POLITIKS OF GRAFFITI 126: IF YOU’RE WONDERING WHAT FASCISM LEADS TO…

APRIL 06, 2019

Week 125

Experts in authoritarianism advise to keep a list of things
subtly changing around you, so you’ll remember. https://theweeklylist.org/weekly-list/week-125/
IMG_1957
Miami, FL. November 2018. 
IMG_6592
not my pic. Clearly, disdain for this guy is felt all around the world…

This week, two weeks after Mueller had sent his final report to Attorney General William Barr, members of the special counsel anonymously broke their silence, indicating to the Times and the Post that their findings were more troubling than Barr’s letter had indicated. Meanwhile Trump changed his position on public release of the report, as he and his surrogates went into attack mode against the Democrats and Mueller’s team.

Republicans rebuked Trump this week, failing to stand with him on his threat to close the U.S.-Mexico border and to come up with an alternative to Obamacare ahead of the 2020 election. The House joined the Senate, voting to end U.S. involvement in Yemen, marking the first time both chambers of Congress have voted to invoke the war-powers resolution to end U.S. military engagement in a foreign conflict.

House Democrats took aggressive action this week, including demanding six years of Trump’s tax returns, preparing a lawsuit over Trump’s national emergency, and making public testimony from whistleblower Tricia Newbold on security clearance. Secret Service arrested a Chinese woman at Mar-a-Lago, raising concerns that Trump’s “Winter White House” is vulnerable to spying, while FBI director Christopher Wray told Congress white supremacy is a “persistent, pervasive threat.” Trump seemed off his game this week, stumbling on the birthplace of his father, mispronouncing words and making odd statements — raising concerns again about his mental health.

D26_oRkU4AIRLwL.jpg-large

“If you’re wondering what fascism leads to, just ask Benito Mussolini and his mistress Claretta.” – Jim Carrey

IMG_6596

not my pic. 

  1. On Monday, WAPO reported Trump has made 9,451 false or misleading claims in his first 801 days in office. In the last 200 days, Trump made 22 false or misleading claims per day, up from 5.9 per day in his first year in office.
  2. Ratings by E-Poll Market Research showed Trump is most often described as “aggressive” (48%),“mean” (38%), and “overexposed” (29%). His strong positive appeal is at 14%, while strong negative is 39%.
  3. Within the regime, press secretary Sarah Sanders scored 15% for “trustworthy,” and White House counselor Kellyanne Conway 8% for the same. Jared Kushner was most described as “insincere” (29%) and “creepy” (27%).
  4. NBC News reported that at least 14 major contributors to Trump’s inaugural committee have been nominated to ambassador positions, although experts say they are less qualified than nominees in the past.
  5. There are 52 still vacant ambassadorships out of 250, including in key countries like Saudi Arabia and Qatar. After two years, Obama had 11 unfilled, and George W. Bush had 15.
  6. On Saturday, returning from her two week suspension, Fox News host Jeanine Pirro said Trump’s accusers had a “blueprint for a future effort to overthrow the government,” adding they should face time behind bars.
  7. On Sunday, acting White House chief of staff Mick Mulvaney told “This Week” that Robert Mueller intended to have Attorney General William Barr determine whether Trump obstructed justice.
  8. On Sunday, a NBC News/WSJ poll found 40% of American do not believe Trump has been cleared of wrongdoing in the Mueller probe, while 29% believe he has.
  9. On Sunday, Fox News host Chris Wallace pressed Kellyanne Conway on her repeated claims that Trump has been totally exonerated in the Mueller investigation in a heated exchanged. Wallace said it “just isn’t true.”
  10. Actor Jim Carrey tweeted: “If you’re wondering what fascism leads to, just ask Benito Mussolini and his mistress Claretta,” along with a cartoon of the two being hanged upside down after they were executed in 1945.
  11. On Sunday, Alessandra Mussolini, Benito’s granddaughter, a far right politician, tweeted in response to Carrey: “You are a bastard.”
  12. On Sunday, hundreds of Polish nationalists protested in New York City over U.S. legislation which compensates Holocaust survivors whose property was seized during World War II.
  13. Some protestors chanted “Stop slandering Poland in the media,” and “Treat anti-Polonism like anti-Semitism,” while others perpetuated anti-Semitic stereotypes and denied the Holocaust, calling it a “hoax.”
  14. On Monday, Israeli researchers said they found a network of hundreds of fake Twitter accounts that reached more than 2.5 million Israelis boosting Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu ahead of next week’s election.
  15. On Sunday, Fox News apologized after a chyron on a “Fox & Friends” segment that read: “Trump Cuts Aid to 3 Mexican Countries.”
  16. On Monday, AP reported as Trump threatened to shut the U.S. border with Mexico, Trump is considering bringing on an “immigration czar” to coordinate policy between federal agencies.
  17. Trump is considering former Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach and former Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli for the position. Kobach was also a leader of Trump’s short-lived election-fraud commission.
  18. On Sunday, Axios reported Trump has told confidants that he is “saving” Judge Amy Barrett — young and viewed as an extremist — to replace Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg.
  19. On Monday, after Senate democrats voted down a disaster relief-package for Puerto Rico saying there was not enough money, Trump blamed Puerto Rican politicians in a tweet, calling them “incompetent or corrupt.”
  20. Trump again cited an incorrect number, tweeting: “91 Billion Dollars to Puerto Rico,” falsely claiming it was more than “than Texas & Florida combined,” and “taking dollars away from our Farmers.”
  21. On Tuesday, Trump again lashed out, falsely claiming in a tweet “Puerto Rico got 91 Billion Dollars,” adding, “all their local politicians do is complain & ask for more money. The pols are grossly incompetent.”
  22. Trump also tweeted that Puerto Ricans “only take from USA.” Puerto Rico Gov. Ricardo Rosselló responded to Trump, tweeting “this “place” you refer to, #PuertoRico, is home to over three million proud Americans.”
  23. On Tuesday, deputy press secretary Hogan Gidley referred to Puerto Rico as “that country” in an interview on MSNBC. When the host clarified Puerto Rico is a U.S. territory, Gidley said it was a “slip of the tongue.”
  24. On Friday, Trump attacked California politicians for wildfire funding, saying “California’s always the first one to complain. And I don’t mean the people of California. They’re fantastic. I’m talking about the politicians.”
  25. On Monday, Fox News host Tucker Carlson mocked MSNBC host Chris Hayes’ masculinity on his show, saying Hayes “is what every man would be if feminists ever achieved absolute power in this country.”
  26. On Tuesday, a gas station clerk in San Jose, California was fired after ranting at a woman speaking Spanish, demanding she prove she was a U.S. citizen, and saying, “Trump needs to hurry up and build the wall.”
  27. On Wednesday, Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents arrested 280 workers at CVE Technology Group in Allen, Texas in what authorities say is one of the largest enforcement actions of its kind in a decade.
  28. On Tuesday, Daily Beast reported the Department of Homeland Security disbanded a group of intelligence analysts who were part of the Office of Intelligence and Analysis (I&A) that focused on domestic terrorism.
  29. Numerous current and former DHS officials expressed concern with the move, citing the growing threat fromhomegrown violent extremists and domestic terrorists. I&A has been quietly cutting staff since last year.
  30. On Thursday, FBI director Christopher Wray testified before the House Appropriations Committee, and broke from Trump saying white supremacy presents a “persistent” and “pervasive” threat to the U.S.
  31. Wray also said: “The danger, I think, of white supremacists, violent extremism, or any other kind of violent extremism is, of course, significant.” Trump has downplayed the danger of white nationalism.
  32. On Thursday, BuzzFeed reported Barr said in a letter he was “troubled by the concerns” raised by a group of LGBTQ employees who complained about discrimination at the DOJ, and ordered an investigation.
  33. The group claimed employees have faced increasing discrimination under the Trump regime – including gay FBI agents at the academy being pushed out — leading to a decline in morale and an exodus of staff.
  34. On Thursday, 157 House Republicans voted against passing reauthorizing the Violence Against Women Act, which passed, and also booed Rep. Debbie Dingell during a debate on the House floor.
  35. The National Rifle Association pressured Republican lawmakers to oppose the bill because it adds a provision that people convicted of abusing their dating partners could not own or buy firearms.
  36. On Tuesday, the Alabama House and Senate introduced a bill that would make performing an abortion a Class A felony, and attempting to perform an abortion a Class C felony.
  37. On Friday, Kansas Republicans passed an ‘abortion reversal bill,’ requiring notice to patients that abortions can be reversed, despite the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists discrediting this view.
  38. On Friday, the Acadiana Advocate reported three historically black churches have burned down in 10 days in St. Landry Parish, Louisiana in what officials called “very suspicious” fires.
  39. On Saturday, Patrick Carlineo Jr. of Addison, New York was arrested after making a threatening call to Rep. Ilhan Omar’s office, telling a staffer “she’s a [expletive] terrorist. I’ll put a bullet in her [expletive] skull.”
  40. Alaska U.S. District Court Judge Sharon Gleason ruled that Trump’s 2017 executive order lifting an Obama-era ban on oil and gas drilling in the Arctic Ocean and parts of the North Atlantic coast was unlawful.
  41. Judge Gleason ruled the ban will remain in effect “unless and until revoked by Congress.” The ruling may have broader implications for the regime’s efforts to open drilling on coastline and public lands.
  42. On Tuesday, McClatchy reported the Trump 2020 campaign is seeking a list of “climate change victories” that can be attributed to Trump as polls show growing concern over global warming.
  43. White House officials have liaised with the E.P.A. on behalf of the campaign. For one, the regime plans to argue greenhouse gas emissions decreased in Trump’s first year in office due to private sector innovation.
  44. The regime is still divided on creating a presidential committee on climate security, since results would be made public. Trump continues to question the science behind climate change, while other in the regime disagree.
  45. On Wednesday, WAPO reported the Trump regime will cut federal inspectors for food safety inspections at hog plants by about 40%, and shift much of the power and responsibility to the pork industry.
  46. The proposed new system, scheduled to start in May, would allow plant owners to use plant employees for inspections, with training at owners’ discretion. Also, there will be no limits on slaughter-line speeds.
  47. On Wednesday, a coalition of Democratic attorneys general filed a lawsuit seeking to stop the rollback of school nutrition policies championed by former first lady Michelle Obama for “illegally weakening” standards.
  48. On Tuesday, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell failed to adopt a resolution to change the rules so that non-Cabinet level and district court judicial nominees would face just two hours of floor debate instead of 30.
  49. McConnell needed 60 votes, but got 51 from Republicans. On Wednesday, Leader McConnell used the “nuclear option” for the afternoon and evening only, with the Senate voting 51-48 to push through confirmations for some positions.
  50. On Thursday, Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp signed a controversial bill, in private, replacing the state’s voting machines with touchscreens, which Democrats warned they may make the system more vulnerable to hacking.
  51. On Monday, U.S. District Court Judge Beryl Howell rejected a request by the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press to unseal records relating to the mystery foreign state-owned company in the Mueller case.
  52. On Monday, BuzzFeed reported Judge T.S. Ellis III, the judge who presided over Paul Manafort’s case in Alexandria, will not face disciplinary action over four ethics complaints related to his treatment of Mueller’s team.
  53. On Tuesday, CNN reported that George Sorial, who since 2017 has served as the Trump Organization’s top compliance official and has been with the company since 2007, is stepping down to write a book.
  54. On Monday, House Judiciary Chair Jerrold Nadler said he plans to bring subpoenaing the full Mueller report to committee vote on Wednesday if Barr does not release it by the April 2 deadline.
  55. On Monday, Rep. Nadler also wrote an op-ed criticizing Barr’s decisions to unilaterally withhold parts of the Mueller report from Congress, and to render judgment on whether Trump obstructed justice.
  56. On Wednesday, the House Judiciary Committee voted 24-17 along party lines to authorize subpoenas for the full Mueller report and underlying documents.
  57. The committee also voted to subpoena five former White House officials they believe may have received documents relevant to Mueller’s probe including Donald McGahn, Steve Bannon, Hope Hicks, and Reince Priebus.
  58. The five, also including McGahn’s former deputy Ann Donaldson, were among the 81 individuals and entities sent document requests by Nadler last month.
  59. On Tuesday, Trump reversed course on calling for the public release of the Mueller report, tweeting about a segment on Fox News saying for that for Democrats “NOTHING WILL EVER SATISFY THEM!”
  60. Trump also tweeted, “Robert Mueller was a God-like figure to the Democrats, until he ruled No Collusion,” adding, Democrats “have become totally unhinged, and would like to go through the whole process again.”
  61. Trump also tweeted there is no amount of information that will satisfy “Jerry Nadler or Shifty Adam Schiff,” adding, “It is now time to focus exclusively on properly running our great Country!”
  62. On Tuesday, in an interview on CNN, former FBI director James Comey condemned Trump calling for a counter-investigation after the Mueller report on how the probe started, saying it creates a troubling precedent.
  63. When asked by host Christiane Amanpour whether he is kept awake at night by the possibility he helped Trump win, Comey replied, “Sure,” and, “I hope someday somebody proves that what we did was irrelevant.”
  64. On Monday, in a series of tweets, Trump said, “the cost of ObamaCare is far too high,” adding “good things are going to happen!” He tagged four Senators — Leader Mitch McConnell, Rick Scott, John Barrasso and Bill Cassidy.
  65. Trump also tweeted that the Republicans “are developing a really great HealthCare Plan with far lower premiums (cost) & deductibles than ObamaCare,” adding the replacement will come after the 2020 election.
  66. On Tuesday, Leader McConnell told reporters that he and Trump spoke Monday, and he “made it clear to him” that Senate Republicans had no intention of trying to overhaul Obamacare ahead of the 2020 election.
  67. McConnell cited the political peril of the issue for Republicans in the midterms. The Trump regime is continuing to push for the dismantling of the Affordable Care Act through the courts.
  68. On Tuesday, Trump told reporters he was “100 percent” prepared to shut the U.S.-Mexico border, saying, “If we don’t make a deal with Congress, the border’s going to be closed.”
  69. Trump also said Democrats in Congress need to address immigration: “Congress has to meet quickly and make a deal,” and adding, “Security is more important to me than trade.”
  70. Trump said of his decision to cut off aid to Guatemala, El Salvador, and Honduras: “They don’t do anything for us,” adding they have been “taking advantage” of the U.S. for many years, and “they arrange these caravans.”
  71. Around the same time, Leader McConnell told reporters, “Closing down the border would have potentially catastrophic economic impact on our country, and I would hope we would not be doing that sort of thing.”
  72. On Tuesday, at a White House event with NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg, Trump falsely claimed his father was born in Germany — the third time Trump has made this claim. Fred Trump was born in New York.
  73. Trump also ranted, threatening to “get rid of” immigration judges, chain migration, catch and release and visa lottery, and added, “we have to do something about asylum and to be honest with you.”
  74. Trump also on three separate occasions substituted the word “oranges” for “origins,” demanding to know the “oranges of the investigation.” Trump also stated out of the blue, “I’m very normal.”
  75. On Tuesday, Trump told House Republicans in a speech during the National Republican Congressional Committee’s spring dinner to be a “bit more paranoid than you are” about vote counting.
  76. Trump also said, “There were a lot of close elections … they seemed to, every single one of them went Democrat,” adding, “You don’t like it either, you just don’t want to say it because you’re afraid of the press.”
  77. Trump also falsely claimed that the noise from wind turbines causes cancer, as well as lowering property values: “If you have a windmill anywhere near your house, congratulations, your house just went down.”
  78. On Wednesday, during an exchange with reporters on whether wind turbine noise causes cancer, White House Director of Strategic Communications Mercedes Schlapp responded, “I don’t have an answer to that.
  79. The confusion on where his father was born, strange language, and the statement that he is “normal” caused some mental health professionals to question whether Trump is undergoing some kind of cognitive decline.
  80. On Thursday, Trump said he would delay closing the border with Mexico for a year, adding “that will be a very powerful incentive,” and that he is not bluffing: “I will do it. I don’t play games.”
  81. On Tuesday, according to a memo summarizing her testimony, White House Personnel Security Office whistleblower Tricia Newbold claimed the White House reversed 25 security clearances that were denied.
  82. Newbold called Congress her “last hope” for addressing what she considers improper conduct that has left the nation’s secrets exposed. She privately testified before the House Oversight Committee in March.
  83. Newbold said the 25 were granted access to national security information since 2018 despite allegations offoreign influence, conflicts of interests, questionable or criminal conduct, financial problems, or drug abuse.
  84. The 25 include Jared Kushner, Ivanka, and national security adviser John Bolton. Chair Elijah Cummings said his committee would vote to subpoena Carl Kline, Newbold’s direct manager, who overruled her clearance denials.
  85. Newbold had previously filed concerns with numerous White House officials, including Kline; his immediate supervisor, Samuel Price; the White House Counsel’s Office; assistant to the president Marcia Kelly; and Chief Security Officer Crede Bailey. None acted.
  86. Newbold, who has a rare form of dwarfism, also accused Kline of retaliation, alleging he moved her files to a shelf several feet above her, out of her reach, beginning in December 2017 when she hired a lawyer.
  87. On Wednesday, WAPO reported that Jared Kushner is “Senior White House Official 1” described in documents detailing Tricia Newbold’s testimony to the House Oversight Committee.
  88. In her testimony, Newbold said she and another career employee denied Kushner security clearance last yearbecause he had too many “significant disqualifying factors.” They were overruled by Kline.
  89. On Tuesday, the House Oversight Committee voted 22-15, along party lines, to subpoena Kline, who was White House personnel security chief for the first two years of Trump’s time in office.
  90. On Thursday, the Atlantic reported the number of whistleblowers in the era of Trump has spiked, with dozens inside the federal government cooperating with the House Oversight Committee.
  91. Whistleblowers started to come forward shortly after Trump took office, in relation to Michael Flynn. Among the whistleblowers, Democrats confirmed a handful work at the White House.
  92. On Monday, Trump tweeted, “Can you believe that the Radical Left Democrats” want to do the Census Report without a citizenship question, calling it “meaningless and a waste of the $Billions (ridiculous).”
  93. On Monday, the newly installed U.S. Census Bureau Director Steven Dillingham refused to comment on the question — Is this person a citizen of the United States? — saying the bureau must remain “totally objective.”
  94. On Tuesday, Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross rejected a second invitation to testify before a House committee, the Appropriations subcommittee, claiming it would be a distraction from the agency’s budget discussion.
  95. On Tuesday, the House Oversight Committee voted 23-14 to subpoena Ross’s records related to the regime’s decision to add the census question. Rep. Cummings said the regime’s “stonewalling” had left them no choice.
  96. On Friday, a third federal judge halted the Trump regime from adding a citizenship question to the 2020 Census. In a 119-page opinion, U.S. District Judge George Hazel of Maryland called the question unlawful.
  97. The judge wrote of “the lack of any genuine need for the citizenship question,” and noted “the mysterious and potentially improper political considerations that motivated” the regime to add it.
  98. On Tuesday, court documents revealed Secret Service agents arrested Yujing Zhang after she bypassed a security checkpoint and gained access to the reception area of Mar-a-Lago on Saturday.
  99. Zhang was carrying two passports, four cell phones, a laptop, and a thumb drive containing malicious software. She told security officials she was going to the swimming pool, although she was not carrying a swimsuit.
  100. Zhang was approached by a receptionist and asked why she was there. She claimed she was going to a United Nations Chinese American Association event later that evening. The receptionist knew the event did not exist.
  101. Zhang was charged with two federal crimes: making false statements to a federal officer and entering restricted property. The court filing did not provide additional information about the malware.
  102. On Tuesday, the Miami Herald reported the event Zhang was allegedly heading to was advertised on Chinese-language social media by Li “Cindy” Yang, whose business advertises access to Trump and his family.
  103. Although the event Zhang said she was attending did not exist, it was one of two advertised and promoted for that day by Yang’s business. Yang is not mentioned in the court filing.
  104. NBC News reported that Trump was golfing, and not at Mar-a-Lago when Zhang entered; however, first lady Melania Trump and other members of the Trump family were there.
  105. On Wednesday, WAPO reported that each weekend at Mar-a-Lago— a money-making operation for Trump — hundreds of members, overnight guests, and party-going strangers attend, and need to be screened.
  106. To protect Trump, the Secret Service is required to screen every visitor against pre-approved lists. For his business, Trump requires Secret Service to defer to Mar-a-Lago staffers about allowing in visitors not on the list.
  107. Even when Trump is at the property, visitors described times when names were not on the list, but Mar-a-Lago security personnel made exceptions if they knew the guest or found another staffer to vouch for them.
  108. On Wednesday, Senate leaders Chuck Schumer, Dianne Feinstein, and Mark Warner asked FBI director Wray to investigate whether foreign spies could exploit weaknesses at Mar-a-Lago to steal classified information.
  109. On Wednesday, House Oversight Committee Chair Cummings told reporters that Mazars USA, Trump’s tax and accounting firm, has asked for a so-called “friendly” subpoena so it can comply with the panel’s request.
  110. On Wednesday, House Ways and Means Committee Chair Richard Neal formerly requested in a letter to the IRS commissioner that the IRS hand over six years of Trump’s personal and business tax returns.
  111. Rep. Neal invoked a little-known provision in the federal tax code granted during Warren Harding’s administration to only tax-writing committees, which say that the Treasury secretary “shall” furnish the information.
  112. On Wednesday, at an event at the White House, Trump repeated the excuse for not releasing his returns that he used during the campaign, telling reporters, “We are under audit…I’m always under audit.”
  113. On Thursday, NYT reported on February 5, Trump pushed Leader McConnell to confirm Michael Desmond, his nominee to be the chief counsel of the IRS, before putting forward the confirmation of Barr.
  114. McConnell proceeded with Barr first, but Desmond was confirmed on February 27. In private practice,Desmond worked alongside William Nelson and Sheri Dillon, tax counsels to the Trump Organization.
  115. When asked Thursday by reporters if he would direct the IRS not to disclose his tax returns, Trump demurred, “They’ll speak to my lawyers,” adding, “They’ll speak to the attorney general.”
  116. On Thursday, the top federal ethics watchdog declined to certify Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin’s 2018 financial disclosure report, citing the sale of his stake in a film production business to his wife not complying with ethics rules.
  117. On Friday, Politico reported Mnuchin is losing two of his most trusted aides: Eli Miller, chief of staff, and Tony Sayegh, the top communications official — both as the agency faces pressure over Trump’s tax returns.
  118. On Friday, Trump’s personal lawyer, William Consovoy, asserted Trump’s right as a private citizen, and told the Treasury Department in a letter not to turn over his tax returns to House Democrats.
  119. Consovoy said Rep. Neal’s request did not have a “legitimate committee purpose” and “is a transparent effort by one political party to harass an official from the other party because they dislike his politics and speech.”
  120. The IRS and Treasury Department have given no indication of how they will respond to the the House request. Rep. Neal gave the IRS until next week to comply.
  121. On Wednesday, NYT reported the House Intelligence Committee has asked Stephanie Winston Wolkoff, a close friend of first lady Melania Trump and a top contractor to Trump’s inaugural, for documents related to the event.
  122. Winston Wolkoff’s lawyers said she has been cooperating with prosecutors in the Southern District of New York since last fall. She had also received a subpoena from the federal prosecutors.
  123. On Wednesday, NYT reported some members of Mueller’s team say the Mueller report was more damaging to Trump than Barr revealed in his letter. The team included 19 lawyers, 40 FBI agents, and other personnel.
  124. Some are also concerned that because of Barr’s portrayal of the report and how it shaped the narrative, Americans’ view will have hardened before the investigation’s conclusions become public.
  125. The special counsel’s investigators had already written multiple summaries as part of the report — which some felt Barr should have released along with his letter.
  126. Officials speaking for Barr told the Times that he was trying to keep with Justice Department practice not to disclose derogatory details in closing an investigation, pointing to Comey’s treatment of Hillary Clinton.
  127. On Wednesday, WAPO reported members of Mueller’s team have complained to close associates that the evidence they gathered on obstruction was alarming and significant.
  128. Some members were upset Barr did not release summary information the special counsel team had prepared. The members said summaries of different sections of the report were prepared for public view.
  129. One official said they assumed their summaries would be made public “and so they prepared their summaries to be shared in their own words — and not in the attorney general’s summary of their work.”
  130. On Wednesday, Rudy Giuliani told Fox News host Laura Ingraham that Mueller’s team was biased, saying “they are a bunch of sneaky, unethical leakers,” and adding, “And they are rabid Democrats who hate” Trump.
  131. On Thursday, when asked about the NYT report, press secretary Sanders told “Fox & Friends” that theDemocrats are a “sad excuse for a political party” and “nothing but sore losers” who are getting “beat” by Trump.
  132. On Thursday, in response to the NYT and WAPO stories, the Justice Department issues a statement saying it was concerned about illegally releasing grand jury information, which is confidential.
  133. The statement also said Barr “decided to release the report’s bottom-line findings and his conclusions immediately — without attempting to summarize the report” and then release the redacted version.
  134. Shortly after, Trump tweeted, “The New York Times had no legitimate sources” adding, “In fact, they probably had no sources at all! They are a Fake News paper.”
  135. Trump also falsely claimed in a tweet that the NYT has “already been forced to apologize for their incorrect and very bad reporting on me!”
  136. Trump also tweeted Democrats are subjecting him to the “highest level of Presidential Harassment” in the nation’s history, adding, “there is nothing we can ever give to the Democrats that will make them happy.”
  137. Trump also tweeted: “few people seem to care about the Russian Collusion Hoax,” but that “some Democrats are fighting hard to keep the Witch Hunt alive,” and calling it “ridiculous Collusion Delusion” and “so illegal!”
  138. On Thursday, NBC News reported according to an official who has spoken to Mueller’s team, the evidence on obstruction of justice is compelling and the report includes more information than has been made public.
  139. Mueller team members also said the report included detailed accounts of the Trump campaign’s contacts with Russia, revealing campaign members were manipulated by a sophisticated Russian intelligence operation.
  140. On Thursday, Speaker Pelosi told reporters, “people on the Mueller team think there’s a mischaracterization by the attorney general,” adding, “I don’t know, there is an easy answer to this: Release the Mueller report.”
  141. On Thursday, Rep. Nadler sent a letter to Barr requesting the public release of the summaries prepared by Mueller’s team, and all communications between the DOJ and Mueller’s office about the Mueller report.
  142. On Thursday, Sen. Rand Paul blocked a resolution calling for the public release of the Mueller probe from coming to the Senate floor. This marks the fourth time Republicans have blocked the vote.
  143. On Friday, Trump quoted an op-ed by Fox Business host Lou Dobbs saying Democrats have invented a cover-up, tweeting, “Trolling the Mueller Report. Democrats Lost On Collusion. Now They’re Inventing A Coverup.”
  144. On Friday, the DOJ responded to the Electronic Privacy Information Center lawsuit filed to make the Mueller report public, saying the DOJ shouldn’t “circumvent this orderly process” of Barr’s planned release.
  145. On Thursday, Axios reported Trump is expected to name Herman Cain on the Federal Reserve board. Cain, the CEO of Godfather’s Pizza, ran for president in 2012 but withdrew over sexual harassment allegations.
  146. Trump has told confidants he views his selection of Jerome Powell as Fed Chairman as one of his worst mistakes, reportedly saying Powell has no “feel” for the markets, and comparing him to a golfer who cannot putt.
  147. Guardian reported that Trump’s other pick, Stephen Moore, was held in contempt of court in November 2012 for failing to pay his ex-wife over $300,000 in money owed under their divorce settlement.
  148. Gavin de Becker, an investigator for Jeff Bezos, said in an op-ed Saudi Arabia had gained access to Bezos’ private information before the National Enquirer made information on his extramarital relationship public.
  149. On Thursday, the House joined the Senate, voting 247-175 to pass a measure to end U.S. involvement in Yemen, denouncing a Saudi-led bombing campaign that has been blamed for a humanitarian crisis.
  150. The measure marks the first time both chambers of Congress have voted to invoke the war-powers resolution to end U.S. military engagement in a foreign conflict. Trump is expected to veto the measure.
  151. On Friday, Saudi Arabia arrested two more U.S. citizens who were activists. The move puts additional pressure on Trump as he decides whether to side with Congress or veto their measure.
  152. On Thursday, Speaker Pelosi announced the House will file a lawsuit challenging Trump’s declaring a national emergency at the Southern border, saying we will “defend our democracy and our Constitution.”
  153. Speaker Pelosi said in a statement, “The president’s action clearly violates the Appropriations Clause by stealing from appropriated funds, an action that was not authorized by constitutional or statutory authority.”
  154. On Thursday, CBS News reported the Homestead facility in Miami, the largest shelter for unaccompanied minors, is rapidly adding more than 850 beds to a massive facility that currently houses more than 2,300 teens.
  155. Under the Flores settlement, unaccompanied minors are required to be housed in “non-secure” facilities, but Homestead has tall fencing. Sen. Jeff Merkley described Homestead as “a massive prison for migrant children.”
  156. On Thursday, the Miami Herald reported former White House chief of staff John Kelly was spotted at the Homestead shelter.
  157. Homestead, run by Caliburn International, is the only for-profit detention center in the country. Caliburn was formed after a company purchase by DC Capital Partners, where Kelly was employed as a lobbyist.
  158. On Friday, Trump withdrew his nominee for the director of ICE, Ronald Vitiello, a 30-year veteran of the U.S. Border Patrol who serves as a top official at ICE, saying he wants someone “tougher” to lead the agency.
  159. WAPO reported Trump’s decision to suddenly dump Vitiello caught DHS and lawmakers by surprise, with some mistaking it for a clerical error. He would have been Trump’s first senate-confirmed director of ICE.
  160. Vitiello was supposed to join Trump on his trip to the Mexican border, but was left off the list last minute. Reportedly, Trump had heard complaints about Vitiello by Stephen Miller, ICE union boss Chris Crane, and others.
  161. Six officials said Trump’s decision was a sign of Miller’s increasing power. Reportedly Trump told Miller he would be in charge of all immigration and border affairs, and would have a say in Trump’s third ICE nominee.
  162. On Friday, speaking to reporters before boarding his plane, Trump called on Congress to “get rid of the whole asylum system” because “it doesn’t work.” For the second time, Trump also said we should “get rid of judges.”
  163. On Friday, Trump again attacked the media, tweeting, “They can’t stand the fact” that his regime has done more that “virtually any other Administration,” adding, “They are truly the ENEMY OF THE PEOPLE!
  164. On Friday, Trump traveled to the border of Mexico in Calexico, California to participate in a roundtable on immigration and border security. Trump claimed migrants are straining the system and added, “Our country is full.
  165. Trump also defended his national emergency saying, “There is indeed an emergency on our southern border,” adding, “It’s a colossal surge, and it’s overwhelming our immigration system. We can’t take you anymore.”
  166. In a ceremonial gesture, Trump was presented with a piece of the future border wall. In his time in office, Trump has yet to add any new fencing or other barriers anywhere on the Southern border.
  167. Trump also complained about the build-up of migrants at the border, saying, “Judge Flores, whoever you may be, that decision is a disaster for our country.” Flores was a teenage migrant from El Salvador.
  168. Ahead of Trump’s visit, protestors flew a “baby blimp” Trump, the 20-foot-tall inflatable balloon of Trumpwearing a diaper and holding a cell phone, which has appeared across the U.S. and other places around the world.
  169. On Friday, in a letter, 41 immigration and civil rights groups urged Fortune 500 CEOs to blacklist Trump aides who were involved in planning, carrying out, or defending the regime’s family separation policies.
  170. On Friday, the State Department revoked the entry visa for Fatou Bensouda, the prosecutor of the International Criminal Court who was investigating possible war crimes by American forces in Afghanistan.
  171. On Saturday, WAPO reported, despite Trump’s claim that our country is full, DHS and the Labor Department plan to grant an additional 30,000 H-2B visas this summer, doubling the number they had planned to give out.
  172. H-2B visas allow foreigners to come to the U.S. for several months to work at companies such as landscaping, amusement parks, or hotels. Last year, about 80% these visas went to people from Mexico and Central America.
  173. On Thursday, Michael Cohen’s attorney said in a letter to Democrats in Congress that Cohen has discovered substantial files on a hard drive that he is working through and will provide in exchange for staying out of jail.
  174. On Friday, when asked to respond on Cohen, Trump replied, “he’s old news. He lied numerous times during his last testimony. They’ve had that for many months.”
  175. On Friday, Cohen’s attorneys publicly released the memo provided to House democrats Thursday, citing “Trump’s involvement in a conspiracy to collude with Russian government intervention” in the 2016 campaign.
  176. On Thursday, Trump told the Washington Times when asked for a reaction to former first lady Barbara Bush’s quote, he replied, “I have heard that she was nasty to me, but she should be. Look what I did to her sons.”
  177. On Friday, Roger Stone defended Trump in an Instagram post, calling Barbara Bush “nasty, rude, vindictive, entitled, self-important,” and adding, “that’s the woman I had several unpleasant encounters with.”
  178. On Friday, police were stationed outside the Ecuador embassy in London, following tweets from the WikiLeaks account said Julian Assange could be kicked out of the building within “hours to days.”
  179. British Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt said Assange is a “free man” and can leave the embassy whenever he chooses. Police said there is an active warrant for Assange’s arrest that they are obliged to execute if he leaves.
  180. On Friday, Trump said for the third time in three years, he will not attend the White House Correspondents’ Dinner, calling it “boring” and “negative.” Instead, Trump will hold a rally that night.
  181. On Friday, Commercial Bank of Ivanovo, a Russian bank in North Carolina which was 80% owned by former Congressman Charles Taylor, lost its license over repeatedly breaking anti-money laundering regulations.
  182. On Saturday, Trump tweeted, “I have not read the Mueller Report yet, even though I have every right to do so,” adding, “Only know the conclusions, and on the big one, No Collusion.”
  183. Trump also tweeted, “our great A.G. who found No Obstruction,” adding, “13 Angry Trump hating Dems (later brought to 18)” spent two years and $30 million and “found No Collusion, No Obstruction.”

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

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

Trump talks to reporters during a briefing with military leaders and others in the Cabinet Room at the White House April 03, 2019. Notably, there was not a single woman or person of color at the table.

D3eWvb9WkAExIRy.jpg-large

Advertisements

POLITIKS OF GRAFFITI 123: MANIFESTO

MARCH 16, 2019

Week 122

Experts in authoritarianism advise to keep a list of things
subtly changing around you, so you’ll remember. https://theweeklylist.org/weekly-list/week-122/

This week in what was perhaps his most authoritarian act to date, Trump issued his first veto after the House and Senate voted to block his emergency declaration. The veto followed Trump’s declaration of a national emergency after Congress refused to fund his wall, which was unprecedented. Taken together, Trump irreverently thumbed his nose at the separations of power.

Trump also continued his record pace of appointments to the judicial branch, this week with the aid of newly installed ally Sen. Lindsey Graham as Judiciary Committee Chair. Graham discarded a century old norm of allowing in-state senators to submit a “blue slip” to oppose nominations, allowing Trump to appoint two judges to the 9th Circuit Court.

In New Zealand, 49 people were murdered while worshipping at two mosques in Christchurch in what Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern called “an extraordinary and unprecedented act of violence.” In his manifesto, the killer parroted several Trump terms, and wrote he saw Trump as a symbol “of renewed white identity and common purpose.” Trump tried to distance himself and the uprise of white nationalism from blame for the massacre.

