135. On Friday, the White House issued a statement saying the indictments show “there was NO COLLUSION between the Trump campaign and Russia and that the outcome of the election was not changed or affected.”
  136. On Friday, Trump suggested he was vindicated, tweeting Russia started their operation in 2014, “long before I announced that I would run,”adding “the Trump campaign did nothing wrong — no collusion!
  137. Trump made no mention of a foreign power disrupting our election or acknowledging it occurred, nor did he announce any steps to address it.He was conspicuously silent on all these points again on Saturday.
  138. On Saturday, at the 2018 Munich Security Conference, Russian foreign minister Sergey Lavrov called the indictments “just blabber.” Lavrov also noted that Vice President Pence had raised questions about the investigation.
  139. Shortly after Lavrov spoke, McMaster told the audience that evidence of Russia interference in the 2016 presidential election is “now really incontrovertible.
  140. Former US ambassador Kislyak told the audience the indictments were “some kind of hunting spree throughout the world on Russian computer wizards,” adding they have “spoiled the trust” between the two countries.
IMG_8547
East Village, NYC ~ Feb2018
IMG_8385
Spineless, Corrupt, Speaker of the House Paul Ryan by Jim Carrey
IMG_8562
Artist unknown ~ NYC ~ Feb2018
DCIM100GOPROGOPR7759.
“Trump = Enemy of the People” sticker on 6th (Avenue of the Americas) in New York City. Feb2018

POLITIKS OF GRAFFITI 58: FRAGILE DEMOCRACY

Week 57 of trump’s presidency: Experts in authoritarianism advise to keep a list of things subtly changing around you, so you’ll remember.

December 16, 2017 https://medium.com/@Amy_Siskind/week-57-experts-in-authoritarianism-advise-to-keep-a-list-of-things-subtly-changing-around-you-so-1cf1cf0fb258

This week the country braced for radical actions by Trump relating to the Mueller investigation. Trump, his regime members, elected Republicans, and conservative media turned up the rhetoric and attacked the credibility of Mueller, the FBI, and the DOJ. In the seven months since Mueller was appointed, his special counsel has already charged four Trump regime members, with more expected from Trump’s inner circle.

Also of note this week is the broad-scale attacks on norms in our fragile democracy. Trump’s regime is actively deconstructing the agencies they run, stripping away rights and regulations, and making science and educational information disappear.

