POLITIKS OF GRAFFITI 58: FRAGILE DEMOCRACY

Week 57 of trump’s presidency: Experts in authoritarianism advise to keep a list of things subtly changing around you, so you’ll remember.

December 16, 2017 https://medium.com/@Amy_Siskind/week-57-experts-in-authoritarianism-advise-to-keep-a-list-of-things-subtly-changing-around-you-so-1cf1cf0fb258

This week the country braced for radical actions by Trump relating to the Mueller investigation. Trump, his regime members, elected Republicans, and conservative media turned up the rhetoric and attacked the credibility of Mueller, the FBI, and the DOJ. In the seven months since Mueller was appointed, his special counsel has already charged four Trump regime members, with more expected from Trump’s inner circle.

Also of note this week is the broad-scale attacks on norms in our fragile democracy. Trump’s regime is actively deconstructing the agencies they run, stripping away rights and regulations, and making science and educational information disappear.

  1. Late Saturday, Trump tweeted that Dave Weigel, a reporter for WAPO, should apologize for a quickly-deleted tweet that included a misleading image about the crowd size of Trump’s Pensacola rally.
  2. Weigel apologized, but Trump then tweeted he should be fired. Trump also lashed out in tweets about ABC News and CNN, complaining the news outlets had to issue corrections on Trump-related stories.
  3. On Sunday, Fox News anchor Leland Vittert falsely reported that Weigel had been fired. Vittert later apologized on-air for his mistake.
  4. On Saturday, Fox News host Jeanine Pirro called for Hillary to be locked up, and added, “There is a cleansing needed in our FBI and Department of Justice,” and those involved “need to be taken out in cuffs.”
  5. On Monday, Trump attacked the NYT over the story citing his TV watching habits, adding he seldom watches CNN and MSNBC (“Fake News”), and never watches CNN host Don Lemon “the, “dumbest man on television!”
  6. CNN accused Trump of online bullying. A spokesperson said, “In a world where bullies torment kids on social media to devastating effect” it is sad to see a leader doing this, adding “Leaders should lead by example.”
  7. On Monday, Sarah Huckabee Sanders accused news outlets of intentionally reported inaccurate information, “There’s a very big difference between making honest mistakes and purposefully misleading the American people.”
  8. On Sunday, after golfing again with Trump, Sen. Lindsey Graham promoted a Trump property in a tweet: “Trump International Golf Club is a spectacular golf course.” Critics pointed out Graham was advertising a Trump property.
  9. The Ohio state legislature passed a bill which would ban abortion when fetuses have Down syndrome. It is uncertain if Gov. John Kasich will sign the bill.
  10. On Monday, French PM Macron criticized Trump for pulling the US out of the Paris climate accord: “When you sign a treaty, you have to respect it… It’s extremely aggressive to decide on his own just to leave…”
  11. Reuters reported on the eve of the climate summit hosted by Macron,France plans to award multi-year climate grants for several US-based scientists to relocate to France.
  12. NYT reported Trump’s EPA has slowed actions against polluters. EPA administrator Scott Pruitt has thus far filed 1,900 cases, one-third fewer than under Obama (2,900 cases) and one-quarter fewer than under W. Bush (2,600 cases) within the same amount of time.
  13. ABC News reported the EPA’s inspector general will investigate whether Pruitt misused appropriated funds when he installed a $25K privacy boothwith a secure phone line in his office.
  14. The Government Accountability Office said the Trump regime had violated the Impoundment Control Act by failing to spend $91 million budgeted for the Energy Department’s Advanced Research Projects, a program that supports R&D for new technologies.
  15. Michael Dourson, Trump’s nominee for a top EPA post, regulator of toxic chemicals, withdrew his nomination after facing criticism for his industry ties. For decades, Dourson conducted research that chemical manufacturers used to downplay the risks of hazardous substances.
  16. On Friday, Mother Jones reported the EPA, using taxpayer money, has hired a cutting-edge Republican PR firm that specializes in digging up opposition research to help Pruitt shape press coverage of the agency.
  17. Pruitt’s no-bid $120K contract went to Definers Corp, a Republican opposition research firm which has promises “war room” style media monitoring.
  18. CNN reported on internal emails revealing that Sec. Ryan Zinke is pushing to allow a new road through a federally protected wilderness area, Izembek National Wildlife Refuge in Alaska. Critics fear it would set a precedent for future development.
  19. WAPO reported the Department of Education inspector general issued a report calling on the agency to process the backlog of tens of thousands of debt forgiveness applications. The report criticized Sec. Betsy DeVos for the agency’s failure.
  20. WAPO reported after Wilbur Ross drew unwanted attention over the size of his wealth, Trump has soured on him. After Ross spent over three months negotiating a steel deal with China, Trump summarily rejected it.
  21. Mother Jones reported on a European Parliament report accusing Ross of using inside information in his sale of Bank of Ireland shares in 2014. Ross sold near the top of the market, before the bank reported losses.
  22. Foreign Policy reported Elizabeth Shackelford, an award-winning diplomat and rising star at the State Department, resigned saying State had “abandoned human rights as a priority” and showed disdain for diplomatic work.
  23. Census experts expressed concern the 2020 census count could be flawed. Experts cited data will be collected online for the first time, and Trump’s aggressive immigration actions have driven minority voters underground.
  24. On Tuesday, at 1:36 pm a Circuit Court judge ordered Alabama election officials to preserve all digital ballot images. At 4:32 pm, the court granted an “emergency motion to stay,” allowing digital ballots to be destroyed.
  25. On Thursday, the National Labor Relations Board overturned a 2015 Obama-era precedent in a 3–2 vote along party lines, which had given workers significant leverage in challenging chains over labor practices.
  26. On Thursday, Trump’s DHS proposed a regulatory change under which spouses of highly skilled H-1B foreign workers would no longer be able to work legally in the US, rolling back a program put in place by Obama.
  27. WAPO reported at a CDC meeting on Thursday, policy analysts were given a list of seven forbidden words: “vulnerable,” “entitlement,” “diversity,” “transgender,” “fetus,” “evidence-based,” and “science-based.”
  28. The seven words are used in many ways in the CDC’s work, for example on ways to prevent HIV among transgender people or birth defects caused by the Zika virus which includes research on the developing fetus.
  29. The chorus of Senators calling for Trump to resign over sexual misconduct grew to six, as Cory Booker, Bernie Sanders, Kirsten Gillibrand, Ron Wyden, and Mazie Hirono joined a call by Jeff Merkley in Week 56
  30. On Sunday, ambassador Nikki Haley told CBS News the women accusing Trump of sexual misconduct, “should be heard” adding, “any woman who has felt violated or felt mistreated in any way,” has the right to speak up.
  31. On Monday, three women who had previously spoken out about Trump’s sexual misconduct, renewed their allegations on the “Today” show and at a news conference, and demanded Congress investigate Trump’s actions.
  32. After the “Today” show, the WH issued a statement saying, “The timing and absurdity of these false claims speaks volumes, and the publicity tour that has begun only further confirms the political motives behind them.”
  33. On Monday, Stacia Robitaille, wife of an NHL hall of fame hockey player, tweeted that Trump “was aggressive & told me I was coming home with him,” while alone in an elevator at Madison Square Garden.
  34. At Monday’s press briefing, Sanders responded to question about Trump’s sexual misconduct by saying the WH would be putting out “multiple reports” of eyewitness accounts refuting the allegations.
  35. WAPO kept a running list of Trump’s accusers and the eyewitness accounts provided by the WH. With the exception of two, no witness who could rebut the accusation was provided, and the witnesses presented were unreliable or not actually present at the time of the alleged incident.
  36. Late Monday, AP reported Trump was infuriated by Haley’s comments, and that accusations against him have resurfaced. Trump drew a parallel to associates of what said were false allegations against Roy Moore.
  37. On Tuesday, Trump tweeted his accusers are “women who I don’t know and/or have never met. FAKE NEWS!” Shortly after, multiple photos and videos surfaced of Trump in the company of various accusers.
  38. On Monday, 54 Democratic congresswomen sent a letter to the House Oversight Committee leaders calling for the committee to investigate allegations of sexual misconduct against Trump.
  39. On Tuesday, over 100 members of the House demanded investigations by the House Oversight Committee into Trump’s sexual misconduct. Rep. Brenda Lawrence said of Trump, “you do not live under a different set of rules.”
  40. On Tuesday, Trump attacked Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand in a sexually suggestive and demeaning tweet, calling her a “lightweight” and “a total flunky for Chuck Schumer,” and saying she would come to his office “begging” for campaign contributions and “(and would do anything for them).”
  41. Gillibrand responded in a tweet: “ You cannot silence me or the millions of women who have gotten off the sidelines to speak out about the unfitness and shame” you bring to the office.
  42. Later, a new conference, Gillibrand called Trump’s tweet “a sexist smear attempting to silence my voice.” Numerous Democrats and women journalists called out Trump for his sexist attack.
  43. On Tuesday, at the press briefing, when reporter April Ryan asked about Trump’s tweets to Gillibrand, Sanders responded that it was “fine” and “I think only if your mind was in the gutter would you have read it that way.”
  44. On Tuesday evening, in an op-ed titled “Will Trump’s lows ever hit rock bottom?” the USA Today Editorial Board excoriated Trump for his Gillibrand tweets and said he “has shown he is not fit for office.
  45. On Wednesday, Eric Trump said in a radio interview he remembered when Gillibrand came to Trump’s office “every three days to ask him for money and ask for major campaign contributions,” calling her now a “distraction.”
  46. Merriam-Webster announced the Word of the Year for 2017 is “feminism,” the top word look-up, including spikes around the Women’s March, The Handmaid’s Tale, Wonder Woman, and the Me Too movement.
  47. A new poll from Ipsos and NPR found 9 in 10 Americans “strongly” or “somewhat” agree that “a zero-tolerance policy for sexual harassment is essential to bringing about change in our society.”
  48. On Tuesday, in a major upset in Alabama’s special election for Sessions’ open senate seat, Democrat Doug Jones defeated Roy Moore, who was endorsed and backed by Trump.
  49. Trump had first backed Luther Strange in the primary for Alabama’s senate seat, and later fully endorsed Moore, despite many in the Republican Party saying he was unfit and allegations of pedophilia.
  50. The victory marks the Democrat’s first senate victory in Alabama in 25 years. Although Trump garnered 62% of the vote in the 2016 election, his approval in exit polling was down to 48%.
  51. Despite losing by more than the margin allowed for a recount, Moore refused to concede. In a video, Moore explained, “We are indeed in a struggle to preserve our republic, our civilization, and our religion.”
  52. Now five days since the election, Moore has yet to concede. On Friday, he sent an email to supporters asking for contributions to his “election integrity fund” so he could investigate reports of voter fraud.
  53. A poll of 18–29 year-olds by Harvard’s Institute for Politics found Trump’s approval among Republicans had dropped 12 points to 25% since spring 2017. Also, 68% of black Americans feel significantly under attack.
  54. A Monmouth poll found Trump’s approval hitting a new low: 32% approve, 56% disapprove. Trump’s approval with women dropped to 24%.
  55. Polls in other red states likewise show a deterioration in Trump’s support: a Vanderbilt University poll found Trump’s approval has dropped from 60% at the 2016 election to 48%. Trump’s approval dropped to 35% in Iowa.
  56. On Tuesday, an Iowa Republican won a special election by 10 points in a district Trump won by 41. Wednesday, Chuck Grassley, chair of the Senate Judicial Committee said two Trump judicial nominees will not be confirmed.
  57. On Tuesday, the Senate confirmed Trump appointee Leonard Steven Grasz to a lifetime seat on the US Court of Appeals despite Grasz earning an unanimous “not qualified” rating from the American Bar Association.
  58. To put this in context, since 1989, the American Bar Association has reviewed 1.7K judicial nominations. Grasz is one of just four to get a unanimous “not qualified” rating. Two were nominated by Trump.
  59. On Wednesday, the WH announced it will not move forward with judicial nominee Brett Talley, another one of the four to get an unanimously “not qualified” rating from the ABA. Talley becomes the third to be withdrawn.
  60. On Wednesday, Trump judicial nominee Matthew Spencer Petersen struggled to answer basic legal questions posed to him by Republican Sen. John Kennedy at his Senate hearing.
  61. On Wednesday, Omarosa Manigault left her role as senior adviser. Initial reports described her throwing a tantrum and demanding to speak to Trump after being fired by chief of staff John Kelly — before being escorted from the WH.
  62. Omarosa dismissed the dramatic narrative of her departure, blaming it on “one individual who has a personal vendetta against me.” Trump tweeted to thank her on Wednesday evening, “I wish you continued success.”
  63. On Thursday, Omarosa told Robin Roberts on ABC News: “as the only African-American woman in this White House, I have seen things that have made me uncomfortable, that have upset me, that have affected me deeply and emotionally.” Roberts later quipped, “Bye, Felicia.”
  64. With Omarosa’s exit, Trump does not have any black senior advisers at the White House. Omarosa’s responsibilities included outreach to historically black colleges and universities, and hosting a Black History Month event.
  65. On Monday, during a town-hall style meeting with dozens of career State Department diplomats, Rex Tillerson said Russia deliberately interfered in the US “democratic processes,” contradicting Trump.
  66. Tillerson contradicted Trump again, who claims that US and Russia “just can’t afford” to not have a productive relationship, saying “today that’s not the case, and we all know why.
  67. NBC News reported, as part of a probe into obstruction of justice, Mueller’s team is scrutinizing the 18-day period between when senior Trump officials were told Flynn was susceptible to blackmail, and his firing.
  68. Sources say Mueller’s team is looking into if there was a deliberate effort by Trump or senior officials to cover up the information Sally Yates conveyed to Don McGahn, who in turn briefed Trump and others, on January 26.
  69. DOJ officials told NBC News they expected Trump would fire Michael Flynn that day, but instead he fired Yates on January 30, citing she would not defend his Muslim ban in court. Trump eventually fired Flynn on February 13.
  70. If Trump knew Flynn lied to the FBI about his conversations with Sergey Kislyak, it raises questions on why he was not fired sooner, and why Trump fired Comey on May 9, after Comey would not drop the Flynn investigation.
  71. Business Insider reported that Trump’s transition team was warned by at four people about potential conflicts of interest and compromising conversations of Flynn: by Obama, Rep. Elijah Cummings, Gov. Chris Christie, and Sally Yates.
  72. On Tuesday, the DOJ turned text messages over to Congress and the media, in which two FBI agents assigned to the special counsel exchanged negative sentiments about Trump during the campaign.
  73. One FBI agent involved, Peter Strzok, was removed from the special counsel by Mueller “immediately” after the texts came to light in July. The other, Lisa Page, has already ended her assignment to Mueller’s office.
  74. There were also critical texts sent about Hillary Clinton, Hillary’s team, the Obama administration, Bernie Sanders and Democrats.” FBI officials who worked with Strzok on the Clinton and Trump investigations said they never detected any bias.
  75. On Friday, the DOJ inspector general said in a letter to House Judiciary Democrats that the department did not consult with his office prior to releasing the texts to the press.
  76. On Tuesday, Axios reported Trump’s lawyers want a second special counsel appointed to investigate the special counsel. Jay Sekulow said the DOJ and FBI cannot ignore the problems created by “obvious conflicts of interests.”
  77. Politico reported while on Air Force One with Trump, Republican Rep. Matt Gaetz said the country is at risk of a “coup d’etat” by Mueller. In a phone interview later, Gaetz stopped short of calling for Trump to fire Mueller.
  78. On Friday, Gaetz told CNN the DOJ was “forced” to release private text messages between Peter Strzok and Lisa Page on Tuesday because Devin Nunes of the House Intelligence Committee “was about to subpoenathem.”
  79. In turn, Democrats demanded documents from the DOJ and a probe into possible bias at the FBI for “politically motivated misconduct” meant to damage Hillary Clinton’s 2016 presidential campaign.
  80. On Wednesday, deputy AG Rod Rosenstein, who appointed Mueller, testified before the House Judiciary Committee. When asked by the committee’s top Democrat Jerry Nadler if there was any cause to fire Mueller, he answered, “no.”
  81. Rosenstein said no one, including Trump, has asked him to remove Mueller. Rosenstein praised Mueller’s special counsel work, said no one is better qualified, and said Mueller is operating within the agreed scope.
  82. Politifact announced its 2017 Lie of the Year: Trump repeatedly claiming Russian election interference is a ‘made-up story.’
  83. A Quinnipiac poll found 73% of Americans believe the Russian government tried to influence the 2016 presidential election, 22% do not.
  84. On Thursday, WSJ reported Mueller’s team asked data operations company Cambridge Analytica to have any employees who worked on the Trump campaign turn over their emails. The request was made in the fall.
  85. The request is a sign that Mueller is probing the Trump campaign’s data operation. Cambridge Analytica reportedly did comply and turned over employee emails to both the special counsel and the House Intelligence Committee.
  86. Mueller’s request was made to Cambridge Analytica CEO Alexander Nix before reports in Week 50 that Nix had contacted Assange during the 2016 campaign to ask about hacked emails and if he “might share that information with us.”
  87. On Tuesday, Trump signed $700 billion defense policy bill, while complaining about provisions included by lawmakers to force a more aggressive policy toward Russia. Trump has yet to impose sanctions voted on by lawmakers.
  88. In a signed statement, Trump objected to 40 provisions related to Russia which were almost unanimously agreed to in Congress, saying the provisions raise constitutional concerns and could dictate foreign policy.
  89. On Wednesday, Donald Jr. testified for nine hours in a private hearing in front of the Senate Intelligence Committee as part of the committee’s Russia probe. Lawmakers are interested in his involvement in the June 9 meeting.
  90. On Thursday, Trump spoke to Putin on the phone. Russian news agency TASS was the first to report the call, similar to past meetings including in Week 26 when Trump met with Sergey Lavrov and Sergey Kislyak in the Oval Office.
  91. Following the call, Putin held an extended news conference in which he praised Trump for “serious achievements,” and, borrowing Trump’s line of “investor confidence in the American economy,” means they trust Trump.
  92. Putin also rejected allegations that Russia meddled in the 2016 election, saying they were “spy hysteria and nonsense” which have damaged the American political system.
  93. An extensive story by WAPO, based on interviews with more than 50 current and former U.S. officials, described Trump’s skepticism of US intelligence on Russia, and his cozying up to authoritarians over allies.
  94. Since Trump took office, he has yet to convene a Cabinet-level meeting on Russian interference or take any steps to address it. Trump continues to deny that Russia interfered with our election, despite evidence.
  95. In the early days of the regime, Trump surrounded himself with aides and advisers who were pro-Putin and Russia. Steve Bannon moved to undercut NATO in the early weeks. Trump has been uncomfortable with our allies.
  96. Current and former officials said Trump’s daily intelligence update is structured to avoid upsetting him. Since Russia-related intelligence may make him angry, often it is included only in the written report, which he is unlikely to read, or the order of the oral presentation is adjusted.
  97. WAPO reported on a July 2015 email from Rob Goldstone to Trump, one month before Trump launched his campaign, saying he could set up a meeting with Putin at a birthday celebration for his client’s father, Aras Agalarov.
  98. On Thursday, WSJ reported the GOP-led House Intelligence Committee scheduled staff interviews in New York with two key witnesses in the Russia probe, Felix Sater and Rhona Graff, Trump’s longtime personal assistant.
  99. Democrats complained that the witnesses were interviewed out of state by staff, not lawmakers. Democrats also expressed concern that Republicans are rushing through investigation to bring it to a premature conclusion.
  100. On Friday, in a series of tweet, Rep. Adam Schiff, the ranking Democrat of the House Intelligence Committee said he was “increasingly worried Republicans will shut down” the committee’s investigation “at the end of the month.”
  101. Schiff noted in addition to the out of state interviews, Republicans have not scheduled any witnesses after next Friday, although dozens of key witnesses have yet to be called.
  102. Also Republicans have also declined to issue subpoenas where needed to get information. Schiff expressed concern that attacks on Mueller, the DOJ and FBI “make it clear they plan to go after Mueller’s investigation.”
  103. On Monday, the Federal Trade Commission and Federal Communications Commission announced an agreement to partner together to police the internet once the FCC repeals its net neutrality rules.
  104. On Wednesday, 18 attorneys general asked the FCC to delay the net neutrality vote pending a fake comment investigation. In New York alone, 2 million comments filed to the commission were falsified.
  105. On Tuesday, the FCC blocked a law enforcement investigation into fraudulent comments in support of net neutrality repeal. The FCC is also facing a lawsuit saying it ignored FOIA requests related to fake comments.
  106. On Wednesday, FCC director Ajit Pai released a YouTube video on the Daily Caller of him wearing a Santa Claus suit and eclipse glasses, and holding a fidget spinner and a toy gun, to make the case for repealing net neutrality.
  107. On Thursday, the FCC voted to repeal net neutrality regulations, which prohibited broadband providers from blocking websites or charging for higher-quality service or certain content, in a 3–2 vote along party line.
  108. In addition to Democrats and consumer groups who vigorously opposed the repeal, the CEO of Reddit said the move would “give internet service providers the ability to choose winners and losers.
  109. On Thursday, New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman announced his office will sue to “stop the FCC’s illegal rollback of net neutrality” by the FCC. Other states are expected join.
  110. Politico reported House Speaker Paul Ryan says he may want to retire after the 2018 midterms. Sources said Ryan had hoped for a more inclusive approach if Trump lost, and is wary of what the job now entails.
  111. On Friday, as he prepared to depart the WH, Trump told reporters he would not rule out pardoning Flynn: “I don’t want to talk about pardons for Michael Flynn yet. We’ll see what happens. Let’s see.”
  112. When asked by reporters when he learned that his former NSA, Flynn had lied to the FBI, Trump refused to answer: “You know the answer. How many times has that question been asked?”
  113. Trump also assailed the FBI, telling reporter, “It’s a shame what’s happened with the FBI,” adding “we’re going to rebuild the FBI” which he said is “really, really disgraceful.”
  114. Trump then spoke at a ceremony at the FBI’s National Academy to a crowd of mostly law enforcement graduates. Trump praised law enforcement and hit his campaign target, Chicago, “What the hell is happening there?”
  115. Trump was introduced by Sessions at the ceremony as “our nation’s highest law enforcement official.” Trump defenders say in that role, he cannot obstruct justice by firing the head of the FBI.
  116. Trump continued his attacks of the FBI and threats of upcoming firings, adding “I’d say like 90% are great, right? The other 10%, that’s not working out so well.” The FBI director was at the event too.
  117. On Friday, in a Fox News interview, Rep. Trey Gowdy hinted that FBI deputy Andrew McCabe may be fired, “I’ll be a little bit surprised if he’s still an employee of the FBI this time next week.”
  118. Roger Stone announced his upcoming book, The Unmaking of a President.Stone said it’s “painfully obvious Mueller will bring charges,” adding Trump will be removed because he has surrounded himself with disloyal people.
  119. A Suffolk University poll found that of people who identified Fox News as their most trusted network, Trump’s favorability has plummeted from 90% in June, to 74% in October, to 58% in December.
  120. Bloomberg reported Ivanka will open her first store in Trump Tower, following a tumultuous year of boycotts and having her brand removed from retailers. The building is protected by metal detectors and security.
  121. The Trump regime refused to extend the deadline for ObamaCare registration, despite a last-minute surge in enrollees. In past years, the Obama administration had extended the deadline for late enrollees.
  122. Eric Holder tweeted “Speaking on behalf of the vast majority of the American people,” attempts to remove Mueller will not be tolerated. On Friday, John Cornyn, the second ranking Republican Senator responded, “You don’t.”
  123. Cornyn further clarified his tweet Saturday in response to a reporter query, adding, “Mueller needs to clean house of partisans.”
  124. On Saturday, America woke up to a top trending headline on Twitter: “If Trump Fires Mueller, We Must Impeach,” describing steps to take if the increasingly likely, previously unthinkable, were to occur.
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Venezuelan artist Carlos Fuenmayor in Wynwood, Miami December2017
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Photo by: Jessica Schnur in Wynwood, Miami December 2017
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Flaming Trump. Photo by: Jessica Schnur in Wynwood, Miami December 2017
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From Facebook, artist unknown. December 2017
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Artist: Lucrative Now (sic) in Wynwood, Miami December 2017
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New York City, October 2017
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POLITIKS OF GRAFFITI 57: BAMBI SAYS “IMPEACH TRUMP”

Week 56 of trump’s presidency: Experts in authoritarianism advise to keep a list of things subtly changing around you, so you’ll remember.

https://medium.com/@Amy_Siskind/week-56-experts-in-authoritarianism-advise-to-keep-a-list-of-things-subtly-changing-around-you-so-b1bf0c786d9f

December 9, 2017

This week, as Trump’s lawyers sought to maneuver around two unfolding stories that could engulf the regime — obstruction of justice and Mueller’s Deutsche Bank subpoena — Trump made radical, devastating moves. Trump forcefully backed an accused pedophile, signed off on the largest elimination of protected land in US history, and recognized Jerusalem as Israel’s capital — all while he continued to disparage the FBI, DOJ, and our free press.

Almost a year into office, Trump’s popularity continues to fall, and he has yet to move forward beyond campaign rhetoric. As his inner-circle continues to shrink, Trump takes actions which move our country towards isolationism, corruption, and kleptocracy.

The growing #MeToo movement of accountability for sexual misconduct led to the first political resignations this week. More are expected, as the drumbeat for accountability for Trump’s past actions grows louder.

Lots of art expressing dissatisfaction with the current state of affairs in the USA at this year’s Art Basel in Wynwood, Miami, FL. Dec2017

In his Saturday tweet, Trump claimed he knew Michael Flynn lied to Vice President Pence and the FBI. When Trump fired Flynn, he had only cited the lie to Pence.

On Sunday, in a tweet, Trump denied pressuring James Comey to stop investigating Flynn. Trump lawyer John Dowd claimed he drafted the Saturday tweet, and made a mistake about Trump’s knowing Flynn lied to the FBI.

On Monday, Dowd told Axios, a president cannot obstruct justice “because he is the chief law enforcement officer under [the Constitution’s Article II] and has every right to express his view of any case.”

WAPO reported 16 Republicans are on the record as saying a president can obstruct justice, including Jeff Sessions who said as senator on President Clinton, “such acts are high crimes, and equal justice requires that he forfeit his office.”

On Sunday, Diane Feinstein, ranking member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, told “Meet the Press” of her committee’s work, “I think what we’re beginning to see is the putting together of a case of obstruction of justice.”

On Sunday, Billy Bush issued an op-ed, saying despite Trump’s denials in Week 55 that it wasn’t his voice on the “Access Hollywood” tape, Trump did say, “Grab ’em by the pussy,” in front of Bush and seven other men.

Bush also said he was highly critical of a Trump’s candidacy, recalling Trump had told him off-camera, “People will just believe you. You just tell them and they believe you.”

The Atlantic reported after the “Access Hollywood” tape, Pence considered a coup to take the spot on the top of the ticket. Karen Pence was disgusted according to an aide: “She finds him reprehensible — just totally vile.”

NYT reported on emails among top officials in Trump’s transition team show Flynn was not acting alone, but rather was in close touch with other senior officials during his conversations with Sergey Kislyak on Russian sanctions.

On December 29, K.T. McFarland emailed a colleague that Obama’s Russia sanctions were a way to discredit Trump’s victory, and make cooperation with Russia “which has just thrown the U.S.A. election to him,” harder.

Her email was sent to Tom Bossert, Trump’s Homeland Security Advisor, who then forwarded the email chain on to six other Trump advisers including Flynn, Reince Priebus, Steve Bannon, and Sean Spicer.

On Monday, Sen. Cory Booker said he was concerned McFarland might have given “false testimony” to the Senate Foreign Relations Committee in her answers about being aware of contact between Flynn and Kislyak.

When Booker asked McFarland in writing last July if she had ever spoke to Flynn about his contact with Kislyak , she had answered in writing, “I am not aware of any of the issues or events described above.”

On Tuesday, Democrats placed a hold on McFarland’s nomination to be ambassador to Singapore, pending her answering questions about her knowledge of communications between Flynn and Kislyak.

On Sunday, Newsweek reported Jared Kushner failed to disclose his role as a co-director of the Charles and Seryl Kushner Foundation, at a time the group funded an illegal Israeli settlement, on his financial records with the Office of Government Ethics.

