POLITIKS OF GRAFFITI 143: #ELPASOSTRONG #DAYTONSTRONG #ENTERNEXTCITYSTRONG

AUGUST 03, 2019

Week 142

Experts in authoritarianism advise to keep a list of things
subtly changing around you, so you’ll remember. https://theweeklylist.org/weekly-list/week-142/
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Brussels, Belgium 4aug19

This week started with Trump’s attacks on Black leader House Oversight Committee Chair Elijah Cummings, whose panel has several ongoing investigations targeting Trump and his family. Trump used dehumanizing language like “rats” and “infest” to disparage Cummings’ home district of Baltimore, then broadened his attack during the week to other prominent Black men including Al Sharpton, who he called a “con man” and CNN host Don Lemon who he called “dumb.” Trump refused to back off, escalating his racist attacks — gaslighting the country that he is not the racist, but Cummings is — as news of hate-based shootings and instances of overt racism spread in an anxious and increasingly divided country.

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A wheat paste depiction of him near the Palais de Justice in Brussels, Belgium July 2019

A new label for Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell — Moscow Mitch — struck a nerve with the leader, and as the media and Democrats questioned his unwillingness to secure the country’s election, his other ties to Russia came under scrutiny. Headwinds for impeachment continued post Mueller’s testimony as over half the House Democrats formally called for the start of an impeachment inquiry, while Trump continued to deny Russia interference happened or is happening now. Trump pushed out the Director of National Intelligence, Dan Coats, one of the few remaining voices who stood up to Trump on foreign policy, and perhaps the last non-partisan stop-gap to future Russia interference.

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No Borders – Louvain-La-Neuve, Belgium 27jul19

The future of the Republican Party came into question this week, as Rep. Will Hurd, the only Black American member of the House for the GOP, became the ninth Republican to say he will not seek re-election in 2020. Among the nine are also two of the 13 GOP women, including Rep. Susan Brooks, who was meant to recruit more women to run.

  1. On Monday, a group of Christian leaders warned in a statement about the rise of “Christian nationalism,” saying “America has no second-class faiths. All are equal under the U.S. Constitution.”
  2. The group warned “Christian nationalism” seeks to bind Christianity and American citizenship in a way that “provides cover for white supremacy and racial subjugation,” citing “intimidation and distortion of scripture.”
  3. On Tuesday, the faith leaders of the Washington National Cathedral released a statement saying “Have We No Decency?” in response to Trump, asking elected officials, “When does silence become complicity?”
  4. The leaders said we “believe in the sacredness of every single human being, the time for silence is over. We must boldly stand witness against the bigotry, hatred, intolerance, and xenophobia that is hurled at us.”
  5. On Sunday, Santino William Legan shot and killed three people at the Gilroy Garlic Festival in Gilroy, California. Legan, a 19 year-old white man, had connections on his Instagram account to white nationalist literature.
  6. On Sunday, a shooting outside a North Miami, Florida synagogue left one injured, and is being investigated by police as a hate crime. The shooting marked the third synagogue shooting in less than a year.
  7. On Sunday, NPR reported that Alexei Navalny, a leader of the opposition movement and longtime critic of Russian President Vladimir Putin, was hospitalized with an “allergic reaction” four days after being arrested.
  8. On Sunday, the son of Vladimir Kara-Murza tweeted that his father, a “historian, TV journalist, one of the founders of the ‘old NTV,’” had died. Kara-Murza was a prominent Kremlin critic. He was 59 years-old.
  9. On Tuesday, an international group of researchers found a radioactive cloud that blanketed a large part of Europe in 2017 started in Russia. The release likely originated in the Mayak reprocessing plant.
  10. On Wednesday, China’s army released a video showing soldiers practicing shooting protestors, as the top Chinese military official in Hong Kong called protests there in recent weeks “absolutely intolerable.”
  11. WSJ reported on the rise of “disrupters” being elected globally, including Trump, Boris Johnson in the U.K., Narendra Modi in India, Viktor Orban in Hungary, Jair Bolsonaro in Brazil, and Matteo Salvini in Italy.
  12. On Sunday, Axios reported Trump plans to nominate Rep. John Ratcliffe to replace Dan Coats as the Director of National Intelligence, saying Ratcliffe’s performance questioning Robert Mueller raised his chances for the spot.
  13. Later Sunday, Trump announced on Twitter that Coats would step down. Coats was one of the few remaining national security officials willing to contradict Trump on matters such as Russia and North Korea.
  14. Rep. Ratcliffe has no intelligence background or experience, but has embraced Trump’s theories on the Russia investigation. Senate Intelligence Committee Chair Richard Burr called him too political.
  15. On Tuesday, Trump told reporters, on Ratcliffe’s appointment, “we need somebody strong” that can “really rein it in,” saying the intelligence agencies “have run amok. They’ve run amok.”
  16. On Tuesday, NYT reported Ratcliffe’s aides were sent scrambling after he overstated several parts of his biography in various prosecutorial roles in order to bolster his resume.
  17. Ratcliffe falsely claimed he tried suspects accused of funneling money to the Hamas, touted his role as U.S. attorney though he was only an interim appointee, and falsely claimed he oversaw terrorism investigations.
  18. On Saturday, the Baltimore Sun Editorial Board wrote in response to Trump’s Twitter attacks on House Oversight Committee Chair Elijah Cummings, “Better to have a few rats than to be one.”
  19. The editorial board wrote Cummings has been “a thorn” in Trump’s side, adding Trump “sees attacking African American members of Congress as good politics,” adding it “warms the cockles of the white supremacists.”
  20. On Saturday, Barack Obama, who rarely comments on politics, tweeted an op-ed written by 149 African Americans who served in his administration, criticizing Trump’s attacks on the four congresswomen.
  21. Obama wrote, “I’m proud of how they’re continuing to fight for an America that’s better.” The group wrote “racism, sexism, homophobia and xenophobia” by Trump and others is “poisoning of our democracy.”
  22. On Sunday, Trump defended himself, tweeting there is “nothing racist” in his attacks on Cummings who has done “a terrible job” in his district, and “Dems always play the race card when they are unable to win with facts.”
  23. Shortly after, Trump tweeted again, calling Cummings a “racist,” adding he should “focus more of his energy on helping the good people of his district,” adding, “His radical “oversight” is a joke!”
  24. NYT reported that Chair Cummings’ House Oversight Committee had voted to last Thursday along party lines to approve subpoenas for Jared Kushner and Ivanka’s White House emails sent from private accounts.
  25. On Sunday, acting White House chief of staff Mick Mulvaney defended Trump on “Face the Nation,” saying “everything that Donald Trump says is offensive to some people,” but that “doesn’t mean that it’s racist.”
  26. On Monday, Trump attacked Cummings and civil rights leader Al Sharpton. Trump tweeted, “I have known Al for 25 years,” calling him a “con man,” and a “troublemaker” who “Hates Whites & Cops!”
  27. Trump also tweeted that Baltimore “has the worst Crime Statistics in the Nation. 25 years of all talk, no action!” and “same old Bull,” and adding, “Next, Reverend Al will show up to complain & protest.”
  28. Later Monday, Trump tweeted, “Crazy Bernie Sanders recently equated the City of Baltimore to a THIRD WORLD COUNTRY!” adding Democratic 2020 candidate Bernie Sanders “must now be labeled a Racist.”
  29. Trump also tweeted, “Baltimore can be brought back,” but not by “King Elijah and that crew,” adding that when Baltimore wants to see the city rise again, “I am in a very beautiful oval shaped office waiting for your call!”
  30. On Monday, WAPO reported House Republicans will hold their yearly retreat in Baltimore in September, despite Trump calling the city a “very dangerous & filthy place” where “no human being would want to live.”
  31. On Monday, the Baltimore Sun Editorial Board wrote, “Cummings didn’t cause Baltimore’s woes; it was people who profited from racism. Sound familiar, Mr. Trump?” citing Trump’s federal housing discrimination suit.
  32. The editorial board also noted Chair Cummings’ time is being occupied by the investigations into Trump’s wrongdoing, including conditions at the border, private email accounts, and profiting off his time in office.
  33. On Monday, Sen. Chris Murphy encouraged Trump critics to unfollow Trump’s Twitter account, citing attacks on Chair Cummings, and saying Trump’s “feed is the most hate-filled, racist, and demeaning” he followed.
  34. Sen. Rand Paul said in a interview with conservative Breitbart News that Rep. Ilhan Omar is “ungrateful,” adding, “I’m willing to contribute to buy her a ticket to go visit Somalia. I think she can look and maybe learn.”
  35. On Monday, Sen. Steve Daines, who last week defended Trump from accusations of racism for his “go back” to other countries tweets, introduced a resolution to formally condemn socialism.
  36. On Monday, in response to a request by Chair Cummings and other Democrats, the State Department’s inspector general reported Trump spent $234k on his trip to his property in Turnberry, Scotland in July 2018.
  37. On Tuesday, a report by Chair Cummings’ House Oversight Committee raised concerns about Trump insiders using access to the White House to promote their own commercial interests.
  38. Thomas Barrack, who oversaw Trump’s inaugural committee, used access to push dozens of nuclear power plants in Saudi Arabia while lobbying to avoid restrictions on the transfer of U.S. nuclear technology to the Saudis.
  39. The report also found, according to emails obtained, Trump aides submitted drafts of Trump’s “America First” energy speech delivered during the 2016 campaign to the United Arab Emirates first for edits.
  40. On Tuesday, at an event in Jamestown commemorating the 400th anniversary of Virginia’s first legislative assembly, Trump’s speech was interrupted by a Muslim lawmaker yelling “You can’t send us back!
  41. Trump brushed off the encounter with delegate Ibraheem Samirah, which uncharacteristically stopped his speech, saying the event was “fantastic.” The Virginia Legislative Black Caucus boycotted Trump’s speech.
  42. On Wednesday, Trump attacked CNN debate moderator Don Lemon, who is also a Black man, tweeting Lemon is “the dumbest man on television” and “too dumb (stupid} to understand.”
  43. Trump tweeted Lemon asked “a debate “question” that I was a racist, when in fact I am “the least racist person in the world,”” adding, “No wonder CNN’s ratings (MSNBC’s also) have gone down the tubes.”
  44. On Wednesday, Peggy Wallace Kennedy, daughter of segregationist George Wallace, said Trump’s tactics are even worse than her father’s, saying, “I’ve never seen anything like it,” and “We cannot go backward.”
  45. On Tuesday, a Quinnipiac poll found that 51% say Trump is racist, 45% say his is not. White voters say 46% he is and 50% he is not, while Black voters say 80–11% say he is racist, and Hispanics 55–44%.
  46. The polls also found 60–32% say Congress should not begin impeachment proceedings, although support for starting impeachment is 61–29% among Democrats and 66–23% among Black voters.
  47. On Wednesday, WAPO reported a North Carolina billboard advertisement for a gun shop, Cherokee Guns, compared the four Congresswomen in the Squad to the “4 Horsemen,” calling them “Idiots,” and “Signed, the Deplorables.”
  48. In a Facebook post, Cherokee Guns took credit. Rep. Rashidi Tlaib tweeted Wednesday, “How the hell is this not inciting violence?” and asked Trump ally Rep. Mark Meadows, whose district it was in, to “do the right thing.”
  49. The owner of the gun shop, Doc Wacholz, told the Citzens-Times, “They’re socialists, from my point of view,” adding, “I also feel a couple of them, being Muslim, have ties to actual terrorists groups.
  50. On Thursday, Rep. Ilhan Omar tweeted photos of her visiting “Mother Africa” with Speaker Nancy Pelosi and other members of the Congressional Black Caucus to affirm the U.S.’s partnership with Ghana.
  51. On Thursday, Speaker Pelosi, a Baltimore native, defended Cummings, saying Trump “doesn’t know what he’s talking about,” and adding Trump should ask Kushner, “who’s a slumlord there,” about “rodent infestations.”
  52. On Thursday, Baltimore Police said they were investigating a burglary at the home of Chair Cummings last Saturday night at 3:40 a.m. The incident took place hours before Trump Twitter attack that started in Week 141.
  53. On Friday, Trump tweeted, “Really bad news! The Baltimore house of Elijah Cummings was robbed. Too bad!” The tweet drew some limited pushback from Republicans.
  54. On Saturday, in a series of tweets, Trump said, “the Dems are now coming out of shock from the terrible Mueller performance” and talking impeachment, saying, “How sick & disgusting and bad for our Country.”
  55. Trump added, “We gave Nadler and his Trump hating Dems the complete Mueller Report,” adding, “Nothing will ever be good enough for them,” and “NO COLLUSION, NO OBSTRUCTION, TOTAL EXONERATION.”
  56. Later that evening, Trump tweeted, quoting from a guest on Fox News, that the biggest thing from Mueller’s testimony was “he was asked, was there ANYTHING that impeded your investigation, the answer was a clear…NO.”
  57. Trump also tweeted just before midnight, “the Mueller Report itself, was a disaster for this illegal Democrat inspired Witch Hunt,” adding, “They can’t help themselves, they are totally lost, they are Clowns!”
  58. On Sunday, House Judiciary Committee Chair Jerrold Nadler told “This Week” that Mueller’s testimony “broke the lie” Trump and AG William Barr have been using, no collusion, no obstruction and total exoneration.
  59. Nadler added information gleaned from the petition to release grand jury information in Week 141 will be used to determine if impeachment resolutions before his committee will be brought forward to the House.
  60. On Sunday, Nadler told “State of the Union” of Trump, “My personal view is that he richly deserves impeachment. He’s done many impeachable offenses.” 107 Democrats supported impeachment, 45% of the caucus.
  61. On Sunday, Sen. Patty Murray, the number 3 Senate Democrat, called for impeachment proceedings to begin. On Monday, Sen. Debbie Stabenow, the number 4 Democrat, also called for impeachment.
  62. On Sunday, on “Meet the Press,” Sen. Rick Scott, who was governor of Florida at the time of Russia hacking his state, admitted he has not read the Senate Intelligence Committee report on Russian interference.
  63. On Sunday, the Coalition for Good Governance accused Georgia election officials in a federal court filing of destroying evidence of “hacking, unauthorized access, and potential of manipulation of election results.”
  64. The brief stated officials “almost immediately” began destroying evidence after a 2017 lawsuit alleging voting machines were outdated and vulnerable to hacking in the Handel-Ossoff Congressional run-off race.
  65. On Monday, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell defended his decision to block election security bills in a speech on the Senate floor, calling criticism against him “modern-day McCarthyism.”
  66. NYT reported McConnell is incensed by the label “Moscow Mitch” and being called a “Russian asset” in a WAPO column. McConnell is also facing question back in his home state of Kentucky where he faces re-election.
  67. On Tuesday, Trump came to McConnell’s defense, telling reporters “Mitch McConnell is a man that knows less about Russia and Russian influence than even Donald Trump…And I know nothing.”
  68. Trump also said “Mitch McConnell loves our country. He’s done a great job,” adding the Post “is a Russian asset by comparison,” and “ought to be ashamed of themselves, and they ought to apologize.”
  69. On Wednesday, Politico reported according to a lobbying disclosure, two former top staffers to McConnell lobbied Congress and the Treasury Department for a Kentucky mill backed by Russian aluminum giant Rusal.
  70. The two work for lobbying firm Akin Gump, and were hired by Rusal’s partner, Kentucky-based Braidy Industries, in May to help lobby for the $1.7 billion project.
  71. Democrats called for a review of Rusal’s $200 million investment, citing concern the mill will supply the Defense Department, and McConnell’s role in blocking a congressional effort to stop the investment.
  72. On Friday, Politico reported Braidy Industries hired RunSwitch PR, a public relations firm co-founded in 2012 by Scott Jennings, a former McConnell aide, to boost PR ahead of Democrats’ call for an investigation.
  73. Braidy claimed the aluminum will be used for the food and auto industries. Democrats are pushing for investigation into the Treasury Department’s lifting of sanctions against Rusal in January.
  74. On Thursday, WAPO reported during the last week before summer break, McConnell continued his singular focus of the judiciary, leading the Senate in confirming 13 more of Trump’s judicial nominees.
  75. Since Trump took office, McConnell has pushed through 144 judicial appointees, reshaping the courts and their decisions for decades. Trump has nominated 1 in 5 judges on the appellate bench.
  76. On Thursday, Politico reported Trump’s new defense secretary, Mark Esper, is putting a $10 billion contract with Amazon on hold, after Trump suggested the Defense Department’s process may have been rigged.
  77. Trump told reporters on July 18 that there had been “tremendous complaints” about the contracting process. Amazon’s owner Jeff Bezos also owns the Washington Post.
  78. On Friday, the WAPO Editorial Board wrote the bipartisan Deter Act is a “smart way to keep Putin out of our election,” saying to McConnell, “there is no excuse for refusing to punish a country that attacks U.S. democracy.”
  79. On Saturday, WAPO columnist Dana Milbank wrote of McConnell and his “new posture toward Moscow,” citing his blocking election security and helping Rusal, saying “McConnell was a Russia hawk for decades.”
  80. Milbank also noted McConnell’s tepid support for investigating Russia, adding, “If Americans don’t have confidence our elections are free and fair, nothing else in our democracy has value.”
  81. On Thursday, in a raucous session before summer break, Senate Judiciary Committee Chair Lindsey Graham skirted committee rules to push through a bill that would increase the time migrant children can be detained.
  82. Ranking Democrat Dianne Feinstein called it “a new precedent that will denigrate this committee and the institution of the Senate.” Sens. Mazie Hirono called it “unconstitutional” and Sheldon Whitehouse “illegitimate.”
  83. On Thursday, alongside #MoscowMitch, #LeningradLindsey trended for Graham forcing the controversial asylum bill through his committee, breaking protocol even though it likely will not pass in the full senate.
  84. On Monday, Attorney General William Barr changed the rules of asylum claims, saying immigrants fearing persecution because of threats against a family members are no longer eligible for asylum.
  85. On Tuesday, the ACLU told a federal judge in San Diego that the Trump regime has separated 911 migrant children from their parents since the judge ordered a stop to border separation on June 26, 2018.
  86. Lawyers said children were taken from parents for having a dirty diaper, for malicious destruction of property of $5, and for a speech impediment that made it hard to answer Custom and Border Patrol agents’ questions.
  87. The ACLU also said statistics provided by the government though legal proceedings show 20% of separations were of children under the age of 5. Neither the DOJ or Department of Homeland Security commented.
  88. On Tuesday, artist James Baldwin installed three pink seesaws at the U.S.-Mexico border, inspired by a drawing from Ronald Real’s book depicting children on either side of the border wall seesawing with each other.
  89. On Friday, WGBH reported Boston artist Karyn Alzayer put chicken wire cages around the iconic “Make Way for Ducklings” statues in the Boston public gardens, separating the mother from her baby ducklings.
  90. Each duck was also swaddled in a shiny emergency blanket. Alzayer said, “The Mallards are Boston’s quintessential immigrant family,” adding, “In the book they moved here for a better life.”
  91. On Friday, Trump signed an executive order ending two Obama-era United States Citizenship and Immigration Services programs that allowed Filipino and Haitian veterans to bring family members the U.S.
  92. The programs allowed veterans to bring in family members before their green cards were available. The regime ended the programs to “ensure that parole is used only on a case-by-case basis, consistent with the law.”
  93. On Friday, Politico reported on emails released under the FOIA which revealed White House adviser Stephen Miller aggressively pushed the Department of Homeland Security to move faster to limit immigration.
  94. Miller pushed to limit green cards, barring legal immigrants from obtaining them if they receive certain government benefits, and called DHS officials an “embarrassment” for not acting faster.
  95. On Friday, a federal judge in D.C. vacated the Trump regime’s initial asylum ban from November, which barred migrants from claiming asylum if they did not enter the U.S. through designated ports of entry.
  96. On Thursday, Yahoo News reported a May 30 FBI intelligence bulletin from the bureau’s Phoenix field office identified fringe conspiracy theories as a domestic terrorism threat, and called it a growing threat.
  97. The 15-page document lists a number of related arrests, including some that are not yet public, and specifically mentions QAnon, a conspiracy theory network which believes in a deep state conspiracy against Trump.
  98. On Monday, WAPO reported Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell may be preparing to cut interest rates, a move noted to be risky by many economists for the economy, seeming to bow to pressure from Trump.
  99. On Tuesday, Trump attacked the Fed, telling reporters, “I’m very disappointed in the Fed,” adding, “I would like to see a large cut, and I’d like to see immediately the quantitative tightening stop.”
  100. Trump added, “The Fed moved, in my opinion, far too early and for too severely. It puts me at a — somewhat of a disadvantage,” but “Fortunately I’ve made the economy so strong that nothing’s going to stop us.”
  101. On Wednesday, the Fed lowered its benchmark rate by a quarter point, the first interest rate cut since 2008. Legendary investor Leon Cooperman accused Trump of trying to boost stocks ahead of the election.
  102. On Tuesday, Bloomberg reported 54% of the Trump regime’s $8.4 billion of trade-war aid for farmers went to the biggest farms, just one-tenth of recipients. Advocates say farmer who needed aid the most got very little.
  103. On Thursday, in a series of tweets, Trump cited unsuccessful trade talks with China, and announced he would be “putting a small additional Tariff of 10% on the remaining 300 Billion Dollars of goods and products.”
  104. Trump tweeted, “my friend President Xi said that he would stop the sale of Fentanyl” to the U.S., saying “this never happened, and many Americans continue to die!” but he looks forward to a “bright” future with China.
  105. Trump had agreed in June after meeting with Xi and agreeing to resume trade talks, not to impose more tariffs. He told reporters at the White House, “Until such time as there is a deal, we’ll be taxing them.”
  106. On Friday, the Dow dropped another 300 points on fears of a trade war with China, heading into the worst week of 2019. A spokesperson for China said countermeasures will be taken if Trump imposes tariffs.
  107. On Monday, after signing a bill to fund the care of 9/11 responders, Trump told reporters, “I was down there also, but I’m not considering myself a first responder. But I was down there. I spent a lot of time down there.”
  108. Trump’s claim is false. Trump has also made false statements about how Muslims reacted to the attack. On the day of the attack, he falsely claimed in an interview that one of his buildings was now “the tallest” downtown.
  109. On Monday, the Senate failed to override Trump’s vetoes of legislation passed in the House and Senate which would have blocked the sale of certain weapons to Saudi Arabia. Five Republicans voted with Democrats.
  110. On Monday, an inspector general report found Eric Blankenstein, a Trump appointee at the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, “may have abused his authority” to try to defuse a WAPO article about a past racist statement.
  111. On Tuesday, Trump lashed out at MSNBC co-hosts Joe Scarborough and Mika Brzezinski, tweeting, “Morning Joe & Psycho ratings have really crashed,” adding, “Very small audience.”
  112. Trump also tweeted, “People are tired of hearing Fake News delivered with an anger that is not to be believed,” adding, “they helped get me elected. Thanks! Was on all the time. Lost all of its juice!
  113. Trump tweeted “Morning Joe & Psycho” were in his room the night he won New Hampshire, and that Mika lied saying Trump wanted to preside over their marriage, saying, “They were married by Elijah, King of Baltimore!
  114. On Tuesday, in an interview with C-SPAN, asked about his tweets, Trump responded, “if I got fair coverage I wouldn’t even have to tweet. It’s my only form of defense. If the press covered me fairly I wouldn’t need that.”
  115. Trump blamed the media for 80% of Black Americans viewing him as racist, saying, “If the press did treat me fairly, I’d have tremendous support from the African American community,” naming several celebrities.
  116. When asked if he ever regretted a tweet, Trump said, “Not much. I sent the one about wiretapping, in quotes, and that turned out to be true.” Trump sent that tweet for several weeks, and it is a lie.
  117. When asked about his typical day, Trump responded, “Well, I stay up late, I like to read a lot, which people don’t understand that…I watch a lot of Fox. I tend to not watch too much of CNN.”
  118. On Tuesday, a federal judge dismissed the Democrat National Committee lawsuit against the Trump campaign, WikiLeaks, and the Russian government which claimed they conspired in the 2016 election.
  119. The judge found Trump officials were shielded under the First Amendment, and Russia could not be in the courts for election interference and should face actions like sanctions instead.
  120. Trump celebrated the ruling, tweeting a judge dismissed a lawsuit “against our historic 2016 campaign for President,” calling it “yet another total & complete vindication & exoneration,” adding, “The Witch Hunt Ends!
  121. On Tuesday, House Foreign Affairs Committee Chair Eliot Engel became the 114th House Democrat to come out for impeachment, the second major committee chair. Currently 48% of the caucus is for an inquiry.
  122. Engel said Mueller’s testimony “provided ample evidence that the president committed obstruction of justice.” A spokesperson for Speaker Pelosi did not comment on what will happen if the 50% threshold is met.
  123. On Wednesday, House Appropriations Committee Chair Nita Lowey became the 117th of 235 House Democrats, one below the majority threshold. By Thursday, Democrats for impeachment were the majority.
  124. On Thursday, Rep. Ted Deutch became the 17th of 24 Judiciary Committee and 118th House member to back impeachment in a Sun Sentinel op-ed, titled “No more debate. Impeachment inquiry is underway.”
  125. On Wednesday, the DOJ and House Judiciary Committee agreed to a two month timetable for court filingsrelated the committee’s request in Week 141 for Mueller’s grand jury materials.
  126. The DOJ has until September 13 for its first brief, and the House until September 30 for its response, meaning a ruling from Chief U.S. District Court of D.C. Judge Beryl Howell in October at the earliest.
  127. On Monday, a federal judge ordered attorneys for Trump, House Democrats and New York to come up with a compromise by Tuesday over Trump’s request for a restraining order on release of his state tax returns.
  128. On Tuesday, the attorneys wrote in a joint filing “the parties are unable to reach agreement.” House Democrats urged the judge to reject Trump’s request for a restraining order.
  129. On Thursday, the judge temporarily blocked New York from sharing Trump’s state tax returns. New York officials contended the federal court in D.C. does not have jurisdiction over them, and should be heard in NY.
  130. Later Thursday, the federal judge in D.C. agreed to hear a challenge to his jurisdiction in the matter. The hearing is set for August 29.
  131. On Tuesday, California Gov. Gavin Newsom signed a new election law, requiring all presidential candidates to release their tax returns in order to be included on the state’s primary ballot, becoming the first state to do so.
  132. On Tuesday, Politico reported Republican Rep. Mike Conaway of Texas said he will not seek re-election in 2020, becoming the fifth Republican to announce their retirement in the past two weeks.
  133. On Wednesday, a federal judge in Montana overturned an IRS rule which shielded political nonprofit donorsto 501(c)4 groups from having their identities made public.
  134. The ruling is a blow to Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, who said the rule protected donor privacy. Groups such as the National Rifle Association and Americans for Prosperity, a Koch brothers’ group, could be impacted.
  135. On Thursday, three NRA board members, who had raised concerns about reckless spending and mismanagement by the group’s leaders and were then stripped of committee assignment, resigned from the board.
  136. On Thursday, the DOJ said it will not prosecute former FBI director James Comey, despite its internal watchdog referring Comey for leaking some of his memos to NYT after Trump fired him in May 2017.
  137. The Hill reported the DOJ rationale was although Comey’s action was a technical violation, the department did not want to make its first case against the Russia investigators “with such thin margins and look petty and vindictive.”
  138. On Thursday, Trump’s EPA moved to finalize a rule that would make it easier to obtain air pollution permits, arguing the process under the Clean Air Act, known as New Source Review, is too burdensome.
  139. On Thursday, as senators left for summer break, Sen. Susan Collins called the mood in D.C. “constant chaos,” with Trump diverting attention from policy. Sen. Mike Rounds welcome getting back to “sanity” back home.
  140. On Thursday, Rep. Will Hurd, the sole black Republican in the House, said he will not seek re-election, becoming the third Texas Republican announcing a retirement this week, and the sixth in the past two weeks.
  141. In an interview with WAPO, Hurd said of Trump, “When you imply that because someone doesn’t look like you, in telling them to go back…you’re implying they’re not an American…and they have less worth than you.”
  142. Hurd is the ninth Republican to announce they will not seek re-election in 2020. Among the nine are two of the 13 House GOP women, including Rep. Susan Brooks who was slated to recruit more GOP women to run.
  143. On Friday, NYT reported that Kiron Skinner, the State Department’s top policy planner and the highest-ranking African-American woman in the department, has been forced out of her job.
  144. Her group was tasked with countering the rise of China. Officials claimed she was fired over her “abusive” management style. She is the first departure from Secretary of State Mike Pompeo’s small inner circle.
  145. On Thursday, Facebook announced it had found and taken down a covert campaign by the government of Saudi Arabia on Facebook and Instagram to prop up the kingdom and attack its enemies.
  146. On Thursday, the Manhattan D.A.’s office issued subpoenas to the Trump Organization for documents related to $130,000 in hush-money payments to Stormy Daniels, reviving an investigation into the company’s role.
  147. The inquiry will examine whether senior executives at the Trump Organization filed false business records about the payments — a state crime. The Manhattan D.A. also subpoenaed America Media Inc.
  148. On Wednesday, Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin spoke on the phone. The White House released a two sentence readout on the call later that night, hours after Russia had given public notice of the call.
  149. The readout said Trump “expressed concern over the vast wildfires afflicting Siberia” and the leaders “discussed trade between the two countries.” No other details of the call were released.
  150. On Thursday, when asked if he discussed election interference with Putin on a call Wednesday, Trump told reporters at the White House on interference, “You don’t really believe this. Do you believe this?”
  151. Trump said on election interference, “We didn’t talk about that,” adding instead they discussed wildfires in Siberia, telling reporters, “I think he appreciated it. We would be able to help them.”
  152. On Thursday, Trump signed an executive order imposing new sanctions on Russia for the poisoning of a former Russian military intelligence officer, Sergei Skripal, in Salisbury, U.K.
  153. Lawmakers on both sides had criticized Trump’s delay in imposing sanctions. On Monday, the top Democrat and Republican on the House Foreign Affairs Committee sent a letter threatening legal action.
  154. On Thursday, Trump held a campaign rally in Cincinnati, Ohio which 17,500 attended. Trump mocked “left-wing extremists,” and Democrats, including Sen. Elizabeth Warren who he continued to call “Pocahontas.”
  155. Donald Jr. warmed up the crowd, saying, “It’s sad that using ‘racism’ has become the easy button of left-wing politics.” Trump supporters held up t-shirts saying “TRUMP & Republicans Are Not RACIST.”
  156. Trump invoked his 2016 opponent, saying, “Do you remember when Hillary used the word ‘deplorable’?” adding, “not a good day for Hillary. Crooked Hillary. She is a crooked one.” The crowd chanted, “Lock her up!
  157. Protestors briefly interrupted the rally two times, one for close to four minutes as they were led out of the arena. One protestor held a sign that read “Immigrants Built America,” which Trump supporters tore away.
  158. Trump blamed the mayor, “Do you have a Democrat mayor? Well, that’s what happens,” then brought up homicide rates in Baltimore and Chicago, saying they support illegal immigrants rather than their own communities.
  159. Trump said Baltimore’s homicide rate “is significantly higher than El Salvador, Honduras, Guatemala,” then asked the audience, “Gimme a place” for others, and repeated, “I believe it’s higher than Afghanistan.”
  160. Trump also again attacked two familiar targets in California, saying Los Angeles had “horrible, disgusting conditions” and San Francisco is now all “deplorable.”
  161. Trump promised to “very shortly” cure pediatric cancer and AIDS, without offering details, and said, “Our nation is stronger today than ever before,” adding, “We’re finally putting America first. It’s about time.”
  162. Trump mocked environmentalists and clean-energy advocates, saying “We’ve ended the war on American energy.” He also attacked windmills again saying they are “noisy” and “kill birds.”
  163. Later Thursday, WCPO Cincinnati reported Dallas Frazier, a 29 year-old Trump supporter, was charged with assault after getting out of a pick-up truck and punching an anti-Trump protester outside the Trump rally.
  164. On Thursday, a nationwide committee of federal judges concluded that 83 ethics complaints filed against Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh during and after his confirmation process will remain dismissed.
  165. The ruling by Committee on Judicial Conduct and Disability confirms a late 2018 ruling by a panel of judges. As there is no appeal option, the only way Kavanaugh could be investigated further would be in Congress.
  166. On Wednesday, CNN reported North Korea launched at least one projectile into the Sea of Japan, the third launch in the past week. The tests violate a United Nations Security Council resolution.
  167. On Thursday, Trump played down the test, telling reporters “short-range missiles” are “very standard,” and “We never made an agreement on that,” adding “I think it’s very much under control, very much under control.”
  168. On Friday, Trump again defended Kim Jong Un, tweeting his “friend” Kim “does not want to disappoint me with a violation of trust,” adding, “the potential as a Country, under Kim Jong Un’s leadership, is unlimited.”
  169. On Friday, Trump announced on Twitter that he would drop his plans to nominate Rep. Ratcliffe for DNI, tweeting: “Our great Republican Congressman…is being treated very unfairly by the LameStream Media.”
  170. Trump added, “rather than going through months of slander and libel, I explained to John how miserable it would be for him and his family to deal with these people,” he will “stay in Congress.”
  171. Trump later told reporters outside the White House, that he likes for the press to vet his nominees, saying, “I like when you vet, no, no, you vet. I think the White House is a great vetting process. You vet for me.”
  172. Ratcliffe is the 62nd nominee withdrawn by Trump, an unprecedented number. Politico reported White House officials have blamed Trump’s lack of judgement and impulsiveness.
  173. On Friday, WAPO reported Trump ally Sen. Kevin Cramer demanded to see the Army Corps’ border wall contracts, after the companies owned by Tom Fisher, his preferred vendor by him and Trump, did not get selected.
  174. Cramer put a temporary hold on the confirmation of Michael Wooten for a senior post at the White House Office of Management and Budget in an attempt to get sensitive information on the contracting bids.
  175. Fisher’s company is based in Cramer’s home state of North Dakota. He and his family have donated thousands to his campaign. Cramer mused in a interview that Trump had deputized him to deal with the bidding process.
  176. On Friday, Brian Karem, the chief White House correspondent for Playboy magazine, said his press pass was suspended for 30 days over an argument he had with Sebastian Gorka at Trump’s Social Media Summit last month.
  177. The White House said wrote that Karem “failed to abide by basic norms of decorum and order,” and was rude to Gorka, “a guest of the president.” Playboy called Karem’s suspension “incredibly concerning.”
  178. Karem told WAPO he believes the move was in retaliation for tough questioning, as the suspension came hours after Trump had fielded several of his questions. His attorney will appeal the suspension on Monday.
  179. On Friday, the Fresno Bee reported Rep. Devin Nunes is suing a group of people in his district who called him a “fake farmer,” claiming they were coordinating with “dark money” groups to hurt his campaign.
  180. One of the defendants, fruit grower Paul Buxman said he had never heard of the term “dark money” and had voted for Nunes in every election but one. Nunes also sued a parody Twitter cow account in Week 123.
  181. On Friday, according to a pair of letters released by the Swedish Prosecution Authority, the Trump regime warned Sweden of the “negative consequences” if rapper ASAP Rocky was not released.
  182. On Friday, Rocky was released from jail, pending a verdict, and landed back in the U.S. on Saturday. Trump tweeted on Friday, “It was a Rocky Week, get home ASAP A$AP!” A final judgment is expected on August 14.
  183. Trump’s unusual intervention in the case left tensions between the two countries. Trump weighed in on the assault case last month after a public outcry by celebrities, including reality TV star Kim Kardashian-West.
  184. On Friday, after weeks of mass protests, Puerto Rico governor Ricardo Rossello stepped down. His successor Pedro Pierluisi was sworn in temporarily until Wednesday when the Senate will hear his nomination.
  185. On Saturday, Trump retweeted a racist attack on London mayor Sadiq Khan by British far-right activist Katie Hopkins, saying “The nipple-height Mayor of Londonistan has NEVER been so unpopular.”

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Virginia state delegate, Ibraheem S. Samirah is escorted out after holding up a sign while Trump speaks at Jamestown Settlement on Tuesday July 30, 2019 in James City County VA. Tuesday July 30th marks the 400th anniversary of the convening of the first General Assembly that took place at a church on what is now Historic Jamestown.

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POLITIKS OF GRAFFITI 142: “TROUBLING SIGNS OF ERODING NORMS”

JULY 27, 2019

Week 141

Experts in authoritarianism advise to keep a list of things
subtly changing around you, so you’ll remember. https://theweeklylist.org/weekly-list/week-141/
DCIM107GOPROGOPR3106.
“BaltiMore is a plague. No one wants to visit it. Also, Jared does business there.” Brussels, Belgium 28jul19

This week Robert Mueller testified before the House Judiciary and Intelligence Committees about his 448 page report. The testimony was the first glimpse many Americans had of its findings, especially Mueller’s stark warnings on Russia’s past and ongoing interference, and Trump’s and other regime members’ financial and other conflicts. While the media quibbled over whether Mueller was made-for-television articulate, the House Judiciary Committee took the first steps to effectively start an impeachment investigation, as over 100 House members have now come out in favor of impeachment. Despite testimony by Mueller and FBI director Christopher Wray, as well as a bipartisan Senate Intelligence Committee sounding alarms about Russia’s ongoing efforts at election interference, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell continued to halt efforts by Congress to counter Russian meddling.

IMG_8158
NYC, June 2019

Troubling signs of eroding norms and Trump seizing power at an alarming rate continued. Trump ramped up attacks on the media, calling them “fake” and “the enemy of the people,” and saying the press has lost all credibility. Trump continued his diatribe on the Federal Reserve and targeted U.S. companies with his ire. A disturbing Supreme Court ruling allowed Trump to take funds from the Pentagon to build his wall, while he continued to push to end asylum and ramp up rhetoric on deportation — further fanning the flames of “us” versus “them” in America.

