Week 48 of trump’s presidency: Experts in authoritarianism advise to keep a list of things subtly changing around you, so you’ll remember.
October 14, 2017 https://medium.com/@Amy_Siskind/week-48-experts-in-authoritarianism-advise-to-keep-a-list-of-things-subtly-changing-around-you-so-e8a21132e25a
This week, starting with ominous statements by Sen. Corker, numerous accounts by Trump aides and Republican insiders leaked to the media describing Increasingly, a WH in peril. seems Trump isolated, erratic, unmoored and unfit for office.
Amid criticism, Trump threatened to pull out, but later backed off. Although the death count officially stands at 45, reporting revealed possibly hundreds more preventable deaths related to the Hurricane Maria. The humanitarian crisis in Puerto Rico worsened with the inadequate response by the federal government.
He continues to focus on undoing Obama’s legacy, piece-by-piece. The Mueller investigation hit Trump’s inner-circle, and social media’s role in aiding Russia continues to unfold. Trump remains silent on both California’s deadliest wildfires and the deadliest combat incident since he took office.
On Saturday night,
Richard Spencer led another white supremacist torch-lit rally at University of Virginia. The rally lasted 10 minutes and 40–50 people attended. Spencer vowed, “we will keep coming back.” On Sunday,
Trump attacked former ally Corker in a series of incendiary tweets, saying “Corker “begged” me to endorse him for re-election” and “wanted to be Secretary of State.” Trump claimed to have said no to both.
Corker responded, tweeting it’s a shame the WH has become an “adult day care center,” and that someone “missed their shift this morning.” On Sunday,
Pence left a Colts game after a protest during the national anthem. Pence later issued a full statement opposing the protests. The Colts were playing the 49ers, a team known to protest. Before the game, Pence tweeted a photo of he and the Second Lady wearing Colts gear.
The photo was one he originally tweeted in 2014. Shortly after,
Trump tweeted he had asked Pence to leave the game “if any players kneeled,” and said he was proud of Pence and the Second Lady. The pool of
journalists covering Pence were not allowed into the stadium, and were told, “there may be an early departure from the game.” ABCestimated Pence’s flight cost taxpayers nearly $250k. Bowing to pressure from Trump, the Cowboy’s Jerry Jones, after kneeling with players in week 3 of the season,
changed course saying any player who “disrespects the flag” by kneeling will not be allowed to play. On Tuesday,
Trump threatened the NFL over protests saying the league is “getting massive tax breaks” and the law should be changed. This claim is false: the NFL gave up its 501(c)(6) tax-exempt status in 2015. On Tuesday, bowing to pressure from Trump and fans, NFL Commissioner Goodell, who previously had said players had the right to voice their opinions,
sided with owners opposed to letting players demonstrate. On Monday, Pence headlined a fundraiser in CA
for Republicans including controversial, Kremlin-ally Rohrabacher. Rohrabacher had a previously undisclosed meeting in Russia with Veselnitskaya described in Week 47. University of Wisconsin
approved a policy which calls for suspending or expelling students who disrupt campus speeches and presentations. The policy mirrors Republican legislation passed by the state Assembly. On Columbus Day, unlike Obama, Trump celebrated the “arrival of Europeans,” but
did not mention of the suffering of Native Americans. On Sunday, the
Trump’s DHS allowed the Jones Act waiver, which helped speed relief to Puerto Rico, to expire. No explanation was given. Trump’s EPA announced it would
repeal the Clean Power Plan, Obama’s signature policy to curb greenhouse gas emissions from power plants. The statement described the regulation as the “so-called Clean Power Plan.” On Friday,
Trump addressed the Value Voters Summit hosted by Family Research Council, which has been classified by SPLC as an anti-gay hate group. Trump is the first US leader to address the group.
Reuters reported the Trump regime has been quietly cutting support for halfway houses for federal prisoners, severing contracts with as many as 16 facilities, necessitating some inmates stay behind bars longer.
ABC reported the Treasury Dept’s inspector general is looking into allegations reported by BuzzFeed in Week 47 that agency officials have been illegally looking at private financial records of US citizens. A report compiled by the Government Accountability Office (GAO) at House and Senate Democrats’ request,
found the Trump transition team ignored ethics officials and refused to cooperate with the GAO. Trump named Kathleen Hartnett White to the WH’s Council on Environmental Quality. Hartnett White,
a climate science denier, once also said, “fossil fuels dissolved the economic justification for slavery.” In response to a filing by CREW, Trump’s
DOJ told a court in DC that Trump can destroy records without judicial review, including tweets. Brian Brooks became the
second candidate under consideration for deputy Treasury Secretary to withdraw from consideration. Mnuchin said he has no plans to fill the number two slot in his agency.
