POLITIKS OF GRAFFITI 168: “A MIDDLE SCHOOL CLASSROOM”

JANUARY 25, 2020

Week 167

Experts in authoritarianism advise to keep a list of things
subtly changing around you, so you’ll remember. https://theweeklylist.org/weekly-list/week-167/

This week the Senate impeachment trial of Donald J. Trump began, even as evidence continued to trickle out. House Democrat impeachment managers made their case for the two articles over three days, laying out their argument with an intricate presentation and appealing to Republicans’ better angels to put partisanship aside for the sake of preserving our fragile democracy. As the week came to a close, it appeared Senate Republicans were unwilling to do so.

The atmosphere of the largely obfuscated Senate chamber was described as that of a middle school classroom, with Senate Republicans joking and, at times, leaving the chamber in violation of Senate rules while Democrats were speaking. It was unclear by week’s end if Republicans would heed the polling which consistently showed the overwhelming majority of Americans wanted to hear from first-hand witnesses.

At the start of the trial, Trump visited Davos, Switzerland for the World Economic Forum as staffers sought to portray him as a hard working president above the fray; but as would be typical with Trump’s trips abroad, he quickly devolved into making outlandish statements and insulting U.S. allies. On Wednesday, as he returned to Washington, Trump was sending a record volume of tweets and fuming over impeachment and that his defense would be presenting on Saturday, the “death valley” of television ratings.

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Cocoa Beach, Florida 24jan2020
  1. On Saturday, the National Archives apologized for an altered image of the 2017 Women’s March, saying, “We made a mistake,” and adding, “we are committed to “preserving our archival holdings, without alteration.”
  2. The Archives noted the image is not one of its archival records, but stated, “Nonetheless, we were wrong to alter the image.” The ACLU demanded an explanation, saying the National Archives took “the Orwellian step of trying to rewrite history.”
  3. On Monday, WAPO reported in his first three years in office, Trump has made 16,241 false or misleading claims. In both 2018 and 2019, Trump made the most false or misleading statements in October and November.
  4. The pace of lying has accelerated: from 1,999 claims in 2017 to 5,689 in 2018 — for a total of 7,688 in his first two years. In 2019, he made 8,155 false or misleading claims.
  5. Also three years in, WAPO and Partnership for Public Service found 23% (170 of the 741) of key positions in the executive branch have yet to have a nominee from Trump. Many positions have turned over multiple times.
  6. On Monday, the Edelman’s 2020 Trust Barometer study found 57% of people globally believe the media is “contaminated with untrustworthy information,” and 76% believe false information is being used as a weapon.
  7. On Saturday, in a detailed legal briefing, the House impeachment managers submitted their 46-page trial memorandum, asserting Trump tried to enlist a foreign government to help him win re-election.
  8. The memo also said Trump tried to conceal those actions from Congress, posing “a serious danger to our constitutional checks and balances” by ordering regime officials not to testify or turn over documents.
  9. On Saturday, Trump’s lead impeachment lawyers Jay Sekulow and White House counsel Pat Cipollone released their response to House Democrats’ articles of impeachment titled, “Answers of President Donald J. Trump.”
  10. Atlantic called the brief “a howl of rage,” noting it did not read like a legal argument, but like a grievance, calling impeachment “a dangerous attack on the right of the American people to freely choose their President.”
  11. The seven-page brief called it “a brazen and unlawful attempt” to overturn the 2016 election and “interfere with the 2020 election,” calling the process “rigged,” and saying the articles “must be rejected.”
  12. On Sunday, Alan Dershowitz refused on “This Week” to say if Trump did anything wrong, and had no comment on the brief, saying, “I didn’t sign that brief,” and adding abuse of power is not an impeachable offense.
  13. Dershowitz argued Trump should not be impeached even if House Democrats prove their case, saying, “If the allegations are not impeachable, then this trial should result in an acquittal, regardless.”
  14. Lead impeachment manager Adam Schiff told “This Week” that Dershowitz’s argument that a president cannot be impeached for abuse of power is “absurdist.”
  15. Schiff added “the facts aren’t seriously contested,” adding, “because they can’t contest the facts, that the president cannot be impeached for abusing the power of his office,” just as they did in the House hearings.
  16. On Sunday, Sen. Lindsey Graham told “State of the Union” the Senate GOP does not “have the votes” to dismiss the impeachment trial, but that Trump wants “this behind him” by the time of the State of the Union address.
  17. On Sunday, Schiff told CNN that the National Security Agency is withholding “potentially relevant documents” from Congress relating to the “issue of Ukraine” ahead of the trial, calling it “deeply concerning.”
  18. Schiff added there “are signs that the CIA may be on the same tragic course,” but did not elaborate. The NSA did not respond to CNN for comment.
  19. On Sunday, NYT reported journalists are up in arms about restrictions put in place by Senate Republican leadership that will limit their movement within the Capitol, and access to interview lawmakers, during the trial.
  20. Journalists would be confined to roped-off areas. C-SPAN is also calling on the Senate to allow television crews to document the trial, instead of the government-controlled cameras which limit what viewers see.
  21. On Saturday, Andrew Peek, the senior director for European and Russian affairs at the National Security Council, was put on leave, pending an investigation. The role was formerly filled by Fiona Hill and Tim Morrison.
  22. On Sunday, AP reported Peek was placed on administrative leave pending a security-related investigation, and was escorted out of the White House on Friday, after two-months in the role.
  23. On Sunday, Bloomberg reported Rear Admiral Peter Brown, Trump’s third homeland security and counter-terrorism adviser, is expected to be reassigned after six months in office.
  24. Brown was one of Trump’s staunchest defenders after Trump claimed Hurricane Dorian might hit Alabama. He will take a new role overseeing Puerto Rico recovery. It was unclear why he was reassigned.
  25. On Monday, Martin Luther King Jr. Day, Trump had nothing planned to honor MLK, according to the White House schedule. Trump did make an unscheduled, unannounced visit to the National Mall as he did last year.
  26. Unlike the past three presidents, Trump has not taken part in service projects to mark MLK Day, or observed the holiday publicly by making remarks or attending events. In 2018, Trump golfed on MLK Day.
  27. When asked about Trump’s MLK Day schedule, White House counselor Kellyanne Conway told reporters Martin Luther King Jr. would oppose impeaching Trump.
  28. On Monday, according to a new Gallup poll, Trump’s approval is at 44%, holding steady in the range of 43–45% in recent weeks. The poll found 46% want Trump to be convicted and removed by the Senate, 51% do not.
  29. On Monday, a new CNN poll found 51% say Trump should be removed, 45% said he should not. Notably, 69% say the Senate trial should include testimony from new witnesses who did not testify in the House inquiry.
  30. On Monday, the attorney for Lev Parnas asked Attorney General Bill Barr in a court filing to recuse himself from Parnas’ case, given Parnas’ public statement in Week 166 on Barr, and appoint a special prosecutor.
  31. On Monday, thousands of gun-rights advocates packed the Virginia Capitol, including armed militias carrying assault-style weapons. The rally unfolded peacefully despite fears of violence like Charlottesville in 2017.
  32. Roughly 6,000 protestors cleared metal detectors to Capitol Square to cheer fiery speeches, while roughly 16,000 remained outside the square. Police made one arrest.
  33. Trump tweeted, “The Democrat Party in the Great Commonwealth of Virginia are working hard to take away your 2nd Amendment rights. This is just the beginning. Don’t let it happen, VOTE REPUBLICAN in 2020!”
  34. Trump also tweeted on impeachment: “They didn’t want John Bolton and others in the House…Now they want them all in the Senate,” adding, “Not supposed to be that way!” This is a false — Bolton refused to testify.
  35. Trump also tweeted, “Cryin’ Chuck Schumer is now asking for “fairness,”” claiming, “he and the Democrat House members worked together to make sure I got ZERO fairness in the House.”
  36. Trump also tweeted, “I have never seen the Republican Party as Strong and as Unified as it is right now. Thank you!” and “95% Approval Rating in the Republican Party, A Record” — both of which are false statements.
  37. On Monday, in an 110-page briefing submitted to the Senate, Trump’s legal team argued the two charges were constitutionally flawed since they were approved on party lines and “do not remotely” reach the threshold.
  38. The briefing cited “the diluted standard” would “permanently weaken the presidency and forever alter the balance among the branches of government” in a way that “offends the constitutional design.”
  39. Trump’s team did not contest the basic facts of the House case, but claimed he did “absolutely nothing wrong,” saying he is being punished for a foreign policy decision, and calling the case against him “flimsy.”
  40. The briefing cited “House Democrats were determined from the outset to find some way — any way to corrupt the power of impeachment” in order to “overturn” in the 2016 election and “interfere” in the 2020 election.
  41. On Monday, The Hill reported Senate Democrats are pressing Supreme Court Justice John Roberts to rule in favor of calling witnesses in the impeachment trial, saying without them it would not be a fair trial.
  42. While Roberts is expected to refer major disputes back for a Senate vote, Democrats are hoping he will make a ruling, citing the precedent of then-Chief Justice Salmon Chase in the impeachment trial of Andrew Johnson.
  43. Late in the day on Monday, shortly after the briefing was submitted, Majority Leader Mitch McConnell unveiled ground rules for the Senate trial, which would speed the process along and not allow witnesses without a separate vote.
  44. McConnell’s trial rules would limit each side to 24 hours of testimony over two days, and left open the possibility that the Senate could block new evidence not uncovered in the House impeachment inquiry.
  45. Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer called it “a cover-up,” adding, McConnell “is saying he doesn’t want to hear any of the existing evidence, and he doesn’t want to hear any new evidence.”
  46. On Monday, WAPO reported Trump’s impeachment lawyers and his Senate GOP allies are quietly putting together a strategy should Democrats get enough votes to have witnesses publicly testify, especially Bolton.
  47. The final option would be to have Bolton testify in a classified setting, citing national security concerns, which would require Trump’s attorneys to request a classified setting and likely require 51 votes.
  48. Republicans say first they would try to fight his testifying in court, noting the potentially explosive nature of his testimony, but blocking him could carry political risks for Republicans.
  49. The ongoing discussions show the uncertainty Trump’s team faced as to how the trial would play out. Some Republicans noted while Trump’s team is trying to control the process, it is not up to them to decide.
  50. On Monday, Kellyanne Conway warned Democrats on Fox News that Republicans would call Hunter Biden, saying, “Be careful what you wish for…Witness number one would have to be Hunter Biden.”
  51. On Monday, Axios reported Cipollone plans to argue that calling Bolton would infringe on executive privilege, and weakening that privilege would make presidents less candid when they seek counsel going forward.
  52. On Monday, Trump picked eight House Republicans to advise Trump’s impeachment team: Reps. Jim Jordan, John Ratcliffe, Mike Johnson, Mark Meadows, Debbie Lesko, Lee Zeldin, Elise Stefanik, and Doug Collins.
  53. The White House said the House members “have provided guidance to the White House team, which was prohibited from participating in the proceedings concocted by Democrats in the House of Representatives.”
  54. On Monday, the Sacramento Bee Editorial Board wrote on the revelations in Parnas’ documents regarding Rep. Devin Nunes and his aide Derek Harvey, saying his “Ukraine lies are a betrayal. Voters in his district deserve better.”
  55. On Monday, as he headed to Davos for the World Economic Forum, Trump tweeted he would meet “World and Business Leaders and bring Good Policy,” adding, “We are now NUMBER ONE in the Universe, by FAR!!
  56. On Tuesday, in a speech at Davos, Trump warned the international community against heeding the advice of environmental activists, we must reject the “prophets of doom and their predictions of the apocalypse.”
  57. Trump called activists “alarmists,” saying they want “absolute power to dominate, transform and control every aspect of our lives,” and they “want to destroy our economy, wreck our country or eradicate our liberty.”
  58. On Tuesday, CNN reported Trump was hesitant about leaving for Davos, and did not make a final decision until late last week, siding with aides who convinced him looking presidential on the world stage would be best.
  59. Some Trump aides had been against him traveling and thought he would be better positioned to respond from Washington. Trump was scheduled to be back in his hotel room by 2 p.m. in time for the trial.
  60. As is typical when Trump travels abroad, aides have ensured his hotel room has a TiVo-like device that allows him to watch Fox News. He will also have a phone to call aides and his phone for tweeting.
  61. On Monday, CNN reported Mohammad Shahab Dehghani Hossein, 24, a student at Northeastern University from Iran, was deported Monday, despite an emergency stay granted by a Massachusetts district court.
  62. A federal detention hearing for Dehghani, who was returning to the U.S. on a student visa, was scheduled for Tuesday. U.S. Customs and Border Protection revoked Dehghani’s student visa and expedited his removal.
  63. On Tuesday, NBC News reported Vice President Mike Pence spoke at a church service Sunday in which religious leaders described the “demonic” nature of homosexuality, and said it was caused by “the devil.”
  64. On Tuesday, WVVA/NBC News reported a West Virginia biracial high school basketball player, Jace Colucci, found a drawing of a stick figure hung by a noose with his name in a rival team’s visiting team locker room.
  65. The incident is being investigated as a possible hate crime. Jace’s mother said this is not the first incident — at a game in 2019, a Snapchat video was forwarded to her of kids chanting: “hang Jace, hang Jace.”
  66. On Tuesday, Politico reported next Monday, the three-year anniversary of Trump’s original Muslim Ban, he is expected to announce an expansion of the travel ban to place restrictions on additional countries.
  67. The list of countries has not been finalized, but countries under consideration included Belarus, Myanmar, Eritrea, Kyrgyzstan, Nigeria, Sudan, and Tanzania. Trump does not have properties at any of the countries on the list.
  68. On Wednesday, Trump tweeted he would attend the anti-abortion March for Life rally, the first president to do so. In Week 71, Stormy Daniels said Trump paid her for unprotected sex shortly after Barron was born.
  69. On Wednesday, the D.C. Attorney General sued Trump’s inaugural committee, saying it violated its nonprofit status by paying $1 million for a ballroom at Trump Hotel DC when it staff knew it was overpriced.
  70. The complaint cites, “These charges were unreasonable and improperly served to enrich” Trump’s business, and noted under D.C. law nonprofits cannot seek to generate profits for private individuals.
  71. Trump inaugural committee chair Thomas Barrack Jr. responded to accusation that the ballroom was also barely used, noting “elegance and seamless excellence without incident or interruption” of the inauguration.
  72. On Tuesday, the House Democrat impeachment managers argued in a letter to Cipollone that he is a “fact witness” in the impeachment case, and demanding that he disclose all first-hand involvement to the Senate.
  73. Democrats alleged Cipollone was part of the regime’s “efforts to conceal” Trump’s decision to withhold aid, and his representation “threatens to undermine the integrity” of the trial, as he may be “a material witness.”
  74. On Tuesday, a SurveyUSA poll found 71% of Republicans, 93% of Democrats, and 81% of Independents said McConnell should allow witnesses to testify. Just 15% of Republicans said he should not.
  75. On Tuesday, a Monmouth poll found 80% of Americans say Trump officials, as well as Trump himself, should be invited to testify at the Senate trial.
  76. On Tuesday, the Senate began an acrimonious impeachment trial with nearly 13 hours of debate starting at 1 p.m. on the rules and procedures for the trial, ending after 2 a.m.
  77. McConnell had to make changes to rules due to pressure from moderates including Sens. Susan Collins, Rob Portman, and Lisa Murkowski, who said the rules strayed too far from the Clinton trial, and would be seen as unfair.
  78. At a closed door luncheon before the trial, the Senators argued against opening remarks being limited to two days, and not admitting the findings of the House inquiry into evidence without a separate vote.
  79. McConnell rushed to submit a revised copy of the resolution, which included handwritten changes, to extend opening remarks to three days per side and House records would be admitted into evidence.
  80. Schumer told reporters of the last minute changes, “The public realizes how unfair the McConnell proposal is, and the pressure that we have put on them and on Republican senators has gotten them to change.”
  81. Also an hour before trial, the House impeachment managers submitted a written rebuttal rejecting Trump’s claims that abuse of power was not an impeachable offense and that it was legal to block officials from testifying.
  82. Democratic impeachment managers urged Senators to reject McConnell’s proposed rules, which would delay debate over witnesses and documents to the middle of the trial, with no guarantee they would be called.
  83. Lead manager Schiff said, “If the Senate votes to deprive itself of witnesses and documents, the opening statements will be the end of the trial,” saying McConnell wants to “sweep this all under the rug.”
  84. Democrats used digital slides and video clips, including video statements by Trump, to make their argument. They argued the process McConnell had laid out was rigged on Trump’s behalf.
  85. From Davos, 45 minutes into the trial, Trump tweeted, “READ THE TRANSCRIPTS!
  86. Trump also told reporters on impeachment, “It goes nowhere because nothing happened. The only thing we’ve done is a great job,” adding, “That whole thing is a total hoax, so I’m sure it’s going to work out fine.”
  87. Impeachment manager Rep. Zoe Lofgren argued the White House was sittings on hundreds of pages of relevant materials, saying, “Attorney-client privilege cannot shield information about misconduct.”
  88. Trump’s lawyers argued the charges against him are baseless, and amount to criminalizing Trump’s foreign policy decisions, and replayed many of Trump’s grievances calling impeachment a “ridiculous charade.”
  89. Cipollone said, “A partisan impeachment is like stealing an election,” adding, “Talk about the framers’ worst nightmare. It’s a partisan impeachment that they delivered to your doorstep in an election year.”
  90. Breaking from most constitutional scholars, Trump’s lawyers also argued the impeachment was unconstitutional because the articles do not include a specific violation of the law.
  91. Cipollone and Sekulow made false statements: Sekulow claiming Trump could not have an attorney at the House inquiry, and Cipollone claiming House Republicans did not have access to closed-door depositions.
  92. Sekulow also falsely claimed that the Mueller report “came up empty on the issue of collusion with Russia. There was no obstruction, in fact.” Both of those claims are false.
  93. Sekulow also argued House Democrats “in their rush to impeach, have refused to wait for judicial review” — a direct contradiction to the pending Don McGahn case where the DOJ argued courts should not step in.
  94. Cipollone noted the four Democratic presidential candidates off the campaign trail (Sens. Amy Klobuchar, Elizabeth Warren, Bernie Sanders, Michael Bennet), saying, “some of you are upset because you should be in Iowa.”
  95. During the trial, Fox News anchor Chris Wallace said on the station’s coverage, “If I were the President watching this I would not be especially pleased.”
  96. Wallace noted of Trump’s lawyers, “They are basically saying, there’s nothing to see here, all of this is bogus, while the House managers are taking every second of their one hour to make whatever case they want.”
  97. Republicans rejected a total of 10 amendments along party lines, 53–47. An 11th amendment to lengthen the timetable for the prosecutors and defense to file trial motions got one vote from Sen. Susan Collins.
  98. An exasperated McConnell asked Schumer if he would “stack” his amendments, and Schumer said no: “We believe witnesses and documents are extremely important and a compelling case has been made for them.”
  99. The seven House impeachment managers used their time to make an argument for each amendment, with Trump’s lawyers responding, and both giving a preview of their opening arguments.
  100. Amendments voted down included subpoenaing White House, State Department, and OMB documents, and staffers including Mick Mulvaney, Robert Blair, Michael Duffey, and John Bolton.
  101. At 9:30 p.m. McConnell halted the trial to try to negotiate an end to the debate as the Senators faced fatigue, but after a brief recess, the two sides did not reach a deal to speed things up.
  102. Just before 1 a.m., Chair Jerrold Nadler accused Republican senators of being complicit in a cover-up to help Trump. Cipollone responded that Nadler should be “embarrassed” for his rhetoric toward senators.
  103. After, Chief Justice Roberts admonished the managers and Trump lawyers to “remember where they are” and return to “civil discourse,” saying, “They are addressing the world’s greatest deliberative body.”
  104. Just before 2 a.m., the Senate voted along party lines to ratify McConnell’s plan, setting the stage for the trial to begin on Wednesday. The session concluded at 2:15 a.m.
  105. On Tuesday, WAPO reported that a small group of Senate Democrats are privately consider a Biden-for-Bolton trade for testimony, and are sounding the idea off their colleagues.
  106. These Democrats believe having Hunter or Joe, who served in the Senate for 36 years, could backfire and paint Trump and the GOP as being obsessed with trying to damage one of Trump’s 2020 rivals.
  107. The Biden campaign has been against them testifying, calling the notion “a stupid Republican talking point,” and an associate saying, “Biden and his people don’t want to give it credibility, so there is a stalemate right now.”
  108. Late Tuesday, just before midnight deadline, the final batch of 192 pages of heavily redacted documents were released by the DOJ under the FOIA to nonprofit group American Oversight on Ukraine.
  109. NYT reported while there were no major new revelations, the documents did reveal the friction between the Department of Defense and the White House on the aid freeze over the summer.
  110. The documents revealed confusion from lawmakers, including Republicans: on August 23 an aide to Sen. Rob Portman wrote to Michael Duffey, asking him to “lay out for me the reason behind the O.M.B. hold.”
  111. Calls and emails for an explanation on the hold also came from Senate Armed Services Committee Chair James Inhofe and Rep. Mac Thornberry, ranking member of the House Armed Services Committee.
  112. Documents also showed on the evening of July 24, the night before Trump’s call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, OMB officials shared a “Ukraine Prep Memo” with Duffey. The contents of the memo were redacted.
  113. On Tuesday, the Guardian reported a U.N. investigation found Amazon founder Jeff Bezos’ cellphone was hacked after he got a WhatsApp message that came from an account belonging to Saudi crown prince MBS.
  114. The investigation found “high probability” that Bezos’ phone was infected with malware that came from MBS. Soon after the message was delivered, a massive amount of data was extracted from his phone.
  115. Bezos and MBS were engaged in a friendly chat on WhatsApp on May 1, 2018, when MBS sent an apparently infected video file. Bezos’ head of security, Gavin de Becker, wrote in March he suspected the Saudis.
  116. On Wednesday, the White House Correspondents’ Association confirmed that the White House had given press credentials to virulent anti-Semite Rick Wiles of TruNews. The WHCA said it has raised the issue with the WH.
  117. Right Wing Watch reported after receiving the credentials, Wiles claimed on his broadcast that this “‘impeach Trump’ effort is a Jew coup and the American people better wake up to it really fast.”
  118. On Thursday, WAPO reported, despite Trump’s promises that weakening federal mileage standards would make cars cheaper and “substantially safer,” the opposite has happened.
  119. A new analysis found Trump’s rollback of Obama’s standards would not save costs, citing drivers would spend more at the gas pump over time by driving less efficient vehicles.
  120. On Thursday, HuffPost reported Trump’s Doral resort is expected to spike its room rates ahead the club hosting his speech to the Republican National Committee’s winter meeting from $254 to $539.
  121. The higher rate is just under the maximum rate federal government rules permit for a hotel in South Florida, and will dramatically increase taxpayer costs for housing Secret Service and other Trump staffers.
  122. On Wednesday, a Reuters/Ipsos poll found 72% of Americans believe the trial “should allow witnesses with firsthand knowledge of the impeachment charges to testify.”
  123. On Wednesday, from Davos, Trump sent dozens of retweets on the impeachment trial before dawn, retweeting statements and videos tweeted by his Republican defenders.
  124. Trump also tweeted, “Americans are sick of the Swamp. They want results, not partisan theater,” adding, “No matter what manufactured drama is unfolding in Washington,” he “will never stop fighting for you.”
  125. Before a breakfast meeting with American business leaders, which was abruptly closed-off to reporters, Trump tweeted, “Tremendous numbers of companies will be coming, or returning, to the USA. Hottest Economy!”
  126. Shortly after, at a surprise press conference, Trump opened with a long series of remarks about the economy, then turned to impeachment, saying he was not “enjoying” it, but it will be a “very important” victory for him.
  127. Trump added, “When I finish, I think that this is going to go down as one of the greatest things I’ve done for our country,” claiming he had “exposed government corruption” against him, not by him.
  128. Trump said of the trial, “I’d sort of love to sit right in the front row and stare at their corrupt faces,” and, “These are bad, corrupt people…and very bad for our country,” and calling impeachment managers “major sleazes.”
  129. Trump claimed he would like to have witnesses testify, but not Bolton, claiming: “I would rather go the long way. I would rather interview Bolton. The problem with John is that it’s a national security problem.”
  130. Trump added on Bolton, “He knows other things, and I don’t know if we left on the best terms. I would say probably not,” adding, “So you don’t like people testifying when they didn’t leave on good terms.”
  131. Trump’s remarks on witnesses disrupted the GOP’s strategy of not calling witnesses, and threatened to derail plans put in the carefully assembled framework by McConnell to finish the trial as soon as next week.
  132. Trump also seemed to admit obstructing Congress, the second article of impeachment, telling reporters, “But honestly, we have all the material. They don’t have the material.”
  133. Trump also again denied knowing Lev Parnas, saying, “I don’t know him, other than he’s sort of like a groupie,” adding, “He shows up at fundraisers. I don’t know anything about him.”
  134. Trump also railed against Europe, saying, “They have trade barriers where you can’t trade. They have tariffs all over the place,” adding, “They are, frankly, more difficult to do business with than China.”
  135. When asked about reports that 11 U.S. servicemen were injured in the Iran airstrike, Trump said, “I heard that they had headaches, and a couple of other things,” adding, “and I can report, that it is not very serious.”
  136. After threatening huge sanctions on Iran recently, asked about the status Trump said, “We’ll see what happens,” adding they would be necessary only “if we’re not treated with respect.”
  137. When asked about climate activist Greta Thunberg’s criticism of his regime’s climate change record, Trump responded, “She beat me out on Time Magazine.”
  138. Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin also jabbed at Thunberg from Davos, saying on the climate change emergency, “After she goes and studies economics in college she can come back and explain that to us.”
  139. Shortly after, in an interview with CNBC, Trump said of the trial, “I did get to see some of it. It’s a hoax. It’s a total hoax,” praising his team as “really good,” and claiming “the Republican Party has never been this unified.”
  140. On Wednesday, 2020 presidential candidate Rep. Tulsi Gabbard filed a $50 million lawsuit against Hillary Clinton, claiming she permanently damaged her reputation by describing her as a “Russian asset.”
  141. On Wednesday, a Pew Research poll found 51% approve of removing Trump from office, 46% disagree. The poll also found 63% say Trump definitely (38%) or probably (25%) did things that are illegal.
  142. Later Wednesday, Trump tweeted “NO PRESSURE” as Schiff was delivering his opening arguments in the Senate trial. Trump returned to the White House after his trip to Davos.
  143. Wednesday was Trump’s busiest day of tweeting since taking office. As of 11:30 p.m. Trump tweeted 142 times. His previous record was 123 tweets in a day on December 12, 2019.
  144. On Wednesday, Schumer nixed the idea of a Bolton-Biden trade, telling reporters it was “off the table.” On the campaign trail, Joe Biden called it “a constitutional issue,” adding, “we’re not going to turn it into a farce.”
  145. Some Senate Republicans and Democrats took issue with Nadler’s accusing Republicans of “treacherous” behavior Tuesday, saying the Senate is not a “clown circus” like the House, and he should tone it down.
  146. On Wednesday, the Senate trial resumed at 1 p.m. as the Democratic House impeachment managers began formal arguments, presenting a meticulous and scathing case for convicting and removing Trump.
  147. As the trial was set to begin, the Senate chaplain, Barry Black, urged senators to “remember that patriots reside on both sides of the aisle,” noting the divisive nature of the first day of trial.
  148. In a stunning speech, Schiff invoked the founders and their fears that a self-interested leader would subvert democracy for personal gain, saying the remedy of impeachment was meant to combat this “evil.”
  149. Schiff said if Trump is not convicted and removed it would “permanently alter the balance of power among the branches of government,” adding, Trump believes “he’s above the law and scornful of constraint.”
  150. Schiff described a broader impulse by Trump to cede America’s foreign policy to Russia, noting the July 25 call occurred the day after Robert Mueller’s public testimony in which Trump escaped accountability.
  151. Schiff accused Trump of using a “corrupt scheme” to pressure Zelensky “to publicly announce investigationsinto two discredited allegations” that would benefit Trump’s 2020 campaign.
  152. In a series of methodical speeches, the other Democratic managers laid out the case that Trump enlisted the help of a foreign government to hurt his domestic political rivals and help him get re-elected to a second term.
  153. Rep. Sylvia Garcia showed the video of Trump telling George Stephanopoulos of ABC News last spring he would be willing to accept damaging information from Russia or other foreign governments.
  154. Schiff addressed Trump’s lawyer saying impeachment is outdated and no longer a viable instrument to hold a president accountable. “If it is a relic, I wonder how much longer our republic can succeed.”
  155. Politico reported as Schiff finished his three-hour presentation, there were as many two dozen GOP senators out of their seats at once, a clear violation of rules that bar senators from leaving their seats during the trial.
  156. Later Wednesday, Sen. Marsha Blackburn appeared on Fox News while the Senate was still in session.
  157. Roberts said he would give Senators access to a classified document shared by the House of Jennifer Williams’ testimony on the September 18 call between Pence and Zelensky. Schiff has asked repeatedly for it to be declassified.
  158. During the first day of their case, the seven managers included screenshots of deposition transcripts, emails, text messages, and about 50 video clips — more than three times what House Republicans used against Bill Clinton.
  159. Democrats provided a torrent of intricate information in making their case witnesses should be called. Rep. Matt Gaetz said Democrats presented like “cable news,” and Trump’s defense like “an 8th grade book report.”
  160. On Thursday, 21 state attorneys general said in a letter submitted to the Senate that Trump’s impeachment “establishes a dangerous historical precedent.”
  161. Shortly after, four attorneys general appeared on “Fox & Friends,” saying impeachment is “tearing at the threads of our democracy,” and claiming it is based on a “constitutionally legally flawed argument.”
  162. Shortly after, Trump tweeted, “Attorney Generals [sic] from 21 States are urging the Senate to reject Impeachment,” noting, “the Democrats case sets a dangerous historical precedent.”
  163. Trump added, “EVEN AN UNSUCCESSFUL EFFORT TO IMPEACH” undermines elections “BECSUSE [sic] IT WEAPONIZES A PROCESS” and “SHOULD NEVER BE USED FOR PARTISAN PURPOSES.”
  164. Trump also tweeted the false claim, “The Democrat House would not give us lawyers, or not one witness, but now demand that the Republican Senate produce the witnesses,” adding, “Most unfair & corrupt hearing.”
  165. Trump also tweeted, “No matter what you give to the Radical Left, Do Nothing Democrats, it will never be enough!”
  166. Trump also tweeted, “The Democrats & Shifty Schiff, whose presentation to the Senate was loaded with liesand misrepresentations,” refuse to say which countries the Obama Administration withheld aid from.
  167. Trump also tweeted at Mike Bloomberg who has ramped up spending on 2020 ads, repeatedly calling him “Mini Mike” to insult his small stature. WAPO reported Bloomberg has gotten under Trump’s skin.
  168. After an ad appeared on “Fox & Friends,” Trump tweeted, “when Mini losses [sic], he will be spending very little of his money on these ‘clowns’ because he will consider himself to be the biggest clown of them all.”
  169. Reportedly, Trump frequently talks about Bloomberg to his campaign advisers and White House staff, calling him “evil” and saying his ads are “lies.” Advisers have encouraged him to attack his other opponents instead.
  170. On Thursday, NYT reported despite the Senate rules, Senators are increasingly leaving their seats for short or long breaks, for 15 to 20 minutes — some were seen in the cloakroom on their phones.
  171. As the trial began, the Senate chaplain reminded senators to take their role seriously, cautioning them against “fatigue or cynicism,” and insisting that “listening is often more than hearing.”
  172. The sergeant-at-arms admonished senators “on pain of imprisonment” not to speak during the trial, but few listened. The atmosphere resembled an elementary school classroom, with whispering and passing notes.
  173. On day two of their opening arguments, Democrats focused on the abuse of power charge against Trump, with 16 hours and 42 minutes of their 24 allotted hours remaining.
  174. Democrats repeatedly referenced Russia. Schiff noted the debunked conspiracy theory that Ukraine interfered in 2016 was “brought to you by the Kremlin,” and it played a central role in Trump’s Ukraine policy.
  175. Democrats make a strategic decision to focus on Joe and Hunter Biden, working to dispel allegations ahead of Trump’s defense team’s turn, claiming there was no basis to say the Bidens had done anything wrong.
  176. Democrats repeatedly used clips of Trump to make their case against him, including him asking for help from China and accusing Ukraine of interfering, to show he was not really interested in Ukrainian corruptions.
  177. One of the clips played by the impeachment managers was a 1999 video of Sen. Graham in which he contradicts a central tenet of Trump’s defense. When Senate colleagues turned to see his reaction, Graham was out of the room.
  178. Sen. Rand Paul, who on Wednesday did a crossword puzzle, was seen sketching a photo. Sen. John Cornyn swiped at an Apple Watch, despite a ban on electronics. Sen. Richard Burr passed out fidget spinners.
  179. On Thursday, CNN reported at a closed-door lunch with former Bush AG Michael Mukasey on Wednesday, some Senate Republicans discussed the implications of subpoenas for witnesses.
  180. The notion of a long, drawn-out court fight will weigh heavily on senators’ decisions. Under Senate rules, there will be four hours of debate on whether witnesses should be called before voting.
  181. Overall, most Senators remained attentive. However, Republicans remained dismissive and said they were “bored,” with some saying it was hard to stay attentive because material was repetitive.
  182. Later Thursday, Schiff closed the day with a rousing, fiery speech, saying, “you know you can’t trust this president to do what’s right for this country,” reportedly earning him respect by some Republicans.
  183. Fox News, however, described the speech as “Amateur Thespian Schiff Tries Out Some New Lines” on the chyron, while host Tucker Carlson mocked Schiff, calling him a “wild-eyed conspiracy nut.”
  184. During the trial, Trump tweeted, “The Democrats don’t want a Witness Trade because Shifty Schiff, the Biden’s, the fake Whistleblower” and the second whistleblower, saying “it would be a BIG problem for them!”
  185. Trump also continued to actively tweet and retweet during the trial. Trump quoted former White House press secretary Ari Fleischer, saying, “The Democrats have now conceded that President Trump has not committed a crime.”
  186. On Thursday, WAPO reported as Trump boarded Air Force One at 8 p.m., the television on board was tuned to Fox News. Although the impeachment was still going on, Fox covered it only in a small corner box.
  187. The Fox News shows covered the day’s news, before slamming the impeachment trial, including numerous false statements, and claims by host Sean Hannity that the trial was boring (which Trump retweeted).
  188. Matt Gertz, who compares Trump’s tweets to what’s airing on Fox News, found Trump live-tweeted Fox New a record amount of times on Thursday. He continued Friday morning with “Fox & Friends.”
  189. On Friday, Trump started tweeting at 6:18 a.m. Within two hours, he had already sent more than 50 tweets.
  190. Trump quoted Fox News, saying, “Frances Hakes, former Federal prosecutor, ‘This is really significant. The FBI had debunked the Steele Dossier in January 2017’” and they knew Carter Page “was not the agent.”
  191. Trump also quoted from her appearance, “and yet they still asked for the renewal, two more times.” He then added, “So how bad & illegal is that?
  192. Trump also complained his defense would “start on Saturday, which is called Death Valley in T.V.” after having to “endure hour after hour of lies, fraud & deception by Shifty Schiff, Cryin’ Chuck Schumer & their crew.”
  193. Trump also tweeted, “The Impeachment Hoax is interfering with the 2020 Election — But that was the idea behind the Radical Left, Do Nothing Dems Scam attack,” adding, “They always knew I did nothing wrong!”
  194. On Friday, the Pentagon said 34 U.S. troops have been diagnosed with concussions or traumatic brain injuryas a result on the Iranian missile on January 8, more than triple the number previously reported.
  195. Trump initially told reporters no one had been harmed in the attack, then last week the Pentagon said it had conducted follow-on screenings for 11 troops who were pulled out of Iraq with brain injuries.
  196. On Friday, in an interview with Fox News at the March for Life, Trump said his advice to his defense team was to be honest: “What my people have to do is just be honest. Just tell the truth.”
  197. Trump added, “But they say it doesn’t have to be a crime,” and said, referring to Democrats, “Well, maybe it doesn’t have to be a crime, but can you imagine being impeached if you didn’t commit a crime?”
  198. Speaking at the rally, Trump did not mention the impeachment trial happening down the street. Trump told the crowd, many wearing his garb, “Unborn children have never had a stronger defender in the White House.”
  199. Trump also referenced the “far-left Democrats” who he claimed were “working to erase all our God-given rights,” and adding, “They are coming after me because I am fighting for you.” Trump previously was pro-choice.
  200. On Friday, CBS News reported a Trump confidante warned Republican senators on impeachment that “a vote against the president and your head will be on a pike.”
  201. On Friday, ABC News reported on a tape from an April 30, 2018 intimate dinner at Trump Hotel DC with Parnas and Igor Fruman, in which Trump can be heard calling for the firing of Marie Yovanovitch.
  202. Parnas and Fruman can be heard telling Trump that she is bad-mouthing him, and Trump responded, “Get rid of her!” and “Get her out tomorrow. I don’t care. Get her out tomorrow. Take her out. OK? Do it.”
  203. On Friday, WAPO reported the recording’s existence helps bolster Parnas’ claim that he was part of Trump’s inner circle. Parnas’ attorney said the recording did not come from them. Fruman’s attorney did not comment.
  204. Later Friday, Trump told Fox News, “Well, I wouldn’t have been saying that. I probably would have said — it was Rudy there,” and, “I have every right, I want ambassadors that are chosen by me.” Giuliani was not at the dinner.
  205. On Friday, Sen. Graham told reporters, “Nobody has done an investigation anywhere near like the Mueller investigation of the Bidens, and I think they should,” calling for “an outside entity” to do it.”
  206. Graham added, “You know why I don’t want to do it? I love Joe Biden. I don’t want to do this,” and “I don’t want it to be Lindsey Graham, because it will be hard for me, but if I have to I will do it.”
  207. On Friday, Vanity Fair reported Republicans are increasingly concerned that Trump’s lawyers will not be able to counter House Democrats’ meticulous, fact-based case for removing Trump.
  208. Trump, who has been rage-tweeting despite aides’ advice, is angry that Republicans are not publicly saying his call with Zelensky was perfect. Impeachment is also putting a serious drag on his campaign.
  209. Impeachment has also put Trump in a particularly foul mood, as White House staff brace for more turmoil. Reportedly, Trump recently told some Republicans he decided to say “fuck it” and kill General Qasem Soleimani.
  210. Trump is also reportedly upset about Kushner being on the cover of Time Magazine, and is considering replacing acting chief of staff Mick Mulvaney with Chris Christie, who hates Kushner, to reign him in.
  211. On Friday, the Senate chaplain opened the final day of the Democrats’ case, calling for “civility and respect” and asking senators to “distinguish between facts and opinions without lambasting the messengers.”
  212. Democrats focused their third and last day on the theme that Trump’s behavior is like that of a dictator, and allowing him to remain in office would continue to threaten the country’s security.
  213. Democrats used most of their remaining seven hours and 53 minutes to make the case that Trump obstructed Congress, the second article, alleging a cover-up for not allowing witnesses or turning over documents.
  214. Rep. Zoe Lofgren pointed out that Nixon was more cooperative than Trump, ticking off a list of White House officials who obeyed Trump’s orders and refused to testify.
  215. House manager Val Demings laid out several examples of Trump allegedly “misusing” his power, calling it “a declaration of total defiance” and “a wholesale rejection of congress’s ability” to hold him accountable.
  216. Demings added if Trump is not held accountable, “we will inflict lasting damage on the separation of powers,” and “It would inflict irreversible damage” for “future presidents to act correctly or abusively.”
  217. Since the impeachment managers did not get a chance to respond to Trump’s defense lawyers, Schiff spent much of the day addressing possible defenses from Trump team.
  218. During the trial, a group of Senate Republicans were seen studying a document titled “Burisma Timeline” in bold black letters with bright yellow highlights of important dates relating to the Bidens.
  219. The same senators also looked at a report titled “Obtaining Witnesses In an Impeachment Trial,” which laid out scenarios and legal reasoning for how subpoenaing John Bolton could play out.
  220. Rep. Hakeem Jeffries closed his presentation, saying, “There’s a toxic mess at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue,” adding, “I humbly suggest that it’s our collective job on behalf of the American people to try to clean it up.”
  221. Chair Nadler compared Trump to a king, calling him “the first and only President ever to declare himself unaccountable,” adding if Trump is left unchecked, “He is a dictator. This must not stand.”
  222. Schiff closed with a moving speech, calling on Republicans to have “moral courage” and acknowledging that real political bravery would be needed in “disagreeing with our friends — and our party.”
  223. Schiff added if we decide “the president can simply say, ‘Under Article 2, I can do whatever I want, and I don’t have to treat a coequal branch of government’[…] that will be an unending injury to this country.”
  224. The respectful mood in the chamber shifted after Schiff added, “CBS News reported last night that a Trump confidant said that key senators were warned, ‘Vote against the president and your head will be on a pike.’”
  225. At 8:45 p.m. the House Democrats concluded their remarks, with Schiff telling the Senate that the facts presented add up to an impeachable offense, and that “We have met our burden.”
  226. After, several Republicans complained about Schiff’s “pike” comment. Sen. Susan Collins said, “I know of no Republican senator who has been threatened in any way by anyone in the administration.”
  227. Sen. Lisa Murkowski, also a possible swing vote said, “That’s when he lost me.” As the trial concluded, GOP Sens. John Cornyn and John Barrasso made a beeline to Collins’ desk and she shook her head, and said “No.”
  228. On Friday, after an interview with NPR reporter Mary Louise Kelly on U.S. policy in Iran, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo summoned her into his private living room at the State Department.
  229. NPR reported, once there, Pompeo shouted at Kelly for questioning him about Ukraine, using repeated expletives, and asking “Do you think Americans care about Ukraine?” and adding, “People will hear about this.”
  230. Kelly said Pompeo had staffers bring in an unlabeled map, and asked her to identify Ukraine: “I pointed to Ukraine he put the map away, he said, people will hear about this, and then he turned and said he had things to do.”
  231. During the interview, Pompeo defended his treatment of Yovanovitch, saying, “I’ve defended every single person on this team,” and “I’ve done what’s right for every single person on this team.”
  232. On Saturday, Pompeo attacked Kelly in a statement, saying Kelly “lied to me, twice. First, last month, in setting up our interview,” and claiming she agreed to “have our post-interview conversation off the record.”
  233. Pompeo added, “It is shameful that this reporter chose to violate the basic rules of journalism and decency.” Kelly said she did not agree to be off the record, and said she told his office they would discuss Iran and Ukraine.
  234. Pompeo did not dispute Kelly’s claim that she had correctly identified Ukraine, saying, “It is worth noting that Bangladesh is NOT Ukraine,” Kelly has a masters degree in European Studies from Cambridge University.
  235. Pompeo added, “This is another example of how unhinged the media has become in its quest to hurt President Trump and this Administration,” and “It is no wonder that the American people distrust many in the media.”
  236. On Friday, a WAPO-ABC News poll found Trump’s approval improving to 44% approve, 51% disapprove, with an increase in support from men to 57% — the highest in his time in office — and independent voters.
  237. The poll also found 66% think the Senate should call witnesses, including 87% of Democrats, 65% of Independents, and 45% of Republicans. Roughly half (47%) say Trump should be removed 49% disagree.
  238. On Friday, Trump appointed Rodney Scott as the new head of the U.S. Border Patrol. Scott, who has been a member of CBP for 27 years, replaces Carla Provost, who had been in the position since August 2018.
  239. On Friday, NYT reported Trump is considering skipping the 2020 debates. His advisers recently met with the nonprofit Commission on Presidential Debates to complain about the debates it hosted in 2016.
  240. Trump’s advisers complained the debate commission included “anti-Trumpers,” and complained about past moderators. Trump’s campaign manager Brad Parscale is investigating other options for hosting debates.
  241. On Saturday, Trump tweeted on impeachment: “Our case against lyin’, cheatin’, liddle’ Adam “Shifty” Schiff, Cryin’ Chuck Schumer, Nervous Nancy Pelosi, their leader, dumb as a rock AOC, & the entire Radical Left.”
  242. Trump urged his base to watch the his legal team, tweeting, “starts today at 10:00 A.M. on @FoxNews, @OANN or Fake News @CNN or Fake News MSDNC!” — mocking MSNBC by calling it MSDNC.
  243. On Saturday, House Democratic impeachment managers delivered 28,578 pages of transcripts and other evidence collected during their inquiry to the Senate, wheeled over in four carts in white boxes.
  244. Trump’s lawyers claimed Democrats want to “ tear up all of the ballots,” and “re-litigate the Mueller case,” and claimed it could not be quid pro quo since they alleged Ukraine did not know aid was being withheld.
  245. Trump’s lawyers also repeatedly jabbed at Schiff, and during their brief two hour presentation, repeatedly told restless Senators that Democrats had presented for “21 hours, or more than 21 hours.”
  246. Trump lawyer Mike Purpura opened by playing a clip of Schiff, often used as fodder by Trump, deriding Schiff’s September House hearing parody on Trump’s July 25 call, saying the retelling was “fake.”
  247. Later Saturday, the AP released the entire 80-minute recording of Trump’s 2018 dinner first reported by ABC News. Trump is also heard asking on Ukraine, “How long would they last in a fight with Russia?
  248. Parnas said, “The biggest problem there, I think where we need to start is we got to get rid of the ambassador,” and “She’s basically walking around telling everybody, ‘Wait, he’s gonna get impeached. Just wait.’”
  249. On Saturday, BuzzFeed reported that on Wednesday and Thursday State Department officials interviewed hundreds of diplomats and employees at the U.S. embassy in Kyiv about whether Yovanovitch was under surveillance..
  250. One official said the State Department’s federal law enforcement and security arm, the Diplomatic Security Service, is coordinating with Ukrainian authorities who announced a criminal investigation a week before State.
  251. One diplomat described the investigations as “cynical” and a “cover your ass” for Pompeo, who is scheduled to visit Kyiv on January 30 and 31. The 300 embassy employees were told not to speak to the press.
  252. On Saturday, Politico reported although the trial has not had any major surprises and thus far it appears Trump will not be removed from office, recent information dumps have hurt Trump politically.
  253. Trump allies worry that even after the impeachment trial, there will be more document releases and investigations over the coming months heading up to the 2020 election.

