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.

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.

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.
Advertisements

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.

D3rkmD0UUAEjpa1.jpg-large
“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.”

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.

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.

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

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

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)

IMG_2795
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.

IMG_0408
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, Assistant Attorney General John Demers told a Senate panel, “We are not a tool of trade when we bring the cases,” adding, “what we do at the Justice Department is law enforcement. We don’t do trade.”
  86. On Wednesday, Canada’s Foreign Ministry said it has been unable to contact Canadian businessman Michael Spavor. Former diplomat Michael Kovrig, a Canadian, was also detained on Monday.
  87. Trump also told Reuters in the interview that he was not concerned about being impeached because he “hasn’t done anything wrong and who’s created the greatest economy in the history of our country.”
  88. Trump said of the hush payments, “Number one, it wasn’t a campaign contribution. If it were, it’s only civil,” and “there was no violation based on what we did,” adding if he were impeached, “the people would revolt.”
  89. Trump turned the topic to Hillary Clinton, saying “her husband got money, she got money, she paid money, why doesn’t somebody talk about that?”and called the Mueller probe a witch hunt, saying, “There’s no collusion.”
  90. Trump also stood by Saudi Crown Prince MBS on the murder of Khashoggi, saying he “vehemently denies” involvement in the killing, and adding, “He’s the leader of Saudi Arabia. They’ve been a very good ally.”
  91. NYT reported Jared Kushner has become Saudi Crown Prince MBS’s most important defender in the White House. The crown prince has been cultivating Kushner for more than two years.
  92. On Monday, CNN revealed excerpts from the transcript of an audio recording of Khashoggi’s last moments: “I can’t breathe. I can’t breathe. I can’t breathe.” Then sounds of his body being dismembered by a saw.
  93. On Thursday, in a rebuke of Trump’s defense of the MBS, the Senate voted 56–41 to withdraw American military assistance for Saudi Arabia’s war in Yemen, a four-year conflict that has brought civilian death and famine.
  94. On Thursday, in another rebuke of Trump, the Senate voted to condemn Saudi Crown Prince MBS for the death of Khashoggi. The resolution was sponsored by Sens. Bob Corker and Majority Leader Mitch McConnell.
  95. AP reported Jared Kushner could benefit from The Opportunity Zone, a program promoted by Ivanka and Jared as White House advisers, which offers tax breaks to developers who invest in downtrodden communities.
  96. Kushner holds a large stake in a real estate investment firm, Cadre, which launched a fund to take advantage of the tax breaks. The Kushner family has properties in New Jersey, New York, and Maryland that could benefit.
  97. On Monday, Politico obtained an unpublished Consumer Financial Protection Bureau report through a FOIA request which revealed Wells Fargo charged college students fees several times higher than average.
  98. The fees charged during the 2016–17 academic year, the first year colleges were required to report information, may violate Education Department rules by being “inconsistent with the best financial interests” of students.
  99. The report was prepared by the office led by Seth Frotman, who resigned in protest in Week 94. The Education Department, which also did notmake the report public, refused to comment on whether it took any action.
  100. On Wednesday, Politico reported Trump’s Education Department will forgive $150 million in student debt, after DeVos’ efforts to stop the 2016 Obama-era “borrower defense” were halted in a court battle.
  101. The Daily Beast reported the financial adviser for James Inhofe, chair of the Senate Armed Services Committee, bought him between $50–100,000 in Raytheon stock Tuesday, days after he pushed for record defense spending.
  102. After The Daily Beast contacted Inhofe about the purchase, his office saidthe senator contacted his financial adviser to cancel the transaction and instructed him to avoid defense and aerospace purchases going forward.
  103. On Wednesday, his office said he had been unaware of the stock purchase. A spokesperson for Inhofe said in statement, “the transaction was canceled before it was settled; the Senator never took ownership of it.”
  104. Bloomberg reported the Treasury Department delayed imposing sanctions on Russia’s largest aluminum producer, Rusal, for the fifth time amid talks with Russian oligarch Oleg Deripaska about giving up control.
  105. On Tuesday, WAPO reported after Nick Ayers said no to the chief of staff position, Trump had no Plan B. This left the White House scrambling to find candidates as other top candidates turned Trump down.
  106. On Tuesday, Trump tweeted “Fake News has it purposely wrong” in saying no one wants the chief of staff position, adding “many, over ten, are vying for and wanting the White House Chief of Staff position.”
  107. On Tuesday, Kellyanne Conway announced that Kelly will remain as chief of staff at least through January 2 to ensure “a very peaceful and pragmatic transition” for his successor.
  108. On Wednesday, Rick Santorum bowed out as a possible chief of staff pick, and Trump reportedly turned down Rep. Mark Meadows for the position.
  109. On Thursday, HuffPost reported Trump is considering Jared to be his chief of staff. According to a top Republican, Trump met with Kushner about the job on Wednesday.
  110. Axios reported Chris Christie met with Trump on Thursday evening to discuss the chief of staff role, and is Trump’s top candidate. On Friday, in a statement, Christie said he was withdrawing from consideration.
  111. On Tuesday, Trump met with Democratic leaders Chuck Schumer and Nancy Pelosi in an explosive meeting on his border wall and his threat to shut down the government, partly in public with reporters.
  112. Pelosi said, “We must keep the government open. We cannot have a Trump shutdown.” Trump responded, “A what?” Trump also said, “I am proud to shut down the government for border security.”
  113. When Trump told reporters it was hard for Pelosi to talk right now, she responded, “please don’t characterize the strength that I bring to this meeting as the leader of the House Democrats, who just won a big victory.”
  114. NBC News fact checked Trump’s claims about his border wall at the meeting, and found several to be false, including a lot of the wall has been built, 10 terrorists have been caught, and that migrants bring disease.
  115. In a post meeting huddle with her caucus, Pelosi said of the wall, “It’s like a manhood thing with him — as if manhood can be associated with him,” compared Trump to a skunk, and said she was “trying to be the mom.”
  116. LA Times reported according to one administration official Trump appeared upset after leaving the meeting, and said he flicked “a folder and sending its papers flying out.” Aides went into damage control mode.
  117. On Wednesday, Trump repeated a false claim, tweeting “Democrats and President Obama gave Iran 150 Billion Dollars” but they won’t give $5 billion for his wall. This was Iran’s frozen funds, and closer to $55 billion.
  118. On Thursday, Trump claimed in a tweet that as part of the trade deal, “MEXICO IS PAYING FOR THE WALL!” Mexican officials said there was no discussion in the trade deal negotiations about Mexico paying for the wall.
  119. On Thursday, Pelosi said Democrats on the House Ways and Means Committee will “take the first steps,” to begin the process of obtaining Trump’s tax returns in January.
  120. On Thursday, WSJ reported the Manhattan U.S. attorney’s office is in the early stages of a criminal probe into whether Trump’s inaugural committeemisspent some of the record $107 million it raised from donations.
  121. The probe is also examining whether some of the top donors gave money in exchange for access to the Trump regime, policy concessions, or to influence officials — a violation of federal corruption laws.
  122. The investigation partly arises from materials seized in the April raid on Cohen, including a recording of a conversation between Cohen and Stephanie Winston Wolkoff, a former adviser to Melania Trump.
  123. Wolkoff, who worked on the inaugural events, expressed concern about how the committee was spending money. The inaugural committee has publicly identified vendors accounting for just $61 million of money spent.
  124. The top-paid vendor was an event-production firm led by Wolkoff called WIS Media Partners, paid $25.8 million. The committee was headed by Thomas Barrack Jr., who has not made the outside audit available.
  125. Prosecutors have asked Franklin Haney for documents on his $1 million donation to the committee. Haney hired Cohen in April to help obtain a $5 billion loan from the Energy Department. The application is pending.
  126. On Thursday, NYT reported Mueller is investigating whether foreigners illegally funneled donations to Trump’s inaugural committee and a pro-Trump super PAC in hopes of buying influence over U.S. policy.
  127. The investigation is focused on whether people from Middle Eastern nations, including Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates disguised donations. Trump ally Barrack raised money for both.
  128. Federal law prohibits foreign contributions to PACs and inaugural funds.The super PAC, Rebuilding America Now, was created at the suggestion of Manafort by Barrack in the summer of 2016 when Trump needed funds.
  129. Although federal election law mandates a period of at least 120 days before campaign staff members can join a PAC, Manafort sent Laurance Gay and Ken McKay from the campaign to run the operation right away.
  130. The PAC raised $23 million. Prosecutors from New York and from Mueller’s team have asked witnesses whether anyone from Qatar or other Middle Eastern countries contributed through an American intermediary.
  131. On Friday, WNYC and ProPublica reported according to receipts, Trump’s inauguration paid the Trump Organization for rooms, meals, and event space at the Trump Hotel DC, possibly overpaying in violation of tax laws.
  132. Ivanka was involved in negotiating the price for venue rentals. Wolkoff emailed her and others to “express my concern” on overcharging for its event space, worrying of what would happen “when this is audited.”
  133. Emails also revealed some vendors for the inauguration expressed concern when Rick Gates, a top inaugural committee official, asked them to take payments outside of the normal committee invoicing process.
  134. On Friday, incoming House Intelligence Committee chair Adam Schiff said his panel plans to investigate possible “illicit foreign funding or involvement in the inauguration” of Trump.
  135. So far there has been one guilty plea in August by political consultant Samuel Patten, who admitted to steering $50,000 from a Ukrainian politician to the inaugural committee, and is cooperating with Mueller.
  136. On Thursday, The Daily Beast reported Mueller is preparing to reveal a second phase of the probe, relating to Middle Eastern countries’ attemptsto influence American politics through the Trump regime.
  137. Witnesses associated with the Trump campaign have been interviewed about their conversations with connected individuals from the United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia, and Israel.
  138. Sources say Mueller’s team is preparing to outline foreigners’ plans to help Trump win the presidency. Notably, Flynn was involved in conversations with influential individuals from UAE, Saudi Arabia, and Israel.
  139. On Thursday, the House and Senate passed a bill to combat sexual harassment in Congress by unanimous consent. The bill comes one year after the #MeToo movement went viral, after several attempts to pass the legislation.
  140. In the past year, several members of Congress were forced to resign over sexual harassment. The bill makes members personally liable for all harassment settlements and retaliation for harassment claims.
  141. On Tuesday, when asked about Trump’s involvement with Cohen’s crimes,Sen. Orrin Hatch told CNN, “The Democrats will do anything to hurt this President,” adding, “all I can say is he’s doing a good job as President.”
  142. Three other Republican senators also went on the record saying they did not care about Trump being implicated in felonies, including Sens. Susan Collins, John Thune, and Bill Cassidy.
  143. On Wednesday, in his farewell speech after serving for four decades, Sen. Hatch said the Senate “is in crisis,” saying “the committee process lies in shambles,” and compromise is “now synonymous with surrender.”
  144. On Friday, Sen. Hatch said he regretted his comments to CNN, saying in a statement that they were “irresponsible and a poor reflection on my lengthy record of dedication to the rule of law.”
  145. On Wednesday, Kansas state senator Barbara Bollier changed party affiliation to Democrat, saying “morally, the party is not going where my compass resides,” and citing LGBTQ issues pushed her over the edge.
  146. On Thursday, the Kansas City Star reported several other moderate Kansas Republicans are considering switching to be Democrats in the wake of Bollier’s defection.
  147. On Thursday, CALmatters reported California Chief Justice Tani Cantil-Sakauye dropped her registration as a Republican and re-registered with no-party-preference, following the confirmation of Brett Kavanaugh.
  148. On Thursday, Fox News reported Trump canceled the White House holiday party for the media, breaking a decades-old tradition. The party was considered a perk for those covering the White House and Washington.
  149. On Monday, Florida officials told a federal judge that 6,670 ballots mailed ahead of the November 6 midterm election were not counted because they were not received by Election Day. The lawsuit on the votes is still pending.
  150. On Tuesday, the North Carolina Republican Party said a new election should be held in the 9th District if Democrat’s allegations that results of early votes were shared improperly before the election is true.
  151. On Friday, outgoing Wisconsin governor Scott Walker signed a sweeping lame-duck Republican bill which restricts early voting and weakens and restricts the incoming Democratic governor and attorney general.
  152. On Thursday, the Palm Beach Post reported according to alert issued by the Federal Aviation Administration, Trump is expected to spend 16 days at Mar-a-Lago over the Christmas and New Year’s holidays.
  153. The visit at Mar-a-Lago, dubbed the Southern White House, will beTrump’s longest since taking office. Trump is scheduled to remain until January 6, after the new Congress is sworn in on January 3.
  154. On Thursday, a Treasury Department report noted the widest November budget deficit on record as spending doubled revenue, leaving a $205 billion shortfall, compared with a $139 billion gap a year earlier.
  155. The deficit in fiscal 2018 is the largest in six years, reflecting the first full year of Trump and the Republican party enacting a tax-cut package and raising federal spending for the military and other priorities.
  156. On Friday, The Weekly Standard, a conservative magazine which had been critical of Trump, announced it would be closing after 23 years in business.
  157. On Saturday, Trump celebrated the demise of The Weekly Standard, calling it “pathetic and dishonest” and “run by failed prognosticator Bill Kristol,” adding “Too bad. May it rest in peace!”
  158. On Friday, another sell-off drove the Dow Jones Industrial Average down by almost 500 points. The Standard & Poor 500 and Dow are in correction territory (down more than 20%), and are down for the year.
  159. On Friday, on the eve of the deadline for Americans to sign up for healthcare coverage for 2019, a federal judge in Texas ruled the Affordable Care Act is unconstitutional because the GOP tax law gutted the individual mandate.
  160. The lawsuit was filed in January by the Texas attorney general in alliance with 18 other states. In June, Sessions’ DOJ took the unusual step of telling the court that it will not defend the ACA against the lawsuit.
  161. Shortly after, Trump tweeted his pleasure: “As I predicted all along, Obamacare has been struck down as an UNCONSTITUTIONAL disaster!” The Supreme Court will now decide the fate of Obamacare.
  162. On Friday, at a DC federal courthouse, reporters staked out to try to gain information on a secret and mysterious argument about a grand jury subpoena challenge that has been under seal in the Mueller probe.
  163. An entire floor of the courthouse was closed to the public and press for more than an hour. CNN reported no recognizable attorneys were spotted coming in and out of the courtroom or even the building.
  164. Politico reported as reporters looked for leads, several were reprimanded for waiting in stairwells, and that additional measures undertaken surprised many people familiar with the federal building’s practices.
  165. On Friday, the New York Daily News reported the New Jersey attorney general launched an investigation into claims of widespread harassment and immigration fraud at the Trump National Golf Club in Bedminster.
  166. Victorina Morales and Sandra Diaz spoke to NYT in Week 107. Since then,three more undocumented women have come forward to their attorney with allegations of harassment and immigration fraud.
  167. On Friday, Trump named Mick Mulvaney, his budget director, to serve as acting chief of staff. Trump announced the pick on Twitter in the late afternoon, hours after Christie took himself out of consideration.
  168. A senior official told NYT there was no end date to Mulvaney’s role despite his “acting” title. Trump later tweeted, “For the record, there were MANY people who wanted to be the White House Chief of Staff.”
  169. On Friday, according to expenditure data released, the Mueller probe cost $25 million through the end of September, including $8.4 million from April 1, in line with spending for previous special counsels.
  170. In recent weeks, Trump has exaggerated the cost of the probe, tweeting a “a cost of over $30,000,000,” and also, “more than $40,000,000 (is that possible?),” and finding “NO COLLUSION!”
  171. On Saturday, Trump announced in a pair of tweets that Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke will leave the regime at the end of year, adding he “will be announcing the new Secretary of the Interior next week.”
  172. Trump tweets followed Bloomberg News reporting that Zinke had notified the White House of his intention to resign amid a swirl of federal investigations into his travel, political activity, and conflicts of interest.
  173. The move also comes as Democrats take control of the House in January, and have vowed to grill Zinke over his conduct, raising the prospect of heightened oversight and high legal bills to defend himself.
  174. WAPO reported the White House pushed Zinke to quit for weeks and told him he would be fired if he did not, but he wanted to host his Christmas party Thursday, where he invited activists, lobbyists, donors, and more.
  175. On Thursday, a DOJ watchdog investigation recovered thousands of missing texts from Peter Strzok and Lisa Page on agency issued phones. The report cites the cause was technology failure, not malicious intent.
  176. The report found a more widespread failure than previously known: “The FBI’s collection tool was not only failing to collect any data on certain phones… it also does not appear that it was collecting all text messages.”
  177. On Saturday, at 1:00 a.m., Rudy Giuliani tweeted “How can Mueller’s gang get away with erasing over 19,000 texts” adding, “Mueller’s angry Democrats fall under the Hillary exception” of erasing emails.
  178. On Saturday, Trump tweeted “19,000 Texts between Lisa Page and her lover, Peter S of the FBI, in charge of the Russia Hoax” were “wiped clean,” adding, “Such a big story that will never be covered by the Fake News.”
  179. A new CNN poll found First Lady Melania Trump’s approval has fallen 11 points, from 54% in October to 43%. The biggest drop came from liberals and white college graduates — with approval dropping 17 points for both.
  180. On Saturday, WAPO reported diplomats from Slovenia, in their first official visit with the Trump regime, warned of waning U.S. influence in Europe as China and Russia expand their influence around the world.
  181. The diplomats said that as America is turning inward and looking to cut back aid, China and Russia are increasing aid, and warning countries in the Balkans and Eastern Europe are gravitating to Beijing and Moscow.

