COCOA BEACH, FLORIDA: SURFING SANTAS WARM-UP ~ EQUAL SIMPLICITY

“Every morning was a cheerful invitation to make my life of equal simplicity, and I may say innocence, with Nature herself.” ― Henry David Thoreau

Christmas Eve, 2017. Cocoa Beach, FL

Advertisements

POLITIKS OF GRAFFITI 59: “TAX CHEATO PRES”

IMG_6966
Photo by NYC-based photographer Kenny Vena at an anti-tax bill protest in NYC this past week.

Week 58 of trump’s presidency: Experts in authoritarianism advise to keep a list of things subtly changing around you, so you’ll remember.

December 23, 2017 https://medium.com/@Amy_Siskind/week-58-experts-in-authoritarianism-advise-to-keep-a-list-of-things-subtly-changing-around-you-so-bb64d0f18ee6

This week Trump and the Republicans passed their first piece of major legislation, violating many democratic norms in the process: a wildly unpopular tax plan, which will massively redistribute wealth akin to an oligarchy. Polling shows the Republican Party could face a tsunami in 2018 as voters, especially women and voters under 35, are fleeing the party under Trump.

This week the Trump regime escalated their attacks on Mueller, the FBI, and the DOJ, seeking to discredit the probe and these institutions. The country braced for the very real possibility that Trump could fire Mueller, or replace Jeff Sessions or Rod Rosenstein as a way to do so indirectly. Many voices voiced concern about broken norms and our eroding democracy.