  1. Late Saturday, Trump tweeted that Dave Weigel, a reporter for WAPO, should apologize for a quickly-deleted tweet that included a misleading image about the crowd size of Trump’s Pensacola rally.
  2. Weigel apologized, but Trump then tweeted he should be fired. Trump also lashed out in tweets about ABC News and CNN, complaining the news outlets had to issue corrections on Trump-related stories.
  3. On Sunday, Fox News anchor Leland Vittert falsely reported that Weigel had been fired. Vittert later apologized on-air for his mistake.
  4. On Saturday, Fox News host Jeanine Pirro called for Hillary to be locked up, and added, “There is a cleansing needed in our FBI and Department of Justice,” and those involved “need to be taken out in cuffs.”
  5. On Monday, Trump attacked the NYT over the story citing his TV watching habits, adding he seldom watches CNN and MSNBC (“Fake News”), and never watches CNN host Don Lemon “the, “dumbest man on television!”
  6. CNN accused Trump of online bullying. A spokesperson said, “In a world where bullies torment kids on social media to devastating effect” it is sad to see a leader doing this, adding “Leaders should lead by example.”
  7. On Monday, Sarah Huckabee Sanders accused news outlets of intentionally reported inaccurate information, “There’s a very big difference between making honest mistakes and purposefully misleading the American people.”
  8. On Sunday, after golfing again with Trump, Sen. Lindsey Graham promoted a Trump property in a tweet: “Trump International Golf Club is a spectacular golf course.” Critics pointed out Graham was advertising a Trump property.
  9. The Ohio state legislature passed a bill which would ban abortion when fetuses have Down syndrome. It is uncertain if Gov. John Kasich will sign the bill.
  10. On Monday, French PM Macron criticized Trump for pulling the US out of the Paris climate accord: “When you sign a treaty, you have to respect it… It’s extremely aggressive to decide on his own just to leave…”
  11. Reuters reported on the eve of the climate summit hosted by Macron,France plans to award multi-year climate grants for several US-based scientists to relocate to France.
  12. NYT reported Trump’s EPA has slowed actions against polluters. EPA administrator Scott Pruitt has thus far filed 1,900 cases, one-third fewer than under Obama (2,900 cases) and one-quarter fewer than under W. Bush (2,600 cases) within the same amount of time.
  13. ABC News reported the EPA’s inspector general will investigate whether Pruitt misused appropriated funds when he installed a $25K privacy boothwith a secure phone line in his office.
  14. The Government Accountability Office said the Trump regime had violated the Impoundment Control Act by failing to spend $91 million budgeted for the Energy Department’s Advanced Research Projects, a program that supports R&D for new technologies.
  15. Michael Dourson, Trump’s nominee for a top EPA post, regulator of toxic chemicals, withdrew his nomination after facing criticism for his industry ties. For decades, Dourson conducted research that chemical manufacturers used to downplay the risks of hazardous substances.
  16. On Friday, Mother Jones reported the EPA, using taxpayer money, has hired a cutting-edge Republican PR firm that specializes in digging up opposition research to help Pruitt shape press coverage of the agency.
  17. Pruitt’s no-bid $120K contract went to Definers Corp, a Republican opposition research firm which has promises “war room” style media monitoring.
  18. CNN reported on internal emails revealing that Sec. Ryan Zinke is pushing to allow a new road through a federally protected wilderness area, Izembek National Wildlife Refuge in Alaska. Critics fear it would set a precedent for future development.
  19. WAPO reported the Department of Education inspector general issued a report calling on the agency to process the backlog of tens of thousands of debt forgiveness applications. The report criticized Sec. Betsy DeVos for the agency’s failure.
  20. WAPO reported after Wilbur Ross drew unwanted attention over the size of his wealth, Trump has soured on him. After Ross spent over three months negotiating a steel deal with China, Trump summarily rejected it.
  21. Mother Jones reported on a European Parliament report accusing Ross of using inside information in his sale of Bank of Ireland shares in 2014. Ross sold near the top of the market, before the bank reported losses.
  22. Foreign Policy reported Elizabeth Shackelford, an award-winning diplomat and rising star at the State Department, resigned saying State had “abandoned human rights as a priority” and showed disdain for diplomatic work.
  23. Census experts expressed concern the 2020 census count could be flawed. Experts cited data will be collected online for the first time, and Trump’s aggressive immigration actions have driven minority voters underground.
  24. On Tuesday, at 1:36 pm a Circuit Court judge ordered Alabama election officials to preserve all digital ballot images. At 4:32 pm, the court granted an “emergency motion to stay,” allowing digital ballots to be destroyed.
  25. On Thursday, the National Labor Relations Board overturned a 2015 Obama-era precedent in a 3–2 vote along party lines, which had given workers significant leverage in challenging chains over labor practices.
  26. On Thursday, Trump’s DHS proposed a regulatory change under which spouses of highly skilled H-1B foreign workers would no longer be able to work legally in the US, rolling back a program put in place by Obama.
  27. WAPO reported at a CDC meeting on Thursday, policy analysts were given a list of seven forbidden words: “vulnerable,” “entitlement,” “diversity,” “transgender,” “fetus,” “evidence-based,” and “science-based.”
  28. The seven words are used in many ways in the CDC’s work, for example on ways to prevent HIV among transgender people or birth defects caused by the Zika virus which includes research on the developing fetus.
  29. The chorus of Senators calling for Trump to resign over sexual misconduct grew to six, as Cory Booker, Bernie Sanders, Kirsten Gillibrand, Ron Wyden, and Mazie Hirono joined a call by Jeff Merkley in Week 56
  30. On Sunday, ambassador Nikki Haley told CBS News the women accusing Trump of sexual misconduct, “should be heard” adding, “any woman who has felt violated or felt mistreated in any way,” has the right to speak up.
  31. On Monday, three women who had previously spoken out about Trump’s sexual misconduct, renewed their allegations on the “Today” show and at a news conference, and demanded Congress investigate Trump’s actions.
  32. After the “Today” show, the WH issued a statement saying, “The timing and absurdity of these false claims speaks volumes, and the publicity tour that has begun only further confirms the political motives behind them.”
  33. On Monday, Stacia Robitaille, wife of an NHL hall of fame hockey player, tweeted that Trump “was aggressive & told me I was coming home with him,” while alone in an elevator at Madison Square Garden.
  34. At Monday’s press briefing, Sanders responded to question about Trump’s sexual misconduct by saying the WH would be putting out “multiple reports” of eyewitness accounts refuting the allegations.
  35. WAPO kept a running list of Trump’s accusers and the eyewitness accounts provided by the WH. With the exception of two, no witness who could rebut the accusation was provided, and the witnesses presented were unreliable or not actually present at the time of the alleged incident.
  36. Late Monday, AP reported Trump was infuriated by Haley’s comments, and that accusations against him have resurfaced. Trump drew a parallel to associates of what said were false allegations against Roy Moore.
  37. On Tuesday, Trump tweeted his accusers are “women who I don’t know and/or have never met. FAKE NEWS!” Shortly after, multiple photos and videos surfaced of Trump in the company of various accusers.
  38. On Monday, 54 Democratic congresswomen sent a letter to the House Oversight Committee leaders calling for the committee to investigate allegations of sexual misconduct against Trump.
  39. On Tuesday, over 100 members of the House demanded investigations by the House Oversight Committee into Trump’s sexual misconduct. Rep. Brenda Lawrence said of Trump, “you do not live under a different set of rules.”
  40. On Tuesday, Trump attacked Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand in a sexually suggestive and demeaning tweet, calling her a “lightweight” and “a total flunky for Chuck Schumer,” and saying she would come to his office “begging” for campaign contributions and “(and would do anything for them).”
  41. Gillibrand responded in a tweet: “ You cannot silence me or the millions of women who have gotten off the sidelines to speak out about the unfitness and shame” you bring to the office.
