Week 56 of trump’s presidency: Experts in authoritarianism advise to keep a list of things subtly changing around you, so you’ll remember.


December 9, 2017

This week, as Trump’s lawyers sought to maneuver around two unfolding stories that could engulf the regime — obstruction of justice and Mueller’s Deutsche Bank subpoena — Trump made radical, devastating moves. Trump forcefully backed an accused pedophile, signed off on the largest elimination of protected land in US history, and recognized Jerusalem as Israel’s capital — all while he continued to disparage the FBI, DOJ, and our free press.

Almost a year into office, Trump’s popularity continues to fall, and he has yet to move forward beyond campaign rhetoric. As his inner-circle continues to shrink, Trump takes actions which move our country towards isolationism, corruption, and kleptocracy.

The growing #MeToo movement of accountability for sexual misconduct led to the first political resignations this week. More are expected, as the drumbeat for accountability for Trump’s past actions grows louder.

Lots of art expressing dissatisfaction with the current state of affairs in the USA at this year’s Art Basel in Wynwood, Miami, FL. Dec2017

In his Saturday tweet, Trump claimed he knew Michael Flynn lied to Vice President Pence and the FBI. When Trump fired Flynn, he had only cited the lie to Pence.

On Sunday, in a tweet, Trump denied pressuring James Comey to stop investigating Flynn. Trump lawyer John Dowd claimed he drafted the Saturday tweet, and made a mistake about Trump’s knowing Flynn lied to the FBI.

On Monday, Dowd told Axios, a president cannot obstruct justice “because he is the chief law enforcement officer under [the Constitution’s Article II] and has every right to express his view of any case.”

WAPO reported 16 Republicans are on the record as saying a president can obstruct justice, including Jeff Sessions who said as senator on President Clinton, “such acts are high crimes, and equal justice requires that he forfeit his office.”

On Sunday, Diane Feinstein, ranking member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, told “Meet the Press” of her committee’s work, “I think what we’re beginning to see is the putting together of a case of obstruction of justice.”

On Sunday, Billy Bush issued an op-ed, saying despite Trump’s denials in Week 55 that it wasn’t his voice on the “Access Hollywood” tape, Trump did say, “Grab ’em by the pussy,” in front of Bush and seven other men.

Bush also said he was highly critical of a Trump’s candidacy, recalling Trump had told him off-camera, “People will just believe you. You just tell them and they believe you.”

The Atlantic reported after the “Access Hollywood” tape, Pence considered a coup to take the spot on the top of the ticket. Karen Pence was disgusted according to an aide: “She finds him reprehensible — just totally vile.”

NYT reported on emails among top officials in Trump’s transition team show Flynn was not acting alone, but rather was in close touch with other senior officials during his conversations with Sergey Kislyak on Russian sanctions.

On December 29, K.T. McFarland emailed a colleague that Obama’s Russia sanctions were a way to discredit Trump’s victory, and make cooperation with Russia “which has just thrown the U.S.A. election to him,” harder.

Her email was sent to Tom Bossert, Trump’s Homeland Security Advisor, who then forwarded the email chain on to six other Trump advisers including Flynn, Reince Priebus, Steve Bannon, and Sean Spicer.

On Monday, Sen. Cory Booker said he was concerned McFarland might have given “false testimony” to the Senate Foreign Relations Committee in her answers about being aware of contact between Flynn and Kislyak.

When Booker asked McFarland in writing last July if she had ever spoke to Flynn about his contact with Kislyak , she had answered in writing, “I am not aware of any of the issues or events described above.”

On Tuesday, Democrats placed a hold on McFarland’s nomination to be ambassador to Singapore, pending her answering questions about her knowledge of communications between Flynn and Kislyak.

On Sunday, Newsweek reported Jared Kushner failed to disclose his role as a co-director of the Charles and Seryl Kushner Foundation, at a time the group funded an illegal Israeli settlement, on his financial records with the Office of Government Ethics.

On Sunday, Trump sent a series of tweets disparaging the DOJ and FBI, criticizing the agencies for not going after his political enemy Hillary, and saying the FBI, after being run by Comey “is in Tatters — worst in History!”

Comey, Sally Yates, and Eric Holder defended the FBI in tweets of their own. The FBI director sent an email to agents supporting them, saying he is “inspired by example after example of professionalism and dedication to justice.”

On Monday, the DOJ agreed to allow the House Intel Committee to interview a key FBI employee who served as the contact to Christopher Steele. The agreement comes after a public spat started by Rep. Devin Nunes and flamed by Trump.

Nunes and Trump had publicly accused the DOJ of stymieing the House investigation. In reality, the DOJ met with Nunes and his staffers, and they were given access to highly classified materials for the past two months.

NYT reported Trump’s catchphrase, “fake news,” is being used being used in Myanmar to justify ethnic cleansing. An officer in Rakhine’s state security ministry said of accusations, “It is fake news.”

On Monday, the Supreme Court allowed the third version of Trump’s Travel Ban to take effect while legal challenges against it continue. This victory allows the regime to enforce restrictions against eight countries, six of which are predominantly Muslim.

The NAACP urged Trump to not attend the opening of the Mississippi Civil Rights Museum on Saturday, saying Trump’s attendance would be an “affront” to the movement commemorated by the museum.

On Thursday, Rep. John Lewis said he would not participate in the opening because of Trump’s presence, saying “Trump’s attendance and his hurtful policies are an insult to the people portrayed in this civil rights museum.”

On Friday, the WH announced Trump will not speak at the public ceremony for the opening of the Mississippi’s Civil Rights Museum, but rather will participate in a separate private event.

On Friday, Trump ally Rep. Steve King tweeted, “Diversity is not our strength,” citing Hungarian PM Orban who said, “Mixing cultures will not lead to a higher quality of life but a lower one.”

WAPO reported more than a half-dozen technology experts and former national security officials filed a brief to halt Trump’s Election Integrity Commission from collecting of voter information for a database.

Experts cite concerns the proposed voter database could be hacked by foreign adversaries. In Week 32, a Republican data firm left personal information on nearly 200 million voters unprotected online in 2016.

In Kansas, the home state of Kris Kobach, the vice-chair of Trump’s Election Integrity Commission, 23 disabled Americans lost their voting rights in the November 2017 election because Kobach’s SAFE Act was instituted.

On Thursday, Trump hosted a Hanukkah reception at the WH, but failed to invite the Jewish Congressional Democrats.

On Sunday, US ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley said the US is walking away from UN migration and refugee pact, saying it “contains numerous provisions that are inconsistent” with US policies.

McClatchy reported despite Trump’s vow not make any deals with foreign government entities while he serves, a construction company owned in part by the governments of Saudi Arabia and South Korea will build a Trump resort in Indonesia. This is the second violation.

The Trump regime closed the Community Resilience Panel for Buildings and Infrastructure Systems, a group created by Obama in 2015 to help local officials protect against extreme weather and natural disasters.

Intercept reported Trump’s WH is considering set a of proposals developed by Erik Prince and a retired CIA officer to provide the CIA and WH with a global, private spy network that would circumvent official US intelligence.

The plan is being pitch as a way to counter “deep state” enemies in the intelligence community out to get Trump. Director Mike Pompeo allegedly does not trust the CIA bureaucracy, but this group would report just directly to him.

On Monday, the Department of Labor reversed Obama-era restrictions on tip-pooling, which allows employers to combine servers’ tips and share them with “back of the house” employees, such as cooks and dishwashers.

Nike, the Trump Organization’s biggest tenant in a single space, is vacating its iconic Niketown flagship store at 6 East 57th Street in NY. Trump’s political rhetoric played a role in the company’s decision.

On Thursday, the Trump regime rolled back an Obama-era rule which required trains carrying highly explosive liquids to install electronically controlled pneumatic brakes by 2021, to help prevent fiery train wrecks.

Reuters reported in a reversal from an Obama-era policy to prevent bank examiners from becoming sympathetic, Trump’s US Comptroller, Joseph Otting, said he would allow examiners to work in-house at banks.

On Thursday, the House Ethics Committee said Nunes had not violated laws or congressional rules on disclosing classified information, leaving Nunes free to resume his leadership of the House Intel Committee Russia probe.

Reuters reported DNI Dan Coats revealed tighter restrictions in a new “unmasking” policy. Critics fear the order would infringe on the political independence of the intelligence, and endanger work with allies.

Sessions’ DOJ moved to investigate Planned Parenthood, sending a letter to the Senate Judiciary Committee requesting documents from the committee’s investigation of Planned Parenthood’s fetal tissue practices.

As part of Betsy DeVos’s changes to campus sexual assault policy, a House Republican higher education bill would allow colleges to delay or suspend their internal investigations if police or prosecutors ask them to do so.

POLITICO reported Ryan Zinke’s travel logs obtained under the FOIA show he spent more than $14K on government helicopters last summer for he and his staff to attend DC events, and to horseback ride with Pence.

Dina Powell, Trump’s deputy national security adviser, and a driving force behind Trump’s Middle East policy, is departing after serving one year. In Week 55, numerous departures from Trump’s WH are expected.

LA Times reported Mick Mulvaney is moving quickly to make changes at the CFPB, an agency he had criticized. He has installed some of his aides into bureau positions and is reviewing legal actions against financial firms.

Deputy director Leandra English continued her legal battle, and on Friday, 18 state Attorneys General signed on to the lawsuit challenging Trump’s appointment of Mulvaney as acting director.

Trump hit his lowest approval numbers in a new Pew Research poll, which found 32% approve. Trump is more unpopular than any modern-day leader at this point in his tenure.

WSJ reported although Chief of Staff John Kelly has established protocols for communicating with and having access to Trump within the WH, Trump has found loopholes to circumvent those protocols.

Trump calls WH aides to the private residence in the evening, where he makes assignments and tells aides not to tell Kelly — or he goes off-schedule to make calls. Contacts also reach out to him through Melania.

On Monday, Trump signed proclamations drastically shrinking two Utah monuments: Bears Ears National Monument by more than 80%, and Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument by roughly 45%.

Zinke introduced Trump, saying, “Our public land is for the public to use and not special interests. This is about giving rural America a voice.”

Outdoor clothing retailer Patagonia said it planned to sue Trump, as the company’s home page read: “The President Stole Your Land,” adding, “This is the largest elimination of protected land in American history.”

Native American tribes and several environmental groups also filed suits. Outdoor clothing retailer REI’s home page read, “We Love Our Public Lands,” with an accompanying statement.

On Friday, the Twitter account for the House Committee on Natural Resources tweeted a meme: “Patagonia Is Lying to You. A corporate giant hijacking our public lands debate to sell more products to wealthy elitists…”

WAPO reported uranium company, Energy Fuels Resources played a major role in lobbying Zinke and his staff to shrink the Bear Ears National Monument, saying it would give the company easier access to deposits.

On Monday, Reuters reported Mueller’s team accused Paul Manafort of working with a Russian to draft an op-ed about his political work in Ukraine. Manafort had been working on the article as recently as November 30.

If Manafort’s piece had been published, it would have violated the court’s November 8 gag order. As such, the special counsel said the judge should reject Manafort’s request in Week 55 to change his bail deal.

On Monday, WAPO reported the special counsel said in a statement Manafort has been “assessed to have ties” to Russian intelligence — making him the first member of the Trump regime to have such ties.

On Tuesday, WAPO reported Oleg Voloshyn, a Ukrainian political pundit and former government official said Manafort did not ghost-write the piece. Rather, he emailed a draft to Manafort business partner Konstantin Kilimnik.

On Friday, Mueller’s team filed documents which showed not only did Manafort make extensive edits to the op-ed, he also contributed to the overall themes in the piece, attempting to paint himself in a positive light.

While Mueller’s team maintains Manafort violated the judge’s gag order, lawyers for Manafort claimed the special counsel is unfairly restricting his free speech, saying “all he has tried to do is to correct the public record.”

POLITICO reported on the dramatic FBI arrest of George Papadopoulos as he stepped off a plane late at night: using shock value as a way to flip a witness. The next morning Mueller’s team told a judge Papadopoulos was willing to cooperate.

POLITICO reported paranoia is enveloping the WH as the Mueller probe heats up and as Flynn agreed to cooperate. One source close to the WH said, “Everyone thinks they’re being recorded.”

On Tuesday, NBC News reported Natalia Veselnitskaya told the Senate Judiciary Committee that Donald Jr. had asked her at the June 9 Trump Tower meeting whether she had evidence of illegal donations to the Clinton Foundation.

Veselnitskaya claimed in her 51-page statement after she said she did not have meaningful information on Hillary, Donald Jr. lost interest and the meeting petered out. She claimed to be there to discuss the Magnitsky Act.

On Tuesday, CNN reported Pence’s aides are nervous that Flynn pleading guilty to lying to the FBI and Pence will leave open the door for Mueller to question Pence, who continues to maintain he was out of the loop.

On Tuesday, German daily Handelsblatt reported Deutsche Bank received a subpoena from Mueller’s team, demanding the bank provide information on its dealings with the Trumps.

WSJ reported the subpoena is for documents related to people or entities affiliated with Trump, and people close to him — not Trump himself. Deutsche has lent more than $300 million to entities affiliated with Trump.

Reuters reported Deutsche Bank received the subpoena several weeks ago to provide information on certain money and credit transactions, and that the information has already been provided.

Deutsche Bank has lent Trump hundreds of millions over the past decade, while other banks have stepped back due to his numerous bankruptcies. In Week 19, Deutsche was fined for laundering Russian money.

Mueller’s team is also looking into whether Deutsche may have sold some of Trump’s mortgages or loans to Russian state banks VEB, VTB, Russian Agricultural Bank, Gazprombank, or Sberbank.

Trump lawyer Jay Sekulow denied Trump’s information has been turned over, saying, “No subpoena has been issued or received. We have confirmed this with the bank and other sources.”

Trump lawyer Dowd told Bloomberg that he had been told by Deutsche Bank that no such subpoena had been issued.

On Wednesday, Handelsblatt stood by their reporting despite denials by Trump’s legal team, saying Deutsche Bank was subpoenaed weeks ago. It remains unclear if the subpoena relates to Trump or a family member.

On Wednesday, Donald Jr. testified for eight hours in front of the House Intel Committee in a private session about the June 9 meeting, his communications with WikiLeaks and business of the Trump Organization.

Donald Jr. told the House Intel Committee he did not communicate directly with Trump when confronted with news reports of the June 9 Trump Tower meeting, but rather with Hope Hicks.

Donald Jr. refused to provide details of the call with his father on July 10, claiming the conversation was protected under attorney-client privilege because lawyers for both men were on the call.

Rep. Adam Schiff, the ranking Democrat on the committee, said Donald Jr. acknowledged he had discussed the Trump Tower meeting by telephone with Trump. Schiff rejected Donald Jr.’s use of attorney-client privilege.

POLITICO reported the House Intel Committee is probing the European travel during and after the campaign of several Trump associates including Donald Jr., Michael Cohen, Carter Page, George Papadopoulos, and Jeffrey Gordon.

Congressional investigators want to know if Trump aides met with Kremlin-linked operatives as part of Russia’s interference in the 2016 election. Explanations for their trips have not been forthcoming.

NYT reported according to a whistleblower who contacted Rep. Elijah Cummings, during Trump’s Inauguration ceremony, Flynn texted a business associate that Russian sanction would “ripped away” as one of Trump’s first acts.

Flynn believed ending sanctions would allow a business venture with Russia to build nuclear power plants in the Middle East. He texted his former business associate to say the project was “good to go.”

Flynn was texting Alex Copson of ACU Strategic Partners, a company Flynn advised in 2015. Copson told the whistleblower Flynn’s text directed him to tell others involved in the nuclear project to continue developing their plans, adding “This is going to make a lot of very wealthy people.”

Cummings sent a letter to Rep. Trey Gowdy, who chose not to subpoena the whistleblower. He also informed Mueller’s team who asked him not to go public with it until “they completed certain investigative steps.”

On Friday, Papadopoulos’ fiancee, Simona Mangiante, told ABC News, he “set up meetings with leaders all over the world” for, and was “constantly in touch with” senior campaign officials, including Bannon and Flynn.

She added Papadopoulos will have a firm place in history as “the first domino in the Russia investigation,” saying he is loyal to his country, “He is already on the right side of history. I think he will make a big difference.”

On Wednesday, the House Intelligence Committee released Erik Prince’s closed-door testimony from November 30th. Prince claimed that when he met with the Russian banker, he was not acting on behalf of Trump.

Prince testified he was in Seychelles for business, and someone recommended he meet Kirill Dmitriev, the CEO of RDIF, Russia’s $10 billion sovereign wealth fund. Prince claimed he had to Google for a photo of him.

Prince said they discussed US-Russia relations, including joint efforts to defeat Islamic terrorism together. Prince claimed he didn’t discuss Russian sanctions, or the prospect of doing business with Dmitriev.

Schiff issued a statement on Prince’s testimony, saying “Prince also could not adequately explain why he traveled halfway around the world to meet with UAE officials and, ultimately, the head of the Russian fund.”

As part of testimony, Prince also revealed he had interned for pro-Russian congressman Dana Rohrabacher. When asked if he spoke to Rohrabacher during the campaign, Prince said, “I don’t recall. No, I don’t think I did.”

