Week 38 of trump’s presidency: Experts in authoritarianism advise to keep a list of things subtly changing around you, so you’ll remember.
August 5, 2017
This week, as his popularity hit new lows, Trump and his regime’s white nationalist push became more conspicuous and aggressive. Trump continues to irreverently lie — one such false statement on Donald Jr.’s June 9 meeting could directly implicate him in covering up the Russia scandal, which entered a new phase as Mueller impaneled a grand jury in Washington DC.
As a continuation of a theme over the past two weeks, the Republicans are finally pushing back on Trump, as Congress took steps to keep him in check. Trump seems prepared to fight Congress, along with battles he is already waging against the judicial branch and the media.
Fox News interview, Conway advised WH staffers not to address Trump by his first name, and to treat him with “deference and humility.” On his Sunday show, Fareed Zakaria cautioned with Trump in power, the US faces something worse than being feared or derided — the US is “
becoming irrelevant.” On Sunday,
Putin ordered the US diplomatic missions in Russia to reduce their staff by 755 personnel, the single largest forced reduction, comparable only to the months after the Communist revolution in 1917. The Trump regime had no response to Putin’s order on Sunday, or for the entire week.
ProPublica reported Customs and Border Protection is set to jumpstart Trump’s wall in a Texas national wildlife refuge. The agency will use money allotted by Congress for other purposes. A spokesperson for Pruitt’s EPA told
WAPO the agency will make changes to the EPA Museum. For example, the exhibit on Obama’s Clean Power Plan will be removed, and coal may be added.
CBN News reported nearly all of Trump’s cabinet officials attend Bible lessons with a pastor who compares Trump to biblical heroes. In a statement released Tuesday,
56 retired generals and admirals came out against Trump’s transgender military ban, arguing it would be disruptive and degrade military readiness.
CBC News reported Montreal’s Olympic Stadium is being used to house a surge in asylum seekers crossing from the US. More than 1k crossed from the US into Quebec in July alone.
The NAACP issued its first-ever travel advisory for a state. NAACP cited Missouri legislation making discrimination cases harder to win, recent racist incidents, and racial disparities in traffic enforcement.
Kobach appealed an order requiring him to answer question under oathabout two documents containing plans for changes to US election law. A t
op EPA official, Elizabeth Sutherland, resigned after 30 years at the agency. In a scathing letter, she wrote, “The environmental field is suffering from the temporary triumph of myth over truth.” The Trump regime will
redirect resources of the DOJ toward investigating and suing universities over affirmative action admissions policies, which the regime claim discriminate against white applicants.
ProPublica reported Candice Jackson, DeVos’s pick to head the Civil Rights Office, said she faced discrimination for being white while at Stanford because of a help section reserved for minority students.
WAPO reported Lizandro Claros Saravia, a standout soccer player who had a scholarship to play college soccer, was deported to El Salvador along with his brother after going to ICE to report he got into college. Documents released to the
Daily Beast under the FOIA show high-level DHS officials ordered staff to stiff-arm members of Congress and treat lawyers with deep suspicion in the first hours of Trump’s Muslim Ban.
In an ICE press release, the agency admitted in Kelly’s final sweep as DHS head, designed to catch Central Americans who had come to the US as family unit, 70% of those captured were not people being targeted. Tillerson’s State Dept is considering
eliminating the promotion of democracy from its mission statement. Amateur hackers at the
DefCon conference in Las Vegas were able to exploit vulnerabilities in five voting machine types within 24 hours.
POLITICO reported that by firing of Priebus, Trump severed one of his few remaining ties to the Republican Party. In a bombshell story
, WAPO reported Trump dictated Donald Jr.’s misleading statement claiming Russian adoption was the rationale for the June 9 meeting, while flying back from the G20. While at the G20, the NYT asked for comment on their pending story. Ivanka, Trump and Kushner met on the sidelines with advisers, who
recommended telling the truth. Trump disregarded all advice.
WAPO further reported Kushner’s lawyers first learned about the June 9 email trail while researching their response to Congressional investigators weeks prior. Advisers and lawyers for Trump, Donald Jr. and Kushner had mapped out a strategy for disclosing the information.
WAPO further reported that with this misleading statement, Trump is now directly implicated in trying to cover up Russia scandal. The day after reports that Trump crafted Donald Jr.’s statement,
CBS reported Congressional investigators requested Donald Jr.’s phone records around the time of the June 9 meeting. Trump ally
former Sheriff Joe Arpaio was found guilty of criminal contempt of court for defying a court order to stop detaining suspected undocumented immigrants.
Phoenix New Times reported Arpaio was a no-show for his pre-sentencing hearing on Thursday. Ahead of his first cabinet meeting with Kelly as chief of staff, Trump
referred to the Cabinet Room as a “board room.” Sec of Interior Zinke told
GQ in an interview that Rick Perry was didn’t understand what his position is about, “I think he thought his department was more about energy than…science. Mostly, it’s science.”
WAPO reported lobbyists are taking credit in the Trump era for writing bills to protect their industry that are passed in Congress with minimal input from the public, and little of no discussion in Congress.
NYT reported Lewandowski has a new “advisory” business, which again is testing the ethical boundaries of Trump giving significant access and power to friends and loyalists not on the government payroll.
WAPO reported Secret Service vacated its command post inside Trump Tower following a dispute over terms of the lease for the space. The post has been relocated to a trailer on the sidewalk.
Six months after leaving office, Pence handed over state-related emailstransmitted from his personal AOL account. Some requests for Pence’s emails are more than a year old. Pence’s attorney,
also a top fundraiser for Trump and Pence, determined which emails to release, raising concerns from watchdog groups. A US Court of Appeals ruled that
17 states and DC could pursue the Trump regime for their efforts to sabotage Obamacare.
Ivanka said, “We are committed to supporting the American worker,” as 100% of her companies’ goods are manufactured overseas, and the Trump Organization and Eric’s winery seek to bring in foreign workers.
WSJ reported the US attorney issued subpoenas to Kushner Cos. Employees and Kushner family members have allegedly been offering green cards in exchange for $500k investments in their properties. Kelly
asserted his authority as chief of staff on Monday, firing Scaramucci immediately. Kelly’s first priority will be to
gain control of the information that reaches Trump, with a goal of cutting out backchannels and bad information.
Kelly reportedly called Sessions to tell him his job is safe.
CNN reported Kelly was so upset about the handling of Comey’s firing, Kelly called Comey afterward and said he was considering resigning. On Tuesday, bowing to criticism on transparency,
Tillerson held his first press briefing, saying he is not “very happy” with Congress’ vote to sanction Russia. Tillerson
acknowledged the understaffed State Dept: 22 of 24 assistant secretary slots are either unfilled or staffed by Obama holdovers. On Tuesday, Greg Andres, a former DOJ official, became the 16th member of Mueller’s team.
Andres has vast experience with white-collar crime, including fraud and illegal foreign bribery. On Tuesday,
a story on Golf.com recounted a scene at Trump’s Bedminster golf club, in which he tells members the reason he stays away from Washington is because the White House is a “real dump.” On Wednesday,
Trump tweeted, “I love the White House, one of the most beautiful buildings (homes) I have ever seen,” and referred to Golf.com as “Fake News.” On Thursday,
Golf.com responded with a podcast about the story, saying at least 8 people heard Trump call the WH a dump. At a tense July 19 meeting with generals,
Trump complained about the options in Afghanistan, saying, “We are losing.” Trump also compared US efforts to the renovation of the 21 Club, infuriating the generals. Trump
complained the US wasn’t getting a piece of Afghan’s mineral wealth, and said he was considering firing Gen. Nicholson. As Kelly established an organizational structure,
McMaster fired two Bannon loyalists from the NSC: Rich Higgins and Ezra Cohen-Watnick. As the turf battle heated up between McMaster and Bannon,
rumors circulated that Trump may send McMaster off to Afghanistan to replace Nicholson. On Thursday,
McMaster cleared Susan Rice and said she will keep her top-secret security clearance. Circa reported Trump was not aware of McMaster’s decision.
Conservative media turned on McMaster, calling him a “sycophant” and “deeply hostile to Israel and Trump.” A new app that tracks Russian troll activity also found “firemcmaster” as the most tweeted item.
NPR reported on a lawsuit that alleges Fox News and Ed Butowsky, a wealthy Trump supporter, with the knowledge of the WH, created a fake story about murdered DNC staffer Seth Rich leaking DNC emails to WikiLeaks to help Trump deflect from Russian involvement. The story started May 10, the day after the Comey firing. A few days later, Butowsky texted Wheeler, the expert suing for being inaccurately cited in the story, that Trump “
wants the article out immediately.”
ABC reported Spicer met with two at the WH, and asked to be “kept abreast of developments.” Fox News contributors about the Seth Rich story
Yahoo reported the lawyer who is suing Fox News on behalf of Wheeler will seek to depose Trump and Spicer. Reporter Andrew Feinberg, who worked at
: “It’s really telling that the White House is pushing the same narrative as a state-run Russian propaganda outlet.” Sputnik, said he was pushed to cover the Seth Rich story
Newsweek reported Russia is using LinkedIn to target critics by damaging their reputations and chances for employment, and possible exposing them to physical harm beyond social media. On Wednesday, flanked by senators Cotton and Perdue, Trump
introduced a bill to slash immigration levels in half over the next decade. Trump said the bill, named the RAISE Act,
will favor green card applicants who speak English, financially support themselves, and contribute to the economy.
