POLITIKS OF GRAFFITI 101: SUPREME INJUSTICE

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

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

October 13, 2018

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Images from Weimar , Germany. September 2018:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

POLITIKS OF GRAFFITI 98: WE BELIEVE DR. FORD

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

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

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

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

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

On the walls in Kraków, Poland 🇵🇱 21sep18

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

POLITIKS OF GRAFFITI 97: USA 🇺🇸 1776-2016


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


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

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

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

Alcester Road, Birmingham, UK. Photo: Luke Beardsworth

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

POLITIKS OF GRAFFITI 96: F E A R . . .

Week 95: Experts in authoritarianism advise to keep a list of things subtly changing around you, so you’ll remember.

September 8, 2018 https://medium.com/@Amy_Siskind/week-95-experts-in-authoritarianism-advise-to-keep-a-list-of-things-subtly-changing-around-you-so-5fcebd7e661

This week, the country watched the contentious Senate hearings for Trump’s Supreme Court nominee, Brett Kavanaugh. Senator Patrick Leahy called it the “most incomplete, most partisan, least transparent” vetting of a Supreme Court nominee in his forty-four years in the senate. As hearings wrapped up, questions linger about whether Kavanaugh has lied under oath in this and past judicial hearings, as well as whether Trump had selected Kavanaugh, who was not on his 2016 campaign list, in order to protect himself from the Mueller probe.

This week was also dominated by previews of Bob Woodward’s upcoming book “Fear” on Trump’s White House, and an explosive opinion piece in the Times by an anonymous senior official in the Trump regime. Both seemed to suggest that Trump is unfit for office, and his White House is operating chaotically, potentially exposing the country to danger. Trump lashed out, seeking to discredit Woodward, and summoning his Justice Department to investigate the NYT for what he described as “treason.”

As the week came to a close, former President Obama re-emerged on the national political scene, two months ahead of midterms, calling out Trump by name, and rallying voters to be engaged. As with the funeral of Sen. John McCain in Week 94, Obama’s presence, in sharp contrast to Trump, served as a reminder of how far from normalcy our country has strayed since Trump took office.

IMG_6174IMG_6172IMG_6481“Dear Mother Mary, Please take Putin away.” Kyiv, Ukraine. 7sep18. 