  1. On Saturday, Axios reported Mueller has obtained tens of thousands of emails from 12 members of Trump’s transition team. The Trump regime discovered Mueller had the emails based on questions posed to witnesses.
  2. Kory Langhofer, counsel for the transition team, sent letters to House and Senate committees claiming Mueller unlawfully obtained “tens of thousands of emails” from the General Services Administration.
  3. The special counsel dismissed the claim, saying they obtained the emails in the course the criminal investigation, and secured them with “either the account owner’s consent or appropriate criminal process.”
  4. On Sunday, as Trump returned to the WH and was asked about Mueller obtaining the emails, he responded, “my people are very upset,” adding, “and as we said, there’s no collusion. There’s no collusion whatsoever.”
  5. WAPO reported Trump’s lawyers are set to meet with Mueller’s team this week. His lawyers have assured Trump the probe will wrap up by January or so, and they will ask Mueller what he needs to conclude the probe.
  6. Trump advisers reportedly said he is not considering firing Mueller, but has been sharply critical of Sessions and Rosenstein. Trump has ranted about Rosenstein being “a Democrat” when, in fact, he is a Republican.
  7. On Monday, WAPO further reported that despite Trump lawyers’ assurances, the Mueller probe could last at least another year. Mueller’s team continues to request new documents related to the campaign.
  8. On Sunday, the Kremlin was the first to share that Putin called Trump to thank him for sharing intelligence which thwarted a terrorist bomb plot in St. Petersburg. Press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders later confirmed the call.
  9. This was the second time Trump and Putin have spoken in the past three days, and both calls were first made public by Russian sources. Trump’s Oval Office meeting in Week 26 was also reported by Russian sources.
  10. The WH released an odd readout of the call between Trump and Putin. It ishighly unusual for leaders to publicly disclose sharing intelligence information, or to publicly thank each other.
  11. Former DNI James Clapper told CNN the exchanges between Putin and Trump are “illustrative of what a great case officer Vladimir Putin is. He knows how to handle an asset, and that’s what he’s doing” with Trump.
  12. An AP-NORC poll found that 63% of Americans believe Trump tried to “impede or obstruct” the investigation into whether his campaign had ties to Russia.
  13. Pew Research found 60% of Americans say Trump has made race relations worse in the US, while 8% say he has been them better.
  14. Susan Bro, mother of slain Charlottesville heroine Heather Heyer, said she has had to hide her daughter’s grave because of hostility from neo-Nazis: “It’s a symptom of hate in society…I’m protecting my child now.”
  15. Jayda Fransen, a leader of far-right Britain First, whose anti-Muslim tweet was retweeted by Trump in Week 55, was suspended from Twitter as part of the social network’s efforts to crack down on hate speech.
  16. A federal judge in PA blocked the Trump regime’s rules which made it easier for employers to deny insurance coverage for birth control, saying the ACA has no statutory language allowing such “sweeping exemptions.”
  17. A second federal judge halted the Trump administration’s rollback of Obamacare birth control coverage. The CA ruling focused on the fact the regime issued interim final rules without a chance for the public to submit comment.
  18. LA Times reported Scott Lloyd, the anti-abortion activist who heads Trump’s refugee resettlement program, again unsuccessfully tried to block an undocumented teen from getting an abortion: a 17-year-old rape victim, “Jane Poe.”
  19. Trump’s DOJ plans to fight the issue of whether underage detainees have a right to access abortion, hoping to have the Supreme Court hear the case. Sessions said of losing the Jane Poe case, “We’re disturbed about it.”
  20. On Thursday, a federal court denied the Trump regime’s efforts to delay accepting transgender recruits into the military. Three judges have ruled the ban cannot go into effect while the case works through the courts.
  21. On Friday, an appeals court ruled against Trump’s travel ban 3.0, saying Trump has exceeded his authority in issuing the directive. The ruling won’t have an immediate effect due to a Supreme Court stay.
  22. LA Times reported Customs and Border Protection has awarded a division of Accenture with a $297 million contract to help recruit and hire the new agents and other workers as staffing levels continue to fall.
  23. NPR reported the Organization for Competitive Markets, a small-farmers think tank based in NE, filed a lawsuit against Trump’s USDA for rolling back two Obama-era rules which protected small farmers.
  24. Despite Trump’s promises to protect steel workers, steel imports have soared under Trump (some coming from Trump insiders and Russia per The Weekly List), and layoffs are coming.
  25. The Education Department announced it will slash debt relief for students defrauded by their colleges, which Education Secretary Betsy DeVos said will “protect taxpayers.” Under Obama, defrauded students were given complete loan forgiveness.
  26. In a boon to offshore drillers, the Trump regime concluded that the “incidental” killings of about 1,000 bird species are not illegal, reversing an Obama-era policy under the Migratory Bird Treaty Act.
  27. WSJ reported the Trump regime reversed an Obama-era decision, granting a mining lease to Andrónico Luksic, a Chilean billionaire who is currently renting a mansion he bought in 2016 outside DC to Ivanka and Kushner.
  28. Rick Dearborn, deputy chief of staff and one of Trump’s top aides, will step down early next year to pursue private sector work. Dearborn is the latest high-profile West Wing departure in recent weeks.
  29. A federal judge ordered Trump’s Election Integrity Committee to turn over documents to one of its Democratic commissioners, Matthew Dunlap, who says he has not received information since a September 12 public meeting.
  30. Sun Sentinel reported as Trump heads back to Mar-A-Lago, his “Winter White House” for the holidays, the Trump regime continues to thwart requests under the FOIA to publicly release visitor logs.
  31. Trump’s HHS defended its decision to hide public comments on a proposal that could affect access to abortion and care for transgender patients. HHS received 10,729 comments on its proposal and has only posted 80 so far.
  32. Sources say the HHS hand-picked the 80 comments posted, and almost all of them back the Trump regime’s policies or attack regulations advanced by the Obama administration. The move could lead to legal challenges.
  33. On Sunday, the CDC director insisted there are “no banned words” at the agency. The NYT reported eliminating these words was meant to be a technique to help secure Republican approval of the 2019 budget.
  34. WAPO reported Trump’s WH took down “We the People,” a popular online tool created by the Obama administration to create online petitions. Petitions with over 100K signatures required an official response.
  35. All active petitions, including the most popular petition calling on Trump to release his tax returns, with over one million signatures, disappeared. The regime cited a maintenance effort to improve website performance.
  36. On Thursday, Sessions’ DOJ revoked 25 guidance documents dating back to 1975. The documents interpreted and explained a wide range of federal laws, from accommodating people with disabilities to voting rights.
  37. Also revoked was an Obama-era DOJ letter that asked local courts nationwide to be wary of slapping poor defendants with hefty fines for local revenue. Sessions said all the guidance documents overreached.
  38. Matthew Petersen, a Trump nominee to the federal judiciary who in Week 57 struggled to answer basic legal questions posed by Senators, became the third Trump judicial pick to withdraw in the past 10 days.
  39. The other two were Brett Talley also withdrew in Week 57, and Jeffrey Mateer, whose homophobic statements became public, including calling same-sex marriage “disgusting” and likening it to polygamy and bestiality.
  40. Two Republicans joined Democrats to block Trump’s nominee to lead the Export-Import Bank, Scott Garrett. As a member of Congress, Garrett was a critic of the Export-Import Bank and voted twice to eliminate it.
  41. Through a FOIA request, Motherboard obtained FCC internal reports which show the FCC investigated the Congressional Republican allegation that net neutrality was an Obama-led takeover of the internet.
  42. The internal probe by the Inspector General found this claim, the premise for rescinding net neutrality, to be false. The findings were not made public prior to last Thursday’s 3–2 vote.
  43. The Hill reported the EPA paid $3K in March for a company to do a “sweep for covert/illegal surveillance devices” of EPA chief Scott Pruitt’s office. Pruitt also has 24-hour security detail and a secure phone booth in his office.
  44. ProPublica and NYT reported on a mass exodus from the EPA: more than 700 under Trump, including over 200 scientists, have left the agency.Dozens of environmental rules have been either opened for reconsideration or overturned.
  45. One example is the effluent rule, which the EPA is about to overturn, overruling science and prevailing industry practices to benefit a few coal-fired power plants that were having trouble meeting the new standards.
  46. AP reported on the EPA’s Superfund Task Force created by Pruitt in May. In June, the task force issued a report containing 42 detailed recommendations, all of which Pruitt immediately adopted.
  47. The task force was led by a political donor to Pruitt who has no environmental experience. Information released under a FOIA request shows the task force generated no record of its deliberations.
  48. On Monday, Trump outlined his National Security Strategy, again evoking a dystopian worldview and zero-sum game relating to allies. The strategy drew wide condemnation from experts and former NSA Susan Rice.
  49. WAPO Editorial Board issued a scathing rebuke titled, “Trump’s National Security Strategy isn’t much of a strategy at all,” noting inconsistencies, contrast to his actual approach, and noting Trump may not have read it.
  50. Crain’s reported the Trump Organization fell steeply in their rankings of the largest privately held New York companies, from number 3 last year to number 40 this year.
  51. Crain’s also noted the market for Trump-branded apartments in New York City is cooling fast: the price per square foot in Trump Tower has dropped 23% and Trump Tower on Central Park is down 24% since 2015.
  52. On Saturday, Fox News escalated the anti-Mueller rhetoric. Host Jesse Watters said, “we may now have proof the investigation was weaponized to destroy his presidency,” and “if that’s true, we have a coup on our hands.”
  53. In that same interview, as Kellyanne Conway spoke to Watters, the chyron on the screen read, “A COUP IN AMERICA?” Both were referring to Peter Strzok and Lisa Page, who were removed from the special counsel investigation.
  54. On Saturday, Rep. Jim Jordan told Fox News he’s gotten a commitment from Rep. Bob Goodlatte, chair of the House Judiciary Committee, to subpoena top officials at the FBI and DOJ in their inquiry into claims of bias against Trump.
  55. On Tuesday, Kevin Jackson, a guest co-host on Fox News suggested the FBI agents who sent anti-Trump text messages may have planned to kill Trumpafter the he defeated Hillary Clinton last November.
  56. On Tuesday, Donald Jr. told young conservatives in FL that FBI investigators are conspiring against Trump, “there are people at the highest levels of government that don’t want to let America be America.”
  57. On Wednesday, Politico reported a group of House Republicans, led by Rep. Devin Nunes, have been secretly meeting for weeks to build a case against senior officials at the DOJ and FBI for mishandling contents of the dossier.
  58. Their product could be used by Republicans to discredit the Mueller investigation, or to justify his dismissal. Democrats on the House Intelligence Committee were not informed, although committee documents are being used.
  59. A WSJ/NBC News poll found American’s view on Mueller has become less favorable, with a net positive of 7 points in December, down from 13 point in June. The net decrease came from a shift in Republican sentiment.
  60. Chris Christie, who served as chairman for Trump’s transition team, told MSNBC Kushner deserves scrutiny for his involvement in the Russia meetings. Christie also defended Mueller, saying he is “an honest guy,” who “will do an honest, fair investigation.”
  61. In a pair of letters, 22 former US attorneys and 22 Republican and conservative officials pushed back against efforts to discredit Mueller, saying his team must be allowed to continue its work.
  62. NBC News reported in the weeks ahead of his first high-level intelligence briefing on August 17, Trump was warned by the FBI that foreign adversaries, including Russia, would likely try to spy on or infiltrate his campaign.
  63. Hillary got a similar warning. Both candidates were urged to alert the FBI to any suspicious overtures. The Trump campaign did not report overtures; although the FBI had started to investigate Trump campaign-Russia contacts.
  64. After the FBI warning, Donald Jr. exchanged Twitter messages with WikiLeaks in September. In October, US intelligence accused WikiLeaks of acting as an agent in Russia’s covert operation to interfere in the election.
  65. Bloomberg reported Mueller is looking at Human Rights Accountability Global Initiative, a foundation which claims to be about Russian adoption, but instead appears to be a lobbying vehicle against Russian sanctions.
  66. The foundation was financed by $500K in donations from wealthy Russians. A woman who contacted the foundation met with Rinat Akhmetshin, a former Soviet intel officer who attended the June 9 Trump Tower meeting.
  67. Akhmetshin asked the woman who her member of Congress was, so he could make an approach on her behalf. He also assured her, “things would change” after the upcoming elections.
  68. BuzzFeed reported the Senate Intelligence Committee has asked Jill Stein’s campaign to turn over documents. Stein attended a dinner in Moscow, along with Michael Flynn, hosted by RT in 2015. Both sat at Putin’s table.
  69. Foreign Policy reported WH counsel Don McGahn was looking into whether Flynn violated federal laws in the very first days of Trump taking office, according to confidential government documents.
  70. According to sources, McGahn researched federal law dealing with both lying to federal investigators and the Logan Act, and concluded Flynn possibly violated one or both. McGahn turned his records over to Mueller.
  71. Reince Priebus told “Meet the Press” on February 19 that Trump did not fire Flynn earlier because “the legal department came back and said that they didn’t see anything wrong.” Records given to Mueller’s team contradict this.
  72. Gizmodo reported days before Flynn’s conversations with Sergey Kislyak,members of Trump’s transition team made inquiries to the director of national intelligence’s office about ways to encrypt Flynn’s conversations.
  73. Internal conversations made public through a FOIA reveal that a messaging app called Signal, which allows users to exchange messages that can self-destruct, was recommended to the transition team. It is unclear if Signal was used.
  74. The next day, Flynn attended a secret meeting at Trump Tower with Kislyak and Kushner. Kislyak later reported to Moscow that they discussed establishing a secret and secure communication channel.
  75. Reuters reported Venezuela awarded licenses to a unit of Russian state-oil company Rosneft to develop two offshore gas fields. Rosneft’s CEO also discussed cooperation with Venezuelan state energy company PDVSA.
  76. In Week 25, Citgo, whose parent company is PDVSA, was represented by Trump insider Corey Lewandowski, and per Week 26, made a $500K donation to Trump’s inauguration.
  77. AP reported Russian hacking group Fancy Bear targeted 200 journalists, publishers and bloggers from 2014 until recently, providing new evidence to US intelligence that Russia intervened in the US election to help Trump.
  78. Bloomberg reported a late-added perk in the Republican tax plan is a windfall for real estate developers like Trump. Sen. Bob Corker, who changed his vote to yes and is a real estate investor, said he was unaware of the change.
  79. On Tuesday a WSJ/NBC News poll found support for the Republican tax plan has fallen to 24%, while 41% believe it’s a bad idea.
  80. The poll also found 63% of Americans say the plan was designed to help corporations and the wealthy, and just 7% say it helps the middle class.
  81. On Tuesday, the House passed the Republican tax bill, but because the version violated three provision of the Senate’s Byrd Rule, the vote was nullified and the House was forced to re-vote on Wednesday
  82. On Wednesday, the Senate and House passed the Republican tax bill, ahistorically unpopular piece of legislation, while breaking norms including not holding hearings or waiting for Doug Jones from AL to be seated.
  83. Guardian reported their analysis shows Trump will save up to $15 million under the bill, Kushner will save up to $12 million, and cabinet members Wilbur Ross, Linda McMahon, Betsy DeVos, Steven Mnuchin, and Rex Tillerson will save millions.
  84. After passage of the GOP tax bill, FiveThirtyEight reported House Republicans are in a historically poor position (-12.2), which could turn a November 2018 blue wave into a flood.
  85. In celebrating passage of the Republican tax plan, Trump falsely claimed he had “repealed Obamacare,” a key promise he made as a candidate.
  86. Almost nine million Americans signed up for Obamacare, close to 2016 levels despite the Trump regime cutting the enrollment period in half, not advertising, and other steps cited in The Weekly List to hobble sign-ups.
  87. On Tuesday, an Amtrak train derailed in WA. Trump said the derailment was “more reason why we must immediately start fixing the infrastructure of the US.” Trump’s 2018 budget cuts the Amtrak budget by $630 million.
  88. Breitbart EIC Alex Marlow told CNN his website tried to discredit sexual assault allegations against Moore to protect Trump: “it’s not just about Judge Moore…It’s about what’s coming next for President Trump.”
  89. Roy Moore has not conceded last Tuesday’s race. In a video, Moore said “immorality sweeps our land,” and “abortion, sodomy and materialism have taken the place of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.”
  90. Puerto Rico Gov. Ricardo Rossello ordered that every death on the island since Hurricane Maria be reviewed. While the “official” death count is 64, NYT, Vox and Puerto Rico’s Center for Investigative Journalism have all estimated the actual count is closer to one-thousand.
  91. Center for Investigative Journalism reported the US Army Corps of Engineers hired only one company, Xperts, to collect the majority of Puerto Rico’s hurricane debris. In several municipalities, clean up has not begun.
  92. NPR reported Refugees International, a human rights organization, issued a scathing report on the US response in Puerto Rico, calling it “uncoordinated and poorly implemented,” and saying it prolonged the “humanitarian emergency.”
  93. Puerto Rico was hit hard in the Republican tax bill, which treats companies there the same as those operating outside the US, subjecting them to a tax of up to 12.5% percent on intellectual property.
  94. Saying the Republican tax bill could hobble their economy which is still recovering from Hurricane Maria, Rossello vowed revenge in the midterm elections by mobilizing 5.3 million Puerto Ricans living on the mainland.
  95. On Monday, NBC News reported senior Republicans on the House Intelligence Committee are preparing to wrap up their Russia probe in the coming weeks, saying Democrats just want to prolong things.
  96. Business Insider reported the House Intelligence Committee has issued only one subpoena to a financial firm in eleven months, and not Deutsche Bank as Democrats requested. Nunes has subpoenaed Fusion GPS’s bank.
  97. On Tuesday, the House Intelligence Committee grilled FBI deputy director Andrew McCabe for nearly eight hours behind closed doors. Fox News’scoverage was critical, saying McCabe drew blanks on Democrats’ funding of the dossier.
  98. CNN reported McCabe told the House Intelligence Committee that Comey informed him of conversations he had with Trump soon after they occurred, suggesting McCabe could corroborate Comey’s account.
  99. Ahead of his committee’s interview of McCabe, Rep. Elijah Cummings said, “This is a fight for the soul of our democracy. Nothing less. I’m going to work hard to make sure we save that democracy and I will fight until I die.
  100. Washington Examiner reported “frustrated” lawmakers pressed McCabe on the dossier. McCabe said dossier met the FBI’s standards of credibility to open an investigation, but would not say which parts had been verified.
  101. On Wednesday, Sen. Mark Warner took to the Senate floor and warned of a “red line” if Trump moves to fire Mueller directly or indirectly, saying this could “provoke a constitutional crisis,” adding “no one, no one is above the law.”
  102. Warner also warned against Trump issuing pardons. Warner told reporters he spoke out before holiday break because he sees a “coordinate effort to undermine Mueller, and in many ways more broadly even the FBI.”
  103. On Friday, WAPO reported the FBI’s top lawyer, James Baker, is being reassigned. Baker was investigated in a leak probe, but has been cleared. Baker, like McCabe, is one of the senior FBI officials Comey confided in.
  104. Late Friday, Politico reported, according to GOP sources, Baker was in touch with David Corn of Mother Jones in fall 2016. Corn was the first US journalist to report on the dossier. Corn said Baker was not a source.
  105. Sally Yates penned a widely-read op-ed saying our country has “reach an inflection point,” our core values and democratic institutions are at stake, and it is time to “decide who we are as a country and what we stand for.”
  106. On Wednesday, at a cabinet meeting, Trump threatened to cut off American aid for countries who vote for an UN resolution condemning his decision to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel.
  107. UN ambassador Nikki Haley also issued a stern warning, tweeting to UN members that the US is “taking names” on the vote. Haley also sent a letter to several UN members ahead of the vote.
  108. On Thursday, former CIA director John Brennan slammed Trump’s threat to retaliate, tweeting Trump “expects blind loyalty and subservience from everyone — qualities usually found in narcissistic, vengeful autocrats.”
  109. On Thursday, in a rebuke to Trump, the UN General Assembly voted 128 to 9, with 35 abstentions, passing a resolution demanding Trump rescind his decision to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel.
  110. On Friday, Haley invited the 65 countries that voted no, abstained, or did not cast a ballot to a reception as a “thank you for your friendship to the United States” on January 3, 2018.
  111. Meredith, the company that purchased Time Inc. with backing from the Koch brothers, said the iconic Time Inc. name may be retired.
  112. Esquire reported how Murdoch’s WSJ has increasingly become more Trump-friendly, leading to departures of top talent. The Journal recently killed a story on Trump’s mob ties on the editorial page.
  113. Foreign Policy reported Jennifer Newstead, Trump’s pick for top State Department legal advisor, acknowledged Saudi Arabia could be violating US and international law by restricting the flow of humanitarian aid in Yemen.
  114. Mother Jones reported Definers, the overtly partisan PR firm which was awarded a $120K no-bid EPA contract in Week 57 for to perform opposition research on the media, has pulled out of the deal.
  115. Foreign Policy reported Dan Meyer, the ED of Intelligence Community Whistleblowing and Source Protection, was escorted out of his office, pending a tribunal. Senate Judiciary Committee chair Chuck Grassley demanded to know why.
  116. NY Daily News reported a law firm which represented Kushner’s real estate company in dozens of eviction and housing court cases is suing the company for over $100K of unpaid legal fees.
  117. On Friday, NYT reported the US attorney’s office in the Eastern District of NY subpoenaed Deutsche Bank for records relating to hundreds of millions of dollars of loans to the Kushner family real estate business.
  118. The Deutsche Bank subpoena is not related to the Mueller investigation.Kushner Companies also received inquiries from Brooklyn prosecutors about its use of the EB-5 visa program to finance two NJ projects.
  119. CDC director Brenda Fitzgerald faced scrutiny from Senate Democrats on her ability to perform her duties, having pledged not to conduct government business where she has financial interests, including cancer and opioids.
  120. Several states announced their Children Health Insurance Funding (CHIP) monies would run out at year-end. On Thursday, Congress finally passed a short-term fix which allows the program to run through March 2018.
  121. On Tuesday, WAPO reported Trump considered rescinding Neil Gorsuch’s Supreme Court nomination, questioning his loyalty after Gorsuch said he found Trump’s attacks on the federal judiciary “disheartening” and “demoralizing.”
  122. On Wednesday, Trump hosted a cabinet meeting. Similar to a cabinet meeting in Week 31, Trump’s cabinet took turns praising him after Trump started the meeting with 12 minutes of boasting to the press.
  123. Pence praised Trump for nearly three minutes, offering 14 commendations — one every 12 seconds — on Trump’s words, his strategy and his results in light of the passage of tax cuts.
  124. Following the cabinet meeting, the WH issued a statement, “Cabinet Meeting Marks Tremendous Year of Progress,” citing the praise for Trump by every cabinet member.
  125. On Thursday, NBC News reported on order by Sessions, DOJ prosecutors have begun asking FBI agents for information on the now dormant criminal investigation of the Clintons and the Uranium One deal.
  126. DOJ prosecutors have asked FBI agents if there was any improper effort to squash a prosecution. A DOJ official told NBC News this was prompted by allegations from Congressional Republicans that the case was mishandled.
  127. Trump has also frequently tweeted and mentioned the Uranium One case, imploring Sessions and the DOJ to investigate. WAPO gave Trump’s repeated allegations against Hillary’s role “Four Pinocchios.”
  128. A federal judge dismissed a lawsuit alleging Trump violated the Constitution’s emoluments clause, ruling the plaintiffs, led by CREW, lacked standing to bring the case, saying it was up to Congress.
  129. On Friday, Bloomberg reported the House Intelligence Committee sent voluntary invitations to Bannon and Lewandowski to be interviewed behind closed doors as part of the committee’s Russia investigation.
  130. WAPO reported the presidential coin has undergone a makeover: the national motto, “E pluribus unum” — Latin for “out of many, one” — will be replace with “Make America Great Again,” now on both sides of the coin.
  131. Peter Hoekstra, US ambassador to the Netherlands, was asked by a Dutch reporter why he said there are “no go” areas in the Netherlands where radical Muslims are setting cars and politicians on fire. Hoekstra responded, “That’s fake news, I never said that,” and then the reporter showed him the clip where he’d discussed the zones.
  132. NYT reported on a June WH meeting where Trump was furious so many non-white immigrants had entered our country since January. Reportedly Trump said his friends were calling to say he looked like a fool.
  133. Of 15K from Haiti, Trump said they “all have AIDS.” Of 40K from Nigeria, Trump said once they had seen the US, they would never “go back to their huts” in Africa. Trump, John Kelly, and Stephen Miller blamed Tillerson for the inflow of immigrants.
IMG_6036
at Art Basel in Wynwood, Miami, FL, Dec2017
IMG_5079
“Trumputin” by artist Tee Pop in Miami, FL Dec2017
IMG_5009
Lady Pink’s wall in Wynwood Walls in Miami, FL Dec2017
IMG_6086
artist @Lucrative_Nova in Miami, FL Dec2107