AP fact checked Trump’s speech and found it was full of false statements. The bill was sharply rebuked by Democrats and Republicans. Catholic Bishops
issued a strong statement against RAISE, saying it will weaken family bonds and impact ability to respond to those in crisis. At a contentious press briefing after the RAISE Act announcement, Stephen Miller said the 1883 “huddled masses” poem inscribed at the
base of the Statue of Liberty doesn’t matter since it was “added later.” Miller also acted aggressively towards a
NYT and CNN reporters. Miller said CNN’s Jim Acosta, son of Cuban immigrants who did not speak English, had a “Cosmopolitan bias.” ‘Cosmopolitan’ is an
anti-Semitic term used by 20th century authoritarian regimes. The Anne Frank Center tweeted that Nazis found Anne Frank on August 4, 1944, after her family was
denied entrance to the US in 1941, for “Reasons refugees hear now.” Trump told the
WSJ the head of the boy scouts called him to say his jamboree speech was “the greatest speech that was ever made to them.” The Boy Scouts denied any call from national leadership was made. Trump also told the
WSJ that Mexican president Peña Nieto called him and told him fewer people were crossing the border. This is also a lie. WH press secretary
Sanders revised Trump’s statements to say an individual Boy Scout leader called Trump, and the statement from Peña Nieto took place in a conversation at the G20. On Wednesday Trump
signed the Russia sanctions bill behind closed doors and with no press coverage. Trump criticized Congress, but said nothing of Russia interference or the 755 US embassy members removed.
In a statement, Trump called the measure “significantly flawed.” Trump also said it “encroaches on the executive branch’s authority to negotiate,” adding, “I built a truly great company worth many billions of dollars.” On Thursday,
Trump again attacked Congress, tweeting, “Our relationship with Russia is at an all-time & very dangerous low,” and you can thank “the same people that can’t even give us HCare!”
McCain responded, “You can thank Putin for attacking our democracy, invading neighbors & threatening our allies” for the dangerous low. Russia PM Medvedev said the Trump regime “
has demonstrated full impotence.” He also tweeted the Trump regime has shown its “total weakness” in handing power to Congress “in the most humiliating way.” On Wednesday, Trump approval dropped to new lows:
Rasmussen (38 approve), Gallup (36–60) and Quinnipiac (33–61). Trump used to cite Rasmussen as his favorite when his approval there reached high 50s. Quinnipiac also found American voters say
54–26 that they are embarrassed to have Trump as a leader. On Thursday,
two bipartisan pairs of senators (Graham/Booker, Tillis/Coons) released legislation to block Trump from firing Mueller without good reason.
Buzzfeed reported the RNC has instructed staff not to delete or modify any documents related to last year’s campaign, given “the potentially expansive scope of the inquiries and investigations.”
WSJ reported Mueller impaneled a grand jury in Washington to investigate Russia’s interference in the 2016 election, a sign his inquiry is growing in intensity. Trump’s special counsel Cobb, was not aware. A grand jury is already impaneled in Alexandria, VA to investigate Flynn.
The second grand jury and recent hires shows the investigation has entered a new phase. The location gives Mueller’s team easy proximity.
Reuters reported grand jury subpoenas have been issued in connection to the June 9 meeting between Donald Jr., Veselnitskaya and others. On Thursday, Trump held a campaign rally in WV in which he called the
Russia investigation a “hoax,” and presided over cheers of “Lock her up!”as he called for an investigation into Hillary’s deleted emails. Also of note at the rally, the supporters standing behind Trump as he spoke, a group typically carefully selected by staffers,
was 100% white. As the Senate adjourned for the summer,
WAPO reported this is a historically unproductive period of governance as Republicans had no major legislative achievements despite controlling Congress and the WH. The Senate
unanimously agreed to a “pro forma” sessions before leaving for break, meaning Trump cannot make recess appointments. Murkowski, attacked by Trump in Week 37, did the wrap-up. The Interior Dept’s
Office of the Inspector General launched a preliminary investigation of Zinke’s threats to the Alaska senators in an apparent effort to sway Murkowski to vote for the Obamacare repeal.
NBC reported SCL Group, a private British behavioral research company related to Cambridge Analytica, was awarded several contracts by the State Dept. On their website, SCL Group advertised “our methodology has been approved by” with the State Dept and NATO logos. After
NBC’s report, NATO and the State Dept asked that their logos be removed.
AP reported Flynn will file an amended public financial filing to show he entered into a consulting agreement with SCL Group, a subsidiary of Cambridge Analytica. Cambridge Analytica is funded by Trump ally the Mercers, and
per Week 26 is under investigation for possible interference in both Brexit and the 2016 US election. Flynn’s amended filing will also include
$28k from the Trump transition team, and $5k as a consultant for an aborted Middle East nuclear power deal. Per Week 32, that Middle East deal was a venture with Russia.
CNN reported that one year into the FBI’s Russia investigation, now headed by Mueller, the probe has expanded to focus on possible financial crimes, some of which are not connected to the 2016 elections. Investigators are looking into
whether financial laws were broken, and whether Trump dealings could put members of the regime in a compromising position with Russia. Further, the FBI noticed a
spate of curious communications between the Trump campaign and Russian intelligence in the summer of 2016,including contact with Manafort on information damaging to Hillary.
CNN also reported Page has been under a FISA warrant since 2014.
VOX reported that as many as 10 or more senior intelligence officials, including Comey and McCabe, are likely to be interviewed as part of Mueller’s obstruction of justice investigation.
WAPO released the transcripts of Trump’s phone calls with Mexican President Peña Nieto and Australian PM Turnbull during Trump’s first week in office. When Peña Nieto said Mexico would not pay for the wall,
Trump responded, “You cannot say that to the press,” acknowledging talk about the wall was more about image management than economic policy. Trump told Peña Nieto
he won New Hampshire (a lie) because the state is “a drug-infested den.” Despite Trump claiming early on that reports of him berating Turnbull on the call were “fake news,” the transcript does confirm this.
Trump told Turnbull he had a more pleasant call earlier with Putin. Trump
balked at taking refugees from Australia as required in a deal struck by Obama, saying he hates taking these people, and they could “become the Boston bomber in five years.” As Trump departed for a three-week vacation at this golf course in Bedminster,
GQ labelled him “ the laziest president in American history.” Likewise, the cover of
Newsweek referred to Trump as “Lazy Boy” and pictures him a chair watching television and eating junk food. The accompanying article refers to him as “ America’s boy king.” Staffers of Republicans on the House Intel Comm
traveled to London to track down Steele, author of the dossier. as Democrats on the House Intel Comm, Sen Intel Comm members, and Mueller were not notified. POLITICO reported growing tensions In a press conference Friday,
Sessions threatened the DOJ may prosecute journalists over suspected leaks. Sessions also said he is r eviewing the DOJ’s policies affecting media subpoenas.
NYT reported Mueller’s special counsel made its first formal request to the WH to hand over documents. Mueller seeks information on the financial dealing of Flynn related his company’s work for Turkey. Flynn was paid $530k.
Investigators want to know if the Turkish government was behind the payments, and if Flynn Intel Group made kickbacks to Ekim Alptekin, for concealing the source of the money. Flynn’s now third version of financial disclosure forms list $1.8mm in income,
$400k more than in his prior forms. Failing to register as a foreign agent is a felony, and
trying to hide to source of money by routing it through a private company, and using kickbacks to a middle man, could lead to criminal charges.
Week 35 of ‘36% liked’ (as of today) trump presidency: Experts in authoritarianism advise to keep a list of things subtly changing around you, so you’ll remember.
July 15, 2017
I’m pleased to share that “The Weekly List” has found a safe home at the Library of Congress. May future generations learn from our slow slide to authoritarianism, and never let it happen again!
This week the bombshell story about Donald Jr.’s emails, the first direct evidence of possible collusion and intent between the Trump campaign and Russia, dominated media coverage and conversation. But as with each week, amidst the bedlam, there were a myriad of less-covered, important stories on how the fabric of our country is changing, and kleptocracy is omnipresent.
After the G20,
Pope Francis warned about “dangerous” international alliances, including the one between the US and Russia. On Sunday after returning from the G20,
Trump sent a bizarre set of tweets, including his apparent acceptance that Putin did not meddle in our election, and his plan to set up a Cyber Security unit with Putin. After widespread condemnation of his Cyber Security unit idea, Trump tweeted Sunday night
that he didn’t really mean it. US officials say
Russia government hackers were behind recent cyber-intrusions into the administrative and business networks of a US nuclear power plant and other energy companies.
Reuters reported European infrastructure networks have also recently been hacked, and the Russian government is thought to be the culprit. An Arkansas bill scheduled to go into effect July 30
would make it illegal for a woman to have an abortion without notifying the man who impregnated her, even in cases of rape. On Monday,
Capitol police arrested citizens protesting the GOP health care bill outside of Republican senate offices. A federal judge
halted the deportation of 1,400 Iraqi nationals, including many Christians fearing persecution. The Trump’s regime efforts to deport took on new urgency because Iraq has agreed to accept deportees. An Iranian cancer researcher traveling on a valid visa to the US to work as a visiting scholar at Boston’s Children’s Hospital,
was detained at Logan Airport, along with his wife and three children.
