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 Increasingly, a WH in peril. seems Trump isolated, erratic, unmoored and unfit for office.
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. The humanitarian crisis in Puerto Rico worsened with the inadequate response by the federal government.
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. Trump remains silent on both California’s deadliest wildfires and the deadliest combat incident since he took office.
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.” 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.
Corker responded, tweeting it’s a shame the WH has become an “adult day care center,” and that someone “missed their shift this morning.” 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. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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. On Columbus Day, unlike Obama, Trump celebrated the “arrival of Europeans,” but
did not mention of the suffering of Native Americans. On Sunday, the
Trump’s DHS allowed the Jones Act waiver, which helped speed relief to Puerto Rico, to expire. No explanation was given. 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.” 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.
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.
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. 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. 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.” 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. 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.
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. 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. In response to the story which he called “Fake News,”
Trump tweeted a threat to revoke the broadcasting licenses of “NBC and the Networks.” 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.” In a statement Wednesday night,
Republican Sen. Sasse asked Trump if he was “recanting” his oath to protect the First Amendment. Indiana Republican lawmaker Jim Lucas drafted a
bill that would require professional journalists to be licensed by state police. 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. 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.
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.” 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. Corker said
nearly all Senate Republican share his concerns: “the vast majority of our caucus understands what we’re dealing with here.”
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. 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.”
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.
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. 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. One former official speculated Kelly and Mattis have
discussed what they would do if Trump ordered a nuclear strike — “would they tackle him?” 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. 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. 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. 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. 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.”
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.” 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.
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.
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. 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. 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.
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. 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.
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. 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.
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.
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.
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. 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.
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.
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. 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.
Manafort’s spokesman, Jason Maloni, initially responded to including: “Mr. Manafort is not indebted to former clients today, nor was he at the time he began working for the Trump campaign.” NBC with a statement 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.
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. Further, the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence is investigating
in the broader probe into Russia’s election meddling. RT and Sputnik as possible parts of the Russia state run propaganda machine 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.” 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.
POLITICO reported Twitter deleted tweets and other user data of potentially irreplaceable value to investigators in the Russia probe. 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.
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.
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.
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. Every
vendor that worked with Parscale on the Trump campaign signed a nondisclosure agreement, and there are no federal disclosure requirements for online ads. 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. 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. 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. WAPO reported as of October 10, Trump’s
first 263 days in office, he has made 1,318 false or misleading claims. 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. 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. 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. 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.” 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.” 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.” 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.” 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. Next day, Trump referred to the
Virgin Islands’ governor as a president.
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. 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. 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.
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.
CNN reported Puerto Ricans are drinking water from a hazardous-waste site, having no other options for water. A POLITICO/Morning Consult poll found just
32% of registered voters think the federal government has done enough to help Puerto Rico.
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. 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.
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. 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.
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. 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.
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. On Saturday,
Trump boasted on Twitter that health insurance companies’ stocks “plunged yesterday” after his steps to dismantle Obamacare. A Kaiser Health poll found
71% of Americans say the Trump regime should work to improve Obamacare, while just 21% say make it fail. 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.” Trump sent the
deal back to Congress with a 60-day window to address its “many serious flaws” or see it “terminated.” 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.
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. The leaders of
Britain, Germany and France declared their commitment to stand by JCPoA. They deal was the culmination of 16 years of diplomacy. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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:
a print from Instagram
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.
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. 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. 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.
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.” 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. 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.” 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. 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.
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. 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.
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. 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. 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. 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.
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. 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.
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. 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. 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.” 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. 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.
ABC reported Sessions consulted with Alliance Defending Freedom, a Christian legal advocacy group that champions conservative causes, ahead of issuing the new guidelines. 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.
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. 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.
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. 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. 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. 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.
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.
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. 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. 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.”
WAPO reported FEMA removed statistics about drinking water access and electricity in Puerto Rico from their website on Thursday morning. Following a social media outcry,
the statistics were restored on Friday afternoon. Stats reveal progress is extremely slow. 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.”
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. 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.
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. 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. 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. 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.
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.” 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%.
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. 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. 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.
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. 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.
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.
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. 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.
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. 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.
Reuters reported Energy Sec Perry took a charter flight from PA to OH the day before Price resigned. Commercial alternatives were available.
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.
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.
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. 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. 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. 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.
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. 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.
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.
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. 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.
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.
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.
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.
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. 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.
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.
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.
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. 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.
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. On Wednesday,
Reuters reported Mueller has taken over FBI inquiries into the Steele dossier as part of the special counsel’s Russia probe. 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. 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. 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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. 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?” 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.”
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. 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.” 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.”
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.” 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. 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. The mystery around his pronouncement continued on Friday when he was asked about the statement and
responded, “you’ll find out,” then winked. A September
AP-NORC poll showed Trump reaching his lowest approval yet: 32% approve, 67% disapprove. Trump’s approval among Republicans fell to 67%.
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. 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.” 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:
Sticker by Australian street artist CRiSP. Placed on a “POTUS” poster at a bus stop.
Sticker in East Village
There’s an artist sending trump messages in fortune cookies. This one reminds trump that he SADLY lost New York. That’s gotta hurt.
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…
Week 40 of trump’s presidency: Experts in authoritarianism advise to keep a list of things subtly changing around you, so you’ll remember.
August 19, 2017 https://medium.com/@Amy_Siskind/week-40-experts-in-authoritarianism-advise-to-keep-a-list-of-things-subtly-changing-around-you-so-eb3a830375a9
This week’s list is not the longest, but it is certainly the most heartbreaking. Trump’s comments on Charlottesville legitimized the worst of us, and spawned a watershed moment for our country. His remarks were met with widespread condemnation and reactions, and precipitated a mass exodus of corporate CEOs, wiping away any lingering doubts that Trump’s goals were ever truly linked to job creation. For the first time, real questions about fitness for office were raised out loud by both sides.
This week in Trump’s shrinking, chaotic regime it became even clearer that Trump answers to no one but himself. He continues to attack and attempt to intimidate Republicans into submission, as part of his continuing efforts to consolidate power.
In an impromptu news conference on Charlottesville late Saturday afternoon, Trump said, “We condemn in the strongest possible terms this egregious display of
hatred, bigotry and violence on many sides.” White supremacists and neo-Nazi leaders cheered Trump’s “on many sides” comments, taking his words as
a defense, or even as a tacit approval, of their action. On Sunday, the WH issued a statement to “clarify” Trump’s Saturday comments, saying Trump condemns all forms of “violence, bigotry and hatred” while
naming white supremacists, KKK, and neo-Nazis. 32 year-old Heather Heyer was
killed Saturday after a car driven by James Fields rammed into a crowd of counter-protestors in Charlottesville. Nineteen others were injured.
titled, “Here’s A Reel Of Cars Plowing Through Protesters Trying To Block The Road,” which included a video encouraging people to drive through protests. Daily Caller and Fox News deleted a post Two state troopers, Lieutenant Cullen and Trooper Bates, who were keeping watch on the demonstrations in Charlottesville, were
killed when their helicopter went down. On Sunday, a candlelight vigil planned for Heather Heyer in Charlottesville was
cancelled due to a “credible threat from white supremacists.” Neo-Nazis disparaged Heyer, and the
KKK celebrated her death. Neo-Nazi website , led by my The Daily Stormer was taken down after activists Sunday tweet, contacted domain hosts Go Daddy, Google, etc. After US hosting companies refused to host
The Daily Stormer, the website briefly relocated to Russia, for which they thanked Trump, before being kicked off there too. China rebuffed them too. In the wake of Charlottesville,
numerous tech companies including Facebook, Google, Spotify, Uber, Squarespace and many others took action to curb use of their services and platforms by alt-right groups. A Unite the Right organizer was
disavowed by his family. Several marchers who were identified on social media lost their jobs. Others were asked to denounce their activities or were expelled by colleges. On Sunday,
Trump’s popularity hit a new low at with 34% approving and 61% disapproving (-27). Gallup On Monday, Sessions said the car ramming into Heather Heyer and 19 others “
does meet the definition of domestic terrorism” under US law. On Monday morning,
Merck’s CEO resigned from Trump’s American Manufacturing Council saying as a “matter of personal conscience, I feel a responsibility to take a stand against intolerance and extremism.” Later Monday,
Trump tweeted @Merck is a leader in “higher & higher drug prices,” and “taking jobs out of the U.S.” Later Monday and Tuesday,
four more CEOs resigned from Trump’s American Manufacturing Council over his handling of Charlottesville. Trump countered, “
I have many to take their place. Grandstanders should not have gone on.” Trump offered no new names publicly. On Wednesday,
NYT reported the CEOs on Trump’s Strategic and Policy Forum held a morning conference call to discuss whether to disband the policy forum. The Manufacturing Council planned a call that afternoon. Before the policy forum, and possible manufacturing council could formally disband, midday Wednesday Trump tweeted “
rather than putting pressure on the businesspeople,” he was ending both. On Thursday, the WH announced
the Presidential Advisory Council on Infrastructure, which was still being formed, would not move forward. On Monday,
Trump said he is “seriously considering” a pardon for ex-Sheriff Joe Arpaio, saying, “He’s a great American patriot.” In the aftermath of Charlottesville,
the Phoenix mayor called on Trump to delay his planned rally next week, saying Trump’s plan to pardon Arpaio could “enflame emotions and further divide our nation.” Minutes after the Phoenix mayor’s statement,
Trump tweeted a link for tickets to his Phoenix event. Advocates said there has been
a spike in reports of anti-LGBTQ violence since Trump took office. As of August, there are already more hate-related homicides than in all of 2016, excluding Pulse. A Virginia high school sent a letter to parents saying
selection for AP and Honors classes would at least partly based on race. On Monday, the
Holocaust memorial in Boston was vandalized for the second time this summer. On Monday,
reading from a teleprompter, Trump gave his third version of comments on Charlottesville, calling the KKK, neo-Nazis and white supremacists “repugnant” and saying, “racism is evil.” On Tuesday morning,
Trump tweeted then deleted an image of a train running over a CNN reporter. On Tuesday at Trump Tower, with Mnuchin, Chao and Cohn by this side, Trump turned what was supposed to be remarks about his infrastructure plan into
an “off-the-rails” news conference on Charlottesville. Reversing himself for the fourth time in four days, Trump said “
I think there’s blame on both sides” — insinuating that the “alt-left” was just as much to blame as white supremacists and neo-Nazis. Trump claimed
not all the white supremacists and neo-Nazis were bad people, “you also had people that were very fine people, on both sides.” When asked about Bannon,
Trump said “He’s a good man. He’s not a racist,” and that the press treats him, “frankly, very unfairly.” Trump claimed
alt-right protestors had a permit, but counter-protesters “came charging in without a permit” and “were very, very violent.” WAPOgave the claim that counter-protestors had no permit 4 Pinocchios. Trump equated taking down the statue of
Robert E. Lee in Charlottesville to taking down statues of Washington (“George Washington was a slave owner”) and Jefferson (“Because he was a major slave owner”). Trump’s staff, expecting brief remarks on infrastructure, were stunned by his action. One senior WH official told NBC,
Trump “went rogue.”
POLITICO reported Trump was “in good spirits” Tuesday night, and felt the “new conference went much better” than his Monday speech.
Alt-right leaders praised Trump’s Tuesday comments. Richard Spencer said he was “really proud of him,” and David Duke tweeted, “Thank you President Trump for your honesty & courage to tell the truth.”
Axios reported within the Trump WH, Bannon unapologetically supported Trump’s instinct to blame “both sides,” and that he and Trump “instinctively searched for “their” people in that group of protesters.” Mnuchin’s Yale classmates wrote an open letter
calling on him to resign immediately, saying Trump “declared himself a sympathizer with groups” whose values are antithetical to Yale and decent human beings. In a Republican primary in Alabama Tuesday,
Trump’s chosen candidate Luther Strange, who he very publicly supported, came in second. On Wednesday,
Pence cut his international trip to Central and South America short to come home. The stated reason was to join a national security meeting on Friday, although rumors flew with other theories. On Wednesday,
Fox News’ Shep Smith said his show “ reached out to Republicans of all stripes across the country today” and couldn’t find a single one willing to come on and discuss Trump’s Tuesday comments. In a letter, fmr CIA director Brennan told
CNN’s Blitzer Trump’s comments on Charlottesville were “despicable,” and that Trump “is putting our national security and our collective futures at grave risk.” On Wednesday, the
Generals of the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines and National Guard tweeted to condemn the racist violence in Charlottesville, declaring the nation’s armed forces unequivocally against hatred. Sen Corker, one of Trump’s first senate supporters who was also under consideration for VP, said Trump “
has not yet been able to demonstrate the stability nor some of the competence” to be a successful leader. European leaders, including
Merkel and May, denounced Trump’s comments on Charlottesville. Martin Schulz of German said Trump “is betraying our Western value.” Rep Steve
Cohen of TN, a ranking member of the House Judiciary Subcommittee on the Constitution and Civil Justice, introduced articles of impeachment in response to Trump’s comments on Charlottesville. On Wednesday, Sessions told
NBC News that the Charlottesville car attack may be considered a “hate crime.”