This week Paul Manafort got his second sentence, and as Trump continued to hint at a pardon, Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance filed separate charges, out of the purview of a Trump pardon. New York Attorney General Letitia James opened an investigation into Trump’s financing for projects, and subpoenaed Deutsche Bank, raising Trump’s ire. Several Congressional investigations also progressed this week, as the country awaits the findings of the Mueller probe.D1wK9l5VYAEye6L.jpg-large

IMG_0387
I can’t even remember what city, what country, I took this pic in last year (2018.)
D1qcQj9VAAAXLAh.jpg-large
The selfish, classless, and infantile behavior of goons like Roger Stone is the long-term effect of Gerald Ford’s pardon of Nixon. We should have locked Richard Nixon up. Instead, he was allowed to retire in comfort inspiring a new wave of scumbags. – Jim Carrey
  1. WSJ reported increasingly savvy world leaders are bypassing standard protocols and government processes of American diplomacy and instead going directly to Trump, who encourages such approaches.
  2. Authoritarian leaders including North Korea’s Kim Jong Un, Turkey’s Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Russia’s Vladimir Putin cut out the middle layer of aides and agencies to communicate directly with Trump.
  3. Senior officials have been left in the dark about the conversations, leading to confusion and in some cases needing to backtrack on Trump’s remarks. Trump has said he is his only spokesperson.
  4. On Sunday, Axios reported Trump lied to RNC donors at Mar-a-Lago Friday, telling them he said “Tim Cook Apple” really fast, and the “Cook” part of the sentence was soft, but all you heard from the “fake news.”
  5. On Monday, Trump tweeted, “I quickly referred to Tim + Apple as Tim/Apple as an easy way to save time & words,” adding, “the Fake News was disparagingly all over this, & it became yet another bad Trump story!”
  6. Trump also referenced Rep. Ilhan Omar’s comments, telling RNC donors “the Democrats hate Jewish people,” and that he could not understand how any Jew could vote Democrat these days.
  7. On Monday, Trump proposed an annual budget to Congress including $8.6 billion in funding for his wall, with $5 billion for the Department of Homeland Security and $3.6 billion for the Defense Department’s military construction budget.
  8. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Minority leader Chuck Schumer said they were prepared to block Trump’s demand, writing in a joint statement: “The same thing will repeat itself if he tries this again. We hope he learned his lesson.”
  9. Trump’s budget proposed freeing up funds for his wall and the military by cutting spending on Medicaid and Medicare, AIDS and other health programs, and a 15% cut in the Agriculture Department’s budget.
  10. The budget also called for drastic cuts in food stamps programs, and federal agency cuts of 31% in the budget for the Environmental Protection Agency, and a 24% cut from the State Department.
  11. Trump’s budget projected the federal deficit will hit $22.8 trillion by 2025, more than 50% higher than the $14.7 trillion when he took office, after promising on the campaign trail that he would eliminate the debt.
  12. The budget included $20 million for Jack Nicklaus’ small children’s health project. Nicklaus golfed with Trump as least twice since November, and met with Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar and then-Office of Management and Budget Director Mick Mulvaney.
  13. Golf Magazine reported Trump is taking credit on his locker at Trump International in West Palm Beach, Florida, with a plaque saying he won the 2018 club championship, although he did not play in it.
  14. On Monday, Politico reported Facebook removed several ads place by Sen. Elizabeth Warren’s campaign, after she called for the break-up of Facebook and other tech giants. Facebook later backtracked after the reporting.
  15. On Wednesday, Facebook suffered its most severe outage since 2008, with related Instagram, WhatsApp, and its messaging app also experiencing glitches. The cause of the outage was not made public.
  16. On Wednesday, NYT reported federal prosecutors in the Eastern District of New York are conducting a criminal investigation of data deals Facebook struck with the world’s largest technology companies.
  17. A grand jury in New York subpoenaed records from at least two makers of smartphones and other devices that entered into agreements to gain access to personal information on hundreds of millions of Facebook users.
  18. On Monday, CNBC reported new court filings revealed a mysterious $125,000 payment to Paul Manafort’s attorney in June 2017 originally came through a donation to a Trump PAC called Rebuilding America Now.
  19. Manafort installed Laurance Gay to run the PAC. Rebuilding America Now passed funds to Multi Media Services Corporation, whose silent owner is is Tony Fabrizio, chief pollster for Trump’s 2016 campaign, to make the payment.
  20. On Monday, Roger Stone’s attorneys said in a submission to the court that it did not occur to him until after the February 21 hearing that the new introduction for a paperback edition his book would violate the gag order.
  21. The submission claimed, “There was/is no intention to hide anything,” saying the introduction “presented a question we tried, obviously clumsily, to address,” adding “having been scolded” we only want to defend Stone.
  22. On Monday, press secretary Sarah Sanders held the first press briefing in 42 days, the longest period without a briefing since Trump took office, appearing as Trump released his budget.
  23. According to data by the American Presidency Project, the length of time between briefings under Sanders is longer than any of the 13 previous press secretaries.
  24. When asked if Trump will pardon Manafort, Sanders said Trump will “make his decision when he’s ready.”
  25. On Tuesday, House Intelligence Committee Chair Adam Schiff tweeted: “Congress is investigating reports that Trump and his legal team privately dangled pardons to obstruct investigations, including ours.”
  26. Schiff also tweeted: “Yesterday, the White House refused to rule out a pardon for Paul Manafort,” adding, “That Trump does so in the open is no less corrupt.”
  27. On Wednesday, Michael Cohen’s attorney clarified his testimony in a letter to House Oversight Committee Chairman Elijah Cummings, saying “at no time did Mr. Cohen personally ask President Trump for a pardon” nor did Trump offer.
  28. On Wednesday, CNN reported two emails provided to Congress by Cohen dated April 21, 2018, show Trump attorney Rudy Giuliani assured Cohen he could “sleep well tonight” because he had “friends in high places.”
  29. The emails were from Robert Costello, a lawyer who was part of the joint defense agreement, allegedly sent after speaking to Giuliani. Costello said that Cohen asked him to raise the issue of a pardon with Giuliani.
  30. Giuliani told CNN the emails were not about a pardon, rather, “That was about Michael Cohen thinking that the President was mad at him,” adding, “I called (Costello) to reassure him that the President was not mad.”
  31. On Wednesday, NYT reported federal prosecutors have requested emails and documents from Costello as part of an investigation into “possible violations of federal criminal law.”
  32. Costello wrote to Cohen, “I am sure you saw the news that Rudy is joining the Trump legal team,” sayingCostello’s relationship with Rudy “could be very very useful for you.” Cohen wrote back to Costello, “Great news.”
  33. Costello had agreed to reach out to Trump’s team on behalf of Cohen, and had about a dozen conversations with Giuliani, who was Trump’s lead lawyer at the time, creating a “back channel of communication.”
  34. During one conversation, Costello asked if Trump would put a pardon “on the table” for Cohen. Giuliani responded that Trump was unwilling to discuss pardons at that time.
  35. An email sent on June 13 from Costello to Cohen suggested Giuliani was about to speak to Trump, and said if Cohen had a message to convey “you should tell me and my friend will bring it up for discussion this evening.”
  36. On Saturday, Fox News host Jeanine Pirro questioned Rep. Omar’s support for the Constitution, saying she “wears a hijab,” adding. “Is her adherence to this Islamic doctrine indicative of her adherence to Shariah law?”
  37. On Sunday, Fox News said in a statement, “We strongly condemn Jeanine Pirro’s comments about Representative Ilhan Omar. They do not reflect those of the network and we have addressed the matter with her directly.”
  38. On Sunday, an audio recording uncovered by Media Matters of Fox News host Tucker Carlson on “Bubba the Love Sponge Show” revealed he made numerous misogynistic statements, including saying that women are “extremely primitive.”
  39. On Monday, Media Matters released more audio from interviews between 2006 and 2011 of Carlson using racist and homophobic language to describe Iraqi people, African Americans, gay people, and immigrants.
  40. On Monday, after refusing to apologize Sunday, Carlson said on his show “the great American outrage machine is a remarkable thing,” in front of title cards that read “THE MOB” and “CRACKDOWN ON DISSENT.”
  41. On Tuesday, several advertisers had stopped running ads on the shows hosted by Jeanine Pirro and Tucker Carlson.
  42. CNN reported 2,287 people in ICE custody were quarantined due to outbreaks of mumps and other diseases. There has been a spike of contagious diseases in the last year, including 236 cases of the mumps.
  43. On Monday, former Maine Gov. Paul LePage said the Democratic Party’s “money comes from” Jewish donors “for the most part,” in his reasoning for why Jews will donate less after Rep. Omar’s comments.
  44. On Tuesday, “Fox & Friends” ran a segment on “Jexodus,” a combination of the words “Jewish” and “exodus,” with picture of Rep. Omar, with the co-host claiming “now some Jewish millennials are leaving the party.”
  45. Shortly after, Trump tweeted the Jexodus spokesperson, tweeting “Jewish people are leaving the Democratic Party. We saw a lot of anti Israel policies start under the Obama Administration, and it got worsts & worse.”
  46. On Tuesday, WAPO reported the Trump regime will shut down all the international offices of U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services. Duties will be transferred to domestic offices and the State Department.
  47. The Trump regime claimed it is maximizing resources. The closures will slow processing family visa applications, foreign adoptions, and citizenship petitions from members of the military stationed abroad.
  48. The move is viewed by experts as part of the regime’s efforts to discourage foreigners from coming to the U.S., adding that closing the offices will also lower U.S. engagement around the world.
  49. On Tuesday, House Democrats proposed the Dream and Promise Act which would allow more than 2 million immigrants to apply for U.S. citizenship, including “Dreamers” and those with temporary work permits.
  50. On Tuesday, three Democratic lawmakers re-introduced the Journalist Protection Act, citing Trump’s “antagonistic rhetoric” encourages people to think that “violence against journalists is more acceptable.”
  51. On Tuesday, a federal appeals court in Ohio voted to uphold an anti-abortion funding law, which blocks public money for Planned Parenthood.
  52. On Wednesday, Republicans on the House Judiciary Committee tried unsuccessfully to gut protections for Native American women from non-Native men on tribal lands from the Violence Against Women Act.
  53. On Wednesday, the Pentagon instituted Trump’s new transgender policy, requiring transgender persons currently in the military to adhere to the dress and grooming standards of their biological sex.
  54. On Thursday, Vice President Mike Pence and his sister hosted Irish Prime Minister Leo Varadkar, who is openly gay, and his partner. Pence and his wife Karen, who was not present, are both openly anti-LGBTQ.
  55. On Friday, MSNBC host Rachel Maddow reported on an Office of Refugee Resettlement 28-page spreadsheet which shows that acting head Scott Lloyd tracked the pregnancies of unaccompanied minors.
  56. Lloyd tracked information about these girls, including teenagers and pre-teens, who reported being raped and pregnant, and used it to block them from being able to get access to abortions they requested.
  57. On Tuesday, as several countries grounded the Boeing 737 Max 8 after two deadly crashes, Trump tweeted: “Airplanes are becoming far too complex to fly. Pilots are no longer needed, but rather computer scientists from MIT.”
  58. Trump also tweeted, “Always seeking to go one unnecessary step further, when often old and simpler is far better,” adding, “I don’t want Albert Einstein to be my pilot.”
  59. On Tuesday, WSJ reported the top job at the Federal Aviation Administration has been vacant for 14 months, as enforcement fines as dropped by 88% and long delays on the tarmacs have increased.
  60. Thirty-five Congressional mandates have also gone unanswered. Consumer advocates say the Transportation Department has been invisible, with no meaningful enforcement happening.
  61. Transportation Department Secretary Elaine Chao, in a push to reduce regulation, has also stopped a number of rules in progress during the Obama-administration from going into effect.
  62. On Tuesday, Dallas Morning News reported before the two crashes, at least five pilots filed complaints about suspected safety flaws in the Boeing 737 Max 8 in a federal database where pilots can voluntarily report.
  63. An FAA spokesperson said complaints were filed directly to the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, which serves as a neutral third party, adding, “thus far, our review shows no systemic performance issues.”
  64. On Tuesday, the FAA, at risk of losing its status as the world’s aviation safety leader, doubled down on its decision not to ground the Boeing 737 Max 8, after China, the European Union, India, and other countries did so.
  65. NYT reported Trump spoke Dennis Muilenburg, the chief executive of Boeing, early Tuesday. A statement to the Times by Boeing said Muilenburg “reiterated our position that the Max is a safe aircraft.”
  66. Shortly after the 2016 election, Trump had attacked Boeing publicly over the cost of Air Force One planes. Weeks later, Boeing lowered the cost and donated $1 million to Trump’s inaugural committee.
  67. On Wednesday, after 42 other countries had banned flights of the Boeing Max 8, Trump announced he would reverse an earlier FAA decision to keep the jets flying and ground flights, hours after Canada did the same.
  68. On Wednesday, WAPO reported Trump privately disparaged the Boeing 737, saying “it sucks,” and that he had not chosen the model for Air Force One, or for the airline he once ran that went bankrupt.
  69. Trump cited information exchange with Canada: “We were coordinating with Canada.” Throughout the process, Trump reportedly played the role of aviation expert, despite having no formal training in the area.
  70. Experts noted federal regulators typically take the lead on safety issues. Trump announcing the grounding was not normal. Secretary Chao or the acting FAA administrator should have made the announcement.
  71. A federal judge ruled Education Department Secretary Betsy DeVos illegally delayed an Obama-era rule requiring states to address racial disparities in special education programs.
  72. The rule was drafted under the Individuals With Disabilities Education Act to identify districts with “significant disproportionality” of minority students. The judge found DeVos’s delay to be “arbitrary and capricious.”
  73. On Wednesday, in a vote along party lines, the Senate confirmed Neomi Rao to replace Brett Kavanaugh on a key appeals court. Rao had come under scrutiny over her views and writings on date rape and abortion.
  74. In one essay as undergraduate at Yale, Rao had suggested women could avoid rape by remaining sober. She later apologized. Trump has now filled 20% of the nation’s appellate court judgeships.
  75. On Wednesday, Senate Judiciary Committee Chair Lindsey Graham is moving forward with Trump nominees to to fill two vacant seats in California on the 9th Circuit Court, despite oppositions by CA senators.
  76. A more-than-100-year-old Senate tradition allowed senators from the state to fill out a form called a “blue slip” to indicate opposition to a nominee and block them. For the first time under Graham, these are being ignored.
  77. Trump continues to push through judicial nominees at a record pace. With an additional confirmation of Paul Matey to the 3rd Circuit Court on Tuesday, Trump has now appointed 35 jurists to the appeals bench.
  78. On Friday, the Trump regime announced it will lift protections for the greater sage grouse on nearly 9 million acres, opening the land to leasing opportunities for the oil, gas, and mining industries.
  79. Additionally, Joe Balash, an Interior Department assistant secretary, confirmed to the Post that he told fossil fuel industry leaders the Atlantic coast will be included in the regime’s plan to expand leasing.
  80. Balash also said the regime planned to expand federal leasing to nearly the entire outer continental shelf.Offshore leases in the Atlantic have not been granted for decades, and drilling has not been allowed for a half-century.
  81. On Friday, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said the regime will revoke or deny visas to International Criminal Court personnel seeking to investigate alleged war crimes and other abuses committed by U.S. forces.
  82. The ICC has a pending request to look into possible war crimes in Afghanistan. Pompeo said the restrictions may also be used to deter efforts “to pursue allied personnel, including Israelis” without their consent.
  83. On Monday, the Miami Herald reported a federal court of appeals in New York took steps to unseal evidence of an international sex trafficking operation run by Jeffrey Epstein and British socialite Ghislaine Maxwell.
  84. The documents related to a 2015 case filed by Virginia Roberts Giuffre, who claimed she was recruited by Maxwell while working at Mar-a-Lago when she was 16 years-old and that she and others were sexually abused.
  85. On Monday, in an interview with WAPO Magazine, Speaker Pelosi said, “I’m not for impeachment” adding, “Impeachment is so divisive…unless there’s something so compelling and overwhelming and bipartisan.”
  86. Pelosi also added, “I don’t think we should go down that path, because it divides the country. And he’s just not worth it.” Her comments drew broad attention, and were closely scrutinized for their meaning and intent.
  87. On Monday, House Oversight Committee Chair Elijah Cummings said he is interested in speaking to Sheri Dillon and Stefan Passantino, attorneys responsible for Trump’s ethics and financial disclosures.
  88. Cummings said in his request both “appeared to provide false information” to federal prosecutors relating to payments to Cohen by Trump. So far the two are not cooperating.
  89. On Tuesday, the ranking Republican on the House Judiciary Committee released the transcript from the committee’s interview of Lisa Page, the second transcript released following that of Bruce Ohr.
  90. Page explained her talk with Peter Strzok of an “insurance policy” referenced the FBI’s counterintelligence investigation into the Trump’s team colluding with Russia taking on a greater significance if he won.
  91. Page also pushed back that the FBI did not charge Hillary Clinton, saying the move would be too “constitutionally vague,” unprecedented, and “that they did not feel that they could sustain a charge.”
  92. On Wednesday, Sen. Rand Paul tweeted, “FBI Mistress, Lisa Page confirmed….there was an anti-Trump Insurance Policy,” adding, “it’s the fake Russian investigation…yet they continued with WITCH HUNT!
  93. On Monday, New York Attorney General Letitia James’ office opened an investigation into financing of four major Trump Organization projects and Trump’s failed effort to buy the N.F.L.’s Buffalo Bills in 2014.
  94. The office subpoenaed Deutsche Bank and Investors Bank for records relating to the financing of the deals, at a time when other banks would not lend. The new inquiry was prompted by Cohen’s testimony.
  95. The inquiry is civil, not criminal, and its scope is unclear. The four deals being investigated are Trump Hotel DC; the Trump National Doral outside Miami; and the Trump International Hotel and Tower in Chicago.
  96. On Tuesday, Trump tweeted, “New York State and its Governor, Andrew Cuomo, are now proud members of the group of PRESIDENTIAL HARASSERS,” adding, “The Witch Hunt continues!”
  97. On Wednesday, NY AG James announced she had reached an agreement with New York lawmakers to amend the state’s double jeopardy laws, adding “We anticipate that the bill will be passed in the coming week.”
  98. On Wednesday, in a series of morning tweets, Trump quoted a GOP tweet and NY AG James, adding “All part of the Witch Hunt Hoax. Started by little Eric Schneiderman & Cuomo. So many leaving New York!”
  99. Trump also retweeted an analysis by his supporters Diamond and Silk, saying “AG Letitia James of New Yorkis abusing her power by targeting” him, adding it is “against the Law and a violation of the Hatch Act.”
  100. Trump also tweeted, “I greatly appreciate Nancy Pelosi’s statement against impeachment,” saying, “I never did anything wrong,” and claiming he is the leader with “the most successful first two years in history.”
  101. Trump also retweeted comments by Geraldo Rivera, saying Pelosi’s comments “are refreshing & conciliatory,” adding once Mueller exonerates Trump of allegations that “he’s a Russian spy, let’s move on.”
  102. Trump also parroted words by former late night host Jay Leno on “Fox & Friends,” tweeting “comedy is totally one-sided,” adding “the one-sided hatred on these shows is incredible and for me, unwatchable.”
  103. Trump then tweeted, “MAKE AMERICA GREAT AGAIN!” and then “KEEP AMERICA GREAT!”
  104. Trump also accused “the Fake News” of editing photos of First Lady Melania Trump to stoke “conspiracy theories  “that it’s actually not her by my side in Alabama and other places.”
  105. Trump also seized on the release of the Page transcripts, tweeting “the just revealed FBI Agent Lisa Page transcripts make the Obama Justice Department look exactly like it was, a broken and corrupt machine.”
  106. Later Wednesday, Trump quoted Fox News, tweeting “Double Standard,” Page “admits being told to go easy on Clinton,” and a second tweet saying, “Page testified Russian Collusion was still unproven.”
  107. Trump also tweeted he agrees with a tweet by Sen. Rand Paul, in which Paul uses Trump-like terms including, “FBI Mistress, Lisa Page,” “the fake Russian investigation!,” and “WITCH HUNT!”
  108. On Thursday, NY AG James told a judge in filing that Trump should “pay a $5.6 million penalty on top of $2.8 million in restitution for spending money” for using the Trump Foundation for business and political purposes.
  109. James said “Trump caused the foundation to enter repeatedly into self-dealing transactions and to coordinate unlawfully with his presidential campaign.” James is seeking a ruling without a trial.
  110. On Wednesday, Rep. Jerrold Nadler told reporters that in a closed-door meeting with former acting AG Matthew Whitaker, contrary to his public testimony, did not deny Trump had called him to discuss the Cohen investigation.
  111. Nadler said Whitaker had been “directly involved” in conversations about whether to fire unspecified U.S. attorneys, and in discussions about the “scope of the Southern District [of New York] attorney and his recusal.”
  112. Conversations about curtailing New York prosecutors’ investigations into Cohen could propel investigations by Congress and Mueller’s team into whether Trump sought to obstruct justice.
  113. On Thursday, the House voted 420-0 to pass a resolution calling for Mueller’s report to be made available to the public and Congress. The resolution is non-binding.
  114. Shortly after, when Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer called for a vote on the measure, Trump ally Sen. Graham effectively blocked the Senate from taking it up.
  115. Graham said he would only move forward if the resolution also included the appointment of a new special counsel to investigate how the DOJ conducted its investigation, pointing to the surveillance of Carter Page.
  116. On Wednesday, ahead of the Senate vote, in a series of tweets, Trump said “Prominent legal scholars agree” that his national emergency is “both CONSTITUTIONAL and EXPRESSLY authorized by Congress.”
  117. Trump also tweeted, “If, at a later date, Congress wants to update the law, I will support those efforts, but today’s issue is BORDER SECURITY and Crime!!!” adding, “Don’t vote with Pelosi!”
  118. Trump also tweeted, “A vote for today’s resolution by Republican Senators is a vote for Nancy Pelosi, Crime, and the Open Border Democrats!”
  119. On Thursday, in a rebuke to Trump, the Senate voted 59-41 to block Trump’s national emergency declaration, with 12 Republicans crossing over to join Democrats. Trump has vowed to veto the measure.
  120. Moments later, Trump tweeted “VETO!
  121. On Wednesday, in Washington D.C., Judge Amy Berman Jackson sentenced Manafort to 43 months, bringing his total time in prison to seven and a half years, including his sentence in Virginia in Week 121.
  122. After two hours of discussion in which Manafort finally apologized, Jackson described how he deceived the American public, and how secret lobbying on behalf of foreign governments in the U.S. hurts democracy.
  123. Jackson also said Manafort “backed away from the facts,” and that “Court is one of those places where facts still matter,” adding, “if the people don’t have the facts, democracy doesn’t work.”
  124. Jackson made several strong statements before sentencing Manafort about the “no collusion” bunk, saying “the ‘no collusion’ mantra is simply a non sequitur,” and “not accurate, because the investigation is still ongoing.”
  125. After the hearing, Manafort’s attorney Kevin Downing falsely claimed the judge “conceded that there was absolutely no evidence of any Russian collusion” and “two courts have ruled ‘no evidence of any collusion.’”
  126. Downing had falsely claimed the same after the Virginia case, seeming to communicate with Trump. Shortly after, Trump told reporters of Manafort, “I feel badly for him,” adding it’s a “very sad situation.”
  127. Trump also told reporters, “On a human basis, it’s a sad thing,” and when asked about a possible pardon said, “I have not even given it a thought as of this moment,” and “It’s not something now that’s on my mind.”
  128. On Wednesday, a short time after Manafort’s sentencing, Manhattan district attorney, Cyrus Vance charged Manafort with 16 crimes, including mortgage fraud and more than a dozen other state felonies.
  129. Vance said Wednesday the charges were filed to ensure Manafort will face prison time even if Trump pardons him for federal crimes. Manafort’s attorneys will challenge the indictment on double-jeopardy grounds.
  130. On Thursday, at a brief scheduling hearing, Judge Amy Berman Jackson set a trial date for Roger Stone of November 5, but did not address the issue of his latest possible gag order violation.
  131. Departing court, Stone’s attorney Robert Buschel told ABC News, “When I’m walking out of court with my client, it’s a good day,” referring to the possibility Stone could have been incarcerated for violating the gag order.
  132. On Thursday, in documents released related to Russian businessman, Aleksej Gubarev’s lawsuit against BuzzFeed, forensic evidence revealed his company was involved with the hack of John Podesta’s emails.
  133. The report found evidence which “suggests that Russian cyber espionage groups used XBT infrastructure to support malicious spear phishing campaigns against the Democratic Party leadership” and resulted in the theft of emails.
  134. On Wednesday, Bloomberg reported Russian President Vladimir Putin supports new laws passed in the upper house of parliament which punish online media for spreading “fake news,” and jailing critics for disrespect.
  135. On Thursday, Rep. Cummings requested documents and an interview with former Fox News reporter Diana Falzone about Trump’s “debts and payments to silence women” prior to the 2016 presidential election.
  136. In his letter, Rep. Cummings also requested information about any “action taken against” Falzone in “connection with attempts to report on such stories.” Falzone’s attorney said she will comply.
  137. On Thursday, Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross testified before the House Oversight Committee on whether he lied to Congress when he testified last year about his decision to add a citizenship question to the 2020 census.
  138. Ross’s testimony came after a second federal judge found he violated federal law and the Constitution. Ross maintained the basis for his decision was the official DOJ memo released in March 2018.
  139. Democrats grilled Ross, and clashed with Republicans during the hearing. Chair Cummings requested Ross provide documents and written answers to unanswered questions, else possibly face a subpoena.
  140. On Friday, CNN reported that Trump’s lawyers are refusing to make former chief of staff John Kelly available for questioning on granting of security clearances. Rep.Cummings called it “stonewalling.”
  141. On Thursday, a New York appellate court voted 3-2, ruling Summer Zervos’ lawsuit against Trump can proceed, rejecting Trump’s argument that he cannot be sued in state court while in office.
  142. The decision will likely mean Trump will have to sit for a sworn deposition, currently scheduled for June. Zervos was one of 19 women who publicly accused Trump of sexual misconduct during the 2016 campaign.
  143. On Tuesday, a joint status report filed by Mueller’s team and Michael Flynn’s attorneys indicated Flynn’s cooperation with the special counsel is “complete,” adding “Flynn remains “in a position to cooperate” if needed.
  144. On Thursday, NPR reported prosecutor Andrew Weissman is stepping down. The spokesperson for the special counsel said Weissman “will be concluding his detail to the special counsel’s office in the near future.”
  145. Weissman, who Steve Bannon called “the LeBron James of money laundering investigations,” had led the prosecution of Manafort, and is in talks with New York University Law School about a job.
  146. Weissman’s imminent departure, along with the recent resignation of the senior-most FBI agent working on Mueller’s team, Special Agent in Charge David Archey, signaled to some that the probe could be close to complete.
  147. On Friday, in a court filing, Mueller’s team said former Trump campaign official Rick Gates “continues to cooperate with respect to several ongoing investigations,” and asked to delay his sentencing.
  148. The joint report from Mueller and Gates’ attorneys asked for a 60 day delay before providing the next updateon Gates’ status, countering the narrative that the Mueller probe was about to wrap up.
  149. On Thursday, in an interview released by Breitbart, Trump said, “You know, the left plays a tougher game, it’s very funny. I actually think that the people on the right are tougher.”
  150. Trump warned, “I have the support of the police, the support of the military, the support of the Bikers for Trump — I have the tough people, but they don’t play it tough,” adding, “it would be very bad, very bad.”
  151. On Friday, at least 49 people were murdered while worshipping at two mosques in Christchurch, New Zealand. Part of the massacre was broadcast live on Facebook in a 17-minute long video.
  152. New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern called the attack “an extraordinary and unprecedented act of violence.” The killer also sent a manifesto to Ardern, media, and lawmakers minutes before the attack.
  153. The killer said in his manifesto he wanted to “incite violence, retaliation and further divide” and used Trump terms like “invaders,” attacking “mass immigration,” and said he hoped to “directly reduce immigration rates.”
  154. Similar to the Pittsburgh synagogue killing, the killer said in his manifesto that he drew inspiration from the rise of white nationalism in America, calling Trump a symbol “of renewed white identity and common purpose.”
  155. The killer also identified conservative commentator Candace Owens as his biggest influence in the manifesto, writing “her own views helped push me further and further into the belief of violence over meekness.”
  156. Some democrats pointed to Trump’s long record of derogatory remarks about Muslims, his Muslim ban, and comments about Charlottesville in 2017, saying that both sides included “some very fine people.”
  157. On Friday, Trump tweeted: “My warmest sympathy and best wishes goes out to the people of New Zealandafter the horrible massacre,” adding, “The U.S. stands by New Zealand for anything we can do. God bless all!”
  158. Trump then continued in a series of tweets, quoting a Fox News segment: “The ‘Jexodus’ movement encourages Jewish people to leave the Democrat Party,” adding, “Republicans are waiting with open arms.”
  159. Trump then again quoted Fox News, tweeting: “New evidence that the Obama era team of the FBI, DOJ & CIA were working together” to spy on and “take out” Trump, adding, “Peter Strzok’s testimony is devastating.”
  160. Trump also tweeted, “there was knowingly & acknowledged to be ‘zero’ crime when the Special Counsel was appointed,” adding, “the appointment was made based on the Fake Dossier (paid for by Crooked Hillary).”
  161. Trump also cited, “now disgraced Andrew McCabe,” and said that the special counsel “should never have been appointed” and that “there should be no Mueller Report.”
  162. Trump then concluded, tweeting “….THIS SHOULD NEVER HAPPEN TO A PRESIDENT AGAIN!”
  163. On Friday, in a letter to the attorney general, Sen. Graham requested a complete record of documents, conversations, and other communications relating to the discussions about removing Trump from office.
  164. Graham said conversations involving former FBI director Andrew McCabe and deputy attorney general Rod Rosenstein and others about the 25th Amendment amount to “a coup” and promised to investigate.
  165. On Friday, Trump told reporters he does not believe white nationalism is a rising threat, saying, “I don’t really. I think it’s a small group of people that have very, very serious problems.”
  166. When by reporters if she agreed with Trump’s comment that he doesn’t see white nationalism as a rising global threat, New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said, “No.”
  167. On Friday, Trump issued his first veto after Congress voted to block his emergency declaration. Trump called the resolution to block his declaration “dangerous,” “reckless” and a “vote against reality.”
  168. After having previously acknowledged he could have waited for his declaration, Trump provided a flurry of statistics to support the contention that this was an emergency, though many were vague.
  169. Trump claimed that there is an “invasion” into the U.S. by migrants, adding so many of them had been apprehended that there was “nowhere left to hold all of the people that we’re capturing.”
  170. Trump was flanked by Pence, DHS Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen, and Attorney General William Barr, who said the emergency order was “clearly authorized under the law” and “solidly grounded in law.”
  171. Secretary Nielsen said, “The fact that this is an emergency is undeniable. We have not seen this type of flow. As you know, it’s predominantly families and children…there’s a very unique and dangerous humanitarian crisis.”
  172. Pence said, “I don’t know that I have never been more proud to stand next to your desk than I am today,” adding “We have a crisis on our southern border.”
  173. Trump was also flanked by so-called Angel Moms, telling one before he signed the veto, “They will not have died in vain. Did I tell you that a long time ago? Three years ago, when we first met.”
  174. GOP Sen. Lamar Alexander noted the unprecedented nature of Trump asking for funding from Congress, Congress denying it, and then Trump using the “National Emergencies Act of 1976 to spend the money anyway.”
  175. On Friday, Speaker Pelosi said the House will vote to override Trump’s veto “to protect our Constitution and our democracy” on March 26, accusing Trump of a “lawless power grab.”
  176. On Friday, WAPO reported according to a court docket entry, Cesar Sayoc, the man accused of mailing bombs to Trump’s critics in Week 102, is likely to plead guilty to federal charges next week.
  177. On Friday, the WAPO Editorial Board condemned Trump’s response to the shooting, saying he should have spoken out about the killer and his nativist rhetoric, and noting his own rhetoric overlapped with the killer on Friday.
  178. The Post also noted that just hours later, Trump cited an “invasion” of immigrants to justify his national emergency declaration to build a wall.
  179. On Tuesday, Talking Points Memo reported Li “Cindy” Yang, who co-founded GY US Investments LLC with her husband, was also using proximity to Trump and his regime to peddle investor visas.
  180. GY US Investments offered “immigration investment projects,” a reference to the EB-5 visa program under which foreign citizens can get a two-year U.S. green card in exchange for making certain investments.
  181. On Friday, WAPO reported although Yang has not been accused of any wrongdoing, her ability to provide access raises concerns about access to Trump and his regime for members and guests of his clubs.
  182. Articles have identified Yang as deputy director of the Florida branch of the Council for the Promotion of the Peaceful Reunification of China, whose chapters are overseen by a wing of the Chinese Communist Party.
  183. An expert noted China’s Communist Party seeks to “co-opt and control” diaspora communities to spread pro-China views. Sources say there is relatively light screening of guests at Mar-a-Lago.
  184. On Saturday, Trump tweeted that he told House Republicans to vote to release the Mueller report, saying “ Makes us all look good and doesn’t matter. Play along with the game!”

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

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

 Trump holds an executive veto, his first, in the Oval Office of the White House March 15, 2019 in Washington, DC. President Trump vetoed the congressional resolution that blocks his national emergency declaration on the southern border.

POLITIKS OF GRAFFITI 122: A “FOX”Y REGIME

MARCH 09, 2019

Week 121

Experts in authoritarianism advise to keep a list of things
subtly changing around you, so you’ll remember. https://theweeklylist.org/weekly-list/week-121/
IMG_5083
By parisemike in Venice, California. March 2019.

This week a bombshell exposé by Jane Mayer on the ties between Trump and Fox News sparked questions of whether America had its first version of state TV. The piece had broad fallout, and sparked a renewed conversation on the line between journalism and propaganda.

This week Democrats ramped up investigations, while Trump hit back and escalated his pace of daily lies and misleading statements. With Congressional hearings finally underway, Trump and his regime continued a pattern of irreverent corruption and kleptocracy, as well as continued efforts to limit transparency and hide information.

A shocking story by an NBC affiliate revealed U.S. Customs and Border Patrol has been keeping a database of journalists and other activists involved at the Southern border, the second list by the Trump regime targeting U.S. journalists that has been uncovered since Trump came into power. The regime also reportedly revoked an award from a journalist who had been critical of Trump on social media.

Several revealing and concerning stories about haphazard U.S. foreign policy were reported, seeming to suggest increasingly that decisions are being made solely by Trump, who continues to show a general disinterest in, and at times hostility towards, both U.S. intelligence and protocols. This week the Commerce Department reported the largest trade deficit in goods in the nation’s history, as Trump’s isolationist policies and trade wars took hold — the federal budget deficit also ballooned, largely as a result of the Republican tax break.