Pew Research found the percentage of Muslim refugees has steadily declined under Trump from 50% in February to 31% in June, while the percentage of Christian refugees has increased from 41% to 57%. A federal judge’s ruling in
Hawaii narrowed the scope of Trump’s Muslim Ban by vastly expanding the list of family relationships with U.S. citizens that visa applicants can use to get into the US. Trump ally Steve King called for using federal funds set aside for
Planned Parenthood and welfare programs like food stamps to be reallocated for funding Trump’s Mexican Wall.
POLITICO reported that Trump and his regime are quietly working with conservative senators Cotton and Perdue to cut the number of legal immigrants allowed into the US by half over the next decade. According to a memo obtained by
WAPO, the Trump regime is considering expanding the DHS’s power to expedite the deportation of illegal immigrants, a major expansion of the agency’s power.
DeVos met with MRA groups who believe campus sexual assault is a hoax, including The National Coalition for Men, an organization with a history of harassing and intimidating alleged sexual-assault survivors. DeVos also
met with Stop Abusive and Violent Environments (SAVE), an organization SPLC described as promoting misogyny. SAVE has lobbied against efforts to address military sexual assault, calling it a “witch hunt.” Ahead of these pivotal meeting, Candice Jackson, the acting assistant secretary for civil right at the Education Dept
said 90% of campus sexual accusations come after drunk sex or break-ups. She later apologized. Sessions delivered a speech to Alliance Defending Freedom, a group designated as
an “anti-LGBT hate group” by the SPLC in 2016, off camera on Tuesday. The DOJ refused to release his remarks. Rep Martha McSally stood on the
House floor Wednesday in a sleeveless dress and open-toed shoes to say she would not comply with the dress code in the chamber and Speaker’s lobby. On Friday,
female members of the House wore sleeveless clothing to work, tweeting in support of “Sleeveless Friday.”
Price’s HHS quietly defunded teen pregnancy programs designed by the Obama administration to fund scientifically valid ways to help teenagers make healthy decisions that avoid unwanted pregnancy. The
ACLU filed a suit against Trump’s Election Integrity Commission, saying it isn’t following federal law requiring it to be open to the public. Trump’s Election Integrity Commission published a 112 page document of public feedback (mostly negative), which
exposed personal informationincluding email addresses, phone numbers and home addresses of some. Over
3k Colorado voters have canceled their registrations since Trump’s Election Integrity Commission requested voter roll information. A non-partisan campaign finance watchdog group filed a complaint with the FEC alleging
Price improperly used his congressional campaign fund to promote his confirmation to HHS Secretary.
Center for Public Integrity reported Bannon failed to properly disclose more than $2mm in mortgage debt on his financial disclosure form. Trump’s expected pick for
chief of the Wage and Hour Division of the Dept of Labor, Cheryl Stanton, was named in a lawsuit last year for allegedly not paying her house cleaners.
WAPO reported that while Trump has chastised companies for outsourcing jobs and Ivanka branded herself a feminist, Ivanka’s clothing lines are exclusively produced at low-wage foreign factories, and women employees are not well treated. After Trump’s much ballyhooed deal with Carrier to keep American jobs,
Indiana has lost 5k manufacturing jobs since February.
WSJ reported the CEO of a OpenGov, a small start-up that Kushner’s brother has a stake in, got a seat at a WH roundtable for prominent technology-industry leaders last month. Kushner owned the stake before selling it to his brother early in the year.
POLITICO reported that conservative Sinclair Broadcasting increased “must run” segments featuring former Trump adviser Epshteyn to nine times per week, across its affiliates.
Sputnik, a Russian government-funded news outlet, started broadcasting on 105.5 FM last week from K-Street offices, a few blocks from the WH.
Within 24 hours of announcing “The Weekly List” will be archived in the Library of Congress, I was the target of two hit pieces in , Sputnik News one in , and other various RT Russia-friendly blogs.
NYT reported that Pence has quietly hosted at least four private dinners, and has more in the works, to court big donors and corporate executives.
The Trump regime’s deregulation teams is full of appointees with deep industry ties. NYT and ProPublica reported on 71 appointees with industry links, including 28 with potential conflicts.
Intercept reported Kushner tried to get a half-billion loan bailout for his 666 Fifth Avenue from a Qatar sovereign wealth fund, and the deal not coming to fruition may have influenced US policy towards Qatar.
USA Today reported a US Golf Association exec told USGA executive committee members that Trump threatened to sue the organization if it moved the 2017 US Women’s Open from Trump‘s golf club in Bedminster.
Trump tweeted: “I will be at the @USGA #USWomensOpen in Bedminster,” advertising one of his properties again. Documents released to
WAPO under the FOIA show the State Dept spent more than $15k for rooms at the new Trump hotel in Vancouver. At the behest of Bannon,
Trump aides Prince and Feinberg, both who benefited from military contracting, developed an alternative plan to the one proposed by the Pentagon for Afghanistan. Their plan was to rely on contractors (mostly non-American) instead of American military troops. Twitter users who were
blocked by Trump’s personal account are suing him in federal court, saying he violated their First Amendment rights. Trump tweeted that Comey had “leaked CLASSIFIED INFORMATION” and
“That is so illegal!” The Columbia law professor who received some of Comey’s memos, said the memos he received were not classified. Saturday evening,
NYT reported that Donald Jr., Kushner and Manafort met with Natalia Veselnitskaya, a lawyer with close Kremlin ties, at Trump Tower on June 9, 2016.
Donald Jr. initially claimed the meeting was related to an adoption program. Kushner had failed to disclose the meeting in his security clearance. Manafort, who was Trump’s campaign manager at the time, had no comment on the meeting. On Sunday,
NYT reported Donald Jr. met with the Veselnitskaya after being promised damaging information on Hillary. The meeting took place two weeks after Trump became the GOP nominee. On the question of whether Trump campaign colluded with Russia,
NYTnoted Donald Jr.’s meeting is “ the first public indication that at least some in the campaign were willing to accept Russian help.” A spokesperson for Trump’s lawyer told the
NYT, “ the president was not aware of and did not attend the meeting.” Donald Jr. hired
attorney Alan Futerfas to represent him in the Russiaprobe, adding to a long list of attorneys defending Team Trump.
WAPO reported the acquaintance who set up the meeting was Rob Goldstone, who was active in the Miss Universe pageant and works as a manager for Russian pop singer, Emin Agalarov. As news was breaking on Donald Jr.,
Russia’s Lavrov threatened that Russia is “considering specific measures” as retribution for Trump not returning two compounds seized by the Obama administration. On Tuesday,
Donald Jr. preemptively tweeted his email exchange in setting up the Trump Tower meeting. Donald Jr had been contacted by the NYT for comment, asked for more time, then tweeted. Shortly after his tweet, the
NYT story broke. In addition to the emails, the story details the changing accounts by all involved parties. Per emails,
Donald Jr was offered information that “would incriminate Hillary and her dealings with Russia and would be very useful to your father,” and “This is obviously very high level and sensitive information but is part of Russia and its government’s support for Mr. Trump.” Donald Jr.’s response was: “
If it’s what you say I love it especially later in the summer.” Donald Jr.
forwarded the email chain — with the subject line, “Re: Russia — Clinton — private and confidential” — to Kusher and Manafort ahead of the meeting. The email was sent by Rod Goldstone on behalf of a mutual friend, Emin Agalarov. Emin is the son of
Aras Agalarov, a real estate tycoon referred to as the “Donald Trump of Russia,” who has close ties to, and was awarded the “Order of Honor of the Russian Federation” by, Putin. The
meeting took place in Trump Tower, one floor below Trump’s offices.Trump continued to deny knowledge or involvement all week. According to emails, the meeting took place at 4:00 pm. Donald Jr. said it lasted 20–30 minutes. At
4:40 pm same day, Trump tweeted in response to a tweet by Hillary, “where are your 33,000 emails that you deleted?” Julian Assange tweeted, “
Contacted Trump Jr this morning on why he should publish his emails (i.e with us),” indicating he has been in contact with Donald Jr. WAPO reported Donald Jr. changed his story about the meeting with Veselnitskaya
four times in the first four days of the story coming to light.
NYT reported Trump personally signed off on Donald Jr.’s first statement Saturday night saying his meeting with a Russian lawyer was to discuss adoption policy — a known lie. After releasing his emails,
Donald Jr. gave an interview to “a high-quality person” and added, “I applaud his transparency.” Fox News telling his side of the story. Trump called his son
Yahoo reported that Trump had a Moscow real estate deal with Aras Agalarov, the same Russian oligarch who set up the meeting with Veselnitskaya, to construct a Trump Tower in Moscow.