USA Today Editorial Board called on Congress to censure Trump for his “shocking equivocations about the white-supremacist,” challenging Republicans to “stand up for American values” or be Trump enablers. On Thursday,
the Cleveland Clinic pulled their 2018 Florida gala from Mar-a-Lago. Cleveland Clinic had held their event there for eight years. By Friday evening,
16 charities had pulled their events from Mar-a-Lago, costing the Trump Organization hundreds of thousands, or possibly millions in lost revenues. Citing violence at Charlottesville,
Texas A&M and the University of Florida cancelled scheduled speaking appearances by white supremacist Richard Spencer, both citing safety concerns. On Thursday, Michigan State University
denied a request by Spencer to rent space on the campus for a September event. Students and graduates of
Lehigh University students petitioned trustees to revoke Trump’s honorary degree, citing Trump’s “both sides” remarks.
Thousands gathered at UVA on Wednesday night for an unannounced candlelight vigil. They chanted “love wins,” and sang “We Shall Overcome” and “Amazing Grace.” At a funeral for Heather Heyer mother, Susan Bro said, “
They tried to kill my child to shut her up. Well, guess what? You just magnified her.” Bro told NBC Thursday she has received death threats from hate groups.
Bro said she will not meet with Trump after he blamed “both sides” for violence in Charlottesville. She also has not picked up his phone calls. Trump
continued to tweet about Confederate statues after his news conference, “can’t change history, but you can learn from it. Robert E Lee, Stonewall Jackson — who’s next, Washington, Jefferson? So foolish!”
The great-great grandchildren of Robert E. Lee, Jefferson Davis and Stonewall Jackson called for Confederate statues to be removed. They also condemned the white supremacist and violence in Charlottesville. They also suggested statues be moved to museums.
Bertram Hayes-Davis, great-great-grandson of Jefferson Davis suggested, “In a public place, if it is offensive and people are taking issue with it, let’s move it.” In the days following the Charlottesville alt-right rally,
13 US cities and Duke University said they would remove Confederate monuments. Several other cities are considering same. After a terrorist attack in Spain, Trump tweeted about what
General Pershing did when terrorist were caught: “There was no more Radical Islamic Terror for 35 years!” . Politifact rated Trump’s claim, Pants on Fire Trump continued to do battle with Republicans,
targeting Flake who he called “toxic” and “WEAK on borders, crime and a non-factor in Senate,” and Graham who he said “can’t forget his election trouncing.” Countering Trump,
McConnell offered his “full support” for Flake.
James Murdoch donated $1mm to the Anti-Defamation League in the wake of Charlottesville. As many of social media noted, Fox News played a major role in stoking the hate of far-right extremists. According to government
documents published by one of Murdoch’s newspapers Tuesday, Australian authorities denied a bid by Trump to build a casino in 1988 due to his ties to the mafia and organized crime.
HuffPost reported on Trump aide Katharine Gorka’s role in helping to pull DHS funding for Life After Hate, a group dedicated to countering neo-Nazis and white supremacists, as noted in Week 33. Of note: also in Week 33, the State Dept’s anti-Semitism monitoring office was shuttered. In an interview Thursday, former VP
Gore said if he could give Trump one piece of advice, it would be to resign. On Friday, the
17 remaining members of Trump’s presidential arts and humanities panel resigned Friday in protest over his Charlottesville comments. Trump’s WH responded late Friday, saying
Trump was going to disband the arts and humanities panel anyway. Trump and Melania said t
hey will not attend this year’s Kennedy Center Honors in December. According to Huckabee Sanders, the decision is meant to allow “honorees to celebrate without any political distraction.” The decision was made
after numerous honorees announced their intentions to skip or protest if Trump attended. After Trump’s cancelation, event organizers said, “We are grateful for this gesture.” NBC called this week
Trump’s “worst week yet,” and said he was more isolated than ever.
Hope Hicks took over as the interim WH communications director, as Trump continued his search to replace Scaramucci. Hicks is the fourth person in that role. Trump’s personal
lawyer John Dowd forwarded an email with secessionist Civil War propaganda. The email also stated the group Black Lives Matter “has been totally infiltrated by terrorist groups.” Trump’s DOJ issued a
warrant to DreamHost demanding the company turn over all IP addresses related to DisruptJ20.org, a website used in planning actions to interrupt Trump’s inauguration. A week after the inauguration, the DOJ had asked for
information such as people’s physical and email addresses and DreamHost had complied. DreamHost’s lawyers called the latest request a “ complete overreach.”
NYT reported Mueller, for the first time, is seeking to interview past and current members of Trump’s WH beyond Manafort, including members of the communications team. Mueller is interested in
interviewing Priebus about what occurred during the campaign and in the WH, especially as it relates to the June 2016 Trump Tower meeting and the Comey firing. During a press conference on his visit to Columbia, Pence told reporters he
“never witnessed” any evidence of Russian collusion with the Trump campaign, and that he was “not aware” of it ever having occurred.
WAPO reported Trump aid George Papadopoulos, starting in March 2016 with an email headed, “Meeting with Russian Leadership — Including Putin,” repeatedly tried to get Trump aides to meet with Russians. Experts on Russian intelligence speculated
his email chain offers further evidence that Russians were looking for entry points into the Trump campaign. Papalopoulos said he was acting as a Russian intermediary.
NYT reported on an investigation by Ukrainian investigators and the FBI of a Ukrainian malware expert named “Profexer,” for his part in a network of hackers allegedly engaged by Russia to hack the US election. Also under investigation is a
Russian government hacking group, Advanced Persistent Threat 28 or Fancy Bear, believed to be involved in the DNC hacking. Much of the work was outsourced to private vendors. In the
first know hitch, Mueller’s special counsel lost a top FBI investigator, Peter Strzok. It is unclear why Strzok stepped away. A US District court judge ruled that as part of a libel suit brought by Webzilla CEO Aleksej Gubarev against
Buzzfeed, Steele could be questioned about the funding and sourcing of the dossier. Rep Rohrabacher, an advocate for the Kremlin, said
he plans to brief Trump on his meeting with Assange. Assange told Rohrabacher that he was not behind the DNC hack, and that the Russians were not involved.
Assange is trying to strike a deal so he can stop living in asylum at the Ecuadorian embassy in London. In Week 23, Sessions said the DOJ was preparing charges against Assange whose “arrest is a priority.”
The National Parks Service reversed a ban on plastic water bottles at national parks. The move came after confirmation of Trump’s Deputy Interior Secretary, who previously represented Deer Park Water. In a tweet, the Trump Organization featured a photo with the caption, “
From our Presidential ballroom to intimate historic room,” to advertise meeting and event space. Raising ethical concerns, Justice
Gorsuch is scheduled to address conservative groups at Trump Hotel DC in September, less than two weeks before the court will hear arguments on Trump’s Muslim Ban. Mattis’ DoD parted ways with senior media adviser, Steve Warren.
Pentagon reporters have complained about lack of access to Mattis, and some recently being kicked off Mattis’s Middle East trip last minute. On Friday, Trump friend and ally
Carl Icahn resigned as a special adviser to Trump, although Icahn had done nothing in that role. The WH said Icahn had been fired on Monday. Icahn resigned hours before
(see The New Yorker published a piece on his conflicts of interest Week 20). The head of a watchdog group said, “This kind of self-enrichment and influence” was “unprecedented.” Trump tweeted photos from Camp David of him signing the Global War on Terrorism War Memorial Act. Of the 14 people at the signing, there was
only one woman and not a single person of color. In an interview with
The American Prospect on Wednesday, a venting Bannon referred to white supremacists as “clowns” and “losers.” Contradicting Trump, Bannon said on N. Korea, “
there’s no military solution here, they got us,” and added, “it’s just a sideshow.” In new interviews, Bannon said he viewed the
post-Charlotte racial strife and turmoil as a political winner for Trump. On Friday,
Trump fired Bannon. According to Bannon allies, he submitted his intention to leave the WH on August 7.
Axios reported Bannon met with the billionaire Mercer family for five hours Friday in New York and “together they will be a well-funded force on the outside.” Bannon told
Bloomberg that he would be returning to run Breitbart, and that he would be “ going to war for Trump against his opponents — on Capitol Hill, in the media, and in corporate America.” Bannon told the
Weekly Standard, “The Trump presidency that we fought for, and won, is over,” saying Trump will not achieve his campaign promises. Bannon vowed to continue the fight from the outside. In an op-ed titled,
“I Voted for Trump, And I Sorely Regret It,” past avid supporter Julius Krein wrote of his disillusionment with Trump, and the realization that Trump would not achieve his stated goals. Right-wing radio host Limbaugh backed white nationalists and told his 26 million listeners that
America is on the “cusp of a second civil war,” blaming international financiers who are trying to bring down America. On Saturday,
Boston hosted a Free Speech Rally organized by conservatives and libertarians at Boston Commons. Friday, Mayor Walsh said 500 police officers would be there, and urged people to stay away. Thousands of counter-protestors
marched through downtown Boston to condemn white supremacists and neo-Nazis. Police estimated 15k peacefully marched.
Week 39 of trump’s presidency: Experts in authoritarianism advise to keep a list of things subtly changing around you, so you’ll remember.
August 12, 2017 https://medium.com/@Amy_Siskind/week-39-experts-in-authoritarianism-advise-to-keep-a-list-of-things-subtly-changing-around-you-so-1b911b954f30
Despite Congress being out of session and Trump on vacation, this was one of the most alarming weeks so far. Without provocation, Trump made aggressive statements towards three countries, and escalated the possibility of nuclear war with N. Korea. The country continued to burn in hate as violence surrounding a white supremacist rally in Charlottesville led to a state of emergency in Virginia.
Other troubling trends continued this week including: an increase of media controlled by Trump and his allies, an unstaffed and unprepared executive branch, and steps taken to suppress the vote in future elections. Even with his new chief of staff, it is apparent Trump is consolidating power and answering to no one. He is also stepping up his attacks on the legislative branch.
On Sunday, reminiscent of state-owned propaganda,
Trump launched the first broadcast of “real” Trump TV featuring Kayleigh McEnany, formerly a commentator on CNN. On Monday, the
RNC named McEnany to be its national spokesperson, meaning she will get paid by the RNC for her Trump TV work.
Lara Trump will run Trump TV as part of her job with consulting group Giles-Parscale. Per Week 31, Parscale has been called by Congressional investigators to testify on his role in the Trump campaign and Russia. Trump’s FCC chair, Ajit Pai, revived a regulatory loophole allowing Sinclair Broadcasting to vastly exceed federal limits on media ownership. When a pending deal closes,
Sinclair will reach 72% of US households.
VOX analyzed 17 months of . Since the election, data reveals the show’s primary goal is talk to Trump, not their audience. Fox & Friends transcripts and found a symbiotic relationship between Trump and the show On
Fox News Sunday, Rosenstein said he has not been directed by Trump to investigate Hillary’s email, as suggested by Trump. Rosenstein added, “That wouldn’t be right. That’s not the way we operate.” Rosenstein also dismissed that the Russia probe is a “total fabrication” — the reference by Trump. He also said
Mueller can investigate any crimes he discovers within the scope of his probe. Conway suggested
WH staffers may be required to take lie-detector testsas part of the regime’s efforts to find leakers.
WAPO Editorial Board wrote Trump’s DOJ is joining the GOP’s crusade to suppress voting, citing an Ohio case of culling voters before the SCOTUS. The Obama administration found this unlawful, Trump’s does not. Indiana NCAAP and Priorities USA are
suing the state over a law which results in closing voting precincts in black and Latino areas. A
WAPO survey found 52% of Republicans believe Trump won the popular vote, and would support postponing the 2020 election to make sure that only eligible American citizens could vote if Trump proposed it.
AP reported Ivy League schools are bracing for scrutiny from the Trump regime for their efforts to make their campuses diverse. A bomb was tossed through the window of a Mosque in Bloomington, MN. Minnesota’s governor
declared the bombing “an act of terrorism.” Trump did not acknowledge the bombing. Tuesday,
Gorka said the WH would “wait and see” in case the blast turned out to be a hoax. By week end, Trump still had no comment. On Wednesday,
Trump tweeted out a , which the news agency insinuated, without having evidence yet, was carried out by Islamic terrorists. Fox News story about a vehicle ramming into soldiers in France The NAACP Legal Defense Fund will
appeal a federal judge’s ruling allowing a white Alabama town to secede from a racially-mixed county school district and start its own system.
