The Weekly List from Amy Siskind
In the midterms this week, , picking up between 35-40 seats, in an election dubbed “The Year of the Woman.” A history making 100 plus women will head to the House next session, as Democrats celebrated their upcoming check on Trump for the first time since he took office. As the week ended, senate races in Florida and Arizona and governor races in Florida and Georgia were still undecided, as Democrats took control of the House of Representatives . Trump and his allies stoked false claims of voter fraud and interference by Democrats
Americans did not get a chance to catch their breath, as the next day Trump took a major step towards ending the Mueller probe, forcing out Attorney General Jeff Sessions, and installing a crony who has been critical of the probe, and talked of starving it of funding to end it. Grassroots activists mobilized with protests nationwide to Post-election reporting indicated Trump is “depressed” ahead of possible “Protect Mueller.” coming soon from the Mueller probe, including possibly of his son, indictments . Donald Jr
Photo by: Dusty Rebel. NYC, November 2018
Photo and art by Miami 305’s own, ATOMIK. November 2018.
9Nov18. Stony Brook, LI, NY
Photographer unknown. Meme made by me. 6November2018
Florida, Scott Beierle, 40, shot and killed Nancy Van Vessem, 61, and Maura Binkley, 21, and injured five others at a hot yoga studio, before killing himself. Beierle had
recorded numerous misogynistic and racist videos, and had been accused of touching women’s buttocks without their consent. He expressed his disgust at women online and urged ‘incels’ to fight back. In an extensive article, the
New York Times Magazine reported on the rise of white nationalism, and how U.S. law enforcement failed to see the threat coming, and now do not know how to stop it. White nationalism is no longer on the fringes, but has
entered the political mainstream. A report produced by the Brennan Center for Justice calls out the DOJ for its “blind spot” when it comes to domestic terrorism and hate crimes. On Saturday, at a campaign rally in Florida,
Trump bragged about sending the U.S. military to the border, as troops began putting up chain-link fencing topped with barbed wire earlier in that day. Trump also said it’s “
a little suspicious how those caravans are starting,” insinuating, without evidence, that the Democrats were behind it.
WAPO reported Trump’s military deployment, along with National Guard forces at the U.S.-Mexico border since April, could cost $200 million by the end of the year. Trump has asked the military to slash next year’s budget.
NYT reported that according to analysis of data, the Trump regime has sharply lowered financial penalties against banks and big companies accused of malfeasance, mirroring the regime’s deregulatory agenda.
Under Trump there has been a 62% drop in penalties imposed by the S.E.C., and a 72% decline in corporate penalties from the Justice Department’s criminal prosecutions. On Sunday, without citing evidence, using his position as Georgia’s Secretary of State,
Brian Kemp’s office announced the Democrats were under investigation for allegedly trying to hack the state’s voter registration files. Trump appeared with Kemp at a campaign rally, but
neither made mention of the investigation. Late Sunday, a spokesperson for Kemp said a person named Rachel Small had allegedly talked about trying to hack Kemp. On Sunday,
Guns N’ Roses frontman Axl Rose tweeted that Trump should stop his “unauthorized use” of the band’s music at his rallies “without the songwriters’ consent,” adding “Can u say ‘shitbags?!’ ” On Monday,
NBC and Facebook said they would stop running a 30-second inflammatory ad by Trump’s political team that featured Luis Bracamontes, saying it was racist. Both had run the ad over the weekend. Later that morning,
Trump ally Fox News also said it would stop running the ad on Fox News Channel and Fox Business Network. CNN had refused to run the ad from the start, calling it “racist.” When asked about the ad being pulled by reporters later Monday, Trump responded, “
You’re telling me something I don’t know about,” adding “We have a lot of ads, and they certainly are effective, based on the numbers.” When asked about critics who called the ad offensive, Trump responded, “A lot of things are offensive.
Your questions are offensive a lot of times so, you know.” On Monday,
HuffPost reported hundreds in armed militia groups are headed to U.S.- Mexico border followingTrump stoking fear of the “caravans,” sparking concern from the U.S. military. On Monday, in a statement, Attorney General
Jeff Sessions said the Justice Department plans to monitor voting and investigate voter fraud, without specifying what fraud-related issues the department will be looking for.
Sessions also said, “we are using every lawful tool that we have, both civil and criminal, to protect the rights of millions of Americans to cast their vote unimpeded,” and “fraud in the voting process will not be tolerated.”
Shortly after, Trump tweeted “Law Enforcement has been strongly notified to watch closely for any ILLEGAL VOTING which may take place,” adding anyone caught will be subject to “Maximum Criminal Penalties.” In another tweet,
Trump accused CNN of airing “Fake Suppression Polls” and engaging in“false rhetoric,” although he provided no evidence or explanation of what he was referring to. On Monday, the
Des Moines Register reported DOJ personnel will be sent to a county in northwest Iowa, which has a large population of immigrants, to monitor the vote. On Saturday, Trump tweeted “rumor has it that Senator Joe Donnelly of Indiana is paying for Facebook ads,” adding, “Donnelly is trying to steal the election?
Isn’t that what Russia did!?” On Monday,
WAPO reported that members of Russia’s lower house of parliament will be in the U.S. to help certify the integrity of the midterms, ensuring that the vote lives up to international democratic standards. The news was first reported by Russia-state media outlet Tass, which said
two member of parliament will be examining cybersecurity, gerrymandering, voting rights, and campaign financing in the U.S. On Monday,
Trump told reporters he “probably” will not be meeting with Vladimir Putin this weekend in Paris as scheduled, saying instead they will meet at the G20. On Monday, Facebook announced on
the night before midterms it pulled down 115 “inauthentic” Facebook and Instagram accounts due to concerns “they were linked to the Russia-based Internet Research Agency.” After being out on the campaign trail for Democratic candidates in recent days, Obama gave his closing argument for voting in a series of tweets, including, “
The character of our country is on the ballot.” On Monday,
Vanity Fair reported Trump has been working to absolve himself of any blame if the GOP loses the House. Trump claims he has brought crowds and excitement, and it would be worse without him. A West Wing official who testified before the Senate Intelligence Committee said with
Mueller likely reporting his findings shortly, that other than Trump, Roger Stone and Donald Jr.will face the most exposure. Concern is Mueller will be able to
prove that Donald Jr. perjured himself to investigators when he said he did not tell Trump beforehand about the June 2016 Trump Tower meeting. On Monday, in an interview with Sinclair Broadcasting, Trump said of his tone during his first two years in office, “
I would like to have a much softer tone. I feel to a certain extent I have no choice, but maybe I do.” On Monday, in an apparent last-minute pitch to women who polls show overwhelmingly support Democrats this election,
Trump brought Ivanka, Kellyanne Conway, and press secretary Sarah Sanders to a rally in Indiana. On Monday, watchdog group CREW reported
Ivanka’s fashion brand won first trial approval for 16 new trademarks from the Chinese government in October, the largest number in a single month since Trump took office. On Monday, Fox News host Sean Hannity, who said in a tweet that he would not appear on stage with Trump,
campaigned on stage with him in Missouri the night before midterms. Hannity’s first remark on stage was “by the way,
all those people in the back are fake news.” Following Hannity, Trump introduced Fox News host Jeanine Pirro, and praised her opening monologues as “always brilliant.” CNN Business reported
Fox News staffers have anonymously expressed outrage over Hannity’s rally appearance, saying “a new line was crossed,” and “I am so f — -ing mad.” Hannity was supposed to interview Trump. On Tuesday,
Fox issued a statement saying, “Fox News does not condone any talent participating in campaign events,” adding “This was an unfortunate distraction and has been addressed.” On Tuesday,
WSJ reported Taiwanese supplier Foxconn, which Trump has used as an example of bringing jobs to the U.S., is considering bringing Chinese workers to Wisconsin due to the tight U.S. labor market. A report by the
Lexington Herald-Leader found that Kentucky has fewer coal jobs than when Trump took office, shrinking from 6,550 jobs in the first quarter of 2017, to 6,381 this past quarter. On Tuesday,
Le Monde reported Dmitri Rybolovlev, the Russian oligarch who purchased a mansion from Trump in 2008, was detained in Monaco, and is under investigation for corruption and influence peddling. On Tuesday,
voting irregularities were reported in several states. Several states extended voting hours including two precincts near Spelman and Morehouse College in Georgia, and Harris County in Texas. On Tuesday, in the midterm elections,
Democrats took back control of the House, while Republicans kept control of the Senate. As of Saturday, Democrats had picked up 35 House seats, with more counts pending. In an election some dubbed as the “
Year of the Woman,” for the first time in history, there will be more than 100 women in the House, including the first Muslim American (two) and Native American (two) women.
A total of 34 new women won House seats, 33 of whom are Democrats, beating a previous high set in 1992, with close races still to be decided. Most of the women replaced incumbent men. They join 66 House women who were re-elected. There will be at least
100 women in the House next session, the largest number in U.S. history. The party gap is large: Democrats 87, Republicans 13, with races pending.
Democrats also did well at the state level, flipping seven governorships, six state legislative chambers, and more than 300 state House and Senate seats. Democrats also
added control of the trifecta — the legislative chambers and the governor’s office — in seven more states: Maine, Connecticut, Colorado, Illinois, Nevada, New Mexico, and New York. With Democrats having 26 senate seats in play to Republicans having just 8,
Democrats won 8 of the 10 senate seats in swing states, with the final two, Arizona and Florida, still undecided by weeks end.
WSJ reported following midterm success, and after another mass shooting in Thousand Oaks, California, the Democrats plan to pursue the most aggressive gun-control legislation in decades. In the midterms,
Democrats beat at least 15 House Republicans with an “A” rating from the National Rifle Association, while the candidates elected to replace them all scored an “F” NRA rating. On Wednesday,
Vanity Fair reported according to friends who watched the midterms with Trump at first “ his mood was great,” thinking he could defy political gravity, “but that was before everything went bad.” Trump insiders fear the
White House is not set up to defend itself from the Democrat House onslaught. Trump reportedly is thinking what they could they release about him, and how does it work politically for him. Insiders also reportedly say
Trump is “very depressed” about Donald Jr. possibly facing indictment. According to three sources, Donald Jr. has told friends he could be indicted as early as this week. On Wednesday,
Trump warned House Democrats about investigating him, tweeting if they “waste Taxpayer Money investigating us,” then “we will likewise be forced to consider investigating them.”
Trump also tweeted to warn “pundits or talking heads” against not giving “us proper credit for this great Midterm Election,” saying, “just remember two words — FAKE NEWS!” On Wednesday, the
Department of Defense dropped the term “Operation Faithful Patriot” for the deployment of 5,200 military at the U.S.-Mexico border, saying the operation will now be referred to as “border support.” On Wednesday, Trump held a post-midterms press conference and was
openly hostile to the media. Trump attacked CNN saying, “When you report fake news, which CNN does a lot, you are the enemy of the people.” Trump also attacked CNN’s Jim Acosta, telling him to put down the mic, and saying “
CNN should be ashamed of itself having you working for them. You are a rude, terrible person.” When
NBC’s Peter Alexander defended Acosta, Trump went after him as well, saying “Well I’m not a big fan of yours either, to be honest with you. You aren’t the best.” Trump attacked Yamiche Alcindor of ”PBS Newshour” when she asked about his using the
label “nationalist,” responding, “That’s such a racist question,” and “I love our country. I do. You have nationalists. You have globalists.” Trump
called out the Republicans by name who lost in midterms after rejecting his support, saying “They did very badly,” adding “I’m not sure if I should be happy or sad.”
Trump threatened to retaliate against Democrats if they investigate him, saying “if they do that then all it is is a war-like posture,” and “They can play that game but we can play it better. It’s called the U.S. Senate.” Trump also said
the Mueller probe is a “hoax,” and “a disgrace, it should have never been started because there was no crime,” saying the only reason he has not fired Mueller is because it might make him look bad. On Wednesday night, the White House
revoked Acosta’s press credentials. Press secretary Sanders accused Acosta of “placing his hands on a young woman” who was trying to take the microphone as the rationale. On Thursday,
reporters and new organizations of all political leanings slammed the White House for barring Acosta. The White House Correspondents’ Association also condemned the move. On Thursday, a
CNN executive accused the White House of using a ‘doctored’ video to justify revoking Acosta’s press credentials. On Wednesday, at Trump’s request,
Sessions resigned as attorney general. Sessions’s resignation letter reads, “Dear Mr. President, At your request, I am submitting my resignation.” The letter is not dated.
WAPO reported Sessions received a call from Chief of Staff John Kelly on Wednesday morning telling him Trump wanted him to resign. Sessions wanted to finish the week, but Kelly said Wednesday would be his last day. Shortly after,
Trump tweeted that Sessions would be replaced on an acting basis by Matthew Whitaker, Sessions’ chief of staff, and added “a permanent replacement will be nominated at a later date.” A DOJ official said
Whitaker would assume authority over the Mueller probe, and that his role will be subject to the normal review process for conflicts. Trump has told advisers that Whitaker is loyal and
would not have recused himself in Sessions’ shoes. Rod Rosenstein went to the White House that afternoon for what an official said was a pre-scheduled meeting.
Whitaker has said in the past the Mueller probe has gone too far, should be given a budget “so low that his investigation grinds to almost a halt,” and that the finances of the Trump family should not be under scrutiny. On Wednesday, Reps. Jerrold Nadler, Adam Schiff, and Elijah Cummings, along with Sen. Dianne Feinstein, sent letters to top White House officials
demanding that they preserve records following the firing of Sessions. On Wednesday,
Guardian reported Whitaker was paid to sit on the advisory board of World Patent Marketing, which was ordered in May to pay a $26 million settlement as part of a vast scam of aspiring inventors. Emails filed in federal court show from
August 2015 Whitaker used his role as a former federal prosecutor in a threatening email to a customer of World Patent, who had complained to the Better Business Bureau. On Thursday, CNN reported
Trump had already begun reviewing with his lawyers the written answers to questions from special counsel Robert Mueller when he fired Sessions.
Roger Stone continues to be a focus. On Thursday, Mueller’s team is set to appear in court to defend its authority as another one of Stone’s former associates aims to quash a subpoena for grand jury testimony. As Mueller’s team begins to write its final report on the Russia probe, the
White House is looking to hire as many as two dozen lawyers for the counsel’s office as Democrats take control of the House. On Thursday, George Conway and Neal Katyal, Obama’s former solicitor general, wrote in an op-ed that
Trump’s appointment of an acting attorney general, bypassing the Senate, is unconstitutional and illegal. The two lawyers also asserted in their op-ed that since his appointment is unconstitutional, anything Whitaker “
does, or tries to do, in that position is invalid.” On Thursday,
The Daily Beast reported that in a summer 2017 interview on a conservative political talk-radio show, Whitaker said “The truth is there was no collusion with the Russians and the Trump campaign.” On Thursday,
NYT reported in a 2014 interview, Whitaker said the courts “are supposed to be the inferior branch,” and criticized the Supreme Court’s power to review legislative and executive acts. On Thursday, CNN reported
Whitaker has close personal ties to Sam Clovis, who has been interviewed in the Mueller probe. Whitaker was Clovis’ campaign chair in 2014 when he ran for state treasurer in Iowa.
Des Moines Register republished a 2014 article on Whitaker, in which he says he would only support federal judges who have a Biblical view: “If they have a secular world view, then I’m going to be very concerned.” On Thursday, “Protect Mueller”
demonstrators took to the streets in cities and towns across the country to protect the Mueller investigation, after the departure of Sessions and appointment of Whitaker. According to protest organizers, progressive groups were able to
mobilize about 100,000 people at approximately 900 nationwide “rapid response” rallies just one day after Sessions’ resignation. On Friday, CNN reported that the
backlash to the Whitaker appointment has caught the White House by surprise and raised concerns about his ability to remain in the post if he remains in the headlines. On Friday, speaking to reporters,
Trump tried to distance himself from Whitaker, saying “I don’t know Matt Whitaker,” and “I didn’t speak to Matt Whitaker” about the federal probe into Russian election interference. On Friday,
Vox reported Whitaker privately advised Trump last year on how the White House might be able to pressure the Justice Department to investigate the president’s political adversaries like Hillary Clinton.