A letter intent was signed by Trump, then as the presidential campaign got underway, Donald Jr. was assigned to take the lead. Ivanka also looked at spots for Trump Tower Moscow with Emin Agalarov. The deal did not happen because the Russian economy floundered,
in part because of US and EU sanctions imposed after Crimea and Ukraine. Doing away with US sanctions could help put the deal back on track. In April 2016,
Emin and Aras Agalarov told . Emin said Trump’s election would be “an amazing breakthrough” that would forge peace between Russia and the US. WAPO they wanted Trump to be elected
CNN reported Mueller’s investigators plan to examine the meeting and email exchanges disclosed by Donald Jr. as part of their broader Russian-meddling investigation. On “The Late Show” Tuesday night,
Joe Scarborough announced he is leaving the Republican Party. “It’s a shame there are so few Republicans speaking truth to power,” Scarborough tweeted.
NYT reported Tuesday that Trump’s long-time personal attorney and lead counsel for the Russia probe, Kasowitz, has been the target of Trump’s frustration and ire, and may resign.
ProPublica reported that as Trump’s lead attorney on the Russia probe, Kasowitz is unable to see classified information because he isn’t seeking security clearance, and may have trouble getting one. On Wednesday night,
Kasowitz threatened a stranger in an email, saying “I’m on you now,” and “Watch your back, bitch,” etc. Later, he apologized through a spokesperson, saying he was working late that night.
McClatchy reported that Congressional and DOJ investigators are focusing on whether Trump’s campaign pointed Russian cyber operatives to certain voting jurisdictions in key states. Kushner, who is already a “person of interest” for the DOJ investigations, will be
investigated for his role overseeing the digital operations, and for possible cooperation with Russian efforts. Of note, the
Russians knew to target women and African-Americans in two of the three decisive states, Wisconsin and Michigan. Clinton lost WI, MI and PA by a combined 77,744 votes out of 13.9 million ballots cast.
WSJ reported that in light of Donald Jr. emails, US intel investigators are re-examining conversations captured in the spring of 2015 of Russian government officials discussing associates of Trump. Rep Brad
Sherman of CA introduced articles of impeachment against Trump. Rep Green of TX was the only other Democrat to join.
AP reported that Trump’s mysterious friend “Jim,” who Trump frequently referenced on the campaign trail and more recently ahead of his trip to Paris, may not actually exist. Trump faced
heavy criticism after telling France’s first lady during his first state visit to the country, “You’re in such good shape.” Democratic members of the
House Judiciary Comm sent a letter to Sessions asking why the DOJ settled a $230mm Russian money laundering case against Prevezon for $6mm two days before trial in May. Veselnitskaya represented the family of Pyotr Katsyv, whose son owns Prevezon.
Democrats want to know is she was involved at any point in settlement negotiations. Prevezon was part of Russia’s largest tax fraud scheme.
Magnitsky, the lawyer who exposed the alleged fraud, was jailed, tortured and killed in Russia. Veselnitskaya has been trying to undo the Act in his name. The case against
Prevezon was initially brought by US attorney Preet Bharara, who was fired by Trump.
Axios reported Trump’s outside legal teams wants him to wall off Kushner from discussing the Russian investigation with Trump. On Thursday morning,
NPR reported Sessions had defied a judge’s order by not supplying the required forms to show his foreign contacts. The court’s 30-day deadline expired Wednesday. Later that afternoon, a day late, the
DOJ did release one heavily redacted page of Sessions’s SF86, showing only that he had checked a box “no” on whether he had met with any foreign governments in the past 7 years.
New Republic reported that Trump’s relationship with Russia dates back to the 1980s, and over decades Russia has laundered money through Trump’s real estate and casinos. Gorka told
CNN that Trump is considering returning the Russian compounds because “we want to give collaboration” a chance. US intel found evidence t he compounds were used for spying on the US. Thursday, Trump said he would invite Putin to the WH at the right time. Trump also continued to not acknowledge that
Russia who hacked our election, saying it could have been China or N. Korea.
NYT reported that Kushner has supplemented his federal disclosure form three times, adding more than 100 foreign contact names.
Chicago Tribune reported that Peter W. Smith, the GOP operative who detailed his efforts along with members of the Trump campaign to get Hillary’s deleted emails from Russian hackers, committed suicide. Smith’s interview with
WSJ’s Shane Harris was the first report of possible collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia. Smith’s suicide happened nine days after the interview occurred. Smith left a curious suicide note, citing a bad turn in his health, and writing, “
NO FOUL PLAY WHATSOEVER.” Harris said when he spoke to Smith, he had no indication “he was ill or planning to take his own life.”
NBC reported at the June 9 meeting, Veselnitskaya was accompanied by Rinat Akhmetshin a Russian-American lobbyist, and former Soviet counterintelligence officer with ongoing ties to Russian intelligence.
AP confirmed that Akhmetshin attended the meeting. Donald Jr. had not disclosed Akhmetshin’s attendance, not had Kushner in his forms.
Daily Beast reported Akhmetshin was previously accused in federal and state courts of orchestrating an international hacking conspiracy. Grassley, chair of the Sen Judiciary Comm,
called on Donald Jr. to testify as early as next week. Grassley said he would subpoena him if necessary. Grassley filed a
complaint against Akhmetshin in March, saying he was effectively engaged in lobbying work as an unregistered agent for Russian interests. Akhmetshin lobbied for Congress to repeal the Magnitsky Act.
FP reported that the private email account of a top US intelligence officer working in the secretive arm of the State Dept focusing on Russia, was hacked. Russia is suspected of being behind the hack. Yahoo reported
Trump lawyers knew about the emails three weeks ago, although Trump claimed he learned about them, “a couple of days ago.” Friday, CNN said there were
at least 8 people at the Donald Jr./Veselnitskaya meeting. On the Friday
, Smith said “Why is it lie after lie after lie?….The deception, Chris, is mind-boggling…Where are we, and why are we getting told all these lies?” Fox News hand-off from Shepard Smith to Chris Wallace Wallace answered, “I don’t know what to say.”
Veselnitskaya told WSJ that she had been meeting regularly and sharing information with Russian authorities and Russia’s top prosecutor, Yuri Chaika — the “ Crown prosecutor” referenced in Goldstone’s emails. Amid a
legal team shake-up, Trump hired Ty Cobb to become point person inside the WH for matters related to Russia, and Kushner lawyer Jamie Gorelick stepped away from representing him on Russia.
a lawsuit filed by Maddow reported on United to Protect Democracy on behalf of three citizens against Trump and Stone for their role in the public sharing of information hacked by the Russians. If it goes to trial, discovery could reveal information on how stolen info was disseminated. Friday, a
judge order a retrial of the Code Pink activist who was arrested after she laughed during Sessions’s confirmation hearing. Lawyers for the
only known DREAMer to be deported, filed supporting statement showing ICE agents wrongly forced him across the border.
NYC-based street artist Andrea Cook. – photo by me in Chisinau, Moldova. 15july17.
“Use Your Collusion, Vol. 1” by Orlando-based artist Andrew Spear.
Week 34 of trump’s presidency: Experts in authoritarianism advise to keep a list of things subtly changing around you, so you’ll remember.
July 8, 2017
This is arguably the most alarming weekly list so far. A plot that has played out week-by-week as Trump alienated our allies while cozying up to authoritarians, followed by his embarrassing behavior at the NATO and G7 meetings, culminated this week at the G20 with US isolationism. This video https://goo.gl/VR1zxi, which traces weekly not normal items, explains why Putin is the winner in this new world alignment.
This week Trump amped-up his assault on the media, including encouraging violence. With this, Trump has distracted the country and media, and taken back the narrative. In the atmosphere of chaos, this week also stands out for the number of important stories that received little or no media coverage.
As more and more states refused to comply with what Trump described as his “very distinguished VOTER FRAUD PANEL”, he questioned, “
What are they trying to hide?” By midweek,
44 states and DC refused to provide some or all of the voter roll data requested by Trump’s Election Integrity Commission. States are denying the request based on concerns over privacy and federal overreach, and also concern that the effort of identifying voter affiliation will be used to
purge Democrats from voter rolls. The Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law
filed a Hatch Act complaint against Kobach, saying he used Trump’s commission to solicit political campaign money. A Maryland official, Deputy SoS Luis Borunda,
resigned from Trump’s commission. Several experts on the regulatory process told
The Hill that Trump’s commission may have violated the law by failing to submit the requests to states through OIRA, as required by the Paperwork Reduction Act. A
DOJ letter sent to 44 states’ election officials on the same day Kobach and Pence made their requests, asks states to detail their compliance with the NVRA. This request also raised concerns about voter purging. At a rally in DC Saturday night, Trump continued his attacks on the “fake” media, saying, “
I’m President and they’re not.” On Sunday, Trump tweeted a video created by a Reddit user from both his
personal account and the official @POTUS account, showing him violently wrestling down a person whose face is the CNN logo. The Reddit user was named “
HanAssholeSolo” and his posts were full of anti-Muslim, anti-Semitic and other white supremacists materials. The Reddit
user later apologized, but Trump did not. The parents and wife of the CNN reporter who covered the story received around 50 harassing phone calls. Allegedly, CNN did not defend the reporter. As Trump continued his anti-
CNN rhetoric, the cable network’s anchors and executives received death threats and other harassing messages. Following Trump’s tweet, three media watchdog groups have started to do something they never imagined:
documenting violent threats and actions against the media in the US. Maine’s Governor
LePage said he makes up stories to mislead the press. LePage also called the media “vile” and “inaccurate.”
