“Trollump and the Ring” by London-based artist Fanakapan. In Soho, New York City, November 2017
Week 53 of trump’s presidency: Experts in authoritarianism advise to keep a list of things subtly changing around you, so you’ll remember.
November 18, 2017 https://medium.com/@Amy_Siskind/week-53-experts-in-authoritarianism-advise-to-keep-a-list-of-things-subtly-changing-around-you-so-577dcb601736
This week the headlines and narrative were dominated by women (and men) sharing their stories of sexual assault and harassment — Stories entered the political domain with accusations against men of both parties, reopening questions about Trump’s sordid past. Trump tweeted himself into the sexual assault discussion, almost as if to be part of the zeitgeist, despite the perilous risks. This is the shortest list in many weeks as Trump was largely absent from the narrative and headlines. a historic movement.
This week the Russia probe entered Trump’s inner-circle, as more lines of direct and indirect communications surfaced, and efforts at cooperation between the Trump campaign and Russia were revealed. A political backlash against Trump continued as a special election in Oklahoma 37, a district Trump comfortably won by 40 points, went to a Democrat — a 26 year-old lesbian whose wife is African American.
Despite messaging during his Asia trip about using diplomacy with N. Korea, late Saturday, Trump tweeted, “
Why would Kim Jong-Un insult me by calling me ‘old,’ when I would NEVER call him ‘short and fat’?” On Sunday, in response to Trump siding with Putin over US intelligence on Russian interference in Week 52,
ex-intelligence chiefs James Clapper and John Brennan said Trump is being “played” by Putin. When asked about why his regime had yet to implement sanctions on Russia after the Senate and House voted almost unanimously to do so,
Trump said he would rather have Russia “in a friendly posture.” As Trump returned from his trip,
former diplomats and Asia experts said China came out ahead and Trump came home largely empty-handed. The former Australian PM wrote Trump ceded economic leadership to China. During Trump’s Asia trip, world leaders from 11 countries reached agreement on the
core elements of the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership trade deal, without the US. On Monday, Trump met with controversial leader Duterte.
Trump boasted of their “great relationship,” and laughed when Duterte called journalists “spies.” At least 177 Filipino media workers have been killed since 1986. The
WH said the two leaders “briefly” discussed human rights, but Duterte’s spokesman denied that the issue was discussed. Tuesday, Trudeau did bring up human rights, which Duterte called an “insult.” On Tuesday evening, as Trump returned from his Asia trip, he tweeted “May God be with the people of Sutherland Springs.”
That shooting took place 9 days prior. Tuesday, there was a mass shooting in Northern CA.
NYT reported Trump is rapidly reshaping the judiciary, including eight appellate judges, seats Republicans held open during Obama’s final two years in office, with extremist conservative judges. On Monday
, WAPO reported Jeff Sessions is considering a second special counsel to investigate GOP concerns, including the Clinton Foundation, Uranium One, and Hillary’s emails. Trump has been encouraging this.
NYT reported Sessions is shattering longstanding norms by doing so, and so the credibility of any investigation presumably would be called into question since Trump is publicly going after a political rival. On Saturday,
Trump was once again tweeting about his former political rival: “Crooked Hillary Clinton is the worst (and biggest) loser of all time…give it another try in three years!”
WAPO reported in Trump’s first 298 days, he has made 1,628 false or misleading statements. Despite having no criminal record,
a MI woman Zahrija Purovic, 50,who lived in the US for 30 years, worked and paid taxes and raised her three children here, was deported to Montenegro.
Seattle Times reported on Pacific County, which voted for Trump but now laments a spike in deportations of their neighbors. There have been 28 ICE arrests this year so far, up from eight last year and zero many years before.
NYT reported due to the Post Office unusually long delays of delivering DACA applications, including ones sent by certified mail, at least 74 young immigrants’ applications in NYC and Chicago were rejected for being late.
Vox reported the Trump regime has rejected 4,000 “late” DACA renewal applications, some of which were sitting in mailboxes. A lawsuit alleges USCIS is being stricter than usual, and arbitrarily denying applications.
On Thursday, in a reversal, acting DHS director Elaine Duke instructed the immigration agency to allow applicants to re-submit their paperwork if they have proof that they mailed their renewal on time.
San Francisco Chronicle reported the Trump regime plans to stop granting work permits to spouses of H-1B visa holders, overturning a 2015 rule. Last year, 100K spouses and children of H-1B holders came to the US.
AP reported Trump is choosing white men as judges at the highest rate in decades. So far, 91% of Trump’s nominees are white, and 81% are male. After nine months of trusting Trump to protect them for living in pro-Trump states,
farming groups are moving to fight Trump’s effort to withdraw from NAFTA, saying the move would be a disaster for farmers. The Trump administration’s US Fish and Wildlife Service said it
plan to reverse an Obama-era ban on bringing elephant trophies back from two African countries. The regime claims Zimbabwe and Zambia support reversing the ban. On Friday,
following public backlash, Trump said he would delay the new policy on elephant trophies until he can review “all conservation facts.”
ABC News confirmed the Trump regime’s US Fish and Wildlife Service also began issuing permits for lion trophies hunted in Zambia and Zimbabwe about a month ago. The
University of SC women’s basketball team declined an invitation from Trump to celebrate their 2017 NCAA championship at the WH. Trump’s controversial judicial nominee
Brett Talley did not disclose he is married to Donald McGahn’s chief of staff. In Week 52, Talley is also viewed as unqualified to be a federal district judge due to lack of experience. On Wednesday,
Richard Cordray announced he would step down as head of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, an agency created by Sen. Elizabeth Warren after the 2008 financial crisis. Republicans have taken steps under Trump to dismantle the agency.
Trump is expected to nominate Mick Mulvaney to acting head of the CFPB, an agency Mulvaney said he wanted to kill. Mulvaney will not require confirmation since he is serving as WH budget director.
Jamie Johnson, a Trump DHS appointee, resigned after CNN uncovered tapes of his radio show in which he claimed blacks turned cities into “slums” and Islam’s only contribution to society was “oil and dead bodies.” On Wednesday,
a bipartisan group of Senators wrote a letter to Rex Tillerson expressing “deep reservations” about lack of staffing, which threatens “to undermine the long-term health and effectiveness” of US diplomacy. The
FCC repealed a 1970s rule put in place to ensure a diversity of voices and opinions by prohibiting ownership of a newspaper and tv-station in the same market. Trump ally Sinclair will be the biggest beneficiary. On Wednesday,
13 Senate Democrats called for the FCC Inspector General to open an investigation into potential quid pro quo between FCC chair Ajit Pai, the Trump regime, and Sinclair Broadcasting. The
Koch brothers provided a half-billion dollar equity investments in a Meredith bid for Time Inc., potentially moving another major media company into the hands of conservative billionaires. On Wednesday,
Steven Mnuchin and his wife caused a stir by posing for pictures with him holding sheets of money at the Bureau of Engraving, while the Republicans push a tax plan which benefits the rich and corporations.
USA Today reported taxpayers are paying the legal costs for at least 10 DOJ lawyers and paralegals to work on four lawsuits related to Trump’s unprecedented decision not to divest of his private businesses.