  1. ABC News reported press secretary Sarah Sanders spent a combined three hours and 58 minutes at 13 press briefings during June, July, and August — significantly less than last summer and in prior administrations.
  2. WAPO reported that after 592 days in office, Trump has made 4,713 false or misleading claims. Although he averaged 4.9 claims per day in his first 100 days, in the past 3 months he has averaged 15.4 false claims per day.
  3. After June with 534 false or misleading claims, August ranked second with 469 claims. Immigration is the top source of Trump’s misleading claims, now totaling 592 claims.
  4. NYT compiled a list of Trump ethical lapses in the Trump regime so far. First, five who have been convicted of or have pleaded guilty to crimes five, including Michael Cohen, Paul Manafort, George Papadopoulos, Rick Gates, and Michael Flynn.
  5. Second, seven current and former Cabinet officials have misspent taxpayer money or violated ethics rules, including Scott Pruitt, Ben Carson, David Shulkin, Wilbur Ross, Tom Price, Brenda Fitzgerald, and Nikki Haley.
  6. Finally, four current or former White House staffers have security or ethics issues, including Rob Porter, Dan Scavino Jr., Kellyanne Conway, and John McEntee.
  7. In a letter to the Senate Judiciary Committee last Friday, Trump said he will not release 102,000 pages of records from Kavanaugh’s tenure for George W. Bush, claiming they would be covered by executive privilege.
  8. On Sunday talk shows, Democratic members of the Senate Judiciary Committee spoke out against Trump’s refusal to release records. Dick Durbin said there’s “more concealment of documents…than ever in the history” of the country, and Amy Klobuchar said, “This is not normal.”
  9. On Sunday, Axios reported Omarosa taped nearly every conversation she had while working in the White House. She carried two phones, allowing her to record conversations she was having on one phone on the other.
  10. On Sunday, in an op-ed at the Des Moines Register, Mollie Tibbett’s father asked that people not distort her death to advance racist views: “On behalf of my family and Mollie’s memory, I’m imploring you to stop.”
  11. An Idaho white supremacist group placed a robocall in Florida targeting Democrat Andrew Gillum, saying “Well hello there. I is Andrew Gillum,” and in the background are sounds of drums and monkeys.
  12. The calls end saying they were funded by The Road to Power, an anti-Semitic, white supremacist website, which also did robocalls in Week 94using the death of Mollie Tibbetts to promote white supremacist messages.
  13. On Sunday, members at the North Austin Muslim Community Center in Austin, Texas said someone tried to break into their building. Photos show shattered glass on the front door and side entrance.
  14. Vassar College said the students responsible for creating and distributing a “disorientation” guide that is “provocative of violence and anti-Semitism” distributed to incoming freshmen last week will face penalties.
  15. On Monday, New Yorker editor David Remnick canceled a scheduled appearance by Steve Bannon at the magazine’s October festival, after a social media backlash and several notables pulled out in protest.
  16. On Wednesday, the Atlantic reported Daily Caller writer and editor Scott Greer wrote under a pseudonym for an alt-right website associated with Richard Spencer. Greer severed ties with The Daily Caller after the Atlanticreporting.
  17. On Wednesday, the Justice Department issued subpoenas demanding millions of North Carolina voter records be turned over to ICE by September 25, threatening chaos two months ahead of midterms.
  18. The secretive move appeared to be part of an effort to crack down on unauthorized voting, after federal officials announced 19 noncitizens in North Carolina were charged last week with casting illegal votes in 2016.
  19. Critics speculated the move was a continuation of the work by the Trump regime’s Election Integrity Commission, which was disbanded in January after finding no evidence of significant fraud or a corrupt voting system.
  20. On Thursday, ProPublica reported internal documents from a Chicagoshelter for migrant children forcibly separated from their parents, one of the nation’s largest networks for unaccompanied minors, reveal despair and tedium.
  21. Documents reveal children considering suicide, going on a hunger strike, contemplating escape. A 10-month-old boy was repeatedly bitten by an older child and later hospitalized after falling from a highchair.
  22. On Thursday, the Trump regime announced a new rule which would allow immigrant children with their parents to be held in detention indefinitely, upending a ban on indefinite detention in place since 1997.
  23. The rule proposed by the departments Homeland Security and Health and Human Services is meant to terminate the Flores settlement agreement which says children must be released in 20 days, citing court backlogs can drag out the time immigrants must wait.
  24. On Thursday, in a court document, the Trump regime said 416 migrant children separated under Trump’s zero-tolerance policy have yet to be reunited with their parents, 14 of which are under 5 years-old.
  25. On Monday, NBC News anchor Chuck Todd said in an op-ed it was time for the press to stop complaining and start fighting back, citing Trump’s “campaign to destroy the legitimacy of the American news media.”
  26. On Tuesday, Trump shot back at “Sleepy Eyes Chuck Todd of Fake NBC News” in a tweet, saying of the media they have been fighting: “They’ve gone all out, and I WON, and now they’re going CRAZY!”
  27. Trump also called out “NBC FAKE NEWS” over their killing of the Harvey Weinstein story, and again called for reexamining NBC’s TV license, which it does not have. The FCC does not issue licenses to TV networks.
  28. On Tuesday, in an interview with The Daily Caller, Trump said of NBC and their pattern of alleged corruption, “Well, not only NBC, I think the media, large segments of the, not all, large segments of the media are corrupt.”
  29. Trump also said about Chuck Todd, “He’s Sleepy Eyes Chuck Todd. He covers me very dishonestly,” and of CNN commentator Ana Navarro, “she’s sick. I mean, she’s sick.”
  30. Trump told The Daily Caller on the topic of Mueller, “I could give you 100 pictures of him and Comey hugging and kissing each other. You know, he’s Comey’s best friend.” No such pictures have been made public.
  31. On Monday, The Young Turks reported federal documents show at least two former clients of FEMA Administrator William “Brock” Long have received FEMA contracts totaling more than $14 million.
  32. Long joined FEMA in June 2017 after six years at Hagerty Consulting, a disaster consulting firm. Eagle Hill won a $53k contract from FEMA, while Booz Allen got multiples contracts totaling approximately $14 million.
  33. On Tuesday, AP reported analysis completed by Trump’s EPA concluded that the rollback of pollution rules would lead to a greater number of people dying prematurely and suffering health problems in coal country.
  34. The EPA analysis found Trump’s plan would lead to thousands more heart attacks, asthma problems, and other illnesses that would not have occurred under the Obama administration’s plan.
  35. On Thursday, the Guardian reported, according to documents released under the FOIA, a government photographer edited official pictures of Trump’s inauguration to make the crowd appear bigger.
  36. Documents provided by the inspector general of the Department of Interior reveal an early morning call between Trump and the acting National Park Service director, Michael Reynolds on January 21, 2017.
  37. Documents also show that Sean Spicer, then White House press secretary, called NPS officials repeatedly that same day to follow up on making the photos more flattering.
  38. On Monday, Nike revealed Colin Kaepernick, the former NFL quarterback who drew Trump’s ire by kneeling during the national anthem, as a face of its campaign for the 30th anniversary of “Just Do It.”
  39. The caption for Kaepernick read: “Believe in something. Even if it means sacrificing everything.” Kaepernick has sued the NFL for collusion, citing no team would employ him up after he protested.
  40. On Tuesday, in an interview with The Daily Caller, Trump said Nike sent a “terrible message” picking Kaepernick, and added Nike was a tenant of his and paid “a lot of rent,” referring to its Niketown store on East 57th Street.
  41. Trump supporters responded by trending #BoycottNike, and showing photos and videos on social media of Nike products being set on fire, cut up, or otherwise destroyed.
  42. On Wednesday, Trump tweeted, “Just like the NFL, whose ratings have gone WAY DOWN, Nike is getting absolutely killed with anger and boycotts,” adding, of the NFL, “I just find it hard to watch, and always will, until they stand for the FLAG!”
  43. On Friday, Edison Trends reported Nike sales grew 31% from the Sunday of Labor Day weekend through Tuesday, as compared with a 17% gain in the prior year. Nike’s stock also rebounded back.
  44. On Tuesday, the Senate Judiciary Committee hearing for Kavanaugh began. Hours before the hearing, the White House sent 42,000 pages of documents to the committee that had been previously withheld.
  45. Democrats complained that William Burck, a private attorney who is a Kavanaugh associate, and works for George W. Bush and worked with Bush’s presidential library, is deciding which documents can be released.
  46. Democrats also complained just 4% of Kavanaugh’s White House records have been made public, and 7% have been made available to the committee. That compares to 99% of Justice Elena Kagan’s White House records.
  47. Women dressed as handmaids from the Hulu series, “The Handmaid’s Tale,” stood lining the halls outside the hearing room.
  48. U.S. Capitol Police said they had made 70 arrests on the first day of hearings, which was marked by frequent outbursts by protestors.
  49. On Tuesday, in an interview with The Daily Caller, Trump called the anti-Kavanaugh protestors “an embarrassment to the country,” adding, “in the old days, we used to throw them out.”
  50. On Wednesday, the second day of Kavanaugh hearings, the number of seats for the public were reduced by half, from 48 to 24. Following media inquiries, the committee restored the full 48 seats six hours later.
  51. NYT reported on hundreds of pages of emails detailing Maria Butina’s work with former N.R.A president David Keene, and his wife Donna, a Washington D.C. lobbyist, to pursue a big pay day for brokering jet fuel.
  52. On Sunday, NYT reported the FBI and Justice Department attempted to gain cooperation from roughly a half-dozen Russian oligarchs. Bruce Ohr and Christopher Steele were involved in the effort.
  53. Between 2014 and 2016, agents unsuccessfully tried to turn Oleg Deripaska into an informant to get information on Russian organized crime and later on Russian aid to Trump’s 2016 campaign.
  54. The Daily Beast reported Nell Hughes, a highly-visible Trump surrogate on CNN during the 2016 election, took a new job with Russian-state media outlet, RT.
  55. On Tuesday, NYT reported Mueller’s team told Trump’s lawyers in a letter that they will accept written answers from Trump on whether his campaign conspired with Russia’s election interference.