NYT reported the Trump regime discussed using the pending merger between Time Warner and AT&T as leverage over CNN. On Thursday, Trump media ally
Daily Caller reported the WH doesn’t support the merger if Zucker still heads CNN. Trump ally and Bannon patron Bob Mercer
bought 2.5mm shares of Time Inc., owner of Time magazine in the first quarter of 2017. Per Week 33, David Pecker, owner of National Enquirer is also interested in Time Inc. Maddow reported that
TRMS was sent a forged NSA document. Maddow speculated this was an attempt to trick her show into reporting a false story, and hence weakening her credibility and dulling that storyline. Maddow said that
other media outlets may also be receiving forged documents as well, citing recently retracted stories at CNN and Vice.
POLITICO reported on the Trump regime’s obsessive crackdown on leaks from the intelligence community, which has led to an “increasingly tense and paranoid working environment” in the national security community. On Sunday,
protestors gathered at rallies in dozens of cities around the country to call for Trump’s impeachment.
NBC reported that in Trump’s first 168 days in office, he spent 50 days at Trump properties and 36 days at Trump golf resorts.
NYT reported that while working with industry players, not EPA staff, Pruitt has moved to undo, delay or block 30 environmental rules, a rollback larger in scope than any other in the agency’s 47-year history. Several states
sued over the EPA’s decision to keep a Dow pesticide, which studies show can harm children’s brains, on the market. Per Week 33, Dow spent millions lobbying and donated to Trump’s inauguration. The Wisconsin assembly passed
a bill which would block students from protesting conservative speakers on college campuses.
NYT reported the Trump regime’s latest anti-immigrant tactic is to target undocumented parents suspected of having paid to have their children smuggled into the US.
POLITICO reported that Trump insider Stephen Miller has been holding meetings with agencies on how to further curb the entry of refugees. Miller clashed with Tillerson, who demanded autonomy. A new law in Florida allows parents and residents to file complaints with school boards to
challenge what’s taught in science classes. Attorneys general for
18 states and DC sued DeVos and the Dept of Education over a decision to roll back rules put in place to help students who have been defrauded by their colleges.
Devos’s Dept of Education may stop publishing the list of college and universities in violation of Title IX for mishandling campus sexual assault. The Obama Administration started the list to hold schools accountable for an issue which impacts 1 in 5 college women and 1 in 20 college men.
WAPO reported the WH gender pay gap until has more tripled under Trump, with female staffers earning on average 63% of what their male counterparts make. This is the biggest WH gender pay gap in decades.
Female journalists were banned from the Speaker’s lobby, a room area where reporters speak to members of Congress, because their sleeveless dressed were not viewed as “appropriate attire.” In a 53 page memo to the court,
Trump attorney Kasowitz argued for the dismissal of a sexual harassment lawsuit against Trump, claiming Trump cannot be sued in state court while in office. The Auschwitz Memorial condemned a political video posted by Louisiana Republican
Clay Higgins, which the congressman filmed inside an Auschwitz gas chamber. At a protest outside Sen Portman’s office in Columbus, OH, a woman in a wheelchair was
pushed out of her chair to the ground by a police officer.
The KKK plans a rally in downtown Charlottesville today, and warned that many of its 80–100 members and supporters will be armed. Pro-Trump Twitter operatives are marketing their services to candidates and others,
promising to mobilize their followers and networks for pay.
Guardian reported investigators are looking into whether the Trump campaign and far-right websites coordinated with Russia in spreading fake news. Sen Warner noted key voters in swing states were targeted.
Motherboard reported on an analysis of the Twitter bots that helped Trump, and found the same bots and alt-right narrative emerged in the French election against Macron. On July 4, NRP tweeted the Declaration of Independence, and was
attacked by Trump supporters who called it “propaganda” and “spam.” A new
NPR/PBS NewsHour/Marist poll found Trump’s net approval with Independents has fallen by 17 points since he took office. The poll also found that
the majority (54%) of Americans believe Trump did something illegal or unethical with Russia. While his predecessors Clinton, W. Bush and Obama celebrated July 4th by visiting troops, Trump spent the day on a Trump-branded golf course.
McCain, Warren and Graham visited troops in Afghanistan. Despite his recusal,
Sessions spoke to , offering advice to Mueller on hiring practices and tempo. Fox & Friends about the Trump-Russia probe
WSJ reported the OGE will release an additional two dozen ethics waivers just filed for Trump regime members working on issues they handled in their private-sector jobs. Trump has already granted as many waivers to WH officials as Mr. Obama did in his eight years in office. The State Depart’s Office of the Inspector General said the State Dept and USAID have
failed to adequately track more than $30bn of foreign aid. In a survey of 35k employees in the State Dept and USAID, workers said they were
concerned about the future of their agencies and the lack of support from the Trump regime and Tillerson. An
Indiana nonprofit is suing Pence’s successor for keeping residents in the dark on the deal between the Trump regime and Pence with Carrier. The group’s request for information in December went unanswered. In another sign the Trump regime won’t take civil rights seriously, Trump nominated Eric Dreiband to the
DOJ’s Civil Rights Division. Dreiband has spent his career defending companies from charges of discrimination. One of the DOJ’s top corporate crime watchdogs, Hui Chen, resigned, saying
holding companies to standards the Trump regime wasn’t living up to was “creating a cognitive dissonance that I could not overcome.” Walter Shaub, director of the
OGE resigned in frustration, six months before his term ended, saying, “It’s clear that there isn’t more I could accomplish.” Shaub and OGE have 24 items in The Weekly List. Shaub said in post-resignation interview that
Trump’s ethics program is “a very serious disappointment,” and that his efforts to get basic information from the regime was “like pulling teeth.” CREW filed an ethics complaint against Kushner, saying he
failed to make the required disclosure of his ownership interest in Cadre. The online real estate investment company has a value of $800mm. The Russian sanctions bill, which passed in the Senate 98–2,
stalled in the House as Republican Pete Sessions, chair of the House Rules Comm, said it would make American energy companies less competitive.
WSJ reported energy companies including Exxon and Chevron, and other industries, are lobbying against the Russian sanctions bill, saying it would hurt their business with Russian partners. Trump Organization
renewed more than 1k web domains, including many which refer to Trump and Russia, like TrumpTowerMoscow.com., indicating possible interest in future development.
Axios reported that Russian government-owned Sputnik news is coming to the DC airwaves after taking over a FM radio station. The FCC has not yet been notified according to a spokesperson. Matt Tait, who is cited in the
WSJ story on possible Trump campaign collusion with Russia on Hillary’s deleted emails, wrote an op-ed, “ The Time I Got Recruited to Collude with the Russians,” to tell his story. Tait said it was clear to him that Smith knew Flynn and his son, well, and that they knew the “
dark web” was likely Russia but didn’t care. Tait warned it could be “part of a wider Russian campaign against the US.” Tait also received a document titled “A Demonstrative Pedagogical Summary to be Developed and Released Prior to November 8, 2016,” which list four groups involved,
including group one which listed: Bannon, Conway, Clovis, Flynn and Lisa Nelson.
McClatchy reported a Kremlin documents shows Kaspersky Lab, a leading global seller of anti-virus programs, has ties to Russia’s spying apparatus. Kaspersky’s certification has a FSB military intelligence unit number.
Kaspersky security software is available globally, including at Target and Walmart. The company also serves as a subcontractor for US federal software contracts, and was used by the DNC last summer.
CNN reported that Russia is stepping up spying efforts in the US post the US elections. Officials cited said Russia feels emboldened by the lack of a significant retaliatory response by Trump and Obama. US Intel estimates that
Russia has 150 operatives in the US. Since the election, many have tried to sneak in under the guise of business. Strangely, the
State Dept reportedly continues to grant temporary duty visas to suspected Russian intelligence officers, despite knowledge.
AP reported on a lawsuit filed by Coalition for Good Governance, saying Georgia’s 6th Congressional election results should be voided because of previously identified problem with the touchscreen voting system. The suit cites the work of a private cybersecurity researcher who found that a misconfigured server had left
Georgia’s 6.7 million voter records exposed to hackers last August. Republican SoS in Georgia, Brian Kemp blamed the media for developing a false narrative about Russia hacking, and said states are doing enough to keep elections secure and “
anything to the contrary is fake news.”
WSJ reported that Mueller has hired an “absolute cream of the crop” team of 15 top attorneys with experience in national security, public corruption and financial crimes for the Russia probe.
FT reported Russian-born Sater has agreed to co-operate with an international investigation into a money-laundering network. Per Week 32, Sater has extensive ties to organized crime and the Trump family. In their campaign for the upcoming election,
Merkel’s party has dropped the reference to the US as a “friend.” Four years ago, her party referred to the US as Germany’s “most important friend” outside of Europe.
Bloomberg reported China and Germany have stepped up to lead this year’s G20 summit, a role formerly held by the US.
Pew Research found that 17 of the 19 G20 countries in their survey look to Merkel, not Trump, to lead in world affairs. Guardian reported Trump considered
a sneak visit to Downing Street in order to avoid massive UK protests en route to or from the G20 summit. After the story broke, the WH said Trump would not visit. Instead, on his way to the G20, Trump chose to stop off at Poland,
despite the new far-right government’s authoritarian leanings including cracking down on judges and the media.