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Reporters were kept behind ropes outside the chamber during a break as the Senate continues with the impeachment trial of Trump on charges of abuse of power and obstruction of Congress, at the Capitol in Washington, Wednesday, Jan. 22, 2020. Journalists are being restricted to “press pens” during the trial without normal access to lawmakers. Credit: congressional reporter Matt Laslo

POLITIKS OF GRAFFITI 164: “MORAL UNFITNESS”

DECEMBER 28, 2019

Week 163

Experts in authoritarianism advise to keep a list of things
subtly changing around you, so you’ll remember. https://theweeklylist.org/weekly-list/week-163/
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artist: Jim Carrey, 22dec19

This was the quietest week in months as Congress left Washington for a two-week holiday break. After House Speaker Nancy Pelosi refused to transmit articles of impeachment to the Senate, Trump spent the week stewing and repeatedly attacking her on Twitter and in his limited public appearances. Sen. Lisa Murkowski became the first Republican Senator to speak out against Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s handling of the impeachment trial, saying she was “disturbed” by his “total coordination” with the White House.

Trump spent the week at Mar-a-Lago, removed from White House staffers and consumed with airing his personal grievances and amplifying far-right conspiracy theorists. He and his allies attacked Canadian Broadcasting Corporation for cutting out his cameo appearance in a Christmas showing of “Home Alone 2.” Trump also spent much of his days quoting hosts and guests on Fox News, and retweeting allies and conspiracy theorists.

This week the media did a bit of reckoning on its coverage of Trump, after Rolling Stone published an interview of “Meet the Press” host Chuck Todd, in which he admitted he has been “naive” in his coverage and complicit in the spread of disinformation. Evangelical leaders continued their online battle over whether Trump’s moral unfitness was grounds for his removal.