  42. Later, a new conference, Gillibrand called Trump’s tweet “a sexist smear attempting to silence my voice.” Numerous Democrats and women journalists called out Trump for his sexist attack.
  43. On Tuesday, at the press briefing, when reporter April Ryan asked about Trump’s tweets to Gillibrand, Sanders responded that it was “fine” and “I think only if your mind was in the gutter would you have read it that way.”
  44. On Tuesday evening, in an op-ed titled “Will Trump’s lows ever hit rock bottom?” the USA Today Editorial Board excoriated Trump for his Gillibrand tweets and said he “has shown he is not fit for office.
  45. On Wednesday, Eric Trump said in a radio interview he remembered when Gillibrand came to Trump’s office “every three days to ask him for money and ask for major campaign contributions,” calling her now a “distraction.”
  46. Merriam-Webster announced the Word of the Year for 2017 is “feminism,” the top word look-up, including spikes around the Women’s March, The Handmaid’s Tale, Wonder Woman, and the Me Too movement.
  47. A new poll from Ipsos and NPR found 9 in 10 Americans “strongly” or “somewhat” agree that “a zero-tolerance policy for sexual harassment is essential to bringing about change in our society.”
  48. On Tuesday, in a major upset in Alabama’s special election for Sessions’ open senate seat, Democrat Doug Jones defeated Roy Moore, who was endorsed and backed by Trump.
  49. Trump had first backed Luther Strange in the primary for Alabama’s senate seat, and later fully endorsed Moore, despite many in the Republican Party saying he was unfit and allegations of pedophilia.
  50. The victory marks the Democrat’s first senate victory in Alabama in 25 years. Although Trump garnered 62% of the vote in the 2016 election, his approval in exit polling was down to 48%.
  51. Despite losing by more than the margin allowed for a recount, Moore refused to concede. In a video, Moore explained, “We are indeed in a struggle to preserve our republic, our civilization, and our religion.”
  52. Now five days since the election, Moore has yet to concede. On Friday, he sent an email to supporters asking for contributions to his “election integrity fund” so he could investigate reports of voter fraud.
  53. A poll of 18–29 year-olds by Harvard’s Institute for Politics found Trump’s approval among Republicans had dropped 12 points to 25% since spring 2017. Also, 68% of black Americans feel significantly under attack.
  54. A Monmouth poll found Trump’s approval hitting a new low: 32% approve, 56% disapprove. Trump’s approval with women dropped to 24%.
  55. Polls in other red states likewise show a deterioration in Trump’s support: a Vanderbilt University poll found Trump’s approval has dropped from 60% at the 2016 election to 48%. Trump’s approval dropped to 35% in Iowa.
  56. On Tuesday, an Iowa Republican won a special election by 10 points in a district Trump won by 41. Wednesday, Chuck Grassley, chair of the Senate Judicial Committee said two Trump judicial nominees will not be confirmed.
  57. On Tuesday, the Senate confirmed Trump appointee Leonard Steven Grasz to a lifetime seat on the US Court of Appeals despite Grasz earning an unanimous “not qualified” rating from the American Bar Association.
  58. To put this in context, since 1989, the American Bar Association has reviewed 1.7K judicial nominations. Grasz is one of just four to get a unanimous “not qualified” rating. Two were nominated by Trump.
  59. On Wednesday, the WH announced it will not move forward with judicial nominee Brett Talley, another one of the four to get an unanimously “not qualified” rating from the ABA. Talley becomes the third to be withdrawn.
  60. On Wednesday, Trump judicial nominee Matthew Spencer Petersen struggled to answer basic legal questions posed to him by Republican Sen. John Kennedy at his Senate hearing.
  61. On Wednesday, Omarosa Manigault left her role as senior adviser. Initial reports described her throwing a tantrum and demanding to speak to Trump after being fired by chief of staff John Kelly — before being escorted from the WH.
  62. Omarosa dismissed the dramatic narrative of her departure, blaming it on “one individual who has a personal vendetta against me.” Trump tweeted to thank her on Wednesday evening, “I wish you continued success.”
  63. On Thursday, Omarosa told Robin Roberts on ABC News: “as the only African-American woman in this White House, I have seen things that have made me uncomfortable, that have upset me, that have affected me deeply and emotionally.” Roberts later quipped, “Bye, Felicia.”
  64. With Omarosa’s exit, Trump does not have any black senior advisers at the White House. Omarosa’s responsibilities included outreach to historically black colleges and universities, and hosting a Black History Month event.
  65. On Monday, during a town-hall style meeting with dozens of career State Department diplomats, Rex Tillerson said Russia deliberately interfered in the US “democratic processes,” contradicting Trump.
  66. Tillerson contradicted Trump again, who claims that US and Russia “just can’t afford” to not have a productive relationship, saying “today that’s not the case, and we all know why.
  67. NBC News reported, as part of a probe into obstruction of justice, Mueller’s team is scrutinizing the 18-day period between when senior Trump officials were told Flynn was susceptible to blackmail, and his firing.
  68. Sources say Mueller’s team is looking into if there was a deliberate effort by Trump or senior officials to cover up the information Sally Yates conveyed to Don McGahn, who in turn briefed Trump and others, on January 26.
  69. DOJ officials told NBC News they expected Trump would fire Michael Flynn that day, but instead he fired Yates on January 30, citing she would not defend his Muslim ban in court. Trump eventually fired Flynn on February 13.
  70. If Trump knew Flynn lied to the FBI about his conversations with Sergey Kislyak, it raises questions on why he was not fired sooner, and why Trump fired Comey on May 9, after Comey would not drop the Flynn investigation.
  71. Business Insider reported that Trump’s transition team was warned by at four people about potential conflicts of interest and compromising conversations of Flynn: by Obama, Rep. Elijah Cummings, Gov. Chris Christie, and Sally Yates.
  72. On Tuesday, the DOJ turned text messages over to Congress and the media, in which two FBI agents assigned to the special counsel exchanged negative sentiments about Trump during the campaign.
  73. One FBI agent involved, Peter Strzok, was removed from the special counsel by Mueller “immediately” after the texts came to light in July. The other, Lisa Page, has already ended her assignment to Mueller’s office.
  74. There were also critical texts sent about Hillary Clinton, Hillary’s team, the Obama administration, Bernie Sanders and Democrats.” FBI officials who worked with Strzok on the Clinton and Trump investigations said they never detected any bias.
  75. On Friday, the DOJ inspector general said in a letter to House Judiciary Democrats that the department did not consult with his office prior to releasing the texts to the press.
  76. On Tuesday, Axios reported Trump’s lawyers want a second special counsel appointed to investigate the special counsel. Jay Sekulow said the DOJ and FBI cannot ignore the problems created by “obvious conflicts of interests.”
  77. Politico reported while on Air Force One with Trump, Republican Rep. Matt Gaetz said the country is at risk of a “coup d’etat” by Mueller. In a phone interview later, Gaetz stopped short of calling for Trump to fire Mueller.
  78. On Friday, Gaetz told CNN the DOJ was “forced” to release private text messages between Peter Strzok and Lisa Page on Tuesday because Devin Nunes of the House Intelligence Committee “was about to subpoenathem.”
  79. In turn, Democrats demanded documents from the DOJ and a probe into possible bias at the FBI for “politically motivated misconduct” meant to damage Hillary Clinton’s 2016 presidential campaign.
  80. On Wednesday, deputy AG Rod Rosenstein, who appointed Mueller, testified before the House Judiciary Committee. When asked by the committee’s top Democrat Jerry Nadler if there was any cause to fire Mueller, he answered, “no.”
  81. Rosenstein said no one, including Trump, has asked him to remove Mueller. Rosenstein praised Mueller’s special counsel work, said no one is better qualified, and said Mueller is operating within the agreed scope.
  82. Politifact announced its 2017 Lie of the Year: Trump repeatedly claiming Russian election interference is a ‘made-up story.’
  83. A Quinnipiac poll found 73% of Americans believe the Russian government tried to influence the 2016 presidential election, 22% do not.
  84. On Thursday, WSJ reported Mueller’s team asked data operations company Cambridge Analytica to have any employees who worked on the Trump campaign turn over their emails. The request was made in the fall.