AP reported the Polish government promised the WH cheering crowds as part of the invitation. Members of the ruling party and pro-government activists bussed in groups of people for Trump’s speech. Trump gave another of his dystopian speeches in Poland, saying
Western civilization was at risk of decline because of “radical Islamic terrorism” and government bureaucracy. At a news conference in Poland,
Trump said he thinks meddling in the US election was done by Russia, but “it could have been other people in other countries” and that “nobody really knows for sure.” Also on his trip to Poland, Trump continued to dismiss and belittle US intelligence, saying, “
Do we even have seventeen intelligence agencies?” The day before Trump was set to meet with Putin, seemingly as a bargaining chip,
The Moscow Times reported the Russian embassy to the US is accusing the US of “kidnapping” a man accused of cyber-fraud. Ahead of his meeting with Putin,
top Senate Democrats sent a letter to Trump saying not raising Russia’s interference in our election would be “a severe dereliction of the duty of the office to which you were elected.”
LA Times reported that in preparing Trump for his meeting with Putin, aids had written a list of “tweet-length sentences,” which summarize the main points. Trump met with Mexico’s Pena Nieto at the G20. After the meeting, Trump was asked if Mexico will pay for the wall to which he responded, “absolutely.”
Mexico’s foreign minister said the wall was not discussed. Friday, without provocation or reason,
Trump tweeted a random lieabout Podesta: “Everyone here is talking about why John Podesta refused to give the DNC server to the FBI and the CIA. Disgraceful!” At the G20, Trump and Putin met for 2:16 hours off-camera, behind closed doors. The meeting was originally scheduled to last 30 minutes.
Only Tillerson and Trump were present from the US side, despite media speculation that McMaster and Fiona Hill would be included. Lavrov and Tillerson gave different accounts of what happened behind closed doors. Lavrov said
Trump told Putin some circles in America were “exaggerating” allegations of Russian interference in the US election.
Sally Yates tweeted Trump’s refusal to confirm Russian interference“insults career intel pros & hinders our ability to prevent in future.” Tillerson’s version differed, but
both said they agreed to put whatever happened behind them: “ There was not a lot of re-litigating of the past.” Tillerson added, “ This is a very important relationship.” Russia faces no consequences from Trump for interfering in our election.
It was unclear if Trump returned the two Russian compounds seized by Obama as punishment for Russia interfering in our election. In an op-ed, “
Trump Caves to Putin,” conservative journalist Stephen Hayes laid out an indictment of how Trump bowed to Putin on Russian interference and foreign policy. Elected Republicans however were silent.
AP reported Saturday that Putin said, “ he thinks Trump believes his denial of Russian meddling in US vote, but better to ask Trump himself.”
Ivanka took her father’s seat at a G20 meeting on Saturday. Normally, government ministers or senior officials would take such a role.
Trump isolated the US from other G20 countries on a series of policies ranging from climate to free trade. The
US abstained from signing onto the G20 communique on climate-related issues, the sole country at the summit to do so. As the summit came to a close,
leaders feared for that the G20 summits may be ineffective while Trump is in office. President Macron said, “Our world has never been so divided.”
Artist: Subdude in London, England
Week 26 of donald trump’s presidency: Experts in authoritarianism advise to keep a list of things subtly changing around you, so you’ll remember.
May 13, 2017
What stands out in Week 26 is our normalization of a leader who bold-faced lies to us, and the ease with which Trump continues to indulge in this behavior. We’ve entered uncharted territory: Trump fired the FBI director in charge of investigating him and his regime’s ties to Russia, and admitted he did so because of the investigation.
The other take-away of Week 26 is what you missed. We’re in such a state of constant chaos, it’s easy to overlook the ways the Trump regime continues to tear the fabric of our values, to loot every cent they can, and to move us further away from democracy.
Despite Russian involvement,
Macron defeated Le Pen handily in France’s presidential election, marking the third European country (Austria, Netherlands) to reject the Trump-like candidate since the US election. A shocking
Guardian article detailed the use of data to influence the outcome of Brexit and the US election. Names tied to the scandal include Trump, Farage, Thiel, Bannon, and Mercer and his Cambridge Analytica.
The article also warned that the Trump regime is already weaponizing US data for future elections, citing the company that helped Trump win has “been awarded contracts in the Pentagon and the US state.” While in Beijing for a meeting with potential investors for the family’s
New Jersey project, Kushner’s sister mentioned Jared and the EB-5 visa program to market the investment. EB-5 visas allow immigrants a path to a green card for investing $500,000 in a project that creates US jobs.
The Kushner family later apologized after being accused of kleptocracy by the media. A WAPO researcher who attended the meeting tweeted, “
I was threatened, harassed and forced to delete recordings and photos of The Kushner family recruiting Chinese investors in US Green cards.” Page said he would
no longer cooperate with the Senate Intel Comm’s request, saying he wants information he requested on the “unjustified civil rights violations by the Clinton/Obama regime.” Eric Trump reportedly told a reporter back in 2014, when asked about funding golf courses, “
Well, we don’t rely on American banks. We have all the funding we need out of Russia.” Eric Trump later denied having said this, but Donald Jr. had similarly said at a real estate conference in 2008: “
We see a lot of money pouring in from Russia.”
Trump-connected lobbyists are making millions at major companies and foreign governments by touting their access to the Trump regime.
Goldman Sachs hired a top Trump campaign staffer, David Urban, as a lobbyist. Eight Senate Democrats asked regulators to investigate
whether Trump friend Carl Icahn violated insider trading laws in the biofuel market. Wilbur Ross doubled down on the Trump regime rhetoric with Canada on tariffs on Canadian softwood lumber, and warned Canada that “
threats of retaliatory action” are “inappropriate.”
Nikki Haley issued a strong statement on Venezuela, citing Maduro’s ‘disregard for the fundamental rights of his own people.’ As Venezuela’s state-owned oil company donated $500k to Trump inauguration, the rest of the regime has been silent. The State Depart
has yet to resume daily press briefings. Chicago mayor Rahm Emanuel
revived the deleted EPA climate change webpage, which as cited in Week 24 was mysteriously taken down on a Friday night, and put the information up on Chicago’s website. Minutes after an
ABC reporter asked Spicer why Trump’s campaign website still calls for a Muslim ban, that reference was deleted. Despite Trump’s promises to keep jobs in the US, Indiana’s Rexnord — in Pence’s home state nearby Carrier which Trump visited to much ballyhoo —
is moving jobs to Mexico. Trump tweeted to blame Obama. On
CBS’s “60 Minutes,” residents in Granger, IN l amented their neighbor, who had no criminal record and had been in the US for 20-years, being deported and separated from his wife and children, who are all citizens.
AP reported the Trump regime targeted Haitian immigrants, seeking evidence of crimes as an excuse to deport them. A bill that passed the Texas house would
allow adoption agencies to reject families on the basis of religion or sexual orientation. Dan Heyman, a
Public News Service reporter, was arrested Tuesday night in West Virginia for persistently asking Secretary Price questions.
Price commended the police who arrested the journalist. EPA dismissed five scientists from a major scientific review board, and
replaced them with representatives from industries the EPA regulates. Later in the week,
two EPA science board members resigned in protest. Trump signed an EO creating
a commission on ‘election integrity’ to re-examine Hillary’s 3 million vote win and “fraud.” The commission will be led by Pence and noted xenophobe Kobach of Kansas.
Rep Lewis issued a statement on the commission, saying “It’s only been 54 years since we were jailed, beaten, and killed for trying to cast a vote.” Reversing progress,
Sessions instituted a tougher new criminal charging and sentencing policy — a noted failure from the 1980 and 1990s. Sessions policy will disproportionately impact people of color.
ICE arrested 1,378 suspected “gang members” in what Fox Newscharacterized as the largest gang sweep ever.
Trump tweeted that China ‘just agreed that the U.S. will be allowed to sell beef, and other major products’ into China again. This deal was brokered by Obama last September.
FP reported on Bannon’s attempts to get NSA McMaster fired, calling it the WH “Games of Thrones for morons.” McMaster remains one of the few Trump senior officials who was not part of the campaign. When asked about NSC’s duties at a daily press briefing, McMaster said “
a lot of what we do at the NSC is trying to keep up with the President.” During the day of the Yates/Clapper hearing, Trump sent a total of 7 tweets at Yates, including one from the @POTUS account.
CNN anchors Dana Bash and John King likened
Trump’s tweets ahead of the hearing to “witness intimidation.” Yates testified that she met with WH counsel McGahn twice to warn him that
Flynn had lied to Pence about his conversations with the Russian envoy and therefore Pence’s public statements were false. Yates warned McGahn that Flynn was compromised and could be blackmailed by the Russians.
Yates met with McGahn on January 26 and 27, and was fired on Monday, January 30, allegedly for saying she would not defend the Muslim ban. Despite her warning,
Flynn remained as Trump NSA for 18 days, sitting in on important foreign meetings and receiving classified information. The day after the Yates/Clapper hearing, Sen Graham said based on what he heard,
he wants to investigate Trump’s business dealings. After
Trump blamed Obama for Flynn having security clearance, NBC reported Flynn never received the broader security clearance required for an NSA. Trump briefly changed his Twitter cover Monday night to a statement that Clapper said ‘
there is “no evidence” of collusion w/Russia and Trump.’ Trump repeated this lie all week, including in a Friday morning tweet. On Friday, Clapper told Andrea Mitchell that
he didn’t say what Trump claimed.