At the same time, Whitaker, as chief of staff to Sessions, was advising him and Rosenstein on how to counter Trump’s demands that the DOJ open an investigation into whether the FBI “infiltrated or surveilled” his campaign. When asked by CNN’s Abby Phillip, who is a Black woman, whether he wanted Whitaker to “rein in Mueller,”
Trump responded, “What a stupid question,” adding “You ask a lot of stupid questions.” When asked about revoking Acosta’s press credentials,
Trump attacked reporter April Ryan, also a Black woman, saying “you talk about somebody that’s a loser. She doesn’t know what the hell she’s doing.” In two days, Trump has aggressively attacked three Black women reporters: PBS’s Yamiche Alcindor, Phillip, and Ryan. In an op-ed
Ryan wrote of Trump long track record of publicly insulting Black women. Trump also
threatened to revoke the credentials of additional White House reporters if they did not “treat the White House with respect,” saying “When you’re in the White House, this is a very sacred place for me.” On Friday, Majority Leader Mitch
McConnell rejected calls to pass legislation to protect the special counselafter several Republicans called on him to do so, saying, “It’s going to be allowed to finish.” McConnell also
dismissed concerns over Whitaker’s appointment, saying he serves at the pleasure of Trump, and adding “I think this will be an interim, a very interim AG.” On Friday, the WAPO Editorial Board wrote that even as legal experts spar over whether his appointment without a Senate confirmation is constitutional,
Whitaker is unfit for the job. On Wednesday, the Trump regime rolled out a rule that will
exempt employers from providing insurance coverage for birth control if it conflicts with their religious or moral beliefs. The rule, which will take effect in 60 days,
would roll back an Obama-era birth control rule which required employers must cover all forms of contraception under Obamacare. On Wednesday, Patrick Casey, head of the white nationalist group Identity Evropa, whose members marched in Charlottesville in 2017,
posted a picture on Twitter of himself standing in front of the White House. In the tweet, Casey writes, “
Evropa has landed at the White House!” The group’s motto, “You will not replace us,” echoes the “Jews will not replace us” chants of white supremacists in Charlottesville. On Thursday,
lawyers for Christine Blasey Ford said she is continuing to receive death threats. Dr. Ford has had to move four times, and has been unable to return to her job as a professor at Palo Alto University. On Thursday, Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg was hospitalized after
breaking three ribs. Trump told reporters, “I wish her well. She said something very inappropriate during the campaign.” On Thursday, the San Francisco Court of Appeals ruled that
the Trump regime must preserve the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program begun under Obama. The ruling rejected the
regime’s claim that ending DACA was not reviewable by the courts. The regime took the unusual step of asking the Supreme Court to review the case before the appeals court had ruled. On Thursday, the Trump regime
invoked national security powers meant to protect the against threats from abroad, saying Trump can deny asylum to anyone who does not enter the country at an official port of entry, Trump is reportedly planning to
deny asylum to migrants from Central America, whom he dubbed the caravans. The new rules draw upon the same authority he used to ban travel from Muslim countries in his Travel Ban. On Friday, in a setback for the Trump regime,
a federal judge blocked construction on the 1,179-mile Keystone XL oil pipeline, saying the regime failed to follow established rules and procedures for decisions like these. The judge said the Trump regime
failed to present a “reasoned explanation” for the move and “simply discarded” the effect that construction would have on climate change. When asked by reporters about the ruling,
Trump said “It was a political decision made by a judge,” adding, “I think it’s a disgrace.” On Friday,
WAPO reported that in former First Lady Michelle Obama’s new memoir she says she will never forgive Trump for advancing the false birther claim about her husband, which endangered her family. When asked about this by reporters,
Trump said Michelle was undoubtedly paid a lot of money to write her book, and shifting to Obama said, “I’ll never forgive him for what he did to our United States military.” Trump also told reporters that he won the election not because of collusion with Russian, but because he was the
better candidate and Clinton “didn’t know what the hell she was doing.” When asked about Acosta,
Trump said “he’s a very unprofessional guy,” and denied the video was altered, saying “Nobody manipulated it. Give me a break,” adding “It wasn’t doctored. They gave a close-up view.” Trump was also agitated that the
Florida and Arizona senate races, which appeared to go Republican on election night, still had outstanding votes to be counted and were undecided. Of Arizona, where counting of mail-in ballots continued, Trump said Democrat
Kyrsten Sinema’s votes seemed to be coming “out of the wilderness.” On Friday, in a series of eight tweets, Trump tweeted, “Just out — in Arizona, SIGNATURES DON’T MATCH. Electoral corruption — Call for a new Election?” adding, “We must protect our Democracy!”
Trump appeared to be referencing a Fox News segment discussing a lawsuit by the Arizona GOP on Wednesday over the counting of mail-in ballots, which was later settled Friday, allowing the votes to be counted. Trump said “
what’s going on in Florida is a disgrace,” adding of Republican Rick Scott, “He easily won, but every hour he seems to be going down,” and “I think people have to look at it very cautiously.” Trump had tweeted Thursday night, “Law Enforcement is looking into another
big corruption scandal having to do with Election Fraud in #Broward and Palm Beach. Florida voted for Rick Scott!” On Friday, Trump also tweeted about the Georgia governor race where Brian Kemp declared victory but votes are still being counted, saying Republican
Kemp “ran a great race in Georgia — he won. It is time to move on!”
Trump also tweeted, “You mean they are just now finding votes in Florida and Georgia — but the Election was on Tuesday?” and “Let’s blame the Russians and demand an immediate apology from President Putin!” Trump tweeted Democrats sent their “
best Election stealing lawyer, Marc Elias,” to Broward County, then they started “miraculously” finding votes, adding “I am sending much better lawyers to expose the FRAUD!” Trump also tweeted, “Rick Scott was up by 50,000+ votes on Election Day, now they “found” many votes and he is only up 15,000 votes. “
The Broward Effect,” adding “How come they never find Republican votes?” Trump tweeted in 2016 he was winning by so much in that Broward County, which was “probably getting ready to do a “number,” couldn’t do it because
not enough people live in Broward for them to falsify a victory!” On Friday,
Sen. Marco Rubio, in a series of tweets, suggested “democrat lawyers are descending on #Florida” to steal the election. He also referenced Broward County. Trump thanked him in a tweet. On Friday, standing on the porch of the Governor’s Mansion for a press conference,
Scott accused “unethical liberals” of plotting to steal a U.S. Senate seat from him. Scott said he asked the state enforcement agency under his control to investigate the Broward Supervisor of Elections. A spokesperson for the agency said Scott did not submit a request,
adding “We do not have an active investigation.” On Friday, Hannity said on his show, “This is a disgrace that they get to do this election in and election out,” adding “
somebody needs to go to jail here, if this keeps happening.” Scott nodded along as Hannity spoke.
Sen. Lindsey Graham tweeted, without evidence, that there are “shenanigans going on in Broward and Palm Beach,” and in another tweet, “it didn’t work with Kavanaugh and it won’t work with @ScottforFlorida.” On Saturday, the Florida secretary of state,
Republican Ken Detzner, ordered recounts of the senate and governor races, an unprecedented review of two major races. On Friday,
WSJ reported Federal prosecutors have gathered evidence of Trump’s central role in hush payoffsto Stormy Daniels and Karen McDougal, which violated campaign-finance laws. In August 2015, as a presidential candidate, Trump met with David Pecker, chief executive of AMI.
Pecker offered to use the about their sexual encounters with Trump. National Enquirer to buy the silence of women The
Journal found that Trump was involved in or briefed on nearly every step of the agreements. He directed deals in phone calls and meetings with Michael Cohen and others. Cohen, Pecker, and Trump no longer speak. Cohen, who Trump called “my attorney” in April 2018, pleaded guilty to campaign-finance violations.
Federal prosecutors who investigated Cohen are now examining business dealings by the Trump Organization. On Saturday, in a tweet,
Trump attacked authorities in California, claiming “gross mismanagement of the forests” is the cause of the state’s wildfires, and threatening federal aid, “Remedy now, or no more Fed payments!”
Nine people have died, hundreds of homes have been destroyed, and hundreds of thousands have been evacuated in a spate of wildfires this week as a result of the Camp Fire in the area of Paradise, California. On Friday,
Trump traveled to Paris for ceremonies to honor the military in World War I as part of Armistice Day. He was scheduled to attend the military parade, after his plans to hold one in Washington were scuttled. On Friday, shortly after landing in Paris, Trump tweeted French President
Macron’s call for a European army is “very insulting,” adding “Europe should first pay its fair share of NATO, which the U.S. subsidizes greatly!” Macron has warned his fellow
European nations that they can no longer rely on the U.S. to defend them. His latest remarks came after Trump decided to pull out of a key 1987 nuclear treaty with Russia. On Saturday,
Trump canceled a visit to the U.S. military cemetery outside Paris at the site of a 1918 battle in which U.S. and French forces fended off German troops during World War I, due to rainy weather. The battle,
in which more than 1,800 died, looms large in the history of the U.S. Marines Corps. Chief of staff John Kelly, a retired Marine Corps general, his wife, and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo will visit instead. Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, German Chancellor Angela Merkel, and French President Emmanuel Macron
did attend ceremonies for their fallen at cemeteries outside Paris. On Saturday,
Trump named seven who will receive a Presidential Medal of Freedom award. The group includes Miriam Adelson, wife of Sheldon Adelson, both of whom gave $56 million to GOP Super PACs this cycle. On Saturday,
NYT reported that the 5,600 American troops who were rushed to U.S.-Mexico border by Trump have little electricity, will receive no combat pay, and face holidays away from home.
Military morale is an issue. The deployment orders last through mid-December, meaning the troops will miss Thanksgiving, and have little to do beyond providing logistical support, unless Trump declares martial law.
Week 102 of a nationalist government: Experts in authoritarianism advise to keep a list of things subtly changing around you, so you’ll remember.
October 27, 2018
This was a heartbreaking week in America, after several domestic attacks left the country shaken, frightened, and on edge. On Monday, an explosive device mailed in a package to the home of George Soros was discovered. Then starting Wednesday, one by one, 13 more packages addressed to high profile Democrats, all of whom were Trump critics and people Trump had publicly and repeatedly attacked, were found. There was a deadly shooting of two Black Americans in a supermarket in Kentucky, minutes after the shooter was unable to gain access to a predominantly black church in Jeffersontown. Then, the week closed with mass shooting during Shabbat services at Pittsburgh’s oldest Jewish congregation, killing 11 and injuring 6, likely the deadliest attack on the Jewish community in U.S. history, which was charged as a hate crime.
Unlike his predecessors, Trump was unable or unwilling to rise to the occasion and seek to unite and comfort the country. Instead, he blamed the media, lightened but continued his attacks on political opponents, and complained these crimes were distracting from his messaging ahead of midterms. Trump also refused to call out hate or the rise of white supremacist groups, who view themselves as on his side and his defenders. Instead, Trump announced he is a “nationalist” — a term with historical connotations to white nationalism, seemingly a guiding philosophy behind much of his regime’s actions and policies. All the attacks this week were carried out by middle-aged white men.
Here is the whole piece of “Make America Dumb Again,” as promised last week. It is an expansive mural located under a roadway in Mainz-Kastel (Wiesbaden), Germany. Photo taken 20October2018.
Trump warned of non-existent voter fraud, tweeting “All levels of government and Law Enforcement are watching carefully for VOTER FRAUD,” adding, “Cheat at your own peril.” On Sunday, Carl Bernstein told CNN that
Trump is already having discussions at the White House for plans to call the midterms “illegitimate” if Democrats win the House by a small margin. Bernstein said his sources tell him
Trump’s plan is to throw legal challenges into the courts, sow confusion, declare victory, and say that the election was illegitimate. On Saturday, at a rally in Nevada,
Trump falsely claimed that Californians are “rioting” in protest of sanctuary cities, saying “They’re rioting now. They want to get out of their sanctuary cities.” Trump also claimed, without evidence, that
the caravan of Central American migrants is full of criminals, claiming the group will bring waves of crime and drugs over the border, and “this country doesn’t want them.” Trump also claimed that the “
fake news media” is the Democrats’ “single greatest ally.” The crowd then pointed to reporters at the rally and booed at them.
Trump also promised a new “major tax cut” for middle-income people “just prior to November.” The House is out of session until November 13. On Monday, Trump told reporters that the regime plans to produce a “
resolution” calling for a 10% tax cut for middle-income earners, leaving confused White House staffers scrambling to understand what he meant. On Monday,
NYT Editorial Board wrote ahead of the election, Trump is “lyin’ up a storm,” both at this campaign rallies and on Twitter, noting Americans are “already exhausted” and this is “really bad for the country.” On Monday,
Politico reported Trump is distancing himself from a possible GOP midterm thumping, telling confidants he does not see it as a referendum on himself and will blame Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell. On Sunday, the
NYT reported the Department of Health and Human Services is leading an effort to change the legal definition of sex under Title IX and to narrowly define gender as determined by genitalia at birth. This marks the most dramatic move by the Trump regime yet in its efforts to
roll back recognition and protections of transgender people under federal civil rights law and reverses policy by the Obama administration. On Thursday, the
Guardian reported the Trump regime is seeking to eliminate the word “gender” from U.N. general assembly policy statement documents, most often replacing it with “woman.” Nelson Diaz, chair of the GOP of Miami-Dade County, apologized for “unbecoming” action after
organizing a protest involving members of the “Proud Boys” outside congressional candidate Donna Shalala’s office. A Latina woman with family visiting from Guatemala was
verbally harassed for speaking Spanish by a white woman at a restaurant in Virginia, saying “You get the f — — out, back to your f — — — country.” On a Ryanair flight,
a white man went on a tirade about sitting next to a black woman in a wheelchair. The flight attendant then asked the black woman and her daughter to move to a different row. David Thomas Sr., a Veterans Affairs official,
took down a portrait of the KKK’s first grand wizard from his office after a explained who the subject is. His senior staff is mostly Black Americans. WAPO reporter Gay bars in Nashville received pamphlets with the acronym and images of the Statue of Liberty (L), a gun (G), a beer bottle (B), and Trump (T). The
gun pictured is the one used in the shooting at Orlando nightclub Pulse. NBC News reported on
a robocall in Florida targeting Andrew Gillum, in which a man impersonating him says, “Well hello there. I is the negro Andrew Gillum,” and “My state opponent, who done call me monkey…” ABC News reported Bruce Alexander, who is accused of touching a woman’s breast twice on an airplane flight,
told authorities “the president of the United States says it’s OK to grab women by their private parts.” The
FBI arrested Robert Rundo, the leader of Rise Above Movement, a violent California neo-Nazi gang, who fled the country for Central America, on a federal conspiracy charge. Rise Above Movement members were
involved in violent activity at protests throughout California in 2017. Rundo and three other gang members were charged with inciting riots. On Sunday, CNN reported
Gwinnett County, northeast of Atlanta, faces two federal lawsuits after rejecting hundreds of mail-in absentee ballots, disproportionately impacting Asian American and Black American voters. An analysis done by
WAPO showed Georgia’s “exact match” policy could clear just 70% of eligible voters and disproportionately impacts Black American and Hispanic American voters.
Rolling Stone reported on a leaked audio of a “Georgia Professionals for Kemp” campaign event last Friday in which Brian Kemp raised concern about his Democratic opponent Stacey Abrams’ voter turnout operation. Kemp can be heard saying it “
continues to concern us, especially if everybody uses and exercises their right to vote.” Abrams’ campaign continued to call on Kemp to resign as Georgia’s Secretary of State. On Tuesday,
USA Today reported the Georgia NAACP filed complaints with state election officials, alleging some voting machines mistakenly registered votes cast for Abrams as votes for Kemp. On Wednesday, a federal judge in Georgia sided with the ACLU,
temporarily blocking the state from tossing out absentee ballots on which voters’ signatures do not match the ones on their voter registration cards. On Thursday, a federal judge in Georgia
issued a formal injunction, stopping Georgia from rejecting absentee ballots because of signatures deemed not to match those on file. On Thursday,
NYT reported Georgia state Democratic officials said more than 4,700 vote-by-mail applications were missing in DeKalb County, one the state’s most populous and liberal-leaning regions. On Thursday,
police arrested Jason Donald Wayne, 28, in North Carolina after he threatened to assault a black GOP campaign worker who was working at an early voting location in Charlotte. On Thursday,
AP reported after moving the sole polling place for 27,000 residents outside city lines in Week 101, Dodge City, Kansas, election official sent voters notices listing the wrong place to cast their vote. Kansas Director of Elections Bryan Caskey admitted that the notices were “confusing,” and said
he informed Ford County Clerk Debbie Cox she needed to send another notice with the correct location. On Friday, the ACLU sued Dodge City over voter access. The lawsuit seeks a temporary restraining order that would
force Ford County to open a second polling place in time for midterms in Dodge City. On Friday,
ABC 13 reported at some voting machines in Texas, when voters selected the straight-party vote for Democrat, their vote for Senator, on the last page of the ballot, was changed to Republican Ted Cruz. On Monday,
the Supreme Court shielded Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross from having to answer lawyers’ questions in a lawsuit challenging his decision to add a citizenship question to the 2020 Census form.
WAPO reported the Trump regime is politicizing the traditionally non-partisan Board of Veterans’ Appeals, judges who determine whether an injured veteran is entitled to lifetime benefits. This is unprecedented. The White House
rejected half of the candidates selected by the board chairwoman, after requiring them to disclose their party affiliations. Of the four rejected, three were Democrats and one was an independent. On Tuesday, after meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Moscow, national security adviser John
Bolton announced Putin and Trump will meet in Paris one-on-one just five days after the midterms. The scheduled meeting
marks another reversal by Trump. In July, after the controversial meeting between Trump and Putin in Helsinki, the White House said the two would not meet again until “after the Russia witch hunt is over.”
Guardian reported in 2001, Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh lobbied to ensure Timothy Tymkovich would secure a lifetime appointment as a Colorado federal judge. Tymkovich is now handling Kavanaugh ethics complaints. A
USA Today/Suffolk poll found the “ Kavanaugh effect” makes Americans more likely to vote for Democrats (35%) than Republicans (27%) in the midterms. A study conducted at Arizona State University, and published in the
Journal of American College Health, found 25% of college students have “clinically significant event-related distress” resulting from the 2016 election. The study argues event-related distress can predict future distress and diagnoses of
PTSD, a mental health condition triggered by a terrifying event — either experiencing it or witnessing it.
The most useful predictors of stress were sex, political party, and religion — more so than race or social class. The majority of students — 76% of Democrats and 59% of Republicans — said they were stressed. On Sunday,
WAPO reported special counsel Robert Mueller’s team has been aggressively pursuing leads on whether Roger Stone, or any other Trump associates, had advance knowledge of the WikiLeaks’ plan to release hacked emails. In addition to Randy Credico, Mueller’s team is also examining Stone’s relationship with conspiracy theorist Jerome Corsi, and
whether Corsi was a conduit between Stone and Julian Assange. Mueller’s team is also examining if
Stone lied in his Congressional testimony about his contact with WikiLeaks. On Thursday,
Mother Jones reported in early January, Stone sent a text message to Credico saying he was working to get a pardon from Trump for Assange, writing “It’s very real and very possible. Don’t fuck it up.” On Tuesday,
NYT reported in recent days the United States Cyber Command has been targeting individual Russian operatives, telling them they have identified them and are being tracked, in order to deter them. On Thursday,
House Republicans interviewed George Papadopoulos behind closed doors for roughly seven hours. Republicans claim his testimony raises questions about the start of the FBI’s Russia probe. Trump ally
Rep. Mark Meadows said that Papadopoulos’ testimony shows the FBI’s counterintelligence investigation into the Trump campaign’s ties to Russia should never have been started. On Monday,
WAPO reported Trump has settled on a strategy of fear, laced with lies and racially tinged rhetoric, as a way to motivate Republicanvoters to get to the polls for the midterms, instead of touting his achievements.