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  1. On Sunday, Christianity Today editor-in-chief Mark Galli told “Face the Nation” on his op-ed, “I’m not really making a political judgment about him…I am making a moral judgment that he’s morally unfit.”
  2. On Sunday, Timothy Dalrymple, the president and CEO of Christianity Today, acknowledged the “whirlwind” of responses for and against their op-ed, and said, “Trump would have you believe we are “far left”” which is “untrue.”
  3. Dalrymple said, “Out of love for Jesus and his church…is why we feel compelled to say that the alliance of American evangelicalism with this presidency has wrought enormous damage to Christian witness.”
  4. Dalrymple added Trump has “alienated many of our children and grandchildren,” “harmed African American, Hispanic American, and Asian American brothers and sisters,” and undercut our countless missionaries.
  5. On Sunday, an op-ed in The Christian Post called for Trump to be impeached, saying, “the Constitution is more important than abortion,” and citing “Trump’s behavior is a threat to our Constitutional order.”
  6. CP also reported nearly 200 evangelical leaders came out against the Christianity Today op-ed in a statement, saying it supported “the entirely-partisan, legally-dubious, and politically-motivated impeachment.”
  7. The statement threatened it is up to “Evangelicals like us to decide if we should subscribe to, advertise in and read your publication online and in print, but historically, we have been your readers.”
  8. On Monday, CT said it lost 2,000 subscribers, but gained 5,000 younger, more diverse, global subscribers. Christian leaders who have spoken out have lost book sales, conference attendees, donors, and members.
  9. On Monday, editor Napp Nazworth, who has worked for the CP website since 2011, resigned because the website was planning to publish a pro-Trump editorial slamming CT.
  10. On Tuesday, other evangelical leaders published a letter in support of CT, saying, “Although one may not agree with Mark Galli, we have an obligation to consider the character and actions of this president.”
  11. On Sunday, in a letter published at The Atlantic, former Congressman David Trott said, “Trump is psychologically, morally, intellectually, and emotionally unfit for office,” and called his actions in office “frightening.”
  12. On Tuesday, in an interview with Rolling Stone, “Meet the Press” host Chuck Todd said in three years of Trump he learned “the right has an incentive structure” to spread disinformation and confront journalists.
  13. Todd said he did not understand the motivations of GOP lawmakers telling lies “that they may know will look ridiculous in three or four years,” citing three senators who claimed Ukraine interfered in 2016 on his show.
  14. Todd said Trump “learned at the feet of a master of deception in Roy Cohn,” who learned from Joe McCarthy, and “we’re going to have another reckoning when this post-Trump era truly works itself out of our system.”
  15. On Thursday, First Draft’s “Year in Review” noted, “the biggest threat is failing to address the reality of online alternative media ecosystems,” which are driving much of the disinformation, understood by few.
  16. On Saturday, WAPO reported after three years in office, 1 in 4 U.S. circuit court judges are Trump nominees. Last week the Senate confirmed an additional 13 district court judges, for 50 overall.
  17. By contrast, Obama appointed 55 circuit judges in eight years. Also, two Supreme Court justices were appointed by Trump. Overall 187 judges were confirmed to the federal bench as the Senate speeds through picks.
  18. On Saturday, Trump aired his grievances in an evening speech to conservative college students at the Turning Point USA conference. Trump said of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, “Crazy Nancy, she’s crazy.”
  19. Trump added, “So now she says she has no case, so let’s not submit it. That’s good right? But you know what, so unfair. She has no case,” adding, “there’s no crime. There’s no nothing. How do you impeach?”
  20. Trump also praised Rep. Tulsi Gabbard for voting “present” on articles of impeachment, saying, “I give her respect. She didn’t vote the other day. I give her a lot of respect. She knew it was wrong.”
  21. Trump also mocked the Green New Deal, and attacked windmills, saying, “it is very expensive, and “they are made in China and Germany mostly,” and “tremendous fumes and gases are spewing into the atmosphere.”
  22. Trump also claimed “a windmill will kill many bald eagles,” adding, “they make you turn it off. And yet, if you killed one, they put you in jail. That is OK. But why is it OK for windmills to destroy the bird population?”
  23. On Sunday, an Instagram photo showed controversial Navy SEAL Eddie Gallagher presenting a “little gift” to Trump at Mar-a-Lago. Gallagher was convicted of being photographed with a 17 year-old captive’s corpse.
  24. On Sunday, Sen. Ron Johnson repeated a conspiracy theory on “This Week,” claiming, “There are serious questions about some actors in the DNC” working with Ukraine, and “I’m trying to get to the bottom of that.”
  25. Johnson also criticized Pelosi for withholding articles, calling the decision “bizarre,” adding, “they had to rush to this impeachment vote and then all of a sudden she’s sitting on it,” and calling the articles “pretty thin gruel.”
  26. On Sunday, Sen. Roy Blunt told “State of the Union” Pelosi does not have the right to hold the articles, adding, “it’s a very political process. Five of the so-called jurors, running for president.”
  27. On Sunday, House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy falsely stated on “Fox News,” based on the Justice Department IG report, the FBI “broke into” candidate Trump’s campaign, they “spied on him,” and “covered it up.”
  28. McCarthy also tweeted the falsehood on Sunday: “The FBI broke into President Trump’s campaign, spied on him, then tried to cover it up,” adding, “This is a modern-day Watergate.”
  29. On Sunday, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer spoke at a news conference, citing emails released to the Center for Public Integrity: “What is a trial with no witnesses and no documents?” calling it a “sham trial.”
  30. Schumer added, “If there was ever an argument that we need Mr. Duffey to come testify, this is that information,” adding, “This email is explosive,” citing Michael Duffey’s email on July 25 putting aid on hold.
  31. On Sunday, Trump tweeted, “Crazy Nancy wants to dictate terms on the Impeachment Hoax to the Republican Majority Senate, but striped [sic] away all Due Process,” adding, “Their case is dead.”
  32. Later, Trump tweeted, “The Democrats and Crooked Hillary paid for & provided a Fake Dossier,” falsely claiming, “They spied on my campaign, then tried to cover it up — Just Like Watergate, but bigger!”
  33. On Monday, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell told “Fox & Friends” that “We haven’t ruled out witnesses,” adding, “let’s handle this case just like we did with President Clinton. Fair is fair.”
  34. On Monday, Schumer sent a letter to Senators arguing for the White House to produce documents related to withholding aid from Ukraine, saying, “I believe it is essential that the Senate hear from certain witnesses.”
  35. Citing Duffey’s email putting aid on hold sent 91 minutes after Trump’s July 25 phone call, Schumer said there is “no good reason why evidence that is directly relevant” to articles should be withheld.
  36. Schumer also rejected McConnell’s comparison to the trial of Clinton, who was impeached after a lengthy independent counsel investigation, saying waiting until after presentations to decide on witnesses would be too late.
  37. On Monday, Pelosi tweeted Trump “blocked his own witnesses and documents” over “phony complaintsabout the House process,” adding, “What is his excuse now?”
  38. On Monday, Sen. Lindsey Graham tweeted that Pelosi should “stop playing games with the Constitution,” adding, “The Senate will decide how we dispose of this sham created by the House.”
  39. On Monday, in an op-ed Sen. Patrick Leahy criticized McConnell for “vowing a quick acquittal,” saying, “he is ‘not an impartial juror’” and pledging “no difference” between Trump and our position.
  40. Leahy also cited Graham “admitted that he’s ‘not trying to pretend to be a fair juror here,’” saying, “our job is to follow the facts and abide by the Constitution,” and “it’s not to rig the trial” in favor of or against Trump.
  41. On Monday, The Hill reported those who know Trump well say he is feeling the scars of being impeached deeply. Many who know him say that despite his bluster, Trump is acutely insecure.
  42. Unlike his tendency to deny past failures, former staffer Omarosa Manigault Newman said, “Impeachment effectively undermines his desire to be significant, because he now has that asterisk tattooed to his head.”
  43. On Monday, the Justice Department filed a brief saying the House’s vote to impeach Trump last week undercut lawmakers’ ongoing court case demanding testimony from former White House counsel Don McGahn.
  44. The DOJ also argued the looming Senate impeachment trial on articles unrelated to McGahn could make it appear the Court is weighing in on impeachment “at a time when political tensions are at their highest levels.”
  45. On Monday, lawyers for the House Judiciary Committee said in a filing the panel is open to additional articles of impeachment if additional evidence is found that Trump tried to obstruct justice.
  46. The House also argued, “McGahn’s testimony is critical both to a Senate trial and to the Committee’s ongoing impeachment investigations” to determine if Trump’s conducts warrants further action by the panel.
  47. On Monday, journalist Tom Brokaw said there were “significant differences” between Trump and Richard Nixon, saying, “Nixon was always aware of being presidential,” and “Trump plays from the gutter frankly.”
  48. On Tuesday, Trump tweeted a series of quotes from “Fox & Friends.” Trump quoted analyst Brit Hume, saying Pelosi and Schumer are in doubt, and “the evidence they’ve brought forth so far not being good enough.”
  49. Trump quoted co-host Brian Kilmeade, saying, “it should be intolerable, because the American people have had it with this,” with Trump adding, “the Radical Left, Do Nothing Democrats have gone CRAZY.”
  50. Trump also quoted the show, tweeting, “Christmas week at All-Time Record Highs,” and pushed McConnell’s new book, “The Long Game,” tweeting, “187 new Federal Judges have been confirmed” under Trump.
  51. On Tuesday, the day of Christmas Eve, Trump addressed the troops in a video conference, saying, “I’m at a place called Mar-a-Lago. We call it the ‘southern White House’ because I really pretty much work.”
  52. Trump also addressed his cameo appearance in the movie “Home Alone 2,” saying, “it was an honor to do it,” adding, “it turned out to be a very big hit, obviously. It’s a big Christmas hit — one of the biggest.”
  53. After, Trump vented to reporters on impeachment and Democrats. Trump said, “It’s up to Mitch McConnell, and we have the majority,” adding, “he’s going to do what he wants to do,” and, “they treated us very unfairly.”
  54. Trump slammed Democrats, saying Pelosi “hates all of the people who voted for me and the Republican Party,” and House Intelligence Committee Chair Adam Schiff ran the impeachment probe as “a sick, corrupt politician.”
  55. Trump also railed against FBI agents investigating Russia interference in the 2016 election, calling them“dirty people,” “bad people,” and “evil people,” adding, “We have no place in our country for people like that.”
  56. When asked if he would pardon Roger Stone, Trump said he had not thought about it, but added, “He got hit very hard…as did General Flynn and a lot of other people. And now they are finding out it was all a hoax.”
  57. Trump also falsely claimed he barely knew Stone, saying, “Stone was not involved in my campaign in any way. Other than the very, very beginning.” Stone was in direct contact with senior Trump officials throughout.
  58. Trump added, “We had dirty cops; we had people spying on my campaign,” repeating a debunked conspiracy theory, saying, “They did terrible things, the likes of which had never been done before in our country.”
  59. Later Tuesday, viewers in Canada noted on social media that Trump’s cameo appearance in “Home Alone 2” had been cut from the broadcast of the movie on Canadian Broadcasting Corporation.
  60. On Tuesday, Rep. Paul Gosar tweeted a video of a studio light almost falling on Hillary and Bill Clinton decades ago, with the message, “Remember the reason for the season! #MerryChristmas”
  61. On Monday, AP reported when Lev Parnas and Igor Fruman met with Andrew Favorov, the No. 2 at Naftogaz, in March at a conference in Houston, they sought the removal of his boss and ambassador Marie Yovanovitch.
  62. The two informed him that Trump would soon be moving Yovanovitch, who was a key backer of anti-corruption efforts at Naftogaz, and asked his help in removing CEO Andriy Kobolyev, who was also anti-corruption.
  63. Favarov, who was stunned by their proposal, politely left the meeting with no intention of helping. In the weeks that followed, he was bombarded by Fruman with texts on WhatsApp.
  64. In April, after Volodymyr Zelensky won as president, Favarov and Kobolyev came to Washington and met with Fiona Hill, and then, along with Parnas and Fruman, they met an aide to Energy Sec. Rick Perry.
  65. Perry would later put forward names of allies for the Naftogaz supervisory board, and his allies won a big contract to export U.S. natural gas exports to Eastern Europe, another goal mentioned by Fruman and Parnas.
  66. On Monday, in an interview with New York Magazine “over Bloody Marys,” Rudy Giuliani claimed he was “more a Jew” than Holocaust survivor George Soros, a frequent target of right-wing attacks.
  67. Giuliani added, “Don’t tell me I’m anti-Semitic if I oppose him,” adding, “Soros is hardly a Jew,” and, “He doesn’t belong to a synagogue, he doesn’t support Israel, he’s an enemy of Israel,” and is a “horrible human being.”
  68. Giuliani added of Soros, “He’s elected eight anarchist D.A.’s” and claiming without evidence, “he put all four ambassadors there” — the four who testified in the impeachment probe — and “he’s employing the FBI agents.”
  69. Giuliani’s comments were criticized by Jewish organizations for leaning on old anti-Semitic tropes that powerful Jews secretly pull the strings for world events, and endorsing antisemitic conspiracy theories.
  70. Giuliani called the Southern District of New York the biggest betrayal, saying, “If they’re investigating me, they’re assholes,” and “they’re idiots. Then they really are a Trump-deranged bunch of silly New York liberals.”
  71. On Monday, NYT reported John Durham’s decision to go public after the DOJ IG report was released with a statement surprised people who have worked with him, saying it was out of character in an open case.
  72. Some former co-workers said Durham has placed his reputation for impartiality on the line by taking the assignment. In past high profile cases he was known not to allow leaks or bend to pressure from DOJ higher-ups.
  73. On Thursday, Edward MacMahon, a lawyer for Lev Parnas, asked to withdraw, saying Parnas’ “apparent ability to fund his defense has diminished.” Lawyer Joseph Bondy will continue to represent Parnas.
  74. On Monday, Saudi Arabia sentenced five low-level men to death for the murder of Jamal Khashoggi, reflecting the Saudi argument the killing was not ordered by the royal court, but was a decision of agents on the ground.
  75. A U.N. investigator said the kingdom’s actions amount to obstruction of justice, as the trial was done in secret. Neither Saudi Crown Prince MBS or his top aides who allegedly ordered the killing will face any consequences.
  76. On Monday, Daily Beast reported a document sent from the State Department to lawmakers argued against a bipartisan Senate bill to punish Turkey for buying Russian weapons, saying it would bring the countries closer.
  77. The “Countering America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act” passed after Russia interfered in the 2016 election, mandating sanctions for new purchases of Russia weapons, but the Trump regime has not acted.
  78. The State Department also argued against provisions in the bill that would give Kurds fighters access to Special Immigrant Visas, and against sanctions against Halkbank, a Turkish bank involved in money-laundering.
  79. On Thursday, a federal judge rejected a request by Turkey’s state-owned Halkbank to halt criminal proceedings against the bank for helping Iran evade U.S. economic sanctions.
  80. On Monday, WAPO reported concerns about election security in Georgia persist as new voting machines are rolled out for 2020. Experts warned the new machines are vulnerable to potential intrusions or malfunctions.
  81. On Monday, Jim Martin, a small-business operator and Independent, filed a lawsuit objecting to state party chairs determining who appears on the Minnesota primary ballot. Trump will be the only GOP candidate.
  82. Martin wrote, “By stripping us of our ability to govern ourselves….we Minnesotans are driven downwards into the disparaging pits of authoritarianism,” adding, “I find this to be shocking.”
  83. On Tuesday, Popular Science reported the Trump regime has taken down Toxmap, a free, interactive online application which provided detailed information on pollution data from the internet.
  84. Toxmap, which combined pollution data from at least a dozen U.S. government sources, allowed researchers, students, and activists to identify sources of toxic chemicals and pollution.
  85. On Wednesday, Steven Jorge, 28, was charged with a hate crime after he punched and kicked a 65 year-old Jewish man in Midtown NYC around midday, and yelled “F*** you, Jew.”
  86. On Friday, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio said the city is increasing its police presence in some Brooklyn neighborhoods with large Jewish populations, following eight recent incidents of anti-Semitism.
  87. The incidents are being investigated as possible hate crimes. The mayor also tweeted, “there will be increased visits to houses of worship and other critical areas in the community.”
  88. On Thursday, Reuters reported on a caravan of 1,500 families of Mexican migrants and Americans of Mexican origin, all with U.S. legal status, heading south to Mexico to leave the U.S.
  89. One member of the caravan, Jesus Mendoza, 35, a painter, is returning to Mexico for the first time since 2001, saying of the U.S., “There’s a lot of extortion, corruption, many people have been attacked.”
  90. On Friday, a local Fox station reported Immigration and Customs Enforcement has begun asking immigration courts to deport young adults who have remained in the U.S. under DACA.
  91. The Supreme Court has yet to rule on the DACA program. If the court rules in favor of the Trump regime, ICE is expected to actively work to deport Dreamers.
  92. On Friday, HuffPost reported Trump’s Interior Department removed “sexual orientation” from the agency’s ethics guide on workplace discrimination, leaving “race, color, religion, sex, age, or handicap.”
  93. Documents obtained through a FOIA request show then-Deputy Secretary of the Interior David Bernhardt made the change in an August 2017 letter, claiming it was a clarification, and sexual orientation came under “sex.”
  94. On Friday, a federal judge denied an effort to restore 98,000 Georgia voters who were removed from the voter roll earlier this month because they had not voted in eight years, citing the state’s “use it or lose it” law.
  95. On Tuesday, a new HuffPost-YouGov poll found 47% of voters think Trump should be removed from office, 42% disagree. On impeachment, 49% approve, 42% disagree.
  96. On Tuesday, the Trump re-election campaign launched a website encouraging supporters to confront their “snowflake” relatives over the holidays, and providing talking points on 12 hot-button issues.
  97. On Tuesday, Politico reported Trump promoted Robert Blair, a top aide to acting White House chief of staff Mick Mulvaney who refused to testify after being subpoenaed by the House in the impeachment probe.
  98. Blair will serve as the special representative for international telecommunications policy. Chair Schiff had said some evidence showed Blair “was a percipient witness to the President’s misconduct.”
  99. On Tuesday, Sen. Lisa Murkowski told an Anchorage TV station she was “disturbed” to hear McConnell say there would be “total coordination” between the White House and the Senate over the impeachment trial.
  100. Murkowski became the first GOP Senator to speak out, noting what McConnell said “has further confused the process,” and added, “To me, it means we have to take that step back from being hand in glove with the defense.”
  101. Murkowski said Pelosi rushed the process, saying the House should have gone through the courts to hear witnesses, but “How we will deal with witnesses remains to be seen,” adding she wants a “full and fair process.”
  102. On Wednesday, hours after his Christmas message calling for “understanding and respect” and unity, Trump attacked Pelosi, calling her “Crazy Nancy Pelosi.”
  103. Trump added,“just because she has a slight majority,” Pelosi should not be able to impeach him, saying there were “ZERO Republican votes,” “no crime,” and his July 25 call was “perfect, with “no pressure.””
  104. Trump added the “Scam Impeachment” was “very unfair with no Due Process, proper representation, or witnesses” — notably Trump chose not to participate in the House hearings.
  105. Trump attacked California Gov. Gavin Newsom, tweeting he has “done a really bad job on taking care of the homeless population,” and threatening, “If he can’t fix the problem, the Federal Govt. will get involved!”
  106. On Wednesday, WAPO reported on the climate of mistrust and threats under Trump. The regime is on its third Russia adviser in six months, and they have no background. Kyiv is about to lose its second ambassador.
  107. The only expert on Ukraine remaining has never spoken to Trump. The CIA agent who was the whistleblower is driven to and from work by armed security officers when threats spike because of Trump’s tweets.
  108. Starting in 2017, Steve Bannon had compiled an enemy list of 50 people they wanted exiled from the National Security Council, most who worked as civil servants in the Obama administration, for fear of the “deep state.”
  109. Career staffers like Fiona Hill and Stephanie Holmes were repeatedly threatened over smears spread on the far-right, as well as internal and external efforts to discredit them. Several resurfaced for impeachment.
  110. Republicans, who for decades cast themselves as the champion of the FBI, CIA, Pentagon, and other national security institutions, have turned on those agencies and perceived enemies in order to protect Trump.
  111. Three years in, the enemies list has expanded to include people hired by Trump. The notion that nonpartisan civil servants can serve presidents of either party, a bedrock of foreign policy since World War II, is under attack.
  112. On Thursday, Trump continued his Twitter storm, tweeting, “Nancy Pelosi’s District in California has rapidly become one of the worst anywhere,” citing the “homeless & crime,” saying, “she has lost total control.”
  113. Trump also attacked “her equally incompetent governor, Gavin Newsom,” later adding, “Crazy Nancy should clean up her filthy dirty District & help the homeless there. A primary for N?”
  114. Trump also tweeted, “The Radical Left, Do Nothing Democrats” want to “RUSH everything,” citing he is “‘a threat to National Security’,” adding, “they are vicious,” and now “they want to go very slowly. Liars!”
  115. Later Thursday, Trump retweeted a post by the re-election campaign’s official “war room” account that quoted an article in the Washington Examiner naming the alleged whistleblower.
  116. Daily Beast reported Trump has spoken to various friends, media figures, and senior officials about going public with the whistleblower’s name. Ivanka and White House counsel Pat Cipollone cautioned him against it.
  117. On Thursday, an op-ed in the Courier Journal, McConnell’s home state paper, said he was about to violate two oaths to the Constitution, saying, “All senators should take their obligation of faithful impartiality seriously.”
  118. The op-ed by a law professor added, “We Kentuckians know that our word is our bond. Oaths are the most solemn of promises, and their breach results in serious reputational — and sometimes legal — consequences.”
  119. On Thursday, Sen. Richard Blumenthal said at a news conference that five to 10 GOP senators have “severe misgivings” about McConnell’s strategy of “denying a full, fair proceeding with witnesses and documents.”
  120. On Thursday, an MSN tracking poll found support for Trump’s removal from office hit an all-time high: 55% said Trump should be removed, up from 48% last week, while 40% say he should not.
  121. On Thursday, WAPO reported Washington Capitals’ Alex Ovechkin and his wife spent Christmas Eve at Trump’s personal holiday dinner at Mar-a-Lago, after they first met in March when the team won the Stanley Cup.
  122. Ovechkin is a close friend of Putin, and in 2017 he founded an online political campaign for Putin, “Putin Team.” When Trump met Putin in Helsinki in July 2018, he presented him with an Ovechkin shirt.
  123. On Thursday, Donald Jr. tweeted an article about Trump’s cameo being cut in the Christmas broadcast of “Home Alone 2” on CBC, calling it “pathetic.”
  124. On Thursday “Fox & Friends” co-host Ed Henry also commented, saying of CBC, “How bad is your Trump Derangement Syndrome for you to cut that out of a happy movie?”
  125. On Thursday, CBC responded in a tweet, saying, “These edits were done in 2014 when we first acquired the film and before Mr. Trump was elected president,” in order to allow for commercials.
  126. Later Thursday, Trump reacted in a series of tweets. Trump tweeted, “I guess Justin T doesn’t much like my making him pay up on NATO or Trade!” to a Fox article about his cut cameo.
  127. Trump also tweeted, “The movie will never be the same! (just kidding),” quoting another article, and retweeted an article in which Fox News contributor Katie Pavlich called it “censorship” on “Fox & Friends.”
  128. WAPO reported Canadians do play close attention to U.S. politics, and Trump is unpopular. A poll done earlier this month found 60% of Canadians supported Trump being impeached and removed.
  129. On Thursday, a YouGov survey found 41% of Germans think Trump is the most dangerous of five world leaders including North Korea’s Kim Jong Un, China’s Xi Jinping, Iran’s Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, and Vladimir Putin.
  130. Kim was in second place at 17%, followed by Putin and Khamenei with 8%, and Xi with 7%. Although the U.S. is one of Germany’s closest allies, public trust has significantly eroded under Trump.
  131. On Tuesday, BBC reported Russia’s Ministry of Communications said the government had successfully tested a country-wide alternative to the global internet, and the results will be presented to Putin.
  132. Experts are concerned about the trend of unplugging from the internet in authoritarian countries. China and Iran have already done so, giving the governments control over what their citizens see.
  133. On Thursday, Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu won a primary for the Likud leadership in a landslide with 72% of the vote, setting the stage for another election on March 2.
  134. On Friday, WAPO reported a year after the Knesset voted to dissolve itself, members have been sent home again for a third election, raising questions about the efficacy of the country’s parliamentary democracy.
  135. Over that year, important functions of the executive and legislative branches have been nonexistent: senior appointments are stalled, only six laws were passed in 2019, and no state budget has been approved.
  136. On Friday, NYT reported the Russian military said it has deployed a hypersonic weapon that flies at superfast speeds, and can evade American defense missile systems, possibly renewing an arms race.
  137. Moscow is eager for Trump to renew the last remaining arms control treaty between Moscow and the U.S. which expires in January 2021. The announcement may be viewed as an attempt to restart diplomatic talks.
  138. The treaty, called New START, was put in place under Obama. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said in November, “the world has changed” since then. Trump has hinted he may want to restart the arms race, saying U.S. technology would win.
  139. On Friday, NYT reported on video interviews and text obtained of the Navy SEALs in Eddie Gallagher’s platoon who turned on him to testify. Earlier this week, Trump hosted Gallagher and his wife at Mar-a-Lago.
  140. Seven of the 22 men in his platoon testified against him, describing him as “evil” and “toxic,” saying he shot civilians and exposed the platoon to enemy fire to increase his chances for a Silver Star.
  141. Since the trial, Gallagher has publicly insulted the men who testified against him on social media and on Fox News. After retiring with full honors thanks to Trump, he also started a SEAL-themed clothing line.
  142. A recent survey conducted by the Military Times found Trump’s approval with active-duty service members was 42% view him favorably, while 50% view him unfavorably — a low point in his approval.
  143. Trump’s approval has been in decline since taking office, when 46% were favorable, 37% unfavorable. Trump was viewed least favorably by women (28%) and non-white (29%) members.
  144. On Friday, NBC News reported the Army National Guard kicked out two members after a liberal group exposed their membership in a religious group with white supremacist ties.
  145. The Atlanta Antifascists published a report saying Brandon Trent East and Dalton Woodward were leaders of the Norse pagan group Ravensblood Kindred, which endorses white supremacy.
  146. On Friday, the NYT Editorial Board praised Sen. Lisa Murkowski as “a stirring conscience in the Senate,” saying she took “public duty more seriously than party loyalty,” and urged other senators to do the same.
  147. The Times also noted, “in a Republican Party so cowed by this president, with most lawmakers too timid to question even his most grotesque behavior, Ms. Murkowski’s expression of concern sets her apart.”
  148. On Friday, Trump retweeted two tweets containing a hashtag associated with QAnon, a far-right conspiracy theory which has raised concerns within the FBI.
  149. Trump also retweeted an account called @TrumpGirlOnFire, which described Obama as a “proud Muslim” and called for him to be imprisoned. The account was suspended on Saturday.
  150. Trump also retweeted a photo showing a fake “Bernie Sanders 2020 Free Shit” lawn sign in grass, with dog feces next to it.
  151. Trump also continued his attacks on Pelosi, tweeting she is “demanding fairness from Leader McConnell when she presided over the most unfair the most unfair hearing in the history of the United States Congress!”
  152. Trump also quoted a “Fox & Friends” guest, tweeting, “Speaker Pelosi and Chuck Schumer’s drive to try and rig the trial against the President is misplaced,” adding, “This President will be exonerated.”
  153. Trump also quoted a tweet by @John_KissMyBot calling for the release of the transcripts of an alleged secret meeting between Schiff and the whistleblower, adding, “Come on Crazy Nancy, do it!”
  154. Trump quoted a tweet of a video by @InBlondWeTrust of homelessness in Pelosi’s district, adding, “Nancy, this just doesn’t seem right!”
  155. Trump also tweeted, then retweeted a OAN video of Pelosi’s son Paul, implying that he might be involved in the Ukrainian corruption scandal, adding, “Wow Crazy Nancy, what’s going on? This is big stuff!”
  156. The Hill reported Trump had tweeted about Pelosi more than 20 times as of Friday since he arrived at Mar-a-Lago, and had addressed her during two public appearances — saying she has gotten under his skin.
  157. On Friday, Pelosi responded, tweeting a video of the evidence uncovered, adding, “The facts are clear and every witness told the same story…Trump abused his power for his own personal gain.”
  158. On Saturday, Trump tweeted, “California and New York must do something about their TREMENDOUS Homeless problems,” and “If their Governors can’t handle the situation…they must call and “politely” ask for help.”
  159. On Saturday, MarketWatch reported a study by the Federal Reserve found Trump’s strategy to use import tariffs to protect and boost U.S. manufacturers backfired and led to job losses and higher prices.
  160. Fed researchers found retaliation is not an effective tool given the globally interconnected supply chains, noting any reduction in competition was offset by the effects of rising input costs and retaliatory tariffs.
  161. On Saturday, NYT reported that science is under attack under Trump. In his three years in office, he has diminished the role of science in federal policymaking, while halting or disrupting research projects.
  162. Trump appointees have halted government studies, reduced the influence of scientists in regulatory decisions, and stopped researchers from speaking publicly. Hundreds of scientists are departing.
  163. Staffing at the EPA is at its lowest level in a decade. Federal scientists say hiring freezes and departures have made it harder to conduct scientific work. The regime has cut federal advisory boards by one-third.
  164. The regime has also questioned established scientific research. Internal documents at the EPA revealed political appointees have overruled career experts on several occasions.

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Trump speaks to members of the media following a Christmas Eve video teleconference with members of the military at his Mar-a-Lago estate in Palm Beach, Fla., Tuesday, Dec. 24, 2019.

POLITIKS OF GRAFFITI 163: “PROFOUNDLY IMMORAL”

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

DECEMBER 21, 2019

Week 162

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

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

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

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

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

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

DECEMBER 14, 2019

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Orlando, FL 1dec19. Artist: Andrew Spear

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New York City 26nov19

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New York City 22nov19

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

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

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

DECEMBER 07, 2019

Week 160

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

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

IMG_0419

NYC. November 2019

IMG_0505
NYC. November 2019.