IMG_5304
San Jose, Costa Rica 7mar19.
  1. On Saturday, The Atlantic reported House Oversight Committee Democrats are poring over the Cohen testimony. Chairman Rep. Elijah Cummings said the transcript is providing a road map for Democrats to follow.
  2. WAPO reported in Trump’s first 773 days in office, he has made 9,014 false or misleading claims. Trump has escalated the pace from 5.9 per day in his first year, to 16.5 per day in his second, to 22 per day so far in 2019.
  3. A leaked document obtained by NBC station KNSD-TV revealed U.S. Custom and Border Protection kept a secret database tracking 59 journalists and immigration advocates related to the caravans.
  4. The database, compiled with the help of Mexican authorities, labeled people as organizers, instigators, or “unknown,” and said they should be targeted for screening at the border.
  5. The database included 10 journalists, seven of whom are U.S. citizens, and included 31 Americans in all. Based on symbols on the database, 12 appeared to have been questioned and nine were arrested at the border.
  6. NBC News confirmed that several people in the database had been pulled aside at the border and told they were being questioned as part of a “national security investigation.”
  7. On Thursday, according to a statement from Customs and Border Protection, the Department of Homeland Security and the House Homeland Security Committee are investigating whether CBP agents targeted journalists for questioning.
  8. Foreign Policy reported the State Department rescinded a “Women of Courage” award for Finnish journalist Jessikka Aro without explanation, reportedly after seeing her social media posts that were critical of Trump.
  9. NBC News reported just two days after Trump’s failed second summit with Kim Jong Un, photo imagery by Beyond Parallel revealed North Korea is “rapid rebuilding” the long-range rocket site at Sohae Launch Facility.
  10. On Saturday, WAPO reported despite the ongoing investigations of Trump and his failed North Korea summit, Republicans continue to rally around Trump. His ownership of the party was especially visible at CPAC.
  11. Republicans cited Trump’s pull in the primaries, a fraying consensus about conservatism as nationalism, an overhaul of the judiciary branch, and a shared disdain of the media and Democrats.
  12. Fox News host Sean Hannity said on his show of Trump critics: “I think they put themselves at great jeopardy.” An increase in tribalism was also cited, with a senator saying Watergate might not be prosecuted today.
  13. On Saturday, Trump skipped the annual Gridiron dinner in D.C. Ivanka, who Trump reportedly asked to sub in for him that afternoon, said, “As if being Donald Trump’s daughter isn’t the hardest job in the world.”
  14. On Sunday, NYT reported that following Trump’s public criticism of their agencies, intelligence chiefs have revamped their presentations to Trump to focus on what he wants to hear about: economics and trade.
  15. Intelligence officials giving Trump briefings worked to answer his repeated question of who is winning — meaning what country is making more money. Briefers also use charts and graphs of economic data.
  16. Trump has also reduced in-person briefings to twice a week by either director of national intelligence Dan Coats or C.I.A. director Gina Haspel, featuring far more charts and visual aids to appeal to Trump.
  17. Trump is easily bored by activities and motivations of secondary foreign officials, and has shown less interestthan previous leaders on potential terrorist plots or spy work. Trump only wants information he agrees with.
  18. WAPO reported two years in, Trump’s national security officials and Republican allies are struggling to defend and explain his haphazard foreign policy statements — the mantra: it is what Trump says it is.
  19. Trump’s foreign policy is described as “part nationalist, part conservative, part isolationist, part militaristic pageantry.” Trump distrusts traditional allies like NATO, slapping tariffs on allies and adversaries.
  20. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has had trouble being in sync on Trump’s statements on North Korea, and trade negotiator Robert Lighthizer was corrected by Trump in front of Chinese officials in the Oval Office.
  21. On Sunday, when asked about North Korea’s involvement in Otto Warmbier’s death on “State of the Union,” national security adviser John Bolton responded that “My opinion doesn’t matter.”
  22. On Wednesday, Trump signed an executive order canceling the requirement that U.S. intelligence officials publicly report the number of civilians killed in drone strikes on terrorist targets outside war zones.
  23. Rep. Adam Schiff called it “a troubling retreat from transparency,” and other experts warned the lack of data would give propaganda to Islamist extremists who claim the U.S. acts without regard for civilians.
  24. On Wednesday, Russian President Vladimir Putin said his security forces had nabbed 600 spies during 2018, including 129 officers and 465 agents of foreign intelligence agencies.
  25. Putin told Russian state news TASS, “Just like before, and now probably even harder, (foreign intelligence services) are trying to influence events in our country,” adding they are seeking to “step up” their activities.
  26. Putin did not specify any countries by name. Paul Whelan, a resident of Michigan and a former Marine who was arrested last year on suspicion of espionage, is being held at the Lefortovo detention center in Moscow.
  27. On Thursday, Daily Beast reported U.S. embassy staffers in Riyadh said Jared Kushner did not include any embassy officials in his meeting last week with Saudi King Salman and Crown Prince MBS.
  28. Additionally, the Saudi government provided security and handled the entire schedule for Kushner and his entourage, responsibilities typically carried out by the U.S. embassy. Little detail of the meeting was given.
  29. On Friday, Bloomberg reported the Trump regime is drawing up plans to demand allies, including Germany and Japan and eventually other countries hosting U.S. troops, pay the full price of American soldiers deployed on their soil.
  30. On Monday, 21 states and D.C. sued the Trump regime over a rule announced in Week 119 which would prevent family planning clinics that provide abortions or abortion referrals from receiving federal funds.
  31. For the third time, Rep. Steve King promoted Faith Goldy, a Canadian white nationalist, in a tweet. Goldy once recommended a book calling for the “elimination of Jews” and has appeared on The Daily Stormer podcast.
  32. On Monday, a federal judge said the Trump regime violated the law when it halted the Obama-era Equal Employment Opportunity Commission’s efforts to collect pay data by race and gender from large companies.
  33. U.S. District Judge Tanya Chutkan ordered the regime to reinstate the rule, saying the government had failed to demonstrate that the requirements would “meaningfully increase the burden on employers.”
  34. WAPO reported while Trump invited the NCAA’s Division 2 football champs to the White House, he has not invited any women’s championship teams. Obama, George W. Bush, and Bill Clinton did so numerous times.
  35. A poster at an event sponsored by the Republican Party of West Virginia which linked Rep. Ilhan Omar to 9/11 sparked outrage. The poster was put up by ACT for America, classified as an anti-Muslim hate group by the SPLC.
  36. On Monday, after tornadoes hit Alabama, Trump tweeted: “FEMA has been told directly by me to give the A Plus treatment” to the red state, in contrast to mismanagement in Puerto Rico, and threats to California.
  37. On Monday, HuffPost reported Trump is advancing young judicial nominees who are members of the Federalist Society, and hold ideologies that are extremely anti-abortion and anti-LGBTQ.
  38. On Tuesday, the Senate confirmed Allison Rushing, 37, to the federal appeals court. Rushing interned for Alliance Defending Freedom, an anti-LGBTQ group. She was opposed by over 200 civil rights organizations.
  39. On Tuesday, a group of male Republican New Hampshire lawmakers wore pearls to a Congressional hearing, seeming to mock mothers of victims of gun violence who also attended the hearing.
  40. On Wednesday, a federal judge ruled Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross violated the constitutional underpinning of representative democracy by adding a citizenship question to the 2020 Census.
  41. U.S. District Judge Richard Seeborg in San Francisco also found Ross made a “strong showing of bad faith” by trying to conceal his motives behind adding the question.
  42. The judge also said Ross was fully aware that the question would result in a census undercount, particularly among Latinos, adding Ross engaged in a “cynical search” to find an expert who approved of his plan.
  43. On Wednesday, the House Oversight Committee opened an investigation into Georgia’s voting problems, sending a letter to Gov. Brian Kemp, who at the time when he ran for governor also served as secretary of state.
  44. Issues under investigation included voter purges and suspensions, malfunctioning and hackable machines, and efforts to close precincts and polling places — all of which may have contributed to voter suppression.
  45. On Friday, News 4 reported administrators at Sidwell Friends School in D.C. are investigating high school students who included two swastikas and racist imagery in an on-screen presentation made for 500 students.
  46. On Friday, Daily News reported school administrators in Bronxville, New York are investigating an allegation that a teacher held a fake auction in which her white students bid on black students pretending to be slaves.
  47. On Friday, College of Charleston students walked out of class to protest the school administration’s slow response to a video shot during a First Year Experience class which featured slavery jokes and racist slurs.
  48. A police officer in Boulder, Colorado was placed on administrative leave after a video went viral of him drawing his gun on a black student, who works and lives at the property, picking up trash in front of his home.
  49. On Saturday, NBC News reported 29 parents who had been deported to Central America by immigration officers returned to the southern border to demand asylum and reunification with their children.
  50. The parents have 27 children in U.S. custody, the youngest 5 years-old — some separated from their children for more than a year. Some children are still detained, and others are living with foster families or relatives.
  51. On Sunday, Trump tweeted: “After more than two years of Presidential Harassment, the only things that have been proven is that Democrats and other broke the law.”
  52. Trump also tweeted that the Michael Cohen testimony was “given by a liar to reduce his prison time,” adding Cohen’s “just written book manuscript showed” it’s a lie. Cohen’s lawyer said the manuscript Trump references does not exist.
  53. Trump also tweeted: “I am an innocent man being persecuted by some very bad, conflicted & corrupt people in a Witch Hunt,” adding the investigation is “only because I won the Election!”
  54. On Sunday, House Judiciary Chair Jerrold Nadler told “This Week” his committee will be issuing documentsto dozens of entities and individuals. Asked if he thought Trump obstructed justice, Nadler responded, “Yes, I do.”
  55. On Sunday, Senate Intelligence ranking democrat Mark Warner told “Meet the Press” his committee has found “enormous amounts of evidence” of potential collusion between Trump and Russians during the 2016 election.
  56. On Sunday, House Intelligence chair Adam Schiff told “Face the Nation” that his committee has uncovered both “direct evidence” and “abundant circumstantial evidence” of the Trump campaign colluding with Russia.
  57. On Sunday, in the evening, Trump tweeted: “Presidential Harassment by “crazed” Democrats at the highest level in the history,” and “the most vicious and corrupt Mainstream Media” any president has endured.
  58. He also tweeted, yet the most “successful first two years,” adding “We are WINNING big, the envy of the WORLD.”
  59. On Monday, an exposé by Jane Mayer in The New Yorker reported on ties between Trump and Fox News, with an expert saying it is the closest our country has come to having state TV.
  60. Since Trump took office, he has given 42 interviews to Fox News (7 to Hannity alone), while only giving 10 to the three major television networks combined, and none to CNN.
  61. Mayer also reported, citing information compiled by the left-leaning watchdog group Media Matters, thatTrump has parroted lines from Fox News shows more than 200 times on Twitter since August 2018.
  62. In addition to Bill Shine, Deputy Chief of Staff for Communications, other ex Fox News alumni who worked for Trump include Ben Carson, John Bolton, K.T. McFarland, Heather Nauert, Hope Hicks, and Sebastian Gorka.
  63. Shine, who was complicit in a workplace culture of coverups, payoffs, and victim intimidation relating to sexual assault, is still being paid millions from Fox News even while collecting a paycheck from the White House.
  64. Trump frequently retweets claims of Fox News during his “Executive Time.” Although press secretary Sarah Sanders has stopped doing daily press briefings, she has appeared on Fox News shows thirty times.
  65. Mayer also reported prior to the network’s presidential debate, Fox employees may have alerted Trump that Megyn Kelly was going to ask him tough questions, including on his alleged mistreatment of women.
  66. Fox News also reportedly killed the Stormy Daniels story ahead of the election. Fox reporter Diana Falzone, who uncovered it, was told “Good reporting, kiddo. But Rupert wants Donald Trump to win. So just let it go.”
  67. Mayer also reported that in a Oval Office meeting with John Kelly, Trump pressured Gary Cohn to tell the DOJ to block the AT&T-Time Warner merger, over Trump’s ire against CNN. Cohn told Kelly not to follow through.
  68. On Tuesday, WAPO reported in a letter responding to Sen. Elizabeth Warren and Rep. Pramila Jayapal, T-Mobile acknowledged it had spent $195,000 at the Trump Hotel DC after announcing a merger with Sprint.
  69. T-Mobile spent 14% of its D.C. expenditures over those 10 months at Trump Hotel DC. The T-Mobile-Sprint megamerger will require approval from the DOJ and Federal Communications Commission.
  70. On Wednesday, the Democratic National Committee barred Fox News from hosting or televising a candidate debate for the party’s 2020 primary election, a highly unusual rebuke.
  71. Chairman Tom Perez said in a statement Fox News “is not in a position to host a fair and neutral debate for our candidates,” citing Mayer’s reporting showing an “inappropriate relationship” between Trump and the network.
  72. On Wednesday, Trump tweeted, “Democrats just blocked @FoxNews from holding a debate,” adding, “I think I’ll do the same thing with the Fake News Networks and the Radical Left Democrats in the General Election.”
  73. On Friday, Nancy Erica Smith, lawyer for Diana Falzone issued a statement demanding Fox release her from her nondisclosure agreement so she can talk about getting the Stormy Daniels story before the 2016 election.
  74. On Tuesday, WAPO reported that in 2011, shortly after Trump challenged President Obama to “show his record,” the headmaster at New York Military Academy, which Trump attended, was instructed to bury Trump’s record.
  75. The academy superintendent, Jeffrey Coverdale, told the Post some trustees gave him a directive to hand over Trump’s records to them, but he refused, instead for the first time moving them elsewhere on campus.
  76. Coverdale left the school in 2013, and is not sure what happened after. On the campaign trail, Trump over-inflated his academic success in high school and college. Trump was not an academic standout at the academy.
  77. On Sunday, Roger Stone posted an image on Instagram which contained an image of him under the words “Who framed Roger Stone.” The post was up for roughly 24 hours before Stone apparently deleted it.
  78. On Monday, Mueller’s team notified Judge Amy Jackson Berman of the post, saying it could be in violation of the judge’s gag order, which covers “posts on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram or any other form of social media.”
  79. On Tuesday, Judge Jackson blasted Stone in court over his new book that criticizes Mueller, and demandedthat Stone explain his efforts to comply with the gag order by March 11.
  80. Judge Jackson also chastised Stone’s lawyers for misrepresenting to her that publication of the book, titled “The Myth of Russian Collusion,” was “imminent,” after they admitted the book is already on sale.
  81. Judge Jackson will decide whether the book release and/or the Instagram post violate the gag order and justify consequences for Stone. A status conference for Stone was previously scheduled for March 14.
  82. On Monday, Jerome Corsi retracted an article he wrote in 2018 for InfoWars and apologized. The article claimed murdered Democratic National Committee staffer Seth Rich was behind leaking DNC emails to Wikileaks.
  83. Corsi also tweeted, telling followers “I’m not being threatened,” and wrote, “As Christians gentleman, I have sympathy for the suffering the Seth Rich family has gone through. I hope all will understand that. God Bless.”
  84. On Monday, former lead counsel for Trump Ty Cobb told an ABC News podcast that Mueller is an “American hero,” and, parting ways with Trump added, “I don’t feel the investigation is a witch hunt.”
  85. Cobb also said he disagreed with the more confrontational approach being taken by Trump’s current legal team, saying it “wouldn’t have been” his strategy, adding that he doesn’t “feel the same way about Mueller.”
  86. On Monday, House Ways and Means Chair Richard Neal said his committee will likely seek 10 years of Trump’s tax returns, relying on a 1924 law that gives tax-writing committees broad powers.
  87. On Monday, the House Judiciary Committee announced it is sending 81 letters seeking information and documents from individuals and groups relating to Trump’s campaign, businesses, transition, and regime.
  88. Rep. Nadler said in a statement: “Trump has evaded accountability for his near-daily attacks on our basic legal, ethical, and constitutional rules and norms.” The investigation will focus on obstruction of justice by Trump.
  89. When asked by reporters Monday if he would cooperate, Trump responded: “I cooperate all the time with everybody,” adding, “no collusion. It’s all a hoax.” Recipients have until March 18 to respond.
  90. Later, press secretary Sarah Sanders said in a statement that Nadler and the Democrats “have embarked on this fishing expedition,” adding, “they are terrified” that their “false narrative of ‘Russia collusion’ is crumbling.”
  91. On Monday, Rep. Schiff said he has hired Daniel Goldman, a veteran prosecutor in the SDNY with experiencefighting Russian organized crime, to lead his committee’s investigation of the Trump regime.
  92. Goldman will join two other former federal prosecutors. The House Intelligence Committee will beaggressively investigating whether collusion occurred between the Trump campaign and Russia.
  93. On Monday, Fox News host Sean Hannity blasted the House investigation, calling it a “gruesome display of modern-day McCarthyism.”
  94. On Tuesday, Trump parroted Hannity’s comments, tweeting: “We the people will now be subjected to the biggest display of modern day McCarthyism,” adding, “which is the widest fishing net expedition.”
  95. Trump also started undermining the 2020 election, tweeting Democrats were “vicious and totally showed their cards,” adding they “are trying to win an election in 2020 that they know they cannot legitimately win!”
  96. Trump’s 2020 campaign said in a statement: “These desperate Democrats know they cannot beat President Trump in 2020,” saying instead they are on a “disgraceful witch hunt” to “topple the will of the American people.”
  97. On Tuesday, former Trump campaign aide Michael Caputo said he does not plan to cooperate with the House inquiry, and is working with some of the 80 others to begin a joint strategy of resisting requests for testimony.
  98. On Tuesday, a new Quinnipiac University poll found 64% of registered voters believe Trump had committed crimes before entering office, and 45% think he committed crimes while serving in office.
  99. After Cohen’s Congressional testimony last week, 50% believe Cohen and 35% believe Trump. Just 30% believe Trump is honest, the lowest rating in the poll since Trump took office.
  100. On Tuesday, House Oversight Chair Cummings said the White House refused to hand over documents related to security clearances to his committee. Instead, White House Counsel Pat Cipollone offered a briefing.
  101. On Wednesday, CNN reported Trump pressured John Kelly and White House counsel Don McGahn to grant security clearance to Ivanka after concerns were raised by the personnel office.
  102. After both Kelly and McGahn refused, Trump granted Ivanka and Jared security clearances on his own. Three weeks ago, Ivanka told ABC News that Trump had “no involvement” in her or Kushner’s clearance.
  103. On Friday, Axios reported a White House source leaked documents to the House Oversight Committee related to Kushner and Ivanka’s security clearance, after the White House rejected the request.
  104. On Monday, NBC News reported Matthew Whitaker, who had been serving as a senior counselor since Attorney General William Barr was sworn in, left the Justice Department. His next move was unclear.
  105. On Tuesday, WSJ reported Trump plans to nominate Jessie Liu to the number 3 spot at the DOJ, replacing Rachel Brand who left in February 2018. Liu would be the lone minority woman in DOJ leadership.
  106. Liu previously served on Trump’s transition team at the DOJ, and acknowledged she had an in-person interview with Trump before he nominated her to be U.S. attorney, something highly unusual.
  107. On Tuesday, NYT reported New York state regulators have subpoenaed Aon PLC, Trump’s insurance broker, following Cohen’s House testimony last week that Trump exaggerated his wealth to insurance companies.
  108. The nine-page subpoena served by a state agency which is part of Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s administration demands materials relating to Aon’s business with Trump and the Trump Org dating back to 2009.
  109. On Tuesday, Trump tweeted: “PRESIDENTIAL HARASSMENT!”
  110. On Tuesday, Trump told reporters, “It’s too bad,” adding, “Instead of doing infrastructure, instead of doing health care, instead of doing so many things that they should be doing, they want to play games.”
  111. On Tuesday, NYT reported it had obtained six checks written by Trump while in office of $35,000 each paid to Michael Cohen — one of 11 such payments made to Cohen to reimburse for hush money payments.
  112. The dates on the check revealed the parallel lives Trump was leading while in office and conducting the country’s business, while paying for efforts to keep his affairs out of the public eye in the run up to the 2016 election.
  113. Cohen claimed the checks started in February 2017 after a meeting in the Oval Office. The first check for January and February for $70,000 was signed on February 14 by Donald Jr. and Allen Weisselberg.
  114. On Tuesday, WSJ reported a lawyer for Michael Cohen, Stephen Ryan, approached Trump’s attorneys about the possibility of a pardon after the FBI raided Cohen’s properties in April 2018.
  115. Trump attorneys, including Jay Sekulow, Rudy Giuliani, and Joanna Hendon, dismissed the idea of a pardon; however, Giuliani left open the possibility that Trump could grant one in the future.
  116. Ryan also approached Trump Organization general counsel Alan Garten and outside attorney Alan Futerfas. Ryan left the impression if Cohen could not rely on a pardon, he might cooperate with SDNY prosecutors.
  117. Conversations among parties on this topic are being probed by the House Judiciary Committee, and were part of their document requests made on Monday.
  118. On Tuesday, NBC News reported the House and Senate intelligence committees are also investigating the pardon discussions. It is not clear how serious the discussions were, and no pardon was granted.
  119. On Wednesday, WSJ reported Cohen directed Ryan to ask for a pardon from Trump, contradicting his testimony before Congress where he said, “I have never asked for, nor would I accept, a pardon from Mr. Trump.”
  120. On Thursday, Cohen attorney Lanny Davis said “Prior to Michael Cohen’s decision to leave the ‘Joint Defense Group’ and tell the truth on July 2, 2018, Michael was open to the ongoing ‘dangling’ of a possible pardon.”
  121. On Wednesday, Cohen gave the House Intelligence Committee documentation showing edits to the false written statement he delivered to Congress in 2017 about the Trump Tower Moscow project.
  122. Cohen claimed in his testimony that Trump attorney Jay Sekulow made changes to his statement to the House and Senate Intelligence Committees, and that it was also reviewed by lawyers like Abbe Lowell.
  123. On Thursday, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi told reporters Trump’s children are fair game for House committees, saying, “They are investigating certain subjects. Whoever falls into that net, falls into the net.”
  124. On Thursday, ABC News reported Congressional lawmakers are planning to ask Donald Jr. to return to testify about the Trump Tower Moscow project, after he said he knew “very little” about a deal in prior testimony.
  125. On Thursday, Cohen sued the Trump Organization, saying the company is obligated to pay both his $1.9 million in legal bills, and another $1.9 million he owes as part of a criminal sentence.
  126. Cohen said the company paid his legal counsel — at the time, McDermott Will & Emery LLP — but stopped covering the fees they are contractually obligated to pay after he started cooperating with federal investigators.
  127. On Friday, Fox News reported Democrats on the House Intelligence Committee traveled to New York to meet with Cohen at least four times for over 10 hours before last week’s public testimony.
  128. On Monday, Senate Leader Mitch McConnell said he would not stop passage of a resolution to block Trump’s national emergency declaration, after Sen. Rand Paul became the fourth to say he would vote for it.
  129. Sen. Paul said as many as 10 Republicans may vote for the measure, a serious rebuke to Trump and rare example of Congress standing up to try to rein in his power. Trump is likely to veto the measure.
  130. On Tuesday, Sen. Lindsey Graham said Senate Republicans opposing Trump’s national emergency declaration are “playing with fire,” after meeting with Trump, saying the “border is in a state of crisis.”
  131. On Tuesday, the Treasury Department announced the federal budget deficit grew by 77% in the first four months of fiscal year 2019, amid falling revenue caused by Trump’s tax cuts and higher spending.
  132. The deficit grew from $176 billion to $310 billion year over year. White House economic adviser Larry Kudlow acknowledged on Fox News that national debt has “inched up a bit,” but said “growth solves the problem.”
  133. On Wednesday, General Motors closed a massive assembly plant in Lordstown, Ohio — a plant that had operated for 50 years. This marks the first time GM will not be manufacturing cars in Ohio in half a century.
  134. GM also plans to close plants in Detroit and Oshawa, Ontario, and transmission plants in Warren, Michigan, and near Baltimore.
  135. On Wednesday, at the American Workforce Policy Advisory Board meeting at the White House, Trump called Apple Inc. CEO Tim Cook “Tim Apple.” Previously, Trump called Lockheed Martin’s CEO “Marillyn Lockheed.”
  136. On Thursday, the Commerce Department announced the U.S. trade deficit in goods with the rest of the world in 2018 rose to $891 billion, the largest deficit in U.S. history.
  137. The overall trade deficit grew 12.5% from 2017 to $621 billion. American exports to China slumped nearly 50% in December from the year prior, as the trade gap in goods overall for 2018 with China reached $419 billion.
  138. On Wednesday, Secretary of Homeland Security Kirstjen Nielsen testified before the House Homeland Security Committee about Trump’s “zero tolerance” policy— Nielsen’s first hearing since Democrats took control.
  139. Nielsen backed Trump’s emergency declaration, saying, “this is not a manufactured crisis. This is truly an emergency,” and claiming the number of immigrants entering the U.S. illegally had doubled from a year ago.
  140. Also Wednesday, DHS acting inspector general John V. Kelly said in a separate hearing he has opened three investigations into the Trump regime’s immigration policies, including tracking separated children.
  141. The IG will also look into whether deported parents were given the opportunity to take their children with them. Nielsen told lawmakers, “To the best of my knowledge, every parent was afforded that option.”
  142. When Rep. Nanette Barragán asked, “You let kids be separated without tracking them. Do you know how outrageous that is…You have no feeling, no compassion, no empathy here,” Nielsen did not respond.
  143. On Thursday, AP reported that the Pentagon may use $1 billion in leftover funds set aside for military pay and pension accounts to pay for Trump’s wall. The funds are currently available since recruitment is down.
  144. CNBC reported the firm owned by Trump’s former longtime bodyguard Keith Schiller was paid $225,000 by the Republican National Committee for security consulting since he left the White House in September 2017.
  145. The RNC claimed Schiller was kept on to “work on other security needs for the committee” for the 2020 convention. It was unclear what that work entailed. The RNC fee to Schiller is $15,000 per month.
  146. On Friday, The Guardian reported Trump’s inauguration committee took money from shell companies tied to foreigners. It is illegal for non-resident foreigners to donate to political campaigns, including inaugurations.
  147. The Guardian identified three payments of $25,000 each, coming from an Indian real estate investor, a lobbyist with ties to Chinese investors, and an Israeli with international links.
  148. On Thursday, the House voted 407-23 on a measure to condemn all forms of hate, sparked by a fierce debate between Democrats following comments by Rep. Ilhan Omar which were viewed as anti-Semitic.
  149. Trump, seeking to capitalize on the infighting, tweeted Wednesday, “It is shameful that House Democrats won’t take a stronger stand against Anti-Semitism in their conference.”
  150. Trump has been silent to the same in the GOP and trafficked in anti-Semitic tropes. Republicans were silent this week about Rep. Jim Jordan’s tweet, in which he replaced the letter “s” with $ in spelling Tom Steyer’s name.
  151. On Thursday, Judge T.S. Ellis III sentenced Paul Manafort to 47 months in prison, dismissing sentencing guidelines of 19 to 24 year as “vindictive” and “way out of whack” for 69 year-old Manafort.
  152. Legal experts criticized Ellis’s sentence, saying wealthy white-collar criminals often receive lighter sentences because the judge empathizes with them. Manafort arrived in court gray-haired and in a wheelchair.
  153. The judge had predicted some pushback. However, his sentencing provoked a social media firestorm including public defenders, prosecutors, and ordinary citizens — citing racial disparity in sentencing as well.
  154. Observers also noted Judge Ellis showed his distaste for special counsel throughout proceedings. Judge Amy Berman Jackson will sentence Manafort next week on two conspiracy charges.
  155. On Friday, in a series of morning tweets, Trump said, “Thank you @foxandfriends. Great show!” Trump did not publicly change course despite earlier reporting by Jane Mayer on his ties to the network.
  156. Trump also tweeted, “I cannot believe the level of dishonesty in the media. It is totally out of control, but we are winning!” Adding in another tweet, “PRESIDENTIAL HARASSMENT!”
  157. Trump also falsely claimed in a tweet, “Both the Judge and the lawyer in the Paul Manafort case stated loudly” that “there was NO COLLUSION with Russia,” adding, “the Witch Hunt Hoax continues.”
  158. Judge Ellis actually said that Manafort was “not before this court for anything having to do with collusion with the Russian government to influence this election.”
  159. After disappointing job numbers of 20,000 added in February, Trump quoted a “Fox & Friends” guest Stuart Varney, tweeting: “This is as good a time as I can remember to be an American Worker.”
  160. Trump also tweeted, “Bad lawyer and fraudster Michael Cohen” said under oath he did not ask for a pardon and “his lawyers totally contradicted him,” adding, “he directly asked me for a pardon. I said NO. He lied again!”
  161. Trump also claimed Cohen lied under oath to Congress about wanting a job in the administration: “He also badly wanted to work at the White House. He lied!”
  162. Cohen responded, tweeting: “Just another set of lies” by Trump, adding since it was International Women’s Day, Trump should apologize for his “own #lies and #DirtyDeeds” to Karen McDougal and Stephanie Clifford.
  163. On Friday, before departing for Alabama, Trump told reporters he felt “very badly for Paul Manafort.” Trump also repeated the false claim that “the judge said there was no collusion with Russian…It’s a collusion hoax.”
  164. When asked about a pardon for Manafort, Trump said, “I haven’t discussed it,” and also claimed Cohen “directly asked me for a pardon.” Trump also accused Democrats of becoming the “anti-Israel party, anti-Jewish party.”
  165. Visiting Alabama, Trump signed Bibles while visiting relief sites. The act of signing Bibles drew mixed reviews from clergy, with some saying it was appropriate, while others said Trump was wrong to do so.
  166. On Friday, ex-Fox News executive Bill Shine abruptly resigned from the White House, after nine months on the job. Shine said he will now work as a senior advisor for Trump’s 2020 re-election campaign.
  167. Shine was Trump’s fifth communications director, as Trump continues to believe he does not need one. The move, after Mayer’s reporting, came as a surprise to White House aides and officials on the Trump 2020 campaign.
  168. On Friday, Air Force Secretary Heather Wilson resigned to become president of the University of Texas at El Paso. Wilson was seen as a candidate to replace Jim Mattis in the still unfilled defense secretary spot.
  169. On Friday, Trump formally nominated former oil and gas lobbyist David Bernhardt to succeed Ryan Zinke at the Interior Department. Bernhardt was been the acting secretary since Zinke’s departure.
  170. Congressional Democrats who have tried to conduct oversight said acting secretary Bernhardt claimed said he could not provide his calendar, because he has not maintained one in years and is not legally bound to do so.
  171. On Friday, Trump allies on the House Judiciary Committee revived allegations of FBI misconduct, publicly releasing a transcript of an August interview with DOJ official Bruce Ohr.
  172. Later Friday, Trump again attacked Cohen, quoting Rep. Mike Turner: “The only time that Michael Cohen told the truth is when he pled that he is guilty,” adding also “no collusion” and “I did not tell him to lie!”
  173. On Friday, the Miami Herald reported Li Yang, the founder of Orchids of Asia Day Spa, posed with Trump for a photograph at a Super Bowl party, 19 days before Robert Kraft was arrested for soliciting prostitution.
  174. Yang said she no longer owns the spa, which has been accused of human trafficking. Yang also posted a photowith and signed by Trump on her social media from a fundraiser at Mar-a-Lago on March 2, 2018.
  175. Mother Jones reported Yang and her husband, Zubin Gong, started GY US Investments LLC in 2017, which on its website in mostly Chinese, offers services for clients looking to make high-level connections in the U.S.
  176. Yang’s bio photo on the website is a photo with Trump with his signature, and says she is a member of the “Presidential Fundraising Committee.” Yang donated $42,000 to a Trump PAC and $16,000 to his campaign.
  177. Yang’s Facebook page, since taken down, included photos of her with Donald Jr., Rep. Matt Gaetz, RNC Chair Ronna McDaniel, Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao and Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis among others.
  178. The GY US Investments website also lists upcoming events at Mar-a-Lago. Photos show Chinese executives at the Mar-a-Lago New Year’s event mingling with Trump family members including Eric and Donald Jr.
  179. ProPublica reported on another case of Trump’s buddies from Mar-a-Lago being given inside access: Albert Hazzouri, a dentist from Scranton, PA, whom Trump had previously called out at a rally for being a good golfer.
  180. Hazzouri sent Trump a note on Mar-a-Lago stationary, with the salutation “Dear King,” as a favor to the 163,000-member American Dental Association relating to “veterans’ care and American Native Indians’ care.”
  181. Trump wrote on the note, “Send to David S at the V.A.,” meaning David Shulkin, then head of Veterans Affairs. Next to the Mar-a-Lago logo, a Trump aide stamped: “The president has seen.”
  182. On Friday, in an interview with Al Jazeera, Erik Prince admitted he attended an August 2016 Trump Tower previously reported by the Times in Week 80, that also included Donald Jr. and George Nader.
  183. Reportedly at the meeting, Nader said the UAE and Saudi Arabia wanted to help Trump win the White House.When asked why he did not disclose the meeting to Congress, Prince said maybe they got the transcript wrong.

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

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

A bombshell exposé by Jane Mayer, “The Making of the Fox New White House,” explored ties between Trump and the cable-TV network, asking if America had its first state TV.

POLITIKS OF GRAFFITI 121: COWARDLY CRIMINAL FAWNING OVER MURDEROUS DICkTATORS (AMERICA IS ASHAMED)

D0bHP7dVsAArsq8.jpg-large
Jim Carrey, Feb 27
If Trump makes a nuclear deal w/ North Korea, it’s a FRAUD: China and Russia trying to keep their Prize Pony in the White House. When there’s a Nobel Prize for cowardice and moral desolation Trump will be the first to receive it.

MARCH 02, 2019

Week 120

Experts in authoritarianism advise to keep a list of things
subtly changing around you, so you’ll remember. https://theweeklylist.org/weekly-list/week-120/

This week the country was riveted by the public testimony of Michael Cohen, Trump’s long-time attorney and fixer, before the House Oversight Committee — the first public testimony in the new Democrat-controlled Congress. Cohen’s testimony overwhelmed the spectacle of Trump’s second summit with North Korea dictator Kim Jong Un in Hanoi — which produced no concrete results, despite a pre-planned joint signing ceremony. Cohen, who said he is now in “constant contact” with federal prosecutors, gave seven hours of testimony, offering an insider’s perspective and many new details which, by week’s end, were already leading Congressional investigators to call more witnesses and open new areas of inquiry.

As Cohen was testifying and Trump meeting with Kim, Jared Kushner met with the Saudi King Salman and Crown Prince MBS, then Turkish President Recep Erdogan. Just as Kushner stayed silent during his Saudi visit on the murder of Jamal Khashoggi, Trump sided with another dictator, saying he believed Kim played no part of the brutal torture and death of American college student Otto Warmbier, before trying to reverse himself the next day. During Kushner’s trip, the Times reported Trump had ordered officials to grant his son-in-law top-secret security clearance, overruling concerns by U.S. intelligence and former White House Counsel Don McGahn.

Trump returned from his rough week abroad to a hero’s welcome at the 2019 Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC), a conference which notably had been a forum for conservative debate, but under Trump has evolved into a pro-Trump cult-like setting, and giving center stage to those who previously were fringe players of the Republican Party.

IMG_1982
Miami, FL Dec 2018
IMG_2196
Miami, FL Dec 2018

D0hLVgcUcAAooOM.jpg-large

Jim Carrey,  Feb 28
Know how you can tell when an admitted liar is being truthful? When he has CORROBORATING EVIDENCE! Like this hush money check to Michael Cohen signed by his boss…CROOKED DONALD TRUMP!!!