On Sunday, Trump sent a series of tweets disparaging the DOJ and FBI, criticizing the agencies for not going after his political enemy Hillary, and saying the FBI, after being run by Comey “is in Tatters — worst in History!”

Comey, Sally Yates, and Eric Holder defended the FBI in tweets of their own. The FBI director sent an email to agents supporting them, saying he is “inspired by example after example of professionalism and dedication to justice.”

On Monday, the DOJ agreed to allow the House Intel Committee to interview a key FBI employee who served as the contact to Christopher Steele. The agreement comes after a public spat started by Rep. Devin Nunes and flamed by Trump.

Nunes and Trump had publicly accused the DOJ of stymieing the House investigation. In reality, the DOJ met with Nunes and his staffers, and they were given access to highly classified materials for the past two months.

NYT reported Trump’s catchphrase, “fake news,” is being used being used in Myanmar to justify ethnic cleansing. An officer in Rakhine’s state security ministry said of accusations, “It is fake news.”

On Monday, the Supreme Court allowed the third version of Trump’s Travel Ban to take effect while legal challenges against it continue. This victory allows the regime to enforce restrictions against eight countries, six of which are predominantly Muslim.

The NAACP urged Trump to not attend the opening of the Mississippi Civil Rights Museum on Saturday, saying Trump’s attendance would be an “affront” to the movement commemorated by the museum.

On Thursday, Rep. John Lewis said he would not participate in the opening because of Trump’s presence, saying “Trump’s attendance and his hurtful policies are an insult to the people portrayed in this civil rights museum.”

On Friday, the WH announced Trump will not speak at the public ceremony for the opening of the Mississippi’s Civil Rights Museum, but rather will participate in a separate private event.

On Friday, Trump ally Rep. Steve King tweeted, “Diversity is not our strength,” citing Hungarian PM Orban who said, “Mixing cultures will not lead to a higher quality of life but a lower one.”

WAPO reported more than a half-dozen technology experts and former national security officials filed a brief to halt Trump’s Election Integrity Commission from collecting of voter information for a database.

Experts cite concerns the proposed voter database could be hacked by foreign adversaries. In Week 32, a Republican data firm left personal information on nearly 200 million voters unprotected online in 2016.

In Kansas, the home state of Kris Kobach, the vice-chair of Trump’s Election Integrity Commission, 23 disabled Americans lost their voting rights in the November 2017 election because Kobach’s SAFE Act was instituted.

On Thursday, Trump hosted a Hanukkah reception at the WH, but failed to invite the Jewish Congressional Democrats.

On Sunday, US ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley said the US is walking away from UN migration and refugee pact, saying it “contains numerous provisions that are inconsistent” with US policies.

McClatchy reported despite Trump’s vow not make any deals with foreign government entities while he serves, a construction company owned in part by the governments of Saudi Arabia and South Korea will build a Trump resort in Indonesia. This is the second violation.

The Trump regime closed the Community Resilience Panel for Buildings and Infrastructure Systems, a group created by Obama in 2015 to help local officials protect against extreme weather and natural disasters.

Intercept reported Trump’s WH is considering set a of proposals developed by Erik Prince and a retired CIA officer to provide the CIA and WH with a global, private spy network that would circumvent official US intelligence.

The plan is being pitch as a way to counter “deep state” enemies in the intelligence community out to get Trump. Director Mike Pompeo allegedly does not trust the CIA bureaucracy, but this group would report just directly to him.

On Monday, the Department of Labor reversed Obama-era restrictions on tip-pooling, which allows employers to combine servers’ tips and share them with “back of the house” employees, such as cooks and dishwashers.

Nike, the Trump Organization’s biggest tenant in a single space, is vacating its iconic Niketown flagship store at 6 East 57th Street in NY. Trump’s political rhetoric played a role in the company’s decision.

On Thursday, the Trump regime rolled back an Obama-era rule which required trains carrying highly explosive liquids to install electronically controlled pneumatic brakes by 2021, to help prevent fiery train wrecks.

Reuters reported in a reversal from an Obama-era policy to prevent bank examiners from becoming sympathetic, Trump’s US Comptroller, Joseph Otting, said he would allow examiners to work in-house at banks.

On Thursday, the House Ethics Committee said Nunes had not violated laws or congressional rules on disclosing classified information, leaving Nunes free to resume his leadership of the House Intel Committee Russia probe.

Reuters reported DNI Dan Coats revealed tighter restrictions in a new “unmasking” policy. Critics fear the order would infringe on the political independence of the intelligence, and endanger work with allies.

Sessions’ DOJ moved to investigate Planned Parenthood, sending a letter to the Senate Judiciary Committee requesting documents from the committee’s investigation of Planned Parenthood’s fetal tissue practices.

As part of Betsy DeVos’s changes to campus sexual assault policy, a House Republican higher education bill would allow colleges to delay or suspend their internal investigations if police or prosecutors ask them to do so.

POLITICO reported Ryan Zinke’s travel logs obtained under the FOIA show he spent more than $14K on government helicopters last summer for he and his staff to attend DC events, and to horseback ride with Pence.

Dina Powell, Trump’s deputy national security adviser, and a driving force behind Trump’s Middle East policy, is departing after serving one year. In Week 55, numerous departures from Trump’s WH are expected.

LA Times reported Mick Mulvaney is moving quickly to make changes at the CFPB, an agency he had criticized. He has installed some of his aides into bureau positions and is reviewing legal actions against financial firms.

Deputy director Leandra English continued her legal battle, and on Friday, 18 state Attorneys General signed on to the lawsuit challenging Trump’s appointment of Mulvaney as acting director.

Trump hit his lowest approval numbers in a new Pew Research poll, which found 32% approve. Trump is more unpopular than any modern-day leader at this point in his tenure.

WSJ reported although Chief of Staff John Kelly has established protocols for communicating with and having access to Trump within the WH, Trump has found loopholes to circumvent those protocols.

Trump calls WH aides to the private residence in the evening, where he makes assignments and tells aides not to tell Kelly — or he goes off-schedule to make calls. Contacts also reach out to him through Melania.

On Monday, Trump signed proclamations drastically shrinking two Utah monuments: Bears Ears National Monument by more than 80%, and Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument by roughly 45%.

Zinke introduced Trump, saying, “Our public land is for the public to use and not special interests. This is about giving rural America a voice.”

Outdoor clothing retailer Patagonia said it planned to sue Trump, as the company’s home page read: “The President Stole Your Land,” adding, “This is the largest elimination of protected land in American history.”

Native American tribes and several environmental groups also filed suits. Outdoor clothing retailer REI’s home page read, “We Love Our Public Lands,” with an accompanying statement.

On Friday, the Twitter account for the House Committee on Natural Resources tweeted a meme: “Patagonia Is Lying to You. A corporate giant hijacking our public lands debate to sell more products to wealthy elitists…”

WAPO reported uranium company, Energy Fuels Resources played a major role in lobbying Zinke and his staff to shrink the Bear Ears National Monument, saying it would give the company easier access to deposits.

On Monday, Reuters reported Mueller’s team accused Paul Manafort of working with a Russian to draft an op-ed about his political work in Ukraine. Manafort had been working on the article as recently as November 30.

If Manafort’s piece had been published, it would have violated the court’s November 8 gag order. As such, the special counsel said the judge should reject Manafort’s request in Week 55 to change his bail deal.

On Monday, WAPO reported the special counsel said in a statement Manafort has been “assessed to have ties” to Russian intelligence — making him the first member of the Trump regime to have such ties.

On Tuesday, WAPO reported Oleg Voloshyn, a Ukrainian political pundit and former government official said Manafort did not ghost-write the piece. Rather, he emailed a draft to Manafort business partner Konstantin Kilimnik.

On Friday, Mueller’s team filed documents which showed not only did Manafort make extensive edits to the op-ed, he also contributed to the overall themes in the piece, attempting to paint himself in a positive light.

While Mueller’s team maintains Manafort violated the judge’s gag order, lawyers for Manafort claimed the special counsel is unfairly restricting his free speech, saying “all he has tried to do is to correct the public record.”

POLITICO reported on the dramatic FBI arrest of George Papadopoulos as he stepped off a plane late at night: using shock value as a way to flip a witness. The next morning Mueller’s team told a judge Papadopoulos was willing to cooperate.

POLITICO reported paranoia is enveloping the WH as the Mueller probe heats up and as Flynn agreed to cooperate. One source close to the WH said, “Everyone thinks they’re being recorded.”

On Tuesday, NBC News reported Natalia Veselnitskaya told the Senate Judiciary Committee that Donald Jr. had asked her at the June 9 Trump Tower meeting whether she had evidence of illegal donations to the Clinton Foundation.

Veselnitskaya claimed in her 51-page statement after she said she did not have meaningful information on Hillary, Donald Jr. lost interest and the meeting petered out. She claimed to be there to discuss the Magnitsky Act.

On Tuesday, CNN reported Pence’s aides are nervous that Flynn pleading guilty to lying to the FBI and Pence will leave open the door for Mueller to question Pence, who continues to maintain he was out of the loop.

On Tuesday, German daily Handelsblatt reported Deutsche Bank received a subpoena from Mueller’s team, demanding the bank provide information on its dealings with the Trumps.

WSJ reported the subpoena is for documents related to people or entities affiliated with Trump, and people close to him — not Trump himself. Deutsche has lent more than $300 million to entities affiliated with Trump.

Reuters reported Deutsche Bank received the subpoena several weeks ago to provide information on certain money and credit transactions, and that the information has already been provided.

Deutsche Bank has lent Trump hundreds of millions over the past decade, while other banks have stepped back due to his numerous bankruptcies. In Week 19, Deutsche was fined for laundering Russian money.

Mueller’s team is also looking into whether Deutsche may have sold some of Trump’s mortgages or loans to Russian state banks VEB, VTB, Russian Agricultural Bank, Gazprombank, or Sberbank.

Trump lawyer Jay Sekulow denied Trump’s information has been turned over, saying, “No subpoena has been issued or received. We have confirmed this with the bank and other sources.”

Trump lawyer Dowd told Bloomberg that he had been told by Deutsche Bank that no such subpoena had been issued.

On Wednesday, Handelsblatt stood by their reporting despite denials by Trump’s legal team, saying Deutsche Bank was subpoenaed weeks ago. It remains unclear if the subpoena relates to Trump or a family member.

On Wednesday, Donald Jr. testified for eight hours in front of the House Intel Committee in a private session about the June 9 meeting, his communications with WikiLeaks and business of the Trump Organization.

Donald Jr. told the House Intel Committee he did not communicate directly with Trump when confronted with news reports of the June 9 Trump Tower meeting, but rather with Hope Hicks.

Donald Jr. refused to provide details of the call with his father on July 10, claiming the conversation was protected under attorney-client privilege because lawyers for both men were on the call.

Rep. Adam Schiff, the ranking Democrat on the committee, said Donald Jr. acknowledged he had discussed the Trump Tower meeting by telephone with Trump. Schiff rejected Donald Jr.’s use of attorney-client privilege.

POLITICO reported the House Intel Committee is probing the European travel during and after the campaign of several Trump associates including Donald Jr., Michael Cohen, Carter Page, George Papadopoulos, and Jeffrey Gordon.

Congressional investigators want to know if Trump aides met with Kremlin-linked operatives as part of Russia’s interference in the 2016 election. Explanations for their trips have not been forthcoming.

NYT reported according to a whistleblower who contacted Rep. Elijah Cummings, during Trump’s Inauguration ceremony, Flynn texted a business associate that Russian sanction would “ripped away” as one of Trump’s first acts.

Flynn believed ending sanctions would allow a business venture with Russia to build nuclear power plants in the Middle East. He texted his former business associate to say the project was “good to go.”

Flynn was texting Alex Copson of ACU Strategic Partners, a company Flynn advised in 2015. Copson told the whistleblower Flynn’s text directed him to tell others involved in the nuclear project to continue developing their plans, adding “This is going to make a lot of very wealthy people.”

Cummings sent a letter to Rep. Trey Gowdy, who chose not to subpoena the whistleblower. He also informed Mueller’s team who asked him not to go public with it until “they completed certain investigative steps.”

On Friday, Papadopoulos’ fiancee, Simona Mangiante, told ABC News, he “set up meetings with leaders all over the world” for, and was “constantly in touch with” senior campaign officials, including Bannon and Flynn.

She added Papadopoulos will have a firm place in history as “the first domino in the Russia investigation,” saying he is loyal to his country, “He is already on the right side of history. I think he will make a big difference.”

On Wednesday, the House Intelligence Committee released Erik Prince’s closed-door testimony from November 30th. Prince claimed that when he met with the Russian banker, he was not acting on behalf of Trump.

Prince testified he was in Seychelles for business, and someone recommended he meet Kirill Dmitriev, the CEO of RDIF, Russia’s $10 billion sovereign wealth fund. Prince claimed he had to Google for a photo of him.

Prince said they discussed US-Russia relations, including joint efforts to defeat Islamic terrorism together. Prince claimed he didn’t discuss Russian sanctions, or the prospect of doing business with Dmitriev.

Schiff issued a statement on Prince’s testimony, saying “Prince also could not adequately explain why he traveled halfway around the world to meet with UAE officials and, ultimately, the head of the Russian fund.”

As part of testimony, Prince also revealed he had interned for pro-Russian congressman Dana Rohrabacher. When asked if he spoke to Rohrabacher during the campaign, Prince said, “I don’t recall. No, I don’t think I did.”

Russian oligarch Oleg Deripaska dropped his appeal of a libel suit filed against AP. Deripaska’s suit claimed AP falsely implied he was paying Manafort for work aimed at advancing the goals of the Russian government and Putin.

In a status report filed in court by Mueller’s team Friday, the special counsel revealed it has issued 15 search warrants related to Manafort and his business and campaign aide Gates.

Special counsel has obtained more than 400K financial and corporate records, and emails — 116k are considered “particularly relevant,” and 2K considered “hot” documents containing information crucial to the case.

NYT reported the FBI warned Hicks of repeated attempts by Russians to make contact with her using email during the transition period, even after US intelligence had publicly warned about Russian interference.

NYT reported the Trump Organization will be a big beneficiary of the Republican tax bill, noting the real estate industry and real estate investment trusts were given special treatment on several provisions.

The CEO of Murray Energy, one of the country’s largest coal companies, ripped the Republican tax bill, saying it would “wipe out” coal mining jobs, and adding “We won’t have enough cash flow to exist.”

WAPO reported some of Trump’s wealthiest friends in NY asked him at fundraising event for changes to the Republican tax plan, complaining it will drive up their taxes and hurt his home state — and Trump is listening.

On Monday, Trump endorsed Roy Moore. Later that day, the RNC changed course and threw support behind Moore, despite additional allegations coming out during the day from a woman when she was 17 years-old.

On Tuesday, Republican Jeff Flake posted a photo on Twitter of his $100 check to Roy Moore’s democratic challenger Doug Jones, adding “Country over Party” in the memo line.

TIME named “The Silence Breakers” the 2017 Person of the Year, celebrating the voices that launched a movement to bring sexual assault and harassment into the light of day. Trump was the runner-up.

In their cover story, TIME mentioned harassment allegations by several women against Trump, noting these allegations were cited as one of the catalysts for many to speak out against the abuse of power.

On Thursday, Sen. Al Franken stepped down after 33 Senate Democrats called on him to resign over sexual harassment allegations, adding in his parting words, “I am leaving while a man who has bragged on tape about his history of sexual assault sits in the Oval Office.”

On Friday, Republican Rep. Trent Franks abruptly resigned as AP reported he had offered a former aide $5 million to act as a surrogate. The news invited comparisons to The Handmaid’s Tale.

On Friday, new allegations of sexual harassment surfaced against Trump, as former Fox News anchor Juliet Huddy said he tried to kiss her on an elevator after he took her to lunch at Trump Tower in 2005.

A Quinnipiac poll found 70% of Americans believe Congress should investigate accusations of sexual harassment against Trump, 25% do not.

Sen, Jeff Merkley became the first Senator to call on Trump to resign over sexual misconduct allegations, saying of Trump “he certainly has a track record with more than 17 women of horrific conduct.”

NYT reported while in Puerto Rico, the USNS Comfort was prepared to support 250 hospital beds, but in its limited time at the island, admitted an average of only six patients a day, or 290 in total.

The ship was staffed with 800 personnel, costing $180K a day, yet the ship received an average of 36 people a day as outpatients or inpatients. On November 15, the ship left to restock. On November 17, it was sent home.

NYT reported the “official” death toll in Puerto Rico of 62, vastly understates actual deaths, which they estimate at 1,052 though the end of October, using past years’ mortality as a comparison.

WAPO reported some Republicans are organizing to discredit Mueller over time, including Fox News host Sean Hannity, several conservative lawmakers, and conservative group Judicial Watch.

On Monday, deputy AG Rod Rosenstein who appointed Mueller to head the special counsel, said he is satisfied with special counsel’s work.

WSJ reported Trump’s allies are urging a hardline against Mueller as the probe heats up and despite Trump’s attorneys assessment, will drag on into 2018. Allies say Trump should end his lawyers’ cooperative approach.

Allies cites as bias Peter Strzok, who had sent text messages that were critical of Trump during the 2016 election. Mueller dismissed Strzok upon learning about his texts last summer.

On Friday, ABC News reported that after Mueller dismissed Strzok, he brought on David Archey, a veteran FBI official briefly involved in the launch of the agency’s probe into Hillary’s private email server.

On Wednesday, Rep. Al Green read a resolution in the House to impeach Trump. The House overwhelmingly voted to kill the resolution (364 votes); however 58 Democrats voted for the resolution.

On Wednesday, Trump formally recognized Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, and announced plans to eventually relocate the US Embassy there, despite criticism from Rex Tillerson, James Mattis, and several close US allies.

WAPO reported Trump had made up his mind on Jerusalem months before seeking input from advisers, and that Trump didn’t “have a full understanding” of the issue or what he “could trigger by doing this.”

Trump’s move reverses seven decades of US policy. On Thursday, David Satterfield, an acting assistant secretary said the State Department has not yet said whether the US considers Jerusalem to be part of Israel.

While delivering his statement on Jerusalem, towards the end of the speech, Trump noticeably slurred and mispronounced words. On Thursday, at a press briefing, press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said Trump’s “throat was dry.”

Sanders also said Trump will undergo a physical examination at Walter Reed in the beginning of next year, and records will be released. Trump did not have a traditional medical examination as a candidate.

Captain Carri Weber of the Plainfield Police Department in Indiana was put on paid administrative leave on November 16, after telling a fellow officer he benefited from “white male privilege” during a training seminar.

On Thursday, after the suspension received national media attention from WAPO, the Plainfield Board of Police Commissioners reinstated Captain Weber, but a letter of reprimand will be kept in her permanent file.

On Tuesday, at a foreign policy conference in Berlin, German Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel said German relations with the US “will never be the same” after Trump, saying Trump sees Germany as a “competitor.”

On Friday, former President Obama urged voters to stay engaged, invoking complacency led to the rise of Nazi Germany, “You have to tend to this garden of democracy, otherwise things can fall apart fairly quickly.”

On Thursday, Judge Rudolph Contreras, the judge who took Flynn’s guilty plea, recused himself from the case. No reason was given.

Catching Olympic leaders off-guard, ambassador Haley and press secretary Sanders said it was uncertain if the US would attend in South Korea, amid lingering tensions in the area.

Sanders later dialed back in a tweet, “The US looks forward to participating.” Earlier in the week, Russia was banned from the Winter Olympics by the I.O.C. as a punishment for systematic doping.

On Friday, Trump held a campaign-style rally in Pensacola, FL with many of same themes are during his campaign over a year ago, including the crowd chanting “lock her up,” as Trump talked of the “rigged system.”

Trump also raised the theme of Chicago, a city he has invoked to attack people of color since his 2016 campaign: “What the hell is going on in Chicago? There are those that say Afghanistan is safer than Chicago.”

Politifact reported Trump’s speech was full of false statements, including in matters relating to his attacks on the media, Chicago, and other issues.

NYT reported before he took office, Trump told top aides to think of each day “as an episode in a television show” in which he vanquishes rivals. In office, he spends four, sometimes up to eight hours per day watching tv.

Insiders say part of Trump’s difficult adjustment is rooted in an unrealistic expectation of powers: he thought it would be more akin to imperial command than having to coexist with two other branches of government

Artist Ben Levy 9dec17 Miami, FL, USA 🇺🇸

POLITIKS OF GRAFFITI 55: IT’S A REGIME, FOLKS!

Week 54: Experts in authoritarianism advise to keep a list of things subtly changing around you, so you’ll remember.

November 25, 2017 https://medium.com/@Amy_Siskind/week-54-experts-in-authoritarianism-advise-to-keep-a-list-of-things-subtly-changing-around-you-so-3bc5fd9ba18b

From AMY SISKIND’S FACT-FILLED, COMPREHENSIVE, WEEKLY LIST:

This week Trump’s manufactured crises returned, as he sought to seize back the narrative and distract from the increasing instability within the regime, and developments relating to his inner-circle in the Trump-Russia probes.

Trump’s deconstructing of the executive branch continues, as agencies go unstaffed or are led by regime members who are revoking regulations and winding down staff. Kleptocracy and insider dealings continue, although Trump’s tarnished name and brand is hurting him financially on several fronts. The judicial branch seems to be the only thing holding the regime in check, though Trump has drastic changes underway there too.