WAPO reported at the Interior Dept, when Zinke enters the building a staffer takes the elevator to the seventh floor, climbs the stairs to the roof and puts up a special flag. The flag comes down when he leaves. On Wednesday,
NBC reported Tillerson calling Trump a “moron” was provoked by Trump suggesting a tenfold increase in the US nuclear arsenalduring a July 20 meeting with the high-ranking national security leaders. In response to the story which he called “Fake News,”
Trump tweeted a threat to revoke the broadcasting licenses of “NBC and the Networks.” Later that afternoon, at a news conference,
Trump again lashed out at the independent news media saying it’s “frankly disgusting the press is able to write whatever it wants to write.” In a statement Wednesday night,
Republican Sen. Sasse asked Trump if he was “recanting” his oath to protect the First Amendment. Indiana Republican lawmaker Jim Lucas drafted a
bill that would require professional journalists to be licensed by state police. Under pressure to confirm Trump’s judicial nominees,
McConnell will no longer allow “blue slips,” used by senators to deny a nominee from their state a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing and vote on confirmation. The Trump regime
withdrew from United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), citing anti-Israel bias and a being in arrears on a $550MM payment. Israel remains part of UNESCO.
NYT published an interview with Corker in which he said Trump is treating his office like a “reality show” with reckless threats at other country that could put our country “on the path to World War III.” Corker said he is concerned about Trump, and Trump’s behavior should concern “anyone who cares about our nation.” He added there is
no ‘good cop, bad cop’ underway with Tillerson — Trump is undermining diplomacy. Corker said
nearly all Senate Republican share his concerns: “the vast majority of our caucus understands what we’re dealing with here.”
WAPO reported Trump is frustrated by his cabinet and that he is not getting enough credit for his handling of three hurricanes. Trump is lashing out and rupturing alliances with both Republicans and Democrats. One confidant said
Trump is like a whistling teapot, saying when he does not blow off steam, he can turn into a pressure cooker and explode: “I think we are in pressure cooker territory.”
POLITICO quoted 10 sources current and former WH aides who employed strategies like delays and distractions as “guardrails” in trying to manage Trump’s impulsivity.
Vanity Fair reported sources say Trump is “unstable,” “losing a step,” and “unraveling.” They say the WH is in crisis as advisers struggle to contain Trump who is increasingly unfocused and consumed by dark moods. Trump allegedly
told his former bodyguard Schiller, “I hate everyone in the White House!” Kelly is allegedly miserable in the job, and is staying on in a sense of duty and to keep Trump from making disastrous decisions. One former official speculated Kelly and Mattis have
discussed what they would do if Trump ordered a nuclear strike — “would they tackle him?” According to sources, Bannon said the risk to Trump’s presidency wasn’t impeachment, but the
25th Amendment. Bannon thinks Trump has only a 30% chance of making it the full term. In a column “What Bob Corker Sees in Trump,” conservative columnist Peggy Noonan urged
Republicans they have a duty to speak on the record about what they see happening with Trump. On Thursday, at a signing ceremony for his health care executive order,
Trump nearly walked out of the room without signing the order. Pence pulled him back in. On Tuesday, Tump said in an interview with
Forbes that he could beat Tillerson in an IQ test. Trump met with Tillerson later that day at the WH. On Friday,
Corker called out Trump for his effort to disempower Tillerson saying: “You cannot publicly castrate your own secretary of state without giving yourself that binary choice.”
CNN’s Fareed Zakaria said, “ It’s very clear now that we essentially have no diplomacy going on in the United States,” adding the way Trump has treated Tillerson is “the most dramatic example of it.” On
CBS’s “60 Minutes,” Parscale claimed he fine-tuned ads on Facebook to directly reach voters with the exact messages they cared most about. He also claimed he handpicked Republican Facebook employees to help.
Daily Beast reported the Kremlin recruited two black video bloggers, Williams and Kalvin Johnson, to produce incendiary YouTube videos calling Hillary a racist. The videos were spread on social media platforms.
WAPO reported Google has uncovered evidence about $100k of ads purchased by Russian agents to spread disinformation on across the company’s many products, including YouTube, during the 2016 election. Google said the
ads do not appear to be from the same Kremlin-linked troll farm that bought ads on Facebook. Some ads touted Trump, Sanders and Stein, while others aimed to fan the flames of divisive issues. Nunes, who recused himself as Chair of the House Intel Comm’s Russia probe,
unilaterally signed off on subpoenas to Fusion GPS, the research firm that produced the Steele dossier. Democrats were not consulted.
Reuters reported Grassley, the Republican chair of the Senate Judiciary Comm, is also taking steps to discredit the dossier according to Democrats on the committee. Carter Page told the Senate Intel Comm that
he will not cooperate with any requests to appear before the panel on Russia, and will plead the Fifth.
Daily Beast reported the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence is looking at Cambridge Analytica’s work from the Trump campaign as part of its Russian probe. Cambridge Analytica, which has
ownership ties to the Mercers and Bannon, was brought in to help the campaign by Kushner. The company is also under investigation in the UK watchdog for its role in Brexit.