COCOA BEACH, FLORIDA: LONELINESS IS NOT A FUNCTION OF SOLITUDE

“…loneliness is not a function of solitude.” ― David Foster Wallace, Infinite Jest

IMG_6952IMG_7037IMG_7046IMG_7055IMG_7052IMG_7044IMG_6945

23dec17. Cocoa Beach, Florida

PRODUCT FOCUS: MY MOLESKINE 2017 INTERNATIONAL ARTIST’S SKETCH SERIES

Very little needs to be said about the world’s premier stationery brand ~ Moleskine. I’ve been using them for years and in 2017, they sent me a selection of their notebooks to take on the road. I kept organized with their planner, took notes on artists and recorded random thoughts in their lined notebooks, and one of my favorite endeavors with Moleskine this year, was to do an international artist sketch series in their blank notebook. It was a great way for me to merge my passions of writing/traveling with street art, and at the same time garner some attention to these well-deserving artists.

https://us.moleskine.com/en/?gclid=Cj0KCQiA9_LRBRDZARIsAAcLXjdwzbuVXUf8EyYEJPP8hQhE8Wd9toX9UuU-IFbHd2gqiQGTkvJcGN0aAi54EALw_wcB

IMG_3640

  1. City Kitty ~ with a background in painting and fine art, City Kitty brings his unique style to the streets…it’s all hand drawn and/or silkscreens that are all individually colored, so that every piece you see is unique in its own right. https://www.facebook.com/citykittystreetart/

IMG_7074

2. Praxis ~ Bogota, Colombia-born and now based in New York City, he is one of the premier stencil artists circulating right now. He is a passionate vegan and his art is tied directly to spreading animal rights’ awareness. https://www.facebook.com/praxis.graff

IMG_1723IMG_3881IMG_3902IMG_3895IMG_3885

3. CRiSP ~ Another premier stencil artist based in Australia, but really gained a following when living for years in Bogota, Colombia before returning to his homeland. He is very much anti – the 1%. https://www.facebook.com/Crispstreetart/

IMG_7073

4. Fumero ~ “The intent has always been to be direct with his approach to painting.  Fumeroism art is an extension of Fumero’s character, bold and uninhibited, assertive and unorthodox.  He is a product of the late 20th and early 21st century’s contemporary-urban-expressionist movement.  His personal road of artistic journey began with cartooning as a child, graffiti as a teenager, logo design in county college, and the art of the abstracted figure or caricature in art school.  These are influences which all meet at the crossroads of a harmonious interaction and unification among line, shape and color to form a unique path of artistic exploration.” https://www.fumeroism.com

IMG_7072

5. David Rothman ~ ‘David M. Rothman studied graphic art as a minor at Y-bor City community college and went on to receive a bachelor of fine arts from University of Tampa in 2006.  Since then he has been an instructor for Prodigy Cultural Arts Program ,  exhibiting in Tampa and Miami galleries, and conducting curation and art history workshops in New York.  Prodigy was a deviation process for at-risk youth.  Rothman taught visual arts to ages 7-17 for five years, while doing so he discovered he would like to study further into Art Therapy and Social-Psychology; for means to facilitate a community based program to embrace unity.  “I believe art is healing through the exploration of self.”‘ https://www.drothmanart.com

IMG_9472IMG_9476

6. Izzy Izvne ~ Arguably the most prolific street artist in Chisinau, Moldova. Prefers animals to people. Heart of gold and a free spirit. She’s graff, street, and everything in between. https://www.facebook.com/izzyizvne

IMG_5442IMG_5452

7. JODO ~ strong and fearless street artist with one of the most recognizable characters on the streets of New York City. 

IMG_3548IMG_3547

8. The Primate of NYC ~ Vandal Expressionist Joseph Meloy creates in the best of both worlds – his Primate is all over New York City making him one of the most prolific NYC street artists, and he is also a painter. https://www.josephmeloy.com

IMG_3545IMG_3546IMG_7071

9. HiSS ~ “Hiss is a Queens based artist and illustrator who’s primary interests include cute animals and dead things.” http://hiss.storenvy.com

IMG_3526IMG_7070

10. Ceteo ~ Bogota, Colombia-based artist. https://www.instagram.com/ceteo_1/

IMG_3891IMG_7069

11. Baston ~ Filmmaker, photographer, and street artist in New York City. https://www.instagram.com/baston777/

IMG_7068

12. Mitrooper ~ “The Mitrooper represents the fighting spirit in everyone who has been a “trooper” at some point in life. We all have stood strong through hard time and good times. Mi stands for me, and trooper is within you. The Mitrooper is a protective soul, guarding each individual and the universe. Mitrooper gives hope to the hopeless, courage to the doubtful, and and strength to the weak. At the end of each tunnel there is a light. Stay positive. Stay humble.” https://www.mitroopers.com

IMG_4730IMG_4732IMG_4733IMG_4734IMG_4736IMG_4737

13. Tee Pop ~ Miami, Florida-based multimedia artist. https://www.instagram.com/teepopart/

IMG_4984IMG_7067

14. Daniel Osorno ~ Medellin, Colombia-born artist now based in Miami, Florida. A good, authentic soul just beginning his domination of the streets as a mural artist (in the past, he was a prolific graffiti writer.) https://www.facebook.com/Trapism-the-new-Cubism-by-Daniel-Osorno-159175610798111/

IMG_4985IMG_7066

15. FLUKE ~ Montreal-based multi-talented artist and member of the A-Shop Crew. https://www.facebook.com/fluke.art.1/about?lst=832465127%3A516752147%3A1513955408

IMG_5239IMG_7065

16. SEEN ~ “Richard “Richie” Mirando, known as Seen UA, born 1961 in the Bronx, New York City, is one of the most well known graffiti artists in the world, often referred to as the Godfather of Graffiti, although he did not pioneer the movement. Seen first started to paint on New York City Subway system in 1973. His crew United Artists (or simply UA) quickly gained the reputation for producing full-color throw-ups on whole cars with members such as Duster, Sin, and his brother Mad.” https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Seen_(artist)

IMG_6405IMG_7064

17. JUS10 ~ Miami-based artist. https://www.instagram.com/jus10it/

IMG_7063

18. Studioflop ~ “Fábio Panone Lopes aka “FLOP”, is Brazilian, and was born on November 13, 1985. Architect and artist, he has worked with urban art for 17 years. FLOP has a remarkable art. From the mixture of expressive lines of his profession of architecture, added to super colorful fills graffiti art, his works result in a style super differentiated, with native, indigenous and tropical themes.” https://aimfulcoloringbooks.com/?artist=flop

IMG_7062

19. Mr. June ~ “Harmonizing graffiti, graphic design and abstract art.” http://www.mrjune.com

IMG_5878IMG_5877

20. Apitatan ~ “Apitatán (Quito, 1987) is an artist who paints everyday stories. His sketches are inspired by fragments of conversations overheard throughout the city. They are a reflection of Latin American culture and featuring people with sharp, geometric outlines, often giving dark looks or wide smiles with missing teeth.” https://www.apitatan.com/bio

IMG_7061

21. Monique Lassooij ~ “My vision is to maintain the integrity of my art while deleting as much superfluous detail as possible. Telling all of the story can be fun, but most of the time it is just distracting. I hone in to the details that inspire me to create.” Born in The Netherlands and now based in Miami, Florida. Greatest introduction I had all year. This woman’s work is PHENOMENAL. Check out more of her work here: https://www.facebook.com/moniquelassooijart/?timeline_context_item_type=intro_card_work&timeline_context_item_source=1562990066&pnref=lhc

IMG_7057

22. Erni Vales ~ a.k.a. EVLWORLD ~ Nothing to do with ‘evil,’ everything to do with talent. Check him out at https://www.evlworld.com

IMG_6552IMG_6551IMG_6549IMG_7060

23. ATOMIK! ~ Arguably the most prolific street artist in the 305 and that is saying A LOT, considering all of the hardworking artists hustling there! Miami-based Atomiko has created one of the most famous street characters that people from home or abroad can easily recognizehttp://atomik.bigcartel.com

IMG_6928IMG_7059

24. NERV ~ Los Angeles-based graffiti artist. http://nervfastlife.blogspot.com

IMG_7058

My Moleskine Daily Planner on the move with me around the globe this year. Needless to say, it got FILLED: 

IMG_0156IMG_2311 (1)IMG_8010IMG_9675

My Moleskine travelled with me in 2017 to:

Beirut, Lebanon ~ Cocoa Beach, Florida ~ Chisinau, Moldova ~ Bucharest, Brasov, Sibiu, Timisoara, Romania ~ Salzburg, Vienna, Austria ~ Budapest, Hungary ~ Munich, Frankfurt, Germany ~ London, England ~ New York City ~ Miami, Florida

December 2017.