Trump is especially focused on the caravan, which he claimed is full of gang members, violent criminals and “unknown Middle Easterners. Stephen Miller is one of the chief authors of Trump’s rally remarks. On Monday,
in a series of tweets, Trump attacked the “caravan” of migrants from Central America, claiming without evidence, “Criminals and unknown Middle Easterners are mixed in.” Trump also tweeted, “
every time you see a Caravan, or people illegally coming… blame the Democrats,” and he threatened again to substantially reduce foreign aid to Guatemala, Honduras, and El Salvador. On Monday, when asked by reporters for proof there are terrorists in the caravan, Trump said, “
take your camera, go into the middle, and search. You’re going to find MS-13, you’re going to find Middle Eastern.” A
WAPO journalist called out the media for amplifying Trump’s caravan messaging with non-stop coverage, using his words like “caravan crisis” and “onslaught,” employing false-equivalency, and not calling out his lies. On Monday, at a rally in Texas,
Trump delivered a speech laden with lies and fear mongering, reminiscent of his 2016 campaign. He also evoked nationalism directly.
Trump told a string of lies, including that the Democrats will kick seniors off their health insurance, end coverage for pre-existing conditions, and destroy the Social Security retirement system.
Trump also lied that Democrats will give illegal immigrants free cars and abolish our borders. Trump also said Democrats are behind the migrant caravan and lied the caravan includes people from the Middle East. Trump also told the crowd, “You know, they have a word. It sort of became old-fashioned. It’s called a nationalist,” adding “
we’re not supposed to use that word. You know what I am? I am a nationalist. Use that word.”
Trump also said “Radical Democrats want to turn back the clock. Restore the rule of corrupt, power-hungry globalists,” adding, “a globalist is a person that wants the globe to do well,” but not “our country so much.” On Tuesday, when pressed by reporters for proof that there are Middle Easterners in the caravan,
Trump responded, “There’s no proof of anything. But there could very well be.” Trump also claimed, without evidence, that there will be
forthcoming proof to show Democrats are paying for the caravan of migrants. On Tuesday,
former KKK leader David Duke celebrated Trump saying he is a nationalist, tweeting Trump “Defends the Rights and Heritage of White People & White people love him for it!” On Tuesday, in an interview with the
WSJ after another down day in the markets, Trump again attacked Fed Chairman Jerome Powell. There is no precedent for a U.S. leader publicly criticizing a Fed Chair.
Trump said of Powell, “every time we do something great, he raises the interest rates,” adding it “almost looks like he’s happy raising interest rates.”
Trump added, “To me the Fed is the biggest risk.” When asked if he regrets nominating Powell, Trump said it’s “too early to say, but maybe.” On Wednesday, the
Dow Jones Industrial Average plunged more than 600 points, continuing its correction. Year-to-date, the Dow is flat. On Wednesday,
NYT reported when Trump calls old friends on one of his iPhones, Chinese and Russians spies often listen in and gather information on how to best work with Trump and affect policy change. Trump’s aides have warned him that
his calls are not secure, but he refuses to stop using his cell phones. Officials who spoke to the NYT said they did so out of frustration with his indifference towards electronic security. China uses information from the calls to understand how Mr. Trump thinks, what arguments tend to sway him and which of his friends they can use to sway him in order to keep a trade war from escalating.
Aides said Trump’s longtime paranoia about surveillance gives them hope that he is
not discussing classified information on calls. They also take comfort that Trump rarely reads the intelligence he is shown. Trump is supposed to
swap his two cell phones for new ones every 30 days but rarely does so, citing inconvenience. Last year, Trump left one of the phones in a golf cart at his Bedminster club and had to scramble to find it. On Thursday, Trump attacked the
NYT in two tweets, saying it “wrote a long and boring article,” calling it “so incorrect” and “soooo wrong,” adding, “I only use Government Phones.”
Hours later, Trump tweeted “the New York Times has a new Fake Story” saying “I rarely use a cellphone, & when I do it’s government authorized. I like Hard Lines.” On Thursday,
several Democrats, citing the and whether he compromised classified information. NYT report, called for an investigation into Trump’s cell phone use On Thursday,
WAPO reported CIA Director Gina Haspel briefed Trumpabout her trip to Turkey, where she reportedly listened to an audio recording capturing the killing of Jamal Khashoggi. On Thursday, Saudi Arabia
acknowledged its agents had murdered Khashoggi in a “premeditated” operation. Trump has yet to take any action against the Saudis or condemn the killing. On Thursday, the judge overseeing the
New York attorney general’s lawsuit against Trump’s foundation said she will wait to hear if a sitting president can be sued before proceeding with the state’s case.
A New York appeals court is currently weighing that question in a defamation lawsuit against Trump brought by Summer Zervos. On Thursday, at a
WAPO event, Newt Gingrich said if Democrats take the House and subpoena Trump’s tax records, likely forcing a Supreme Court fight, “ we’ll see whether or not the Kavanaugh fight was worth it.” On Thursday, Roberta Jacobson, who resigned as U.S. ambassador to Mexico in
Week 68, said in an op-ed some chaos is normal at the start of an administration, but that under Trump “it has been extreme.” Jacobson also pointed out that
about 30 ambassadorships still remain vacant, including those to vitally important countries. Jacobson also said the
disconnect between the State Department and the White House seems intentional, leaving ambassadors in impossible positions and allies “infuriated, alienated and bewildered.” On Thursday,
Senate Judiciary Chairman Chuck Grassley referred Julie Swetnick and her lawyer Michael Avenatti to the DOJ for investigation over allegations they made false statements to Congress about Kavanaugh. On Monday, an explosive device was found
in the mailbox of George Soros’s home outside New York City. Soros is a favorite target of right-wing groups, including Trump who recently claimed he paid for Kavanaugh protests. On Wednesday, in the early morning, reports came out in local New York media that a suspicious device was sent to the Clintons’ home near New York City. Shortly after, it was reported a package was also sent to the Obamas.
Later that morning, the Time Warner Center was evacuated after a suspicious package was found.
CNN anchors continued to provide coverage of what was happening from their cell phones on the streets near the building. By late morning, reporting indicated the packages contained a pipe bomb.
The package sent to CNN was addressed to “JON BRENAN” [sic], a former CIA director under Obama and a frequent Trump critic. According to the FBI, all the devices were packed in envelopes lined with
bubble wrap and bearing return addresses with the name “DEBBIE WASSERMAN SHULTZ” [sic], former chairperson of the Democratic National Committee.
Rep. Wasserman Schultz’s offices were evacuated after a fifth device sent to former Attorney General Eric Holder, which was incorrectly addressed, was returned to her office. In the early afternoon,
a sixth package addressed to Rep. Maxine Waters, whom Trump repeatedly refers to at his rallies as a “very low IQ individual,” was intercepted at a congressional mail facility. In the afternoon, speaking at the White House and reading off a teleprompter,
Trump called the attempted bombings “despicable acts,” saying “we have to unify,” and “threats of political violence” have no place. In the afternoon, CNN President
Jeff Zucker, in a statement, accused Trump of demonizing journalists, adding “The president, and especially the White House press secretary, should understand their words matter.” In the evening, a seventh package,
also addressed to Rep. Waters was discovered at a mail facility near downtown Los Angeles. The facility was evacuated. On Wednesday, the FBI issued a statement to the public on the suspicious packages,
describing the packages, who received them, and steps being taken to find who is behind them. Contact information was also given for tips. On Wednesday,
House Republicans’ campaign committee launched a new ad attacking Soros as a “radical.” The ad is aimed at Minnesota House candidate Dan Feehan, who the ad says is owned by Soros. On Wednesday,
AP reported, according to law enforcement officials, the pipe bombs that were sent to prominent Democrats and CNN were packed with powder and shards of glass. On Wednesday, CNN reported that
the White House did not reach out toformer President Obama, the Clintons, or any of the other Democratic officials who received packages.
Trump also refused to mention CNN as a recipient of a package in any of his remarks, including his call for unity. On Wednesday,
WAPO reported the targets of the bombs are all people who Trump has directly and repeatedly attacked, using his bully pulpit. Republicans largely stood by him, denying his rhetoric was the cause. Also Wednesday, several of Trump’s supporters advanced the “false flag” theory on social media and talk radio,
arguing the bombs could have been sent by liberals in order to reverse the “mob” argument. On Wednesday, at a rally in Wisconsin, before Trump arrived,
the crowd burst into chants of “Lock her up.” Trump refrained from attacking his regular targets like Hillary, Rep. Waters, and Joe Biden and
commented repeatedly on his restraint, saying“I’m trying to be nice,” and “do you see how nice I’m behaving tonight?” Trump decried the threats of political violence, saying “we want all sides to come together in peace and harmony,”
but called on the media to end its “hostility.”
Trump also said, “The media also has a responsibility to set a civil tone and stop the endless hostility and constant negative and oftentimes false attacks.” Trump, however, did not take any responsibility. On Thursday,
two additional pipe bombs were discovered that had been sent to former Vice President Biden. The packages were misaddressed and were intercepted at a U.S. Postal Service facility in Delaware. Also Thursday,
a package to Robert De Niro was discovered. The package had been at the mailroom at his movie company, TriBeCa Productions, since at least Tuesday. De Niro has been a frequent critic of Trump. On Thursday,
Trump again blamed the media, tweeting “a very big part of the Anger we see today” is caused by purposely false and inaccurate reporting” by the “Fake News,” and “Media must clean up its act, FAST!” On Thursday,
John Brennan tweeted in response, “Stop blaming others. Look in the mirror. Your inflammatory rhetoric, insults, lies, & encouragement of physical violence are disgraceful. Clean up your act.” Press secretary Sarah Sanders said
Trump is “certainly not responsible for sending suspicious packages” any more than Bernie Sanders is responsible for “shooting up a Republican baseball field practice last year.” Hours later,
Sen. Lindsey Graham repeated the same false equivalency, tweeting, “I didn’t blame Bernie Sanders when a Bernie supporter shot Congressman Steve Scalise and I’m not going to blame Trump.”
Fox Business host Lou Hobbs tweeted, “Fake News ― Fake Bombs,” adding “Who could possibly benefit by so much fakery?” Dobbs later deleted the tweet. On Thursday, at an
Axios event in Washington, D.C., Newt Gingrich said he believes that the media has “earned” Trump’s attacks on them as “the enemy of the people.” On Thursday,
more than 200 journalists, many well-known and most retired or semi-retired, signed a letter of condemning political violence as a part of a “sustained pattern of attack on a free press.” The letter also accused Trump of “utterly failing” to uphold his oath of office and said he is “
actively working not simply to undermine the press, but to incite violence against it as well.” On Thursday,
Trump tweeted about the migrant caravan in the morning, saying “I am bringing out the military for this National Emergency,” adding: “They will be stopped!” The caravan is
more than 1,000 miles away from the U.S. border. It is unclear when or if the migrants will arrive or how many will seek to cross into the U.S. On Thursday,
Defense Secretary Jim Mattis was expected to sign deployment orders that could send 800 or more troops to the border of Mexico. The troops are expected to be in position next week. Later Thursday, Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen told Fox News “
everything is on the table” in response to the migrant caravan. Nielsen also echoed an afternoon tweet by Trump that said, “To those in the Caravan, turn around,”
telling Fox News that any migrants who illegally cross the U.S. border “will be returned home.” On Thursday,
NYT reported Trump is considering taking executive action to bar migrants, including asylum seekers, from entering the country at the southern border. On Friday,
Daily Beast reported Bolton pushed a plan with Trump to send U.S. troops to the southern border to keep migrants out, circumventingNielsen, Chief of Staff John Kelly, and other White House officials.
Bolton also rejected a proposal by the Department of Homeland Security to enlist the U.N. Refugee Agency (UNHCR) to set up migrant camps in Mexico. Officials say Bolton was responding to Trump’s tweet, saying “CLOSE OUR SOUTHERN BORDER.” One senior official told the
Daily Beast, “ John Bolton is yelling fire in the crowded movie theater that is Trump’s mind.” An executive order would be a
sweeping use of presidential power and would undoubtedly prompt legal challenges in federal courts.
In the middle of the night at 3:14 a.m. Friday, Trump attacked CNN, tweeting, “Funny how lowly rated CNN” and others can criticize him, but when he criticizes them back, “they go wild and scream, ‘it’s just not Presidential!’” On Friday morning,
an eleventh package was found addressed to Sen. Cory Booker, another Trump critic, which the FBI said was “similar in appearance to the others,” was found in Florida. Also Friday morning,
a twelfth package addressed to former director of national intelligence James Clapper, another Trump critic, was discovered. It was addressed to the New York offices of CNN, where he works as an analyst. The package to
Clapper was intercepted at a mail facility in Midtown Manhattan, where a worker recognized it as similar to other suspicious packages discovered this week and “froze it in the system.”
Appearing on CNN shortly after the package was discovered, Clapper said “This is definitely domestic terrorism, no doubt about it in my mind,” adding, “This is not going to silence the administration’s critics.” After the two additional bombs had been reported, Trump took to Twitter, to
complain first about the government spending “Billions of Dollars a year on Illegal Immigration. This will not continue.”
Trump also complained “Twitter has removed many people from my account,” saying the company has “seemingly done something that makes it much harder to join,” and asking, “Total Bias?”
Trump also complained “Republicans are doing so well in early voting, in the polls,” but that now “this ‘Bomb; stuff happens and the momentum greatly slows,” asking “Very unfortunate, what is going on.” By late morning Friday,
NYT reported a man in Florida was arrested by federal authorities in connection with the pipe bombs sent to Trump critics. The pipe bomb suspect,
Cesar Sayoc, Jr., 56, was taken into custody. Sayoc’s white van was plastered with stickers of Trump and Pence, Democrats with bulls-eyes on them and, one with “CNN SUCKS.” Sayoc worked formerly as a
pizza deliveryman and strip-club worker, and he is a Trump superfan. He was very active on social media, frequently posting conservative talking points and conspiracy theories. Charges against Sayoc revealed
a thirteenth package had been sent to Sen. Kamala Harris, which was discovered at a Sacramento mail facility. Sen. Harris has also been a vocal critic of Trump. Attorney General Jeff Sessions said Sayoc was
charged with five federal crimes, including the mailing of explosives. Charges could carry a maximum of 58 years in prison. He will be tried in the Southern District of New York. Sessions also said it is not yet known why Sayoc sent pipe bombs to prominent Democrats and CNN, but said Sayoc “
appears to be a partisan.” FBI Director Christopher Wray said 13 pipe bombs were sent to prominent Democrats and CNN, and that
they were “not hoax devices.” On Friday, speaking to reporters on the South Lawn, when asked if he
planned to reach out to the two former presidents, Trump said, ”If they wanted me to, but I think we’ll probably pass.” Trump says he knows the pipe bomb suspect was a supporter but says he bears “
no blame” for the suspect’s actions. Trump again evoked the shooting of Rep. Scalise by a Bernie Sanders supporter. Later Friday, the FBI said a
fourteenth package seized near San Francisco was sent to billionaire political activist Tom Steyer, an outspoken critic of Trump who has led a charge to have him impeached. On Friday evening, at a rally in North Carolina, Trump opened his remarks by pledging to do “everything in my power to stop” politically motivated attacks, and that “
we must unify as a nation in peace love and harmony.”
Trump then shifted to blame the media, saying “we do not blame the Democrat party for the radical, leftists,” adding “the media try to attack incredible Americans who are trying to support our movement.”
Trump talked about sending troops to the border, “Watch next week what’s going to happen.” The caravan is still weeks from the U.S. border, and this week the number of migrants dwindled from 7,200 to 3,000.
Trump also attacked Democrats, using old refrains including “Crooked Hillary” and “Cryin’ Chuck Schumer.” He also evoked Maxine Waters then stopped himself, saying “I want them to say, ‘He was so nice tonight.’” On Friday,
the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) said in a statement, “While we cannot say that Trump’s speech directly incites violence, it is clear that some people are influenced by it.”
CPJ called on Trump to dial back the rhetoric: “Journalists across the country feel unsafe because of the constant hostility and belittling of their role in our democracy by the head of state. It needs to stop.” Central European University, a university founded by the philanthropist
George Soros, has announced it has been forced out of Hungary by the government of Viktor Orbán after 26 years. On Wednesday, Gregory Bush, 51, fatally shot two Vicki Lee Jones, 67, and Maurice E. Stallard, 69, at a
Kroger supermarket in Kentucky. Bush did not know either victim. They were both Black Americans. Jeffersontown, Kentucky police said Bush had first tried to enter the First Baptist Church,
a predominantly black church, minutes before the supermarket shooting, but was unable to gain access. On Saturday,
Robert Bowers, 46, armed with an assault rifle and at least three handguns, went on a shooting rampage at the Tree of Life synagogue, the city of Pittsburgh’s oldest Jewish congregation.
Eleven adults were killed in the attack, which the Anti-Defamation League called “likely the deadliest attack on the Jewish community in the history of the United States.” Six were wounded, including four police officers. Bowers, who has a history of making virulently anti-Semitic statements online, burst into the synagogue shortly after Shabbat services began, and was yelled “
All Jews must die,” then started shooting. The DOJ said it would file hate crimes and other criminal charges.
On his social media, Bowers posted several messages supporting Trump’s political agenda, but others implying that Jews were manipulating Trump. In his first remarks on the shooting,
Trump told reporters, “It’s a terrible, terrible thing what’s going on with hate in our country, frankly, and all over the world,” adding, “The results are very devastating.” When asked by reporters about stricter gun laws, Trump said “this has little to do with it” and asserted that
if they had “protection inside, the results would have been far better.” Speaking to the press shortly after,
the public safety director on Pittsburgh, holding back tears said, “It’s a very horrific crime scene — one of the worst that I’ve seen, and I’ve been on some plane crashes. It’s very bad.”
Week 101: Experts in authoritarianism advise to keep a list of things subtly changing around you, so you’ll remember.
October 21, 2018
With midterms approaching, the country is electrified and on edge. This week Trump recycled themes from his 2016 campaign to help boost Republican messaging: stoking fear of “the others” (a caravan of immigrants), accusing Democrats of being the party of open borders and crime and claiming the left is encouraging violence (“the mob”). Journalists and watchdog groups in several states continued to report and document overt efforts by the Republican Party to suppress the votes of people of color.
