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/
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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/
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This is a mural I photographed in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, New York, in February 2018. “Give me your tired, your poor, Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free, The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.” Unfortunately, some people have apparently forgotten…

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

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

 

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

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

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

 

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

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U.S. soldiers install barb wire by the USMexico border fence reading ‘Because in such way God has loved the world he has given his son’ in El Paso, Texas state, US, as seen from Ciudad Juarez, Chihuahua state, Mexico.
D3_HJw5WkAISvkF.jpg-large
And the scariest moment, in my opinion, of this entire regime, was yesterday’s video from 45 basically rallying his base to direct their ire towards this great American Muslim woman, Ilhan Omar. And we’ve seen what his base is capable of doing, with their vans and their guns and their red hats…ALL THE WHILE, the sickest video emerged of 45 himself bragging that his building was “now the tallest in NYC,” as the towers recently burned to the ground…He does not care about America, people. If you are with him, you are VOTING AGAINST YOUR BEST INTERESTS.
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POLITIKS OF GRAFFITI 115: XENOPHOBIA AND CONCEALMENT ~ THE “NEW BLACK” IN THE USA

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

JANUARY 19, 2019

Week 114

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Wynwood, Miami, FL December 2018

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

December 15, 2018

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

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

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

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

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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.”
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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.
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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.”
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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.
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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.
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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.

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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.

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

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