Week 47 of trump’s presidency: Experts in authoritarianism advise to keep a list of things subtly changing around you, so you’ll remember.
October 7, 2017 https://medium.com/@Amy_Siskind/week-47-experts-in-authoritarianism-advise-to-keep-a-list-of-things-subtly-changing-around-you-so-4d2a98d43d18
This was a dark week for our country, with the unfolding humanitarian crises in Puerto Rico and USVI, and the deadliest mass shooting in modern history in Las Vegas. Trump’s tin-ear and lack of empathy to these events were conspicuous in his ominous “calm before the storm” statement Thursday.
Amid the chaos, major stories broke on Kushner and Ivanka’s use of personal email accounts, all of which were surreptitiously moved to a Trump Organization server. Mueller’s Russia probe continued full-steam, and news of a meeting with Christopher Steele indicated the dossier is likely being used as a roadmap. As with every weekly list, this week rights and protections were taken away from women and marginalized communities.
Despite the humanitarian crisis in Puerto Rico, for a second weekend since Maria hit, Trump golfed Saturday and Sunday at Trump properties. DoD reported Saturday just
45% have drinking water and 5% have electricity. Late Saturday, the WH sent flattering readouts of Trump’s conversations with a former governor of Puerto Rico, and the governors of Puerto Rico and USVI.
Readouts are typically reserved for calls with foreign leaders. Trump sent his most tweets in a day since taking office on Saturday (25): continuing his manufactured battle with the NFL, and his attacks on the fake news and the Mayor of San Juan.
On Saturday, after his first tour of Puerto Rico, top general Jeffrey Buchanan, the DoD’s primary military liaison with FEMA, said
the damage there is “the worst I’ve ever seen.” Fourteen Democrats on the House Natural Resources Comm called for an
oversight hearing on the Trump regime’s handling of the Puerto Rico and USVI relief efforts. On Sunday night, in the
deadliest mass shooting in modern US history, one man who owned 47 guns killed 58 and wounded hundreds. Trump said the quick response of law enforcement was “ in many ways, a miracle.” In the aftermath of the shooting,
top trending stories on Facebook and Google promoted politicized fake news from unreliable sources like 4chanwhich claimed the shooter was a Democrat opposed to Trump. While refusing to the call the white male shooter a terrorist,
Trump referred to him as “a very sick man” and “demented.” The first bill Trump signed revoked Obama-era gun check for people with mental illness.
NBC obtained the Trump WH talking points distributed for the Las Vegas shooting. They include “thoughts and prayer,” “gather facts before making policy arguments,” and comparing it to Baltimore and Chicago murders. On Saturday, funding for
CHIP, the program which provided healthcare for 9mm children and pregnant women in low-income households, expired. No action was taken by Congress to renew it.
Two high school football players in Crosby, TX were kicked off their high school football team for protesting during the national anthem — one knelt and one for raised his fist. According to a reporter, at least
two NFL teams were said to be bowing to pressure by Trump, and plan to create policies requiring their players to stand during the national anthem. Joining Saudi Arabia, Iraq and the UAE, the
US voted against a UN Human Rights Council resolution that condemns the death penalty for consensual same-sex sexual acts. The resolution passed by a 27–13 margin. A judge in Texas ruled that
state officials would be violating state privacy laws if they handed over voters’ personal information to Trump’s Election Integrity Commission. The judge issued a temporary restraining order.
Trump’s DOJ is investigating affirmative action at Harvard. The revelation came to light after watchdog group American Oversight filed a FOIA request for information on affirmative action investigations at two schools. Brownsville, TX city commissioner
Cesar De Leon apologized after the release of a recording of his racist rant using the “n-word” about county and city officials. After initially refusing to, under pressure, he resigned.
BuzzFeed reported Trump regime lawyers asked a court to dismiss a lawsuit filed to halt Trump’s Transgender Military Ban, saying the Pentagon hasn’t finalized the details of the ban yet. Six transgender soldiers who are part of the lawsuit
say they have already suffered — their medical treatments have been canceled and their careers are being derailed — and hence they need immediate relief. On Wednesday,
Sessions rolled back an Obama-era policy which protected transgender workers from discrimination, saying “Title VII does not prohibit discrimination based on gender identity per se.” On Friday,
Trump rolled back Obamacare’s birth control mandate, allowing any employer to cite religious or moral objections to covering the cost of birth control for employees under their healthcare plan. On Friday,
Sessions issued new guidelines which instructed federal agencies and attorneys to protect religious liberty. The policy provides broad exemptions to discriminate against women and LGBTQ people.
ABC reported Sessions consulted with Alliance Defending Freedom, a Christian legal advocacy group that champions conservative causes, ahead of issuing the new guidelines. After Gov Brown signed a law limiting cooperation between local police and ICE in CA, the Trump regime said it will go after undocumented immigrants and
likely pick up “collateral” they were not initially targeting.