CNN fired conservative pundit Jeffrey Lord after he tweeted the Nazi salute, “Sieg Heil!” at a prominent liberal activist. A study by the Kaiser Family Foundation found
Trump’s moves to undermine Obamacare have already triggered double-digit premium increases on individual health insurance policies in many states.
NYT reported government scientists are concerned that a report by scientists in 13 federal agencies, which finds a drastic impact of climate change in the US, will be suppressed by Trump. In a series of emails obtained by
The Guardian, the Trump regime advised staff at the USDA not to use certain terms like “climate change”and “climate change adaption.” Karina Brown, an Asian American woman who attended a Bon Jovi concert in Columbus, OH was t
old by a fellow concert-goer, “You don’t belong in this country.” Five transgender troops
sued Trump over his tweet to instate a transgender military ban. The
Canadian military is building a refugee camp in Saint-Bernard-de-Lacolle near Plattsburgh, NY to house up to 500 US asylum seekers. This is in addition to a shelter at Montreal Olympic Stadium in Week 38.
CNN reported Sam Clovis, Trump’s nominee to be chief scientist at the USDA, had on his conservative radio show stoked the birther conspiracy, called Eric Holder a “a racist black,” and Tom Perez “a racist Latino.” More than 75 consumer, health and advocacy groups came together
to stop the Trump regime from stripping nursing home residents and their families of rights to take facilities to court over alleged abuse or neglect. As the Trump Organization
tweeted about the launch of The Trump Estates and golf in Dubai, concerns continued to surface about ways US foreign policy has been impacted by the Trump family’s investments.
WAPO reported on how Trump hotel DC has become a center of influence, where members of industry and others seeking access meet with Trump regime members. And Trump financially benefits. Trump Hotel DC turned a
$2mm profit for the first four months of 2017, far exceeding the Trump Organization’s projected loss of $2.1mm. Driving profits were sky-high room prices and spending on food and beverages.
WSJ reported rooms at Trump Hotel DC’s average daily room rate was $660 compared with $496 for comparable hotels. The room rates are 60% higher than the hotel’s original budget. The 18 Democrats on the House Oversight Comm sent letters to 15 cabinet departments and nine executive branch agencies
requesting information on their spending at Trump Organization businesses.
POLITICO reported Trump’s slow pace in filling vacancies at FERC has caused $13bn of infrastructure projects, expected to create 23k new jobs, to be indefinitely delayed.
NYT and ProPublica continued to track Trump appointees put in charge of dismantling government regulations. 85 appointees have been identified, many with industry or legal ties, or other conflicts of interest. A US District Court judge in NY will
hear arguments in the Trump foreign emoluments lawsuit starting on October 18. According to a letter to the Senate, the
OGE has rejected retroactive waivers for the Trump regime. Trump ally Robert
Mercer donated $300k to Flake’s Republican primary challenger after Flake spoke out against Trump. Among other benefits, the Mercers’ hedge fund has avoided $6.8bn of back taxes under Trump.
AP reported Trump companies applied to a casino trademark in Macau, the world’s largest gambling market. Past applications by Trump had been rejected. Trump had pledged no new foreign deals while in office.
Two top aides for UN ambassador Haley — her chief of staff and communications director — resigned. Haley said on Twitter it was because of “family concerns.”
Four top cybersecurity officials resigned from their posts, including the chief information security officer for the EPA and the CIO for the DHS, both of whom had been in their jobs for just a few months.
FORTUNE reported vegetable prices may be going up soon as Trump’s immigration policies have led to a farmworker shortage, and crops are rotting in the fields.
The Toronto Star reported Trump has made 500 false claims in his first 200 days in office. A
CNN poll taken at 200 days found just 24% of Americans trust most of what they hear from the WH. In another sign of Trump’s waning popularity,
Democrat Phil Miller won a special election (+10) in a Iowa district Trump had won by 22 in 2016.
AP reported Pence has been quietly carving out his own political foot-print, noting Republicans privately admit Trump could be the first president since Nixon to leave office or not to seek re-election. After Sen Blumenthal appeared on
CNN to discuss the Russian probe, Trump attacked him on Twitter for 2 days, calling him a “phony Vietnam con artist,” and saying he “should take a nice long vacation in Vietnam.” Trump tweeted, “Thank you Nicole!” to an account @ProTrump45. The account, under the name
Nicole Mincey, was deleted and appears to have been a bot, part of the Russia-backed disinformation campaign.
VICE reported that since taking office, Trump receives a folder full of positive news about himself twice a day. Some in the WH refer to the folder as “the propaganda document.”
Bloomberg reported Manafort and Donald Jr. turned over thousands of documents in August to the Senate Judiciary Comm in the Russia probe.
Bloomberg also reported Fusion GPS, a company linked to the dossier, and its CEO have yet to turn over requested documents. Senate Judiciary Comm chair Grassley wants to know if Russians paid for the dossier.
Page Six reported Trump’s story about a renovation at the 21 Club, which Trump told the generals while berating them about losing in Afghanistan (Week 38), was “ completely wrong in every detail.” On Wednesday
, WAPO reported the FBI conducted a predawn raid on Manafort’s home in Alexandria, VA, seizing documents and other materials related to Mueller’s Russia probe. The raid
occurred on July 26, the day Manafort was scheduled to testify before the Senate Judiciary Comm and a day after he met with the Senate Intel Comm. The FBI
search warrant was for documents relating to tax, banking and other matters. Sources said the FBI agents left with a “trove of material.”
ABC reported Manafort was awoken in the predawn hours by a group of armed FBI agents knocking on his bedroom door. On
July 26 Trump called for acting FBI director McCabe to be fired. Also, that morning he inexplicably tweeted his transgender military banwithout notifying the DoD or having a strategy in place.
Bloomberg reported Manafort alerted Congressional investigators about the June 9 Trump Tower meeting three months ago. Trump ally the
National Enquirer posted a story, “ Trump Advisor Sex Scandal — Paul Manafort’s Sick Affair,” shortly after the WAPO article hit.
POLITICO reported Federal investigators sought cooperation from Jeffrey Yohai, Manafort’s son-in-law, early in the summer, in an effort to increase pressure on Manafort. On Thursday, Manafort fired WilmerHale and switched to
Miller and Chevalier, a boutique firm in Washington that specializes in complicated financial crimes. A story in
The New Yorker noted that with Manafort’s sophistication and links to Russia oligarchs, he was in a good position to “understand what Vladimir Putin wanted from the Trump campaign.”
ABC reported Congressional investigators want to question Rhona Graff, Trump’s assistant for 30 years, on the email exchange and meeting at Trump Tower on June 9 with Russians. The bipartisan
Sen Judiciary Comm asked the WH to respond to questions about changes to Kushner’s security clearance forms related to undisclosed meetings with Russians. The deadline to reply was July 6. On Tuesday afternoon,
WAPO reported that analysis by the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) concluded N. Korea has passed the key threshold of producing missile-ready nuclear weapons. Later Tuesday, from his golf course in Bedminster, Trump warned N. Korea against threatening US cities, saying threats “
will be met with fire and fury like the world has never seen.” Late Tuesday,
in reaction to Trump’s ‘red line’ of N. Korea threatening US cities, Kim Jong-un’s regime said it may strike Guam. Trump’s “fire and fury” comments
broke the Dow’s 10-day winning streak. Trump’s comments were
condemned by Democrats, Republicans and nuclear weapons experts, saying his incendiary rhetoric would make things worse.
The Toronto Star reported on the numerous time Trump has used varieties of the hyperbolic phrase, “like the world has never seen,” to make a point, including while a businessman and running for office. Wednesday,
NYT reported Trump’s “fire and fury” threat to N. Korea was improvised. The sheet of paper in front of him was about the opioid crisis, and he ad-libbed without input from his team on wording. As the N. Korea crisis unfolds,
Trump has yet to appoint an ambassador to S. Korea. As per Week 38, 22 of 24 assistant secretary positions in the State Dept are either unfilled or staffed by Obama holdovers. Blumenthal told
MSNBC the Sen Armed Services Comm has been informed as N. Koreans moved from milestone to milestone, indicating Trump also should have known progress and not been alarmist. A
30-foot inflatable chicken with Trump-like hair floated next to the WH on Wednesday. The balloon was set up by documentary filmmaker Taran Singh Brar to protest Trump “being a weak and ineffective leader.”
Foreign Policy reported on a 7-page memo written by Rich Higgins about the “deep state” targeting Trump, thought to be behind the recent NSC shake-up, including McMaster firing Higgins. On Thursday, Trump
escalated the rhetoric on N. Korea further, saying his “fire and fury” comment may not have been “tough enough.” Asked how he could of been tougher, Trump replied, “You’ll see. You’ll see.” Shortly after, flanked by Pence and McMaster in Bedminster, Trump did a 20 minute
lie-ridden press conference. A historian described Trump’s bizarre outpouring as “ he was a dam that had suddenly burst free.” Trump called it a “
disgrace” that the Senate didn’t pass a bill to repeal and replace Obamacare, placing blame on McConnell and saying he wants him to get back to work and get it done. Trump also twice tweeted about McConnell’s failure to repeal and replace Obamacare, and retweeted a
Fox & Friends story Friday saying Trump was leaving the door open on whether McConnell should step down. On the other hand, Trump said he was “very thankful” to Putin for expelling hundreds of US diplomats “
because now we have a smaller payroll.” This is a false statement: diplomats remain on the payroll.
Reuters reported the State Dept was “horrified and rattled,” by Trump’s remarks on expelling diplomats. The third ranking State member under W. Bush called the remarks, “grotesque.” Also at the press conference, in contrast to what his regime said days earlier,
Trump seemingly impromptu declared the opioids a federal emergency: “I’m saying officially, right now, it is an emergency.” Also, on the transgender military ban, Trump said “
I think I’m doing the military a great favor.” and on the transgender community: “I think I have great support…I got a lot of votes.” On Kim Jong-un,
Trump said, “He got away with it for a long time…He’s not getting away with it. This is a whole new ballgame.” Adding, “And nobody, including N. Korea, is going to be threatening us with anything.” Also at the press conference, Trump said
“I don’t think Iran is in compliance,” on the 2015 deal to curtail nuclear weapons. Trump also said
there was “no collusion between us and Russia. In fact, the opposite. Russia spent a lot of money on fighting me.” Gordon Humphrey, a former GOP senator, suggested
Congress should use the 25th Amendment to remove Trump from office, saying of Trump “He is sick of mind, impetuous, arrogant, belligerent and dangerous.” Tillerson sought calm on N Korea, saying Wednesday “Americans should sleep well at night.”
Gorka told BBC radio, “the idea that Secretary Tillerson is going to discuss military matters is simply nonsensical.” On Friday, Trump escalated tensions further, tweeting
the US military is “locked and loaded” should N. Korea “act unwisely.” As tensions rose,
US allies and adversaries urged caution. Germany PM Merkel said, “verbal escalation will not contribute to a resolution,” and Russia foreign minister Lavrov said rhetoric was “over the top.” In a phone call Friday night,
China’s President Xi Jinping also urged Trump to exercise restraint according to Chinese state media. As tensions heightened with N Korea, former Defense Secretary
Panetta told CNN “we’re dealing with probably the most serious crisis involving a potential nuclear war since the Cuban Missile Crisis.” In Hawaii, emergency management officials are working on reinstating
alarm sirens to warn of a nuclear attack, last used during the Cold War. On Friday evening,
Trump spoke to reporters with Tillerson, McMaster and Haley by his side. Speculation was this was to assure Americans that diplomacy was also being used with N. Korea. Instead,
Trump escalated the rhetoric yet again, saying Jong-un “will not get away with” what he’s doing, and if he attacks Guam, or American territory or ally, “he will truly regret it and he will regret it fast.” When asked about Venezuela,
Trump said we have many options, “including a possible military option if necessary.”
His threat played into Maduro’s hands. Venezuelan officials have long said the US is planning an invasion. Maduro requested a phone call with Trump on Friday, which was rejected. A DoD spokesperson said Friday evening
the US is not planning to invade Venezuela, and “any insinuations by the Maduro regime that we are planning an invasion are baseless.” Trump called the governor of Guam Friday night to reassure him of US protection. He also joked that
Governor Calvo has become “extremely famous,” and offered, “your tourism [is] going to go up like tenfold.” On Friday night,
hundreds of white supremacists marched on University of Virginia’s campus carrying torches and chanting “White lives matter,” and “You will not replace us,” and “Jew will not replace us.” On Saturday morning, white supremacists in Charlottesville to attend the Unite the Right rally
carried Confederate flags and flag with the Nazi Swastikas. Militia groups carrying guns also attended. Violent clashes between white supremacists and protestors broke out.
