POLITIKS OF GRAFFITI 166: AN ODE TO THE “176”: BLOOD ON HIS HANDS

JANUARY 11, 2020

Week 165

Experts in authoritarianism advise to keep a list of things
subtly changing around you, so you’ll remember. https://theweeklylist.org/weekly-list/week-165/

This week as the country was on the brink of war with Iran, we stood alone, with the Trump regime having neglected to consult with our allies in Europe or the region. Reporting indicated the decision to strike that precipitated the latest crisis was made by Trump and Trump alone, amid his shrinking circle of less experienced but more compliant national security experts. After Iran retaliated, Trump seemed flat-footed, saying he would address the country that night, then backing off. The next morning he addressed the nation in a speech which he seemed to struggle to deliver, full of lies and misinformation, and which clarified little on strategy or the reason for the escalation. One of the numerous unintended consequences of the escalation was a downed Ukrainian Air plane, with 176 passengers killed over Tehran in the fog of war.

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The Scream was created by the Norwegian artist Edvard Munch in 1893 but it has become a masterpiece – the masterpiece – for our time. There are comparably “iconic” works of art – the Mona Lisa, Van Gogh’s Sunflowers – but they exist in a world of art and beauty. The Scream is ugly and brutal and belongs in the here and now. It is a symbol we reach for as we might for a strong word, to express what we’re feeling this minute.

The basis for the strike was in dispute during the week, as the regime failed to provide Congress or the American people with information to back their ever-changing rationale. By the end of the week, the regime indicated it was threats to U.S. embassies that led to the strike, with Trump specifying, without providing evidence, four embassies in total. Reporting also indicated there was another planned strike the day Soleimani was killed, targeting a senior Iranian military official in Yemen, that failed — indicating a broader attack may have been underway, and further muddying the regime’s account of events.

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This week in New York City.

This week former National Security Advisor John Bolton offered to testify in the Senate impeachment trial, which Trump later said he would likely block, as House Speaker Nancy Pelosi scheduled a vote to send the articles to the Senate. Republicans continued to largely stand behind Trump, even as he nearly brought the country to war without reason, and as the impeachment trial is set to get underway.

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This week in Rome, Italy. Artist: Qwerty
  1. On Wednesday, the New York Bar Association asked Congress in a letter to investigate Attorney General William Barr, saying his conduct “threatens public confidence in the fair and impartial administration of justice.”
  2. The letter also said Barr’s “recent actions and statements” position the AG, and by extension, the DOJ “as political partisans willing to use the levers of government to empower certain groups over others.”
  3. The request marks the first time the New York bar, or any comparable bar association, has asked Congress to investigate a sitting attorney general.
  4. On Wednesday, Pew Research published a survey of 33 countries which found 64% said they do not have confidence in Trump to do the right thing in world affairs, while just 29% do.
  5. Trump also received the lowest rating of five leaders including German Chancellor Angela Merkel, French President Emmanuel Macron, Russian President Vladimir Putin, and Chinese President Xi Jinping.
  6. On Thursday, the Justice Department ended their two-year investigation of Hillary Clinton, begun to appease Trump and his allies in Congress. The probe ended quietly, finding nothing of consequence.
  7. Former Attorney General Jeff Sessions had appointed U.S. attorney John Huber to “review” the Clinton Foundation, Uranium One, and the FBI’s handling of the investigation into Clinton’s use of a private email server.
  8. On Friday, Bloomberg reported U.S. intelligence and law enforcement officials are probing whether Russia is targeting Joe Biden, the leading Democratic presidential candidate for 2020, with election meddling.
  9. Part of the inquiry is whether Russia is trying to weaken Biden by promoting controversy over debunked allegations of his involvement in U.S. policy in Ukraine while his son Hunter worked for an energy company there.
  10. The strategy would mirror what Russia did in 2016, carrying out a sophisticated operation to damage Hillary Clinton. One expert noted Putin’s ability “to convince people of outright falsehoods.”
  11. Unlike 2016 where Russia hacked documents, in 2020, Trump, Giuliani, and Trump allies are all pushing the narrative about Biden in the public domain and seeking to dig up dirt about him in Ukraine.
  12. Also in 2020, Russia is much more overt in carrying out its influence operation, given the U.S. audience is more receptive. Russia has been using its state-run media RT and Sputnik News as part of its operation.
  13. On Friday, in tracking turnover in the Trump regime, the Brookings Institute found in his first three years in office, Trump’s “A Team” turnover is at 80% (52/65), with 35% of the positions undergoing serial turnover.
  14. On Monday, CNN reported the White House had gone 300 days without an official White House press briefing. White House press secretary Stephanie Grisham has yet to hold a briefing.
  15. On Thursday, authors Stephen King and Don Winslow offered to donate $100,000 each in her name to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital if Grisham holds a press corp briefing for one hour.
  16. On Friday, NYT reported in addition to not holding press briefings, even as the nation was on the brink of war, Grisham has only appeared on Fox News, One America News Network, and Sinclair Broadcast.
  17. On Friday, 13 former White House and military officials, including White House press secretaries for the last three administrations, called for restoring press briefings in an open letter.
  18. They noted, “a well-informed citizenry would be better equipped to understand the difficult choices and decisions presidents must make, especially in times of crisis,” adding it “makes for better democracy.”
  19. On Saturday, the Department of Homeland Security said in a bulletin it had no information of “a specific, credible threat” from Iran, but added, “Iran and its partners” have the capability to conduct operations in the U.S.
  20. On Saturday, the website of the U.S. Federal Depository Library Program was briefly hacked, and the home page replaced with a pro-Iranian message and an image of bloodied Trump being punched in the face.
  21. On Saturday, Trump tweeted from Mar-a-Lago, “Iran is talking very boldly about targeting certain USA assets as revenge,” saying Soleimani “was already attacking our Embassy, and preparing for additional hits.”
  22. Trump threatened, “Let this serve as a WARNING” that if Iran strikes, “we have targeted 52 Iranian sites” — matching the number of American hostages taken in 1979 — including “high level” and cultural targets.
  23. Trump also tweeted, “those targets, and Iran itself, WILL BE HIT VERY FAST AND VERY HARD,” adding, “The USA wants no more threats!”
  24. Trump also tweeted, “They attacked us, & we hit back,” adding, “If they attack again, which I would strongly advise them not to do, we will hit them harder than they have ever been hit before!”
  25. On Saturday, in response, Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif tweeted, “Targeting cultural sites is a WAR CRIME,” and predicted the “end of U.S. malign presence in West Asia has begun.”
  26. International law — the 1954 Hague Convention for the Protection of Cultural Property in the Event of Armed Conflict — prohibits “any act of hostility against fixed cultural property.
  27. On Saturday, NYT reported in response to Iran-led violence in Iraq, the Pentagon presented Trump with a menu of options, including Soleimani — the most extreme response to make other options appear more palatable.
  28. The day after the American contractor was killed, Trump did not take the option to kill Soleimani, but after watching news reports on the attacks on the U.S. embassy in Baghdad, he took the extreme option, stunning top Pentagon officials.
  29. Trump took the action despite disputes within the regime about the significance of new intelligence, said to be thin, and information that the attack was not imminent since it was not yet approved by the ayatollah.
  30. Presidents Obama and W. Bush rejected the option of killing Soleimani, citing it would be too provocative. Trump regime officials said they did not anticipate sweeping retaliation because of divisions in Iranian leadership.
  31. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo was the loudest voice in pushing for the strike. Vice President Mike Pencealso pushed for a response, and his office helped run herd on meetings and conference calls leading up to the strike.
  32. On Saturday, the Trump regime sent Congress a formal, classified notification regarding the strike that killedSoleimani within the required 48-hour time window required by the War Powers Act.
  33. Later Saturday, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi called releasing only a classified version “highly unusual,” and said, “Congress and the American people are being left in the dark about our national security.”
  34. Pelosi also said the notification “raises more questions than it answers,” and “prompts serious and urgent questions about the timing, manner and justification of the Administration’s decision to engage in hostilities.”
  35. U.S. officials who had been briefed on the strike said evidence there was to be an imminent attack on American targets is “razor thin,” and that Soleimani was planning to kill hundreds “an illogical leap.”
  36. On Sunday, Secretary of State Pompeo defended the strike on “Meet the Press,” saying, “It may be that there’s a little noise here in the interim, that the Iranians make a choice to respond.”
  37. Pompeo added, “the risk of doing nothing exceeded the risk of taking the action,” claiming there were plotsagainst American interests, and said, “We would have been culpably negligent had we not taken this action.”
  38. Pompeo also defended Trump’s threat to bomb cultural sites on “State of the Union,” saying, “If we need to defend American interests, we will do so,” adding, “the American people should know we will always defend them.”
  39. On Sunday, senior officials told CNN there is widespread opposition within the regime to targeting cultural sites, with one official saying, “Nothing rallies people like the deliberate destruction of beloved cultural sites.
  40. On Sunday, after golfing at Mar-a-Lago, Trump tweeted, the U.S. “spent Two Trillion Dollars on Military Equipment,” adding if Iran attacks, “we will be sending some of that brand new beautiful equipment their way.”
  41. Trump also warned, “These Media Posts will serve as notification,” saying the U.S. will “fully strike back,” and “perhaps in a disproportionate manner,” adding, “Such legal notice is not required, but is given.”
  42. On Sunday, the Iranian government all but exited from the 2015 landmark nuclear agreement, saying, “Iran’s nuclear program will have no limitations in production, including enrichment capacity.”
  43. On Sunday, Iraq’s Prime Minister Adel Abdul Mahdi advised parliament to expel U.S. troops after the strike which killed Soleimani and eight others, including Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis, the leader of a powerful Iraqi militia.
  44. Abdul Mahdi told the parliament to take “urgent measures” to force the withdrawal of foreign forces, saying, “What happened was a political assassination,” adding, “Iraq cannot accept this.”
  45. Later Sunday, the Iraqi parliament passed a nonbinding resolution calling on the government to end the foreign troop presence; however, Abdul Mahdi, who resigned in November, could not sign the bill into law.
  46. On Sunday, a U.S.-led coalition in Iraq and Syria halted its years-long campaign against ISIS, as the U.S. braced for retaliation from Iran. The U.S. pulled out 5,200 troops from Iraq, crippling the fights against ISIS.
  47. On Sunday, three Americans, including a U.S. service member and two civilian contractors working for the Pentagon, were killed at the Kenya Defense Force Military Base by terrorist group Al-Shabaab.
  48. Later Sunday, aboard Air Force One returning to Washington D.C., Trump doubled down on his threat to attack Iranian cultural sites, telling reporters, “They’re allowed to kill our people?”
  49. Trump added, “They’re allowed to torture and maim our people. They’re allowed to use roadside bombs and blow up our people. And we’re not allowed to touch their cultural site?” adding, “It doesn’t work that way.”
  50. Trump also told reporters he would put “very big sanctions on Iraq” if the country forced out U.S. troops, saying, “if we don’t do it in a very friendly basis. We will charge them sanctions like they’ve never seen before ever.”
  51. Trump also said he expected Iraq to compensate the U.S. for the air base there, saying of the base, “It cost billions of dollars to build. Long before my time. We’re not leaving unless they pay us back for it.”
  52. On Sunday, NYT reported more than 60 Iranian-Americans were held up for hours at Washington State’s border after returning from Canada, as the Department of Homeland Security ramped up security at border points.
  53. Most were released after being questioned for up to 10 hours over the weekend. An advocate called the reports “extremely troubling and potentially constitute illegal detentions of United States citizens.”
  54. On Sunday, Speaker Pelosi told House Democrats in a letter that the House will introduce and vote on a War Powers Resolution relating to Iran this week, similar to the one introduced by Tim Kaine in the Senate in Week 164.
  55. The resolution, to be led by Rep. Elissa Slotkin, a former CIA and Pentagon analyst, “reasserts Congress’s long-established oversight responsibilities” by mandating Trump cease hostilities unless he gets Congressional approval.
  56. On Sunday, House Intelligence Committee Chair Adam Schiff told “State of the Union” that Democrats are in no rush to turn over articles of impeachment, but adding, “I don’t think it’s going to be indefinite.”
  57. On Sunday, Sen. Lindsey Graham told Fox News that Republicans should change the Senate rules and begin the impeachment trial, saying, “we’re not going to let Nancy Pelosi use the rules of the Senate to her advantage.”
  58. On Sunday, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer backed Pelosi on “This Week” saying, “We need the truth, not a coverup, not a sham, not to have some nationally televised mock trial where there’s no evidence.”
  59. On Sunday, Schumer and Sen. Bob Menendez, ranking member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, called on the White House to declassify the War Powers Act Notification for Iran Military Action.
  60. On Monday, Secretary Pompeo told Fox Business News, referring to Trump’s January 5 tweet, that “Trump didn’t say he’d go after a cultural site. Read what he said very closely.” This is clearly a lie. Trump said it twice.
  61. On Monday, Kellyanne Conway, Counselor to Trump, also lied, telling reporters at the White House Briefing Room, “He didn’t say he’s targeting cultural sites.”
  62. On Monday, Defense Secretary Mark Esper said “the laws of armed conflict” prohibit striking cultural sites, and said the Pentagon had no plans to do so despite Trump declaring them as targets.
  63. Esper also acknowledged striking cultural sites with no military value would be a war crime, breaking from Trump who said the sites are legitimate targets.
  64. On Monday, the Pentagon disputed that U.S. troops were leaving Iraq, after a letter was sent from Marine Brig. Gen. William Seely to Iraqi Lt. Gen. Abdul Amir outlining plans for troop departure.
  65. The draft letter, which was delivered, cited plans for “repositioning forces over the course of the coming days and weeks,” and added, “We respect your sovereign decision to order our departure.”
  66. Esper and Army Gen. Mark Milley, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, took the unusual step of hosting an impromptu press conference after the draft letter was leaked to the media.
  67. Milley called the letter a “mistake.” Esper said, “We are repositioning forces throughout the region number one,” adding, “That letter is inconsistent of where we are right now.” The letter added confusion to a murky situation.
  68. On Monday, WAPO reported after Trump’s threatening tweet, the senior regime officials began drafting possible sanctions against Iraq if it proceeded to expel U.S. troops.
  69. On Monday, on his first day back in Washington, Trump tweeted, “The Impeachment Hoax, just a continuation of the Witch Hunt which started even before I won the Election…must end quickly.”
  70. Trump added, “Read the Transcripts,” adding, “NO PRESSURE,” and, “get this done.” Trump also said he and Congress should not “be wasting their time” on the “totally partisan Impeachment Hoax.”
  71. Trump also tweeted, “IRAN WILL NEVER HAVE A NUCLEAR WEAPON!
  72. On Monday, former NSA John Bolton said he is “prepared to testify” in the Senate impeachment trial if subpoenaed, saying he has weighed the issues of executive privilege and after “careful consideration and study” decided he would comply.
  73. Bolton said he left a message for Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell before issuing his statement. His willingness to appear complicated matters for McConnell and his attempts to hold a Senate impeachment trial without witnesses.
  74. Schumer said Bolton’s announcement provided “momentum for uncovering the truth in a Senate trial,” adding it is “now up to four Senate Republicans to support bringing in Mr. Bolton.”
  75. On Monday, Trump told Rush Limbaugh the whole process is “sad for our country,” adding Pelosi does not want a trial, saying, “She doesn’t want to get a vote because how could anybody possibly — it’s totally partisan.”
  76. On Monday, Politico reported despite Bolton’s willingness to testify, the GOP-led Senate was not planning to call him as moderate Republicans, four of which would be needed, backed away.
  77. On Monday, Sen. Josh Hawley announced a resolution to change Senate rules to allow the dismissal of articles of impeachment if they are not transmitted to the Senate within 25 days.
  78. Later Monday, Trump told reporters that Bolton “would know nothing about what we were talking about” if he testifies, and said it would be “up to the lawyers” and the Senate to decide whether Bolton appears.
  79. On Monday, NYT reported Pompeo met with McConnell in the afternoon to say he will not run for the U.S. Senate seat in Kansas.
  80. Later Monday, Trump again slammed Los Angeles and San Francisco, saying “the homeless situation” there, and in “many other Democrat Party run cities,” is a “state and local problem, not a federal problem.”
  81. Trump added, “If however, the city or state in question is willing to acknowledge responsibility, and politely asks for help from the Federal Government, we will very seriously consider getting involved.”
  82. On Saturday, NPR reported the Department of Homeland Security quietly posted on its website on December 27 that it agreed to share certain government records from its databases with the Census Bureau.
  83. With this step, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, Custom and Border Patrol, and Immigration and Customs Enforcement will be sharing information with the Census Bureau to produce data about U.S. citizenship status.
  84. On Sunday, tens of thousands marched in New York City in a show of solidarity for New York’s Jewish community after a series of anti-Semitic attacks in a march organized by Jewish advocacy and community groups.
  85. On Tuesday, Cynthia Abcug, 50, was arrested in Colorado after authorities accused her of plotting with far-right QAnon conspiracy theorists to kidnap her child, who had been removed from her custody.
  86. On Thursday, Oregon man James Lamb, 53, was charged with attempted murder and a hate crime after breaking into a motel office, and beating a 70 year-old woman from India who owns the business.
  87. On Thursday, Mississippi Gov. Phil Bryant tweeted there will be “1000 Years of Darkness” if the state elects Mike Espy, who is a black man, as the state’s first black senator.
  88. On Friday, AP reported the Trump regime is considering dramatically expanding the travel ban heading into the election year. Sources say seven countries could be added to the list, a majority of which are Muslim.
  89. The current version of Trump’s ban includes seven countries, five of which are Muslim: Iran, Libya, Somalia, Syria, and Yemen, as well as Venezuela and North Korea.
  90. On Friday, Texas Gov. Greg Abbott became the first governor of 43 states so far not to accept refugees, after a September 26 executive order signed by Trump gave states the option not to take refugees.
  91. The Trump regime has been blindsided, as 42 of the the 50 states, including 18 Republican governors, have opted to accept refugees. Seven Republican governors have yet to announce.
  92. Trump’s executive order capped refugees at 18,000, and added the condition that cities and states must give written confirmation by January 21 on whether they will accept refugees.
  93. The executive order has also been ignored by many local governments, even in areas that voted for Trump in 2016. Religious groups, especially evangelical leaders, have lobbied political leaders to accept refugees.
  94. On Sunday, Stephanie Hofeller, daughter of deceased prominent Republican redistricting strategist Thomas Hofeller, released a cache of computer files saved on his hard drives onto a public website.
  95. On Sunday, Donald Jr. posted a photo on Instagram of him holding an AR-15-style rifle featuring a magazine with an illustration of Hillary Clinton behind bars, along with the caption, “Nice day at the range.”
  96. On Monday, Rep. Paul Gosar tweeted a fake photo showing Obama smiling and shaking hands with Iranian President Hassan Rouhani, with the caption, “The world is a better place without these guys in power.”
  97. On Tuesday, CNN confirmed it reached a settlement with Covington Catholic student Nick Sandmann, who sued the network saying it defamed him. Terms were not disclosed. Sandmann also sued NBC and WAPO.
  98. On Monday, a bipartisan group of campaign finance lawyers urged the White House and congressional leaders to “work together and immediately” restore a quorum on the Federal Election Commission.
  99. The 31 attorneys noted the FEC cannot enforce the law, vote on investigations, provide guidance, or conduct audits. An August 2019 resignation left the agency without a quorum for the first time in 11 years.
  100. On Tuesday, federal prosecutors reversed course, recommending Trump’s former NSA Michael Flynn serve up to six months in prison, citing his failure to “accept responsibility” and “complete his cooperation.”
  101. On Wednesday, WAPO reported the Trump regime is seeking to delay disclosure of how much Secret Service spends to protect him and his adult children, information sought by Democrats, until after the 2020 election.
  102. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and senators are negotiating legislation to move Secret Service back to Treasury. Mnuchin has balked at Democrats’ demand that costs be disclosed within 120 days of it being passed.
  103. On Thursday, a Manhattan Supreme Court judge denied Trump’s bid to have E. Jean Carroll’s defamation suit against him tossed out. Carroll said Trump hurt her career and reputation by denying her 1995 rape claim.
  104. On Thursday, Lt. Gen. Francis M. Beaudette, the commander of U.S. Army Special Operations Command, denied a Special Forces tab to retired Army Maj. Mathew L. Golsteyn, an officer who was pardoned by Trump.
  105. On Tuesday, WAPO reported Veterans groups say the Trump regime has ignored Russia and other foreign actors targeting U.S. troops and veterans with online disinformation for nearly two years.
  106. Agencies representing veterans and service members said disinformation could be weaponized to sow social discord in their communities. They said a December 18 letter to Trump on the matter has been ignored.
  107. On Wednesday, the Wisconsin Republican Party blocked Trump’s primary challengers, Bill Weld and Joe Walsh, from appearing on the state’s primary ballot, the tenth state to do so.
  108. On Wednesday, WAPO reported an article appearing on Teen Vogue praising Facebook for fighting misinformation ahead of the 2020 election was suddenly taken down without explanation.
  109. Facebook initially denied to WAPO that it had paid for the post, calling it “purely editorial,” but later in a statement, Facebook said it had “a paid partnership” with Teen Vogue, which included sponsored content.
  110. On Thursday, Facebook defied public outcry to rein in political ads, rolling out rules that will not limit political ad targeting tools or stop false claims in ads, but will rather allow users to control more of what they see.
  111. On Friday, NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio’s administration referred findings from WNYC and ProPublica’s October reporting on the Trump Organization’s property tax filings to the Manhattan district attorney’s office.
  112. On Friday, Politico reported Peter Brimelow, an anti-immigration activist who hosts a website that has published the writings of white supremacists, sued the Times for $5 million for labeling him an “open white nationalist.”
  113. On Tuesday, Pompeo defended the strike, telling reporters that he and other officials “evaluated the relevant risks,” saying Soleimani’s activities “were going to lead potentially to the death of many more Americans.”
  114. Pompeo however did not repeat his assertion that an attack was “imminent,” instead saying, “If you’re looking for imminence, you need look no further than the days that led up to the strike.”
  115. On Tuesday, Iran foreign minister Zarif told “CBS This Morning” that Pompeo informed the U.N. secretary-general, who in turn informed him that the State Department would not grant him a visa for a U.N. visit.
  116. Zarif said the trip would give him a chance to discuss the targeted killing of Soleimani. A U.S. official told APthe application could not be processed in time for his travel, but made it unclear if the application was denied.
  117. Under the 1947 agreement, U.S. authorities “shall not impose any impediments to transit to or from” the U.N. headquarters for representatives of U.N. member nations, with few exceptions.
  118. Later Tuesday, Trump hosted Greece Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis at the White House. Trump said “We have a tremendous Greek population,” adding, “I really feel I know most of them. I think I know all of them.”
  119. Trump also told reporters on Soleimani, “He was a monster. And he’s no longer a monster; he’s dead,” and “he was planning a very big attack and a very bad attack for us and other people, and we stopped it.”
  120. Trump also said “we saved a lot of lives by terminating his life,” adding, “A lot of lives were saved. They were planning something, and you’re going to be hearing about it, or at least various people in Congress are going to.”
  121. Trump said of bombing cultural sites, “If that’s what the law is, I will…obey the law…But think of it: They kill our people, they blow up our people, and then we have to be very gentle with their cultural institutions.”
  122. Trump also claimed only Democrats running against him are against the attack, saying, “I don’t hear too many people other than politicians who are trying to win the presidency, those are the ones that are complaining.”
  123. On Tuesday, NYT reported the Trump campaign sought to capitalize on the Soleimani killing, running nearly 800 distinct Facebook ads, referring to Trump’s “leadership as commander in chief.”
  124. On Tuesday, at 5:30 p.m., Iran fired a series of ballistic missiles at two military bases in Iraq which housed American forces. The attack was Iran’s most direct assault since on the U.S. since the 1979 hostage taking.
  125. Shortly after, Saeed Jalili, former secretary of the Iranian Supreme National Council and nuclear negotiator, tweeted a photo of Iran’s flag, seeming to mock Trump for doing the same after the strike on Soleimani.
  126. Iranian state TV announced the strike was in revenge for the U.S. killing Soleimani, and came as Iran buried him. There was no immediate reports of casualties, but buildings were still being searched.
  127. Iran’s Revolutionary Guard warned the U.S. and its regional allies against retaliating on state TV, saying, “any territory that is the starting point of aggressive acts against Iran will be targeted.”
  128. WAPO reported Defense Secretary Esper, carrying a large dark bag, and Secretary Pompeo were seen entering the White House. Officials sought to portray that the situation was not spiraling out of control.
  129. The White House gave mixed messages, with some staff telling reporters Trump would address the nation in prime time, but later canceled. Press secretary Stephanie Grisham chastised CNN for reporting on the address.
  130. At 9:32 p.m., the Iranian Foreign Minister tweeted, “Iran took & concluded proportionate measures in self-defense under Article 51 of UN Charter,” adding, “We do not seek escalation or war, but will defend ourselves.”
  131. At 9:45 p.m., after five days of tweeting dire threats, Trump tweeted, “All is well,” adding, “Assessment of casualties & damages taking place now. So far, so good!” and, “I will be making a statement tomorrow morning.”
  132. Later Tuesday, longtime NBC foreign affairs correspondent Andrea Mitchell told MSNBC that Trump has “the worse national security team I’ve ever seen,” citing the thinly staffed group and remaining yes men.
  133. WAPO reported more than half of Trump’s key national security advisers started their jobs in the past year. Key positions like director of national intelligence and secretary of DHS are filled by acting directors.
  134. Hours later, a Ukraine Airlines jet suddenly plummeted shortly after taking off from Tehran. Of the 176 on board, there were no survivors. The flight was bound for Kyiv, and was an American airplane, Boeing 737–800.
  135. Ukraine’s Foreign Minister Vadym Prystaiko said passengers included 82 Iranians, 68 Canadians, 11 Ukrainians, 10 from Sweden, four from Afghanistan, three from Germany, and three from Britain.
  136. Iranian authorities said “technical” problems were the cause of the crash. Ukraine’s Embassy in Tehran initially concurred, but later took down their statement, raising questions about the cause of the crash.
  137. On Wednesday, the White House released a photo from the Situation Room on Tuesday night. Of the 14 principals in the room, all were white, and 13 were men (excluding press secretary Grisham).
  138. On Wednesday, Trump addressed the nation in a 10-minute speech just after 11 a.m. at the White House, flanked by Pence, Pompeo, Esper, and other seven other white male military officials.
  139. As Trump came to the podium, he opened with a forceful statement: “As long as I’m president of the United States, Iran will never be allowed to have a nuclear weapon,” but did not offer specifics during his speech.
  140. Trump appeared to seek to de-escalate, saying Tehran “appears to be standing down, which is a good thing for all parties concerned,” adding, “No American or Iraqi lives were lost because of the precautions taken.”
  141. Trump vowed to keep up the pressure on Iran with “punishing” new sanctions, and called Soleimani the “world’s top terrorist,” although he did not provide any information on the supposed imminent threat.
  142. Trump blamed Obama, repeating false claims that “hostilities substantially increased after the foolish Iran nuclear deal was signed in 2013, and they were given $150 billion, not to mention $1.8 billion in cash.”
  143. The $150 billion number is well overestimated and was unfrozen money. The $1.8 billion was money spent by Iran for undelivered U.S. weapons, and was settled in an international court, and the amount was actually $1.7 billion.
  144. Trump mischaracterized, “The missiles fired last night at us and our allies were paid for by the funds made available by the last administration,” and falsely claimed “Iran’s hostilities increased” after the 2015 deal.
  145. Trump also falsely claimed that his regime had destroyed “100 percent of ISIS and its territorial caliphate,” saying, “Tens of thousands of ISIS fighters have been killed or captured during my administration.”
  146. Trump called on world powers, including the U.K., Germany, France, Russia, and China, to “break away from the remnants of” the nuclear deal. The deal was signed in 2015, not 2013 as Trump stated.
  147. After failing to notify allies of the strike, Trump noted, “I am going to ask NATO to become much more involved in the Middle East process,” but did not provide any details on how.
  148. Trump’s speech was notably incoherent, as he struggled with pronunciation and elocution while reading from the Teleprompter. He also sniffled or snorted 58 times, and stuck his tongue out.
  149. Later Wednesday, WAPO reported the White House knew on Tuesday morning an attack was coming from Iran, and by Tuesday afternoon were told by Iraqi officials that Iran intended to strike at U.S. facilities there.
  150. The attack appeared to be a calibrated event intended to cause minimal American casualties but let the U.S. know Iran had capabilities, and give both sides the opportunity to de-escalate.
  151. Later Wednesday, after the House was briefed, Speaker Pelosi announced the House would vote on a measure Thursday to force Trump to cease all military action against Iran unless he gets approval from Congress.
  152. Pelosi said in a statement that members had “serious, urgent concerns” about the Trump regime engaging in hostilities and “lack of strategy moving forward,” which were not addressed by the notification or briefing.
  153. Two Republican Senators, Sens. Rand Paul and Mike Lee, said they would join the House version when it came to the Senate, calling the briefing by Pompeo, Esper, and C.I.A. director Gina Haspel “insulting.”
  154. Lee added the message from the Trump regime is “to run along and be good little boys and girls and not debate” the justification for the strike, adding, “It’s un-American, it’s unconstitutional, and it’s wrong.”
  155. Later Wednesday, Trump ally Doug Collins told Fox Business News that Democrats are “in love with terrorists,” and claiming “they mourn Soleimani more than they mourn our Gold Star families.”
  156. Late Wednesday, the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals lifted a lower court’s order that had blocked the Trump regime from using $3.6 billion of Pentagon money to build sections of his wall along the southern border.
  157. On Thursday, Pence falsely claimed on “TODAY” that the regime could not provide Congress with some of the “most compelling” intelligence on killing Soleimani, claiming it could compromise “sources and methods.”
  158. On Thursday, NYT reported that in the hours leading up to the attack, the White House team was thin, including a handful of seasoned military veterans, but also others who had little foreign policy experience.
  159. On Thursday, WSJ reported Trump’s new national security team was cohesive and less inclined to push back against his wishes than their predecessors. Sen. Graham said the new advisers “understand the president.”
  160. The new security team is also less likely to consult in advance with other members of the regime, Pentagon or State Department officials, congressional leaders, or foreign allies.
  161. Former Defense Secretary James Mattis had challenged Trump at times. Esper and Pompeo, who are West Point classmates, are in lock-step on Iran and do not push back at Trump. Gen. Milley is willing to take more risks than his predecessor.
  162. According to associates, Trump told them after the strike that he was under pressure from GOP Senators, whose support he needs during the impeachment trial, to deal with Soleimani.
  163. On Thursday, Trump then shifted the topic back to impeachment and his record ahead of the election in a series of morning tweets, tweeting, “PRESIDENTIAL HARASSMENT!”
  164. Trump also tweeted of Pelosi, “remember her “speed & rush” in getting the Impeachment Hoax voted on & done. Well, she never sent the Articles to the Senate. Just another Democrat fraud. Presidential Harassment!”
  165. Trump also retweeted a doctored, red-tinted photo of Pelosi originally sent by Rep. Elise Stefanik as a fundraising appeal, saying, “Dems obsessed w/ impeachment but won’t send articles to the Senate. Why?”
  166. Trump also tweeted, “The Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals just reversed a lower court decision & gave us the go ahead to build,” falsely claiming, “Entire Wall is under construction or getting ready to start!”
  167. Trump also bragged about stock market performance, tweeting, “STOCK MARKET AT ALL-TIME HIGH! HOW ARE YOUR 409K’S DOING? 70%, 80%, 90% up? Only 50% up!” then deleted it, and corrected to 401K.
  168. On Thursday, House Armed Services Chairman Adam Smith told CNN it was time for Pelosi to send the articles of impeachment to the Senate, saying, “let Mitch McConnell be responsible for the fairness of the trial.”
  169. Shortly after, in a tweet Smith said he had “misspoke,” saying, “I do believe we should do everything we can to force the Senate to have a fair trial,” saying he supports holding the articles if it will help force a fair trial.
  170. On Thursday, Majority Leader McConnell said the Senate will move forward with the “people’s business” next week if Pelosi does not send over the articles, and urged other Democrats to press her to do so.
  171. McConnell added, “Should future House majorities feel empowered to waste our time with junior varsitypolitical hostage situations?” and “trap our entire country into an unending Groundhog Day of impeachment.”
  172. On Thursday, in her weekly news conference, Pelosi continued to resist transmitting the articles, saying, “We need to see the arena to which we are sending our managers. Is that too much to ask?”
  173.  Pelosi also indicated the articles would probably go to the Senate soon, saying, “I’m not holding them indefinitely,” adding, “I’ll send them over when I’m ready. And that will probably be soon.”
  174. On Thursday, Sen.Hawley announced that McConnell backed his resolution to change the Senate rules to dismiss the impeachment if the House does not turn over articles. Ten other Republicans signed on as well.
  175. On Thursday, a USA Today/Ipsos poll found by 52%-34%, Americans called Trump’s behavior with Iran “reckless,” and 55%-24% believe the attack that killed Soleimani made Americans less safe.
  176. Nearly a third of Republicans said the attack had made the nation less safe. The poll also found by 52%-8%, Americans said the attack made it more likely that Iran would develop nuclear weapons.
  177. On Thursday, asked by reporters about Sen. Lee’s criticism of the Iran briefing, Trump said, “Other people have said it was the best presentation they’ve ever seen,” saying the military “didn’t want to give” all the information.
  178. Trump added, “We caught a total monster. We took them out. And that should have happened a long time ago,” adding, “We did it because they were looking to blow up our embassy” — the first mention of an embassy.
  179. Trump also told reporters he did not believe the plane crash in Iran was caused by mechanical failure, saying, “It was flying in a pretty rough neighborhood and somebody could have made a mistake.”
  180. On Thursday, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau told reporters, “We have intelligence from multiple sources, including our allies and our own” indicating “the plane was shot down by an Iranian surface-to-air missile.”
  181. Trudeau added, “This may well have been unintentional,” and said the new information reinforces the need “for a thorough investigation into this matter.”
  182. On Thursday, Iran denied its military was responsible. A government spokesman called it “a big lie,” blaming accusations on “psychological warfare” and adding the U.S. “is making the pain of the families worse.”
  183. Later Thursday, in a rebuke to Trump, the House voted 224-194 to approve a war powers resolution to restrict him on Iran, with eight Democrats voting against it, and three Republicans voting for.
  184. Earlier Thursday, Trump tweeted, “Hope that all House Republicans will vote against Crazy Nancy Pelosi’s War Powers Resolution.” The three Republicans voting for the resolution were Reps. Matt Gaetz, Thomas Massie, and Francis Rooney.
  185. The resolution directs Trump “to terminate the use of United States Armed Forces to engage in hostilities in or against Iran or any part of its government or military” unless Congress has given authorization.
  186. On Friday, WAPO reported Trump, and other Republicans in Congress, were furious with Trump ally Gaetz, who not only voted for the resolution, but also pushed other House Republicans to do the same.
  187. Gaetz’s legislative director emailed Republicans at 11 a.m.: “Reclaiming Congressional power is the Constitutional conservative position!” adding, “voting in favor of H. Con. Res. 83, and hope you will do the same!”
  188. A senior White House official said Gaetz’s move caught Trump by surprise, and called it “super uncool” and “quite unwise,” adding White House officials would not be returning Gaetz’s phone calls or text messages.
  189. On Thursday, Sen. Tammy Duckworth, an Iraq War veteran, slammed Rep. Collins for saying Democrats love terrorists, telling CNN, “I left parts of my body in Iraq fighting terrorists. I don’t need to justify myself to anyone.”
  190. On Friday, Rep. Collins apologized, tweeting, “Let me be clear: I do not believe Democrats are in love with terrorists, and I apologize for what I said earlier this week.”
  191. On Thursday, Trump held his first 2020 campaign rally in Toledo, Ohio. Standing in front of a giant American flag, Trump bragged about killing Soleimani, calling him “the world’s top terrorist” and a “bad guy.”
  192. Trump also said of Soleimani, “He was a bloodthirsty terror and he’s no longer a terror,” adding, “the radical left Democrats have expressed outrage,” but “they should be outraged by Soleimani’s savage crimes.”
  193. Trump said, “that was going to be another Benghazi. Had they broken through the final panels of glass, they were breaking it, breaking it,” adding Soleimani was “actively planning new attacks.”
  194. Trump also said, “Soleimani was actively planning new attacks, and he was looking very seriously at our embassies,” and not just Baghdad, adding, “But we stopped him, and we stopped him quickly, and we stopped him cold.”
  195. Trump said Pelosi is “not operating with a full deck,” after which some in the crowd responded with cheers of “Lock her up!” Trump called Chair Adam Schiff “You little pencil neck,” and said he would probably leak to the press.
  196. Trump also said Democrats are “stone-cold crazy,” and “they want crime, they want chaos,” adding, “Gee, now I sort of understand why they hate me, right?…But it’s true. It’s true. Their policies are a disaster.”
  197. Trump spoke on immigration, saying, “Innocent Americans are being brutalized and murdered by illegal alien criminals,” mentioning a supposed crime and rape spree in Ohio, and calling them “animals.”
  198. Trump also claimed he played a role in the Nobel Peace Prize going to the Ethiopian prime minister, saying, “I made a deal, I saved a country,” and on the prize, “Did I have something to do with it? Yeah.”
  199. Earlier in the day, Trump took credit for a report showing the largest one-year decline in cancer rates, tweeting, “U.S. Cancer Death Rate Lowest In Recorded History! A lot of good news coming out of this Administration.”
  200. On Thursday, Pompeo told Fox News host Laura Ingraham, “there were a series of imminent attacks” being plotted by Soleimani, adding, “we don’t know precisely when and we don’t know precisely where, but it was real.”
  201. On Friday, at a White House press briefing, Pompeo told reporters, “We had specific information on an imminent threat, and those threats from him included attacks on U.S. embassies. Period. Full stop.”
  202. Pompeo’s statement was different from what he told Ingraham the night prior. When pressed, he said, “I don’t know exactly which minute. We don’t know exactly which day it would have been executed.”
  203. Pompeo added, “Soleimani himself was plotting a broad, large-scale attack against American interests, and those attacks were imminent,” including “embassies, military bases [and] American facilities” in the region.
  204. When asked why he and Trump mentioned embassies but Congress did not hear about that in a classified setting, Pompeo contradicted lawmakers, saying, “We did,” adding, “We told them about the imminent threat.”
  205. Several Democratic senators and representatives, including ranking member Sen. Menendez and Chair Smith, said they were not informed about a possible plot to blow up U.S. embassies.
  206. Shortly after, dictionary Merriam Webster tweeted, “We define ‘imminent’ as “ready to take place; happening soon.”” Other words of the week included ‘assassination,’ ‘mourn,’ and ‘de-escalate.’
  207. Later Friday, in an interview with Fox News host Laura Ingraham, excerpts of which were released Friday afternoon, Trump said of the Soleimani threat, “I believe it probably would’ve been four embassies.”
  208. WAPO reported the State Department did not respond to questions whether alerts were conveyed to four embassies. The CIA and the Office of the Director of National Intelligence also declined to comment.
  209. Senior regime officials say Trump is obsessed with not letting a Benghazi-like attack to happen while in office. An official said the embassy in Baghdad did not receive a threat commensurate to what Trump described.
  210. On Friday, Pelosi said in a letter the House will vote next week to send to the articles to the Senate. She noted “more than 70 percent of the public stating that the President should allow his top aides to testify.”
  211. Pelosi also attacked McConnell’s behavior, saying he “has been engaged in tactics of delay in presenting transparency, disregard for the American people’s interest for a fair trial and dismissal of the facts.”
  212. On Friday, Sen. Susan Collins told the Bangor Daily News that she is working with a “fairly small group” of fellow Republicans to ensure witnesses will be called in the Senate impeachment trial.
  213. On Friday, WAPO reported that on the day of the strike against Soleimani, the Trump regime also targeted Abdul Reza Shahlai, a financier and key commander in Iran’s elite Quds Force in Yemen, but that strike failed.
  214. The unsuccessful operation indicated that Soleimani’s death may have been part of a broader operation to weaken the leadership of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard, not what has been communicated by Trump.
  215. On Friday, the Navy said a Russian navy ship had “aggressively approached” U.S. destroyer USS Farragut, while it was conducting routine operations in the North Arabian Sea on Thursday.
  216. The U.S. ship fired five warning blasts before the Russian ship ultimately changed its course, after initially refusing. A similar incident happened in June, when U.S. and Russian ships nearly collided in the Pacific.
  217. On Friday, police in Palm Beach arrested an Iranian man who was carrying $22,000 in cash and weapons, including a machete, pickax, and two knives near Mar-a-Lago, after receiving a call about a suspicious person.
  218. Later Friday, in his Fox News interview with Ingraham, Trump weighed in on Prince Harry and Meghan, Duchess of Sussex, saying they would step back from royal duties, saying, “I think it’s sad.”
  219. Trump has called the Duchess, who is a black woman, “nasty,” and praised Queen Elizabeth II, saying, “She’s a great woman. She’s never made a mistake, if you look. She’s had like a flawless time.”
  220. Trump said of Bolton testifying, “You can’t be in the White House as president, future, I’m talking about future — any future presidents — and have a security adviser, anybody having to do with security, and legal…”
  221. After first saying he had “no problem” with Bolton testifying, when Ingraham asked if he would invoke executive privilege, Trump changed his position, “Well I think you have to for the sake of the office.”
  222. Trump said of Pelosi, “She is obsessed with impeachment, she has done nothing,” adding, “She is going to go down as one of the worst Speakers in the history of our country,” and “And she’s become a crazed lunatic.”
  223. Trump also falsely claimed, “My numbers are the highest they’ve ever been,” saying, “People love that we took out this horrible terrorist,” and adding, “a lot of it is because of the impeachment hoax.”
  224. Trump also claimed he left troops in Syria to take the oil, a war crime, saying, “And then they say he left troops in Syria. You know what I did? I left troops to take the oil. I took the oil.”
  225. When Ingraham asked to clarify and correct Trump’s statement, asking, “Not taking the oil, they’re not taking the oil,” he responded, “Well, maybe we will. Maybe we won’t,” and, “we’re protecting the oil. We have the oil.”
  226. Trump also said Saudi Arabia was paying for U.S. troops, saying ,“I said, listen, you’re a very rich country. You want more troops?” adding, “They’re paying us. They’ve already deposited $1B in the bank.”
  227. On Friday, WSJ reported that Trump allies are exploring a buyout of news channel One America News Network in an effort to shake up the conservative media market, which is dominated by Fox News.
  228. Investment firm Hicks Equity Partners, owned by the family of Thomas Hicks Jr., co-chair of the RNC and a close friend of Donald Jr., is pitching GOP wealthy donors to be part of a roughly $250 million deal.
  229. Later Friday, Iran admitted it shot down the Ukrainian airliner, saying the the shot was “unintentional” and blaming “human error,” after denying it for four days.
  230. Rouhani tweeted, “The Islamic Republic of Iran deeply regrets this disastrous mistake,” and “My thoughts and prayers go to all the mourning families.” Iranian protestors called for him to step down.
  231. Pompeo tweeted a video of the protests, adding, “The voice of the Iranian people is clear. They are fed up with the regime’s lies, corruption, ineptitude and brutality” of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps.
  232. On Saturday, in a filing to the FISA court made public on Saturday, the FBI apologized for the way it conducted surveillance of a former Trump campaign adviser during the 2016 election.
  233. FBI director Christopher Wray outlined steps taken by the bureau to ensure it does not happen again, saying, “The FBI has the utmost respect for this Court and deeply regrets the errors and omissions identified.”
  234. On Saturday, Trump tweeted to Wray, “Chris, what about all of the lives that were ruined because of the so-called “errors?” Are these “dirty cops” going to pay a big price for the fraud they committed?”
  235. Trump also tweeted, “Where have the Radical Left, Do Nothing Democrats gone when they have spent the last 3 days defending the life of Qassem Soleimani,” adding, “He was also looking to do big future damage!”
  236. Trump also tweeted, “New polling shows that the totally partisan Impeachment Hoax is going nowhere,” without citing a poll, and claiming, “A vast majority want the Do Nothing Democrats to move on.”
  237. Trump also tweeted, “95% Approval Rating in the Republican Party, a record. 53% Approval Rating overall (can we add 7 to 10 percent because of the Trump “thing?”).” There are no polls showing this to be true.
  238. Trump also tweeted, “Nancy Pelosi will go down as the absolute worst Speaker of the House in U.S. history!” This was the third time in two days that Trump has made this claim.
  239. Trump also tweeted, “Now the Radical Left, Do Nothing Democrats, are asking @senatemajldr Mitch McConnell to do the job that they were unable to do,” adding, “They proved NOTHING but my total innocence.”
  240. On Friday, WAPO reported Iraq’s caretaker PM Adel Abdul Mahdi asked Pompeo in a call on Thursday to begin talks about a “mechanism” for U.S. troops to withdraw after the vote by their parliament.
  241. In response, Pompeo said in a defiant statement, “At this time, any delegation sent to Iraq would be dedicatedto discussing how best to recommit to our strategic partnership — not to discuss troop withdrawal.”
  242. On Saturday, WSJ reported the Trump regime warned Iraq that it could shut down Iraq’s access to the country’s central bank account held at the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, if U.S. troops are told to leave.
  243. Iraq maintains government accounts at the New York Fed as a way to manage the country’s finances, including from oil sales. Cutting off access to these funds could jolt Iraq’s already shaky economy.