Dz8e_l9VYAAhlEU.jpg-large
Jim Carrey,  Feb 21
If u can still support this repugnant oaf, while ignoring 17 investigations, 34 indictments, 7 guilty pleas, 9000 lies, child imprisonment, money laundering, racism, misogyny, infidelity, environmental rape, and high treason, you’re not just misinformed… you’re a Sith.
  1. The Southern Poverty Law Center reported that in the era of Trump, eight Republicans with openly white supremacist, nativist, anti-LGBT or anti-government ties won seats in Congress in the midterms.
  2. Additionally, ten other Republicans, who also courted hate and extremism, won their primaries, but lost in general elections.
  3. On Saturday, WAPO reported ahead of the second summit with Kim Jong Un, Trump has changed the definition of success from denuclearization to “no rush,” as long as North Korea maintains a testing moratorium.
  4. Trump also claimed success in ratcheting down rhetoric with North Korea, which he had inflamed. Reportedly, he may look to create a spectacle to distract from Michael Cohen’s public Congressionaltestimony Wednesday.
  5. On Sunday, Trump tweeted: “We will be having one of the biggest gatherings in the history of Washington, D.C., on July 4th,” adding, “fireworks display, entertainment and an address by your favorite President, me!”
  6. It was unclear what Trump meant as a major 4th of July parade already takes place in D.C. each year. A spokesperson for Washington’s mayor told CNN, “Like you, we are still assessing what will be different.”
  7. Trump also tweeted, “The only Collusion with the Russians was with Crooked Hillary Clinton and the Democratic National Committee,” adding, “And, where’s the Server that the DNC refused to give to the FBI?”
  8. Trump also retweeted an earlier tweet saying, “Highly respected Senator Richard Burr, head of Senate Intelligence, said… “WE HAVE FOUND NO COLLUSION BETWEEN THE TRUMP CAMPAIGN AND RUSSIA.””
  9. On Sunday, House Intelligence chair Adam Schiff told “This Week” Democrats will do whatever is necessary to make the Mueller report public, including subpoenaing the report and calling Mueller to testify.
  10. On Sunday, Steve Bannon told “Face the Nation” that 2019 “will be the most vitriolic year in American politics since before the Civil War,” citing the SDNY investigations and Democrats weaponizing the Mueller probe.
  11. On Sunday, House Judiciary chair Jerrold Nadler said in a radio interview that Trump and his conduct are “the greatest threat to the democratic system and to the constitutional government since the Civil War.”
  12. On Sunday, Republican Sen. John Cornyn tweeted a quote by fascist dictator Benito Mussolini, who had ties to socialism. Cornyn later tried to play it off as critique of the Democratic-socialists.
  13. On Sunday, Reuters reported Russian state television listed U.S. military facilities Moscow would target in the event of a nuclear strike, adding that with weapons being developed, Russia could hit them in less than five minutes.
  14. On Monday, Russian foreign minister Sergey Lavrov told a Russian news agency that Trump has asked for Moscow’s advice in dealing with North Korea at the second summit this Wednesday and Thursday.
  15. Lavrov, who is also visiting Vietnam this week, added “the U.S. is even asking our advice, our views on this or that scenario of how the summit in Hanoi could pan out.”
  16. On Monday, BBC reported concerns have been raised that Elizaveta Peskova, daughter of Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov, is interning for a right-wing French politician Aymeric Chauprade at the European Union.
  17. On Monday, in an interview with CNN, former Senate leader Harry Reid said in the age of Trump, he wishes for George W. Bush “every day,” saying, “he and I had our differences, but no one ever questioned his patriotism.”
  18. Reid said he did not think the Senate would go along with impeaching Trump, but added, “I don’t think there would be a backlash because the vast majority of the people know something’s wrong with Trump.”
  19. Reid also said former FBI director James Comey did not do enough to stop Russia in 2016: “I watch [Comey] in the halls…being so self-righteous I almost wanted to shout, ‘Where were you when we needed you?’”
  20. On Monday, Trump attacked Reid tweeting he got thrown out and is “working hard to put a good spin on his failed career,” adding he “led through lies and deception,” and was replaced by “Cryin’ Chuck Schumer.”
  21. On Monday, Trump tweeted: “Oil prices getting too high,” urging the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries, “please relax and take it easy. World cannot take a price hike — fragile!”
  22. On Monday, in a radio interview, former Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen said Trump shows a “lack of understanding” of basic economics, citing his stance on reducing trade deficits with China and others.
  23. Yellen also noted that Trump pressuring the Fed is unhealthy, saying: “I think it does have the impact, especially if conditions in the U.S. for any reason were to deteriorate, it could undermine confidence in the Fed.”
  24. On Tuesday, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the DC Circuit rejected the DOJ’s attempt to overturn AT&T’s merger with Time Warner. Trump’s DOJ had wanted Time Warner to spin off CNN, the frequent target of Trump’s ire.
  25. On Monday, Politico reported two House committees, Finance and Intelligence, will target Trump’s personal finances, crossing Trump’s stated red line of examining his personal finances.
  26. The committees will examine why Deutsche Bank would lend to the Trump Organization when other banks would not, and given Deutsche’s ties to laundering Russian money, whether Russia was involved.
  27. On Saturday, several University of Mississippi basketball players kneeled on the court during the national anthem to show solidarity with counter protestors amid a rally in support to a monument for the Confederacy.
  28. On Sunday, while accepting an award at the Oscars, Spike Lee said of the 2020 election, “Let’s all be on the right side of history. Make the moral choice between love versus hate. Let’s do the right thing!”
  29. On Monday, Trump tweeted in response, “Be nice if Spike Lee could read his notes…when doing his racist hit on your President, who has done more for African Americans…than almost any other Pres!”
  30. AP reported Elecia Dexter, a black woman, will replace Goodloe Sutton as publisher and editor of the Democrat-Reporter. Sutton, who had been in that role since the 1960s, will retain ownership of the newspaper.
  31. On Monday, Maryland Democrat Del. Mary Ann Lisanti apologized to the Maryland Black Caucus for using the n-word to refer to Prince George’s district while out after-hours with colleagues at a cigar bar.
  32. On Tuesday, Virginia first lady Pat Northam handed out raw cotton to two eighth-grade students on a mansion tour, and asked them to imagine being enslaved and having to pick the crop. She apologized Wednesday.
  33. On Wednesday, Detroit Free Press reported a police officer Gary Steele was fired after posting a racially insensitive Snapchat video after stopping a 23 year-old woman for an expired license plate.
  34. On Wednesday, Daily Beast reported Marc Short, VP Pence’s incoming chief of staff, in a college column maligned people living with HIV and AIDS, saying it spread largely as the result of “repugnant” homosexual intercourse.
  35. Fairbanks, Alaska mayor Jim Matherly vetoed a measure passed by the city council, which would have which extended protections in employment, housing, and public accommodations to the LGBTQ community.
  36. On Monday, the Born-Alive Abortion Survivors Protection Act, requiring doctors to provide care to infants who “survive an abortion or attempted abortion,” got 53 votes, 7 shy of the 60 needed to advance in the Senate.
  37. On Monday, Alva Johnson, an event planner on Trump’s 2016 campaign, said in a lawsuit that Trump kissed her on the lips without her consent before a rally in Tampa on August 24, 2016.
  38. More than a dozen women have publicly accused Trump of touching them in an inappropriate way; Johnson is the first new charge since he took office. In the news chaos, the accusations got very little media attention.
  39. Press secretary Sarah Sanders said in a statement the accusation was “absurd on its face,” and “This never happened and is directly contradicted by multiple highly credible eye witness accounts.”
  40. On Tuesday, an attorney for lawyer Alan Dershowitz asked in a letter to the U.S. District Court of Appeals that the Jeffrey Epstein sex abuse case be held behind closed doors, and without the media having access.
  41. On Monday, Axios reported according to Department of Health and Human Services documents, thousands of unaccompanied migrant children have reported being sexually assaulted in U.S. custody.
  42. The Office of Refugee Resettlement received a 4,556 complaints from October 2014 to July 2018, with a record number of complaints, totaling 514, for the second quarter of 2018.
  43. On Thursday, in a letter to the DHS’s Inspector General and Officer for Civil Rights and Civil Liberties, three immigration advocacy groups claimed infants as young as five-months old are being detained by ICE.
  44. The groups said there have been “an alarming increase in the number of infants” in ICE custody at the Dilley, Texas, facility, now at least nine under the age of one, and urged the departments to “intervene immediately.”
  45. On Friday, ten members of the Proud Boys appeared in a New York Supreme Court, facing charges of assault and rioting for an attack outside the Metropolitan Republican Club in Manhattan in Week 101.
  46. Prosecutors recommended as much as a year in jail. Two Proud Boys have already pleaded guilty. In Week 119, the new head of the Proud Boys was named a volunteer by Roger Stone and stood behind Trump at a rally.
  47. On Saturday, Politico reported Qatar hired Stuart Jolly, a former Trump campaign staffer, as a D.C. lobbyist. Qatar also has former Trump campaign manager Corey Lewandowski’s firm on monthly retainer.
  48. On Monday, NBC News reported the number of Americans taking the State Department exam to become diplomats has declined in the first two years of the Trump regime, and is now at its lowest level since 2008.
  49. On Monday, 58 former U.S. national security officials, both Democrat and Republican, said in a letter to the Trump regime they are aware of “no emergency that remotely justifies” diverting funds to build a border wall.
  50. On Tuesday, the Senate voted to confirm Eric Miller as a judge on the country’s most liberal appeals court in Washington State without the consent of either home-state senator, known as “blue slips.”
  51. This is the first time a nominee had been confirmed without the support of at least one home-state senator. Sen. Patty Murray called it a “dangerous first” and accused the GOP of “bending to the will” of Trump.
  52. Miller will sit on the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, the frequent subject of Trump’s ire for its left leaning and decisions against him, as well as the court likely to hear the appeal of his national emergency.
  53. On Thursday, the Senate confirmed Andrew Wheeler, a former coal lobbyist and D.C. insider to lead the E.P.A., along party lines. Wheeler had been the acting administrator since Scott Pruitt resigned amid ethics violations.
  54. In his time serving, Wheeler has sought to repeal environmental regulations, undoing much of the Obama-era legacy, and promoted coal. The regime described it as an effort to combat regulatory overreach.
  55. On Wednesday, McCrae Dowless, the North Carolina political operative who worked for Republican Mark Harris in 2018, was indicted on seven felonies amid allegations of ballot-tampering in the 9th Congressional District.
  56. On Friday, Politico reported that state officials are opting for 2020 voting machines in Georgia, Delaware, Philadelphia and other jurisdictions which pose unacceptable risks, and could be hacked by Russia or China.
  57. The new machines print out a slip of paper with the vote displayed in plain text and embedded in a barcode.Security experts warn hackers could manipulate the barcodes without voters noticing.
  58. Politico reported Democratic Party chairs in four early states want 2020 candidates to sign a pact to avoidwaging social media disinformation warfare against each other, citing reports of disinformation in Week 119.
  59. On Monday in an interview with MSNBC’s Ayman Mohyeldin, Jim Walden, the attorney for former Cambridge Analytica employee Brittany Kaiser said when she spoke to Mueller’s team, they asked her extensively about data and data mining by the company.
  60. He also said that the RNC and NRA exported their voter data to Cambridge Analytica to use in analyzing the last six percent of voters, but that the Trump campaign did not want to be publicly associated with the company.
  61. Kaiser flew to New York to meet with then campaign manager Corey Lewandowski. Bannon, who was a stakeholder in Cambridge Analytica along with the Mercers, did coordinating with the Trump campaign.
  62. On Monday, WSJ reported the Trump Organization donated $191,000 in profits from foreign governmentsto the U.S. Treasury, a 30% increase from the $150,000 in 2017. It was unclear how profits were calculated.
  63. On Monday, WSJ reported the House Judiciary Committee is investigating whether Matthew Whitaker perjured himself in his Week 117 testimony on if Trump asked him to put Geoffrey Berman in charge of the SDNY investigation.
  64. On Monday, in federal court in D.C., Paul Manafort’s attorneys asked for leniency on sentencing, in light of his age (he turns 70 on April 1) and health concerns, adding he is not a hardened criminal.
  65. On Friday, in federal court in Virginia, Manafort’s attorneys again asked for leniency, saying Manafort is a loyal, compassionate, idealistic man who has learned a “harsh lesson.”
  66. On Tuesday, prosecutors asked the federal judge in the Maria Butina case to delay her sentencing, saying she is still cooperating. The judge agreed to wait until March 28 to decide the date for a sentencing hearing.
  67. On Tuesday, the House Oversight Committee voted to subpoena the Trump regime over family separations at the southern border, in what will be the first subpoenas of the new Congress.
  68. The Justice Department, Homeland Security, and Health and Human Services will be subpoenaed. Chairman Rep. Elijah Cummings said committee members have been seeking documents for seven months.
  69. On Tuesday, the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled unanimously against Roger Stone associate Andrew Miller, finding no flaw in deputy attorney general Rod Rosenstein’s appointment of Mueller.
  70. On Tuesday, Twitter permanently suspended Trump supporter and far-right activist Jacob Wohl after he told USA Today he planned to set up fake accounts in an attempt to manipulate the 2020 presidential election.
  71. Wohl told WAPO Tuesday that creating a false account was largely an “intellectual exercise” to gauge whetherthe account could be used to impact liberal women.
  72. On Tuesday, Trump ally Rep. Matt Gaetz tweeted a threat at Cohen the day before his Congressional testimony, saying, “Hey @MichaelCohen212 -Do your wife & father-in-law know about your girlfriends?”
  73. Speaker Nancy Pelosi tweeted a statement, “I encourage all Members to be mindful” of comments on social media and to the press warning, “efforts to intimidate family members or pressure witnesses will not be tolerated.”
  74. Later Tuesday, Gaetz tweeted, “Speaker, I want to get the truth too,” around “liars” like Cohen, adding, “it was NOT my intent to threaten, as some believe I did. I’m deleting the tweet” and “I’m sorry.”
  75. On Wednesday, Daily Beast reported the Florida Bar opened an investigation into whether Gaetz violated professional conduct rules by threatening Michael ahead of his Congressional testimony.
  76. A staff writer for the Atlantic reported Gaetz took a call from Trump in Hanoi to discuss the Cohen testimony: “I was happy to do it for you. You just keep killing it,” Gaetz was heard telling him.
  77. On Tuesday, Cohen met behind closed doors with the Senate Intelligence Committee. Senators from both parties said the testimony made a strong impression on them.
  78. Ranking Democrat Mark Warner said: “When this investigation started I said it may be the most important thing I’m involved in…. Nothing that’ve I heard today dissuades me from that view.”
  79. On Tuesday, Hillary Clinton, who worked as an attorney for the House Judiciary Committee during the Nixon impeachment inquiry, advocated for more public hearings to help the public understand what happened.
  80. On Tuesday, Speaker Pelosi said before voting to block Trump’s national emergency, “The resolution is not about politics. It’s not about partisanship. It’s about patriotism. It’s about the Constitution.”
  81. Pelosi also asked, “Is your oath of office to Donald Trump or is it to the Constitution of the United States?”The resolution of disapproval passed 245 to 182, with 13 Republicans voting along.
  82. On Tuesday, the White House press corps was evicted from its workspace at the Melia Hotel. NBC News reported a Vietnamese security officer barked “You must go now!” at members of the press corp in the lobby.
  83. The move was highly unusual since the White House had approved of and supported the use of the space. It was unclear who was behind it — North Korea, Vietnam, the U.S., or a combination of those governments.
  84. On Wednesday, in an evening interaction with the media, when a reporter asked Trump for his reaction to Cohen’s written testimony, Trump did not respond and simply shook his head. Other reporters asked as well.
  85. Shortly after, the White House banned four journalists from covering Trump’s dinner with Kim Jong Un in Hanoi, in what WAPO called “an extraordinary act of retaliation.”
  86. Press secretary Sanders said reporters from the Associated Press, Bloomberg News, the Los Angeles Times, and Reuters were excluded over “sensitivities over shouted questions in the previous sprays.”
  87. Sanders had tried to exclude all reporters and only allow photographers and television crew, but reversed after loud pushback, allowing just one reporter from Robert Murdoch-owned WSJ to attend.
  88. On Wednesday, from his hotel room in Hanoi at roughly 4 p.m. ICT/4 a.m. EST, Trump attacked Cohen, tweeting: “Michael Cohen was one of many lawyers who represented me (unfortunately). He had other clients also.”
  89. Trump also tweeted that Cohen “was just disbarred by the State Supreme Court for lying & fraud. He did bad things unrelated to Trump,” adding, “he is lying in order to reduce his prison time. Using Crooked’s lawyer!”
  90. Trump also attacked a Democrat: “I have now spent more time in Vietnam than Da Nang Dick Blumenthal, the third rate Senator from Connecticut” adding, “his war stories of his heroism in Vietnam were a total fraud.”
  91. As Cohen’s testimony got underway, it overwhelmed the spectacle of Trump’s second summit, which received little attention. Trump had urged his team to respond to Cohen even before he touched down Tuesday night.
  92. On Tuesday, in the late evening, Cohen’s opening testimony was made public. Cohen asked the House Oversight Committee to protect his family from Trump’s threats, sharing copies of tweets he found threatening.
  93. Cohen said he was ashamed of his failings, and called Trump a “racist,” “conman,” and “cheat,” adding as a candidate he knew Stone was talking with Julian Assange about a WikiLeaks drop of DNC emails.
  94. Cohen provided copies of financial statements for 2011–2013 Trump gave to banks like Deutsche, and a copy of a check Trump wrote from his personal bank account in April 2017 to reimburse hush money payments.
  95. Cohen also provided a second check signed by Donald Jr. and Trump Organization Chief Financial Officer Allen Weisselberg. The monthly payment checks for $35,000 each were written after Trump took office.
  96. Cohen also provided letters he wrote on Trump’s behalf that threatened Trump’s high school, colleges, and the College Board not to release his grades or SAT scores ahead of the campaign.
  97. Cohen also said Individual #1 is Trump, and that he ran for president to promote his brand, but did not think he would win, saying Trump called the campaign the “greatest infomercial in political history.”
  98. Cohen said, as Trump arrived in Vietnam 50 years later, he helped him cover up his service record. He saw Donald Jr., who Trump said had the worst judgment, whisper “the meeting is all set” just before June 9.
  99. On Wednesday, with the country watching the public hearings, Cohen said that he was willing to tell all now out of fear that if Trump were to lose the 2020 election, “there will never be a peaceful transition of power.”
  100. Republicans on the committee spent the day attacking and trying to discredit Cohen as a liar and a grifter seeking to cash in on a movie or book deal. Rep. Paul Gosar scolded Cohen, saying, “liar, liar, pants on fire.”
  101. Cohen testified Trump knew in advance that WikiLeaks planned to release emails damaging to Hillary Clinton, saying he overheard a July 2016 call from Stone saying the group would publish a “massive dump” within days.
  102. Cohen said he briefed Trump on Trump Tower Moscow’s progress, and also gave updates to Donald Jr. and Ivanka. He also talked to former campaign manager Corey Lewandowski about possible business travel to Russia.
  103. Cohen also said Jay Sekulow and other members of Trump’s legal team made “several” changes to his false statement to Congress, including changing the length of time the “project stayed and remained alive.”
  104. Cohen also said he did not travel to Prague, had no knowledge of the salacious tape mentioned in the Steele dossier, and lamented lying to First Lady Melania Trump to cover Trump’s affairs with other women.
  105. As Rep. Mark Meadows defended Trump as not being a racist, Lynne Patton, a political appointee at HUD who is a Black woman, stood behind him. The GOP members on the committee were all white.
  106. Rep. Rashida Tlaib called it “insensitive” and possibly racist “to use a black woman as a prop.” Patton has become one of the few, and most prominent, Black American officials in the Trump regime.
  107. Rep. Cummings closed out the hearing, saying, “When we’re dancing with the angels, the question will be asked, ‘In 2019, what did we do to make sure we kept our democracy intact? Did we stand on the sidelines and say nothing?’ Come on now! We can do more than one thing. And we have got to get back to normal.”
  108. During the testimony, Roger Stone wrote in a text message to BuzzFeed News: “Mr. Cohen’s statement is not true.” A spokesperson for the special counsel declined to comment on whether Stone had violated his gag order.
  109. On Wednesday, Fordham University confirmed Cohen had sent the school a letter in May 2015, threatening legal action if Trump’s academic records became public. The school also received a call from a campaign staffer.
  110. On Thursday, Rep. Cummings told reporters his panel will look to interview several of the people Cohen mentioned in his testimony, including Donald Jr., Ivanka, and Allen Weisselberg.
  111. Other names mentioned by Cohen in his testimony included Trump’s longtime assistant Rhona Graff, Stone, Corey Lewandowski, Jay Sekulow, Rudy Giuliani, and several others who worked at the Trump Organization.
  112. On Thursday, Cohen gave his third day of testimony for 7.5 hours before the House Intelligence Committee behind closed doors. Committee chair Schiff said Cohen would return to testify on March 6.
  113. Rep. Schiff also said the committee plans to make Cohen’s testimony public at some point, and that Felix Sater, who Cohen said worked with him on the Trump Tower Moscow project, will publicly testify March 14.
  114. On Wednesday, a White House statement revealed Jared Kushner met with King Mohammed bin Salman and Crown Prince MBS in Saudi Arabia on Tuesday to discuss a Mideast peace plan and “economic investment.”
  115. The White House readout did not specify if the three discussed the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi. It was unclear what “economic investment” referred to.
  116. The White House also said Kushner met with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Wednesday, also to push a Mideast peace plan.
  117. On Thursday, NYT reported Trump ordered former chief of staff John Kelly to give Kushner top-secret security clearance last May, despite concerns from intelligence officials and White House counsel Don McGahn.
  118. Kelly was so troubled, he wrote a contemporaneous internal memo about how he had been “ordered” by Trump. McGahn also wrote an internal memo detailing the concerns that had been raised about Kushner.
  119. In January, Trump said he had no role in Kushner’s security clearance. Last May, Kushner’s attorney Abbe Lowell had claimed Kushner went through the standard process for clearance, as did Ivanka three months ago.
  120. The full scope of intelligence concerns was not clear. The Kushner family’s business has ties to foreign governments and investors in, and Kushner had unreported contacts with, countries including Israel, the UAE, and Russia.
  121. A spokesperson for Lowell told the Times, “In 2018, White House and security clearance officials affirmed that Mr. Kushner’s security clearance was handled in the regular process with no pressure from anyone. That was conveyed to the media at the time, and new stories, if accurate, do not change what was affirmed at the time.”
  122. On Thursday, Rep. Cummings said his committee had launched an investigation into Kushner’s security clearance process, and threatened to subpoena if the White House continues to not cooperate.
  123. On Friday, in a letter, Rep. Cummings wrote on the request for information on Kushner’s security clearance, “I am now writing a final time to request your voluntary cooperation with this investigation.”
  124. On Friday, a spokesperson for Lowell issued a new statement: “Mr. Lowell was not aware of nor told of any request for or action by the President to be involved in the security clearance process. Again, officials affirmed at the time that the regular process occurred without any pressure.”
  125. On Thursday, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was indicted on corruption charges following a two-year investigation. Netanyahu faces one count of bribery and three counts of breach of trust.
  126. In a televised statement Netanyahu dismissed the charges as a politically motivated “witch-hunt,” adding, “there is nothing to these (allegations).”
  127. On Thursday, Trump defended Kim over the death of American college student Otto Warmbier, saying “he tells me he didn’t know about it” until after the fact, and “I take him at his word.”
  128. Warmbier’s family, who said their son was brutally tortured, won a $501 million judgement against North Korea in December. In defending him, Trump said Kim “feels badly about it.”
  129. Trump drew bipartisan criticism for his remarks. In the past year, Trump has also sided with Putin, taking his word that did not interfere in the 2016 U.S. election and with Crown prince MBS over the murder of Jamal Khashoggi.
  130. On Thursday, Trump abruptly canceled a working lunch amid a standoff over North Korea demanding the U.S. remove all economic sanctions without North Korea completely ending its nuclear program.
  131. Trump told reporters “Sometimes you have to walk,” adding, “This wasn’t a walk away, like you get up and walk out. No, this was very friendly. We shook hands. . . . There’s a warmth that we have, and I hope that stays.”
  132. Trump also told reporters Cohen’s testimony was “shameful” and false, and that “having a fake hearing like that and having it in the middle of this very important summit is really a terrible thing.”
  133. Trump carved out one area, “He lied a lot, but it was very interesting because he didn’t lie about one thing; he said no collusion with the Russian hoax,” adding of that one part, “I was actually impressed.”
  134. Trump left Hanoi empty-handed, despite the White House having scheduled a joint signing ceremony where Trump and Kim were meant to triumphantly conclude their two-day summit.
  135. On Friday, in a rare news conference in the middle of the night, North Korea’s foreign minister Ri Yong Ho disputed Trump’s account of why the summit ended, saying Kim demanded only partial sanctions relief.
  136. Ri also told reporters North Korea had offered to put a permanent halt of the country’s nuclear and intercontinental ballistic missile tests in writing, adding Trump wasted an opportunity that “may not come again.”
  137. Later, a State Department senior official then clarified the U.S. position saying that the North Koreans“basically asked for the lifting of all sanctions.”
  138. The official acknowledged the North’s demand was for lifting of United Nations Security Council sanctions imposed in 2016, and not sanctions imposed earlier when the North conducted its first nuclear test.
  139. Later, North Korea state-run media took a softer tone than Ri, not mentioning Trump’s decision to walk away without any agreements, and indicating the North was looking ahead to more talks.
  140. On Friday, in a series of five morning tweets, Trump attacked Cohen over his testimony, tweeting: “Wow, just revealed that Michael Cohen wrote a “love letter to Trump” manuscript for a new book that he was pushing.”
  141. Trump also tweeted, “Your heads will spin when you see the lies, misrepresentations and contradictionsagainst his Thursday testimony,” adding, “Like a different person! He is totally discredited!”
  142. Trump also tweeted, “Cohen’s book manuscript shows that he committed perjury on a scale not seen before…What does Hillary Clinton’s lawyer, Lanny Davis, say about this one. Is he being paid by Crooked Hillary.”
  143. Trump also tweeted, “Oh’ I see! Now that the 2 year Russian Collusion case has fallen apart… they say, “gee, I have an idea, let’s look at Trump’s finances and every deal he has ever done” and follow “discredited” Cohen.
  144. Trump also tweeted, “No way, it’s time to stop this corrupt and illegally brought Witch Hunt,” adding “time to start looking at the other side,” and “Republicans have been abused long enough. Must end now!”
  145. A new Hill-HarrisX poll revealed 37% of respondents found Cohen credible, while 25% did not and 39% had not yet formed an opinion.
  146. Cohen’s credibility was split along party lines: with 58% of Democrats finding him credible, 11% do not; while just 15% of Republicans found him credible, 48% do not.
  147. On Friday, Warmbier’s parents issued a statement saying, “Kim [Jong Un] and his evil regime are responsiblefor the death of our son Otto,” adding, “No excuses or lavish praise can change that.”
  148. On Friday, Trump sought to clarify his comments on Warmbier’s death, tweeting, “I never like being misinterpreted,” and saying “Of course I hold North Korea responsible.” This is not what Trump said Thursday.
  149. Trump also tweeted: “Remember, I got Otto out along with three others. The previous Administration did nothing,” adding, “Otto Warmbier will not have died in vain,” and, “I love Otto and think of him often!”
  150. On Wednesday, NYT reported the attorney general for the District of Columbia subpoenaed Trump’s inaugural committee, the third government body to do so after New York and New Jersey.
  151. The subpoena sought documents related to payments to the Trump Hotel DC and the Trump Organization, including any communications related to “the pricing of venue rentals.”
  152. The subpoena also named Fairmont Hotel and AccorHotels, which was paid $1.56 million for a block of rooms, and also requested information on the role Ivanka, Donald Jr., and Eric played on the committee.
  153. On Thursday, House Financial Services Committee chair Maxine Waters she was given a lead that may result in her opening an investigation into the Trump Foundation. Cohen mentioned the foundation in his testimony.
  154. Rep. Waters also said Deutsche Bank is “now being cooperative,” adding, “they had not been,” and, “they have offered to cooperate and my staff have just started to work with them to get the documents.”
  155. On Thursday, Republican senators urged Trump not to move forward with his national emergency declaration, saying there is support for a resolution to disapprove to pass in the Senate.
  156. The House has already passed a resolution to block Trump’s emergency declaration. This would necessitate Trump invoking his veto power for the first time. There is not enough support to override a veto.
  157. On Friday, Mueller’s team told federal District Judge Amy Berman Jackson in a new filing that it expects its case against Stone to take five to eight days in court.
  158. On Friday, in a late evening filing, Judge Berman Jackson ordered Stone’s attorney to explain why they did not tell her about the imminent publication of a book that could violate his eight-day old gag order.
  159. In the order, the judge asked the attorneys why they had not told the court about the book in a court filing or during the February 21 hearing, saying Stone “should not be talking about this Court” or the special prosecutor.
  160. On Friday, the day of the March 1 deadline for Trump to dramatically increase tariffs on China, Trump tweeted, “I have asked China to immediately remove all Tariffs” on U.S. agricultural products.
  161. Trump also tweeted “I did not increase their second traunch of Tariffs to 25% on March 1st,” adding “this is very important for our great farmers.” American farmers have been suffering from Trump’s trade wars.
  162. Trump made the request “based on the fact that we are moving along nicely with trade discussions” with China. It was unclear what progress has been made. China has imposed retaliatory tariffs.
  163. On Friday, WAPO ran a story titled “In America, talk turns to something unspoken for 150 years: Civil war,” citing many of the examples chronicled in The Weekly List as well or use of the term or similar in recent times.
  164. The 2019 Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) focused on the threat of socialism. The conference used to be forum for conservative debate, but has reportedly evolved into a pro-Trump event.
  165. A 16-foot high painting of Trump’s face in front of the American flag titled ‘Unafraid and Unashamed’ by artist Julian Raven hung in the CPAC exhibition hall. The painting was first unveiled at a Trump rally in 2015.
  166. The CPAC speaker roster was full of Trump loyalists who previously were considered on the fringe of the GOPlike YouTube duo Diamond and Silk, and activist-provocateur James O’Keefe.
  167. Conservative radio host Erick Erickson said CPAC was “filled with speakers, grifters, and performance artists, while never-Trump conservative Bill Kristol tweeted: “Some future. Some party.”
  168. On Friday, Matt Schlapp, chairman of the CPAC, defended nationalism in an interview with Fox News, saying “there’s nothing wrong with nationalism,” while defending the call for stronger borders.
  169. On Saturday, Trump tweeted “93% Approval Rating in the Republican Party,” adding “Not bad considering I get the most unfair (BAD) press in the history of presidential politics! And don’t forget the Witch Hunt!”
  170. Despite his rough week, Trump arrived to CPAC on Saturday to a hero’s welcome to a sea of red ‘MAGA’ hats, chants of “Trump! Trump! Trump! Trump!” and “four more years.”
  171. As Trump walked on stage, he hugged an American flag as “God Bless the USA” played over the speakers. As he started to speak, chants of “Lock her up!” from attendees erupted.
  172. Trump’s meandering, off-script speech lasted over two-hours — his longest. He attacked Mueller, Democrats, socialism, climate change, and a supposed caravan at the southern border full of “stone cold killers,”
  173. Trump told the crowd he was joking when he asked Russia to hack Clinton’s emails, and criticized the “fake news” for taking him seriously, “So everybody is having a good time, I’m laughing, we’re all having fun.”
  174. Trump also said of the media, “These people are sick, and I’m telling you, they know the game and they play it dirty, dirtier than anybody has ever played the game.”
  175. Trump mocked former attorney general Jeff Sessions for recusing himself, using a southern accent, saying “And the attorney general says ‘I’m gonna recuse myself,’” as the crowd booed.
  176. Trump invited conservative activist Hayden Williams, 26, on stage, and said he will sign an executive order “very soon” requiring colleges and universities to support free speech if they want to receive federal grants.
  177. On Saturday, Trump tweeted about one of his Scottish golf courses, “Very proud of perhaps the greatest golf course anywhere in the world. Also, furthers U.K. relationship!” — using his Twitter account to promote his business interests.
  178. Experts noted Trump is meant to be walled off from his business while in office. Additionally, concerns were raised over tying his family business interests to U.S. foreign policy.
  179. Trump also retweeted a tweet promoting his 2020 campaign merchandise, “Get your OFFICIAL campaign merchandise” with the website link, adding, “if you’re at @CPAC, check out our Official booth!” #TeamTrump.”

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

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

Michael Cohen, former lawyer for Trump, testifies before the House Oversight Committee on Capitol Hill, on Wednesday, February 27, 2019.

POLITIKKKS OF GRAFFITI 117: VIKTORIES FOR PUTIN

Week 116

Experts in authoritarianism advise to keep a list of things
subtly changing around you, so you’ll remember. https://theweeklylist.org/weekly-list/week-116/

This week concerns about Trump’s foreign policy were front and center, as the regime rolled back sanctions against a Russian oligarch, and withdrew from the Cold War-era Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty — both seen as victories for Putin. The Financial Times reported on a previously undisclosed one-on-one meeting between Trump and Putin at the G20 just months after Helsinki. Congress rebuked Trump’s foreign policy again this week in a piece of legislation drafted by Majority Leader Mitch McConnell over Trump’s withdrawal of troops from Syria and Afghanistan. Heads of U.S. Intelligence agencies testified before the Senate on their annual “Worldwide Threat Assessment,” revealing findings in sharp contrast from Trump on Iran, ISIS, and North Korea, as well as the southern border. Trump reacted by castigating his appointed agency heads, then later inviting them to the Oval office and blaming the media instead.

This week Trump continued to threaten to do whatever it takes to build his wall, including declaring a national emergency if the bipartisan congressional group does not fully fund it. Meanwhile, Trump continued his false narrative that the wall is being built, while spreading other disinformation about immigration and voter fraud. The far-right has increasingly adopted Trump’s strategy of creating alternative realities and embracing conspiracy theories — this week claiming an attack on a gay, black actor was a hoax, and spreading conspiracies about Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s health. The country is increasingly divided, as the U.S. Intelligence assessment also warned that Russia and other countries are looking to sow dissent, spread disinformation, and interfere in future U.S. elections.

