POLITIKS OF GRAFFITI 163: “PROFOUNDLY IMMORAL”

*From Amy Siskind’s Weekly List/Art selected and Photos taken by me

DECEMBER 21, 2019

Week 162

Experts in authoritarianism advise to keep a list of things
subtly changing around you, so you’ll remember. https://theweeklylist.org/weekly-list/week-162/
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In this historic week, Trump became the third president in U.S. history to be impeached. Unlike his recent predecessors who faced the process, Richard Nixon and Bill Clinton, Trump showed no remorse; rather as the vote was occurring, Trump blasted impeachment and his political opponents in a two-hour meandering speech at a campaign rally in Michigan. Even by his standards, his rhetoric was mean and petty — invoking a deceased Congressman, and suggesting he was watching from hell as his wife, Rep. Debbie Dingell, voted for impeachment.

Republicans continued to stand by Trump like sycophants. The hubris of Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and Sen. Lindsey Graham, saying their minds were made up and the Senate impeachment trial would not be fair, led House Speaker Nancy Pelosi to hold the articles of impeachment, refusing to transmit them before Congress recessed for the holiday break. Reporting continued to expose Trump’s strange ties to Russia, while in plain sight Trump allied with Russian President Vladimir Putin while continuing his frosty relationship with Ukraine.

As Trump continued his war on the so-called deep state, the exodus of senior employees at the Pentagon continued, and morale at Secretary of State Mike Pompeo’s office plummeted. The country felt on edge and divided as Congress and Trump departed, with Pelosi in control of the process, and no clear road ahead. Christianity Today, a mainstream evangelical magazine, called for Trump’s removal in a scathing op-ed, calling him “profoundly immoral.”F5CA7M4RLVGBJEE5DUMK4MOD7Q

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  1. On Monday, WAPO reported Trump has made 15,413 false or misleading statements as of December 10, his 1,055th day in office. Trump is averaging 32 per day over the past two months, a new high.
  2. Trump has ramped up the lies while in office: in 2017, he told 1,999 false or misleading claims, in 2018 he told 5,689, and so far in 2019 he has told 7,725 false or misleading claims.
  3. On Monday, PolitiFact announced the 2019 Lie of the Year is Donald Trump’s claim the whistleblower got this Ukraine call “almost completely wrong” — a statement it called “more ridiculous than wrong.”
  4. PolitiFact said it only uses the term lie to describe a “falsehood that proves to be of real consequence and gets repeated in a virtual campaign to undermine an accurate narrative.”
  5. On Saturday, Trump ally Sen. Lindsey Graham told CNN on impeachment, “I have made up my mind,” and said that Trump’s Senate trial “will die quickly, and I will do everything I can to make it die quickly.”
  6. When pressed about forming an opinion before the trial, Graham responded, “I am trying to give a pretty clear signal I have made up my mind,” adding, “I’m not trying to pretend to be a fair juror here.”
  7. On Saturday, Trump attacked Rep. Debbie Dingell, who recently lost her husband, after a Fox News appearance, tweeting last time he spoke to her she thanked “me for granting” funeral service honors for her husband.
  8. Trump also tweeted he watched “her ripping me” in the “Impeachment Hoax,” adding “pathetic!” Dingell tweeted she would work with him on legislation, “but I’ll also work to hold this Administration accountable.”
  9. On Saturday, Trump also attacked Fox News, tweeting it was “hard to believe” the network would be interviewing “sleazebag & totally discredited” James Comey and “corrupt politician Adam “Shifty” Schiff.”
  10. Trump also tweeted, “Fox is trying sooo hard to be politically correct,” yet “Commiecast MSNBC & Fake News CNN…ratings TANK,” saying they will “all die together,” and “Only pro Trump Fox shows do well.”
  11. On Sunday, as Rep. Jeff Van Drew, a Democrat who won in a Trump district, but was likely to lose the 2020 Democratic primary, said he may switch parties, Trump tweeted, “heard Jeff is very smart!
  12. Trump, who met with Van Drew last Friday, also tweeted of Van Drew’s no vote on impeachment, “Thank you for your honesty Jeff,” adding, “Democrats know you are right,” but “don’t have the “guts” to say so!”
  13. On Sunday, five of Van Drew’s staffers resigned in a letter, citing his “decision to join the ranks of the Republican party led by Donald Trump,” saying they can “no longer in good conscience continue our service.”
  14. CNN reported a sixth staffer resigned late Sunday. On Monday, NYT reported a seventh staffer resigned. Two Republicans who were planning to run in his district said they would work to defeat him.
  15. On Sunday, Sen. Graham told “Face the Nation” that Rudy Giuliani was welcome to come before the Senate Judiciary Committee on “Joe Biden, Hunter Biden and anything else you want to look at.”
  16. On Sunday, House Judiciary Chair Jerrold Nadler told “This Week” Trump “is openly seeking interference in the 2020 election,” and “he poses a continuing threat” to our national security and our election integrity.
  17. On Sunday, House Intelligence Chair Adam Schiff told “This Week,” “It’s a clear and present danger,” adding “and not something we can turn away from because the Republicans in the House refuse to do their duty.”
  18. On Sunday, a fight broke out as Chair Adam Schiff was about to speak at an event to thank Congress for passing the Armenian genocide resolution. Protesters called Schiff a “liar” and held signs saying, “Don’t Impeach.”
  19. On Sunday, James Comey told “Fox New Sunday” he took responsibility for errors made in the Justice Department Inspector General report, saying, “I was responsible for this,” and “I was overconfident in the procedures.”
  20. Shortly after, Trump tweeted, “As bad as the I.G. Report is for the FBI,” and “Horowitz was appointed by Obama,” adding, “tremendous bias and guilt exposed,” and Horowitz has “Big credibility loss. Obama knew everything!”
  21. Trump also suggested Comey should go to jail, tweeting, “So now Comey’s admitting he was wrong,” adding, “because he got caught red handed,” and, “Could it be years in jail? Where are the apologies to me and others, Jim?”
  22. On Sunday, Trump also picked up a GOP line that he was asking Zelensky to do the U.S., not him, a personal favor, tweeting, “A PERFECT phone call. “Can you do us (not me. Us is referring to our Country) a favor.””
  23. Trump also quoted Fox New host Jeanine Pirro, tweeting, “There is no bribery, or any crime at all,” and Turning Point USA President Charlie Kirk, saying, “The President did nothing wrong here. There is no crime.”
  24. On Sunday, a Fox News poll found 50% say Trump should be impeached and removed, 4% say impeached but not removed, and 41% say Trump should not be impeached — up slightly (49%/4%/41%) from late October.
  25. Trump, who had claimed strong polls and lack of support for impeachment, tweeted, “The @foxnewPolls, always inaccurate, are heavily weighted toward Dems. So ridiculous,” and, “Get a new pollster!”
  26. Trump also tweeted, “Approval Rating in Republican Party = 95%, a Record! Overall Approval Rating = 51%.” This was the 12th time Trump claimed, without citing a poll, his approval with Republicans was 95%.
  27. Trump also tweeted Fox News host Sean Hannity, who said the “Impeachment Hoax” is “lying, corruption and propaganda. Should never be allowed to happen,”” will be on Mark Levin’s show at 8 p.m.
  28. Trump also again attacked Speaker Nancy Pelosi, quoting a tweet of her news conference with the line it “wasn’t true,” adding, “Because Nancy’s teeth were falling out of her mouth, and she didn’t have time to think!”
  29. Trump also tweeted, “Congressional Do Nothing Democrats are being absolutely decimated in their districtson the “Impeachment Hoax,” and “Crazy Nancy is finding defending Shifty Schiff harder than she thought!”
  30. On Sunday, North Korea issued a cryptic threat, saying it will send the U.S. a “Christmas gift.” Saturday, North Korea state media reported “another crucial test” was successfully conducted at the Sohae Satellite site.
  31. On Monday, Bill Webster, the former director of the FBI and CIA, said in an op-ed that he was “deeply disturbed” by recent comments by Trump about director Christopher Wray, including that Trump could fire him.
  32. Webster also said he was “profoundly disappointed” in his “longtime” friends Rudy Giuliani for his activities, and Attorney General William Barr for his disparagement of members of the FBI.
  33. On Saturday, the Chair of the Wisconsin Democratic Party said the state’s purge of 234,000 voters last Friday was the “product of a right-wing legal and political strategy to prevent eligible voters from voting.”
  34. The Milwaukee Sentinel found that 55% of the voters purged lived in municipalities that Hillary Clinton carried in 2016. In 2016, Trump won by roughly 20,000 votes and Gov. Tony Evers won by less than 30,000 votes.
  35. On Monday, a federal judge in Georgia said he would allow that state’s planned voter roll purge of over 313,000 voters, or 4% of registered voters, but would allow a second hearing to reinstate the voters on Thursday.
  36. Fair Fight Action, a voting rights group founded by Stacey Abrams, filed the emergency request. Voter purges became a hot-button issue in 2018 when Abrams ran against Brian Kemp, who was then secretary of state.
  37. On Friday, AP reported Justin Clark, a top political adviser to Trump’s re-election campaign, told influential Republicans in Wisconsin to expect more aggressive use of Election Day monitoring of polling places.
  38. Clark said, “Traditionally it’s always been Republicans suppressing votes in places,” adding, “It’s going to be a much bigger program, a much more aggressive program, a much better-funded program.”
  39. Clark made the remarks on November 21 at a meeting of the Republican National Lawyers Association. A 20-minute audio of the event was provided to AP by the liberal group American Bridge.
  40. On Sunday, in a letter to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer proposed calling four witnesses, including John Bolton and Mick Mulvaney, who knew about the Ukraine aid, in Trump’s Senate trial.
  41. Schumer also proposed Robert Blair, senior adviser to Mulvaney, and Michael Duffey, an Office of Management and Budget official. The four were subpoenaed by the House. Schumer said he would welcome witnesses with “direct knowledge” of aid.
  42. On Monday, just after midnight, the House Judiciary Committee released a 658-page report, making the case that Trump committed “multiple federal crimes” as part of the first article of impeachment.
  43. The report cited Trump committed criminal bribery and wire fraud when he pressured Ukraine’s president to investigate his political rivals, and his actions need “not rise to the level of a criminal” to merit impeachment.
  44. The report said Trump’s “conduct here was criminal,” saying his behavior is “both constitutional and criminal in character,” and saying Trump “betrayed the people of this nation” and should be removed from office.
  45. The report, which came the day before the Rules Committee formally considered the articles of impeachment, provided a thorough analysis, starting with Trump “welcoming” Russian interference in 2016.
  46. The report found Trump “has fallen into a pattern of behavior: this is not the first time he has solicited foreign interference in an election, been exposed,” adding, “He will almost certainly continue on this course.”
  47. The report called Trump “the Framers’ worst nightmare,” saying he “abused his power in soliciting and pressuring a vulnerable foreign nation” and endorsed “a debunked conspiracy theory” promoted by Russia.
  48. The report included a 20-page scathing Republican dissent from ranking member Rep. Doug Collins, saying,“The case is not only weak but dangerously lowers the bar for future impeachments.”
  49. On Monday, 30 freshman Democrats pushed for Rep. Justin Amash, who left the Republican Party, to be the impeachment manager for Trump’s Senate trial, under the notion he could reach conservative lawmakers.
  50. On Monday, Trump tweeted, “The Impeachment Hoax is the greatest con job,” and said Democrats are making “life easy for the United Republican Party.” Twitter users mused at the new party, “United Republican Party.”
  51. Trump also tweeted of the 2020 debate, “I look very much forward to debating whoever the lucky person is who stumbles across the finish line in the little watched Do Nothing Democrat Debates.”
  52. Trump left an out to possibly skip the debate, claiming without proof “the so-called Commission on Presidential Debates is stacked with Trump Haters & Never Trumpers,” and that he “will make a decision at an appropriate time.”
  53. On Monday, six moderate Democrats elected in districts that Trump won backed impeachment. Roughly a dozen moderate Democrats had yet to announce their decision.
  54. On Monday, 750 historians signed a statement saying “Trump’s numerous and flagrant abuses of power are precisely what the Framers had in mind as grounds for impeaching and removing a president.”
  55. By Wednesday, the list had grown to over 1,500 historian signatories calling for Trump’s impeachment, including many high profile names like Pulitzer Prize winners Ron Chernow, Jon Meacham, and Taylor Branch.
  56. On Monday, in a federal court filing, House Democrats told the court lawmakers will continue their impeachment probe after the House vote this week, and regardless of the Senate trial outcome.
  57. The filing also indicated the House Judiciary Committee plans to continue its impeachment investigation arising from the Mueller probe, started earlier this year, which may lead to further articles of impeachment.
  58. The House general counsel also argued the House’s demands for grand jury materials related to the Mueller probe were still urgent, as the documents could become relevant to the Senate trial.
  59. On Tuesday, McConnell rejected Schumer’s request to call witnesses and set parameters for the Senate trial, calling it a “strange request,” and accusing him of trying to “short-circuit” their plans to negotiate the trial.
  60. Schumer replied that McConnell’s direct clear coordination with the White House takes away any chance of bipartisanship. White House counselor Kellyanne Conway will attend the GOP Senate lunch on Wednesday.
  61. On Tuesday, McConnell also told reporters, “I’m not an impartial juror,” adding, “This is a political process. There is not anything judicial about it. Impeachment is a political decision.”
  62. Later on a radio show, McConnell said witnesses would cause “mutual assured distraction,” adding, “I think we’ve heard enough. After we’ve heard the arguments, we ought to vote and move on.”
  63. CNN reported McConnell’s remarks infuriated Democrats. Schumer said he was “utterly amazed” McConnell would describe himself as not impartial, and challenged other GOP Senators to pledge to be impartial.
  64. On Tuesday, in an interview with BBC News, Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg said Trump “is not a lawyer,” and said of McConnell not being impartial, “If a judge said that, a judge would be disqualified.”
  65. On Tuesday, all the other House Democrats in districts won by Trump came out for impeachment on both articles, except for Rep. Jared Golden who supported just article one and Rep. Ron Kind who did not declare.
  66. Later Tuesday, the House Rules Committee reached an 11th hour agreement on the rules for the impeachment debate, after a day of partisan bickering, agreeing to permit six hours of floor debate.
  67. The small committee’s hearing was the last chance for Democrats and Republicans to spar over charges before the full House vote.
  68. Rep. Jamie Rasking cited Giuliani’s activities, saying the crime is “in progress, up to this very minute,” while GOP Rep. Tom Cole said. “There’s no way this can and should be viewed as legitimate.”
  69. This marked the first time in history that the Rules Committee, which is traditionally used by the House speaker to set the schedule for the chamber, has ever taken up impeachment.
  70. On Saturday, LA Times reported $20 million of the $250 million Pentagon portion of Ukraine aid has yet to be disbursed, and is sitting in U.S. accounts. One Senate aide said the reason for the holdup was unclear.
  71. On Sunday, in a series of tweets, Giuliani shared his Ukraine findings, citing “corruption in 2016 was so extensive it was POTUS’s DUTY to ask” for an investigation, and “Impeachment is part of Dem cover-up.”
  72. Giuliani also claimed according to “Witness Yuri Lutsenko, inheritor of Shokin’s office” that “Amb Yovanovitch perjured herself at least twice,” and “Clear doc proof of money laundering by Burisma & Biden’s.”
  73. Shortly after, Schiff told “This Week” of Giuliani, “the misconduct continues,” saying, “Giuliani went to the White House to brief Trump after his trip to Ukraine,” adding, “This is an ongoing threat to our democracy.”
  74. On Monday, in an interview with The New Yorker done in November, Giuliani said he viewed Marie Yovanovitch as an obstacle to digging up dirt on Joe Biden: “I believed that I needed Yovanovitch out of the way.”
  75. Later Monday, on Fox News, Giuliani backtracked, claiming Yovanovitch “was acting corruptly in that position and had to be removed,” saying she had made untrue statement to Congress without offering proof.
  76. Giuliani also told host Laura Ingraham “I didn’t need her out of the way. I forced her out because she’s corrupt,” adding, “She should’ve been fired if the State Department weren’t part of the deep state.”
  77. On Monday, NYT reported Giuliani provided detailed information to Trump about how Yovanovitch was impeding investigations into Trump’s political rivals ahead of 2020, setting off her recall as ambassador.
  78. Trump then connected Giuliani to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, who asked for more information. Within weeks, she was recalled. Giuliani told NYT, “You’d have to ask them [Trump and Pompeo]. But they relied on it.”
  79. On Monday, Trump told reporters Giuliani had not told him much about his recent trip to Ukraine, but said he “knows what he’s doing,” and “he’s a great person who loves our country and he does this out of love.”
  80. On Tuesday, Giuliani told CNN that Trump has been “very supportive” of his continuing efforts to dig up dirt on Trump’s behalf in Ukraine, adding he and Trump are “on the same page” and are “on offense.”
  81. On Tuesday, Giuliani tweeted, “Yovanovitch needed to be removed for many reasons most critical she was denying visas to Ukrainians,” adding, “She was OBSTRUCTING JUSTICE,” and “enabled Ukrainian collusion.”
  82. On Wednesday, journalists sharply criticized One America News (OAN) for ethical lapse in giving Giuliani a platform to spread propaganda, as he shared his three-hour documentary on his findings in Ukraine with Trump.
  83. Trump celebrated OAN’s decision to give Giuliani a reporting role, in helping to make his case against impeachment, especially as Trump continues his critiques of Fox News polling and guests when it suits him.
  84. On Thursday, at an event for Turning Point USA in West Palm Beach, Giuliani told conservative college students that Democrats “want to put Barr in prison, and they want to execute me.”
  85. On Saturday, Hallmark Channel pulled a series of ads by Zola featuring two brides kissing at the altarsurrounded by friends, saying they “are deemed controversial,” after being a targeted campaign by a conservative group.
  86. On Sunday, after widespread condemnation, Hallmark Channel apologized and reinstated the ads, saying, “We are truly sorry for the hurt and disappointment this has caused,” and said it would work with GLAAD.
  87. On Monday, West Point opened an administrative investigation “into the facts, circumstances, and intent of the Cadets in question,” who made an “OK” hand symbol during last Saturday’s Army-Navy football game.
  88. On Monday, LA Times reported under an agreement signed on September 25, the Trump regime is preparing to send immigrants seeking asylum to Honduras, even if they are not from that Central American country.
  89. The agreement, signed by Kevin McAleenan, then acting secretary of Homeland Security, and Honduras’ foreign minister, will effectively end the immigrants chances of finding asylum in the U.S.
  90. The regime has already started to send immigrants to Guatemala under an agreement that took effect on November 22, including a number of Honduran adults.
  91. On Friday, WAPO reported under a secret plan by Stephen Miller, Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents were embedded within government shelters that cares for unaccompanied migrant children.
  92. The agents collected fingerprints and other biometric information from adults seeking to claim the children. If the adults are deemed ineligible to take custody, ICE could use their information to arrest or deport them.
  93. Miller’s plan appeared to circumvent laws that restrict the use of refugee programs for deportation enforcement, as Congress had made clear it does not want sponsors to be scared away by the threat of deportation.
  94. After the Trump regime tried similar action in 2018, language was added to a 2019 funding bill specifically prohibited the Department of Health and Human Services from using child sponsor data. Miller’s plan circumvented HHS by using ICE agents.
  95. On Friday, NBC News reported an Iowa woman, Nicole Marie Poole Franklin, 42, has been charged with attempted murder after telling police she “intentionally” drove over a 14 year-old girl because she was Hispanic.
  96. On Saturday, 25 Jewish lawmakers called on Trump to fire Stephen Miller, saying, “His documentation of white nationalist and virulently anti-immigrant tropes is wholly unacceptable and disqualifying.”
  97. On Monday, U.S. District Judge Emmet Sullivan dismissed Michael Flynn’s motion to find prosecutors in contempt, saying there was no basis for his allegations that federal law enforcement entrapped him into a plea deal.
  98. The judge found Flynn told the same lies to the FBI, Pence, and senior White House officials, who repeated them publicly, leading to his firing in February 2017. Flynn will be sentenced on January 28.
  99. On Tuesday, Supreme Court justice Neil Gorsuch appeared on “Fox & Friends” to discuss his new book. Ironically, Gorsuch discussed American’s lack of knowledge of basic civics on a show that frequently distorts the truth.
  100. Gorsuch, who is meant to be a nonpartisan judge, opened his appearance on a hyper-partisan show, saying “Merry Christmas,” drawing a back and forth between Senators over the appropriateness of his statement.
  101. On Tuesday, Politico reported the Department of Transportation Inspector General found that Kentucky’s largest transportation grant under Trump benefited from Sec. Elaine Chao’s team input.
  102. A $67.4 million application for Boone County, a suburban district key to McConnell’s re-election, was granted despite the application initially be flagged as incomplete, while 55 other incompletes fell out of the running.
  103. On Tuesday, Politico reported Trump intervened to slash Medicaid funding for Puerto Rico in a larger government spending deal unveiled this week. Trump has called the island “one of the most corrupt places on Earth”
  104. Bipartisan lawmakers on two key congressional committees had endorsed $12 billion for Puerto Rico over four years. Trump cut the allocation to $5.7 billion over two years.
  105. On Tuesday, NBC News reported William Taylor, who testified in the impeachment inquiry and who Trump called a “Never Trumper,” was recalled as acting ambassador to Ukraine as of January 1.
  106. On Tuesday, Sen. Robert Menendez, the ranking member of the Foreign Relations Committee, excoriated Secretary of State Pompeo for “unceremoniously recalling” Taylor, a key impeachment witness.
  107. Menendez accused Pompeo in a letter of furthering Trump’s “inappropriate and unacceptable linking of U.S. policy to Ukraine to his personal and political benefit, and potentially your own.”
  108. On Wednesday, WSJ reported Taylor will hand over his duties days before Pompeo is set to visit Kyiv in January, so that Pompeo will avoid being photographed with him and raising Trump’s ire.
  109. On Tuesday, a federal judge ruled Lev Parnas can remain free on bail, despite concealing a $1 million paymentfrom a Russian bank account, saying he did not believe Parnas was being intentionally untruthful.
  110. An attorney for Parnas told NBC News that the payment in September came from Dmytro Firtash, a Ukrainian oligarch linked to Paul Manafort, who also has been linked to Russian organized crime.
  111. On Tuesday, Rick Gates, Trump’s former deputy campaign manager, was sentenced to 45 days in jail and three years’ probation after federal prosecutors said he provided “extraordinary assistance.”
  112. The judge also fined Gates $20,000 although his lawyer said Gates is broke. Gates spent more than 500 hourswith prosecutors and lawyers, and testified in the trials of Manafort, Roger Stone, and Greg Craig.
  113. On Tuesday, in a public order, Rosemary Collyer, the presiding judge over the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court, gave the FBI a January 10 deadline to come up with a proposal to address the DOJ IG report.
  114. On Tuesday, BBC reported the Trump regime is rejecting the House and Senate vote on recognizing Armenian genocide, siding with Turkey. The State Department said the regime’s position “has not changed.”
  115. On Tuesday, WSJ reported Trump ally Peter Thiel, a board member of Facebook, is at the center of the company’s decision to allow political ads without fact-checking for content.
  116. On Wednesday, The Hill reported principal deputy undersecretary of Defense Kari Bingen, the number two intelligence official in DoD, resigned, the fourth senior Pentagon official to resign in recent weeks.
  117. In addition to the four vacancies, six of the 21 deputy assistant secretary of Defense policy jobs remain unfilled, and several are filled by acting officials, including chief management officer and comptroller.
  118. Later Wednesday, The Hill reported Ambassador Tina Kaidanow, a longtime State Department official, resigned, becoming the fifth senior Pentagon official. Kaidanow started her position in September 2018.
  119. On Wednesday, CNN reported results in the annual “Best Places to Work in the Federal Government” showed morale in the Secretary Pompeo’s office dropped substantially in 2019, declining nine points from the prior year.
  120. Staffers in Pompeo’s office rated it poorly for effective leadership, teamwork, work-life balance, and pay, placing it at the bottom rank for agencies. The State Department overall improved by 0.6 points.
  121. On Wednesday, Roll Call reported the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service will review whether Donald Jr. illegally killed a rare sheep during an August trip to Mongolia, following a letter from the Center for Biological Diversity.
  122. On Wednesday, a New York judge threw out state fraud charges against Paul Manafort, dealing a setback to the Manhattan DA’s effort to make sure Manafort would still face charges if Trump pardons him for federal crimes.
  123. Manafort’s attorney argued the state charges covered conduct that he had already been charged for. Manhattan DA Cyrus Vance Jr. said he would appeal the ruling.
  124. On Wednesday, a federal appeals court struck down a central provision in the Affordable Care Act, saying requiring people to have health insurance is unconstitutional, and will send the case back to the Texas court.
  125. On Friday, a federal judge agreed to delay sentencing for Roger Stone by two weeks to February 20, because of a slowdown in compiling financial paperwork required by federal probation officials.
  126. On Tuesday, on the eve of impeachment, Trump sent House Speaker Pelosi a scathing six-page letter, which read like a string of his tweets, calling impeachment a “partisan impeachment crusade” and an “attempted coup.”
  127. In his rambling letter, Trump said he was expressing his “strongest and most powerful protest,” saying, “this impeachment represents an unprecedented and unconstitutional abuse of power” by Democrats.
  128. Trump also accused Pelosi of “breaking your allegiance to the Constitution” and “declaring open war on American Democracy” in pursuit of “this election-nullification scheme.”
  129. Trump said, “You have cheapened the importance of the very ugly word, impeachment!” and, “You are the ones bringing pain and suffering to our Republic for your own selfish personal, political, and partisan gain.”
  130. Trump also cited lies and conspiracy theories, about his “perfect” calls, referring to the Steele dossier “as illegally purchased from a foreign spy by Hillary Clinton” and “the use of spies against my campaign.”
  131. Trump also repeated a refrain used by Sen. Lindsey Graham, saying, “More due process was afforded to those accused in the Salem Witch Trials,” and that “history will judge you harshly” for the “impeachment charade.”
  132. CNN fact-checked Trump’s letter, and found it included numerous false claims and conspiracy theories that have been debunked, as well as new claims that were false, misleading, or lacked content.
  133. Later Tuesday, when asked about Trump’s letter, Pelosi told a reporter, “It’s ridiculous,” adding, “We’ve been working…I’ve seen the essence of it, though, and it’s really sick.”
  134. Later Tuesday, NYT noted the letter, signed with a Sharpie, revealed how angry Trump has become over becoming the third president in history to be impeached. Aides say he wanted to get some things off his chest.
  135. While the White House tried to focus Trump on his accomplishments, the letter cast his record in the context of his victimhood, saying to Pelosi, “It is a terrible thing you are doing, but you will have to live with it, not I!”
  136. White House counsel Pat Cipollone was not involved in drafting the letter. Other Trump aides helped, including Eric Ueland, director of Legislative Affairs, Stephen Miller, and Michael Williams, adviser to Mulvaney.
  137. On Tuesday, Chair Schiff said in a letter that Vice President Mike Pence’s unwillingness to declassify his September 18 call “raises profound questions about your knowledge” of Trump scheme to solicit Ukraine’s interference.
  138. Schiff said, “Your unwillingness to declassify the Supplemental Submission raises the serious question” about whether Pence is obstructing the House “not just to protect President Trump, but yourself as well.”
  139. On Tuesday, Daily Beast reported Russia’s state TV has celebrated foreign minister Sergey Lavrov’s visit to the White House. Rossiya 1 referred to Trump as an ‘agent’ in a segment, titled “Puppet Master and ‘Agent.’”
  140. The first deputy director general of Russia news agency ITAR-TASS said, “Sooner or later, the Democrats will come back into power,” and joked about offering Trump asylum in Russia.
  141. On Wednesday, a new poll by Gallup found Trump’s approval inched up to 45% in December, his third monthly increase, while 51% disapprove (net -6). In November, Trump’s approval was 43%, 54% disapprove (-11).
  142. Gallup also found support for impeachment dropped. Support for impeach and remove was 46%, 51% against, down from 50% support, 48% against in November.
  143. On Wednesday, a new poll by Economist/YouGov found 50% of registered voters were for impeach and remove, 43% were against it.
  144. On Wednesday, the day of his impeachment, Trump tweeted to his followers, “Say a PRAYER!” adding he will be impeached “by the Radical Left,” and, “AND I DID NOTHING WRONG! A terrible Thing.”
  145. Trump also quoted “Fox & Friends” co-host Brian Kilmeade tweeting, “My hope is that impeachment will never become this trivial again,” and adding, “Well said Brian!”
  146. Trump also quoted Rep. Doug Collins on “Fox & Friends,” tweeting, “They just wanted to get at the President. They had no intention of having a proper investigation,” adding, “They couldn’t find any crimes.”
  147. Trump also quoted Collins, tweeting, “It’s sad. Here’s a gentleman who came to the White House and all they had was [sic] never to let him have an easy breath,” adding, “All they wanted to do is impeach him.”
  148. Trump also tweeted Pelosi “will go down in history as the worst Speaker,” quoting a tweeted by Fox News’ Gregg Jarrett about Pelosi saying she did not read Trump’s letter, and adding, “Already thrown out once!”
  149. Just after Noon, Trump tweeted, “SUCH ATROCIOUS LIES BY THE RADICAL LEFT, DO NOTHING DEMOCRATS. THIS IS AN ASSAULT ON AMERICA, AND AN ASSAULT ON THE REPUBLICAN PARTY!!!!”
  150. On Wednesday, Pelosi opened the final House debate on impeachment, calling on members to stand up to “lawlessness and tyranny,” and saying, “If we do not act now, we would be derelict in our duty.”
  151. Pelosi said, “he gave us no choice,” adding, “For centuries, Americans have fought and died to defend democracy for the people,” and “our founders’ vision of a republic is under threat from actions from the White House.”
  152. Pelosi said Trump “is an ongoing threat to our national security and the integrity of our elections,” adding when history is written, I want to show them I was among the House “who stood up to lawlessness and tyranny.”
  153. Rep. Doug Collins rebutted, “There’s no bribery, no extortion, no wire fraud, no obstruction of justice anywhere in these articles.” The vote was expected to take place at 7 p.m. that night.
  154. Democrats characterized impeachment as urgent, with Chair Schiff saying, “The president and his men plot on,” adding, “The danger persists. The risk is real. Our democracy is at peril.”
  155. House Republicans compared impeachment to Jesus’s crucifixion, with Rep. Barry Loudermilk saying, “Pontius Pilate gave Jesus the opportunity to face his accusers,” and Rep. Mike Kelly compared it to the bombing of Pearl Harbor.
  156. Rep. John Lewis said, “When you see something that is not right, not just, not fair, you have a moral obligation to say something, to do something,” adding our children and grandchildren will ask what we did and said.
  157. Trump ally Rep. Matt Gaetz said, “Those who vote ‘yes’ on today’s articles of impeachment must carry the heavy burden of shame and guilt for as long as they serve in Congress — which won’t be long.”
  158. Ally Rep. Devin Nunes said, “The Ukraine hoax was based on a supposed whistleblower who colluded beforehand with the Democrats,” and, “It’s not easy to make a coup attempt boring, but the Democrats found a way.
  159. Rep. Ayanna Pressley said, “What we are doing here today is not only patriotic, it is uniquely American. America is a story of ordinary people confronting abuses of power with a steadfast pursuit of justice.”
  160. During the debate, WAPO reported some House Democrats pushed Pelosi to withhold impeachment articleswhile continuing to gather evidence, citing concerns of whether there would be a fair trial in the Senate.
  161. Notable during the debate was the lack of Republican diversity: of the 197 House members, 90% were white and 92% were men. For House Democrats, of the 233, just 50% were white and 60% were men.
  162. On Wednesday, Pence said in an interview with ABC News that “we may” release the call transcript, adding, “But the fact that after his sham investigation is over, Adam Schiff is now asking for more information.”
  163. As the House debate continued, Pence called what was happening a “disgrace.” When asked if Trump’s callwas “perfect,” Pence responded, “I think the president did nothing wrong.”
  164. On Wednesday, CNN reported Trump is hoping to move quickly to and through a Senate trial, asking Sen. Graham of Democrats, “What are they doing?” on withholding articles. Graham said, “I don’t know.”
  165. Late Wednesday, after over 11 hours of fiery debate, the House voted to impeach Trump on two articles. Trump is the first president to face a possible Senate impeachment trial in the year of his re-election.
  166. Hours before the vote, a new NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll found Americans split on impeachment, with 48% for impeachment and removal, and 48% against it, down slightly from 49%/46% in late October.
  167. The House first voted on the article charging abuse of power at 8:30 p.m. which was approved 230 to 197, then for the article of obstruction of Congress which passed 229 to 198.
  168. After the vote, Pelosi warned her members not to celebrate — no applause, no cheers — by raising one hand and giving a stern look, while banging the gavel with the other.
  169. Every Republican voted against both articles. Two Democrats voted against both articles, including Van Drew. Rep. Jared Golden voted yes only to abuse of power. Rep. Justin Amash voted for both articles.
  170. Rep. Tulsi Gabbard, a Democratic candidate for president in 2020, was the sole House member to vote ‘present,’ saying she “could not in good conscience vote against impeachment” or for a “partisan process.”
  171. On Wednesday evening, after the impeachment vote, Pelosi threatened to delay the Senate impeachment trial, citing concerns about an unfair trial, telling reporters, “So far we haven’t seen anything that looks fair to us.”
  172. As the impeachment vote was taking place, Trump held a campaign rally in Battle Creek, Michigan. Some television networks showed a split-screen or cut back and forth while the two articles were voted on.
  173. Although the White House had tried to portray an image of Trump in high spirits, during the two-hour meandering speech, Trump was red-faced, sweat beading on his upper lip, and slurred his words at times.
  174. Trump told supporters as he started, “By the way, it doesn’t really feel like we’re being impeached,” adding, “We did nothing wrong…and we have tremendous support in the Republican Party like we’ve never had before.”
  175. Trump added, “After three years of sinister witch hunts, hoaxes, scams,” Democrats are “trying to nullify the ballots of tens of millions of patriotic Americans,” calling it “a suicide march for the Democratic Party.”
  176. Trump was mostly mean and petty. He mused that Bill Clinton called his wife, Hillary, “Crooked” and mimicked him telling her to visit swing states in 2016, “You horrible human being, you better start listening to me.”
  177. As he had done at a rally two weeks ago when a woman protested at his rally, Trump paused to single her out to his supporters, calling her a “slob” and “disgusting person,” saying police were too gentle in escorting her out.
  178. Trump invoked his son Barron, who in Week 160 First Lady Melania and other Republicans complained was off limits, saying if Barron did a rally in Manhattan he could get more attendees than “Crazy Pocahontas.”
  179. Trump attacked Rep. Carolyn Maloney (NY) for voting for impeachment, calling her “a longtime nothing much” and saying she should return his donations, and said of Schumer (NY), “He used to kiss my ass.”
  180. Trump again disparaged Rep. Debbie Dingell of Michigan, calling her a “real beauty” for voting for impeachment, and noting he gave her family “an “A-plus” memorial” after the death of her husband.
  181. Trump added her deceased husband, Rep. John Dingell, must be “thrilled” looking down from heaven, then mused “maybe he’s looking up.” Trump’s comment drew moans from the Michigan crowd.
  182. Trump also yelled about light bulbs, saying “So we’re bringing back the old light bulb. It sounds like a little, but it’s big stuff,” and mused about toilets, but said if he said the word out loud the press would have a field day.
  183. Shortly after, Dingell tweeted to Trump, “I’m preparing for the first holiday season without the man I love. You brought me down in a way you can never imagine and your hurtful words just made my healing much harder.”
  184. Several Republicans called on Trump to apologize to Dingell, including two members of the House from Michigan and Graham. Meghan McCain, daughter of John who Trump also insulted, called his comment “horrific.”
  185. On Wednesday, WAPO reported that unlike Richard Nixon and Bill Clinton when they faced impeachment, Trump shows no remorse, rather slamming his opponents and urged his supporters to wage battle.
  186. Also unlike Nixon and Clinton, both sides are dug in and the process has not moved their positions. There is a high level of rhetoric and anger. Trump’s constant misdeeds have taken away the power of shock.
  187. During Nixon and Clinton’s impeachments Americans were glued to their TVs, but Trump has managed to distract. A WAPO-ABC poll found that 62% were closely watching Trump’s impeachment, versus 82% for Clinton.
  188. On Thursday, White House press secretary Stephanie Grisham defended Trump’s comments about Dingell on “Good Morning America,” saying he “is a counter-puncher,” adding, “He was just riffing.”
  189. On Thursday, 20 Republicans lined up on the House floor to offer Dingell their support, including Conference Chair Liz Cheney. Others apologized, but Dingell said they had no reason to since they did not say the words.
  190. On Thursday, in an emotional interview with CNN, Rep. Dingell said Trump’s claim about granting funeral accommodations were not even true, adding, “My family’s still hurting. … We’re a family grieving.”
  191. On Thursday, Trump sent a flurry of early morning tweets, saying “100% Republican Vote. That’s what people are talking about. The Republicans are united like never before!” and, “PRESIDENTIAL HARASSMENT!”
  192. Trump also lashed out at a possible delay, tweeting, ““The Senate shall set the time and place of the trial.” If the Do Nothing Democrats decide, in their great wisdom, not to show up, they would lose by Default!”
  193. Trump also tweeted he got impeached “without one Republican vote” in “the greatest Witch Hunt in American history,” saying, “Now the Do Nothing Party want to Do Nothing with the Articles & not deliver them.”
  194. On Thursday, a Trump campaign Twitter account, and accounts of other Trump allies, tweeted a video of House Majority Whip James Clyburn on CNN, claiming he called for Trump to be hanged. This was untrue.
  195. On Thursday, Democratic Senators tweeted photos of a stack of over 200 House-passed bills, 90% of bipartisan, which were “dead on Mitch McConnell’s desk,” saying McConnell, not impeachment, held up progress.
  196. On Thursday, McConnell blasted the House impeachment effort on the Senate floor in a 30 minute speech, calling it “the most rushed, least thorough, and most unfair” in modern history.”
  197. McConnell attacked Pelosi for being noncommittal on transmitting the articles of impeachment: “Pelosi suggested that House Democrats may be too afraid to even transmit their shoddy work product to the Senate.”
  198. Schumer spoke next, saying, “Can none of the President’s men come defend him under oath?” addressing his GOP colleagues, saying, “Democrats want a fair trial that examines the relevant facts.”
  199. Schumer added, “We want a fair trial. The message from Leader McConnell, at the moment, is that he has no intention of conducting a fair trial, no intention of acting impartially, no intention of getting the facts.”
  200. On Thursday, at her weekly news conference, Pelosi told reporters she is waiting on naming impeachment managers, saying, “The next thing for us will be when we see the process that is set forth in the Senate.”
  201. Pelosi added there needs to be a “fair process” before she sends the article of impeachment to the Senate, adding, “we’re ready.” Schumer and Pelosi met in the morning, and he told reporters, “We’re on the same page.”
  202. When asked what how she would respond to Republican criticism for holding on to the articles, Pelosi told reporters, “Frankly I don’t care, what [Republicans] have to say.”
  203. Pelosi also chided McConnell, saying our founders suspected “there could be a rogue president,” adding, “I don’t think they suspected that we could have a rogue president, and a rogue leader in the Senate at the same time.”
  204. Shortly after, deputy press secretary Hogan Gidley told Fox News that the White House is continuing to work with McConnell “to figure out the best way to move forward” on the impeachment trial.
  205. Shortly after, McConnell and Schumer held their first face-to-face meeting in a room off the Senate floor for 20 minutes to discuss the impeachment trial, but failed to produce any tangible results.
  206. After, McConnell told reporters, “We remain at an impasse,” and said the Senate would return to session on January 3. Senators and aides were pessimistic on an agreement given the two’s frosty relationship.
  207. Later, Trump tweeted, “Pelosi feels her phony impeachment HOAX is so pathetic she is afraid to present it to the Senate,” calling it a “SCAM,” and saying, “The Do Nothings are so bad for our Country!”
  208. On Thursday, WAPO reported Trump now bears the indelible mark of impeachment, perhaps his first time being held accountable despite the myriad of offenses committed during his time in office.
  209. On Thursday, Rep. Van Drew sat alongside Trump in the Oval Office to announce he was changing party affiliation and pledging his “undying support” to Trump.
  210. Trump told reporters, “I don’t feel like I’m being impeached because it’s a hoax, it’s a setup.” When asked how he feels about being impeached, he said, “It’s a horrible thing they did.”
  211. On Thursday, Rep. Mark Meadows, the ranking member of the Oversight Committee, became the 24th House Republican to retire in 2020. An ally of Trump, Meadows said he is open to a position in the regime.
  212. On Thursday, Putin defended Trump at his annual news conference in Moscow, saying he was impeached for “made-up reasons,” calling it “an internal political struggle, with the party that lost the election.”
  213. On Thursday, in an op-ed, Harvard Law Professor Noah Feldman, who testified in the House Judiciary hearings, argued impeachment happens only when the House transmits the articles of impeachment to the Senate.
  214. On Thursday, Bloomberg reported Trump’s lawyers may argue that Trump was not impeached because Pelosi did not transmit the articles, saying the Senate would already have jurisdiction if Trump was impeached.
  215. On Thursday, Harvard Law Professor Laurence Tribe said he disagreed with Feldman, saying, “under Art. I, Sec. 2, Clause 5, he was impeached on Dec 18, 2019. He will forever remain impeached. Period.”
  216. On Friday, Director of Legislative Affairs Eric Ueland told CBS News that Trump “is completely baffled at the theory” Pelosi is holding back impeachment articles to “leverage some sort of specific behavior out of the Senate.”
  217. Ueland and white house counsel Pat Cipollone toured the Senate floor, which would serve as a courtroom, and checked out support spaces. They were also introduced to people who are there when the Senate is in session.
  218. On Thursday, WAPO reported that White House officials feared Putin influenced Trump’s view on Ukraine and 2016 election, and that his resistance to believing U.S. intelligence comes from this connection.
  219. Trump first heard the theory from Paul Manafort who suggested Ukraine may have hacked the DNC in the summer of 2016, not Russia. Gates said Manafort “parroted a narrative” advanced by Konstantin Kilimnik.
  220. When Trump took office, he believed Ukraine tried to stop him from winning in 2016. When he privately met Putin in July 2017 at the G20 summit Trump become more insistent that Ukraine worked to defeat him.
  221. Senior officials said chief of staff John Kelly, national security adviser H.R. McMaster, and Secretary of State Rex Tillerson all tried to caution Trump not to rely on Putin’s word. Trump spent hours with Putin at the G20.
  222. After the G20, Kelly also had Homeland Security Advisor Tom Bossert, CIA Director Mike Pompeo, Director of National Intelligence Daniel Coats, and deputy Sue Gordon brief Trump that Russia interfered, not Ukraine.
  223. Trump did not believe U.S. intelligence. One former senior White House official claimed Trump said “Putin told me.” Allegations about Ukraine have also been promoted by fringe right-wing journalists and Giuliani.
  224. Starting in April 2017, Trump started pushing a false narrative that CrowdStrike, a computer security company the DNC hired to investigate the breach, was based in Ukraine. He pushed this on his July 25 call.
  225. Although senior U.S. officials, including the director of the FBI say there is no evidence, top GOP lawmaker who are defending Trump in the impeachment probe have also called for investigations of Ukraine.
  226. On Thursday, NYT reported prosecutor John Durham is scrutinizing former CIA director John Brennan’s rolein how the intelligence accessed Russian interference, and has requested Brennan’s emails and call logs.
  227. Durham said he is looking into what Brennan told officials, including former FBI director James Comey about his and the CIA’s view on the Steele dossier, and to see how it compares to his public 2017 testimony.
  228. Durham has also been examining any internal debate within the CIA on whether Putin ordered Russian interference, a question of interest to Attorney General Barr. A CIA informant within the Kremlin was a key source for the finding.
  229. Durham’s pursuit of Brennan again raises concerns that Trump is using the DOJ to go after his enemies. Trump has frequently publicly attacked Brennan for being part of the Obama era “deep state” targeting him.
  230. On Friday, 11 members of Congress sent a letter to Attorney General Barr, demanding he and Durham resign, saying Barr pushed “conspiracy theories,” and Durham’s work is “nothing but a sham.”
  231. The letter cited the two “inappropriately interfered in independent Department of Justice investigations and intentionally used your positions to mislead the American public in defense of President Donald J. Trump.”
  232. On Friday, in the first post-impeachment poll, Morning Consult found 51% of registered voters support impeachment and removal, 42% are against it.
  233. The poll also found most voters want more witnesses in Trump’s impeachment: 54% say the Senate should call witnesses in the trial, 27% say they should not, and 19% are undecided.
  234. On Wednesday, the Mormon Women for Ethical Government, in a statement, called on “our co-religionists” Sens. Mike Lee, Mitt Romney, Mike Crapo, and Tom Udall “to honor their oaths of office.”
  235. The statement said, “Any president or leader who forces political support and fails to honor and protect the free and legitimate elections on which our republic rests has lost the moral right to govern.”
  236. On Friday, in a scathing op-ed in magazine Christianity Today, editor in chief Mark Galli argued Trump should be removed from office. CT is a mainstream evangelical magazine founded in 1956 by Billy Graham.
  237. CT noted Trump “attempted to use his political power to coerce a foreign leader to harass and discredit one of the president’s political opponents,” calling it “a violation of the Constitution” and “profoundly immoral.”
  238. CT said Trump “dumbed down the idea of morality” in the regime, “hired and fired” people who are convicted criminals, and “admitted to immoral actions” in business and with women, “about which he remains proud.”
  239. CT added, “His Twitter feed alone — with its habitual string of mischaracterizations, lies, and slanders — is a near perfect example of a human being who is morally lost and confused.”
  240. CT said Trump has a “grossly immoral character” and should be removed, “not a matter of partisan loyaltiesbut loyalty to the Creator of the Ten Commandments.”
  241. CT added the impeachment hearings have “illuminated” Trump’s “moral deficiencies,” saying, “This damages the institution of the presidency…the reputation of our country…and the spirit and the future of our people.”
  242. CT closed saying, “we have reserved judgment on Mr. Trump for years,” but Trump’s actions will “crash down on the reputation of evangelical religion and on the world’s understanding of the gospel”…and “down on a nation.”
  243. On Friday, Trump blasted CT in a series of tweets, calling it “a far left magazine, or very “progressive,”” adding it “has been doing poorly and hasn’t been involved with the Billy Graham family for many years.”
  244. Trump also tweeted CT “knows nothing about reading a perfect transcript,” and would rather “have a Radical Left nonbeliever, who wants to take your religion & your guns, than Donald Trump as your President.”
  245. Trump also tweeted, “No President has done more for the Evangelical community, and it’s not even close,” adding, “I won’t be reading ET again” — seeming to make a reference to Entertainment Tonight (ET), not Christianity Today.
  246. Hours later, Trump tweeted, “I guess the magazine, “Christianity Today,” is looking for Elizabeth Warren, Bernie Sanders,” adding, “no President has ever done what I have done for Evangelicals, or religion itself!”
  247. Trump also tweeted a Breitbart article about Billy Graham’s son Franklin saying, “Christianity Today has moved to the left and is representing the elitist liberal wing of evangelicalism.” Trump thanked Franklin.
  248. On Friday, WAPO reported that behind Trump’s anger is a fear of losing evangelical support, who were key for him in battleground states in 2016. Recent polls show 75% of white evangelicals support him.
  249. White House officials were concerned Trump was bringing too much attention to the op-ed. Trump also put pressure on staffers to take action to counter the op-ed, like announcing an event already in the works.
  250. Later, editor Galli told MSNBC that CT is “not a far-left magazine,” and is often accused of being “too conservative,” adding it is “very rare” for CT to comment on politics “unless the moral stakes are raised very high.”
  251. Galli also said, “I don’t have any illusions” that his op-ed is “going to change many minds,” and said Trump’s immorality was a balance to Trump’s policy decisions, likening him to a wife abuser who also has good qualities.
  252. On Friday, former GOP Senator Jeff Flake said in an op-ed that Trump is on trial and “So are my Senate Republican colleagues,” saying it would be “indefensible” to echo House GOP and say Trump did nothing wrong.
  253. Flake said Trump had not changed or grown in office, saying, “If there ever was a time to put country over party, it is now. And by putting country over party, you might just save the Grand Old Party before it’s too late.”
  254. On Friday, Trump asked his supporters to donate to Van Drew, tweeting, “the Democrat Party’s Witch Hunt and CRAZY EXTREME policies are chasing common sense people,” adding, he “has my FULL Endorsement.”
  255. On Friday, Pelosi formally invited Trump to deliver his annual state of the union on February 4, and Trump accepted the invitation. The speech will take place during or just after the Senate impeachment trial.
  256. On Friday, Pelosi told AP that Trump “just got impeached,” adding, “He’ll be impeached forever. No matter what the Senate does. He’s impeached for ever because he violated our constitution.”
  257. Later Friday, Trump tweeted, “Nancy Pelosi is looking for a Quid Pro Quo with the Senate. Why aren’t we Impeaching her?” Members of Congress cannot be impeached.
  258. Trump also touted Putin speaking out against his impeachment, quoting a 36-hour-old AP tweet of a story about Putin defending him, and adding, “A total Witch Hunt!
  259. On Thursday, HuffPost reported Senate Republicans quietly removed the phrase “white nationalist” from a measure in the National Defense Authorization Act meant to address white nationalists in the military.
  260. The House amendment was drafted in July to specifically address the issue. The final bill only requires the DoD to monitor for “extremist and gang-related activity,” without referencing white nationalism.
  261. On Friday, West Point said the hand gestures made by cadets and midshipmen at last week’s Army-Navy football game were part of a game known as the “circle game” and not a white supremacist symbol.
  262. The superintendent of the US Military Academy said, “We investigated this matter thoroughly,” adding last Saturday they thought it was an innocent game, and “We are disappointed by the immature behavior of the cadets.”
  263. On Friday, WAPO reported the Trump regime threatened a presidential veto of a spending package if House Democrats did not remove language requiring prompt release of future military aid for Ukraine.
  264. The provision would have required the White House to swiftly release $250 million in military aid for Ukraine. The provision was removed and Trump signed the $1.4 trillion package last Friday night.
  265. On Friday, in a podcast interview with Michael Moore, Robert De Niro said Trump “needs to be confronted,” and “needs to be humiliated,” adding, “There has not been one thing about this person that has been redeeming.”
  266. On Friday, Facebook said it had removed hundreds of accounts with ties to Epoch Media Group, finding the group used fake accounts generated with artificial intelligence to spread disinformation in the U.S. and Vietnam.
  267. Content removed included 610 Facebook accounts, 89 Facebook Pages, 156 Groups, and 72 Instagram account, and sparked concern that AI could be used to create wide-scale disinformation campaigns.
  268. On Friday, the Trump regime delayed the scheduled Jan. 1 phase out of incandescent light bulbs, a bipartisan effort started in 2007 to save $14 billion in energy cost and reduce carbon emissions by 38 tons.
  269. Trump’s Energy Department made a final determination Friday claiming that imposing stricter energyefficiency standards “are not economically justified,” and the decision would “protect consumer choice.”
  270. Late Friday, Trump left for a two-week vacation at Mar-a-Lago amid the impeachment probe. CNN reported aides are concerned Trump will mingle with informal advisors and friends who may influence him.
  271. There are also numerous remaining decisions to be made relating to strategy, the legal team, who will make opening and closing arguments, and arranging who will go on television afterward to amplify the message.
  272. Aides are also concerned that after Trump finally agreed with McConnell to a short trial without witnesses, friends at Mar-a-Lago could steer him back to his instincts for a longer trial with witnesses to vindicate himself.
  273. On Saturday, the Center for Public Integrity made public 146 pages of new Pentagon and OMB documents provided by the DOJ under a court order related to Trump-Ukraine. Again, substantive information was redacted.
  274. The documents revealed aid to Ukraine was put on hold at 11:04 a.m. on July 25, shortly after Trump’s call which ended at 9:33 a.m. via an email sent by Michael Duffey of OMB.
  275. Documents also revealed internal notes showing Trump gave a formal order blocking the Pentagon’s portion of the aid on July 12, which was communicated to OMB by one of his aides.
  276. On Saturday, NYT reported Trump has taken over the Republican Party by instilling fear. Any GOP lawmaker who speaks out against him publicly or privately will incur his wrath and be ostracized from the party.
  277. Republicans are left with the option of being fully loyal to Trump or retiring. Since Trump took office, a remarkable 40% of Republicans have retired or been defeated in elections.
  278. Trump rewards those who show loyalty with favorable tweets or by visiting their state. He has helped allies win primaries as well. Those seeking re-election know they need his support with the base to win.