NYT reported Israel caught Kaspersky Lab working with the Russian government to search the world for US secrets, using Kaspersky software to scan for classified words. Kaspersky software is used by 400MM people.
WSJ reported that Russia’s use of the Kaspersky program to spy on the US is broader and more pervasive than the operation against one individual in Week 47. Trump continues to deny Russian meddling in the US election.
POLITICO reported as part their posture to cooperate, Trump’s attorneys may offer Mueller a meeting with Trump. If Mueller doesn’t ask by Thanksgiving, attorneys may force the issue by volunteering his time. Legal experts were
surprised by Trump’s lawyers strategy noting Trump would be speaking under oath and he routinely distorts facts, and that Trump would be interviewed in connection with a criminal investigation.
CNN reported Russian operatives used YouTube, Tumblr and even Pokémon Go as part of their effort to interfere in the election, using a campaign titled “Don’t Shoot Us” to spread a divisive message.
NBC reported Manafort had a previously undisclosed $26MM loan from Deripaska through a series of transactions. It is unclear if the $26MM is a loan or an indirect payment from the Russian oligarch. The loan brings the
total financial relationship between Manafort and Deripaska to $60MM over the past decade, according to financial documents filed in Cyprus and the Cayman Islands.
Manafort’s spokesman, Jason Maloni, initially responded to including: “Mr. Manafort is not indebted to former clients today, nor was he at the time he began working for the Trump campaign.” NBC with a statement Maloni’s statement was
later revised and that sentence was removed. Both Manafort and Maloni have received subpoenas to supply documents and testimony in the Mueller probe.
Yahoo reported Andrew Feinberg, fmr correspondent for Sputnik, provided a guide and emails to FBI investigators looking into possible violations of the law which requires agents of foreign nations to register with the DOJ. Further, the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence is investigating
in the broader probe into Russia’s election meddling. RT and Sputnik as possible parts of the Russia state run propaganda machine On Friday
, Mueller’s team interviewed Trump’s former chief of staff, Priebus. Priebus’ lawyer said he voluntarily met with investigators and “was happy to answer all of their questions.” Priebus was
present during Trump’s efforts to limit the Russia probe, and for discussions that led to the firing of Comey. He was also asked to leave the Oval Office before the infamous Trump-Comey conversation.
POLITICO reported Twitter deleted tweets and other user data of potentially irreplaceable value to investigators in the Russia probe. Federal investigators believe
Twitter was one of Russia’s most potent weapons. Bots and fake accounts launched recurring waves of pro-Trump, anti-Clinton story lines that were either false or greatly exaggerated.
AP reported Twitter has turned over 201 accounts linked to Russian attempts at influencing the 2016 election to Senate investigators. It is unclear if the posts associated with these accounts have been deleted.
CNN reported an attorney for Roger Stone said he has complied with the House Intel Comm request to provide the identity of his intermediary to WikiLeaks’ Assange.
WSJ reported Congressional investigators are homing in on connections between the Trump campaign, and Facebook and Twitter. Digital director Parscale was paid $88MM during the campaign, the highest paid vendor. Every
vendor that worked with Parscale on the Trump campaign signed a nondisclosure agreement, and there are no federal disclosure requirements for online ads. Both Congress and Mueller are investigating the role activity on Facebook and Twitter played in the 2016 election, and
whether the Russian social-media activity was in any connected to the Trump campaign. A Morning Consult poll found
Trump’s approval has fallen in every state since he took office. The swings were as high as 30 percentage points in blue-states IL and CA, to 11 points in red-state LA. A
Reuters/Ipsos poll found Trump’s popularity is eroding in small towns and rural communities: in September 47 approve/47 disapprove, down from 55/39 in his first four weeks in office. WAPO reported as of October 10, Trump’s
first 263 days in office, he has made 1,318 false or misleading claims. The Brookings Institute released a 108-page report which
concluded Trump “likely obstructed justice” in his firing of Comey. If Mueller agrees, there are legitimate articles of impeachment that could be drawn up. In a letter to Mattis,
over 100 Democrats are demanding proof that Trump did indeed consult with the Pentagon as he claimed in a tweet, prior to announcing his ban of transgender individuals from military service. A Kaiser Foundation poll found
62% of Americans say Puerto Ricans aren’t getting the help they need. 76% were aware Puerto Ricans are US citizens. On Thursday, in a series of tweets,
Trump threatened to abandon Puerto Rico’s recovery effort, blaming the island for its infrastructure problems and saying and relief workers would not stay “in P.R. forever.” The
tweets follow harsh criticism from Puerto Rico of the Trump regime’s response to Hurricane Maria. One Puerto Rican said, “He doesn’t think of us as Americans.” Trump also quoted a Sharyl Attkisson, a television journalist with Sinclair Broadcasting, in saying that
while Puerto Rico survived Hurricane Maria, now “a financial crisis looms largely of their own making.” Later Thursday,
the WH issued a statement committing “the full force of the U.S. government” for now, but adding “successful recoveries do not last forever.” At a House Energy and Commerce hearing about efforts to rebuild the island’s energy grid,
Sec Perry referred to Puerto Rico as a country. Next day, Trump referred to the
Virgin Islands’ governor as a president.