Mother Jones reported according to documents released by a federal court, Kobach tried to roll back voter protection by amending the National Voter Registration Act: adding requirements to make it harder to register to vote. On Tuesday, 14 days after Hurricane Maria decimated the island, Trump visited Puerto Rico. He
praised federal and local officials for the response, but purposefully excluded the Mayor of San Juan.
Trump complained about the costs of helping Americans in Puerto Rico, saying “you’ve thrown our budget a little out of whack because we’ve spent a lot of money.” Similar statements were not made about Texas or Florida. Trump
hailed the relief response as “incredible” and “great,” and bragged that “only 16 people are known to have died,” many less than Katrina. Hours later, the death count rose to 34. In an image that became symbolic of his trip to Puerto Rico and his lack of empathy for the people,
Trump went to a supply distribution point dressed in a dark suit, and tossed rolls of paper towels into a crowd. Oxfam took the unusual step of criticizing the US government.
Oxfam said it is “outraged at the slow and inadequate response” by the Trump regime in Puerto Rico.
Oxfam also announced it would be taking the rare step of intervening in an American disaster, pursuing its own two-pronged approach in Puerto Rico.
CNN’s Dr. Sanjay Gupta, who is in Puerto Rico, warned that tens of thousands could die for want of insulin, blood pressure medications and antibiotics, as well as sweltering heat and lack of food and water. By Friday, the official death count in Puerto Rico reached 36, but as
NPR reported, the actual toll is expected to be much higher with uncounted bodies piling up in places that have no way to communicate. Rep Luis Gutiérrez, who traveled to Puerto Rico on his own expense, said the media reports are correct:
the island is a humanitarian crisis. Gutiérrez said the Trump regime doesn’t “want you to know the truth.”
WAPO reported FEMA removed statistics about drinking water access and electricity in Puerto Rico from their website on Thursday morning. Following a social media outcry,
the statistics were restored on Friday afternoon. Stats reveal progress is extremely slow. On Wednesday morning,
Trump said he would wipe out Puerto Rico’s debt, causing trading prices of Puerto Rico municipal bonds to plummet. Mulvaney dialed back: “I wouldn’t take it word for word with that.”
POLITICO reported on a third, previously undisclosed email account on Kushner and Ivanka’s private domain. The three accounts raise concern about the security of sensitive government documents. The third account has
hundreds of emails from WH addresses. In addition to Kushner and Ivanka, personal household staff had access to the account for scheduling purposes.
USA Today reported Kushner and Ivanka’s personal emails were redirected to Trump Organization server 2–3 days after public disclosure about the existence personal emails. The move also comes
shortly after Mueller asked the WH to turn over records related to his investigation of Russia’s interference in the election. Cummings asked the FBI to
investigate whether Kusher and Ivanka exposed classified information through their use of personal email and transfer to Trump Organization servers. The
US Official of Special Counsel found Ambassador Haley violated the Hatch Act by promoting a House candidate on Twitter. Haley was given a warning. The investigation follows a complaint filed by CREW in June.
WAPO reported, back in August, Trump saw an article about Republican-controlled Iowa requesting federal permission to fix its Obamacare markets. Trump’s instruction was, “Tell Iowa no.” Trump’s
HHS taken many steps to suppress sign-ups for Obamacareincluding slashing grants for groups that help consumers, cutting the enrollment period in half, and reducing the advertising budget by 90%.
McClatchy reported Kushner and Ivanka were both fined $200 for missing deadlines to submit financial reports required by government ethics rules. This is Kushner’s second time being fined for late filings. After receiving an 18-day filing extension,
Kushner has made changes to his financial disclosure forms 39 times. In many cases, those changes were in response to questions from the OGE. Eli Miller,
Mnuchin’s chief of staff, flew in hedge fund billionaire Nelson Peltz’s private jet to Palm Beach. The Treasury Department’s inspector general office has launched an inquiry.
BuzzFeed reported the US intelligence unit of Mnuchin’s Treasury Dept has been violating domestic surveillance laws by spying on financial records of US citizens and companies. The
Interior Dept’s inspector general opened an investigation into Zinke’s travel, including his use of taxpayer-funded charter and military planes, and his mixing of official trips with political appearances.
NYT reported on Pruitt’s schedule: almost every day he has multiple meetings, sessions or speaking engagements with top corporate executives and lobbyists of the industries the EPA regulates, but rarely does he meet with environmental groups or consumer or public health advocates.
POLITICO reported, in a closed-door meeting with wealthy donors, Pence’s chief of staff Nick Ayers floated the idea of a “purge” of anti-Trump Republicans, saying they are blocking Trump’s legislative agenda. A federal judge in Phoenix
dismissed the criminal case against Arpaio and accepted Trump’s pardon. In a blistering 14-page ruling, she held off on ruling on Arpaio’s request to throw out all orders in the case.