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Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., holds hands with Rep. Debbie Dingell, D-Mich., as they walk to the chamber where the Democratic-controlled House of Representatives begins a day of debate on the impeachments charges against Trump for abuse of power and obstruction of Congress, at the Capitol in Washington, Wednesday, Dec. 18, 2019.

POLITIKS OF GRAFFITI 162: “ABUSE OF POWER & OBSTRUCTION OF CONGRESS”

DECEMBER 14, 2019

Week 161 – (*list is from Amy Siskind – photos of political art from me)

Experts in authoritarianism advise to keep a list of things
subtly changing around you, so you’ll rememberhttps://theweeklylist.org/weekly-list/week-161/
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Cocoa Beach, FL 13nov19

This week, the House Judiciary Committee debated and voted to approve two articles of impeachment against Donald J. Trump, for abuse of power and obstruction of Congress. After two fiery days of debate, the panel took a somber vote Friday, marking the fourth time in U.S. history the Judiciary passed articles of impeachment. Remarkably, Senate Leader Mitch McConnell appeared on Fox News the night prior, saying he was in “total coordination” with the White House, and there was “zero chance” Trump would be removed from office.

On the same day Democratic House leadership announced the House would move forward on impeachment, Trump hosted Russian foreign minister Sergey Lavrov in the Oval Office, closed to U.S. press. Notably, the day prior, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, who has yet to be invited to the White House, met with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Paris, without Trump issuing any sort of statement or tweet in support of Ukraine.

This week the Justice Department Inspector General report was released, and although IG Mike Horowitz found no political bias and said the FBI was justified in opening its investigation, Trump and Attorney General William Barr both publicly disparaged the report. Former AG Eric Holder called on Barr to step down.

With impeachment in full gear, Trump, who fears the stain on his legacy, while portraying strength, has taken to binge tweeting — on one day alone tweeting or retweeting 123 times. The full House will vote on impeachment next Wednesday, and as the week came to a close, only one moderate House Democrat had defected.

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Orlando, FL 1dec19. Artist: Andrew Spear