  56. Mueller did not say he was giving up on an interview altogether, including on questions of obstruction of justice; but the tone of the letter indicates the scope may be more limited than Trump’s team initially believed.
  57. On Thursday, Rudy Giuliani told AP early in the day that Trump would not voluntarily submit to an interview. Later, he told Politico Trump would provide some written answers, and has not ruled out an interview.
  58. On Wednesday, U.K. authorities charged two men it says are Russian G.R.U. military intelligence officers, Alexander Petrov and Ruslan Boshirov, with the nerve-agent poisoning of Sergei Skripal.
  59. Prime Minister May said the use of a chemical weapon, which left a British woman dead and four people seriously ill, was carried out by officers and was almost certainly approved “at a senior level of the Russian state.”
  60. Reuters reported PM May had briefed Trump on Tuesday evening, ahead of the charges. Trump did not issue any comment or tweet.
  61. On Wednesday, NYT reported Mueller’ team subpoenaed Jerome Corsi, a conspiracy theorist with links to Roger Stone, to testify on Friday before a federal grand jury in Washington, D.C. on Russia’s election interference.
  62. Corsi, who previously worked for Alex Jones’ Infowars, was also one of the people whom Trump, before he was a candidate, contacted for information Obama’s birth certificate in pressing the false birther claim.
  63. Corsi did not testify on Friday. His attorney spoke to Mueller’s office Thursday to negotiate a voluntary interview for his client in lieu of a grand jury appearance. The topic is thought to be Corsi’s contacts with Stone.
  64. Corsi shared research with Stone around the same time Stone said he was in contact with Julian Assange and had advance knowledge of WikiLeaks’ releases of the hacked emails.
  65. On Friday, radio host Randy Credico, an associate of Stone, with a dog in tow, testified before Mueller’s grand jury. Credico’s attorney said, “Mr. Credico’s testimony was concerning his relationship with Roger Stone.”
  66. On Tuesday, WAPO reported on Bob Woodward’s upcoming book, “Fear,” which is drawn from hundreds of hours of interviews with firsthand participants and witnesses that were conducted on “deep background.”
  67. The book describes John Dowd conducting a mock interview with Trump, which provoked stumbles, contradictions and lies from Trump. Dowd said Trump could end up in “an orange jumpsuit” if he testifies.
  68. Trump’s national security team was shaken by his lack of curiosity and knowledge about world affairs, and contempt of mainstream perspectives. Jim Mattis said Trump had the understanding of a “a fifth- or sixth-grader.”
  69. Gary Cohn removed documents from Trump’s desk to avoid him signing. Trump said of his initial speech after Charlottesville condemning white supremacists, “That was the biggest fucking mistake I’ve made.”
  70. On Tuesday, Trump tweeted the book “has already been refuted and discredited” by Chief of Staff John Kelly and Defense Secretary Mattis, saying, “their quotes were made up frauds,” and “Woodward is a Dem operative.”
  71. Trump also tweeted the book, “has me calling Jeff Sessions “mentally retarded” and “a dumb southerner.” I said NEITHER,” adding, “never used those terms on anyone.” A video surfaced of Trump saying “retarded
  72. Trump also told The Daily Caller that Woodward had not interviewed him for the book, saying, “I probably would have preferred to speak to him, but maybe not…He wanted to write the book a certain way.”
  73. WAPO released the audio of Woodward seeking an interview with Trump as he was writing the book. Trump said no, and then called Woodward in August to say he would participate after the manuscript was done.
  74. On Wednesday, Axios reported Trump’s White House was caught flat-footed and unprepared by the explosive content in Woodward’s book, and that no one had seen an advance copy, similar to Omarosa’s book.
  75. On Wednesday, press secretary Sanders told “Good Morning America” thatWoodward’s hundreds of hours of tapes are probably come from “disgruntled former employees” and “a lot of anonymous sources.”
  76. On Wednesday, Trump tweeted a statement by Kelly, denying a passage in Woodward’s book that he called Trump an “idiot” and other negative things: “The idea I ever called the President an idiot is not true.”
  77. Trump also tweeted out a statement by Mattis denying what is attributed to him in the book. Trump wrote, “Thank you General Mattis, book is boring & untrue!”
  78. Throughout, Woodward said he stood by his reporting. He provided CNN acopy of a letter Cohn stole from Trump’s desk described in the book, which would have terminated a free trade deal with South Korea.
  79. On Wednesday, Vanity Fair reported after news of the Woodward book broke, “pandemonium” broke out as the West Wing came to a standstill. Current and former staffers pointed the finger in all directions for leaks.
  80. Reportedly after the McCain funeral, Ivanka and Kushner told Trump that if they are going to last in Washington, he needs to get control of himself, saying they cannot be this far off the mark with the establishment.
  81. On Tuesday, Laura Kelly, the former Republican governor of Kansas,endorsed the Democrat running for governor over GOP nominee Kris Kobach.
  82. On Tuesday, in the Massachusetts primary, Ayanna Pressley — a black, female, Bostonian — sent shock waves after beating 10-term incumbent Michael Capuano by 17 points for a congressional seat once held by J.F.K.
  83. On Wednesday, at a hearing before the Senate Intelligence Committee,Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg testified, “We were too slow to spot this and too slow to act” relating to Russian interference in the 2016 election.
  84. Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey testified the company found itself unprepared and ill-equipped for the immensity of the problems it faced: abuse, harassment, troll armies, propaganda and misinformation.
  85. Google, which has been under attack from Trump and his allies for allegedly rigging search results against Trump and conservatives, did not show up for the hearings.
  86. Outside the Senate Intelligence hearings, Alex Jones taunted Sen. Marco Rubio as he was speaking to the media, calling him a “little gangster thug” and “frat boy.” After Jones patted him, Rubio said, “not to touch me again.”
  87. On Thursday, joining Facebook, Apple, and Google, Twitter permanently suspended Alex Jones’s account, as well as the account for Infowars, citing, “videos posted yesterday that violate our abusive behavior policy.”
  88. On Monday, Trump blasted attorney general Sessions, tweeting, “investigations of two very popular Republican Congressmen” were charged right before midterms, saying Democrats, “must love him now.”
  89. On Wednesday, Sessions announced he was gathering state attorneys general to examine whether tech companies like Google, Facebook and Twitter are “intentionally stifling the free exchange of ideas” online.
  90. On Friday, WAPO reported Democratic attorneys general have not yet been invited by Sessions to the Justice Department’s upcoming review of tech companies, prompting charges that the inquiry is a politically motivated attack.
  91. Attorneys general from two tech hubs, California and New York, as well as officials from Connecticut and Washington, which are active on issues related to technology, consumer protection, and antitrust, were not invited.
  92. On Wednesday, a poll conducted by the Kaiser Family Foundation poll found Trump’s approval rating has dropped to 37%. This third poll follows two polls in Week 94 which found his approval had dropped to 36%.
  93. On Thursday, a weekly survey conducted for The Economist found Trump’s approval rating had fallen to 38%, two points above his all-time low in December. His approval was pulled down by college-educated whites.
  94. On Wednesday, NYT published an anonymous op-ed by a senior Trump official who claimed to be part of the resistance inside the Trump regimewho have vowed to “thwart parts of his agenda and his worst inclinations.”
  95. The official wrote “the root of the problem” is Trump’s “amorality,” adding, “he is not moored to any discernible first principles that guide his decision making,” and he is “impetuous, adversarial, petty and ineffective.”
  96. The official wrote that there were “early whispers” of the Cabinet invoking the 25th Amendment to remove Trump, but decided instead to avoid a constitutional crisis and work within the administration to contain him.
  97. On Wednesday, WAPO reported Trump reacted to the NYT op-ed with “volcanic” anger and was “absolutely livid” over what he considered a treasonous act of disloyalty. Trump tweeted, “TREASON?”
  98. Trump also questioned in a tweet, does the “so-called “Senior Administration Official” really exist,” or whether it was the “Failing New York Times with another phony source?”
  99. Trump also tweeted that if the “GUTLESS anonymous person does indeed exist,” then, falsely claiming, the Times should “for National Security purposes, turn him/her over to government at once!
  100. Trump was angered by a line in the op-ed calling Sen. John McCain “a lodestar for restoring honor to public life and our national dialogue.” NYT’s editor said the op-ed came in before the Woodward story broke.
  101. The op-ed put White House is disarray as aides canceled meetings and huddled behind closed doors to strategize on a response. Aides said it was hard to narrow down the person, saying it could be so many people.
  102. WAPO also reported prior the op-ed there was a dwindling circle of people Trump felt he could trust. After the op-ed, a source said Trump fretted that he could only trust his children.
  103. On Wednesday and Thursday, one by one, Trump’s cabinet, Vice President Pence and others senior officials came forward to deny writing the op-ed. NYT reported Trump’s White House had a list of about 12 suspects.
  104. Trump ally Sen. Rand Paul recommended that Trump force members of his regime to take polygraph examinations. Another proposal by aides was asking senior officials to sign sworn affidavits that could be used in court.
  105. On Thursday, NYT reported Kim Jong-un offered an olive branch to Trump, telling a South Korean envoy that he wanted to denuclearize North Korea before Trump’s first term ends.
  106. On Thursday, without context, Trump tweeted, “Kim Jong Un of North Korea proclaims “unwavering faith in President Trump,”” thanking “Chairman Kim,” and saying “We will get it done together!”
  107. On Thursday, in a Fox News interview, Trump said of the person who wrote the op-ed, “may not be a Republican, it may not be a conservative, it may be a deep state person who has been there for a long time.”
  108. On Thursday, Trump tweeted, “The Deep State and the Left, and their vehicle, the Fake News Media, are going Crazy — & they don’t know what to do.”
  109. On Thursday, First Lady Melania Trump said in a statement the free press is “important to our democracy,” but to the op-ed writer, “you are not protecting this country, you are sabotaging it with your cowardly actions.”
  110. On Friday, Trump told reporters aboard Air Force One that Sessions “should be investigating who the author of that piece was” saying the NYTop-ed is a “national security” issue.
  111. Hours later, a White House official tried to clarify Trump’s comments about wanting the Justice Department to investigate, saying they did not amount to an order to federal prosecutors.