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Wind-up whiny toy in the window of a shop in Brussels, Belgium. July 2019.
  1. On Saturday, more than 20,000 gathered in Moscow demanding free and fair elections, a continuation of protests from Week 140 over opposition candidates not being allowed on the ballot for local elections in September.
  2. On Saturday, Trump showed up at a wedding being held at one of his properties, the National Golf Club Bedminster. The bride and groom were ardent Trump fans and invited him. The crowd chanted, “U-S-A! U-S-A!”
  3. On Saturday, Trump mocked London Mayor Sadiq Khan after the city’s police department Twitter account was hacked, tweeting: “With the incompetent Mayor of London, you will never have safe streets!”
  4. On Sunday, WAPO reported on the political crisis created by Trump’s racist tweets in Week 140. Reporting was based on interviews with 26 White House aides, advisers, lawmakers, and others.
  5. Aides said Trump did not fully understand the impact of his racist tweets sent before golfing. Trump had acted alone, and created a crisis that he continued to flame on his own during the week, despite advice of aides.
  6. The White House feared close to 50 Republicans might vote with House Democrats on the resolution of disapproval. Trump was obsessed with the vote tally, and he and other aides labored to keep the GOP caucus together.
  7. On Sunday, Trump tweeted that the WAPO story “with its phony sources who do not exist, is Fake News,” saying people were only talking about “the record setting crowd and the tremendous enthusiasm” at his rally.
  8. Trump then tweeted, “Presidential Harassment!” and then in another tweet added, “MAKE AMERICA GREAT AGAIN!”
  9. Trump also tweeted, “I don’t believe the four Congresswomen are capable of loving our Country,” calling them “weak & insecure” and adding, “They should apologize to America (and Israel).”
  10. On Monday, Trump again attacked WAPO, tweeting, “the Amazon Washington Post” reported “total Fake News,” adding, “It is a made up story meant to demean & belittle,” and “The Post had no sources.”
  11. Trump also tweeted, “the Mainstream Media is out of control,” claiming “they constantly lie and cheat in order to get their Radical Left Democrat views out,” adding, “they have gone bonkers.”
  12. Trump also again invoked enemy of the people, tweeting, “Fake News Equals the Enemy of the People!
  13. On Monday, Bloomberg reported that the Pentagon slipped in revealing that it is conducting a secret Army “emerging classified flight mission” involving Black Hawk helicopters flying over the Washington D.C. area.
  14. The operation was disclosed as part of the Army’s $2.5 billion request this month to Congress to “reprogram” funds, including $1.5 million for aircraft maintenance, air crews, and travel in support of the mission.
  15. On Sunday, House Judiciary Chair Jerrold Nadler told “Fox News Sunday” that the Mueller report presents “very substantial evidence” that Trump is “guilty of high crimes and misdemeanors” — an impeachable offense.
  16. On Sunday, House Intelligence Chair Adam Schiff told “Face the Nation” the Mueller report contains “a pretty damning set of facts,” adding of Mueller’s upcoming testimony, “Who better to bring them to life.”
  17. On Sunday, when asked about Trump’s racist statements on “Fox News Sunday,” White House adviser Stephen Miller said Democrats “try to silence and punish and suppress” people by using the term “racist.”
  18. Miller said “the core element” of Trump’s philosophy is “America First.” When asked about Trump saying the U.S. was “crippled” and a “laughingstock” under Obama, he said it was “out of love” for the country.
  19. On Sunday, when asked on “This Week” if Trump is a racist, House Oversight Chair Elijah Cummings said he “tried to give him the benefit of the doubt,” adding, “I believe he is. Yes, no doubt about it.”
  20. On Sunday, the president of the Illinois Republican County Chairmen’s Association apologized for the group posting a meme on their Facebook page of the four congresswomen, calling them “The Jihad Squad.”
  21. The text of the meme, which was posted on Friday and later taken down, read, “POLITICAL JIHAD IS THEIR GAME. IF YOU DON’T AGREE WITH THEIR SOCIALIST IDEOLOGY, YOU’RE RACIST.”
  22. On Sunday, the Times Picayune reported Charlie Rispoli, a police officer in Gretna, Louisiana posted on his Facebook page that Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez should be shot: “This vile idiot needs a round…”
  23. On Monday, Rispoli was fired, along with officer Angelo Varisco, who liked his post. Gretna’s police chief said, “To insinuate a violent act against a seated U.S. congresswoman” is “completely irresponsible and intolerable.”
  24. On Monday, Trump tweeted the four congresswomen are “a very Racist group of troublemakers who are young, inexperienced, and not very smart,” and “against ICE and Homeland Security. So bad for our Country!”
  25. On Monday, WAPO obtained talking points for Trump’s re-election campaign: “The President loves America. He will stick up for this country, our flag, and the men and women who serve this country in uniform.”
  26. On Monday, Rep. Rashida Tlaib was introduced at the NAACP annual convention as “one of the four women who was told to go back home.” She said, “Yeah, I’m not going nowhere, not until I impeach this president.”
  27. On Monday, amid calls for Puerto Rico Gov. Ricardo Rosselló to resign over a scandal, Trump insulted him and his adversary San Juan Mayor Carmen Yulín Cruz who was not involved in the scandal, calling them “grossly incompetent.”
  28. Trump said Cruz is “so bad for her people,” and repeated the false claim that the island received $92 billion in aid. Trump also said “we did a great job” and “I’m the best thing that ever happened to Puerto Rico.”
  29. On Tuesday, the NAACP leadership voted unanimously at their annual convention to support impeachment. Derrick Johnson, the group’s president, said Trump is “unfit to serve this country.”
  30. On Sunday, Rudy Giuliani said in a radio interview that Mueller “shouldn’t really [testify],” adding, “He’s already commented more than any prosecutor has ever commented about a case he didn’t bring.”
  31. On Monday, Trump tweeted, “Highly conflicted Robert Mueller should not be given another bite at the apple,” saying it will be “bad for him and the phony Democrats” who are wasting time on “this ridiculous Witch Hunt.”
  32. Trump also tweeted, “NO COLLUSION, NO OBSTRUCTION!” and asked why “Clinton’s people” were “given immunity,” and why texts messages between “Peter S and his lover, Lisa Page” were “deleted and destroyed.”
  33. Later, Trump told reporters at the White House that he does not plan to watch Mueller testify: “I’m not going to be watching Mueller because you can’t take all those bites out of the apple.”
  34. Trump repeated false claims about Mueller: “There’s a lot of conflicts…He wanted the job of the FBI director, he didn’t get it. And we had a business relationship where I said no, and I would say that he wasn’t happy.”
  35. Trump said Democrats have “gone off the deep end” and “They’re not doing anything,” adding, “All they care about is a phony investigation. They’re wasting their time.”
  36. On Monday, White House counselor Kellyanne Conway told reporters Trump has “zero concerns” about Mueller testifying, calling it “a do-over of the do-over of the do-over” and an insult to the American people.
  37. On Monday, the Justice Department instructed Mueller in a letter to significantly limit his congressional testimony, and “not go beyond” the public unredacted version of the report.
  38. The letter also prohibits answering questions on matters that could be covered by executive privilege, a broad, vague category given Trump was investigated while working in the executive branch.
  39. The letter also reminded Mueller that Roger Stone and a separate case still await trial, and that it is the DOJ’s “longstanding policy not to discuss the conduct of uncharged third-parties.”
  40. On Tuesday, Chair Nadler called it “incredibly arrogant” to try to “instruct” Mueller on what to say, calling it “part of the ongoing cover-up by the administration to keep information away from the American people.”
  41. On Tuesday, Trump tweeted, “Newest Poll: Only 11% in favor of starting ridiculous impeachment hearings” — a number is not close to any real poll. Trump also accused Democrats of “Trump Derangement Syndrome.”
  42. On Tuesday, Trump told teenagers at the Turning Point USA summit of Mueller’s testimony, “These people have gone totally crazy,” calling it a “witch hunt” and saying the report found “no collusion, no obstruction.”
  43. Trump again repeated the claim that Article II of the Constitution gave him power to “do whatever I want as president.” Article II grants the president “executive power,” but does not give him total power.
  44.  Trump also told the teens, “we have our best poll numbers today that we’ve ever had, can you imagine how good our poll numbers, with all the things we’ve done…if we had a fair media?” One teen yelled “100 percent.”
  45. On Tuesday, Mueller asked the House Judiciary Committee to allow Aaron Zebley, one of his top deputies and counsel, to testify with him Wednesday. The move went against the DOJ wishes, and created an air of uncertainty.
  46. In a statement, ranking Republican Rep. Douglas Collins accused Democrats of an 11th hour trick, and accused Chair Nadler of “again allowing the committee’s business to devolve into chaos.”
  47. Rep. Collins cited an “unprecedented decision” to allow a witness’s counsel to both advise him privately and testify alongside him, adding it could jeopardize whether the hearing “complies with the rules of the House.”
  48. Later Tuesday, Trump tweeted about the “last minute change,” saying “What a disgrace to our system. Never heard of this before,” and adding, “VERY UNFAIR, SHOULD NOT BE ALLOWED. A rigged Witch Hunt!”
  49. On Monday, Trump again attacked the “very misguided” Federal Reserve, saying, “With almost no inflation, our Country is needlessly being forced to pay a MUCH higher interest rate than other countries.”
  50. Trump also claimed if interest rates were lower the “GDP & our Country’s wealth accumulation” would be “much higher,” adding, “Such a waste of time & money,” and the Fed “missed it (Big!). Don’t miss it again!”
  51. On Monday, WAPO reported Judy Shelton, Trump’s nominee to fill an open seat of the Federal Reserve Board, plans to push for a rate cut, saying in an email, “I would have voted for a 50-basis-point cut at the June meeting.”
  52. On Monday, Politico reported on dysfunction at the Commerce Department under Secretary Wilbur Ross, saying Ross does not hold regular meetings with senior staffers and is rarely in the building.
  53. Ross reportedly is disengaged, falls asleep in meetings, and spends most of his time kissing up to Trump. Sources also said there is constant infighting among top officials, and departures of senior staffers without explanation.
  54. On Monday, Politico reported Kelly Craft, Trump’s nominee to be ambassador to the United Nations, spent seven of her 20 months as ambassador to Canada back at her U.S. homes, including 60 personal days.
  55. On Monday, while meeting with Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan at the White House, Trump offered to mediate the long-running Kashmir conflict. Less than an hour later, India rejected Trump’s offer.
  56. Trump also said the duration of the Afghanistan war is “ridiculous,” adding he could “win that war in a week,” but “Afghanistan would be wiped off the face of the earth. I don’t want to kill 10 million people.”
  57. On Monday, according to a new set of rules published in the Federal Register, the Trump regime will expand its power to speed deportations of undocumented immigrants who have entered in the past two years.
  58. The rules allow the regime to fast-track the deportation process, bypassing immigration judges, which the regime claimed is a “necessary response” to the influx, although southern border apprehensions fell in June and July.
  59. On Wednesday, the White House praised a federal judge in the District of Columbia who ruled against blocking the regime’s new restrictions saying migrants are ineligible for asylum if they pass through another country.
  60. Later Wednesday, a second federal judge in San Francisco ordered the Trump regime to continue to accept asylum claims from all eligible migrants, and preventing the regime’s rules from being carried out.
  61. On Monday, the Dallas Morning News reported Francisco Erwin Galicia, an 18 year-old born in Dallas, was picked up by Border Patrol, and according to his lawyer, was detained for three weeks and may be deported by ICE.
  62. On Tuesday, after reporting by the newspaper, Galicia was released. His mother said an ICE official called and said they had found his documents and citizenship to be valid. Both ICE and CBP refused to comment.
  63. Galicia told MSNBC of his time at a Texas detention facility, “We couldn’t breathe or brush our teeth,” saying, “we were about 60 people in one small room,” and calling the conditions “inhumane.”
  64. The teen said he lost 26 pounds during his 23 days in custody, saying, “It was more psychological,” adding, “They said they were going to charge me. They would insult me so I would sign my deportation order.”
  65. On Monday, WTVF-Nashville reported a group of people in Hermitage, Tennessee formed a human chain around a man and his 12 year-old son to protect them from ICE for four hours. Eventually, ICE left.
  66. On Tuesday, ICE revealed in the deportation raids touted by Trump as targeting 2,000 migrant families, just 35 have been arrested, including 18 family members and 17 who were encountered during the operation.
  67. Trump had touted the raids as “very successful.” Advocacy groups had handed out flyers to prepare for the raids, and although the raids were not successful, they have instilled fear into the immigrant community.
  68. On Tuesday, Trump threatened Guatemala, tweeting: “Guatemala, which has been forming Caravans and sending large numbers of people, some with criminal records…has decided to break the deal they had with us.”
  69. Guatemalan President Jimmy Morales postponed a meeting with Trump last week after the country’s court blocked the “safe third country” accord, requiring migrants to seek protection there, not continue to the U.S.
  70. Trump tweeted, “we are looking at the “BAN,” Tariffs, Remittance Fees, or all of the above,” adding, “Guatemala has not been good. Big U.S. taxpayer dollars going to them was cut off by me 9 months ago.”
  71. On Wednesday, Border Patrol Chief Carla Provost acknowledged in a Congressional hearing that she was a member of the racist Facebook group “I’m 10–15,” saying, “I didn’t think anything of it at the time.”
  72. On Wednesday, Nancy Goodman, a white woman in Raleigh, North Carolina called two women the “N-word” at a confrontation in a restaurant. Goodman said she would do it again, saying, “I used that word because they forced me to.”
  73. On Thursday, Daniel Leonard, a member of the Toms River school board faced calls to resign after posting on Facebook that his “life would be complete” if Rep. Rashida Tlaib were dead.
  74. Leonard also called Rep. Ilhan Omar a “terrorist,” and posted a meme calling her “Sharia Barbie,” showing a Barbie doll with a black and blue eye, which read “Comes with Jihab, Bruises & Quran.”
  75. On Tuesday, Boris Johnson won the race to be the Tory leader and become the next British prime minister, replacing Theresa May. Johnson has been one of the most vocal proponents of Brexit.
  76. WAPO reported Sens. Ted Cruz and Bill Kennedy introduced a nonbinding resolution that would label antifascists as “domestic terrorists,” in step with Trump’s attacks on so-called “radical” activists.
  77. Antifascists, or “antifa,” are a collection of groups and individuals who support aggressive opposition to activists on the far right, in some cases leading to violence. Conservative media has referred to them as terrorists.
  78. On Tuesday, lawyers for Cesar Sayoc said in a defense filing he became obsessed with Trump as a “surrogate father” and believed an “alternative reality” that Democrats were working to hurt him and other supporters. Sayoc sent mail bombs to prominent Democrats, including the Obamas and Hillary Clinton.
  79. Sayoc’s lawyers said Fox News also helped radicalize him, saying he began “watching Fox News religiously,” watching “Fox & Friends” in the morning and Sean Hannity in prime time. He actively followed Trump on Twitter.
  80. On Tuesday, PEN America called for the State Department to disband the new Commission on Unalienable Rights, citing “serious concerns” over the commission’s purpose, process, and membership.
  81. On Tuesday, FBI director Christopher Wray told the Senate Judiciary Committee the FBI has recorded about 100 arrests of domestic terrorism suspects in the past nine months, and most involve white supremacy.
  82. Wray also testified the Russians “are absolutely intent on trying to interfere with our elections,” and said they have not been deterred by sanctions: “My view is until they stop they haven’t been deterred enough.”
  83. Wray said he was cooperating with Attorney General William Barr in his inquiry on the origins of the of the investigation of Russian interference in the 2016 election, and said the bureau has instituted new policies and training to ensure impartiality.
  84. Wray also admitted when asked by Sen. Mazie Hirono if he read the Mueller report, that he had not, saying, “I’ve — I’ve reviewed it, I wouldn’t say I’ve read every single word.”
  85. On Tuesday, Politico reported that Rep. Devin Nunes met with Trump and other senior White House officials last week to discuss replacements for Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats.
  86. Some on Capitol Hill and in the intelligence community speculated that given Trump and Nunes’ similar views on intelligence issues, Nunes could be under consideration for DNI or another intelligence position.
  87. One member of Congress told Politico that Trump “would certainly consider Devin Nunes for the director’s position.” The notion has provoked some anxiety at the top level of ODNI.
  88. On Monday, BuzzFeed reported two unofficial envoys, Lev Parnas and Igor Fruman, who reported to Rudy Giuliani, met with top officials in Ukraine to lobby the Ukrainian government to help Trump win 2020.
  89. The two pushed prosecutors to investigate allegations against 2020 candidate Joe Biden, and to open a probe into whether Ukrainian officials sought to help Hillary Clinton win 2016 by leaking evidence on Paul Manafort.
  90. On Tuesday, a federal grand jury convicted Bijan Rafiekian, a former business partner of Michael Flynn and Trump transition adviser, on two foreign-agent felony counts for work he and Flynn did for Turkish interests.
  91. The verdict in Alexandria, Virginia was from a case started by Mueller’s team, and came despite Flynn being dropped as a witness under his new legal representation. Rafiekian faces up to 15 years in prison.
  92. On Tuesday, Trump continued his attacks on the four congresswomen, tweeting he will win Minnesota in 2020 “because of America hating anti-Semite Rep. Omar,” and called the four “a Nightmare for America!”
  93. Later, at the Turning Point USA summit, addressing a group of teenagers, Trump railed against the four, calling Rep. Rashida Tlaib “vicious” and “a crazed lunatic.” The teens chanted, “One Squad Under God.”
  94. Trump again repeated his conspiracy theory on illegal voting, saying Democrats won in “California and numerous other states” are “rigged” because undocumented immigrants vote “many times — not just twice.”
  95. On Tuesday, a bipartisan group of senators introduced the Freedom of Information Act bill to counteract an EPA policy and a Supreme Court ruling which make it easier for the Trump regime to withhold information.
  96. On Tuesday, Trump’s private lawyers sued New York State officials and the House Ways and Means Committee to block congressional Democrats from obtaining his state tax returns under a newly enacted New York law.
  97. AG Letitia James of New York said her office had “all the confidence that this law is legal” and pledged to “vigorously defend” it. A spokesman for House Ways and Means Chair Richard Neal declined to comment.
  98. On Wednesday, ahead of Mueller’s testimony, Trump tweeted, “why didn’t the highly conflicted Robert Mueller” investigate “Crooked Hillary Clinton deleted and acid washed” emails, saying, “She must have GREAT lawyers!”
  99. Trump asked why “Mueller & his band of 18 Angry Democrats” did not investigate “Crooked Hillary Clinton, Lyin’ & Leakin’ James Comey, Lisa Page and her Psycho lover, Peter S, Andy McCabe…and many more.”
  100. On Wednesday, Robert Mueller testified before the House Judiciary and the House Intelligence Committees. Mueller said in his opening remarks he would not address the origins of the investigation or Steele dossier.
  101. Mueller also said, “Over the course of my career, I’ve seen a number of challenges to our democracy. The Russian government’s effort to interfere in our election is among the most serious.”
  102. Mueller testified to the House Judiciary Committee that despite Trump’s repeated proclamations, the report does not exonerate Trump, and did not conclude that Trump did not commit obstruction of justice.
  103. Mueller said DOJ rules say a sitting president cannot be indicted, but that Trump could be prosecuted for obstruction of justice after he leaves office. Mueller also said Trump refused to be interviewed by his team.
  104. When asked if the Russians perceived a benefit from a candidate, Mueller said, “It would be Trump,” and confirmed that Manafort gave polling data to an associate with ties to Russian intelligence.
  105. Democrats tried to systematically walk through Volume 2, the obstruction of justice charges, including when he attempted to have Mueller fired, reading parts of the report out loud and Mueller responding with short affirmations.
  106. Mueller did say there was a sufficient factual and legal basis for further investigation, and that Trump had a motive to impede the Russia investigation, countering Barr who said Trump was merely frustrated.
  107. Republicans repeatedly asked about the origins of the investigation and the Steele dossier. Mueller refused to roughly 200 questions posed to him, frequently saying, “I’m just going to leave it as it appears in the report.”
  108. Despite saying he did not plan to watch, Trump live-tweeted the testimony, including quoting Fox News host Chris Wallace: “This has been a disaster for the Democrats and a disaster for the reputation of Robert Mueller.”
  109. Mueller refused to address the issue of impeachment. Republicans accused Mueller and his team members of being biased against Trump. Mueller pushed back, saying he never asked about the political affiliation of his team.
  110. Six Trump aides were charged with crimes in the Mueller probe including Michael Flynn, Michael Cohen, Rick Gates, Paul Manafort, George Papadopoulos, and Roger Stone.
  111. Mueller was more forceful in testimony before the intelligence committee. Chair Schiff accused Trump of “disloyalty” to the country, while ranking Republican Nunes compared the probe to the search for the Loch Ness monster.
  112. Mueller corrected morning testimony where he said did not indict Trump because of the OLC opinion on indicting a sitting president, saying, “We did not reach a determination as to whether the president committed a crime.”
  113. Mueller said the Russia probe is “not a witch hunt” or a hoax. He also said Russia interfered in the 2016 election and the Trump campaign appeared to welcome that help. Several members of the campaign lied to his team.
  114. Mueller affirmed that Trump’s foreign dealings, including efforts and conversations on Trump Tower Moscow, could expose him to being blackmailed by Russians. Same with other regime members.
  115. Mueller gave his most pointed criticism on Trump for his praising of WikiLeaks, saying, “Problematic is an understatement…it displays of giving some hope or some boost to what is and should be illegal behavior.”
  116. Mueller said it is not acceptable to take help from foreign governments, saying, “I hope this is not the new normal, but I fear it is,” adding, “We don’t use the word collusion,” but there may have been a conspiracy.
  117. When asked if his team found evidence to suggest Russia would try to interfere in future elections, Mueller said, “They’re doing it as we sit here,” adding, “And they expect to do it during the next campaign.”
  118. Mueller said he decided not to subpoena Trump for testimony, saying Trump would have fought it and would have extended the investigation for a “substantial period of time.”
  119. Mueller also said of Trump’s written answers, “he wasn’t always being truthful.” Mueller agreed that accepting foreign help is “unpatriotic,” and agreed when government officials lie it can open them up to blackmail.
  120. Notably, ranking member Nunes did not use his closing time to pose any questions to Mueller. In the afternoon session, one Republican did ask Mueller how to stop election interference in the future.
  121. Aaron Zebley, who served as a sort of chief of staff to Mueller during the probe and was sworn in for both hearings, did not speak. Republicans objected to him being there however.
  122. When Mueller’s testimony ended at approximately 3:30 p.m., Trump tweeted: “TRUTH IS A FORCE OF NATURE!”
  123. The Republican National Committee said in a statement the testimony was “a disaster for Democrats,” and, “After three years, millions of taxpayer dollars…There was no collusion and no obstruction. Case closed.”
  124. Trump emerged to speak to reporters, saying had a “very good day,” adding Mueller did “horrible” job and said the investigation was “phony,” and said it was a “devastating day” for Democrats.
  125. Trump also said, “This has been a very bad thing for our country,” and “three years of embarrassment and waste of time for our country,” adding Mueller did not have the right to “exonerate.”
  126. When asked about Mueller saying he could be indicted after leaving office, Trump lashed out calling it “a very dumb and unfair question,” and telling the reporter, “you’re fake news, you’re one of the worst.”
  127. On Wednesday, Politico reported during a closed-door meeting of House Democrats after the hearings, House Judiciary Chair Nadler pushed to launch impeachment proceedings, but was rebuffed by Speaker Nancy Pelosi.
  128. Nader cited even though polls showed limited support for impeaching Richard Nixon when the House began impeachment hearings in 1973, public support grew as more evidence came out about Nixon’s behavior.
  129. Democrats had a lengthy discussion on impeachment, with rank-and-file lawmakers asking technical questions, including whether it would require a full vote of the House or if it could be initiated by the Judiciary Committee.
  130. In a press conference after the meeting, Speaker Pelosi seemed to soften on starting an impeachment inquiry, telling reporters, “If we have a case for impeachment, that’s the place we will have to go.”
  131. Pelosi said she wanted to build “a strong case” based on “the facts and the law,” adding, “The stronger our case is, the worse the Senate will look for just letting the president off the hook.”
  132. Pelosi added if the “cone of silence and the obstruction of justice and the coverup in the White House prevents us from getting that information,” it will be “even more grounds to go forward” with impeachment.
  133. Nadler told reporters, “Today was a watershed day in telling the facts to the American people,” adding, “we face a time of great danger,” and “This cannot go on. And it’s up to Congress to safeguard the Constitution.”
  134. Chair Cummings told reporters, “I’m begging the American people to pay attention,” urging listeners not to accept Trump’s conduct, or that of AG Barr or Republican lawmakers, as “normal.”
  135. Cummings added, “if you want to have a democracy intact for your children and your children’s children and generations yet unborn, we have got to guard against this moment. This is our watch.”
  136. On Wednesday, the House passed a measure which endorsed all Trump-focused subpoenas, past and future, after a Trump appointed judge questioned whether the House voted to authorize its investigations.
  137. On Wednesday, the DOJ said in a letter to Speaker Pelosi it will not bring charges against AG Barr and Sec. Ross after the House voted in Week 140 to hold them in criminal contempt for refusing to comply with subpoenas.
  138. On Wednesday, Trump vetoed three joint resolutions that had bipartisan support in the House and Senate, which would have prohibited arms sales to Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates.
  139. On Wednesday, Bernie Madoff asked Trump to commute his 150-year sentence, filing a petition for clemency with the DOJ. Madoff has served ten years in prison and is 81 years-old.
  140. On Thursday, the Senate Intelligence Committee released the first of its five-part report on Russian interference in the 2016 election, which found Russia’s “directed extensive activity” started back in 2014.
  141. The report found that Russia targeted the election systems of all 50 states, and described “an unprecedented level of activity against state election infrastructure” as part of an effort to find vulnerabilities.
  142. The report also found “Russian cyberactors were in a position to delete or change voter data” in the Illinois voter database. The report, including key findings, were heavily redacted at the behest of U.S. intelligence agencies.
  143. The report found Russia did not change votes or manipulate voting machines, but warned of an ongoing threat, and gave a series of public recommendations for 2020, much of which was redacted.
  144. The report recommended ensuring a paper trail for voter machines and paper backups for registration system, as well as strategic steps and opening discussions with U.S. allies on how to deter cyberattacks.
  145. The report also found widespread intelligence failure in countering Russian efforts, saying the scope was underestimated, warnings were inadequate, and state officials under-reacted or resisted federal help.
  146. On Thursday, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell blocked Senate Democrats from pushing forward a bill which had passed in the House and would authorize additional funding for the state election systems.
  147. McConnell also blocked a second bill that had passed in the House mandating the use of paper ballots, claiming, “This is partisan legislation from the Democratic House of Representatives.”
  148. A WAPO columnist compared McConnell to “a Russian asset,” saying Russia “is attacking us today…Yet each time we try to raise our defenses to repel the attack, McConnell…blocks us from defending ourselves.”
  149. CNN reported Election Systems & Software, the largest U.S. election equipment manufacturer, has been quietly lobbying to require all voting equipment to create a paper trail, a sharp departure from its past position.
  150. On Saturday, AP reported a federal judge could force Georgia to use an interim voting system, finding its current voting system is “way too old and archaic” and its machines are unsecure and vulnerable to hacking.
  151. On Thursday, AG Barr directed the Bureau of Prisons to reinstate the death penalty, after 16 years without executions, and to schedule the execution of five death row inmates.
  152. On Thursday, North Korea tested a new type of short-range ballistic missile, launching two missiles,according to the South Korean government, expanding the North’s ability to deliver nuclear warheads.
  153. On Thursday, WAPO reported that during Trump’s speech at Turning Point USA’s student summit on Tuesday, he was standing in front of a doctored presidential seal which included a Russian symbol.
  154. A closer examination of videos from the event revealed rather than the Latin phrase “E pluribus unum,” the seal says “45 es un títere,” a Spanish phrase that translates to “45 is a puppet.”
  155. The fake seal, which was meant to poke fun at Trump’s love of golf and ties to Russia, also showed the eagle clutching cash in its right talons. Turning Point USA fired the person on the video team who displayed the fake seal.
  156. On Thursday, Vox reported the Trump regime is planning to crack down on “broad-based categorical eligibility,” which enables states to enroll people who have applied for other low-income programs to get food stamps.
  157. The move would bump roughly 3.1 million people off food stamps, roughly 8% of those currently on the program, and would allow the Trump regime to bypass Congress.
  158. On Thursday, CNN reported that Monica Crowley, Trump’s pick for Treasury spokesperson, had repeatedly spread a smear that Barack Obama was secretly a Muslim, saying, “Can he be both loyal to Islam and loyal to the United States?”
  159. On Thursday, a total of five additional House Democrats came out for impeachment, including Rep. Katherine Clark, vice chair of the House Democratic Caucus and the highest-ranking Democrat to join the effort.
  160. On Thursday, Trump called in to Sean Hannity’s show to talk about Mueller’s testimony, calling it a “very poor performance” and saying people watching “couldn’t believe when they saw what was going on.”
  161. Trump also called it “a disgrace to our country,” saying he “watched a little bit at the very beginning and I couldn’t believe what I was seeing,” even though he was tweeting about the testimony throughout.
  162. Trump called the Mueller probe “a fake witch hunt and it should never be allowed to happen to another president again,” adding, “This was treason. This was high crimes,” and the press lost “all credibility.”
  163. Trump also said, “It’s fake news,” repeating the press is “the enemy of the people,” and added on firing Mueller, “I had the absolute right to fire him but I didn’t,” and this was a coup attempt, in my opinion.”
  164. On Friday, Rep. Ann Kuster of New Hampshire became the 99th Democrat to come out for impeachment, bringing the total to 100 members of Congress. Later, Rep. Chris Pappas of a swing district in NH made it 101.
  165. On Friday, Politico reported with Democrats moving closer, Pelosi said she has “no complaint,” adding, “I’m willing to take whatever heat there is. The decision will be made in a timely fashion. This isn’t endless.”
  166. On Friday, Rep. Martha Roby of Alabama announced she plans to retire at the end of the term, the third Republican to announce their resignation this week. Roby is one of only 13 Republican women in the House.
  167. On Friday, Trump attacked Fox News in a pair of tweets, saying, “@FoxNews is at it again. So different from what they used to be during the 2016 Primaries, & before — Proud Warriors!”
  168. Trump also tweeted about “new Fox Polls, which have always been terrible to me (they had me losing BIG to Crooked Hillary),” complaining about a poll which showed Trump down by 10 points to Biden.
  169. Trump blamed it on “three year vicious Witch Hunt, perpetrated by the Lamestream Media in Collusion with Crooked and the Democrat Party,” saying no way he can lose “with the greatest Economy in U.S. history.”
  170. The day before Trump had celebrated Fox News in a series of tweets, over their polls showing his approval rating higher, tweeting: “President Trump’s Approval Rating on Economy is at 52%.”
  171. Trump also tweeted, “There may or may not be National Security concerns with regard to Google and their relationship with China.” Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin said there was no concern on Wednesday.
  172. Trump also attacked Apple, saying the company “will not be given Tariff waiver, or relief, for Mac Pro parts that are made in China.” Apple shared dipped slightly on the tweet.
  173. Trump also attacked the Federal Reserve again, tweeting that second quarter GDP up 2.1% was “Not bad considering we have the very heavy weight of the Federal Reserve anchor wrapped around our neck.”
  174. Trump also attacked France for a new tax law targeting U.S. technology giants like Apple, tweeting, “We will announce a substantial reciprocal action on Macron’s foolishness shortly.”
  175. On Friday, in a petition to the court over the Mueller probe, the House Judiciary Committee asked the federal judge to unseal grand jury secrets related, saying the panel is considering articles of impeachment.
  176. Chair Nadler told reporters, “Because Department of Justice policies will not allow prosecution of a sitting president,” the House “is the only institution of the federal government” that can hold “Trump accountable.”
  177. The House application states, “the House must have access to all the relevant facts and consider whether to exercise all its full Article I powers,” including “recommendation of articles of impeachment.”
  178. Chair Nadler stood with other House Judiciary Committee members (pictured below), several of whom told reporters the application indicates the start of an impeachment investigation.
  179. On Friday, Trump told reporters from the Oval Office that “it’s a disgrace” that Democrats continue to investigate him, adding, “they want to go fishing and I watched Bob Mueller and they have nothing.”
  180. Trump threatened Obama, saying, “Let’s look into Obama the way they’ve looked at me … they could look into the book deal that President Obama made. Let’s subpoena all of his records.”
  181. On Friday, a federal judge dismissed the $250 million defamation lawsuit brought by Covington student Nicholas Sandmann against WAPO, saying its coverage was protected by the First Amendment and deemed opinion.
  182. On Friday, the Supreme Court ruled that Trump can proceed with plans to use Pentagon funds for construction of his wall, overruling a lower court which found reallocating Pentagon funds would violate federal law.
  183. The unsigned ruling split along ideological lines, 5 to 3, with Justice Stephen Breyer proposing a compromise which others did not sign, and came after an emergency filing by the regime during the court’s summer recess.
  184. Speaker Pelosi said in a statement the decision allows Trump “to defy the bipartisan will of the Congress and proceed with contracts to spend billions of dollars on his wall undermines the Constitution and the law.”
  185. On Friday, Sen. Dianne Feinstein, ranking member on the Judiciary Committee, urged Chair Lindsey Graham to back down from a threatened rules change in order to vote on a bill to change the Flores settlement.
  186. Feinstein said in her letter, “Your announcement to disregard these rules…and change the rules unilaterally in a partisan manner is deeply concerning,” saying it would “set an unfortunate precedent for the future.”
  187. On Friday, NBC News reported U.S. troops are stationed inside the Border Patrol’s holding facility in Donna, Texas, a move close to violating a federal law forbidding troops from being in direct contact with migrants.
  188. The troops are not armed, and are monitoring migrant adults and children from just a few feet away and are supposed to report any problems to CBP officials rather than interact.
  189. Rep. John Garamendi said the regime is “teetering on the edge of the Posse Comitatus law,” a 1878 federal law that prohibits the government from using military forces to act as a police force within U.S. borders.
  190. On Friday, the National Institutes of Health issued new strict requirements by the Trump regime for researchers seeking federal funding grants for research using fetal tissue.
  191. Going forward, grant applications and renewals must provide a detailed justification for using tissue collected from elective abortions, and document why no alternative methods could accomplish the same.
  192. On Friday, the Senate Armed Services Committee said it would move forward with confirmation hearings for Gen. John Hyten, Trump’s nominee to be the number two general, despite sexual assault accusations.
  193. On Saturday, in a series of tweets, Trump attacked Chair Cummings, who is a Black American, calling him a “brutal bully,” accusing him of “shouting and screaming at the great men & women of Border Patrol.”
  194. Trump claimed Cummings’ district of Baltimore “is FAR WORSE and more dangerous,” than the border, and “considered the Worst in the USA,” and “a disgusting, rat and rodent infested mess.”
  195. Trump also tweeted Cumming’s district is the “worst run and most dangerous,” asking, “Where is all this money going? How much is stolen?” and threatening, “Investigate this corrupt mess immediately!”
  196. Cummings tweeted back, “Each morning, I wake up, and I go and fight for my neighbors,” adding, “It is my constitutional duty to conduct oversight of the Executive Branch. But, it is my moral duty to fight for my constituents.”
  197. An hour before Trump’s attack on Cummings, “Fox & Friends” ran a segment questioning, “How do living conditions in Rep. Cummings’ Baltimore district compare to those at the border?”
  198. On Saturday, CNN reported Raj Shah, the former White House deputy press secretary, took a job at Fox News, continuing the revolving door between the cable network and Trump’s White House.
  199. On Saturday, Moscow police arrested more than 1,000 protestors in continuing protests over the fairness of upcoming city elections. Protestors yelled, “We love Russia! They love money!”

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House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerrold Nadler (D-NY) and fellow Democratic members of the committee hold a news conference about this week’s testimony of former special counsel Robert Mueller July 26, 2019 in Washington, DC. Nadler said that the hearing was an “inflection point,” because Mueller testified that President Donald Trump’s 2016 campaign welcomed assistance from Russians and that Trump “was not exonerated.”

POLITIKS OF GRAFFITI 141: SEND HIM AWAY

JULY 20, 2019

Week 140

Experts in authoritarianism advise to keep a list of things

subtly changing around you, so you’ll remember. This list is from: https://theweeklylist.org/weekly-list/week-140/ and the art is either pics taken by me, or found on social media during the week.

“Nothing about the platforms or the characters of the four members of Congress (Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Ilhan Omar, Ayanna Pressley, Rashida Tlaib) suggest that they hate America. In fact their deep commitment to a vision of an America based on equality and fairness and healthcare for all people shows exactly the opposite. You can disagree with their ideas and their politics if you like, but if you say that they hate America you are either dishonest, ignorant, stupid or a Nazi.” – Samuel Dylan Clayton, a friend and America ex-pat currently residing in Berlin, Germany.

This week, in a shocking display of racism, Trump tweeted that four congresswomen of color should “go back” to the countries they came from. Amid Republican silence, rather than backing off, Trump ramped up his attacks, leading to a mid-week rally where his supporters chanted “send them back.” At first Trump seemed to distance himself from his supporters’ chants, but the next day doubled-down, calling the supporters “incredible patriots,” while escalating his attacks on the congresswomen further. Still, by week’s end, no Republicans publicly criticized Trump, rather backing him or seeking to redirect his racist comments to a discussion of political ideology.

This week as the House voted to condemn Trump’s racist tweet, and to hold Attorney General William Barr and Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross in criminal contempt on the citizenship question — yet both votes were symbolic gestures, having no real impact. Questions were raised by members of Congress about Barr’s involvement with dismissing charges against the police officer who allegedly strangled Eric Garner to death, and in ending the Southern District of New York’s investigation into campaign finance violations over hush-money payments to silence two women. The House also entertained an impeachment resolution from Rep. Al Green, which 95 House Democrats voted to advance — the highest level of support so far — as Robert Mueller prepares to testify next week.

1 On Saturday, AP reported the vast majority of 10,000 election jurisdictions nationwide will be using Windows 7 or an older operating system, no longer supported by Microsoft, for voting in the 2020 election.

2 Windows 7 reaches its “end of life” on January 14, leaving the systems vulnerable to hacking. States impacted include Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, Florida, Iowa, Indiana, Arizona, North Carolina, Michigan, and Georgia.

3 On Wednesday, the Democratic National Committee sent out an alert to presidential campaigns warning the popular face-transforming app called FaceApp was created by developers in St. Petersburg, Russia.

4 The DNC told staffers “delete the app immediately.” The app was launched in 2017 by the St. Petersburg-based company Wireless Lab, and has been used more than 80 million times.

5 On Wednesday, Microsoft announced it has detected more than 740 infiltration attempts by nation-state actors of U.S.-based political parties, campaigns, and other democracy-focused organizations in the past year.

6 Microsoft did not publicly reveal how many infiltration attempts were successful, but noted similar targeting occurred in the early stages of the 2016 and 2018 elections.

7 Politico reported Jonathan Karl, the new president of the White House Correspondents’ Association, asked press secretary Stephanie Grisham to resume daily White House briefings. The last briefing was on March 11.

8 On Saturday, Trump’s ICE launched raids targeting migrant parents and their children. Although reporting and Trump claimed last week 2,000 would be targeted, NYT reported there were only a handful of arrests.

9 Authorities told the Times more arrests would instead take place during the week, saying the operation was changed last minute because news reports had tipped off immigrant communities.

10 On Sunday, CNBC reported fear of ICE raids has caused some American citizens, largely Latinos, to carry their passports to avoid being mistakenly detained by ICE.

11 On Sunday, Trump tweeted at four congresswomen, Reps. Ilhan Omar, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Rashida Tlaib, and Ayanna Pressley to “go back” to the countries they came from. Only Rep. Omar was not born in the U.S.

12 Trump tweeted the four “originally came from countries whose governments are a complete and total catastrophe, the worst, most corrupt,” adding, “if they even have a functioning government at all.”

13 Trump also tweeted the four are “viciously telling the people of the United States, the greatest and most powerful Nation on earth,” how to run our government.

14 Trump also tweeted the four should “go back and help fix the totally broken and crime infested places from which they came,” adding, “then come back and show us how it is done,” and “you can’t leave fast enough.”

15 Trump also tweeted, “I’m sure that Nancy Pelosi would be very happy to quickly work out free travel arrangements!” citing Democratic party infighting. His tweets stopped infighting, and unified Democrats.

16 Trump’s attacks mirrored rhetoric on Fox News, including host Tucker Carlson telling Somali-born Rep. Omar to return to her birth country, citing her “undisguised contempt for the United States and for its people.”

17 House Speaker Nancy Pelosi tweeted that Trump “reaffirms his plan to “Make America Great Again” has always been about making America white again,” adding, “diversity is our strength,” and “Stop the raids.”

18 On Monday, Trump continued attacks, tweeting, “When will the Radical Left Congresswomen apologize to our Country, the people of Israel and even to the Office of the President, for the foul language they have used.”

19 Trump also tweeted, “So many people are angry at them & their horrible & disgusting actions!,” adding the four are “very unpopular & unrepresentative Congresswomen.”

20 Trump also sent a series of tweets quoting Sen. Lindsey Graham, calling the four a “bunch of Communists,” adding “they are Anti-Semitic, they are Anti-America,” and “their policies will destroy our Country!”

21 On Monday, at a “Made in America” event at the White House, Trump told reporters “these are people who in my opinion hate our country,” adding, “All I’m saying is, if they’re not happy here, they can leave.”

22 Trump said Rep. Omar “hates Israel” and “hates Jews, hates Jews,” adding, “I mean, I look at the one, I look at Omar. I mean, I don’t know, I never met her, I hear the way she talks about al Qaeda.”

23 Reporters at the event shared photos of Trump’s handwritten notes, where he spelled al Qaeda as “Alcaida,” and people as “peopel.” Last week, Trump blamed Twitter misspellings on “fingers aren’t as good as the brain.”

24 On Monday, Pulitzer Prize-winning presidential historian John Meacham told MSNBC that Trump “has joined Andrew Johnson as the most racist president in American history.”

25 On Monday, WAPO reported a full day after Trump’s “go back” tweets, no prominent Republicans had publicly disagreed, indicating they agree with him or Trump has consolidated power and they are disinclined to dissent.

26 On Monday, the four congresswomen held a press conference to respond to Trump’s attacks, saying his “blatantly racist” assault on them was an attempt to distract from his corruption and inhumane policies.

27 Just before they took to the podium, Trump tweeted, “IF YOU ARE NOT HAPPY HERE, YOU CAN LEAVE!” adding, “This is about love for America. Certain people HATE our Country.”

28 Trump tweeted, “They are anti-Israel, pro Al-Qaeda, and comment on the 9/11 attack, “some people did something,”” adding, “Detention facilities are not Concentration Camps!” and “America has never been stronger.”

29 The four told reporters the agenda of white nationalists had gone from chat rooms to the White House garden, and condemned Trump’s treatment of migrants at the border and his calls for deportations.

30 They also said Trump could not defend his policies, so he attacked them personally, and called on their colleagues to begin impeachment proceedings. They added, “ we love all people in this country.”

31 On Sunday and Monday, world leaders and senior politicians condemned Trump’s tweets. Outgoing conservative British PM Theresa May said “the language used to refer to these women was completely unacceptable.”

32 On Monday, a WAPO media columnist wrote that similar to the media’s reluctance to use the word “lies” while reporting on Trump, not referring to him as racist “is a betrayal of journalistic truth-telling.”

33 Later Monday, Post Executive Editor Martin Baron said, “The ‘go back’ trope is deeply rooted” in the history of U.S. racism, adding, “we have concluded that ‘racist’ is the proper term to apply to the language he used Sunday.”

34 On Tuesday, Trump continued his attacks, tweeting, “the Democrat Congresswomen have been spewing some of the most vile, hateful, and disgusting things ever said,” adding, but “they get a free pass.”

35 Trump also tweeted, “Our Country is Free, Beautiful and Very Successful,” adding, “If you hate our Country, or if you are not happy here, you can leave!”

36 On Tuesday, the Republican National Committee parroted Trump’s attacks, saying in an email to reporters, “the squad…regularly use vile, hateful, anti-Israel, and anti-American rhetoric.”

37 Later Tuesday, at a meeting with his cabinet, when asked by reporters if the four should leave, Trump responded, “It’s up to them,” adding, “Go wherever they want, or they can stay. But they should love our country.”

38 Trump also said, “They shouldn’t hate our country,” adding, “You look at what they’ve said, I have clips right here — the most vile, horrible statements about our country, about Israel, about others.”

39 After Trump spoke, HUD Secretary Ben Carson, the only black person in Trump’s cabinet, praised Trump, thanking him for his “incredible courage,” saying Trump is “not a racist,” and “I think God is using you.”

40 On Tuesday, ahead of House Democrats voting on a resolution to condemn Trump’s tweets, he tweeted, “Those Tweets were NOT Racist. I don’t have a Racist bone in my body!”

41 Trump also called the vote a “con game,” adding, “Republicans should not show “weakness” and fall into their trap” and the vote should be on “the filthy language, statements and lies” by the Democratic Congresswomen.

42 Trump also misrepresented a poll, tweeting that the congresswomen, “based on their actions, hate our Country. Get a list of the HORRIBLE things they have said. Omar is polling at 8%, Cortez at 21%,” adding “See you in 2020!”

43 Later Tuesday, when White House counselor Kellyanne Conway was asked by a Jewish White House reporter about Trump’s racist tweets, she asked, “What’s your ethnicity?”

44 The reporter, Andrew Feinberg responded, “Uh… why is that relevant?” Conway responded, “My ancestors are from Ireland and Italy.” Conway later tried to distance herself from her own remarks.

45 On Tuesday, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell tried to quell fallout from Trump’s tweets, saying Trump is “not a racist,” and “political rhetoric has really gotten way, way overheated all across the political spectrum.”

46 On Tuesday, CNN drew criticism for hosting Richard Spencer, a white nationalist who was a featured speaker at the deadly 2017 Unite the Right neo-Nazi rally, on their network to discuss Trump’s racist tweets.

47 On Tuesday, the Editorial Board of the Charlotte Observer asked, “Are you OK with a racist president, Republicans?” saying every Republican lawmaker should speak out on Trump’s “dangerous, destructive behavior.”

48 On Tuesday, a Reuters/Ipsos public opinion poll showed Republican support for Trump was up 5 points to 72% after his racist attacks. His support with Democrats dropped 2 points, and 10 points with independents.

49 On Tuesday, the House floor was thrown into chaos during a move by Democrats to vote on a resolution to condemn Trump’s racist tweets due to Speaker Pelosi’s use of the term “racist” in her remarks.

50 Pelosi said, “Every single member of this institution.. should join us in condemning the president’s racist tweets.” Republicans sought to strike her use of “racist” from the record as it went against House rules.

51 After review, House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer announced Pelosi’s comments were “out of order.” The House then voted along party lines to allow Pelosi’s remarks to remain in the Congressional Record.

52 The House voted 240-187 on the resolution, with four Republicans and Rep. Justin Amash joining Democrats. Many Democrats pushed House leadership for a harsher punishment for Trump.

53 Ahead of the vote, House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy had mirrored Leader McConnell’s statement, saying Trump “is not a racist.” McCarthy also said, “This is all about politics and beliefs of ideologies.”

54 After the vote, Trump tweeted, “so great to see how unified the Republican Party was on today’s vote,” saying they should look at the “horrible things” the four congresswomen said about “our Country, Israel, and much more.”

55 On Tuesday, speaking with Fox News host Tucker Carlson, GOP Sen. John Kennedy called the four congresswomen the “four horsewomen of the Apocalypse,” and “whack jobs” who are “destroying the Democratic Party.”

56 On Wednesday, a Pew Research poll found 62% of Americans say openness to people from around the world is “essential to who we are as a nation,” down from 68% in September because of a shift in Republicans.

57 The poll found 57% of Republicans and Republican-leaning independents say if the U.S. is too open to foreigners, “we risk losing our identity as a nation,” and increase from 44% in September. Democrats stayed constant.

58 On Wednesday, the House voted 332-95 to table the impeachment resolution drafted by Rep. Al Green over Trump’s racist attacks. Among Democrats, the split was 137 to table, 95 to advance.

59 Politico reported that 27 Democrats who have not publicly come out for impeachment yet voted to advance the measure to impeach Trump. Before the vote, 85 Democrats were for impeachment.

60 Committee chairs including Reps. Maxine Waters, Jerrold Nadler, Eliot Engel, Raúl Grijalva, Bennie Thompson, Frank Pallone Jr, Nita Lowey, Jim McGovern, and Nydia Velázquez also voted to advance Green’s resolution.

61 On Wednesday, before heading to his campaign rally in Greenville, North Carolina, Trump repeated a far-right conspiracy theory, telling reporters there’s “a lot of talk” about Rep. Omar being married to her brother.

62 Trump claimed, “I know nothing about it,” but added, “You’re asking me a question about it. I don’t know, but I’m sure that somebody would be looking at that.”

63 On Wednesday, warming up the crowd in Greenville before Trump spoke, Lara Trump said, “If you don’t love our country, the president said it, ‘You can leave.’”

64 At the rally, Trump told the crowd, of the four congresswomen, “They don’t love our country,” adding, “I think, in some cases, they hate our country. You know what? If they don’t love it, tell them to leave it.”

65 Trump reeled off several controversial comments made by Rep. Omar, including repeating a false claim that she is sympathetic to Al Qaeda. The crowd started chanting “Send her back.”

66 Trump spent a little time on the economy, but most of the evening was devoted to attacking “the squad,” and Democratic 2020 candidates who he said want “radical socialism and the destruction of the American Dream.”

67 Trump also bragged that Rep. Green’s articles of impeachment had been voted down, calling it “an overwhelming vote against impeachment, and that is the end of it,” and telling Democrats to “go back to work.”

68 On Thursday, NYT reported Trump allies, including House Republican leaders, flooded his team with expressions of concerns about the nativist chants of “send her back,” warning Trump was on dangerous ground.

69 While Republicans denounced the chant — with Minority Leader McCarthy saying “Those chants have no place in our party or our country” — Republicans continued to refuse to publicly criticize Trump.

70 On Thursday, CBS News reported Trump also took heat from First Lady Melania and Ivanka over the chants at the rally, as well as from Vice President Mike Pence.

71 On Thursday, House Democrats expressed outrage that Trump’s comments have put Rep. Omar and her family in “imminent danger,” with senior Democrats calling for authorities to evaluate her security.

72 Rep. Ocasio-Cortez also said she has concerns for her safety, and is discussing with Democrats whether to add additional security. Speaker Pelosi said she spoke to the Sergeant-at-Arms office Wednesday night.

73 Later Thursday, Trump tried to distance himself from the chants, telling reporters he was “not happy” with the chant, and falsely claiming he tried to stop the chant saying, “I think I did — I started speaking very quickly.”

74 WAPO fact checkers gave Trump’s claim that he tried to stop the chants Four Pinocchios, noting his comments led to the crowd’s chant, and he stood silent for 13 seconds waiting for the chant to die down.

75 Once it did, Trump started up again, saying of the congresswomen, “They never have anything good to say. That’s why I say, ‘Hey, if they don’t like it, let them leave,’…They’re always telling us how to run and how to do this.”

76 Later Thursday, Trump retweeted a video of conservative Mark Levin on Fox News slamming the four congresswoman, calling them “anti-Semite bigots,” adding, “their families really have done nothing for this country.”

77 Shortly after, the official Twitter account for the White House, a tax-payer funded feed, also tweeted the five-minute video, as did Trump’s official @POTUS account.

78 On Thursday, Majority Leader McConnell told Fox Business that Trump is “on to something” with his attacks, adding, “we’re in a big debate now and next year about what we want America to be like,” citing socialism.

79 On Thursday, the Palm Beach County GOP disinvited Anthony Scaramucci from addressing its annual fundraiser, after he told the BBC on Tuesday, on Trump, “maybe you weren’t a racist, but now you’re turning into one.”