 

END OF YEAR PRODUCT REVIEW: RHODIA NOTEBOOKS & WRITING PADS

“We write to taste life twice, in the moment and in retrospect.” ― Anaïs Nin

Last December I was sitting in a cafe and got to thinking about what a friend had suggested to me ~ she said “since your blog is growing and you lead a rather unique existence traveling from city to city, country to country all year long, why not ask for some sponsors to help you along your journey?” 

I didn’t know what to think of that because I don’t want a lot of stuff, I just need the essentials. In the cafe, I looked at what was in front of me: a coffee (Hey Lavazza, wanna sponsor me?) and a pen and my Rhodia pad. And I thought, since I’m always buying a supply of Rhodia pads once a year to get me through to the next — why not try to email them and see if I might be able to explain my history with their stationery and to see if I could get a few for my 2017 travels and to help promote their brand at the same time ~ the response came quickly and within a couple of weeks, I got my Rhodias for the year! 

I use my Rhodia pads for trip planning, for artist interview notes, for anecdotes intended to go into a much larger written work at some point, and for general observations on my adventures. 

I love my Rhodias because of the various sizes I can use, and because sometimes I want dotted, sometimes blank, and most of the time, lined paper to write on.

I took my Rhodia Pads all over the world with me this year to:

Beirut, Lebanon ~ Cocoa Beach, Florida ~ Bucharest, Brasov, Sibiu, Timisoara, Romania ~ Budapest, Hungary ~ Salzburg, Vienna, Austria ~ Munich, Frankfurt Germany ~ New York City ~ Chisinau, Moldova ~ Transnistria

Please check out their website for all of their stationery collections. There will be a collection that’s just perfect for you: https://rhodiapads.com

IMG_3658
Leaning against a mural for an artist interview in Cocoa Beach, Florida
IMG_0417
Writing thoughts on a train from Salzburg, Austria to Munich, Germany.
IMG_9765
Writing morning thoughts on my balcony in Beirut, Lebanon.
IMG_7109
Sitting in a garden in Bucharest, Romania.
IMG_9312
Trying to figure out where to go next whilst sitting somewhere in Romania
IMG_6915
With me on my very first visit to the most famous restaurant in Bucharest, Romania: Caru cu Bere!
DCIM100GOPROG0036078.
Artist interview with Izzy Izvne in Chisinau, Moldova
IMG_4471
Writing notes in Transnistria. Photo by: Svitlana Bulkina
IMG_6929
Having a beer at Caru cu Bere in Bucharest, Romania
IMG_3655
For jotting thoughts down on long bike rides
DCIM100GOPROG0107036.
On the subway in New York City

December 2017

END OF YEAR PRODUCT REVIEW: CARABINER – LIGHTNING FROM NOMAD

“OWN LESS, LIVE MORE”

https://www.hellonomad.com

I’m a nomad. I’m a minimalist. I own a few things. My things will never own me. I do not want to travel the world with anything that I don’t need; that I don’t see as practical, useful, and light. For this reason, last December, I sought out a few companies that shared my philosophy about life, adventure, and travel. I found Nomad’s website and searched to see if there was anything I could use, and to reciprocate, if there was anything I could help promote.

Well, I don’t have a phone. I already told you I was a minimalist. So, that left out any need of their awesome accessories for smartphone cases or smartwatch straps. I’m a blogger and a photographer. I do need constant charging capabilities for my iPad and cameras with usb cables (preferably short with no messy wires.) I took a chance and let the guys know who I was, what I did, and what I would love from Nomad to take around the globe with me.

They gave me a Lightning carabiner that I still have and still use constantly, a carabiner for my GoPro (sad to say that was lost or stolen somewhere in Beirut – hey, that’s the life of a nomad, and hopefully someone else is out there using it,) and a rugged cable, which they say lasts at least five years, but I can’t imagine it not still working for me in a decade from now.

Take my word for it – my year’s experience with these products – if there was any problem at all, I would share it here, as I’m not guaranteed to get any more gear from them for 2018. I’m staying true to who I am and I want other minimalist adventurers to have the opportunity to travel as light and efficiently as possible, too.

My Nomad goods travelled with me in 2017 to:

Beirut, Lebanon ~ Cocoa Beach, Florida ~ Chisinau, Moldova ~ Bucharest, Brasov, Sibiu, and Timisoara, Romania ~ Salzburg and Vienna, Austria ~ Budapest, Hungary ~ Munich and Frankfurt, Germany ~ London, England ~ New York City, New York ~ Miami, Florida 

and it kept my stuff charged up so that I could keep my blog going everywhere along the way!

DCIM100GOPROG0165645.
On the beach in Cocoa Beach, Florida – so small and light, just hooks onto my backpack
IMG_3644
On location for a photo shoot for my blog at artist David Rothman’s mural in Cocoa Beach, Florida.
IMG_6957
Charging my iPad with the lightning carabiner connected to my laptop
DCIM100GOPROG0046079.
On location for a photo shoot for my blog at artist Izzy Izvne’s wall in Chisinau, Moldova.
DCIM100GOPROGOPR7547.
An end-of-the-year return to Cocoa Beach and the Nomad carabiner is still going strong

December 2017

If you are interested in checking out all of the minimalist gear that Nomad has to offer, please click on the link at the top of the page ~ Happy New Year!!

 

 

 

MIAMI, FLORIDA STREET ART: MY FAVE PICS FROM ART BASEL 2017

IMG_5124
Man standing in front of Aquarela’s ‘Space Girl’
IMG_5445
World leading 3D muralist Leon Keer in progress for Wynwood Walls
IMG_5513
Miami-based Kool Drip
IMG_5719
Catching a solitary moment between artist Drew Merritt and his creation at the old RC Cola Plant.
IMG_5775
A pink and brooding memorial piece by Kool Drip 
IMG_5780
Two artists chat
DCIM100GOPROGOPR7513.
Beginning of New York-based artist Jeff Henriquez’s mural for The Bushwick Collective
IMG_6005
Kool Drip 
IMG_6010
The old RC Cola Plant sign
IMG_6121
Bruno Smoky of the Clandestinos
IMG_6152
Completed 3D mural “AweSoMe” by The Netherlands’ (Utrecht) Leon Keer
IMG_6175
Artist Jeff Henriquez in front of his mural in progress
IMG_6271
Artist Contrabandre in progress
IMG_6272
A policeman admiring the art
IMG_6274
Completed mural by Jeff Henriquez
IMG_6278
Old RC Cola Plant
IMG_6414
Chilean artist Otto Schade in progress for the Basel House Mural Festival
IMG_6434
Chicago-based artist JC Rivera’s Bear Champ for Up Art Studio’s Big Walls, Big Dreams
IMG_6478
Blind Patriot by Conor Harrington
IMG_6503
Alex (Malcolm McDowell) from A Clockwork Orange by Athens, Greece-based artist Insane51
IMG_6535
D-Face
DCIM100GOPROGOPR7539.
Closer shot of Otto Schade’s Shark
IMG_6897
UK’s Himbad from a past Basel
IMG_6863
Huetek
IMG_6855
Artist Benny Wilding

Miami, Florida. December 2017.

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

POLITIKS OF GRAFFITI 57: BAMBI SAYS “IMPEACH TRUMP”

Week 56 of trump’s presidency: Experts in authoritarianism advise to keep a list of things subtly changing around you, so you’ll remember.

https://medium.com/@Amy_Siskind/week-56-experts-in-authoritarianism-advise-to-keep-a-list-of-things-subtly-changing-around-you-so-b1bf0c786d9f

December 9, 2017

This week, as Trump’s lawyers sought to maneuver around two unfolding stories that could engulf the regime — obstruction of justice and Mueller’s Deutsche Bank subpoena — Trump made radical, devastating moves. Trump forcefully backed an accused pedophile, signed off on the largest elimination of protected land in US history, and recognized Jerusalem as Israel’s capital — all while he continued to disparage the FBI, DOJ, and our free press.

Almost a year into office, Trump’s popularity continues to fall, and he has yet to move forward beyond campaign rhetoric. As his inner-circle continues to shrink, Trump takes actions which move our country towards isolationism, corruption, and kleptocracy.

The growing #MeToo movement of accountability for sexual misconduct led to the first political resignations this week. More are expected, as the drumbeat for accountability for Trump’s past actions grows louder.

Lots of art expressing dissatisfaction with the current state of affairs in the USA at this year’s Art Basel in Wynwood, Miami, FL. Dec2017

In his Saturday tweet, Trump claimed he knew Michael Flynn lied to Vice President Pence and the FBI. When Trump fired Flynn, he had only cited the lie to Pence.

On Sunday, in a tweet, Trump denied pressuring James Comey to stop investigating Flynn. Trump lawyer John Dowd claimed he drafted the Saturday tweet, and made a mistake about Trump’s knowing Flynn lied to the FBI.

On Monday, Dowd told Axios, a president cannot obstruct justice “because he is the chief law enforcement officer under [the Constitution’s Article II] and has every right to express his view of any case.”

WAPO reported 16 Republicans are on the record as saying a president can obstruct justice, including Jeff Sessions who said as senator on President Clinton, “such acts are high crimes, and equal justice requires that he forfeit his office.”

On Sunday, Diane Feinstein, ranking member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, told “Meet the Press” of her committee’s work, “I think what we’re beginning to see is the putting together of a case of obstruction of justice.”

On Sunday, Billy Bush issued an op-ed, saying despite Trump’s denials in Week 55 that it wasn’t his voice on the “Access Hollywood” tape, Trump did say, “Grab ’em by the pussy,” in front of Bush and seven other men.

Bush also said he was highly critical of a Trump’s candidacy, recalling Trump had told him off-camera, “People will just believe you. You just tell them and they believe you.”

The Atlantic reported after the “Access Hollywood” tape, Pence considered a coup to take the spot on the top of the ticket. Karen Pence was disgusted according to an aide: “She finds him reprehensible — just totally vile.”

NYT reported on emails among top officials in Trump’s transition team show Flynn was not acting alone, but rather was in close touch with other senior officials during his conversations with Sergey Kislyak on Russian sanctions.