WAPO reported the Interior Department’s watchdog Deputy IG Mary Kendall sent a letter to Ryan Zinke’s office saying management of his travel was “deficient” and lacked oversight. Zinke has failed to keep complete records. A federal judge heard arguments Friday on
whether Trump’s own tweets about the Steele dossier should force the federal government to reveal more information about its efforts to verify the claims in the dossier. On Friday,
Bloomberg reported Trump will begin paying his legal bills related to the Russia probe from his own pocket, relieving the Republican Party of future payments. WH lawyer Ty Cobb said the OGE and a tax firm are also working on a
mechanism for Trump to contribute to staffers’ legal bills, raising ethical concerns that Trump is doing this to influence staffer testimony. On Monday morning,
WAPO released a list of at least 30 known times the Trump campaign was in contact with Russians during the campaign. On Monday,
Russian state-funded . RT registered with the DOJ as a foreign agent RT is now required to publicly disclose details about its funding and operations, and mark certain content with labels.
Reuters reported, in retaliation, Russia named nine US-government sponsored media outlets likely to be labelled “foreign agents” in a new law that is being rushed through Russian parliament. On Monday,
The Atlantic reported on Twitter direct messages between . The messages have been turned over to Congressional investigators. WikiLeaks and Donald Jr. starting September 20, 2016 and through July 2017 US intelligence believes
WikiLeaks was chosen by Russia to disseminate hacked emails. Donald Jr. forwarded one email to Steve Bannon, Kellyanne Conway, Jared Kushner, and Brad Parscale. Kushner in turn forwarded the message to Hope Hicks.
Kushner has told congressional investigators he did not communicate with on the campaign who had. WikiLeaks, and did not recall anyone On October 3, 2016, the day after Roger Stone tweeted, “Wednesday @Hillary Clinton is done. #Wikileaks,”
Donald Jr. messaged ” WikiLeaksasking, “What’s behind this Wednesday leak I keep reading about? On October 12, 2016,
WikiLeaks messaged Donald Jr. about the upcoming release of Podesta hacked emails and asked that Trump tweet about it. Trump did in fact tweet about it, fifteen minutes later. In the
last 30 days of his presidential campaign, Trump mentioned . WikiLeaks 164 times In a message on Election Day,
,” and instead focuses on “CHALLENGING the media and other types of rigging.” WikiLeaks encouraged Donald Jr. that if Trump loses he “DOES NOT concede
WikiLeaks suggested they be the means for releasing Trump’s tax returns to help them appear impartial. After Trump won, ambassador to DC.” WikiLeaks asked to have Trump suggest “Australia appoint Assange On July 11, 2017, three days after the
the emails himself. NYT reported on Donald Jr.’s June 9 Trump Tower meeting and emails, WikiLeaks suggested they make the emails public. Hours later, Donald Jr. tweeted CNN reported the Russia-linked trolls that meddled in US politics
posted dozens of pro-Brexit messages on the day of the UK referendum. CNN reported the
House Intelligence Committee will interview Russian-American lobbyist Rinat Akhmetshin next week about his involvement in the June 9 Trump Tower meeting.
BuzzFeed reported the FBI is investigating 60 money transfers sent through Citibank accounts by the Russian Foreign Ministry, most with a note saying the money was to be used “to finance election campaign of 2016.” On Thursday,
NBC News reported Reza Zarrab, a dual Turkish-Iranian national with close ties to Turkey’s Erdogan is cooperating with federal investigators in a money-laundering case. Legal experts say
prosecutors may be looking for ties to Mike Flynn. Mueller is investigating whether Erdogan offered Flynn $15 million to use his position as NSA to extradite a cleric and drop charges against Zarrab. In Week 20 in March 2017, the acting US attorney told a judge
Rudy Giuliani and Marc Mukasey had joined Zarrab’s defense team to “explore a potential disposition of the criminal charges.” Both met with Erdogan in Turkey.
WSJ reported Mueller has subpoenaed more than a dozen top Trump officials seeking documents and emails that reference a set of Russia-related keywords. This is Mueller’s first official order to the campaign. In a letter, the
Senate Judiciary Committee said it has uncovered evidence that Kushner was forwarded a document about a “Russian backdoor overture” that he failed to turn over the Congressional investigators.
Kushner also failed to turn over a September 2016 email he received about WikiLeaks, and communication with Russian-born businessman Sergei Millian, former head of the Russian-American Chamber of Commerce. The letter also criticized Kushner for
not turning over a copy of a government document that Mr. Kushner completed to obtain a security clearance, a SF-86, which has been amended at least twice. On Friday,
CBS News reported the “ Russian backdoor overture and dinner invite” to Kushner was requested by Alexander Torshin in May 2016 and his assistant, Maria Butina. Torshin has
close ties to Putin. He was a senator and appointed deputy governor of the Bank of Russia. He also is suspected of having ties to organized crime. Torshin and Butina had requested
to meet with Trump, and then have Trump travel to Russia to meet Putin. The request was made through an intermediary who was attached to a NRA event in Kentucky. The intermediary forwarded the five-page request
to the Trump campaign, including Paul Manafort and Rick Gates. Eventually it was forwarded to Kushner.
NBC News reported the two hoped to meet Trump on the sidelines of the NRA convention in Louisville. Torshin also hoped to meet a high-level Trump campaign officials, saying he may have a message from Putin for Trump. Kushner received a lengthy email exchange between the intermediary and Rick Dearborne, who now serves as deputy chief of staff in the WH.
Kushner told Dearborne and others in the campaign not to move forward. While Kushner was telling Dearborne and others not to accept,
Torshin was seated with Donald Jr. at a private dinner on the sidelines of the NRA event, according to an account Torshin gave to Bloomberg.
Yahoo reported the WH abruptly canceled a February meeting between Trump and Torshin after national security discovered Torshin was named by Spanish police as a suspected “godfather” of an organized crime ring.
Politico reported Kushner is still operating on interim security clearance ten months in. He continues to work on sensitive foreign policy issues while his application for a permanent clearance remains under review.
NYT reported the US Office of Acquisitions has hired Elite Security to guard the Moscow Embassy and consulates in St. Petersburg, after Putin ordered the US to slash their staff by 755 employees in July in retaliation. The contract was
no-bid. Elite Security is a company with run by Putin’s former KGB boss, an 82-year-old veteran spy who spent 25 years planting agents and hunting down operatives in Western countries. A new book,
Collusion: How Russia Helped Donald Trump Win, quotes Steele as telling friends he believes 70–90% of the dossier is accurate, and his report will be vindicated by the Mueller investigation. On Wednesday, in nearly
seven hours of testimony to the House Intel Committee, Fusion GPS co-founder Glenn Simpson defended the Steele dossier, saying nothing in it has been disproven and some has been corroborated. Simpson also said
Steele did not pay the sources he used to compile the dossier. Simpson is now cooperating with the three congressional committees investigating Russian meddling. CNN reported the
DOJ’s probe into Deutsche Bank’s role in a $10 million Russian money laundering scheme has gone dormant. The DOJ and the US attorney for SDNY were investigating how the bank missed red flags. The investigation has been closely watched
Democrats, who have asked Deutsche to turn over documents, but the bank has been non-responsive. Trump and Kushner have extensive banking relationships with Deutsche.
Judicial Watch filed under the FOIA against the DOJ for all records relating to Veselnitskaya’s immigration parole. At the time she met with Donald Jr. at Trump Tower, Veselnitskaya wasn’t supposed to be in the US. British publicist
Roger Goldstone, who helped set up the Trump Tower meeting between Donald Jr. and Veselnitskaya, is ready to come to the US and meet Mueller’s team. Goldstone is currently living in Bangkok.