  1. On Sunday, Trump attacked the father of one of the UCLA basketball players released from prison in China, saying LaVar Ball did not appear grateful for his help, adding of the players, “I should have left them in jail.
  2. On Monday, press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said Trump’s tweet was a “rhetorical response,” and that Trump does not regret helping the UCLA players.
  3. On Sunday, after Sen. Jeff Flake was caught on an open microphone saying “(If we) become the party of Roy Moore and Donald Trump, we are toast,” Trump attacked Flake tweeting, “his political career anyway is “toast.””
  4. On Monday, Trump attacked another black athlete, Marshawn Lynch for standing during the Mexican Anthem and sitting for the National Anthem, tweeting, “next time NFL should suspend him for remainder of season.”
  5. On Monday, Fox News’ Neil Cavuto shredded Trump saying he is president, “why don’t you act like it?” Cavuto also told Trump he is “running out of friends,” and it’s not “fake news media that’s your problem. It’s you.”
  6. Trump continued his attacks on LaVar Ball during the week, calling him a “poor man’s version of Don King, but without the hair,” and an “ungrateful fool.” Ball responded — as separately did Marshawn Lynch’s mother.
  7. Additional remains of Sgt. LaDavid Johnson were found in Niger. In Week 49, Myeshia Johnson was denied seeing her husband’s body and was publicly criticized by Trump. The details of his death are still not known.
  8. Trump responded to a reporter who tweeted that Trump’s “rage-tweets” on Ball were part of a pattern of attacks on high profile African Americans to feed his base, by tweeting “MAKE AMERICA GREAT AGAIN!
  9. In another historic first in the string of rebukes to Trump, Democrat LaToya Cantrell won her race to become the first female mayor of New Orleans in the city’s 300-year history. Cantrell is also a woman of color.
  10. WAPO reported a sheriff’s deputy in VA was reassigned out of her job in the local school system after attending a Halloween party in blackface as part of her costume to look like Rep. Frederica Wilson.
  11. On Monday, acting DHS director Elaine Duke announced the Trump regime would not extend special deportation protection known as Temporary Protected Status for 59K Haitians here since the 2010 earthquake.
  12. On Monday, Trump’s DOJ asked the Supreme Court to fully reinstate its travel restrictions on six Muslim-majority countries. Trump said he is doing this to protect the US from terrorists and is not targeting Muslims.
  13. The DHS inspector general informed lawmakers that Customs and Border Protection agents violated at least two court orders in their zeal to enforce Trump’s travel ban by banning passengers from boarding a plane.
  14. On Monday, a federal judge permanently blocked Trump’s executive order to cut funding from cities that limit cooperation with U.S. immigration authorities — so-called sanctuary cities.
  15. On Tuesday, a second federal judge ruled against Trump’s transgender military ban, halting the ban and saying active-duty service members are “already suffering harmful consequences.”
  16. On Wednesday, the WSJ reported Trump’s DOJ has opened an investigation into Harvard’s admission practices, citing similar allegations in a 2014 case, and said the university is not cooperating with the probe.
  17. The DOJ is investigating Harvard’s diversity policies under Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which bars discrimination on the basis of race, color and national origin for organizations that receive federal funding.
  18. Betsy DeVos’ Education Department is considering limiting the scope of civil right investigations at schools, to only look only at the specific incident and not focus on “systemic” or institutional issues.
  19. Juli Briskman, the cyclist who got fired by her employer in Week 52 for giving Trump the middle finger, has raised $124K from more than 5.5K sponsors on a GoFundMe page set up by one of her friends.
  20. On Monday, during the last press briefing before the Thanksgiving holiday, press secretary Sanders told reporters they would need to say what they were grateful for before asking a question. Most reporters complied.
  21. POLITICO reported Corey Lewandowski has a new base for operations, a row house in DC. Although Lewandowski claims to have cut ties with lobbying firm Turnberry, the firm lists the same address as where he resides.
  22. Daily Beast reported, based on public records, 20 family members have landed jobs in the Trump regime. Also, not since the Kennedy’s have so many blood-relatives occupied so many prominent roles.
  23. On Monday, Reuters reported the DOJ will sue to stop AT&T from buying Time Warner, owner of CNN, which Trump has attacked consistently as fake news. In Week 52, Rupert Murdoch approached AT&T to buy CNN.
  24. On Monday, the attorney for Karen Forsenca said she might pursue a civil rights lawsuit against Fort Bend County Sheriff Troy Nehls for violating her First Amendment rights.
  25. On Monday, Sessions’ DOJ announced it will award $100 million to local police departments that notify federal authorities about undocumented immigrants in local custody, and let immigration officers into their jails.
  26. Sessions’ DOJ abruptly announced it is cutting off funding for 16 halfway houses. The cuts come weeks after Sessions’ named Mark Inch to lead the federal prison system as Bureau of Prisons Director.
  27. Trump’s FCC chair Ajit Pai said he has shared his plan and to fully dismantle the Obama-era net neutrality regulations with his fellow commissioners amid public protest, including from one of his fellow commissioners.
  28. CBS News reported the Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) under Trump is a ghost town. Staffing is down from 135 under Obama to just 45 under Trump, most of whom do not have a background in science.
  29. This is also the longest the agency, a hub of innovation, has gone in its 41-year history without a leader. When asked, a WH official said there are no personnel announcements planned for the OSTP at this time.
  30. The Senate voted to confirm David Zatezalo, Trump’s pick to head the Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA). As a mining executive Zatezalo’s company had with numerous safety complaints from MSHA.
  31. POLITICO reported Trump’s lead pick to run the Census Bureau, Thomas Brunell, a Texas professor who is the author of a book which claims competitive elections are bad for America, is causing alarm.
  32. Slate reported Trump nominee Brett Talley did not reveal his message board posts using a pseudonym in which he said on capital punishment it would be “awesome” to bring back the electric chair and “just shoot them.”
  33. POLITICO reported the FEC is probing discrepancies in the most recent campaign finance report at a PAC previously affiliated with Ryan Zinke, including incomplete donor info, a $200K discrepancy, and other issues.
  34. WAPO reported on Conservatives’ plan for Trump to pack the courts. The plan calls for Trump to add 650 lifetime members to the federal judiciary in the next 12 months. Obama named 325 members in his eight years.
  35. Many positions were open while Obama was in office. The other part of the plan is to dramatically increase the number of judiciary positions, creating 260–447 new positions, a 30–50%, increase under Trump.
  36. As Congress has not extended CHIP, which provides healthcare to 9 million low-income children and 370K pregnant women, 12 states are preparing to notify families they will no longer have care at year-end.
  37. ProPublica reported Property of the People sued the Trump regime under the FOIA for the visitor records of five federal offices working directly with Trump. Records released have 2,169 redactions for 8,807 meetings.
  38. ProPublica reported, according to logs the WH was forced to release under the FOIA, Mick Mulvaney has been meeting with long list of lobbyists, corporate execs and wealthy people with business interests before the government.
  39. Visitors include Koch Industries lobbyists, Trump friend Steve Wynn, health care and Wall Street CEOs, numerous officials from the Heritage Foundation, and a prominent member of the Catholic group Opus Dei.
  40. Reuters reported a group of a dozen State Department officials took the unusual step of formally accusing Rex Tillerson of violating a federal lawdesigned to stop foreign militaries from enlisting child soldiers in a “dissent” memo.
  41. The memo claims Tillerson breached the Child Soldiers Prevention Act by excluding Iraq, Myanmar, and Afghanistan from a list of offenders in order to make it easier to provide the countries with US military assistance.
  42. NYT reported diplomats in the State Department are continuing to sound the alarm as they are pushed out in droves in a series of dismissals and early retirements which have decimated the agency’s senior ranks.
  43. Bill Miller, chief of security, said Tillerson had turned down his requests to brief him on security needs at US embassies his first nine months. Republicans were highly critical of Hillary on lack of security in Benghazi.
  44. Finally Miller, a career Foreign Service officer, cited the requirement that he be allowed to speak to Tillerson. Shortly after, he was fired. This marks a new stage in the contentious relationship between Tillerson and staff.
  45. POLITICO reported the KGB has been interested in Trump for decades, citing his first trip to Moscow in 1987 which was arranged by the top level of the Soviet diplomatic service.
  46. On Monday, WAPO reported on the mood in the WH as the Mueller probe has entered Trump’s inner circle. Ty Cobb has giving assurance the investigation will wrap up quickly and Trump is not under investigation.
  47. Trump is reportedly arrogant and views the Mueller probe as “just an annoyance.” Meanwhile almost all have had to hire attorneys. Junior staffers fear legal bills could run three to four times their annual salaries.
  48. Per Mueller’s charging documents, at least nine people in the Trump orbit had contact with Russians during the campaign or transition period. One staffer kidded the morning greeting is, “Good morning. Are you wired?’
  49. Witnesses questioned by Mueller say investigators are asking about foreign contacts and meetings that are not yet public, and warn to expect a series of new revelations despite Cobb’s assurances that the end is near.
  50. On Monday, Bloomberg reported the Trump campaign said it will stop paying Donald Jr.’s legal fees, and is instead setting up a legal fund to pay costs for him and other campaign staffers relating to the Russia probe.
  51. Former OGE director Walter Shaub noted the concern that “a mysterious “pooled” legal defense fund” could influence witness testimony unless the fund establishes clear criteria for allocating distributions
  52. The yacht of Russian oligarch Roman Abramovich, a frequent subject in the lists, docked near Mar-A-Lago, where Trump will spend Thanksgiving. A spokesperson told Palm Beach Post that Abramovich is not aboard.
  53. ABC News reported Mueller has directed the DOJ to turn over a broad array of documents related the Comey firing and Sessions’ decision to recuse himself. Trump has been publicly critical of Sessions’ recusal.
  54. The directive is Mueller’s first record request to the DOJ, the department overseeing his investigation, and signals his team is looking into whether the Trump regime tried to improperly influence an ongoing investigation.
  55. CBS News confirmed Donald Jr. met with Alexander Torshin, a man tied to organized crime and with close ties to the Kremlin, at a NRA in May 2016, three weeks before the June 9 meeting at Trump Tower.
  56. ABC News reports the House Intel Committee is looking into Carter Page’s travel to meet with senior officials in Hungary in September 2016. The Hungarian prime minister was the first foreign leader to endorse Trump.
  57. Page had 45-minute meeting with Jeno Megyesy, a close adviser to Hungarian PM Orban, who has become increasingly aligned with Putin. Experts also consider Budapest a hub for Russian intelligence activity.
  58. CNN reported Mueller will be interviewing three Trump insiders in the coming days: Hope Hicks, Don McGahn and Josh Raffel, a PR specialist who had previously worked for Kushner in the private sector.
  59. Hicks has been one of Trump’s closest confidantes, and joined the campaign in spring 2015. Hicks was always by his side on the campaign trail, and now has a desk just outside the Oval Office.
  60. NYT reported in 2012, the FBI told Rep. Dana Rohrabacher that Russia regarded him as an intelligence source. Mueller is interesting meetings Rohrabacher had with Julian Assange in London in August 2016, and with Michael Flynn last year.
  61. WSJ reported Mueller is investigating Jared Kushner’s interactions with foreign leaders during the transition period, including a dispute at the UN in December 2016, in a sign Mueller’s probe is expanding.
  62. The UN resolution condemning Israel for constructing settlements in disputed territories passed December 23, and the Obama admin declined to block it. Israeli officials then reached out to Kushner and Steve Bannon.
  63. Mueller is scrutinizing Kushner for indicating he had no foreign contacts in his initial security clearance forms, then updating the form at least three times to include more than 100 contacts with more than 20 countries.
  64. Kushner allegedly urged Trump to fire James Comey in a meeting with other top officials. According to sources, Kushner thought Comey was too unpredictable and that Democrats would cheer for his ouster.
  65. Daily Beast reported before the June 9 meeting, Roman Beniaminov, a low-level real estate executive with ties to Russia, let Ike Kaveladze know he heard from Rob Goldstone that “dirt” on Hillary would come up.
  66. Reuters reported the Kremlin chief media regulator said it will take action against Google if Sputnik and RT are placed lower in search results.
  67. Vanity Fair reported before Trump infamously turned over Israeli secrets to Kislyak and Lavrov in the Oval Office, while Obama was still in office, US Intel warned Israel that Putin had “leverages of pressure” over Trump.
  68. Information shared by Trump included the outline of a plot to turn laptop computers into airborne bombs. He shared at least one highly classified op detail not even shared with even Congress or friendly governments.
  69. Although he did not name Israel as the US partner that had detected the threat, Trump told Kislyak and Lavrov the ISIS-held territory where Israel had detected the threat.
  70. McClatchy reported Paul Manafort took at least 18 trips to Moscow and was in frequent contact with Putin allies for nearly a decade as a consultant in Russia and Ukraine for oligarchs and pro-Kremlin parties.
  71. In between 2004–2015, Manafort visited Ukraine at least 138 times. Prosecutors have charged that Manafort and Rick Gates funneled at least $75 million in consulting fees from an array of Kremlin-linked clients.
  72. Manafort’s web of connections included Russian oligarchs Deripaska and Firtash, who helped finance Ukraine’s pro-Moscow President Yanukovych,and Viktor Medvedchuk, thought to be a Russian intelligence agent.
  73. As a consultant in the Ukraine, including when he was chosen as Trump’s campaign manager, Manafort advocated an anti-NATO stance. Trump adopted that stance, and also questioned Obama’s sanctions on Russia.
  74. Manafort met with Andrey Artemenko, a pro-Moscow Ukrainian legislator in 2013. Artemenko’s citizenship was revoked this year after disclosure he and Michael Cohen had pitched a peace plan for Ukraine and Russia.
  75. In the summer of 2016, both presidential candidates were asked for a letter recognizing Ukraine’s independence. Trump refused. As Manafort resigned, he was to receive $12 million more in off-the-books payments.
  76. The New Yorker reported Dimitri Skorobutov, a former editor at Russia’s largest state media company Rossiya, said the Kremlin provided specific pro-Trump, anti-Clinton instructions on how to cover the US election.
  77. On Thursday, NYT reported Flynn’s lawyers notified Trump’s legal team they could no longer discuss the special counsel investigation, indicating either Flynn is cooperating with Mueller or is negotiating to cooperate.
  78. Flynn and his son have significant criminal exposure. The WH has been bracing for charges against Flynn, the closest to Trump of those charged so far, during both the campaign and early days of the regime.
  79. Mueller in investigating a private meeting between Flynn, Kushner and Kislyak, and conversations, in late December as Obama was announcing sanction on Russia. Flynn lied saying these were merely holiday greetings.
  80. Four days after Trump was sworn in, the FBI interviewed Flynn about the meeting. US Intel and law enforcement were so concerned about Flynn’s false statements, Sally Yates notified the WH that Flynn may be compromised.
  81. On Friday, Trump tweeted that he would be speaking to Turkey’s Erdogan, allegedly on the crises in Syria and other issues. As per several weeks’ lists, Flynn has significant ties to Turkey.
  82. On Friday, WSJ reported Mueller’s team is probing Flynn’s work on a documentary financed by Turkish interests targeting Fethullah Gulen. The FBI will be interviewing consultants hired by Flynn to work on the film.
  83. Mr. Flynn’s consulting firm, the Flynn Intel Group, and Flynn’s business partner Bijan Kian, tried to hide their involvement in, and the backers of the film according to consultants.
  84. BuzzFeed reported at a private dinner in July with technology company executives, H.R. McMaster referred to Trump as an “idiot” and a “dope” with the intelligence of a “kindergartner.”
  85. The National Republican Congressional Committee (NRCC) is offering donors the chance to win a trip to Trump Hotel DC. Donors who contribute $10 or more can automatically qualify for the trip.
  86. Lawmakers called on the Trump regime to provide additional funding for Puerto Rico, saying the initial request is not enough. If Puerto Rico’s federal Medicaid funding runs out, up to 900K people would likely be cut.
  87. A Kaiser Family Foundation found 70% of Americans believe Puerto Rico isn’t getting the help it needs, including a majority of Republicans (52%).
  88. Bloomberg reported Whitefish Energy halted work in Puerto Rico early, saying the island’s utility hasn’t paid it $83 million owed. A contract with Fluor was halted by the Army Corps of Engineers citing safety concerns.
  89. Two months after Hurricane Maria, only half of Puerto Rico has electricity, and many are still displaced or without drinking water. Trump has stopped talking about the recovery and the government is withdrawing.
  90. Telegraph reported room rates have fallen in all but one of Trump’s hotels. The biggest drop is at the Trump Las Vegas where rates have fallen by 63%.
  91. WAPO reported that after 19 out of 25 charities canceled their annual events at Mar-A-Lago over the summer, Trump cronies like Pat Robertson and the Republican Attorneys General Association have filled in.
  92. On Monday, NBC News reported Trump is shuttering his charitable foundation, which last year admitted violating federal rules on “self-dealing” — funneling charity money to their businesses, families or self.
  93. The press secretary for the NY AG said the foundation cannot close yet, citing it “is still under investigation by this office, it cannot legally dissolve until that investigation is complete.”
  94. WAPO reported Trump National Golf Club in Westchester reimbursed Trump’s foundation $158k in March, after the NY AG’s office investigation found the money had been used to settle a lawsuit against the club.
  95. Trump wines are being sold at Shenandoah National Park’s gift shop, posing a conflict of interest and possibly violating the emoluments clause.
  96. On Wednesday, in another sign of Trump’s struggling family businesses, the Trump Organization said it will exit from its struggling SoHo Hotel.
  97. WAPO reported that professional sports teams, once reliable patrons are no longer staying at Trump properties. WAPO reached out to 123 sports team and 106 responded: none are still staying at Trump properties.
  98. Donald Jr. will campaign for Kris Kobach in Kansas at a $200 per ticket event. Kobach is vice chair of the controversial Election Integrity Committee.
  99. Tom Steyer announced Monday that he would run billboards in Times Square as part of his campaign to impeach Trump. Steyer’s online petition has garnered 2.5 million signatures. Steyer has spent $20 million so far.
  100. On Tuesday, after wavering, Trump said he would back Roy Moore, the GOP candidate for senate in AL who has been accused of molesting a 14 year-old girl and eight others, citing Moore’s denial of sexual misconduct.
  101. Moore was banned from Gadsden Mall because of his predatory behavior towards underage girls. He first noticed his current wife when she was 15 or 16 years-old and he was in his 30s.
  102. A retired Alabama police officer said she and her colleagues were told decades ago to keep Moore away from high school cheerleaders.
  103. Former OGE director Shaub filed an ethics complaint against Kellyanne Conway for violating the Hatch Act, which prohibits federal employees from getting involved in elections. Conway advocated for Moore in front of the WH.
  104. WAPO reported Trump’s DOJ is pushing Iran-connected charges from the HBO hack. The push has caused alarm within the DOJ, as some officials say it comes as the Trump regime wants to impose new sanctions on Iran.
  105. The NYT editorial board, in an op-ed titled “Only Morons Pay the Estate Tax,” named after Chief Economic Adviser Gary Cohn’s words in August, cited the hypocrisy and kleptocracy of Trump’s tax plan.
  106. On Wednesday, Sen. Tom Carper said in a meeting with Democratic senators to discuss tax reform this month, Cohn faked a bad connection to get off the phone with Trump. The WH pushed back on the claimWednesday.
  107. On Tuesday, while granting the typical turkey pardon, Trump joked despite being “very active in overturning” Obama’s executive orders, he would not revoke Obama’s pardon of turkeys Tater and Tot.
  108. On Wednesday, in a flurry of tweets, Trump said the NFL’s idea of keeping players in the locker room during the National Anthem is “almost as bad as kneeling!” Trump added, “this issue is killing your league!”
  109. On Thanksgiving, the WH forced a pool reporter to make a correction: “The president will NOT have a low-key day and has a full schedule of meetings and phone calls.” An hour later, Trump went golfing.
  110. On Thanksgiving, from Mar-A-Lago, Trump addressed the troops, praising them and himself, and suggesting changes since Obama was in office: “We’re not fighting anymore to just walk around, we’re fighting to win,”
  111. Trump also took the opportunity to jab at the media, “surrounding me is a lot of press — better me than you, believe me fellas,” before asking the press to leave, “So I’ll ask the press to get out and I’ll say you’re fired.”
  112. McClatchy reported top Trump aides, including Bannon and Seb Gorka, failed to file legally required financial reports after they were fired this summer. Reince Priebus filed his reports this week, well after the 30-day deadline.
  113. Reports are due for employees for at least six-months. Ezra Cohen-Watnick and Middle East adviser Derek Harvey have also not filed their reports. The reports show if and how employees’ fortunes change while in power.
  114. The reports also show if employees took required steps to clear conflicts of interest. Bannon was supposed to sell his stake in Cambridge Analytica, worth $1–5 million, while in office. It is unclear if he did so.
  115. POLITICO reported despite the DHS banning government agencies from using Moscow-based Kaspersky Lab’s products in September, government contractors continue to use it, creating a huge potential hole for hackers.
  116. On Friday, Trump tweeted from Mar-A-Lago he was “PROBABLY going to be named” TIME Magazine’s Person of the Year, but said he would need to agree to an interview and major photo shoot and so he “took a pass.”
  117. TIME issued a statement in response, tweeting Trump “is incorrect about how we choose Person of the Year,” and Time Inc.’s chief content officer, Alan Murray tweeted, “not a speck of truth here.”
  118. On Friday, Trump named Mulvaney to head the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, setting up a legal clash. The announcement came hours after departing chief Cordray appointed chief of staff Leandra English to deputy director.
  119. Trump said Mulvaney will serve as Acting Director until a permanent director is confirmed. The Dodd-Frank Act says the deputy director shall “serve as acting Director in the absence or unavailability of the Director.”
  120. Vanity Fair reported the aide who has ceded the most influence since Kelly took charge is Kushner, who after initially having a huge portfolio of responsibility, now is confined to the Israel-Palestine conflict.
  121. Kelly was upset with Kushner’s trip to Saudi Arabia days before the Saudi Crown Prince made arrests, giving an impression Kushner knew and helped orchestrate it. The business councils Kushner dreamed up are gone.
  122. Amid Mueller’s investigation, Trump has also been aggravated with the bad advice Kushner has given, and has advocated for Kushner and Ivanka to return to NY, in part because they are being damaged by the press.
  123. NYT reported Trump is also annoyed with Ivanka for her “special place in hell for people who prey on children” comment on Moore. Glenn McConnell fears win or lose, Moore could cost the Republicans the Senate in 2018.

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NJ-based artist: Dino Gravato in SoHo, NYC
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“Drama Queen” by NYC Hooker in Queens, NY

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Artist: NYC Hooker in Queens, NY

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POLITIKS OF GRAFFITI 54: RACIST LANDLORD

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“Trollump and the Ring” by London-based artist Fanakapan. In Soho, New York City, November 2017

Week 53 of trump’s presidency: Experts in authoritarianism advise to keep a list of things subtly changing around you, so you’ll remember.

November 18, 2017 https://medium.com/@Amy_Siskind/week-53-experts-in-authoritarianism-advise-to-keep-a-list-of-things-subtly-changing-around-you-so-577dcb601736

This week the headlines and narrative were dominated by women (and men) sharing their stories of sexual assault and harassment — a historic movement. Stories entered the political domain with accusations against men of both parties, reopening questions about Trump’s sordid past. Trump tweeted himself into the sexual assault discussion, almost as if to be part of the zeitgeist, despite the perilous risks. This is the shortest list in many weeks as Trump was largely absent from the narrative and headlines.

This week the Russia probe entered Trump’s inner-circle, as more lines of direct and indirect communications surfaced, and efforts at cooperation between the Trump campaign and Russia were revealed. A political backlash against Trump continued as a special election in Oklahoma 37, a district Trump comfortably won by 40 points, went to a Democrat — a 26 year-old lesbian whose wife is African American.

  1. Despite messaging during his Asia trip about using diplomacy with N. Korea, late Saturday, Trump tweeted, “Why would Kim Jong-Un insult me by calling me ‘old,’ when I would NEVER call him ‘short and fat’?
  2. On Sunday, in response to Trump siding with Putin over US intelligence on Russian interference in Week 52, ex-intelligence chiefs James Clapper and John Brennan said Trump is being “played” by Putin.
  3. When asked about why his regime had yet to implement sanctions on Russia after the Senate and House voted almost unanimously to do so,Trump said he would rather have Russia “in a friendly posture.
  4. As Trump returned from his trip, former diplomats and Asia experts said China came out ahead and Trump came home largely empty-handed. Theformer Australian PM wrote Trump ceded economic leadership to China.
  5. During Trump’s Asia trip, world leaders from 11 countries reached agreement on the core elements of the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership trade deal, without the US.
  6. On Monday, Trump met with controversial leader Duterte. Trump boasted of their “great relationship,” and laughed when Duterte called journalists “spies.” At least 177 Filipino media workers have been killed since 1986.
  7. The WH said the two leaders “briefly” discussed human rights, but Duterte’s spokesman denied that the issue was discussed. Tuesday,Trudeau did bring up human rights, which Duterte called an “insult.
  8. On Tuesday evening, as Trump returned from his Asia trip, he tweeted “May God be with the people of Sutherland Springs.” That shooting took place 9 days prior. Tuesday, there was a mass shooting in Northern CA.
  9. NYT reported Trump is rapidly reshaping the judiciary, including eight appellate judges, seats Republicans held open during Obama’s final two years in office, with extremist conservative judges.
  10. On Monday, WAPO reported Jeff Sessions is considering a second special counsel to investigate GOP concerns, including the Clinton Foundation, Uranium One, and Hillary’s emails. Trump has been encouraging this.
  11. NYT reported Sessions is shattering longstanding norms by doing so, and so the credibility of any investigation presumably would be called into question since Trump is publicly going after a political rival.
  12. On Saturday, Trump was once again tweeting about his former political rival: “Crooked Hillary Clinton is the worst (and biggest) loser of all time…give it another try in three years!”
  13. WAPO reported in Trump’s first 298 days, he has made 1,628 false or misleading statements.
  14. Despite having no criminal record, a MI woman Zahrija Purovic, 50,who lived in the US for 30 years, worked and paid taxes and raised her three children here, was deported to Montenegro.
  15. Seattle Times reported on Pacific County, which voted for Trump but now laments a spike in deportations of their neighbors. There have been 28 ICE arrests this year so far, up from eight last year and zero many years before.
  16. NYT reported due to the Post Office unusually long delays of delivering DACA applications, including ones sent by certified mail, at least 74 young immigrants’ applications in NYC and Chicago were rejected for being late.
  17. Vox reported the Trump regime has rejected 4,000 “late” DACA renewal applications, some of which were sitting in mailboxes. A lawsuit alleges USCIS is being stricter than usual, and arbitrarily denying applications.
  18. On Thursday, in a reversal, acting DHS director Elaine Duke instructed the immigration agency to allow applicants to re-submit their paperwork if they have proof that they mailed their renewal on time.
  19. San Francisco Chronicle reported the Trump regime plans to stop granting work permits to spouses of H-1B visa holders, overturning a 2015 rule. Last year, 100K spouses and children of H-1B holders came to the US.
  20. AP reported Trump is choosing white men as judges at the highest rate in decades. So far, 91% of Trump’s nominees are white, and 81% are male.
  21. After nine months of trusting Trump to protect them for living in pro-Trump states, farming groups are moving to fight Trump’s effort to withdraw from NAFTA, saying the move would be a disaster for farmers.
  22. The Trump administration’s US Fish and Wildlife Service said it plan to reverse an Obama-era ban on bringing elephant trophies back from two African countries. The regime claims Zimbabwe and Zambia support reversing the ban.
  23. On Friday, following public backlash, Trump said he would delay the new policy on elephant trophies until he can review “all conservation facts.”
  24. ABC News confirmed the Trump regime’s US Fish and Wildlife Service also began issuing permits for lion trophies hunted in Zambia and Zimbabwe about a month ago.
  25. The University of SC women’s basketball team declined an invitation from Trump to celebrate their 2017 NCAA championship at the WH.
  26. Trump’s controversial judicial nominee Brett Talley did not disclose he is married to Donald McGahn’s chief of staff. In Week 52, Talley is also viewed as unqualified to be a federal district judge due to lack of experience.
  27. On Wednesday, Richard Cordray announced he would step down as head of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, an agency created by Sen. Elizabeth Warren after the 2008 financial crisis. Republicans have taken steps under Trump to dismantle the agency.
  28. Trump is expected to nominate Mick Mulvaney to acting head of the CFPB, an agency Mulvaney said he wanted to kill. Mulvaney will not require confirmation since he is serving as WH budget director.
  29. Jamie Johnson, a Trump DHS appointee, resigned after CNN uncovered tapes of his radio show in which he claimed blacks turned cities into “slums” and Islam’s only contribution to society was “oil and dead bodies.”
  30. On Wednesday, a bipartisan group of Senators wrote a letter to Rex Tillerson expressing “deep reservations” about lack of staffing, which threatens “to undermine the long-term health and effectiveness” of US diplomacy.
  31. The FCC repealed a 1970s rule put in place to ensure a diversity of voices and opinions by prohibiting ownership of a newspaper and tv-station in the same market. Trump ally Sinclair will be the biggest beneficiary.
  32. On Wednesday, 13 Senate Democrats called for the FCC Inspector General to open an investigation into potential quid pro quo between FCC chair Ajit Pai, the Trump regime, and Sinclair Broadcasting.
  33. The Koch brothers provided a half-billion dollar equity investments in a Meredith bid for Time Inc., potentially moving another major media company into the hands of conservative billionaires.
  34. On Wednesday, Steven Mnuchin and his wife caused a stir by posing for pictures with him holding sheets of money at the Bureau of Engraving, while the Republicans push a tax plan which benefits the rich and corporations.
  35. USA Today reported taxpayers are paying the legal costs for at least 10 DOJ lawyers and paralegals to work on four lawsuits related to Trump’s unprecedented decision not to divest of his private businesses.
  36. WAPO reported the Interior Department’s watchdog Deputy IG Mary Kendall sent a letter to Ryan Zinke’s office saying management of his travel was “deficient” and lacked oversight. Zinke has failed to keep complete records.
  37. A federal judge heard arguments Friday on whether Trump’s own tweets about the Steele dossier should force the federal government to reveal more information about its efforts to verify the claims in the dossier.
  38. On Friday, Bloomberg reported Trump will begin paying his legal bills related to the Russia probe from his own pocket, relieving the Republican Party of future payments.
  39. WH lawyer Ty Cobb said the OGE and a tax firm are also working on amechanism for Trump to contribute to staffers’ legal bills, raising ethical concerns that Trump is doing this to influence staffer testimony.
  40. On Monday morning, WAPO released a list of at least 30 known times the Trump campaign was in contact with Russians during the campaign.
  41. On Monday, Russian state-funded RT registered with the DOJ as a foreign agent. RT is now required to publicly disclose details about its funding and operations, and mark certain content with labels.
  42. Reuters reported, in retaliation, Russia named nine US-government sponsored media outlets likely to be labelled “foreign agents” in a new law that is being rushed through Russian parliament.
  43. On Monday, The Atlantic reported on Twitter direct messages betweenWikiLeaks and Donald Jr. starting September 20, 2016 and through July 2017. The messages have been turned over to Congressional investigators.
  44. US intelligence believes WikiLeaks was chosen by Russia to disseminate hacked emails. Donald Jr. forwarded one email to Steve Bannon, Kellyanne Conway, Jared Kushner, and Brad Parscale. Kushner in turn forwarded the message to Hope Hicks.
  45. Kushner has told congressional investigators he did not communicate with WikiLeaks, and did not recall anyone on the campaign who had.
  46. On October 3, 2016, the day after Roger Stone tweeted, “Wednesday @Hillary Clinton is done. #Wikileaks,” Donald Jr. messaged WikiLeaksasking, “What’s behind this Wednesday leak I keep reading about?
  47. On October 12, 2016, WikiLeaks messaged Donald Jr. about the upcoming release of Podesta hacked emails and asked that Trump tweet about it. Trump did in fact tweet about it, fifteen minutes later.
  48. In the last 30 days of his presidential campaign, Trump mentioned WikiLeaks 164 times.
  49. In a message on Election Day, WikiLeaks encouraged Donald Jr. that if Trump loses he “DOES NOT concede,” and instead focuses on “CHALLENGING the media and other types of rigging.”
  50. WikiLeaks suggested they be the means for releasing Trump’s tax returns to help them appear impartial. After Trump won, WikiLeaks asked to have Trump suggest “Australia appoint Assange ambassador to DC.”
  51. On July 11, 2017, three days after the NYT reported on Donald Jr.’s June 9 Trump Tower meeting and emails, WikiLeaks suggested they make the emails public. Hours later, Donald Jr. tweeted the emails himself.
  52. CNN reported the Russia-linked trolls that meddled in US politics posted dozens of pro-Brexit messages on the day of the UK referendum.
  53. CNN reported the House Intelligence Committee will interview Russian-American lobbyist Rinat Akhmetshin next week about his involvement in the June 9 Trump Tower meeting.
  54. BuzzFeed reported the FBI is investigating 60 money transfers sent through Citibank accounts by the Russian Foreign Ministry, most with a note saying the money was to be used “to finance election campaign of 2016.”
  55. On Thursday, NBC News reported Reza Zarrab, a dual Turkish-Iranian national with close ties to Turkey’s Erdogan is cooperating with federal investigators in a money-laundering case.
  56. Legal experts say prosecutors may be looking for ties to Mike Flynn. Mueller is investigating whether Erdogan offered Flynn $15 million to use his position as NSA to extradite a cleric and drop charges against Zarrab.
  57. In Week 20 in March 2017, the acting US attorney told a judge Rudy Giuliani and Marc Mukasey had joined Zarrab’s defense team to “explore a potential disposition of the criminal charges.” Both met with Erdogan in Turkey.
  58. WSJ reported Mueller has subpoenaed more than a dozen top Trump officials seeking documents and emails that reference a set of Russia-related keywords. This is Mueller’s first official order to the campaign.
  59. In a letter, the Senate Judiciary Committee said it has uncovered evidence that Kushner was forwarded a document about a “Russian backdoor overture” that he failed to turn over the Congressional investigators.
  60. Kushner also failed to turn over a September 2016 email he received about WikiLeaks, and communication with Russian-born businessman Sergei Millian, former head of the Russian-American Chamber of Commerce.
  61. The letter also criticized Kushner for not turning over a copy of a government document that Mr. Kushner completed to obtain a security clearance, a SF-86, which has been amended at least twice.
  62. On Friday, CBS News reported the “Russian backdoor overture and dinner invite” to Kushner was requested by Alexander Torshin in May 2016 and his assistant, Maria Butina.
  63. Torshin has close ties to Putin. He was a senator and appointed deputy governor of the Bank of Russia. He also is suspected of having ties to organized crime.
  64. Torshin and Butina had requested to meet with Trump, and then have Trump travel to Russia to meet Putin. The request was made through an intermediary who was attached to a NRA event in Kentucky.
  65. The intermediary forwarded the five-page request to the Trump campaign, including Paul Manafort and Rick Gates. Eventually it was forwarded to Kushner.
  66. NBC News reported the two hoped to meet Trump on the sidelines of the NRA convention in Louisville. Torshin also hoped to meet a high-level Trump campaign officials, saying he may have a message from Putin for Trump.
  67. Kushner received a lengthy email exchange between the intermediary and Rick Dearborne, who now serves as deputy chief of staff in the WH.Kushner told Dearborne and others in the campaign not to move forward.
  68. While Kushner was telling Dearborne and others not to accept, Torshin was seated with Donald Jr. at a private dinner on the sidelines of the NRA event, according to an account Torshin gave to Bloomberg.
  69. Yahoo reported the WH abruptly canceled a February meeting between Trump and Torshin after national security discovered Torshin was named by Spanish police as a suspected “godfather” of an organized crime ring.
  70. Politico reported Kushner is still operating on interim security clearance ten months in. He continues to work on sensitive foreign policy issues while his application for a permanent clearance remains under review.
  71. NYT reported the US Office of Acquisitions has hired Elite Security to guard the Moscow Embassy and consulates in St. Petersburg, after Putin ordered the US to slash their staff by 755 employees in July in retaliation.
  72. The contract was no-bid. Elite Security is a company with run by Putin’s former KGB boss, an 82-year-old veteran spy who spent 25 years planting agents and hunting down operatives in Western countries.
  73. A new book, Collusion: How Russia Helped Donald Trump Win, quotesSteele as telling friends he believes 70–90% of the dossier is accurate, and his report will be vindicated by the Mueller investigation.
  74. On Wednesday, in nearly seven hours of testimony to the House Intel Committee, Fusion GPS co-founder Glenn Simpson defended the Steele dossier, saying nothing in it has been disproven and some has been corroborated.
  75. Simpson also said Steele did not pay the sources he used to compile the dossier. Simpson is now cooperating with the three congressional committees investigating Russian meddling.
  76. CNN reported the DOJ’s probe into Deutsche Bank’s role in a $10 million Russian money laundering scheme has gone dormant. The DOJ and the US attorney for SDNY were investigating how the bank missed red flags.
  77. The investigation has been closely watched Democrats, who have asked Deutsche to turn over documents, but the bank has been non-responsive. Trump and Kushner have extensive banking relationships with Deutsche.
  78. Judicial Watch filed under the FOIA against the DOJ for all records relating to Veselnitskaya’s immigration parole. At the time she met with Donald Jr. at Trump Tower, Veselnitskaya wasn’t supposed to be in the US.
  79. British publicist Roger Goldstone, who helped set up the Trump Tower meeting between Donald Jr. and Veselnitskaya, is ready to come to the US and meet Mueller’s team. Goldstone is currently living in Bangkok.
  80. Foreign Policy reported Kushner’s newspaper, The Observer, pursued a relationship with WikiLeaks starting in 2014. During the 2016 election, the newspaper actively published hacked emails shared by WikiLeaks.
  81. Although Kushner claimed to keep a distance from his newspaper, he spoke to EIC Ken Kurson daily. Kurson also sat with the Trump family at the RNC.
  82. Politico reported in interviews with Greek media last year, George Papadopoulos boasted of a “blank check” for a job in the Trump regime, and to representing Trump in meetings overseas with foreign leaders.
  83. AP reported Congressional investigators are looking into a June 2017 meeting between Rinat Akhmetshin and Ike Kaveladze in Moscow. Both had attended the June 9, 2016 meeting at Trump Tower with Donald Jr.
  84. Congressional investigators want to know if the meeting was to knowwhether there was some effort to get their stories straight before it became public on July 8, when the NYT broke the story.
  85. Mueller is also investigating the June 9 meeting which occurred weeks after Trump clinched the nomination. A grand jury has already heardtestimony about the meeting which Kushner and Manafort also attended.
  86. NYT reported Whitefish Energy billed PREPA $319 an hour for linemen, 17 times higher than what is typical in Puerto Rico. Senior linemen coming from Florida to work in Puerto Rico were paid $100 or less.
  87. Power in Puerto Rico is spotty almost two months after Hurricane Maria.Early in the week, 50% of the island had power, then a major transmission line failed, reducing it to 22%. Whitefish Energy had repaired the line.
  88. The USNS Comfort departed Puerto Rico. Since arriving Comfort staff have treated 1,899 patients, performed 191 surgeries, provided 76K liters of oxygen, and ten tons of food and water.
  89. On Tuesday, Sessions testified before the House Judiciary Committee.Sessions again revised his account of what he knew about the Trump campaign’s dealing with Russia, despite saying, “my story had never changed.
  90. Asked about Papadopoulos statements placing Sessions in a meeting where Russia was discussed, he answered, “I had no recollection of this meeting until I saw these news reports.
  91. Sessions claimed his memory was refreshed after reading Papadopoulos’ account, and said to the best of his recollection, Papadopoulos “was not authorized to represent the campaign with the Russian government.
  92. The day after Sessions’s testimony, Sergey Kislyak told Russia-1, a popular Russia state-owned channel, that it would take him more than 20 minutes to name all of the Trump officials he’s met with or spoken to on the phone.
  93. On Friday, Sessions joked before a speech at the Federalist Society, “Is Ambassador Kislyak in the room? … Any Russians?
  94. On Tuesday special elections, Allison Isley-Freeman, a 26 year-old lesbian, won in an Oklahoma district Trump had carried+40. Democrats won the mayor of Albuquerque, NM for the first time in eight years, in a blowout.
  95. On Wednesday, six Democrats demanded impeachment hearings citing the Comey firing, violations of the emoluments clause, and Trump’s undermining of the federal judiciary and freedom of press.
  96. A Texas woman, Karen Fonseca, made news for a pickup truck bumper sticker with an expletive-filled message to Trump and his supporters. Fonseca said she’s been stopped by police, but is exercising free speech.
  97. On Wednesday, Sheriff Troy Nehls posted a photo of the truck on Facebook and asked for information on the driver. The post was taken down. On Thursday, Fonseca was picked up for an outstanding warrant from August.
  98. Breaking with tradition of nearly two decades, Trump will not meet with the eight American Nobel laureates before they travel to Sweden to receive their prizes. One honoree said he was “relieved.”
  99. On Thursday, the Department of Defense’s Twitter account retweeted, then deleted a post calling on Trump to resign. The chief spokesperson tweeted, the account “erroneously retweeted content that would not be endorsed.”
  100. On Tuesday, Speaker Paul Ryan announced a new mandatory anti-harassment and discrimination training for all House members and staff.
  101. On Thursday, Trump tweeted about Al Franken’s sexual misconduct, saying “The Al Frankenstien picture is really bad […] Where do his hands go in pictures 2, 3, 4, 5 & 6 while she sleeps?……”
  102. Press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said in a press briefing that the difference between Trump and Franken, she said, is that “Franken has admitted wrongdoing” but Trump has not.
  103. In an interview with Mother Jones, Hillary questioned the legitimacy of the 2016 election citing Russian interference and voter suppression. In WI, voter suppression possibly impacted 45K voters, Trump won by 23K votes.
  104. Politico reported Trump is obsessed with polls, and decries those that show his popularity falling as fake. Aides in the WH often show him only the polls that make him feel good.
  105. Air Force Gen. John Hyten, a top US nuclear commander of the of the Strategic Command (STRATUM), said he would push back against Trumpif he ordered a nuclear launch the general believed to be illegal.