ProPublica reported that part of Comey’s testimony to the Senate Judiciary Comm on Huma Abedin was inaccurate. The FBI issued corrections just hours before Trump fired Comey. Following Clapper’s testimony on Monday, t
he Senate Intel Comm asked Treasury Dept agency FinCEN for more information on Trump’s business dealings.
WSJ reported Friday FinCEN will provide info on businesses owned by Trump and family members to the Senate Intel Comm and the FBI. Ranking member Wyden is interested in shell companies and money laundering through property transfers.
Vanity Fair reported that FBI sources said there are multiple inquiries in progress, including the cyber investigation and the business side. Bharara would have been investigating the business side as US AG SDNY. Late Friday night, the
US Attorney SDNY Twitter account tweeted from acting AG Kim, ‘We will not allow the US financial system to be used to launder proceeds of crimes committed anywhere-here or in Russia.’ On Friday,
a bi-partisan group of 178 former US AGs and asst US AGs of SDNY wrote a letter to Rosenstein calling for a Special Prosecutor Law firm Morgan, Lewis & Bockius provided a letter showing Trump has limited business dealings with Russia.
ABC reported Morgan, Lewis has deep ties to Russia and received a “Russia Law Firm of the Year” award in 2016. Trump’s initial stated basis for firing Comey was a letter from AG Sessions and Deputy AG Rosenstein, relating to Hillary’s emails. Of note, Sessions had agreed to recuse himself from the Trump-Russia investigation.
Comey became the third person, after Yates and Bharara,
fired by Trump while investigating him. Mary McCord who was the DOJ assistant AG overseeing the Trump-Russia probe also resigned without explanation. Shortly after the firing,
CNN reported grand jury subpoenas for business records have been issued to Flynn as part of the FBI’s Russia investigation. The
Senate Intel Comm also subpoenaed Flynn after he declined to comply with their April 28th letter unless he was offered immunity Trump’s
popularity hit a new low in a Quinnipiac poll: 36% approve, 58% disapprove. The poll was conducted before the Comey firing. The morning after firing Comey,
Tillerson and then Trump met with Russian Foreign Minister Lavrov.
Lavrov scolded Andrea Mitchell for asking Tillerson a question — “Who was giving you your manners, you know?” Tillerson did not intervene. Trump’s meeting took place at the WH, and included Lavrov and Kislyak.
Photo credited to Russian news agency TASS emerged, showing of a joyous meeting. US media was excluded from both meetings. The WH readout of the meeting with Lavrov
did not mention Kislyak. If not for Russian new agency photos, no one would know he was there.
POLITICO reported the idea to exclude US press came from Putin. As did the insistence for the meeting at the WH. The Senate Intelligence Committee
invited Comey to testify next Tuesday. He declined for now, saying he needed some time off first.
NYT reported that days before the firing, Comey had asked Deputy AG Rosenstein for a significant increase in resources for the FBI’s investigation into Russian interference in the US election. General Michael Hayden, former director of the CIA and NSA, said of Trump’s successive firing of Yates, Bharara and Comey, “
…it’s beginning to feel a little bit like Nicaragua around here.”
FT said of Comey’s firing, “ Putin chalked up another victory,” as Trump’s action resembles that of a non-democracy. Trump claimed that
he followed the recommendation of his Deputy AG Rosenstein that Comey be fired over his handling of Hillary’s emails. By the next day, leaks led to multiple stories which contradicted that claim. This story would change again and again in the coming days — leaving surrogates having lied to the media. Pence said Trump fired Comey at the
“recommendation of the Deputy AG,” seven times during a presser.
WAPO reported that in fact Trump made a decision to fire Comey, and then met with Sessions and Rosenstein to craft a plan for how. Trump was totally unprepared for the media explosion and political backlash. Trump himself said in a
NBC interview Thursday that he was thinking about the Russia investigation when he fired Comey, saying “…Russia is a made up story.”
WAPO also reported that Trump was angry that Comey would not back his false Obama wiretapping claim, and that Comey focused on the Trump-Russia probe and not leaks.
Reuters reported that Trump was infuriated that Comey would not preview his Senate testimony for Trump, Sessions and Rosenstein ahead of the May 3rd hearing.
NYT reported that Trump and Comey’s dislike each another. Comey told associated that Trump was “outside the realm of normal,” even “crazy.”
WSJ reported that Comey had started getting daily instead of weekly briefings in the past three weeks due to potential evidence of collusion.
WSJ also reported that on Monday, Comey briefed lawmakers on his request to boost the investigation, and requested additional personnel from Rosenstein. In an open-letter to Rosenstein,
20 attorney generals called for an independent investigation, saying Trump’s firing of Comey was a violation of the public trust.
Trump abandoned plans to visit the FBI after the Comey firing. According to NBC, Trump was told agents might not provide a warm reception.
McClatchy reported Comey sought to expand his Trump-Russia probe to include Manafort, citing Manafort earned $80–100mm for political and business consulting work done for clients, including a Russian billionaire. Rachel Maddow reported that despite earlier indications he would do so, Manafort has yet to register as a foreign agent. Also, Sessions would not confirm if he has recused himself from matters involving Manafort.
WSJ reported the Justice Dept requested Manafort’s bank records as part of a probe into the Trump campaign’s possible collusion with Russia in the 2016 election.
WSJ also reported that NY AG Schneiderman and Manhattan DA Vance have been examining real-estate transactions by Mr. Manafort. On Thursday, acting FBI Director McCabe testified at a Sen Intel Comm open, televised hearing. McCabe said
he will not update the WH on the Russian investigation. McCabe contradicted the Trump regime’s assertion that Comey was not well-liked at the FBI, saying “
the vast majority of employees enjoyed a deep, positive connection to Director Comey.” Also contradicting WH claims, McCabe called the Trump-Russia investigation “
highly significant.” Trump still claimed on Thursday that
he had spoken to Comey three times about whether he was under investigation. When Sen Collins asked if that would standard practice, McCabe answered, “It is not.”
POLITICO reported Rosenstein arrived at the Senate Intel Comm’s office while the open, televised hearing was taking place. Burr and Warner left the hearing, for what Burr said was a meeting “we can’t push off.” Sarah Flores,
DOJ spokesperson lied that the meeting with Burr was previously planned, and is “nothing unusual.”
NYT reported that at a WH dinner shortly after Trump took office, at Trump’s request, Comey declined to pledge his loyalty or discuss the Trump-Russia investigation. The dinner took place on January 27,
the day after Yates initially informed the WH counsel that Flynn was compromised and subject to blackmail. Rudy Giuliani, who was also photographed at Trump Hotel DC the night of the Comey firing,
was given a May 19 deadline by a judge in Detroit to produce his memo for Trump on the Muslim Ban. In a series of erratic early morning tweets Friday, Trump threatened to cease press daily briefings, and tweeted ‘
Comey better hope that there are no “tapes” of our conversations before he starts leaking to the press!’ A source close to Comey said he is “
not worried about any tapes.”
Presidential historian Michael Beschloss noted in a tweet, “Presidents are supposed to have stopped routinely taping visitors without their knowledge when Nixon’s taping system was revealed in 1973.” Top House and Senate Democrats demanded that
Trump release any tapes of communication between he and Comey. Chaffetz asked the DOJ Inspector General to look at Comey’s firing. Democrats also asked him to look into whether Sessions has recused himself and whether the FBI investigation into Russia is properly staffed.
Durbin and Feinstein called on Rosenstein to resign if he refuses to appoint a special counsel. Klobuchar said Senators plan next week to further push this demand in close doored meetings.
On the backs of visit by Duterte and the Russian envoy,
Trump will host brutal authoritarian Erdogan for a WH visit on May 16.
Bumper sticker in a car window in Cocoa Beach, FL 11may17
Week 24 of Donald Trump’s presidency: Experts in authoritarianism advise to keep a list of things subtly changing around you, so you’ll remember.
April 29, 2017
Today marks day 100 of the Trump regime. Despite the Republicans having control of the House and Senate, Trump has yet to tally a single legislative accomplishment. He was obsessive this week in pushing for Trumpcare 3 ahead of the 100-day mark; but the Resistance, which continues to grow in number and fervor, headed him off.
And all the while, the drumbeat of Russia grows louder. This week, Speaker Ryan acknowledged Russian interference. Trump’s involvement has evolved from a “Trump-Russia probe” to a “Trump-Russia scandal,” and this week, to a “Trump-Russia cover-up.” As this unfolds, concern grows that Trump will seek to distract attention by starting a war. The one constant throughout the weeks is Trump’s attempts to enrich himself and his regime through a growing list of conflicts of interest and corruption.
acknowledged that Russia interfered with our election, and said US probes could help our allies prevent similar interference. As Le Pen advanced to the French presidential election runoff,
Putin is using many of the tools successfully employed in the US to target France.