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New York City 26nov19

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New York City 22nov19

  1. On Wednesday, Time named public servants who testified in the impeachment probe as the “Guardians of the Year 2019,” including Fiona Hill, Marie Yovanovitch, Alexander Vindman, William Taylor, and others.
  2. On Thursday, WAPO reported Trump is ramping up the number of tweets he sends since the impeachment inquiry got underway. In the seven days ending on Thursday, he averaged roughly 60 tweets and retweets per day.
  3. The monthly tweeting during impeachment is Trump’s busiest, with over 1,000 tweets in October. The uptick started in April with the release of the Mueller report, as Trump exceeded 500 tweets, his highest since midterms.
  4. The month of December has spiked further, with an average of more than 40 tweets and retweets per day. The only other prior month since 2016 with over 30 tweets and retweets was in October 2019.
  5. Thursday was Trump’s busiest day of tweeting to date: with 89 tweets and retweets in the first three hours of the day, 123 overall. He also sent nine tweets shortly after noon, while receiving his intelligence briefing.
  6. On Saturday, the Boston Globe Editorial Board called for impeachment, saying Trump’s actions with foreign states are “an outrageous betrayal,” and that he “betrayed the US taxpayer” to advance his corrupt agenda.
  7. On Tuesday, the WAPO Editorial Board called for impeachment, saying despite “unprecedented stonewalling” that “more than enough proof exists” for the House to impeach Trump.
  8. On Wednesday, the USA Today Editorial Board called for impeachment, saying Trump’s “Ukraine shakedown and stonewalling are too serious for the House to ignore.”
  9. On Wednesday, the Philadelphia Inquirer Editorial Board called for impeachment, saying, “Such an act of tyranny is what the Constitution was created to protect against.”
  10. On Thursday, the Orlando Sentinel Editorial Board, in Florida where Trump now has his primary residence, called for Trump to be impeached, and for the Senate to remove him from office.
  11. On Friday, the Tampa Bay Times Editorial Board called for Trump’s impeachment, adding “we hope the impeachment process and a trial in the Senate will give voters a more complete picture of Trump’s conduct.”
  12. On Thursday, the board of the nonpartisan ACLU voted 55-2 to adopt a resolution supporting impeachment for the second time in the organization’s 99-year history, citing “the extraordinary circumstances.”
  13. On Friday, Fox News anchor Chris Wallace said in a speech that Trump “is engaged in the most direct, sustained assault on freedom of the press in our history,” adding his “attacks have done some damage.”
  14. On Saturday, Vice President Mike Pence’s office turned down a request from House Intelligence Committee Chair Adam Schiff for information on a call between Pence and Ukrainian President Zelensky made in Week 160.
  15. Pence’s office cited Schiff “continues to operate in an underhanded manner,” claiming Pence “does not even know what he wants declassified.” Pence aide Jennifer Williams divulged the September 18 call.
  16. On Saturday, at a State Department reception for the Kennedy Center Honorees, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo quipped, “When will I be loved?” Honoree Linda Ronstadt later responded when he stops “enabling Donald Trump.”
  17. On Saturday, BuzzFeed reported Carla Sand, U.S. ambassador to Denmark, banned Stanley Sloan, a NATO expert who is a critic of Trump, from speaking at a Copenhagen event celebrating NATO’s 70th anniversary.
  18. On Saturday, “Fox & Friends” co-host Pete Hegseth said he was banned from Twitter after sharing a manifesto written by Pensacola shooter Mohammed Alshamrani, adding, “Big tech does the bidding of the Left.”
  19. On Saturday, Trump told reporters, “I have a very good relationship with Kim Jong Un,” adding, “He knows I have an election coming up. I don’t think he wants to interfere with that, but we’ll have to see.”
  20. Trump said of the shooting at the naval base in Pensacola, “I spoke with the King of Saudi Arabia. They are devastated in Saudi Arabia,” adding, “the King will be involved in taking care of families and loved ones.”
  21. Ask about Rudy Giuliani’s trip, Trump said “he came back from someplace, and he’s going to make a report, I think to the Attorney General and to Congress,” claiming, “I have not spoken to him about that information.”
  22. Trump also headlined a closed-door Republican dinner in Aventura, Florida, where he brought army officersClint Lorance and Mathew Golsteyn, whom he recently pardoned, on-stage, and openly mocked House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.
  23. On Saturday, in a speech to the Israeli-American Council, Trump mused, “You’re not going to vote for the wealth tax” of Sen. Elizabeth Warren, repeating the racist nickname, “You’re not going to vote for Pocahontas.”
  24. Trump also said, “A lot of you are in the real estate business because I know you very well. You’re brutal killers, not nice people at all. But you have to vote for me, you have no choice.”
  25. Several Jewish leaders and organizations criticized Trump for trafficking in anti-Semitic tropes. The American Jewish Committee cited “money references that feed age-old and ugly stereotypes.”
  26. Trump also mused at the event about not leaving office after two terms, saying, “A lot of them say, ‘you know he’s not leaving’ … So now we have to start thinking about that, because it’s not a bad idea.”
  27. On Sunday, when asked if he spoke to Lev Parnas, Rep. Devin Nunes told Fox Business, “I got a call from a number that was Parnas’s wife,” claiming he did not know the person on the phone, so he “put them to staff.”
  28. On Sunday, Trump sent more than 100 tweets and retweets — his most in a single day so far and four times his daily average — attacking the impeachment inquiry and top Democrats.
  29. Trump also attacked Fox News, tweeting, “Don’t get why @FoxNews puts losers on like @RepSwalwell,” saying, “The Dems wouldn’t let @FoxNews get near their bad ratings debates,” adding, “yet Fox panders. Pathetic!”
  30. Earlier, “Fox News Sunday” hosted Rep. David Cicilline, a House Judiciary member, who said Trump’s actions were “a classic example” and that “all of the potential articles of impeachment are on the table.”
  31. Trump also quoted Sen. Ted Cruz from his appearance on “Meet the Press,” tweeting, “Any president has the authority to investigate corruption,” and “The President himself released the transcript of the call.”
  32. Trump also quoted Cruz, tweeting, “This is a kangaroo court in the House,” saying Democrats are impeaching “because they hate the president,” and, “this is Democrats putting on a circus.”
  33. On Sunday, WAPO reported Giuliani, while having a cybersecurity contract with Qatar in 2017 and early 2018, tried to replace Trump’s nominee for U.S. ambassador to Qatar in late 2018.
  34. Giuliani pushed for Scott Taylor, a former Virginia congressman, who he said would be more supportive of Trump’s agenda, highlighting Giuliani’s dual role marketing his access and being a shadow foreign policy adviser.
  35. In November 2018 Trump nominated Mary Catherine Phee, a talented diplomat, to the role vacant since June 2017. Her nomination expired, and Trump did not renominate her. The role remains vacant.
  36. On Sunday, WAPO reported as the FBI found the Pensacola shooting was terrorism on Sunday, Trump continued his defense of Saudis, while even his close allies called for a reassessment of the U.S.-Saudi relationship.
  37. Trump, who typically would jump to label shooting by a foreigner from a Muslim-majority country as terrorism, continued to refrain and has yet to make a public call for full cooperation by the Saudis.
  38. On Sunday, Trump warned in a pair of tweets that Kim Jong Un could “void” their “special relationship” after North Korea claimed it carried out a “very important test” at its missile-engine test site.
  39. Trump also tweeted, “Kim Jong Un is too smart and has far too much to lose, everything actually, if he acts in a hostile way,” adding, “He signed a strong Denuclearization Agreement with me in Singapore.”
  40. On Monday, a senior North Korean official called Trump a “heedless and erratic old man,” and said he should “think twice if he does not want to see bigger catastrophic consequences.”
  41. On Monday, the Trump regime blocked a United Nations Security Council meeting scheduled on Human Rights Day to discuss human rights abuses in North Korea, the second year in a row the Trump regime has done so.
  42. On Monday, White House counselor Kellyanne Conway claimed without evidence on “Fox & Friends” the impeachment inquiry is helping Trump in battleground states, saying Democrats are making him into a “victim.”
  43. On Monday, the House Judiciary Committee held impeachment hearings. Lawyers on both sides from the House Intelligence Committee presented their findings, and were questioned by lawmakers and Judiciary lawyers.
  44. Democratic counsel Daniel Goldman argued Trump “directed a scheme” to pressure Ukraine to open investigations, and he “used his office” to withhold an Oval Office meeting and military aid to pressure Ukraine.
  45. Goldman also said that “everyone was in the loop,” and that “despite the public discovery of this scheme, which prompted the president to release the aid, he has not given up.”
  46. Republicans repeatedly interrupted the hearing, and argued Zelensky did not feel pressured, that Ukraine did not know aid was held up, and the aid was eventually released without any announcement of an investigation.
  47. Republican counsel Stephen Castor mostly attacked Democrats for the way they conducted the probe, rather than focus on Trump’s actions. They also claimed Trump was justified in investigating corruption in Ukraine.
  48. Democrat Judiciary counsel Barry Berke called Trump’s acts “brazen” and said “the evidence is overwhelming,” and that the the facts were “uncontradicted” and “cannot be disputed.”
  49. Berke played clips of Trump asking Russia to release Hillary’s emails, and then of Trump telling reporters he wanted Ukraine to investigate Biden, saying the House must act now because Trump is trying to corrupt 2020.
  50. Berke said Trump “really does believe he can act as though he were above the law,” and “can put his personal and political interests over the nation’s interests, over the nation’s national security interests, over the nation.”
  51. An hour into the hearings, Trump tweeted “Witch Hunt!” followed by a storm of tweets including “The Do Nothing Democrats are a disgrace!” and “Read the Transcripts!”
  52. On Monday, NYT reported that Attorney General William Barr decided to make additional details about dossier-author Christopher Steele public as part of the release of the DOJ IG report.
  53. IG Mike Horowitz notified Christopher Steele on Sunday that the DOJ had allowed for the release of the information. Steele was not given details about the information, or how it would affect the report’s portrayal of him.
  54. The late notification was highly unusual given that witnesses interviewed, including Steele, had been given an opportunity to review and comment. The additional information on Steele was originally blacked out.
  55. On Monday, the DOJ IG released its highly anticipated report. The 434-page report concluded the FBI had an “authorized purpose” when it initiated its investigation into the 2016 Trump campaign.
  56. The IG examined over one million documents, and interviewed over 100 witnesses, saying, “We did not find documentary or testimonial evidence that political bias or improper motivation influenced the decisions”
  57. The report debunked conspiracy theories promoted by Trump, his allies, and Republicans that the investigation was launched out of animus against Trump, or that the FBI broke its own rules on using informants.
  58. However, the IG report also found as the FBI renewed its FISA application to surveil Carter Page, officials emphasized damaging information on Trump associates and played down exculpatory evidence.
  59. The IG report found 17 errors or omissions by the FBI as it sought approval to conduct surveillance on Pagein applications filed in the secret FISA court.
  60. The report also found the Steele dossier was not as reliable a source as officials described to the court. Horowitz launched a broader audit of FISA work to study how systematic FISA applications problems might be.
  61. Trump told reporters, “It is incredible. Far worse than I ever would’ve thought possible. It’s an embarrassment to our country, it’s dishonest. It’s everything that a lot of people thought it would be, except far worse.”
  62. Trump added, “This was an overthrow of government, this was an attempted overthrow,” and “I look forward to the Durham report, which is coming out in the not-too-distant future. He’s got his own information.”
  63. Barr issued a statement, saying, “The Inspector General’s report now makes clear that the FBI launched an intrusive investigation of a U.S. presidential campaign on the thinnest of suspicions that, in my view, were insufficient.”
  64. Durham also took the unusual step of issuing a statement, saying, “our investigation is ongoing,” and “We do not agree with some of the report’s conclusions as to predication and how the FBI case was opened.”
  65. The draft of the report had a footnote which noted Horowitz asked Durham whether he had evidence to support the conspiracy theory on Joseph Mifsud and he did not. That footnote was not in the final report.
  66. On Monday, Fox News anchor Chris Wallace said on-air of the IG report, “this comes against the backdrop of Donald Trump talking about the investigation of him in 2016 as a political hit job.”
  67. Wallace added, “At one point, he talked about President Obama ordering the wiretapping of the Trump Tower,” but said of the report, “the headline is they didn’t find the things that Bill Barr and Donald Trump alleged.”
  68. On Monday, former FBI director James Comey said his scheduled appearance on “Fox & Friends” for Tuesday had been canceled, saying he offered to “answer their questions,” but they “must have read the report.”
  69. Shortly after, FBI director Christopher Wray, a Trump appointee, was asked in an ABC News interview whether he thought the FBI unfairly targeted the Trump campaign. Wray responded, “I do not.”
  70. Asked about 2016 interference, Wray said, “We have no information that indicates that Ukraine interfered with the 2016 presidential election,” adding for 2020, “we think Russia represents the most significant threat.”
  71. Wray said the IG report found “the investigation was opened with appropriate predication and authorization,” but also found some actions “unacceptable and unrepresentative of who we are as an institution.”
  72. Wray said he would address the “serious performance failures” found in the IG report, adding, “In my view, every error and omission is significant and it’s something we need to take seriously.”
  73. Wray said Trump invoking a “Deep State” out to get him was “a disservice to the men and women who work at the FBI,” saying it is “not a term I would use” and is “an affront to them.”
  74. On Monday, ABC News reported that Ivanka Trump met with British intelligence officer Christopher Steele, who ran the Russia desk, when he left covert service and moved to private practice in 2010.
  75. Ivanka also stayed in touch with Steele, exchanging two additional emails, but the two did not work together. Steele told investigators he met with “a Trump family member at Trump Tower and had ‘been friendly’” with the family member for years.
  76. On Monday, ABC News also reported Giuliani said on a radio show he plans to transmit his “report” based on his recent Ukraine visit to AG Barr and to Republicans in Congress by the end of the week.
  77. Giuliani also hinted on the radio show hosted by Steve Bannon and Jason Miller that he may have spoken to Trump: “I haven’t been able to describe it to him in person, but it makes everything he did absolutely justified.”
  78. Late Monday, CNN reported at a private evening meeting between Speaker Pelosi and her leadership team, House Democrats decided to move forward with at least two articles of impeachment.
  79. A third article, obstruction of justice, was debated, but concern was getting moderate Democrats on board. House Democrats announced a news conference on Capitol Hill to share the next steps on Tuesday morning.
  80. Later Monday, AP reported the House would move forward on two articles, abuse of power and obstruction of Congress. Trump did not respond on Twitter as the news came out Monday night.
  81. On Tuesday, Speaker Pelosi and leaders of six key committees said Trump’s actions towards Ukraine and efforts to block Congress from investigating left them no choice but to pursue impeachment.
  82. Chair Jerrold Nadler said Trump “holds the ultimate public trust. When he betrays that trust and puts himself before country, he endangers the Constitution, he endangers our democracy and he endangers our national security.”
  83. Chair Schiff said, “The argument ‘Why don’t you just wait’ amounts to this: ‘Why don’t you just let him cheat in one more election?’” adding, “Why not let him have foreign help just one more time?”
  84. On Tuesday, the House Judiciary Committee released a nine-page draft of the two articles of impeachment, accusing Trump of carrying out a “scheme” to benefit his own re-election, rather than the country.
  85. The draft stated, “Trump used the powers of the Presidency in a manner that compromised the national security of the United States and undermined the integrity of the United States democratic process.”
  86. The draft also stated, “In the history of the republic, no president has ever ordered the complete defiance of an impeachment inquiry or sought to obstruct and impede so comprehensively the ability of the House.”
  87. The draft was released ahead of a House Judiciary Committee meeting late Wednesday, in which the committee was set to debate the charges, before the committee was set to vote on the charges on Thursday.
  88. In reaction, Trump tweeted, “Nadler just said that I “pressured Ukraine to interfere in our 2020 Election.” Ridiculous,” claiming Zelenksy said there “WAS NO PRESSURE,” and “Nadler and the Dems know this.”
  89. White House press secretary Stephanie Grisham accused Democrats of “manufacturing an impeachment inquiry and forcing unfounded accusations,” saying Trump will “address these false charges in the Senate.”
  90. Trump’s campaign war room account tweeted a video of Trump’s face superimposed onto the body of the Marvel Comics supervillain Thanos, citing the “sham impeachment,” and adding, “Trump’s reelection is inevitable.”
  91. As the House unveiled impeachment articles, Trump met with Russian foreign minister Sergey Lavrov in the Oval Office for the first time since May 2017 after he fired Comey. The meeting was closed to U.S. press.
  92. The White House claimed they discussed arms control, denuclearization of North Korea, Iran’s nuclear program and trade, and that Trump warned him about election interference. Secretary Pompeo was also in the meeting.
  93. Trump tweeted a photo with Lavrov at his desk, saying, “Just had a very good meeting,” and, “Discussed many items including Trade, Iran, North Korea, INF Treaty, Nuclear Arms Control, and Election Meddling.”
  94. Shortly after, at a press conference at the State Department with Lavrov, Pompeo said, “On the question of interference in our domestic affairs, I was clear it’s unacceptable, and I made our expectations of Russia clear.”
  95. Lavrov said, “We have highlighted once again that all speculations about our alleged interference in domestic processes in the United States are baseless,” adding, “There are no facts that would support that.”
  96. Later at a press conference at the Russian embassy, Lavrov contradicted Trump, telling reporters the two had “not discussed elections,” then when pressed again, he gave a second answer that was more obtuse.
  97. Trump and Pompeo came under fire for meeting with Lavrov in the Oval Office one day after the first talks between Zelensky and Putin in Paris. Zelensky still has not been invited to meet Trump at the White House.
  98. On Wednesday, Pompeo told reporters, “Trump made clear in the meeting that he had with Foreign Minister Lavrov and the rest of the Russian team…America finds their meddling in our elections unacceptable.”
  99. On Wednesday, Daily Beast reported Ukrainian officials had hoped for a statement of support from Trump ahead of Zelenksy’s meeting with Putin, and had been watching Trump’s Twitter feed over the weekend.
  100. One official in the Zelensky administration said based on “the signals we got, we firmly believed there would be a statement.” Officials say Trump’s silence and meeting with Lavrov send “a terrible signal.”
  101. On Tuesday, GOP senator Mike Crapo blocked a bill re-introduced by Sen. Chris Van Hollen (D)and Sen. Marco Rubio (R), meant to prevent Russia and other countries from interfering in elections.
  102. Crapo, Chair of the Senate Banking Committee, said the Senate already passed sanctions targeting Russia in 2017, adding Trump “has probably put more sanctions on the Russians than any president in our history.”
  103. On Wednesday, the Kremlin announced Putin and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan pledged on a phone call to continue military cooperation.
  104. The call came after the Senate Armed Services Committee backed a resolution to impose sanctions on Turkey for its offensive in Syria, and for the use of the Russian S-400 missile defense system.
  105. On Thursday, over the objection of Trump and Turkey, the Senate unanimously passed the Armenian genocide resolution, after Republican Senators blocked it on the three occasions at the behest of the White House.
  106. On Tuesday, Trump also lashed out at Wray, tweeting, “I don’t know what report current Director of the FBI Christopher Wray was reading, but it sure wasn’t the one given to me.”
  107. Trump also threatened to fire Wray, tweeting: “With that kind of attitude, he will never be able to fix the FBI, which is badly broken despite having some of the greatest men & women working there!”
  108. Giuliani also attacked him, saying, “Wray is wrong, he hasn’t investigated anything, he doesn’t know,” adding the FBI blocks any information “that would demonstrate the high level of corruption and collusion.”
  109. On Tuesday, Barr told NBC News that Horowitz used a standard that was “deferential” to the FBI, and a final judgement cannot be made until Durham completes his work, which he expects will be a “watershed.”
  110. Barr added, “our nation was turned on its head for three years based on a completely bogus narrative that was largely fanned and hyped by a completely irresponsible press,” and the FBI may have acted in “bad faith.”
  111. When asked about the debunked claim Ukraine meddled in 2016, Barr said, “I am confident the Russians attempted to interfere…I don’t know about the Ukrainians,” adding, “I haven’t even looked into it, frankly.”
  112. On Tuesday, Politico reported a group of 10 vulnerable House Democrats whose districts are pro-Trump floated the idea of censure instead of impeachment at the Monday meeting. Pelosi has ruled out a censure.
  113. Later Tuesday, Trump and Pence held a rally in Hershey, Pennsylvania. In one of his most fiery speeches yet, Trump spoke for 65-minutes railing against Democrats, impeachment, law enforcement, and the media.
  114. Trump dismissed the inquiry against him as “impeachment crap,” and called the articles “flimsy, pathetic, ridiculous,” and “the lightest impeachment in the history of the country, by far.”
  115. Trump said Democrats are “impeaching me because they want to win an election and that’s the only way they can do it,” and that “the impeachment hoax is about overturning your great 2016 vote.”
  116. Trump said House Democrats are “embarrassed by the impeachment” but “the silver lining” is “that’s the reason they approved USMCA.” Earlier Tuesday, McConnell said he would not take USMCA forward this year.
  117. Trump said of his re-election, a “battle is the survival of the American nation itself,” and mused about ripping up the Constitution and serving 29 years: “Should we give it a shot? Maybe we will. I’m only kidding.”
  118. Trump said of the IG report, “The FBI also sent multiple undercover human spies to surveil and record people associated with our campaign,” saying they “destroyed the lives of people that were great people.”
  119. Trump called FBI agents scum, saying, “Their lives have been destroyed by scum,” repeating, “okay, by scum,” and attacked Wray again, saying, “You have great people in the FBI, but not in leadership.”
  120. Trump noted the DOJ IG was appointed by Obama, referencing him as “Barack Hussein Obama,” and hyped the upcoming report by Durham, calling him “Bull Durham.”
  121. Trump spread unsourced claims about Lisa Page and Peter Strzok, saying, “Did I hear he needed a restraining order after this whole thing, from Lisa? That’s what I heard. I don’t know if it’s true.” Page tweeted it was a “lie.”
  122. On Tuesday, Trump allies in the Senate said they may not call witnesses in hopes of expediting the trial, which is expected to begin in January after the holiday recess. Sen. Kevin Cramer said calling witnesses would be “risky.”
  123. Trump was said to want a lengthy trial, with witnesses including Joe and Hunter Biden and Schiff. McConnell called that idea, in a closed-door meeting with his caucus, “mutually assured destruction.”
  124. On Tuesday, a poll by Hill-HarrisX found Trump’s approval with independent voters is dipping amid impeachment: from 44% approval in early November to 39% approve, 56% disapprove.
  125. On Sunday, NYT reported the Trump regime will block the World Trade Organization from appointing new members to a crucial panel that hears trade disputes. This is the second year the regime will do so.
  126. The panel is a seven-member body, with only three members left, two of whose terms expire Tuesday, leaving the group without a quorum for hearing international trade disputes.
  127. The move by Trump could spell the demise of the 24 year-old WTO, as Trump wages his trade wars. Trump took similar steps of not appointing replacements to de-fang the Federal Election Commission in Week 148.
  128. On Monday, in a 103-page filing made public, Amazon Web Services claimed that it lost the JEDI contract, worth as much as $10 billion, because of Trump’s attack on Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos.
  129. The filing claimed Trump “made no secret of his personal dislike” for Bezos by publicly criticizing him, then “used his office” to prevent AWS from winning the contract, including “behind-the-scenes attacks” against AWS.
  130. Amazon called on the Defense Department to terminate the award, and conduct another review of the submitted proposals. A Pentagon spokesperson denied any “external influences” on the award decision.
  131. On Monday, an analysis by the Tariffs Hurt the Heartland campaign found American companies paid a record $7.2 billion in import taxes in October, twice the monthly average before Trump began imposing tariffs.
  132. The group found Trump’s tariffs have added $42 billion in import taxes overall. Small business owners said, “We’re paying the taxes, not China,” and, “This trade war has lasted long enough and done enough damage.”
  133. On Monday, Russia was banned from the Olympics for four years for tampering with doping tests. Russian President Putin said Russia had grounds to appeal, and said the ban violated the Olympic charter.
  134. On Monday, WAPO reported according to a DOJ spokesperson, AG Barr rescheduled his holiday party for 200 guests that was set to take place at the Trump Hotel DC on Sunday.
  135. The spokesperson said the new date would not be disclosed but it would take place at Trump Hotel DC. Protests were expected. The DOJ claimed Trump Hotel DC was not Barr’s first choice for venue.
  136. On Monday, HuffPost reported in a letter to Trump spearheaded by Sen. Kamala Harris, 27 Democratic Senators called for “the immediate removal” of Stephen Miller as a White House advisor.
  137. The letter cited leak emails, showing what is driving Miller is “not national security, it’s white supremacy,” adding he “is unfit to serve in any capacity at the White House, let alone as a senior policy adviser.”
  138. On Monday, Houston police chief Art Acevedo blasted “smug” McConnell, Cornyn, and Cruz for gun control inaction after a sergeant was shot dead, saying they “don’t want to piss off the NRA.”
  139. On Monday, New York AG Letitia James issued a new subpoena to the National Rifle Association covering at least four areas, including campaign finance, payments to board members, and tax compliance.
  140. On Tuesday, Trump paid $2 million to eight charities as part of the settlement for misuse of funds in his foundation. Donald Jr., Eric, and Ivanka were ordered go through mandatory training to ensure they don’t repeat the conduct.
  141. On Tuesday, in a filing, federal prosecutors recommended that Rick Gates gets probation, citing he continued to cooperate with Mueller even after getting pressure not to and offers of monetary assistance.
  142. On Tuesday, Lisa Page sued the DOJ and FBI for alleged violations of the Privacy Act by unlawfully disclosing information about her — a 90 page document including 375 text messages — to reporters.
  143. On Tuesday, Rep. Ted Yoho said he would not seek re-election in 2020, becoming the 23rd Republican to do so.
  144. On Wednesday, a federal judge rejected the Trump regime’s motion to dismiss a lawsuit by watchdog groupsAmerican Oversight and Democracy Forward seeking notes of Trump’s face-to-face meetings with Putin.
  145. The groups argued Pompeo violated the Federal Records Act by allowing Trump to confiscate meeting notes prepared by State Department staffers, and by not preserving them. The judge was a Trump appointee.
  146. On Tuesday, Fox affiliate KTVI reported a Missouri teacher gave fifth-graders an assignment, asking them to set a hypothetical value on slaves. The district has placed the teacher on administrative leave.
  147. On Tuesday, a federal judge in Texas said the Trump regime could not use $3.6 billion of military construction funds to build Trump’s wall along the southern border, saying Trump overstepped his authority.
  148. The ruling impacted one set of Pentagon funds, leaving three others ruled on by the Supreme Court in place. The lawsuit was file by El Paso County and Border Network for Human Rights.
  149. Pelosi said in a statement: “Once again, the courts have resoundingly ruled against the President’s attempt to negate our system of separation of powers,” and “Article II does not mean that he can ‘do whatever he wants.’”
  150. On Tuesday, NBC News reported the Pentagon IG opened a review to determine if Trump’s deployment of troops to the U.S.-Mexico border is legal, three months after 30 members of Congress requested it.
  151. The review will examine whether the deployment violates a law prohibiting active duty military troops from carrying out law enforcement duties, and will examine the troops’ activities, training, and the cost.
  152. On Wednesday, six doctors who wanted to give flu shots to migrant children at a detention center in Chula Vista, California were arrested by Customs and Border Protection after being turned away and lying down in protest.
  153. On Wednesday, NPR reported newly obtained internal emails from the Education Department revealed career department officials sided with defrauded students over Education Department Secretary Betsy DeVos.
  154. In the cases of more than 200,000 borrowers, DeVos sided with for-profit colleges, saying students “got value” from the schools. Students claim the schools lied about job prospects and the transferability of credits.
  155. DeVos has the power to override staffers, and has done so. On Tuesday the department came out with a new plan to calculate how much debt relief, if any, students get. Most are unlikely to qualify for full relief.
  156. On Wednesday, ProPublica reported Donald Jr. shot and killed an endangered sheep on a trip to Mongolia in August 2019, and got a permit after the hunt, a rare occurrence. A total of 86 permits were given last year.
  157. Following the hunt, Donald Jr. met with Mongolia’s president, Khaltmaagiin Battuiga, before the leaving the country. He was given a permit on September 2.
  158. On Thursday, USA Today reported four months before Donald Jr.’s trip, the Mongolian ambassador and foreign minister visited Mar-a-Lago. It is unclear if Donald Jr, who was also there for Easter, met the officials.
  159. On Thursday, NBC News reported that the Pentagon IG will review the Army Corps of Engineers decision in Week 160 to award a $400 million contract to Fisher Sand & Gravel, after the company was touted by Trump.
  160. On Friday, NYT reported immense amounts of methane gas are escaping from oil and gas sites nationwide, while Trump’s EPA weakens regulations. Visual imagery showed gas, which worsens global warming, seeping out.
  161. Fossil fuel companies contacted the Trump regime in March 2017 and argued for the rollback of methane emissions rules. In March 2018, industry lobbyists rebutted scientific evidence of large fugitive emissions.
  162. In August, the Trump regime proposed a broad rollback, rescinding direct regulations of methane emissions completely, and claiming companies would want to minimize leaks since methane is a valuable resource.
  163. On Wednesday, Trump sent more than 40 tweets and retweets on a variety of subjects, mostly related to impeachment and the DOJ IG report, before 9:30 a.m. ET.
  164. On Wednesday, AP reported Trump and his allies are continuing to work to delegitimize the impeachment inquiry, calling it a “circus” and a “farce,” and insist that Trump did not a single thing wrong.
  165. His allies have glossed over Trump’s abuse of power and obstruction of Congress, instead stonewalling, using schoolyard tactics and taunts, and mocking and complaining about the process.
  166. Trump ally America First Policies conducted focus groups on independents, and found frustration with Congress and “endless investigations.” The attack strategy is to keep independents skeptical.
  167. On Wednesday, Sinclair Broadcasting said it was dropping Boris Epshteyn and other political analysts in as part of a company-wide effort to move away from political commentary in favor of investigative journalism.
  168. Epshteyn’s political commentary had been “must run” across all of Sinclair’s 193 stations, and had been widely criticized. It was unclear what caused the shift ahead of an election year.
  169. On Wednesday, a Quinnipiac poll found 45% support impeaching and removing Trump, 51% are against it. In late November, 45% supported impeachment and 48% were against it.
  170. On Wednesday, a Reuters/Ipsos poll found 45% support impeachment, 41% do not. The majority of independents also support impeachment, with 38% support, 35% do no support, and 27% not sure.
  171. The polls also found Trump’s overall approval at 40%, 54% disapprove, and among independents approval is 32%, 62% disapprove. Also, 55% say the country is on the wrong track, 32% say it is on the right track.
  172. On Wednesday, Horowitz testified before the Senate Judiciary Committee, saying the FBI was justified in opening its 2016 investigation into the Trump campaign, but he could not vindicate the FBI’s former leaders.
  173. Chair Lindsey Graham invoked J. Edgar Hoover, saying, “We can’t write this off as being just about one man or one event,” adding the system went “off-the-rails,” saying the FISA court would have to undergo significant changes.
  174. Ranking member Dianne Feinstein said, “This was not a politically motivated investigation. There is no ‘deep state,’” and defended the FBI’s for looking into alleged election-year wrongdoing as “motivated by facts, not bias.”
  175. Horowitz said the Steele dossier had “no impact” on opening the investigation, adding, “It was not known to the team that opened the investigation at the time they opened it.”
  176. Horowitz said he met with Durham in November to discuss his findings, and said they disagreed over whether the FBI should have opened a preliminary investigation, as opposed to a full investigation.
  177. Preliminary investigations do not allow investigators to seek surveillance warrants, but the FBI did not take that step until three months later. Horowitz said he was “surprised” by Durham’s public statement.
  178. Horowitz said he was “very concerned” about leaks from FBI field offices to Giuliani about the Hillary Clinton email probe, adding, “We are investigating” and have found some that “violated FBI policy.”
  179. Horowitz added, “What’s proving to be very hard is to prove the actual substance of the communications” between agents and reporters and individuals, and said, “We have other investigations ongoing.”
  180. While Horowitz was testifying, Trump tweeted, “They spied on my campaign!” Barr told the WSJ that Horowitz’s report did not go far enough, and the FBI’s handling of the matter was a “travesty.”
  181. On Tuesday, NYT reported Trump expects to sign an executive order Wednesday which will effectively interpret Judaism as a race or nationality, not just a religion.
  182. The regime said the order was meant to target anti-Semitism on college campuses, by withholding federal aidto institutions that fail to combat discrimination, citing the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement.
  183. Jewish Americans and organizations, as well as pro-Palestinian organizations, condemned the order, citing a violation of free speech, and Trump’s own role emboldening white nationalism and perpetuating anti-Semitism.
  184. On Tuesday, a shooting spree occurred at a kosher marker in Jersey City, New Jersey, killing a police officer and three others. The suspects, who were part of the Black Hebrew Israelite movement, a hate group, were also killed.
  185. On Wednesday, Jared Kushner clarified in an op-ed that the order “does not define Jews as a nationality,” rather if Jews are discriminated against, “they are entitled to protection by the anti-discrimination law.”
  186. On Wednesday, Trump signed the order during a Hanukkah reception, saying it would extend the Civil Rights Act that prohibits discrimination on the basis of race, color, and national origin, to include anti-Semitic “hate.”
  187. Trump also cited the Jersey shooting, saying, “Our thoughts turn to the grieving families in New Jersey,” and “we vow to crush the monstrous evil of anti-Semitism whenever and wherever it appears.”
  188. Joining Trump at the Hanukkah ceremony was evangelical pastor Robert Jeffress, who once said Jews were going to hell. Jeffress said in his remarks, Trump is “the most pro-faith president in history.”
  189. Alan Dershowitz was also at the reception, and said in remarks the order “is a game changer,” and “One of the most important events in the 2,000-year battle against anti-Semitism.”
  190. On Wednesday, journalists also noted that the White House, for a second year in a row, canceled the media Christmas Party. Unlike the first time, this year the cancellation was normalized, and got little attention.
  191. On Wednesday, ABC News reported Trump is considering adding Alan Dershowitz to his impeachment legal team. Trump allies have been advocating for Trump to add to his team.
  192. Dershowitz has been in the news in recent months for representing now-deceased Jeffrey Epstein. Also, Virginia Roberts Giuffre alleged in courts filings that she was lent out to Dershowitz for sex by Epstein.
  193. On Wednesday, CNN reported that while Trump publicly minimizes impeachment, privately he is somber. Trump takes impeachment seriously and does not want to be stained like Clinton who he referenced frequently.
  194. Aides say while Trump has been preparing to be impeached “for some time,” he was surprised by what did it, “Frankly, I think he’s a little surprised it’s the Ukraine thing that’s done it.”
  195. On Wednesday, Chair Schiff submitted additional classified information shared by Pence aide Jennifer Williams to Nadler ahead of the House Judiciary Committee debating articles of impeachment Wednesday night.
  196. On Wednesday, Pence again rejected requests from Schiff to declassify content of his call with Zelensky, saying in a letter the request, “coming after the completion of your report, serves no legitimate” purpose.
  197. Pence’s lawyer also rebuked Williams, saying “the contents of a classified call with a foreign head of state should never have been discussed in an unclassified committee hearing or an unclassified deposition.”
  198. On Wednesday, Bloomberg reported federal prosecutors said in a filing that Lev Parnas received $1 million from Russia in September that he tried to conceal. The payment was made to his wife, Svetlana Parnas.
  199. Prosecutors said the undisclosed payment was “used on personal expenses and to purchase a home.” The payment raised new questions about the nature of Parnas and Igor Fruman’s work, and who they were working for.
  200. Prosecutors asked the judge to revoke Parnas’ bail, saying he “poses an extreme risk of flight, and that risk of flight is only compounded by his continued and troubling misrepresentations.”
  201. On Wednesday, the House Judiciary Committee began debate on the two articles of impeachment at 7 p.m. ET. Trump is the fourth president in U.S. history to face the prospect of impeachment while in office.
  202. Nadler said, “When his time has passed, when his grip on our politics is gone, when our country returns, as surely it will…history will look back on our actions here today. How would you be remembered?”
  203. Ranking members Doug Collins, screaming, railed against the Democrats for not allowing the Republicans to hold a minority hearing, and said Democrats are “tearing down a world leader” and calling Zelensky “a liar.”
  204. Rep. Debbie Mucarsel-Powell said many of her constituents fled dictatorships in Cuba and Venezuela, viewing the U.S. as a “beacon of freedom,” while “even the most powerful are held to account.”
  205. On Thursday, the House Judiciary continued the debate for more than 14 hours, before Chair Nadler ended at 11:15 p.m., saying, “It has been a long two days of consideration of these articles, and it is now very late at night.”
  206. During the Thursday debate, Republican screamed irate complaints about the process, complaining about their inability to take the lead or call their witnesses, and claiming it was the “death knell for minority rights.”
  207. Republicans frequently interrupted with tirades to propose amendments or parliamentary points of order, and demand roll call votes. They did not however directly defend Trump’s action or his so-called perfect call with Zelensky.
  208. Democrats and Republicans battled back and forth on a variety of topics, including who had the historic high-ground, with no agreements or consensus on the process or the wrongfulness of Trump’s acts.
  209. In one heated exchange, Rep. Matt Gaetz chided Hunter Biden for a substance abuse problem. Rep. Hank Johnson responded, “The pot calling the kettle black is not something that we should do,” referring to Gaetz’s D.U.I.
  210. Collins spoke in a screaming voice throughout, calling the hearing a “kangaroo court,” and at one point abruptly storming out of the hearings, saying Democrats are trying to “knee-cap our democracy.”
  211. Trump watched the debate, live tweeting comments such as, “Dems Veronica Escobar and Jackson Lee purposely misquoted my call,” adding, “They know that but decided to LIE in order to make a fraudulent point! Very sad.”
  212. Rep. Escober responded to Trump by tweeting a greeting to him in Russia, saying, ““Privyet, @realdonaldtrump,” using the Russian word for “hi,” and adding, “No one is above the law, not even you.”
  213. During the debate, Trump spent the day on Twitter, sending more than 100 tweets, including numerous video clips of House Democrats, and claiming an unfair attempt to oust him from office.
  214. Trump’s campaign manager Brad Parscale claimed impeachment “lit up our base,” but Trump’s repeated claims on how impeachment would help Republicans was undermined by recent November elections.
  215. Collins said he would cut off debate in time to permit a vote late Thursday, but when they did, Nadler movedthe vote to the morning, saying Trump should face charges in the light of day, not dark of night.
  216. On Thursday, Trump mocked 16 year-old climate activist Greta Thunberg who was named Time’s Person of the Year, tweeting, “Greta must work on her Anger Management problem, then go to a good old fashioned movie with a friend! Chill Greta, Chill!”
  217. After Trump’s tweet, Thunberg changed her Twitter bio to: “A teenager working on her anger management problem. Currently chilling and watching a good old fashioned movie with a friend.”
  218. A few hours after his tweet, Trump’s campaign sent out an altered image of the Time cover with Trump’s head superimposed on Thunberg’s body with the tagline, “power of promises kept.”
  219. Other Trump allies joined in bashing the 16 year-old activist, a week after, led by First Lady Melania, they expressing outrage when Stanford University law professor Pamela Karlan invoked Barron Trump’s name.
  220. Later Thursday, Former First Lady Michele Obama defended Thunberg, tweeting, “don’t let anyone dim your light,” adding, “Ignore the doubters and know that millions of people are cheering you on.”
  221. After Trump’s tweet and Melania’s silence were widely criticized, the White House said Friday, “Their son is not an activist who travels the globe giving speeches. He is a 13-year-old who wants and deserves privacy.”
  222. On Thursday, former AG under Obama Eric Holder said in an op-ed that Barr is unfit to be attorney general, citing his “words and actions have been fundamentally inconsistent with his duty to the Constitution.”
  223. On Thursday, Pelosi told Hollywood Reporter, “I’ve said to many of my friends in the press, ‘You’re accomplices, whether you want to be or not,’ [and they say,] ‘If he’s saying it, then it’s news,’” adding, “it monopolizes the airwaves.”
  224. On Thursday, Pelosi said at her news conference that Democratic leaders are not whipping their members on impeachment, saying we do not “whip something like this. People have to come to their own conclusions.”
  225. Pelosi said, “The facts are clear — irrefutable, in fact.” When asked why bribery was not included as an article, she said she is not a lawyer and “the articles are what they are. They’re very powerful, they’re very strong.”
  226. On Wednesday, a Richland judge threw out a lawsuit challenging the South Carolina Republican Party’s decision not to hold a primary in 2020. Former GOP SC Gov. Mark Sanford suspended his campaign last month.
  227. On Thursday, NYT reported Trump is considering sitting out the 2020 general election debates, claiming he does not trust the Commission on Presidential Debates, a non-profit that sponsors the debates.
  228. On Thursday, Trump ally Mike Huckabee teased about an appearance on “Hannity,” tweeting he will explain how Trump “will be eligible for a 3rd term due to the illegal attempts by Comey, Dems, and media , et al.”
  229. On Thursday, former Gov. Bill Weld said as many as six Republican senators are privately supporting impeachment. Weld also said House Republicans will “regret” their decision not to support impeachment.
  230. On Thursday, Reuters reported the Trump campaign is countering impeachment by ramping up Facebook ads, running more than 2,500 ads citing “impeach” or “impeachment” in the week through December 5.
  231. On Thursday, the DOJ released internal Office of Legal Counsel memos sought by House Democrats, some dating back to the Nixon administration, used to justify their immunity claims.
  232. On Thursday, Senate Majority Leader McConnell told Fox News Host Sean Hannity, he will be in “total coordination” with the White House on impeachment strategy, and “There will be no difference” between Trump’s position and our position.
  233. McConnell met with Pat Cipollone, White House counsel, and Eric Ueland, White House congressional liaison, earlier Thursday. He told Hannity, “Everything I do during this I’m coordinating with the White House counsel.”
  234. McConnell’s comments were remarkable: according to the Constitution, the rules for an impeachment trial of the President of the United States require the Senate to take an oath to act as impartial jurors.
  235. Late Thursday, the Trump regime released heavily redacted communications between government agencies on withholding aid to Ukraine, following a FOIA request by the Center for Public Integrity (CPI).
  236. An official from CPI said, “Every substantive exchange between officials at the agencies was blacked out. Public Integrity is planning to file a motion Friday challenging the government’s response.”
  237. The Department of Defense and Office of Management and Budget are required to turn over all documents from April onward related to withholding aid. More documents are required to be released by December 20.
  238. On Thursday, Prime Minister Boris Johnson and his Conservative Party won in a landslide, handing the Labour Party its worst showing in more than 80 years. Johnson will now push forward with Brexit in January.
  239. On Friday, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer said in a statement if impeachment comes to the Senate, “every single senator will take an oath to render ‘impartial justice,’” calling for a “fair and honest trial.”
  240. On Friday, after fiery debate Wednesday evening and all day Thursday, the House Judiciary Committee voted on the two articles of impeachment at 10 a.m. Unlike the debate, the vote was somber and without interruption.
  241. In the hours leading up to the vote, Trump continued his Twitter tirade starting at 6:51 a.m. saying, “The Republicans House members were fantastic yesterday,” and calling them “Republican warriors.”
  242. Trump also tweeted, “the Dems have no case at all,” and “had no answers and wanted out!” Trump also falsely claimed, “My Approval Rating in the Republican Party is 95%, a Record. Thank you! #2020Election”
  243. Trump also falsely claimed, “Poll numbers have gone through the roof in favor of No Impeachment, especially with Swing States and Independents in Swing States,” calling it a “total Hoax” and a “scam.”
  244. Trump also tweeted, “The Do Nothing Democrats have become the Party of lies and deception!” while “The Republican Party is more united now than at any time in its history — by far!”
  245. Trump also tweeted, “Congratulations to @foxandfriends on being named, BY FAR, the Number One Rated cable news show” and “CNN and MSNBC have totally tanked, their ratings are terrible. They have zero credibility!”
  246. The House took back-to-back votes on the two articles of impeachment, with votes falling along party lines, 23-17. The full House is expected to vote on the articles of impeachment next Wednesday.
  247. Nadler said, “Today is a solemn and sad day,” adding, “For the third time in a little over a century and half,” the committee had voted articles of impeachment against a sitting president.
  248. As of late Friday, only one Democrat, Jeff Van Drew, indicated he would vote no on impeachment. The count stood at 166 for, 159 against and 106 still undecided or no response according to a count by the NYT.
  249. Shortly before the vote, Giuliani was spotted at the White House. Giuliani said he wanted to brief U.S. officials on what he learned on his Ukraine trip. It was not clear if he met with Trump.
  250. Giuliani also tweeted, “The American people have already made up their mind on this #ImpeachmentScam,” adding, “This is a SMOKESCREEN for the Obama-Biden administration’s corruption. It will soon be proven.”
  251. On Friday, WSJ reported that last Saturday Trump called Giuliani as his airplane was still taxiing down the runway in Kyiv, asking, “What did you get?” Giuliani responded, “More than you can imagine.”
  252. Giuliani said when he returned, Trump instructed him to brief Barr and GOP lawmakers. Shortly after, Trump told reporters Giuliani would deliver a report to the DOJ and Congress, saying, “I hear he has found plenty.”
  253. During his trip to Ukraine, Giuliani met with a member of Ukraine’s parliament to discuss the creation of a group called “Friends of Ukraine STOP Corruption.”
  254. Several of Giuliani’s friends have urged him to lie low during the congressional and federal investigations. He texted on his trip, “Just having fun while Dems and friends try to destroy my brilliant career.”
  255. Shortly after the vote, Trump spoke to reporters during an Oval Office visit with Paraguayan President Mario Abdo Benítez, saying, “It’s a very sad thing for our country, but it seems to be very good for me politically.”
  256. Trump called impeachment a “witch hunt,” “hoax” and “sham,” saying his July 25 call with Zelensky was “perfect,” and added, “To use the power of impeachment on this nonsense is an embarrassment to this country.”
  257. Trump said, “My poll numbers, as you know, have gone through the roof.” This is false. Trump’s approval numbers have stayed the same. Support of impeachment surged at the beginning of the inquiry, then remained flat.
  258. Trump also said, “I’ll do long or short. I’ve heard Mitch, I’ve heard Lindsey [Graham], I think they are very much in agreement on some concept,” adding, “I’ll do whatever they want to do. It doesn’t matter.”
  259. Trump also said, “I wouldn’t mind the long process, because I’d like to see the whistleblower, who’s a fraud,” and threatened someday there will be Democratic president with a GOP House and they will “remember it.”
  260. On Friday, NYT reported Zelensky is eager to repair Ukraine’s relationship with the U.S. He has met with lobbyists to the Trump regime, hoping to open new channels of communications and re-establish ties.
  261. Zelensky’s team was discouraged by the absence of support ahead of his meeting with Putin, and frustrated about Trump’s meeting with Lavrov. When Giuliani came to Kyiv, no Ukrainian government official met with him.
  262. On Friday, CNN reported the White House has further restricted the number of officials who listen in to Trump’s calls with foreign leaders after the July 25 call led to the impeachment inquiry.
  263. The White House is also disseminating call transcripts to a much smaller group of people. Senior officials are looking to protect Trump, whose calls sometimes veer off into unguarded or undiplomatic territory.
  264. One official jokingly called the change, “The Vindman Rule.” On Friday, speaking to reporters, Trump referred in a mocking voice to “lieutenant colonel” Vindman, calling him a “beauty.”
  265. On Friday, the Supreme Court said it will take up the case of whether Trump must turn over his financial information to three congressional committees and the Manhattan District Attorney.
  266. The case will be heard in March, with a ruling before the court session ends in June — putting the landmark ruling likely coming in the months ahead of the November election.
  267. Pelosi signaled disappointment that the court took the case, citing further delays in Democrats’ investigation of Trump’s finances, saying the materials are “related to Congress’s need for legislation and oversight.”
  268. The historic case will test the Constitution’s separation-of-powers, and will mark the first time the president’s personal conduct has come before the court.
  269. A third case by the House Oversight Committee seeking 10 years of financial records from Trump, Donald Jr., Eric, and Ivanka from Deutsche Bank and Capital One is still proceeding in the 2nd Circuit.
  270. Later Friday, Trump tweeted, “It’s not fair that I’m being Impeached when I’ve done absolutely nothing wrong!” saying Democrats “have become the Party of Hate,” and “They are so bad for our Country!”
  271. Trump also falsely claimed in a tweet, “After watching the disgraceful way that a wonderful man, @BrettKavanaugh, was treated,” and the “whole Impeachment Hoax,” “so many Dems are voting Republican!”
  272. On Friday, NYT reported Cipollone is expected to represent Trump at the Senate trial, along with outside lawyers. However, Trump has noted his lack of TV experience, and is asking people are who his lawyer should be.
  273. As the Trump regime prepares, talks over the weekend will focus on how long the trial will last, how much time each side will get, whether witnesses will be called, who will get to speak, and where they will sit.
  274. Trump continued to push for witnesses, including Hunter Biden, Pelosi, and Schiff. The Senate has specific rules for trials, revised in 1986. The Senate must take up impeachment 1 p.m. the day after the House vote.
  275. Resolutions may pass with a simple majority of 51 votes. Meaning with the Senate split 53 to 47, if four Republicans defect, McConnell could lose control of the proceedings, and can only lose 2 votes to pass resolutions.
  276. Unlike the impeachment trial of Bill Clinton, where Trent Lott and Tom Daschle issued a joint statement after the House voted on articles, McConnell has yet to consult with Schumer on the parameters of the trial.
  277. On Friday, Reuters reported Trump ally Erik Prince held secret talks with top Venezuelan officials, including Vice President Delcy Rodriguez, who is under U.S. sanctions, raising questions of whether Prince violated the law.
  278. On Friday, a Wisconsin judge ordered the purge of 234,000 voters who may have moved. The Wisconsin Elections Commission planned to remove them in 2021 if no response, his order would be before the 2020 election.
  279. On Saturday, Trump continued his Twitter storm, saying without evidence voters are turning on Democrats. Trump quoted a Congressman, tweeting, “Independent voters are fed up and frustrated with the Democrats.”
  280. Trump also quoted an advisory member to his campaign, tweeting, “There are 31 House Democrats in Trump won Congressional Districts. Those Dems will have to answer to their constituents come 2020.”
  281. Trump also retweeted a tweet by Donald Jr. targeting a list of moderate Democrats: “Enough! These Democrats in Trump districts said they were with @realDonaldTrump. They lied!”
  282. On Saturday, at the Army-Navy football game which Trump attended, cadets were shown in a viral video flashing the “OK” White Power symbol, a hand signal that has been adopted by white supremacists.
  283. On Saturday, WAPO reported Trump met with the one Democrat planning to vote against impeachment so far, Jeff Van Drew, to speak about him changing his party. Van Drew was behind in his New Jersey primary race.
  284. On Saturday, as the week came to a close, an average of polls on impeachment by website FiveThirtyEight, found that 47.7% of Americans do support, and 45.7% do not support impeachment.