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

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

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

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

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

POLITIKS OF GRAFFITI 158: “GUILTY ON ALL 7 COUNTS”

NOVEMBER 16, 2019

Week 157 of AMY SISKIND’S LIST

Experts in authoritarianism advise to keep a list of things
subtly changing around you, so you’ll remember. https://theweeklylist.org/weekly-list/week-157/

This week public impeachment hearings started, with three career diplomats testifying before the House Intelligence Committee. Senate Republicans were notably quiet in their defense of Trump, while Republican House members focused mostly on the process, especially for the third witness, Maria Yovanovitch, who proved unassailable. William Taylor testified about a previously unknown phone call on July 26 overheard by his staffer David Holmes, in which Trump asked about “the investigation,” and Sondland assured him Ukraine would comply. Closed door hearings continued as well, as more career officials came forward to testify.

This week, Trump faced threats on other fronts, as longtime ally Roger Stone was found guilty on all charges of lying to Congress, tampering with witnesses, and concealing evidence in an effort prosecutors said was to shield Trump. Stone’s conviction was the sixth of a senior Trump official arising from the Mueller probe. This week Trump lawyers appealed two cases to the Supreme Court, both of which would require him to turn over eight years of his tax returns.

The world order continued to shift, as Trump hosted and praised Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan at the White House, weeks after Turkish-forces invaded Northern Syria, and notably in contrast to having not yet hosted Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky. French President Emmanuel Macron announced France would host a Ukraine summit on December 9, inviting leaders of Ukraine, Russia, and Germany, while pledging unwavering support to Zelensky.IMG_3812Political Cartoons were on fire this week 🙂 IMG_3813

IMG_3814
“Guilty on ALL 7 Counts” – Roger Stone by Jim Carrey 15Nov19
IMG_3815
President Bone Spurs and the joke he is on Veterans’ Day. Art: Jim Carrey
IMG_3819
This is interesting. This was sent to me from a Canadian costume designer who explained that she isn’t a portrait artist, but Maria Yovanovitch inspired her, so she drew her. 🙂 Artist: Resa M.

IMG_0237

New York City. August 2019.