Foreign Policy reported Kushner’s newspaper, hacked emails shared by The Observer, pursued a relationship with WikiLeaks starting in 2014. During the 2016 election, the newspaper actively published WikiLeaks. Although Kushner claimed to keep a distance from his newspaper,
he spoke to EIC Ken Kurson daily. Kurson also sat with the Trump family at the RNC.
Politico reported in interviews with Greek media last year, George Papadopoulos boasted of a “blank check” for a job in the Trump regime, and to representing Trump in meetings overseas with foreign leaders.
AP reported Congressional investigators are looking into a June 2017 meeting between Rinat Akhmetshin and Ike Kaveladze in Moscow. Both had attended the June 9, 2016 meeting at Trump Tower with Donald Jr. Congressional investigators want to know if the meeting was to know
whether there was some effort to get their stories straight before it became public on July 8, when the NYT broke the story. Mueller is also investigating the
June 9 meeting which occurred weeks after Trump clinched the nomination. A grand jury has already heardtestimony about the meeting which Kushner and Manafort also attended.
NYT reported Whitefish Energy billed PREPA $319 an hour for linemen, 17 times higher than what is typical in Puerto Rico. Senior linemen coming from Florida to work in Puerto Rico were paid $100 or less. Power in Puerto Rico is spotty almost two months after Hurricane Maria.
Early in the week, 50% of the island had power, then a major transmission line failed, reducing it to 22%. Whitefish Energy had repaired the line. The
USNS Comfort departed Puerto Rico. Since arriving Comfort staff have treated 1,899 patients, performed 191 surgeries, provided 76K liters of oxygen, and ten tons of food and water. On Tuesday, Sessions testified before the House Judiciary Committee.
Sessions again revised his account of what he knew about the Trump campaign’s dealing with Russia, despite saying, “ my story had never changed.” Asked about Papadopoulos statements placing
Sessions in a meeting where Russia was discussed, he answered, “I had no recollection of this meeting until I saw these news reports.” Sessions claimed his memory was refreshed after reading Papadopoulos’ account, and
said to the best of his recollection, Papadopoulos “was not authorized to represent the campaign with the Russian government.” The day after Sessions’s testimony, Sergey Kislyak told
Russia-1, a popular Russia state-owned channel, that it would take him more than 20 minutes to name all of the Trump officials he’s met with or spoken to on the phone. On Friday,
Sessions joked before a speech at the Federalist Society, “Is Ambassador Kislyak in the room? … Any Russians?” On Tuesday special elections,
Allison Isley-Freeman, a 26 year-old lesbian, won in an Oklahoma district Trump had carried+40. Democrats won the mayor of Albuquerque, NM for the first time in eight years, in a blowout. On Wednesday,
six Democrats demanded impeachment hearings citing the Comey firing, violations of the emoluments clause, and Trump’s undermining of the federal judiciary and freedom of press. A Texas woman,
Karen Fonseca, made news for a pickup truck bumper sticker with an expletive-filled message to Trump and his supporters. Fonseca said she’s been stopped by police, but is exercising free speech. On Wednesday,
Sheriff Troy Nehls posted a photo of the truck on Facebook and asked for information on the driver. The post was taken down. On Thursday, Fonseca was picked up for an outstanding warrant from August.
Breaking with tradition of nearly two decades, Trump will not meet with the eight American Nobel laureates before they travel to Sweden to receive their prizes. One honoree said he was “relieved.” On Thursday, the
Department of Defense’s Twitter account retweeted, then deleted a post calling on Trump to resign. The chief spokesperson tweeted, the account “erroneously retweeted content that would not be endorsed.” On Tuesday, Speaker Paul Ryan announced
a new mandatory anti-harassment and discrimination training for all House members and staff. On Thursday, Trump tweeted about Al Franken’s sexual misconduct, saying “The Al Frankenstien picture is really bad […] Where do his hands go in pictures 2, 3, 4, 5 & 6 while she sleeps?……”
Press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said in a press briefing that
the difference between Trump and Franken, she said, is that “Franken has admitted wrongdoing” but Trump has not. In an interview with
Mother Jones, Hillary questioned the legitimacy of the 2016 election citing Russian interference and voter suppression. In WI, voter suppression possibly impacted 45K voters, Trump won by 23K votes.
Politico reported Trump is obsessed with polls, and decries those that show his popularity falling as fake. Aides in the WH often show him only the polls that make him feel good. Air Force Gen. John Hyten,
a top US nuclear commander of the of the Strategic Command (STRATUM), said he would push back against Trumpif he ordered a nuclear launch the general believed to be illegal.
The New York City art scene continues to RESIST!
Week 47 of trump’s presidency: Experts in authoritarianism advise to keep a list of things subtly changing around you, so you’ll remember.
October 7, 2017 https://medium.com/@Amy_Siskind/week-47-experts-in-authoritarianism-advise-to-keep-a-list-of-things-subtly-changing-around-you-so-4d2a98d43d18
This was a dark week for our country, with the unfolding humanitarian crises in Puerto Rico and USVI, and the deadliest mass shooting in modern history in Las Vegas. Trump’s tin-ear and lack of empathy to these events were conspicuous in his ominous “calm before the storm” statement Thursday.
Amid the chaos, major stories broke on Kushner and Ivanka’s use of personal email accounts, all of which were surreptitiously moved to a Trump Organization server. Mueller’s Russia probe continued full-steam, and news of a meeting with Christopher Steele indicated the dossier is likely being used as a roadmap. As with every weekly list, this week rights and protections were taken away from women and marginalized communities.
Despite the humanitarian crisis in Puerto Rico, for a second weekend since Maria hit, Trump golfed Saturday and Sunday at Trump properties. DoD reported Saturday just
45% have drinking water and 5% have electricity. Late Saturday, the WH sent flattering readouts of Trump’s conversations with a former governor of Puerto Rico, and the governors of Puerto Rico and USVI.
Readouts are typically reserved for calls with foreign leaders. Trump sent his most tweets in a day since taking office on Saturday (25): continuing his manufactured battle with the NFL, and his attacks on the fake news and the Mayor of San Juan.
On Saturday, after his first tour of Puerto Rico, top general Jeffrey Buchanan, the DoD’s primary military liaison with FEMA, said
the damage there is “the worst I’ve ever seen.” Fourteen Democrats on the House Natural Resources Comm called for an
oversight hearing on the Trump regime’s handling of the Puerto Rico and USVI relief efforts. On Sunday night, in the
deadliest mass shooting in modern US history, one man who owned 47 guns killed 58 and wounded hundreds. Trump said the quick response of law enforcement was “ in many ways, a miracle.” In the aftermath of the shooting,
top trending stories on Facebook and Google promoted politicized fake news from unreliable sources like 4chanwhich claimed the shooter was a Democrat opposed to Trump. While refusing to the call the white male shooter a terrorist,
Trump referred to him as “a very sick man” and “demented.” The first bill Trump signed revoked Obama-era gun check for people with mental illness.
NBC obtained the Trump WH talking points distributed for the Las Vegas shooting. They include “thoughts and prayer,” “gather facts before making policy arguments,” and comparing it to Baltimore and Chicago murders. On Saturday, funding for
CHIP, the program which provided healthcare for 9mm children and pregnant women in low-income households, expired. No action was taken by Congress to renew it.