VOX reported although the official death count in Puerto Rico is 45, they found 81 death linked to Hurricane Maria, as well as 450 more reported deaths, most of causes still unknown, and 69 still missing. Puerto Rico’s governor said
four deaths are being investigated as cases of leptospirosis, a disease spread by animals’ urine through contaminated water. A total of ten people have come down with the disease. Rachel Maddow reported a doctor resigned from the disaster response team in Puerto Rico after
seeing medical workers getting manicures and pedicures from residents of the island in medical triage tents.
NYT reported on Puerto Rico’s health care is in dire condition, and continues to suffer from mismanagement. The US Comfort ship with 800 medical personnel which can serve 250, has seen 82 patients in six days.
CNN reported Puerto Ricans are drinking water from a hazardous-waste site, having no other options for water. A POLITICO/Morning Consult poll found just
32% of registered voters think the federal government has done enough to help Puerto Rico.
Bloomberg revealed one of its reporters was inadvertently put on the Pentagon’s internal email list which detailed how to spin Hurricane Maria to convince the public that the government response was going well. On Thursday, Trump also signed an
executive order ending Obamacare subsidies for the poor. Not paying the subsidies could boost premiums for millions and send the health insurance exchanges into turmoil.
NPR estimated consumers who earn 400% of the federal poverty level — $48k for individuals or $98.4k for a family of four — will see their the cost of their plans rise by, on average, 20% nationwide. Doctors, hospitals, insurers, state insurance commissioners and patient advocates denounced Trump’s move. Trump actions
puts pressure on Congress to protect consumers from soaring premiums.
WSJ reported if Congress doesn’t succeed, WH aides said Trump “will claim victory” for ending the Iran deal, cutting billions in payments to health insurers, and deporting hundreds of thousands of immigrants. On Friday, a coalition of
attorneys general from 18 states and DC filed a lawsuit to block Trump’s halt to subsidy payments under Obamacare.
NYT reported as of Friday, Trump has taken 12 actions which could weaken Obamacare and curtail enrollment, including spreading negative news releases and posting infographics criticizing the health law. On Saturday,
Trump boasted on Twitter that health insurance companies’ stocks “plunged yesterday” after his steps to dismantle Obamacare. A Kaiser Health poll found
71% of Americans say the Trump regime should work to improve Obamacare, while just 21% say make it fail. On Friday, Trump slammed Iran as a “menace” and
called for “decertification” of the nuclear deal, Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPoA), saying Iran is “not living up to the spirit of the deal.” Trump sent the
deal back to Congress with a 60-day window to address its “many serious flaws” or see it “terminated.” Top officials on Trump’s national security team, including
Mattis and Tillerson said Iran has technically complied with its restrictions. The International Atomic Energy Association also confirmed compliance.
Daily Beast reported while McMaster also wanted to save the Iran Deal, Trump consulted Fox News’ Sean Hannity and fmr UN Ambassador John Bolton, two neoconservatives who pushed for decertification. The leaders of
Britain, Germany and France declared their commitment to stand by JCPoA. They deal was the culmination of 16 years of diplomacy. After being added to Trump’s travel ban,
Chad pulled its troops from the fight against Boko Haram in Niger. US officials had warned Trump his decision would have major consequences for the fight against terrorism. California’s deadliest wildfires charred more than 221,754 acres of land in Northern CA, and
left at least 35 dead and hundreds more missing. Trump has yet to publicly comment or tweet about the wildfires. Nor has Trump
publicly commented on the deadliest combat incident since he took office, which took place in Niger last Saturday while Trump was golfing. The ambush by ISIS left four soldiers dead and two wounded. As the week ended, 24 days after Hurricane Maria,
just 64% of Puerto Ricans had access to drinking water, and only 14.6% had electricity. Trump spent
his fourth weekend since Hurricane Maria golfing. On Saturday, he visited Trump National Golf Club in VA, his 72nd day of golf since taking office.
Artistic Expressions of PoLiTiKs found on the stReEts of New YoRk CiTy tHis moNth:
a print from Instagram
Suppose we suddenly wake up and see that what we thought to be this and that, ain’t this and that at all?
9oct17 Brooklyn NY
Week 47 of trump’s presidency: Experts in authoritarianism advise to keep a list of things subtly changing around you, so you’ll remember.