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Trump addresses the nation from the White House on the ballistic missile strike that Iran launched against Iraqi air bases housing U.S. troops, Wednesday, Jan. 8, 2020, in Washington, as Vice President Mike Pence, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and military leaders, looks on.

POLITIKS OF GRAFFITI 164: “MORAL UNFITNESS”

DECEMBER 28, 2019

Week 163

Experts in authoritarianism advise to keep a list of things
subtly changing around you, so you’ll remember. https://theweeklylist.org/weekly-list/week-163/
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artist: Jim Carrey, 22dec19

This was the quietest week in months as Congress left Washington for a two-week holiday break. After House Speaker Nancy Pelosi refused to transmit articles of impeachment to the Senate, Trump spent the week stewing and repeatedly attacking her on Twitter and in his limited public appearances. Sen. Lisa Murkowski became the first Republican Senator to speak out against Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s handling of the impeachment trial, saying she was “disturbed” by his “total coordination” with the White House.

Trump spent the week at Mar-a-Lago, removed from White House staffers and consumed with airing his personal grievances and amplifying far-right conspiracy theorists. He and his allies attacked Canadian Broadcasting Corporation for cutting out his cameo appearance in a Christmas showing of “Home Alone 2.” Trump also spent much of his days quoting hosts and guests on Fox News, and retweeting allies and conspiracy theorists.

This week the media did a bit of reckoning on its coverage of Trump, after Rolling Stone published an interview of “Meet the Press” host Chuck Todd, in which he admitted he has been “naive” in his coverage and complicit in the spread of disinformation. Evangelical leaders continued their online battle over whether Trump’s moral unfitness was grounds for his removal.

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  1. On Sunday, Christianity Today editor-in-chief Mark Galli told “Face the Nation” on his op-ed, “I’m not really making a political judgment about him…I am making a moral judgment that he’s morally unfit.”
  2. On Sunday, Timothy Dalrymple, the president and CEO of Christianity Today, acknowledged the “whirlwind” of responses for and against their op-ed, and said, “Trump would have you believe we are “far left”” which is “untrue.”
  3. Dalrymple said, “Out of love for Jesus and his church…is why we feel compelled to say that the alliance of American evangelicalism with this presidency has wrought enormous damage to Christian witness.”
  4. Dalrymple added Trump has “alienated many of our children and grandchildren,” “harmed African American, Hispanic American, and Asian American brothers and sisters,” and undercut our countless missionaries.
  5. On Sunday, an op-ed in The Christian Post called for Trump to be impeached, saying, “the Constitution is more important than abortion,” and citing “Trump’s behavior is a threat to our Constitutional order.”
  6. CP also reported nearly 200 evangelical leaders came out against the Christianity Today op-ed in a statement, saying it supported “the entirely-partisan, legally-dubious, and politically-motivated impeachment.”
  7. The statement threatened it is up to “Evangelicals like us to decide if we should subscribe to, advertise in and read your publication online and in print, but historically, we have been your readers.”
  8. On Monday, CT said it lost 2,000 subscribers, but gained 5,000 younger, more diverse, global subscribers. Christian leaders who have spoken out have lost book sales, conference attendees, donors, and members.
  9. On Monday, editor Napp Nazworth, who has worked for the CP website since 2011, resigned because the website was planning to publish a pro-Trump editorial slamming CT.
  10. On Tuesday, other evangelical leaders published a letter in support of CT, saying, “Although one may not agree with Mark Galli, we have an obligation to consider the character and actions of this president.”
  11. On Sunday, in a letter published at The Atlantic, former Congressman David Trott said, “Trump is psychologically, morally, intellectually, and emotionally unfit for office,” and called his actions in office “frightening.”
  12. On Tuesday, in an interview with Rolling Stone, “Meet the Press” host Chuck Todd said in three years of Trump he learned “the right has an incentive structure” to spread disinformation and confront journalists.
  13. Todd said he did not understand the motivations of GOP lawmakers telling lies “that they may know will look ridiculous in three or four years,” citing three senators who claimed Ukraine interfered in 2016 on his show.
  14. Todd said Trump “learned at the feet of a master of deception in Roy Cohn,” who learned from Joe McCarthy, and “we’re going to have another reckoning when this post-Trump era truly works itself out of our system.”
  15. On Thursday, First Draft’s “Year in Review” noted, “the biggest threat is failing to address the reality of online alternative media ecosystems,” which are driving much of the disinformation, understood by few.
  16. On Saturday, WAPO reported after three years in office, 1 in 4 U.S. circuit court judges are Trump nominees. Last week the Senate confirmed an additional 13 district court judges, for 50 overall.
  17. By contrast, Obama appointed 55 circuit judges in eight years. Also, two Supreme Court justices were appointed by Trump. Overall 187 judges were confirmed to the federal bench as the Senate speeds through picks.
  18. On Saturday, Trump aired his grievances in an evening speech to conservative college students at the Turning Point USA conference. Trump said of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, “Crazy Nancy, she’s crazy.”
  19. Trump added, “So now she says she has no case, so let’s not submit it. That’s good right? But you know what, so unfair. She has no case,” adding, “there’s no crime. There’s no nothing. How do you impeach?”
  20. Trump also praised Rep. Tulsi Gabbard for voting “present” on articles of impeachment, saying, “I give her respect. She didn’t vote the other day. I give her a lot of respect. She knew it was wrong.”
  21. Trump also mocked the Green New Deal, and attacked windmills, saying, “it is very expensive, and “they are made in China and Germany mostly,” and “tremendous fumes and gases are spewing into the atmosphere.”
  22. Trump also claimed “a windmill will kill many bald eagles,” adding, “they make you turn it off. And yet, if you killed one, they put you in jail. That is OK. But why is it OK for windmills to destroy the bird population?”
  23. On Sunday, an Instagram photo showed controversial Navy SEAL Eddie Gallagher presenting a “little gift” to Trump at Mar-a-Lago. Gallagher was convicted of being photographed with a 17 year-old captive’s corpse.
  24. On Sunday, Sen. Ron Johnson repeated a conspiracy theory on “This Week,” claiming, “There are serious questions about some actors in the DNC” working with Ukraine, and “I’m trying to get to the bottom of that.”
  25. Johnson also criticized Pelosi for withholding articles, calling the decision “bizarre,” adding, “they had to rush to this impeachment vote and then all of a sudden she’s sitting on it,” and calling the articles “pretty thin gruel.”
  26. On Sunday, Sen. Roy Blunt told “State of the Union” Pelosi does not have the right to hold the articles, adding, “it’s a very political process. Five of the so-called jurors, running for president.”
  27. On Sunday, House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy falsely stated on “Fox News,” based on the Justice Department IG report, the FBI “broke into” candidate Trump’s campaign, they “spied on him,” and “covered it up.”
  28. McCarthy also tweeted the falsehood on Sunday: “The FBI broke into President Trump’s campaign, spied on him, then tried to cover it up,” adding, “This is a modern-day Watergate.”
  29. On Sunday, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer spoke at a news conference, citing emails released to the Center for Public Integrity: “What is a trial with no witnesses and no documents?” calling it a “sham trial.”
  30. Schumer added, “If there was ever an argument that we need Mr. Duffey to come testify, this is that information,” adding, “This email is explosive,” citing Michael Duffey’s email on July 25 putting aid on hold.
  31. On Sunday, Trump tweeted, “Crazy Nancy wants to dictate terms on the Impeachment Hoax to the Republican Majority Senate, but striped [sic] away all Due Process,” adding, “Their case is dead.”
  32. Later, Trump tweeted, “The Democrats and Crooked Hillary paid for & provided a Fake Dossier,” falsely claiming, “They spied on my campaign, then tried to cover it up — Just Like Watergate, but bigger!”
  33. On Monday, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell told “Fox & Friends” that “We haven’t ruled out witnesses,” adding, “let’s handle this case just like we did with President Clinton. Fair is fair.”
  34. On Monday, Schumer sent a letter to Senators arguing for the White House to produce documents related to withholding aid from Ukraine, saying, “I believe it is essential that the Senate hear from certain witnesses.”
  35. Citing Duffey’s email putting aid on hold sent 91 minutes after Trump’s July 25 phone call, Schumer said there is “no good reason why evidence that is directly relevant” to articles should be withheld.
  36. Schumer also rejected McConnell’s comparison to the trial of Clinton, who was impeached after a lengthy independent counsel investigation, saying waiting until after presentations to decide on witnesses would be too late.
  37. On Monday, Pelosi tweeted Trump “blocked his own witnesses and documents” over “phony complaintsabout the House process,” adding, “What is his excuse now?”
  38. On Monday, Sen. Lindsey Graham tweeted that Pelosi should “stop playing games with the Constitution,” adding, “The Senate will decide how we dispose of this sham created by the House.”
  39. On Monday, in an op-ed Sen. Patrick Leahy criticized McConnell for “vowing a quick acquittal,” saying, “he is ‘not an impartial juror’” and pledging “no difference” between Trump and our position.
  40. Leahy also cited Graham “admitted that he’s ‘not trying to pretend to be a fair juror here,’” saying, “our job is to follow the facts and abide by the Constitution,” and “it’s not to rig the trial” in favor of or against Trump.
  41. On Monday, The Hill reported those who know Trump well say he is feeling the scars of being impeached deeply. Many who know him say that despite his bluster, Trump is acutely insecure.
  42. Unlike his tendency to deny past failures, former staffer Omarosa Manigault Newman said, “Impeachment effectively undermines his desire to be significant, because he now has that asterisk tattooed to his head.”
  43. On Monday, the Justice Department filed a brief saying the House’s vote to impeach Trump last week undercut lawmakers’ ongoing court case demanding testimony from former White House counsel Don McGahn.
  44. The DOJ also argued the looming Senate impeachment trial on articles unrelated to McGahn could make it appear the Court is weighing in on impeachment “at a time when political tensions are at their highest levels.”
  45. On Monday, lawyers for the House Judiciary Committee said in a filing the panel is open to additional articles of impeachment if additional evidence is found that Trump tried to obstruct justice.
  46. The House also argued, “McGahn’s testimony is critical both to a Senate trial and to the Committee’s ongoing impeachment investigations” to determine if Trump’s conducts warrants further action by the panel.
  47. On Monday, journalist Tom Brokaw said there were “significant differences” between Trump and Richard Nixon, saying, “Nixon was always aware of being presidential,” and “Trump plays from the gutter frankly.”
  48. On Tuesday, Trump tweeted a series of quotes from “Fox & Friends.” Trump quoted analyst Brit Hume, saying Pelosi and Schumer are in doubt, and “the evidence they’ve brought forth so far not being good enough.”
  49. Trump quoted co-host Brian Kilmeade, saying, “it should be intolerable, because the American people have had it with this,” with Trump adding, “the Radical Left, Do Nothing Democrats have gone CRAZY.”
  50. Trump also quoted the show, tweeting, “Christmas week at All-Time Record Highs,” and pushed McConnell’s new book, “The Long Game,” tweeting, “187 new Federal Judges have been confirmed” under Trump.
  51. On Tuesday, the day of Christmas Eve, Trump addressed the troops in a video conference, saying, “I’m at a place called Mar-a-Lago. We call it the ‘southern White House’ because I really pretty much work.”
  52. Trump also addressed his cameo appearance in the movie “Home Alone 2,” saying, “it was an honor to do it,” adding, “it turned out to be a very big hit, obviously. It’s a big Christmas hit — one of the biggest.”
  53. After, Trump vented to reporters on impeachment and Democrats. Trump said, “It’s up to Mitch McConnell, and we have the majority,” adding, “he’s going to do what he wants to do,” and, “they treated us very unfairly.”
  54. Trump slammed Democrats, saying Pelosi “hates all of the people who voted for me and the Republican Party,” and House Intelligence Committee Chair Adam Schiff ran the impeachment probe as “a sick, corrupt politician.”
  55. Trump also railed against FBI agents investigating Russia interference in the 2016 election, calling them“dirty people,” “bad people,” and “evil people,” adding, “We have no place in our country for people like that.”
  56. When asked if he would pardon Roger Stone, Trump said he had not thought about it, but added, “He got hit very hard…as did General Flynn and a lot of other people. And now they are finding out it was all a hoax.”
  57. Trump also falsely claimed he barely knew Stone, saying, “Stone was not involved in my campaign in any way. Other than the very, very beginning.” Stone was in direct contact with senior Trump officials throughout.
  58. Trump added, “We had dirty cops; we had people spying on my campaign,” repeating a debunked conspiracy theory, saying, “They did terrible things, the likes of which had never been done before in our country.”
  59. Later Tuesday, viewers in Canada noted on social media that Trump’s cameo appearance in “Home Alone 2” had been cut from the broadcast of the movie on Canadian Broadcasting Corporation.
  60. On Tuesday, Rep. Paul Gosar tweeted a video of a studio light almost falling on Hillary and Bill Clinton decades ago, with the message, “Remember the reason for the season! #MerryChristmas”
  61. On Monday, AP reported when Lev Parnas and Igor Fruman met with Andrew Favorov, the No. 2 at Naftogaz, in March at a conference in Houston, they sought the removal of his boss and ambassador Marie Yovanovitch.
  62. The two informed him that Trump would soon be moving Yovanovitch, who was a key backer of anti-corruption efforts at Naftogaz, and asked his help in removing CEO Andriy Kobolyev, who was also anti-corruption.
  63. Favarov, who was stunned by their proposal, politely left the meeting with no intention of helping. In the weeks that followed, he was bombarded by Fruman with texts on WhatsApp.
  64. In April, after Volodymyr Zelensky won as president, Favarov and Kobolyev came to Washington and met with Fiona Hill, and then, along with Parnas and Fruman, they met an aide to Energy Sec. Rick Perry.
  65. Perry would later put forward names of allies for the Naftogaz supervisory board, and his allies won a big contract to export U.S. natural gas exports to Eastern Europe, another goal mentioned by Fruman and Parnas.
  66. On Monday, in an interview with New York Magazine “over Bloody Marys,” Rudy Giuliani claimed he was “more a Jew” than Holocaust survivor George Soros, a frequent target of right-wing attacks.
  67. Giuliani added, “Don’t tell me I’m anti-Semitic if I oppose him,” adding, “Soros is hardly a Jew,” and, “He doesn’t belong to a synagogue, he doesn’t support Israel, he’s an enemy of Israel,” and is a “horrible human being.”
  68. Giuliani added of Soros, “He’s elected eight anarchist D.A.’s” and claiming without evidence, “he put all four ambassadors there” — the four who testified in the impeachment probe — and “he’s employing the FBI agents.”
  69. Giuliani’s comments were criticized by Jewish organizations for leaning on old anti-Semitic tropes that powerful Jews secretly pull the strings for world events, and endorsing antisemitic conspiracy theories.
  70. Giuliani called the Southern District of New York the biggest betrayal, saying, “If they’re investigating me, they’re assholes,” and “they’re idiots. Then they really are a Trump-deranged bunch of silly New York liberals.”
  71. On Monday, NYT reported John Durham’s decision to go public after the DOJ IG report was released with a statement surprised people who have worked with him, saying it was out of character in an open case.
  72. Some former co-workers said Durham has placed his reputation for impartiality on the line by taking the assignment. In past high profile cases he was known not to allow leaks or bend to pressure from DOJ higher-ups.
  73. On Thursday, Edward MacMahon, a lawyer for Lev Parnas, asked to withdraw, saying Parnas’ “apparent ability to fund his defense has diminished.” Lawyer Joseph Bondy will continue to represent Parnas.
  74. On Monday, Saudi Arabia sentenced five low-level men to death for the murder of Jamal Khashoggi, reflecting the Saudi argument the killing was not ordered by the royal court, but was a decision of agents on the ground.
  75. A U.N. investigator said the kingdom’s actions amount to obstruction of justice, as the trial was done in secret. Neither Saudi Crown Prince MBS or his top aides who allegedly ordered the killing will face any consequences.
  76. On Monday, Daily Beast reported a document sent from the State Department to lawmakers argued against a bipartisan Senate bill to punish Turkey for buying Russian weapons, saying it would bring the countries closer.
  77. The “Countering America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act” passed after Russia interfered in the 2016 election, mandating sanctions for new purchases of Russia weapons, but the Trump regime has not acted.
  78. The State Department also argued against provisions in the bill that would give Kurds fighters access to Special Immigrant Visas, and against sanctions against Halkbank, a Turkish bank involved in money-laundering.
  79. On Thursday, a federal judge rejected a request by Turkey’s state-owned Halkbank to halt criminal proceedings against the bank for helping Iran evade U.S. economic sanctions.
  80. On Monday, WAPO reported concerns about election security in Georgia persist as new voting machines are rolled out for 2020. Experts warned the new machines are vulnerable to potential intrusions or malfunctions.
  81. On Monday, Jim Martin, a small-business operator and Independent, filed a lawsuit objecting to state party chairs determining who appears on the Minnesota primary ballot. Trump will be the only GOP candidate.
  82. Martin wrote, “By stripping us of our ability to govern ourselves….we Minnesotans are driven downwards into the disparaging pits of authoritarianism,” adding, “I find this to be shocking.”
  83. On Tuesday, Popular Science reported the Trump regime has taken down Toxmap, a free, interactive online application which provided detailed information on pollution data from the internet.
  84. Toxmap, which combined pollution data from at least a dozen U.S. government sources, allowed researchers, students, and activists to identify sources of toxic chemicals and pollution.
  85. On Wednesday, Steven Jorge, 28, was charged with a hate crime after he punched and kicked a 65 year-old Jewish man in Midtown NYC around midday, and yelled “F*** you, Jew.”
  86. On Friday, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio said the city is increasing its police presence in some Brooklyn neighborhoods with large Jewish populations, following eight recent incidents of anti-Semitism.
  87. The incidents are being investigated as possible hate crimes. The mayor also tweeted, “there will be increased visits to houses of worship and other critical areas in the community.”
  88. On Thursday, Reuters reported on a caravan of 1,500 families of Mexican migrants and Americans of Mexican origin, all with U.S. legal status, heading south to Mexico to leave the U.S.
  89. One member of the caravan, Jesus Mendoza, 35, a painter, is returning to Mexico for the first time since 2001, saying of the U.S., “There’s a lot of extortion, corruption, many people have been attacked.”
  90. On Friday, a local Fox station reported Immigration and Customs Enforcement has begun asking immigration courts to deport young adults who have remained in the U.S. under DACA.
  91. The Supreme Court has yet to rule on the DACA program. If the court rules in favor of the Trump regime, ICE is expected to actively work to deport Dreamers.
  92. On Friday, HuffPost reported Trump’s Interior Department removed “sexual orientation” from the agency’s ethics guide on workplace discrimination, leaving “race, color, religion, sex, age, or handicap.”
  93. Documents obtained through a FOIA request show then-Deputy Secretary of the Interior David Bernhardt made the change in an August 2017 letter, claiming it was a clarification, and sexual orientation came under “sex.”
  94. On Friday, a federal judge denied an effort to restore 98,000 Georgia voters who were removed from the voter roll earlier this month because they had not voted in eight years, citing the state’s “use it or lose it” law.
  95. On Tuesday, a new HuffPost-YouGov poll found 47% of voters think Trump should be removed from office, 42% disagree. On impeachment, 49% approve, 42% disagree.
  96. On Tuesday, the Trump re-election campaign launched a website encouraging supporters to confront their “snowflake” relatives over the holidays, and providing talking points on 12 hot-button issues.
  97. On Tuesday, Politico reported Trump promoted Robert Blair, a top aide to acting White House chief of staff Mick Mulvaney who refused to testify after being subpoenaed by the House in the impeachment probe.
  98. Blair will serve as the special representative for international telecommunications policy. Chair Schiff had said some evidence showed Blair “was a percipient witness to the President’s misconduct.”
  99. On Tuesday, Sen. Lisa Murkowski told an Anchorage TV station she was “disturbed” to hear McConnell say there would be “total coordination” between the White House and the Senate over the impeachment trial.
  100. Murkowski became the first GOP Senator to speak out, noting what McConnell said “has further confused the process,” and added, “To me, it means we have to take that step back from being hand in glove with the defense.”
  101. Murkowski said Pelosi rushed the process, saying the House should have gone through the courts to hear witnesses, but “How we will deal with witnesses remains to be seen,” adding she wants a “full and fair process.”
  102. On Wednesday, hours after his Christmas message calling for “understanding and respect” and unity, Trump attacked Pelosi, calling her “Crazy Nancy Pelosi.”
  103. Trump added,“just because she has a slight majority,” Pelosi should not be able to impeach him, saying there were “ZERO Republican votes,” “no crime,” and his July 25 call was “perfect, with “no pressure.””
  104. Trump added the “Scam Impeachment” was “very unfair with no Due Process, proper representation, or witnesses” — notably Trump chose not to participate in the House hearings.
  105. Trump attacked California Gov. Gavin Newsom, tweeting he has “done a really bad job on taking care of the homeless population,” and threatening, “If he can’t fix the problem, the Federal Govt. will get involved!”
  106. On Wednesday, WAPO reported on the climate of mistrust and threats under Trump. The regime is on its third Russia adviser in six months, and they have no background. Kyiv is about to lose its second ambassador.
  107. The only expert on Ukraine remaining has never spoken to Trump. The CIA agent who was the whistleblower is driven to and from work by armed security officers when threats spike because of Trump’s tweets.
  108. Starting in 2017, Steve Bannon had compiled an enemy list of 50 people they wanted exiled from the National Security Council, most who worked as civil servants in the Obama administration, for fear of the “deep state.”
  109. Career staffers like Fiona Hill and Stephanie Holmes were repeatedly threatened over smears spread on the far-right, as well as internal and external efforts to discredit them. Several resurfaced for impeachment.
  110. Republicans, who for decades cast themselves as the champion of the FBI, CIA, Pentagon, and other national security institutions, have turned on those agencies and perceived enemies in order to protect Trump.
  111. Three years in, the enemies list has expanded to include people hired by Trump. The notion that nonpartisan civil servants can serve presidents of either party, a bedrock of foreign policy since World War II, is under attack.
  112. On Thursday, Trump continued his Twitter storm, tweeting, “Nancy Pelosi’s District in California has rapidly become one of the worst anywhere,” citing the “homeless & crime,” saying, “she has lost total control.”
  113. Trump also attacked “her equally incompetent governor, Gavin Newsom,” later adding, “Crazy Nancy should clean up her filthy dirty District & help the homeless there. A primary for N?”
  114. Trump also tweeted, “The Radical Left, Do Nothing Democrats” want to “RUSH everything,” citing he is “‘a threat to National Security’,” adding, “they are vicious,” and now “they want to go very slowly. Liars!”
  115. Later Thursday, Trump retweeted a post by the re-election campaign’s official “war room” account that quoted an article in the Washington Examiner naming the alleged whistleblower.
  116. Daily Beast reported Trump has spoken to various friends, media figures, and senior officials about going public with the whistleblower’s name. Ivanka and White House counsel Pat Cipollone cautioned him against it.
  117. On Thursday, an op-ed in the Courier Journal, McConnell’s home state paper, said he was about to violate two oaths to the Constitution, saying, “All senators should take their obligation of faithful impartiality seriously.”
  118. The op-ed by a law professor added, “We Kentuckians know that our word is our bond. Oaths are the most solemn of promises, and their breach results in serious reputational — and sometimes legal — consequences.”
  119. On Thursday, Sen. Richard Blumenthal said at a news conference that five to 10 GOP senators have “severe misgivings” about McConnell’s strategy of “denying a full, fair proceeding with witnesses and documents.”
  120. On Thursday, an MSN tracking poll found support for Trump’s removal from office hit an all-time high: 55% said Trump should be removed, up from 48% last week, while 40% say he should not.
  121. On Thursday, WAPO reported Washington Capitals’ Alex Ovechkin and his wife spent Christmas Eve at Trump’s personal holiday dinner at Mar-a-Lago, after they first met in March when the team won the Stanley Cup.
  122. Ovechkin is a close friend of Putin, and in 2017 he founded an online political campaign for Putin, “Putin Team.” When Trump met Putin in Helsinki in July 2018, he presented him with an Ovechkin shirt.
  123. On Thursday, Donald Jr. tweeted an article about Trump’s cameo being cut in the Christmas broadcast of “Home Alone 2” on CBC, calling it “pathetic.”
  124. On Thursday “Fox & Friends” co-host Ed Henry also commented, saying of CBC, “How bad is your Trump Derangement Syndrome for you to cut that out of a happy movie?”
  125. On Thursday, CBC responded in a tweet, saying, “These edits were done in 2014 when we first acquired the film and before Mr. Trump was elected president,” in order to allow for commercials.
  126. Later Thursday, Trump reacted in a series of tweets. Trump tweeted, “I guess Justin T doesn’t much like my making him pay up on NATO or Trade!” to a Fox article about his cut cameo.
  127. Trump also tweeted, “The movie will never be the same! (just kidding),” quoting another article, and retweeted an article in which Fox News contributor Katie Pavlich called it “censorship” on “Fox & Friends.”
  128. WAPO reported Canadians do play close attention to U.S. politics, and Trump is unpopular. A poll done earlier this month found 60% of Canadians supported Trump being impeached and removed.
  129. On Thursday, a YouGov survey found 41% of Germans think Trump is the most dangerous of five world leaders including North Korea’s Kim Jong Un, China’s Xi Jinping, Iran’s Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, and Vladimir Putin.
  130. Kim was in second place at 17%, followed by Putin and Khamenei with 8%, and Xi with 7%. Although the U.S. is one of Germany’s closest allies, public trust has significantly eroded under Trump.
  131. On Tuesday, BBC reported Russia’s Ministry of Communications said the government had successfully tested a country-wide alternative to the global internet, and the results will be presented to Putin.
  132. Experts are concerned about the trend of unplugging from the internet in authoritarian countries. China and Iran have already done so, giving the governments control over what their citizens see.
  133. On Thursday, Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu won a primary for the Likud leadership in a landslide with 72% of the vote, setting the stage for another election on March 2.
  134. On Friday, WAPO reported a year after the Knesset voted to dissolve itself, members have been sent home again for a third election, raising questions about the efficacy of the country’s parliamentary democracy.
  135. Over that year, important functions of the executive and legislative branches have been nonexistent: senior appointments are stalled, only six laws were passed in 2019, and no state budget has been approved.
  136. On Friday, NYT reported the Russian military said it has deployed a hypersonic weapon that flies at superfast speeds, and can evade American defense missile systems, possibly renewing an arms race.
  137. Moscow is eager for Trump to renew the last remaining arms control treaty between Moscow and the U.S. which expires in January 2021. The announcement may be viewed as an attempt to restart diplomatic talks.
  138. The treaty, called New START, was put in place under Obama. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said in November, “the world has changed” since then. Trump has hinted he may want to restart the arms race, saying U.S. technology would win.
  139. On Friday, NYT reported on video interviews and text obtained of the Navy SEALs in Eddie Gallagher’s platoon who turned on him to testify. Earlier this week, Trump hosted Gallagher and his wife at Mar-a-Lago.
  140. Seven of the 22 men in his platoon testified against him, describing him as “evil” and “toxic,” saying he shot civilians and exposed the platoon to enemy fire to increase his chances for a Silver Star.
  141. Since the trial, Gallagher has publicly insulted the men who testified against him on social media and on Fox News. After retiring with full honors thanks to Trump, he also started a SEAL-themed clothing line.
  142. A recent survey conducted by the Military Times found Trump’s approval with active-duty service members was 42% view him favorably, while 50% view him unfavorably — a low point in his approval.
  143. Trump’s approval has been in decline since taking office, when 46% were favorable, 37% unfavorable. Trump was viewed least favorably by women (28%) and non-white (29%) members.
  144. On Friday, NBC News reported the Army National Guard kicked out two members after a liberal group exposed their membership in a religious group with white supremacist ties.
  145. The Atlanta Antifascists published a report saying Brandon Trent East and Dalton Woodward were leaders of the Norse pagan group Ravensblood Kindred, which endorses white supremacy.
  146. On Friday, the NYT Editorial Board praised Sen. Lisa Murkowski as “a stirring conscience in the Senate,” saying she took “public duty more seriously than party loyalty,” and urged other senators to do the same.
  147. The Times also noted, “in a Republican Party so cowed by this president, with most lawmakers too timid to question even his most grotesque behavior, Ms. Murkowski’s expression of concern sets her apart.”
  148. On Friday, Trump retweeted two tweets containing a hashtag associated with QAnon, a far-right conspiracy theory which has raised concerns within the FBI.
  149. Trump also retweeted an account called @TrumpGirlOnFire, which described Obama as a “proud Muslim” and called for him to be imprisoned. The account was suspended on Saturday.
  150. Trump also retweeted a photo showing a fake “Bernie Sanders 2020 Free Shit” lawn sign in grass, with dog feces next to it.
  151. Trump also continued his attacks on Pelosi, tweeting she is “demanding fairness from Leader McConnell when she presided over the most unfair the most unfair hearing in the history of the United States Congress!”
  152. Trump also quoted a “Fox & Friends” guest, tweeting, “Speaker Pelosi and Chuck Schumer’s drive to try and rig the trial against the President is misplaced,” adding, “This President will be exonerated.”
  153. Trump also quoted a tweet by @John_KissMyBot calling for the release of the transcripts of an alleged secret meeting between Schiff and the whistleblower, adding, “Come on Crazy Nancy, do it!”
  154. Trump quoted a tweet of a video by @InBlondWeTrust of homelessness in Pelosi’s district, adding, “Nancy, this just doesn’t seem right!”
  155. Trump also tweeted, then retweeted a OAN video of Pelosi’s son Paul, implying that he might be involved in the Ukrainian corruption scandal, adding, “Wow Crazy Nancy, what’s going on? This is big stuff!”
  156. The Hill reported Trump had tweeted about Pelosi more than 20 times as of Friday since he arrived at Mar-a-Lago, and had addressed her during two public appearances — saying she has gotten under his skin.
  157. On Friday, Pelosi responded, tweeting a video of the evidence uncovered, adding, “The facts are clear and every witness told the same story…Trump abused his power for his own personal gain.”
  158. On Saturday, Trump tweeted, “California and New York must do something about their TREMENDOUS Homeless problems,” and “If their Governors can’t handle the situation…they must call and “politely” ask for help.”
  159. On Saturday, MarketWatch reported a study by the Federal Reserve found Trump’s strategy to use import tariffs to protect and boost U.S. manufacturers backfired and led to job losses and higher prices.
  160. Fed researchers found retaliation is not an effective tool given the globally interconnected supply chains, noting any reduction in competition was offset by the effects of rising input costs and retaliatory tariffs.
  161. On Saturday, NYT reported that science is under attack under Trump. In his three years in office, he has diminished the role of science in federal policymaking, while halting or disrupting research projects.
  162. Trump appointees have halted government studies, reduced the influence of scientists in regulatory decisions, and stopped researchers from speaking publicly. Hundreds of scientists are departing.
  163. Staffing at the EPA is at its lowest level in a decade. Federal scientists say hiring freezes and departures have made it harder to conduct scientific work. The regime has cut federal advisory boards by one-third.
  164. The regime has also questioned established scientific research. Internal documents at the EPA revealed political appointees have overruled career experts on several occasions.

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Trump speaks to members of the media following a Christmas Eve video teleconference with members of the military at his Mar-a-Lago estate in Palm Beach, Fla., Tuesday, Dec. 24, 2019.

POLITIKS OF GRAFFITI 161: “the reason the Constitution provided for impeachment was to anticipate a situation like the one that is before you today.”

DECEMBER 07, 2019

Week 160

Experts in authoritarianism advise to keep a list of things
subtly changing around you, so you’ll remember. *FROM ACTIVIST AMY SISKINDhttps://theweeklylist.org/weekly-list/week-160/ 
EJ8i5IYUEAI7SFG
“His reign will soon be over. Woe to the loyal subjects of this counterfeit king.” – Jim Carrey                                                                                                                                                        21nov19

This week, Trump traveled to London for the NATO summit as impeachment hearings got underway in the House Judiciary Committee, and Democrats on the House Intelligence Committee issued a scathing 300-page report. While Trump sought to display strength abroad, and used the summit as an excuse not to participate in impeachment hearings, a video at a Buckingham Palace reception surfaced Tuesday night showing world leaders openly mocking and laughing at him. He abruptly left early Wednesday, seething and returning in disgrace as the constitutional scholars testified in House impeachment hearings. Harvard Law School professor Noah Feldman said, “the reason the Constitution provided for impeachment was to anticipate a situation like the one that is before you today.”

IMG_0419

NYC. November 2019

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NYC. November 2019.

On Thursday, shortly after Trump tweeted “if you are going to impeach me, do it now, fast,” House Speaker Nancy Pelosi announced in somber tones and invoking the Founders and Constitution, that the House would begin drafting articles of impeachment. Meanwhile, Rudy Giuliani traveled back to Budapest and Kyiv, seeking dirt on the Bidens, meeting with Ukrainian officials, including one with ties to Russia.

This week Trump continued his feud with the so-called deep state, now growing to include the military — while his remaining conspiracy theories were set to be debunked in a report by the Justice Department Inspector General, in consultation with Attorney General William Barr’s handpicked prosecutor, John Durham.