On December 29, K.T. McFarland emailed a colleague that Obama’s Russia sanctions were a way to discredit Trump’s victory, and make cooperation with Russia “which has just thrown the U.S.A. election to him,” harder.

Her email was sent to Tom Bossert, Trump’s Homeland Security Advisor, who then forwarded the email chain on to six other Trump advisers including Flynn, Reince Priebus, Steve Bannon, and Sean Spicer.

On Monday, Sen. Cory Booker said he was concerned McFarland might have given “false testimony” to the Senate Foreign Relations Committee in her answers about being aware of contact between Flynn and Kislyak.

When Booker asked McFarland in writing last July if she had ever spoke to Flynn about his contact with Kislyak , she had answered in writing, “I am not aware of any of the issues or events described above.”

On Tuesday, Democrats placed a hold on McFarland’s nomination to be ambassador to Singapore, pending her answering questions about her knowledge of communications between Flynn and Kislyak.

On Sunday, Newsweek reported Jared Kushner failed to disclose his role as a co-director of the Charles and Seryl Kushner Foundation, at a time the group funded an illegal Israeli settlement, on his financial records with the Office of Government Ethics.

On Sunday, Trump sent a series of tweets disparaging the DOJ and FBI, criticizing the agencies for not going after his political enemy Hillary, and saying the FBI, after being run by Comey “is in Tatters — worst in History!”

Comey, Sally Yates, and Eric Holder defended the FBI in tweets of their own. The FBI director sent an email to agents supporting them, saying he is “inspired by example after example of professionalism and dedication to justice.”

On Monday, the DOJ agreed to allow the House Intel Committee to interview a key FBI employee who served as the contact to Christopher Steele. The agreement comes after a public spat started by Rep. Devin Nunes and flamed by Trump.

Nunes and Trump had publicly accused the DOJ of stymieing the House investigation. In reality, the DOJ met with Nunes and his staffers, and they were given access to highly classified materials for the past two months.

NYT reported Trump’s catchphrase, “fake news,” is being used being used in Myanmar to justify ethnic cleansing. An officer in Rakhine’s state security ministry said of accusations, “It is fake news.”

On Monday, the Supreme Court allowed the third version of Trump’s Travel Ban to take effect while legal challenges against it continue. This victory allows the regime to enforce restrictions against eight countries, six of which are predominantly Muslim.

The NAACP urged Trump to not attend the opening of the Mississippi Civil Rights Museum on Saturday, saying Trump’s attendance would be an “affront” to the movement commemorated by the museum.

On Thursday, Rep. John Lewis said he would not participate in the opening because of Trump’s presence, saying “Trump’s attendance and his hurtful policies are an insult to the people portrayed in this civil rights museum.”

On Friday, the WH announced Trump will not speak at the public ceremony for the opening of the Mississippi’s Civil Rights Museum, but rather will participate in a separate private event.

On Friday, Trump ally Rep. Steve King tweeted, “Diversity is not our strength,” citing Hungarian PM Orban who said, “Mixing cultures will not lead to a higher quality of life but a lower one.”

WAPO reported more than a half-dozen technology experts and former national security officials filed a brief to halt Trump’s Election Integrity Commission from collecting of voter information for a database.

Experts cite concerns the proposed voter database could be hacked by foreign adversaries. In Week 32, a Republican data firm left personal information on nearly 200 million voters unprotected online in 2016.

In Kansas, the home state of Kris Kobach, the vice-chair of Trump’s Election Integrity Commission, 23 disabled Americans lost their voting rights in the November 2017 election because Kobach’s SAFE Act was instituted.

On Thursday, Trump hosted a Hanukkah reception at the WH, but failed to invite the Jewish Congressional Democrats.

On Sunday, US ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley said the US is walking away from UN migration and refugee pact, saying it “contains numerous provisions that are inconsistent” with US policies.

McClatchy reported despite Trump’s vow not make any deals with foreign government entities while he serves, a construction company owned in part by the governments of Saudi Arabia and South Korea will build a Trump resort in Indonesia. This is the second violation.

The Trump regime closed the Community Resilience Panel for Buildings and Infrastructure Systems, a group created by Obama in 2015 to help local officials protect against extreme weather and natural disasters.

Intercept reported Trump’s WH is considering set a of proposals developed by Erik Prince and a retired CIA officer to provide the CIA and WH with a global, private spy network that would circumvent official US intelligence.

The plan is being pitch as a way to counter “deep state” enemies in the intelligence community out to get Trump. Director Mike Pompeo allegedly does not trust the CIA bureaucracy, but this group would report just directly to him.

On Monday, the Department of Labor reversed Obama-era restrictions on tip-pooling, which allows employers to combine servers’ tips and share them with “back of the house” employees, such as cooks and dishwashers.

Nike, the Trump Organization’s biggest tenant in a single space, is vacating its iconic Niketown flagship store at 6 East 57th Street in NY. Trump’s political rhetoric played a role in the company’s decision.

On Thursday, the Trump regime rolled back an Obama-era rule which required trains carrying highly explosive liquids to install electronically controlled pneumatic brakes by 2021, to help prevent fiery train wrecks.

Reuters reported in a reversal from an Obama-era policy to prevent bank examiners from becoming sympathetic, Trump’s US Comptroller, Joseph Otting, said he would allow examiners to work in-house at banks.

On Thursday, the House Ethics Committee said Nunes had not violated laws or congressional rules on disclosing classified information, leaving Nunes free to resume his leadership of the House Intel Committee Russia probe.

Reuters reported DNI Dan Coats revealed tighter restrictions in a new “unmasking” policy. Critics fear the order would infringe on the political independence of the intelligence, and endanger work with allies.

Sessions’ DOJ moved to investigate Planned Parenthood, sending a letter to the Senate Judiciary Committee requesting documents from the committee’s investigation of Planned Parenthood’s fetal tissue practices.

As part of Betsy DeVos’s changes to campus sexual assault policy, a House Republican higher education bill would allow colleges to delay or suspend their internal investigations if police or prosecutors ask them to do so.

POLITICO reported Ryan Zinke’s travel logs obtained under the FOIA show he spent more than $14K on government helicopters last summer for he and his staff to attend DC events, and to horseback ride with Pence.

Dina Powell, Trump’s deputy national security adviser, and a driving force behind Trump’s Middle East policy, is departing after serving one year. In Week 55, numerous departures from Trump’s WH are expected.

LA Times reported Mick Mulvaney is moving quickly to make changes at the CFPB, an agency he had criticized. He has installed some of his aides into bureau positions and is reviewing legal actions against financial firms.

Deputy director Leandra English continued her legal battle, and on Friday, 18 state Attorneys General signed on to the lawsuit challenging Trump’s appointment of Mulvaney as acting director.

Trump hit his lowest approval numbers in a new Pew Research poll, which found 32% approve. Trump is more unpopular than any modern-day leader at this point in his tenure.

WSJ reported although Chief of Staff John Kelly has established protocols for communicating with and having access to Trump within the WH, Trump has found loopholes to circumvent those protocols.

Trump calls WH aides to the private residence in the evening, where he makes assignments and tells aides not to tell Kelly — or he goes off-schedule to make calls. Contacts also reach out to him through Melania.

On Monday, Trump signed proclamations drastically shrinking two Utah monuments: Bears Ears National Monument by more than 80%, and Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument by roughly 45%.

Zinke introduced Trump, saying, “Our public land is for the public to use and not special interests. This is about giving rural America a voice.”

Outdoor clothing retailer Patagonia said it planned to sue Trump, as the company’s home page read: “The President Stole Your Land,” adding, “This is the largest elimination of protected land in American history.”

Native American tribes and several environmental groups also filed suits. Outdoor clothing retailer REI’s home page read, “We Love Our Public Lands,” with an accompanying statement.

On Friday, the Twitter account for the House Committee on Natural Resources tweeted a meme: “Patagonia Is Lying to You. A corporate giant hijacking our public lands debate to sell more products to wealthy elitists…”

WAPO reported uranium company, Energy Fuels Resources played a major role in lobbying Zinke and his staff to shrink the Bear Ears National Monument, saying it would give the company easier access to deposits.

On Monday, Reuters reported Mueller’s team accused Paul Manafort of working with a Russian to draft an op-ed about his political work in Ukraine. Manafort had been working on the article as recently as November 30.

If Manafort’s piece had been published, it would have violated the court’s November 8 gag order. As such, the special counsel said the judge should reject Manafort’s request in Week 55 to change his bail deal.

On Monday, WAPO reported the special counsel said in a statement Manafort has been “assessed to have ties” to Russian intelligence — making him the first member of the Trump regime to have such ties.

On Tuesday, WAPO reported Oleg Voloshyn, a Ukrainian political pundit and former government official said Manafort did not ghost-write the piece. Rather, he emailed a draft to Manafort business partner Konstantin Kilimnik.

On Friday, Mueller’s team filed documents which showed not only did Manafort make extensive edits to the op-ed, he also contributed to the overall themes in the piece, attempting to paint himself in a positive light.

While Mueller’s team maintains Manafort violated the judge’s gag order, lawyers for Manafort claimed the special counsel is unfairly restricting his free speech, saying “all he has tried to do is to correct the public record.”

POLITICO reported on the dramatic FBI arrest of George Papadopoulos as he stepped off a plane late at night: using shock value as a way to flip a witness. The next morning Mueller’s team told a judge Papadopoulos was willing to cooperate.

POLITICO reported paranoia is enveloping the WH as the Mueller probe heats up and as Flynn agreed to cooperate. One source close to the WH said, “Everyone thinks they’re being recorded.”

On Tuesday, NBC News reported Natalia Veselnitskaya told the Senate Judiciary Committee that Donald Jr. had asked her at the June 9 Trump Tower meeting whether she had evidence of illegal donations to the Clinton Foundation.

Veselnitskaya claimed in her 51-page statement after she said she did not have meaningful information on Hillary, Donald Jr. lost interest and the meeting petered out. She claimed to be there to discuss the Magnitsky Act.

On Tuesday, CNN reported Pence’s aides are nervous that Flynn pleading guilty to lying to the FBI and Pence will leave open the door for Mueller to question Pence, who continues to maintain he was out of the loop.

On Tuesday, German daily Handelsblatt reported Deutsche Bank received a subpoena from Mueller’s team, demanding the bank provide information on its dealings with the Trumps.

WSJ reported the subpoena is for documents related to people or entities affiliated with Trump, and people close to him — not Trump himself. Deutsche has lent more than $300 million to entities affiliated with Trump.

Reuters reported Deutsche Bank received the subpoena several weeks ago to provide information on certain money and credit transactions, and that the information has already been provided.

Deutsche Bank has lent Trump hundreds of millions over the past decade, while other banks have stepped back due to his numerous bankruptcies. In Week 19, Deutsche was fined for laundering Russian money.

Mueller’s team is also looking into whether Deutsche may have sold some of Trump’s mortgages or loans to Russian state banks VEB, VTB, Russian Agricultural Bank, Gazprombank, or Sberbank.

Trump lawyer Jay Sekulow denied Trump’s information has been turned over, saying, “No subpoena has been issued or received. We have confirmed this with the bank and other sources.”

Trump lawyer Dowd told Bloomberg that he had been told by Deutsche Bank that no such subpoena had been issued.