  85. The request is a sign that Mueller is probing the Trump campaign’s data operation. Cambridge Analytica reportedly did comply and turned over employee emails to both the special counsel and the House Intelligence Committee.
  86. Mueller’s request was made to Cambridge Analytica CEO Alexander Nix before reports in Week 50 that Nix had contacted Assange during the 2016 campaign to ask about hacked emails and if he “might share that information with us.”
  87. On Tuesday, Trump signed $700 billion defense policy bill, while complaining about provisions included by lawmakers to force a more aggressive policy toward Russia. Trump has yet to impose sanctions voted on by lawmakers.
  88. In a signed statement, Trump objected to 40 provisions related to Russia which were almost unanimously agreed to in Congress, saying the provisions raise constitutional concerns and could dictate foreign policy.
  89. On Wednesday, Donald Jr. testified for nine hours in a private hearing in front of the Senate Intelligence Committee as part of the committee’s Russia probe. Lawmakers are interested in his involvement in the June 9 meeting.
  90. On Thursday, Trump spoke to Putin on the phone. Russian news agency TASS was the first to report the call, similar to past meetings including in Week 26 when Trump met with Sergey Lavrov and Sergey Kislyak in the Oval Office.
  91. Following the call, Putin held an extended news conference in which he praised Trump for “serious achievements,” and, borrowing Trump’s line of “investor confidence in the American economy,” means they trust Trump.
  92. Putin also rejected allegations that Russia meddled in the 2016 election, saying they were “spy hysteria and nonsense” which have damaged the American political system.
  93. An extensive story by WAPO, based on interviews with more than 50 current and former U.S. officials, described Trump’s skepticism of US intelligence on Russia, and his cozying up to authoritarians over allies.
  94. Since Trump took office, he has yet to convene a Cabinet-level meeting on Russian interference or take any steps to address it. Trump continues to deny that Russia interfered with our election, despite evidence.
  95. In the early days of the regime, Trump surrounded himself with aides and advisers who were pro-Putin and Russia. Steve Bannon moved to undercut NATO in the early weeks. Trump has been uncomfortable with our allies.
  96. Current and former officials said Trump’s daily intelligence update is structured to avoid upsetting him. Since Russia-related intelligence may make him angry, often it is included only in the written report, which he is unlikely to read, or the order of the oral presentation is adjusted.
  97. WAPO reported on a July 2015 email from Rob Goldstone to Trump, one month before Trump launched his campaign, saying he could set up a meeting with Putin at a birthday celebration for his client’s father, Aras Agalarov.
  98. On Thursday, WSJ reported the GOP-led House Intelligence Committee scheduled staff interviews in New York with two key witnesses in the Russia probe, Felix Sater and Rhona Graff, Trump’s longtime personal assistant.
  99. Democrats complained that the witnesses were interviewed out of state by staff, not lawmakers. Democrats also expressed concern that Republicans are rushing through investigation to bring it to a premature conclusion.
  100. On Friday, in a series of tweet, Rep. Adam Schiff, the ranking Democrat of the House Intelligence Committee said he was “increasingly worried Republicans will shut down” the committee’s investigation “at the end of the month.”
  101. Schiff noted in addition to the out of state interviews, Republicans have not scheduled any witnesses after next Friday, although dozens of key witnesses have yet to be called.
  102. Also Republicans have also declined to issue subpoenas where needed to get information. Schiff expressed concern that attacks on Mueller, the DOJ and FBI “make it clear they plan to go after Mueller’s investigation.”
  103. On Monday, the Federal Trade Commission and Federal Communications Commission announced an agreement to partner together to police the internet once the FCC repeals its net neutrality rules.
  104. On Wednesday, 18 attorneys general asked the FCC to delay the net neutrality vote pending a fake comment investigation. In New York alone, 2 million comments filed to the commission were falsified.
  105. On Tuesday, the FCC blocked a law enforcement investigation into fraudulent comments in support of net neutrality repeal. The FCC is also facing a lawsuit saying it ignored FOIA requests related to fake comments.
  106. On Wednesday, FCC director Ajit Pai released a YouTube video on the Daily Caller of him wearing a Santa Claus suit and eclipse glasses, and holding a fidget spinner and a toy gun, to make the case for repealing net neutrality.
  107. On Thursday, the FCC voted to repeal net neutrality regulations, which prohibited broadband providers from blocking websites or charging for higher-quality service or certain content, in a 3–2 vote along party line.
  108. In addition to Democrats and consumer groups who vigorously opposed the repeal, the CEO of Reddit said the move would “give internet service providers the ability to choose winners and losers.
  109. On Thursday, New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman announced his office will sue to “stop the FCC’s illegal rollback of net neutrality” by the FCC. Other states are expected join.
  110. Politico reported House Speaker Paul Ryan says he may want to retire after the 2018 midterms. Sources said Ryan had hoped for a more inclusive approach if Trump lost, and is wary of what the job now entails.
  111. On Friday, as he prepared to depart the WH, Trump told reporters he would not rule out pardoning Flynn: “I don’t want to talk about pardons for Michael Flynn yet. We’ll see what happens. Let’s see.”
  112. When asked by reporters when he learned that his former NSA, Flynn had lied to the FBI, Trump refused to answer: “You know the answer. How many times has that question been asked?”
  113. Trump also assailed the FBI, telling reporter, “It’s a shame what’s happened with the FBI,” adding “we’re going to rebuild the FBI” which he said is “really, really disgraceful.”
  114. Trump then spoke at a ceremony at the FBI’s National Academy to a crowd of mostly law enforcement graduates. Trump praised law enforcement and hit his campaign target, Chicago, “What the hell is happening there?”
  115. Trump was introduced by Sessions at the ceremony as “our nation’s highest law enforcement official.” Trump defenders say in that role, he cannot obstruct justice by firing the head of the FBI.
  116. Trump continued his attacks of the FBI and threats of upcoming firings, adding “I’d say like 90% are great, right? The other 10%, that’s not working out so well.” The FBI director was at the event too.
  117. On Friday, in a Fox News interview, Rep. Trey Gowdy hinted that FBI deputy Andrew McCabe may be fired, “I’ll be a little bit surprised if he’s still an employee of the FBI this time next week.”
  118. Roger Stone announced his upcoming book, The Unmaking of a President.Stone said it’s “painfully obvious Mueller will bring charges,” adding Trump will be removed because he has surrounded himself with disloyal people.
  119. A Suffolk University poll found that of people who identified Fox News as their most trusted network, Trump’s favorability has plummeted from 90% in June, to 74% in October, to 58% in December.
  120. Bloomberg reported Ivanka will open her first store in Trump Tower, following a tumultuous year of boycotts and having her brand removed from retailers. The building is protected by metal detectors and security.
  121. The Trump regime refused to extend the deadline for ObamaCare registration, despite a last-minute surge in enrollees. In past years, the Obama administration had extended the deadline for late enrollees.
  122. Eric Holder tweeted “Speaking on behalf of the vast majority of the American people,” attempts to remove Mueller will not be tolerated. On Friday, John Cornyn, the second ranking Republican Senator responded, “You don’t.”
  123. Cornyn further clarified his tweet Saturday in response to a reporter query, adding, “Mueller needs to clean house of partisans.”
  124. On Saturday, America woke up to a top trending headline on Twitter: “If Trump Fires Mueller, We Must Impeach,” describing steps to take if the increasingly likely, previously unthinkable, were to occur.
IMG_6215
Venezuelan artist Carlos Fuenmayor in Wynwood, Miami December2017
IMG_6905
Photo by: Jessica Schnur in Wynwood, Miami December 2017
IMG_6907
Flaming Trump. Photo by: Jessica Schnur in Wynwood, Miami December 2017
24993123_10214810247518147_1149182355281140501_n
From Facebook, artist unknown. December 2017
IMG_1483
Artist: Lucrative Now (sic) in Wynwood, Miami December 2017
IMG_3395
New York City, October 2017

