POLITIKS OF GRAFFITI 101: SUPREME INJUSTICE

Week 100 of something that’s becoming so hard to believe: Experts in authoritarianism advise to keep a list of things subtly changing around you, so you’ll remember. 

https://medium.com/@Amy_Siskind/week-100-experts-in-authoritarianism-advise-to-keep-a-list-of-things-subtly-changing-around-you-5cfd4d8498cf

October 13, 2018

This week as Republicans celebrated the confirmation of Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh, polling told a different story: more Americans disapprove of the confirmation, are concerned about Kavanaugh politicizing the court and believe there should be further Congressional investigation. Under Mitch McConnell’s Senate leadership, a record number of Trump judicial nominees have been pushed through, including restacking 15 percent of circuit court judges.

In the final weeks before midterms, Democrats poured record donations to House candidates, and Beto O’Rourke, the Senate candidate from Texas, pulled in a record-smashing haul of $38.1 million for the last quarter. Republicans sought to counter Democrats’ enthusiasm by riling their base by vilifying the left as paid protestors or a “mob” that threatens violence against the right. These tactics serve as an acknowledgment that traditional issues like tax cuts and the economy no longer excite the Republican base.

The disappearance and likely death of WAPO contributor Jamal Khashoggi, allegedly at the hands of the Saudi crown prince, along with the vicious murder of popular Bulgarian journalist Victoria Marinova — both government critics — drew international attention to the threat to human rights and the free press. Trump tried to side-step U.S. involvement, while sharpening his attacks on his Democratic rivals as scary, bad, evil, radical, and dangerous — and billing himself as the only one who can save his base from disaster.

After U.S. ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley became the latest on the growing list of senior official departures, Trump flirted with the idea of elevating Ivanka Trump to the position, repeatedly. For the first time since taking office, Trump’s campaign rallies no longer garnered live broadcast on Fox News, indicating a falloff in ratings.

IMG_9264
Depiction of Brett Kavanaugh on a sticker in New York City. October 2018. Photo: Dusty Rebel
IMG_9213
“Against Nazis” in Frankfurt, Germany. 4Oct18.
IMG_8547
“Refugees Welcome!” in Dresden, Germany. October2018.
IMG_8672
“Fuck Off, Bad People!” Dresden, Germany. October2018.
IMG_9064
Edward Snowden in Asylum. Weimar, Germany. October2018.
  1. On Saturday evening, as Justice Brett Kavanaugh was being sworn in, protestors rallied and some pounded the doors of the Supreme Court. U.S. Capitol Police said 164 people were arrested during the protests.
  2. Simultaneous protests took place in other U.S. cities including Denver, Atlanta, Cleveland and New York City. In Austin, Texas, protestors were arrested after blocking a bridge to demonstrate.
  3. On Saturday, Trump tweeted, “Women for Kavanaugh, and many others who support this very good man, are gathering all over Capitol Hill” adding “they are not paid professional protesters” with “expensive signs.”
  4. On Saturday night, at a rally in Kansas, Trump praised Kavanaugh and accused Democrats of trying to “plunge our country into gridlock and chaos,” adding that Democrats are the party of “crime.”
  5. Trump attacked Sen. Elizabeth Warren, calling her “Pocahontas” and saying “I have more Indian blood than her and I have none,” and falsely attributed a statement about Vietnam to Sen. Richard Blumenthal.
  6. On the way to the event, Trump told reporters he was certain Dr. Christine Blasey Ford had misidentified Kavanaugh as the perpetrator, saying “I’m a hundred percent. I have no doubt.”
  7. Robert Post, the former dean of Yale Law School, wrote Kavanaugh’s “very presence will undermine the court’s claim to legitimacy; it will damage the nation’s commitment to the rule of law. It will be an American tragedy.”
  8. The Southern Poverty Law Center reported neo-Nazis and racists are rejoicing over the Kavanaugh appointment as “open season” on women, as well as on LGBTQ and minority rights.
  9. David Duke made an anti-Semitic statement. Neo-Nazi website Daily Stormer featured a photo of bound and gagged women, including one tossed over a man’s shoulder, and an exploding Planned Parenthood clinic.
  10. On Sunday, Sen. Lindsey Graham said on “Fox News Sunday” that Trump’s “third term thing is looking better and better.”
  11. On Sunday, Taylor Swift, in an Instagram post, broke her public political silence, encouraging her followers to vote in the midterms and slamming GOP Rep. Marsha Blackburn, who is running for the Senate in Tennessee.
  12. Swift wrote in her post, “I believe in the fight for LGBTQ rights, and that any form of discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender is WRONG. I believe that the systemic racism we still see in this country towards people of color is terrifying, sickening and prevalent.”
  13. On Monday, when asked about Swift’s statement, Trump told reporters, “I’m sure Taylor Swift…doesn’t know anything about her (Blackburn),” adding, “Let’s say that I like Taylor’s music about 25% less now.”
  14. BuzzFeed reported Swift’s Instagram post caused a massive spike in voter registrations. Vote.org added 65,000 registrations in the 24-hour period after Swift’s post, compared to 56,669 registrations during the entire month of August.
  15. Metro Weekly reported a transgender student at a middle school in Virginia was left outside during a mass shooter drill after school administrators could not decide if she should shelter with boys or girls.
  16. Police in Hamilton, Texas, removed a yard sign showing a GOP elephant with its trunk up the skirt of a woman yelling “HELP!” that was painted by Marion Stanford during Kavanaugh’s Senate testimony.
  17. The sign, which also read “YOUR VOTE MATTERS,” was placed right below a sign supporting Democratic candidate Beto O’Rourke. The policeman said there were complaints about the sign and that “it is pornography.”
  18. On Tuesday, HuffPost reported Environmental Protection Agency chief Andrew Wheeler engaged with racist and inflammatory content on his personal Facebook and Twitter accounts over the past five years, including in the past month.
  19. In August 2016, Wheeler defended Milo Yiannopoulos, who was banned from Twitter for encouraging his fans to harass “Saturday Night Live” star Leslie Jones, who is a Black American.
  20. On Thursday, Wheeler told a reporter at E&E News that he does not remember liking a 2013 racist post that showed Barack and Michelle Obama looking at a banana, claiming he did it by mistake scrolling by.
  21. In an email obtained by BuzzFeed under a Freedom of Information Act request, then-Secretary of Homeland Security John Kelly called Sen. Elizabeth Warren an “impolite arrogant woman” in an email to an aide.
  22. Michael Kalny, a Republican official in Kansas, resigned after saying on social media that “radical socialist kick-boxing lesbian” Native American Sharice Davids will be “sent back packing to the reservation.”
  23. Teresa Klein, a white woman in Brooklyn, New York, called the police, falsely claiming a 9-year-old black boy touched her behind a deli. The boy and another child burst into tears after Klein confronted them.
  24. The commotion was captured on video and posted on Facebook, where Klein was labeled “Cornerstore Caroline.” Klein later apologized on local television, but she continued to deny her actions were racially motivated.
  25. The Supreme Court refused to intervene with North Dakota’s new voter ID law after Native Americans residents challenged the requirement to show a street address in order to vote. Sen. Heidi Heitkamp faces a close race.
  26. In Georgia, Secretary of State Brian Kemp, who is the Republican running for governor, announced 53,000 voter registrations were flagged and would be put on hold. Of those on hold, 70 percent are Black Americans.
  27. On Thursday, Georgia NAACP and Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights sued Kemp, seeking to reopen voter registration in Georgia to ensure the 53,000 registrants and others can vote in the midterms.
  28. On Friday, Kemp’s Democratic opponent Stacey Abrams called on him to resign. Kemp blamed the situation on “outside agitators.” Georgia has purged a total of 1.5 million voters between the 2012 and 2016 elections.
  29. Houston Chronicle reported Jacob Aronowitz, a field director for Democratic congressional candidate Mike Siegel, was arrested after delivering a letter demanding the county update the status of students.
  30. Aronowitz was arrested for taking a photo of a clerk receiving the letter to confirm it had been received. The clerk objected to having her picture taken and complained to a nearby bailiff, who called the police.
  31. WAPO reported Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross and his aides are fighting to not answer the question in court of which official pushed Ross to add a citizenship question to the 2020 census.
  32. On Monday, NYT reported on hearings in a New York immigration court, where Judge Randa Zagzoug had nearly 30 children to hear from, whose ages ranged from 2 through 17 years old in one afternoon.
  33. With the five-fold increase from May 2017 of children being held in federally contracted shelters, more and more children are coming to court, including children under the age of 6, which was a rarity until last year.
  34. On Tuesday, AP reported even though Trump’s “zero-tolerance” policy ended, hundreds of children remain in detention, shelters or foster care, and more than 200 are not eligible for reunification or release.
  35. An investigation of court documents, immigration records and interviews found holes in the system that allow state court judges to grant custody of migrant children to American families without notifying their parents.
  36. New Yorker reported that in July, after crossing the border and being separated from her mother, a 5-year-old girl seeking asylum from Honduras was detained and persuaded to sign away her rights.
  37. On Thursday, Intercept reported, according to a new report published by Amnesty International, the number of families separated under “zero-tolerance” at the border may be thousands more than originally reported.
  38. Customs and Border Protection detail the separation of 6,022 “family units” — a term that sometimes refers to a family group. Amnesty estimates 4,000 children were separated, not 2,500 as reported by the regime.
  39. A representative from Amnesty International said the only way to get at the real number would be a congressional inquiry.
  40. On Thursday, CNN reported ICE put a 4-year-old girl on a plane to Guatemala to be reunited with her father. Her father was not informeduntil 30 minutes before her flight landed. He lives eight hours away.
  41. On Friday, WAPO reported the Trump regime is actively considering plans that could again separate migrant parents and children at the Southern border, seeking to deter the flow of families trying to cross illegally.
  42. The number of migrant family members charged with illegally crossing the border jumped 38 percent in August to a record level. Trump has been unable to fulfill his promise to build a wall or end the practice of “catch and release.”
  43. One option being considered is the called “binary choice” — detain families together for 20 days then give them the option of seeking asylum or allow the children to be taken into government custody.
  44. Other option being considered includes new rules to withdraw from a 1997 federal court agreement that limits ICE custody of children to 20 days and imposes production quotas on immigration judges.
  45. Flavio Musmanno was contacted by a supposed good Samaritan after losing his wallet working a construction job in Ohio. When he met up, the Samaritan turned out to be an ICE agent who arrested him. He is set to be deported.
  46. On Monday, Trump advocated reinstating a practice called stop-and-frisk to curb crime in Chicago, saying the agreement between the American Civil Liberties Union and the police department to end stop-and-frisk abuses was “terrible.”
  47. On Friday, attorney general Jeff Sessions announced the Justice Department would be sending more violent crime prosecutors to Chicago.
  48. Popular Bulgarian journalist Victoria Marinova was found dead this week. She had been raped and beaten to death so forcefully she was unrecognizable. Marinova is the fourth journalist killed in the EU since 2017.
  49. In Russia, just 58% of citizens said Putin could be trusted, down from 75% last year, and the lowest since level since 2012. Putin’s ratings skyrocketed after troops seized Russian-speaking Crimea from Ukraine in 2014.
  50. Turkish investigators said they were probing the disappearance of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi, who was last seen publicly entering the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul. Khashoggi contributed to WAPO’s Global section.
  51. On Wednesday, WAPO reported crown prince Mohammed bin Salman ordered an operation to lure Khashoggi, a critic of the Saudi government, to Saudi Arabia from Virginia to detain him. Khashoggi refused to go.
  52. Khashoggi was later assassinated in the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul. Jared Kushner, who has a close relationship with Mohammed bin Salman, and national security adviser John Bolton spoke to the crown prince, but Saudis provided little information.
  53. On Thursday, when asked about Khashoggi by reporters, Trump said, “this took place in Turkey and to the best of our knowledge, Khashoggi is not a United States citizen, is that right? He’s a permanent resident.”
  54. Trump claimed that Saudi Arabia is “spending $110 billion on military equipment.” WAPO fact checker gave Trump’s claim “Four Pinocchios,” saying the $110 billion figure is not real and is unlikely to come to fruition.
  55. Trump has long and deep business ties to Saudi Arabia, which he bragged about on the campaign trail in 2015, while creating new foreign entities in the kingdom. The Saudis have purchased his yacht and apartments at his properties.
  56. On Saturday, Trump vowed “severe punishment” if Saudi Arabia murdered Khashoggi, adding “Well, nobody knows yet, but we’ll probably be able to find out,” in an interview for “60 Minutes” set to air Sunday night.
  57. Atypical for a U.S. leader, Trump’s first foreign visit after taking office was to Saudi Arabia. The kingdom continues to funnel money to Trump businesses after Trump took office, including the Trump Hotel DC.
  58. On Sunday, WSJ reported GOP operative Peter W. Smith raised at least $100,000 to search for Hillary Clinton’s 33,000 deleted emails. Smith mysteriously died 10 days after first speaking to the Journal in Week 35.
  59. Smith went to great lengths to remain secretive: donations were sent to a Washington, D.C.-based scholarship fund for Russian students, and he communicated using a Gmail account under the name “Robert Tyler.”
  60. Smith’s activities remain of interest to the House and Senate Intelligence committees, as well as the Mueller probe. Associates of Smith have been interviewed by investigators or summoned before a grand jury.
  61. On Tuesday, WSJ reported Smith met with Michael Flynn as early as 2015, before Flynn joined the Trump campaign. Smith told associates during the campaign he was using Flynn’s connections to help with the email project.
  62. NYT reported Rick Gates, as deputy chair of the Trump campaign, requested proposals in 2016 from Israeli company Psy-Group for fake online identities, social media manipulation and gathering intelligence.
  63. One proposal was to use bogus personas to target and sway delegates to the 2016 Republican National Convention by attacking Ted Cruz. Another was for opposition research about Hillary Clinton and people close to her.
  64. The third proposal was for a months-long plan to help Trump by using social media to expose or amplify division among rival campaigns and factions.
  65. Joel Zamel of Psy-Group pitched the company’s services during a meeting on August 3, 2016, at Trump Tower with Donald Trump Jr., which was also attended by George Nader and Erik Prince.
  66. Nader, who is cooperating in the Mueller, probe, and Zamel have given differing accounts of whether Psy-Group carried out social media efforts to help the Trump campaign. Nader paid him $2 million after the election.
  67. Mueller’s team has obtained copies of the proposals and questioned Psy-Group employees as part of its probe of Russia’s efforts to disrupt the 2016 election. Gates is now cooperating in the Mueller probe.
  68. The offices of Kremlin-linked Internet Research Agency, a troll farm, was set ablaze. Earlier this year, more than a dozen employees of the operation were indicted in the Mueller probe for interfering in the 2016 election.
  69. New Yorker reported on ties between the Trump Organization’s server and Alfa Bank during the 2016 election, possibly a means of communication. NYT would not allow a reporter covering the story to go public.
  70. The reporter, Eric Lichtblau, uncovered in September 2016 that the FBI had opened a counterintelligence investigation into Russian contacts with Trump’s aides. The NYT ran a story October 31 saying there was no link.
  71. On Wednesday, Richard Pinedo was sentenced to six months in prison and six months’ home confinement in the Mueller probe. Pinedo is the third American to be sentenced to prison.
  72. Pinedo, who pleaded guilty to identity theft, cooperated in the Mueller probe. His testimony contributed to the indictment of 13 Russian individuals and three companies in Week 66.
  73. On Thursday, Judge T.S. Ellis II questioned Manafort’s plea deal with Mueller, calling it “highly unusual” to seek the dismissal of deadlocked charges only after Manafort has finished cooperating in the probe.
  74. The move has the potential to take away an incentive for Manafort to cooperate and could lead to details of Mueller’s investigative interests being made public. The parties will appear again in court on October 19.
  75. On Thursday, NBC News reported Trump’s attorneys are preparing written answers to questions from Mueller’s team. The questions focus on whether the Trump campaign colluded with Russia during the 2016 election.
  76. Trump has continued to deny any collusion with Russia took place. There is still no agreement for an in-person interview between Mueller’s team and Trump.
  77. On Monday, a petition by progressive groups calling for the impeachment of Kavanaugh gathered more than 125,000 signatures.
  78. On Monday, Trump told reporters the sexual assault allegations by Dr. Christine Blasey Ford against Kavanaugh are a “hoax” generated by the Democrats, adding “It was all made up — it was fabricated, and it’s a disgrace.”
  79. On Monday, an attorney for Ford told MSNBC that Ford cannot return home for “quite some time,” saying, “the threats have been unending. It’s deplorable. It’s been very frightening.”
  80. On Monday, at Kavanaugh’s swearing-in ceremony in the East Room of the White House, Trump falsely claimed allegations against Kavanaugh for sexual assault, “under historic scrutiny, were proven innocent.”
  81. In a break from precedent, Trump apologized to Kavanaugh: “On behalf of our nation…for the terrible pain and suffering you have been forced to endure” and decried the “campaign of personal destruction.”
  82. There is precedent for a ceremony in the White House: all sitting Supreme Court justices did have one except Elena Kagan and Sonia Sotomayor, although the others were done privately and without reporters attending.
  83. Kavanaugh thanked Vice President Mike Pence, several GOP senators and Sen. Joe Machin, and White House Counsel Don McGahn. Historian Michael Beschloss expressed concern Kavanaugh is going to be “very indebted” to Trump.
  84. On Monday, WAPO reported, in an effort to mobilize GOP voters, Republicans have cast the Trump resistance movement as “an angry mob” they say threatens the country’s order.
  85. Rep. David Brat said he is running against the “liberal mob,” and Senate candidate Corey Stewart decried “mob tactics,” characterizations meant to evoke fear of an unknown and out-of-control mass of people.
  86. That the GOP is fanning a culture war is also a tacit admission that many of the issues that Republicans had hoped to run on, including tax cuts and the economy, have not been enough to spark GOP voters’ enthusiasm.
  87. On Monday, in an op-ed in the Murdoch-owned WSJ titled “George Soros’s March of Washington,” Asra Nomani made sweeping and unsubstantiated claims that the Kavanaugh protestors were funded by Soros.
  88. On Tuesday, in an interview with a Kentucky radio station, Sen. Rand Paul said he was concerned that there “is going to be an assassination” as a result of the political climate.
  89. On Tuesday, Trump claimed in a tweet that the “paid D.C. protesters” who he falsely claimed were hired to protest the Kavanaugh confirmation, are now “REALLY protest[ing] because they haven’t gotten their checks.”
  90. Fix the Court, a nonpartisan group advocating for accountability and transparency on the Supreme Court, purchased the domain BrettKavanaugh.com and directed it to resources for sexual assault survivors.
  91. On Monday, a new CNN poll found negative views of Kavanaugh on the rise: 51% oppose his confirmation, up from 39% in early September. Support inched up from 38% in early September to 41% now.
  92. On Monday, Alaska’s GOP Party chairman said his committee could decide to issue a statement or withdraw support for Sen. Lisa Murkowski in next election because she opposed Kavanaugh’s confirmation.
  93. Eric Barber, a West Virginia city councilman who is pro-Kavanaugh, wrote: “Better get you’re (sic) coathangers ready liberals,” in a now-deleted Facebook comment to a private group.
  94. On Tuesday, a CNN poll found a record gender gap in party support, with women voters backing Democrats for Congress 63–33, while men backed the GOP 50–45. Overall, likely voters favor Democrats 54–41.
  95. On Wednesday, Trump’s White House announced the eighteenth wave of federal court nominees: thirteen men, zero women.
  96. All were successfully pushed through the Senate. Under Sen. Mitch McConnell, a record number of judges have been confirmed, including 29 to the circuit courts, 53 to district courts and two to the Supreme Court.
  97. Trump’s nominees now fill a whopping 15 percent of the circuit court seats. During Obama’s second term, McConnell allowed floor votes on only 22 of his judicial nominees.
  98. On Wednesday, in a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing, FBI director Christopher Wray defended the “limited” scope of Kavanaugh background probe, saying it was “consistent with the standard process.”
  99. When asked by Sen. Kamala Harris if Kavanaugh misled Congress in his Senate testimony, Wray said “That’s not something I could discuss here.”
  100. When asked why neither Kavanaugh nor Ford was interviewed, Wray said “the investigation was very specific in scope, limited in scope” adding “the usual process was followed.”
  101. On Wednesday, Chief Justice John Roberts referred 15 judicial misconduct complaints filed against Kavanaugh, related to statements he made during his Senate hearings, to a federal appeals court in Colorado.
  102. The complaints relate to whether Kavanaugh was dishonest and lacked judicial temperament during his testimony. The Colorado appeals court is led by Chief Judge Tymkovich, who was nominated George W. Bush.
  103. Per Week 99, it is unprecedented for a new justice to face complaints. Merrick Garland, the chief judge in the D.C. circuit, recused himself. It is unclear if Colorado will close the case since Kavanaugh has been elevated.
  104. On Monday, Fox announced Hope Hicks, the former White House communications director, will become the chief communications officer of Fox, the new entity to be spun out of Murdoch assets sold to Walt Disney.
  105. Unlike most who have departed from the regime, Hicks remains close with Trump, including traveling with him on Air Force One in August, and is held in high esteem by many in the West Wing.
  106. On Monday, watchdog group CREW called on the Inspector General to investigate whether U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley violated federal ethics regulations by accepting flights on private planes.
  107. On Tuesday, in a surprise to Trump regime officials, Haley announced she was resigning at the end of the year, giving no clear reason for the timing four weeks before midterms.
  108. Haley frequently disagreed with Trump on foreign policy and reportedly had a strained relationship with John Bolton. In December, Haley said that women who had accused Trump of sexual misconduct “should be heard.”
  109. Reporters and pundits speculated on why Haley resigned: everything from a 2020 run, to having penned the anonymous NYT op-ed, to taking Sen. Lindsey Graham’s seat. Her resignation letter was dated October 3.
  110. Haley is the sixth cabinet official to depart, leaving just four racial or ethnic minorities and five women out of Trump’s 23 cabinet members
  111. Names floated to replace Haley included Dina Powell and Ivanka Trump. Trump later told reporters Ivanka would be “incredible” and “dynamite,” adding “But, you know, I’d then be accused of nepotism, if you can believe it.”
  112. On Friday, Trump tweeted, “everyone wants Ivanka Trump to be the new United Nations Ambassador” but complained, “I can already hear the chants of Nepotism!” Ivanka tweeted Tuesday she did not want the role.
  113. On Monday, a landmark climate change report commissioned by the U.N.’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change painted a far more direpicture of the immediate consequences than previously thought.
  114. The report warns of worsening food shortages, wildfires and a mass die-off of coral reefs as soon as 2040 and says avoiding damage requires transforming the world economy at an unprecedented speed and scale.
  115. The report found if greenhouse gas emissions continue at the current rate, the atmosphere will warm by as much as 2.7 degrees Fahrenheit (1.5 degrees Celsius) over preindustrial levels by 2040.
  116. On Tuesday, when asked about the U.N. report by reporters, Trump said “I want to look at who drew, you know, which group drew it.” Trump pulled the U.S. out of the Paris climate agreement, which gave rise to the report.
  117. Trump also told reporters “I want more industry. I want more energy,” saying of ethanol, produced in Sen. Chuck Grassley’s Iowa, “it’s an amazing substance. You look at the Indy cars. They run 100 percent on ethanol.”
  118. On Wednesday, Trump wrote an op-ed in USA Today about Democrats’ “Medicare-For-All” plan. According to WAPO’s fact checker, almost every sentence contained a misleading statement or a falsehood.
  119. The op-ed also contained incendiary statements, including “The truth is that the centrist Democratic Party is dead. The new Democrats are radical socialists who want to model America’s economy after Venezuela.”
  120. USA Today Editorial Page Editor Bill Sternberg pushed on Twitter, writing “The degree of fact-checking is also apparent in the many hyperlinks in the digital version.” The links do not back up the claims in the editorial.
  121. On Thursday, bowing to criticism, USA Today fact-checked the op-ed and found “several instances where [Trump] misrepresented the facts and made misleading statements” about Medicare and health insurance in general.
  122. Finland’s largest newspaper Helsingin Sanomat reported Trump and Putin may meet again in Helsinki next spring. Reportedly organizers are already looking for dates, and Valentine’s Day weekend is being considered.
  123. On Tuesday, Westmoreland Coal Co., one of the oldest coal companies in the U.S., filed for bankruptcy amid declining demand for coal.
  124. On Wednesday, the stock market plunged over 800 points, the biggest loss since February, on fears of rising interest rates.
  125. Trump blamed the Federal Reserve for stocks tumbling, telling reporters, “The Fed is making a mistake” about gradually lifting interest rates, adding, “I think the Fed has gone crazy.”
  126. On Thursday, Trump continued to attack the Fed, telling reporters the Fed’s monetary policy “is far too stringent,” adding “they’re making a mistake and it’s not right.”
  127. When Trump was asked by reporters whether he would fire Fed Chair Jerome Powell, he responded, “No, I’m not going to fire him. I’m just disappointed.”
  128. WAPO reported top FBI attorney James Baker said in a Congressional hearing last week that he took seriously a question by then acting FBI director Andrew McCabe about wiretapping Trump.
  129. Baker said McCabe took deputy attorney general Rod Rosenstein’s suggestion of wiretapping Trump seriously. Baker said the proposal to wear a wire was dismissed by senior FBI and DOJ officials “within a couple of days.”
  130. Politico reported Fox News is no longer giving Trump’s campaign rallies prime-time coverage, signaling he is no longer getting high enough ratings to pre-empt programming.
  131. A reporter from New Yorker listened to Trump’s six rallies in October, given that they are no longer televised. She found a blatant disregard for the truth and a repeating of lies that have already been debunked.
  132. Amid the lies, Trump makes himself a hero in every story. While Trump paints a dystopian view of the country, the politicians he campaigns with are called upon to shower him with praise.
  133. Trump also uses pejorative nicknames, like “low I.Q.” Maxine Waters, “Crooked Hillary” and “Crazy Bernie,” and gives his supporters a deep sense of hate of others not in politics at every rally.
  134. Trump also decries Democrats as “scary, bad, evil, radical, dangerous.” He is the leader of law order and order, and he alone stands between his audiences and disaster.
  135. As Trump’s base remains loyal and their support does not budge, the concern is that Trump is creating a space to do the unthinkable.
  136. On Tuesday, at a campaign rally in Iowa, Trump accused Sen. Diane Feinstein, the ranking Democrat on the Senate Judiciary Committee, of leaking “the documents.” The crowd responded with chants of “Lock her up!
  137. On Wednesday, at a campaign rally in Pennsylvania, Trump accused Hillary Clinton of colluding with Russia to affect the 2016 election while his crowd chanted “Lock her up!”
  138. On Thursday, authorities arrested Craig Shaver, a California man, for allegedly threatening to kill Sen. Feinstein. Prosecutors said Shaver made the threat in a September 30 email to the Senator.
  139. On Thursday, after receiving no prime-time coverage for his rallies this week, Trump pre-empted hurricane coverage on Fox News, appearing on “Fox & Friends” for a 47-minute long interview.
  140. When asked if he would fire attorney general Jeff Sessions and deputy Rod Rosenstein immediately after the midterm election, Trump replied, “Well, I actually get along well with Rod.”
  141. Trump criticized the Fed for the drop in the stock market. He also predicted partisan discord if Democrats won control of the House and noted some Democrats have already threatened to impeach Kavanaugh.
  142. The “Fox & Friends” co-hosts repeatedly tried to end the interview. Eventually, host Steve Doocy found an opening to end the interview, telling Trump, “Go run the country.”
  143. Later Thursday, Trump met with singer Kayne West in the Oval Office in front of reporters. Trump used the praise heaped on him by West at his rallies and as a means to suggest Black Americans should vote for him.
  144. Both former NYC mayor Michael Bloomberg and former Trump attorney Michael Cohen re-registered as Democrats.
  145. On Friday, Facebook revealed data was stolen from 29 million users, not 50 million, in September. The hacked information contained vital personal data, including name and phone number, email, location, gender and relationship status.
  146. On Friday, according to an August letter to Senate Judiciary Committee chair Chuck Grassley made public, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s security clearance, along with five other aides, has been revoked at her request.
  147. The letter indicates Clinton’s request was done in quiet protest of Trump revoking former CIA director John Brennan’s security clearance in sync with Admiral William McCraven’s op-ed supporting Brennan.
  148. On Friday, at a campaign rally in Ohio, Trump cited lower unemployment numbers for Black Americans and asked black voters to “honor us” by voting Republican, falsely claiming “we have the best numbers in history.”
  149. Trump then praised Confederate General Robert E. Lee, calling Lee a “true great fighter” and “great general” and added Abraham Lincoln once had a “phobia” of Lee, whose support of slavery made his legacy contested.
  150. Trump also evoked the notion of the mob, claiming from the moment Kavanaugh was announced as his nominee, “an angry Democratic mob was on a mission to resist, obstruct, delay, and destroy him.”
  151. On Friday, a new Washington Post-ABC News poll found more Americans disapprove of the Kavanaugh confirmation: women say it moves them to Democrats over Republicans by 16 points, while men are evenly split.
  152. The poll found 43% of Americans believe the court’s rulings will be more politically motivated with Kavanaugh on the court, compared with 10% who said they will be less political.
  153. The poll also found 53% of Americans support further investigation of Kavanaugh by Congress, while 43% are opposed. Among independents, 55% support further investigation, while 40% do not.
  154. Democrats are donating record amounts to House candidates heading into midterms: in the 70 most contested races, the GOP has reserved $60 million in TV ads, compared to $109 million for Democrats since late July.
  155. The head of a pro-Trump super PAC said “we’ve never seen anything like this before.” House GOP aides hoping to receive a late cash transfer from the Republican National Committee no longer expect that to happen.
  156. A new proposal by the Trump regime’s Park Department could restrict protests by effectively blocking them along the north sidewalk of the White House and making it easier for police to shut them down.
  157. The proposal would also curtail protests at Washington’s most iconic staging grounds, including the National Mall, Lafayette Square and the Pennsylvania Avenue sidewalks in front of the Trump Hotel DC.
Advertisements

POLITIKS OF GRAFFITI 100: TOILET PAPER ON THE SHOE OF OUR DEMOCRACY

Week 99 of toilet paper on the shoe of our democracy: Experts in authoritarianism advise to keep a list of things subtly changing around you, so you’ll remember.

October 7, 2018 https://medium.com/@Amy_Siskind/week-99-experts-in-authoritarianism-advise-to-keep-a-list-of-things-subtly-changing-around-you-c84bbf9b03c1

This was all predictable. The descent to authoritarianism follows a predictable path in history. Masha Gessen, one of the “experts in authoritarianism” I read before starting the project of making the weekly list, wrote this in a New York Review of Books article on November 10, 2016, “There is little doubt that Trump will appoint someone who will cause the Court to veer to the right; there is also the risk that it might be someone who will wreak havoc with the very culture of the high court.” Prescient indeed.

This week, veering off norm after norm, and stoking a culture war between #MeToo and his newly coined #HeToo movement, Trump, with the help of Sen. Mitch McConnell plowed through to confirm Brett Kavanaugh, Trump’s second Supreme Court nominee. Kavanaugh’s 50–48 confirmation vote margin was the lowest since Stanley Matthews’ 24–23 vote 1881. Bookending Gessen’s piece, this week in the New York Review of Books Christopher Browning, in a piece titled “The Suffocation of Democracy,” compares McConnell to Hitler-era German President Paul von Hindenburg — both of whom he refers to as “gravediggers” of democracy.

Meanwhile, the acts of hatred against “the others” continued this week. Trump again beat the familiar drum of white men as victims, this time at the hands of women who dare to find their voices. A bombshell article by the NYTrevealed the lie behind Trump’s campaign image of a self-made billionaire; reporters found his fortune was largely handed down by his father, much of it in a fraudulent manner.