On Wednesday, Handelsblatt stood by their reporting despite denials by Trump’s legal team, saying Deutsche Bank was subpoenaed weeks ago. It remains unclear if the subpoena relates to Trump or a family member.

On Wednesday, Donald Jr. testified for eight hours in front of the House Intel Committee in a private session about the June 9 meeting, his communications with WikiLeaks and business of the Trump Organization.

Donald Jr. told the House Intel Committee he did not communicate directly with Trump when confronted with news reports of the June 9 Trump Tower meeting, but rather with Hope Hicks.

Donald Jr. refused to provide details of the call with his father on July 10, claiming the conversation was protected under attorney-client privilege because lawyers for both men were on the call.

Rep. Adam Schiff, the ranking Democrat on the committee, said Donald Jr. acknowledged he had discussed the Trump Tower meeting by telephone with Trump. Schiff rejected Donald Jr.’s use of attorney-client privilege.

POLITICO reported the House Intel Committee is probing the European travel during and after the campaign of several Trump associates including Donald Jr., Michael Cohen, Carter Page, George Papadopoulos, and Jeffrey Gordon.

Congressional investigators want to know if Trump aides met with Kremlin-linked operatives as part of Russia’s interference in the 2016 election. Explanations for their trips have not been forthcoming.

NYT reported according to a whistleblower who contacted Rep. Elijah Cummings, during Trump’s Inauguration ceremony, Flynn texted a business associate that Russian sanction would “ripped away” as one of Trump’s first acts.

Flynn believed ending sanctions would allow a business venture with Russia to build nuclear power plants in the Middle East. He texted his former business associate to say the project was “good to go.”

Flynn was texting Alex Copson of ACU Strategic Partners, a company Flynn advised in 2015. Copson told the whistleblower Flynn’s text directed him to tell others involved in the nuclear project to continue developing their plans, adding “This is going to make a lot of very wealthy people.”

Cummings sent a letter to Rep. Trey Gowdy, who chose not to subpoena the whistleblower. He also informed Mueller’s team who asked him not to go public with it until “they completed certain investigative steps.”

On Friday, Papadopoulos’ fiancee, Simona Mangiante, told ABC News, he “set up meetings with leaders all over the world” for, and was “constantly in touch with” senior campaign officials, including Bannon and Flynn.

She added Papadopoulos will have a firm place in history as “the first domino in the Russia investigation,” saying he is loyal to his country, “He is already on the right side of history. I think he will make a big difference.”

On Wednesday, the House Intelligence Committee released Erik Prince’s closed-door testimony from November 30th. Prince claimed that when he met with the Russian banker, he was not acting on behalf of Trump.

Prince testified he was in Seychelles for business, and someone recommended he meet Kirill Dmitriev, the CEO of RDIF, Russia’s $10 billion sovereign wealth fund. Prince claimed he had to Google for a photo of him.

Prince said they discussed US-Russia relations, including joint efforts to defeat Islamic terrorism together. Prince claimed he didn’t discuss Russian sanctions, or the prospect of doing business with Dmitriev.

Schiff issued a statement on Prince’s testimony, saying “Prince also could not adequately explain why he traveled halfway around the world to meet with UAE officials and, ultimately, the head of the Russian fund.”

As part of testimony, Prince also revealed he had interned for pro-Russian congressman Dana Rohrabacher. When asked if he spoke to Rohrabacher during the campaign, Prince said, “I don’t recall. No, I don’t think I did.”

Russian oligarch Oleg Deripaska dropped his appeal of a libel suit filed against AP. Deripaska’s suit claimed AP falsely implied he was paying Manafort for work aimed at advancing the goals of the Russian government and Putin.

In a status report filed in court by Mueller’s team Friday, the special counsel revealed it has issued 15 search warrants related to Manafort and his business and campaign aide Gates.

Special counsel has obtained more than 400K financial and corporate records, and emails — 116k are considered “particularly relevant,” and 2K considered “hot” documents containing information crucial to the case.

NYT reported the FBI warned Hicks of repeated attempts by Russians to make contact with her using email during the transition period, even after US intelligence had publicly warned about Russian interference.

NYT reported the Trump Organization will be a big beneficiary of the Republican tax bill, noting the real estate industry and real estate investment trusts were given special treatment on several provisions.

The CEO of Murray Energy, one of the country’s largest coal companies, ripped the Republican tax bill, saying it would “wipe out” coal mining jobs, and adding “We won’t have enough cash flow to exist.”

WAPO reported some of Trump’s wealthiest friends in NY asked him at fundraising event for changes to the Republican tax plan, complaining it will drive up their taxes and hurt his home state — and Trump is listening.

On Monday, Trump endorsed Roy Moore. Later that day, the RNC changed course and threw support behind Moore, despite additional allegations coming out during the day from a woman when she was 17 years-old.

On Tuesday, Republican Jeff Flake posted a photo on Twitter of his $100 check to Roy Moore’s democratic challenger Doug Jones, adding “Country over Party” in the memo line.

TIME named “The Silence Breakers” the 2017 Person of the Year, celebrating the voices that launched a movement to bring sexual assault and harassment into the light of day. Trump was the runner-up.

In their cover story, TIME mentioned harassment allegations by several women against Trump, noting these allegations were cited as one of the catalysts for many to speak out against the abuse of power.

On Thursday, Sen. Al Franken stepped down after 33 Senate Democrats called on him to resign over sexual harassment allegations, adding in his parting words, “I am leaving while a man who has bragged on tape about his history of sexual assault sits in the Oval Office.”

On Friday, Republican Rep. Trent Franks abruptly resigned as AP reported he had offered a former aide $5 million to act as a surrogate. The news invited comparisons to The Handmaid’s Tale.

On Friday, new allegations of sexual harassment surfaced against Trump, as former Fox News anchor Juliet Huddy said he tried to kiss her on an elevator after he took her to lunch at Trump Tower in 2005.

A Quinnipiac poll found 70% of Americans believe Congress should investigate accusations of sexual harassment against Trump, 25% do not.

Sen, Jeff Merkley became the first Senator to call on Trump to resign over sexual misconduct allegations, saying of Trump “he certainly has a track record with more than 17 women of horrific conduct.”

NYT reported while in Puerto Rico, the USNS Comfort was prepared to support 250 hospital beds, but in its limited time at the island, admitted an average of only six patients a day, or 290 in total.

The ship was staffed with 800 personnel, costing $180K a day, yet the ship received an average of 36 people a day as outpatients or inpatients. On November 15, the ship left to restock. On November 17, it was sent home.

NYT reported the “official” death toll in Puerto Rico of 62, vastly understates actual deaths, which they estimate at 1,052 though the end of October, using past years’ mortality as a comparison.

WAPO reported some Republicans are organizing to discredit Mueller over time, including Fox News host Sean Hannity, several conservative lawmakers, and conservative group Judicial Watch.

On Monday, deputy AG Rod Rosenstein who appointed Mueller to head the special counsel, said he is satisfied with special counsel’s work.

WSJ reported Trump’s allies are urging a hardline against Mueller as the probe heats up and despite Trump’s attorneys assessment, will drag on into 2018. Allies say Trump should end his lawyers’ cooperative approach.

Allies cites as bias Peter Strzok, who had sent text messages that were critical of Trump during the 2016 election. Mueller dismissed Strzok upon learning about his texts last summer.

On Friday, ABC News reported that after Mueller dismissed Strzok, he brought on David Archey, a veteran FBI official briefly involved in the launch of the agency’s probe into Hillary’s private email server.

On Wednesday, Rep. Al Green read a resolution in the House to impeach Trump. The House overwhelmingly voted to kill the resolution (364 votes); however 58 Democrats voted for the resolution.

On Wednesday, Trump formally recognized Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, and announced plans to eventually relocate the US Embassy there, despite criticism from Rex Tillerson, James Mattis, and several close US allies.

WAPO reported Trump had made up his mind on Jerusalem months before seeking input from advisers, and that Trump didn’t “have a full understanding” of the issue or what he “could trigger by doing this.”

Trump’s move reverses seven decades of US policy. On Thursday, David Satterfield, an acting assistant secretary said the State Department has not yet said whether the US considers Jerusalem to be part of Israel.

While delivering his statement on Jerusalem, towards the end of the speech, Trump noticeably slurred and mispronounced words. On Thursday, at a press briefing, press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said Trump’s “throat was dry.”

Sanders also said Trump will undergo a physical examination at Walter Reed in the beginning of next year, and records will be released. Trump did not have a traditional medical examination as a candidate.

Captain Carri Weber of the Plainfield Police Department in Indiana was put on paid administrative leave on November 16, after telling a fellow officer he benefited from “white male privilege” during a training seminar.

On Thursday, after the suspension received national media attention from WAPO, the Plainfield Board of Police Commissioners reinstated Captain Weber, but a letter of reprimand will be kept in her permanent file.

On Tuesday, at a foreign policy conference in Berlin, German Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel said German relations with the US “will never be the same” after Trump, saying Trump sees Germany as a “competitor.”

On Friday, former President Obama urged voters to stay engaged, invoking complacency led to the rise of Nazi Germany, “You have to tend to this garden of democracy, otherwise things can fall apart fairly quickly.”

On Thursday, Judge Rudolph Contreras, the judge who took Flynn’s guilty plea, recused himself from the case. No reason was given.

Catching Olympic leaders off-guard, ambassador Haley and press secretary Sanders said it was uncertain if the US would attend in South Korea, amid lingering tensions in the area.

Sanders later dialed back in a tweet, “The US looks forward to participating.” Earlier in the week, Russia was banned from the Winter Olympics by the I.O.C. as a punishment for systematic doping.

On Friday, Trump held a campaign-style rally in Pensacola, FL with many of same themes are during his campaign over a year ago, including the crowd chanting “lock her up,” as Trump talked of the “rigged system.”

Trump also raised the theme of Chicago, a city he has invoked to attack people of color since his 2016 campaign: “What the hell is going on in Chicago? There are those that say Afghanistan is safer than Chicago.”

Politifact reported Trump’s speech was full of false statements, including in matters relating to his attacks on the media, Chicago, and other issues.

NYT reported before he took office, Trump told top aides to think of each day “as an episode in a television show” in which he vanquishes rivals. In office, he spends four, sometimes up to eight hours per day watching tv.

Insiders say part of Trump’s difficult adjustment is rooted in an unrealistic expectation of powers: he thought it would be more akin to imperial command than having to coexist with two other branches of government

Artist Ben Levy 9dec17 Miami, FL, USA 🇺🇸

POLITIKS OF GRAFFITI 56: RESIST by LADY PINK

This week, a brand new mural by legendary street artist Lady Pink was created at Wynwood Walls in Miami, Florida for Art Basel week. I’m putting the piece up before the list because just by looking at each letter in the word “R E S I S T,” which she spelled out…you can see imagery that effectively represents the horror show, that we call 2017 in AmeriKKKa:

Week 55 of trump’s presidency: Experts in authoritarianism advise to keep a list of things subtly changing around you, so you’ll remember.

December 2, 2017 https://medium.com/@Amy_Siskind/week-55-experts-in-authoritarianism-advise-to-keep-a-list-of-things-subtly-changing-around-you-so-da7c2cad25cb

This week marked further erosion to our failing democracy. Attacks on, and deconstruction of our free press is happening at an alarming rate, as conservative billionaires buy up media outlets, some of which are then precipitously shuttered. Republicans in the Senate passed a tax bill whose primary beneficiary will be people like Trump and regime members, without any debate, scoring, hearings, or even a chance for senators to read a bill which impacts one-sixth of the US economy.