Mother Jones reported 10-months in, Trump still hasn’t appointed someone to the job of National Protection and Programs Directorate, a position charges with protecting our elections from cyberattacks. In a letter to the WH, Cummings, the top democrat of the House Oversight Comm, asked
Kellyanne Conway, known to have traveled with Price, to provide documentation related to all her non-commercial flights.
Reuters reported Energy Sec Perry took a charter flight from PA to OH the day before Price resigned. Commercial alternatives were available.
WAPO reported Transportation Sec Chao used government planes seven times including days trip to cities within an hour of DC, as well as for trips to France and Italy which cost taxpayers tens of thousands of dollars.
NYT reported Mnuchin traveled on military jets seven times at a cost of more than $800k. The investigation by the OMB found while he broke no laws, Mnuchin gave loose justifications for the costly flights.
Donald Jr. has delivered several speeches, earning as much as $100k per speech. His speeches raise ethics violation and conflict of interest concerns, especially as related to access to the WH. Trump’s Interior Dept
rejected 25 petitions to list a variety of species as endangered or threatened, including several linked to climate change. Trump has yet to nominate a director of the Fish and Wildlife Service. In response to a FOIA lawsuit, the
Secret Service said it does not have a complete Mar-A-Lago visitor log. All the Secret Service has turned over so far is a one-page listing of 22 Japanese officials. Joel Clement, an
Interior Dept executive turned whistleblower who claimed the Trump regime retaliated against him for disclosing how climate change affects Alaska Native communities, resigned Wednesday.
Guardian reported, in what may be a watershed case, US professor David Carroll is suing Cambridge Analytica in British Courts to ask for his personal data back. UK law allows for such requests, unlike US law. On Monday, Facebook shared that
Russian purchased $100k worth of ads which reached about 10mm Americans. More than half the ads were seen after the election, indicating Russia continues to meddle in US politics.
WAPO reported on research by social media analyst Jonathan Albright which found Russian propaganda on Facebook may have been viewed by hundreds of millions, perhaps many billions.
WSJ reported after internal debate, Facebook decided to scrap mention of Russia in a public report released on April 27 about manipulation of its platform during the 2016 election. Instead, in a significantly
shortened report, Facebook blamed “malicious actors.” It is unclear how much Facebook knew at the time. Not until September 6 did Facebook identify Russia as the source of interference.
Fast Company reported that after finding suspicious accounts on Instagram and calling Facebook to confirm, Facebook updated its blog post to clarify about 150 political ads sold to Russia showed up on Instagram.
CNN reported Russian operatives targeted MI and WI with Facebook ads. Some of the ads were highly sophisticated in their targeting of key demographic groups in areas of the states that turned out to be pivotal.
Trump won both states by under 1%: MI by 10.7k of 4.8mm votes cast and WI by 22.7k votes. Congressional investigators want to know if Russia had any assistance from the Trump campaign.
WSJ reported on the most significant security breaches in years: in 2015 Russian hackers stole NSA data. The breach could enable Russia to evade NSA surveillance and infiltrate US networks. The breach is the
first confirmed time Kaspersky software was exploited by Russian hackers. As noted in Week 34, Kaspersky was trained at a KGB-sponsored technical school and worked in Russian military intelligence.
POLITICO reported Trump loyalists are losing patience with multiple, continuing congressional Russia probes, saying they have distracted from his agenda and allowed Democrats to question the legitimacy of his win.
WAPO said these loyalists are pushing Republicans chairing committees to wrap up their investigations and make the scandal disappear. An interim press briefing by Burr and Warner on Wednesday was cited as an example.
Burr and Warner said they concurred with US intel’s assessment that Russia interfered in the 2016 election. They also said the issue of collusion is still open. Burr and Warner also
detailed some threads of investigations including Russian efforts on social media, the April 2016 meeting at the Mayflower Hotel, and changes to the Republican Party platform.
Burr said they had “hit a wall” with the Steele dossier because the author would not meet with them. On Thursday, Rachel Maddow reported that Christopher Steele is open to meeting with the Senate Intel Comm. On Wednesday,
Reuters reported Mueller has taken over FBI inquiries into the Steele dossier as part of the special counsel’s Russia probe. On Thursday,
CNN reported Mueller’s team met with Steele this past summer. The broad assertion of the dossier, that Russia waged a campaign to interfere in the election, is now accepted by US intel. The CIA and FBI took Steele’s research seriously enough
they chose not to include it in the publicly released January report on Russian interference to avoid divulging the parts of the dossier they had corroborated and how. Three Russian
owners of Alfa Bank, Mikhail Fridman, Petr Aven and German Khan, sued Fusion GPS and its founder claiming their reputations were unfairly tattered by the dossier. The three sued BuzzFeed in Week 28.