October 7, 2017 https://medium.com/@Amy_Siskind/week-47-experts-in-authoritarianism-advise-to-keep-a-list-of-things-subtly-changing-around-you-so-4d2a98d43d18
This was a dark week for our country, with the unfolding humanitarian crises in Puerto Rico and USVI, and the deadliest mass shooting in modern history in Las Vegas. Trump’s tin-ear and lack of empathy to these events were conspicuous in his ominous “calm before the storm” statement Thursday.
Amid the chaos, major stories broke on Kushner and Ivanka’s use of personal email accounts, all of which were surreptitiously moved to a Trump Organization server. Mueller’s Russia probe continued full-steam, and news of a meeting with Christopher Steele indicated the dossier is likely being used as a roadmap. As with every weekly list, this week rights and protections were taken away from women and marginalized communities.
Despite the humanitarian crisis in Puerto Rico, for a second weekend since Maria hit, Trump golfed Saturday and Sunday at Trump properties. DoD reported Saturday just
45% have drinking water and 5% have electricity. Late Saturday, the WH sent flattering readouts of Trump’s conversations with a former governor of Puerto Rico, and the governors of Puerto Rico and USVI.
Readouts are typically reserved for calls with foreign leaders. Trump sent his most tweets in a day since taking office on Saturday (25): continuing his manufactured battle with the NFL, and his attacks on the fake news and the Mayor of San Juan.
On Saturday, after his first tour of Puerto Rico, top general Jeffrey Buchanan, the DoD’s primary military liaison with FEMA, said
the damage there is “the worst I’ve ever seen.” Fourteen Democrats on the House Natural Resources Comm called for an
oversight hearing on the Trump regime’s handling of the Puerto Rico and USVI relief efforts. On Sunday night, in the
deadliest mass shooting in modern US history, one man who owned 47 guns killed 58 and wounded hundreds. Trump said the quick response of law enforcement was “ in many ways, a miracle.” In the aftermath of the shooting,
top trending stories on Facebook and Google promoted politicized fake news from unreliable sources like 4chanwhich claimed the shooter was a Democrat opposed to Trump. While refusing to the call the white male shooter a terrorist,
Trump referred to him as “a very sick man” and “demented.” The first bill Trump signed revoked Obama-era gun check for people with mental illness.
NBC obtained the Trump WH talking points distributed for the Las Vegas shooting. They include “thoughts and prayer,” “gather facts before making policy arguments,” and comparing it to Baltimore and Chicago murders. On Saturday, funding for
CHIP, the program which provided healthcare for 9mm children and pregnant women in low-income households, expired. No action was taken by Congress to renew it.
Two high school football players in Crosby, TX were kicked off their high school football team for protesting during the national anthem — one knelt and one for raised his fist. According to a reporter, at least
two NFL teams were said to be bowing to pressure by Trump, and plan to create policies requiring their players to stand during the national anthem. Joining Saudi Arabia, Iraq and the UAE, the
US voted against a UN Human Rights Council resolution that condemns the death penalty for consensual same-sex sexual acts. The resolution passed by a 27–13 margin. A judge in Texas ruled that
state officials would be violating state privacy laws if they handed over voters’ personal information to Trump’s Election Integrity Commission. The judge issued a temporary restraining order.
Trump’s DOJ is investigating affirmative action at Harvard. The revelation came to light after watchdog group American Oversight filed a FOIA request for information on affirmative action investigations at two schools. Brownsville, TX city commissioner
Cesar De Leon apologized after the release of a recording of his racist rant using the “n-word” about county and city officials. After initially refusing to, under pressure, he resigned.
BuzzFeed reported Trump regime lawyers asked a court to dismiss a lawsuit filed to halt Trump’s Transgender Military Ban, saying the Pentagon hasn’t finalized the details of the ban yet. Six transgender soldiers who are part of the lawsuit
say they have already suffered — their medical treatments have been canceled and their careers are being derailed — and hence they need immediate relief. On Wednesday,
Sessions rolled back an Obama-era policy which protected transgender workers from discrimination, saying “Title VII does not prohibit discrimination based on gender identity per se.” On Friday,
Trump rolled back Obamacare’s birth control mandate, allowing any employer to cite religious or moral objections to covering the cost of birth control for employees under their healthcare plan. On Friday,
Sessions issued new guidelines which instructed federal agencies and attorneys to protect religious liberty. The policy provides broad exemptions to discriminate against women and LGBTQ people.
ABC reported Sessions consulted with Alliance Defending Freedom, a Christian legal advocacy group that champions conservative causes, ahead of issuing the new guidelines. After Gov Brown signed a law limiting cooperation between local police and ICE in CA, the Trump regime said it will go after undocumented immigrants and
likely pick up “collateral” they were not initially targeting.