This week Trump continued his bigoted attacks on marginalized communities, dividing us at home and embarrassing our country on the world stage. There was disturbing reporting on Trump’s mental health, including his continued belief in conspiracy theories. With events and his actions this week, Trump’s net approval gap (-29) matched an all-time low.

This week was the second bombshell in the Mueller probe, as Michael Flynn pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI and agreed to cooperate. Flynn’s testimony in court documents ties in Trump son-in-law Jared Kushner, and Flynn’s ongoing cooperation will likely ensnare many higher-ups, including Trump.

Late Saturday, in retaliation for RT being told to register as a foreign agent in the US, Putin signed a law that allows the Russian government to list any foreign media operating in the country as a foreign agent.

Late Saturday, Trump tweeted Fox News is “MUCH more important” than CNN in the US, and “CNN International is still a major source of (Fake) news, and they represent our Nation to the WORLD very poorly.”

CNN Communications tweeted in response, “It’s not CNN’s job to represent the U.S to the world. That’s yours. Our job is to report the news.”

Former CIA and NSA Director Michael Hayden slammed Trump: “Until now it was not possible for me to conceive of an American President capable of such an outrageous assault on truth, a free press or the first amendment.”

On Sunday, Time Inc. was purchased by Meredith with a $650 million equity investment from the Koch brothers. A former EIC of Time Inc. added of the Koch involvement, “there is no question that it’s a media influence play.”

On Monday, Trump tweeted attacks at CNN again: “We should have a contest as to which of the Networks, plus CNN and not including Fox, is the most dishonest, corrupt and/or distorted” in their coverage of Trump.

As per Week 54, Trump’s DOJ sued to block AT&T’s pending merging with Time Warner, saying CNN would need to be spun off first. Per Week 52, Rupert Murdoch has made approaches to AT&T’s CEO to purchase CNN.

WAPO reported Trump is obsessive in his tv-watching, including using a TiVo. On Monday when he sent the tweet, Trump did not have his daily intelligence briefing, which left him more time to watch television.

On Tuesday, AT&T’s CEO said the company will offer concessions to get the merger done, but will not sell assets, including CNN.

LA Weekly’s staff was gutted Wednesday, including nine of the 13 editorial staff and all but one staff writer, as Semanal completed their purchase. The ownership of Semanal is a mystery.

On Friday, the LA Weekly, the second largest publication in Los Angeles, issued its last print edition. The website was not updated, and the social media accounts were dormant. The media outlet was quickly shut down.

Walmart pulled a t-shirt offered on its online store, which read, “Rope. Tree. Journalist. SOME ASSEMBLY REQUIRED,” after a journalist advocacy group told the retailer it found the shirt threatening.

On Monday morning, Mick Mulvaney showed up at Consumer Financial Protection Bureau offices with bags of donuts. Deputy Director Leandra English sent an email to her colleagues, saying she hoped everyone had a great Thanksgiving break, signed as “acting director.”

On Monday, English sued the Trump regime over its appointment of Mulvaney to head the CFPB. Under the Dodd-Frank Act, the deputy director serves as acting director when the director role is open.

On Tuesday, US District Judge Timothy Kelly, recently appointed to the federal court by Trump, refused to block Mulvaney from taking over as acting director of the CFPB.

On Thursday, Mulvaney told Fox Business Network that the authority wielded by the CFPB “should frighten people,” adding “there is no accountability to Congress.”

Reuters reported in a Thursday evening email to her CFPB colleagues, English said of reports due in December “to be sure that these are still on track,” and signed the email, “Leandra English, Acting Director.”

On Monday, at an event to honor Native American veterans, Trump evoked his nickname for Warren: “…we have a representative in Congress who they say was here a long time ago. They call her Pocahontas.”

John Norwood, general secretary of the Alliance of Colonial Era Tribes, said Trump’s nickname “smacks of racism,” and that using the reference as a derogatory insult was “insulting to all American Indians.”

The National Congress of American Indians criticized Trump for making remarks during an event meant to honor “code talkers” — Native Americans that acted as communications specialists during WW2.

Trump was also criticized for standing before a portrait of Andrew Jackson, who is known for his harsh treatment of Native Americans as president, and who famously signing the Indian Removal Act.

Trump ally Betsy DeVos weighed in, and in a rare rebuke, said of Trump’s ‘Pocahontas’ comment: “…I think that we can all do well to reflect on the things we say before we say them.”

NYT reported Trump is questioning the authenticity of the “Access Hollywood” tape. Shortly after he took office, Trump told a GOP senator he wanted an investigation, saying “We don’t think that was my voice.”

Since then, Trump has continued to suggest the voice on the tape is not actually him. Advisers say Trump continued to hold on to a series of conspiracy theories, including that he won the popular vote.

In recent months, Trump has also questioned the authenticity of Obama’s birth certificate behind closed-doors, including telling at least one senator.

On Wednesday, Trump tweeted about the 2001 death of a Scarborough aide: “…will they terminate low ratings Joe Scarborough based on the ‘unsolved mystery’…” This claim is false — the cause of death is known.

On Wednesday morning, Trump retweeted three anti-Muslim videos posted by Jayda Fransen, deputy leader of Britain First, a far-right and ultra-nationalist political group. The videos purport to show Muslims assaulting people and smashing a statue of the Virgin Mary.

British PM May condemned Trump saying in a statement: “it is wrong for the president to have done this…Britain First seeks to divide communities by their use of hateful narratives that peddle lies and stoke tensions.”

The leader of the Church of England called on Trump to delete the retweeted videos, saying “It is deeply disturbing that the President of the United States has chosen to amplify the voice of far-right extremists.”

The Dutch government responded to Trump on Twitter, saying the child in in the video is not a migrant : “Facts do matter. The perpetrator of the violent act in this video was born and raised in the Netherlands.”

Multiple State Department officials warned the WH that Trump’s anti-Muslim tweets could increase threats at US embassies in the Middle East, which are already on high security alert.

Late Wednesday, at 1 a.m. GMT, Trump fired back at the leader of our closest ally, first tweeting at the wrong account, @theresamay, which is a private account with six followers.

Fourteen minutes later, Trump deleted the tweet and tweeted at PM May, “don’t focus on me, focus on the destructive Radical Islamic Terrorism that is taking place within the United Kingdom. We are doing just fine!”

NYT reported immigration arrests are up 40% under Trump, whose regime targets anyone living in the country illegally for arrest and deportation. Obama had focused on arresting serious criminals and recent arrivals.

In some states like Georgia and the Carolinas, arrests are up 80%. In Atlanta, neighbors try to warn each other as ICE cars patrol — leading many to miss work, keep their kids out of school, or not come home.

Chaos erupted in a Brooklyn, NY courthouse after ICE agents arrested Genaro Rojas Hernandez in the hallway. Hernandez is the fortieth individual taken into custody by ICE agents inside a NYC courthouse.

On Sunday, following a cascade of criticism, the NYT issued a semi-apology after readers accused the paper of normalizing a Nazi. The paper interviewed one the neo-Nazis who marched in Charlottesville.

On Monday, the US District Court for DC ruled the Trump regime cannot ban new transgender recruits from enlisting while the case is being heard. The judge also blocked the ban on funds for gender reassignment surgery.

On Thursday, Trump wrote a proclamation to commemorate World AIDS Day on December 1. Noticeably absent were any references to communities most at risk, including LGBTQ people and people of color.

ONE Campaign released a report on Trump’s WH proposed $800 million cut to HIV/AIDS efforts which experts predicts could result in millions of new HIV infections and hundreds of thousands of deaths.

Daily Beast reported Trump bragged to a reporter from Maximum Golf, “there is nothing in the world like first-rate pussy” while scanning the diners at Mar-A-Lago and spotting and a young socialite in 2000.

POLITICO reported WH ethics lawyer James Schultz resigned last week after almost a year in the WH, and plans to return to private practice.

Bloomberg reported the WH is weighing a ban for employees on using personal mobile phones, raising concerns for staff they will be cut off from family and friends. Trump has repeatedly complained about leaks.

On Monday, Maliz Beams, a top State Department official appointed by the Trump regime, resigned after just three months. Beams served as a special adviser to Rex Tillerson, and was closely involved in efforts to reorganize the agency.

WSJ reported as Trump’s one-year anniversary in the WH approaches, senior officials warn of “significant turnover,” saying there is a lengthy list of WH aides and cabinet members potentially on their way out.

BuzzFeed reported Trump’s WH and the CIA are considering a set of proposals to pay millions of dollars for former US intelligence officers to run privatized covert actions and intelligence gathering.

On Friday, reversing an Obama-era proposal, Trump’s EPA said it will not issue a rule requiring hard-rock mining companies to pay for the costs to clean up their mines when they’re finished.

On Friday, a federal judge ruled the Trump regime can’t delay an Obama-era immigration rule which lets foreign start-up founders into the US without a visa, after venture capitalists group and others sued.

In a letter, Sen. Chris Coons reminded Jeff Sessions and Rod Rosenstein he had given them two weeks for an explanation of why Dana Boente was forced to resign. After no response, Coons demanded to have his question answered.

On Tuesday, Coons also called for hearings into possible presidential interference, citing reports last month that Trump interviewed candidates for positions with oversight in districts where he has business dealings.

On Tuesday, Bloomberg reported the Manhattan DA’s office is interviewing 10 to 20 of Paul Manafort’s work associates and lenders, including Stephen Calk, whose bank provided Manafort with three loans totaling $16 million.

Calk was named as an economic adviser to the Trump campaign in August 2016. In Week 36, the loans to Manafort represented 24% of Calk’s bank’s equity capital and typically the bank focuses on loans to military members.

Investigators are also examining real estate transactions involving Manafort’s immediate family and former son in law. Unlike federal charges, those found guilty of a state crime cannot be pardoned by Trump.

POLITICO reported lawmakers are scrambling to put any measures in place to help secure the nation’s voting system and prevent hacking in the 2018 election. Voters in Texas and Illinois have primaries in just three months.

Senators complained about the lack of urgency with proposed legislation yet to hit the floor, and the House companion bill in limbo. Trump has yet to acknowledge Russian hacking of the 2016 election.

WAPO reported Flynn’s role in Mideast nuclear projects, as cited in Week 44, could compound his legal issues. Flynn served as an adviser to two Washington-based companies pursuing Middle East deals in 2015.

ACU Strategic Partners proposed a partnership with Russia and IP3/IronBridge proposed working with China. In various filings in 2016 and 2017, Flynn did not initially disclose his connection to ACU.

In a presentation to King Salman Bin Abdul Aziz of Saudi Arabia, IP3 listed Flynn as Formidable US Leadership. Lawmakers were not informed of Flynn’s relationship with IP3 according to Rep. Elijah Cummings .

Intercept reported Erik Prince met with Kirill Dmitriev, CEO of the Russian Direct Investment Fund (RDIF), on his trip to Seychelles cited in Week 21. The trip was allegedly to set up a back-channel between Trump and Russia.

Prince claimed he was in Seychelles on business. RDIF is under US sanctions, meaning Prince could have violated sanctions against Russia. Prince will testify to the House Intel Committee later this week.