Russian oligarch Oleg Deripaska dropped his appeal of a libel suit filed against AP. Deripaska’s suit claimed AP falsely implied he was paying Manafort for work aimed at advancing the goals of the Russian government and Putin.

In a status report filed in court by Mueller’s team Friday, the special counsel revealed it has issued 15 search warrants related to Manafort and his business and campaign aide Gates.

Special counsel has obtained more than 400K financial and corporate records, and emails — 116k are considered “particularly relevant,” and 2K considered “hot” documents containing information crucial to the case.

NYT reported the FBI warned Hicks of repeated attempts by Russians to make contact with her using email during the transition period, even after US intelligence had publicly warned about Russian interference.

NYT reported the Trump Organization will be a big beneficiary of the Republican tax bill, noting the real estate industry and real estate investment trusts were given special treatment on several provisions.

The CEO of Murray Energy, one of the country’s largest coal companies, ripped the Republican tax bill, saying it would “wipe out” coal mining jobs, and adding “We won’t have enough cash flow to exist.”

WAPO reported some of Trump’s wealthiest friends in NY asked him at fundraising event for changes to the Republican tax plan, complaining it will drive up their taxes and hurt his home state — and Trump is listening.

On Monday, Trump endorsed Roy Moore. Later that day, the RNC changed course and threw support behind Moore, despite additional allegations coming out during the day from a woman when she was 17 years-old.

On Tuesday, Republican Jeff Flake posted a photo on Twitter of his $100 check to Roy Moore’s democratic challenger Doug Jones, adding “Country over Party” in the memo line.

TIME named “The Silence Breakers” the 2017 Person of the Year, celebrating the voices that launched a movement to bring sexual assault and harassment into the light of day. Trump was the runner-up.

In their cover story, TIME mentioned harassment allegations by several women against Trump, noting these allegations were cited as one of the catalysts for many to speak out against the abuse of power.

On Thursday, Sen. Al Franken stepped down after 33 Senate Democrats called on him to resign over sexual harassment allegations, adding in his parting words, “I am leaving while a man who has bragged on tape about his history of sexual assault sits in the Oval Office.”

On Friday, Republican Rep. Trent Franks abruptly resigned as AP reported he had offered a former aide $5 million to act as a surrogate. The news invited comparisons to The Handmaid’s Tale.

On Friday, new allegations of sexual harassment surfaced against Trump, as former Fox News anchor Juliet Huddy said he tried to kiss her on an elevator after he took her to lunch at Trump Tower in 2005.

A Quinnipiac poll found 70% of Americans believe Congress should investigate accusations of sexual harassment against Trump, 25% do not.

Sen, Jeff Merkley became the first Senator to call on Trump to resign over sexual misconduct allegations, saying of Trump “he certainly has a track record with more than 17 women of horrific conduct.”

NYT reported while in Puerto Rico, the USNS Comfort was prepared to support 250 hospital beds, but in its limited time at the island, admitted an average of only six patients a day, or 290 in total.

The ship was staffed with 800 personnel, costing $180K a day, yet the ship received an average of 36 people a day as outpatients or inpatients. On November 15, the ship left to restock. On November 17, it was sent home.

NYT reported the “official” death toll in Puerto Rico of 62, vastly understates actual deaths, which they estimate at 1,052 though the end of October, using past years’ mortality as a comparison.

WAPO reported some Republicans are organizing to discredit Mueller over time, including Fox News host Sean Hannity, several conservative lawmakers, and conservative group Judicial Watch.

On Monday, deputy AG Rod Rosenstein who appointed Mueller to head the special counsel, said he is satisfied with special counsel’s work.

WSJ reported Trump’s allies are urging a hardline against Mueller as the probe heats up and despite Trump’s attorneys assessment, will drag on into 2018. Allies say Trump should end his lawyers’ cooperative approach.

Allies cites as bias Peter Strzok, who had sent text messages that were critical of Trump during the 2016 election. Mueller dismissed Strzok upon learning about his texts last summer.

On Friday, ABC News reported that after Mueller dismissed Strzok, he brought on David Archey, a veteran FBI official briefly involved in the launch of the agency’s probe into Hillary’s private email server.

On Wednesday, Rep. Al Green read a resolution in the House to impeach Trump. The House overwhelmingly voted to kill the resolution (364 votes); however 58 Democrats voted for the resolution.

On Wednesday, Trump formally recognized Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, and announced plans to eventually relocate the US Embassy there, despite criticism from Rex Tillerson, James Mattis, and several close US allies.

WAPO reported Trump had made up his mind on Jerusalem months before seeking input from advisers, and that Trump didn’t “have a full understanding” of the issue or what he “could trigger by doing this.”

Trump’s move reverses seven decades of US policy. On Thursday, David Satterfield, an acting assistant secretary said the State Department has not yet said whether the US considers Jerusalem to be part of Israel.

While delivering his statement on Jerusalem, towards the end of the speech, Trump noticeably slurred and mispronounced words. On Thursday, at a press briefing, press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said Trump’s “throat was dry.”

Sanders also said Trump will undergo a physical examination at Walter Reed in the beginning of next year, and records will be released. Trump did not have a traditional medical examination as a candidate.

Captain Carri Weber of the Plainfield Police Department in Indiana was put on paid administrative leave on November 16, after telling a fellow officer he benefited from “white male privilege” during a training seminar.

On Thursday, after the suspension received national media attention from WAPO, the Plainfield Board of Police Commissioners reinstated Captain Weber, but a letter of reprimand will be kept in her permanent file.

On Tuesday, at a foreign policy conference in Berlin, German Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel said German relations with the US “will never be the same” after Trump, saying Trump sees Germany as a “competitor.”

On Friday, former President Obama urged voters to stay engaged, invoking complacency led to the rise of Nazi Germany, “You have to tend to this garden of democracy, otherwise things can fall apart fairly quickly.”

On Thursday, Judge Rudolph Contreras, the judge who took Flynn’s guilty plea, recused himself from the case. No reason was given.

Catching Olympic leaders off-guard, ambassador Haley and press secretary Sanders said it was uncertain if the US would attend in South Korea, amid lingering tensions in the area.

Sanders later dialed back in a tweet, “The US looks forward to participating.” Earlier in the week, Russia was banned from the Winter Olympics by the I.O.C. as a punishment for systematic doping.

On Friday, Trump held a campaign-style rally in Pensacola, FL with many of same themes are during his campaign over a year ago, including the crowd chanting “lock her up,” as Trump talked of the “rigged system.”

Trump also raised the theme of Chicago, a city he has invoked to attack people of color since his 2016 campaign: “What the hell is going on in Chicago? There are those that say Afghanistan is safer than Chicago.”

Politifact reported Trump’s speech was full of false statements, including in matters relating to his attacks on the media, Chicago, and other issues.

NYT reported before he took office, Trump told top aides to think of each day “as an episode in a television show” in which he vanquishes rivals. In office, he spends four, sometimes up to eight hours per day watching tv.

Insiders say part of Trump’s difficult adjustment is rooted in an unrealistic expectation of powers: he thought it would be more akin to imperial command than having to coexist with two other branches of government

Artist Ben Levy 9dec17 Miami, FL, USA 🇺🇸



This week, a brand new mural by legendary street artist Lady Pink was created at Wynwood Walls in Miami, Florida for Art Basel week. I’m putting the piece up before the list because just by looking at each letter in the word “R E S I S T,” which she spelled out…you can see imagery that effectively represents the horror show, that we call 2017 in AmeriKKKa:

Week 55 of trump’s presidency: Experts in authoritarianism advise to keep a list of things subtly changing around you, so you’ll remember.

December 2, 2017 https://medium.com/@Amy_Siskind/week-55-experts-in-authoritarianism-advise-to-keep-a-list-of-things-subtly-changing-around-you-so-da7c2cad25cb

This week marked further erosion to our failing democracy. Attacks on, and deconstruction of our free press is happening at an alarming rate, as conservative billionaires buy up media outlets, some of which are then precipitously shuttered. Republicans in the Senate passed a tax bill whose primary beneficiary will be people like Trump and regime members, without any debate, scoring, hearings, or even a chance for senators to read a bill which impacts one-sixth of the US economy.

This week Trump continued his bigoted attacks on marginalized communities, dividing us at home and embarrassing our country on the world stage. There was disturbing reporting on Trump’s mental health, including his continued belief in conspiracy theories. With events and his actions this week, Trump’s net approval gap (-29) matched an all-time low.

This week was the second bombshell in the Mueller probe, as Michael Flynn pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI and agreed to cooperate. Flynn’s testimony in court documents ties in Trump son-in-law Jared Kushner, and Flynn’s ongoing cooperation will likely ensnare many higher-ups, including Trump.

Late Saturday, in retaliation for RT being told to register as a foreign agent in the US, Putin signed a law that allows the Russian government to list any foreign media operating in the country as a foreign agent.

Late Saturday, Trump tweeted Fox News is “MUCH more important” than CNN in the US, and “CNN International is still a major source of (Fake) news, and they represent our Nation to the WORLD very poorly.”

CNN Communications tweeted in response, “It’s not CNN’s job to represent the U.S to the world. That’s yours. Our job is to report the news.”

Former CIA and NSA Director Michael Hayden slammed Trump: “Until now it was not possible for me to conceive of an American President capable of such an outrageous assault on truth, a free press or the first amendment.”

On Sunday, Time Inc. was purchased by Meredith with a $650 million equity investment from the Koch brothers. A former EIC of Time Inc. added of the Koch involvement, “there is no question that it’s a media influence play.”

On Monday, Trump tweeted attacks at CNN again: “We should have a contest as to which of the Networks, plus CNN and not including Fox, is the most dishonest, corrupt and/or distorted” in their coverage of Trump.

As per Week 54, Trump’s DOJ sued to block AT&T’s pending merging with Time Warner, saying CNN would need to be spun off first. Per Week 52, Rupert Murdoch has made approaches to AT&T’s CEO to purchase CNN.

WAPO reported Trump is obsessive in his tv-watching, including using a TiVo. On Monday when he sent the tweet, Trump did not have his daily intelligence briefing, which left him more time to watch television.

On Tuesday, AT&T’s CEO said the company will offer concessions to get the merger done, but will not sell assets, including CNN.

LA Weekly’s staff was gutted Wednesday, including nine of the 13 editorial staff and all but one staff writer, as Semanal completed their purchase. The ownership of Semanal is a mystery.

On Friday, the LA Weekly, the second largest publication in Los Angeles, issued its last print edition. The website was not updated, and the social media accounts were dormant. The media outlet was quickly shut down.

Walmart pulled a t-shirt offered on its online store, which read, “Rope. Tree. Journalist. SOME ASSEMBLY REQUIRED,” after a journalist advocacy group told the retailer it found the shirt threatening.

On Monday morning, Mick Mulvaney showed up at Consumer Financial Protection Bureau offices with bags of donuts. Deputy Director Leandra English sent an email to her colleagues, saying she hoped everyone had a great Thanksgiving break, signed as “acting director.”

On Monday, English sued the Trump regime over its appointment of Mulvaney to head the CFPB. Under the Dodd-Frank Act, the deputy director serves as acting director when the director role is open.

On Tuesday, US District Judge Timothy Kelly, recently appointed to the federal court by Trump, refused to block Mulvaney from taking over as acting director of the CFPB.

On Thursday, Mulvaney told Fox Business Network that the authority wielded by the CFPB “should frighten people,” adding “there is no accountability to Congress.”

Reuters reported in a Thursday evening email to her CFPB colleagues, English said of reports due in December “to be sure that these are still on track,” and signed the email, “Leandra English, Acting Director.”

On Monday, at an event to honor Native American veterans, Trump evoked his nickname for Warren: “…we have a representative in Congress who they say was here a long time ago. They call her Pocahontas.”

John Norwood, general secretary of the Alliance of Colonial Era Tribes, said Trump’s nickname “smacks of racism,” and that using the reference as a derogatory insult was “insulting to all American Indians.”

The National Congress of American Indians criticized Trump for making remarks during an event meant to honor “code talkers” — Native Americans that acted as communications specialists during WW2.

Trump was also criticized for standing before a portrait of Andrew Jackson, who is known for his harsh treatment of Native Americans as president, and who famously signing the Indian Removal Act.

Trump ally Betsy DeVos weighed in, and in a rare rebuke, said of Trump’s ‘Pocahontas’ comment: “…I think that we can all do well to reflect on the things we say before we say them.”

NYT reported Trump is questioning the authenticity of the “Access Hollywood” tape. Shortly after he took office, Trump told a GOP senator he wanted an investigation, saying “We don’t think that was my voice.”

Since then, Trump has continued to suggest the voice on the tape is not actually him. Advisers say Trump continued to hold on to a series of conspiracy theories, including that he won the popular vote.

In recent months, Trump has also questioned the authenticity of Obama’s birth certificate behind closed-doors, including telling at least one senator.

On Wednesday, Trump tweeted about the 2001 death of a Scarborough aide: “…will they terminate low ratings Joe Scarborough based on the ‘unsolved mystery’…” This claim is false — the cause of death is known.

On Wednesday morning, Trump retweeted three anti-Muslim videos posted by Jayda Fransen, deputy leader of Britain First, a far-right and ultra-nationalist political group. The videos purport to show Muslims assaulting people and smashing a statue of the Virgin Mary.

British PM May condemned Trump saying in a statement: “it is wrong for the president to have done this…Britain First seeks to divide communities by their use of hateful narratives that peddle lies and stoke tensions.”

The leader of the Church of England called on Trump to delete the retweeted videos, saying “It is deeply disturbing that the President of the United States has chosen to amplify the voice of far-right extremists.”

The Dutch government responded to Trump on Twitter, saying the child in in the video is not a migrant : “Facts do matter. The perpetrator of the violent act in this video was born and raised in the Netherlands.”

Multiple State Department officials warned the WH that Trump’s anti-Muslim tweets could increase threats at US embassies in the Middle East, which are already on high security alert.

Late Wednesday, at 1 a.m. GMT, Trump fired back at the leader of our closest ally, first tweeting at the wrong account, @theresamay, which is a private account with six followers.

Fourteen minutes later, Trump deleted the tweet and tweeted at PM May, “don’t focus on me, focus on the destructive Radical Islamic Terrorism that is taking place within the United Kingdom. We are doing just fine!”

NYT reported immigration arrests are up 40% under Trump, whose regime targets anyone living in the country illegally for arrest and deportation. Obama had focused on arresting serious criminals and recent arrivals.

In some states like Georgia and the Carolinas, arrests are up 80%. In Atlanta, neighbors try to warn each other as ICE cars patrol — leading many to miss work, keep their kids out of school, or not come home.

Chaos erupted in a Brooklyn, NY courthouse after ICE agents arrested Genaro Rojas Hernandez in the hallway. Hernandez is the fortieth individual taken into custody by ICE agents inside a NYC courthouse.

On Sunday, following a cascade of criticism, the NYT issued a semi-apology after readers accused the paper of normalizing a Nazi. The paper interviewed one the neo-Nazis who marched in Charlottesville.

On Monday, the US District Court for DC ruled the Trump regime cannot ban new transgender recruits from enlisting while the case is being heard. The judge also blocked the ban on funds for gender reassignment surgery.

On Thursday, Trump wrote a proclamation to commemorate World AIDS Day on December 1. Noticeably absent were any references to communities most at risk, including LGBTQ people and people of color.

ONE Campaign released a report on Trump’s WH proposed $800 million cut to HIV/AIDS efforts which experts predicts could result in millions of new HIV infections and hundreds of thousands of deaths.

Daily Beast reported Trump bragged to a reporter from Maximum Golf, “there is nothing in the world like first-rate pussy” while scanning the diners at Mar-A-Lago and spotting and a young socialite in 2000.

POLITICO reported WH ethics lawyer James Schultz resigned last week after almost a year in the WH, and plans to return to private practice.

Bloomberg reported the WH is weighing a ban for employees on using personal mobile phones, raising concerns for staff they will be cut off from family and friends. Trump has repeatedly complained about leaks.

On Monday, Maliz Beams, a top State Department official appointed by the Trump regime, resigned after just three months. Beams served as a special adviser to Rex Tillerson, and was closely involved in efforts to reorganize the agency.

WSJ reported as Trump’s one-year anniversary in the WH approaches, senior officials warn of “significant turnover,” saying there is a lengthy list of WH aides and cabinet members potentially on their way out.

BuzzFeed reported Trump’s WH and the CIA are considering a set of proposals to pay millions of dollars for former US intelligence officers to run privatized covert actions and intelligence gathering.

On Friday, reversing an Obama-era proposal, Trump’s EPA said it will not issue a rule requiring hard-rock mining companies to pay for the costs to clean up their mines when they’re finished.

On Friday, a federal judge ruled the Trump regime can’t delay an Obama-era immigration rule which lets foreign start-up founders into the US without a visa, after venture capitalists group and others sued.

In a letter, Sen. Chris Coons reminded Jeff Sessions and Rod Rosenstein he had given them two weeks for an explanation of why Dana Boente was forced to resign. After no response, Coons demanded to have his question answered.

On Tuesday, Coons also called for hearings into possible presidential interference, citing reports last month that Trump interviewed candidates for positions with oversight in districts where he has business dealings.

On Tuesday, Bloomberg reported the Manhattan DA’s office is interviewing 10 to 20 of Paul Manafort’s work associates and lenders, including Stephen Calk, whose bank provided Manafort with three loans totaling $16 million.