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The New York City art scene continues to RESIST!

 

POLITIKS OF GRAFFITI 53: DONALD HATES ME

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Portland, Oregon. 11Nov2017. Courtesy of Paul Hehn. 

Week 52 of trump’s disastrous presidency: Experts in authoritarianism advise to keep a list of things subtly changing around you, so you’ll remember.

November 11, 2017 https://medium.com/@Amy_Siskind/week-52-experts-in-authoritarianism-advise-to-keep-a-list-of-things-subtly-changing-around-you-so-fe8c054ee82

This week started and ended in chaos, with a respite in-between as Trump traveled to Asia and stayed on script. The length of this week’s list is a testament to how broad-based the attacks on and the erosion of norms and our democracy have become — well beyond Trump as the sole actor.

The Resistance that started as Trump took office has grown in both impact and power, as evidenced by Tuesday’s elections, which were a wipe-out for Republicans and an amazing display of diversity. A revolution around sexual assault and harassment is gathering steam, with offenders being outed daily.

All the while, the Mueller probe progresses. This week more ties between the Trump campaign and Russia were exposed, and questions surfaced as to the knowledge and engagement of senior people on the campaign, including Trump.

  1. WAPO reported as the winter tourism season kicks in, Trump has secured 70 H-2B visas from the Labor Department to hire cooks, maids, and servers to work at Mar-a-Lago, despite urging the country to hire American.
  2. Dallas Morning News reported GOP campaigns for Trump, Mitch McConnell, Marco Rubio, Scott Walker, Lindsey Graham, Kris Kasich, and John McCain took in $7.35 million in donations from Leonard Blavatnik, a Ukrainian oligarch with ties to Putin.
  3. Blavatnik donated $1 million to Trump’s Inaugural Committee. Blavatnik also has close relationship with Oleg Deripaska, the Russian oligarch who has ties to Paul Manafort over a decade, and appears frequently in The Weekly List.
  4. Saudi Arabia arrested 11 princes, four ministers and tens of former ministers. Trump tweeted his approval, saying he had “great confidence” in Mohammed and his father, King Salman.
  5. In Week 51, Jared Kushner returned from a previously undisclosed trip to Saudi Arabia, and Trump tweeted he would appreciate if Saudi Arabia would list the IPO of Aramco on the NYSE.
  6. Juli Briskman, the cyclist who flipped off Trump as his motorcade drove by,was fired from Akima LLC, a government contracting firm, under a social media policy, although she wasn’t wearing anything company related.
  7. Ironically, Briskman oversaw the firm’s social media presence, and flagged a middle-aged executive man for a violation, writing “You’re a f — — — Libtard a — — — .” He cleaned up the comment and was not fired.
  8. Sessions’ DOJ dropped their case against Desiree Fairooz, a retired children’s librarian affiliated with Code Pink, who laughed at Sessions during his Senate confirmation hearing.
  9. Republican Reb. Rob Bishop moved closer to his goal of invalidating the Endangered Species Act. Bishop has shepherded five bills out of the House Natural Resources Committee he chairs that would dismantle the law piece by piece.
  10. In his most aggressive step yet to reverse Obama’s “war on coal,” Energy Secretary Rick Perry announced a proposal to alter electricity markets, which would provide a huge windfall for coal magnate Bob Murray, a big Trump donor.
  11. On Tuesday, Syria joined the Paris Climate Accord, leaving the US as the sole country rejecting the global pact.
  12. On Thursday, Trump’s EPA proposed reversing an Obama-era regulation which tightened emissions standards for heavy-duty trucks with older engines, part of Obama’s efforts to reduce soot and other pollutants.
  13. Carrier Corp., the plant Trump promised to save, announced less than four months after it laid off 340 employees at its Indianapolis factory that the company will terminate an additional 215 employees in January.
  14. Rep. Scott Allen, a lawmaker in WI, said women should be forced to give birth to grow the labor force: “Labor force shortages are tied to population declines. Labor force shortages are a limiting factor in economic growth.”
  15. On Monday, Trump’s DHS announced it would not renew temporary protections which expire January 5 for 5.3K Nicaraguans. The regime gave a six-month reprieve to 86K Hondurans covered by the program.
  16. WAPO reported John Kelly tried to pressure acting DHS Secretary Elain Duke to expel Hondurans too. In a call while traveling in Japan, Kelly was “irritated” and admonished her not to “kick the can down the road.”
  17. Despite Trump’s efforts to derail Obamacare by starving the exchange of sign-ups, ACA registration spiked at open enrollment’s start: over 200K chose a plan on November 1, more than doubling last year.
  18. WAPO reported that Betsy DeVos has shrunk the Education Department, shedding 350 workers since December, and buyouts offered to an additional 255 employees. Only 8 of the 15 key roles requiring Senate confirmation have nominees.
  19. WAPO reported the US Agency for International Development (USAID)sent letters to 70 foreign service jobs applicants saying the positions had been canceled. This comes amidst a State Department hiring freeze.
  20. Foreign Policy reported scores of senior diplomats, including 60% of career ambassadors, have left the State Department since Trump took office. There are 74 key roles at State which are vacant and have no nominee.
  21. Top US diplomat, AFSA President Ambassador Barbara Stephenson, blasted the Trump regime in an open-letter, “Time to Ask Why,” citing it’snot just top leadership leaving, but recruitment is falling dramatically too.
  22. Newsweek reported Lara Trump has taken on WH duties, hosting high-level meetings on domestic policy initiatives with cabinet members, lawmakers, and Trump advisers.
  23. Leaked documents, the “Paradise Papers,” reveal Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross failed to disclose his interest in Navigator Holdings, a shipping company with significant ties to Russia, during his confirmation hearing.
  24. Navigator’s most important business relationships is with SIBUR, an energy company controlled by Putin’s son-in-law and Russian oligarchsTimchenko and Michelson, both who are on the Treasury’s sanction list.
  25. Penny Young Nance, Trump’s likely nominee for ambassador for global women’s issues, is a strong opponent of abortion and gay rights, and said the movie Frozen sends a harmful message about the role of men.
  26. Kyle Yunasaka, the brother of Eric Trump’s wife, Lara Trump, was named chief of staff at the Energy Department’s Office of Energy Policy. Yunasaka has no education or work experience in energy.
  27. Trump’s nominee William Wehrum was confirmed to a key post in the EPA despite oil industry ties. As an attorney, Wehrum represented the American Petroleum Institute, American Fuel & Petrochemical Manufacturers, and the American Chemistry Council.
  28. Daily Beast reported Trump appointed David Kautter to become the interim IRS commissioner. Kautter’s firm had to pay $123 million to the US Treasury in 2013 as part of a settlement for a tax shelter scheme.
  29. Brett Talley, a blogger nominated by Trump for federal judge in AL, who has never tried a case and was unanimously rated “not qualified” by the American Bar Association, passed the Senate Judiciary Committee on a party-line vote.
  30. A fourth Trump judicial nominee, Seung Min Kim, was deemed not qualified by American Bar Association. It is highly atypical to have a nominee be deemed not qualified, let alone four already.
  31. Politico reported the House Rules Committee, which is controlled by Speaker Paul Ryan, set a record for the most closed rules in a session. Ryan has yet to allow a single piece of legislation to be governed by an open rule.
  32. NYT reported there has been a spike in deaths in Puerto Rico, but few are being attributed to Maria. Puerto Rican officials acknowledged 472 more people died this September compared with the same month last year.
  33. On Tuesday, Natalie Jaresko, executive director of the Financial Oversight and Management Board for Puerto Rico told Congress nearly 60% of Puerto Rico is without electricity and thousands remain in shelters.
  34. NPR reported federal troops have started to leave Puerto Rico, while many are still without a steady supply of food and running water, and while schools remain closed.
  35. On Friday, 3 star Army General Jeffrey Buchanan, who coordinated the federal military response in Puerto Rico following Hurricane Maria, said in a news conference, “we’re out of the crisis” and is leaving next week.
  36. Tuesday’s election was a trouncing for the Republican Party, including governor seats in NJ and VA, and 15 legislative seats shifting hands in VA (3 undecided still), and a key race in Westchester County, NY.
  37. History was made in many races nationwide as women, people of color and LGBTQ individuals won their races, including numerous “firsts.”
  38. In the VA legislature, 11 of the 15 Democrats who won were women — including two who are the first Hispanic women to serve in the state’s legislature. Women candidates racked up victories around the country.
  39. Danica Roem was elected in VA as the first openly transgender legislator, defeating Bob Marshall, an outspoken opponent of transgender rights who introduced the controversial transgender “bathroom bill.”
  40. Republican John Carman, a NJ politician who joked about the Women’s March asking if it would be “over in time for them to cook dinner,” was defeated by a 32 year-old woman, Ashley Bennett, a first-time candidate.
  41. More than two dozen House Republicans have announced they won’t be running again in 2018, well above the average number of House retirements per election cycle. More announcements are expected.
  42. Starting with accusations against Harvey Weinstein and the #MeToo campaign, scores of women and men have come forward to share their stories of sexual assault, harassment, and rape as adults and children.
  43. Accusations have come against men in Hollywood, academia, sports, corporate America, politics and more. On Thursday, CNN hosted a primetime town hall, Tipping Point: Sexual Harassment in America.
  44. On Thursday, a Senate resolution introduced by Sens. Amy Klobuchar and Chuck Grassley requiring mandatory harassment training for all senators, officers, employers and interns unanimously passed.
  45. On Thursday, WAPO reported AL senate candidate Roy Moore sexually assaulted a 14 year-old girl when he was in his early 30s. Moore denied the allegations, employing a Trump distraction: blame the liberal, fake media.
  46. WSJ reported, based on examining 159K deleted tweets, Kremlin-backed support for Trump on Twitter started as early as June 2015. Russian accounts attacked Hillary and Jeb Bush, the GOP frontrunner at the time.
  47. In the two weeks ahead the November 2016 election, Russian account activity escalated. Trump campaign insiders like Flynn and conservative pundits like Sean Hannity followed and retweeted these accounts.
  48. NYT reported Russian billionaire investor Yuri Milner made major investments in US social media companies Twitter and Facebook using money from state-owned Russian banks VTB and Gazprom Investholding.
  49. Milner ultimately owned more than 8% of Facebook and 5% of Twitter, and later sold these stakes, but retains large US technology holdings. He also has investments in real estate partly owned by Kushner.
  50. NBC reported Mueller has enough evidence to bring charges against Flynn and his son. Mueller is applying pressure on Flynn after the Manafort indictment, and speaking to witnesses around his lobbying work.
  51. Mueller is looking into whether Flynn was behind a request to the FBI in the weeks after Trump’s inauguration to conduct a new review of Turkey’s 2016 request to extradite Fethullah Gülen, an elderly Muslim cleric.
  52. CNN reported Michael Flynn and his wife Lori are concerned about their son’s legal exposure in the Mueller probe, and this could factor into Flynn’s decision on how to respond to Mueller.
  53. On Sunday, Sen. Lindsey Graham said Sessions needs to return to the Senate Judiciary Committee and answer questions about Trump campaign ties to Russia, after revelations in Week 51 show Sessions’ previous statements were false.
  54. Sessions is set to face questions about Russia from the House Judiciary Committee in an open hearing next week as part of DOJ oversight. Sessions will also likely speak to the House Intel Committee in a closed setting.
  55. WAPO reported, based on a review of court documents and interviews, at least nine members of the Trump regime had meetings with Russiansduring the campaign and transition.
  56. The nine include: George Papadopoulos, Paul Manafort, Jeff Sessions, Donald Jr., Michael Cohen, Jared Kushner, Michael Flynn, Carter Page, and J.D. Gordon. Questions arose as to whether the Kremlin sought to infiltrate the Trump campaign, or if it is a coincidence.
  57. On Monday, a transcript of Page’s 6.5 hours of testimony to the House Intel Committee was released. The testimony disputes Page’s initial claims that his visit to Moscow in July 2016 was in a private capacity.
  58. Page testified that he sent an email in advance of his trip to Corey Lewandowski, Hope Hicks and Gordon. Page said Lewandowski gave him the okay to go. Page said he also mentioned his trip to Sessions.
  59. Gordon told CNN he “discouraged Carter from taking the trip to Moscow because it was a bad idea,” but Page ignored him: “he eventually went around me directly to campaign leadership.”
  60. Page met with Russian deputy PM Arkady Dvorkovich. Page reported to the campaign after his trip that Dvorkovich “expressed strong support for Mr. Trump and a desire to work together.”
  61. Page also acknowledged meeting with other high-level Russian officials and said they discussed the US presidential election, “in general terms.”
  62. Page acknowledged he met with Andrey Baranov, head of investor relations at Rosneft, a Russian state-oil company. He also met with an investor-relations official at energy company Gazprom.
  63. Rep. Adam Schiff asked if there was a discussion about the 19% stake in Rosneft in exchange for the lifting of US sanctions on Russia. Page said, “he may have briefly mentioned it,” but the quid pro quo was not discussed directly.
  64. Page again met with Baranov in Moscow a month after the election. The Russian government owns a majority stake in Rosneft. The Treasury Depart sanctioned Rosneft after Russia annexed Crimea in 2014.
  65. Page acknowledged he has met with the FBI several times, and answered questions about events described in the Steele dossier. Page said Mueller has not made any indication he will indict him.
  66. After the trip, Page offered the Trump campaign a readout. He also spoke to national co-chairman Sam Clovis, whom Page said separately asked him to sign a non-disclosure agreement.
  67. Page acknowledged he praised Gordon and five others on the Trump policy team in an email for changing the Republican Party platform on Ukraine, “As for the Ukraine amendment, excellent work.”
  68. Page received a text, and then a call from Steve Bannon in January advising him not to appear on MSNBC. He also received a letter from Trump campaign law firm Jones Day imploring him not to say he is part of the campaign.
  69. In an interview with Bloomberg, Veselnitskaya said Donald Jr. hinted the Magnitsky Act would be re-examined if Trump won, in exchange for written evidence that illegal proceeds went to Hillary’s campaign.
  70. The Intercept reported CIA director Mike Pompeo met with William Binney, an advocate for a fringe DNC hack theory, on October 24. Binney has accused intelligence of subverting the Constitution and violating civil rights.
  71. Binney argues that the DNC data was “leaked,” not hacked, “by a person with physical access” to the DNC’s computer system. US Intel official assessment is that Russian intelligence was behind the DNC hack.
  72. NBC reported that according to Binney, Pompeo took the meeting at the behest of Trump. It is extremely unusual for a CIA director to meet with someone like Binney, who also makes frequent appearances on RT.
  73. On Wednesday, U.S. District Judge Berman Jackson issued a gag order in the Manafort and Rick Gates criminal cases, directing prosecutors and defense to refrain from making statements to the media or in public settings.
  74. CNN reported Joseph Mifsud, the academic suspected of being a link between the Papadopoulos and Russian officials on Hillary’s emails, has vanished. In court documents, Mifsud is referred to as “Foreign Contact 1.”
  75. Politico reported Congressional investigators are also probing the GOP platform fight as part of the Russia investigation. Gordon acknowledged being interviewed by lawmakers, but wouldn’t say if he met with Mueller.
  76. Papadopoulos, Manafort, and Gates were also involved in the convention. Without naming names, Gordon said others in the Trump campaigninvolved in pushing the platform change are also being interviewed.
  77. AP reported Russian Twitter trolls organized to deflect from Trump’s Access Hollywood tapes, instead touting damaging emails hacked and leaked from John Podesta.
  78. AP reported on Russia’s cyber-meddling strategy: swiftly react, distort. and distract attention from any negative Trump news. There were spikes in Twitter activity on September 16, October 6, and November 8.
  79. Mueller interviewed Stephen Miller, bringing the Russia investigation into Trump’s inner-circle. Miller is the highest-level aide still working at the WH known to have talked to Mueller’s team.
  80. CNN reported Miller was questioned on his role in the firing of James Comey, and about the March 2016 meeting where Papadopoulos said he could arrange a meeting between Trump and Putin through his connections.
  81. Business Insider reported many Trump advisers are facing sky-high legal bills. Roger Stone blasted out a statement asking for help paying the nearly $460K in legal fees he has incurred in the Russia probe.
  82. Gordon told Business Insider the RNC is taking care of Trump and Donald Jr., and “the rest of us who aren’t billionaires must fend for ourselves.” Gordon said he has incurred an almost five-figure legal bill.
  83. On Thursday, RT said the DOJ has ordered the broadcaster to register as a foreign agent by Monday. RT’s EIC Margarita Simonyan called the timing a “cannibalistic deadline,” and an attempt to drive [RT] out of the country.”
  84. On Friday, WSJ reported that Cambridge Analytica’s outreach to Julian Assange happened as the company was in advanced stages of contract negotiations with the Trump campaign, and had already dispatched employees.
  85. In addition to the previously disclosed $9 million paid by the Trump campaign for providing data, polling and research services, Cambridge Analytica was also paid an additional $6 million routed through Parscale.
  86. Cambridge Analytica is partly owned by Rebekah and Robert Mercer, who made his first donation to Trump on June 21. Bannon served on Cambridge Analytica’s board and holds a stake in the company.
  87. According to a person with knowledge of the investigation, Papadopoulos initially misled FBI agents out of what he claimed was loyalty to Trump: he didn’t want to contradict Trump’s statement of no contact with Russians.
  88. Business Insider reported Devin Nunes, who was then chair of the House Intel Committee, attended a breakfast on January 18 that Flynn and the Turkish foreign minister, also attended. Press was excluded.
  89. NBC reported Mueller is probing a meeting on September 20 in DC between Flynn and Rep. Dana Rohrabacher, set up by Flynn’s lobbying firm, the Flynn Intel Group. Two of Flynn’s business partners and his son also attended.
  90. Mueller is reviewing emails sent from Flynn Intel Group to Rohrabacher’s congressional staff thanking them for the meeting as part of the probe into possible collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia.
  91. On Friday, NYT reported on a meeting in London on March 24, 2016 between Papadopoulos, Mifsud, and Olga Polonskaya, a 30-year-old Russian, who was introduced as Putin’s niece. Putin has no niece.
  92. Mueller is interested in interactions between the three and a fourth man with contacts inside Russia’s Foreign Ministry as a central part of the investigation into the Kremlin’s role in the 2016 election.
  93. Papadopoulos met Mifsud for breakfast in April. As per Week 51, Mifsud bragged about having “dirt” on Hillary: “thousands of emails.” Mifsud’s outreach began after Papadopoulos joined the Trump campaign.
  94. The day before his breakfast, Papadopoulos emailed Stephen Miller, saying Trump has an “open invitation” from Putin to visit Russia. The day after he wrote, “some interesting messages coming in from Moscow.”
  95. Together with items involving Page, there is increasing evidence not only of contact between the Trump campaign and Russians, but also that senior campaign officials were aware of the contacts.
  96. NBC reported Mueller is probing a possible quid pro quo between Flynn and Turkey during presidential transition. Flynn met with senior Turkish officials in December 2016 at the 21 Club restaurant near Trump Tower.
  97. Mueller is looking into whether they discussed orchestrating the return of Turkish cleric, Fethullah Gülen, who lives in Pennsylvania, as well freeing Turkish-Iranian gold trader, Reza Zarrab, who is jailed in the US.
  98. Flynn was allegedly offered a $15 million payment if he could orchestrate the deal. Flynn’s son may have also been involved. Trump campaign senior adviser Rudy Giuliani is part of Zarrab’s defense team.
  99. Reuters reported Mueller questioned Clovis this week on whether Trump or top aides knew of the extent of the campaign’s contacts with Russia, and who approved and directed the contacts.
  100. A WAPO/ABC News survey found just 37% approve, 59% disapprove of the job Trump is doing, lower than any leader in the last seven decades, nine months in. 55% think Trump is not keeping his campaign promises.
  101. The poll found just one-third believe Trump is honest and trustworthy, and 65% say he has accomplished “not much” or “little or nothing.”
  102. On Thursday, Tom Steyer said he would spend an additional $10 million on his campaign to impeach Trump. Nearly 2 million people have signedhis online petition to demand Trump be impeached.
  103. On Monday, Trump’s DOJ told AT&T that in order for the planned takeover of Time Warner to go through, the company must sell off CNN. As detailed in The Weekly List, Trump has a long-running feud with CNN.
  104. On Wednesday, AT&T’s CFO said on a conference call this type of merger hasn’t been blocked for over 40 years. AT&T has signaled it intends tochallenge the regime in court over the requirement.
  105. On Thursday, AT&T’s CEO told CNBC, “I have never been told that the price of getting the [Time Warner] deal done was selling CNN,” and I have never offered to sell it either.
  106. On Friday, Reuters reported Trump ally Rupert Murdoch called AT&T’s CEO on May 16 and August 8 to ask if CNN was for sale.
  107. On Friday, a federal judge dismissed, for a second time, a pair of lawsuits seeking to force the State Department to do more to recover Hillary’s emails. As per Week 51, Trump has been tweeting and speaking out to get her emails.
  108. The judge cited the FBI’s use of grand jury subpoenas sent not only to Hillary’s provider and accounts, but ones used by people she corresponded with, as satisfying the State Department’s obligation to take reasonable steps.
  109. On Wednesday, Sen. Bob Corker announced as chair of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, he will hold hearings on Trump’s ability to use nuclear weapons. Corker said it has been four decades since Congress looked at the issue.
  110. A NBC/WSJ poll found in counties that voted for Trump, a plurality — 41 % — say the country is worse off now than it was when Trump took office. 32% believe the country is better off, and 26% believe the same.
  111. After repeatedly bashing China for unfair trade and saying the country was “raping” the US economy during his campaign, while visiting Beijing, Trump praised Xi saying, “I don’t blame China.” The crowd applauded.
  112. The two leaders did not take questions from the press, a victory for Xi who oversees an authoritarian system that limits press freedom. Former Democratic and Republican aides called it an “embarrassing capitulation.
  113. Chinese state media approved of the summit, saying Trump “respects our head of state and has repeatedly praised” Xi publicly.
  114. On Friday, press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said there would be no formal meeting between Trump and Putin in Vietnam, but that they might “bump into each other.”
  115. After staying mostly on-script during his Asia trip, on Saturday, Trump reverted to lies and dangerous statements in a 26-minute question-and-answer session with reporters aboard Air Force One.
  116. On Saturday, Trump had his second private, “sideline” meeting with Putin(in Week 36 it was revealed Trump had a clandestine meeting with Putin at the G20) without media access.
  117. Trump told reporters of his conversation with Putin, “He said he didn’t meddle — I asked him again,” adding Putin “means it.” Trump also said, “I think he is very insulted by it, which is not a good thing for our country.”
  118. Trump dismissed the Russia probe as an “artificial Democratic hit job,” and said it would put American lives at risk, saying it “gets in the way and that’s a shame because people will die because of it.”
  119. Trump attacked US intelligence, saying “I mean, give me a break, they are political hacks…I mean, you have Brennan, you have Clapper and you have Comey.” Trump sided instead with “President Putin, very strong.”
  120. Following that statement, Gen. Michael Hayden tweeted, “CIA just told me: The Dir stands by and has always stood by the January 2017 Intelligence Community Assessment,” and questioning which side Trump is on.