Local police declared a state of emergency. Later Saturday, the
Virginia governor declared a state of emergency in response to the Unite the Right white nationalist rally. White supremacists were ordered to vacate the park before the rally. Trump addressed Charlottesville hours later, but
failed to condemn white supremacists, many of whom were wearing Trump gear, instead tweeting, “We ALL must be united & condemn all that hate stands for.”
From SOLD Magazine: Artist RamiroStudios in New York, August 2017
Week 35 of ‘36% liked’ (as of today) trump presidency: Experts in authoritarianism advise to keep a list of things subtly changing around you, so you’ll remember.
July 15, 2017
I’m pleased to share that “The Weekly List” has found a safe home at the Library of Congress. May future generations learn from our slow slide to authoritarianism, and never let it happen again!
This week the bombshell story about Donald Jr.’s emails, the first direct evidence of possible collusion and intent between the Trump campaign and Russia, dominated media coverage and conversation. But as with each week, amidst the bedlam, there were a myriad of less-covered, important stories on how the fabric of our country is changing, and kleptocracy is omnipresent.
After the G20,
Pope Francis warned about “dangerous” international alliances, including the one between the US and Russia. On Sunday after returning from the G20,
Trump sent a bizarre set of tweets, including his apparent acceptance that Putin did not meddle in our election, and his plan to set up a Cyber Security unit with Putin. After widespread condemnation of his Cyber Security unit idea, Trump tweeted Sunday night
that he didn’t really mean it. US officials say
Russia government hackers were behind recent cyber-intrusions into the administrative and business networks of a US nuclear power plant and other energy companies.
Reuters reported European infrastructure networks have also recently been hacked, and the Russian government is thought to be the culprit. An Arkansas bill scheduled to go into effect July 30
would make it illegal for a woman to have an abortion without notifying the man who impregnated her, even in cases of rape. On Monday,
Capitol police arrested citizens protesting the GOP health care bill outside of Republican senate offices. A federal judge
halted the deportation of 1,400 Iraqi nationals, including many Christians fearing persecution. The Trump’s regime efforts to deport took on new urgency because Iraq has agreed to accept deportees. An Iranian cancer researcher traveling on a valid visa to the US to work as a visiting scholar at Boston’s Children’s Hospital,
was detained at Logan Airport, along with his wife and three children.
Pew Research found the percentage of Muslim refugees has steadily declined under Trump from 50% in February to 31% in June, while the percentage of Christian refugees has increased from 41% to 57%. A federal judge’s ruling in
Hawaii narrowed the scope of Trump’s Muslim Ban by vastly expanding the list of family relationships with U.S. citizens that visa applicants can use to get into the US. Trump ally Steve King called for using federal funds set aside for
Planned Parenthood and welfare programs like food stamps to be reallocated for funding Trump’s Mexican Wall.
POLITICO reported that Trump and his regime are quietly working with conservative senators Cotton and Perdue to cut the number of legal immigrants allowed into the US by half over the next decade. According to a memo obtained by
WAPO, the Trump regime is considering expanding the DHS’s power to expedite the deportation of illegal immigrants, a major expansion of the agency’s power.
DeVos met with MRA groups who believe campus sexual assault is a hoax, including The National Coalition for Men, an organization with a history of harassing and intimidating alleged sexual-assault survivors. DeVos also
met with Stop Abusive and Violent Environments (SAVE), an organization SPLC described as promoting misogyny. SAVE has lobbied against efforts to address military sexual assault, calling it a “witch hunt.” Ahead of these pivotal meeting, Candice Jackson, the acting assistant secretary for civil right at the Education Dept
said 90% of campus sexual accusations come after drunk sex or break-ups. She later apologized. Sessions delivered a speech to Alliance Defending Freedom, a group designated as
an “anti-LGBT hate group” by the SPLC in 2016, off camera on Tuesday. The DOJ refused to release his remarks. Rep Martha McSally stood on the
House floor Wednesday in a sleeveless dress and open-toed shoes to say she would not comply with the dress code in the chamber and Speaker’s lobby. On Friday,
female members of the House wore sleeveless clothing to work, tweeting in support of “Sleeveless Friday.”
Price’s HHS quietly defunded teen pregnancy programs designed by the Obama administration to fund scientifically valid ways to help teenagers make healthy decisions that avoid unwanted pregnancy. The
ACLU filed a suit against Trump’s Election Integrity Commission, saying it isn’t following federal law requiring it to be open to the public. Trump’s Election Integrity Commission published a 112 page document of public feedback (mostly negative), which
exposed personal informationincluding email addresses, phone numbers and home addresses of some. Over
3k Colorado voters have canceled their registrations since Trump’s Election Integrity Commission requested voter roll information. A non-partisan campaign finance watchdog group filed a complaint with the FEC alleging
Price improperly used his congressional campaign fund to promote his confirmation to HHS Secretary.
Center for Public Integrity reported Bannon failed to properly disclose more than $2mm in mortgage debt on his financial disclosure form. Trump’s expected pick for
chief of the Wage and Hour Division of the Dept of Labor, Cheryl Stanton, was named in a lawsuit last year for allegedly not paying her house cleaners.
WAPO reported that while Trump has chastised companies for outsourcing jobs and Ivanka branded herself a feminist, Ivanka’s clothing lines are exclusively produced at low-wage foreign factories, and women employees are not well treated. After Trump’s much ballyhooed deal with Carrier to keep American jobs,
Indiana has lost 5k manufacturing jobs since February.
WSJ reported the CEO of a OpenGov, a small start-up that Kushner’s brother has a stake in, got a seat at a WH roundtable for prominent technology-industry leaders last month. Kushner owned the stake before selling it to his brother early in the year.
POLITICO reported that conservative Sinclair Broadcasting increased “must run” segments featuring former Trump adviser Epshteyn to nine times per week, across its affiliates.
Sputnik, a Russian government-funded news outlet, started broadcasting on 105.5 FM last week from K-Street offices, a few blocks from the WH.
Within 24 hours of announcing “The Weekly List” will be archived in the Library of Congress, I was the target of two hit pieces in , Sputnik News one in , and other various RT Russia-friendly blogs.
NYT reported that Pence has quietly hosted at least four private dinners, and has more in the works, to court big donors and corporate executives.
The Trump regime’s deregulation teams is full of appointees with deep industry ties. NYT and ProPublica reported on 71 appointees with industry links, including 28 with potential conflicts.
Intercept reported Kushner tried to get a half-billion loan bailout for his 666 Fifth Avenue from a Qatar sovereign wealth fund, and the deal not coming to fruition may have influenced US policy towards Qatar.
USA Today reported a US Golf Association exec told USGA executive committee members that Trump threatened to sue the organization if it moved the 2017 US Women’s Open from Trump‘s golf club in Bedminster.
Trump tweeted: “I will be at the @USGA #USWomensOpen in Bedminster,” advertising one of his properties again. Documents released to
WAPO under the FOIA show the State Dept spent more than $15k for rooms at the new Trump hotel in Vancouver. At the behest of Bannon,
Trump aides Prince and Feinberg, both who benefited from military contracting, developed an alternative plan to the one proposed by the Pentagon for Afghanistan. Their plan was to rely on contractors (mostly non-American) instead of American military troops. Twitter users who were
blocked by Trump’s personal account are suing him in federal court, saying he violated their First Amendment rights. Trump tweeted that Comey had “leaked CLASSIFIED INFORMATION” and
“That is so illegal!” The Columbia law professor who received some of Comey’s memos, said the memos he received were not classified. Saturday evening,
NYT reported that Donald Jr., Kushner and Manafort met with Natalia Veselnitskaya, a lawyer with close Kremlin ties, at Trump Tower on June 9, 2016.
Donald Jr. initially claimed the meeting was related to an adoption program. Kushner had failed to disclose the meeting in his security clearance. Manafort, who was Trump’s campaign manager at the time, had no comment on the meeting. On Sunday,
NYT reported Donald Jr. met with the Veselnitskaya after being promised damaging information on Hillary. The meeting took place two weeks after Trump became the GOP nominee. On the question of whether Trump campaign colluded with Russia,
NYTnoted Donald Jr.’s meeting is “ the first public indication that at least some in the campaign were willing to accept Russian help.” A spokesperson for Trump’s lawyer told the
NYT, “ the president was not aware of and did not attend the meeting.” Donald Jr. hired
attorney Alan Futerfas to represent him in the Russiaprobe, adding to a long list of attorneys defending Team Trump.
WAPO reported the acquaintance who set up the meeting was Rob Goldstone, who was active in the Miss Universe pageant and works as a manager for Russian pop singer, Emin Agalarov. As news was breaking on Donald Jr.,
Russia’s Lavrov threatened that Russia is “considering specific measures” as retribution for Trump not returning two compounds seized by the Obama administration. On Tuesday,
Donald Jr. preemptively tweeted his email exchange in setting up the Trump Tower meeting. Donald Jr had been contacted by the NYT for comment, asked for more time, then tweeted. Shortly after his tweet, the
NYT story broke. In addition to the emails, the story details the changing accounts by all involved parties. Per emails,
Donald Jr was offered information that “would incriminate Hillary and her dealings with Russia and would be very useful to your father,” and “This is obviously very high level and sensitive information but is part of Russia and its government’s support for Mr. Trump.” Donald Jr.’s response was: “
If it’s what you say I love it especially later in the summer.” Donald Jr.
forwarded the email chain — with the subject line, “Re: Russia — Clinton — private and confidential” — to Kusher and Manafort ahead of the meeting. The email was sent by Rod Goldstone on behalf of a mutual friend, Emin Agalarov. Emin is the son of
Aras Agalarov, a real estate tycoon referred to as the “Donald Trump of Russia,” who has close ties to, and was awarded the “Order of Honor of the Russian Federation” by, Putin. The
meeting took place in Trump Tower, one floor below Trump’s offices.Trump continued to deny knowledge or involvement all week. According to emails, the meeting took place at 4:00 pm. Donald Jr. said it lasted 20–30 minutes. At
4:40 pm same day, Trump tweeted in response to a tweet by Hillary, “where are your 33,000 emails that you deleted?” Julian Assange tweeted, “
Contacted Trump Jr this morning on why he should publish his emails (i.e with us),” indicating he has been in contact with Donald Jr. WAPO reported Donald Jr. changed his story about the meeting with Veselnitskaya
four times in the first four days of the story coming to light.
NYT reported Trump personally signed off on Donald Jr.’s first statement Saturday night saying his meeting with a Russian lawyer was to discuss adoption policy — a known lie. After releasing his emails,
Donald Jr. gave an interview to “a high-quality person” and added, “I applaud his transparency.” Fox News telling his side of the story. Trump called his son
Yahoo reported that Trump had a Moscow real estate deal with Aras Agalarov, the same Russian oligarch who set up the meeting with Veselnitskaya, to construct a Trump Tower in Moscow.
A letter intent was signed by Trump, then as the presidential campaign got underway, Donald Jr. was assigned to take the lead. Ivanka also looked at spots for Trump Tower Moscow with Emin Agalarov. The deal did not happen because the Russian economy floundered,
in part because of US and EU sanctions imposed after Crimea and Ukraine. Doing away with US sanctions could help put the deal back on track. In April 2016,
Emin and Aras Agalarov told . Emin said Trump’s election would be “an amazing breakthrough” that would forge peace between Russia and the US. WAPO they wanted Trump to be elected
CNN reported Mueller’s investigators plan to examine the meeting and email exchanges disclosed by Donald Jr. as part of their broader Russian-meddling investigation. On “The Late Show” Tuesday night,
Joe Scarborough announced he is leaving the Republican Party. “It’s a shame there are so few Republicans speaking truth to power,” Scarborough tweeted.
NYT reported Tuesday that Trump’s long-time personal attorney and lead counsel for the Russia probe, Kasowitz, has been the target of Trump’s frustration and ire, and may resign.
ProPublica reported that as Trump’s lead attorney on the Russia probe, Kasowitz is unable to see classified information because he isn’t seeking security clearance, and may have trouble getting one. On Wednesday night,
Kasowitz threatened a stranger in an email, saying “I’m on you now,” and “Watch your back, bitch,” etc. Later, he apologized through a spokesperson, saying he was working late that night.