LONDON STREET ART: BANKSY vs. BASQUIAT vs. HARING

My Monday started out calmly enough…and then I received an instant message from a friend saying “Quick!” ~ with a link to a Guardian article about the newest Banksy piece (two, actually) that popped up at the Barbican Centre over the weekend. So, I dropped everything ~ due to my past history with Banksy’s NYC Residency in 2013 ~ https://www.amazon.com/My-Month-Banksy-October-2013/dp/1494258447 ~ and the anxiety ensued – feeling like it was a race against time, to get there, document it…in case other people had ideas ~ like vandalizing it, covering it up, etc…. ~ and I’m just passing through London, so I needed to figure out the best way to get there. Not wanting to influence your interpretation (although, there is one caption in the middle explaining Basquiat’s crown) while viewing the photos, I placed my analyses at the very bottom of the post. Would love to hear your thoughts: 

IMG_1038

IMG_1040
Wanted to confirm its authenticity by going to Banksy’s official IG page…

IMG_0932IMG_0933

IMG_0934
The Banksy part is the Basquiat getting patted down by the police. The Keith Haring-inspired bit was added and I don’t know by whom…It looks like the skater sees the pat down by the police and is like “Hey, wait a minute. You forgot your crown!” and is leaping over the officer to put it on Basquiat’s head in order to nullify the invasive search. “A crown appears frequently in the early work of Jean-Michel Basquiat signaling his ambition and understanding of art history. Many artists used their monarchs to symbolize their own majestic powers and Basquiat, lacking one, continued the tradition in his own way. Besides, Basquiat was ambitious and out to become king of the pack. One friend who knew him early on wrote: “He could walk into a thrift store with five bucks and come out looking like a king. In fact he basically behaved like a king who had accidentally switched lives with an identical pauper.” http://www.everypainterpaintshimself.com/article/basquiats_crownsIMG_0935IMG_0936IMG_0937IMG_0938IMG_0941IMG_0942IMG_0943IMG_0944IMG_0945IMG_0946IMG_0947IMG_0951IMG_0957IMG_0959IMG_0962IMG_0963IMG_0964IMG_0970IMG_0971IMG_0982DCIM100GOPROG0036928.IMG_0996DCIM100GOPROG0056964.IMG_0997IMG_0999IMG_1001IMG_1002IMG_1003IMG_1004IMG_1005IMG_1006IMG_1008IMG_1009IMG_1012IMG_1013IMG_1014IMG_1017IMG_1018IMG_1019IMG_1020IMG_1021IMG_1022IMG_1023IMG_1024IMG_1025IMG_1026IMG_1027IMG_1028IMG_1030IMG_1033IMG_0756IMG_0769

1 – People interacting with Banksy pieces is an extension of the art itself…

2 – A man approached me and asked me “Do you think this is OK to do?” I replied “Do you?” He said “I asked you the question.” Me: “I’m asking YOU.” He replied: “No, I don’t. This is vandalism.” I said “Well, I love it.” Him: “It’s a Grade II building.”  (Grade 2 listed building restrictions and Grade 2 listed building regulations:  Restrictions are there to protect the historic significance of the building.  Any change which affects the listed fabric of the building is illegal unless approved by your LA (Local Authority). http://www.heritage-consulting.org/grade-2-building-restrictions

I said “It’s obvious that this is a collaboration between Banksy and the Barbican and that they approved it.” (Just taking note of their security staff protecting it)  Him: “Well, if they did, they’re going to be in a lot of trouble!” Me: “I guess we’ll know more in the next few weeks as people research it more and write about it.” He left in a huff.

3 – Some observations I made with the main piece:

a. The female police officer appears to have a red dot on her forehead which I relate to the Hindu religion. I can’t figure out why it’s there. “A vermilion mark in the parting of the hair just above the forehead is worn by married women as commitment to long-life and well-being of their husbands.” https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bindi_(decoration)

b. I was disappointed with her right hand, thinking Banksy got lazy with his stenciling, but it’s more likely that he intended for his signature style to MERGE into Basquiat’s. And that makes it a brilliant move.

c. The “POLICE” stencil on the back of the male officer – it doesn’t CLEARLY spell out P O L I C E. You can barely see the “I,” if at all, and the “C” almost looks like another “O.” Why? He’s the best stencil artist. Why is this unclear?

The second, smaller piece:

1 – “Watching the Basquiat Crowns go round and round…” The ticket stand hearkens back “Dismaland” to me. The ferris wheel, an allusion to the London Eye?

a. The aluminum foil crown on the ground below the piece, was strategically placed there by the people running it. Trust me, you weren’t allowed to take it, so that’s another indication of the ‘staging’ of this event. 

“I don’t listen to what art critics say. I don’t know anybody who needs a critic to find out what art is.” ~ Basquiat

“Nothing is important…so everything is important.” ~ Haring

“The thing I hate the most about advertising is that it attracts all the bright, creative and ambitious young people, leaving us mainly with the slow and self-obsessed to become our artists. Modern art is a disaster area. Never in the field of human history has so much been used by so many to say so little.”  ~ Banksy

There’s already a lot of controversy surrounding these two new pieces. Again, people are calling Banksy a ‘sell-out.’ This time, for seeming to fall right into the advertisers’ pockets by doing these blatantly obvious ‘promotional pieces’ for the upcoming Basquiat show at the Barbican Centre. So, the quote from him above, is quite interesting…

Political Analysis:

I saw on Facebook that people were wondering when someone was going to wring a political message out of this, so here you go:

a. Possibly there’s a message related to the lack of freedom and ease of entry into the U.K., especially with the current ‘Brexit attitude.’ It may be saying that even if you’re Basquiat, you’re still black, and we’re going to make it very difficult for you. Or, that can go back to the sea I have that the female officer is Hindu and this is Banksy promoting diversity in the U.K.

I’m an unapologetic fan of Banksy and had the time of my life covering his “NYC Residency” in October 2013. If you’re interested in learning more about that, please click on the link and pick up a copy of my book. 🙂 https://www.amazon.com/My-Month-Banksy-October-2013/dp/1494258447

POLITIKS OF GRAFFITI 45: “PEOPLE REALLY F@&@ING HATE ME”

Week 44 of trump’s presidency: Experts in authoritarianism advise to keep a list of things subtly changing around you, so you’ll remember.

September 16, 2017 https://medium.com/@Amy_Siskind/week-44-experts-in-authoritarianism-advise-to-keep-a-list-of-things-subtly-changing-around-you-so-7fbc1a8d7e01

Front and center this week were reports on Russia’s use of social media to influence the US election, possibly with help from the Trump regime. As well, a slew of reporting continued to build the evolving mosaic of connections and quid pro quo between members of the Trump regime and Putin allies.

Trump’s short-lived pivot ended abruptly late in the week when he again evoked “both sides” on Charlottesville, then started an embarrassing tweet storm about a tragic bombing in London. An interview by Rachel Maddow of Hillary on her new book, provided a momentary pause and wake up call for how much our country has changed — both our global standing and government competency — under a leader who admires, and aspires to authoritarianism.