POLITIKS OF GRAFFITI 80: AMERICA HAS GUNORRHEA

Week 79 of this presidency: Experts in authoritarianism advise to keep a list of things subtly changing around you, so you’ll remember.

May 19, 2018 https://medium.com/@Amy_Siskind/week-79-experts-in-authoritarianism-advise-to-keep-a-list-of-things-subtly-changing-around-you-so-8703d04269ab

This was the first week in many, many months that the Republican Party showed any signs of standing up to Trump. Meanwhile, Trump and his allies spent the week attacking the FBI, alleging without evidence that the agency spied on his campaign as a means to discredit the Mueller probe—which continues to escalate as it reached its one-year mark.

This week, Trump shocked the country, referring to undocumented immigrants as “animals,” then trying to legitimize his comments by saying the reference was only to gang members. Days prior, the Trump regime took steps to open military bases to house immigrants who are unaccompanied minors, or children the regime separates from their parents, evoking comparisons to “camps.” This week also marked escalating acts of racism, transphobia, xenophobia, and new assaults on the rights of women.

Ivanka Trump and Jared Kushner were the faces of our country as Trump moved the US embassy in Israel to Jerusalem, leading to protests, scores of deaths, and hundreds of injuries. Kushner, who is still without full security clearance and has no foreign policy experience but is related to Trump, spoke for the US at the opening ceremony, evoking comparisons to autocratic regimes. Signs of misuse of power and pay for play in the Trump regime abound this week, domestically, and with regard to questionable dealings relating to China and Qatar.