Images from Weimar , Germany. September 2018:

IMG_8761IMG_8762IMG_8763IMG_8811IMG_8861

  1. A Pew Research poll found America’s global image has plummeted under Trump, amid widespread opposition to his regime’s policies and a widely shared lack of confidence in his leadership abilities.
  2. The poll finds the world has significant concerns about America’s role in world affairs, citing isolationism and the U.S. doing less to help solve major global challenges. American soft power is waning as well.
  3. Trump polled the lowest among leaders of major powers, with 70% of those surveyed in 25 countries saying they have no confidence in him to do the right thing regarding world affairs. Just 27% have confidence.
  4. On Saturday, Trump visited West Virginia for a campaign rally where he bragged about his economic accomplishments. Under Trump, poverty in the state climbed to 19.1% in 2017 from 17.9% in 2016.
  5. Speaking on North Korea, Trump said he started off being tough with Kim Jong Un, but “then we fell in love, OK. No, really. He wrote me beautiful letters, and they’re great letters. And then we fell in love.”
  6. On Saturday, the Intercept reported that despite Kavanaugh’s claim at the Senate hearing that “I have no connections there. I got there by busting my tail,” his grandfather Everett Edward Kavanaugh also attended Yale.
  7. On Saturday, NBC News reported the White House counsel’s office has imposed severe limitations to the FBI investigation. The probe will not include interviewing Kavanaugh’s third accuser, Julie Swetnick.
  8. The FBI will not interview Kavanaugh’s Yale classmates about alleged excessive drinking or high school classmates about sexual references in his yearbook to see if witnesses would contradict his Senate testimony.
  9. Just four people will be interviewed: Mark Judge; Leland Keyser, a high school friend of Ford who she said attended the party but was not told of the assault; P.J. Smyth, another party guest; and Deborah Ramirez.
  10. WSJ reported the investigation is being “tightly controlled” by the White House, and the FBI will not have free rein to pursue all potential leads.
  11. On Saturday evening, Trump tweeted, “NBC News incorrectly reported (as usual) that I was limiting the FBI investigation,” adding, “I want them to interview whoever they deem appropriate, at their discretion.”
  12. On Sunday, NBC News reported that despite Trump’s tweet, the FBI has received no new instructions from the White House about changing the limitations on the investigation.
  13. On Sunday, Sen. Diane Feinstein sent a letter to White House counsel Don McGahn and FBI Director Christopher Wray requesting a copy of the written directive the White House sent to the FBI.
  14. On Sunday, Republican Sen. Tom Cotton told Face the Nation that Feinstein and her staff will be investigated over the leaked Ford letter. Feinstein repeated Monday that she and her staff did not leak the letter.
  15. On Sunday, Kellyanne Conway said on State of the Union that she was a victim of sexual assault, then seemed to use her admission to support Kavanaugh saying, “You have to be responsible for your own conduct.”
  16. On Monday, Trump told reporters he had instructed McGahn to have the FBI carry out an open investigation, with the caveat that the inquiry should accommodate the desires of Senate Republicans.
  17. Trump said he wanted a “comprehensive” FBI investigation and had no problem if the FBI questioned Kavanaugh or even Swetnick. Trump said he accepted Kavanaugh’s denials, calling confirmation process deeply unfair.
  18. On Monday, the Portland Press Herald reported Sen. Susan Collins wants the FBI to investigate the allegations brought by Julie Swetnick and not limit the scope of its investigation to those raised at the Senate hearings.
  19. The editorial boards of two Maine newspapers spoke out against Kavanaugh: the Portland Herald Press wrote “he doesn’t belong on the Supreme Court,” and the Bangor Daily News called him “unfit.”
  20. On Sunday, CNN reported the FBI spoke to Deborah Ramirez and she provided them with names of witnesses. On Tuesday, her attorney John Clune said none of the 20 witnesses had been contacted.
  21. On Sunday, the New Yorker reported the attorney for Elizabeth Rasor, a college girlfriend of Judge, repeatedly made clear to the Senate Judiciary Committee and FBI she would like to speak but has not heard back.
  22. On Monday, NBC News reported in the days leading up to Ramirez’s allegations becoming public, Kavanaugh and his team surreptitiously communicated with his Yale classmates about refuting the story.
  23. Kerry Berchem, a Yale classmate of Kavanaugh Ramirez, said she has tried to get those messages to the FBI but has not heard back. Berchem emailed FBI agent J.C. McDonough a memo, along with screenshots of texts.
  24. In a text message between Berchem and Karen Yarasavage, both friends of Kavanaugh, Yarasavage said Kavanaugh asked her to go on the record in his defense.
  25. Texts show Kavanaugh tried to get a copy of a photo from a 1997 wedding of Yale classmates both he and Ramirez attended to discredit her. Berchem said Ramirez tried to avoid Kavanaugh that day, and she “clung to me.”
  26. Kavanaugh told the Senate Judiciary Committee under oath that the first time he heard of Ramirez’s allegation was in the New Yorker article published on September 23.
  27. A spokesman for judiciary committee chair Sen. Chuck Grassley said that the texts “do not appear relevant or contradictory” to Kavanaugh’s testimony, calling it “another last-ditch effort to derail the nomination” by Democrats.
  28. On Monday, NYT reported in recent weeks hundreds of migrant children at shelters from Kansas to New York have been roused in the middle of the night and clandestinely transported a tent city in West Texas.
  29. The population of migrant children has grown fivefold since last year. Private foster homes and shelters that sleep two to three to a room, and provide formal schooling and legal representation, are overburdened.
  30. The children are in groups of 20, split by gender, and have no formal schooling and limited legal representation. The tent cities are unregulated, except for guidelines created by the Department of Health and Human Services.
  31. The children wore belts etched in pen with phone numbers for their emergency contacts. Some shelter staff members cried for fear of what was in store for migrant children being moved to tents.
  32. On Tuesday, NBC News reported a report by the DHS inspector general found “DHS was not fully prepared to implement the administration’s zero-tolerance policy or to deal with some of its after-effects.”
  33. Immigration law allows Customs and Border Protection to hold unaccompanied children for up to 72 hours. The report found one-fifth of the children were held at least five days and one longer.
  34. The report also found that while the Trump regime urged asylum seekers to come through ports of entry, overwhelmed facilities “likely resulted in additional illegal border crossings.”
  35. On Wednesday, a federal judge in California temporarily blocked the Trump regime from terminating temporary protected status for hundreds of thousands of immigrants from Sudan, El Salvador, Haiti, and Nicaragua.
  36. On Wednesday, CNN reported a surprise DHS inspection general visit to a privately run California ICE detention facility found nooses hanging in cells, misuse of solitary confinement, and delayed medical care.
  37. The facility is run by GEO Group, a private prison contractor that runs a number of large immigrant detention centers. GEO donated $250,000 to a pro-Trump super PAC and hired two former aides of attorney general Jeff Sessions in Week 50.
  38. Beverly Goldstein, a Republican candidate for Congress in Ohio, in a tweet blamed passage of an ordinance banning LGBTQ discrimination on the “illiteracy” of Black voters.
  39. Republicans in New York are referring to Antonio Delgado, an African American congressional candidate who is a Rhodes Scholar and Harvard Law graduate, as a “big-city rapper” in political attack ads.
  40. Linda Dwire was arrested in a Colorado grocery store, after another patron, Kamira Trent, called the police to report that Dwire was harassing two Mexican women for speaking Spanish.
  41. On Saturday, for the second time in the last 18 months, the Jewish Community Center of Northern Virginia was vandalized. 19 swastikas were painted on the center.
  42. The president of the center said, “This is getting to be a regular thing — it’s in the air around us, in the country around us,” and said that “expressions of support…are tinged with fatigue.”
  43. On Sunday, WAPO reported the Trump regime announced it will sue California in an effort to block that state’s new net neutrality law, which has been described by experts as the toughest ever enacted in the U.S.
  44. Just hours after California’s proposal became law, senior Justice Department officials told WAPO they will sue on grounds that the federal government has the exclusive power to regulate net neutrality.
  45. On Wednesday, FEMA sent a presidential alert via a text message. According to FEMA, unlike emergency alerts and Amber alerts, these presidential alerts cannot be turned off.
  46. The system was originally put in place under former George W. Bush for radio and TV, and later updated by Obama to include cellphones. This is the first time the system has been used.
  47. AP reported Trump’s Environmental Protection Agency is pursuing rule changes that would weaken the way radiation exposure is regulated, breaking with decades of policy that there is no threshold of radiation exposure that is risk-free.
  48. The EPA cited a toxicologist at the University of Massachusetts who has said weakening limits on radiation exposure would save billions of dollars and that a bit of radiation damage is good, like a little bit of sunlight.
  49. On Thursday, Foreign Policy reported Trump is considering firing Air Force Secretary Heather Wilson over her pushback on his directive to stand up a separate Space Force in the U.S. military.
  50. Sources say Wilson has not figured out a way to disagree with Trump, and he therefore permanently sees her as “troublesome and ineffective.” Trump will make his final decision on firing her after the midterms.
  51. On Thursday, an article in the conservative Federalist called on WAPO to stop labeling op-ed columnist Jennifer Rubin a “conservative,” citing her non-support of Trump.
  52. On Thursday, NYT reported as Afghanistan frays, mercenary executive Erik Prince has been the talk of Kabul and is frequently introduced as an adviser to Trump.
  53. Prince is pushing a vision that his contractors could offer an official military withdrawal from Afghanistan against the wishes of the country’s president, who does not want foreign mercenaries.
  54. Prince has also tied his proposal to a favorite topic of Trump’s: exploiting Afghanistan’s mineral wealth, including rare earth deposits. Some officials in the Afghan government have tried to block Prince from getting a visa.
  55. On Monday, at a press conference in the Rose Garden, Trump insulted ABC News reporter Cecilia Vega. After calling on her and her thanking him, Trump said, “I know you’re not thinking. You never do.”
  56. On Tuesday, bowing to public scrutiny, the White House corrected the press conference transcript. The Monday version had read, “I know you’re not thanking. You never do.”
  57. Trump also derided CNN reporter Kaitlan Collins, wagging his finger and saying, “Don’t do that,” when she asked about Kavanaugh, then saying, “You know what, you’ve really had enough. Hey. You’ve had enough”
  58. On Tuesday, at a rally in Mississippi, Trump attacked Democrats are “holier than thou,” and, offering no proof, claimed one Senate Democrat drinks too much and encouraged the crowd to Google the senator’s name.
  59. Trump also mocked Dr. Christine Blasey Ford, imitating her Senate testimony, saying, “‘I don’t know. I don’t know.’ ‘Upstairs? Downstairs? Where was it?’ ‘I don’t know. But I had one beer. That’s the only thing I remember.”
  60. Trump also claimed because of the #MeToo movement men were going to be fired from their jobs after being unfairly accused of sexual harassment, saying, “Think of your husbands. Think of your sons.”
  61. On Wednesday, the three swing Republicans — Sens. Jeff Flake, Susan Collins, and Lisa Murkowski — criticized Trump for mocking Ford, with his remarks called “kind of appalling” by Flake “wholly inappropriate” by Murkowski.
  62. On Tuesday, a bombshell yearlong NYT investigative report found despite Trump’s campaign claims that his father gave him a $1 million loan that he turned into an empire, Fred Trump gave him $60.7 million in loans.
  63. In total, Trump received the equivalent of at least $413 million in today’s dollars from Fred Trump’s real estate empire, much of it through dubious tax schemes during the 1990s, including instances of outright fraud.
  64. According to a deposition by Robert Trump, the Trumps used padded receipts to justify rent increases in rent-stabilized buildings. “The higher the markup would be, the higher the rent that might be charged.”
  65. In 1990 Donald Trump had one of his lawyers draft a codicil that would have changed his dad’s will. Fred Trump dispatched Trump’s sister to find a new real estate lawyer, rewrote the will, and signed it immediately.
  66. On Tuesday, CNBC reported, the New York state tax department is reviewing the allegations in the NYT article and, according to an official, “is vigorously pursuing all appropriate avenues of investigation.”
  67. On Wednesday, Trump tweeted about “the Failing New York Times,” saying, “Added up, this means that 97% of their stories on me are bad. Never recovered from bad election call!”
  68. On Wednesday, WSJ reported that if Democrats take control of the Senate in the midterms, Sen. Ron Wyden, who would chair the Senate Finance Committee, plans to ask for Trump’s tax returns.
  69. Trump dropped 11 more spots on the Forbes’ 400 list of the richest Americans. In the last two years, Trump’s net worth has dropped from $4.5 billion in 2015 to $3.1 billion, dropping him from 121 to number 259.
  70. Forbes noted that Trump is actively trying, but failing, to get rich off his presidency. The Trump brand has suffered, and deeper reporting has revealed that Trump had been lying about valuations.
  71. On Thursday, AP reported experts say although the statute of limitations has passed for criminal charges, Trump could be on the hook for tens of millions of dollars in civil fines from state and from federal authorities.
  72. On Tuesday, WSJ reported Trump personally directed his then-attorney Michael Cohen in February 2018 to stop Stephanie Clifford from publicly discussing an alleged sexual encounter on “60 Minutes.”
  73. Trump told Cohen to seek a restraining order against Stephanie Clifford and to coordinate the legal response with Eric Trump and Jill Martin, an outside lawyer who represented Trump and the Trump Organization.
  74. Five days later, as instructed, Martin filed paperwork for a confidential arbitration proceeding. An arbitrator privately issued a restraining order against Clifford, who ignored it and went on television on March 25.
  75. On Thursday, New York attorney general Barbara Underwood said in a court filing that Trump caused his charitable foundation to break state and federal laws governing non-profit groups.
  76. Underwood wrote Trump’s use of the Trump Foundation “for his own personal benefit” justifies her request to ban him for 10 years from being involved in any non-profit group.
  77. On Monday, former FBI director James Comey rejected a request by House Judiciary Committee Republicans to appear at a closed hearing on alleged political bias at the Department of Justice and FBI, saying he would appear in a public hearing.
  78. Politico reported on Monday that Trump’s former campaign chairman Paul Manafort met with special counsel Robert Mueller’s team. Manafort’s attorneys, Richard Westling and Tom Zehnle, were also seen speaking with one of Muller’s lead prosecutors, Andrew Weissmann.
  79. On Tuesday, Politico reported Roger Stone associate Randi Credico told the Senate Intelligence Committee through his lawyer that he would plead the Fifth Amendment rather than testify in the panel’s Russia probe.
  80. On Tuesday, Politico reported Federal law enforcement officials referred a 2-year-old email hacking investigation related to Cheri Jacobus, an anti-Trump Republican, to Mueller’s team.
  81. On Tuesday, Politico reported Mueller is further downsizing his team of prosecutors, with Brandon Van Grack and Kyle Freeny returning to their prior posts at the Justice Department.
  82. Van Grack played a role in the Virginia bank and tax-fraud case, as well as Michael Flynn’s guilty plea. Freeny has “concluded her work here” per Mueller’s spokesperson. The number of prosecutors is down from 17 to 13.
  83. On Thursday, the DOJ unveiled indictments against seven officers of Russia’s GRU military intelligence agency who were targeting top Olympic athletes, anti-doping organizations, and chemical weapons monitors.
  84. The DOJ announced that in the summer of 2016, GRU hacked drug-test results from the World Anti-Doping Agency and leaked confidential information about U.S. Olympic athletes on the internet.
  85. Three of the seven were previously indicted for conspiring to interfere in the 2016 U.S. election as part of the Mueller probe.
  86. The Dutch and British governments earlier on Thursday also described GRU attacks. The Dutch described a hack at a chemical-weapons agency in Week 92, while the British government called the cyberattacks “reckless and indiscriminate.”
  87. Defense Secretary Jim Mattis told reporters in Brussels that the U.S. stands “shoulder-to-shoulder” with our NATO allies and pledged U.S. cyberoffense capabilities to other allies if asked.
  88. Daily Beast reported Russian deputy attorney general Saak Albertovich Karapetyan died in a helicopter crash. Media reports claimed the crash happened during an unauthorized flight in the Kostroma region.
  89. Karapetyan’s ties to directing the foreign operations of Natalia Veselnitskaya were exposed in a Swiss court this year as part of a plot to enlist a Swiss law-enforcement official as a double-agent for the Kremlin.
  90. He and Veselnitskaya together tried to recruit a high-level law-enforcement official who was supposed to be investigating the Swiss bank accounts of Russian oligarchs and mobsters.
  91. Veselnitskaya had helped to draft a document on behalf of the Russian government related to the fraud case against Prevezon. Karapetyan wrote the cover letter.
  92. On Tuesday, WAPO reported Republicans Senators emailed an explicit statement about Julie Swetnick’s sex life to reporters. Swetnick’s attorney Michael Avenatti says the FBI still refuses to interview her.
  93. On Tuesday, Majority Leader McConnell vowed to vote in the Senate on Kavanaugh’s nomination this week, even as attorneys for Ford, and others who have reached out to the FBI, have not yet been interviewed.
  94. On Tuesday, WAPO reported the FBI has completed the first four interviews and is now interviewing Tim Gaudette and Chris Garrett, high school classmates of Kavanaugh.
  95. The investigation is being led by the FBI’s Security Division, a branch that handles background checks. FBI director Christopher Wray, who was two years behind Kavanaugh at Yale, is also directly involved.
  96. On Tuesday, NYT obtained a 1983 letter written by Kavanaugh that contradicts his testimony before the Senate. In it he writes, “warn the neighbors that we’re loud, obnoxious drunks with prolific pukers among us.”
  97. Interviews with a dozen classmates and friends depict Kavanaugh as a member of a small clique of football players who celebrated a culture of heavy drinking, even by standards of that era, contradicting his testimony.
  98. On Wednesday, Rachel Maddow read a sworn affidavit from Elizabeth Rasor, which the FBI neglected to take, saying Mark Judge had conveyed “a degree of shame” about taking turns having sex with a drunk woman.
  99. BuzzFeed reported ethics complaints have been filed against Kavanaugh in the DC Circuit, including at least one related to his alleged lying about sexual assault allegations against him.
  100. Ethics experts say there is no precedent for what happens to the complaints if he is elevated to the Supreme Court. For now, the complaints are under the purview of DC Circuit chief judge Merrick Garland.
  101. On Wednesday, NBC News reported that, according to multiple sources, more than 40 people with potential information into the sexual misconduct allegations against Kavanaugh have not been contacted by the FBI.
  102. On Wednesday, James Roche, Kavanaugh’s freshman year roommate at Yale, said in an op-ed that Kavanaugh “lied under oath about his drinking and terms in his yearbook.” The FBI has not contacted Roche at any time.
  103. On Wednesday, an NPR/PBS NewsHour/Marist poll found that 45% of Americans believe Ford is telling the truth, up from 32% before her testimony. Just 33% believe Kavanaugh is telling the truth.
  104. On Wednesday, the National Council of Churches, the nation’s largest coalition of Christian churches, said in a statement “Kavanaugh has ‘disqualified himself’” and “must step aside immediately.”
  105. On Wednesday, Ford’s attorneys wrote a letter to chairman Grassley, again saying the FBI has not contacted them despite Ford’s desire to be interviewed in the probe.
  106. When asked about the limited scope of FBI interviews, press secretary Sarah Sanders blamed it on senators, telling reporters, “We’re going to allow the Senate to make the determination of the scope.”
  107. On Wednesday, Bloomberg reported the FBI lacks White House approval to interview Ford and Kavanaugh. Late Wednesday, McConnell started the clock for a Friday test vote on the nomination.
  108. Officials inside the FBI are concerned constraints placed on the investigation by Trump’s White House could damage the bureau’s reputation for finding the truth.
  109. On Wednesday, the NYT published an open letter by 650 law school professors in opposition to Kavanaugh’s nomination. By Thursday, there were more than 2,400 signatures.
  110. On Wednesday, more than 1,000 Maine academics signed a letter urging Sen. Collins not to support Kavanaugh, citing credible allegations of sexual misconduct and an “angry demeanor” at the Senate hearing.
  111. On Thursday, the White House issued a statement at around 2:30 a.m. saying the FBI had completed its work and the materials were conveyed to Capitol Hill in the middle of the night.
  112. Deputy press secretary Raj Shah falsely said, “This is the last addition to the most comprehensive review of a Supreme Court nominee in history, which includes extensive hearings, multiple committee interviews.”
  113. The public was not allowed to see the FBI report. Only senators were permitted to review the materials.
  114. Although the FBI was given a week to complete their investigation, they stopped after just five days.
  115. Senators’ review took place in a secured room at the Capitol starting Thursday morning. Republican senators were permitted to see the information first. Time was limited to allow a vote on Friday.
  116. On Thursday, WSJ reported the White House believes the FBI report has no corroboration of sexual misconduct allegations against Kavanaugh.
  117. NYT reported that as part of the inquiry, the FBI contacted ten people and interviewed nine of them. WAPO reported that it could confirm interviews with only six people.
  118. The FBI has not publicly explained why it stopped after talking with just five more people, nor did the bureaus explain why they did not interview Ford or Kavanaugh.
  119. The Senate Judiciary Committee tweeted, “Nowhere in any of these six FBI reports…reviewed on a bipartisan basis…[is anything] related in any way to inappropriate sexual behavior or alcohol abuse.”
  120. Sen. Dick Durbin responded in a tweet, “This tweet is not accurate” and in a letter insinuated previous background checks of Kavanaugh had turned up evidence of either inappropriate sexual behavior or alcohol abuse.
  121. Late Thursday, Sen. Elizabeth Warren said on the Senate floor that the FBI reports show there was not a full and fair investigation. Instead, she said, it was sharply limited in scope and did not explore the relevant confirming facts.
  122. Sen. Warren also said the available documents do not exonerate Kavanaugh and that the documents contradict statements Kavanaugh made under oath at the Senate hearing.
  123. On Thursday, thousands protested Kavanaugh’s nomination outside the courthouse where Kavanaugh works, at the Supreme Court, and at two Senate office buildings. Protestors chanted, “We believe survivors.”
  124. The U.S. Capitol Police said 302 people were arrested in two Senate office buildings, including actresses Amy Schumer who said, “A vote for Kavanaugh is a vote saying women don’t matter.”
  125. On Thursday, Jen Klaus, the former roommate of Ramirez, told NBC News Senate committee staff members called her at 4:30 p.m. Thursday, put her on speakerphone, and asked about Ramirez’s drinking habits at Yale.
  126. Klaus said the staffers also suggested it was a case of mistaken identity, saying “It just gave me the impression they were suggesting perhaps it was (another classmate) who threw his penis in her face instead of Brett.”
  127. A Yale classmate, Kathy Charlton, told NBC News she tried to contact the FBI about text messages she received from a mutual friend of Kavanaugh ahead of the Ramirez story breaking.
  128. Charlton said three days prior to the New Yorker story, in a phone conversation, the former classmate told her Kavanaugh had called him and advised him not to say anything “bad” if the press were to call.
  129. After she spoke to a reporter, the friend texted Charlton, saying, “Hellllllooooo. Don’t F****** TELL PEOPLE BRETT GOT IN TOUCH WITH ME!!! I TOLD YOU AT THE TIME THAT WAS IN CONFIDENCE!!!”
  130. Both Charlton and Kerry Berchem made numerous attempts to get in touch with the FBI but did not hear back.
  131. Berchem told NBC News on Thursday she sent her third email to Mike Davis, the chief counsel for the Senate Judiciary Committee. She briefly spoke to a staffer on October 3 and heard nothing further.
  132. On Thursday, speaking to a crowd of retirees in Florida, Retired U.S. Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens, a Republican, said Kavanaugh does not belong on the Supreme Court, saying he lacked the temperament.
  133. Late Thursday, Kavanaugh wrote an op-ed for the WSJ defending himself as an “independent, impartial judge,” explaining his behavior at last week’s Senate hearing as being “emotional” as a “son, husband and dad.”
  134. Late Thursday, the WAPO Editorial Board urged senators to vote “no” on Kavanaugh, citing “his partisan instincts.” This is the first time the Post has called for a no vote since 1987.
  135. On Thursday, at a rally in Minnesota, Trump mocked Al Franken’s resignation over sexual assault allegations, saying he folded “like a wet rag,” and mocked Franken, “‘oh, he did something,’ ‘oh I resign. I quit.’”
  136. On Friday, the American Bar Association said in a letter that its Standing Committee on the Federal Judiciary has reopened its evaluation of Kavanaugh in light of his testimony before the Senate last week.
  137. On Friday, when Sen. Grassley was asked by Fox Business host Maria Bartiromo if George Soros was behind the protestors who confronted Sen. Flake in the elevator, Grassley said, “I tend to believe it.”
  138. On Friday, in a morning tweet, Trump attacked survivors who had protested, saying “the very rude elevator screamers are paid professionals only looking to make Senators look bad.”
  139. Trump also tweeted a conspiracy theory, saying “look at all of the professionally made identical signs. Paid for by Soros and others. These are not signs made in the basement from love! #Troublemakers
  140. An ABA spokesperson said the committee did not expect to complete its evaluation ahead of voting Friday, so the association’s assessment of Kavanaugh as “well qualified” rating stands, but it “must be read in conjunction with the foregoing.”
  141. Hundreds of female attorneys in Alaska said in a letter to Sen. Murkowski to vote no, and other Alaskans who are survivors flew to Washington D.C. to meet with her Thursday. On Friday, she voted no on cloture.
  142. On Friday, at a 3 p.m. speech on the Senate floor, Sen. Collins declared her support for Kavanaugh in a fierce 44 minutes-long speech. Her deciding vote ensured his confirmation.
  143. Seated behind her during the speech were the three other Republican women senators who were voting to support Kavanaugh. The GOP has only five women in the Senate.
  144. Before Collins’ speech started, protesters stood up in the gallery above her, yelling, “Vote no! Show up for Maine women!” After she finished her speech, McConnell led a standing ovation.
  145. Collins went on to blast Democrats and progressive organizations and to cite the oft-used GOP trope that she believes Ford was sexually assaulted but does not believe her recollection that it was Kavanaugh.
  146. Minutes after her speech, a crowdfunding site where activists have been raising money to defeat Collins in 2020 was inundated with pledges and crashed. The site raised more than $3 million dollars.
  147. On Friday, when asked by reporters why there are no Republican women on the Senate Judiciary Committee, Sen. Grassley cited the workload a deterrent: “It’s a lot of work — maybe they don’t want to do it.
  148. Grassley added, “My chief of staff of 33 years tells me we’ve tried to recruit women and we couldn’t get the job done.” Grassley later returned to clarify that the workload made it less appealing to both genders.
  149. On Friday, NYT reported that in the beginning of the week, Trump had called McGahn to tell him the FBI should be able to investigate anythingbecause they needed the critics to stop.
  150. McGahn reportedly responded that a wide-ranging inquiry like some Democrats were demanding would be potentially disastrous for Kavanaugh’s chances of being confirmed.
  151. McGahn noted since this was not a criminal investigation, FBI agents could not use search warrants and subpoenas. He said the White House could not order the FBI to rummage indiscriminately through someone’s life.
  152. Late Friday, Ford’s attorney criticized the investigation in a statement: “an F.B.I. investigation that did not include interviews of Dr. Ford and Judge Kavanaugh is not a meaningful investigation in any sense of the word.”
  153. Experts said it was highly unusual for the FBI not to conduct those interviews, with one expert adding it was “indefensible” not to interview Ford. Investigators also did not review her polygraph results or therapist’s notes.
  154. On Saturday, anti-Kavanaugh protests continued, with hundreds protesting and more arrests.
  155. On Saturday, WAPO reported Chief Justice John Roberts received more than a dozen judicial misconduct complaints in recent weeks on Kavanaugh but chose not to refer them to a judicial panel.
  156. Judge Karen LeCraft Henderson, a judge on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit, the court on which Kavanaugh serves, passed complaints the court received starting three weeks ago on to Roberts.
  157. Henderson dismissed other claims as frivolous. In a statement Saturday, she said the complaints centered on statements Kavanaugh made during his Senate hearings, questioning his honesty and temperament.
  158. This is the first time in history that a Supreme Court nominee has been poised to join the court while a fellow judge recommends that misconduct claims against that nominee warrant review by the Chief Justice.
  159. According to experts, once Kavanaugh is confirmed, the details of the complaints could be dismissed. Supreme Court justices are not subject to misconduct rules governing these claims.
  160. On Saturday, Kavanaugh was confirmed by a 50–48 vote, along party lines with the exception of Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin, who voted yes, and Sen. Murkowski, who voted present.
  161. Kavanaugh’s two-vote margin was the lowest in modern history. The only lower margin of support for a Supreme Court justice was in 1881 when Stanley Matthews was confirmed 24 to 23.
  162. The state of Texas set a new voter registration record, with 15.6 million new registered voters ahead of the hotly contest midterm race between incumbent Sen. Ted Cruz and Beto O’Rourke.
  163. Election records show the state has added 400,000 voters since March alone. The state on average added just over 100,000 voters a year between 2002 and 2014.
  164. On National Voter Registration Day, a record 800,000 voters registered ahead of midterms. The campaign’s initial aim was to add 300,000 voters.

POLITIKS OF GRAFFITI 99: “This week Trump was literally the laughing stock of the world.”

Dark days and I’m really feeling it as I travel through Germany watching my country and its very dark element become unrecognizable to me. How to return to that? It’s a sad, cruel joke and the entire world sees it exactly that same way. It’s an embarrassment and I can’t help but use an apologetic tone when replying “the USA,” when someone asks me where I’m from. The photos this week are from Tokyo (it translates into something like “kiss a dick”), here in Dresden, they really want to see David Hasselhoff become our next president (Germany LOVES him), and they have a “No Nazis” signature mantra echoing on the streets. Also, two very poignant pieces from Jim Carrey. “Entitled Little Shits” featuring that lying Kavanaugh, and “Why Don’t You Report?” featuring traitorous Lindsey Graham. Critics accuse Carrey of really ugly portraitures, but I have to ask, isn’t it all very ugly right now? His artwork is the most authentic representation we have right now ~ the TRUTH.

IMG_8107
Roughly translates into “Kiss a Dick.” Tokyo, Japan. September 2018. Photo: Harukidude.

IMG_8444

DoO7jZzXcAA6H9f.jpg-large
“Why Don’t You Report?” Lindsey Graham by Jim Carrey.
DnUJsoiU8AA1W3C.jpg-large
“Entitled Little Shits.” Brett Kavanaugh by Jim Carrey. 

Week 98 of this: Experts in authoritarianism advise to keep a list of things subtly changing around you, so you’ll remember.

September 29, 2018 https://medium.com/@Amy_Siskind/week-98-experts-in-authoritarianism-advise-to-keep-a-list-of-things-subtly-changing-around-you-so-a1a9b7d4296a

This week our country was riveted as new allegations of sexual assault surfaced against Trump’s Supreme Court nominee, Brett Kavanaugh. On Thursday, 20 million Americans tuned in to the watch the Kavanaugh hearings. Despite Dr. Christine Blasey Ford coming across as poised and credible, while a belligerent Kavanaugh delivered testimony riddled with inaccuracies, Republicans planned to push forward for a confirmation vote on Friday. In a stunning turn, the power of the #MeToo movement and protests changed a key senator’s vote early Friday, pushing off Kavanaugh’s confirmation and forcing Trump to open a one-week FBI investigation into the sexual assault allegations against his nominee.

This week Trump was literally the laughing stock of the world, as leaders gathered at the UN General Assembly laughed out loud at a braggadocious claim during his speech. On Thursday, Trump held an 80-minute news conference, only his fifth since taking office, which was panned by media outlets as “bizarre,” “insane,” and “surreal.”

Increasingly, our country feels at war with itself, as Trump and white male Republican leadership readied to push through Kavanaugh’s nomination at any cost, ignoring the voices of women. Trump’s push on Kavanaugh threatened the integrity of another institution, the Supreme Court, while he continued his attacks on the FBI, the Department of Justice, and, his favorite target, the media. Notable this week were comparisons of the Kavanaugh proceedings to a storyline in “The Handmaid’s Tale.”

IMG_8228
Dresden, Germany 28sep18
  1. On Saturday, WAPO reported Trump’s advisers are counseling him not to fire deputy attorney general Rod Rosenstein, citing concern it would feed the Democratic narrative of a regime in chaos and hurt the GOP in the midterms.
  2. Aides say Trump will fire Sessions after the election anyway, so removing Rosenstein would just hurt Republicans. Aides also say Trump could revive the incident later if Mueller’s probe produces an unfavorable conclusion.
  3. The FBI Agents Association defended its members amid Trump’s vitriol, tweeting “Attacks on our character and demeaning comments” will not stop agents from dedicating “our lives to protecting the American people.”
  4. On Sunday, WAPO reported the fight for Kavanaugh risks exacerbating the GOP’s problem with women, as it reveals the party’s hyper-masculine mindset. All 11 Republicans on the Senate Judiciary Committee are white men.
  5. Trump is also pulling the party along with him in grievances about what he sees as injustice against accused men, setting the stage for white men dismissing women and attacking them with victim blame.
  6. Reportedly, Sen. Mitch McConnell called Trump last Friday to warn him that Trump’s tweets attacking Dr. Christine Blasey Ford were not helpfuland could cause new problems. Trump stopped attacking her over the weekend.
  7. On Saturday, the Trump regime announced a proposed rule which would make it harder to obtain visas or green cards for immigrants who have ever been dependent on public benefits, including Medicaid or food stamps.
  8. The rule would apply to immigrants already in the US legally as well as those seeking to enter. Disqualifying benefits would also include the Medicare Part D low-income subsidy and vouchers for Section 8 housing.
  9. The proposed rule is based on “public charge,” which was first implemented in the 1800s as a way to deny entry to immigrants who were likely to become a drain on the economy.
  10. The US already has a law that allows it to deny green cards to immigrants it believes could become “a public charge.” The rule would expand the definition to public benefit to programs like food stamps or Medicaid.
  11. Advocates say the new rule could cause about one-third of immigrants to drop or avoid signing up for benefits if enacted, leading to worse health outcomes and increased communicative diseases and poverty.
  12. On Monday, Trump declared himself an “absolute no” on the question of statehood for Puerto Rico, citing critics such as San Juan’s mayor Carmen Yulín Cruz as his rationale.

POLITIKS OF GRAFFITI 98: WE BELIEVE DR. FORD

Hello all, I’m posting from Kraków, Poland this week and I actually found some politiKal graffiti right here in the city!

Week 97 of this attack on democracy: Experts in authoritarianism advise to keep a list of things subtly changing around you, so you’ll remember.

September 22, 2018 https://medium.com/@Amy_Siskind/week-97-experts-in-authoritarianism-advise-to-keep-a-list-of-things-subtly-changing-around-you-so-aaa4858983fa

This week the news was dominated by accusations of sexual assault against Trump’s nominee for Supreme Court, Brett Kavanaugh, as the accuser, Dr. Christine Blasey Ford came forward. Trump restrained himself from attacking Dr. Ford until Friday, but Republican senators and GOP operatives were out in full force all week. Senate Judiciary Committee member Orrin Hatch called Dr. Ford, “mixed up,” while conservative legal commentator Ed Whalen tried to pin the blame for the assault on Kavanaugh’s classmate. Meanwhile, Republicans sought to temper comparisons to the Anita Hill hearings with midterms approaching, amid concerns about the party’s declining standing with suburban women voters.

The Mueller probe continues to move ahead, as this week we learned Michael Cohen is cooperating, along with Paul Manafort. Trump took unprecedented steps in an effort to undermine the FBI and the Mueller probe by ordering the declassification and release of Carter Page’s surveillance documents and other officials’ text messages, but later in the week reversed his decision. Rumors and concern swirled Friday that Trump may fire Rosenstein, using a NYT article claimed Rosenstein secretly suggested recording Trump and discussed the 25th Amendment as a pretext. The story was later contradicted in reporting by the Post and NBC News, which suggested Rosenstein was being sarcastic and did not mention the 25th Amendment.

On the walls in Kraków, Poland 🇵🇱 21sep18

European biggest economic powers, led by France, Germany, and Britain, are planning to create a “special purpose” financial company to thwart Trump’s sanctions and allow Iran to continue to sell oil in the EU.

In an email, the Texas Farm Bureau, the largest farm organization in Texas, instructed employees not to wear Nike apparel while at work.

The WNBA Champion Seattle Storm have not been invited by Trump to the White House, nor would the team reportedly attend if an invitation is offered. Trump did not invite the Minnesota Lynx last year, breaking years of tradition.

On Sunday, two days after the announcement that Paul Manafort is cooperating in the Mueller probe, Trump tweeted the “illegal Mueller Witch Hunt continues in search of a crime.”

Trump also tweeted, “there was never Collusion with Russia, except by the Clinton campaign,” adding the “17 Angry Democrats” are looking for anything, and calling it “Very unfair and BAD for the country.”

On Sunday, on “Meet the Press,” FEMA director Brock Long defended Trump, questioning the relevance of independent studies which found thousands of deaths in Puerto Rico in the aftermath of Hurricane Maria.

Long tried to differentiate between direct deaths and “indirect deaths” to refute the George Washington study, saying there was a tenuous link between indirect deaths and the federal government’s response.

On Sunday, WAPO reported Long is resisting an effort by Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen to fire him in the midst of hurricane season over his alleged misuse of government vehicles.

The number two position at FEMA is also vacant as Trump’s nominee, Peter Gaynor, awaits confirmation. Trump’s first nominee, Daniel Craig, withdrew over falsified work and travel records under George W. Bush.

On Monday, NYT reported the House Oversight Committee will launch an investigation into whether Long repeatedly misused government vehicles to commute from Washington to his home in North Carolina.

Committee chair Rep. Trey Gowdy sent a letter to Long on Monday requesting documentation and other information. Gowdy gave Long until October 1 to produce relevant documents.

On Tuesday, Politico reported John Veatch, a senior official and Trump appointee at FEMA was suspended without pay on Friday related to a DHS inspector general investigation into Long.

On Monday, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo announced the Trump regime will lower the cap on the number of refugees that can be resettled in the U.S. to 30,000 for 2019.

The number represents the lowest cap since the program was put into place in 1980. Trump had set the cap to 45,000 for 2018, significant lower than the cap in place of 110,000 under Obama for 2017.