80 Scaramucci repeated his criticism on cable news interviews, and theorized attacking the four congresswomen could help Trump win 2020. An adviser told Politico Scaramucci’s criticism on cable TV has left Trump “furious.”

81 On Thursday, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch Editorial Board wrote, “Congressional Republicans shame themselves with their silence on Trump’s racism,” saying their response “continues to be … nothing.”

82 On Thursday, ESPN host Dan Le Batard broke from company policy of avoiding politics, saying Trump was instigating “racial division,” and calling the network “cowardly.” Le Batard is the son of Cuban immigrants.

83 On Friday, in a series of morning tweets, Trump returned to attacking the congresswomen, including “ Foul Mouthed Omar.” Notably, Trump frequently uses profanity, and drew criticism for saying “goddamn” twice at his rally.

84 Trump also attacked the media, tweeting, “it is amazing how the Fake News Media became “crazed” over the chant “send her back”” but is “calm & accepting” of “vile and disgusting” statements by the congresswomen.

85 Trump tweeted the media “has lost all credibility” and “become a part of the Radical Left Democrat Party,” and said he would win Rep. Omar’s state in 2020, saying “they can’t stand her and her hatred of our Country.”

86 Trump also referred to the “three Radical Left Congresswomen.” WAPO reported a White House spokesman did not respond to their query about the change from four to three.

87 Trump attacked NYT columnist Thomas Friedman, who called him a “racist, divisive, climate-change-denying, woman-abusing jerk,” saying he is not a racist and calling Friedman “a weak and pathetic sort of guy.”

88 On Friday, speaking to reporters from the Oval Office, Trump backtracked from disavowing chants of “send her back” at his rally, saying of his supporters, “Those are incredible people. Those are incredible patriots.”

89 Trump continued his obsession with crowd size, saying the rally was a “record crowd” and he could have filled the arena ten times over, after tweeting in the morning it was “a packed Arena (a record) crowd.”

90 Trump also attacked the congresswomen, saying, “I’m unhappy with the fact that a congresswoman can say anti-Semitic things,” adding, and “a different congresswoman, can call our country and our people garbage.”

91 Trump also said, “I’m unhappy when a congresswoman goes and says, I’m going to be the president’s nightmare,” adding, “She’s lucky to be where she is” and “the things that she has said are a disgrace to our country.”

92 Before leaving the White House, Trump told reporters, “I don’t know if it’s good or bad politically — I don’t care,” adding, “I can tell you this: You can’t talk that way about our country, not when I’m the president.”

93 Trump also responded to CBS News reporting that his family spoke to him about the “send her back” chants, saying “We — I talked about it, but they didn’t advise me,” and called the story “fake news.”

94 On Friday, WAPO reported Trump has been publicly criticizing the U.S. for year, often praising foreign dictators and himself while doing this. Trump has also repeatedly questioned the notion of American exceptionalism.

95 On Friday, the NYT said it had asked its readers if they had been told to “go back to where you came from” as Trump told the four congresswomen, and received 16,000 responses, some of which they published.

96 On Friday, Erica Thomas, a black lawmaker in Georgia, said a middle-aged white man called her vulgar names and told her to “go back where you came from” at a supermarket, while her 9 year-old daughter looked on.

97 On Monday, Navy Secretary Richard Spencer assumed the role of acting defense secretary, becoming Trump’s third acting so far this year. Mark Esper stepped down for the Senate confirmation process.

98 On Tuesday, Sen. Elizabeth Warren grilled Esper on his past position as a top lobbyist for defense contractor Raytheon. Warren asked if he would recuse himself from all matters involving Raytheon, and Esper said no.

99 On Wednesday, Acting Defense Secretary Spencer sent 2,100 additional troops to the U.S.-Mexico border, bringing the total force at the border to 6,600 active duty and Texas National Guard soldiers.

100 On Monday AP reported the Trump regime plans to end all asylum protections for most migrants fleeing violence and poverty in Central America, reversing decades of U.S. policy.

101 According to the regime’s plan, migrants who pass through another country, in this case Mexico, on their way to the U.S. would be ineligible for asylum. Some migrants from Africa, Cuba, and Haiti also pass through Mexico.

102 Mexico voiced disagreement with the plan. Attorney General William Barr said the U.S. is a “generous country” but “overwhelmed” and the rules are aimed at “those who seek to exploit our asylum system to obtain entry.”

103 On Tuesday, a coalition of immigration advocacy groups challenged the new rule in court, seeking an injunction to block it. The Trump regime has claimed the spike in migrants crossing the border is a crisis.

104 On Friday, Politico reported at a meeting of security officials on refugee admissions, officials discussed cutting back the number of refugees admitted to zero for fiscal year 2020.

105 The regime had already cut the level from 110,000 under Obama to 50,000 in 2017, then down to 45,000 in 2018 and then 30,000 for 2019. Advisers aligned with Stephen Miller are pushing for the zero cap.

106 On Monday, NPR reported Border Patrol agents in El Paso, Texas told a 3 year-old Honduran girl to pick a parent to stay with her in the U.S. and the other would be deported in an attempted family separation.

107 The move is part of Trump’s Migrant Protection Protocols, or “remain in Mexico.” In court, advocates asked that the family be removed from MPP, citing the girl’s having a heart condition, and had suffered a heart attack.

108 On Tuesday, dozens of Jewish protestors from the group “Never Again is Now” staged a sit-in in the lobby of ICE’s headquarter building in Southwest Washington. Ten were arrested.

109 On Thursday, in a day dubbed “Catholic Day of Action,” 70 Catholic sisters, clergy, and parishioners were led away in handcuffs from the Senate office building, protesting ICE and overcrowded migrant detention camps.

110 Hundreds of protestors gathered, carrying photos of migrant children who died in federal custody. Five protestors laid on the floor in the shape of a cross, while the group recited the children’s names.

111 On Thursday, at a House Oversight hearing on family separation, Chair Elijah Cummings erupted at Department of Homeland Security Secretary Kevin McAleenan, after demanding improvement, and McAleenan saying we are “doing our level best.”

112 Cummings responded, “What does that mean when a child is sitting in their own feces, can’t take a shower? Come on, man…They are human beings.” Cummings also accused McAleenan of having an “empathy deficit.”

113 On Tuesday, a new NAACP report charged Trump is filling the courts with judges to undermine voting rights, saying, “This administration is weaponizing the federal judiciary to restrict the vote.”

114 On Monday, a second GOP candidate governor candidate in Mississippi, former MS Supreme Court Justice Bill Waller Jr., said he follows the “Billy Graham rule” and will not be alone with a woman who is not his wife.

115 On Monday, CNN reported according to a survey conducted by the union representing them, the vast majority of the 540 USDA research employees whose jobs are being moved D.C. to Kansas City are likely to resign.

116 On Monday, anti-Semitic flyers saying the Holocaust was “fake news” were found at Temple Emanu-El in Marblehead, Massachusetts. Rabbi David Meyer called it “distressing,” adding “the political climate is one of divisiveness.”

117 On Monday, a Charlottesville circuit judge sentenced James Fields Jr. to a second sentence of life in prison for killing Heather Heyer and injuring dozens of others when he rammed his car into a group of protestors.

118 On Tuesday, the DOJ said it would not to move forward in prosecuting NYPD Officer Daniel Pantaleo for fatally choking Eric Garner. A video showed Garner had said “I can’t breathe” 11 times while in a strangle hold.

119 Attorney General Barr made the final decision not to prosecute Pantaleo, siding with the DOJ team from New York over the Civil Rights division which recommended prosecution.

120 On Tuesday, in a letter, Sen. Cory Booker, a member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, demanded answers from Barr on the DOJ’s decision not to press charges.

121 On Monday, WAPO reported nearly a quarter of a million households will receive 2020 Census forms which include a citizenship question. The test questionnaire was sent two weeks before Supreme Court ruling.

122 The questionnaire was meant to provide the Census Bureau data on how the public would react to the question “Is this person a citizen of the United States?” A total of 480,000 were sent, half with and half without the question.

123 On Tuesday, the ACLU and other plaintiffs filed a complaint asking Judge Jesse Furman to impose penalties on the Trump regime for allegedly providing “false or misleading” statement about the citizenship question.

124 The complaint noted “the misconduct appears to have been perpetrated by senior Commerce and [Justice Department] officials — not the career DOJ attorneys who litigated this case.”

125 On Wednesday, the House voted 230-198 along party lines to hold Barr and Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross in criminal contempt for failing to provide documents related to the citizenship question.

126 The vote was largely symbolic since those found guilty are referred to the DOJ for prosecution, and the DOJ would not prosecute itself. The White House said Democrat’s “shameful and cynical politics know no bounds.”

127 On late Monday, Trump’s Department of Health and Human Services issued a notice, saying it was immediately enforcing a new rule as part of Title X which would cut funding for health clinics that give abortion referrals.

128 The rule is the first of its kind since Title X was established in 1970, and impacted $260 million of funding to 90 recipients. Maine Family Planning and Planned Parenthood of Illinois dropped out of the program Tuesday.

129 On Tuesday, the board of Planned Parenthood voted to oust president Leana Wen, saying the organization needed a more aggressive political leader to combat the current efforts to roll back access to abortion.

130 On Friday, the Trump regime said it may delay its ban on funding for clinics that provide abortion referrals, amid widespread confusion about the new restrictions.

131 On Wednesday, a November 1992 tape released from the NBC archives showed Trump and Jeffrey Epstein discussing women at a party at Mar-a-Lago. Trump also grabbed a woman towards him, and patted her behind.

132 On Wednesday, James Troiano, the New Jersey judge who recommended leniency for a 16 year-old boy accused of rape in Week 138 because he was from a “good family,” resigned.

133 The state’s Supreme Court announced new mandatory training for judges on Wednesday, following a nationwide outcry. Elected officials and protestors had called on Troiano to resign, and he received death threats.

134 LGBTQ Nation reported every member of Secretary of State Mike Pompeo’s Commission on Unalienable Rights, announced in Week 139, has a history as an academic or activist against the LGBTQ community.

135 On Thursday, the LA Times reported Homeland Security has quietly gutted multiple programs in the past two years created after September 11, 2001 established to prevent terrorism involving weapons of mass destruction.

136 DHS has also canceled dozens of training exercises, and lost scores of scientists and policy experts. Thirty current and former DHS officials voiced concern that the changes have put Americans at greater risk.

137 On Thursday, Trump nominated Eugene Scalia, son of late Supreme Court justice Antonin Scalia, for Labor Secretary. Scalia has represented corporations in pushing back at unions and for tougher labor laws.

138 On Thursday, Environmental Protection Agency administrator Andrew Wheeler rolled back an Obama-era ban on chlorpyrifos, a widely used pesticide which experts say is tied to serious health problems in children.

139 The EPA said data supporting objections to use were “not sufficiently valid, complete or reliable” — a victory for the chemical industry. This marks the second move by the regime this year to roll back chemical safety rules.

140 NYT reported the EPA is also preparing to weaken rules in place for the last quarter century, which allow advocates in communities near power plants and factories to appeal against EPA-issued pollution permits.

141 On Friday, new data from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration showed June 2019 was the hottest June on record around the globe in the 140 years the group has kept records.

142 Economist Art Laffer, who was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom in Week 136 by Trump, told CNBC the Federal Reserve should not be independent, but should be controlled by the president and Congress.

143 On Monday, the White House Office of Management and Budget, in its midyear review, projected the federal deficit will exceed $1 trillion this year, the first time it has exceeded $1 trillion since the Great Recession.

144 On Tuesday, Trump tweeted, “Billionaire Tech Investor Peter Thiel believes Google should be investigated for treason,” adding that on “Fox & Friends” Thiel accused “Google of working with the Chinese Government.”

145 Thiel said on the show, “Google employees that are ideologically super left wing,” are “working with communist China but not with the U.S. military.” Trump tweeted: “The Trump Administration will take a look!”

146 On Friday, in a series of tweets, Trump attacked the Federal Reserve, noting its “faulty thought process,” adding, “our interest costs are much higher than other countries, when they should be lower. Correct!”

147 Trump also praised New York Fed President John Williams for saying “the Fed “raised” far too fast & too early,” and said we are “winning big but it is no thanks to the Federal Reserve,” adding, “Don’t blow it!”

148 On Friday, WAPO reported Trump told aides to expect big spending cuts if he wins a second term, a dramatic shift from the big-spending approach of Trump’s first 30 months, sowing confusion about the regime’s direction.

149 On Monday, CNN reported on new surveillance reports which reveal Julian Assange received in-person deliveries during the 2016 U.S. election during a series of suspicious meetings at the Ecuadorian Embassy in London.

150 The deliveries build on the Mueller report which said couriers brought hacked files to Assange at the embassy. The surveillance report showed he used the embassy as a command post for meddling in the U.S. election.

151 On Monday, White House counselor Kellyanne Conway defied a Congressional subpoena, refusing to show up for a House Oversight Committee hearing on her violations of the Hatch Act.

152 In a letter to Chair Cummings, White House Counsel Pat Cipollone again asserted again that Trump’s advisers are “absolutely immune” from congressional testimony.

153 Chair Cummings said, “We are requiring her to testify…about her multiple violations of federal law, her waste of taxpayer funds,” and threatened to hold Conway in contempt if she does not testify before July 25.

154 On Monday, Chair Cummings demanded in a letter to Education Department Secretary Betsy DeVos that she turn over all emails from her personal account related to official government business.

155 Cummings cited a May report by the Office of the Inspector General which found 78% of department officials used personal emails, but did not preserve them. Cummings has sent multiple letters without a response.

156 On Tuesday, Trump appointed former Fox News contributor Monica Crowley to be the Treasury Department spokesperson. Crowley currently serves as Treasury’s senior adviser for public affairs.

157 On Tuesday, Judge Amy Berman Jackson barred Roger Stone from posting on social media platforms, saying, “Once again I am wrestling with behavior that has more to do with middle school than a court of law.”

158 Prosecutors accused Stone of violating the court’s gag order. Judge Berman also prohibited public statements made by “surrogates, family members, spokespersons, representatives, or volunteers” of Stone.

159 On Wednesday, Politico reported House Democrats’ strategy is to slowly and meticulously building a record of the Trump regime’s stonewalling their investigations to persuade a court to break the blockade.

160 The team of House lawyers is overstretched, and Democrats fear an adverse ruling. The slow pace and lack of results from House Democrats has fueled criticism from progressive lawmakers and activists.

161 On Thursday, a federal judge said he is considering throwing out the case against Michael Flynn’s former business partner, Bijan Kian, saying evidence presented at trial this week has been “very, very circumstantial.”

162 The biggest hole in the prosecutors’ case was testimony from Flynn. With his new attorney, Flynn told prosecutors he could no longer say under oath he intentionally made a false filing, and was therefore cut as a witness.

163 On Wednesday, the DOJ said it was ending its inquiry into hush money payments Trump made to keep Stormy Daniels and Karen McDougal quiet in the months before the election.

164 Lanny Davis, a lawyer for Michael Cohen, asked why he was the only one “to be prosecuted and imprisoned” when “virtually all” of the admitted crimes “were done at the direction of and for the benefit” of Trump.

165 On Thursday, a federal judge in New York ordered court records related to the case be unsealed. Federal prosecutors did not reveal why they had ended their investigation.

166 The newly unredacted 2018 Cohen search warrants revealed then-candidate Trump communicated repeatedly with his then-lawyer Cohen about keeping Trump’s affairs quiet ahead of the election.

167 The documents revealed, starting the day after the “Access Hollywood” recording became public, Hope Hicks, Trump, and Cohen spoke to formulate a plan to pay $130,000 to Stormy Daniels to keep her quiet.

168 Hicks told the House Judiciary Committee last month said she was “never present” when Cohen and Trump discussed Daniels, and said she “had no knowledge” of Daniels other than her shopping around her story.

169 The committee is investigating whether Hicks lied in her testimony. Chair Nadler demanded Hicks appear before the panel to explain discrepancies in her testimony and the unsealed documents.

170 The documents also showed Cohen paid Daniels on November 1, 2016 and called Trump and Kellyanne Conway that day but did not get through. Records show Conway called him back and they spoke for six minutes.

171 Documents show before WSJ’s story Nov. 4 on Karen McDougal, Cohen spoke to Hicks and Dylan Howard, a National Enquirer executive, and texted AMI’s David Pecker, “The boss just tried calling you. Are you free?”

172 On Friday, USA Today reported a person familiar with the case said the DOJ’s opinion that a sitting president cannot be indicted factored in to prosecutors’ decision to end the investigation.

173 On Friday, in a letter to the deputy U.S. Attorney in Manhattan, House Oversight Chair Cummings asked whether prosecutors had identified evidence of criminal conduct by Trump.

174 Cummings also sought information on whether the DOJ opinion had played a role, noting this would be the second time (Mueller), and, “The Office of the President should not be used as a shield for criminal conduct.”

175 On Friday. Sen. Richard Blumenthal, a member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, also said Congress must hold a public hearing on “whether the White House or AG Barr has interfered in any way in this investigation.”

176 On Friday, the Daily Beast reported George Nader, a key witness in the Mueller probe, faced new federal charges of sex trafficking, child pornography, and obscenity in Virginia.

177 On Friday, federal justice Emmet Sullivan temporarily halted congressional subpoenas of Trump’s financial records in the emoluments case, after an appeals court said to re-examine separation-of-powers.

178 On Sunday, about 1,000 protested in an unsanctioned rally in Moscow over the city election commission’s decision to keep several opposition candidates off the ballot. More than 25 were detained by police.

179 On Tuesday, in a statement, a North Korean Foreign Ministry spokesperson warned North Korea may resume nuclear missile tests, citing the U.S. and South Korea moving forward with planned military exercises.

180 On Wednesday, the House voted to block Trump from bypassing Congress and selling arms to Saudi Arabia. Only four Republicans and Rep. Amash joined Democrats, setting up a likely veto of the resolutions by Trump.

181 On Thursday, senior defense officials said U.S. Marines jammed an Iranian drone in the Straight of Hormuz, bringing it down and destroying it. The incident is part of a series of tense interactions between the countries.

182 Trump told reporters, “This is the latest of many provocative and hostile actions by Iran against vessels operating in international waters,” saying the drone was threatening a U.S. ship and was “immediately destroyed.”

183 On Friday, Iran’s Deputy Foreign Minister Abbas Araghchi denied Iran lost a drone, mockingly tweeting, “I am worried that USS Boxer has shot down their own UAS (Unmanned Aerial System) by mistake!”

184 On Friday, Trump reiterated, “We shot it down.” National security adviser John Bolton added there is “no question” it was an Iranian drone and that it presented a threat.

185 On Friday, as the governor of Puerto Rico faced protests over a scandal facing his administration, Trump tweeted, “The Governor is under siege, the Mayor of San Juan is a despicable and incompetent person.”

186 Trump claimed Congress gave Puerto Rico $92 billion, adding, “much of which was squandered away or wasted, never to be seen again.” Congress allocated $42 billion to Puerto Rico, but just $14 billion has been received.

187 On Friday, WAPO reported when Trump met with Nobel Peace Prize winner and Yazidi activist Nadia Murad in the Oval Office, he avoided eye contact with her, and was unaware of her story or the plight of the Yazidis.

188 When Murad told Trump she wanted to go home, but ISIS had murdered her mother and six brothers, Trump responded, “Where are they now?” Murad repeated, “They killed them. They are in the mass grave in Sinjar.”

189 On Thursday, Gallup polling said Trump’s 10th quarter approval was 42.7%, his highest approval since taking office. His approval has remained in a band of 36.8% to 42.7% since he took office.

190 Trump’s approval had dipped to 40% in May when details of the Mueller report emerged, and during his trade war with China, then rebounded to 44% in early July. Polling did not include his racist tweets this week.

191 On Friday, the number of Democrats for impeaching Trump rose to 92–39% of the caucus — including 15 of the 24 Democrats of the House Judiciary Committee. Independent Rep. Amash is also for it.

192 On Friday, Trump told reporters he does not plan to watch Mueller’s testimony on July 24, saying, “At some point they have to stop playing games. They’re just playing games.”

193 Trump said of Green’s impeachment vote, “It’s a disgrace. No other president should have to go through it,” and, “they already took their impeachment vote, adding, it was “lopsided” and “a massive victory.”

194 House Democrats hope to use Mueller’s five-hour appearance next week as an opportunity to educate the American people by using his testimony to tell a compelling narrative about his report, which few have read.

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Representatives Ayanna Pressley (D-MA) speaks as Ilhan Abdullahi Omar (D-MN)(L), Rashida Tlaib (D-MI) and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) hold a press conference, to address remarks made by US President Donald Trump earlier in the day, at the US Capitol in Washington, DC on July 15, 2019.

POLITIKS OF GRAFFITI 140: “THE CHAOS OF OUR LIVES”

JULY 13, 2019

Week 139

Experts in authoritarianism advise to keep a list of things
subtly changing around you, so you’ll remember. Amy Siskind’s Weekly List:  https://theweeklylist.org/weekly-list/week-139/ and my photos/art picks from all over the world:
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“Jeffrey Epstein and Alex Acosta are great guys.” Antwerp-Berchem, Belgium 13jul19

This is the longest week so far, and it felt that way. The chaos of our lives has obfuscated the damage and extremes under Trump, as each week blurs into the next week’s crises and unprecedented actions. This week’s turmoil centered on Jeffrey Epstein’s arrest and the resignation of Labor Secretary Alex Acosta, the 13th Cabinet member to depart the regime — next week there will certainly be new plot lines to engage and exhaust the American people.

IMG_9694
Located in the front of the Palais de Justice in Brussels, Belgium. 7jul19

IMG_9695 

This week the Democrats seemed to take a step back, amid party infighting. Notably, the Trump regime continues to successfully stonewall all the House efforts at accountability, and seemingly Democratic leadership is taking a slight uptick in Trump popularity as a rationale to back off in tone, while in actuality, the lack of action by the Democrats has normalized the previously unthinkable of accepting foreign help and obstructing justice. While the country eagerly awaited Robert Mueller’s testimony on July 17, that too evaporated and became a moving target.

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If there’s any question whether or not he is a joke to other countries…here’s a postcard in a shop window in Brussels, Belgium. 7jul19

 

Trump careened from one rage to another this week, but notably, he is largely getting his way. When things go against him, he finds new ways to re-center and seize the narrative. His central message of immigration continues to be front and center and Fox News seized on the theme of “these are not our children” to dull the news on conditions at detention centers, as deportation raids were set to start. Trump continued to repeat his themes that the media is “the enemy of the people,” that he will serve more than two terms, and that Democrats are enabling millions of “illegal aliens” to vote — all setting the stage for an unpredictable 2020 election.

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And this. Brussels, Belgium. 7jul19

 

  1. On Saturday, Jeffrey Epstein was arrested by federal agents at Teterboro Airport in New Jersey after arriving from Paris. Agentsnalso broke down the door of his Manhattan townhouse to execute search warrants.
  2. Daily Beast reported Epstein was arrested by the FBI-NYPD Crimes Against Children Task Force on charges of sex trafficking dozens of minors in New York and Florida between 2002 and 2005. He will appear in court Monday.
  3. On Monday, Politico reported the White House was closely watching the media coverage of Labor Secretary Alex Acosta’s involvement with the 2008 plea deal with Epstein, but Trump was sticking with him for now.
  4. On Tuesday, Trump told reporters of Epstein, that he “knew him like everybody in Palm Beach knew him,” adding, “I had a falling out with him. I haven’t spoken to him in 15 years. I was not a fan of his.”
  5. On Tuesday, White House counselor Kellyanne Conway told reporters that Trump “hasn’t talked or had contact with Epstein in years and years and years — and over a decade at least,” while defending Acosta.
  6. NYT reported in 1992, a Florida businessman flew in 28 girls for a “calendar girl” competition at Mar-a-Lago. He told the Times the event meant for VIPs was only attended by Trump and Epstein.
  7. Epstein was photographed at Mar-a-Lago in the 1990s and early 2000s, but he was not a member. Trump later distanced himself from Epstein, reportedly over a failed business arrangement between them.
  8. WAPO reported Epstein’s black book contained 14 phone numbers for Trump; Melania; his personal assistant, Norma Foerderer; his houseman; his security officer; his brother Robert and his wife; Ivana; and Ivanka.
  9. During the week, an additional 14 women came forward, saying Epstein sexually assaulted them as children. Epstein’s lawyers asked that he be released from prison to stay at his $77 million mansion awaiting trial.
  10. On Sunday, the U.S. Women’s Soccer Team won the World Cup. It took Trump several hours to send a congratulatory tweet, hours after former president Obama and others leaders had done so.
  11. On Tuesday, the team was honored at a ticker-tape parade in lower Manhattan. Captain Megan Rapinoe said the team accepted an invitation from Minority Leader Chuck Schumer to visit, but has not heard from Trump.
  12. The team was the third, along with the NBA’s Golden State Warriors and the NFL’s Philadelphia Eagles, to have an invitation rescinded after players publicly criticized Trump or indicated they did not plan to attend.
  13. Rapinoe told Trump on CNN, “Your message is excluding people,” adding, “You have incredible responsibility as the chief of this country to take care of every single person,” and “you need to do better for everyone.”
  14. On Thursday, ABC News reported the NYPD is investigating vandalism of eight posters of Rapinoe in the New York subway which were defaced with various homophobic statements as a possible hate crime.
  15. On Saturday, in memos dating from 2017 to present leaked to the Daily Mail, U.K. Ambassador to the U.S. Ambassador Kim Darroch, a top British diplomat, described Trump as “inept,” “insecure,” and “incompetent.”
  16. Darroch wrote Trump’s White House was “uniquely dysfunctional,” and unlikely to “become substantially more normal” and warned Trump could be indebted to Russians, and his career could end in “disgrace.”
  17. The British government defended the ambassador, saying in a statement “The British public would expect our ambassadors to provide ministers with an honest, unvarnished assessment of the politics in their country.”
  18. On Monday, Trump tweeted he will no longer deal with Darroch, saying, “I do not know the Ambassador, but he is not liked or well thought of within the US.” Despite his claim, Trump has met Darroch several times.
  19. Trump also tweeted, “The good news for the wonderful United Kingdom is that they will soon have a new Prime Minister,” adding he “thoroughly enjoyed” his recent visit, and was most impressed by the Queen.
  20. On Tuesday, Trump again attacked Darroch, calling him “the wacky Ambassador, “a very stupid guy,” and “a pompous fool,” adding, “tell him the USA now has the best Economy & Military.”
  21. Trump also attacked Prime Minister Theresa May on Brexit, tweeting, “I told @theresa_may how to do that deal, but she went her own foolish way-was unable to get it done,” adding, “A disaster!”
  22. On Tuesday, U.K. Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt defended PM May, responding to Trump, tweeting: “these comments are disrespectful and wrong to our Prime Minister and my country.”
  23. PM May stood by Darroch in a statement, calling the leak “unfortunate,” adding the “selective extracts” leaked “do not reflect the closeness of, and the esteem in which we hold, the relationship.”
  24. On Wednesday, Darroch, after facing days of intense criticism from Trump including Trump calling him a “pompous fool,” resigned, saying he could not be an effective ambassador if the Trump regime would not deal with him.
  25. Lawmakers from both parties, including Sens. Lindsey Graham and Mark Warner expressed disappointment. The Daily Mirror headline said, “Traitor Boris backs Trump not Britain,” citing Johnson who is likely to replace May.
  26. On Wednesday, another ambassador told the Times, “It could have been any of us,” saying disdain for Trumpis almost ubiquitous, with almost all foreign officials describing living in something of a black hole in D.C.
  27. On Thursday, German, French, and European Union ambassadors held a breakfast for Darroch’s departure, showing solidarity and their support for him, including tweets noting who “our true friends are.”
  28. On Sunday, acting director of Citizenship and Immigration Services Ken Cuccinelli told “Fox New Sunday” that he expects a citizenship question to be on the 2020 Census, saying Trump “has expressed determination.”
  29. Cuccinelli also criticized House Democrats visiting detention facilities, calling it “the height of hypocrisy,” saying they “come down and complain” but are “not helping fix the problem.”
  30. On Sunday, acting secretary of Homeland Security Kevin McAleenan told “This Week” that reporting on conditions at detention centers are “unsubstantiated,” claiming “there’s adequate food, water,” and showers.
  31. On Sunday, Trump tweeted, “The Fake News Media, in particular the Failing @nytimes, is writing phony and exaggerated accounts of the Border Detention Centers.”
  32. Trump tweeted, “people should not be entering our Country illegally…We should be allowed to focus on United States Citizens first,” adding, “Border Patrol, and others in Law Enforcement, have been doing a great job.”
  33. On Sunday, the Times defended their reporting in Week 138, issuing a statement saying, “We are confident in the accuracy of our reporting on the U.S. Border Patrol’s detention centers.”
  34. On Sunday, Trump also attacked Fox News in a series of tweets, saying, “Watching @FoxNews weekend anchors is worse than watching low ratings Fake News @CNN, or Lyin’ Brian Williams.”
  35. Trump complained, “@FoxNews, who failed in getting the very BORING Dem debates, is now loading up with Democrats,” adding, “& even using Fake unsourced @nytimes as a “source” of information.”
  36. Trump also tweeted Fox News “is changing fast, but they forgot the people who got them there!” and complained about Democrat Donna Brazille, “she is all over Fox” and Shep Smith, “by far their lowest rated show.”
  37. On Monday, AP reported Trump was upset at the network airing a scene at a sports bar in France during the United States women’s World Cup Championship, where the crowd was chanting “Fuck Trump!”
  38. Fox News also angered Trump, airing two segments on Sunday which cited NYT reporting on child detention centers in Texas, with a commentator from a liberal watchdog group calling it “the stuff of nightmares.”
  39. A poll by YouGov Blue and Data for Progress tested the impact of the phrase “These are not our children,” used repeatedly by Fox News to defend Trump’s immigrant policies.
  40. When asked whether they agree with the statements that migrant detention centers have “unacceptable conditions” or that migrants are “not our children,” the split was 40%/60% for Republicans, and 92%/8% for Democrats.
  41. On Tuesday, NBC News reported according to accounts collected by Department of Homeland Security case managers, migrant children held at a border station in Yuma, Arizona alleged sexual assault and retaliation by CBP agents.
  42. The 30 accounts collected between April 10 and June 12 include being touched inappropriately by agents, and being retaliated against for complaining about unsanitary conditions, hunger, and overcrowding.
  43. One child stayed in soiled underwear for 10 days because he was afraid to ask for a clean pair. All of the children interviewed had been held at the border station longer than the 72 hours allowed under the law.
  44. On Tuesday, 18 Jewish protestors from the Never Again Action group were arrested by Capitol police in D.C. as they protested the regime’s immigration detention camps and called for the defunding of ICE.
  45. On Wednesday, Yazmin Juarez, the mother whose toddler died weeks after they were released by ICE, testified before the House Oversight Committee, saying, “I watched my baby girl die, slowly, and painfully.”
  46. In the hearing on the treatment of migrant children, Juarez described seeing a number of sick children in the detention center where they were held. Juarez has filed a wrongful death claim against the Trump regime.
  47. An attorney advocate told the panel she interviewed hundreds of immigrant children who complained about “open” toilets, saying they are embarrassed to use the toilets. One boy said he tried not to eat to avoid it.
  48. On Friday, the House released a report based on testimony and subpoenaed information on child separations under Trump, with new information on 2,648 children who were separated from their parents.
  49. The report found at least 18 migrant children under the age of two were separated from their parent, and “kept apart for 20 days to half a year.” Also, children were kept at Border Patrol facilities longer than 72 hours.
  50. On Friday, Vice President Mike Pence visited a migrant detention facility in McAllen. WAPO reported he saw 400 men crammed behind chained fences in sweltering heat, without enough room to lie down on the concrete floor.
  51. When reporters arrived the migrant men screamed they had been held there for 40 days or longer, were hungry, had not been able to brush their teeth, and had to ask permission to go outside to get drinking water.
  52. The patrol agent in charge admitted many of the men had not showered in 10 to 20 days. Pence said, “I was not surprised by what I saw,” adding, “I knew we’d see a system that was overwhelmed,” and “This is tough stuff.”
  53. Pence blamed Democrats, saying they need to “step up, do their jobs, and end this crisis,” and gave a more positive view than Democrats and news reports, “Every family I spoke to said they were being well cared for.”
  54. Pence also said, “What you saw today was a very clean facility,” adding, “it was just a few short weeks ago that Congress finally acknowledged the crisis and gave us an additional $4.6 billion in humanitarian aid.”
  55. Pence also praised employees at the facilities, saying, “I was deeply moved to see the care that our Customs and Border Protection personnel are providing,” saying they are “doing a tough job in a difficult environment.”
  56. On Friday, the Intercept reported Border Patrol chief Carla Provost was a member of the secret Facebook “I’m 10-15,” discovered in Week 136, which is under investigation by Homeland Security.
  57. On Friday, Adweek reported Ogilvy’s leadership team looked to address staff concern over its work for CPB, which had not been previously reported. Many agency staffers were unaware of the relationship.
  58. On Monday, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo unveiled a new Commission on Unalienable Rights, which he said would present him with “an informed review of the role of human rights in American foreign policy.”
  59. On Thursday, 22 countries including our former allies Britain, France, Canada, and Germany issued a joint statement condemning China’s mass detention of Uyghur and other minorities. The U.S. was not a signatory.
  60. On Monday, William Latson, a principal at a Florida high school, was reassigned to an administrative position over a 2018 email exchange in which he said the Holocaust was not “a factual, historical event.”
  61. On Tuesday, WAPO reported while the Senate has confirmed Trump’s judicial picks to circuit courts at a record pace — 1 in 5 seats on the appellate bench— not one of the 41 judges is Hispanic or black.
  62. On Tuesday, Mississippi Today reported Robert Foster, a Republican candidate for governor, denied a woman reporter access to his campaign, saying being alone with a woman could be used to smear him.
  63. Foster said, “I put my wife and my Christian beliefs above anyone else’s feelings or opinions.” As the story gained national attention, Foster refused to back down, saying, “perception is reality in this world.”
  64. On Tuesday, a panel of judges on the U.S. 5th Circuit Court of Appeals sharply questioned attorneys defending the Affordable Care Act, signaling the panel may throw away part of the law.
  65. The case could be the third to head to the Supreme Court. The DOJ, which typically is charged with defending the nation’s laws, declined to discuss the litigation.
  66. On Wednesday, a Catholic high school teacher who was fired for being in a same-sex marriage sued the Archdiocese of Indianapolis, saying it “illegally interfered with his contractual and employment relationship.”
  67. On Friday, Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey said he had a change of heart over his tweet to “withdraw all financial incentive dollars” from Nike following the Betsy Ross sneaker controversy, and would welcome a new Nike plant.
  68. On Friday, the District’s attorney general issued subpoenas to the National Rifle Association and its foundation “as part of an investigation into whether these entities violated the District’s Nonprofit Act.”
  69. On Sunday, Rep. Justin Amash, who last week left the Republican Party, told “State of the Union” that high-level Republicans have privately thanked him for supporting impeachment.
  70. On Monday, Rep. Amash resigned from the House Oversight Committee. He had been the sole Republican joining the panel’s Democrats in efforts to investigate Trump.
  71. On Sunday, Rep. Peter King said on a radio interview, “there was severe, serious abuses that were carried outin the FBI and, I believe, top levels of the CIA” against candidate Trump, adding it is “going to come out.”
  72. On Sunday, an ABC News/WAPO poll found Trump reached a career-high approval rating of 44%, 2 points better than the prior peak, while 53% disapprove.
  73. The poll also found 37% are for impeachment, steady from April; however opposition to impeachment has grown to a new high of 59%. By party, 61% of Democrats, 37% of independents, and 7% of Republicans are for it.
  74. On Sunday, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi told the Times, Trump “would rather not be impeached,” adding, “he every day practically self-impeaches by obstructing justice and ignoring the subpoenas.”
  75. Asked if Trump had pressured her on the issue, Pelosi said, “He may have one time said something like, ‘I’m glad you’re not doing this impeachment because there’s nothing there,’” adding, “But that means nothing to me.”
  76. On Monday, BuzzFeed reported multiple House Democrats, including several moderates, who are for starting an impeachment inquiry said it was based on feedback from their constituents.
  77. On Monday, Trump retweeted a two-year old tweet with a fictitious quote by Ronald Reagan predicting Trump would be president. The account who first sent the quote had 13 followers.
  78. On Tuesday, the Court of Appeals for the 2nd Circuit ruled Trump cannot block his critics on Twitter, saying he violated the First Amendment, in a case that could have broad implications for public officials.
  79. Trump had blocked seven of the people behind the lawsuit while the case was appealed. A spokesperson for the DOJ, which is defending Trump, said we “are exploring possible next steps.”
  80. On Saturday, CNN reported Trump’s U.S. Department of Agriculture suspended data collection for Honey Bee Colonies, part of an Obama-era focus on protecting pollinators whose populations have plummeted.
  81. The annual survey was suspended for the third since Trump took office. Budgetary concerns were cited. The USDA also moved key research units from Washington D.C. to Kansas City, sparking an exodus of experts.
  82. On Monday, as environmental issues gained traction in the 2020 race, Trump delivered a speech defendinghis record on the environment. WAPO reported Ivanka had also pushed him to address the environment.
  83. Speaking from the White House, Trump said, “We want the cleanest air, we want crystal clean water, and that’s what we’re doing,” adding the regime is pursuing “technologies and processes” to make production cleaner.
  84. Trump said the U.S. “does not have to sacrifice our own jobs to lead the world on the environment,” saying the regime is working “harder than many previous,” maybe all of them, and mocked the Green New Deal.
  85. Trump was joined by three Cabinet secretaries overseeing energy, two of whom are former lobbyists for the coal and oil industries (Andrew Wheeler and David Bernhardt), and did not mention climate change.
  86. Trump nonsensically claimed no one had heard of “forest management” to prevent wildfires until he took office, saying, “you don’t have to have any forest fires” if you clean the forest, like they do in “forest nations.”
  87. Environmental advocates described Trump’s speech as a “1984” moment. Federal data showed air quality has significantly worsened under Trump, with carbon dioxide emissions having their biggest increase since 2010.
  88. Fox News, uncharacteristically, cut into Trump’s speech to fact-check him live. Host Shepard Smith said on air that Trump’s policies have been “widely criticized by environmentalists and academics.”
  89. On Tuesday, CNN reported a whistleblower said he was pressured to reverse an environment finding that Mike Ingram’s proposed housing and golf course project in Arizona desert would threaten endangered species.
  90. The decision came after Interior Department Sec. Bernhardt met with Ingram at a Montana hunting lodge, which was not listed on Bernhardt’s official calendar. Ingram is also a donor and fundraiser for Trump.
  91. Whistleblower Steve Spangle, a 30-year veteran of the Fish and Wildlife Service, was overruled by higher ups. The meeting was one of at least 11 Ingram had with top officials at the Interior and the EPA.
  92. On Wednesday, WSJ reported Rod Schoonover, a State Department intelligence analyst, resigned after the White House blocked part of his testimony to Congress on climate change and its threat to national security.
  93. Schoonoever’s testimony cited scientific journals and intelligence reports, and concluded climate change could cause increased humanitarian crises, competition for resources, and risk of political instability.
  94. On Sunday, WAPO reported in response to their inquiry on if career attorneys would withdraw from the case on adding a citizenship question to the 2020 Census, the DOJ said in a statement it was changing lawyers.
  95. Reportedly, at least some of the career attorneys had legal or ethical concerns over Trump’s orders. It is a nearly unheard-of move to switch legal teams in the midst of such a case.
  96. The DOJ said new lawyers will be part of the department’s Civil Division and Consumer Protection Branch. Analysts say the new team will be proceeding on increasingly shaky legal ground.
  97. On Monday, Attorney General William Barr said in an interview that he believes there is a legal path for the regime to add the citizenship question, but declined to give details.
  98. Barr said Trump is “right on the legal grounds,” adding, “I felt the Supreme Court decision was wrong.” He also acknowledged that some of the career attorneys did not want to continue working on the case.
  99. On Monday, Speaker Pelosi said she planned to schedule a full House vote “soon” to hold Barr and Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross in contempt for defying House subpoenas related to the citizenship question.
  100. On Tuesday, Trump quoted a “Fox & Friends” co-host, tweeting, “There should be a question about Citizenship on the Census,” adding, “Working hard on something that should be so easy. People are fed up!
  101. On Tuesday, a federal judge in New York rejected the DOJ’s request to change lawyers in the 2020 census case, saying, “Defendants provide no reasons, let alone ‘satisfactory reasons.’”
  102. Judge Jesse Furman said to change its legal team, the DOJ must meet the legal requirement of satisfactorily explaining the existing lawyers’ departure and showing the switch would not impede the case,
  103. On Wednesday, a second federal judge, Judge George Hazel in Maryland said he shared the concern of the federal judge in New York, and denied the DOJ’s bid to withdraw the attorneys from the 2020 census case.
  104. Judge Hazel wrote he was concerned that “a shift in counsel at this late stage may be disruptive to an already complicated and expedited case,” but with assurances was “inclined to ultimately permit the withdrawal.”
  105. On Monday, in an interview with the AP, Barr accused Democrats of trying to create a “public spectacle” by subpoenaing Robert Mueller to testify. There is no indication Mueller does not want to testify before Congress.
  106. Barr also said the DOJ would seek to block any attempts by House Democrats to subpoena members of the special counsel’s team.
  107. On Monday, Barr told reporters he is recusing himself from the Epstein case, saying, “I am recused from that matter because one of the law firms that represented Epstein long ago was a firm I subsequently joined.”
  108. During his Senate confirmation hearing, when asked if he would conduct an investigation of the DOJ’s handling of the Epstein case, Barr responded, “I have to recuse myself from Kirkland & Ellis matters, I am told.”
  109. On Tuesday, the DOJ said Barr would not recuse himself from the SDNY prosecution of Epstein, but he will remain uninvolved in the DOJ’s review of the handling of Epstein’s 2008 plea deal in Florida.
  110. On Tuesday, Trump tweeted, “the Radical Left is using Commerce to hurt their “Enemy,”” citing a planned boycott of Home Depot over its owner’s financial support of Trump. Notably, Trump has called for boycotts too.
  111. On Monday, CNN reported Felix Sater is scheduled to testify to the House Intelligence Committee behind closed doors. In Week 136, Sater was a no-show to scheduled testimony, saying he overslept after taking a sedative.
  112. On Tuesday, a House spokesperson said Sater “has not fully cooperated,” saying he obstructed the panel’s investigation by withholding documents and testimony, adding he “will remain under subpoena until he does so.”
  113. On Monday, AP reported a federal grand jury is probing whether GOP fundraiser Elliott Broidy used his position as vice chair of Trump’s inaugural committee to cultivate business deals with foreign governments.
  114. The U.S. Attorney’s Office in Brooklyn subpoenaed Trump’s inaugural committee seeking records relating to 20 individuals and businesses, investigating whether Broidy violated the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act.
  115. On Monday, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo signed a bill that allows Congress to obtain Trump’s state tax returns. House Ways and Means Committee Chair Richard Neal said he will not seek Trump’s state returns.
  116. On Tuesday, the California Assembly passed a measure requiring presidential candidates to release five years of tax returns. The measure passed the state Senate, and awaits Gov. Gavin Newsom’s signature.
  117. On Tuesday, in newly unsealed documents, federal prosecutors told a judge they no longer plan to call Michael Flynn as a witness in the trial of Bijan Rafiekian, Flynn’s former partner in a consulting business.
  118. Flynn was set to cooperate in exchange for a lenient sentence, but the July 3 filing said in an abrupt shift that prosecutors will instead argue Flynn was a co-conspirator — raising concerns Flynn may expect a pardon.
  119. On Friday, an attorney for Bijan Rafiekian said in court that federal prosecutors have extensive evidence that the Turkish government tried to influence Trump’s 2016 campaign through Flynn.
  120. Rafiekian’s trial starts next week, and Flynn was, until last week, supposed to be the government’s star witness against Rafiekian on their being paid by Turkey to push for the expulsion of cleric Fethullah Gulen.
  121. Flynn’s attorney Sidney Powell claimed the government is trying to get him to lie, saying Flynn did not intentionally lie about the role of the Turkish government, but signed documents without reading them first.
  122. Powell said, “Should the government’s case here fail, it will not be because of anything Mr. Flynn did or did not do,” claiming the government is trying to retaliate against him, and his former lawyers struck a bad deal.
  123. Prosecutor Brandon Van Grack, part of Mueller’s team who worked on Flynn’s case, said it is the “first time” he is hearing that Flynn does not believe he was “willfully” or “knowingly” lying to his former attorneys.
  124. On Tuesday, Politico reported the House Judiciary Committee will vote on Thursday to authorize 12 subpoenas for witnesses in the Mueller probe, representing a broadening of the panel’s Trump-related investigations.
  125. The 12 include Jared Kushner, Jeff Sessions, Rod Rosenstein, Michael Flynn, John Kelly, Corey Lewandowski, Robert Porter, David Pecker, Rick Dearborn, Jody Hunt, Keith Davidson, and Dylan Howard.
  126. On Thursday, the House Judiciary voted to approve the subpoenas for 12 witnesses. The panel also approvedsubpoenas for documents and testimony from regime officials related to the “zero tolerance” policy.
  127. On Monday, Congressional Democrats issued 37 subpoenas for Trump’s financial and business records, as part of an emoluments lawsuit brought by more than 200 Democrats in Congress.
  128. The subpoenas were issued to Trump Tower, his hotels in New York and D.C., and Mar-a-Lago. Plaintiffs are also seeking information on trademarks granted to Trump businesses by foreign governments.
  129. The DOJ asked the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit in a court filing to dismiss the case or put subpoenas on hold, saying the judge “ignored the unique separation-of-powers concerns.”
  130. On Wednesday, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 4th District dismissed the emoluments lawsuit brought by the attorneys general of Maryland and D.C. who claimed Trump’s business holdings were a conflict of interest.
  131. The court ruled the lawsuit failed to definitively show state or foreign governments switched to patronizing the Trump Hotel DC because it distributes profits to Trump, rather than the hotel’s characteristics.
  132. On Wednesday, Trump celebrated the win, tweeting, “Word just out that I won a big part of the Deep State and Democrat induced Witch Hunt,” adding, “unanimous decision in my favor.”
  133. Trump also tweeted, “I don’t make money, but lose a fortune for the honor of serving and doing a great job as your President (including accepting Zero salary!).” The attorneys general said they would file an appeal.
  134. On Wednesday, at a White House ceremony for Trump to sign an executive order on advancing kidney health, Trump said “the kidney has a very special place in the heart. It’s an incredible thing.”
  135. On Tuesday, Reuters reported three members of the DOJ’s Inspector Generals office met with Christopher Steele in London during Trump’s visit in early June, interviewing him for 16 hours over two days.
  136. Inspector General Michael Horowitz met with Steele as part of the DOJ’s inquiry into the early stages of the FBI investigation into Trump, Hillary Clinton, Russia, and Carter Page.
  137. Horowitz’s investigators found Steele’s information sufficiently and surprisingly credible, dampening expectations of Trump’s allies. Mueller’s team interviewed Steele twice in September 2017.
  138. On Tuesday, Politico reported only a small segment of members of Congress have read the Mueller report. Sen. Tim Scott said, “What’s the point?” while Sen. Lisa Murkowski called it “tedious.”
  139. On Tuesday, Yahoo News reported Russia’s foreign intelligence service, known as the SVR, was behind a fake intelligence report that circulated in the summer of 2016 about the death of DNC staffer Seth Rich.
  140. According to the fake report, Rich was on his way to alert the FBI to corrupt dealings by Hillary Clinton, and was killed by her associates. The conspiracy was picked up by a website which frequents in Russian propaganda.
  141. Over the next two and half years, Russia state media also ran with a conspiracy that Rich was the source of Democratic Party emails leaked to WikiLeaks, which was first floated by Julian Assange on August 9, 2016.
  142. On Wednesday, Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell hinted at the first interest rate cut in over a decade. Fed watchers noted Powell has been under extreme pressure in unprecedented attacks by Trump to cut rates.
  143. On Wednesday, testifying before the House Financial Services Committee, Powell said he would not resign if Trump asked him to, saying “the law clearly gives me a four-year term and I fully intend to serve it.”
  144. On Wednesday, WAPO reported Trump’s July Fourth event cost the D.C. government $1.7 million and other costs for police, bankrupting a special fund to protect the city from terrorist threats and other security needs.
  145. On Tuesday, Trump praised Labor Department Secretary Acosta, telling reporters he felt “very badly” for him, and Acosta “works so hard and has done such a good job,” adding he is looking at the situation closely.
  146. On Wednesday, Politico published an excerpt from an upcoming book saying the GOP almost abandoned Trump after the “Access Hollywood” tape, until his ferocious attack on the Clintons in the third debate.
  147. On Wednesday, the Guardian reported that in Acosta’s 2020 budget for the Labor Department, he planned to slash funding for the International Labor Affairs Bureau, the agency that fights the sexual exploitation of children.
  148. On Wednesday, Acosta held a press conference to defend his role in brokering the plea deal for Epstein in 2008 after a chorus of Democrats called for him to resign. The conference was watched closely by Trump.
  149. Acosta, who was the top federal prosecutor in Miami at the time, said of the victims, “I wanted to help them.” While Acosta condemned Epstein’s “horrific” crimes, he refused to apologize, typical of the Trump strategy.
  150. Acosta claimed prosecutors in his office overrode state authorities because they wanted to make sure Epstein went to “jail and put the world on notice that he was and is a sexual predator,” rather than “roll the dice” at trial.
  151. Later, Barry Krischer, a former Palm Beach state attorney, said Acosta was trying to “rewrite history,” adding, “I can emphatically state that Mr. Acosta’s recollection of this matter is completely wrong.”
  152. Krischer said Acosta’s office abandoned its own 53-page indictment after secret negotiations with Epstein’s lawyers, saying “the U.S. attorney’s office always had the ability to file its own federal charges.”
  153. On Wednesday, House Oversight Chair Elijah Cummings sent a letter to Acosta, requesting that he testify before his committee this month, saying, “Your testimony is even more critical now” with the SDNY indictment.
  154. On Thursday, in a series of 20 morning tweets, Trump raged on a variety of unrelated topics as news of Epstein was unfolding, and announcement were coming on ICE raids and a citizen question executive order.
  155. Trump tweeted, “The Fake News is not as important, or as powerful, as Social Media,” adding, “they have lost tremendous credibility since that day in November, 2016” when he came down the escalator (it was 2015).
  156. Trump attacked “The Fake News Media” for saying “the banks didn’t like me,” adding Deutsche Bank was “one of the largest and most prestigious banks in the world! They wanted my business, and so did many others!”
  157. Trump attacked 2020 contender Sen. Elizabeth Warren, whom he again called “Pocahontas,” tweeting an apparent typo of “1000/24th” instead of 1/1,024th Native American. Trump then deleted the tweet.
  158. Trump tweeted about serving more than two terms, “when I ultimately leave office in six years, or maybe 10 or 14 (just kidding),” saying the media “will quickly go out of business for lack of credibility, or approval.”
  159. On Thursday, NYT reported nationwide round ups by ICE of thousands of members of undocumented families for deportation are scheduled to begin on Sunday, and continue over several days.
  160. ICE is reportedly targeting at least 2,000 immigrants who have been ordered to be deported. The raids will include “collateral” deportations, deportations of immigrants who happen to be on the scene during the raids.
  161. The operation, originally announced by Trump in Week 136, was postponed partly because of pushback from his own immigration agency. Agents have also expressed apprehension about arresting babies and young children.
  162. On Thursday, in the morning, ABC News reported regime officials said Trump was expected to issue an executive order to add a citizenship question to the 2020 Census, and announce it later on Thursday.
  163. Later Thursday, at a press conference with Barr and Commerce Secretary Ross, Trump backed off from his efforts to add a citizenship question, including without explanation, an executive order.
  164. Instead Trump issued an executive order directing every department and agency to provide the Commerce Department “all requested records regarding the number of citizens and noncitizens in our country.”
  165. Trump said, “We will utilize these vast federal databases to gain a full, complete, and accurate count of the noncitizen population.” Barr said this would mark the end of the three court cases on adding the question.
  166. Trump said he is “not backing down,” claiming Democrats are trying to hide “illegal aliens in our midst,” adding, “this is part of a broader left-wing effort to erode the rights of the American citizen.”
  167. Barr seemed to blame the shift in strategy on timing “to implement any new decision” as forms are being printed, claiming the citizenship questions would have survived a legal review by the Supreme Court.
  168. Barr also said the information may be used for congressional redistricting: “There is a current dispute over whether illegal aliens can be included for apportionment purposes…this data may possibly prove relevant.”
  169. On Thursday, Trump hosted 200 conservative social media personalities, including controversial names like Sebastian Gorka, “Diamond and Silk,” and James O’Keefe at a “Social Media Summit” at the White House.
  170. Trump bragged how his tweets used to be more effective: “I used to watch it: it’d be like a rocket ship when I put out a beauty,” adding, “Like when I said, remember I said somebody was spying on me?”
  171. Trump said, “To me free speech is not when you see something good and then you purposely write bad,” adding, “To me that’s very dangerous speech, and you become angry at it. But that’s not free speech.”
  172. On Thursday, the American Federation of Teachers union sued Education Secretary Betsy DeVos, alleging her department mismanaged a program that forgives teachers’ and public workers’ loans after 10 years of payment.
  173. DeVos tried to end Public Service Loan Forgiveness for three years by removing it from her budget, but lawmakers have funded it. The lawsuit alleges DeVos denied applicants “on arbitrary and capricious grounds.”
  174. On Thursday, WAPO reported in an upcoming book by reporter Tim Alberta, former House Speaker Paul Ryan said of Trump, “ he didn’t know anything about government … I wanted to scold him all the time.”
  175. Ryan also said people around Trump “helped to stop him from making bad decisions. All the time.” The author said he did not think Ryan could stand another two years of Trump, and viewed retirement as an “escape hatch.”
  176. On Thursday, Trump attacked Ryan on Twitter, calling him “the failed V.P. candidate” and “lame duck failure,” and saying his “record of achievement was atrocious (except during my first two years as President).”
  177. Trump also tweeted Ryan “quit Congress because he didn’t know how to Win,” adding, “They gave me standing O’s in the Great State of Wisconsin, & booed him off the stage,” and, “He promised me the Wall, & failed.”
  178. On Friday, before heading to Ryan’s home state of Wisconsin for a rally, Trump told reporters on the South Lawn, Ryan was a “baby,” and a “terrible speaker,” and “didn’t know what the hell he was doing.”
  179. Trump also claimed Alberta may have paid Ryan for an interview, telling reporters, “maybe he gets paid for that.” In a tweet, Alberta responded, “I did not pay Paul Ryan for the interview.”
  180. Trump allies in the House dismissed Ryan’s take, calling it “a little bit of revisionist history.” Rep. Amash called Ryan one of Trump’s “biggest enablers,” calling it “ridiculous” he waited until he left to criticize him.
  181. On Thursday, William McGinley, the chief liaison between the White House and federal agencies, resigned. McGinley was one of the last remaining senior staffers from the beginning of Trump’s time in office.
  182. On Friday, Acosta resigned as Labor Secretary. Trump, standing with Acosta on the South Lawn, announced the resignation, saying Acosta had called him that morning saying he planned to step down.
  183. Trump said, “This was him, not me,” adding Acosta “has been a “great, great secretary” and a “tremendous talent,” and noting Acosta “went to Harvard, a great student.”
  184. Trump named Acosta’s deputy, Patrick Pizzella, to serve as Labor Secretary. With Acosta’s departure, four cabinet positions will be led by acting secretaries (labor, chief of staff, defense, homeland security).
  185. Including Acosta, 13 Trump Cabinet members have departed, not counting those who served in an acting capacity. Several also left under ethics scandals including Scott Pruitt, Tom Price, David Shulkin, and Ryan Zinke.
  186. Standing with Acosta, Trump attacked familiar targets for 30 minutes. He said the Times is a “very dishonest newspaper” doing “a tremendous disservice to this country,” and “They are truly the enemy of the people.”
  187. Trump also mentioned Article 2 of the Constitution on the executive branch, saying, “Nobody ever mentions Article 2,” adding, “It gives me all of these rights at a level that nobody has ever seen before.
  188. On Friday, Mueller said he would postpone his testimony to allow members of the House Judiciary and Intelligence committees to question him. Under the July 17 deal, Mueller would have appeared for just two hours for each committee.
  189. Because of the five-minute questioning limit, only senior members of each committee could participate, raising an outcry from other committee members. Negotiations continued between parties during the day.
  190. Later Friday, the two House committees and Mueller seemed to reach agreement to postpone his testimony until July 24, and give both panels more time to question him.
  191. On Friday, speaking to reporters at the White House, Trump berated House Democrats on the testimony, saying there is nothing Mueller “can say,” adding, “He’s written a report.
  192. Trump added the report said, “It said no collusion, and it said, effectively, no obstruction,” adding, “They want to go it again and again and again because they want to hurt the president before the election.”
  193. Trump also confirmed ICE raids are set to start on Sunday, and will target criminals, saying, “There’s nothing to be secret about. ICE is law enforcement, they’re great patriots. They have a tough job.”
  194. Most mayors in the 10 cities targeted have criticized the raids, and said they will not cooperate with ICE or give them police database information or cooperation. New Orleans was removed due to a tropical storm.
  195. Trump criticized “mayors in sanctuary cities” citing New York City’s mayor, saying, “But a guy like de Blasio probably wouldn’t want the raid. Many mayors do…They don’t want to have crime in their cities or states.”
  196. Trump said of the controversy between Speaker Pelosi and four freshman Democrats, Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez should treat Pelosi “with respect,” also claiming she lied about a migrant woman drinking toilet water.
  197. Trump also said of the four freshmen, also including Reps. Omar Ilhan, Rashida Tlaib, and Ayanna Pressley, all of whom are women of color, that they are a group of people that he does not “know where they came from.”
  198. On Friday, tens of thousands of protestors participated in over 700 “Lights for Liberty” immigration vigils around the country to protest conditions at immigration detention centers at the southern border.
  199. On Friday, Axios reported Trump is privately telling confidants that he wants to remove Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats. Sources said the conversations on the topic have been happening for months.
  200. A source said Trump views the Office of DNI as an unnecessary bureaucratic layer and since he cannot get rid of it, he wants to “downsize” the office. Reportedly, Trump is no longer listening to Coats.
  201. On Friday, the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled in favor of the Trump regime, saying the DOJ was within its rights to withhold Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS) grants from sanctuary cities.
  202. On Friday, CNN reported a federal investigation by the Manhattan U.S. Attorney’s office into whether Trump Organization executives violated campaign finance laws looks to be wrapping up without charges.
  203. On Friday, the Federal Trade Commission voted to approve the $5 billion Facebook settlement over releasing private information on users to Cambridge Analytica. Democrats labelled the settlement “chump change.”
  204. BuzzFeed reported on a secret recording of a meeting revealing Russia tried to funnel millions of dollars into Italian deputy prime minister Matteo Salvini’s far-right party. Salvini is known as “European Trump.”
  205. The meeting of three Russians and three Italians, including a close aide to Salvini, was held in October 2018to discuss a strategy to undermine liberal democracies and shape a new, nationalist Europe aligned with Moscow.
  206. No evidence has surfaced that the deal went through, or showing Salvini’s direct involvement, but the tape ignited questions of whether the far-right League party broke Italian political laws.