McClatchy reported that Congressional and DOJ investigators are focusing on whether Trump’s campaign pointed Russian cyber operatives to certain voting jurisdictions in key states. Kushner, who is already a “person of interest” for the DOJ investigations, will be
investigated for his role overseeing the digital operations, and for possible cooperation with Russian efforts. Of note, the
Russians knew to target women and African-Americans in two of the three decisive states, Wisconsin and Michigan. Clinton lost WI, MI and PA by a combined 77,744 votes out of 13.9 million ballots cast.
WSJ reported that in light of Donald Jr. emails, US intel investigators are re-examining conversations captured in the spring of 2015 of Russian government officials discussing associates of Trump. Rep Brad
Sherman of CA introduced articles of impeachment against Trump. Rep Green of TX was the only other Democrat to join.
AP reported that Trump’s mysterious friend “Jim,” who Trump frequently referenced on the campaign trail and more recently ahead of his trip to Paris, may not actually exist. Trump faced
heavy criticism after telling France’s first lady during his first state visit to the country, “You’re in such good shape.” Democratic members of the
House Judiciary Comm sent a letter to Sessions asking why the DOJ settled a $230mm Russian money laundering case against Prevezon for $6mm two days before trial in May. Veselnitskaya represented the family of Pyotr Katsyv, whose son owns Prevezon.
Democrats want to know is she was involved at any point in settlement negotiations. Prevezon was part of Russia’s largest tax fraud scheme.
Magnitsky, the lawyer who exposed the alleged fraud, was jailed, tortured and killed in Russia. Veselnitskaya has been trying to undo the Act in his name. The case against
Prevezon was initially brought by US attorney Preet Bharara, who was fired by Trump.
Axios reported Trump’s outside legal teams wants him to wall off Kushner from discussing the Russian investigation with Trump. On Thursday morning,
NPR reported Sessions had defied a judge’s order by not supplying the required forms to show his foreign contacts. The court’s 30-day deadline expired Wednesday. Later that afternoon, a day late, the
DOJ did release one heavily redacted page of Sessions’s SF86, showing only that he had checked a box “no” on whether he had met with any foreign governments in the past 7 years.
New Republic reported that Trump’s relationship with Russia dates back to the 1980s, and over decades Russia has laundered money through Trump’s real estate and casinos. Gorka told
CNN that Trump is considering returning the Russian compounds because “we want to give collaboration” a chance. US intel found evidence t he compounds were used for spying on the US. Thursday, Trump said he would invite Putin to the WH at the right time. Trump also continued to not acknowledge that
Russia who hacked our election, saying it could have been China or N. Korea.
NYT reported that Kushner has supplemented his federal disclosure form three times, adding more than 100 foreign contact names.
Chicago Tribune reported that Peter W. Smith, the GOP operative who detailed his efforts along with members of the Trump campaign to get Hillary’s deleted emails from Russian hackers, committed suicide. Smith’s interview with
WSJ’s Shane Harris was the first report of possible collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia. Smith’s suicide happened nine days after the interview occurred. Smith left a curious suicide note, citing a bad turn in his health, and writing, “
NO FOUL PLAY WHATSOEVER.” Harris said when he spoke to Smith, he had no indication “he was ill or planning to take his own life.”
NBC reported at the June 9 meeting, Veselnitskaya was accompanied by Rinat Akhmetshin a Russian-American lobbyist, and former Soviet counterintelligence officer with ongoing ties to Russian intelligence.
AP confirmed that Akhmetshin attended the meeting. Donald Jr. had not disclosed Akhmetshin’s attendance, not had Kushner in his forms.
Daily Beast reported Akhmetshin was previously accused in federal and state courts of orchestrating an international hacking conspiracy. Grassley, chair of the Sen Judiciary Comm,
called on Donald Jr. to testify as early as next week. Grassley said he would subpoena him if necessary. Grassley filed a
complaint against Akhmetshin in March, saying he was effectively engaged in lobbying work as an unregistered agent for Russian interests. Akhmetshin lobbied for Congress to repeal the Magnitsky Act.
FP reported that the private email account of a top US intelligence officer working in the secretive arm of the State Dept focusing on Russia, was hacked. Russia is suspected of being behind the hack. Yahoo reported
Trump lawyers knew about the emails three weeks ago, although Trump claimed he learned about them, “a couple of days ago.” Friday, CNN said there were
at least 8 people at the Donald Jr./Veselnitskaya meeting. On the Friday
, Smith said “Why is it lie after lie after lie?….The deception, Chris, is mind-boggling…Where are we, and why are we getting told all these lies?” Fox News hand-off from Shepard Smith to Chris Wallace Wallace answered, “I don’t know what to say.”
Veselnitskaya told WSJ that she had been meeting regularly and sharing information with Russian authorities and Russia’s top prosecutor, Yuri Chaika — the “ Crown prosecutor” referenced in Goldstone’s emails. Amid a
legal team shake-up, Trump hired Ty Cobb to become point person inside the WH for matters related to Russia, and Kushner lawyer Jamie Gorelick stepped away from representing him on Russia.
a lawsuit filed by Maddow reported on United to Protect Democracy on behalf of three citizens against Trump and Stone for their role in the public sharing of information hacked by the Russians. If it goes to trial, discovery could reveal information on how stolen info was disseminated. Friday, a
judge order a retrial of the Code Pink activist who was arrested after she laughed during Sessions’s confirmation hearing. Lawyers for the
only known DREAMer to be deported, filed supporting statement showing ICE agents wrongly forced him across the border.
NYC-based street artist Andrea Cook. – photo by me in Chisinau, Moldova. 15july17.
“Use Your Collusion, Vol. 1” by Orlando-based artist Andrew Spear.
Week 30 of donald trump’s presidency: Experts in authoritarianism advise to keep a list of things subtly changing around you, so you’ll remember.
June 10, 2017
This week all eyes were on the Comey testimony, which opened the door for what could be obstruction of justice, an impeachable offense. Despite Republicans controlling the House, Senate and White House, legislative progress has largely come to a halt amid weekly and sometimes daily bombshells, as all eyes turn to the Trump-Russia scandal. Also of note is the complete disarray of the Trump regime, and the difficulty Trump is having hiring staff and even finding legal representation.
In the aftermath of terrorists attacks in London Saturday night,
Trump attacked the Mayor tweeting, “At least 7 dead and 48 wounded in terror attack and Mayor of London says there is “no reason to be alarmed!” The US ambassador to the
UK contradicted Trump, tweeting from the embassy account we “Commend the strong leadership” of the Mayor. Trump used the attack as an opportunity
to promote his Muslim Ban, “I am calling it what we need and what it is, a TRAVEL BAN!” Ironically, the Trump regime spent months denying it was a “ban.” Trump also criticized Sessions, tweeting the
DOJ should have stayed with the first Muslim ban, “not the watered down, politically correct version.” Experts said Trump’s tweets would
likely hurt the chances on appeal at the Supreme Court.
NYT reported that Trump is fuming at Sessions, especially over his decision to recuse himself from the Russia investigation. Mattis tried to reassure allies at a conference in Singapore, asking them to “
bear with us” after Trump’s disastrous foreign trip.
POLITICO reported that Trump’s national security team was blind-sighted when he left out the planned language reaffirming US commitment to Article 5 from his NATO summit speech in Brussels. A
noose was found at a construction site in DC, marking the third noose found in the DC area this week. The
Ku Klux Klan applied to hold a rally in Charlottesville on July 8th.
Reuters reported that the Trump regime is seeking to reopen hundreds of cases of illegal immigrants who were granted a reprieve under Obama.
Buzzfeed reviewed more than 50 reports of school bullying, and found that kids nationwide are using Trump’s words to taunt their classmates. Kim Weaver
dropped her run for Congress against Trump ally, Steve King, after receiving multiple death threats.
POLITICO reported that Tillerson has made himself largely inaccessible to staff and outsiders, funneling all inquiries through two staffers. The Mayor of Los Angeles said
ICE’s aggressive raids could cause high tensions in his city to boil over: “I fear a tinderbox out there.” Canadian searches for flights to US cities have
dropped by 43% since Trump’s first proposed Muslim Ban. Ivanka continued her efforts to reset her image,
appearing on the cover of with a headline, “Why I Disagree with My Dad.” US Weekly Questions arose of
whether it is constitutional for Trump to block users, given he Twitter communicate about domestic and foreign policy.
Trump filed a 6 month extension for filing his 2016 taxes. His rationale for the extension is unknown.
WSJ reported Saudi Arabia’s lobbyists and consultants spent $270k at the Trump Hotel DC as part of an effort to lobby Trump against a bi-partisan Act that lets Americans sue foreign countries over terrorist attacks. The DOJ argued
Trump can accept payments from foreign governments, saying the emoluments clause doesn’t apply to “fair-market commercial transactions” like payments for hotel rooms and golf club fees. As questions remain on why Kushner met with VEB’s Gorkov,
Bloombergreported that Kushner is seeking a $250mm loan to pay back Chinese investors for a New Jersey luxury tower. US banks are wary to lend.
WNYC reported the Kushner family is set to lose $6.5mm in annual tax credits for a property in Jersey City. The
acting US ambassador to China resigned over Trump’s decision to withdraw from the Paris Accord. The
head of the US Patent Office resigned.
85% of the top science jobs in Trump’s executive branch remain unfilled and do not have a nominee.
The chief executive of Newseum warned that Trump’s denigration of the media would lead to the “delegitimization of journalists,” and encourage authoritarians to target reporters and newspapers around the world. Rep Gianforte agreed to
pay $50k to the Committee to Project Journalists in a civil settlement for assaulting journalist Ben Jacobs.
Mueller brought in several, well-known attorneys with relevant experience to join his special counsel Russia probe, including Michael Dreeben, the DOJ’s top criminal law expert.
Yahoo reported four top law firmed turned down requests to represent Trump citing his unwillingness to listen to advice, potential harm to recruiting and client relationships, and his history of not paying bills.
Forbes reported that at a charity golf tournament run by Eric Trump for St. Jude Children’s Research, $1.2 million of expenses paid to the Trump Organization had no documented receipts. Additionally,
$500k was re-donated to other charities (4 of whom subsequently held tournaments at Trump golf courses), and $100k was funneled though the Eric Trump Foundation to the Trump Organization. The
NY Attorney General’s office said it will look into these payouts by Eric Trump’s Foundation.
Flynn turned over more than 600 pages of documents to the Senate Intel Comm. Most are business records, but also some personal documents.
The Intercept published a leaked top-secret NSA document which detailed the efforts of Russian hackers to target a voting-software supplier and more than 100 local election officials just prior to Election Day. The
FBI arrested the leaker: 25 year-old Reality Winner, a federal contractor in Augusta, Georgia. The FBI was able to track the leak to Winner after . The Intercept provided a copy to the NSA for comment Warner, the ranking Democrat on the Senate Intel Comm said Russian attacks on our election were
broader and targeted more states than reported in The Intercept. Sen Klobuchar asked that the
Senate Rules Comm get a classified briefing on the Russian vote hacking attempts.
Deutsche Bank ignored the House Democrats’ request for information on Trump’s accounts and possible ties to Russia.
Thursday, Deutsche Bank blamed privacy laws for preventing the bank from disclosing the information requested. At a Senate Intel Comm hearing Wednesday,
Coats, Rogers and Rosenstein largely refused to answer senators’ questions. One conservative journalist called it contempt of Congress. A
pro-Trump PAC ran ads attacking Comey as a “showboat” and a failure on the day of his testimony.
WAPO reported Coats told associates Trump asked him to intervene to get Comey to back off the FBI’s investigation of Flynn in its Russia probe. Sources said the ask was made at the end of a briefing at the WH, when
Trump asked everyone to leave the room, except Coats and Pompeo. NYT reported the day after Trump asked Comey to end the investigation of Trump,
Comey told Sessions not to leave him alone with Trump. ABC reported that
Trump lashed out repeatedly at Sessions in private meetings about recusing himself from Russia, and that Sessions in turn suggested he could resign. After allegations Nunes was behind the House Intel subpoenas on “unmasking,”
Nunes refused to confirm if he had stepped aside in the Russia probe. VOX reported that Comey had spoken to
three senior FBI officials (Rybicki, Baker, McCabe), who could vouch for his story that Trump asked him to shut down the Flynn investigation. Trump’s approval hit a
new low in a Quinnipiac poll: approve 34%, disapprove 57%. Of note, Trump is almost underwater with white men! A
senior State Dept official will travel to Russia to help solve the “irritants” in our relationship. Putin
threatened Sweden with a military response to “eliminate the threat” if the country joins NATO. Former DNI
Clapper said “Watergate pales” compared to what the US is confronting now. Ahead of his testimony Thursday, on Wednesday the Sen Intel Comm released
seven pages of Comey’s testimony.