Mother Jones reported Sen Wyden of the Senate Intel Comm does not concur with Burr’s statement that he can say certifiably there was no voter tampering. Wyden also questioned Burr’s handling of the investigation.
Daily Beast reported the Senate Judiciary Comm is not investigating Russian interference, but engaging in routine oversight of the DOJ. Sources include a staffer for Grassley, Republican chair of the committee.
WAPO reported Michael Cohen turned over documents to Congressional investigators and Mueller related to two, previously undisclosed contacts with Russians. These contacts are not related to Trump Tower Moscow.
Cohen and a business associate emailed weeks before the Republican National Convention, about Cohen traveling to an economic conference in Russia attended by Putin and his top financial and government leaders.
Cohen also received a proposal in late 2015 for a Moscow residential project from a company founded by a Russian billionaire who once served in the Russian parliament. Cohen maintains he never traveled to Russia.
Foreign Policy reported in a previously undisclosed meeting: Rep Rohrabacher met with Veselnitskaya in Moscow two months prior to the infamous June 9 meeting with Donald Jr.
POLITICO reported Trump lawyer Ty Cobb is putting the finishing touches on launching a legal defense fund to help mid-level WH staffers cover their legal costs related to Mueller’s Russia probe.
Newsweek reported Robert Mercer, Bannon-ally and part owner of Cambridge Analytica, donated $200k to the Republican Party legal defense fund the day Trump fired Comey.
The Atlantic revealed emails between Manafort and Kilimnik referenced in the WAPO story in Week 45. The emails suggest Manafort was extremely eager to please Russian oligarch Deripaska, and to get made whole. Kilimnik met Manafort on August 2 in NYC. Emails
prior reference important messages about the “future of his country.” Days before, Trump said “Wouldn’t it be a great thing if we could get along with Russia?” After Tillerson said Saturday he was reaching out to Pyongyang in hopes of starting a new dialogue,
Trump undercut him Sunday tweeting, I told Rex “he is wasting his time trying to negotiate with Little Rocket Man.”
NBC reported Tillerson almost resigned this past summer after Trump’s Boy Scout speech. Days before that speech, Tillerson referred to Trump as a “moron” in a meeting with national security and Cabinet officials. After the report, Tillerson
pulled together an impromptu news conference to publicly praise Trump. Bob Schieffer described it as, “ not like a news conference, it was more like a hostage tape.” Corker, a Trump ally during the campaign who is retiring, in
a harsh rebuke of Trump, said Kelly, Mattis and Tillerson are the are the “people that help separate our country from chaos.”
The New Yorker reported shortly after Tillerson was confirmed, he met Trump at the WH, and Trump “began fulminating about federal laws that prohibit American businesses from bribing officials overseas.” On Friday,
for the first time in seven years, the US economy lost jobs. Expectation for September were to add 80k jobs, however 33k jobs were lost. Job totals from July and August were also downwardly revised. On Thursday, at a dinner surrounded by military leaders and their spouses at the WH,
Trump warned this is “the calm before the storm.” What he meant was unknown by even members of his staff. The mystery around his pronouncement continued on Friday when he was asked about the statement and
responded, “you’ll find out,” then winked. A September
AP-NORC poll showed Trump reaching his lowest approval yet: 32% approve, 67% disapprove. Trump’s approval among Republicans fell to 67%.
The poll also found just 24% think the country is headed in the right direction, 26% believe Trump is a strong leader, 23% view him as honest, and 16% say he is level-headed. One year after the infamous “Access Hollywood” video went public, women’s advocacy group
UltraViolet playing the footage, looping again and again, on a large screen on the Mall in DC for 12 hours straight.
ProPublica reported Ivanka and Donald Jr. were close to being charged for a felony fraud in 2012 for misleading prospective buyers of units in the Trump SoHo. Their partners were Russians Felix Sater and Tevfik Arif.
Kasowitz contributed $25k to Manhattan DA Vance before a sit-down, and later donated $32k. The case was dropped. Felix Sater is a frequent subject of The Weekly List, including involvement with Trump Tower Moscow.
Breaking from the advice of Tillerson and Mattis, Trump is expected to decertify the landmark deal curbing Iran’s nuclear program. Iran has not breached the accord, but instead Trump claims the “spirit” of the deal.
HuffPost reported the Trump regime is preparing repeal the Clean Power Plan, an Obama-era climate change policy which limits greenhouse gas emissions from power plants. Trump has called the policy, “stupid.” Almost three weeks after Hurricane Maria, as just 12% of Puerto Rico had electricity and 55% drinking water, on Saturday morning,
Trump made his 69th trip to a Trump golf course of his 260 days in office.
Some graffiti on this sad situation around New York City this week:
Sticker by Australian street artist CRiSP. Placed on a “POTUS” poster at a bus stop.