IMG_3316

IMG_3317
Meme from Rosie O’Donnell’s Twitter Page, 3Feb19
  1. Watchdog group Transparency International released its Corruption Perceptions Index for 2018. The U.S. dropped four points to 71 over 2017, and dropped out of the top 20 nations for the first time since 2011.
  2. The scale is 1 to 100, with 1 being very corrupt and 100 the cleanest. The report cites the U.S. drop “is a red flag and comes at a time when the U.S. is experiencing threats to its system of checks and balance, as well as an erosion of ethical norms at the highest levels of power.”
  3. On Saturday, in a series of evening tweets, Trump railed against the indictment of Roger Stone, claiming Stone “didn’t even work for me anywhere near the Election!”
  4. Trump also tried to draw a whataboutism type comparison: “What about the Fake and Unverified “Dossier,” a total phony conjob, that was paid for by Crooked Hillary to damage me and the Trump Campaign?”
  5. Trump also complained he had endured “one sided Fake Media coverage (collusion with Crooked H?)” during his “very successful presidential campaign,” adding in a third tweet, “WITCH HUNT!”
  6. On Sunday, on “This Week,” Roger Stone accused Mueller of using “Gestapo tactics,” saying, “They could simply have called my lawyers and I would have turned myself in…It’s an attempt to poison the jury pool.”
  7. On Saturday, NYT reported Trump’s defeat in the border wall standoff with Congress has left him vulnerable to a primary fight, as anti-Trump Republicans are urging fellow Republicans to run.
  8. A top Trump campaign official, Bill Stepien, traveled to the Republican National Committee meeting in New Mexico to orchestrate a unanimous resolution of support for Trump, in an effort to project party unity.
  9. The resolution, although largely symbolic, was also a sign of the RNC’s deepening ties to Trump. The RNC has historically waited for candidates to clinch the primary to give “undivided support.”
  10. On Sunday, in an interview with WSJ, Trump said he thinks it is “less than 50-50” that the 17 members of congress charged with negotiating a deal over border wall funding would come up with something he could accept.
  11. Trump vowed he would build a wall anyway by using executive powers to declare a national emergency. When asked if he would accept less than $5.7 billion for his wall, he responded, “I doubt it. I have to do it right.”
  12. On Sunday, Trump tweeted, “58,000 non-citizens voted in Texas, with 95,000 non-citizens registered to vote,” citing a list compiled by the Texas secretary of state’s office, and mentioned on a “Fox & Friends” segment.
  13. Texas politicians and voters’ advocates asked officials to investigate both figures, suggesting the notion of voter fraud has been conjured in the past as a way to remove voters from the rolls.
  14. Trump also tweeted Sunday, “the cost of illegal immigration so far this year is $18,959,495,168. Cost Friday was $603,331,392.” It is unclear where Trump got his numbers from, but experts said they were too high.
  15. Trump also tweeted “There are at least 25,772,342 illegal aliens, not the 11,000,000 that have been reported.” Most studies put the number close to 11 million, and Trump’s Department of Homeland Security recently estimated 12 million.
  16. On Saturday, Reuters reported after NATO and Russia failed to resolve a dispute over a new Russian missile allies say is a threat to Europe, the U.S. may pull out from the Intermediate-range Nuclear Forces Treaty.
  17. On Sunday, at the Screen Actors Guild Awards, actress Patricia Arquette thanked Robert Mueller and “everyone working to make sure that we have sovereignty for the United States of America” while accepting an award.
  18. WAPO reported that Trump, who often spends days in the presidential residence, relishes giving tours of the White House to hundreds of acquaintances and strangers, bragging about how he has improved it.
  19. Trump reportedly has claimed, without evidence, that his private dining room off the Oval Office was in “rough shape” and had a hole in the wall, saying of Obama, “he just sat in here and watched basketball all day.”
  20. Although former President Obama typically does not respond to Trump, an Obama White House official told WAPO there was no hole in the wall, and that Obama rarely worked in the room and did not watch basketball there.
  21. On Monday, a Congressional Budget Office report found the 35 day government shutdown cost the U.S. economy about $3 billion in forgone economic activity that will not be recovered, not including indirect effects.
  22. The agency’s annual report also out Monday found the federal budget deficit will hit about $900 billion this year, and exceed $1 trillion every year beginning in 2022, two years earlier than the CBO estimated last year.
  23. The CBO also estimated the national debt will soar to almost $29 trillion in 10 years — making debt held by the public the largest percentage since 1947, and more than twice the average of the past 50 years.
  24. On Monday, White House economic adviser Larry Kudlow pushed back on the CBO assessment of the government shutdown cost, saying, “We frequently disagree with CBO with all respect.”
  25. A new Politico/Morning Consult poll found just 31% support shutting the government down again to force Congress to appropriate money for the wall, while 58% oppose it.
  26. On Tuesday, Harley-Davidson announced Trump’s tariffs had wiped out its profits in the fourth quarter of 2018. The company’s stock plunged 7.6% on the day, and overall was down by 33% for the year.
  27. On Wednesday, the Federal Reserve said it will not raise rates this year. When chairman Jerome Powell was asked if Trump swayed the decision, he responded the Fed did not take “political considerations into account.”
  28. On Wednesday, NBC News reported Foxconn may not build a $10 billion plant in Wisconsin, citing the high cost of U.S. labor. Trump announced the Foxconn deal with much ballyhoo at a White House ceremony in 2017.
  29. On Wednesday, Louis Woo, special assistant to Foxconn Chief Executive Terry Gou, told Reuters the company would instead create a “technology hub” in Wisconsin that would largely consist of research facilities.
  30. On Friday, after talks with the White House, Foxconn said it is moving forward with construction of the Wisconsin factory, but would not clarify what kind of jobs will be housed at the $10 billion plant.
  31. On Monday, New Jersey state Sen. Dawn Addiego became the latest to leave the Republican Party and become a Democrat. Addiego’s defection gave the Democrats in New Jersey their largest majority in decades.
  32. On Monday, an AP-NORC poll found 35% approve of Trump’s handling of foreign policy, 63% disapprove. Also, 53% say U.S. standing in the world will get worse next year, while 21% say get better, and 25% stay the same.
  33. On Monday, Trump again denied global warming, tweeting in the Midwest “windchill temperatures are reaching minus 60 degrees, the coldest ever recorded,” adding “What the hell is going on with Global Waming [sic]?”
  34. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Twitter account responded, “Winter storms don’t prove that global warming isn’t happening,” with an accompanying illustration to explain.
  35. On Monday, Politico reported Senate Rules Committee chair Roy Blunt plans to take up a measure in his committee to cut debate time on some lower-level Trump nominees for the judicial and executive branch.
  36. Sen. Blunt said he hopes the measure can be passed in a bipartisan way, but added if it cannot, Republicans are prepared to use the “nuclear option” and act unilaterally and add a permanent reduction.
  37. On Sunday, a Washington Post-ABC News poll taken before Stone’s indictment found half of Americans are skeptical that Mueller’s report will be fair, with 28% having “just some” confidence, and 22% “none at all.”
  38. Most Americans favored Congressional Democrats: getting Trump’s tax returns (60%), investigating campaign collusion with Russia (57%), ties to foreign governments (61%), and Trump’s relationship with Putin (59%).
  39. On Sunday, the Trump regime lifted sanctions on Oleg Deripaska, one of Russia’s most influential oligarchs. The sanctions were put in place against Deripaska and six other oligarchs in April over 2016 election interference.
  40. One Deripaska company, EN+, announced seven new directors as part of the deal, including Christopher Bancroft Burnham, a banker who served on Trump’s State Department transition team.
  41. Rep. Jackie Speier wrote to Treasury Secretary Mnuchin raising concerns that he sold a stake in his film company to Len Blavatnik. A spokesperson for Mnuchin tweeted that this was false information.
  42. Democrats Rep. Elijah Cummings and Sen. Ron Wyden wrote to Treasury seeking information on Mnuchin’s relationship with Blavatnik, and whether he sought ethics guidance or to minimize conflicts of interest.
  43. NBC News reported even as the European Union moved forward last week with sanctions against Russia for poisoning Sergei Skripal in the U.K., three months after deeming Russia in violation, the U.S. has yet to do so.
  44. On Saturday, The Daily Beast reported, three weeks into the term, House Republican leadership has yet to name the intelligence committee’s GOP membership, stalling the committee from conducting hearings.
  45. On Monday, Rep. Adam Schiff, chair of the House Intelligence Committee, said Michael Cohen will testify before his panel on February 8; however, it will be closed-door testimony.
  46. On Monday, WAPO reported Lanny Davis said Cohen has swapped attorneys, wanting new representation as he navigates testifying before congressional panels. This is the third iteration of his legal team.
  47. Cohen is bringing on Michael Monico and Barry Spevack, two Chicago-based lawyers, and firing Guy Petrillo and Amy Lester. Reportedly, Cohen has fallen behind in payments to Petrillo and Lester.
  48. On Monday, in a written response to Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse, Trump’s attorney general nominee William Barr said he has discussed the Mueller probe with Vice President Michael Pence, including a “general discussion”
  49. Barr cited occasional conversations in the spring of 2017 on policy and personnel, and “In these conversations, I did not provide legal advice, nor, to the best of my recollection, did he provide confidential information.”
  50. On Monday, Judge T.S. Ellis abruptly canceled sentencing for Paul Manafort in the Virginia case scheduled for February 8, citing the current dispute in D.C. court over whether Manafort broke his plea deal.
  51. On Monday, press secretary Sarah Sanders convened the first White House briefing since December 18, the first in 41 days. Both CNN and MSNBC did not cover the briefing.
  52. National security adviser John Bolton said the U.S. will impose sanctions against Venezuela’s state-owned oil company, Petróleos de Venezuela, S.A., cutting off President Nicolás Maduro’s main source of cash.
  53. At the White House briefing, Bolton held a yellow notepad with what appeared to be the words “5,000 troops to Colombia,” sparking reporters to speculate on a military intervention.
  54. When asked by reporters to clarify Bolton’s notes, a White House spokesman reiterated Trump’s “all options are on the table” declaration.
  55. Sanders fielded questions, ducking answering as in the past. When asked if Trump is considering pardoning Stone, she responded, “I’m not aware of that. I haven’t had any discussions with him on that matter.”
  56. Sanders also said of Stone, “This has nothing to do with the president, and certainly nothing to do with the White House,” adding, “This is something that has to do solely with that individual.”
  57. On Monday, at a Justice Department news conference on an unrelated topic, acting attorney general Matthew Whitaker told reporters he had been “fully briefed” on the Mueller probe and it is “close to being completed.”
  58. Experts noted it was highly unusual for a DOJ official to publicly comment on an ongoing investigation, and expressed concern that Whitaker might participate in the review process after the investigation concludes.
  59. On Tuesday, Sens. Richard Blumenthal and Charles Grassley of the Senate Judiciary Committee introduced a bill to ensure the Mueller report would be released directly to Congress and the public.
  60. The Senate Judiciary Committee also delayed a scheduled vote to move William Barr’s confirmation forward by one week, citing concerns based on his testimony that the Mueller report would be released.
  61. On Monday, CNN reported Mueller’s team still wants to have Stone associate Andrew Miller appear before the grand jury. Miller has been fighting a subpoena in Mueller’s Russia probe of the 2016 election.
  62. Miller’s attorney told CNN that Mueller’s team made clear to him that they and the Justice Department are considering an additional indictment of Stone and may have plans to charge others.
  63. On Tuesday, the National Rifle Association made its first attempt to distance itself from a December 2015 trip taken by a group of its high-ranking members to Moscow, saying the trip was not “official.”
  64. ABC News reported that NRA emails and photos posted on social media show the organization was significantly involved in planning the trip to meet with senior Kremlin officials.
  65. In one email, a NRA employee helps Maria Butina make travel arrangements for the delegation which included the NRA president and future president, as well Trump campaign surrogate sheriff David Clarke.
  66. Dozens of pages of emails between August 2015 and November 2016 detail Butina’s efforts to organize the summit. Sen. Ron Wyden is investigating the meeting and seeking “information and documentation” from the NRA.
  67. On Tuesday, Financial Times reported that Trump and Putin spoke during last November’s G20 summit in Argentina without a U.S. official present to take notes. Only First Lady Melania Trump attended.
  68. The White House had previously disclosed that Trump met Putin for an “informal” talk, but did not disclose that Trump had no official member of his team present. Putin had a translator present, Trump did not.
  69. According to a Russian government official, the two spoke for about 15 minutes about a number of foreign policy issues. Trump had canceled formal bilateral talks due to a dispute over Ukrainian naval vessels.
  70. In a new memoir, Chris Christie said Trump and Jared Kushner thought firing then national security adviser Michael Flynn would end the “Russia thing” as a side effect. Trump comes off well in Christie’s book
  71. On Tuesday, Trump attacked former aide Cliff Sims, whose book was much more critical, calling him “ a low level staffer that I hardly knew,” and saying his book is “boring” and based on “made up stories and fiction.”
  72. Trump also tweeted that Sims “signed a non-disclosure agreement. He is a mess!” Trump campaign chief operating officer Michael Glassner said it may sue Sims, claiming he violated his NDA.
  73. On Wednesday, a court filing by Mueller’s team revealed Russian troll farm Internet Research Agency, currently facing a legal battle for interference in the 2016 election, is waging a disinformation campaign against Mueller.
  74. According to the filing, Mueller’s team turned over one million pages of evidence to lawyer for for Concord Management, owned by Yevgeniy Prigozhin, known as “Putin’s chef,” as part of discovery.
  75. Concord is accused of funding IRA. Allegedly someone connected to Concord manipulated and leaked the documents to reporters to make it appear that Mueller’s case against IRA and Concord were flimsy.
  76. According to the filing, a Twitter account called @HackingRedstone tweeted: “We’ve got access to the Special Counsel Mueller’s probe database,” and sent the altered documents. The account was suspended.
  77. On Friday, an unsealed docket confirmed that it is Mueller’s team that is involved in the mysterious grand jury subpoena fight that a government-owned foreign company has taken to the Supreme Court.
  78. WAPO reported that on January 18 about a dozen long-time employees from Latin America at the Trump National Golf Club in Westchester County, New York were summoned, one by one, and fired.
  79. The employees, who compose about half the wintertime staff, claim they were fired over their undocumented status, following reporting on undocumented labor at Trump’s club in Bedminster, New Jersey.
  80. A former manager said the club emphasized finding cheap labor, and despite Trump’s public pronouncements of “America first,” the attitude towards hiring undocumented workers was “don’t ask, don’t tell.”
  81. On Monday, BuzzFeed reported according to a petition posted by the Department of Labor, Eric Trump’s Virginia winery is looking to hire 23 foreign guest workers under the federal H-2 visa program.
  82. The program allows U.S. employers to hire foreign laborers on a temporary basis so long as no qualified U.S. worker wants to the job. Trump Vineyard Estates, LLC pays $12.25 per hour for the positions.
  83. A report by the Anti-Defamation League on murder and extremism in the U.S. found domestic extremists killed at least 50 people in 2018, the fourth-deadliest year on record for extremist-related killings since 1970.
  84. The report also noted “every single extremist killing had a link to right-wing extremism,” and that “white supremacists were responsible for the great majority of the killings.”
  85. LA Times reported two years after Trump signed an order to hire 5,000 new Border Patrol agents and 10,000 more Immigration and Customs Enforcement officers, thousands of positions remain unfilled.
  86. The regime has spent tens of millions on hiring, yet Border Patrol has about 2,000 more vacancies than when Trump signed the order. ICE has hired 1,325 investigators and deportation officers, but lost about 1,600.
  87. On Sunday, veteran journalist Tom Brokaw said on a “Meet the Press” panel about xenophobia in the U.S. that Hispanics should “work harder at assimilation.” Brokaw later apologized in a series of tweets.
  88. On Monday, NBC News reported comedian Mohanad Elshieky, who was traveling home to Oregon after a performance, was ordered off a Greyhound bus after two Customs and Border Protection officers boarded.
  89. The officers asked if he was an American citizen, so he showed his driver’s license and valid work authorization card. They made him call for details on his asylum document. CBP called the incident a misunderstanding.
  90. On Tuesday, Jussie Smollett, a gay, Black actor, was attacked by two men who yelled racial and homophobic slurs, hit him, poured an unknown chemical substance on him, and wrapped a rope around his neck.
  91. Smollett plays a gay musician on TV, and he also self-identifies as being gay, and is an activist for LGBTQ rights and HIV education. Chicago police said they were investigating the incident as a possible hate crime.
  92. In a follow-up interview with Chicago police, Smollett said his attackers yelled “MAGA country” during the assault. He was attacked while walking downtown around 2 a.m.
  93. Right-wing internet and social media accounts put forward, without evidence or by citing false information, that Jussie’s attack was a hoax — similar to the Covington kids alternative narrative in Week 115.
  94. In an impassioned appearance on Smollett, actress Ellen Page accused Trump and Vice President Pence of fostering a climate of hate, saying “connect the dots” with the rise in crimes against marginalized people.
  95. On Thursday, when asked about the attack on Smollett, Trump said “That I can tell you is horrible. I’ve seen it. Last night. It’s horrible. Doesn’t get worse.” Trump then pivoted the discussion to the need for his wall.
  96. On Thursday, AP reported ICE has started force-feeding immigrants at a Texas location, after immigrants at several facilities have gone on hunger strikes over the past month to protest conditions inside detention facilities.
  97. At an El Paso, Texas ICE detention center, nearly 30 men, mostly from India and Cuba, have been striking to protest what they say is rampant verbal abuse and threats of deportation from guards.
  98. There are also hungers strikes at ICE facilities in Miami, Phoenix, San Diego, and San Francisco. The men in El Paso are being force-fed through nasal tubes leading to persistent nose bleeds and vomiting.
  99. On Thursday, CBS News reported ICE told hundreds of immigrants they were issued a Notice to Appear (NTA) for hearings scheduled January 31 or risk being deported. For many immigrants, the notices were fake.
  100. Immigration attorneys in Chicago, Miami, Texas, and Virginia said they learned the dates were not real when they called the courts to confirm after an advisory from the Executive Office of Immigration Review.
  101. ICE blamed the confusion from the government shutdown and a Supreme Court ruling last summer which necessitates having a date on the NTA, as opposed to ICE’s former practice of listing date at “to be determined.”
  102. On Wednesday, WAPO reported nearly 100,000 comments were posted with the Education Department website on Secretary Betsy DeVos’s plan to overhaul rules on campus sexual assault — 20 times what is typical.
  103. A spokesperson for the American Council on Education, which represents university presidents, said DeVos’s plan is the most controversial regulatory undertaking in the history of the Education Department.
  104. Several figures in the pro-Trump media, including Sebastian Gorka, falsely claimed online that Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg is hiding a secret illness or is dead. The claims were based on a QAnon conspiracy theory.
  105. HuffPost reported Rep. Steve King’s house.gov official government website links to a white nationalist blog that contains racists, anti-Semitic, and Nazi sympathizing content.
  106. ABC News reported according to court papers filed Friday night, the Trump regime does not know how manymigrant children were separated from their parents at the southern border before the “zero-tolerance” policy.
  107. The filings, in response to the findings by the department of Health and Human Services inspector general in Week 114 and mandated by a California judge, showed the regime could not confirm or deny reports of thousands of additional family separations.
  108. The deputy director of the Office of Refugee Resettlement told the judge that identifying separated children between July 2017 and June 2018 was not feasible, and that the regime does not intend to figure it out.
  109. On Friday, photos surfaced from Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam’s 1984 medical school yearbook which showeda man in blackface and another in a Ku Klux Klan robe. Northam apologized and said he was in the photo.
  110. On Saturday, despite a flood of calls from numerous prominent Democrats and progressive organizations and activists for him to resign, Northam refused and changed his story to say he was not pictured in the photo.
  111. On Tuesday, an ABC News/Washington Post poll found 56% of all adults say they would not consider voting for Trump in 2020, while just 28% said they definitely will vote for him, and 14% said they would consider it.
  112. Among mainline Republicans, 27% want a Republican other than Trump. When including GOP leaners, 41% of women, 42% of independents, and 49% of moderates want another Republican alternative.
  113. On Tuesday, Director of National Intelligence Daniel Coats, CIA Director Gina Haspel, FBI Director Christopher Wray, and other top U.S. intelligence officials gave annual testimony before the Senate Intelligence Committee on national security challenges.
  114. The testimony highlighted the distance between intelligence officials and Trump on several critical fronts, and are detailed in an annual “Worldwide Threat Assessment” released on Tuesday.
  115. The report stressed the growing cyberthreat from two U.S. adversaries, Russia and China, which it said are “more aligned than at any point since the mid-1950s.”
  116. None of the officials said there is a security crisis at the U.S.-Mexico border, negating the need for a national emergency. Coats said high crime rates and a weak job market were spurring Central Americans to migrate.
  117. Coats said, contrary to Trump’s assertions, North Korea was “unlikely to completely give up its nuclear weapons and production capabilities,” which the country’s leaders consider “critical to the regime’s survival.”
  118. Officials also warned that ISIS has not been defeated as Trump asserted in his plans to withdraw U.S. troops from Syria, but rather is a still-formidable organization capable of attacking the U.S.
  119. Haspel said Iran was in compliance with the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action agreement, but Iranian leaders are discussing reneging on the deal if they fail to reap the economic benefits given Trump pulled the U.S. out.
  120. Officials warned that Russia, and other countries, continues to interfere with U.S. politics via “information warfare” and “refine their capabilities and add new tactics as they learn from each other’s experiences.”
  121. On Wednesday, in a series of five morning tweets, Trump blasted the U.S. intelligence chiefs. On Iran, he called them “extremely passive and naive” adding, “They are wrong!” and perhaps they “should go back to school!”
  122. Trump tweeted on Iran: “They are testing Rockets (last week) and more, and are coming very close to the edge. There [sic] economy is now crashing, which is the only thing holding them back,” adding, “Be careful of Iran.”
  123. Trump also celebrated what he claimed were his accomplishments, saying ISIS’s control in parts of Iraq and Syria “will soon be destroyed,” and that there was a “decent chance of Denuclearization” in North Korea.
  124. On Thursday, Trump tweeted a photo of him meeting with Haspel, Coats, and others in the Oval office, sayingthey “told me that what they said on Tuesday at the Senate Hearing was mischaracterized by the media.”
  125. Trump said their testimony on Iran, ISIS, North Korea was “was distorted” by the press, saying “a false narrative is so bad for our Country” adding, “happily, we had a very good meeting” and “we are all on the same page!”
  126. Representatives from the CIA and DNI declined to comment. None of the agencies whose leaders testified have issued retractions or amendments to their written or spoken statements.
  127. On Tuesday, WAPO reported U.S. intelligence officials learned in late 2018 that Russia made a secret proposal to North Korea in the fall 2018 to build and operate a nuclear power plant there.
  128. Byproduct and waste would be transferred back to Russia, reducing the risk North Korea would use it to build nuclear weapons. The offer marked a new attempt by Moscow to intervene in the high-stakes nuclear talks.
  129. On Thursday, Trump announced he is planning to meet with Kim Jong Un for a second summit at the end of February. CNN reported sources say the location will be the Vietnamese coastal city of Da Nang.
  130. On Wednesday, a Gallup poll found Republican Party favorability dropped to 37% from 45% in September, due to the government shutdown. Favorability for Democrats stayed at 45%.
  131. On Wednesday, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell blasted the Democrats’ bill that would make Election Day a federal holiday, calling it “another paid holiday and a bunch of government workers being paid.”
  132. On Wednesday, press secretary Sanders told the Christian Broadcasting Network that “God calls all of us to fill different roles” and that he wanted “Trump to become president, and that’s why he’s there.”
  133. Sanders also said “I think he has done a tremendous job in supporting a lot of the things that people of faith really care about,” adding Speaker Pelosi calling his wall “immoral is a ridiculous charge.”
  134. On Wednesday, in a letter, Senate Judiciary Committee chair Lindsey Graham asked FBI director Wray for a briefing on Stone’s arrest , including “the number of agents involved, the tactics employed, the timing.”
  135. Graham also asked if the FBI had tipped off the media, writing “the American public has had enough of the media circus that surrounds the Special Counsel’s investigation.” CNN has insisted they were not tipped off.
  136. On Wednesday, in an interview with the Daily Caller, Trump criticized the FBI’s arrest of Stone, saying he was “disappointed to see that go down that way…where it was on camera…a very, very disappointing scene.”
  137. Trump also said “I thought it was very unusual. You know, I’ve stayed out of that whole situation because there was no collusion whatsoever,” adding, “you have 29 people and you have armored vehicles.”
  138. When Daily Caller asked if he would ask the FBI to review its use of force, Trump responded, “I think it’s a good question for you to ask, and it’s something I’ll think about.”
  139. Daily Caller also compared FBI resources spent on the Las Vegas shooting to the Mueller probe, Trump said of the probe “well over 30 million dollars now on this Russian collusion hoax, and everybody knows it’s a hoax.”
  140. On Thursday, NPR provided a fact check of whether the FBI used unusual force when arresting Stone, and found the answer to be no, the arrest was typical for law enforcement agencies.
  141. On Thursday, in a court filing, Mueller’s team described evidence seized in the FBI raid of Stone as “voluminous and complex,” and asked the judge to delay the trial to give them more time to sift through the information.
  142. Investigators seized hard drives with “several terabytes of information” including “FBI case reports, search warrant applications and results, bank and financial records, and the contents of numerous physical devices.”
  143. On Friday, Judge Amy Berman Jackson said she is considering slapping a gag order on Stone, who has been on a media blitz since his indictment. Jackson said the trial will likely take place in July or August.
  144. The judge admonished Stone about witness tampering. When Judge Jackson asked if he understood an agreement not to contact any witnesses or potential victims, he replied, “I do, your honor.”
  145. On Thursday, CNN reported according to records provided to the Senate Intelligence Committee, Donald Jr.’s calls to a blocked number before and after the June 9 Trump Tower meeting were not with Trump.
  146. ABC News reported Donald Jr.’s calls on June 6 and June 9 were with two family friends: NASCAR CEO Brian France, and real estate developer Howard Lorber, who has done business in Russia.
  147. Trump’s ties to Lorber have drawn the interest of congressional investigators. In the 1990s, when Trump explored real estate options in Russia, Lorber accompanied him on a tour of Moscow.
  148. On Thursday, Trump touted the calls were not made to him, tweeting, “Just out: The big deal…Don jr telephone calls, after the innocent Trump Tower meeting…conclusively found NOT to be made to me.”
  149. Trump also tweeted a Daily Caller article saying “New Evidence Destroys Adam Schiff’s Theory About Trump Tower Meeting.” Trump added, “This Witch Hunt must end!”
  150. Trump also conjured a Daily Caller article, tweeting “Nellie Ohr…was long ago investigating for pay (GPS Fusion) members of my family,” adding, “created by ousted & discredited Christopher Steele. Illegal! WITCH HUNT.”
  151. On Thursday, NBC News reported Tricia Newbold, the “whistleblower” in the story about Carl Kline’s role in granting security clearance to Kushner and at least 30 others against expert advice in Week 115, was suspended
  152. The notice, proposed on December 3 but signed Wednesday, said in Newbold’s 18-year career she has not faced any “prior formal disciplinary action,” but harshly criticizes Newbold for her “defiance.”
  153. On Thursday, Democratic Reps. Ted Lieu and Don Beyer in a letter called on acting chief of staff Mick Mulvaney to revoke Jared Kushner’s security clearance, citing reporting in Week 115.
  154. On Thursday, Trump sent a series of morning tweets, alternating between demanding a wall and saying that one was already built, saying, “Large sections of WALL have already been built.” This is a false claim.
  155. Trump also tweeted, “the Wall is getting done one way or the other,” and that Republicans “are wasting their time” talking with Democrats, adding, “I’ve got you covered. Wall is already being built.”
  156. In response, Speaker Pelosi told reporters “It doesn’t matter what Congress does? Really, a president who wants Congress to become completely irrelevant in how we meet the needs of the American people? No.”
  157. Later Thursday, Trump told reporters in the Oval Office of the bipartisan congressional committee met for the first time that they must fund $5.7 billion for his wall, saying, “I don’t think they’re going to make a deal.”
  158. Trump added, “And if it’s not going to work, then the politicians are really wasting a lot of time,” saying he could end up circumventing Congress by declaring a national emergency to fund his wall.
  159. On Thursday, in a rebuke of Trump’s foreign policy, the Senate voted 68-to-23 to advance legislation drafted by Leader Mitch McConnell strongly opposing Trump withdrawing troops from Syria and Afghanistan.
  160. Contrary to Trump’s assertions, McConnell said “I believe the threats remain. ISIS and Al Qaeda have yet to be defeated, and American national security interests require continued commitment to our mission there.”
  161. The rebuke, along with the House vote to prohibit the use of funds to withdraw from NATO in Week 115,signals an increasing trend of growing dissent to Trump’s foreign policy by Congress.
  162. Congress is also questioning Trump’s moves in Venezuela, where he is following the lead of Sen. Marco Rubio. Sens. Cory Gardner and Bob Menendez plan to reintroduce the North Korea Policy Oversight Act.
  163. On Thursday, the Trump regime cut off all U.S. aid to Palestinian security forces for training and equipment, an unintended consequence of the Anti-Terrorism Clarification Act (ATCA) signed by Trump last October.
  164. ATCA was meant to make the Palestinian Authority pays compensation to terror victims who won civil suits against the PLO in U.S. courts in exchange for U.S. aid. Palestinians chose not to sign or receive aid.
  165. On Friday, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo announced the U.S. will withdraw in six-months from the 1987 Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty, one of the last major nuclear arms control treaties with Russia.
  166. Trump did not say if the U.S. would replace the I.N.F., telling reporters “I hope we’re able to get everybody in a big, beautiful room and do a new treaty that would be much better,” without specifying who he meant.
  167. Trump’s decision, when first leaked in October, took European allies by surprise, leaving allies fearful of Trump’s unilateral instincts and their recognition that Putin poses a growing threat.
  168. On Friday, WAPO reported Leader McConnell has privately cautioned Trump about declaring a national emergency, telling him the move could trigger political blowback and divide the GOP.
  169. At least six Republican senators are fiercely opposed to the move, and polling during the shutdown found that 66% of Americans were against it as well — 12 points higher than opposition to the wall.
  170. On Thursday, NYT interviewed Trump in the Oval office for 85 minutes, after publisher A.G. Sulzberger declined an off-the-record dinner invitation from Trump and asked for an on-the-record interview.
  171. The Times drew criticism that the paper was normalizing Trump. In the interview, Trump took credit for popularizing the term “fake news,” and called himself a victim of “unfair” coverage, saying, “I’m a victim of that.”
  172. In a rambling interview, Trump insisted he forced Jim Mattis to resign, said Rudy Giuliani “has been wrong” on Trump Tower Moscow and other matters, and signaled forgiveness for Steve Bannon.
  173. Trump claimed it was not he who directed a senior campaign official to contact Stone about WikiLeaks, and claimed deputy attorney general Rod Rosenstein told him he is “not a target of the investigation.”
  174. On Friday, Trump hinted to reporters he will unveil some action on to the wall at the State of the Union, saying “you’ll hear the State of the Union, and then you’ll see what happens right after the State of the Union.”
  175. Trump said “I think there’s a good chance we’ll have to” declare a national emergency in order to appropriate the funds to build his border wall, adding “we have very, very strong legal standing to win.”
  176. Trump also falsely claimed several time the wall is being built, saying “We’re building the wall, and we’re building a lot of wall,” adding, “but I can do it a lot faster the other way.”
  177. Trump also claimed, without evidence, that Democrats are “not being honest” in their conference negotiations because of the forthcoming 2020 election, but “I know the Republicans want to do something.”
  178. On Saturday, NYT reported Trump sought a previously unreported loan from Deutsche Bank in early 2016 to get money for Trump’s Turnberry property, at a time when he was lending tens of millions to his campaign.
  179. Although Deutsche Bank had been a lender of last resort for Trump for years, they turned down the loan, fearing the reputation of the bank could be harmed because of Trump’s polarizing statements during his campaign.
  180. Bankers in the private banking unit appealed the denial to Deutsche Bank’s top executives in Frankfurt. Reportedly it was upon this review that senior officials realized the scope of lending to Trump.
  181. On Saturday, NBC News reported analysis of the main English-language news sites used by Russia in the 2016 election show Rep. Tulsi Gabbard, who is about to announce her 2020 run, is the favored Democrat.
  182. Websites and social media linked to the Kremlin noted sites associated with propaganda, including RT, the Russian-owned TV outlet; Sputnik News, a radio outlet; and blog Russia Insider are all backing Gabbard.
  183. Washington Examiner fired two reporters who were nonpartisan, straight-news reporters on Friday, while hiring new staff, signaling a possible shift in news coverage to be more conservative and Trump-friendly.

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

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

Trump participates in a meeting with National Security Adviser Ambassador John Bolton; Director of the Central Intelligence Agency Gina Haspel and Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats, right, in the Oval Office Thursday, Jan. 31. 2019, at the White House. (Official White House Photo)

POLITIKS OF GRAFFITI 116: SUBVERSION & INDICTMENTS

JANUARY 26, 2019

Week 115

Experts in authoritarianism advise to keep a list of things
subtly changing around you, so you’ll remember.  https://theweeklylist.org/weekly-list/week-115/

This is the longest and perhaps most perilous week for Trump so far. Not only did House Speaker Nancy Pelosi outmaneuver him in the government shutdown, but by week’s end she was publicly questioning if Trump is beholden to Russian President Vladimir Putin, and if his campaign coordinated efforts to subvert the 2016 U.S. election. Meanwhile, House committees, now chaired by Democrats, geared up to challenge Trump and his regime on a number of fronts, including inquiries into Deutsche Bank’s handling of Trump’s accounts and the regime’s process of granting of security clearances.

Following dire warnings from agencies, unions, and former government officials about safety and security risks, public outcries and protests from unpaid furloughed workers, and plummeting approval, Trump finally agreed to reopen the government Friday. The final impetus appeared to be delayed flights at New York’s LaGuardia Airport due to staffing issues with unpaid air traffic controllers.

This week a sixth Trump insider, Roger Stone, was indicted on seven counts Friday, raising further concerns that the Trump campaign coordinated with Russia to subvert the election. A line in the indictment document, a senior Trump campaign official was directed to contact Stone,” left pundits speculating if the person directing Stone to gather information on the WikiLeaks’ release of Clinton Campaign emails stolen by Russia was Trump or a family member. Trump attorney Rudy Giuliani also made incriminating public statements about the timing of Trump’s discussions with Michael Cohen on the Trump Tower Moscow project, as Trump continued to publicly threaten Cohen and his family, raising concerns of witness tampering.

dxynrdjvsaawvzd.jpg-largedxxz3zxvaau7bkg.jpg-large

Artwork by Jim Carrey this week. Pic 1: 45. Pic 2: Roger Stone.

  1. WAPO reported Trump has made 8,158 false or misleading claims in his first two years in office, including more than 6,000 in the second year alone.
  2. Trump averaged 5.9 false or misleading claims per day in his first year in office, and almost triple that, 16.5 per day, in his second year. The biggest topic of Trump’s misleading claims is immigration.
  3. On Saturday, Trump gave a 13 minute speech in which he offered a 3-year reprieve on his attempts to end the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, and temporary protected status, in exchange for $5.7 billion for his wall.
  4. The proposal was put together by a small group of Trump insiders, without consulting Democrats. House Speaker Pelosi called it a “non-starter,” and vowed to pass legislation in the coming week to reopen the government.
  5. WAPO reported Trump’s speech and handling of the shutdown accentuated traits of his time in office: a shortage of empathy; difficulty accepting responsibility; and a desire for revenge against political foes.
  6. Trump has approached the shutdown like a public relations challenge. White House aides acknowledge he is losing the battle of public opinion. One friend said even if his base is intact, he is ripping the nation apart.
  7. Trump has also drawn criticism for his competence as an executive. West Wing aides acknowledge they hadno contingency plans for the shutdown, and are learning about problems at agencies though reporting in real time.
  8. On Sunday, Brett McGurk, the former U.S. envoy to fight against ISIS who resigned after Trump announced withdrawal from Syria, told “Face the Nation” that “there is no plan” for what comes after troops are withdrawn.
  9. On Sunday, amid trade negotiations between the countries, China granted Ivanka Trump’s company preliminary approval for another five trademarks. The applications were filed in 2016 and 2017.
  10. On Sunday, Trump tweeted, “The Media is not giving us credit for the tremendous progress we have made with North Korea,” adding “Looking forward to meeting with Chairman Kim at end of February!”
  11. On Tuesday, NBC News reported according to a report from Beyond Parallel, a project sponsored by a defense think tank, North Korea has as many as 20 undisclosed missile sites in the country.
  12. Reportedly, some Trump officials and U.S. allies are nervous because they know so little about what Trump and Kim Jong Un talked about in Singapore, and are concerned about what Trump might agree to next.
  13. On Sunday, Rudy Giuliani told “Meet the Press” that discussions to build a Trump Tower in Moscow remained an “active proposal” as late as November of 2016, months later than Trump previously publicly admitted.
  14. Giuliani said Trump can “remember having conversations” with Michael Cohen “throughout 2016.” Cohen admitted he worked on the project through June 2016, after telling Congress talks ended January 2016.
  15. On Sunday, Giuliani told the Times that Trump had said discussions about the project were “going on from the day I announced to the day I won.”
  16. On Monday, Giuliani tried to walk back his comments in a statement, saying his remarks about discussions between Trump and Cohen “were hypothetical and not based on conversations I had with the president.”
  17. Hours later, in an interview with The New Yorker, Giuliani said “I have been through all the tapes” of conversation between Trump and Cohen. The existence of tapes had not been previously discussed.
  18. When pressed about the tapes in the interview, Giuliani responded “I shouldn’t have said tapes,” adding, “No tapes. Well, I have listened to tapes, but none of them concern this.”
  19. Vanity Fair reported Trump is “furious” about Giuliani’s recent botched press appearances. Reportedly Trump is being advised by Ivanka and Jared and others to fire Giuliani before he does more damage.
  20. AP reported that Trump’s close allies have urged him to bench Giuliani, with some suggesting he be barred from evening interviews because of concerns that he was going on TV after drinking.
  21. On Monday, NYT reported that a confidential document, titled “Terms of Removal” and signed by representatives of Oleg Deripaska and the Treasury Department, is significantly different than what has been publicly shared.
  22. The Treasury Department described the broad contours of the agreement in a letter to Congress, which was released publicly. However, major details were not provided to Congress, which voted last week.
  23. The deal is significantly less punitive and contains provisions that free Deripaska from hundreds of millions of dollars in debt, while leaving him and his allies with majority ownership of his most important company.
  24. Despite the Treasury Department indicating that Deripaska had lowered his stake in the sanctioned companies below the 50% threshold to 44.95%, the document reveals the actual overall stake is closer to 57%.
  25. Also Viktor Vekselberg, who has attracted Mueller’s attention, has a stake in Mr. Deripaska’s empire,as does Len Blavatnik, a Ukrainian-born billionaire, who donated $1 million to Trump inauguration.
  26. On Monday, Russian opposition leader Alexey Navalny announced he has heard audio recordings of Deripaska’s associates plotting to have Anastasia Vashukevich arrested.
  27. Vashukevich was supposed to be deported, when released from prison in Thailand, to her home to Belarus, but instead she was arrested during their layover at Moscow in connection with a prostitution case.
  28. On Tuesday, Vashukevich, who said she had evidence Russia interfered in the U.S. election, was freed from Russian police custody. TASS News reported she remains a suspect in an unrelated criminal case.
  29. On Tuesday, ABC News reported congressional investigators are looking into Robert Foresman, now vice chairman of UBS’s investment arm, who lived for years in Moscow and led a $3 billion Russian investment fund.
  30. Foresman, who has ties to the Kremlin, sought a sit down with Trump through the producer of “The Apprentice,” Mark Burnett, during the transition period. Burnett helped get him a meeting with Tom Barrack.
  31. The meeting with Barrack was canceled, but Foresman continued to pursue a role on Trump’s team by meeting with Michael Flynn. Foresman did not support Trump in the primary or general election.
  32. Records also show Foresman had a December 2016 meeting with Sergei Gorkov, chairman of a state-owned Russian development bank. Gorkov also flew in for one day in December for a meeting with Jared Kushner.
  33. On Tuesday, the Supreme Court allowed the mystery foreign government-owned company thought to be part of the Mueller probe to file appeal papers under seal.
  34. On Saturday, the Diocese of Covington criticized any students involved in taunting Native Americans at the Indigenous Peoples March, adding the matter is under investigation and students could be expelled.
  35. Nathan Phillips, a veteran in the indigenous rights movement, said he felt threatened by the teens. The Indigenous Peoples Movement called the incident “emblematic of our discourse in Trump’s America.”
  36. On Monday, USA Today reported the Sandmann family hired Louisville public relations firm RunSwitch PR, which was instrumental in a 3-page statement in which Nick defended his actions, and an extended video.
  37. On Monday, Trump tweeted “Looking like Nick Sandman & Covington Catholic students were treated unfairly with early judgements proving out to be false — smeared by media.”
  38. The tweet was sent during Fox News host Tucker Carlson’s show, whom Trump quoted in a tweet: “‘New footage shows that media was wrong about teen’s encounter with Native American’ @TuckerCarlson.”
  39. On Tuesday, in the morning Trump again tweeted on Covington, invoking his common anti-media theme: “Nick Sandmann and the students of Covington have become symbols of Fake News and how evil it can be.”
  40. ICE arrested Carmen Puerto Diaz at a green card interview with her husband. Diaz, who is five months into a high risk pregnancy, was denied medication for days, and was later released after public outrage.
  41. Star Tribune reported coach Michael Walker, whose high school team is predominantly black, pulled out of a MLK Day game in Minneapolis, citing the host team had a front row Trump 2020 banner last time they played.
  42. On Monday, Mark Bartlett, 51, was arrested in Florida, after a video showed him drawing a gun, and yelling racial slurs at a group of Black Americans participating in an anti-gun violence event on MLK Day.
  43. On Tuesday, the Supreme Court ruled 5-4 to allow Trump’s transgender military ban to proceed, clearing the way for it to go into effect while lower courts hear additional arguments.
  44. On Tuesday, the Supreme Court took no action on the Trump regime’s appeal in the “Dreamers” case, leaving the program in place, and signaling that the court will not hear the regime’s challenge in the current term.
  45. On Tuesday, Trump’s Justice Department said it plans to ask the Supreme Court to take up hearing the case on adding a citizenship question to the 2020 census on an expedited basis in order to decide the case by June.
  46. Trump, who tried to end the program in 2017, said in a cabinet meeting this month that he had expected to use a victory in the Supreme Court as leverage in negotiations with Democrats on immigration.
  47. On Tuesday, the day after Sen. Kamala Harris announced her 2020 presidential run, Trump supporters rekindled birtherism, claiming she is not eligible to run because her parents were not born in the U.S. Harris was born in Oakland.
  48. On Wednesday, James Jackson, a 30 year-old white supremacist, pleaded guilty to killing a Black man with a sword in New York. Jackson had planned to carry out many attacks against Black men.
  49. Jackson picked New York because it’s “the media capital of the world” and he “wanted to make a statement.” The criminal complaint states Jackson “was angered by black men mixing with white women.”
  50. On Wednesday, Colorado police arrested Christopher Cleary, 27, who threatened to kill “as many girls as I see,” because he is a virgin and had been rejected by women multiple times.
  51. On Wednesday, the Trump regime granted a waiver to give Miracle Hill Ministries in South Carolina permission to participate in the federally funded foster-care program, even though the group openly discriminates.
  52. Miracle Hill does not permit adoption by LGBTQ and non-Christian parents. The waiver overrides an Obama-era regulation barring groups that discriminate on the basis of religion from receiving federal money.
  53. On Thursday, newly-appointed Florida secretary of state Michael Ertel resigned after photos emerged of him posing as a Hurricane Katrina victim in blackface at a private Halloween party 14 years ago.
  54. On Thursday, NBC News reported the Trump regime plans to begin turning asylum-seekers back at the southern border on Friday to wait in Mexico under a new policy designed to crack down on immigration.
  55. Customs and Border Protection officers will begin turning back asylum-seekers from Central America at the San Ysidro port of entry in California from Tijuana, Mexico, where thousands are waiting in poor conditions.
  56. Currently, immigrants who pass an initial “credible fear” interview are allowed to remain in the U.S. to see an immigration judge. The new policy dubbed Migration Protection Policy is likely to be sued by advocates.
  57. Beginning Friday, asylum-seekers will be sent back to Tijuana with a notice to appear in court in San Diego. On their court dates, I.C.E. will provide transportation from the port of entry to immigration court.
  58. On Monday, Trump marked Martin Luther King Jr. Day with a 2-minute visit to Washington’s Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial. This was Trump’s only public event for the day.
  59. On Monday, National Review reported that Rep. Joe Neguse said the House Judiciary Committee will likely investigate whether Supreme Court justice Brett Kavanaugh committed perjury during his confirmation hearing.
  60. On Tuesday, a North Carolina Superior Court judge denied Republican Mark Harris’ request to certify the still-disputed 9th District congressional race, saying the Board of Elections should complete its investigation.
  61. On Tuesday, the House voted 357-22 on legislation to prevent Trump from pulling out of the North Atlantic Treaty Association, after reporting that Trump considered pulling out during 2018. The bill will now move to the Senate.
  62. On Wednesday, Trump backed a coup in Venezuela by opposition leader, Juan Guaidó, the 35-year-old National Assembly leader. President Nicolás Maduro dismissed Guaidó’s claim to the presidency.
  63. Maduro responded by giving American diplomats 72 hours to leave the country with a derisive “be gone!” and accused the Trump regime of plotting to overthrow him. The U.S. said it would ignore the deadline.
  64. On Tuesday, as Congress returned to session on Day 32 of the shutdown, Trump tweeted, “Without a Wall our Country can never have Border or National Security,” adding, “Must finally be done correctly. No Cave!”
  65. Speaker Pelosi told reporters “We cannot have the president, every time he has an objection, to say I’ll shut down the government until you come to my way of thinking…If we hold the employees hostage now, they’re hostage forever.”
  66. The Transportation Security Administration reported TSA employees called out at a national rate of 10% on Sunday, a record high and a jump from 3.1% one year ago on the same weekend.
  67. A TSA spokesperson told ABC News we are in “uncharted territory.” Employees say they are unable to continue to unpaid work, and at February 1, when rent and mortgages are due, things will get worse.
  68. On Tuesday, Politico reported furloughed federal workers are running up credit card debt, taking out loans, flocking to pawn shops, finding temporary work, and asking friends and family to help.
  69. A spokesperson for the Consumer Bankers Association, which represents retail lenders, said calls for help have picked up tenfold, and will increase further nearing February 1 when mortgage and rent payments are due.
  70. On Tuesday, a report issued by the FBI Agents Association, the group representing 13,000 agents, said the shutdown has impeded the agency’s efforts to crack down on child trafficking, violent crime, and terrorism.
  71. The 72-page report says the FBI has been unable to issue grand jury subpoenas and indictments in several cases. Field offices have run out of basic supplies like copy paper, forensic supplies, and DNA swab kits.
  72. On Tuesday, the State Department canceled the 16th International Export Control and Border Security Conference, focused on border security and scheduled to take place in Scotland in mid-February, citing the shutdown.
  73. On Tuesday, Trump tweeted that he told press secretary Sarah Sanders “not to bother” with giving formal press briefings from the “podium” anymore, saying, “the press covers her so rudely & inaccurately.”
  74. Sanders has not taken questions from the podium since December 18, and she appeared just once in September, November, and December. The number of press briefings has steadily declining since Trump took office.
  75. According to data collected by The American Presidency Project, in 2018, the Trump regime averaged less than 5 press briefings per month, fewer than any president in recent history.
  76. CNN reported the lack of briefings is also a result of an ongoing power struggle for control between Sanders, Bill Shine, Kellyanne Conway, and Mercedes Schlapp on the communications team, going on for months.
  77. Also staffing of the White House press office has dwindled. Roles of many younger press aides who have departed, including “assistant press secretary” or “deputy press secretary” positions, remain unfilled.
  78. Unlike in past administrations, there has not been a rush of candidates to fill empty seats. The White House has not prioritized hiring, but Trump’s campaign is actively hiring for the 2020 re-election.
  79. On Tuesday, A. Wess Mitchell, the assistant secretary of state for European and Eurasian affairs, resigned effective February. The resignation comes at a time when Europeans are questioning Trump’s commitment to alliances.
  80. Mitchell’s departure creates another assistant secretary of state vacancy at the State Department. Six of the 24 spots have nominees awaiting Senate confirmation. Mitchell was the first assistant secretary under Trump.
  81. On Tuesday, Politico reported Shahira Knight, Trump’s legislative affairs director who acts as his liaison to Congress, is planning to leave in the coming months what many insiders say is a thankless job.
  82. Slate reported that the Trump regime’s Department of Justice’s Office on Violence Against Women quietly changed the definition of domestic violence last April with little notice, making the definition substantially more limited.
  83. Under the new definition, only harms that constitute a felony or misdemeanor crime may be called domestic violence, excluding critical components of the phenomenon like the dynamics of power and control.
  84. Rolling Stone reported Susan Combs, Trump’s unconfirmed appointee who is leading the Interior Department’s reorganization, earned almost $2.1 million in recent years from oil companies who stand to benefit.
  85. Combs, who was nominated by Trump in July 2017, has also been fiercely opposed to protecting endangered species during her time in Texas government — a position in line with the oil and gas industry.
  86. On Thursday, California Assemblyman Brian Maienschein, who serves in a conservative stronghold, announced he would switch parties and become a Democrat, blaming Trump’s behavior and divisiveness.
  87. On Thursday, the Golden State Warriors made their annual trip to Washington D.C. as NBA champions.Rather than visit the White House, the team was seen in photos visiting with former President Obama.
  88. On Wednesday, Trump sent a letter to Pelosi, saying he had checked, and that there were no such concerns from the Secret Service, and “therefore, I will be honoring your invitation” and delivering the State of the Union.
  89. Hours later, Pelosi sent a letter to Trump, saying she would not pass a resolution authorizing him to come, saying “I look forward to welcoming you” to the House to speak “when government has been opened.”
  90. On Wednesday, Trump said he would look for alternative venues for the State of the Union, telling reporters, “The State of the Union has been canceled by Nancy Pelosi because she doesn’t want to hear the truth.”
  91. Trump also told reporters, “It’s a great, great horrible mark.” Ronald Reagan’s address was postponed after the Challenger space shuttle exploded, but there is no precedent for a SOTU invitation being rescinded.
  92. On Wednesday, after 11 p.m. EST, Trump tweeted that Pelosi had “changed her mind because of the Shutdown, suggesting a later date. This is her prerogative,” adding, “I will do the Address when the Shutdown is over.
  93. On Wednesday, a CBS News poll found that 71% of Americans do not believe that Trump’s wall is worth the government shutdown, while just 28% believe it is.
  94. The poll found 47% believe Pelosi is doing a better job handling shutdown negotiations, to 35% for Trump. Also, 60% believe the shutdown is causing serious problems, 34% said some problems, 5% no problems.
  95. Trump’s approval fell 3 points from November down to 36%, while 59% of Americans disapprove, a high for his time in office for this poll.
  96. On Wednesday, a Politico/Morning Consult poll found 57% of Americans believe it is likely that Russia “has compromising information“ on Trump, compared to 31% who do not think it is likely.
  97. On Wednesday, an AP-NORC poll found Trump’s approval at a yearlong low of 34%, down from 42% in December. Trump’s standing with independents is among its lowest points of his time in office.
  98. The polls also found that 71% of women and independents disapprove of Trump, both up from 58% in December, and 76% of college graduates disapprove, up from 65% in December.
  99. The polls also found 60% of Americans blame Trump for the government shutdown, while just 31% blame congressional Democrats and 36% congressional Republicans.
  100. On Wednesday, Trump unveiled a new slogan in the early morning, tweeting, “BUILD A WALL & CRIME WILL FALL!,” adding “this is the new theme, for two years until the Wall is finished,” and, “Use it and pray!”
  101. Minutes later, Trump again tweeted, “BUILD A WALL & CRIME WILL FALL!” And again in the afternoon, Trump tweeted, “Even Trump Haters like (MS)NBC acknowledge you “BUILD A WALL & CRIME WILL FALL!”
  102. On Wednesday, Day 33 of the shutdown, led by several unions that represent furloughed federal employees and out-of-work contractors, hundreds of workers staged a sit-in inside the Hart Senate Office Building.
  103. Protesters stood in silence for 33 minutes, holding Styrofoam plates with messages like: “Jobs not walls,” “Will work for pay,” and “Please let us work.” The empty plates signified the need to feed their families.
  104. After the silence, protestors shouted, “No more food banks,” and, “They need paychecks!” Some staged a sit-inoutside senators’ offices, and demanded a meeting with Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell.
  105. When McConnell’s office staff refused, a dozen took seats in the hallway outside his office, and were later pulled up from the floor and arrested, their arms zip tied behind their backs, by the U.S. Capitol Police.
  106. On Wednesday, McConnell blocked a bill to temporarily reopen the Department of Homeland Security, the fourth time he has blocked a House’s DHS bill from coming to the floor
  107. McConnell has also blocked legislation three times that would have opened other departments and agencies, arguing it would be a “show” vote because Trump will not sign it.
  108. On Wednesday, WAPO reported acting chief of staff Mick Mulvaney has pressed agency heads to provide him with a list by Friday of programs which would be impacted if the shutdown lasts until March or April.
  109. Mulvaney’s request is the first known by a top White House official for a broad accounting of the spreading impact of the shutdown. So far officials have been focused on the wait times at airports, but not other programs.
  110. Officials are already grappling with keeping their agencies functioning as unpaid workers refuse to show up. Over months, the impact is expected to extend to tens of millions of Americans who rely on government services.
  111. Federal workers will miss their second paycheck on Friday. Unions are filing legal action against the regime for making employees work without pay. Agencies are still trying to understand the scope of their problems.
  112. Other impacts include the federal court system is likely to halt major operations after February 1, and the Department of Agriculture will run out of funding to pay food stamp benefits in March to 40 million people.
  113. On Wednesday, a joint statement by air traffic controllers, pilots, and flight attendants unions said, “We have a growing concern for the safety and security of our members, our airlines and the traveling public.”
  114. The 130,000 aviation professionals said, “We cannot even calculate the level of risk currently at play, nor predict the point at which the entire system will break,” adding, “It is unprecedented.”
  115. On Wednesday, five bipartisan former secretaries of the Department of Homeland Security, including John Kelly, sent a letter to Trump and Congress calling for an end to the shutdown, calling it “unconscionable.”
  116. The letter said “DHS employees who protect the traveling public, investigate and counter terrorism, and protect critical infrastructure should not have to rely on the charitable generosity of others.”
  117. On Thursday, former secretary Jeh Johnson said at an event “from a security standpoint we are letting our guard down,” adding, the “very people we depend on for security are made to suffer.”
  118. On Monday, Lara Trump, campaign adviser and wife of Eric Trump, told Bold TV said federal workers are going through “a little bit of pain,” but that Trump’s wall “is so much bigger than any one person.”
  119. Kevin Hassett, chair of the Council of Economic Advisers, appeared to compare the shutdown to a vacation, saying it could leave workers “better off” since they will receive back pay and without having to report to work.
  120. On Thursday, Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross told CNBC, “I don’t really quite understand why” federal workers need to go to food banks, adding, “these folks will get back pay once this whole thing gets settled down.”
  121. Ross also said “It’s kind of disappointing that the air traffic controllers are calling in sick.” The anchor said it is because they cannot support their families, Ross responded, “They are eventually going to be paid.”
  122. On Thursday, Pelosi took a swipe at Ross and Trump, telling reporters “I don’t know if it’s a “let them eat cake” kind of attitude, or “call your father for money,” or this is character building for you, it is all going to end well.”
  123. Minutes later, suggesting he was watching Pelosi’s press conference, Trump tweeted “Nancy just said she “just doesn’t understand why?” Very simply, without a Wall it all doesn’t work,” adding, “We will not Cave!”
  124. On Wednesday, Michael Cohen indefinitely postponed his scheduled February 7 testimony to Congress, with his attorney Lanny Davis citing verbal attacks by Trump, including unspecified threats against Cohen’s family.
  125. Trump allies Reps. Jim Jordan and Mark Meadows also sent a letter to Cohen’s attorney, Guy Petrillo, suggesting Cohen would face aggressive questioning from House Republicans.
  126. Trump allies have privately said Cohen’s disclosures are one of the most significant threats to Trump. Cohen has spent more than 70 hours in interviews with investigators for the Southern District of New York and with Mueller’s team.
  127. On Wednesday, committee chairs Reps. Elijah Cummings and Adam Schiff said they understood Cohen’s concerns for his family’s safety and repeated their earlier warning against efforts to intimidate witnesses.
  128. On Thursday, in an early morning tweet, Trump called Cohen a “bad lawyer” who “sadly will not be testifying before Congress,” adding Cohen, “is using the lawyer of Crooked Hillary Clinton to represent him.”
  129. That lawyer, Lanny Davis, in an interview on Thursday accused Giuliani of witness tampering for recent comments he made about Cohen’s father-in-law, suggesting he might have ties to organized crime.
  130. On Thursday, the Senate Intelligence Committee issued a subpoena for Cohen to appear privately before the panel next month and correct false testimony he delivered last year about the Trump Tower Moscow project.
  131. On Wednesday, House committee chairs Reps. Maxine Waters and Adam Schiff said they are planning to launch a joint investigation of Deutsche Bank over its business dealings with Trump.
  132. Waters asked Deutsche Bank for details of its handling of Trump’s accounts in May 2017, but the bank refused to cooperate, citing privacy. She now has subpoena power as chair of the House Financial Service Committee.
  133. On Thursday, Deutsche Bank AG said it received an inquiry from the two House committees on its ties to Trump. Reps. Waters and Schiff said they are in talks with the bank and expect its cooperation in its inquiries.
  134. On Wednesday, in a letter sent by committee chair Rep. Elijah Cummings to White House counsel Pat Cipollone, the House Oversight Committee announced it will investigate White House security clearances.
  135. The letter also states the investigation will look into why the regime is “defying federal law by failing to provide to Congress information about its security clearance process required by the SECRET Act.”
  136. The letter seeks information about security clearance issued for Jared Kushner, John Bolton, Michael Flynn, Michael Flynn Jr., K.T. McFarland, Robert Porter, Robin Townley, John McEntee, and Sebastian Gorka.
  137. Cummings said he also sent a letter to the National Rifle Association about Bolton, seeking information about his contacts with Maria Butina. Democrats vowed to subpoena Trump if documents are not turned over.
  138. On Thursday, NBC News reported Jared Kushner’s application for a top-secret clearance was rejected by two career White House security specialists, but was overruled by their supervisor, Carl Kline.
  139. Kline became director of the personnel security office in the Executive Office of the President in May 2017.Kushner was one of at least 30 cases in which he overruled security experts, approving top security clearance.
  140. The FBI background check on Kushner raised concerns about potential foreign influence on him, citing questions about his family’s business, his foreign contacts, his foreign travel, and meetings during the campaign.
  141. Kline recommended to the CIA that Kushner be granted “sensitive compartmented information” (SCI) clearance. CIA officials wondered how Kusher was granted top-secret clearance and denied the SCI request.
  142. On Thursday, Trump tweeted promotion of a book by conservative commentator Doug Wead, who had appeared on “Fox & Friends” that morning calling Trump the “most accessible” president in history.
  143. Trump also quoted Wead, tweeting, “This is everything FDR dreamed about, the New Deal to put America back to work. Think of LBJ, he gave people food stamps & welfare. Donald Trump’s giving them a job.”
  144. Trump also repeated his new slogan, tweeting, “Without a Wall there cannot be safety and security at the Border or for the U.S.A. BUILD THE WALL AND CRIME WILL FALL!”
  145. On Thursday, the Senate rejected dueling proposals to end the shutdown. The Senate voted 52-44 to reject House-backed legislation that would fund the government through February 8, with six Republicans joining the Democrats.
  146. The Senate also voted down Trump’s proposal by a 50-47 vote which would have provided $5.7 billion for his border wall and granted temporary protection for some undocumented immigrants.
  147. On Thursday, in an unplanned evening press availability, Trump claimed, “In fact, I see a lot of the Democrats — almost all of them are breaking saying, ‘Walls are good. Walls are good.’” This is a false statement.
  148. Trump floated the idea of a prorated down payment for his wall to reopen the government. Speaker Pelosi scoffed at the idea being discussed in the Senate, and added of Trump, “I don’t think he knows what he wants.”
  149. Trump threatened to declare a national emergency, saying: “I have other alternatives,” and adding, “A lot of people who wants this to happen. The military wants this to happen. This is a virtual invasion of our country.”
  150. Trump defended Wilbur Ross, saying “perhaps he should have said it differently,” and claiming, without evidence, that grocery stores and banks “are working along” with furloughed federal workers.
  151. On Thursday, CNN reported the White House is preparing a draft proclamation for Trump to declare a national emergency. The questions of legality and legal challenges are the main hold ups in acting.
  152. The draft states: “The massive amount of aliens who unlawfully enter the United States each day is a direct threat to the safety and security of our nation and constitutes a national emergency.”
  153. Also $7 billion in possible funding for the wall has been identified: $681 million in Treasury forfeiture funds, $3.6 billion in military construction, $3 billion in Pentagon civil works funds, and $200 million in DHS funds.
  154. On Thursday, Trump attacked Michael D’Antonio, a commentator and Trump biographer, for “playing his biggest con of all on Fake News CNN,” tweeting D’Antonio is “a broken down hack who knows nothing about me.”
  155. On Friday, in an early morning raid, FBI agents arrested Roger Stone at his home in Fort Lauderdale. In Mueller’s team 24-page document, Stone was indicted on seven counts of lying, obstruction and witness tampering.
  156. CNN video footage showed FBI agents at Stone’s door: “FBI. Open the door,” before adding, “FBI. Warrant.” The FBI agents who arrested Stone were working without pay given the government shutdown.
  157. The indictment said Stone sought stolen emails from WikiLeaks that could damage Trump’s opponents. In July 2018, Mueller indicted 12 Russians of orchestrating the hacks and distributing documents to WikiLeaks.
  158. The indictment also notes before Stone’s actions in the summer of 2016, the Democratic National Committee had already announced it had been hacked by Russians, implying Stone knew that too.
  159. The indictment said “a senior Trump campaign official was directed to contact Stone” about future releases by “Organization 1,” thought to be WikiLeaks. It was unclear who directed the senior campaign official.
  160. After WikiLeaks released its first set of Clinton campaign emails on October 7, 2016, Stone received a text message from “an associate of the high-ranking Trump campaign official” saying “well done.”
  161. In an October 2016 email to Steve Bannon, then-campaign chief executive, Stone implied he had information about WikiLeaks’ plans. It was not clear if Bannon is the high-ranking official and his lawyer declined to comment.
  162. Stone tried to cover up what he had done by lying to Congress. He also tried persuade another witness, identified as “Person 2” — thought to be Randy Credico —  to refuse to talk to the House Intelligence Committee.
  163. Jerome Corsi confirmed to CNN that he is “Person 1” in the indictment and that the statements about him in the indictment are “accurate.” Corsi also said what the indictment contains “confirms I did nothing wrong.”
  164. After Stone’s arrest, Trump tweeted, “Greatest Witch Hunt in the History of our Country! NO COLLUSION!”
  165. Trump also tweeted, “Who alerted CNN to be there?” echoing a tweet by former Fox News host Greta van Susteren, who falsely claimed the FBI had tipped off CNN to cover Stone’s arrest. CNN monitored grand jury activity.
  166. Stone appeared in a Fort Lauderdale court with steel shackles on his wrists and ankles Friday morning, and was released on a bond. On the courthouse steps, he made the V-for-victory gesture used by Richard Nixon.
  167. Stone said “There is no circumstance whatsoever under which I will bear false witness against the president, nor will I make up lies to ease the pressure on myself.” The crowd booed and chanted, “Lock him up!”
  168. With Stone’s indictment, the Mueller probe has now led to charges against 34 people and guilty pleas by six Trump associates and advisers. Stone got his start in politics working for Nixon’s 1972 re-election campaign.
  169. Agents also moved to search Stone’s New York City apartment. His case was assigned to assigned to U.S. District Judge Amy Berman Jackson of the District of Columbia, who is also hearing Paul Manafort’s case.
  170. On Friday, House Intelligence Committee chair Adam Schiff said his committee will release all interview transcripts from its Russia probe to Mueller, citing Stone is second witness to be indicted for lying.
  171. On Friday, the Nixon Foundation distanced itself from Stone, tweeting during his time as a college student, Stone “was a junior scheduler on the Nixon reelection committee. Mr. Stone was not a campaign aide or adviser.”
  172. On Friday, Mueller’s team said in court that Manafort should not any get credit for cooperating when he is sentenced on February 8, saying the “multiple discernible lies” were not instances of “mere memory lapses.”
  173. On Friday, TSA Administrator David Pekoske tweeted that the department had scraped together funds left over from last year to make a “a partial payment” to TSA screeners for the first two-weeks of the shutdown.
  174. On Friday, WAPO reported at least 14,000 of the 26,000 unpaid Internal Revenue Service employees, whose work includes tax processing and call centers, did not show up this week after being called back last week.
  175. On Friday, the Federal Aviation Administration announced it was restricting flights into and out of New York’s LaGuardia Airport, saying there were not enough air traffic controllers to manage flights safely.
  176. Within hours, delays at LaGuardia had a ripple effect on other East Coast airports. The FAA’s action was the first time staffing shortages hit air traffic control centers during the shutdown.
  177. On Friday, an ABC News/Washington Post poll found Trump’s approval at 37%, one point off the low in his first two years, as 60% of Americans disapproved of his handling of the shutdown.
  178. Trump’s two-year average approval rating of 38% is the lowest on record for a president in 72 years of polls, compared with an average of 61% for the 12 previous presidents since 1945.
  179. The poll also found Trump’s approval among women dropped to a new low of 27 %, down 9 points since November, while 49% of men approved. His rating with independents dropped to 32%, matching its low.
  180. Shortly after the FAA’s action, the White House announced Trump would address the press from the Rose Garden. In the afternoon, cabinet officials and White House aides lined the sides and applauded him as he spoke.
  181. Trump claimed victory, saying he was “very proud to announce” what he called “a deal to end the shutdown and reopen the federal government.” The government would reopen for three weeks with no funding for his wall.
  182. At a joint press conference after the speech, Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer thanked federal workers for working a month without pay. Rather than accepting credit, Pelosi praised the unity of her caucus.
  183. Pelosi said McConnell “is a professional” so it is painful to see him kowtowing to Trump, saying she asked him, “Do you just want to abolish the Congress or maybe just the United States Senate? Because that is effectively what you’re doing.” Pelosi said his response was “nothing.”
  184. Later, Trump gave no explanation for his capitulation, tweeting, “This was in no way a concession. It was taking care of millions of people” hurt by the shutdown, adding, “in 21 days, if no deal is done, it’s off to the races!”
  185. Conservative commentator Ann Coulter expressed outrage, tweeting “Good news for George Herbert Walker Bush: As of today, he is no longer the biggest wimp ever to serve as President of the United States.”
  186. On Friday evening, press secretary Sanders quoted Trump’s tweet saying this was in no way a concession,” adding that in 21 days, Trump “is moving forward building the wall with or without the Democrats.”
  187. Late Friday, Trump signed a bill to temporarily reopen the government, ending a 35 day shutdown, the longest in the nation’s history. Over one million government contractors will not be reimbursed for missed pay.
  188. Late Friday, in a series of tweets, Pelosi said Trump’s “continued efforts to undermine” the Mueller probe “raises the questions,” adding, “What does Putin have on @realDonaldTrump, politically, personally or financially?”
  189. Pelosi also asked, mirroring a statement issued by her office Friday, why has the Trump regime “continued to discuss pulling the U.S. out of NATO, which would be a massive victory for Putin?
  190. Pelosi also tweeted “Stone’s indictment makes clear there was a deliberate, coordinated effort by top Trump campaign officials to subvert the will of the American people during the 2016 Election. #FollowTheFacts.”
  191. On Saturday, Trump sought to shift the narrative, tweeting, “If Roger Stone was indicted for lying to Congress, what about the lying done by Comey, Brennan, Clapper, Lisa Page & lover, Baker and soooo many others?”
  192. Trump also sent a series of five tweets arguing for his wall, culminating with a video of snippets Schumer and Pelosi, with his new slogan “BUILD A WALL & CRIME WILL FALL!”
  193. On Saturday, NYT compiled a list of more than 100 in-person meetings, phone calls, text messages, emails, and private messages on Twitter that Trump and his campaign associates had with Russians during the 2016 election.
  194. Gizmodo reported that some of Trump’s photos on Facebook and Instagram have been manipulated to make him appear thinner, and to make his fingers appear slightly longer.