IMG_1470
Los Angeles, CA. March 2018
  1. Late Saturday, Rudy Giuliani again tried to walk back his comments about Trump blocking the AT&T-Time Warner merger, telling ABC News Trump “did not interfere with the Justice Department going ahead with the case.”
  2. Giuliani also told ABC News Trump “had every right and power” to block the merger, adding as “other presidents have done in anti-trust cases.”
  3. WAPO reported Trump personally pushed US Postmaster General Megan Brennan to double the rate the Postal Service charges Amazon, and other firms, to ship packages.
  4. Brennan resisted, explaining in multiple conversations with Trump during 2017 and 2018 that the these arrangements are bound by contracts, and that the Amazon relationship is beneficial to the Post Office.
  5. Although Trump and Brennan have met on the matter at the White House several times, the meetings have never appeared on Trump’s public schedule.
  6. Trump has also had ongoing meetings during 2017 and 2018 with at least three groups of senior advisers to discuss Amazon’s business practices. Jeff Bezos, who owns Amazon, also owns The Washington Post.
  7. On Sunday, WAPO reported as the Mueller probe hits the one-year mark, Mueller is steaming ahead in a methodical, secretive way, while 10 blocks away, Trump combats the probe with “bluster, disarray and defiance.”
  8. Trump reportedly vents as often as “20 times a day” about the FBI raid on Michael Cohen. Trump reportedly brought in Giuliani as a confidant, as he is feeling increasingly isolated in the West Wing.
  9. The number of witnesses called from Trump’s campaign and staff have been “breathtaking,” including Avi Berkowitz, the personal assistant to Kushner, called twice. Some enter through the back of the building to avoid the press.
  10. On Sunday, Axios reported on the record number of leaks from Trump’s White House. A veteran reporter noted more leaks in a week from the Trump regime than in an entire year under George W. Bush.
  11. White House officials attribute their leaks to personal vendettas, ensuring there is an accurate record of what is happening, grudges, frustrations with incompetent or tone-deaf leadership, and an unhappy workplace.
  12. On Monday, Trump tweeted the “so-called leaks coming out of the White House” are exaggerated by the “Fake New Media,” adding of leakers, they “are traitors and cowards, and we will find out who they are!
  13. On Monday, at the daily briefing, deputy press secretary Raj Shah reiterated the leaks coming from the White House, not the disparaging statement made about John McCain, were the focus, and said there will be no apology for the remark.
  14. On Thursday, NYT reported the White House has canceled a large daily morning meeting of 30 communications staffers in response to the leaking of Kelly Sadler’s comments on McCain.
  15. The New Yorker reported that Sean Hannity typically calls Trump after his 9 p.m. Fox News show, and on some days they speak multiple times. White House staffers are used to Trump referencing these conversations.
  16. In the mornings, Trump is alone watching cable-TV and tweeting. Staffers are concerned with this pattern of behavior: Trump formally starts his day at 11 a.m. with his daily intelligence briefings in the Oval Office.
  17. On Tuesday, WAPO reported that according to Defense Department communications, the Trump regime is making preparations to hold immigrant children on military bases.
  18. The Department of Health and Human Services will visit four military installations in Texas and Arkansas to evaluate their suitability to shelter children. The bases would be used for unaccompanied minors, and children the regime separates from their parents.
  19. On Tuesday, at an appeals hearing for the Trump regime’s effort to end DACA, the panel scrutinized Trump’s past statements, repeatedly questioning whether racial bias played a role in the decision to wind down the program.
  20. On Tuesday, a Seattle judge blocked ICE from revoking a Mexican man, Daniel Ramirez Medina’s DACA protection, saying ICE had provided no evidence to back their claim that Ramirez is gang-affiliated.
  21. On Wednesday, Trump called for stronger immigration laws and hammered California for its sanctuary cities, saying of undocumented immigrants, “These aren’t people. These are animals.
  22. Trump also called on Jeff Sessions to investigate Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf for warning undocumented immigrants of an upcoming ICE sweep, saying, “You talk about obstruction of justice.”
  23. On Thursday, at the press briefing, press secretary Sarah Sanders defended Trump, saying his “animals” comment referred to MS-13 gang members, adding “Frankly, I don’t think the term the president used is strong enough.”
  24. On Thursday, the Anne Frank Center tweeted, “When we ask, “how could the Holocaust have happened?” this is the answer. When we think of anyone as less than human, that opens the door to atrocity.”
  25. On Friday, the Mexican government lodged a complaint with the State Department over Trump’s comments that some immigrants are “animals,” saying, “the assertions of the U.S. president are absolutely unacceptable.”
IMG_1397
Los Angeles, CA. March 2018
  1. A 13-year-old black boy in Houston was kidnapped after getting off a school bus Monday. His abductors, suspected of being white supremacists, took him to an abandoned building and assaulted him.
  2. A white woman in Memphis called the police on a black real estate investor who was inspecting a house. The woman demanded to know why he was outside. The police listened to his explanation, then told the woman she would be arrested if she interfered.
  3. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell appointed Tony Perkins, head of Family Research Council (FRC), for a spot on the Commission on International Religious Freedom. Southern Poverty Law Center considers FRC to be a hate group, and Perkins is a longtime anti-LGBTQ activist.
  4. Supporters of Patrick Little’s campaign for the Senate released anti-Semitic robocalls calling Sen. Dianne Feinstein a “traitorous Jew,”’ and saying Little will “get rid of all the nation-wrecking Jews from our country.”
  5. On Tuesday, Aaron Schlossberg, a lawyer, was captured in a video becoming enraged after overhearing two employees at a Fresh Kitchen in Manhattan speaking Spanish. Schlossberg raged, “this is America,” and “my next call is to ICE.”
  6. On Thursday, Rep. Adriano Espaillat and Bronx Borough President Diaz Jr. filed a formal complaint with the state court disciplinary system. Also on Thursday, Schlossberg was kicked out of his office space.
  7. A Starbucks barista in suburban Los Angeles is accused of printing a racial slur on a Latino customer’s drinks: instead of writing the customer’s name, Pedro, they wrote “Beaner,” a derogatory term for Mexicans in the US.
  8. Jazmina Saavedra, a GOP candidate for Congress in California, filmed herself confronting a transgender woman using a bathroom at a Denny’s in Los Angeles.
  9. Saavedra approached the woman, says, “I’m trying to use the ladies’ room and there is a man here claiming that he is a lady.” She confronted the transgender woman again while exiting, and later posted the video online.
  10. On Friday, the Trump regime announced a new rule under which clinics that provide abortions or refer patients to places that do would lose federal funding. The rule takes direct aim at Planned Parenthood.
  11. WAPO reported Virginia election officials mis-assigned 28 voters living in a predominantly African American precinct during the November 2017 election, possibly costing Democrats a pivotal race.
  12. The race between David Yancey and Shelly Simonds was decided by picking a name from a bowl. Yancey’s victory allowed Republicans to maintain control of the House of Delegates, 51 to 49, even as Democrats picked up 15 seats.
  13. On Friday, a school shooting at Santa Fe High School in southeast Texas killed ten. WAPO reported that in 2018 so far, more people have been killed at schools than have been killed while serving in the military.
  14. The FCC announced net neutrality rules will expire on June 11. Chairman Ajit Pai said, “these unnecessary and harmful internet regulations will be repealed and the bipartisan, light touch approach” will be restored.
  15. On Sunday, NYT reported Betsy DeVos’ Education Department plans to unwind a unit that was investigating widespread abuses and fraud by for-profit colleges. As Obama left office there were about a dozen employees; now there are three.
  16. The unit was investigating fraudulent activities at institutions, including DeVry Education Group. That investigated ended early 2018, and in the summer, DeVos named Julian Schmoke, a former dean at DeVry, as the team’s new supervisor.
  17. On Monday, Politico reported newly disclosed emails reveal Scott Pruitt’s Environmental Protection Agency and the White House sought to block publication of a federal health study on a nationwide water-contamination crisis earlier this year.
  18. The report found toxic chemicals have contaminated water supplies near military bases, chemical plants, and other sites from New York to Michigan to West Virginia. The regime said releasing it would be a “public relations nightmare.”
  19. On Monday, CNN reported that a letter from the EPA’s inspector general revealed that contrary to his public statements, Pruitt’s requested 24/7 security detail on his first day working for the agency.
  20. On Tuesday, Trump nominated Gordon Hartogensis, a self-described entrepreneur who is Speaker McConnell and Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao’s brother-in-law to lead the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation.
  21. The PBGC pays worker pensions when employers terminate their retirement plans. The state of the agency is dire: assets of $2.3 billion and liabilities of $67 billion. The White House did not provide a biographical information for Hartogensis with the announcement.
  22. On Tuesday, the Trump regime officially eliminated the White House’s top cyber adviser role, a position created under Obama. In Week 78, John Bolton had pushed to cut the role.
  23. The cyber adviser led a team who worked with agencies to develop a unified strategy for issues like election security and digital deterrence. Experts and government officials criticized the move as a step backwards.
  24. On Tuesday, the EPA inspector general announced it is investigating Pruitt’s use of nonpublic email accounts to assess whether he is keeping a record of his emails, and whether the EPA is searching all his accounts when fulfilling public records requests.
  25. On Tuesday and Wednesday, DeVos toured two New York City schools, but did not visit any of the city’s public schools. DeVos has yet to visit a district-run school in New York.
IMG_1307
Los Angeles, CA. March 2018
  1. The Scotsman reported Trump’s Scottish resort received £5,600 in US government funds for VIP visits by officials in his regime, marking the first known instance of the property receiving US taxpayer money.
  2. CNN reported that a former Trump campaign aide, Bryan Lanza, is lobbying on behalf of the chairman of EN+ Group, a company controlled by Deripaska. The company is seeking to reduce Deripaska’s stake in order to be freed of US sanctions.
  3. USA Today reported lobbying firms with ties to Trump and Pence collected at least $28 million in federal lobbying fees since Trump took office.
  4. Ballard Partners, overseen by Brian Ballard, has seen the biggest benefit, including a one-year contract with the government of Qatar that is worth as much as $2.1 million, reportedly for potential investments in Florida.
  5. On Sunday, Trump tweeted he would help a Chinese company, tweeting, “President Xi of China, and I, are working together to give massive Chinese phone company, ZTE, a way to get back into business, fast.”
  6. ZTE, the fourth-largest phone maker in the US, violated US sanctions by doing business with Iran. In March 2017, Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross announced an “unprecedented” $1.19 billion penalty against the company.
  7. In April 2018, citing ZTE engaged in a “extensive conspiracy” to evade U.S. laws, the Commerce Department banned American companies from buying or selling the phone-maker’s products for the next seven years.
  8. In Week 78, Trump pulled the US out of the Iran nuclear deal, and has re-imposed sanctions on Iran this last and this week, as well as threatening to go after European allies if they continue to do business with Iran.
  9. Trump tweeted, “China and the United States are working well together on trade, but past negotiations have been so one sided in favor of China,” adding, “But be cool, it will all work out!”