Sticker in East Village
There’s an artist sending trump messages in fortune cookies. This one reminds trump that he SADLY lost New York. That’s gotta hurt.
So much of the graffiti related to trump is defaced because it appears most people can’t even stand to see his face. This one was covered with humanitarian facts. Better to look at than his face any day…
“I won’t tell you that the world matters nothing, or the world’s voice, or the voice of society. They matter a good deal. They matter far too much. But there are moments when one has to choose between living one’s own life, fully, entirely, completely—or dragging out some false, shallow, degrading existence that the world in its hypocrisy demands. You have that moment now. Choose!” ― Oscar Wilde
Artist Phoebe New York
Newest Ron English piece on St Marks and 1st
Artists Voxx Romana, City Kitty, and Turtle Caps By artist Praxis, a Colombian now based in NYC Killing Kermit. East Village, NYC Artist Golden 305 Unicorn by Miami-based artist Golden 305in Bushwick, Brooklyn Warhol by SacSix
New York City. 28sep17
London, England. September 2017
London, England. sep17
Week 46 of trump’s presidency: Experts in authoritarianism advise to keep a list of things subtly changing around you, so you’ll remember.
September 30, 2017 https://medium.com/@Amy_Siskind/week-46-experts-in-authoritarianism-advise-to-keep-a-list-of-things-subtly-changing-around-you-so-e23a6920c44b
This week the country turned to a humanitarian crisis in Puerto Rico, where 3.5mm Americans lack basics like water, food, medicine and electricity. At least 16 have already died. Trump seemed split between denying the crisis altogether, and blaming Puerto Rico, its officials and the media. The regime’s late and inadequate response to Hurricane Maria is the clearest fallout of Trump’s unstaffed federal agencies.
This week Trump’s regime came under increased scrutiny for blatant and irreverent kleptocracy. HHS Secretary Price was the first casualty from unfolding scandals of several regime members involving millions spent on chartered and military flights, and other wasted taxpayer money. Social media giants Facebook and Twitter also took center stage in the probe of Russia’s involvement with the 2016 election, and possible Trump campaign complicity.
At his UN speech on Saturday, N. Korea’s foreign minister warned that
a strike against the US mainland is “inevitable” following Trump’s mocking Kim Jong Un with the nickname “little rocketman.” An
ABC/WAPO poll found 66% see Trump as doing more to divide than unite the country. Just 37% trust Trump on his handling of N. Korea. Eight months in, the
ABC/WAPO poll found Trump’s approval at 39% (57% disapprove), the lowest approval level since Truman’s presidency.
St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported more than 120 people were forcibly arrested in downtown St. Louis by police cracking down on protests. Numerous innocent bystanders were swept up by police.
BuzzFeed reported DHS published new requirements for immigration files, including: social media handles, aliases, associated identifiable information, and search results. The rules take effect October 18. The new policy will cover
not only new immigrants, but also green card holders and naturalized citizens. The policy will also affect US citizens who communicate with immigrants. In February, the Office of Inspector General issued a report which found the
DHS pilot programs for using social media to screen applicants for immigration lacked criteria to determine if it’s effective.
NBC reported the Trump regime wants to lower the number of refugees allowed into the US to 45k in 2018, down significantly from 110k in 2017, and lower than the State Dept’s recommended 50k in the travel ban.
Boston Globe reported 50 immigrants were arrested in MA as part of nearly 500 rounded-up nationwide in sanctuary cities and in the case of MA, a state that did fall in line with Trump’s aggressive deportation policies.
Reuters reported the number of immigrants without criminal histories arrested by ICE is up more than 200% since Trump took office. Trump’s
DOJ is demanding private account information for thousands of Facebook users in three separate search warrants targeted at anti-administration activists. Three activist leaders are named. One leader, Emmelia Talarico,
operated the disruptj20 page where Inauguration Day protests were organized and discussed. The page was visited by roughly 6k users. DOJ has also sought info from Dreamhost.
Daily Beast reported documents obtained under a FOIA request strongly suggest ICE agents are using private information obtained by NSA surveillance in their investigations.
POLITICO reported immigration judges sent to the US-Mexico border to speed deportations by Trump are finding their caseload nearly empty, while full caseloads back home are left unattended to.
Ten confederate flags posters with cotton attached to them were found at American University Tuesday night. Franklin Township in
Ohio, a state that wasn’t part of the confederacy, will reinstall a confederate monument taken down in the wake of Charlottesville. At the
Air Force Academy, after finding racial slurs scrawled outside black students’ doors, Lt. Gen. Jay Silveria gathered all 4k cadets and told them, “You should be outraged not only as an airman, but as a human being.” House Republican Mark
Walker referred to his female colleagues as “eye candy.” After public condemnation, he said he regretted his “flippant remark meant to be lighthearted.” An article in
Columbia Journalism Review argued “given the surfeit of evidence,” including most recently Trump’s “castigation of NFL players,” it is appropriate to use the term racist about Trump. At a private dinner Monday night,
Trump sounded satisfied with his NFL feud, telling guests, “it’s really caught on.” David McCraw of the
Palmetto Restaurant and Ale House in Greenville, SC said his restaurant will ban all NFL games until protests end. In a letter to students and parents, the principal of Parkway High School in LA said
athletes must “stand in a respectful manner ” during the National Anthem, or risk losing playing time or being removed from their team.