Calk was named as an economic adviser to the Trump campaign in August 2016. In Week 36, the loans to Manafort represented 24% of Calk’s bank’s equity capital and typically the bank focuses on loans to military members.

Investigators are also examining real estate transactions involving Manafort’s immediate family and former son in law. Unlike federal charges, those found guilty of a state crime cannot be pardoned by Trump.

POLITICO reported lawmakers are scrambling to put any measures in place to help secure the nation’s voting system and prevent hacking in the 2018 election. Voters in Texas and Illinois have primaries in just three months.

Senators complained about the lack of urgency with proposed legislation yet to hit the floor, and the House companion bill in limbo. Trump has yet to acknowledge Russian hacking of the 2016 election.

WAPO reported Flynn’s role in Mideast nuclear projects, as cited in Week 44, could compound his legal issues. Flynn served as an adviser to two Washington-based companies pursuing Middle East deals in 2015.

ACU Strategic Partners proposed a partnership with Russia and IP3/IronBridge proposed working with China. In various filings in 2016 and 2017, Flynn did not initially disclose his connection to ACU.

In a presentation to King Salman Bin Abdul Aziz of Saudi Arabia, IP3 listed Flynn as Formidable US Leadership. Lawmakers were not informed of Flynn’s relationship with IP3 according to Rep. Elijah Cummings .

Intercept reported Erik Prince met with Kirill Dmitriev, CEO of the Russian Direct Investment Fund (RDIF), on his trip to Seychelles cited in Week 21. The trip was allegedly to set up a back-channel between Trump and Russia.

Prince claimed he was in Seychelles on business. RDIF is under US sanctions, meaning Prince could have violated sanctions against Russia. Prince will testify to the House Intel Committee later this week.

Rachel Maddow reported that with the addition of the Dmitriev, so far, there have been 19 Russians identified as having met with Trump campaign officials.

BuzzFeed reported the Senate Intel Committee has requested information from Twitter on 45 Russia-linked accounts that tweeted propaganda about Trump, Brexit, and German Chancellor Angela Merkel in 2016.

On Thursday, Reza Zarrab, who is now cooperating with US prosecutors, implicated Erdogan in a NY court, saying the Turkish PM personally authorized a transaction on behalf of Iran in a money laundering scheme.

Prior to cooperating, Erdogan had enlisted Flynn to get Zarrab released in exchange for a large payout in Week 53. In Week 20, Zarrab was represented by Rudy Giuliani who flew to Turkey to meet with Erdogan.

CNN identified radio host Randy Credico as the intermediary between Roger Stone and Julia Assange during the 2016 campaign season. Credico has been subpoenaed by the House Intel Committee to testify.

On Thursday, Rep. Adam Schiff, the ranking Democrat on the House Intel Committee, expressed concern that Sessions refused to answer if he was ever instructed by Trump to take any action he believed would hinder the Russia investigation, in a closed-door meeting with the committee.

NBC News reported Donald Jr. will meet with the House Intel Committee next week. Lawmakers want to know about the June 9 meeting at Trump Tower and his May 2016 encounter with Alexander Torshin at an NRA event.

On Wednesday, Russian state-funded RT had its US Capitol credential revoked. The Congressional Radio & Television Correspondents’ Galleries cited RT being forced to register as a foreign agent by the DOJ.

On Friday, in retaliation, the Russian government will consider the resolution next week which would ban American journalists from accessing the lower chamber of its parliament, the Duma.

On Thursday, Manafort struck a revised bail deal with prosecutors to pledge four properties worth $11 million as bail, clearing the way for him to be released from the house arrest.

On Thursday, NYT reported Trump urged senior Republicans in the Senate, including Richard Burr who chairs the Senate Intel Committee, to end the panel’s investigation into Russia’s interference in the 2016 election.

Burr said Trump told him the investigation was overshadowing his first year and he wanted to see it come to an end. Burr also said committee members were approached by Trump, and shared their conversations.

Trump expressed these sentiments to Roy Blunt, who serves on the committee, while flying on Air Force One to Springfield, MO in August. Trump told Blunt he wanted “to wrap up this investigation.”

Trump complained to Mitch McConnell and Bob Corker, who is chair of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, in phone conversations about the continuing investigations, and blamed McConnell as leader for not shielding him.

Trump called Sen. Thom Tillis, who in August introduced a bipartisan bill limiting the president’s power to dismiss special prosecutors, over the summer. Tillis said Trump “just asked me where my head was” on the legislation.

AP reported Bronze Star LLC, a newly-created Florida company, won $30 million in contracts from FEMA to provide emergency tarps and plastic sheeting for repairs to Puerto Rico.

Bronze Star had never won a government contract or delivered tarps or plastic sheeting before. These urgently needed supplies were never delivered, so FEMA cancelled the contract and will restart the process.

Vox reported two social science researchers concluded the death toll in Puerto Rico is closer to 1,085, 20 times the official count of 58, based on examining historical averages of deaths in September and October.

USA Today reported Trump’s actions have sparked an aggressive cottage industry of ethics watchdog groups, which are closing tracking and challenging his every move with lawsuits and filing requests.

CREW filed a complaint asking the DOJ to investigate whether Kris Kobach is improperly getting a financial benefit from serving as vice chair of Trump’s Election Integrity Committee. In Week 54, Donald Jr. campaigned for Kobach.

On Tuesday, a US District Judge approved a preservation subpoenas issued by the attorneys general of MD and DC to twenty-three Trump businesses including Mar-A-Lago, as part of an emoluments lawsuit.

POLITICO reported Trump gave Kellyanne Conway the approval to criticize AL senate candidate Doug Jones on tv. In Week 54, former Office of Government Ethics director Walter Shaub filed an ethics complaint against Conway for this violation of the Hatch Act.

In an interview with Esquire, Sen. John McCain said of Trump, “I think he’s a person who takes advantage of situations,” adding “I don’t think he has the fundamental underpinnings of principles and beliefs.”

Dictionary.com announced its Word of the Year is complicit. Use of the word spiked on April 5 when Ivanka was asked if she and Kushner were complicit, and on October 24 when Sen. Jeff Flake said, “I will not be complicit.”

On Tuesday, Rep. Nancy Pelosi and Sen. Chuck Schumer abruptly pulled out of a scheduled lunch with Trump and Republican leaders to discuss budget and immigration issues after Trump sent an abusive tweet about “Chuck and Nancy.”

Amid efforts to repeal net neutrality, FCC chairman Ajit Pai accused Twitter of having “double standard when it comes to suspending or de-verifying conservative users.” He did not specify which accounts he was referring to.

On Thursday, NYT reported Trump’s WH has developed a plan to fire Tillerson and replace him with CIA Director Mike Pompeo. In turn, Pompeo would likely be succeeded by Sen. Tom Cotton. Trump has not signed off on the plan by Kelly.

CNN reported the reports that Trump would be replacing Tillerson were meant to express Trump’s deep displeasure with Tillerson and publicly shame him.

On Friday, Trump denied Tillerson is on his way out, tweeting, “The media has been speculating that I fired Rex Tillerson or that he would be leaving soon — FAKE NEWS!” Trump added in, “(I call the final shots).”

Bloomberg reported Tillerson is increasingly concerned about secret talks between Kushner and Saudi Arabian Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, fearing the talks could backfire and leave the region in chaos.

Tillerson and senior officials in the State Department have been left in the dark on Kushner’s discussion to create Palestinian state or territory backed financially by a number of countries including Saudi Arabia.

On Wednesday, the House passed a measure which requires members, employees, interns, fellows, and other short-term staff, to complete a program that includes anti-harassment and anti-discrimination training.

On Thursday, Trump’s FBI director Christopher Wray told the House Homeland Security Committee his agency has taken steps to “get in front” of future threats from Russia. This is the first news or suggestion of this.

On Wednesday, Trump told a crowd in MO the Republican tax bill “is going to cost me a fortune.” This statement is false. NYT describes the proposal as “almost tailor-made to enrich the president and people like him.”

AP fact-checked Trump’s speech in MO and found numerous false statements, citing “Trump’s tax fiction” and “embrace of propaganda” relating to the anti-Muslim videos.

On Thursday, the Republicans brought a tax bill to the floor for a vote. There were no hearings or real debate on the bill, and members of the Senate did not have a chance to read this version before the vote.

After the vote was well underway and almost complete Thursday evening, the Senate Parliamentarian ruled a fiscal trigger, important to winning over Corker’s support, will not work under Senate rules.

On Thursday, the Treasury Department’s inspector general launched an inquiry into whether the department hid its analysis as referenced by Secretary Steven Mnuchin of the Republican tax bill, or whether no such analysis exists.

On Friday, Republicans again brought the tax bill up for a vote. Hours before the vote, Democrats were handed copies of the bill with handwritten changes scribbled in the margins.

Late Friday evening, Schumer’s motion to give the senators two days to read the 479 page tax bill was voted down 52–48. He tweeted, “in my long career in politics, I have not seen a more regressive piece of legislation.”

ABC News reported Flynn’s lawyers met with Mueller’s team on Monday, a sign the parties are working on a possible plea deal.

House Democrats have forwarded Mueller information on more than a dozen foreign contacts and overseas trips by Flynn which were not disclosed during the process of renewing his security clearances.

On Wednesday, CNN reported Mueller’s team has postponed grand jury testimony of public relations consultant hired by Flynn’s lobbying firm, another indication the parties are working on a plea deal.

CNN reported Mueller’s team met with Kushner earlier this month. Sources say the conversation lasted less than 90 minutes, and was primarily related to Flynn.

WAPO reported Trump feel confident the Mueller probe will be completed by year-end, and that he will be exonerated. Trump has taken comfort from lawyer Ty Cobb, who initially said the probe would be done by Thanksgiving.

One outside adviser warned if there was no statement of exoneration by year-end, Trump would “blow a gasket.”

On Friday, Flynn pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI about conversations with Sergey Kislyak in December during the transition period. Flynn also became the first WH official to cooperate in the Mueller probe.

Flynn, who was especially known for vigorously leading “Lock her up!” chants at Trump rallies, emerged from the courthouse to chants by hecklers of “Lock him up!

At lunchtime, the WH canceled an opportunity for reporters to question Trump about Flynn’s guilty plea. Reporters had hoped to pepper Trump with questions in passing, but instead were escorted to the press room.

Flynn’s discussions with Kislyak were an effort to undermine Obama on foreign policy before Trump took power. The transition team was led by Mike Pence, and senior members include Kushner, Reince Priebus and K.T. McFarland.

Flynn spoke to Kislyak on December 29 and asked that Russia not escalate after the Obama administration imposed sanctions. On December 30, Putin announced Russia would not take actions against the sanctions.

On December 30, Trump tweeted: “Great move on delay (by V. Putin) — I always knew he was very smart!” On December 31, Kislyak called Flynn to tell him no action would be taken, and Flynn called the transition team.

Court papers revealed Flynn was directed by a “very senior transition official” to contact foreign government, including Russia to discuss a UN resolution regarding Israeli settlements. The official was Kushner.

Bloomberg reported Kushner told Flynn he needed to get every foreign minister or ambassador from countries on the UN Security Council to delay or vote against the resolution, a possible violation of the Logan Act.

AP reported former deputy NSA K.T. McFarland is the person described as a “senior transition” official who Flynn contacted on December 29 to discuss what to communicate to Kislyak in response to Obama sanctions.

Flynn and Kislyak spoke five times on December 29. McFarland was in Mar-A-Lago at the time, as was Trump.

Trump lawyer Cobb sought to distance Flynn from Trump by stressing Flynn served as NSA “for 25 days,” and was a “former Obama administration official.”

The special counsel indicated the information provided to the court was a partial description of Flynn’s involvement: “these facts do not constitute all of the facts known to the parties concerning the charged offense.”

On Friday, Sen. Mark Warner, Vice Chairman of the Senate Intel Committee issued a statement saying, “The Special Counsel’s probe has found illegal behavior stretching into the senior most levels of the White House.”

On Friday after the Flynn plea, Rep. Jerrold Nadler said the House Judiciary Committee has enough evidence to probe Trump for obstruction of justice.

On MSNBC, Michael Bechloss compared Flynn cooperating to when Dean turned on Nixon in Watergate, adding “There’s a very good chance that decades from now, we may look back on this day as a big day in history…”

ABC News reported in recent weeks, Flynn felt abandoned by Trump, and in the 24 hours before he agreed to cooperate, was concerned about the crippling legal costs if he decided to contest the charges.

On Friday, Washington Examiner reported Flynn will sell his house to offset legal costs from the Mueller probe.

On Saturday morning, Trump appeared before the media and expressed no concern about Flynn’s guilty plea. Trump told reporters three time that there was “no collusion” between his campaign and the Russians.

On Saturday, Trump tweeted he fired Flynn “because he lied to the Vice President and the FBI. He has pled guilty to those lies.” This possibly points to obstruction of justice since shortly after, Trump asked Comey to let it go.

On Saturday, Trump’s net approval fell to -29 at Gallup (approve 33, disapprove 62). This matches Trump’s widest disapproval gap.


Week 54: Experts in authoritarianism advise to keep a list of things subtly changing around you, so you’ll remember.

November 25, 2017 https://medium.com/@Amy_Siskind/week-54-experts-in-authoritarianism-advise-to-keep-a-list-of-things-subtly-changing-around-you-so-3bc5fd9ba18b


This week Trump’s manufactured crises returned, as he sought to seize back the narrative and distract from the increasing instability within the regime, and developments relating to his inner-circle in the Trump-Russia probes.

Trump’s deconstructing of the executive branch continues, as agencies go unstaffed or are led by regime members who are revoking regulations and winding down staff. Kleptocracy and insider dealings continue, although Trump’s tarnished name and brand is hurting him financially on several fronts. The judicial branch seems to be the only thing holding the regime in check, though Trump has drastic changes underway there too.