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POLITIKS OF GRAFFITI 52: ALARM BELLS OF AUTHORITARIANISM

Week 51 of trump’s presidency: Experts in authoritarianism advise to keep a list of things subtly changing around you, so you’ll remember.

November 4, 2017 https://medium.com/@Amy_Siskind/week-51-experts-in-authoritarianism-advise-to-keep-a-list-of-things-subtly-changing-around-you-so-dcc96e7a7e0a

“It’s like Christmas Eve,” said one person on Twitter Sunday night, as the country braced for the first indictments from the Mueller probe on Monday. The indictment of Paul Manafort was expected, of his business associate Rick Gates, less so. But what riveted the country were the court documents and emails of Trump adviser George Papadopoulos, who is cooperating in the Mueller probe. Bedlam in the Trump regime ensued, as one aide put it, “it’s every man for himself!”

This week Trump made his most aggressive statements against the DOJ, FBI, and court systems for not doing what he thinks they should do. Alarm bells of authoritarianism and not normal were ringing, as were warnings from even some Republicans not to interfere with the Mueller investigation.

  1. WAPO reported Donald Jr. and Eric are set to launch two real estate projects in India, despite vows early on that there would be no new foreign deals while Trump was in office to avoid potential conflicts of interest.
  2. NBC reported U.S Attorney Dana Boente, who submitted his resignation in Week 50, did so at the behest of Sessions, who said Boente should clear the way so Trump could name his successor.
  3. In an NBC News/WSJ poll, Trump’s approval dropped to the lowest level yet: 38% approve, 58% disapprove. The drop came from independents (41% in September to 34%) and whites without a college degree (58% to 51%).
  4. On Monday, Trump hit his lowest approval and largest net gap on Gallup Daily: 33% approve, 62% disapprove, net -29.
  5. Politico reported Kushner took an unannounced trip to Saudi Arabia, his third this year. Days later, Forbes reported Kushner’s plans to save his overleveraged 666 Fifth Avenue property were found to be “not feasible.”
  6. On Sunday, ahead of news coming Monday from the Mueller probe, in a series of tweets, Trump assailed Obamacare, Democrats, Hillary, and the “Fake Dossier,” and implored: “DO SOMETHING!
  7. In a seemingly coordinated effort, Murdoch-owned outlets bashed Mueller and called for his firing, including the WSJ Editorial Board and Sunday op-ed, a New York Post op-ed and continuing coverage on Fox News.
  8. CNN reported several Fox News employees said they were embarrassed and humiliated by the network’s coverage of the Mueller investigation. One said, “Fox feels like an extension of the Trump White House.”
  9. Politico reported Obamacare is about to have its worst open-enrollment season ever, citing numerous steps by the Trump regime to create confusion and end public promotions to raise consumer awareness.
  10. In Edison, NJ, an unknown group sent out flyers ahead of the November 7 election which read, ”Make Edison Great Again” and called for the deportation of two Asian school board candidates.
  11. A student at the University of Hartford was charged with criminal mischief and expelled after an Instagram post in which she bragged about harassing her black American roommate: “I can finally say goodbye to Jamaican Barbie.”
  12. A federal judge temporarily blocked parts of Trump’s memo banning transgender people from the military, ruling it was based on “disapproval of transgender people generally.”
  13. The judge also blasted Trump’s abrupt announcement on Twitter “without any of the formality or deliberative processes” to come up with policy. She ruled the status quo should stay in place for now.
  14. On Tuesday, Trump’s lawyer again sought the dismissal of Summer Zervos’ defamation lawsuit against him, arguing Trump’s expression of his political opinion is protected by the First Amendment.
  15. AP reported Betsy DeVos is considering only partially forgiving federal loans for students defrauded by for-profit colleges, reversing an Obama-era policy which entire erased such debt.
  16. Sessions told Fox News Sunday he is “disturbed” that Jane Doe, the 17 year-old undocumented immigrant was able to get a legal abortion in Week 50, saying, “I think it’s a serious problem, it should not have happened.”
  17. On Friday, Sessions’ DOJ took the unusual step of accusing the ACLU of misconduct for helping “Jane Doe,” an undocumented teenager in government custody, get a safe and legal abortion in Week 50.
  18. On Friday, federal officials released Rosa Maria Hernandez, the 10 year-old undocumented immigrant girl with cerebral palsy who was detained in Week 50 after undergoing surgery in Texas.
  19. In an op-ed, Sen. Elizabeth Warren argued the Supreme Court needs to adopt an ethics code, citing the conflict of Neil Gorsuch keynoting an event at the Trump Hotel DC on the same day the Supreme Court took on a related case.
  20. Papa John’s CEO, John Schnatter, blamed the company’s poor third-quarter performance on NFL anthem protests, tell ESPN: “We are disappointed the NFL and its leadership did not resolve this.”
  21. Trump judicial nominee Leonard Steven Grasz, who was nominated in August to the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals, became the second Trump nominee to be deemed “not qualified” by the American Bar Association.
  22. On Tuesday, at an EPA event with Trump by his side, Scott Pruitt announced a new policy which says scientists receiving EPA grants cannot serve on the agency’s advisory boards. Critics called it a move to silence scientists.
  23. Pruitt also named the chairmen of each of the three most high-profile panels: Michael Honeycutt, Tony Cox, and Paul Gilman — all who disagree with the scientific basis of major Obama administration policies.
  24. On Friday, Pruitt overhauled the EPA’s external advisory boards. Among the new advisers selected are industry players, one who believes air quality is too clean for children, and multiple climate change skeptics.
  25. On Thursday, speaking during an energy policy discussion, Rick Perry linked fossil fuel development to preventing sexual assault, saying “when the lights are on….the righteousness, if you will on those types of acts.”
  26. The Sierra Club called on Perry to resign over his comments. The Department of Energy said Perry’s comments were meant to highlight the way electricity will improve the lives of people in Africa.
  27. On Thursday, the US withdrew as an implementing country from the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI), an international effort to fight corruption in revenues from oil, gas, and mineral extraction.
  28. USA Today reported Trump has appointed at least five people who are members of his clubs to senior roles in his administration. He has also given donors and allies prized diplomatic postings in European capitals.
  29. This marks the first time in history that a president has awarded government posts to people who pay money to his own companies.
  30. On Monday, Mueller’s office announced Paul Manafort and his business partner Rick Gates were indicted by a federal grand jury on 12 charges, including conspiracy against the United States, over the years 2006–2016.
  31. Other charges include money laundering, failing to register as a foreign agent, and seven counts of failure to file reports of foreign bank accounts.
  32. The indictments say both Manafort and Gates generated tens of millions from their lobbying work in Ukraine from 2006–2016, and hid the payments by laundering money. Manafort laundered more than $18 million.
  33. Manafort was Trump’s campaign manager from AprilAugust 2016. Gates was a top campaign deputy, played a key role in planning Trump’s inauguration, and was in and out of the WH during Trump’s early days.
  34. Both were put under house arrest, and bail was set at $10 million for Manafort and $5 million for Gates. Reports showed Manafort’s wealth fluctuated wildly, and he kept three passports, after submitting 10 passport applications.
  35. Bloomberg reported Gates was fired from Colony NorthStar on Monday, where he had been a consultant to Tom Barrack, a longtime friend of Trump. Barrack also was the chairman of Trump’s inaugural committee.
  36. Also revealed on Monday, former Trump foreign policy adviser George Papadopoulos, pleaded guilty to making a false statement to FBI investigators about his contacts with high-level Russian connections.
  37. Papadopoulos’ plea agreement describes his extensive efforts to broker connections between Russian officials and the Trump campaign. He has also turned over months of emails.
  38. On April 25, he wrote, “The Russian government has an open invitation by Putin for Mr. Trump to meet him when he is ready.” Sam Clovis, Papadopoulos’ supervisor, as well as Corey Lewandowski and Manafort received his emails.
  39. Court documents quote one unidentified campaign “supervisor” emailing Papadopoulos in August 2016 that “I would encourage you” to make a trip to Moscow to arrange such a meeting. Yahoo reported this is Clovis.
  40. On Monday, Daily Beast reported Bannon encouraged Trump to bring in new lawyers and to take a much more aggressive approach, including considering the possibility of defunding the Mueller probe.
  41. WAPO reported on Trump’s Monday, saying he spent the morning upstairs watching TV separated from his WH staff, and the entire day visibly angry. The mood in the WH was described as weariness and fear of the unknown.
  42. Vanity Fair reported the West Wing is on edge, and for the first time impeachment is being considered as a realistic outcome. Dina Powell and Gary Cohn are leaving the room is Russia comes up.
  43. Steve Bannon and Roger Stone are urging Trump to take steps to counter Mueller — Bannon citing Trump’s slipping grasp on power. Stone advised appointing a special prosecutor to investigate Hillary’s role in Uranium One.
  44. Reportedly, Trump blames Kushner for his decision to fire Michael Flynn and James Comey, which led to Mueller’s appointment. Allegedly Trump said “Jared is the worst political adviser in the White House in modern history.
  45. CNN reported Kushner’s team has turned over documents to Mueller in the special counsel’s investigation of Kushner’s role in the firing of Comey. Sources say Kushner is not a target of the investigation.
  46. On Monday night, John Kelly reignited his feud with Rep. Frederica Wilson, telling Fox News of his criticism of her, “I stand by my comments.” In Week 48, a video released by Sun-Sentinel showed Kelly’s accusations were false.
  47. Kelly also sparked controversy with a divisive and factually incorrect claims the Civil War was caused by “the lack of an ability to compromise,” and that Confederate Leader Robert E. Lee “was an honorable man.”
  48. On Tuesday, several Senate Republicans, including Jeff Flake, Roy Blunt, John McCain, Mitch McConnell, Richard Shelby, and John Kennedy, separately said they would not support any moves to crack down on the Mueller investigation.
  49. Bloomberg reported Papadopoulos’ emails show that top Trump campaign officials agreed to a pre-election meeting with representatives of Putin. The email is cited in an FBI agent’s affidavit supporting charges.
  50. The Trump regime tried to distance themselves from Papadopoulos. Press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said he was a mere volunteer. Mike Caputo said Papadopoulos was just a “coffee boy.” Trump called him a “low level volunteer.
  51. In a March 21 interview with the WAPO editorial board, Trump included Papadopoulos among people advising him on matters of national security, referring to Papadopoulos as “an energy and oil consultant. Excellent guy.”
  52. On Thursday, NYT reported on court documents describing a March 31 meeting between Trump and his foreign policy team. According to campaign adviser J. D. Gordon, Papadopoulos pitched his Russia idea.
  53. Gordon said Trump listened with interest, but Sessions vehemently opposed the idea. Gordon said Sessions also said no one should talk about Papadopoulos’ idea because it might leak.
  54. On Tuesday, NBC reported former top Trump campaign official Sam Clovis, who supervised Papadopoulos, was questioned last week by Mueller’s team.
  55. On Tuesday, Politico reported Clovis has been a cooperating witness in the Senate Intel Committee’s Russia probe. Clovis is Trump’s controversial nominee for the top scientific job at the Department of Agriculture.
  56. On Thursday, Clovis withdrew from consideration for the Department of Agriculture post, citing “the political climate inside Washington.” Speculation grew the cause was related to the Russia probe.
  57. On Thursday, Carter Page told CNN that during more than six hours of closed-door testimony to the House Intel Committee, Page testified he told Sessions he was traveling to Russia during the 2016 presidential campaign.
  58. NBC reported Sessions rejected Papadopoulos’ plan to use his Russian contacts to set up a meeting between Trump and Putin. Congressional investigators want to question Sessions about his new recollection.
  59. In June, Sessions had told his Senate colleagues under oath that he had “no knowledge” of any conversations by anyone on the Trump campaignabout “any type of interference with any campaign” by Russians.
  60. On Friday, NBC reported that contrary to the Trump regime’s efforts to downplay Papadopoulos’s role in the campaign, records show he was a prominent figure and frequently acted as a surrogate.
  61. Papadopoulos was at the Republican National Convention, and was invited by the American Jewish Committee to speak on a panel along with two Republicans on the House Foreign Affairs Committee and Sen. Bob Corker.
  62. Papadopoulos also acted as a surrogate six weeks before the election, giving an interview to the Russian Interfax News Agency, where he said that Trump will “restore the trust” between the US and Russia.
  63. NYT reported Page told the House Intel Committee on Thursday that after his July 2016 trip to Moscow to meet with Russian government officials, he sent an email to at least one Trump campaign aide describing the trip.
  64. Details came out during sharp questioning by Rep. Adam Schiff. Page’s email detailed his meetings with government officials, legislators, and business executives in Moscow. The recipient(s) of the email are not yet known.
  65. On Thursday, Manafort and Gates were back in court. Both will be confined to their homes and are subject to electronic monitoring devices due to flight risk. The judge is also considering a gag order on attorneys.
  66. A WAPO/ABC poll found 58% of Americans approve of Mueller’s handling of the Trump-Russia investigation, just 28% disapprove. Roughly half say it’s likely Trump committed a crime.
  67. The American Psychological Association Stress in America Survey found 59% of Americans say this is the lowest point in US history. Two-thirds say the future of the nation is a very or somewhat significant source of stress.
  68. Business Insider reported a federal judge in NY has denied Veselnitskaya’s request to enter the US to represent her client, Prevezon, which has not paid the $5.9 million settlement it reached with Sessions’ DOJ in May.
  69. The settlement was a fraction of the $230 million amount Preet Bharara had been seeking before he was fired. If Prevezon does not pay the settlement amount, the judge says they will need to go to court without Veselnitskaya.
  70. On Wednesday, in a series of tweets, Trump blamed Sen. Schumer for the NYC terror attack, tweeting “Diversity Visa Lottery Program” is a “Chuck Schumer beauty.”
  71. Trump’s claim is false: the program was passed with bipartisan support in 1990 and signed into law by George H.W. Bush. Trump’s invented claim came from a segment running that morning on Fox News.
  72. On Wednesday, after a terrorist attack in NYC by a Muslim American, Trump bemoaned our justice system, calling it “a joke” and “a laughingstock,” and saying “no wonder so much of this stuff takes place.”
  73. Trump made his comments during a cabinet meeting. Sessions was in the room. Trump also threatened to send the terror suspect to Guantanamo.
  74. On Wednesday night, Trump tweeted the suspect had asked to hang the ISIS flag in his hospital room and he “SHOULD GET DEATH PENALTY!
  75. On Thursday, in tweets, Trump backed away from his threat to send the suspect to Guantanamo, saying the process there takes longer, and again called for the death penalty: “Should move fast. DEATH PENALTY!
  76. Legal experts say Trump’s tweets and statements will actually hurt the prosecution, citing defense attorneys will claim that the jury pool has been poisoned by the publicity surrounding his expression of opinion.
  77. Trump also told Fox News he was unsure if Rex Tillerson will remain Secretary of State for the balance of his term. Trump said the WH was “not happy” that some State Department staffers were not supporting his agenda.
  78. When pressed about filling vacant high-profile roles in the State Department such as assistant Secretary of State, Trump said, “I’m the only one that matters,” adding, “we don’t need all the people that they want.”
  79. Reuters reported at a recent meeting, former Secretary of State Colin Powell told H.R. McMaster the regime was gutting State. McMaster reportedly replied that there were people who did not support Trump’s agenda.
  80. On Friday, Trump criticized the military court for giving Bowe Bergdahl a dishonorable discharge but no jail time, calling the decision “a complete and total disgrace to our Country and to our Military.”
  81. Ironically, Trump’s speaking out may have, in part, led to the decision. Last week the judge said he would consider Trump’s past comments as evidence for a lighter sentence.
  82. On Thursday, on a radio show, Trump expressed frustration with not being able to direct the DOJ to investigate his former rival Hillary for the dossier, saying he is “very unhappy” with the DOJ and “very frustrated by it.”
  83. On Friday, in a series of tweets, Trump continued, saying “everybody is asking” why the DOJ and FBI isn’t investigating Hillary and the Democrats. Adding, at some point the DOJ and FBI need to do what’s right and proper.
  84. On Friday, Trump also left open — for the fourth time — that he may fire Sessions if the DOJ does not investigate Trump’s political rivals, saying “a lot of people are disappointed in the Justice Department, including me.”
  85. NYT noted in the past four decades, no president has sought to publicly pressure law enforcement as much as Trump.
  86. WSJ reported the FBI is investigating the decision by Puerto Rico’s power authority (“PREPA”) to award a $300 million contract to Whitefish Energy.
  87. On Sunday, Puerto Rico governor Ricardo Rosselló petitioned the board of PREPA to invoke the cancellation clause for this island’s contract with Whitefish Energy after FEMA flagged “significant concerns.”
  88. Business Insider reported the USNS Comfort was anchored offshore of Puerto Rico until last Friday. Now that the Comfort has docked, medical staff attended 700 patients over the weekend, up from nine a day prior.
  89. Six weeks after Hurricane Maria, doctor and nurses say Puerto Ricans still face widespread symptoms related to unclean water, including vomiting, diarrhea and asthma, as well as 74 suspected cases of leptospirosis.
  90. Rachel Maddow reported Puerto Rican officials refuse to answer how many of the suspected 74 cases of leptospirosis, a disease transmitted by contact with water contaminated by animal urine, have led to death.
  91. The Atlantic reported as Puerto Rico ended its contract with Whitefish, there are several investigations into PREPA’s $200 million contract with Mammoth Energy Services’ Cobra Acquisitions, which was awarded on October 19.
  92. A letter from the House energy committee said the Cobra contract “would appear to have the effect of preventing government oversight of the agreement.” Questions are also raised about the bidding process.
  93. On Friday, San Juan Mayor Carmen Yulín Cruz told CNN the actual death toll from Maria is closer to 500, not 54.
  94. On Thursday, Trump’s Twitter account was “inadvertently deactivated” by a Twitter employee for 11 minutes at just after 7 p.m. EST. The employee, still unidentified, did this on their last day of work.
  95. As of Tuesday, Tom Steyer’s online petition asking Congress to impeach Trump garnered more than 1.1 million signatures in its first week.
  96. A Public Policy Polling survey found a record level of support for impeaching Trump: 49% support impeachment, while 41% oppose it.
  97. On Tuesday, ahead of Congressional testimony, Facebook admitted Russian influence on their platform had reached 126 million Americans, far greater than what the company had previously disclosed.
  98. Lawmakers released 3K Russian ads spread on Facebook. The ads were highly sophisticated and targeted candidates as well as groups and issues like illegal immigration, gun ownership, Black Lives Matter, and Muslims.
  99. On Tuesday and Wednesday, general counsel for social media companies Facebook, Twitter, and Google testified before the Senate Judiciary subcommittee, and Senate and House intelligence committees.
  100. Sen. Al Franken blasted Facebook for accepting payments in rubles for US election ads. Sen. Diane Feinstein said, “You’ve created these platforms, and now, they’re being misused,” adding “do something about it. Or we will.”
  101. Sen. Mark Warner chastised the companies for being unresponsive and slow to investigate. He asked, “do you believe that any of your companies have identified the full scope of Russian active measures?” Facebook said no.
  102. Warner said the Facebook ads “are just the tip of a very large iceberg,” andthe real story is “the amount of misinformation and divisive content” pushed on Russian-back pages.
  103. Sen. Amy Klobuchar pushed executives to weigh in on legislation that would require the companies to report who funds political ads online. InWeek 49, Klobuchar and Warner gained bipartisan support of their Honest Ads Act.
  104. Twitter identified 2,752 accounts controlled by Russian operatives and more than 36K bots that tweeted 1.4 million times during the election. Weeks ago, Twitter had said it found just 201 accounts linked to Russia.
  105. Bloomberg reported Twitter was warned in 2015 by Leslie Miley about a vast amount of accounts with IP addresses in Russia and Ukraine. Miley, the only black engineer in leadership, was dismissed later that year.
  106. On Thursday, Robert Mercer resigned as CEO of his giant hedge fund, Renaissance Technologies. In a letter to employees, Mercer said he has “scrutiny from the press” and been unfairly linked to Bannon.
  107. Robert Mercer also sold his stake in Breitbart to his daughter Rebekah. In a statement, Mercer tried to distance himself from Milo Yiannopoulos, who, according to BuzzFeed, had cultivated white nationalists while at Breitbart.
  108. On Friday, three conservative House Republicans — Matt Gaetz, Andy Biggs, and Louis Gohmert — said they plan to file a resolution calling on Mueller to recuse himself from his probe of Russian meddling, over conflicts of interest.
  109. On Wednesday, Georgia’s AG office announced it will no longer represent the state’s top elections official in an elections integrity lawsuit filed days before a crucial computer server was quietly wiped clean, as per Week 50.
  110. Secretary of State Brian Kemp, the main defendant, is running for governor in 2018. The server in question made headlines in June when a security expert disclosed a gaping security hole that wasn’t fixed.
  111. The erased hard drives are central to the lawsuit filed in Week 34 becausethey could have revealed whether the Ossoff-Handel race was compromised by hackers. It is not clear who ordered the data erased.
  112. AP obtained Russian hackers’ unpublished digital hit list which had targets around the world: in addition to Hillary’s emails, it includes emails of Ukrainian officers, Russian opposition figures and US defense contractors.
  113. The list came from a database of 19K malicious links collected by cybersecurity firm Secureworks, when hacking group Fancy Bear accidentally exposed part of its phishing operation to the internet.
  114. The list also provides the most detailed forensic evidence yet of the close alignment between Russian hackers and the Kremlin.
  115. On Friday, AP reported on how Russia hacked into Hillary’s campaign starting on March 10, 2016. Through a malicious link, hacker group Fancy Bear was able to enter John Podesta’s email account.
  116. On April 26, before the DNC knew, court documents show Papadopoulos says he was told about it by a professor closely connected to the Russian government, “They have dirt on her. They have thousands of emails.”
  117. According to AP, Guccifer 2.0 acted as a kind of master of ceremonies during a summer of leaks. He also coordinated with WikiLeaks and wrote, “Together with Assange we’ll make america great again.”
  118. AP also reported Guccifer 2.0 had airbrushed at least one of Podesta’s emails to get media attention: the word “CONFIDENTIAL” was not in the original document.
  119. CNN reported Trump’s long-time bodyguard and close confidante, Keith Schiller will testify to the House Intel Committee next week, as well as Glenn Simpson of Fusion GPS.
  120. WAPO reported Schiller is expected to be questioned about Trump’s 2013 Moscow trip, which is behind some of the most salacious allegations in the dossier, as well as Trump’s firing of Comey.
  121. This week the committee interviewed Carter Page and Ike Kaveladze, one of the people at the June 9 Trump Tower meeting, as well as former assistant AG at the National Security division, Mary McCord, and Sally Yates.
  122. Rachel Maddow noted the sudden rush of witnesses, some of who are central figures and Trump insiders, may indicate the House Intel Committee Republicans are trying to bring its investigation to a close.
  123. On Friday, CBS News reported Trump campaign officials in legal jeopardy may be rushing to offer their cooperation to get a better deal from Mueller. One official who is being examined said, “it’s every man for himself.”
  124. USA Today reported Trump’s Election Integrity Commission may have gone dark. The last public meeting was on September 12, and it’s unclear, even to commission members, when the next meeting will be held.
  125. The commission has held two meetings since it was set up in May, and has been sued by numerous civil rights and voting rights groups for lack of transparency and governance.
  126. With election day coming next Tuesday, Twitter bots swarmed an important governor’s race in Virginia. Similar to the 2016 election, the bots are focused on fanning racial strife.
  127. Joe Ricketts, a Trump supporter, shuttered both DNAinfo and Gothamist, two of NYC’s leading sources of local news which he purchased in March, after employees voted to join a union. Ricketts made no attempt to sell.
  128. ProPublica reported two former CIA employees say Christopher Sharpley, Trump’s nominee for CIA inspector general, “deliberately misled Congress” by saying he didn’t know about a pending complaint filed against him.
  129. Mother Jones reported the Trump Organization experienced a major cyber breach in 2013, likely by Russian hackers. Until the week, the penetration had gone undetected. Information could be compromised.
  130. In Week 47, Kushner and Ivanka’s personal emails accounts used for WH business were redirected to Trump Organization servers.
  131. On Saturday, Trump solicited the Saudi Arabia government, tweeting to ask them to list their IPO of Aramco on the New York Stock Exchange.
  132. On Saturday, en route to his Asia trip on a stop in Hawaii, Trump visited his Trump-branded Hawaii resort. This marks Trump’s 97th trip to a Trump-owned property during his time in office.
  133. As Trump headed on a trip to Asia, there is a sense that Trump has accelerated China’s rise by being and unsteady leader. Media say Beijing is the “new role model,” and Trump needs to prove his can be “constructive.”

The Weekly List website is live! Find us at www.theweeklylist.org

Former campaign manager for Trump, Paul Manafort, leaves U.S. District Court after pleading not guilty following his indictment on federal charges on October 30, 2017 in Washington, DC.

Photos taken by me around New York City in October 2017:IMG_3723IMG_3725IMG_3724IMG_1809IMG_1962IMG_2245IMG_1959IMG_2690

POLITIKS OF GRAFFITI 51: “YOU F***ED URSELVES”

Check out Amy Siskind’s weekly FACT list and my photos of graffiti around New York City depicting the sad state of USA politics, below:

Week 50 of trump’s presidency: Experts in authoritarianism advise to keep a list of things subtly changing around you, so you’ll remember.

October 28, 2017 https://medium.com/@Amy_Siskind/week-50-experts-in-authoritarianism-advise-to-keep-a-list-of-things-subtly-changing-around-you-so-8e5b958887dc

The feelings of anxiety and fear amid continued chaos and eroding norms were palpable in this second-consecutive, record-setting week. The Trump regime continued their attacks on rights and protections, while the Republican Party split deepened after a historic anti-Trump/save our country speech by Senator Jeff Flake.

The week closed with the unexpected news that the Mueller probe has produced its first results: charges filed in federal court. The news provided the first relief, and possible accountability after unending news of corruption, incompetence and kleptocracy. The humanitarian crisis in Puerto Rico worsened amid news of an insider-deal and cover-ups, as Trump continued to turn a blind eye of indifference.