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Pro-Regime sticker found in downtown San Diego, CA. October 2019.
IMG_8124
New York City – August 2019. 
  1. On Saturday, CNN reported John Bolton, who refused to testify in the impeachment inquiry in Week 156, has landed a book deal. Bolton’s book will be published before the 2020 presidential election.
  2. On Saturday, Chair Adam Schiff said the whistleblower would not be called to testify, saying, “It remains the duty of the Intelligence Committee to protect whistleblowers,” and it would be “redundant and unnecessary.”
  3. On Saturday, NYT reported State Department officials are showing their support for Maria Yovanovitch, who is scheduled to testify in the impeachment inquiry Friday, using the hashtag #GoMasha.
  4. Employees also have raised money for department officials testifying, and share supportive notes about William Taylor and George Kent. Rarely have State officials been at the center of a revolt against a president and his top appointees.
  5. On Sunday, Nikki Haley claimed in a new book that John Kelly and Rex Tillerson tried to recruit her to undermine Trump, saying, “they weren’t being insubordinate, they were trying to save the country.”
  6. Haley also claimed that while serving as Secretary of State, Tillerson told her people would die if Trump went unchecked. At the time she was U.S. ambassador to the UN, and refused.
  7. On Sunday, Donald Jr. and his girlfriend Kimberly Guilfoyle were booed offstage by far right students at an event for his book, “Triggered,” at UCLA, after he refused to take questions.
  8. The scene contradicted the central thesis of Donald Jr.’s book on the left’s intolerance, and revealed a fissure between conservatives in Turning Point USA and self-professed nationalists in the “America First” movement.
  9. On Sunday, Sen. Lindsey Graham told “Fox News Sunday” that if House Democrats keep the whistleblower’s identity private then impeachment is “dead on arrival” when it reaches the Senate.
  10. On Sunday, Republicans complained about House Republicans not being able to call their chosen witnesses. Sen. John Kennedy said House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Chair Schiff are “doubling down on stupid.”
  11. Sen. Rand Paul told “Meet the Press” not being able to call Hunter Biden and the whistleblower is “sort of a sham,” adding, “That’s not really even a trial.”
  12. Shortly after, Trump also complained, tweeting, “Corrupt politician Adam Schiff” wants White House staffers “to testify in his and Pelosi’s disgraceful Witch Hunt,” but will not “allow ANY of our requested witnesses.”
  13. Trump also tweeted, “The call to the Ukrainian President was PERFECT. Read the Transcript! There was NOTHING said that was in any way wrong,” adding, “NOTHING WAS DONE WRONG!”
  14. Trump also warned, “Republicans, don’t be led into the fools trap of saying it was not perfect, but is not impeachable.” WAPO reported so far 14 Republicans and Trump appointees have said the call was not perfect.
  15. On Sunday, Sen. Ron Johnson said on “State of the Union” that he would take impeachment inquiry testimony from Gordon Sondland, Fiona Hill, and Alexander Vindman “with a grain of salt.”
  16. On Sunday, NYT reported Lev Parnas claimed he told a representative from the incoming government in Ukraine that VP Mike Pence would not come to the inauguration and aid would be frozen unless they announced an investigation of the Bidens.
  17. Parnas claimed he delivered the warning in Kiev, shortly before the inauguration in May. If his claim is corroborated, it would be the earliest instance of U.S. aid being tied to demands Ukraine investigate.
  18. Lawyers for Igor Fruman said Parnas’s claim, which contradicts the narrative of Trump and Rudy Giuliani and would directly link Giuliani to threats, was false, saying the demand did not come up in the meeting.
  19. On Sunday, Rep. Peter King, who served in Congress for almost three decades, said he would retire and not run in 2020. King was the 20th House Republican to announce their plan not to run in 2020.
  20. On Sunday, Bill Moyers told CNN for the first time in his life he fears for the country, saying, “a society, a democracy, can die of too many lies. And we’re getting close to that terminal moment.”
  21. On Monday, Axios reported a poll found 74% of Democrats say politics is making them angry, and 71% say they feel like “strangers in their own land.” For Republicans, the numbers were 57% angry, 52% like strangers.
  22. On Monday, Trump tweeted, “So with one Rally by me at the end of the campaign, I lift the poll numbers of Kentucky Governor Matt Bevin by 19 points.” This is false. A poll before had Bevin up by five points.
  23. On Monday, Trump attacked the impeachment probe, tweeting, “lawyer for the Whistleblower takes away all credibility from this big Impeachment Scam!” saying he and Schiff “should be investigared [sic] for fraud!
  24. Trump also falsely claimed “Shifty Adam Schiff” had “doctored transcripts,” and “Republicans should put out their own transcripts!” and “Schiff must testify as to why he MADE UP a statement from me.”
  25. On Monday, House investigators released transcripts of testimony for Laura Cooper, Catherine Croft, and Christopher Anderson. Cooper said she first learned at a mid-June meeting with Trump about aid being withheld.
  26. Cooper said she got “Follow-up from POTUS meeting” questions from Mick Mulvaney on which U.S. industries were involved in the aid, what other countries were contributing, and which agencies provided the funding.
  27. Cooper testified she and other Pentagon officials repeatedly warned the White House during the summer that failing to release aid to Ukraine that had been approved by Congress could violate the Impoundment Control Act.
  28. Cooper said Kurt Volker let her to make a “very strong inference” Ukraine knew aid was being withheld long before the information was made public, and Taylor sounded “alarm bells…that there were Ukrainians who knew.”
  29. Cooper said on July 18 the Pentagon sought clarification from the White House on why aid was being held up. On July 23, the Office of Management and Budget told agencies Trump had “concerns about Ukraine and Ukraine security assistance.”
  30. Cooper was asked by Steve Castor, one of the House Republican lawyers, about the whistleblower. Cooper said she was unaware of the complaint before it was made public. Much of her related testimony was redacted.
  31. Anderson, an adviser to Volker, testified he heard warning from Bolton on the influence Giuliani was having on Trump related to Ukraine, saying, “every time Ukraine is mentioned, Giuliani pops up.”
  32. Anderson testified Bolton told him Trump called him at home to complain about a CNN story that the Navy was pushing back against Russian aggression in the Black Sea. The operation was later canceled.
  33. Anderson said he was concerned that Giuliani’s presence with Trump would make it harder for the U.S. to push Russia back to the negotiations table to end its armed conflict with Ukraine.
  34. Croft, who succeeded Anderson, said she was “trepidatious” about taking the job, saying, “it was possible that the Trump administration would choose to change its policy to suit domestic politics.”
  35. Croft testified the Ukrainians “found out very early on” that Ukraine aid had been frozen. She said the decision by the OMB was made at Trump’s behest, and was widely circulated on July 18.
  36. Croft also testified Mulvaney, as then head of the OMB, put a hold on sending lethal Javelin missiles to Ukraine, citing, “Russia would react negatively to the provision of Javelins to Ukraine.”
  37. Croft noted it was “rather unusual to have OMB expressing concerns that were purely policy-based and not budget-oriented.” OMB staffers also started to regularly attend meetings on Ukraine, which was atypical.
  38. Cooper also said it was unusual for OMB to be out of step on withholding aid, after the Pentagon gave its approval in May, and approval of Ukraine’s anti-corruption work was “unanimous” from the ­other agencies.
  39. Shortly after, Trump reiterated his call for the whistleblower to testify, tweeting, “Where is the Whistleblower who gave so much false information? Must testify along with Schiff and others!”
  40. Trump also tweeted, “To think I signed the Whistleblower Protection Act!” Trump signed the the VA Accountability and Whistleblower Protection Act into law, which has nothing to do with the whistleblower’s complaint.
  41. Trump also tweeted, “Read the Transcript. It is PERFECT!” and added, “Schiff is giving Republicans NO WITNESSES, NO LAWYER & NO DUE PROCESS!” calling it “a totally one sided Witch Hunt.”
  42. Trump also repeated his false claim about Schiff altering transcripts, tweeting, “Just like Schiff fabricated my phone call, he will fabricate the transcripts that he is making and releasing!”
  43. Trump again teased about releasing a second Ukraine call transcript, tweeting, “In order to continue being the most Transparent President in history” he would release it, and “I am sure you will find it tantalizing!”
  44. On Monday, Condoleezza Rice, a former secretary of state under George W. Bush, said reports of shadow diplomacy in Ukraine were “deeply troubling,” and said of Trump’s July 25 call, “it is really murky.”
  45. On Monday, Trump returned to New York to kick off the 100th annual New York City Veterans Day Parade. Protestors gathered along the streets, carrying signs for impeachment, and shouting “Shame!”
  46. As Trump delivered his speech, protestors booed and jeered. Others shouted “Lock him up!” and “traitor,” and blew whistles, drowning out part of his 18 minute speech, delivered from behind a thick plexiglass shield.
  47. On Sunday, WAPO reported Mulvaney’s effort to join Charles Kupperman’s lawsuit upset allies of John Bolton, who has the same lawyer. Bolton views Mulvaney as a key participant in the Ukraine pressure campaign.
  48. On Monday, the lawyer for Kupperman said in a filing that Mulvaney should not be able join their lawsuitsince Mulvaney had spoken publicly about the impeachment inquiry at the White House briefing room.
  49. On Monday, House Democrats also filed saying Mulvaney should not be able to join, citing “the subpoena…has been withdrawn,” and “Mulvaney is differently situated from Kupperman in several important respects.”
  50. On Monday, Mulvaney filed a notice of withdrawal of his motion in Week 156 to join Kupperman’s lawsuit. On Tuesday, a notice filed by Mulvaney said he planned to file as a separate, related case.
  51. On Monday, WAPO reported on a rift between Mulvaney’s office and White House counsel Pat Cipollone’s camp over how to counter impeachment. The infighting has left the White House without a coherent strategy.
  52. Mulvaney and OMB officials who have been called to testify have refused. Mulvaney feels Cipollone is not doing enough to stop others. Cipollone feels Mulvaney made things worse with his October 17 press conference.
  53. On Tuesday, Mulvaney reversed course, saying he will not sue to block the impeachment subpoena, and instead he will “rely on the direction of” Trump and government lawyers in not appearing for a deposition.
  54. On Tuesday, in a series of tweets, Trump said, “Why is such a focus put on 2nd and 3rd hand witnesses, many of whom are Never Trumpers, or whose lawyers are Never Trumpers,” offering no evidence this is the case.
  55. Trump also tweeted, “all you have to do is read the phone call (transcript)” adding Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said “no pressure” was put on him to investigate “Sleepy Joe Biden,” and “I have an “obligation” to look into corruption.”
  56. Trump also tweeted Hunter Biden has “no knowledge or talent” and took millions from Ukraine and China, adding, “Both Bidens should be forced to testify in this No Due Process Scam!
  57. Trump sent a fourth tweet at 6:30 a.m., again referencing the second call, saying, “I will be releasing the transcript of the first, and therefore more important, phone call with the Ukrainian President before week’s end!”
  58. On Monday, Hillary Clinton called UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s delay in releasing a report on possible Russian interference in the Brexit vote “damaging, inexplicable and shaming.”
  59. On Monday, James Le Mesurier, a former British army officer who helped start the “White Helmets” aid group in Syria, was found dead, three days after Russia’s foreign ministry spokeswoman accused him of being a spy.
  60. On Tuesday, federal prosecutors asked a grand jury to issue a superseding indictment, alleging Russia-based Internet Research Agency conspired to interfere with more than one function of the Federal Election Commission.
  61. Prosecutors said IRA also tried to interfere with an FEC ban which prohibits spending on U.S. elections by foreign nationals. The case stemmed from the Mueller probe which indicted 13 Russian individuals and three firms.
  62. On Tuesday, a report by the Senate Intelligence Committee found Russian GRU hackers who stole tens of thousands of sensitive Democratic Party documents in 2016 struggled to disseminate them on social media.
  63. The report analyzed Facebook data, and found the Russian military hackers tried to post information on June 14 but got little traction. They then used Twitter persona Guccifer 2.0 to direct message U.S. journalists.
  64. On July 22, WikiLeaks published the documents and tweeted to its 3.2 million followers, and the documents went viral. Committee Chair Richard Burr called the threat of foreign interference “persistent and evolving.”
  65. On Monday, Politico reported a new report by consumer rights group Public Citizen found 200 mostly conservative campaigns and political groups have spent $8 million at Trump properties since 2016.
  66. The report found between 2012 and 2014, the groups spent just $69,000 at Trump businesses, but after he announced his run for president in 2015, the amount was $19 million, including monies spent by his campaign.
  67. On Monday, NYT reported a new draft of an EPA proposal, Strengthening Transparency in Regulatory Science, would significantly limit the scientific and medical research used to write public health rules.
  68. Scientists and physicians protested, saying the rule, which would be retroactively applied, would undermine science in policy making, noting studies on mercury, lead in paint, and air pollution would be excluded.
  69. On Monday, Politico reported Trump’s new national security adviser Robert O’Brien is moving to dramatically shrink the National Security Council, raising concerns the move is related to the impeachment inquiry.
  70. In the coming months, several dozen policy roles will be eliminated, and at least two NSC divisions are being phased out and a third moved to the White House. O’ Brien claims the changes are about improving efficiency of government.
  71. On Monday, AP reported a month after Energy Department Sec. Rick Perry visited Ukraine for Zelensky’s inauguration, two of his political supporters, Michael Bleyzer and Alex Cranberg, were awarded a gas exploration deal from the Ukrainian government.
  72. During that trip, Perry handed Zelensky a list of people he recommended as energy advisers. Bleyzer and Cranberg got the lucrative Varvynska deal despite offering millions of dollars less than their competitor to the Ukrainian government.
  73. On Monday, Trump tweeted, “A great try by @seanspicer. We are all proud of you!” after the former White House press secretary was voted off of “Dancing With the Stars.”
  74. On Tuesday, the Scotsman reported after four years and the case going to Scotland’s highest court, Trump’s firm lost a battle to stop an offshore wind farm, and must pay the Scottish government £225,000 for its legal bills.
  75. On Tuesday, Politico reported according to new documents, at least eight former Trump White House and campaign officials were hired by Medicare and Medicaid Services Administrator Seema Verma as consultants.
  76. The contractors were among at least 40 PR consultants hired on a $2.25 million contract to improve Verma’s personal brand and improve “strategic communications.” The contract was halted in April after Politico’s reporting.
  77. On Tuesday, Trump said at a speech at the Economic Club of New York that Ivanka “created 14 million jobs.” Since Trump took office, the economy has added about 6 million jobs.
  78. On Tuesday, NBC News reported Mina Chang, a top Trump appointee at the State Department, significantly embellished her resume and created a fake Time cover with her image, another example of the regime’s lax vetting.
  79. On Thursday, CNN reported the RNC will host its annual meeting at the Trump National Doral, according to an email to members. Trump abruptly reversed his decision to hold the G7 summit at the Doral in Week 154.
  80. On Sunday, the anniversary of Kristallnacht, stickers shaped like yellow Jewish stars saying “Jude” were found at multiple Jewish cemetery sites in Denmark and Sweden, and also found at some homes.
  81. On Tuesday, the FBI annual report showed hate crimes reached a 16-year high in 2018, including a 37% rise in attacks on people with disabilities and 34% rise in attacks against transgender people.
  82. On Tuesday, the Southern Poverty Law Center reported on over 900 emails sent by Stephen Miller to Breitbart editors from March 2015 to June 2016, suggesting he promoted white nationalism and far-right extremist ideas.
  83. Katie McHugh, a former Breitbart editor, leaked the emails, which were mostly related to race or immigration. Miller focused on crimes committed by nonwhites, and severely limiting or ending nonwhite immigration.
  84. The emails showed Miller used information from white supremacist sources like American Renaissance and VDARE and sent it to Breitbart and others for them to use in framing stories.
  85. Emails also show Miller reached out to anti-Muslim extremist Pamela Geller, and had ties to white nationalist figures, including Duke classmate Richard Spencer, a relationship he tried to hide to protect Trump.
  86. On Tuesday, AP reported the U.S. government held a record number of migrant children in custody in 2019: an unprecedented 69,550 children in the past year.
  87. The number of migrant children is up 42% from fiscal 2018 to 2019. United Nations researchers said the U.S. has detained more children away from their parents than any other country.
  88. On Wednesday, CNN reported immigration hardliner Ken Cuccinelli was expected to be elevated to acting deputy secretary of Homeland Security, the number two post in the department, giving him greater latitude on Trump’s signature issue.
  89. Chad Wolf was named acting secretary of DHS — the fifth person to hold the position under Trump. Republican and Democratic senators called on Trump to stop the “widespread use of temporary leadership.”
  90. On Tuesday, as the Supreme Court was about to hear a case to end DACA, Trump tweeted, “Many of the people in DACA, no longer very young, are far from ‘angels,’” adding, “Some are very tough, hardened criminals.”
  91. On Tuesday, it appeared the Supreme Court’s conservative majority would allow Trump to end DACA, which shields 700,000 young immigrants from deportation as has broad, bipartisan support.
  92. Trump’s two nominees, Brett Kavanaugh and Neil Gorsuch, said they would not second guess the regime’s reasoning and ask for further explanation. The decision will address Trump’s power over immigration.
  93. Later Tuesday, Trump quoted Fox Business host Lou Dobbs, tweeting, “DACA recipients with arrest records: 53,792!,” a misleading claim, and added, “Not good, but we will be able to make a deal with the Dems!”
  94. Trump also quoted Dobbs on the impeachment hearings starting Wednesday, tweeting, “This ridiculous Impeachment is a travesty, it’s not an inquiry. Just read the transcript.”
  95. Trump also quoted Fox News host Sean Hannity, saying, “The circus is coming to town,” blaming “The corrupt, compromised, coward & congenital liar Adam Schiff,” and “raging psychotic Democrats,” and “the Media Mob.”
  96. Trump added, “Everything you’re going to see in the next two weeks is rigged,” adding, “This is a phony showtrial” with “zero due process,” and “another fraudulent hoax conspiracy theory. It is another Witch Hunt.”
  97. Trump also added from Hannity that all Democrats have done for three years is “hurt Donald Trump and we, the people that support him. The Left has never accepted the results of the 2016 Election.”
  98. On Tuesday, House Democrats announced eight more witnesses will testify next week in the impeachment hearings, including Jennifer Williams, Vindman, Volker, Tim Morrison, Sondland, Cooper, David Hale, and Hill.
  99. On Wednesday, Trump continued to tweet from Fox News in the early morning, quoting “Fox & Friends,” tweeting, “‘Millions of Americans will see what a partisan sham this whole thing is.’ Rush Limbaugh”
  100. Trump also quoted “Fox & Friends” co-host Steve Doocy, tweeting: “The Democrats have stacked the deck against President Trump and the Republicans. They have leaked out everything.”
  101. Trump also quoted Charles Hurt on “Fox & Friends,” tweeting, “Nancy Pelosi cares more about power than she does about principle,” adding, “there was no quid…Ukraine got it’s money…there was no investigation.”
  102. Trump also tweeted, calling William Taylor and George Kent who were about to testify “NEVER TRUMPERS!” Politifact reported there is no evidence that either career foreign service officials are anti-Trump.
  103. On Wednesday, White House press secretary Stephanie Grisham told reporters Trump is “in the Oval in meetings. Not watching. He’s working.” Trump tweeted and retweeted dozens of times during the hearings.
  104. On Wednesday, ABC, CBS, PBS, and NBC broadcast networks pre-empted regular programming for the hearings. Cable-TV also broadcast it live — Fox News topped there with 2.9 million viewers, double an average day.
  105. On Wednesday, Giuliani wrote an op-ed in the WSJ, saying Trump’s “call with the Ukrainian president was innocent, and the House inquiry is a travesty,” claiming a “false narrative” from selectively leaked information.
  106. On Wednesday, a poll by Priorities USA found a plurality support impeachment in battleground states Florida, Michigan, Wisconsin, and Pennsylvania: 49% support impeachment and removal, 45% oppose it.
  107. On Wednesday, Sen. John Cornyn told reporters despite there being 53 GOP senators, Republicans do not have the 51 votes needed to dismiss impeachment articles, saying it would be better to have the trial.
  108. On Wednesday, William Taylor, acting U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine, and George Kent, the State Department’s top official on Ukraine policy, were the first two witnesses called in the House impeachment hearings.
  109. During the hearing, House committees announced two new closed door depositions for David Holmes, an official working at the U.S. Embassy in Ukraine, and Mark Sandy, an official working in the OMB.
  110. Taylor said a member of his staff overheard a phone conversation between Trump and Sondland at a restaurant in Kyiv. After, Taylor said Sondland told the staffer, “Trump cares more about the investigations” than about Ukraine.
  111. Taylor said Sondland told Trump from his cellphone that the Ukrainians were “ready to move forward.” This was the first mention of the call which took place on July 26. The staffer was identified as David Holmes.
  112. Taylor testified Sondland explained to him Trump was a “businessman,” and since he felt he had “been wronged by the Ukrainians” during the 2016 election, “he thought they owed him to fix that wrong.”
  113. Taylor spelled out the importance of U.S. aid to Ukraine, saying “Russian-led forces continue to kill Ukrainians in the war, one or two a week,” and “More Ukrainians would undoubtedly die without the US assistance.”
  114. Kent said during the Obama administration, he raised concerns about perception of conflicts of interest with Hunter Biden serving on the board of Burisma, but Joe Biden followed U.S. policy and did nothing wrong.
  115. The GOP’s rebuttal was that Ukraine did receive the aid, and there was no investigation of the Bidens. Republicans also complained on multiple occasions that the whistleblower was not scheduled to testify.
  116. Democrats shifted from using the words “quid pro quo” to “bribery” and “extortion.” Taylor noted aid to Ukraine was not only critical to that country, but also to America’s national interests.
  117. Both witnesses had resumes of bipartisan careers in foreign service. Kent noted of future witnesses, “Masha, Alex, and Fiona were born abroad before their families or they themselves personally chose to immigrate”
  118. On Wednesday, Trump was the only White House official to push back on the impeachment inquiry, telling reporters, “I don’t have teams…I’m the team,” and calling the inquiry a “sham,” and it “shouldn’t be allowed.”
  119. Trump also told reporters he did not “recall” the July 26 call with Sondland referenced by Taylor, saying, “No, not at all, not even a little bit.”
  120. Republicans emphasized that neither Taylor nor Kent directly spoke to Trump. Former Trump attorney John Dowd called Taylor “A pitiful, ignorant, insubordinate gossip with no trustworthy information.”
  121. On Wednesday, when asked about new revelations at the hearing, Trump ally Rep. Mark Meadows told reporters, “when we start to look at the facts, everybody has their impression of what truth is.”
  122. On Wednesday, Trump lawyer Joe diGenova blamed George Soros for Kent and Taylor’s testimony on Fox Business, saying he “controls a large part of” the State Department and “activities of FBI agents overseas.”
  123. George Soros’s Open Society Foundations requested Fox News and Fox Business ban diGenova from appearing over his anti-Semitic rant, and requested an on-air retraction.
  124. On Wednesday, Fox News’ prime time hosts all panned the hearings, calling them a “disaster,” “stupid,” “a national disgrace,” “DEM’S IMPEACHMENT COLLAPSE,” and a “cataclysmic mistake.”
  125. On Wednesday, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said he will not cut the impeachment trial short, and said with many GOP senators facing difficult reelection races, not to make motions that could divide the party.
  126. On Wednesday, WAPO reported Sondland’s cellphone call to Trump was a stunning breach of security. Calling a president from a cellphone violates protocols set up to protect senior officials’ communications.
  127. Russia has also shown an ability to monitor U.S. diplomats’ calls in Kyiv, and leak content to suit its interests. Trump has repeatedly shown a disregard for protocols, making him susceptible to spying.
  128. On Tuesday, NYT reported Trump has discussed firing the intelligence community’s inspector general, Michael Atkinson, whom he appointed, citing Atkinson reported the whistleblower complaint to Congress.
  129. Trump first surfaced the idea of firing Atkinson around when the complaint was made public, and he has raised the idea with aides again in recent weeks, saying he is not loyal. Some aides say Trump is just venting.
  130. Trump has started complaining about Atkinson publicly, questioning his integrity and accusing him of working with Democrats. Trump tweeted he should testify at impeachment hearings: “I.G.” should “be part of the list!”
  131. On Wednesday, WAPO reported senior aides are counseling Trump not to fire Mulvaney as chief of staff, after he has been threatening to do so for weeks. Trump is especially upset about Mulvaney’s news conference.
  132. Aides caution replacing Mulvaney during the impeachment inquiry would be unwise, especially given that he played an integral role in withholding aid from Ukraine, and cite Bolton as an example of why not to do it.
  133. On Wednesday, while the impeachment hearings were happening, Trump hosted Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan for a daylong visit at the White House, despite the authoritarian leader’s recent attack in Syria.
  134. The visit comes as Turkish forces have engaged in ethnic cleansing, and 180,000 have been forced to flee. McConnell said, “I share my colleagues’ uneasiness at seeing President Erdogan honored at the White House.”
  135. At a joint news conference with Erdogan, Trump called the impeachment hearings a “witch hunt,” saying, “I hear it’s a joke. I haven’t watched.” Trump added, “This is a sham and shouldn’t be allowed.”
  136. Trump also said, “I want to find out who is the whistleblower,” saying they got a lot wrong about his “perfect call,” and find out “why the IG” presented the complaint when “all he had to do was check the call.”
  137. Trump also said “great lawyers” like Fox News analyst Gregg Jarrett and conservative commentator Mark Levin say the call with “Ukraine was a perfect one,” and said of the hearing, “I hear that it’s a hoax.”
  138. Trump heaped praise on Erdogan, saying, “I’m a big fan of the president,” and said like himself, Erdogan has “great relationship with the Kurds,” and sided with him in believing that Europe should help him pay for the 3 million refugees.
  139. The day before the visit, Erdogan threatened to purchase Russian military fighter jets. Trump said this caused “very serious challenges for us,” and “We’ll be talking about it.”
  140. On Wednesday, Sen. Graham blocked a resolution in the Senate recognizing Armenian genocide that had passed 405-11 in the House, after meeting with Trump, Erdogan, and other GOP senators.
  141. On Thursday, Axios reported at a meeting in the Oval Office with five GOP senators, Erdogan took out an iPad and made the group watch an anti-Kurd propaganda film. Trump watched and said nothing.
  142. On Thursday, Turkish media reported Erdogan’s visit as a victory, saying Trump was “silent” when Erdogan returned his “scandalous” letter, and Erdogan told Sen. Graham “what he needed, he learned his lesson.”
  143. Late Wednesday, Trump tweeted, “Wow! Was just told that my son’s book, “Triggered,” is Number One on The New York Times Bestseller List. Congratulations Don!” The RNC had made a bulk purchase of the book.
  144. On Thursday, Trump attacked the Federal Reserve, tweeting, “Walmart announces great numbers. No impact from Tariffs,” after Walmart said it raised consumer prices, adding, “Inflation low (do you hear that Powell?)”
  145. On Thursday, AP reported a second diplomatic staffer, Suriya Jayanti, a foreign service officer based in Kyiv, also overheard Trump’s July 26 with Sondland at a restaurant in Kyiv.
  146. The first diplomat referenced by Taylor, David Holmes, a political counselor at the embassy in Kyiv, will testify before House investigators on Friday behind closed doors.
  147. On Thursday, Trump tweeted Rep. John Ratcliffe asked the two “star” witnesses, “where is the impeachable event in that call?” but they said nothing, adding, “That would be the end of a case run by normal people!”
  148. Trump also quoted Fox Business “Varney & Co.,” tweeting, “Neither one of the Democrat star witnesses at the Impeachment hearings could point out an impeachable offense. That’s the result!”
  149. Trump also quoted Dan Henniger of the WSJ, tweeting, “we’ve now had 3 years of the Democrats chasing Donald Trump,” adding Nancy Pelosi should “Look at her own story in the House. What have they done?”
  150. Trump also tweeted, “Where’s the Fake Whistleblower?
  151. On Thursday, at her weekly news conference, Speaker Pelosi said Trump committed “bribery” in the Ukraine scandal, saying what Trump “has admitted to and said it’s perfect — it’s perfectly wrong. It’s bribery.”
  152. Pelosi added, “The bribe is to grant or withhold military assistance in return for a public statement of a fake investigation into the elections.” Bribery is identified in the Constitution as an impeachable offense.
  153. Pelosi also said, “The devastating testimony corroborated evidence of bribery,” saying Trump “abused his power and violated his oath” in a “clear attempt” to “give himself an advantage in the 2020 election.”
  154. Pelosi also explained the meaning of the word ‘exculpatory’ to Trump, saying, “Mr. President, that means you have anything that shows your innocence — then he should make that known … so far we haven’t see that.”
  155. Pelosi said “We haven’t made a decision to impeach,” noting Nixon had strong public support in the weeks before he resigned, and adding what Trump did and the cover up “makes what Nixon did look almost small.”
  156. Pelosi said “The whistleblower is there to speak truth to power and have protection for doing that,” adding, “any retribution or harm coming to a whistleblower undermines our ability to hear truth about power.”
  157. On Thursday, WAPO reported Sondland’s attorney said Sondland had no plans to resign, and “has the full confidence” of Secretary of State Mike Pompeo. While some Republicans have turned on him, officials say he has a close relationship with Trump.
  158. Career diplomats in Brussels were appalled at Sondland’s leadership, saying he worked with Stephen Miller on a plan for more “skilled and wealthy” immigrants from Europe, as code for it being racially motivated.
  159. The plan, which Trump tasked him with in June 2018, would have encompassed all E.U. countries, but was scrapped. Sondland, who also worked on it with Jared Kushner, claimed he did not know the intention.
  160. On Wednesday, Attorney General William Barr told reporters, “I don’t remember” Trump making a request for him to do a news conference and say there was no wrongdoing in Ukraine.
  161. On Wednesday, AP reported the DOJ’s inspector general Michael Horowitz is close to releasing a report on the early stages of the FBI’s investigation of the Trump campaign’s involvement with Russia.
  162. Horowitz has been examining the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court applications to monitor Carter Page. The report will also test of credibility of Barr’s assertion the FBI’s investigative decisions were problematic.
  163. On Wednesday, Barr said of the report, “it’s my understanding that it is imminent,” adding, “A number of people who were mentioned in the report are having an opportunity right now to comment.”
  164. On Thursday, WAPO reported the DOJ IG told witnesses reviewing the draft sections of the report that they will not be able to give written feedback, only verbal feedback, an unusual step that leaves no paper trail.
  165. Witnesses are also being asked to review their section in a secure area, and say the entire draft document is marked “Top Secret,” so anyone who discusses the report’s contents could be committing a crime.
  166. Some expressed concern the unusual restrictions will make the report less accurate, saying they will not be able to ensure their changes are recorded accurately, and the IG can control the characterization of their comments.
  167. On Thursday, before heading to a rally in Louisiana, Trump had what was described as an “animated” talk with Barr in the Oval Office. The conversation was witnessed by the White House press corps.
  168. White House Counsel Pat Cippollone and press secretary Grisham were also in the meeting. Trump, whose departure was delayed by 45 minutes, passed by the press corps and did not speak to reporters.
  169. Later Thursday, after WAPO reporting, Horowitz changed course and told the Post witnesses can submit written feedback “consistent with rules to protect classified information.”
  170. On Friday, CNN reported, according to two witnesses, Trump was speaking to Barr and Cippollone about the upcoming report to be issued by Horowitz’s office, again raising concerns about the report’s integrity.
  171. Later Thursday, Trump held a rally in Louisiana for the second time in two weeks, as the Republican running for governor faced an unusually tight race. Trump does not have any other rallies scheduled for the rest of year.
  172. Trump told the crowd, “The absolutely crazed lunatics, the Democrats, radical left, and their media partners standing right back there…are pushing the deranged impeachment witch hunt for doing nothing wrong.”
  173. Trump attacked Kent and Taylor, saying, “You saw yesterday how about when they asked these two Never Trumpers, ‘what exactly do you think you impeach him for?’” adding, “they stood there and went like, ‘what?’”
  174. Trump also attacked Chair Schiff, mocking him and saying, “Little Shifty Schiff. He’s got the little 10-inch neck,” adding, “He will not make the LSU football team, that I can tell you.”
  175. Trump also said, “What a life I lead,” adding, “You think this is fun, don’t you? But it’s been very hard on my family.” And told the crowd, “You gotta give me a big win please. Please.”
  176. Later Thursday, just before midnight, Trump referenced in tweets Ukrainian Foreign Minister Vadym Prystaiko saying Sondland did not explicitly mention linking U.S. military aid to investigations of the Bidens.
  177. Trump tweeted, “Democrats must apologize to USA,” and “THE FAKE IMPEACHMENT INQUIRY IS NOW DEAD!”
  178. On Thursday, in an interview with the Guardian, Giuliani said he is confident Trump will stay loyal to him during the impeachment inquiry, and mused he has good “insurance” just in case.
  179. On Thursday, Bloomberg reported that Giuliani is being investigated by federal prosecutors for possible campaign finance violations, bribing foreign officials, and failure to register as a foreign agent.
  180. An official said Giuliani’s activities raise counterintelligence concerns, but there probably would not be charges for it. If he is charged or indicted, it could expose Trump to a new level of legal and political jeopardy.
  181. On Friday, WSJ reported federal prosecutors are investigating whether Giuliani personally profited from a Ukrainian natural-gas pipeline venture pushed by Parnas and Fruman.
  182. Parnas and Fruman pitched their plans for a pipeline in meetings in Ukraine, saying it had the support of the Trump regime. At the meetings, they also pushed for investigations into the Bidens and the 2016 election.
  183. In conversations over the summer, Parnas and Fruman told Ukrainian officials that Giuliani was a partner in the pipeline venture, a project of their company, Global Energy Producers, and a prospective investor.
  184. On Tuesday, Rick Gates testified at the trial for Roger Stone that Stone told him in April 2016 that WikiLeaks planned to dump information in the heat of the presidential race, two months before they were leaked.
  185. Gates also testified Stone requested contact information in June for Jared Kushner. Gates also said the campaign was elated when it learned more information on WikiLeaks publishing damaging emails, calling it “a gift.”
  186. Gates said Stone and Trump spoke in July 2016, after Trump told him “more information would be coming.” Trump said in his sworn written testimony to Mueller he did not recall getting information in advance.
  187. Testimony by Steven Bannon and Gates revealed how enthusiastic the Trump campaign was about using hacked emails starting in April 2016, and how involved Trump was in encouraging the campaign to seek it out.
  188. On Wednesday, Stone did not testify in his trial; instead his lawyers played audio of his Congressional testimony, arguing candidates use opposition research all the time, saying, “This is what happens in campaigns.”
  189. On Wednesday, a full panel of judges on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit voted 8-3 to let stand a three-judge decision that the House Oversight Committee can seek eight years of Trump’s tax returns.
  190. Two of the three dissenting judges were Trump appointees. The ruling was put on hold for seven days for Trump to appeal. Trump lawyer Jay Sekulow said they “will be seeking review at the Supreme Court.”
  191. On Thursday, Trump’s lawyers asked the Supreme Court to shield him from having to turn over his return in a separate case involving the Manhattan DA, who is investigating hush-money payments.
  192. Jay Sekulow wrote, “For the first time in our nation’s history” a president has been “subjected him to coercive criminal process,” calling it a perfect illustration of why a sitting president should be “categorically immune.”
  193. On Friday, Trump appealed to the Supreme Court for a second time in two days, relating to the House Oversight Committee, asking that his accounting firm Mazars USA not have to turn over his tax returns.
  194. The requests put the Supreme Court in a position to consider historic separations of power decisions, with two demands for the same information. The DOJ filed a brief in support for the House case.
  195. On Thursday, at a Federalist Society annual dinner honoring Brett Kavanaugh in Washington DC, protestors rolled up a big screen and blared Christine Blasey Ford’s testimony as guests were arriving.
  196. Also outside the event, protestors stood dressed up in Handmaid’s Tale costumes as guests entered, while others shouted, “I believe Anita Hill. I believe Dr Ford.” There were also protestors inside who were removed.
  197. On Thursday, political newsletter Popular Information revealed Facebook was a “gold sponsor” for the event, risking employee unrest and negative attention from activists over the companies policies.
  198. On Thursday, WAPO reported Mark Sandy, a longtime career employee of the OMB, is expected to break ranks and testify on Saturday to the House committees on impeachment, the first OMB employee to do so.
  199. Three other OMB employees who were political appointees refused to testify. Sandy was expected to testify behind closed doors in response to a subpoena, and provide information on the holdup of aid to Ukraine.
  200. On Thursday, NPR reported in the era of Trump, career civil servants are frequently targeted by the conservative media and alt-right trolls, saying they are part of the so-called “deep state” trying to undermine Trump.
  201. A State Department IG report concluded the treatment of Sahar Nowrouzzadeh, a foreign service officer, violated department policy, saying, “perceived political opinions, perceived association” led to her demotion.
  202. Nowrouzzadeh claimed she was falsely portrayed in conservative media as a “Muslim spy,” a member of the “deep state” who was disloyal to Trump. When she complained about the article, she was demoted.
  203. On Friday, Maria Yovanovitch testified in the impeachment inquiry. As the hearing started, the White House released the second transcript Trump had teased, of his April 21 call congratulating Zelensky on the election.
  204. The White House version was not verbatim, but based on the notes of national security council aides who listened in on the conversation. In his opening remarks, Rep. Devin Nunes read the transcript of the call aloud.
  205. The rough transcript released Friday differed significantly from the official readout White House had initially released describing the conversation on the day that it happened.
  206. The initial readout was based on talking points given to Trump, and included that Trump “expressed his commitment” to work with Zelensky to “strengthen democracy, increase prosperity, and root out corruption.”
  207. The readout was not adjusted to what Trump actually said. He did not in fact mention U.S. support for Ukraine in its fight over territory with Russia, or Ukraine’s effort to address corruption in the call.
  208. In the version Nunes read aloud, Zelensky invited Trump to his inauguration, and Trump invited him to visit the White House, saying, “We’ll let you know very soon, and we will see you very soon, regardless.”
  209. Trump did not attend, and WAPO reported he pulled Vice President Mike Pence from attending. Ultimately, the U.S. sent a delegation led by Sec. Perry that included Volker, Sondland, and Sen. Ron Johnson.
  210. Trump congratulated Zelensky, who said, “thank you so very much. As you can see, we tried very hard to do our best. We had you as a great example.” Trump then compared his own win, saying, “in a way, I did something similar.”
  211. Trump also bragged, “We have the most tremendous economy ever,” and added, to compliment Ukraine, “When I owned Miss Universe, they always had great people,” and “Ukraine was always very well represented.”
  212. After Nunes’s recital, Yovanovitch testified she was the victim of a “smear campaign” against her which was orchestrated by Trump allies working with corrupt Ukrainians, and leading to her recall based on untruths.
  213. She said, “Giuliani should have known those claims were suspect,” adding, “If our chief representative is kneecapped, it limits our effectiveness to safeguard the vital national security interests of the United States.”
  214. She said an article by John Solomon, quoting Yuri Lutsenko claiming she had spoken ill of Trump, was promoted by Donald Jr. and Fox News, and was false. Asked about it, she said, “Well, I was worried.”
  215. Yovanovitch testified the phone call saying she was recalled came while hosting a ceremony to honor a young anticorruption activist, Kateryna Handziuk, who was attacked with acid outside her home and later died.
  216. State Department Director General Carol Perez told her about “great concern” about her security. In a subsequent call she was told to get the next flight. She said, “I argued, ‘This is extremely irregular.’”
  217. Back home, she was told by deputy Secretary of State John Sullivan, “The president has lost confidence in you.” She said she felt “terrible” adding, “After 33 years of service to our country, this is not how I wanted my career to end.”
  218. She said when she read the transcript of Trump’s comments about her on the July 25 call, “It was a terrible moment,” adding, “A person who saw me actually reading the transcript said that the color drained from my face.”
  219. Yovanovitch added, “As Foreign Service professionals are being denigrated and undermined, the institution is also being degraded,” adding, “This will soon cause real harm, if it hasn’t already.”
  220. As Yovanovitch testified about Trump’s smear campaign against her, he tweeted, “Everywhere Marie Yovanovitch went turned bad. She started off in Somalia, how did that go?”
  221. Trump added, “Then fast forward to Ukraine, where the new Ukrainian President spoke unfavorably about her in my second phone call with him,” adding, “They call it “serving at the pleasure of the President.”
  222. Chair Schiff stopped the hearing to read her the tweets and ask what she thought. She responded, “It’s very intimidating,” adding, “I can’t speak to what the president is trying to do, but the effect is to be intimidating.”
  223. Fox News host Brett Baier called it “a turning point in this hearing so far,” saying Yovanovitch “was already a sympathetic witness,” and Trump’s tweet added “an article of impeachment real-time.”
  224. Yovanovitch testified about “a crisis in the state department” saying policy process is “unraveling,” and “leadership vacancies go unfilled, and senior and mid-level officers ponder an uncertain future and head for the doors.”
  225. Trump tweeted in response, saying vacancies are “because we do not want or need as many people as past administrations,” and “Democrats delay the approval process to levels unprecedented in the history.”
  226. Politico noted not a single Republican on the House Intelligence Committee backed up Trump for his Twitter attacks on Yovanovitch, or sought to legitimize the smear attempts at her or her removal.
  227. Republicans all praised Yovanovitch for her service and none tried to undercut her credibility or intentions. In response to their questioning, she said, “I do wonder, why it was necessary to smear my reputation.”
  228. At 3:20 p.m., Schiff gaveled the public hearing to a close. Yovanovitch received cheers and a standing ovation as she left the room.
  229. Later Friday, Trump defended his Yovanovitch attack, telling reporters, “I have the right to speak. I have freedom of speech just like other people do,” adding he is “allowed to speak up” if others are speaking about him.
  230. Trump also told reporters, “I watched a little bit of it today. I wasn’t able to yesterday because we had the president of Turkey here,” adding, “I watched some of it this morning and I thought it was a disgrace.”
  231. Later Friday, Fox Business host Lisa Kennedy lashed out at Trump for his tweet attacking Yovanovitch during her testimony, saying “it makes him look like a big dumb baby,” and “makes her look like a victim.”
  232. Speaker Pelosi told “Face the Nation” Trump’s tweet was “a mistake,” saying, “he knows her strength” and was trying to undermine it, adding, “He should not frivolously throw out insults, but that’s what he does.”
  233. Pelosi also said, “I think part of it is his own insecurity as an imposter,” adding, “I think he knows full well that he’s in that office way over his head. And so he has to diminish everyone else.”
  234. Later Friday, in response to the discrepancy in what Nunes read and the readout of Trump’s April 21 call with Zelensky, White House spokesperson Hogan Gidley blamed Vindman, who he said prepared the readout.
  235. Vindman said in his closed door testimony the April conversation “was actually a very good call,” and “Everybody was happy, high-fiving from that call because we were moving in the right direction for Ukraine.”
  236. WAPO later reported that Vindman was not responsible for making the final update to the readout, and that then press secretary Sarah Sanders held on to the readout before turning it over for public release.
  237. On Friday, Roger Stone was found guilty on all seven counts of obstructing a Congressional investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election. The jury deliberated for less than two days.
  238. Stone was found guilty of lying to Congress, tampering with a witness, and concealing reams of evidence. Prosecutors asserted Stone’s motive for the falsehoods was to protect Trump, making Trump and his campaign central.
  239. Stone’s defense team had urged jurors to treat the case as a referendum on Mueller’s entire Russia investigation, not him, and repeated there was “no collusion” with Russia, just a campaign interested in information.
  240. Two of the government prosecutors, Aaron Zelinsky and Adam Jed, served in the Mueller probe. Several other members of Mueller’s team sat in the courtroom gallery for opening and closing statements.
  241. Stone was released and will be sentenced on February 3. He faces up to 50 years in prison. Fox News hostTucker Carlson and InfoWars host Alex Jones have publicly called on Trump to pardon Stone.
  242. Trump tweeted now they “convict Roger Stone of lying and want to jail him for many years,” and “what about Crooked Hillary, Comey, Strzok, Page, McCabe, Brennan, Clapper, Shifty Schiff, Ohr & Nellie, Steele.”
  243. Trump also tweeted, and “all of the others, including even Mueller himself?” adding, “Didn’t they lie?” Trump then tweeted, “A double standard like never seen before in the history of our Country?
  244. Stone was the sixth person close to Trump to have been convicted of a crime stemming from the Russia investigation: Michael Cohen, Paul Manafort, Gates, Michael Flynn, and George Papadopoulos.
  245. Later Friday, David Holmes testified behind closed doors to the House committees in the late afternoon, telling lawmakers he overheard a phone call in Kyiv between Trump and Sondland on July 26.
  246. CNN obtained Holmes’ opening statement. Holmes said he was asked to be a note taker in a meeting between Sondland and Zelensky aide Andriy Yermak, but when he arrived, he was told it was a one-on-one meeting.
  247. After, he and two others went to lunch with Sondland. On the restaurant terrace, Sondland placed a call to Trump. Holmes said Trump spoke loudly and he could hear his voice though the earpiece on Sondland’s phone.
  248. Holmes said Sondland told Trump that “Zelensky ‘loves your ass.’” Holmes said he heard “Trump ask ‘So, he’s gonna do the investigation?’ and Ambassador Sondland replied that ‘he’s gonna do it.’”
  249. Sondland also told Trump that “Zelensky will do ‘anything you ask him to.’” Holmes added, “Even though I did not take notes of those statements, I have a clear recollection that these statements were made.”
  250. Holmes also said at a foreign policy meeting, Sondland said: “Damnit, Rudy. Every time Rudy gets involved he goes and f — -s everything up.” And Bolton expressed frustration over Giuliani’s influence with Trump.
  251. Holmes said Taylor told him on September 8: “Now they’re insisting Zelensky commit to the investigation in an interview with CNN,” adding, “I was surprised the requirement was so specific and concrete.”
  252. Holmes said on September 13, two days after aid was released, Taylor saw Yermak and stressed the importance of staying out of US politics. Holmes said Yermak “shrugged in resignation” as if “they had no choice.”
  253. Late Friday, at the end of impeachment hearings, Trump pardoned two Army officers and restored rank to a Navy SEAL, despite opposition by military justice experts and senior Pentagon officials.
  254. Defense Sec. Mark Esper and Army Sec. Ryan McCarthy had asked Trump not to intervene in the cases, citing overriding the Uniform Code of Military Justice could damage the integrity of the military judicial system.
  255. Esper and other military leaders told Trump a pardon could also hamper the ability of military leaders to ensure good order and discipline, and hurt confidence of U.S. allies and partners who host troops.
  256. The White House said Trump acted as commander in chief, and is “ultimately responsible for ensuring that the law is enforced and when appropriate, that mercy is granted.”
  257. On Friday, in a fiery, hour-long speech to conservative lawyers at the Federalist Society, AG Barr delivered a defense of Trump and his expansive views on executive power.
  258. Barr claimed “in waging a scorched-earth, no-holds-barred war,” the Resistance against Trump “is engaged in a systematic shredding of norms and undermining the rule of law.”
  259. Barr said, “Resistance is the language used to describe insurgency against rule imposed by an occupying military power,” adding it connotes a government is not legitimate, and is a “very dangerous” and “incendiary.”
  260. Barr said House Democrats were subverting what “the people,” who knew Trump was untraditional, decided, and Trump’s opponents are “engaged in a war to cripple by any means necessary a duly elected government.”
  261. Barr took shots at the legislative and judicial branches’ years of “encroachment” on executive power, blaming the Democrats and the media for wanting those branches to protect from a “would-be autocrat.”
  262. On Friday, the office of French President Emmanuel Macron said France would host a Ukraine Peace Summit on December 9, including Zelensky, Russian President Vladimir Putin, and German Chancellor Angela Merkel.
  263. Ahead of the summit, Macron promised Zelensky aid and support, telling him in a phone call “that Ukraine could further count on France’s support in all matters.”
  264. On Friday, the Moscow Times reported Russia landed attack helicopters and troops at a former U.S. air base in Northern Syria, vacated by Trump. The landing was shown on Russian Defense Ministry’s Zvezda TV channel.
  265. On Friday, CNN reported Trump is demanding South Korea pay roughly 400% more in 2020 to cover the costs of keeping U.S. troops on the peninsula. Aides say Trump’s demand “came out of thin air.”
  266. Trump’s proposed price hike frustrated Pentagon officials and deeply concerned Republican and Democratic lawmakers, and angered and unnerved Seoul, where leaders are questioning the alliance.
  267. On Saturday, CNN reported at last year’s White House Hanukkah Party, Trump had a private meeting with Giuliani, Parnas, and Fruman. Parnas shared a photo on social media of him with Trump, Pence, and Giuliani.
  268. Parnas told associates at the meeting, Trump tasked he and Fruman with “a secret mission” to pressure the Ukrainian government to investigate Joe and Hunter Biden. Giuliani would issue directives on behalf of Trump.
  269. On Saturday, Mark Sandy testified behind closed doors to the House committees, after receiving a subpoena which cited “an attempt by OMB to direct [him] not to appear for his scheduled deposition.”
  270. On Saturday, Trump had no public events. He spent the morning at the White House, tweeting about impeachment, promoting books including that of Donald Jr., and urging Republicans in Louisiana to vote.

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Top U.S. diplomat in Ukraine William Taylor, second from right, and career Foreign Service officer George Kent, second from left, testify before the House Intelligence Committee on Capitol Hill in Washington, Wednesday, Nov. 13, 2019, during the first public impeachment hearing of Trump’s efforts to tie U.S. aid for Ukraine to investigations of his political opponents.