  1. For 2019, Dictionary.com chose the word ‘existential’ as the word of the year, saying “the choice reflects months of high-stakes threats and crises, real and pondered, across the news, the world and throughout 2019.”
  2. On Saturday, NYT reported Trump’s intervention in the SEALs case has pitted him against military commanders who are committed to enforcing longstanding rules of combat, while Trump has never served.
  3. A former sniper who served in Chief Edward Gallagher’s platoon said Trump’s actions have “turned into a national clown show,” adding Trump is “saying he doesn’t trust any of the troops or their leaders.”
  4. Gallagher’s lawyer, Marc Mukasey, also represented Trump, but claimed he did not discuss the case with him. Also Bernard Kerik, New York police commissioner under Rudy Giuliani, spoke out for Gallagher on Fox News.
  5. Active-duty and retired officers say Trump’s intervention emboldens war criminals and erodes military order. Trump has also feuded with the intelligence community, law enforcement agencies, and diplomatic corps.
  6. On Saturday, Trump tweeted, “The Democrats are holding the most ridiculous Impeachment hearings in history,” adding, “Read the Transcripts, NOTHING was done or said wrong!”
  7. Uncharacteristically, it was his only tweet on Saturday related to impeachment. On Sunday, Trump also did not tweet about impeachment until shortly before midnight. He golfed both days near Mar-a-Lago.
  8. On Saturday, Rep. Doug Collins, the ranking Republican on the House Judiciary Committee, asked Chair Jerrold Nadler to expand the list of impeachment witnesses beyond the four constitutional law scholars.
  9. Collins cited in his letter the request was “to ensure fairness and restore integrity to the ongoing impeachment process,” but did not clarify whom Republicans wanted to call to testify.
  10. On Saturday, Politico reported the House Intelligence Committee will begin circulating a draft of the Trump-Ukraine report on Monday. Lawmakers had a 24 hour review period before voting.
  11. On Sunday, Rep. Val Demings told “This Week” that Democrats hope Trump will participate in impeachment hearings, saying, “If he has not done anything wrong, we’re certainly anxious to hear his explanation.”
  12. On Sunday, White House counsel Pat Cipollone told Nadler in a letter that Trump would not participate in the first hearing scheduled for Wednesday, saying it does not provide Trump “with any semblance of a fair process.”
  13. WAPO reported there is conflict within the GOP over how much Trump and his defenders should engage in the hearings. Some say Trump could benefit from the due-process protections that Nadler has offered.
  14. Trump did not tweet about the decision during the day. Meanwhile, Republicans renewed attacks on the process, with Rep. Collins calling on Intelligence Chair Adam Schiff to testify, and complaining “we’re rushing this.”
  15. On Sunday, Sen. John Kennedy told “Meet the Press” that “both Russia and Ukraine meddled in the 2016 election,” adding, “it’s been well documented in the Financial Times and Politico and The Economist,” and more.
  16. Host Chuck Todd asked Kennedy if he knew he was doing “exactly what the Russian operation is trying to get American politicians to do,” Kennedy responded “what harm would it do” for Trump to introduce evidence.
  17. On Monday, Kennedy doubled down, telling reporters he based his comments on “reporting in the Politico magazine, on reporting in the Financial Times, The Economist, the Washington Examiner.”
  18. Kennedy claimed that unlike other Senators, he had not been briefed by the intelligence community on the matter, and said Fiona Hill was “entitled to her opinion.”
  19. On Tuesday, Sen. Lindsey Graham broke from Trump, Kennedy, and other Trump allies, telling reporters, “I’m 1,000% confident that the hack of the DNC was by Russian operatives, no one else.”
  20. On Sunday, former FBI lawyer Lisa Page broke her silence, telling the Daily Beast of Trump’s attacks, “It’s like being punched in the gut,” adding, “My heart drops to my stomach when I realize he has tweeted about me again.”
  21. Page said Trump reading texts between her and Peter Strzok at an October rally in Minnesota, and mocking her having an orgasm on stage, was “the straw that broke the camel’s back” on her speaking out publicly.
  22. Page said Trump had accused her of “treason by name” and was trying to “destroy my life,” adding, “It never goes away or stops, even when he’s not publicly attacking me,” saying she has struggled to lead a normal life.
  23. Page said DOJ spokesperson Sarah Flores had selectively released her texts to reporters, saying, “Those texts were selected for their political impact. They lack a lot of context. Many of them aren’t even about him or me.”
  24. Page said, of the DOJ under Trump, “It’s crushing to see the noble Justice Department, my Justice Department, the place I grew up in, feel like it’s abandoned its principles of truth and independence.”
  25. On Sunday, “60 Minutes” reported Google and YouTube took down more than 300 Trump video ads, mostly over the summer, for violating company policy. A “60 Minutes” review found lack of transparency on the violations.
  26. On Monday, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg defended the decision not to take down political ads with false information on “CBS This Morning,” saying people should “judge for themselves the character of politicians.”
  27. Co-host Gayle King asked Zuckerberg what was discussed in his meeting with Trump at the White House, which was not disclosed until reported by news outlets. He answered, “it was a private dinner and… private discussion.”
  28. On Tuesday, BuzzFeed reported four Google employees who were fired last month for trying to organize workers said they will file charges with the National Labor Relations Board and push for a federal investigation.
  29. On Monday, the November Institute for Supply Management report found manufacturing activity contractedfor the fourth straight month. Experts attributed the contraction to Trump’s trade wars.
  30. Trump blamed his appointee, Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell, tweeting: “Manufacturers are being held back by the strong Dollar, which is being propped up by the ridiculous policies of the Federal Reserve.”
  31. Trump added the Fed “has called interest rates and quantitative tightening wrong from the first days of Jay Powell,” adding, “The Fed should lower rates,” claiming, “manufacturing will SOAR!”
  32. On Tuesday, an analysis by the solar industry showed Trump’s tariffs on solar panels in 2018 have cost the industry more than 62,000 jobs and nearly $19 billion in new private sector investment.
  33. On Wednesday, Reuters reported that Jared Kushner will assume a bigger role in U.S.-China trade talks, as the two countries try to reach an initial agreement to avoid new U.S. tariffs on December 15.
  34. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer and Treasury Sec. Steven Mnuchin have been leading. Kushner already has a considerable portfolio including Middle East peace, Trump’s wall, opioid addiction, and problems at the VA.
  35. On Monday, the Trump regime lifted a mysterious hold on $105 million in aid to Lebanon approved by Congress, after reporting in Week 159. The money was held up by the Office of Management and Budget for months.
  36. Aid to Lebanon also had the backing from the State Department, Pentagon, and National Security Council officials. An official declined to provide a reason for the regime putting a hold on the aid, citing the “process.”
  37. On Monday, Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelensky said in an interview with TIME that despite the ongoingimpeachment hearings, Ukraine still needs U.S. support to get back the territory seized by Russia in 2014.
  38. Zelensky denied he and Trump discussed withholding aid in the context of political favors, but pushed back on Trump’s claim of corruption and questioned the fairness of his decision to withhold aid.
  39. Zelensky said, “Look, I never talked to the president from the position of a quid pro quo,” adding, “I don’t want us to look like beggars,” and “I think that’s just about fairness. It’s not about a quid pro quo.”
  40. When asked if he trusts Putin ahead of their December 9 summit, Zelensky said, “I don’t trust anyone at all,” and said of Trump, “We’re at war. If you’re our strategic partner, then you can’t go blocking anything for us.”
  41. Shortly after, Trump tweeted that Zelensky, “just again announced that President Trump has done nothing wrong with respect to Ukraine,” adding, “If the Radical Left Democrats were sane…it would be case over!”
  42. Trump later told reporters before leaving for the NATO summit, Zelenksy “said very strongly that President Trump did absolutely nothing wrong. That should be case over.” The tweet and statement are misleading.
  43. On Monday, Rudy Giuliani threatened to sue Fox News host Steve Hilton for recommending Trump fire him, saying he “recklessly disregarded the truth,” and if not for him, Hilton “wouldn’t even be covering Burisma.”
  44. On Monday, former Trump campaign foreign policy adviser Carter Page lost an appeal, as a federal appeals court upheld a trial judge’s decision to throw out his defamation lawsuit against a pair of media outlets.
  45. On Monday, lawyers for Lev Parnas petitioned the federal court to release documents and recordings seized by federal prosecutors during Parnas’ arrest to the House committees leading the impeachment inquiry.
  46. Federal prosecutors described the materials seized from Parnas and his three co-defendants to be “voluminous,” and said, “We think a superseding indictment is likely” ahead of the trial, but did not specify the target.
  47. On Monday, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi led a delegation to the 2019 U.N. Framework Convention on Climate Change, saying, “on behalf of the House of Representatives and the Congress of the United States, ‘we’re still in it.’”
  48. On Monday, the Trump campaign announced it would no longer allow Bloomberg News reporters to get credentials for events, citing the outlet would no longer do investigative journalism on Democratic 2020 candidates.
  49. Although Trump campaign manager Brad Parscale claimed it was to avoid bias, the 2016 Trump campaign revoked press credentials from journalists working for WAPO, Politico, and BuzzFeed News.
  50. On Monday, Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson rejected the DOJ’s request to stay her order on Don McGahn’s testimony in Week 159, saying further delay “causes grave harm to both the Committee’s investigation.”
  51. However the DOJ has secured a January 3 hearing with an appeals court, and said it would keep on fighting if it loses its requests for a stay at the D.C. Circuit and petition the Supreme Court.
  52. On Monday, Fox News host Sean Hannity urged his listeners to call Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp and tell him to go with Trump’s pick, Rep. Doug Collins, for the open Senate seat, not “centrist businesswoman” Kelly Loeffler.
  53. On Tuesday, Trump ally Rep. Matt Gaetz said Kemp would end his career by picking Loeffler, tweeting, “Kemp announces the funeral time & location for his political career.”
  54. On Wednesday, Kemp bucked Trump, announcing he would appoint Loeffler to fill Sen. Johnny Isakson’s seat. Kemp said he hoped to strengthen the GOP’s appeal to women voters.
  55. On Monday, WAPO reported AG William Barr has told associates he disagrees with the DOJ IG findings in his report that the FBI had enough information in July 2016 to launch an investigation of the Trump campaign.
  56. Barr has not been swayed by IG Michael Horowitz’s rationale for the FBI having had a sufficient basis, possibly creating a fissure within the DOJ on the controversial issue ahead of the report’s release next week.
  57. It was not clear how Barr planned to make his disagreement known. Barr has privately said Horowitz did not have enough information to reach his conclusion, and agencies like the CIA hold information that could alter it.
  58. Part of Barr’s reluctance is related to John Durham’s investigation which is ongoing and Barr is involved with. It is not usual for an AG to disagree with an IG’s findings, but typically it is over the IG being too critical.
  59. On Monday, Roll Call reported a dozen House races have shifted towards Democrats in recent weeks, citingslow recruitment, self-inflicted wounds, and a shift in suburban voters towards Democrats.
  60. On Monday, CNN reported the IRS whistleblower declined to voluntarily appear for a transcribed Senate Finance Committee interview, after meeting in November with Republican and Democratic staffers.
  61. A source said the whistleblower was concerned about violating IRS code 6103, which says IRS employees can be fired, fined, or jailed for disclosing taxpayer information. It was unclear what lawmakers will do next.
  62. On Monday, North Dakota-based Fisher Sand and Gravel was awarded a $400 million contract by the Defense Department to build a portion of the border wall across an Arizona wildlife refuge.
  63. Trump had repeatedly pushed the Army Corps of Engineers to hire Fisher, but was told the company’s bid did not meet standards. Some officials have expressed concern with Trump getting involved in government contracts.
  64. Trump learned of Fisher through its CEO Tommy Fisher’s repeated appearances on Fox News where he promoted his firm and said it could do a better job than those chosen by the government.
  65. On Wednesday, House Homeland Security Chairman Bennie Thompson asked the Defense Department’s IG to investigate the contract to Fisher Sand and Gravel, which has a history of environmental and tax violations.
  66. Thompson said in his letter that a series of actions “raise concerns about the possibility of inappropriate influence” on the decision to award the firm a contract. The IG said it is reviewing the request.
  67. On Thursday, Sen. Kevin Cramer (R-ND) blocked the Armenian genocide resolution on the Senate floor at the request of the White House, saying it was not “the right time.” Fisher is a donor to Cramer.
  68. This marked the third time a Republican (also Sens. Graham and Ted Cruz) blocked the measure, opposed by Turkish government, at the request of the White House. It passed in the House 405-11.
  69. On Monday, in response to a FOIA request, the DOJ turned over a second set of summaries of FBI interviews, known as “302 reports” from the Mueller probe to BuzzFeed.
  70. The second batch included interviews with Michael Cohen, John Kelly, Corey Lewandowski, Hope Hicks, Rick Gates, Omarosa Manigault, Chris Christie, and Rod Rosenstein.
  71. Cohen said Trump knew about the negotiations for Trump Tower during the campaign, and that Trump family lawyer Jay Sekulow told him to make false statement to the House and Senate Intelligence committees.
  72. Gates said that Paul Manafort urged him not to take a plea deal, saying in October and November 2017 that the White House would protect them, and that they had two legal defense funds and would “take care of us.”
  73. Hicks said Trump was “angry, surprised, and frustrated” when Robert Mueller was appointed, and that when Jeff Sessions recused himself, the only time she had seen him “like that” was when the Access Hollywood tapes came out.
  74. Rosenstein said in May 2017 that Mueller had taken himself out of the running for FBI director position by time he met with Trump about the job. Trump had claimed Mueller applied and he turned him down.
  75. Rosenstein said he was “angry, ashamed, horrified and embarrassed” about the abrupt firing of James Comey, and how it was handled. He spoke to Mueller about becoming special counsel the next day.
  76. On Monday, former deputy DNI Susan Gordon told the Women’s Foreign Policy Group Trump’s most common response to intelligence briefings was not to believe what he was being told.
  77. Gordon also said it was difficult to figure out where Trump got information that shaped his opinion, saying he is probably “the first president that arrived with no framework,” and received input from “infinite people.”
  78. On Monday, Fox News host Tucker Carlson said, “I think we should probably take the side of Russia if we have to choose between Russia and Ukraine.” Carlson made similar remarks last week and said he was joking.
  79. On Thursday, Tucker Carlson said on his show that the House was trying to impeach Trump for holding up aid to Ukraine, adding, “Aid we shouldn’t be sending in the first place, in my view.”
  80. On Monday, Reuters reported Russia has set up a new online site for its national encyclopedia, after President Vladimir Putin called Wikipedia unreliable and said it should be replaced.
  81. On Saturday, the Columbus Dispatch reported a cyber attack on the Ohio Secretary of State’s office on Election Day originated in Panama and was traced back to a Russian-owned company.
  82. The Ohio Secretary of State said it was a “relatively unsophisticated” effort to insert malicious code and was thwarted, adding the cyberattack was looking for vulnerabilities in his office’s website.
  83. On Saturday, NBC News reported a new study by the Urban Institute found the three rule changes proposed by the Trump regime would cause millions of people to lose food stamps, known as SNAP.
  84. The study found 3.7 million fewer people would receive SNAP each month, 5.2 million households would seeaverage monthly benefits drop, and 982,000 students would lose access to free or reduced lunches.
  85. On Wednesday, the Trump regime formalized the first rule change, with the USDA mandating a work requirement for those who receive food stamps as of April 1. Nearly 700,000 were expected to lose food stamps.
  86. Agriculture Department Sec. Sonny Perdue told CNBC of the rule changes, “We’re trying to help these people get back into personal dignity of work and become part of the productive economy.”
  87. On Wednesday, the Senate confirmed Trump pick Sarah Pitlyk to the federal judiciary along party lines. Pitlyk, who opposes abortion, surrogacy, and fertility treatments, was rated “Not Qualified” by the American Bar Association.
  88. On Tuesday, a Texas judge temporarily blocked construction of a private wall along the U.S.-Mexico border by We Build the Wall, after the National Butterfly Center argued the new construction was “illegal.”
  89. On Tuesday, NYT and ProPublica reported newly uncovered documents reveal consulting company McKinsey was brought in by Immigration and Customs Enforcement to help the regime carry out its immigration policy.
  90. McKinsey’s advice included cutting spending on migrants’ food, medical care, and supervision, and looked for ways to speed deportations to meet Trump’s goals. Their advice made some career ICE staffers uncomfortable.
  91. Some ICE workers even complained the firm’s cost-cutting proposals jeopardized the health and safety of migrants. McKinsey also advised to move detainees to less expensive, less safe facilities, like rural county jails.
  92. McKinsey did $20 million of consulting work, even ghostwriting the firm’s contract extension. The firm was deeply involved in executing policies to effectuate Trump’s immigration crackdown. The work ended July 2018.
  93. A week after the McKinsey partner announced their work with ICE was over given McKinsey employee and partner outrage, the firm signed a new $2 million contract to advise CBP, which could be worth $8.4 million.
  94. On Wednesday, WAPO reported on 48 undocumented staffers who worked illegally for Trump at 11 of his properties, performing manual labor for years or decades. They said when hired, managers knew of their status.
  95. They noted when Trump entered the presidential politics, and denounced illegal immigrants as criminals and job-stealers, it upended their lives, causing many to be fired or to walk away after media reports about them.
  96. On Thursday, ProPublica reported Carlos Gregorio Hernandez Vasquez, 16, a Guatemalan migrant, died in Border Patrol care on May 19, after becoming seriously ill. He was held for 6 days, despite the 72 hour limit.
  97. Carlos was put in a small concrete holding cell in South Texas with another boy who was also sick, and who later alerted guards that Carlos was dead. He is the sixth child to die in care in government care in less than a year.
  98. On Wednesday, BBC reported more than 100 graves at a Jewish cemetery in France were defaced with swastikas and the number 14, which is linked to a white supremacist slogan.
  99. On Friday, WAPO reported West Virginia fired three state employees and suspended 34 more without pay after a photo surfaced showing a basic training class of correction officers giving a Nazi salute.
  100. On Tuesday, speaking to reporters at the NATO summit in London, Trump said French President Emmanuel Macron’s comments saying NATO is in a state of “brain death” were “very insulting” and “nasty.”
  101. Trump, while standing alongside NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg, also said Macron’s statement was “very disrespectful” and “very dangerous,” adding, “Nobody needs NATO more than France.”
  102. Trump also defended AG Barr, calling him “a great gentleman,” adding, “I do think the big report to wait for is going to be the Durham report…he’s highly respected. And we’re — and he’s worked very hard.”
  103. Trump also said of France imposing a digital services tax on U.S. technology companies, “I’m not going to let people take advantage of American companies,” and threatened to tax French companies in return.
  104. Trump called the impeachment inquiry “a hoax,” saying, “It’s done for purely political gain. They’re going to see whether or not they can do something in 2020, because otherwise they’re going to lose.”
  105. Trump also called impeachment a “witch hunt” and “very unpatriotic,” and said of censure being floated, “Now they want to go to censure because they have no case for impeachment, so they want to go to censure.”
  106. Later, in a news conference with Trump and Macron speaking on Syria and Turkey, Trump said, “Would you like some nice [IS] fighters? You can take everyone you want.” Macron scolded Trump, saying, “Let’s be serious.”
  107. Later, in a news conference with Canadian President Justin Trudeau, Trump called Chair Schiff a “maniac,” a“deranged human being,” and a “liar,” adding, “I think he’s a very sick man and he lies.”
  108. Trump continued, “This is a sick person. He’s a liar,” adding, “Pelosi knew he was lying and she went on the show, Stephanopoulos and said he told the truth. She was lying, too,” and, “These people are deranged.”
  109. When Pelosi was asked about impeachment while in Madrid Monday, she declined, citing her policy of not criticizing U.S. president while overseas, saying, “We’re here to talk positively about our agenda to save the planet.”
  110. Trump and British Prime Minister Boris Johnson did not meet ahead of the British election on December 12, an admission Trump is unpopular in Britain and per the U.S. ambassador, “any intervention would be counterproductive.”
  111. Asked about the U.K. election, Trump changed the subject to talking about gubernatorial races in Kentucky and Louisiana, where Republicans lost, adding, but in the U.K., “They may not like me because I’m representing us.”
  112. Trump later attended a reception at Buckingham Palace, where Prince Andrew was absent after association with Jeffrey Epstein. Trump, who has been pictured with the prince, said, “I don’t know Prince Andrew.”
  113. On Tuesday, House Intelligence Committee Republicans released a 123-page minority report, claiming there is “no direct, firsthand evidence” to suggest Trump pressured Ukraine to investigate the Bidens.
  114. The report claimed Trump did nothing wrong, including, “There is nothing inherently improper with Mayor Giuliani’s involvement,” and dismissed Trump’s behavior as “outside the beltway thinking.”
  115. Shortly after, House Intelligence Democrats released a 300-page impeachment report summarizing its two month probe, laying out in searing fashion what is likely to result in articles of impeachment next.
  116. The report cited Trump tried to “use the powers of his office to solicit foreign interference on his behalf in the 2020 election” and “placed his own personal and political interests” above the national interests.
  117. The report cited Trump’s “misconduct was not an isolated occurrence,” noting Trump “was elected in 2016with the benefit of an unprecedented and sweeping campaign” by Russia which he “welcomed and utilized.”
  118. The report said his “scheme subverted U.S. foreign policy toward Ukraine and undermined our national security in favor of two politically motivated investigations that would help his presidential re-election campaign.”
  119. The report made more than 100 references to the Constitution, and cited, ‘The evidence of the President’s misconduct is overwhelming, and so too is the evidence of his obstruction of Congress.”
  120. The report also cited an “unprecedented campaign of obstruction of this impeachment inquiry” by Trump for blocking witnesses and document release from the State Department, Pentagon, and OMB.
  121. The report called it unprecedented, saying Trump is “the first and only President in American history to openly and indiscriminately defy all aspects of the Constitutional impeachment process.”
  122. The report said even Nixon, “who obstructed Congress by refusing to turn over key evidence- accepted the authority of Congress […] permitted his aides and advisors to produce documents and testify.”
  123. The report also called White House efforts to block the inquiry “an existential threat to the nation’s Constitutional system of checks and balances, separation of powers, and rule of law.”
  124. The report described a months-long campaign driven by Trump to bend foreign policy, which included Vice President Mike Pence, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, acting chief of staff and Director of the OMB Mick Mulvaney, Energy Sec. Rick Perry, and others.
  125.  The report said these senior officials were “either knowledgeable of or active participants in an effort to extract from a foreign nation the personal political benefits sought by the President.”
  126. The report raised doubt about whether the September 9 call referenced by Gordon Sondland and amplified by Trump actually occurred, saying it was “not backed up by any records the White House was willing to provide.”
  127. The report cited Trump “engaged in a brazen effort to publicly attack and intimidate witnesses,” saying it raises “grave concerns about potential violations of the federal obstruction statute and other criminal laws.”
  128. The report cited threats to the 2020 election to explain the rush: “Given the proximate threat of further presidential attempts to solicit foreign interference in our next election, we cannot wait to make a referral.’
  129. Chair Schiff told reporters there is a “grave risk to the country” if lawmakers wait until they have “every last fact” before proceeding, saying we are inviting “further corruption of our elections.”
  130. The report included call records showing House Intelligence ranking member Devin Nunes had numerous calls in April with Giuliani, Parnas, and John Solomon — around the time Marie Yovanovitch was fired.
  131. There were also 16 calls between Giuliani and Parnas in early April and 10 calls between Parnas and Solomon. There were also Giuliani and White House phone numbers, including one “associated with” the OMB.
  132. Records show on April 24, the day Yovanovitch was summoned to D.C. and told she lost Trump’s confidence, Giuliani called the White House seven times, and received a call from “-1” and spoke to that person for eight minutes.
  133. Giuliani spoke to Parnas and Solomon on the day Biden announced his candidacy. He received a call from “-1” then called Sean Hannity. Trump appeared on Hannity’s show that night and discussed Solomon’s story.
  134. Schiff said, “the phone records show that there was considerable coordination among the parties, including the White House,” calling it “deeply concerning” a lawmaker might be complicit with Trump’s efforts.
  135. Schiff also said Trump action’s towards Ukraine meet the Constitutional definition of bribery, saying, “This is certainly, I think, what the founders had in mind when they used that word in the Constitution.”
  136. Schiff also said the intelligence panel is investigating whether Trump is the “-1” referenced in the call logs as making frequent calls to Giuliani in the House report.
  137. Shortly after, a lawyer for Parnas told reporters, “With appropriate protections, Mr. Parnas would be able to tell this story and fill in all the blanks.” Parnas has asked for immunity which Congress is unlikely to give.
  138. Shortly after, Bob Cusack, editor in chief of The Hill, tweeted the newspaper “is conducting a meticulous review” of Solomon’s work. The report revealed Solomon spoke with Nunes, Giuliani, and Parnas.
  139. On Tuesday, Sen. Kamala Harris dropped her 2020 presidential bid. Trump tweeted, “Too bad. We will miss you Kamala!” Harris responded, “Don’t worry, Mr. President. I’ll see you at your trial.”
  140. On Tuesday, Nunes filed a defamation suit against CNN for a story on his travel to Vienna to meet with foreign officials on getting dirt of the Bidens, saying CNN is “the mother of fake news” and “must be held accountable.”
  141. On Tuesday, when asked by Fox News host Sean Hannity if he spoke to Parnas, Nunes said, “it’s possible, adding, “I don’t really recall,” and “it seems very unlikely that I would be taking calls from random people.”
  142. On Tuesday, Giuliani told NYT he had nothing to do with the decision to withhold aid to Ukraine, saying, “I never discussed military assistance. I am expert on so many things it could have been some very esoteric subject.”
  143. On Tuesday, the House passed a resolution 339-to-71 disapproving of any future attempts to include Russia in the Group of Seven summits, which Trump has repeatedly floated.
  144. On Wednesday, a video circulated of NATO leaders Trudeau, Macron, Johnson and others at a reception at the Buckingham Palace gossiping and mocking Trump’s freewheeling news conference earlier in the day.
  145. The video opened with Johnson asking Macron, “Is that why you were late?” Trudeau jumps in and responds, “He was late because he takes a 40-minute press conference off the top.”
  146. Trudeau says shortly after, “I just watched his team’s jaws drop to the floor.” Prior to the reception, Trump had a 38 minute press event with Macron, and prior for 53 minutes with Stoltenberg.
  147. On Wednesday morning, standing alongside German Chancellor Angela Merkel, Trump called Trudeau “two-faced,” adding, “ he’s a nice guy,” but “I called him out” for not paying 2% and “I guess he’s not happy about it.”
  148. Trump, who has repeatedly demeaned domestic political rivals for being laughed at around the world, abruptly canceled a scheduled news conference, saying he had already answered too many questions, and left.
  149. Earlier in the week, Trump had blasted Democrats, saying, “Do Nothing Democrats purposely scheduled an Impeachment Hoax hearing on the same date as NATO. Not nice!” Now he was headed back to the U.S.
  150. On Wednesday, WAPO reported in a closed-door meeting of House Democrats, before the day’s hearing, Speaker Pelosi made clear to her caucus that impeachment is coming, possibly as soon as this month.
  151. Reportedly, Pelosi said, “Are you ready?” and, “We’re moving forward,” to which the caucus erupted with shouts of approval. Pelosi then turned the floor to Schiff who received a standing ovation.
  152. Pelosi then described “the gravity and somber nature of this moment,” and “a situation that the founders feared.” Vice President Pence held a similar meeting to rally House Republicans on Wednesday morning.
  153. On Wednesday, House Whip Steny Hoyer told reporters House Democrats would be considering congressional action against Nunes: “I think there are serious questions that have been raised by Mr. Nunes’ actions.”
  154. On Wednesday, the House Judiciary Committee held its first impeachment hearing, featuring four constitutional lawyers — three picked by Democrats and one by Republicans.
  155. Chair Nadler opened by addressing why hearings must be held now, saying, “We are all aware that the next election is looming — but we cannot wait,” adding, “The integrity of that election is the very thing at stake.”
  156. Nadler also said Trump “has shown us his pattern of conduct. If we do not act to hold him in check now” he “will almost certainly try again to solicit interference in the election for his personal, political benefit.”
  157. The hearing was acrimonious with ranking member Doug Collins calling the impeachment probe a “partisan coup d’etat,” and Republicans forcing roll call votes of the 41 members three time in the first 90 minutes.
  158. The hearings lasted eight hours. A couple of hours into the hearings, Trump left London to fly back to Washington. During the hearings Trump actively retweeted House Republicans and other allies’ accounts.
  159. Four legal scholars testified: Professors Noah Feldman of Harvard Law, Pamela Karlan of Stanford Law, Michael Gerhardt of North Carolina Law, and Jonathan Turley of George Washington University Law.
  160. Pam Karlan chastised Collins who accused her of not having read the report, saying she read all testimony and added, “I’m insulted by the suggestion that as a law professor I don’t care about those facts.”
  161. Noah Feldman said, “the reason the Constitution provided for impeachment was to anticipate a situation like the one that is before you today.” He noted he was not for impeachment based on Mueller report.
  162. Feldman also testified, “If we cannot impeach a president who uses his power for personal advantage, we no longer live in a democracy, we live in a monarchy or a dictatorship.”
  163. Feldman noted, “The possibility that the president might get caught in the process of attempting to abuse his office and then not be able to pull it off does not undercut in any way the impeachability of the acts.”
  164. Karlan called Trump’s action “an abuse that cuts to the heart of democracy,” and “It’s your responsibility to make sure that all Americans get to vote in a free and fair election next November.”
  165. The third Democratic witness, North Carolina Law professor Michael Gerhardt said, “If what we’re talking about isn’t impeachable, then nothing is impeachable,” citing bribery and obstruction of justice in the report.
  166. The Republicans’ witness, Jonathan Turley, said impeaching Trump for going to the courts is an “abuse of power,” saying the facts presented by House Intelligence do not meet the necessary standard for impeachment.
  167. Turley said, “I am concerned about lowering impeachment standards to fit a paucity of evidence and an abundance of anger,” and said of charges of bribery, “close enough is not good enough.”
  168. Republicans used a comment by Karlan, “The Constitution says there can be no titles of nobility. So while the President can name his son Barron, he can’t make him a baron,” to distract and fundraise. She later apologized.
  169. Nadler concluded by saying “all three parts” of his test for whether Trump should be impeached were met: he committed an impeachable act, that act was a “direct threat” to the Constitution, and some Trump supporter will be with them.
  170. Before Trump left NATO, he told reporters the hearing “is the most unfair thing that anybody’s ever seen.” Chair Nadler paused during questioning and noted the point where Trump’s lawyers could have participated.
  171. Asked about the House report, Trump said, “it’s a joke,” adding, “I watched the reviews….I watched Hannity, Sean Hannity, I watched Laura Ingram, I watched Tucker Carlson, I watched a lot of other legal scholars, frankly.”
  172. On Wednesday, Rep. Jim Banks wrote a letter to Senate Judiciary Committee chair Lindsey Graham, asking him to subpoena phone records of Schiff, Joe and Hunter Biden, and whistleblower attorney Mark Zaid.
  173. On Wednesday, Democrat Rep. Denny Heck said he would not seek re-election, citing he was “discouraged” by his Republican colleagues on impeachment, and “Civility is out. Compromise is out. All or nothing is in.”
  174. On Wednesday, WAPO reported John Durham, Barr’s handpicked prosecutor, said he could offer no evidence to the DOJ IG to support the right-wing conspiracy theory the Russia case was a U.S. intelligence setup.
  175. IG Horowitz contacted Durham and several U.S. intelligence agencies in compiling his report. Among the questions was whether Joseph Mifsud was an intelligence asset sent to ensnare Trump’s campaign.
  176. Horowitz’s report is set to come out Monday, and his interaction with Durham may dull expectations by Barr and Trump allies that Durham’s report will back various right-wing conspiracy theories.
  177. On Wednesday, NYT reported while House Democrats issued their report and held impeachment hearings, Giuliani traveled to Europe to interview Ukrainians to shift focus to wrongdoings by Trump’s political rivals.
  178. Giuliani met with former Ukrainian prosecutor, Yuriy Lutsenko, in Budapest on Tuesday, and met withViktor Shokin and Kostiantyn Kulyk in Kyiv Wednesday. All have faced allegations of corruption.
  179. Giuliani is using the trip to tape a documentary for One America News (OAN) promoting his pro-Trump, anti-impeachment narrative. He hoped to gather new material to undercut the House and Senate impeachment.
  180. Andrii Telizhenko and Andrii Artemenko, former Ukrainian officials who support Trump, joined Giuliani and the OAN crew. The two, along with Mykhaylo Okhendovsky, recorded interviews with OAN last month.
  181. Giuliani’s visit to meet with the same Ukrainian characters in the impeachment probe has sparked concern at the State Department. An official called it “shocking” he is unbowed by issues he faces at home.
  182. Asked about the trip, Giuliani texted the Times: “If S.D.N.Y. leaks and Democrats’ threats stopped me, then I should find a new profession,” and “I am gathering evidence to defend my client against the false charges.”
  183. On Thursday, Giuliani tweeted that an investigation into Biden’s conduct has not been resolved, claiming,“Obama embassy urged Ukrainian police NOT to investigate!” adding, “Stay tuned to find out why.”
  184. On Thursday, Andriy Derkach, a former Ukrainian lawmaker who served as a member of a pro-Russia party and attended a KGB-affiliated high school in Moscow, posted a photo with Giuliani on his Facebook page.
  185. On Friday, former Ukrainian diplomat Telizhenko tweeted a photo with Giuliani, saying, “Thank you @RudyGiuliani for your work and what you do for @realDonaldTrump, because we are fighting for the #TRUTH!”
  186. Pelosi called Giuliani’s trip an indication of “the arrogance of it all.” Asked if Trump was backing Giuliani, White House deputy press secretary Hogan Gidley said, “That’s a question between Rudy and the president.”
  187. On Wednesday, CNN reported federal prosecutors, who are investigating Giuliani and his associates, have deepened their focus on Naftogaz and have interviewed its CEO, Andriy Kobolyev.
  188. Prosecutors have also interviewed U.S. embassy official Suriya Jayanti, a foreign service officer based in Kyiv, who handles Naftogaz issues at the embassy and communicates with the company’s management.
  189. Sec. Perry said he told Jayanti about Parnas and Fruman’s corrupt intent with Naftogaz to replace Kobolyev as CEO. Andrew Favorov also said he relayed his concerns about the two to her.
  190. Jayanti was also identified as among those who overheard the July 26 call between Sondland and Trump. She was listed to give a closed-door deposition in October, but the deposition never occurred.
  191. On Wednesday, WSJ reported Zelensky is withholding his support for a proposed parliamentary investigation into Burisma, citing wanting to avoid Ukraine getting more caught up in U.S. politics.
  192. On Wednesday, WSJ reported the Trump regime is considering sending an additional 14,000 troops to the Middle East, as well as ships and other military hardware, to counter Iran.
  193. The deployment would double the number of troops sent to the region since Trump started a buildup in May. There is growing concern by military leaders that an attack on U.S. interests could leave few options.
  194. The Pentagon denied WSJ reporting: press secretary Alyssa Farah tweeted, “The U.S. is not considering sending 14,000 additional troops to the Middle East.” The U.S. has no diplomatic process in place with Iran.
  195. On Thursday, Politico reported Pentagon’s policy chief acknowledged the reporting on the additional 14,000 troops, after trying to knock it down Wednesday, after Defense Secretary Mark Esper said he is considering it.
  196. On Tuesday, at the NATO summit, Trump said, “We’re by far the most powerful country in the world,” and he still had “a good relationship” with Kim Jong Un, but “He definitely likes sending rockets up, doesn’t he?”
  197. On Thursday, North Korea’s first vice foreign minister threatened if Trump stoked “the atmosphere of confrontation,” citing his reference to “Rocket Man,” the North would resume calling Trump bad names like “dotard.”
  198. On Saturday, North Korea’s U.N. envoy said denuclearization is off the negotiating table with the U.S., adding“sustained and substantial dialogue” sought by the United States was a “time-saving trick.”
  199. On Thursday, Trump tweeted, “The Do Nothing Democrats had a historically bad day yesterday in the House,” adding, “They have no Impeachment case,” and, “they have gone crazy.”
  200. Trump also tweeted, “Therefore I say, if you are going to impeach me, do it now, fast, so we can have a fair trial in the Senate, and so that our Country can get back to business.”
  201. Trump also threatened, “We will have Schiff, the Bidens, Pelosi and many more testify, and will reveal, for the first time, how corrupt our system really is. I was elected to “Clean the Swamp,” and that’s what I am doing!”
  202. An hour later, in a formal address at 9 a.m. that lasted less than six minutes, Speaker Pelosi announced the House of Representatives would begin drafting impeachment articles against Trump.
  203. Pelosi announced in a somber tone, frequently invoking the Constitution and the founders, it had become clear from the two month investigation that Trump violated his oath by seeking foreign help for 2020 election.
  204. Pelosi stood in front of American flags, and said, “Our democracy is what is at stake. The president leaves us no choice but to act because he is trying to corrupt, once again, the election for his own benefit.”
  205. Pelosi said, “This isn’t about Ukraine; this is about Russia,” adding, “So sometimes people say, ‘Well, I don’t know about Ukraine, I don’t know that much about Ukraine.’”
  206. Pelosi added that it was Russia “who benefited by our withholding of that military assistance” to Ukraine, adding, “our adversary is Russia,” and repeating the phrase, “All roads lead to Putin.”
  207. Pelosi added, “Sadly, but with confidence and humility, with allegiance to our founders and a heart full of love for America, today I am asking our chairmen to proceed with articles of impeachment.”
  208. In instructing “chairmen,” Pelosi directed the chairs of the six House committees, meaning the articles could be broader than just Trump-Ukraine, as other investigations continue.
  209. Shortly after, Trump tweeted, “Radical Left Democrats have just announced that they are going to seek to Impeach me over NOTHING,” and, “they hang their hats on two totally appropriate (perfect) phone calls.”
  210. Trump also tweeted now the “act of Impeachment will be used routinely to attack future Presidents. That is not what our Founders had in mind,” adding, “the Republicans have NEVER been more united. We will win!”
  211. Shortly after, at her weekly news conference, Pelosi said she was sorry Trump “made this necessary,” but “If we do not act on this, the message to any future president would be, ‘You can do whatever you want.’”
  212. When asked if she was concerned about a backlash, Pelosi said, “This has absolutely nothing to do with politics…Democrats and Republicans…It’s about the Constitution of the United States…So no, I’m not concerned.”
  213. Referencing Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, she said, “The Grim Reaper says all we’re doing is impeachment… We have 275 bipartisan bills on your desk,” and called McConnell the “rogue Senate leader.”
  214. As Pelosi was leaving, a reporter from Sinclair asked if she hated Trump, invoking a comment by Rep. Collins that is why they are doing it. Pelosi said, “I don’t hate anybody,” and walked back to the microphone.
  215. Pelosi said she thinks Trump “is a coward” for not taking on gun violence, and “he is cruel” for not helping our Dreamers, and “he is in denial” about the climate crisis, adding, “However, that’s about the election.”
  216. Pelosi said, “This is about the Constitution,” adding, “as a Catholic, I resent your using the word ‘hate’ in a sentence that addresses me,” adding she prays for Trump “all the time,” and closed out with, “Don’t mess with me.”
  217. Shortly after, Trump tweeted, “Nancy Pelosi just had a nervous fit,” adding, “She says she “prays for the President.” I don’t believe her, not even close,” and, “Help the homeless in your district Nancy.”
  218. On Thursday, the House Judiciary Committee announced the next impeachment hearing will take place Monday, at which investigators will present evidence, the final step to drafting articles of impeachment.
  219. On Thursday, Republican Rep. Tom Graves, 49, of Georgia announced he would retire, saying it was time to “pass the baton.” Graves was the 21st Republican to announce they will not seek re-election in 2020.
  220. On Friday, Republican Rep. George Holding said he would not seek re-election in 2020, citing North Carolinaredrawing the congressional map. Holding was the 22nd Republican.
  221. On Thursday, the House Ethics Committee told Rep. Duncan Hunter in a letter he can no longer vote in the House, citing a House rule relating to any member convicted of a crime who could serve a prison sentence.
  222. Hunter changed his plea to guilty on Tuesday, and faces five years of prison. He and Chris Collins, the first two members of the House to support Trump, have both pleaded guilty to crimes.
  223. On Friday, Hunter announced he will resign from his seat after the holidays. Two Republicans will vie for his seat, including Darrell Issa who called on Trump to pardon Hunter.
  224. On Tuesday, a federal appeals court ruled Deutsche Bank and Capital One must turn over Trump’s financial records to the House Intelligence and Financial Services committees, and must turn over records next week.
  225. The court ruled, “The Committees’ interests in pursuing their constitutional legislative function is a far more significant public interest” than risking Trump being distracted from disclosing his private financial transactions.
  226. On Thursday, Trump asked the Supreme Court to void a subpoena from the House Oversight Committee that seeks his tax returns. The Supreme Court will decide as early as mid-December if it will hear the case.
  227. On Thursday, Karen McDougal sued Fox News, saying host Tucker Carlson had intentionally defamed her on his show by falsely accusing her of extortion, and she was “harassed, embarrassed and ridiculed” after.
  228. On Thursday, the Trump regime disputed some of the details in the House Intelligence Committee report about Giuliani’s calls to “White House Phone Number” and “-1” in an effort to weaken the Democrats’ case.
  229. Although the call logs show Giuliani was in frequent contact with the White House at key times of the Ukraine pressure campaign, an OMB official claimed he did not speak to anyone in OMB, or to Mick Mulvaney.
  230. On Thursday, WAPO reported phone records released in the House report revealed Trump routinely communicated with Giuliani and others speaking on cellphones vulnerable to monitoring by Russia and others.
  231. Additionally, the call between Giuliani and other Trump officials were also not on encrypted or otherwise shielded lines, raising concerns that Russia was about to learn of Trump’s efforts to withhold aid for investigations.
  232. Security experts suspected Giuliani would be a target of Russian surveillance given his focus on Ukraine. Experts said Russians could enlist its own operative in Ukraine to feed Giuliani disinformation while in Kyiv.
  233. Giuliani has used WhatsApp, but also had pocket-dialed a reporter, and had to go to an Apple store after losing his password. U.S. officials said Russia likely has him under physical surveillance on his trip this week.
  234. Officials said Trump’s use of unsecured lines has become the subject of renewed concerns by senior officials at the White House, who have repeatedly tried unsuccessfully to break him of the habit.
  235. On Thursday, Judge Richard Berman excoriated the Turkish government for an “extraordinary, sustained” pressure campaign to scuttle the case against state-owned Halbank for criminal money laundering charges.
  236. The judge also noted the Turkish government hired Giuliani to defend trader Reza Zarrab, and cited contacts between “Turkish and U.S. officials, lobbyists and attorneys” for Zarrab’s release despite criminal charges.
  237. On Friday, a Saudi military student, Ahmed Mohammed al-Shamrani, opened fire in a classroom, killing three and wounding eight at a naval base in Pensacola, Florida.
  238. An initial FBI investigation found no apparent connection to a foreign terrorist group, although Florida Republicans Sen. Rick Scott and Rep. Matt Gaetz claimed it was an act of terrorism.
  239. Trump took an unusually measured tones, seeming to defend the Saudis, tweeting, “King Salman of Saudi Arabia just called to express his sincere condolences and give his sympathies to the families and friends.”
  240. Trump also tweeted, “The King said that the Saudi people are greatly angered by the barbaric actions of the shooter,” and, “this person in no way shape or form represents the feelings of the Saudi people.”
  241. On Friday, Trump told reporters at a White House roundtable on small business and red tape reduction that“we’re looking very strongly at sinks and showers and other elements of bathrooms,” including low flow toilets.
  242. Trump said “at my suggestion” the EPA “is looking at that very strongly” saying, “People are flushing toilets 10 times, 15 times, as opposed to once. They end up using more water.”
  243. Trump said, “we’re looking very strongly at sinks and showers,” adding, “you turn the faucet on, in areas where there’s tremendous amounts of water, where the water rushes out to sea because you could never handle it.”
  244. Trump added, “You turn on the faucet; you don’t get any water. They take a shower and water comes dripping out. It’s dripping out — very quietly dripping out.” Trump continued on the subject for several minutes.
  245. Trump also complained about energy-efficient light bulbs, calling them “many times more expensive,” and “it doesn’t make you look as good,” adding, “It gives you an orange look. I don’t want an orange look.”
  246. On Thursday, 350 psychiatrists and other mental-health professionals submitted a petition to Congress, warning Trump’s mental health is rapidly deteriorating amid the impeachment inquiry.
  247. The petition said what makes Trump “so dangerous is the brittleness of his sense of worth. Any slight or criticism is experienced as a humiliation and degradation,” and he will react with “narcissistic rage.”
  248. They also wrote, “failing to monitor or to understand the psychological aspects” of impeachment on Trump “or discounting them could lead to catastrophic outcomes.”
  249. On Friday, Rep. Justin Amash said he will vote for impeachment, saying he believes there is “sufficient evidence” against Trump for obstruction of Congress, obstruction of justice and abuse of power.
  250. On Friday, more than 500 law professors signed an open letter saying Trump committed “impeachable conduct” and Congress would be well within their rights if they vote to remove him from office.
  251. The letter cites “overwhelming evidence” that Trump “betrayed his oath of office by seeking to use presidential power to pressure a foreign government to help him distort an American election.”
  252. They added, Trump’s “conduct is precisely the type of threat to our democracy that the Founders feared when they included the remedy of impeachment,” adding they “take no position” on if he committed a crime.
  253. On Friday, in a letter from White House counsel Pat Cipollone to Chair Nadler, the White House rejected the House Judiciary’s invitation to participate in Monday’s impeachment hearing before the 5 p.m. deadline.
  254. While not explicitly saying if the White House would participate, Cipollone called the inquiry “completely baseless” and said House Democrats had “violated basic principles of due process and fundamental fairness.”
  255. Cipollone also said, “House Democrats have wasted enough of America’s time with this charade. You should end this inquiry now and not waste even more time with additional hearings.”
  256. Nadler responded, saying Trump and team “cannot claim that the process is unfair” if they refuse to participate, adding Trump’s failure to respond “will not prevent us from carrying out our solemn constitutional duty.”
  257. On Friday, deputy press secretary Gidley told Fox News the impeachment inquiry is a “sham” and “doesn’t do anything to put food on the tables of the Americans people” — 48 hours after the USDA enacted a rule that cut food stamps for 700,000.
  258. On Friday, Chair Schiff revealed Jennifer Williams submitted additional classified evidence in the impeachment probe of a phone conversation between Pence and Zelensky that took place on September 18.
  259. In a letter to Pence, Schiff asked Pence’s office to declassify, saying classifying “certain portions” of the call “cannot be justified on national security or any other legitimate grounds we can discern.”
  260. On Friday, Trump tweeted, “Fake News @CNN is reporting that I am “still using personal cell phone for callsdespite repeated security warnings.” This is totally false information.” CNN stood by its reporting.
  261. On Friday, the Supreme Court granted Trump’s emergency request to temporarily block the House subpoena to Deutsche Bank and Capital One for Trump’s records until December 13.
  262. The temporary halt will allow the court to deliberate on a longer stay, while giving Trump’s lawyers time to prepare for a formal appeal.
  263. On Friday, WAPO reported Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov will travel to Washington next week to meet with Secretary of State Pompeo, his first visit since the Oval Office controversy where Trump shared classified information.
  264. Pompeo has kept Lavrov at arms length. It is unclear if Lavrov will meet with Trump. The White House refused to comment. One day before his arrival, Zelensky and Putin will meet in Paris.
  265. On Saturday, the LA Times Editorial Board said, “We’ve seen enough. Trump should be impeached,” citing “overwhelming evidence that Trump perverted U.S. foreign policy for his own political gain.”
  266. On Saturday, the House Judiciary Committee released a 55-page report laying out the “Constitutional Grounds for Presidential Impeachment,” saying Trump’s conduct rises to the level of impeachment.
  267. The report cited, “The Framers worst nightmare is what we are facing,” adding, “Trump abused his power, betrayed our national security, and corrupted our elections, all for personal gain.”
  268. The report concluded, “A President cannot escape impeachment just because his scheme to abuse power, betray the nation, or corrupt elections was discovered and abandoned.”
  269. Shortly after, Trump tweeted, “Read the Transcripts! Also, see where I say “us” (our Country) as opposed to “me” (meaning me) and where I then say that the Attorney General (of the United States) will call you.”
  270. Trump also tweeted, “People still remember Schiff’s made up and fraudulent version of my conversation. Witch Hunt!” adding, “our Country is doing better, perhaps, than it has ever done before. Jobs, Jobs, Jobs!”

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In this grab taken from video on Tuesday, Dec. 3, 2019, Britain’s Prime Minister Boris Johnson, right, speaks during a NATO reception. While NATO leaders are professing unity as they gather for a summit near London, several seem to have been caught in an unguarded exchange on camera apparently gossiping about Trump’s behavior. In footage recorded during a reception at Buckingham Palace on Tuesday, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau was seen standing in a huddle with French President Emmanuel Macron, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte and Britain’s Princess Anne.

POLITIKS OF GRAFFITI 160: “ROCKY’