  1. Axios reported Trump pledged to spend at least $430k of his own money to pay some of the legal bills for WH staff due to the Russia investigation. The RNC has paid roughly $430k to cover Trump’s and Donald Jr.’s lawyers.
  2. Reuters reported Canada is granting asylum to people who fear being deported by Trump. More than 15K people crossed the U.S.-Canadian border to claim refugee status this year. Many were in the US legally.
  3. The US Air Force responded to Trump’s executive order in Week 49 which allows them to recall retired pilots, saying the Air Force did not know about it in advance and does not “currently intend to recall retired pilots.”
  4. Defense One reported the Air Force is preparing to put nuclear-armed bombers back on 24-hour ready alert, a status not seen since the Cold War ended in 1991.
  5. On Sunday, on the same day the Kremlin added him to the Interpol list, the State Dept revoked a visa for British citizen Bill Browder, a hedge fund manager turned human rights activist responsible for the Magnitsky Act.
  6. On Monday night, the US cleared Browder to enter. The explanation given anonymously by a Trump regime member is the initial action blocking had been taken automatically in response to an Interpol notice filed by Russia.
  7. Veselnitskaya detailed the Kremlin’s gripes with Browder in a memo she brought to the June 9 meeting with Donald Jr., Kushner and Manafort.
  8. POLITICO reported that four officials at three different federal agencies are doing substantially similar work to the position for which they have been nominated, despite not having been confirmed yet.
  9. Atlantic reported Trump is rush-shipping condolences to Gold Star families following his false claim he had called “virtually all” of the families. Four families received next-day UPS letters from Trump.
  10. McCain took a swipe at Trump on C-SPAN3 saying those “at the highest income level” avoided the draft by finding a doctor who “would say that they had a bone spur.”
  11. The women of the Congressional Black Caucus demanded Kelly apologize to Rep Wilson, citing the Sun Sentinel video which shows Kelly’s public statement in Week 49 was false.
  12. On Monday, Myeshia Johnson told “Good Morning America” Trump “made me cry even worse.” She also said she didn’t like Trump’s tone, and that she broke down when Trump fumbled her husband’s name.
  13. Trump tweeted immediately after her interview, refuting Myeshia, “I had a very respectful conversation with the widow of Sgt. La David Johnson, and spoke his name from beginning, without hesitation!”
  14. On Wednesday, Trump again said Myeshia’s recollection is incorrect, telling reporters he did say La David Johnson’s name, and he has “one of the great memories of all time.”
  15. DeVos’s Education Department rescinded 72 special education policy documents that outline the rights of students with disabilities, saying the guidelines were “outdated, unnecessary or ineffective.”
  16. Anti-Semitic posters which read, “Just Say No to Jewish Lies!” and “Join the White Gang” adorned with swastika, were found on Cornell University’s campus and Collegetown.
  17. The NAACP issued a travel advisory for African Americans who fly on American Airlines. The group cited a disturbing pattern of black passengers being removed from flights and other troublesome conduct.
  18. Georgia Rep Betty Price, wife of former HHS Secretary Price, in a study committee asked if the government could “quarantine” people with HIV.
  19. In a meeting of NFL owners and league executives regarding player protests, Texans owner Robert McNair said of the players, “We can’t have the inmates running the prison.” He later apologized.
  20. A post-it which read, “JEWS WILL BURN” was left on the locker of a Jewish sixth grade student at Middlebrook School in Wilton, CT, one of several recent anti-Semitic incidents at the school.
  21. White supremacist group Identity Evropa hung flyers across Rutgers University campuses which read, “Our Generation. Our Future. Our Last Chance.” The group’s founder has close ties to Richard Spencer.
  22. Mahway, NJ proposed rules aimed at barring Orthodox Jews from moving in. A complaint by the state AG cited “1950s-era white flight suburbanites who sought to keep African-Americans” out from their communities.
  23. Viviana Andazola Marquez, a senior at Yale, wrote while bringing her father, who works and raised four children, for a final interview with Immigration Services, he was detained and faces deportation proceedings.
  24. Rosa Maria Hernandez, a 10 year-old Mexican girl with cerebral palsy, is potentially facing deportation after going through a Border Patrol checkpoint in South Texas to get emergency gallbladder surgery.
  25. On Wednesday, the immigrant teen known as “Jane Doe” was able to terminate her pregnancy. The ACLU said this is part of the Trump regime’s efforts to drastically restricts abortion access for minors in their custody.
  26. Scott Lloyd, head of Office of Refugee Resettlement, has tried to block abortions for teens in custody. WSJ reported his work is part of a broader push by the Trump regime “to deliver socially conservative policies.
  27. At a House hearing Thursday, Lloyd refused to answer many questions posed by Democrats who charged he had overstepped his expertise and authority in his dealing with female detainees.
  28. In the wake of numerous men in high-profile positions being accused of sexual misconduct, when asked about Trump at a press briefing, Sanders said all the women who accused Trump of sexual harassment are lying.
  29. Trump’s EPA canceled speaking appearance of three agency scientists scheduled to discuss climate change at a conference in RI. The cancelations highlight concern the EPA will silence government scientists.
  30. CBC reported Kelly Craft, the new US ambassador to Canada, says she believes “both sides” of the climate change science.
  31. Trump’s FCC Chairman, Ajit Pai, announced a vote in November to rollback regulations passed in 1975 which bans media cross-ownership of newspaper, radio and television at the local level to protect consumers.
  32. Pai’s move comes as Trump ally Sinclair Broadcasting seeks to acquire Tribune Media. The combined company would reach 72% of households.
  33. AP reported a computer server crucial to a lawsuit against Georgia election officials in Week 34 was quietly wiped clean by the Center for Elections Systems at Kennesaw State University just after the suit was filed.
  34. Cummings again called on Gowdy to sign on to a request for documents from Kushner and Ivanka on their use of private email accounts, saying if he doesn’t, the House Oversight Comm should vote on issuing subpoenas.
  35. WAPO reported GEO Group, a giant private-prison company, switched the venue for its annual leadership conference to Trump National Doral.
  36. GEO Group gave $250K to a Trump super PAC, and hired two former aides of Sessions and a Trump fundraiser as outside lobbyists. The company’s stock has tripled since Obama said he would phase out private prisons.
  37. Donald Jr. tweeted a photo of him on stage with his father: “Great time with @realDonaldTrump in Texas.” The two are supposed to maintain a firewall between them as Donald Jr. co-manages the family businesses.
  38. The GAO will probe the Election Integrity Commission’s funding, internal operations and how it is protects and sorts voter files. The probe comes as three Democratic senators said the commission had ignored their requests.
  39. On Thursday, at a speech at the Heritage Foundation, Sessions scolded federal judges who have ruled against or criticized the Trump regime, saying, “co-equal branches of government ought to respect one another.”
  40. Sessions also said that religious expression overrides civil rights laws, saying the First Amendment guarantees “that includes the freedom not to create expression for ceremonies that violate one’s religious beliefs.”
  41. FiveThirtyEight reported under Trump and Sessions, 70% of the tables from the FBI’s “Crime in the United States,” a report considered the gold standard for tracking crime statistics, have been taken offline.
  42. Former Trump WH aide Gorka told Fox News Trump’s former political opponent Hillary Clinton should be tried for treason and executed, saying Uranium One is the equivalent of the espionage of the Rosenbergs in 1951.
  43. CNN reported Trump made it clear to the State Dept he wants to accelerate the release of any remaining Hillary emails in its possession.
  44. Trump has also called on the DOJ to lift the gag order on an undercover FBI informant who played a critical role in an FBI investigation into Russian efforts to gain influence in the US uranium industry.
  45. Trump has yet to implement Russian sanctions from legislation signed August 2, after being approved by an overwhelming majority in the Hose and Senate. The deadline to implement was October 1.
  46. Foreign Policy reported Tillerson shuttered the State Dept’s Coordinator for Sanctions Policy office, which oversees sanctions policy, as part of an overhaul of the department.
  47. On Friday, the Trump regime, facing vociferous public criticism, started to rollout Russian sanctions on a very limited basis: the State Dept listed 39 Russian companies and government organizations to be sanctioned.
  48. NYT reported China’s Xi has succeeded in positioning China as a responsible power by stepping up when Trump has failed, citing speaking up for globalization at Davos and the Paris Climate Accord.
  49. WSJ reported Trump almost deported fugitive businessman Guo Wengui after receiving a letter from the Chinese government, hand-delivered by Steve Wynn, the Republican National Committee finance chairman.
  50. Trump allegedly said to his secretary: “Where’s the letter that Steve brought? We need to get this criminal out of the country.” Wynn’s Macau casino empire cannot operate without a license from the Chinese territory.
  51. Washington Times reported at a meeting this spring, Sessions threatened to resign if the Trump regime deported Guo Wengui.
  52. On Wednesday, Trump called to congratulate China’s Xi, as Xi asserted his absolute supremacy over China’s one-party state, calling it an “extraordinary elevation,” and comparing Xi to a “king.”
  53. Reuters reported that after Trump’s abrupt decision to decertify the Iran nuclear deal, European leaders are nervous. No longer is there confidence Europe can muddle through three more years without disruptions.
  54. On Wednesday, Trump blamed the generals for Niger ambush. In Week 16, Trump also blamed the generals for a SEAL killed in the failed Yemen raid.
  55. Trump repeatedly referred to “my generals” and “my military.” This reference has angered many in the military who believe the reference suggests Trump’s sense of ownership over the country’s armed forces.
  56. In an interview with Fox Business Network, Trump relished in his ability to diminish the press, I “really started this whole fake news thing,” adding “I’m so proud that I have been able to convince people how fake it is.”
  57. WAPO reported lawmakers in both parties are expressing frustration on the inability to accomplish anything with Trump. Lawmakers consider him “untrustworthy, chronically inconsistent and easily distracted.”
  58. A Fox News poll showed Trump’s approval falling to a new low of 38%. Trump is losing support from white men without a college degree (68% last month to 56%) and white evangelical Christians (74% to 66%).
  59. NYT listed the 382 people, places and things Trump has insulted on Twitter since he declared his candidacy.
  60. On Wednesday, Daily Beast reported Alexander Nix, head of Cambridge Analytica, reached out to WikiLeaks founder Assange for help finding and then publicly releasing Hillary’s 33k deleted emails.
  61. In response to Daily Beast reporting, Assange provided this statement: “We can confirm an approach by Cambridge Analytica and can confirm that it was rejected by WikiLeaks.”
  62. Late Wednesday, Michael Glassner, Trump campaign executive director, issued a statement seeking to distance the campaign from Cambridge Analytica. The Trump campaign paid Cambridge Analytica $5.9mm.
  63. On Friday, the WSJ reported Trump donor Rebekah Mercer reached out to Nix on August 26, 2016 to ask whether Cambridge Analytica could better organize the Hillary-related emails being released by WikiLeaks.
  64. WSJ reported Nix’s outreach to Assange came before his company began working for the Trump campaign in July. U.S. intelligence determined the emails were stolen by Russian intelligence and given to WikiLeaks.
  65. The Senate Intel Comm sought and received materials from the estate of Peter W. Smith. which could help determine whether Smith was working with members of the Trump campaign to obtain Hillary’s missing emails.
  66. BuzzFeed reported Russian troll farm Internet Research Agency also used Instagram to exploit divisions and social movements.
  67. Michael Cohen met privately with House and Senate intelligence panels as part of their investigation on Russian interference in the 2016 election. Cohen is still expected to testify publicly later this year.
  68. Daily Beast reported that due to concern over Rohrabacher’s ties to Russia, the House Comm on Foreign Affairs placed heightened restrictions on his trips abroad, committee money for travel, and hearings he can hold.
  69. Tatyana Felgenhaeur, a Russian radio journalist, was stabbed in the throat by an attacker who burst into her studio. There has been a string of attacks against journalists and opposition activists in Moscow.
  70. British lawmakers asked Facebook to provide information on any ads purchased by Russian-linked accounts around June’s general election and last year’s Brexit referendum.
  71. The Senate Judiciary Comm ended its bipartisan investigation into whether Trump obstructed justice or colluded with Russia. Republicans and Democrats saying they will now conduct separate probes.
  72. Daily Beast reported just three of the 13 Republican members of the House Intel Comm regularly attend when Trump-Russia witnesses are grilled behind closed doors. The three participate in a very limited way.
  73. Republicans on the committee are instead focused in other areas. Nunes is working with Reps DeSantis and King, not on the committee, to probe an Obama-era uranium deal which Trump has repeatedly promoted.
  74. Former US ambassador to Russia, Michael McFaul compared the recycling of the uranium deal to classic whataboutism, perfected by the Kremlin.
  75. Nunes said he “would prefer” reporters stop saying he recused himself from the Russia probe, even though, in Week 21, he recused himself from the Russia probe.
  76. Twitter banned ads from Russia state-owned news outlets RT and Sputnik. The Kremlin said it would respond, saying the move flouted international and domestic laws on free speech
  77. WSJ reported the Manhattan US attorney’s office is pursuing an investigation of Manafort for possible money-laundering. The investigation is being conducted in collaboration with Mueller’s probe.
  78. At the same time, the Brooklyn US attorney’s office is pursuing an inquiry involving Kushner Cos. Trump has interviewed, and is said to be close to nominating, candidates to lead both the Manhattan and Brooklyn offices.
  79. Among those interviewed are Geoffrey Berman, who is a law partner of Rudy Giuliani at Greenberg Traurig LLP., and Edward McNally, a law partner of Marc Kasowitz at Kasowitz Benson Torres & Friedman LLP.
  80. POLITICO reported the realtor who helped Manafort buy the Alexandria apartment recently raided by the FBI, testified before a grand jury in the Mueller’s Russia probe, after efforts by the realtor to quash the subpoena.
  81. NYT reported records show Veselnitskaya was working on behalf of the Kremlin when she met with Donald Jr. and others on June 9. This undercuts her account she was working as an independent actor.
  82. On Friday, Carter Page met with the Senate Intel Comm for more than five hour in a closed session. Asked by NBC News whether he answered all the committee’s questions, Page responded, “Thanks, have a great day.”
  83. Dana Boente, a 33-year veteran of the DOJ, abruptly announced his resignation as US attorney for the Eastern District of VA on Thursday. Boente is serving as acting asst AG of the National Security Division.
  84. In a statement, former CIA director Woolsey said he and his wife have been in communication with the FBI regarding his knowledge of former NSA Flynn. Woolsey also claims he is getting smeared.
  85. Late Friday, CNN reported the first charges have been filed in the Mueller investigation. The charges are sealed. Plans were made Friday for anyone charged to be taken into custody as soon as Monday. Reuters confirmed.
  86. WAPO reported Whitefish Energy, a two-year-old company with 2 full-time employees, signed a $300mm no-bid contract, the biggest yet in Puerto Rico, to repair and reconstruct the island’s electrical infrastructure.
  87. Whitefish Energy is located in Whitefish, Montana, and its owner Andy Techmanski is friends with Sec Interior Zinke. One of Zinke’s sons had a summer job with Techmanski. Zinke said he played no role in the contract.
  88. On Wednesday, Puerto Rico’s installed an emergency manager at the island’s utility. Sen Murkowski said her Committee on Energy and Natural Resources will hold hearings. House committees are investigating too.
  89. Five weeks after Maria hit, just 25% of Puerto Rico has electricity. San Juan Mayor Cruz expressed her frustration about the Whitefish contract and lack of progress on CNN. She also tweeted to request transparency.
  90. In response, Whitefish Energy tweeted a threat to halt work to the Mayor: “We’ve got 44 linemen rebuilding power lines in your city & 40 more men just arrived. Do you want us to send them back or keep working?”
  91. Later Wednesday, Whitefish Energy tweeted an apology to the Mayor Cruz and everyone in Puerto Rico.
  92. A copy of the Whitefish Energy deal documents surfaced Friday, revealing as part of the contract, the government is not allowed to “audit or review the cost and profit elements” for how the company spends the $300MM.
  93. On Friday, Zinke and the WH sought to distance themselves from Whitefish Energy. Press Sec Sanders said Trump had personally asked Zinke about the deal, which he claimed to know nothing about.
  94. Zinke claimed Whitefish Energy contacted him at the Interior Dept, but in a statement he said the contact occurred only after the company had won the contract with PREPA. The contract was no-bid.
  95. Puerto Rico reported at least 76 cases of suspected and confirmed leptospirosis, including a handful of deaths, caused by contaminated water. Almost a quarter of Puerto Ricans are still without drinking water.
  96. Vox reported the nation’s largest nurses union condemned the federal government’s emergency response in Puerto Rico, saying millions are suffering and accusing the government of leaving people to die.
  97. Nurses cited perilous conditions: doctors performing surgery with light from their cellphones, children screaming from hunger, elderly residents suffering severe dehydration, black mold throughout entire communities.
  98. BuzzFeed reported funeral homes and crematoriums in Puerto Rico are burning the dead. Communication between the central institute certifying official hurricane deaths is broken, so these deaths are not being counted.
  99. BuzzFeed later reported the Puerto Rican government allowed 911 bodies to be cremated without medical examinations to determine if they should be included in the official death toll.
  100. On Tuesday morning, Corker and Trump escalated their battle. Corker said Trump was “debasing” the country with his “untruths,” “name-calling” and “attempted bullying.”
  101. Trump responded in a series of tweets, calling Corker a “lightweight,” who “couldn’t get elected dog catcher in Tennessee.” Trump also falsely claimed that Corker helped Obama “give us the bad Iran Deal.”
  102. Corker responded in a tweet of his own: “Same untruths from an utterly untruthful president. #AlertTheDaycareStaff”
  103. Trump responded again on Twitter, calling Corker an “incompetent head of the Foreign Relations Committee,” and saying people like “liddle’ Bob Corker have set the U.S. way back.”
  104. Corker responded, telling CNN on supporting Trump that he “would not do that again,” and said Trump has “great difficulty with the truth.”
  105. Same day, Trump attended a lunch with Republican senators, and tweeted how well it went, claiming he received, “multiple standing ovations!
  106. As Trump entered the Republican lunch, a protestor threw Russian flags at him and yelled, “Trump is treason.” The protestor was arrested.
  107. On Tuesday afternoon, Sen Flake gave an impassioned, historical speech on the Senate floor, and said he would not be seeking re-election. He also wrote an op-ed titled, “Enough,” saying it is time to stand up to Trump.
  108. Flake cautioned against “the new normal,” and said, “we must never adjust to the present coarseness of our national dialogue” set by Trump, including “the regular and casual undermining of our democratic norms and ideals.”
  109. On foreign policy, Flake said “the efficacy of American leadership around the globe has come into question,” and cautioned, “Despotism loves a vacuum. And our allies are now looking elsewhere for leadership.”
  110. Flake also criticized Trump for normalizing lies: “calling fake things true and true things fake,” and called Trump’s behavior “reckless, outrageous, and undignified,” and “dangerous to our democracy.”
  111. Flake appealed to his fellow Republicans, saying the pivot to governing by Trump is not coming, and “when the next generation asks us, why didn’t you do something? Why didn’t you speak up? What are we going to say?”
  112. After Flake’s speech, his fellow Arizona senator McCain took the Senate floor to honor his friend, “When Flake’s service to the Senate is reviewed it will be one of honor, of brilliance, of patriotism, of love of country.”
  113. On Wednesday, Trump continued his attacks on Corker and Flake on Twitter. He also tweeted two more times about the standing ovations.
  114. In a 51–50 vote with Pence as tie-breaker, the Senate voted to end consumers’ right to file class-action suits against financial firms, a step to dismantling the Obama-era Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.
  115. Trump’s USDA withdrew an Obama-era rule which would have made it easier for independent farmers to bring lawsuits against big food companies, on the day before it was set to take effect.
  116. US Ambassador to New Zealand Scott Brown is under investigation by the State Depart for making inappropriate comments during a Peace Corp event in Samoa. Brown blamed it on people at the event not liking Trump.
  117. Bloomberg reported at least a quarter of the pipes used in the Keystone XL pipeline came from a Russian steel company whose biggest shareholder is a Russian oligarch and Trump family friend, Roman Abramovich.
  118. Foreign steel imports are up 24% in 2017. More than 60 steelworkers met with Congress in September to tell them of their growing frustration with the WH delays. Wilbur Ross said the regime is focused on tax reform.
  119. On Friday, Trump tweeted an attack on Tom Steyer, calling him “Wacky & totally unhinged.” Steyer, a California billionaire activist, launched a $10MM national ad campaign calling for Trump’s impeachment.
  120. After pledging to release JFK records as required early Thursday, and Trump bragging about it on Twitter, the Trump regime flubbed the release resulting in only a partial release of records late Thursday.
  121. A federal judge who oversaw the collection of government documents on JFK’s assassination called Trump’s handling of the release “disappointing,” citing so many of the records have been held back for review.
  122. On Thursday, Trump declared the US opioid abuse a national public health emergency in a speech. The formal declaration came more than two months after Trump initially said he would do so on August 10 (Week 39).
  123. Trump pledged no new money to combat opioid abuse, but offered instead an advertising campaign with a slogan, “Just Say No” — a concept which has had little success in the past.
  124. Information on the Niger ambush continued to slowly trickle out. Democrats on the House and Senate Armed Services Committees complained the Pentagon has not been forthcoming enough.
  125. McClatchy reported Michael Cohen netted close to $20MM by selling real estate properties well-above market value to mysterious buyer. Experts say such deals are red flags of money laundering.
  126. In 2014, a buyer using a LLC bought a property from Cohen for $10MM in cash that Cohen had paid just $2MM for three years prior. Three other properties in the same time-frame followed a similar pattern.
  127. On Friday, Trump gave Halloween candy to kids at the WH. Trump told one young girl: “Well, you have no weight problems, that’s the good news, right? So you take out whatever you need.”
  128. Anna Wintour said Trump won’t be invited back to the Met Gala. Trump has been a regular at the fundraiser since the 1980s.
  129. On Friday, Trump released a promotional video — “Big announcement next week!” — on Instagram, ahead of this Fed Chair announcement.
  130. On Saturday, 200 white nationalists carried a Confederate flag and chanting for closed borders and deportations in Shelbyville, TN. The rally is one of two expected in TN. The rally also drew counter-protestors.

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POLITIKS OF GRAFFITI 50: TRUMP LOST NEW YORK :-)

Week 49 of trump’s presidency: Experts in authoritarianism advise to keep a list of things subtly changing around you, so you’ll remember.

https://medium.com/@Amy_Siskind/week-49-experts-in-authoritarianism-advise-to-keep-a-list-of-things-subtly-changing-around-you-so-dc7e777ac601    October 21, 2017

This was one of, if not the worst week for our country since Trump took office. As the length of the list reveals, this was a week of complete chaos and eroding norms. There was an observable sense of exhaustion, anger, sadness, fear and loss among Americans.

With Trump effectively driving the narrative around his handling of a fallen soldier, there was little coverage or focus on most items on this list. Many of these news stories would in normal times be front page coverage for months. Investigations of Russian interference quietly progressed on several fronts, and alarmingly Trump and some prominent regime members continue to deny the existence of, and take steps to protect against Russian involvement.