The reduced cap is the culmination of efforts by Stephen Miller, who had advocated for a 25,000 cap as part of his efforts to severely restrict the number of refugees offered protection inside the country.

To justify the reduction, Pompeo cited the backlog of 800,000 asylum seekers who are awaiting a decision by immigration authorities. NYT reported, according to DHS, the number is just under 320,000.

Advocates accused the regime of pitting those seeking asylum against refugees. Although the cap is 45,000, thus far the regime has only admitted 20,918 so far in 2018, less than half the cap.

Border Patrol agent Juan David Ortiz confessed to killing four people on the Southern border in September 2018. The victims — three women and one transgender women — who he shot in the head, were prostitutes.

On Wednesday, in an opinion, Jeff Sessions wrote that immigration judges don’t have “free-floating power” to end deportation cases. Sessions reversed an immigration judge’s decision to terminate a removal case.

A representative of the national union of immigration judges said Sessions’ move is part of a broader effort to limit judges’ independence, and shows the Trump regime’s “political approach” to immigration courts.

CNN reported, confirming of the worst fears of immigrants and their advocates, ICE has arrested dozens of undocumented immigrants who came forward to take care of migrant children in government custody.

On Friday, ICE in Detroit halted the deportation of Francis Anwana for at least 30 days after public outcry. Anwana is deaf and cognitively disabled.

PBS reported on a Republican Party “identity crisis” as a handful of GOP congressional candidates this year have openly expressed or supported racist views. One appeared alongside Jason Kessler, a white nationalist.

The Cap Times reported a constituent called 911 on Dane County Supervisor Shelia Stubbs as she was out canvassing for an Assembly seat. The caller reported a suspected drug deal. Stubbs is a black American.

News Star reported a white teen in Louisiana was jailed after reportedly putting a noose around a black students neck. The teen said he wanted to see how many black boys’ necks he could put it around and get photos.

The Fort Bend County Republicans in Texas issued an apology, after releasing a campaign ad in the India Herald with an image of Ganesha, the elephant-headed Hindu deity, and likening it to the GOP elephant.

Mother Jones reported that new documents released as part of a lawsuit by New York state directly contradict Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross’ claims about the origins of the census citizenship question.

An email reveals when Ross asked a top aide to get the DOJ to come up with a pretext for adding the question, they balked. The aide cited the bad press Justice was getting at the time with “the whole Comey matter.”

On Friday, a federal judge ruled Wilbur Ross must sit for a deposition in a lawsuit challenging the department’s decision to ask U.S. residents about their citizenship, saying his “intent and credibility are directly at issue.”

On Monday, a judge ruled that Georgia will continue using its touchscreen voting machines for the midterms, despite concern that the technology of the machines leaves them vulnerable to hacking.

The judge rebuked Georgia and state election officials over their handling of election security. Georgia is one of 14 states using machines that do not leave a paper trail voting record.

On Tuesday, Politico reported newly released records reveal Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao flew on Federal Aviation Administration planes rather than commercial flights on seven occasions.

Records show the total cost to taxpayers for flights between January and August 2017 was roughly $94,000, including one flight to and around Europe that cost taxpayers an estimated $68,892 for her and five staffers.

On Tuesday, Trump released a video praising the response to Hurricane Florence, saying Florence was a “tough” hurricane, and that it is one of the “wettest we’ve ever seen, from the standpoint of water.”

NYT reported at the one-year anniversary of Hurricane Maria, much of Puerto Rico is still in ruins. Hundreds of thousands of people across the island are still living in homes in desperate need of repair.

Of the 1.1 million households that sought help, FEMA inspected 754,336 homes for damage, and just 138,572 household received a grant for repairs. Two-thirds of the grants were for less than $3,000.

The Hill reported, according to a letter sent to Sen. Tom Carper, the Office of Special Counsel warned Stephanie Grisham, First Lady Melania Trump’s spokesperson, over a tweet found to be in violation of the Hatch Act.

Several other members of the Trump regime, including Kellyanne Conway and U.S. ambassador to the U.N. Nikki Haley have also been in violation of the Hatch Act, but no punishments have been levied by the White House.

On Wednesday, Sen. Ron Wyden wrote a letter to Senate leaders alerting them that his office has discovered a number of senators and Senate staff members were warned that their emails were being targeted.

On Thursday, Google confirmed that it has warned some senators and Senate aides that their personal Google accounts have been the targets of attempted hacks backed by foreign governments.

BuzzFeed reported based on internal emails it obtained, Trump’s July 26, 2017 tweet on the transgender military ban caused chaos at the Pentagon, where policy changes are typically rolled out after months or years.

Despite Trump claiming to have consulted with “my Generals and military experts,” the Pentagon was blindsided. One email sent shortly after Trump’s tweets said, “Boss needs to see this now,” and “Unbelievable!”

On Sunday, WAPO reported California professor Christine Blasey Ford is the author of the confidential letter on Brett Kavanaugh, detailing allegations of sexual assault when they were in high school.

Ford feared for her life during the attack, and later told her husband in 2012 and her therapist in sessions. She held off going public for fear of her and her family’s safety, but said reporters were close to outing her identity.

Ford engaged Debra Katz, a Washington lawyer known for her work on sexual harassment cases. Ford took a polygraph test administered by a former FBI agent in early August, and passed.

On Sunday, Donald Jr. mocked Ford on his Instagram account, posting a meme depicting a grade school love letter, written in crayon, asking “will you be my girlfreind” and was signed “love, Bret.”

Sen. Jeff Flake slammed Donald Jr.’s Instagram post, tweeting “This is sickening. No one should make light of this situation.”

On Monday, Sens. Flake, Bob Corker, Lisa Murkowski, and Susan Collins said the Senate should delay the vote and hear from Ford. Chairman Chuck Grassley said Ford deserves to be heard, but would not say if the vote would be delayed.

On Tuesday, in an op-ed, Anita Hill said, “the Senate Judiciary Committee still lacks a protocol for vetting sexual harassment and assault claims that surface during a confirmation hearing,” and gave suggestions.

On Tuesday, in a letter to Grassley, Katz called for an FBI investigation: “A full investigation by law enforcement officials.” Katz has also called for other witnesses including Mark Judge, who was allegedly in the room.

On Tuesday, Trump said he does not think the FBI should involved in investigating Ford’s allegations, falsely claiming this “is not what they do.” The FBI did investigate allegations by Anita Hill against Clarence Thomas.

On Tuesday, NYT reported Ford has been inundated with vulgar email and social media messages, and death threats. She has gone into hiding, and has arranged for private security for herself and her family.

On Tuesday, Vanity Fair reported Kavanaugh’s imperiled confirmation has unsettled Trump and the White House. The threat of losing the Senate and the House in midterms has stopped Trump from attacking Ford.

Trump is also concerned about losing in the midterms, and reportedly told a friend in the Oval Office last week that it would be Mitch McConnell and Paul Ryan’s fault if Republicans lost the House and the Senate.

On Wednesday, Trump told reporters that it is “very hard for me to imagine anything happened” between Brett Kavanaugh and Christine Blasey Ford, calling Kavanaugh an “outstanding man.”

Trump also said of the possibility of Ford testifying, “If she shows up and makes a credible showing, that will be very interesting, and we’ll have to make a decision.”

On Monday, Bloomberg reported Mueller’s team will seek to have Michael Flynn sentenced as soon as November 28, indicating his cooperation with the Special Counsel is complete.

According to federal guidelines, Flynn could face as long as six months; although others who cooperated received lighter sentences: George Papadopoulos got 14 days and Alex van der Zwaan got 30 days.

Politico reported Manafort’s plea deal contains several provisions that appear intended to discourage Manafort from seeking a pardon from Trump, and rein in the impact of any pardon Trump might grant.

The deal says if Manafort’s guilty pleas or convictions are wiped out for any reason, prosecutors have the right to charge him with any other crimes he may have committed or confessed to during plea negotiations.

On Monday, AP reported that in a November 2010 letter it obtained, Julian Assange gave a friend authority “to both drop off and collect my passport” as he tried to relocate to Russia. Interpol issued a red alert, preventing it.

A trove of emails obtained show when Wikileaks planned to publicize 250,000 U.S. State Department cables. When Swedish authorities moved in on Assange, he wrote to the Russian Consulate in London for help.

Guardian reported Russian diplomats held secret talks in London last year with people associated with Julian Assange to set up a secret plan to help him escape the U.K.

The involved smuggling Assange out of Ecuador’s London embassy on Christmas Eve in 2017 in a diplomatic vehicle and transporting him to another country, with the ultimate destination being Russia.

The plan was put in place to avoid having Assange extradited to the U.S. as part of the Mueller investigation, but was abandoned after being judged as too risky.

On Tuesday, NYT reported although Trump’s legal team has expanded to nearly a dozen lawyers, they are struggling to understand where the investigations could be headed and the extent of Trump’s legal exposure.

Trump’s legal team is representing him in two federal investigations, one in Washington and one in New York. Reportedly it is not clear if Trump has given his lawyers a full account of his decades running the Trump Org.

His legal team also has limited knowledge of what senior regime officials and Trump’s business associates have told investigators. Manafort cooperating brings a new level of uncertainty.

Former attorney John Dowd’s strategy of cooperating with the Mueller probe has failed. Dowd has told associates that strategy was based on his believing Trump when he said he did nothing wrong.

The Times compiled an interactive article titled, “The Plot to Subvert an Election: Unraveling the Russia Story So Far,” which gave a two year summary of what we have learned and what it means.

Over the two years, Trump’s position on contacts with Russian has evolved from: there were none; then, that they did not amount to collusion; next, that in any case collusion was not a crime.

Russians had dozens of contacts during the campaign with Trump aides and associates, who seemed enthusiastic about meetings in Moscow, London, New York, and Louisville, Kentucky.

Russian intervention involved American companies including Facebook and Twitter; engaging American feelings about immigration and race; and using American journalists eager for scoops; as well as Russian trolls.

On Wednesday, Trump attorney Jay Sekulow told CNN, without evidence, that NBC edited the interview in which Trump told Lester Holt he was thinking of “this Russia thing” when fired Comey.

On Thursday, ABC News reported over the past month, Michael Cohen has participated in multiple interview sessions lasting for hours with investigators from Mueller’s office.

The interviews took place in New York and Washington, D.C., and parts were attended by prosecutors from the Southern District of New York. Cohen’s participation was voluntary.

Mueller’s team has primarily questioned Cohen on Trump’s financial and business dealings with Russia, and alleged collusion by the Trump campaign with Russia to influence the 2016 election.

Cohen has reportedly also been questioned on whether Trump or any of his associates had discussed the possibility of a pardon with Cohen. Cohen recently launched a GoFundMe page to help pay his mounting legal fees.

On Friday, WSJ reported as head of Trump’s legal defense team, Dowd tried to help pay legal fees for Manafort and Gates, initially trying to divert money from the White House legal defense fund, then later, to solicit funds.

On February 22, 2018, Dowd said in an email Manafort and Gates need funds immediately, and that he planned to donate $25,000 to Manafort’s defense. The next day, Gates pleaded guilty and agreed to cooperate.

Trump aides and associates warned Dowd his efforts to donate and raise money would look improper. Dowd told the WSJ he “did not make that contribution.”

On Friday, ABC News reported Roger Stone associate Jerome Corsi, who until recently served as the Washington, D.C., bureau chief for Infowars, met with the federal grand jury convened in Mueller’s Russia probe.

At least 11 people associated with Stone have been contacted by Mueller’s team including Michael Caputo, Sam Nunberg, Kristin Davis, John Kakanis, Jason Sullivan, and Andrew Miller.

On Friday, BuzzFeed reported $3.3 million began moving on June 3 between two of the men who orchestrated the June 9 Trump Tower meeting: Aras Agalarov and Irakly “Ike” Kaveladze.

NYT reported Russian billionaire oligarch Konstantin Nikolaev, who was recently revealed as a backer of Maria Butina, has been a source of funds for business ventures useful to the Russian military and security services.

On Saturday, WAPO reported K.T. McFarland, who served briefly as Michael Flynn’s deputy, revised her statement to investigators about a key event in the probe of Russian interference in the 2016 election.

In the summer of 2017, McFarland denied to FBI investigators that she had spoken to Flynn about his discussion of sanctions with Russian ambassador Sergey Kislyak in December 2016, during the transition.

On Monday, in a surprise announcement, Trump ordered the Justice Department to declassify declassify significant materials from the investigation of Russian interference in the 2016 election.

Trump ordered the DOJ to immediately declassify 20 pages of a surveillance application that targeted Carter Page, as well as the the unredacted text messages of several former high-level DOJ and FBI officials.

Trump ordered text messages sent by Comey, Andrew McCabe, Peter Strzok, Lisa Page and Bruce Ohr to be released — all of whom have been targets of Trump’s continued ire.

The White House said the order came at the request of “a number of committees of Congress” and was done “for reasons of transparency.”

Trump’s Republican allies in the House like Reps. Mark Meadows and Devin Nunes have been pushing for the release, suggesting it would help show anti-Trump bias at the highest levels of the FBI.

WAPO reported former officials described Trump’s order as “totally unprecedented,” saying even though he has the authority to do this, it is tainted by severe conflict of interest since he is the subject of investigation.

WAPO also reported the Justice Department did not receive any advance instructions about the materials covered in Trump’s order, and signaled its intention to slow-walk the request.

On Wednesday, in an interview with Hill.TV, Trump criticized attorney general Jeff Sessions, saying, “I don’t have an attorney general. It’s very sad,” adding, “I’m disappointed in the attorney general for many reasons.”

Trump also said of Sessions’ confirmation process that he “did very poorly,” adding Sessions “was mixed up and confused” over “answers that should have been easily answered.”

Trump also said Sessions did not need to recuse himself, saying “now it turned out he didn’t have to recuse himself,” and that would have prevented the Mueller investigation.

When asked if he would fire Sessions, Trump said, “We’ll see what happens. A lot of people have asked me to do that,” adding, “We’ll see how it goes with Jeff. I’m very disappointed in Jeff. Very disappointed.”

When asked about the term “deep state,” Trump said, “I don’t like to use it because it sounds so conspiratorial and believe it or not I’m really not a conspiratorial person. But I think it’s a sad day for our country.”

On Comey, Trump said, “If I did one mistake with Comey I should have fired him before I got here,” adding, “I should have fired him the day I won the primaries. I should have fired him right after the convention.”

Trump also said, “I’ve always said that the Russia hoax was an excuse for them losing the election,” and said of Mueller’s team, “not only that it’s fraudulent what they did…you have the 17 angry Democrats.”

Speaking about his order Monday to declassify and release documents, Trump also said exposing the “corrupt” FBI probe could become one of the “crowning achievements” of his presidency.

Trump admitted he had not read the documents he ordered declassified and released, but said he expected they would prove the FBI case started as a political “hoax.”

Trump also added he had “been asked by many people in Congress” to release the documents, as well “many people that I respect…the great Lou Dobbs, the great Sean Hannity, the wonderful great Jeanine Pirro.”

WAPO reported the interview with Hill.TV reflects that Trump feels betrayed by Sessions, and increasingly believes he is unprotected against the Mueller probe with midterms coming.

Trump, family members, and longtime loyalists worry about who they can trust, rattled by Woodward’s book and the NYT op-ed. Trump is confronting crises from every direction — legal, political and personal.

On Friday, Trump said he would delay the release, tweeting, the DOJ “agreed to release them” but said it may have a “perceived negative impact on the Russia probe.”

Trump also tweeted, “key Allies’ called to ask not to release.” He did not specify which allies, although the U.K. and other international intelligence agencies have provided information on attempts to hack the 2016 election.

Trump tweeted the Inspector General was asked to review “documents on an expedited basis,” adding, “I believe he will move quickly on this (and hopefully other things which he is looking at).”

Trump reportedly changed his mind after talks with intelligence officials, including deputy attorney general Rod Rosenstein, who explained to Trump about the ramifications of his order.

On Wednesday, quoting Peter Ferrara, former advisor to President Reagan, Trump took credit for improvements in the U.S. economy, falsely claiming in tweets, “The recovery got started on Election Day 2016.”

Trump also falsely claimed, “Before that it was the worst and slowest economic recovery since the Great Depression.” Ferrara made these claims while appearing on “Fox & Friends.”

On Wednesday, when asked by reporters if he is worried about Manafort talking with prosecutors, he responded, “I believe that he will tell the truth, and, if he tells the truth, no problem.”

When asked if he would pardon Manafort, Trump responded, “I don’t want to talk about it now.”

Bozeman Daily Chronicle reported when Donald Jr. and Kimberly Guilfoyle announced a campaign rally at a Montana restaurant, the owner said he would not host the event, citing wanting to “stay politically neutral.”

NYT reported a record 244 lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender candidates will be on the ballot for midterms. Of the 430 candidates who ran in the primaries, only 20 were Republican.

According to Spanish newspaper El País, Trump advised Spanish officials to build a wall to stop migrants, saying “the border with the Sahara can’t be bigger than ours with Mexico.”

Spanish officials reportedly explained that the Sahara is much larger. Reportedly, the remarks were made when Foreign Minister Borrell accompanied the Spanish royal family to the White House in June.

On Thursday, a poll by Abacus Data found that 9% of Canadians have a positive view of Trump, 10% are neutral, and 80% have a negative view.

On Thursday, seven women who have come forward with sexual harassment allegations while working in Congress made a public plea for lawmakers to finalize a deal to strengthen the misconduct policing system.

In their letter, the former aides said they were, “dismayed and disheartened by Congress’s failure to act,” and described a “culture of secrecy and an unforgiving, flawed system that protects those in power.”

On Thursday, South Carolina Republican congressman Ralph Norman joked about the Kavanaugh allegations, saying, “Ruth Bader Ginsburg came out that she was groped by Abraham Lincoln.”

On Wednesday, Sen. Susan Collins told WVOM in Maine, “My office has received some pretty ugly voicemails, threats, terrible things said to my staff.”

On Thursday, Sen. Dianne Feinstein said her office has received threats of bodily and sexual harm against staff, some naming specific employees.

On Thursday, 56 protesters who were targeting the offices of swing vote Republican senators on the Kavanaugh nomination, and chanting things like, “We believe women,” were arrested by U.S. Capitol Hill Police.

On Wednesday, HuffPost reported Amy Chua, a Yale Law School professor, advised students seeking judicial clerkships with Kavanaugh on their appearance, saying he liked his female clerks to have a “certain look.”

On Thursday, the dean of Yale Law School said in a letter to the law school community regarding “alleged faculty misconduct,” saying “the allegations being reported are of enormous concern to me and to the School.”

According to reports, Jed Rubenfeld, Chua’s husband, who is also a professor at Yale Law School, also once told a student seeking a clerkship that Kavanaugh “hires women with a certain look.”

On Friday, in an open letter from Yale Law School Faculty to the Senate Judiciary Committee, faculty said “we are concerned about a rush to judgment that threatens both the integrity of the process and the public’s confidence in the Court.”

On Tuesday, Ed Whelan, a conservative legal commentator and former law clerk to Justice Scalia, tweeted, “By one week from today, I expect that Judge Kavanaugh will have been clearly vindicated on this matter.”

On Thursday, in a series of tweets, Whelan claimed Ford had mistaken Kavanaugh with a classmate at Georgetown Prep. Ford responded she knew them both, so “there is zero chance that I would confuse them.”

On Thursday, WAPO reported Kavanaugh and his allies have been discussing a defense that would not question whether the assault happened, but instead would raise doubts the attacker was Kavanaugh.

On Friday morning, Whelan tweeted he had made an “inexcusable mistake” by identifying Kavanaugh’s classmate. The PR firm that helped Whelan was CRC Public Relations, the firm behind the swift boat ad.

The faculty also pushed for a FBI investigation, writing, “a partisan hearing alone cannot be the forum to determine the truth,” adding allegations “require a neutral factfinder and an investigation.”

On Thursday, at a rally in Las Vegas, Trump said, “do you remember the tears from the fake news media, when it was obvious that we were going to win?” adding, “They’re still crying. Look at them. They’re still crying.”

Trump also continued to talk about the 2016 election, “And we won big, 306–223. Remember? There is no way, right? There is no way that Donald Trump gets to 270. No, we got to 306.”

Trump also said of today’s Democratic Party that it is “held hostage by left-wing haters, angry mobs, socialist fanatics, ‘deep-state’ bureaucrats, and their fake news allies.”

On Friday, Trump abandoned his self-restraint, attacking Ford in a series of morning tweets. He called Kavanaugh “a fine man, with an impeccable reputation, who is “under assault by radical left wing politicians.”

Trump also tweeted, “I have no doubt that, if the attack on Dr. Ford was as bad as she says, charges would have been immediately filed,” asking that she bring filings forward so we “can learn date, time, and place!”

Trump also tweeted, “The radical left lawyers want the FBI to get involved NOW,” adding, “why didn’t someone call the FBI 36 years ago?

Trump was criticized for his tweets, including by Sen. Collins who said, “I was appalled by the president’s tweet,” and by Sen. Flake who said, “I thought that was incredibly insensitive.”

In response to Trump’s tweet, thousands tweeted using the hashtag #WhyIDidntReport to share their stories of why they did not report being sexually assaulted. #WhyIDidntReport was the top trender on Friday.

Trump later tweeted, “Senator Feinstein and the Democrats held the letter for months,” adding, “done very purposefully to Obstruct & Resist & Delay. Let her testify, or not, and TAKE THE VOTE!

On Friday, Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said in remarks at the Values Voter Summit, “Here’s what I want to tell you: In the very near future, Judge Kavanaugh will be on the United States Supreme Court.”

On Friday, Sen. Grassley set an ultimatum for Friday at 10 p.m. for Ford to say if she would testify next Wednesday, with no witnesses or FBI investigation as Ford had requested, else he threatened a vote on Monday.

Sen. Collins said the committee should delay to “make it as comfortable as possible,”and Sen. Murkowski spoke out late Friday, saying “I won’t vote on Kavanaugh until hearing from his accuser.”

Late Friday, Ford’s attorney Katz asked for an additional day, saying the Republicans’ arbitrary deadlines and ultimatums had created stress and anxiety for Ford.

Katz said in a statement, “Your cavalier treatment of a sexual assault survivor who has been doing her best to cooperate with the Committee is completely inappropriate.”

On Friday, a new USA TODAY/Ipsos Public Affairs Poll found 40% to 31% that the Senate should not approve Kavanaugh’s nomination, the first time a plurality have opposed a Supreme Court nominee since polling began.

On Friday, HUD Secretary Ben Carson said in a speech at the Values Voter Summit that allegations against Kavanaugh are part of a centuries-old socialist plot to take over America.

On Friday, in a bombshell report, NYT reported Rosenstein suggested in the spring of 2017 that he secretly record Trump in the White House and discussed recruiting cabinet members to invoke the 25th Amendment.

Reportedly Rosenstein made the remarks in meetings and conversations with other DOJ and FBI officials in the days after Comey was fired and Trump divulged classified information to Russians in the Oval Office.

According to the Times, not only was Rosenstein serious, but according to a memo by acting FBI director Andrew McCabe, Rosenstein suggested that McCabe secretly record his talks with Trump.

In a statement, Rosenstein responded, “The New York Times’s story is inaccurate and factually incorrect,” adding, “based on my personal dealings” with Trump “there is no basis to invoke the 25th Amendment.”

The revelations breaking Friday afternoon immediately drew speculation that Trump would fire Rosenstein. Donald Jr. tweeted, “No one is shocked that these guys would do anything in their power to undermine” Trump.

In a second statement hours later, Rosenstein said, “I never pursued or authorized recording the president and any suggestion that I have ever advocated for the removal of the President is absolutely false.”

WAPO reported both McCabe and Lisa Page, as McCabe’s in-house counsel, took notes of two meetings with Rosenstein on May 16. Both mention the recording device, but Page’s notes do not mention the 25th Amendment.

According to attendees at the meeting, Rosenstein’s comment, in response to McCabe pushing to open an investigation in Trump, were said sarcastically, “What do you want to do, Andy, wire the president?

NBC News likewise reported that according to a Justice Department senior official and a source who was in the room, Rosenstein’s remark was sarcastic, and Page’s notes make no mention of the 25th Amendment.

Attendees the May 16, 2017 meeting included Rosenstein, McCabe, Page, and four career DOJ officials, including Scott Schools, who would later go on to sign off on the firing of McCabe.

Fox New host Laura Ingraham tweeted that Rosenstein “must be fired today” when the NYT article came out, and on her show said Trump “should seriously consider whether Rod Rosenstein should remain on the job.”

Later that night, at a rally in Missouri, Trump told the crowd, “We have great people in the Department of Justice,” but added, “there’s a lingering stench, and we’re going to get rid of that, too.”

Later that night, Fox News host Sean Hannity said on his show, “I have a message for the president tonight. Under zero circumstances should the president fire anybody.” Ingraham later deleted her tweet.

On Saturday, Garrett Ventry, a communications aid for the Senate Judiciary Committee, resigned amid questions from NBC News about a previous sexual harassment complaint.

Ventry worked for North Carolina House Majority Leader John Bell, and was reportedly fired after an accusation of sexual harassment from a female employee of the NC General Assembly’s Republican staff.

While doing work for the Judiciary Committee, Ventry was also employed by CRC Public Relations, a PR helping promote Kavanaugh’s nomination. CRC was also working with Ed Whalen and the Federalist Society.

Ventry helped coordinate the Republicans on the committee’s messaging around Kavanaugh’s nomination. He had claimed the Judiciary Committee had “no knowledge or involvement” with Whalen and CRC’s suggestions.

On Friday evening, DHS Secretary Nielsen released a statement saying FEMA director Long has been ordered to reimburse the government for his misuse of federal vehicles, but he will be allowed to remain in his job.

A canoeing group filed a federal lawsuit against the Trump regime, claiming Trump’s use of his Trump National Golf Club in Sterling, Virginia has led to illegal restrictions on the abutting Potomac River.

On Saturday, Trump played his 156th round of golf while in office; 155 have been at one of 17 Trump-owned golf courses. Overall, Trump has played golf 1 in 4 days since he took office.

POLITIKS OF GRAFFITI 97: USA 🇺🇸 1776-2016


I am in Warsaw, Poland 🇵🇱 today, writing this post. The political art I find doesn’t always have to be about 45. My quest on this project is to share all political art I see in each country I visit; to spread the voice of the relatively voiceless.


Week 96 of this fraudulent regime: Experts in authoritarianism advise to keep a list of things subtly changing around you, so you’ll remember.

September 15, 2018 https://medium.com/@Amy_Siskind/week-96-experts-in-authoritarianism-advise-to-keep-a-list-of-things-subtly-changing-around-you-so-a47874991b08

An anonymous street artist doesn’t hide his/her feelings about Vladimir Putin. Warsaw, Poland 🇵🇱 13sep18

Alcester Road, Birmingham, UK. Photo: Luke Beardsworth

Increasingly, Trump stands alone. Reporting indicates his sense of betrayal from current and former officials speaking out in Bob Woodward’s book and in the anonymous Times op-ed has left Trump outraged and paranoid — canceling meetings, and trusting a shrinking circle of his family and Stephen Miller. The sense of a pending coup from the “deep state” was further exacerbated by the stunning news that Trump’s former campaign manager, Paul Manafort, is cooperating fully in the Mueller probe.

Even by Trump standards, his behavior this week was unbalanced and alarming. On the solemn anniversary of 9/11, Trump acted entirely inappropriately, with no one to rein him in. With Hurricane Florence approaching and questions about his past handling of hurricanes resurfacing, Trump bragged about his regime’s performance in Puerto Rico, and then careened into conspiracy theories about the actual death toll.

Stories abound this week about the impact of the regime’s cruel immigration and refugee policies — and the continuing whitening of America. With Hurricane Florence approaching, news broke that Trump’s FEMA director Brock Long is under an ethics investigation and has been asked to resign, along with stories that Defense Secretary Jim Mattis may get pushed out, as well as a continuing outflow of senior officials.

As the week came to a close, questions surfaced about Brett Kavanaugh, Trump’s nominee for the Supreme Court, and allegations of sexual assault in high school; but Republicans appear unheeded in bringing the nominee up for a vote, mindful that as Trump’s approval continues to decline, they may well lose control of the Senate in midterms.

Twenty months into office, just half of positions considered key roles in Trump’s executive branch have been filled (364 of 705), and more than 1 in 5 positions have yet to have a nominee named (154 of 705).

On Monday, a CNN poll found Trump’s approval rating has fallen 6 points in the last month to 36%. His approval among independents has fallen from 47% approval last month to 31% now, a new low.

On Monday, a Quinnipiac Poll found voters give Trump his lowest grade for honesty since he was elected, saying 60–32 percent that he is not honest. Trump also got low grades on most character traits.

In all, eight high-quality polls completed over the two last weeks show Trump’s approval rating falling, on average, three points. The dip could have an impact on midterms.

On Thursday, WAPO reported Trump surpassed 5,000 false or misleading claims on the 601st day of his time in office. In the past nine days, Trump averaged 32 false or misleading claims a day.

WAPO reported top civil servants are leaving the Trump regime at a record clip: in fiscal 2017, 18.6% of Senior Executive Service (SES) members left the government. Experts warn of a future crisis from the leadership drain.

On Saturday at the second annual “Mother of All Rallies” at the National Mall, billed as an all-day event with the goal to “preserve and protect” American culture, approximately 350 people showed up at the rally’s peak.

The Southern Poverty Law Center reported the event headlined conspiracy theorists, hate groups like The Proud Boys and American Guard, and famous alt-right names like Mike “Mersh” Schiele and Joey Gibson.

The Guardian reported Trump ordered $25 million earmarked for the care of Palestinians in East Jerusalem hospitals be redirected to “high-priority projects elsewhere,” according to a State Department official.

Republicans in the House passed a bill to reclassify dozens of federal crimes such as burglary, fleeing, and coercion through fraud, as “crimes of violence,” making them deportable offenses under immigration law.

WAPO reported thousands of Vietnamese in the U.S. face deportation after the Trump regime reinterpreted a 2008 agreement reached by W. Bush and Vietnam, a policy shaped by senior adviser Stephen Miller.

The new policy could impact 8,000 Vietnamese who have green cards but never became U.S. citizens. At least 57 people who arrived before 1995 were in ICE detention in mid-June, and 11 have already been deported.

Reuters reported that despite a record high of 68.5 million forcibly displaced people worldwide, the Trump regime is on track to take in roughly 22,000 refugees, a quarter of the number admitted in 2016 under Obama.

The Trump regime set the 2018 annual refugee ceiling at 45,000, the lowest number since the refugee program was established in 1980. The 22,000 admitted is the fewest in four decades.

The regime has extended the strictest type of vetting to women as well as men from 11 countries, mostly in the Middle East and Africa, and reduced the number of officials conducting refugee interviews from 155 to 100.

Under the new Trump policies, the percentage of refugees who are Muslim is now a third what it was two years ago, while the percentage who are Europeans has tripled.

Current and former officials say the new policy is being driven by a small core including Miller, chief of staff John Kelly, and Gene Hamilton, a former advisor at the Department of Homeland Security.

On Wednesday, NYT reported despite reunification of most of the children separated under Trump’s zero-tolerance policy, the number of migrant children in detention has quietly shot up more than fivefold.

According to data obtained by the Times, children in federally contracted shelters for migrant children reached a total of 12,800 this month, up from 2,400 such children in custody in May 2017.

Federal shelters are at or near full capacity. On Tuesday, the Trump regime said it would triple the size of a temporary “tent city” in Tornillo, Texas, to house up to 3,800 children through the end of the year.

The Guardian reported conditions at detention centers at the U.S. border have grown only grimmer since Trump’s “zero tolerance”policy was first put in place.

Detention centers are overcrowded and unhygienic. Migrants are prone to outbreaks of vomiting, diarrhea, respiratory infections, and other communicable diseases. Basics like food and water are inadequate.

In their cages, or “hieleras,” translation for iceboxes, migrants are taunted and threatened by guards with turning the temperature down. Guard laugh at migrants and say, “Why didn’t you stay in your country?”

Detroit Free Press reported ICE plans to deport Francis Anwana, a 48 year-old who is deaf and has cognitive disabilities, back to Nigeria. Several years ago, his visa was not renewed as he was being moved in foster care.

Immigrant advocates, who say deporting him would be a virtual “death sentence” given his severe disabilities, have raised concerns with ICE and are pushing to prevent his deportation. He has been in the U.S. since age 13.

The Southern Poverty Law Center reported acting ICE director Ronald Vitiello attended an annual media event for anti-immigrant hate group Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR).

On Monday, Ben Zayn, the mayor of Kenner, Louisiana, banned local booster clubs from purchasing Nike apparel for use at public recreation facilities, citing the company’s campaign honoring Colin Kaepernick.

The College of the Ozarks, a small, private college in Missouri, said it would stop using uniforms with the Nike logo. Truett McConnell University, a small college in Georgia, announced it would do the same.

WAPO reported the director of the Morgan County Public Library in West Virginia said it will not stock a copy of Bob Woodward’s book “Fear,” after residents expressed mostly dismay and outrage on a Facebook post.

Later, the president of the trustees of the Morgan County Public Library reversed the decision, saying the board had not known about it.

On Friday, the Texas State Board of Education voted to eliminate mention of Hillary Clinton and Helen Keller from the state’s history curriculum as part of an effort to “streamline” the curriculum in public schools.

WAPO reported Ron DeSantis, the GOP candidate for Florida governor, spoke four times at a conference hosted by David Horowitz, an activist who has said that African Americans owe their freedom to white people.

Valerie Scogin, a high school math teacher in Louisiana wrote in a racist Facebook post, “go-back-to-Africa,” “quit acting like animals,” and cease “voting for handouts and pay taxes.” She was later fired.

In an online NRA-TV program mocking additions of adding female and international characters to the children’s television show “Thomas & Friends,” host Dana Loesch featured a video of trains in KKK white hoods.

On Wednesday, in an op-ed by Barbara Res, who led construction at the Trump Organization, Res claimed Trump ordered an architect not to include braille in Trump Tower elevator panels.

According to Res, when the architect told Trump including braille is federal law, Trump responded, “Get rid of the (expletive) braille. No blind people are going to live in Trump Tower. Just do it.”

On Wednesday, Eric Trump told “Fox & Friends” that Woodward wrote his book to “make three extra shekels.” Shekels is a term used by white nationalist to describe money tainted by Jewish influence.

When asked on “Morning Joe” how he would win over black voters given his racist past, Mississippi State Senator Chris McDaniel said “After 100 years of begging for federal government scraps, where are you today?”

The gubernatorial campaign of Ron DeSantis, under fire for recent racist remarks about his opponent Andrew Gillum, blocked a former state official from co-chairing a fundraiser, citing racist remarks.

Patient advocacy groups filed a lawsuit against the Trump regime’s expansion of bare-bones “short-term” health plans, which undermine the stability of the Affordable Care Act.

A woman born in Kansas was told by the U.S. Passport Agency out of Houston, Texas that her birth certificate was not enough to prove citizenship. After her senator intervened, the matter was corrected.