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House Judiciary Committee Chairman Rep. Jerrold Nadler, D-N.Y., speaks to the media following a House Judiciary Committee vote on the articles of impeachment against Trump, Friday, Dec. 13, 2019, on Capitol Hill in Washington.

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

DECEMBER 07, 2019

Week 160

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

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

IMG_0419

NYC. November 2019

IMG_0505
NYC. November 2019.

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

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

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

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

POLITIKS OF GRAFFITI 156: LOCK HIM UP!

NOVEMBER 02, 2019

Week 155

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

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

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

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

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CLOSE UP. 

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

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

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

POLITIKS OF GRAFFITI 134: CLOWN REGIME

JUNE 01, 2019

Week 133

Experts in authoritarianism advise to keep a list of things
subtly changing around you, so you’ll remember. https://theweeklylist.org/weekly-list/week-133/
IMG_8674
Clown images of Mueller and 45. Bushwick, Brooklyn, NY. 1jun19. artist: https://www.instagram.com/degrupo/

This week, special counsel Robert Mueller addressed the nation for the first time since the start of his investigation. Notably, Mueller said, “If we had had confidence that the president clearly did not commit a crime, we would have said so,” contradicting Attorney General William Barr’s statements, and Trump’s repeated proclamations of “no obstruction.” Mueller resigned and closed the special counsel office, and seemed to pass the ball to Congress on whether to pursue charges against Trump. Speaker Nancy Pelosi demurred, but pressure built this week after Mueller’s appearance with 55 members of Congress backing an impeachment inquiry, up from 31 last week, including 13 of the 24 House Judiciary Committee members.

Trump exploded after Mueller’s appearance, seeking to discredit him and the investigation. Later, he shifted the narrative by starting a trade war with Mexico, invoking a decades old act to empower himself to impose tariffs over a so-called “national emergency” at our southern border. As the week came to a close, Trump’s Department of Justice thumbed its nose at a court order to produce documents related to Michael Flynn. The regime has now usurped both the legislative and judicial branch — seizing and consolidating power with increasingly authoritarian actions. Adding to the authoritarian feel were the continued attacks on the rights of marginalized communities and women, the stripping of protections for the environment, and a shocking discovery this week related to the 2020 census citizenship question. And yet, there has been no accountability or consequences for Trump, his family, and the remaining members of the regime.

IMG_8693
“P H O N Y.” Bushwick, Brooklyn, NY. 1jun19.
  1. On Saturday, 2020 candidate Sen. Amy Klobuchar told a crowd in Iowa that during Trump’s 2017 inauguration speech, the late Sen. John McCain “kept reciting” the names of dictators.
  2. On Saturday, during his trip to Japan, Trump sided with Kim Jong Un over his senior advisers, tweeting, “North Korea fired off some small weapons, which disturbed some of my people, and others, but not me.”
  3. Trump also tweeted: “I have confidence that Chairman Kim will keep his promise to me,” and sided with Kim over Joe Biden, saying he “smiled” when Kim “called Swampman Joe Biden a low IQ individual, & worse.”
  4. In Trump’s initial tweet, Trump misspelled Biden’s name, saying “Joe Bidan a low IQ individual.” Trump then deleted the tweet. Earlier in the week, North Korea had called Biden a “fool of low IQ” and an “imbecile.”
  5. Members of the regime sought to downplay recent North Korea tests. Japanese Prime Minister Abe has yet to meet with Kim, and therefore relies on the U.S. as an intermediary. The U.S. has 54,000 forces in Japan.
  6. Japan is threatened by North Korea’s short-range missiles. Trump has downplayed North Korea’s tests, saying they do not violate his agreement with Kim, since short-range missiles do not directly threaten the U.S.
  7. On Sunday, press secretary Sarah Sanders told “Meet the Press,” of Trump and Kim, “I think they agree in their assessment” of Biden, adding Trump “doesn’t need somebody else to give him an assessment of Joe Biden.”
  8. On Monday, Memorial Day, in a series of tweets during his visit to Japan, Trump said, “The Dems are getting NOTHING done in Congress!” adding, “they only want a Do-Over on Mueller!”
  9. Trump also tweeted, “Impeach for what, having created perhaps the greatest Economy in our Country’s history, rebuilding our Military, taking care of our Vets,” adding the “Dems are Obstructionists!
  10. On Tuesday, Trump tweeted, “I was actually sticking up for Sleepy Joe Biden while on foreign soil,” adding Kim called him a “low IQ idiot,” but he relayed the Kim’s quote “as a much softer “low IQ individual.””
  11. On Tuesday, NYT reported that during Trump’s four-day trip to Japan, despite red carpet treatment, Trump focused on politics at home rather than diplomacy, tweeting at every opportunity he had.
  12. Past precedent is for American officials traveling abroad to leave domestic politics at home once they leave. Trump spent his time attacking Democrats, his 2020 rivals, and his national security adviser John Bolton.
  13. On Tuesday, AP reported the Navy is reviewing whether members violated Defense Department policy or regulations by wearing an arm patch with the words “Make Aircrews Great Again” during Trump’s visit to Japan.
  14. On Thursday, WSJ reported a May 15 email from a U.S. Indo-Pacific Command official to U.S. Navy and Air Force officials said the “USS John McCain needs to be out of sight” ahead of Trump’s visit to Japan.
  15. The official who made the request said it was the result of conversations between the White House Military Office and the Navy. Reportedly Acting Defense Secretary Pat Shanahan was aware of the concern.
  16. According to photos obtained by the Journal, a tarp was hung over the ship’s name ahead of Trump’s arrival, then the Navy used a barge to block the name and gave the sailors on the ship the day off.
  17. On Thursday, Trump tweeted, “I was not informed about anything having to do with the Navy Ship USS John S. McCain during my recent visit to Japan,” adding, “I loved being with our great Military Men and Women.”
  18. On Thursday, Trump reiterated to reporters, “I wasn’t involved. I would not have done that,” but said whoever kept the ship out of sight, “did it because they thought I didn’t like him. And they were well-meaning.”
  19. WAPO reported staffers did not want McCain’s name seen in photographs during Trump’s visit. Trump was not involved in the planning, but the request was reportedly made to keep him from becoming upset.
  20. Hours later, Trump discounted the story, tweeting: “The Navy put out a disclaimer on the McCain story. Looks like the story was an exaggeration, or even Fake News — but why not, everything else is!”
  21. On Thursday, Secretary Shanahan told reporters, “I would never dishonor the memory of a great American patriot like Sen. John McCain,” and “I’d never disrespect the young men and women that crew that ship.”
  22. The action was criticized by some Republican lawmakers. Meghan McCain tweeted: “It was named after my great grandfather and grandfather…and my father was added as namesake after he died. Get a life.”
  23. On Sunday, the Times drew criticism for a piece on Hope Hicks, featuring a glamorous photo of Hicks, and positing that she faced an “existential” question of whether she should comply with a congressional subpoena.
  24. On Sunday, Fox News host Chris Wallace challenged Sen. Lindsey Graham on “Fox New Sunday,” forcing him to watch clips of himself calling for the impeachment of former President Bill Clinton for ignoring subpoenas.
  25. Graham said on “Fox News Sunday” that Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s job is “very much at risk,” adding, “Nancy Pelosi is riding a bucking, wild bronco called the Democratic caucus.”
  26. On Sunday, Rep. Liz Cheney told “This Week” that the beginnings of Mueller’s investigation were suspect and needed to be investigated, saying, “That sounds an awful lot like a coup and it could well be treason.”
  27. Rep. Cheney specified texts exchanged by Peter Strzok and Lisa Page that were critical of Trump, and named James Comey and Andrew McCabe for their roles in the investigation.
  28. On Monday, Trump tweeted a news article about Rep. Cheney’s remarks, adding, “Liz Cheney: Statements by agents investigating Trump ‘could well be treason.’”
  29. On Sunday, press secretary Sanders told “Meet the Press” there was an “outrageous amount of corruption that took place at the F.B.I. They leaked information. They lied,” and they wanted to take down Trump.
  30. On Sunday, Axios reported according to CrowdTangle, Trump’s Twitter interaction rate, a measure of the impact his tweets, has fallen precipitously, reaching a new low this month.
  31. Trump’s interaction rate, measured by retweets and likes per tweet, divided by size of following, has fallen from 0.55% in November 2016, to 0.32% in June 2017, and down to 0.16% in May 2019.
  32. The number of tweets sent has increased from 157 times per month during his first 6 months, to 284 times per month over the last 6 months. As of May 25, Trump is up to 343, sure to break his record in August of 348.
  33. Utah judge Michael Kwan was suspended for making anti-Trump comments in court and on Facebook, including referencing to the “Access Hollywood” tape and calling Trump’s time in office a “fascist takeover.”
  34. While Facebook continued to defend their choice not to remove altered videos of Speaker Pelosi, the platform banned artist Kate Kretz, who turned MAGA hats into symbols of hate such as a Nazi arm band or a KKK hood.
  35. On Tuesday, CNN reported Facebook executives Mark Zuckerberg and Sheryl Sandberg did not attend a hearing in Ottawa, ignoring a subpoena from Canadian parliament. The two risk being held in comtempt.
  36. On Wednesday, in her first interview on the matter, Speaker Pelosi said Facebook’s unwillingness to take the videos down shows its leaders were “willing enablers” of Russian interference in the 2016 election.
  37. Pelosi also said, “We have said all along, poor Facebook, they were unwittingly exploited by the Russians,” but added, of the altered video, “I think it’s wrong,” and “I can take it . . . But [Facebook is] lying to the public.”
  38. On Wednesday, Vox reported cybersecurity firm FireEye revealed Facebook and Twitter removed thousands of accounts linked to Iran, which were impersonating Americans and GOP candidates for Congress.
  39. On Sunday, Nolan Brewer pleaded guilty to vandalizing Congregation Shaarey Tefilla, a synagogue in Indiana,with Nazi symbolism. Brewer was sentenced to three years in prison.
  40. Brewer detailed his road to radicalization to federal agents, including meeting with far-right group Identity Evropa, and being inspired by writings of former Breitbart editor Ben Shapiro and the Nazi website Stormfront.
  41. On Sunday, the New York Post reported incoming college students are rejected schools in states with restrictive abortion laws. One admissions consultant had 61 clients remove Georgia and Ohio schools from their list.
  42. On Tuesday, Planned Parenthood said Missouri’s health department refused to renew its annual license to provide abortion. PP will close the state’s last abortion clinic, effectively ending legal abortion in Missouri.
  43. On Tuesday, the Supreme Court turned down an appeal of an Indiana law banning abortion on the basis of sex or disability, but upheld part of the same law requiring abortion providers to bury or cremate fetal remains.
  44. Justice Clarence Thomas wrote in his opinion: “From the beginning, birth control and abortion were promoted as a means of effectuating eugenics.” Observers noted Thomas left the door open to outlaw birth control.
  45. Vice President Mike Pence applauded the Supreme Court expanding “protections for the unborn,” tweeting he was “proud” to have signed the bill into law, and calling it “a victory for life.”
  46. On Wednesday, the Louisiana state house passed a bill banning abortion once a heartbeat is detectable, with no exception for a pregnancy due to rape or incest. The Democratic governor is expected to sign it.
  47. On Friday, a Missouri judge granted Planned Parenthood’s request for a temporary restraining order against the state pulling its license. Missouri would have become the only state without a clinic that provides abortion.
  48. On Wednesday, Rewire News reported some pregnant migrant mothers in U.S. Marshals Services custody are not receiving adequate services, and are shackled when accessing prenatal care, giving birth, and postpartum care.
  49. Some mothers are forced to give their children up to Texas DFPS. A spokesperson claimed the protection agency may request temporary custody of the child when a parent or relative is not available to care for a child.
  50. On Thursday, NBC News reported Customs and Border Protection agents rounded up 1,036 migrants illegally crossing near El Paso early Wednesday, the largest group ever encountered; the previous record of 424 was set last month.
  51. On Thursday, Trump told reporters on the South Lawn that he was “going to do something very dramatic on the border” and it will be a “big league statement,” “my biggest statement, so far, on the border.”
  52. Trump also said he will not be closing the border, but that “the asylum procedures are ridiculous,” adding, “No place in the world has what we have in terms of ridiculous immigration laws.”
  53. On Thursday, Politico reported Trump is considering a draft proposal which would prohibit migrants from seeking asylum if they have resided in a country other than their own before arriving at the U.S. border.
  54. The proposal would effectively ban migrants from Central America from seeking asylum since almost all have had to undertake long journeys that traced through Mexico.
  55. On Friday, CNN reported an unannounced visit by the Department of Homeland Security Inspector General to an El Paso, Texas Border Patrol processing facility found “dangerous overcrowding” and unsanitary conditions.
  56. The IG found “standing room only” conditions at facilities with a maximum capacity of 125 migrants. On May 7 and 8, logs indicated that there were “approximately 750 and 900 detainees, respectively.”
  57. The report stated, “We also observed detainees standing on toilets in the cells to make room and gain breathing space, thus limiting access to the toilets.” Cells held four to five times their capacity.
  58. The IG found Border Patrol managers were concerned about an “immediate risk to the health and safety” and faced decreasing morale, and stated the situation at the border is “an acute and worsening crisis.”
  59. On Tuesday, Rep. Steve King said at a town hall that not all cultures contribute equally to civilization, adding saying so is “devaluing” the Founding Fathers, and “It is not about race…It is about culture.”
  60. On Thursday, a white campground manager in Mississippi pulled a gun on a black couple setting up for a picnic, saying they did not have a reservation. After a video was posted on Facebook, the manager was fired.
  61. On Wednesday, Motherboard reported Twitter has started researching whether white supremacists should be banned from their platform, or be allowed to stay and have their ideas engaged.
  62. On Thursday, Politico reported the State Department quietly published a notice on the federal register that it will establish a new body called the Commission on Unalienable Rights to focus on human rights.
  63. The notice says the commission will provide “fresh thinking” where discourse has departed from “our nation’s founding principles of natural law and natural rights” — raising alarm bells with LGBTQ advocates.
  64. On Thursday, New York City police said they were investigating an anti-Semitic message on a billboard at the Jewish Children’s Museum in Brooklyn which read, “Hitler is coming.”
  65. According to the New York City Police Department, the city has seen a 67% increase in hate crimes from April 2018 to April 2019. Gov. Andrew Cuomo ordered the incident investigated as a hate crime.
  66. On Thursday, Fox News host Laura Ingraham, countering Pelosi’s complaints about the altered video on Facebook, defended extremists who have been banned, including white supremacist Paul Nehlen.
  67. Nehlen describes himself as “pro-white,” and has said we need to “rid white lands of Jews.” After public outcry, Fox News defended Ingraham in a statement, saying she is “a fierce protector of freedom of speech.”
  68. On Friday, on Ingraham’s show, Rudy Guiliani claimed he canceled his trip to meet Ukraine’s new president, who is Jewish, because he is “surrounded by Soros people, Democrats, and people trying to set us up.”
  69. On Saturday, WAPO reported the Trump regime will end the Job Corps Civilian Conservation Centers program which trains disadvantaged young people for wildland fire fighting and other jobs in rural communities.
  70. Over 1,100 job center workers will lose their jobs at the soon-to-be-closed centers. WAPO reported the closings will result in the largest number of federal job cuts in a decade. No reason was given for the cuts.
  71. On Monday, NYT reported on the Trump regime hardening its attack on climate science. In the coming months, Trump will complete the rollback of federal efforts to curb greenhouse-gas emissions initiated by Obama.
  72. Trump is described as an “armchair naysayer” on climate change, and has been influenced by friends and donors including Carl Icahn, who owns oil refineries, and Harold Hamm, an oil-and-gas billionaire.
  73. Trump appointee James Reilly, director of the United States Geological Survey, ordered using computer models that project the impact of climate change through 2040, not the end of the century as was previously done.
  74. Scientists say this is misleading, since the planet is expected to warm at the same rate through 2050, but depending on carbon emissions levels, the rate of warming through is the end of the century is highly variable.
  75. The regime is also targeting the National Climate Assessment, a report that has been produced every four years since 2000. The next report, due in 2021 or 2022, will not automatically include worst case scenarios.
  76. The regime is setting up a climate review panel, led by a climate change denier, William Happer, who serves on the National Security Council, and along with John Bolton, has been funded by Robert and Rebekah Mercer.
  77. On Tuesday, WSJ reported Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao’s financial disclosure forms show she still owns shares of Vulcan Materials Co., more than a year after she said she would divest her stake.
  78. Bloomberg reported Kushner Cos got $800 million of financing backed by Freddie Mac to buy apartments in Maryland and Virginia — the company’s biggest purchase in a decade.
  79. Prior to Kushner taking a White House role, Kushner Cos had roughly $500 million in loans from Fannie and Freddie. Trump appointed Joseph Otting, former CEO of Steve Mnuchin’s OneWest Bank, to oversee the agency.
  80. Over Memorial Day weekend, the group We Build The Wall, through which veteran Brian Kolfage raised millions on a GoFundMe page, started construction of a private wall along the New Mexico-Mexico border.
  81. About half a mile of steel fencing was put up on land owned by American Eagle Brick Co. Fisher Sand & Gravel, the North Dakota company Trump has been pushing to build his wall, did the construction.
  82. On Tuesday, the town government of Sunland Park, New Mexico ordered the group to stop construction, saying it lacked necessary permits. We Build The Wall stopped construction on Wednesday.
  83. On Monday, Republican leaders in the Senate, including Sens. Lindsey Graham, John Corynyn, and Thom Tillis, vowed to quickly quash any impeachment charges. The three are up for re-election in 2020.
  84. On Tuesday, the Guardian reported a new book by author Michael Wolff claims Mueller prepared a three-count obstruction of justice indictment, but decided to shelve it. A special counsel spokesperson denied it.
  85. On Tuesday, in a 25-tweet post, Rep. Justin Amash accused Attorney General William Barr of using his post “to sell the president’s false narrative to the American people.”
  86. On Tuesday, at a town hall of 700 in Grand Rapids, Michigan, Amash was greeted by a standing ovation. Amash said, “I think it’s really important that we do our job as Congress. That we would not allow misconduct to go undeterred.”
  87. On Tuesday, Democrats in the House and Senate told U.S. District Judge Emmet Sullivan they would like to pursue getting Trump’s personal financial records and corporate records in their emoluments lawsuit.
  88. Democrats claim they have not been able to consider and approve business proceeds from foreign governments, and are requesting documents from banks, the Trump Org, and his trust account beginning in late June.
  89. On Tuesday, Roger Stone tried and failed for a second time to get his criminal case moved to a new judge, citing his case was not related to a separate criminal case against Russian military officers.
  90. On Tuesday, bowing to a request by CNN, the DOJ agreed in federal court to publicly release lists describing hundreds of miscellaneous court actions, such as search warrants, used in the Mueller investigation
  91. On Tuesday, Trump cautioned Roy Moore, who is considering running for the senate again in 2020, tweeting: “Republicans cannot allow themselves to again lose the Senate seat in the Great State of Alabama.”
  92. In his last run for Senate, Trump backed Moore, who is accused of seeking out multiple teen girls while in his 30s. Moore said Wednesday, “There’s a lot I have to offer,” adding, “Everything seems to be very favorable.”
  93. On Wednesday, Moore struck back at Trump, telling Politico: “The president doesn’t control who votes for the United States Senate in Alabama,” adding, “They know I’ll win. That’s why they’re upset.”
  94. On Tuesday, the new State Department spokesperson, Morgan Ortagus, said she would resume news briefings, saying she would answer questions almost every weekday when not traveling with Secretary of State Mike Pompeo.
  95. Since Eisenhower, State Department daily briefings were the norm. Under Trump, the briefings shrank to twice a week or less, some weeks none at all. The Department of Defense has gone almost a year without a briefing.
  96. On Wednesday, the DOJ announced Mueller would hold a press conference at 11 a.m. EST. Barr and Trump’s aides were notified Tuesday evening. Barr was in Alaska, and Trump watched from the White House.
  97. Mueller spoke to the public for the first time since his investigation began, and in remarks that lasted for just under 10 minutes, announced he was resigning and closing the special counsel’s office.
  98. Mueller said his office did not “make a determination,” saying DOJ policy prohibits charging a sitting president with a crime, seeming to counter Barr who said evidence was insufficient to warrant a prosecution.
  99.  Mueller seemed to pass the responsibility to Congress, saying “the Constitution requires a process other than the criminal justice system to formally accuse a sitting president of wrongdoing.”
  100. Mueller also raised eyebrows by saying, “If we had had confidence that the president clearly did not commit a crime, we would have said so.” This statement contradicted Barr’s public statements and Trump’s narrative.
  101. Mueller said he and Barr had disagreed over whether to release his team’s summaries, but said, “I certainly do not question the attorney general’s good faith in that decision,” and complimented him releasing the report.
  102. Mueller said he did not want to comment further in public, saying, “The report is my testimony,” and adding, “I am making that decision myself. No one has told me whether I can or should testify or speak further.”
  103. Mueller opened and closed his remarks commenting on Russian interference in the 2016 election, saying there were “multiple, systematic efforts” and that “allegation deserves the attention of every American.”
  104. Shortly after Mueller finished, Trump tweeted, “Nothing changes from the Mueller Report,” adding, “There was insufficient evidence and therefore, in our Country, a person is innocent. The case is closed! Thank you.”
  105. Press secretary Sanders said, “We consider this case closed,” and downplayed the appearance, saying Mueller “has closed his office and it’s time for everybody to move on.”
  106. Speaker Pelosi resisted calls for impeachment, saying, “You don’t bring an impeachment unless you have all the facts,” adding we need an “ironclad case that even the Republican Senate…will be convinced.”
  107. Speaker Pelosi said “the press makes more a of a fuss,” saying “it’s like 35…maybe its 38 out of 238” House members who are for impeachment, adding, “but we want to do what’s right and what gets results.”
  108. Mueller’s remarks also pushed three more Democratic 2020 presidential candidates to call for impeachment, making 10 out of 23. Rep. Amash said, “The ball is in our court, Congress.”
  109. Late Wednesday, Trump tweeted, “How do you impeach a Republican President for a crime that was committed by the Democrats? WITCH-HUNT!”
  110. On Thursday, in a series of tweets, Trump attacked Mueller referencing “the Greatest Presidential Harassment in history,” and falsely claiming Mueller spent “$40,000,000 over two dark years.”
  111. Trump also accused Mueller of having a personal vendetta against him, calling him “highly conflicted” and said he “would have brought charges, if he had ANYTHING, but there were no charges to bring!”
  112. Trump also tweeted: “Russia, Russia, Russia! That’s all you heard at the beginning of this Witch Hunt Hoax,” adding, “now Russia has disappeared because I had nothing to do with Russia helping me to get elected.”
  113. In an earlier version of the tweet that was deleted, Trump said, “I had nothing to do with Russia helping me to get elected.” This was his first public acknowledgment that Russia interfered expressly to help him.
  114. Trump also tweeted, “So now the Dems and their partner, the Fake News Media, say he fought back against this phony crime that didn’t exist,” and “Could this be Obstruction? No, Mueller didn’t find Obstruction either.”
  115. A half-hour later, Trump told reporters, “No, Russia did not help me get elected,”adding “You know who got me elected? I got me elected. Russia didn’t help me at all. Russia, if anything, I think, helped the other side.”
  116. Trump also told reporters that Mueller was “totally conflicted” and “a true never-Trumper,” adding, “Robert Mueller should have never been chosen” by former deputy attorney general Rod Rosenstein.
  117. Trump said Mueller was “totally conflicted” because he had discussions about the position of FBI director, and is friendly with James Comey. “He loves Comey. Whether it’s love or a deep like, he was conflicted.”
  118. Trump also cited an unidentified “business dispute” with Mueller. It has been previously reported that the White House alleges a dispute over membership fees at Trump National Golf Club in Northern Virginia.
  119. Trump said of Democrats advocating for impeachment, “It’s a dirty, filthy, disgusting word, and it has nothing to do with me,” adding, “There was no high crime, and there was no misdemeanor.”
  120. Afterwards, Trump tweeted, “Robert Mueller came to the Oval Office…seeking to be named the Director of the FBI,” and “I told him NO. The next day he was named Special Counsel — A total Conflict of Interest.”
  121. Trump’s use of “Russia, Russia, Russia” was widely mocked and referenced by Dictionary.com, which tweeted, “Palilogy is a word that describes the technique of repeating a word or phrase for emphasis.”
  122. CNN fact-checked Trump’s morning statements and tweets and found 21 lies and falsehoods about the Russia investigation, Mueller’s findings, the cost of the probe, and the legal restrictions that Mueller faced.
  123. As of Thursday evening, 50 House members were in favor of starting an impeachment inquiry of Trump, including five committee chairs, 11 members of the House Judiciary Committee, and one Republican.
  124. On Thursday, a Republican group, the Republicans for the Rule of Law, said it would hand-deliver copies of the Mueller report to every Republican member of Congress with sections highlighted.
  125. On Friday, “CBS This Morning” aired Barr’s first network interview. The interview was taped Thursday from Alaska the day after Mueller spoke publicly. Barr appeared in casual attire by a fireplace.
  126. Barr countered Mueller’s public statement, saying, “The opinion says you cannot indict a president while he is in office,” but added Mueller “could’ve reached a decision as to whether it was criminal activity.”
  127. Barr said Mueller “had his reasons for not doing it, which he explained and I am not going to, you know, argue about those reasons,” but added he and Rosenstein “felt it was necessary” for them to make a decision on the issue.
  128. Barr also said he did not understand what Mueller meant when he seemed to refer the investigation to Congress, saying, “The Department of Justice doesn’t use our powers of investigating crimes as an adjunct to Congress.”
  129. When asked about his reputation, “You’re now someone who’s accused of protecting the president, enabling the president, lying to Congress,” Barr responded, “I don’t care about my legacy,” adding,“I’ll be dead.”
  130. Barr added, “we live in a crazy, hyperpartisan period of time,” saying he would be “attacked because nowadays people don’t care about the merits or the substance, they only care about who it helps.”
  131. Barr also criticized the media for allegedly ignoring surveillance of the Trump campaign, saying, “Normally the media would be interested in letting the sunshine in and finding out what the truth is.”
  132. As of Friday, 55 House members were in favor of starting an impeachment inquiry, including 13 of the 24members of the House Judiciary Committee.
  133. On Thursday, just before the Supreme Court was set to rule likely in favor of adding a new citizenship question to the 2020 census, new evidence was found in the files of GOP redistricting strategist Thomas Hofeller.
  134. Hofeller, who was known as the “Michelangelo of gerrymandering, the architect of partisan political maps” died last summer. His estranged daughter found the files while sorting through his personal effects.
  135. Hofeller urged Mark Neuman, his friend for decades and part of Trump’s transition team, to consider the census question. Neuman later became an informal adviser on census issues to Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross.
  136. Files cited his 2015 study which found adding a citizenship question would allow Republicans to draft even more extreme gerrymandered maps to give a structural advantage to ‘Republicans and Non-Hispanic Whites.’
  137. Hofeller wrote a key part of the DOJ letter claiming the question was needed to enforce the 1965 Voting Rights Act, the rationale used by the regime for adding the question. The regime hid Hofeller’s involvement.
  138. The documents were included in a federal court filing on Thursday by opponents of the question, and represent the clearest evidence to date that the Trump regime added the question to advance Republican interests.
  139. The filing also sought sanctions against the defendants in the lawsuit, led by Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross, who were accused of misrepresentations “on the central issues of this case.”
  140. On Friday, the NYT Editorial Board said in an op-ed that the Trump regime lied about the census, calling on the Supreme Court to see these actions as “a blatant attempt to rig a constitutional mandate.”
  141. On Wednesday, the Miami Herald reported federal prosecutors in Washington D.C. subpoenaed Trump’s Mar-a-Lago and Trump Victory, a political fundraising committee, for records relating to donor Cindy Yang.
  142. Yang has drawn scrutiny for allegedly trying to sell Chinese citizens access to the Trump regime. Bing Bing Peranio and several others who had donated to Trump were also named in the subpoenas.
  143. Prosecutors also sought information on at least eight Trump-related events that Yang advertised to Chinese clients, including five that gave proceeds to Trump Victory for Trump’s re-election.
  144. On Thursday, Judge Amy Berman Jackson certified that the federal government now owns condo 43G in Trump Tower, which was seized from Paul Manafort as part of the Mueller probe.
  145. On Thursday, late in the day, Trump said he would impose a 5% tariff on Mexican imports beginning June 10 unless Mexico stopped the flow of illegal immigrants coming to the U.S. border.
  146. The White House added tariffs would increase to 10% on July 1, then an additional 5% on the first day of each month, reaching 25% “until Mexico substantially stops the illegal inflow of aliens coming through its territory.”
  147. The White House cited the 1977 International Emergency Economic Powers which gives Trump power to impose tariffs on countries if he cites a “national emergency,” as he did months ago for the southern border.
  148. WAPO reported White House officials were caught off guard by the announcement which seemed to escalateon Thursday afternoon, after Trump’s morning storm on Mueller.
  149. Some aides tried to talk Trump out of imposing tariffs, saying it would undermine passage of the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA) trade deal, which was just sent to Congress.
  150. Republican senators also warned Trump Mexico tariffs could blow up the USMCA trade deal. Sens. Chuck Grassley and Joni Ernst from farm state Iowa expressed concern about the impact on the agriculture community.
  151. In a harsh letter late Thursday, Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador told Trump “social problems can’t be resolved through taxes or coercive measures,” adding, “The statue of liberty is not an empty symbol.”
  152. On Thursday, Costco’s chief financial officer said the retailer is starting to see the effect of Trump’s trade war with China, as consumers are beginning to see higher prices for goods like furniture, bikes, and luggage.
  153. On Friday, Trump brushed back criticism, tweeting: “In order not to pay Tariffs, if they start rising, companies will leave Mexico,” adding Mexico has taken “30 percent of our Auto Industry…come back home to the USA.”
  154. Trump tweeted tariffs are about “stopping drugs as well as illegals!” adding, “90 percent of the Drugs” come from Mexico and our southern border, and “80,000 people died last year, 1,000,000 people ruined.”
  155. CNBC reported Treasury Secretary Mnuchin and top trade advisor Robert Lighthizer opposed Trump’s surprise move to impose tariffs — it was pushed by Stephen Miller as a way to counter the surge in border crossings.
  156. On Friday, the Dow dropped more than 350 points, with shares of the Big three auto makers, railroads, and consumer goods companies dropping sharply. Mexico is one of the U.S.’s largest trading partners.
  157. On Friday, CNBC reported business groups, including the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, are considering legal options, including suing the White House over Trump’s new tariffs.
  158. On Friday, Fox News host Tucker Carlson advocated for Trump’s tariffs, saying, “When the United States is attacked by a hostile foreign power, it must strike back. And make no mistake, Mexico is a hostile foreign power.”
  159. On Friday, Trump said in a proclamation that the regime would end India’s special trade treatment, removing the country’s designation as a beneficiary developing country.
  160. On Friday, the deadline for Judge Emmett Sullivan’s order related to Michael Flynn, the DOJ turned over a voice mail recording, but failed to comply with turning over recordings of his calls with Russian officials.
  161. The DOJ cited as rationale that it did not rely on the recordings to establish Flynn’s guilt or in his sentencing. The DOJ also failed to release unredacted portions of the Mueller report related to Flynn as ordered.
  162. Sullivan had ordered that the materials be made public, including transcripts and recording of any conversations Flynn has with Russian officials, including his December 2016 conversation with Russian ambassador Sergey Kislyak.
  163. Prosecutors provided only one item, a transcript of a November 2017 call between Trump attorney John Dowd and Flynn attorney Rob Kelner, much of which was already made public in the Mueller report.
  164. Dowd possibly obstructed justice saying, “I understand your situation, but let me see if I can’t state it in starker terms,” adding, if “there’s information that implicates the President, then we’ve got a national security issue.”
  165. On Friday, in the criminal case against Flynn’s former business partner Bijan Rafiekian, a memo that was part of the Mueller probe revealed Flynn’s Turkish client complained about Trump’s stance during the campaign.
  166. Ekim Alptekin, a Turkish businessman, paid Flynn $500,000 to advance Turkish government interests. The October 2016 memo says, “Start a strategic outreach campaign for the next President…regardless of party.”
  167. The memo also indicated that part of the work was investigating alleged financial ties between schools and supporters of Gulen, a cleric the Turkey wanted the U.S. to extradite, and Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton.
  168. On Monday, Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz was ousted by parliament in a no-confidence vote, making the center-right politician the shortest-serving chancellor since 1945 with just 525 days in office.
  169. The ousting comes after Austria’s vice chancellor resigned in Week 131 after a video emerged showing him offering government contracts to a purported Russian investor in exchange for campaign donations.
  170. On Wednesday, Boris Johnson, the leading candidate to succeed Theresa May as British Prime Minister, was ordered to appear in court to face summons on three counts of misconduct relating to alleged Brexit lies.
  171. On Wednesday, Israel’s Parliament voted to dissolve itself. The country will hold an unprecedented second election after Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu failed to form a governing coalition.
  172. On Wednesday, Lt. Gen. Robert Ashley, the director of the Defense Intelligence Agency, said in speech that Russia is “probably” not adhering to an international treaty banning nuclear weapons testing.
  173. Russia rebuked the accusation with Konstantin Kosachev, head of the foreign relations, saying, “Unfounded accusations from the mouths of the Americans have already become an absurd norm in international affairs.”
  174. On Thursday, South Korean newspaper Chosun Ilbo reported North Korea executed Kim Hyok Chol, North Korea’s special envoy to the U.S., along with three other foreign ministry officials over the failed Hanoi summit.
  175. Another official, Kim Jong Un’s top deputy, Kim Yong Chol, was sentenced to hard labor. The five were accused of spying for the U.S. for “poorly reporting on the negotiations without properly grasping U.S. intentions.”
  176. On Friday, Secretary of State Pompeo told reporters in Germany, “We’ve seen the reporting…We’re doing our best to check it out.” On May 5, Pompeo smirked when asked about the execution on ABC’s “This Week.”
  177. On Friday, Bloomberg reported that Trump is expected to face thousands of protestors when he visits the U.K. next week. Protestors are also planning to fly another giant balloon depicting Trump as an orange baby.
  178. On Friday, speaking to British tabloid The Sun, Trump said he was surprised Meghan Markle, Duchess of Sussex, called him “divisive” and “misogynistic” in 2016, saying, “I didn’t know that she was nasty.”
  179. On Friday, Trump ally Alan Dershowitz said in an op-ed that the Supreme Court could overrule impeachmentif the House were to impeach Trump despite his not having committed “high crimes and misdemeanors.”
  180. On Saturday, Speaker Pelosi spoke at the California Democratic Party convention in San Francisco. A person in the crowd shouted, “Impeach!,” which soon became dozens shouting, then close to a hundred chanting.
  181. Pelosi said Congress would continue to aggressively investigate Trump and his regime, saying, “What is the president covering up?” adding, “We must investigate the president’s welcoming of the assault on our democracy.”
  182. Pelosi added, “Mueller warned us in the starkest terms that there was an attack on our election and an attack on our democracy,” questioning, “Why won’t the president defend us from this attack?
  183. On Saturday, beginning in the evening and ending on Sunday, New Neighborhood, Slightly Altered States, and other arts and media companies hosted a public reading of the Mueller report in Queens, NY.