  1. At the Value Voter Summit, Trump ally and former adviser Gorka told the crowd, “The left has no idea how much more damage we can do to them as private citizens.”
  2. BuzzFeed reported a subpoena was issued in March by Summer Zervos’s lawyer to Trump for documents about “any woman alleging” Trump touched her inappropriately. Zervos is suing Trump for defamation.
  3. Larry Flint took out a full-page ad in the Sunday edition of WAPO offering to pay $10MM for “information leading to the impeachment and removal from office” of Trump.
  4. New Yorker reported on “Duty to Warn,” a group of psychiatrists mobilizing behind the 25th Amendment, who claim Trump “suffers from an incurable malignant narcissism” which makes him unfit to serve and dangerous.
  5. The Editorial Board of the San Francisco Chronicle published an op-ed, “California burns: Where’s the president?” as Trump for a second week was silent on CA’s deadliest wildfire.
  6. New Yorker reported on Pence’s extremism on social issues. In a meeting, when the discussion turned to LGBT rights, Trump pointed at Pence and said: “Don’t ask that guy — he wants to hang them all!
  7. The media company of Trump ally Anthony Scarmucci ran a Twitter poll asking people to vote on the number of Jews killed in the Holocaust. Before it was taken down, 1 in 5 responded “less than one million.”
  8. Mic reported Army recruiters have been instructed to stop enlisting green card holders “until further notice.” Baring green card holders from enlisting is against federal law.
  9. A federal judge in HI blocked Trump’s revised travel ban, saying it “suffers from precisely the same maladies as its predecessor.”
  10. A federal judge in MD granted a nationwide preliminary injunction, saying the Trump regime has “not shown that national security cannot be maintained without an unprecedented eight-country travel ban.”
  11. White supremacist Richard Spencer spoke at U of Florida in his first campus speech since the “Unite the Right” rally in Charlottesville. His appearance was met with mass protests inside and outside the speech.
  12. FL Gov. Scott declared a state of emergency for Alachua County. U of Florida banned torches, masks, weapons and athletic equipment that could be used as a weapon.
  13. Police announced three white nationalists were charged with attempted homicide after they argued with and fired a shot at a group of protestorsfollowing Spencer’s speech.
  14. A federal judge in KS denied bond for one of three men in a militia group “the Crusaders,” a group of Trump supporters who had plotted an attack against Muslims one day after the 2016 election to “wake people up.”
  15. On Friday, Mashable reported the EPA climate change website which was taken down in April, reappeared in part, but with all references to climate change removed.
  16. Forbes reported during the transition period, Wilbur Ross moved assets into family trusts, leaving more than $2BN off his financial disclosure report. Forbes discovered the discrepancy based on magazine records.
  17. Ross’s moving assets raises concerns of violating federal rules, and also, given his role as Sec Commerce, potential for conflicts of interest.
  18. Rep Cummings said “several” Trump aides have admitted to using private emails for government business and “confessed” that they failed to forward official records, in violation of federal record-keeping law.
  19. Gowdy had joined Cummings in Week 46 to request details on private email use with an initial deadline of October 10. The WH did not fully respond. Now Cummings is concerned Gowdy is letting the WH slide.
  20. Trump will meet Philippine President Duterte on his upcoming trip to Asia. Duterte has come under international criticism for his brutal crackdown on drug trafficking, including thousands of extrajudicial killings.
  21. In a speech at the Heritage Foundation, Pruitt said the Trump regime plans to restrict scientists who get EPA grants from serving on the agency’s scientific advisory committees.
  22. Earlier this year, Pruitt failed to renew half of the membership of the 18-person Board of Scientific Counselors. He is considering more than 130 candidates who reject mainstream science on climate change.
  23. Trump nominee for drug czar, Tom Marino, withdrew from consideration after a WAPO/“60 Minutes” investigation detailed how he helped steer legislation that weakened the DEA’s ability to go after drug distributors.
  24. Anthony Alexis, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s enforcement chief, announced he is stepping down. Alexis is the highest-profile official to leave the agency since Trump took office.
  25. A federal judge ruled Trump’s pardon of Arpaio will not wipe out the guilty verdict she returned or any other rulings in the case. The Court had found Arpaio guilty of criminal contempt. Arpaio’s lawyer will likely appeal.
  26. POLITICO reported Trump personally interviewed at least two candidates for US attorney positions in NY. One potential nominee would have jurisdiction over Trump Tower, and could investigate the Trump regime.
  27. CNN reported Trump also met with Jessie Liu who he tapped to be the next US attorney for the District of Columbia, where Trump now resides.
  28. On Monday, Trump had a pair of Q&A sessions, first in the Cabinet Room and then in the Rose Garden with McConnell. The sessions covered a variety of topics and were filled with false statements.
  29. Trump bragged about his performance in office in all areas. Trump fabricated that James Lee Witt, a FEMA administrator under B. Clinton gave him an “A-plus” for handling the hurricanes, including Puerto Rico.
  30. At the Cabinet room Q&A, Trump bragged his moves had ended Obamacare: “There is no such thing as ObamaCare anymore.”
  31. A Yale Law School professor detailed how Trump admitting he is trying to kill Obamacare is illegal: “Modern American history has never seen as full-scale an effort to sabotage a valid law,” upheld twice by the SCOTUS.
  32. Also Monday, Trump said he and McConnell are “closer than ever before.” Bannon is waging a war on the GOP establishment, and has suggested opposition to McConnell as a litmus test for his support.
  33. When asked about his 12-day silence on US soldiers killed in an ambush in Niger, Trump claimed Obama and past presidents “didn’t make calls” to families of soldiers killed in duty. This is a false statement.
  34. On Tuesday, Trump evoked his chief of staff’s son to attack Obama, saying Obama “did not call Gen. Kelly after the death of his son.” Daily Beastconfirmed WH officials signed off on this line of attack.
  35. CNN reported Kelly did not know Trump would use the death of his son publicly. Kelly and much of the WH were caught off guard.
  36. AP contacted the families of all 43 people who have died in military service since Trump took office and made contact with about 20 of them. More than half said they had not heard from Trump.
  37. Trump also complained how hard it was on him to make these calls, “It is a very difficult thing…it is a very, very tough day.” He, however, failed to mention the hardship on the families of fallen soldiers.
  38. Trump also claimed “absolutely no collusion” between his campaign and Russia, and blamed it as being an excuse by Democrats for losing. He also referenced Hillary repeatedly, saying he hoped she would run again.
  39. WAPO reported the Trump campaign spent $1.1MM in legal fees for the Mueller probe during the quarter ended September. In a sign of increased activity, $927K was spent during the first six months of the year.
  40. The Trump campaign and RNC continue to pay for Trump and Donald Jr.’s lawyer, but not for Trump campaign or WH staffers.
  41. Business Insider reported Veselnitskaya was acting as an agent for the Kremlin when she delivered a memo at the Trump Tower meeting. The same memo was given to Rohrabacher at his Moscow visit in April 2016.
  42. CNN reported Senate investigators have spoken with some of the Russians present at the Trump Tower meeting. Burr said he is “sequencing” interviews “before we know exactly what we want from Don Jr.”
  43. Yahoo reported on a Russian tv interview of an agent who worked in the English language department of a Russian troll farm. He was instructed: “We had a goal to set up the Americans against their own government.
  44. The agents watched “House of Cards” to better understand American politics, and were instructed to repetitively post anti-Hillary comments about her wealth, private email server, and Bill Clinton’s administration.
  45. CNN reported House and Senate investigators are interviewing Matt Tait, a cybersecurity expert recruited by Republican operative Peter W. Smith, about Smith’s interactions with the Trump campaign.
  46. Tait has in the past said he believes Smith had connections with Flynn, Bannon and Conway during the campaign. The Senate Intel Comm has also reached out to Eric York, another security expert enlisted by Smith.
  47. Business Insider reported Mueller has also interviewed Tait as part of the probe into the relationship between Peter Smith and Flynn, and their possible collusion with Russia to get Hillary’s deleted emails.
  48. Business Insider reported on tools used by a Cambridge Analytica intern which aid in targeting US voters on divisive issues. The tools were left unprotected online for a year, including the 8 months before the election.
  49. CNN reported based on documentation, Yevgeny Prigozhin, a Russian oligarch in Putin’s inner-circle, is thought to be behind the Russian troll farm in St. Petersburg called Internet Research Agency.
  50. On Monday, AL Republican Roy Moore’s Senate campaign said it does not know why more than 1K fake Twitter accounts originating from Russia started following Moore’s account, causing a spike in his following.
  51. In a letter, the lawyer for the founders of Fusion GPS said they are refusing to comply with Nunes subpoena. Fusion GPS lawyers argued Nunes signed the subpoena “with no authority to sign it, as part of personal mission.”
  52. On Thursday, citing Fusion GPS’s refusal, Trump tweeted suggesting the FBI, Democrats and Russians as co-conspirators behind the “Fake dossier.”
  53. The Senate Intel Comm subpoenaed Carter Page for documents and testimony as part of its Russia investigation. In a dramatic shift, Page who earlier said he was eager to testify, will likely evoke the Fifth Amendment.
  54. POLITICO reported Spicer was interviewed by Mueller’s team on Tuesday. Reportedly he was grilled on the firing Comey and his statements, as well as about Trump’s meetings with Lavrov and Kislyak in the Oval Office.
  55. Mueller’s team is actively interviewing Trump’s former and current aides. Priebus and Keith Kellogg, interim NSA after Flynn, have been interviewed. Hicks and McGahan are expected to be interviewed shortly.
  56. Mikhail Khodorkovsky, a prominent exiled Russian oligarch, told MSNBC: “I am almost convinced that Putin’s people have tried to influence the US election in some way.
  57. Khodorkovsky also said of Kushner’s meeting with VEB’s Gorkov last December, Gorkov was acting on behalf of the Kremlin. Kushner has said the meeting was to discuss business.
  58. Kushner added Charles Harder to his legal team. Vanity Fair speculated the addition may have come out of concern about Priebus’s testimony in Week 48, as relates to Kushner’s proximity to Trump’s decision to fire Comey.
  59. NYU journalism professor Jay Rosen noted Harder’s expertise: “defamation, reputation protection, privacy, media law, entertainment, intellectual property and business litigation.”
  60. Daily Beast reported Donald Jr. and Conway pushed tweets by the Russian troll farm Internet Research Agency, including allegations of voter fraud, the week before Election Day.
  61. Trump aides and allies Flynn, Flynn Jr., Stone, Gorka, Parscale, and Ann Coulter retweeted or tweeted Russian troll farm content. Clint Watts said Russia can declare success: Americans using content against Americans.
  62. POLITICO reported the Senate Intel Comm interviewed Trump’s fmr campaign manager Lewandowski on Wednesday. Lewandowski signed off on Page’s July 2016 trip to Moscow.
  63. The Senate Intel Comm announced it will postpone and reschedule its open hearing of Michael Cohen scheduled for Oct 25. In Week 45, the committee abruptly canceled their interview after Cohen breached terms.
  64. POLITICO reported a federal judge has tossed out a libel suit filed by Russian oligarch Deripaska alleging AP falsely implied he was paying Manafort to advance the goals of the Russian government and Putin.
  65. CNN reported RT is resisting the DOJ’s request that its American arm register under the Foreign Agents Registration Act. The DOJ deadline was October 17, but RT has not yet registered.
  66. McCain said the WH blocked its cyber czar, Rob Joyce, from testifying before the Senate Armed Services Comm on US efforts to defend against cyberattacks. McCain signaled Joyce could be subpoenaed.
  67. During a panel hosted by the George W. Bush Institute, UN ambassador Nikki Haley called Russia’s interference in the 2016 election “warfare,” and added “we’ve got to fix it.”
  68. On Thursday, at a security conference in Washington, CIA director Pompeo made a false statement on Russia interference: “The intelligence community’s assessment is that the Russian meddling that took place did not affect the outcome of the election.”
  69. The CIA quickly issued a statement clarifying Pompeo’s remarks: “The intelligence assessment with regard to Russian election meddling has not changed.” Pompeo has a record of statements minimizing Russia.
  70. Putin entered American politics again, saying in an interview that Americans should not “disrespect” Trump. Putin also defended Trump’s voters and his nontraditional ways, and blamed the US media.
  71. The acting commissioner of Pennsylvania’s ObamaCare exchange said premiums are expected to spike by 31% for 2018 because of Trump’s decision to stop paying key subsidies.
  72. On Tuesday, at a news conference in the Rose Garden, Trump said he would support the Alexander-Murray deal, which would stabilize Obamacare insurance markets by restoring subsidies cut by Trump.
  73. On Wednesday, in an early morning tweet, Trump changed his positions: “can never support bailing out ins co’s who have made a fortune w/ O’Care.” He repeated his new position later in a tax reform meeting.
  74. On Wednesday, Sen Alexander told reporters, “The president called me 10 days ago and asked me to work with Senator Murray to do this.”
  75. Gallup found, reversing a trend of the past three years when the rate of US uninsured declined from 18% to 10.9%, in the third quarter, likely as a result of actions by Trump and Congress, the uninsured rate rose to 12.3%
  76. In a speech Monday, McCain repudiated Trump: “spurious nationalism cooked up by people who would rather find scapegoats than solve problems is as unpatriotic as an attachment to any other tired dogma.”
  77. On Tuesday, Trump threatened McCain, telling a radio host, “You know, I’m being very nice. I’m being very, very nice. But at some point I fight back and it won’t be pretty.”
  78. On Thursday, George W. Bush delivered a rebuke of Trump in a speech at the Bush Institute, without mentioning Trump by name. Bush called on America to “reject bigotry and white supremacy.”
  79. Bush added, “We’ve seen nationalism distorted into nativism. Bigotry seems emboldened. Our politics seems more vulnerable to conspiracy theories and outright fabrication.”
  80. After the speech, McCain tweeted his support of Bush: “Important speech by my friend, President George W. Bush today, reminding us of the values that have made America a beacon of hope for all.”
  81. McCain became the first Republican to sign onto a bill drafted by Klobuchar and Warner, the Honest Ads Act, which would increase the transparency of political advertisements on social media platforms.
  82. NPR revealed Trump National Golf Club, LA claims to have donated $5MM to charitable causes, and lists about 200 organizations. Many contacted said they never received the money, and only $800K was accounted for.
  83. WAPO reported in a June call, Trump offered a grieving military father $25K from his personal account, and said his staff would establish an online fundraiser for the family. The father said neither happened.
  84. Shortly after the WAPO story, the WH said Trump had sent a $25k check he promised to the father . Military families are privately concerned about a commander in chief writing checks to parents of fallen soldiers.
  85. On Wednesday, in a series of tweets, Trump suggested Comey exonerated Hillary “long before investigation was complete.” Trump threatened, “Where is Justice Dept?”
  86. On Wednesday, Sessions testified in front of the Senate Judiciary Comm during a five-hour, highly-contentious oversight hearing. Sessions repeatedly said his discussions with Trump were off-limits to lawmakers.
  87. When asked about his conversations Russians during the campaign, he said he “could not recall” the specifics of the conversation, but “I don’t think there was any discussions about the details of the campaign.”
  88. Sessions acknowledged he discussed Comey with Trump before writing the letter that was used to justify the firing, but refused in questioning to share what Trump said to him about Comey.
  89. Sessions says he can’t “make a blanket commitment” not to jail journalists, and that he reserves the right to jail journalists “if we have to.”
  90. On Tuesday night, Rep. Frederica Wilson told CNN she had overheard Trump’s condolence call to Army Sgt. La David Johnson’s widow, Myeshia Johnson. Wilson said Myeshia “broke down” during the call.
  91. Wilson said when Myeshia hung up, she said ‘he didn’t even remember his name.’ Wilson also said Trump basically told Myeshia, ‘I guess he knew what he signed up for, but I guess it still hurt.’
  92. Wednesday morning, Trump tweeted Wilson had fabricated what he said, adding “(and I have proof). Sad!” No proof has been given.
  93. Trump repeated his claim later when asked by a reporter about his statement: “I didn’t say what that congresswoman said; didn’t say it all. She knows it.” The WH did not confirm or deny Wilson’s account.
  94. Sgt. La David Johnson’s mother, Cowanda Jones-Johnson, who also heard the call told WAPO that Wilson’s account was accurate, and that Trump did tell Myeshia her husband, “must have known what he signed up for.”
  95. Chuck Hagel, former Sec of Defense under Obama and Republican senator, told USA Today Trump’s comments about the fallen troops “sickens” him, and were “beneath the dignity of the presidency.”
  96. Army Sgt. La David Johnson body wasn’t found until two days after he was killed in Niger. Johnson was one of four Green Berets killed in an ambush.
  97. Rachel Maddow reported Trump’s behavior may have been a diversion away from explaining what happened in Niger. Two weeks later there still has not been an explanation of the mission or the ambush.
  98. POLITICO reported staffers at the NSC drafted a Niger sympathy statement for Trump on October 5. Trump never released the statement.
  99. On Thursday, McCain, chairman of the Sen Armed Services Comm said the Trump regime has not been forthcoming about the attack in Niger, and that he may subpoena to get access to information he wants.
  100. LA Times reported the General Waldhauser, commander of U.S. Africa Command, asked for more military resources in March. CNN reported Sgt. La David Johnson body was found nearly a mile from the ambush.
  101. On Thursday, the Pentagon announced it has sent a team to Niger to conduct a “review of the facts,” of what happened on October 4. It is still not known with certainty what group carried out the attack.
  102. On Thursday, Kelly delivered an impassioned defense of Trump and his call to Johnson’s widow, evoking his own experience with the loss of his son and his experience in the military as a four-star general.
  103. Kelly drew ire for referencing that in his day women were “sacred, looked upon with great honor,” given Trump’s record with women, and for saying Gold Star families should be off-limits given Trump’s attacks of the Khans.
  104. Kelly attacked Wilson, saying he was “stunned” by her account, and she exhibited “selfish behavior.” Kelly chastised Wilson, “empty barrels making the most noise” for allegedly saying she helped get funding for a building.
  105. Late Thursday, Trump attacked Wilson on Twitter, calling her “wacky Congresswoman Wilson(D),” and said she “gave a total lie on content!”
  106. Miami Herald reported Kelly got his facts wrong attacking Wilson. Kelly claimed Wilson said “she got the money” for a new building during a 2015 ceremony. Wilson was not in Congress when the money was secured.
  107. On Friday, Sun Sentinel released a full video of Wilson’s remarks. Wilson took credit for securing approval for the naming of the building. She did not take credit for funding.
  108. On Friday afternoon, the WH stood by Kelly issuing a statement repeating the “empty barrel” assertion and attacking Wilson even though the video showed his claim was false.
  109. On Friday afternoon at the press briefing, press sec Sanders said it’s “highly inappropriate” to get into a debate with a four-star general. WAPOlisted several four-star generals Trump has publicly bashed.
  110. On Friday, Trump signed an executive order allowing the Air Force to recall as many as 1k retired pilots to active duty. The order is not specific to the Air Force, and could be used to call up more officers in other branches.
  111. Bennie Thompson, the ranking Democrat on the House Homeland Security Comm, called for an investigation of drinking water in Puerto Rico. As per Week 48, Puerto Ricans are drinking from a Superfund site.
  112. CNN reported only 33 of the 250 beds (16%) on the USNS Comfort are being used, nearly two weeks after the ship arrived.
  113. CNN reported one month after Hurricane Maria, 1MM Americans are still without drinking water and 3MM without electricity. One Puerto Rican commented, “Much of the island feels like it was hit by a storm yesterday.”
  114. On Thursday, at a press conference with Puerto Rico’s governor, Trump rated his handling of disaster relief as 10 out of 10. Recent polls show Americans give him a rating of 4 out of 10.
  115. Trump repeated his warning that FEMA could not stay forever. At some point, Trump said, “FEMA has to leave” and “the people have to take over.”
  116. The official death toll count remains at 48, but as per VOX in Week 48, the actual count could be hundreds more. Senators Markey and Warren, and Reps Velazquez and Thompson have asked for an audit of the death count.
  117. On Thursday, Oxfam issued a statement saying one month in, “Without reliable water supply, electricity, phone service and other basic amenities, life in Puerto Rico is untenable.”
  118. On Wednesday, CREW started its case against Trump in the Southern District of NY, saying he violated the Emoluments Clause of the Constitution by continuing to own and profit from his businesses.
  119. Jacksonville Jaguars owner Shad Khan said Trump’s recent grudge against the NFL is because Trump’s bid to buy the Buffalo Bills in 2014 failed.
  120. On Thursday, Fmr CIA Director John Brennan said Trump has escalated tensions with N. Korea to a dangerous level, and that Cabinet members and senior officials may need to step in as “governors” to prevent war.
  121. A federal judge Wednesday barred the Trump regime from blocking an undocumented immigrant teen “Jane Doe” from getting an abortion. The judge said she was “astounded” the regime was trying to block the teen.
  122. A federal appeals court Friday said Jane Doe could get an abortion, but would need a sponsor. Trump’s HHS in March announced federally funded shelters are prohibited from providing abortion to unaccompanied minors.
  123. POLITICO reported Trump officials were blindsided and are scrambling to come up with an opioid plan after Trump’s off-script statement Mondaywhere he promised to deliver an emergency declaration next week.
  124. Newsweek reported Sen Cardin, ranking member of the Sen Foreign Relations Comm, joined House democrats in demanding Ivanka’s security clearance be reviewed given her failure to divest from her business empire.
  125. Daily Beast reported at the end of a tumultuous week, WH aides say Trump show zero remorse, and he “loved Kelly’s performance” and “considers the issue won.” Kelly however is looking more and more dispirited.
  126. On Friday in a tweet, Trump falsely blamed a 13% rise in UK crime on “Radical Islamic terror.” A report by the UK’s Office of National Statistics out Thursday said the increase was due to knife crime and sexual offenses.
  127. Forbes list of the 400 richest Americans 2017 list showed Trump’s wealth fell by $600MM to $3.1BN. Trump fell from the #156 to #248.
  128. Smithsonian reported on a survey which found a spike in fear. In 2017, Americans are afraid of five items, up from one in prior years. Americans also have “a great fear of some of the things happening in this presidency.” The most feared item is corruption of government officials (74%).
  129. As the week drew to a close, 32 days after Hurricane Maria hit Puerto Rico, just 16.6% of the island has electricity, and 71.7 drinking water.
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“Tuck Frump” by Miami-based artist Tee Wat
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New York City, October 2017

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Street art sends powerful messages to passersby. Stay WOKE!

POLITIKS OF GRAFFITI 49: LOST! (MY MARBLES)

Week 48 of trump’s presidency: Experts in authoritarianism advise to keep a list of things subtly changing around you, so you’ll remember.

October 14, 2017 https://medium.com/@Amy_Siskind/week-48-experts-in-authoritarianism-advise-to-keep-a-list-of-things-subtly-changing-around-you-so-e8a21132e25a

This week, starting with ominous statements by Sen. Corker, numerous accounts by Trump aides and Republican insiders leaked to the media describing a WH in peril. Increasingly, Trump seems isolated, erratic, unmoored and unfit for office.

The humanitarian crisis in Puerto Rico worsened with the inadequate response by the federal government. Amid criticism, Trump threatened to pull out, but later backed off. Although the death count officially stands at 45, reporting revealed possibly hundreds more preventable deaths related to the Hurricane Maria.

Trump remains silent on both California’s deadliest wildfires and the deadliest combat incident since he took office. He continues to focus on undoing Obama’s legacy, piece-by-piece. The Mueller investigation hit Trump’s inner-circle, and social media’s role in aiding Russia continues to unfold.

  1. On Saturday night, Richard Spencer led another white supremacist torch-lit rally at University of Virginia. The rally lasted 10 minutes and 40–50 people attended. Spencer vowed, “we will keep coming back.”
  2. On Sunday, Trump attacked former ally Corker in a series of incendiary tweets, saying “Corker “begged” me to endorse him for re-election” and “wanted to be Secretary of State.” Trump claimed to have said no to both.
  3. Corker responded, tweeting it’s a shame the WH has become an “adult day care center,” and that someone “missed their shift this morning.”
  4. On Sunday, Pence left a Colts game after a protest during the national anthem. Pence later issued a full statement opposing the protests. The Colts were playing the 49ers, a team known to protest.
  5. Before the game, Pence tweeted a photo of he and the Second Lady wearing Colts gear. The photo was one he originally tweeted in 2014.
  6. Shortly after, Trump tweeted he had asked Pence to leave the game “if any players kneeled,” and said he was proud of Pence and the Second Lady.
  7. The pool of journalists covering Pence were not allowed into the stadium, and were told, “there may be an early departure from the game.” ABCestimated Pence’s flight cost taxpayers nearly $250k.
  8. Bowing to pressure from Trump, the Cowboy’s Jerry Jones, after kneeling with players in week 3 of the season, changed course saying any player who “disrespects the flag” by kneeling will not be allowed to play.
  9. On Tuesday, Trump threatened the NFL over protests saying the league is “getting massive tax breaks” and the law should be changed. This claim is false: the NFL gave up its 501(c)(6) tax-exempt status in 2015.
  10. On Tuesday, bowing to pressure from Trump and fans, NFL Commissioner Goodell, who previously had said players had the right to voice their opinions, sided with owners opposed to letting players demonstrate.
  11. On Monday, Pence headlined a fundraiser in CA for Republicans including controversial, Kremlin-ally Rohrabacher. Rohrabacher had a previously undisclosed meeting in Russia with Veselnitskaya described in Week 47.
  12. University of Wisconsin approved a policy which calls for suspending or expelling students who disrupt campus speeches and presentations. The policy mirrors Republican legislation passed by the state Assembly.
  13. On Columbus Day, unlike Obama, Trump celebrated the “arrival of Europeans,” but did not mention of the suffering of Native Americans.
  14. On Sunday, the Trump’s DHS allowed the Jones Act waiver, which helped speed relief to Puerto Rico, to expire. No explanation was given.
  15. Trump’s EPA announced it would repeal the Clean Power Plan, Obama’s signature policy to curb greenhouse gas emissions from power plants. The statement described the regulation as the “so-called Clean Power Plan.”
  16. On Friday, Trump addressed the Value Voters Summit hosted by Family Research Council, which has been classified by SPLC as an anti-gay hate group. Trump is the first US leader to address the group.
  17. Reuters reported the Trump regime has been quietly cutting support for halfway houses for federal prisoners, severing contracts with as many as 16 facilities, necessitating some inmates stay behind bars longer.
  18. ABC reported the Treasury Dept’s inspector general is looking into allegations reported by BuzzFeed in Week 47 that agency officials have been illegally looking at private financial records of US citizens.
  19. A report compiled by the Government Accountability Office (GAO) at House and Senate Democrats’ request, found the Trump transition team ignored ethics officials and refused to cooperate with the GAO.
  20. Trump named Kathleen Hartnett White to the WH’s Council on Environmental Quality. Hartnett White, a climate science denier, once also said, “fossil fuels dissolved the economic justification for slavery.”
  21. In response to a filing by CREW, Trump’s DOJ told a court in DC that Trump can destroy records without judicial review, including tweets.
  22. Brian Brooks became the second candidate under consideration for deputy Treasury Secretary to withdraw from consideration. Mnuchin said he has no plans to fill the number two slot in his agency.
  23. WAPO reported at the Interior Dept, when Zinke enters the building a staffer takes the elevator to the seventh floor, climbs the stairs to the roof and puts up a special flag. The flag comes down when he leaves.
  24. On Wednesday, NBC reported Tillerson calling Trump a “moron” was provoked by Trump suggesting a tenfold increase in the US nuclear arsenalduring a July 20 meeting with the high-ranking national security leaders.
  25. In response to the story which he called “Fake News,” Trump tweeted a threat to revoke the broadcasting licenses of “NBC and the Networks.”
  26. Later that afternoon, at a news conference, Trump again lashed out at the independent news media saying it’s “frankly disgusting the press is able to write whatever it wants to write.”
  27. In a statement Wednesday night, Republican Sen. Sasse asked Trump if he was “recanting” his oath to protect the First Amendment.
  28. Indiana Republican lawmaker Jim Lucas drafted a bill that would require professional journalists to be licensed by state police.
  29. Under pressure to confirm Trump’s judicial nominees, McConnell will no longer allow “blue slips,” used by senators to deny a nominee from their state a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing and vote on confirmation.
  30. The Trump regime withdrew from United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), citing anti-Israel bias and a being in arrears on a $550MM payment. Israel remains part of UNESCO.
  31. NYT published an interview with Corker in which he said Trump is treating his office like a “reality show” with reckless threats at other country that could put our country “on the path to World War III.
  32. Corker said he is concerned about Trump, and Trump’s behavior should concern “anyone who cares about our nation.” He added there is no ‘good cop, bad cop’ underway with Tillerson — Trump is undermining diplomacy.
  33. Corker said nearly all Senate Republican share his concerns: “the vast majority of our caucus understands what we’re dealing with here.”
  34. WAPO reported Trump is frustrated by his cabinet and that he is not getting enough credit for his handling of three hurricanes. Trump is lashing out and rupturing alliances with both Republicans and Democrats.
  35. One confidant said Trump is like a whistling teapot, saying when he does not blow off steam, he can turn into a pressure cooker and explode: “I think we are in pressure cooker territory.”
  36. POLITICO quoted 10 sources current and former WH aides who employed strategies like delays and distractions as “guardrails” in trying to manage Trump’s impulsivity.
  37. Vanity Fair reported sources say Trump is “unstable,” “losing a step,” and “unraveling.” They say the WH is in crisis as advisers struggle to contain Trump who is increasingly unfocused and consumed by dark moods.
  38. Trump allegedly told his former bodyguard Schiller, “I hate everyone in the White House!” Kelly is allegedly miserable in the job, and is staying on in a sense of duty and to keep Trump from making disastrous decisions.
  39. One former official speculated Kelly and Mattis have discussed what they would do if Trump ordered a nuclear strike — “would they tackle him?”
  40. According to sources, Bannon said the risk to Trump’s presidency wasn’t impeachment, but the 25th Amendment. Bannon thinks Trump has only a 30% chance of making it the full term.
  41. In a column “What Bob Corker Sees in Trump,” conservative columnist Peggy Noonan urged Republicans they have a duty to speak on the record about what they see happening with Trump.
  42. On Thursday, at a signing ceremony for his health care executive order, Trump nearly walked out of the room without signing the order. Pence pulled him back in.
  43. On Tuesday, Tump said in an interview with Forbes that he could beat Tillerson in an IQ test. Trump met with Tillerson later that day at the WH.
  44. On Friday, Corker called out Trump for his effort to disempower Tillerson saying: “You cannot publicly castrate your own secretary of state without giving yourself that binary choice.”
  45. CNN’s Fareed Zakaria said, “It’s very clear now that we essentially have no diplomacy going on in the United States,” adding the way Trump has treated Tillerson is “the most dramatic example of it.”
  46. On CBS’s “60 Minutes,” Parscale claimed he fine-tuned ads on Facebook to directly reach voters with the exact messages they cared most about. He also claimed he handpicked Republican Facebook employees to help.
  47. Daily Beast reported the Kremlin recruited two black video bloggers, Williams and Kalvin Johnson, to produce incendiary YouTube videos calling Hillary a racist. The videos were spread on social media platforms.
  48. WAPO reported Google has uncovered evidence about $100k of ads purchased by Russian agents to spread disinformation on across the company’s many products, including YouTube, during the 2016 election.
  49. Google said the ads do not appear to be from the same Kremlin-linked troll farm that bought ads on Facebook. Some ads touted Trump, Sanders and Stein, while others aimed to fan the flames of divisive issues.
  50. Nunes, who recused himself as Chair of the House Intel Comm’s Russia probe, unilaterally signed off on subpoenas to Fusion GPS, the research firm that produced the Steele dossier. Democrats were not consulted.
  51. Reuters reported Grassley, the Republican chair of the Senate Judiciary Comm, is also taking steps to discredit the dossier according to Democrats on the committee.
  52. Carter Page told the Senate Intel Comm that he will not cooperate with any requests to appear before the panel on Russia, and will plead the Fifth.
  53. Daily Beast reported the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence is looking at Cambridge Analytica’s work from the Trump campaign as part of its Russian probe.
  54. Cambridge Analytica, which has ownership ties to the Mercers and Bannon, was brought in to help the campaign by Kushner. The company is also under investigation in the UK watchdog for its role in Brexit.
  55. NYT reported Israel caught Kaspersky Lab working with the Russian government to search the world for US secrets, using Kaspersky software to scan for classified words. Kaspersky software is used by 400MM people.
  56. WSJ reported that Russia’s use of the Kaspersky program to spy on the US is broader and more pervasive than the operation against one individual in Week 47. Trump continues to deny Russian meddling in the US election.
  57. POLITICO reported as part their posture to cooperate, Trump’s attorneys may offer Mueller a meeting with Trump. If Mueller doesn’t ask by Thanksgiving, attorneys may force the issue by volunteering his time.
  58. Legal experts were surprised by Trump’s lawyers strategy noting Trump would be speaking under oath and he routinely distorts facts, and that Trump would be interviewed in connection with a criminal investigation.
  59. CNN reported Russian operatives used YouTube, Tumblr and even Pokémon Go as part of their effort to interfere in the election, using a campaign titled “Don’t Shoot Us” to spread a divisive message.
  60. NBC reported Manafort had a previously undisclosed $26MM loan from Deripaska through a series of transactions. It is unclear if the $26MM is a loan or an indirect payment from the Russian oligarch.
  61. The loan brings the total financial relationship between Manafort and Deripaska to $60MM over the past decade, according to financial documents filed in Cyprus and the Cayman Islands.
  62. Manafort’s spokesman, Jason Maloni, initially responded to NBC with a statement including: “Mr. Manafort is not indebted to former clients today, nor was he at the time he began working for the Trump campaign.”
  63. Maloni’s statement was later revised and that sentence was removed. Both Manafort and Maloni have received subpoenas to supply documents and testimony in the Mueller probe.
  64. Yahoo reported Andrew Feinberg, fmr correspondent for Sputnik, provided a guide and emails to FBI investigators looking into possible violations of the law which requires agents of foreign nations to register with the DOJ.
  65. Further, the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence is investigating RT and Sputnik as possible parts of the Russia state run propaganda machine in the broader probe into Russia’s election meddling.
  66. On Friday, Mueller’s team interviewed Trump’s former chief of staff, Priebus. Priebus’ lawyer said he voluntarily met with investigators and “was happy to answer all of their questions.”
  67. Priebus was present during Trump’s efforts to limit the Russia probe, and for discussions that led to the firing of Comey. He was also asked to leave the Oval Office before the infamous Trump-Comey conversation.
  68. POLITICO reported Twitter deleted tweets and other user data of potentially irreplaceable value to investigators in the Russia probe.
  69. Federal investigators believe Twitter was one of Russia’s most potent weapons. Bots and fake accounts launched recurring waves of pro-Trump, anti-Clinton story lines that were either false or greatly exaggerated.
  70. AP reported Twitter has turned over 201 accounts linked to Russian attempts at influencing the 2016 election to Senate investigators. It is unclear if the posts associated with these accounts have been deleted.
  71. CNN reported an attorney for Roger Stone said he has complied with the House Intel Comm request to provide the identity of his intermediary to WikiLeaks’ Assange.
  72. WSJ reported Congressional investigators are homing in on connections between the Trump campaign, and Facebook and Twitter. Digital director Parscale was paid $88MM during the campaign, the highest paid vendor.
  73. Every vendor that worked with Parscale on the Trump campaign signed a nondisclosure agreement, and there are no federal disclosure requirements for online ads.
  74. Both Congress and Mueller are investigating the role activity on Facebook and Twitter played in the 2016 election, and whether the Russian social-media activity was in any connected to the Trump campaign.
  75. A Morning Consult poll found Trump’s approval has fallen in every state since he took office. The swings were as high as 30 percentage points in blue-states IL and CA, to 11 points in red-state LA.
  76. A Reuters/Ipsos poll found Trump’s popularity is eroding in small towns and rural communities: in September 47 approve/47 disapprove, down from 55/39 in his first four weeks in office.
  77. WAPO reported as of October 10, Trump’s first 263 days in office, he has made 1,318 false or misleading claims.
  78. The Brookings Institute released a 108-page report which concluded Trump “likely obstructed justice” in his firing of Comey. If Mueller agrees, there are legitimate articles of impeachment that could be drawn up.
  79. In a letter to Mattis, over 100 Democrats are demanding proof that Trump did indeed consult with the Pentagon as he claimed in a tweet, prior to announcing his ban of transgender individuals from military service.
  80. A Kaiser Foundation poll found 62% of Americans say Puerto Ricans aren’t getting the help they need. 76% were aware Puerto Ricans are US citizens.
  81. On Thursday, in a series of tweets, Trump threatened to abandon Puerto Rico’s recovery effort, blaming the island for its infrastructure problems and saying and relief workers would not stay “in P.R. forever.”
  82. The tweets follow harsh criticism from Puerto Rico of the Trump regime’s response to Hurricane Maria. One Puerto Rican said, “He doesn’t think of us as Americans.”
  83. Trump also quoted a Sharyl Attkisson, a television journalist with Sinclair Broadcasting, in saying that while Puerto Rico survived Hurricane Maria, now “a financial crisis looms largely of their own making.”
  84. Later Thursday, the WH issued a statement committing “the full force of the U.S. government” for now, but adding “successful recoveries do not last forever.”
  85. At a House Energy and Commerce hearing about efforts to rebuild the island’s energy grid, Sec Perry referred to Puerto Rico as a country.
  86. Next day, Trump referred to the Virgin Islands’ governor as a president.
  87. VOX reported although the official death count in Puerto Rico is 45, they found 81 death linked to Hurricane Maria, as well as 450 more reported deaths, most of causes still unknown, and 69 still missing.
  88. Puerto Rico’s governor said four deaths are being investigated as cases of leptospirosis, a disease spread by animals’ urine through contaminated water. A total of ten people have come down with the disease.
  89. Rachel Maddow reported a doctor resigned from the disaster response team in Puerto Rico after seeing medical workers getting manicures and pedicures from residents of the island in medical triage tents.
  90. NYT reported on Puerto Rico’s health care is in dire condition, and continues to suffer from mismanagement. The US Comfort ship with 800 medical personnel which can serve 250, has seen 82 patients in six days.
  91. CNN reported Puerto Ricans are drinking water from a hazardous-waste site, having no other options for water.
  92. A POLITICO/Morning Consult poll found just 32% of registered voters think the federal government has done enough to help Puerto Rico.
  93. Bloomberg revealed one of its reporters was inadvertently put on the Pentagon’s internal email list which detailed how to spin Hurricane Maria to convince the public that the government response was going well.
  94. On Thursday, Trump also signed an executive order ending Obamacare subsidies for the poor. Not paying the subsidies could boost premiums for millions and send the health insurance exchanges into turmoil.
  95. NPR estimated consumers who earn 400% of the federal poverty level — $48k for individuals or $98.4k for a family of four — will see their the cost of their plans rise by, on average, 20% nationwide.
  96. Doctors, hospitals, insurers, state insurance commissioners and patient advocates denounced Trump’s move. Trump actions puts pressure on Congress to protect consumers from soaring premiums.
  97. WSJ reported if Congress doesn’t succeed, WH aides said Trump “will claim victory” for ending the Iran deal, cutting billions in payments to health insurers, and deporting hundreds of thousands of immigrants.
  98. On Friday, a coalition of attorneys general from 18 states and DC filed a lawsuit to block Trump’s halt to subsidy payments under Obamacare.
  99. NYT reported as of Friday, Trump has taken 12 actions which could weaken Obamacare and curtail enrollment, including spreading negative news releases and posting infographics criticizing the health law.
  100. On Saturday, Trump boasted on Twitter that health insurance companies’ stocks “plunged yesterday” after his steps to dismantle Obamacare.
  101. A Kaiser Health poll found 71% of Americans say the Trump regime should work to improve Obamacare, while just 21% say make it fail.
  102. On Friday, Trump slammed Iran as a “menace” and called for “decertification” of the nuclear deal, Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPoA), saying Iran is “not living up to the spirit of the deal.”
  103. Trump sent the deal back to Congress with a 60-day window to address its “many serious flaws” or see it “terminated.”
  104. Top officials on Trump’s national security team, including Mattis and Tillerson said Iran has technically complied with its restrictions. The International Atomic Energy Association also confirmed compliance.
  105. Daily Beast reported while McMaster also wanted to save the Iran Deal, Trump consulted Fox News’ Sean Hannity and fmr UN Ambassador John Bolton, two neoconservatives who pushed for decertification.
  106. The leaders of Britain, Germany and France declared their commitment to stand by JCPoA. They deal was the culmination of 16 years of diplomacy.
  107. After being added to Trump’s travel ban, Chad pulled its troops from the fight against Boko Haram in Niger. US officials had warned Trump his decision would have major consequences for the fight against terrorism.
  108. California’s deadliest wildfires charred more than 221,754 acres of land in Northern CA, and left at least 35 dead and hundreds more missing. Trump has yet to publicly comment or tweet about the wildfires.
  109. Nor has Trump publicly commented on the deadliest combat incident since he took office, which took place in Niger last Saturday while Trump was golfing. The ambush by ISIS left four soldiers dead and two wounded.
  110. As the week ended, 24 days after Hurricane Maria, just 64% of Puerto Ricans had access to drinking water, and only 14.6% had electricity.
  111. Trump spent his fourth weekend since Hurricane Maria golfing. On Saturday, he visited Trump National Golf Club in VA, his 72nd day of golf since taking office.