Trump’s DOJ argued employees can fire people because of their sexual orientation. The DOJ inserted itself in a case opposing the EEOC which backed Donald Zarda, who was fired by Altitude Express for being gay.
BuzzFeed reported HHS announced, for the first time, the department’s ten regional representatives will not help states with planning for the upcoming open enrollment period of Obamacare. In a letter, Oklahoma officials blamed the Trump regime for rising health-care premiums after the
regime missed a deadline to approve a waiver that would have reduced premiums by 30% for 130k residents. Starting Wednesday and continuing,
Trump repeatedly blamed the failure of the latest GOP Obamacare repeal attempt on a US senator being in the hospital, confounding his own aides. No senator is in the hospital. On Monday, at a rally in Alabama for Strange featuring Pence,
campaign staffers informed reporters they couldn’t leave the pen to interview voters. On Tuesday, at a speech at Georgetown Law,
Sessions criticized US universities for being “politically correct” and infringing on students’ free-speech rights.
Students and faculty protested Sessions speech by taking a knee outside the speech; but ironically many were not allowed inside. Chuck Rosenberg, the
acting head of the DEA, resigned Tuesday, saying Trump has little respect for the law. Rosenberg has served under both W. Bush and Obama, and served twice as Comey’s chief of staff.
POLITICO reported even after departures of many Trump aides this summer, many who remain are reaching out to headhunters, lobbyists, and GOP operatives for help in finding new jobs.
USA Today reported information on Ivanka’s China supply chain has disappeared since she took a senior role in the Trump regime. Tracking data has vanished, leaving the identity of 90% of shipments a mystery. Ivanka’s business secrecy obscures
whether China is using business ties to try to influence the White House — and whether Ivanka could profit from Chinese government subsidies while destroying American jobs. On Monday, in a speech to an oil industry group, Zinke said
nearly one-third of Interior’s employees are not loyal to Trump. He also said he is working to make the department’s culture more business friendly. Zinke also added, without explanation, “
Fracking is proof that God’s got a good sense of humor and he loves us.” After campaigning for McConnell in KY in Week 45,
Gorsuch addressed a conservative group at the Trump Hotel DC amid protests and criticism for speaking at a venue that is the subject of several lawsuits against Trump. Sunlight Foundation reported
Trump National Golf Club in DC hosted the Turkish Airlines World Golf Cup in September, again raising Emoluments Clause concerns. The Turkish government owns 49% of Turkish Airlines.
WAPO reported at a private dinner Tuesday, Trump told attendees he thoughts his calling Kim Jong Un “Rocket Man” at his address to the UN would be seen as a compliment, not an insult.
POLITICO reported Kushner used a private email set up last December to communicate with regime members about government business. Kushner’s lawyer said
fewer than 100 emails were sent or received from January through August, but failed to address December, a month when Kushner had undisclosed meetings with Russians. On Monday,
NYT reported that six WH advisers (Kushner, Ivanka, Cohn, Bannon, Miller, Priebus) used private emails accounts to discuss WH matters, sparking charges of hypocrisy. While four advisers used commercial email services like Gmail,
Kushner created a domain, IJKFamily.com in December 2016 for he and Ivanka. On Monday, Rep Cummings, the top Democrat on the House Oversight Comm, announced
he is investigating Kushner’s use of personal emails.
CNN reported Kushner didn’t inform the Senate Intel Comm about the existence of his personal email account during his recent closed interview.
Burr and Warner wrote a letter to Kushner’s attorney instructing him to double-check that he has turned over every relevant document, including those from his personal email account, as well as any other email accounts.
POLITICO reported the WH launched an internal probe of private email use following . Of particular interest are Kushner and Ivanka’s use of a private email domain. POLITICO’s Sunday report
WSJ reported McGahn considered resigning last summer over lack of protocols for meetings between Trump and Kushner, and concern the meetings would be construed by Mueller as an effort to coordinate stories.
Reuters reported in a letter, McCain and Cardin cited that two months after signing it, Trump has not begun enforcing a law imposing new sanctions on Russia, Iran and North Korea. The letter also noted the Trump regime
has not yet provided information related to Russia’s defense and intelligence sectors required under the measure. That information is due tomorrow.
WAPO reported Obama met privately with Zuckerberg at a world leaders meeting in Peru on November 19 to warn him if Russian interference wasn’t addressed, it would get worse in the next presidential election.
