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.
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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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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 an increase of 1.4 million uninsured Americans from 2016 to 2018, with much coming from Medicaid where the Trump regime has imposed new work requirements.
  190. America Media Inc. sold The National Enquirer to James Cohen, the CEO of Hudson News, ending the publication’s longtime association with Trump and its efforts to promote him and bury embarrassing stories.

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A journalist reads a redacted court filing from the Special Counsel Robert Mueller in the Paul Manafort case. The final report from Mueller’s Russia investigation released on April 18, 2019 left much of the public unsatisfied because it was heavily redacted, stripped of significant evidence and testimony that the investigators gathered.D4mkbXbXkAAAf-8.jpg-large

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

APRIL 06, 2019

Week 125

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

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

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

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

D26_oRkU4AIRLwL.jpg-large

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

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not my pic. 

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

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

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POLITIKS OF GRAFFITI 123: MANIFESTO

MARCH 16, 2019

Week 122

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

POLITIKS OF GRAFFITI 122: A “FOX”Y REGIME

MARCH 09, 2019

Week 121

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

MARCH 02, 2019

Week 120

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

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

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

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

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Miami, FL Dec 2018
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Miami, FL Dec 2018

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

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

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

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

POLITIKKKS OF GRAFFITI 117: VIKTORIES FOR PUTIN

Week 116

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

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

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

IMG_3316

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

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

POLITIKS OF GRAFFITI 116: SUBVERSION & INDICTMENTS

JANUARY 26, 2019

Week 115

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

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

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

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

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

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

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