Artistic Expressions of PoLiTiKs found on the stReEts of New YoRk CiTy tHis moNth: 

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a print from Instagram

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POLITIKS OF GRAFFITI 48: “MORON” (Tillerson said it, not me)

Week 47 of trump’s presidency: Experts in authoritarianism advise to keep a list of things subtly changing around you, so you’ll remember.

October 7, 2017 https://medium.com/@Amy_Siskind/week-47-experts-in-authoritarianism-advise-to-keep-a-list-of-things-subtly-changing-around-you-so-4d2a98d43d18

This was a dark week for our country, with the unfolding humanitarian crises in Puerto Rico and USVI, and the deadliest mass shooting in modern history in Las Vegas. Trump’s tin-ear and lack of empathy to these events were conspicuous in his ominous “calm before the storm” statement Thursday.

Amid the chaos, major stories broke on Kushner and Ivanka’s use of personal email accounts, all of which were surreptitiously moved to a Trump Organization server. Mueller’s Russia probe continued full-steam, and news of a meeting with Christopher Steele indicated the dossier is likely being used as a roadmap. As with every weekly list, this week rights and protections were taken away from women and marginalized communities.

  1. Despite the humanitarian crisis in Puerto Rico, for a second weekend since Maria hit, Trump golfed Saturday and Sunday at Trump properties. DoD reported Saturday just 45% have drinking water and 5% have electricity.
  2. Late Saturday, the WH sent flattering readouts of Trump’s conversations with a former governor of Puerto Rico, and the governors of Puerto Rico and USVI. Readouts are typically reserved for calls with foreign leaders.
  3. Trump sent his most tweets in a day since taking office on Saturday (25): continuing his manufactured battle with the NFL, and his attacks on the fake news and the Mayor of San Juan.
  4. On Saturday, after his first tour of Puerto Rico, top general Jeffrey Buchanan, the DoD’s primary military liaison with FEMA, said the damage there is “the worst I’ve ever seen.
  5. Fourteen Democrats on the House Natural Resources Comm called for an oversight hearing on the Trump regime’s handling of the Puerto Rico and USVI relief efforts.
  6. On Sunday night, in the deadliest mass shooting in modern US history, one man who owned 47 guns killed 58 and wounded hundreds. Trump said the quick response of law enforcement was “in many ways, a miracle.”
  7. In the aftermath of the shooting, top trending stories on Facebook and Google promoted politicized fake news from unreliable sources like 4chanwhich claimed the shooter was a Democrat opposed to Trump.
  8. While refusing to the call the white male shooter a terrorist, Trump referred to him as “a very sick man” and “demented.” The first bill Trump signed revoked Obama-era gun check for people with mental illness.
  9. NBC obtained the Trump WH talking points distributed for the Las Vegas shooting. They include “thoughts and prayer,” “gather facts before making policy arguments,” and comparing it to Baltimore and Chicago murders.
  10. On Saturday, funding for CHIP, the program which provided healthcare for 9mm children and pregnant women in low-income households, expired. No action was taken by Congress to renew it.
  11. Two high school football players in Crosby, TX were kicked off their high school football team for protesting during the national anthem — one knelt and one for raised his fist.
  12. According to a reporter, at least two NFL teams were said to be bowing to pressure by Trump, and plan to create policies requiring their players to stand during the national anthem.
  13. Joining Saudi Arabia, Iraq and the UAE, the US voted against a UN Human Rights Council resolution that condemns the death penalty for consensual same-sex sexual acts. The resolution passed by a 27–13 margin.
  14. A judge in Texas ruled that state officials would be violating state privacy laws if they handed over voters’ personal information to Trump’s Election Integrity Commission. The judge issued a temporary restraining order.
  15. Trump’s DOJ is investigating affirmative action at Harvard. The revelation came to light after watchdog group American Oversight filed a FOIA request for information on affirmative action investigations at two schools.
  16. Brownsville, TX city commissioner Cesar De Leon apologized after the release of a recording of his racist rant using the “n-word” about county and city officials. After initially refusing to, under pressure, he resigned.
  17. BuzzFeed reported Trump regime lawyers asked a court to dismiss a lawsuit filed to halt Trump’s Transgender Military Ban, saying the Pentagon hasn’t finalized the details of the ban yet.
  18. Six transgender soldiers who are part of the lawsuit say they have already suffered — their medical treatments have been canceled and their careers are being derailed — and hence they need immediate relief.
  19. On Wednesday, Sessions rolled back an Obama-era policy which protected transgender workers from discrimination, saying “Title VII does not prohibit discrimination based on gender identity per se.
  20. On Friday, Trump rolled back Obamacare’s birth control mandate, allowing any employer to cite religious or moral objections to covering the cost of birth control for employees under their healthcare plan.
  21. On Friday, Sessions issued new guidelines which instructed federal agencies and attorneys to protect religious liberty. The policy provides broad exemptions to discriminate against women and LGBTQ people.
  22. ABC reported Sessions consulted with Alliance Defending Freedom, a Christian legal advocacy group that champions conservative causes, ahead of issuing the new guidelines.
  23. After Gov Brown signed a law limiting cooperation between local police and ICE in CA, the Trump regime said it will go after undocumented immigrants and likely pick up “collateral” they were not initially targeting.
  24. Mother Jones reported according to documents released by a federal court, Kobach tried to roll back voter protection by amending the National Voter Registration Act: adding requirements to make it harder to register to vote.
  25. On Tuesday, 14 days after Hurricane Maria decimated the island, Trump visited Puerto Rico. He praised federal and local officials for the response, but purposefully excluded the Mayor of San Juan.
  26. Trump complained about the costs of helping Americans in Puerto Rico, saying “you’ve thrown our budget a little out of whack because we’ve spent a lot of money.” Similar statements were not made about Texas or Florida.
  27. Trump hailed the relief response as “incredible” and “great,” and bragged that “only 16 people are known to have died,” many less than Katrina. Hours later, the death count rose to 34.
  28. In an image that became symbolic of his trip to Puerto Rico and his lack of empathy for the people, Trump went to a supply distribution point dressed in a dark suit, and tossed rolls of paper towels into a crowd.
  29. Oxfam took the unusual step of criticizing the US government. Oxfam said it is “outraged at the slow and inadequate response” by the Trump regime in Puerto Rico.
  30. Oxfam also announced it would be taking the rare step of intervening in an American disaster, pursuing its own two-pronged approach in Puerto Rico.
  31. CNN’s Dr. Sanjay Gupta, who is in Puerto Rico, warned that tens of thousands could die for want of insulin, blood pressure medications and antibiotics, as well as sweltering heat and lack of food and water.
  32. By Friday, the official death count in Puerto Rico reached 36, but as NPR reported, the actual toll is expected to be much higher with uncounted bodies piling up in places that have no way to communicate.
  33. Rep Luis Gutiérrez, who traveled to Puerto Rico on his own expense, said the media reports are correct: the island is a humanitarian crisis. Gutiérrez said the Trump regime doesn’t “want you to know the truth.
  34. WAPO reported FEMA removed statistics about drinking water access and electricity in Puerto Rico from their website on Thursday morning.
  35. Following a social media outcry, the statistics were restored on Friday afternoon. Stats reveal progress is extremely slow.
  36. On Wednesday morning, Trump said he would wipe out Puerto Rico’s debt, causing trading prices of Puerto Rico municipal bonds to plummet. Mulvaney dialed back: “I wouldn’t take it word for word with that.”
  37. POLITICO reported on a third, previously undisclosed email account on Kushner and Ivanka’s private domain. The three accounts raise concern about the security of sensitive government documents.
  38. The third account has hundreds of emails from WH addresses. In addition to Kushner and Ivanka, personal household staff had access to the account for scheduling purposes.
  39. USA Today reported Kushner and Ivanka’s personal emails were redirected to Trump Organization server 2–3 days after public disclosure about the existence personal emails.
  40. The move also comes shortly after Mueller asked the WH to turn over records related to his investigation of Russia’s interference in the election.
  41. Cummings asked the FBI to investigate whether Kusher and Ivanka exposed classified information through their use of personal email and transfer to Trump Organization servers.
  42. The US Official of Special Counsel found Ambassador Haley violated the Hatch Act by promoting a House candidate on Twitter. Haley was given a warning. The investigation follows a complaint filed by CREW in June.
  43. WAPO reported, back in August, Trump saw an article about Republican-controlled Iowa requesting federal permission to fix its Obamacare markets. Trump’s instruction was, “Tell Iowa no.”
  44. Trump’s HHS taken many steps to suppress sign-ups for Obamacareincluding slashing grants for groups that help consumers, cutting the enrollment period in half, and reducing the advertising budget by 90%.
  45. McClatchy reported Kushner and Ivanka were both fined $200 for missing deadlines to submit financial reports required by government ethics rules. This is Kushner’s second time being fined for late filings.
  46. After receiving an 18-day filing extension, Kushner has made changes to his financial disclosure forms 39 times. In many cases, those changes were in response to questions from the OGE.
  47. Eli Miller, Mnuchin’s chief of staff, flew in hedge fund billionaire Nelson Peltz’s private jet to Palm Beach. The Treasury Department’s inspector general office has launched an inquiry.
  48. BuzzFeed reported the US intelligence unit of Mnuchin’s Treasury Dept has been violating domestic surveillance laws by spying on financial records of US citizens and companies.
  49. The Interior Dept’s inspector general opened an investigation into Zinke’s travel, including his use of taxpayer-funded charter and military planes, and his mixing of official trips with political appearances.
  50. NYT reported on Pruitt’s schedule: almost every day he has multiple meetings, sessions or speaking engagements with top corporate executives and lobbyists of the industries the EPA regulates, but rarely does he meet with environmental groups or consumer or public health advocates.
  51. POLITICO reported, in a closed-door meeting with wealthy donors, Pence’s chief of staff Nick Ayers floated the idea of a “purge” of anti-Trump Republicans, saying they are blocking Trump’s legislative agenda.
  52. A federal judge in Phoenix dismissed the criminal case against Arpaio and accepted Trump’s pardon. In a blistering 14-page ruling, she held off on ruling on Arpaio’s request to throw out all orders in the case.
  53. Mother Jones reported 10-months in, Trump still hasn’t appointed someone to the job of National Protection and Programs Directorate, a position charges with protecting our elections from cyberattacks.
  54. In a letter to the WH, Cummings, the top democrat of the House Oversight Comm, asked Kellyanne Conway, known to have traveled with Price, to provide documentation related to all her non-commercial flights.
  55. Reuters reported Energy Sec Perry took a charter flight from PA to OH the day before Price resigned. Commercial alternatives were available.
  56. WAPO reported Transportation Sec Chao used government planes seven times including days trip to cities within an hour of DC, as well as for trips to France and Italy which cost taxpayers tens of thousands of dollars.
  57. NYT reported Mnuchin traveled on military jets seven times at a cost of more than $800k. The investigation by the OMB found while he broke no laws, Mnuchin gave loose justifications for the costly flights.
  58. Donald Jr. has delivered several speeches, earning as much as $100k per speech. His speeches raise ethics violation and conflict of interest concerns, especially as related to access to the WH.
  59. Trump’s Interior Dept rejected 25 petitions to list a variety of species as endangered or threatened, including several linked to climate change. Trump has yet to nominate a director of the Fish and Wildlife Service.
  60. In response to a FOIA lawsuit, the Secret Service said it does not have a complete Mar-A-Lago visitor log. All the Secret Service has turned over so far is a one-page listing of 22 Japanese officials.
  61. Joel Clement, an Interior Dept executive turned whistleblower who claimed the Trump regime retaliated against him for disclosing how climate change affects Alaska Native communities, resigned Wednesday.
  62. Guardian reported, in what may be a watershed case, US professor David Carroll is suing Cambridge Analytica in British Courts to ask for his personal data back. UK law allows for such requests, unlike US law.
  63. On Monday, Facebook shared that Russian purchased $100k worth of ads which reached about 10mm Americans. More than half the ads were seen after the election, indicating Russia continues to meddle in US politics.
  64. WAPO reported on research by social media analyst Jonathan Albright which found Russian propaganda on Facebook may have been viewed by hundreds of millions, perhaps many billions.
  65. WSJ reported after internal debate, Facebook decided to scrap mention of Russia in a public report released on April 27 about manipulation of its platform during the 2016 election.
  66. Instead, in a significantly shortened report, Facebook blamed “malicious actors.” It is unclear how much Facebook knew at the time. Not until September 6 did Facebook identify Russia as the source of interference.
  67. Fast Company reported that after finding suspicious accounts on Instagram and calling Facebook to confirm, Facebook updated its blog post to clarify about 150 political ads sold to Russia showed up on Instagram.
  68. CNN reported Russian operatives targeted MI and WI with Facebook ads. Some of the ads were highly sophisticated in their targeting of key demographic groups in areas of the states that turned out to be pivotal.
  69. Trump won both states by under 1%: MI by 10.7k of 4.8mm votes cast and WI by 22.7k votes. Congressional investigators want to know if Russia had any assistance from the Trump campaign.
  70. WSJ reported on the most significant security breaches in years: in 2015 Russian hackers stole NSA data. The breach could enable Russia to evade NSA surveillance and infiltrate US networks.
  71. The breach is the first confirmed time Kaspersky software was exploited by Russian hackers. As noted in Week 34, Kaspersky was trained at a KGB-sponsored technical school and worked in Russian military intelligence.
  72. POLITICO reported Trump loyalists are losing patience with multiple, continuing congressional Russia probes, saying they have distracted from his agenda and allowed Democrats to question the legitimacy of his win.
  73. WAPO said these loyalists are pushing Republicans chairing committees to wrap up their investigations and make the scandal disappear. An interim press briefing by Burr and Warner on Wednesday was cited as an example.
  74. Burr and Warner said they concurred with US intel’s assessment that Russia interfered in the 2016 election. They also said the issue of collusion is still open.
  75. Burr and Warner also detailed some threads of investigations including Russian efforts on social media, the April 2016 meeting at the Mayflower Hotel, and changes to the Republican Party platform.
  76. Burr said they had “hit a wall” with the Steele dossier because the author would not meet with them. On Thursday, Rachel Maddow reported that Christopher Steele is open to meeting with the Senate Intel Comm.
  77. On Wednesday, Reuters reported Mueller has taken over FBI inquiries into the Steele dossier as part of the special counsel’s Russia probe.
  78. On Thursday, CNN reported Mueller’s team met with Steele this past summer. The broad assertion of the dossier, that Russia waged a campaign to interfere in the election, is now accepted by US intel.
  79. The CIA and FBI took Steele’s research seriously enough they chose not to include it in the publicly released January report on Russian interference to avoid divulging the parts of the dossier they had corroborated and how.
  80. Three Russian owners of Alfa Bank, Mikhail Fridman, Petr Aven and German Khan, sued Fusion GPS and its founder claiming their reputations were unfairly tattered by the dossier. The three sued BuzzFeed in Week 28.
  81. Mother Jones reported Sen Wyden of the Senate Intel Comm does not concur with Burr’s statement that he can say certifiably there was no voter tampering. Wyden also questioned Burr’s handling of the investigation.
  82. Daily Beast reported the Senate Judiciary Comm is not investigating Russian interference, but engaging in routine oversight of the DOJ. Sources include a staffer for Grassley, Republican chair of the committee.
  83. WAPO reported Michael Cohen turned over documents to Congressional investigators and Mueller related to two, previously undisclosed contacts with Russians. These contacts are not related to Trump Tower Moscow.
  84. Cohen and a business associate emailed weeks before the Republican National Convention, about Cohen traveling to an economic conference in Russia attended by Putin and his top financial and government leaders.
  85. Cohen also received a proposal in late 2015 for a Moscow residential project from a company founded by a Russian billionaire who once served in the Russian parliament. Cohen maintains he never traveled to Russia.
  86. Foreign Policy reported in a previously undisclosed meeting: Rep Rohrabacher met with Veselnitskaya in Moscow two months prior to the infamous June 9 meeting with Donald Jr.
  87. POLITICO reported Trump lawyer Ty Cobb is putting the finishing touches on launching a legal defense fund to help mid-level WH staffers cover their legal costs related to Mueller’s Russia probe.
  88. Newsweek reported Robert Mercer, Bannon-ally and part owner of Cambridge Analytica, donated $200k to the Republican Party legal defense fund the day Trump fired Comey.
  89. The Atlantic revealed emails between Manafort and Kilimnik referenced in the WAPO story in Week 45. The emails suggest Manafort was extremely eager to please Russian oligarch Deripaska, and to get made whole.
  90. Kilimnik met Manafort on August 2 in NYC. Emails prior reference important messages about the “future of his country.” Days before, Trump said “Wouldn’t it be a great thing if we could get along with Russia?”
  91. After Tillerson said Saturday he was reaching out to Pyongyang in hopes of starting a new dialogue, Trump undercut him Sunday tweeting, I told Rex “he is wasting his time trying to negotiate with Little Rocket Man.”
  92. NBC reported Tillerson almost resigned this past summer after Trump’s Boy Scout speech. Days before that speech, Tillerson referred to Trump as a “moron” in a meeting with national security and Cabinet officials.
  93. After the report, Tillerson pulled together an impromptu news conference to publicly praise Trump. Bob Schieffer described it as, “not like a news conference, it was more like a hostage tape.
  94. Corker, a Trump ally during the campaign who is retiring, in a harsh rebuke of Trump, said Kelly, Mattis and Tillerson are the are the “people that help separate our country from chaos.”
  95. The New Yorker reported shortly after Tillerson was confirmed, he met Trump at the WH, and Trump “began fulminating about federal laws that prohibit American businesses from bribing officials overseas.”
  96. On Friday, for the first time in seven years, the US economy lost jobs. Expectation for September were to add 80k jobs, however 33k jobs were lost. Job totals from July and August were also downwardly revised.
  97. On Thursday, at a dinner surrounded by military leaders and their spouses at the WH, Trump warned this is “the calm before the storm.” What he meant was unknown by even members of his staff.
  98. The mystery around his pronouncement continued on Friday when he was asked about the statement and responded, “you’ll find out,” then winked.
  99. A September AP-NORC poll showed Trump reaching his lowest approval yet: 32% approve, 67% disapprove. Trump’s approval among Republicans fell to 67%.
  100. The poll also found just 24% think the country is headed in the right direction, 26% believe Trump is a strong leader, 23% view him as honest, and 16% say he is level-headed.
  101. One year after the infamous “Access Hollywood” video went public, women’s advocacy group UltraViolet playing the footage, looping again and again, on a large screen on the Mall in DC for 12 hours straight.
  102. ProPublica reported Ivanka and Donald Jr. were close to being charged for a felony fraud in 2012 for misleading prospective buyers of units in the Trump SoHo. Their partners were Russians Felix Sater and Tevfik Arif.
  103. Kasowitz contributed $25k to Manhattan DA Vance before a sit-down, and later donated $32k. The case was dropped. Felix Sater is a frequent subject of The Weekly List, including involvement with Trump Tower Moscow.
  104. Breaking from the advice of Tillerson and Mattis, Trump is expected to decertify the landmark deal curbing Iran’s nuclear program. Iran has not breached the accord, but instead Trump claims the “spirit” of the deal.
  105. HuffPost reported the Trump regime is preparing repeal the Clean Power Plan, an Obama-era climate change policy which limits greenhouse gas emissions from power plants. Trump has called the policy, “stupid.”
  106. Almost three weeks after Hurricane Maria, as just 12% of Puerto Rico had electricity and 55% drinking water, on Saturday morning, Trump made his 69th trip to a Trump golf course of his 260 days in office.

Some graffiti on this sad situation around New York City this week:

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Sticker by Australian street artist CRiSP. Placed on a “POTUS” poster at a bus stop.
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Sticker in East Village
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There’s an artist sending trump messages in fortune cookies. This one reminds trump that he SADLY lost New York. That’s gotta hurt. 
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So much of the graffiti related to trump is defaced because it appears most people can’t even stand to see his face. This one was covered with humanitarian facts. Better to look at than his face any day…