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

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

Roger Stone, a former advisor to President Donald Trump, exits the Federal Courthouse on January 25, 2019 in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. Stone strikes the famous pose of his personal hero, the late former president Richard M. Nixon, by raising his arms high and making V-for-victory signs with his fingers.

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

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

JANUARY 19, 2019

Week 114

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

POLITIKS OF GRAFFITI 114: EMPATHY

JANUARY 12, 2019

Week 113

Experts in authoritarianism advise to keep a list of things
subtly changing around you, so you’ll remember. https://theweeklylist.org/weekly-list/week-113/

This week Trump struggled to create stagecraft and find narratives to justify funding for his border wall, while keeping the government shuttered. Trump delivered a prime-time Oval Office address, visited the U.S.-Mexico border, and held an immigration round-table to make his case, while the reality of the shutdown hurt federal workers and contractors, and agencies started to cut back or cease operations and functions.

This was a week of bombshells on the Trump-Russia front, as an inadvertently unredacted filing by Paul Manafort’s attorneys revealed Manafort had delivered 2016 president campaign polling data to Konstantin Kilimnik, who the FBI believes has ties to Russian intelligence. Michael Cohen set a date to testify before the House, and Natalie Veselnitskaya, the Russian lawyer with ties to the Kremlin who attended the June 9 Trump Tower meeting was back in the news. Late Friday, a bombshell story by the Times revealed the FBI had opened an inquiry in May 2017 into whether Trump was knowingly working for Russia or had unwittingly fallen under Moscow’s influence.

As the week came to a close, the government shutdown reached Day 22, making it the longest shutdown in history, with no end in sight. Federal workers got their first $0 paycheck on Friday, week three of the shutdown.img_3133img_3171img_3170

  1. On Saturday, Pentagon chief of staff Kevin Sweeney resigned, after serving for two years. Sweeney is the second senior Pentagon official to depart in the wake of Jim Mattis’ resignation. Reportedly, he was forced out.
  2. NYT reported the idea of Trump’s border wall was hatched in 2014 as Trump explored a presidential run, as a memory trick for an undisciplined candidate to remember to talk about getting tough on immigration.
  3. The wall was a simple concept to feed to his base like ‘crooked Hillary’ and ‘lock her up.’ Now, Trump is obsessed by the idea of a wall because it was the most memorable and tangible promise he made during his campaign.
  4. Most Republicans privately agree with Democrats that the wall is only a minor piece of a broad set of actionsneeded to overhaul the immigration system. Democrats add the wall is immoral, expensive, and ineffective.
  5. On Saturday, the Trump regime sent a letter to congressional leaders demanding $5.7 billion for “a steel barrier,” as well as $800 million to address “urgent humanitarian needs” of unaccompanied migrant children.
  6. On Sunday, incoming House Intelligence chair Adam Schiff told “State of the Union” that “as one of our first acts,” he plans to make transcripts of witness interviews fully available to Mueller’s team.
  7. Rep. Schiff also said, “This is a real danger, a present danger for the United States, this rise of authoritarianism, and we need to better understand it, and we need to figure out a better strategy to counter it.”
  8. On Sunday, press secretary Sarah Sanders told Fox News host Chris Wallace, “nearly 4,000 known or suspected terrorists come into our country illegally,” and our most vulnerable entry is at our southern border.
  9. Wallace responded, “The state department says there hasn’t been any terrorists found coming across the southern border.” Sanders tried to dance around the facts, saying terrorists are “coming a number of ways.”
  10. On Monday, NBC News reported according to May 2018 Customs and Border Protection data, just six immigrants who were in the terrorism database were stopped at the U.S.-Mexico border in the first half of 2018.
  11. The Terrorist Screening Database revealed 41 in the database from October 1, 2017, to March 31, 2018, 35 of which were U.S. citizens or lawful permanent residents. At the northern border, 91 were stopped.
  12. On Sunday, during a trip to Israel, national security adviser, John Bolton laid out conditions for U.S. withdrawal from Syria, breaking from Trump’s previous statements of an immediate withdrawal.
  13. Bolton suggested a delay of months or years, until the Islamic State was completely defeated and Turkey provided guarantees that it would not strike Kurdish forces allied with the U.S.
  14. On Sunday, when asked by reporters about the change, Trump responded he had “never said we were doing it that quickly.” In the video of his announcement on December 9, Trump said troops are “coming back now.”
  15. On Tuesday, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan scolded Bolton and refused to meet with him, saying he had made a “very serious mistake” by demanding protection for U.S.-backed Kurdish fighters in Syria.
  16. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo headed to the Middle East to give a major speech about America’s role in the region and assure allies in the region given the unpredictable behavior and recent actions of Trump.
  17. Early drafts of the speech suggest that in a rebuke to Obama, Pompeo will say Iran is the real terrorist culprit, and suggest the country could learn from the Saudis about human rights and the rule of law. Saudi Arabia is one of the most repressive countries.
  18. The drafts also applaud Saudi Arabia for purportedly bringing to killers of Jamal Khashoggi to justice — counter to the CIA and Congress findings which concluded Crown Prince MBS ordered the killing.
  19. On Sunday, Trump told reporters at the White House that he “can relate” to the furloughed federal workerswho are not getting paychecks, adding, “I’m sure the people that are on the receiving end will make adjustments.”
  20. Trump also claimed, despite ample evidence to the contrary, “Many of those people that won’t be receiving a paycheck, many of those people agree 100 percent with what I’m doing.”
  21. The shutdown, in its third week, has affected a wide range of professions, including the Coast Guard and air traffic controllers. When asked if federal workers will get a check on Friday, Trump said “we’ll see what happens.”
  22. Trump also said he “informed my folks to say that we’ll build a steel barrier” at his weekend meeting at Camp David with senior officials, adding the Democrats “don’t like concrete, so we’ll give them steel.”
  23. On Monday, in a series of tweets, Trump attacked the media, saying “the Fake News & totally dishonest Media concerning me and my presidency has never been worse,” adding “Many have become crazed lunatics.”
  24. Trump accused the media of hiding his successes, tweeting “The Fake News will knowingly lie and demean” to make him look as bad as possible, and “use non-existent sources & write stories that are total fiction.”
  25. Trump also tweeted, “The Fake News Media in our Country is the real Opposition Party,” adding, “It is truly the Enemy of the People! We must bring honesty back to journalism and reporting!”
  26. Trump criticized coverage of his shift on troop withdrawal from Syria: “The Failing New York Times has knowingly written a very inaccurate story on my intentions on Syria. No different from my original statements.”
  27. Hours later, NYT reported Trump said he would deliver a prime-time address on Tuesday, and visit the southern border on Thursday to make a case for his wall and to cast immigration as a national security crisis.
  28. Trump’s address sparked debate inside and outside TV networks, noting Trump’s frequent lies, fear-mongering, and attacks on the press. That day, networks did decide to cover Trump’s address from the Oval Office.
  29. Trump, and Vice President Mike Pence on his behalf, threatened that Trump may consider using “emergency powers” to order that the wall be built, and Democrats continued to call out Trump’s falsehoods.
  30. On Monday, Day 17, the impacts of the shutdown spread including mortgage applications being delayed, public companies unable to get approval to raise capital, and Secret Service agents working without pay.
  31. Seeking to minimize public outrage, the Trump regime directed the Internal Revenue Service to issue tax refunds during the shutdown.The IRS workers called back from furlough to process checks were unpaid.
  32. On Monday, the Air Line Pilots Association, which represents 61,000 pilots, sent Trump a scathing letter urging him to immediately end the shutdown, saying it could adversely affect safety and security.
  33. On Tuesday, the Detroit Free Press reported that the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, the agency responsible for inspecting defects in cars, trucks, and SUVs, said it will not be doing so during the shutdown.
  34. On Tuesday, WAPO reported the shutdown is hindering some of the poorest college students from receiving federal student loans and grants, including Pell grants, student loans, and other forms of financial aid.
  35. On Tuesday, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce called on Congress to end the government shutdown, saying in a letter, “The shutdown is harming the American people, the business community, and the economy.”
  36. On Tuesday, a Reuters-Ipsos found a growing number of Americans blame Trump for the shutdown: 51% blame Trump, up 4 points from 2 weeks ago, while just 32% blame congressional Democrats.
  37. On Tuesday, ahead of his prime-time address, Trump invited representatives from cable and broadcast news channels to an off-the-record lunch, including Bill Shine, Kellyanne Conway, and Sarah Sanders.
  38. NYT reported that Trump dismissed his own new strategy of giving a speech and going to Texas as pointless, telling reporters “It’s not going to change a damn thing,” but that Shine, Conway, and Sanders think it’s worth it.
  39. Ahead of Trump’s address from the Oval Office, WAPO compiled a fact-checking cheat sheet of 20 false assertions related to immigration recently used repeatedly by Trump and the regime to make the case for his wall.
  40. WAPO dispelled the notion that the situation at the border is a national crisis , as  apprehensions have been declining since 2000. They also clarified that the wall is not being paid for by Mexico, the wall has not been built, and other repeated lies.
  41. Before his address, the Trump campaign emailed an urgent fundraising appeal to supporters in Trump’s name, saying “I want to do something so HUGE, even Democrats and the Fake News won’t be able to ignore.”
  42. In a 9-minute address, Trump painted a misleading and bleak picture of the situation at the southern border. He inflated numbers, exaggerated public safety risks, and repeated false claims about funding the wall.
  43. Although speeches from the Oval Office are typically used to unify the country, Trump used it to try to gain a political advantage. Trump did not declare a national emergency, despite threats during the day he might.
  44. Trump started the address with a lie that the U.S. has a “growing humanitarian and security crisis at our southern border,” and inflated or gave misleading numbers related to arrests, sex crimes, and violent killings.
  45. Trump falsely claimed the “border is a pipeline for vast quantities of illegal drugs.” While 90% of illegal drugs come from Mexico, virtually all of it comes through legal points of entry, so the wall would not address this.
  46. Trump also again falsely claimed “The wall will also be paid for indirectly by the great new trade deal we have made with Mexico.” Trump made this same promise more than 200 times during the presidential campaign.
  47. Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer delivered a joint response, saying Democrats want to reopen the government, immigrants are not a security threat, and that Trump said Mexico would pay for the wall but it has not.
  48. TV hosts said Trump’s speech offered little in the way of news, but rather featured points, including misinformation, that he has said repeatedly as part of his speeches and tweets. Critics said the networks got played.
  49. According to numbers from Nielsen, the Pelosi-Schumer response rated slightly higher than Trump’s address,as many organized on social media to boycott the address, saying the networks should not have covered it.
  50. Also during Trump’s address, over 100,000 viewers instead watched Stormy Daniels fold clothes on Instagram Live with the song Pink Floyd’s “Another Brick in the Wall” playing in the background.
  51. On Tuesday, Donald Jr. showed support for his father’s wall, with an Instagram post comparing the wall to a zoo fence, saying, “You know why you can enjoy a day at the zoo? Because walls work.”
  52. On Wednesday, rating agency Fitch said the U.S. is in danger of losing its triple-A sovereign credit rating, citing the ongoing government shutdown.
  53. On Wednesday, WAPO reported the Food and Drug Administration, whose inspectors oversee 80% of the country’s food supply, has suspended all routine inspections of domestic food-processing facilities.
  54. On Wednesday, a meeting between Trump and congressional leaders over the shutdown collapsed when Trump stormed out. The meeting started with Democratic leaders pleading with Trump to reopen the government.
  55. Democrats claimed Trump asked Speaker Pelosi “Will you agree to my wall?’”She said no, then he reportedly got up, slammed his hand on the table, and said “Then we have nothing to discuss,” then walked out.
  56. Shortly after, Trump tweeted “Just left a meeting with Chuck and Nancy, a total waste of time,” saying he asked for Border Security including a wall, and when “Nancy said, NO. I said bye-bye, nothing else works!”
  57. On Wednesday, in a meeting with Senate Republicans, Trump threatened to circumvent Congress and declare a national emergency to get funds to build his wall, if he does not get what he wants from “Chuck and Nancy.”
  58. WAPO reported that Trump, who views himself as a “gut politician,” is finding his arsenal of bluster, falsehoods, threats, and theatrics has not worked as a negotiator, now that the Democrats control the House.
  59. Trump continues to believe that federal workers support him, telling reporters the workers “are on my side” and adding they would be paid and “be happy.” Trump also remarkably said, “This is not a fight I wanted.”
  60. On Wednesday, the National Treasury Employees Union became the second union to sue the Trump regime. The union workers, including Border Protection officers, are being forced to work without pay.
  61. On Wednesday, the House passed another bill that would end the shutdown, reopening several agencies, without money for Trump’s wall. Leader Mitch McConnell blocked the bill from coming to the Senate floor.
  62. On Wednesday, Trump ended his day by attacking the media, tweeting: “the Mainstream Media has NEVER been more dishonest than it is now,” adding, “They are truly the Opposition Party working with the Dems.”
  63. Trump complained that the media “quickly leaked the contents” of an “OFF THE RECORD luncheon,” adding, “Who would believe how bad it has gotten with the mainstream media, which has gone totally bonkers!”
  64. Trump then retweeted four flattering posts by Charlie Kirk, founder of Turning Point USA, a pro-Trump organization, saying, “We support the shutdown for a wall!” and “Stand your ground.”
  65. On Thursday, in response to Schumer describing Trump’s behavior in the Wednesday meeting as a “temper tantrum,” Trump tweeted, “Cryin Chuck told his favorite lie when he used his standard sound bite.”
  66. Trump also denied allegations about his temperament by Democrats, tweeting “after Nancy said no to proper Border Security, I politely said bye-bye and left, no slamming!”
  67. On Thursday, Trump admitted Mexico would not pay directly for his wall, telling reporters outside the White House, “When I said Mexico would pay for the wall….obviously I never meant Mexico would write a check.”
  68. In fact, Trump did say numerous times on the campaign trail that Mexico would pay for the wall, and his campaign also outlined steps he would take to compel Mexico to directly pay $5 to 10 billion for his wall.
  69. On Thursday, in a conference call with reporters, the president of the FBI Agents Association said 5,000 special agents, intelligence analysts, attorneys, and professional staff are currently furloughed without pay.
  70. He warned of reduced staffing for “critical functions that support field operations,” adding, “We really feel that the financial insecurities we are facing right now equate to a national-security issue.”
  71. He also warned of a mounting backlog at Quantico labs, which provide forensic-analysis support services, and said funds supporting drug trafficking and undercover operations have been dangerously limited.
  72. With FBI morale already in steady decline with the barrage of attacks by Trump resulting in a loss of trust in the institution, the Atlantic reported there’s talk of staging a mass “sick-out” if funding is not restored.
  73. As Trump made his way to McAllen, Texas for his border visit, the historic Cine El Rey Theater posted on its sign: “Welcome to McAllen — The 7th Safest City in America.”
  74. Trump held a press conference in McAllen, surrounded by border agents, victims of crimes, a display of illegal drugs, an AK-47 and an AR-15 rifle, and a trash bag stuffed with cash confiscated by law enforcement officials.
  75. Trump called the situation a “crisis,” saying the only solution was his wall, although the props for the press conference were mostly from criminals at international bridges and conventional ports of entry.
  76. After, Trump traveled a few miles south of McAllen for an exclusive interview with Fox News host Sean Hannity on a bluff overlooking Mexico, with border agents, military vehicles, and a helicopter flyover for effect.
  77. Trump told Hannity he may declare a national emergency, saying “If we don’t make a deal with Congress, most likely I will do that,” adding, “because I’m allowed to do it. The law is 100 percent on my side.”
  78. During his trip to McAllen, Trump canceled his Davos trip, citing “the Democrats intransigence on Border Security” and the “great importance of Safety for our Nation” in a tweet.
  79. Hours earlier Trump had said his trip to Davos was still on, telling reporters before he departed, “I have planned to go; it’s been very successful when I went. We have a great story to tell.”
  80. On Thursday, NBC News reported under a proposal, Trump could take billions set aside to fund civil works projects at disaster areas to pay for his wall by declaring a national emergency.
  81. The money is designated for projects all over the country, including $2.5 billion for reconstruction of Puerto Rico and $2.4 billions for projects in California, through fiscal year 2020.
  82. Senior Defense Department officials discussed the proposal with Trump on the flight to McAllen. The 315 mile barrier would be 30-feet high with a feature designed to prevent climbing, and would take 18 months to build.
  83. On Thursday evening, Trump tweeted, “Dear Diary…,” sharing a video of CNN reporter Jim Acosta in McAllen, saying of a steel fence, “Occasionally migrants come thru but residents say their community is quite safe.”
  84. Donald Jr. then joined in, and had back and forth jabs in tweets with Acosta. Donald Jr. then retweeting a doctored video depicting Acosta getting run over by a golf cart.
  85. Also late Thursday, Trump tweeted, “We lose 300 Americans a week, 90% of which comes through the Southern Border,” saying the number would drastically decrease with his wall. It was unclear what Trump meant.
  86. On Monday, Meteorologist Jeremy Kappell was fired after saying a racial slur -“Martin Luther coon King Jr. Park” — during a live weather broadcast from Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Park in Rochester, New York.
  87. Tennessee Governor Bill Haslam granted Cyntoia Brown clemency, following calls, petitions and messages from supporters. Brown, a Black woman, could have served 51 years in prison for self-defense at age 16.
  88. Police in Ventura, California are investigating a swastika painted outside Temple Beth Torah as a hate crime. There have been several reported cases of hate incidents in Ventura County in the past two years.
  89. A new study published in Educational Researcher found school bullying among seventh and eighth graders in areas that voted for Trump were 18% higher than students living in areas that went for Hillary Clinton.
  90. On Thursday, NYT published an interview of Rep. Steve King in which he asks, “White nationalist, white supremacist, Western civilization — how did that language become offensive?”
  91. The Times reported Trump’s first hire for the 2016 presidential primary in Iowa, Chuck Laudner, was a former chief of staff to Rep. King, and that Rep. King has been has further emboldened with Trump in power.
  92. On Friday, the Trump regime removed all teenagers from a tent camp for unaccompanied migrants in Tornillo, Texas, after a federal watchdog warned about “serious safety and health” concerns at the facility.
  93. About 5,500 of the 6,200 teens who cycled through Tornillo since June have been released to a parent or guardian while they await the outcome of their immigration cases, and 700 were transferred to other facilities.
  94. The tent city, originally intended to house migrants for 30 days, but ultimately were used and expanded over seven months amidst criticism from lawmakers, will be dismantled.
  95. Germany news agency Deutsche Welle reported the Trump regime quietly downgraded the European Union mission to the U.S. from member state to international organization. EU officials were not notified of the change.
  96. The State Department did not respond to EU officials or press on the issue, citing limited operations due to the government shutdown. The downgrade reverses an Obama-era enhanced EU diplomatic role.
  97. On Tuesday, an unsealed indictment revealed Russian lawyer Natalia Veselnitskaya, who met with Donald Jr. at Trump Tower, was charged with obstructing justice in a separate money-laundering investigation.
  98. The indictment cited Veselnitskaya made a “misleading declaration” to the court in 2015 while representing Prevezon Holdings, as part of a civil case arising from into suspected Russian money laundering and tax fraud.
  99. The Prevezon case, originally brought by Preet Bharara for $230 million before he was fired, was mysteriously settled by then Attorney General Jeff Sessions two days before trial for $5.8 million in Week 37.
  100. The indictment argues Veselnitskaya has worked closely with senior Russian officials for years. She is also a central figure in Mueller’s investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election.
  101. On Tuesday, the Supreme Court refused to intercede in a mysterious fight over a sealed grand jury subpoenato a corporation owned by an unnamed foreign government by Mueller’s team.
  102. The court’s action means the corporation must provide information to Mueller’s team, or face financial penalties. The order also vacated chief justice John Roberts’ temporary stay.
  103. On Tuesday, a filing by Paul Manafort’s attorneys, which inadvertently included details not intended to be made public, revealed Manafort shared 2016 presidential campaign polling data with Konstantin Kilimnik.
  104. Kilimnik, a business associate of Manafort, is believed by the FBI to have ties to Russian intelligence. In the filing, Manafort’s attorneys deny that he broke his plea deal by lying repeatedly to Mueller’s team.
  105. In the unredacted filing, Mueller’s team alleged that Manafort “lied about sharing polling data with Mr. Kilimnik,” and lied about discussing a Ukrainian peace plan with Kilimnik during the 2016 campaign.
  106. Michael Cohen has said he was given a Russian-friendly peace plan for Ukraine by a Ukrainian lawmaker and Felix Sater in January 2017, which would have paved the way for the U.S. to lift sanctions on Russia.
  107. On Thursday, NYT reported attendance by at least a dozen Ukrainian political and business figures at Trump’s inauguration got Mueller’s attention, and spawned several related inquiries by federal prosecutors.
  108. Indications are that at least some of the Ukrainians, who paid at least $25,000 per ticket for inauguration events, were there promoting “peace” plans that aligned with Russia’s interests, including lifting U.S. sanctions.
  109. According to information disclosed in the Manafort filing, he told Kilimnik to pass polling data to two Ukrainian oligarchs who helped finance the Russia-aligned Ukrainian political parties for which Manafort had worked.
  110. One of the two oligarchs, Serhiy Lyovochkin, attended the Liberty Ball. Within days of the inauguration,Trump’s White House made inquiries to the State Department and Congress about easing Russian sanctions.
  111. The abrupt shift set off alarms. Several officials said that the National Security Council under Mike Flynn inquired whether Ukraine was really part of Russia and whether Crimea wanted to be part of Russia.
  112. On Thursday, Michael Cohen announced that he will voluntarily testify before the House Oversight Committee on February 7, a month before he begins a three-year prison term in March.
  113. House Oversight Committee chair Elijah Cummings said the hearing will be public, and that Mueller cleared Cohen’s testimony before it was agreed to, meaning it can include Trump Tower Moscow and other Russian ties.
  114. On Wednesday, Cambridge Analytica’s parent company, SCL Elections Ltd, was fined by the U.K.’s Information Commissioner’s Office for failing to comply with the ICO notice to return information to Prof. David Carroll.
  115. Carroll, who is U.S. based, sued to get his personal data back in Week 47, saying he was one of millions who had his information harvested. The company refused to disclose how much data they held or how they used it.
  116. On Thursday, WSJ reported on a hack by Russia of America’s electric system. U.S. officials were so concerned by the hack, they took the unusual step in early 2018 of publicly blaming the Russian government.
  117. The Journal reconstructed the hack, revealing glaring vulnerabilities. Rather than strike the utilities, the Russian hackers went after the system’s unprotected underbelly — hundreds of contractors and subcontractors.
  118. Russian hackers planted malware on sites of online publications, sent out fake résumés with tainted attachments, and slipped through hidden portals to get into systems that monitor and control electricity flows.
  119. On Wednesday, WAPO reported that newly arrived White House Counsel Pat Cipollone has hired 17 lawyers in recent weeks to help in a new strategy to strongly assert Trump’s executive privilege.
  120. The strategy would prevent Trump’s confidential discussions with top advisers from being disclosed to House Democratic investigators, and revealed in Mueller’s report. Cipollone is coordinating with Emmet Flood.
  121. The White House Counsel’s Office was down to fewer than 20 lawyers late last year, compared with 40 to 50 in past administrations. Cipollone has plans to bolster the ranks to 40 in the coming weeks.
  122. On Wednesday, deputy attorney general Rod Rosenstein, who oversaw the Mueller probe and was a frequent target of Trump, said he will resign as soon as Trump’s attorney general nominee is confirmed.
  123. NBC News reported Rosenstein intends to stay on until the Mueller probe is complete. A source said that would mean Rosenstein would remain until early March. Officials said Rosenstein was not being forced out by Trump.
  124. On Wednesday, as GOP senators promise Trump’s nominee for attorney general William Barr will not touch the Mueller probe, Barr has refused to meet with most Democrats on the Senate Judiciary Committee.
  125. Sen. Richard Blumenthal said the regime cited the “truncated schedule” as an excuse, and Sen. Amy Klobuchar said she was refused as the DOJ cited reduced staff and resources due to the partial government shutdown.
  126. On Friday, Rudy Giuliani told the Hill that Trump’s team should be allowed to “correct” Mueller’s final report before Congress or the American people get the chance to read it.
  127. On Friday, CNN reported the Trump Organization has hired Stefan Passantino, a lawyer who formerly worked in the White House Counsel’s Office, to oversee the response to investigations by House Democrats.
  128. On Wednesday, Trump threatened to cut off Federal Emergency Management Agency aid to California, tweeting: “Unless they get their act together, which is unlikely, I have ordered FEMA to send no more money.”
  129. Trump also tweeted, “It is a disgraceful situation in lives & money!” The FEMA response for clarification by WAPO read, “Due to the federal funding hiatus, we are not able to respond to general press queries.”
  130. On Wednesday, Speaker Pelosi, whose district is in California, tweeted that Trump’s threat “insults the memory of scores of Americans who perished in wildfires last year & thousands more who lost their homes.”
  131. On Tuesday, the chairs of seven House committees sent a letter to Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin demanding information on why sanctions against Russian oligarch Oleg Deripaska’s businesses were lifted.
  132. On Thursday, Mnuchin delivered a classified briefing to U.S. House lawmakers. Mnuchin, who served as the Trump campaign’s national finance chairman in 2016, has up until now faced little scrutiny.
  133. Pelosi slammed Mnuchin for “wasting” lawmakers’ time during the classified briefing, saying his remarks give “stiff competition” for “one of the worst classified briefings we have received” from the Trump regime.
  134. On Wednesday, four Democratic senators requested information from the EPA about a financial filing which revealed a $50,000 donation to Scott Pruitt’s legal defense fund from a Republican donor and businesswoman.
  135. Forbes reported Trump sold $35 million of real estate in 2018. Although Eric and Don Jr. are running day-to-day operations, Trump kept ownership of the business, which has continued to liquidate properties.
  136. On Monday, Jim Yong Kim, the president of the 189-nation World Bank, said he would resign, three years before his term expires. As the U.S. is the largest shareholder in the bank, Trump will appoint his successor.
  137. On Friday, Financial Times reported Ivanka Trump is being considered to replace Kim, whose sudden departure leaves the bank’s future uncertain. The Trump regime has been negatively inclined towards the bank.
  138. On Friday, Trump suggested a path to citizenship for specialized visa holders, tweeting: “H1-B [sic] holders in the United States can rest assured” changes are coming soon. The H1-B program is for highly skilled workers.
  139. Trump also tweeted, “We want to encourage talented and highly skilled people.” It was unclear what Trump meant. The regime has tightened regulations that govern the program.
  140. On Friday, as many as 800,000 federal workers missed their paycheck, the first in the three weeks of the shutdown. Missing paychecks are likely to trigger at least some unemployment claims and resignations.
  141. WAPO reported furloughed workers are selling household and personal items on websites like Craigslist and Facebook to try to make ends meet. Many Americans continue to live from paycheck to paycheck.
  142. Tampa International Airport, working with United Way, started a food bank for the airport’s 700 Transportation Security Administration, CBP, and Federal Aviation Administration employees, which will open Monday.
  143. On Friday, pictures shared by the National Park Service and National Parks Traveler showed vandals in the currently unstaffed Joshua Tree National Park cut down Joshua trees to make new roads into out-of-bounds areas during the shutdown.
  144. On Friday, the National Air Traffic Controllers Association, whose 16,000 controllers are working without pay, became the third union to sue the government over the shutdown.
  145. On Friday, unions with a combined 244,000 members of federal and government employees, weather service, and machinists, and aerospace workers also filed suit demanding full compensation plus overtime.
  146. On Friday, Foreign Policy reported that U.S. diplomats are filing for unemployment benefits and seeking school lunches for their children, while Pompeo is making unpaid workers organize an upcoming conference.
  147. A group of current and former employees pooled money to buy groceries for their colleagues who are running out of money, while others fundraise for janitors and other low-level contractors, who will not get back pay.
  148. On Friday,Trump ally Freedom Caucus Chair Rep. Mark Meadows said in a tweet that Trump should “use asset forfeiture money” to pay for the wall, and if not, “he should declare a national emergency.”
  149. On Friday, Senate Leader McConnell adjourned the Senate before 2 p.m. for the weekend, ensuring the government shutdown, then tied for the longest at 21 days, will be the longest in U.S. history.
  150. On Friday, Trump during an immigration roundtable at the White House, Trump told reporters he could call a national emergency but would “rather not,” calling it an “easy way out,” and saying instead Congress should act.
  151. Later Friday, Speaker Pelosi told reporters on the protracted shutdown: “It’s a temper tantrum by the president. I’m the mother of five, grandmother of nine. I know a temper tantrum when I see one.”
  152. A new NPR/Ipsos poll found, as the shutdown matched the longest in history on Friday, three-quarters of Americans say the shutdown is “embarrassing for the country,” including 58% of Republicans.
  153. The polls also found that 71% of Americans believe the shutdown will hurt our country, and 72% think Congress should pass a bill to reopen the government now while budget talks continue.
  154. On Thursday, Politico reported Trump’s White House reached out to allies and conservative activist groups to prepare for an ailing Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s possible death or departure from the Supreme Court.
  155. On Friday, the Supreme Court issued a statement saying Justice Ginsburg shows “no evidence of remaining disease,” and her recovery is “on track.” This week, for the first time, Ginsburg missed oral arguments.
  156. On Friday, a NYT bombshell reported the F.B.I. opened investigations into Trump almost immediately after he fired James Comey, including whether he had been working on behalf of Russia against American interests.
  157. The investigation included a counterintelligence component into whether Trump’s actions constituted a threat to national security, and whether he was knowingly working for Russia or had fallen under their influence.
  158. The investigation had a criminal component, considering whether the Comey firing was obstruction of justice. F.B.I. agents grew suspicious of Trump during the campaign given his statements and the change in RNC platform.
  159. The criminal and counterintelligence elements were coupled together into one investigation, because if Trump fired Comey to impede or end the Russia investigation, that would be a crime and national security concern.
  160. In the months before the election, the F.B.I. was already investigating four Trump associates for ties to Russia. Agents were also concerned about claims in the Steele dossier that Russians could blackmail or bribe Trump.
  161. Investigators were also troubled by Trump’s NBC News interview after firing Comey, as well as his Oval Office meeting with Russian officials where he said, “I faced great pressure because of Russia. That’s taken off.”
  162. Given the historic nature of investigating a sitting president, agents were uncertain how to proceed with an inquiry. But Trump twice publicly tying the Comey firing to the Russia investigation prompted them to take action.
  163. Mueller’s team took over the inquiry into Trump when he was appointed, just days after it had been opened. Agents were concerned Trump would appoint a new F.B.I. head who would impede the investigations.
  164. Giuliani told NYT, “I think it’s of no concern at all. It goes back a year and a half ago. If they found something that imperiled national security, they would have had to report it,” adding it shows “how out of control they are.”
  165. On Friday, press secretary Sanders denounced the Times reporting, saying “This is absurd. James Comey was fired because he’s a disgraced partisan hack,” adding, unlike Obama, “Trump has actually been tough on Russia.”
  166. Reuters reported Russian President Vladimir Putin, speaking at the Russia Calling annual forum, said Russia would supply so beans and poultry meat to China given that the U.S. had effectively given up on that market.
  167. On Wednesday, Russian news agency TASS reported the head of Russia’s Roscosmos State Space Corporation had his visit to the U.S. at NASA’s invitation canceled because the “second American civil war” is underway.
  168. As midnight passed on Saturday, the government shutdown became the longest in U.S. history, breaking the previous record of 21 days in 1995–1996 under former President Bill Clinton.
  169. On Friday, NYT reported Republican lawmakers and aides are privately concerned with Trump’s handling of the shutdown, and admit even members of his own party do not know what to expect from him.
  170. Trump has undercut Vice President Mike Pence, his delegate meant to negotiate an end to the stalemate, on several occasions. Kushner has also been brought on, but given his inexperience has not been productive.
  171. White House officials acknowledge Trump dove into the fight with no clear end game. Trump and Republicans also wrongly assumed that when federal workers missed their first paycheck Friday, Democrats would cave.
  172. On Saturday, Trump sent a Twitter storm of 12 tweets before noon on topics related to the Times, the FBI, former FBI Director James Comey, Hillary Clinton, Robert Mueller, and the government shutdown.
  173. Trump tweeted, “Wow, just learned in the Failing New York Times that the corrupt former leaders of the FBI” opened an investigation for no reason and with no proof “after I fired Lyin’ James Comey, a total sleaze!”
  174. Trump raged, tweeting on Comey: “Everybody wanted him fired, Republican and Democrat alike…after the rigged & botched Crooked Hillary investigation, where she said she didn’t know anything (a lie).”
  175. Trump also tweeted: “the FBI was in complete turmoil (see N.Y. Post) because of Comey’s poor leadership,” adding “My firing of James Comey was a great day for America. He was a Crooked Cop.”
  176. Trump also tweeted that Comey was being “protected by his best friend, Bob Mueller, & the 13 Angry Democrats,” who have “NO interest in going after the Real Collusion (and much more) by Crooked Hillary Clinton.”
  177. Trump also tweeted, “I have been FAR tougher on Russia than Obama, Bush or Clinton,” adding, “as I have often said, getting along with Russia is a good thing, not a bad thing.”
  178. Trump also tweeted, “Lyin’ James Comey, Andrew McCabe, Peter S and his lover, agent Lisa Page” are all “part of the Witch Hunt. Remember the “insurance policy?” This is it!”
  179. Trump then shifted to the government shutdown, tweeting: “Democrats should come back to Washington and work to end the Shutdown,” adding, “I am in the White House waiting for you!”
  180. Trump then quoted some misleading statistics, and tweeted: “Democrats come back!” adding, “Democrats could solve the Shutdown in 15 minutes! Call your Dem Senator or Congresswoman..Humanitarian Crisis.”
  181. Trump also tweeted, “I just watched a Fake reporter from the Amazon Washington Post say the White House is ‘chaotic,’” and “the Fakes always like talking Chaos,” but “there’s almost nobody in the W.H. but me.”
  182. Trump also tweeted: “We have a massive Humanitarian Crisis at our Southern Border,” adding, “We will be out for a long time unless the Democrats come back from their “vacations” and get back to work.”