  1. On Sunday, Trump attacked the father of one of the UCLA basketball players released from prison in China, saying LaVar Ball did not appear grateful for his help, adding of the players, “I should have left them in jail.
  2. On Monday, press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said Trump’s tweet was a “rhetorical response,” and that Trump does not regret helping the UCLA players.
  3. On Sunday, after Sen. Jeff Flake was caught on an open microphone saying “(If we) become the party of Roy Moore and Donald Trump, we are toast,” Trump attacked Flake tweeting, “his political career anyway is “toast.””
  4. On Monday, Trump attacked another black athlete, Marshawn Lynch for standing during the Mexican Anthem and sitting for the National Anthem, tweeting, “next time NFL should suspend him for remainder of season.”
  5. On Monday, Fox News’ Neil Cavuto shredded Trump saying he is president, “why don’t you act like it?” Cavuto also told Trump he is “running out of friends,” and it’s not “fake news media that’s your problem. It’s you.”
  6. Trump continued his attacks on LaVar Ball during the week, calling him a “poor man’s version of Don King, but without the hair,” and an “ungrateful fool.” Ball responded — as separately did Marshawn Lynch’s mother.
  7. Additional remains of Sgt. LaDavid Johnson were found in Niger. In Week 49, Myeshia Johnson was denied seeing her husband’s body and was publicly criticized by Trump. The details of his death are still not known.
  8. Trump responded to a reporter who tweeted that Trump’s “rage-tweets” on Ball were part of a pattern of attacks on high profile African Americans to feed his base, by tweeting “MAKE AMERICA GREAT AGAIN!
  9. In another historic first in the string of rebukes to Trump, Democrat LaToya Cantrell won her race to become the first female mayor of New Orleans in the city’s 300-year history. Cantrell is also a woman of color.
  10. WAPO reported a sheriff’s deputy in VA was reassigned out of her job in the local school system after attending a Halloween party in blackface as part of her costume to look like Rep. Frederica Wilson.
  11. On Monday, acting DHS director Elaine Duke announced the Trump regime would not extend special deportation protection known as Temporary Protected Status for 59K Haitians here since the 2010 earthquake.
  12. On Monday, Trump’s DOJ asked the Supreme Court to fully reinstate its travel restrictions on six Muslim-majority countries. Trump said he is doing this to protect the US from terrorists and is not targeting Muslims.
  13. The DHS inspector general informed lawmakers that Customs and Border Protection agents violated at least two court orders in their zeal to enforce Trump’s travel ban by banning passengers from boarding a plane.
  14. On Monday, a federal judge permanently blocked Trump’s executive order to cut funding from cities that limit cooperation with U.S. immigration authorities — so-called sanctuary cities.
  15. On Tuesday, a second federal judge ruled against Trump’s transgender military ban, halting the ban and saying active-duty service members are “already suffering harmful consequences.”
  16. On Wednesday, the WSJ reported Trump’s DOJ has opened an investigation into Harvard’s admission practices, citing similar allegations in a 2014 case, and said the university is not cooperating with the probe.
  17. The DOJ is investigating Harvard’s diversity policies under Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which bars discrimination on the basis of race, color and national origin for organizations that receive federal funding.
  18. Betsy DeVos’ Education Department is considering limiting the scope of civil right investigations at schools, to only look only at the specific incident and not focus on “systemic” or institutional issues.
  19. Juli Briskman, the cyclist who got fired by her employer in Week 52 for giving Trump the middle finger, has raised $124K from more than 5.5K sponsors on a GoFundMe page set up by one of her friends.
  20. On Monday, during the last press briefing before the Thanksgiving holiday, press secretary Sanders told reporters they would need to say what they were grateful for before asking a question. Most reporters complied.
  21. POLITICO reported Corey Lewandowski has a new base for operations, a row house in DC. Although Lewandowski claims to have cut ties with lobbying firm Turnberry, the firm lists the same address as where he resides.
  22. Daily Beast reported, based on public records, 20 family members have landed jobs in the Trump regime. Also, not since the Kennedy’s have so many blood-relatives occupied so many prominent roles.
  23. On Monday, Reuters reported the DOJ will sue to stop AT&T from buying Time Warner, owner of CNN, which Trump has attacked consistently as fake news. In Week 52, Rupert Murdoch approached AT&T to buy CNN.
  24. On Monday, the attorney for Karen Forsenca said she might pursue a civil rights lawsuit against Fort Bend County Sheriff Troy Nehls for violating her First Amendment rights.
  25. On Monday, Sessions’ DOJ announced it will award $100 million to local police departments that notify federal authorities about undocumented immigrants in local custody, and let immigration officers into their jails.
  26. Sessions’ DOJ abruptly announced it is cutting off funding for 16 halfway houses. The cuts come weeks after Sessions’ named Mark Inch to lead the federal prison system as Bureau of Prisons Director.
  27. Trump’s FCC chair Ajit Pai said he has shared his plan and to fully dismantle the Obama-era net neutrality regulations with his fellow commissioners amid public protest, including from one of his fellow commissioners.
  28. CBS News reported the Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) under Trump is a ghost town. Staffing is down from 135 under Obama to just 45 under Trump, most of whom do not have a background in science.
  29. This is also the longest the agency, a hub of innovation, has gone in its 41-year history without a leader. When asked, a WH official said there are no personnel announcements planned for the OSTP at this time.
  30. The Senate voted to confirm David Zatezalo, Trump’s pick to head the Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA). As a mining executive Zatezalo’s company had with numerous safety complaints from MSHA.
  31. POLITICO reported Trump’s lead pick to run the Census Bureau, Thomas Brunell, a Texas professor who is the author of a book which claims competitive elections are bad for America, is causing alarm.
  32. Slate reported Trump nominee Brett Talley did not reveal his message board posts using a pseudonym in which he said on capital punishment it would be “awesome” to bring back the electric chair and “just shoot them.”
  33. POLITICO reported the FEC is probing discrepancies in the most recent campaign finance report at a PAC previously affiliated with Ryan Zinke, including incomplete donor info, a $200K discrepancy, and other issues.
  34. WAPO reported on Conservatives’ plan for Trump to pack the courts. The plan calls for Trump to add 650 lifetime members to the federal judiciary in the next 12 months. Obama named 325 members in his eight years.
  35. Many positions were open while Obama was in office. The other part of the plan is to dramatically increase the number of judiciary positions, creating 260–447 new positions, a 30–50%, increase under Trump.
  36. As Congress has not extended CHIP, which provides healthcare to 9 million low-income children and 370K pregnant women, 12 states are preparing to notify families they will no longer have care at year-end.
  37. ProPublica reported Property of the People sued the Trump regime under the FOIA for the visitor records of five federal offices working directly with Trump. Records released have 2,169 redactions for 8,807 meetings.
  38. ProPublica reported, according to logs the WH was forced to release under the FOIA, Mick Mulvaney has been meeting with long list of lobbyists, corporate execs and wealthy people with business interests before the government.
  39. Visitors include Koch Industries lobbyists, Trump friend Steve Wynn, health care and Wall Street CEOs, numerous officials from the Heritage Foundation, and a prominent member of the Catholic group Opus Dei.
  40. Reuters reported a group of a dozen State Department officials took the unusual step of formally accusing Rex Tillerson of violating a federal lawdesigned to stop foreign militaries from enlisting child soldiers in a “dissent” memo.
  41. The memo claims Tillerson breached the Child Soldiers Prevention Act by excluding Iraq, Myanmar, and Afghanistan from a list of offenders in order to make it easier to provide the countries with US military assistance.
  42. NYT reported diplomats in the State Department are continuing to sound the alarm as they are pushed out in droves in a series of dismissals and early retirements which have decimated the agency’s senior ranks.
  43. Bill Miller, chief of security, said Tillerson had turned down his requests to brief him on security needs at US embassies his first nine months. Republicans were highly critical of Hillary on lack of security in Benghazi.
  44. Finally Miller, a career Foreign Service officer, cited the requirement that he be allowed to speak to Tillerson. Shortly after, he was fired. This marks a new stage in the contentious relationship between Tillerson and staff.
  45. POLITICO reported the KGB has been interested in Trump for decades, citing his first trip to Moscow in 1987 which was arranged by the top level of the Soviet diplomatic service.
  46. On Monday, WAPO reported on the mood in the WH as the Mueller probe has entered Trump’s inner circle. Ty Cobb has giving assurance the investigation will wrap up quickly and Trump is not under investigation.
  47. Trump is reportedly arrogant and views the Mueller probe as “just an annoyance.” Meanwhile almost all have had to hire attorneys. Junior staffers fear legal bills could run three to four times their annual salaries.
  48. Per Mueller’s charging documents, at least nine people in the Trump orbit had contact with Russians during the campaign or transition period. One staffer kidded the morning greeting is, “Good morning. Are you wired?’
  49. Witnesses questioned by Mueller say investigators are asking about foreign contacts and meetings that are not yet public, and warn to expect a series of new revelations despite Cobb’s assurances that the end is near.
  50. On Monday, Bloomberg reported the Trump campaign said it will stop paying Donald Jr.’s legal fees, and is instead setting up a legal fund to pay costs for him and other campaign staffers relating to the Russia probe.
  51. Former OGE director Walter Shaub noted the concern that “a mysterious “pooled” legal defense fund” could influence witness testimony unless the fund establishes clear criteria for allocating distributions
  52. The yacht of Russian oligarch Roman Abramovich, a frequent subject in the lists, docked near Mar-A-Lago, where Trump will spend Thanksgiving. A spokesperson told Palm Beach Post that Abramovich is not aboard.
  53. ABC News reported Mueller has directed the DOJ to turn over a broad array of documents related the Comey firing and Sessions’ decision to recuse himself. Trump has been publicly critical of Sessions’ recusal.
  54. The directive is Mueller’s first record request to the DOJ, the department overseeing his investigation, and signals his team is looking into whether the Trump regime tried to improperly influence an ongoing investigation.
  55. CBS News confirmed Donald Jr. met with Alexander Torshin, a man tied to organized crime and with close ties to the Kremlin, at a NRA in May 2016, three weeks before the June 9 meeting at Trump Tower.
  56. ABC News reports the House Intel Committee is looking into Carter Page’s travel to meet with senior officials in Hungary in September 2016. The Hungarian prime minister was the first foreign leader to endorse Trump.
  57. Page had 45-minute meeting with Jeno Megyesy, a close adviser to Hungarian PM Orban, who has become increasingly aligned with Putin. Experts also consider Budapest a hub for Russian intelligence activity.
  58. CNN reported Mueller will be interviewing three Trump insiders in the coming days: Hope Hicks, Don McGahn and Josh Raffel, a PR specialist who had previously worked for Kushner in the private sector.
  59. Hicks has been one of Trump’s closest confidantes, and joined the campaign in spring 2015. Hicks was always by his side on the campaign trail, and now has a desk just outside the Oval Office.
  60. NYT reported in 2012, the FBI told Rep. Dana Rohrabacher that Russia regarded him as an intelligence source. Mueller is interesting meetings Rohrabacher had with Julian Assange in London in August 2016, and with Michael Flynn last year.
  61. WSJ reported Mueller is investigating Jared Kushner’s interactions with foreign leaders during the transition period, including a dispute at the UN in December 2016, in a sign Mueller’s probe is expanding.
  62. The UN resolution condemning Israel for constructing settlements in disputed territories passed December 23, and the Obama admin declined to block it. Israeli officials then reached out to Kushner and Steve Bannon.
  63. Mueller is scrutinizing Kushner for indicating he had no foreign contacts in his initial security clearance forms, then updating the form at least three times to include more than 100 contacts with more than 20 countries.
  64. Kushner allegedly urged Trump to fire James Comey in a meeting with other top officials. According to sources, Kushner thought Comey was too unpredictable and that Democrats would cheer for his ouster.
  65. Daily Beast reported before the June 9 meeting, Roman Beniaminov, a low-level real estate executive with ties to Russia, let Ike Kaveladze know he heard from Rob Goldstone that “dirt” on Hillary would come up.
  66. Reuters reported the Kremlin chief media regulator said it will take action against Google if Sputnik and RT are placed lower in search results.
  67. Vanity Fair reported before Trump infamously turned over Israeli secrets to Kislyak and Lavrov in the Oval Office, while Obama was still in office, US Intel warned Israel that Putin had “leverages of pressure” over Trump.
  68. Information shared by Trump included the outline of a plot to turn laptop computers into airborne bombs. He shared at least one highly classified op detail not even shared with even Congress or friendly governments.
  69. Although he did not name Israel as the US partner that had detected the threat, Trump told Kislyak and Lavrov the ISIS-held territory where Israel had detected the threat.
  70. McClatchy reported Paul Manafort took at least 18 trips to Moscow and was in frequent contact with Putin allies for nearly a decade as a consultant in Russia and Ukraine for oligarchs and pro-Kremlin parties.
  71. In between 2004–2015, Manafort visited Ukraine at least 138 times. Prosecutors have charged that Manafort and Rick Gates funneled at least $75 million in consulting fees from an array of Kremlin-linked clients.
  72. Manafort’s web of connections included Russian oligarchs Deripaska and Firtash, who helped finance Ukraine’s pro-Moscow President Yanukovych,and Viktor Medvedchuk, thought to be a Russian intelligence agent.
  73. As a consultant in the Ukraine, including when he was chosen as Trump’s campaign manager, Manafort advocated an anti-NATO stance. Trump adopted that stance, and also questioned Obama’s sanctions on Russia.
  74. Manafort met with Andrey Artemenko, a pro-Moscow Ukrainian legislator in 2013. Artemenko’s citizenship was revoked this year after disclosure he and Michael Cohen had pitched a peace plan for Ukraine and Russia.
  75. In the summer of 2016, both presidential candidates were asked for a letter recognizing Ukraine’s independence. Trump refused. As Manafort resigned, he was to receive $12 million more in off-the-books payments.
  76. The New Yorker reported Dimitri Skorobutov, a former editor at Russia’s largest state media company Rossiya, said the Kremlin provided specific pro-Trump, anti-Clinton instructions on how to cover the US election.
  77. On Thursday, NYT reported Flynn’s lawyers notified Trump’s legal team they could no longer discuss the special counsel investigation, indicating either Flynn is cooperating with Mueller or is negotiating to cooperate.
  78. Flynn and his son have significant criminal exposure. The WH has been bracing for charges against Flynn, the closest to Trump of those charged so far, during both the campaign and early days of the regime.
  79. Mueller in investigating a private meeting between Flynn, Kushner and Kislyak, and conversations, in late December as Obama was announcing sanction on Russia. Flynn lied saying these were merely holiday greetings.
  80. Four days after Trump was sworn in, the FBI interviewed Flynn about the meeting. US Intel and law enforcement were so concerned about Flynn’s false statements, Sally Yates notified the WH that Flynn may be compromised.
  81. On Friday, Trump tweeted that he would be speaking to Turkey’s Erdogan, allegedly on the crises in Syria and other issues. As per several weeks’ lists, Flynn has significant ties to Turkey.
  82. On Friday, WSJ reported Mueller’s team is probing Flynn’s work on a documentary financed by Turkish interests targeting Fethullah Gulen. The FBI will be interviewing consultants hired by Flynn to work on the film.
  83. Mr. Flynn’s consulting firm, the Flynn Intel Group, and Flynn’s business partner Bijan Kian, tried to hide their involvement in, and the backers of the film according to consultants.
  84. BuzzFeed reported at a private dinner in July with technology company executives, H.R. McMaster referred to Trump as an “idiot” and a “dope” with the intelligence of a “kindergartner.”
  85. The National Republican Congressional Committee (NRCC) is offering donors the chance to win a trip to Trump Hotel DC. Donors who contribute $10 or more can automatically qualify for the trip.
  86. Lawmakers called on the Trump regime to provide additional funding for Puerto Rico, saying the initial request is not enough. If Puerto Rico’s federal Medicaid funding runs out, up to 900K people would likely be cut.
  87. A Kaiser Family Foundation found 70% of Americans believe Puerto Rico isn’t getting the help it needs, including a majority of Republicans (52%).
  88. Bloomberg reported Whitefish Energy halted work in Puerto Rico early, saying the island’s utility hasn’t paid it $83 million owed. A contract with Fluor was halted by the Army Corps of Engineers citing safety concerns.
  89. Two months after Hurricane Maria, only half of Puerto Rico has electricity, and many are still displaced or without drinking water. Trump has stopped talking about the recovery and the government is withdrawing.
  90. Telegraph reported room rates have fallen in all but one of Trump’s hotels. The biggest drop is at the Trump Las Vegas where rates have fallen by 63%.
  91. WAPO reported that after 19 out of 25 charities canceled their annual events at Mar-A-Lago over the summer, Trump cronies like Pat Robertson and the Republican Attorneys General Association have filled in.
  92. On Monday, NBC News reported Trump is shuttering his charitable foundation, which last year admitted violating federal rules on “self-dealing” — funneling charity money to their businesses, families or self.
  93. The press secretary for the NY AG said the foundation cannot close yet, citing it “is still under investigation by this office, it cannot legally dissolve until that investigation is complete.”
  94. WAPO reported Trump National Golf Club in Westchester reimbursed Trump’s foundation $158k in March, after the NY AG’s office investigation found the money had been used to settle a lawsuit against the club.
  95. Trump wines are being sold at Shenandoah National Park’s gift shop, posing a conflict of interest and possibly violating the emoluments clause.
  96. On Wednesday, in another sign of Trump’s struggling family businesses, the Trump Organization said it will exit from its struggling SoHo Hotel.
  97. WAPO reported that professional sports teams, once reliable patrons are no longer staying at Trump properties. WAPO reached out to 123 sports team and 106 responded: none are still staying at Trump properties.
  98. Donald Jr. will campaign for Kris Kobach in Kansas at a $200 per ticket event. Kobach is vice chair of the controversial Election Integrity Committee.
  99. Tom Steyer announced Monday that he would run billboards in Times Square as part of his campaign to impeach Trump. Steyer’s online petition has garnered 2.5 million signatures. Steyer has spent $20 million so far.
  100. On Tuesday, after wavering, Trump said he would back Roy Moore, the GOP candidate for senate in AL who has been accused of molesting a 14 year-old girl and eight others, citing Moore’s denial of sexual misconduct.
  101. Moore was banned from Gadsden Mall because of his predatory behavior towards underage girls. He first noticed his current wife when she was 15 or 16 years-old and he was in his 30s.
  102. A retired Alabama police officer said she and her colleagues were told decades ago to keep Moore away from high school cheerleaders.
  103. Former OGE director Shaub filed an ethics complaint against Kellyanne Conway for violating the Hatch Act, which prohibits federal employees from getting involved in elections. Conway advocated for Moore in front of the WH.
  104. WAPO reported Trump’s DOJ is pushing Iran-connected charges from the HBO hack. The push has caused alarm within the DOJ, as some officials say it comes as the Trump regime wants to impose new sanctions on Iran.
  105. The NYT editorial board, in an op-ed titled “Only Morons Pay the Estate Tax,” named after Chief Economic Adviser Gary Cohn’s words in August, cited the hypocrisy and kleptocracy of Trump’s tax plan.
  106. On Wednesday, Sen. Tom Carper said in a meeting with Democratic senators to discuss tax reform this month, Cohn faked a bad connection to get off the phone with Trump. The WH pushed back on the claimWednesday.
  107. On Tuesday, while granting the typical turkey pardon, Trump joked despite being “very active in overturning” Obama’s executive orders, he would not revoke Obama’s pardon of turkeys Tater and Tot.
  108. On Wednesday, in a flurry of tweets, Trump said the NFL’s idea of keeping players in the locker room during the National Anthem is “almost as bad as kneeling!” Trump added, “this issue is killing your league!”
  109. On Thanksgiving, the WH forced a pool reporter to make a correction: “The president will NOT have a low-key day and has a full schedule of meetings and phone calls.” An hour later, Trump went golfing.
  110. On Thanksgiving, from Mar-A-Lago, Trump addressed the troops, praising them and himself, and suggesting changes since Obama was in office: “We’re not fighting anymore to just walk around, we’re fighting to win,”
  111. Trump also took the opportunity to jab at the media, “surrounding me is a lot of press — better me than you, believe me fellas,” before asking the press to leave, “So I’ll ask the press to get out and I’ll say you’re fired.”
  112. McClatchy reported top Trump aides, including Bannon and Seb Gorka, failed to file legally required financial reports after they were fired this summer. Reince Priebus filed his reports this week, well after the 30-day deadline.
  113. Reports are due for employees for at least six-months. Ezra Cohen-Watnick and Middle East adviser Derek Harvey have also not filed their reports. The reports show if and how employees’ fortunes change while in power.
  114. The reports also show if employees took required steps to clear conflicts of interest. Bannon was supposed to sell his stake in Cambridge Analytica, worth $1–5 million, while in office. It is unclear if he did so.
  115. POLITICO reported despite the DHS banning government agencies from using Moscow-based Kaspersky Lab’s products in September, government contractors continue to use it, creating a huge potential hole for hackers.
  116. On Friday, Trump tweeted from Mar-A-Lago he was “PROBABLY going to be named” TIME Magazine’s Person of the Year, but said he would need to agree to an interview and major photo shoot and so he “took a pass.”
  117. TIME issued a statement in response, tweeting Trump “is incorrect about how we choose Person of the Year,” and Time Inc.’s chief content officer, Alan Murray tweeted, “not a speck of truth here.”
  118. On Friday, Trump named Mulvaney to head the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, setting up a legal clash. The announcement came hours after departing chief Cordray appointed chief of staff Leandra English to deputy director.
  119. Trump said Mulvaney will serve as Acting Director until a permanent director is confirmed. The Dodd-Frank Act says the deputy director shall “serve as acting Director in the absence or unavailability of the Director.”
  120. Vanity Fair reported the aide who has ceded the most influence since Kelly took charge is Kushner, who after initially having a huge portfolio of responsibility, now is confined to the Israel-Palestine conflict.
  121. Kelly was upset with Kushner’s trip to Saudi Arabia days before the Saudi Crown Prince made arrests, giving an impression Kushner knew and helped orchestrate it. The business councils Kushner dreamed up are gone.
  122. Amid Mueller’s investigation, Trump has also been aggravated with the bad advice Kushner has given, and has advocated for Kushner and Ivanka to return to NY, in part because they are being damaged by the press.
  123. NYT reported Trump is also annoyed with Ivanka for her “special place in hell for people who prey on children” comment on Moore. Glenn McConnell fears win or lose, Moore could cost the Republicans the Senate in 2018.

