POLITIKS OF GRAFFITI 143: #ELPASOSTRONG #DAYTONSTRONG #ENTERNEXTCITYSTRONG

AUGUST 03, 2019

Week 142

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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