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Special Counsel Robert Mueller makes a statement about the Russia investigation in his first public appearance on May 29, 2019 at the Justice Department in Washington, DC.

POLITIKS OF GRAFFITI 133: “ALARMING POWERS”

MAY 25, 2019

Week 132

Experts in authoritarianism advise to keep a list of things
subtly changing around you, so you’ll remember. https://theweeklylist.org/weekly-list/week-132/
IMG_8126
“IMPEACH” sticker in Times Square, NYC. 23may19.

This week the first Republican, Rep. Justin Amash, came out for impeaching Trump. While Trump allies sought to attack and punish Amash to avoid further defections, momentum grew among the House Democratic caucus for impeachment hearings. Feeling the pressure Speaker Nancy Pelosi defended staying focused on policy, but directly attacked Trump for a “cover-up,” leading Trump to storm out of a scheduled meeting with Democratic leaders, saying he refused to work with them until they stop investigating him. The two leaders publicly battled, as altered videos of Pelosi appeared online, a redux of false attacks on Hillary Clinton’s mental acumen used in 2016.

In authoritarian-type moves, Trump granted his attorney general alarming powers to investigate the investigators. Trump bypassed Congress, invoking a national emergency again to sell weapons to Saudi Arabia, and “joked” about serving up to five terms in office. Trump continued to stonewall House oversight as Trump prevented Don McGahn from testifying, and appealed rulings thwarting his efforts to block the release of financial documents from Mazars USA and Deutsche Bank.

This week the war on women’s reproductive rights continued, while the regime quietly stripped protections from the LGBTQ community. A sixth immigrant was reported to have died in U.S. government custody in the last eight months — this, the second death hidden by the Trump regime until uncovered by the press. Speaker Pelosi noted in ten years not a single child died in custody at the border.

IMG_8165
A sticker depicting the TREASONOUS relationship between 45 and Saudi Arabia. New York City. 22may19.
IMG_8135
ILLEGITIMATE. Sticker in New York City. 22may19.
IMG_8142
Flag flying outside of a Firehouse in NYC. A solemn reminder of the courage and sacrifice of many, protecting a country which is being sold to the highest bidder by an incompetent con man. 24may19. 
  1. The Times tallied 29 open investigations related to Trump, including ten federal criminal investigations, eight state and local investigations, and 11 Congressional investigations.
  2. On Saturday, Michigan Rep. Justin Amash became the first Republican to say Trump committed impeachable offenses, and that Attorney General William Barr “deliberately misrepresented” the Mueller report.
  3. In a series of tweets, Amash said: “Contrary to Barr’s portrayal, Mueller’s report reveals that President Trump engaged in specific actions and a pattern of behavior that meet the threshold for impeachment.”
  4. Amash tweeted, “Few members of Congress” read Mueller’s report, and “America’s institutions depend on officials to uphold both the rules and spirit of our constitutional system” even when “personally inconvenient.”
  5. On Saturday, Republican National Committee Chairwoman Ronna McDaniel slammed Amash for “parroting the Democrats’ talking points on Russia,” and subtly threatened a primary challenge in 2020.
  6. On Sunday, Trump attacked Rep. Amash, tweeting: “Never a fan of @justinamash,” calling him “a total lightweight” and “a loser who sadly plays right into our opponents hands!”
  7. Trump also tweeted, “If he actually read the biased Mueller Report, “composed” by 18 Angry Dems who hated Trump” he would find “NO COLLUSION and, ultimately, NO OBSTRUCTION.”
  8. On Sunday, Michigan state Rep. Jim Lower said he would primary Amash, saying in a statement, “I am a Pro-Trump, Pro-Life, Pro-Jobs, Pro-2nd Amendment, Pro-Family Values Republican.”
  9. House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy accused Amash of being a closet Democrat, while the WAPO Editorial Board celebrated him, saying, “Could this be … a Republican with backbone?”
  10. On Monday, Amash doubled down, saying in a 20 tweet thread
    “some of the president’s actions were inherently corrupt,” adding, “Other actions were corrupt — and therefore impeachable.”
  11. On Monday, in an evening vote, the House Freedom Caucus voted to formally condemn Amash, one of its founding members, but stopped short of kicking him out of the group.
  12. On Sunday, House Intelligence Committee Chair Adam Schiff told “Face the Nation” that impeachment hearings could be an “additional tool” to get information, adding the House is “gradually escalating the tactics.”
  13. On Sunday, Guardian reported U.S. prosecutors will be given open access by Ecuadorian officials to Julian Assange’s possessions during his time living in the Ecuadorian embassy in London.
  14. On Sunday, Trump threatened Iran, tweeting: “If Iran wants to fight, that will be the official end of Iran. Never threaten the United States again!” It was unclear what prompted the tweet, perhaps Fox News segments.
  15. On Monday, when asked by reporters about Iran, Trump said he had seen “no indication that anything is happening or will happen,” adding, “But if it does it will be met with great force.”
  16. On Wednesday, the Senate Foreign Relations Committee voted to reject a Democratic proposal to requirecongressional approval before Trump can take military action against Iran. Only GOP Sen. Rand Paul voted for it.
  17. On Sunday, NYT reported anti-money-laundering specialists at Deutsche Bank recommended in 2016 and 2017 that multiple transactions involving Trump and Kushner be reported to a federal financial-crimes watchdog.
  18. The transactions, including some by Trump’s foundation, set off computer systems alerts. Staffers prepared suspicious activity reports which should have been sent to the Treasury Department unit policing financial crimes.
  19. At least some transactions involved money flowing back and forth with overseas entities or individuals. Staffers were overruled by executives and the SAR reports were never filed.
  20. Tammy McFadden, an experienced staffer in the bank’s Jacksonville office, said she found money had moved from Kushner Companies to Russian individuals, and wanted to report the transactions. She was later fired.
  21. Typically SAR reports are reviewed by a team of anti-money laundering experts. Instead the reports went to private banking relationship managers in New York who said McFadden’s concerns were unfounded and did not file SARs.
  22. Several anti-money laundering staffers who complained about the processes to the head of the bank’s financial crimes investigations division in Jacksonville were ignored and criticized for having a negative attitude.
  23. On Monday, is a series of five tweets, Trump attacked the Times for its reporting, saying, “The Failing New York Times (it will pass away when I leave office in 6 years),” adding, “keep writing phony stories.”
  24. Trump also tweeted, “When you don’t need or want money, you don’t need or want banks,” adding, “Fake Media only says this to disparage, and always uses unnamed sources (because their sources don’t even exist.)”
  25. Trump also tweeted, “The Mainstream Media has never been as corrupt and deranged as it is today,” adding, “FAKE NEWS is actually the biggest story of all and is the true ENEMY OF THE PEOPLE!
  26. On Monday, Deutsche Bank shares fell nearly 3%, down 5% since the start of the year — hitting a record low amid downgrades.
  27. On Wednesday, Deutsche Bank management said it used faulty software to detect money laundering. The bank nonetheless maintained that no suspicious transactions had been missed as a result.
  28. On Monday, the White House counsel blocked Don McGahn from testifying before the House Judiciary Committee scheduled for Tuesday, citing a Department of Justice opinion.
  29. The 15-page legal opinion argued McGahn cannot be compelled to testify based on past DOJ legal opinionsregarding the president’s close advisers, and his immunity is broader than a claim of executive privilege.
  30. As a private citizen, McGahn was not bound by an Office of Legal Counsel (OLC) memo to refuse to comply with a subpoena, but McGahn’s lawyer, William Burck, said in a letter that McGahn would not testify.
  31. On Monday, Rep. David Cicilline, a member of House Democratic leadership who serves on the Judiciary Committee, said if McGahn does not testify, the panel should open an impeachment inquiry into Trump.
  32. On Monday, WAPO reported Michael Cohen told a House panel at closed-door hearings that Trump lawyer Jay Sekulow instructed him to falsely claim Trump Tower Moscow negotiations ended on January 31, 2016.
  33. Cohen testified in February and March 2019 before the House Intelligence Committee. Sekulow called Cohen’s claim “completely false.” The four lawyers Schiff sent requests to last week cited attorney-client privilege.
  34. On Monday, the House Intelligence Committee voted 12-7 to release Cohen’s testimony. Cohen said Jared and Ivanka’s attorney, Abbe Lowell, also reviewed his testimony and was aware of the “false” statements.
  35. Cohen said, through an intermediary, Lowell reached out to tell Cohen to edit his testimony to distance himself from Ivanka in the Trump Tower Moscow negotiations.
  36. Cohen also said he discussed the possibility of a pardon with Sekulow and Robert Costello, an intermediary for Rudy Giuliani. Costello wrote in an email to Cohen, “Sleep well tonight, you have friend in high places.”
  37. Cohen said in his testimony that Trump had read his written testimony, which was false, before it was provided to Congress, with Sekulow saying the client likes it and that is good.
  38. On Monday, federal judge Amit Mehta ruled Mazars USA, Trump’s accounting firm, must turn over Trump’s financial records to the House Oversight Committee — an early judicial test of Trump’s stonewall tactic.
  39. Mehta wrote, “It is simply not fathomable that a Constitution that grants Congress the power to remove a President for reasons including criminal behavior would deny Congress the power to investigate him for unlawful conduct.”
  40. The judge also drew comparisons to former president James Buchanan, generally considered by historians to be one of the country’s worst leaders, who he said also complained bitterly about “harassing” congressional inquiries.
  41. The judge also denied Trump’s lawyer’s request that he issue a stay of his ruling until the Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia completed its review of the case.
  42. Trump told reporters Monday he would appeal the ruling, saying, “totally the wrong decision by obviously an Obama-appointed judge,” adding it was “crazy” because “this never happened to any other president.”
  43. On Monday, Chair Jerry Nadler told CNN if McGahn does not show, the “first thing we are going to do is hold McGahn in contempt.” Nadler issued a letter to McGahn Monday evening saying he expected him to appear.
  44. On Monday, Politico reported during a closed-door leadership meeting in Speaker Pelosi’s office, Democrats clashed over impeachment, with Pelosi and her allies rejecting the call to move forward for now.
  45. Three leaders, Reps. Cicilline, Jamie Raskin, and Joe Neguse pushed to begin impeachment proceedings. Pelosi and her allies argued the majority of Democrats do not want impeachment.
  46. At a Steering and Policy Committee meeting, Rep. Steve Cohen called for impeachment. Pelosi said, “This isn’t about politics at all. It’s about patriotism. It’s about the strength we need to have to see things through.”
  47. Pelosi and her allies argue anti-Trump fervor is overwhelming messaging on their agenda, and most House members are against it. Also impeaching in the House and acquitting in the Senate would strengthen Trump’s hand.
  48. WAPO reported at least five members of Pelosi’s leadership team are pushing for impeachment, including four on the Judiciary Committee. Nadler met with Pelosi and made the case to start the inquiry.
  49. The Indianapolis Star reported dozens of graduates walked out in protest at a commencement address by Vice President Mike Pence at Taylor University. The school had debated the appropriateness of his appearance.
  50. On Monday, BuzzFeed reported Immigration and Customs Enforcement is detaining 52,398 migrants, a record high. Earlier in May, the average daily population was 46,873.
  51. On Monday, NBC News reported Gregorio Hernandez Vasquez, a 16 year-old from Guatemala, died in Customs and Border Protection custody at the Weslaco Border Patrol Station in south Texas.
  52. Vasquez was diagnosed with the flu the day before, and was unresponsive Monday morning during a welfare check. He is the fifth migrant child to die in U.S. custody since December.
  53. On Wednesday, CBP temporarily closed the migrant facility, saying “a large number” of people in custody were found to have high fevers.
  54. On Wednesday, AP reported the Pentagon will build temporary shelter at the U.S.-Mexican border for at least 7,500 adult migrants in ICE custody, following a request by the Department of Homeland Security. The military will not operate the facilities.
  55. On Wednesday, CBS News reported a 10 year-old girl from El Salvador died in U.S. custody on September 29, 2018. Her death, the sixth known in the past eight months, was not previously reported.
  56. On Thursday, Speaker Pelosi said at a news conference, “It’s important to note that in the 10 years before this, not a single child died in custody at the border. Now, 6 children have died in the last several months.”
  57. On Thursday, BuzzFeed reported the ACLU of Texas sued the U.S. government over the fatal CBP shooting of Claudia Patricia Gómez González, a 20 year-old Guatemalan woman, in May 2018.
  58. On Monday, AL.com reported Alabama Public Television refused to air an episode of the animated series “Arthur” which featured a gay wedding, choosing to re-run an episode in the slot instead.
  59. On Monday, CNN reported Muhlaysia Booker, a transgender woman whose brutal assault was captured on video in April in a possible hate crime, was found dead by the Dallas police after being shot.
  60. On Tuesday, two dozen states, cities, and counties sued the Trump regime over its new rule which would shield health care workers who refuse medical procedures if it violates their “conscience.”
  61. The lawsuit argued the new rule would have dire effects for patients who depend on government assistance, particularly low-income people of color, women, and LGBTQ people
  62. On Wednesday, a HUD proposal would gut protections for transgender people at homeless shelters, allowing taxpayer-funded shelters “to consider a range of factors,” such as religious beliefs, for whom they admit.
  63. On Friday, the Trump regime’s Health and Human Services department moved to revoke transgender health protection by removing “gender identity” as protected under federal laws that prohibit sex discrimination in health care.
  64. The move is the latest in a series targeted at the LGBTQ community, including in the military, housing, and healthcare, and would reverse an Obama-era policy the regime is already not enforcing.
  65. On Wednesday, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin told the House Financial Services Committee the redesign of the $20 bill to add Harriet Tubman, announced in April 2016 by Obama’s Treasury Secretary Jack Lew, will be delayed until 2028.
  66. Trump had said in 2016 of removing his hero Andrew Jackson, “ I think it’s very rough when you take somebody off the bill.” Mnuchin also said, “The $10 and the $50 will come out with new features beforehand.”
  67. CNN reported the U.S. Food and Drug Administration sent a warning letter to Aid Access, a European organization that provide doctor-prescribed abortion pills by mail, to stop deliveries.
  68. On Wednesday, NPR reported that anti-abortion groups, fueled by passage of the Alabama abortion ban, are reconsidering decades-old talking points on exceptions for rape and incest.
  69. In a letter to RNC Chair Ronna Romney McDaniel, one anti-abortion group wrote: “A child conceived in rape is still a child. We don’t blame children for other matters outside their control. Why should we do so here?”
  70. On Friday, a federal judge in Mississippi temporarily blocked a state law which would have banned abortion after six weeks. The same judge had blocked a ban at 15 weeks last November.
  71. On Friday, Missouri Gov. Mike Parson signed legislation banning abortion at eight weeks into law. The Missouri law has an exception for medical emergencies, but not for rape and incest.
  72. On Wednesday, Dayton, Ohio Mayor Nan Whaley warned people to avoid Dayton’s downtown area on Saturday, as the city braced for a rally organized by a group with ties to the Ku Klux Klan.
  73. On Friday, the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston apologized after students from a middle school where the majority are Latino or Black on a field trip were told by a staff member “no food, no drink, no watermelon.”
  74. After reviewing footage of the visit, the museum found other visitors made racist comments to the students. Those identified had their membership revoked or will be banned from visiting.
  75. On Monday, NYT reported Kris Kobach has given the White House a list of 10 demands if he is to become the regime’s “immigration czar,” including a jet on call, weekends off, and becoming secretary of homeland security.
  76. On Tuesday, the Nevada state senate voted to join 14 other states in the National Popular Vote Interstate Compact to pledge their electors to the candidate with the most nationwide popular votes.
  77. The measure now moves to the state’s Democratic governor who has not indicated if he will sign it. Nevada, with its six electoral votes, would bring the total to 195. Once 270 electors are pledged, the compact would kick in.
  78. On Monday, at a campaign rally in Pennsylvania, Trump joked about serving a fifth term: “if things keep going like they’re going — we’ll go and we’ll do what we have to do: we’ll do a three and a four and a five.”
  79. On Monday, the Department of Education’s Office of Inspector General found Secretary Betsy DeVos used her personal email account for “a limited number of emails” — fewer than 100 — from January 2017 to April 2018.
  80. On Tuesday, at a House Financial Services Committee hearing, HUD Secretary Ben Carson confused a question about REO, or “real estate owned,” with the sandwich cookie, Oreo.
  81. After the hearing, Carson tweeted at Rep. Katie Porter who asked the question, “OH, REO! Thanks, @RepKatiePorter. Enjoying a few post-hearing snacks. Sending some your way!” with a photo of the cookies.
  82. On Tuesday, Rachel Maddow reported Wendy Vitter, the controversial judge confirmed in Week 130, was rushed through by Mitch McConnell weeks after her husband alerted him a big investment by Rusal for Kentucky.
  83. On Wednesday, former Secretary of State Rex Tillerson told the House Foreign Affairs Committee that Russian President Vladimir Putin out-prepared Trump in a key meeting in Hamburg, Germany in 2017.
  84. Tillerson said what was supposed to be a exchange of pleasantries ballooned into a two-hour-plus meeting spanning the globe. A committee aide recounted that “Putin seized every opportunity to push what he wanted.”
  85. Tillerson also said Jared Kushner that should have consulted more often with State Department colleagues, saying his lack of knowledge of history exposed him to being outmaneuvered.
  86. On Thursday, Trump attacked Tillerson on Twitter, calling him “a man who is “dumb as a rock” and totally ill prepared,” and adding, “I don’t think Putin would agree. Look how the U.S. is doing!”
  87. On Thursday, WAPO reported Trump has repeatedly asked the Army Corps of Engineers to award a border wall contract to a Fisher Industries, a North Dakota construction firm whose CEO is a GOP donor and on Fox News.
  88. On a call made from Air Force One, Trump aggressively pushed Fischer to DHS leaders and the commanding general of the Army Corps. DHS and military officials are reportedly concerned by Trump pushing the company.
  89. Trump called the commanding general to the Oval Office on Thursday and again brought up Fischer first thing. Fischer sued the U.S. government last month after the Army did not accept its bid for part of the wall.
  90. Fischer is building fencing in New Mexico, and their machinery was seen in El Paso, Texas. The company’s CEO Tommy Fischer has gone on conservative media and met with members of Congress to push their services.
  91. Jared Kushner has also been pushing for Fischer. An aide said Trump was told the company was cheaper than others and could build the wall faster, and that he frequently sees Fischer on Fox News.
  92. On Tuesday, Trump’s attorney filed a notice of appeal for federal judge Mehta’s ruling on Mazars. The case will be heard by Merrick Garland, the chief judge at the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals.
  93. On Tuesday, ABC News reported Democrats on the House Judiciary are pushing back on a DOJ offer to have Mueller give a public opening statement and then answer committee questions behind closed door.
  94. Reportedly, Mueller is seek guidance from the DOJ’s Office of Legal Counsel to advice on what he can and cannot say. The House Intelligence Committee is also in talks with the DOJ to have Mueller testify.
  95. On Tuesday, CNN reported sources on Mueller’s team say he is hesitant to testify to Congress — not wanting to seem political. Mueller has been seen arriving at work every morning since submitting his report.
  96. On Tuesday, the New York state assembly passed a double loophole bill, allowing the state to prosecutepeople pardoned by Trump. The bill now moves to Democratic Gov. Andrew Cuomo, who is expected to sign.
  97. On Wednesday, the New York state assembly passed a bill giving Congress the right to ask for Trump’s and his organization’s state tax returns. The bill is expected to be signed into law by Gov. Cuomo.
  98. On Tuesday, the House Judiciary Committee issued subpoenas to former White House communications director Hope Hicks and to Don McGahn’s former chief of staff, Annie Donaldson.
  99. The subpoenas called for Hicks and Donaldson to produce requested documents by June 4, and for Hicks to testify June 19 and for Donaldson to appear for a deposition on June 24.
  100. On Tuesday, WAPO reported a confidential 10-page draft memo prepared last fall by the Internal Revenue Service said Trump’s tax returns must be given to Congress unless he invokes executive privilege.
  101. The memo states disclosure to the House “is mandatory, requiring the Secretary to disclose returns, and return information, requested,” and exposed a break from the Treasury Department which refused to reply.
  102. The memo states the law “does not allow the Secretary to exercise discretion in disclosing the information provided the statutory conditions are met,” contradicting Secretary Mnuchin.
  103. On Tuesday, a Quinnipiac Poll found Trump’s approval at 38%, while 57% disapprove, for a net approval of -19. That is down from May 2, when Trump’s approval was 41% and 55% disapprove, for a net approval of -14.
  104. Going into the 2020 election, 54% said that they “definitely” will not vote to re-elect Trump, historically strong opposition.
  105. On Wednesday, a Monmouth University survey found 60% say Trump should not be re-elected in 2020, while 37% said he should. Trump’s approval with Republicans remains high at 86%.
  106. On Wednesday, Chair Schiff said he would not enforce a subpoena against Attorney General Barr, after the House Intelligence Committee and DOJ reached an 11th hour deal on Mueller report materials.
  107. Under the deal, the DOJ will supply redacted material and underlying information, but in a staged manner. Schiff said the subpoena “will remain in effect and will be enforced” until materials are provided.
  108. On Wednesday, after a meeting with her caucus, Speaker Pelosi said Trump is engaged in a “cover-up,” adding, “we do believe that it’s important to follow the facts. We believe that no one is above the law.”
  109. Nearly a dozen out of the 24 Democrats on the House Judiciary Committee voiced support for opening an impeachment inquiry. Other Democrats have come out in recent days to publicly voice their support.
  110. On Wednesday, Trump abruptly stormed out of a scheduled meeting with Democratic congressional leadersto discuss advancing legislation after three minutes, and marched to the Rose Garden to address reporters.
  111. Trump had walked into the Cabinet Room, shaken, did not shake Speaker Pelosi and Minority Leader Chuck Schumer’s hands, and said “Speaker Pelosi said something terrible today and accused me of a cover-up.”
  112. Trump blasted Democrats, telling reporters, “Instead of walking in happily to a meeting, I walk in to look at people who said I was doing a cover-up,” adding, “I don’t do cover-ups.”
  113. Trump also said he cannot work on infrastructure “under these circumstances,” adding, “get these phony investigations over with,” and “we’re going to go down one track at a time.”
  114. Pelosi told reporters Democrats were ready to give Trump a signature accomplishment but “for some reason, maybe it was lack of confidence on his part…he just took a pass,” and, “it makes me wonder why.”
  115. Pelosi also called Trump’s actions an “orchestrated event — almost to an ‘oh, poor baby’ point of view,” and adding the visuals “obviously were planned long before” the meeting.
  116. Pelosi added, “In any event, I pray for the president of the United States, and I pray for the United States of America.” Schumer said “they came up with a very inelegant way to get out” of getting a infrastructure deal done.
  117. Later, at an event for a liberal policy group, Pelosi said, “The fact is, in plain sight in the public domain, this president is obstructing justice and he’s engaged in a cover-up,” adding, “that could be an impeachable offense.”
  118. At the same event, Chair Schiff likened Barr to a “personal attorney” for Trump, saying Barr has the “duplicity of Rudy Giuliani without all the good looks and general likability.”
  119. Later, in a letter to House Democrats, Pelosi accused Trump of throwing a “temper tantrum,” citing Trump’s threat to stop working with Democrats as being concerned only with his own job, not the American people.
  120. On Wednesday, in late night tweets, Trump said of Pelosi’s accusations he has a temper tantrum, “This is not true,” and “I was purposely very polite and calm,” adding, “Can be easily proven. It is all such a lie!”
  121. Trump also tweeted, “Zero is getting done with the Democrats in charge of the House,” adding, “All they want to do is put the Mueller Report behind them and start all over again. No Do-Overs!”
  122. On Wednesday, on the Fox News show “Hannity,” Sen. Lindsey Graham likened the two year investigation led by Special Counsel Mueller as a “political rectal exam.”
  123. On Wednesday, federal judge Edgardo Ramos rejected Trump’s request to halt House subpoenas, saying Deutsche Bank and Capital One may turn over financial documents related to Trump and his businesses.
  124. On Wednesday, NBC News reported nine banks have been subpoenaed by the House Financial Services Committee about their dealing with the Trump Organization. So far two, Wells Fargo and TD Bank, have complied.
  125. Chair Maxine Waters is especially interested in Trump’s business relationship with Russia and other foreign entities. Other banks include Citigroup, Morgan Stanley, Royal Bank of Canada and Toronto-Dominion Bank, and JP Morgan Chase.
  126. On Wednesday, NBC News tabulated that 31 of the 235 House Democrats have called for the start of an impeachment inquiry.
  127. On Wednesday, Sen. Christopher Murphy, a member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, warned Trump may use an obscure loophole in the Arms Export Control Act to sell bombs to Saudi Arabia, circumventing Congress.
  128. Murphy said in a tweet, “Arms control law allows Congress to reject a sale to a foreign country. But Trump would claim the sale constitutes an ‘emergency.’” Sen. Bob Menendez called it “a dangerous precedent.”
  129. On Friday, Trump declared a national emergency, citing tensions with Iran, as a means to bypass Congressional approval and sell over $8 billion of weapons to Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, and Jordan.
  130. The move angered members of both parties. Rep. Mike McCaul, the top Republican on the House Foreign Affairs Committee, said Trump’s move could damage future White House interactions with Congress.
  131. On Wednesday, newly unsealed search warrants revealed Michael Cohen exchanged 230 telephone calls and 950 text messages with Russian oligarch Viktor Vekselberg between November 8, 2016 and July 14, 2017.
  132. On Thursday, on “Fox & Friends,” Donald Jr. slammed Senate Intelligence Committee Chair Richard Burr, saying, “You have one Republican who’s too weak to stand up to the Democrats.”
  133. On Thursday, in a series of tweets, Trump sought to portray Democrats as the obstacle to passing legislation like infrastructure, tweeting, “The Democrats have become known as THE DO NOTHING PARTY!”
  134. Trump also tweeted, “The Democrats are getting nothing done in Congress,” adding, “All of their effort is about a Re-Do of the Mueller Report, which didn’t turn out the way they wanted.”
  135. Trump tweeted he “was extremely calm yesterday,” adding Democrats and “the Fake News Media” made it up and “so many stories about the meeting use the Rage narrative anyway — Fake & Corrupt Press!”
  136. On Thursday, in a closed-door meeting with House Democratic leadership, Speaker Pelosi reportedly said that Trump “wants to be impeached, so he can be exonerated by the Senate.”
  137. On Thursday, at her weekly news conference, Pelosi told reporters Trump wants to be impeached, saying, “The White House is just crying out for impeachment,” adding, “That’s why he flipped yesterday.”
  138. Pelosi also said, “I think what really got to him was these court cases,” citing the Mazars USA and Deutsche Bank rulings going against him, and added “he wants us to be” on a path to impeachment, but we are not.
  139. Pelosi said Trump’s storming out of the meeting was staged, calling him the “master of distraction,”and adding Trump “has a bag of tricks and the White House has a bag of tricks that they save for certain occasions.”
  140. Pelosi said Trump’s behavior, including “obstruction of justice, the things he’s doing, it’s clear. It’s in plain sight…Ignoring subpoenas, obstruction of justice,” adding, “Yes, these could be impeachment offenses.”
  141. Pelosi said she was concerned about Trump, “I pray for the President of the United States,” adding, “I wish that his family or his administration or his staff would have an intervention for the good of the country.”
  142. On Thursday, press secretary Sarah Sanders denied Trump’s walkout was pre-planned, saying he “absolutely” intended to stay for the meeting, and the placards on the Rose Garden podium “had been printed weeks ago.”
  143. On Thursday, during a meeting to support America’s farmers and ranchers in the White House, Trump went off topic and asked aides to step to the microphone and attest to his calm demeanor in the meeting yesterday.
  144. Trump had five members of the regime speak for him, including Kellyanne Conway, who said he was “very calm,” and economic adviser Larry Kudlow, who said “You were very calm” but Speaker Pelosi “lost it.”
  145. Trump also called Speaker Pelosi “crazy Nancy,” and added “she’s lost it.”
  146. The event was supposed to focus on announcing a $16 billion farm aid package to offset losses from Trump’s trade war. Trump falsely claimed the aid was offset by “the billions of dollars the Treasury takes in” from China.
  147. On Thursday, Chair Nadler pushed House colleagues to empower committee chairs with the ability to hold individuals in contempt of Congress without going to the floor for a full House vote.
  148. Nadler cited the change could avoid clogging up the House floor given Trump’s all-out stonewalling of Congressional subpoenas. House Oversight Committee Elijah Cummings supported the proposed change.
  149. A faction of House Democrats are also pushing to invoke Congress’ inherent contempt powers, which have not been used in nearly a century, to allow members to impose fines on those who defy a House subpoena.
  150. On Thursday, Chicago banker Stephen Calk was indicted in Manhattan on a charge that he arranged $16 million in loans to then campaign chair Paul Manafort in an effort to obtain a high-level position in the Trump regime.
  151. Calk made the loans in his position as chairman of Federal Savings Bank in hopes of a cabinet position like Treasury Secretary. If convicted, he could face up to 30 years in prison.
  152. On Thursday, WAPO reported altered videos of Speaker Pelosi’s Wednesday speech, which make her sound as if she is drunk and slurring her words, rapidly spread around social media.
  153. A version of the video posted by the conservative Facebook page Politics WatchDog had over 2 million view by Thursday evening. The origins of the video is unclear, but it also appeared on Twitter, YouTube, and news sites.
  154. Rudy Giuliani tweeted the altered video, along with the comment, “What is wrong with Nancy Pelosi? Her speech pattern is bizarre.” Giuliani later deleted the tweet.
  155. On Thursday, Trump tweeted a heavily edited video of Speaker Pelosi meant to question her mental acuity, writing: “PELOSI STAMMERS THROUGH NEWS CONFERENCE.”
  156. The clip was a segment on Fox News, and included derogatory remarks by commentator Gregg Jarrett GOP operative Ed Rollins, who opined, “I think she is getting worn down….I think she’s very inarticulate.”
  157. On Friday, Trump pinned the tweet to the top of his page. Giuliani told WAPO, “I have been noticing a gradual change in her speech pattern and gestures for sometime,” adding, “I’d like to see original video.”
  158. On Thursday, in a late evening directive, Trump directed the country’s sixteen intelligence agencies to fully cooperate with Barr in his review of the investigation into Russian election interference in 2016.
  159. The directive came hours after Trump was asked at an impromptu press conference, “Who specifically are you accusing of treason?” following his tweet in Week 131 referencing “this was TREASON!”
  160. Trump replied, “If you look at Comey; if you look at McCabe; if you look at probably people higher than that; if you look at Strzok; if you look at his lover, Lisa Page, his wonderful lover — the two lovers, they talked openly.”
  161. In the directive, Trump also delegated significant authority to Barr to declassify intelligence documents as he sees fit, after consulting with intelligence agency heads.
  162. The Times reported Barr wanted more information on what foreign assets the CIA had in Russia in 2016, and what those informants told the agency about how Putin interfered in the 2016 election.
  163. The DOJ confirmed Barr asked Trump to issue the directive to broaden his authority, and also extends to the Departments of Defense, Energy, and Homeland Security. Experts raised red flags about the power given to Barr.
  164. Sarah Sanders said in a statement, the directive will “help ensure that all Americans learn the truth about the events that occurred…during the last presidential election and will restore confidence in our public institutions.”
  165. On Friday, Facebook refused to remove the altered videos, saying instead it would notify users independent fact-checkers had deemed it had been manipulated, and use algorithms to reduce the video’s prominence.
  166. Later Friday, Trump told reporters before departing for Japan that he can “absolutely” work with Speaker Pelosi, and denied knowledge of the fake videos, saying, “I don’t know about the videos.”
  167. On Thursday, federal prosecutors charged Julian Assange with an 18-count indictment for violating the Espionage Act, alleging he unlawfully obtained and disclosed national defense information.
  168. WAPO noted the charges raised new concerns for journalists who publish classified information, and could change the delicate balance in U.S. law between press freedom and government secrecy.
  169. First Amendment advocates expressed concerns that prosecuting Assange could set a dangerous precedent. The DOJ could not point to comparable charges which were successfully prosecuted.
  170. On Thursday, a federal appeals court in Washington, D.C. said it would expedite its review of Trump’s attempt to block Mazars USA from releasing information to the House, with oral arguments starting July 12.
  171. The ruling means the accounting firm will not hand over Trump’s business records to the House Oversight Committee while the case is pending. Since the case is likely to go to the Supreme Court, this likely will take into 2020.
  172. On Saturday, Trump lawyers also secured a deal with the House to delay disclosure of Trump records from Deutsche Bank and Capital One sought by the Intelligence and Financial Services committees.
  173. On Friday, Trump tweeted: “The Dems want a second shot at Bob Mueller, are very unhappy with the No Collusion Report,” adding, “no second chances — must get back to work. So bad for our Country!”
  174. On Friday, former GOP Rep. Tom Coleman wrote in an op-ed published in the Kansas City Star, that based on the finding in the Mueller report Trump and Vice President Mike Pence are illegitimate and should be impeached.
  175. On Thursday, DOJ lawyers argued in a D.C. court that the House cannot sue Trump to stop him from using military funds to build his border wall under his national emergency declaration.
  176. On Friday, a federal judge in California temporarily blocked parts of Trump’s wall from being built, saying the regime is acting illegally by shifting money from other programs without Congressional approval.
  177. U.S. District Judge Haywood S. Gilliam Jr wrote shifting funds when Congress says no “does not square with fundamental separation of powers principles dating back to the earliest days of our Republic.”
  178. On Saturday, Trump tweeted “another activist Obama appointed judge has just ruled against us” on his wall, adding, “This is a ruling against Border Security and in favor of crime, drugs and human trafficking.”
  179. On Saturday, during his visit to Japan, Trump again attacked the Federal Reserve, saying the stock market would be 7,000 to 10,000 higher and growth would have exceeded 3%, “but they wanted to raise interest rates.”
  180. On Saturday, Trump tweeted: “Can’t believe that Rolling Thunder would be given a hard time with permits,” citing the last year of the motorcycle ride due to permit costs, adding, “They love our Country…If I can help, I will!”
  181. The group’s leader said they were still planning to have this year’s ride be their last in Washington. The group has not had any contact with Trump or anyone from the regime.
  182. On Saturday, an estimated 500 to 600 people of all persuasions showed up in Dayton, Ohio to counter-protest a much feared Ku Klux Klan rally. Only nine people showed up for the KKK rally.
  183. On Friday, UK’s Theresa May resigned as prime minister, acknowledging she was unable to steer the country to deliver Brexit. Boris Johnson, a far-right, Trump-like figure is a leading contender to take her spot.
  184. In Australia, in a shocking upset, center-right Prime Minister Scott Morrison won re-election after almost every poll for three years showed him losing. Pundits warned Democrats to watch for same ahead of 2020.