  112. On Friday, Trump told North Dakota television station KVLY that he can identify up to five people who could have written the anonymous op-ed, adding, “mostly people that either I don’t like or don’t respect.”
  113. Trump also told KVLY that the issue is “reverberating in the opposite direction,” saying people think it is “disgusting” that the Times would publish such a piece.
  114. On Wednesday, Sen. Kamala Harris grilled Kavanaugh about whether he had discussed Mueller’s investigation with any individuals at Trump lawyer Marc Kasowitz’s law firm. Kavanaugh avoided answering directly.
  115. On Thursday, NYT reported on leaked Kavanaugh documents it obtained. As a lawyer for the W. Bush administration, he challenged the accuracy of Roe v. Wade abortion rights decision to be “settled law of the land.
  116. Kavanaugh also engaged with the DOJ in what became the Bush administration’s warrantless surveillance program, and was critical about some Department of Transportation affirmative action regulations.
  117. On Thursday, Sen. Cory Booker released confidential documents relating to Kavanaugh’s views on racial profiling, saying, “I’m knowingly violating the rules,” and “I openly accept the consequences.”
  118. Several other Democrats, including Sens. Dick Durbin, Mazie Hirono, Sheldon Whitehouse, and Richard Blumenthal said they also planned to release confidential documents or reserved the right do so in the future.
  119. When asked by Sen. Booker if he would recuse himself from the Mueller probe, Kavanaugh answered no, saying, “All I would be doing is demonstrating that I don’t have the independence of the judiciary.”
  120. Sen. Blumenthal asked Kavanaugh if like his predecessor Justice Neil Gorsuch, he would condemn Trump’s attacks on the judiciary, Kavanaugh said he did not want to “get within three Zip codes” of such a political controversy.
  121. On Thursday, when Sen. Harris pressed Kavanaugh again on whether he had a conversation with anyone at Kasowitz Benson Torres about the Mueller probe, after initially dodging, he answered, “The answer is no.”
  122. On Thursday, Mother Jones summarized the five times Kavanaugh appears to have lied to Congress while under oath, including saying he knew nothing about warrantless wiretapping and torture in a 2006 hearing.
  123. In 2004, Kavanaugh said he had not “personally” worked on the nomination of Judge Pryor for W. Bush, and in 2006 downplayed his rolein the nomination of Charles Pickering, a controversial judicial appointee.
  124. In 2002 he was a White House lawyer working on judicial nominations when Manuel Miranda, a GOP aide on the Senate Judiciary Committee, stole thousands of documents belonging to the committee’s Democratic staff.
  125. On Friday, a former Democratic staffer who wrote some of the stolen confidential emails Kavanaugh received from Miranda, said Kavanaugh for should be impeached for lying about it.
  126. Citing the op-ed, Sen. Dianne Feinstein, the ranking Democrat, tweeted, “Kavanaugh used materials stolen from Democratic senators to advance President Bush’s judicial nominees. He was asked about this in 2004, 2006 and this week. His answers were not true.”
  127. According to U.S. Capitol Police, at least 227 demonstrators, mostly women, were arrested between the start of the nomination hearings on Tuesday and the end of testimony on Friday.
  128. On Thursday, Trump held a rally in Montana, for the second time since July 4. Sections of the arena were empty, and the crowd was silent at timesduring his speech, which lasted for over an hour.
  129. Before his speech, Trump did an interview with Fox News at the arena, which aired Friday morning on “Fox & Friends.”
  130. In the interview, Trump accused the NYT of “virtually” committing “treason” by publishing the anonymous op-ed. Trump also said the author must be “fairly low level,” and suggested they could be a “deep state person.”
  131. In his speech, Trump told the audience they had to show up at the polls, saying, “this election, you aren’t just voting for a candidate, just before bringing up what he called “the impeachment word.”
  132. Trump said Democrats will impeach him, regardless of whether he has done something to merit it, impersonating Rep. Maxine Waters and saying, “It doesn’t matter, you will impeach him!”
  133. Trump also said his impeachment would be strictly political, saying it would start of a cycle of impeachment, “If the opposite party becomes president, every time before it even starts.”
  134. Trump praised Rep. Greg Gianforte, who in Week 28 body-slammed a reporter, mimicking the move while speaking, “This man has fought in more ways than one, for your state…He is a fighter and a winner.”
  135. A 17 year-old senior at Billings’ West High School who stood behind Trump drew national attention for his facial expressions, interpreted as looks as disbelief, and mouthing the word, “Have you?”
  136. Tyler Linfesty said before the rally he was told, “you have to be enthusiastic and be clapping and cheering.” He was escorted off-stage, then he said the Secret Service agents took him to a back room and looked at his ID.
  137. On Thursday, Sen. Elizabeth Warren told CNN that Trump should be removed from office, saying if senior officials think “the President of the United States is not able to do his job, then they should invoke the 25th Amendment.”
  138. On Friday, NBC News reported, according to experts, a majority of the country’s voting machines and the PCs that tally the votes are not reliable. Most voting machines are close to 15 years old.
  139. Despite U.S. intelligence finding Russia compromised seven states prior to the 2016 election, little progress has been made in the two years since to improve matters. Lack of funding is cited by state voting officials.
  140. On Friday, Papadopoulos was sentenced in federal court in Washington to 14 days in prison for lying to the FBI. Papadopoulos is the first former Trump campaign aide to be sentenced in Mueller probe.
  141. Prosecutors said Papadopoulos repeatedly lied in January 2017 interview with investigators, which hampered the Russia probe at a critical moment, allowing professor Joseph Mifsud to leave the U.S. in February 2017.
  142. The judge stressed the importance of the investigation to the integrity of American democracy, saying determining whether a foreign government interfered in the electoral process was “a matter of enormous importance.”
  143. Trump mocked the sentence, tweeting, “14 days for $28 MILLION — $2 MILLION a day, No Collusion. A great day for America!” This is a false claim: the Mueller probe has secured other guilty pleas and indictments.
  144. On Friday, Papadopoulos told the Times he had “no recollection” of telling any Trump advisers about the emails supposedly in Russia’s hands. He said a call with Stephen Miller that was scheduled later that day was canceled.
  145. Papadopoulos also claimed he had no memory of discussing the dirt about Hillary Clinton in May 2016 with Alexander Downer, the top Australian diplomat in London, which prompted the FBI to open its investigations.
  146. On Friday, in a court filing by the Democratic National Committee in its suit against Russia, the Trump campaign, and WikiLeaks for interfering in the 2016 election, DNC lawyers say professor Joseph Mifsud may be dead.
  147. The filing say DNC lawyers believe all the defendants in the case have been served with the complaint, “with the exception of Mifsud (who is missing and may be deceased).” The lawyers did not elaborate further.
  148. On Friday, Bloomberg reported Manafort is considering a plea deal to avoid a second criminal trial in September. Manafort faces as long as 10 years in prison under advisory sentencing guidelines in the Virginia case.
  149. It is not clear if Manafort would cooperate in Mueller’s probe of Russian interference in the 2016 election, although experts expect Mueller would require it. Manafort faces emotional and financial costs in a second trial.
  150. On Friday, Bloomberg reported in a follow-up to the Cohen conviction,federal prosecutors in Manhattan are investigating whether anyone else at the Trump Organization violated campaign-finance laws.
  151. The Trump Organization chief financial officer Allen Weisselberg cooperated with the Cohen probe, with limited immunity. Trump Organization is a stable of private companies run by Donald Jr. and Eric since Trump took office.
  152. On Friday, Trump told reporters, “Canada has been ripping us off for a long time.” Later, at his speech in North Dakota, Trump threatened tariffs on cars, which he said would cause the “ruination” of Canada.
  153. Also at his rally in North Dakota, Trump called Woodward an “idiot” and said he wrote a “fiction book.” Trump said, “the concept is true,” but that he would not use crude words, adding, “I went like to the best college.”
  154. On Friday, WAPO reported House Speaker Paul Ryan and Majority Leader Mitch McConnell tried to coax Trump away from his threats to shut down the government at the end of the month by using props and flattery.
  155. McConnell presented a Washington Examiner article which claims Trump is brilliantly handling the current budget process, while Ryan brought glossy photos of a wall under construction along the U.S.-Mexico border.
  156. On Friday, a lawyer for Essential Consultants, the company created by Cohen in 2016, sought to void the nondisclosure agreement at issue in a lawsuit filed by Stephanie Clifford, seeking to avoid further litigation.
  157. The filing included a promise by Cohen not to sue Stephanie Clifford, also known as Stormy Daniels, over claims that she breached the contract, and reserved the right to seek repayment of the $130,000 hush money payment.
  158. On Friday, former President Obama re-entered the national political debate giving an hour-long speech at University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, and for the first time, calling out Trump by name.
  159. Obama said of Trump, “He is a symptom, not the cause. He’s just capitalizing on resentments that politicians have been fanning for years, a fear and anger that’s rooted in our past”
  160. Obama compared Trump to foreign demagogues who exploit “a politics of fear and resentment and retrenchment,” saying, “This is not normal. These are extraordinary times, and they are dangerous times.”
  161. Obama rebuked Trump’s response to Charlottesville, saying, “We’re supposed to stand up to discrimination…and unequivocally to Nazi sympathizers. How hard can that be, saying that Nazis are bad?”
  162. Obama also said, “None of this is conservative,” adding, “It’s not conservative. It sure isn’t normal. It’s radical. It’s a vision that says the protection of our power and those who back us is all that matters.”
  163. At a rally in Fargo, North Dakota, Trump responded to Obama’s speech, saying, “I’m sorry, I watched it, but I fell asleep,” adding, “I found he’s very good, very good for sleeping.”
  164. At a later stop in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, Trump said Obama’s re-emergence will motivate Trump’s base. “Now if that doesn’t get you out to vote for the midterms, nothing will.”
  165. Politico reported Trump is jealous of the fawning coverage and adulation Obama has received, and sees him as a much more formidable political opponent than Hillary. Aides worry Obama could get in to Trump’s head.