Mother Jones reported according to documents released by a federal court, Kobach tried to roll back voter protection by amending the National Voter Registration Act: adding requirements to make it harder to register to vote. On Tuesday, 14 days after Hurricane Maria decimated the island, Trump visited Puerto Rico. He
praised federal and local officials for the response, but purposefully excluded the Mayor of San Juan.
Trump complained about the costs of helping Americans in Puerto Rico, saying “you’ve thrown our budget a little out of whack because we’ve spent a lot of money.” Similar statements were not made about Texas or Florida. Trump
hailed the relief response as “incredible” and “great,” and bragged that “only 16 people are known to have died,” many less than Katrina. Hours later, the death count rose to 34. In an image that became symbolic of his trip to Puerto Rico and his lack of empathy for the people,
Trump went to a supply distribution point dressed in a dark suit, and tossed rolls of paper towels into a crowd. Oxfam took the unusual step of criticizing the US government.
Oxfam said it is “outraged at the slow and inadequate response” by the Trump regime in Puerto Rico.
Oxfam also announced it would be taking the rare step of intervening in an American disaster, pursuing its own two-pronged approach in Puerto Rico.
CNN’s Dr. Sanjay Gupta, who is in Puerto Rico, warned that tens of thousands could die for want of insulin, blood pressure medications and antibiotics, as well as sweltering heat and lack of food and water. By Friday, the official death count in Puerto Rico reached 36, but as
NPR reported, the actual toll is expected to be much higher with uncounted bodies piling up in places that have no way to communicate. Rep Luis Gutiérrez, who traveled to Puerto Rico on his own expense, said the media reports are correct:
the island is a humanitarian crisis. Gutiérrez said the Trump regime doesn’t “want you to know the truth.”
WAPO reported FEMA removed statistics about drinking water access and electricity in Puerto Rico from their website on Thursday morning. Following a social media outcry,
the statistics were restored on Friday afternoon. Stats reveal progress is extremely slow. On Wednesday morning,
Trump said he would wipe out Puerto Rico’s debt, causing trading prices of Puerto Rico municipal bonds to plummet. Mulvaney dialed back: “I wouldn’t take it word for word with that.”
POLITICO reported on a third, previously undisclosed email account on Kushner and Ivanka’s private domain. The three accounts raise concern about the security of sensitive government documents. The third account has
hundreds of emails from WH addresses. In addition to Kushner and Ivanka, personal household staff had access to the account for scheduling purposes.
USA Today reported Kushner and Ivanka’s personal emails were redirected to Trump Organization server 2–3 days after public disclosure about the existence personal emails. The move also comes
shortly after Mueller asked the WH to turn over records related to his investigation of Russia’s interference in the election. Cummings asked the FBI to
investigate whether Kusher and Ivanka exposed classified information through their use of personal email and transfer to Trump Organization servers. The
US Official of Special Counsel found Ambassador Haley violated the Hatch Act by promoting a House candidate on Twitter. Haley was given a warning. The investigation follows a complaint filed by CREW in June.
WAPO reported, back in August, Trump saw an article about Republican-controlled Iowa requesting federal permission to fix its Obamacare markets. Trump’s instruction was, “Tell Iowa no.” Trump’s
HHS taken many steps to suppress sign-ups for Obamacareincluding slashing grants for groups that help consumers, cutting the enrollment period in half, and reducing the advertising budget by 90%.
McClatchy reported Kushner and Ivanka were both fined $200 for missing deadlines to submit financial reports required by government ethics rules. This is Kushner’s second time being fined for late filings. After receiving an 18-day filing extension,
Kushner has made changes to his financial disclosure forms 39 times. In many cases, those changes were in response to questions from the OGE. Eli Miller,
Mnuchin’s chief of staff, flew in hedge fund billionaire Nelson Peltz’s private jet to Palm Beach. The Treasury Department’s inspector general office has launched an inquiry.
BuzzFeed reported the US intelligence unit of Mnuchin’s Treasury Dept has been violating domestic surveillance laws by spying on financial records of US citizens and companies. The
Interior Dept’s inspector general opened an investigation into Zinke’s travel, including his use of taxpayer-funded charter and military planes, and his mixing of official trips with political appearances.
NYT reported on Pruitt’s schedule: almost every day he has multiple meetings, sessions or speaking engagements with top corporate executives and lobbyists of the industries the EPA regulates, but rarely does he meet with environmental groups or consumer or public health advocates.
POLITICO reported, in a closed-door meeting with wealthy donors, Pence’s chief of staff Nick Ayers floated the idea of a “purge” of anti-Trump Republicans, saying they are blocking Trump’s legislative agenda. A federal judge in Phoenix
dismissed the criminal case against Arpaio and accepted Trump’s pardon. In a blistering 14-page ruling, she held off on ruling on Arpaio’s request to throw out all orders in the case.