  10. On Sunday, press secretary Sanders said the regime is in touch with China, and Trump expected Ross to “exercise his independent judgment … to resolve the regulatory action involving ZTE based on its facts.”
  11. Agence France-Presse reported last Thursday, the developer of a resort outside of Jakarta signed a deal to receive as much as $500 million from the Chinese government. The Trump Organization has a deal to license the Trump name to the resort.
  12. At Monday’s press briefing, deputy press secretary Shah referred questions on the Indonesian project to the Trump Organization. The Trump Organization acknowledged its involvement, but refused to comment.
  13. On Tuesday, top intelligence officials told the Senate Intelligence Committee that ZTE cell phones could pose a national security risk to the US, saying their products could be used by the Chinese government to spy.
  14. On Wednesday, Trump tweeted,“Nothing has happened with ZTE except as it pertains to the larger trade deal,” contradicting Ross, who said Monday, “Our position has been that that’s an enforcement action separate from trade.”
  15. Trump also attacked media coverage of ZTE, tweeting “The Washington Post and CNN have typically written false stories about our trade negotiations with China.”
  16. On Thursday, in a rebuke to Trump, the House Appropriations Committee voted unanimously to accept an amendment that reinforces sanctions against ZTE, preventing the Commerce Department from renegotiating sanctions it enacted last month.
  17. On Sunday, Michael Avenatti tweeted photos, alleging that on December 12, 2016, members of the Trump transition team met with a group from Qatar that included Ahmed Al-Rumaihi, the head of Qatar’s sovereign wealth fund.
  18. On Tuesday, a spokesperson for Ahmed Al-Rumaihi confirmed he did meet with Trump transition officials that day, “in his then role as head of Qatar Investments,” but that he did not participate in meetings with Michael Flynn.
  19. On Wednesday, WAPO reported Cohen solicited at least $1 million from the government of Qatar in exchange for access on December 12, the same day the Qatari foreign minister was meeting with Flynn and Steve Bannon.
  20. Cohen did not participate in the official meeting at Trump Tower, but spoke separately with Ahmed al-­Rumaihi, who declined the offer. This is the first known time that Cohen pitched his influence.
  21. Rumaihi told the Post of Cohen, “He just threw it out there” as a cost of “doing business.” At the time, Cohen was also angling for a White House position, possibly chief of staff.
  22. NBC News reported Qatari officials have information showing illicit influence by the United Arab Emirates on Jared Kushner, including secret meetings. Trump associates George Nader and Elliott Broidy also attended the meetings.
  23. Qatari officials believe the secret meetings, as well as Qataris turning down the 666 Fifth Avenue deal with Kushner, influenced Trump’s public endorsement of an economic blockade of Qatar by its neighbors.
  24. Qataris did not share information with Mueller out of concern for harming their relationship with the Trump regime, after a Qatari delegation came to DC in early 2018 and felt the meetings were productive.
  25. On Thursday, NYT reported the Kushners are near a deal to get bailed out of the failing 666 Fifth Avenue deal by Brookfield Properties, whose second-largest shareholder is the Qatar Investment Authority.
  26. Foreign Policy reported Cohen met with Qatar’s minister of economy and commerce, Ahmed bin Jassim bin Mohammed Al Thanilast, last month in Miami, just days before the FBI raided his office and hotel room.
  27. The meeting took place on the sidelines of the Qatar-U.S. Economic Forum in Miami. A Qatari embassy spokesperson said Cohen requested a meeting with Al Thani, adding “The State of Qatar has never been a client of Mr. Cohen.”
  28. On Monday, Kushner and Ivanka were the smiling faces of America as the new US embassy opened in Jerusalem. In the protests that ensued, dozens of Palestinians were shot dead and thousands were injured.
  29. Trump did not attend, so after an introduction by the US ambassador to Israel, Kushner was the main US speaker at the opening. Kushner has no foreign policy expertise and continues to be denied full security clearance.
  30. Trump picked evangelical pastor Robert Jeffress to give a blessing at the opening. Jeffress has in the past said, “You can’t be saved by being a Jew,” and that “Islam is a false religion that is based on a false book.”
IMG_1306
Los Angeles, CA. March 2018
  1. On Monday, first lady Melania Trump was admitted to the hospital for a kidney procedure. Trump did not accompany her for the procedure, and it was noted the day prior, did not tweet about Melania on Mother’s Day.
  2. On Tuesday, the White House abruptly canceled their daily press briefing. No reason was given for the cancellation. On Wednesday, the White House news briefing was removed from the schedule.
  3. On Tuesday, the Seoul-based Yonhap News Agency reported Kim Jong Un threatened to cancel the upcoming summit with Trump, citing ongoing joint military drills involving South Korea and the US.
  4. On Wednesday, North Korea canceled its summit with South Korea, and said it may cancel the US summit if the US continues to insist on scrapping the country’s nuclear program.
  5. On Thursday, Trump sought to reassure Kim Jong Un, saying at an Oval Office meeting with NATO’s secretary-general Jens Stoltenberg that North Korea “will get protections that are very strong,” if they surrender their nuclear weapons.
  6. On Monday evening, a court filing revealed Mueller had obtained a secret order to suspend the statute of limitations on one of the charges brought against Paul Manafort. The secret order was made public after Manafort requested that the charge be thrown out.
  7. On Tuesday, a federal judge denied Manafort’s motion to dismiss the indictment against him in Washington DC, saying it “falls squarely within that portion of the authority granted to the Special Counsel.”
  8. On Monday, Facebook announced it will suspend an additional 200 apps as part of its investigation and audit process in the wake of the Cambridge Analytica revelations.
  9. On Tuesday, NYT reported the Justice Department and FBI have an open investigation into Cambridge Analytica and “associated U.S. persons.” The inquiry appears to be in it early stages.
  10. The investigation is focused on the company’s financial dealings, and how it acquired and used personal data pulled from Facebook and other sources. Prosecutors from the Justice Department’s securities and financial fraud division and the FBI’s cybercrime unit are involved.
  11. On Wednesday, Cambridge Analytica whistleblower Christopher Wylie testified before the Senate Judiciary Committee, saying the company offered services to discourage or suppress voting from targeted sections of Americans.
  12. Wylie said Bannon’s “goals was to suppress voting or discourage certain individuals in the US from voting,” adding African-Americans were particular targets of Cambridge Analytica’s “voter disengagement tactics.”
  13. Wylie explained how the Facebook data could have been shared with Russians, saying professor Aleksandr Kogan, who gathered the data, made numerous trips to Russia as part of his work with St. Petersburg University.
  14. On Monday, Politico reported Andrii Artemenko, the Ukrainian lawmaker who served as a conduit for the Russia-backed Ukrainian peace plan, will testify before a grand jury connected to the Mueller investigation.
  15. Artemenko contacted Felix Sater to find the best way to get his plan to the Trump regime during the transition. Sater introduced him to Cohen, who left the plan with then National Security Adviser Flynn.
  16. On Friday, Artemenko told Politico that in “at least” two interviews, FBI agents have peppered him with “assorted questions” about his “meetings, dealings and the questions discussed” with American politicians.
  17. Artemenko said these included congressmen, senators and members of the Trump regime. He was presented with a list of more than 140 questions, and is scheduled to appear before a grand jury on June 1.
  18. On Wednesday, Felix Ehrat, a top lawyer at Novartis who co-signed a $1.2 million contract to hire Cohen, said he would step down in June, saying, “Although the contract was legally in order, it was an error.”
  19. On Wednesday, Yahoo News reported prosecutors and congressional investigators have obtained text messages and emails which show Cohen was still working on the Trump Tower Moscow deal as late as May 2016.
  20. Text messages and emails from Sater provided to the government contradict Cohen’s statement that he gave up on the deal in January 2016. Sater and Cohen first met when they were both in high school.
  21. On Thursday, BuzzFeed reported that in December 30, 2015, when negotiations on Trump Tower stalled, Cohen texted Sater, “I will not let you fuck with my job and playing point person,” adding “Not you or anyone you know will embarrass me in front of Mr. T.”
  22. FBI agents told BuzzFeed that Cohen was speaking to multiple Russians about Trump Tower Moscow, even though he tried to reach and push the deal through Peskov, the Kremlin’s press secretary, on January 21, 2016.
  23. Sater reportedly kept working the Trump Tower Moscow deal through the RNC Convention, until July 26, 2016 when he read Trump tweet: “For the record, I have ZERO investments in Russia.”
  24. On Thursday, Reuters reported Jeffrey Yohai, a former business partner of Manafort who was divorced from Manafort’s daughter last August, cut a plea deal which requires him to cooperate with criminal probes.
  25. WSJ reported Yohai pleaded guilty to federal criminal charges in a sealed proceeding in California in January. Yohai also pleaded guilty to misrepresenting his income and assets to obtain a no limit credit card.
  26. Yohai has met with Mueller’s team, who have brought charges against Manafort, and also in recent months with the New York attorney general’soffice as part of the probe investigating both Manafort and Yohai.
  27. On Friday, Reuters reported Mueller recently subpoenaed John Kakanis, a key assistant to Roger Stone. Kakanis has worked as a driver, accountant, and operative for Stone, indicating the investigation is focusing on Stone.
  28. Reportedly, Kakanis has been briefly questioned by the FBI on topics including Russian interference in the 2016 election, WikiLeaks and its founder Julian Assange, and the hackers known as Guccifer 2.0.
  29. During the 2016 Republican primaries, a Stone PAC paid $130,000 to Citroen Associates for “voter fraud research and documentation” and “research services consulting.” Kakanis is the owner of Citroen.
  30. On Wednesday, the Senate Judiciary Committee released 2,500 pages of documents related to the June 2016 meeting at Trump Tower. The materials include transcripts and other exhibits.
  31. The roots of the meeting trace back to Trump’s Miss Universe pageant in Moscow, financed by Aras and Emin Agalarov in 2013. Trump wanted to meet with Putin, and continued pressing for that throughout the years.
  32. The transcripts reveal Donald Jr. did not think there was anything wrong with meeting with a Russian lawyer in hopes of getting dirt on Hillary Clinton. According to an attendee, he opened the meeting, saying, “I believe you have some information for us.”
  33. The transcripts also reveal the disappointment of Donald Jr., Kushner, and Manafort that the meeting did not yield harmful information. Rob Goldstone was also disappointed, and had reservations about setting the meeting up, “I believed it was a bad idea and that we shouldn’t do it.”
  34. Ike Kaveladze said Donald Jr. closed out the meeting by telling the Russians they could revisit the discussions about lifting sanctions should Trump win the election. Kaveladze said the Magnitsky Act dominated discussion.
  35. When asked if Trump was involved in drafting the statement about the meeting, Donald Jr. responded, “I don’t know. I never spoke to my father about it.” Later, Donald Jr. said he may have edited it through Hope Hicks.
  36. Donald Jr.’s frequently answered that he did not recall, including saying he did not remember ever discussing the Russia investigation with Trump, or many of the calls or emails leading up to the June 2016 meeting.
  37. Also in the documents is an email from Anthony Scaramucci to Goldstone on July 2017, after Trump appointed him a senior White House role, saying, “Obviously there is still pressure on all sides, but if we remain consistent and united I don’t envisage any issues we can’t ride out.”