Two high school football players in Crosby, TX were kicked off their high school football team for protesting during the national anthem — one knelt and one for raised his fist. According to a reporter, at least
two NFL teams were said to be bowing to pressure by Trump, and plan to create policies requiring their players to stand during the national anthem. Joining Saudi Arabia, Iraq and the UAE, the
US voted against a UN Human Rights Council resolution that condemns the death penalty for consensual same-sex sexual acts. The resolution passed by a 27–13 margin. A judge in Texas ruled that
state officials would be violating state privacy laws if they handed over voters’ personal information to Trump’s Election Integrity Commission. The judge issued a temporary restraining order.
Trump’s DOJ is investigating affirmative action at Harvard. The revelation came to light after watchdog group American Oversight filed a FOIA request for information on affirmative action investigations at two schools. Brownsville, TX city commissioner
Cesar De Leon apologized after the release of a recording of his racist rant using the “n-word” about county and city officials. After initially refusing to, under pressure, he resigned.
BuzzFeed reported Trump regime lawyers asked a court to dismiss a lawsuit filed to halt Trump’s Transgender Military Ban, saying the Pentagon hasn’t finalized the details of the ban yet. Six transgender soldiers who are part of the lawsuit
say they have already suffered — their medical treatments have been canceled and their careers are being derailed — and hence they need immediate relief. On Wednesday,
Sessions rolled back an Obama-era policy which protected transgender workers from discrimination, saying “Title VII does not prohibit discrimination based on gender identity per se.” On Friday,
Trump rolled back Obamacare’s birth control mandate, allowing any employer to cite religious or moral objections to covering the cost of birth control for employees under their healthcare plan. On Friday,
Sessions issued new guidelines which instructed federal agencies and attorneys to protect religious liberty. The policy provides broad exemptions to discriminate against women and LGBTQ people.
ABC reported Sessions consulted with Alliance Defending Freedom, a Christian legal advocacy group that champions conservative causes, ahead of issuing the new guidelines. After Gov Brown signed a law limiting cooperation between local police and ICE in CA, the Trump regime said it will go after undocumented immigrants and
likely pick up “collateral” they were not initially targeting.
Mother Jones reported according to documents released by a federal court, Kobach tried to roll back voter protection by amending the National Voter Registration Act: adding requirements to make it harder to register to vote. On Tuesday, 14 days after Hurricane Maria decimated the island, Trump visited Puerto Rico. He
praised federal and local officials for the response, but purposefully excluded the Mayor of San Juan.
Trump complained about the costs of helping Americans in Puerto Rico, saying “you’ve thrown our budget a little out of whack because we’ve spent a lot of money.” Similar statements were not made about Texas or Florida. Trump
hailed the relief response as “incredible” and “great,” and bragged that “only 16 people are known to have died,” many less than Katrina. Hours later, the death count rose to 34. In an image that became symbolic of his trip to Puerto Rico and his lack of empathy for the people,
Trump went to a supply distribution point dressed in a dark suit, and tossed rolls of paper towels into a crowd. Oxfam took the unusual step of criticizing the US government.
Oxfam said it is “outraged at the slow and inadequate response” by the Trump regime in Puerto Rico.
Oxfam also announced it would be taking the rare step of intervening in an American disaster, pursuing its own two-pronged approach in Puerto Rico.
CNN’s Dr. Sanjay Gupta, who is in Puerto Rico, warned that tens of thousands could die for want of insulin, blood pressure medications and antibiotics, as well as sweltering heat and lack of food and water. By Friday, the official death count in Puerto Rico reached 36, but as
NPR reported, the actual toll is expected to be much higher with uncounted bodies piling up in places that have no way to communicate. Rep Luis Gutiérrez, who traveled to Puerto Rico on his own expense, said the media reports are correct:
the island is a humanitarian crisis. Gutiérrez said the Trump regime doesn’t “want you to know the truth.”
WAPO reported FEMA removed statistics about drinking water access and electricity in Puerto Rico from their website on Thursday morning. Following a social media outcry,
the statistics were restored on Friday afternoon. Stats reveal progress is extremely slow. On Wednesday morning,
Trump said he would wipe out Puerto Rico’s debt, causing trading prices of Puerto Rico municipal bonds to plummet. Mulvaney dialed back: “I wouldn’t take it word for word with that.”
POLITICO reported on a third, previously undisclosed email account on Kushner and Ivanka’s private domain. The three accounts raise concern about the security of sensitive government documents. The third account has
hundreds of emails from WH addresses. In addition to Kushner and Ivanka, personal household staff had access to the account for scheduling purposes.
USA Today reported Kushner and Ivanka’s personal emails were redirected to Trump Organization server 2–3 days after public disclosure about the existence personal emails. The move also comes
shortly after Mueller asked the WH to turn over records related to his investigation of Russia’s interference in the election. Cummings asked the FBI to
investigate whether Kusher and Ivanka exposed classified information through their use of personal email and transfer to Trump Organization servers. The
US Official of Special Counsel found Ambassador Haley violated the Hatch Act by promoting a House candidate on Twitter. Haley was given a warning. The investigation follows a complaint filed by CREW in June.
WAPO reported, back in August, Trump saw an article about Republican-controlled Iowa requesting federal permission to fix its Obamacare markets. Trump’s instruction was, “Tell Iowa no.” Trump’s
HHS taken many steps to suppress sign-ups for Obamacareincluding slashing grants for groups that help consumers, cutting the enrollment period in half, and reducing the advertising budget by 90%.
McClatchy reported Kushner and Ivanka were both fined $200 for missing deadlines to submit financial reports required by government ethics rules. This is Kushner’s second time being fined for late filings. After receiving an 18-day filing extension,
Kushner has made changes to his financial disclosure forms 39 times. In many cases, those changes were in response to questions from the OGE. Eli Miller,
Mnuchin’s chief of staff, flew in hedge fund billionaire Nelson Peltz’s private jet to Palm Beach. The Treasury Department’s inspector general office has launched an inquiry.
BuzzFeed reported the US intelligence unit of Mnuchin’s Treasury Dept has been violating domestic surveillance laws by spying on financial records of US citizens and companies. The
Interior Dept’s inspector general opened an investigation into Zinke’s travel, including his use of taxpayer-funded charter and military planes, and his mixing of official trips with political appearances.
NYT reported on Pruitt’s schedule: almost every day he has multiple meetings, sessions or speaking engagements with top corporate executives and lobbyists of the industries the EPA regulates, but rarely does he meet with environmental groups or consumer or public health advocates.
POLITICO reported, in a closed-door meeting with wealthy donors, Pence’s chief of staff Nick Ayers floated the idea of a “purge” of anti-Trump Republicans, saying they are blocking Trump’s legislative agenda. A federal judge in Phoenix
dismissed the criminal case against Arpaio and accepted Trump’s pardon. In a blistering 14-page ruling, she held off on ruling on Arpaio’s request to throw out all orders in the case.
Mother Jones reported 10-months in, Trump still hasn’t appointed someone to the job of National Protection and Programs Directorate, a position charges with protecting our elections from cyberattacks. In a letter to the WH, Cummings, the top democrat of the House Oversight Comm, asked
Kellyanne Conway, known to have traveled with Price, to provide documentation related to all her non-commercial flights.