IMG_4726 (1)IMG_2880

NJ-based artist: Dino Gravato in SoHo, NYC
“Drama Queen” by NYC Hooker in Queens, NY


Artist: NYC Hooker in Queens, NY

DCIM100GOPROG0367073.DCIM100GOPROGOPR7237.DCIM100GOPROGOPR7364.IMG_3361Version 2


“Trollump and the Ring” by London-based artist Fanakapan. In Soho, New York City, November 2017

Week 53 of trump’s presidency: Experts in authoritarianism advise to keep a list of things subtly changing around you, so you’ll remember.

November 18, 2017 https://medium.com/@Amy_Siskind/week-53-experts-in-authoritarianism-advise-to-keep-a-list-of-things-subtly-changing-around-you-so-577dcb601736

This week the headlines and narrative were dominated by women (and men) sharing their stories of sexual assault and harassment — a historic movement. Stories entered the political domain with accusations against men of both parties, reopening questions about Trump’s sordid past. Trump tweeted himself into the sexual assault discussion, almost as if to be part of the zeitgeist, despite the perilous risks. This is the shortest list in many weeks as Trump was largely absent from the narrative and headlines.

This week the Russia probe entered Trump’s inner-circle, as more lines of direct and indirect communications surfaced, and efforts at cooperation between the Trump campaign and Russia were revealed. A political backlash against Trump continued as a special election in Oklahoma 37, a district Trump comfortably won by 40 points, went to a Democrat — a 26 year-old lesbian whose wife is African American.

  1. Despite messaging during his Asia trip about using diplomacy with N. Korea, late Saturday, Trump tweeted, “Why would Kim Jong-Un insult me by calling me ‘old,’ when I would NEVER call him ‘short and fat’?
  2. On Sunday, in response to Trump siding with Putin over US intelligence on Russian interference in Week 52, ex-intelligence chiefs James Clapper and John Brennan said Trump is being “played” by Putin.
  3. When asked about why his regime had yet to implement sanctions on Russia after the Senate and House voted almost unanimously to do so,Trump said he would rather have Russia “in a friendly posture.
  4. As Trump returned from his trip, former diplomats and Asia experts said China came out ahead and Trump came home largely empty-handed. Theformer Australian PM wrote Trump ceded economic leadership to China.
  5. During Trump’s Asia trip, world leaders from 11 countries reached agreement on the core elements of the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership trade deal, without the US.
  6. On Monday, Trump met with controversial leader Duterte. Trump boasted of their “great relationship,” and laughed when Duterte called journalists “spies.” At least 177 Filipino media workers have been killed since 1986.
  7. The WH said the two leaders “briefly” discussed human rights, but Duterte’s spokesman denied that the issue was discussed. Tuesday,Trudeau did bring up human rights, which Duterte called an “insult.
  8. On Tuesday evening, as Trump returned from his Asia trip, he tweeted “May God be with the people of Sutherland Springs.” That shooting took place 9 days prior. Tuesday, there was a mass shooting in Northern CA.
  9. NYT reported Trump is rapidly reshaping the judiciary, including eight appellate judges, seats Republicans held open during Obama’s final two years in office, with extremist conservative judges.
  10. On Monday, WAPO reported Jeff Sessions is considering a second special counsel to investigate GOP concerns, including the Clinton Foundation, Uranium One, and Hillary’s emails. Trump has been encouraging this.
  11. NYT reported Sessions is shattering longstanding norms by doing so, and so the credibility of any investigation presumably would be called into question since Trump is publicly going after a political rival.
  12. On Saturday, Trump was once again tweeting about his former political rival: “Crooked Hillary Clinton is the worst (and biggest) loser of all time…give it another try in three years!”
  13. WAPO reported in Trump’s first 298 days, he has made 1,628 false or misleading statements.
  14. Despite having no criminal record, a MI woman Zahrija Purovic, 50,who lived in the US for 30 years, worked and paid taxes and raised her three children here, was deported to Montenegro.
  15. Seattle Times reported on Pacific County, which voted for Trump but now laments a spike in deportations of their neighbors. There have been 28 ICE arrests this year so far, up from eight last year and zero many years before.
  16. NYT reported due to the Post Office unusually long delays of delivering DACA applications, including ones sent by certified mail, at least 74 young immigrants’ applications in NYC and Chicago were rejected for being late.
  17. Vox reported the Trump regime has rejected 4,000 “late” DACA renewal applications, some of which were sitting in mailboxes. A lawsuit alleges USCIS is being stricter than usual, and arbitrarily denying applications.
  18. On Thursday, in a reversal, acting DHS director Elaine Duke instructed the immigration agency to allow applicants to re-submit their paperwork if they have proof that they mailed their renewal on time.
  19. San Francisco Chronicle reported the Trump regime plans to stop granting work permits to spouses of H-1B visa holders, overturning a 2015 rule. Last year, 100K spouses and children of H-1B holders came to the US.
  20. AP reported Trump is choosing white men as judges at the highest rate in decades. So far, 91% of Trump’s nominees are white, and 81% are male.
  21. After nine months of trusting Trump to protect them for living in pro-Trump states, farming groups are moving to fight Trump’s effort to withdraw from NAFTA, saying the move would be a disaster for farmers.
  22. The Trump administration’s US Fish and Wildlife Service said it plan to reverse an Obama-era ban on bringing elephant trophies back from two African countries. The regime claims Zimbabwe and Zambia support reversing the ban.
  23. On Friday, following public backlash, Trump said he would delay the new policy on elephant trophies until he can review “all conservation facts.”
  24. ABC News confirmed the Trump regime’s US Fish and Wildlife Service also began issuing permits for lion trophies hunted in Zambia and Zimbabwe about a month ago.
  25. The University of SC women’s basketball team declined an invitation from Trump to celebrate their 2017 NCAA championship at the WH.
  26. Trump’s controversial judicial nominee Brett Talley did not disclose he is married to Donald McGahn’s chief of staff. In Week 52, Talley is also viewed as unqualified to be a federal district judge due to lack of experience.
  27. On Wednesday, Richard Cordray announced he would step down as head of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, an agency created by Sen. Elizabeth Warren after the 2008 financial crisis. Republicans have taken steps under Trump to dismantle the agency.
  28. Trump is expected to nominate Mick Mulvaney to acting head of the CFPB, an agency Mulvaney said he wanted to kill. Mulvaney will not require confirmation since he is serving as WH budget director.
  29. Jamie Johnson, a Trump DHS appointee, resigned after CNN uncovered tapes of his radio show in which he claimed blacks turned cities into “slums” and Islam’s only contribution to society was “oil and dead bodies.”
  30. On Wednesday, a bipartisan group of Senators wrote a letter to Rex Tillerson expressing “deep reservations” about lack of staffing, which threatens “to undermine the long-term health and effectiveness” of US diplomacy.
  31. The FCC repealed a 1970s rule put in place to ensure a diversity of voices and opinions by prohibiting ownership of a newspaper and tv-station in the same market. Trump ally Sinclair will be the biggest beneficiary.
  32. On Wednesday, 13 Senate Democrats called for the FCC Inspector General to open an investigation into potential quid pro quo between FCC chair Ajit Pai, the Trump regime, and Sinclair Broadcasting.
  33. The Koch brothers provided a half-billion dollar equity investments in a Meredith bid for Time Inc., potentially moving another major media company into the hands of conservative billionaires.
  34. On Wednesday, Steven Mnuchin and his wife caused a stir by posing for pictures with him holding sheets of money at the Bureau of Engraving, while the Republicans push a tax plan which benefits the rich and corporations.
  35. USA Today reported taxpayers are paying the legal costs for at least 10 DOJ lawyers and paralegals to work on four lawsuits related to Trump’s unprecedented decision not to divest of his private businesses.
  36. WAPO reported the Interior Department’s watchdog Deputy IG Mary Kendall sent a letter to Ryan Zinke’s office saying management of his travel was “deficient” and lacked oversight. Zinke has failed to keep complete records.
  37. A federal judge heard arguments Friday on whether Trump’s own tweets about the Steele dossier should force the federal government to reveal more information about its efforts to verify the claims in the dossier.
  38. On Friday, Bloomberg reported Trump will begin paying his legal bills related to the Russia probe from his own pocket, relieving the Republican Party of future payments.
  39. WH lawyer Ty Cobb said the OGE and a tax firm are also working on amechanism for Trump to contribute to staffers’ legal bills, raising ethical concerns that Trump is doing this to influence staffer testimony.
  40. On Monday morning, WAPO released a list of at least 30 known times the Trump campaign was in contact with Russians during the campaign.
  41. On Monday, Russian state-funded RT registered with the DOJ as a foreign agent. RT is now required to publicly disclose details about its funding and operations, and mark certain content with labels.
  42. Reuters reported, in retaliation, Russia named nine US-government sponsored media outlets likely to be labelled “foreign agents” in a new law that is being rushed through Russian parliament.
  43. On Monday, The Atlantic reported on Twitter direct messages betweenWikiLeaks and Donald Jr. starting September 20, 2016 and through July 2017. The messages have been turned over to Congressional investigators.
  44. US intelligence believes WikiLeaks was chosen by Russia to disseminate hacked emails. Donald Jr. forwarded one email to Steve Bannon, Kellyanne Conway, Jared Kushner, and Brad Parscale. Kushner in turn forwarded the message to Hope Hicks.
  45. Kushner has told congressional investigators he did not communicate with WikiLeaks, and did not recall anyone on the campaign who had.
  46. On October 3, 2016, the day after Roger Stone tweeted, “Wednesday @Hillary Clinton is done. #Wikileaks,” Donald Jr. messaged WikiLeaksasking, “What’s behind this Wednesday leak I keep reading about?
  47. On October 12, 2016, WikiLeaks messaged Donald Jr. about the upcoming release of Podesta hacked emails and asked that Trump tweet about it. Trump did in fact tweet about it, fifteen minutes later.
  48. In the last 30 days of his presidential campaign, Trump mentioned WikiLeaks 164 times.
  49. In a message on Election Day, WikiLeaks encouraged Donald Jr. that if Trump loses he “DOES NOT concede,” and instead focuses on “CHALLENGING the media and other types of rigging.”
  50. WikiLeaks suggested they be the means for releasing Trump’s tax returns to help them appear impartial. After Trump won, WikiLeaks asked to have Trump suggest “Australia appoint Assange ambassador to DC.”
  51. On July 11, 2017, three days after the NYT reported on Donald Jr.’s June 9 Trump Tower meeting and emails, WikiLeaks suggested they make the emails public. Hours later, Donald Jr. tweeted the emails himself.
  52. CNN reported the Russia-linked trolls that meddled in US politics posted dozens of pro-Brexit messages on the day of the UK referendum.
  53. CNN reported the House Intelligence Committee will interview Russian-American lobbyist Rinat Akhmetshin next week about his involvement in the June 9 Trump Tower meeting.
  54. BuzzFeed reported the FBI is investigating 60 money transfers sent through Citibank accounts by the Russian Foreign Ministry, most with a note saying the money was to be used “to finance election campaign of 2016.”
  55. On Thursday, NBC News reported Reza Zarrab, a dual Turkish-Iranian national with close ties to Turkey’s Erdogan is cooperating with federal investigators in a money-laundering case.
  56. Legal experts say prosecutors may be looking for ties to Mike Flynn. Mueller is investigating whether Erdogan offered Flynn $15 million to use his position as NSA to extradite a cleric and drop charges against Zarrab.
  57. In Week 20 in March 2017, the acting US attorney told a judge Rudy Giuliani and Marc Mukasey had joined Zarrab’s defense team to “explore a potential disposition of the criminal charges.” Both met with Erdogan in Turkey.
  58. WSJ reported Mueller has subpoenaed more than a dozen top Trump officials seeking documents and emails that reference a set of Russia-related keywords. This is Mueller’s first official order to the campaign.
  59. In a letter, the Senate Judiciary Committee said it has uncovered evidence that Kushner was forwarded a document about a “Russian backdoor overture” that he failed to turn over the Congressional investigators.
  60. Kushner also failed to turn over a September 2016 email he received about WikiLeaks, and communication with Russian-born businessman Sergei Millian, former head of the Russian-American Chamber of Commerce.
  61. The letter also criticized Kushner for not turning over a copy of a government document that Mr. Kushner completed to obtain a security clearance, a SF-86, which has been amended at least twice.
  62. On Friday, CBS News reported the “Russian backdoor overture and dinner invite” to Kushner was requested by Alexander Torshin in May 2016 and his assistant, Maria Butina.
  63. Torshin has close ties to Putin. He was a senator and appointed deputy governor of the Bank of Russia. He also is suspected of having ties to organized crime.
  64. Torshin and Butina had requested to meet with Trump, and then have Trump travel to Russia to meet Putin. The request was made through an intermediary who was attached to a NRA event in Kentucky.
  65. The intermediary forwarded the five-page request to the Trump campaign, including Paul Manafort and Rick Gates. Eventually it was forwarded to Kushner.
  66. NBC News reported the two hoped to meet Trump on the sidelines of the NRA convention in Louisville. Torshin also hoped to meet a high-level Trump campaign officials, saying he may have a message from Putin for Trump.
  67. Kushner received a lengthy email exchange between the intermediary and Rick Dearborne, who now serves as deputy chief of staff in the WH.Kushner told Dearborne and others in the campaign not to move forward.
  68. While Kushner was telling Dearborne and others not to accept, Torshin was seated with Donald Jr. at a private dinner on the sidelines of the NRA event, according to an account Torshin gave to Bloomberg.
  69. Yahoo reported the WH abruptly canceled a February meeting between Trump and Torshin after national security discovered Torshin was named by Spanish police as a suspected “godfather” of an organized crime ring.
  70. Politico reported Kushner is still operating on interim security clearance ten months in. He continues to work on sensitive foreign policy issues while his application for a permanent clearance remains under review.
  71. NYT reported the US Office of Acquisitions has hired Elite Security to guard the Moscow Embassy and consulates in St. Petersburg, after Putin ordered the US to slash their staff by 755 employees in July in retaliation.
  72. The contract was no-bid. Elite Security is a company with run by Putin’s former KGB boss, an 82-year-old veteran spy who spent 25 years planting agents and hunting down operatives in Western countries.
  73. A new book, Collusion: How Russia Helped Donald Trump Win, quotesSteele as telling friends he believes 70–90% of the dossier is accurate, and his report will be vindicated by the Mueller investigation.
  74. On Wednesday, in nearly seven hours of testimony to the House Intel Committee, Fusion GPS co-founder Glenn Simpson defended the Steele dossier, saying nothing in it has been disproven and some has been corroborated.
  75. Simpson also said Steele did not pay the sources he used to compile the dossier. Simpson is now cooperating with the three congressional committees investigating Russian meddling.
  76. CNN reported the DOJ’s probe into Deutsche Bank’s role in a $10 million Russian money laundering scheme has gone dormant. The DOJ and the US attorney for SDNY were investigating how the bank missed red flags.
  77. The investigation has been closely watched Democrats, who have asked Deutsche to turn over documents, but the bank has been non-responsive. Trump and Kushner have extensive banking relationships with Deutsche.
  78. Judicial Watch filed under the FOIA against the DOJ for all records relating to Veselnitskaya’s immigration parole. At the time she met with Donald Jr. at Trump Tower, Veselnitskaya wasn’t supposed to be in the US.
  79. British publicist Roger Goldstone, who helped set up the Trump Tower meeting between Donald Jr. and Veselnitskaya, is ready to come to the US and meet Mueller’s team. Goldstone is currently living in Bangkok.
  80. Foreign Policy reported Kushner’s newspaper, The Observer, pursued a relationship with WikiLeaks starting in 2014. During the 2016 election, the newspaper actively published hacked emails shared by WikiLeaks.
  81. Although Kushner claimed to keep a distance from his newspaper, he spoke to EIC Ken Kurson daily. Kurson also sat with the Trump family at the RNC.
  82. Politico reported in interviews with Greek media last year, George Papadopoulos boasted of a “blank check” for a job in the Trump regime, and to representing Trump in meetings overseas with foreign leaders.
  83. AP reported Congressional investigators are looking into a June 2017 meeting between Rinat Akhmetshin and Ike Kaveladze in Moscow. Both had attended the June 9, 2016 meeting at Trump Tower with Donald Jr.
  84. Congressional investigators want to know if the meeting was to knowwhether there was some effort to get their stories straight before it became public on July 8, when the NYT broke the story.
  85. Mueller is also investigating the June 9 meeting which occurred weeks after Trump clinched the nomination. A grand jury has already heardtestimony about the meeting which Kushner and Manafort also attended.
  86. NYT reported Whitefish Energy billed PREPA $319 an hour for linemen, 17 times higher than what is typical in Puerto Rico. Senior linemen coming from Florida to work in Puerto Rico were paid $100 or less.
  87. Power in Puerto Rico is spotty almost two months after Hurricane Maria.Early in the week, 50% of the island had power, then a major transmission line failed, reducing it to 22%. Whitefish Energy had repaired the line.
  88. The USNS Comfort departed Puerto Rico. Since arriving Comfort staff have treated 1,899 patients, performed 191 surgeries, provided 76K liters of oxygen, and ten tons of food and water.
  89. On Tuesday, Sessions testified before the House Judiciary Committee.Sessions again revised his account of what he knew about the Trump campaign’s dealing with Russia, despite saying, “my story had never changed.
  90. Asked about Papadopoulos statements placing Sessions in a meeting where Russia was discussed, he answered, “I had no recollection of this meeting until I saw these news reports.
  91. Sessions claimed his memory was refreshed after reading Papadopoulos’ account, and said to the best of his recollection, Papadopoulos “was not authorized to represent the campaign with the Russian government.
  92. The day after Sessions’s testimony, Sergey Kislyak told Russia-1, a popular Russia state-owned channel, that it would take him more than 20 minutes to name all of the Trump officials he’s met with or spoken to on the phone.
  93. On Friday, Sessions joked before a speech at the Federalist Society, “Is Ambassador Kislyak in the room? … Any Russians?
  94. On Tuesday special elections, Allison Isley-Freeman, a 26 year-old lesbian, won in an Oklahoma district Trump had carried+40. Democrats won the mayor of Albuquerque, NM for the first time in eight years, in a blowout.
  95. On Wednesday, six Democrats demanded impeachment hearings citing the Comey firing, violations of the emoluments clause, and Trump’s undermining of the federal judiciary and freedom of press.
  96. A Texas woman, Karen Fonseca, made news for a pickup truck bumper sticker with an expletive-filled message to Trump and his supporters. Fonseca said she’s been stopped by police, but is exercising free speech.
  97. On Wednesday, Sheriff Troy Nehls posted a photo of the truck on Facebook and asked for information on the driver. The post was taken down. On Thursday, Fonseca was picked up for an outstanding warrant from August.
  98. Breaking with tradition of nearly two decades, Trump will not meet with the eight American Nobel laureates before they travel to Sweden to receive their prizes. One honoree said he was “relieved.”
  99. On Thursday, the Department of Defense’s Twitter account retweeted, then deleted a post calling on Trump to resign. The chief spokesperson tweeted, the account “erroneously retweeted content that would not be endorsed.”
  100. On Tuesday, Speaker Paul Ryan announced a new mandatory anti-harassment and discrimination training for all House members and staff.
  101. On Thursday, Trump tweeted about Al Franken’s sexual misconduct, saying “The Al Frankenstien picture is really bad […] Where do his hands go in pictures 2, 3, 4, 5 & 6 while she sleeps?……”
  102. Press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said in a press briefing that the difference between Trump and Franken, she said, is that “Franken has admitted wrongdoing” but Trump has not.
  103. In an interview with Mother Jones, Hillary questioned the legitimacy of the 2016 election citing Russian interference and voter suppression. In WI, voter suppression possibly impacted 45K voters, Trump won by 23K votes.
  104. Politico reported Trump is obsessed with polls, and decries those that show his popularity falling as fake. Aides in the WH often show him only the polls that make him feel good.
  105. Air Force Gen. John Hyten, a top US nuclear commander of the of the Strategic Command (STRATUM), said he would push back against Trumpif he ordered a nuclear launch the general believed to be illegal.