  1. When asked about Hurricane Irma, Trump took the opportunity to compliment the Coast Guard’s branding: “If you talk about branding? No brand has improved more than the United States Coast Guard.”
  2. Axios reported according to an adviser, Trump finally realized: “People really f@&@ing hate me.” The adviser noted Trump’s need for affirmation may have led to his sudden embrace of Schumer and Pelosi.
  3. WH social media director Dan Scavino Jr. tweeted then deleted a video, which he incorrectly attributed to Miami Airport during Hurricane Irma.
  4. FP reported on growing concerns within the CIA that due to his personal beliefs, Trump ally Pompeo is rolling back the agency’s diversity mandate.
  5. In June, senior CIA management abruptly canceled an event with the Matthew Shepard Foundation, in honor of their late gay son. Shepard’s death led to some of the country’s first federal hate crime laws.
  6. On Sunday, Trump announced his sixth wave of US Attorney nominations: 41 of the 42 were men.
  7. On Monday, Trump nominated six to become US attorneys. All six where white men.
  8. Trump’s NASA nominee Bridenstine was quoted as saying the agency should be reorganized, and “expansion of human knowledge” about space and Earth should be removed from NASA’s objectives.
  9. The UNC Board of Governors approved a ban on litigation which effectively ended the civil rights center work benefitting low-income and minority groups at UNC’s law school.
  10. ICE arrested a 34 year-old father of two in Santa Fe, using his younger brother, who was in HHS custody, as bait.
  11. Phoenix New Times reviewed ICE arrest records and found that employees at two Motel 6 locations in predominantly Latino neighborhoods were alerting ICE on undocumented guests.
  12. After an outcry on social media, Motel 6 said it would stop sharing guest lists, but has yet to acknowledge if this was only done at the local level, and to explain why employees were collaborating with ICE.
  13. NYT reported the Trump regime is considering lowering the refugee quota to below 50k, the lowest level since 1980, and less than half the 110k admitted by Obama in 2016.
  14. An ABC News affiliate reported DACA recipients are being detained for hours at Texas border checkpoints, with no explanation as to why. Border Patrol claim it’s new protocol.
  15. A federal judge in Chicago blocked DOJ’s rules under Sessions which required sanctuary cities to cooperate with immigration agents in order to get public safety grants, like the COPS program in Week 43.
  16. In the wake of Charlottesville, the Senate unanimously passed a resolution condemning white supremacists, neo-Nazis and other hate groups. The resolution called Heyer’s murder a “domestic terrorist act.”
  17. The resolution urges Trump and his regime to speak out against hate groups, and called on the DOJ and federal agencies to use all resources to improve data on hate crimes, and address growth of hate groups.
  18. On Tuesday, the House unanimously approved the resolution, and on Wednesday, press secretary Sanders said Trump “ looks forward” to signing the resolution.
  19. Instead, on Thursday, Trump claimed that both sides were to blame in Charlottesville, repeating his charge that those who resisted the neo-Nazis and white supremacists were as much to blame as the alt-right crowds.
  20. WAPO reported POLITICO’s editors warned staff on topics like physical attacks on journalists and white supremacy: “Try to stay away from those things because some of them are partisan.”
  21. Trump nominated Eric Dreiband to lead the DOJ’s Civil Rights Division. Dreiband testified against the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act, and represented UNC in banning transgender people from using the bathroom corresponding to their gender identity.
  22. In her book “Unbelievable: My Front-Row Seat to the Craziest Campaign in American History,” reporter Katy Tur detailed an unwanted kiss from Trump while covering his campaign. Tur said she was “mortified.”
  23. Axios reported that according to an internal memo, the CDC is cracking down on employees communications with the press. The memo says not to speak to reporters, “even for a simple data-related question.”
  24. On Monday, Trump’s DOJ said in a court filing that a judge should erase her finding that Arpaio violated a court order and was guilty of criminal contempt — a symbol of vindication.
  25. Two legal advocacy groups filed challenges to Trump’s pardon of Arpaio, saying it was unconstitutional because it undermines the power of the judicial branch.
  26. Salon reported Trump has formed at least 49 new businesses since he announced his run for presidency, and continuing since he took office. He has done almost nothing to separate himself from his businesses.
  27. McClatchy reported despite Trump’s pledge not to work with foreign entities, a construction company owned by the Chinese government was hired to work on Trump’s new golf club development in Dubai.
  28. BuzzFeed reported Trump International Beach Resort in Florida has asked the government for permission to hire more temporary foreign workers. Trump has sought more than 380 H-2 visas since June 2015.
  29. Florida AG Pam Bondi will start next week on Trump’s commission to combat the opioid crisis. In April, an ethics commission cleared Bondi of accepting a $25k donation from Trump at the same time she received a complaint on Trump University for fraud, which her office dismissed.
  30. In a September report on executive branch agency waivers and authorizations, the OGE noted the WH has refused to provide information requested and to answer follow-up questions on secret WH waivers.
  31. The Secret Service released just 22 of the visitor names to Mar-a-Lago in response to an April FOIA filing by CREW and two other groups. All 22 names were all related to Japanese PM Abe’s February visit
  32. The limited disclosure violated a federal judge’s order to turn over all visitor names from Jan 20 — March 8, 2017. Trump has spent 25 days at Mar-a-Lago. CREW promised to head back to court.
  33. WAPO shared a receipt sent to “National Security Council” from Mar-a-Lago, showing taxpayers were billed the “rack rate” of $1,092 for a two-night stay. Mar-a-Lago is 99% owned by Trump’s revocable trust.
  34. Derek Harvey, the controversial former Mideast chief for the NSC who was fired by McMaster, is going to work for Nunes.
  35. At Trump’s behest, McConnell is considering making the blue slip, a way for individual senators to block a nominees from their home states, advisory instead when it comes to appeals court nominees.
  36. POLITICO reported, in a reversal of internal policy, OGE said WH staffers may accept anonymous donations from lobbyists to legal defense funds.
  37. Late Friday, after scrutiny from the POLITICO story, OGE clarified its rules, saying contributions to legal defense funds from anonymous donors, as well as those from lobbyists and foreign governments, are unacceptable.
  38. ABC reported Mnuchin requested use of a government jet to take him and his wife to their honeymoon in Europe, prompting an “inquiry” by the Treasury Dept’s Office of Inspector General.
  39. CREW sued the Treasury Dept for documents relating to Mnuchin’s use of a government plane to travel to Kentucky with his wife Louise Linton. The Treasury Dept failed to respond to a prior request for disclosure.
  40. Trump’s Election Integrity Comm convened its second meeting in NH. Of note, the list of witnesses included no people of color or women, but instead allies of Kobach and tarnished academics.