Reuters reported Energy Sec Perry took a charter flight from PA to OH the day before Price resigned. Commercial alternatives were available.
WAPO reported Transportation Sec Chao used government planes seven times including days trip to cities within an hour of DC, as well as for trips to France and Italy which cost taxpayers tens of thousands of dollars.
NYT reported Mnuchin traveled on military jets seven times at a cost of more than $800k. The investigation by the OMB found while he broke no laws, Mnuchin gave loose justifications for the costly flights.
Donald Jr. has delivered several speeches, earning as much as $100k per speech. His speeches raise ethics violation and conflict of interest concerns, especially as related to access to the WH. Trump’s Interior Dept
rejected 25 petitions to list a variety of species as endangered or threatened, including several linked to climate change. Trump has yet to nominate a director of the Fish and Wildlife Service. In response to a FOIA lawsuit, the
Secret Service said it does not have a complete Mar-A-Lago visitor log. All the Secret Service has turned over so far is a one-page listing of 22 Japanese officials. Joel Clement, an
Interior Dept executive turned whistleblower who claimed the Trump regime retaliated against him for disclosing how climate change affects Alaska Native communities, resigned Wednesday.
Guardian reported, in what may be a watershed case, US professor David Carroll is suing Cambridge Analytica in British Courts to ask for his personal data back. UK law allows for such requests, unlike US law. On Monday, Facebook shared that
Russian purchased $100k worth of ads which reached about 10mm Americans. More than half the ads were seen after the election, indicating Russia continues to meddle in US politics.
WAPO reported on research by social media analyst Jonathan Albright which found Russian propaganda on Facebook may have been viewed by hundreds of millions, perhaps many billions.
WSJ reported after internal debate, Facebook decided to scrap mention of Russia in a public report released on April 27 about manipulation of its platform during the 2016 election. Instead, in a significantly
shortened report, Facebook blamed “malicious actors.” It is unclear how much Facebook knew at the time. Not until September 6 did Facebook identify Russia as the source of interference.
Fast Company reported that after finding suspicious accounts on Instagram and calling Facebook to confirm, Facebook updated its blog post to clarify about 150 political ads sold to Russia showed up on Instagram.
CNN reported Russian operatives targeted MI and WI with Facebook ads. Some of the ads were highly sophisticated in their targeting of key demographic groups in areas of the states that turned out to be pivotal.
Trump won both states by under 1%: MI by 10.7k of 4.8mm votes cast and WI by 22.7k votes. Congressional investigators want to know if Russia had any assistance from the Trump campaign.
WSJ reported on the most significant security breaches in years: in 2015 Russian hackers stole NSA data. The breach could enable Russia to evade NSA surveillance and infiltrate US networks. The breach is the
first confirmed time Kaspersky software was exploited by Russian hackers. As noted in Week 34, Kaspersky was trained at a KGB-sponsored technical school and worked in Russian military intelligence.
POLITICO reported Trump loyalists are losing patience with multiple, continuing congressional Russia probes, saying they have distracted from his agenda and allowed Democrats to question the legitimacy of his win.
WAPO said these loyalists are pushing Republicans chairing committees to wrap up their investigations and make the scandal disappear. An interim press briefing by Burr and Warner on Wednesday was cited as an example.
Burr and Warner said they concurred with US intel’s assessment that Russia interfered in the 2016 election. They also said the issue of collusion is still open. Burr and Warner also
detailed some threads of investigations including Russian efforts on social media, the April 2016 meeting at the Mayflower Hotel, and changes to the Republican Party platform.
Burr said they had “hit a wall” with the Steele dossier because the author would not meet with them. On Thursday, Rachel Maddow reported that Christopher Steele is open to meeting with the Senate Intel Comm. On Wednesday,
Reuters reported Mueller has taken over FBI inquiries into the Steele dossier as part of the special counsel’s Russia probe. On Thursday,
CNN reported Mueller’s team met with Steele this past summer. The broad assertion of the dossier, that Russia waged a campaign to interfere in the election, is now accepted by US intel. The CIA and FBI took Steele’s research seriously enough
they chose not to include it in the publicly released January report on Russian interference to avoid divulging the parts of the dossier they had corroborated and how. Three Russian
owners of Alfa Bank, Mikhail Fridman, Petr Aven and German Khan, sued Fusion GPS and its founder claiming their reputations were unfairly tattered by the dossier. The three sued BuzzFeed in Week 28.
Mother Jones reported Sen Wyden of the Senate Intel Comm does not concur with Burr’s statement that he can say certifiably there was no voter tampering. Wyden also questioned Burr’s handling of the investigation.
Daily Beast reported the Senate Judiciary Comm is not investigating Russian interference, but engaging in routine oversight of the DOJ. Sources include a staffer for Grassley, Republican chair of the committee.
WAPO reported Michael Cohen turned over documents to Congressional investigators and Mueller related to two, previously undisclosed contacts with Russians. These contacts are not related to Trump Tower Moscow.
Cohen and a business associate emailed weeks before the Republican National Convention, about Cohen traveling to an economic conference in Russia attended by Putin and his top financial and government leaders.
Cohen also received a proposal in late 2015 for a Moscow residential project from a company founded by a Russian billionaire who once served in the Russian parliament. Cohen maintains he never traveled to Russia.
Foreign Policy reported in a previously undisclosed meeting: Rep Rohrabacher met with Veselnitskaya in Moscow two months prior to the infamous June 9 meeting with Donald Jr.
POLITICO reported Trump lawyer Ty Cobb is putting the finishing touches on launching a legal defense fund to help mid-level WH staffers cover their legal costs related to Mueller’s Russia probe.
Newsweek reported Robert Mercer, Bannon-ally and part owner of Cambridge Analytica, donated $200k to the Republican Party legal defense fund the day Trump fired Comey.
The Atlantic revealed emails between Manafort and Kilimnik referenced in the WAPO story in Week 45. The emails suggest Manafort was extremely eager to please Russian oligarch Deripaska, and to get made whole. Kilimnik met Manafort on August 2 in NYC. Emails
prior reference important messages about the “future of his country.” Days before, Trump said “Wouldn’t it be a great thing if we could get along with Russia?” After Tillerson said Saturday he was reaching out to Pyongyang in hopes of starting a new dialogue,
Trump undercut him Sunday tweeting, I told Rex “he is wasting his time trying to negotiate with Little Rocket Man.”
NBC reported Tillerson almost resigned this past summer after Trump’s Boy Scout speech. Days before that speech, Tillerson referred to Trump as a “moron” in a meeting with national security and Cabinet officials. After the report, Tillerson
pulled together an impromptu news conference to publicly praise Trump. Bob Schieffer described it as, “ not like a news conference, it was more like a hostage tape.” Corker, a Trump ally during the campaign who is retiring, in
a harsh rebuke of Trump, said Kelly, Mattis and Tillerson are the are the “people that help separate our country from chaos.”
The New Yorker reported shortly after Tillerson was confirmed, he met Trump at the WH, and Trump “began fulminating about federal laws that prohibit American businesses from bribing officials overseas.” On Friday,
for the first time in seven years, the US economy lost jobs. Expectation for September were to add 80k jobs, however 33k jobs were lost. Job totals from July and August were also downwardly revised. On Thursday, at a dinner surrounded by military leaders and their spouses at the WH,
Trump warned this is “the calm before the storm.” What he meant was unknown by even members of his staff. The mystery around his pronouncement continued on Friday when he was asked about the statement and
responded, “you’ll find out,” then winked. A September
AP-NORC poll showed Trump reaching his lowest approval yet: 32% approve, 67% disapprove. Trump’s approval among Republicans fell to 67%.