Trump also glorified Rep. Greg Gianforte at a campaign rally in Montana for shoving a journalist in 2017, sparking further condemnation for In an alarming reveal of his authoritarian bent, Trump refused to condemn Saudi Arabia’s murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi despite a bipartisan Congressional outcry and diplomatic actions by world leaders. encouraging violence against the free press.
This week marked the first charges against a Russian, Elena Khusyaynova, for conspiring to interfere with the 2018 U.S. election. Trump continues to deny 2016 campaign ties to Russia or acknowledge Russian interference in our 2016 election. Reporting this week indicates the Mueller probe is speeding along and could be completed shortly after midterms.
Two closeups from two separate pieces I discovered yesterday in Mainz-Kastel, Wiesbaden, Germany. Full pieces of each will be shared in upcoming posts. 20oct18.
On Saturday, speaking to reporters,
Trump defended separating migrant families at the border, saying the fear of being separated from children deters some immigrants, although this did not work in June. Trump told reporters of immigrants, “If they feel there will be separation, they don’t come.
You’ve got some really bad people out there.” Trump claimed the influx is “because of how well our country is doing.” On Saturday, at a rally in Kentucky, Trump blamed Democrats for opening our borders and creating “a
friendly sanctuary for murderous thugs from other countries who will kill us all.” Trump said of the investigation into Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh, “
what the crazy radical Democrats did to Justice Kavanaugh was a national disgrace,” adding “never has a man been treated so badly,” On Saturday, a video surfaced of the
white nationalist, male-only “Proud Boys” brutally beating up several men after attending a lecture by their founder at the Metropolitan Republican Club of New York City.
Three were arrested after the clash with protestors. A Proud Boy member can be heard saying “Are you brave now faggot?!’” Proud Boys has been designated as a hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center. On Monday, the New York Police Department moved to quell criticism of their handling of the brawl,
saying they were seeking nine additional members of Proud Boys and three anti-fascist protestors.
Hate fliers were left on some residents’ lawns in Cherry Hill, New Jersey, that featured images of Hitler or the Ku Klux Klan, offensive language and a phone number. Police are investigating the incident as a hate crime. A white woman in St. Louis, Missouri, was
captured on a video trying to block a black man from entering his own downtown loft. She was later fired from her job working with an associated real estate company. This year’s White House Fellow class of
14 includes 13 with a military or law enforcement backgrounds in their biographies. Of the 14, only two are women, whereas under Obama women made up about half. According to a new poll conducted by YouGov and
The Economist, nearly half of people who voted for Trump in 2016 believe men are discriminated against more than are LGBTQ people, women and most ethnic minorities.
Intercept reported the Department of Health and Human Services is considering a request from a South Carolina Christian foster-care agency to deny Jewish, Muslim, atheist and agnostic parents the right to take in kids. On Thursday, House Oversight Democrats alleged in a letter that
Trump intervened in the FBI headquarters project to help protect business for his hotel, Trump Hotel DC, which is a block away on Pennsylvania Avenue. According to newly released government emails, Trump met with General Services Administrator Emily Murphy, the FBI and White House officials on January 24, 2018, where
he was directly involved in decision making. The letter from Democrats says the FBI’s decision to abandon the relocation plan, and instead
construct a new building on the same site at higher cost, was to prevent Trump Hotel DC competitors from acquiring the land.
Fast Company reported thatTrump signaled his support for Rep. Kevin McCarthy’s candidacy for Speaker of the House after McCarthy’s PAC spent $154,000 to host a reception and dinner at Trump Hotel DC. Residents of a Manhattan condominium called “
Trump Place” voted to remove Trump’s name from the building. Close to 70% of residents voted for the removal, which happened on Thursday. On Thursday, a report published by the Interior Department Inspector General found that Secretary Ryan
Zinke violated agency travel policy by having his wife ride in government-issued vehicles with him. The Trump regime
denied reports they were replacing the department’s independent watchdog, who is overseeing multiple investigations into Zinke, with a political appointee. On Thursday,
Suzanne Israel Tufts reigned from her post at the Department of Housing and Urban Development after a mistaken announcement sent to HUD employees by Secretary Ben Carson. Secretary Carson informed staffers she would be
leaving to take the job as acting inspector general at the Interior Department. The current acting IG, Mary Kendall, had not been informed that she was being replaced. On Sunday, a new
Washington Post-ABC News poll showed voter enthusiasm is up from 2014 especially for Democrats (63% in 2014 to 81% in 2018), 18–39 year-olds (42% to 67%) and nonwhites (48% to 72%). Voters favor
Democratic candidates for the House over Republican candidates, 53% to 42%. Independent women voters favor Democrats over Republicans by a more than 2–1 margin (62% to 29%). On Sunday, White House economic advisor Larry Kudlow told “This Week” that the
United Nations reports “overestimates” climate change, saying not to “panic” but to look at it in a “level-headed and analytic way.” Also on Sunday,
Trump appeared on “60 Minutes.” He told Lesley Stahl that Russian President Vladimir Putin is “probably” involved in assassinations and poisonings, but “it’s not in our country,” adding “I think I’m very tough with him.” When asked about
Russian interference in the 2016 election, Trump said“They meddled. But I think China meddled, too,” adding, “I think, frankly, China is a bigger problem.” When asked about his praise of Kim Jong Un despite his history of human rights violations, Trump said “
Look, let it be whatever it is. I get along with him really well. I have a good energy with him. I have a good chemistry with him.” When pressed about whether he would resume his zero-tolerance policy at the U.S. Southern border,
Trump falsely claimed Obama did the same thing and, when pressed, said “Lesley, it’s OK. In the meantime, I’m President, and you’re not.”
Trump also said, “I don’t trust everybody in the White House.” Trump said of political people, “This is the most deceptive, vicious world. It is vicious, it’s full of lies, deceit and deception.” When asked about
Defense Secretary Jim Mattis, Trump said “I think he’s sort of a Democrat,” adding “We get along very well. He may leave. I mean, at some point, everybody leaves.”
On climate change, Trump said “I think something’s happening. Something’s changing, and it’ll change back again. I don’t think it’s a hoax, I think there’s probably a difference. But I don’t know that it’s man-made.” When asked if he treated Dr. Christine Blasey Ford with respect, Trump said “I think so, yeah. I did,” adding, “You know what? I’m not going to get into it, because we won.
It doesn’t matter. We won.”
Deadline Hollywood reported that Trump’s ratings for his “60 Minutes” interview took a nosedive, with 43% fewer viewers watching compared to his previous appearance in November 2016. On Sunday, while being asked about current Georgia Secretary of State and Republican gubernatorial candidate Brian Kemp and voter suppression,
Georgia Sen. David Perdue grabbed a phone away from a student member of the Young Democratic Socialists of America who was videoing the exchange. On Monday, in Georgia,
senior citizens on a bus from their senior center to cast their votes were ordered off the bus over “concerns” about the “political activity,” which “isn’t allowed during county-sponsored events.” On Tuesday,
WAPO reported hundreds of absentee ballots in suburban Atlanta have been rejected. Advocates say the move disproportionately impacts Black, Latino and Asian American voters. On Friday, an
APM Reports analysis found Georgia has purged an estimated 107,000 people from the voter rolls, largely because they did not vote in a prior election, known as the “use it or lose it” policy. On Friday, a separate analysis done by Palast Investigative Fund found GOP candidate
Kemp has improperly purged 340,134 Georgia voters from the rolls on the grounds they had moved, but they had not. On Monday,
Tennessee Black Voter Project filed an open suit in Shelby County to inspect thousands of voter registration forms officials say are deficient. The group called it an “alarmingly high invalidation rate.” On Thursday,
Wichita Eagle reported Dodge City, where Hispanics make up 60% of the population, moved its only polling place for midterms to outside the city limits to a facility more than a mile from the nearest bus stop. Leaders of the four largest tribes in North Dakota called a
new court order “suppressive” and accused the state of attempting to disenfranchise Native American voters, saying they will fight to protect their right to vote. On Thursday, the
Kansas City Star reported a conservative activist with Project Veritas who posed as an intern for Sen. Claire McCaskill had access to voter information and published a video from inside the campaign. McCaskill’s office called on Attorney General Josh Hawley, her 2018 senatorial opponent,
to appoint a special prosecutor to investigate if the group violated state laws by recording and publishing the video. On Friday, the
Kansas City Star reported the executive director of the Missouri Republican Party acknowledged the party sent mailers to 10,000 voters with false information about when their absentee ballots are due. On Monday,
NBC News reported a Department of Homeland Security assessment issued last week found a “growing volume of cyber activitytargeting election infrastructure in 2018.” All attempts have been blocked. The assessment found “
numerous actors are regularly targeting election infrastructure, likely for different purposes, including to cause disruptive effects, steal sensitive data and undermine confidence in the election.” The department’s Cyber Mission Center does not know who is behind the attacks. Countering Trump, DHS Secretary Kirstjen
Nielsen told the Senate she has not seen “any Chinese attempts to compromise election infrastructure.” On Monday,
a federal judge in Los Angeles dismissed a lawsuit from adult-film actress Stormy Daniels that claimed Trump defamed her. The judge also ruled that Trump is entitled to legal fees. On Tuesday, Trump had to nothing on his daily schedule. He sent a total of 22 tweets during the day,
including a tirade of 12 tweets in the morning.
Trump attacked Sen. Elizabeth Warren, who revealed a DNA test showed she had Native American ancestry, calling her “Pocahontas (the bad version),” and “a complete and total Fraud,” adding the Cherokee Nation “don’t want her. Phony!” Trump also tweeted, “
I have no financial interests in Saudi Arabia (or Russia, for that matter),” adding, “Any suggestion that I have is just more FAKE NEWS (of which there is plenty)!” Trump also complained about the conflict in “Glen Simpson’s testimony to another House Panel” about contact with Bruce Ohr “to get (FAKE) Dossier to FBI,”
asking “Where is Jeff Sessions?” Trump also attacked Stormy Daniels over the lawsuit,
referring to her as “horseface” and saying “she knows nothing about me, a total con!”
Trump’s name-calling of women is part of a pattern of demeaning women since his campaign, including incendiary comments on women’s faces, bodily functions and weight. He has also compared women to animals. Trump closed out the day tweeting again about Sen. Warren, saying “Her false claim of Indian heritage is only selling to
VERY LOW I.Q. individuals!” On Tuesday, Chief Justice John Roberts said in a speech that despite “the contentious events” related to
Kavanaugh in recent weeks, “the Supreme Court does not serve one party or one interest, but we serve one nation.” On Thursday,
WSJ reported Justice Neil Gorsuch’s speech to a conference of Catholic legal scholars will be closed to the media. Speeches by his Supreme Court colleagues in recent weeks were made public. On Tuesday,
Trump gave a wide-ranging interview to . Trump said he will not accept blame if his party loses control of the House in midterms, saying “No, I think I’m helping people” and “I’m 48 and 1 in the primaries.” AP When asked how
he will handle investigations and impeachment by Democrats, Trump said “I think I’ll handle it very well…we have a witch hunt now going on, and I handle it very well, and there was no collusion.” Trump said Michael
Cohen’s claims that Trump directed him to commit a crime are “false,” adding Cohen is “a PR person who did small legal work, very small legal work. And what he did was very sad, when you look.” When asked about calling a woman horseface, Trump said, “You can take it any way you want,” adding “I had nothing to do with her.
So she can lie and she can do whatever she wants to do. She can hire a phony lawyer.” When asked
about climate change, Trump said, “I am truly an environmentalist,” adding “I have a natural instinct for science, and I will say that you have scientists on both sides of the picture.” When asked about
separating migrant families, Trump said, “I covered it so nicely on ’60 Minutes,’ but they only put on pieces of it…although I heard that they did very nicely on the show. Did they do well?” On Tuesday,
literary group PEN American sued Trump in federal court, alleging that “official acts” by Trump have “violated the First Amendment and his oath to uphold the Constitution.”
PEN America cites Trump’s meddling in the proposed merger of AT&T and Time Warner (parent of CNN), as well as his comments on WAPO owner and Amazon.com founder Jeff Bezos. Nearly 1,500
St. Lawrence University alumni and faculty called on the school to rescind an honorary degree awarded to Sen. Susan Collins citing “support of truth and for all of the victims of sexual assault and violence.” On Monday, Trump tweeted in response to the disappearance of journalist Jamal Khashoggi, “
Just spoke to the King of Saudi Arabia who denies any knowledge of whatever may have happened ‘to our Saudi Arabian citizen,’”adding “they are working closely with Turkey to find answer.” Moments later, Trump told reporters of his conversation with King Salman, “The king firmly denied any knowledge of it,” adding “
it sounded to me like maybe these could’ve been rogue killers.” Later Monday, seemingly following Trump’s lead,
Saudi Arabia changed its story, saying Khashoggi was mistakenly killed during an interrogation ordered by a Saudi intelligence official who is a friend of the crown prince.
Senators, both Republican and Democrat, urged swift action if Saudi Arabia is found responsible for killing Khashoggi. Senators said they will act if Trump did not take action. When asked about Khashoggi in his
AP interview, Trump said “I think we have to find out what happened first,” adding “ you’re guilty until proven innocent. I don’t like that,” comparing it to the Kavanaugh confirmation. On Wednesday, according to details in
an audio recording in the Turkish news, all within a few minutes, Saudis severed Khashoggi’s fingers during an interrogation and later beheaded and dismembered him. On Wednesday,
NYT reported that Saudi Arabia made a $100 million deposit to the U.S. on Tuesday, the same day Secretary of State Mike Pompeo arrived in Riyadh, to stabilize liberated areas in Syria. Trump also defended the alleged Saudi arms deal, which he said on Wednesday would create “
450,000 jobs.” Over the past weekend, Trump had claimed the deal would create 50,000 jobs. On Thursday, Senate Foreign Relations Chairman Bob
Corker warned the Trump regime that its intelligence information “clampdown” on the alleged Khashoggi killer “can’t go on.” On Thursday,
WAPO reported hardline Republicans and conservative commentators are planning a whisper campaign to smear Khashoggi and protect Trump from criticism of his handling of the alleged murder. The group has been exchanging articles from right-wing outlets that have already been published. One means used to
discredit Khashoggi is his association with the Muslim Brotherhood in his youth. On Thursday,
, “Khashoggi was tied to the Muslim Brotherhood.” Faulkner’s comments were echoed on the campaign trail by Virginia Republican Corey Stewart. Fox News anchor Harris Faulkner asserted
Another area is questioning his work decades ago as an embedded reporter covering Osama bin Laden. Donald Trump Jr. amplified a tweet that Khashoggi was “tooling around Afghanistan with Osama bin Laden.” On Thursday,
NBC News reported Twitter suspended a network of hundreds of Twitter bots that pushed pro-Saudi talking points in tweets and retweets at the same time about the disappearance of Khashoggi. On Friday,
the Saudi government announced in a tweet by the Saudi Foreign Ministry that Khashoggi was killed inside the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul, claiming he died during a fistfight. The Saudi government said it has
fired five top officials and arrested 18 other Saudis. This is the first acknowledgment by the Saudis that Khashoggi, who went missing on October 2, was killed inside the consulate. On Friday, Trump
broke from U.S. intelligence agencies, saying the Saudi’s explanation of Khashoggi’s death is credible, and calling the statement a “good first step” and a “big step.”
Trump also said there was no need to cancel defense contracts, saying “we don’t use as retribution, canceling $110 billion worth of work, which means 600,000 jobs. I know it sounds easy and it sounds good.”
World leaders denounced the Saudi account of Khashoggi’s killing. France, Germany, the United Kingdom and the Netherlands suspended political visits to Saudi Arabia until more information is known about his death. On Monday, Sears announced it was closing 142 stores and
filing for bankruptcy. Trump told reporters, “Sears has been dying for many years. It’s been obviously improperly run for many years. It is a shame.” The federal deficit
ballooned to $779 billion in the fiscal year ended September 30, a 17% increase due to the Republican tax cut. Corporate tax collections fell by 31%. The deficit is expected to top $1 trillion in the coming year.
Majority Leader Mitch McConnell blamed federal spending and called for cuts to programs like Medicare, Social Security and Medicaid. As of Thursday, more than
1,100 people in Florida were still missing and the death toll had reached 34 from Hurricane Michael. Trump made a brief visit to storm-ravaged areas but otherwise largely ignored the hurricane’s impact and failed to acknowledge climate change’s role in increasingly severe weather.
WAPO reported on anti-Trump fervor that has sparked a new movement of mostly college-educated women mobilized to turn the 2018 election. One organizer said, “ we are fighting for the mortal soul of our country.” One survey of
resistance groups showed 90% were women, 90% were white and 83% had either bachelors or graduate degrees. The median age was 55. Democratic campaign contributions measured by ActBlue show
4.5 million contributors so far in the 2018 cycle, with about 61% coming from women, compared with 1.5 million in 2014 with 52 % from women. Republican Women for Progress PAC, run by Republican women in Michigan,
announced they will be backing Democrats in two key House races, citing Trump’s rhetoric and the Kavanaugh confirmation hearing. In what
campaign-finance experts say may be a first, outdoor clothing company Patagonia endorsed two Democratic candidates for Senate, Jon Tester in Montana and Jacky Rosen in Nevada, two close races.
A spokesperson for the company said, “Public lands are center stage there, in Montana and Nevada,” adding “we felt by motivating our community to vote, we could help protect the public lands and waters in those places.” On Tuesday,
Vanity Fair reported that despite having no formal cooperation agreement with the government, Michael Cohen has spent more than 50 hours providing information about ongoing investigations. On Wednesday,
Bloomberg reported Special Counsel Robert Mueller is expected to issue his findings shortly after midterms. DOJ guidelines say to avoid disclosure close to an election that could be seen as influencing the outcome. Reportedly
Mueller is close to rendering judgement on whether there was collusion between Russia and Trump’s 2016 campaign and whether Trump took any actions that constitute obstruction of justice.