POLITIKS OF GRAFFITI 95: A WHOPPING 36%

Week 94: Experts in authoritarianism advise to keep a list of things subtly changing around you, so you’ll remember.

September 1, 2018 https://medium.com/@Amy_Siskind/week-94-experts-in-authoritarianism-advise-to-keep-a-list-of-things-subtly-changing-around-you-so-6ee7fb741cfe

This week the death of Senator John McCain loomed large. McCain’s military and public service, and his statesmanship stood in sharp contrast to Trump, who acted like a petulant child, refusing to issue a statement of praise or keep the White House flag at half-staff. As the week ended, and virtually every official in D.C. attended a nationally televised farewell for McCain, Trump busied himself tweeting false statements, before heading to a Trump golf course in Virginia.

This week, Trump said he would push out two more senior officials, Attorney General Jeff Sessions and White House counsel Don McGahn, from his dwindling ranks of insiders. Trump aides and allies worry that his legal team is vastly understaffed to address the fallout of Democrats taking control of the House, as well as the growing list of legal exposures facing him.

This week had shocking stories on the treatment of marginalized communities — from passports being denied to U.S. citizens on the Mexico border, to a revised official death toll of nearly 3,000 in Puerto Rico, to White House officials with ties to white supremacists involved in immigration policy meetings — as well as stories of corruption. But as with many weeks, these stories quickly got lost in the chaotic and exhausting news cycle, even in August.

As the week drew to an end, Trump’s approval dropped to 36% in two polls, as he is reportedly increasingly isolated and making decisions based on his instincts alone. An arrest was made of a California man who threatened to violence against the Boston Globe, calling them the enemy of the people. And still, elected Republicans refuse to confront Trump, offering instead their public support or silent complicity.