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Vice President Mike Pence visited a detention center in McAllen, Texas on Friday and saw hundreds of migrant detainees packed into their holding areas surrounded by a chain-link fence.

POLITIKS OF GRAFFITI 139: 4th OF JULY, ANOTHER CHANCE TO LIE

Week 138: Experts in authoritarianism advise to keep a list of things subtly changing around you, so you’ll remember.

July 6, 2019 List from Amy Siskind https://medium.com/@Amy_Siskind/week-138-experts-in-authoritarianism-advise-to-keep-a-list-of-things-subtly-changing-around-you-a5a6bc70b06d and photos either taken by me somewhere in the world, or found on my social media during the week…

This week, two years after visiting France for Bastille Day and admiring its military display, Trump hosted a “Salute to America” on July Fourth, replete with an expansive array of military hardware and troops. The scenes of tanks rolling into the nation’s capital drew comparisons to other authoritarian regimes who flaunt their military might through public displays, including North Korea, where Trump paid a surprise visit as the week began.IMG_0336This week, Trump thumbed his nose at the Supreme Court’s decision in Week 137 not to allow a citizenship question on the 2020 Census. The Justice and Commerce Departments, after stating the questionnaire was being printed without the citizenship question, completely reversed themselves 24 hours later following a single tweet by Trump. By weeks’ end, the DOJ said it would, at Trump’s behest, try to put forth a new argument in court justifying the question, while Trump mused he had four or fives options to get his way. Notably, Trump has now challenged the authority of both the legislative and judicial branches — including the nation’s highest court — to counter his unilateral power. And the Justice Department, under the leadership of Attorney General William Barr has been rendered a tool to help his efforts.

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Brussels, Belgium 7july19

Reports by the Department of Homeland Security Inspector General revealed dire conditions at immigrant detention facilities at the border. Trump defended the facilities and Border Patrol agents, as protests and uproar from Democrats continued. Republicans remained silent.

  1. A study by the University of Tennessee found American voters were probably influenced by Russian propaganda during the 2016 election. Trump’s popularity correlated closely with activity by the Internet Research Agency.
  2. The study found that for every 25,000 re-tweets by Russian troll and bot accounts associated with the IRA, Trump’s poll numbers moved up by 1%. The IRA was a key weapon in Russia’s attack on social media.
  3. A new poll by Associated Press-NORC Center found Trump’s approval rating is 38% (60% disapprove), despite what almost two-thirds describe as a “good” economy. Just 17% say they benefited from the GOP tax cut.
  4. A new poll by Gallup found support for impeaching Trump at 45%, while 53% oppose. Support for impeachment is higher than it ever was for Bill Clinton (high of 35%), and close to the high mark for Richard Nixon (46%).
  5. Record temperatures hit parts of the U.S., with mussels frying to death in California, roads buckling in South Dakota, and 90 degree temperatures in Anchorage, Alaska. Last month was the hottest June on record in Europe.
  6. On Saturday, at the G-20 summit, Trump invited North Korea’s Kim Jong Un to meet, tweeting, “if Chairman Kim of North Korea sees this, I would meet him at the Border/DMZ just to shake his hand and say Hello(?)!”
  7. Trump told reporters “I just thought of it this morning,” and, “I don’t know where he is right now; he may not be in North Korea,” although he would know from his daily briefing. A Kim aide called the offer “interesting.”
  8. On Sunday, Trump made an unscheduled visit after the G-20 summit to meet with North Korea’s Kim Jong Un in the demilitarized zone between North and South Korea, and crossed briefly into North Korea.
  9. Trump and Kim walked up to the line dividing North and South Korea and shook hands. Kim then invited Trump to the North Korea side, saying, “I never expected to see you in this place.” Trump said it was “my honor.”
  10. Trump was the first sitting U.S. president to visit North Korea. Trump and Kim met privately for 53 minutes. Afterwards he told reporters, “this was a great day. This was a very legendary, very historic day.”
  11. Trump said of their talks on North Korea’s nuclear program, “Very big stuff, pretty complicated, but not as complicated as people think,” adding the media has “no appreciation for what is being done. None.”
  12. White House press secretary Stephanie Grisham was bruised after pushing North Korean security officials out of the way to allow American journalists through to cover the meeting between Trump and Kim.
  13. Later at a news conference with South Korean President Moon Jae-in, Trump falsely claimed, “Obama wanted to meet, and Chairman Kim would not meet him. The Obama administration was begging for a meeting.”
  14. On Sunday, while traveling as a guest of the White House, Fox News host Tucker Carlson told “Fox & Friends” part of “what it means to lead a country” is “killing people” when asked about Trump meeting with Kim.
  15. On Monday, Fox News aired an interview Trump did with Carlson from Osaka. Trump noted clean Japanese cities, but said U.S. cities like San Francisco and Los Angeles are filthy, adding he may “intercede.”
  16. Trump also made reference to “junkies” and homelessness, which he said is “a phenomena that started two years ago,” calling it “disgraceful.” U.S. homelessness has remained steady for the past three years.
  17. On Sunday, a viral video showed Ivanka Trump at the G-2 awkwardly joining a conversation between French President Emmanuel Macron, IMF director Christine Lagarde, and British Prime Minister Theresa May.
  18. Lagarde, who nodded while May spoke, looked puzzled by Ivanka’s comment and pursed her lips. The video raised concerns about Ivanka’s role in U.S. foreign policy given that she has no expertise or experience.
  19. Ivanka also attended Trump’s meeting with Kim, posing for photos, giving news interviews, and parroting her father’s talking point. The trip represented Ivanka’s step onto the world stage, and she asserted herself.
  20. NYT reported the G-20 trip showed Ivanka’s unchecked ascent in the White House, as critics who spoke out no longer remain. Trump said to troops at a military base in South Korea, “She’s going to steal the show.”
  21. On Monday, White House Director of Strategic Communications Mercedes Schlapp abruptly resigned over rumored tension with Grisham over leaks. Schlapp will work on Trump’s re-election campaign.
  22. On Tuesday, Politico reported one of the reasons Trump held off on bombing Iran in Week 136 was seeing Jack Keane, a retired Army general, say on Fox News that the downing of the drone may have been a fluke.
  23. On Sunday, cartoonist Michael de Adder was dropped by Brunswick Newsin Canada after a drawing of Trump standing over the two drowned migrant bodies with a golf club asking, “Do you mind if I play through?”
  24. On Sunday, 36 Jewish activists were arrested, as part of a 200 person protest blockading an ICE detention facility in New Jersey. The group protested conditions in the facility, holding signs that read, “Never Again.”
  25. On Tuesday, 1,000 Jewish activists shut down traffic in the heart of Bostonchanting, singing, and drumming to protest immigrant detention centers in the city and around the country.
  26. Protestors started at the New England Holocaust Memorial and ended at a detention center where 18 were arrested for blocking the entrance. The protest was organized under the principal “Never Again.”
  27. On Monday, ICE confirmed that Yimi Alexis Balderramos-Torres, a 30 year-old Honduran migrant, was found unresponsive at the Houston Contract Detention Facility. The cause of death was undetermined.
  28. On Monday, NBC News reported an internal report by the Department of Homeland Security Inspector General revealed border agents at a border station in El Paso were concerned about riots due to poor conditions.
  29. The May 30 report found agents were arming themselves and staying in holding areas, contrary to the Trump regime’s assertion that charges of poor conditions were “unsubstantiated.”
  30. The report said there were four showers for 756 migrants, and that cells meant for 35 where holding 155 adult males with only one toilet and sink, and so little space the men count not lie down to sleep.
  31. The report noted health risks, including lice outbreaks and agents trying to quarantine outbreaks of flu, chickenpox, and scabies. The facility also did not have clean clothing for children or soft mats for them to sleep on.
  32. On Monday, a group of House Democrats visited detention facilities in Clint and El Paso. The Clint facility was down from 700 migrant children in May to just two dozen. Several hundred migrants were at El Paso.
  33. The Congressional Hispanic Caucus organized the trip after outrage over the Clint facility. Lawmakers said they saw hundreds of sick and dirty children without parents, and inconsolable toddlers in the care of other children.
  34. In El Paso a group of migrant women were crowded into a cell with no running water and going without showers for weeks. One woman told lawmakers Border Patrol officers told them to drink out of the toilet.
  35. On Tuesday, a federal judge ordered lawyers representing detained migrants and CBP to promptly determine if detention facilities in El Paso and the Rio Grande Valley are safe for migrant children.
  36. Last week a group of doctors and advocates warned the judge of major health and hygiene problems. One doctor who interviewed 39 children likened the conditions at the detention centers to “torture facilities.”
  37. On Tuesday, NBC News reported the number of migrant children in Border Patrol custody dropped from 2,350 on May 30 to under 300 due to a 25% decline in undocumented immigrants crossing from May to June.
  38. On Tuesday, a federal judge blocked the Trump regime’s policy of keeping thousands of asylum-seekers locked up indefinitely while they pursue their legal cases, saying the Constitution entitles them to a bond hearing.
  39. In April, as part of the regime’s efforts to deter migrants, AG William Barr said the government would no longer allow bond hearings. The ACLU and another group sued to block the policy set to go into effect on July 15.
  40. On Tuesday, NPR reported Trump’s DHS sent out a batch of notices to immigrants they say are here illegally saying, “It is the intention of ICE to order you pay a fine in the amount of $497,777.”
  41. ICE claimed the Immigration and Nationality Act grants it the right to impose fines of no more than $500 per day on persons who violate the act. Immigration lawyers said they have never seen the fine used this way.
  42. On Monday, ProPublica reported that in a secret Facebook group of roughly 9,500 current and former Border Patrol agents, members jokedabout migrant deaths, and posted disparaging content on members of Congress.
  43. The group was named “I’m 10-15,” referencing Border Patrol code for “aliens in custody,” and was created in August 2016. ProPublica linked the profiles to profiles of Border Patrol agents and at least one supervisor.
  44. In one post, members joked about the 16 year-old Guatemalan migrant who died in May. Another was a graphic image depicting a smiling Trump forcing Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s head to his crotch.
  45. Another post joked about a video of a migrant man carrying to carry a child through a rushing river in a plastic bag, with comments, “At least it’s already in a trash bag,” and “Sous-vide? Lol,” referencing cooking in a bag.
  46. Later Monday, ProPublica reported a spokesperson for the CBP agency said the agency immediately informed investigators with the DHS’s Office of Inspector General and initiated an inquiry into the Facebook group and its posts.
  47. On Tuesday, in a letter to Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg, House Oversight Committee Chair Elijah Cummings said the posts “appear to violate Facebook’s Community Standards,” particularly on hate speech.
  48. On Wednesday, acting DHS Secretary Kevin McAleenan said in a series of tweets that he has ordered an immediate investigation into the Facebook group, calling it a “disturbing & inexcusable social media activity.”
  49. McAleenan added, “These statements are completely unacceptable, especially if made by those sworn to uphold the @DHSgov mission, our values & standards of conduct.”
  50. On Wednesday, Politico reported, according to one DHS official, Border Patrol leadership has known about the Facebook group since 2016, when agents reported offensive posts. No actions were taken.
  51. On Tuesday, the DHS Inspector General issued a follow up report to the one of May 30 as House Democrats spoke about observations of their visit. The inspectors visited five facilities in the Rio Grande Valley of Texas.
  52. The report found overcrowded, squalid conditions are more widespread than initially reported. When inspectors visited some facilities, migrants banged on cells and pressed notes to windows begging for help.
  53. The report said “some single adults were held in standing-room-only conditions for a week,” adding, “both ICE and HHS are operating at or above capacity.” One senior manager called it a “ticking time bomb.”
  54. The report also found many migrants were given only wet wipes to clean themselves, and bologna sandwiches to eat, causing constipation and health problems. One migrant held up a sign that read, “Help.”
  55. Children at two of five facilities were not given hot meals. Also, 826 of the 2,669 children detained at the facilities were held longer than the allowed 72 hour period.
  56. Speaker Nancy Pelosi said in a statement the report “provides a shocking window into the dangerous and dehumanizing conditions,” and “The inhumanity at the border is a challenge to the conscience of America.”
  57. The House Judiciary and Oversight Committees both announced hearings next week on the conditions at detention centers. The House was on break this week for the July Fourth holiday.
  58. On Wednesday, in a series of tweets, Trump defended border agents and instead blamed Democrats, saying, “Our Border Patrol people are not hospital workers, doctors or nurses,” and “Great job by Border Patrol”
  59. Trump also tweeted, “The Democrats bad Immigration Laws, which could be easily fixed, are the problem,” adding, “Many of these illegals aliens are living far better now than where they came from,” and “safer.”
  60. Trump tweeted, “No matter how good things actually look, even if perfect, the Democrat visitors will act shocked & aghast,” adding, “Just Pols. If they really want to fix them, change the Immigration Laws and Loopholes.”
  61. Trump also tweeted if we really want to fix the crisis at the southern border, “ tell migrants not to come into our country unless they are willing to do so legally, and hopefully through a system based on Merit.”
  62. Trump also tweeted, “Mexico is doing a far better job than the Democrats on the Border. Thank you Mexico!” The Mexican government has been busing home Central American migrants from Ciudad Juarez.
  63. Under a new Trump regime policy known as “Remain in Mexico,” asylum seekers are sent back to Mexico to await their asylum hearings, sparking criticism they have been unfairly returned and should have been accepted.
  64. Later Wednesday, Trump also tweeted, “If Illegal Immigrants are unhappywith the conditions in the quickly built or refitted detentions centers, just tell them not to come,” adding, “All problems solved!”
  65. On Wednesday, the San Francisco Chronicle reported the Trump regime plans to replace in-court interpreters at initial immigration court hearings with videos informing asylum seekers about their deportation rights.
  66. The regime cited cost cutting measures and the bogged down immigration court system. Advocates expressed concern the new system could jeopardize migrants’ due-process rights and add confusion.
  67. On Wednesday, in a letter to the White House, former Trump employees who are undocumented requested a meeting with him to discuss reforming immigration and to ask for protection from deportation.
  68. The 21 former groundskeepers, maids, and kitchen staff at Trump Organization properties asked the president to remember their years of service and “do the right thing” for them and others in the country unlawfully.
  69. On Friday, when asked about his properties’ hiring of undocumented workers and whether his golf courses still employ any, Trump told the Times, “I don’t know because I don’t run it.”
  70. Trump also claimed of having undocumented workers, “Probably every club in the United States has that because it seems to be, from what I understand, a way that people did business.”
  71. On Friday, Trump again defended detention facilities after the Inspector General report, telling reporters the ones he has seen are clean and “beautifully run,” adding, “I think they do a great job with those facilities.”
  72. Trump also defended Border Patrol agents, saying they “did not train to be doctors and nurses and janitors…They trained to be Border Patrol. And that’s what they’re doing, and they’re doing a phenomenal job.”
  73. Trump also threatened that his planned deportations were coming “fairly soon,” adding, “They came in illegally, and we’re bringing them out legally.”
  74. On Monday, the American Medical Association, which traditionally has shied away from controversial social issues, filed an unprecedented lawsuitagainst North Dakota to block two abortion-related laws.
  75. The group says the new laws would require doctors who perform abortions to lie to patients, and cited the laws “unconstitutionally forces physicians to act as the mouthpiece of the state.”
  76. On Monday, the Trump regime deferred enactment of the “conscience” rule which was scheduled to go into effect on July 22, facing a proliferation of legal challenges from government and advocacy groups.
  77. On Monday, the attorney for Marshae Jones, who was indicted in Week 137 for her fetus being shot and dying in Alabama, demanded the “unreasonable, irrational” indictment against her be dropped.
  78. On Wednesday, District Attorney Lynneice Washington said in a brief news conference that she had weighed the evidence in Jones’ case, and decided to dismiss the charges, and no further legal action would be taken.
  79. Washington, the first black female district attorney in Alabama’s history, appeared surprised by criticism that Jones, a working-class black woman, was treated in a way that no wealthy white woman would have been.
  80. On Wednesday, NYT reported a judge in New Jersey said a 16 year-old boy who videoed himself raping a girl at a house party, deserved leniencybecause he was from a “good family” and attended an excellent school.
  81. On Friday, a state appeals court overturned the decision, and warned the judge against showing leniency to juveniles of privilege. Prosecutors may now seek an indictment against the teen, who may be charged as an adult.
  82. On Wednesday, an Ohio judge temporarily blocked a law, set to go into effect on July 11, that would ban abortion when a heartbeat can be detected, saying the law “is unconstitutional on its face.”
  83. Republican Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine signed the bill into law in April, after his GOP predecessor John Kasich vetoed it twice. Ohio anti-abortion groups plan to bring the case to the Supreme Court to challenge Roe v. Wade.
  84. LGBTQ advocacy group Glaad announced a new campaign to work on a constitutional amendment to protect the LGBTQ community from discrimination, citing Trump’s sweeping deconstruction of protections.
  85. On Tuesday, 206 major companies signed a Supreme Court brief submitted by LGBTQ groups arguing that excluding sexual orientation and gender identity from federal law undermines the nation’s business interests.
  86. On Tuesday, Nike dropped its planned launch of a Betsy Ross 13-star flag sneaker on July Fourth after Colin Kaepernick, a brand ambassador for the company, said the flag’s image had been co-opted by racist ideologies.
  87. In reaction, GOP Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey withdrew a $1 million incentive for Nike to build a plant there, and other conservatives criticized the company for being unpatriotic. New Mexico welcomed Nike’s plant.
  88. On Thursday, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell mockingly tweeted an image of the Betsy Ross flag, along with “Happy Fourth of July!” Observers noted his state, Kentucky, is not one of the stars on the flag.
  89. On Sunday, Facebook’s number 2 executive Sheryl Sandberg said the company will ban misinformation about the 2020 census, treating postswith the same extra scrutiny as an election for fear it could disrupt the count.
  90. On Monday, Trump told reporters in the Oval Office he is looking “very strongly” at delaying the 2020 census, saying, “It is a big difference to me between being a citizen of the United States and being an illegal.”
  91. Trump also told reporters said, without citing evidence, that immigrants living illegally in the U.S. are “treated better than the coal miner” suffering from black lung. Delaying the census would violate the Constitution.
  92. On Tuesday, the Justice Department said in a one sentence email to a lawyer challenging the question, “the decision has been made to print the 2020 Decennial Census questionnaire without a citizenship question.”
  93. On Tuesday, Commerce Department Secretary Wilbur Ross mirrored the DOJ in a statement, “The Census Bureau has started the process of printing the decennial questionnaires without the question.”
  94. Later Tuesday, Trump tweeted, “A very sad time for America when the Supreme Court of the United States won’t allow” a citizenship question, falsely claiming asking the question has been “going on for a long time.”
  95. Trump also tweeted he has asked the Commerce Department and DOJ “to do whatever is necessary to bring this most vital of questions, and this very important case, to a successful conclusion,” adding, “USA! USA! USA!”
  96. On Wednesday, Trump tweeted reporting that the Commerce Department is halting efforts on the citizenship question are “incorrect or, to state it differently, FAKE!” adding, “We are absolutely moving forward.”
  97. Later Wednesday, on a phone call with a federal judge in Maryland, the DOJ reversed its position of 24 hours prior, telling the judge that the regime is looking for a way to add a citizenship question to the 2020 census.
  98. U.S. District Court Judge George Hazel set up the call, saying, “I don’t know how many federal judges have Twitter accounts, but I happen to be one of them, and I follow the president.”
  99. A DOJ lawyer responded, “I do not have a deeper understanding of what that means at this juncture other than what the President has tweeted,” adding, “I am doing my absolute best to figure out what’s going on.”
  100. As assistant attorney general told the judge that the DOJ had been “instructed to examine whether there is a path forward, consistent with the Supreme Court’s decision,” but did not say who issued the instruction.
  101. In a separate filing to the Southern District of New York, that assistant AG said the DOJ and Commerce had been asked to “reevaluate all available options” and Commerce may adopt “a new rationale” for the question.
  102. WAPO reported a White House official confirmed that presses were still running on Wednesday and printing the census without a citizenship question. The citizenship question was last part of the census in 1950.
  103. On Thursday, Trump tweeted, “So important for our Country that the very simple and basic ‘Are you a Citizen of the United States?’ question be allowed,” adding the DOJ and Commerce “are working very hard on this, even on the 4th of July!”
  104. On Thursday, Axios reported Trump is considering using an executive order to add a citizenship question to the census, a continuation of his theme of expanding executive power over other the other branches.
  105. On Friday, acting Citizenship and Immigration Services director Ken Cuccinelli told Fox Business including the citizenship question would help “with the burden of those who are not here legally.”
  106. Cuccinelli’s statement was unclear, differing from Trump’s stated rationale of gauging voting population. The census website states, “The Census Bureau does not collect data on the legal status of the foreign born.”
  107. On Friday, Trump told reporters that he is considering an executive order to add a citizenship question as one of four or five possible options, saying, “We have a number of avenues, we could use” one or all of them.”
  108. Trump added, “we could start the printing now and maybe do an addendum after we get a positive decision,” adding Chief Justice John Roberts did not like their argument, “but he did say come back.”
  109. Trump also falsely claimed, “You need it for many reasons,” adding “Number one, you need it for Congress. You need for Congress, for districting. You need it for appropriations, where are the funds going?”
  110. Trump did not specify his other options. The Constitution assigns the responsibility for overseeing the census to Congress. Republicans have pushed for a citizen-only redistricting in 2021.
  111. The Constitution does not mention “citizens,” and when Congress debated the 14th Amendment, ratified in 1868, for apportionment of congressional seats, it used the term “persons,” and not “citizens” or “voters.”
  112. On Friday, the DOJ told Judge Hazel that they continue to push forward with efforts to add a citizenship question, but did not know what kind of rationale they would put forward.
  113. Later Friday, Judge Hazel rejected the regime’s request to freeze a lawsuit on the citizenship question, saying he would hear arguments on whether the regime added the question to discriminate against Hispanics.
  114. Judge Hazel opened the door to discovery, including evidence from deceased Republican consultant Thomas Hoeffler, and enjoined the regime from printing a census questionnaire with the citizenship question.
  115. On Friday, New York AG Letitia James said in a statement, “As we celebrate Independence Day” we “should be reminded that we live in a democracy, not a dictatorship, and must follow the law, even if we disagree with it.”
  116. On Friday, the ACLU and NY AG James filed a lawsuit against the Department of Commerce, asking the court to block the regime from delaying printing the census and from adding a citizenship question.
  117. On Monday, Guardian reported the State Department’s office responsible for negotiating and implementing nuclear disarmament treaties has been cut from 14 staffer to four in two years under Trump.
  118. Trump’s appointee to run the office, Andrea Thompson, Vice President Mike Pence’s former national security adviser, does not have a backgroundin arms control, and has clashed with now former staffers.
  119. On Monday, WAPO reported Trump has pushed the Pentagon to bring an expansive array of military hardware to the Mall in Washington D.C. as part of his grandiose “Salute to America” July Fourth event.
  120. Trump ordered a flyover of military aircraft, including Air Force One and the Navy’s Blue Angels, as well as an F-35 stealth fighter and the Marine Helicopter Squadron One, which flies the presidential helicopter.
  121. Trump also pushed the Pentagon to bring tanks to the Lincoln Memorial, where he planned to deliver his speech. National Park Service officialswarned the weight of the tanks could damage the site.
  122. Trump bragged about using “Abram” tanks, which weigh more than 60 tons and “brand-new Sherman tanks,” which have not been used since the 1950s. The D.C. Council tweeted Monday: “Tanks, but no tanks.”
  123. Trump told reporters on Monday the event will be “like no other. It’ll be special.” The event has little precedent, save for an event by the Clintons to mark the turn of the century, which did not include military hardware.
  124. Trump got the idea for a July Fourth parade during his visit to Paris for Bastille Day in 2017 that included a military parade. Before Air Force One left Paris, Trump had already spoken to staffers about a parade in D.C.
  125. Trump dismissed staff concerns back then of tanks ripping up streets, saying he would find a way to work around it. He tried to hold an event for Veterans Day in 2017, which was quashed over its $92 million price tag.
  126. On Tuesday, WAPO reported the National Park Service is diverting nearly $2.5 million in entrance and recreation fees intended to be used to improve parks across the country to cover part of the cost of the event.
  127. On Tuesday, HuffPost reported the White House is handing out VIP tickets to Republican donors and political appointees for Trump’s speech at the Lincoln Memorial. For decades the D.C. celebration has been non-political.
  128. On Tuesday, the military warned D.C. residents that armored vehicles will be rolling through their neighborhoods Tuesday evening and Wednesday, and told them not to panic.
  129. On Tuesday, Mayor Muriel Bowser of D.C. told NPR Trump is “not celebrating the military but glorifying military might. That scares me the most,” and Trump looks to “dictators as an example of how to celebrate.”
  130. Local officials and residents expressed concern about the damage the massive military vehicles could cause to area roads. Air traffic will also be suspended during Trump’s event.
  131. On Wednesday, Trump tweeted, “Our July 4th Salute to America at the Lincoln Memorial is looking to be really big. It will be the show of a lifetime!”
  132. Trump also defended diverting parks funds, tweeting the cost of his parade “will be very little compared to what it is worth,” and “all we need is the fuel. We own the tanks and all.”
  133. On Wednesday, WAPO reported Trump appointees have been working doggedly to assure there will be a large crowd for his event, and not have a repeat of his 2017 inauguration.
  134. The issue of crowd size has been a sore spot for Trump since his crowd was much smaller than that of former president Obama in 2009. White House staff were concerned that an expected storm might discourage attendees.
  135. The Trump regime provided 5,000 tickets to the military. Trump’s re-election committee gave free passes to allies, donors, and trade associations. Fundraisers and operatives also pushed out tickets.
  136. Trump advisers told WAPO the event is a way for him to associate himself with the flag and patriotism and appeal to his base, similar to his attacks on NFL players for kneeling during the national anthem.
  137. On Wednesday, the major TV networks, ABC, CBS, and NBC said they will not broadcast Trump’s event, instead carrying their regular programming. MSNBC will not air it, although Fox News and C-SPAN said they would.
  138. On Wednesday, House Appropriations subcommittee Chair Betty McCollum said she plans to schedule a hearing to get “a full accounting” from the Interior Department “on the use of National Park fees.”
  139. On Thursday, Russia-state media mocked the event, saying the tanks had “paint peeling off” and required “adhesive tape.” Experts said to Russia, where parades of military might are typical, Trump’s is not impressive.
  140. On Thursday, citing an article in the Daily Mail, which claimed several generals were opposed to Trump’s July Fourth event, Fox Business host and Trump ally Lou Dobbs called them “Snowflake Generals” in a tweet.
  141. On Thursday, CNN also reported military service chiefs, who have been asked to stand with Trump on stage, are privately concerned about his politicizing the event and putting tanks and armored vehicles on display.
  142. Defense Department guidelines prohibit men and women in uniform from engaging in political activity. Trump however tweeted on Tuesday, “the Pentagon and our great Military Leaders are thrilled” to participate.
  143. Far-right extremist group the Proud Boys clashed with far-left groups during demonstrations before Trump’s speech. A video captured a member of the Proud Boys getting fist bumps from a line of D.C. policemen.
  144. On Thursday, Trump spoke for 47 minutes at the Lincoln Memorial in Washington D.C., after a downpour delayed the start of his speech. Trump extolled the greatness of America, and atypically kept on script.
  145. Trump stood on stage with a pair of armored Bradley Fighting Vehicles in front of him, and a giant TV screen. Military and other VIPs stood in a section close to the stage, while his supporters stood over a thousand feet away.
  146. Trump read the speech from a teleprompter, at one point citing airports in the Revolutionary War, saying, “Our Army manned the air, it rammed the ramparts, it took over the airports, it did everything it had to do.”
  147. Trump also praised inventors, saying, “Our quest for greatness unleashed a culture of discovery” and citing Alexander Graham Bell and the telephone. Bell became a U.S. citizen, he was Canadian when he invented the telephone.
  148. Mentioning Betsy Ross was the closest Trump came to engaging in politics in his speech. However, after his speech, Trump took to Twitter to attack his adversaries, including Sen. Kamala Harris and Colin Kaepernick.
  149. Trump also tweeted and retweeted a total of 13 photos and videos showing the crowd at his speech, which measured in the thousands. The D.C. July Fourth fireworks typically draw hundreds of thousands each year.
  150. The Trump regime declined to reveal the cost of the event. The $2.5 million diverted from the National Park Service is known to be a small fraction of the overall cost, which will be covered by taxpayers.
  151. On Friday, defending his gaffe about airports during the Revolutionary War, Trump told reporters, “I stood in the rain…The teleprompter kept going out and then at the end it just went out. It went kaput.”
  152. Trump said, “Actually right in the middle of that sentence it went out,” adding, “And that’s not a good feeling.” Trump insisted he knew the speech very well, “So I was able to do it without a teleprompter.”
  153. Trump falsely claimed millions were watching, “When you’re standing in front of millions and millions of people on television and — I don’t know what the final count was.”
  154. On Monday, in a series of tweets, Trump fumed about New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo and Attorney General James, saying, “Cuomo uses his Attorney General as a bludgeoning tool for his own purposes.”
  155. Trump complained the two “sue on everything, always in search of a crime,” but “they never even looked at the disgusting Clinton Foundation,” and added it is “hard and expensive” to live in New York.
  156. Trump also tweeted “Cuomo’s A.G. is harassing all of my New York businesses in search of anything at all they can find,” adding “No wonder people and businesses are fleeing New York in record numbers!”
  157. Trump also tweeted, “I even got sued on a Foundation,” falsely claiming it “took Zero rent & expenses & gave away more money than it had,” calling it “another part of the political Witch Hunt.”
  158. Trump also complained about “what they are doing to our great NRA.” The NRA’s current meltdown has the Trump campaign and other Republicans worried that the organization might not be able to help them in 2020.
  159. Trump tweeted in 2016 “I won EVERY debate,” falsely claiming, “including the three with Crooked Hillary Clinton” despite modulating his sound in the first debate, and suggesting “this crew” of 2020 may use dirty tricks.
  160. On Monday, Politico reported Trump allies Reps. Jim Jordan, Matt Gaetz, and Devin Nunes plan to press Robert Mueller on whether his team had anti-Trump bias and if the probe started with inappropriate surveillance.
  161. On Tuesday, AP reported that Trump will hold a “Keep America Great” rally in Greenville, NC on July 17, the day of Mueller’s testimony.
  162. On Tuesday, Trump tweeted about Mueller’s testimony, saying, “Robert Mueller is being asked to testify yet again. He said he could only stick to the Report, & that is what he would and must do.”
  163. Trump also tweeted, “After so much testimony & total transparency, this Witch Hunt must now end,” adding, “No more Do Overs. No Collusion, No Obstruction,” and “the Great Hoax is dead!
  164. On Monday, the House Oversight Committee asked a federal appeals court to uphold their subpoena of Mazars USA, saying Trump has “disdain” for Congress’s constitutional role in carrying out oversight.
  165. On Tuesday, House Ways and Means Committee Chair Richard Neal filed a lawsuit against the IRS and Treasury Department over the committee’s demands for six years of Trump’s tax returns first requested in April.
  166. On Tuesday, in a letter to Congress, the DOJ inspector general said he is initiating a review of actions at the DOJ and FBI that led to the regime canceling a planned move of FBI headquarters out of the Hoover building.
  167. The investigation came after pressure from the House Oversight and Transportation Committees, who said Trump blocked the move to avoid redevelopment into a hotel that would compete with Trump Hotel DC.
  168. General Services Administration chief Emily Murphy, a Trump appointee, made misleading statements about the move to Congress, claiming it came at the request of FBI director Christopher Wray, not Trump.
  169. On Tuesday, Vice President Pence abruptly canceled a scheduled trip to New Hampshire to deliver remarks on America’s opioid epidemic. Rumors swirled Tuesday as no real reason was given for the cancellation.
  170. When asked by reporters on Friday why Pence cancelled, Trump said, “There was a very interesting problem that they had in New Hampshire,” adding the reason will become known “in about a week or two.”
  171. On Wednesday, when asked about critics of her refusal to visit to White House, U.S. soccer star Megan Rapinoe told ESPN, “I think that I’m particularly and uniquely and very deeply American.”
  172. On Friday, Reuters reported U.S. soccer star Alex Morgan said the decision on whether to accept Trump’s offer to visit the White House will be made as a team if they win the Women’s World Cup, but is unlikely to happen.
  173. On Thursday, Rep. Justin Amash, the son of two immigrants and the only Republican for impeachment, announced in an op-ed he was leaving the Republican Party, saying our politics are in a partisan death spiral.
  174. Amash urged Americans to reject “partisan loyalties and rhetoric that divide and dehumanize us,” and the two-party system, adding, “ If we continue to take America for granted, we will lose it.
  175. On Friday, NBC News reported New York Gov. Cuomo will act soon to sign two bills aimed at Trump: one would allow Congress to obtain Trump’s state tax returns and the other would curb his pardon power.
  176. On Friday, Deputy Attorney General Jeffrey Rosen told USA Today he has not been briefed on the DOJ probe launched by Barr into possible surveillance abuses in the early days of the Russia probe.
  177. On Friday, speaking to reporters before leaving the White House, Trump also attacked Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell for not lowering rates, saying, “We don’t have a Fed that knows what they’re doing.”
  178. On Saturday, Trump thanked himself for a report that the U.S. stock market had hit a new high, tweeting, “Our Country is the envy of the World. Thank you, Mr. President!”
  179. Trump also touted strong jobs number on Friday, tweeting, “Strong jobs report, low inflation,” but warned “other countries around the world doing anything possible to take advantage of the United States.”
  180. Trump also attacked the Federal Reserve again, tweeting the stock market “could have been even better,” adding, “Our most difficult problem is not our competitors, it is the Federal Reserve!
  181. On Saturday, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan dismissed the governor of Turkey’s independent Central Bank over raising interest rates to curb inflation. The surprise decree drew criticism, even by Erdogan allies.