NOVEMBER 30, 2019
Week 159
Experts in authoritarianism advise to keep a list of things
subtly changing around you, so you’ll remember.
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This week, more conspiracy theories were debunked, as a draft of the Department of Justice Inspector General report found the FBI did not try to place spies in Trump’s 2016 campaign, nor did Obama wiretap him. Trump allies continued to push the conspiracy that Ukraine, not Russia, may have interfered in 2016, despite it being thoroughly and widely disproved.
Trump sought to portray strength — firing the Navy Secretary and tweeting an image of his face super-imposed on the body of Sylvester Stallone in “Rocky.” He told supporters in Florida how hard he was working for them — as opposed to Democrats’ focus on impeachment — then clandestinely flew to Afghanistan on Thanksgiving to visit U.S. troops under false pretenses.
The House Judiciary Committee announced the start of impeachment hearings next week, as Trump and his team weighed whether to participate. The committee did not rule out an article related to the Mueller probe. Reporting revealed the September 9 call between Trump and Gordon Sondland — central in Trump’s defense of his actions towards Ukraine — may not have happened, and Rudy Giuliani faces a broad probe of possible criminal activity.
East Village, NYC
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1 On Saturday, NBC News reported the Trump regime is also holding back $105 million in congressionally-approved military assistance to Lebanon. Trump’s national security team is also in favor of the aid.
2 The aid was mentioned by David Hale in his closed-door impeachment hearing deposition. The Office of Management and Budget has not explained the reason for the delay.
3 On Sunday, House Intelligence Committee Chair Adam Schiff told “Meet the Press” the hearings produced “overwhelming” evidence Trump conditioned aid on investigations to help his re-election.
4 Schiff said it is “urgent” for the House to move forward and not do “months and month of rope-a-dope in the court,” adding, “we have another election where the president is threatening more foreign interference.”
5 On Sunday, ABC News reported the House Intelligence Committee is in possession of video and audio recordings, and photographs provided by Lev Parnas which include Rudy Giuliani and Trump.
6 Chair Schiff said on “Meet the Press” that Parnas and Igor Fruman were subpoenaed. Fruman has not cooperated. Parnas’ lawyer said his cooperation is “non-partisan,” and for “the best interests of our nation.”
7 On Sunday, WAPO reported a confidential White House review of Trump’s decision to put Ukraine aid on hold revealed emails showing extensive after-the-fact communication to come up with justification of his decision.
8 The research by the White House Counsel’s Office, triggered by the House impeachment inquiry, included emails between chief of staff Mick Mulvaney and other officials in early August on the hold Trump placed in mid-July.
9 Trump decided on the hold without a rationale or legal justification. Mulvaney asked OMB director Russell Vought in early August for a legal rationale. Vought said it was legal, but the NSA and the State Department disagreed.
10 Mulvaney’s request came as he learned the whistleblower made a complaint to the CIA’s general counsel. The White House released aid on September 11, two days after the House was notified of the complaint.
11 White House counsel Pat Cippollone’s office has overseen the review, and has kept tight control of his findings, exasperating tensions between he and Mulvaney, whose aides said they need information for public inquiries.
12 On Saturday, Rep. Adam Smith, a high ranking Democrat, said an ethics investigation of Rep. Devin Nunes is likely over allegations he met with Ukraine’s former top prosecutor, Viktor Shokin, to get dirt on the Bidens.
13 According to the lawyer for Parnas, a top aide for Nunes, Derek Harvey, also joined a group that frequently met at the Trump Hotel DC in the spring of 2019 to discuss the Biden matter and other topics.
14 Nunes told Breitbart, these “false and scandalous stories published by the Daily Beast and CNN are the perfect example of defamation and reckless disregard for the truth,” and threatened to sue for the “fake stories.”
15 Newsweek reported Nunes spent $57,000 of taxpayer monies on flights and other expenses for travel to Europe for himself and three staffers, Scott Glabe, George Pappas, and Harvey.
16 Rudy Giuliani appeared on Fox News on Saturday, saying “Devin Nunes says he didn’t meet with Shokin. I have no reason to believe that he did,” adding, “If he did, there would’ve been nothing wrong with it.”
17 Giuliani also said that he has a good relationship with Trump, adding, “I’ve seen things written like he’s going to throw me under the bus,” but “when they say that, I say he isn’t, but I have insurance.”
18 On Sunday, in an interview with NYT, former White House press secretary Sarah Sanders said, “I was attacked for everything, not just my performance,” and, “I don’t like being called a liar.” Sander repeatedly lied.
19 On Sunday, Rick Perry told “Fox & Friends” Trump is “the chosen one” and “sent by God to do great things.” Co-host Peter Hegseth said what Trump withstood is “unlike what really any other mortal could understand.”
20 On Monday, Nikki Haley told Christian Broadcasting Network on Trump, “I think God sometimes places people for lessons and sometimes places people for change. And you can look at everything that has happened.”
21 On Tuesday, First Lady Melania was booed while addressing a group of middle school and high school students in Baltimore in a speech about youth opioid use, four months after Trump publicly disparaged the city.
22 On Wednesday, former Democratic governor Martin O’Malley confronted acting deputy secretary of Homeland Security Ken Cuccinelli at Dubliner, a Capitol Hill Irish bar, on Thanksgiving Eve over immigration policy.
23 Onlookers said as the two passed, O’Malley unloaded on Cuccinelli over separating migrant children from their parents, invoking “kids in cages,” and telling him his immigrant parents would “be ashamed of him.”
24 On Wednesday, WAPO reported White House adviser Stephen Miller has emerged unscathed from leaked emails tying him to white nationalists and racist talking points. He boarded Air Force One with Trump on Tuesday.
25 The White House has vigorously defended Miller, and Republican lawmakers have refrained from commenting. Two dozen Senate Democrats and 100 in the House have called on him to step down.
26 On Wednesday, the editorial board for the Sacramento Bee, Nunes’ local paper, said in an op-ed he should “cease silly lawsuits and answer serious questions” about the roughly $60,000 spent on his trip to Europe.
27 The board cited Nunes’ ongoing lawsuit against Twitter accounts known as “Devin Nunes’ cow” and “Devin Nunes’ mom,” calling the suits a “mockery” and saying he was “eviscerated” in court filings this week.
28 On Thursday, NYT reported at least nine Republican organizations have bought Donald Jr.’s book in bulk in an effort to bolster sales. Nonetheless, “Triggered” dropped to number 2 this week as Anonymous’ book came out.
29 On Sunday, Trump tweeted about a non-existent poll, claiming, “Polls have now turned very strongly against Impeachment, especially in swing states. 75% to 25%. Thank you!”
30 On Monday, Trump tweeted again about an non-existent poll: “Support for Impeachment is dropping like a rock, down into the 20’s in some Polls,” adding, “Dems should now get down to work.”
31 Later Monday, Trump quoted “Fox & Friends” host Brian Kilmeade saying impeachment “is getting less and less popular by the day.” This tweet is also false.
32 In all three tweets, Trump did not cite a polling source for his numbers, and it appeared rather than cherry-picking polls which Trump has done in the past, he instead invented polls.
33 On Tuesday, a new CNN poll found 50% of Americans say Trump should be impeached, 43% say he should not — unchanged since October despite impeachment hearings. Independents are 47% in favor, 45% opposed.
34 The gender gap for impeachment was 40 points: women 61% in favor, 34% against; men 40%, 53%. The poll also found Trump’s approval with women was 32% with women, and 52% with men.
35 Relative to past presidents, CNN found support for Trump’s impeachment was high: Bill Clinton at his highest point was 29%, Obama was 33%, and George W. was 30%.
36 On Tuesday, a Politico/Morning Consult poll found support for impeachment up to 48%, with 45% against. Support has increased from +3 to +5 in the past week.
37 On Wednesday, Reuters/Ipsos found support for impeachment up to 47% for, 40% against. Net support is up 4 points in the poll since impeachment hearings began.
38 On Saturday, AP reported Secretary of Navy Richard Spencer said he does not consider a tweet by Trump to be a formal order, saying, “I need a formal order to act,” relating to a sailor who could lose his status as a Navy SEAL.
39 On Saturday, NYT reported Spencer and the admiral who leads the SEALs have threatened to resign or be fired if Trump halted their plan to expel the sailor, Chief Petty Officer Edward Gallagher.
40 On Sunday, Gallagher appeared on “Fox & Friends,” saying the Navy was retaliating against him and trying to take his Trident pin “after the president restored my rank,” and that he was “overjoyed” by Trump’s help.
41 Ahead of Gallagher’s appearance, Trump tweeted, “Navy Seal Eddie Gallagher will be on @foxandfriends this morning at 7:30 A.M.,” adding, “Have no fear, all will end well for everyone!”
42 Later Sunday, Trump tweeted, “I was not pleased with the way that Navy Seal Eddie Gallagher’s trial was handled,” saying, “he was treated very badly.” Trump also cited “large cost overruns” by the last administration.
43 Trump added, “Therefore, Secretary of the Navy Richard Spencer’s services have been terminated by Secretary of Defense Mark Esper,” and, “Eddie will retire peacefully with all of the honors” and his Trident pin.
44 Sec. Esper claimed Spencer privately proposed to White House officials that Gallagher could retire as SEAL with his pin if they did not interfere, but did not share the proposal with him, and so he lost confidence in him.
45 Shortly after, Spencer resigned in a letter to Trump, saying, “Unfortunately it has become apparent that in this respect, I no longer share the same understanding with the Commander in Chief who appointed me.”
46 Spencer added, “I cannot in good conscience obey an order that I believe violates the sacred oath I took in the presence of my family, my flag and my faith to support and defend the Constitution of the United States.”
47 On Wednesday, in an op-ed, Spencer responded to his firing, saying, “We are effective overseas not because we have the best equipment but because we are professionals. Our troops are held to the highest standards.”
48 Spencer noted, “Trump involved himself in the case almost from the start. Before the trial began,” and that Trump’s interest in the case “stemmed partly from the way the defendant’s lawyers” talked about it on Fox News.
49 Spencer wrote to Trump on November 14 to ask him not to get involved, and next day, White House Counsel Pat Cipollone called to say Trump would remain involved. Cipollone called again to tell Spencer to restore Gallagher’s rank.
50 Spencer said, “This was a shocking and unprecedented intervention,” adding Trump “has very little understanding of what it means to be in the military, to fight ethically,” or to be governed by “rules and practices.”
51 On Sunday, Sen. John Kennedy told “Fox News Sunday” he was not sure if it was Russia or Ukraine that interfered in the 2016 election, saying, “I don’t know, nor do you, nor do any others.”
52 On Monday, Kennedy backtracked, telling CNN, “I was wrong,” adding, “It was Russia who tried to hack the (Democratic National Committee) computer. I’ve seen no indication that Ukraine tried to do it.”
53 On Monday, Fox News host Tucker Carlson joked he was siding with Russia over Ukraine: “Why do I care what is going on in the conflict between Ukraine and Russia?…Why shouldn’t I root for Russia? Which I am.”
54 On Monday, Trump also quoted lawyer Sam Dewey, a frequent cable news commentator, tweeting, “President Trump is facing a process which is unprecedented for its unfairness.”
55 On Monday, Trump claimed credit at a ceremony for signing the Woman’s Suffrage Centennial Coin Act, saying, “I’m curious why wasn’t it done a long time ago?” adding, “now I’m president, we get things done.”
56 The bill, introduced in April 2019 with bipartisan support of all 25 female senators, commemorates the 100 year anniversary of when the 19th Amendment was ratified, giving women the right to vote.
57 On Monday, U.S. District Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson found that the White House claim that Don McGahn is “absolutely immune” to be “baseless,” saying he must comply with the House Judiciary subpoena.
58 In an 118-page opinion, the judge said, “per the Constitution, no one is above the law,” adding, “the primary takeaway from the past 250 years of recorded American history is that Presidents are not kings.”
59 The ruling also says that the House should have subpoena power over other top regime officials, and that Trump himself may not be immune from testimony.
60 Jackson’s wording was some of the strongest yet to criticize the White House’s approach to investigations into Trump. The Justice Department, which represents McGahn, said it would appeal.
61 On Tuesday, the lawyer for John Bolton said the court decision did not impact Bolton, claiming his “responsibilities are focused exclusively on providing information and advice to the president on national security.”
62 Jackson’s ruling said there was not “any difference whether the aides in question are privy to national security matters, or work solely on domestic issues,” saying that aides could cite executive privilege, but should testify.
63 On Tuesday, Trump attacked the ruling, tweeting, “the D.C. Wolves and Fake News Media are reading far too much” into it, and, “I am fighting for future Presidents and the Office of the President.”
64 Trump claimed, “I would actually like people to testify. Don McGahn’s respected lawyer has already stated that I did nothing wrong,” and complimented John Bolton as a “patriot” for not testifying.
65 Trump added, “I would love to have Mike Pompeo, Rick Perry, Mick Mulvaney and many others testify about the phony Impeachment Hoax,” adding, “It is a Democrat Scam that is going nowhere.”
66 On Tuesday, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said the debunked conspiracy theory that Ukraine, not Russia, interfered in the 2016 election is worthy of investigation, saying we have “a duty to make sure we chase that down.”
67 Pompeo told reporters that in his time as CIA director, he learned “there were many countries that were actively engaged in trying to undermine American democracy, our rule of law.”
68 Pompeo refused to say what he and Giuliani discussed in two March phone calls revealed in State Department records in Week 158, telling reporters, “I don’t have much to say with respect to the Ukraine investigation.”
69 Pompeo also side-stepped questions about Trump’s morning tweet, in which he said he would “love to have Mike Pompeo” and other officials testify, responding, “When the time is right, all good things happen.”
70 Later Tuesday, Bolton tweeted, “our country’s commitment to our national security priorities is under attack from within,” and, “America is distracted. Our enemies are not.” It was unclear what Bolton meant or his intention.
71 On Wednesday, a federal judge on the DC Circuit Court temporarily stayed Jackson’s order for McGahn to comply with a House subpoena to testify, and said the appeals court would hear arguments on January 3.
72 On January 3, the DC Circuit Court will also hear arguments on whether the DOJ must turn over Mueller grand jury testimony to the House. The DOJ is also representing McGahn.
73 On Monday, the Supreme Court blocked the House Oversight Committee from immediately obtaining Trump’s tax returns, giving Trump’s lawyers until December 5 to file a petition stating why it should accept the case.
74 If the petition is denied, the lower court ruling will go into effect. If accepted, the case will be heard before June. The House lawyer said, “Each day of delay harms Congress by depriving it of important information.”
75 On Tuesday, the House Oversight Committee sued AG William Barr and Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross for failing to turn over documents related to the regime’s failed attempt to add a citizenship question to the 2020 Census.
76 On Saturday, WAPO reported during the team’s visit to the White House as NCAA champions, the Columbia fencing team was not able to give Trump a letter critical of his gender equity policies, nor wear pins in support of it.
77 On Monday, WAPO reported José Ricardo Villalta Canales sued Maryland Natural Resources Police for turning him over to ICE where he remained in custody for three months, after being fined for cutting down a tree.
78 On Monday, WAPO reported the Education Secretary is poised to issue sweeping rules governing campus sexual assault, requiring universities to allow cross examination of those alleging sexual assault.
79 The proposal received an astounding 124,196 public comments, criticism from advocacy groups, survivors of sexual assault and campus leaders. Secretary Betsy DeVos said the new system would restore balance.
80 On Monday, DOJ Pride, a group of DOJ employees who are LGBTQ, sent a letter to AG Barr arguing the department’s stance against Title VII of the Civil Rights Act had a “clear and negative impact on employee morale.”
81 The letter cited concern the DOJ does not “support its LGBTQ workforce” or believe they “need or deserve anti-discrimination protections,” and the department “will be less able to recruit and retain talented employees.”
82 On Monday, Google fired Rebecca Rivers, the employee who helped organize a petition against its working with Customs and Border Protection. She was placed on administrative leave earlier this month.
83 On Monday, Trump ally and conservative broadcaster Rick Wiles warned on his show of a “Jew Coup,” saying Jewish members of Congress, the media, and the government were trying to take down Trump with impeachment.
84 On Wednesday, LA Magazine reported Tom Bowers, a Deutsche Bank executive who signed off on bank’s unorthodox loans to Trump, committed suicide. Rosemary Vrablic, Trump’s private banker, reported to Bower.
85 On Wednesday, Detroit Free Press reported 90 foreign students were arrested at a fake university set up the Department of Homeland Security in metro Detroit, bringing the total to 250 since it was set up in January.
86 University of Farmington was set up as part of a sting operation to entice foreign-born students, mostly from India, to register for a school that claimed it offered graduate programs in technology and computer studies.
87 The students arrived legally in the U.S. on student visas, but since the school was revealed to be a federal creation, they lost their immigration status, and 250 were arrested by Immigration and Customs Enforcement.
88 On Wednesday, WSJ reported according to a report by the DHS IG, the department did not have the necessary process in place to track how many migrant children were separated from their families.
89 The report found U.S. Customs and Border Protection was aware of the deficiency in November 2017, but the agency did little to address the problem ahead of mass separations that took place from May to June 2018.
90 The report found Trump’s “zero-tolerance” policy backfired, citing CBP agents were so overwhelmed, they released more migrants from detention and failed to turn over children in the required 72 hour window.
91 The report found at least 1,200 migrant children were not properly tracked by the government, and it is not known if they were reunited with their families.
92 On Thursday, WSJ reported that immigration judges in San Diego are quietly disrupting Trump’s new “Remain in Mexico” rule. Between January and September, 33% of the cases before the nine judges were terminated.
93 On Wednesday, ProPublica and Portland Monthly reported three women say they experienced sexual misconduct by Gordon Sondland in business settings before he become ambassador, including one saying he exposed himself.
94 All three women described professional retaliation when they rebuffed him, including one saying he backtracked from investing in her business. All three women agreed to be named in the reporting.
95 In a letter to ProPublica, Sondland’s attorney accused it of trying to “affect Ambassador Sondland’s credibility as a fact witness,” and suggested the news organizations of “veiled witness tampering.”
96 On Thursday, associates of Sondland said he had no plans to resign over the allegations, which he denied.
97 On Friday, Guardian reported the Ohio legislature introduced a bill that required doctors to “reimplant an ectopic pregnancy,” a procedure that does not exist in medical science, or face charges of “abortion murder.”
98 The bill, one of the most extreme anti-abortion introduced to date, marks the second time obstetricians and gynecologists have told Ohio legislators that an idea is medically impossible.
99 On Saturday, Rep. Ilhan Omar’s 2020 opponent, Danielle Stella, was permanently banned from Twitter, after tweeting the congresswoman “should be tried for #treason and hanged.”
100 Stella took to Facebook to defend her rhetoric and the accompanying image, citing a conspiracy theory and claiming, “I believe all involved should be thoroughly investigated. I did not threaten anyone.”
101 On Monday, Hong Kong voters delivered a landslide victory to pro-democracy candidates, who won almost 90% of districts. China-backed leader Carrie Lam said she will “listen humbly” to the views of the public.
102 However, the Chinese foreign minister warned, “Whatever happens, Hong Kong is always a part of China and any attempts to create chaos in Hong Kong or to jeopardise its prosperity and stability will not be successful.”
103 On Sunday, Axios reported that White House officials directed Sen. Lindsey Graham to block the Armenian genocide resolution after leaving a meeting with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan in the Oval Office.
104 On Monday, Sen. Ron Wyden said in his investigation of Turkish state-run bank Halkbank, accused of the biggest money laundering scheme in US history, he learned that Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin attended lunch with Erdoğan.
105 The Treasury Department disclosed Mnuchin had six other meetings with top Turkish officials. Wyden said Treasury “does not deny” Trump tasked Mnuchin “with intervening in the criminal investigation of Halkbank.”
106 On Monday, Reuters reported Turkey will test its new Russian S-400 missile defenses, despite pressure from the Trump regime to drop the system, which is incompatible with NATO defenses.
107 On Thursday, CNN reported the Trump regime plans to cut its financial contribution to NATO, seen as a symbolic move, ahead of Trump attending a summit of NATO’s 70th anniversary in London next week.
108 U.S. officials say the regime plans to reduce the U.S. contribution down to 16% of the overall budget, in line with Germany which provides 15% but has a smaller economy. Other NATO members will make up the shortfall.
109 On Thursday, speaking alongside the NATO chief, French President Emanuel Macron criticized Turkey’s operation in Syria against Kurds, who were critical in the fight against ISIS, after Trump’s withdrawal.
110 On Friday, Erdoğan called Macron “brain dead,” and “inexperienced” for saying Turkey should not be part of NATO. France summoned the Turkish envoy to explain Erdoğan’s comment.
111 On Thursday, Seoul said North Korea fired two short-range projectiles, the 13th major public weapons test by Kim Jong Un this year.
112 On Tuesday, WSJ reported Trump secretly met Sunday morning with Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp and his preferred pick to fill the state’s Senate seat, Kelly Loeffler, at the White House — and told Kemp not to pick Loeffler.
113 Reportedly, Trump did not inform White House aides about the meeting which turned acrimonious. Trump pushed for Rep. Doug Collins, who would be a certain vote against impeachment.
114 On Friday, Trump ally Rep. Matt Gaetz called for a primary challenge to Kemp for not obeying Trump, tweeting, “maybe you need a primary in 2022,” adding, “Let’s see if you can win one w/o Trump.”
115 On Sunday, WSJ reported Andrew Favorov, the head of natural gas for Naftogaz, told SDNY federal prosecutors that Parnas and Fruman tried to recruit him in March to help oust Naftogaz CEO Andriy Kobolyev.
116 Favorov said the two described Kobolyev and Marie Yovanovitch as part of “this Soros cartel” working against Trump, and said he should take over as CEO of Naftogaz. Favorov said he reported their plan to Kobolyev.
117 On Monday, WSJ reported prosecutors have subpoenaed Giuliani Partners, Giuliani’s consultant business, and sent subpoenas and other requests to possible witnesses for records and information on Giuliani, Parnas, and Fruman.
118 Subpoenas list eight possible charges, including obstruction of justice, money laundering, conspiracy to defraud, making false statements, serving as an agent of a foreign government without registering with the DOJ.
119 Other charges include donating funds from foreign nationals, making contributions in the name of another person or allowing someone else to use one’s name to make a contribution, and mail fraud and wire fraud.
120 On Monday, WAPO reported SDNY federal prosecutors are also investigating Parnas and Fruman’s interactions with Giuliani and the main pro-Trump super PAC, America First Action, set up after the election.
121 Investigators are scrutinizing Giuliani Partners’ donations to the PAC. Parnas and Fruman attended an America First dinner in April 2018, at which they spoke to Trump about Yovanovitch.
122 On Monday, NYT reported Giuliani targeted two Ukrainian oligarchs with legal trouble in the U.S., Dmitry Firtash and Ihor Kolomoisky, to help him dig up damaging information on Joe Biden.
123 Kolomoisky said he met with Giuliani and Parnas under a made-up pretense, and Giuliani asked him to set up a meeting with Zelensky. He said no, so Giuliani tweeted an uncomplimentary article about him.
124 Firtash initially said he did not have information on the Bidens, but hired lawyers Victoria Toensing and Joseph diGenova, recommended by Giuliani, who approached the DOJ on his behalf.
125 Confidential documents on Firtash made their way to John Solomon, who was a client of Toensing. Giuliani and Solomon obtained a sworn affidavit from Shokin saying Biden wanted him fired, taken by Firtash’s legal team.
126 On Tuesday, WAPO reported Venezuelan energy executive Alejandro Betancourt López hosted Giuliani in Madrid in August, and hired him to help him in a DOJ investigation of money laundering and bribery.
127 A month later, Giuliani was part of a legal team for Betancourt that met with the chief of the DOJ’s criminal division and other government attorneys, saying he should not face criminal charges.
128 The $1.2 billion money laundering case is the latest example of Giuliani using his access in the Trump regime to offer his services to foreign clients. The Madrid meeting took place as Giuliani pursued the Ukraine campaign.
129 On Tuesday, in an interview with former Fox News host Bill O’Reilly, Trump distanced himself from Giuliani and contradicted witnesses, saying of Giuliani’s efforts with Ukraine, “No, I didn’t direct him.”
130 Asked what Giuliani was doing in Ukraine, Trump said, “You have to ask that to Rudy,” and “I don’t even know,” adding, “I know he was going to go to Ukraine and I think he canceled a trip,” and “Rudy has other clients.”
131 In Week 130 NYT reported Giuliani had planned a trip to visit Zelensky to push for investigations, but canceled after political blowback. Gordon Sondland and Kurt Volker mentioned him 430 times in their testimony.
132 On Wednesday, WAPO reported Giuliani was in talks with Ukraine’s former top prosecutor, Yuri Lutsenko, on a deal for Giuliani Partners to work for Ukrainians. Legal agreements were drafted, but not signed.
133 Talks occurred between the two in New York in January and Warsaw in February, as Giuliani was gathering information on the Bidens and Ukraine 2016 interference, and wanted Lutsenko’s help with that.
134 Lutsenko wanted a pipeline to top U.S. officials arranged by Giuliani. Notably, Giuliani told WAPO that he does not charge Trump any fees for legal services.
135 Giuliani’s firm would have been paid a $200,000 retainer, then a $300,000 monthly fee from the Ministry of Justice. Toensing and diGenova were also mentioned, and were part of a separate proposal with the Ministry.
136 On Wednesday, Reuters reported Giuliani called Trump to say he was joking about having an “insurance policy” if Trump turned on him on the Ukraine scandal.
137 Giuliani’s lawyer Robert Costello said the call was made “at my insistence,” adding of Giuliani, “He shouldn’t joke, he is not a funny guy. I told him, ‘Ten thousand comedians are out of work, and you make a joke.’”
138 On Monday, WAPO reported Trump has made Jared Kushner the de facto project manager for constructing his wall, following frustration with the lack of progress ahead of the 2020 election.
139 Kushner has pushed CBP and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to expedite the process of taking over private land. More than 800 filings to seize private property are expected to be made in the coming months.
140 Kushner has started convening biweekly meetings in the West Wing, and has clashed with career officials who question his ideas and say he lacks knowledge on policy issues and politics of the immigration debate.
141 On Monday, Daniel Walsh, the deputy White House chief of staff, who had significant and broad responsibility, resigned. He was one of the last senior officials remaining from day one of the regime.
142 It was unclear what Walsh would do next, but the White House said he planned to join the private sector. Senior officials leaving the Trump regime have had mixed luck with their professional careers.
143 On Tuesday, the House committees released transcripts of OMB official Mark Sandy’s closed-door deposition in the impeachment inquiry. Sandy, a career official, was the only OMB official to testify.
144 Sandy, the deputy associate director for national-security programs, said he flagged concerns with his boss at OMB that the hold on Ukraine aid could violate appropriations laws.
145 Sandy said on July 12 he received an email from Mulvaney’s office, notifying him that Trump had directed the regime to freeze Ukraine’s military aid.
146 Sandy said he signed the paperwork for the hold in July, but was not given a reason for the hold until September, when he was told it was Trump’s desire to have other countries contribute aid to Ukraine.
147 Sandy said Michael Duffey, a political appointee took over the process for Ukraine aid on July 30, and began personally approving foreign aid and defense accounts, a task typically overseen by career officials.
148 Sandy said he first got questions on aid from Duffey on July 19 when Duffey said Trump had questions. On July 25, Sandy approved a temporary freeze after getting guidance from OMB lawyers.
149 Sandy said that two OMB officials had expressed frustration and quit, in part because of the hold on Ukraine aid. One was in the legal division and had a “dissenting opinion” over whether aid could be put on hold.
150 On Tuesday, the House also released the deposition transcript for Philip Reeker, a senior State Department official. The two transcripts were the final two to be released from closed-door impeachment depositions.
151 Reeker defended Yovanovitch, and described a State Department leadership failure, including by Pompeo, to defend her.
152 Reeker had a call with Ulrich Brechbuhl, counselor at State and confidant of Pompeo on April 24, who told him things had gotten “suddenly much worse” for her and there was “a lot of unhappiness” in the White House.
153 On Tuesday, the House Budget Committee said in a report that the OMB engaged in a “pattern of abuse” of its authority and the law by withholding State Department and Pentagon aid to Ukraine approved by Congress.
154 The report said limiting the spending is a violation of the Impoundment Control Act of 1974, adding the funds were not released until September 12, when the House was notified of the whistleblower complaint.
155 On Tuesday, the House Judiciary Committee announced its first public hearings on impeachment will start on December 4, with a panel on the “constitutional grounds for presidential impeachment.”
156 Chair Jerrold Nadler said Trump’s counsel can participate in the hearing and question witnesses. The House Intelligence report will be released shortly after Congress returns from Thanksgiving recess.
157 Chair Nadler in a letter to Trump, gave him until December 1 to inform the committee if he plans to participate in the hearings. House Judiciary has the power to draft articles of impeachment against Trump.
158 On Tuesday, NYT reported that Trump had already been briefed by lawyers from the White House counsel’s office about the whistleblower in late August — well before he released aid to Ukraine in September.
159 At the time lawyers briefed Trump, they were trying to determine if they were legally required to give the complaint to Congress, after it was given to the intelligence committee’s inspector general in mid-August.
160 In late August, the intelligence committee IG Michael Atkinson concluded the complaint should go to Congress. White House counsel Pat Cipollone and his deputy John Eisenberg disagreed, citing executive privilege.
161 Given the disagreement, advice was sought from the DOJ’s Office of Legal Counsel. A week later the OLC concluded the regime did not have to turn over the complaint.
162 On Tuesday, CNN reported according to a House Budget Committee summary, the OMB’s first official action to withhold $250 million in Pentagon aid to Ukraine came on the evening of July 25.
163 Trump spoke to Zelensky at 9:00 a.m. ET. Laura Cooper said an email from the State Department came at 2:31 p.m., saying, “Ukrainian embassy and House foreign affairs committee are asking about security assistance.”
164 Another email from State at 4:25 p.m. said, “The Hill knows about the FMF situation to an extent and so does the Ukrainian embassy.” Cooper said “my staff got a question from a Ukraine embassy contact” too.
165 A letter from Michael Duffey, an OMB political appointee, on August 9 said the OMB would begin releasing 2% of State Department funds each day. When Politico reported on August 29 of aid being withheld, 25% of funds were released each Sunday.
166 On Tuesday, at a rally near Miami, Florida which Trump dubbed a “homecoming rally” — the first in the state since he switched his primary residence — Trump lashed out at the impeachment inquiry.
167 Trump accused Democrats of “trying to rip our nation apart” with investigations, saying, “First it was the Russia hoax,” and “now the same maniacs are pushing the deranged … impeachment” narrative.
168 Trump continued to say that he did nothing wrong, and that Democrats are moving forward on impeachment because “they know that they cannot win the next election.”
169 Trump claimed he beat the “Clinton dynasty,” adding, “And then we beat Barack Hussein Obama and whatever the hell dynasty that is!” —  stressing Obama’s middle name. It was unclear what he meant.
170 Trump added, “we won these last two weeks so solidly,” and “You see what’s happening in the polls? Everybody said, ‘That’s really bulls***,” and described his supporters as the “super elite.”
171 Trump added, “They said he went into the hospital. And it’s true, I didn’t wear a tie,” adding, “first thing they do is say, ‘Take off your shirt, sir, and show us that gorgeous chest. We’ve never seen a chest quite like it.’”
172 Trump said he pushed back by pardoning and granting clemency to military members, saying, “I stuck up for three great warriors against the deep state,” and, “you know what I’m talking about.”
173 Trump added, “I had so many people say, ‘Sir, I don’t think you should do that,’” adding, “I will always stick up for our great fighters,” and, “People can sit there in air-conditioned offices and complain.”
174 Trump also claimed the “radical left” wants to “change the name Thanksgiving. They don’t want to use the term Thanksgiving.” The idea came from Fox News segments on the “War on Thanksgiving.”
175 Trump compared it to the so-called War on Christmas, saying, “Now everybody is using Christmas again,” saying of Thanksgiving, “Everybody here loves the name Thanksgiving and we’re not changing it!”
176 On Wednesday, WAPO reported while Trump’s phone conversation with Sondland on September 9 where he said, “I want nothing. I want no quid pro quo,” is a centerpiece of GOP defense, it may not have happened.
177 There are no other witness testimony or documents to corroborate Sondland’s impeachment inquiry testimony about the call. Trump referred only to what Sondland said in his written notes speaking to the press.
178 The White House has not located a record in its switchboard logs of the September 9 call, raising questions about the accuracy of Sondland’s testimony. Trump has cited the call as proof he was not seeking favor.
179 There was however a call between them in early September in which Trump said he wanted “no quid pro quo,” but that he did want Zelensky to publicly announce investigations into his political opponents.
180 Tim Morrison said after Sondland described that call to him on September 7, he had sinking feeling, saying he “did not think it was a good idea for the Ukrainian president to . . . involve himself in our politics.”
181 Sondland has been confronted about September 9 because of his WhatsApp messaging with William Taylor, and five hour delay in responding. His account of his conversation has evolved in his testimony.
182 Given the time difference, the call would have taken place at roughly 5:30 a.m. ET — two hours before a colleague said Sondland typically would have called. Trump’s first tweet on September 9 was at 6:21 a.m.
183 On Wednesday, NYT reported in a draft of his soon to be released report, DOJ IG Michael Horowitz found no evidence the FBI attempted to place undercover agents or informants inside Trump’s 2016 campaign.
184 The finding undercuts the conspiracy theories frequently cited by Trump and his allies that not only did the FBI spy, but also frequent accusations by Trump that Obama had ordered his phone to be tapped.
185 The report will also undercut a claim by Trump allies that Joseph Mifsud was an FBI informant. George Papadopoulos has helped spread the false claim, saying he was set up by the FBI and CIA, without offering proof.
186 The report was also expected to debunk a theory that the FBI relied on the Steele dossier information to open their investigation. The dossier was cited in the wiretap applications for Carter Page.
187 On Wednesday, ProPublica reported according to a review of documents, the Trump Org reported higher numbers to lenders, and lower to tax officials for Trump Tower, the third Trump property known to do so.
188 On Wednesday, Trump tweeted an image of his head superimposed on the body of Sylvester Stallone in his boxing gear from the movie “Rocky.” It was unclear why.
189 On Thursday, CNN reported there is worry and a morale problem at the Pentagon over Trump’s decision making, including intervening in the cases of service members, and sporadic and impulsive decision making.
190 Military leaders are also concerned that Trump is being influenced by Fox News commentators in ways that encourage him to politicize the military, an institution that is meant to stay above the fray of politics.
191 Military leaders also cited Trump’s intervention in war crimes has created “confusion,” making it appear there is no accountability if people violate their oath or commit crimes so long as they can get Trump in their corner.
192 They also cite concern of Trump’s divisive rhetoric and mercurial management style, including frequently issuing orders in tweets, which undermines national security by making planning increasingly difficult.
193 On Thursday, Thanksgiving, Trump made a surprise visit in Afghanistan. His flight was shrouded in secrecy and kept from the media until he arrived, in what was described as “a made-for-TV drama” display with the military.
194 Trump’s three-and-a-half-hour stop marked his second visit to a combat zone while in office, after facing criticism for going two years without a visit to troops overseas. He had hinted recently, “I’m going to a war zone.”
195 While visiting troops, Trump claimed he came because the Taliban “wants to make a deal. And we’re meeting with them, and we’re saying it has to be a cease-fire.” Trump broke off talks with the Taliban in September.
196 Trump also claimed, “They didn’t want to do a cease-fire, but now they do want to do a cease-fire,” adding, “It will probably work out that way…We’ve made tremendous progress.” It was unclear what Trump meant.
197 On Friday, WAPO reported neither the Taliban nor the government of Afghan President Ashraf Ghani indicated that a cease-fire was near, or even being discussed.
198 A spokesperson for the Taliban told the Post, “We are ready to talk, but we have the same stance to resume the talks from where it was suspended.” Back home, the Trump regime also lowered expectations on talks.
199 On Friday, Daily Beast reported Trump invoked Section 412 of the PATRIOT Act, which permits indefinite detention of resident aliens on national security grounds, on Palestinian Adham Amin Hassoun.
200 This marks the first time in the 18 years since the act was enacted that this obscure provision has been used. Hassoun was never accused of an act or plot of violence, but for cutting checks to extremist-tied Muslim charities.
201 On Friday, HuffPost reported that Trump has spent $115 million on travel and security expenses at golf trips. Some of those expenditures have gone to Trump’s personal benefit for staffers who stay and eat at his properties.
202 The exact amount cannot be determined, because the White House has repeatedly refused to provide documentation on aides staying at his properties, or receipts for the charges they incurred.
203 On Friday, Chair Nadler asked Trump in a letter if he intends to mount a defense during the committee’s consideration of impeachment articles, asking if his lawyers will present evidence or call witnesses.
204 Nadler gave a December 6 deadline. Nadler also said the committee has been investigating if Trump engaged in “obstruction of justice” detailed in the Mueller report, and may draft an impeachment article on the report.
205 Nadler said the committee will hear a public defense of Trump during the week of December 9, and the entire House plans to vote on impeachment during the week of December 16, before leaving for holiday break.
206 The White House had not yet responded to an email seeking comment on Friday, and Trump weighs whether to participate in the impeachment hearings, which he has called a sham and unfair.
207 On Friday, NYT after facing an outcry from Trump allies on Fox News for his silence on impeachment, Sen. Graham has emerged as a Trump defender. He tweeted on Wednesday, “Salem witches got a better deal than this!”
208 On Friday, CNN reported Ukrainian officials are discussing ways to improve the country’s standing with Trump, and may still announce investigations that would politically benefit Trump.
209 The discussions come as Zelensky is slated to meet with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Paris on December 9, along with leaders of France and Germany, and is eager to show that Ukraine has U.S. support.
210 On Friday, presidential historian David Brinkley predicted support for Trump will collapse “once the vote is taken by Congress to impeach him and he’s wearing the ‘I’ on his chest.”
211 Brinkley added after Congress votes, “you’re going to see that movement grow even more,” adding, “It tells you he doesn’t have a lot of friends, he’s a base politician. He doesn’t know how to turn this around.”
212 On Saturday, the Hill reported no Republican senators want to take over as chair of the Senate Ethics Committee, with Sen. Johnny Isakson retiring, an unusual occurrence to have a chair position difficult to fill.
213 The Ethics committee is responsible for enforcing standards of behavior for senators and their staff, and investigating potential violations of federal law or the Senate’s rules. One senator said “I’d rather have a root canal.”
214 On Saturday, CBS News reported Speaker Nancy Pelosi will lead a delegation of Democratic House and Senate members next week to the annual international climate summit known as COP25 in Madrid.
215 The trip comes after Trump formally withdrew from the Paris climate accord. Pelosi said, “On behalf of the U.S. Congress, I am proud to travel to COP25 to reaffirm the commitment of the American people.”
216 On Saturday, NYT reported on voting machines that malfunctioned in Northampton County, Pennsylvania in the 2019 election, and left officials scrambling to count paper ballots by hand overnight.
217 The machines were ExpressVoteXL, made by Election Systems & Software, and are among their newest and most high-end machines, which combines a touch-screen with a paper ballot. Problems were identified in testing.
218 The suburbs of Philadelphia will play a critical role in the 2020 election. The snafus highlighted the fears, frustrations, and mistrust over election security that many voters are feeling ahead of the election.
219 Concerns are heightened in an era when candidates and incumbents have challenged or discredited a close loss, either using unfounded allegations of voter fraud or claims of a “rigged” election.
220 On Saturday, WAPO reported as Trump faces impeachment, he and his aides have staged photo opportunities and public events to showcase him on the job and make him seem hard at work.
221 At his rally in Florida, Trump told supporters, “I’m working my ass off,” and “The failed Washington establishment is trying to stop me because I’m fighting for you and because we’re winning.”
222 Trump recently met with former Clinton strategist Mark Penn, who counseled him to focus on governing and travel more. Trump is seeking to draw a contrast to Democrats as they try to impeach and remove him.
223 On Saturday, Trump was uncharacteristically quiet on Twitter, unlike tweet storms in recent weeks. Between Friday, and the close of Week 159 mid-Saturday, Trump sent only four tweets.
The Weekly List podcast is here! You can find more information here by clicking here.

POLITIKS OF GRAFFITI 158: “GUILTY ON ALL 7 COUNTS”

NOVEMBER 16, 2019

Week 157 of AMY SISKIND’S LIST

Experts in authoritarianism advise to keep a list of things
subtly changing around you, so you’ll remember. https://theweeklylist.org/weekly-list/week-157/

This week public impeachment hearings started, with three career diplomats testifying before the House Intelligence Committee. Senate Republicans were notably quiet in their defense of Trump, while Republican House members focused mostly on the process, especially for the third witness, Maria Yovanovitch, who proved unassailable. William Taylor testified about a previously unknown phone call on July 26 overheard by his staffer David Holmes, in which Trump asked about “the investigation,” and Sondland assured him Ukraine would comply. Closed door hearings continued as well, as more career officials came forward to testify.

This week, Trump faced threats on other fronts, as longtime ally Roger Stone was found guilty on all charges of lying to Congress, tampering with witnesses, and concealing evidence in an effort prosecutors said was to shield Trump. Stone’s conviction was the sixth of a senior Trump official arising from the Mueller probe. This week Trump lawyers appealed two cases to the Supreme Court, both of which would require him to turn over eight years of his tax returns.

The world order continued to shift, as Trump hosted and praised Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan at the White House, weeks after Turkish-forces invaded Northern Syria, and notably in contrast to having not yet hosted Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky. French President Emmanuel Macron announced France would host a Ukraine summit on December 9, inviting leaders of Ukraine, Russia, and Germany, while pledging unwavering support to Zelensky.IMG_3812Political Cartoons were on fire this week 🙂 IMG_3813

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“Guilty on ALL 7 Counts” – Roger Stone by Jim Carrey 15Nov19
IMG_3815
President Bone Spurs and the joke he is on Veterans’ Day. Art: Jim Carrey
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This is interesting. This was sent to me from a Canadian costume designer who explained that she isn’t a portrait artist, but Maria Yovanovitch inspired her, so she drew her. 🙂 Artist: Resa M.

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New York City. August 2019.