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  1. WAPO reported a growing number of U.S. citizens along the Mexico borderwhose official birth records show they were born in the U.S. are being denied passports by the State Department, reminiscent of the Holocaust.
  2. The Trump regime is accusing possibly thousands of Hispanics along the border of using fraudulent birth certificates since they were babies, undertaking a widespread crackdown.
  3. Although the State Department claims it has “not changed policy or practice,” cases identified and interviews with immigration attorneys suggest a dramatic shift in both passport issuance and immigration enforcement.
  4. WAPO reported passport applicants with U.S. birth certificates are being jailed in detention centers and entered into deportation proceedings. Others are stuck in Mexico after their passports were revoked.
  5. On Sunday, Axios reported it has obtained a spreadsheet prepared by Congressional Republicans which details the investigations relating to Trump and his regime Democrats will likely launch if they flip the House.
  6. Investigations listed include: Trump’s tax returns, family separation policy, and hurricane response in Puerto Rico. The spreadsheet also catalogues more than 100 formal requests from House Democrats this Congress.
  7. Techcrunch reported detailed voter data on 14.8 millions Texas voters was left unprotected online by Data Trust, the GOP vendor in Week 32 involved with exposing data of 200 million voters before the 2016 election.
  8. On Saturday evening, Sen. John McCain passed away. Trump rejected a White House plan to issue a statement praising the life and heroism of McCain, opting instead to send a tweet and not issue the statement.
  9. Trump’s unwillingness breaks with precedent of U.S. leaders releasing effusive official statements for noteworthy Americans. Instead, White House aides posted statements by officials other than Trump.
  10. While golfing Sunday, Trump did not say a word about McCain, while former presidents and world leaders issued statements. White House flags were lowered to half-staff on Sunday, but then fully raised on Monday morning.
  11. On Monday, facing public outcry and criticism from veterans groups, including the American Legion, Trump ordered the White House flags back to half-staff, matching the Capitol and other government buildings.
  12. WAPO reported Trump’s actions are part of a pattern of him not performing basic rituals while in office. Trump has also been shunned at two funerals (McCain and Barbara Bush), as well as a royal wedding.
  13. On Tuesday, a report by the George Washington University commissioned by the Puerto Rican government found Hurricane Maria caused an estimated 2,975 deaths in the six months after the storm made landfall.
  14. The government of Puerto Rico accepted the GWU estimate as the official death toll, ranking Maria among the deadliest natural disasters in U.S. history. Previously, the government had acknowledged only 64 deaths.
  15. On Wednesday, when asked about the GWU report, Trump responded, “I think we did a fantastic job,” adding “it’s hard to get things on the island,” in comparing relief efforts to those in Texas and Florida.
  16. Trump also praised FEMA as “very brave” in its response to the storms, and added, “I only hope they [Puerto Rico] don’t get hit again. … Puerto Rico had a lot of difficulties before they got hit.”
  17. On Tuesday, the Atlantic published emails it obtained revealing Ian M. Smith, a Homeland Security staffer, sent friendly emails with a group that included known white nationalists as they planned various events.
  18. In a 2015 email, Smith responded to a group dinner invitation whose host said his home would be “judenfrei,” a German word used by the Nazis to describe territory that had been “cleansed” of Jews during the Holocaust.
  19. The address of the white nationalist leader Richard Spencer is included in one of the threads. Smith responded in an email to the Atlantic, saying he no longer worked at DHS, and did not attend events in the emails.
  20. On Thursday, WAPO reported that Smith attended multiple immigration policy meetings at the White House, convened by Stephen Miller, when his boss was unable to attend due to thin staffing in the policy office.
  21. On Tuesday, the Inquirer reported a Philadelphia homicide detective is under internal investigation for calling colleagues “filthy savage” and a “grotesque, primal animal” in a letter about leaving leftover food out.
  22. Police Commissioner Richard Ross said letter raised concerned about “racial bias or inappropriate biases, and placed Detective Jimmy Crone on administrative duty pending an investigation by Internal Affairs.
  23. LA Times reported the FBI and Capitol Police want to interview Omar Navarro, Rep. Maxine Waters’ opponent, about tweeting a fake letter saying she wants to resettle tens of thousands of refugees in her district.
  24. On Tuesday, in the Oklahoma primary, 15 of the 19 Republicans who voted against raising taxes to increase teacher pay last spring were defeated, in a victory for teachers who had been striking.
  25. On Tuesday, in a Florida primary, Democrat Andrew Gillum won an unexpected victory, positioning him to possibly become that state’s first black governor.
  26. On Wednesday, the day after Florida’s primaries, Trump backed GOP Rep. Ron DeSantis told Fox News voters would “monkey this up” if they elected his African-American Democratic opponent, Andrew Gillum.
  27. After the comment was made by DeSantis, Fox News anchor Sandra Smith said on air, “We do not condone this language and wanted to make our viewers aware that he has since clarified his statement.”
  28. On Thursday, Snap, the company behind Snapchat, apologized after its map feature mislabeled New York City as “Jewtropolis.” Snap said the incident was due to vandalism of data from OpenStreetMap.
  29. A 9 year-old boy in Colorado committed suicide after being bullied in fourth grade. His mother said the same kids who were picked on him last year, were “meaner to him once he came out and said he was gay.”
  30. Vermont state Rep. Ruqaiyah “Kiah” Morris, the only black woman lawmaker in the state, announced she will not run for re-election in November, citing online harassment and racist threats made at her.
  31. On Thursday, Miami Herald reported Bank of America froze the account of Saeed Moshfegh, an Iranian getting his Ph.D in physics at the University of Miami who has been in the U.S. for the past seven years.
  32. Moshfegh was told by his local branch that the documentation he had provided could not be accepted. The American Banker said Bank of America is facing a backlash over questions about customers’ citizenship.
  33. On Thursday, according to court papers filed by the government, 497 migrant children separated under Trump’s zero-tolerance policy have still not been reunited more than a month after the court imposed deadline.
  34. Nearly two-thirds of the separated children, including 22 “tender-age” children under the age of 5, have parents who were deported, mostly within the first weeks of zero-tolerance. Little progress is being made in reunification.
  35. On Thursday, D.C. police arrested 55-year-old Lionel Kevin Hyater and charged him with yelling threats and racist slurs at a crossing guard near an elementary school. The incident is being investigated as a hate crime.
  36. On Friday, the Trump regime announced it will stop all funding to the UN Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) for Palestinian refugees. The move was led by Jared Kushner and UN ambassador Nikki Haley.
  37. The U.S. had been the main funder of UNRWA. The cuts will make the continuation of the agency’s operations in the Middle East almost impossible, and could further destabilize Jordan, Gaza, and the West Bank.
  38. On Friday, Iowa authorities confirmed that a white supremacist group is using Mollie Tibbett’s death in robocalls. The call script says, “We don’t have to kill them all, but we do have to deport them all.”
  39. On Monday, Seth Frotman, the government’s top official at the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau overseeing the $1.5 trillion student loan market resigned. He had been with the CFPB since its inception in 2011.
  40. Frotman accused Mick Mulvaney of hiding a report which raised alarms of banks overcharging student loan borrowers. Mulvaney also downgraded Frotman’s office, moving it from enforcement to consumer education.
  41. In his resignation letter to Mulvaney, Frotman said “under your leadership, the Bureau has abandoned” the consumers it is tasked “with protecting,” instead serving “the wishes of the most powerful financial companies.”
  42. On Monday, the inspector general of the General Services Administration said in a report that Trump was personally involved in scuttling a plan to rebuild the FBI headquarters across the street from the Trump Hotel.
  43. The report cited GSA and White House officials met about the headquarters project in January, and that Trump was personally involved in one of those meetings.
  44. The report said that GSA Administrator Emily Murphy gave “incomplete” and “misleading” testimony to Congress in April, but did not disclose the involvement of Trump or other White House officials when questioned.
  45. On Wednesday, NYT reported proposed rules being prepared by Betsy DeVos’s Department of Education would bolster rights of those accused of campus sexual misconduct and reduce liability for colleges.
  46. The new rules would narrow the definition of sexual harassment, holding schools accountable only for formal complaints for conduct that occurred on their campuses, as well as establishing a higher legal standard.
  47. On Monday, Trump hosted a Mexican delegation in the Oval Office for a phone call with Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto. As the media looked on, Trump fumbled with getting Peña Nieto on the phone.
  48. After several attempts, an aide finally took the receiver and patched Peña Nieto through. The call, meant to highlight a discussion on trade, broke protocol for conducting diplomacy, making it more into a spectacle.
  49. Trump said, “It’s a big day for trade. Big day for our country,” as he talked about replacing NAFTA. Peña Nieto mentioned Canada several times, while Trump threatened to move forward without them.
  50. On Monday, the Editorial Board of the WSJ criticized Trump’s revised U.S.-Mexico deal in an op-ed titled, “Half a Nafta,” citing exclusion of Canada, and saying of Trump, “self-damage isn’t always an effective restraint.”
  51. On Monday, WSJ reported that Trump’s USDA pledged to pay farmers $4.7 billion, saying payments would help protect farmers from “unjustified tariffs” some nations have applied in response to Trump’s trade wars.
  52. Farm groups said the spending will not make up for their losses. USDA officials said they could decide by December to make a second wave of direct payments to farmers to offset losses from Trump’s policies.
  53. On Thursday, in a letter to House and Senate leaders, Trump said he wants to cancel a 2.1% pay increase set to take effect in January for civilian federal workers, instead giving workers no pay increase.