The timeline raises concerns about the probe itself: Trump has said multiple times he will fire attorney general Jeff Sessions after midterms, and deputy attorney general Rod Rosenstein may resign or be fired too. On Wednesday, in a rare interview with the
WSJ, Rosenstein forcefully defended the special counsel investigation into Russian interference, calling it “appropriate and independent.” Rosenstein also said “
the public will have confidence that the cases we brought were warranted by the evidence, and that it was an appropriate use of resources,” and that the investigation was “appropriately managed.” On Thursday,
House Freedom Caucus Chairman Mark Meadows called on Rosenstein to resign “immediately,” citing Rosenstein’s “unwillingness to come before Congress” and that he has not been “open and honest.” On Wednesday,
White House counsel Don McGahn resigned, effective immediately. No explanation was given for the timing just weeks before midterms. Emmet Flood will
temporarily take over McGahn’s role as White House counsel while Trump’s new appointee, Washington lawyer Pat Cipollone, waits for his background check to clear. On Thursday, the
Guardian reported Aras Agalarov, who helped orchestrate the June 9 Trump Tower meeting, set up a new U.S. shell company in May 2016. The Russian accountant who helped set up the account has clients accused of
money laundering and embezzlement. According to interviews and filings, Agalarov was preparing to move $20 million during the election. On Wednesday,
CNN reported that Paul Manafort and his lawyers have visited Mueller’s office at least nine times in the last four weeks, an indication that the special counsel is moving at a fast clip. Mueller’s team is continuing to interview witnesses. Special counsel prosecutors have gathered a
grand jury to meet in Washington on most Fridays and have visited the federal courthouse in Washington almost daily. On Friday,
NBC News reported Manafort was rolled into a Virginia federal court in a wheelchair, wearing a green prison uniform, his hair visibly grayer. He was also missing one shoe. According to Manafort’s attorney
Kevin Downing, there are significant issues with Manafort’s health. Downing asked for the court to expedite Manafort’s sentencing so he could be moved to a different facility. Judge T.S. Ellis decided
Manafort will be sentenced on February 8 for financial crimes after a jury found him guilty in August. With another trial on separate charges still looming in Washington, the judge
granted a request from Mueller’s team for more time to decide whether to retry Manafort or dismiss the remaining charges in Virginia. On Friday, the
Justice Department announced it had charged Russian Elena Khusyaynova with conspiring to interfere with the 2018 U.S. election, the first charges for interfering in the upcoming midterms. Khusyaynova managed the finances of “
Project Lakhta,” an operation designed “to sow discord in the U.S. political system” by pushing incendiary positions on political controversies on social media platforms. Prosecutors said the project attempted to
sow conflict along racial lines and at times advocated positions that directly opposed each other, with the objective of turning Americans against one another. Lakhta is the name of a neighborhood in St. Petersburg near the location of the troll farm Internet Research Agency.
Project Lakhta’s operating budget from 2016–2018 exceeded $35 million, although not all its activities targeted the U.S. Funding was provided by
Russian oligarch Yevgeniy Prigozhin, an associate of Putin who is known as “Putin’s chef,” and two companies he controls: Concord Management and Consulting, and Concord Catering. The complaint was
filed under seal in late September and kept secret for three weeks. It was unveiled due to National Security Advisor John Bolton’s pending trip to Russia and to raise public awareness about Russian political influence campaigns. On Friday, the office of the
Director of National Intelligence said in a statement, “We are concerned about ongoing campaigns by Russia, China and other foreign actors, including Iran.” The office said the goal is to undermine “confidence in democratic institutions and influence public sentiment,” and
to “influence voter perceptions and decision making in the 2018 and 2020 U.S. elections.” When asked by reporters about charges against the Russian national,
Trump said it “had nothing to do with my campaign,” adding they “probably like Hillary Clinton better than me.” He also said that there was “
no collusion whatsoever,” and shifted the blame to Obama, who he said “didn’t lift a finger” to stop Russia from interfering in the 2016 election. On Friday,
WSJ reported Jerome Corsi, Roger Stone and associates of the late Peter W. Smith are all being investigated by Mueller’s team for their alleged contacts with WikiLeaks. Mueller’s team has Stone’s telephone records and evidence
Smith had advance knowledge of the details surrounding WikiLeaks’ release of emails from a top Hillary Clinton campaign official.
A caravan of 4,000 Honduran migrants headed north by walking, taking buses and hitching rides in cars and trucks to flee gangs and seek work and more stability for their families in Mexico or the U.S. On Monday, roughly 2,000 migrants had pushed past police into Guatemala. On
Tuesday, Trump tweeted threats to cut U.S. aid to Honduras, Guatemala, El Salvador and Mexico if the caravan did not stop. On Tuesday,
Trump also tweeted, “Anybody entering the United States illegally will be arrested and detained, prior to being sent back to their country!” On Thursday,
Trump threatened to send the military to the border, tweeting he is asking “Mexico to stop this onslaught and if unable to do so I will call up the U.S. Military and CLOSE OUR SOUTHERN BORDER!” Trump also claimed, without evidence, that
Democrats are backing the caravan to bolster what he said was the party’s preference for “open borders and existing weak laws.”
Bloomberg reported chief of staff John Kelly and John Bolton engaged in a profanity-laced shouting match outside the Oval Office on Thursday afternoon. The topic was immigration and the surge in border crossings, with
Bolton criticizing the performance of the Homeland Security Department under Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen and Kelly defending her.
CNN reported Trump was present for the beginning of the shouting match, but he later denied knowledge of it. The sharp disagreement sparked fears of further resignations from the regime. Reportedly the caravan issue has been the subject of several White House meetings in recent days —
not only how to stop it, but also how to use the issue for midterms. On Friday, when asked by a
NYT reporter what evidence he had that migrants trying to enter our country at the border are “hardened criminals,” Trump responded, “Oh please, please, don’t be a baby.” On Thursday and Friday,
Trump tweeted using the hashtag #JobsNotMobs. Trump also repeatedly used the words at his rallies. On Thursday,
protestors spelled the word “LIAR” in red, white and blue on the side of Mount Jumbo in Missoula, Montana, which was reportedly visible from where Trump held a rally that evening. Trump delivered a rambling 45-minutes long speech in Montana, veering from topic to topic. The rally was not carried live by cable TV networks. Before Trump spoke,
the crowd warmed up by chanting “Lock her up.” Trump again celebrated his 2016 victory and, in discussing his accomplishments since, said the
allegations against Kavanaugh were a Democratic “con job.” Trump called Democrats
the party of “open borders” and of “crime,” and also said “radical, far-left Democrats” have “ truly turned into an angry mob bent on destroying anything and anyone in their path.” Repeating his mantra using the words mobs and jobs, Trump also said, “
Democrats produce mobs, Republicans produce jobs.” Trump also acknowledged that
Ronny Jackson “might not have been qualified” to head up Veterans Affairs, after claiming “Jon Tester led the Democrat mob in the effort to destroy the reputation of a great man.” Trump praised Rep. Greg Gianforte, who pleaded guilty to assaulting a
Guardian reporter in June 2017, saying “Any guy who can do a body slam, he’s my candidate, he’s my guy.” After the rally, the
Guardian US editor issued a statement condemning Trump’s attack, saying “We hope decent people will denounce these remarks and that the president will see fit to apologize for them.” On Friday,
the British government joined press freedom advocates and journalists in speaking out about Trump’s remarks, saying “Any violence or intimidation against a journalist is completely unacceptable.”
The editor-in-chief of the , “The world’s press would welcome a clear statement from the U.S. government that it remains committed to the rights of journalists everywhere to do their work without fear of violence or repression.” Guardian wrote On Friday,
Trump doubled-down on his praise for Gianforte at a signing ceremony, saying “Greg is a tremendous guy, tough cookie.” On Thursday, outgoing U.S. ambassador to the U.N.
Nikki Haley broke with Trump at an event in New York, saying “in America, our political opponents are not evil.” Trump has frequently labeled Democrats “evil.” On Friday,
Trump attacked Democrats as an “angry mob” on Twitter, using edited clips of Hillary Clinton and Eric Holder in which they are cut off in mid-sentence.
NYT reported on discontent within the DOJ under Jeff Sessions as the department has shifted from the civil rights-centered agenda of Obama to hardline conservative views on immigration, civil rights and social issues. In his effort to transform the department, Sessions has ignored dissent, leading to
infighting, several high-level departures and morale described as the lowest in memory. Many high-level positions remain unfilled.
Trump has also stoked unease at the department. He assailed the prosecutor who won a conviction in the Manafort case and attacked the plea agreement struck with Michael Cohen.
New Yorker reported on Sinclair Broadcasting’s growing influence as the largest owner of television stations, especially at the local level where newspapers have closed. According to Pew Research,
50% of Americans get their news from television, and 66% trust their local news station. Sinclair owns more stations in swing states than any other company.
Sinclair has exploited loopholes in regulations meant to protect competition by buying small and mid-sized television stations and setting up shell companies that on paper appear to be separate entities. Reporters working for local stations purchased by Sinclair told the
New Yorker they were forced to cover only certain stories, often citing inaccurate information or faulty premises. Many chose to quit. On Friday, Trump randomly tweeted, “When referring to the USA, I will always
capitalize the word Country!” There is no evidence that Trump capitalizes the word country. On Friday, Trump held another campaign rally in Arizona. Trump continued his attacks on
Democrats, whom he called an “unhinged mob,” and said, “vote for the jobs, not for the mobs.” Trump also spoke repeatedly about immigrants, resurrecting the phrase “bad hombres” to describe those entering the U.S. illegally. Trump said
hospitals and schools are being “overrun” with immigrants. As of Saturday, more than
4.3 million Americans had already cast their ballots in midterm elections, a huge increase from the last midterm. In Georgia more than 300,000 residents have voted early, about 30% of whom are black.
Week 100 of something that’s becoming so hard to believe: Experts in authoritarianism advise to keep a list of things subtly changing around you, so you’ll remember.
October 13, 2018
This week as Republicans celebrated the confirmation of Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh, polling told a different story: , are concerned about Kavanaugh politicizing the court and believe there should be further Congressional investigation. Under Mitch McConnell’s Senate leadership, a record number of Trump judicial nominees have been pushed through, including restacking 15 percent of circuit court judges. more Americans disapprove of the confirmation
In the final weeks before midterms, Democrats poured record donations to House candidates, and Beto O’Rourke, the Senate candidate from Texas, pulled in a record-smashing haul of $38.1 million for the last quarter. These tactics serve as an acknowledgment that traditional issues like tax cuts and the economy no longer excite the Republican base. Republicans sought to counter Democrats’ enthusiasm by riling their base by vilifying the left as paid protestors or a “mob” that threatens violence against the right.
The Trump tried to side-step U.S. involvement, while sharpening his attacks on his Democratic rivals as scary, bad, evil, radical, and dangerous — and billing himself as the only one who can save his base from disaster. disappearance and likely death of WAPO contributor Jamal Khashoggi, allegedly at the hands of the Saudi crown prince, along with the vicious murder of popular Bulgarian journalist Victoria Marinova — both government critics — drew international attention to the threat to human rights and the free press.
After U.S. ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley became the latest on the growing list of senior official departures, Trump flirted with the idea of elevating Ivanka Trump to the position, repeatedly. For the first time since taking office, Trump’s campaign rallies no longer garnered live broadcast on Fox News, indicating a falloff in ratings.
Depiction of Brett Kavanaugh on a sticker in New York City. October 2018. Photo: Dusty Rebel
“Against Nazis” in Frankfurt, Germany. 4Oct18.
“Refugees Welcome!” in Dresden, Germany. October2018.
“Fuck Off, Bad People!” Dresden, Germany. October2018.
Edward Snowden in Asylum. Weimar, Germany. October2018.
On Saturday evening, as Justice Brett Kavanaugh was being sworn in,
protestors rallied and some pounded the doors of the Supreme Court. U.S. Capitol Police said 164 people were arrested during the protests.
Simultaneous protests took place in other U.S. cities including Denver, Atlanta, Cleveland and New York City. In Austin, Texas, protestors were arrested after blocking a bridge to demonstrate. On Saturday, Trump tweeted, “Women for Kavanaugh, and many others who support this very good man, are gathering all over Capitol Hill” adding “
they are not paid professional protesters” with “expensive signs.” On Saturday night, at a rally in Kansas, Trump praised Kavanaugh and accused
Democrats of trying to “plunge our country into gridlock and chaos,” adding that Democrats are the party of “crime.” Trump attacked
Sen. Elizabeth Warren, calling her “Pocahontas” and saying “I have more Indian blood than her and I have none,” and falsely attributed a statement about Vietnam to Sen. Richard Blumenthal. On the way to the event, Trump told reporters
he was certain Dr. Christine Blasey Ford had misidentified Kavanaugh as the perpetrator, saying “I’m a hundred percent. I have no doubt.” Robert Post, the
former dean of Yale Law School, wrote Kavanaugh’s “very presence will undermine the court’s claim to legitimacy; it will damage the nation’s commitment to the rule of law. It will be an American tragedy.” The Southern Poverty Law Center reported
neo-Nazis and racists are rejoicing over the Kavanaugh appointment as “open season” on women, as well as on LGBTQ and minority rights. David Duke made an
anti-Semitic statement. Neo-Nazi website , including one tossed over a man’s shoulder, and an exploding Planned Parenthood clinic. Daily Stormer featured a photo of bound and gagged women On Sunday, Sen. Lindsey Graham said on “Fox News Sunday” that
Trump’s “third term thing is looking better and better.” On Sunday,
Taylor Swift, in an Instagram post, broke her public political silence, encouraging her followers to vote in the midterms and slamming GOP Rep. Marsha Blackburn, who is running for the Senate in Tennessee.
Swift wrote in her post, “I believe in the fight for LGBTQ rights, and that any form of discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender is WRONG. I believe that the systemic racism we still see in this country towards people of color is terrifying, sickening and prevalent.” On Monday, when
asked about Swift’s statement, Trump told reporters, “I’m sure Taylor Swift…doesn’t know anything about her (Blackburn),” adding, “Let’s say that I like Taylor’s music about 25% less now.”
BuzzFeed reported Swift’s Instagram post caused a massive spike in voter registrations. Vote.org added 65,000 registrations in the 24-hour period after Swift’s post, compared to 56,669 registrations during the entire month of August.
Metro Weekly reported a transgender student at a middle school in Virginia was left outside during a mass shooter drill after school administrators could not decide if she should shelter with boys or girls.
Police in Hamilton, Texas, removed a yard sign showing a GOP elephant with its trunk up the skirt of a woman yelling “HELP!” that was painted by Marion Stanford during Kavanaugh’s Senate testimony. The sign, which also read “YOUR VOTE MATTERS,” was placed right below a sign supporting Democratic candidate Beto O’Rourke.
The policeman said there were complaints about the sign and that “it is pornography.” On Tuesday,
HuffPost reported Environmental Protection Agency chief Andrew Wheeler engaged with racist and inflammatory content on his personal Facebook and Twitter accounts over the past five years, including in the past month. In August 2016,
Wheeler defended Milo Yiannopoulos, who was banned from Twitter for encouraging his fans to harass “Saturday Night Live” star Leslie Jones, who is a Black American. On Thursday, Wheeler told a reporter at
E&E News that he does not remember liking a 2013 racist post that showed Barack and Michelle Obama looking at a banana, claiming he did it by mistake scrolling by. In an email obtained by
BuzzFeed under a Freedom of Information Act request, then- Secretary of Homeland Security John Kelly called Sen. Elizabeth Warren an “impolite arrogant woman” in an email to an aide. Michael Kalny, a Republican official in Kansas, resigned after saying on social media that “
radical socialist kick-boxing lesbian” Native American Sharice Davids will be “sent back packing to the reservation.”
Teresa Klein, a white woman in Brooklyn, New York, called the police, falsely claiming a 9-year-old black boy touched her behind a deli. The boy and another child burst into tears after Klein confronted them. The commotion was captured on video and posted on Facebook, where Klein was labeled “Cornerstore Caroline.”
Klein later apologized on local television, but she continued to deny her actions were racially motivated. The Supreme Court refused to intervene with
North Dakota’s new voter ID law after Native Americans residents challenged the requirement to show a street address in order to vote. Sen. Heidi Heitkamp faces a close race. In Georgia, Secretary of State Brian Kemp, who is the Republican running for governor, announced 53,000 voter registrations were flagged and would be put on hold. Of those on hold,
70 percent are Black Americans. On Thursday, Georgia NAACP and Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights
sued Kemp, seeking to reopen voter registration in Georgia to ensure the 53,000 registrants and others can vote in the midterms. On Friday,
Kemp’s Democratic opponent Stacey Abrams called on him to resign. Kemp blamed the situation on “outside agitators.” Georgia has purged a total of 1.5 million voters between the 2012 and 2016 elections.
Houston Chronicle reported Jacob Aronowitz, a field director for Democratic congressional candidate Mike Siegel, was arrested after delivering a letter demanding the county update the status of students.
Aronowitz was arrested for taking a photo of a clerk receiving the letter to confirm it had been received. The clerk objected to having her picture taken and complained to a nearby bailiff, who called the police.
WAPO reported Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross and his aides are fighting to not answer the question in court of which official pushed Ross to add a citizenship question to the 2020 census. On Monday,
NYT reported on hearings in a New York immigration court, where Judge Randa Zagzoug had nearly 30 children to hear from, whose ages ranged from 2 through 17 years old in one afternoon. With the five-fold increase from May 2017 of children being held in federally contracted shelters,
more and more children are coming to court, including children under the age of 6, which was a rarity until last year. On Tuesday,
AP reported even though Trump’s “zero-tolerance” policy ended, hundreds of children remain in detention, shelters or foster care, and more than 200 are not eligible for reunification or release. An investigation of court documents, immigration records and interviews found holes in the system that
allow state court judges to grant custody of migrant children to American families without notifying their parents.