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

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

Government workers protest the government shutdown during a demonstration in the Federal Building Plaza on January 10, 2019 in Chicago, Illinois. The protest, on the 20th day of a partial shutdown, was one of several held around the country today.

POLITIKS OF GRAFFITI 113: THE TRAITOR HAS A “PELOSI PROBLEM” NOW

JANUARY 05, 2019

Week 112

 Experts in authoritarianism advise to keep a list of things
subtly changing around you, so you’ll remember. https://theweeklylist.org/weekly-list/week-112/

Here are my political art finds paired with activist Amy Siskind’s weekly list of what’s happening in politics in our country. For more information, please click the link to her page above. 

img_3059
By artist, LEAF, in New York City. Jan 2019. (not my photo)

This week, for the first time since he took office, Trump faced a check on his power as the 116th Congress was sworn in. As House Speaker Nancy Pelosi took back the gavel, she made clear she will take Trump on, telling the Times she considers herself Trump’s equal, and the “TODAY” show that Trump can be indicted while in office. The 116th Congress, the most diverse by race, religion, and gender — on the Democratic side — stood in sharp contrast to Trump, who increasingly surrounds himself with rooms full of white men.

The government shutdown passed three weeks, with no end in sight, as Trump dug in his heels and Pelosi’s House voted to reopen the government without any funding for his wall. As the shutdown’s impact was increasingly felt across the country, including unpaid essential TSA workers calling in sick at four major airports, reporting indicated the Trump regime had not planned for or anticipated a long-term shutdown, and is caught flat-footed. Trump’s lack of empathy for those impacted by the shutdown, and threat to call a national emergency, further belied his autocratic tendencies.

Trump held a bizarre cabinet meeting in which he rambled on for 95 minutes, full of lies, revisionist history and self-aggrandizement — as his cabinet members took turns praising him. Although displays like this in his first year would be the topic of discussion for days, there was a notably shorter focus and reaction to the spectacle, as if truly we are the frogs in water close to boil. The federal grand jury seated in Washington D.C. for the Mueller probe was extended for an additional six months, as the 18 month mark passed.

img_2858
Photo: Pascal Doytier. Miami, Florida. End of December 2018.
img_3062 (1)
Shared by Hunter Schwarz on IG. This was spotted on the window of Trump Tower, Chicago. 
img_2794
Wynwood, Miami, Florida. December 2018. 
  1. The International Federation of Journalists, an international trade association, said in its annual report 94 journalists and media workers died in 2018, 12 more than 2017, after declining for the last six years.
  2. Reporters Without Borders also found journalists faced an “unprecedented level of hostility” in 2018. The group blamed politicians and public figures for encouraging disdain for the news media.
  3. In 2018, 348 reporters were detained, 60 held hostage, 3 missing, and 80 were killed. Of those killed, 61% were murdered or deliberately targeted for their reporting, while 39% were killed while reporting.
  4. Also in 2018, for the first time the U.S. joined the list of the deadliest countries for journalists, with six killed, including the four murdered at the Capital Gazette newspaper in Annapolis, Maryland in Week 85.
  5. On Saturday, a server outage caused by a malware attack which originated from outside the U.S. disrupted deliveries of the LA Times and other newspapers across the country.
  6. On Saturday, CNET reported CenturyLink customers, including those trying to reach 911 emergency service, experienced outages which dragged on for two days. FCC Chairman Ajit Pai called for an investigation.
  7. On Saturday, at 10:01 p.m., Trump tweeted “Absolutely nothing” (on Russian Collusion). Kimberley Strassel, The Wall Street Journal,” adding, “The only Russian Collusion was with Hillary and the Democrats!”
  8. Trump also quoted Fox News co-host Jesse Watters, tweeting, “the FBI, under President Obama, rigged the investigation for Hillary and really turned the screws on Trump,” adding, “Whole Hoax exposed.”
  9. On Sunday, in an interview with the LA Times, departing chief of staff John Kelly painted a dim portrait of Trump, saying his tenure would be best measured by what he stopped Trump from doing.
  10. Kelly also said Trump never told him to do anything illegal, and that Trump “was fully informed on the impact” of every decision he made. Kelly has opposed withdrawing from Syria and Afghanistan.
  11. Kelly admitted that he was not consulted when he served as secretary of homeland security about Trump’s Muslim Ban, saying “I had very little opportunity to look at them” before the orders were issued.
  12. Kelly also tried to distance himself from Trump’s zero-tolerance policy, saying “What happened was Jeff Sessions — he was the one that instituted the zero-tolerance process on the border,” adding, “He surprised us.”
  13. Kelly also said Trump has backed away from the idea of a solid concrete wall long ago, saying Trump “still says ‘wall’ — oftentimes frankly he’ll say ‘barrier’ or ‘fencing,’ now he’s tended toward steel slats.”
  14. Yahoo News reported that with continued White House resignations, Trump has increasingly turned to Stephen Miller to be the public face with the media. Several called Miller’s reemergence a “public relations catastrophe.”
  15. Miller’s reemergence also comes as the White House press operation retreats. Since December 19, the communications team has ceased basic tasks like daily press briefings and distributing Trump’s public schedule.
  16. According to data compiled by The American Presidency Project at the University of California at Santa Barbara, press secretary Sarah Sanders has slowed daily press briefings down to just one per month recently.
  17. WAPO reported that increasingly Trump’s White House has no response to inquiries. Instead of the typical “no comment” response from prior administrations, the Trump regime simply does not answer inquiries at all.
  18. The White House has also stopped explaining or seeking to clarify Trump’s tweets, like the one on Christmas Eve day that he “just gave out a 115 mile long contract.” No response was given inquiries on multiple tweets.
  19. On Sunday, arguing for his wall, Trump tweeted, “President and Mrs. Obama built/has a ten foot Wall around their D.C. mansion/compound…the U.S. needs the same thing.” The Obamas do not have a ten foot wall.
  20. On Monday, New Year’s Eve, Trump sent a total of 13 tweets. Trump attacked critics of his decision towithdraw from Syria as “failed generals” and complained about coverage by the “Fake News Media.”
  21. Trump also tweeted, “I’m in the Oval Office. Democrats, come back from vacation now” to discuss his border wall. Politico reported there was no Marine posted outside the West Wing, meaning Trump was not in the Oval Office.
  22. Trump also tweeted, “It’s incredible how Democrats can all use their ridiculous sound bite and say that a Wall doesn’t work,” adding “They now say it is immoral- but it is far more immoral for people to be dying!”
  23. Trump also falsely claimed in a tweet, “MEXICO IS PAYING FOR THE WALL through the many billions of dollars a year that the U.S.A. is saving through the new Trade Deal.”
  24. Trump also tweeted “without the Wall there can be no Border Security.” He added, “Throughout the ages some things NEVER get better and NEVER change. You have Walls and you have Wheels.”
  25. On Monday, the U.S. stock markets closed out 2018, posting its worst performance in a decade, as the Dow Jones Industrial Average and Standard & Poor’s 500 were down 6.2%.
  26. On Monday, the U.S. Strategic Command deleted a tweet which noted the “big” Times Square ball drop celebration at midnight, and joked “if ever needed, we are #ready to drop something much, much bigger.”
  27. In a follow-up tweet, U.S. Strategic Command, a government account, apologized: “Our previous NYE tweet was in poor taste & does not reflect our values…We are dedicated to the security of America & allies.”
  28. On Monday, Chief Pentagon spokeswoman Dana White resigned, tweeting it has been her honor and privilege to serve alongside “Secretary Mattis, our Service members and the civilians who support them.”
  29. Trump closed out 2018 with an interview on Fox News, marking his 41st since his inauguration. The phone interview with Pete Hegseth aired on the cable network’s New Year’s Eve countdown show.
  30. During his time in office, Trump has formed symbiotic relationships with several Fox News and Fox Business hosts and contributors, drawing criticism and comparisons to state-run TV.
  31. On Tuesday, the first day of the new year, Trump’s first tweet was to promote a pro-Trump book by former White House aide Sebastian Gorka, “a very good and talented guy,” adding, “Lots of insight — Enjoy!”
  32. Trump then tweeted, “HAPPY NEW YEAR TO EVERYONE, INCLUDING THE HATERS AND THE FAKE NEWS MEDIA! 2019 WILL BE A FANTASTIC YEAR FOR THOSE NOT SUFFERING FROM TRUMP DERANGEMENT SYNDROME. JUST CALM DOWN AND ENJOY THE RIDE, GREAT THINGS ARE HAPPENING FOR OUR COUNTRY!”
  33. Trump spent New Year’s Eve holed up in the White House also continued his attacks on Democrats, tweeting, “The Democrats do not care about Open Borders and all of the crime and drugs that Open Borders bring!”
  34. Trump also attacked retired Gen. Stanley McChrystal, tweeting, “‘General’ McChrystal” got fired like a dog by Obama,” adding, “Known for big, dumb mouth. Hillary lover!” Notably, Trump put the word General in quotes.
  35. The tweet was in response to McChrystal telling “This Week” on Sunday he would not work for Trump, saying, “It’s important for me to work for people who I think are basically honest,” adding, “I don’t think he tells the truth.”
  36. On Saturday, CNN reported Trump quietly issued an executive order Friday freezing federal workers’ pay for 2019, canceling a 2.1% across-the-board pay raise that was set to take effect in January.
  37. Trump had initially told lawmakers of his plan in August, saying the federal budget could not support the raise, and describing a pay raise as “inappropriate.” The 2.6% raise for U.S. troops in 2019 was not effected.
  38. WAPO reported the U.S. Office of Personnel Management is facing scrutiny after tweeting a sample letter for furloughed federal workers suggesting they bargain with landlords and offer to do chores to cover their rent.
  39. On Tuesday, WSJ reported as the government shutdown continues, federal workers are worried about paying their bills. Some are filing unemployment claims or telling landlords they cannot pay their rent on time.
  40. Of the 800,000 employees impacted, 420,000 have been deemed essential and are working without pay. The American Federation of Government Employees sued Monday, saying requiring employees to work without pay is illegal.
  41. PBS “Newshour” reported national parks, left open to visitors but with little staff on duty, were impacted byvandalism, overflowing garbage and toilets, illegal off-roading, and other damaging behavior in fragile areas.
  42. However, E&E News reported the Old Post Office tower which shares facilities with the Trump Hotel DC, will remain open during the shutdown, with funds provided by the General Services Administration.
  43. On Sunday, Jazmine Barnes, a 7-year-old Black girl, was shot and killed while riding in a car leaving a Walmart in Texas with her mom and three sisters by an unidentified white man in his 40s, driving a red truck.
  44. In Florida, Daniel Taylor, a white man who grabbed a Black female employee and later kicked another at a McDonald’s during an argument over straws, was arrested after a video of the incident went viral.
  45. The Arizona Republic reported on videos obtained from the Arizona Department of Health Services which show migrant children being dragged and shoved at an Arizona shelter operated by Southwest Key.
  46. The incidents involving three children were reported in mid September, and the shelter closed in late October. State regulators said the company failed to perform background checks on all its employees.
  47. On Tuesday, AP reported U.S. authorities fired tear gas into Mexico to stop migrants from crossing the border. Customs and Border Protection claimed in a statement that tear gas was used to target rock throwers.
  48. An AP photographer contradicted CBP, saying at least three volleys of gas were launched at migrants, including women and children, before rocks were thrown. An AP journalist also saw plastic pellets fired by U.S. agents.
  49. On Thursday, in a statement, Mexico’s foreign affairs ministry formally asked the U.S. government to conduct a thorough investigation of the tear-gassing, reiterating its commitment to the safety of migrants.
  50. WAPO reported Emma Torres, a former kitchen employee at Trump’s Bedminster golf club, said she informed a human resources officer at the club that she did not have papers to live in the U.S. legally.
  51. Torres said superiors kept her name, and those of other undocumented workers, off a list of people to be vetted by the Secret Service before Trump visited the club, because of their status and because they did not have papers.
  52. Victorina Morales, mentioned in the NYT story, said Secret Service agents gave her a pin to wear every time Trump visited. It is unclear if Morales received a screening from Secret Service, or the purpose of the pin.
  53. On Wednesday, in a segment titled “Men in Decline,” Fox News host Tucker Carlson claimed there is “more drug and alcohol abuse” and “higher incarceration rates” in areas where women earn more than men.
  54. Carlson added “before you applaud that as a victory for feminism, consider some of the effects. Study after study has shown that when men make less than women, women generally don’t want to marry them.”
  55. On Thursday, Carlson compared the barrage of criticism he received to “how we wound up in the dark ages,” saying, “This is why important science is no longer being conducted. This is why art isn’t being made.”
  56. On Friday, a D.C. court sided with the Trump regime, saying restrictions on transgender people serving in the military can stand. The decision lifted an injunction barring the regime from limiting their service.
  57. The order does not change the status quo since three other cases have temporarily prevented the regime from implementing its policy, but the ruling was seen as a blow to civil rights and gay rights organizations.
  58. On Friday, the Guardian reported the Trump regime has stopped cooperating with UN investigators on investigations of potential human rights violations occurring inside America.
  59. The State Department stopped responded to queries on May 7, 2018, leaving at least 13 requests unanswered, and sending a dangerous signal to authoritarian regimes around the world.
  60. In his televised New Year’s Eve message, Kim Jong-un said international sanctions must be lifted before North Korea will give up weapons or stop producing nuclear material — the position prior to the Singapore Summit.
  61. Responding in a tweet, Trump mischaracterized the statement saying “North Korea will not make or test nuclear weapons, or give them to others,” adding, “I also look forward to meeting with Chairman Kim.”
  62. On Monday, federal prosecutors filed a status report under seal in the case of Sam Patten, a Republican consultant who pleaded guilty to failing to register as a lobbyist for a political party in Ukraine in August.
  63. Patten, a business associate of Paul Manafort, ran a company with a Russian national identified only as “Person A,” thought to be Konstantin Kilimnik. Patten has been cooperating in the Mueller probe.
  64. On Monday, Russia’s state security service, the FSB, said it had arrested Paul Whelan, an American citizen, on suspicion of spying. Foreigners found guilty of spying on Russia face 10 to 20 years in prison.
  65. Putin has publicly said Maria Butina was not known to any of his spy agencies, and Russia’s Foreign Ministry has extensively used social media to portray her as a political prisoner.
  66. On Thursday, Russia charged Whelan with espionage, claiming he spent years cultivating confidential sources, and allegedly received a flash drive containing a list of employees for a secret Russian agency.
  67. The family said Whelan, a Marine Corps veteran, was in Russia for a wedding. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said U.S. officials hoped to gain consular access to see Whelan.
  68. On Saturday, Russia foreign ministry dismissed chances of a swap of Whelan for Dmitry Makarenko, a Russian arrested on December 29, after being indicted in Miami in 2017 for breaking U.S. law.
  69. On Friday, CNN reported a federal grand jury convened in D.C. for the Mueller probe has been extended for up to six additional months. The grand jury’s term was set to expire over the weekend.
  70. On Friday, The Daily Beast reported Democrats are looking at ways to block the Trump regime from lifting U.S. sanctions on Russian oligarch Oleg Deripaska-controlled companies EN+ and Rusal.
  71. On Friday, WSJ reported the FBI is investigating fake texts sent to Republican House members by someone impersonating a top aide to Vice President Mike Pence.
  72. Netflix blocked an episode of its show “Patriot Act With Hasan Minhaj” which was critical of Crown Prince MBS, from streaming in Saudi Arabia, after the Saudi government said the episode violated its cybercrime laws.
  73. The Saudi Press Agency reported prosecutors will seek the death penalty for five of the 11 suspects accused of killing journalist Jamal Khashoggi. The Saudis claims neither MBS or King Salman knew of the operation.
  74. On Wednesday, in an interview with The New York Times Magazine, former Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid called Trump an “amoral” person and said he’s “the worst President we’ve ever had.”
  75. On Wednesday, incoming Utah Sen. Mitt Romney wrote a sharp rebuke of Trump in an op-ed the day before he was sworn in. Romney said that two years in, Trump has “not risen to the mantle of the office.”
  76. Romney wrote a “president shapes the public character of a nation,” saying a leader “should unite us and inspire us,” and “demonstrate the essential qualities of honesty and integrity,” but that Trump’s character falls short.
  77. Romney also noted “the world needs American leadership, and it is in America’s interest to provide it,” adding, the world is increasingly under leadership by China and Russia which is “autocratic, corrupt and brutal.”
  78. In response to Romney’s op-ed, Trump tweeted in the morning, “Here we go with Mitt Romney, but so fast! Question will be, is he a Flake? I hope not,” adding, “I won big, and he didn’t…Be a TEAM player & WIN!”
  79. GOP chairwoman Ronna McDaniel, Romney’s niece, tweeted “For an incoming Republican freshman senator” to attack Trump is what the “Democrats and media want” and is “disappointing and unproductive.”
  80. On Wednesday, ahead of a meeting with party leaders, Trump again tweeted false claims about the wall, including “Mexico is paying for the Wall through the new USMCA Trade Deal.”
  81. Trump also tweeted another false claim: “Much of the Wall has already been fully renovated or built.” Some walls and fencing have been replaced during Trump’s time in office, but no new wall has been built.
  82. Wednesday marked the 12th day of the shutdown. Trump said he will veto any measure that did not include $5.6 billion for his wall, telling Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer he would “look foolish” if he backed down.
  83. On Wednesday, Trump also held a cabinet meeting open to the press in which he went on a 95-minute stream-of-consciousness diatribe full of lies, revisionist history, and self-aggrandizement.
  84. On the table where the meeting took place there was a noticeable “Game of Thrones”-style poster with a photo of Trump which read “SANCTIONS ARE COMING NOVEMBER 4.” Trump did not mention the poster in his diatribe.
  85. Trump again trashed Mattis, saying he “essentially” fired him, adding, “What’s he done for me?” Trump also suggested even though he dodged the draft, “I think I would have been a good general, but who knows?”
  86. Trump again took credit for falling oil prices, falsely claiming his calls to leaders were the reason for the fall, “I called up certain people, and I said let that damn oil and gasoline — you let it flow, the oil.”
  87. Trump also took a swipe at Democrats for calling his wall immoral, saying, “Then we have to do something about the Vatican, because the Vatican has the biggest wall of them all.”
  88. Trump also complained that Democrats left D.C. over the holiday, saying “I was here on Christmas evening. I was all by myself in the White House — it’s a big, big house — except for the guys on the lawn with machine guns.”
  89. Trump falsely claimed there were 35 million immigrants illegally in the U.S. In 2016, Pew Research estimated 10.7 million, and Secretary of Homeland Security Kirstjen Nielsen told Congress there were between 11 and 22 million last week.
  90. Trump described the recent stock market downturn in late 2018 as a “glitch,” saying the markets will soar again on the strength of his trade deals.
  91. Trump also addressed Romney’s op-ed, saying “They say I am the most popular president in the history of the Republican Party,” and adding Romney is not a “team player.”
  92. Trump claimed he could have any government job and be the “most popular person” in Europe, despite a recent poll showing just 16% think he would “do the right thing in world affairs,” down from 84% for Obama.
  93. Trump also defended pulling troops from Afghanistan giving an inaccurate and incomplete account: “Russia used to be the Soviet Union. Afghanistan made it Russia, because they went bankrupt fighting in Afghanistan.”
  94. Several cabinet members interjected praise for Trump, including Vice President Pence who thanked him for his strong stand on border security, and Secretary Nielsen who said “now more than ever we need the wall.”
  95. Acting AG Matthew Whitaker added, “Sir, Mr. President, I will start by highlighting the fact that you stayed” in D.C., giving up Christmas and New Year’s with your family while “some members of Congress went on vacation.”
  96. On Wednesday, Whitaker had breakfast with former AG Ed Meese, who told an AP reporter Whitaker said U.S. Attorney John Huber is continuing to investigate FBI-related concerns raised in the last year by GOP lawmakers.
  97. Huber is investigating FBI surveillance of former Trump campaign adviser Carter Page, and whether the FBI should have done more to investigate the Clinton Foundation. The DOJ has provided no public updates on his work.
  98. Later, Trump held a meeting with Congressional leaders to discuss the government shutdown. Axios reportedTrump chose the Situation Room as a location as a way to dramatize security concerns at the border.
  99. On Wednesday, Apple lowered its first quarter guidance. CEO Tim Cook cited lower-than-anticipated revenue in China following the trade tensions between the U.S. and China resulting from the trade war.
  100. On Thursday, the Dow Jones tumbled more than 600 points, amid Apple’s shares plunging 10%, a weaker-than-expected manufacturing monthly number, and rising fears of an economic slowdown.
  101. On Thursday, the Treasury Department released numbers showing the U.S. national debt reached a record $22 trillion at the end of 2018, more than $2 trillion higher than when Trump took office.
  102. On Thursday, with Pelosi set to be sworn in as Speaker of the 116th Congress, she told “TODAY” in an interview that she will not rule out indicting Trump, despite Justice Department guidelines against it.
  103. On impeachment, Pelosi said, “We have to wait and see what happens with the Mueller report. We shouldn’t be impeaching for a political reason,” and on funding for Trump’s wall, “No, no. Nothing for the wall.”
  104. Asked about Trump criticizing her vacation in Hawaii during the shutdown, Pelosi said Trump “may not know this, but Hawaii is part of the United States of America; maybe he doesn’t realize that.”
  105. Pelosi will reclaim the House Speaker gavel she last had from 2007 until eight years ago. When the NYT asked Pelosi whether she considers herself Trump’s equal, she responded, “the Constitution does.”
  106. The 116th Congress sworn in Thursday is the most racially diverse and most female group of representatives ever elected to the House, after an election dubbed the “Year of the Woman.”
  107. The freshman class included historic firsts, including the first two Native American women and first two Muslim American women, as well as several who are the first African-American women elected in their states.
  108. The diversity was only on the Democratic side, where 60% of the incoming class is women. The Republican freshman class included just two women in the House and two in the Senate, and just one person of color.
  109. Pelosi took her speaker’s oath surrounded by scores of children who were her family members and family members of the incoming class, saying, “I now call the House to order on behalf of all of America’s children.”
  110. On Thursday, shortly after Pelosi spoke, Trump convened an impromptu news conference, his first in the White House briefing room. CNN and Fox News broke away from other coverage; MSNBC did only for a short time.
  111. Trump stood alongside notably all white male border patrol agents to give his standard message about immigration and border patrol, delivered no new news, and left after without taking any questions from reporters.
  112. On Thursday, Trump posted a “Game of Thrones”-style image similar to the one of the table in the cabinet meeting Wednesday, which read “THE WALL IS COMING” on his official Instagram page.
  113. On Thursday, Trump tweeted an image from conservative outlet The Daily Wire that read “Warren 1/2020th,” a reference to DNA results, after Sen. Elizabeth Warren announced her 2020 presidential run.
  114. On Thursday, in the evening, the House voted to reopen the government without giving Trump any money for his wall. A handful of House Republicans joined Democrats in voting for the bill.
  115. When reporters asked Pelosi if she would accept “even a dollar” for Trump’s wall, she joked “A dollar? A dollar? Yeah, one dollar,” adding, “We are not doing a wall. So that’s that.
  116. On Thursday, at a MoveOn rally in the evening near Capitol Hill, Rep. Rashida Tlaib, one of the two freshman Muslim American women told the crowd, “‘We’re going to go in there and impeach the motherfucker.”
  117. On Friday, Trump tweeted “How do you impeach a president who has won perhaps the greatest election of all time,” and “had the most successful first two years of any president, and is the most popular Republican.”
  118. Trump also asserted, without evidence, “no Collusion with Russia, it was the Dems that Colluded.” The grounds for impeachment are “high crimes and misdemeanors,” and not related to job performance or popularity.
  119. Trump continues to take credit for stock market gains and positive economic announcements, while blaming others including the Fed Chair, the Treasury Secretary, and Democrats for bad news.
  120. On Friday, Trump blamed Thursday’s stock market sell-off on Democrats, saying in a tweet he had warned that “if the Democrats take over the House or Senate, there will be disruption to the Financial Markets.”
  121. On Friday, when asked by the moderator at the American Economic Association’s annual meeting, Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell said he would not resign if Trump asked him to.
  122. On Friday, press secretary Sanders, speaking to reporters outside the White House, falsely claimed CBP picked up nearly 4,000 known or suspected terrorists “that came across our southern border” last year.
  123. According to DOJ public records and two former counterterrorism officials who spoke to NBC News, not a single immigrant has been arrested at the southwest border on terrorism charges in recent years.
  124. Also, a head of Trump’s meeting with Congressional leaders Friday, the White House issued a misleading statement: “3,775 known or suspected terrorists [were] prevented from traveling or entering the U.S.” in 2017.
  125. WAPO reported the DOJ also acknowledged errors and deficiencies in a controversial report issued in January 2018, which implied a link between terrorism and immigration, but again refusing to correct or retract it.
  126. The report was written in compliance with Trump’s March 2017 executive order to justify his Muslim ban. Critics expressed alarm at highly misleading data without context, and sued for corrections or retraction.
  127. For example, the DOJ claimed between 2003 and 2009, immigrants were convicted of 69,929 sex offenses.The offenses actually spanned a period from 1955 to 2010–55 years, according to GAO date.
  128. On Friday, sitting congressman and Trump ally Rep. Matt Gaetz co-hosted the Fox News show “Outnumbered.”
  129. On Friday, The Daily Beast reported Trump kicked off the meeting with Congressional leaders with a 15-minute long, profanity-laced rant including a demand for a wall, saying the word “fuck” at least three times.
  130. Pelosi and Schumer urged Trump to reopen the government, saying he was holding the government hostage.Trump responded, “I’m not going to say it’s for leverage, but I’m not going to get a deal unless I do this.”
  131. Trump threatened to keep the government closed for “years” if that is what it took to get his wall. Trump also said he did not want to call the partial government shutdown a “shutdown,” but rather to use the term “strike.”
  132. Trump also blamed Pelosi for Rep. Rashida Tlaib’s comments, and telling the leaders he was too popular to impeach. Trump also then reportedly apologized to Pelosi for cursing so much in the meeting.
  133. After the meeting, Trump spoke to the press in the Rose Garden. In a rambling, hour-long news conference,Trump asserted he had the power to declare a national emergency to build the wall without Congress.
  134. Trump also said the government would stay closed until he got funding for his wall, and claimed, without providing evidence, that previous presidents have told him they wished they had built a wall themselves.
  135. Trump offered no empathy for federal workers, saying the “safety net is going to be having a strong border because we’re going to be safe,” and landlords would “work with” them and be “nice and easy.”
  136. Trump also offered the possibility that the shutdown would not end, “We’ll see what happens. It may get solved; it may not get solved.” Senate Leader Mitch McConnell was silent in the meeting, and did not attend the press briefing.
  137. When asked about comments by Rep. Rashida Tlaib, Trump told reporters “I thought her comments were disgraceful,” adding he thought her remarks “dishonored” the country.
  138. On Friday, Leader McConnell took to the Senate floor and took the unusual position that the shutdown fight was between Trump and the Democrats. Republicans facing tough 2020 re-elections are speaking out.
  139. On Friday, Politico reported that contrary to Trump’s claims in the news conference, former presidents Clinton, Bush and Obama did not confide in him that they regretted not building a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border.
  140. WAPO reported while federal workers go without pay, senior members of the Trump regime, includingcabinet secretaries, deputy secretaries, and Vice President Mike Pence will get a roughly $10,000 raise as of January 5.
  141. WAPO reported the shutdown has put further strain on the immigration system, as employees at the borderare working but not getting paid, and judges and clerks in backlogged immigration courts have been sent home.
  142. Agents are taking an average of more than 2,000 migrants per day into custody. With nowhere to detain them, the Trump regime is releasing hundreds onto the streets in El Paso, Yuma, and other border cities.
  143. Also, while the Trump regime has threatened to crack down on companies that hire unauthorized workers, the shutdown has crippled the main compliance tool for employers to make sure they are following the law.
  144. On Wednesday, Sen. Lindsey Graham told Fox News host Sean Hannity if Trump gives in on funding for his wall, “that’s the end of 2019, in terms of him being” effective in office, and “probably the end of his presidency.”
  145. NBC News reported the shutdown is jeopardizing the welfare of some of the poorest families and the elderly. Most of the Department of Housing and Urban Development’s enforcement activities have been suspended.
  146. Public housing officials are concerned about rental assistance payments from the government — a suspension could put millions of tenants at risk if the shutdown continues to February.
  147. On Friday, CNN reported that hundreds of Transportation Security Administration officers, who are required to work without pay during the shutdown, have called out sick at four major U.S. airports.
  148. Some of the reasons given for calling in sick include parents cannot afford child care without a paycheck, and workers finding cash-paying jobs outside of the government to pay their rent and other bills.
  149. The TSA is bracing for more call outs next week, and are working closely to rearrange scheduling to maintain normal wait times in security lines, and well as manage concerns about the safety of air travel.
  150. On Friday, WAPO reported the Trump regime, which had not anticipated a long-term shutdown, recognized only this week the breadth of the potential impact of keeping the government closed.
  151. Thousands of federal programs are affected by the shutdown, including food stamps for 38 million low-income Americans, which would start to run of funding in February. Grocers and retailers would also be hurt.
  152. The White House has not briefed lawmakers on the expanding consequences of a continuing shutdown, leading to confusion. Economists warn of the impact to the economy with a drop-off in spending.
  153. On Friday, Mary Mayhew, the director of the Center for Medicaid and CHIP Services who joined the regime in October 2018, resigned to join the incoming Florida governor’s office.
  154. On Saturday, Trump took a combative tone in a series of tweets. Trump complained about the media coverage: “Washington Post and NBC reporting of events, including Fake sources, has been very inaccurate.”
  155. Trump also tweeted, “we need a WALL! In 2018, 1.7 million pounds of narcotics seized, 17,000 adults arrested with criminal records, and 6000 gang members,” adding, “A big Human Trafficking problem.”
  156. Trump also again referenced federal workers being Democrats, tweeting “I don’t care that most of the workers not getting paid are Democrats,” adding, “I am in the White House ready to go, where are the Dems?”
  157. Shortly after, Pence met with congressional aides for three hours. Pence did not have the okay to float a new or specific compromise number for the wall as he did last month with Schumer. No progress was made.
  158. WAPO reported Trump boasted in a call with friends Friday night that he was in a strong negotiating positionbecause he captured the attention of the political world, and said things his core voters appreciated.
  159. The government shutdown is now three weeks old, the second longest shutdown in history, with no end in sight. Trump is looking for optics to enhance his wall pitch, like visiting the border or meeting with sheriffs.
  160. On Saturday, Trump tweeted many people who oppose him, “including President Obama & the Dems” have had campaign violations, claiming, “While no big deal, I did not commit a campaign violation!
  161. On Saturday, Trump tweeted, “‘Former @NYTimes editor Jill Abramson rips paper’s “unmistakably anti-Trump” bias,’” adding. “Hence the term Fake News, Enemy of the People, and Opposition Party!”
  162. Abramson told Politico, Fox News host Howard Kurtz in a report headlined, “Former NY Times editor rips Trump coverage as biased” took her book “totally out of context,” calling it an attempt to “Foxify my book.”