  38. Documents revealed the Nov. 28, 2016 Goldstone email to Trump’s assistant, Rhona Graff sent to undermine US sanctions, was forwarded by Graff to Bannon, with a note, “The PE [president elect] knows Aras well. Rob is his rep in the US.”
  39. The Senate Judiciary Committee report also said the Kremlin used the NRA to help Trump in 2016, including an offer for a potential meeting between Trump and Putin, and possibly secretly funding the campaign.
  40. The report found the committee’s work is incomplete, “We still do not know the full story about the June 9 meeting at Trump Tower or, more broadly, the degree to which the campaign cooperated or communicated with Russia.”
  41. On Wednesday, Richard Burr and Mark Warner, leaders of the Senate Intelligence Committee, broke from the House Intelligence Committee, saying they agreed with the intelligence assessment.
  42. Warner said there was an “extensive, sophisticated” effort that was “ordered by President Putin himself,” with the purpose of helping Trump and hurting Hillary Clinton in the 2016 election.
  43. Several top Republicans in the Senate also voiced support for the intelligence community’s findings, including James Lankford, Susan Collins, and John Cornyn, who said the assessment was “by and large well done.”
  44. On Wednesday, according to a federally required annual financial disclosure form released by the Office of Government Ethics (OGE), Trump reimbursed Cohen for the $130,000 payment to Stormy Daniels.
  45. The payment was disclosed in a note at the bottom of Page 45 of the 92-page report states. “Mr. Cohen sought reimbursement of those expenses and Mr. Trump fully reimbursed Cohen in 2017” in the category of value between $100,001 and $250,000.
  46. Federal law requires White House officials to “report liabilities owed to any creditor that exceeded $10,000 at any time during the reporting period.”Trump did not report the payment in his 2017 filing.
  47. On Wednesday, OGE acting director David Apol referred Trump’s financial disclosures to the Justice Department, after determining Trump should have disclosed his reimbursement payment in last year’s form.
  48. In May 2017, information obtained under the Freedom of Information Act shows Trump’s former attorney, Sheri Dillon, wanted to submit last year’s financial disclosure without having him certify the information as true.
  49. Trump also listed $315 million in debt, including $175 million to Deutsche Bank, and $100 million to a far-less well-known lender, Ladder Capital.
  50. Trump’s disclosure also revealed Trump Hotel DC earned $40 million for calendar year 2017, Trump’s first year in office. Revenue included $350,000 in campaign funds, 60% from Republican National Committee events.
  51. Hotel customers included officials or lobbyists for the governments of Malaysia, Kuwait, and Saudi Arabia. Trump Hotel DC also hosted events for a number of domestic industries, including mining and confections.
  52. On Wednesday, The New Yorker reported the motivation for the official who leaked Cohen’s financial records was that two suspicious-activity reports (SARs), had gone missing from the FinCEN database.
  53. The official said that those two reports detail more than $3 million in additional questionable transactions from Cohen’s account, adding, “When something’s not there that should be, I immediately became concerned.”
  54. The three SARS were filed by First Republic. The one made public by Avenatti details only transactions from September of 2017 to January of 2018, and alludes to the previous two reports which have gone missing.
  55. On Thursday, WAPO reported the Treasury Department’s inspector general is expanding its probe into leaks, to include reports leaked to Avenatti as well as the source of The New Yorker story.
  56. Treasury officials said in a statement that since 2009, FinCEN has had the ability restrict access to sensitive SARs.
  57. On Friday, BuzzFeed reported that according to three sources, the two Cohen SARs are not missing, but rather Treasury Department officials have taken the highly unusual step of restricting access to them.
  58. Sources said limiting access is rare, and most likely came from the top of the Treasury Department. Limiting access to the SARs may have been an effort to crack down on leaks.
  59. On Wednesday, Axios reported a major rift between Peter Navarro and Steven Mnuchin has opened, with the two exchanging snipes during the Trump delegation’s trip to China two weeks ago.
  60. As China’s top trade negotiator Liu He arrived in Washington DC, regime members set to attend the meeting were Mnuchin, Ross, Robert Lighthizer, and Larry Kudlow. China hardliner Navarro was initially excluded.
  61. On Thursday, Bloomberg reported Navarro will take part in China talks. It was not known why the regime decided to reinstate him in the talks, or what role Navarro would play.
  62. On Wednesday, at a commencement address at the Virginia Military Institute, former Secretary of State Rex Tillerson warned of a “growing crisis in ethics and integrity,” and said if we don’t confront it, “then American democracy, as we know it, is entering its twilight years.”
  63. Tillerson also said if our leaders conceal the truth or if “we as people become accepting of alternative realities that are no longer grounded in facts,” then we are “are on a pathway to relinquishing our freedom.”
  64. On Wednesday, the Senate approved overturning the FCC’s net neutrality repeal by a 52-47 vote, with Sens. Collins, Lisa, Murkowski, and John Kennedy joining Democrats. The House does not intend to take the measure up.
  65. On Wednesday, NYT reported the FBI opened an investigation into the Trump campaign’s ties to Russia in the summer of 2016, dispatching agents to London for a highly secret meeting, privy to only a handful.
  66. Two agents met with the Australian ambassador, Alexander Downer, who had evidence that one of Trump’s advisers knew about Russia’s election meddling — that adviser turned out to be George Papadopoulos.
  67. The agents summarized their findings on August 2, 2016 for a small group of FBI officials who knew it by its code name: Crossfire Hurricane. Agents considered, then rejected, interviewing key Trump associates, for fear of revealing the existence of the case.
  68. The FBI investigated four unidentified Trump campaign aides in the early months: Flynn, Manafort, Papadopoulos, and Carter Page. Top officials were convinced there was almost no chance they could conclude if there was collusion before Election Day, and chose to keep it under wraps.
  69. On Wednesday, in testimony before the Senate Appropriations Committee,FBI director Christopher Wray defended the bureau against criticism by House Republicans. Wray said he doubled the number of staff in March to keep up with GOP document requests.
  70. Wray underscored the importance of protecting the identity of sources, saying, “The day that we can’t protect human sources is the day the American people start becoming less safe.”
  71. On Thursday, Trump marked the one-year anniversary of the Mueller probe, tweeting, “Congratulations America, we are now into the second year of the greatest Witch Hunt in American History.”
  72. Trump also repeated accusations the FBI had an informant inside his 2016 campaign, tweeting “word seems to be coming out that the Obama FBI ‘SPIED ON THE TRUMP CAMPAIGN WITH AN EMBEDDED INFORMANT.’”
  73. On Thursday morning, Trump surrogates parroted this mantra. Giuliani told “Fox & Friends” that he was “shocked to hear that they put a spy in the campaign,” and “I think the investigation should be thrown out.”
  74. Kellyanne Conway also appeared on “Fox & Friends,” saying “It looks like the Trump campaign may have been surveilled.” Corey Lewandowski went on Fox Business’ “Mornings with Maria,” and repeated the same allegations.
  75. On Thursday, WAPO reported Trump is joining forces with Rep. Devin Nunes and other of his allies on Capitol Hill and in the conservative mediato out a top-secret FBI source in order to undercut the Russia investigation.
  76. Reportedly the stakes are so high, the FBI is working to mitigate the potential damage if the sources is revealed, including steps to protect other live investigations and danger to associates of the informer.
  77. Trump allies believe outing the source and revealing details about their work could help them challenge the investigation, and give them grounds to remove Mueller, or his overseer, Rod Rosenstein.
  78. Trump complains the Mueller probe is “all-encompassing,” and encourages his allies to go on television and “beat the drums.” Bannon is back, acting as an informal adviser to Trump allies in and outside the White House.
  79. On Friday, Trump tweeted, “Reports are there was indeed at least one FBI representative implanted, for political purposes,” adding “It took place very early on, and long before the phony Russia Hoax became a ‘hot’ Fake News story.”
  80. Trump also tweeted is was the “all time biggest political scandal!” Trump also questioned in tweets why “disgraced FBI official Andrew McCabe” wasn’t being investigated, and why the Clinton case was dropped.
  81. On Friday, Sen. Warner warned in a statement that attempts to expose an FBI source during an active investigation was “potentially illegal,” adding, “Publicly outing a source risks not only their life, but the lives of every American.”
  82. On Friday, NYT reported that the FBI used an informant, not to spy, to talk to Page and Papadopoulos only after the FBI received evidence that the two had suspicious contacts linked to Russia during the campaign.
  83. The informant is an American academic who teaches in Britain, and was used, as opposed to an FBI agent, to ensure details of the inquiry were more closely held than is typical given it took place during the campaign.
  84. The informant had also contact with Flynn in 2014 at the Cambridge Intelligence Seminar. The source was alarmed by the general’s apparent closeness with a Russian woman and warned American authorities that Flynn could be compromised.
  85. On Friday, WAPO also reported the secret FBI source was a professor interested in American politics, not a spy. Some time in 2016, he began working as secret informant for the FBI.
  86. In addition to Papadopoulos and Page, WAPO also reported the professor met with Trump campaign co-chairman Sam Clovis for coffee in Northern Virginia, offering to lend the Trump team his foreign-policy experience.
  87. On Friday, NBC News reported the professor who met with both Page and Papadopoulos is Stefan Halper, a former official in the Nixon, Ford, and Reagan administrations.
IMG_1309
Los Angeles, CA. March 2018
  1. On Thursday, a poll released by Survey Monkey found that just 13% of Americans consider Trump honest and trustworthy. The poll was conducted between February 1 and May 9.
  2. On Thursday, while meeting with NATO Secretary General Stoltenberg at the White House, Trump again said NATO members that do not contribute fully would be “dealt with,” singling out Germany.
  3. On Friday, Giuliani told CNN Mueller has agreed to narrow the scope of a potential Trump interview from five to two topics, and agreed not to ask Trump about Cohen. Giuliani added “the main focus we want … is Russia.”
  4. Giuliani also backed off from saying there were informants embedded with the Trump campaign who spoke to federal authorities, saying, “I don’t know for sure, nor does the President, if there really was. We’re told that.”
  5. On Thursday, an appeals court denied Trump’s request to stay proceedings in the Summer Zervos defamation suit. The legal setback for Trump could open him up to discovery in the case, although Trump is likely to appeal.
  6. On Thursday, Avenatti told MSNBC that two other women with solid caseswho claim to have had affairs with Trump signed NDAs and received payments may soon come forward. Other cases are also being vetted.
  7. On Friday, lawyers for Cohen and Stephanie Clifford continued to attack each other in dueling memos. Cohen’s lawyers filed a scathing motion asking a judge to keep Avenatti from formally entering the case, saying he was “fanning a media storm” and “smearing” Cohen.
  8. Avenatti answered with a motion, arguing that many of his adversaries’ assaults on him were “unsubstantiated,” “baseless,” and lacking in “admissible evidence.”
  9. One year in on the Mueller probe, FiveThirtyEight found Mueller to be more productive than past investigations like Watergate, Iran-Contra, and Whitewater. Mueller has racked up five guilty pleas, 14 indictments of individuals, and the Cohen referral to the Southern District of New York.