WAPO reported on Trump shrinking the Environmental Protection Agency. Since he took office, nearly 1,600 workers have left, while fewer than 400 were hired, bringing staffing levels down to levels not seen since the Reagan administration.

Among those who have resigned or retired include some of the EPA’s most experienced veterans, as well as young environmental experts who would have replaced them, causing concern about a brain drain at the agency.

On Monday, NYT reported the Trump regime is taking its third major step this year to roll back federal efforts to fight climate change, making it easier for energy companies to release methane into the atmosphere.

The EPA will propose weakening an Obama-era requirement that companies monitor and repair methane leaks, and the Interior Department will repeal restrictions on venting and burning methane.

This third step, in addition to weakening rules on carbon dioxide from vehicles tailpipes in July and coal-fired power plants in August, represents the foundation of the U.S. effort to rein in global warming.

On Monday, the Congressional Budget Office issued its monthly review for August 2018, which showed the federal deficit had grown by $222 billion in the first 11 months of fiscal year 2018, reaching a record $895 billion.

The CBO said the increase was due mostly to the new Republican tax law and Congress’ routine decision to increase spending. The CBO also said the deficit will approach $1 trillion by the end of Fiscal Year 2019.

On Wednesday, a Washington federal court judge ruled against Betsy DeVos’s Department of Education, saying the department’s postponement of the Obama-era Borrower Defense rule was procedurally improper.

The lawsuit brought by 19 states and the District of Columbia accused the department of wrongly delaying implementation of regulations to protect students who took out loans to attend college from predatory practices.

Trump’s Interior Department is quietly moving to lease hundreds of thousands of acres of public land to energy companies, for commercial purposes such as mining for minerals and drilling for oil and gas.

According to date compiled by environmental groups, the Bureau of Land Management will put 2.9 million acres in New Mexico, Colorado, and Arizona up for potential leasing in the next four months.

NBC News reported next Thursday FEMA will do its first test of the alert system, which would allow Trump to send a message to most U.S. cell phones. More than 100 mobile carriers are participating in the roll out.

The Emergency Alert System is a national public warning system that allows the president to address the nation during a national emergency. The test message will have a header that reads “Presidential Alert.”

On Monday, White House economist Kevin Hassett said at a press briefing that Trump’s tweet that the Gross Domestic Product was the highest “in over 100 years” was not true, saying highest in 10 years was accurate.

Hassett, who was part of the first White House press briefing in 19 days, denied he was included because of Obama’s claim last Friday that Trump inherited an economic recovery spurred by his presidency.

In another tweet Monday morning, Trump mischaracterized a comment Obama made more than two years ago. Trump tweeted that Obama said Trump would need a “magic wand to get to 4% GDP.” This is a false claim.

WAPO analyzed the content of Trump’s July rallies and found 76% of his 98 statements were false, misleading, or unsupported by the evidence. Last week, the average percentage for the two rallies was 72%.

NBC News reported a record-breaking 100 women could be elected in 2018, as 30 to 40 new women are poised to win. The increase is driven by Democrats, as a record breaking 50% of new candidates are women.

The previous record was 24 set in 1992’s “Year of the Woman,” in a backlash against Clarence Thomas’s Supreme Court confirmation. This year is in response to Trump and his policies.

On Tuesday, in New Hampshire’s primary, Safiya Wazir, a 27-year-old Afghan refugee won her race with 70% of the votes over a veteran state representative who railed against immigrants “getting everything.”

On Wednesday, Juli Briskman, the cyclist who got fired for flipping off Trump in Week 52, announced she is running to represent the Algonkian District on the Loudoun County Board of Supervisors in Virginia.

On Thursday, in New York’s primary, Letitia James became the first black woman to win a major party statewide nomination, defeating her Democratic opponents for attorney general.

On Sunday, Vice President Pence said on “Face the Nation” that Mueller’s team has not asked him for an interview, but he has provided requested information. Pence said he would be willing to speak to Mueller’s team.

On Sunday, Steve Bannon told Reuters that Trump is facing a “coup” based on the anonymous NYT op-ed, adding the “Republican establishment” was looking to nullify the 2016 election and neuter Trump.

On Monday, with the launch of his book, “Fear,” Bob Woodward told the “Today Show,” that he has “never seen an instance when the president is so detached from the reality of what’s going on.”

Woodward claims in his book Trump’s staff believes he is unhinged and erratic. Woodward said, “This has not been treated seriously enough. The things…that Trump did and does jeopardizes the real national security.”

Before the interview, Trump tweeted, “The Woodward book is a Joke — just another assault against me,” adding, “Dems can’t stand losing. I’ll write the real book!”

After the interview, Trump tweeted, “It is mostly anonymous sources in here, why should anyone trust you?” adding, “Bob Woodward is a liar who is like a Dem operative prior to the Midterms.”

Woodward’s book claims Trump exploded at his former lawyer John Dowd, after reading news reports that Mueller had subpoenaed records from Deutsche Bank, exclaiming, “This is bulls — -!”

The book also claims, in a conversation about the federal deficit with Gary Cohn during the transition period, Trump suggested, “We should just go borrow a lot of money, hold it, and then sell it to make money.”

Cohn reportedly explained to Trump that printing money could lead to inflation and be catastrophic for the economy. Cohn was “astounded at Trump’s lack of basic understanding” about the federal debt.

Vanity Fair reported Trump is bitter over Woodward’s book and former allies and employees who betrayed him. He let Cohn and Rob Porter know he would attack them publicly if they didn’t disavow the book. They both did.

Trump is reportedly even more fixated on finding the author of the NYT op-ed. Meetings have been derailed because of Trump’s suspicions. Donald Jr. has told people he’s worried Trump is not sleeping because of it.

The only person Trump trusts outside of family is Stephen Miller. The op-ed has validated Trump’s belief, propagated by Miller and Bannon, that the deep state is out to get him. Trump believes there is a coup.

On Monday, Omarosa told “The View” that Trump has “sicced his entire legal team on me to stop any further release of tapes,”saying “he wants to make sure that I am silent,” but that, “I’m gonna keep on fighting.”

On Monday, CNN reported the White House has again changed phone policy in reaction to Omarosa’s leaking of tapes. White House staffers will no longer be able to leave phones in lockers outside the Situation Room.

On Monday, the Trump regime said it would close the Palestine Liberation Organization office in Washington, citing the PLO “has not taken steps to advance the start of direct and meaningful negotiations with Israel.”

The State Department also said the closure was “consistent with” concerns about Palestinian calls for an investigation of Israel by the International Criminal Court. Neither Israel or the U.S. recognize the ICC.

On Monday, national security adviser John Bolton said if the ICC pursues charges against Americans over alleged war crimes committed in Afghanistan, those involved will be banned from traveling to the U.S.

On Sunday, Reuters reported Energy Secretary Rick Perry will meet with Russia’s Energy Minister in Moscow on Thursday. Perry will be the most senior U.S. official to visit Russia since the Helsinki summit.

On Tuesday, Russia held Vostok 2018, its largest military drills since 1981 when Ronald Reagan was inaugurated as president, at a time of heightened tensions between the West and Russia.

Sen. Mark Warner, ranking Democrat of the Senate Intelligence Committee, said the committee will not release its report before midterms, citing wanting to conduct more interviews, including Michael Cohen and George Papadopoulos.

On Sunday, Axios reported that Trump is expected to declassify documents related to the government’s surveillance of Carter Page, and the investigative activities of Bruce Ohr.

Trump allies on the House Intelligence and Judiciary committees believe the release will taint the Trump-Russia investigation by showing it was illegitimate, and that the Obama administration illegally spied on Page.

On Tuesday, NBC News reported that U.S. intelligence agencies believe Russia is the main suspect in the mysterious attacks that led to brain injuries of U.S. diplomats in Cuba and China.

On Tuesday, CNN reported New York tax investigators met with Michael Cohen’s attorney, Guy Petrillo, and possibly Cohen, as part of a state probe regarding Cohen and the Trump Organization.

BuzzFeed reported on suspicious money transfers. The first came 11 days after the June 9 Trump Tower meeting: an offshore company controlled by Aras Agalarov wired $19.5 million to his account in New York.

The second came shortly after the election when the Agalarov family sent a series of transactions totaling $1.2 million from their bank in Russia to an account in New Jersey controlled by Arar’s son, Emin Agalarov.

On Tuesday, Donald Jr. told “Good Morning America” that he is not afraid of going to jail in Mueller’s Russia investigation, saying “I’m not because I know what I did, and I’m not worried about any of that.”

Dutch newspapers reported that the two Russian spies who had been plotting a cyber attack from the Netherlands on a Swiss defense lab which was analyzing the nerve agent used in Britain were detained and expelled.

Swiss authorities said the investigation began in March into “suspicion of political espionage,” and led to a joint investigation by Swiss, Dutch, and British intelligence services.

The attempted attack is the latest example of the Kremlin waging a sophisticated and unconventional campaign to work its will abroad, and to undermine adversaries and their alliances.

Rep. Trey Gowdy told The Hill that the House Intelligence Committee should release all transcripts from the Russia probe. Gowdy’s remarks echo those of House Intelligence Democrats, who have called for the same.

On Tuesday, the solemn anniversary of 9/11, Trump started the day with a series of tweets rehashing reports on Fox Business Network and Fox News while he traveled to the Flight 93 memorial in Shanksville, Pennsylvania.

The topics of Trump’s morning tweets included: “New Strzok-Page texts,” and “collusion between the FBI & DOJ, the Hillary campaign,” and Obama attorney general Eric Holder.

Trump then retweeted a 9/11-related post by social media director Dan Scavino and on Hurricane Florence, before resuming a series of tweets attacking his adversaries.

Trump tweeted, “You know who’s at fault for this more than anyone else, Comey,” and about “Crazy Maxine Waters,” and quoted Lou Hobbs, saying, “Russian “collusion” was just an excuse by the Democrats.”

Photos of Trump fist-pumping as he exited the airplane in Johnstown, Pennsylvania and walked toward supporters drew national attention and condemnation of being inappropriate for the solemn day by many.

At the Shanksville memorial site where Trump was giving a speech, he walked up to the podium, while pointing at people in the crowd and mouthing the words “thank you” as they clapped for him.

Later Tuesday, in remarks in the Oval Office, Trump said his regime’s response to Hurricane Maria was “an incredible, unsung success” and falsely claimed Puerto Rico had virtually no electricity before the storm.

When asked about Hurricane Florence approaching, Trump said his regime was “as ready as anybody has ever been” and warned that the storm would be “tremendously big and tremendously wet.”

Trump continued his use of superlatives, saying of Hurricane Florence, “many people are now saying that this is the worst storm/hurricane they have ever seen.”

On Tuesday, BuzzFeed reported that FEMA received 2,431 requests for funeral assistance from Puerto Ricans related to the hurricane Maria, and approved just 75, or 3%.

In a letter, FEMA director Long cited, Puerto Ricans had to provide a death certificate or letter from a government official “that clearly indicates the death was attributed to the emergency or disaster.”

On Wednesday, Sen. Jeff Merkley revealed on the Rachel Maddow Show that the Trump regime redirected $9.75 million from FEMA to ICE for detention and removal, months before hurricane season is set to begin.

The transfer of funds was approved by the Republican chairs of the House and Senate Homeland Security appropriations subcommittees, but not by the rest of the subcommittees’ members.

Director Long claimed that none of the money came from the Disaster Relief Fund. However, the money came from the response and recovery, preparedness and protection and mission support operations budgets.

On Thursday, NBC News reported that the Department of Homeland Security transferred $169 million from other agencies to Immigration and Customs Enforcement for the detention and removal of migrants this year.

According to a document sent to Congress by DHS, many of the transfers came from key national security programs, including Domestic Nuclear Detection Office, the U.S. Coast Guard, FEMA and several TSA programs.

DHS also transferred $33 million from other ICE programs to pay for detention and removal, bringing the total to $202 million transferred in.

On Wednesday, NYT reported Trump started a new strategy in mid August of using short videos of himself, shared on Twitter, a strategy reportedly designed by former Fox News executive Bill Shine.

The videos, shot with the White House as the setting, have thus far been less viral and gotten less engagement, in the form of responses, likes and retweets, than Trump’s most provocative text tweets.

On Thursday, Politico reported FEMA director Brock Long is under investigation by the Department of Homeland Security inspector general into whether he misused government vehicles during his commutes.

The inspector general’s interest was drawn after one of the vehicles used by Long for trips back home to Hickory, North Carolina, on the weekends — a black Suburban — was involved in an accident.

Long has also reportedly been clashing in recent weeks with his boss, Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen over his travel logs, as the hurricane season approaches. She confronted him at a meeting in late August.

On Wednesday, the Irish Independent reported Trump canceled a November visit to Ireland to visit his golf course in Doonbeg, Co Clare as part of a trip to Europe for Armistice Day celebrations.

On Wednesday, at a news conference, The White House said it has not yet made a final decision on whether Trump will make a stop in Ireland. The Irish Ambassador to the U.S. said he had not been informed of the trip.

On Wednesday, Independent UK reported that Trump canceled the trip to Ireland because massive protests have already been planned to greet him.

On Friday, the NYT wrote an Editors’ Note to an article which inaccurately reported U.S. ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley spent $52,701 on curtains for the UN residence. The order was placed under the Obama administration.

On Thursday, the bitter fight over Brett Kavanaugh’s confirmation plunged into chaos as Sen. Dianne Feinstein disclosed that she referred a letter that describes alleged sexual misconduct involving Kavanaugh in high school to the FBI.

On Friday, reporters Ronan Farrow and Jane Mayer of the New Yorker obtained the letter, which Sen. Feinstein has had since July. Kavanaugh “categorically and unequivocally” denied the allegations.

Anita Hill called on the federal government to implement a “fair and neutral” way to investigate sexual misconduct, saying she seen “firsthand what happens when such a process is weaponized against an accuser.”

On Wednesday, ABC News reported Paul Manafort has been in ongoing negotiations with Mueller’s office over a potential plea agreement. The negotiations have picked up steam in recent weeks.

On Friday, CNN reported the federal prosecutors in the Southern District of New York are considering criminal charges against former Obama White House counsel Greg Craig for failing to register as a foreign agent.

Prosecutors are also considering taking action against the law firm Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom where Craig was a partner during the activity under examination.

Like Alex van der Zwaan, who also worked at Skadden, Craig was involved in promoting a report on Yulia Tymoshenko to members of Congress and the media on behalf of the then-president of Ukraine, Viktor Yanukovych.

The inquiry is a Mueller referral, and is now in advanced stages and is closely linked to a case against Manafort. Details about Skadden’s work was disclosed on Friday by Mueller’s office in charges against Manafort.

On Thursday, Rudy Giuliani confirmed Manafort and Trump have a joint defense agreement that allows sharing of confidential information, and that Trump’s lawyers and Manafort’s have been in regular contact.

Giuliani also told Politico he sees no danger for Trump from a Manafort plea deal, saying, “There’s no fear that Paul Manafort would cooperate,” adding, “we long ago evaluated him as an honorable man.”

On Friday, in a stunning development, Manafort agreed to cooperate in the Mueller probe, pleading guilty and promising to tell the government about “his participation in and knowledge of all criminal activities.”

Court documents revealed that Manafort was talking in detail with Mueller’s team as early as Monday. Manafort made multiple statements and a written proffer as the two sides worked toward a deal.

Manafort said his Ukraine work included shaping U.S. perception of Yanukovych and his pro-Russia party. He admitted he didn’t register as a foreign agent and misled federal investigators about his work.

Manafort also pleaded guilty to cheating the IRS out of $15 million and lying repeatedly to try to cover his tracks. Manafort faces as much as 10 additional years and fines of $250,000 per count based on his plea.

As part of the plea, Manafort will forfeit a host of assets, including his condo at Trump Tower, worth an estimated $21.7 million. He will also return to prison while he cooperates.

Manafort agreed to cooperate “fully and truthfully,” and if he complies, he stands to have years shaved off his prison sentence, perhaps serving no time, and to have his family hold on to some property.

Manafort has agreed to meet with law enforcement regarding the investigation without the presence of his counsel.

Both cases brought against Manafort by the special counsel stemmed from his work in Ukraine. Manafort may provide key information on the June 9 Trump Tower meeting, changes in the RNC platform, and other areas.

In reaction, Giuliani said, “Once again an investigation has concluded with a plea having nothing to do with President Trump or the Trump campaign. The reason: The president did nothing wrong.”

Shortly after, press secretary Sarah Sanders said in a statement: “This had absolutely nothing to do with the President or his victorious 2016 Presidential campaign. It is totally unrelated.”

Trump ally Alan Dershowitz told MSNBC the plea deal is a “big win” for Mueller, saying “It potentially opens up lots of doors that probably haven’t been opened before.”

Dershowitz also said a presidential pardon now is “off the table, saying if Manafort is given a pardon, then he can’t take the Fifth Amendment” and “would have to testify” and could be called in front of a grand jury.

Manafort’s guilty plea revealed hardball tactics. He enlisted a foreign politician secretly on his payroll to deliver a message to Obama in the Oval Office. He also smeared adversaries to protect pro-Russian Yanukovych.

Manafort spread stories that jailed Ukrainian politician Yulia Tymo­shenko was a murderer. In 2011, Manafort spread stories that then Secretary of State Hillary Clinton was supporting anti-Semitism by taking up Tymo­shenko’s cause.

In 2012, Manafort paid Skadden Arps $4.6 million to write a report analyzing Tymoshenko’s trial that he then used to spread to the false claim that her conviction had not been politically motivated.

On Friday, Vanity Fair reported it has become common knowledge among close friends of Michael Cohen that he is talking to Mueller’s team. The extent and purposes of the talks is not clear.

On Friday, WSJ reported, as Hurricane Florence was forming in the Atlantic, senior Trump officials were considering replacing FEMA director Long, amid allegations he misused resources.

DHS inspectors found that Long, who was under surveillance, often left FEMA headquarters on Thursdays and traveled home with a caravan of federal workers, who stayed in nearby hotels for the long weekend.

The inspector general is also reviewing communications between Long and a FEMA contractor that appear to include discussions about future employment.

Secretary Nielsen brought Long details of the inspector’s preliminary findings, and asked him to resign if the allegations are true. Trump has been frequently meeting with Long this week ahead of Hurricane Florence.

Intercept published a story about Kavanaugh which was originally posted at Think Progress, but was suppressed at Facebook after conservative Weekly Standard fact-checked it to be false. It was not.

On Wednesday, defending his regime’s response to past hurricanes, Trump tweeted, “We got A Pluses for our recent hurricane work in Texas and Florida (and did an unappreciated great job in Puerto Rico).”

Trump also blamed the response in Puerto Rico on it being “an inaccessible island with very poor electricity and a totally incompetent Mayor of San Juan,” referring to his adversary San Juan Mayor Carmen Yulín Cruz.

Also in the series of tweets, Trump again used hyperbole, saying “Hurricane Florence is looking even bigger than anticipated.

On Thursday, Trump lied about the deaths in Puerto Rico, tweeting, “3000 people did not die in the two hurricanes that hit Puerto Rico. When I left the Island, AFTER the storm had hit, they had anywhere from 6 to 18 deaths.”

Instead, Trump blamed the Democrats, tweeting, “This was done by the Democrats in order to make me look as bad as possible,” claiming, “I was successfully raising Billions of Dollars to help rebuild Puerto Rico.”

San Juan Mayor Carmen Yulín Cruz tweeted, “This is what denial following neglect looks like: Mr Pres in the real world people died on your watch,” adding “YOUR LACK OF RESPECT IS APPALLING!”

On Friday, Trump continued to attack the Puerto Rico death toll, quoting Geraldo Rivera in a tweet, “70% of the power was out before the storm,” adding it’s a “political agenda couched in the nice language of journalism.”

Trump also tweeted quotes by Ed Rollins who complimented him on Puerto Rico, as “an extraordinary job,” and Lou Dobbs, “The people of Puerto Rico have one of the most corrupt governments in our country.”

On Friday evening, as Hurricane Florence continued to batter the Carolinas, Trump again tweeted about the Puerto Rico death count, “FIFTY TIMES LAST ORIGINAL NUMBER — NO WAY!”

Trump closed out Friday, tweeting that the “Fake News Media” did not cover when Obama said there were 57 states in 2008. This is false.

On Saturday, NYT reported Trump’s relationship with Defense Secretary Jim Mattis has frayed. Trump is weary of comparisons to Mattis as the adult in the room, and increasingly concerned that Mattis is a Democrat at heart.

Officials say Trump has largely tuned out his national security aides as he feels more confident in himself. Mattis has balked at some of Trump’s requests and is protective of the military being used for political purposes.

Officials say Trump may fire Mattis, a significant departure given that foreign allies and adversaries, as well as the U.S. national security establishment, view Mattis as the one thing standing between Trump and global tumult.

Mattis has largely avoided the media. Aides say he is fearful about being put on the spot by questions that will expose differences with Trump. He has refused requests to go on “Fox & Friends” to praise Trump’s agenda.

On Saturday, the White House issued a “lid” for the day, meaning no planned news events or presidential movements. Trump did not tweet through noon, or golf, as would be typical.

POLITIKS OF GRAFFITI 94: “CLOSER THAN THEY APPEAR”

Week 93 of this international embarrassment: Experts in authoritarianism advise to keep a list of things subtly changing around you, so you’ll remember.

August 25, 2018 https://medium.com/@Amy_Siskind/week-93-experts-in-authoritarianism-advise-to-keep-a-list-of-things-subtly-changing-around-you-so-960e3340ff19

This was an ominous week for Trump, as three longtime allies turned on him. If you’ve come to one of my book events, I’ve said one of the three paths to ending Trump’s time in office was through the #MeToo movement, as in this case with hush money payments to silence women and the cover-up. This week in court, Michael Cohen essentially called Trump an unindicted co-conspirator in the crime of making hush money payments with the “principal purpose of influencing” the 2016 presidential election. Cohen was also subpoenaed in New York’s probe of the Trump Foundation. News later in the week indicated Trump’s bookkeeper for decades, Allen Weisselberg, and his longtime ally David Pecker, chairman and CEO of American Media, were both granted immunity in Manhattan court in exchange for their testimony.

As Cohen was pleading guilty, Paul Manafort was simultaneously being found guilty of eight felony counts in Virginia — his first of two trials. After initial denials by his press secretary that a pardon was under consideration, Trump spent the week publicly praising Manafort while attacking the Mueller probe, setting the stage for what aides believe is a coming pardon.

And yet not a single Republican spoke out against Trump this week. By the end of the week, leading Senate Republicans seemed open to Trump firing Attorney General Jeff Sessions after the midterms, potentially leaving the Mueller probe vulnerable. As news on Cohen and Manafort came out, Republicans and Fox News focused on the death of a University of Iowa student who was killed by an undocumented immigrant from Mexico, with Trump ally Newt Gingrich telling Axios, “If Mollie Tibbetts is a household name by October, Democrats will be in deep trouble.”