Highlights include: unusually frequent contacts with Trump, Trump requested a loyalty pledge, Comey documented all contact, Trump focused on Russian hooker report, and Trump asked him to let Flynn off. Trump’s pick for FBI director,
Wray, works for a law firm that counts among it’s clients Russian-state oil companies Rosneft and Gazprom Comey testified in an open session Thursday. Major networks covered the testimony as over 19 million watched. Many in DC
caught “Comey fever” and played hooky to watch at restaurants and pubs.
Among the highlights: Comey said Trump lied about him and the FBI; that Sessions had no choice but to recuse himself; and that he was fired because of the Russia investigation. Comey said he took notes starting directly after the first meeting on January 6 because
he was concerned Trump “might lie.” Comey did not feel the need to take notes with Obama or W Bush. On Trump’s threat of having taped his conversations, Comey said, “
Lordy, I hope there are tapes.” This spurred another round of demands by Democrats for Trump to produce the tapes, or admit he lied. Comey said
Sessions seemed uncomfortable when Trump asked him to leave the room, “My sense was the attorney general knew he shouldn’t be leaving.” Comey said the same of Kushner. Comey
said he leaked a memo about his meeting with Trump through a friend at Columbia to the in hopes of getting a special counsel appointed. NYT Comey testified he has given his memos to Mueller, and
suggested the special counsel is investigating Trump for obstruction of justice. Comey said there was no doubt that Russia interfered in our election, saying, “
they’re coming after America” and “ they will be back.” He also noted this is an attack on our democracy, not a particular political party. Trump’s lawyer, Kasowitz responded, included a written statement where he
misspelled President. He also got the timeline of the Comey memo wrong, and falsely accused Comey of leaking classified information. After the Comey testimony, Republicans mostly shied away from the camera this week, while
Speaker Ryan offered a tepid defense for Trump’s actions: “he’s just new to this.” Numerous Trump surrogates spent the days surrounding Comey’s testimony by trying to
smear him as a liar and attention seeker. NBC reported that during the Senate Intel Comm’s closed hearing, senators learned about a
third, undisclosed meeting between Sessions and Russia. This confirms an item in Week 29, which the DOJ denied.
PM May suffered a major setback in the UK elections, as her Conservative Party lost the majority. Her party’s loss also could spell trouble for Brexit.
Senate Intel Comm staff will interview Kushner next week. NBC reported that Congress wants to ask Kushner if he was seeking funding for his NYC tower. Pelosi told
MSNBC that she is looking into why Trump picked Saudi Arabia as his first country to visit. Past presidents, going back to Reagan had visited close allies Canada or Mexico first. Pelosi also said she is looking into why while at the visit in Saudi Arabia,
Trump had cleared the room. Trump and Tillerson had
an embarrassing difference in foreign policy on Qatar as Tillerson said there should “be no further escalation by parties in the region,” and Trump sided with Saudi Arabia and others, slamming Qatar as a sponsor of terrorism. Trump’s attorney said he would
file a complaint against Comey for leaking his memo to his friend at Columbia. According to a letter from the US Office of Special Counsel, Trump’s social media director
Scavino violated the Hatch Act in April when he tweeted a call to oust a member of the House. He was issued a warning. In a Friday speech with the president of Romania in the Rose Garden, Trump
switched course again and said he would support Article 5 of the NATO pact. Trump also
called Comey a liar and a “leaker,” and that Comey’s testimony showed there was “no collusion, no obstruction.” Trump also said he would be willing to
tell his side of story under oath, “100 percent,” but still would not confirm if the “tapes” really exist. Top Democratic donor
Tom Steyer called for impeachment hearings over obstruction of justice.
Artist NYChopper: work in progress at Welling Court in Queens, NY. 10june 2017. Photo: Nicole Gordon
Artist NYChopper: work in progress at Welling Court in Queens, NY. 10june 2017. Photo: Nicole Gordon
Artist SubDude London in East London, UK.
SubDude London. June 2017. London, England, UK.
SubDude London. June 2017. London, England, UK.
Week 29 of trump’s presidency: Experts in authoritarianism advise to keep a list of things subtly changing around you, so you’ll remember.
June 3, 2017 https://medium.com/@Amy_Siskind/week-29-experts-in-authoritarianism-advise-to-keep-a-list-of-things-subtly-changing-around-you-so-c9e9f26fc799
This was an abbreviated week with Memorial Day and Congress out of session. Republicans were largely in hiding. Without the background noise in DC, two major themes played out: the spreading Russia crisis, and the shaping of a new world order.
Even before Megyn Kelly’s prime-time interview of Putin, Russia has become a national obsession. Several bombshells on Trump-Russia broke this week, as the collusion puzzle continues to piece together. And seemingly at Putin’s behest, a new world order is shaping with Trump distancing himself from our democratic allies, and cozying up to brutal authoritarian states.
As the Trump-Russia scandal spread, Donald Jr, Eric and Eric’s wife Lara
met with GOP leaders to discuss strategy. Donald Jr and Eric were supposed to steer clear from politics while running the family business. SoS Tillerson, Exxon’s former CEO, was present in Saudi Arabia at the same time
Exxon’s current CEO was signing a major deal with state-owned Saudi Basic Industries Corporation (SABIC). The Trump regime planned to
quietly sell $1.2mm of semiautomatic handguns to Ergodan’s security guards. After these guards beat American protestors at the Turkish embassy in DC, members of Congress objected. Belgian newspaper
Le Soir reported that during his Brussels visit, Trump complained to the Belgian PM about his difficulties in setting up golf courses in the EU. In the final leg of his trip, Trump continued to ignore US press. Trump was the
only G7 leader to not hold a press conference after the summit. The WH
omitted the name of the husband of Luxembourg’s gay PM from the caption of a photo taken at the NATO summit. It was later corrected. Merkel warned Europeans that the US and Britain are no longer reliable partners, and that
Europe “must take its fate into its own hands.” Macron said his prolonged,
white-knuckled handshake with Trump was “not innocent,” telling French media, “we must show that we will not make small concessions, even symbolic ones.” In an interview with Megyn Kelly,
Putin it would be a good thing for Moscow if NATO were completely “falling apart.” In sharp contrast to Trump, on Monday France’s Macron stood on stage next to Putin and called Russian media outlets “
organs of influence and propaganda.” France also accepted LGBTQ refugees from Chechnya. While visiting Australia,
McCain sought to reassure our important ally, telling them Trump’s actions have “unsettled many Americans as well.”
CNN reported that Trump’s return from his first foreign trip finds him lonely and angry. One source said, “I see him emotionally withdrawing. He’s gained weight. He doesn’t have anybody whom he trusts.” A furious Trump threatened a WH shake-up again and again this week
amid the broadening Russia crisis; however it also became clear that few are interested in working for Trump. Trump’s
Communications Director quit Tuesday. Other than that, no changes were made this week despite all the drama. Kellyanne Conway’s husband,
George Conway, withdrew his name from consideration to lead the Civil Division of the DOJ.
Reuters reported that Trump FBI director search has become “chaotic,”and said Trump interviewed candidates for 10–20 minutes, and in one case, mostly talked about himself. AP reported Trump
gave his cell number to world leaders and urged them to call him directly, raising concerns about security and secrecy. Trump’s Twitter account
experienced a strange surge of followers in the month of May. Nearly half his new followers are likely fake accounts. Rolling back 40 years of progress,
the Trump regime plans to disband the Labor Department division responsible for policing discrimination among federal contractors. Also as part of this move,
Trump will also roll back protections for the LGBTQ community, and for victims of campus sexual assault. Amid racial tensions in Portland, OR after a two men were killed by a white supremacist while coming to the aid of Muslims women, a Republican said the party
should use militia groups at public events. Three days after the Portland attack, Trump tweeted attack was “unacceptable;” although
he did so through the @POTUS Twitter account, not the personal account he typically uses.
One hundred eighth graders on a field trip to DC refused to pose with Paul Ryan. One student added, “I don’t want to be associated with him.”
WNYC reported Trump SoHo plans layoffs, citing in the past five months room and event bookings are down sharply. As Trump lost the appeal in federal court on his second Muslim Ban, the regime gave US embassies broad discretion to
limit travelers through intensified screening measures for visa applicants. In another act of violence against US media,
several windows at the Lexington Herald-Leader were shattered by bullets. Texas’s House passed SB 4,
which attempts to abolish “sanctuary cities” by making local officials who refuse to enforce the Trump’s regime’s extremist measures liable and subject to removal from office. A Texas state representation, Matt Rinaldi,
called ICE on SB 4 protesters. He also threatened to “put a bullet in one of his colleague’s heads” during a scuffle on the House floor. A man arrested for failing to pay fare on Minneapolis light rail
faces deportation after undergoing inappropriate questioning by a transit officer on his immigration status. The exchange was captured on video.
In Michigan, ICE agents ate breakfast at an Ann Arbor restaurant, complimented the chef on the waffles and bacon and eggs and toast, and then went to the kitchen area and arrested three restaurant workers. A
Guardian article described ICE agents as “out of control” and “getting worse” as arrests of non-violent undocumented immigrants explode across the country. Agents have also been accused of targeting protestors. The Trump regime
filed a petition with the SCOTUS to appeal the second Muslim Ban rulings. Ironically the Ban, marketed as imperative to protecting America, had a 90 day tenor. It is now over 120 days later. A
noose was found at the segregation exhibition of the National Museum of African American History and Culture. NYC sculptor Alex Gardena, upset about the Fearless Girl statue looking at the bull,
placed a statue of a urinating dog next to the girl. Signaling his lack of knowledge on governing and his continued authoritarian bent, Trump
tweeted the Senate ‘should switch to 51 votes, immediately, and get Healthcare and TAX CUTS approved.’
China arrested one activist, and two others disappeared, after investigating alleged labor abuse at a factory that makes Ivanka’s shoes. Sen Judiciary Comm chair Grassley called for an investigation into a
Chinese co marketing investments in a property partly managed by Kushner using EB-5 visas (granting visas for $500k investments). McCain said
Russia is a bigger threat to the US than ISIS, and said “We have done nothing since the election last November to respond to Vladimir Putin’s attempt to change the outcome of our elections.”
POLITICO reported as Mueller ramps up his Russia investigation, Trump aids are responsible for preserving materials, despite many using auto-delete apps. Destroying materials could expose aids to criminal charges. On
Meet the Press, Clapper said of the Kushner-Russia reports his warning light was clearly on, and “all of us in the intelligence community, very concerned about the nature of these approaches to the Russians.”
NYT reported that the FBI is investigating Kushner’s motives for meeting with Gorkov, head of VEB, a Russian state bank, and whether it had to do with Russia’s interference in the 2016 election. CNN reported on intercepted conversations during the 2016 election which reveal
Russians believed they had “derogatory” information on Trump and some of his tops aides that could be used to influence them. At a
Recode conference, Hillary said the Russians “ could not have known how best to weaponize that information” without help from Americans. Trump’s close confidant and personal attorney, Michael Cohen was asked by
House and Senate investigators “to provide information and testimony” on contacts he had with Russia. So far Cohen has declined. The House Intel Comm
sent a preliminary request for information to former Trump aid, Boris Epshteyn.
The New Yorker reported that Trump reached out to ally Roger Stone, who is at the center of congressional and FBI investigations, on May 11th and told him, “good job.”
CNN reported that Congress is investigating a possible third undisclosed meeting between Sessions and Kislyak. The
House Intel Comm issued seven subpoenas Wednesday on the Trump-Russia probe — four subpoenas related to Russia investigation, and three were issued to the NSA, FBI and CIA on “unmasking.” Schiff said
no Democrats were consulted on the “unmasking” subpoenas. Democrats on the House Intel Comm said that Nunes violated his Russian recusal by issuing these subpoenas. The WH finally disclosed waivers granted.
VOX reported that Trump has granted more lobbyist waivers in 4 months than Obama did in 8 years! The
waiver granted to Bannon for communicating with Breitbart may have violated ethics rules, as it was granted retroactively. WH Office of Management Director Mulvaney said
the day of the CBO “has probably come and gone.” It has been
36 days since the State Dept held a daily press briefing.
POLITICO reported the WH ordered agencies not to comply with Democrat’s oversight requests, as Republicans fear the information could be used against Trump. None of these requests have been honored so far. Trump tweeted at 12:06 a.m.: “
Despite the constant negative press covfefe…” While Twitter stayed awake lambasting Trump, the tweet remained up until morning, when it was replaced by a humorous version. When Spicer was asked about the Trump tweet the next day, he refused to admit wrong or a mistake instead saying, “
The president and a small group of people know exactly what he meant.” Amid outrage by corporate CEOs, US and international politicians and experts, and a clear
majority of US citizens, Trump formally withdrew from the Paris Accord with another of his hallmark dystopian speeches. While delivering his speech, Trump referred to a
casino robbery in a Manila casino as an “act of terrorism.” This was a false statement. Trump also
bragged in his speech about adding one million jobs. The actual number is closer to 600k. Trump’s top economic adviser Cohn said Trump was using the ADP number, ignoring its own government report.