POLITIKS OF GRAFFITI 44: MASK OF HORROR

Week 43 of trump’s presidency: Experts in authoritarianism advise to keep a list of things subtly changing around you, so you’ll remember.

September 9, 2017 https://medium.com/@Amy_Siskind/week-43-experts-in-authoritarianism-advise-to-keep-a-list-of-things-subtly-changing-around-you-so-d1621f9224f8

This week the Mueller probe edged towards engulfing Trump’s entire inner-circle. Also of great import, Facebook finally admitted to the company’s role in allowing Russian bots to infiltrate our election. Speculation grew that a foreign entity influenced our election, and that the Trump campaign was complicit.

This week the Trump regime continued its assault on marginalized communities and women, rescinding DACA and taking away protections for victims of campus sexual assault. A second major hurricane illuminated the extent to which the Trump regime has already deconstructed federal agencies like the EPA and State Department.

  1. Late Saturday over Labor Day Weekend, the DOJ unceremoniously announced there is no evidence Obama wiretapped Trump Tower. Trump did not apologize to Obama for this frequently repeated, false claim.
  2. Trump visited Hurricane Harvey survivors in Houston seeking shelter at the NRG Center. While preparing to serve lunch, Trump said his hands were “too big” to fit in the plastic serving gloves.
  3. As he left the shelter, Trump told survivors, “have a good time everybody.”
  4. The Pentagon miscalculated the number of troops deployed the Harvey: command said 6,300 were deployed, but the actual number was 1,638.
  5. On Saturday afternoon, AP reported that while many ultra-polluted Superfund sites in Houston were flooded, and there was concern about toxins spreading, the EPA was not on scene.
  6. The EPA responded with a statement on Sunday, in which the agency personally attacked the credibility of the AP reporter: “Michael Biesecker has a history of not letting the facts get in the way of his story.”
  7. The EPA said the Superfund sites were inaccessible, but they had used aerial imaging in their assessments. AP reported its staff had used a boat, vehicles and gone on foot to reach seven of the sites.
  8. WAPO reported the EPA has taken the unusual step of putting a Trump political operative, John Konkus, who has little environmental policy experience, in charge of dolling out hundreds of millions of EPA grants.
  9. The GAO will investigate hiring practices by the EPA. Agencies are not supposed to hire industry lobbyists for two years, but the EPA allegedly skirted those orders using a provision of the Safe Drinking Water Act.
  10. Trump nominated David Zatezalo, a former chief executive Rhino Resources, a company which repeatedly clashed with federal regulators over safety, to run the Mine Safety and Health Administration.
  11. Trump nominated Jim Bridenstine, a representative from Oklahoma who has denied climate change and has no science credentials, to lead NASA. This is the longest in its history that NASA has been without a leader.
  12. CNN reported ahead of his Senate confirmation, parts of Bridenstine’s online presence were scrubbed, including radio and video interviews, and Facebook, Twitter and YouTube accounts belonging to his campaign.
  13. Following a nuclear test by N. Korea which unleashed a 6.3-magnitude tremor Saturday, on Sunday, Trump was openly critical of S. Korea, tweeting, “their talk of appeasement with North Korea will not work.”
  14. NYT reported Trump’s antagonistic comments recently have made S. Korea question their alliance with the US, which stretches over 67 years.
  15. Later that day, Mattis addressed the press and said, “our commitments among the allies are iron-clad.” Mattis repeated that commitment in a statement on Wednesday.
  16. This marked the third time in a week that Mattis’s message has differed from Trump (see Week 42), in addition to his statement to troops in Week 42 about upholding American values in the era of Trump.
  17. WSJ reported that nearly 400 EPA employees have left in recent days, leaving the agency with its lowest staffing in almost 30 years.
  18. The Pentagon dramatically scaled back the number of reporters traveling with Mattis overseas to just six: one wire service, one newspaper, a radio pool reporter, and a three-person pool television crew.
  19. AP, the oldest and largest American wire service, which provides news to thousands of print and broadcast clients and has traveled with the defense secretary for decades, will not be included in all trips.
  20. The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals narrowed the scope of Trump’s second Muslim Ban, ruling extended family members are exempt.
  21. The Trump regime filed papers with the Supreme Court in support of a Christian baker in Colorado, who a state court ruled against for refusing to make a wedding cake for a gay couple.
  22. The US Commission on Civil Rights issues a letter denouncing Trump’s pardon of Arpaio, citing Arpaio’s repeatedly violating the of civil rights of Latinos and defying a federal court order, amongst other violations.
  23. Trump’s DHS planned a massive nationwide raids to target 8,400 undocumented immigrants, described as “the largest operation of its kind in the history of ICE” for later this month.
  24. NBC reported the “massive roundup” plan was canceled late Thursdaydue to Hurricane Irma and damage caused by Hurricane Harvey.
  25. Sessions announced nonsanctuary jurisdictions would get “priority consideration” in a grant program called COPS. While Obama had used to the program to promote trust between officers and community, Sessions and Trump are using it to crackdown on immigrants.
  26. On Thursday, at the same time as Donald Jr.’s senate testimony, DeVos said she will roll back Obama-era directive on campus sexual assault at a speech at George Mason University. She did not take any questions.
  27. DeVos said she would develop a replacement that she said would do a better job of “balancing the rights of victims and the accused.” Men’s rights advocates applauded DeVos for listening to their side.
  28. On a call with survivor advocates Friday, Biden said DeVos “does not speak for the American people,” and called on advocates to meet with college and university administrators and “demand they step up.”
  29. CBC News reported on a spike in international undergraduate and graduate applications to Canadian universities in the wake of Trump.
  30. As part of the NAFTA negotiations, Canada demanded that the US end its “right to work” laws in place in some states. Canadian officials say these laws gut unions by starving them of money.
  31. ACLU reported ICE has asked the National Archives and Record Administration for permission to begin destroying 11 types of records, including those related to sexual assaults and solitary confinement.
  32. A Republican in the House referred to a female colleague challenging his amendment as “young lady” and said she “doesn’t know a damn thing what she’s talking about.” He later apologized.
  33. The FBI will probe the brutal arrest by Utah cops of a nurse who followed hospital policy and refused to draw blood (Week 42).
  34. In Iowa, a photo of five high school boys in wearing KKK hoods and burning a cross circulated on social media. The boys were suspended.
  35. Rachel Maddow ran a segment on how Trump has given white nationalists like Bannon and the alt-right a path to power.
  36. An Atlantic piece, “Donald Trump is the First White President,” spoke of Trump’s white support, the undertones of racism successfully harnessed in his campaign, and his obsession with the negation of Obama’s legacy.
  37. USA Today investigated membership in Trump’s clubs and traced 4,500 members. For the first time in US history, wealthy people have close access to a president as a result of payments that enrich him personally.
  38. USA Today found membership includes 50+ executives whose companies hold federal contracts and 21 lobbyists and trade group officials. Two-thirds played on a Trump course one of the 58 days he was there.
  39. Republican leaders prevented a vote on a bill in the House which would have banned federal spending at Trump businesses.
  40. Rep Pascrell’s motion to demand Trump release his tax returns was voted down 21–14 in the House Way and Means Comm, helping Republicans avoid a more public vote in the full House. This breaks a 40-year precedent of presidents making their tax returns public.
  41. The GAO will investigate Zinke’s threat to withhold support for Alaska over Murkowski’s Obamacare repeal vote. In Week 42, the OIG closed its investigation after the two Alaska senators refused to participate.
  42. A lawsuit filed against Trump’s Election Integrity Commission alleges that at least two members are using personal emails for office business.
  43. Kobach authored an article at Breitbart claiming out-of-state voters changed the outcome of the NH senate race in 2016. This claim is false.
  44. Kobach and the Election Integrity Comm will arrive in NH next week to discuss, among other things, “election integrity issues affecting public confidence.
  45. NH Senators Shaheen and Hassan issued a statement condemning Trump’s Election Comm for misleading the public. They also called on NH’s Secretary of State to resign from the commission.
  46. Heading back from summer recess, WSJ reported on the unusually strained relations between Trump and Republicans, saying Trump invited leaders to Bedminster, “but they were unable to coordinate schedules.
  47. NYT reported as late as an hour before the DACA decision was announced on Tuesday, administration officials expressed concern that Trump didn’t fully grasp the details of rescinding DACA or its impact.
  48. Instead of facing the public, Trump sent Sessions to speak to the press on Tuesday to be the face of ending DACA. Sessions claimed DACA was “deemed illegal by, I think, just about every legal expert.
  49. Javier Palomares, the CEO of the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, resigned from Trump’s National Diversity Coalition over Trump’s decision to end DACA.
  50. A POLITICO/Morning Consult poll found just 15% believe DACA should be rescinded, while 76% believe Dreamers should be allowed to stay.
  51. On Tuesday, in a nighttime tweet, Trump signaled he may be open to changing his mind on DACA, saying if Congress can’t pass something in six months, “I will revisit this issue!”