The New York City art scene continues to RESIST!



“Cities were always like people, showing their varying personalities to the traveler. Depending on the city and on the traveler, there might begin a mutual love, or dislike, friendship, or enmity. Where one city will rise a certain individual to glory, it will destroy another who is not suited to its personality. Only through travel can we know where we belong or not, where we are loved and where we are rejected.” ― Roman Payne


James A. Farley Post Office Building. Opened in 1914.


On the left, trump International Hotel and Tower. In the center: 30-ft silver globe.


“Diabetic Awareness through Art” by AppletonPictures.


Artist: DAIN
Artist: Jerkface


17nov17. New York City, NY


Portland, Oregon. 11Nov2017. Courtesy of Paul Hehn. 

Week 52 of trump’s disastrous presidency: Experts in authoritarianism advise to keep a list of things subtly changing around you, so you’ll remember.

November 11, 2017 https://medium.com/@Amy_Siskind/week-52-experts-in-authoritarianism-advise-to-keep-a-list-of-things-subtly-changing-around-you-so-fe8c054ee82

This week started and ended in chaos, with a respite in-between as Trump traveled to Asia and stayed on script. The length of this week’s list is a testament to how broad-based the attacks on and the erosion of norms and our democracy have become — well beyond Trump as the sole actor.

The Resistance that started as Trump took office has grown in both impact and power, as evidenced by Tuesday’s elections, which were a wipe-out for Republicans and an amazing display of diversity. A revolution around sexual assault and harassment is gathering steam, with offenders being outed daily.

All the while, the Mueller probe progresses. This week more ties between the Trump campaign and Russia were exposed, and questions surfaced as to the knowledge and engagement of senior people on the campaign, including Trump.