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Members of the U.S. Army park a Bradley fighting vehicle in front of the Lincoln Memorial ahead of the Fourth of July “Salute to America” celebration on July 3, 2019 in Washington, DC. Trump will deliver a speech at the memorial with military hardware on display including tanks, and flyovers by military aircraft.

POLITIKS OF GRAFFITI 138: IN THE GHETTO

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JUNE 29, 2019

Week 137

Experts in authoritarianism advise to keep a list of things
subtly changing around you, so you’ll remember. Art photos either taken by me all around the world or found by me on social media, and the list is from AMY SISKIND’S WEEKLY LIST: https://theweeklylist.org/weekly-list/week-137/

This week as Trump backed off mass deportations, public outcry grew over conditions at detention centers for migrant children. Reminiscent of Theresienstadt Ghetto in the Nazi era, the Trump regime offered limited tours of detention centers to the media — viewings that contradicted interviews of immigration lawyers and advocates who described first-hand the inhumane conditions and traumatized children. Much of the country was moved and heartbroken over a photo of a Salvadoran father and daughter who drowned on the bank of the Rio Grande trying to cross to the U.S.IMG_9269

This week Trump headed to the G-20 summit in Osaka, Japan, ahead of which he attacked Japan, China, and European countries. While there, he cozied up to Russian President Vladimir Putin and reveled in joking about 2016 election interference and attacking the free press. Trump had a second private meeting with Saudi Arabia Crown Prince MBS despite United Nations findings of his likely involvement in the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi.

The Supreme Court made two major decisions on gerrymandering and a Census citizenship question, and seemed to signal a shift towards revisiting controversial issues with the now five conservative justices. Robert Mueller agreed to testify before two House committees on July 17, as the Trump regime continued to stonewall all congressional investigations.

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To Anyone Who Will Listen: “Russia Bought My Er(l)ection.”
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Antwerp, Belgium 29jun19.
  1. On Monday, a group of famous actors performed a live-streamed reading of the Mueller report titled “The Investigation: A Search for the Truth in Ten Act,” highlighting the 10 instances of possible obstruction of justice.
  2. On Sunday, popular knitting website Ravelry, which has more than 8 million users, said in a statement it is banning sharing posts of support for Trump, saying support for Trump and his administration is “undeniably support for white supremacy.”
  3. On Sunday, the Salt Lake Tribune Editorial Board wrote, “Yes, we have concentration camps,” saying the comparison of detention facilities is correct, and noting “because that starts as this.”
  4. On Monday, the NYT Editorial Board wrote “Children Shouldn’t Be Dying at our Border” and gave a guide of action items for citizens, including calling Congress, reporting raids, and donating to humanitarian efforts.
  5. On Tuesday, the Highlights Magazine CEO condemned Trump’s detention center in a “statement about human decency,” calling for “more humane treatment of immigrant children” and noting our children are watching.
  6. On Saturday, Trump accused the media of misreporting on Iran, tweeting, “I never called the strike against Iran “BACK,” as people are incorrectly reporting, I just stopped it from going forward at this time!”
  7. On Saturday, the Oregon Capitol was closed over a “possible militia threat” from right-wing protesters, a day after Gov. Kate Brown sent state police to round up GOP lawmakers who walked out over a climate change bill.
  8. On Tuesday, as the walkout by GOP state senators entered its sixth day, Democratic Senate President Peter Courtney gave assurances that the climate change bill would not move forward if they returned.
  9. On Sunday, Trump repeated his threat that deportations were only being delayed, tweeting, “I want to give the Democrats every last chance to quickly negotiate,” adding, “Two weeks and big Deportation begins!”
  10. PBS “Newshour” reported Trump delayed the Immigration and Customs Enforcement deportations raids ahead of Vice President Mike Pence’s “Latinos for Trump” rollout Sunday in Miami to embrace Hispanic voters.
  11. On Sunday, in an interview with “Meet the Press,” when asked if he was prepared to lose the 2020 election, Trump said, “No, I’m probably not too prepared to lose. I don’t like losing. I haven’t lost very much in my life.”
  12. Trump also said he did not believe the 2016 vote count, saying, “I’ll say something that, again, is controversial. There were a lot of votes that I don’t believe,” adding, “There was much illegal voting.”
  13. Trump also said if Democrats start impeachment, “I think I win the election easier,” adding, “I did nothing wrong. So impeachment’s a very unfair thing because nothing that I did was wrong.”
  14. When asked if he has given any thought to his presidential library, at first Trump said, “I’m so busy,” then suggested that it might be at one of his properties.
  15. Trump said he had “a great conversation” with Saudi Crown Prince MBS on Friday, and defended the partnership saying, “I’m not a fool,” and repeating the lie that “Saudi Arabia is buying $400 billion worth” of U.S. goods.
  16. Trump also said his regime is doing a “fantastic job” on the border, and when asked about hurting migrant children, blamed Democrats saying if they changed the asylum law “everything would be solved immediately.”
  17. NBC News host Chuck Todd, who conducted the interview, was heavily criticized for softball questions, and for not pushing back on Trump for his numerous lies during the interview.
  18. Similar to his ABC News interview in Week 136, Trump’s NBC News interview was a ratings disappointment, and drew in just 3.1 million viewers, fewer than on ABC News at 3.9 million.
  19. On Sunday, Vice President Pence told “Face the Nation” the conditions for children at some detention centers were “heartbreaking” and “unacceptable,” but blamed Democrats for lack of funding.
  20. On Sunday, the sheriff of Hidalgo County, Texas said four bodies, including a young woman, a toddler, and two infants were found on the Texas-Mexico border.
  21. The four appeared to have died from dehydration and heat exposure. The bodies were found close to where a section of Trump’s wall is set to be erected. The FBI will take over as lead on the investigation.
  22. On Monday, NBC News reported in a private Facebook post, Justice Department lawyer Sarah Fabian defended herself, saying the viral video of her was selectively edited and gave a false impression of her in court.
  23. Fabian had reportedly been getting death threats since her defense of the Trump regime not supplying basic hygiene products to migrant children in Week 136, where she tried to parse “safe and sanitary” conditions.
  24. On Wednesday, AP reported the bodies of a Salvadoran man and his 23 month-old daughter were found on the bank of the Rio Grande. The AP released the photo to the American public, which was widely circulated.
  25. The girl was tucked under her father’s shirt with her arms grasped around his neck, indicating she clung to him as they drowned. The bodies were found Monday, when Mexican newspaper La Jornada circulated the photo.
  26. The family sought asylum. In desperation, when the bridge in Mexico was closed, Óscar Alberto Martínez Ramírez swam across the river with his daughter, left her on the bank on the U.S. side, and then went back for his wife. The girl jumped in after him and both were swept by the current.
  27. On Wednesday, Fox News host Shep Smith got emotional discussing the deaths and migrant crisis, saying“the process of presenting yourself” at the border has changed, and “there’s not adequate anything for anyone.”
  28. On Thursday, Ken Cuccinelli, acting director of ICE, told CNN that Martínez was to blame for his daughter’s drowning death, saying they should have sought asylum legally. They did.
  29. On Wednesday, employees of Wayfair Furniture walked out over the company’s sale of $200,000 of beds to a government contractor, BCFS, which operates shelters for migrant children on the southern border.
  30. The employees said in a letter, we “want to be sure that Wayfair has no part in enabling, supporting, or profiting from this practice.” In response, Wayfair donated $100,000 of the $86,000 profit to the Red Cross.
  31. On Monday, AP reported the government moved roughly 270 of the 300 migrant children at the Clint, Texas facility to other facilities after media scrutiny about inadequate food, water, and sanitation in Week 136.
  32. Rep. Veronica Escobar, who was briefed by Customs and Border Protection, said some of the children will be moved to Border Patrol Station 1 in El Paso. One advocate said conditions were not necessarily better there.
  33. On Tuesday, CNN reported 100 migrant children are being moved back to the controversial facility in Clint,which lawyers, doctors, and advocates warned has major health and hygiene problems.
  34. On Tuesday, NBC News reported a CBP official said the agency was not running low on supplies, in response to citizens looking to donate hygiene products and food to detention centers after last week’s reports.
  35. The official added that CBP is looking into the possibility of accepting donations in the future, but for now “we’re using operational funding to provide those things, but those things are available now.”
  36. On Tuesday, NYT reported John Sanders, the acting commissioner of the CBP agency, is expected to resignamid the public outcry over the mistreatment of migrant children.
  37. Sanders has led the agency since Trump tapped Kevin McAleenan, who previously held the role, to replace Kirstjen Nielsen as secretary of homeland security in Week 126.
  38. On Wednesday, NPR reported in sworn declarations, immigration rights lawyers who conducted interviews of the migrant children described the conditions in the Clint detention station as “inhumane.”
  39. The lawyers described tearful, malnourished children, who reeked of filth and were jammed into frigid, overcrowded conditions, and were not allowed to bathe, clean their clothes, or have access to hygiene products.
  40. NPR and other reporters were given a tour of the facility on Wednesday, and were give a vastly different showing of an orderly, clean facility with pantries stocked with snacks. Officials claimed the children could shower.
  41. Reporters were walked past holding cells of children, but not allowed to speak to them. The tour was meant rebut lawyers describing life-threatening conditions, and calling it “a public health emergency.”
  42. Similarly, on Friday, CBS News was given a guided tour of the Homestead detention center for migrant children in Homestead, Florida by Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar.
  43. Unlike previous reporting, the camera crew witnessed orderly lunch lines, and packed and boisterous classrooms. Azar told CBS News, “There’s been a lot of factual misrepresentations or just ignorant statements.”
  44. On Wednesday, a group of attorneys filed a lawsuit asking a federal judge to hold the Trump regime in contempt and take immediate action to remedy unsafe conditions for migrant children in detention centers.
  45. The lawsuit was based on the 1997 Flores agreement, and said conditions pose “an imminent threat to the health and welfare of class member children,” citing children “are dirty, cold, hungry and sleep-deprived.”
  46. On Thursday, at her weekly press conference, Speaker Nancy Pelosi said she spoke to Trump Wednesday on immigration, but during their negotiation the White House issued a statement saying they are done negotiating.
  47. Pelosi said she becomes “a lioness” when children are endangered, and paused when asked about the photo, saying “the little girl wanted to be with her father…he couldn’t save her and couldn’t save himself.”
  48. On Thursday, the House passed the Senate version of a Border Bill, sending a $4.6 billion humanitarian aid package to Trump for signature, but leaving House Democrats warring over accepting the Senate terms.
  49. In accepting the Senate version, Pelosi capitulated and dropped their insistence on stronger protections for migrant children. Moderate Democrats (129) broke to vote with Republicans to pass the bill.
  50. Vice President Pence reportedly privately gave Pelosi assurances they would abide by some protections, including 24-hour notice of a migrant child death and a 90-day limit for children in temporary intake facilities.
  51. On Sunday, in a homophobic op-ed titled “The shame of LGBTQ Pride,” West Virginia State Senator Mike Azinger argued “tolerance is the last virtue of a depraved society.”
  52. West Virginia Republican Party Chairwoman Melody Potter praised Azinger’s op-ed, calling it “right on and is biblically based,” and saying, “More people should do the same. Thank you!”
  53. On Friday, Arizona state senate President Karen Fann and House Speaker Russell Bowers ordered a Pride flag removed from the Arizona Capitol Museum, after Secretary of State Katie Hobbs put it up to celebrate Pride.
  54. Legislative Executive Director Mike Braun told local news he was responsible for removing the flag, saying Hobb’s office failed to follow the regulations, saying Hobbs “can’t just fly a pride flag because she wants to.”
  55. On Friday, three men in the Rochester, New York area pleaded guilty in a foiled plot to bomb a Muslim community. Police found 23 firearms and three “improvised explosive devices” in their possession.
  56. On Monday, the acting inspector general of the Treasury Department said his office would open an inquiry into why a new $20 featuring abolitionist Harriet Tubman was been delayed by Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin.
  57. On Monday, in an interview with The Hill in the Oval Office, Trump denied E. Jean Carroll’s rape allegation, saying “she’s not my type.” Trump also claimed “it never happened.”
  58. Most Republicans stood by Trump on the allegations. Sen. Susan Collins called the “not my type” comment “bizarre,” and Sens. Joni Ernst, Mitt Romney and Mike Braun said the allegations should be taken seriously.
  59. On Monday, Dean Baquet, the executive editor of the NYT, admitted critics were right, and the Times had been “overly cautious” in its coverage of Carroll’s allegations against Trump.
  60. On Wednesday, the two women that Carroll spoke to contemporaneously went public. Carol Martin and Lisa Birnbach, both well known figures in the 1990s, told the Times that Carroll confided in them.
  61. On Tuesday, CNN reported the Robert Murdoch owned New York Post pulled a story about Carroll’s rape accusations against Trump on orders of Col Allan, a former top editor and Trump supporter.
  62. On Wednesday, Marshae Jones, a 27 year-old black woman, was indicted in Alabama on charges of manslaughter for initiating a dispute that led to her to being shot and losing her pregnancy.
  63. On Friday, a federal judge imposed a life sentence for neo-Nazi James Fields, who killed Heather Heyer in Week 40 by crashing his car into a crowd of counterprotesters in Charlottesville. He also injured 30 people.
  64. Fields will not be eligible for parole. The judges said, “the release of the defendant into a free society is too great a risk.” Prosecutors said Fields remained unrepentant after the attack.
  65. On Monday, Trump signed an executive order putting in place new sanctions on Iran impacting Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei and other top leaders’ access to “key financial resources and support.”
  66. Trump also mentioned Ayatollah Khomeini on his list of Iranian leaders to be sanctioned. Khomeini died in 1989.
  67. On Monday, in an interview with The Hill, Trump said he does not need Congressional approval to strike Iran, and added on Congress, “I do like keeping them abreast, but I don’t have to do it legally.”
  68. On Monday, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell shut down the vote on an amendment which would require congressional approval for the use of military funds in Iran. Some Republicans had backed the amendment.
  69. On Tuesday, Iranian president Hassan Rouhani responded to the sanctions, saying Trump is “afflicted by a mental disorder,” echoing North Korean leader Kim Jong Un’s insult of “mentally deranged US dotard.”
  70. On Tuesday, Trump responded in a series of tweets, saying “Iran leadership doesn’t understand the words “nice” or “compassion,” they never have,” adding, “Sadly, the thing they do understand is Strength and Power.”
  71. Trump also tweeted, “obviously, the people of Iran are great people,” saying, “I know many of them…I have many friends that are Iranian,” but added, “ it’s very sad what’s happening to that country.”
  72. Trump also tweeted: “Iran’s very ignorant and insulting statement…only shows that they do not understand reality,” adding any attack on the U.S. will be met with “overwhelming force” and “obliteration.”
  73. On Tuesday, when Trump was asked by reporters in the Oval Office about his exit strategy in Iran if war breaks out, he responded, “You’re not going to need an exit strategy. I don’t need exit strategies.”
  74. On Tuesday, Eric Trump said an employee at a high-end bar Aviary in Chicago spit on him. Chicago Police Department officers were on scene assisting with the federal authorities.
  75. On Tuesday, Politico reported Trump is tiring of acting White House Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney, reportedly snapping at him and expressing frustration, signaling a slow deterioration of the relationship.
  76. Trump also does not like to hear bad news which Mulvaney must deliver, but as his third chief of staff, Trump is unlikely to fire him in the short-term. Trump is said to like the flexibility of having staff in an “acting” role.
  77. On Tuesday, Trump named Stephanie Grisham, First Lady Melania Trump’s communications director who has been with the Trump campaign since 2015, to be his third press secretary in less than three years.
  78. Grisham was also named communications director, a role vacant since Bill Shine left in March. She is one of the last remaining member of the Trump campaign still serving in the White House.
  79. On Tuesday, WAPO reported that while press secretary for the Republican majority in the Arizona House of Representatives, Grisham took away a reporter’s access to the House floor after critical coverage.
  80. On Tuesday, some 50 reporters showed up to toast Sarah Sanders at her going away party at Rare Steakhouse. One reporter told the Times, “You’d better not say I was here.”
  81. Notably, as press secretary, Sanders went more than 100 days without giving a press briefing, lied frequently, told Mueller she delivered false statements to reporters, and called the media “the enemy of the people.”
  82. On Monday, House Oversight Chair Elijah Cummings re-upped his demand in a letter to Mulvaney for his records of Trump’s past meetings with Russian President Vladimir Putin, ahead of their G-20 meeting.
  83. On Monday, Axios reported the House Oversight Committee will vote Wednesday to authorize to subpoena Kellyanne Conway for testimony in connection to her violations of the Hatch Act.
  84. On Monday, Conway said on “Fox & Friends” of calls for her firing that “they want to put a big roll of masking tape over my mouth,” and “chill free speech” because they do not know how to beat Trump.
  85. On Monday, White House counsel Pat Cipollone said in a letter to Chair Cummings that Conway would be barred from testifying before Congress “in accordance with long-standing precedent” of executive privilege.
  86. Henry Kerner of the watchdog special counsel, a Trump appointee, testified that Conway’s action created an “unprecedented challenge” to enforce ethics, citing repeated violation and her “unrepentant attitude.”
  87. On Wednesday, the House Oversight Committee voted 25-16, with Rep. Justin Amash joining Democrats, to subpoena Conway.
  88. On Monday, House Judiciary Chair Jerrold Nadler said Annie Donaldson, Don McGahn’s former chief of staff, will testify before his panel after being subpoenaed. Due to her pregnancy, testimony will be slightly delayed.
  89. On Monday, Rep. Jim Himes, a senior member of the House Intelligence Committee, came out for impeachment, tweeting: “there are moments for clarity and conviction. This is such a moment.” The total stood at 80.
  90. On Tuesday, HuffPost reported as pressure for impeachment grew, Democratic House leaders convened a closed-door meeting with members to show the perils of impeachment with polls in 50 battleground districts.
  91. Members expressed that Democrats were coming around to impeachment. Rep. Gerry Connolly said, “It’s a dam that could break at any minute,” adding, “We are one major explosive piece of testimony or evidence away.”
  92. One member said some representatives are looking to craft a message around “aggressive oversight and accountability” for 2020, citing evidence that voters in moderate districts support that.
  93. On Monday, House Oversight filed a contempt report against Attorney General William Barr and Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross for refusing to turn over subpoenaed documents about the citizenship question.
  94. On Tuesday, the House Oversight Committee released a transcript of an interview of James Uthmeier, a former senior Commerce Department official, on adding a citizenship question to the 2020 Census.
  95. Commerce Department lawyers instructed Uthmeier, a senior advisor to Secretary Ross, not to answer questions about his conversations with Ross. He refused to answer more than 100 questions.
  96. On Tuesday, WSJ reported the House Intelligence Committee interviewed Giorgi Rtskhiladze, a Georgian-American businessman who pitched a proposal to build a Trump Tower Moscow in 2015 to Michael Cohen.
  97. Rtskhiladze told the Journal during the eight hours of questioning he was asked about his proposal, his interactions with the Trump Organization, and his reference to compromising tapes of Trump — which he told the panel did not exist.
  98. The Mueller report details Rtskhiladze’s meeting with Cohen. He told the Journal that Cohen “was always keeping options open” and they had several conversations about the Trump Tower Moscow project
  99. Rtskhiladze forwarded a design of the tower sent by Cohen, saying, “If we could organize the meeting in New York at the highest level of the Russian Government and Mr. Trump” the project would get worldwide attention.
  100. On Tuesday, the House Judiciary and Intelligence committees announced that “pursuant to a subpoena” Robert Mueller had agreed to testify before both panels in open session testimony on July 17.
  101. The committee chairs said, “Americans have demanded to hear directly from the special counsel” on “Russia’s attack on our democracy” and “Trump and his associates’ obstruction of the investigation.”
  102. On Wednesday, Politico reported the two House committees also plan to call Mueller’s deputies to publicly testify, including Andrew Weissman, Andrew Goldstein, Jeanie Rhee, and Michael Dreeben.
  103. On Wednesday, “Fox & Friends” co-host Brian Kilmeade expressed doubt about Mueller, saying, “I don’t think he knows the details of the report,” and likened Mueller to the king of England, saying, “he assigns the people.”
  104. On Wednesday, Trump called into the Fox Business host Maria Bartiromo’s show, and said of Mueller testifying, “it never ends,” adding, “We had no obstruction, we had no collusion.”
  105. Trump repeated his refrain “there was no obstruction, there was no collusion,” adding there was “crime on the other side” that should be investigated, “you had people spying on my campaign, it’s real simple.”
  106. On Wednesday, Politico reported pro-impeachment Democrats hope Mueller’s testimony in a public forumdetailing his report will be a breakthrough in building support for impeachment.
  107. Just an estimated 3% of Americans have read the 448-page Mueller report, which is laden with footnotes and legalese. Impeachment supporters hope public testimony will also drive more members of Congress off the fence.
  108. On Wednesday, Trump sent a series of tweets before the first Democratic debate and while heading to the G-20 in Osaka, telling his supporters who to follow, adding, “Sorry, I’m on Air Force One, off to save the Free World!”
  109. Trump attacked Democrats, tweeting, “according to Fake News (and low ratings) @CNN, “Democrats say hearings could change impeachment debate,”” adding “they are hoping that yet another DO OVER.”
  110. Trump also tweeted, “No Collusion, No Obstruction!” adding, “Mueller said he was done after his last 9 minute news conference, as later corrected,” and “Now the Dems want to give it another try. Does it ever end?”
  111. Trump questioned why House Democrats are not calling “Comey, Brennan, Clapper, Page and her FBI lover(whose invaluable phone records were illegally deleted), Crooked Hillary, Podesta, Ohr (and Nellie).”
  112. Trump tweeted these people have “leaked, lied and did so many other terrible things,” saying they are not called “Because it is a Rigged Democrat Con Game, and the Fake and Corrupt Media loves every minute of it!”
  113. Trump blamed passage of the Super Predator Crime Bill on Joe Biden, Bill Clinton and “Crooked Hillary Clinton,” which he said “inflicted great pain on many,” especially African Americans. Trump was also for that crime bill.
  114. On Wednesday, a half hour into the Democratic debate, despite his earlier tweet that he was “off to save the Free World,” Trump tweeted, “BORING!
  115. Trump also tweeted about a technology glitch, saying “@NBCNews and @MSNBC should be ashamed of themselves,” adding, “Truly unprofessional and only worthy of a FAKE NEWS Organization.”
  116. On Thursday, after the second Democratic debate where Kamala Harris, a black senator, notionally won the debate, bots amplified a far-right conspiracy saying Harris is not black and is not a U.S. citizen.
  117. Donald Jr. also tweeted, and later deleted, a tweet saying Harris is not black, tweeting, “Is this true? Wow.” The conspiracy is reminiscent of Birtherism attacks on former president Obama, which Trump espoused.
  118. On Thursday, Twitter announced it will place a disclaimer on tweets sent by Trump and other leaders that break the company’s rules. Twitter has argued these tweets should remain up, since they serve the public interest.
  119. The disclaimer will say, “The Twitter Rules about abusive behavior apply to this Tweet. However, Twitter has determined that it may be in the public’s interest for the Tweet to remain available.”
  120. On Thursday, the House Foreign Affairs Committee released the former secretary of state Rex Tillerson’s seven hours of testimony last month that revealed Jared Kushner operated independently with foreign leaders.
  121. On several occasions Tillerson was blindsided by Kushner’s discussions with world leaders. He spotted Kushner with Mexico’s foreign secretary at a restaurant in D.C. hashing out a “fairly comprehensive plan of action.”
  122. Tillerson was surprised by the 2017 Gulf crisis in which the U.S. sided with Saudi Arabia and the UAE over Qatar. In Week 35, Kushner failed to get a bailout of 666 Fifth Avenue from the Qatari sovereign wealth fund.
  123. Tillerson also described the challenges of briefing Trump, who does not read papers and was easily distracted by peripheral topics. Tillerson said it was his choice to reduce media access to the State Department.
  124. On Thursday, in an interview with the BBC, the Dalai Lama said Trump’s time in office was defined by a “lack of moral principle.” In contrast, the Dalai Lama said he had “no worries” about a Trump presidency in 2016.
  125. The Dalai Lama is concerned with Trump’s withdrawal from the Paris accord and the migrant crisis: “When I saw pictures of some of those young children, I was sad. America … should take a global responsibility.”
  126. On Tuesday, Judge Emmet Sullivan rejected a DOJ motion for an appellate court to re-examine his rulings on Emoluments Clause lawsuit brought by 200 Democrats in Congress, saying it can move forward.
  127. On Tuesday, a federal appeals court said a lower court in Maryland should examine new allegations that the Trump regime had a discriminatory intent in wanting to add a citizenship question to the 2020 Census.
  128. The Maryland case examines whether the question violates equal-protection guarantees. The case in the Supreme Court considers whether the regime violated administrative law and the enumeration clause.
  129. On Tuesday, the DOJ filed a civil complaint against Trump adversary Omarosa Manigault Newman, saying she failed to file a financial disclosure report after she was fired in late 2017.
  130. In a statement, Newman’s attorney John Phillips said the allegations are “untrue,” and that Trump’s White House had chosen “to abuse process and use the Department of Justice to carry out retaliation.”
  131. On Wednesday, Politico reported former FEMA director Brock Long has repaid just 2% of the $151,000 of taxpayer money a Homeland Security Department inspector general probe found he spent for personal use.
  132. On Thursday, Paul Manafort pleaded not guilty in New York Supreme Court to to state fraud charges broughtby the Manhattan district attorney’s office, the third criminal case he has faced in recent years.
  133. The state case, which was brought just after his sentencing in March, could be a possible test of double jeopardy, which his attorney said he will file a motion claiming. A Trump pardon would not apply to state crimes.
  134. On Thursday, the Supreme Court ruled 5-4 along partisan lines to bar federal court challenges to partisan gerrymandering, the practice of state legislatures in power drawing voting maps to help its candidates.
  135. Chief Justice John Roberts, who wrote the majority opinion, has long argued that politics could play a role in drawing election districts, and that the judicial branch should not second-guess lawmakers’ judgment.
  136. Justice Elena Kagan delivered an impassioned dissent for the four liberal judges from the bench “with deep sadness,” saying the practices of gerrymandering “imperil our system of government.”
  137. Kagan also wrote, “Part of the court’s role in that system is to defend its foundations. None is more important than free and fair elections,” adding the ruling had taken away the remedy for escalating partisan manipulation.
  138. Also Thursday, the Supreme Court voted 5-4, with Roberts this time siding with liberal judges, to reject adding a citizenship question to the 2020 Census, saying the regime’s rationale “appears to have been contrived.”
  139. Roberts left the door open, saying the regime must “offer genuine justifications…reasons that can be scrutinized by courts and the interested public.” Time is short though, since census forms must be printed out soon.
  140. On Thursday, in reaction, Trump tweeted, “seems totally ridiculous that our government, and indeed Country, cannot ask a basic question of Citizenship in a very expensive, detailed and important Census.”
  141. Trump also said he wants to delay the 2020 census, tweeting, “I have asked the lawyers if they can delay the Census, no matter how long,” in order to give the Supreme Court additional information.
  142. The Census Bureau said it faces a Monday deadline to print the survey, which is taken every 10 years; although the bureau’s chief scientist said in appeals court testimony the deadline could be delayed until October 31.
  143. On Friday, the Supreme Court granted an appeal to the Trump regime’s effort to end the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, or DACA, in the court’s next term, after refusing to expedite consideration this term.
  144. On Friday, Roll Call reported the Supreme Court rulings this term signal a shift: without a justice in the middle, the five conservative justices will seek to undo long-standing precedents they believe were wrongly decided.
  145. On Friday, the House Ethics Committee announced it is launching a formal inquiry of Rep. Matt Gaetz over his tweet threatening Michael Cohen with the release of embarrassing information before his House testimony.
  146. Gaetz skipped an initial review, an extraordinary rebuke of his colleagues, which led the committee to launch a formal inquiry led by two Democrats and two Republicans. Gaetz tweeted he would skip the formal inquiry too.
  147. On Friday, a federal judge in California ruled against the Trump regime in two cases, preventing $2.5 billion in federal funds from being used for Trump’s wall in portions of California, New Mexico, Texas, and Arizona.
  148. The first lawsuit, brought by 17 attorneys general, blocked Trump’s attempt to move $2.5 billion from the Defense Department budget to build portions of his wall in California and New Mexico.
  149. The second lawsuit was brought by American Civil Liberties Union on behalf of several environmental groups and blocks $1 billion of funding the regime had allocated for Trump’s wall in Texas and Arizona.
  150. Both lawsuits alleged the Trump regime could not spend taxpayer money without Congressional approval. The judge found “no new factual or legal arguments persuade the Court” of the Trump regime’s analysis.
  151. On Wednesday, in a series of tweets, Trump attacked Megan Rapinoe, the co-captain of the U.S. women’s national soccer team, which was playing at the Women’s World Cup in France.
  152. Trump tweets were sparked by Rapinoe saying, “No, I’m not going to the White House,” adding, “We’re not going to be invited. I doubt it.” Rapinoe also does not join her team in singing the national anthem under Trump.
  153. Trump tweeted, “Women’s soccer player, @mPinoe, just stated that she is “not going to the F…ing White House if we win,”” adding, “Megan should WIN first before she TALKS! Finish the job!”
  154. Trump initially misspelled Rapinoe’s name and used an incorrect Twitter handle, but later deleted the tweet and corrected it. Trump also criticized “the NBA, which now refuses to call owners, owners” for not coming.
  155. Trump also tweeted, “We haven’t yet invited Megan or the team, but I am now inviting the TEAM, win or lose,” adding, “Megan should never disrespect our Country, the White House, or our Flag.”
  156. On Friday, Rapinoe scored two goals in the U.S. team’s 2–1 victory of France in the quarterfinals in Paris. She also accepted an invitation from Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez to visit the Capitol instead.
  157. On Monday, Bloomberg reported recently Trump privately discussed the idea of ending Japan Defense Pact, signed after World War II, with confidants, claiming it is too one-sided.
  158. On Wednesday, before heading to the G-20 summit in Japan, Trump questioned the treaty on Fox Business, saying if Japan is attacked, “we will fight World War III,” but if we are “they can watch on a Sony television.”
  159. Trump also berated China over stalled trade talks, falsely claiming, “Don’t let anyone tell you that China’s not paying for it. China’s paying for it,” adding, “We’re not paying for any of it.”
  160. Trump also complained about European leaders, saying, “Almost all countries in this world take tremendousadvantage of the United States,” he said. “It’s unbelievable.”
  161. Trump also attacked Germany and NATO, falsely claiming, “We pay for close to 100 percent of NATO,” adding, “People don’t know that. We pay for close to that because Germany doesn’t pay what they’re supposed to pay.”
  162. Trump however had no unkind words for Russia. When asked by reporters before leaving about his upcoming talks with Russian President Vladimir Putin, Trump responded what I say to Putin is “none of your business.”
  163. After landing, Trump went to dinner with Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison, who he had defended on Twitter in recent days over his government’s hard-line with refugees and asylum seekers.
  164. On Thursday, Putin told the Financial Times that Trump’s 2016 victory and the rise of nationalist-populist movements in Europe demonstrated “the liberal idea has become obsolete.”
  165. Putin also dismissed findings in the Mueller report, and said it was “strange” that Russia was still being accused of interference, and praised Trump as being “talented.”
  166. On Friday, at the G-20 when Trump and Putin spoke to reporters, one asked Trump if he would raise election interference. Trump joked with Putin, saying, “Don’t meddle in our election, president” while smiling.
  167. Trump then repeated the phrase “Don’t meddle in our election” while wagging his finger at Putin, while Putin and onlooking Secretary of State Mike Pompeo both smiled too.
  168. Trump said, “It’s a great honor to be with President Putin,” calling their relationship “very, very good.” Russia invited Trump to Moscow next year for the 75th anniversary of Victory Day, which Russia says he accepted.
  169. Trump also joked alongside Putin, saying of journalists, we should “get rid of them. Fake news is a great term, isn’t it?” and telling Putin, “You don’t have this problem in Russia but we do.” Putin responded, “we also have.”
  170. Trump’s remarks on the media came on the one year anniversary of the Capital Gazette shooting, in which five employees were shot and killed.
  171. Numerous journalists in Russia who were critics of Putin have been jailed or found dead. According to the World Press Freedom Index, Russia ranks near the bottom in terms of press freedom.
  172. In contrast to Trump, British Prime Minister Theresa May was photographed with Putin looking serious and stern, after a frosty meeting in which she confronted him over the the Salisbury poisoning.
  173. May told Putin “there cannot be a normalization of our bilateral relationship until Russia stops the irresponsible and destabilizing activity that threatens the U.K. and its allies.”
  174. In response to Putin’s FT interview, May told Putin the UK would “continue to unequivocally defend liberal democracy and protect the human rights and equality of all groups, including LGBT people.”
  175. On Friday, Trump was 30 minutes late for a meeting with world leaders, while sending tweets attacking Democratic rivals and bragging about the stock market.
  176. Trump tweeted, “I am in Japan at the G-20, representing our Country well, but I heard it was not a good day for Sleepy Joe or Crazy Bernie,” adding “One is exhausted, the other is nuts.”
  177. On Friday, former president Jimmy Carter, interviewed at a Carter Center event, said “Trump didn’t actually win the election in 2016,” adding Trump “was put into office because the Russians interfered on his behalf.”
  178. When asked if he believed Trump is an illegitimate president, Carter responded, “I would say yes.” Carter said on Russian interference that Trump “should condemn it,” and “admit that it happened.”
  179. On Saturday, when asked about Carter’s comments, Trump told reporters at the G-20, “Look, he was a nice man. He was a terrible president,” adding, “He’s a Democrat. And it’s a typical talking point.”
  180. Trump also said “as everybody now understands, I won not because of Russia, not because of anybody but myself,” adding that he “felt badly” for Carter because of how he had “been trashed within his own party.”
  181. On Friday, NYT reported that other than Putin, Trump met privately with only one other leader, Saudi Arabia Crown Prince MBS, at the G-20, despite the United Nations report in Week 136 on the murder of Jamal Khashoggi.
  182. The CIA also concluded Crown Prince MBS ordered the murder. Human rights and journalism advocacy groups warned Trump’s meeting would embolden autocrats to repress or kill journalists.
  183. On Saturday, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan told reporters Trump told him in a private meeting that he would not impose sanctions over Turkey’s deal to purchase a Russian missile defense system.
  184. Trump’s deal seemed to conflict with the Pentagon, which threatened to move industrial operations to other countries unless Turkey gave up its plans to purchase the Russian surface-to-air missile defense system.
  185. On Saturday, after meeting with Chinese President Xi Jinping at the G-20, Trump said he agreed to relax limits on Chinese telecommunications giant Huawei and delay new tariffs to restart trade negotiations.
  186. Last month the Commerce Department imposed sanctions on Huawei because of national security concerns or Chinese government spying. Huawei depends upon U.S. companies for computer chips.
  187. On Saturday, Trump held a news conference at the G-20. When asked about Putin’s FT comments that Western-style liberalism is obsolete, Trump mistook the meaning of the word liberalism.
  188. Trump criticized “what’s happening in Los Angeles, where it’s so sad to look,” and “what’s happening in San Francisco and a couple of other cities, which are run by an extraordinary group of liberal people.”
  189. Trump also complained about the cost of the Census, saying “The census was shocking to me. I figured it would be not expensive to do a census. It’s billions of dollars. You know that right? Billions. Billions.”
  190. On Friday, Rep. Joseph Kennedy III, a close ally of Speaker Pelosi, became the 85th member of Congress to call for impeachment. Also, 15 of the 24 House Judiciary Committee members are for impeachment
  191. On Friday, WSJ reported Deutsche Bank is considering cutting an additional 20,000 jobs. The bank faces a wide-ranging U.S. probe into possible money laundering, and the bank’s relationship with Trump.

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

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The bodies of Salvadoran migrant Oscar Alberto Martínez Ramírez and his nearly 2-year-old daughter Valeria lie on the bank of the Rio Grande in Matamoros, Mexico, Monday, June 24, 2019, after they drowned trying to cross the river to Brownsville, Texas. Martinez’ wife, Tania told Mexican authorities she watched her husband and child disappear in the strong current.

POLITIKS OF GRAFFITI 132: “CONGRESS, WHA DAT?”

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R E S I S T sticker on the back of a bank in Stony Brook, Long Island on 18may2019.

Week 131: Experts in authoritarianism advise to keep a list of things subtly changing around you, so you’ll remember.

May 18, 2018 https://medium.com/@Amy_Siskind/week-131-experts-in-authoritarianism-advise-to-keep-a-list-of-things-subtly-changing-around-you-ce28fa6a0c71

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Closeup of R E S I S T sticker. Stony Brook, Long Island. 18may2019.

This week, in a letter, White House counsel Pat Cipollone issued a blanket refusal of records and testimony from Trump and dozens of current and former White House staff, saying Trump did not recognize Congress as a law enforcement body with the legitimate purpose to investigate. While the letter sent shock waves, Congress’s reaction was decidedly muted as House Democratic leaders sought to avoid impeachment, as other deadlines passed without cooperation.

This week Trump welcomed another far-right authoritarian to the White House, Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban, whom Trump likened to a “twin brother.” Tensions escalated with Iran, and the regime issued conflicting statements and stances, and increasingly stood alone.

More troubling stories about atrocities being committed and contemplated against migrants surfaced, including a planned operational blitz to round up 10,000 migrants in 10 U.S. cities. Trump rolled out a new immigration plan, emphasizing skills over family ties, in an uncharacteristically low-energy Rose Garden speech that was met with a cool reception. Attacks on abortion rights were front and center of the national dialogue as Alabama passed the country’s most restrictive ban, setting up a possible challenge for Roe v. Wade. Other states are set to follow.