New Yorker reported that in July, after crossing the border and being separated from her mother, a 5-year-old girl seeking asylum from Honduras was detained and persuaded to sign away her rights. On Thursday,
Intercept reported, according to a new report published by Amnesty International, the number of families separated under “zero-tolerance” at the border may be thousands more than originally reported. Customs and Border Protection detail the separation of
6,022 “family units” — a term that sometimes refers to a family group. Amnesty estimates 4,000 children were separated, not 2,500 as reported by the regime. A representative from Amnesty International said the only way to get at the
real number would be a congressional inquiry. On Thursday, CNN reported
ICE put a 4-year-old girl on a plane to Guatemala to be reunited with her father. Her father was not informeduntil 30 minutes before her flight landed. He lives eight hours away. On Friday,
WAPO reported the Trump regime is actively considering plans that could again separate migrant parents and children at the Southern border, seeking to deter the flow of families trying to cross illegally. The number of migrant family members charged with illegally crossing the border
jumped 38 percent in August to a record level. Trump has been unable to fulfill his promise to build a wall or end the practice of “catch and release.” One option being considered is the called
“binary choice” — detain families together for 20 days then give them the option of seeking asylum or allow the children to be taken into government custody.
Other option being considered includes new rules to withdraw from a 1997 federal court agreement that limits ICE custody of children to 20 days and imposes production quotas on immigration judges. Flavio Musmanno was contacted by a supposed good Samaritan after losing his wallet working a construction job in Ohio.
When he met up, the Samaritan turned out to be an ICE agent who arrested him. He is set to be deported. On Monday,
Trump advocated reinstating a practice called stop-and-frisk to curb crime in Chicago, saying the agreement between the American Civil Liberties Union and the police department to end stop-and-frisk abuses was “terrible.” On Friday, attorney general Jeff Sessions announced
the Justice Department would be sending more violent crime prosecutors to Chicago.
Popular Bulgarian journalist Victoria Marinova was found dead this week. She had been raped and beaten to death so forcefully she was unrecognizable. Marinova is the fourth journalist killed in the EU since 2017. In Russia, just
58% of citizens said Putin could be trusted, down from 75% last year, and the lowest since level since 2012. Putin’s ratings skyrocketed after troops seized Russian-speaking Crimea from Ukraine in 2014. Turkish investigators said they were
probing the disappearance of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi, who was last seen publicly entering the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul. Khashoggi contributed to WAPO’s Global section. On Wednesday,
WAPO reported crown prince Mohammed bin Salman ordered an operation to lure Khashoggi, a critic of the Saudi government, to Saudi Arabia from Virginia to detain him. Khashoggi refused to go. Khashoggi was later
assassinated in the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul. Jared Kushner, who has a close relationship with Mohammed bin Salman, and national security adviser John Bolton spoke to the crown prince, but Saudis provided little information. On Thursday, when asked
about Khashoggi by reporters, Trump said, “this took place in Turkey and to the best of our knowledge, Khashoggi is not a United States citizen, is that right? He’s a permanent resident.” Trump claimed that Saudi Arabia is “spending $110 billion on military equipment.
” WAPO fact checker gave Trump’s claim “Four Pinocchios,” saying the $110 billion figure is not real and is unlikely to come to fruition.
Trump has long and deep business ties to Saudi Arabia, which he bragged about on the campaign trail in 2015, while creating new foreign entities in the kingdom. The Saudis have purchased his yacht and apartments at his properties. On Saturday, Trump vowed “severe punishment” if Saudi Arabia murdered Khashoggi, adding “Well, nobody knows yet, but we’ll probably be able to find out,” in an interview for “60 Minutes” set to air Sunday night.
Atypical for a U.S. leader, Trump’s first foreign visit after taking office was to Saudi Arabia.
The kingdom continues to funnel money to Trump businesses after Trump took office, including the Trump Hotel DC. On Sunday,
WSJ reported GOP operative Peter W. Smith raised at least $100,000 to search for Hillary Clinton’s 33,000 deleted emails. Smith mysteriously died 10 days after first speaking to the Journal in Week 35.
Smith went to great lengths to remain secretive: donations were sent to a Washington, D.C.-based scholarship fund for Russian students, and he communicated using a Gmail account under the name “Robert Tyler.” Smith’s activities remain of interest to the House and Senate Intelligence committees, as well as the Mueller probe.
Associates of Smith have been interviewed by investigators or summoned before a grand jury. On Tuesday,
WSJ reported Smith met with Michael Flynn as early as 2015, before Flynn joined the Trump campaign. Smith told associates during the campaign he was using Flynn’s connections to help with the email project.
NYT reported Rick Gates, as deputy chair of the Trump campaign, requested proposals in 2016 from Israeli company Psy-Group for fake online identities, social media manipulation and gathering intelligence.
One proposal was to use bogus personas to target and sway delegates to the 2016 Republican National Convention by attacking Ted Cruz. Another was for opposition research about Hillary Clinton and people close to her. The third proposal was for a
months-long plan to help Trump by using social media to expose or amplify division among rival campaigns and factions. Joel Zamel of
Psy-Group pitched the company’s services during a meeting on August 3, 2016, at Trump Tower with Donald Trump Jr., which was also attended by George Nader and Erik Prince. Nader, who is cooperating in the Mueller, probe, and Zamel have given differing accounts of whether Psy-Group carried out social media efforts to help the Trump campaign.
Nader paid him $2 million after the election. Mueller’s team has
obtained copies of the proposals and questioned Psy-Group employees as part of its probe of Russia’s efforts to disrupt the 2016 election. Gates is now cooperating in the Mueller probe. The offices of
Kremlin-linked Internet Research Agency, a troll farm, was set ablaze. Earlier this year, more than a dozen employees of the operation were indicted in the Mueller probe for interfering in the 2016 election.
New Yorker reported on ties between the Trump Organization’s server and Alfa Bank during the 2016 election, possibly a means of communication. NYT would not allow a reporter covering the story to go public. The reporter, Eric Lichtblau, uncovered in September 2016 that the FBI
had opened a counterintelligence investigation into Russian contacts with Trump’s aides. The NYT ran a story October 31 saying there was no link. On Wednesday,
Richard Pinedo was sentenced to six months in prison and six months’ home confinement in the Mueller probe. Pinedo is the third American to be sentenced to prison. Pinedo, who pleaded guilty to identity theft,
cooperated in the Mueller probe. His testimony contributed to the indictment of 13 Russian individuals and three companies in Week 66. On Thursday, Judge T.S. Ellis II
questioned Manafort’s plea deal with Mueller, calling it “highly unusual” to seek the dismissal of deadlocked charges only after Manafort has finished cooperating in the probe. The move has the
potential to take away an incentive for Manafort to cooperate and could lead to details of Mueller’s investigative interests being made public. The parties will appear again in court on October 19. On Thursday,
NBC News reported Trump’s attorneys are preparing written answers to questions from Mueller’s team. The questions focus on whether the Trump campaign colluded with Russia during the 2016 election. Trump has continued to deny any collusion with Russia took place. There is still
no agreement for an in-person interview between Mueller’s team and Trump. On Monday, a petition by progressive groups calling
for the impeachment of Kavanaugh gathered more than 125,000 signatures. On Monday,
Trump told reporters the sexual assault allegations by Dr. Christine Blasey Ford against Kavanaugh are a “hoax” generated by the Democrats, adding “It was all made up — it was fabricated, and it’s a disgrace.” On Monday, an attorney for
Ford told MSNBC that Ford cannot return home for “quite some time,” saying, “the threats have been unending. It’s deplorable. It’s been very frightening.” On Monday, at Kavanaugh’s swearing-in ceremony in the East Room of the White House,
Trump falsely claimed allegations against Kavanaugh for sexual assault, “under historic scrutiny, were proven innocent.” In a break from precedent,
Trump apologized to Kavanaugh: “On behalf of our nation…for the terrible pain and suffering you have been forced to endure” and decried the “campaign of personal destruction.” There is precedent for a ceremony in the White House: all sitting Supreme Court justices did have one except Elena Kagan and Sonia Sotomayor, although the
others were done privately and without reporters attending. Kavanaugh thanked Vice President Mike Pence, several GOP senators and Sen. Joe Machin, and White House Counsel Don McGahn. Historian Michael Beschloss expressed
concern Kavanaugh is going to be “very indebted” to Trump. On Monday,
WAPO reported, in an effort to mobilize GOP voters, Republicans have cast the Trump resistance movement as “an angry mob” they say threatens the country’s order. Rep. David Brat said he is running against the “liberal mob,” and Senate candidate Corey Stewart decried “mob tactics,” characterizations
meant to evoke fear of an unknown and out-of-control mass of people. That the GOP is fanning a culture war is also a tacit admission that
many of the issues that Republicans had hoped to run on, including tax cuts and the economy, have not been enough to spark GOP voters’ enthusiasm. On Monday, in an op-ed in the Murdoch-owned
WSJ titled “ George Soros’s March of Washington,” Asra Nomani made sweeping and unsubstantiated claims that the Kavanaugh protestors were funded by Soros. On Tuesday, in an interview with a Kentucky radio station,
Sen. Rand Paul said he was concerned that there “is going to be an assassination” as a result of the political climate. On Tuesday, Trump claimed in a tweet that the “
paid D.C. protesters” who he falsely claimed were hired to protest the Kavanaugh confirmation, are now “REALLY protest[ing] because they haven’t gotten their checks.” Fix the Court, a nonpartisan group advocating for accountability and transparency on the Supreme Court,
purchased the domain BrettKavanaugh.com and directed it to resources for sexual assault survivors. On Monday, a new CNN poll found
negative views of Kavanaugh on the rise: 51% oppose his confirmation, up from 39% in early September. Support inched up from 38% in early September to 41% now. On Monday,
Alaska’s GOP Party chairman said his committee could decide to issue a statement or withdraw support for Sen. Lisa Murkowski in next election because she opposed Kavanaugh’s confirmation. Eric Barber, a West Virginia city councilman
who is pro-Kavanaugh, wrote: “Better get you’re ,” in a now-deleted Facebook comment to a private group. (sic) coathangers ready liberals On Tuesday, a CNN poll found
a record gender gap in party support, with women voters backing Democrats for Congress 63–33, while men backed the GOP 50–45. Overall, likely voters favor Democrats 54–41. On Wednesday, Trump’s White House announced the eighteenth wave of federal court nominees:
thirteen men, zero women. All were successfully pushed through the Senate. Under Sen. Mitch McConnell, a record number of judges have been confirmed,
including 29 to the circuit courts, 53 to district courts and two to the Supreme Court. Trump’s nominees now
fill a whopping 15 percent of the circuit court seats. During Obama’s second term, McConnell allowed floor votes on only 22 of his judicial nominees. On Wednesday, in a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing,
FBI director Christopher Wray defended the “limited” scope of Kavanaugh background probe, saying it was “consistent with the standard process.” When asked by Sen. Kamala Harris if
Kavanaugh misled Congress in his Senate testimony, Wray said “That’s not something I could discuss here.” When asked why neither Kavanaugh nor Ford was interviewed,
Wray said “the investigation was very specific in scope, limited in scope” adding “the usual process was followed.” On Wednesday,
Chief Justice John Roberts referred 15 judicial misconduct complaints filed against Kavanaugh, related to statements he made during his Senate hearings, to a federal appeals court in Colorado. The complaints relate to whether
Kavanaugh was dishonest and lacked judicial temperament during his testimony. The Colorado appeals court is led by Chief Judge Tymkovich, who was nominated George W. Bush. Per Week 99, it is unprecedented for a new justice to face complaints.
Merrick Garland, the chief judge in the D.C. circuit, recused himself. It is unclear if Colorado will close the case since Kavanaugh has been elevated. On Monday, Fox announced
Hope Hicks, the former White House communications director, will become the chief communications officer of Fox, the new entity to be spun out of Murdoch assets sold to Walt Disney. Unlike most who have departed from the regime,
Hicks remains close with Trump, including traveling with him on Air Force One in August, and is held in high esteem by many in the West Wing. On Monday, watchdog group
CREW called on the Inspector General to investigate whether U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley violated federal ethics regulations by accepting flights on private planes. On Tuesday, in a surprise to Trump regime officials,
Haley announced she was resigning at the end of the year, giving no clear reason for the timing four weeks before midterms. Haley frequently
disagreed with Trump on foreign policy and reportedly had a strained relationship with John Bolton. In December, Haley said that women who had accused Trump of sexual misconduct “should be heard.”
Reporters and pundits speculated on why Haley resigned: everything from a 2020 run, to having penned the anonymous NYT op-ed, to taking Sen. Lindsey Graham’s seat. Her resignation letter was dated October 3. Haley is the
sixth cabinet official to depart, leaving just four racial or ethnic minorities and five women out of Trump’s 23 cabinet members Names
floated to replace Haley included Dina Powell and Ivanka Trump. Trump later told reporters Ivanka would be “incredible” and “dynamite,” adding “But, you know, I’d then be accused of nepotism, if you can believe it.” On Friday,
Trump tweeted, “everyone wants Ivanka Trump to be the new United Nations Ambassador” but complained, “I can already hear the chants of Nepotism!” Ivanka tweeted Tuesday she did not want the role. On Monday, a
landmark climate change report commissioned by the U.N.’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change painted a far more direpicture of the immediate consequences than previously thought. The report warns of
worsening food shortages, wildfires and a mass die-off of coral reefs as soon as 2040 and says avoiding damage requires transforming the world economy at an unprecedented speed and scale. The report found if greenhouse gas emissions continue at the current rate, the atmosphere
will warm by as much as 2.7 degrees Fahrenheit (1.5 degrees Celsius) over preindustrial levels by 2040. On Tuesday, when asked about the U.N. report by reporters, T
rump said “I want to look at who drew, you know, which group drew it.” Trump pulled the U.S. out of the Paris climate agreement, which gave rise to the report. Trump also told reporters “I want more industry. I want more energy,”
saying of ethanol, produced in Sen. Chuck Grassley’s Iowa, “it’s an amazing substance. You look at the Indy cars. They run 100 percent on ethanol.” On Wednesday, Trump wrote an op-ed in
USA Today about Democrats’ “Medicare-For-All” plan. According to WAPO’s fact checker, almost every sentence contained a misleading statement or a falsehood.
The op-ed also contained incendiary statements, including “The truth is that the centrist Democratic Party is dead. The new Democrats are radical socialists who want to model America’s economy after Venezuela.”
USA Today Editorial Page Editor Bill Sternberg pushed on Twitter, writing “The degree of fact-checking is also apparent in the many hyperlinks in the digital version.” The links do not back up the claims in the editorial. On Thursday, bowing to criticism,
USA Today fact-checked the op-ed and found “ several instances where [Trump] misrepresented the facts and made misleading statements” about Medicare and health insurance in general. Finland’s largest newspaper
Helsingin Sanomat reported Trump and Putin may meet again in Helsinki next spring. Reportedly organizers are already looking for dates, and Valentine’s Day weekend is being considered. On Tuesday, Westmoreland Coal Co., one of the oldest coal companies in the U.S.,
filed for bankruptcy amid declining demand for coal. On Wednesday,
the stock market plunged over 800 points, the biggest loss since February, on fears of rising interest rates. Trump blamed the Federal Reserve for stocks tumbling, telling reporters, “The Fed is making a mistake” about
gradually lifting interest rates, adding, “I think the Fed has gone crazy.” On Thursday,
Trump continued to attack the Fed, telling reporters the Fed’s monetary policy “is far too stringent,” adding “they’re making a mistake and it’s not right.” When Trump was asked by reporters
whether he would fire Fed Chair Jerome Powell, he responded, “No, I’m not going to fire him. I’m just disappointed.”
WAPO reported top FBI attorney James Baker said in a Congressional hearing last week that he took seriously a question by then acting FBI director Andrew McCabe about wiretapping Trump. Baker said McCabe took
deputy attorney general Rod Rosenstein’s suggestion of wiretapping Trump seriously. Baker said the proposal to wear a wire was dismissed by senior FBI and DOJ officials “within a couple of days.”
Politico reported Fox News is no longer giving Trump’s campaign rallies prime-time coverage, signaling he is no longer getting high enough ratings to pre-empt programming. A reporter from
New Yorker listened to Trump’s six rallies in October, given that they are no longer televised. She found a blatant disregard for the truth and a repeating of lies that have already been debunked. Amid the lies,
Trump makes himself a hero in every story. While Trump paints a dystopian view of the country, the politicians he campaigns with are called upon to shower him with praise. Trump also uses pejorative nicknames, like “low I.Q.” Maxine Waters, “Crooked Hillary” and “Crazy Bernie,” and
gives his supporters a deep sense of hate of others not in politics at every rally. Trump also decries Democrats as “scary, bad, evil, radical, dangerous.” He is the leader of law order and order,
and he alone stands between his audiences and disaster. As Trump’s base remains loyal and their support does not budge, the concern is that Trump is
creating a space to do the unthinkable. On Tuesday, at a campaign rally in Iowa, Trump accused Sen. Diane Feinstein, the ranking Democrat on the Senate Judiciary Committee,
of leaking “the documents.” The crowd responded with chants of “Lock her up!” On Wednesday, at a campaign rally in Pennsylvania,
Trump accused Hillary Clinton of colluding with Russia to affect the 2016 election while his crowd chanted “Lock her up!” On Thursday, authorities
arrested Craig Shaver, a California man, for allegedly threatening to kill Sen. Feinstein. Prosecutors said Shaver made the threat in a September 30 email to the Senator. On Thursday, after receiving no prime-time coverage for his rallies this week,
Trump pre-empted hurricane coverage on Fox News, appearing on “Fox & Friends” for a 47-minute long interview. When asked if he would
fire attorney general Jeff Sessions and deputy Rod Rosenstein immediately after the midterm election, Trump replied, “Well, I actually get along well with Rod.” Trump criticized the Fed for the drop in the stock market. He also
predicted partisan discord if Democrats won control of the House and noted some Democrats have already threatened to impeach Kavanaugh. The “Fox & Friends” co-hosts repeatedly tried to end the interview. Eventually, host Steve Doocy found an opening to end the interview,
telling Trump, “Go run the country.” Later Thursday,
Trump met with singer Kayne West in the Oval Office in front of reporters. Trump used the praise heaped on him by West at his rallies and as a means to suggest Black Americans should vote for him. Both former NYC mayor
Michael Bloomberg and former Trump attorney Michael Cohen re-registered as Democrats. On Friday, Facebook revealed data was stolen from 29 million users, not 50 million, in September. The hacked information
contained vital personal data, including name and phone number, email, location, gender and relationship status. On Friday, according to an August letter to Senate Judiciary Committee chair Chuck Grassley made public,
former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s security clearance, along with five other aides, has been revoked at her request. The letter indicates
Clinton’s request was done in quiet protest of Trump revoking former CIA director John Brennan’s security clearance in sync with Admiral William McCraven’s op-ed supporting Brennan. On Friday, at a campaign rally in Ohio, Trump cited lower unemployment numbers for Black Americans and
asked black voters to “honor us” by voting Republican, falsely claiming “we have the best numbers in history.”