  1. WAPO reported as the winter tourism season kicks in, Trump has secured 70 H-2B visas from the Labor Department to hire cooks, maids, and servers to work at Mar-a-Lago, despite urging the country to hire American.
  2. Dallas Morning News reported GOP campaigns for Trump, Mitch McConnell, Marco Rubio, Scott Walker, Lindsey Graham, Kris Kasich, and John McCain took in $7.35 million in donations from Leonard Blavatnik, a Ukrainian oligarch with ties to Putin.
  3. Blavatnik donated $1 million to Trump’s Inaugural Committee. Blavatnik also has close relationship with Oleg Deripaska, the Russian oligarch who has ties to Paul Manafort over a decade, and appears frequently in The Weekly List.
  4. Saudi Arabia arrested 11 princes, four ministers and tens of former ministers. Trump tweeted his approval, saying he had “great confidence” in Mohammed and his father, King Salman.
  5. In Week 51, Jared Kushner returned from a previously undisclosed trip to Saudi Arabia, and Trump tweeted he would appreciate if Saudi Arabia would list the IPO of Aramco on the NYSE.
  6. Juli Briskman, the cyclist who flipped off Trump as his motorcade drove by,was fired from Akima LLC, a government contracting firm, under a social media policy, although she wasn’t wearing anything company related.
  7. Ironically, Briskman oversaw the firm’s social media presence, and flagged a middle-aged executive man for a violation, writing “You’re a f — — — Libtard a — — — .” He cleaned up the comment and was not fired.
  8. Sessions’ DOJ dropped their case against Desiree Fairooz, a retired children’s librarian affiliated with Code Pink, who laughed at Sessions during his Senate confirmation hearing.
  9. Republican Reb. Rob Bishop moved closer to his goal of invalidating the Endangered Species Act. Bishop has shepherded five bills out of the House Natural Resources Committee he chairs that would dismantle the law piece by piece.
  10. In his most aggressive step yet to reverse Obama’s “war on coal,” Energy Secretary Rick Perry announced a proposal to alter electricity markets, which would provide a huge windfall for coal magnate Bob Murray, a big Trump donor.
  11. On Tuesday, Syria joined the Paris Climate Accord, leaving the US as the sole country rejecting the global pact.
  12. On Thursday, Trump’s EPA proposed reversing an Obama-era regulation which tightened emissions standards for heavy-duty trucks with older engines, part of Obama’s efforts to reduce soot and other pollutants.
  13. Carrier Corp., the plant Trump promised to save, announced less than four months after it laid off 340 employees at its Indianapolis factory that the company will terminate an additional 215 employees in January.
  14. Rep. Scott Allen, a lawmaker in WI, said women should be forced to give birth to grow the labor force: “Labor force shortages are tied to population declines. Labor force shortages are a limiting factor in economic growth.”
  15. On Monday, Trump’s DHS announced it would not renew temporary protections which expire January 5 for 5.3K Nicaraguans. The regime gave a six-month reprieve to 86K Hondurans covered by the program.
  16. WAPO reported John Kelly tried to pressure acting DHS Secretary Elain Duke to expel Hondurans too. In a call while traveling in Japan, Kelly was “irritated” and admonished her not to “kick the can down the road.”
  17. Despite Trump’s efforts to derail Obamacare by starving the exchange of sign-ups, ACA registration spiked at open enrollment’s start: over 200K chose a plan on November 1, more than doubling last year.
  18. WAPO reported that Betsy DeVos has shrunk the Education Department, shedding 350 workers since December, and buyouts offered to an additional 255 employees. Only 8 of the 15 key roles requiring Senate confirmation have nominees.
  19. WAPO reported the US Agency for International Development (USAID)sent letters to 70 foreign service jobs applicants saying the positions had been canceled. This comes amidst a State Department hiring freeze.
  20. Foreign Policy reported scores of senior diplomats, including 60% of career ambassadors, have left the State Department since Trump took office. There are 74 key roles at State which are vacant and have no nominee.
  21. Top US diplomat, AFSA President Ambassador Barbara Stephenson, blasted the Trump regime in an open-letter, “Time to Ask Why,” citing it’snot just top leadership leaving, but recruitment is falling dramatically too.
  22. Newsweek reported Lara Trump has taken on WH duties, hosting high-level meetings on domestic policy initiatives with cabinet members, lawmakers, and Trump advisers.
  23. Leaked documents, the “Paradise Papers,” reveal Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross failed to disclose his interest in Navigator Holdings, a shipping company with significant ties to Russia, during his confirmation hearing.
  24. Navigator’s most important business relationships is with SIBUR, an energy company controlled by Putin’s son-in-law and Russian oligarchsTimchenko and Michelson, both who are on the Treasury’s sanction list.
  25. Penny Young Nance, Trump’s likely nominee for ambassador for global women’s issues, is a strong opponent of abortion and gay rights, and said the movie Frozen sends a harmful message about the role of men.
  26. Kyle Yunasaka, the brother of Eric Trump’s wife, Lara Trump, was named chief of staff at the Energy Department’s Office of Energy Policy. Yunasaka has no education or work experience in energy.
  27. Trump’s nominee William Wehrum was confirmed to a key post in the EPA despite oil industry ties. As an attorney, Wehrum represented the American Petroleum Institute, American Fuel & Petrochemical Manufacturers, and the American Chemistry Council.
  28. Daily Beast reported Trump appointed David Kautter to become the interim IRS commissioner. Kautter’s firm had to pay $123 million to the US Treasury in 2013 as part of a settlement for a tax shelter scheme.
  29. Brett Talley, a blogger nominated by Trump for federal judge in AL, who has never tried a case and was unanimously rated “not qualified” by the American Bar Association, passed the Senate Judiciary Committee on a party-line vote.
  30. A fourth Trump judicial nominee, Seung Min Kim, was deemed not qualified by American Bar Association. It is highly atypical to have a nominee be deemed not qualified, let alone four already.
  31. Politico reported the House Rules Committee, which is controlled by Speaker Paul Ryan, set a record for the most closed rules in a session. Ryan has yet to allow a single piece of legislation to be governed by an open rule.
  32. NYT reported there has been a spike in deaths in Puerto Rico, but few are being attributed to Maria. Puerto Rican officials acknowledged 472 more people died this September compared with the same month last year.
  33. On Tuesday, Natalie Jaresko, executive director of the Financial Oversight and Management Board for Puerto Rico told Congress nearly 60% of Puerto Rico is without electricity and thousands remain in shelters.
  34. NPR reported federal troops have started to leave Puerto Rico, while many are still without a steady supply of food and running water, and while schools remain closed.
  35. On Friday, 3 star Army General Jeffrey Buchanan, who coordinated the federal military response in Puerto Rico following Hurricane Maria, said in a news conference, “we’re out of the crisis” and is leaving next week.
  36. Tuesday’s election was a trouncing for the Republican Party, including governor seats in NJ and VA, and 15 legislative seats shifting hands in VA (3 undecided still), and a key race in Westchester County, NY.
  37. History was made in many races nationwide as women, people of color and LGBTQ individuals won their races, including numerous “firsts.”
  38. In the VA legislature, 11 of the 15 Democrats who won were women — including two who are the first Hispanic women to serve in the state’s legislature. Women candidates racked up victories around the country.
  39. Danica Roem was elected in VA as the first openly transgender legislator, defeating Bob Marshall, an outspoken opponent of transgender rights who introduced the controversial transgender “bathroom bill.”
  40. Republican John Carman, a NJ politician who joked about the Women’s March asking if it would be “over in time for them to cook dinner,” was defeated by a 32 year-old woman, Ashley Bennett, a first-time candidate.
  41. More than two dozen House Republicans have announced they won’t be running again in 2018, well above the average number of House retirements per election cycle. More announcements are expected.
  42. Starting with accusations against Harvey Weinstein and the #MeToo campaign, scores of women and men have come forward to share their stories of sexual assault, harassment, and rape as adults and children.
  43. Accusations have come against men in Hollywood, academia, sports, corporate America, politics and more. On Thursday, CNN hosted a primetime town hall, Tipping Point: Sexual Harassment in America.
  44. On Thursday, a Senate resolution introduced by Sens. Amy Klobuchar and Chuck Grassley requiring mandatory harassment training for all senators, officers, employers and interns unanimously passed.
  45. On Thursday, WAPO reported AL senate candidate Roy Moore sexually assaulted a 14 year-old girl when he was in his early 30s. Moore denied the allegations, employing a Trump distraction: blame the liberal, fake media.
  46. WSJ reported, based on examining 159K deleted tweets, Kremlin-backed support for Trump on Twitter started as early as June 2015. Russian accounts attacked Hillary and Jeb Bush, the GOP frontrunner at the time.
  47. In the two weeks ahead the November 2016 election, Russian account activity escalated. Trump campaign insiders like Flynn and conservative pundits like Sean Hannity followed and retweeted these accounts.
  48. NYT reported Russian billionaire investor Yuri Milner made major investments in US social media companies Twitter and Facebook using money from state-owned Russian banks VTB and Gazprom Investholding.
  49. Milner ultimately owned more than 8% of Facebook and 5% of Twitter, and later sold these stakes, but retains large US technology holdings. He also has investments in real estate partly owned by Kushner.
  50. NBC reported Mueller has enough evidence to bring charges against Flynn and his son. Mueller is applying pressure on Flynn after the Manafort indictment, and speaking to witnesses around his lobbying work.
  51. Mueller is looking into whether Flynn was behind a request to the FBI in the weeks after Trump’s inauguration to conduct a new review of Turkey’s 2016 request to extradite Fethullah Gülen, an elderly Muslim cleric.
  52. CNN reported Michael Flynn and his wife Lori are concerned about their son’s legal exposure in the Mueller probe, and this could factor into Flynn’s decision on how to respond to Mueller.
  53. On Sunday, Sen. Lindsey Graham said Sessions needs to return to the Senate Judiciary Committee and answer questions about Trump campaign ties to Russia, after revelations in Week 51 show Sessions’ previous statements were false.
  54. Sessions is set to face questions about Russia from the House Judiciary Committee in an open hearing next week as part of DOJ oversight. Sessions will also likely speak to the House Intel Committee in a closed setting.
  55. WAPO reported, based on a review of court documents and interviews, at least nine members of the Trump regime had meetings with Russiansduring the campaign and transition.
  56. The nine include: George Papadopoulos, Paul Manafort, Jeff Sessions, Donald Jr., Michael Cohen, Jared Kushner, Michael Flynn, Carter Page, and J.D. Gordon. Questions arose as to whether the Kremlin sought to infiltrate the Trump campaign, or if it is a coincidence.
  57. On Monday, a transcript of Page’s 6.5 hours of testimony to the House Intel Committee was released. The testimony disputes Page’s initial claims that his visit to Moscow in July 2016 was in a private capacity.
  58. Page testified that he sent an email in advance of his trip to Corey Lewandowski, Hope Hicks and Gordon. Page said Lewandowski gave him the okay to go. Page said he also mentioned his trip to Sessions.
  59. Gordon told CNN he “discouraged Carter from taking the trip to Moscow because it was a bad idea,” but Page ignored him: “he eventually went around me directly to campaign leadership.”
  60. Page met with Russian deputy PM Arkady Dvorkovich. Page reported to the campaign after his trip that Dvorkovich “expressed strong support for Mr. Trump and a desire to work together.”
  61. Page also acknowledged meeting with other high-level Russian officials and said they discussed the US presidential election, “in general terms.”
  62. Page acknowledged he met with Andrey Baranov, head of investor relations at Rosneft, a Russian state-oil company. He also met with an investor-relations official at energy company Gazprom.
  63. Rep. Adam Schiff asked if there was a discussion about the 19% stake in Rosneft in exchange for the lifting of US sanctions on Russia. Page said, “he may have briefly mentioned it,” but the quid pro quo was not discussed directly.
  64. Page again met with Baranov in Moscow a month after the election. The Russian government owns a majority stake in Rosneft. The Treasury Depart sanctioned Rosneft after Russia annexed Crimea in 2014.
  65. Page acknowledged he has met with the FBI several times, and answered questions about events described in the Steele dossier. Page said Mueller has not made any indication he will indict him.
  66. After the trip, Page offered the Trump campaign a readout. He also spoke to national co-chairman Sam Clovis, whom Page said separately asked him to sign a non-disclosure agreement.
  67. Page acknowledged he praised Gordon and five others on the Trump policy team in an email for changing the Republican Party platform on Ukraine, “As for the Ukraine amendment, excellent work.”
  68. Page received a text, and then a call from Steve Bannon in January advising him not to appear on MSNBC. He also received a letter from Trump campaign law firm Jones Day imploring him not to say he is part of the campaign.
  69. In an interview with Bloomberg, Veselnitskaya said Donald Jr. hinted the Magnitsky Act would be re-examined if Trump won, in exchange for written evidence that illegal proceeds went to Hillary’s campaign.
  70. The Intercept reported CIA director Mike Pompeo met with William Binney, an advocate for a fringe DNC hack theory, on October 24. Binney has accused intelligence of subverting the Constitution and violating civil rights.
  71. Binney argues that the DNC data was “leaked,” not hacked, “by a person with physical access” to the DNC’s computer system. US Intel official assessment is that Russian intelligence was behind the DNC hack.
  72. NBC reported that according to Binney, Pompeo took the meeting at the behest of Trump. It is extremely unusual for a CIA director to meet with someone like Binney, who also makes frequent appearances on RT.
  73. On Wednesday, U.S. District Judge Berman Jackson issued a gag order in the Manafort and Rick Gates criminal cases, directing prosecutors and defense to refrain from making statements to the media or in public settings.
  74. CNN reported Joseph Mifsud, the academic suspected of being a link between the Papadopoulos and Russian officials on Hillary’s emails, has vanished. In court documents, Mifsud is referred to as “Foreign Contact 1.”
  75. Politico reported Congressional investigators are also probing the GOP platform fight as part of the Russia investigation. Gordon acknowledged being interviewed by lawmakers, but wouldn’t say if he met with Mueller.
  76. Papadopoulos, Manafort, and Gates were also involved in the convention. Without naming names, Gordon said others in the Trump campaigninvolved in pushing the platform change are also being interviewed.
  77. AP reported Russian Twitter trolls organized to deflect from Trump’s Access Hollywood tapes, instead touting damaging emails hacked and leaked from John Podesta.
  78. AP reported on Russia’s cyber-meddling strategy: swiftly react, distort. and distract attention from any negative Trump news. There were spikes in Twitter activity on September 16, October 6, and November 8.
  79. Mueller interviewed Stephen Miller, bringing the Russia investigation into Trump’s inner-circle. Miller is the highest-level aide still working at the WH known to have talked to Mueller’s team.
  80. CNN reported Miller was questioned on his role in the firing of James Comey, and about the March 2016 meeting where Papadopoulos said he could arrange a meeting between Trump and Putin through his connections.
  81. Business Insider reported many Trump advisers are facing sky-high legal bills. Roger Stone blasted out a statement asking for help paying the nearly $460K in legal fees he has incurred in the Russia probe.
  82. Gordon told Business Insider the RNC is taking care of Trump and Donald Jr., and “the rest of us who aren’t billionaires must fend for ourselves.” Gordon said he has incurred an almost five-figure legal bill.
  83. On Thursday, RT said the DOJ has ordered the broadcaster to register as a foreign agent by Monday. RT’s EIC Margarita Simonyan called the timing a “cannibalistic deadline,” and an attempt to drive [RT] out of the country.”
  84. On Friday, WSJ reported that Cambridge Analytica’s outreach to Julian Assange happened as the company was in advanced stages of contract negotiations with the Trump campaign, and had already dispatched employees.
  85. In addition to the previously disclosed $9 million paid by the Trump campaign for providing data, polling and research services, Cambridge Analytica was also paid an additional $6 million routed through Parscale.
  86. Cambridge Analytica is partly owned by Rebekah and Robert Mercer, who made his first donation to Trump on June 21. Bannon served on Cambridge Analytica’s board and holds a stake in the company.
  87. According to a person with knowledge of the investigation, Papadopoulos initially misled FBI agents out of what he claimed was loyalty to Trump: he didn’t want to contradict Trump’s statement of no contact with Russians.
  88. Business Insider reported Devin Nunes, who was then chair of the House Intel Committee, attended a breakfast on January 18 that Flynn and the Turkish foreign minister, also attended. Press was excluded.
  89. NBC reported Mueller is probing a meeting on September 20 in DC between Flynn and Rep. Dana Rohrabacher, set up by Flynn’s lobbying firm, the Flynn Intel Group. Two of Flynn’s business partners and his son also attended.
  90. Mueller is reviewing emails sent from Flynn Intel Group to Rohrabacher’s congressional staff thanking them for the meeting as part of the probe into possible collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia.
  91. On Friday, NYT reported on a meeting in London on March 24, 2016 between Papadopoulos, Mifsud, and Olga Polonskaya, a 30-year-old Russian, who was introduced as Putin’s niece. Putin has no niece.
  92. Mueller is interested in interactions between the three and a fourth man with contacts inside Russia’s Foreign Ministry as a central part of the investigation into the Kremlin’s role in the 2016 election.
  93. Papadopoulos met Mifsud for breakfast in April. As per Week 51, Mifsud bragged about having “dirt” on Hillary: “thousands of emails.” Mifsud’s outreach began after Papadopoulos joined the Trump campaign.
  94. The day before his breakfast, Papadopoulos emailed Stephen Miller, saying Trump has an “open invitation” from Putin to visit Russia. The day after he wrote, “some interesting messages coming in from Moscow.”
  95. Together with items involving Page, there is increasing evidence not only of contact between the Trump campaign and Russians, but also that senior campaign officials were aware of the contacts.
  96. NBC reported Mueller is probing a possible quid pro quo between Flynn and Turkey during presidential transition. Flynn met with senior Turkish officials in December 2016 at the 21 Club restaurant near Trump Tower.
  97. Mueller is looking into whether they discussed orchestrating the return of Turkish cleric, Fethullah Gülen, who lives in Pennsylvania, as well freeing Turkish-Iranian gold trader, Reza Zarrab, who is jailed in the US.
  98. Flynn was allegedly offered a $15 million payment if he could orchestrate the deal. Flynn’s son may have also been involved. Trump campaign senior adviser Rudy Giuliani is part of Zarrab’s defense team.
  99. Reuters reported Mueller questioned Clovis this week on whether Trump or top aides knew of the extent of the campaign’s contacts with Russia, and who approved and directed the contacts.
  100. A WAPO/ABC News survey found just 37% approve, 59% disapprove of the job Trump is doing, lower than any leader in the last seven decades, nine months in. 55% think Trump is not keeping his campaign promises.
  101. The poll found just one-third believe Trump is honest and trustworthy, and 65% say he has accomplished “not much” or “little or nothing.”
  102. On Thursday, Tom Steyer said he would spend an additional $10 million on his campaign to impeach Trump. Nearly 2 million people have signedhis online petition to demand Trump be impeached.
  103. On Monday, Trump’s DOJ told AT&T that in order for the planned takeover of Time Warner to go through, the company must sell off CNN. As detailed in The Weekly List, Trump has a long-running feud with CNN.
  104. On Wednesday, AT&T’s CFO said on a conference call this type of merger hasn’t been blocked for over 40 years. AT&T has signaled it intends tochallenge the regime in court over the requirement.
  105. On Thursday, AT&T’s CEO told CNBC, “I have never been told that the price of getting the [Time Warner] deal done was selling CNN,” and I have never offered to sell it either.
  106. On Friday, Reuters reported Trump ally Rupert Murdoch called AT&T’s CEO on May 16 and August 8 to ask if CNN was for sale.
  107. On Friday, a federal judge dismissed, for a second time, a pair of lawsuits seeking to force the State Department to do more to recover Hillary’s emails. As per Week 51, Trump has been tweeting and speaking out to get her emails.
  108. The judge cited the FBI’s use of grand jury subpoenas sent not only to Hillary’s provider and accounts, but ones used by people she corresponded with, as satisfying the State Department’s obligation to take reasonable steps.
  109. On Wednesday, Sen. Bob Corker announced as chair of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, he will hold hearings on Trump’s ability to use nuclear weapons. Corker said it has been four decades since Congress looked at the issue.
  110. A NBC/WSJ poll found in counties that voted for Trump, a plurality — 41 % — say the country is worse off now than it was when Trump took office. 32% believe the country is better off, and 26% believe the same.
  111. After repeatedly bashing China for unfair trade and saying the country was “raping” the US economy during his campaign, while visiting Beijing, Trump praised Xi saying, “I don’t blame China.” The crowd applauded.
  112. The two leaders did not take questions from the press, a victory for Xi who oversees an authoritarian system that limits press freedom. Former Democratic and Republican aides called it an “embarrassing capitulation.
  113. Chinese state media approved of the summit, saying Trump “respects our head of state and has repeatedly praised” Xi publicly.
  114. On Friday, press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said there would be no formal meeting between Trump and Putin in Vietnam, but that they might “bump into each other.”
  115. After staying mostly on-script during his Asia trip, on Saturday, Trump reverted to lies and dangerous statements in a 26-minute question-and-answer session with reporters aboard Air Force One.
  116. On Saturday, Trump had his second private, “sideline” meeting with Putin(in Week 36 it was revealed Trump had a clandestine meeting with Putin at the G20) without media access.
  117. Trump told reporters of his conversation with Putin, “He said he didn’t meddle — I asked him again,” adding Putin “means it.” Trump also said, “I think he is very insulted by it, which is not a good thing for our country.”
  118. Trump dismissed the Russia probe as an “artificial Democratic hit job,” and said it would put American lives at risk, saying it “gets in the way and that’s a shame because people will die because of it.”
  119. Trump attacked US intelligence, saying “I mean, give me a break, they are political hacks…I mean, you have Brennan, you have Clapper and you have Comey.” Trump sided instead with “President Putin, very strong.”
  120. Following that statement, Gen. Michael Hayden tweeted, “CIA just told me: The Dir stands by and has always stood by the January 2017 Intelligence Community Assessment,” and questioning which side Trump is on.



Week 51 of trump’s presidency: Experts in authoritarianism advise to keep a list of things subtly changing around you, so you’ll remember.

November 4, 2017 https://medium.com/@Amy_Siskind/week-51-experts-in-authoritarianism-advise-to-keep-a-list-of-things-subtly-changing-around-you-so-dcc96e7a7e0a

“It’s like Christmas Eve,” said one person on Twitter Sunday night, as the country braced for the first indictments from the Mueller probe on Monday. The indictment of Paul Manafort was expected, of his business associate Rick Gates, less so. But what riveted the country were the court documents and emails of Trump adviser George Papadopoulos, who is cooperating in the Mueller probe. Bedlam in the Trump regime ensued, as one aide put it, “it’s every man for himself!”

This week Trump made his most aggressive statements against the DOJ, FBI, and court systems for not doing what he thinks they should do. Alarm bells of authoritarianism and not normal were ringing, as were warnings from even some Republicans not to interfere with the Mueller investigation.