May’s nonfarm payroll number came in Friday well below expectations (138k actual vs. 185k expected). After Trump pulled from the Paris Accord, Ivanka sought to recreate her image, tweeting
support for the LGBTQ community and being featured as the “ most powerful Jewish woman.” Both were met with outrage. A poll by
POLITICO/Morning Consult found support for Trump impeachment is rising: 43% this week, up from 38% last week.
WAPO reported that the Trump regime is moving to return the two US compounds the Obama administration had taken away from Russia as punishment for interfering in the 2016 election.
Yahoo reported that days after taking office, the Trump regime tasked the State Dept with finding ways to lift economic sanctions, to return the two US compounds, and to relieve tensions Russia As these were the same State Dept employees that helped develop punitive measures,
they were alarmed and rallied congressional allies.
WAPO reported that while Kushner and VEB’s Gorkov have given different accounts for why they met, shortly after their meeting, Gorkov met with Putin in Japan. Congressional investigators are looking into whether
Kushner was vulnerable to Russian influence because his real estate holding are over-leveraged, and whether this led to his meeting with Gorkov.
WAPO reported that Kushner financed a luxury skyscraper in Jersey City using federal loans meant to help poor, job-starved areas.
NBC reported that five current and former officials say Trump participated in a private meeting in April 2016 with Kushner, Sessions and Kislyak at the Mayflower Hotel. Nigel Farage is a “
person of interest” in the FBI’s Trump-Russia scandal, in part for meeting with Assange at the Ecuadorian Embassy in March. James Comey is scheduled to testify in front of the Senate Intel Comm next Thursday, and is
expected to say that Trump asked him to back off the investigation of Flynn.
ABC reported that Comey is angry, saying Rosenstein and Sessions never relayed any concerns about his job performance before firing him.
NYT reported that Trump could try to block Comey’s from testifying citing executive privilege. As of today, Trump has not decided if he will try to block Comey’s testimony. Going a step further than Trump,
Putin said maybe “patriotically minded” private Russian hackers meddled in the US election DOJ’s
Weissman, who oversaw foreign bribery and bank cases, is joining Mueller’s Russia investigation team.
AP reported Mueller has taken over a separate DOJ criminal probe into Manafort, which predates the 2016 election. Mueller may also
expand his inquiry to investigate Sessions’s and Rosenstein’s roles in firing Comey.
Reuters reported special counsel will also probe Flynn’s ties to Turkey.
POLITICO reported the Trump regime is pushing Congress for legislative victories as Trump grows impatient; but as the Trump-Russia scandal heats up, it’s unlikely any legislation will be passed in coming months. Today,
Americans in 150+ cities will participate in the “March for Truth”to demand the urgency and transparency on Trump-Russia.
A closing note: the number of items we have normalized and/or forgotten about from the early lists is astounding. Each week brings new bombshells and scandals – stories that in normal times would be front page news for weeks or months — for example,
Pence’s (Week 16) and Tillerson’s (Week 19) email scandals. In the chaos, we have forgotten.
And to the increasing number of people equating our loathing of this person with being anti-American, I’ll just say that that is the absolute OPPOSITE of what we are. On the other hand, a true measure of being anti-American is actually dodging military service, not three times, not four, but FIVE times (!) when mandated to serve this country like everyone else at the time. Other examples of him being anti-American, hmm…how about…aligning with dictatorships (Russia, Philippines, Turkey) and destroying western relationships. He despises freedom and he’s convincing uninformed people (i.e. Fox News viewers) that if they don’t blindly follow his regime, then they are against our country. FALSE. We are FOR our country. You deserve better. Believe in your ability to THINK.
New York City, NY. March 2017.
Week 25 of donald trump’s presidency: Experts in authoritarianism advise to keep a list of things subtly changing around you, so you’ll remember.
May 6, 2017
The fabric and values of our country are transforming before our eyes. The Trump regime of billionaires and sycophants – with most Republicans cowering along in lock-step — continue to act and take actions that are greedy and cruel. As we hit Week 25, every subgroup of Americans not white, straight and male has been a target.
The beat of Trump-Russia continues, as does Trump’s mentally imbalanced leadership — for which there is increasing concern. This week the authoritarian themes of silencing dissent, and consolidating power and wealth were also front and center.
Trump delivered a campaign speech in Harrisburg, PA to mark his first 100-days. One pundit called it “
the most hate-filled in modern history.” Frustrated by his failures in the first 100-days, Trump took to Twitter and
Fox News to demand changes in to “archaic” rules of the House and Senate, so he could consolidate his power. Trump
called for a government shutdown in September to fix what he called a ‘mess.’ Republican leaders rejected this idea. Trump also blamed constitutional checks and balances for the chaos of his first 100 days, saying “
It’s an archaic system … It’s really a bad thing for the country.” Trump said he is
open to meeting Kim Jong Un, saying “ I would absolutely be honored to do it.” Trump ally Erdogan
fired 3,900 from the civil service and military as “threats to national security” in his second post-referendum purge. Trump has filled 5% of key roles in the executive branch. Tillerson sent a survey to employees ahead of a
major State Department overhaul involving significant job and budget cuts. Tillerson has yet to name a deputy, or fill the key roles vacated by early resignations. In a
CBS interview, Trump denied that Russia hacked our election, saying it “ could’ve been China, could’ve been a lot of different groups.”
A massive coordinated hack and online leak of Macron’s emails occurred just 1 1/2 days before the French presidential election. Macron’s campaign blamed Russia for the attack. The leaks came
within an hour of the midnight campaign blackout, during which politicians, media and citizens are legally required to pull back from any public election discussion. The
head of Germany’s domestic intelligence agency accused Russia of gathering large amounts of political data in cyberattacks ahead of Germany’s September election. Sparking shock and outrage, Trump invited Philippines President Duterte, an authoritarian known for brutality, to the WH. Trump
did not clear the invitation with the State Department. According to Duterte’s spokesman, Trump praised Duterte saying “
you’re doing a great job.” Amid concern with Trump’s embrace of authoritarian rulers,
Tillerson said American values, such as human rights, should not be a condition for US foreign policy.
Trump Tower in the Philippines continues to use videos of Trump and Ivanka as a key selling point.
The Moscow Times reported that someone is throwing chemicals at Russian opposition, causing them to go partially blind.
USA Today compiled a list of 38 Russians opposed to Putin who were victims of unsolved murders or suspicious deaths in the past three years. Two such deaths were related to the Steele dossier/Trump-Russia ties. McCain said he was “
looking at other options” after Trump ally Corker backed off from imposing more sanctions on Russia. In violation of the
Hatch Act, Secretary Ross accompanied Trump to Pennsylvania for a campaign event to raise money for Trump’s 2020 campaign, and WH staffer Sandra Sanders tweeted about it. On Tuesday, without taking questions,
Spicer walked out of a room full of reporters, as the Trump regime was forced to accept most of the Democrats’ wish list in order to avoid a government shutdown. The
OGE sent a letter to the WH and executive branch agency heads asking for copies of any waivers for Trump regime members from ethics rules. According to the NYT, at least two such waivers have been granted. The OGE says it
wasn’t consulted about Ivanka’s job, saying she should be considered a federal employee and subject to those rules.
Voice of America, a government-funded news agency, posted a story and tweeted about Ivanka’s new book, raising questions about the Trump regime’s use of government sources to promote private business interests. A State Department account (@GenderAtState) also likely violated federal rules by
retweeting a post promoting Ivanka’s book. After pushback from his Cabinet,
Trump started to dismantle his “shadow Cabinet” — young, inexperienced spies placed at federal agencies.
The IRS is demanding $7 billion in back taxes from the Mercer’s hedge fund. The Mercers’ donations and ties to the Trump regime make it unlikely they will pay. Congress allocated
a whopping $120 million for the Trump Family’s security costs. Costs include business trips to Vancouver and Dubai by Trump’s sons, and ski weekends in Aspen and Whistler for Ivanka.
The WSJ uncovered that Kushner had failed to report $1bn of loans in his financial disclosure. He also omitted his stake Cadre, a tech startup with ties to Goldman Sachs, George Soros and Peter Thiel.
POLITICO reported that at least nine members of Trump’s transition team have registered as lobbyists, despite a five-year lobbying ban.
Wilbur Ross said the Syria strike — which he viewed with Trump and Chinese President Xi at Mar-a-Lago — was “ after-dinner entertainment.” Priebus told
ABC that the Trump regime “ looked at” changing libel laws to go after the media for articles “that have no basis or fact,” and “writing stories about constant contacts with Russia…”
A Code Pink activist who briefly laughed during Sessions confirmation hearing was convicted in Virginia. Two others will also face charges. Trump’s new FCC Chairman Pai said the
FCC would investigate Colbert for a joke made about Trump and Putin and “take appropriate action.”
AP reported that Republican House Chair Hensarling told dozens of government agencies to exclude communications with his committee from FOIA requests. He was widely criticized. Citing emails obtained under the FOIA,
National Park Service official who tweeted photos of Trump and Obama’s inauguration crowds. CBS reported that Trump had direct involvement in hunting the Seemingly to counter his unpopularity,
Trump has mentioned the election results on 39% of the days since November 8th. In an article in
New Yorker, writer Evan Osnos reported that Trump’s fitness to service is “officially part of the discussion in Congress.” Breaking a tradition of 18 years, a school district in Seattle
canceled its international field trip over concerns of Trump’s border enforcement. Trump
did away with a 16-year-old tradition of celebrating Cinco do Mayo at the WH.
Sen Casey blasted Trump and his regime for deporting a mother and her 5-year-old son back to Honduras, where they would face grave danger. Despite Casey’s efforts to intervene, the deportation is moving forward.
According to the ACLU, Texas is about to become the first “show me your papers” state. The Trump regime
fired chief usher Angella Reid, the first woman and second African American to hold the job. The job typically involves a long tenure, so this Friday afternoon firing was viewed with curiosity. Trump said
he may not fund historically black colleges, a 25-year-old program, saying the funding may be unconstitutional.
In a memo, Trump ordered his regime to end Michelle Obama’s girls education program, “Let Girls Learn.” After campaigning on cracking down on drugs, a line of attack that seemed racially based,
Trump proposed cutting funding for the Drug Control Office, the agency charged with cracking down, by 95%.
Rape charges were dropped against an immigrant teen in Maryland. , using it to validate Trump’s immigration agenda. Fox News had devoted days of coverage to the case Several outlets reported that Gorka would
accept a role outside the WHafter being denied security clearance and over his associations with a Hungarian hate group. Gorka said these reports were “ very fake news.” The Daily Beast reported that
Trump and Bannon intervened to save Gorka, and for now, he will remain. On Wednesday,
POLITICO reported that Lewandowski’s firm, Avenue Strategies, quietly signed a deal to represent Citgo, a US-based oil company owned by Venezuela, in its proposed sale to Russia’s Rosneft. Citgo has donated $500k to Trump inauguration. According to
The Daily Beast, that money may have come from the Kremlin, at least indirectly. The owner of the
19.5% stake in Rosneft sold shortly after Carter Page’s July meeting with Putin allies in Russia, is still not known.
A bi-partisans group of Senators called on Trump to block Citgo’s sale to Rosneft, citing concern that with control of Citgo, Russia could use its influence to counter US trade sanctions imposed in 2014. Amidst reports on Citgo and other questionable dealings,
Lewandowski resigned from the Avenue Strategies, the firm he co-founded. Friday afternoon, Mark Green, Trump’s second pick for Army Secretary,
withdrew as a nominee. Senators had expressed alarm at Green’s public homophobic statements, something Trump vetting missed or ignored. Rachel Maddow cited that
Trump has yet to fill 57 of 58 senior level Pentagon positions which require Senate confirmation. Trump reportedly speaks to Rupert Murdoch
almost every day. Some had speculated that Murdoch may be the biggest winner of Trump firing Bharara, as Fox News is under investigation in the Southern District. As the Senate Intel Committee got back on track, the Committee sent letters to several Trump insiders including Flynn, Manafort, Page and Stone,
requesting records of their communication with Russia. Page said he planned to cooperate, but
his records as a private citizen would be ‘minuscule in comparison’ to what the FBI had collected under a FISA warrant. Page was asked to list any Russian official or business executive he met with between June 16, 2015 and Jan. 20, 2017.