Facebook contacted the FBI in June 2016 over concerns of Russian espionage after tracking a hacking group, but failed to recognize Russian operatives were pumping propaganda using ad micro-targeting.
WAPO reported Russian operatives used targeted messages on Facebook to exploit racism, anti-Muslim and anti-immigrant sentiments, and to sow chaos among Americans during the 2016 election. The divisive themes used by Russian operatives on Facebook
mirrored those used by Trump and his supporters on social media and on right-wing websites. Investigators are looking into the possibility of coordination.
BuzzFeed reported Bannon plotted to infiltrate Facebook by getting a spy through the company’s hiring process. The idea came from Chris Gacek, a former Congressional staffer who now works at Family Research Council.
POLITICO reported that in addition to Trump, Russian-funded Facebook ads also backed Stein and Sanders.
Daily Beast reported Russian operatives impersonated real American Muslims in a Facebook group United Muslims of America named after a real nonprofit, and shared fake memes about Hillary, McCain and more.
CNN reported Russian operatives bought ads on Facebook which referenced Black Lives Matters and targeted residents of Ferguson and Baltimore. The ads were meant to sow discord among Americans. Congressional investigators are examining the
sophisticated targeted by the Russian operatives, and questions arise on whether they knew how to target their ads because of collusion with the Trump campaign.
Paul Horner, a leading purveyor of fake news during the 2016 election, was found dead of an apparent drug overdose. He was 38. Horner told WAPO in 2016 he thought Trump won the White House because of him.
Mother Jones reported on a new study which found Russia concentrated million of fake news tweets to 27 states, 12 of which were swing states including PA, MI and FL where Trump narrowly won. In a Facebook post,
Zuckerberg said he was wrong to dismiss the notion of fake news and its impact on the election: “Calling that crazy was dismissive and I regret it. This is too important an issue to be dismissive.” In explaining
why Trump hasn’t been suspended from Twitter despite violating the company’s guidelines relating to threats of violence (against N. Korea), the company cited his tweets’ “newsworthiness.”
NYT reported Russian operative relied heavily on Twitter to influence the 2016 election. The platform was used for large-scale automated messaging using “bot” accounts to spread false stories and promote news articles. Russian operatives’ use of Twitter continues, including this week when a network of accounts activated around Trump’s admonishment of the NFL.
These accounts continue to identify divisive issues and fan the flames. Twitter met with House and Senate investigators who are probing Russian interference.
The company found roughly 200 accounts believed to be tied to the same Russian operatives who bought ads on Facebook. Twitter handed over copies of all sponsored tweets purchased by Kremlin-backed news agency
RT. Twitter said RT spent $274k on ads in 2016. Warner said he wasn’t satisfied with Twitter’s Senate Intel Comm briefing, saying it was “
frankly inadequate on almost every level.”
WSJ reported Google is conducting a broad internal investigation to assess whether Russian operatives used its ads or services to try to manipulate voters. The company is also talking with Congressional investigators. On Tuesday, the
Trump regime denied a request by Puerto Rico to waive the Jones Act in order to ease shipping restrictions and help get fuel and supplies to the island. Trump had waived the act during Harvey and Irma. On Tuesday,
McCain asked the Trump regime to reverse course and waive the Jones Act to help the Puerto Rican people. On Wednesday, amid uproar, Trump said he was reluctant to waive the Jones Act, citing “we have a lot of shippers and a lot of
people that work in the shipping industry” who are opposed to lifting the act. Bowing to public pressure,
Trump finally waived the Jones Act on Thursday, announced through a tweet by press secretary Sanders. Lawmakers said
Trump’s 10-day Jones Act waiver is not enough for Puerto Rico. Several members of Congress are pushing for a one-year period. On Thursday,
AP reported despite DHS Sec Duke saying “the relief effort is under control,” Puerto Ricans say relief is failing them. A young mother of two said, “I have not received any help, and we ran out of food yesterday.” On Friday, while speaking about his tax plan,
Trump said Puerto Rico relief is hampered by it being surrounded by water: “This is an island, surrounded by water. Big water. Ocean water.” Cummings, the ranking dem on the House Oversight Comm and Placket of USVI
called for an emergency hearing on Trump’s hurricane response to Puerto Rico and USVI. The Katrina hearing was cited as precedent. On Friday, the
general in charge of relief in Puerto Rico said there are “not enough” troops or equipment to place to help. On Friday, in a tear-filled plea to the media,
San Juan Mayor Carmen Yulín Cruz said, “I will do what I never thought I was going to do. I am begging, begging anyone who can hear us to save us from dying.” On Saturday in a series of tweets,
Trump attacked the Mayor of San Juan for “poor leadership” and being “nasty.” Mayor Cruz tweeted asking people to focus on “saving lives” and not to be “distracted by anything else.” Trump also sent a series of tweet before and after his golf game Saturday
blaming the “Fake New Media,” working in conjunction with Democrats, for spreading disinformation and taking away the spirit of our soldiers. Trump also tweeted blame at the people of Puerto Rico during the week saying they “
want everything to be done for them” and that they were “ already suffering from broken infrastructure & massive debt.” Ironically, Trump’s
golf course in Puerto Rico filed for bankruptcy, listing assets of $9mm and liabilities of $78mm. The Puerto Rican government’s $33mm investment in Trump’s Coco Beach was completely wiped out.