Trump then praised Confederate General Robert E. Lee, calling Lee a “true great fighter” and “great general” and added Abraham Lincoln once had a “phobia” of Lee, whose support of slavery made his legacy contested.
Trump also evoked the notion of the mob, claiming from the moment Kavanaugh was announced as his nominee, “an angry Democratic mob was on a mission to resist, obstruct, delay, and destroy him.” On Friday, a new Washington Post-ABC News poll found
more Americans disapprove of the Kavanaugh confirmation: women say it moves them to Democrats over Republicans by 16 points, while men are evenly split. The poll found
43% of Americans believe the court’s rulings will be more politically motivated with Kavanaugh on the court, compared with 10% who said they will be less political. The poll also found
53% of Americans support further investigation of Kavanaugh by Congress, while 43% are opposed. Among independents, 55% support further investigation, while 40% do not.
Democrats are donating record amounts to House candidates heading into midterms: in the 70 most contested races, the GOP has reserved $60 million in TV ads, compared to $109 million for Democrats since late July. The head of a pro-Trump super PAC said “
we’ve never seen anything like this before.” House GOP aides hoping to receive a late cash transfer from the Republican National Committee no longer expect that to happen. A new proposal by the Trump regime’s Park Department could
restrict protests by effectively blocking them along the north sidewalk of the White House and making it easier for police to shut them down.
The proposal would also curtail protests at Washington’s most iconic staging grounds, including the National Mall, Lafayette Square and the Pennsylvania Avenue sidewalks in front of the Trump Hotel DC.
Week 99 of toilet paper on the shoe of our democracy: Experts in authoritarianism advise to keep a list of things subtly changing around you, so you’ll remember.
October 7, 2018 https://medium.com/@Amy_Siskind/week-99-experts-in-authoritarianism-advise-to-keep-a-list-of-things-subtly-changing-around-you-c84bbf9b03c1
This was all predictable. The descent to authoritarianism follows a predictable path in history. Masha Gessen, one of the “experts in authoritarianism” I read before starting the project of making the weekly list, wrote this in a , “There is little doubt that Trump will appoint someone who will cause the Court to veer to the right; there is also the risk that it might be someone who will wreak havoc with the very culture of the high court.” Prescient indeed. New York Review of Books article on November 10, 2016
This week, veering off norm after norm, and stoking a culture war between #MeToo and his newly coined #HeToo movement, Trump, with the help of Sen. Mitch McConnell plowed through to confirm Brett Kavanaugh, Trump’s second Supreme Court nominee. Kavanaugh’s 50–48 confirmation vote margin was the lowest since Stanley Matthews’ 24–23 vote 1881. Bookending Gessen’s piece, this week in the New York Review of Books Christopher Browning, in a piece titled “The Suffocation of Democracy,” compares McConnell to Hitler-era German President Paul von Hindenburg — both of whom he refers to as “gravediggers” of democracy.
Meanwhile, the acts of hatred against “the others” continued this week. Trump again beat the familiar drum of white men as victims, this time at the hands of women who dare to find their voices. A bombshell article by the NYTrevealed the lie behind Trump’s campaign image of a self-made billionaire; reporters found his fortune was largely handed down by his father, much of it in a fraudulent manner.
Images from Weimar , Germany. September 2018:
A Pew Research poll found
America’s global image has plummeted under Trump, amid widespread opposition to his regime’s policies and a widely shared lack of confidence in his leadership abilities.
The poll finds the world has significant concerns about America’s role in world affairs, citing isolationism and the U.S. doing less to help solve major global challenges. American soft power is waning as well.
Trump polled the lowest among leaders of major powers, with 70% of those surveyed in 25 countries saying they have no confidence in him to do the right thing regarding world affairs. Just 27% have confidence. On Saturday, Trump visited West Virginia for a campaign rally where he bragged about his economic accomplishments. Under Trump,
poverty in the state climbed to 19.1% in 2017 from 17.9% in 2016. Speaking on North Korea,
Trump said he started off being tough with Kim Jong Un, but “then we fell in love, OK. No, really. He wrote me beautiful letters, and they’re great letters. And then we fell in love.” On Saturday, the
Intercept reported that despite Kavanaugh’s claim at the Senate hearing that “ I have no connections there. I got there by busting my tail,” his grandfather Everett Edward Kavanaugh also attended Yale. On Saturday,
NBC News reported the White House counsel’s office has imposed severe limitations to the FBI investigation. The probe will not include interviewing Kavanaugh’s third accuser, Julie Swetnick. The FBI
will not interview Kavanaugh’s Yale classmates about alleged excessive drinking or high school classmates about sexual references in his yearbook to see if witnesses would contradict his Senate testimony.
Just four people will be interviewed: Mark Judge; Leland Keyser, a high school friend of Ford who she said attended the party but was not told of the assault; P.J. Smyth, another party guest; and Deborah Ramirez.
WSJ reported the investigation is being “ tightly controlled” by the White House, and the FBI will not have free rein to pursue all potential leads. On
Saturday evening, Trump tweeted, “NBC News incorrectly reported (as usual) that I was limiting the FBI investigation,” adding, “I want them to interview whoever they deem appropriate, at their discretion.” On Sunday,
NBC News reported that despite Trump’s tweet, the FBI has received no new instructions from the White House about changing the limitations on the investigation. On Sunday,
Sen. Diane Feinstein sent a letter to White House counsel Don McGahn and FBI Director Christopher Wray requesting a copy of the written directive the White House sent to the FBI. On Sunday, Republican Sen. Tom Cotton told
Face the Nation that Feinstein and her staff will be investigated over the leaked Ford letter. Feinstein repeated Monday that she and her staff did not leak the letter. On Sunday, Kellyanne Conway said on
State of the Union that she was a victim of sexual assault, then seemed to use her admission to support Kavanaugh saying, “You have to be responsible for your own conduct.” On Monday, Trump told reporters
he had instructed McGahn to have the FBI carry out an open investigation, with the caveat that the inquiry should accommodate the desires of Senate Republicans. Trump said he
wanted a “comprehensive” FBI investigation and had no problem if the FBI questioned Kavanaugh or even Swetnick. Trump said he accepted Kavanaugh’s denials, calling confirmation process deeply unfair. On Monday, the
Portland Press Herald reported Sen. Susan Collins wants the FBI to investigate the allegations brought by Julie Swetnick and not limit the scope of its investigation to those raised at the Senate hearings. The editorial boards of two Maine newspapers spoke out against Kavanaugh: the
Portland Herald Press wrote “he doesn’t belong on the Supreme Court,” and the .” Bangor Daily News called him “unfit On Sunday,
CNN reported the FBI spoke to Deborah Ramirez and she provided them with names of witnesses. On Tuesday, her attorney John Clune said none of the 20 witnesses had been contacted. On Sunday, the
New Yorker reported the attorney for Elizabeth Rasor, a college girlfriend of Judge, repeatedly made clear to the Senate Judiciary Committee and FBI she would like to speak but has not heard back. On Monday,
NBC News reported in the days leading up to Ramirez’s allegations becoming public, Kavanaugh and his team surreptitiously communicated with his Yale classmates about refuting the story. Kerry Berchem, a Yale classmate of Kavanaugh Ramirez,
said she has tried to get those messages to the FBI but has not heard back. Berchem emailed FBI agent J.C. McDonough a memo, along with screenshots of texts. In a text message between Berchem and Karen Yarasavage, both friends of Kavanaugh,
Yarasavage said Kavanaugh asked her to go on the record in his defense.
Texts show Kavanaugh tried to get a copy of a photo from a 1997 wedding of Yale classmates both he and Ramirez attended to discredit her. Berchem said Ramirez tried to avoid Kavanaugh that day, and she “clung to me.” Kavanaugh told the Senate Judiciary Committee
under oath that the first time he heard of Ramirez’s allegation was in the . New Yorker article published on September 23 A spokesman for judiciary committee chair Sen. Chuck Grassley said that
the texts “do not appear relevant or contradictory” to Kavanaugh’s testimony, calling it “another last-ditch effort to derail the nomination” by Democrats. On Monday,
NYT reported in recent weeks hundreds of migrant children at shelters from Kansas to New York have been roused in the middle of the night and clandestinely transported a tent city in West Texas.
The population of migrant children has grown fivefold since last year. Private foster homes and shelters that sleep two to three to a room, and provide formal schooling and legal representation, are overburdened.
The children are in groups of 20, split by gender, and have no formal schooling and limited legal representation. The tent cities are unregulated, except for guidelines created by the Department of Health and Human Services. The children wore
belts etched in pen with phone numbers for their emergency contacts. Some shelter staff members cried for fear of what was in store for migrant children being moved to tents. On Tuesday,
NBC News reported a report by the DHS inspector general found “ DHS was not fully prepared to implement the administration’s zero-tolerance policy or to deal with some of its after-effects.” Immigration law allows Customs and Border Protection to hold unaccompanied children for up to
72 hours. The report found one-fifth of the children were held at least five days and one longer. The report also found that while the Trump regime urged asylum seekers to come through ports of entry,
overwhelmed facilities “likely resulted in additional illegal border crossings.” On Wednesday, a federal judge in California
temporarily blocked the Trump regime from terminating temporary protected status for hundreds of thousands of immigrants from Sudan, El Salvador, Haiti, and Nicaragua. On Wednesday,
CNN reported a surprise DHS inspection general visit to a privately run California ICE detention facility found nooses hanging in cells, misuse of solitary confinement, and delayed medical care. The facility is run by
GEO Group, a private prison contractor that runs a number of large immigrant detention centers. GEO donated $250,000 to a pro-Trump super PAC and hired two former aides of attorney general Jeff Sessions in Week 50. Beverly Goldstein, a Republican candidate for Congress in Ohio, in a tweet
blamed passage of an ordinance banning LGBTQ discrimination on the “illiteracy” of Black voters. Republicans in New York are referring to
Antonio Delgado, an African American congressional candidate who is a Rhodes Scholar and Harvard Law graduate, as a “big-city rapper” in political attack ads. Linda Dwire was arrested in a Colorado grocery store, after another patron, Kamira Trent,
called the police to report that Dwire was harassing two Mexican women for speaking Spanish. On Saturday, for the second time in the last 18 months,
the Jewish Community Center of Northern Virginia was vandalized. 19 swastikas were painted on the center. The president of the center said, “This is getting to be a regular thing — it’s in the air around us, in the country around us,” and
said that “expressions of support…are tinged with fatigue.” On Sunday,
WAPO reported the Trump regime announced it will sue California in an effort to block that state’s new net neutrality law, which has been described by experts as the toughest ever enacted in the U.S. Just hours after California’s proposal became law, senior Justice Department officials told
WAPO they will sue on grounds that the federal government has the exclusive power to regulate net neutrality. On Wednesday, FEMA sent a
presidential alert via a text message. According to FEMA, unlike emergency alerts and Amber alerts, these presidential alerts cannot be turned off. The system was originally put in place under former George W. Bush for radio and TV, and later updated by Obama to include cellphones.
This is the first time the system has been used.
AP reported Trump’s Environmental Protection Agency is pursuing rule changes that would weaken the way radiation exposure is regulated, breaking with decades of policy that there is no threshold of radiation exposure that is risk-free. The EPA cited a toxicologist at the University of Massachusetts who has said
weakening limits on radiation exposure would save billions of dollars and that a bit of radiation damage is good, like a little bit of sunlight. On Thursday,
Foreign Policy reported Trump is considering firing Air Force Secretary Heather Wilson over her pushback on his directive to stand up a separate Space Force in the U.S. military. Sources say Wilson has not figured out a way to disagree with Trump, and
he therefore permanently sees her as “troublesome and ineffective.” Trump will make his final decision on firing her after the midterms. On Thursday, an article in the conservative
,” citing her non-support of Trump. Federalist called on WAPO to stop labeling op-ed columnist Jennifer Rubin a “conservative On Thursday,
NYT reported as Afghanistan frays, mercenary executive Erik Prince has been the talk of Kabul and is frequently introduced as an adviser to Trump.
Prince is pushing a vision that his contractors could offer an official military withdrawal from Afghanistan against the wishes of the country’s president, who does not want foreign mercenaries. Prince has also tied his proposal to a favorite topic of Trump’s:
exploiting Afghanistan’s mineral wealth, including rare earth deposits. Some officials in the Afghan government have tried to block Prince from getting a visa. On Monday, at a press conference in the Rose Garden,
Trump insulted . After calling on her and her thanking him, Trump said, “I know you’re not thinking. You never do.” ABC News reporter Cecilia Vega On Tuesday, bowing to public scrutiny, the
White House corrected the press conference transcript. The Monday version had read, “I know you’re not thanking. You never do.”
Trump also derided , wagging his finger and saying, “Don’t do that,” when she asked about Kavanaugh, then saying, “You know what, you’ve really had enough. Hey. You’ve had enough” CNN reporter Kaitlan Collins On Tuesday, at a rally in Mississippi, Trump attacked Democrats are “holier than thou,” and, offering no proof,
claimed one Senate Democrat drinks too much and encouraged the crowd to Google the senator’s name.
Trump also mocked Dr. Christine Blasey Ford, imitating her Senate testimony, saying, “‘I don’t know. I don’t know.’ ‘Upstairs? Downstairs? Where was it?’ ‘I don’t know. But I had one beer. That’s the only thing I remember.” Trump also claimed because of the #MeToo movement
men were going to be fired from their jobs after being unfairly accused of sexual harassment, saying, “Think of your husbands. Think of your sons.” On Wednesday, the three swing Republicans —
Sens. Jeff Flake, Susan Collins, and Lisa Murkowski — criticized Trump for mocking Ford, with his remarks called “kind of appalling” by Flake “wholly inappropriate” by Murkowski. On Tuesday, a bombshell yearlong
NYT investigative report found despite Trump’s campaign claims that his father gave him a $1 million loan that he turned into an empire, Fred Trump gave him $60.7 million in loans. In total, Trump received
the equivalent of at least $413 million in today’s dollars from Fred Trump’s real estate empire, much of it through dubious tax schemes during the 1990s, including instances of outright fraud. According to a deposition by Robert Trump,
the Trumps used padded receipts to justify rent increases in rent-stabilized buildings. “The higher the markup would be, the higher the rent that might be charged.”
In 1990 Donald Trump had one of his lawyers draft a codicil that would have changed his dad’s will. Fred Trump dispatched Trump’s sister to find a new real estate lawyer, rewrote the will, and signed it immediately. On Tuesday,
CNBC reported, the New York state tax department is reviewing the allegations in the and, according to an official, “is vigorously pursuing all appropriate avenues of investigation.” NYT article On Wednesday,
Trump tweeted about “the Failing New York Times,” saying, “Added up, this means that 97% of their stories on me are bad. Never recovered from bad election call!” On Wednesday,
WSJ reported that if Democrats take control of the Senate in the midterms, Sen. Ron Wyden, who would chair the Senate Finance Committee, plans to ask for Trump’s tax returns. Trump
dropped 11 more spots on the from $4.5 billion in 2015 to $3.1 billion, dropping him from 121 to number 259. Forbes’ 400 list of the richest Americans. In the last two years, Trump’s net worth has dropped
Forbes noted that Trump is actively trying, but failing, to get rich off his presidency. The Trump brand has suffered, and deeper reporting has revealed that Trump had been lying about valuations. On Thursday,
AP reported experts say although the statute of limitations has passed for criminal charges, Trump could be on the hook for tens of millions of dollars in civil fines from state and from federal authorities. On Tuesday,
WSJ reported Trump personally directed his then-attorney Michael Cohen in February 2018 to stop Stephanie Clifford from publicly discussing an alleged sexual encounter on “60 Minutes.” Trump told Cohen to seek a
restraining order against Stephanie Clifford and to coordinate the legal response with Eric Trump and Jill Martin, an outside lawyer who represented Trump and the Trump Organization. Five days later, as instructed, Martin filed paperwork for a confidential arbitration proceeding.
An arbitrator privately issued a restraining order against Clifford, who ignored it and went on television on March 25. On Thursday,
New York attorney general Barbara Underwood said in a court filing that Trump caused his charitable foundation to break state and federal laws governing non-profit groups. Underwood wrote Trump’s use of the Trump Foundation “for his own personal benefit” justifies her request to
ban him for 10 years from being involved in any non-profit group. On Monday, former FBI director
James Comey rejected a request by House Judiciary Committee Republicans to appear at a closed hearing on alleged political bias at the Department of Justice and FBI, saying he would appear in a public hearing.
Politico reported on Monday that Trump’s former campaign chairman Paul Manafort met with special counsel Robert Mueller’s team. Manafort’s attorneys, Richard Westling and Tom Zehnle, were also seen speaking with one of Muller’s lead prosecutors, Andrew Weissmann. On Tuesday,
Politico reported Roger Stone associate Randi Credico told the Senate Intelligence Committee through his lawyer that he would plead the Fifth Amendment rather than testify in the panel’s Russia probe. On Tuesday,
Politico reported Federal law enforcement officials referred a 2-year-old email hacking investigation related to Cheri Jacobus, an anti-Trump Republican, to Mueller’s team. On Tuesday,
Politico reported Mueller is further downsizing his team of prosecutors, with Brandon Van Grack and Kyle Freeny returning to their prior posts at the Justice Department. Van Grack played a role in the Virginia bank and tax-fraud case, as well as Michael Flynn’s guilty plea. Freeny has “concluded her work here” per Mueller’s spokesperson.
The number of prosecutors is down from 17 to 13. On Thursday, the DOJ unveiled
indictments against seven officers of Russia’s GRU military intelligence agency who were targeting top Olympic athletes, anti-doping organizations, and chemical weapons monitors. The DOJ announced that
in the summer of 2016, GRU hacked drug-test results from the World Anti-Doping Agency and leaked confidential information about U.S. Olympic athletes on the internet.