IMG_5969DlVg9gwVAAAJs43

  1. On Saturday, Trump responded to the NYT story in Week 92 on White House counsel Don McGahn cooperating, tweeting he “allowed” McGahn and others “to fully cooperate” and turned over documents.
  2. Trump also tweeted, “we readily gave over one million pages of documents,” adding, “Most transparent in history. No Collusion, No Obstruction. Witch Hunt!
  3. On Saturday, Fox News host Jeanine Pirro bashed Mueller and linked him to Benghazi, saying, “you testified…to cover for Hillary Clinton’s incompetence,” adding on the probe, “you got nothing.”
  4. On Sunday, on Meet the Press, when asked about his comments that Trump testifying in the Mueller probe would be a perjury trap, Trump’s lawyer Rudy Giuliani said, “No, truth isn’t truth. Truth isn’t truth.”
  5. Giuliani’s assertion is reminiscent of Kellyanne Conway’s in Week 11 of “alternative facts.” After the interview, Merriam Webster tweeted the definition of “truth.”
  6. Giuliani also lied, claiming Donald Trump Jr. did not know Natalia Veselnitskaya was Russian ahead of the June 9 Trump Tower meeting, saying he did not know if “she was Russian at the time. All they had was her name.”
  7. On Sunday, in a series of six tweets, Trump lashed out at “the Failing New York Times” who he said wrote a “Fake piece,” adding “this is why the Fake News Media has become the Enemy of the People. So bad for America!”
  8. Trump also claimed, without offered proof, that some members of the media are “very Angry at the Fake Story in the New York Times,” claiming they “actually called to complain and apologize” for the story.
  9. Trump tweeted that the NYT implied that by McGahn giving “testimony to the Special Councel, he must be a John Dean type ‘RAT,’” adding “ So many lives have been ruined over nothing.”
  10. Trump also referred to the Mueller probe as “McCarthyism at its WORST!” and repeated the false charge, “No Collusion and No Obstruction, except by Crooked Hillary and the Democrats.”
  11. Trump also compared the Mueller investigation to McCarthyism, “Study the late Joseph McCarthy,” because we are in a period when “Mueller and his gang … make Joseph McCarthy look like a baby!
  12. On Sunday, Cohen’s lawyer Lanny Davis said in the past few months,Cohen has reached out regularly to John Dean, the former White House counsel who helped bring down the presidency of Richard Nixon.
  13. On Sunday, NYT reported Trump’s legal team does not know what McGahn told Mueller’s team when the team was fully cooperating, a potentially damaging mistake. McGahn has offered a limited accounting.
  14. After McGahn was first interviewed in November 2017, Trump’s legal team did not ask for a complete description, and McGahn’s lawyer, William Burck, did not inform them of what was said in subsequent interactions.
  15. On Sunday, on State of the Union, Trump surrogate Rick Santorum saidMueller could avoid charges of McCarthyism by investigating the FBI and Department of Justice.
  16. On Sunday, NYT reported federal investigators looking into whether Cohen committed bank and tax fraud are focusing on the more than $20 million in loans obtained by taxi businesses owned by Cohen and his family.
  17. On Monday, CNN reported Darren Beattie, a speechwriter for Trump who attended a conference frequented by white nationalists, the H.L. Mencken Club Conference, in 2016, has left the White House.
  18. On Tuesday, WAPO reported Trump adviser Larry Kudlow hosted Peter Brimelow, the publisher of a website that serves as a platform for white nationalism, at his home last weekend for his birthday party.
  19. On Monday, at a White House ceremony for Border Patrol agent Adrian Anzaldua, Trump introduced him without attempting to pronounce his last name, and said Adrian could speak “perfect English.”
  20. New Jersey Globe reported that Rick Jankowski, a Monroe Township school board candidate, made racist and homophobic comments on Facebookbetween 2013–2016, including calling black people “fucking monkeys.”
  21. On Wednesday, NBC News reported Christine Hallquist, who in Week 92became the first transgender gubernatorial candidate, is now getting a steady stream of death threats and other personal attacks.
  22. Kansas City Star reported Michael Dargy Jr., a Westport security guard, ordered a “Trayvon Martini” from a black bartender at a Westport bar on Monday. On Wednesday, Dargy Jr. was fired.
  23. Atlanta-Journal Constitution reported Buford City Schools superintendent Geye Hamby was named in a race-discrimination lawsuit, with recordings, for yelling racist slurs at a group of black workers at a construction site.
  24. On Friday, Texas Monthly reported on a complaint filed by a Honduran woman who entered the U.S. in June, was separated from her nine-year-old daughter. and met an immigration officer nicknamed the “deporter” who told her, “You are all ignorant and keep coming.”
  25. In the complaint, she says, “He called me in to sign my deportation papers a couple days after I was told I did not qualify for asylum,” adding, “Don’t you understand that we don’t want you in this country?
  26. On Friday, PBS reported according to a status update by the federal government, 528 migrant children remained separated from their parents. Of those, 23 children are under the age of 5.
  27. There are also 343 children whose parents are no longer in the U.S. TheTrump administration has made almost no progress in reunification since the court-imposed deadline passed.
  28. On Thursday, Adam Housley became the second Fox News reporter to resign in recent weeks. Housley, who was at Fox News for two decades, left over frustrations with the direction and tone of coverage in the Trump-era.
  29. Politico reported Betsy DeVos’s Department of Education has dismissed at least five investigations involving transgender students who were denied bathroom access. Another has been delayed for at least three years.
  30. AP reported Federal Communications Commission chair Ajit Pai told a Senate panel that Don McGahn called him for a “status update” on the agency’s action on the Sinclair-Tribune deal on July 16 or 17. Pai expressed “serious concerns” about the merger.
  31. On Monday, Bloomberg reported that Trump complained to wealthy Republican donors at a Hamptons fundraiser last Friday about Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell’s interest rate hikes.
  32. On Monday, Trump told Reuters he is “not thrilled” with Powell, adding, while he is negotiating with other countries, he “should be given some help by the Fed. The other countries are accommodated.”
  33. NBC News reported across the federal government, the Trump administration is emphasizing a less-punitive approach to combat white-collar crime and civil violations, reversing steps by the Obama administration.
  34. The regime plans to reward companies that report violations and take steps to fix them in areas such as failing to pay overtime and committing financial fraud, as well as smaller fines for polluters that come forward.
  35. On Monday, acting Environmental Protection Agency director Andrew Wheeler signed a plan to weaken regulation of coal-fired power plants, replacing the Obama-era Clean Power Plan with the Affordable Clean Energy Rule.
  36. On the heels of an earlier decision to let automobiles pollute more, the new plan erases the Obama administration’s efforts to impose pollution controls on carbon dioxide pollution and transition to cleaner energy.
  37. The Trump proposal will give states more authority to make their own plans for regulating greenhouse gas emissions. The regime has routinely dismissed the threat of climate change and questioned its cause.
  38. Bloomberg reported despite Trump’s promises, the coal industry is losing customers as utilities turn to natural gas and renewable power to generate electricity. Coal production and consumption continue to decrease.
  39. Trump nominated Kathy Kraninger, an architect of his family separation policy who has no background in financial regulation or consumer protection, to lead the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.
  40. Kraninger refused to answer about her role in the zero-tolerance policy at her Senate confirmation hearing, saying she would not discuss the “general topic” of immigration because it would be a “slippery slope.”
  41. Reuters reported Pentagon officials are sounding the alarm inside the Trump regime about the sharp drop in Iraqi refugees who have helped American troops in battle coming to the U.S. as a safe haven.
  42. So far just 48 Iraqis have been admitted, compared to more than 3,000 in 2017 and about 5,100 in 2016. The Pentagon is concerned the drop will harm national security by dissuading locals from cooperating with the U.S.
  43. On Wednesday, NYT reported DeVos is considering a plan to allow states to use federal funding to purchase guns for educators.
  44. The plan would undermine efforts by Congress to restrict federal funding on guns and would to be the first time that a federal agency has authorized the purchase of weapons without a congressional mandate.
  45. On Sunday, on “Meet the Press,” former CIA director John Brennan said he is willing to take Trump to court to prevent other current and former intelligence officials from having their clearances stripped.
  46. On Monday, in a series of tweets, Trump escalated his attacks on Mueller, calling him “disgraced and discredited,” saying his “whole group of Angry Democrat Thugs spent over 30 hours with the White House Councel.”
  47. Trump also said that “Mueller’s Angry Dems” are “enjoying ruining people’s lives” but “REFUSE” to look at corruption on the Democrats’ side, adding, “They are a National Disgrace!”
  48. Trump also tweeted that he hoped Brennan, whom he called “the worst CIA Director in our country’s history,” brings a lawsuit so he can get documents on how Brennan was “involved with the Mueller Rigged Witch Hunt.”
  49. Trump also said in his tweets that DOJ official Bruce Ohr, who he said is “at the center of FALSE ALLEGATIONS” in the Steele dossier should be “fired from the Jeff Sessions “Justice” Department,” putting justice in quotes.
  50. On Monday, as Trump was sending his tweets, First Lady Melania Trump was giving a speech about the “destructive and harmful” uses of social media at a cyberbully summit as part of her “Be Best” campaign.
  51. Also on Monday, Melania announced she plans to travel to Africa without Trump in October, saying, “I am excited to educate myself on the issues facing children throughout the continent.”
  52. On Monday, more than 175 former U.S. intelligence community and national security officials said in the third open-letter on the topic that they are deeply concerned by the politicization of security clearances.
  53. On Tuesday, Trump tweeted “even James Clapper” has admonished Brennan after Clapper said his rhetoric is concerning, adding, maybe Clapper is “being nice to me so he doesn’t lose his Security Clearance.”
  54. On Monday, in an interview with Reuters, Trump said he was concerned the Mueller probe would be a perjury trap, saying “it’s my word against his (Comey), and he’s best friends with Mueller.”
  55. Trump also asserted that he retained the power to intervene in the Mueller probe, “I can go in, and I could do whatever — I could run it if I want. But I decided to stay out…So far, I haven’t chosen to be involved.”
  56. Trump also said the Mueller probe has hampered his efforts to improve relations with Russia and refused to blame Russia for interfering in the 2016 election, if it was Russia “they played right into the Russians’ hands.”
  57. Reuters reported the FBI is probing cyber-attacks on the California congressional campaigns of David Min and Hans Keirstead. Both lost primaries in races critical to Democrats taking control of the House.
  58. On Sunday, Senator Rand Paul rode on Air Force One and played a round of golf with Trump. Paul recently visited Moscow and, in Week 92, had been advocating to dropping U.S. sanctions on two Russian lawmakers.
  59. On Tuesday, a report released by Microsoft revealed that the Russian military intelligence unit that attacked the 2016 election is targeting conservative U.S. think tanks that have broken with Trump on Russia.
  60. Microsoft said it detected and seized websites created in recent weeks by hackers linked to Russia’s G.R.U. that tried to trick people into thinking they were clicking on the think tanks’ websites before being redirected.
  61. The think tanks targeted have been critical of Trump’s interactions with and handling of Russia, including continued sanctions and pressing for human rights. Microsoft also found websites imitating the U.S. Senate.
  62. On Tuesday, Christopher Steele won a U.S. libel case brought by three Russian oligarchs — Mikhail Fridman, Petr Aven and German Khan — who claimed Steele defamed them in his dossier.
  63. The three own a stake in Russia’s Alfa Bank. In Week 21, the FBI was investigating ties between Alfa Bank and the Trump Organization. The judge threw out the case, citing free speech under the First Amendment.
  64. On Thursday, Reality Winner, the former government contractor whopleaded guilty to mailing a classified U.S. report to a news organization, got a five-year sentence, the longest ever imposed for a leak.
  65. Winner had leaked information to the Intercept which detailed Russiangovernment efforts to penetrate a Florida-based supplier of voting software and the accounts of election officials ahead of the 2016 election.
  66. Civil rights activists mobilized to try to stop Georgia from closing seven of nine polling precincts in a predominantly black county ahead of the midterms. Stacey Abrams, a black American, is running for governor.
  67. The Randolph County elections board claims the seven polling places are being shuttered because they are not ADA compliant. The polling places were used during the May 22 primary election and July 24 primary runoff.
  68. On Friday, after facing intense national scrutiny, the Randolph County board of elections voted to keep the seven polling places open. The consultant who recommended closings was fired Thursday.
  69. The Young Turks reported an election day computer “glitch” in Kansas’ most populous county, has cast a shadow over the legitimacy of Kris Kobach’s victory in the state’s governor primary, which he won by about 300 votes.
  70. On Tuesday, the Democratic National Committee alerted the FBI of an attempted hack of its voter database. The DNC said the attempt failed, and the culprit is not known.
  71. On Thursday, DNC Chief Security Officer Bob Lord said in a statement that hack was actually a test built by an unnamed third party and that the test was not authorized by the DNC or any of the party’s security vendors.
  72. On Thursday, Yahoo News reported the White House blocked a bipartisan bill in the Senate which would have significantly bolstered defenses against election interference.
  73. The Secure Elections Act previously had widespread bipartisan support. On Wednesday, GOP Senate Rules Committee chair Roy Blunt canceled the markup, the next step for the bill. No explanation was given.
  74. On Friday, Google informed Senator Pat Toomey that hackers with ties to a “nation-state” sent phishing emails to old campaign email accounts during 2016 to try to hack his campaign. The infiltration was not successful.
  75. On Friday, Detroit Free Press reported clerks in every Michigan county received identical Freedom of Information Act requests seeking copies of the ballots and other records from the 2016 election.
  76. The requests are signed by “Emily,” with no last name, and requests that records be sent to a United Action Group at a post office box in Astoria, New York. Messages from the Detroit Free Press were not returned.
  77. Information requested includes: absentee ballots, envelopes the absentee ballots were mailed in, records listing the names of voters who requested absentee ballots, and provisional ballots, both counted and uncounted.
  78. On Monday, concern was raised that Trump’s continued tweets and public statements in support of Manafort and deriding the Mueller probe, while the jury was not sequestered, could impact their deliberations.
  79. On Monday, a Defense Department spokesman contradicted Trump’s rationale for canceling the military parade, saying Trump was not briefed on the cost estimate and that the $92 million estimate was not valid.
  80. On Tuesday, Michael Cohen, Trump’s former personal attorney, pleaded guilty to eight counts of tax evasion, bank fraud, and campaign finance violations, including two charges related to hush money payments.
  81. Cohen said he made the payments “at the direction” of an unnamed candidate in 2016, and that a $150,000 payment in August 2016 was for the “principal purpose of influencing” the 2016 presidential election.
  82. The judge asked Cohen if he knew what he did was illegal, and he responded he did. Cohen said, “at the direction” of a candidate, he used the money from a home equity line to pay $130,000 to Stephanie Clifford.
  83. Cohen said at the direction of a candidate, he and David Pecker arranged to keep one of the alleged affairs from the public with a payment by National Enquirer of $150,000 to Karen McDougal.
  84. According to Cohen’s plea filing, in January 2017, executives at the Trump Organization directed Cohen be paid $420,000, reimbursing him for his payment, along with money for taxes and expenses and a $60,000 bonus.
  85. According to the filing, the Trump Organization relied on sham invoices by Cohen to conceal the nature of the payments. Cohen submitted monthly invoices, and received all monthly checks totaling $420,000.
  86. Cohen is out on bail until his scheduled sentencing in December. According to court filings, Cohen faces a recommended prison sentence of 46 to 63 months. He is not cooperating in the Mueller probe at this point.
  87. Almost simultaneously, Trump’s former campaign manager Paul Manafort was convicted by a federal jury in Virginia on eight felony counts. The judge declared a mistrial on the other 10 counts where unanimous jury consensus was not reached.
  88. The eight charges include five counts of tax fraud, one count of failure to file a report of foreign bank and financial accounts, and two counts of bank fraud. Manafort faces seven to nine years in prison.
  89. On Tuesday, Trump told reporters as he arrived in West Virginia for a campaign rally that he feels “very badly” for Manafort and a “sad thing that happened,” but that it has “nothing to do with Russian collusion.”
  90. Trump said of Manafort “he was a great man, he was with Ronald Reagan and many people over the years,” adding, “It doesn’t involve me.” Trump also called the Mueller probe “a witch hunt and a disgrace.”
  91. On Tuesday, Cohen attorney Lanny Davis said Cohen has information that would be of interest to Mueller and is happy to share it, including the crime of hacking and whether Trump knew about it ahead of time.
  92. On Tuesday, Trump held a rally in West Virginia, a state he won by 40 points. He covered a bevy of topics, but did not mention Cohen or Manafort.
  93. The closest he got was attacking the Mueller probe, saying, “Fake news and the Russian witch hunt…Where is the collusion? You know, they’re still looking for collusion. Where is the collusion? Find some collusion!”
  94. On Tuesday, Rep. Duncan Hunter and his wife were indicted for using campaign funds for personal use. Hunter was the second GOP Congressman to endorse Trump after Rep. Chris Collins, who was indicted in Week 91.
  95. On Thursday, Hunter shifted blame to his wife for the alleged campaign fund abuses, telling Fox News, “She was also the campaign manager, so whatever she did that’ll be looked at too.”
  96. On Wednesday, in morning tweets, Trump attacked Cohen, saying, “If anyone is looking for a good lawyer, I would strongly suggest that you don’t retain the services of Michael Cohen!”
  97. Trump also tweeted that he felt “very badly for Paul Manafort and his wonderful family,” adding “unlike Michael Cohen, he refused to ‘break’ — make up stories in order to get a ‘deal.’”
  98. Trump also falsely tweeted that Cohen pleaded guilty to two counts of campaign finance violations that are “not a crime,” and that Obama “had a big campaign finance violation and it was easily settled!”
  99. On Wednesday, Democratic senators called for a delay of the vote on Trump’s Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh, citing Manafort’s criminal convictions and Cohen’s guilty pleas.
  100. On Wednesday, at the daily press briefing, press secretary Sarah HuckabeeSanders said that Trump “did nothing wrong” seven times in response to reporters’ questions on Manafort’s guilty verdict and Cohen’s guilty plea.
  101. Sanders also said it was “a ridiculous accusation” to say Trump has lied to the American people. WAPO has recorded 4,229 false or misleading statements by Trump, including changing stories on the Cohen payment.
  102. Sanders also told reporters that she “wasn’t aware” of any discussions of Trump pardoning Manafort and that the topic was “not something that’s been up for discussion.”
  103. On Thursday, Giuliani said in an interview that Trump asked his lawyers whether he could pardon Manafort and other aides last week. His lawyers counseled him not to until after the Mueller probe concluded.
  104. Giuliani also told Sky News in the interview, which took place while he was golfing in Scotland, that Cohen is a “massive liar” and that the “American people would revolt” if Trump were impeached.
  105. On Thursday, Sanders said in a statement that the topic of a pardon is not under active consideration “in the White House” and that Trump “has not made a decision on pardoning Paul Manafort or anyone else.”
  106. On Wednesday, the New York State Department of Taxation and Finance issued a subpoena to Cohen as part of its ongoing probe of whether the Trump Foundation violated New York tax laws.
  107. The probe is separate from the NY Attorney General’s lawsuit against the Trump Foundation. A spokesperson said, “We will be working with the NY Attorney General and the Manhattan district attorney as appropriate.”
  108. On Thursday, NY Attorney General Barbara Underwood asked the Department of Taxation to make a referral on Cohen, an administrative step that allows her office to investigate him for possible violations of state tax law.
  109. WAPO reported when Cohen got the subpoena, he called the Department of Taxation to offer help. Cohen had no formal role at the Trump Foundation, but he had wide knowledge of Trump and his family’s affairs.
  110. Cohen also had a role in at least one Trump Foundation matter: arranging for a Ukrainian steel magnate, Victor Pinchuk, to donate $150,000 to the Trump Foundation in 2015.
  111. On Wednesday, “Fox & Friends” co-host Ainsley Earhardt interviewed Trump at the White House, the day after the Cohen and Manafort news. In May, Trump had praised Earhardt and encouraged people to buy her book.
  112. On Wednesday evening, while appearing on Hannity to promote the interview ahead of it airing, Earhardt told Sean Hannity Trump told her he would consider a pardon, saying, “I think he feels bad for Manafort.”
  113. On Thursday, the interview aired on Fox News. When Trump complained reporters “like to cover nonsense,” Earhardt answered “right.” She asked Trump, “Is the press the enemy of the people?” instead of challenging him.
  114. Trump said he knew about the hush money payments after they were made, telling Earhardt, “later on I knew … later on,” contradicting Cohen’s statement in court on Tuesday.
  115. Trump also falsely claimed because the payments came from his personal funds, there was no violation of campaign finance laws, saying, “They didn’t come out of the campaign. It is not even a campaign violation.”
  116. When asked about Cohen and a longstanding legal practice, Trump said, “It’s called flipping and it almost ought to be illegal,” adding, “It almost ought to be outlawed. It’s not fair.”
  117. When Earhardt asked Trump to grade himself, he said, “I give myself an A+,” adding, “I don’t think any president has ever done what I’ve done in this short — we haven’t even been two years.”
  118. Trump also said that if he got impeached, “I think the market would crash. I think everybody would be very poor,” explaining, “because without this thinking, you would see numbers you wouldn’t believe.”
  119. Trump also falsely claimed that Manafort “wasn’t with the campaign long,” and claimed that the FBI “surveilled my campaign, it’s very simple.”
  120. Trump also said of Sessions that the only reason he gave him the job was because “I felt loyalty,” but that Sessions “never took control of the Justice Department,” adding of Sessions’ recusal, “what kind of man is this?”
  121. On Thursday, Sessions, who rarely pushes back, issued a statement saying, “While I am Attorney General, the actions of the Department of Justice will not be improperly influenced by political considerations.”
  122. On Friday, Trump shot back at Sessions, sarcastically tweeting it was “GREAT” that Sessions is not influenced and said Sessions should look into “corruption on the “other side.”
  123. Trump listed, “deleted Emails, Comey lies & leaks, Mueller conflicts, McCabe, Strzok, Page, Ohr, FISA abuse, Christopher Steele & his phony and corrupt Dossier,” as things he wanted the DOJ to investigate.
  124. On Wednesday night, after midnight (1:10 a.m.), Trump tweeted, “NO COLLUSION — RIGGED WITCH HUNT!
  125. On Wednesday, Paula Duncan, a Trump supporter who was a juror in the Manafort trial, told Fox News that one holdout juror prevented the jury from convicting Manafort on all 18 counts.
  126. On Thursday, Duncan told NBC News the one holdout was a woman, who she does not believe was a Trump supporter. Duncan said the jurors did not put much stock in Rick Gates’ testimony.
  127. On Wednesday, WSJ reported a turning point for Cohen on Trump was in June when his father Maurice Cohen, a Holocaust survivor, told him he didn’t survive the Holocaust to have his name sullied by Trump.
  128. Prosecutors also had testimony from Cohen’s accountant and business partners, documents that implicated he and his wife, and details about hush money payments to women by David Pecker.
  129. On Thursday, Trump tweeted about a segment on Fox News host Tucker Carlson’s show the night before, saying he directed Secretary of State Mike Pompeo to “study the South Africa land and farm seizures and expropriations.”
  130. Echoing talking points used by white nationalists group of a racially charged conspiracy theory, Trump tweeted, “South African Government is now seizing land from white farmers.”
  131. On Thursday, NYT reported the Manhattan district attorney is considering pursuing criminal charges against the Trump Organization and two senior company officials for hush money payments made to Stephanie Clifford.
  132. The investigation would focus on how the company accounted for its reimbursements to Cohen for the $130,000 he paid Clifford. The office’s review is still in the early stages.
  133. If charges are brought, Trump has no power to pardon people and corporate entities convicted of state crimes.
  134. On Thursday, Vanity Fair reported David Pecker, CEO of American Media, Inc., which owns the National Enquirer, has been granted immunity by federal prosecutors for providing information on hush money payments.
  135. Pecker has met with prosecutors and provided details about payments Cohen arranged to silence Stephanie Clifford and Karen McDougal.Pecker, like Cohen, has reportedly said Trump was aware of the payments.
  136. Vanity Fair also reported that to distract from headlines, Trump is considering taking away clearances from former members of his administration, including H.R. McMaster and Rex Tillerson.
  137. On Friday, WSJ reported Allen Weisselberg, who served for decades as chief financial officer and executive vice president of the Trump Organization, has testified and been granted immunity.
  138. Along with Cohen and Pecker, Weisselberg is the third longtime Trump confidant to provide information on hush money payments. Weisselberg testified before a grand jury in Manhattan.
  139. Weisselberg was one of the Trump Organization executives who helped reimburse Cohen for the $130,000 to Stephanie Clifford. The Journalcould not ascertain if he told prosecutors that Trump knew about the payments.
  140. On Friday, NYT reported Weisselberg struck a deal in earlier in the summer with federal prosecutors, granting him immunity for his grand jury testimony.
  141. Reportedly the deal is narrow in scope, protecting Weisselberg from self-incrimination in sharing information with prosecutors about Cohen, and did not offer blanket immunity.
  142. Trump reportedly has been alternating between anger and “a surprising state of calm.” One aide said he relishes conflict: “He enjoys the battle.”
  143. On Friday, AP reported the National Enquirer kept a safe containing documents on hush money payments and stories that it killed as part of its cozy relationship with Trump leading up to the 2016 election.
  144. Sources told AP the safe was also a great source of power for Pecker, using embarrassing stories obtained about celebrities under catch-and-kill deals in order to ask them for favors in return for keeping stories secret.
  145. Cohen’s filings said Pecker “offered to help deal with negative stories about (Trump’s) relationships with women” by helping the campaign identify stories they could purchase to avoid publication.
  146. On Friday, CNN reported Dino Sajudin, the former doorman who says he has knowledge of an alleged affair Trump had with an ex-housekeeper, which resulted in a child, has been released from his contract with AMI.
  147. Sajudin was part of a “catch-and-kill” deal, in which he received $30,000 for the story, but it never ran. The story first became public in Week 74, when AMI responded by calling his story “not credible.”
  148. On Friday, in a letter to Senate Judiciary Committee chair Chuck Grassley,all ten Democrats on the committee called for postponing the Supreme Court confirmation hearing for Judge Brett Kavanaugh.
  149. The letter cited concerns about possible “criminal wrongdoing” by Trump, as well as doubts Kavanaugh believes a president can even be investigated, and the unprecedented lack of transparency in the confirmation process.
  150. On Friday, Trump called off a planned visit to North Korea by Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, days before the scheduled visit for the next round of nuclear talks, in a series of tweets.
  151. Trump tweeted he asked Pompeo not to go “because I feel we are not making sufficient progress with respect to the denuclearization.” The tweets mark an abrupt shift: Trump had previously claimed progress was being made.
  152. A CNN reporter tweeted that State Department staffers were caught “completely off guard” by the cancellation, saying they had been “briefing allies’ embassies about their objectives” just ten minutes before.
  153. On Friday, Sen. John McCain’s family announced that he was ending medical treatment for aggressive brain cancer. Trump and the White House were silent amid the news.
  154. On Friday, Politico reported that despite the fact that Trump’s lawyers and a myriad of informal White House advisers have advised him against it,aides expect him to move forward and pardon Manafort.
  155. Aides said Trump wants to use his unilateral authority to issue pardons to absolve Manafort and is setting the stage to do so by calling Manafort a “brave man,” and continuing to criticize the Mueller probe.
  156. Unlike previous administrations that had formalized processes for selecting who receives a pardon, under the Trump regime, the pardon process in the White House has been far more ad hoc.
  157. On Wednesday, Axios reported Newt Gingrich wants to use Mollie Tibbetts, an 20-year-old University of Iowa student who was murdered by an undocumented immigrant from Mexico, to help the GOP in midterms.
  158. Gingrich said, “If Mollie Tibbetts is a household name by October, Democrats will be in deep trouble.” Fox News has been repeatedly covering the story, and Trump mentioned it at his West Virginia rally.
  159. Gingrich said he sees the Tibbetts story as a way to distract from the Manafort and Cohen stories, saying, “We are living in two alternative political universes.”
  160. The Tibbetts family has repeatedly asked that Mollie’s death not be politicized.
  161. On Friday, the Independent reported a network of Russian-linked Twitter accounts have been tweeting divisive content about Mollie Tibbetts’ deathin an apparent attempt to divert from stories about Cohen and Manafort.
  162. There was a flurry of activity starting Tuesday, after news on Manafort and Cohen. Throughout Tuesday afternoon and Wednesday, #MollieTibbetts was the most shared hashtag among the Russian-linked accounts.
  163. On Saturday, Trump denied knowing about the Trump Tower meeting, tweeting, “I did NOT know about the meeting,” and adding, “just another phony story by the Fake News Media!”
  164. Trump also attacked Sessions again in a pair of tweets, saying Sessions “doesn’t understand what is happening underneath his command position,” with “highly conflicted Bob Mueller and his gang of 17 Angry Dems.”
  165. Trump also quoted Sen. Lindsey Graham, who had in 2017 strongly defended Sessions, in a tweet, saying, “Every President deserves an Attorney General they have confidence in,” and, “these are not lifetime appointments.”
  166. Trump also attacked the FBI in a series of tweets, saying the “big story” is “that the FBI ignored tens of thousands of Crooked Hillary Emails,” and threatening, “At some point I may have to get involved!”
  167. Trump also tweeted “this news is just out,” quoting Fox News in a tweet, saying, “The FBI only looked at 3000 of 675,000 Crooked Hillary Clinton Emails,” adding, ““The FBI looked at less than 1%” of Crooked’s Emails!”
  168. On Saturday, Senate Republicans who had once backed their former colleague said Sessions would likely be ousted after midterms, with Graham, John Cornyn, and Grassley saying they are open to a new AG.
  169. Although Graham said, “I don’t buy it,” that having Sessions in place was not the only way to protect Mueller, Sen. Bob Corker said, “We are in a sad place in our country’s history.”

POLITIKS OF GRAFFITI 93: IT’S BEEN AN “OMAROSA” KIND OF WEEK

Week 92: Experts in authoritarianism advise to keep a list of things subtly changing around you, so you’ll remember.

August 18, 2018 https://medium.com/@Amy_Siskind/week-92-experts-in-authoritarianism-advise-to-keep-a-list-of-things-subtly-changing-around-you-so-7bef9cbac8bf

This week Trump met his match in former White House aide Omarosa Manigault Newman, who launched a new book and publicly shared her stories and perspectives on Trump and his regime members. Their feud played out like a reality TV show, as Omarosa released recordings and White House staffers reportedly are living in fear of the next shoes to drop.

Trump reportedly sought to distract from Omarosa’s tour by revoking the security clearance of former CIA director John Brennan, an unprecedented, authoritarian-like move that set up another public battle with intelligence officers, while Republicans largely stood silent. As the first Paul Manafort trial went for jury deliberation, Trump and Manafort’s attorney seemed strangely simpatico, raising concerns. Other signs of peril for Trump from the Mueller probe emerged as reporting that White House counsel Don McGahn is cooperating, and Michael Cohen has gone strangely silent, indicating a possible plea deal. Meanwhile, the FBI fired Peter Strzok, leaving just one of James Comey’s corroborating witnesses still at the FBI: Deputy Director David Bowdich, who fired Strok contrary to FBI personnel office guidance.

Trump was again at war with the media this week, as over 400 news outlets published editorials critical of his treatment of the free press, to which he responded by calling the press the “opposition party.” The Senate took the unusual step of passing a measure stating the media is not the enemy of the people.

IMG_5853
Artist: Pegasus in Bristol, UK, 2018
  1. The Boston Globe said it plans to organize news outlets to run editorials on August 16 speaking about the dangers of the Trump’s assault on the press. As of early in the week, more than 100 newspapers had signed up.
  2. On Monday, U.N. human rights chief Zeid Ra’ad al-Hussein told The Guardian that Trump’s anti-press rhetoric is “very close to incitement to violence” that leads to journalists censoring themselves or being attacked.
  3. On Saturday, Trump tweeted the “Fake News Media” refuses to report on “lowlife Christopher Steele’s many meetings” with Bruce and Nellie Ohr, adding Fusion paid for the “phony & discredited Dossier.”
  4. Bruce Ohr “STILL WORKS FOR THE DEPARTMENT OF “JUSTICE”” adding, “our A.G. is scared stiff and Missing in Action,” and, “It is all starting to be revealed — not pretty. IG Report soon? Witch Hunt!”
  5. On Sunday, Sen. Lindsey Graham told “Fox New Sunday” that Bruce Ohr was “at least unethical” because his wife, Nellie Ohr, worked for Fusion GPS, the firm that hired Steele for the dossier, during the 2016 election.
  6. Graham added Bruce Ohr should not have had any role in investigating the Trump campaign, and “We need a special counsel to look at all things Department of Justice and FBI when it came to the Trump investigation.”
  7. On Sunday, Rudy Giuliani changed his position, telling “State of the Union” that there “was no conversation” between Trump and Comey about “going easy” on former national security adviser Michael Flynn.
  8. On Sunday, Trump encouraged a boycott tweeting, “Many @harleydavidson owners plan to boycott the company if manufacturing moves overseas. Great!” He added that many competitors are coming to the U.S.
  9. On Sunday, former White House aide Omarosa Manigault Newman told “Meet the Press” that she has personally heard a tape of Trump using the N-word during the filming of “The Apprentice.”
  10. Omarosa also provided a purported secret recording of chief of staff John Kelly “threatening” her in the White House Situation Room, a secure room where personal cell phones are not allowed, when he fired her in 2017.
  11. On Sunday, when asked to name the most prominent African-American West Wing staffer after the departure of Omarosa on “This Week,”Kellyanne Conway struggled to come up with anyone.
  12. On Sunday, at the “Unite the Right 2” rally at Lafayette Square in Washington D.C., fewer than 40 white supremacists showed up, after organizer Jason Kessler said he had hoped for 400 supporters.
  13. The group was met with by thousands of counter-protesters who filled their half of Lafayette Square, chanting, “Go home, Nazis!” “No Trump! No KKK! No fascist USA!” and “Black lives matter!”
  14. KTLA News reported that at an apartment complex in Century City, California, Miguel Sanchez recorded a video of he and his coworker beingverbally attacked as “wetbacks” and having hot coffee thrown in his face.
  15. On Wednesday, a fire chief in East Syracuse, New York was demoted after a Facebook post about Rep. Maxine Waters, saying, “Maxine gives the word (expletive) a bad name.” The expletive was the N-word.
  16. According to a filing by the ACLU, two federal immigration agencies set a “trap” for immigrants seeking legal residency interviews at government offices, having them arrested and in some cases deported.
  17. Emails obtained revealed that ICE planned to target married immigrants who seek green cards. An ACLU representative said, “The government can’t create that path and then arrest folks for following that path.”
  18. On Wednesday, the Senate’s Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations said in a report that Trump’s zero-tolerance policy “exacerbated” existing problems with tracking children.
  19. Ahead of a subcommittee hearing Thursday, Health and Human Services said it is unable to provide data on separated children from this year“because of the toll the family reunification effort is taking” on resources.
  20. The Young Turks reported ICE has ordered 60 “Wraps,” full-body restraints that resemble straitjackets, for restraining detainees “who may be non-compliant” during removal operations.
  21. CBS LA reported ICE detained Joel Arron as he was driving his wife, Maria del Carmen Venega, mother of five, to the hospital for a scheduled Cesarean section on Wednesday, as they had to stop at a gas station.
  22. Del Carmen Venega said ICE approached them to ask for identification. Arron said he didn’t have the ID on him, but that they lived nearby and could go get it for them. ICE checked him for weapons and detained him.
  23. Del Carmen Venega then drove herself to the hospital. ICE issued a statement Friday, saying Arron is “a citizen of Mexico illegally residing in the United States,” and he is in custody “pending removal proceedings.”
  24. On Friday, NPR reported FEMA has begun scaling back financial assistance to Puerto Rico. FEMA said it will cover 90% of costs for emergency work, including items like power restoration and debris cleanup.
  25. The government of Puerto Rico plans to appeal. One official, Omar Marrero said, “Our government will continue demanding the equal treatment to which all Puerto Ricans are entitled as American citizens.”
  26. On Sunday, NYT reported Trump’s Department of Justice has abandoned its role under the Obama administration to stop states from implementing measures that suppressed the vote.
  27. Under AG Jeff Session, the DOJ has filed legal briefs in support of states resisting court orders to rein in voter ID requirements, stop aggressive purges of voter rolls, and redraw boundaries which dilute minority voting.
  28. After the U.S. Court of Appeals ruled struck down an Ohio law to scrub voters opposed by Obama’s DOJ, Sessions’ DOJ reversed course at the Supreme Court, siding with Ohio, as the lower court ruling was reversed.
  29. On Monday, Politico reported Trump offers White House staffers a merchandising credit from 15% to 70% off at his golf club, representing a blurring of lines between his private business and current position.
  30. On Monday, Forbes reported that Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross met with Bill Furman, the CEO of Greenbrier Companies in May 2017, according to Ross’ calendar. At the time, Ross had a financial stake in Greenbrier.
  31. A report from government watchdog Campaign Legal Center found Ross took several actions that could affect his holding, including Greenbrier Companies coming before the department, possibly breaking the law.
  32. On Monday, in a press release the Department of Housing and Urban Development made its firmest commitment yet to tear down the 2015 Obama-era framework for enforcing the Fair Housing Act.
  33. The Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing rule, the strongest effort in decades to crack down on segregation and discriminatory housing practices. Secretary Ben Carson said the rule had “unworkable requirements.”
  34. On Sunday, Trump told WAPO in a statement, “Don has received notoriety for a brief meeting, that many politicians would have taken” adding “to the best of my knowledge, nothing happened after the meeting concluded.”
  35. Trump also said in the prepared statement that Donald Jr. is “a natural” and that his namesake has turned out to be “a wonderful son” who has taken to the new family business as a campaign star.
  36. On Sunday, Bobby Goodlatte, son of GOP Rep. Bob Goodlatte tweeted that he “gave the maximum allowed donation to Jennifer Lewis, a democrat running” for his father’s seat. Bobby also helped fundraise for Lewis.
  37. Bobby tweeted, “I’m deeply embarrassed that Peter Strzok’s career was ruined by my father’s political grandstanding,” adding that the committee hearing was a “low point” for Congress.
  38. On Monday, Stephen Miller’s uncle, David Glosser, wrote an op-ed calling Miller a hypocrite on immigration, saying his great grandfather came to the U.S. as an immigrant fleeing anti-Jewish pogroms in what is now Belarus.
  39. Once his great grandfather had settled and raised money, he was able to gain passage for his family, a process now known as “chain migration,” and which Miller is advocating to eliminate.
  40. On Monday, U.S. District Court Judge Friedrich, who was appointed by Trump, denied a motion by Concord Management and Consulting LLC to dismiss an indictment on the grounds Mueller was appointed unlawfully.
  41. The company allegedly has ties to Yevgeniy Viktorovich Prigozhin, a Russian businessman better known as “Putin’s chef” who is accused of funding a Russian troll farm used to sow dissent during the 2016 election.
  42. On Monday, CNN reported that according to two intelligence agencies, the Kremlin is “pleased” with the Helsinki summit between Trump and Putin, and said that it delivered a better outcome than it had expected.
  43. On Tuesday, Politico reported the FBI is examining a college U.S.-Russia exchange program involving Alexander Torshin. Six years ago he hosted young Americans visiting Moscow as part of cultural exchange programs.
  44. A former student who participated in the program said the FBI agents questioning him said they had “a great degree of confidence that the trips were part of an effort to spot and assess future intelligence assets.”
  45. On Monday, Peter Strzok was fired from the FBI. Strzok’s attorney said the firing was not handled in the usual manner of employee discipline, saying Strzok should face a demotion and a 60-day suspension.
  46. Trump tweeted, “Agent Peter Strzok was just fired from the FBI — finally,” adding, “The list of bad players in the FBI & DOJ gets longer & longer,” and “Strzok was in charge of the Witch Hunt, will it be dropped?”
  47. Minutes later, Trump tweeted, “Just fired Agent Strzok” who “was in charge of the Crooked Hillary Clinton sham investigation” adding theinvestigation was “a total fraud” and “should be properly redone!
  48. Rachel Maddow reported the Trump regime is getting rid of Comey’s corroborating witnesses. The only one who remains, Deputy Director David Bowdich, fired Strzok contrary to FBI personnel office guidance.
  49. Of the others, Andrew McCabe were fired, Jim Rybicki, James Baker and Lisa Page were reassigned or quit under fire, and Carl Ghattas is leaving the FBI. Comey was also fired.
  50. On Tuesday, Giuliani falsely claimed in an interview about the Mueller probe, “If it isn’t over by September, then we have a very, very serious violation of the Justice Department rules,” citing a 60-day quiet period.
  51. Bloomberg reported, according to officials, Mueller can continue his probe up to and after the midterms without violating a Justice Department policy against actions intended “for the purpose of affecting any election.”
  52. On Wednesday, Giuliani said Trump’s lawyers are preparing a memo to oppose a potential subpoena from Mueller for an interview with Trump. He said they have not had a response from Mueller to their latest offer.
  53. Giuliani said Trump attorney Emmet Flood “would have a big role to play here and would assert presidential privilege.” He added Trump’s legal team is mapping out a subpoena battle that could stretch on for months.
  54. Daily Beast reported Daniel Gelbinovich, a former Trump campaign staffer,reached out on behalf of Russian oligarch Roman Abramovich to try to find lobbyists to help him stay off the Treasury Department sanction list.
  55. On Thursday, the special master in Cohen’s case said in a filing she found more than 7,000 privileged items in total. Cohen and his attorney Lanny Davis have been silent this week, fueling speculation of a plea deal.
  56. On Thursday, Sen. Rand Paul told Fox News he will ask Trump and the Treasury Department to lift sanctions on members of the Russian legislature so they can travel to the U.S. for meetings with U.S. officials.
  57. Paul wants to lift sanctions on two lawmakers, Leonid Slutsky and Konstantin Kosachev, who chair relevant committees. Kosachev was put under sanctions in April 2018 for his role in 2016 election interference.
  58. On Friday, Mueller’s team told the court in a filing that George Papadopoulos lied about his contacts with Russian operatives and “caused damage” to and had a “significant effect” on the government’s inquiry.
  59. Papadopoulos lied about the “timing, extent and nature” of the meetings and about his conversations with Joseph Mifsud, undermining investigators’ ability to “potentially detain or arrest” Mifsud in he was still in the U.S.
  60. In the filing, Mueller’s team recommended that Papadopoulos be imprisoned for up to six months. A judge is expected to issue a ruling on his sentence in early September.
  61. On Monday, the prosecution rested in the first Manafort trial after 10 days of testimony from 27 witnesses. The defense did not call any witnesses. Manafort has been charged with 18 tax and banking crimes.
  62. The last witness was James Brennan, a vice president of Federal Savings Bank, who said he faced so much pressure to approve Manafort’s loan, he lied on a form reviewed by federal regulators and the bank’s directors.
  63. Brennan said he gave a second loan for $6.5 million a “4,” a rating that would allow it to approved, under pressure from Stephen Calk . The bank lost $11.8 million on the loans it made to Manafort.
  64. On Tuesday, in a email released by the DOJ, Manafort sent Kushner a recommendation on November 30, 2016 to appoint Stephen Calk as secretary of the Army, as he received the first part of a $16 million loan.
  65. Manafort also included two other possible appointees. Kushner responded that same day, “On it!” Manafort got a $9.5 million loan in November 2016 and a $6.5 million loan in January 2017 around Trump’s inauguration.
  66. On Wednesday, the prosecution and defense gave their closing arguments in the high-stakes trial of Manafort. Jury deliberation began on Thursday.
  67. On Friday, as the country looked on, the jury in the Manafort trial broke for the weekend, saying they would not reach a verdict by 5 p.m. The jury will return Monday for a third day of deliberations.
  68. On Friday, Judge T.S. Ellis III revealed in court that he has received death threats during the Manafort trial, and has had a U.S. marshals detail following him at all times.
  69. Judge Ellis said several media outlets have filed a motion requesting the jurors’ information, and although “a thirsty press is essential,” he will not make names public to protect their safety.
  70. On Friday, Trump told reporters, “I think the whole Manafort trial is very sad,” adding Manafort is “a very good person,” and, “I think it’s very sad what they’ve done to Paul Manafort.”
  71. On Friday, Kevin Downing, Manafort’s defense attorney, told reporters they “really appreciate the support of President Trump.”
  72. On Monday, Trump traveled to Fort Drum to sign a defense bill named for Sen. John McCain. Neither Trump nor Vice President Pence mentioned McCain, who has been critical of Trump, at the ceremony.
  73. On Monday, at a fundraiser for Rep. Claudia Tenney, Trump called Rep. Maxine Waters “a low IQ person,” and claimed, “she wants people to be violent. She wants people to attack.”
  74. On Monday, in a series of tweets, Trump attacked “Wacky Omarosa” who he said was “vicious, but not smart,” saying she “begged me for a job, tears in her eyes,” and “People in the White House hated her.”
  75. Trump tweeted when chief of staff Kelly joined he told Trump that Omarosa is “a loser & nothing but problems,” but Trump told Kelly to work it out because “she only said GREAT things about me.”
  76. On Tuesday, George Conway, husband of Kellyanne, criticized Trump, amplifying a tweet asking what would happen if a CEO hadn’t fired an unqualified employee because the employee constantly praised him?
  77. On Monday, Trump tweeted on accusation of him using the N-word Mark Burnett, “called to say that there are NO TAPES of the Apprentice,” adding, “I don’t have that word in my vocabulary, and never have. She made it up.”
  78. Trump also tweeted, calling Omarosa, “Wacky and Deranged,” saying of the tapes, “She made it up,” and that she had “Zero credibility with the Media” until she worked at the White House.
  79. Former Trump campaign spokesperson Katrina Pierson denied a conversation about Trump using the N-word took place, telling Fox News, “No, that did not happen. Sounds like she is writing a script for a movie.”
  80. On Tuesday, CBS News reported a new recording obtained back up Omarosa’s story that several Trump advisers discussed an alleged tape of him using the N-word during the 2016 campaign.
  81. Pierson is heard saying on the recording, “I am trying to find at least what context it was used in to help us maybe try to figure out a way to spin it,” and “He said. No, he said it. He is embarrassed by it.”
  82. On Tuesday, Trump attacked Omarosa on Twitter, calling her a “crazed, crying lowlife” and a “dog,” after her allegations against him of mental deterioration and racism.
  83. On Tuesday, press secretary Sarah Sanders held the first daily press briefing in two weeks.
  84. At the daily press briefing, when asked if she could guarantee Trump had never been recorded using the N-word, Sanders said “I can’t guarantee anything.”
  85. On Tuesday, in a morning Twitter rant that lasted two hours long, Trump attacked Attorney General Sessions, saying, “If we had a real Attorney General, this Witch Hunt would never have been started!”
  86. Trump also quoted conservative guests on Fox News, including Tom Fitton, tweeting, “There would be no Mueller Special Councel to investigate so called collusion but for the machinations of Strzok & his colleagues.”
  87. Trump also attacked Strzok, tweeting he is a “fraud,” as is “the rigged investigation he started,” adding, “there was no Collusion or Obstruction with Russia,” and “why isn’t this so-called “probe” ended immediately?”
  88. Trump also repeated his frequent false claim, “The only Collusion and Obstruction was by Crooked Hillary, the Democrats and the DNC!”
  89. On Tuesday, Donald J. Trump for President, Inc. filed for arbitration proceedings against Omarosa, after she released her tell-all book, for “breach of her 2016 confidentiality agreement with the Trump Campaign.
  90. Omarosa told PBS that she signed a nondisclosure statement Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign and another one in 2003 when she was on “The Apprentice,” but did not sign one with the White House.
  91. On Tuesday, at the daily briefing, Sanders refused to answer whether she had signed a non-disclosure agreement when joining the White House, after claiming the agreements are common for government officials.
  92. On Tuesday, Omarosa claimed Education Department Secretary Betsy DeVos mocked the black students after a speech, saying, “They don’t get it. They don’t have the capacity to understand what we’re trying to accomplish.”
  93. On Tuesday, Politico reported with Omarosa’s slow leak of tapes, Trump aides are “absolutely terrified,” much in the way that the WikiLeaks slow dump impacted the Clinton’s campaign.
  94. On Wednesday, Axios reported Trump advisers counseled him to hold his tongue when Omarosa’s book came out, telling him engaging would only boost book sales. First Lady Melania Trump advised him to stay above it.
  95. On Thursday, Vanity Fair reported Trump told advisers that he wants Sessions to have Omarosa arrested. One former West West official said, “He’s known her for 15 years and thinks it’s a personal betrayal.”
  96. On Friday, AP reported in addition to tape recordings, Omarosa has a stash of video, emails, text messages, and other documentation supporting the claims she makes in her book.
  97. On Thursday, a judge ruled against Trump, thwarting an attempt by the Trump campaign to keep a lawsuit filed by Jessica Denson saying she was subjected to “harassment and sexual discrimination” out of open court.
  98. The ruling exposes weaknesses in the confidentiality agreements that staffers at Trump’s White House, campaign, and the Trump Organization signed — impacting Trump’s looming battle with Omarosa.
  99. On Tuesday, Sen. Paul said of his recent Moscow visit that Russia will not admit to election interference, saying, “It’s like asking a country to admit to spying. Are we going to wait until the end of time?”
  100. On Tuesday, in state primaries, Christine Hallquist became the first transgender candidate to be nominated for a governorship by a major party.
  101. Also on Tuesday, Minnesota state Rep. Ilhan Omar, who in Week 4 was verbally attacked by a D.C. cab driver for wearing a hijab, won her primary making her the second possible female Muslim American in the House.
  102. On Wednesday, in an unprecedented use of power, Trump revoked the security clearance of former C.I.A director John Brennan, citing Brennan’s “erratic” behavior and “increasingly frenzied commentary.”
  103. On Wednesday, at the daily press briefing, Sanders said Brennan “leveraged his status” with “access to highly sensitive information” to make “unfounded and outrageous allegations” against Trump.
  104. The White House announced the clearance of a number of other officials, including former National Security Agency Director Michael Hayden and former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper are also under review.
  105. On Wednesday, in an interview with the WSJ, Trump said his motivation for revoking Brennan’s clearance was “the rigged witch hunt; [it] is a sham,” adding, “and these people led it!”
  106. On Thursday, in a scathing NYT op-ed, Brennan wrote, Trump “revoked my security clearance: to try to silence anyone who would dare challenge him.” Brennan also wrote, “Russian denials are, in a word, hogwash.”
  107. Brennan also called Trump’s claims of no collusion “hogwash,” saying “the only questions that remain are whether the collusion that took place constituted criminally liable conspiracy.”
  108. Brennan wrote the other questions are whether “obstruction of justice” occurred, and how many members of “Trump Incorporated” attempted “laundering and concealing the movement of money into their pockets.’
  109. Sen. Paul, who in Week 89 encouraged Trump to revoke security clearances, applauded Trump’s move. Several other GOP senators backed Trump with only Sens. Corker and Susan Collins saying they were uneasy.
  110. On Thursday, in a WAPO op-ed, William McRaven, who was commander of the U.S. Joint Special Operations Command and oversaw the raid that killed Osama bin Laden, told Trump to revoke his security clearance.
  111. McRaven wrote Brennan “is one of the finest public servants I have ever known,” and “a man of unparalleled integrity,” and accused Trump of “McCarthy-era tactics” to “suppress the voices of criticism.”
  112. McRaven said he hoped Trump would “rise to the occasion” in office, but instead Trump has “embarrassed us in the eyes of our children, humiliated us on the world stage and, worst of all, divided us as a nation.”
  113. On Thursday, more than a dozen bipartisan former intelligence chiefs issued a statement in support of Brennan, praising his work as head of the C.I.A and calling “allegations of wrongdoing” against him “baseless.”
  114. They accused Trump of trying to “stifle free speech,” and declared the removal of a security clearance as a “political tool” to be unprecedented. They also said it was “clearly a signal” to silence other security officials.
  115. On Friday, Politico reported that Bob Gates, who ran the Pentagon under Presidents W. Bush and Obama, also signed on to the bipartisan letter, bringing it to 14 officials. Gates previously had not spoken out.
  116. On Friday, Trump told reporters outside the White House, “I think that Bruce Ohr is a disgrace, with his wife, Nellie,” and said he plans to “very quickly” strip Bruce Ohr of his the security clearance.
  117. Trump also said of Brennan, “I’ve never respected him.” Trump also denied he had silenced Brennan, saying, “If anything, I’m giving him a bigger voice.”
  118. On Friday, 60 additional former CIA officials signed a statement saying, “former government officials have the right to express their unclassified views” on critical national security issues without fearing reprisals.
  119. On Friday, WAPO reported that a draft of steps against Brennan had been prepared in late July, but the decision to move forward this week was made to divert attention from nonstop coverage of Omarosa’s book.
  120. On Saturday, Trump attacked Brennan, tweeting he is a “loudmouth, partisan, political hack” who cannot be trusted with classified information, adding, “He will go down as easily the WORST in history.”
  121. On Thursday, Politico reported that the media has had diminishing access to Defense Secretary Jim Mattis and other Pentagon officials. Press already has restricted access to briefings, interviews, and travel with Mattis
  122. At a recent meeting with the press, Pentagon spokesperson Dana White told reporters she was watching what they wrote and put on-air, implying there would be repercussions for stories she and her staff did not like.
  123. On Thursday, 411 news outlets denounced Trump’s threats against the press in editorials. The Boston Globe wrote, “To label the press ‘the enemy of the people’ is as un-American as it is dangerous.”
  124. News outlets that participated ranged from big-city newspapers like the NYT and the Chicago Tribune, to smaller ones like the Van Buren County Democrat and the Swift County Monitor-News.
  125. On Thursday, Trump lashed out at the media, saying in all caps, “THEFAKE NEWS MEDIA IS THE OPPOSITION PARTY,” adding “It is very bad for our Great Country….BUT WE ARE WINNING!”
  126. Trump also attacked the Boston Globe, tweeting the Globe which “was sold to the the Failing New York Times,” and “then sold by the Times for 1 DOLLAR,” is “in COLLUSION with other papers on free press.”
  127. On Thursday, the Senate unanimously passed a resolution affirming that “the press is not the enemy of the people.”
  128. On Thursday, the Pentagon said the Trump regime may delay a military parade slated for this fall, noting the parade could cost up to $92 million, far more than the earlier estimates of between $10 million and $30 million.
  129. On Friday, Trump tweeted blame for higher cost on “the local politicianswho run Washington, D.C. (poorly) know a windfall when they see it,” saying “they wanted a number so ridiculously high that I cancelled it.”
  130. Trump tweeted instead he will “attend the big parade already scheduled at Andrews Air Force Base” and “go to the Paris parade,” adding, “maybe he’ll do a parade in D.C. next year “when the cost comes WAY DOWN.”
  131. On Friday, NBC News reported Trump is frustrated with his national security team’s Afghanistan strategy, and is showing a renewed interest in a proposal by Blackwater founder Erik Prince’s to privatize the war.
  132. On Friday, in a morning tweet, Trump pushed for an end to quarterly earnings reports and go to a six-month system, saying, “that would allow greater flexibility & save money,” adding he “asked the SEC to study!”
  133. On Thursday, the White House announced Melania plans to address a cyberbullying summit about “the positive and negative effects of social media on youth” in Maryland next week as part of her “Be Best” initiative.
  134. On Friday, NYT reported in a piece about Melania that Trump tried to dissuade her from starting her “Be Best” anti-bullying campaign, asking her to choose a different topic instead.
  135. Trump was reportedly warned Melania that she was opening herself up toquestions and backlash given his tendency to bully on Twitter. Melania said she was prepared to face any criticism her project might attract.
  136. In a letter, Sens. Dianne Feinstein, Patrick Leahy, and Dick Durbin asked Senate Judiciary Chair Chuck Grassley to make documents public which they say reveal Brett Kavanaugh “misled the Senate during his 2006 nomination hearing.”
  137. Questions are surrounding whether Kavanaugh misled the Senate Judiciary Committee in 2006 about his work on terrorism policy for the W. Bush administration after 9/11.
  138. The senators also said less than 3% of Kavanaugh’s records have been made available to the Committee, compared to Elena Kagan’s nomination where 99% of her White House records were made public.
  139. On Friday, prosecutors in the Southern District of New York sued New York businessman Moshe Lax, a former business partner of Ivanka Trump, for $60 million in unpaid tax liabilities.
  140. Though the complaint does not mention Ivanka or accuse her of wrongdoing, Madison Avenue Diamonds, the business that she helped run for years, figures prominently in the government’s case.
  141. Lax told at least one associate that he has discussed financial strategy with Trump. Lax reportedly said he wanted to strike while Trump’s name was hot to turn Ivanka Trump Fine Jewelry into a $500 million brand.
  142. On Friday, WAPO reported the DOJ is investigating whether Elliott Broidy tried to sell his influence with the Trump regime by offering to deliver U.S. government actions in exchange for tens of millions of dollars.
  143. Investigators are examining a plan Broidy allegedly developed to persuade the Trump regime to extradite a Chinese dissident, as sought by Chinese President Xi. Prosecutors have also subpoenaed Steve Wynn in the matter.
  144. Investigators are also investigating claims Broidy sought $75 million from a Malaysian businessman to exchange for getting the DOJ to end its investigation of a development fund run by the Malaysian government.
  145. On Friday, CNN reported Mueller’s team has almost three times the number of exhibits it wants to show a jury in Manafort’s in the D.C. criminal trial, compared with what it used in his Virginia case.
  146. According to a court filing Thursday, prosecutors have “well over” 1,000 pieces of evidence for the D.C. case which starts in September. The evidence largely does not overlap with that used in the D.C. case.
  147. On Friday, the Hill reported despite Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s calls for senators to return to work this week, senators didn’t arrive until late Wednesday and held their last votes of the week at 1:45 p.m. Thursday.
  148. Seven Republicans, not including Sen. McCain, chose not to return to Washington D.C. At a private meeting Thursday, McConnell criticized his colleagues for skipping votes, and asked that they come back next week.
  149. On Saturday, in a series of tweets, Trump attacked social media companies of discriminating against conservatives, saying, “If you are weeding out Fake News, there is nothing so Fake as CNN & MSNBC.”
  150. Trump tweeted, “Too many voices are being destroyed,” and “too many mistakes are being made” and hinted he may intervene if accounts of his allies continue to be shut down.
  151. On Saturday, NYT reported White House counsel Donald McGahn has cooperated extensively in the Mueller probe of possible obstruction of justice by Trump.
  152. McGahn has been had at least three interviews with investigators totaling 30 hours over the past nine months, discussing Trump’s rage over the Russia probe and ways he urged McGahn to respond to it.
  153. On obstruction of justice, McGahn has also provided a clear view of Trump at intimate moments at those times. McGahn’s cooperation began as part of Trump’s first team of criminal lawyers who decided to fully collaborate.
  154. Areas of interest include Trump’s comments and actions during the Comey firing, Trump’s repeated urging for Sessions to claim oversight of the Mueller probe, and Trump’s attempts to fire Mueller.