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Pro-Regime sticker found in downtown San Diego, CA. October 2019.
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New York City – August 2019. 
  1. On Saturday, CNN reported John Bolton, who refused to testify in the impeachment inquiry in Week 156, has landed a book deal. Bolton’s book will be published before the 2020 presidential election.
  2. On Saturday, Chair Adam Schiff said the whistleblower would not be called to testify, saying, “It remains the duty of the Intelligence Committee to protect whistleblowers,” and it would be “redundant and unnecessary.”
  3. On Saturday, NYT reported State Department officials are showing their support for Maria Yovanovitch, who is scheduled to testify in the impeachment inquiry Friday, using the hashtag #GoMasha.
  4. Employees also have raised money for department officials testifying, and share supportive notes about William Taylor and George Kent. Rarely have State officials been at the center of a revolt against a president and his top appointees.
  5. On Sunday, Nikki Haley claimed in a new book that John Kelly and Rex Tillerson tried to recruit her to undermine Trump, saying, “they weren’t being insubordinate, they were trying to save the country.”
  6. Haley also claimed that while serving as Secretary of State, Tillerson told her people would die if Trump went unchecked. At the time she was U.S. ambassador to the UN, and refused.
  7. On Sunday, Donald Jr. and his girlfriend Kimberly Guilfoyle were booed offstage by far right students at an event for his book, “Triggered,” at UCLA, after he refused to take questions.
  8. The scene contradicted the central thesis of Donald Jr.’s book on the left’s intolerance, and revealed a fissure between conservatives in Turning Point USA and self-professed nationalists in the “America First” movement.
  9. On Sunday, Sen. Lindsey Graham told “Fox News Sunday” that if House Democrats keep the whistleblower’s identity private then impeachment is “dead on arrival” when it reaches the Senate.
  10. On Sunday, Republicans complained about House Republicans not being able to call their chosen witnesses. Sen. John Kennedy said House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Chair Schiff are “doubling down on stupid.”
  11. Sen. Rand Paul told “Meet the Press” not being able to call Hunter Biden and the whistleblower is “sort of a sham,” adding, “That’s not really even a trial.”
  12. Shortly after, Trump also complained, tweeting, “Corrupt politician Adam Schiff” wants White House staffers “to testify in his and Pelosi’s disgraceful Witch Hunt,” but will not “allow ANY of our requested witnesses.”
  13. Trump also tweeted, “The call to the Ukrainian President was PERFECT. Read the Transcript! There was NOTHING said that was in any way wrong,” adding, “NOTHING WAS DONE WRONG!”
  14. Trump also warned, “Republicans, don’t be led into the fools trap of saying it was not perfect, but is not impeachable.” WAPO reported so far 14 Republicans and Trump appointees have said the call was not perfect.
  15. On Sunday, Sen. Ron Johnson said on “State of the Union” that he would take impeachment inquiry testimony from Gordon Sondland, Fiona Hill, and Alexander Vindman “with a grain of salt.”
  16. On Sunday, NYT reported Lev Parnas claimed he told a representative from the incoming government in Ukraine that VP Mike Pence would not come to the inauguration and aid would be frozen unless they announced an investigation of the Bidens.
  17. Parnas claimed he delivered the warning in Kiev, shortly before the inauguration in May. If his claim is corroborated, it would be the earliest instance of U.S. aid being tied to demands Ukraine investigate.
  18. Lawyers for Igor Fruman said Parnas’s claim, which contradicts the narrative of Trump and Rudy Giuliani and would directly link Giuliani to threats, was false, saying the demand did not come up in the meeting.
  19. On Sunday, Rep. Peter King, who served in Congress for almost three decades, said he would retire and not run in 2020. King was the 20th House Republican to announce their plan not to run in 2020.
  20. On Sunday, Bill Moyers told CNN for the first time in his life he fears for the country, saying, “a society, a democracy, can die of too many lies. And we’re getting close to that terminal moment.”
  21. On Monday, Axios reported a poll found 74% of Democrats say politics is making them angry, and 71% say they feel like “strangers in their own land.” For Republicans, the numbers were 57% angry, 52% like strangers.
  22. On Monday, Trump tweeted, “So with one Rally by me at the end of the campaign, I lift the poll numbers of Kentucky Governor Matt Bevin by 19 points.” This is false. A poll before had Bevin up by five points.
  23. On Monday, Trump attacked the impeachment probe, tweeting, “lawyer for the Whistleblower takes away all credibility from this big Impeachment Scam!” saying he and Schiff “should be investigared [sic] for fraud!
  24. Trump also falsely claimed “Shifty Adam Schiff” had “doctored transcripts,” and “Republicans should put out their own transcripts!” and “Schiff must testify as to why he MADE UP a statement from me.”
  25. On Monday, House investigators released transcripts of testimony for Laura Cooper, Catherine Croft, and Christopher Anderson. Cooper said she first learned at a mid-June meeting with Trump about aid being withheld.
  26. Cooper said she got “Follow-up from POTUS meeting” questions from Mick Mulvaney on which U.S. industries were involved in the aid, what other countries were contributing, and which agencies provided the funding.
  27. Cooper testified she and other Pentagon officials repeatedly warned the White House during the summer that failing to release aid to Ukraine that had been approved by Congress could violate the Impoundment Control Act.
  28. Cooper said Kurt Volker let her to make a “very strong inference” Ukraine knew aid was being withheld long before the information was made public, and Taylor sounded “alarm bells…that there were Ukrainians who knew.”
  29. Cooper said on July 18 the Pentagon sought clarification from the White House on why aid was being held up. On July 23, the Office of Management and Budget told agencies Trump had “concerns about Ukraine and Ukraine security assistance.”
  30. Cooper was asked by Steve Castor, one of the House Republican lawyers, about the whistleblower. Cooper said she was unaware of the complaint before it was made public. Much of her related testimony was redacted.
  31. Anderson, an adviser to Volker, testified he heard warning from Bolton on the influence Giuliani was having on Trump related to Ukraine, saying, “every time Ukraine is mentioned, Giuliani pops up.”
  32. Anderson testified Bolton told him Trump called him at home to complain about a CNN story that the Navy was pushing back against Russian aggression in the Black Sea. The operation was later canceled.
  33. Anderson said he was concerned that Giuliani’s presence with Trump would make it harder for the U.S. to push Russia back to the negotiations table to end its armed conflict with Ukraine.
  34. Croft, who succeeded Anderson, said she was “trepidatious” about taking the job, saying, “it was possible that the Trump administration would choose to change its policy to suit domestic politics.”
  35. Croft testified the Ukrainians “found out very early on” that Ukraine aid had been frozen. She said the decision by the OMB was made at Trump’s behest, and was widely circulated on July 18.
  36. Croft also testified Mulvaney, as then head of the OMB, put a hold on sending lethal Javelin missiles to Ukraine, citing, “Russia would react negatively to the provision of Javelins to Ukraine.”
  37. Croft noted it was “rather unusual to have OMB expressing concerns that were purely policy-based and not budget-oriented.” OMB staffers also started to regularly attend meetings on Ukraine, which was atypical.
  38. Cooper also said it was unusual for OMB to be out of step on withholding aid, after the Pentagon gave its approval in May, and approval of Ukraine’s anti-corruption work was “unanimous” from the ­other agencies.
  39. Shortly after, Trump reiterated his call for the whistleblower to testify, tweeting, “Where is the Whistleblower who gave so much false information? Must testify along with Schiff and others!”
  40. Trump also tweeted, “To think I signed the Whistleblower Protection Act!” Trump signed the the VA Accountability and Whistleblower Protection Act into law, which has nothing to do with the whistleblower’s complaint.
  41. Trump also tweeted, “Read the Transcript. It is PERFECT!” and added, “Schiff is giving Republicans NO WITNESSES, NO LAWYER & NO DUE PROCESS!” calling it “a totally one sided Witch Hunt.”
  42. Trump also repeated his false claim about Schiff altering transcripts, tweeting, “Just like Schiff fabricated my phone call, he will fabricate the transcripts that he is making and releasing!”
  43. Trump again teased about releasing a second Ukraine call transcript, tweeting, “In order to continue being the most Transparent President in history” he would release it, and “I am sure you will find it tantalizing!”
  44. On Monday, Condoleezza Rice, a former secretary of state under George W. Bush, said reports of shadow diplomacy in Ukraine were “deeply troubling,” and said of Trump’s July 25 call, “it is really murky.”
  45. On Monday, Trump returned to New York to kick off the 100th annual New York City Veterans Day Parade. Protestors gathered along the streets, carrying signs for impeachment, and shouting “Shame!”
  46. As Trump delivered his speech, protestors booed and jeered. Others shouted “Lock him up!” and “traitor,” and blew whistles, drowning out part of his 18 minute speech, delivered from behind a thick plexiglass shield.
  47. On Sunday, WAPO reported Mulvaney’s effort to join Charles Kupperman’s lawsuit upset allies of John Bolton, who has the same lawyer. Bolton views Mulvaney as a key participant in the Ukraine pressure campaign.
  48. On Monday, the lawyer for Kupperman said in a filing that Mulvaney should not be able join their lawsuitsince Mulvaney had spoken publicly about the impeachment inquiry at the White House briefing room.
  49. On Monday, House Democrats also filed saying Mulvaney should not be able to join, citing “the subpoena…has been withdrawn,” and “Mulvaney is differently situated from Kupperman in several important respects.”
  50. On Monday, Mulvaney filed a notice of withdrawal of his motion in Week 156 to join Kupperman’s lawsuit. On Tuesday, a notice filed by Mulvaney said he planned to file as a separate, related case.
  51. On Monday, WAPO reported on a rift between Mulvaney’s office and White House counsel Pat Cipollone’s camp over how to counter impeachment. The infighting has left the White House without a coherent strategy.
  52. Mulvaney and OMB officials who have been called to testify have refused. Mulvaney feels Cipollone is not doing enough to stop others. Cipollone feels Mulvaney made things worse with his October 17 press conference.
  53. On Tuesday, Mulvaney reversed course, saying he will not sue to block the impeachment subpoena, and instead he will “rely on the direction of” Trump and government lawyers in not appearing for a deposition.
  54. On Tuesday, in a series of tweets, Trump said, “Why is such a focus put on 2nd and 3rd hand witnesses, many of whom are Never Trumpers, or whose lawyers are Never Trumpers,” offering no evidence this is the case.
  55. Trump also tweeted, “all you have to do is read the phone call (transcript)” adding Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said “no pressure” was put on him to investigate “Sleepy Joe Biden,” and “I have an “obligation” to look into corruption.”
  56. Trump also tweeted Hunter Biden has “no knowledge or talent” and took millions from Ukraine and China, adding, “Both Bidens should be forced to testify in this No Due Process Scam!
  57. Trump sent a fourth tweet at 6:30 a.m., again referencing the second call, saying, “I will be releasing the transcript of the first, and therefore more important, phone call with the Ukrainian President before week’s end!”
  58. On Monday, Hillary Clinton called UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s delay in releasing a report on possible Russian interference in the Brexit vote “damaging, inexplicable and shaming.”
  59. On Monday, James Le Mesurier, a former British army officer who helped start the “White Helmets” aid group in Syria, was found dead, three days after Russia’s foreign ministry spokeswoman accused him of being a spy.
  60. On Tuesday, federal prosecutors asked a grand jury to issue a superseding indictment, alleging Russia-based Internet Research Agency conspired to interfere with more than one function of the Federal Election Commission.
  61. Prosecutors said IRA also tried to interfere with an FEC ban which prohibits spending on U.S. elections by foreign nationals. The case stemmed from the Mueller probe which indicted 13 Russian individuals and three firms.
  62. On Tuesday, a report by the Senate Intelligence Committee found Russian GRU hackers who stole tens of thousands of sensitive Democratic Party documents in 2016 struggled to disseminate them on social media.
  63. The report analyzed Facebook data, and found the Russian military hackers tried to post information on June 14 but got little traction. They then used Twitter persona Guccifer 2.0 to direct message U.S. journalists.
  64. On July 22, WikiLeaks published the documents and tweeted to its 3.2 million followers, and the documents went viral. Committee Chair Richard Burr called the threat of foreign interference “persistent and evolving.”
  65. On Monday, Politico reported a new report by consumer rights group Public Citizen found 200 mostly conservative campaigns and political groups have spent $8 million at Trump properties since 2016.
  66. The report found between 2012 and 2014, the groups spent just $69,000 at Trump businesses, but after he announced his run for president in 2015, the amount was $19 million, including monies spent by his campaign.
  67. On Monday, NYT reported a new draft of an EPA proposal, Strengthening Transparency in Regulatory Science, would significantly limit the scientific and medical research used to write public health rules.
  68. Scientists and physicians protested, saying the rule, which would be retroactively applied, would undermine science in policy making, noting studies on mercury, lead in paint, and air pollution would be excluded.
  69. On Monday, Politico reported Trump’s new national security adviser Robert O’Brien is moving to dramatically shrink the National Security Council, raising concerns the move is related to the impeachment inquiry.
  70. In the coming months, several dozen policy roles will be eliminated, and at least two NSC divisions are being phased out and a third moved to the White House. O’ Brien claims the changes are about improving efficiency of government.
  71. On Monday, AP reported a month after Energy Department Sec. Rick Perry visited Ukraine for Zelensky’s inauguration, two of his political supporters, Michael Bleyzer and Alex Cranberg, were awarded a gas exploration deal from the Ukrainian government.
  72. During that trip, Perry handed Zelensky a list of people he recommended as energy advisers. Bleyzer and Cranberg got the lucrative Varvynska deal despite offering millions of dollars less than their competitor to the Ukrainian government.
  73. On Monday, Trump tweeted, “A great try by @seanspicer. We are all proud of you!” after the former White House press secretary was voted off of “Dancing With the Stars.”
  74. On Tuesday, the Scotsman reported after four years and the case going to Scotland’s highest court, Trump’s firm lost a battle to stop an offshore wind farm, and must pay the Scottish government £225,000 for its legal bills.
  75. On Tuesday, Politico reported according to new documents, at least eight former Trump White House and campaign officials were hired by Medicare and Medicaid Services Administrator Seema Verma as consultants.
  76. The contractors were among at least 40 PR consultants hired on a $2.25 million contract to improve Verma’s personal brand and improve “strategic communications.” The contract was halted in April after Politico’s reporting.
  77. On Tuesday, Trump said at a speech at the Economic Club of New York that Ivanka “created 14 million jobs.” Since Trump took office, the economy has added about 6 million jobs.
  78. On Tuesday, NBC News reported Mina Chang, a top Trump appointee at the State Department, significantly embellished her resume and created a fake Time cover with her image, another example of the regime’s lax vetting.
  79. On Thursday, CNN reported the RNC will host its annual meeting at the Trump National Doral, according to an email to members. Trump abruptly reversed his decision to hold the G7 summit at the Doral in Week 154.
  80. On Sunday, the anniversary of Kristallnacht, stickers shaped like yellow Jewish stars saying “Jude” were found at multiple Jewish cemetery sites in Denmark and Sweden, and also found at some homes.
  81. On Tuesday, the FBI annual report showed hate crimes reached a 16-year high in 2018, including a 37% rise in attacks on people with disabilities and 34% rise in attacks against transgender people.
  82. On Tuesday, the Southern Poverty Law Center reported on over 900 emails sent by Stephen Miller to Breitbart editors from March 2015 to June 2016, suggesting he promoted white nationalism and far-right extremist ideas.
  83. Katie McHugh, a former Breitbart editor, leaked the emails, which were mostly related to race or immigration. Miller focused on crimes committed by nonwhites, and severely limiting or ending nonwhite immigration.
  84. The emails showed Miller used information from white supremacist sources like American Renaissance and VDARE and sent it to Breitbart and others for them to use in framing stories.
  85. Emails also show Miller reached out to anti-Muslim extremist Pamela Geller, and had ties to white nationalist figures, including Duke classmate Richard Spencer, a relationship he tried to hide to protect Trump.
  86. On Tuesday, AP reported the U.S. government held a record number of migrant children in custody in 2019: an unprecedented 69,550 children in the past year.
  87. The number of migrant children is up 42% from fiscal 2018 to 2019. United Nations researchers said the U.S. has detained more children away from their parents than any other country.
  88. On Wednesday, CNN reported immigration hardliner Ken Cuccinelli was expected to be elevated to acting deputy secretary of Homeland Security, the number two post in the department, giving him greater latitude on Trump’s signature issue.
  89. Chad Wolf was named acting secretary of DHS — the fifth person to hold the position under Trump. Republican and Democratic senators called on Trump to stop the “widespread use of temporary leadership.”
  90. On Tuesday, as the Supreme Court was about to hear a case to end DACA, Trump tweeted, “Many of the people in DACA, no longer very young, are far from ‘angels,’” adding, “Some are very tough, hardened criminals.”
  91. On Tuesday, it appeared the Supreme Court’s conservative majority would allow Trump to end DACA, which shields 700,000 young immigrants from deportation as has broad, bipartisan support.
  92. Trump’s two nominees, Brett Kavanaugh and Neil Gorsuch, said they would not second guess the regime’s reasoning and ask for further explanation. The decision will address Trump’s power over immigration.
  93. Later Tuesday, Trump quoted Fox Business host Lou Dobbs, tweeting, “DACA recipients with arrest records: 53,792!,” a misleading claim, and added, “Not good, but we will be able to make a deal with the Dems!”
  94. Trump also quoted Dobbs on the impeachment hearings starting Wednesday, tweeting, “This ridiculous Impeachment is a travesty, it’s not an inquiry. Just read the transcript.”
  95. Trump also quoted Fox News host Sean Hannity, saying, “The circus is coming to town,” blaming “The corrupt, compromised, coward & congenital liar Adam Schiff,” and “raging psychotic Democrats,” and “the Media Mob.”
  96. Trump added, “Everything you’re going to see in the next two weeks is rigged,” adding, “This is a phony showtrial” with “zero due process,” and “another fraudulent hoax conspiracy theory. It is another Witch Hunt.”
  97. Trump also added from Hannity that all Democrats have done for three years is “hurt Donald Trump and we, the people that support him. The Left has never accepted the results of the 2016 Election.”
  98. On Tuesday, House Democrats announced eight more witnesses will testify next week in the impeachment hearings, including Jennifer Williams, Vindman, Volker, Tim Morrison, Sondland, Cooper, David Hale, and Hill.
  99. On Wednesday, Trump continued to tweet from Fox News in the early morning, quoting “Fox & Friends,” tweeting, “‘Millions of Americans will see what a partisan sham this whole thing is.’ Rush Limbaugh”
  100. Trump also quoted “Fox & Friends” co-host Steve Doocy, tweeting: “The Democrats have stacked the deck against President Trump and the Republicans. They have leaked out everything.”
  101. Trump also quoted Charles Hurt on “Fox & Friends,” tweeting, “Nancy Pelosi cares more about power than she does about principle,” adding, “there was no quid…Ukraine got it’s money…there was no investigation.”
  102. Trump also tweeted, calling William Taylor and George Kent who were about to testify “NEVER TRUMPERS!” Politifact reported there is no evidence that either career foreign service officials are anti-Trump.
  103. On Wednesday, White House press secretary Stephanie Grisham told reporters Trump is “in the Oval in meetings. Not watching. He’s working.” Trump tweeted and retweeted dozens of times during the hearings.
  104. On Wednesday, ABC, CBS, PBS, and NBC broadcast networks pre-empted regular programming for the hearings. Cable-TV also broadcast it live — Fox News topped there with 2.9 million viewers, double an average day.
  105. On Wednesday, Giuliani wrote an op-ed in the WSJ, saying Trump’s “call with the Ukrainian president was innocent, and the House inquiry is a travesty,” claiming a “false narrative” from selectively leaked information.
  106. On Wednesday, a poll by Priorities USA found a plurality support impeachment in battleground states Florida, Michigan, Wisconsin, and Pennsylvania: 49% support impeachment and removal, 45% oppose it.
  107. On Wednesday, Sen. John Cornyn told reporters despite there being 53 GOP senators, Republicans do not have the 51 votes needed to dismiss impeachment articles, saying it would be better to have the trial.
  108. On Wednesday, William Taylor, acting U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine, and George Kent, the State Department’s top official on Ukraine policy, were the first two witnesses called in the House impeachment hearings.
  109. During the hearing, House committees announced two new closed door depositions for David Holmes, an official working at the U.S. Embassy in Ukraine, and Mark Sandy, an official working in the OMB.
  110. Taylor said a member of his staff overheard a phone conversation between Trump and Sondland at a restaurant in Kyiv. After, Taylor said Sondland told the staffer, “Trump cares more about the investigations” than about Ukraine.
  111. Taylor said Sondland told Trump from his cellphone that the Ukrainians were “ready to move forward.” This was the first mention of the call which took place on July 26. The staffer was identified as David Holmes.
  112. Taylor testified Sondland explained to him Trump was a “businessman,” and since he felt he had “been wronged by the Ukrainians” during the 2016 election, “he thought they owed him to fix that wrong.”
  113. Taylor spelled out the importance of U.S. aid to Ukraine, saying “Russian-led forces continue to kill Ukrainians in the war, one or two a week,” and “More Ukrainians would undoubtedly die without the US assistance.”
  114. Kent said during the Obama administration, he raised concerns about perception of conflicts of interest with Hunter Biden serving on the board of Burisma, but Joe Biden followed U.S. policy and did nothing wrong.
  115. The GOP’s rebuttal was that Ukraine did receive the aid, and there was no investigation of the Bidens. Republicans also complained on multiple occasions that the whistleblower was not scheduled to testify.
  116. Democrats shifted from using the words “quid pro quo” to “bribery” and “extortion.” Taylor noted aid to Ukraine was not only critical to that country, but also to America’s national interests.
  117. Both witnesses had resumes of bipartisan careers in foreign service. Kent noted of future witnesses, “Masha, Alex, and Fiona were born abroad before their families or they themselves personally chose to immigrate”
  118. On Wednesday, Trump was the only White House official to push back on the impeachment inquiry, telling reporters, “I don’t have teams…I’m the team,” and calling the inquiry a “sham,” and it “shouldn’t be allowed.”
  119. Trump also told reporters he did not “recall” the July 26 call with Sondland referenced by Taylor, saying, “No, not at all, not even a little bit.”
  120. Republicans emphasized that neither Taylor nor Kent directly spoke to Trump. Former Trump attorney John Dowd called Taylor “A pitiful, ignorant, insubordinate gossip with no trustworthy information.”
  121. On Wednesday, when asked about new revelations at the hearing, Trump ally Rep. Mark Meadows told reporters, “when we start to look at the facts, everybody has their impression of what truth is.”
  122. On Wednesday, Trump lawyer Joe diGenova blamed George Soros for Kent and Taylor’s testimony on Fox Business, saying he “controls a large part of” the State Department and “activities of FBI agents overseas.”
  123. George Soros’s Open Society Foundations requested Fox News and Fox Business ban diGenova from appearing over his anti-Semitic rant, and requested an on-air retraction.
  124. On Wednesday, Fox News’ prime time hosts all panned the hearings, calling them a “disaster,” “stupid,” “a national disgrace,” “DEM’S IMPEACHMENT COLLAPSE,” and a “cataclysmic mistake.”
  125. On Wednesday, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said he will not cut the impeachment trial short, and said with many GOP senators facing difficult reelection races, not to make motions that could divide the party.
  126. On Wednesday, WAPO reported Sondland’s cellphone call to Trump was a stunning breach of security. Calling a president from a cellphone violates protocols set up to protect senior officials’ communications.
  127. Russia has also shown an ability to monitor U.S. diplomats’ calls in Kyiv, and leak content to suit its interests. Trump has repeatedly shown a disregard for protocols, making him susceptible to spying.
  128. On Tuesday, NYT reported Trump has discussed firing the intelligence community’s inspector general, Michael Atkinson, whom he appointed, citing Atkinson reported the whistleblower complaint to Congress.
  129. Trump first surfaced the idea of firing Atkinson around when the complaint was made public, and he has raised the idea with aides again in recent weeks, saying he is not loyal. Some aides say Trump is just venting.
  130. Trump has started complaining about Atkinson publicly, questioning his integrity and accusing him of working with Democrats. Trump tweeted he should testify at impeachment hearings: “I.G.” should “be part of the list!”
  131. On Wednesday, WAPO reported senior aides are counseling Trump not to fire Mulvaney as chief of staff, after he has been threatening to do so for weeks. Trump is especially upset about Mulvaney’s news conference.
  132. Aides caution replacing Mulvaney during the impeachment inquiry would be unwise, especially given that he played an integral role in withholding aid from Ukraine, and cite Bolton as an example of why not to do it.
  133. On Wednesday, while the impeachment hearings were happening, Trump hosted Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan for a daylong visit at the White House, despite the authoritarian leader’s recent attack in Syria.
  134. The visit comes as Turkish forces have engaged in ethnic cleansing, and 180,000 have been forced to flee. McConnell said, “I share my colleagues’ uneasiness at seeing President Erdogan honored at the White House.”
  135. At a joint news conference with Erdogan, Trump called the impeachment hearings a “witch hunt,” saying, “I hear it’s a joke. I haven’t watched.” Trump added, “This is a sham and shouldn’t be allowed.”
  136. Trump also said, “I want to find out who is the whistleblower,” saying they got a lot wrong about his “perfect call,” and find out “why the IG” presented the complaint when “all he had to do was check the call.”
  137. Trump also said “great lawyers” like Fox News analyst Gregg Jarrett and conservative commentator Mark Levin say the call with “Ukraine was a perfect one,” and said of the hearing, “I hear that it’s a hoax.”
  138. Trump heaped praise on Erdogan, saying, “I’m a big fan of the president,” and said like himself, Erdogan has “great relationship with the Kurds,” and sided with him in believing that Europe should help him pay for the 3 million refugees.
  139. The day before the visit, Erdogan threatened to purchase Russian military fighter jets. Trump said this caused “very serious challenges for us,” and “We’ll be talking about it.”
  140. On Wednesday, Sen. Graham blocked a resolution in the Senate recognizing Armenian genocide that had passed 405-11 in the House, after meeting with Trump, Erdogan, and other GOP senators.
  141. On Thursday, Axios reported at a meeting in the Oval Office with five GOP senators, Erdogan took out an iPad and made the group watch an anti-Kurd propaganda film. Trump watched and said nothing.
  142. On Thursday, Turkish media reported Erdogan’s visit as a victory, saying Trump was “silent” when Erdogan returned his “scandalous” letter, and Erdogan told Sen. Graham “what he needed, he learned his lesson.”
  143. Late Wednesday, Trump tweeted, “Wow! Was just told that my son’s book, “Triggered,” is Number One on The New York Times Bestseller List. Congratulations Don!” The RNC had made a bulk purchase of the book.
  144. On Thursday, Trump attacked the Federal Reserve, tweeting, “Walmart announces great numbers. No impact from Tariffs,” after Walmart said it raised consumer prices, adding, “Inflation low (do you hear that Powell?)”
  145. On Thursday, AP reported a second diplomatic staffer, Suriya Jayanti, a foreign service officer based in Kyiv, also overheard Trump’s July 26 with Sondland at a restaurant in Kyiv.
  146. The first diplomat referenced by Taylor, David Holmes, a political counselor at the embassy in Kyiv, will testify before House investigators on Friday behind closed doors.
  147. On Thursday, Trump tweeted Rep. John Ratcliffe asked the two “star” witnesses, “where is the impeachable event in that call?” but they said nothing, adding, “That would be the end of a case run by normal people!”
  148. Trump also quoted Fox Business “Varney & Co.,” tweeting, “Neither one of the Democrat star witnesses at the Impeachment hearings could point out an impeachable offense. That’s the result!”
  149. Trump also quoted Dan Henniger of the WSJ, tweeting, “we’ve now had 3 years of the Democrats chasing Donald Trump,” adding Nancy Pelosi should “Look at her own story in the House. What have they done?”
  150. Trump also tweeted, “Where’s the Fake Whistleblower?
  151. On Thursday, at her weekly news conference, Speaker Pelosi said Trump committed “bribery” in the Ukraine scandal, saying what Trump “has admitted to and said it’s perfect — it’s perfectly wrong. It’s bribery.”
  152. Pelosi added, “The bribe is to grant or withhold military assistance in return for a public statement of a fake investigation into the elections.” Bribery is identified in the Constitution as an impeachable offense.
  153. Pelosi also said, “The devastating testimony corroborated evidence of bribery,” saying Trump “abused his power and violated his oath” in a “clear attempt” to “give himself an advantage in the 2020 election.”
  154. Pelosi also explained the meaning of the word ‘exculpatory’ to Trump, saying, “Mr. President, that means you have anything that shows your innocence — then he should make that known … so far we haven’t see that.”
  155. Pelosi said “We haven’t made a decision to impeach,” noting Nixon had strong public support in the weeks before he resigned, and adding what Trump did and the cover up “makes what Nixon did look almost small.”
  156. Pelosi said “The whistleblower is there to speak truth to power and have protection for doing that,” adding, “any retribution or harm coming to a whistleblower undermines our ability to hear truth about power.”
  157. On Thursday, WAPO reported Sondland’s attorney said Sondland had no plans to resign, and “has the full confidence” of Secretary of State Mike Pompeo. While some Republicans have turned on him, officials say he has a close relationship with Trump.
  158. Career diplomats in Brussels were appalled at Sondland’s leadership, saying he worked with Stephen Miller on a plan for more “skilled and wealthy” immigrants from Europe, as code for it being racially motivated.
  159. The plan, which Trump tasked him with in June 2018, would have encompassed all E.U. countries, but was scrapped. Sondland, who also worked on it with Jared Kushner, claimed he did not know the intention.
  160. On Wednesday, Attorney General William Barr told reporters, “I don’t remember” Trump making a request for him to do a news conference and say there was no wrongdoing in Ukraine.
  161. On Wednesday, AP reported the DOJ’s inspector general Michael Horowitz is close to releasing a report on the early stages of the FBI’s investigation of the Trump campaign’s involvement with Russia.
  162. Horowitz has been examining the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court applications to monitor Carter Page. The report will also test of credibility of Barr’s assertion the FBI’s investigative decisions were problematic.
  163. On Wednesday, Barr said of the report, “it’s my understanding that it is imminent,” adding, “A number of people who were mentioned in the report are having an opportunity right now to comment.”
  164. On Thursday, WAPO reported the DOJ IG told witnesses reviewing the draft sections of the report that they will not be able to give written feedback, only verbal feedback, an unusual step that leaves no paper trail.
  165. Witnesses are also being asked to review their section in a secure area, and say the entire draft document is marked “Top Secret,” so anyone who discusses the report’s contents could be committing a crime.
  166. Some expressed concern the unusual restrictions will make the report less accurate, saying they will not be able to ensure their changes are recorded accurately, and the IG can control the characterization of their comments.
  167. On Thursday, before heading to a rally in Louisiana, Trump had what was described as an “animated” talk with Barr in the Oval Office. The conversation was witnessed by the White House press corps.
  168. White House Counsel Pat Cippollone and press secretary Grisham were also in the meeting. Trump, whose departure was delayed by 45 minutes, passed by the press corps and did not speak to reporters.
  169. Later Thursday, after WAPO reporting, Horowitz changed course and told the Post witnesses can submit written feedback “consistent with rules to protect classified information.”
  170. On Friday, CNN reported, according to two witnesses, Trump was speaking to Barr and Cippollone about the upcoming report to be issued by Horowitz’s office, again raising concerns about the report’s integrity.
  171. Later Thursday, Trump held a rally in Louisiana for the second time in two weeks, as the Republican running for governor faced an unusually tight race. Trump does not have any other rallies scheduled for the rest of year.
  172. Trump told the crowd, “The absolutely crazed lunatics, the Democrats, radical left, and their media partners standing right back there…are pushing the deranged impeachment witch hunt for doing nothing wrong.”
  173. Trump attacked Kent and Taylor, saying, “You saw yesterday how about when they asked these two Never Trumpers, ‘what exactly do you think you impeach him for?’” adding, “they stood there and went like, ‘what?’”
  174. Trump also attacked Chair Schiff, mocking him and saying, “Little Shifty Schiff. He’s got the little 10-inch neck,” adding, “He will not make the LSU football team, that I can tell you.”
  175. Trump also said, “What a life I lead,” adding, “You think this is fun, don’t you? But it’s been very hard on my family.” And told the crowd, “You gotta give me a big win please. Please.”
  176. Later Thursday, just before midnight, Trump referenced in tweets Ukrainian Foreign Minister Vadym Prystaiko saying Sondland did not explicitly mention linking U.S. military aid to investigations of the Bidens.
  177. Trump tweeted, “Democrats must apologize to USA,” and “THE FAKE IMPEACHMENT INQUIRY IS NOW DEAD!”
  178. On Thursday, in an interview with the Guardian, Giuliani said he is confident Trump will stay loyal to him during the impeachment inquiry, and mused he has good “insurance” just in case.
  179. On Thursday, Bloomberg reported that Giuliani is being investigated by federal prosecutors for possible campaign finance violations, bribing foreign officials, and failure to register as a foreign agent.
  180. An official said Giuliani’s activities raise counterintelligence concerns, but there probably would not be charges for it. If he is charged or indicted, it could expose Trump to a new level of legal and political jeopardy.
  181. On Friday, WSJ reported federal prosecutors are investigating whether Giuliani personally profited from a Ukrainian natural-gas pipeline venture pushed by Parnas and Fruman.
  182. Parnas and Fruman pitched their plans for a pipeline in meetings in Ukraine, saying it had the support of the Trump regime. At the meetings, they also pushed for investigations into the Bidens and the 2016 election.
  183. In conversations over the summer, Parnas and Fruman told Ukrainian officials that Giuliani was a partner in the pipeline venture, a project of their company, Global Energy Producers, and a prospective investor.
  184. On Tuesday, Rick Gates testified at the trial for Roger Stone that Stone told him in April 2016 that WikiLeaks planned to dump information in the heat of the presidential race, two months before they were leaked.
  185. Gates also testified Stone requested contact information in June for Jared Kushner. Gates also said the campaign was elated when it learned more information on WikiLeaks publishing damaging emails, calling it “a gift.”
  186. Gates said Stone and Trump spoke in July 2016, after Trump told him “more information would be coming.” Trump said in his sworn written testimony to Mueller he did not recall getting information in advance.
  187. Testimony by Steven Bannon and Gates revealed how enthusiastic the Trump campaign was about using hacked emails starting in April 2016, and how involved Trump was in encouraging the campaign to seek it out.
  188. On Wednesday, Stone did not testify in his trial; instead his lawyers played audio of his Congressional testimony, arguing candidates use opposition research all the time, saying, “This is what happens in campaigns.”
  189. On Wednesday, a full panel of judges on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit voted 8-3 to let stand a three-judge decision that the House Oversight Committee can seek eight years of Trump’s tax returns.
  190. Two of the three dissenting judges were Trump appointees. The ruling was put on hold for seven days for Trump to appeal. Trump lawyer Jay Sekulow said they “will be seeking review at the Supreme Court.”
  191. On Thursday, Trump’s lawyers asked the Supreme Court to shield him from having to turn over his return in a separate case involving the Manhattan DA, who is investigating hush-money payments.
  192. Jay Sekulow wrote, “For the first time in our nation’s history” a president has been “subjected him to coercive criminal process,” calling it a perfect illustration of why a sitting president should be “categorically immune.”
  193. On Friday, Trump appealed to the Supreme Court for a second time in two days, relating to the House Oversight Committee, asking that his accounting firm Mazars USA not have to turn over his tax returns.
  194. The requests put the Supreme Court in a position to consider historic separations of power decisions, with two demands for the same information. The DOJ filed a brief in support for the House case.
  195. On Thursday, at a Federalist Society annual dinner honoring Brett Kavanaugh in Washington DC, protestors rolled up a big screen and blared Christine Blasey Ford’s testimony as guests were arriving.
  196. Also outside the event, protestors stood dressed up in Handmaid’s Tale costumes as guests entered, while others shouted, “I believe Anita Hill. I believe Dr Ford.” There were also protestors inside who were removed.
  197. On Thursday, political newsletter Popular Information revealed Facebook was a “gold sponsor” for the event, risking employee unrest and negative attention from activists over the companies policies.
  198. On Thursday, WAPO reported Mark Sandy, a longtime career employee of the OMB, is expected to break ranks and testify on Saturday to the House committees on impeachment, the first OMB employee to do so.
  199. Three other OMB employees who were political appointees refused to testify. Sandy was expected to testify behind closed doors in response to a subpoena, and provide information on the holdup of aid to Ukraine.
  200. On Thursday, NPR reported in the era of Trump, career civil servants are frequently targeted by the conservative media and alt-right trolls, saying they are part of the so-called “deep state” trying to undermine Trump.
  201. A State Department IG report concluded the treatment of Sahar Nowrouzzadeh, a foreign service officer, violated department policy, saying, “perceived political opinions, perceived association” led to her demotion.
  202. Nowrouzzadeh claimed she was falsely portrayed in conservative media as a “Muslim spy,” a member of the “deep state” who was disloyal to Trump. When she complained about the article, she was demoted.
  203. On Friday, Maria Yovanovitch testified in the impeachment inquiry. As the hearing started, the White House released the second transcript Trump had teased, of his April 21 call congratulating Zelensky on the election.
  204. The White House version was not verbatim, but based on the notes of national security council aides who listened in on the conversation. In his opening remarks, Rep. Devin Nunes read the transcript of the call aloud.
  205. The rough transcript released Friday differed significantly from the official readout White House had initially released describing the conversation on the day that it happened.
  206. The initial readout was based on talking points given to Trump, and included that Trump “expressed his commitment” to work with Zelensky to “strengthen democracy, increase prosperity, and root out corruption.”
  207. The readout was not adjusted to what Trump actually said. He did not in fact mention U.S. support for Ukraine in its fight over territory with Russia, or Ukraine’s effort to address corruption in the call.
  208. In the version Nunes read aloud, Zelensky invited Trump to his inauguration, and Trump invited him to visit the White House, saying, “We’ll let you know very soon, and we will see you very soon, regardless.”
  209. Trump did not attend, and WAPO reported he pulled Vice President Mike Pence from attending. Ultimately, the U.S. sent a delegation led by Sec. Perry that included Volker, Sondland, and Sen. Ron Johnson.
  210. Trump congratulated Zelensky, who said, “thank you so very much. As you can see, we tried very hard to do our best. We had you as a great example.” Trump then compared his own win, saying, “in a way, I did something similar.”
  211. Trump also bragged, “We have the most tremendous economy ever,” and added, to compliment Ukraine, “When I owned Miss Universe, they always had great people,” and “Ukraine was always very well represented.”
  212. After Nunes’s recital, Yovanovitch testified she was the victim of a “smear campaign” against her which was orchestrated by Trump allies working with corrupt Ukrainians, and leading to her recall based on untruths.
  213. She said, “Giuliani should have known those claims were suspect,” adding, “If our chief representative is kneecapped, it limits our effectiveness to safeguard the vital national security interests of the United States.”
  214. She said an article by John Solomon, quoting Yuri Lutsenko claiming she had spoken ill of Trump, was promoted by Donald Jr. and Fox News, and was false. Asked about it, she said, “Well, I was worried.”
  215. Yovanovitch testified the phone call saying she was recalled came while hosting a ceremony to honor a young anticorruption activist, Kateryna Handziuk, who was attacked with acid outside her home and later died.
  216. State Department Director General Carol Perez told her about “great concern” about her security. In a subsequent call she was told to get the next flight. She said, “I argued, ‘This is extremely irregular.’”
  217. Back home, she was told by deputy Secretary of State John Sullivan, “The president has lost confidence in you.” She said she felt “terrible” adding, “After 33 years of service to our country, this is not how I wanted my career to end.”
  218. She said when she read the transcript of Trump’s comments about her on the July 25 call, “It was a terrible moment,” adding, “A person who saw me actually reading the transcript said that the color drained from my face.”
  219. Yovanovitch added, “As Foreign Service professionals are being denigrated and undermined, the institution is also being degraded,” adding, “This will soon cause real harm, if it hasn’t already.”
  220. As Yovanovitch testified about Trump’s smear campaign against her, he tweeted, “Everywhere Marie Yovanovitch went turned bad. She started off in Somalia, how did that go?”
  221. Trump added, “Then fast forward to Ukraine, where the new Ukrainian President spoke unfavorably about her in my second phone call with him,” adding, “They call it “serving at the pleasure of the President.”
  222. Chair Schiff stopped the hearing to read her the tweets and ask what she thought. She responded, “It’s very intimidating,” adding, “I can’t speak to what the president is trying to do, but the effect is to be intimidating.”
  223. Fox News host Brett Baier called it “a turning point in this hearing so far,” saying Yovanovitch “was already a sympathetic witness,” and Trump’s tweet added “an article of impeachment real-time.”
  224. Yovanovitch testified about “a crisis in the state department” saying policy process is “unraveling,” and “leadership vacancies go unfilled, and senior and mid-level officers ponder an uncertain future and head for the doors.”
  225. Trump tweeted in response, saying vacancies are “because we do not want or need as many people as past administrations,” and “Democrats delay the approval process to levels unprecedented in the history.”
  226. Politico noted not a single Republican on the House Intelligence Committee backed up Trump for his Twitter attacks on Yovanovitch, or sought to legitimize the smear attempts at her or her removal.
  227. Republicans all praised Yovanovitch for her service and none tried to undercut her credibility or intentions. In response to their questioning, she said, “I do wonder, why it was necessary to smear my reputation.”
  228. At 3:20 p.m., Schiff gaveled the public hearing to a close. Yovanovitch received cheers and a standing ovation as she left the room.
  229. Later Friday, Trump defended his Yovanovitch attack, telling reporters, “I have the right to speak. I have freedom of speech just like other people do,” adding he is “allowed to speak up” if others are speaking about him.
  230. Trump also told reporters, “I watched a little bit of it today. I wasn’t able to yesterday because we had the president of Turkey here,” adding, “I watched some of it this morning and I thought it was a disgrace.”
  231. Later Friday, Fox Business host Lisa Kennedy lashed out at Trump for his tweet attacking Yovanovitch during her testimony, saying “it makes him look like a big dumb baby,” and “makes her look like a victim.”
  232. Speaker Pelosi told “Face the Nation” Trump’s tweet was “a mistake,” saying, “he knows her strength” and was trying to undermine it, adding, “He should not frivolously throw out insults, but that’s what he does.”
  233. Pelosi also said, “I think part of it is his own insecurity as an imposter,” adding, “I think he knows full well that he’s in that office way over his head. And so he has to diminish everyone else.”
  234. Later Friday, in response to the discrepancy in what Nunes read and the readout of Trump’s April 21 call with Zelensky, White House spokesperson Hogan Gidley blamed Vindman, who he said prepared the readout.
  235. Vindman said in his closed door testimony the April conversation “was actually a very good call,” and “Everybody was happy, high-fiving from that call because we were moving in the right direction for Ukraine.”
  236. WAPO later reported that Vindman was not responsible for making the final update to the readout, and that then press secretary Sarah Sanders held on to the readout before turning it over for public release.
  237. On Friday, Roger Stone was found guilty on all seven counts of obstructing a Congressional investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election. The jury deliberated for less than two days.
  238. Stone was found guilty of lying to Congress, tampering with a witness, and concealing reams of evidence. Prosecutors asserted Stone’s motive for the falsehoods was to protect Trump, making Trump and his campaign central.
  239. Stone’s defense team had urged jurors to treat the case as a referendum on Mueller’s entire Russia investigation, not him, and repeated there was “no collusion” with Russia, just a campaign interested in information.
  240. Two of the government prosecutors, Aaron Zelinsky and Adam Jed, served in the Mueller probe. Several other members of Mueller’s team sat in the courtroom gallery for opening and closing statements.
  241. Stone was released and will be sentenced on February 3. He faces up to 50 years in prison. Fox News hostTucker Carlson and InfoWars host Alex Jones have publicly called on Trump to pardon Stone.
  242. Trump tweeted now they “convict Roger Stone of lying and want to jail him for many years,” and “what about Crooked Hillary, Comey, Strzok, Page, McCabe, Brennan, Clapper, Shifty Schiff, Ohr & Nellie, Steele.”
  243. Trump also tweeted, and “all of the others, including even Mueller himself?” adding, “Didn’t they lie?” Trump then tweeted, “A double standard like never seen before in the history of our Country?
  244. Stone was the sixth person close to Trump to have been convicted of a crime stemming from the Russia investigation: Michael Cohen, Paul Manafort, Gates, Michael Flynn, and George Papadopoulos.
  245. Later Friday, David Holmes testified behind closed doors to the House committees in the late afternoon, telling lawmakers he overheard a phone call in Kyiv between Trump and Sondland on July 26.
  246. CNN obtained Holmes’ opening statement. Holmes said he was asked to be a note taker in a meeting between Sondland and Zelensky aide Andriy Yermak, but when he arrived, he was told it was a one-on-one meeting.
  247. After, he and two others went to lunch with Sondland. On the restaurant terrace, Sondland placed a call to Trump. Holmes said Trump spoke loudly and he could hear his voice though the earpiece on Sondland’s phone.
  248. Holmes said Sondland told Trump that “Zelensky ‘loves your ass.’” Holmes said he heard “Trump ask ‘So, he’s gonna do the investigation?’ and Ambassador Sondland replied that ‘he’s gonna do it.’”
  249. Sondland also told Trump that “Zelensky will do ‘anything you ask him to.’” Holmes added, “Even though I did not take notes of those statements, I have a clear recollection that these statements were made.”
  250. Holmes also said at a foreign policy meeting, Sondland said: “Damnit, Rudy. Every time Rudy gets involved he goes and f — -s everything up.” And Bolton expressed frustration over Giuliani’s influence with Trump.
  251. Holmes said Taylor told him on September 8: “Now they’re insisting Zelensky commit to the investigation in an interview with CNN,” adding, “I was surprised the requirement was so specific and concrete.”
  252. Holmes said on September 13, two days after aid was released, Taylor saw Yermak and stressed the importance of staying out of US politics. Holmes said Yermak “shrugged in resignation” as if “they had no choice.”
  253. Late Friday, at the end of impeachment hearings, Trump pardoned two Army officers and restored rank to a Navy SEAL, despite opposition by military justice experts and senior Pentagon officials.
  254. Defense Sec. Mark Esper and Army Sec. Ryan McCarthy had asked Trump not to intervene in the cases, citing overriding the Uniform Code of Military Justice could damage the integrity of the military judicial system.
  255. Esper and other military leaders told Trump a pardon could also hamper the ability of military leaders to ensure good order and discipline, and hurt confidence of U.S. allies and partners who host troops.
  256. The White House said Trump acted as commander in chief, and is “ultimately responsible for ensuring that the law is enforced and when appropriate, that mercy is granted.”
  257. On Friday, in a fiery, hour-long speech to conservative lawyers at the Federalist Society, AG Barr delivered a defense of Trump and his expansive views on executive power.
  258. Barr claimed “in waging a scorched-earth, no-holds-barred war,” the Resistance against Trump “is engaged in a systematic shredding of norms and undermining the rule of law.”
  259. Barr said, “Resistance is the language used to describe insurgency against rule imposed by an occupying military power,” adding it connotes a government is not legitimate, and is a “very dangerous” and “incendiary.”
  260. Barr said House Democrats were subverting what “the people,” who knew Trump was untraditional, decided, and Trump’s opponents are “engaged in a war to cripple by any means necessary a duly elected government.”
  261. Barr took shots at the legislative and judicial branches’ years of “encroachment” on executive power, blaming the Democrats and the media for wanting those branches to protect from a “would-be autocrat.”
  262. On Friday, the office of French President Emmanuel Macron said France would host a Ukraine Peace Summit on December 9, including Zelensky, Russian President Vladimir Putin, and German Chancellor Angela Merkel.
  263. Ahead of the summit, Macron promised Zelensky aid and support, telling him in a phone call “that Ukraine could further count on France’s support in all matters.”
  264. On Friday, the Moscow Times reported Russia landed attack helicopters and troops at a former U.S. air base in Northern Syria, vacated by Trump. The landing was shown on Russian Defense Ministry’s Zvezda TV channel.
  265. On Friday, CNN reported Trump is demanding South Korea pay roughly 400% more in 2020 to cover the costs of keeping U.S. troops on the peninsula. Aides say Trump’s demand “came out of thin air.”
  266. Trump’s proposed price hike frustrated Pentagon officials and deeply concerned Republican and Democratic lawmakers, and angered and unnerved Seoul, where leaders are questioning the alliance.
  267. On Saturday, CNN reported at last year’s White House Hanukkah Party, Trump had a private meeting with Giuliani, Parnas, and Fruman. Parnas shared a photo on social media of him with Trump, Pence, and Giuliani.
  268. Parnas told associates at the meeting, Trump tasked he and Fruman with “a secret mission” to pressure the Ukrainian government to investigate Joe and Hunter Biden. Giuliani would issue directives on behalf of Trump.
  269. On Saturday, Mark Sandy testified behind closed doors to the House committees, after receiving a subpoena which cited “an attempt by OMB to direct [him] not to appear for his scheduled deposition.”
  270. On Saturday, Trump had no public events. He spent the morning at the White House, tweeting about impeachment, promoting books including that of Donald Jr., and urging Republicans in Louisiana to vote.

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Top U.S. diplomat in Ukraine William Taylor, second from right, and career Foreign Service officer George Kent, second from left, testify before the House Intelligence Committee on Capitol Hill in Washington, Wednesday, Nov. 13, 2019, during the first public impeachment hearing of Trump’s efforts to tie U.S. aid for Ukraine to investigations of his political opponents.

POLITIKS OF GRAFFITI 157: “NOT COMPETENT ENOUGH”

NOVEMBER 09, 2019

Week 156

Experts in authoritarianism advise to keep a list of things
subtly changing around you, so you’ll remember. https://theweeklylist.org/weekly-list/week-156/

This week, House Democrats released transcripts of eight depositions, and announced a schedule for public hearings next week. As support for impeachment plateaued, Democrats tentatively planned to fast-track hearings, with a vote on articles of impeachment before the holiday break. Republicans meanwhile, careened from varying defenses of Trump, from it was not a bad quid pro quo, to he is not competent enough to carry out quid pro quo, to targeting witnesses and the whistleblower, to considering sacrificing a fall guy in Trump’s stead.

The Mueller probe was again back in the news, as the Justice Department released FBI 302 summary reports of interviews, and the trial of Roger Stone got underway. Documents revealed the source of the conspiracy theory that Ukraine, not Russia, interfered in the 2016 election was actually Konstantin Kilimnik, an employee of Paul Manafort who the FBI determined has ties to Russian intelligence. Stone and Trump’s possible involvement in seeking emails stolen by Russia from WikiLeaks was also back in the spotlight.

Election night provided victories for Democrats, taking control of the Virginia legislature for the first time in 26 years, winning the governorship of red state Kentucky, and historic victories in the suburbs of Philadelphia. As we head toward the 2020 election, U.S. intelligence again warned of election interference underway, something that Trump, and Republicans who continue to block legislation to protect voting, oddly seem to welcome.