WAPO reported on Trump’s “lost weekend” — after Maria hit Puerto Rico on September 20, Trump spent a long weekend (Sept 21–24) in NJ during which he and his top aides effectively went dark on Puerto Rico. It wasn’t until the following
Tuesday, September 26, that Trump addressed the situation in Puerto Rico. This after senior officials said on Monday, Trump “was becoming frustrated by the coverage he was seeing on TV.”
POLITICO reported Price combined business travel on government-funded private jets with personal travel, including a trip to St. Simons Island for he and his wife where they owns property, and a lunch with his son. On Thursday,
POLITICO reported Price also took military jets to Europe, Asia and Africa with his wife, costing taxpayers over $500k. In total, Price’s travel costs
exceeded $1mm since May. On Thursday, Price said he’d pay for ‘his seat’ and write a check for $52k. Late Friday, after
Trump said Price is “fine man” but that he “didn’t like the optics.” Price resigned late Friday joining an unusually long list of Trump regime firings and resignations.
WAPO reported the EPA is spending almost $25k to construct a secure, soundproof communications booth for Pruitt. No previous EPA head had a similar set up. Pruitt and his deputies have taken other steps to heighten security, including
having EPA staff members surrender their cellphones and other digital devices before entering meetings with Pruitt.
WAPO also reported Pruitt took charter and military flights that cost taxpayers more than $58k. The EPA’s inspector general announced a preliminary probe into Pruitt’s travels to Oklahoma at taxpayer expense.
POLITICO reported Zinke has taken several flights on private or military aircraft, including a $12k charter plane to his hometown in Montana, and two chartered flights for Zinke and his staff to the USVI in March.
WAPO reported Zinke charged taxpayers $12k for a flight on a private plane owned by oil executives.
WAPO reported VA Sec Shulkin took a 10-day, taxpayer-funded, trip to Europe in July with his wife. Shulkin had four days meeting, and the rest was spent on vacation including Wimbledon, a cruise and sight-seeing.
CBS reported Trump kids’ ski vacation to Aspen in March cost taxpayers more than half a million dollars, including $330k in security costs, $196k in lodging and tens of thousands in other expenses. On Wednesday, Trump launched his tax plan saying, ““I don’t benefit. I don’t benefit.”
NYT reported, based on two pages of his 2005 return, Trump could save more than $1.1bn under his new plan.
WSJ reported the Treasury Dept took down a 2012 economic analysis which contradicts Mnuchin’s take on corporate-tax cut’s winners.
CNN reported after months of being at odds, the IRS Criminal Investigation division is now sharing years of Manafort’s and Flynn’s tax returns with Mueller. It is not clear if Mueller has Trump’s tax returns.
CNN also reported the IRS Criminal Investigation division has been working with the FBI to investigate Manafort since before the election in probes that centers on possible money laundering and tax fraud issues.
ABC reported Mueller is investigating Russian-American money that flowed into the Trump campaign during the election. Three Americans with significant Russian business connections contributed almost $2mm.
POLITICO reported Pence sent his lawyer to meet with Mueller over the summer to express his willingness to cooperate in the Russia probe.
CNN reported Mueller could start interviewing WH staff this week, or possible next depending on scheduling.
Spicer hired Chris Mead, a high-powered criminal defense attorney, to represent him in Mueller’s Russia probe.
BuzzFeed reported Tillerson and Lavrov had a 45 minute private meeting. Under Sec Tom Shannon, US official for Europe Elisabeth Millard, and other US officials were excluded, and a full readout was not provided. After the candidate he backed in the Alabama, Luther Strange, lost the senate primary Tuesday,
Trump deleted his tweets supporting Strange. Roy Moore, the winner in Alabama who was backed by Bannon, is
so extremist in his racism, xenophobia and homophobia, many Republicans when asked simply claimed they had never heard of him. Corker, a Trump ally during the 2016 campaign,
became the second Republican to unexpectedly announce he will not seek re-election in 2018. A
Quinnipiac poll found 69% of Americans think Trump should stop tweeting from his personal account, and 57% think he is not fit to serve.
Trump waited four days to call Merkel and congratulate her on winning re-election. Merkel had called Trump on November 9, one day later. Fifty days after
Trump announced he was going to declare the opioid crisis a national emergency, he still has not made it official.