Rachel Maddow reported that with the addition of the Dmitriev, so far, there have been 19 Russians identified as having met with Trump campaign officials.

BuzzFeed reported the Senate Intel Committee has requested information from Twitter on 45 Russia-linked accounts that tweeted propaganda about Trump, Brexit, and German Chancellor Angela Merkel in 2016.

On Thursday, Reza Zarrab, who is now cooperating with US prosecutors, implicated Erdogan in a NY court, saying the Turkish PM personally authorized a transaction on behalf of Iran in a money laundering scheme.

Prior to cooperating, Erdogan had enlisted Flynn to get Zarrab released in exchange for a large payout in Week 53. In Week 20, Zarrab was represented by Rudy Giuliani who flew to Turkey to meet with Erdogan.

CNN identified radio host Randy Credico as the intermediary between Roger Stone and Julia Assange during the 2016 campaign season. Credico has been subpoenaed by the House Intel Committee to testify.

On Thursday, Rep. Adam Schiff, the ranking Democrat on the House Intel Committee, expressed concern that Sessions refused to answer if he was ever instructed by Trump to take any action he believed would hinder the Russia investigation, in a closed-door meeting with the committee.

NBC News reported Donald Jr. will meet with the House Intel Committee next week. Lawmakers want to know about the June 9 meeting at Trump Tower and his May 2016 encounter with Alexander Torshin at an NRA event.

On Wednesday, Russian state-funded RT had its US Capitol credential revoked. The Congressional Radio & Television Correspondents’ Galleries cited RT being forced to register as a foreign agent by the DOJ.

On Friday, in retaliation, the Russian government will consider the resolution next week which would ban American journalists from accessing the lower chamber of its parliament, the Duma.

On Thursday, Manafort struck a revised bail deal with prosecutors to pledge four properties worth $11 million as bail, clearing the way for him to be released from the house arrest.

On Thursday, NYT reported Trump urged senior Republicans in the Senate, including Richard Burr who chairs the Senate Intel Committee, to end the panel’s investigation into Russia’s interference in the 2016 election.

Burr said Trump told him the investigation was overshadowing his first year and he wanted to see it come to an end. Burr also said committee members were approached by Trump, and shared their conversations.

Trump expressed these sentiments to Roy Blunt, who serves on the committee, while flying on Air Force One to Springfield, MO in August. Trump told Blunt he wanted “to wrap up this investigation.”

Trump complained to Mitch McConnell and Bob Corker, who is chair of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, in phone conversations about the continuing investigations, and blamed McConnell as leader for not shielding him.

Trump called Sen. Thom Tillis, who in August introduced a bipartisan bill limiting the president’s power to dismiss special prosecutors, over the summer. Tillis said Trump “just asked me where my head was” on the legislation.

AP reported Bronze Star LLC, a newly-created Florida company, won $30 million in contracts from FEMA to provide emergency tarps and plastic sheeting for repairs to Puerto Rico.

Bronze Star had never won a government contract or delivered tarps or plastic sheeting before. These urgently needed supplies were never delivered, so FEMA cancelled the contract and will restart the process.

Vox reported two social science researchers concluded the death toll in Puerto Rico is closer to 1,085, 20 times the official count of 58, based on examining historical averages of deaths in September and October.

USA Today reported Trump’s actions have sparked an aggressive cottage industry of ethics watchdog groups, which are closing tracking and challenging his every move with lawsuits and filing requests.

CREW filed a complaint asking the DOJ to investigate whether Kris Kobach is improperly getting a financial benefit from serving as vice chair of Trump’s Election Integrity Committee. In Week 54, Donald Jr. campaigned for Kobach.

On Tuesday, a US District Judge approved a preservation subpoenas issued by the attorneys general of MD and DC to twenty-three Trump businesses including Mar-A-Lago, as part of an emoluments lawsuit.

POLITICO reported Trump gave Kellyanne Conway the approval to criticize AL senate candidate Doug Jones on tv. In Week 54, former Office of Government Ethics director Walter Shaub filed an ethics complaint against Conway for this violation of the Hatch Act.

In an interview with Esquire, Sen. John McCain said of Trump, “I think he’s a person who takes advantage of situations,” adding “I don’t think he has the fundamental underpinnings of principles and beliefs.”

Dictionary.com announced its Word of the Year is complicit. Use of the word spiked on April 5 when Ivanka was asked if she and Kushner were complicit, and on October 24 when Sen. Jeff Flake said, “I will not be complicit.”

On Tuesday, Rep. Nancy Pelosi and Sen. Chuck Schumer abruptly pulled out of a scheduled lunch with Trump and Republican leaders to discuss budget and immigration issues after Trump sent an abusive tweet about “Chuck and Nancy.”

Amid efforts to repeal net neutrality, FCC chairman Ajit Pai accused Twitter of having “double standard when it comes to suspending or de-verifying conservative users.” He did not specify which accounts he was referring to.

On Thursday, NYT reported Trump’s WH has developed a plan to fire Tillerson and replace him with CIA Director Mike Pompeo. In turn, Pompeo would likely be succeeded by Sen. Tom Cotton. Trump has not signed off on the plan by Kelly.

CNN reported the reports that Trump would be replacing Tillerson were meant to express Trump’s deep displeasure with Tillerson and publicly shame him.

On Friday, Trump denied Tillerson is on his way out, tweeting, “The media has been speculating that I fired Rex Tillerson or that he would be leaving soon — FAKE NEWS!” Trump added in, “(I call the final shots).”

Bloomberg reported Tillerson is increasingly concerned about secret talks between Kushner and Saudi Arabian Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, fearing the talks could backfire and leave the region in chaos.

Tillerson and senior officials in the State Department have been left in the dark on Kushner’s discussion to create Palestinian state or territory backed financially by a number of countries including Saudi Arabia.

On Wednesday, the House passed a measure which requires members, employees, interns, fellows, and other short-term staff, to complete a program that includes anti-harassment and anti-discrimination training.

On Thursday, Trump’s FBI director Christopher Wray told the House Homeland Security Committee his agency has taken steps to “get in front” of future threats from Russia. This is the first news or suggestion of this.

On Wednesday, Trump told a crowd in MO the Republican tax bill “is going to cost me a fortune.” This statement is false. NYT describes the proposal as “almost tailor-made to enrich the president and people like him.”

AP fact-checked Trump’s speech in MO and found numerous false statements, citing “Trump’s tax fiction” and “embrace of propaganda” relating to the anti-Muslim videos.

On Thursday, the Republicans brought a tax bill to the floor for a vote. There were no hearings or real debate on the bill, and members of the Senate did not have a chance to read this version before the vote.

After the vote was well underway and almost complete Thursday evening, the Senate Parliamentarian ruled a fiscal trigger, important to winning over Corker’s support, will not work under Senate rules.

On Thursday, the Treasury Department’s inspector general launched an inquiry into whether the department hid its analysis as referenced by Secretary Steven Mnuchin of the Republican tax bill, or whether no such analysis exists.

On Friday, Republicans again brought the tax bill up for a vote. Hours before the vote, Democrats were handed copies of the bill with handwritten changes scribbled in the margins.

Late Friday evening, Schumer’s motion to give the senators two days to read the 479 page tax bill was voted down 52–48. He tweeted, “in my long career in politics, I have not seen a more regressive piece of legislation.”

ABC News reported Flynn’s lawyers met with Mueller’s team on Monday, a sign the parties are working on a possible plea deal.

House Democrats have forwarded Mueller information on more than a dozen foreign contacts and overseas trips by Flynn which were not disclosed during the process of renewing his security clearances.

On Wednesday, CNN reported Mueller’s team has postponed grand jury testimony of public relations consultant hired by Flynn’s lobbying firm, another indication the parties are working on a plea deal.

CNN reported Mueller’s team met with Kushner earlier this month. Sources say the conversation lasted less than 90 minutes, and was primarily related to Flynn.

WAPO reported Trump feel confident the Mueller probe will be completed by year-end, and that he will be exonerated. Trump has taken comfort from lawyer Ty Cobb, who initially said the probe would be done by Thanksgiving.

One outside adviser warned if there was no statement of exoneration by year-end, Trump would “blow a gasket.”

On Friday, Flynn pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI about conversations with Sergey Kislyak in December during the transition period. Flynn also became the first WH official to cooperate in the Mueller probe.

Flynn, who was especially known for vigorously leading “Lock her up!” chants at Trump rallies, emerged from the courthouse to chants by hecklers of “Lock him up!

At lunchtime, the WH canceled an opportunity for reporters to question Trump about Flynn’s guilty plea. Reporters had hoped to pepper Trump with questions in passing, but instead were escorted to the press room.

Flynn’s discussions with Kislyak were an effort to undermine Obama on foreign policy before Trump took power. The transition team was led by Mike Pence, and senior members include Kushner, Reince Priebus and K.T. McFarland.

Flynn spoke to Kislyak on December 29 and asked that Russia not escalate after the Obama administration imposed sanctions. On December 30, Putin announced Russia would not take actions against the sanctions.

On December 30, Trump tweeted: “Great move on delay (by V. Putin) — I always knew he was very smart!” On December 31, Kislyak called Flynn to tell him no action would be taken, and Flynn called the transition team.

Court papers revealed Flynn was directed by a “very senior transition official” to contact foreign government, including Russia to discuss a UN resolution regarding Israeli settlements. The official was Kushner.

Bloomberg reported Kushner told Flynn he needed to get every foreign minister or ambassador from countries on the UN Security Council to delay or vote against the resolution, a possible violation of the Logan Act.

AP reported former deputy NSA K.T. McFarland is the person described as a “senior transition” official who Flynn contacted on December 29 to discuss what to communicate to Kislyak in response to Obama sanctions.

Flynn and Kislyak spoke five times on December 29. McFarland was in Mar-A-Lago at the time, as was Trump.

Trump lawyer Cobb sought to distance Flynn from Trump by stressing Flynn served as NSA “for 25 days,” and was a “former Obama administration official.”

The special counsel indicated the information provided to the court was a partial description of Flynn’s involvement: “these facts do not constitute all of the facts known to the parties concerning the charged offense.”

On Friday, Sen. Mark Warner, Vice Chairman of the Senate Intel Committee issued a statement saying, “The Special Counsel’s probe has found illegal behavior stretching into the senior most levels of the White House.”

On Friday after the Flynn plea, Rep. Jerrold Nadler said the House Judiciary Committee has enough evidence to probe Trump for obstruction of justice.

On MSNBC, Michael Bechloss compared Flynn cooperating to when Dean turned on Nixon in Watergate, adding “There’s a very good chance that decades from now, we may look back on this day as a big day in history…”

ABC News reported in recent weeks, Flynn felt abandoned by Trump, and in the 24 hours before he agreed to cooperate, was concerned about the crippling legal costs if he decided to contest the charges.

On Friday, Washington Examiner reported Flynn will sell his house to offset legal costs from the Mueller probe.

On Saturday morning, Trump appeared before the media and expressed no concern about Flynn’s guilty plea. Trump told reporters three time that there was “no collusion” between his campaign and the Russians.

On Saturday, Trump tweeted he fired Flynn “because he lied to the Vice President and the FBI. He has pled guilty to those lies.” This possibly points to obstruction of justice since shortly after, Trump asked Comey to let it go.

On Saturday, Trump’s net approval fell to -29 at Gallup (approve 33, disapprove 62). This matches Trump’s widest disapproval gap.