IMG_3777
BERNIE. San Diego, CA 9nov19
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New York City, May 2019
  1. On Saturday, the Department of Justice released the first installment of documents related to the Mueller probe to BuzzFeed News in response to a court order, after five separate Freedom of Information Act lawsuits.
  2. The documents were FBI 302 report summaries of interviews. Rick Gates said Paul Manafort pushed the conspiracy theory that Ukraine, not Russia, hacked the Democratic National Committee in the summer of 2016.
  3. Gates said Manafort “parroted a narrative” told to him by Konstantin Kilimnik, a Manafort employee who the FBI determined has ties to Russian intelligence and indicted on witness tampering in the Muller probe.
  4. Gates also said Michael Flynn was “adamant” Russia was not responsible for the hacking, and told Trump U.S. intelligence “was not capable of figuring it out,” and that Ukraine, not Russia likely carried it out.
  5. Gates also said shortly after the Democratic convention and Russia hacking the DNC server, while in a car with Trump to the airport, Trump received a call related to WikiLeaks and said more leaks were coming.
  6. Michael Cohen said before he testified to Congress, he was told “to keep TRUMP out of the messaging related to Russia and keep TRUMP out of the Russia conversation.” Cohen said false testimony was “not his idea.”
  7. Steve Bannon testified that Manafort worked on the campaign until days before the election, and they needed to hide it. Bannon wrote in an email, “They are going to try to say the Russians worked with wiki leaks to give this victory to us.”
  8. Also close to the campaign as more on Russia interference came out, Erik Prince suggested to Bannon “an alternative narrative” about Russia’s efforts, that they wanted Clinton to win. Trump used this narrative.
  9. On Tuesday, the trial for Roger Stone got off to an unusual start in Washington, as Stone left the courtroom twice to use the restroom during jury selection, and later was excused for the day citing food poisoning.
  10. Stone’s case is the last filed in the Mueller probe. On Wednesday, in opening statements, prosecutors said Stone lied to Congress “because the truth looked bad for Donald Trump,” linking the case to Trump.
  11. Prosecutors said on June 14, 2016, the day the DNC server was hacked, Stone called Trump, and again in July after WikiLeaks began releasing DNC material. An hour later he tried to make contact with Julian Assange.
  12. On Wednesday, conspiracy theorist Alex Jones said on his InfoWars broadcast that he had the name of a jurist in the Stone trial who was anti-Trump, threatening, “We’ve got her name, and we’re going to release it.”
  13. On Thursday, prosecutors said Stone had lied and obstructed, threatening Randy Credico about testifying in a message: “You are a rat. A stoolie. You backstab your friends,” and, “I am so ready. Let’s get it on. Prepare to die…”
  14. On Friday, Bannon testified for 40 minutes, saying he was doing so under subpoena. He said the campaign viewed Stone as “an access point” to WikiLeaks, citing his implied relationship with WikiLeaks and Assange.
  15. Bannon said Stone implied he could get information from WikiLeaks. He said Stone was an expert in opposition research and dirty tricks, “the type of things that campaigns use when they have to make up some ground.”
  16. On Friday, Paul Manafort’s son-in-law Jeffrey Yohai was sentenced to nine years in prison for an array of scams. The judge said Yohai was a serial scammer whose “horrific” crimes posed a significant threat to the public.
  17. On Saturday, while entering Madison Square Garden for the Ultimate Fighting Championship, Trump was greeted by loud boos in his former home state of New York. There were roughly 150 protestors outside.
  18. On Monday, the World Series champion Washington Nationals visited the White House. Eight of the key players chose not to attend.
  19. On Wednesday, ahead of Trump’s visit to the Alabama vs LSU football game on Saturday, the Alabama Student Government Association warned protestors risk losing their reserved seating for the rest of the season.
  20. On Saturday, WAPO reported when Rick Perry and other top advisers met with Trump in May to say the new Ukraine leader could be an ally, Trump said, “They tried to take me down,” and “are horrible, corrupt people.”
  21. In 2017 Trump tried to block aid to Ukraine saying it was not a “real country” and was “totally corrupt,” and claiming “everyone” was telling him it would anger Russia, although the opposite was true.
  22. On Saturday, Trump continued his attacks on the whistleblower, tweeting, “The Whistleblower has disappeared. Where is the Whistleblower?”
  23. On Sunday, Trump continued, tweeting, “The Whistleblower got it sooo wrong that HE must come forward,” and “Fake News Media knows who he is but, being an arm of the Democrat Party, don’t want to reveal him.”
  24. Trump also tweeted, “Many people listened to my phone call,” and “I never heard any complaints,” adding, “The reason is that it was totally appropriate, I say perfect. Republicans have never been more unified.”
  25. Trump also tweeted, “The Angry Majority!” — a phrase he first used athis rally Friday to describe supporters angered by the impeachment inquiry.
  26. Later Sunday, speaking to reporters at the White House, Trump threatened to expose information on Alexander Vindman, calling him a “Never Trumper,” and saying, “We’ll be showing that to you real soon.”
  27. Trump also told reporters the whistleblower “hated Trump,” and “You know who it is. You just don’t want to report it. CNN knows who it is, but you don’t want to report it…You’d be doing the public a service if you did.”
  28. Trump also said, “The whistleblower should be revealed because the whistleblower gave false stories. Some people would call it a fraud. I won’t go that far. But when I read it closely, I probably would.”
  29. Later Sunday, Mark Zaid, the attorney for both known whistleblowers, told NBC News the first whistleblower had offered to provide written answers to questions by House investigators, to protect his or her identity.
  30. On Monday, Trump tweeted, “The Whistleblower gave false information & dealt with corrupt politician Schiff,” adding, “He must be brought forward to testify. Written answers not acceptable!”
  31. Trump also tweeted, “Where is the 2nd Whistleblower? He disappeared after I released the transcript. Does he even exist?” adding, “Where is the informant? Con!”
  32. On Monday, Zaid tweeted, “we have offered to Rep. Devin Nunes,” the ranking member on the Intelligence Committee, written answers, saying the whistleblower “is not a partisan..nor is impeachment an objective.”
  33. On Sunday, an NBC/WSJ poll found net approval for impeachment and removal up 9% from last month, to 49% approve and 46% disapprove, up from 43% approve and 49% disapprove.
  34. On Sunday, Trump dismissed polls showing growing support for impeachment, telling reporters, “I have the real polls. The CNN polls are fake. The Fox polls have always been lousy.”
  35. On Monday, Fox News host Sean Hannity parroted Trump, blasting Fox News polling on his radio show, saying the methodology used by the network was “really wrong” and was “oversampling” Democrats.
  36. On Sunday, as wildfires rages in California, Trump tweeted, “The Governor of California, @GavinNewsom, has done a terrible job of forest management,” saying he told Newsom “he must “clean” his forest floors.”
  37. Trump also again threatened to pull federal aid from California, tweeting: “Every year, as the fire’s rage & California burns, it is the same thing-and then he comes to the Federal Government for $$$ help. No more.”
  38. On Sunday, Republicans shifted strategy to saying quid pro quo is not impeachable. Rep. Tom Cole told “Meet the Press” that “Concern is different than rising to the level of impeachment.”
  39. Trump tweeted, “False stories” are claiming “Trump may have done a quid pro quo,” and added, “but it doesn’t matter, there is nothing wrong with that, it is not an impeachable event.”
  40. On Saturday, a federal judge blocked the Trump regime’s plan set to go into effect on Sunday that would require immigrants to prove they have health care or the financial resources to get it in order to obtain a visa.
  41. On Sunday, the White House slammed the court, saying, “Once again, a nationwide injunction is permitting a single judge to thwart the President’s policy judgment,” calling it “wrong and unfair.”
  42. On Saturday, officials in Norway arrested Greg Johnson, a high-profile U.S. white supremacist, hours before he was scheduled to give a speech at the Scandza Forum, a network known for its anti-Semitic and racist views.
  43. On Sunday, NBC News reported a group of white people carrying a white nationalist flag were caught trying to record a video in front of the Emmett Till memorial. An official of the memorial called it a propaganda video.
  44. On Monday, ABC Milwaukee reported Mahud Villalaz, a U.S. citizen and Latino, suffered second-degree burns to his face when a white man threw acid at him, accusing him of being in the country illegally.
  45. On Monday, Buffalo Wild Wings fired employees in Naperville, Illinois who asked a black family and their party to change tables, because a white man did not “want black people sitting near him.”
  46. On Monday, NBC News reported Richard Holzer, 27, a white supremacist, was taken into custody and charged with plotting to blow up Temple Emanuel, the oldest synagogue in Colorado.
  47. Holzer told undercover investigators he was planning for a “racial holy war,” after investigators reached out to him after he promoted racially motivated acts of violence on Facebook.
  48. On Monday, Adrian Vergara, 26, pleaded guilty to a hate-crime for striking a teenage Syrian refugee who was speaking Arabic on a cellphone in the face five or six times while riding a trolley in Encanto, California.
  49. On Monday, former evangelical megachurch pastor and author Joshua Harris said the support Trump has gotten from the evangelical community has been “incredibly damaging to the Gospel and to the church.”
  50. On Monday, WSJ reported Navajo people took control of the San Juan County, Utah commission, 2-1, for the first time in 150 years in 2017 and plan to oppose Trump’s plan to develop federal lands like Bear’s Ears.
  51. Conservative white people, a minority who are pro-Trump, sought to dilute the commission by growing it from three to five seats through Proposition 10 in Tuesday’s election. Prop 10 failed in a close election.
  52. On Monday, the first day possible under the accord’s rules, the Trump regime formally served notice to the United Nations that it would withdraw the U.S. from the Paris Agreement on climate change.
  53. On Monday, a report by 11,258 scientists in 153 countries declared the planet “clearly and unequivocally faces a climate emergency,” and provided six broad policy goal to address the crisis.
  54. On Tuesday, USA Today reported millions of poor people lost access to a cellphone service through Lifeline, one of a number of federal assistance programs being targeted by the regime. Enrollment has dropped 21% since 2017.
  55. On Tuesday, WAPO reported the Citrus County, Florida commission voted 5-0 to block a librarian’s request for a NYT subscription on Oct 24, the same day the Trump announced canceling federal agency subscriptions.
  56. The vote took place before reporting on agencies, but after Trump’s public statements. The commissioner said, “Do we really need to subscribe to the New York Times?” and another added, “it’s fake news, and I’m voting no.”
  57. On Tuesday, 70% of Kansas City voters voted to remove Dr. Martin Luther King’s name from one of the city’s most historic boulevards, less than a year after The Paseo was renamed for King.
  58. On Tuesday, Somali refugee Safiya Khalid, 23, won a seat on the Lewiston City Council in Maine, after enduring vile abuse during her campaign by online trolls from as far away as Alabama and Mississippi.
  59. On Wednesday, the EPA’s inspector general said Ryan Jackson, the chief of staff to administrator Andrew Wheeler, refused to cooperate with an inquiry into whether he pressured a scientist to alter her Congressional testimony.
  60. In a letter, the IG said Jackson was in “open defiance” of two separate inquiries, an audit and an investigation, calling his actions a “flagrant problem” and referring the matter to Congress.
  61. On Thursday, the San Diego Union Tribune reported, in at least 14 cases, Customs and Border Protection agents in CA and TX are writing fake court dates on asylum seekers’ paperwork and sending them back them Mexico.
  62. On Monday, CNN reported the DOJ sent a letter to the agent of the upcoming book “A Warning,” saying the author may be violating “one or more nondisclosure agreements” with their anti-Trump book.
  63. On Monday, Hillary Clinton told Guardian that Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg “should pay a price” for what he is doing to democracy, and said false information, or “propaganda,” will have an impact on elections.
  64. On Tuesday, Daily Beast reported Russian FSB Gen. Alexander Bortnikov, Vladimir Putin’s top spy, is continuing to publicly push that Russia has a behind-the-scenes cooperation with the U.S. on cybersecurity.
  65. On Wednesday, an investigation by OpenDemocracy revealed British Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s Conservative Party has received a surge in donations from Russians with ties to Putin in recent months.
  66. Johnson is also under increased scrutiny for his refusal to sign off on the public release of a report on possible Russian interference in the UK’s 2016 Brexit referendum, ahead of the December 12 election.
  67. On Wednesday, in a joint statement by the DOJ, Department of Defense, DHS, FBI, and the NSA said “Russia, China, Iran, and other foreign malicious actors” will seek to interfere in the 2020 election.
  68. On Wednesday, a complaint unsealed in the U.S. District Court in San Francisco revealed the Saudi government, frustrated by criticism of its leaders and policies, recruited Twitter employees to spy on its critics.
  69. The Saudis sought employees to look up private Twitter data on its critics, including news personalities and a popular personality, including their email address and internet protocol addresses that can reveal a location.
  70. Two employees Ahmad Abouammo, a U.S. citizen, and Ali Alzabarah, a Saudi citizen, were charged as acting as agents of Saudi Arabia without registering. They got designer watches and tens of thousands of dollars in exchange for their spying.
  71. A third man who ran a social media marketing company that did work for the Saudi royal family was also charged. This marks the first time the Kingdom has been accused of spying in America.
  72. On Monday, the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Manhattan unanimously upheld a lower court decision that Trump’s accountant must turn over his tax returns to New York prosecutors.
  73. Later Monday, attorney Jay Sekulow said Trump will ask the Supreme Court to take up the case. The appeals court rejected the argument that Trump is immune from criminal investigation while in office.
  74. On Friday, Trump’s personal lawyers told a federal judge they intend to petition the Supreme Court next week to appeal the decision.
  75. On Monday, E. Jean Carroll said she would sue Trump for defamation, after Trump countered her allegations of rape by calling her a liar who wanted to sell books, said he never met her and “she’s not my type.”
  76. On Tuesday, Summer Zervos said new public cell phone records released by the Trump Org “corroborate” her allegations of sexual assault by Trump. Records show six calls made by Trump in late 2007 and early 2008.
  77. On Thursday, a federal judge in New York said Trump misused the Trump Foundation to further his political and business interests, and ordered him to distribute the remaining $1.7 million in funds to other charities.
  78. In the settlement, Trump admitted to giving his campaign complete control over $2.8 million the foundation raised at a fundraiser for veterans in Iowa in January 2016, saying it was campaign event.
  79. Trump also admitted to using the foundation funds to settle the legal obligations of his companies and Mar-a-Lago. Donald Jr., Ivanka, and Eric will go through training to ensure they do not repeat his improprieties.
  80. On Thursday, in a speech at an annual gathering, U.S. District Judge Paul Friedman said Trump’s rhetoric “violates all recognized democratic norms,” adding, “We are in unchartered territory.”
  81. He added, Trump “criticizes virtually every judicial decision that doesn’t go his way and denigrates judges who rule against him,” and views courts “as obstacles to be attacked and undermined…not as a coequal branch.”
  82. On Monday, four White House officials scheduled to testify in the impeachment probe refused to appear: John Eisenberg, Michael Ellis, Robert Blair, and Brian McCormack.
  83. An attorney for Ellis said his client was instructed by the White House not to appear, calling the congressional subpoena “invalid,” citing Democrats have not allowed Trump’s counsel at depositions and other concerns.
  84. Eisenberg’s attorney, William Burck, who also represents Don McGahn, said the DOJ advised him Sunday that as a senior adviser to Trump, Eisenberg is “absolutely immune from compelled congressional testimony.”
  85. On Monday, NYT reported at an “Off the Record” dinner for the Republican National Committee, officials shared they swamped House Democrats phone lines in recent weeks with anti-impeachment calls.
  86. The effort targeted nearly three dozen House Democrats and generated roughly 11,000 automated calls, in an effort to defend Trump by shaping opinion on impeachment and tying up phone lines.
  87. On Monday, the House released transcripts of its depositions with Marie Yovanovitch and Michael McKinley. McKinley said he repeatedly tried to get Secretary of State Mike Pompeo to come to Yovanovitch’s defense publicly.
  88. Pompeo did not, and McKinley resigned citing the State Department being used for politics. Pompeo recently said in an interview on ABC McKinley never expressed concerns, saying, “I never heard him say a single thing.”
  89. Yovanovitch said she got a call at 1 a.m. in April from the Director General of the Foreign Service telling herto get the next flight home, citing control of her “security.” When she asked why, she was told, “I don’t know.”
  90. When asked about Pompeo’s refusal to defend her, Yovanovitch said she was told Pompeo or someone around him would need to call Fox News host Sean Hannity to find out about allegations against her on his show.
  91. Yovanovitch said Gordon Sondland urged her to tweet support of Trump to save her job, saying, “you know the sorts of things that he likes. You know, go out there battling aggressively and, you know, praise him or support him.”
  92. Yovanovitch said she felt threatened by Trump telling Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky she was “bad news” and would “go through some things,” and feared Trump could retaliate: “I didn’t know what it meant. I was very concerned. I still am.”
  93. Yovanovitch said Ukrainian Interior Minister Arsen Avakov expressed concern to her in February about the country getting embroiled in U.S. politics, citing Manafort’s “black ledger” and a Biden investigation.
  94. Yovanovitch said Ukraine’s then-prosecutor general, Yuri Lutsenko, teamed up with Rudy Giuliani to work around the system, and worked to smear her as undermining Trump’s agenda with Ukraine, which he later recanted.
  95. On Monday, NYT reported Pompeo faces his most perilous time in office as the impeachment inquiry looks into what he knew, and diplomats are revolting against his leadership and testifying in the inquiry.
  96. Notably as CIA director, Pompeo testified to Congress that Russia interfered in the election. Now as Secretary of State, he has reversed and is openly backing the conspiracy theory that Ukraine, not Russia, did the hacking.
  97. Pompeo helped Trump and Giuliani oust Yovanovitch. McKinley testified Pompeo refused to “say a single thing” about her ouster. Pompeo has also tried to block State Department officials from testifying in the inquiry.
  98. Career officials accused Pompeo of abandoning veteran diplomats and allowing Trump’s personal agenda to infect foreign policy. He is facing a revolt as officials say he has damaged the department and morale is at rock bottom.
  99. He has also drawn fire for four trips to Kansas while he considers a Senate run , most recently with Ivanka. The Kansas City Star Editorial Board wrote, “Pompeo should quit and run for Senate or do his job at State.”
  100. On Monday, Reuters reported lawyers for Lev Parnas said he will comply with the impeachment inquiry. Parnas helped Giuliani look for political dirt on Joe Biden.
  101. Parnas’s new attorney, Joseph Bondy, who replaced John Dowd, explained the change of heart, saying, “Parnas was very upset by President Trump’s plainly false statement that he did not know him.”
  102. NYT reported Trump had signed off on Parnas using Dowd in an October 2 email. Dowd had said Trump’s support was sought “simply as a courtesy.” Parnas had previously been in Trump’s camp, and refused to cooperate.
  103. On Monday, Reuters reported Ukraine plans to fire prosecutor Kostiantyn Kulyk, who led the investigations into Burisma. The decision comes as Ukraine tried to avoid getting drawn into U.S. partisan politics.
  104. On Monday, Trump ally Sen. Lindsey Graham said on Fox News that the Senate Foreign Relations Committee should investigate Joe Biden and Hunter Biden, and “the State Department’s role in all of this.”
  105. On Tuesday, Michael Duffey, a top official on the White House budget office, and Wells Griffith, a senior aide to Energy Department Sec. Rick Perry, refused to appear before the House impeachment inquiry.
  106. On Tuesday, the impeachment depositions of Kurt Volker and Sondland were released by the House. The day prior, Sondland released four pages of new sworn testimony, laying out his involvement in the quid pro quo.
  107. Sondland claimed reading the testimony of William Taylor and Timothy Morrison had “refreshed my recollection.” He provided a description of his involvement in telling Ukraine military aid was dependent on opening investigations.
  108. Sondland said he was not forthcoming in his testimony about his texts to Taylor, acknowledging he did know by then that military aid to Ukraine was contingent on the investigations.
  109. His new testimony contradicted that he was pushing the quid pro quo as a lone wolf, instead claiming he was just the messenger, who understood that aid was linked to investigations, and articulated it that way to others.
  110. Sondland said on September 1, while PresidentZelensky was meeting with Vice President Mike Pence to discuss aid, he discussed the linkage to aid to opening investigations with Andriy Yermak, a top Zelensky adviser.
  111. On Tuesday, the White House pushed back on his new testimony, saying Sondland failed to cite a “solid source,” and “no amount of salacious media-biased headlines” change that Trump “has done nothing wrong.”
  112. On Wednesday, Graham questioned why Sondland changed his testimony on Fox News, musing, “Was there a connection between [Sondland] and Democratic operatives,” or “Did he talk to Schiff” or his staffers?
  113. On Tuesday, the transcripts revealed both Volker and Sondland testified that at a May 23 meeting, Trump complained about suspicions Ukraine tried to undermine his 2016 campaign, and they were “trying to take him down.”
  114. Volker also testified that Trump said of Ukraine, “They are all corrupt, they are all terrible people,” and “I don’t want to spend any time with that.” Volker said Giuliani amplified Trump’s “negative narrative” about Ukraine.
  115. Volker said he told Giuliani the theories on Ukraine were “not credible.” And said Ukrainians asked to be put in touch with Giuliani, saying because they believed “that information flow would reach the President.”
  116. Volker said he was surprised and troubled by what was said on the July 25 call, but claimed he did not have a conversation about quid pro quo “because I didn’t know that there was a quid pro quo.”
  117. Volker said he became aware of the hold-up of aid on July 18, saying although it “struck me as unusual,” he claimed, “Nobody ever gave a reason why.”
  118. Volker said “the news about a hold on security assistance did not get into Ukrainian government circles” until “the end of August” — bolstering a Trump defense there was not a quid pro quo since Ukraine did not know.
  119. On Wednesday, WAPO reported Giuliani was cited 480 times in Sondland and Volker’s testimony, and appears to have played a central role in driving Ukraine policy. Trump seemed to refer to him too, saying, “Talk to Rudy.”
  120. Their testimony showed Trump grew disinterested and pushed responsibility for Ukraine to Giuliani, who took the lead over the State Department, even checking the statement Zelensky was prepared to give.
  121. On Wednesday, Giuliani announced on Twitter that he has assembled a legal team for the criminal investigation into his activities related to Ukraine, including his longtime friend, Robert Costello.
  122. Giuliani tweeted, “The evidence…will show that this present farce is as much a frame-up and hoax as Russian collusion, maybe worse.” Hiring counsel shows how seriously Giuliani is taking the inquiry in Manhattan.
  123. NYT reported it took Giuliani weeks to find lawyers willing to represent him. At least four prominent lawyers turned him down, including Mary Jo White, Theodore Wells Jr., Daniel Stein, and Paul Shechtman.
  124. On Wednesday, NYT reported the $500,000 paid to Giuliani’s firm by Lev Parnas and Igor Fruman’s Fraud Guarantee in September and October 2018 came from lawyer Charles Gucciardo, a GOP donor and Trump supporter.
  125. On Monday, at a rally in Lexington, Kentucky, Trump again attacked the whistleblower, saying they “said lots of things that weren’t so good, folks. You’re going to find out,” adding, “These are very dishonest people.”
  126. WAPO reported Trump has made the false claim that the whistleblower misrepresented the call more than 100 times in the past six weeks. Experts noted a form of gaslighting: repeating the falsehood to make a lie credible.
  127. Trump has called the whistleblower’s allegations “false,” “fraudulent,” “wrong,” “incorrect,” “so bad,” “very inaccurate,” and “phony.” At the rally, supporters behind him wore t-shirts saying, “Read the Transcript.”
  128. Trump also told supporters that Matt Bevin losing “sends a really bad message” adding, “you can’t let that happen to me!” The most recent Kentucky governor poll had Bevin up by five points.
  129. Also at the rally, Sen. Rand Paul demanded the media expose the whistleblower, saying, “do your job and print his name.” The whistleblower’s lawyer said Paul “betrays the interests of the Constitution and the American people.”
  130. On Tuesday, Paul told reporters he “probably will” disclose the name. He later said on Fox News that he “may” disclose the name, saying, “There’s nothing that prevents me from saying it now.”
  131. Shortly after, Paul tweeted an article by Real Clear Investigations which speculated on the whistleblower’s identity and gave considerable detail including the name, photograph, and political history of a CIA professional.
  132. Shortly after, Russia state media outlets TASS, RT, and Rossiya-1 disseminated the information speculatingon the whistleblower, but falsely claimed the source was the Washington Post.
  133. On Wednesday, Donald Jr. tweeted a Breitbart story that named the person believed to be the whistleblower, and added the name to the text of his tweet. Fox News hosts have been instructed not to mention the name.
  134. On Wednesday, a lawyer for the whistleblower said, “Identifying any name for the whistleblower will simply place that individual and their family at risk of serious harm,” and “we will not confirm or deny any name.”
  135. A second lawyer called Donald Jr. speculating on the identity “disgusting and reckless,” adding, “It puts the individual in danger, no matter if he is the whistleblower or not, and is an insult to the federal whistleblower law.”
  136. On Thursday, Donald Jr. defended himself on “The View.” When a co-host called the outing “something dictators do,” he responded “For days, he’s been out there in the media,” and “I’m a private citizen.”
  137. On Wednesday, Paul blocked a Senate resolution put forward by Minority Leader Chuck Schumer and Sen. Mazie Hirono which acknowledged “the contributions of whistleblowers” protected them from retaliation.
  138. On Wednesday, NYT reported Donald Jr. also retweeted an unsubstantiated claim shared by right-wing commentator Jack Posobiec that Alexander Vindman had bashed America to Russian officers in 2013.
  139. On Tuesday, Election Day, Democrats won control of the Virginia House and Senate, giving Democrats control of the state government for the first time in 26 years. Democrats also won the Kentucky governor seat.
  140. Democrats won decisively in Philadelphia and the surrounding suburbs. Democrats won control of the Delaware County Council for the first time since the Civil War. Pennsylvania is an important swing state.
  141. On Wednesday, WAPO reported the outcome in Kentucky embarrassed Trump who had just campaigned there, and worried Republicans for 2020. Trump won the state by 30 points in 2016.
  142. While aides tried to spin the loss as an anomaly, saying the candidate was unpopular, the GOP candidate had run on embracing Trump and his agenda, and ran against the House Democrats’ impeachment inquiry.
  143. On Wednesday, Trump held a ceremony at the White House to mark that more than 150 of his judicial pickshad been confirmed by the Senate, musing, “How ‘bout adding another 100 or so?”
  144. Trump said his picks might only be topped by George Washington, and lamented liberal “activist” judges, including ones who have blocked his travel bans and attempts to limit immigration.
  145. Trump also said he will host Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on November 13 at the White House, despite Turkey’s invasion of Syria, on the same day public impeachment hearings begin.
  146. On Thursday, NYT reported in a searing internal memo, the top American diplomat in Syria, William V. Roebuck, criticized the Trump regime for not doing enough to stop the Turkish military offensive.
  147. Roebuck said Turkish-backed militia fighters committed “war crimes and ethnic cleansing,” and Trump’s policy shift left Syrian Kurdish allies abandoned and opened the door for a possible Islamic State resurgence.
  148. Roebuck added, “One day when the diplomatic history is written” people will wonder why officials did not do more to stop “an unprovoked military operation” that killed 200 civilians and displaced over 100,000 people.
  149. On Thursday, Foreign Policy reported the position of U.S. special envoy to Ukraine, formerly held by Kurt Volker, is expected to be scrapped, and its responsibilities taken up by someone else at the State Department.
  150. On Thursday, French President Emmanuel Macron told the Economist that Europe can no longer count on the U.S. to defend its NATO allies, after Trump’s withdrawal of U.S. troops from Syria.
  151. Macron said Trump “doesn’t share our idea of the European project,” and “What we are currently experiencing is the brain death of NATO,” and Europe needs to needs to start thinking of itself as a geopolitical power.
  152. On Wednesday, WSJ reported the White House is bringing on Pam Bondi, a former Florida attorney general, and Tony Sayegh, a former Treasury Department spokesman, to bolster Trump’s impeachment strategy.
  153. Bringing on Bondi and Sayegh is a tacit acknowledgement by the Trump regime that it needs a strategy and coordinated response to impeachment. Trump has resisted forming a team despite pressure from GOP lawmakers.
  154. On Wednesday, a Morning Consult poll found support for impeachment fell to 47% from a mid-October high of 51%. Voters who heard “a lot” about the House vote were more likely to support impeachment.
  155. On Tuesday, Roll Call reported according to the transcripts released in the inquiry, most GOP members of the three committees have not shown up. Democrats outnumbered Republicans 2-to-1 during Sondland’s testimony.
  156. On Tuesday, CBS News reported Republicans are considering moving Rep. Jim Jordan to the House Intelligence Committee, and having him take the lead role from Rep. Devin Nunes as the impeachment inquiry heats up.
  157. On Thursday, a professional referee became the second person who said he told Jordan about sexual misconduct at Ohio State by a former doctor who allegedly sexually abused nearly 300 men over 17 years.
  158. On Friday, House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy announced that Jordan would officially be joining the House Impeachment Committee for hearings next week, replacing Rep. Rick Crawford.
  159. On Wednesday, David Hale, the State Department’s third-ranking official, testified behind closed doors in the impeachment inquiry for more than six hours, and was expected to testify about Yovanovitch’s ouster.
  160. AP reported Hale was expected to say Secretary Pompeo and other senior officials determined publicly defending Yovanovitch would hurt efforts to free up military aid to Ukraine, and would upset Giuliani.
  161. On Wednesday, two other witnesses who were scheduled to testify — Russ Vought, the acting director of the White House Office of Management and Budget, and Energy Department Sec. Rick Perry — did not show up.
  162. On Wednesday, the House released a 300-page transcript of William Taylor’s testimony. Taylor said it was Giuliani’s idea to have Zelensky commit to the political investigations.
  163. Taylor said there was clear quid pro quo, saying, “that was my clear understanding, security assistance money would not come until the President [of Ukraine] committed to pursue the investigation.”
  164. Taylor also said there was a second quid pro quo, involving a meeting with Trump: “By mid-July, it was becoming clear to me that the meeting President Zelensky wanted was conditioned on investigations.”
  165. Taylor also mentioned a “nightmare” scenario where Zelensky would publicly promise an investigation, which got him into “big trouble” in the U.S. and Ukraine, and ultimately benefited Russia.
  166. Taylor said Giuliani spearheaded the drive to get Zelensky to announce investigations into Trump’s political rivals, and that Giuliani was acting on behalf of Trump.
  167. Taylor said Bolton “was very sympathetic” to his concerns about aid, and Bolton “was also trying, with the two secretaries [Pompeo and Defense Sec. Mark Esper] and the director of the CIA, to get this decision reversed.”
  168. Taylor said an NSC meeting to discuss Ukraine aid was hard to schedule because the focus was on Trump’s desire to buy Greenland, and there was “discomfort” in the State Department about Sondland’s role in Ukraine.
  169. Taylor said he kept “careful notes” in a “little notebook where I take notes on conversations.” He also had “handwritten notes…on a small, little spiral notebook in my office of phone calls that take place in my office.”
  170. On Wednesday, Sen. Graham, Chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee, said he will not read the transcripts of testimony, calling the process an illegitimate “sham” and “bunch of B.S.”
  171. Graham also tried a new defense of Trump, claiming Trump’s Ukraine policy was “incoherent,” and saying, “They seem to be incapable of forming a quid pro quo.”
  172. On Wednesday, Trump held a rally in in Monroe, Louisiana. Sen. John Kennedy of Louisiana stood on stage with Trump, and said of Speaker Nancy Pelosi, “I don’t mean any disrespect but it must suck to be that dumb.”
  173. Trump raged against House Democrats for pursuing a “deranged, delusional, destructive, and hyper-partisan impeachment witch hunt,” adding, “It’s all a hoax, it’s a scam.”
  174. Trump also accused Democrats of “ becoming increasingly totalitarian,” accusing them of “staging show trials” and “trying to overthrow American democracy to impose their socialist agenda.”
  175. Trump also said, “I had a perfect phone call, a totally perfect phone call,” and said the whistleblower made a “horrible statement” about his July 25 call, and then “disappeared” after the transcript was released.
  176. Trump also falsely claimed that Joe Biden pushed for the removal of a Ukrainian prosecutor investigating his son, saying, “That’s called a quid pro quo. Not here.”
  177. Trump made a brief mention of Hillary Clinton, whom he called “Crooked Hillary,” leading his supporters to chant, “Lock her up!” He also referred to Democratic 2020 candidate Sen. Elizabeth Warren as “Pocahontas.”
  178. Reporters indicated that starting around halfway through Trump’s 72-minute speech, a steady stream of supporters stood up and left. The venue was filled to capacity according to Trump’s campaign.
  179. On Wednesday, WAPO reported around September 25, when the White House released the July 25 call transcript, Trump wanted Attorney General William Barr to hold a news conference and say Trump did not break the law in the call.
  180. The request traveled from Trump to White House officials, who then passed it on to the DOJ. Barr declined to do so, but the DOJ issued a statement saying it would not investigate for campaign finance violations.
  181. The DOJ pushed to release the transcript following reporting on the whistleblower complaint, wrongly assuming it would quell the controversy since Trump did not explicitly push for quid pro quo.
  182. Trump has mentioned Barr’s unwillingness to make a statement to associates in recent weeks, saying he wished he had done so, but the two remain on good terms. The DOJ had tried to distance itself from Trump and Giuliani on the matter.
  183. Later Wednesday, just after midnight, in a series of tweets, Trump pushed back on the story, tweeting, “Years ago, when Media was legitimate…“Fact Checkers” would always call to check and see if a story was accurate.”
  184. Trump also tweeted now, “they just write whatever they want!” adding, “The story in the Amazon Washington Post, of course picked up by Fake News CNN…is totally untrue and just another FAKE NEWS story.”
  185. Trump also again evoked the phrase “enemy of the people,” tweeting, “the LameStream Media, which is The Enemy of the People,” of “working overtime with made up stories in order to drive dissension and distrust!”
  186. On Thursday, Trump continued his attacks in the morning, tweeting, “Bill Barr did not decline my request to talk about Ukraine,” calling it a “Fake Washington Post con job with an “anonymous” source that doesn’t exist.”
  187. Trump also tweeted, “The degenerate Washington Post MADE UP the story about me asking Bill Barr,” adding,“Never happened, and there were no sources!” In a separate tweet, Trump wrote “Read the Transcript!”
  188. Shortly after, Trump continued, tweeting, “The Amazon Washington Post and three lowlife reporters, Matt Zapotosky, Josh Dawsey, and Carol Leonnig, wrote another Fake News story, without any sources.”
  189. Trump also called WAPO, “a garbage newspaper!” and accused “The Radical Left Dems and LameStream Media” of making it harder for him to win, and citing the “new Impeachment Hoax” turning against them.
  190. In a statement, WAPO Executive Editor Marty Baron responded, saying the Post fully stands by the story and its reporters. The story was also later confirmed by NYT and ABC News.
  191. On Friday, Democratic Sens. Kamala Harris, Richard Blumenthal, and Sheldon Whitehouse filed a FOIA request seeking documents related to Trump’s alleged call for Barr to hold a press conference.
  192. In their filing, the three cited “serious concerns” about Trump’s perception of the DOJ “as a partisan political instrument and his willingness to use the power of federal law enforcement in pursuit of his own objectives.”
  193. Trump also called for the end of the impeachment inquiry, citing a 2017 tweet by Mark Zaid, “the Fake Whistleblowers attorney,” predicting his impeachment, and tweeting “the Impeachment Hoax should be ended IMMEDIATELY!”
  194. Trump also falsely claimed, “I get NO LAWYER & NO DUE PROCESS. It is a Pelosi, Schiff, Scam against the Republican Party and me,” adding, “This Witch Hunt should not be allowed to proceed!”
  195. On Thursday, Daily Beast reported Trump and “Apprentice” creator Mark Burnett have discussions about doing another TV series together, possibly “The Apprentice: White House.” Trump misses being a reality TV host.
  196. On Thursday, in response to a request for witnesses sent by Chair Adam Schiff to ranking member Nunes, Jim Jordan responded instead, saying Republicans want to subpoena the whistleblower.
  197. On Thursday, NYT reported Zelensky met with two U.S. Senators in early September and was told if the $400 million in military aid was not released by Trump by September 30, it could be lost entirely.
  198. All of Zelensky top aides were in favor of bowing to Trump’s demands except Alexander Danyliuk, the director of the NSC, who resigned and said Zelensky would need to “correct the mistakes” in U.S. relations.
  199. Negotiations for a statement for Zelenksy happened between Kurt Volker and his senior aide Andriy Yermak in August. U.S. diplomats agreed to drop mention of Ukraine interference in the 2016 election.
  200. Taylor testified that Trump wanted the statement made on CNN. Aides for Zelensky, cautious not to upset Trump, noted his negative tweets about CNN, but then also noticed Trump was attacking Fox News.
  201. Zelensky decided to make a statement on September 13 on CNN show hosted by Fareed Zakaria. Two days before, news had been leaked out about the aid, Congress was in an uproar and aid was released. Zelensky canceled the interview.
  202. On Thursday, Jennifer Williams, a career foreign service officer and special adviser to Pence for Europe and Russia, appeared before the House committees on the impeachment inquiry. She was issued a subpoena.
  203. Williams likely would have briefed Pence ahead of his meeting with Zelensky on September 1. She was also the second on the July 25 call to testify. Pence claimed he was not aware of Trump’s demands to Zelensky.
  204. John Bolton however did not appear for his scheduled impeachment deposition. Bolton has not been issued a subpoena. WAPO reported Bolton is willing to appear if the federal court clears the way.
  205. On Thursday, House Democrats dropped efforts to get testimony from Bolton, after his lawyer threatened to file a lawsuit if he was subpoenaed. Both Democrats and Republicans have said they want to hear from Bolton.
  206. House Democrats also withdrew their subpoena from Charles Kupperman on Wednesday, citing the drawn out time for a legal battle. Oral arguments would have started December 10.
  207. Instead the House will rely on the outcome of a similar ongoing case with Don McGahn, heard by a different judge in the same courthouse. She is likely to issue an opinion in November.
  208. On Thursday, CNN reported House Democrats plan to fast-track the impeachment inquiry, limiting the number of witnesses and avoiding court battles. Sources say the timeline has not been finalized.
  209. Democrats plan to hold public hearings for two weeks, write a report over Thanksgiving break, have two weeks for debate, and then a full House vote before Christmas. Trump would be the third president to be impeached.
  210. On Thursday, House investigators released the transcript of George Kent’s testimony. Kent said he had written contemporaneous memos of specific conversations he had witnessed related to quid pro quo.
  211. Kent testified he believed the Trump-Ukraine conduct was “injurious to the rule of law, both in Ukraine and the U.S.” His notes are in the property of the State Department, and have not been turned over despite a subpoena.
  212. He told Catherine Croft on August 15, on asking Ukraine to investigate, “that goes against everything that we are trying to promote in post Soviet states for the last 28 years, which is the promotion of the rule of law.”
  213. Kent also testified Giuliani started a “campaign of slander” against Yovanovitch in mid-March, and was aided by journalist John Solomon, and Fox News hosts Sean Hannity and Laura Ingraham.
  214. On Thursday, WAPO reported House Republicans’ strategy to shield Trump is raise motives about his deputies — Sondland, Giuliani, and Mick Mulvaney — and say they could have acted alone, and make them the fall guy.
  215. On Thursday, Pence denied allegations in the anonymous author’s book that he would have backed removal of Trump under the 25th Amendment, and added, “I never heard any discussion in my entire tenure.”
  216. Pence also told reporters there was “no quid pro quo,” adding Trump “made military support available for Ukraine,” and, “The American people have the transcript” of Trump’s call.
  217. On Thursday, lawyers for the whistleblower sent the White House a cease and desist letter, demanding Trump stop calling for the outing of the whistleblower’s name, and citing his “reckless and dangerous” comments.
  218. The letter to White House counsel states: “should any harm befall any suspected named whistleblower or their family, the blame will rest squarely with your client.”
  219. On Thursday, journalist Bill Moyer called on PBS to televise the impeachment hearings live, and repeat the broadcast in primetime for Americans who work to see, as was done with Watergate.
  220. On Thursday, a USC Dornsife/LA Times poll found 44% believe the House should vote to impeach, 30% say they should not, and 26% say they do not know or it is too soon to tell.
  221. On Thursday, advance copies of “A Warning” came out, describing Trump as cruel, inept, and a danger to the nation. Anonymous said the ‘quiet resistance’ inside the regime would not steer Trump in the right direction.
  222. The author described Trump as unfit, reckless, and without full control of his faculties, saying he is “like a twelve-year-old in an air traffic control tower, pushing the buttons of government indiscriminately.”
  223. The author claimed senior regime officials considered resigning en masse in a “midnight self-massacre” to sound the public alarm, but decided not to, citing it would destabilize the already fragile government.
  224. On Friday, Trump said he has not agreed to scrap tariffs on China including finalizing “phase one” of the trade deal, after holding a celebratory ceremony in the Oval Office in Week 152.
  225. On Friday, before heading to Georgia, Trump stopped and spoke to reporters on the South Lawn, after avoiding the press for two days — highly unusual for Trump.
  226. Trump told reporters of Sondland, “Let me just tell you: I hardly know the gentleman.” Sondland donated $1 million to Trump’s inaugural fund and has flown several times on Air Force One.
  227. Trump said of the impeachment hearings next week, after complaining about closed door hearings recently, “they shouldn’t be having public hearings,” adding, “This is a hoax. This is just like the Russian witch hunt.”
  228. Trump also said, “Everybody that’s testified, even the ones that are Trump haters, they’ve all been fine. They don’t have anything,” again saying his call “transcript is perfect,” and My phone call was perfect.”
  229. Trump also said the whistleblower “is a disgrace to our country,” and their identity “should be revealed,” and their lawyer “should be sued. And maybe for treason. Maybe for treason.”
  230. Trump also said “Nancy Pelosi should go back to her district, which is horrible. It’s filthy. It’s drug-infested. The stuff’s being flown out to the ocean — it’s being wiped out to the ocean through their drainage systems.”
  231. Trump said of the WAPO story, “if I asked Bill Barr to have a press conference I think he’d do it,” placing him at odds with Barr. Then he added, “But I never asked him to have a press conference. Why should I?”
  232. Trump complained about the media and Democrats, saying, “you’ve really shaped my behavior,” citing “phony stuff” and “false investigations,” adding, “a lot of my behavior was shaped by the fake news and by the other side.”
  233. Trump also told reporters Putin invited him to Russia’s Victory Day parade on May 9, and he is “thinking about it,” adding, “It is right in the middle of political season,” but “I would love to go if I could.”
  234. Later Friday, Trump courted African-American voters at the launch of “Black Voices for Trump” in Atlanta. Roughly 300 attended. Trump told reporters Democrats’ “sinister effort” to get him out of office will not work.
  235. Trump said the inquiry is a “deranged, hyperpartisan impeachment witch hunt,” and “failing fast. It’s all a hoax,” and blamed Democrats for urban issues like crime, saying, “Pelosi should go back home to San Francisco.”
  236. On Friday, acting White House chief of staff Mick Mulvaney defied a House subpoena and skipped his scheduled closed door deposition, saying he was not coming because he had “absolute immunity.”
  237. On Friday, the transcripts of Alexander Vindman and Fiona Hill’s testimony were released by House impeachment investigators. Both Vindman and Hill are in discussion about publicly testifying.
  238. Hill said after it became public that she would cooperate, she was threatened: “I received…death threats, calls at my home. My neighbors reported somebody coming and hammering on my door.”
  239. The transcripts showed Chair Schiff sparred with Rep. Matt Gaetz when he attempted to enter the closed door hearing while Hill testified, with Schiff saying, “You’re not permitted to be in the room,” and “absent yourself.”
  240. Hill testified there was a “good chance” Russia had kompromat on Trump during the 2016 campaign, and it “often is factual,” adding, “then they will sprinkle into that disinformation.”
  241. Hill testified that Giuliani and Sondland side-stepped typical NSC and White House processes for foreign policy, and Giuliani undercut and derailed U.S. diplomats charged with the U.S.-Ukraine relationship.
  242. Hill said the ouster of Yovanovitch was a turning point for her leaving, and that Giuliani was behind Yovanovitch’s “defamation.” Bolton’s reaction was Giuliani is a “hand grenade that is going to blow everyone up.”
  243. Hill also said the campaign against Yovanovitch was “ruthless and nasty,” and had “a really devastating effect” on career diplomats like herself, and on female diplomats in particular.
  244. Hill said reading the July 25 transcript and Volker’s texts were her “worst fears and nightmares” realized, adding there were “an awful lot of people” involved in turning “a White House meeting into some kind of asset.”
  245. Hill said Sondland told her on multiple occasions he was overseeing the Ukraine relationship, on Trump’s authority. She worried Sondland would become a “target for foreign powers” for offering White House access.
  246. Hill and Vindman testified Sondland told Ukrainian officials at a July 10 meeting they would need to open an investigation to secure a White House meeting. Sondland said he was acting at the direction of Mulvaney.
  247. Hill and Vindman testified that the quid pro quo effort was coordinated by Mulvaney. Vindman said he heard of the first hold on Ukraine aid by July 3, and later learned it came from Mulvaney’s office.
  248. Vindman said “there was no doubt” that Trump was seeking political investigations of political rivals, and that Zelensky would “need to fulfill this particular prerequisite in order to get the meeting.”
  249. In total, Democrats released 2,677 pages of testimony from eight impeachment witnesses. Overall, the House committees have called 33 witnesses to testify and 16 have appeared so far.
  250. Later Friday, in a letter to Congress, Bolton’s attorney said his client knows about “many relevant meetings and conversations” connected to the Ukraine pressure campaign that the House has not yet covered.
  251. Bolton’s attorney said his client would be willing to testify, but would first need a court ruling hat he should ignore White House objections. The attorney, Charles Cooper, also represents Kupperman.
  252. Cooper also argued, unlike others who have testified in the inquiry, Bolton and Kupperman did not have the same constraint since they “did not provide direct advice to the president on a regular or frequent basis.
  253. Late Friday, attorneys for Mulvaney asked to join a federal lawsuit filed by Kupperman seeking a judicial ruling on whether Congress can compel Trump’s senior advisers to testify in the impeachment inquiry.
  254. In reaction to the House asking the judge to dismiss Kupperman’s case on Wednesday, Cooper said in a letter Friday that Kupperman and Bolton want to get a “definitive judgment” on whether to testify.
  255. Mulvaney’s attorneys said he and Kupperman face identical competing demands, although Kupperman has left his position. Mulvaney said he fears the House will hold him in contempt for not appearing.
  256. On Friday, WSJ reported in late February, Parnas and Fruman urged former Ukraine President Petro Poroshenko to announce investigations in Trump’s political opponents in exchange for a White House meeting.
  257. The three met at the offices of then Ukrainian general prosecutor Yuriy Lutsenko, shortly after Parnas and Fruman met with Giuliani and Lutsenko in New York in late January, and then again in Warsaw in mid-February.
  258. Poroshenko was in a tight race and wanted to have a state dinner with Trump, then do an interview with a news outlet, then he would announce the investigations. His approval sagged and the meeting did not happen.
  259. Lutsenko told the Hill in March that he was opening an investigation into interference by Ukraine in 2016, and had evidence to present to the DOJ on Joe Biden and Burisma. He later found no wrongdoing by the Bidens.
  260. On Saturday, early in the morning and continuing through the day, Trump sent a flurry of tweets attackingthe impeachment probe, witnesses, and Democrats. He retweeted 17 messages in one hour alone, hammering Democrats.
  261.  Trump also tweeted, “Fake News is reporting that I am talking to Mark Burnett about doing a big show,” adding, “which I would assume they mean in 5 years,” and “This is not true,” and “False reporting!”
  262. Trump also promoted his son’s book, tweeting, “Just finished reading my son Donald’s just out new book, “Triggered.” It is really good! He, along with many of us, was very unfairly treated. But we all fight back.”
  263. In his book, Donald Jr. wrote that a visit to Arlington National Cemetery reminded him of all his family’s sacrifices, saying, “we’d already suffered as a family, and about all the sacrifices we’d have to make.”
  264. Trump also promoted another book, tweeting, “Bringing the word “Nationalism” back into the mainstream — great job by Rich Lowry!” adding, “Very important book.”
  265. Trump also tweeted, “the Witch Hunt continues. After 3 years of relentless attacks against the Republican Party & me,” adding, “the Do Nothing Dems are losers for America!” and “PRESIDENTIAL HARASSMENT!”
  266. On Saturday, House Republicans sent a list of witnesses they want to call in the impeachment hearings, including Hunter Biden, Nellie Ohr, a board member of Burisma, Volker, Morrison, and the whistleblower.
  267. Chair Schiff responded, “This inquiry is not, and will not serve…to undertake the same sham investigationsinto the Bidens or 2016 that the President pressed Ukraine to conduct for his personal political benefit.”
  268. On Saturday, NPR annotated the whistleblower complaint based on public record of testimony in the impeachment inquiry, and found most of the content has already been corroborated.
  269. On Saturday, Trump told reporters he will “probably” release the transcript on Tuesday of a second call with Zelensky on April 12 after he won the election, saying, “They ask for it, and I gladly give it.”
  270. Trump also said on the hearings, “I don’t care if public — they should be public. What I said it was misreported as usual. What I said is very simple. There should not be anything. There should not be impeachment hearings.”