  54. Pay for military personnel will not be affected. U.S. troops will get a 2.6% pay increase next year as part of a $716 billion defense spending bill that Trump signed earlier this month.
  55. WAPO reported Trump in a meeting with Japanese Prime Minister Abe earlier this year, Trump said, “I remember Pearl Harbor,” before railing against Japan’s economic policies. Trump was born after Pearl Harbor.
  56. Reportedly, Tokyo’s patience is wearing thin. Abe concealed a meeting with North Korean officials, and Japan’s trade minister warned Tokyo would retaliate if Trump follows through on his threat to impose tariffs.
  57. On Monday, Vanity Fair reported White House officials discussed inviting Trump’s real-estate friends to stage an “intervention” after Trump’ recent erratic behavior after betrayals by Michael Cohen, Allen Weisselberg, and David Pecker.
  58. Sources say, “this time really feels different.” Trump is increasingly acting alone and going on his instincts. Reportedly, Jared and Ivanka had advised against revoking security clearances, but it brought Trump “joy.”
  59. On Monday, Tampa Bay Times reported Florida attorney general Pam Bondi was co-host of Fox News’ “The Five” three times last week, an unprecedented situation for a sitting elected official in Florida.
  60. Bondi sought guidance from the Florida Commission on Ethics on whether publicity could be considered a gift to a public official, but as of Monday,according to a commission spokesperson, no opinion was rendered.
  61. On Monday, at a White House dinner, Trump warned 100 evangelical leaders that Democrats “will overturn everything that we’ve done and they’ll do it quickly and violently” if the GOP loses control of the House.
  62. Trump added, “When you look at antifa…these are violent people.” This is the latest example of Trump using the specter of violence by his political opponents to fan flames of cultural division.
  63. After reporters and cameras left the room, Trump asked the leaders to use their pulpits to help Republicans win in the midterm elections after falsely bragging that he had gotten “rid of” the Johnson Amendment.
  64. On Tuesday, after a Monday segment on Fox Business on the matter, Trump tweeted that Google has their searches “RIGGED” for him and others, claiming, “Republican/Conservative & Fair Media is shut out.”
  65. Trump also repeated the claim that “96% of results on “Trump News” are from National Left-Wing Media,” adding, “they are controlling what we can & cannot see. This is a very serious situation-will be addressed!
  66. On Tuesday, Trump told reporters in the Oval Office that Google, Facebook, and Twitter “better be careful,” saying the three technology companies “are treading on very, very troubled territory,” favoring liberal viewpoints.
  67. On Tuesday, Trump’s top economic adviser, Larry Kudlow, said the White House is “taking a look” at whether Google should be regulated by the government. Regulating search results could violate the First Amendment.
  68. On Wednesday, Trump continued his attacks on Google, tweeting a video that alleges Google promoted Obama’s State of the Union addresses multiple times on its homepage, along with the hashtag, #StopTheBias.
  69. On Wednesday, Steve Bannon, who was a co-founder of Cambridge Analytica, told CNN that all the data social media companies like Google and Facebook have should be “put in a public trust.”
  70. On Friday, Trump ally Sen. Orrin Hatch wrote a formal letter to the Federal Trade Commission, asking it to “reconsider the competitive effects of Google’s conduct in search and digital advertising.”
  71. On Monday, WSJ reported Paul Manafort sought a plea deal from Mueller’s team to resolve a second set of charges he faces in a Washington, D.C. court in September, but talks broke down.
  72. The plea discussions took place while the jury in the first trial was deliberating. In a filing Friday, prosecutors said they expect to take 10 to 12 days to present at the second trial, and submitted over 1,500 exhibits.
  73. On Tuesday, the Atlantic reported Rep. Devin Nunes traveled to London to try investigate Christopher Steele’s record and whether British authorities had known about his repeated contact with Bruce Ohr.
  74. Nunes requested meetings with three U.K. intelligence agencies — MI5, MI6, and GCHQ — but those meetings did not happen. Agencies were reportedly concerned about stirring up controversy.
  75. On Wednesday, in a court motion, Mueller’s team asked the judge to review to review “four documents” between Manafort and one of his former lawyers. Normally such communications would be protected.
  76. Mueller’s team argued that attorney-client privilege does not apply when the client enlists a lawyer’s help to commit a crime — in this case related to false statements made about Manafort’s and Rick Gates’ foreign lobbying work.
  77. On Wednesday, Simona Mangiante Papadopoulos, wife of George Papadopoulos told ABC News that he will stick with his plea agreementwith Mueller, ending weeks of speculation that he may back away.
  78. On Friday, a court filing by lawyers for Papadopoulos said Trump and Sessions both supported a proposal during the 2016 campaign that Trump meet with Putin.
  79. Papadopoulos’ account contradicts Sessions’ testimony to his former Senate colleagues in November 2017 that he had “pushed back” against the proposal by Papadopoulos at a March 31, 2016 campaign meeting.
  80. Trump has claimed does not remember much of what happened at the “very unimportant” campaign meeting, which was memorialized in a photo posted by Trump posted on Instagram.
  81. On Friday, lobbyist Sam Patten pleaded guilty to failing to register as a foreign agent for a Russia-aligned Ukrainian political party and helping an Ukrainian oligarch illegally purchase tickets to Trump’s inauguration.
  82. Patten also pledged to cooperate under the plea agreement. Although charges were not brought by Mueller, they stem from his team’s work and overlap with its continuing investigation.
  83. Ukrainian oligarchs formed Opposition Bloc, which worked with Manafort and Gates in 2014, before shifting its political consulting and lobbying business to a company started by Patten and Konstantin Kilimnik.
  84. The charges against Patten show that prosecutors are looking into efforts by foreign interests to funnel money into Trump’s political operation, including his inaugural committee, in an effort to curry favor.
  85. Serhiy Lyovochkin, who serves in the Ukrainian parliament and is part of the Opposition Bloc, matches the oligarch description. Prosecutors say that Patten arranged meetings with congressional officials for Lyovochkin.
  86. On Friday, CNN reported two relatively junior prosecutors, Ryan Dickey and Brian Richardson, are no longer working in office space occupied by Mueller’s team. A spokesperson said neither left over bias or wrongdoing.
  87. On Tuesday, in a prolific series of morning tweets, Trump claimed that a report was just out that “China hacked Hillary Clinton’s private Email Server,” and questioning whether the FBI and DOJ will investigate it.
  88. On Tuesday, Fox News, which Trump frequently watches, amplified the story, airing a segment with a guest calling it a bombshell if true. The false story originated at conservative website The Daily Caller.
  89. On Wednesday, Trump repeated his false claim, tweeting, Hillary’s emails, “many of which are Classified Information, got hacked by China,” adding the FBI and DOJ should act or else “their credibility will be forever gone!”
  90. On Wednesday, the FBI took the unusual step of issuing a statement saying, “The FBI has not found any evidence the [Clinton] servers were compromised.”
  91. On Wednesday, Trump tweeted false claims made by Fox News host Tucker Carlson on his Tuesday show, including “The Obama people did something that’s never been done…They spied on a rival presidential campaign.”
  92. Trump also tweeted, “Hillary Clinton and the DNC paid for information from the Russian government to use against her government,” another false claim by Carlson.
  93. On Wednesday, Trump attacked CNN, tweeting, “CNN is being torn apart from within based on their being caught in a major lie,” and attacked Carl Bernstein, “a man who lives in the past and thinks like a degenerate fool.”
  94. An CNN article written Jim Sciutto, Marshall Cohen, and Carl Bernstein in July had asserted Michael Cohen claimed Trump knew in advance about the Trump Tower meeting. One source, Lanny Davis, backed off his claim.
  95. On Wednesday, CNN responded, tweeting, “CNN does not lie. We report the news…CNN stands by our reporting and our reporters. There may be many fools in this story but @carlbernstein is not one of them.”
  96. On Wednesday, Trump pressed the Supreme Court chief justice for action on the Steele dossier in a pair of tweets quoting Fox News’ Gregg Jarrett, claiming, “Ohr told the FBI it (the Fake Dossier) wasn’t true.”
  97. Trump quoted Jarrett, tweeting, “This is a fraud on the court. The Chief Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court is in charge of the FISA court,” saying he should direct “Presiding Judge, Rosemary Collier, to hold a hearing.”
  98. Trump also suggesting Bruce Ohr should be fired, tweeting, “How the hell is Bruce Ohr still employed at the Justice Department? Disgraceful! Witch Hunt!”
  99. NYT reported Bruce Ohr, who has been with the Justice Department for three decades with a strong reputation, is at risk of losing his job as Trump threatens to revoke his security clearance.
  100. Colleagues are confused about why Ohr has been targeted. Ohr has fought Russian organized crime, including investigating Oleg Deripaska, whose name resurfaced amid scrutiny of contact between Trump associates and Russia.
  101. On Thursday, Trump extended his attacks to Nellie Ohr, Bruce’s wife, tweeting, she “is a Russia expert who is fluent in Russian. She worked for Fusion GPS where she was paid a lot,” adding “Collusion!”
  102. On Friday, AP reported this week when Bruce Ohr met with lawmakers for a private interview, he disclosed previously unreported details of his July 30, 2016, breakfast with Christopher Steele.
  103. According to multiple people familiar with the encounter, Ohr said that Steele told him at breakfast that Russian intelligence believed it had Trump “over a barrel.”
  104. Ohr also reportedly learned that Carter Page, then an aide to the Trump campaign, had met with higher-level Russian officials than he had acknowledged.
  105. Ohr told lawmakers he could not vouch for Steele’s information but said he considered him a reliable informant. Ohr told his superiors, including then Deputy Attorney General Sally Yates, about his meetings with Steele.
  106. On Tuesday, the Senate reached a deal to fast-track confirmation of seven federal district judges. The latest confirmations mean Trump has already confirmed 60 judges to U.S. federal courts.
  107. Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer’s deal to fast-track Trump appointees infuriated many who called it a “surrender.” Reportedly, Schumer cut the deal so Democrats up for re-election could get back to campaigning.
  108. On Tuesday, WAPO reported that in the last month, Trump has privately revived the idea of firing attorney general Sessions in conversations with his aides and personal lawyers.