Mother Jones reported 10-months in, Trump still hasn’t appointed someone to the job of National Protection and Programs Directorate, a position charges with protecting our elections from cyberattacks. In a letter to the WH, Cummings, the top democrat of the House Oversight Comm, asked
Kellyanne Conway, known to have traveled with Price, to provide documentation related to all her non-commercial flights.
Reuters reported Energy Sec Perry took a charter flight from PA to OH the day before Price resigned. Commercial alternatives were available.
WAPO reported Transportation Sec Chao used government planes seven times including days trip to cities within an hour of DC, as well as for trips to France and Italy which cost taxpayers tens of thousands of dollars.
NYT reported Mnuchin traveled on military jets seven times at a cost of more than $800k. The investigation by the OMB found while he broke no laws, Mnuchin gave loose justifications for the costly flights.
Donald Jr. has delivered several speeches, earning as much as $100k per speech. His speeches raise ethics violation and conflict of interest concerns, especially as related to access to the WH. Trump’s Interior Dept
rejected 25 petitions to list a variety of species as endangered or threatened, including several linked to climate change. Trump has yet to nominate a director of the Fish and Wildlife Service. In response to a FOIA lawsuit, the
Secret Service said it does not have a complete Mar-A-Lago visitor log. All the Secret Service has turned over so far is a one-page listing of 22 Japanese officials. Joel Clement, an
Interior Dept executive turned whistleblower who claimed the Trump regime retaliated against him for disclosing how climate change affects Alaska Native communities, resigned Wednesday.
Guardian reported, in what may be a watershed case, US professor David Carroll is suing Cambridge Analytica in British Courts to ask for his personal data back. UK law allows for such requests, unlike US law. On Monday, Facebook shared that
Russian purchased $100k worth of ads which reached about 10mm Americans. More than half the ads were seen after the election, indicating Russia continues to meddle in US politics.
WAPO reported on research by social media analyst Jonathan Albright which found Russian propaganda on Facebook may have been viewed by hundreds of millions, perhaps many billions.
WSJ reported after internal debate, Facebook decided to scrap mention of Russia in a public report released on April 27 about manipulation of its platform during the 2016 election. Instead, in a significantly
shortened report, Facebook blamed “malicious actors.” It is unclear how much Facebook knew at the time. Not until September 6 did Facebook identify Russia as the source of interference.
Fast Company reported that after finding suspicious accounts on Instagram and calling Facebook to confirm, Facebook updated its blog post to clarify about 150 political ads sold to Russia showed up on Instagram.
CNN reported Russian operatives targeted MI and WI with Facebook ads. Some of the ads were highly sophisticated in their targeting of key demographic groups in areas of the states that turned out to be pivotal.
Trump won both states by under 1%: MI by 10.7k of 4.8mm votes cast and WI by 22.7k votes. Congressional investigators want to know if Russia had any assistance from the Trump campaign.
WSJ reported on the most significant security breaches in years: in 2015 Russian hackers stole NSA data. The breach could enable Russia to evade NSA surveillance and infiltrate US networks. The breach is the
first confirmed time Kaspersky software was exploited by Russian hackers. As noted in Week 34, Kaspersky was trained at a KGB-sponsored technical school and worked in Russian military intelligence.
POLITICO reported Trump loyalists are losing patience with multiple, continuing congressional Russia probes, saying they have distracted from his agenda and allowed Democrats to question the legitimacy of his win.
WAPO said these loyalists are pushing Republicans chairing committees to wrap up their investigations and make the scandal disappear. An interim press briefing by Burr and Warner on Wednesday was cited as an example.
Burr and Warner said they concurred with US intel’s assessment that Russia interfered in the 2016 election. They also said the issue of collusion is still open. Burr and Warner also
detailed some threads of investigations including Russian efforts on social media, the April 2016 meeting at the Mayflower Hotel, and changes to the Republican Party platform.
Burr said they had “hit a wall” with the Steele dossier because the author would not meet with them. On Thursday, Rachel Maddow reported that Christopher Steele is open to meeting with the Senate Intel Comm. On Wednesday,
Reuters reported Mueller has taken over FBI inquiries into the Steele dossier as part of the special counsel’s Russia probe. On Thursday,
CNN reported Mueller’s team met with Steele this past summer. The broad assertion of the dossier, that Russia waged a campaign to interfere in the election, is now accepted by US intel. The CIA and FBI took Steele’s research seriously enough
they chose not to include it in the publicly released January report on Russian interference to avoid divulging the parts of the dossier they had corroborated and how. Three Russian
owners of Alfa Bank, Mikhail Fridman, Petr Aven and German Khan, sued Fusion GPS and its founder claiming their reputations were unfairly tattered by the dossier. The three sued BuzzFeed in Week 28.
Mother Jones reported Sen Wyden of the Senate Intel Comm does not concur with Burr’s statement that he can say certifiably there was no voter tampering. Wyden also questioned Burr’s handling of the investigation.