POLITIKS OF GRAFFITI 92: ENTRENCHED IN THE SWAMP

Week 91 of this administration: Experts in authoritarianism advise to keep a list of things subtly changing around you, so you’ll remember.

August 11, 2018 https://medium.com/@Amy_Siskind/week-91-experts-in-authoritarianism-advise-to-keep-a-list-of-things-subtly-changing-around-you-so-1fe8c655810b

This was a week of widespread and outrageous corruption in the Trump orbit — from Congressman Chris Collins and insider trading, to Secretary Wilbur Ross and grifting, to Secretary of State Kris Kobach miscounting votes, to the “Mar-a-Lago Crowd” controlling the Department of Veterans Affairs, and more. The phrase “drain the swamp” has disappeared from Trump’s vernacular, as he and his apostles appear to be squarely inside the swamp.

As Paul Manafort’s trial sped along, several associates of Roger Stone were subpoenaed, suggesting he is a point of focus in the Mueller probe. Trump and his surrogates continued to ramp up attacks on the Mueller probe, and related areas like the FBI — and several plan to focus on a new shiny coin: Bruce Ohr. A surreptitiously taped and leaked audio of a Republican fundraiser revealed House Intelligence Committee chairman Devin Nunes’ plans to protect Trump at all costs, including the possible impeachment of deputy AG Rod Rosenstein.

Themes of white nationalism were front and center this week with a diatribe by Fox News host Laura Ingraham on changing demographics, and the regime’s continued efforts to whiten America, while ignoring brown lives lost in Puerto Rico and inhumanely separated at our Southern border. As the week came to a close, on the one-year anniversary of Charlottesville, Trump condemned “all types of racism,” in simpatico with white nationalist leader Jason Kessler who stated, “White people should be able to have the same rights as other groups.”

Below: “Doomsday Donald” by UK artist Chris Czee Tampin. August 2018. https://www.czee13.com/czee13

IMG_5560

  1. On Saturday, at a rally in Ohio, Trump staked out a new position on U.S. elections interference, saying, “It’s a lot of people…Russia is there, China is there. We are doing well with North Korea, but they’re probably there.”
  2. Trump said the meddling will “happen really big now” because the U.S. is “taking our wealth back.” Trump also criticized the media and the “elite” class, saying “it drives them crazy” that he won the presidency.
  3. On Sunday, Sen. Amy Klobuchar told “Meet the Press” that she is very concerned the midterm elections could come under digital assault, adding Trump is still “undermining this on national TV” and saying “it’s a hoax.”
  4. Klobuchar also said the Russians are not stopping with election interference, saying she would “love to see” concerns “broadened out” to discuss the threats to our power grid system and our financial system.
  5. On Wednesday, the Tampa Bay Times reported Sen. Bill Nelson of Florida said Russian operatives have “penetrated certain counties in the state” ahead of the midterms, and “they now have free rein to move about.”
  6. Nelson and GOP Sen. Marco Rubio wrote a letter in July to 67 county election supervisors about potential threats. Nelson is running for re-election against Gov. Rick Scott, who denied knowledge of the allegations.
  7. Sen. Mark Warner, ranking member of the Senate Intelligence Committee, said in a statement, “Russian activities continue to pose a threat…I hope all state and local elections officials, including Florida’s, will take this issue seriously.”
  8. Security activists filed a federal lawsuit against the state of Georgia that included exhibits from activists and voters who experienced a series of irregularities in the 2016 election and May 2017 primary.
  9. The lawsuit comes amid swelling public concern for the security of Georgia’s voting systems. Mueller’s July 2018 indictment indicated that Russian operatives visited county election websites in Georgia.
  10. Cybersecurity experts warned there were security flaws on the state election website leading up to the 2016 contest that permitted the download and manipulation of voter information.
  11. On Monday, Sen. Rand Paul led a U.S. delegation to visit Moscow in what he characterized as a continuation of Trump’s diplomatic outreach to Putin. Paul met with members of the Russian Council.
  12. Paul met with Konstantin Kosachev, the chairman of the council’s foreign policy panel, who was put under U.S. sanction for Russia’s actions againstthe U.S. government in April 2018.
  13. Paul said Monday he invited Russian lawmakers to visit Washington. When asked by CNN whether the issue of Russian interference came up, Paul said he had “general discussions about a lot of issues.”
  14. Paul was joined by Texas State Sen. Don Huffines, and his twin brother Phillip who ran unsuccessfully for a Texas state senate seat. On Tuesday, Sen. Huffines took to Twitter to defend his visit to Moscow.
  15. On Wednesday, Paul delivered a letter from Trump to Putin that Paul said “emphasized the importance of further engagement” between the two leaders on issues such as countering terrorism.
  16. On Saturday, WAPO reported Trump is privately brooding about the widening fallout of the Russia probe, and fretting that he is not getting enough credit for what he claims are political triumphs.
  17. Trump is concerned the Mueller probe could ruin the lives of what he calls “innocent and decent people,” including Donald Jr. who he believes may have inadvertently wandered into legal jeopardy with the June 9 meeting.
  18. On Sunday, Trump tweeted about the WAPO story, saying the “Fake News” is reporting “a complete fabrication” about the meeting “my wonderful son, Donald, had in Trump Tower.”
  19. Trump also admitted, “this was a meeting to get information on an opponent,” and falsely claiming it was “totally legal and done all the time in politics.” Trump also added, “I did not know about it!”
  20. Trump also tweeted, without evidence, “Mueller and the 17 Angry Democrats” are biased, saying, “This is the most one sided Witch Hunt in the history of our country,” calling it again a “Rigged Witch Hunt.”
  21. On Sunday, Trump attorney Jay Sekulow told “This Week” that he made a mistake by denying Trump was involved in a misleading statement last year on Donald Trump Jr.’s meeting, saying he had “bad information.”
  22. Hope Hicks, who was reportedly visiting Ivanka and Jared at Trump’s Bedminster golf club, ended up joining Trump aboard Air Force One on Saturday to attend his rally in Ohio that evening.
  23. Hicks’ presence sparked speculation she might rejoin the regime, but also noted was her role in July 2017 in helping Trump draft a misleading statement on Air Force One about the June 9 Trump Tower meeting.
  24. On Saturday, First Lady Melania Trump issued a statement in support of LeBron James, saying he is doing “good things on behalf of our next generation,”after Trump disparaged James in Week 90.
  25. On Sunday, Portland, Oregon’s police chief ordered a review of her officers’ behavior at a far-right rally Saturday, after accusations the police were heavy-handed in their crackdown against anti-fascist protesters.
  26. On Wednesday, Fox News host Laura Ingraham complained that changing U.S. demographics have been “foisted” on the American people, saying “it does seem like the America we know and love doesn’t exist anymore.”
  27. Ingraham also said of the demographic changes, “none of us ever voted for and most of us don’t like,” adding, “much of this is related to both illegal, and in some cases, legal immigration that, of course, progressives love.”
  28. On Thursday, Ingraham tried to distance herself from the white supremacists cheering her comments, saying her comments had “nothing to do with race or ethnicity” but a “shared goal of keeping America safe.”
  29. On Friday, Trump slammed the NFL players who knelt during preseason games, tweeting, “the NFL players are at it again — taking a knee when they should be standing proudly for the National Anthem.”
  30. Trump suggested players who “make a fortune doing what they love” should “Be happy, be cool,” adding, “Find another way to protest. Stand proudly for your National Anthem or be Suspended Without Pay!”
  31. On Sunday, Trump again attacked the media, tweeting “it’s true” that they are “the Enemy of the People,” saying they “purposely cause great division & distrust,” can also “cause War,” and they are “very dangerous & sick!”
  32. On Sunday, Fox News’ Chris Wallace challenged national security adviser John Bolton about Trump’s tweet, asking “What wars have we started?” Bolton avoided the question, and said media bias has been around for a long time.
  33. Newseum issued an apology for selling “You Are Very Fake News” t-shirts in its gift shop and online, saying, “ A free press is an essential part of our democracy and journalists are not the enemy of the people.”
  34. On Monday, GOP strategist Karl Rove told Fox News that Trump should “tone down” his attacks on the media, comparing Trump’s use of the phrase “enemy of the people” to that of Stalin against his enemies.
  35. Politico reported the networks are boosting security staff for the first time to protect reporters at Trump’s rallies. Reporters say at recent events there is a sense that violence could easily break out at any time.
  36. Guardian reported the Trump regime rescinded an Obama-era ban which prohibited farmers from planting biotech crops engineered to resist insects. The pesticides are linked to declining bee populations.
  37. Rolling Stone reported the EPA is evaluating allowing asbestos, enacting the Significant New Use Rule, which allows the government to evaluate use on a case-by-case basis. Trump has long supported the use of asbestos.
  38. Not included in the evaluation process are the potential effects of exposure to chemicals in the air, ground, or water, allowing the EPA to circumvent an Obama-era law for evaluating potentially dangerous chemicals.
  39. Until recently, 95% of asbestos used in the U.S. came from Brazil, with the balance from Russia. Brazil recently banned asbestos, leaving Russia. A Russian asbestos company shared an image featuring Trump on Facebook.
  40. On Friday, NYT reported, according to internal emails, the EPA’s in-house scientists and lawyers objected to the agency’s new rules on a measure to review applications for using asbestos in consumer products.
  41. Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey is leading an effort among Democratic state attorneys to fight the asbestos plan. Exposure to asbestos has been linked to lung cancer, mesothelioma, and other ailments.
  42. Reuters reported that the second annual ‘America First Energy Conference’ this week was attended by some of the country’s most vocal climate change doubters, as well as by a handful of Trump administration officials.
  43. The presence of Trump officials gave a boost to outlandish ideas such aspumping carbon dioxide into the air makes the planet greener, and the United Nations produces fake science to control the global energy market.
  44. On Friday, Betsy DeVos’s Department of Education released a document outlining a proposal to scrap an Obama-era rule aimed at protecting students from career training programs.
  45. The “Gainful Employment” regulations required programs at for-profit-colleges that prepare students for careers to prove graduates were earning enough to repay the debt they incurred to complete the program.
  46. On Sunday, WSJ reported Canadians, upset with Trump over tariffs and treatment of their prime minister, are boycotting products made in the U.S. and buying Canadian.
  47. On Monday, South Carolina TV-maker Element Electronics said it will close its Winnsboro plant in response to tariffs imposed by Trump.
  48. On Monday, NBC News reported the limited number of H-2B visas being issued by the Trump regime is leaving companies that depend on foreign seasonal workers, like landscaping and crabbing businesses, struggling to stay afloat.
  49. Small business owners are losing revenue, saying American workers don’t want temporary jobs, leaving them unable to fill positions. The Trump family continues to use H-2B visas for their businesses.
  50. First lady Melania Trump’s parents, Viktor and Amalija Knavs, were sworn in as U.S. citizens, obtaining citizenship through a path referred to by Trump as “chain migration,” which Trump is currently trying to eliminate.
  51. The Knavses were eligible for green cards and to apply for citizenship because their daughter Melania is a citizen, the most common way immigrants to the U.S. get green cards and eventually become citizens.
  52. Trump’s paternal grandfather and mother, who migrated from Germany and Scotland, also used chain migration to become citizens, as did Ivana, Trump’s first wife and mother to his three oldest children.
  53. On Tuesday, NBC News reported that White House senior adviser Stephen Miller is working on a plan to limit the number of migrants who obtainlegal status in the U.S. His plan would circumvent Congress.
  54. According to a draft, immigrants living legally in the U.S. who have used, or whose households have used, popular public welfare programs like Obamacare or food stamps would be blocked from becoming citizens.
  55. On Tuesday, the ACLU sued Attorney General Jeff Sessions and others over policies instructing asylum officers that claims based on domestic or gang violence will not establish the basis for asylum or refugee status.
  56. The ACLU claims asylum seekers will be deported to places where they face grave danger. The Trump regime claim the asylum process is exploited by immigrants to pass credible fear screenings and be released into the country.
  57. The Texas Observer reported an ICE transport company van transporting eight Central American mothers separated from their children under “zero-tolerance” crashed in July. ICE denied the incident happened.
  58. When pressed further by the Observer, citing a San Marcos Police Department report on the accident and significant injuries to migrant mothers, ICE changed the story to the incident being a “fender bender.”
  59. On Thursday, Helen Aguirre Ferré, the White House director of media affairs for Latino and African-American news outlets, quietly resigned. The White House did not comment on her reason for leaving or her future.
  60. The Trump regime still does not offer a Spanish version of the White House website, available under the W. Bush and Obama administrations. The Spanish site was supposed to launch in late 2017.
  61. On Thursday, a federal judge in Washington halted a deportation of a woman and her daughter while a hearing appealing their deportations was underway, and threatened to hold Sessions in contempt of court.
  62. The ACLU said government attorneys in another case informed them that the pair was on a flight to El Salvador. When Judge Emmet Sullivan in Washington was informed, he ordered the government to “turn the plane around.”
  63. WAPO reported, according to government data, the number of migrant families taken into custody along the border remained nearly unchanged from June to July, suggesting separating families did not deter migrants.
  64. WAPO reported, as of August 9, 559 of the 2,551 children separated from their parents remain separated. Since the July 26 deadline imposed by the court, the Trump regime has made almost no progress in reunificiations.
  65. The latest figures provided by the Trump regime show just 34 migrant parents waived the right to be reunified with their children, compared with the 120 that the government reported a week prior.
  66. On Thursday, NYT reported in a report to Congress, the Puerto Rico government acknowledged that Hurricane Maria killed an estimated 1,427, far more than the official death toll of 64.
  67. The estimate comes from comparing deaths in the last four months of 2017 to previous years. Officials say they await the outcome of the George Washington University study to provide certainty around final numbers.
  68. On Monday, Trump quoted Dan Bongino on “Fox & Friends,” saying “Collusion with Russia was very real,” and repeating his false claims that “Hillary Clinton and her team 100% colluded with the Russians.”
  69. Trump also parroted Bongino’s claim without evidence,“so did Adam Schiff,” saying he tried to collude with Russians “to obtain compromising material on DJT,” and adding “ we should demand a full investigation.”
  70. On Monday, Bloomberg reported the Senate Intelligence Committee’s Russia probe is likely to extend beyond the midterms, longer than chairman Richard Burr had hoped, for the panel plans to interview more witnesses for its final report.
  71. On Monday, at the Manafort trial, Rick Gates testified he and and Manafort had 15 foreign accounts which were not disclosed to the federal government. Gates said they also did not submit required forms at Manafort’s direction.
  72. Gates testified he committed crimes alongside and at the direction of Manafort. Gates said Ukraine former pro-Russian President Viktor Yanukovych’s backers moved money from accounts in Cyprus to Manafort.
  73. Gates also testified he cheated Manafort out of “several hundred thousand” dollars by submitting false expense reports. The monies were taken out of some of the undisclosed foreign bank accounts in Cyprus.
  74. On Tuesday, Gates admitted on cross-examination to having an affair, as Manafort’s defense team continued to try to hammer Gates’ credibility. Gates denied using company money for his affair.
  75. Gates testified that Manafort was paid $4 million a year to help Yanukovych govern after he was elected president in 2010. Yanukovych pivoted towards Moscow, which led to protests and his ouster in 2014.
  76. On Wednesday, the forensic accountant showed Manafort controlled or had a stake in 31 bank accounts in Cyprus, St. Vincent, the Grenadines, and the U.K., opened by Manafort, Gates, and Konstantin Kilimnik.
  77. On Wednesday, Fox News judicial analyst Andrew Napolitano said Judge T.S. Ellis has shown “an extraordinary bias” against prosecutors in the Manafort trial, and added, “He’s making too much of the case about him.”
  78. On Thursday, Judge Ellis apologized to jurors after berating prosecutorsfor allowing a witness to watch the proceedings, despite having given his earlier approval, saying, “It appears I may well have been wrong.”
  79. On Thursday, in a court filing, Mueller’s team asked to keep a discussion between trial attorneys and the judge regarding a question to Gates secret,signaling Gates may also be assisting in Mueller’s Russia probe.
  80. On Friday, for the second time in two days, prosecutors asked Judge Ellis to take back a critical remark directed at them in front of the jury, saying it could “sow confusion among the jurors about the merits of that charge.”
  81. On Friday, Dennis Raico, a former senior vice president at Federal Savings Bank, testified CEO Steve Calk “expedited” approval of $16 million in loans for Manafort, adding it “made me very uncomfortable.”
  82. On Friday, there was an unexplained five-hour delay in the Manafort trial. Before the lunch break, Judge Ellis stressed to jurors the importance of not discussing the case and told them to “keep an open mind.”
  83. NBC News reported Kristin Davis, the “Manhattan Madam” is scheduled to testify this week before Mueller’s grand jury in Washington. Davis said in July she believed it was in regard to her relationship with Roger Stone.
  84. On Thursday, MSNBC host Ari Melber reported Mueller’s office had “indicated” it plans to subpoena Randy Credico, the associate of Stone who was his alleged connection to Wikileaks during the 2016 election.
  85. On Friday, Credico said that he had received a subpoena to testify before the grand jury in Mueller’s investigation of Russian interference on September 7, and said he did not plan to fight it.
  86. On Friday, U.S. District Chief Judge Beryl Howell found Andrew Miller, a Stone associate, in contempt for refusing to testify before the grand jury. Miller’s attorney plans to appeal the decision.
  87. According to a June court transcript, the subpoena of Miller seeks information about Stone and key figures in the hacking of the Democratic National Committee, and the release of Democrats’ emails by Wikileaks.
  88. On Friday, Stone told the NYT, “the ongoing attempt to interrogate themappears to be an effort to fabricate some other ‘crime’ to pressure me into testifying” against Trump, adding, “It really has the smell of a witch hunt.”
  89. On Friday, BuzzFeed reported FBI agents and congressional investigators are examining a series of transactions which GOP operative Peter W. Smithmade as his effort to procure Clinton’s emails heated up.
  90. A day after he finished a report saying he was working with Trump campaign officials, he transferred $9,500 from an account to fund the email project to his personal account, and withdrew $4,900 in cash.
  91. Responding to an FBI subpoena, Smith’s bank, Northern Trust turned over documents showing 88 suspicious cash withdrawals totaling about $140,000 between January 2016 and April 2017.
  92. On Wednesday, Politico reported, according to a Russian document, Putin presented Trump with a series of requests in Helsinki, including new talks on controlling nuclear arms and prohibiting weapons in space.
  93. Russian officials, including Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov complained about the document being leaked. U.S. officials have yet to be fully briefedby Trump on the contents of his two hour meeting with Putin.
  94. On Wednesday, more than a month past a statutory deadline and after being called out by Republican members of Congress, the Trump regime issued new sanctions against Russia for the U.K. Skripal poisoning.
  95. The U.S. had joined European countries in publicly blaming Moscow within days of the March attack, but the Trump regime had yet to issue the formal determination that triggers automatic sanctions in a 1991 law.
  96. The Chemical and Biological Weapons and Warfare Elimination Act of 1991 will impose sanctions in two tranches: the first has little impact, the second, if Russia does not provide “reliable assurances” will be substantial.
  97. On Wednesday, WAPO reported the White House is drafting a sanctions order to punish foreign interference in U.S. elections, in an effort to appear serious about combatting Russian disinformation and hacking.
  98. The draft order is meant to stave off aggressive legislation introduced in the Senate in Week 90, and to answer continuing criticism that Trump has sided with Putin over U.S. intelligence on Russian hacking.
  99. In an effort to make the order palatable to Trump, Russia is not singled out, and reference is made to past attempts by the “Soviet Union” to interfere in U.S. elections. The draft grants Trump discretion on sanctions.
  100. A recent Gallup Poll found 40% of Republicans regard Russia as an ally or at least as a country friendly to the U.S., double the percentage from 2014.
  101. A new public opinion survey conducted by Ipsos found 43% of Republicans said that they believed Trump “should have the authority to close news outlets engaged in bad behavior.” Just 36% disagreed.
  102. On Tuesday, Trump tweeted congratulating “Troy Balderson on a great win in Ohio, and took credit for the win. The race remains undecided at the week’s end in a traditionally safe GOP district that Trump won by 11 points.
  103. On Tuesday, after election primary victories, Rashida Tlaib of Michigan was poised to become the first Muslim woman in Congress, and Sharice Davids of Kansas the first Native American. Davids is also openly gay.
  104. On Wednesday, Corey Stewart, the neo-Confederate Republican nominee for Senate in Virginia tweeted about Michigan gubernatorial candidateAbdul El-Sayed who lost her primary, calling her an “ISIS commie.”
  105. On Wednesday, in a tape obtained by “The Rachel Maddow Show” of a July GOP fundraiser, Rep. Devin Nunes said impeaching Rosenstein would delay the Senate’s ability to confirm Trump’s Supreme Court nominee.
  106. In the audio from fundraiser for Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers, Nunes said “Rosenstein deserves to be impeached,” and added, “if Sessions won’t unrecuse and Mueller won’t clear the president, we’re the only ones.”
  107. Nunes also suggested the Republicans must keep the House majority to protect Trump from the Mueller probe, saying, “We have to keep all these seats…We have to keep the majority.”
  108. Nunes also said, hypothetically, if a campaign received and released stolen emails from a foreign government — using an example of McMorris Rodgers and the country of Portugal — “Well, if that’s the case, then that’s criminal.”
  109. On Tuesday, Forbes reported on numerous allegations against Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross from his business days which have sparked lawsuits, reimbursements, and an SEC fine of more than $120 million.
  110. Mother Jones reported ex-Trump campaign aides Jason Osborne and Mike Rubino are lobbying for a Russian-backed Serbian separatist party in Bosnia, whose leader has been sanctioned by the Treasury Department.
  111. The two registered with the Justice Department to lobby for the political party of Milorad Dodik. Party officials have met with Steve Bannon, Corey Lewandowski, and Rep. Dana Rohrabacher.
  112. On Tuesday, WSJ reported Michael Cohen is under investigation by federal prosecutors for possible tax fraud, for underreporting income for his taxi-medallion business in federal tax returns.
  113. Prosecutors also are looking into whether any employees at the Sterling National Bank, which provided financing for Cohen’s taxi-medallion business, allowed Cohen to inflate collateral value to obtain loans.
  114. ProPublica reported three of Trump’s Palm Beach cronies — Marvel Entertainment chairman Ike Perlmutter, Bruce Moskowitz, and Marc Sherman — have had significant influence in shaping veteran’s policies.
  115. None of the three have any military or government experience. VA insiders refer to them as the “Mar-a-Lago Crowd.” Trump has been a powerful ally — speaking on the phone and dining with Perlmutter frequently.
  116. Hundreds of documents obtained under the FOIA reveal the three hovered over public servants without transparency, accountability, or oversight, and have been calling the shots at Veterans Affairs since Trump took office.
  117. An analysis done by NBC News of revenue at Trump Hotel DC based on public filings and social media found substantial spending at the hotel by federal agencies, Trump’s political allies, and foreign governments.
  118. Trump took in more than $40 million in revenues from the hotel in 2017, and Ivanka took in $3.9 million. Trump loyalists and senior aides like Mike Pence, Rudy Giuliani, Larry Kudlow, and Lewandowski frequent the hotel.
  119. PACs and GOP campaigns have spent the most at the hotel. Religious groups and lobbyists for the petroleum and banking industries have held events there, as have foreign governments like Kuwait and Saudi Arabia.
  120. On Wednesday, Rep. Chris Collins, the first member of Congress to endorse Trump in February 2016, was charged with insider trading. In Trump‘s early days, Collins served as an informal liaison to Congress.
  121. A video was uncovered of what appears to be Collins calling his son to tell him to sell stock in Australian biotech company Innate while at the White House picnic on June 22, 2017.
  122. On Saturday, Rep. Collins reversed course and suspended his bid for re-election in 2018, saying he had decided it was “in the best interests” of his district, the Republican Party, and Trump’s agenda.
  123. On Wednesday, Reuters reported the Trump regime cut 40 jobs at the Office of Financial Research, a government agency tasked with identifying looming financial risks, created in the wake of the 2008 financial crisis.
  124. On Thursday, Kansas Gov. Jeff Colyer called on his opponent Secretary of State Kris Kobach to recuse himself from vote counting after multiple counties reported voting totals on the secretary of state’s website were inaccurate.
  125. Kobach was ahead by just 191 votes on election night, but at least two known errors had cost Colyer roughly 100 votes. Late Thursday, Kobach agreed to recuse himself.
  126. On Wednesday, Daily Beast reported Omarosa Manigault-Newman, the former “Apprentice” star who followed Trump to the White House, has secret recordings she made of Trump — the contents of which will be in her upcoming book.
  127. Omarosa said the tapes reveal Trump frequently used the word “nigger” while he was the host of the reality television show “Celebrity Apprentice,” although she did not personally hear him use the word.
  128. On Friday, WAPO reported Omarosa was offered a $15,000-a-month contract by Trump campaign adviser Lara Trump to stay silent after being fired from her job as a White House aide in December 2017.
  129. The West Hollywood city council unanimously approved a proposal to remove Trump’s star from the Hollywood Walk of Fame, citing costs of acts of vandalism and demonstrations.
  130. On Thursday, Tribune Media terminated its merger agreement with Sinclair Broadcast Group, and sued the owner, alleging it failed to make sufficient efforts to get their $3.9 billion deal approved by regulators.
  131. After over a year of supporting the merger, Trump’s FCC Chair had soured on it in Week 88. The Hollywood Reporter noted Fox News, a competitor to Sinclair, was the big winner of the deal not going through.
  132. On Thursday, NYT reported senior American national security officials pushed to complete the NATO deal before the July 11 summit in Brussels began, to protect from Trump blowing up the deal while at the summit.
  133. National security adviser Bolton communicated through U.S. ambassador to NATO Kay Bailey Hutchison. On July 4, NATO’s secretary general toldambassadors the usual infighting over the agreement had to be dropped.
  134. The new agreement, completed in advance of the summit, gives American national security officials the ability to assure the public and skittish allies, even while Trump continues to publicly bash NATO.
  135. On Wednesday, the 45th anniversary of Nixon’s resignation, Giuliani told Fox News host Sean Hannity in contrast to Nixon’s downfall, this time the wrongdoing is on the side of the investigator, not the president.
  136. Giuliani said, “In this case, the investigation was much worse than the no-crime,” and called the Mueller probe “Corrupt investigations through and through,” that is “going to lead to some very big reforms.”
  137. On Thursday, Trump lashed out, tweeting the Mueller probe is “an illegally brought Rigged Witch Hunt run by people who are totally corrupt and/or conflicted,” and ended his tweet with a foreboding, “Stay tuned!”
  138. On Thursday, the special master appointed after the Cohen raid said she “has concluded her review” of four million items to determine what is subject to attorney-client privilege.
  139. In the last batch of items reviewed, Cohen claimed 4,808 were privileged, while the special master agreed with the designation for about half. The documents have been turned over to federal prosecutors in New York.
  140. The Hill reported House Judiciary Committee chair Bob Goodlatte is preparing to subpoena people connected to the Steele dossier, including DOJ official Bruce Ohr, his wife Nellie Ohr, and Fusion GPS co-founder Glenn Simpson.
  141. Bruce Ohr is under GOP scrutiny for his contacts with Simpson and Steele during the 2016 election, while Nellie Ohr worked for Fusion GPS at that time. The committee will also go subpoena former FBI and DOJ officials.
  142. Sekulow and Nunes are also speaking out. Sekulow told “This Week” on Sunday that Ohr’s ties to Steele and Fusion GPS “concerned” him, and Nunes said Monday on “Hannity” that Ohr’s involvement is troubling.
  143. It is unclear why Ohr has become the focus of attention from Trump allies. Ohr was removed from the Deputy Attorney’s office when his ties to Steele came to public light. Most of the allegations have been public for months.
  144. On Friday, Sekulow and Giuliani hosted Sean Hannity’s afternoon radio show. The lawyers criticized Mueller’s Russia investigation, with Giuliani claiming Mueller’s investigation was “born in corruption.”
  145. WAPO reported although on vacation this week in Bedminster, New Jersey,Trump continued to actively tweet about the Mueller probe, and ancillary subjects such as the FBI and collusion, sending 10 tweets as of Friday.
  146. On Friday, Trump quoted Fox Business host Maria Bartiromo on the Mueller probe, tweeting, “No evidence to launch even an investigation into potential collusion…and here we are, a year and a half later.” This is false.
  147. Trump also quoted Jenna Ellis of the Washington Examiner, tweeting, “FBI thought they wouldn’t get caught because they thought that Hillary was going to win. There is overt bias…a double standard that needs to stop.”
  148. On Saturday, Trump attacked the FBI’s handling of Andrew McCabe’s text messages in a pair of tweets, asking “What are they hiding? McCabe wife took big campaign dollars from Hillary people…..”
  149. Trump threatened he may “get involved,” and asked, “Will the FBI ever recover it’s once stellar reputation, so badly damaged by Comey, McCabe, Peter S and his lover… FBI have been hurt by these clowns and losers!”
  150. On Wednesday, Donald Jr. posted a poll graphic to his Instagram account which doctored Trump’s approval from 40% up to 50%, ahead of Obama’s 45%, backing his father’s claim that he has better approval than Obama.
  151. After the doctored post was reported on, Donald Jr. deleted it on Friday, but not until after tens of thousands of people had seen, shared, or endorsed the false 50% approval rating.
  152. On Thursday, Vice President Pence laid out Trump’s plans for the Space Force, which would become the sixth branch of the U.S. Armed Forces, equal to the other five. The new branch needs to be approved by Congress.
  153. Shortly after Pence’s speech, Trump tweeted, “Space Force all the way!” and his campaign sent supporters an email asking them to vote on a Space Force logo, and to consider making a campaign donation.
  154. States of emergency were declared for the Commonwealth of Virginia and Charlottesville at the one-year anniversary of the white nationalist “Unite the Right” rally and counter-protests that turned deadly last year.
  155. On Saturday, Trump tweeted “The riots in Charlottesville a year ago resulted in senseless death and division,” and, reminiscent of his “both sides” remarks, said he condemns, “all types of racism and acts of violence.”
  156. Jason Kessler, a white nationalist leader who is organizing the Unite the Right 2018 rally in Lafayette Square on Sunday, said, “White people should be able to have the same rights as other groups.