  109. Trump’s attorneys advised him not to fire Sessions until after the Mueller probe is complete. Rudy Giuliani and Jay Sekulow advised Trump that Mueller could interpret firing Sessions as an effort to obstruct justice.
  110. But Senate Republicans, who initially had stuck by their former colleague, have reportedly resigned themselves to the fact that Trump will likely fire Sessions after midterms.
  111. On Wednesday, Axios reported White House counsel McGahn will step down this fall after Brett Kavanaugh is confirmed, or after the midterms. A successor has not been formalized, but McGahn is pushing for Emmet Flood.
  112. Shortly after, Trump tweeted McGahn will be “leaving his position in the fall, shortly after the confirmation (hopefully)” of Kavanaugh, adding, “I have worked with Don for a long time and truly appreciate his service!”
  113. WAPO reported Trump’s announcement via Twitter came as a surprise to everyone, including McGahn, and follows a pattern of Trump wanting to appear as if he is in control of departures from the White House.
  114. Many Republicans lawmakers, who see McGahn as accessible and a stable force, were stunned and dismayed by Trump’s announcement. Majority Leader Mitch McConnell called it “sad news for our country.”
  115. Trump told reporters Wednesday that he is not concerned about anything McGahn might have told Mueller’s investigators, saying, “We do everything straight; we do everything by the book.”
  116. On Wednesday, WAPO reported Trump’s advisers and allies are increasingly worried that does not have the staff nor the strategy to protect himself if the Democrats take control of Congress in the midterms.
  117. Advisers worry there will be an onslaught of subpoenas and that Democrats may pursue impeachment charges. There have been discussion on staffing, including possibly adding Kushner’s attorney, Abbe Lowell.
  118. Even with McGahn’s exit, Trump has not directed his lawyers or his political aides to prepare an action plan for after midterms. Aides worry he does not understand the magnitude of what could be in store.
  119. Politico reported Trump has been lobbying Republicans senators to get them to turn on Sessions. Trump has been frustrated since March 2017, but in the past 10 days, has been venting to any senators who will listen.
  120. A handful of GOP senators are frustrated with Sessions, including Chuck Grassley and Lindsey Graham, who have been irritated by his opposition to a criminal justice reform bill they support. Few Republicans publicly support Sessions.
  121. Graham, who heads the Senate Judiciary Committee, last week changed his public stance to say, “I do have time for hearings on nominees” that Trump would send, adding, “I didn’t have [time] last year.”
  122. On Thursday, NBC News reported White House ethics lawyer Stefan Passantino, who had been in charge of making sure White House officials complied with government ethics rule, resigned.
  123. On Wednesday, Capital and Main reported under Republican governors, New Jersey and Ohio committed at least $650 million of pension cash into a hedge fund that has taken control of David Pecker’s American Media Inc.
  124. The holdings in AMI represents 23% of the hedge fund, Chatham Asset Partners High Yield Fund’s, portfolio. Chatham is owned by a GOP donor, whose fund also has officials who serve as directors at AMI.
  125. In 2013, Chris Christie’s administration moved $300 million of pension cash into the Chatham. Three months before Christie left office, his administration steered another $200 million to another Chatham vehicle.
  126. On Tuesday, Abigail Spanberger, a former C.I.A officer running as a Democrat for Congress, accused a super PAC aligned with Speaker Paul Ryan of improperly obtaining her entire federal security clearance application.
  127. Spanberger sent a cease-and-desist letter to the executive director of the Congressional Leadership Fund, demanding the super PAC destroy all copies of the forms, and agree not to use the information for any purposes.
  128. WAPO Editorial Board wrote the Standard Form 86 filled in by Spanberger is “intrusive, requiring answers to 136 pages of probing questions about finances, medical history and family,” and said we should all be alarmed.
  129. On Thursday, NYT reported that Trump and Cohen worked to devise a plan to buy up all the dirt on Trump that the National Enquirer and its parent company AMI had collected on him, dating back to the 1980s.
  130. The plan was never finalized, but shows how concerned Trump was about information amassed by AMI. For two decades, Pecker has told his staff to protect Trump, by, in some cases, buying up troublesome stories.
  131. There was concern Pecker could leave AMI, and perennial talk about American Media’s business troubles. Also, in a conversation recorded by Cohen, Trump said of Pecker, “Maybe he gets hit by a truck.”
  132. On Thursday, Trump continued attacks on the media, saying not only CNN, but also NBC News is “the worst,” adding “Andy Lack(y) is about to be fired(?) for incompetence, and much worse.”
  133. Trump also claimed, without evidence, that “Lester Holt got caught fudging my tape” — the interview where Trump cited the Russia investigation as a reason why he fired James Comey as FBI director.
  134. Trump also tweeted, “I just cannot state strongly enough how totally dishonest much of the Media is,” saying they “they only have their hatred & agenda,” and calling them, “Enemy of the People!
  135. On Thursday, the FBI arrested Robert Chain, a 68 year-old California man, after he made repeated violent threats against the Boston Globe, after the newspaper announced a coordinated editorial response against Trump.
  136. Chain made approximately 14 threatening phone calls to the Globebetween August 10 and 22, 2018. On one call, Chain said, “You’re the enemy of the people, and we’re going to kill every f — -ing one of you.”
  137. On Thursday, a federal judge blocked grizzly bear hunts outside Yellowstone National Park, as he deliberates over lawsuits challenging the Trump regime’s removal of endangered species protections for the bears.
  138. On Friday, a new Washington Post-ABC News poll found that Trump’s disapproval hit a new high for the poll of 60%, 36% approve. 45% of whites back Trump, while 19% of nonwhites approve.
  139. The poll also found 49% believe Congress should begin impeachment proceedings, 46% do not. 63% support Mueller’s investigation of Russian interference in the 2016 election, 29% oppose the probe.
  140. On Friday, a new Investor Business Daily/TIPP poll also found Trump’s approval at 36%, a 5-point drop from last month, with 56% disapproval up from 43% last month.
  141. The poll found Trump’s approval with Republicans fell from 83% last month to 76% this month. Trump also saw a big drop off from men, from 49% last month to 40% this month.
  142. On Thursday, at a raucous campaign rally in Indiana, Trump threatened to “get involved” if the Justice Department and FBI don’t start “doing their job and doing it right,” adding, “what’s happening is a disgrace.”
  143. Trump’s advance team blocked the camera of a photojournalist attempting to take a photo of a protester whose presence caused Trump to temporarily stop his remarks.
  144. Trump complained that the Justice Department is not going after Hillary Clinton, saying, “look at what she’s getting away with.” The crowd chanted familiar refrains of “U-S-A!” and “Lock Her Up!”
  145. Trump also complained about the media, despite the arrest earlier in the day, saying, “These are just dishonest, terrible people. I’m telling you that. Terrible people.”
  146. Trump also accused Democrats of wanting to “raid Medicare to pay for socialism,” adding that he did not think Indiana wanted to end up like Venezuela.
  147. Non-partisan watchdog group Free Speech for People sent a letter to New York Attorney General Barbara Underwood saying the Trump Organization should have its corporate charter in New York revoked, citing Cohen’s guilty plea.
  148. Anti-jail activist Elisabeth Epps, a criminal justice reform advocate who has helped hundreds of poor people get out of jail or get reduced bonds, was sentenced to prison. Hundreds have written letters of support.
  149. On Friday, comments Trump made about Canada in an interview with Bloomberg, that he thought were off-the-record, were leaked. Trump had said he’s not going to compromise with Canada.
  150. On Friday, in a series of tweets Trump said, “Bloomberg violated a firm OFF THE RECORD statement,” and “more dishonest reporting…At least Canada knows where I stand,” and asked for an apology from Bloomberg.
  151. The Toronto Star reported Trump’s leaked comment confirmed suspicions by Canadian negotiators as evidence that the U.S. was not making a legitimate effort to compromise.
  152. On Friday, Trump sent a letter to Congress late in the day, saying he would enter into a trade agreement with Mexico, and stipulating Canada could be added later — potentially jeopardizing his goal of renegotiating NAFTA.
  153. On Friday, Giuliani told CNN that Trump’s legal team is preparing a report that will contain sections rebutting potential conclusions Mueller’s team could reach.
  154. On Friday, in a rebuke to the FCC’s repeal of net neutrality, California lawmakers voted to pass the nation’s toughest net neutrality law, preventing Internet providers from favoring certain websites.
  155. On Saturday, virtually every official, Democrats and Republicans, in Washington, D.C. gathered at the National Cathedral for a nationally televised farewell to Sen. McCain. Trump was not invited.
  156. Instead, Trump spent the morning sending a series of eight tweets, covering topics from NAFTA and Canada, to the “Fake Dossier,” to FISA hearings, to the media, to attacking the Justice Department and FBI.
  157. After sending his tweets, Trump left the White House at 10:30 a.m. to go golfing at the Trump National Golf Club in Loudoun County, Virginia while the memorial service continued.
  158. Sen. McCain’s daughter Meghan said in tribute, “We gather here to mourn the passing of American greatness, the real thing, not cheap rhetoric from men who will never come near the sacrifice he gave so willingly.”
  159. Meghan McCain also notably said, “The America of John McCain has no need to be made great again, because America was always great.”
  160. NYT reported after leaving the White House Saturday morning, Trump was expected to travel to Camp David, where aides say he will try to contain his anger at the attention being lavished on Sen. McCain.
  161. At the funeral Friday, Vladimir Kara-Murza, a Russian activist whosurvived two poisoning attempts for his opposition to the government of Putin, was a pallbearer. He told the NYT McCain had asked him in April.

POLITIKS OF GRAFFITI 94: “CLOSER THAN THEY APPEAR”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

POLITIKS OF GRAFFITI 92: ENTRENCHED IN THE SWAMP

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

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

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

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

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

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

IMG_5560

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