Daily Beast reported the Senate Judiciary Comm is not investigating Russian interference, but engaging in routine oversight of the DOJ. Sources include a staffer for Grassley, Republican chair of the committee.
WAPO reported Michael Cohen turned over documents to Congressional investigators and Mueller related to two, previously undisclosed contacts with Russians. These contacts are not related to Trump Tower Moscow.
Cohen and a business associate emailed weeks before the Republican National Convention, about Cohen traveling to an economic conference in Russia attended by Putin and his top financial and government leaders.
Cohen also received a proposal in late 2015 for a Moscow residential project from a company founded by a Russian billionaire who once served in the Russian parliament. Cohen maintains he never traveled to Russia.
Foreign Policy reported in a previously undisclosed meeting: Rep Rohrabacher met with Veselnitskaya in Moscow two months prior to the infamous June 9 meeting with Donald Jr.
POLITICO reported Trump lawyer Ty Cobb is putting the finishing touches on launching a legal defense fund to help mid-level WH staffers cover their legal costs related to Mueller’s Russia probe.
Newsweek reported Robert Mercer, Bannon-ally and part owner of Cambridge Analytica, donated $200k to the Republican Party legal defense fund the day Trump fired Comey.
The Atlantic revealed emails between Manafort and Kilimnik referenced in the WAPO story in Week 45. The emails suggest Manafort was extremely eager to please Russian oligarch Deripaska, and to get made whole. Kilimnik met Manafort on August 2 in NYC. Emails
prior reference important messages about the “future of his country.” Days before, Trump said “Wouldn’t it be a great thing if we could get along with Russia?” After Tillerson said Saturday he was reaching out to Pyongyang in hopes of starting a new dialogue,
Trump undercut him Sunday tweeting, I told Rex “he is wasting his time trying to negotiate with Little Rocket Man.”
NBC reported Tillerson almost resigned this past summer after Trump’s Boy Scout speech. Days before that speech, Tillerson referred to Trump as a “moron” in a meeting with national security and Cabinet officials. After the report, Tillerson
pulled together an impromptu news conference to publicly praise Trump. Bob Schieffer described it as, “ not like a news conference, it was more like a hostage tape.” Corker, a Trump ally during the campaign who is retiring, in
a harsh rebuke of Trump, said Kelly, Mattis and Tillerson are the are the “people that help separate our country from chaos.”
The New Yorker reported shortly after Tillerson was confirmed, he met Trump at the WH, and Trump “began fulminating about federal laws that prohibit American businesses from bribing officials overseas.” On Friday,
for the first time in seven years, the US economy lost jobs. Expectation for September were to add 80k jobs, however 33k jobs were lost. Job totals from July and August were also downwardly revised. On Thursday, at a dinner surrounded by military leaders and their spouses at the WH,
Trump warned this is “the calm before the storm.” What he meant was unknown by even members of his staff. The mystery around his pronouncement continued on Friday when he was asked about the statement and
responded, “you’ll find out,” then winked. A September
AP-NORC poll showed Trump reaching his lowest approval yet: 32% approve, 67% disapprove. Trump’s approval among Republicans fell to 67%.
The poll also found just 24% think the country is headed in the right direction, 26% believe Trump is a strong leader, 23% view him as honest, and 16% say he is level-headed. One year after the infamous “Access Hollywood” video went public, women’s advocacy group
UltraViolet playing the footage, looping again and again, on a large screen on the Mall in DC for 12 hours straight.
ProPublica reported Ivanka and Donald Jr. were close to being charged for a felony fraud in 2012 for misleading prospective buyers of units in the Trump SoHo. Their partners were Russians Felix Sater and Tevfik Arif.
Kasowitz contributed $25k to Manhattan DA Vance before a sit-down, and later donated $32k. The case was dropped. Felix Sater is a frequent subject of The Weekly List, including involvement with Trump Tower Moscow.
Breaking from the advice of Tillerson and Mattis, Trump is expected to decertify the landmark deal curbing Iran’s nuclear program. Iran has not breached the accord, but instead Trump claims the “spirit” of the deal.
HuffPost reported the Trump regime is preparing repeal the Clean Power Plan, an Obama-era climate change policy which limits greenhouse gas emissions from power plants. Trump has called the policy, “stupid.” Almost three weeks after Hurricane Maria, as just 12% of Puerto Rico had electricity and 55% drinking water, on Saturday morning,
Trump made his 69th trip to a Trump golf course of his 260 days in office.
Some graffiti on this sad situation around New York City this week:
Sticker by Australian street artist CRiSP. Placed on a “POTUS” poster at a bus stop.
Sticker in East Village
There’s an artist sending trump messages in fortune cookies. This one reminds trump that he SADLY lost New York. That’s gotta hurt.
So much of the graffiti related to trump is defaced because it appears most people can’t even stand to see his face. This one was covered with humanitarian facts. Better to look at than his face any day…