POLITIKS OF GRAFFITI 91: ENEMY OF THE STATE

Week 90 of this policymaker: Experts in authoritarianism advise to keep a list of things subtly changing around you, so you’ll remember.

August 4, 2018 https://medium.com/@Amy_Siskind/week-90-experts-in-authoritarianism-advise-to-keep-a-list-of-things-subtly-changing-around-you-so-9a61f5ac66b9

Artwork: Mueller’s investigation is tightening and 45 is going insane. By Jim Carrey.

This week Trump’s battle with the media escalated as he ramped up his “enemy of the state” rhetoric, and his staffers and supporters followed his lead. The United Nations Human Rights office issued a statement condemning Trump’s media attacks, which this week put a CNN reporter in danger at a Trump rally in Tampa, Florida.

As the first trial for Paul Manafort got underway, Trump called on Attorney General Jeff Sessions to end the Mueller probe. Even as his top national security officials took the unusual step of appearing together and briefing the press on the ongoing Russia cyber threat, and as social media companies and experts revealed ongoing attacks, Trump continued to label the Russian investigation as a hoax, and took no leadership steps to address the threat and protect our country.

As the Senate held hearings on Trump’s “zero tolerance” policy, stories continued to surface about the inhumane treatment of migrants. The Trump regime took the position that the reunification was complete — even as hundreds of families remain separated. Kleptocracy, incompetence, and corruption continued to plague the regime, but in the daily chaos, got little attention or coverage.

WAPO reported Trump has made 4,229 false or misleading claims in his first 558 days. His lies are escalating: now averaging 7.6 false or misleading claims per day, up from 4.9 claims per day in his first 100 days.

On July 5, Trump reached a new high of 79 false or misleading claims in a single day. June and July 2018 ranked first and second overall, with 532 and 446 claims — roughly 16 false or misleading claims per day.

By topic, Trump has told the most lies about: economic issues, trade deals or jobs (1,293), followed by immigration (538), trade (432), the Russia probe (378), and taxes (336).

On Sunday, Trump tweeted about a meeting with NYT publisher A.G. Sulzberger, saying they discussed “the vast amounts of Fake News being put out by the media & how that Fake News has morphed into phrase, ‘Enemy of the People.’”

On Sunday, in a statement, Sulzberger said he accepted Trump’s invitation for a July 20 meeting to raise his concerns about Trump’s “deeply troubling anti-press rhetoric,” saying, “the phrase ‘fake news’ is untrue and harmful.”

Sulzberger said he told Trump “his language was not just divisive but increasingly dangerous,” warning, “inflammatory language is contributing to a rise in threats against journalists and will lead to violence.”

Sulzberger said overseas, governments are using Trump’s words as justification to crack down on journalists, and warned that Trump’s attacks were “putting lives at risk” and “undermining” our democratic ideals.

On Sunday, in a series of tweets, Trump said, “I will not allow our great country to be sold out by anti-Trump haters in the dying newspaper industry,” including the “failing” New York Times and Washington Post.

Trump added, “the media-driven insane by their Trump Derangement Syndrome..truly puts the lives of many, not just journalists, at risk!” and called the media “very unpatriotic!

On Tuesday, Trump continued his battle with the media, tweeting, “The Fake News Media is going CRAZY,” accusing the media of being “unhinged,” and of ruining the lives of “innocent and decent people.”

Trump also tweeted that in 7 years, when he is out of office, media “ratings will dry up and they will be gone!” Trump continues to target CNN, NBC News, WAPO, and NYT as “fake news” for coverage he deems unfair.

On Tuesday, Trump renewed his government shutdown threat, tweeting, “I don’t care what the political ramifications are,” adding, “Border Security is National Security,” and saying a shutdown “is a very small price to pay.”

On Tuesday, Trump held a rally in Tampa, Florida. Ahead of the rally, Trump supporters crowded around CNN’s Jim Acosta, threateningly, giving him the middle finger, and leading chants of “CNN sucks.”

Trump repeated his anti-immigrant rhetoric, promising “tremendous border security that’s going to include the wall,” and claiming, without evidence, that Democrats were encouraging undocumented immigrants to vote.

Trump made a case for the need for voter IDs to prevent voter fraud, falsely claiming, “You know if you go out and you want to buy groceries you need a picture on a card. You need ID.”

After the rally, Acosta tweeted a video of Trump supporters attacking him, saying, “I’m very worried that the hostility whipped up by Trump and some in conservative media will result in somebody getting hurt.”

After the rally, Trump retweeted a video tweeted by Eric Trump, with the caption, “WATCH: Supporters of President Trump Chant ‘CNN Sucks’ During Jim Acosta’s Live Spot at Florida Rally.”

At the rally, there were sighting of “QAnon” related signs and t-shirts. QAnon is an internet conspiracy cult claiming to have access to top security clearance information about an alleged deep state plot against Trump.

On Thursday, at an event hosted by Axios, Ivanka said she has had “my fair share of reporting on me personally that I know not to be fully accurate,” but she said, she does “not consider the media the enemy of the people.”

Ivanka said she considered the low point of her tenure at the White House to be Trump’s “zero tolerance” policy, saying, “That was a low point for me…I am very vehemently against family separation.”

At the daily press briefing, CNN’s Jim Acosta, who had been harassed at a Trump rally, asked press secretary Sarah Sanders if she agreed with Ivanka that the press is not the enemy of the people. Sanders refused to answer.

Sanders also defended the mob scene in Tampa as “freedom of speech,” and said the media “continues to ratchet up the verbal assault against” Trump and the regime. After her non-answer, Acosta left the room.

On Thursday, the United Nations Human Rights office issued a statement condemning Trump’s attacks on the media, saying they violate basic norms of press freedom and human rights.

The statement cited Trump’s labeling of the media as the “enemy of the American people,” “very dishonest,” or “fake news,” and accusing the media of “distorting democracy” or spreading “conspiracy theories.”

On Sunday, in a series of tweets, Trump lashed out at Mueller, claiming without evidence or explanation that Mueller has conflicts of evidence, tweeting, “Is Robert Mueller ever going to release his conflicts of interest.”

Trump tweeted of Mueller, “we had a very nasty & contentious business relationship, I turned him down to head the FBI.” Rod Rosenstein has testified that he knows of no disqualifying conflict of interest with Mueller.

Trump also tweeted, “There is No Collusion,” falsely claiming the “Mueller Rigged Witch Hunt…was started by a fraudulent Dossier,” paid for by Hillary and the DNC, and, “Therefore, the Witch Hunt is an illegal Scam!”

Trump also falsely claimed the Mueller probe is a “Rigged Witch Hunt, headed now by 17…Angry Democrats,” and again falsely claimed the probe “was started by a fraudulent Dossier.”

On Sunday, Trump tweeted he is “willing to ‘shut down’ government” if the Democrats do not give him votes for his wall, adding, “Immigration based on MERIT! We need great people coming into our Country!”

On Monday, Attorney General Sessions announced the formation of a “religious liberty task force” within the Justice Department which he claimed will help protect religious communities from discrimination.

Sessions warned of a “dangerous movement” that he said was eroding protections for religious Americans, and falsely claimed “nuns were being forced to buy contraceptives” — a reference to Obama’s health care policy.

Civil rights groups and LGBTQ advocates condemned Sessions’ task force, saying it is not consistent with religious freedoms, and that the guidance would encourage private groups to discriminate with government funds.

A synagogue in Carmel, Indiana was vandalized with spray-painted Nazi images, including a swastika. The synagogue has not been attacked before.

The Boston Globe reported that someone called the police to report a black woman eating lunch in a campus common room “seemed out of place.” The woman is a rising sophomore at Smith College working on campus.

NYT reported Peter Wright, Trump’s nominee to head the EPA’s Superfund program, was a lawyer at Dow Chemical when the company submitted disputed data, misrepresented scientific evidence, and delayed cleanup.

On Monday, NYT reported the Trump regime is considering granting a $100 billion tax cut mainly to the wealthy, through the Treasury Department changing the definition of “cost” for calculating capital gains.

Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said in an interview at the Group of 20 summit that his department was studying such a move, bypassing Congress, if it can’t get done through the legislative process.

On Wednesday, the Trump regime took another step to hobble the Affordable Care Act, widening the availability of skimpy health plans designed for short-term use that do not cover pre-existing conditions.

The health insurance industry, hospitals, doctors, and patient advocacy groups warned that consumers with these plans would be stranded when they need care, and defections would drive up costs in the ACA marketplaces.

On Thursday, the Trump regime said it would freeze Obama-era fuel-efficiency requirements for cars and trucks, which were meant to improve public health and combat climate change, through the year 2026.

Trump’s plan would also revoke California’s legal waiver to set its own tailpipe restrictions, which the state has used to curb greenhouse-gas emissions, and restrict other states from following California’s lead.

Automakers had a mixed reaction to the move, but oil and gas interests cheered it. The plan is part of the Department of Transportation’s deregulatory efforts, arguing for affordability and safety.

On Sunday, Charles Koch expressed “regret” over his network’s past support for some Republican candidates who are not standing up to Trump’s policies, and threatened to hold them to account.

On Monday, the Kochs announced they would not support the Trump-backed Republican candidate to take on Sen. Heidi Heitkamp in North Dakota, warning that siding with Trump will carry a political cost with their network.

On Tuesday, Trump dismissed criticism by the Koch networks of his trade and immigration policies, tweeting they have “become a total joke in real Republican circles,” and “I don’t need their money or bad ideas.”

On Thursday, Republican National Committee Chairwoman Ronna Romney McDaniel warned GOP donors in a memo to steer clear of the Koch political network, escalating a fight between Trump’s allies and the Kochs.

On Monday, the Treasury Department predicted the U.S. government’s borrowing needs in the second half of this year will jump to $769 billion, the highest level since the 2008 financial crisis.

On Wednesday, Trump escalated his trade war with China, instructing U.S. trade representative to look into increasing tariffs on many Chinese imports from 10% to 25%.

On Friday, China announced it would retaliate by imposing $60 billion of tariffs on U.S. products if Trump follows through on his threats.

On Monday, two University of Virginia history professors, William Hitchcock and Melvyn Leffler, resigned in protest over the school’s decision to offer a paid senior fellowship to former Trump official Mark Short.

They claim Short attacked the free media and truth, backed rhetoric and policies that have empowered white supremacists, undermined the FBI and our intelligence agencies, and disenfranchised millions of voters.

On Monday, Trump tweeted, “Wow, highest Poll Numbers in the history of the Republican Party. That includes Honest Abe Lincoln and Ronald Reagan.” Politifact rated his claim as “false” using several measures.

On Monday, WAPO reported U.S. spy agencies see signs that North Korea is constructing new missiles at a factory that produced the country’s first intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs) capable of reaching the U.S.

The satellite images indicate work is underway at the Sanumdong factory, which produced two of North Korea’s ICBMs, including the first with a proven range that could allow it to strike the U.S. East Coast.

Although Trump tweeted North Korea was “no longer a Nuclear Threat” following his summit with Kim Jong Un, North Korea has made few tangible moves signaling an intention to disarm.

On Thursday, Trump thanked Kim Jong Un for returning the remains of 55 soldiers, tweeting, “I am not at all surprised that you took this kind action. Also, thank you for your nice letter — l look forward to seeing you soon!”

Remains of 55 were returned, while about 5,300 American war remains are still in North Korea. Defense Secretary Jim Mattis cautioned the remains could be non-U.S. soldiers: “We don’t know who’s in these boxes.”

Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney announced the city will end a major data-sharing contract with ICE, citing misuse of information, and ICE detaining undocumented immigrants who are not accused of any crime.

Guardian reported the Trump regime plans to rescind Obama-era work permits for spouses of holders of H-1B visas, effectively confining spouses, mostly women, to home and stripping their families of a second income.

On Monday, U.S. District Judge Dolly Gee in Los Angeles ordered the Trump regime to stop administering psychotropic medications to migrant children without first obtaining consent or a court order.

Judge Gee said the regime has been medicating children at a Shiloh Residential Treatment Center in Texas without consent. She ordered the children be moved from the facility, except those posing a “risk to harm” to themselves or others.

On Tuesday, at a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing, senior officials from Border Patrol, ICE, HHS, and the DOJ said they learned about Trump’s “zero tolerance” policy in April when Sessions publicly announced it.

Officials said because they did not get advance warning, they did not put protocols in place to eventually reunify families. They also did not challenge lawmakers’ assertions that the initiative was a failure.

Matthew Albence, the number two official at ICE, described family detention centers as “more like a summer camp,” saying migrants have food, water, and educational and recreational opportunities.

Cmdr. Jonathan White from the department of Health and Human Services said he warned his superiors that separating children from parents carried a “significant risk of harm” and could inflict “psychological injury.” He was assured the regime would not implement separation.

The acting head of Border Patrol, Carla Provost said, “The initiative was a prosecution initiative, and our focus was on the prosecution element only.” Several senators called for Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen to resign.

On Tuesday, Trump tweeted, “A highly respected Federal judge” said ““Trump Administration gets great credit” for reuniting illegal families.” About one-third of families separated under Trump’s policy remain apart.

On Wednesday, NYT reported the Trump regime is considering a second sharp reduction in the number of refugees admitted to the U.S., a program meant to offer protection to the world’s most vulnerable people.

Last year the regime set the cap at 45,000 — a historic low. This year, as Stephen Miller has installed allies in key positions, in one plan being discussed, no more than 25,000 refugees could be resettled.

HuffPost reported at a federal prison complex in Victorville, California, which staffers warned was not equipped to handle the influx from ICE, there have been infectious disease outbreaks and an attempted suicide.

The ACLU filed a lawsuit Tuesday over the “inhumane conditions” at Victorville, saying they violated the constitutional rights of immigrants detained there. There is one doctor for 4,300 inmates and detainees.

On Thursday, in a 2–1 decision, the U.S. appeals court struck down a key part of Trump’s contentious effort to crack down on “sanctuary cities,” saying an executive order threatening to cut funding was unconstitutional.

In a letter addressed to the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA), a group of U.S. historians demanded that the regulatory body stop ICE from erasing records of the agency’s treatment of immigrants.

Historians sent the letter July 25, after learning ICE had sought permission from NARA to begin destroying years’ worth of data, including information on sexual abuse, solitary confinement, and in-custody deaths.

On Wednesday, a bipartisan group of 14 senators sent a letter to Sessions, Nielsen, and HHS Secretary Alex Azar demanding information on the status of separated families, including those where the parents have been deported.

On Thursday, in a court filing, the DOJ said the ACLU, which represents plaintiffs in lawsuit over family separations, should “use their considerable resources and their network” to take the lead on finding deported parents.

The Trump regime also suggested that the ACLU should find out whether the deported parents want to be reconnected with their children, or whether they waive that option.

Politico reported that per a Trump regime official, an estimated three-quarters of deported parents who left the country alone left no record behind that they ever consented to leave their children in the U.S.

On Friday, Judge Dana Sabraw rejected the Trump regime’s request to make the ACLU primarily responsible for locating migrant parents who were deported, saying the government bears “100 percent” of the burden.

The judge also scolded the regime for moving so slowly to track down the deported parents, calling it “just unacceptable” that an estimate of only about 12 of close to 500 parents have been located.

Sabraw suggested the regime appoint a person to lead the reunification process, saying, “for every parent who is not located there will be a permanently orphaned child.” He will hold another hearing next week.

On Friday, a federal judge in Washington, D.C. ordered that the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program should be fully restored, and gave the Trump regime a 20-day deadline to do so.

Judge John Bates said the regime has failed to justify its proposal to end DACA. The Justice Department is expected to appeal. A case being tried in Texas is expected to be decided next week in agreement with the Trump regime.

California and New York courts have ruled the regime cannot end DACA, but only ordered the regime to continue renewing existing applications. Bates’ ruling goes further, ordering the program reopened in its entirety.

On Tuesday, a federal judge temporarily blocked public availability of blueprints that provide instructions for making guns using 3-D printers, hours before the documents were expected to be published online.

Hours before, Trump had tweeted about the 3-D plastic guns, “Already spoke to NRA, doesn’t seem to make much sense!” Sen. Chuck Schumer tweeted, “Your administration approved this…And to check with the NRA?”

The Trump regime had suddenly settled a 2013 case with Cody Wilson on June 29, allowing public availability of the instructions. Twenty-one attorneys general asked Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Sessions to withdraw from the settlement.

A CBS poll asking strong Trump supporters who they trust for accurate information found: 91% trust Trump, 63% trust friends and family, and just 11% trust the mainstream media.

The poll also found 70% of Republicans call the Russia investigation a “witch hunt,” while 77% of Democrats call it a “critical” matter of national security.

A billboard in a heavily Republican Grand Junction, Colorado replaced the “O” in the word “GOP” with a Soviet-era communism symbol. The resident behind it is upset with Trump’s actions on Russia, immigration, and tariffs.

On Sunday, Democratic Sen. Jeanne Shaheen told “Face the Nation” her office has been the subject of at least one phishing attack by Russians targeting email accounts and social media profiles.

Activist Emma Best published 11,000 WikiLeaks Twitter direct messages. The messages reveal WikiLeaks wanted the GOP to defeat Hillary Clinton, who was described in a message as a “well-connected, sadistic sociopath.”

On Tuesday, Facebook announced it had uncovered and removed “sophisticated” efforts, possibly linked to Russia, to manipulate U.S. politics by sowing discord, ahead of the upcoming midterm elections.

Facebook did not directly name Russia, but said 32 fake accounts on Facebook and Instagram were involved in “coordinated” and “inauthentic” political behavior. One page alone had close to 300,000 followers.

One page promoted “No Unite the Right 2” march, a planned counter demonstration, and another to amplify “Abolish ICE.” Facebook noted the efforts mirror Internet Research Agency moves before the 2016 election.

On Tuesday, at a cybersecurity summit in New York, Department of Homeland Security Secretary Nielsen issued her strongest warning to Russia, saying, “Mark my words: America will not tolerate this meddling.”

She warned that there is an “urgent, evolving crisis,” warning of “online” attacks, like a small bank in Blacksburg, Virginia which was a target of Russian hackers who stole $2.4 million over the course of two weekends.

On Wednesday, social media and technology experts testified before the Senate Intelligence Committee, saying Russia and other foreign actors have not slowed their efforts to spread misinformation and propaganda.

Central to this third hearing was Russia’s exploited tech companies’ hesitation to regulate what is posted on their platforms. Experts and senators said companies no longer have an excuse for not taking action.

Sen. Richard Burr, chair of the committee, said of Russian interference efforts: “Some feel that we as a society are sitting in a burning room, calmly drinking a cup of coffee, telling ourselves ‘this is fine.’ That’s not fine.”

On Wednesday, the Senate rejected a Democratic proposal to provide states with more election security funding ahead of the midterms, by a 50–47 vote. Sen. Bob Corker was the only Republican to vote in support.

BuzzFeed reported on a cash trail left by Maria Butina and Paul Erickson, the Republican consultant, at Wells Fargo Bank, whose anti-money laundering team started tracking their bank activity in early 2017 after an FBI referral.

Suspicious transactions include $89,000 passed between Erickson’s US accounts and Butina’s account at Russia’s Alfa Bank, a $45,000 payment to an undisclosed law firm, and various cash withdrawals.

WAPO reported in the weeks before the 2016 election, Butina socialized with Trump aide J.D. Gordon, who served as the campaign’s director of national security until August 2016, then joined Trump’s transition effort.

According to documents and testimony provided to the Senate Intelligence Committee, the two exchanged emails in September and October 2016, and Gordon invited Butina to a concert and his birthday party.

A Yahoo Finance/Survey Monkey poll found 11% of Republicans say it would be appropriate for Russia to intervene in U.S. midterms on behalf of Trump and Republicans, and 29% say it wouldn’t be a big deal.

Starting Sunday, Rudy Giuliani made a series of erratic TV appearance to push back on Michael Cohen’s assertion that Trump knew about the June 9 Trump Tower meeting. Giuliani said Cohen has “lied all his life.”

On Monday, appearing on “Fox & Friends,” Giuliani said he had been “looking in the federal code,” and “my client didn’t do it, and even if he did it, it’s not a crime,” adding, “collusion is not a crime.”

On Monday, Giuliani told CNN there was a “planning meeting” to prep Donald Jr. for June 9, which was attended by Kushner, Manafort, Rick Gates, who is cooperating, and others. Giuliani later reversed himself.

On Tuesday, Trump sided with Giuliani, tweeting, “collusion is not a crime,” and reasserting, “but that doesn’t matter because there was No Collusion (except by Crooked Hillary and the Democrats)!”

On Tuesday, Vanity Fair reported Trump thinks Giuliani is “saying too much.” Chief of Staff John Kelly wants to get rid of him, and reportedly White House counsel Don McGahn “hates Rudy with intensity of 1,000 burning suns.”

On Tuesday, the trial in federal court for Manafort in Alexandria on bank and tax fraud charges began. A jury of 6 women and 6 men were selected. Manafort’s attorneys are seeking to place blame with Gates.

On Wednesday, Trump called on Sessions to end the Mueller investigation, tweeting Sessions “should stop this Rigged Witch Hunt right now, before it continues to stain our country any further.”

Trump called the Mueller investigation a “terrible situation, and repeated his false claim, tweeting, “Mueller is totally conflicted, and his 17 Angry Democrats that are doing his dirty work are a disgrace to USA!”

When asked about Trump’s tweets to end the Mueller investigation in Wednesday’s press briefing, Sanders said, “It’s not an order, it’s the president’s opinion…[Trump] wants to see it come to an end.”

Trump’s attorneys also tried to downplay his tweets, with Giuliani saying Trump “carefully used the word, ‘should,’” and Jay Sekulow saying Trump “has issued no order or direction to the Department of Justice on this.”

Trump also tweeted that Manafort “worked for me for a very short time. Why didn’t government tell me that he was under investigation,” adding “These old charges have nothing to do with Collusion — a Hoax!”

Trump also compared Manafort’s treatment to that of Al Capone, tweeting, “who was treated worse, Alfonse Capone, legendary mob boss, killer…or Paul Manafort, political operative & Reagan/Dole darling.”

On Wednesday, WAPO reported in a letter sent Monday, Mueller renewed negotiations with Trump’s legal team about terms for an in-person interview with Trump, following an extended standoff since March.

Mueller reportedly said he is willing to accept some answers in written form, reducing the number of questions his investigators would ask Trump in an interview.

NYT reported Trump is eager to meet with investigators to clear himself of wrongdoing. Reportedly Trump believes he can convince Mueller’s team that their own inquiry is a “witch hunt” and end the inquiry.

Trump’s legal team were preparing to tell Mueller there would be no interview and risk a court fight over a subpoena that could drag through midterms, but Trump pushed them to continue negotiating.

According to NYT, the scope of the questioning includes whether Trump associates and Russia coordinated in election interference and whether Trump tried to obstruct the investigation.

On Thursday, Manafort’s bookkeeper, Heather Washkuhn, said his lavish lifestyle continued until 2015 when he ran out of cash, then he and Gates began trying to fudge numbers to secure loans.

Washkuhn testified she did not have access to all of Manafort’s transactions. She also did not have any records of the foreign accounts Manafort used to pay for clothes, cars, real estate and home remodeling.

Washkhun undercut Manafort’s defense that Gates was to blame, characterizing Manafort as a “very knowledgeable” client, and saying, “He was very detail-oriented. He approved every penny of everything we paid.”

On Friday, Cindy Laporta, one of Manafort’s accountants who was granted immunity, testified that in 2015 she went along with falsifying his tax records, not wanting to confront a longtime client.

Laporta said Gates told her Manafort could not afford to pay his taxes, and instructed her to misrepresent $900,000 in income as a business loan. She estimated she saved Manafort at least $400,000 in taxes.

Laporta testified she helped Manafort obtain millions of dollars of loans fraudulently, including listing a rental property as a second home, sending a forged loan-forgiveness letter, and lying about a large future payment.

On Thursday, a federal judge in Washington ruled Andrew Miller, a former assistant to Roger Stone, must testify before the special counsel’s grand jury on Russian interference in the 2016 election.

Miller worked for Stone during the 2016 presidential campaign, and is one of at least six of Stone’s associates to be called to testify in the Mueller probe. Stone has accused Mueller’s team of harassing his associates.

On Thursday, Reuters reported that according to Russian agencies citing senior lawmaker Konstantin Kosachov, Sen. Rand Paul will lead a U.S. delegation to Moscow and will meet Russian members of parliament on August 6.

On Thursday, top national security officials made a rare appearance in the White House briefing room to warn that Russia continues to target the U.S. election system, and vowed to combat interference.

No new details about attacks or policies were announced, but there was a show of unity of top officials, for the first time appearing together, including Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats, national security adviser John Bolton, Secretary Nielsen, FBI Director Christopher Wray, and NSA Director Paul Nakasone.

Although each security official acknowledged attacks by Russia and said their agency would take steps to counter, there is no leadership from the White House, and Bolton eliminated the top cybersecurity job in Week 79.

Also at the conference, Coats acknowledged two weeks after Helsinki, he still is “not in a position” to “fully understand” what occurred during that meeting, raising questions about why Trump is keeping him in the dark.

The joint appearance follows the first meeting of the National Security Council led by Trump on election security, last week. The meeting lasted less than an hour and resulted in no new orders.

On Thursday, a bipartisan group of senators introduced what Sen. Lindsey Graham called the “bill from hell” to punish Russia for election interference, and activities in Syria and Ukraine, by imposing new restrictions and sanctions.

The measure also expresses strong support for NATO, and would require two-thirds of the Senate to vote in order to leave the alliance. The measure would need to pass the House and Senate, and be signed by Trump.

On Thursday, NYT reported at his campaign rally in Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania, Trump made 15 inaccurate claims on things like highway spending, immigration, crowd size, and legislative accomplishments.

Trump also lied that U.S. Steel Corporation “is opening up seven plants” — they are not opening any. He again repeated false claims about NATO members being “delinquent” and that “funding was going down.”

Despite his press conference by his top security officials earlier in the day, Trump falsely claimed “Russia is very unhappy that Trump won,” and that diplomatic efforts with Putin “are being hindered by the Russian hoax.”

On Thursday, at a screening for Dinesh D’Souza’s new documentary, Donald Jr. compared the Nazi platform in the early 1930s to the DNC platform today, adding, “It’s the exact opposite of what you’ve been told.”

On Thursday, Jerry Falwell Jr. grouped Hitler as a “progressive elite,” tweeting, “the future will be progressive elites (… ⁦@HillaryClinton⁩, Hitler, Soros) v freedom loving average Americans!”

On Thursday, WSJ reported a major Trump donor, Franklin Haney, gave a $10 million contract to Cohen in early April, shortly before the April 9 raid, to help his efforts to complete a pair of nuclear reactors in Alabama.

Cohen was paid a monthly retainer in addition to the $10 million success fee. Authorities are investigating whether Cohen engaged in unregistered lobbying in his work for corporate clients, including AT&T and Novartis.

WAPO reported that room revenue at Trump International Hotel in Manhattan rose 13% in the first quarter of 2018, due to providing rooms for accompanying travelers of the Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia.

Four Democratic senators called for an investigation into tours on Air Force One, after BuzzFeed obtained an invitation revealing members of Trump’s Florida clubs were invited for tours last year.

On Friday, WSJ reported the Kushner family closed a deal to unload 666 Fifth Avenue, an investment made by Kushner at the top of the market in 2007, and which has been not been financeable for years.

Kushner Cos. will lease the property to Brookfield Asset Management for 99 years, paid upfront, in an amount that will allow the Kushner family to pay off the $1.1 billion of debt on the building and buy out its partner.

In Week 87 it was noted that a unit of Brookfield is awaiting approval from the Trump’s Committee on Foreign Investment for its acquisition of the nuclear-power company Westinghouse Electric.

Maine Secretary of State Matthew Dunlap, a Democrat who served on Trump’s voter fraud commission, in a lawsuit won access to and then published a trove of documents on Friday revealing no signs of voter fraud.