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In this Tuesday, Nov. 5, 2019, photo Delaware County Council candidate Monica Taylor high-fives a supporter during the Delaware County Democratic Committee’s election watch party. Democrats won all three seats and took control of the council for the first time since the Civil War.

POLITIKS OF GRAFFITI 156: LOCK HIM UP!

NOVEMBER 02, 2019

Week 155

Experts in authoritarianism advise to keep a list of things
subtly changing around you, so you’ll remember. https://theweeklylist.org/weekly-list/week-155/

This week, further testimony in the impeachment probe brought the fifth and sixth public confirmation of a quid pro quo between Trump and Ukraine, including so far William Taylor, Gordon Sondland, Sen. Ron Johnson, Mick Mulvaney, Alexander Vindman and Tim Morrison. By week’s end, Senate Republicans discussed shifting their defense of Trump to acknowledging his quid pro quo, but saying it was not illegal — differing from House Republicans who continued to deny it, and Trump who maintained he had a “perfect” call and tested out new explanations for what occurred. Allegations of a possible White House cover up of Trump’s July 25 call also surfaced in this week’s testimony.

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IMPEACH. CRIMINAL. VOTE OUT. North Park, San Diego, CALIFORNIA. 2nov19.

The House of Representatives took its first full, public vote on impeachment, passing a resolution to proceed with public hearings, and setting out ground rules to proceed. In the meantime, aspects of the Mueller probe came back into the spotlight as ongoing court cases played out, and Speaker Nancy Pelosi said she would not rule out including new information in the impeachment inquiry.

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CLOSE UP. 

Trump tried to pivot and focus attention on a successful raid that killed the head of ISIS, seeking to turn it into a Hollywood story to distract attention and legitimize his haphazard foreign policy. This week hundreds of U.S. troops abandoned Kurdish allies in Syria, while hundreds of others moved back to Syria to protect oilfields not owned by the U.S. Trump attended his first Major League Baseball game for the World Series, and was treated to boos when he was announced, and chants of “Lock him up!” an inning later.

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V O T E. Downtown San Diego, CALIFORNIA 2nov19
  1. On Saturday, former White House chief of staff John Kelly said at a conference that he warned Trump if he replaced him with “a ‘yes man,’ someone who won’t tell you the truth,” he would “be impeached.”
  2. Trump said Kelly “never said anything like that,” or he would have thrown him “out of the office.” White House press secretary Stephanie Grisham said Kelly “was totally unequipped to handle the genius” of Trump.
  3. Late Saturday, Trump tweeted, “Something very big has just happened!” The White House said Trump will make a major announcement on Sunday at 9 a.m. EST. It was not immediately clear what Trump would discuss.
  4. On Sunday, Trump announced an operation by U.S. Special Forces on Saturday killed Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, the founder and leader of ISIS. Trump notably thanked other countries before thanking U.S. troops.
  5. Trump particularly emphasized Russia, thanking “the nations of Russia, Turkey, Syria, and Iraq” and the “Syrian Kurds,” then later saying “Russia was great, Russia let us fly through space. Russia hates ISIS as much as us.”
  6. Trump delivered an unusually vivid account, saying al-Baghdadi “died after running into a dead-end tunnel, whimpering, screaming and crying all the way,” adding, “He died like a dog, he died like a coward.”
  7. Trump also said of oilfields, “We have taken it and secured it,” and repeated his 2016 campaign rhetoric, “I said keep the oil,” confirming the world’s worst suspicions about American motives in the region.
  8. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said in a statement that Trump notified Russia before telling Congress, saying,“The House must be briefed,” adding, “the Russians but not top Congressional Leadership were notified.”
  9. Trump only informed two Senate Republicans, Sens. Richard Burr and Lindsey Graham, and claimed he did not tell Speaker Pelosi because he “wanted to make sure this kept secret.”
  10. A spokesperson for the Russian Defense Ministry refuted Trump’s announcement, saying Russia did not provide access to air space for U.S. air units, and calling Trump’s victory lap nothing but “propaganda.”
  11. On Sunday, NYT reported Trump’s Syria troop withdrawal complicated the Pentagon’s plans for the al-Baghdadi raid, which were underway for months, and caused a risky night raid before the pullout was complete.
  12. On Monday, Trump told reporters he is considering releasing parts of the video of the raid, saying “it was an amazing display of intelligence and military power,” and evoking comparisons to a reality-TV type rollout.
  13. Trump also defended not notifying Democratic leaders beforehand, saying, “I’ve watched Adam Schiff leak,” calling him a “corrupt politician” and “the biggest leaker in Washington.”
  14. On Monday, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said he was not notified ahead of the raid, but Trump tried to connect before the news conference. House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy also was not notified.
  15. On Monday, Gen. Mark Milley, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, told reporters the Pentagon could not confirm al-Baghdadi died “screaming, crying and whimpering,” and was not sure how Trump got his information.
  16. On Monday, NBC News reported some of the details Trump gave were false, while others may have revealed highly classified or tactically sensitive information. Officials cited his entertainment background.
  17. On Monday, NBC News reported a Kurdish informant provided key information to U.S. intelligence that was essential to the raid. Trump said Sunday that Kurds provided “some information that turned out to be helpful.”
  18. On Monday, Defense Secretary Mark Esper announced a broad defense of Syrian oilfields, saying U.S. troops would use “overwhelming force” to protect the oilfields from not only ISIS, but also Syria and Russia.
  19. On Wednesday, NBC News reported acting White House chief of staff Mick Mulvaney learned of the raid after it was already underway, an extraordinary move by Trump not to notify his chief of staff.
  20. On Wednesday, Trump tweeted a fake photo of him placing a medal around the neck of a hero dog involved in the raid — an altered photo of Trump awarding a Medal of Honor to James McCloughan, an army medic.
  21. On Wednesday, NYT reported in Syria, hundreds of U.S. troops are abandoning Kurdish allies, while hundreds arrive to guard oil fields: troops at the oil fields are expected to reach 900, as 1,000 are withdrawn.
  22. On Friday, NYT reported Trump seemed to have made up his vivid comments about the death of Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, when he claimed he was “whimpering and crying and screaming all the way.”
  23. In addition to Gen. Milley, Defense Sec. Esper, and the regional commander who oversaw the operation, other senior Defense Department officials all say they have no idea what Trump is talking about.
  24. On Monday, Politico reported U.S. policy toward Ukraine is in shambles. Officials in Kiev wondered who they can trust in Washington, given recent departures and the inquiry. Experts worry about “lasting damage.”
  25. On Tuesday, British Parliament voted to dissolve and set up an early election on December 12, the first December election since 1923, at which the issue of Brexit will be front and center.
  26. On Wednesday, Russia’s Defense Ministry said it had successfully test-launched a Bulava intercontinental ballistic missile for the first time from a nuclear submarine, striking a target thousands of kilometers away.
  27. The test came as Trump pulled out of the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty, which banned deployment of short- and medium-ranged missiles in August.
  28. On Friday, Syrian President Bashar Assad told NBC News that Trump is “the best” president, citing his transparency, saying, “Trump speaks with transparency to say ‘we want the oil.’”
  29. On Sunday, Trump attended Game 5 of the World Series between the Nationals and Astros. When his presence was announced, the crowd let out thunderous boos. One inning later, fans chanted “Lock him up!
  30. The Lerner family, the principal owners of the Nationals, put in a request to the MLB not to be put in a position to turn down a request to be seated with Trump. Trump sat with a group of his Republican allies.
  31. This marked the first time Trump attended a MLB game since taking office. Until Trump, every president since William Taft had throw out a ceremonial first pitch. Trump left the game early after being booed.
  32. On Monday, when asked about Trump being booed, White House deputy press secretary Hogan Gidley told reporters, “I didn’t talk to [Trump] about it. I know that there were some people there cheering as well.”
  33. On Monday, WAPO reported on concerns raised by Democratic campaigns who reporting indicated were targeted by a Russia-based disinformation campaign on Instagram, the first of 2020, and have been left in the dark.
  34. Democratic lawmakers, campaigns, and security experts worry the Trump regime and social media companies do not have a response or strategy in place for 2020. China and Iran have also manipulated social media.
  35. On Monday, in a letter to Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg and his lieutenants, more than 250 Facebook employees said they “strongly object” to the decision to let politicians post any claims they wanted.
  36. On Wednesday, Facebook said it took down three Russian-backed influence networks aimed at African countries. Russia has been testing disinformation networks ahead of the 2020 U.S. election.
  37. The networks were linked to Yevgeny Prigozhin, the Russian oligarch known as “Putin’s chef,” who was indicted in the U.S. and accused of interfering in the 2016 U.S. election.
  38. On Wednesday, Twitter’s CEO Jack Dorsey announced the company will ban all political ads starting November 22, tweeting, “We believe political message reach should be earned, not bought.”
  39. Trump’s campaign manager Brad Parscale said in a statement it was “a very dumb decision,” calling it a partisan act meant to silence conservatives. Democrats praised the decision.
  40. On Wednesday, former CIA director John Brennan said Russia’s influence operation swayed votes in the 2016 election, a statement that went further than past public statements by U.S. intelligence officials and lawmakers.
  41. Brennan said there was possibly some effect on the final result, which gave Trump the presidency, adding, “How many, in which states, I don’t know. Whether it changed the outcome, I don’t know.”
  42. On Wednesday, Georgia state officials announced the state plans to purge 300,000 names from its voter rolls, roughly 4% of registered voters, removing voters who have moved away or stop casting ballots.
  43. On Sunday, Senate Judiciary Committee ranking member Dianne Feinstein released a letter from committee Democrats, calling on Attorney General William Barr to recuse himself from matters relating to Ukraine.
  44. On Monday, AG Barr told Fox News the accusation that he acts as Trump’s personal lawyer are “completely wrong and there is no basis for it,” adding, “I act on behalf of the United States.”
  45. On Monday, WAPO reported Senate Republicans are struggling to defend Trump: while Trump allies have strained to argue about the inquiry process, others are having trouble defending facts and are not speaking up.
  46. Several GOP senators cited being a “juror” in their unwillingness to comment to the press. Senators have also complained about a lack of strategy from the White House and their limited grasp of the full facts.
  47. One veteran senator said, “It feels like a horror movie.” Leader McConnell is prioritizing keeping control of the Senate, as support for impeachment has grown in several swing districts up for re-election in 2020.
  48. On Monday, Sens. Susan Collins and Lisa Murkowski joined Mitt Romney saying they would not co-sponsor Graham’s resolution. Leader McConnell, although a co-sponsor, did not commit to bring the resolution to the floor.
  49. On Sunday, chairs of the three House committees insisted that Charles Kupperman, a deputy to former NSA John Bolton, appear before their committees on Monday, saying he could face a contempt citation if he declines.
  50. On Monday, Kupperman did not appear. His attorneys asked the courts for an expedited hearing of their lawsuit filed last Friday, after the House subpoenaed him, and the White House claimed “constitutional immunity.”
  51. Chair Schiff told reporters it was “deeply regrettable” that Kupperman was a “no-show,” saying witnesses like Kupperman “need to do their duty and show up,” adding his refusal “may warrant a contempt proceeding.”
  52. Schiff also said Kupperman’s decision to not show has “no basis in law,” and was further evidence of Trump’s efforts to obstruct Congress. Later, a federal judge set a court date of Thursday for Kupperman’s lawsuit.
  53. Schiff added, “We are not willing to let the White House engage us in a lengthy game of rope-a-dope in the courts, so we press ahead,” citing the previous stonewalling by the Trump regime in the Mueller probe.
  54. Later Monday, Speaker Pelosi said in a letter the House will vote Thursday to bring the impeachment inquiry public, establishing rules for presentation of evidence and outlining due process, saying, “Nobody is above the law.”
  55. Pelosi said, “We are taking this step to eliminate any doubt as to whether the Trump administration may withhold documents, prevent witness testimony, disregard duly authorized subpoenas or continue obstructing.”
  56. On Monday, WAPO reported Sen. Ron Johnson met with Ukrainian diplomat Andrii Telizhenko for at least 30 minutes on Capitol Hill in July about the unsubstantiated claim the DNC worked with Ukraine in 2016.
  57. Johnson’s staffers also met with Telizhenko for five hours. The meetings point to his emerging role as the most involved member of Congress on Ukraine, and could make him a person of interest in the inquiry.
  58. On Monday, Rep. Greg Walden, ranking member on the House Energy and Commerce Committee, announced he will retire in 2020, becoming the fourth GOP ranking member to depart in 2020.
  59. On Monday, during his first visit to Chicago for the International Association of Chiefs of Police, Trump blasted Chicago police superintendent Eddie Johnson, who boycotted the event, for “not doing his job.”
  60. Trump attacked Johnson, a Black man, over Chicago’s “sanctuary city” policies, saying, “People like Johnson put criminals and illegal aliens before the citizens of Chicago,” adding, “Frankly, those values, to me, are a disgrace.”
  61. Trump also attacked Chicago, whose officials have been outspokenly against his immigration policies, saying, “It’s embarrassing to us as a nation,” adding, “Afghanistan is a safe place by comparison.”
  62. Thousands in Chicago gathered outside of Trump Tower to protest his first visit to their city with homemade signs, and chants like “Lock him up!” and “This is what democracy looks like!” Trump did not see the protests.
  63. On Monday, the Fraternal Order of Police, the largest police union with 330,000 members, attacked the impeachment process in a statement, accusing Congress of violating due process “to score political points.”
  64. The statement, which was also tweeted, accused “many Members of Congress” of “undermining that trust in due process,” adding, “Just as local law enforcement officers are often convicted in the media.”
  65. On Friday, Trump again attacked Johnson, tweeting, “Chicago will never stop its crime wave with the current Superintendent of Police,” and thanking allies Kevin Graham and “the GREAT Chicago Police Officers.”
  66. On Monday, the DOJ filed a motion asking Judge Beryl Howell to stay her order to turn over grand jury materials in the Mueller probe, pending review of an appeals court.
  67. On Tuesday, a three-judge appeals court temporarily blocked the release of the Mueller probe materials while Judge Howell has “sufficient opportunity to consider the emergency motion” by DOJ.
  68. On Saturday, WAPO reported Republican lawmakers loyal to Trump have used the impeachment inquiry to ask questions related to the whistleblower, reportedly in an effort to “unmask” their identity.
  69. On Monday, Daily Beast reported Derek Harvey, a top aide to Rep. Devin Nunes, has provided notes to House Republicans with the supposed name of the whistleblower, in hopes of getting the name added to transcripts.
  70. On Tuesday, Trump promoted Nunes’ new book, tweeting, “A great new book just out,” adding, “The True Story Of How Congressman Devin Nunez [sic] Uncovered the Biggest Political Scandal In U.S. History.”
  71. On Monday, NYT reported Army officer Alexander Vindman, the top Ukraine expert on the NSC, will testify Tuesday he twice reported concerns about Trump’s pressure tactics on Ukraine out of a “sense of duty.”
  72. According to his opening statement, Vindman was expected to testify he heard Trump ask Ukraine’s president to investigate his political rivals. Vindman will be the first person present on the July 25 call to testify.
  73. Vindman said, “I did not think it was proper to demand that a foreign government investigate a U.S. citizen,” adding he was worried about the implications for Ukraine in what would be considered a “partisan play.”
  74. Vindman worried “This would all undermine U.S. national security,” and added, “I am a patriot, and it is my sacred duty and honor to advance and defend our country irrespective of party or politics.”
  75. Vindman planned to say he is not the whistleblower, but that his account will corroborate the complaint, and that he watched with alarm as “outside influencers” began pushing a “false narrative” about Ukraine.
  76. Vindman said he first brought concerns to John Eisenberg, the NSC top lawyer, on July 10 when Sondlandspoke about “Ukraine delivering specific investigations in order to secure the meeting with the president.”
  77. Vindman went again to Eisenberg on July 25, accompanied by his twin brother Yevgeny, who is a lawyer on the National Security Council. Both serve as lieutenant colonels in the Army.
  78. Vindman’s testimony aligns with that of Fiona Hill, and her concern of the July 10 call along with Bolton, as well as that of William Taylor; but differed from Sondland who testified no concerns were ever raised to him on Ukraine.
  79. Shortly after, Rep. Joaquin Castro, a member of the House Intelligence Committee, tweeted based on Vindman’s testimony, “I believe that Ambassador Gordon Sondland committed perjury.”
  80. Shortly after, Fox News host Laura Ingraham attacked Vindman on her show, speculating he was a double-agent for Ukraine, given he was born there and is fluent in their language. Her guest accused him of espionage.
  81. Shortly before midnight, Trump quoted Ingraham, tweeting, “There is no underlying crime in that transcript,” and added, “Where is the Whistleblower? That is why this is now called the Impeachment Hoax!”
  82. Trump also tweeted, “The only crimes in the Impeachment Hoax were committed by Shifty Adam Schiff,” saying “he totally made up my phone conversation” and “should be Impeached, and worse.”
  83. On Tuesday, “Fox & Friends” co-host Brian Kilmeade continued the attack on Vindman, saying although he got a purple heart, “He is from the Soviet Union, he emigrated here and has an affinity for the Ukrainian people.”
  84. On Tuesday, CNN contributor Sean Duffy also suggested Vindman’s loyalty was to Ukraine, saying, “He has an affinity, probably, for his homeland,” and “I don’t know that he’s concerned about American policy.”
  85. On Tuesday, Trump tweeted, “Why are people that I never even heard of testifying about the call,” adding, “Just READ THE CALL TRANSCRIPT…THE IMPEACHMENT HOAX IS OVER! Ukrain [sic] said NO PRESSURE.”
  86. Trump called Vindman a “Never Trumper” in a series of tweets, saying, “Where’s the Whistleblower?” and “Just read the Transcript, everything else is made up garbage by Shifty Schiff and the Never Trumpers!”
  87. Trump also tweeted, “The Do Nothing Democrats are working hard to make everyone forget the Best Economy Ever, the monumental weekend raid,” adding, “The Impeachment Hoax is a disgrace. Read the transcript!”
  88. Trump also tweeted, “How many more Never Trumpers will be allowed to testify about a perfectly appropriate phone call” adding, “READ THE TRANSCRIPT! I knew people were listening in on the call.”
  89. Trump also tweeted, “according to the Corrupt Media, the Ukraine call “concerned” today’s Never Trumper witness,” adding, “Was he on the same call that I was?” and “ask him to read the Transcript,” and “Witch Hunt!”
  90. Vindman and his twin brother fled to the U.S. from Ukraine at age 3. He has served in the U.S. Army for two decades under Democrats and Republicans, and earned a Purple Heart from fighting in the Iraq War.
  91. Later Tuesday, top Republicans pushed back on the Vindman attacks, with No. 2 GOP Sen. John Thune saying “He’s a patriot,” and Rep. Liz Cheney calling it “shameful” to question Vindman’s loyalty or patriotism.
  92. When Leader McConnell was pressed by a reporter about Vindman’s testimony, he side-stepped answering, instead responding, “I’m not gonna question the patriotism of any of the people who are coming forward.”
  93. Later, Trump also tweeted, ““Nervous Nancy Pelosi” is trying to destroy the Republican Party, but that “The Do Nothing Dems will lose many seats in 2020. They have a Death Wish, led by a corrupt politician, Adam Schiff!”
  94. On Tuesday, NYT reported Vindman testified that the White House transcript of the July 25 call between Trump and Zelensky omitted crucial words and phrases, and two of his corrections were not incorporated.
  95. The two omissions were Trump’s assertion there was a recording of Biden discussing Ukraine corruption, and a mention by Zelensky of Burisma Holdings. He also hinted that Trump aides left things out of the transcript.
  96. The call transcript has ellipses at three points where Trump is supposedly trailing off. Vindman said the third set were Trump referencing a tape of Biden commenting about his efforts to oust Viktor Shokin.
  97. On Tuesday, WSJ reported House Democrats accused Republicans of trying to unmask the whistleblower during their questioning of Vindman. Vindman said he is not the whistleblower, and does not know who it is.
  98. Lawyers for the whistleblower told the Journal the team has received abusive communications and multiple death threats — that have led to at least one law-enforcement investigation.
  99. On Wednesday, Politico reported Vindman testified after attending Zelensky’s inauguration he hoped to brief Trump and give a positive review. His briefing was canceled as aides said it might confuse Trump.
  100. Vindman said he was instructed “at the last second” not to attend the debriefing, as Trump believed Kashyap Patel, a former staffer of Rep. Devin Nunes with no Ukraine expertise, was the NSC’s top Ukraine expert.
  101. On Wednesday, CNN reported Vindman believed a quid quo pro existed on July 10 when Sondland told Ukrainian government officials they would need to deliver “specific investigations” to get a meeting with Trump.
  102. He realized Trump was behind withholding aid on August 15 when Bolton had him to write an interagency memo asking for Trump to release the aid. Trump refused after a meeting at Bedminster on August 16.
  103. On Tuesday, the House released the resolution detailing next steps in the public impeachment inquiry. The vote on Thursday will mark the first time House members will go on the public record voting for the inquiry.
  104. The eight-page resolution laid out the format for public hearings, permitting staff counsels to question witnesses for up to 45 minutes per side. Transcripts of past interviews will be redacted and publicly released.
  105. The measure allows Trump or his attorneys to participate in impeachment proceedings held by the House Judiciary Committee. If Trump “refuses to cooperate” the Chair has the discretion to impose appropriate remedies.
  106. The measure gives Republicans subpoena power, but only with the approval of the chairman or full committee.
  107. Trump and Republicans have repeatedly called on House Democrats to hold a vote, and Pelosi choosing to do so nullifies this talking point. House Republicans criticized the resolution in a letter before it was released.
  108. The White House said in a statement the resolution “confirms that House Democrats’ impeachment has been an illegitimate sham from the start as it lacked any proper authorization by a House vote.”
  109. NBC News reported what shifted Pelosi’s mind on holding a vote were the facts in evidence, and wanting the American public to hear from witnesses. Republicans had been complaining about closed-door hearings.
  110. On Tuesday, Sen. Bob Menendez asked the Office of Special Counsel to open a probe into whether Secretary of State Mike Pompeo violated the Hatch Act by recent trips to Kansas, as Republicans urge him to run for senate in 2020.
  111. On Tuesday, a federal judge in Florida said Lev Parnas can be questioned under oath about financial transfershe made to Republican political campaigns, including Trump. Parnas is under house arrest in Florida.
  112. On Tuesday, federal prosecutors blasted what they said was an “extraordinary” new claim by Michael Flynnthat he is the victim of a “plot to set up an innocent man.” Flynn is set to be sentenced December 18.
  113. On Tuesday, George Papadopoulos filed paperwork to run for a House seat vacated by Democrat Katie Hill, after she resigned Sunday. Hill said she was a victim of “revenge porn.”
  114. On Tuesday, a poll by Grinnell College found 81% of Americans say it is not okay for political candidates to ask for assistance from a foreign government to help them win an election, including 81% of Republicans.
  115. However most Republicans do not feel that rises to the level of impeachment: 42% overall believe Trump should be impeached and removed, while 44% say he should not (including 87% of Republicans).
  116. On Wednesday, Trump tweeted, “Republicans are very unified and energized in our fight on the Impeachment Hoax with the Do Nothing Democrats,” citing the “very infair [sic] Process.”
  117. Trump also tweeted, “the Transcript leads EVERYBODY to see that the call with the Ukrainian President was a totally appropriate one,” calling impeachment “a continuation of the Witch Hunt Hoax.”
  118. Trump also again attacked Vindman, tweeting “Yesterday’s Never Trumper witness could find NO Quid Pro Quo in the Transcript,” adding Zelensky “found NOTHING wrong with it. Witch Hunt!”
  119. Trump also quoted “Fox & Friends” co-host Steve Doocy who said Pelosi is putting impeachment up to a vote “because that’s what her political left really wants,” adding, “A disgraceful use of Impeachment. Will backfire!
  120. On Wednesday, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer asked the Army in a letter to provide Vindman, who returned to work Wednesday, the same protections against retaliation as those provided to whistleblowers.
  121. On Wednesday, CNN reported House Republicans plan to stick to the messaging strategy focused on criticizing the impeachment process, but not pushing back on the underlying facts as Trump pushed them to do.
  122. Republicans have expressed exasperation that the White House has not done more to coordinate their message with lawmakers, and has not provided guidance or even a point person to contact on impeachment.
  123. On Wednesday, Catherine Croft, a State Department employee who worked on Ukraine issues for the NSC, and worked under Kurt Volker, testified before the three House committees behind closed doors.
  124. Both the White House and the State Department had directed Croft not to appear for her deposition, and to limit the scope of her testimony. The House Intelligence Committee issued a subpoena to compel her testimony.
  125. In her opening statement, Croft said lobbyist Robert Livingston called her repeatedly, and “told me that Ambassador Yovanovitch should be fired,” calling her an “Obama holdover” and “associated with George Soros.”
  126. Croft said she notified her boss, Fiona Hill, and George Kent. Croft said he learned of military aid being withheld from Ukraine on a July 18 call with the Office of Management and Budget “at the direction of the President.”
  127. Croft and Christopher Anderson, a career Foreign Service officer who also testified on Wednesday, both had a positive view of Ukraine’s new president Zelensky, in contrast to Trump, Rudy Giuliani, and the regime.
  128. Both testified that Livingston’s lobbying firm was in touch with them during 2018, and that his firm has ongoing business in Ukraine, including some relating to former prime minister Yulia Tymoshenko.
  129. Livingston’s firm accompanied Tymoshenko to a meeting with Anderson in December 2018. Anderson also said Bolton told him that Giuliani “could be an obstacle to increased White House engagement” on Ukraine.
  130. On Wednesday, Just Security reported that over the summer, alarmed officials at the Pentagon strongly warned the White House about withholding Ukraine funding, repeatedly advising to release the funds.
  131. After the Pentagon certified Ukraine in late May, it repeatedly told the White House that if aid was not released, at least in part, before fiscal year-end September 30, it might never make its way to Ukraine.
  132. In late July, the Pentagon told the White House it could be at risk of violating the Impoundment Control Act, which punishes the executive branch for not spending money appropriated by Congress.
  133. On Wednesday, ranking Senate Democrats Ron Wyden and Menendez, asked U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer in a letter for details on the Trump regime delay in restoring Ukraine’s trade privileges.
  134. On Wednesday, in another stunt outside the secured facility, Trump ally Rep. Matt Gaetz told reporters he filed an ethics complaint against Schiff, claiming Schiff has violated rules overseeing the impeachment inquiry.
  135. On Wednesday, House Democrats asked Bolton to testify in the impeachment inquiry. Later Wednesday, Bolton’s attorney, who also represents Kupperman, said he would not testify without a subpoena.
  136. House Democrats also invited John Eisenberg and his deputy Michael Ellis to testify on Monday. It was doubtful they will appear as their office wrote the legal memo spelling out the regime’s unwillingness to cooperate.
  137. On Thursday, a federal judge said he will fast-track the case on Kupperman’s testifying, calling it a “matter of great public interest and a matter of great urgency.” Oral arguments will begin December 10.
  138. On Thursday, another federal judge heard a case on Don McGahn testifying to the House on the Mueller report. She chided the DOJ for blocking him and claims of “absolute immunity,” and said she will rule soon.
  139. On Wednesday, Politico reported Leader McConnell met privately with Trump and warned him to stop attacking Republican Senators, reminding him they will be deciding his fate at the impeachment trial.
  140. After the meeting, the one major shift is that Trump has stopped publicly attacking Republican Senators, such as Sen. Mitt Romney who last week he called a “pompous ass.”
  141. On Wednesday, John Sullivan, Trump’s nominee to be U.S. Ambassador to Russia, testified at a Senate confirmation hearing. Sullivan claimed he was unaware of what was happening with Ukraine policy.
  142. Sullivan broke from Trump, saying, “Soliciting investigations into a domestic political opponent” would not be “in accord with our values,” although he said Trump has “denied that there was any quid pro quo.”
  143. Sullivan acknowledged that he was the one who notified Yovanovitch that she was being recalled, but said despite trying to find out why, he was not given a reason, and that Giuliani was involved in her recall.
  144. On Wednesday, former GOP senator William Cohen, who sat on the Judiciary Committee during Watergate said Trump sounds like a dictator, invoking the book “1984” and repeating lies until they become the truth.
  145. On Wednesday, Secretary of State Pompeo falsely claimed on Fox News that the reason the Obama administration did not give Ukraine lethal defensive military equipment was related to Hunter Biden.
  146. On Wednesday, WAPO reported after Trump’s July 25 call, Vindman rushed to Eisenberg’s office and told him what Trump did was wrong. Eisenberg scribbled notes on a yellow legal pad.
  147. Eisenberg then proposed moving the transcript of the call to a highly classified server and restricting access to it, a step that goes against long-standing White House protocol.
  148. On July 10, two top Ukrainian officials in Zelenksy’s new administration, Andriy Yermak and Oleksandr Danyliuk, came to Washington, and met in Bolton’s office with Vindman, Sondland, Hill, and Volker.
  149. According to Vindman and Hill, rather than speak about combating corruption, Sondland turned the conversation to pursuing investigations important to Trump, causing an alarmed Bolton to cut the meeting short.
  150. Vindman said Sondland told the officials that Ukraine must deliver on “investigations into the 2016 election, the Bidens, and Burisma.” He and Hill reported the incident to Eisenberg, but it is unclear if he took action.
  151. On Thursday, WSJ reported Vindman’s identical twin, Yevgeny Vindman, an NSC lawyer handling ethics issues, may be called to testify. He was not on the July 25 call, but was present when his brother reported to Eisenberg.
  152. On Wednesday, Tim Morrison, the top Russia official on Trump’s National Security Council who is a conservative hawk and lifelong Republican, resigned. Morrison was expected to testify on Thursday.
  153. Morrison was brought on by Bolton, and served on the NSC for 15 months. In July, he replaced Fiona Hill as Trump’s top Russia adviser. He will be replaced by Andrew Peek, a deputy assistant secretary of state.
  154. In William Taylor’s testimony, he said Morrison told him that he had alerted NSC lawyers that Sondland had informed a top Ukrainian official that military aid was contingent on opening an investigation into Burisma.
  155. NYT reported the White House directed Morrison not to appear on Thursday, but he agreed to appear under a subpoena. He told colleagues he did not want anyone to think his testifying was related to his departure.
  156. On Thursday, Morrison testified before the House committees. He was expected to confirm Taylor’s testimony that Trump used his office to pressure Ukraine to investigate the Bidens, or quid pro quo.
  157. Morrison was also expected to testify that he alerted Taylor that Trump and his deputies were planning to withhold both military aid and a White House visit until Ukraine investigated the Bidens and the 2016 U.S. election.
  158. Morrison was expected to corroborate he spoke to Taylor at least twice in early September, first to alert him to Sondland, and then to share a “sinking feeling” about a conversation between Sondland and Trump.
  159. On Thursday, NYT reported Morrison confirmed quid pro quo, saying Sondland told him military aid for Ukraine would not be released until the country committed to investigations wanted by Trump.
  160. Morrison also said he was told about a September call between Trump and Sondland, where Trump said he was not looking for quid pro quo, but went on to “insist” that Zelensky publicly announce investigations of Democrats.
  161. Morrison also said of the July 25 call, “I want to be clear, I was not concerned that anything illegal was discussed,” but still asked Eisenberg to review, citing concern that a summary could leak out.
  162. Morrison however confirmed Taylor’s testimony that he had “a sinking feeling” when he learned Trump was asking Zelensky to announce investigations, even as Trump denied it was quid pro quo.
  163. Morrison also testified he tried to find out if Sondland went rogue— referring to him as a “free radical” — or if he was acting at the direction of Trump, even asking Trump’s executive secretary if he spoke to Sondland.
  164. On Thursday, Trump seized on Morrison saying matters discussed on the call were not illegal, tweeting, “But the Crooked Democrats don’t want people to know this!” and “Thank you to Tim Morrison for your honesty.”
  165. On Thursday, an AP-NORC poll found 61% of Americans say Trump has little or no respect for the country’s democratic institutions and traditions, including 1 in 4 Republicans. Trump’s approval remained steady at 42%.
  166. On Thursday, a WAPO/ABC News poll found Americans are split over impeachment, with 49% for and 47% against — split along party lines, and unchanged from an earlier poll in October.
  167. The poll found Trump’s approval remained at 38%, but that his support with Republicans dropped to 74%, the lowest approval since taking office, and down eight points from September.
  168. On Thursday, before the House voted, Trump sent a series of tweets, quoting Fox News host Laura Ingraham saying, “Now is the time for Republicans to stand together and defend the leader of their party.”
  169. On Thursday, as the House was debating the measure before voting and the stock market dipped, Trump tweeted, “the Impeachment Hoax is hurting our Stock Market. The Do Nothing Democrats don’t care!”
  170. On Thursday, the House voted 232-196 to approve the impeachment resolution with just two Democrats joining Republicans, and Rep. Justin Amash voting with Democrats.
  171. Shortly after, Trump slammed the impeachment vote, tweeting, “The Greatest Witch Hunt In American History!
  172. After the vote, House Republicans gathered to speak to reporters. Rep. Louie Gohmert called the measure a “coup” against Trump and warned of a potential “civil war.”
  173. Whip Steve Scalise held up a poster showing a communist hammer-and-sickle behind the Kremlin, saying, “Maybe in the Soviet Union you do something like this,” calling it “a sham process, a tainted process.”
  174. On Thursday, the Minneapolis Star Tribune reported Trump will be the only name that appears on the Minnesota Republican primary ballot, the fifth state to take his three primary competitors off the ballot.
  175. On Thursday, Politico reported Trump is tapping his vast donor network as a tool to reward Republican Senators who have his back on impeachment, and send a message to those who are not on board.
  176. Trump’s reelection campaign sent a fundraising appeal to its massive email list to support three senators up in 2020 who supported the anti-impeachment resolutions: Cory Gardner, Joni Ernst, and Thom Tillis.
  177. Sen. Susan Collins, who recently has been critical of Trump and did not sign the resolution, was omitted. A senior Republican strategist said Trump “has the ability to turn on the money spigot like no one else.”
  178. On Thursday, CNN reported Trump had lunch with some Senate Republicans at the White House after the vote, signaling a change in approach and an outreach effort.
  179. Part of the reason for the outreach is White House concern that Senate Republicans’ part of the process will not be as predictable as what unfolded in the House.
  180. On Thursday, Trump told conservative Washington Examiner in a interview that he had “a good call” with Zelensky, and may read it for a “fireside chat” on live television “because people have to hear it.”
  181. Trump also shuffled through a pile of papers and held up a copy of news clippings reporting on Morrison’s opening statement, and said it was “fantastic,” adding, “This was going to be their star witness.”
  182. On Monday, Arizona Central reported a 33 year-old Mexican woman died on Saturday at an area hospital, after being in Customs and Border Patrol custody for two weeks, likely from complications caused by dehydration.
  183. Her death is the second in two weeks: a 49 year-old Mexican man died hours after Border Patrol took him into custody near Casa Grande, likely of a preexisting heart condition.
  184. On Tuesday, a federal judge issued a preliminary injunction against Alabama’s abortion ban, that was signed into law in May, pending a full hearing, saying it “violates an individual’s constitutional right.”
  185. On Tuesday, Missouri state health director, Dr. Randall Williams, testified at a state hearing on Planned Parenthood’s license that he kept a spreadsheet to track the menstrual periods of women who visited them.
  186. The spreadsheet was used to help identify patients who had undergone failed abortions, and whether complication reports were filed. The hearings will decide if PP keeps its license to perform abortions.
  187. On Tuesday, CNN reported the U.S. is on track to not admit any refugees in the month of October, citing a State Department moratorium in place through November 5. Roughly 500 flights were canceled in October.
  188. The Trump regime proposed capping refugees at 18,000 in the coming fiscal year, a historic low. The consistent delays in incoming travel suggests Trump may not have signed off on the new ceiling.
  189. On Tuesday, NYT reported the White House is considering using a loophole for Trump to be able to replace acting DHS Sec. Kevin McAleenan with an immigration extremist, in line with Trump’s views.
  190. To bypass Senate confirmation and other laws, Trump would tap that person as assistant secretary of the Countering Weapons of Mass Destruction Office, then elevate them to be the acting secretary of DHS.
  191. On Wednesday, CBS 13 Sacramento reported a Nazi flag was removed from a California corrections department window visible to the public following public outcry. Officers said it was meant to be a learning tool.
  192. On Wednesday, five swastikas were found drawn in chalk on the wall of the University of Massachusetts Amherst Fine Arts Center. University police were informed of the matter.
  193. On Wednesday, Miami Herald reported Dr. Michael Baden, a world-leading forensic pathologist hired by Jeffrey Epstein’s brother Mark, said Jeffrey’s injuries are consistent with strangulation, not suicide.
  194. On Thursday, the Trump regime said it was considering adding two more countries to its Muslim ban, branded as a travel ban. It was unclear which two countries were under consideration.
  195. On Thursday, Sens. Kamala Harris and Richard Blumenthal demanded the DOJ investigate whether ICE broke the law by failing to preserve video of a transgender woman, Roxsana Hernández, who died in their custody.
  196. On Friday, the Department of Health and Human Services proposed a new rule that would roll back an Obama-era regulation protecting against sexual orientation- and gender identity-based discrimination in adoption agencies and foster cares.
  197. The regime’s new rule would allow recipients of federal grants, including faith-based adoption agencies and foster care providers, to turn away same-sex couples.
  198. On Friday, officer Kevin Wilcox retired from the East Hampton Police Department, a week after the APreported he was formerly a member of hate group the Proud Boys, and had donated to its leader.
  199. On Friday, ProPublica reported that the Trump regime is creating a new center in suburban Virginia that will allow immigration agents access to classified intelligence information, for the first time.
  200. The classified information will be eventually be used in screening every person coming into the U.S., including foreign vacationers, people applying for permanent residency, and immigrants requesting asylum.
  201. On Monday, automakers General Motors, Toyota, Fiat Chrysler, and Hyundai said in a court filing they sided with the Trump regime against California on the states ability to set its own auto emissions standards.
  202. On Tuesday, Trump attacked the Federal Reserve as policymakers met on rates, tweeting, “The Fed doesn’t have a clue! We have unlimited potential, only held back by the Federal Reserve,” but “we are winning anyway!”
  203. On Wednesday, the Federal Reserve voted to cut rates for a third time this year, with two regional governors dissenting, and following repeated and frequent bullying by Trump.
  204. On Thursday, Trump continued to attack the Federal Reserve, tweeting, “People are VERY disappointed in Jay Powell and the Federal Reserve. The Fed has called it wrong from the beginning, too fast, too slow.”
  205. Trump also tweeted, “China is not our problem, the Federal Reserve is! We will win anyway,” and added, “We are now, by far, the biggest and strongest Country, but the Fed puts us at a competitive disadvantage.”
  206. On Thursday, NYT reported in late September, Trump, who was a lifelong New Yorker, changed his primary residence to Palm Beach, Florida, saying Mar-a-Lago will be his primary residence.
  207. On Friday, NY Gov. Andrew Cuomo told MSNBC, “I think it is a desperate legal move where he’s now going to argue ‘Well the state should have no right to my taxes,’” adding if you defrauded the state, “you defrauded it.”
  208. Later Friday, Trump tweeted, “I love New York, but New York can never be great again under the current leadership of Governor Andrew Cuomo,” adding, “Cuomo has weaponized the prosecutors to do his dirty work.”
  209. On Monday, a federal judge said after reviewing an amended version of the lawsuit filed by Nick Sandmann against WAPO, which was previously dismissed, three of the 33 libel statements could proceed into discovery.
  210. On Wednesday, Trump cheered, tweeting, “the Nick Sandman [sic] libel suit” is moving forward against “the thoroughly disgustingPost, which he noted “is no longer available at the White House!”
  211. On Tuesday, Murray Energy Holdings, the private coal company owned by Trump mega-donor Robert Murray, filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy.
  212. On Wednesday, the American Farm Bureau Federation reported for the 12-month period ended September 30, farm bankruptcies rose 24% from the year prior, and to the highest level since 2011, due to Trump’s trade wars.
  213. On Thursday, a new report by the American Farm Bureau Federation found that 40% of 2019 farm income will come from federal aid programs and insurance, again, related to Trump’s trade war with China.
  214. On Thursday, NYT reported Trump’s EPA is set to roll back Obama-era regulations which control the leaking of heavy metals like arsenic, lead, and mercury into water supplies from coal-fired power plants.
  215. On Tuesday, the American Bar Association said after 60 interviews, it concluded Trump nominee for the 9th Circuit Lawrence VanDyke was “not qualified.” Of the seven other “not qualified,” five have been confirmed.
  216. The ABA cited VanDyke is “arrogant, lazy, an ideologue, and lacking in knowledge.” VanDyke got teary-eyed when asked during confirmation hearings about the ABA saying he would not treat LGBTQ litigants fairly.
  217. On Thursday, Sen. Graham said he would hand back chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee to Chuck Grassley, saying Grassley asked if he could return after his tenure on the Senate Finance Committee.
  218. On Thursday, Catherine Herridge, a founding employee of Fox News in 1996 and a leader in the network’s Washington bureau, resigned to join CBS News. In her departing statement, Herridge noted, “facts matter.”
  219. Herridge was the latest to depart, amid a shrinking role for real reporting, replaced by opinion-based talk shows Trump and his supporters prefer. Fox News’ president claimed, “Journalism is a huge part of the mandate here.”
  220. On Thursday, Yahoo News reported the State Department agreed to release documents related to Trump’s handling of aid to Ukraine to the House, after a court decision in a lawsuit filed by American Oversight.
  221. Among the documents being turned over are communications between departmental officials and Trump’s private lawyers and associates, including Giuliani, Victoria Toensing, and Joseph diGenova.
  222. Documents also include communications by Pompeo, and two of his close associates at State, Ulrich Brechbuhl and Brian Bulatao, as well as the calendar related to Yovanovitch’s dismissal and Giuliani meetings.
  223. On Thursday, a federal judge denied Igor Fruman’s request to lift his house arrest. SDNY prosecutors also signaled his brother Steve “could be involved” in the alleged campaign finance scheme.
  224. On Thursday, CNN reported a video from an October 2018 midterm election rally in Nevada shows Lev Parnas standing directly behind Trump before and during the rally.
  225. On Friday, Trump tweeted, “Wow, a blowout JOBS number just out,” falsely claiming 303,000 had been added minutes after an official government report said 128,000 jobs were added in October.
  226. Trump also tweeted, “Louisiana, I’ll see you tonight,” and then deleted the tweet. Trump has a political rally in Tupelo, Mississippi on Friday evening.
  227. Trump also bragged, tweeting, “ISIS has a new leader. We know exactly who he is!” Nathan Sales, the U.S. counter-terrorism coordinator later clarified to reporters that the U.S. is researching the new leader.
  228. Trump also quoted a guest on Fox News, tweeting, “Adam Schiff has taken all of the power for himself. That is very unfair,” adding, “There were dozens of people on this call,” and, “this is not about Impeachment.”
  229. Trump also tweeted, “The public is watching and seeing for themselves how unfair this process is,” adding, “Corrupt politicians, Pelosi and Schiff, are trying to take down the Republican Party. It will never happen.”
  230. On Friday, press secretary Stephanie Grisham told Fox News “We are prepared for an impeachment to happen,” adding she hoped Democrats would “come to their senses” but it seems “a foregone conclusion.”
  231. Grisham also said Trump was serious about hosting a fireside chat to read the Ukraine call, saying “it’s always a serious consideration,” but “I don’t know what the logistics of it would look like just yet.”
  232. Grisham also shot down the prospect that White House daily briefings would return, saying, “we’re doing just fine,” and Trump “continues to speak to the American people.” The last daily briefing was on March 11.
  233. On Friday, Speaker Pelosi said in an interview with Bloomberg that she assumes “there would be public hearings in November,” but added the case first “has to be ironclad.”
  234. Pelosi said closed door hearings will continue as long as they are productive, adding she does not know the timetable, and, “We have not made any decisions on if the president will be impeached.”
  235. Pelosi also said it is possible the inquiry could continue into 2020. When asked if Trump was correct that his call with Zelensky was perfect, Pelosi responded, “No, it’s perfectly wrong — you can’t do that.”
  236. Asked about parts of the Mueller probe re-emerging in recent weeks, Pelosi said, “There were 11 obstruction of justice provisions in the Mueller report,” she added later, “Perhaps some of them will be part of this.”
  237. Pelosi also said of impeachment, We had no choice. We took an oath to protect and defend our democracy,” adding, “If Republicans have a higher loyalty” to Trump than to their oath of office, “that’s their problem.”
  238. On Friday, the Energy Department’s spokesperson said outgoing Sec. Rick Perry refused to testify in the impeachment inquiry, saying he will “not partake in a secret star chamber inquisition.”
  239. On Friday, Independent reported UK intelligence official are shaken by requests made by AG Barr, in what is seen as an effort to overturn the conclusions of U.S. intelligence and Mueller on Russian interference.
  240. Officials say the information requested by Barr “ is like nothing we have come across before,” saying Barr is looking for help in doing “a hatchet job on their own intelligence services.”
  241. On Friday, before leaving for a rally, Trump told reporters “you cant impeach a president who did nothing wrong,” and, “You can’t impeach a president that has the greatest economy of the history of our nation.”
  242. Trump praised House Democrats for voting against the resolution, saying “I think the Republicans have been amazing,” and adding, “We even had Democrats…because they said, ‘this is not impeachable.’”
  243. When asked about his call being not perfect, Trump cited Morrison, saying, “all they have to do is read the transcript now the gentleman that came in yesterday … he was terrific…he said he didn’t see anything wrong with it.”
  244. Trump also told reporters Homeland Security official Chad Wolf is now acting DHS secretary. DHS disputedTrump’s statement minutes later saying McAleenan is still in charge, and is not leaving until November 7.
  245. On Friday, WAPO reported Vindman testified that Eisenberg instructed him not to discuss his concerns about the July 25 call with anyone outside the White House — another alleged attempt to cover up.
  246. Vindman said the request came after White House lawyers learned on July 29 that a CIA employee had anonymously raised concerns about the call, revealing concern at the White House that the call was not “perfect.”
  247. Vindman also said while meeting with Eisenberg, he heard him turn to another attorney in the room and propose steps to restrict access to the call transcript — what the whistleblower called “lock down” the transcript.
  248. Vindman said the CIA employee’s concerns were relayed to the White House. Vindman’s testimony provided several steps White House officials took which could be interpreted as attempts to cover up Trump’s conduct.
  249. On Friday, WAPO reported a possible shift in strategy by Republican Senators on impeachment, as a growing number consider acknowledging Trump’s quid pro quo with Ukraine.
  250. The senators planned to claim that Trump’s actions were not illegal and do not rise to the level of an impeachable offense. The strategy was a main topic at a private GOP Senator lunch on Wednesday.
  251. Conservative Senators are considering saying that quid pro quo is not illegal unless there is “corrupt intent.” The strategy would clash with House Republicans who continue to say there was no quid pro quo.
  252. With House Democrats’ vote taking away the GOP narrative about a secretive process, Republicans have been frantically seeking a new strategy to defend Trump, who has frustrated them with his shifting message.
  253. On Friday, before the rally, Trump tweeted, “The Whistleblower must come forward to explain why his account of the phone call with the Ukrainian President was so inaccurate (fraudulent?).”
  254. Trump also tweeted, “Why did the Whistleblower deal with corrupt politician Shifty Adam Schiff and/or his committee?” adding, “You can’t Impeach someone who hasn’t done anything wrong!
  255. On Friday, in his first rally since the House impeachment vote, Trump railed against impeachment, saying House Democrats have been “plotting to overthrow the election since the moment I won.”
  256. Trump said, “Yesterday, the Democrats voted to potentially nullify the votes of 63 million Americans,” saying Democrats were “disgracing” themselves, and bringing “shame” to the House.
  257. Trump seemed to test a new alibi, saying he withheld aid to Ukraine because he wanted European allies, including Germany and France, to do more to support the country.
  258. Trump also complained he got less media attention than Obama did for the raid that killed Osama Bin Laden, saying, “Conan, the dog, got more publicity than me” — the dog used in the al-Baghdadi raid.
  259. Trump also attacked Biden, saying “He’s dropping like a rock,” and chided Beto O’Rourke, who withdrew from the 2020 race, saying he “quit like a dog,” and he “wasn’t smart.”
  260. Trump also attacked CNN repeatedly, pointing at their camera and falsely telling the crowd, “Their light just went off. See? Look. Their light was on — they just turned it off.” The light was on the entire time.
  261. On Friday, Sean Doolittle became the first member of the World Series champion Washington Nationals to decline a White House visit, citing Trump’s rhetoric, enabling conspiracy theories, and divisiveness.
  262. Doolittle also said, “My wife and I stand for inclusion and acceptance, and we’ve done work with refugees, people that come from, you know, the ‘shithole countries.’”
  263. On Saturday, WAPO reported smugglers in Mexico are sawing through new sections of Trump’s border wall using commercially available power tools, creating gaps for people and drugs to pass through in recent months.
  264. According to U.S. agents, the breaches have been made using a popular cordless household tool known as a reciprocating saw, which retails for as little as $100 and can cut through steel-and-concrete bollards in minutes.
  265. On Saturday, NYT found in an analysis that Trump’s Twitter feed is full of conspiracy-mongers and racists. He has retweeted white supremacists and 145 unverified accounts, some of which appear to be fake.
  266. The analysis also found fake accounts tied to intelligence services in China, Iran, and Russia had directed thousands of tweets at Trump. Russian accounts tagged Trump more than 30,000 times.
  267. Among his most fervent followers, at least 23,000 have QAnon references in their profiles, and he also has a large anti-Muslim following. Followers have been able to game Trump into repeatedly spreading propaganda.