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

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

Deutsche Bank was front and center this week, with reporting the bank failed to report transactions flagged by anti-money laundering specialists. Trump also lost his case to block the House subpoena of Deutsche Bank for his transactions as a bank customer.

POLITIKS OF GRAFFITI 127: IMMIGRANTS HELP MAKE AMERICA GREAT

APRIL 13, 2019

Week 126

Experts in authoritarianism advise to keep a list of things
subtly changing around you, so you’ll remember. FROM AMY SISKIND’S WEEKLY LIST: https://theweeklylist.org/weekly-list/week-126/
IMG_2576
Since immigration was such a big story yet again this week, here is a photo I took of a wheatpaste in Miami, Florida in December 2018. Artist: Marisa Velázquez-Rivas https://www.instagram.com/marisa.vr/
IMG_8629
This is a mural I photographed in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, New York, in February 2018. “Give me your tired, your poor, Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free, The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.” Unfortunately, some people have apparently forgotten…

This week, Trump’s frustration with migrants coming to the southern border boiled over, as he purged the Department of Homeland Security, and empowered immigrant hardliner Stephen Miller to be in charge of the regime’s immigration policy. As the week ended, 12 of the 30 senior roles at DHS were either vacant or filled with “acting” leaders. Departures of senior officials at the cabinet level and below are at record levels. Meanwhile, Trump continues to consolidate power, act unilaterally, and welcome the “flexibility” of using “acting” directors whom he can hire and fire at will — without needing the oversight of the Senate to confirm them.

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“If Kirstjen only had a heart, she wouldn’t have been hired in the first place.” A quote from Jim Carrey, to go along with his depiction of the OUSTED TIN WOMAN this week. 

 

Troubling reporting this week indicated Trump instructed his incoming Secretary of DHS to break the law, assuring him he would be pardoned. Reporting also indicated Trump and Miller had contemplated releasing migrant detainees into sanctuary cities as a means to punish political enemies. When confronted with the story, the White House pushed back, only to have Trump say indeed that was his plan. Trump also looked for ways to increasingly use military troops at the border, including in ways that violate the law.

Attorney General William Barr delivered concerning Congressional testimony, refusing to answer if he has briefed the White House on the Mueller probe, and said he believed “spying” by the FBI on the Trump campaign did occur. Trump seized on Barr’s words to claim he was a victim of an “attempted coup,” and continued this week to discredit Mueller and his team. Three weeks after Mueller delivered his report to Barr, it has yet to be released to Congress or the American people.

D3_FoJCUYAA-j9f.jpg-large
Jim Carrey’s latest depiction of the most dangerous, unlawful man in the country. And that says a lot, considering who the president is. But, I dare to say that 45 is stupid, can barely read, and has never known the law. Barr, however, does know the law, he just chooses to BREAK IT. That is what makes him the MOST DANGEROUS

 

  1. On Sunday, Trump renewed his attacks on Mueller, tweeting: “Looks like Bob Mueller’s team of 13 Trump Haters & Angry Democrats” are illegally leaking information to the press.
  2. Trump also tweeted that the “Fake News Media” makes up stories, adding, “sources no longer matter to our corrupt & dishonest Mainstream Media,” and, “they are a Joke!”
  3. On Sunday, Rudy Giuliani also attacked Mueller’s team, telling the AP “You’re darn right I’m going after them again,” adding, “they were forced to admit they couldn’t find anything on him. They sure tried.”
  4. On Monday, Trump quoted Charles Hurt, an opinion writer at the Washington Times, tweeting: “The reason the whole process seems so politicized is that Democrats made up this complete lie about Collusion.”
  5. Trump also quoted Katie Pavlich, editor of Townhall.com, tweeting: “Jerry Nadler is not entitled to this information. He is doing this to get it to the Democrat 2020 nominee.”
  6. Trump later tweeted: “The Democrats will never be satisfied, no matter what they get, how much they get, or how many pages they get,” adding, “It will never end, but that’s the way life goes!”
  7. On Sunday, Mick Mulvaney, the acting White House chief of staff, told “Fox New Sunday” that House Democrats will “never” see Trump’s tax returns, saying, “That’s an issue that was already litigated during the election.”
  8. Axios reported former White House counsel Don McGahn told a group of senior Republican Senate aidesTrump uses a “hub and spokes model” — with no staff member empowered and Trump making all the decisions.
  9. On Sunday, Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen resigned, bowing to pressure from Trump over his frustration over the failure to stop the flow of immigrants crossing the southern border.
  10. Trump tweeted about her resignation, with her formal letter following shortly after. Tension between the two was exacerbated by Trump withdrawing Ronald Vitiello’s nomination to be the director of ICE without consulting Nielsen last week.
  11. Fox News’ anchors had repeatedly called for Nielsen’s resignation in recent weeks. DHS is the subject of numerous House subpoenas and more than 20 investigations by the agency’s inspector general.
  12. Nielsen’s resignation marked the 15th Trump cabinet member to depart — a faster turnover pace than Obama, W. Bush, or Clinton, as nearly 50 senior officials have departed since Trump took office.
  13. Nielsen was also the third woman to resign from Trump’s cabinet, leaving just three women out of 24 positions — the least diverse cabinet by gender since President Reagan.
  14. On Monday, NBC News reported Trump’s renewed support for months of reinstating large-scale separation of migrant families crossing the border put him at odds with Nielsen and was part of what led to her resignation.
  15. Nielsen told Trump federal court orders prohibited DHS from reinstating the policy. Kevin McAleenan, the head of Customs and Border Protection whom Trump is likely to name secretary, has not ruled out family separation.
  16. On Monday, Randolph “Tex” Alles was removed as U.S. Secret Service Director. After his departure, Alles sent a message to the Secret Service saying he had not been fired by Trump. Alles reported to Nielsen.
  17. Alles was a retired Marine Corps general and former acting deputy commissioner of CBP — the first Secret Service Director not to come up the agency ranks in at least 100 years, and the latest general to depart.
  18. On Monday, Sen. Chuck Grassley warned Trump to stop ousting top immigration officials, saying he was “very, very concerned” Lee Francis Cissna, director of Citizenship and Immigration Services, could be next.
  19. Reports indicated Cissna and DHS’s general counsel, John Mitnick, could be the next to go in Trump’s purge of DHS leaders. Grassley told WAPO he planned to go on Fox News to make his case for keeping Cissna.
  20. On Monday, WSJ reported Trump has been pushing to reinstate the family separation policy since the day it stopped. Recently, Trump reportedly told Stephen Miller: “You’re in charge” of the regime’s immigration policy.
  21. CNN reported in an Oval Office meeting three weeks ago, Trump, while “ranting and raving” ordered Nielsen and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo to shut down the port of El Paso the next day. Mulvaney talked him out of it.
  22. Also, last Friday during his visit to Calexico, Trump reportedly told border agents to not let migrants in. When Trump left, their leaders said if they did so, they would take on personal liability, and to instead follow the law.
  23. On Monday, a federal judge issued a preliminary injunction blocking a Trump regime experimental policy requiring asylum seekers to remain in Mexico while their cases made their way through immigration courts.
  24. Under the policy known as Migrant Protection Protocols (MPP), several hundred migrants had been returned to Mexico. The judge’s ruling took away one of the regime’s remaining tools to stem the flow of migrants.
  25. On Monday, Florida Congresswomen Debbie Wasserman Schultz, Debbie Mucarsel-Powell, and Donna Shalala vowed to take legal action against the regime after they were denied entry to the Homestead facility in Miami.
  26. An estimated one-in-six migrant children will be housed at for-profit Homestead. The Congresswomen cited a new law which affirms members of Congress “must be given access to conduct oversight.”
  27. On Tuesday, Trump told reporter he was continuing an Obama policy, saying “Obama had child separation,” adding, “Obama had the law. We changed the law.” The claim that Obama separated families is false.
  28. Trump claimed because he changed Obama’s policy, “once you don’t have it, that’s why you have many more people coming,” adding, “They’re coming like it’s a picnic, like ‘let’s go to Disneyland.’”
  29. Trump also denied he planned to reinstate family separation, and told reporters, “I never said I was cleaning house.”
  30. On Tuesday, Fox News host Tucker Carlson called for militarization of the southern border, saying “we need martial law on the border,” and claiming large-scale migration “is how countries collapse.”
  31. On Tuesday, NYT reported the Trump Organization has begun to quietly take steps to eliminate any remaining undocumented workers from its workforce at its properties in South Florida, facing charges of hypocrisy.
  32. Seven veteran maintenance workers at Trump National Jupiter were told they had to show proof of legal residency to keep their jobs. Only one was legal — and six were from El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, and Mexico.
  33. On Tuesday, Claire Grady, the acting number two at DHS, resigned in the evening. Grady had 28 years of experience at the Departments of Homeland Security and Defense. Nielsen tweeted out Grady’s resignation.
  34. TIME reported Grady, who was next in line to become acting secretary, was forced to resign as Trump chose Kevin McAleenan to take the role.
  35. On Wednesday, Ronald Vitiello, who was acting director of ICE since June 2018, and had his nomination to head ICE suddenly withdrawn by Trump last week, told staffers his last day of work will be on Friday.
  36. Described as a “purge” of DHS leadership, roles of Secretary, Deputy Secretary, Under Secretary for Management, CBP Commissioner, ICE Director, Secret Service Director, and FEMA Administrator were vacant.
  37. Overall within DHS, 12 of the 30 leadership positions on the department’s organization chart are “vacant” or filled by an “acting” leader.
  38. Several Senate Republicans publicly expressed concern about the purge at DHS, and the growing leadership void. Several, including Majority Leader Mitch McConnell praised Nielsen on her way out.
  39. WAPO reported Trump’s agencies have spent much more time being led by acting directors than any in history — and with Nielsen’s departure, he has the second most acting agency heads in modern history.
  40. Acting roles included: DHS, Interior Secretary, Budget Director, Chief of Staff, U.N. Ambassador, FEMA Administrator, ICE Director, administrator of the Small Business Administration, and CBP Commissioner.
  41. Trump has said he likes to have acting directors, saying in January: “It gives me more flexibility. Do you understand that? I like acting.” Acting directors have become a feature of the Trump regime.
  42. On Wednesday, at a roundtable in Texas, Trump lamented troops cannot get “rough” at the border, saying “our military…can’t act…like they would normally act…or like…another military from another country would act.”
  43. On Thursday, a  former Trump campaign chairman told Politico if Trump wins in 2020, the country is going to get “pure Trump off the chain,” and the second term will be “four years of Donald Trump in payback mode.”
  44. On Thursday, Trump named acting deputy director Matthew Albence, an immigration hardliner who has compared migrant detention centers to “summer camps,” to become the director of ICE.
  45. On Thursday, WAPO reported White House officials pressured U.S. immigration authorities to release detainees onto the streets of “sanctuary cities” to retaliate against Trump’s political adversaries.
  46. According to DHS officials and emails reviewed, the Trump regime has proposed doing this at least two times: in November with “caravans” approaching and in February during his standoff with Democrats.
  47. The Trump regime considered targeting Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s district and other Democratic strongholds, and told ICE the plan was meant to alleviate a shortage of detention space and to send a message to Democrats.
  48. A whistleblower told the Post the Trump regime believed it could punish Speaker Pelosi and Democrats by busing detainees into their districts before their release. Stephen Miller discussed the proposal with ICE.
  49. Asked for comment, the White House and a DHS spokesperson sent similar messages to the Post, saying, “This was just a suggestion that was floated and rejected, which ended any further discussion.”
  50. A spokesperson for Speaker Pelosi accused the regime of “cruelty,” adding, “Using human beings — including little children — as pawns in their warped game to perpetuate fear and demonize immigrants is despicable.”
  51. Later that evening, a White House official characterized the idea of steering migrants to sanctuary cities as being “informally asked,” adding, “The idea was briefly and informally raised and quickly rejected.”
  52. On Friday, Speaker Pelosi told reporters the idea was “just another notion” showing Trump is “unworthy of the presidency of the United States and disrespectful of the challenges we face.”
  53. On Friday, Trump contradicted statements by the White House and DHS, tweeting that the regime is “indeed, as reported, giving strong considerations to placing Illegal Immigrants in Sanctuary Cities only”
  54. Trump tweeted he is considering this plan “due to the fact that Democrats are unwilling to change our very dangerous immigration laws,” adding, “The Radical Left always seems to have an Open Borders…so this should make them very happy!
  55. New York University journalism professor Jay Rosen continued to warn the media, “there is no White House. Not as conventionally defined. Now it’s just Trump… and people who work in the building.”
  56. On Friday, NBC News reported that at a Tuesday meeting of Trump’s top national security advisers at the White House, advisers discussed increasingly military involvement at the border.
  57. Advisers discussed using the military to build tent city detention camps for migrants, and also whether the military could run the camps. U.S. law prohibits the military from directly interacting with migrants.
  58. The military may also be used to assess land before the construction of new tent cities in Texas. A new processing center is also being built similar to the one in McAllen, where children were kept in cage-like areas.
  59. The new tent cities will hold the overflow, while ICE detention facilities are at capacity. An official said using the military allows for faster construction than private contractors, who can protest decisions.
  60. On Friday, NYT reported that Trump privately urged Kevin McAleenan, during his visit to Calexico last week, to close the southwestern border to migrants, despite Trump saying last week he would delay for a year.
  61. Trump also reportedly told McAleenan he would pardon him if he encountered legal challenges for closing the border. Federal judges have blocked the regime’s efforts to limit asylum as unlawful.
  62. Nielsen had refused to carry out Trump’s order to close the border, saying it was not illegal. Trump told McAleenan to disregard Nielsen’s concern. Two days later she resigned. Trump has been eager to stop immigration.
  63. A spokesman for the Department of Homeland Security told the Times, “At no time has the president indicated, asked, directed or pressured the acting secretary to do anything illegal,” adding nor would they.
  64. On Tuesday, Republicans on the House Judiciary Committee released a 152-page transcript of former FBI general counsel James Baker, as part of entering testimony from last year’s investigation into the congressional record.
  65. Baker also told lawmakers there was widespread concern inside the FBI that Trump had attempted to obstruct the investigation into his campaign’s links to Russians when he fired former FBI director James Comey.
  66. Baker testified he was told by former Deputy FBI Director Andrew McCabe that Rod Rosenstein told McCabe two members of Trump’s cabinet had endorsed the notion of invoking the 25th Amendment to remove Trump from office.
  67. Baker also said last October that he not did think deputy attorney general Rosenstein was joking about wearing a wire or invoking the 25th Amendment — but that he did not connect the two discussions.
  68. On Tuesday, Russian President Vladimir Putin mocked the Mueller probe at a forum in St. Petersburg, saying, “It was clear for us from the start that it would end like this,” adding, “a mountain gave birth to a mouse.”
  69. Putin also said, “Trump knows better than us what a ‘witch hunt’ is. We know that this is a black page in American history,” adding, “I don’t want [this page] to ever be repeated.”
  70. On Tuesday, Barr testified before the House Appropriations Committee for 2 1/2 hours. Barr said the Justice Department will release the Mueller report “within a week,” reiterating his promise of a mid-April release.
  71. Barr admitted Mueller’s team may have preferred for him to release more information up front, and they “did not play a role in drafting” his letter. Mueller was offered to review the letter, but declined.
  72. Barr said he would redact grand-jury material, information on intelligence sources and methods on ongoing investigations, and details that would affect the privacy of people “peripheral” to Mueller’s investigation.
  73. Notably, Barr refused to answer whether whether he has briefed the White House on the report. He said he would color-code redactions, so the reason would be more clear.
  74. Barr said Congress will not receive the unredacted report, and that he will not ask the judge for an exception in order to release secret grand-jury information to Congress.
  75. Barr also asked the committee for an additional $72.1 million to fund 100 new immigration judges, but claimed he was “not familiar with” discussions of Trump’s renewed push to separate families at the border.
  76. On Tuesday, Bloomberg reported Barr has assembled a team to review counterintelligence decisions made by DOJ and FBI officials, including actions taken related to the Trump campaign in the summer of 2016.
  77. On Monday, the White House threatened that Trump would veto the Democrats’ bill to reinstate net neutrality rules, claiming it would “return to the heavy-handed regulatory approach of the previous administration.”
  78. On Monday, Guardian reported the Trump regime has quietly withdrawn federal funding for Landscape Conservation Cooperatives, a large conservation program, putting years of scientific study at risk.
  79. On Tuesday, Trump threatened to put $11 billion of tariffs on the E.U. over subsidies given to Boeing’s European rival Airbus, tweeting: “The EU has taken advantage of the U.S. on trade for many years. It will soon stop!”
  80. On Tuesday, Twitter disabled a video tweeted by Trump featuring “The Dark Knight” music, after Warner Bros. said it would be filing a copyright infringement complaint.
  81. On Tuesday, Fox News reported Rep. Devin Nunes filed a $150 million lawsuit against The McClatchy Company, alleging it conspired to derail his oversight of the Clinton campaign and Russian election interference.
  82. On Tuesday, in House appropriations subcommittee testimony, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin revealed lawyers from his agency consulted with the White House general counsel’s office about Trump’s tax returns.
  83. Conversations took place before the House Democrats made their request for Trump’s returns. Mnuchin said he personally did not participate in the conversations and was not briefed on the discussions.
  84. On Tuesday, Mnuchin squabbled with House Financial Services Committee Chair Maxine Waters at a hearing,saying she should dismiss the meeting, “take the gavel and bang it,” since he had a “very important meeting.”
  85. Rep. Waters responded, “Please do not instruct me as to how I am to conduct this committee.” Mnuchin also said, “I will cancel my meeting and I will not be back here.”
  86. On Tuesday, YouTube disabled comments on a livestream of a House Judiciary Committee hearing on hate crimes and white nationalism on social media, after being flooded with racist and anti-Semitic comments.
  87. What was meant to be a serious inquiry by the committee devolved into a circus type atmosphere when Republicans invited Candace Owens, a 29-year-old African American provocateur to testify.
  88. Owens was named as “the person who has influenced me above all” in the manifesto of the New Zealand killer, and said in December, “if Hitler just wanted to make Germany great and have things run well, okay, fine.”
  89. On Tuesday, more than 80 House Democrats unveiled a resolution condemning white supremacy at a news conference. Although the sponsors did not name Trump, they referenced the impact of his rhetoric.
  90. On Tuesday, the Charlotte Observer reported Brandon Lecroy, a 26 year-old white man, was sentenced to 10 years in prison for trying to hire a hitman from the South Carolina Klu Klux Klan to kill a black neighbor.
  91. On Tuesday, the president of the NAACP called a series of four suspicious blazes at historically black churches in Louisiana in a 10-day span an act of “domestic terrorism” emboldened by racial rhetoric across the country.
  92. KVUE ABC News reported a principal in Austin, Texas was removed after allegations she discriminated against immigrant parents and joked in a newsletter about Trump’s “Make America Great Again” campaign slogan.
  93. On Wednesday, WAPO reported the Texas House heard debate on a bill that could impose the death penalty for women who get abortions. A similar measure was not brought up for debate in 2017.
  94. WAPO reported students at George Mason University, including sexual assault survivors, have petitioned school leadership to remove Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh from teaching and issue an apology.
  95. On Thursday, Forbes reported a new policy proposal being considered by the Trump regime would monitor the social media profiles of disabled people and flag content that shows them doing physical activities to root out false claims.
  96. On Wednesday, a man wearing a Trump t-shirt yelled disparaging words at members of a Muslim communitygathering at one of the mosques targeted in the Christchurch terror attack in New Zealand.
  97. On Monday, Rep. Ilhan Omar tweeted, “Stephen Miller is a white nationalist. The fact that he still has influence on policy and political appointments is an outrage.”
  98. On Tuesday, Trump responded, tweeting a quote from Fox Business show “Varney & Co.”: “What’s completely unacceptable is for Congresswoman Omar to target Jews, in this case Stephen Miller.”
  99. On Wednesday, “Fox & Friends” co-host Brian Kilmeade slammed Rep. Omar over her 9/11 comments at a Council on American-Islamic Relations banquet, saying “You have to wonder if she is an American first.”
  100. On Thursday, the New York Post cover featured a take-off of a partial quote by Rep. Omar — “some people did something” — writing “Here’s your something,” with a photo of the Twin Towers after the planes hit.
  101. On Friday, Trump tweeted an edited video showing Rep. Omar’s speech to the CAIR interspersed with video of the 9/11 attacks, and Trump added the words: “WE WILL NEVER FORGET!”
  102. Shortly after, Sen. Elizabeth Warren tweeted Trump “is inciting violence against a sitting Congresswoman– and an entire group of Americans based on their religion,” and called on other elected officials to condemn it.
  103. On Saturday, other Democrats came to Rep. Omar’s defense, saying Trump’s tweet was endangering her life. Trump pinned the tweet to his profile to highlight it.
  104. On Friday, the Houston Chronicle reported Laura Maradiaga, 11, who was apprehended in October 2018 along with her mother and sister, could be deported back to El Salvador without her family because of a clerical error.
  105. On Tuesday, Democratic chairs of five House committees sent a letter to the White House, DOJ, and top regime health officials seeking information on the shift in the DOJ’s legal strategy on the Affordable Care Act.
  106. The letter noted the DOJ seeking the elimination of the ACA constituted a “sudden and significant reversal” that violated the federal government’s long standing precedent of defending its own laws.
  107. On Wednesday, Rep. Matt Gaetz introduced the “PENCIL” resolution, after Trump referred to Rep. Adam Schiff as a “pencil neck,” calling for Schiff to be ousted as committee chair and have his security clearance revoked.
  108. On Wednesday, House Oversight Committee Chair Elijah Cummings threatened in a letter to Barr to hold John Gore, a principal deputy assistant attorney general, in contempt of Congress.
  109. Rep. Cummings said in his letter that Barr appears “to be instructing” Gore “to defy a duly authorized congressional subpoena” requesting his testimony about a citizenship question added to the 2020 census.
  110. On Wednesday, at a Senate Appropriations Committee subcommittee budget hearing, Barr seemed to embrace talking points used by Trump’s Republican allies casting doubt on the origins of the Mueller probe.
  111. When asked about his investigation into officials who investigated Trump, Barr parroted a right-wing conspiracy theory about the FBI, saying, “I think spying on a political campaign is a big deal,” and, “I think spying did occur.”
  112. When pressed, Barr said, “I have no specific evidence that I would cite right now,” saying he was not launching an investigation of the FBI, but “there was probably a failure among a group of leaders” at the upper echelon.
  113. When asked specifically whether the Mueller investigation was a witch hunt, Barr responded, “it depends on where you sit,” adding people who were “falsely accused” could see it that way.
  114. Barr later walked back claims of spying on the Trump campaign, saying at the end of the hearing, “I am not saying that improper surveillance occurred. I am saying that I am concerned about it and I’m looking into it.”
  115. At the same time, Trump spoke to reporters on the White House South Lawn, saying the investigation into Russian election interference and obstruction of justice was “an attempted coup” against his presidency.
  116. Trump claimed the Mueller probe was “started illegally” and “every single thing about it” was “crooked,” adding, “we fight back” because we know “how illegal this whole thing was, it was a scam.”
  117. Trump also said it “all started, because this was an illegal witch hunt,” adding, “there were dirty cops, these were bad people,” naming former FBI officials Comey, McCabe, Peter Strzok, and Lisa Page.
  118. On Wednesday, Speaker Pelosi said in an interview with the AP that she was “very concerned” about Barr’shandling of Mueller’s report, saying “I don’t trust Barr, I trust Mueller.”
  119. Pelosi also said of Barr’s testimony that he will pursue Trump’s claims about “spying” during his 2016 campaign, “He is not the attorney general of Donald Trump. He is the attorney general of the United States.”
  120. Later, at a news conference, Pelosi told reporters, regarding Barr, that she found it “very, very dismaying and disappointing that the chief law enforcement officer of our country is going off the rails, yesterday and today.”
  121. On Wednesday, including Speaker Pelosi, all four Democratic members of the Gang of Eight condemned Barr’s comments about intelligence officials “spying.” The four Republicans did not comment publicly.
  122. On Thursday, Trump told reporters he was pleased with Barr’s claim there was spying on his 2016 campaign, saying “Yes, I am,” adding, “I think what he said was absolutely true. There was absolutely spying.”
  123. Trump also said “I’ll go a step further…it was illegal spying and unprecedented spying and something that should never be allowed to happen in our country again.”
  124. Trump said of the Mueller probe, “You’re just lucky I happen to be the President because a lot of other presidents would have reacted very differently than I’ve reacted,” adding, “no collusion no obstruction.”
  125. On Thursday, Trump tweeted a video of Fox Business host Maria Bartiromo saying “Biggest scandal of our time — the coup that failed!
  126. On Thursday, deputy attorney general Rosenstein defended Barr, telling the WSJ Barr is “being as forthcoming as he can,” and “this notion that he’s trying to mislead people, I think is just completely bizarre.”
  127. On Thursday, Rep. Nunes told Fox News host Sean Hannity that he plans to meet with Barr to send eight “criminal referrals” against individuals involved in the investigation of Trump’s 2016 campaign.
  128. Barr told lawmakers “I haven’t seen the referrals yet” but added “if there’s a predicate for an investigation it’ll be conducted.” Nunes was formerly chair of the House Intelligence Committee (recused then returned).
  129. Democrats on the committee cried foul, with one aide saying we expect the DOJ to follow appropriate protocol, and for Barr to hold “any such meeting only with representatives of the majority and minority present.”
  130. Trump also retweeted a video from Fox Business host Lou Dobbs claiming his approval was up to 55%, tweeting “Great news! #MAGA.” His actual approval was 43% — the 55% was actually Trump’s disapproval number.
  131. On Monday, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo said he would support a bill that would permit the NY Dept of Taxation and Finance to release any state tax returns requested by leaders of three congressional committees.
  132. On Tuesday, Trump’s IRS commissioner, Charles Rettig, told the House Appropriations Committee during testimony that there are no rules prohibiting taxpayers under audit from releasing their tax information.
  133. On Wednesday, Trump also said he would not release his tax returns on the day of the deadline set by House Democrats, falsely claiming, “I would love to give them, but I’m not going to do it while I’m under audit.”
  134. On Thursday, the Illinois state senate passed a bill requiring presidential candidates to release five years of tax returns in order to get on the ballot in 2020. Similar legislation is in play in 17 other states.
  135. On Wednesday, Mnuchin said in letter to House Ways and Means Committee Chair Richard Neal that the Treasury would miss the deadline for Trump’s tax returns, and would consult with the DOJ on how to proceed.
  136. On Tuesday, the Guardian reported recent filings reveal a new DOJ stance on the emoluments clause, allowing Trump to accept unlimited amounts from foreign governments if it comes through commercial transactions.
  137. The new stance would exempt Trump’s hotels, including Trump Hotel DC. The DOJ shift started in June 2017, and now closely paralleling arguments made in a January 2017 by Trump Organization lawyer Sheri Dillon.
  138. On Tuesday, Public Citizen, a consumer advocacy group, sued the Department of Education and Secretary Betsy DeVos, claiming the agency is blocking access to its website, in violation of the First Amendment.
  139. On Monday, Roll Call reported recently posted versions of acting Interior Secretary David Bernhardt’s daily schedules contained at least 260 entries differing from his original schedules.
  140. In the newer version, meetings previously described as “external” or “internal” were actually meetings with representatives of the fossil fuel, timber, mining, and other industries.
  141. The new schedule included a keynote address at the Trump Hotel DC for Domestic Energy Producers Alliance, meetings with oil company executives, and a group focused on weakening the Endangered Species Act.
  142. On Thursday, Bernhardt was confirmed by the Senate as Interior Secretary, even as more than a dozen Democrats and government ethics watchdog groups called for formal investigations into his past conduct.
  143. On Thursday, Wikileaks founder Julian Assange was arrested after being expelled from the Ecuadoran Embassy on U.S. hacking charges, seven years after his group published classified information on the internet in 2010.
  144. U.S. officials acknowledged they had secretly charged Assange last year with conspiring with Chelsea Manning to illegally obtain secret U.S. military and diplomatic documents, by hacking a government password.
  145. Assange’s lawyer said he will fight extradition to the U.S. She called the action against him “a dangerous precedent for all news media.” Assange was told by the Ecuadoran ambassador his asylum was being revoked.
  146. In Mueller’s indictments of 12 Russian military intelligence officers, he charged they “discussed the release of the stolen documents and the timing of those releases” with WikiLeaks. Assange has not been charged.
  147. The indictment said stolen emails were released “to heighten their impact on the 2016 presidential election.” Wikileaks began releasing emails on the same day in October 2016 the “Access Hollywood” tape surfaced.
  148. On Thursday, when asked about Wikileaks and the arrest of Assange, Trump told reporters, “I know nothing about WikiLeaks. It’s not my thing. I know there is something to do with Julian Assange.”
  149. During the campaign, Trump mentioned WikiLeaks 141 times at 56 events in the final month before the election, saying at events, “WikiLeaks, I love WikiLeaks,” and, “This WikiLeaks is like a treasure trove.”
  150. Trump also said he did not “really have an opinion” about Assange’s arrest by British authorities in response to a U.S. extradition request, adding the matter was being handled “mostly by the attorney general.”
  151. Vice President Mike Pence told CNN on Trump’s past comments on Wikileaks, “I think the president always, as you in the media do, always welcomes information,” adding, “but that was in no way an endorsement.”
  152. Lawmakers from both parties condemned Assange and called for his immediate extradition for hacking classified information and his role in the 2016 election. He will face extradition hearings on May 2 and June 12.
  153. On Wednesday, CNN reported Jeff Bezos will meet with federal prosecutors in New York, indicating the inquiry into Saudi Arabia’s involvement with the National Enquirer story is moving forward.
  154. On Thursday, Gregory Craig, former Obama White House counsel, was charged with lying to federal prosecutors about legal work for Ukraine he did for Paul Manafort while a partner at law firm Skadden, Arps.
  155. Craig was charged with two felony counts for alleged false statements made to DOJ officials and later Mueller’s prosecutors over whether he should have registered as a foreign agent. The case grew out of the Mueller probe.
  156. Legal experts noted the charges indicate cases farmed out from the Mueller probe could continue to yield newevidence and even more charges for months or even years.
  157. In his testimony to lawmakers, Barr said DOJ lawyers are working with the special counsel’s office to redact information before its release, such that it does not harm “a number of cases that are still being pursued.”
  158. On Monday, prosecutors told the judge that Sam Patten, a lobbyist who steered foreign money to Trump’s inaugural campaign, provided “substantial assistance” to Mueller and other investigators, asking for no jail time.
  159. On Friday, Patten was sentenced to three years of probation with no jail time. Patten pleaded guilty in August, and has cooperated with still unknown investigations which grew out of Mueller’s work.
  160. On Wednesday, a court filing revealed Trump’s older sister, Maryanne Trump Barry, 82, retired as a federal appellate judge after an investigation was opened into whether she violated judicial conduct rules.
  161. The investigation came after four citizens filed complaints arising from a NYT story from October which alleged Trump and his siblings evaded inheritance taxes by participating in fraudulent tax schemes.
  162. In February 2017, Barry told the court that she would stop hearing cases, without specifying the reason why.By retiring, she ends the court inquiry into her role in the tax scheme.
  163. On Wednesday, Benjamin Netanyahu narrowly won re-election for a fifth term as prime minister of Israel, securing 65 of the 120 seats in Parliament. Several world leaders, especially nationalists like Trump, rushed to congratulate Netanyahu.
  164. On Thursday, in an Oval Office meeting with South Korean President Moon Jae-in, Trump told reporters he is considering a third nuclear summit with North Korea’s Kim Jong Un.
  165. Trump also said, “I enjoy the summits, I enjoy being with the chairman,” adding, “I really believe over a period of time, a lot of tremendous things will happen. I think North Korea has a tremendous potential.”
  166. On Friday, Herman Cain withdrew his name from consideration for appointment to the Federal Reserve, after several Republican senators came out against his potential nomination.
  167. On Friday, CNN reported in past speeches, Trump’s other Fed pick, Stephen Moore, has described himself as “radical” and said he is not “a big believer in democracy,” adding, “capitalism is a lot more important.”
  168. Moore said in February Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell was one of Trump’s “worst appointments” and said hundreds of employees at the Fed whom he called “worthless” economists should be fired.
  169. On Friday, WAPO reported federal investigation found rampant sexual harassment and retaliation at AccuWeather under the leadership of Barry Myers, Trump’s nominee to lead the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.
  170. Trump nominated Myers in 2017, but his nomination stalled in the Senate. Republican leaders had planned to renominate him without a hearing, despite ethics concerns raised when he first went through the process.
  171. On Friday, Democratic Sens. Patty Murray and Tim Kaine demanded in a letter that the DOJ “make public all findings” of an investigation into Labor Secretary Alexander Acosta’s conduct in the Jeffrey Epstein case.
  172. On Friday, in a memo to his committee, Rep. Cummings said he is moving forward on Monday to issue a “friendly” subpoena to accounting firm Mazars USA to obtain 10 years of Trump’s financial records.
  173. On Friday, after a lengthy battle with multiple federal court injunctions, Trump’s controversial transgender military ban took effect. Trump first tweeted about the idea of the ban in July 2017.
  174. The version of the ban that went into effect prohibited new military recruits from transitioning, and also allows the military to discharge troops who do not present as their birth gender.
  175. On Friday, prosecutors indicted Yujing Zhang, who was arrested on the ground of Mar-a-Lago, on charges oflying to a federal officer and entering restricted grounds, but does not include espionage charges.
  176. The Miami Herald reported a source claims Zhang knew before leaving China that the function she claimed she was attending had been canceled. Zhang will likely move to a detention and be scheduled for deportation.
  177. On Saturday, in a letter, House Ways and Means Committee Chair Richard Neal gave the IRS a deadline of April 23 to turn over Trump’s tax returns, threatening otherwise to bring the dispute into federal court.
  178. Rep. Neal argued in his letter to IRS Commissioner Rettig the 1920-era law that says the IRS “shall furnish” any tax return requested by Congress “is unambiguous and raises no complicated legal issues.”
  179. Mnuchin, who oversees the IRS, cited “complicated legal issues” and complained of the “arbitrary deadline” set by House Democrats, but said he would answer in that time frame.
  180. On Saturday, Trump again teased a third summit, tweeting “I agree with Kim Jong Un of North Korea that our personal relationship remains very good, perhaps the term excellent would be even more accurate.”
  181. Trump also blasted Democrats for demanding release of the Mueller report, tweeting: “Why should Radical Left Democrats in Congress have a right to retry and examine the $35,000,000 No Collusion Mueller Report.”