POLITIKS OF GRAFFITI 157: “NOT COMPETENT ENOUGH”

NOVEMBER 09, 2019

Week 156

Experts in authoritarianism advise to keep a list of things
subtly changing around you, so you’ll remember. https://theweeklylist.org/weekly-list/week-156/

This week, House Democrats released transcripts of eight depositions, and announced a schedule for public hearings next week. As support for impeachment plateaued, Democrats tentatively planned to fast-track hearings, with a vote on articles of impeachment before the holiday break. Republicans meanwhile, careened from varying defenses of Trump, from it was not a bad quid pro quo, to he is not competent enough to carry out quid pro quo, to targeting witnesses and the whistleblower, to considering sacrificing a fall guy in Trump’s stead.

The Mueller probe was again back in the news, as the Justice Department released FBI 302 summary reports of interviews, and the trial of Roger Stone got underway. Documents revealed the source of the conspiracy theory that Ukraine, not Russia, interfered in the 2016 election was actually Konstantin Kilimnik, an employee of Paul Manafort who the FBI determined has ties to Russian intelligence. Stone and Trump’s possible involvement in seeking emails stolen by Russia from WikiLeaks was also back in the spotlight.

Election night provided victories for Democrats, taking control of the Virginia legislature for the first time in 26 years, winning the governorship of red state Kentucky, and historic victories in the suburbs of Philadelphia. As we head toward the 2020 election, U.S. intelligence again warned of election interference underway, something that Trump, and Republicans who continue to block legislation to protect voting, oddly seem to welcome.

IMG_3777
BERNIE. San Diego, CA 9nov19
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New York City, May 2019
  1. On Saturday, the Department of Justice released the first installment of documents related to the Mueller probe to BuzzFeed News in response to a court order, after five separate Freedom of Information Act lawsuits.
  2. The documents were FBI 302 report summaries of interviews. Rick Gates said Paul Manafort pushed the conspiracy theory that Ukraine, not Russia, hacked the Democratic National Committee in the summer of 2016.
  3. Gates said Manafort “parroted a narrative” told to him by Konstantin Kilimnik, a Manafort employee who the FBI determined has ties to Russian intelligence and indicted on witness tampering in the Muller probe.
  4. Gates also said Michael Flynn was “adamant” Russia was not responsible for the hacking, and told Trump U.S. intelligence “was not capable of figuring it out,” and that Ukraine, not Russia likely carried it out.
  5. Gates also said shortly after the Democratic convention and Russia hacking the DNC server, while in a car with Trump to the airport, Trump received a call related to WikiLeaks and said more leaks were coming.
  6. Michael Cohen said before he testified to Congress, he was told “to keep TRUMP out of the messaging related to Russia and keep TRUMP out of the Russia conversation.” Cohen said false testimony was “not his idea.”
  7. Steve Bannon testified that Manafort worked on the campaign until days before the election, and they needed to hide it. Bannon wrote in an email, “They are going to try to say the Russians worked with wiki leaks to give this victory to us.”
  8. Also close to the campaign as more on Russia interference came out, Erik Prince suggested to Bannon “an alternative narrative” about Russia’s efforts, that they wanted Clinton to win. Trump used this narrative.
  9. On Tuesday, the trial for Roger Stone got off to an unusual start in Washington, as Stone left the courtroom twice to use the restroom during jury selection, and later was excused for the day citing food poisoning.
  10. Stone’s case is the last filed in the Mueller probe. On Wednesday, in opening statements, prosecutors said Stone lied to Congress “because the truth looked bad for Donald Trump,” linking the case to Trump.
  11. Prosecutors said on June 14, 2016, the day the DNC server was hacked, Stone called Trump, and again in July after WikiLeaks began releasing DNC material. An hour later he tried to make contact with Julian Assange.
  12. On Wednesday, conspiracy theorist Alex Jones said on his InfoWars broadcast that he had the name of a jurist in the Stone trial who was anti-Trump, threatening, “We’ve got her name, and we’re going to release it.”
  13. On Thursday, prosecutors said Stone had lied and obstructed, threatening Randy Credico about testifying in a message: “You are a rat. A stoolie. You backstab your friends,” and, “I am so ready. Let’s get it on. Prepare to die…”
  14. On Friday, Bannon testified for 40 minutes, saying he was doing so under subpoena. He said the campaign viewed Stone as “an access point” to WikiLeaks, citing his implied relationship with WikiLeaks and Assange.
  15. Bannon said Stone implied he could get information from WikiLeaks. He said Stone was an expert in opposition research and dirty tricks, “the type of things that campaigns use when they have to make up some ground.”
  16. On Friday, Paul Manafort’s son-in-law Jeffrey Yohai was sentenced to nine years in prison for an array of scams. The judge said Yohai was a serial scammer whose “horrific” crimes posed a significant threat to the public.
  17. On Saturday, while entering Madison Square Garden for the Ultimate Fighting Championship, Trump was greeted by loud boos in his former home state of New York. There were roughly 150 protestors outside.
  18. On Monday, the World Series champion Washington Nationals visited the White House. Eight of the key players chose not to attend.
  19. On Wednesday, ahead of Trump’s visit to the Alabama vs LSU football game on Saturday, the Alabama Student Government Association warned protestors risk losing their reserved seating for the rest of the season.
  20. On Saturday, WAPO reported when Rick Perry and other top advisers met with Trump in May to say the new Ukraine leader could be an ally, Trump said, “They tried to take me down,” and “are horrible, corrupt people.”
  21. In 2017 Trump tried to block aid to Ukraine saying it was not a “real country” and was “totally corrupt,” and claiming “everyone” was telling him it would anger Russia, although the opposite was true.
  22. On Saturday, Trump continued his attacks on the whistleblower, tweeting, “The Whistleblower has disappeared. Where is the Whistleblower?”
  23. On Sunday, Trump continued, tweeting, “The Whistleblower got it sooo wrong that HE must come forward,” and “Fake News Media knows who he is but, being an arm of the Democrat Party, don’t want to reveal him.”
  24. Trump also tweeted, “Many people listened to my phone call,” and “I never heard any complaints,” adding, “The reason is that it was totally appropriate, I say perfect. Republicans have never been more unified.”
  25. Trump also tweeted, “The Angry Majority!” — a phrase he first used athis rally Friday to describe supporters angered by the impeachment inquiry.
  26. Later Sunday, speaking to reporters at the White House, Trump threatened to expose information on Alexander Vindman, calling him a “Never Trumper,” and saying, “We’ll be showing that to you real soon.”
  27. Trump also told reporters the whistleblower “hated Trump,” and “You know who it is. You just don’t want to report it. CNN knows who it is, but you don’t want to report it…You’d be doing the public a service if you did.”
  28. Trump also said, “The whistleblower should be revealed because the whistleblower gave false stories. Some people would call it a fraud. I won’t go that far. But when I read it closely, I probably would.”
  29. Later Sunday, Mark Zaid, the attorney for both known whistleblowers, told NBC News the first whistleblower had offered to provide written answers to questions by House investigators, to protect his or her identity.
  30. On Monday, Trump tweeted, “The Whistleblower gave false information & dealt with corrupt politician Schiff,” adding, “He must be brought forward to testify. Written answers not acceptable!”
  31. Trump also tweeted, “Where is the 2nd Whistleblower? He disappeared after I released the transcript. Does he even exist?” adding, “Where is the informant? Con!”
  32. On Monday, Zaid tweeted, “we have offered to Rep. Devin Nunes,” the ranking member on the Intelligence Committee, written answers, saying the whistleblower “is not a partisan..nor is impeachment an objective.”
  33. On Sunday, an NBC/WSJ poll found net approval for impeachment and removal up 9% from last month, to 49% approve and 46% disapprove, up from 43% approve and 49% disapprove.
  34. On Sunday, Trump dismissed polls showing growing support for impeachment, telling reporters, “I have the real polls. The CNN polls are fake. The Fox polls have always been lousy.”
  35. On Monday, Fox News host Sean Hannity parroted Trump, blasting Fox News polling on his radio show, saying the methodology used by the network was “really wrong” and was “oversampling” Democrats.
  36. On Sunday, as wildfires rages in California, Trump tweeted, “The Governor of California, @GavinNewsom, has done a terrible job of forest management,” saying he told Newsom “he must “clean” his forest floors.”
  37. Trump also again threatened to pull federal aid from California, tweeting: “Every year, as the fire’s rage & California burns, it is the same thing-and then he comes to the Federal Government for $$$ help. No more.”
  38. On Sunday, Republicans shifted strategy to saying quid pro quo is not impeachable. Rep. Tom Cole told “Meet the Press” that “Concern is different than rising to the level of impeachment.”
  39. Trump tweeted, “False stories” are claiming “Trump may have done a quid pro quo,” and added, “but it doesn’t matter, there is nothing wrong with that, it is not an impeachable event.”
  40. On Saturday, a federal judge blocked the Trump regime’s plan set to go into effect on Sunday that would require immigrants to prove they have health care or the financial resources to get it in order to obtain a visa.
  41. On Sunday, the White House slammed the court, saying, “Once again, a nationwide injunction is permitting a single judge to thwart the President’s policy judgment,” calling it “wrong and unfair.”
  42. On Saturday, officials in Norway arrested Greg Johnson, a high-profile U.S. white supremacist, hours before he was scheduled to give a speech at the Scandza Forum, a network known for its anti-Semitic and racist views.
  43. On Sunday, NBC News reported a group of white people carrying a white nationalist flag were caught trying to record a video in front of the Emmett Till memorial. An official of the memorial called it a propaganda video.
  44. On Monday, ABC Milwaukee reported Mahud Villalaz, a U.S. citizen and Latino, suffered second-degree burns to his face when a white man threw acid at him, accusing him of being in the country illegally.
  45. On Monday, Buffalo Wild Wings fired employees in Naperville, Illinois who asked a black family and their party to change tables, because a white man did not “want black people sitting near him.”
  46. On Monday, NBC News reported Richard Holzer, 27, a white supremacist, was taken into custody and charged with plotting to blow up Temple Emanuel, the oldest synagogue in Colorado.
  47. Holzer told undercover investigators he was planning for a “racial holy war,” after investigators reached out to him after he promoted racially motivated acts of violence on Facebook.
  48. On Monday, Adrian Vergara, 26, pleaded guilty to a hate-crime for striking a teenage Syrian refugee who was speaking Arabic on a cellphone in the face five or six times while riding a trolley in Encanto, California.
  49. On Monday, former evangelical megachurch pastor and author Joshua Harris said the support Trump has gotten from the evangelical community has been “incredibly damaging to the Gospel and to the church.”
  50. On Monday, WSJ reported Navajo people took control of the San Juan County, Utah commission, 2-1, for the first time in 150 years in 2017 and plan to oppose Trump’s plan to develop federal lands like Bear’s Ears.
  51. Conservative white people, a minority who are pro-Trump, sought to dilute the commission by growing it from three to five seats through Proposition 10 in Tuesday’s election. Prop 10 failed in a close election.
  52. On Monday, the first day possible under the accord’s rules, the Trump regime formally served notice to the United Nations that it would withdraw the U.S. from the Paris Agreement on climate change.
  53. On Monday, a report by 11,258 scientists in 153 countries declared the planet “clearly and unequivocally faces a climate emergency,” and provided six broad policy goal to address the crisis.
  54. On Tuesday, USA Today reported millions of poor people lost access to a cellphone service through Lifeline, one of a number of federal assistance programs being targeted by the regime. Enrollment has dropped 21% since 2017.
  55. On Tuesday, WAPO reported the Citrus County, Florida commission voted 5-0 to block a librarian’s request for a NYT subscription on Oct 24, the same day the Trump announced canceling federal agency subscriptions.
  56. The vote took place before reporting on agencies, but after Trump’s public statements. The commissioner said, “Do we really need to subscribe to the New York Times?” and another added, “it’s fake news, and I’m voting no.”
  57. On Tuesday, 70% of Kansas City voters voted to remove Dr. Martin Luther King’s name from one of the city’s most historic boulevards, less than a year after The Paseo was renamed for King.
  58. On Tuesday, Somali refugee Safiya Khalid, 23, won a seat on the Lewiston City Council in Maine, after enduring vile abuse during her campaign by online trolls from as far away as Alabama and Mississippi.
  59. On Wednesday, the EPA’s inspector general said Ryan Jackson, the chief of staff to administrator Andrew Wheeler, refused to cooperate with an inquiry into whether he pressured a scientist to alter her Congressional testimony.
  60. In a letter, the IG said Jackson was in “open defiance” of two separate inquiries, an audit and an investigation, calling his actions a “flagrant problem” and referring the matter to Congress.
  61. On Thursday, the San Diego Union Tribune reported, in at least 14 cases, Customs and Border Protection agents in CA and TX are writing fake court dates on asylum seekers’ paperwork and sending them back them Mexico.
  62. On Monday, CNN reported the DOJ sent a letter to the agent of the upcoming book “A Warning,” saying the author may be violating “one or more nondisclosure agreements” with their anti-Trump book.
  63. On Monday, Hillary Clinton told Guardian that Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg “should pay a price” for what he is doing to democracy, and said false information, or “propaganda,” will have an impact on elections.
  64. On Tuesday, Daily Beast reported Russian FSB Gen. Alexander Bortnikov, Vladimir Putin’s top spy, is continuing to publicly push that Russia has a behind-the-scenes cooperation with the U.S. on cybersecurity.
  65. On Wednesday, an investigation by OpenDemocracy revealed British Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s Conservative Party has received a surge in donations from Russians with ties to Putin in recent months.
  66. Johnson is also under increased scrutiny for his refusal to sign off on the public release of a report on possible Russian interference in the UK’s 2016 Brexit referendum, ahead of the December 12 election.
  67. On Wednesday, in a joint statement by the DOJ, Department of Defense, DHS, FBI, and the NSA said “Russia, China, Iran, and other foreign malicious actors” will seek to interfere in the 2020 election.
  68. On Wednesday, a complaint unsealed in the U.S. District Court in San Francisco revealed the Saudi government, frustrated by criticism of its leaders and policies, recruited Twitter employees to spy on its critics.
  69. The Saudis sought employees to look up private Twitter data on its critics, including news personalities and a popular personality, including their email address and internet protocol addresses that can reveal a location.
  70. Two employees Ahmad Abouammo, a U.S. citizen, and Ali Alzabarah, a Saudi citizen, were charged as acting as agents of Saudi Arabia without registering. They got designer watches and tens of thousands of dollars in exchange for their spying.
  71. A third man who ran a social media marketing company that did work for the Saudi royal family was also charged. This marks the first time the Kingdom has been accused of spying in America.
  72. On Monday, the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Manhattan unanimously upheld a lower court decision that Trump’s accountant must turn over his tax returns to New York prosecutors.
  73. Later Monday, attorney Jay Sekulow said Trump will ask the Supreme Court to take up the case. The appeals court rejected the argument that Trump is immune from criminal investigation while in office.
  74. On Friday, Trump’s personal lawyers told a federal judge they intend to petition the Supreme Court next week to appeal the decision.
  75. On Monday, E. Jean Carroll said she would sue Trump for defamation, after Trump countered her allegations of rape by calling her a liar who wanted to sell books, said he never met her and “she’s not my type.”
  76. On Tuesday, Summer Zervos said new public cell phone records released by the Trump Org “corroborate” her allegations of sexual assault by Trump. Records show six calls made by Trump in late 2007 and early 2008.
  77. On Thursday, a federal judge in New York said Trump misused the Trump Foundation to further his political and business interests, and ordered him to distribute the remaining $1.7 million in funds to other charities.
  78. In the settlement, Trump admitted to giving his campaign complete control over $2.8 million the foundation raised at a fundraiser for veterans in Iowa in January 2016, saying it was campaign event.
  79. Trump also admitted to using the foundation funds to settle the legal obligations of his companies and Mar-a-Lago. Donald Jr., Ivanka, and Eric will go through training to ensure they do not repeat his improprieties.
  80. On Thursday, in a speech at an annual gathering, U.S. District Judge Paul Friedman said Trump’s rhetoric “violates all recognized democratic norms,” adding, “We are in unchartered territory.”
  81. He added, Trump “criticizes virtually every judicial decision that doesn’t go his way and denigrates judges who rule against him,” and views courts “as obstacles to be attacked and undermined…not as a coequal branch.”
  82. On Monday, four White House officials scheduled to testify in the impeachment probe refused to appear: John Eisenberg, Michael Ellis, Robert Blair, and Brian McCormack.
  83. An attorney for Ellis said his client was instructed by the White House not to appear, calling the congressional subpoena “invalid,” citing Democrats have not allowed Trump’s counsel at depositions and other concerns.
  84. Eisenberg’s attorney, William Burck, who also represents Don McGahn, said the DOJ advised him Sunday that as a senior adviser to Trump, Eisenberg is “absolutely immune from compelled congressional testimony.”
  85. On Monday, NYT reported at an “Off the Record” dinner for the Republican National Committee, officials shared they swamped House Democrats phone lines in recent weeks with anti-impeachment calls.
  86. The effort targeted nearly three dozen House Democrats and generated roughly 11,000 automated calls, in an effort to defend Trump by shaping opinion on impeachment and tying up phone lines.
  87. On Monday, the House released transcripts of its depositions with Marie Yovanovitch and Michael McKinley. McKinley said he repeatedly tried to get Secretary of State Mike Pompeo to come to Yovanovitch’s defense publicly.
  88. Pompeo did not, and McKinley resigned citing the State Department being used for politics. Pompeo recently said in an interview on ABC McKinley never expressed concerns, saying, “I never heard him say a single thing.”
  89. Yovanovitch said she got a call at 1 a.m. in April from the Director General of the Foreign Service telling herto get the next flight home, citing control of her “security.” When she asked why, she was told, “I don’t know.”
  90. When asked about Pompeo’s refusal to defend her, Yovanovitch said she was told Pompeo or someone around him would need to call Fox News host Sean Hannity to find out about allegations against her on his show.
  91. Yovanovitch said Gordon Sondland urged her to tweet support of Trump to save her job, saying, “you know the sorts of things that he likes. You know, go out there battling aggressively and, you know, praise him or support him.”
  92. Yovanovitch said she felt threatened by Trump telling Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky she was “bad news” and would “go through some things,” and feared Trump could retaliate: “I didn’t know what it meant. I was very concerned. I still am.”
  93. Yovanovitch said Ukrainian Interior Minister Arsen Avakov expressed concern to her in February about the country getting embroiled in U.S. politics, citing Manafort’s “black ledger” and a Biden investigation.
  94. Yovanovitch said Ukraine’s then-prosecutor general, Yuri Lutsenko, teamed up with Rudy Giuliani to work around the system, and worked to smear her as undermining Trump’s agenda with Ukraine, which he later recanted.
  95. On Monday, NYT reported Pompeo faces his most perilous time in office as the impeachment inquiry looks into what he knew, and diplomats are revolting against his leadership and testifying in the inquiry.
  96. Notably as CIA director, Pompeo testified to Congress that Russia interfered in the election. Now as Secretary of State, he has reversed and is openly backing the conspiracy theory that Ukraine, not Russia, did the hacking.
  97. Pompeo helped Trump and Giuliani oust Yovanovitch. McKinley testified Pompeo refused to “say a single thing” about her ouster. Pompeo has also tried to block State Department officials from testifying in the inquiry.
  98. Career officials accused Pompeo of abandoning veteran diplomats and allowing Trump’s personal agenda to infect foreign policy. He is facing a revolt as officials say he has damaged the department and morale is at rock bottom.
  99. He has also drawn fire for four trips to Kansas while he considers a Senate run , most recently with Ivanka. The Kansas City Star Editorial Board wrote, “Pompeo should quit and run for Senate or do his job at State.”
  100. On Monday, Reuters reported lawyers for Lev Parnas said he will comply with the impeachment inquiry. Parnas helped Giuliani look for political dirt on Joe Biden.
  101. Parnas’s new attorney, Joseph Bondy, who replaced John Dowd, explained the change of heart, saying, “Parnas was very upset by President Trump’s plainly false statement that he did not know him.”
  102. NYT reported Trump had signed off on Parnas using Dowd in an October 2 email. Dowd had said Trump’s support was sought “simply as a courtesy.” Parnas had previously been in Trump’s camp, and refused to cooperate.
  103. On Monday, Reuters reported Ukraine plans to fire prosecutor Kostiantyn Kulyk, who led the investigations into Burisma. The decision comes as Ukraine tried to avoid getting drawn into U.S. partisan politics.
  104. On Monday, Trump ally Sen. Lindsey Graham said on Fox News that the Senate Foreign Relations Committee should investigate Joe Biden and Hunter Biden, and “the State Department’s role in all of this.”
  105. On Tuesday, Michael Duffey, a top official on the White House budget office, and Wells Griffith, a senior aide to Energy Department Sec. Rick Perry, refused to appear before the House impeachment inquiry.
  106. On Tuesday, the impeachment depositions of Kurt Volker and Sondland were released by the House. The day prior, Sondland released four pages of new sworn testimony, laying out his involvement in the quid pro quo.
  107. Sondland claimed reading the testimony of William Taylor and Timothy Morrison had “refreshed my recollection.” He provided a description of his involvement in telling Ukraine military aid was dependent on opening investigations.
  108. Sondland said he was not forthcoming in his testimony about his texts to Taylor, acknowledging he did know by then that military aid to Ukraine was contingent on the investigations.
  109. His new testimony contradicted that he was pushing the quid pro quo as a lone wolf, instead claiming he was just the messenger, who understood that aid was linked to investigations, and articulated it that way to others.
  110. Sondland said on September 1, while PresidentZelensky was meeting with Vice President Mike Pence to discuss aid, he discussed the linkage to aid to opening investigations with Andriy Yermak, a top Zelensky adviser.
  111. On Tuesday, the White House pushed back on his new testimony, saying Sondland failed to cite a “solid source,” and “no amount of salacious media-biased headlines” change that Trump “has done nothing wrong.”
  112. On Wednesday, Graham questioned why Sondland changed his testimony on Fox News, musing, “Was there a connection between [Sondland] and Democratic operatives,” or “Did he talk to Schiff” or his staffers?
  113. On Tuesday, the transcripts revealed both Volker and Sondland testified that at a May 23 meeting, Trump complained about suspicions Ukraine tried to undermine his 2016 campaign, and they were “trying to take him down.”
  114. Volker also testified that Trump said of Ukraine, “They are all corrupt, they are all terrible people,” and “I don’t want to spend any time with that.” Volker said Giuliani amplified Trump’s “negative narrative” about Ukraine.
  115. Volker said he told Giuliani the theories on Ukraine were “not credible.” And said Ukrainians asked to be put in touch with Giuliani, saying because they believed “that information flow would reach the President.”
  116. Volker said he was surprised and troubled by what was said on the July 25 call, but claimed he did not have a conversation about quid pro quo “because I didn’t know that there was a quid pro quo.”
  117. Volker said he became aware of the hold-up of aid on July 18, saying although it “struck me as unusual,” he claimed, “Nobody ever gave a reason why.”
  118. Volker said “the news about a hold on security assistance did not get into Ukrainian government circles” until “the end of August” — bolstering a Trump defense there was not a quid pro quo since Ukraine did not know.
  119. On Wednesday, WAPO reported Giuliani was cited 480 times in Sondland and Volker’s testimony, and appears to have played a central role in driving Ukraine policy. Trump seemed to refer to him too, saying, “Talk to Rudy.”
  120. Their testimony showed Trump grew disinterested and pushed responsibility for Ukraine to Giuliani, who took the lead over the State Department, even checking the statement Zelensky was prepared to give.
  121. On Wednesday, Giuliani announced on Twitter that he has assembled a legal team for the criminal investigation into his activities related to Ukraine, including his longtime friend, Robert Costello.
  122. Giuliani tweeted, “The evidence…will show that this present farce is as much a frame-up and hoax as Russian collusion, maybe worse.” Hiring counsel shows how seriously Giuliani is taking the inquiry in Manhattan.
  123. NYT reported it took Giuliani weeks to find lawyers willing to represent him. At least four prominent lawyers turned him down, including Mary Jo White, Theodore Wells Jr., Daniel Stein, and Paul Shechtman.
  124. On Wednesday, NYT reported the $500,000 paid to Giuliani’s firm by Lev Parnas and Igor Fruman’s Fraud Guarantee in September and October 2018 came from lawyer Charles Gucciardo, a GOP donor and Trump supporter.
  125. On Monday, at a rally in Lexington, Kentucky, Trump again attacked the whistleblower, saying they “said lots of things that weren’t so good, folks. You’re going to find out,” adding, “These are very dishonest people.”
  126. WAPO reported Trump has made the false claim that the whistleblower misrepresented the call more than 100 times in the past six weeks. Experts noted a form of gaslighting: repeating the falsehood to make a lie credible.
  127. Trump has called the whistleblower’s allegations “false,” “fraudulent,” “wrong,” “incorrect,” “so bad,” “very inaccurate,” and “phony.” At the rally, supporters behind him wore t-shirts saying, “Read the Transcript.”
  128. Trump also told supporters that Matt Bevin losing “sends a really bad message” adding, “you can’t let that happen to me!” The most recent Kentucky governor poll had Bevin up by five points.
  129. Also at the rally, Sen. Rand Paul demanded the media expose the whistleblower, saying, “do your job and print his name.” The whistleblower’s lawyer said Paul “betrays the interests of the Constitution and the American people.”
  130. On Tuesday, Paul told reporters he “probably will” disclose the name. He later said on Fox News that he “may” disclose the name, saying, “There’s nothing that prevents me from saying it now.”