  41. Gizmodo reported on a document obtained from the DOJ which shows Sessions was lobbied by Heritage Foundation to exclude Democrats, mainstream Republicans, and academics from Election Integrity Comm.
  42. The author of the letter from Heritage, Hans von Spakovsky, participated in Kobach’s NH meeting, on a panel. Spakovsky has led the charge for strict voter ID laws for more than a decade.
  43. In a statement, Alan King, a Democratic judge from Alabama on Trump’s Election Integrity Comm, criticized the commission for overzealous effortsto purge people from voter rolls in favor of more affluent voters.
  44. ProPublica investigated the Election Integrity Comm’s use of emails and found no instructions or training has been given. Some commission members are using private email which violates federal law.
  45. On Monday, Mexico withdrew its offer of aid to help Hurricane Harvey victims, noting Trump failed to send condolences to Mexico for a magnitude 8.1 earthquake and hurricane.
  46. NYT reported that in a WH meeting, Kelly likened Mexico to Venezuela under the leadership of the Chávez regime, and suggested it was on the verge of a collapse which would have repercussions for the US.
  47. Despite an ongoing DOJ investigation into Malaysian PM Najib Razak for misappropriating billions of dollars from a government fund he controlled, Trump invited him to the WH for a friendly visit.
  48. Najib has also been criticized for human rights violations under his leadership. He and his entourage stayed at the Trump Hotel DC.
  49. Yahoo reported Russian news agency, Sputnik, is under investigation by the FBI into whether it is acting as an undeclared propaganda arm of the Kremlin in violation of the Foreign Agents Registration Act (FARA).
  50. Andrew Feinberg, Sputnik’s former WH correspondent, turned over emails to the FBI. Feinberg said supervisors regularly “would say, ‘Moscow wants this or Moscow wants that.’
  51. Feinberg also told MSNBC many of the popular articles from right-wing media outlets like Breitbart, Infowars and Gateway Pundit and were prominently featured on Sputnik’s website.
  52. RT, the Russian state-owned outlet, said it will be required by the FBI to register as a foreign agent in the US, signaling their content will be viewed as propaganda of Moscow.
  53. Russian journalist Latynina fled Russia with her family following a series of attacks. Latynina writes for an independent newspaper and Friday received a prize for defending human rights and freedom of the press.
  54. Priebus and McGahn both hired lawyer William Burck to represent them in the Mueller Russia probe.
  55. POLITICO reported lawyers for former and current Trump aides are advising clients not to lie for Trump. Lawyers are also warning clients that being connected to Trump won’t protect them from criminal charges.
  56. WSJ reported some of Trump’s lawyers concluded earlier this summer Kushner should step down. Among their concerns were undisclosed meeting with Russians, and mentioning Mueller probe to other WH staff.
  57. Also knowing the June 9 meeting was yet to come out publicly, lawyers had prepared talking points for Kushner’s resignation, blaming the toxic political environment and him being used as a weapon against Trump.
  58. Russian politician Vyacheslav Nikonov, a member of the Duma, said on live TV that Russia stole the US presidency. The TV show focused on the US’s diminishing power on the world stage.
  59. Daily Beast reported Russia used Facebook’s event-management tool to remotely organize and promote political protests, including an August 2016 anti-immigrant, anti-Muslim rally in Idaho.
  60. The event was hosted by “SecuredBorders,” outed as a Russian front in March. When their Facebook page was taken down last month, the group had 133k followers.
  61. Former FBI agent Clint Watts noted this group is an example of the next step in Russian influence: “The second part of behavior influence is when you can get people to physically do something.”
  62. In the months leading up to the Idaho rally, there were dozens of stories on right-wing websites like Infowars and Breitbart implying immigrants were taking over Twin Falls.
  63. Business Insider reported on another Russian-link Facebook group: “Heart of Texas,” which had over 225k followers, and was taken down by Facebook last week.
  64. The group started by posting anti-Hillary memes, then became shifted as Election Day neared. Starting in November, “Heart of Texas” organized a series of anti-immigrant, anti-Hillary rallies across Texas.
  65. ProPublica reported Facebook enabled advertisers to target ads towards users who expressed interest in categories like “Jew hater” and “How to burn jews.” After ProPublica contact them, Facebook took these down.
  66. Bloomberg reported that Russia’s effort to influence US voters through Facebook and other social media is a “red-hot” focus of Mueller, as well as possible links in that effort to the Trump campaign.
  67. WSJ reported Facebook has given Mueller more details on Russian ad buys, including copies of the ads and details about the accounts that bought them and the targeting criteria they used.
  68. While Congress has the power to subpoena Facebook for “basic subscriber records” and to call witnesses, Mueller’s search warrant compels Facebook to disclose much more detailed information.
  69. Vanity Fair reported that Congressional investigators and Mueller are focused on whether any Americans helped Russia target social media to impact crucial swing districts and wavering voter demographics.
  70. In an interview with Forbes after the election, Kushner bragged about the Trump campaign’s online efforts, and said he had a technology expert “give me a tutorial on how to use Facebook micro-targeting.
  71. Questions also emerge about possible ties between Kushner and Parscale to data-mining firm Cambridge Analytica, whose major investor is Robert Mercer, a patron of Bannon.
  72. Senate Intel Comm ranking members Burr and Warner said they are likely to ask representatives from Facebook to publicly testify on Russia’s activity on their platform during the 2016 election.
  73. Sen Warner tweeted that groups linked to Russia which used Facebook to meddle in the 2016 election paid in Rubles.
  74. A campaign finance reform group, headed by the former chair of the FEC Trevor Potter, said Facebook was an “accomplice” in a Russian influence scheme, and called on the company to publicly release Russian ads.
  75. BuzzFeed obtained a proposal delivered by a Putin diplomat to Trump three months into office detailing a wholesale restoration of diplomatic, military, and intelligence channels between Russia and the US.
  76. Members of the WH and State Dept did not dispute the authenticity of the proposal. Delivering the proposal meant Russia believed Trump would not hold alleged 2016 election interference against them.
  77. Daily Beast reported the Trump campaign has begun turning over documents to Mueller. The Mueller probe is broad, and it is treating the WH, transition team, and campaign as separate legal entities.
  78. At a press briefing Tuesday, Sanders said the DOJ “should certainly look at” prosecuting Comey, claiming he had leaked privileged information to the media and offered false testimony to Congress.
  79. On Wednesday, Sanders again said Comey, essentially a political opponent, should face criminal charges for leaking a memo to the NYT.
  80. Sanders also said ESPN reporter Jemele Hill should be fired for her Monday tweet referring to Trump as “a white supremacist who has largely surrounded himself w/ other white supremacists.”