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U.S. soldiers install barb wire by the USMexico border fence reading ‘Because in such way God has loved the world he has given his son’ in El Paso, Texas state, US, as seen from Ciudad Juarez, Chihuahua state, Mexico.
D3_HJw5WkAISvkF.jpg-large
And the scariest moment, in my opinion, of this entire regime, was yesterday’s video from 45 basically rallying his base to direct their ire towards this great American Muslim woman, Ilhan Omar. And we’ve seen what his base is capable of doing, with their vans and their guns and their red hats…ALL THE WHILE, the sickest video emerged of 45 himself bragging that his building was “now the tallest in NYC,” as the towers recently burned to the ground…He does not care about America, people. If you are with him, you are VOTING AGAINST YOUR BEST INTERESTS.

POLITIKS OF GRAFFITI 115: XENOPHOBIA AND CONCEALMENT ~ THE “NEW BLACK” IN THE USA

This was a soul-sucking week if there’s ever been one. I can’t believe this nightmare anymore. In addition to my photos from December in Miami, there is this generation’s answer to the “Segregation Diner” Pic at the bottom of Amy’s list. The longest list so far, by the way. SMH.

JANUARY 19, 2019

Week 114

Experts in authoritarianism advise to keep a list of things
subtly changing around you, so you’ll remember. https://theweeklylist.org/weekly-list/week-114/
img_2090img_2791img_2858

This week marked 29 days of the government being shuttered, with no end in sight. Agencies continued to feel the effects, as thousands of furloughed employees were called back to work unpaid. Federal workers formed blocks-long lines at food banks, and borrowed from retirement accounts to make ends meet. Trump’s approval continued to fall this week, with one poll indicating he is losing support from his base. Conversely, House Speaker Pelosi’s popularity hit a 10-year high as the two did battle, and Trump reckoned with the first check on his power.

This week was full of bombshell stories which, along with the continued shutdown, rocked the country and made people increasingly anxious and scared about the direction of the country. Major storylines included Trump concealing contents of meetings with Russian President Vladimir Putin, Trump’s continued fixation of withdrawing the U.S. from NATO — a boon to Russia, and Michael Cohen paying an IT firm to rig online polls to boost Trump. Trump attorney Rudy Giuliani made headlines, telling CNN, “I never said there was no collusion between the campaign or between people in the campaign,” which he later retracted. A bombshell BuzzFeed News story suggesting Trump directed Cohen to lie to Congress on Trump Tower Moscow was refuted by Mueller’s team, which Trump and his allies quickly weaponized to attack the credibility of the media.

This week had shocking stories of racism and xenophobia being normalized, including a lawsuit citing alarming racism at a General Motors plant in Ohio, a group of white teens taunting a Native American at the Indigenous Peoples March — days after Trump himself invoked Wounded Knee Massacre to attack Sen. Elizabeth Warren who he still refers to as “Pocahontas,” and reports that the regime drastically undercounted the number of migrant children separated from their parents at the southern border.

  1. On Saturday, WAPO reported Trump has concealed the contents of his five face-to-face interactions with Russian President Vladimir Putin since taking office, leaving even members of his own regime largely in the dark.
  2. Trump’s behavior is a break from norms of previous presidents who required senior aides to attend meetings with adversaries, including Russia, and especially noteworthy given investigations into Trump’s Russia ties.
  3. After Trump’s meeting with Putin in Hamburg in 2017, also attended by then-Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, Trump confiscated the notes of his interpreter and instructed the linguist not to discuss the contents.
  4. White House officials and then-National Security Adviser H.R. McMaster were unable to get a full account of the Hamburg meeting, even from Tillerson. The contents of the Helsinki meeting are also unknown.
  5. As a result, there is no detailed record, even in classified files, of Trump’s meeting with Putin, breaking from past norms. Concerns have been compounded by the Trump’s pro-Kremlin actions and positions.
  6. On Saturday, after the WAPO story broke, Trump spoke to Fox News host Jeanine Pirro, attacking the Postand its owner Jeff Bezos, and falsely claiming he did not try to conceal contents of his meetings with Putin.
  7. Before going on the show, Trump promoted his appearance in a tweet, adding, “I am in the White House waiting for Cryin’ Chuck and Nancy to call,” and, “Watch @JesseBWatters before and @greggutfeld after.”
  8. When Pirro asked Trump if he is or has ever been working for Russia, rather than answer directly, Trump responded, “I think it’s the most insulting thing I’ve ever been asked.”
  9. Trump said Michael Cohen “should give information maybe on his father-in-law,” adding, “And I guess he didn’t want to talk about his father — he’s trying to get his sentence reduced.”
  10. Pirro painted Speaker Pelosi as uncaring, saying, “Nancy Pelosi’s in Hawaii over the holidays. Now she’s in Puerto Rico with a bunch of Democrats and lobbyists enjoying the sun and partying down there.”
  11. On Sunday, Pirro retracted her false claim about Speaker Pelosi, tweeting “The Speaker’s office says she has been in DC all weekend.” Pirro said she had “based that on numerous reports that turned out to be wrong.”
  12. On Sunday, three Democrats who chair House committees issued a statement calling on Trump to cease “efforts to discourage, intimidate, or otherwise pressure” Cohen “not to provide testimony to Congress.”
  13. WSJ reported Cohen’s testimony before the House Oversight Committee on February 7 is expected to be highly restricted to avoid interfering with Mueller’s Russia investigation.
  14. On Sunday, in a series of morning tweets on immigration and his wall, Trump tweeted, “I’m in the White House, waiting. The Democrats are everywhere but Washington as people await their pay.”
  15. Trump also tweeted another misleading claim he has repeatedly used to push for his wall: “Thousands of illegal aliens who have committed sexual crimes against children…Most came through our Southern Border.”
  16. On Sunday, a Washington Post-ABC News poll found 53% of American blame Trump and the GOP for the government shutdown, while just 29% blame Congressional Democrats.
  17. On Sunday, a CNN poll found 56% of Americans oppose Trump’s wall, while 39% support it. The poll also found 55% blame Trump for the government shutdown, while 32% blame the Democrats.
  18. On Sunday, CBC News reported units of the Canadian Air Traffic Control Association sent pizzas to their counterparts at U.S. control centers as a gesture of solidarity and respect.
  19. On Sunday, Trump again attacked WAPO owner Bezos, tweeting, “So sorry to hear the news about Jeff Bozo being taken down by a competitor,” referring to the National Enquirer exposé that led to his divorce.
  20. Trump also tweeted the Enquirer is “far more accurate than the reporting in his lobbyist newspaper, the Amazon Washington Post,” and that he hopes the Post will be “placed in better & more responsible hands!”
  21. Trump then invoked Wounded Knee, one of the worst Native American massacres, while attacking Sen. Elizabeth Warren. Congress formally apologized in 1990 for the massacre, which killed and maimed hundreds.
  22. Trump tweeted about a video created by Warren, “If Elizabeth Warren, often referred to by me as Pocahontas, did this commercial from Bighorn or Wounded Knee instead of her kitchen…in full Indian garb, it would have been a smash!”
  23. On Sunday, an op-ed titled “Brexit and the U.S. Shutdown: Two Governments in Paralysis” explored two venerable democracies in crisis over populist projects — Brexit and Trump’s wall — both of which are stalled.
  24. On Tuesday, British Parliament rejected Prime Minister Theresa May’s Brexit deal in a 432 to 202 landslide, leaving withdrawal from the European Union, and her political future, in doubt.
  25. Historians said not since the Victorian age has there been a comparable party split and defeat. Britain risks crashing out of the E.U. in a way which would have harsh economic and humanitarian consequences.
  26. On Sunday, WAPO reported on Trump’s erratic Syria withdrawal, which included announcing a full withdrawal, then sending national security adviser John Bolton to reassure allies and say there would be preconditions.
  27. Days later, Trump again switched positions and starting withdrawing troops. Trump’s impulsive behavior resulted in Jim Mattis resigning, and rattled allies and partners unsure about U.S. commitment to the region.
  28. On Monday, WSJ reported Turkey is seeking the extradition of Enes Kanter, a Turkish center for the N.B.A.’s New York Knicks, who prosecutors in Istanbul claim is part of the movement by of cleric Fethullah Gulen.
  29. On Monday, NYT reported according to senior officials, Trump said privately that he wanted to withdraw the U.S. from the North Atlantic Treaty Organization several times during 2018.
  30. Such a move would essentially destroy NATO, and be a coup for Russia. Officials say when they think the issue of NATO membership has been settled, Trump again brings up his desire to leave the 70 year-old alliance.
  31. In his resignation letter, Mattis cited his commitment to America’s alliances. European and American officials said Mattis, a former top NATO commander, had reassured allies, and his exit has increased worries.
  32. On Monday, House Intelligence and Foreign Affairs committees met with lawyers to evaluate legal options for subpoenaing the interpreters who were present when Trump privately spoke to Putin.
  33. On Monday, speaking to reporters in front of the White House, Trump said, “I never worked for Russia,” adding, “I think it’s a disgrace that you even asked that question because it’s a whole big fat hoax. It’s just a hoax.”
  34. Trump said of James Comey, “He was a bad cop and he was a dirty cop,” and called the F.B.I. officials who launched the counterintelligence investigation of his ties to Russia “known scoundrels” and “dirty cops.”
  35. On Monday, Fox News legal analyst Gregg Jarrett told host Sean Hannity that it is time to disband and replace the F.B.I., saying, “Frankly, it’s time that it be halted in its tracks, reorganized and replaced.”
  36. On Monday, conservative-leaning Rasmussen Reports said Trump’s approval in its daily tracking poll had fallen to 43%, the lowest in nearly a year. Trump’s approval has been falling since his Oval Office address.
  37. Conversely, Speaker Pelosi has seen her popularity rise since the midterms due to a 13 point rise in Democratic support with her opposition to Trump. Gallup ratings has her more popular than she has been in a decade.
  38. Gallup reported Trump’s year two approval average is the lowest for second-year presidents elected to office since World War II. At 39%, he is on track to have the lowest approval rating of any president.
  39. Trump’s job approval also set a new record for polarization of 79 points, as he averaged 87% job approval among Republicans and 8% among Democrats. The previous high was 77 points under Obama.
  40. On Monday, two Transportation Security Administration officers were fired after a passenger was able to get a gun through a checkpoint in Atlanta. TSA said in a statement it was not because of the shutdown.
  41. In an anonymous op-ed at the conservative Daily Caller a senior Trump official wrote they hope for a long government shutdown, calling it “an opportunity to strip wasteful government agencies for good.”
  42. The official also wrote of “targeting the resistance,” saying, “Now that we are shut down, not only are we identifying and eliminating much of the sabotage and waste, but we are finally working on the president’s agenda.”
  43. Donald Jr. tweeted the Daily Caller op-ed, writing, “Worth the read,” on Monday. On Tuesday, Trump sharedit as well, retweeting Donald Jr.’s tweet.
  44. On Monday, Politico reported White House deputy press secretary Raj Shah resigned, and will be joining lobbying firm Ballard Partners.
  45. WAPO reported Deputy Secretary Pam Patenaude, second-in-command at the Department of Housing and Urban Development, resigned after butting heads with the Trump regime over her 16-month tenure.
  46. Patenaude, widely regarded as HUD’s most capable political leader and the main administrator of the department, departed over housing policy and the regime’s attempt to block disaster-recovery money for Puerto Rico.
  47. On Monday, The Guardian reported two are dead and 40 detained in a new crackdown on LGBTQ people in Russia’s Chechnya region. Activists say the deaths were caused by the use of torture by police.
  48. On Monday, House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy told reporters that the GOP had voted unanimously to strip Rep. Steve King of his committee assignments, following King’s white supremacy remarks in Week 113.
  49. On Tuesday, the Des Moines Register and Sioux City Journal editorial boards both called on Rep. King to resign.
  50. On Tuesday, the WAPO Editorial Board noted after a 40 seat House drubbing in the midterms, theRepublicans have finally spoke out about Rep. King’s bigotry. The board ask, “What about Trump’s?
  51. On Wednesday, HuffPost reported Reps. Andy Harris and Phil Roe met with Holocaust-denying white nationalist Chuck Johnson to discuss “DNA sequencing” at the Capitol.
  52. On Tuesday, HuffPost reported Second Lady Karen Pence started working as an art teacher this week at Immanuel Christian School, a private school that openly bans LGBTQ teachers and students.
  53. The school’s “parent agreement” says it will refuse admission to students who participate in or condone homosexual activity. The employment application says faculty pledge not to engage in homosexual activity.
  54. On Thursday, CNN reported on a lawsuit against General Motors by eight employees, saying managers at the Toledo Powertrain plant in Ohio did little or nothing to stop racism and intimidation during 2018.
  55. Employees described bathrooms declared for “whites only,” black supervisors denounced as “boy” and ignored by their subordinates, and black employees being called “monkey,” or told to “go back to Africa.”
  56. Employees described nooses being hung around the plant. The lawsuit said GM responded by having mandatory meetings after the nooses, but the focus was on violence, not racial discrimination or intimidation.
  57. On Thursday, the House floor erupted after Republican Rep. Jason Smith yelled “Go back to Puerto Rico” across the aisle as Democratic Rep. Tony Cárdenas was at the podium.
  58. Smith’s spokesman claimed the remark was not directed at Cárdenas, but rather at Democrats who vacationed there last week. Rep. Smith also apologized to Rep. Cárdenas.
  59. On Thursday, the inspector general for the Department of Health and Human Services issued a report finding the Trump regime separated thousands more migrant children at the border than previously reported.
  60. The regime also separated 118 children from July to November, after the end of its zero-tolerance policy, andthousands more who were taken in before the regime announced its policy of separating families.
  61. The report found separated children accounted for 0.3% of unaccompanied minors in HHS custody in late 2016, but the number surged to more than tenfold to 3.6% by August 2017.
  62. The report also found flawed data systems and poor communication between federal agencies. Migrant children also were also kept longer in Border Patrol holding cells, with 860 staying for longer than three days.
  63. On Thursday, NBC News reported according to a draft plan of the regime zero-tolerance policy leaked by a whistleblower to Sen. Jeff Merkley, the Trump regime weighed speeding up the deportation of migrant children.
  64. The plan would deny migrant children their legal right to asylum hearings after separating them from their parents, and also showed the regime would target parents in migrant families for increased prosecutions.
  65. On Friday, Sen. Merkley requested an FBI investigation into whether Department of Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen lied under oath while testifying before Congress on Trump’s family separation policy.
  66. On Saturday, Covington Catholic High School faced a backlash after viral videos of its students, many wearing “Make America Great Again” caps, taunted a man who was drumming at the Indigenous Peoples March in Washington DC.
  67. Covington is a private, all-boys schools in Kentucky. The school’s website showed students planned to attend the March for Life event on Friday. After fielding calls and emails, the school made their social media private.
  68. On Monday, Trump hosted the College Football National Champion Clemson Tigers at the White House, andserved fast food from McDonald’s, Wendy’s, and Burger King, calling it “great American food.”
  69. On Tuesday, Trump tweeted about the event “Because of the Shutdown I served them massive amounts of Fast Food (I paid), over 1000 hamberders.” Trump deleted the tweet, and spelled hamburger correctly in a replacement tweet.
  70. In response, the Twitter account for Burger King poked fun at Trump’s misspelling, tweeting, “due to a large order placed yesterday, we’re all out of hamberders. just serving hamburgers today.”
  71. On Monday, CNN reported Trump’s legal team rebuffed Mueller’s request in recent weeks for an in-person session with Trump to ask follow-up questions. Reportedly, Mueller was not satisfied with the written answers.
  72. On Monday, The Daily Beast reported Mueller’s team and and federal prosecutors in Manhattan are investigating a meeting attended by Rep. Devin Nunes, then NSA Michael Flynn, and dozens of foreign officials.
  73. The breakfast event took place at Trump Hotel DC on Jan. 18, 2017, two days before Trump’s inauguration. Investigators are examining Trump inaugural committee misspent funds and foreign contributions.
  74. On Tuesday, Paul Manafort’s team filed a 31-page court document with 406 nearly black-out exhibitsdetailing the deliberate falsehoods told by Manafort to support the government’s argument his plea deal is now void.
  75. The heavily redacted document cites Manafort lied about payments and financial relationships, his dealings with Konstantin Kilimnik, his contacts with people in the Trump regime, and other topics.
  76. Based on the document, Kilimnik appears to a central figure in Mueller’s investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election, and that Manafort communicated with Kilimnik beginning on August 2, 2016.
  77. On Tuesday, Mueller’s team told a federal judge former Trump campaign aide Rick Gates is cooperating with “several ongoing investigations,” and asked the judge to delay his sentencing for financial crimes.
  78. The Daily Beast reported Gates is cooperating in the ongoing investigation into possible Middle Eastern election influence, and has answered questions about Psy Group, which alleged helped with social media manipulation.
  79. On Thursday, Facebook took down hundreds of pages from an account that posed as independent news sites in eastern Europe, but was actually run by employees of Russian state-owned news agency Sputnik.
  80. Facebook said the 364 pages and accounts removed had almost 800,000 followers, and were targeting users in Romania, Latvia, Estonia, Lithuania, Georgia, and Moldova and posting anti-NATO messaging.
  81. On Wednesday, Trump attorney Rudy Giuliani told CNN, “I never said there was no collusion between the campaign or between people in the campaign,” adding, “I said the president of the United States.”
  82. Giuliani’s backpedaling was the latest in a series of conflicting statements. Previously, he had denied that there was any coordination by Trump campaign aides. His comments received much public attention
  83. On Thursday, Giuliani changed his story again, telling the Times, “I have no knowledge of collusion involving the campaign, nor does the president. However, I only represent the president, and that’s all I can speak for.”
  84. On Thursday, the Belarusian escort Anastasia Vashukevich, who claimed to have tapes that could link Russia to Trump’s election, and had links to Deripaska, was deported from Thailand to Russia.
  85. Aleksei Navalny, the Russian opposition leader, posted a video on Twitter Friday showing that Vashukevich was forcibly detained — struggling as two men tried to put her in a wheelchair, and drag her into an elevator.
  86. On Thursday, WSJ reported in early 2015, Cohen hired IT firm RedFinch Solutions LLC, run by John Gauger, who is chief information officer at Liberty University, to rig polls in favor of Trump.
  87. In January 2014, Cohen asked Gauger to help push up Trump’s ranking in a CNBC online poll of the country’s top business leaders, and in February 2015 in a Drudge Report poll of potential Republican candidates.
  88. Cohen had asked Gauger to create a Twitter account, @WomenForCohen, which was created in May 2016 and described Cohen as a “sex symbol,” promoting his appearances and statements on Trump’s candidacy.
  89. Cohen had said he would pay Gauger $50,000, but when Gauger showed up at Trump Tower to collect, Cohen instead gave him between $12,000 and $13,000 in cash and a boxing glove — allegedly pocketing the rest.
  90. On Thursday, Lanny Davis, an attorney who has been advising Cohen on his media strategy, told MSNBC thatCohen is reconsidering his plan to testify before Congress because of intimidation by Trump.
  91. On Thursday, WSJ reported on a settlement reached between Mueller’s team and law firm Skadden Arps. The settlement is fallout from Manafort’s years of work in Ukraine for pro-Russia politicians.
  92. Skadden agreed to turn over $4.6 million in fees for work it did for Ukraine in 2012 with Manafort, to register as lobbyists for a foreign government in connection with that work, and to acknowledge it misled the DOJ.
  93. On Friday, the Hill reported the Senate Intelligence Committee has subpoenaed Jerome Corsi for an interview and documents. Corsi’s attorney said his legal team plans to contest the subpoena.
  94. On Monday, the White House announced Ivanka Trump will play a role in selecting the next president of the World Bank. The White House also said despite rumors in Week 113, Ivanka is not a candidate for the position.
  95. Officials claim Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin asked Ivanka for her help. Ethics experts raised concerns about Ivanka’s involvement given she continues to hold trademarks around the world.
  96. On Monday, a federal judge in Philadelphia put a nationwide hold on the Trump regime’s rules set to take effect that day allowing employers to opt out of providing women with no-cost birth control.
  97. Judge Wendy Beetlestone noted that the Trump regime violated procedural requirements for how regulations must be created, and that the rules exceed the scope of authority under the Affordable Care Act.
  98. On Tuesday, a federal judge in New York blocked the Trump regime from adding a question about citizenship to the 2020 census, saying Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross’s decision to add the question broke the law.
  99. The Trump regime claimed they needed to add the question to enforce the Voting Rights Act of 1965. The government has not asked about citizenship status of the entire population since the 1950 census.
  100. WAPO reported in April 2018, the day after T-Mobile announced its $26 billion merger with Sprint, which would require approval from the Trump regime, executives started staying at the Trump Hotel DC.
  101. By mid-June, one T-mobile executive had stayed at the hotel ten times. Celebrity CEO John Legere stayed for three days after the announcement and at least three other times, wearing his company t-shirt in the lobby.
  102. On Friday, NYT reported Treasury Secretary Mnuchin flew to Los Angeles on a private jet owned by billionaire Michael Milken, the latest example of regime officials using luxury or government aircraft for personal reasons.
  103. Trump regime officials, including Mnuchin, had been encouraging Trump to pardon Milken, who pleaded guilty to six criminal charges related to securities transactions undertaken in the 1980s and served jail time.
  104. On Tuesday morning, Trump tweeted “A big new Caravan is heading up to our Southern Border from Honduras,” adding, “Tell Nancy and Chuck that a drone flying around will not stop them. Only a Wall will work.”
  105. Tens of thousands of Hondurans and other Central Americans have migrated north in recent years to flee violence and poverty; but until last year under Trump, got little notice.
  106. On Tuesday, the Senate Judiciary Committee held confirmation hearing for attorney general nominee William Barr. He faced tough questions on the department remaining independent, and on the Mueller probe.
  107. Asked about a 2017 email he sent to the NYT saying he saw more reason to investigate Uranium One and the Clinton Foundation than Russia, Barr said an investigation “shouldn’t be launched just because” Trump wants it.
  108. When asked if the Mueller report will be made fully public, Barr suggested Mueller’s findings would be filtered through the attorney general, who would decide what Congress and the public would be allowed to see.
  109. Barr said he saw no reason to revise DOJ guidelines that sitting presidents cannot be indicted, but that if Trump pardoned someone in exchange for not incriminating him, that it would be a crime.
  110. Barr committed to not fire Mueller, and said he would make sure Mueller had the funds and time necessary to finish his work. Barr also said Giuliani would not be allowed to “correct” the report as Giuliani said in Week 113.
  111. Barr said that he would seek the advice of DOJ career ethics personnel on recusal, but he would make the final decision on his own recusal. Barr also said would resign if Trump fired someone to try to stop the investigations.
  112. On Tuesday, House Judiciary Committee chair Jerome Nadler said acting attorney general Matt Whitaker has agreed to testify next month about his views on the Mueller probe and his decision not to recuse himself.
  113. National Geographic reported key environmental impacts of the shutdown include national parks at risk, halt to monitoring toxic chemicals and food screenings, disrupting long-term science, and marine animals at risk.
  114. On Monday, the Food and Drug Administration called back hundreds of furloughed workers, without pay, to resume inspections of some high-risk foods. It was unclear how many of the workers would return.
  115. On Monday, Glamour reported domestic violence shelters nationwide are struggling to remain open as federal funding that was set aside for them last year for reimbursement has not arrived.
  116. On Tuesday, the White House called tens of thousands of employees back to work, without pay, at the Federal Aviation Administration to ensure flight safety and the Internal Revenue Service to process tax returns.
  117. Trump also tried a new strategy of reaching out to moderate House Democrats in districts that voted for him in 2016 and inviting them to lunch at the White House to go around Speaker Pelosi. None showed up.
  118. On Tuesday, a revised estimate by the Council of Economic Advisers showed that the shutdown is beginning to have real economic consequences, and could push the U.S. economy into a contraction.
  119. On Tuesday, active Coast Guard members missed their first paycheck — the only military branch to work without pay during the shutdown. The Coast Guard is part of the Department of Homeland Security.
  120. Coast Guard Commandant Adm. Karl Schultz said in a statement, “To the best of my knowledge, this marks the first time in our Nation’s history that service members in a U.S. Armed Force have not been paid during a lapse in government appropriations.”
  121. On Tuesday, six prominent veterans’ groups held a rare, joint news conference calling for an end to the shutdown, saying tens of thousands of veterans are facing financial hardships as they go without pay.
  122. Bloomberg reported furloughed federal workers are pulling money out of retirement plans to make ends meet. One data point showed a 34% jump in hardship withdrawals in the two and 1/2 weeks after Christmas.
  123. On Tuesday, Trump tweeted, “Why is Nancy Pelosi getting paid when people who are working are not?” Pelosi responded: “stop holding the paychecks of 800,000 Americans hostage. Re-open the government!”
  124. On Tuesday, Senate Leader Mitch McConnell for a second time blocked a House bill to reopen the government from coming to the floor for a vote.
  125. On Tuesday, House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer announced he plans to introduce a resolution which wouldblock the Trump regime from lifting sanctions on Russian oligarch Oleg Deripaska’s businesses.
  126. On Wednesday, Democrats fell short in the Senate on a measure to keep sanctions on Deripaska’s companies, as 11 Republicans joined Democrats in a 57-42 vote, short of the 60 needed. Sen. Bernie Sanders did not vote.
  127. On Thursday, in a rebuke to Trump, 136 House Republicans joined Democrats in a 362-53 vote to oppose a Treasury Department plan to lift sanctions against Deripaska’s companies.
  128. House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy and Whip Steve Scalise broke with Trump to join Democrats to support the resolution, as did the with the rest of their leadership team, leaving Leader McConnell in an awkward spot.
  129. Politico reported the Border Patrol union deleted a webpage from 2012 which said building walls and fencesalong the border to stop illegal immigration would be “wasting taxpayer money.”
  130. On Wednesday, popular rapper Cardi B blasted Trump over the government shutdown in a viral, expletive-laden message to her nearly 40 million Instagram followers, that was shared all over social media.
  131. In the 58-second video, Cardi B says “Our country is in a hellhole right now,” adding “all for a f‐‐‐ing wall,” and “And I really feel bad for these people that gotta go to f‐‐‐ing work to not get motherf‐‐‐ing paid.”
  132. On Wednesday, day 26 of the shutdown, the House passed a disaster relief bill to reopen parts of the government through February 8. Trump said he will not support any bill without $5.7 billion of funding for his wall.
  133. On Thursday, Trump tweeted “The Left has become totally unhinged. They no longer care what is Right for our Countrty! [sic]” and later saying Schumer is “groveling” to end the shutdown, but Pelosi will not.
  134. On Friday, the Senate Republicans blocked the legislation. This marks the third time McConnell has blocked House stop-gap measures.
  135. On Thursday, a new NPR/PBS NewsHour/Marist poll found as Trump’s approval with parts of his base is slipping. Trump had a net 18 point loss with suburban men, from 51-to-39 approve to 42-to-48 from December.
  136. Trump also lost 24 points with white women without a college degree from 54-to-34 down to 43-to-47. Overall, he has lost a net 10 points with Republicans from 90-to-7 percent approve to 83-to-10 percent.
  137. On Wednesday, Pelosi sent a letter to Trump, asking him to postpone his State of the Union addressscheduled for January 29 in the House chamber or deliver it in writing, citing security concerns related to the shutdown.
  138. Pelosi cited the Secret Service and Department of Homeland Security have key responsibilities for planning and implementing security, and are both hamstrung by furloughs. Pelosi suggested using the Oval Office instead.
  139. AP reported while he remained publicly silent, behind the scenes Trump was stewing about how Pelosi’s movewas being received on cable TV, reiterating fears he was being outmaneuvered in the public eye.
  140. On Thursday, as her delegation was set to depart, Trump advised Pelosi in a letter made public that he was postponing the House delegation’s trip to Afghanistan due to the shutdown and called it a “public relations event.”
  141. Trump wrote, “Due to the Shutdown, I am sorry to inform you that your trip to Brussels, Egypt, and Afghanistan has been postponed. We will reschedule this seven-day excursion when the Shutdown is over.”
  142. Trump wrote, “Obviously, if you would like to make your journey by flying commercial, that would certainly be your prerogative.” The trip was to visit troops and commanders in Afghanistan, an active U.S. combat zone.
  143. In a statement, Pelosi’s spokesperson said the stop in Brussels was mainly to allow the pilot to rest, and also was set to have included meetings with NATO leadership. He also noted Egypt was not on her itinerary.
  144. It is typical for members of Congress to travel around the world as part of their congressional business on military planes arranged by the State Department. Details are kept secret for security reasons until they return.
  145. Trump then canceled the trip by several Cabinet officials to the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, citing the partial government shutdown. Trump canceled his own appearance at Davos last week.
  146. Two hours after Trump grounded Pelosi, Melania Trump took off on an Air Force-modified Boeing 757 — the same type of plane Pelosi’s delegation was set to use — from Joint Base Andrews, and headed to Mar-a-Lago.
  147. On Friday, Pelosi spokesperson said as the delegation “prepared to fly commercially to proceed with this vital trip…This morning, we learned that the administration had leaked the commercial travel plans as well.”
  148. On Friday, Trump tweeted, “Why would Nancy Pelosi leave the Country with other Democrats on a seven day excursion,” adding, “Nancy & her ‘big donors’ in wine country” want farm workers to “have easy access in!”
  149. On Friday, the Official Twitter Account of the Presidency of the Republic of Turkey tweeted a photo of Sen. Lindsey Graham shaking hands with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan at Turkey’s Presidential Complex.
  150. On Friday, Pelosi told reporters the leak was a shocking break of protocol. She said Trump’s “inexperience” may have led him to leak the information, but his staff should have known the “danger not only to us but to other people.”
  151. When asked by reporters if she thought Trump was retaliating over her request to postpone the State of the Union, Pelosi said “I would hope not. I don’t think the president would be that petty, do you?
  152. WAPO reported that Trump has regularly breached security protocols, also including having a Russian photographer in the Oval Office and inadvertently revealing Jared Kushner heading to Iraq in advance.
  153. On Friday, California Gov. Gavin Newsom said his state will offer the federal workers unemployment coverage, despite the federal government telling the state that it cannot do so.
  154. On Friday, former president George W. Bush posted a photograph on Instagram of him delivering pizza to his unpaid secret service detail, and calling for both sides to end the government shutdown.
  155. On Friday, in a series of tweets on immigration, Trump tweeted, “Another big Caravan heading our way. Very hard to stop without a Wall!”
  156. Trump also tweeted an unfounded claim by the Washington Examiner, saying, “Border rancher: ‘We’ve found prayer rugs out here,’” claiming Islamic prayer rugs are being found at the southern border.
  157. Ahead of the midterms, Trump had also claimed “there very well could be” large number of Middle Easterners in the caravan, but later acknowledged “there’s no proof of anything.”
  158. Trump also claimed in a tweet that the GOP is behind him on keeping the government shut for his wall, “Never seen the Republican Party so unified. No “Cave” on the issue of Border and National Security.”
  159. On Friday, Trump had a 90-minute meeting in the Oval Office with Kim Yong-chol, a former North Korean intelligence chief, who has acted as the top nuclear negotiator.
  160. After the meeting, press secretary Sarah Sanders announced Trump and Kim Jong-un will hold a second summit in February, despite North Korea’s failure to dismantle its nuclear arsenal following the meeting in Singapore.
  161. On Friday, Trump’s 2020 campaign sent an email seeking donations of $20.20, and pledging to send fake bricks to Speaker Pelosi and Minority Leader Schumer over their refusal to pay for the wall.
  162. On Thursday late evening, BuzzFeed News released a bombshell story that Trump directed Michael Cohen to lie to Congress about the Trump Tower Moscow Project (NOTE: Mueller’s team later refuted this story).
  163. BuzzFeed’s sources for the story were two federal law enforcement officials involved in an investigation. Cohen was not interviewed for the story.
  164. Mueller’s team learned about Trump directing Cohen to lie through interviews with multiple witnesses from the Trump Organization and internal company emails, text messages, and a cache of other documents.
  165. Attorneys close to the regime helped Cohen prepare his testimony and draft his statement to the Senate panel. An attorney for Don McGahn said he had “no involvement with or knowledge of Michael Cohen’s testimony.”
  166. Trump was aware Cohen was speaking to Russian government officials about the deal, and supported a plan to personally visit Moscow and meet with Putin during the presidential campaign to jump-start negotiations.
  167. Donald Jr. and Ivanka also received regular briefings from Cohen, who was put in charge of the project. Federal investigators are seeking to clarify the roles the two played in the Moscow tower negotiation.
  168. The deal reportedly would have brought Trump in excess of $300 million in profits. Reportedly, Trump had more at least 10 face-to-face meetings with Cohen about the project during the campaign.
  169. A spokesperson for Ivanka, who was slated to manage the project’s spa, told BuzzFeed she was only “minimally involved.” Donald Jr. told Congress in September 2017 he was only “peripherally aware” of the project.
  170. On Thursday, Giuliani dismissed the report, telling a WAPO reporter, “If you believe Cohen I can get you a great deal on the Brooklyn Bridge.” Cohen was not a source for the story.
  171. On Thursday, in reaction to the BuzzFeed story, the Twitter account for dictionary Merriam Webster tweeted, “‘Suborn’ — specifically: to induce to commit perjury — broadly: to induce secretly to do an unlawful thing.”
  172. On Friday, Trump tweeted a quote by Kevin Corke on Fox News that Cohen is “convicted of perjury and fraud,” and adding “Lying to reduce his jail time!” and again threatening Fima Shusterman, “Watch father-in-law!”
  173. On Friday evening, Mueller’s office issued a rare statement: “BuzzFeed’s description of specific statements to the special counsel’s office, and characterization of documents and testimony obtained by this office, regarding Michael Cohen’s congressional testimony are not accurate.”
  174. The statement from Mueller’s team shook the country, after the media had been covering the BuzzFeed Newsstory and its impact all day long, and Democratic lawmakers had suggested it could spell the end of Trump.
  175. Mueller’s team speaks exceedingly rarely in public on any matter, and had never previously issued a statement regarding evidence in its investigation. No other media outlets were able to confirm BuzzFeed’s reporting.
  176. WAPO reported Mueller’s denial aimed to make clear that none of the statements in the story are accurate. Reportedly concern grew over Democrats in Congress demanding answers and investigations in the story.
  177. BuzzFeed News said in a statement Friday night, “We are continuing to report and determine what the special counsel is disputing. We remain confident in the accuracy of our report.”
  178. On Friday, Trump retweeted tweets disparaging BuzzFeed, saying, “This isn’t journalism,” and, “many journalists have lost their integrity,” and the story “blew up in their face and the rest of the fake news are casualties.”
  179. Trump also tweeted “Remember it was Buzzfeed that released the totally discredited “Dossier,” paid for by Crooked Hillary Clinton and the Democrats,” adding: “on which the entire Russian probe is based!”
  180. Trump also tweeted: “A very sad day for journalism, but a great day for our Country!” Trump later repeated a familiar line, tweeting, “Fake News is truly the ENEMY OF THE PEOPLE!”
  181. Trump told reporters, “I appreciate the special counsel coming out with a statement,” calling it “appropriate,” and adding, “I think that the BuzzFeed piece was a disgrace to our country. It was a disgrace to journalism.”
  182. On Saturday, Trump tweeted a quote by Newt Gingrich saying “no president since Abraham Lincoln who has been treated worse or more unfairly by the media,” adding, “other than your favorite President, me!”
  183. Trump also tweeted, “Many people are saying that the Mainstream Media will have a very hard time restoring credibility,” adding including “the disgraceful Buzzfeed story & the even more disgraceful coverage!”
  184. A Pew Research poll found just 29% of Americans think Trump’s presidency will be successful in the long-term, 47% think it’ll be unsuccessful, and 23% say it is too early to tell. The results are the most pessimistic in 25 years.
  185. Also notably the 47% who say unsuccessful is higher than ever measured at any point in any term in the last 25 years for any president, and also suggests Trump’s approval rating has little chance or room to improve.
  186. As the week came to a close, and the government shutdown hit day 29, Trump prepared to deliver a speech, reportedly to offer protections from deportation for some undocumented immigrants in exchange for his wall.