WikiLeaks released more top-secret CIA documents. Our media has by and large stopped covering the WikiLeaks document dumps. A group of psychiatrists at a conference held at Yale Medical School cited a “
Duty to Warn” about Trump being dangerously ill. Of the
ten items listed on Trump’s contract with the American people for the first 100 days of his administration, he accomplished none of them. The State Department and two US embassies
promoted Mar-a-Lago on their website with a 400-word blog post. After public outrage, the post was removed.
NYT reported the State Department is likely to remain largely unstaffed into 2018. Trump has yet to fill 200 leadership jobs which require Senate confirmation. Tillerson is taking no action either. Similarly, as the Trump regime launched its tax plan,
the Treasury Department does not have a single confirmed appointee in positions tasked with reforming the tax code. Trump’s tax reform plan was launched with Mnuchin
handing out a one-pager with broad details and no numbers. Democrats, including former Obama ethics chief Norm Eisen noted
Trump’s tax reform could save him hundreds of millions of dollars. Without tax returns, it’s impossible to know his total benefit. Beyond State, the slow pace of nominations in the first 100 days
has left cabinet agencies in limbo. Only 26 of the 556 senior positions which require Senate confirmation have been filled. Haley was the only member of the Trump regime
to condemn the abuse and killings of gay men in the Russian republic of Chechnya. Days later, the State Department said they want to clear her remarks in advance. UN diplomats were invited to the WH, but
Tillerson was not included. Haley was there, and Trump publicly threatened to fire her, “ Does everybody like Nikki? Good, otherwise she could easily be replaced.” In his first 100 days, Trump has an unprecedented number (15) of
appointees who got fired, withdrew or quit. Carl Bernstein said there is a “serious belief” in the FBI and Congress that there is an
active cover-up underway by the Trump regime of their involvement with Russia. On Monday,
Yahoo reported that t he Senate Intelligence Committee’s Russia probe had stalled due to lack of staffing and Sen Burr’s unwillingness to sign off on witness requests. Democrats in the Senate Intelligence Committee hired
April Doss, the former head of intelligence law at the NSA. Burr refused to bring on additional staffing, saying staffing levels were already sufficient.
Trump picked ally Dana Boente to take over the Justice Department unit’s probe of Trump-Russia. Boente was last named by Trump as an interim acting-AG on the Monday Night Massacre (firing of Yates). On Tuesday,
POLITICO reported that Flynn’s lobbying work for Turkey came to him via Dmitri Zairian, a Russian with ties to the Putin regime. The
WH denied a request by House Oversight Committee leaders Chaffetz and Cummings to release documents related to Flynn. Shortly thereafter, Chaffetz and Cummings addressed the press, saying
Flynn may have broken the law by not disclosing payments from Russia. The next day, Chaffetz
posted an explanation on Facebook of why he was leaving office, citing a foot injury. His explanation was met with much skepticism. Friday, Cummings said the
WH is “covering up” for Flynn. Sen Blumenthal said there is “ powerful, mounting, incontrovertible evidence” of a violation of criminal law. The Pentagon’s internal watch dog group
opened an investigation into whether Flynn took payments from foreign governments after leaving the military. Democrats on the House Oversight Committee released documents showing
the Pentagon warned Flynn not to take foreign payments without advance approval from the military. Flynn did not seek approval.
Spicer blamed Obama for Flynn having security clearance, neglecting the fact that Obama fired Flynn, and Trump appointed him to NSA.
NBC reported the Trump team did do a background check on Flynn as part of him becoming NSA. Despite their public denials, senior transition team members like Pence and Sessions would have seen the information. Michael Cohen said
he may sue , which includes allegations that Cohen traveled to Prague in August to meet with Russians. Buzzfeed for publishing the Steele dossier
The Guardian reported that Steele had also alerted the UK government with two memos about collusion between Trump and Russia. His contact in the US appears to have been with McCain, not Comey.
Steele’s memo also reported that four members of the Trump regimetravelled to Prague for secret discussion with the Kremlin in August/September 2016 on how to pay hackers for penetrating the Democratic party computer systems. Peter Severa, a Russian hacker whose wife said he was “linked to Trump’s win” in Week 22, was
indicted in Bridgeport, CT on eight counts related to the Kelihos botnet malware. Rep Ciciline, a ranking member of the House Judiciary Committee, requested
the Inspector General open an investigation into the firings of Yates and Bharara. Yates will testify on May 8th in a Senate hearing. Trump made
16 false claims in a bizarre interview with AP. He also made at least 15 comments which AP classified as “unintelligible.” Also in the AP interview, Trump
bragged about getting highest ratings since 9/11 coverage. Trump said he planned to keep on his controversial press secretary, Spicer, because “
the guy gets great ratings.” After a second EO was blocked, Trump said he would
“absolutely” consider proposals to break-up the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals. This threat was compared to the type of action of a dictator might take. The
Trump regime set up a VOICE (Victims of Immigration Crime Engagement) hotline for callers to report on immigrants. The hotline was flooded with calls with reports of space aliens. A federal judge in
San Francisco temporarily blocked the Trump regime efforts to withhold money from sanctuary cities.
WAPO reported on ICE data which shows half of the immigrants arrested had no criminal convictions or had committed traffic offenses. Supreme Court Justice Roberts spoke out against Trump’s immigration plan, describing the regime’s interpretation as “prosecutorial abuse” for
making it easy to strip citizenship for even lying about minor infractions. Trump’s Muslim Ban suffered another setback as the 9
th Circuit Court of Appeals denied his request for an 11-member court review. A report by the ADL revealed that
anti-Semitic incidents in the US rose by 86% in the first three months of 2017, over the same period last year. Trump proposed budget
would strip all funding from a State Department bureau that promotes the rights of women around the world.
A Trump supporter stormed a cafeteria at a Kentucky university and asked about political affiliation, before stabbing two women. Trump’s USDA
rolled back Michelle Obama’s school nutrition standards. Mnuchin said Trump will not release his tax returns, adding Trump “
has given more financial disclosure than anybody else.”
NYT reported that Kushner recently financed real-estate transactions in NYC through the Steinmetz family, who are under investigation for bribing a government official in Guinea to secure mining rights. The investigator who found Florida AG Bondi did nothing wrong by accepting $25k of campaign cash and then dropping the investigation of Trump U,
ignored key evidence already unearthed.
POLITICO reported that Lewandowki’s DC firm is offering foreign clients in-person meetings with Trump, Pence and other senior regime members.
HuffPost’s Christina Wilkie compiled a public spreadsheet to identify $107mm of donations to Trump inauguration. Discrepancies have been found, and the regime has yet to explain where unspent monies went.
Ivanka was booed for defending her father at a conference for female business leaders in Berlin.
WAPO reported that workers endured long hours and low pay working at factories used by Ivanka’s company in China. Facebook revealed
fake accounts were used on its platform to sway the US election. Facebook also indicated its findings do “not contradict” the January 6 report issued by the US Director of National Intelligence. Commerce Secretary Ross said the Trump regime would
impose a 20% tariff on Canadian softwood lumber. On Wednesday morning,
Trump said he was considering withdrawing from NAFTA. By the evening, amidst confusion and without a reasonable explanation, he changed course and said the US would remain. Trump ceremoniously summoned the entire US Senate onto a bus to the WH for a closed-door meeting on N Korea. To
the Senators’ frustration, nothing was offered beyond public information. Stagecraft. Trump gave another
disturbing 100-day interview to , for which the first headline to break was “ Reuters there is a chance of a ‘major, major conflict with North Korea.”’ Trump also bemoaned to
Reuters about missing his past life, and added, “ This is more work than in my previous life. I thought it would be easier.“
Trump brought a printed map handout to his Reuters interview to showcase his electoral win. Trump also asked
WAPO in his 100-day interview t o put his electoral college handout on their front page. The
US economy grew at just 0.7% in the first quarter, the weakest showing in three years. Expectedly, Trump did not comment or tweet. The Resistance claimed another victory as Trumpcare 3 failed to muster support in the House, despite the GOP’s 47 seat advantage.
Fallout from the O’Reilly ouster continued, as
CNN reported FoxNews is now under federal investigation by USPIS and the Justice Department for settlement payments and the overall environment at the network. A new CNN/OCR poll found that
2/3 of Americans do not believe Trump is honest and trustworthy. Koi, the restaurant in Trump Soho,
became the latest Trump business to suffer a decline in business and close. Unlike Trump Hotel DC, Koi didn’t have the benefit of foreign diplomats patronizing it to win favor. The Trump regime announced Friday that the EPA website would be undergoing changes, and then
removed climate science from public view. The White House Correspondents’ Dinner will go on without Trump tonight. He will
instead hold a campaign rally in Pennsylvania.
All photos taken by me as I walked the streets of NYC & Philadelphia in March & April 2017:
Mo loch [ moh-lok, mol– uh k] noun 1. a deity whose worship was marked by the propitiatory sacrifice of children by their own parents. II Kings 23:10; Jer. 32:35. 2. anything conceived of as requiring appalling sacrifice: the Moloch of war. ( 3. ) lowercase a spiny agamid lizard, Moloch horridus, of Australian deserts, that resembles the horned lizard.
Please come back next week for “Politiks of Graffiti 26!”