  52. The US Conference of Catholic Bishops issued a statement denouncingTrump’s decision to end DACA.
  53. Bannon told CBS’s “60 Minutes” he disagrees with Trump on ending DACA, but blasted the US Conference of Catholic Bishops saying they are opposed to DACA because “they need illegal aliens to fill the churches.”
  54. VOX noted despite Trump’s tweet, the government is already winding down DACA, as the Trump regime is no longer accepting new applications from young immigrants.
  55. On Thursday, Trump again tweeted his assurance to Dreamers, falsely claiming if you “are concerned about your status during the 6 month period, you have nothing to worry about — No action!”
  56. CNN estimated 983 undocumented immigrants per day will lose protection they previously enjoyed under DACA, as the two-year tenure of their status expires.
  57. At an Oval Office meeting on Wednesday, after Republican leaders and Mnuchin advocated for a 18-month hike for the debt ceiling, Trump unexpectedly sided with “Chuck and Nancy” for a three-month hike.
  58. Later at a rally in North Dakota, Trump called Democratic senator Heitkamp, who is running for re-election, a “good woman,” and said, “these are great people. They work hard. They’re for you 100 percent.”
  59. On Wednesday, after months of denying Russia had purchased advertisement there, Facebook issued a bland headline, “An Update On Information Operations On Facebook,” admitting this wasn’t true.
  60. Facebook told Congressional investigators Wednesday that the company sold $100k of advertisement to Internet Research Agency, a “troll farm” in St. Petersburg with a history of pushing pro-Kremlin propaganda.
  61. Facebook reported that roughly a quarter of the ads were “geographically targeted.” The ads focus was to amplify divisive issues like LGBT matters, race issues, immigration and gun rights.
  62. Daily Beast calculated that $100k in Facebook ads could have reached as many as 70 million users if amplified in a sophisticated manner.
  63. NYT reported on the sophisticated ways “troll farms” manipulated and disseminated news on Facebook and Twitter during the 2016 election. Former FBI agent Clint Watts called it a “bot cancer eroding trust.”
  64. NYT also found some of the most aggressive and misogynistic Bernie Sanders supporters were actually Russian bots and trolls
  65. A WAPO columnist speculated that Trump would not have won without the help of an organized Russia attack on Facebook. A NYT op-ed decreed: “Facebook Wins, Democracy Loses.
  66. Reuters reported Facebook turned over data to Mueller about Russian involvement, including copies of advertisements and data about buyers. Mueller is probing whether the Trump campaign colluded with Russia.
  67. Warner, the ranking Democrat on the Senate Intel Comm said Facebook’s Russia disclosure is the “tip of the iceberg” on election interferencethrough social media.
  68. McClatchy reported Facebook, Twitter and other social media companies may be subpoenaed. A former prosecutor said Facebook ad buys suggest “numerous crimes, including conspiracy to defraud” the US.
  69. USA Today reported Russia has interfered in at least 27 European and North American countries’ elections since 2004.
  70. Nunes, who had recused himself as House chair, lashed out at Sessions in a letter for not sharing FBI and DOJ documents related to the Steele dossier. Nunes also threatened Sessions and Wray with a public hearing.
  71. Vanity Fair reported Gowdy is also waging a war to discredit the Steele dossier. Gowdy claims subpoenas are necessary because the FBI and DOJ haven’t supplied the documents underlying the dossier.
  72. Trump attorney Michael Carvin filed a brief asking a federal judge to toss out lawsuit that accuses the Trump campaign of conspiring with Russian operatives to publish stolen DNC information on WikiLeaks.
  73. In Week 23, the DOJ said it was preparing charges against Assange, with Sessions saying Assange’s arrest is a priority. Strangely, this never happened and now the Trump regime is defending WikiLeaks.
  74. As a news conference in China, Putin said, Trump is “not my bride, and I am not his groom.”
  75. On Thursday, Donald Jr. meet with the Senate Judiciary Comm behind closed doors. Only one senate Republican attended the hearing, and stayed for only about five minutes.
  76. Feinstein, the ranking Democrat, said Donald Jr. has agreed to public testimony, and if he doesn’t follow through he will be subpoenaed. Grassley, who Trump offered federal support for the ethanol industry in Week 42, said no final decision has been made.
  77. Donald Jr. claimed he took the meeting with Veselnitskaya and others because she might have damaging information “concerning the fitness, character or qualifications” of Hillary.
  78. NPR obtained a copy of Donald Jr.’s four-page statement in which he said Veselnitskaya “provided no meaningful information,” and the meeting was “primarily focused on Russian adoptions” and the Magnitsky Act.
  79. Donald Jr. disclosed, for the first time, three phones calls with Agalarov before the June 9 meeting, the content of which he couldn’t recall. He said he had no recollection of any documents left by Russian visitors.
  80. Donald Jr. also said he did “not collude with any foreign government and do not know of anyone who did,” and that he hoped the interview had fully satisfied the senate inquiry.
  81. Newsweek compiled a list of Donald Jr.’s rationales for taking the meeting. Thursday’s testimony was his fifth version so far.
  82. After Donald Jr.’s testimony, Democratic senator Coons issued a memo citing statute 18 U.S.C. 1001(a) & ©(2), which outlines the punishments for lying to Congress.
  83. CNN reported Mueller will seek to interview the staff aboard Air Force One present as Trump helped craft the misleading statement issued by Donald Jr. about the June 9 meeting at Trump Tower.
  84. Mueller wants to know how the statement was put together, whether information was intentionally left out, and who was involved. Mueller considers the aides who helped craft the statement to be witnesses.
  85. In Donald Jr.’s senate testimony, he claimed he was not aware of what role, if any, his father might have played in drafting the statement.
  86. WAPO reported Mueller has alerted the WH that his team will seek to speak with six Trump insiders, including Hicks, Priebus, Spicer, McGahn, and one of McGahn’s deputies, Burnham.
  87. Mueller also expects to question Josh Raffel, a WH spokesperson who works closely with Kushner, as well as possibly Trump family members, including Kushner.
  88. Each of the six was privy to internal discussions in areas being investigated by Mueller including the Comey firing, Trump’s inaction on Flynn, and possible coordination with Russia.
  89. Daily Beast reported Mueller wants to speak with Hicks about what happened on Air Force One as Trump crafted Donald Jr.’s statement.
  90. Daily Beast also reported efforts are underway to organize a legal defense fund for WH staffers. Legal fees related to the Mueller probe are expected to be high with lawyers likely billing $500–1k per hour.
  91. Late Friday, POLITICO reported Hicks hired Robert Trout, a highly regarded attorney, to represent her in the Mueller probe.
  92. CNN obtained the 17-page Trump Tower Moscow letter of intent, signed by Trump in October 2015, the day of a Republican primary debate. The property would be named Trump World Tower Moscow.
  93. The deal would have given Trump perks including a $4 million upfront fee, no upfront costs, a percentage of the sales, and the opportunity to name the hotel spa after his daughter Ivanka.
  94. During the campaign, Trump said he had “nothing to do with Russia.
  95. On Friday, Trump hosted Russia’s new US ambassador Anatoly Antonov in DC. Russia media reported that Antonov describe the meeting as “warm.” US media was not informed of the meeting.
  96. Antonov said Russia did not interfere in the US election. Two years ago, the EU put Antonov on its list of officials subject to sanctions, citing his involvement in supporting the deployment of Russian troops to Ukraine.
  97. Dmitry Firtash, a Ukrainian industrialist and top-tier Russian mob associate with ties to Manafort is fighting US prosecutors’ efforts to bring him to Chicago for a bribery trial. He remains in Vienna on $174mm bail.
  98. Asked for comment on the second major hurricane in two weeks, Pruitt said Hurricane Irma isn’t the right time to talk about climate change.
  99. On Thursday, by a 31–0 vote the Senate Appropriations Comm allocated $51bn for the State Depart and foreign operations, nearly $11bn more than requested by the Trump regime.
  100. On Friday, the committee blasted the Trump regime in its report saying its approach to foreign policy weakens US standing in the world.
  101. On Friday, the State Dept was criticized for its response to Hurricane Irma which had already affected thousands of Americans in the Caribbean Islands. A task force was set up Friday, after the storm hit.
  102. State Dept employees point out there is currently no Under Secretary of State for Management, who would typically be in charge of State’s response to a storm of Irma’s magnitude.
  103. In another move towards what Bannon had called the “deconstruction of the administrative state,” the OMB issued a memo directing “a net reduction in total incremental regulatory costs” for agencies.
  104. WSJ reported Trump is unlikely to nominate Cohn to Fed Chair when Yellen’s term comes up in February, citing Cohn’s criticism of Trump’s Charlottesville response in a FT interview (Week 41).
  105. NYT reported Kelly is trying to be welcoming to Cohn, but WH aides say Trump is freezing Cohn out by employing a familiar tactic: refusing to make eye contact with him.
  106. Bannon told CBS’s “60 Minutes” Christie didn’t get a position in Trump’s cabinet because Christie wasn’t loyal after the “Access Hollywood” tapes.
  107. Bloomberg reported key Trump aide’s said Trump is rattled by the pending departure of longtime bodyguard Schiller. Aides described Schiller as the “emotional anchor” for Trump in the WH turmoil.
IMG_9748
I am currently in Budapest, Hungary and was hoping to not have to see this face. But, unfortunately, this is going to be a popular nightmare mask for people all over the world this Halloween. The world continues to just laugh and laugh… – Added to the image is Australian street artist CRiSP’s “Selfie This” sticker. I felt it was appropriate. 9SEP17.