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“I think If you’re going to terminate a pregnancy, it should be done sometime before the fetus becomes Governor of Alabama.” – Jim Carrey

 

  1. This week, the Nos. 1, 2, and 3 spots on the New York Times paperback nonfiction best-seller list were the three different editions of the Mueller report.
  2. The White House has not held a press briefing for over two months, and only two so far this year. Briefings were a near-daily event in every recent administration going back to President Nixon.
  3. WAPO observed in the first part of 2018 the briefings got shorter and shorter, then during the summer, they began to disappear. The Pentagon and State Department have also almost entirely stopped briefings.
  4. The University of Virginia Center for Politics conducted a poll asking respondents whether the 2020 election should be delayed and Trump should get an extra two years in office.
  5. New data from the U.S. Social Security Administration revealed the popularity of the name “Donald” dropped to its lowest ranking ever in 2018 to number 526, down from the 487th most popular name for boys in 2017.
  6. The New York Post reported state Education Departments’ statistics show staffers flagged a record-high 5,875 incidents of harassment, discrimination, and bullying in 2017–2018, up 60% from the year prior.
  7. On Saturday, Trump attacked Don McGahn, tweeting: “I was NOT going to fire Bob Mueller, and did not fire Bob Mueller,” adding, “McGahn had a much better chance of being fired than Mueller. Never a big fan!”
  8. On Sunday, on Mother’s Day, Trump sent more than 30 tweets and retweets — only one mentioning the holiday. Between Saturday and Sunday, Trump sent a total of nearly three dozen tweets and 62 retweets.
  9. Trump mocked Democrats, saying their “new and pathetically untrue sound bite is that we are in a “Constitutional Crisis,”” adding, “they and their partner, the Fake News Media,” say it “loud” and “often as possible.”
  10. Trump called Democrats “a sad JOKE!” saying, “We may have the strongest Economy in our history,” but “we have had a giant SCAM…a Witch Hunt, a Treasonous Hoax,” adding, “That is the Constitutional Crisis.”
  11. Trump also tweeted, “Despite two years and millions of dollars spent, the Democrats are acting like crazed lunatics” since the Mueller report came out, and adding, “It is all a big Hoax, the biggest in American history!”
  12. Trump also claimed “the Dems have been working overtime to damage me and the Republican Party” since the report came out, adding, “issuing over 80 demands for documents and testimonies, and with NO REASON.”
  13. Trump also tweeted: “The “Constitutional Crisis” is the Democrats refusing to work.” Despite Republican efforts to move on from the Russia probe, that was the number one topic by far of Trump’s weekend Twitter activity.
  14. On Monday, Trump thanked “Fox & Friends” tweeting, “great show this morning and congratulations on your number one” and congratulated One America News Network (OANN) on “the great job you are doing.”
  15. OANN launched in 2013 and went all-in for Trump in 2016. The network amplifies right-wing conspiracy theories and propaganda originating from the Kremlin. Trump is a loyal viewer, so segments are a way to reach him.
  16. Gulf Coast Media, a media company that owns three Florida radio stations, will broadcast parts of Trump’s speeches every hour of every day until the 2020 election. The owner bought the stations in 2018.
  17. On Monday, in a series of tweets on space exploration, Trump said, “Under my Administration, we are restoring @NASA to greatness,” adding he is upping the budget “so that we can return to Space in a BIG WAY!”
  18. Later Monday, the Trump regime sent a budget amendment to Congress, saying the regime would use $1.9 billion in surplus Pell Grant money to fund other budget priorities, including a $1.6 billion NASA budget boost.
  19. On Monday, the stock market experienced a dramatic drop off of close to 2.5% as China imposed $60 billion in tariffs in retaliation for Trump’s move last week, and the trade war escalated.
  20. On Monday, Trump told reporters, “We’re taking in billions of dollars in tariffs. I love the position that we are in, we’ve gone up a lot since our great election.” There was no proof that this was true.
  21. On Monday, Sen. Tom Cotton told “CBS this Morning” on the farmers suffering, “There will be some sacrifice on the part of Americans, I grant you that.” Arkansas farmers accused Cotton of mocking them.
  22. On Tuesday, Trump sent a series of tweets, saying “Our great Patriot Farmers will be one of the biggest beneficiaries” of his trade war, falsely claiming “This money will come from the massive Tariffs being paid.”
  23. Trump also tweeted, “In one year Tariffs have rebuilt our Steel Industry — it is booming!” The jobs moving back in the steel sector are estimated to cost U.S. businesses and consumers $900,000 per year for each job.
  24. Trump also tweeted, “Billions of Dollars, and moving jobs back to the USA where they belong,” adding, “This should have been done by our leaders many years ago. Enjoy!” There is no proof for this claim.
  25. Trump also attacked the Federal Reserve again, tweeting China “will be pumping money into their system and probably reducing interest rates,” adding if the Fed “ever did a “match,” it would be game over, we win!”
  26. Trump plugged Sen. Cotton’s book, tweeting: “Our great Senator (and Star)… has just completed a wonderful book,” adding, “On sale today, make it big!” The plug helped make the book a bestseller.
  27. Trump told reporters the trade war with China was “a little squabble,” and “We always win.” China state media said one person and his regime are threatening “the entire country and all the people of China.”
  28. WAPO reported some Republicans are expressing concern. Sen. Chuck Grassley of Iowa said he planned to write Trump a letter and added, “I’m not sure if you talk to him face to face, he hears everything you say.”
  29. Republicans also expressed concern that Trump did not have a clear endgame. With Trump’s shift to imposing tariffs last Friday, GOP lawmakers have fielded angry phone calls from constituents.
  30. On Wednesday, Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue said the regime could make between $15-20 billion of aid available to farmers in a second round of assistance to offset losses from Trump’s trade war.
  31. Officials are considering funding the aid through an expansion of bailout funds from the Commodity Credit Corp, a division of the USDA that was created during the Great Depression.
  32. On Thursday, a National Farmers Union executive told Fox News on the impact of Trump’s trade war with China, “We’ve had a lot of farmers — a lot more bankruptcies going on, a lot more farmer suicides.”
  33. On Thursday, the Daily News reported the USDA purchased $62 million of pork from a U.S. company owned by Joesley and Wesley Batista, wealthy brothers who have confessed to bribing hundreds of top officials in Brazil.
  34. The purchase was made using funds from a $12 billion program meant for U.S. farmers harmed by Trump’s trade wars, and raised outrage from watchdog groups for helping bailout a Brazilian-owned company.
  35. On Thursday, the Trump regime defended the $62 million bailout, saying it will eventually trickle down to struggling U.S. farmers, adding the U.S. subsidiary owned by the Brazilian brothers was an “approved vendor.”
  36. On Thursday, Walmart’s CFO said Trump’s trade war with China will result in higher prices for consumers, adding the company will try ease the pain to consumers by trying to obtain products from different countries.
  37. On Monday, Trump said he will attend the G-20 summit in Osaka next month, and meet with Russian President Vladimir Putin and Chinese President Xi Jinping — the first mention of another meeting with Putin.
  38. On Monday, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo canceled his planned trip to Moscow and instead met with European Union allies in Brussels, as the Trump regime raised the possibility of a conflict with Iran.
  39. Shortly after Pompeo’s meetings, Trump told reporters in the Oval Office, “it would be a very bad mistake” if Iran does anything, adding, “I’m hearing little stories about Iran. If they do anything they will suffer greatly.”
  40. On Monday, Trump hosted Hungary’s hard-right leader Prime Minister Viktor Orban, thumbing his nose at former presidents Obama and W. Bush who refused to host him. Orban also remains an outcast in Europe.
  41. Trump told reporters Orban has “done a tremendous job in so many ways” and has “kept his country safe,” adding, “respected all over Europe” and “probably like me a little bit controversial, but that’s okay.”
  42. Orban said he and Trump have “similar approaches” to many global issues. Trump failed to mention Hungary’s slide into authoritarianism, or its human rights and free speech abuses, or growing anti-Semitism.
  43. As their meeting ended, according to Hungarian media, Trump told Orban “It’s like we’re twins.” The White House defended criticism of the meeting, saying it was about defending “freedom and prosperity.”
  44. On Monday, at a meeting with his top security aides, Trump reviewed military plans that could send as many as 120,000 troops to the Middle East amid a possible escalation with Iran.
  45. The plans were ordered by national security adviser John Bolton, a long-time Iran hawk pushing for battle since working for President W. Bush. Trump. European allies worried tensions could boil over inadvertently.
  46. On Monday, Yleem Poblete, the assistant secretary of state for arms control, verification and compliance, and noted as an Iran hawk, resigned after serving for one year in the regime. No explanation was given.
  47. On Tuesday, a senior British military official told reporters at the Pentagon he saw no increased threat from Iran. Hours later, U.S. Central Command issued an unusual rebuke, citing “identified credible threats.”
  48. NYT reported several European officials privately expressed concern that Bolton and Pompeo are pushing Trump on a course that could lead the U.S. to war, reminiscent of faulty intelligence that led to the Iraq invasion.
  49. On Thursday, Gene Simmons of the rock band Kiss used the Pentagon briefing room to address troops before visiting the White House. The White House did not comment on the reason for Simmons’ visit.
  50. On Monday, two Senators, a Democrat and a Republican, asked in a letter to the Health and Human Services Assistant Secretary to turn over information on the treatment of migrant children in federally funded shelters.
  51. The senators demanded information related to “horrific and intolerable allegations of excessive compensation, self-dealing, and sexual abuse,” asking whether the ORR has failed to uphold its statutory duties.
  52. On Monday, WAPO reported before Trump’s purge at the Department of Homeland Security in April, officials had challenged a plan to arrest thousands of parents and children of migrants in 10 major U.S. cities.
  53. The regime sought to target families who had entered the country after Trump’s “zero tolerance” policy, to show force and send a message the U.S. was going to be tough and detain and deport recent immigrants quickly.
  54. The plan would have targeted immigrants who did not show for their hearings. The initial target list of the blitz operation was 2,500 adults and children, seen as a first step to arresting and deporting 10,000 migrants.
  55. Then DHS secretary Kirstjen Nielsen and acting ICE director Ronald Vitiello fought against the plan, citing operational and logistical issues, but not moral concerns, about arresting families.
  56. The plan was strongly backed by Stephen Miller and ICE Deputy Director Matthew Albence. Reportedly, Nielsen and Vitiello’s pushback was a factor in Trump’s decision to oust both.
  57. Non-partisan watchdog group CREW filed requested documents from DHS relating to former White House Chief of Staff John Kelly and CaliburnInternational, after recent reports Kelly joined the company’s board.
  58. On Wednesday, WAPO reported a fourth migrant from Guatemala, a 2 1/2 year-old boy, died three days after being apprehended by Customs and Border Protection at the southern border in the El Paso area.
  59. Guatemala’s Consul Tekandi Paniagua said the boy developed appeared to have developed a form of pneumonia, after spending three days in federal custody, but the death remained under investigation.
  60. CBP officials are required to notify Congress of a death in custody within 24 hours. The death occurred on April 6. When WAPO inquired if lawmakers were notified, an official said they would do so.
  61. On Wednesday, the White House announced Trump would unveil a plan to overhaul parts of the immigration system to emphasize immigrants’ skill over family ties. Jared Kushner spent months working on the plan.
  62. The plan would vastly scale back allowing immigrants to bring their spouses and children to live with them, and instead allow in immigrants who have specific skills, English proficiency, and educational attainment.
  63. The plan also calls for constructing some of the border wall, reducing the number of immigrants, but did not address the fate of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA).
  64. On Thursday, Trump rolled out the plan at the Rose Garden, but got a cool reception. Although Trump’s speech was meant to strike a centrist, conciliatory tone, Trump quickly went off script and started attacking.
  65. Trump attacked Democrats as being for “open borders, lower wages and, frankly, lawless chaos,” saying if they refused to support his “merit-based, high-security plan,” he would pass it after the GOP wins back the House.
  66. Trump was more low-energy than usual during the address, and his words seemed to drag and go off course at times. Trump also refused to take questions from the press.
  67. NYT reported Kushner had wanted to elevate the moment and have Trump speak at the Statue of Liberty. Instead, staff chose the Rose Garden so members of Congress and Trump’s cabinet could come and show support.
  68. Speaker Nancy Pelosi said the plan “repackaged the worst of its past failed immigration plans” and described it as “dead-on-arrival,” and “not a remotely serious proposal.”
  69. On Friday a 4th Circuit federal appeals court ruled that the Trump regime acted in an “arbitrary and capricious” manner when it sought to end the DACA program without adequately explaining why.
  70. The ruling overturns a lower court ruling in Maryland last year, which Trump has praised on Twitter. The ruling will not have an immediate impact as other federal courts have already ruled against Trump.
  71. Politico reported Trump’s pick for ICE director, Mark Morgan, told Fox News host Tucker Carlson earlier this year that he could tell which migrant children will become gang members by looking into their eyes.
  72. On Wednesday, Daily Beast reported that children born to LGBTQ parents who had them out of wedlock and then moved to the U.S. may be stripped of their citizenship rights.
  73. On Monday, the New Haven Fire Department chief said a fire at the Diyanet Mosque of New Haven, Connecticut was set intentionally. The blaze came during the month of Ramadan.
  74. On Friday, Massachusetts state officials said three fires at a Rabbi’s home and nearby Chabad Jewish Center just outside Boston were “intentionallyset.” Police say they are investigating the fires as a possible hate crime.
  75. On Sunday, International House of Pancakes stoked controversy when the chain tweeted a photo of a fake sonogram with a stack of pancakes in the womb, along with “Happy Mother’s Day to ALL the moms out there!”
  76. On Monday, former Trump staffer Omarosa Manigault Newman submitted a court declaration as part of proposed collective-action lawsuit against Trump spearheaded by Alva Johnson for gender-based pay discrimination.
  77. On Tuesday, the Alabama state senate approved a measure that would effectively ban abortion, criminalizing the procedure for doctors, punishable by up to 99 years in jail.
  78. The measure includes an exception when the mother’s life is at serious risk, but not for cases of rape or incest. The bill was reportedly drafted with the hope of reaching the Supreme Court to challenge Roe v. Wade.
  79. The Guttmacher Institute reported more than 300 proposals to restrict abortion were introduced in states from January to March, noting a shift in the strategy and moving toward “near-total and total abortion bans.”
  80. On Thursday, the Senate voted to confirm Wendy Vitter to the U.S. District Court. Vitter said of Planned Parenthood “they kill over 150,000 females a year. The first step in promoting women’s health is to let them live.”
  81. On Friday, Missouri’s House passed a bill banning abortion after eight weeks of pregnancy, with exceptions for medical emergencies, but not rape or incest. Doctors who perform abortions could face 5–15 years in prison.
  82. GOP Gov. Mike Parson, who said “Until the day that we no longer have abortions in this country, I will never waiver in the fight,” is expected to sign the bill. The law only kicks in if Roe v. Wade is overturned.
  83. Missouri Rep. Barry Hovis said during a debate of granting exceptions for rape and incest, “Most of them were date rapes or consensual rapes.” Hovis later apologized for using the term consensual rape.
  84. On Friday, Austin City Council member Leslie Pool said she is drafting a resolution for the city to boycott the state of Alabama over its extreme anti-abortion law, saying “Austin should help fight back.”
  85. On Saturday, Louisiana’s Democratic Gov. John Bel Edwards said he is ready to sign an abortion ban bill awaiting one final vote in the state House, would prohibit abortion after a fetal heartbeat is detected.
  86. On Tuesday, the Maine state senate voted to join an interstate effort with 15 other states that will award presidential electors based on the winner of the national popular vote, not as is currently done in the Electoral College.
  87. On Tuesday, on a trip to a liquefied natural gas facility in Louisiana, Trump knocked the Green New Deal and windmills, saying, “you want to see a bird cemetery? Go under a windmill. You’ve got every type of bird.”
  88. On Wednesday, the Interior Department renewed two mineral leases near the Boundary Waters Wilderness area in Minnesota, opening the wilderness area to copper mining despite heavy opposition.
  89. The move rolled back an Obama era moratorium. Conservation groups say the regime conducted an insufficient environmental review and ignored 39,000 comments during the 41 day review period.
  90. A U.N. pact to add plastic waste to the Basel Convention, a treaty which regulates movement of hazardous materials from one country to another, was approved by 187 countries, but not by the U.S.
  91. On Monday, prosecutors asked Federal Judge Amy Berman Jackson to further postpone sentencing for Rick Gates, citing Gates “continues to cooperate with the government as required by his Plea Agreement.”
  92. Prosecutors said in their filing that Gates may be a trial witness against former Obama White House counsel Gregory Craig and Trump ally Roger Stone. Judge Jackson approved their request.
  93. On Monday, NYT reported AG William Barr assigned John Durham, the U.S. attorney in Connecticut, to examine the origins of the Russia investigation, a move that Trump has long called for — investigating the investigators.
  94. Durham’s inquiry will be the third into the origins of the investigation, along with John Huber, the U.S. attorney in Utah’s inquiry, and the DOJ inspector general’s examination of the use of wiretapping applications.
  95. Durham’s assignment complicates matters for three Senate committee chairs — Sens. Lindsey Graham, Ron Johnson, and Chuck Grassley — who were also set to open their own investigations into investigators.
  96. On Tuesday, CNN reported Barr is also working in close collaboration withCIA Director Gina Haspel, Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats, and FBI Director Christopher Wray to review the Russia probe origins.
  97. On Sunday, Senate Judiciary Committee Chair Lindsey Graham told “Fox News Sunday” that Donald Jr. should ignore the Senate Intelligence Committee subpoena and not show up to a hearing.
  98. On Monday, Politico reported Senate Republicans were concerned about an ugly floor vote if Donald Jr. did not comply with the Senate Intelligence Committee’s subpoena, and hoped parties would work out a deal.
  99. On Monday, Chair Graham changed his stance, saying Donald Jr. should “just show up and plead the Fifth and it’s over with,” adding, “This whole thing is nuts,” and “To me, it’s over.”
  100. On Monday, Sen. Joe Manchin, a conservative Democrat, told CNN, “this is not the Lindsey I know,” adding, “Lindsey Graham has been a dear friend since I’ve been in the Senate. I can’t explain what’s going on right now.”
  101. On Tuesday, Donald Jr. reached a deal with the Senate Intelligence Committee to have him testify in mid-June, but the interview will be for only two-to-four hours and limited in scope to five-to-six topics.
  102. On Monday, in a court filing, Trump’s attorneys objected to Judge Amit Mehta’s intention to rule from the bench after Tuesday’s hearing on Trump’s lawsuit seeking to block the House Oversight Mazars subpoena.
  103. Lawyers cited they need more time to collect evidence and develop their cases, saying Trump’s rights were undermined by the accelerated timetable. Experts say Trump’s strategy seemed to be to stall the probes.
  104. On Tuesday, Judge Mehta raised doubts about arguments by Trump’s legal team that the subpoena was an invalid exercise of congressional power, adding Congress has a significant “informing function.”
  105. Although Trump’s lawyer argued Congress has no basis for investigating Trump’s financial disclosure, Mehta pushed back that investigations of such financial violations are “strictly” under Congress’ purview.
  106. The House Oversight lawyer pushed for a quick ruling, saying, “This Congress is limited in time…Any delay here undermines the House’s ability to do what the Constitution allows it to do.”
  107. Mehta’s ruling, expected Friday at the earliest, will be the first and could provide a blueprint for other judges deciding on Trump’s attempts to block or hinder other congressional investigations.
  108. On Tuesday, House Democrat committee chairs wrote letters to Cipollone and Barr demanding information on the regime’s decisions to call for the dismantling of the Affordable Care Act, and if Trump was involved.
  109. On Monday, Serhiy Leshchenko, an Ukrainian lawmaker, told journalists Prosecutor General Yuriy Lutsenko made up claims about possible 2020 foe Joe Biden in an alleged bid to curry favor with Trump.
  110. Leshchenko shared a parts of a letter send by Lutsenko through unofficial channels to Trump’s personal attorney, Rudy Giuliani. The prosecutor’s spokeswoman denied the letter came from him.
  111. On Tuesday, Bloomberg reported Yuriy Lutsenko said that neither Hunter Biden nor Burisma, the company Biden sat on the board of, were currently the focus of an investigation, countering allegations by Giuliani.
  112. Lutsenko said he would turn over information to Barr about Burisma’s payments to Biden, but added, “I do not want Ukraine to again be the subject of U.S. presidential elections.”
  113. On Tuesday, Gov. Ron DeSantis told reporters, “two Florida counties experienced intrusion into the supervisor of election networks” during the 2016 election, but added no votes were manipulated or results altered.
  114. DeSantis got the information in an FBI briefing. While Sen. Marco Rubio said the Mueller report said Russia was in a position to manipulate voter registration data, DeSantis claimed the FBI told him that did not occur.
  115. On Thursday, NPR reported Florida lawmakers were angry after leaving an FBI briefing which left many of their questions on the 2016 hacking unanswered, and frustrated that they were not notified sooner.
  116. Lawmakers said even after the Mueller report and briefing, they do not know exactly what happened. A Republican lawmaker responded to a reporter asking if more than two counties were hacked, “It’s possible.”
  117. On Tuesday, at a joint press conference with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov and Pompeo, Lavrov rejected claims of Russian election interference and accused the U.S. of interfering in Russian domestic policy.
  118. Lavrov said “The facts tell us that there is no proof of those trying to hype up this topic,” to which Pompeo responded with a smirk, “You can see we have some disagreements on this issue.”
  119. On Tuesday, NYT reported the House Intelligence Committee sent document requests to four lawyers who represented Trump or his familyon whether they helped obstruct the panel’s Russia investigation.
  120. Letters went to Jay Sekulow; Alan Futerfas, who represents Donald Jr.; Alan Garten, the top lawyer at the Trump Organization; and Abbe Lowell, who represents Ivanka. All were part of the joint defense agreement.
  121. Chair Adam Schiff’s letter suggested the four may have “shaped and edited the false statement” by Micheal Cohen and “engaged in discussions about potential pardons” in an effort to deter witnesses from cooperating.
  122. On Tuesday, the House Judiciary Committee formally scheduled a hearing for former White House counsel Don McGahn on May 21. Chair Jerry Nadler said McGahn will be held in contempt if he does not appear.
  123. On Tuesday, NBC News reported some members of the House Judiciary Committee are expressing frustration and urging leadership to take a “second look” at impeachment as a tool to get the regime to comply.
  124. The committee had hoped that Mueller would testify on May 15, but members said Trump’s action were behind that not happening. The DOJ declined to comment on why Mueller has not yet agreed to testify.
  125. On Wednesday, House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer said House Democrats will not hold floor votes on contempt resolutions against Attorney General Barr or any other Trump regime officials until at least June.
  126. Hoyer added, “We don’t want to do it just individually.” There was a divide among Democrats, with Chairs Nadler and Jim McGovern and others pushing for more aggressive action.
  127. On Wednesday, in a letter to Chair Nadler, White House counsel Pat Cipollone said Congress has no right to a “do-over” of the special counsel’sinvestigation, issuing a sweeping rejection of House demands.
  128. Cipollone’s letter issued a blanket refusal of records and testimony from dozens of current and former White House staff, rejecting Congress’s standing to investigate Trump for possible obstruction of justice.
  129. Cipollone said Congress is not a law enforcement body and does not have a legitimate purpose to investigate what it is pursuing, and without asserting executive privilege, said it would only consider narrow requests.
  130. The White House also said it is instructing the 81 Trump allies or Trump-related entities who received document requests from Chair Nadler in early March not to comply.
  131. Chair Nadler responded, “The American people ought to be astonished by a claim by the White House that the president cannot be held accountable, that he’s above the law, that he is in fact a dictator.”
  132. Nadler said of the 81 recipients, “We will subpoena whoever we have to subpoena. We will hear from Mueller, we will hear from McGahn…We will hold in contempt whoever doesn’t comply with subpoenas.”
  133. On Wednesday, Nadler said in an interview with CNBC that he believed Trump committed crimes while in office, and said of Barr, “Bill Barr is just a liar. And, he’s just representing the president.”
  134. When asked if we are heading for impeachment, Nadler said, “Probably, but I don’t know,” adding that Trump is making it “increasingly difficult” to avoid.
  135. On Wednesday, when he encountered Speaker Pelosi at at a law enforcement ceremony, Barr asked if she “brought your handcuffs.” Pelosi told Barr that the Sergeant at Arms was there should an arrest be needed.
  136. On Wednesday, Vice President Mike Pence, Leader Mitch McConnell, and Supreme Court Justice John Roberts flew on Air Force Two to a funeral — notably unusual for the three to be together, especially on a flight.
  137. On Wednesday, WAPO reported despite Trump’s unwillingness to cooperate with 20 congressional investigations, Speaker Pelosi told House members in a closed-door meeting to stick with policy, not focus on impeachment.
  138. On Wednesday, Trump granted a full pardon to Conrad Black, a billionaire friend who wrote a complimentary book about him. Black was convicted in 2007 on fraud charges, including embezzlement and obstruction.
  139. On Wednesday, Senate Democrats introduced legislation requiring hand-marked paper ballots and “statistically rigorous” cybersecurity audits. Sen. Ron Wyden, who is leading the legislation, accused the White House of taking insufficient steps.
  140. On Thursday, 20 House Democrats, led by Rep. Mary Gay Scanlon, vice chairwoman of the House Judiciary Committee, did a public reading of the redacted Mueller report on a C-SPAN station starting at noon.
  141. On Thursday, House Intelligence Committee Chair Schiff said his committee will hold hearings next week on whether to hold Barr in contempt for ignoring their subpoena of the unredacted Mueller report.
  142. In a letter to Barr, Chair Schiff wrote that the DOJ’s refusal “leaves the Committee no choice but to initiate action next week to enforce the subpoena.” The subpoena deadline was Wednesday.
  143. On Thursday, a group of Democratic lawmakers with top roles on committees overseeing the Treasury Department sent a letter to Sec. Steven Mnuchin relating to Rusal’s investment in the Kentucky mill.
  144. Rusal’s board approved a a $200 million investment in an aluminum plant with Braidy Industries on Thursday, four months after Congress voted to lift sanctions on the company owned by Russian oligarch Oleg Deripaska.
  145. Braidy’s CEO told NYT his company did not discuss the Rusal investment before it was announced with the Trump regime or Kentucky’s senators, Mitch McConnell and Rand Paul. McConnell backed lifting sanctions.
  146. On Thursday, in response to a motion filed by WAPO earlier in the year, Judge Emmet Sullivan ordered prosecutors to publicly release conversations Micheal Flynn had with Russian ambassador in late 2016.
  147. Sullivan also ordered the government to provide a public transcript of a November 2017 voice mail from then Trump attorney John Dowd involving Flynn reminding him of Trump’s fondness for him.
  148. Per Mueller report, Dowd said it wouldn’t surprise him if Flynn cooperates but “[I]f… there’s information that implicates the President, then we’ve got a national security issue [so] … we need some kind of heads-up.”
  149. In his order, Sullivan also ordered the government to provide him with a copy of all relevant recordings, including any calls Flynn made to the Russians, so he can review them.
  150. Sullivan also ordered still-redacted portions of the Mueller report related to Flynn be given to the court and made public. Newly unsealed court records show Flynn was a deep source of useful information to Mueller.
  151. Newly unredacted portions of the Mueller report also revealed Flynn told Mueller’s team that people linked to the Trump regime and Congress reached out to him in an effort to impact his willingness to cooperate.
  152. Prosecutors did not identify which member(s) of Congress reached out to Flynn. The Mueller report revealed Trump asked Reince Priebus and K.T. McFarland to reach out to Flynn and tell him to stay strong.
  153. On Friday, CNN reported in April 2018, Flynn sent a Twitter direct message to Rep. Matt Gaetz, saying, “You stay on top of what you’re doing. Your leadership is so vital for our country now. Keep the pressure on.”
  154. The message was sent months after the December 2017 start of Flynn’s cooperation, and within an hour of Rep. Gaetz appearing on Fox Business’ “Lou Dobbs Tonight,” where he criticized the Mueller investigation.
  155. On Thursday, Barr told Fox News the public must know if the “government officials abused their power and put their thumb on the scale” in the early stages of the Mueller probe.
  156. On Friday, in an interview with WSJ, Barr said there may be rule changes at the DOJ in the wake of the Russia probe, saying, “Government power was used to spy on American citizens.”
  157. Barr also said, “I can’t imagine any world where we wouldn’t take a look and make sure that was done properly,” adding, “we need to ensure that the government doesn’t use its powers to put a thumb on the scale.”
  158. On Friday, Fox News anchor Chris Wallace said during an interview on “America’s Newsroom” that Barr “clearly is protecting” Trump, and “advocating his point of view.”
  159. Fox News contributor Judge Andrew Napolitano said in an op-ed we have lost sight of the basic constitutional norms. Napolitano said on Fox News Trump violated the separation of powers three times in the past week.
  160. On Friday, Trump sent a series of 13 morning tweets, many during the airing of “Fox & Friends,” including his campaign lines “DRAIN THE SWAMP!” and “MAKE AMERICA GREAT AGAIN!”
  161. Trump also quoted “Fox & Friends,” tweeting, “What happened is that Donald Trump won. Down goes Comey.”
  162. Trump also tweeted: “My Campaign for President was conclusively spied on. Nothing like this has ever happened in American Politics,” adding, “TREASON means long jail sentences, and this was TREASON!
  163. Trump also tweeted, “Will Jerry Nadler ever look into the fact that Crooked Hillary deleted and acid washed 33,000 emails AFTER getting a most powerful demand notice for them from Congress?”
  164. Trump also tweeted about Michael Flynn, saying it seems he “was under investigation long before was common knowledge,” adding, “It would have been impossible for me to know this.” This statement is false.
  165. Trump also tweeted, “the Fake News Media is hurting our Country with its fraudulent and highly inaccurate coverage of Iran,” calling it “made up” and “DANGEROUS.”
  166. Trump also tweeted, “At least Iran doesn’t know what to think, which at this point may very well be a good thing!”
  167. Bloomberg reported Trump was increasingly isolated on Iran, as the world saw confusion on U.S. strategy. Beyond Israel and Saudi Arabia, allied support is not forthcoming.
  168. A few hours later, Trump tweeted, “With all of the Fake and Made Up News out there, Iran can have no idea what is actually going on!”
  169. On Friday, at a speech to the National Association of Realtors in Washington, D.C. went off topic, criticizing the media’s coverage which claims he is at odds with top security officials in the regime on Iran.
  170. Trump said of the media using anonymous sources: “Everything is ‘a source says.’ There is no source. The person doesn’t exist. The person’s not alive. It’s bullshit, OK? It’s bullshit.”
  171. Trump also referred to journalists as “bad people,” complaining that he has to uses speeches and social media to get his message across, saying the media not him has led to confusion on U.S. strategy on Iran.
  172. On Friday, at the 5 p.m. deadline, the Treasury Department refused to comply with a House subpoena for Trump’s tax returns, saying in a letter “the Committee’s request lacks a legitimate legislative purpose.”
  173. House Ways and Means Committee Chair Richard Neal said the law provides “clear statutory authority” for the committee’s request, and said he would consult with counsel “on how best to enforce the subpoenas.”
  174. On Friday, Chair Nadler told Politico that there is no Mueller hearing planned for next week. Nadler had set a new tentative date of May 23. Nadler said this could change if Mueller wanted to come in.
  175. On Friday, WAPO reported a group of House Judiciary Committee Democrats are growing impatient and have privately discussed ways to increase pressure on House leadership for impeachment.
  176. Some senior Democrats hope the courts will come to their rescue; but if Democrats choose to litigate all the cases of Trump stonewalling, it could take months or years — as Trump runs out the clock.
  177. Democratic leaders have backed the idea of bundling citations and scheduling one major contempt vote, before then taking them to court. But that process will take weeks more.
  178. On Saturday, AP reported some Democrats say Trump’s stonewalling leaves them almost no choice but to open an impeachment inquiry — not necessarily to impeach Trump, but as part of a legal strategy.
  179. Experts cited the Constitution gives Congress the sole power to impeach, and courts are wary of interfering. Impeachment inquiry may be the only way to get Trump to comply with requests for documents and testimony.
  180. On Saturday, WAPO reported an attempt by Stephen Miller to push for another DHS shake-up was thwarted by acting DHS Secretary Kevin McAleenan, who threatened to resign if he was not given more time.
  181. Tempers flared when Miller urged Trump to elevate Mark Morgan, who Trump picked to be the new director of ICE to become the new commissioner of CBP instead, without McAleenan’s knowledge or consent.
  182. On Saturday, Austria’s far-right Vice Chancellor Heinz-Christian Strache resigned after a 2017 video surfaced, showing him promising government contracts to a woman claiming to be the niece of a Russian oligarch.
  183. The video was filmed on the Spanish island of Ibiza three months before the Austrian elections, and revealed Strache eagerly willing to promise Russia government contracts in exchange for campaign donations.
  184. The scandal and resignation come just ahead of next week’s elections for the European Parliament where far-right, populist leaders were campaigning to increase their share of power, benefiting Russia.

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Migrants, mostly from Central America, wait to board a van which will take them to a processing center, on May 16, 2019, in El Paso, Texas. — About 1,100 migrants from Central America and other countries are crossing into the El Paso border sector each day.

POLITIKS OF GRAFFITI 131: A CONSTITUTIONAL CRISIS

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“This week was also notable for the hostility towards women and women’s rights in several states, with new pieces of legislation with overtly misogynistic tones enacted or threatened…” San Jose, Cosa Rica. April 2019

Week 130: Experts in authoritarianism advise to keep a list of things subtly changing around you, so you’ll remember.

May 11, 2019

This week marked a subtle shift in House Democrats’ position on impeachment, as House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and her committee chairs cited a “constitutional crisis,” and argued Trump was “goading” them and giving them no choice with his continued stonewalling. The House Judiciary Committee voted to hold Attorney General William Barr in contempt of Congress, and threatened the same for former White House counsel Don McGahn. Trump said he would block special counsel Robert Mueller from testifying, and later in the week backed off. Notably, the Republican-led Senate Intelligence Committee served the first subpoena on a member of Trump’s family, Donald Trump Jr.

There was more reporting on Trump’s irreverence around norms and laws, including his attempts to have McGahn publicly state he did not believe Trump obstructed justice, and dispatching personal attorney Rudy Giuliani to Ukraine to spur investigations likely to help his re-election.

This week was also notable for the hostility towards women and women’s rights in several states, with new pieces of legislation with overtly misogynistic tones enacted or threatened, reminiscent of decades ago. By week’s end, actress Alyssa Milano called for women to protest Georgia’s heartbeat fill through a sex strike. The continued divisions in our country under Trump were also apparent when the World Series Champion Red Sox visited the White House: all the white players attended, while the coach and all but one of the black and Latino players skipped the visit.