  131. Shortly after, Paul tweeted an article by Real Clear Investigations which speculated on the whistleblower’s identity and gave considerable detail including the name, photograph, and political history of a CIA professional.
  132. Shortly after, Russia state media outlets TASS, RT, and Rossiya-1 disseminated the information speculatingon the whistleblower, but falsely claimed the source was the Washington Post.
  133. On Wednesday, Donald Jr. tweeted a Breitbart story that named the person believed to be the whistleblower, and added the name to the text of his tweet. Fox News hosts have been instructed not to mention the name.
  134. On Wednesday, a lawyer for the whistleblower said, “Identifying any name for the whistleblower will simply place that individual and their family at risk of serious harm,” and “we will not confirm or deny any name.”
  135. A second lawyer called Donald Jr. speculating on the identity “disgusting and reckless,” adding, “It puts the individual in danger, no matter if he is the whistleblower or not, and is an insult to the federal whistleblower law.”
  136. On Thursday, Donald Jr. defended himself on “The View.” When a co-host called the outing “something dictators do,” he responded “For days, he’s been out there in the media,” and “I’m a private citizen.”
  137. On Wednesday, Paul blocked a Senate resolution put forward by Minority Leader Chuck Schumer and Sen. Mazie Hirono which acknowledged “the contributions of whistleblowers” protected them from retaliation.
  138. On Wednesday, NYT reported Donald Jr. also retweeted an unsubstantiated claim shared by right-wing commentator Jack Posobiec that Alexander Vindman had bashed America to Russian officers in 2013.
  139. On Tuesday, Election Day, Democrats won control of the Virginia House and Senate, giving Democrats control of the state government for the first time in 26 years. Democrats also won the Kentucky governor seat.
  140. Democrats won decisively in Philadelphia and the surrounding suburbs. Democrats won control of the Delaware County Council for the first time since the Civil War. Pennsylvania is an important swing state.
  141. On Wednesday, WAPO reported the outcome in Kentucky embarrassed Trump who had just campaigned there, and worried Republicans for 2020. Trump won the state by 30 points in 2016.
  142. While aides tried to spin the loss as an anomaly, saying the candidate was unpopular, the GOP candidate had run on embracing Trump and his agenda, and ran against the House Democrats’ impeachment inquiry.
  143. On Wednesday, Trump held a ceremony at the White House to mark that more than 150 of his judicial pickshad been confirmed by the Senate, musing, “How ‘bout adding another 100 or so?”
  144. Trump said his picks might only be topped by George Washington, and lamented liberal “activist” judges, including ones who have blocked his travel bans and attempts to limit immigration.
  145. Trump also said he will host Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on November 13 at the White House, despite Turkey’s invasion of Syria, on the same day public impeachment hearings begin.
  146. On Thursday, NYT reported in a searing internal memo, the top American diplomat in Syria, William V. Roebuck, criticized the Trump regime for not doing enough to stop the Turkish military offensive.
  147. Roebuck said Turkish-backed militia fighters committed “war crimes and ethnic cleansing,” and Trump’s policy shift left Syrian Kurdish allies abandoned and opened the door for a possible Islamic State resurgence.
  148. Roebuck added, “One day when the diplomatic history is written” people will wonder why officials did not do more to stop “an unprovoked military operation” that killed 200 civilians and displaced over 100,000 people.
  149. On Thursday, Foreign Policy reported the position of U.S. special envoy to Ukraine, formerly held by Kurt Volker, is expected to be scrapped, and its responsibilities taken up by someone else at the State Department.
  150. On Thursday, French President Emmanuel Macron told the Economist that Europe can no longer count on the U.S. to defend its NATO allies, after Trump’s withdrawal of U.S. troops from Syria.
  151. Macron said Trump “doesn’t share our idea of the European project,” and “What we are currently experiencing is the brain death of NATO,” and Europe needs to needs to start thinking of itself as a geopolitical power.
  152. On Wednesday, WSJ reported the White House is bringing on Pam Bondi, a former Florida attorney general, and Tony Sayegh, a former Treasury Department spokesman, to bolster Trump’s impeachment strategy.
  153. Bringing on Bondi and Sayegh is a tacit acknowledgement by the Trump regime that it needs a strategy and coordinated response to impeachment. Trump has resisted forming a team despite pressure from GOP lawmakers.
  154. On Wednesday, a Morning Consult poll found support for impeachment fell to 47% from a mid-October high of 51%. Voters who heard “a lot” about the House vote were more likely to support impeachment.
  155. On Tuesday, Roll Call reported according to the transcripts released in the inquiry, most GOP members of the three committees have not shown up. Democrats outnumbered Republicans 2-to-1 during Sondland’s testimony.
  156. On Tuesday, CBS News reported Republicans are considering moving Rep. Jim Jordan to the House Intelligence Committee, and having him take the lead role from Rep. Devin Nunes as the impeachment inquiry heats up.
  157. On Thursday, a professional referee became the second person who said he told Jordan about sexual misconduct at Ohio State by a former doctor who allegedly sexually abused nearly 300 men over 17 years.
  158. On Friday, House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy announced that Jordan would officially be joining the House Impeachment Committee for hearings next week, replacing Rep. Rick Crawford.
  159. On Wednesday, David Hale, the State Department’s third-ranking official, testified behind closed doors in the impeachment inquiry for more than six hours, and was expected to testify about Yovanovitch’s ouster.
  160. AP reported Hale was expected to say Secretary Pompeo and other senior officials determined publicly defending Yovanovitch would hurt efforts to free up military aid to Ukraine, and would upset Giuliani.
  161. On Wednesday, two other witnesses who were scheduled to testify — Russ Vought, the acting director of the White House Office of Management and Budget, and Energy Department Sec. Rick Perry — did not show up.
  162. On Wednesday, the House released a 300-page transcript of William Taylor’s testimony. Taylor said it was Giuliani’s idea to have Zelensky commit to the political investigations.
  163. Taylor said there was clear quid pro quo, saying, “that was my clear understanding, security assistance money would not come until the President [of Ukraine] committed to pursue the investigation.”
  164. Taylor also said there was a second quid pro quo, involving a meeting with Trump: “By mid-July, it was becoming clear to me that the meeting President Zelensky wanted was conditioned on investigations.”
  165. Taylor also mentioned a “nightmare” scenario where Zelensky would publicly promise an investigation, which got him into “big trouble” in the U.S. and Ukraine, and ultimately benefited Russia.
  166. Taylor said Giuliani spearheaded the drive to get Zelensky to announce investigations into Trump’s political rivals, and that Giuliani was acting on behalf of Trump.
  167. Taylor said Bolton “was very sympathetic” to his concerns about aid, and Bolton “was also trying, with the two secretaries [Pompeo and Defense Sec. Mark Esper] and the director of the CIA, to get this decision reversed.”
  168. Taylor said an NSC meeting to discuss Ukraine aid was hard to schedule because the focus was on Trump’s desire to buy Greenland, and there was “discomfort” in the State Department about Sondland’s role in Ukraine.
  169. Taylor said he kept “careful notes” in a “little notebook where I take notes on conversations.” He also had “handwritten notes…on a small, little spiral notebook in my office of phone calls that take place in my office.”
  170. On Wednesday, Sen. Graham, Chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee, said he will not read the transcripts of testimony, calling the process an illegitimate “sham” and “bunch of B.S.”
  171. Graham also tried a new defense of Trump, claiming Trump’s Ukraine policy was “incoherent,” and saying, “They seem to be incapable of forming a quid pro quo.”
  172. On Wednesday, Trump held a rally in in Monroe, Louisiana. Sen. John Kennedy of Louisiana stood on stage with Trump, and said of Speaker Nancy Pelosi, “I don’t mean any disrespect but it must suck to be that dumb.”
  173. Trump raged against House Democrats for pursuing a “deranged, delusional, destructive, and hyper-partisan impeachment witch hunt,” adding, “It’s all a hoax, it’s a scam.”
  174. Trump also accused Democrats of “ becoming increasingly totalitarian,” accusing them of “staging show trials” and “trying to overthrow American democracy to impose their socialist agenda.”
  175. Trump also said, “I had a perfect phone call, a totally perfect phone call,” and said the whistleblower made a “horrible statement” about his July 25 call, and then “disappeared” after the transcript was released.
  176. Trump also falsely claimed that Joe Biden pushed for the removal of a Ukrainian prosecutor investigating his son, saying, “That’s called a quid pro quo. Not here.”
  177. Trump made a brief mention of Hillary Clinton, whom he called “Crooked Hillary,” leading his supporters to chant, “Lock her up!” He also referred to Democratic 2020 candidate Sen. Elizabeth Warren as “Pocahontas.”
  178. Reporters indicated that starting around halfway through Trump’s 72-minute speech, a steady stream of supporters stood up and left. The venue was filled to capacity according to Trump’s campaign.
  179. On Wednesday, WAPO reported around September 25, when the White House released the July 25 call transcript, Trump wanted Attorney General William Barr to hold a news conference and say Trump did not break the law in the call.
  180. The request traveled from Trump to White House officials, who then passed it on to the DOJ. Barr declined to do so, but the DOJ issued a statement saying it would not investigate for campaign finance violations.
  181. The DOJ pushed to release the transcript following reporting on the whistleblower complaint, wrongly assuming it would quell the controversy since Trump did not explicitly push for quid pro quo.
  182. Trump has mentioned Barr’s unwillingness to make a statement to associates in recent weeks, saying he wished he had done so, but the two remain on good terms. The DOJ had tried to distance itself from Trump and Giuliani on the matter.
  183. Later Wednesday, just after midnight, in a series of tweets, Trump pushed back on the story, tweeting, “Years ago, when Media was legitimate…“Fact Checkers” would always call to check and see if a story was accurate.”
  184. Trump also tweeted now, “they just write whatever they want!” adding, “The story in the Amazon Washington Post, of course picked up by Fake News CNN…is totally untrue and just another FAKE NEWS story.”
  185. Trump also again evoked the phrase “enemy of the people,” tweeting, “the LameStream Media, which is The Enemy of the People,” of “working overtime with made up stories in order to drive dissension and distrust!”
  186. On Thursday, Trump continued his attacks in the morning, tweeting, “Bill Barr did not decline my request to talk about Ukraine,” calling it a “Fake Washington Post con job with an “anonymous” source that doesn’t exist.”
  187. Trump also tweeted, “The degenerate Washington Post MADE UP the story about me asking Bill Barr,” adding,“Never happened, and there were no sources!” In a separate tweet, Trump wrote “Read the Transcript!”
  188. Shortly after, Trump continued, tweeting, “The Amazon Washington Post and three lowlife reporters, Matt Zapotosky, Josh Dawsey, and Carol Leonnig, wrote another Fake News story, without any sources.”
  189. Trump also called WAPO, “a garbage newspaper!” and accused “The Radical Left Dems and LameStream Media” of making it harder for him to win, and citing the “new Impeachment Hoax” turning against them.
  190. In a statement, WAPO Executive Editor Marty Baron responded, saying the Post fully stands by the story and its reporters. The story was also later confirmed by NYT and ABC News.
  191. On Friday, Democratic Sens. Kamala Harris, Richard Blumenthal, and Sheldon Whitehouse filed a FOIA request seeking documents related to Trump’s alleged call for Barr to hold a press conference.
  192. In their filing, the three cited “serious concerns” about Trump’s perception of the DOJ “as a partisan political instrument and his willingness to use the power of federal law enforcement in pursuit of his own objectives.”
  193. Trump also called for the end of the impeachment inquiry, citing a 2017 tweet by Mark Zaid, “the Fake Whistleblowers attorney,” predicting his impeachment, and tweeting “the Impeachment Hoax should be ended IMMEDIATELY!”
  194. Trump also falsely claimed, “I get NO LAWYER & NO DUE PROCESS. It is a Pelosi, Schiff, Scam against the Republican Party and me,” adding, “This Witch Hunt should not be allowed to proceed!”
  195. On Thursday, Daily Beast reported Trump and “Apprentice” creator Mark Burnett have discussions about doing another TV series together, possibly “The Apprentice: White House.” Trump misses being a reality TV host.
  196. On Thursday, in response to a request for witnesses sent by Chair Adam Schiff to ranking member Nunes, Jim Jordan responded instead, saying Republicans want to subpoena the whistleblower.
  197. On Thursday, NYT reported Zelensky met with two U.S. Senators in early September and was told if the $400 million in military aid was not released by Trump by September 30, it could be lost entirely.
  198. All of Zelensky top aides were in favor of bowing to Trump’s demands except Alexander Danyliuk, the director of the NSC, who resigned and said Zelensky would need to “correct the mistakes” in U.S. relations.
  199. Negotiations for a statement for Zelenksy happened between Kurt Volker and his senior aide Andriy Yermak in August. U.S. diplomats agreed to drop mention of Ukraine interference in the 2016 election.
  200. Taylor testified that Trump wanted the statement made on CNN. Aides for Zelensky, cautious not to upset Trump, noted his negative tweets about CNN, but then also noticed Trump was attacking Fox News.
  201. Zelensky decided to make a statement on September 13 on CNN show hosted by Fareed Zakaria. Two days before, news had been leaked out about the aid, Congress was in an uproar and aid was released. Zelensky canceled the interview.
  202. On Thursday, Jennifer Williams, a career foreign service officer and special adviser to Pence for Europe and Russia, appeared before the House committees on the impeachment inquiry. She was issued a subpoena.
  203. Williams likely would have briefed Pence ahead of his meeting with Zelensky on September 1. She was also the second on the July 25 call to testify. Pence claimed he was not aware of Trump’s demands to Zelensky.
  204. John Bolton however did not appear for his scheduled impeachment deposition. Bolton has not been issued a subpoena. WAPO reported Bolton is willing to appear if the federal court clears the way.
  205. On Thursday, House Democrats dropped efforts to get testimony from Bolton, after his lawyer threatened to file a lawsuit if he was subpoenaed. Both Democrats and Republicans have said they want to hear from Bolton.
  206. House Democrats also withdrew their subpoena from Charles Kupperman on Wednesday, citing the drawn out time for a legal battle. Oral arguments would have started December 10.
  207. Instead the House will rely on the outcome of a similar ongoing case with Don McGahn, heard by a different judge in the same courthouse. She is likely to issue an opinion in November.
  208. On Thursday, CNN reported House Democrats plan to fast-track the impeachment inquiry, limiting the number of witnesses and avoiding court battles. Sources say the timeline has not been finalized.
  209. Democrats plan to hold public hearings for two weeks, write a report over Thanksgiving break, have two weeks for debate, and then a full House vote before Christmas. Trump would be the third president to be impeached.
  210. On Thursday, House investigators released the transcript of George Kent’s testimony. Kent said he had written contemporaneous memos of specific conversations he had witnessed related to quid pro quo.
  211. Kent testified he believed the Trump-Ukraine conduct was “injurious to the rule of law, both in Ukraine and the U.S.” His notes are in the property of the State Department, and have not been turned over despite a subpoena.
  212. He told Catherine Croft on August 15, on asking Ukraine to investigate, “that goes against everything that we are trying to promote in post Soviet states for the last 28 years, which is the promotion of the rule of law.”
  213. Kent also testified Giuliani started a “campaign of slander” against Yovanovitch in mid-March, and was aided by journalist John Solomon, and Fox News hosts Sean Hannity and Laura Ingraham.
  214. On Thursday, WAPO reported House Republicans’ strategy to shield Trump is raise motives about his deputies — Sondland, Giuliani, and Mick Mulvaney — and say they could have acted alone, and make them the fall guy.
  215. On Thursday, Pence denied allegations in the anonymous author’s book that he would have backed removal of Trump under the 25th Amendment, and added, “I never heard any discussion in my entire tenure.”
  216. Pence also told reporters there was “no quid pro quo,” adding Trump “made military support available for Ukraine,” and, “The American people have the transcript” of Trump’s call.
  217. On Thursday, lawyers for the whistleblower sent the White House a cease and desist letter, demanding Trump stop calling for the outing of the whistleblower’s name, and citing his “reckless and dangerous” comments.
  218. The letter to White House counsel states: “should any harm befall any suspected named whistleblower or their family, the blame will rest squarely with your client.”
  219. On Thursday, journalist Bill Moyer called on PBS to televise the impeachment hearings live, and repeat the broadcast in primetime for Americans who work to see, as was done with Watergate.
  220. On Thursday, a USC Dornsife/LA Times poll found 44% believe the House should vote to impeach, 30% say they should not, and 26% say they do not know or it is too soon to tell.
  221. On Thursday, advance copies of “A Warning” came out, describing Trump as cruel, inept, and a danger to the nation. Anonymous said the ‘quiet resistance’ inside the regime would not steer Trump in the right direction.
  222. The author described Trump as unfit, reckless, and without full control of his faculties, saying he is “like a twelve-year-old in an air traffic control tower, pushing the buttons of government indiscriminately.”
  223. The author claimed senior regime officials considered resigning en masse in a “midnight self-massacre” to sound the public alarm, but decided not to, citing it would destabilize the already fragile government.
  224. On Friday, Trump said he has not agreed to scrap tariffs on China including finalizing “phase one” of the trade deal, after holding a celebratory ceremony in the Oval Office in Week 152.
  225. On Friday, before heading to Georgia, Trump stopped and spoke to reporters on the South Lawn, after avoiding the press for two days — highly unusual for Trump.
  226. Trump told reporters of Sondland, “Let me just tell you: I hardly know the gentleman.” Sondland donated $1 million to Trump’s inaugural fund and has flown several times on Air Force One.
  227. Trump said of the impeachment hearings next week, after complaining about closed door hearings recently, “they shouldn’t be having public hearings,” adding, “This is a hoax. This is just like the Russian witch hunt.”
  228. Trump also said, “Everybody that’s testified, even the ones that are Trump haters, they’ve all been fine. They don’t have anything,” again saying his call “transcript is perfect,” and My phone call was perfect.”
  229. Trump also said the whistleblower “is a disgrace to our country,” and their identity “should be revealed,” and their lawyer “should be sued. And maybe for treason. Maybe for treason.”
  230. Trump also said “Nancy Pelosi should go back to her district, which is horrible. It’s filthy. It’s drug-infested. The stuff’s being flown out to the ocean — it’s being wiped out to the ocean through their drainage systems.”
  231. Trump said of the WAPO story, “if I asked Bill Barr to have a press conference I think he’d do it,” placing him at odds with Barr. Then he added, “But I never asked him to have a press conference. Why should I?”
  232. Trump complained about the media and Democrats, saying, “you’ve really shaped my behavior,” citing “phony stuff” and “false investigations,” adding, “a lot of my behavior was shaped by the fake news and by the other side.”
  233. Trump also told reporters Putin invited him to Russia’s Victory Day parade on May 9, and he is “thinking about it,” adding, “It is right in the middle of political season,” but “I would love to go if I could.”
  234. Later Friday, Trump courted African-American voters at the launch of “Black Voices for Trump” in Atlanta. Roughly 300 attended. Trump told reporters Democrats’ “sinister effort” to get him out of office will not work.
  235. Trump said the inquiry is a “deranged, hyperpartisan impeachment witch hunt,” and “failing fast. It’s all a hoax,” and blamed Democrats for urban issues like crime, saying, “Pelosi should go back home to San Francisco.”
  236. On Friday, acting White House chief of staff Mick Mulvaney defied a House subpoena and skipped his scheduled closed door deposition, saying he was not coming because he had “absolute immunity.”
  237. On Friday, the transcripts of Alexander Vindman and Fiona Hill’s testimony were released by House impeachment investigators. Both Vindman and Hill are in discussion about publicly testifying.
  238. Hill said after it became public that she would cooperate, she was threatened: “I received…death threats, calls at my home. My neighbors reported somebody coming and hammering on my door.”
  239. The transcripts showed Chair Schiff sparred with Rep. Matt Gaetz when he attempted to enter the closed door hearing while Hill testified, with Schiff saying, “You’re not permitted to be in the room,” and “absent yourself.”
  240. Hill testified there was a “good chance” Russia had kompromat on Trump during the 2016 campaign, and it “often is factual,” adding, “then they will sprinkle into that disinformation.”
  241. Hill testified that Giuliani and Sondland side-stepped typical NSC and White House processes for foreign policy, and Giuliani undercut and derailed U.S. diplomats charged with the U.S.-Ukraine relationship.
  242. Hill said the ouster of Yovanovitch was a turning point for her leaving, and that Giuliani was behind Yovanovitch’s “defamation.” Bolton’s reaction was Giuliani is a “hand grenade that is going to blow everyone up.”
  243. Hill also said the campaign against Yovanovitch was “ruthless and nasty,” and had “a really devastating effect” on career diplomats like herself, and on female diplomats in particular.
  244. Hill said reading the July 25 transcript and Volker’s texts were her “worst fears and nightmares” realized, adding there were “an awful lot of people” involved in turning “a White House meeting into some kind of asset.”
  245. Hill said Sondland told her on multiple occasions he was overseeing the Ukraine relationship, on Trump’s authority. She worried Sondland would become a “target for foreign powers” for offering White House access.
  246. Hill and Vindman testified Sondland told Ukrainian officials at a July 10 meeting they would need to open an investigation to secure a White House meeting. Sondland said he was acting at the direction of Mulvaney.
  247. Hill and Vindman testified that the quid pro quo effort was coordinated by Mulvaney. Vindman said he heard of the first hold on Ukraine aid by July 3, and later learned it came from Mulvaney’s office.
  248. Vindman said “there was no doubt” that Trump was seeking political investigations of political rivals, and that Zelensky would “need to fulfill this particular prerequisite in order to get the meeting.”
  249. In total, Democrats released 2,677 pages of testimony from eight impeachment witnesses. Overall, the House committees have called 33 witnesses to testify and 16 have appeared so far.
  250. Later Friday, in a letter to Congress, Bolton’s attorney said his client knows about “many relevant meetings and conversations” connected to the Ukraine pressure campaign that the House has not yet covered.
  251. Bolton’s attorney said his client would be willing to testify, but would first need a court ruling hat he should ignore White House objections. The attorney, Charles Cooper, also represents Kupperman.
  252. Cooper also argued, unlike others who have testified in the inquiry, Bolton and Kupperman did not have the same constraint since they “did not provide direct advice to the president on a regular or frequent basis.
  253. Late Friday, attorneys for Mulvaney asked to join a federal lawsuit filed by Kupperman seeking a judicial ruling on whether Congress can compel Trump’s senior advisers to testify in the impeachment inquiry.
  254. In reaction to the House asking the judge to dismiss Kupperman’s case on Wednesday, Cooper said in a letter Friday that Kupperman and Bolton want to get a “definitive judgment” on whether to testify.
  255. Mulvaney’s attorneys said he and Kupperman face identical competing demands, although Kupperman has left his position. Mulvaney said he fears the House will hold him in contempt for not appearing.
  256. On Friday, WSJ reported in late February, Parnas and Fruman urged former Ukraine President Petro Poroshenko to announce investigations in Trump’s political opponents in exchange for a White House meeting.
  257. The three met at the offices of then Ukrainian general prosecutor Yuriy Lutsenko, shortly after Parnas and Fruman met with Giuliani and Lutsenko in New York in late January, and then again in Warsaw in mid-February.
  258. Poroshenko was in a tight race and wanted to have a state dinner with Trump, then do an interview with a news outlet, then he would announce the investigations. His approval sagged and the meeting did not happen.
  259. Lutsenko told the Hill in March that he was opening an investigation into interference by Ukraine in 2016, and had evidence to present to the DOJ on Joe Biden and Burisma. He later found no wrongdoing by the Bidens.
  260. On Saturday, early in the morning and continuing through the day, Trump sent a flurry of tweets attackingthe impeachment probe, witnesses, and Democrats. He retweeted 17 messages in one hour alone, hammering Democrats.
  261.  Trump also tweeted, “Fake News is reporting that I am talking to Mark Burnett about doing a big show,” adding, “which I would assume they mean in 5 years,” and “This is not true,” and “False reporting!”
  262. Trump also promoted his son’s book, tweeting, “Just finished reading my son Donald’s just out new book, “Triggered.” It is really good! He, along with many of us, was very unfairly treated. But we all fight back.”
  263. In his book, Donald Jr. wrote that a visit to Arlington National Cemetery reminded him of all his family’s sacrifices, saying, “we’d already suffered as a family, and about all the sacrifices we’d have to make.”
  264. Trump also promoted another book, tweeting, “Bringing the word “Nationalism” back into the mainstream — great job by Rich Lowry!” adding, “Very important book.”
  265. Trump also tweeted, “the Witch Hunt continues. After 3 years of relentless attacks against the Republican Party & me,” adding, “the Do Nothing Dems are losers for America!” and “PRESIDENTIAL HARASSMENT!”
  266. On Saturday, House Republicans sent a list of witnesses they want to call in the impeachment hearings, including Hunter Biden, Nellie Ohr, a board member of Burisma, Volker, Morrison, and the whistleblower.
  267. Chair Schiff responded, “This inquiry is not, and will not serve…to undertake the same sham investigationsinto the Bidens or 2016 that the President pressed Ukraine to conduct for his personal political benefit.”
  268. On Saturday, NPR annotated the whistleblower complaint based on public record of testimony in the impeachment inquiry, and found most of the content has already been corroborated.
  269. On Saturday, Trump told reporters he will “probably” release the transcript on Tuesday of a second call with Zelensky on April 12 after he won the election, saying, “They ask for it, and I gladly give it.”
  270. Trump also said on the hearings, “I don’t care if public — they should be public. What I said it was misreported as usual. What I said is very simple. There should not be anything. There should not be impeachment hearings.”