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

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House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) speaks at Republican leaders press conference after the House vote on a resolution formalizing the impeachment inquiry on Capitol Hill in Washington on October 31, 2019. Notably, those who immediately surrounded him were all white and male.

POLITIKS OF GRAFFITI 155: “QUID PRO SCHMO!”

OCTOBER 26, 2019

Week 154

Experts in authoritarianism advise to keep a list of things
subtly changing around you, so you’ll remember. https://theweeklylist.org/weekly-list/week-154/
EHMmvdxUUAAJPho
“Bye, Mick! by Jim Carrey – 18oct19 – “Quid Pro Schmo!”

This week marked a major shift in the world order, as Trump finalized the evacuation of troops on Turkey-Syria border, and the void of leadership was instantaneously filled by Russia. Russian President Vladimir Putin hosted Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan in Sochi, before hosting 40 African nations there, at what was dubbed the first Russia-Africa summit. As House Speaker Nancy Pelosi suggested to Trump in Week 153, “All roads with you lead to Putin.” Later in the week, Trump zig-zagged and sent U.S. troops and armored vehicles back to the region to guard oil fields, and suggested to millions of Kurdish civilians, displaced and endangered by his withdrawal, that they should relocate there.

This week marked a major shift in the impeachment inquiry, as career diplomats continue to defy Trump’s order not to testify. In a case related to the Mueller probe, Chief District Judge Beryl Howell ruled the House impeachment inquiry is legal, dealing another blow to Trump’s strategy of stonewalling the inquiry based on it not being legally authorized. Nine witnesses have testified so far, crystallizing a picture of clear quid pro quo. Despite stunts and distractions by Trump’s Republican allies, House Democrats continued to prevail in the messaging battle. By week’s end, Trump was forced to bring in additional lawyers and convene staffers to come up with a strategy to defend himself from impeachment.

This week Trump’s Department of Justice turned the investigation of the investigators into a criminal probe — raising concerns Attorney General William Barr is acting to give Trump a political victory and punish his enemies. Barr too is increasingly being drawn into the impeachment probe, while drawing rebukes for his handling of the whistleblower complaint.

IMG_1173
San Diego, CA – October 2019 – State Street
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Image for t-shirts being sold in Pacific Beach. October 2019. San Diego, CA. – Interesting because of the FIVE DEFERMENTS and stuff…
IMG_3448
Image for t-shirts being sold in Pacific Beach. October 2019. San Diego, CA. – There’s definitely an element… – Interesting because there’s no wall and stuff…
IMG_3445
Image for t-shirts being sold in Pacific Beach. October 2019. San Diego, CA. – Interesting because he’s a SUPER DIPSHIT and stuff…

 

  1. On Saturday, the NYT Editorial Board cited the “crisis of the Republican Party,” writing Trump has repeatedly “acted against the national interest,” and reminding Republicans of their sacred oath to the Constitution.
  2. On Saturday, former chief strategist Steve Bannon told the New York Post Trump will be “impeached by Pelosi in the next six weeks,” and the White House needs to take it more seriously and establish an impeachment squad.
  3. On Saturday, NBC News reported Attorney General William Barr has expanded the investigation of the investigators to dig into the origins of the Russia probe, amid concern about whether it has legal or factual basis.
  4. U.S. Attorney John Durham has requested to speak to CIA analysts involved in the intelligence assessment, raising tensions between the CIA and the Department of Justice over what documents he can examine.
  5. Politico reported among the conspiracy theories being investigated by Durham and Barr is that Joseph Mifsud was a Western intelligence asset, and the CIA under then Trump adversary John Brennan was involved.
  6. On Wednesday, Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte took the unusual step of publicly stating Italy’s intelligence services had informed Barr the country played no rule in the events leading up to the Russia investigation.
  7. On Thursday, the DOJ shifted the administrative review of the Russia investigation into a criminal inquiry, raising alarms that AG Barr is looking to give Trump a political victory, and going after his perceived enemies.
  8. The shift gave Durham power to subpoena for testimony and documents, to impanel a grand jury, and to file criminal charges. It also gave rise to the unusual situation of the DOJ conducting a criminal investigation of itself.
  9. It was not clear what potential crimes Durham is investigating. Trump has made clear that he sees the DOJ as a political tool to wield against his enemies, not an independent agency.
  10. On Saturday, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and a bipartisan congressional delegation made an unannounced trip to visit Jordan and Afghanistan, highlighting differences with Trump on troop withdrawal from Syria.
  11. After the meeting with Jordan, Pelosi said, “With the deepening crisis” the group discussed “regional stability, increased flow of refugees, and the dangerous opening that has been provided to ISIS, Iran and Russia.”
  12. In Afghanistan, the delegation was also joined by Defense Secretary Mark T. Esper and top U.S. military commanders and diplomats to visit Afghan President Ashraf Ghani and top Aghan officials, and then U.S. troops.
  13. On Saturday and Sunday, Trump skipped golf and stayed at the White House, avoiding the media. Trump sent over 50 tweets on Saturday alone.
  14. On Sunday, Trump defended his Syria withdrawal, tweeting the incorrect name of his defense secretary — “Mark Esperanto” —  and quoting him saying ,“The ceasefire is holding up very nicely,” with some “minor skirmishes.”
  15. On Saturday, Trump abruptly announced in the late evening that his Doral golf resort would not host the 2020 G7 summit, tweeting, “as usual, the Hostile Media & their Democrat Partners went CRAZY!”
  16. Trump also tweeted, “I thought I was doing something very good for our Country,” adding, “I announced that I would be willing to do it at NO PROFIT or, if legally permissible, at ZERO COST to the USA.”
  17. Trump also tweeted, “based on both Media & Democrat Crazed and Irrational Hostility…We will begin the search for another site, including the possibility of Camp David, immediately. Thank you!”
  18. WAPO reported the Doral’s net operating income decline 69% from 2015 to 2017, and the G7 would have promoted it. Last week’s announcement had sparked criticism from both Democrats and Republicans.
  19. On Sunday, acting White House chief of staff Mick Mulvaney told “Fox News Sunday” that Trump “still considers himself to be in the hospitality business,” adding Trump “was honestly surprised at the level of pushback.”
  20. Host Chris Wallace told Mulvaney a “well-connected” Republican told him there is a 20% chance enough GOP senators will vote to impeach Trump. Mulvaney said that person “doesn’t know what they’re talking about.”
  21. On Sunday, Sen. Lindsey Graham reversed his position, claiming Trump’s withdrawal could succeed, saying he was “increasingly optimistic” that was can have “historic solutions in Syria that have eluded us for years.”
  22. On Sunday, Graham told Axios he was open to changing his mind on impeachment: “If you could show me…Trump actually was engaging in a quid pro quo, outside the phone call, that would be very disturbing.”
  23. On Sunday, the DOJ took the unusual step of publicly distancing itself from Giuliani, saying department officials would not have met with him about his clients if they knew the SDNY was investigating Igor Fruman and Lev Parnas.
  24. In Week 153, NYT reported the head of the DOJ Criminal Division and lawyers from the Fraud Section met with Giuliani a few weeks ago. Barr was informed of the SDNY investigation in February.
  25. On Sunday, the DOJ said the two names in the Mueller report, who Judge Beryl Howell said in Week 153should not have been redacted since they did not testify before the grand jury, were Donald Jr. and Don McGahn.
  26. On Monday, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said he could not form a new government after the deadlocked election in September. His rival Benny Gantz will have an opportunity to form a government.
  27. On Monday, Quartz reported Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and Jared Kushner will attend Saudi Arabia’s third annual investment conference that many U.S. officials skipped last year after the murder of Jamal Khashoggi.
  28. According to a federal procurement filing, the State Department recently booked 45 rooms at Riyadh’s Burj Rafal Hotel for two “VVIP visitors” taking part in the Saudi’s Future Investment Initiative.
  29. On Tuesday, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson lost a critical vote in Parliament that would have enabled him to meet his Brexit deadline of October 31, throwing the process into disarray.
  30. On Wednesday, amid continued protest in Hong Kong, its government formally withdrew an amended version of the extradition bill that sparked protests. Hong Kong leader Carrie Lam said she would drop the bill.
  31. On Sunday, NYT reported Turkey President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has nuclear ambitions. In September, he told a meeting of his governing party that the West insists “we can’t have them,” adding, “This, I cannot accept.”
  32. On Monday, NYT reported Trump’s Syria withdrawal handed ISIS its biggest win in more than four years, allowing its re-emergence as a network of terrorists. As many as 18,000 fighters remain in Iraq and Syria.
  33. ISIS fighters are assassinating local village headmen as a way to intimidate government informants in Syria. American withdrawal also set off jubilation and lifted morale on social media and encrypted chat networks.
  34. On Monday, Kurds heckled U.S. troops as they withdrew from Syria and moved towards Iraq. Sec. Esper saidthe U.S. was considering keeping a small force in Syria to prevent oil fields from falling into ISIS’s hands.
  35. Shortly after, Trump told reporters at a cabinet meeting, “We have a good relationship with the Kurds, but we never agreed to protect the Kurds” adding, “We never agreed to protect the Kurds for the rest of their lives.”
  36. Asked about leaving troops to secure oil fields, Trump said, “there is no reason for it.” Trump added, on bringing troops home, “you’re going to have people fighting like they’ve been fighting for 300 years, it’s very simple.”
  37. On Tuesday, NBC News reported after Graham and Retired Gen. Jack Keane, a Fox News analyst, repeatedly showed Trump a map of oil fields in northern Syria, Trump reversed again, agreeing to leave some troops.
  38. On Monday, in a rare joint statement, House Foreign Affairs Committee Chair Eliot Engel and top foreign affairs lawmakers from the multiple European allies condemned Trump and Turkey for actions in Syria.
  39. On Monday, NBC News reported the Pentagon has drawn up plans for a quick withdrawal from Afghanistan in case Trump blindsides military leaders by ordering an immediate withdrawal.
  40. On Tuesday, Erdogan met with Russian President Vladimir Putin for an hours-long meeting in Sochi. Turkey and Russia came to an agreement as the deadline expired for the “pause” agreed to with the U.S. last week.
  41. The deal bolstered Russia’s ally, Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, to regain control over more territory and be recognized in the region, and elevated Putin to a prominent role in the region as U.S. troops withdrew.
  42. Under the deal, Russia and the Syrian government would start removing Kurdish militias from a far larger part of the border, then once gone, Turkey and Russia would begin jointly patrolling the border region.
  43. Trump applauded the deal, tweeting, “Good news seems to be happening with respect to Turkey, Syria and the Middle East.” As U.S. forces arrived in Iraq from Syria, Iraq’s military said they would have to leave.
  44. On Wednesday, Trump announced in a press conference that Turkey had agreed to a permanent cease-fire in northeast Syria, claiming credit for bringing peace to the region after decades of U.S. failed efforts.
  45. Trump said the cease-fire may be temporary. “You would define the word ‘permanent’ in that part of the world as somewhat questionable,” adding, “Turkey, Syria and all forms of the Kurds have been fighting for centuries.”
  46. Trump added, “We have done them a great service and we’ve done a great job for all of them. And now, we’re getting out,” adding, “Let someone else fight over this long bloodstained sand” — although there is no sand there.
  47. Trump pushed back on criticism, saying the people giving him and the U.S. advice “are the ones that got us into the Middle East mess, but never had the vision or the courage to get us out; they just talked.”
  48. Trump said “a small number of U.S. troops will remain in the area where they have the oil,” and that he would now permanently lift sanctions on Turkey providing it agrees to “protect religious and ethnic minorities.”
  49. Trump said, “I have just spoken to General Mazloum, a wonderful man, the Commander-in-Chief of the SDF Kurds…he was extremely thankful.” Trump meant Ferhat Abdi Şahin. It is doubtful that he was thankful.
  50. Trump said of ISIS, “there were a few that got out…and they’ve been largely recaptured.” Sec. Esper said “a little bit more than a hundred,” and James Jeffrey, Trump’s envoy to Syria said we do not know where they are.
  51. Many Democrats and Republicans called Trump’s retreat a historic foreign policy debacle, which undermined U.S. credibility with allies, empowered American adversaries, and gave ISIS a chance to regroup.
  52. Later Wednesday, Syrian state news media reported Syrian government troops were deployed to the area for the first time in five years, and that Russian forces were also in the area.
  53. On Thursday, Gen. Mazloum Abdi, a senior Kurdish commander, said Turkey resumed attacks in northeastern Syria, within 48 hours of saying it would no longer use force, and 24 hours after Trump heralded a cease-fire.
  54. On Thursday, Trump shifted his focus to protecting oil fields, tweeting, “We will NEVER let a reconstituted ISIS have those fields!” and adding, “Perhaps it is time for the Kurds to start heading to the Oil Region!”
  55. It was not immediately clear if Trump was suggesting that the entire Syrian Kurdish population, which numbers in the millions, should uproot and move themselves to the Arab majority area near the oil fields.
  56. Trump’s tweet highlighted a complete shift in policy from allying with Kurds in fighting ISIS, to keeping Syria and ISIS from possessing oil fields in the country. The oil fields are under control of Syrian Kurdish forces.
  57. On Thursday, Sen. John Cornyn, the No. 3 Republican in the senate, defended Trump’s withdrawal, saying it was not a bad idea to get U.S. troops out of the way if Turkey planned to “ethnically cleanse the Kurds.”
  58. On Friday, Trump defended his troop withdrawal in a series of tweets, saying, “Turkey fully understands not to fire on the Kurds,” adding, “I don’t have to repeat that large scale Sanctions will be imposed for violations.”
  59. Trump also tweeted, “USA has gained Trillions of Dollars in wealth since November 2016,” adding, “Oil is secured. Our soldiers have left and are leaving Syria for other places, then COMING HOME! “
  60. Trump also tweeted, “We were supposed to be there for 30 days — That was 10 years ago,” adding, “I simply say, THE OIL, AND WE ARE BRINGING OUR SOLDIERS BACK HOME, ISIS SECURED!”
  61. On Friday, Esper told reporters that the U.S. will leave troops and armored vehicles in Syria to prevent ISIS from gaining control of oil fields. Esper did not provide details, and the statement marked another shift in policy.
  62. On Saturday, Erdogan said if Russia fails to clear Kurdish fighters, who he called “terrorists,” from within 30 km of Turkey’s border, “then we will handle the situation by ourselves and will do all the cleansing work.”
  63. On Friday, NYT reported when Trump froze military aid to Ukraine, its military struggled in a bare-bones fight with Russian-backed separatists. Ukrainian soldiers said the move hurt their confidence in their U.S. ally.
  64. On Friday, WAPO reported amid Trump’s retreat, Putin has been forging stronger ties with African countries. Putin hosted 40 African counties in Sochi this week in what was dubbed the first Russia-Africa summit.
  65. On Monday, a U.K. judge refused to delay Julian Assange’s extradition hearing. Assange mumbled and paused as he gave his name, blaming a “superpower” with “unlimited resources,” saying he “can’t think properly.”
  66. On Monday, Trump held a 71-minute cabinet meeting open to the media, which was billed as a discussion of the regime’s “successful rollback of the abuses and the high cost of the bloated regulatory state.”
  67. The cabinet meeting, like others under Trump, consisted of him boasting about his supposed accomplishment and attacking his critics, while cabinet members took turns showering him with praise.
  68. Trump told at least 21 lies during the meeting. He falsely claimed Obama tried to call North Korea’s Kim Jong Un 11 times, but said Kim did not take Obama’s calls, claiming, “Lack of respect. But he [Kim] takes my call.”
  69. Trump defended his decision to withdraw troops, saying, “I’m the one who did the capturing,” adding, “I’m the one who knows more about it than you people or the fake pundits.”
  70. Trump complained about having to change the venue of the G7 summit, saying, “You people with this phony emoluments clause,” saying, “It would have been the best G7 ever,” and he would have held it “for free.”
  71. Trump added, “I’m very good at real estate,” and said of claims that hosting the G7 at the Doral was for promotion, “I don’t need promotion. I get more promotion than any human being that’s ever lived.”
  72. Trump claimed again, without evidence, being president was costing him “between $2 billion and $5 billion,” and falsely claimed he was the only president other than George Washington to give up his salary.
  73. Trump said of Democrats, “They’re vicious and they stick together. They don’t have Mitt Romney in their midst, they don’t have people like that.” He repeatedly used the words “illegitimate” and “phony.”
  74. Trump also said, “Republicans have to get tougher and fight,” adding, “We have some that are great fighters, but they have to get tougher and fight,” saying, “Democrats are trying to hurt the Republican Party for the election.”
  75. On Monday, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer said in a letter to acting Director of National Intelligence Joseph Maguire and IG Michael Atkinson that he is concerned Trump could expose the whistleblower.
  76. On Monday, Pelosi released a four-page “Fact Sheet,” laying out Democrats’ most compelling evidence so far on impeachment in three sections: the “shakedown,” “the pressure campaign,” and “the cover up.”
  77. On Monday, House Republicans introduced a resolution to censure House Intelligence Committee Chair Adam Schiff for his handing of the impeachment inquiry. The House voted along party lines 218-195, failing. Rep. Justin Amash voted with Democrats.
  78. On Monday, WAPO reported Republican lawmakers, donors, and advisers are increasingly concerned about Trump’s unsteady and bombastic behavior, and want a more disciplined approach to impeachment.
  79. Trump continued to spearhead his own impeachment defense. After Mulvaney’s performance in Week 153, a growing number of Trump allies called for sweeping changes, citing uncertainty and mixed messages.
  80. Trump was reluctant to set up an impeachment war room, feeling confident he can defend himself, and believing Democrats are divided and scattered on how to proceed.
  81. On Monday, WAPO reported according to testimony by George Kent, Trump was urged by Putin and Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban to adopt a hostile view of Ukraine, saying the country was hopelessly corrupt.
  82. Putin told Trump in May Ukraine was “just a den of corruption.” Members of the Trump regime who blunted Putin and Orban’s influence had resigned. The two did not push to investigate Biden or the 2016 election.
  83. On Monday, Trump did an hour-long interview on the Fox News show “Hannity.” Trump seemed to reference “Fast and Furious,” saying Obama could have been impeached “where guns went all over the place.”
  84. Trump pushed unfounded Biden conspiracies, and said if his sons Donald Jr. and Eric accepted payments from questionable foreign sources “it would be the biggest story of the century.” Of note, both of his sons do.
  85. Trump told Sean Hannity he wants to cancel the White House subscription to the NYT, saying, “We don’t even want it in the White House anymore,” and adding, “We’re going to probably terminate that and the Washington Post.”
  86. On Tuesday, a new CNN poll found support for impeaching AND removing Trump at an all-time high at 50% overall, including 87% of Democrats, 50% of Independents, and 6% of Republicans.
  87. On Tuesday, Bloomberg reported that Trump has floated Mnuchin and his counselor Kellyanne Conway as possible replacements for Mulvaney as chief of staff.
  88. On Tuesday, Trump compared the impeachment to a lynching, tweeting he was “without due process or fairness or any legal rights,” and adding, “Republicans must remember what they are witnessing here — a lynching.”
  89. Trump has increasingly used incendiary language to describe impeachment as the risk increases. Some saw his stoking racial tensions as part of his long pattern of rallying his base behind him by evoking racism.
  90. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell called it “an unfortunate choice of words,” while Sen. Graham defended Trump, saying, “that’s exactly what’s going on in the U.S. House of Representatives right now”.
  91. On Tuesday, William Taylor Jr., the acting U.S. ambassador to Ukraine, testified behind closed doors to the three House committees. WAPO obtained his 15-page opening statement, describing quid pro quo.
  92. The State Department tried to block Taylor’s deposition on Tuesday, prompting House Democrats to issue a subpoena for this testimony.
  93. Taylor, a West Point graduate, served in the Army and is one of the country’s most experienced diplomats having served in every administration for both parties since 1985. He kept meticulous notes.
  94. Taylor said there were two channels to Ukraine, official, which he headed, and an unofficial channel includingKurt Volker, Gordon Sondland, Energy Sec. Rick Perry, and Rudy Giuliani, calling it “a confusing and unusual arrangement.”
  95. Taylor said, “By mid-July it was becoming clear to me that the meeting President Zelensky wanted was conditioned on the investigations of Burisma and alleged Ukrainian interference in the 2016 U.S. elections.”
  96. Taylor expressed shock and bewilderment, as U.S. policy toward was overtaken, and Trump demanded Zelensky “go to a microphone and say he is opening investigations of Biden and 2016 election interference.”
  97. Taylor cited AG Barr, saying, “We also discussed the possibility that the Ukrainian Prosecutor General,” not Zelensky, would make a statement about investigations, “in coordination” with Barr’s 2016 election probe.
  98. Taylor cited Giuliani’s role, saying the push to make Zelensky commit to investigating Burisma and the 2016 election showed how official U.S. foreign policy “was undercut by the irregular efforts led by Mr. Giuliani.”
  99. Taylor wrote, “I sat in astonishment” on a July 18 call with White House officials, when he heard an Office of Management and Budget official off camera say she had been instructed not to release military aid to Ukraine.
  100. Taylor said on a July 19 call, NSC staffers Fiona Hill and Alexander Vindman said “Sondland had connected “investigations” with an Oval Office meeting” for Zelensky, causing then-NSA John Bolton to walk out.
  101. Taylor said he was concerned Russian forces would kill more Ukrainians if aid was withheld: “Over 13,000 Ukrainians had been killed in the war…More Ukrainians would undoubtedly die without the U.S. assistance.”
  102. Taylor said of the July 25 call, “strangely,” he received no readout even though he was scheduled to meet with Zelensky and Volker the next day, adding, “The Ukrainian government issued a short, cryptic summary.”
  103. Taylor said in an August 29 cable to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo he expressed concern about withholding aid, and that Pompeo carried these concerns into a White House meeting, but did not respond to him.
  104. Taylor testified that he learned at a meeting with Zelensky and Vice President Pence on September 1 that Ukrainians were informed by Sondland that aid was conditioned on an investigation into Burisma.
  105. Taylor said on a September 8 call, the day after his text exchange with Sondland expressing concern about withholding military aid, Sondland told him Ukraine had to “pay up” before Trump would “sign a check.”
  106. Taylor described demands for secrecy: on a June 28 call between himself, Sondland, Volker, and Perry, Sondland said before Zelensky got on the call that “he wanted to make sure no one was transcribing or monitoring.”
  107. Taylor’s testimony contradicted that of Sondland in Week 153 who said Trump was not seeking a quid pro quo — a red line for some Republicans — saying it was clear to him the arrangement met the dictionary definition.
  108. CBS News reported lawmakers were stunned by Taylor’s testimony, and there were audible gasps at points. Democratic Rep. Stephen Lynch, a senior member of the oversight committee said, “This is a sea change.”
  109. Shortly after, Speaker McConnell denied Trump’s account that McConnell said his July call 25 was “innocent” on October 3, telling reporters, “I don’t recall any conversations with the president about that phone call.”
  110. White House press secretary Stephanie Grisham said in a statement, “Trump has done nothing wrong,” calling it a “coordinated smear campaign from far-left lawmakers and radical unelected bureaucrats.”
  111. The statement also said, “Today was just more triple hearsay and selective leaks from the Democrats’ politically-motivated, closed door, secretive hearings,” adding, “there was no quid pro quo.”
  112. On Tuesday, a DOJ official told Politico the department was unaware ambassadors were discussing linking the Ukraine investigation to AG Barr’s probe into investigations into interference in the 2016 election.
  113. On Tuesday, Sen. Amy Klobuchar released new evidence the DOJ buried the whistleblower complaint by failing to refer it to the Federal Election Commission, despite a longstanding agreement between the agencies.
  114. The 1978 memorandum of understanding requires that complaints involving campaign finance violations are turned over to the FEC even if the DOJ declines to launch a criminal investigation.
  115. On Tuesday, in an extraordinary letter, more than 60 IGs, led by the DOJ IG and National Science Foundation IG, slammed the DOJ Office of Legal Counsel for not turning over the whistleblower complaint to Congress.
  116. The letter cited the OLC “substituted its judgment,” and created uncertainty for federal employees and contractors “about the scope of whistleblower protections, thereby chilling whistleblower disclosures.”
  117. On Wednesday, the New York City Bar Association demanded Barr recuse himself from the Ukraine matter, saying he viewed “his primary obligation as loyalty to the President individually rather than to the nation.”
  118. On Tuesday, the anonymous author of the September 2018 NYT op-ed, “I Am Part of the Resistance Inside the Trump Administration,” announced the publishing of a tell-all-book, titled “A Warning” on November 19.
  119. The author will remain anonymous, did not take a book advance, and will donate some proceeds to government accountability causes. There is no modern day precedent for a firsthand account by an anonymous author.
  120. The book’s back cover says: “You will hear a great deal from Donald Trump directly, for there is no better witness to his character than his own words and no better evidence of the danger he poses than his own conduct.”
  121. On Tuesday, Kirstjen Nielsen said in a speech at the FORTUNE Most Powerful Women Summit that she resigned because “saying no” and refusing to do things that others in the regime wanted was “not going to be enough.”
  122. Singer-songwriter Brandi Carlile dropped out of the summit, citing the “atrocity of family separation.” A truck was parked outside the event with a billboard reading: “Powerful women don’t put kids in cages.”
  123. On Monday, WSJ reported Lev Parnas’ private Instagram account revealed photos showing he had VIP access to Trump dating back to 2015. He is also seen in photos with Trump’s family and Giuliani.
  124. On Tuesday, WAPO reported that federal prosecutors in Chicago who had been investigating a Ukrainian oligarch, Dmytro Firtash, reached out to their New York counterparts after Igor Fruman and Parnas were arrested.
  125. Parnas had been a translator for lawyers representing Firtash since late July. At Parnas’s suggestion, Firtash switched attorneys, firing Lanny Davis and hiring Trump allies Victoria Toensing and Joseph diGenova.
  126. Toensing and diGenova were able to secure a rare face-to-face meeting with AG Barr and other DOJ officials. Barr did not intercede, and the DOJ claimed they are working closely with Austria on having Firtash expedited.
  127. While Firtash was still represented by Davis, Giuliani accused him of having ties to the Russian mob, then shifted. In 2017, U.S. prosecutors said Firtash had ties to the “upper echelons” of Russian organized crime.
  128. Parnas and Fruman hoped to see new leadership at Ukrainian state oil and gas giant Naftogaz. As part of that deal, the company would put aside a financial dispute with Firtash, resulting a windfall of $1 billion for Firtash.
  129. Parnas and Fruman put Giuliani in touch with former Ukrainian prosecutor Viktor Shokin in January, who swore in an affidavit Joe Biden was behind his firing. Lawyers for Firtash were behind the document.
  130. On Tuesday, BuzzFeed reported a grand jury subpoenaed records of Parnas and Fruman as part of the investigation into their extravagant spending at Trump hotels and millions of dollars in financial transfers.
  131. Documents obtained show dozens of transfers into Parnas’s accounts, totaling more than $3 million, as he and Fruman traveled around to different counties in search of damaging information on Joe Biden.
  132. On Tuesday, Vanity Fair reported Michael Cohen is cooperating with state and federal prosecutors while in prison, on the matters of what Trump means by “quid pro quo,” and the investigations into Parnas.
  133. Cohen’s lawyer also asked the three House committee chairs for help reducing his prison sentence, citing Cohen provided the SDNY with “fresh information, of additional possible crimes by Mr. Trump or his associates.”
  134. On Wednesday, the lawyer for Parnas tied his case to Trump, telling a judge that some evidence could be subject to executive privilege since Parnas used Giuliani as his attorney at the same time as Trump did.
  135. On Wednesday, CNN reported Giuliani is looking for a defense attorney. He said in Week 153 he would not seek a new lawyer unless he felt one was needed.
  136. Wednesday evening, Giuliani tweeted citing the “Fake News” and saying “everything” was “to defend my client against false charges,” adding Democrats “don’t believe Trump has rights,” and “Justice will prevail.”
  137. On Thursday, Politico reported that lawyers diGenova and Toensing are also representing journalist John Solomon, an ally of Giuliani who appeared in the SDNY indictments of Parnas and Fruman.
  138. On Friday, CNN reported since Parnas and Fruman’s arrest, prosecutors subpoenaed Fruman’s brother, and issued multiple subpoenas and conducted several property searches — in one, blowing the door off a safe.
  139. On Friday, Tampa Bay Times reported Parnas and Fruman were given VIP seating at the January inauguration of Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis. The two also got access to an area reserved for an exclusive crowd of dignitaries.
  140. On Monday, AP reported a DOJ official said the Trump regime is planning to collect DNA samples from asylum-seekers, and add the information to a massive FBI database used by law enforcement hunting for criminals.
  141. The DOJ issued amended regulations that mandated collecting DNA, and said the regime hopes to have a pilot program in place after a 20-day comment period, and expand from there.
  142. On Monday, the Anti-Defamation League said 2019 is on track to be another high year for anti-Semitic incidents: in the first six months of 2019 there were 780 incidents, similar to record years in 2017 and 2018.
  143. On Monday, two University of Connecticut students, Jarred Mitchell Karal and Ryan Gilman Mucaj, were arrested after a video surfaced showing the two yelling racial slurs at a campus apartment complex parking lot.
  144. On Tuesday, NYT reported between December 2017 and June 2019, more than a million children lost coverage on the two main programs for low-income children, Medicaid and the Children’s Health Insurance Program.
  145. Officials blame new paperwork making registration much harder, and immigrant parents concerned that signing up their children, who are citizens, will make it harder to get a green card or increase the risk of deportation.
  146. On Tuesday, a South Carolina Senate subcommittee stripped exceptions for rape and incest from a bill that would outlaw abortion in the state after six weeks of pregnancy. The bill will now advance to full committee.
  147. On Wednesday, Noor Abukaram, a high school junior in Ohio, was disqualified after running her best time in a meet, for wearing a Nike hijab. A High School Athletic Association official said she needed a waiver.
  148. On Wednesday, the Phoenix New Times reported Jose Segovia-Benitez, a 38-year-old Marine Corps veteran who served two tours of duty in Iraq, was deported by ICE to El Salvador. He lived in the U.S. since he was 3.
  149. On Thursday, a grand jury failed to indict ICE officer Capt. Thomas Woodworth, who in Week 144 drove his truck into group of Never Again Action activists blocking the entrance of an ICE detention facility.
  150. On Thursday, the Trump regime acknowledged in a federal court that 1,556 more migrant families were forcibly separated under its “zero-tolerance” policy before the policy was halted than was previously known.
  151. The information came in response to demand by the ACLU, and revealed 4,300 total families, many more than the 2,800 previously reported, were separated. The ACLU said it is not know if the 1,556 have been reunited.
  152. The ACLU said the Trump regime has separated a total of 5,460 migrant children since July 2017, including the 1,090 separated since the judge ordered the practice to stop in June 2018 except in limited circumstances.
  153. On Friday, the lawyer for the family of Roxsana Hernandez, a Honduran transgender woman who died while in U.S. custody, said video footage of her death at a privately run detention facility was deleted by ICE.
  154. On Monday, Facebook announced it had found and taken down four state-backed disinformation campaigns, three from Iran and one from Russia. Facebook has taken down dozens already ahead of the 2020 election.
  155. One network linked to the Internet Research Agency, a Kremlin-backed troll farm, used the same strategies as 2016. IRA trolls posed as locals in swing states, praising Trump and attacking Joe Biden.
  156. On Wednesday, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg testified before the House Financial Service Committee. Chair Maxine Waters said, “You have opened up a serious discussion about whether Facebook should be broken up.”
  157. Waters cited monopolistic practices; lack of diversity in leadership ranks; enabling housing discrimination through its ad platform; infringing on users’ privacy; and facilitating foreign election interference.
  158. On Friday, Facebook announced will add high quality journalism including USA Today, WSJ, WAPO, and NYT; but included Breitbart, a far-right website which has been accused of inaccurate and incendiary reporting.
  159. On Tuesday, WAPO reported that Trump’s company has removed his name from a pair of skating rinks in Central Park, Wollman Rink and Lasker Rink. Trump’s company still runs the two rinks.
  160. On Tuesday, Senate Republicans blocked two election security bills: John Thune blocked the Honest Ads Act, sponsored by Amy Klobuchar, and John Kennedy blocked the Election Security Act by Dick Durbin.
  161. On Wednesday, Axios reported an internal White House memo on cybersecurity from the Office of the Chief Information Security Officer warned the White House is at risk of being “electronically compromised.”
  162. At least a dozen high-ranking officials have resigned or been pushed out of the cybersecurity missionestablished under Obama to protect the White House from Russian hacking and other threats.
  163. On Thursday, the Senate confirmed Justin Walker, an ex-Kavanaugh clerk deemed “Not Qualified” by the American Bar Association, for a seat on the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Kentucky.
  164. On Wednesday, a Quinnipiac poll found 59% believe Trump pursued his personal interests in Ukraine, while 33% said he was acting in the U.S.’s interests. Approval for an impeachment inquiry held steady at 55%.
  165. On Wednesday, the Daily Caller reported it spoke to the 53 Republican senators about impeachment, and only seven completely ruled it out.
  166. On Wednesday, Trump lashed out at Democrats and the impeachment probe in a storm of tweets and retweets that started after midnight and continued into the early dawn.
  167. Trump attacked the impeachment inquiry, saying, “The Witch Hunt continues!” and “The Democrats Scam goes on and on! They Do Nothing!” and, “It never ends. The Do Nothing Dems are terrible!”
  168. Trump also tweeted, “Where is the Whistleblower?” and “The Do Nothing Dems case is DEAD!” and continued his rants about closed-door hearings, quoting other calling it “shady backroom tactics” and a “mockery.”
  169. On Wednesday, Laura Cooper, the Pentagon official who oversees Ukraine policy, was scheduled to testify before the three House committees behind closed doors on the White House decision to withhold Ukraine aid.
  170. NYT reported the Pentagon sent a letter to Cooper on Tuesday, signed by David Norquist, the No. 2 Pentagon official, warning her not to speak to Congress. She was subpoenaed by the House same day and appeared.
  171. On Wednesday, dozens of House Republicans, led by House Minority Whip Steve Scalise, stormed the secure facility where the committees were holding hearings, after Trump demanded the GOP “get tough and fight.”
  172. At a news conference before entering the hearing, House Republicans spoke to the press, calling the impeachment process as a “sham,” and lambasting House Democrats for closed door hearings.
  173. Trump ally Rep. Matt Gaetz told reporters, “Behind those doors they intend to overturn the results of an American presidential election. We want to know what’s going on.”
  174. Bloomberg reported that Trump knew in advance of House Republicans’ plan to disrupt the hearings, and approved of it. Members of the House Freedom Caucus chanted, “Let us in! Let us in!”
  175. Axios reported 13 of the 41 House Republicans who were on a list compiled by Gaetz as planning to storm the hearings were part of the three House committees allowed inside the hearings already.
  176. Chair Schiff delayed the hearing, and consulted with the House’s sergeant-at-arms on removing the protesters. Schiff also threatened House Republicans with ethics violations.
  177. The protest violated House rules on entering a Sensitive Compartmented Information Facility (SCIF) during a classified hearing, including bringing in electronic devices which are strictly prohibited inside.
  178. Rep. Alex Mooney tweeted the audio of a phone call he made inside the SCIF, adding “My report from inside the SCIF hearing room where we are exposing Adam Schiff’s secret so-called impeachment inquiry.
  179. On Wednesday, House Homeland Security Committee Chair Bennie Thompson asked the sergeant-at-arms to “take action with respect to the members involved in the breach,” and remind them of protocol.
  180. Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy excused cellphones brought in, saying, “These are individuals who have never been in Intel Committee before or anywhere else. So it’s nothing serious from that matter.”
  181. The WSJ Editorial Board, a newspaper owned by Rupert Murdoch, said in an op-ed titled, “Schiff’s Secret Bombshells,” that if the testimony about Trump is so damning, “why not make it public?
  182. After a five-hour delay caused by House Republicans, Cooper testified for more than three hours, starting around 3 p.m. The SCIF required a full security sweep before the deposition resumed.
  183. On Wednesday, top Republicans on the three House committees demanded in a letter to Chair Schiff that he bring the whistleblower in to testify publicly.
  184. On Wednesday, Trump tweeted Republicans who do not support him are “human scum,” saying, “The Never Trumper Republicans…are in certain ways worse and more dangerous…than the Do Nothing Democrats.”
  185. Trump also attacked Taylor and his lawyer of both being “Never Trumpers.” Taylor served as a diplomat starting under Ronald Reagan, and was asked by Pompeo to take over as ambassador after Marie Yovanovitch was ousted.
  186. On Thursday, press secretary Grisham defended Trump’s “human scum” remark on “Fox & Friends,” saying, “The fact that people continue to try and negate anything that he’s doing…they deserve strong language.”
  187. On Friday, White House counselor Kellyanne Conway distanced herself from Trump’s “human scum” remark, telling reporters “I would have used different words.”
  188. On Thursday, a female reporter for conservative Washington Examiner said Conway described herself as a “powerful woman” and threatened to investigate the reporter’s personal life for mentioning Conway’s husband.
  189. Conway denied threatening the reporter on Friday, despite the Examiner publishing a transcript of the call, saying, “I never threatened anyone,” and “If I threaten someone you’ll know it.”
  190. On Wednesday, NYT reported that high-level Ukrainian officials knew about the aid freeze by the first week in August, undercutting Trump’s denial of a quid pro quo based on Ukrainians not knowing about it.
  191. Ukrainians were told they should reach out to Mulvaney to address aid being frozen. On September 1, Sondland, Volker, and Giuliani drafted a statement for Zelensky to deliver to say he was opening an investigation.
  192. Taylor said Zelensky met with Sens. Ron Johnson and Christopher Murphy on September 5 in Kiev, and was told he should “not jeopardize bipartisan support by getting drawn into U.S. domestic politics.”
  193. On Wednesday, NYT reported White House aides feared another Ukraine back channel involving Kashyap Patel, a former aide to Rep. Devin Nunes, who helped the committee try to undermine the Russia investigation.
  194. When the GOP lost the House, Patel moved to Trump’s NSC staff and won his ear advancing unsubstantiated facts. Trump referred to Patel as one of his top Ukraine policy specialist, though he works on counterterrorism.
  195. On Wednesday, speaking at the annual Shale Insight Conference in Pittsburgh, Trump said, “we’re building a wall in Colorado,” which is not on the U.S. border. It was unclear what he meant.
  196. Trump added, “you can’t get over, you can’t get under.” Some supporters gave Trump standing ovation. He added, “And we’re not building a wall in Kansas, but they get the benefit of the walls that we just mentioned.”
  197. On Wednesday, NYT reported that Steve Bannon has started a radio show called “War Room” from his home in Washington, where he and Trump loyalists offer advice for Trump on handling the impeachment inquiry.
  198. On Thursday, Trump thanked House Republicans for storming the SCIF, tweeting, “Thank you to House Republicans for being tough, smart, and understanding in detail the greatest Witch Hunt in American History.”
  199. On Thursday, NYT reported after a meeting between Trump and McConnell on Monday evening, Trump complained privately that Senate Republicans were not doing enough to protect him from House Democrats.
  200. At a White House lunch on Thursday, Trump complained to Senate Republicans that he was a victim of never-ending political assaults by his enemies wielding an unfair process, claiming he has done nothing wrong.
  201. Privately, White House officials conceded they are losing the messaging battle, as Democrats prepare to call a string of high-profile witnesses in public hearings that could start as soon as mid-November.
  202. On Thursday, shortly after the lunch with Trump, Sen.Graham pulled another stunt, claiming he had 44 Republicans, including McConnell, as co-sponsors on a resolution to condemn the House’s impeachment inquiry.
  203. On Thursday, WSJ reported Trump’s White House instructed federal agencies not to renew their subscription to the NYT and WAPO, saying in an email that not renewing “will be a significant cost saving.”
  204. On Thursday, WAPO reported White House trade representative Robert Lighthizer withdrew a recommendation to restore some of Ukraine’s trade privileges in late August, after John Bolton warned him Trump would oppose it.
  205. Bolton told Lighthizer Trump would be against action that benefited Ukraine. It is not clear if Trump directed Bolton to intervene on trade privileges or if he was aware of the discussion.
  206. In his testimony before Congress on Tuesday, Taylor said that Tim Morrison, the National Security Council’s top Russia official, told him on August 22, “The president doesn’t want to provide any assistance at all.”
  207. A White House official told the Post the presidential proclamation about the trade status of Ukraine was