Three of the seven were previously indicted for conspiring to interfere in the 2016 U.S. election as part of the Mueller probe.
The Dutch and British governments earlier on Thursday also described GRU attacks. The Dutch described a hack at a chemical-weapons agency in Week 92, while the British government called the cyberattacks “reckless and indiscriminate.” Defense Secretary Jim
Mattis told reporters in Brussels that the U.S. stands “shoulder-to-shoulder” with our NATO allies and pledged U.S. cyberoffense capabilities to other allies if asked.
Daily Beast reported Russian deputy attorney general Saak Albertovich Karapetyan died in a helicopter crash. Media reports claimed the crash happened during an unauthorized flight in the Kostroma region.
Karapetyan’s ties to directing the foreign operations of Natalia Veselnitskaya were exposed in a Swiss court this year as part of a plot to enlist a Swiss law-enforcement official as a double-agent for the Kremlin. He and Veselnitskaya
together tried to recruit a high-level law-enforcement official who was supposed to be investigating the Swiss bank accounts of Russian oligarchs and mobsters. Veselnitskaya had helped to draft a document on behalf of the Russian government related to the fraud case against Prevezon.
Karapetyan wrote the cover letter. On Tuesday,
WAPO reported Republicans Senators emailed an explicit statement about Julie Swetnick’s sex life to reporters. Swetnick’s attorney Michael Avenatti says the FBI still refuses to interview her. On Tuesday,
Majority Leader McConnell vowed to vote in the Senate on Kavanaugh’s nomination this week, even as attorneys for Ford, and others who have reached out to the FBI, have not yet been interviewed. On Tuesday,
WAPO reported the FBI has completed the first four interviews and is now interviewing Tim Gaudette and Chris Garrett, high school classmates of Kavanaugh. The investigation is being led by
the FBI’s Security Division, a branch that handles background checks. FBI director Christopher Wray, who was two years behind Kavanaugh at Yale, is also directly involved. On Tuesday,
NYT obtained a 1983 letter written by Kavanaugh that contradicts his testimony before the Senate. In it he writes, “warn the neighbors that we’re loud, obnoxious drunks with prolific pukers among us.” Interviews with a dozen classmates and friends
depict Kavanaugh as a member of a small clique of football players who celebrated a culture of heavy drinking, even by standards of that era, contradicting his testimony. On Wednesday,
Rachel Maddow read a sworn affidavit from Elizabeth Rasor, which the FBI neglected to take, saying Mark Judge had conveyed “a degree of shame” about taking turns having sex with a drunk woman.
BuzzFeed reported ethics complaints have been filed against Kavanaugh in the DC Circuit, including at least one related to his alleged lying about sexual assault allegations against him. Ethics experts say t
here is no precedent for what happens to the complaints if he is elevated to the Supreme Court. For now, the complaints are under the purview of DC Circuit chief judge Merrick Garland. On Wednesday,
NBC News reported that, according to multiple sources, more than 40 people with potential information into the sexual misconduct allegations against Kavanaugh have not been contacted by the FBI. On Wednesday, James Roche, Kavanaugh’s freshman year roommate at Yale, said in an op-ed that
Kavanaugh “lied under oath about his drinking and terms in his yearbook.” The FBI has not contacted Roche at any time. On Wednesday, an
NPR/PBS NewsHour/Marist poll found that 45% of Americans believe Ford is telling the truth, up from 32% before her testimony. Just 33% believe Kavanaugh is telling the truth. On Wednesday, the National Council of Churches,
the nation’s largest coalition of Christian churches, said in a statement “Kavanaugh has ‘disqualified himself’” and “must step aside immediately.” On Wednesday,
Ford’s attorneys wrote a letter to chairman Grassley, again saying the FBI has not contacted them despite Ford’s desire to be interviewed in the probe. When asked about the limited scope of FBI interviews,
press secretary Sarah Sanders blamed it on senators, telling reporters, “We’re going to allow the Senate to make the determination of the scope.” On Wednesday,
Bloomberg reported the FBI lacks White House approval to interview Ford and Kavanaugh. Late Wednesday, McConnell started the clock for a Friday test vote on the nomination. Officials inside the FBI are concerned constraints placed on the investigation by Trump’s White House
could damage the bureau’s reputation for finding the truth. On Wednesday, the
NYT published an open letter by 650 law school professors in opposition to Kavanaugh’s nomination. By Thursday, there were more than 2,400 signatures. On Wednesday,
more than 1,000 Maine academics signed a letter urging Sen. Collins not to support Kavanaugh, citing credible allegations of sexual misconduct and an “angry demeanor” at the Senate hearing. On Thursday,
the White House issued a statement at around 2:30 a.m. saying the FBI had completed its work and the materials were conveyed to Capitol Hill in the middle of the night. Deputy press secretary
Raj Shah falsely said, “This is the last addition to the most comprehensive review of a Supreme Court nominee in history, which includes extensive hearings, multiple committee interviews.”
The public was not allowed to see the FBI report. Only senators were permitted to review the materials. Although the FBI was
given a week to complete their investigation, they stopped after just five days.
Senators’ review took place in a secured room at the Capitol starting Thursday morning. Republican senators were permitted to see the information first. Time was limited to allow a vote on Friday. On Thursday,
WSJ reported the White House believes the FBI report has no corroboration of sexual misconduct allegations against Kavanaugh.
NYT reported that as part of the inquiry, the FBI contacted ten people and interviewed nine of them. WAPO reported that it could confirm interviews with only six people.
The FBI has not publicly explained why it stopped after talking with just five more people, nor did the bureaus explain why they did not interview Ford or Kavanaugh.
The Senate Judiciary Committee tweeted, “Nowhere in any of these six FBI reports…reviewed on a bipartisan basis…[is anything] related in any way to inappropriate sexual behavior or alcohol abuse.”
Sen. Dick Durbin responded in a tweet, “This tweet is not accurate” and in a letter insinuated previous background checks of Kavanaugh had turned up evidence of either inappropriate sexual behavior or alcohol abuse. Late Thursday,
Sen. Elizabeth Warren said on the Senate floor that the FBI reports show there was not a full and fair investigation. Instead, she said, it was sharply limited in scope and did not explore the relevant confirming facts. Sen. Warren also said the available
documents do not exonerate Kavanaugh and that the documents contradict statements Kavanaugh made under oath at the Senate hearing. On Thursday,
thousands protested Kavanaugh’s nomination outside the courthouse where Kavanaugh works, at the Supreme Court, and at two Senate office buildings. Protestors chanted, “We believe survivors.” The U.S. Capitol Police said
302 people were arrested in two Senate office buildings, including actresses Amy Schumer who said, “A vote for Kavanaugh is a vote saying women don’t matter.” On Thursday,
Jen Klaus, the former roommate of Ramirez, told , put her on speakerphone, and asked about Ramirez’s drinking habits at Yale. NBC News Senate committee staff members called her at 4:30 p.m. Thursday
Klaus said the staffers also suggested it was a case of mistaken identity, saying “It just gave me the impression they were suggesting perhaps it was (another classmate) who threw his penis in her face instead of Brett.” A Yale classmate,
Kathy Charlton, told from a mutual friend of Kavanaugh ahead of the Ramirez story breaking. NBC News she tried to contact the FBI about text messages she received Charlton said three days prior to the
New Yorker story, in a phone conversation, the former classmate told her Kavanaugh had called him and advised him not to say anything “bad” if the press were to call. After she spoke to a reporter, t
he friend texted Charlton, saying, “Hellllllooooo. Don’t F****** TELL PEOPLE BRETT GOT IN TOUCH WITH ME!!! I TOLD YOU AT THE TIME THAT WAS IN CONFIDENCE!!!”
Both Charlton and Kerry Berchem made numerous attempts to get in touch with the FBI but did not hear back. Berchem told
NBC News on Thursday she sent her third email to Mike Davis, the chief counsel for the Senate Judiciary Committee. She briefly spoke to a staffer on October 3 and heard nothing further. On Thursday, speaking to a crowd of retirees in Florida,
Retired U.S. Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens, a Republican, said Kavanaugh does not belong on the Supreme Court, saying he lacked the temperament. Late Thursday, Kavanaugh wrote an
op-ed for the at last week’s Senate hearing as being “emotional” as a “son, husband and dad.” WSJ defending himself as an “independent, impartial judge,” explaining his behavior Late Thursday, the
.” This is the first time the Post has called for a no vote since 1987. WAPO Editorial Board urged senators to vote “no” on Kavanaugh, citing “his partisan instincts On Thursday, at a rally in Minnesota,
Trump mocked Al Franken’s resignation over sexual assault allegations, saying he folded “like a wet rag,” and mocked Franken, “‘oh, he did something,’ ‘oh I resign. I quit.’” On Friday, the
American Bar Association said in a letter that its Standing Committee on the Federal Judiciary has reopened its evaluation of Kavanaugh in light of his testimony before the Senate last week. On Friday, when Sen. Grassley was asked by
Fox Business host Maria Bartiromo if George Soros was behind the protestors who confronted Sen. Flake in the elevator, Grassley said, “I tend to believe it.” On Friday, in a morning tweet,
Trump attacked survivors who had protested, saying “the very rude elevator screamers are paid professionals only looking to make Senators look bad.”
Trump also tweeted a conspiracy theory, saying “look at all of the professionally made identical signs. Paid for by Soros and others. These are not signs made in the basement from love! #Troublemakers” An ABA spokesperson said the committee did not expect to complete its evaluation ahead of voting Friday,
so the association’s assessment of Kavanaugh as “well qualified” rating stands, but it “must be read in conjunction with the foregoing.”
Hundreds of female attorneys in Alaska said in a letter to Sen. Murkowski to vote no, and other Alaskans who are survivors flew to Washington D.C. to meet with her Thursday. On Friday, she voted no on cloture. On Friday, at a 3 p.m. speech on the Senate floor, Sen. Collins declared her support for Kavanaugh in a fierce 44 minutes-long speech.
Her deciding vote ensured his confirmation.
Seated behind her during the speech were the three other Republican women senators who were voting to support Kavanaugh. The GOP has only five women in the Senate. Before Collins’ speech started,
protesters stood up in the gallery above her, yelling, “Vote no! Show up for Maine women!” After she finished her speech, McConnell led a standing ovation. Collins went on to
blast Democrats and progressive organizations and to cite the oft-used GOP trope that she believes Ford was sexually assaulted but does not believe her recollection that it was Kavanaugh. Minutes after her speech,
a crowdfunding site where activists have been raising money to defeat Collins in 2020 was inundated with pledges and crashed. The site raised more than $3 million dollars. On Friday, when asked by reporters why there are no Republican women on the Senate Judiciary Committee,
Sen. Grassley cited the workload a deterrent: “It’s a lot of work — maybe they don’t want to do it.”
Grassley added, “My chief of staff of 33 years tells me we’ve tried to recruit women and we couldn’t get the job done.” Grassley later returned to clarify that the workload made it less appealing to both genders. On Friday,
NYT reported that in the beginning of the week, Trump had called McGahn to tell him the FBI should be able to investigate anythingbecause they needed the critics to stop. McGahn reportedly responded that a wide-ranging inquiry like some Democrats were demanding
would be potentially disastrous for Kavanaugh’s chances of being confirmed. McGahn noted since this was not a criminal investigation,
FBI agents could not use search warrants and subpoenas. He said the White House could not order the FBI to rummage indiscriminately through someone’s life. Late Friday,
Ford’s attorney criticized the investigation in a statement: “an F.B.I. investigation that did not include interviews of Dr. Ford and Judge Kavanaugh is not a meaningful investigation in any sense of the word.” Experts said it was highly unusual for the FBI not to conduct those interviews, with one expert adding it was “
indefensible” not to interview Ford. Investigators also did not review her polygraph results or therapist’s notes. On Saturday,
anti-Kavanaugh protests continued, with hundreds protesting and more arrests. On Saturday,
WAPO reported Chief Justice John Roberts received more than a dozen judicial misconduct complaints in recent weeks on Kavanaugh but chose not to refer them to a judicial panel.
Judge Karen LeCraft Henderson, a judge on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit, the court on which Kavanaugh serves, passed complaints the court received starting three weeks ago on to Roberts. Henderson dismissed other claims as frivolous. In a statement Saturday, she said the
complaints centered on statements Kavanaugh made during his Senate hearings, questioning his honesty and temperament.
This is the first time in history that a Supreme Court nominee has been poised to join the court while a fellow judge recommends that misconduct claims against that nominee warrant review by the Chief Justice. According to experts,
once Kavanaugh is confirmed, the details of the complaints could be dismissed. Supreme Court justices are not subject to misconduct rules governing these claims. On Saturday,
Kavanaugh was confirmed by a 50–48 vote, along party lines with the exception of Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin, who voted yes, and Sen. Murkowski, who voted present.
Kavanaugh’s two-vote margin was the lowest in modern history. The only lower margin of support for a Supreme Court justice was in 1881 when Stanley Matthews was confirmed 24 to 23. The state of Texas set a new voter registration record, with 15.6 million new registered voters ahead of the hotly contest midterm race between incumbent Sen. Ted Cruz and Beto O’Rourke.
Election records show the state has added
400,000 voters since March alone. The state on average added just over 100,000 voters a year between 2002 and 2014. On National Voter Registration Day,
a record 800,000 voters registered ahead of midterms. The campaign’s initial aim was to add 300,000 voters.
Dark days and I’m really feeling it as I travel through Germany watching my country and its very dark element become unrecognizable to me. How to return to that? It’s a sad, cruel joke and the entire world sees it exactly that same way. It’s an embarrassment and I can’t help but use an apologetic tone when replying “the USA,” when someone asks me where I’m from. The photos this week are from Tokyo (it translates into something like “kiss a dick”), here in Dresden, they really want to see David Hasselhoff become our next president (Germany LOVES him), and they have a “No Nazis” signature mantra echoing on the streets. Also, two very poignant pieces from Jim Carrey. “Entitled Little Shits” featuring that lying Kavanaugh, and “Why Don’t You Report?” featuring traitorous Lindsey Graham. Critics accuse Carrey of really ugly portraitures, but I have to ask, isn’t it all very ugly right now? His artwork is the most authentic representation we have right now ~ the TRUTH.
Roughly translates into “Kiss a Dick.” Tokyo, Japan. September 2018. Photo: Harukidude.
“Why Don’t You Report?” Lindsey Graham by Jim Carrey.
“Entitled Little Shits.” Brett Kavanaugh by Jim Carrey.
Week 98 of this: Experts in authoritarianism advise to keep a list of things subtly changing around you, so you’ll remember.
September 29, 2018 https://medium.com/@Amy_Siskind/week-98-experts-in-authoritarianism-advise-to-keep-a-list-of-things-subtly-changing-around-you-so-a1a9b7d4296a
This week our country was riveted as new allegations of sexual assault surfaced against Trump’s Supreme Court nominee, Brett Kavanaugh. On Thursday, 20 million Americans tuned in to the watch the Kavanaugh hearings. Despite Dr. Christine Blasey Ford coming across as poised and credible, while , Republicans planned to push forward for a confirmation vote on Friday. In a stunning turn, the power of the #MeToo movement and protests changed a key senator’s vote early Friday, pushing off Kavanaugh’s confirmation and forcing Trump to open a one-week FBI investigation into the sexual assault allegations against his nominee. a belligerent Kavanaugh delivered testimony riddled with inaccuracies
, as leaders gathered at the UN General Assembly laughed out loud at a braggadocious claim during his speech. On Thursday, Trump held an 80-minute news conference, only his fifth since taking office, which was panned by media outlets as “bizarre,” “insane,” and “surreal.” This week Trump was literally the laughing stock of the world
Increasingly, , as Trump and white male Republican leadership readied to push through Kavanaugh’s nomination at any cost, ignoring the voices of women. our country feels at war with itself , while he continued his attacks on the FBI, the Department of Justice, and, his favorite target, the media. Notable this week were comparisons of the Kavanaugh proceedings to a storyline in “The Handmaid’s Tale.” Trump’s push on Kavanaugh threatened the integrity of another institution, the Supreme Court
Dresden, Germany 28sep18
WAPO reported Trump’s advisers are counseling him not to fire deputy attorney general Rod Rosenstein, citing concern it would feed the Democratic narrative of a regime in chaos and hurt the GOP in the midterms. Aides say Trump will fire Sessions after the election anyway, so
removing Rosenstein would just hurt Republicans. Aides also say Trump could revive the incident later if Mueller’s probe produces an unfavorable conclusion. The FBI Agents Association defended its members amid Trump’s vitriol, tweeting “
Attacks on our character and demeaning comments” will not stop agents from dedicating “our lives to protecting the American people.” On Sunday,
WAPO reported the fight for Kavanaugh risks exacerbating the GOP’s problem with women, as it reveals the party’s hyper-masculine mindset. All 11 Republicans on the Senate Judiciary Committee are white men. Trump is also
pulling the party along with him in grievances about what he sees as injustice against accused men, setting the stage for white men dismissing women and attacking them with victim blame. Reportedly, Sen.
Mitch McConnell called Trump last Friday to warn him that Trump’s tweets attacking Dr. Christine Blasey Ford were not helpfuland could cause new problems. Trump stopped attacking her over the weekend. On Saturday, the Trump regime announced a proposed rule which would make it
harder to obtain visas or green cards for immigrants who have ever been dependent on public benefits, including Medicaid or food stamps. The rule would
apply to immigrants already in the US legally as well as those seeking to enter. Disqualifying benefits would also include the Medicare Part D low-income subsidy and vouchers for Section 8 housing. The proposed rule is based on “public charge,” which was first implemented in the
1800s as a way to deny entry to immigrants who were likely to become a drain on the economy. The US
already has a law that allows it to deny green cards to immigrants it believes could become “a public charge.” The rule would expand the definition to public benefit to programs like food stamps or Medicaid. Advocates say the new rule could
cause about one-third of immigrants to drop or avoid signing up for benefits if enacted, leading to worse health outcomes and increased communicative diseases and poverty. On Monday,
Trump declared himself an “absolute no” on the question of statehood for Puerto Rico, citing critics such as San Juan’s mayor Carmen Yulín Cruz as his rationale.