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Orlando, Florida 7may19
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New York City November 2018
  1. On Sunday, an NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll found 60% of Americans believe Trump has been dishonest in the Russia investigation, while 37% believe he has been honest, including 75% of Republicans.
  2. On impeachment, 48% are against it, while 49% believe Congress should hold impeachment hearings. Of those for impeachment hearings, 17% say now and 32% say if there is enough evidence in the future.
  3. In an interview with Rolling Stone, civil rights icon Rep. John Lewis said, “I hate to say it, but I think we’re in deep trouble,” adding, “I have never been like this, even during the height of the civil-rights movement.”
  4. Rep. Lewis said, “Sometimes you’re afraid to go to sleep, to turn off the radio or the television or to pick up a book or a newspaper,” and during the civil-rights movement “there was a greater sense of hope and optimism.”
  5. WAPO’s Dana Milbank wrote in an op-ed that he had his White House credentials revoked, after covering four presidents over 21 years. Milbank said he was a part of a mass purge of “hard pass” holders.
  6. Milbank said seven other White House reporters for the Post similarly had their pass revoked, but were all later granted exceptions except him, adding, “I strongly suspect it’s because I’m a Trump critic.”
  7. On Sunday, Trump threatened China with higher tariffs, tweeting: “the 10% will go up to 25% on Friday,” adding, “the Trade Deal with China continues, but too slowly, as they attempt to renegotiate. No!”
  8. CNBC reported if Trump imposes the new tariffs, the U.S. would be one of the most protectionist countries in the world, with the U.S. tariff rate rising above many emerging market countries.
  9. On Sunday, after saying in Week 129 he would let the attorney general decide, Trump tweeted “Bob Mueller should not testify. No redos for the Dems!” saying, “There was no crime, except on the other side.”
  10. Trump cited, “After spending more than $35,000,000 over a two year period, interviewing 500 people, using 18 Trump Hating Angry Democrats& 49 FBI Agents,” the Mueller report found “NO COLLUSION.”
  11. AP reported as a private citizen, Mueller could decide whether to testify. When Mueller’s report was given to Barr on March 22, his spokesperson said Mueller would be “concluding his service within the coming days.”
  12. On Sunday, Trump retweeted a tweet by Jerry Falwell Jr. citing “no obstruction, no collusion” and saying “Trump should have 2 yrs added to his 1st term as pay back for time stolen by this corrupt failed coup.”
  13. Experts noted the pattern of Trump using trial balloons on extending his term, and writing them off as jokes. In Week 129, Speaker Pelosi expressed concern Trump would not accept a loss unless it was by a wide margin.
  14. Trump later tweeted, “Despite the tremendous success…including perhaps the greatest ECONOMY,” saying, “they have stolen two years of my (our) Presidency (Collusion Delusion) that we will never be able to get back.”
  15. On Monday, Michael Cohen reported to prison for a three-year sentence, after trying for months to push off the start of his sentence by dangling new incriminating information against others.
  16. Cohen told reporters he hope the “country will be in a place without xenophobia, injustice and lies at the helm,” when he gets out, and added he had more secrets to share, saying, “There still remains much to be told.”
  17. On Tuesday, Reuters reported according to a tape Tom Arnold made of a conversation with Cohen in March, Jerry Falwell Jr. asked Cohen to help him handle racy photos that should be kept “between husband and wife.”
  18. Falwell enlisted Cohen’s help in 2015, the year Trump announced his candidacy. Cohen helped persuade Falwell to endorse Trump just before the critical Iowa caucuses in early 2016 — surprising many at the time.
  19. On Monday, NYT reported Stephanie Winston Wolkoff, a contractor for Trump’s inaugural committee and former advisor to First Lady Melania Trump disputed the White House account of her departure.
  20. Winston Wolkoff said, “Was I fired? No. Did I personally receive $26 million or $1.6 million? No. Was I thrown under the bus? Yes.” Her lawyer told inaugural officials last fall she is cooperating with federal prosecutors.
  21. On Monday, Trump tweeted Democrats are calling for impeachment because they “can’t win the election fairly,” adding, “You can’t impeach a president for creating the best economy in our country’s history.”
  22. Trump also tweeted “there are “No High Crimes & Misdemeanors,” No Collusion, No Conspiracy, No Obstruction. ALL THE CRIMES ARE ON THE OTHER SIDE,” and “the tables are turning!”
  23. On Monday, the House Judiciary Committee said it will begin contempt proceedings against Attorney General William Barr after the DOJ failed to comply with a subpoena to turn over the full Mueller report by 9 a.m.
  24. Chair Jerry Nadler said his committee would vote Wednesday on holding Barr in contempt, despite DOJ efforts to negotiate. Nadler will meet with the DOJ Tuesday, after pushing back on their offer to meet Wednesday.
  25. A contempt citation would be the second in history after Republicans held President Obama’s AG Eric Holder in contempt of Congress in 2012. Democrats are discussing punitive measures like levying fines against Barr.
  26. On Monday, Politico reported Republicans on the House Judiciary Committee, including ranking member Rep. Doug Collins, want Mueller to testify in front of their committee, despite Trump’s opposition.
  27. Senate Judiciary Committee Chair Lindsey Graham said he will not hold a full hearing with Mueller, but is willing to hear testimony strictly on the issue of whether Mueller disputes Barr’s characterization of his findings.
  28. On Monday, three Senate Democrats asked the DOJ inspector general and the Office of Professional Responsibility director asking them to investigate if Barr shared the names of Mueller spinoff cases with White House staff.
  29. On Monday, more than 500 former federal prosecutors signed on a statement saying Mueller’s findings would have produced obstruction charges against Trump if he were not in office.
  30. Signatories included prosecutors who worked in both Democratic and Republican administrations, and directly rebutted Barr’s determinationthat evidence was not sufficient to establish Trump committed a crime.
  31. The letter also stated such conduct “would, in the case of any other person … result in multiple felony charges for obstruction of justice.” By Thursday, the letter had over 800 signatories.
  32. On Monday, New York Attorney General Letitia James said she sued the Trump Treasury Department and IRS for failing to respond to records requests as required by law on a change in donor disclosure requirements.
  33. James cited in July 2018 the agency eliminated disclosure requirements for tax-exempt groups for donations of more than $5,000, which impedes the AG’s ability to regulate those organizations.
  34. On Monday, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin rejected the House Ways and Means Committee’s legal request for Trump’s tax returns, saying the request from Congress does not “serve a legitimate legislative purpose.”
  35. Mnuchin said he had consulted with the DOJ, and that they had concluded it would not be lawful to turn over the tax returns because of potential violations of privacy.
  36. Neither the Treasury Department or DOJ would provide the legal opinion to reporters. Legal experts said Mnuchin’s refusal was unprecedented sincethe power for lawmakers is written explicitly in a 1924 law.
  37. On Monday, a new version of the Mueller report was released due to BuzzFeed News and watchdog group EPIC FOIA requests, detailing information withheld because of ongoing law enforcement proceedings
  38. On Monday, the Orlando Sentinel reported Sen. Marco Rubio knew about Russia hacking attempts in Florida in 2016 as early as May 2018, but claims he did not back Bill Nelson’s statement citing classified information.
  39. On Tuesday, FBI director Christopher Wray said at a Senate Appropriations subcommittee hearing that he has no evidence the FBI illegally monitored Trump’s campaign during the 2016 election.
  40. Wray said he does not consider court-approved FBI surveillance to be “spying,” and when asked if the FBI illegally spied, responded, “I don’t think I personally have any evidence of that sort.”
  41. On Tuesday, according to a letter sent from Pat Cipollone to former White House counsel Don McGahn’s attorney, the White House instructed McGahn not to comply with a subpoena from House Democrats.
  42. In a second letter to Chair Nadler, Cipollone said, “McGahn does not have the legal right to disclose these documents to third parties,” and said requests for documents should instead come to the White House.
  43. In a letter from McGahn’s attorney to Chair Nadler, he said McGahn was instructed not to produce documents “because they implicate significant Executive Branch confidentiality interests and executive privilege.”
  44. McGahn’s attorney said, “Where co-equal branches of government are making contradictory demands…the appropriate response for Mr. McGahn is to maintain the status quo” until an accommodation is reached.
  45. On Tuesday, the House Judiciary Committee sent a letter to McGahn saying he too will be charged with contempt of Congress if he does not produce documents and show up to his public hearing on May 21.
  46. On Tuesday, CNN reported, according to newly released court records, Mueller’ team fought the public release of James Comey’s memo, for fear Trump and other witnesses would change their stories to match his.
  47. On Tuesday, Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said on the Senate floor it is time to “finally end this ‘Groundhog Day’ spectacle,” saying the Trump-Russia conspiracy is “case closed.”
  48. McConnell also parroted Trump blaming Obama, saying, “Maybe stronger leadership would have left the Kremlin less emboldened. Maybe tampering with our democracy wouldn’t have seemed so very tempting.”
  49. Sen. Elizabeth Warren fired back, directly reading from the Mueller reportand saying, “If any other human being in this country had done what’s documented in the Mueller report, they’d be arrested and put in jail.”
  50. Warren also said, “We took an oath not to try and protect Donald Trump, we took an oath to protect and serve the Constitution,” adding, “the way we do that is we begin impeachment proceedings now against this president.”
  51. On Tuesday, Speaker Pelosi said in a speech that Trump is “goading” Democrats to try to impeach him, saying, “That’s what he’s doing. Every single day, he’s just like taunting, taunting, taunting.”
  52. Pelosi also said Trump “knows that it would be very divisive in the country, but he doesn’t really care,” adding, “He just wants to solidify his base.”
  53. On Tuesday, House Oversight Committee Chair Elijah Cummings threatened in a letter to withhold salaries from Trump officials at the Interior and Commerce departments who have refused to testify.
  54. Chair Cummings sent the letter to seven officials who have declined or not responded to the committee’s request for an interview on adding a citizenship question to the 2020 Census.
  55. On Tuesday, NYT reported based on Trump’s official Internal Revenue Service tax transcripts obtained from 1985 to 1994, Trump suffered business losses of $1.17 billion over the decade.
  56. The Times found by comparing his results with other high-income earners, Trump lost more money than nearly any other individual American taxpayer in that time, and avoided paying any taxes in eight of ten years.
  57. In contrast to his father Fred who made steady money every year, Trump’s primary source of income changed each year, and any gains were always overtaken by losses in casinos and other projects.
  58. On Wednesday, Trump responded to the NYT story and defended himself, tweeting: “Real estate developers in the 1980′s & 1990′s, more than 30 years ago, were entitled to massive write offs and depreciation.”
  59. Trump also tweeted: “You always wanted to show losses for tax purposes” claiming, “almost all real estate developers did — and often re-negotiate with banks,” calling it “sport.”
  60. Trump also called the story, based on “very old information,” “a highly inaccurate Fake News hit job!
  61. On Wednesday, “Fox & Friends” defended Trump from the Times story, saying it is all part of his “impressive” business career, with host Ainsley Earhardt adding, “It’s beyond what most of us could ever achieve.”
  62. On Sunday, Red Sox manager Alex Cora, who was born in Puerto Rico, said he will not visit the White House celebration of the team’s 2018 World Series win, citing Trump’s handling of the hurricane relief effort.
  63. On Monday, Trump tweeted a false claim he had previously stated, “Puerto Rico has been given more money by Congress for Hurricane Disaster Relief, 91 Billion Dollars, than any State in the history of the U.S.”
  64. Ahead of the visit, the White House misspelled the team’s name on its website, writing the “Boston Red Socks.” On the day of the visit, the White House mistakenly referred to the team as “World Cup Series Champions.”
  65. The Red Sox team visit was notably racially divided: every white player attended the White House visit, while all but one of the team’s black and Latino players skipped the visit.
  66. On Monday, Trump awarded golfer Tiger Woods with the Presidential Medal of Freedom in honor of his Masters victory last month, following a decade-long drought after a serial philandering scandal.
  67. Trump has been cultivating Woods as a celebrity who could add sheen to his golf courses since Woods was 21. By honoring Woods, Trump leaves the appearance of using his office to reward a business partner.
  68. On Monday, the summary of a 1,500-page report on the environment approved by U.S. and 131 other countries found humans are speeding extinction and altering the natural world at an “unprecedented” rate.
  69. On Monday, students in Phoenix protested that Thomas Torres, a high school senior who had lived in the U.S. since he was a toddler and was scheduled to graduate on May 22, faced deportation to Mexico.
  70. Torres was taken into custody after a traffic stop by sheriff’s deputies and turned over to Border Patrol who placed him in detention awaiting deportation. Torres played football and worked several part-time jobs.
  71. On Monday, TYT reported according to police reports, a militia member at the Southern border asked why we are apprehending migrants not “lining them up and shooting them” and said we should “put them all in a gas chamber.”
  72. On Wednesday, at a rally in Panama City, Florida, Trump said of the influx of migrants at the Southern border, “It’s an invasion,” adding, on letting border patrol use weapons, “We can’t. Other countries do. We can’t.”
  73. When Trump asked, “How do you stop these people?” a supporter shouted “Shoot them!” The crowd laughed. Trump grinned and shook his head, and said, “Only in the Panhandle you can get away with that statement.”
  74. A new Pew Research Poll found 47% of white Republicans say it bothers them “some” or “a lot” to “hear people speak a language other than English in a public place.” For white Democrats, 18% felt the same.
  75. On Tuesday, WAPO reported the Trump regime has sent new guidelines to asylum officers, directing them to take a more skeptical and confrontational approach while interviewing asylum seekers.
  76. Asylum officers were instructed to be more aggressive, and make migrants provide detailed justifications to prove their claims of persecution before concluding they have a well-founded fear of harm if deported.
  77. On Tuesday, the Ninth Circuit court ruled that the Trump regime can continue to enforce its “Remain in Mexico” policy that returns asylum seekers to Mexico while they wait for turn in immigration court.
  78. On Wednesday, immigration legal group RAICES filed a formal complaint against the Trump regime, saying ICE is blocking detained immigrants from obtaining free legal help.
  79. On Tuesday, following a shooting at STEM School Highlands Ranch in Colorado that afternoon, Trump tweeted 11 times after 9 p.m., but did not mention or express sympathy for the students killed or injured.
  80. On Wednesday, in the afternoon, Trump first addressed the shooting, tweeting “God be with the families and thank you to the First Responders for bravely intervening. We are in close contact with Law Enforcement.”
  81. On Tuesday, the Courier News reported a group of white supremacists interrupted a Holocaust remembrance event meant to honor survivors in Russellville, Arkansas, carrying Nazi flags and shouting racial slurs.
  82. On Wednesday, online retailer Redbubble apologized and removed items from its website after the Auschwitz Memorial condemned it on Twitter for allowing several products depicting scenes of the concentration camp.
  83. On Wednesday, the Florida Bar determined to proceed with further investigation into whether Rep. Matt Gaetz should face discipline for his tweet threatening Michael Cohen in Week 120.
  84. On Tuesday, Trump tweeted an article in conservative Breitbart News, saying “‘Forgotten Man’ Story: Under Trump,” adding, “Red Counties Economically Thrive” citing a Brookings Institute report.
  85. On Tuesday, Georgia Republican Gov. Brian Kemp signed legislation banning abortion once a fetal heartbeat can be detected, which can be as early as six weeks, before many women know they are pregnant.
  86. On Tuesday, the Texas state senate passed a bill banning abortion after 20 weeks for “discriminatory abortions,” and removed exceptions for unviable pregnancies or if the fetus has “severe and irreversible” abnormalities.
  87. On Thursday, the Alabama state senate voted 23-6 on a bill to criminalize abortions, making preforming the procedure a felony punishable by up to 99 years imprisonment. The bill was then tabled after a shouting match.
  88. Alabama Senate Republicans, all of whom are men, also tried to push through a measure making abortion for underage girls who are raped punishable by 99 years imprisonment. The vote will be next week.
  89. A bill considered in the Alabama House would criminalize false rape accusations, and make the accuser pay the accused’s legal bill if the accused is found not guilty.
  90. On Wednesday, Tennessee House Speaker Glen Casada faced calls to resign after a scandal involving sexually explicit and misogynistic text messages with his chief of staff, who also admitted to using cocaine.
  91. On Friday, actress Alyssa Milano called for a sex strike, tweeting: “Our reproductive rights are being erased…JOIN ME by not having sex until we get bodily autonomy back.” #SexStrike trended on Twitter.
  92. On Wednesday, Bill Larion, a Michigan city worker, was fired over an anti-Muslim Facebook post mocking model Halima Aden, saying, “Cute picture. Should be on the cover of camels are us.”
  93. On Thursday, a report by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found the uninsured rate for ages 45-64 jumped to 10.3% in 2018 from 9.3% a year earlier — the first government study that has shown an increasing rate of uninsured Americans.
  94. The uninsured rate has been increasing since Trump took, due to his regime’s efforts to dismantle the Affordable Care Act and add restrictions to Medicaid, after bottoming out in 2016.
  95. On Friday, the Pentagon shifted $1.5 billion in funding to support Afghan forces to build Trump’s wall, citing the need to support “higher priority items based on unforeseen military requirements.”
  96. A total of $2.5 billion of Pentagon funds have been shifted to Trump’s wall so far. Also, more than 4,000 troops and 19 aircraft are supporting Customs and Border Protection personnel at the border.
  97. On Tuesday, Politico reported economists in the Agriculture Department say the Trump regime is retaliating against them for publishing reports about how Trump’s trade tariffs are hurting farmers.
  98. Six economists quit in one day in late April over concern that Trump loyalist Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue was reshaping the USDA’s research wing to bring reporting information directly under his control.
  99. On Tuesday, in a letter to Chair Nadler sent late in the evening, Barr threatened if the House committee proceeds with the contempt process, Barr will ask the White House to invoke executive privilege .
  100. On Wednesday, Speaker Pelosi said in a morning interview, “ I think that the attorney general should be held in contempt,” adding impeaching Barr is not “off the table.”
  101. Pelosi also said, “every single day, whether it’s obstruction, obstruction, obstruction — obstruction of having people come to the table with facts, ignoring subpoenas,” adding Trump is “becoming self-impeachable.”
  102. On Wednesday, in an interview with NYT, Chair Cummings said, “It sounds like he’s asking us to impeach him,” while listing all the way Trump is stonewalling, calling it “far worse than Watergate.”
  103. Cummings also said on impeachment, “he puts us in a position where we at least have to look at it,” adding the regime “threw away the guardrails.” He said he sees a “constitutional crisis” our founding fathers did not envision.
  104. On Wednesday, Trump’s cabinet meeting at the White House, which was scheduled to be open to the press, was closed to the press just prior. Typically coverage is allowed.
  105. On Wednesday, as the House Judiciary Committee adjourned to begin contempt proceedings, the White House asserted executive privilege over the Mueller report, Trump’s first use of executive authority.
  106. On Wednesday, after six hours of debate, the House Judiciary Committee voted 24-16, along party lines, to hold Barr in contempt of Congress for not turning over the full Mueller report.
  107. At a press conference after, Chair Nadler said “there can be no higher stakes than this attempt to arrogate all power to the executive branch,” adding, “We are now in a constitutional crisis.”
  108. Nadler added, “Our fight is not just about the Mueller report…Our fight is about defending the rights of Congress, as an independent branch, to hold the president, any president, accountable.”
  109. Nadler told reporters Democrats plan to go to court, saying Trump’s claim of executive privilege is nonsense since much of the report has either been released publicly or shared with lawyers.
  110. On Wednesday, the House Intelligence Committee sent a subpoena to the DOJ for the full Mueller report and underlying evidence, as well as any counterintelligence and foreign intelligence materials.
  111. On Friday, Politico reported the House Intelligence Committee showed a rare instance of bipartisanship, with Republicans praising Chair Adam Schiff for his efforts to obtain the full Mueller report and related documents.
  112. On Wednesday, Democrats on the Senate Judiciary sent a letter to Chair Graham saying the committee would “benefit greatly” from having Mueller testify, requesting a broad hearing not limited in scope.
  113. On Wednesday, the New York state senate passed a bill 39-21 allowing the state Department of Taxation and Finance to release state tax returnsrequested by the leaders of the House Ways and Means Committee.
  114. The bill would apply to Trump’s New York state tax returns, and the state is also home for headquarters of his businesses. New York’s assembly and governorship are also under Democratic control, so sign-off is expected.
  115. The state Senate also passed a bill which would eliminate the “double jeopardy loophole,” which prevents New York prosecutors from bringing similar charges against someone who has been pardoned from Trump.
  116. On Wednesday at his rally in Panama City Beach, Florida, Trump also said “After two years, nothing — no collusion,” adding, “Democrats are saying, ‘We want more,’” and, “It’s time to stop this nonsense.”
  117. Trump said about the media, “In six years, they’re all going to be out of business, folks,” adding, “If we want to drive them crazy, I’ll say in 10 years. They’ll go crazy. ‘See, he is a despot. He is a despot.’”
  118. Trump also repeated his false claim that Puerto Rico was getting $91 billion in disaster aid after Hurricane Maria, despite being ungrateful to him, saying, “You’re getting your money, one way or the other.”
  119. On Wednesday, Trump derailed a bipartisan House bill opposed by ally Matthew Schlapp, tweeting: “Republicans shouldn’t vote for H.R. 312, a special interest casino Bill, backed by Elizabeth (Pocahontas) Warren.”
  120. The bill to open casinos in Massachusetts was opposed by lobbyist Schlapp who represents casinos in neighboring Rhode Island, and whose wifeMercedes is the White House strategic communications director.
  121. On Thursday, Trump tweeted GOP lawmakers “should not vote for the BAD DEMOCRAT” aid package for Puerto Rico, then just before midnight tweeted, “Republicans must stick together!”
  122. On Friday, the House passed a disaster relief package 257-150, with 34 Republicans voting in support, for $19 billion in rebuilding assistance to communities hit by hurricanes, extreme flooding, tornadoes, and wildfires.
  123. On Wednesday, for the third time, Senate Majority leader Mitch McConnell broke precedent, confirming a judge on the Second Circuit, based in New York, without allowing “blue slips” from New York’s senators.
  124. On Wednesday, Axios reported the Republican-led Senate Intelligence Committee subpoenaed Donald Jr. to answer questions about his previoustestimony before Senate investigators on the Russia investigation.
  125. This marks the first subpoena of one of Trump’s children. Donald Jr. told the Senate Judiciary Committee in September 2017 he was “peripherally aware” of the Trump Tower Moscow project, which was refuted by Cohen.
  126. On Thursday, Republicans attacked Chair Richard Burr. Sen. Rand Paul tweeted, “Apparently the Republican chair of the Senate Intel Committee didn’t get the memo from the Majority Leader that this case was closed.”
  127. White House acting chief of staff Mick Mulvaney said in an interview, “To subpoena the president’s son and not at least get a heads-up is, let’s say, bad form,” adding Trump and his son are “two different people.”
  128. Burr’s fellow North Carolina senator, Thom Tillis, tweeted, “I agree with Leader McConnell: this case is closed,” after Donald Jr.’s friend Charlie Kirk made a threat to support Tillis’ 2020 primary opponent.
  129. WSJ reported before Majority Leader McConnell’s “case closed” speech, he privately conveyed his displeasure to Burr about the subpoena; although his spokesperson was careful to add McConnell did not direct Burr.
  130. On Thursday, Trump told reporters of the subpoena, “I was very surprised,” adding, “My son’s a very good person. Works very hard.” Trump declined to publicly say if Donald Jr. should fight the subpoena.
  131. On Thursday, Reuters reported that Donald Jr. likely would not comply with the subpoena by invoking his Fifth Amendment rights to avoid self-incrimination.
  132. On Thursday, at her weekly news conference, Speaker Pelosi said she agreed with Nadler the country is in a “constitutional crisis,” citing the regime “has decided that they are not going to honor their oath of office.”
  133. Pelosi said on timing of a full House vote to hold Barr in contempt, “we’ll just see because there may be some other contempt of Congress issues that we might want to deal with at the same time,” referencing McGahn.
  134. On Thursday, Trump backed off from his statement earlier in the week that Mueller should not testify, telling reporters, “I’m going to leave that up to our very great attorney general, and he’ll make a decision on that.”
  135. When reminded by a reporter that Barr has no objections, Trump added, “to me, it looks like a redo,” and changed his statement on obstruction, saying, “no collusion and essentially no obstruction.”
  136. On Thursday, on a CNN Town Hall, former FBI director James Comey said it “sure looks like” Trump would be charged with obstruction of justice and prosecuted if he were not in office, adding “there’s 10 different episodes.”
  137. Shortly after, Trump tweeted, “James Comey is a disgrace to the FBI & will go down as the worst Director in its long and once proud history,” adding, “almost all Republicans & Democrats thought he should be FIRED.”
  138. On Thursday, the judge overseeing the case involving Trump’s lawsuit to fight the House Oversight subpoena to Mazars USA for financial records, put the case on a fast-track with a hearing scheduled for May 14.
  139. On Thursday, Judge Amy Berman Jackson, who is overseeing the case involving Roger Stone, ordered the DOJ to provide her with the unredacted portions of the Mueller report on Stone for her private review.
  140. On Tuesday, Trump hosted anti-immigrant extremist and populist Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban, who like Trump has vilified journalists and fostered tension with the European Union.
  141. Orban joins the long list of leaders previously excluded due to anti-Democratic practices. Trump has also hosted or met with the leaders of Egypt, Turkey, the Philippines, North Korea, China, and Russia.
  142. On Wednesday, WAPO reported Trump is complaining about being misled by national security adviser John Bolton on the U.S.-backed effort to oust Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro with a young opposition figure.
  143. Trump said reportedly in jest that Bolton wants to get him “into a war.” Maduro publicly mocked Trump for attempted a “foolish” coup last week by opposition leader Juan Guaidó. Trump called Maduro a “tough cookie.”
  144. Trump said Bolton has backed him into a corner. Trump said he discussed Venezuela with Russian President Vladimir Putin last week. Russia backs Maduro and has sold him arms.
  145. On Friday, the State Department announced Secretary of State Mike Pompeo will travel to Russia to meet with Putin and Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov next Tuesday. Pompeo also met with Lavrov on May 6.
  146. The meeting comes after Pompeo had a confrontational meeting with British Prime Minister Theresa May on Wednesday, and abruptly canceled his meeting scheduled this week with German Chancellor Angela Merkel.
  147. On Thursday, South Korea said North Korea had launched two short-range missiles, the second launch in the past five days. The launches come two months after Trump’s second summit with Kim Jong Un.
  148. On Thursday, the U.S. seized a North Korean ship, the Wise Honest, which was violating American law and international sanctions by exporting coal. The move was sure to escalate tensions.
  149. On Thursday, the Miami Herald reported the FBI has opened an investigation into whether Li “Cindy” Yang illegally funneled money from China into Trump’s re-election or other campaign-finance violations.
  150. Investigators obtained a grand jury subpoena for records from Bing Bing Peranio, an employee of Yang’s family’s spa, asking for information on a 2018 donation of $5,400 and other contributions made since 2014.
  151. On Friday, Trump raised the tariffs on $200 billion of Chinese goods from 10% to 25%. According to the Trade Partnership Worldwide, the tariff increase will cost the average family of four $767 a year.
  152. China threatened retaliation, as Trump’s trade deal appeared to be falling apart. Despite his campaign promises, Trump has only completed one small trade deal with South Korea in his two years in office.
  153. On Thursday, Trump accused former Obama Secretary of State John Kerry of violating the Logan Act, saying, “John Kerry speaks to them a lot…That’s a violation of the Logan Act,” and added “frankly he should be prosecuted on that.”
  154. Kerry helped craft the 2015 Iran nuclear deal, which Trump exited. This is the first time Trump has publicly acknowledged that he asked members of his regime to look into whether they could prosecute Kerry.
  155. On Thursday, Sen. Kamala Harris demanded in a letter that Barr clarify if Trump or any White House staff have asked him to investigate anyone, after Trump made threats to prosecute Kerry.
  156. On Friday, NYT reported Giuliani was planning to travel to Ukraine to meet with the nation’s president-elect Volodymyr Zelensky, to urge him to pursue investigations that could benefit Trump and help his re-election.
  157. The first is to push Ukraine to open an investigation that would call into question the origin of and seek to discredit the special counsel investigation of Russian interference in the 2016 election.
  158. Trump has claimed Ukrainian officials tried to help Hillary Clinton in 2016 by focusing attention on Paul Manafort’s business in Ukraine. He has also said he would like Barr to review material gathered by Ukrainian prosecutors.
  159. Trump also sought to target a 2020 foe, Joe Biden, by seeking an investigation into his role in stopping a Ukrainian prosecutor from investigating his son Hunter’s ties to a Ukrainian gas company.
  160. Giuliani is working with Victoria Toensing, a lawyer who was named last year, along with her husband, to help Trump in the Mueller investigation, but whose appointment was rescinded due to conflicts of interest.
  161. The couple frequently appear on Fox News and use social media to advance a claim that the Mueller investigation was part of the DOJ efforts to frame Trump. Toensing tweeted “the real collusion began in @Ukraine.”
  162. Giuliani and Toensing have both met with Yuriy Lutsenko, the Ukrainian prosecutor who pushed the investigations, including that Clinton was behind the release of documents on Manafort’s work in Ukraine pre-2014.
  163. Giuliani’s planned trip raised concerns that Trump was pressing a foreign government to help him win reelection, and seeking to discredit the investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election.
  164. On Friday, Trump told Politico it would be “appropriate” for him to speak to Barr about opening an investigation into Joe Biden or his son, adding, “but I have not done that as of yet. … It could be a very big situation.”
  165. Giuliani, who was set to leave Sunday, told Politico of his meeting with Zelensky, “I just want to tell him, ‘Don’t let these crooks talk you out of the investigation. There are real facts there they’ve got to investigate.”
  166. On Friday, Sen. Christopher Murphy sent a letter to the GOP chair of the Foreign Relations Committee asking him to open an investigation into Giuliani’s activities, which he called “private foreign policy engagement.”
  167. Late Friday, Giuliani canceled his trip, saying he was being “set up” by Ukrainians who were critical of his efforts, and by Democrats who said he was meddling in the election, calling it “ridiculous” and “spin.”
  168. On Thursday, a new Reuters/Ipsos poll found support for impeaching Trump is rising: from 40% in mid-April to 45% in the new poll.
  169. On Friday, Chair Nadler told reporters Mueller will not testify May 15 as planned. Nadler declined to give a reason, but said, “He will come at some point. If it’s necessary, we will subpoena him and he will come.”
  170. On Friday, Politico reported some Democrats are reconsidering the idea of impeachment as a means of gaining access to the documents and testimony that the Trump regime is withholding.
  171. On Friday, House Ways and Means Committee Chair Richard Neal issued subpoenas to both IRS Commissioner Charles Rettig and Treasury Secretary Mnuchin for Trump’s tax returns.
  172. Neal gave a deadline of May 17 to turn over six years of returns, or is expected to go to court to enforce his request shortly thereafter. Other committee members have been frustrated with his measured approach.
  173. On Friday, WSJ reported Trump asked White House counsel Emmet Flood to reach out to McGahn within a day of the release of Mueller’s report to Barr to make a public statement defending Trump from obstruction.
  174. Trump wanted McGahn to release a statement saying he did not believe his interactions with Trump, including Trump’s calls for him to fire Mueller, amounted to obstruction of justice.
  175. McGahn declined. William Burck, McGahn’s attorney said in a statement, “We did not perceive it as any kind of threat or something sinister. It was a request, professionally and cordially made.”
  176. NYT also reported White House officials asked McGahn at least twice to publicly declare Trump never obstructed justice. Trump instructed the officials to make the request, and viewed McGahn as disloyal.
  177. One request was made to Burck before the redacted Mueller report was released but after it was given to Barr. McGahn entertained the request, but declined.
  178. A second request was made around the time Rudy Giuliani attacked McGahn’s credibility in April after the Mueller report was released. McGahn’s opinion as a witness does not determine obstruction.
  179. On Friday, CNN’s chief legal analyst Jeffrey Toobin warned that America’s constitutional system “may simply be incapable of responding” to the threat posed by Trump’s defiance of Congress.
  180. Toobin wrote, “The Framers anticipated friction among the three branches of government,” adding, “But the Trump White House has now established a complete blockade against the legislative branch.
  181. On Tuesday, Trump said he wanted to resume fireworks on July 4th over the forest at Mount Rushmore, tweeting: “THE BIG FIREWORKS, after many years of not having any, are coming back.”
  182. On Friday, WAPO reported Trump may take over the Washington DC July 4th celebration, moving the fireworks away from the Mall and tentatively planing to address the nation from the steps of the Lincoln Memorial.
  183. Fireworks on the Mall has been broadcast live on television since 1947. Trump inserting himself raised concerns of turning a non-partisan holiday celebration into a campaign rally.
  184. On Saturday, Trump sent close to 60 tweets in 45 minutes, retweeting praise and affirmation of conservative commentators, Republican lawmakers, conservative websites, and his family.
  185. The topics included Hillary Clinton’s emails, security at the Southern border, the Mueller report, support for Trump’s trade war with China, and criticizing Chair Burr’s decision to subpoena Donald Jr.
  186. Trump also tweeted voters do not care about seeing his tax returns, saying he won in 2016 “partially based on no Tax Returns while I am under audit (which I still am),” adding, “Make it a part of the 2020 Election!”

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Michelle Disher, from Roswell, and others dressed as characters from “The Handmaid’s Tale”, protest outside the Capitol where Georgia’s Republican Gov. Brian Kemp, was to sign legislation, Tuesday, May 7, 2019, in Atlanta, banning abortions once a fetal heartbeat can be detected, which can be as early as six weeks, before many women know they’re pregnant.

POLITIKS OF GRAFFITI 130: THE “DEMOCRACY BARR” KEEPS GOING LOWER AND LOWER

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San Jose, Costa Rica. May 2019.

MAY 04, 2019

Week 129

Experts in authoritarianism advise to keep a list of things
subtly changing around you, so you’ll remember. This is AMY SISKIND’S LIST: https://theweeklylist.org/weekly-list/week-129/ 

This week a leaked letter sent from special counsel Robert Mueller to Attorney General William Barr days after Barr released his four-page “summary” indicated Mueller did not believe that Barr captured the “context, nature, and substance” of his work. Mueller’s letter, leaked in part to the Post the day before Barr was set to testify before the Senate, shook the country and set off a firestorm, including allegations Barr had lied in previous Congressional testimony. His demeanor at his Senate testimony did little to mollify concern that Barr had acted in concert with Trump’s team to shape the narrative ahead of the redacted report’s release, and was continuing to protect Trump from its contents and repercussions.

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Jim Carrey May 1
“Watching William Barr testify is like getting caught in a monsoon of vomit. READY THE ARK!”

 

House Democrats sounded the alarms and escalated matters as Trump, his family, and regime all continued to stonewall Congressional demands, including a lawsuit to block Deutsche Bank from cooperating with House subpoenas and Barr being a no-show for House testimony. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi wore the gravity of the situation in her demeanor at her weekly press conference, admitting she had trouble sleeping after watching the top law enforcement officer’s performance. Pelosi, who has been committed to avoiding impeachment, was reported to be losing patience.

Trump hit 10,000 lies and has ratcheted up the pace, and this week threatened social media companies and the “deep state” trying to remove him. New stories of corruption and kleptocracy were reported, but still Trump has suffered no consequences for his or his regime’s actions while in office. Trump closed out the week irreverently speaking to Russian President Vladimir Putin privately, and saying they agreed about the “Russian Hoax,” while failing to mention Russia’s ongoing meddling.

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New York City November 2018
  1. WAPO reported Trump has told more than 10,000 false or misleading statements. For the first 5,000 lies, Trump took 601 days and told 8 lies a day. For the last 5,000 lies, Trump took 226 days, averaging 23 lies a day.
  2. At his Saturday campaign rally in Wisconsin, Trump told 61 lies. In Week 128, during his interview with Fox News host Sean Hannity and in a National Rifle Association speech, Trump told 45 lies and 24 lies, respectively.
  3. A Politico/Morning Consult poll found 60% say Trump’s use of Twitter is a bad thing, and 19% said it is a good thing. Also, 7 in 10 say he uses Twitter too much, while 14% said he uses it the right amount.
  4. In an op-ed, Patti Davis, daughter of Ronald Reagan, called on Republicans to stop using his name to justify their silence, warning the democracy her father swore to uphold is “being degraded and chipped away at.”
  5. Davis added, “if you are going to stand silent as America is dismantled and dismembered, as democracy is thrown onto the ash heap of yesterday, shame on you. But don’t use my father’s name on the way down.”
  6. On Saturday, Trump skipped the White House Correspondents’ Dinner for the third time, and told his regime to skip as well. Instead of a comedian, historian Ron Chernow was featured at a more subdued dinner.
  7. Chernow said, “Like every future president, [George] Washington felt maligned and misunderstood by the press,” adding “But he never generalized that into a vendetta against the institution.”
  8. On Saturday, Trump held a campaign rally in Green Bay, Wisconsin. He opened by condemning anti-Semitism and hate crimes after the synagogue shooting, and a day after defending his “very fine people” comments.
  9. Trump spoke for 90 minutes, at the same time as the Correspondents’ Dinner, leading the crowd in chant of “Luck her up!” and “CNN sucks,” as well as going after the late senator John McCain over his healthcare vote.
  10. Trump said the “radical, liberal democrats put all their hopes behind their collusion delusion, which is totally exposed as a complete and total fraud,” while the “Republican Party is the party of all Americans.”
  11. Trump said the Russia probe was “greatest political hoax in American history,” adding, “this witch hunt was never really just about me. It was always about stopping you,” the “freedom-loving citizens.”
  12. Trump bragged about the plan to bus immigrants who cross illegally to sanctuary cities, saying he was proud “that was actually my sick idea.” He also called people “sick” who worry he will not leave at the end of his term.
  13. Trump also said the Jussie Smollett case is a “disgrace to our nation,” adding, “he said he was beat up by ‘MAGA country.’ Turned out to be a total lie.”
  14. Trump made the false inflammatory claim that in Wisconsin after a baby is born, doctors and mothers “take care of the baby, they wrap the baby beautifully,” then they meet to decide whether to execute the baby.
  15. On Saturday, in tweets, Trump attacked Fox News legal analyst Andrew Napolitano who said in an op-ed last week what Trump did was “unlawful, defenseless and condemnable,” and, “On obstruction, Barr is wrong.”
  16. Trump tweeted, “Andrew came to my office to ask that I appoint him to the U.S. Supreme Court, and I said NO,” adding, “Also asked for pardon for his friend,” and Napolitano is “a good “pal” of low ratings Shepard Smith.”
  17. On Sunday, former deputy attorney general Sally Yates told “Meet the Press” that Trump would likely be indicted on obstruction of justice if he were not president.
  18. Yates also said, “the bigger issue is not just whether or not this establishes a crime that can be proven beyond a reasonable doubt, but is this the kind of conduct that we should expect from the president of the United States?”
  19. On Saturday, House Oversight Committee Chair Elijah Cummings pulled back from plans to initiate contempt proceedings against former White House security clearance chief Carl Kline, calling on Kline to appear May 1.
  20. On Sunday, Attorney General William Barr warned Democrats on the House Judiciary Committee that he will not show up to testify if they stick to the format proposed by Chairman Jerrold Nadler.
  21. Barr said he will only allow members of Congress, not House Judiciary Committee counsels to ask questions. Nadler responded, “the witness is not going to tell the committee how to conduct its hearing, period.”
  22. On Monday, deputy attorney general Rod Rosenstein submitted his resignation letter, capping a tumultuous two years. In his letter, Rosenstein said the DOJ needs to remain nonpartisan, while jabbing at the media.
  23. On Monday, the Commerce Department reported personal income for farmers plunged in the first quarter by an annualized $11.8 billion, the most in three years, as a result of Trump’s trade wars.
  24. On Saturday, NYT reported New York attorney general Letitia James opened an investigation into the National Rifle Associations’s tax-exempt status, instructing the NRA in a letter to preserve financial records.
  25. The investigation is reportedly the cause of NRA leadership infighting. Allegations include illegallytransferring funds out of the foundation and transactions benefiting others which could threaten its nonprofit status.
  26. On Thursday, Democrats on the Senate Committee on Finance sent a letter to the NRA requesting letters, third-party audits, memos, and other materials related to alleged self-dealing and the NRA’s nonprofit status.
  27. On Saturday, San Diego police said according to his manifesto, the Chabad of Poway synagogue shooter drew inspiration from the Pittsburgh synagogue and New Zealand mosque shootings.
  28. On Saturday, a group of white nationalists interrupted author Jonathan Metzl at a Washington DC event discussing his book “Dying of Whiteness: How the Politics of Racial Resentment is Killing America’s Heartland.”
  29. On Monday, court papers revealed that a U.S. Army veteran’s large-scale domestic terrorist plot in retaliationfor the killing of Muslims by a white supremacist in New Zealand was foiled by the FBI.
  30. On Monday, the White House hosted the winner of the Teacher of the Year award, Rodney Robinson, who is a black man. Trump and Vice President Mike Pence did not attend, even though neither had a scheduling conflict.
  31. On Monday, Trump hosted the NCAA women’s tournament champion Baylor Bears at the White House, following criticism he had not hosted a women’s championship team alone in his 27 months in office.
  32. Trump asked Baylor coach Kim Mulkey if she would like a job at the White House, and she responded, “No.” Trump also commented about the players’ “beautiful arms,” which he said had “great definition.”
  33. On Monday, the White House pushed to designate the Muslim Brotherhood a terrorist group, imposing wide-ranging sanctions, after Trump agreed with Egypt’s President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi that it made sense to do so.
  34. The Waterford Daily Times reported a New York judge gave Shane Piche, a former school bus driver who admitted to raping a 14 year-old girl, no jail time, saying he had no prior arrests and there was only one victim.
  35. On Thursday, Michael Wysolovski, 33, pleaded guilty to first-degree cruelty and was given probation in a Georgia court for allegedly for holding a teenage girl captive to have sex with him, at times in a dog cage.
  36. On Tuesday, Roy Moore sent an email to supporters, saying he is “seriously considering” a Senate bid in 2020, citing Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh’s confirmation in the face of sexual assault allegations.
  37. On Wednesday, Stephen Taubert, who threatened to hang Obama and kill Rep. Maxine Waters in phone calls, was sentenced to prison. Taubert said at sentencing that he was provoked by the two’s public criticism of Trump.
  38. On Thursday, an Ohio high school student who posted a sign which read, “If I was black I’d be picking cotton, but I’m white so I’m picking you for prom?” on social media, will not be attending the prom or graduation.
  39. On Thursday, the Trump regime rolled out a new conscience rule which shields health workers from providing services like abortion, sterilization, or assisted suicide, if they cite a religious or conscientious objection.
  40. The Department of Health and Human Services also changed the Office for Civil Rights’ mission statement, adding the office “protects that exercise of religious beliefs and moral convictions by individuals and institutions.”
  41. On Monday, Trump ordered new restrictions on those seeking asylum on the southern border, adding an application fee for work permits and directing immigration cases be completed within 180 days.
  42. On Tuesday, an ABC News/Washington Post poll found 64% of Americans oppose Trump declaring a national emergency to build his wall (34% approve). On asylum, just 30% approve stricter rules.
  43. On Wednesday, BuzzFeed reported that a 16 year-old unaccompanied immigrant boy died in custody of the Office of Refugee Resettlement, after becoming “noticeably ill,” including having a fever, chills, and a headache.
  44. On Thursday, emails obtained by NBC News revealed the Trump regime had “no way to link” migrant children separated from their parents, and no central database with location information about separated families during the regime’s “zero tolerance” policy.
  45. Although nearly 3,000 families were separated, the emails reveal the regime only had enough information to reconnect 60 parents with their children when Trump ended the policy in June 2018.
  46. On Friday, CBS News reported former White House chief of staff John Kelly joined the board of Caliburn International, the company operating Homestead, the largest facility for unaccompanied migrant children.
  47. Caliburn is the parent company of Comprehensive Health Services, the only private company operating shelters. Prior to working for Trump, Kelly was on the board of DC Capital Partners, which now owns Caliburn.
  48. Federal records show Comprehensive received $222 million to operate Homestead between July 7, 2018 and April 20, 2019, and could receive up to $341 million through December for growing and operating the facility.
  49. On Monday, the White House said it is reviewing past writing of Trump’s Federal Reserve nominee Stephen Moore, following reporting on his anti-women views. Typically such review would be done prior to a nomination.
  50. On Wednesday, Moore expressed regret over his 2016 racist statements about then President Obama, when he commented, “First thing Donald Trump does as President is kick a black family out of public housing.”
  51. On Thursday, Trump tweeted that Moore was withdrawing from consideration. Hours earlier that morning, Moore had been boasting that he would be easily confirmed by the Senate.
  52. On Tuesday, WAPO reported at Trump National Golf Club Westchester in Briarcliff Manor, New York, undocumented workers were told to clock out, then stay and work hours more without pay, known as “side work.
  53. The NY attorney general’s office confirmed it had received complaints from workers about conditions. Six employees who spoke to the NY AG told WAPO they were denied promotions, vacation days, and health insurance.
  54. The club was formerly managed by Dan Scavino, White House director of social media. Scavino told the Posthe was unaware of any violations, and questions were an “attempt to attack the President through me.”
  55. On Thursday, Univision News reported that in addition to undocumented workers at Trump golf courses, Trump vineyard in Charlottesville, Virginia also hired workers without legal documents.
  56. Seven undocumented employees were interviewed by Univision. They detailed working from sunrise to sunset, without overtime pay or benefits, and were also asked to do personal chores for their supervisors.
  57. On Tuesday, U.S. District Judge Emmet Sullivan ruled a lawsuit brought against Trump by House Democratsfor violating the emoluments clause of the Constitution can proceed.
  58. This, and another emoluments lawsuit by the attorneys general of D.C. and Maryland, represent the first time federal judges have interpreted and applied the clauses’ restrictions to a sitting president.
  59. On Monday, the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals turned back a request from a Roger Stone associate, Andrew Miller, to reexamine a lawsuit questioning the constitutionality of Robert Mueller’s appointment.
  60. On Tuesday, Politico reported the D.C. U.S. Attorney’s office subpoenaed Roger Stone associate Randy Credico to testify in Stone’s case. The subpoena orders him to appear in court November 5, the first day of trial.
  61. On Monday, WAPO reported as U.S. national security officials are preparing to counter Russian interference in the 2020 election, Trump and his senior aides are seeking to downplay the threat.
  62. Trump’s rhetoric and lack of focus have made it more difficult for government officials to come up with a comprehensive strategy, and by not making a public statement against interference, Trump is inviting more.
  63. Despite the Mueller report, which security analysts viewed as an alarm call and a roadmap for how Russian operatives work, Trump continues to deny Russia changed a single vote so not to raise questions of his legitimacy.
  64. Trump also continues to insist it was not only Russia that interfered, has taken no leadership on protecting 2020, and told aides that in public statements they must emphasize that Russia did not influence his win.
  65. On Monday, Trump, three of his children, and business sued Deutsche Bank and Capital One to prevent the banks from responding to subpoenas from the House Intelligence and Financial Services committees.
  66. The lawsuit claimed the subpoenas “have no legitimate or lawful purpose,” and “were issued to harass” Trump, and it alleges, “No grounds exist to establish any purpose other than a political one.”
  67. On Tuesday, Eric Trump, who is involved with the lawsuit against the banks, told “Fox and Friends” that “They want to harass Trump,” adding “it’s not just my father. It’s, ‘Eric, I want to see all your bank records.’”
  68. On Tuesday, House Financial Services Chair Waters said lawmakers would fight “tooth and nail” for the information, and how it plays out could inform the decision to launch impeachment proceedings against Trump.
  69. On Tuesday, NYT reported Deutsche Bank has compiled reams of materials to hand over to Congress, including multiple pages from each of Trump’s annual federal tax returns. The subpoena deadline was May 6.
  70. On Thursday, a federal judge in Manhattan paused the subpoenas pending the court case which will start May 22. Attorneys representing the House are now expected to fight the Trump lawsuit.
  71. On Wednesday, attorneys for the House Oversight Committee said Trump’s suit to block the subpoena of Mazars USA was an attack on constitutional checks and balances and on Congress’s oversight powers.
  72. On Tuesday, House Judiciary Committee Chair Adam Schiff said his committee made a criminal referral to the DOJ for Erik Prince, saying Prince “knowingly and willfully” making false statements to Congress.
  73. Rep. Schiff cited six instances in which Prince allegedly misled the committee about his 2017 meeting in the Seychelles with a Russian banker tied to the Kremlin, saying it “impaired the Committee’s understanding.”
  74. On Tuesday, Daily Beast reported Rep. Schiff has hired Patrick Fallon, former chief of the F.B.I.’s Financial Crimes Section, as work for the committee ramps up its investigation into Trump’s finances.
  75. On Wednesday, Julian Assange was jailed over a bail breach. Assange’s attorney said he was “gripped” by fear of rendition “as threats rained down on him from America, they overshadowed everything.”
  76. On Wednesday, Trump’s DOJ filed its first full argument in the conservative-leaning 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals for striking down the entire Affordable Care Act.
  77. The DOJ argued that the “individual mandate” requiring Americans to have coverage is unconstitutional, and therefore the entire ACA should be struck down. The case will be heard in July.
  78. On Thursday, WAPO reported the Trump regime sought to remove all mentions of climate change from an international statement on Arctic policy that Secretary of State Mike Pompeo may endorse next week.
  79. The regime threatened a standoff in crafting principles among the eight Arctic nations next week, including wanting no reference to the Paris accord, but later softened its position when other countries disagreed.
  80. In preparing for the meeting, the White House devised a plan in February to challenge scientific consensusthat the burning of fossil fuels is the leading cause of climate change, and took control of the U.S. message.
  81. The EPA weakened a standard for cleaning up groundwater pollution caused by toxic chemicals which eventually will impact drinking water consumed by millions of Americans, after pressure from the Pentagon.
  82. Standards released last week eliminated a section that addressed how the EPA planned to respond to“immediate threats posed by hazardous waste sites.” The Pentagon had brought their concerns to the White House.
  83. On Thursday, in a symbolic vote, the House voted to keep the U.S. in the Paris climate agreement, by a vote of 231-190 with three Republicans joining the Democrats. The Senate is unlikely to take up the measure.
  84. On Thursday, a federal judge in Maryland ruled that a revised set of lawsuits filed against Trump’s Muslim Ban, which were based on issues not already heard by the Supreme Court, could move forward.
  85. The lawsuits included data on how the regime has enforced the ban. The judge wrote the Supreme Court ruling does not “preclude a different determination at a later stage of the case on a more fulsome record.”
  86. On Thursday, Reuters reported the State Department allowed seven foreign governments to rent condominiums in New York’s Trump World Tower in 2017 without approval from Congress.
  87. The governments of Iraq, Kuwait, Malaysia, Saudi Arabia, Slovakia, Thailand, and the European Union were approved in 2017, out of a total 13 notes sent to the State Dept seeking permission for rent or renew leases.
  88. Legal experts say collecting fees is a potential breach of the emoluments clause. Reuters obtained data through the end of 2017 though the Freedom of Information Act, and no data for 2018 or 2019 is yet available.
  89. On Thursday, the California state senate voted 27-10 to require presidential candidates to release five years’ worth of income tax returns in order to appear on the state’s primary ballot.
  90. On Tuesday, 12 Democratic Senators called on the DOJ inspector general to investigate Barr’s handling of the Mueller report, including his impartiality and whether he lied to the American public about it.
  91. On Tuesday, Daily Beast reported that according to Rep. Nadler, Mueller is willing to testify before House Democrats, but that the DOJ has been unwilling to set a date for it to happen.
  92. On Tuesday, WAPO reported Mueller sent a letter to the DOJ on March 27, three days after AG Barr released his four-page letter, saying it “did not fully capture the context, nature, and substance” of Mueller’s work.
  93. Mueller wrote, “There is now public confusion about critical aspects of the results of our investigation. This threatens to undermine a central purpose for which the Department appointed the Special Counsel: to assure full public confidence in the outcome of the investigations.”
  94. The letter also requested that Barr release the report’s introductions and executive summaries, and made initial suggested redactions, saying the redaction process “need not delay release of the enclosed materials.”
  95. The day after Mueller’s letter, the two spoke on the phone and Mueller said media coverage of the obstruction investigation, but not Russian interference, was misguided and creating public misunderstandings.
  96. Barr’s letter quoted only passages that the investigation found no conspiracy or coordination; however, the redacted report showed Mueller believed significant evidence existed that Trump obstructed justice.
  97. Mueller’s team worked with the DOJ to redact the report. Before it was released, Barr said he “disagreed with some of the special counsel’s legal theories” about what constitutes presidential obstruction of justice.
  98. Barr was scheduled to appear before the Senate Judiciary Committee on Wednesday. Minority Leader Chuck Schumer said Barr needed to bring a copy of the letter from Mueller that was partially leaked to the Post along.
  99. Rep. Nadler demanded a copy of the letter by 10 a.m. Wednesday. Nadler also questioned Barr’s April 10 testimony to his committee, where he said, “I don’t know whether Bob Mueller supported my conclusion.”
  100. On Wednesday, Trump lashed out over the national firefighters union endorsing Democratic candidate Joe Biden, retweeting roughly 60 tweets that disagreed with the endorsement.
  101. Some of the accounts Trump retweeted appeared to be fake accounts. The barrage came just hours before Barr’s Senate testimony.
  102. Ahead of the hearing, Trump also tweeted a quote by Fox Business Host Lou Dobbs, saying, “No President in history has endured such vicious personal attacks by political opponents.”
  103. Trump tweeted: “Why didn’t President Obama do something about Russia in September (before November Election) when told by the FBI? He did NOTHING.” Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell had blocked Obama.
  104. Trump also tweeted: “NO COLLUSION, NO OBSTRUCTION,” adding there “was there No Collusion (by Trump), but the bad actions were done by the “other” side?” and, “greatest con-job in the history of American Politics!”
  105. On Wednesday, Barr testified before the Senate Judiciary Committee to discuss the Mueller investigation and report. Shortly before the hearing started, Mueller’s March 27 letter to Barr was publicly released.
  106. The March 27 letter indicated Mueller first reached out to Barr in a March 25 letter to express his concerns, and also at that time enclosed the introduction and executive summary for each volume to be made public.
  107. Chair Lindsey Graham said after all this time and money, “Mueller has concluded there was no collusion. For me, it is over.” Graham endorsed Barr not charging Trump, but admitted he had not read the full report.
  108. Barr said Mueller was in part to blame for the delayed release, saying his team should have pre-redacted it. In their phone call, Barr claimed Mueller was “was not suggesting that we had misrepresented his report.”
  109. Barr said he was “surprised” Mueller had left the decision on whether Trump attempted to obstruct justice to him, and confused that Mueller extended and expanded his probe to look into “additional episodes ”
  110. Barr said he has assigned investigators to review allegations of spying on the Trump 2016 campaign, he would report their finding to Congress, and Trump had not “waived executive privilege” to allow Don McGahn to testify.
  111. Barr disagreed with Mueller not determining if Trump obstructed justice, but said once Mueller submitted his report, Mueller’s task had ended, and then “It was my baby.”
  112. Barr said he was not familiar with bipartisan legislation to enhance the security of the election system, of which Sen. Amy Klobuchar said, “The White House made calls to stop this.” Barr said he would take a look at the legislation.
  113. Klobuchar reminded Barr he had previously said convincing a witness to change testimony could be considered obstruction of justice, and gave examples from the report of Trump doing so, while Barr dodged to answer.
  114. Barr said he “wasn’t interested” in honoring Mueller’s request to release the executive summaries, saying he “was not in the business of putting out periodic summaries.”
  115. Barr said, “I don’t recall” if he had conversations with the White House on the 14 cases spun out of the Mueller probe. Barr also said to stop using the process as a political weapon and “the job of the DOJ is now over.”
  116. Barr defended Trump, saying he was “falsely accused of colluding with the Russians and accused of being treasonous,” adding, but “to listen to some of the rhetoric,” you would think Mueller found the opposite.
  117. When asked by Sen. Kamala Harris whether anyone at the White House has “suggested” opening criminal cases, Barr paused in silence and struggled to answer the question, leaving himself wiggle room.
  118. Barr admitted he, Rosenstein, and his DOJ staff had not read the underlying evidence compiled by Mueller in coming to their judgment on whether there was sufficient evidence to charge obstruction of justice.
  119. Barr also said Mueller’s letter to him was a “bit snitty” and “was probably written by one of his staff people.” Merriam-Webster dictionary said look-ups for the word “snitty” spiked by 150,000% after Barr used the word.
  120. After his testimony, press secretary Sarah Sanders tweeted, “AG Bill Barr served President George H.W. Bush honorably as AG,” and has so for Trump, adding, “Democrats only disgrace and humiliate themselves.”
  121. Trump told Fox Business’s Trish Regan that Sen. Harris and others running for president were hard on Barr for “political points,” and singled out Harris, who is a Black woman, calling her “very nasty.”
  122. Harris was one of many Democrats who called on Barr to resign, including 2020 candidates and many others in the House and Senate
  123. The WAPO Editorial Board wrote Barr “torched his reputation,” and his testimony “compounded the damage,” adding the DOJ should enable “Mueller to speak publicly and under oath at the earliest opportunity.”
  124. The board said Mueller should address “his substantive findings” not only on Trump’s misbehavior but also on Barr’s “manipulation of his work,” and not only should Trump should be held accountable, so should Barr.
  125. On Wednesday, the House Judiciary Committee voted along party lines to allow members of its staff to question Barr on Thursday. Some noted that Christine Blasey Ford was questioned by outside counsel in the Senate.
  126. On Wednesday, the DOJ said Barr will not testify before the House Judiciary Committee on Thursday, citing “Nadler’s insistence on having staff question” Barr, and calling it “inappropriate” and “unprecedented.”
  127. The DOJ also said it will not comply with the committee’s subpoena for Mueller’s full, unredacted report plus the underlying evidence and grand jury information, saying the request was “not legitimate oversight.”
  128. On Tuesday, Chair Cummings told reporters he could fine or hold former White House Personnel Security Director Carl Kline in contempt if he refuses to answer questions in a closed-door interview Wednesday.
  129. On Wednesday, Cummings told reporters Kline told his committee “the buck pretty much stopped with him,” but added, “There’s much more information that we need to dig into.”’
  130. Cummings also said members of Congress who favor investigations rather than an impeachment inquiry have become “very impatient,” adding, “I don’t know what the White House is trying to push or pressure us into.”
  131. On Wednesday, the White House also said it would not comply with the House Oversight Committee’s request for documents related to the security clearances of Trump regime officials.
  132. White House counsel Pat Cipollone said, “it is not within the authority of Congress to second guess” how Trump selects advisors, and the request showed a “total disregard for individual privacy,” and was “highly inappropriate.”
  133. On Wednesday, Roll Call reported House Democrats are considering reviving a congressional power not used since the 1930s to counter the Trump’s regime stonewalling called “inherent contempt.”
  134. The process would allow Congress to authorize its sergeant-at-arms to execute an arrest warrant against an official who refuses to comply with Congressional subpoenas or takes actions that obstruct their oversight.
  135. On Thursday, Chair Nadler convened the House Judiciary Committee. An empty chair marked Barr’s spot, and he was a no-show. Rep. Steven Cohen brought a bucket of Kentucky Fried Chicken, calling Barr a chicken.
  136. Nadler warned Trump “is trying to render Congress inert,” adding if the House does not “stand up to him together today, we risk forever losing the power to stand up to any president in the future.”
  137. After, Nadler threatened to hold Barr in contempt of Congress if the DOJ does not provide access to the fully unredacted version of Mueller’s report, and will hold a vote possibly as early as Monday.
  138. On Thursday, press secretary Sanders said Nadler should quit, saying, “he and his committee aren’t capable of … asking questions themselves and need to staff it out,” adding, “seems like a pretty pathetic moment.”
  139. On Thursday, at her weekly press conference, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi told reporters Barr lied to Congress, adding, “Nobody is above the law. Not the president of the United States, and not the attorney general.”
  140. When asked by a reporter if Barr should go to jail, Pelosi responded, “There’s a process involved here, and as I said, I’ll say it again, the committee will act upon how we will proceed.“
  141. Pelosi called Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell the “grim reaper” for refusing to allow the Senate to vote on Democratic priorities including an infrastructure plan she and Schumer discussed with Trump.
  142. Before the press conference, Politico reported Pelosi told colleagues in a caucus meeting that she could not sleep Wednesday night after watching Barr’s testimony before the Senate Judiciary Committee.
  143. WAPO reported Pelosi also spoke of impeachment at that caucus meeting, saying, “Ignoring subpoenas of Congress, not honoring subpoenas of Congress — that was Article III of the Nixon impeachment.”
  144. Pelosi said to the press, “I really lost sleep last night,” and, “How sad it is for us to see the top law enforcement officer in our country misrepresenting, withholding the truth from the Congress of the United States.”
  145. On Thursday, at a WAPO Live event, House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy accused U.S. law enforcement of treason, saying, “Their actions are a coup,” adding, “I do not believe they were abiding by the rule of law.”
  146. On Thursday, Reuters reported on a five-page letter from White House lawyer Emmet Flood to Barr sent on April 19, in which Flood says Trump has the right to instruct advisors not to testify.
  147. The letter, sent one day before the redacted Mueller report was released, also said the report is deeply flawed, with Flood calling it “part ‘truth commission’ report and part law school exam paper.”
  148. The letter said it is one thing for a president to “encourage complete cooperation and transparency in a criminal investigation…It is something else entirely to allow his advisers to appear before Congress.”
  149. The letter says the report acts as a “roadmap” for evidence of the special counsel’s “refusal to follow applicable law,” and provided justification for an investigation of the investigators of Trump’s 2016 campaign.
  150. On Friday, Senate Judiciary Chair Graham invited Mueller to testify before the committee “regarding any misrepresentation” by Barr on the substance of their phone call. Days before Graham said he would not call Mueller.
  151. On Friday, when asked by reporters if he would allow Mueller to testify before Congress, Trump responded, “That’s up to our attorney general.”
  152. On Friday, Chair Nadler gave Barr until Monday at 9 a.m. EST to comply with the House subpoena for the unredacted Mueller report and underlying evidence before moving to hold Barr in contempt of Congress.
  153. On Friday, WAPO reported notes taken by Annie Donaldson, White House counsel Don McGahn’s chief of staff, during meetings with Trump were cited more than 65 times in the Mueller report.
  154. Donaldson’s notes describe McGahn’s and others’ concern Trump could be accused of criminal obstruction. She was known for her careful tracking of details, and is reportedly dismayed her notes may be made public.
  155. Donaldson left the White House in December. House Judiciary Chair Nadler has already signaled he will subpoena Donaldson to testify. The precision of her notes drew comparison to the Nixon tapes in Watergate.
  156. On Friday, Trump spoke to Russian President Vladimir Putin by phone for over an hour, without any third party listening in, and without providing a normal readout of the conversation.
  157. Trump said Putin assured him that “he’s not looking to get involved in Venezuela,” contradicting Secretary Pompeo who said Thursday “hundreds, if not more” Russians were working in Venezuela.
  158. On election interference, Trump told reporters Putin “said something to the effect that it started off as a mountain and it ended up being a mouse,” and “he knew that because he knew there was no collusion whatsoever.”
  159. When asked by NBC’s Kristen Welker, “Did you tell him not to meddle in the next election?” Trump responded, “Excuse me, I’m talking, I’m answering this question. You are very rude.”
  160. When pressed again by reporters on whether he raised the issue of election interference or warned Putin not to do it again, Trump responded, “We didn’t discuss that. Really, we didn’t discuss it.”
  161. Shortly after, Trump tweeted about the call, saying, “As I have always said, long before the Witch Hunt started, getting along with Russia, China, and everyone is a good thing, not a bad thing.”
  162. Trump also tweeted, again dismissing interference in the 2016 election cited in the Mueller report, “We discussed Trade, Venezuela, Ukraine, North Korea, Nuclear Arms Control and even the “Russian Hoax.””
  163. On Friday, in a letter, Sen. Kamala Harris called on the DOJ inspector general to investigate if Barr had received or complied with any requests from the White House to investigate Trump’s “perceived enemies.”
  164. On Wednesday, attorneys for Covington teen Nick Sandmann filed a $275 million lawsuit against NBC Universal accusing the network creating a “false narrative” driven by its “anti-Trump agenda,” the third such suit.
  165. On Thursday, Talking Points Memo reported McClatchy, publisher of Fresno Bee, has not been served by Rep. Devin Nunes to take the case to trial, nor has Liz Mair, after Nunes threatened on Fox News on April 8.
  166. On Thursday, Facebook announced it is banning several far-right and anti-Semitic figures and organizations, including Louis Farrakhan, Alex Jones, Milo Yiannopoulos, and Laura Loomer for being “dangerous.”
  167. Facebook said the action to more aggressively enforce its hate-speech policies comes as bigoted violence is on the rise around the world, and its platform has been used by hateful groups and individuals.
  168. On Friday, Donald Jr. tweeted, criticizing the “silencing of conservatives by Facebook & the rest of the Big Tech monopoly men,” calling it a “censorship campaign,” adding, “ how long before they come to purge you?’
  169. On Friday, Trump tweeted, “I am continuing to monitor the censorship of AMERICAN CITIZENS,” adding, “we have what’s known as FREEDOM OF SPEECH!” and threatening, “We are monitoring and watching, closely!!”
  170. Trump also tweeted, “The wonderful Diamond and Silk have been treated so horribly by Facebook,” and threatened, “we’re looking into. It’s getting worse and worse for Conservatives on social media!
  171. Trump also tweeted his disappointment that “Conservative thinkers like James Woods” were banned from Twitter. Woods was suspended for tweeting “‘If you try to kill the King, you best not miss’ #HangThemAll.”
  172. On Thursday, NYT reported that the FBI sent a woman posing as an research assistant to meet with George Papadopoulos in London as part of a counterintelligence investigation of the Trump campaign’s ties to Russia.
  173. The London operative, nicknamed Azra Turk, yielded no fruitful information in 2016 through her exchanges, but the FBI called the action legal and carefully considered under extraordinary circumstances.
  174. Turk worked alongside a longtime informant, Cambridge professor Stefan Halper. The FBI’s actions are under scrutiny by the DOJ inspector general. Barr has said the results could be made public in May or June.
  175. On Friday, Trump tweeted, “Finally, Mainstream Media is getting involved — too “hot” to avoid,” adding, ““Details effort to spy on Trump Campaign.” @foxandfriends”” and “This is bigger than WATERGATE, but the reverse!
  176. On Friday, Vice President Pence told Fox News, “We’ve got to get to the bottom of how all this started,” adding, “And as the attorney general said when he testified before Congress, there was spying.”
  177. On Friday, Trump’s re-election campaign manager Brad Parscale said, “There is a word for this in the English language: Spying,” adding, “As President Trump has said, it is high time to investigate the investigators.”
  178. On Thursday, Sen. Graham told reporters he planned to ask Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts to look into the use of the FISA court in the 2016 election, saying Trump is “down” on the FISA court.
  179. As chief justice, Roberts appoints judges in the FISA courts. Experts noted it is highly unusual for a Chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee to ask a chief justice to “look into” the lower courts handling of cases.
  180. On Friday, prosecutors urged Judge Amy Berman Jackson in a filing to reject Roger Stone’s obscure challengeto their indictment based on Congress allowed the independent counsel statute to expire in 1999.
  181. Prosecutors said that Mueller’s appointment was valid. A hearing is set for May 30. Prosecutors also opposed a motion by Stone’s lawyers to be provided with a full, unredacted copy of the Mueller report.
  182. On Saturday, North Korea launched a short-range missile off its east coast. This is the second provocation by North Korea in recent weeks, and is likely to raise tensions in stalled denuclearization talks with the U.S.
  183. On Saturday, NYT reported on Speaker Pelosi’s concerns that Trump will not give up power voluntarily if he loses re-election by a slim margin, saying, “he’s not going to respect the election.”
  184. Pelosi said, “He would poison the public mind. He would challenge each of the races; he would say you can’t seat these people,” adding Trump will not respect the election results “short of an overwhelming defeat.”
  185. Trump feels energized and emboldened to goad Pelosi, believing the Republican Senate will be compliant. Pelosi has been committed to avoiding impeachment, but is losing patience.
  186. Trump remains respectful of Pelosi. She said, “Maybe he knows that I pray for him. I pray that his heart will be open for good things, to help people instead of taking babies out of the arms of their mothers, for example.”
  187. On Saturday, Trump tweeted, “Very good call yesterday” with Putin, adding “Tremendous potential…despite what you read and see in the Fake News Media,” and, “Look how they have misled you on “Russia Collusion.””