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In this Tuesday, Nov. 5, 2019, photo Delaware County Council candidate Monica Taylor high-fives a supporter during the Delaware County Democratic Committee’s election watch party. Democrats won all three seats and took control of the council for the first time since the Civil War.

POLITIKS OF GRAFFITI 156: LOCK HIM UP!

NOVEMBER 02, 2019

Week 155

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

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

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

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

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CLOSE UP. 

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

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V O T E. Downtown San Diego, CALIFORNIA 2nov19
  1. On Saturday, former White House chief of staff John Kelly said at a conference that he warned Trump if he replaced him with “a ‘yes man,’ someone who won’t tell you the truth,” he would “be impeached.”
  2. Trump said Kelly “never said anything like that,” or he would have thrown him “out of the office.” White House press secretary Stephanie Grisham said Kelly “was totally unequipped to handle the genius” of Trump.
  3. Late Saturday, Trump tweeted, “Something very big has just happened!” The White House said Trump will make a major announcement on Sunday at 9 a.m. EST. It was not immediately clear what Trump would discuss.
  4. On Sunday, Trump announced an operation by U.S. Special Forces on Saturday killed Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, the founder and leader of ISIS. Trump notably thanked other countries before thanking U.S. troops.
  5. Trump particularly emphasized Russia, thanking “the nations of Russia, Turkey, Syria, and Iraq” and the “Syrian Kurds,” then later saying “Russia was great, Russia let us fly through space. Russia hates ISIS as much as us.”
  6. Trump delivered an unusually vivid account, saying al-Baghdadi “died after running into a dead-end tunnel, whimpering, screaming and crying all the way,” adding, “He died like a dog, he died like a coward.”
  7. Trump also said of oilfields, “We have taken it and secured it,” and repeated his 2016 campaign rhetoric, “I said keep the oil,” confirming the world’s worst suspicions about American motives in the region.
  8. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said in a statement that Trump notified Russia before telling Congress, saying,“The House must be briefed,” adding, “the Russians but not top Congressional Leadership were notified.”
  9. Trump only informed two Senate Republicans, Sens. Richard Burr and Lindsey Graham, and claimed he did not tell Speaker Pelosi because he “wanted to make sure this kept secret.”
  10. A spokesperson for the Russian Defense Ministry refuted Trump’s announcement, saying Russia did not provide access to air space for U.S. air units, and calling Trump’s victory lap nothing but “propaganda.”
  11. On Sunday, NYT reported Trump’s Syria troop withdrawal complicated the Pentagon’s plans for the al-Baghdadi raid, which were underway for months, and caused a risky night raid before the pullout was complete.
  12. On Monday, Trump told reporters he is considering releasing parts of the video of the raid, saying “it was an amazing display of intelligence and military power,” and evoking comparisons to a reality-TV type rollout.
  13. Trump also defended not notifying Democratic leaders beforehand, saying, “I’ve watched Adam Schiff leak,” calling him a “corrupt politician” and “the biggest leaker in Washington.”
  14. On Monday, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said he was not notified ahead of the raid, but Trump tried to connect before the news conference. House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy also was not notified.
  15. On Monday, Gen. Mark Milley, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, told reporters the Pentagon could not confirm al-Baghdadi died “screaming, crying and whimpering,” and was not sure how Trump got his information.
  16. On Monday, NBC News reported some of the details Trump gave were false, while others may have revealed highly classified or tactically sensitive information. Officials cited his entertainment background.
  17. On Monday, NBC News reported a Kurdish informant provided key information to U.S. intelligence that was essential to the raid. Trump said Sunday that Kurds provided “some information that turned out to be helpful.”
  18. On Monday, Defense Secretary Mark Esper announced a broad defense of Syrian oilfields, saying U.S. troops would use “overwhelming force” to protect the oilfields from not only ISIS, but also Syria and Russia.
  19. On Wednesday, NBC News reported acting White House chief of staff Mick Mulvaney learned of the raid after it was already underway, an extraordinary move by Trump not to notify his chief of staff.
  20. On Wednesday, Trump tweeted a fake photo of him placing a medal around the neck of a hero dog involved in the raid — an altered photo of Trump awarding a Medal of Honor to James McCloughan, an army medic.
  21. On Wednesday, NYT reported in Syria, hundreds of U.S. troops are abandoning Kurdish allies, while hundreds arrive to guard oil fields: troops at the oil fields are expected to reach 900, as 1,000 are withdrawn.
  22. On Friday, NYT reported Trump seemed to have made up his vivid comments about the death of Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, when he claimed he was “whimpering and crying and screaming all the way.”
  23. In addition to Gen. Milley, Defense Sec. Esper, and the regional commander who oversaw the operation, other senior Defense Department officials all say they have no idea what Trump is talking about.
  24. On Monday, Politico reported U.S. policy toward Ukraine is in shambles. Officials in Kiev wondered who they can trust in Washington, given recent departures and the inquiry. Experts worry about “lasting damage.”
  25. On Tuesday, British Parliament voted to dissolve and set up an early election on December 12, the first December election since 1923, at which the issue of Brexit will be front and center.
  26. On Wednesday, Russia’s Defense Ministry said it had successfully test-launched a Bulava intercontinental ballistic missile for the first time from a nuclear submarine, striking a target thousands of kilometers away.
  27. The test came as Trump pulled out of the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty, which banned deployment of short- and medium-ranged missiles in August.
  28. On Friday, Syrian President Bashar Assad told NBC News that Trump is “the best” president, citing his transparency, saying, “Trump speaks with transparency to say ‘we want the oil.’”
  29. On Sunday, Trump attended Game 5 of the World Series between the Nationals and Astros. When his presence was announced, the crowd let out thunderous boos. One inning later, fans chanted “Lock him up!
  30. The Lerner family, the principal owners of the Nationals, put in a request to the MLB not to be put in a position to turn down a request to be seated with Trump. Trump sat with a group of his Republican allies.
  31. This marked the first time Trump attended a MLB game since taking office. Until Trump, every president since William Taft had throw out a ceremonial first pitch. Trump left the game early after being booed.
  32. On Monday, when asked about Trump being booed, White House deputy press secretary Hogan Gidley told reporters, “I didn’t talk to [Trump] about it. I know that there were some people there cheering as well.”
  33. On Monday, WAPO reported on concerns raised by Democratic campaigns who reporting indicated were targeted by a Russia-based disinformation campaign on Instagram, the first of 2020, and have been left in the dark.
  34. Democratic lawmakers, campaigns, and security experts worry the Trump regime and social media companies do not have a response or strategy in place for 2020. China and Iran have also manipulated social media.
  35. On Monday, in a letter to Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg and his lieutenants, more than 250 Facebook employees said they “strongly object” to the decision to let politicians post any claims they wanted.
  36. On Wednesday, Facebook said it took down three Russian-backed influence networks aimed at African countries. Russia has been testing disinformation networks ahead of the 2020 U.S. election.
  37. The networks were linked to Yevgeny Prigozhin, the Russian oligarch known as “Putin’s chef,” who was indicted in the U.S. and accused of interfering in the 2016 U.S. election.
  38. On Wednesday, Twitter’s CEO Jack Dorsey announced the company will ban all political ads starting November 22, tweeting, “We believe political message reach should be earned, not bought.”
  39. Trump’s campaign manager Brad Parscale said in a statement it was “a very dumb decision,” calling it a partisan act meant to silence conservatives. Democrats praised the decision.
  40. On Wednesday, former CIA director John Brennan said Russia’s influence operation swayed votes in the 2016 election, a statement that went further than past public statements by U.S. intelligence officials and lawmakers.
  41. Brennan said there was possibly some effect on the final result, which gave Trump the presidency, adding, “How many, in which states, I don’t know. Whether it changed the outcome, I don’t know.”
  42. On Wednesday, Georgia state officials announced the state plans to purge 300,000 names from its voter rolls, roughly 4% of registered voters, removing voters who have moved away or stop casting ballots.
  43. On Sunday, Senate Judiciary Committee ranking member Dianne Feinstein released a letter from committee Democrats, calling on Attorney General William Barr to recuse himself from matters relating to Ukraine.
  44. On Monday, AG Barr told Fox News the accusation that he acts as Trump’s personal lawyer are “completely wrong and there is no basis for it,” adding, “I act on behalf of the United States.”
  45. On Monday, WAPO reported Senate Republicans are struggling to defend Trump: while Trump allies have strained to argue about the inquiry process, others are having trouble defending facts and are not speaking up.
  46. Several GOP senators cited being a “juror” in their unwillingness to comment to the press. Senators have also complained about a lack of strategy from the White House and their limited grasp of the full facts.
  47. One veteran senator said, “It feels like a horror movie.” Leader McConnell is prioritizing keeping control of the Senate, as support for impeachment has grown in several swing districts up for re-election in 2020.
  48. On Monday, Sens. Susan Collins and Lisa Murkowski joined Mitt Romney saying they would not co-sponsor Graham’s resolution. Leader McConnell, although a co-sponsor, did not commit to bring the resolution to the floor.
  49. On Sunday, chairs of the three House committees insisted that Charles Kupperman, a deputy to former NSA John Bolton, appear before their committees on Monday, saying he could face a contempt citation if he declines.
  50. On Monday, Kupperman did not appear. His attorneys asked the courts for an expedited hearing of their lawsuit filed last Friday, after the House subpoenaed him, and the White House claimed “constitutional immunity.”
  51. Chair Schiff told reporters it was “deeply regrettable” that Kupperman was a “no-show,” saying witnesses like Kupperman “need to do their duty and show up,” adding his refusal “may warrant a contempt proceeding.”
  52. Schiff also said Kupperman’s decision to not show has “no basis in law,” and was further evidence of Trump’s efforts to obstruct Congress. Later, a federal judge set a court date of Thursday for Kupperman’s lawsuit.
  53. Schiff added, “We are not willing to let the White House engage us in a lengthy game of rope-a-dope in the courts, so we press ahead,” citing the previous stonewalling by the Trump regime in the Mueller probe.
  54. Later Monday, Speaker Pelosi said in a letter the House will vote Thursday to bring the impeachment inquiry public, establishing rules for presentation of evidence and outlining due process, saying, “Nobody is above the law.”
  55. Pelosi said, “We are taking this step to eliminate any doubt as to whether the Trump administration may withhold documents, prevent witness testimony, disregard duly authorized subpoenas or continue obstructing.”
  56. On Monday, WAPO reported Sen. Ron Johnson met with Ukrainian diplomat Andrii Telizhenko for at least 30 minutes on Capitol Hill in July about the unsubstantiated claim the DNC worked with Ukraine in 2016.
  57. Johnson’s staffers also met with Telizhenko for five hours. The meetings point to his emerging role as the most involved member of Congress on Ukraine, and could make him a person of interest in the inquiry.
  58. On Monday, Rep. Greg Walden, ranking member on the House Energy and Commerce Committee, announced he will retire in 2020, becoming the fourth GOP ranking member to depart in 2020.
  59. On Monday, during his first visit to Chicago for the International Association of Chiefs of Police, Trump blasted Chicago police superintendent Eddie Johnson, who boycotted the event, for “not doing his job.”
  60. Trump attacked Johnson, a Black man, over Chicago’s “sanctuary city” policies, saying, “People like Johnson put criminals and illegal aliens before the citizens of Chicago,” adding, “Frankly, those values, to me, are a disgrace.”
  61. Trump also attacked Chicago, whose officials have been outspokenly against his immigration policies, saying, “It’s embarrassing to us as a nation,” adding, “Afghanistan is a safe place by comparison.”
  62. Thousands in Chicago gathered outside of Trump Tower to protest his first visit to their city with homemade signs, and chants like “Lock him up!” and “This is what democracy looks like!” Trump did not see the protests.
  63. On Monday, the Fraternal Order of Police, the largest police union with 330,000 members, attacked the impeachment process in a statement, accusing Congress of violating due process “to score political points.”
  64. The statement, which was also tweeted, accused “many Members of Congress” of “undermining that trust in due process,” adding, “Just as local law enforcement officers are often convicted in the media.”
  65. On Friday, Trump again attacked Johnson, tweeting, “Chicago will never stop its crime wave with the current Superintendent of Police,” and thanking allies Kevin Graham and “the GREAT Chicago Police Officers.”
  66. On Monday, the DOJ filed a motion asking Judge Beryl Howell to stay her order to turn over grand jury materials in the Mueller probe, pending review of an appeals court.
  67. On Tuesday, a three-judge appeals court temporarily blocked the release of the Mueller probe materials while Judge Howell has “sufficient opportunity to consider the emergency motion” by DOJ.
  68. On Saturday, WAPO reported Republican lawmakers loyal to Trump have used the impeachment inquiry to ask questions related to the whistleblower, reportedly in an effort to “unmask” their identity.
  69. On Monday, Daily Beast reported Derek Harvey, a top aide to Rep. Devin Nunes, has provided notes to House Republicans with the supposed name of the whistleblower, in hopes of getting the name added to transcripts.
  70. On Tuesday, Trump promoted Nunes’ new book, tweeting, “A great new book just out,” adding, “The True Story Of How Congressman Devin Nunez [sic] Uncovered the Biggest Political Scandal In U.S. History.”
  71. On Monday, NYT reported Army officer Alexander Vindman, the top Ukraine expert on the NSC, will testify Tuesday he twice reported concerns about Trump’s pressure tactics on Ukraine out of a “sense of duty.”
  72. According to his opening statement, Vindman was expected to testify he heard Trump ask Ukraine’s president to investigate his political rivals. Vindman will be the first person present on the July 25 call to testify.
  73. Vindman said, “I did not think it was proper to demand that a foreign government investigate a U.S. citizen,” adding he was worried about the implications for Ukraine in what would be considered a “partisan play.”
  74. Vindman worried “This would all undermine U.S. national security,” and added, “I am a patriot, and it is my sacred duty and honor to advance and defend our country irrespective of party or politics.”
  75. Vindman planned to say he is not the whistleblower, but that his account will corroborate the complaint, and that he watched with alarm as “outside influencers” began pushing a “false narrative” about Ukraine.
  76. Vindman said he first brought concerns to John Eisenberg, the NSC top lawyer, on July 10 when Sondlandspoke about “Ukraine delivering specific investigations in order to secure the meeting with the president.”
  77. Vindman went again to Eisenberg on July 25, accompanied by his twin brother Yevgeny, who is a lawyer on the National Security Council. Both serve as lieutenant colonels in the Army.
  78. Vindman’s testimony aligns with that of Fiona Hill, and her concern of the July 10 call along with Bolton, as well as that of William Taylor; but differed from Sondland who testified no concerns were ever raised to him on Ukraine.
  79. Shortly after, Rep. Joaquin Castro, a member of the House Intelligence Committee, tweeted based on Vindman’s testimony, “I believe that Ambassador Gordon Sondland committed perjury.”
  80. Shortly after, Fox News host Laura Ingraham attacked Vindman on her show, speculating he was a double-agent for Ukraine, given he was born there and is fluent in their language. Her guest accused him of espionage.
  81. Shortly before midnight, Trump quoted Ingraham, tweeting, “There is no underlying crime in that transcript,” and added, “Where is the Whistleblower? That is why this is now called the Impeachment Hoax!”
  82. Trump also tweeted, “The only crimes in the Impeachment Hoax were committed by Shifty Adam Schiff,” saying “he totally made up my phone conversation” and “should be Impeached, and worse.”
  83. On Tuesday, “Fox & Friends” co-host Brian Kilmeade continued the attack on Vindman, saying although he got a purple heart, “He is from the Soviet Union, he emigrated here and has an affinity for the Ukrainian people.”
  84. On Tuesday, CNN contributor Sean Duffy also suggested Vindman’s loyalty was to Ukraine, saying, “He has an affinity, probably, for his homeland,” and “I don’t know that he’s concerned about American policy.”
  85. On Tuesday, Trump tweeted, “Why are people that I never even heard of testifying about the call,” adding, “Just READ THE CALL TRANSCRIPT…THE IMPEACHMENT HOAX IS OVER! Ukrain [sic] said NO PRESSURE.”
  86. Trump called Vindman a “Never Trumper” in a series of tweets, saying, “Where’s the Whistleblower?” and “Just read the Transcript, everything else is made up garbage by Shifty Schiff and the Never Trumpers!”
  87. Trump also tweeted, “The Do Nothing Democrats are working hard to make everyone forget the Best Economy Ever, the monumental weekend raid,” adding, “The Impeachment Hoax is a disgrace. Read the transcript!”
  88. Trump also tweeted, “How many more Never Trumpers will be allowed to testify about a perfectly appropriate phone call” adding, “READ THE TRANSCRIPT! I knew people were listening in on the call.”
  89. Trump also tweeted, “according to the Corrupt Media, the Ukraine call “concerned” today’s Never Trumper witness,” adding, “Was he on the same call that I was?” and “ask him to read the Transcript,” and “Witch Hunt!”
  90. Vindman and his twin brother fled to the U.S. from Ukraine at age 3. He has served in the U.S. Army for two decades under Democrats and Republicans, and earned a Purple Heart from fighting in the Iraq War.
  91. Later Tuesday, top Republicans pushed back on the Vindman attacks, with No. 2 GOP Sen. John Thune saying “He’s a patriot,” and Rep. Liz Cheney calling it “shameful” to question Vindman’s loyalty or patriotism.
  92. When Leader McConnell was pressed by a reporter about Vindman’s testimony, he side-stepped answering, instead responding, “I’m not gonna question the patriotism of any of the people who are coming forward.”
  93. Later, Trump also tweeted, ““Nervous Nancy Pelosi” is trying to destroy the Republican Party, but that “The Do Nothing Dems will lose many seats in 2020. They have a Death Wish, led by a corrupt politician, Adam Schiff!”
  94. On Tuesday, NYT reported Vindman testified that the White House transcript of the July 25 call between Trump and Zelensky omitted crucial words and phrases, and two of his corrections were not incorporated.
  95. The two omissions were Trump’s assertion there was a recording of Biden discussing Ukraine corruption, and a mention by Zelensky of Burisma Holdings. He also hinted that Trump aides left things out of the transcript.
  96. The call transcript has ellipses at three points where Trump is supposedly trailing off. Vindman said the third set were Trump referencing a tape of Biden commenting about his efforts to oust Viktor Shokin.
  97. On Tuesday, WSJ reported House Democrats accused Republicans of trying to unmask the whistleblower during their questioning of Vindman. Vindman said he is not the whistleblower, and does not know who it is.
  98. Lawyers for the whistleblower told the Journal the team has received abusive communications and multiple death threats — that have led to at least one law-enforcement investigation.
  99. On Wednesday, Politico reported Vindman testified after attending Zelensky’s inauguration he hoped to brief Trump and give a positive review. His briefing was canceled as aides said it might confuse Trump.
  100. Vindman said he was instructed “at the last second” not to attend the debriefing, as Trump believed Kashyap Patel, a former staffer of Rep. Devin Nunes with no Ukraine expertise, was the NSC’s top Ukraine expert.
  101. On Wednesday, CNN reported Vindman believed a quid quo pro existed on July 10 when Sondland told Ukrainian government officials they would need to deliver “specific investigations” to get a meeting with Trump.
  102. He realized Trump was behind withholding aid on August 15 when Bolton had him to write an interagency memo asking for Trump to release the aid. Trump refused after a meeting at Bedminster on August 16.
  103. On Tuesday, the House released the resolution detailing next steps in the public impeachment inquiry. The vote on Thursday will mark the first time House members will go on the public record voting for the inquiry.
  104. The eight-page resolution laid out the format for public hearings, permitting staff counsels to question witnesses for up to 45 minutes per side. Transcripts of past interviews will be redacted and publicly released.
  105. The measure allows Trump or his attorneys to participate in impeachment proceedings held by the House Judiciary Committee. If Trump “refuses to cooperate” the Chair has the discretion to impose appropriate remedies.
  106. The measure gives Republicans subpoena power, but only with the approval of the chairman or full committee.
  107. Trump and Republicans have repeatedly called on House Democrats to hold a vote, and Pelosi choosing to do so nullifies this talking point. House Republicans criticized the resolution in a letter before it was released.
  108. The White House said in a statement the resolution “confirms that House Democrats’ impeachment has been an illegitimate sham from the start as it lacked any proper authorization by a House vote.”
  109. NBC News reported what shifted Pelosi’s mind on holding a vote were the facts in evidence, and wanting the American public to hear from witnesses. Republicans had been complaining about closed-door hearings.
  110. On Tuesday, Sen. Bob Menendez asked the Office of Special Counsel to open a probe into whether Secretary of State Mike Pompeo violated the Hatch Act by recent trips to Kansas, as Republicans urge him to run for senate in 2020.
  111. On Tuesday, a federal judge in Florida said Lev Parnas can be questioned under oath about financial transfershe made to Republican political campaigns, including Trump. Parnas is under house arrest in Florida.
  112. On Tuesday, federal prosecutors blasted what they said was an “extraordinary” new claim by Michael Flynnthat he is the victim of a “plot to set up an innocent man.” Flynn is set to be sentenced December 18.
  113. On Tuesday, George Papadopoulos filed paperwork to run for a House seat vacated by Democrat Katie Hill, after she resigned Sunday. Hill said she was a victim of “revenge porn.”
  114. On Tuesday, a poll by Grinnell College found 81% of Americans say it is not okay for political candidates to ask for assistance from a foreign government to help them win an election, including 81% of Republicans.
  115. However most Republicans do not feel that rises to the level of impeachment: 42% overall believe Trump should be impeached and removed, while 44% say he should not (including 87% of Republicans).
  116. On Wednesday, Trump tweeted, “Republicans are very unified and energized in our fight on the Impeachment Hoax with the Do Nothing Democrats,” citing the “very infair [sic] Process.”
  117. Trump also tweeted, “the Transcript leads EVERYBODY to see that the call with the Ukrainian President was a totally appropriate one,” calling impeachment “a continuation of the Witch Hunt Hoax.”
  118. Trump also again attacked Vindman, tweeting “Yesterday’s Never Trumper witness could find NO Quid Pro Quo in the Transcript,” adding Zelensky “found NOTHING wrong with it. Witch Hunt!”
  119. Trump also quoted “Fox & Friends” co-host Steve Doocy who said Pelosi is putting impeachment up to a vote “because that’s what her political left really wants,” adding, “A disgraceful use of Impeachment. Will backfire!
  120. On Wednesday, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer asked the Army in a letter to provide Vindman, who returned to work Wednesday, the same protections against retaliation as those provided to whistleblowers.
  121. On Wednesday, CNN reported House Republicans plan to stick to the messaging strategy focused on criticizing the impeachment process, but not pushing back on the underlying facts as Trump pushed them to do.
  122. Republicans have expressed exasperation that the White House has not done more to coordinate their message with lawmakers, and has not provided guidance or even a point person to contact on impeachment.
  123. On Wednesday, Catherine Croft, a State Department employee who worked on Ukraine issues for the NSC, and worked under Kurt Volker, testified before the three House committees behind closed doors.
  124. Both the White House and the State Department had directed Croft not to appear for her deposition, and to limit the scope of her testimony. The House Intelligence Committee issued a subpoena to compel her testimony.
  125. In her opening statement, Croft said lobbyist Robert Livingston called her repeatedly, and “told me that Ambassador Yovanovitch should be fired,” calling her an “Obama holdover” and “associated with George Soros.”
  126. Croft said she notified her boss, Fiona Hill, and George Kent. Croft said he learned of military aid being withheld from Ukraine on a July 18 call with the Office of Management and Budget “at the direction of the President.”
  127. Croft and Christopher Anderson, a career Foreign Service officer who also testified on Wednesday, both had a positive view of Ukraine’s new president Zelensky, in contrast to Trump, Rudy Giuliani, and the regime.
  128. Both testified that Livingston’s lobbying firm was in touch with them during 2018, and that his firm has ongoing business in Ukraine, including some relating to former prime minister Yulia Tymoshenko.
  129. Livingston’s firm accompanied Tymoshenko to a meeting with Anderson in December 2018. Anderson also said Bolton told him that Giuliani “could be an obstacle to increased White House engagement” on Ukraine.
  130. On Wednesday, Just Security reported that over the summer, alarmed officials at the Pentagon strongly warned the White House about withholding Ukraine funding, repeatedly advising to release the funds.
  131. After the Pentagon certified Ukraine in late May, it repeatedly told the White House that if aid was not released, at least in part, before fiscal year-end September 30, it might never make its way to Ukraine.
  132. In late July, the Pentagon told the White House it could be at risk of violating the Impoundment Control Act, which punishes the executive branch for not spending money appropriated by Congress.
  133. On Wednesday, ranking Senate Democrats Ron Wyden and Menendez, asked U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer in a letter for details on the Trump regime delay in restoring Ukraine’s trade privileges.
  134. On Wednesday, in another stunt outside the secured facility, Trump ally Rep. Matt Gaetz told reporters he filed an ethics complaint against Schiff, claiming Schiff has violated rules overseeing the impeachment inquiry.
  135. On Wednesday, House Democrats asked Bolton to testify in the impeachment inquiry. Later Wednesday, Bolton’s attorney, who also represents Kupperman, said he would not testify without a subpoena.
  136. House Democrats also invited John Eisenberg and his deputy Michael Ellis to testify on Monday. It was doubtful they will appear as their office wrote the legal memo spelling out the regime’s unwillingness to cooperate.
  137. On Thursday, a federal judge said he will fast-track the case on Kupperman’s testifying, calling it a “matter of great public interest and a matter of great urgency.” Oral arguments will begin December 10.
  138. On Thursday, another federal judge heard a case on Don McGahn testifying to the House on the Mueller report. She chided the DOJ for blocking him and claims of “absolute immunity,” and said she will rule soon.
  139. On Wednesday, Politico reported Leader McConnell met privately with Trump and warned him to stop attacking Republican Senators, reminding him they will be deciding his fate at the impeachment trial.
  140. After the meeting, the one major shift is that Trump has stopped publicly attacking Republican Senators, such as Sen. Mitt Romney who last week he called a “pompous ass.”
  141. On Wednesday, John Sullivan, Trump’s nominee to be U.S. Ambassador to Russia, testified at a Senate confirmation hearing. Sullivan claimed he was unaware of what was happening with Ukraine policy.
  142. Sullivan broke from Trump, saying, “Soliciting investigations into a domestic political opponent” would not be “in accord with our values,” although he said Trump has “denied that there was any quid pro quo.”
  143. Sullivan acknowledged that he was the one who notified Yovanovitch that she was being recalled, but said despite trying to find out why, he was not given a reason, and that Giuliani was involved in her recall.
  144. On Wednesday, former GOP senator William Cohen, who sat on the Judiciary Committee during Watergate said Trump sounds like a dictator, invoking the book “1984” and repeating lies until they become the truth.
  145. On Wednesday, Secretary of State Pompeo falsely claimed on Fox News that the reason the Obama administration did not give Ukraine lethal defensive military equipment was related to Hunter Biden.
  146. On Wednesday, WAPO reported after Trump’s July 25 call, Vindman rushed to Eisenberg’s office and told him what Trump did was wrong. Eisenberg scribbled notes on a yellow legal pad.
  147. Eisenberg then proposed moving the transcript of the call to a highly classified server and restricting access to it, a step that goes against long-standing White House protocol.
  148. On July 10, two top Ukrainian officials in Zelenksy’s new administration, Andriy Yermak and Oleksandr Danyliuk, came to Washington, and met in Bolton’s office with Vindman, Sondland, Hill, and Volker.
  149. According to