The poll also found just 24% think the country is headed in the right direction, 26% believe Trump is a strong leader, 23% view him as honest, and 16% say he is level-headed. One year after the infamous “Access Hollywood” video went public, women’s advocacy group
UltraViolet playing the footage, looping again and again, on a large screen on the Mall in DC for 12 hours straight.
ProPublica reported Ivanka and Donald Jr. were close to being charged for a felony fraud in 2012 for misleading prospective buyers of units in the Trump SoHo. Their partners were Russians Felix Sater and Tevfik Arif.
Kasowitz contributed $25k to Manhattan DA Vance before a sit-down, and later donated $32k. The case was dropped. Felix Sater is a frequent subject of The Weekly List, including involvement with Trump Tower Moscow.
Breaking from the advice of Tillerson and Mattis, Trump is expected to decertify the landmark deal curbing Iran’s nuclear program. Iran has not breached the accord, but instead Trump claims the “spirit” of the deal.
HuffPost reported the Trump regime is preparing repeal the Clean Power Plan, an Obama-era climate change policy which limits greenhouse gas emissions from power plants. Trump has called the policy, “stupid.” Almost three weeks after Hurricane Maria, as just 12% of Puerto Rico had electricity and 55% drinking water, on Saturday morning,
Trump made his 69th trip to a Trump golf course of his 260 days in office.
Some graffiti on this sad situation around New York City this week:
Sticker by Australian street artist CRiSP. Placed on a “POTUS” poster at a bus stop.
Sticker in East Village
There’s an artist sending trump messages in fortune cookies. This one reminds trump that he SADLY lost New York. That’s gotta hurt.
So much of the graffiti related to trump is defaced because it appears most people can’t even stand to see his face. This one was covered with humanitarian facts. Better to look at than his face any day…
Week 44 of trump’s presidency: Experts in authoritarianism advise to keep a list of things subtly changing around you, so you’ll remember.
September 16, 2017 https://medium.com/@Amy_Siskind/week-44-experts-in-authoritarianism-advise-to-keep-a-list-of-things-subtly-changing-around-you-so-7fbc1a8d7e01
Front and center this week were reports on Russia’s use of social media to influence the US election, possibly with help from the Trump regime. As well, a slew of reporting continued to build the evolving mosaic of connections and quid pro quo between members of the Trump regime and Putin allies.
Trump’s short-lived pivot ended abruptly late in the week when he again evoked “both sides” on Charlottesville, then started an embarrassing tweet storm about a tragic bombing in London. An interview by Rachel Maddow of Hillary on her new book, provided a momentary pause and wake up call for how much our country has changed — both our global standing and government competency — under a leader who admires, and aspires to authoritarianism.
When asked about Hurricane Irma,
Trump took the opportunity to compliment the Coast Guard’s branding: “If you talk about branding? No brand has improved more than the United States Coast Guard.”
Axios reported according to an adviser, Trump finally realized: “People really f@&@ing hate me.” The adviser noted Trump’s need for affirmation may have led to his sudden embrace of Schumer and Pelosi. WH social media director Dan Scavino Jr.
tweeted then deleted a video, which he incorrectly attributed to Miami Airport during Hurricane Irma.
FP reported on growing concerns within the CIA that due to his personal beliefs, Trump ally Pompeo is rolling back the agency’s diversity mandate. In June,
senior CIA management abruptly canceled an event with the Matthew Shepard Foundation, in honor of their late gay son. Shepard’s death led to some of the country’s first federal hate crime laws. On Sunday, Trump announced his sixth wave of US Attorney nominations:
41 of the 42 were men. On Monday, Trump nominated six to become US attorneys.
All six where white men. Trump’s NASA nominee Bridenstine was quoted as saying the agency should be reorganized, and “
expansion of human knowledge” about space and Earth should be removed from NASA’s objectives. The UNC Board of Governors
approved a ban on litigation which effectively ended the civil rights center work benefitting low-income and minority groups at UNC’s law school. ICE arrested a 34 year-old father of two in Santa Fe,
using his younger brother, who was in HHS custody, as bait.
Phoenix New Times reviewed ICE arrest records and found that employees at two Motel 6 locations in predominantly Latino neighborhoods were alerting ICE on undocumented guests. After an outcry on social media,
Motel 6 said it would stop sharing guest lists, but has yet to acknowledge if this was only done at the local level, and to explain why employees were collaborating with ICE.
NYT reported the Trump regime is considering lowering the refugee quota to below 50k, the lowest level since 1980, and less than half the 110k admitted by Obama in 2016. An
ABC News affiliate reported DACA recipients are being detained for hours at Texas border checkpoints, with no explanation as to why. Border Patrol claim it’s new protocol. A federal judge in Chicago blocked
DOJ’s rules under Sessions which required sanctuary cities to cooperate with immigration agents in order to get public safety grants, like the COPS program in Week 43. In the wake of Charlottesville,
the Senate unanimously passed a resolution condemning white supremacists, neo-Nazis and other hate groups. The resolution called Heyer’s murder a “domestic terrorist act.” The resolution
urges Trump and his regime to speak out against hate groups, and called on the DOJ and federal agencies to use all resources to improve data on hate crimes, and address growth of hate groups. On Tuesday, the
House unanimously approved the resolution, and on Wednesday, press secretary Sanders said Trump “ looks forward” to signing the resolution. Instead, on Thursday, Trump
claimed that both sides were to blame in Charlottesville, repeating his charge that those who resisted the neo-Nazis and white supremacists were as much to blame as the alt-right crowds.
WAPO reported POLITICO’s editors warned staff on topics like physical attacks on journalists and white supremacy: “Try to stay away from those things because some of them are partisan.” Trump nominated
Eric Dreiband to lead the DOJ’s Civil Rights Division. Dreiband testified against the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act, and represented UNC in banning transgender people from using the bathroom corresponding to their gender identity. In her book “Unbelievable: My Front-Row Seat to the Craziest Campaign in American History,” reporter
Katy Tur detailed an unwanted kiss from Trump while covering his campaign. Tur said she was “mortified.”
Axios reported that according to an internal memo, the CDC is cracking down on employees communications with the press. The memo says not to speak to reporters, “even for a simple data-related question.” On Monday,
Trump’s DOJ said in a court filing that a judge should erase her finding that Arpaio violated a court order and was guilty of criminal contempt — a symbol of vindication. Two legal advocacy groups f
iled challenges to Trump’s pardon of Arpaio, saying it was unconstitutional because it undermines the power of the judicial branch.
Salon reported Trump has formed at least 49 new businesses since he announced his run for presidency, and continuing since he took office. He has done almost nothing to separate himself from his businesses.
McClatchy reported despite Trump’s pledge not to work with foreign entities, a construction company owned by the Chinese government was hired to work on Trump’s new golf club development in Dubai.