POLITIKS OF GRAFFITI 111: SYRIA SWINGS

DECEMBER 22, 2018

Week 110

Experts in authoritarianism advise to keep a list of things
subtly changing around you, so you’ll remember. https://theweeklylist.org/weekly-list/week-110/
IMG_2735
“As Syria swings in the balance…” by Miami-based, Colombian artist, Daniel Osorno. Miami. December 2018.
IMG_0374
Artist SacSix. New York City. November 2018.

This week Defense Secretary Jim Mattis, thought to be one of the sane and sober voices remaining in the regime, resigned in a public letter rebuking Trump’s treatment of allies and deference to authoritarians. Trump’s abrupt withdrawal of U.S. troops from Syria was the last straw for Mattis, a decision reportedly made on a call with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan the week before. Mattis’ departure elicited bipartisan concern, and placed the country on edge.

This week Trump’s beloved stock market continued to crater, as the markets entered a correction period with Dow Jones Industrial Average’s worst weekly performance in 10 years, and on track for the worst December since the Great Depression. By the week’s end, Trump was privately agitating about firing Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell, in what would be an unprecedented act.

In the final week Congress was in session ahead of the holidays, Trump abruptly changed his position on funding for his wall, bowing to pressure from the likes of commentator Ann Coulter and radio host Rush Limbaugh, precipitating a government shutdown Friday at midnight — the third this year, even as Republicans control the House, Senate, and White House.

Investigations under the Mueller probe and other jurisdictions progressed this week, as every part of Trump’s life is now under investigation. In a remarkable hearing, Judge Emmet Sullivan delayed sentencing for Michael Flynn, after castigating him for his role in working against U.S. interests. A pair of shocking reports made public by the Senate Intelligence Committee detailed Russia’s extensive interfering in the 2016 election in support of Trump, and another report by the Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats indicated Russia was at it again in the 2018 midterms.

  1. Merriam-Webster chose “justice” as the 2018 word of the year, noting the word consistently bubbled into the top lookups on its website for uses such as obstruction of justice, social justice, and the Justice Department.
  2. A survey of more than 110 CEOs done by the Yale School of Management found 75% often had to apologize to international partners for Trump’s “embarrassing diplomatic messages” when traveling abroad for business.
  3. Also, 87% of CEOs agreed Trump’s negotiating style had cost the country the trust of allies. A senior associate dean added that “divisiveness of pitting people against each other…has worn the business community down.”
  4. WAPO reported in Trump’s first 700 days in office, he has made 7,546 false or misleading claims. In the first eight months, he averaged five per day — more recently, in October he averaged 39 per day and in November 29 per day.
  5. On Sunday, CNN noted Trump entities are the focus of at least six investigations, including the Trump campaign, transition team, inaugural committee, administration, foundation, and organization.
  6. On Sunday, Trump attacked SNL over the depiction of him in a sketch, tweeting “A REAL scandal is the one sided coverage, hour by hour, of networks like NBC & Democrat spin machines like Saturday Night Live.”
  7. Trump also tweeted, “Should be tested in courts, can’t be legal? Only defame & belittle! Collusion?” Trump drew rebukes that he was again threatening the Constitution’s First Amendment protection.
  8. On Sunday, Trump also invoked mob slang tweeting, “Michael Cohen only became a ‘Rat’” after the FBI did something “absolutely unthinkable & unheard of” when “they BROKE INTO AN ATTORNEY’S OFFICE!”
  9. Trump also quoted WSJ’s Daniel Henninger, tweeting, “It looks here as though General Flynn’s defenses are incidental to something larger…to figure out if it can find a path to Donald Trump.”
  10. Trump also tweeted about “The Russian Witch Hunt Hoax, started as the “insurance policy” long before I even got elected,” adding, “they are Entrapping people.” This is false: the Mueller probe started in May 2017.
  11. A NBC-WSJ poll found 62% of Americans believe Trump has not been honest and trustworthy about the Mueller probe, up from 56% in August. Just 34% believe he is being honest and trustworthy.
  12. A USA TODAY/Suffolk University Poll found 59% of Americans have “little or no trust” in Trump’s denial that there was collusion in his campaign with Russia, while just 24% have “a lot of trust.”
  13. On Monday, Reuters reported Maria Meza and her children, the mother photographed running with her daughters from tear gas at the U.S.-Mexico border in Week 107, began seeking U.S. asylum.
  14. On Monday, Reps. Nanette Barragán and Jimmy Gomez from the Congressional Hispanic Caucus live-tweeted about migrants’ attempts to apply for asylum, citing long wait times and migrants being ignored.
  15. On Tuesday, a local bank in the suburbs of Cleveland called 911 when Paul McCowns, a Black man, tried to cash his first paycheck. McCowns was asked for two forms of ID, which he provided.
  16. On Wednesday, a New Jersey high school wrestler was forced by referee Alan Maloney to cut off his dreadlocks minutes before his match or forfeit the competition. The wrestler, who is a Black teen, had to cover his hair.
  17. The state’s Interscholastic Athletic Association said in a statement they are recommending Maloney, who is white, not be assigned to referee any more matches until the matter has been thoroughly reviewed.
  18. On Thursday, the Philadelphia Inquirer reported four teen girls dropped letters at non-white homes praising Trump, Pence, and saying “there is now a law against filthy nutheads like you,” along with a death threat.
  19. High school students believe two of the teens who dropped off the letters are the same two youths posing in Ku Klux Klan hoods that circulated on Snapchat on Tuesday, and all are students at Strath Haven High School, in an affluent part of Delaware County.
  20. Detroit Free Press reported a noose was found in a boys’ locker room at Athens High School in Troy on Thursday. After an investigation, the student responsible was found and suspended. The principal called it a “cry for help.”
  21. On Wednesday, a federal judge rejected the Trump regime’s request to dismiss a lawsuit challenging its plan to add a question regarding citizenship to the 2020 census, paving the way for a trial in January.
  22. Financial Times named George Soros the “Person of the Year” for 2018. The editorial board explained the pick“is usually a reflection of their achievements…his selection is also about the values he represents.”
  23. On Thursday, AP reported on the scope of the migrant children program under Trump, decades after the U.S. had stopped institutionalizing kids because large, crowded orphanages were causing lasting trauma.
  24. According to government data, of the 14,300 migrant children in government care, about 5,400 are sleeping in shelters with more than 1,000 other children, and 9,800 are in facilities with 100-plus kids.
  25. When Trump took office, the same federal program had 2,720 migrant children in its care, and most were in shelters with a few dozen kids or in foster programs.
  26. NPR reported nearly 15,000 migrant children are now held in government custody. According to the Department of Health and Human Services, the national network of more than 100 shelters are 92% full.
  27. The largest migrant youth shelter are the tent cities in Tornillo, Texas, set up in a patch of desert. The heated tents can hold up to 3,800, but will require hiring more staff.
  28. On Thursday, Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen testified before the House Judiciary Committee over the death of Jakelin Caal Maquin, a 7-year-old Guatemalan girl.
  29. Rep. Hank Johnson asked Nielsen about the girl’s death, and how many other children had died in the custody of DHS. Nielsen responded, “I’ll get back to you on that figure. I’m not going to guess under oath.”
  30. Nielsen told the committee under the Trump regime’s new “Catch and Return” policy, some migrants will return to Mexico while their immigration proceedings go forward rather than remain in the U.S.
  31. Nielsen said the new policy will apply to both asylum seekers who entered the U.S. legally at border crossings, as well as those apprehended after entering the country illegally.
  32. The incoming Democratic chairs of the House Judiciary Committee and House Homeland Security Committee told Nielsen they would be conducting further oversight when they take over the committees.
  33. On Monday, Fox News host Tucker Carlson defended his comments in Week 109, tweeting, “We spend a lot of time talking about the threat to free speech.” That day, three more sponsors dropped.
  34. Carlson doubled down on his show Monday, saying migrants make our country “poorer and dirtier.” As of Tuesday evening, more than 15 sponsors had dropped from the show.
  35. On Wednesday, Carlson’s show cut to fewer commercial breaks, as advertisers continued to flee. Contributor Alan Dershowitz appeared saying he felt “compelled” to say that he disagreed with Carlson’s comments.
  36. On Tuesday, a panel of judges in the 10th Circuit dismissed 83 ethics complaints against Brett Kavanaugh, citing he is no longer covered by the judiciary’s disciplinary process since he is on the Supreme Court.
  37. Chief justice of the 10th district Timothy Tymkovich refused to recuse himself despite claims that Kavanaugh advocated to get him his position. Tymkovich was on Trump’s short-list of candidates for the Supreme Court.
  38. On Wednesday, a federal judge again ruled against the Trump regime, blocking its new policy that bars asylum for those who cross into the country without authorization.
  39. On Monday, a pair of comprehensive reports made public by the Senate Intelligence Committee revealed Russian teams using social media platforms to influence the 2016 election, and cited efforts are ongoing.
  40. The Russian influence campaign in 2016 was run by Internet Research Agency (IRA). The reports cite an extraordinary effort to target African-Americans on social media in an effort to suppress Democratic voters.
  41. The reports indicated Instagram, owned by Facebook, generated responses on a scale beyond any of the others — with 187 million comments, likes, and other user reactions, more than Twitter and Facebook combined.
  42. The reports also cited that “pro-Bernie Sanders and Jill Stein content” were among the IRA’s go-to themes across other platforms. Throughout her campaign, Stein had called for a conciliatory approach with Russia.
  43. The reports also cited after Trump took office, Russian operatives targeted Robert Mueller, appointed in May 2017, seeking to neutralize what they saw as the biggest threat to Trump remaining in office.
  44. The NAACP called for a week-long boycott of Facebook, saying its business practices and spreading of “disingenuous portrayals of the African American community” should prompt further congressional investigation.
  45. The WAPO Editorial Board noted from the reports’ findings, “the Russia operation is staggering in its scale, precision and deceptiveness,” saying Russia’s support for Trump’s election is “no longer disputable.”
  46. On Tuesday, NYT reported according to Facebook internal documents, as the company raised a privacy wall, it also gave some of the world’s largest technology companies more intrusive access to users’ personal data.
  47. Personal data has become a prized commodity. Facebook allowed Microsoft’s Bing search engine to see the users’ friends without consent, and gave Netflix and Spotify the ability to read users’ private messages.
  48. On Wednesday, the attorney general for the District of Columbia sued Facebook for allowing Cambridge Analytica to gain access to tens of millions users’ information without their permission.
  49. On Friday, Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats delivered a report, which details Russian internet propagandists tried to influence American voters ahead of the 2018 midterms, to the White House.
  50. Coats said that “Russia, and other foreign countries, including China and Iran, conducted influence activities and messaging campaigns” to further their strategic interests here. The report is not yet publicly available.
  51. On Monday, Roger Stone settled a defamation suit brought against him by an exiled Chinese businessman seeking $100 million, admitting to publishing false and misleading statements on InfoWars.
  52. In lieu of money, the agreement requires Stone to run ads in national newspapers, including WSJ, apologizing and admitting he lied, as well as publishing a retraction of the false statements on social media.
  53. On Monday, two former business associates of Michael Flynn, Bijan Rafiekian (aka Bijan Kian) and Kamil Alptekin, were charged in a Virginia court with trying to influence U.S. politicians to extradite a Turkish cleric.
  54. In court papers, Flynn is referred to as “Person A,” although he is not charged in the case, and is instead cooperating with Mueller’s team.
  55. Kian and Alptekin, who lied about the involvement of Turkish government officials in the project, are charged with conspiracy and acting as agents of a foreign government; Alptekin is also accused of making false statements.
  56. Kian, a former official for Trump’s transition team, made a brief appearance in Virginia federal court. Alptekin, a dual Turkish-Dutch citizen living in Istanbul, remains at large.
  57. On Monday, Mueller’s office released notes of Flynn’s interview with FBI agents on January 24, 2017, ahead of his sentencing Tuesday in connection with his guilty plea.
  58. The notes show Flynn made false statements about his communications with Russian ambassador Sergey Kislyak during the transition, and also lied about his ties to Turkey.
  59. On Monday, the GOP led House Intelligence Committee again interviewed James Comey behind closed doors. Transcripts of the interview revealed Comey was asked to defend the FBI’s interview of Michael Flynn.
  60. After, Comey told reporters, “People who know better, including Republican members of this body, have to have the courage to stand up and speak the truth, not be cowed” adding “their silence is shameful.”
  61. On Tuesday, press secretary Sarah Sanders criticized Comey and the FBI, telling reporters at the White House briefing, “the FBI broke standard protocol in the way that they came in and ambushed Gen. Flynn”
  62. On Tuesday, Trump tweeted to Flynn in the morning, “Good luck today in court to General Michael Flynn,” citing “tremendous pressure being put on him,” and adding of the campaign, “There was no Collusion!”
  63. On Tuesday, at an extraordinary sentencing hearing, Judge Emmet Sullivan made clear he was infuriated by Flynn’s conduct, including the suggestion by Flynn and his supporters that he had been duped by the FBI.
  64. Sullivan forced Flynn to admit publicly he knew he was lying to the FBI about conversations related to Russian sanctions, and berated the three-star general for his misdeeds, saying “arguably, you sold your country out.”
  65. Also citing Flynn’s clandestine work for the Turkish government, Sullivan asked a prosecutor with the special counsel’s office whether Flynn could be charged with “treason,” adding, “I’m not hiding my disgust, my disdain.”
  66. Later, Sullivan walked back his treason questions, saying “I’m not suggesting” Flynn committed treason, adding “I was just trying to determine the benefit and the generosity of the government.”
  67. Mueller’s team said Flynn has “provided substantial assistance to the attorneys in the Eastern District of Virginia in obtaining that charging document,” relating to charges against Kian and Alptekin.
  68. Mueller’s team moved to sentence Flynn now because “the vast majority” of his cooperation was complete.Sullivan postponed sentencing for Flynn for 90 days. Flynn left the courtroom to chants of “lock him up!”
  69. On Sunday, Trump attorney Rudy Giuliani told CNN that a letter of intent for Trump Tower Moscow had not been signed: “It was a real estate project. There was a letter of intent to go forward, but no one signed it.”
  70. On Tuesday, CNN obtained a signed copy of the letter of intent dated October 28, 2015 bearing Trump’s signature. The letter opened negotiations for Trump condominiums, a hotel and commercial property.
  71. On Wednesday, when asked about the signed copy, Giuliani changed his story, telling CNN, “I was wrong if I said it. I haven’t seen the quote, but I probably meant to say there was never a deal much less a signed one.”
  72. On Tuesday, the New York attorney general’s office announced the Trump Foundation has agreed to dissolve, following a court decision last month to allow the AG’s lawsuit to move forward.
  73. Attorney General Barbara Underwood accused the foundation of “a shocking pattern of illegality,” and saying it functioned “as little more than a checkbook to serve Mr. Trump’s business and political interests.”
  74. Allen Weisselberg told state investigators of the foundation’s policies, “There’s no policy, just so you understand.” Underwood said the foundation’s remaining $1.75 million will be distributed to other charities.
  75. On Wednesday, Trump complained about his foundation being dissolved in three tweets, saying he is getting “slammed by (Gov. Andrew) Cuomo and the Dems” and that he would “never be treated fairly by these people.”
  76. Trump also attacked the former attorney general “sleazebag AG Eric Schneiderman,” saying he was “ head of New Yorkers for Clinton,” and claimed “the Trump Foundation has done great work.”
  77. A federal judge ruled in favor of BuzzFeed in a lawsuit brought by businessman Aleksej Gubarev, based in Cyprus, who said he and his companies were falsely linked in the Steele dossier to Russia hacking.
  78. Judge Ursula Ungaro ruled that BuzzFeed cannot be found liable for publishing a document that had become the subject of official government conduct, adding BuzzFeed’s article was “fair and true.”
  79. On Wednesday, Oleg Deripaska agreed to cut his stake in Russian steel giant Rusal to below 50% in exchange for the Treasury Department lifting sanctions — a move expected to be closely monitored by the Kremlin.
  80. On Wednesday, the Center for Responsive Politics reported Trump’s 2020 campaign routed money through a secret LLC, used as a shell company to illegally coordinate ad buys with the National Rifle Association.
  81. Trump’s 2020 campaign continued to use the same individuals working for the firms as and make payments through Harris Sikes Media LLC, also at the center of the 2016 campaign’s illegal coordination with the NRA.
  82. National Media, Red Eagle Media Group, and American Media & Advocacy Group — which share staff, resources, and adjacent storefronts in Alexandria, Virginia — are also facing allegations of illegal coordination.
  83. A Trump super PAC, Rebuilding America Now, which in Week 109 was being scrutinized in the Mueller probe,is also alleged to have routed payments through National Media’s affiliates in a campaign coordination scheme.
  84. On Thursday, BuzzFeed reported Russian agents sought sensitive financial information on its enemies through the U.S. Treasury, including backers of Hillary Clinton weeks before the June 9, 2016 Trump Tower meeting.
  85. Officials at the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) said they reported the use of the back channel to Treasury’s counterterrorism unit and security office, and requested an investigation.
  86. FinCEN officials believed the Russian agency making the requests was Rosfinmonitoring, set up by Putin in 2001 and closely tied to Russia’s espionage apparatus. The group started cultivating civil servants in 2015.
  87. On Wednesday, there was a docket entry at the U.S. District Court in Manhattan, which was sealed from public view and place in a vault, and was related to a criminal case against Michael Cohen.
  88. On Wednesday, WSJ reported testimony by Trump in 2000 as part of a regulatory investigation and in 1988for a government-integrity commission revealed he has a deep understanding of campaign-finance laws.
  89. Giuliani has argued that Trump has limited understanding of campaign-finance laws. Experts say his deep understanding could be critical if investigators ever pursue a case over directing hush money payments.
  90. On Wednesday, WAPO reported Mueller asked the House Intelligence Committee last Friday for an official transcript of Roger Stone’s testimony, a sign prosecutors could be moving to charge him with a crime.
  91. This marks the first formal request by Mueller’s team to the committee. Stone denied lying to Congress, telling WAPO, no “reasonable attorney who looks at it would conclude that I committed perjury.”
  92. The special counsel has had an unofficial copy of Stone’s testimony from September 2017 for weeks. Experts say prosecutors cannot bring charges without an original, certified copy of the transcript.
  93. On Wednesday, WSJ reported that William Barr, Trump’s nominee for attorney general, sent an unsolicited 20-page document to the DOJ criticizing aspects of the Mueller probe.
  94. The documents excoriated Mueller’s inquiry into obstruction of justice by Trump, saying it is based on a “fatally misconceived” theory that would cause lasting damage to the presidency and the executive branch.
  95. On Thursday, CNN reported acting Attorney General Matt Whitaker consulted with ethics officials at the DOJ, and has been advised that he does not need to recuse himself from the Mueller probe.
  96. A source said Whitaker has been in ongoing discussions since early November after his appointment. Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein is still managing the Mueller probe on a day-to-day basis.
  97. Hours later, the official who had said ethics officials had advised Whitaker did not need to recuse himselfretracted that description of events.
  98. WAPO reported a senior DOJ ethics official concluded Whitaker should recuse himself from overseeing the Mueller probe. Whitaker never asked DOJ ethics officials for a formal recommendation, nor did he receive one.
  99. Instead, days after being appointed, Whitaker tapped a veteran U.S. attorney to become part of a four-person team of advisers on his new job, including giving guidance on recusal from the Mueller probe.
  100. Whitaker met repeatedly with DOJ ethics officials to discuss the facts and the issues. A senior ethics official told Whitaker’s advisers on Tuesday that it was a “close call” but that Whitaker should recuse himself.
  101. Whitaker’s advisers disagreed, recommending to Whitaker on Wednesday not to recuse, saying there was no precedent. Whitaker ignored the ethic official’s advice, and had it not been leaked, it would not be public.
  102. On Friday, CNN reported Trump has lashed out at Whitaker at least twice in the past few weeks, angered that federal prosecutors referenced him in Michael Cohen’s crimes, starting just weeks into Whitaker taking the job.
  103. The first instance happened when Cohen pleaded guilty to lying to Congress about a proposed Trump Tower project in Moscow, and second when Cohen implicated Trump in the hush-money scheme.
  104. Trump did not ask Whitaker to stop the investigations, but vented at what he felt was an unfair situation. Sources say Trump believes the attorney general should serve as his personal protector, and settle his scores.
  105. On Friday, NBC News reported Mueller is nearing the end of his team’s investigation of Russian election interference, and is expected to submit a confidential report to the attorney general as early as mid-February.
  106. On Monday, in an interview with MSNBC, Sen. Bob Corker would not say if Trump should be primaried, responding “What is happening right now is not the standard Republicanism that we’ve had in our country.”
  107. On Tuesday, Politico reported Trump is planning to launch an unprecedented structure for his 2020 reelection, streamlining the Republican National Committee and his campaign into a single entity.
  108. Trump’s reelection campaign and the RNC will merge their field and fundraising programs into a joint outfit, even sharing office space. Typically reelection campaigns work in tandem with the RNC.
  109. On Wednesday, the Washington Examiner reported the South Carolina Republican Party could cancel its early 2020 primary, usually third in the presidential nominating calendar, in order to protect Trump.
  110. On Wednesday, two more Kansas Republicans, state Sen. Dinah Sykes and Rep. Stephanie Clayton, switched parties to become Democrats.
  111. On Monday, CNBC reported the stock market is on pace for its worst December since the Great Depression, with the Dow Jones Industrial Average and S&P 500 down 7.6% and 7.8%, respectively in December.
  112. On Tuesday, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin downplayed Trump’s promise of a middle class tax cut ahead of the midterms, telling Bloomberg “I’m not going to comment on whether it is a real thing or not a real thing.”
  113. On Tuesday, a federal commission led by Education Secretary Betsy DeVos recommended rescinding Obama-era guidance meant to help reduce the racial disparity in school discipline.
  114. The commission claimed the guidance made schools reluctant to address unruly students or violent incidents, and recommended “partnering with local law enforcement in the training and arming of school personnel.”
  115. According to a report by the Government Accountability Office, the Veterans Affairs Department has spent just $57,000 of the $6.2 million available for suicide prevention outreach in fiscal year 2018 budget.
  116. The report also stated that the VA had identified suicide prevention as its highest clinical priority in 2018: an average of 20 veterans die by suicide per day.
  117. According to a report from the Center for Public Integrity, Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross failed to sell $15,000 in bank shares until October 2018, after signing ethics documents saying he sold the shares in 2017.
  118. CNBC reported Robert and Rebekah Mercer have disappeared from the political donor scene this election and donated less in 2018, after their involvement with Trump had cast them into the public spotlight.
  119. The Palm Beach Post reported after a five-year legal battle over the taxable value of Trump National Golf Club in Jupiter, Florida, Trump will be getting a $10.6 million tax refund for taxes he overpaid.
  120. On Wednesday, Trump abruptly announced his decision to withdraw U.S. troops from Syria, reversing his position in September 2018, shocking people in the U.S. government and around the world.
  121. WAPO reported Trump made the decision on Tuesday, after a small meeting attended only by senior White House aides and the secretaries of defense and state, most of whom, if not all, sharply disagreed with him.
  122. Senior lawmakers from both parties were not informed in advance, nor were close U.S. allies who are members of the U.S.-led coalition against the Islamic State. Defense Secretary Mattis was informed Tuesday night.
  123. Trump canceled a scheduled meeting with Senate Foreign Relations Committee chair Bob Corker in the afternoon, instead communicating via Twitter, sending a video of himself outside the Oval Office.
  124. On Wednesday, TASS reported Russia praised Trump for the withdrawal. A Russian Foreign Ministry Spokesman called it a “milestone story which might evolve from this decision is a real prospect for a political solution.”
  125. AP reported Trump agreed to withdraw troops from Syria on a December 14 call with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, the day after Secretary of State Mike Pompeo spoke with his Turkish counterpart.
  126. Pompeo was notified of Erdogan’s threat to launch a military operation against U.S.-backed Kurdish rebels in northeast Syria, where American forces are based. He then set up the call between the two leaders.
  127. Pompeo, Mattis, and others on the national security team prepared a list of talking points for Trump to use in his phone call, in order to tell Erdogan to back off; but instead Trump ignored the script and sided with Erdogan.
  128. National security advisor John Bolton stressed on the call that victory over the Islamic State had to be enduring, but Trump was not dissuaded, and quickly capitulated by pledging to withdraw, shocking both Bolton and Erdogan.
  129. Erdogan on the call cautioned Trump over a hasty withdrawal. Over the weekend, the national security team raced to come up with a plan that would reverse, delay, or somehow limit effects of the withdrawal.
  130. In addition, officials urged Trump to at least delay the decision to withdraw, in order to give the military and Kurdish forces time to prepare. Trump was unmoved.
  131. On Thursday, Trump attacked an ally for criticizing his plan, tweeting, “So hard to believe that Lindsey Graham would be against saving soldier lives & billions of $$$…Time to focus on our Country & bring our youth” home.
  132. On Thursday, WSJ reported Trump ordered the start of a reduction of American forces in Afghanistan. More than 7,000 troops will begin to return home in the coming weeks out of 14,000 troops stationed there.
  133. The withdrawal coupled with more than 2,000 troops returning from Syria announced Wednesday, mark a dramatic shift in the U.S. approach to military engagement in the region.
  134. On Thursday, according to commentary published by the state-run Korean Central News Agency, North Korea will not denuclearize until the U.S. completely eliminates “the American nuclear threat to North Korea.”
  135. On Thursday, just after 5 p.m., Trump tweeted “General Jim Mattis will be retiring, with distinction, at the end of February,” adding, “A new Secretary of Defense will be named shortly. I greatly thank Jim for his service!”
  136. NYT reported earlier in the day Mattis went to the White House with his resignation letter already written, but made one last attempt to persuade Trump to reverse his decision on pulling out 2,000 troops from Syria.
  137. After Mattis was rebuffed by Trump, he returned to the Pentagon and asked aides to print out 50 copies of his resignation letter and distribute them around the building.
  138. Mattis is the fourth member of Trump’s cabinet to resign or be forced out since the midterm elections, and the third in the last two weeks.
  139. With the resignations of John Kelly and Mattis, the last of Trump’s old-guard national security team, policy will be left in the hands of Pompeo, the second Secretary of State, and Bolton, Trump’s third NSA.
  140. Also notably, with Mattis’ resignation, what Trump once called the array of high-ranking military officers he appointed, “my generals” — including Michael Flynn, H.R. McMaster and John Kelly — are all gone.
  141. Mattis’s resignation letter was the sharpest, and most public rebuke from inside the regime over the Trump’s foreign policy, including rejection of the alliances and partnerships, and tending towards authoritarianism.
  142. In his letter, Mattis did not offer any praise of Trump in the letter, or thank him in any way; rather saying, “I very much appreciate this opportunity to serve the nation and our men and women in uniform.”
  143. Mattis wrote we must be “clear-eyed” about threats from groups such as Islamic State, saying, “We must do everything possible to advance an international order that is most conducive to our security, prosperity and values.”
  144. Mattis also wrote about democratic allies: “our strength as a nation is inextricably linked to the strength ofour unique and comprehensive system of alliances and partnerships.”
  145. And warned we must be “resolute and unambiguous in our approach” to countries like China and Russia, who “want to shape a world consistent with their authoritarian model.”
  146. Mattis wrote, “Because you have the right to have a Secretary of Defense whose views are better aligned with yours on these and other subjects, I believe it is right for me to step down from my position.”
  147. Mattis’ letter triggered a bipartisan chorus of concern, with Sen. Mark Warner saying “This is scary,” Sen. Chris Murphy calling it a “national security crisis,” and Sen. Ben Sasse saying it was “a sad day for America.”
  148. Sen. Marco Rubio tweeted the letter made it abundantly clear “we are headed towards a series of grave policy errors which will endanger our nation, damage our alliances & empower our adversaries.”
  149. Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, who rarely challenges Trump publicly, said in a statement: “We must also maintain a clear-eyed understanding of our friends and foes, and recognize that nations like Russia are among the latter.”
  150. McConnell also said of Trump’s next Defense Secretary, “I urge him to select a leader who shares Secretary Mattis’s understanding of these vital principles and his total commitment to America’s servicemembers.”
  151. Mattis’ departure also left the Pentagon in a state of despair, with one official describing the mood in the building as “eerie, and another official saying “the building is in shock.”
  152. On Sunday, White House senior adviser Stephen Miller told “Face the Nation” that Trump was “absolutely” willing to shut down the government if Congress does not authorize funding for his wall.
  153. On Tuesday, in an abrupt shift, press secretary Sarah Sanders backed off from the threat, telling Fox News, “At the end of the day, we don’t want to shut down the government, we want to shut down the border.”
  154. On Wednesday, the Senate approved a stopgap spending bill. Voting was pushed back to late in the day, and some senators sang Christmas carols in the chamber as they prepared to leave for the holiday break.
  155. On Thursday, Trump again abruptly changed course, informing House Republican leaders he would not sign a short-term funding bill that does not include money for his wall. Some senators flew back to Washington.
  156. Reportedly, Trump was rattled by accusations from conservatives like Rep. Mark Meadows, commentator Ann Coulter, and talk radio host Rush Limbaugh that he was caving on his promised border wall.
  157. Shortly after, Trump tweeted a video clip of him singing in a duet of the theme song to “Green Acres” from the 2006 Emmy awards, saying “Farm Bill signing in 15 minutes! #Emmys #TBT.”
  158. On Friday, in a series of nine morning tweets, Trump warned, “Shutdown today if Democrats do not vote for Border Security!” encouraging Majority Leader Mitch McConnell to “use the Nuclear Option and get it done!”
  159. Shortly after, several Republican senators, including Sens. Orrin Hatch and Lamar Alexander, said that they do not support doing away with the legislative filibuster, known as the Nuclear Option.
  160. The Senate could not get the 60 votes needed to move the House bill forward. Republicans conceded that one of their biggest hurdles was Trump’s unpredictability and proclivity for abruptly changing his mind.
  161. On Friday, in an attempt to claim victory, Trump tweeted he would accept money for a “Steel Slat Barrier” with spikes on the top, which he said would be just as effective as a “wall” and “at the same time beautiful.”
  162. Trump also tweeted a photo from the Oval Office of him saying “some of the many Bills that I am signing in the Oval Office right now.” Upon closer inspection, the piece of paper he is signing in the photo is blank.
  163. On Friday evening, with Trump unwilling to drop his demand for $5 billion of funding for his wall, the House and Senate adjourned with no spending deal. The government partially shut down after midnight.
  164. This marked the third shutdown of 2018, the first time in 40 years the government has been closed three times in a year.
  165. Sen. Lindsey Graham, who this week had been the subject of Trump’s Twitter ire, told Fox News of Democrats and the shutdown, “if he doesn’t break ’em now, it’s going to be a terrible 2019. So Mr. President, dig in.”
  166. A GoFundMe campaign started by Trump supporter Brian Kolfage, a disabled Florida veteran, raised $14 million from donors as of Saturday. The goal of the campaign is to raise $5 billion to fund the wall.
  167. On Friday, the Supreme Court said Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg had undergone surgery to remove two malignant growths in her left lung, discovered during tests after she fractured ribs on November 7.
  168. On Friday, the Supreme Court upheld the block on Trump’s asylum ban, with Chief Justice John Roberts siding with the four liberal justices. NBC News reported Justice Ginsburg voted from her hospital bed.
  169. On Friday, the Dow Jones fell another 400 points, falling nearly 7% and ending its worst week since the financial crisis in 2008. A Fed rate hike, trade tensions with China, and a government shutdown weighed in.
  170. The stock market ended the final week of 2018 on the Dow Jones on brink of a bear market, and the NASDAQ down 22% from its highs. All stock market averages are now posting negative returns for 2018.
  171. On Saturday, Bloomberg reported Trump has discussed firing Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell, following this week’s interest-rate hike. Trump also blames Powell for the stock market losses.
  172. Advisers close to Trump are hoping his anger will dissipate, but reportedly he has repeatedly spoke of firingPowell in private conversations over the past few days.
  173. The Federal Reserve Act states governors may be “removed for cause by the President,” so it is unclear how much authority Trump would have for such an unprecedented challenge to the Fed’s independence.
  174. On Saturday, Brett McGurk, the U.S. envoy to the global coalition fighting the Islamic State group, resigned in protest of Trump’s abrupt decision to withdraw from Syria. McGurk had served in the position since 2015.
  175. On Saturday, Politico reported Trump is facing a dangerous erosion of support among Republicans, following recent moves like backing Saudis in the Khashoggi killing, and his abrupt decision to pull out of Syria.
  176. Rank-and-file Republicans are also concerned that Trump is acting recklessly and hijacking the party, catering only to his base, and making moves like the government shutdown to please hard-liners.
  177. On Saturday, Trump canceled his scheduled flight to Mar-a-Lago, but the Capitol was largely quiet, with no meetings among House and Senate leaders scheduled, and most lawmakers gone for the holidays.
  178. GOP leaders are frustrated by how quickly things unraveled in the past 48 hours. There does not appear to be any deal in sight, or plans from leaders on how to move forward ahead of the holidays.

 

Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis arrives for a closed intelligence briefing at the U.S. Capitol with members of the House of Representatives December 13, 2018 in Washington, DC. Mattis and U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo briefed House members on the death of Jamal Khashoggi. This week, Mattis resigned in a letter widely viewed as a sharp rebuke of Trump and his foreign policy.