WAPO reported that Trump transition staffers warned Flynn about contact with Kislyak. Flynn was warned on both Kislyak’s background and that contact with him would likely be monitored.
WAPO reported Billingslea was among a small group of national security hands in the Trump transition team who were concerned about Flynn and Trump’s pro-Russia stance.
AP reported the Obama administration was concerned about the request for info on Kislyak, and about Flynn’s contact with Russia. They also delayed telling the Trump team about planned sanctions against Russia. One punishment was to close two Russian compounds.
AP reported the Obama administration feared if they told the Trump regime too far in advance, they might give Moscow lead time to clear information out.
NBC further reported that the Obama administration gave the Trump regime only hours notice about closing Russian compounds.
AP reported the Obama administration was also concerned about sharing info with the Trump transition team after classified documents were copied and removed from a secure facility. Sally Yates will testify Monday before the Senate that
she gave a formal warning to Trump’s WH that Flynn was lying three weeks before he was fired. This contradicts the Trump regime’s version of what happened. Nine weeks have passed since Trump’s tweet accusing Obama of wiretapping Trump Tower. This week Trump said it has “
been proven very strongly.” Rand Paul, a supporter of Trump’s false claim,
also said he thinks Obama spied on him. Paul tweeted that he has requested info on whether he “was surveilled by Obama admin” or the Intelligence community. At an open Senate hearing,
Comey reiterated that there was no spying on Trump Tower. On Thursday, Trump and the GOP passed a series of measures, including passage of Trumpcare/AHCA in the House, a watering down of Dodd Frank, and a ‘
Religious Liberty’ EO which allows religious institutions to participate in politics, and power to decide on covering birth control. Beer was rolled in as the votes on Trumpcare were cast in the House, followed by a celebration at the WH — this, as more than 24 million Americans stood to lose healthcare coverage.
After the vote and celebration, it became apparent that many House members
never read Trumpcare or considered how it would impact their state/district. As House members returned home for an 11 day vacation, many hid and/or turned off their phones.
Jason Chaffetz, who in Week 24 was noted to have left DC and halted his investigation of Flynn in order to get foot surgery, slithered back to DC to vote for Trumpcare. After Trumpcare passed the House, the non-partisan
Cook Political Reportsaid the vote hurt the re-election prospects of 20 Republicans.
New York City, NY. March 2017
Artist: Stahler Skam. Portland, Oregon. Artist: Subdude. Photo: Oddo Personnosrep. London, England. May 2017.
Stay tuned for next week’s artistic expressions of political discontent from around the globe…
Week 24 of Donald Trump’s presidency: Experts in authoritarianism advise to keep a list of things subtly changing around you, so you’ll remember.
April 29, 2017
Today marks day 100 of the Trump regime. Despite the Republicans having control of the House and Senate, Trump has yet to tally a single legislative accomplishment. He was obsessive this week in pushing for Trumpcare 3 ahead of the 100-day mark; but the Resistance, which continues to grow in number and fervor, headed him off.
And all the while, the drumbeat of Russia grows louder. This week, Speaker Ryan acknowledged Russian interference. Trump’s involvement has evolved from a “Trump-Russia probe” to a “Trump-Russia scandal,” and this week, to a “Trump-Russia cover-up.” As this unfolds, concern grows that Trump will seek to distract attention by starting a war. The one constant throughout the weeks is Trump’s attempts to enrich himself and his regime through a growing list of conflicts of interest and corruption.
acknowledged that Russia interfered with our election, and said US probes could help our allies prevent similar interference. As Le Pen advanced to the French presidential election runoff,
Putin is using many of the tools successfully employed in the US to target France.
WikiLeaks released more top-secret CIA documents. Our media has by and large stopped covering the WikiLeaks document dumps. A group of psychiatrists at a conference held at Yale Medical School cited a “
Duty to Warn” about Trump being dangerously ill. Of the
ten items listed on Trump’s contract with the American people for the first 100 days of his administration, he accomplished none of them. The State Department and two US embassies
promoted Mar-a-Lago on their website with a 400-word blog post. After public outrage, the post was removed.
NYT reported the State Department is likely to remain largely unstaffed into 2018. Trump has yet to fill 200 leadership jobs which require Senate confirmation. Tillerson is taking no action either. Similarly, as the Trump regime launched its tax plan,
the Treasury Department does not have a single confirmed appointee in positions tasked with reforming the tax code. Trump’s tax reform plan was launched with Mnuchin
handing out a one-pager with broad details and no numbers. Democrats, including former Obama ethics chief Norm Eisen noted
Trump’s tax reform could save him hundreds of millions of dollars. Without tax returns, it’s impossible to know his total benefit. Beyond State, the slow pace of nominations in the first 100 days
has left cabinet agencies in limbo. Only 26 of the 556 senior positions which require Senate confirmation have been filled. Haley was the only member of the Trump regime
to condemn the abuse and killings of gay men in the Russian republic of Chechnya. Days later, the State Department said they want to clear her remarks in advance. UN diplomats were invited to the WH, but
Tillerson was not included. Haley was there, and Trump publicly threatened to fire her, “ Does everybody like Nikki? Good, otherwise she could easily be replaced.” In his first 100 days, Trump has an unprecedented number (15) of
appointees who got fired, withdrew or quit. Carl Bernstein said there is a “serious belief” in the FBI and Congress that there is an
active cover-up underway by the Trump regime of their involvement with Russia. On Monday,
Yahoo reported that t he Senate Intelligence Committee’s Russia probe had stalled due to lack of staffing and Sen Burr’s unwillingness to sign off on witness requests. Democrats in the Senate Intelligence Committee hired
April Doss, the former head of intelligence law at the NSA. Burr refused to bring on additional staffing, saying staffing levels were already sufficient.
Trump picked ally Dana Boente to take over the Justice Department unit’s probe of Trump-Russia. Boente was last named by Trump as an interim acting-AG on the Monday Night Massacre (firing of Yates). On Tuesday,
POLITICO reported that Flynn’s lobbying work for Turkey came to him via Dmitri Zairian, a Russian with ties to the Putin regime. The
WH denied a request by House Oversight Committee leaders Chaffetz and Cummings to release documents related to Flynn. Shortly thereafter, Chaffetz and Cummings addressed the press, saying
Flynn may have broken the law by not disclosing payments from Russia. The next day, Chaffetz
posted an explanation on Facebook of why he was leaving office, citing a foot injury. His explanation was met with much skepticism. Friday, Cummings said the
WH is “covering up” for Flynn. Sen Blumenthal said there is “ powerful, mounting, incontrovertible evidence” of a violation of criminal law. The Pentagon’s internal watch dog group
opened an investigation into whether Flynn took payments from foreign governments after leaving the military. Democrats on the House Oversight Committee released documents showing
the Pentagon warned Flynn not to take foreign payments without advance approval from the military. Flynn did not seek approval.
Spicer blamed Obama for Flynn having security clearance, neglecting the fact that Obama fired Flynn, and Trump appointed him to NSA.
NBC reported the Trump team did do a background check on Flynn as part of him becoming NSA. Despite their public denials, senior transition team members like Pence and Sessions would have seen the information. Michael Cohen said
he may sue , which includes allegations that Cohen traveled to Prague in August to meet with Russians. Buzzfeed for publishing the Steele dossier
The Guardian reported that Steele had also alerted the UK government with two memos about collusion between Trump and Russia. His contact in the US appears to have been with McCain, not Comey.
Steele’s memo also reported that four members of the Trump regimetravelled to Prague for secret discussion with the Kremlin in August/September 2016 on how to pay hackers for penetrating the Democratic party computer systems. Peter Severa, a Russian hacker whose wife said he was “linked to Trump’s win” in Week 22, was
indicted in Bridgeport, CT on eight counts related to the Kelihos botnet malware. Rep Ciciline, a ranking member of the House Judiciary Committee, requested
the Inspector General open an investigation into the firings of Yates and Bharara. Yates will testify on May 8th in a Senate hearing. Trump made
16 false claims in a bizarre interview with AP. He also made at least 15 comments which AP classified as “unintelligible.” Also in the AP interview, Trump
bragged about getting highest ratings since 9/11 coverage. Trump said he planned to keep on his controversial press secretary, Spicer, because “
the guy gets great ratings.” After a second EO was blocked, Trump said he would
“absolutely” consider proposals to break-up the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals. This threat was compared to the type of action of a dictator might take. The
Trump regime set up a VOICE (Victims of Immigration Crime Engagement) hotline for callers to report on immigrants. The hotline was flooded with calls with reports of space aliens. A federal judge in
San Francisco temporarily blocked the Trump regime efforts to withhold money from sanctuary cities.
WAPO reported on ICE data which shows half of the immigrants arrested had no criminal convictions or had committed traffic offenses. Supreme Court Justice Roberts spoke out against Trump’s immigration plan, describing the regime’s interpretation as “prosecutorial abuse” for
making it easy to strip citizenship for even lying about minor infractions. Trump’s Muslim Ban suffered another setback as the 9
th Circuit Court of Appeals denied his request for an 11-member court review. A report by the ADL revealed that
anti-Semitic incidents in the US rose by 86% in the first three months of 2017, over the same period last year. Trump proposed budget
would strip all funding from a State Department bureau that promotes the rights of women around the world.
A Trump supporter stormed a cafeteria at a Kentucky university and asked about political affiliation, before stabbing two women. Trump’s USDA
rolled back Michelle Obama’s school nutrition standards. Mnuchin said Trump will not release his tax returns, adding Trump “
has given more financial disclosure than anybody else.”
NYT reported that Kushner recently financed real-estate transactions in NYC through the Steinmetz family, who are under investigation for bribing a government official in Guinea to secure mining rights. The investigator who found Florida AG Bondi did nothing wrong by accepting $25k of campaign cash and then dropping the investigation of Trump U,
ignored key evidence already unearthed.
POLITICO reported that Lewandowki’s DC firm is offering foreign clients in-person meetings with Trump, Pence and other senior regime members.
HuffPost’s Christina Wilkie compiled a public spreadsheet to identify $107mm of donations to Trump inauguration. Discrepancies have been found, and the regime has yet to explain where unspent monies went.
Ivanka was booed for defending her father at a conference for female business leaders in Berlin.
WAPO reported that workers endured long hours and low pay working at factories used by Ivanka’s company in China. Facebook revealed
fake accounts were used on its platform to sway the US election. Facebook also indicated its findings do “not contradict” the January 6 report issued by the US Director of National Intelligence. Commerce Secretary Ross said the Trump regime would
impose a 20% tariff on Canadian softwood lumber. On Wednesday morning,
Trump said he was considering withdrawing from NAFTA. By the evening, amidst confusion and without a reasonable explanation, he changed course and said the US would remain. Trump ceremoniously summoned the entire US Senate onto a bus to the WH for a closed-door meeting on N Korea. To
the Senators’ frustration, nothing was offered beyond public information. Stagecraft. Trump gave another
disturbing 100-day interview to , for which the first headline to break was “ Reuters there is a chance of a ‘major, major conflict with North Korea.”’ Trump also bemoaned to
Reuters about missing his past life, and added, “ This is more work than in my previous life. I thought it would be easier.“
Trump brought a printed map handout to his Reuters interview to showcase his electoral win. Trump also asked
WAPO in his 100-day interview t o put his electoral college handout on their front page. The
US economy grew at just 0.7% in the first quarter, the weakest showing in three years. Expectedly, Trump did not comment or tweet. The Resistance claimed another victory as Trumpcare 3 failed to muster support in the House, despite the GOP’s 47 seat advantage.
Fallout from the O’Reilly ouster continued, as
CNN reported FoxNews is now under federal investigation by USPIS and the Justice Department for settlement payments and the overall environment at the network. A new CNN/OCR poll found that
2/3 of Americans do not believe Trump is honest and trustworthy. Koi, the restaurant in Trump Soho,
became the latest Trump business to suffer a decline in business and close. Unlike Trump Hotel DC, Koi didn’t have the benefit of foreign diplomats patronizing it to win favor. The Trump regime announced Friday that the EPA website would be undergoing changes, and then
removed climate science from public view. The White House Correspondents’ Dinner will go on without Trump tonight. He will
instead hold a campaign rally in Pennsylvania.
All photos taken by me as I walked the streets of NYC & Philadelphia in March & April 2017:
Mo loch [ moh-lok, mol– uh k] noun 1. a deity whose worship was marked by the propitiatory sacrifice of children by their own parents. II Kings 23:10; Jer. 32:35. 2. anything conceived of as requiring appalling sacrifice: the Moloch of war. ( 3. ) lowercase a spiny agamid lizard, Moloch horridus, of Australian deserts, that resembles the horned lizard.
Please come back next week for “Politiks of Graffiti 26!”