  81. NYT reported after Trump was told that Mueller was appointed, he berated Sessions in the Oval Office. Trump called Sessions an “idiot,” and said picking him for AG was the “worst decisions he had made.”
  82. Trump blamed the Mueller appointment on Sessions’s decision to recuse himself from the DOJ Russia investigation, and said Sessions should resign. Sessions said he would quit and sent a resignation letter.
  83. Sessions later told associates the way Trump publicly demeaned him was his most humiliating experience in his decades of public life.
  84. Flynn refused a new request to appear in front of the Senate Intel Comm. Flynn has offered to testify before both the Senate and House Intel Comms in exchange for immunity, but neither committee accepted the offer.
  85. Top Democrats on the House Intel and Foreign Affairs wrote in a letter that Flynn concealed more than a dozen foreign contacts and overseas tripsduring the process of renewing his security clearances in 2016.
  86. The foreign contact information came from three private companies advised by Flynn which were pursuing a joint venture with Russia in 2015 and 2016 to bring nuclear power to several Middle Eastern countries.
  87. WSJ reported Flynn continued promoting the project after he took the position of NSA in the Trump regime, even after NSC ethics advisers directed Flynn to remove himself from the project.
  88. Even after Flynn was fired by Trump, he continued to lobby the Trump regime on the project, including Cohn and Barrack, Jr. ahead of their May trip to Saudi Arabia.
  89. NBC reported Flynn’s son, Michael G. Flynn is the subject of the federal investigation into Russian meddling in the 2016 election. The inquiry is based at least in part on his work with Flynn Intel Group.
  90. CNN reported the DOJ refused the Senate Judiciary Comm’s request to interview two top FBI officials — Carl Ghattas and James Rybicki – on the firing of Comey, citing Mueller’s ongoing investigation.
  91. NYT reported Senate Judiciary Comm ranking members Grassley and Feinstein are considering subpoenaing members of the DOJ in their inquiry on Trump’s firing of Comey.
  92. CNN reported Susan Rice privately told the House Intel Comm that she unmasked the identities of senior Trump officials to understand why the crown prince of the UAE came to New York late last year.
  93. The New York meeting (reported in Week 21) took place last December, and was attended by Flynn, Kushner and Bannon. In an unusual breach of protocol, the UAE did not advise the Obama administration in advance.
  94. Shortly after in January, Erik Prince, brother of Betsy DeVos, attended a secret meeting in Seychelles, arranged by the UAE, with a Russian close to Putin, allegedly to set up a back-channel for communications.
  95. WAPO reported DHS ordered all federal agencies to ban the use of a Kaspersky security software. Co-founder Eugene Kaspersky graduated from a KGB-supported school and worked in Russian military intelligence.
  96. The moves comes after the GSA removed the company from its approved vendor list, suggesting a vulnerability exists with Kaspersky that could give the Kremlin backdoor access to the systems the company protects.
  97. BuzzFeed reported that Flynn, Bannon and Kushner met with Jordan’s King Abdullah II in NY days before Trump was inaugurated to push a deal which Flynn was advising on: nuclear power plants in the Middle East.
  98. An eye witness said at least half-a-dozen other people were with the trio at the Four Seasons bar. Flynn failed to disclose the meeting in security clearance forms, and Kushner disclosed it only in his amended forms.
  99. As part of the for-profit deal, reactors would be built by US companies and security would be provided by the Russian state-owned firm Rosoboron. Congressional approval would have been needed.
  100. In February, Abdullah visited the WH and met with Trump, Kelly and Mattis. A statement afterward underscored that the US “is committed to strengthening the security and economic partnership with Jordan.”
  101. Bloomberg reported at the time Veselnitskaya met with Donald Jr. at Trump Tower, she also represented real-estate company Prevezon, which was under criminal investigation for a money laundering case.
  102. In 2013, Bharara filed a civil suit against Prevezon. Sessions abruptly settled the case three days before trial in May for just $5.9mm. There was no mention of the ongoing criminal investigation.
  103. Democratic lawmakers want to know if the Trump team members put pressure on Sessions to settle the case after Bharara was fired.
  104. Bloomberg said in the criminal case several countries and banks including Citigroup, Deutsche Bank, UBS and TD have supplied documents to the US to track more than $200mm that left Russia after a massive fraud.
  105. Business Insider reported that in the Prevezon criminal case, grand-jury testimonies are at a key stage. Prevezon is owned by the son of a powerful Russian government official.
  106. POLITICO reported Kyle Freeny, an attorney working on the DOJ’s highest-profile money laundering case, is joining Mueller’s team.
  107. Democrats flipped two very pro-Trump districts in special elections: there was a 28-point swing in NH, and a 31-point swing in OK.
  108. Benevity tracked a shift in donations made by Fortune 1000 US workers: ACLU went from #87 in 2015 to the top spot in 2017. SPLC went from #230 in 2015 to #17 in 2017.
  109. Early Friday morning, Trump took to Twitter after a bombing in London: “Another attack in London by a loser terrorist,” and “Loser terrorists must be dealt with in a much tougher manner.”
  110. UK PM May publicly alluded to Trump’s tweet, saying she never thinks it’s helpful to “speculate” on “an ongoing investigation.” Friday, McMaster tried to clarify the tweets, saying Trump was speaking “generally.”
  111. Bloomberg reported PM May complained directly to Trump, saying she was unhappy with his response when he called to offer condolences.
  112. Joining his classmates at Yale, 185 of Mnuchin’s high school classmates from Riverdale Country School classmates called on him to resign.
  113. WSJ reported Rohrabacher contacted the WH trying to broker a “deal” that would end Assange’s US legal troubles, in exchange for a computer drive or other data-storage device that he said would exonerate Russia.
  114. Kelly intercepted the call and advised Rohrabacher the deal “was best directed to the intelligence community.” Kelly did not make Trump aware of Rohrabacher’s message.
  115. AP reported that despite a pledge by the Trump inaugural committee to give leftover funds to charities, nothing has been donated. The group has helped pay for redecorating the WH and the Pence’s residence in DC.
  116. Trump’s inaugural committee raised $107mm, a record amount and double what Obama raised for his well-attended inauguration. The amount of times to close out the books is also unusual.
  117. Pence’s press secretary Marc Lotter resigned. It was unclear what his next move will be. Pence recently replaced his chief of staff.
  118. In an Atlantic article, “How Trump Is Ending the American Era,” Eliot Cohen described the damage Trump has done, and continues to do to America’s global standing.
  119. On Friday, the Pentagon issued new guidance clarifying that transgender troops currently in the military can re-enlist in the next several months. This is yet another example in past weeks of Mattis going against Trump.

21743260_10155840791056189_1944878662404778979_n