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A student from Covington Catholic High School in a MAGA hat mocks Native American elder Nathan Phillips at the Indigenous Peoples March in Washington, DC on January 18, 2019.

POLITIKS OF GRAFFITI 110: FELON TAKING A 16-DAY HOLIDAY (FROM DESTROYING THIS COUNTRY)

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Wynwood, Miami, FL December 2018

Week 109: Experts in authoritarianism advise to keep a list of things subtly changing around you, so you’ll remember.

December 15, 2018

As I’ve been listing, I’ve always suspected things would crescendo as we were moving towards the end of the Trump era. Week 109 is the longest list so far, with 181 not normal items. Up until now, Trump has never been questioned or countered in his authority, other than in rulings by the Judicial branch. Soon he will be facing Democrats as equals — a House that can hold him accountable — as well as the multiple investigations and lawsuits steaming ahead and expanding in scope. Trump is unprepared and understaffed for what is coming his way starting January. He is going to hate 2019.

This week, confronted by presumptive House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, his first check on power in person, Trump cowered and retreated — ill-prepared for how to face a direct challenge to his previously unequivocal power and authority. The Republicans, in small measure, stood up to him on the slaying of journalist Jamal Khashoggi, condemning Saudi crown prince MBS and approving a resolution to end its military support for the Saudi-led war in Yemen. Trump’s small inner circle is in disarray and shrinking — even replacing the chief of staff role became an arduous task.

This week reporting indicates a possible new phase in the Mueller probe relating to Middle East countries, and their attempts to influence the 2016 election to gain access. Meanwhile, cases against Michael Cohen, Michael Flynn, Paul Manafort, and Maria Butina progressed, bringing the investigations closer to Trump, his campaign, and regime. Also this week there were three bombshell stories on Trump’s inaugural committee, relating to unaccounted monies and pay for play, foreign contributions, and overpaying for the Trump Hotel DC with Ivanka a part of negotiations. As Trump prepares to depart for Mar-a-Lago for a 16 day holiday, new or expanding investigations threaten to engulf every part of his life, including his campaign, regime, family and business — with possible felony charges after his time in office.

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Lower East Side, New York City. November 2018
  1. WAPO Fact Checker introduced a new category, the “Bottomless Pinocchio.” The category will apply to politicians who “repeat a false claim so many times that they are, in effect, engaging in campaigns of disinformation.”
  2. To be included, a claim must have received three or four Pinocchios, and have been repeated at least 20 times. So far, 14 statements repeatedly made by Trump qualify for the new category.
  3. TIME named “The Guardians,” journalists who have been targeted for their work, as the 2018 Person of the Year, in what the magazine calls “the War on Truth,” citing the “manipulation and abuse of the truth.”
  4. The journalists included Jamal Khashoggi; journalists at the Capital Gazette; Wa Lone and Kyaw Soe Oo, Reuters journalists arrested in Myanmar; and Maria Resser, CEO of the Philippine news website Rappler.
  5. On Sunday, WAPO reported Trump’s Republican allies are growing concerned that he and his White House have no real plan for dealing with the Russia crisis, as well as a host of problems foreign and domestic.
  6. GOP senators were shaken by revelations that Michael Flynn met with Mueller’s team 19 times, and the extent of the probe. One senator said abreaking point would be if Mueller finds Trump conspired with Russia.
  7. Trump believes he can outsmart his adversaries. The White House isadopting a “shrugged shoulders” strategy for the Mueller findings, with Trump being of the opinion his voters will believe what he tells them to.
  8. While allies have been pushing Trump to bolster his legal team, hiring remains difficult as potential staffers worry about whether they will need to hire a personal lawyer, and express concern about the constant turmoil.
  9. On Sunday, Yahoo News reported in the spring of 2017, Trump tried asking William Barr, whom he appointed to attorney general in Week 108, to spearhead his defense in the Mueller probe. Barr declined.
  10. On Sunday, incoming House Intelligence Committee chair Adam Schiff told “Face the Nation” that Trump may “face the real prospect of jail time” after he leaves office, over directing payments to silence women.
  11. On Sunday, Nick Ayers, thought likely to be John Kelly’s replacement, tweeted that he will not take the position as Trump’s chief of staff and will depart the White House at the end of the year.
  12. On Sunday, Trump downplayed Ayers’ announcement, tweeting, “I am in the process of interviewing some really great people” adding: “Fake News has been saying with certainty it was Nick Ayers…decision soon!”
  13. Names being floated around on Sunday included Office of Management and Budget Director Mick Mulvaney, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer, and Rep. Mark Meadows.
  14. Trump also tweeted, “the Trump Administration has accomplished more than any other U.S. Administration,” adding, “Fake News Media, which has gone totally out of its mind-truly the Enemy of the People!
  15. A viral video showed police officers ripping a one-year old from his mother’s arms at a welfare office in Brooklyn. Jazmine Headley can be heard yelling, “They’re hurting my son! They’re hurting my son!”
  16. Police were called because Headley, who is a Black woman, was sitting on the floor because no chairs were available. She was arrested for trespassing and other charges, and held without bail on Rikers Island.
  17. A viral video showed Julian von Abele, a white Columbia University student, ranting about the superiority of his race and praising Trump to a group of fellow students, a number of whom are black.
  18. Jonathan Hart, a 21 year-old homeless man, was shot by a Walgreens security guard who falsely assumed he was shoplifting. An attorney for the family said in a lawsuit Hart was targeted because he was black and gay.
  19. New York Post reported Nazi-themed posters containing Hitler and swastikas were found scattered across SUNY Purchase’s campus. Governor Andrew Cuomo directed the state police Hate Crimes Unit to investigate.
  20. The Washington DC headquarters of the American Federation of Teachers was defaced, including an outside wall of the building, with a yellow spray-painted message that said “I want Jexit!”
  21. Kentucky Gov. Matt Bevin sought to discredit an investigation of a state government program by Louisville Courier-Journal in partnership with ProPublica, saying the latter is “funded by the likes of George Soros.”
  22. The San Francisco Chronicle reported that from late July through late November ICE arrested 170 potential sponsors coming forward to adopt unaccompanied migrant children — 109 (64%) had no criminal record.
  23. Before Trump, the government typically released unaccompanied migrant children into the custody of a qualified adult without a background check.Migrant children in government custody has surged to 14,700, and rising.
  24. On Monday, about 200 faith leaders gathered at the U.S.-Mexico border on Human Rights Day to send a message to the Trump regime that migrants have a right under international law to seek asylum.
  25. As the faith leaders’ press conference was happening, U.S. officials announced the number of active military troops at the border would go down from 5,400 to about 3,000.
  26. On Tuesday, the Justice Department asked the Supreme Court to restore Trump’s order barring asylum for immigrants who enter the U.S. illegally. In Week 108 the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled against the order.
  27. On Thursday, WAPO reported Jakelin Caal Maquin, a 7-year-old girl from Guatemala, died of dehydration and shock after she was taken into Border Patrol custody last week, after crossing the U.S.-Mexico border illegally.
  28. Maquin and her father were taken into custody as part of a group of 163 people who turned themselves in to U.S. agents. Eight hours later, she had seizures. She “had not eaten or consumed water for several days.”
  29. On Friday, Department of Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen blamed the migrant family for the girl’s death, telling Fox News it “is a very sad example of the dangers to migrants,” and “this child’s father made a dangerous journey.”
  30. On Wednesday, The Atlantic reported the Trump regime is resuming its efforts to deport certain protected Vietnamese immigrants who have lived in the U.S. for decades, as announced in Week 96, after backing off months ago.
  31. On Friday, insurance company Pacific Life announced it is pausing and reevaluating its advertising on Tucker Carlson’s Fox News show after a segment in which he suggested mass immigration makes the U.S. “dirtier.”
  32. On Friday, luxury fashion brand Prada pulled a display in its Manhattan storefront, after images surfaced of the products depicting monkey-like figures with black faces and large red lips.
  33. On Sunday, Trump lashed out at James Comey, tweeting, without evidence, that on 245 occasions Comey “didn’t know, didn’t recall, or couldn’t remember things when asked” by lawmakers last Friday.
  34. Trump also tweeted, “Leakin’ James Comey must have set a record for who lied the most to Congress in one day,” adding, “this whole deal is a Rigged Fraud headed up by dishonest people,” concluding, “They are now exposed!”
  35. On Sunday, NYT reported that federal prosecutors are wrapping things up with Michael Cohen and are now shifting to the Trump family business — in recent weeks renewing a request for documents and other materials.
  36. On Sunday, conspiracy theorist Jerome Corsi sued Mueller, the DOJ, CIA, FBI, and NSA for $350 million, accusing them of blackmailing him to lie as part of a “legal coup d’etat” against Trump.
  37. On Monday, in a pair of tweets, Trump asserted his payments to silence women were a “simple private transaction,” saying the Dems “wrongly call it a campaign contribution, which it was not.”
  38. Trump also tweeted, “it is only a CIVIL CASE,” not criminal, and added, “Cohen just trying to get his sentence reduced,” “WITCH HUNT!” and “there was NO COLLUSION.”
  39. Trump also quoted a commentator on Fox News, tweeting, “Democrats can’t find a Smocking Gun tying the Trump campaign to Russia after James Comey’s testimony. No Smocking Gun…No Collusion.”
  40. Merriam-Webster again mocked Trump’s misspellings, tweeting, “today in Spellcheck Can’t Save You: ‘Smocking’ is a type of embroidery made of many small folds sewn into place.”
  41. On Monday, CNN reported that Maria Butina, an accused Russian spy who infiltrated the NRA ahead of the 2016 election, has been cooperating with federal prosecutors, and that her lawyer has filed a “change of plea.”
  42. The filing revealed that Butina “agreed and conspired, with a Russian government official and at least one other person, for Butina to act in the United States under the direction of Russian Official.”
  43. The filing noted she relied on the assistance of Paul Erickson and took direction from Russian Alexander Torshin to “establish unofficial lines of communication with Americans having power and influence over US politics.”
  44. The filings noted Torshin asked her to provide a note justifying his attendance at the 2016 NRA meeting. Butina did so “partly because of the opportunity to meet political candidates.” The two met Donald Jr. there.
  45. ABC News reported during the FBI raid of Erickson’s home, investigators found his handwritten note saying, “How to respond to FSB offer of employment?,” an apparent reference to the Russian intelligence services.
  46. On Thursday, Butina pleaded guilty to conspiring with Torshin to infiltrate the conservative movement in the U.S. as an agent for the Kremlin from 2015 until her arrest in July 2018 in an effort called “Diplomacy Project.”
  47. Butina became the first Russian national convicted as a foreign agent trying to influence U.S. policy in the run-up and through the 2016 election to agree to cooperate in a plea deal, in exchange for less prison time.
  48. Butina admitted to working with Erickson, under Torshin’s direction, to forge bonds with officials at the National Rifle Association, conservative leaders, and 2016 presidential candidates, including Trump.
  49. The judge also revealed a situation involving Butina’s lawyer Robert Driscoll, and concern by the government that Butina might be serving as a conduit between the press and her lawyer, who is bound by a gag order.
  50. On Tuesday, attorneys for Paul Manafort told the court they may not contest Mueller’s accusations that Manafort breached his plea agreementby lying to federal prosecutors.
  51. On Tuesday, in a memo, Michael Flynn’s attorneys asked a federal judge to spare him prison time, echoing Mueller, and saying Flynn’s cooperation “was not grudging or delayed.”
  52. The memo also criticized the FBI for choosing not to involve the Justice Department, and FBI agents not warning “Flynn that it was a crime to lie during an FBI interview because they wanted Flynn to be relaxed.”
  53. On Wednesday, Michael Cohen was sentenced to three years in prison in a federal court in Manhattan for his role in the scheme to buy the silence of two women ahead of the 2016 election who said they had affairs with Trump.
  54. Cohen’s lawyer had argued that he should serve no prison time. Federal prosecutors in the Southern District of New York said in their filings that Cohen should serve four years.
  55. On Wednesday, the U.S. attorney general for the SDNY also announced they would not prosecute American Media Inc. (AMI), National Enquirer’s parent, for its role in a scheme to help Trump win the 2016 election.
  56. AMI had signed an agreement in September with the SDNY agreeing to cooperate, and admitted it paid $150,000 to Karen McDougal before the 2016 election to silence her allegations of an affair with Trump.
  57. The agreement stated “AMI further admitted that its principal purpose in making the payment was to suppress the woman’s story so as to prevent it from influencing the election.”
  58. Prosecutors allege David Pecker, CEO of AMI, and AMI also played a key role in the effort to silence Stormy Daniels. The agreement also suggested Pecker is of ongoing use to prosecutors.
  59. Also per the agreement, Pecker met with Cohen “and at least one other member of the campaign” in August 2015 to discuss handling negative stories about Trump’s relationships with women.
  60. On Thursday, NBC News reported Trump was the third person in the room with Pecker and Cohen in August 2015. Experts say this could place Trump in the middle of a conspiracy to commit campaign fraud.
  61. Incoming House committee chairs Reps. Jerrold Nadler and Schiff said they will subpoena for information on Trump’s involvement with the hush payments, which Nadler described as “impeachable offenses.”
  62. On Thursday, in a series of tweets on Cohen, Trump said, “I never directed Michael Cohen to break the law,” adding Cohen is lawyer and “he is supposed to know the law. It is called “advice of counsel.””
  63. Trump also tweeted, “I did nothing wrong with respect to campaign finance laws,” and “Cohen was guilty on many charges unrelated to me, but he plead to two campaign charges which were not criminal.”
  64. Trump also tweeted about Flynn, saying the FBI gave him “a great deal because they were embarrassed by the way he was treated,” adding, “They want to scare everybody into making up stories that are not true.”
  65. On Thursday, Trump told reporters he was glad the judge is taking a closer look at the case, saying, “The FBI said Michael Flynn, a general and a great person, they said he didn’t lie, and Mueller said, well, maybe he did.”
  66. On Thursday, Trump told Fox News that he bears no responsibility for the campaign finance violations committed by Cohen, saying of the charges, “They put that on to embarrass me…They’re not criminal charges.”
  67. On Friday, in an interview with ABC, Cohen said he “gave loyalty to someone who, truthfully, does not deserve loyalty,” and that he “will not be the villain of [Trump’s] story.”
  68. Cohen said of Trump’s denials, “nothing at the Trump organization was ever done unless it was run through Mr. Trump. He directed me to make the payments, he directed me to become involved in these matters.”
  69. On Friday, in court, Mueller’s team rejected Flynn’s assertion he had been tricked into lying to the FBI, but said they would not change its recommendation that Flynn receive no jail time.
  70. In a filing, prosecutors laid out a pattern of lies by Flynn to Vice President Mike Pence, senior White House aides, federal investigators, and the media about his conversations with Russian ambassador Sergey Kislyak.
  71. The filing also states, “A sitting National Security Advisor, former head of an intelligence agency, retired Lieutenant General, and 33 year veteran of the armed forces knows he should not lie to federal agents.”
  72. So far the Mueller probe has issued more than 100 criminal counts against 33 people and three companies. Cohen is the fourth to face prison time, following Alex van der Zwaan, George Papadopoulos, and Paul Manafort.
  73. On Thursday, NBC News reported that Trump has in recent days told close friends that he is alarmed by the prospect of impeachment. Allies believe holding support of establishment Republicans is now critical.
  74. One Trump ally said Trump avoiding impeachment now comes down to the testimony of Pecker and Allen Weisselberg, both cooperating witnesseswith the SDNY. Trump maintains a confident posture publicly.
  75. Trump has yet to put together a team to deal with the expected influx of congressional investigations and continued fallout from multiple federal investigations. He has been calling around to allies to get input and vent.
  76. A new CNN poll found just 29% approve of Trump’s handling of the Russia investigation, matching a low previously hit in June of this year. Mueller’s approval is at 43%, down from 48% in early October.
  77. On Monday, protestors at the UN climate talks in Poland disrupted a Trump regime presentation extolling the virtues of fossil fuels with loud roars of laughter and chants of “Shame on you!”
  78. On Monday, the LA Times reported the Trump regime is set to roll back Obama-era Clean Water Act protections on millions of acres of waterwaysand wetlands, including up to two-thirds of California’s inland streams.
  79. The rollback follows through on a promise to agriculture interests and real estate developers, opening billions of dollars in potential development rights. Quality of drinking water and wildlife habitat will be affected.
  80. France launched a probe into possible Russian interference behind the Yellow Vest protests, after reports that social-media accounts linked to Moscow have increasingly been active in targeting the movement.
  81. On Wednesday, a Ukraine court ruled officials in the country violated the law by revealing, during the 2016 election, details of illegal payments to Manafort. Ukraine is reliant on the U.S. for military and financial aid.
  82. On Wednesday, UK Prime Minister May survived a no-confidence vote by Conservative lawmakers that would have ended her leadership of party and country over her handling of Britain’s exit from the European Union.
  83. On Wednesday, Hungary passed a law to set up courts overseen directly by the government. In September, the EU voted to impose sanctions on Hungary for flouting its rules on democracy, civil rights, and corruption.
  84. On Tuesday, Trump told Reuters he could intervene in the U.S. case against Huawei Technologies if it would serve U.S. national security interests and help close “the largest trade deal ever made” with China.
  85. On Wednesday,