BuzzFeed reported Trump International Beach Resort in Florida has asked the government for permission to hire more temporary foreign workers. Trump has sought more than 380 H-2 visas since June 2015. Florida AG
Pam Bondi will start next week on Trump’s commission to combat the opioid crisis. In April, an ethics commission cleared Bondi of accepting a $25k donation from Trump at the same time she received a complaint on Trump University for fraud, which her office dismissed. In a September report on executive branch agency waivers and authorizations, the
OGE noted the WH has refused to provide information requested and to answer follow-up questions on secret WH waivers. The Secret Service released
just 22 of the visitor names to Mar-a-Lago in response to an April FOIA filing by CREW and two other groups. All 22 names were all related to Japanese PM Abe’s February visit The limited disclosure violated a federal judge’s
order to turn over all visitor names from Jan 20 — March 8, 2017. Trump has spent 25 days at Mar-a-Lago. CREW promised to head back to court.
WAPO shared a receipt sent to “National Security Council” from Mar-a-Lago, showing taxpayers were billed the “rack rate” of $1,092 for a two-night stay. Mar-a-Lago is 99% owned by Trump’s revocable trust. Derek Harvey, the
controversial former Mideast chief for the NSC who was fired by McMaster, is going to work for Nunes. At Trump’s behest, McConnell is
considering making the blue slip, a way for individual senators to block a nominees from their home states, advisory instead when it comes to appeals court nominees.
POLITICO reported, in a reversal of internal policy, OGE said WH staffers may accept anonymous donations from lobbyists to legal defense funds. Late Friday, after scrutiny from the
POLITICO story, OGE clarified its rules, saying contributions to legal defense funds from anonymous donors, as well as those from lobbyists and foreign governments, are unacceptable.
ABC reported Mnuchin requested use of a government jet to take him and his wife to their honeymoon in Europe, prompting an “inquiry” by the Treasury Dept’s Office of Inspector General.
CREW sued the Treasury Dept for documents relating to Mnuchin’s use of a government plane to travel to Kentucky with his wife Louise Linton. The Treasury Dept failed to respond to a prior request for disclosure. Trump’s Election Integrity Comm convened its second meeting in NH. Of note,
the list of witnesses included no people of color or women, but instead allies of Kobach and tarnished academics. Gizmodo reported on a document obtained from the DOJ which shows Sessions was
lobbied by Heritage Foundation to exclude Democrats, mainstream Republicans, and academics from Election Integrity Comm. The author of the letter from Heritage,
Hans von Spakovsky, participated in Kobach’s NH meeting, on a panel. Spakovsky has led the charge for strict voter ID laws for more than a decade. In a statement, Alan King, a
Democratic judge from Alabama on Trump’s Election Integrity Comm, criticized the commission for overzealous effortsto purge people from voter rolls in favor of more affluent voters.
ProPublica investigated the Election Integrity Comm’s use of emails and found no instructions or training has been given. Some commission members are using private email which violates federal law. On Monday,
Mexico withdrew its offer of aid to help Hurricane Harvey victims, noting Trump failed to send condolences to Mexico for a magnitude 8.1 earthquake and hurricane.
NYT reported that in a WH meeting, Kelly likened Mexico to Venezuela under the leadership of the Chávez regime, and suggested it was on the verge of a collapse which would have repercussions for the US. Despite an
ongoing DOJ investigation into Malaysian PM Najib Razak for misappropriating billions of dollars from a government fund he controlled, Trump invited him to the WH for a friendly visit. Najib has also been
criticized for human rights violations under his leadership. He and his entourage stayed at the Trump Hotel DC.
Yahoo reported Russian news agency, in violation of the Foreign Agents Registration Act (FARA). Sputnik, is under investigation by the FBI into whether it is acting as an undeclared propaganda arm of the Kremlin Andrew Feinberg,
Sputnik’s former WH correspondent, turned over emails to the FBI. Feinberg said supervisors regularly “would say, ‘Moscow wants this or Moscow wants that.’” Feinberg also told
MSNBC many of the popular articles from right-wing media outlets like on Breitbart, Infowars and Gateway Pundit and were prominently featured Sputnik’s website.
RT, the Russian state-owned outlet, said it will be required by the FBI to register as a foreign agent in the US, signaling their content will be viewed as propaganda of Moscow.
Russian journalist Latynina fled Russia with her family following a series of attacks. Latynina writes for an independent newspaper and Friday received a prize for defending human rights and freedom of the press.
Priebus and McGahn both hired lawyer William Burck to represent them in the Mueller Russia probe. POLITICO reported lawyers for
former and current Trump aides are advising clients not to lie for Trump. Lawyers are also warning clients that being connected to Trump won’t protect them from criminal charges.
WSJ reported some of Trump’s lawyers concluded earlier this summer Kushner should step down. Among their concerns were undisclosed meeting with Russians, and mentioning Mueller probe to other WH staff. Also knowing the June 9 meeting was yet to come out publicly,
lawyers had prepared talking points for Kushner’s resignation, blaming the toxic political environment and him being used as a weapon against Trump. Russian politician Vyacheslav Nikonov, a member of the Duma,
said on live TV that Russia stole the US presidency. The TV show focused on the US’s diminishing power on the world stage.
Daily Beast reported Russia used Facebook’s event-management tool to remotely organize and promote political protests, including an August 2016 anti-immigrant, anti-Muslim rally in Idaho. The event was hosted by “SecuredBorders,” outed as a Russian front in March. When their Facebook page was taken down last month,
the group had 133k followers.
Former FBI agent Clint Watts noted this group is an example of the next step in Russian influence: “The second part of behavior influence is when you can get people to physically do something.” In the months leading up to the Idaho rally,
there were dozens of stories on right-wing websites like implying immigrants were taking over Twin Falls. Infowars and Breitbart
Business Insider reported on another Russian-link Facebook group: “Heart of Texas,” which had over 225k followers, and was taken down by Facebook last week. The group started by posting anti-Hillary memes, then became shifted as Election Day neared. Starting in November, “Heart of Texas”
organized a series of anti-immigrant, anti-Hillary rallies across Texas.
ProPublica reported Facebook enabled advertisers to target ads towards users who expressed interest in categories like “Jew hater” and “How to burn jews.” After ProPublica contact them, Facebook took these down.
Bloomberg reported that Russia’s effort to influence US voters through Facebook and other social media is a “red-hot” focus of Mueller, as well as possible links in that effort to the Trump campaign.
WSJ reported Facebook has given Mueller more details on Russian ad buys, including copies of the ads and details about the accounts that bought them and the targeting criteria they used. While Congress has the power to
subpoena Facebook for “basic subscriber records” and to call witnesses, Mueller’s search warrant compels Facebook to disclose much more detailed information.
Vanity Fair reported that Congressional investigators and Mueller are focused on whether any Americans helped Russia target social media to impact crucial swing districts and wavering voter demographics. In an interview with
Forbes after the election, Kushner bragged about the Trump campaign’s online efforts, and said he had a technology expert “give me a tutorial on how to use Facebook micro-targeting.” Questions also emerge about
possible ties between Kushner and Parscale to data-mining firm Cambridge Analytica, whose major investor is Robert Mercer, a patron of Bannon.
Senate Intel Comm ranking members Burr and Warner said they are likely to ask representatives from Facebook to publicly testify on Russia’s activity on their platform during the 2016 election. Sen Warner tweeted that groups linked to Russia which used Facebook to meddle in the 2016 election
paid in Rubles. A campaign finance reform group, headed by the former chair of the FEC Trevor Potter, said
Facebook was an “accomplice” in a Russian influence scheme, and called on the company to publicly release Russian ads.