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A chicken rests near the empty seat for US Attorney General Bill Barr in the House Judiciary Committee room on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC, on May 2, 2019. US Congressman Steve Cohen placed it after Barr failed to show and the hearing was convened. 

POLITIKS OF GRAFFITI 128: “I’M F***ED!”

APRIL 20, 2019

Week 127

Experts in authoritarianism advise to keep a list of things
subtly changing around you, so you’ll remember. https://theweeklylist.org/weekly-list/week-127/
IMG_0805
I captured this in NYin November 2018.

This week Attorney General William Barr publicly released a redacted version of the Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s report, almost a month after he delivered it to Barr. The redacted report differed substantially from Barr’s March 24 letter, as well as from statements delivered by Barr at a press conference hours before the report’s release — casting Barr more as a defense attorney for Trump than an attorney general. Concerns grew further when it was revealed Trump’s White House attorneys had previewed the report in consultation with the Justice Department days earlier.

IMG_2486
Brooklyn, NY in October 2018

 

On Thursday, as the redacted report was released, Trump, who had expressed no interest in reading the report, seemed confident he had turned the corner and was in the clear. As the press and public finally dug into the contents of the redacted report and statements by current and former White House official witnesses, by Friday, Trump shifted back to anger and attack mode, starting by retaliating against former White House counsel Don McGahn. After reading the report, Senator Elizabeth Warren became the first 2020 contender to call for impeachment hearings.

IMG_2789
I found this in Miami, FL in December 2018. 

 

Trump’s attorneys continued to stonewall and seek to block requests from House Democrats for information, alarming even Senate Republicans who this week spoke out on his empowering his office at the expense of Congress. Republicans also for the first time publicly spoke out on Trump’s reliance on acting secretaries, with the regime shrinking, and power increasingly consolidating to Trump, his family, and a few trusted aides’ hands.

D4d7clHU8AAdVKG.jpg-large
 JIM CARREY THIS WEEK 
It’s not illegal for Trump’s head to spin around while he vomits copious amounts of green bile either, but he’s definitely not fit to be President, he’s definitely not exonerated and Barr definitely couldn’t go any lower.

 

  1. For the third year in a row, U.S. standing in Reporters Without Borders’ annual World Press Freedom Index declined. The U.S. fell three spots to 48th of 180 countries, just below Romania.
  2. For the first time since the index was established, the U.S. fell into the ranks of countries whose treatment of journalists is considered “problematic.” The group cited Trump’s rhetorical hostility.
  3. TIME reported it has been over 300 days since the Pentagon held a press briefing. Defense officials have also stopped identifying senior officials given prominent assignments.
  4. Part of the shift is from Trump’s penchant for surprises. There is also a reluctance to deal with the media. The role of Defense Secretary, vacated by Jim Mattis in December, remains with an acting secretary.
  5. White House daily press briefings have also been dramatically cut back: there have been just two briefings so far in 2019 — the last one took place 38 days ago.
  6. On Saturday, Trump tweeted the NYT story on him offering a pardon to his incoming Secretary of Homeland Security Kevin McAleenan was “wrong on almost every fact,” adding the Times “will lie & cheat anyway possible.”
  7. Trump also tweeted the Times had to beg their fleeing subscribers for forgiveness in that they covered the Election (and me) so badly,” and, “they even apologized to me,” and, “now they are even worse, really corrupt.”
  8. Trump also tweeted the false claim that he “never ordered anyone to close our Southern Border, adding, “although I have the absolute right to do so, and may if Mexico does not apprehend the illegals coming to our Border.”
  9. Trump also sent a series of tweets about sending detainees to sanctuary cities, saying “The USA has the absolute legal right to have apprehended illegal immigrants transferred to Sanctuary Cities.”
  10. Trump also tweeted, “Democrats must change the Immigration Laws FAST,” adding if not, they should take care of migrants including “Gang Members, Drug Dealers, Human Traffickers, and Criminals of all shapes.”
  11. On Sunday, deputy press secretary Hogan Gidley told NPR Trump’s remarks are “not political retribution,” but rather recharacterized them, saying Democrats should consider the remarks “to be an olive branch.”
  12. On Sunday, reporter Jon Karl said on “This Week” that the White House has been briefed about the Mueller report and “there is significant concern on the president’s team about what will be in this report.”
  13. Karl also said “what worries them most is what Don McGahn told the special counsel.”
  14. On Sunday, as the country braced for release of the Mueller report, press secretary Sarah Sanders told Fox New Sunday, “We consider this case to be closed. There was no collusion. There was no corruption.”
  15. On Sunday, WSJ reported lawyers for Trump have been working on a counter report which is 140-pages long, but according to Rudy Giuliani, the lawyers plan to whittle down to 50-pages.
  16. On Sunday, NYT reported that since the Barr letter, Trump has felt emboldened, confident and liberated. As staffers brace for the redacted report to be released, Trump has no interest in reading the full report.
  17. Aides say Trump plans to act as if the redacted report is extraneous to the Barr letter, which in his mind said case closed. He is escalating his language to feed his base, and also to enrage the media and political rivals.
  18. On Sunday, Sanders on “This Week” denied Trump ordered McAleenan to close the border and would pardon him, saying Trump “is not asking anybody to do anything outside of those bounds.”
  19. Sanders also said of Trump’s attacks on Rep. Ilhan Omar, that he wishes her “no ill will and certainly not violence towards anyone,” but added he is calling her out for her “history of anti-Semitic comments.”
  20. On Sunday, Speaker Nancy Pelosi took the extraordinary step of asking the U.S. Capitol Police and the House sergeant-at-arms to work to “safeguard Congresswoman Omar, her family and her staff.”
  21. An aide to Rep. Omar told Politicothere has been an increase in threats” against the Congresswoman since Trump’s Friday tweet. Omar’s office reported the threats to the FBI and Capitol Police.
  22. NYT reported Trump has stepped up his attack of Rep. Omar ahead of 2020 and has privately said his attacks on Muslims are being well received by his base — similar to his success with this line of attack in 2016.
  23. On Monday, Trump tweeted again about Rep. Omar, saying Speaker Pelosi should look at Omar’s “anti-Semitic, anti-Israel and ungrateful U.S. HATE statements,” adding, “she is out of control.”
  24. Later, Trump said in an interview with a local news affiliate in Rep. Omar’s home state, “She’s been very disrespectful to this country” and to Israel, adding, “She’s got a way about her that’s very, very bad for our country.”
  25. On Monday, former NYPD Commissioner Bernard Kerik told Fox News host Sean Hannity that Rep. Omar “is infatuated with al Qaeda, with Hamas, Hezbollah,” and that she “should be removed from Congress.”
  26. On Friday, federal authorities arrested a Florida man, John Kless, 49, for leaving voicemails threatening to kill Rep. Omar, the other freshman Muslim woman Rashida Tlaib, Rep. Eric Swalwell, and Sen. Cory Booker.
  27. Kless’s voicemails were laced with bigotry and profanity, including telling Rep. Tlaib, “It was your Taliban bitch, the one who opened up her fucking towel-head mouth…She’s lucky she’s just getting death threats, bitch.”
  28. Politico reported that Trump will not nominate anyone to serve on a United Nations committee on racism, continuing the regime’s retreat from international bodies that monitor human rights.
  29. On Sunday, AP reported a Wisconsin middle school gym teacher was placed on indefinite leave after she separated students by race and asked black students to research games enslaved children played.
  30. On Tuesday, the Advocate reported the California National Guard will not discharge transgender troops. Maj. Gen. Matthew Beevers said, “as long as you fight, we don’t care what gender you identify as.”
  31. On Wednesday, Map Pesqueira, a student at UT-Austin, told NBC News he is set to lose his army scholarship following Trump’s transgender military ban, saying, “I’m so far into my transition, I’m unable to serve.”
  32. On Monday, Immigration and Customs Enforcement reversed its decision to deport Jose Gonzalez Carranza, the spouse of a soldier killed in Afghanistan and parent of a 12 year-old, allowing him to return to the U.S.
  33. On Tuesday, in a lawsuit brought against DHS and ICE by two migrant families, a federal appeals court in the 4th District ruled detainees do not have to be held in the same state as their children.
  34. On Tuesday, Daily Beast reported a draft report released to McAleenan by members of an advisory council recommended “emergency action” to implement what the report dubbed as the “Flores Fix.”
  35. The report recommended Congress enact emergency legislation to make it easier for the Trump regime to detain children with their parents indefinitely — calling for legislation to roll back the Flores agreement.
  36. On Thursday, the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals upheld that most of California’s “sanctuary” laws can be enforced, rejecting the bulk of a lawsuit brought by the Trump regime.
  37. The decision was authored by a Republican appointee. The panel refused to block California’s law prohibitingpolice from notifying federal immigration authorities of the release dates of immigrant inmates.
  38. On Thursday, a new Housing and Urban Development proposal rolled out by Secretary Ben Carson would evict families from public housing if just one member is considered to be undocumented.
  39. The current practice is to adjust families’ benefits, while the new policy would evict entire families. Carson tweeted, “Thanks to Donald Trump’s leadership, we are putting America’s most vulnerable first.”
  40. On Monday, as the centuries-old Notre Dame cathedral was engulfed in flames, Trump tweeted, encouraging France, “perhaps flying water tankers could be used to put it out,” adding, “Must act quickly!”
  41. The French government responded in a series of tweets in French and English, dismissing the suggestion, saying “The drop of water by air on this type of building could indeed result in the collapse of the entire structure.”
  42. Several far-right pundits and websites started conspiracies on what caused the blaze, with some attempting to blame racial or religious minorities for the outbreak of the fire.
  43. Later at a roundtable, Trump invoked conspiracy theories as the cause, saying “they think it was caused by — at this moment, they don’t know. But they think it was caused by renovation, and I hope that’s the reason.”
  44. On Saturday, NYT reported that although Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell has denied Trump is influencing Fed policy, the central bank has largely moved in the direction that Trump wants in recent months.
  45. On Sunday, Trump again attacked and blamed the Federal Reserve, tweeting, “If the Fed had done its job properly, which it has not, the Stock Market would have been up 5000 to 10,000 additional points.”
  46. Trump also tweeted, “GDP would have been well over 4% instead of 3%…with almost no inflation,” adding, “Quantitative tightening was a killer, should have done the exact opposite!”
  47. On Monday, WSJ reported former Federal Reserve officials and foreign central bankers at the International Monetary Fund event expressed concern Trump has weakened the central bank and its global role.
  48. Officials expressed concern that Trump has interfered with the Fed’s independence, with his continued public criticism and nominating cronies who are extremists and loyal to him.
  49. On Tuesday, Bloomberg reported the White House is talking to candidates to replace Stephen Moore and Herman Cain as Trump’s nominees for the Federal Reserve Board.
  50. On tax day CNN noted with changes under the GOP tax bill, the 10 states with the largest increase in refunds for 2018 were all red states in 2016, and the 10 states with the largest decrease in refunds were all blue states.
  51. On Wednesday, AP reported that Ivanka said Trump asked her if she was interested in the job of World Bank chief, but she passed on the opportunity, saying she was “happy with the work” she is doing.
  52. On Wednesday, Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin said he planned to hire Fox News contributor Monica Crowley as his spokeswoman. The hire comes as House Democrats demanded Trump’s tax returns.
  53. Crowley previously withdrew her nomination by Trump for a position at the National Security Council after allegations she plagiarized portions of her 2012 book and 2000 Ph.D. thesis, which she called a “political hit job.”
  54. On Wednesday, Bloomberg reported Rick Perry is planning to resign as Energy Secretary in the coming weeks. Perry would become the 16th member of Trump’s cabinet to depart.
  55. On Monday, the Interior Department’s internal watchdog said in a letter that it has opened an investigation into ethics complaints against Secretary David Bernhardt, who was confirmed by the senate last week.
  56. On Monday, the House’s Intelligence and Financial Services committees subpoenaed Deutsche Bank and other banks for documents related to Trump and the Trump Organization’s finances.
  57. The committees also subpoenaed banks including JPMorgan Chase, Bank of America, and Citigroup, and is also seeking information related to possible money-laundering by people in Russia and Eastern Europe.
  58. Alan Garten, the Trump Organization’s lawyer, said the company is weighing trying to block the subpoena. While Deutsche Bank has been cooperative, its lawyers said they will consult with the White House.
  59. On Monday, Politico reported Trump lawyers William Consovoy and Stefan Passantino urged Mazars USA not to comply with a subpoena House Oversight Committee Chair Elijah Cummings issued Monday.
  60. The lawyers warned of potential legal action, putting Mazars “on notice,” and calling the subpoena a politically motivated scheme by Democrats to take down Trump.
  61. On Monday, CNN reported Republican lawmakers are concerned with the White House snubbing House Democrats, saying the failure to comply bolsters the power of Trump’s office at the expense of Congress.
  62. Several Senate Republicans also voiced concern with Trump’s growing reliance on using acting secretaries, circumventing the Senate process, and his threats to send migrants to sanctuary cities.
  63. On Tuesday, WAPO reported Trump’s attorneys are not planning to comply with Congressional requests for information, likely resulting in a protracted legal fight that could test the power of congressional subpoenas.
  64. Trump’s lawyers have already refused to turn over information on granting security clearances and meetings with foreign leaders. White House Counsel Pat Cipollone is also preparing for legal battles over subpoenas.
  65. Protracted legal fights will drain lawmakers’ times and resources, and the cases could drag beyond the end of the Congressional session. Trump has told aides he is furious with the inquiries and does not want to cooperate.
  66. On Tuesday, Rusal, the aluminum company partially owned by Russian oligarch Oleg Deripaska which was recently removed from the U.S. sanctions list, announced it will invest in a Kentucky aluminum mill.
  67. Rusal will invest $200 million in a taxpayer-backed aluminum mill Braidy Industries plans to build in exchange for a 40% stake. Braidy would not have been able to form the partnership if sanctions were still in place.
  68. On Tuesday, Trump vetoed a resolution to end military assistance in Saudi Arabia’s war in Yemen — his second veto. Trump said the measure harms bilateral relations and interferes with his power as commander in chief.
  69. On Monday, the DOJ announced a redacted version of the Mueller report will be released on Thursday, the day before Passover and Easter Weekend, and during the two weeks when Congress is out of session.
  70. Shortly after, Trump tweeted, “Since there was no Collusion, why was there an Investigation in the first place!” adding, “Answer — Dirty Cops, Dems and Crooked Hillary!”
  71. Trump also tweeted the report “was written by 18 Angry Democrats who also happen to be Trump Haters (and Clinton Supporters)…who SPIED” on his campaign and others “who fabricated the whole Russia Hoax.”
  72. On Tuesday, NBC News reported former and current White House officials are concerned the Mueller report will expose them as a source of damaging information on Trump, and his wrath will follow.
  73. Some officials and their attorneys sought clarity from the DOJ on whether names of those who cooperated would be redacted from the public version, but said the DOJ refused to provide a response.
  74. On Tuesday, U.S. District Court Judge Reggie Walton, a George W. Bush appointee, in response to a lawsuit by BuzzFeed to release the full Mueller report said Barr has sowed public mistrust with his handling of the report.
  75. Judge Walton said Barr “created an environment that has caused a significant part of the public … to be concerned about whether or not there is full transparency,” but denied BuzzFeed’s request.
  76. Monmouth polls found 28% say the country is headed in the right direction and 62% say things are on the wrong track. Trump’s net approval fell from -7 in March to -14 in April (40% approve/54 disapprove).
  77. On Wednesday, Trump tweeted the “FBI made 11 payments to Fake Dossier’s discredited author,” adding the “Witch Hunt has been a total fraud…brought to you by Dirty Cops, Crooked Hillary and the DNC.”
  78. On Wednesday, Trump said in an interview he is considering doing his own news conference after attorney general Barr, saying “Barr is going to be giving a news conference. Maybe I’ll do one after that; we’ll see.”
  79. Trump also said “You’ll see a lot of very strong things come out,” indicating he has apparently been briefed ahead of the news conference.
  80. Shortly after, the DOJ announced Barr would hold a press conference at 9:30 a.m. on Thursday ahead of the release of the report. Deputy attorney general Rod Rosenstein will join, but Robert Mueller and his staff will not.
  81. The DOJ said the press conference will take place before the release of the redacted report to the media and the public. Journalist noted the unusual nature of holding a press conference without providing materials.
  82. On Wednesday, a new Politico/Morning Consult poll found 38% believe Trump’s campaign was spied on. The spying allegations were revived in Week 126 when Barr testified to lawmakers he believed “spying did occur.”
  83. On Wednesday, NYT reported DOJ officials have had numerous discussions with White House lawyers about conclusions in the Mueller report in recent days.
  84. The talks have helped Trump’s legal team prepare its strategy and response. The discussions have added to concerns about how Barr has conducted himself since he received the Mueller report four weeks ago.
  85. There is also a sense of paranoia among Trump aides about his reaction, and that the report will provide a road map for retaliation by Trump against current and former officials who spoke to Mueller’s team.
  86. DOJ rules do not require Barr to make the report public. The House Judiciary Committee has already voted to authorize a subpoena of Barr to release the full report — which could be sent within a day.
  87. On Wednesday, House Judiciary Chair Jerrold Nadler told reporters Congress will receive a copy of the redacted report hours after the press conference, adding he is troubled the White House has been briefed.
  88. In the evening, Rep. Nadler held an impromptu press conference, saying Barr “appears to be waging a media campaign” on behalf of Trump, “the very subject of the investigation at the heart of the Mueller report.”
  89. Shortly after, WAPO reported according to anonymous sources the DOJ will be releasing a lightly redacted version of the Mueller report, offering a granular look at the ways Trump may have obstructed justice.
  90. The DOJ also revealed in a court filing that a “limited number” of lawmakers would be allowed to review, in a private setting, part of the Mueller report related to the criminal case against Roger Stone.
  91. On Thursday, days after positive tweets by Trump about Kim Jong Un, North Korea’s Central News Agency said it test-fired a new type of “tactical guided weapon.”
  92. On Thursday, BuzzFeed reported for the first time, Australian officials confirmed in a letter a meeting betweenformer high commissioner Alexander Downer and former Trump adviser George Papadopoulos.
  93. At the March 2016 meeting in London, Papadopoulos told Downer that Russia had political dirt on Hillary Clinton. The meeting led to the FBI opening an investigating into Trump’s links with Russia.
  94. On Thursday, ahead of Barr’s new conference, Trump sent a total of 11 tweets, some quoting Fox News shows hosts and conservative group Judicial Watch.
  95. Trump also tweeted, “The Greatest Political Hoax of all time! Crimes were committed by Crooked, Dirty Cops and DNC/The Democrats,” and, “PRESIDENTIAL HARASSMENT!”
  96. On Thursday, Barr held a news conference, hours before the Mueller report was released and without Muellerof a member of his team present. He said the report will be released to Congress between 11 a.m. and noon.
  97. Barr made repeated reference to the phrase “no collusion,” echoing language frequently used by Trump, even though collusion is not a legal term.
  98. Barr also said Trump was “frustrated and angered by a sincere belief that the investigation was undermining his presidency.” Journalists noted the tone sounded more like a defense attorney than a U.S. Attorney General.
  99. Barr said that he and Rosenstein “disagreed with some of the special counsel’s legal theories and felt that some of the episodes did not amount to obstruction as a matter of law,” but that used their “legal framework.”
  100. Fox News host Chris Wallace said Barr “seemed almost to be acting as the counselor for the defense, the counselor for the president, rather than the attorney general, talking about his motives, his emotions…making a case for the president.”
  101. After Barr’s conference, Trump tweeted a “Game of Thrones” type image of him staring into the mist with the words, “No collusion, no obstruction … For the haters and the radical left Democrats … Game Over.”
  102. HBO rebuked Trump for using a “Game of Thrones” meme, saying in statement we “prefer our intellectual property not be used for political purposes.” Nonetheless, Trump pinned the tweet to his page for two days.
  103. Axios reported Jay Sekulow said he first saw the Mueller report on Tuesday afternoon, and that Trump’s legal team made two visits to the DOJ to view the report securely late Tuesday and early Wednesday.
  104. In a letter, Speaker Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, said they wanted testimony “as soon as possible” from Mueller. Rep. Nadler released a letter to Mueller seeking his testimony no later than May 23.
  105. There were several major inconsistencies between what was in the redacted Mueller report, and what Barrcited in his March 24 letter and news conference. WAPO gave Barr a “Three Pinocchios” rating.
  106. False statements included saying the White House “fully cooperated” with Mueller, saying Barr followed precedent releasing the report to Trump’s lawyer early, and indicating he and Rosenstein should have the last word.
  107. Of the 448-page redacted version report released, more than one-third of the Mueller report’s pages contain at least one blacked-out word. Some pages were almost entirely blacked out.
  108. The redacted report was released on April 18, almost a full month after Mueller delivered his report to Barr on March 22.
  109. Barr heavily redacted the sections relating to evidence of the Trump campaign’s outreach to WikiLeaks. Much of what was included in the unredacted report had been previously reported by the media.
  110. The report summarized Trump’s written responses to Mueller’s questions as “inadequate.” Trump said he either could not remember, could not recall or could not recollect a total of 36 times.
  111. Mueller said “we had the authority and legal justification to issue a grand jury subpoena” for Trump’s testimony, but chose not to because “of the substantial delay that such an investigative step would likely produce.”
  112. The report did not exonerate Trump on obstruction, stating “if we had confidence after a thorough investigation of the facts that the president clearly did not commit obstruction of justice, we would so state.”
  113. The report found 10 episodes involving Trump potentially obstructing justice. The report also found a pattern of behavior by Trump to harm the Mueller investigation.
  114. Mueller did reach a conclusion on obstruction, citing under DOJ practice, a sitting president cannot be charged with a crime, and has a great deal of constitutional authority to give orders to other government employees.
  115. Mueller said “Congress may apply the obstruction laws to the President’s corrupt exercise of the powers of office accords with our constitutional system of checks and balances,” adding, “no person is above the law.”
  116. The report said the term “collusion” does not have a settled definition in federal criminal law and was not used. Mueller instead looked for “coordination” between Trump’s campaign and Russia.
  117. The report found that in May 2017, when then AG Jeff Sessions told Trump a special counsel had been appointed, Trump responded, “Oh my God. This is terrible. This is the end of my presidency. I’m fucked.”
  118. Trump then said to Sessions, “How could you let this happen, Jeff?” adding something to the effect of, “You were supposed to protect me…This is the worst thing that ever happened to me.”
  119. The report found Trump told Corey Lewandowski to tell Sessions to curtail the investigation. Lewandowski set up a meeting but it never happened, then delivered the message to Sessions through an intermediary.
  120. The report found Trump also told then chief of staff Reince Priebus to secure Sessions’ resignation, but he did not follow through. Sessions carried a resignation letter whenever he visited the White House.
  121. Mueller found “numerous” links between the Trump campaign and Russian government as it carried out its social media influence and hacking campaigns, but evidence was not sufficient for criminal charges.
  122. The report found “several individuals affiliated with the Trump Campaign lied to the Office, and to Congress, about their interactions” and those lies “materially impaired the investigation of Russian election interference.”
  123. The report found the Russian government “interfered in the 2016 presidential election in sweeping and systematic fashion,” and that Internet Research Agency (IRA) began targeting the U.S. in early 2014.
  124. The report identified “two different forms of connections between the IRA and members of the Trump Campaign” — including with Donald Jr. and Eric — “linking, retweeting” or other reposting, and “communications.”
  125. The report found Papadopoulos suggested to a representative of a foreign government that the Trump campaign had received an explicit offer from Russia for help by releasing Hillary’s hacked emails.
  126. The report found Trump repeatedly asked campaign aides to find Hillary Clinton’s deleted emails. As part of that effort, Michael Flynn reached out to GOP operative Peter Smith and former Senate staffer Barbara Ledeen.
  127. The report found that Paul Manafort discussed with Konstantin Kilimnik a plan to let Russia control part of Ukraine, and discussed Manafort’s strategy for winning Democratic votes in Midwestern states.
  128. The report found Trump’s legal team told Michael Cohen to keep his Congressional testimony “short and tight, not elaborate, stay on message, and not contradict” Trump, but made no mention of Trump’s involvement.
  129. The report found Trump’s “efforts to influence the investigation were mostly unsuccessful,” but largely because the people surrounding Trump “declined to carry out orders or accede to his requests.”
  130. The report found Erik Prince arranged his 2017 Seychelles meeting with Russian Kirill Dmitriev in advance with George Nader. Nader told Dmitriev, “This guy is designated by Steve [Bannon] to meet you!”
  131. The report found Trump directed White House counsel Don McGahn to lie to the media and say he had not directed him in June 2017 to fire Mueller. McGahn refused and took notes during the conversation.
  132. The report found Trump directed Deputy National Security Advisor K.T. McFarland to draft an internal lettersaying he had not directed Flynn to discuss sanctions with Russia ambassador Sergey Kislyak. She refused.
  133. The report found Trump’s personal lawyer told Flynn’s lawyer after he refused to share information about what Flynn was telling the special counsel that Trump would be informed of his “hostility.”
  134. The report found Trump tried to limit what was disclosed about Donald Jr.’s Trump Tower meeting, including his role in drafting a statement that the meeting was about adoptions. His lawyers denied he played a role.
  135. Days before the Trump Tower meeting, Donald Jr. said he was pursuing a lead to get negative information about the Clinton foundation. At the meeting were Rick Gates, Eric Trump, Manafort, Hope Hicks, Ivanka, and Kushner.
  136. The report found Sarah Sanders said she lied — calling it a “slip of the tongue” — to the White House press on two occasions saying “countless” FBI agents had told her they were thankful Trump fired FBI Director James Comey.
  137. The special counsel found evidence of other crimes, and made 14 criminal referrals. Only two of the 14 — cases involving Michael Cohen and Gregory Craig in Week 126 — are publicly known.
  138. The report said in March 2017, after Comey briefed the “Gang of Eight,” Senate Intelligence Chair Richard Burr shared “information about the status of the FBI investigation” with the White House counsel’s office.
  139. As the report was released, Trump told reporters at the White House it was a “good day,” adding “this should never happen to another president again. This hoax should never happen to another president again.”
  140. Conservative media matched Trump’s take on the report, with Fox News writing “AG BARR: Special Counsel Found No Collusion,” and Breitbart writing, “MORE EXONERATION! NO COLLUSION, NO OBSTRUCTION.”
  141. As the report was released, Georgy Borisenko of the Russian Foreign Ministry’s North America Department, said, “Not a single piece of evidence is there,” adding investigators “confessed they have nothing to report.”
  142. Rolling Stone rewrote Barr’s four-page letter to include full quotes from the Mueller report which Barr has selectively edited down to partial quotes. The meaning of several passages was dramatically different.
  143. The NYT Editorial Board called for the release of the uncensored Mueller report, saying Trump has not earned the benefit of the doubt, nor can people “depend on the word of Mr. Trump’s handpicked attorney general.”
  144. On Thursday, reporters waited at the White House South Lawn to ask Trump about the Mueller report as he left for the holiday weekend for Mar-a-Lago. Trump avoided his customary stop to take a few questions.
  145. White House senior adviser Kellyanne Conway called Thursday the “best day since he got elected,” while Trump’s legal team decided not to publish a counter-report they had spent months compiling.
  146. Later Thursday, Trump tweeted “Anything the Russians did concerning the 2016 Election was done while Obama was President,” adding Obama “did nothing,” but “the vote was not affected.”
  147. Mueller’s report covered possible coordination between the Trump campaign and Russia, but the team did not investigate whether Russian attempts to access voting systems, which occurred, were successful.
  148. Trump also tweeted a series of four quotes from Fox News hosts and contributors, including Jesse Watters saying “‘Donald Trump was being framed, he fought back. That is not Obstruction.”
  149. Trump added, “I had the right to end the whole Witch Hunt if I wanted. I could have fired everyone, including Mueller, if I wanted. I chose not to,” adding, “I had the RIGHT to use Executive Privilege. I didn’t!
  150. Trump also tweeted a quote by Tucker Carlson, saying, “The Mueller Report is perhaps the single most humiliating thing that has ever happened to the White House Press in the history of this Country. They know they lied.”
  151. WAPO reported the Mueller report revealed how Trump bred an atmosphere of chaos, dishonesty, and malfeasance in the upper echelons of the regime, not seen since the Nixon administration.
  152. Trump spent months plotting to thwart the Mueller probe and enlist his senior aides to help — most refused orders. Trump repeatedly ask regime members to lie to the public, deny true stories, and craft false storylines.
  153. Bloomberg reported Trump grew angry by Friday, particularly at McGahn and former Staff Secretary Rob Porter, who both spoke extensively to Mueller. Aides wondered if Trump might seek retribution against the two.
  154. On Friday, Trump sent a series of angry tweets, saying that statements made about “in the Crazy Mueller Report,” which was “written by 18 Angry Democrat Trump Haters,” are “fabricated & totally untrue.”
  155. Trump also “because I never agreed to testify” it was not necessary for him to respond to “statements made in the “Report” about me, some of which are total bullshit,” adding, “this was an Illegally Started Hoax.’
  156. Trump also tweeted “Watch out for people that take so-called “notes,” when the notes never existed until needed,” in apparent reference to McGahn and possibly his chief of staff Annie Donaldson.
  157. The report revealed Trump asked McGahn, “Why do you takes notes? Lawyers don’t take notes. I never had a lawyer who took notes,” and McGahn responded because he was a “real lawyer.”
  158. Trump then headed to play golf with conservative talk show host Rush Limbaugh, who defended Trump on his show saying, “It was an attempt at a coup. It was an attempt to…nullify the election results of 2016.”
  159. Eight hours later, Trump finished the series of tweets which had ended with “a….,” adding “big, fat, waste of time, energy and money — $30,000,000 to be exact,” adding, “This should never happen again!”
  160. Trump also threatened, tweeting, “It is now finally time to turn the tables and bring justice to some very sick and dangerous people who have committed very serious crimes, perhaps even Spying or Treason.”
  161. On Friday, Dmitry Peskov, the top spokesman for Russian President Vladimir Putin, said the report “does not present any reasonable proof at all that Russia allegedly meddled in the electoral process in the U.S.”
  162. On Friday, Sanders tried to defend her Comey comment on “Good Morning America,” saying “Actually, if you look at what I said, I said the ‘slip of the tongue’ was in using the word ‘countless.’”
  163. When asked about her other false statement to the media that Trump did not dictate Donald Jr.’s Trump Tower statement, Sanders responded, “That was the information I was given at the time.”
  164. On Friday, Rep. Nadler’s committee issued a subpoena to the DOJ demanding access to the full Mueller report, including grand jury testimony and other material not made public, by May 1.
  165. On Friday, a DOJ spokesperson called the request “premature and unnecessary,” claiming Barr released the report with only “minimal redactions,” and would allow lawmakers to see a less-redacted version.
  166. On Friday, Speaker Pelosi and Minority Leader Schumer rejected a DOJ offer for 12 senior lawmakers to see a less-redacted version of the report, demanding all members of Congress be able to see the full report.
  167. On Friday, Rudy Giuliani pushed back on McGahn’s account, saying in an interview, “It can’t be taken at face value. It could be the product of an inaccurate recollection or could be the product of something else.”
  168. On Friday, the Trump campaign hired its own in-house attorney for its 2020 reelection bid, shifting the business away from Jones Day, the law firm where McGahn is a partner.
  169. Jones Day has represented Trump since his first run for president. Trump advisers said the switch was payback, with one commenting, “Why in the world would you want to put your enemy on the payroll?”
  170. On Friday, Sen. Mitt Romney became the first GOP lawmaker to speak out, saying “I am sickened at the extent and pervasiveness of dishonesty and misdirection by individuals in the highest office of the land.”
  171. Romney also said he was “appalled” that the Trump campaign welcomed help from Russia, and called the report “a sobering revelation of how far we have strayed from the aspirations and principles of the founders.”
  172. On Friday, Sen. Elizabeth Warren became the first 2020 candidate to call for Congress to begin impeachment hearings after reading the redacted report and citing the “severity” of “misconduct” detailed.
  173. Warren warned of normalizing Trump’s behavior, tweeting, “To ignore a President’s repeated efforts to obstruct an investigation into his own disloyal behavior would inflict great and lasting damage on this country.”
  174. On Friday, Trump attacked the media, tweeting, “The Washington Post and New York Times are, in my opinion, two of the most dishonest media outlets around,” adding, “Truly, the Enemy of the People!”
  175. Trump also retweeted a post by a fantasy football league owner who slammed WAPO’s front page, adding, “This is why nobody but the @DNC circle jerk takes this seriously anymore.”
  176. On Friday, in the first poll conducted since the redacted Mueller report was released, Reuters/Ipsos poll found Trump’s approval fell to 37%, down 3 points from an April 15 poll, and the lowest level in 2019.
  177. The same poll found Trump’s approval at 43% shortly after the Barr letter, which shared a much more flattering and limited version of the report.
  178. On Friday, lawyers for Maria Butina asked in a court filing that when she is sentenced next Friday, after spending nine months in jail for acting as a foreign agent of the Russian government, that she be sent back to Russia.
  179. On Friday, House Democrats said they will examine Prince’s testimony to the House Intelligence Committee in November 2017, which is different in several key respects from the Mueller report, for possible perjury.
  180. Inconsistencies include that Prince told Congress the meeting with Dmitriev happened by chance, and that he was not acting as a representative for the Trump transition team or the campaign.
  181. On Saturday, NYT reported the Mueller report revealed that contact by Russians like Dmitriev was part of the Kremlin’s outreach efforts during the campaign, which then shifted into high gear after Trump’s victory.
  182. The report revealed Putin sought back-channels of contact and influence with Trump’s team, and many Americans participated on topics from Trump’s desire to build a Moscow hotel to U.S. policy toward Ukraine.
  183. The report also revealed in December 2016, Putin convened an “all-hands” meeting of his top oligarchs to discuss the risk of the U.S. imposing further sanctions to retaliate for Russia’s interfering in the election.
  184. On Saturday, Trump attacked the Mueller report in a series of tweets, saying the report “should not have been authorized in the first place,” and “was written as nastily as possible”
  185. Trump added the report was written “by 13 (18) Angry Democrats who were true Trump Haters” including “highly conflicted Bob Mueller” but found “No Collusion, No Obstruction!”
  186. Trump also attacked the media, saying “The Fake News Media is doing everything possible to stir up and anger,” adding they seldom mention “there was NO COLLUSION WITH RUSSIA. The Russia Hoax is dead!”
  187. Shortly after, Trump tweeted, “The end result of the greatest Witch Hunt in U.S. political history is No Collusion with Russia (and No Obstruction),” adding, “Pretty Amazing!”
  188. On Saturday, McGahn broke his silence on MSNBC, confirming that details within the Mueller Report were “accurately described.”
  189. The Congressional Budget Office estimated