Dunlap said Trump’s repeated claims that millions of people voted illegally were false. In a letter Dunlap wrote, “these documents show that there was…a pre-ordained outcome…without any evidence to back it up.”

Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said he would not delay hearings for Trump’s Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh to wait for records from Kavanaugh’s time as as staff secretary in the Bush White House from 2003–2006.

On Thursday, the National Archives warned that it would not be able to fulfill the GOP’s request for documents on Kavanaugh until late October. McConnell’s unwillingness to wait on documents breaks longtime norms.

Poynter Institute reported the Newseum is selling Trump “Make America Great Again” hats and t-shirts that say “You are very fake news,” on their website.

On Friday, just before midnight, Trump tweeted, “Lebron James was just interviewed by the dumbest man on television, Don Lemon. He made Lebron look smart, which isn’t easy to do.” Lemon’s show is on CNN.

Journalist Dan Rather blasted Trump for his “racist” criticism of James, calling it a “disgrace.” Trump has continually attacked black athletes, and made disparaging comments about the intelligence of black Americans.

The Guardian reported U.S. counter-intelligence investigators discovered a suspected Russian spy had been working in the U.S. embassy in Moscow for more than a decade, undetected.

In her role, the Russian national had access to the agency’s intranet and email systems, which gave her a window into highly confidential material including the schedules of the president and vice-president.

The U.S. Department of State’s Regional Security Office sounded the alarm in January 2017, but Secret Service let her continue in her post for months, possibly to avoid potential embarrassment.

WAPO reported she worked as a local investigator in the U.S. Secret Service office at the embassy since 2001. She was fired in August 2017 after investigators surveilled her meetings and communications with FSB agents.

Protesters remained outside the White House for a third straight week, since Trump’s Helsinki summit with Putin. One night, protesters held giant letters spelling “TREASON” and other signs calling Trump a traitor.

The day-to-day rallies have been dubbed, “Kremlin Annex,”and have morphed into a mix of demonstrations, roasts and dance parties. Organizers plan to keep protesting until Trump is out of office.

POLITIKS OF GRAFFITI 90: TRULY ORWELLIAN

George Orwell’s 1984: “The party told you to reject the evidence of your eyes and ears. It was their final, most essential command.”

and 45 this week: “Just remember, what you’re seeing and what you’re reading is not what’s happening,”

Week 89 of this: Experts in authoritarianism advise to keep a list of things subtly changing around you, so you’ll remember.

July 28, 2018 https://medium.com/@Amy_Siskind/week-89-experts-in-authoritarianism-advise-to-keep-a-list-of-things-subtly-changing-around-you-so-f710c1092ba

These are all of the images that passed through my feeds this week. The first one is by Jim Carrey. The second one is by Oddo Personnosrep from London, England.

IMG_5287

This week there were dramatic developments in several areas which could be perilous trouble for Trump: a federal judge ruled an emoluments clauses lawsuit can proceed; Michael Cohen asserted Trump knew about, and approved, the June 9 Trump Tower meeting with Russians to get dirt on Hillary; Trump’s decades-long bookkeeper was subpoenaed to testify in the Southern District; leaked tapes revealed Trump knew about the payments to silence former Playboy model Karen McDougal just before the election — all as the trial of Trump’s former campaign manager, Paul Manafort, is set to kick off Tuesday.

IMG_5294

Seeking to counter these closing walls, Trump continued to promote his alternative version of the truth, telling a crowd in Kansas City, “Just remember, what you’re seeing and what you’re reading is not what’s happening,” and pushing a new storyline that Putin wants to help Democrats win the midterms. Trump reportedly is living in his own reality as well, admonishing staffers that only Fox should be on televisions, and retaliating against those who are critical of him, including exploring revoking security clearances and banning a reporter from a Rose Garden press briefing.

IMG_5288

As a court deadline for reuniting migrant families arrived on Friday, 711 out of 2,551 children ages 5 to 17, and 46 children of 103 children under 5 have yet to be reunited with their parents, while the Trump regime claimed their work is done.

IMG_5289

  1. On Saturday, Trump accused the Mueller probe of trying to hurt Republicans in the midterms, tweeting “the Rigged Witch Hunt…seems intent on damaging the Republican Party’s chances in the November Election.”
  2. Trump also tweeted, “No Collusion, No Obstruction,” adding, “13 Angry Democrats…want this Witch Hunt to drag out to the November Election,” saying the GOP needs to “get smart fast and expose what they are doing!
  3. On Sunday, Rep. Trey Gowdy told “Fox News Sunday” that “It can be proven…that Russia is not our friend and they tried to attack us,” adding Trump regime members should consider quitting over Russia.
  4. On Sunday, Sen. Marco Rubio said he wants a vote on the bipartisan DETER Act in which the DNI would be required to conclude if any foreign nations interfered in elections, and if so, sanctions would be imposed.
  5. On Saturday, the Justice Department released a 412 page redacted copy of the FISA application seeking a warrant against Carter Page, along with three renewals, to news organizations that had filed FOIA lawsuits.
  6. The application says Page was “the subject of targeted recruitment by the Russian government” to “undermine and influence the outcome of the 2016 U.S. presidential election in violation of U.S. criminal law.”
  7. The application also revealed that Page “has been collaborating and conspiring with the Russian government,” and efforts are being “coordinated with Page and perhaps other individuals associated with” Trump’s campaign.
  8. On Sunday, Page told “State of the Union” the FISA warrant accusations are “so ridiculous,” “misleading,” and “a complete joke.” Page said “I sat in on some meetings, but to call me an adviser I think is way over the top.”
  9. On Sunday, in a series of tweets, Trump claimed, without evidence, to be vindicated, tweeting that the warrants are “ridiculously heavily redacted.”
  10. Trump also tweeted there is “little doubt that the Department of “Justice” and FBI misled the courts” — putting the word Justice in quotes. Trump called it a “Witch Hunt Rigged, a Scam!”
  11. Trump tweeted, without evidence, his campaign “was illegally being spied upon (surveillance) for the political gain of Crooked Hillary Clinton and the DNC,” adding, “Republicans must get tough now. An illegal Scam!”
  12. Trump also quoted Fox News’ Pete Hegseth and Andrew McCarthy, tweeting, “This is so bad that they should be looking at the judges who signed off on this,” and, “Page was just the foot to surveil…ILLEGAL!”
  13. Lawfare reported the four judges who signed off on the FISA warrants were nominated by Republican presidents, and then and appointed to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court by a conservative.
  14. Lawfare also reported there are “long-term, programmatic consequenceslong after we’re finished” with Trump — of allowing a FOIA request to apply to a highly-confidential FISA warrant.
  15. The redacted warrant also dispels a claim by Rep. Devin Nunes and Trump that there was not proper disclosure that dossier author Christopher Steele was paid by Democrats: not only is this in a footnote, but also more than a full page in the applications.
  16. Later Sunday, Trump tweeted “Obama knew about Russia before the Election. Why didn’t he do something about it?” Trump answered himself, tweeting, “Because it is all a big hoax, that’s why.”
  17. On Sunday, Trump also tweeted, “I had a GREAT meeting with Putin,” blaming the “Fake News” for using every bit of their energy to “disparage it,” and adding, “so bad for our country!”
  18. AP reported Trump’s Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh suggested at a roundtable discussion in 1999 that the 8–0 ruling in 1974 that forced Nixon to turn over the Watergate tapes may have been wrongly decided.
  19. WAPO reported documents released by the Interior Department under the FOIA on July 16, and retracted a day later reveal in Secretary Ryan Zinke’s quest to shrink national monuments last year, important evidence was dismissed.
  20. Zinke and aides ignored information that public sites boosted tourism and spurred archaeological discoveries, focusing instead on logging, ranching, and energy development that would be unlocked.
  21. On Tuesday, federal labor mediators advised the Education Department that it had engaged in “bad-faith bargaining” when it implemented a contract this year that gutted compensation and benefits provisions.
  22. The department also limited its 3,900 employees’ ability to carry out union duties during the work day. Mediators said curtailing workers’ protections and access to union representation is in violation of federal law.
  23. On Wednesday, Education Department Secretary Betsy DeVos proposed ending Obama-era policies which eased access to loan forgiveness for students defrauded by for-profit colleges.
  24. The Trump regime’s new rules would require borrowers to prove they have fallen into deep financial distress to file for debt relief, or to prove the higher education institutions they attended had intentionally misled them.
  25. On Thursday, a federal judge in Manhattan ruled that the largest of the six lawsuits against the Census Bureau and the Commerce Department over the new citizenship question on the 2020 census can move forward.
  26. Huffpost reported, based on applications obtained through a FOIA request, the federal government has issued more than three dozen permits allowing hunters to import lion trophies from Africa since 2016.
  27. WAPO reported Trump has yet to nominate a science adviser to lead the Office of Science and Technology. Every administration since Eisenhower has named a science adviser by their first October, except Trump.
  28. WAPO reported documents obtained by Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility (PEER) show the EPA worked to “discredit employees who sounded the alarm as they left the agency” in 2017.
  29. A report by the nonpartisan Brennan Center found nine states with a history of racial discrimination are aggressively removing voters from their rolls, following the Supreme Court’s decision for Ohio purging in Week 87.
  30. Fox News reported that several Republican candidates who are Nazis and anti-Semites have won their primaries, creating a headache for the Republican Party.
  31. On Monday, hundreds of protestors, including many women dressed in the red cloaks and white bonnets of “The Handmaid’s Tale,” protested Vice President Pence during his visit to Philadelphia.
  32. On Thursday, WKXW-FM hosts Dennis Malloy and Judi Franco in New Jersey were kicked off the air after calling Gurbir Grewal, the nation’s first Sikh attorney general, “turban man.”
  33. On Tuesday, Rep. Maxine Waters’ office in Los Angeles was evacuated after receiving a package labeled “anthrax.” The item was determined not be a danger.
  34. On Tuesday, while addressing the conservative high school students at Turning Point USA High School Leadership Summit, Attorney General Jeff Sessions briefly joined students in chants by students of “Lock her up!
  35. On Thursday, Sessions said “I perhaps should’ve taken a moment to advise them of the fact you’re presumed innocent until a case is made.” Chants of “Lock her up!” are still popular at Trump rallies and conservative events.
  36. Guardian reported Trump’s “zero-tolerance” policy has turned thewindowless basement beneath the federal courthouse in San Diego into a pop-up “dungeon” like meeting place for lawyers and migrant clients.
  37. Lawyers have three hours to introduce themselves, discuss why their clients crossed the border, and to explain the intricacies of plea deals and misdemeanors, before the clients are herded into court for a mass hearing.
  38. On Monday, in a court filing, the Trump regime said 463 migrant parents separated from their children have already been deported, and said that number is still “under review,” meaning the number could be higher.
  39. The regime has reunited 879 parents with their children out of 2,551 as of Monday, with the deadline for reunifying all by Thursday looming. The judge temporarily suspended deportations of families that have been reunited.
  40. Texas Tribune reported in court filings, hundreds of migrants describe inhumane conditions in federal custody including cramped, cold conditions, and tearful separations of children and mothers.
  41. Migrants also described rotten sandwich meat turned green or black, drinking water that smells like chlorine, and being told by border agents, “they don’t want stupid people like me here bothering their country.”
  42. On Tuesday, the Justice Department instructed U.S. attorneys offices in an agency-wide email not to use the term “undocumented” immigrants and instead refer to someone illegally in the U.S. as “an illegal alien.”
  43. In 2013, The Associated Press Stylebook changed its terminology to not describe a person as illegal, only actions. The DOJ said the goal is “to clear up some confusion and to be consistent in the way we draft our releases.”
  44. The Nation reported a 6-year-old girl from Guatemala separated from her mother under Trump’s “zero-tolerance” policy was sexually abused while at an Arizona detention facility run by Southwest Key Programs.
  45. The girl was forced to sign a statement confirming that she understood it was her responsibility to stay away from her abuser, and was instructed to “maintain my distance from the other youth involved.”
  46. On Wednesday, PBS reported in 100 pages of testimony provided in court,migrant parents they were pressured by immigration officials to sign forms waiving their reunification rights in a “coercive and misleading manner.”
  47. On Thursday, the Trump regime said in a court filing they had reunited1,442 families with children ages 5 to 17, and said an additional 378 children have already been released under “appropriate circumstances.”
  48. Of the 711 still in government custody, the regime maintains that it could not or should not have reunited all of those children because their parents were deported, or declined to be reunified or have criminal histories.
  49. On Thursday, BuzzFeed reported 123 asylum-seekers being held at a federal prison in Sheridan, Oregon, many of whom are Sikh and Hindu,are being denied religious items and time and space for prayers.
  50. On Friday, NYT reported on children left behind after parents were misled and deported. One father from Guatemala said, “the official told me, ‘Sign here, and you will be deported together.’” He was deported alone.
  51. Of the 711 children still in custody, 431 parents were deported; 120 have parents who waived the right to reunification; 79 have a parent here who has not been found; 94 have a parent whose location is under “review;” 67 have a parent who raised a “red flag.”
  52. The Trump regime claimed it had met the San Diego court’s deadline, saying the 711 remaining children are not “eligible” to be given back.
  53. The Trump regime continues to face immigration lawsuits across the country, including a case in Seattle filed by 17 states on family separations and how the government handles claims for asylum for children in detention.
  54. A federal judge in Los Angeles she would appoint an independent monitor to evaluate conditions for migrant children housed in border processing centers. Advocates say children are being medicated for convenience.
  55. WAPO reported according to her testimony to the Senate in April, Maria Butina received financial support from Russian billionaire Konstantin Nikolaev for a pro gun rights group in Russia from 2012–2014.
  56. Nikolaev’s fortune came from port and railroad investments in Russia. He is on the board of American Ethane, a Houston company showcased by Trump at an event in China last year. He claims he has not met Trump.
  57. Nikolaev’s son Andrey, who is studying in the U.S., volunteered for Trump’s 2016 campaign. Nikolaev was spotted at the Trump Hotel DCduring Trump’s inauguration in January 2017.
  58. Nikolaev’s net worth matches the description in the court filings last week for the billionaire “funder” of Butina’s activities — a “known Russian businessman with deep ties to the Russian Presidential Administration.”
  59. Nikolaev has also invested in Silicon Valley companies, including Grabr. Alexey Repik, a Russian pharmaceutical executive who attended Trump’s inauguration and had access to exclusive events, is also a Grabr investor.
  60. On Sunday, Reuters reported that in April 2015, Butina traveled to the U.S. with Alexander Torshin, then the Russian Central Bank deputy governor,for separate meetings with Stanley Fischer and Nathan Sheets.
  61. Fischer was then the Federal Reserve vice chairman, and Sheets a Treasury undersecretary. The meetings were arranged by the Center for the National Interest, a D.C. think tank supportive of improving U.S.-Russia relations.
  62. On Thursday, ABC News reported that one of the “friendship and dialogue dinners” with influential Americans that Butina held was in February 2017 at Bistro Bis with Rep. Dana Rohrabacher.
  63. Rohrabacher also attended a meeting Butina helped arrange two years earlier in St. Petersburg, Russia which also included her mentor, Kremlin-connected banker Torshin.
  64. On Thursday, Russia’s Foreign Ministry demanded Butina be released, saying, “Her arrest is motivated solely by the motives of the U.S. domestic and foreign policy, and therefore she is a political prisoner.”
  65. On Monday, in a series of tweets, Trump called for the end of the Mueller probe, falsely claiming the “Fake Dirty Dossier” was “responsible for starting the totally conflicted and discredited Mueller Witch Hunt!”
  66. Trump also cited Tom Fitton on “Fox & Friends,” tweeting “misconduct by the FBI and the Justice Department” using the Dossier to get a search warrant on Page was “a fraud and a hoax designed to target Trump…
  67. On Monday, WSJ reported at a briefing, the Department of Homeland Security for the first time publicly revealed that last year Russian hackers got inside the control rooms of U.S. electric utilities where they could have caused blackouts.
  68. DHS said some companies still may not know they have been compromised, because the attackers used credentials of actual employees to get inside utility networks. Their goal is to be disguised as employees.
  69. Hackers stole confidential information, such as how utility networks are configured, what equipment was in use, and how it was controlled. They familiarized themselves with how the facilities were supposed to work.
  70. On Tuesday, offering no evidence, Trump tweeted, “I’m very concerned that Russia will be fighting very hard to have an impact on the upcoming Election,” adding “they will be pushing very hard for the Democrats.”
  71. Putin acknowledged that he wanted Trump to win at the Helsinki summit joint news conference. The Atlantic noted the White House transcriptinitially did not include this question in their transcript.
  72. The discrepancy involved a question from a Reuters reporter, “Did you want President Trump to win the election and did you direct any of your officials to help him do that?” Putin says, “Yes, I did. Yes, I did.”
  73. After the “Rachel Maddow Show” and The Post also raised the issue of the discrepancy in the transcript, the White House ultimately updated it to include the missing question on Thursday.
  74. On Thursday, Daily Beast reported Russia’s GRU intelligence agency behind the 2016 election hacking targeted Sen. Claire McCaskill, a vulnerable Democrat, as she began her 2018 re-election campaign.
  75. McCaskill has been highly critical of Russia. In August 2017, around the time of the attempted hack, Trump traveled to Missouri and attacked McCaskill, telling the crowd to “vote her out of office.”
  76. McCaskill later released a statement: “While this attack was not successful, it is outrageous that they think they can get away with this. I will not be intimidated…Putin is a thug and a bully.”
  77. On Monday, press secretary Sarah Sanders announced Trump is “looking to take away” security clearances for six former senior national security and intelligence officials who were critical of him over his Helsinki summit.
  78. The officials, who served under W. Bush and Obama, include former CIA directors John Brennan and Michael Hayden, former FBI director James Comey, former NSA Susan Rice, former DNI James Clapper, and former FBI deputy director Andrew McCabe.
  79. Comey and McCabe already lost security clearance when they were fired. Experts said while Trump probably does have the authority to unilaterally suspend or terminate a security clearance, no president has ever done so.
  80. On Wednesday, the White House banned CNN reporter Kaitlan Collins from attending a press event with Trump in the Rose Garden. Sanders claimed Collins “shouted questions and refused to leave.”
  81. Hours earlier, Collins peppered Trump with questions about Michael Cohen and the Helsinki meeting with Putin, while Trump and European Commission President Jean-Claude sat for pictures, typical for pool reporters.
  82. CNN said in a statement, “This decision to bar a member of the press is retaliatory in nature and not indicative of an open and free press. We demand better.”
  83. The President of Fox News said in a statement, “We stand in strong solidarity with CNN for the right to full access for our journalists as part of a free and unfettered press.”
  84. White House Correspondents’ Association President said, “This type of retaliation is wholly inappropriate, wrong-headed, and weak. It cannot stand.” Reporters ask questions to hold people in power “accountable.”
  85. On Monday, U.S. District Judge T.S. Ellis delayed the start of Paul Manafort’s case to July 31. Ellis will begin meeting jurors this week, as scheduled. The jury will consist of 16 people.
  86. The judge also granted immunity for the five witnesses requested by Mueller: James Brennan, Donna Duggan, Conor O’Brien, Cindy Laporta, and Dennis Raico. Manafort appeared in court wearing a green jumpsuit.
  87. Two of the witnesses, Brennan and Raico, worked at the The Federal Savings Bank in Chicago, the bank led by Stephen Calk which gave Manafort a $16 million loan, a significant portion of the bank’s capital.
  88. Mueller’s team asserts Calk knew Manafort submitted a fraudulent loan application but approved it anyway because he wanted to be appointed by Trump as Secretary of the Army.
  89. On Monday, in a court filing, U.S. prosecutors were given access to 12 audio recordings seized at the April Cohen raid. According to the retired judge Barbara Jones, “the parties” no longer object to the government listening.
  90. According to sources, Trump’s legal team had originally asserted privilege, but later dropped their claim. Cohen attorney Lanny Davis tweeted, “The tapes will speak for themselves — spin can’t change facts.”
  91. Vanity Fair reported according to Cohen allies, it’s not the recordings that are valuable, but the backstories. Sources say Cohen has discussed the content of the June 9 meeting at Trump Tower.
  92. Sources also say Rudy Giuliani, who had claimed the tapes were “exculpatory,” may have waived privilege to undercut Cohen, who could have potentially used the tapes as a bargaining chip to cut a deal with prosecutors.
  93. On Tuesday, Cohen’s attorney Davis gave CNN a copy of a recording of Cohen and Trump discussing how they would buy the rights to Karen McDougal’s story about an alleged affair Trump had with her years earlier.
  94. The recording reveals Trump had contemporaneous knowledge of a proposal to buy the rights to the story. Cohen told Trump about his plans to set up a company and finance the purchase of the rights from AMI.
  95. On Wednesday, WAPO reported the release came as a surprise to prosecutors handling the Cohen case. Former prosecutors found it off that someone angling for a plea deal would make potential evidence public.
  96. Inside the White House, Trump reportedly raged about the release. Wednesday morning, Trump tweeted, “What kind of lawyer would tape a client? So sad!” His surrogates have attacked Cohen’s reputation.
  97. Sources say the government seized more than 100 recordings that Cohen made of his conversations on his iPhone with people discussing matters that could relate to Trump and his businesses, and with Trump talking.
  98. On Wednesday, WSJ reported federal investigators are examining the years-long dealings of Cohen and AMI. The DOJ is investigating whether AMI at times acted like an extension of Mr. Trump and his campaign.
  99. Prosecutors subpoenaed AMI on the same day in early April that the FBI raided Cohen. Investigators subpoenaed AMI chairman and CEO David Pecker separately, and delivered a subpoena to AMI for information on the payment to McDougal.
  100. On Monday, Politico reported Trump advisers have quietly begun planning for when Sanders departs. Bill Shine has been asking around for recommendations, and a short-list of replacements has already emerged.
  101. On Tuesday, Ivanka announced she is shutting down her fashion brand, a year after stepping away from leading the business, claiming she wanted to avoid the appearance of profiting off her father’s presidency.
  102. Ivanka’s brand had faced a consumer backlash, and retailers including Marshall’s, Nordstrom, T.J. Maxx, and Hudson’s Bay Company had stopped selling her products. Trump fans bought her products however.
  103. Ivanka was also criticized amid Trump’s America first mantra for her products being manufactured in Bangladesh, Indonesia, and China, where low-wage laborers have limited ability to advocate for themselves.
  104. On Thursday, Axios reported Ivanka and Kushner plan to stay at the White House for the long-term. They have gained power, having eliminated their adversaries including Steve Bannon and Rex Tillerson, and John Kelly is sidelined.
  105. Trump told CNBC that stock market gains since the election give him the opportunity to fight trade wars, saying, “This is the time. You know the expression we’re playing with the bank’s money.”
  106. Trump also said, “I would have a higher stock market right now. … It could be 80 percent if I didn’t want to do this.” Market gains have slowed with Trump’s tariffs, with the benchmark index up just 4.9% in 2018.
  107. On Tuesday, Harley Davidson announced Trump’s tariffs will cost the company $50 million in profit this year, and an addition $100 million in 2019 — wiping out almost all the company’s 2019 projected profits.
  108. On Tuesday, Whirlpool’s stock plunged 14.5%, the biggest loss since 1987, as Trump’s tariffs caused the prices of steel and aluminum used in the manufacture of the company’s products to substantially rise.
  109. On Tuesday, at a Veterans of Foreign Wars convention in Kansas City,Trump told farmers caught in his escalating trade war to be “a little patient” and they would be “the biggest beneficiaries” of his policies.
  110. Trump told the crowd of 4,000, “stick with us,” adding, “don’t believe the crap you see from these people, the fake news.” Some veterans in the crowd then pointed, booed and hissed at journalists at the event.
  111. Trump also told the crowd, “Just remember, what you’re seeing and what you’re reading is not what’s happening,” invoking comparison on social media to George Orwell’s book, “1984.”
  112. Trump’s heavily partisan remarks were unusual for an address to the nonpartisan VFW. After the event, the national headquarters for the VFW issued a statement of support for the media, and condemning the boos.
  113. On Wednesday, the Trump’s regime announced $12 billion in emergency aid to farmers caught in Trump’s trade war. The aid is designed to help farmers facing tariffs in China, Mexico, and other countries retaliating.
  114. The regime will largely rely on a 1933 program called the Commodity Credit Corporation, a division of the Agriculture Department created during the Great Depression to reimburse farmers for lost business.
  115. On Wednesday, in a series of tweets, Trump attacked critics of his tariffs, tweeting, “every time I see a weak politician asking to stop Trade talks or the use of Tariffs…I wonder, what can they be thinking?”
  116. Trump also tweeted, “Are we just going to continue and let our farmers and country get ripped off?” saying, “negotiations are going really well, be cool,” and “China is targeting our farmers” and “being vicious.”
  117. On Wednesday, automakers Ford, General Motors, and Fiat Chrysler scaled back their 2018 earnings due to rising prices for raw materials. GM stock fell 8% and Fiat Chrysler 16% intraday — the worst plunge in years.
  118. On Wednesday, Reuters reported the European Union is readying a package of tariffs on $20 billion of U.S. goods if Trump imposes trade levies on imported cars, as threatened.
  119. On Wednesday, after a meeting with European Commission President Junckner and Trump backing off his EU tariff threat, and declared “very big day for free and fair trade,” despite the fact no deal was agreed to.
  120. NYT reported that Trump was upset when Melania’s television aboard Air Force One was tuned to CNN. He raged at this stuff for violating a rule that the White House entourage should watch Fox.
  121. Trump is increasingly living in a world of select information, abetted by aides who insulate him from the outside world, and he bends the truth to his own narrative. For now, his approval with Republicans remains high.
  122. Axios reported Trump has been frustrated and has complained that some of his recent TV appearances have not had the production values of the prime time TV shows he watches daily. Bill Shine will help.
  123. On Thursday, Facebook’s market value fell by $119 billion or 19%, thelargest one-day loss in market value by any company in U.S. stock market history, after releasing a disastrous quarterly report.
  124. On Tuesday, a Quinnipiac poll showed Trump’s approval dropped from 38 approve, 58 disapprove in July 24, compared to 43 approve, 52 disapprove on June 20. Just 31% of women approve of Trump (64% disapprove).
  125. American voters believe 51–35 percent “that the Russian government has compromising information” on Trump, and 68% are “very concerned” or “somewhat concerned” about Trump’s relationship with Russia.
  126. On Wednesday, a NBC News/Marist poll found Trump’s approval sagging in three Midwest states: Michigan 36 approve/54 disapprove; Minnesota 38/51: and Wisconsin 36/52.
  127. Also in those states, the majority do not believe Trump deserves to be re-elected versus try someone new: Michigan 28/62; Minnesota 38/60; Wisconsin 31/63.
  128. On Wednesday, a federal judge in Maryland said he will allow plaintiffs to proceed with their case, which says Trump has violated the emoluments clauses, little-used anti-corruption clauses in the Constitution.
  129. The marks the first time in U.S. history that a federal judge has interpreted those constitutional provisions and applied their restrictions to a sitting president.
  130. The opinion says the Constitution’s ban on emoluments could cover any business transactions with foreign governments where Trump derived a “profit, gain or advantage.” Trump has not divested of his business empire.
  131. On Wednesday, Reps. Mark Meadows and Jim Jordan, two top Trump-allies in the House, filed articles of impeachment to oust Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, the overseer of the Special Counsel investigation.
  132. Meadows however sidestepped a procedural move that could have forced the issue to a vote as the House prepared to leave for a five-week summer recess, and will not return until September.
  133. On Thursday, Speaker Paul Ryan firmly rejected the effort to impeach Rosenstein. Later, conservatives said Ryan agreed to give the DOJ “one last chance” in August to turn over the documents lawmakers have subpoenaed.
  134. On Thursday, NYT reported Mueller’s team is examining Trump’s tweets and negative comments about Sessions and Comey as part of a wide-ranging inquiry into possible obstruction of justice.
  135. Mueller’s team has told Mr. Trump’s lawyers they are examining the tweets under a section “Tampering With a Witness, Victim, or an Informant,” suggesting they may be investigating Trump for witness tampering.
  136. Investigators want to interview Trump about tweets he wrote about Sessions and Comey, and why he has continued to publicly criticize Comey and McCabe, another possible witness against Trump.
  137. On Thursday, WSJ reported Allen Weisselberg, a longtime bookkeeper for Trump, has been subpoenaed to testify as a witness before a federal grand jury in the criminal probe Cohen. It is not known if he has appeared yet.
  138. Weisselberg, has served as executive vice president and chief financial officer at the Trump Organization for decades, and has been described as “the most senior person in the organization that’s not a Trump.”
  139. Weisselberg is prized by Trump for his loyalty. He worked for Trump’s father, Fred’s, real-estate firm in the 1980s. For years, at least through the financial crisis, Weisselberg prepared Trump’s tax returns.
  140. He has been linked to the payments made to Stephanie Clifford and McDougal, and is mentioned in the recording released by Cohen this week, “I’ve spoken with Allen Weisselberg about how to set the whole thing up.”
  141. On Sunday, WAPO reported that since Kim Jong Un’s summit with Trump, North Koreans have canceled follow-up meetings, demanded more money, and failed to maintain basic communications with the U.S.
  142. Even as Trump told the media last week, “Discussions are ongoing and they’re going very well,” North Korea maintains a testing facility Trump said would be destroyed, and is hiding key parts of its nuclear program.
  143. Trump has vented his frustration to staffers over lack of progress, as North Korea fully engages with South Korea and China. Trump said Russia would help, but UN ambassador Nikki Haley said Russia is abetting illegal smuggling.
  144. On Sunday night, Trump tweeted there would be “consequences” if Iranian President Hassan Rouhani continues threatening America: “NEVER, EVER THREATEN THE UNITED STATES AGAIN OR YOU WILL SUFFER CONSEQUENCES THE LIKES OF WHICH FEW THROUGHOUT HISTORY HAVE EVER SUFFERED BEFORE.”
  145. Trump added, “WE ARE NO LONGER A COUNTRY THAT WILL STAND FOR YOUR DEMENTED WORDS OF VIOLENCE & DEATH. BE CAUTIOUS!” The threat was similar to those made to Kim Jong Un.
  146. On Monday, Bolton doubled-down on Trump’s threat in a statement to reporters, saying he spoke to Trump and “if Iran does anything at all to the negative, they will pay a price like few countries have ever paid before.
  147. On Tuesday, Reuters reported the Kremlin was reticent on the idea of a second summit in Washington D.C. Kremlin aide Yuri Ushakov suggested the two could possibly meet at the G20 in Argentina in late November.
  148. On Tuesday, CNN reported the White House has suspended the practice of publishing public summaries, known as “readouts,” of Trump’s phone calls with world leaders, breaking a long-time precedent of both parties.
  149. Trump has had at least two calls with foreign leaders in the last two weeks, including Turkish President Erdogan and Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu. The calls were reported first by foreign media.
  150. On Wednesday, Bolton announced that Trump will postpone the second summit with Putin until next year, saying Trump believes the second meeting “should take place after the Russia witch hunt is over.”
  151. Republican leaders Speaker Ryan and Majority Leader Mitch McConnell had said Putin would not be welcome for meetings on Capitol Hill, which customarily occur when a foreign head of state visits Washington.
  152. On Friday, Putin said he is ready to go to Washington D.C., and for Trump to come to Moscow, saying, “He has this invitation already and I told him about it,” adding but there “has to be necessary conditions.”
  153. It is not clear when Putin first invited Trump to Moscow — details from their meeting remain unknown. On Friday, Sanders said Trump is open to visiting Russia if Putin extends a formal invitation.
  154. On Wednesday, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo testified before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee on Trump’s meetings with Putin and Kim Jong Un. Pompeo was defiant, sparring with senators from both sides.
  155. Ahead of his testimony, knowing Pompeo would be grilled on Crimea, the State Department issued a “declaration” stating the U.S. rejects Russia’s annexation of Crimea and calling on Russia to end its occupation.
  156. In three hours of testimony, Pompeo dodged questions from frustrated senators on both sides asking for more information on Trump’s meeting with Putin, saying, “Presidents are entitled to have private meetings.”
  157. Committee chair Bob Corker said senators have “serious doubts” about Trump’s foreign policy, saying the White House “is making it up as they go,” and intentionally creates distrust in institutions like NATO.
  158. Sen. Robert Menendez said the takeaways are the regime “is increasingly not transparent” and on North Korea, “we have no agreements on anything.” Pompeo said North Korea has a different definition of denuclearization.
  159. On Thursday, Trump tweeted “we will look into…‘SHADOW BANNING’” Republicans — suppressing their content on Twitter. Twitter acknowledged the issue, calling it unintentional and saying it was not targeting Republicans.
  160. On Thursday, CNN reported Cohen says Trump knew in advance about the June 9 meeting where Russians were expected to give his campaign dirt on Hillary Clinton, and is willing to make that assertion to Mueller.
  161. Cohen alleges he was present, along with several others, when Donald Jr. informed Trump about the Russians’ offer. Cohen claims Trump approvedgoing ahead with the meeting with the Russians.
  162. On Friday, Trump responded to Cohen’s allegations, tweeting, “I did NOT know of the meeting with my son, Don jr.” Giuliani also continued to try to discredit Cohen, saying he is not credible.
  163. Trump also lashed out at Cohen, tweeting, “Sounds to me like someone is trying to make up stories in order to get himself out of an unrelated jam (Taxi cabs maybe?). He even retained Bill and Crooked Hillary’s lawyer.”
  164. Trump also repeated his false statement, tweeting, “the only Collusion with Russia was with the Democrats,” adding, “the rigged Witch Hunt continues! How stupid and unfair to our Country…”
  165. On Thursday, AP reported Natalia Veselnitskaya, the Russian said to have promised Donald Jr. dirt on Hillary, worked more closely with senior Russian government officials than she previously disclosed.
  166. Scores of emails, transcripts, and legal documents obtained through Russian opposition figure Mikhail Khodorkovsky’s London-based investigative unit, portray Veselnitskaya as a well connected attorney.
  167. On Friday, at a community forum in West Hollywood, Michael Avenatti claimed he is now representing three additional women who had relations with Trump and were “paid hush money prior to the 2016 election.”
  168. VICE reported Anastasia Vashukevich, who claims to have hours of tapes of conversations with Oleg Deripaska, will give the tapes to Deripaska. FBI investigators have tried to speak with her, but were rebuffed by Thai authorities.
  169. TMZ first reported Kristin Davis, known as the “Manhattan Madam,” wassubpoenaed by Mueller’s team as part of the Russia probe. Davis worked for Roger Stone for over a decade and the two are close friends.
  170. Lori Stegmann, a devout Republican commissioner in northwestern Oregon became a Democrat, saying “I cannot condone the misogyny, the racism, and the unethical and immoral behavior” of the Trump regime.
  171. Stegmann, an orphan and an immigrant, said, “I feel like I struck a nerve because so many people told me ‘That’s what I’m feeling,’ and ‘You’re right, the Republican party I joined has changed.’”