BuzzFeed obtained a proposal delivered by a Putin diplomat to Trump three months into office detailing a wholesale restoration of diplomatic, military, and intelligence channels between Russia and the US. Members of the WH and State Dept did not dispute the authenticity of the proposal.
Delivering the proposal meant Russia believed Trump would not hold alleged 2016 election interference against them.
Daily Beast reported the Trump campaign has begun turning over documents to Mueller. The Mueller probe is broad, and it is treating the WH, transition team, and campaign as separate legal entities. At a press briefing Tuesday,
Sanders said the DOJ “should certainly look at” prosecuting Comey, claiming he had leaked privileged information to the media and offered false testimony to Congress. On Wednesday,
Sanders again said Comey, essentially a political opponent, should face criminal charges for leaking a memo to the NYT.
Sanders also said for her Monday tweet referring to Trump as “a white supremacist who has largely surrounded himself w/ other white supremacists.” ESPN reporter Jemele Hill should be fired
NYT reported after Trump was told that Mueller was appointed, he berated Sessions in the Oval Office. Trump called Sessions an “idiot,” and said picking him for AG was the “worst decisions he had made.” Trump
blamed the Mueller appointment on Sessions’s decision to recuse himself from the DOJ Russia investigation, and said Sessions should resign. Sessions said he would quit and sent a resignation letter. Sessions later told associates
the way Trump publicly demeaned him was his most humiliating experience in his decades of public life.
Flynn refused a new request to appear in front of the Senate Intel Comm. Flynn has offered to testify before both the Senate and House Intel Comms in exchange for immunity, but neither committee accepted the offer. Top Democrats on the House Intel and Foreign Affairs wrote in a letter that
Flynn concealed more than a dozen foreign contacts and overseas tripsduring the process of renewing his security clearances in 2016. The foreign contact information came from three private companies
advised by Flynn which were pursuing a joint venture with Russia in 2015 and 2016 to bring nuclear power to several Middle Eastern countries.
WSJ reported Flynn continued promoting the project after he took the position of NSA in the Trump regime, even after NSC ethics advisers directed Flynn to remove himself from the project.
Even after Flynn was fired by Trump, he continued to lobby the Trump regime on the project, including Cohn and Barrack, Jr. ahead of their May trip to Saudi Arabia.
NBC reported Flynn’s son, Michael G. Flynn is the subject of the federal investigation into Russian meddling in the 2016 election. The inquiry is based at least in part on his work with Flynn Intel Group.
CNN reported the DOJ refused the Senate Judiciary Comm’s request to interview two top FBI officials — Carl Ghattas and James Rybicki – on the firing of Comey, citing Mueller’s ongoing investigation.
NYT reported Senate Judiciary Comm ranking members Grassley and Feinstein are considering subpoenaing members of the DOJ in their inquiry on Trump’s firing of Comey.
CNN reported Susan Rice privately told the House Intel Comm that she unmasked the identities of senior Trump officials to understand why the crown prince of the UAE came to New York late last year. The New York meeting (
reported in Week 21) took place last December, and was attended by Flynn, Kushner and Bannon. In an unusual breach of protocol, the UAE did not advise the Obama administration in advance.
Shortly after in January, Erik Prince, brother of Betsy DeVos, attended a secret meeting in Seychelles, arranged by the UAE, with a Russian close to Putin, allegedly to set up a back-channel for communications.
WAPO reported DHS ordered all federal agencies to ban the use of a Kaspersky security software. Co-founder Eugene Kaspersky graduated from a KGB-supported school and worked in Russian military intelligence. The moves comes after the GSA removed the company from its approved vendor list,
suggesting a vulnerability exists with Kaspersky that could give the Kremlin backdoor access to the systems the company protects.
BuzzFeed reported that Flynn, Bannon and Kushner met with Jordan’s King Abdullah II in NY days before Trump was inaugurated to push a deal which Flynn was advising on: nuclear power plants in the Middle East. An eye witness said
at least half-a-dozen other people were with the trio at the Four Seasons bar. Flynn failed to disclose the meeting in security clearance forms, and Kushner disclosed it only in his amended forms. As part of the for-profit deal, reactors would be built by
US companies and security would be provided by the Russian state-owned firm Rosoboron. Congressional approval would have been needed. In
February, Abdullah visited the WH and met with Trump, Kelly and Mattis. A statement afterward underscored that the US “is committed to strengthening the security and economic partnership with Jordan.”
Bloomberg reported at the time Veselnitskaya met with Donald Jr. at Trump Tower, she also represented real-estate company Prevezon, which was under criminal investigation for a money laundering case. In 2013, Bharara filed a civil suit against Prevezon. Sessions abruptly settled the case three days before trial in May for just $5.9mm.
There was no mention of the ongoing criminal investigation. Democratic lawmakers want to know if
the Trump team members put pressure on Sessions to settle the case after Bharara was fired.
Bloomberg said in the criminal case several countries and banks including Citigroup, Deutsche Bank, UBS and TD have supplied documents to the US to track more than $200mm that left Russia after a massive fraud.
Business Insider reported that in the Prevezon criminal case, grand-jury testimonies are at a key stage. Prevezon is owned by the son of a powerful Russian government official.
POLITICO reported Kyle Freeny, an attorney working on the DOJ’s highest-profile money laundering case, is joining Mueller’s team.
Democrats flipped two very pro-Trump districts in special elections: there was a 28-point swing in NH, and a 31-point swing in OK. Benevity tracked
a shift in donations made by Fortune 1000 US workers: ACLU went from #87 in 2015 to the top spot in 2017. SPLC went from #230 in 2015 to #17 in 2017. Early Friday morning,
Trump took to Twitter after a bombing in London: “Another attack in London by a loser terrorist,” and “Loser terrorists must be dealt with in a much tougher manner.” UK PM May publicly
alluded to Trump’s tweet, saying she never thinks it’s helpful to “speculate” on “an ongoing investigation.” Friday, McMaster tried to clarify the tweets, saying Trump was speaking “generally.”
Bloomberg reported PM May complained directly to Trump, saying she was unhappy with his response when he called to offer condolences. Joining his classmates at Yale,
185 of Mnuchin’s high school classmates from Riverdale Country School classmates called on him to resign.
WSJ reported Rohrabacher contacted the WH trying to broker a “deal” that would end Assange’s US legal troubles, in exchange for a computer drive or other data-storage device that he said would exonerate Russia. Kelly intercepted the call and advised
Rohrabacher the deal “was best directed to the intelligence community.” Kelly did not make Trump aware of Rohrabacher’s message.
AP reported that despite a pledge by the Trump inaugural committee to give leftover funds to charities, nothing has been donated. The group has helped pay for redecorating the WH and the Pence’s residence in DC. Trump’s inaugural committee raised
$107mm, a record amount and double what Obama raised for his well-attended inauguration. The amount of times to close out the books is also unusual.
Pence’s press secretary Marc Lotter resigned. It was unclear what his next move will be. Pence recently replaced his chief of staff. In an
Atlantic article, “How Trump Is Ending the American Era,” Eliot Cohen described the damage Trump has done, and continues to do to America’s global standing. On Friday, the
Pentagon issued new guidance clarifying that transgender troops currently in the military can re-enlist in the next several months. This is yet another example in past weeks of Mattis going against Trump.