IMG_9750

POLITIKS OF GRAFFITI 29: SUCH A CLOWN

Week 28 of donald trump’s presidency: Experts in authoritarianism advise to keep a list of things subtly changing around you, so you’ll remember.

May 27, 2017 https://medium.com/@Amy_Siskind/week-28-experts-in-authoritarianism-advise-to-keep-a-list-of-things-subtly-changing-around-you-so-b772e6b7f47d

This week the Trump-Russia scandal reached the inner circle of Trump’s WH, as bombshells revealed Kushner is a central focus of the FBI investigation. The Trump regime established a war room as the walls of Trump-Russia cave in on them, with breaking news daily.

Also of note this week is the myriad of examples of Trump distancing our country from our traditional allies, and instead cozying up to brutal authoritarians. Human rights abroad are no longer a priority — the focus seems to have shifted to where the Trump organization has properties.

  1. Trump’s attorney said he wouldn’t sign his 2016 financial disclosure, a major departure from the norm. After OGE pushback, Trump said he would sign, but has yet to do so.
  2. The WH also blocked disclosure of names of former lobbyists who have been granted waivers to work in the WH or for federal agencies. Late Friday, the WH said they would comply, but has yet to do so.
  3. GOP Senators are considering changing rules to make it harder for Democrats to block Trump’s picks for circuit court judges. This follows the “nuclear option” which eased the path for Trump’s SCOTUS pick.
  4. Tillerson held a press conference in Riyadh on a new US-Saudi partnership. US media was excluded.
  5. NPR reported there’s been an unprecedented spike of white supremacist activity on college campuses since Trump was elected.
  6. Shortly after announcing his resignation from Congress, Chaffetz said individuals leaking info to the press should go to jail.
  7. Trump considered vetoing the temporary spending bill. Priebus asked Boehner to talk Trump into signing and keeping the government open.
  8. As the Trump regime’s visited Saudi Arabia, the kingdom announced it would invest $20bn in Blackstone’s new $40bn infrastructure fund.
  9. Saudi Arabia will also invest $100mm in Ivanka’s Women Entrepreneurs Fund. In addition to other human right’s abuses, the kingdom has one of the worst records globally for treatment of its women.
  10. During a photo op with Netanyahu on his visit to Israel, Trump confirmed the source of his leak to Lavrov and Kislyak at the WH by telling the press he “never mentioned the word or the name Israel.”
  11. FP reported that Israel changed its intelligence sharing with the US after Trump’s leak to Russia.
  12. Turkey summoned the US envoy to complain about the treatment of Ergodan’s bodyguards for beating up US protestors.
  13. Amid rising tensions, Turkey signed a $1.5mm contract with longtime Trump lobbyist Brian Ballard. Ballard’s firm has also recently signed contracts with the Dominican Republic and the Socialist Party of Albania.
  14. A leaked transcript prepared by the Philippines government of a phone call between Trump and Duterte described Trump praising the brutal authoritarian: “what a great job you are doing” with the drug problem.
  15. Also on the call with Duterte, Trump revealed the location of two US nuclear submarines.
  16. US officials were chastised for leaking the identity of the Manchester bomber to the press before British police officially named him.
  17. UK officials were also outraged when photos of the debris surfaced in the NYT, and said they would stop sharing information about the attack with their US counterparts. Later that day, sharing reportedly resumed.
  18. Flynn’s lawyer said his client would invoke his Fifth Amendment rights rather than comply with a Senate Intel Comm subpoena. Burr and Warner said they are considering holding Flynn in contempt.
  19. Christie told reporters that as head of Trump’s transition team, he told Trump not to hire Flynn in any capacity. Pence took over as head next.
  20. Sessions canceled his Monday testimony on DOJ funding before Congress scheduled, for fear the hearing would be overtaken by questions are the Trump-Russia scandal.
  21. Cummings said the House Oversight Comm has documents that show Flynn lied to security clearance investigators in 2016. Flynn claimed he was paid by “US companies,” not Russia’s RT, for his 2015 Moscow trip.
  22. CNN reported that Mueller visited FBI headquarters, and was briefed on the contents of Comey’s Trump memos.
  23. WAPO reported Trump asked intel chiefs Coats and Rogers to publicly say there was no collusion between Russia and Trump in the 2016 election. The goal was to “muddy the waters” about the FBI probe.
  24. Like Comey, Rogers was concerned about his conversations with Trump, and kept contemporaneous notes.
  25. WAPO also reported that WH staffers tried to get senior intel officers and members of Congress to push back on the stories that the Trump regime members were in frequent contact with Russian officials.
  26. Sen Duckworth sent a letter to the NSA requesting info on security sweeps of the Oval Office after Trump’s meeting with Lavrov and Kislyak.
  27. A member of the FEC called for an investigation into Russia’s purchase of Facebook ads to possibly boost Trump in the election.
  28. At a House hearing, former CIA director Brennan testified that he was convinced last summer that “the Russians were trying to interfere in the election. And they were very aggressive
  29. Brennan also testified on significant contact between the Trump campaign and Russia, citing Russians efforts to get US persons “to act on their behalf either wittingly or unwittingly.”
  30. Brennan also said he alerted the FBI about the troubling pattern in July, seeming to form the basis for the start of the FBI investigation.
  31. Despite the Trump’s regime efforts to limit the scope of Mueller’s investigation — citing Kushner, Ivanka and Manafort are clients of his former law firm — the DOJ cleared Mueller to lead the Russia probe.
  32. The Senate Intel Comm subpoenaed two Flynn companies. Businesses, if corporations, cannot plead the Fifth.
  33. On Thursday, the Senate Intel Comm voted to give Burr and Warner blanket authority to issue subpoenas in the Trump-Russia probe.
  34. Burr and Warner asked Trump’s political organization to produce all Russia-related documents, emails and phone records going back to his campaign’s launch in June 2015.
  35. STAT reported on experts citing that the deterioration in Trump’s linguistic capabilities could reflect changes in the health of his brain.
  36. Infowars was given WH press credentials.
  37. The NEH chairman resigned amid Trump’s budget rollout which calls for huge cuts to domestic programs.
  38. A top Education Department official resigned after refusing DeVos’s orders to testify before a congressional oversight hearing.
  39. Trump released his budget with a $2tn double-counting error. Larry Summers described it as, “the most egregious accounting error in a presidential budget in the nearly 40 years I have been tracking them.”
  40. Trump’s Caribbean estate was quietly put on the market at a significantly higher price than he paid in 2013, again raising ethical concerns of potential buyers paying above market to gain access.
  41. NYT reported on ethical concerns over the Trump family golf business, as the PGA comes to Trump National, and access to Trump, who frequents his courses, is being touted as a marketing point for membership.
  42. Demonstrating how Trump’s friends continue to influence policy, Icahn is set to save $60mm for his oil refinery company CVR Energy in the first quarter due to planned easing of regulations.
  43. Giuliani attempted to distance himself from Trump’s Muslim Ban, despite his bragging on Fox News months ago that he was consulted by Trump.
  44. DeVos said states should have the flexibility to discriminate against LGBTQ students, and schools will not be at risk of losing federal funds.
  45. Although before taking office Trump promised to donate all profits earned from foreign governments back to the US Treasury, according to NBC, the Trump Organization is not tracking these payments. The Constitution bans presidents from receiving foreign government gifts.
  46. 93% of key roles in the executive branch remain unfilled.
  47. Buzzfeed reported the guest reception manager at Mar-A-Lago, wife of a twice-convicted felon who likes to brag about his wife’s access, was assigned a WH email and phone and helped with Trump’s overseas plans.
  48. A new study found that tourism to the US has been on the decline since Trump took office, dropping by as much as 16%.
  49. The Carrier plant in Indiana, where to much ballyhoo Trump showcased saving 800 jobs, announced mass layoffs before Christmas.
  50. FP reported NATO countries were frantically preparing for their summit with Trump. One official said, “It’s like they’re preparing to deal with a child — someone with a short attention span and mood who has no knowledge of NATO, no interest in in-depth policy issues, nothing.
  51. At the NATO summit in Brussels, Trump pushed the PM of Montenegro aside, before chastising participants for not paying their share of NATO costs. His behavior was met with uniform disgust by our allies.
  52. Trump also refused to clearly back Article 5, the one-for-all, all-for-one principle of NATO, and remained at odd with our allies over Russia.
  53. Trump also said of Germany, our close ally, “The Germans are bad, very bad.
  54. Aya Hijazi, who Trump had bragged about negotiating her release from an Egyptian prison, told PBS’s Woodruff that Trump did not understand that it was el-Sisi’s regime that held her.
  55. On Wednesday, Greg Gianforte, running for Montana’s open Congressional seat, body slammed a reporter when asked about AHCA CBO scoring. Like Trump, Gianforte has had harsh rhetoric on the media. Gianforte was charged with assault the night before the election.
  56. Weeks before Jacobs had reported on Gianforte’s ownership of Russian index funds, whose holdings include companies like Rosneft which are under US sanctions.
  57. Press advocates cited four incidents between the press and public officials in the past month, saying Trump’s rhetoric has led to a “climate of anger, disrespect and hostility” towards the press.
  58. POLITICO reported that Trump reached out to former campaign staffers Lewandowski and Bossie about becoming crisis managers as the Trump-Russia scandal unfolds.
  59. In a surprising move, Trump hired his longtime personal lawyer Marc Kasowitz to represent him in the special counsel’s Trump-Russia probe.
  60. CNN reported the Trump regime is establishing a war room-type operation aimed at developing a rapid-response to Trump-Russia news.
  61. As the CBO came out with alarming scoring on Trumpcare/AHCA, Trump ally Gingrich called for the abolishment of the CBO.
  62. Trump’s budget targets undocumented immigrants by denying them tax credits and jobs, while significantly beefing up his deportation force.
  63. The Trump regime kept US reporters largely in the dark during his overseas trip this week: delaying readouts, keeping reporters at a distance, and refusing to hold new conferences.
  64. Trump ally Sheriff Clarke directed his staff waiting at the terminal to hassle a plane passenger after a brief exchange. The passenger is suing Clarke and his deputies involved.
  65. The 4th Circuit Court of Appeals upheld a nationwide injunction against Trump’s second Muslim Ban by a 10–3 vote. The Chief Judge said the ban, “drips with religious intolerance, animus, and discrimination.
  66. In their efforts to highlight crimes committed by undocumented immigrants through their VOICE program, Trump’s DHS published a database with the personal information of abuse victims.
  67. For the first time in almost two decades, Tillerson declined to host a Ramadan event at the State Dept.
  68. In Portland, OR, a suspect hurled insults at Muslim women on a MAX train, before stabbing men who tried to stop him. Two are dead.
  69. According to the DOJ, Sessions did not disclose his meetings with Kislyakin his security clearance application.
  70. Sessions remains AG despite having lied both to the Senate under oath and on his security clearance application about Russia, as well as playing a role in Comey’s firing despite being recused on Trump-Russia matters.
  71. Members of the House Financial Services Comm asked Deutsche Bank to produce documents on Trump family loans. As mentioned in Week 18’s list, Deutsche has been fined for laundering money for Russia.
  72. NYT reported that US spies collected info last summer that top Russian officials were discussing how to exert influence on Trump through his aides, Manafort and Flynn.
  73. POLITICO reported that despite the Trump spin that Manafort was a minor player and not in touch with his regime, Manafort called Priebus the week before the inauguration to discuss the growing Russia scandal.
  74. WAPO reported that a fake Russian document which claimed assurances from AG Lynch to the Clinton campaign on the email investigation, influenced Comey’s handling of the investigation, including his unusual news conference in July without conferring with the DOJ.
  75. Although Comey had the Russian document for months before the July news conference, the FBI did not take the simple steps needed to prove it to be bad intelligence until after July.
  76. WIRED reported that Russian hackers are weaponizing “tainted” leaks — planting altered materials with disinformation alongside legitimate leaks.
  77. WSJ reported that a GOP political operative, Aaron Nevins, worked with the Russians to hurt Clinton and Democrats during the election — the first direct evidence of collusion.
  78. WAPO reported that the FBI “person of interest” in the WH referenced in their reporting last week is Kushner. The FBI is investigating Kushner for the extent and nature of his contacts with Russian officials.
  79. Further, WAPO reported the FBI is investigating possible coordination between the Trump campaign and Russia to influence the 2016 election, as well as possible financial crimes.
  80. The FBI informed House Oversight Comm chair Chaffetz that they will not turn over Comey’s memos, leaving open the prospect that Mueller is investigating Trump for obstruction of justice.
  81. Lieberman became the fourth candidate under consideration by Trump for FBI director to withdraw from consideration.
  82. After demurring on whether Trump would lift sanctions on Russia Thursday, top Trump adviser, under media scrutiny, said Friday the sanctions would remain in place.
  83. A Quinnipiac poll found that most Americans believe Trump is abusing his power (54–43), and most believe he is not honest (59–36).
  84. WAPO reported at a meeting at Trump Tower in early December, Kushner proposed to Kislyak setting up a secret communication channel between the Kremlin and the Trump regime using Russian diplomatic facilities.
  85. Kislyak was reportedly taken aback by the suggestion, and concerned Kushner’s request would expose Russian communication capabilities.
  86. Kushner’s goal was to avoid US intelligence monitoring. Flynn attended the meeting with Kislyak too.
  87. Of note, both Kislyak and Flynn secretly met with a UAE crown prince around the time that prince was setting up a meeting between Erik Prince and a Russian official in Seychelles (see Week 21’s list). Trump met that same UAE crown prince at the WH last week.
  88. Reuters reported that Kushner had at least three previously undisclosed contacts with Kislyak during and after the 2016 presidential campaign.
  89. Reuters reported FBI investigators are examining whether Russians suggested to Kushner or other Trump aides relaxing US sanctions in exchange for making bank financing available to the Trump regime.
  90. In response to the Reuters piece, Kushner’s lawyer issued a statement that Kushner, “has no recollection of the calls as described.
  91. Russian oligarch Oleg Deripaska has offered to cooperate with Congress in their investigation of Manafort in exchange for immunity. Noted in Week 27, Deripaska is suing AP for libel for reporting his ties to Manafort.
  92. Owners of Russian Alfa Bank sued Buzzfeed Friday in state court in Manhattan for publishing the Steele dossier.
  93. Amidst the Trump-Russia turmoil, Trump canceled his Iowa campaign rally scheduled for next week.

18670940_1362416000462172_1512066427406723825_n18698367_1922465441345850_42604310171675588_n

18193881_856732021147171_9186286276535731657_n
It’s all just a game to them, and the people are the ones that always lose / Artist credit: Luis Quiles
18623414_621714518021572_4739042676229610896_o
London, England. Artist: Subdude

18622240_1362415800462192_7388551372612424142_n

18699726_1362413407129098_41374105651037399_o18698147_10212970038034060_7793279662278937441_n18671709_1362415110462261_4836074386755869185_o18557351_10212964509615853_3932029552708551386_n