  1. WAPO reported Donald Jr. and Eric are set to launch two real estate projects in India, despite vows early on that there would be no new foreign deals while Trump was in office to avoid potential conflicts of interest.
  2. NBC reported U.S Attorney Dana Boente, who submitted his resignation in Week 50, did so at the behest of Sessions, who said Boente should clear the way so Trump could name his successor.
  3. In an NBC News/WSJ poll, Trump’s approval dropped to the lowest level yet: 38% approve, 58% disapprove. The drop came from independents (41% in September to 34%) and whites without a college degree (58% to 51%).
  4. On Monday, Trump hit his lowest approval and largest net gap on Gallup Daily: 33% approve, 62% disapprove, net -29.
  5. Politico reported Kushner took an unannounced trip to Saudi Arabia, his third this year. Days later, Forbes reported Kushner’s plans to save his overleveraged 666 Fifth Avenue property were found to be “not feasible.”
  6. On Sunday, ahead of news coming Monday from the Mueller probe, in a series of tweets, Trump assailed Obamacare, Democrats, Hillary, and the “Fake Dossier,” and implored: “DO SOMETHING!
  7. In a seemingly coordinated effort, Murdoch-owned outlets bashed Mueller and called for his firing, including the WSJ Editorial Board and Sunday op-ed, a New York Post op-ed and continuing coverage on Fox News.
  8. CNN reported several Fox News employees said they were embarrassed and humiliated by the network’s coverage of the Mueller investigation. One said, “Fox feels like an extension of the Trump White House.”
  9. Politico reported Obamacare is about to have its worst open-enrollment season ever, citing numerous steps by the Trump regime to create confusion and end public promotions to raise consumer awareness.
  10. In Edison, NJ, an unknown group sent out flyers ahead of the November 7 election which read, ”Make Edison Great Again” and called for the deportation of two Asian school board candidates.
  11. A student at the University of Hartford was charged with criminal mischief and expelled after an Instagram post in which she bragged about harassing her black American roommate: “I can finally say goodbye to Jamaican Barbie.”
  12. A federal judge temporarily blocked parts of Trump’s memo banning transgender people from the military, ruling it was based on “disapproval of transgender people generally.”
  13. The judge also blasted Trump’s abrupt announcement on Twitter “without any of the formality or deliberative processes” to come up with policy. She ruled the status quo should stay in place for now.
  14. On Tuesday, Trump’s lawyer again sought the dismissal of Summer Zervos’ defamation lawsuit against him, arguing Trump’s expression of his political opinion is protected by the First Amendment.
  15. AP reported Betsy DeVos is considering only partially forgiving federal loans for students defrauded by for-profit colleges, reversing an Obama-era policy which entire erased such debt.
  16. Sessions told Fox News Sunday he is “disturbed” that Jane Doe, the 17 year-old undocumented immigrant was able to get a legal abortion in Week 50, saying, “I think it’s a serious problem, it should not have happened.”
  17. On Friday, Sessions’ DOJ took the unusual step of accusing the ACLU of misconduct for helping “Jane Doe,” an undocumented teenager in government custody, get a safe and legal abortion in Week 50.
  18. On Friday, federal officials released Rosa Maria Hernandez, the 10 year-old undocumented immigrant girl with cerebral palsy who was detained in Week 50 after undergoing surgery in Texas.
  19. In an op-ed, Sen. Elizabeth Warren argued the Supreme Court needs to adopt an ethics code, citing the conflict of Neil Gorsuch keynoting an event at the Trump Hotel DC on the same day the Supreme Court took on a related case.
  20. Papa John’s CEO, John Schnatter, blamed the company’s poor third-quarter performance on NFL anthem protests, tell ESPN: “We are disappointed the NFL and its leadership did not resolve this.”
  21. Trump judicial nominee Leonard Steven Grasz, who was nominated in August to the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals, became the second Trump nominee to be deemed “not qualified” by the American Bar Association.
  22. On Tuesday, at an EPA event with Trump by his side, Scott Pruitt announced a new policy which says scientists receiving EPA grants cannot serve on the agency’s advisory boards. Critics called it a move to silence scientists.
  23. Pruitt also named the chairmen of each of the three most high-profile panels: Michael Honeycutt, Tony Cox, and Paul Gilman — all who disagree with the scientific basis of major Obama administration policies.
  24. On Friday, Pruitt overhauled the EPA’s external advisory boards. Among the new advisers selected are industry players, one who believes air quality is too clean for children, and multiple climate change skeptics.
  25. On Thursday, speaking during an energy policy discussion, Rick Perry linked fossil fuel development to preventing sexual assault, saying “when the lights are on….the righteousness, if you will on those types of acts.”
  26. The Sierra Club called on Perry to resign over his comments. The Department of Energy said Perry’s comments were meant to highlight the way electricity will improve the lives of people in Africa.
  27. On Thursday, the US withdrew as an implementing country from the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI), an international effort to fight corruption in revenues from oil, gas, and mineral extraction.
  28. USA Today reported Trump has appointed at least five people who are members of his clubs to senior roles in his administration. He has also given donors and allies prized diplomatic postings in European capitals.
  29. This marks the first time in history that a president has awarded government posts to people who pay money to his own companies.
  30. On Monday, Mueller’s office announced Paul Manafort and his business partner Rick Gates were indicted by a federal grand jury on 12 charges, including conspiracy against the United States, over the years 2006–2016.
  31. Other charges include money laundering, failing to register as a foreign agent, and seven counts of failure to file reports of foreign bank accounts.
  32. The indictments say both Manafort and Gates generated tens of millions from their lobbying work in Ukraine from 2006–2016, and hid the payments by laundering money. Manafort laundered more than $18 million.
  33. Manafort was Trump’s campaign manager from AprilAugust 2016. Gates was a top campaign deputy, played a key role in planning Trump’s inauguration, and was in and out of the WH during Trump’s early days.
  34. Both were put under house arrest, and bail was set at $10 million for Manafort and $5 million for Gates. Reports showed Manafort’s wealth fluctuated wildly, and he kept three passports, after submitting 10 passport applications.
  35. Bloomberg reported Gates was fired from Colony NorthStar on Monday, where he had been a consultant to Tom Barrack, a longtime friend of Trump. Barrack also was the chairman of Trump’s inaugural committee.
  36. Also revealed on Monday, former Trump foreign policy adviser George Papadopoulos, pleaded guilty to making a false statement to FBI investigators about his contacts with high-level Russian connections.
  37. Papadopoulos’ plea agreement describes his extensive efforts to broker connections between Russian officials and the Trump campaign. He has also turned over months of emails.
  38. On April 25, he wrote, “The Russian government has an open invitation by Putin for Mr. Trump to meet him when he is ready.” Sam Clovis, Papadopoulos’ supervisor, as well as Corey Lewandowski and Manafort received his emails.
  39. Court documents quote one unidentified campaign “supervisor” emailing Papadopoulos in August 2016 that “I would encourage you” to make a trip to Moscow to arrange such a meeting. Yahoo reported this is Clovis.
  40. On Monday, Daily Beast reported Bannon encouraged Trump to bring in new lawyers and to take a much more aggressive approach, including considering the possibility of defunding the Mueller probe.
  41. WAPO reported on Trump’s Monday, saying he spent the morning upstairs watching TV separated from his WH staff, and the entire day visibly angry. The mood in the WH was described as weariness and fear of the unknown.
  42. Vanity Fair reported the West Wing is on edge, and for the first time impeachment is being considered as a realistic outcome. Dina Powell and Gary Cohn are leaving the room is Russia comes up.
  43. Steve Bannon and Roger Stone are urging Trump to take steps to counter Mueller — Bannon citing Trump’s slipping grasp on power. Stone advised appointing a special prosecutor to investigate Hillary’s role in Uranium One.
  44. Reportedly, Trump blames Kushner for his decision to fire Michael Flynn and James Comey, which led to Mueller’s appointment. Allegedly Trump said “Jared is the worst political adviser in the White House in modern history.
  45. CNN reported Kushner’s team has turned over documents to Mueller in the special counsel’s investigation of Kushner’s role in the firing of Comey. Sources say Kushner is not a target of the investigation.
  46. On Monday night, John Kelly reignited his feud with Rep. Frederica Wilson, telling Fox News of his criticism of her, “I stand by my comments.” In Week 48, a video released by Sun-Sentinel showed Kelly’s accusations were false.
  47. Kelly also sparked controversy with a divisive and factually incorrect claims the Civil War was caused by “the lack of an ability to compromise,” and that Confederate Leader Robert E. Lee “was an honorable man.”
  48. On Tuesday, several Senate Republicans, including Jeff Flake, Roy Blunt, John McCain, Mitch McConnell, Richard Shelby, and John Kennedy, separately said they would not support any moves to crack down on the Mueller investigation.
  49. Bloomberg reported Papadopoulos’ emails show that top Trump campaign officials agreed to a pre-election meeting with representatives of Putin. The email is cited in an FBI agent’s affidavit supporting charges.
  50. The Trump regime tried to distance themselves from Papadopoulos. Press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said he was a mere volunteer. Mike Caputo said Papadopoulos was just a “coffee boy.” Trump called him a “low level volunteer.
  51. In a March 21 interview with the WAPO editorial board, Trump included Papadopoulos among people advising him on matters of national security, referring to Papadopoulos as “an energy and oil consultant. Excellent guy.”
  52. On Thursday, NYT reported on court documents describing a March 31 meeting between Trump and his foreign policy team. According to campaign adviser J. D. Gordon, Papadopoulos pitched his Russia idea.
  53. Gordon said Trump listened with interest, but Sessions vehemently opposed the idea. Gordon said Sessions also said no one should talk about Papadopoulos’ idea because it might leak.
  54. On Tuesday, NBC reported former top Trump campaign official Sam Clovis, who supervised Papadopoulos, was questioned last week by Mueller’s team.
  55. On Tuesday, Politico reported Clovis has been a cooperating witness in the Senate Intel Committee’s Russia probe. Clovis is Trump’s controversial nominee for the top scientific job at the Department of Agriculture.
  56. On Thursday, Clovis withdrew from consideration for the Department of Agriculture post, citing “the political climate inside Washington.” Speculation grew the cause was related to the Russia probe.
  57. On Thursday, Carter Page told CNN that during more than six hours of closed-door testimony to the House Intel Committee, Page testified he told Sessions he was traveling to Russia during the 2016 presidential campaign.
  58. NBC reported Sessions rejected Papadopoulos’ plan to use his Russian contacts to set up a meeting between Trump and Putin. Congressional investigators want to question Sessions about his new recollection.
  59. In June, Sessions had told his Senate colleagues under oath that he had “no knowledge” of any conversations by anyone on the Trump campaignabout “any type of interference with any campaign” by Russians.
  60. On Friday, NBC reported that contrary to the Trump regime’s efforts to downplay Papadopoulos’s role in the campaign, records show he was a prominent figure and frequently acted as a surrogate.
  61. Papadopoulos was at the Republican National Convention, and was invited by the American Jewish Committee to speak on a panel along with two Republicans on the House Foreign Affairs Committee and Sen. Bob Corker.
  62. Papadopoulos also acted as a surrogate six weeks before the election, giving an interview to the Russian Interfax News Agency, where he said that Trump will “restore the trust” between the US and Russia.
  63. NYT reported Page told the House Intel Committee on Thursday that after his July 2016 trip to Moscow to meet with Russian government officials, he sent an email to at least one Trump campaign aide describing the trip.
  64. Details came out during sharp questioning by Rep. Adam Schiff. Page’s email detailed his meetings with government officials, legislators, and business executives in Moscow. The recipient(s) of the email are not yet known.
  65. On Thursday, Manafort and Gates were back in court. Both will be confined to their homes and are subject to electronic monitoring devices due to flight risk. The judge is also considering a gag order on attorneys.
  66. A WAPO/ABC poll found 58% of Americans approve of Mueller’s handling of the Trump-Russia investigation, just 28% disapprove. Roughly half say it’s likely Trump committed a crime.
  67. The American Psychological Association Stress in America Survey found 59% of Americans say this is the lowest point in US history. Two-thirds say the future of the nation is a very or somewhat significant source of stress.
  68. Business Insider reported a federal judge in NY has denied Veselnitskaya’s request to enter the US to represent her client, Prevezon, which has not paid the $5.9 million settlement it reached with Sessions’ DOJ in May.
  69. The settlement was a fraction of the $230 million amount Preet Bharara had been seeking before he was fired. If Prevezon does not pay the settlement amount, the judge says they will need to go to court without Veselnitskaya.
  70. On Wednesday, in a series of tweets, Trump blamed Sen. Schumer for the NYC terror attack, tweeting “Diversity Visa Lottery Program” is a “Chuck Schumer beauty.”
  71. Trump’s claim is false: the program was passed with bipartisan support in 1990 and signed into law by George H.W. Bush. Trump’s invented claim came from a segment running that morning on Fox News.
  72. On Wednesday, after a terrorist attack in NYC by a Muslim American, Trump bemoaned our justice system, calling it “a joke” and “a laughingstock,” and saying “no wonder so much of this stuff takes place.”
  73. Trump made his comments during a cabinet meeting. Sessions was in the room. Trump also threatened to send the terror suspect to Guantanamo.
  74. On Wednesday night, Trump tweeted the suspect had asked to hang the ISIS flag in his hospital room and he “SHOULD GET DEATH PENALTY!
  75. On Thursday, in tweets, Trump backed away from his threat to send the suspect to Guantanamo, saying the process there takes longer, and again called for the death penalty: “Should move fast. DEATH PENALTY!
  76. Legal experts say Trump’s tweets and statements will actually hurt the prosecution, citing defense attorneys will claim that the jury pool has been poisoned by the publicity surrounding his expression of opinion.
  77. Trump also told Fox News he was unsure if Rex Tillerson will remain Secretary of State for the balance of his term. Trump said the WH was “not happy” that some State Department staffers were not supporting his agenda.
  78. When pressed about filling vacant high-profile roles in the State Department such as assistant Secretary of State, Trump said, “I’m the only one that matters,” adding, “we don’t need all the people that they want.”
  79. Reuters reported at a recent meeting, former Secretary of State Colin Powell told H.R. McMaster the regime was gutting State. McMaster reportedly replied that there were people who did not support Trump’s agenda.
  80. On Friday, Trump criticized the military court for giving Bowe Bergdahl a dishonorable discharge but no jail time, calling the decision “a complete and total disgrace to our Country and to our Military.”
  81. Ironically, Trump’s speaking out may have, in part, led to the decision. Last week the judge said he would consider Trump’s past comments as evidence for a lighter sentence.
  82. On Thursday, on a radio show, Trump expressed frustration with not being able to direct the DOJ to investigate his former rival Hillary for the dossier, saying he is “very unhappy” with the DOJ and “very frustrated by it.”
  83. On Friday, in a series of tweets, Trump continued, saying “everybody is asking” why the DOJ and FBI isn’t investigating Hillary and the Democrats. Adding, at some point the DOJ and FBI need to do what’s right and proper.
  84. On Friday, Trump also left open — for the fourth time — that he may fire Sessions if the DOJ does not investigate Trump’s political rivals, saying “a lot of people are disappointed in the Justice Department, including me.”
  85. NYT noted in the past four decades, no president has sought to publicly pressure law enforcement as much as Trump.
  86. WSJ reported the FBI is investigating the decision by Puerto Rico’s power authority (“PREPA”) to award a $300 million contract to Whitefish Energy.
  87. On Sunday, Puerto Rico governor Ricardo Rosselló petitioned the board of PREPA to invoke the cancellation clause for this island’s contract with Whitefish Energy after FEMA flagged “significant concerns.”
  88. Business Insider reported the USNS Comfort was anchored offshore of Puerto Rico until last Friday. Now that the Comfort has docked, medical staff attended 700 patients over the weekend, up from nine a day prior.
  89. Six weeks after Hurricane Maria, doctor and nurses say Puerto Ricans still face widespread symptoms related to unclean water, including vomiting, diarrhea and asthma, as well as 74 suspected cases of leptospirosis.
  90. Rachel Maddow reported Puerto Rican officials refuse to answer how many of the suspected 74 cases of leptospirosis, a disease transmitted by contact with water contaminated by animal urine, have led to death.
  91. The Atlantic reported as Puerto Rico ended its contract with Whitefish, there are several investigations into PREPA’s $200 million contract with Mammoth Energy Services’ Cobra Acquisitions, which was awarded on October 19.
  92. A letter from the House energy committee said the Cobra contract “would appear to have the effect of preventing government oversight of the agreement.” Questions are also raised about the bidding process.
  93. On Friday, San Juan Mayor Carmen Yulín Cruz told CNN the actual death toll from Maria is closer to 500, not 54.
  94. On Thursday, Trump’s Twitter account was “inadvertently deactivated” by a Twitter employee for 11 minutes at just after 7 p.m. EST. The employee, still unidentified, did this on their last day of work.
  95. As of Tuesday, Tom Steyer’s online petition asking Congress to impeach Trump garnered more than 1.1 million signatures in its first week.
  96. A Public Policy Polling survey found a record level of support for impeaching Trump: 49% support impeachment, while 41% oppose it.
  97. On Tuesday, ahead of Congressional testimony, Facebook admitted Russian influence on their platform had reached 126 million Americans, far greater than what the company had previously disclosed.
  98. Lawmakers released 3K Russian ads spread on Facebook. The ads were highly sophisticated and targeted candidates as well as groups and issues like illegal immigration, gun ownership, Black Lives Matter, and Muslims.
  99. On Tuesday and Wednesday, general counsel for social media companies Facebook, Twitter, and Google testified before the Senate Judiciary subcommittee, and Senate and House intelligence committees.
  100. Sen. Al Franken blasted Facebook for accepting payments in rubles for US election ads. Sen. Diane Feinstein said, “You’ve created these platforms, and now, they’re being misused,” adding “do something about it. Or we will.”
  101. Sen. Mark Warner chastised the companies for being unresponsive and slow to investigate. He asked, “do you believe that any of your companies have identified the full scope of Russian active measures?” Facebook said no.
  102. Warner said the Facebook ads “are just the tip of a very large iceberg,” andthe real story is “the amount of misinformation and divisive content” pushed on Russian-back pages.
  103. Sen. Amy Klobuchar pushed executives to weigh in on legislation that would require the companies to report who funds political ads online. InWeek 49, Klobuchar and Warner gained bipartisan support of their Honest Ads Act.
  104. Twitter identified 2,752 accounts controlled by Russian operatives and more than 36K bots that tweeted 1.4 million times during the election. Weeks ago, Twitter had said it found just 201 accounts linked to Russia.
  105. Bloomberg reported Twitter was warned in 2015 by Leslie Miley about a vast amount of accounts with IP addresses in Russia and Ukraine. Miley, the only black engineer in leadership, was dismissed later that year.
  106. On Thursday, Robert Mercer resigned as CEO of his giant hedge fund, Renaissance Technologies. In a letter to employees, Mercer said he has “scrutiny from the press” and been unfairly linked to Bannon.
  107. Robert Mercer also sold his stake in Breitbart to his daughter Rebekah. In a statement, Mercer tried to distance himself from Milo Yiannopoulos, who, according to BuzzFeed, had cultivated white nationalists while at Breitbart.
  108. On Friday, three conservative House Republicans — Matt Gaetz, Andy Biggs, and Louis Gohmert — said they plan to file a resolution calling on Mueller to recuse himself from his probe of Russian meddling, over conflicts of interest.
  109. On Wednesday, Georgia’s AG office announced it will no longer represent the state’s top elections official in an elections integrity lawsuit filed days before a crucial computer server was quietly wiped clean, as per Week 50.
  110. Secretary of State Brian Kemp, the main defendant, is running for governor in 2018. The server in question made headlines in June when a security expert disclosed a gaping security hole that wasn’t fixed.
  111. The erased hard drives are central to the lawsuit filed in Week 34 becausethey could have revealed whether the Ossoff-Handel race was compromised by hackers. It is not clear who ordered the data erased.
  112. AP obtained Russian hackers’ unpublished digital hit list which had targets around the world: in addition to Hillary’s emails, it includes emails of Ukrainian officers, Russian opposition figures and US defense contractors.
  113. The list came from a database of 19K malicious links collected by cybersecurity firm Secureworks, when hacking group Fancy Bear accidentally exposed part of its phishing operation to the internet.
  114. The list also provides the most detailed forensic evidence yet of the close alignment between Russian hackers and the Kremlin.
  115. On Friday, AP reported on how Russia hacked into Hillary’s campaign starting on March 10, 2016. Through a malicious link, hacker group Fancy Bear was able to enter John Podesta’s email account.
  116. On April 26, before the DNC knew, court documents show Papadopoulos says he was told about it by a professor closely connected to the Russian government, “They have dirt on her. They have thousands of emails.”
  117. According to AP, Guccifer 2.0 acted as a kind of master of ceremonies during a summer of leaks. He also coordinated with WikiLeaks and wrote, “Together with Assange we’ll make america great again.”
  118. AP also reported Guccifer 2.0 had airbrushed at least one of Podesta’s emails to get media attention: the word “CONFIDENTIAL” was not in the original document.
  119. CNN reported Trump’s long-time bodyguard and close confidante, Keith Schiller will testify to the House Intel Committee next week, as well as Glenn Simpson of Fusion GPS.
  120. WAPO reported Schiller is expected to be questioned about Trump’s 2013 Moscow trip, which is behind some of the most salacious allegations in the dossier, as well as Trump’s firing of Comey.
  121. This week the committee interviewed Carter Page and Ike Kaveladze, one of the people at the June 9 Trump Tower meeting, as well as former assistant AG at the National Security division, Mary McCord, and Sally Yates.
  122. Rachel Maddow noted the sudden rush of witnesses, some of who are central figures and Trump insiders, may indicate the House Intel Committee Republicans are trying to bring its investigation to a close.
  123. On Friday, CBS News reported Trump campaign officials in legal jeopardy may be rushing to offer their cooperation to get a better deal from Mueller. One official who is being examined said, “it’s every man for himself.”
  124. USA Today reported Trump’s Election Integrity Commission may have gone dark. The last public meeting was on September 12, and it’s unclear, even to commission members, when the next meeting will be held.
  125. The commission has held two meetings since it was set up in May, and has been sued by numerous civil rights and voting rights groups for lack of transparency and governance.
  126. With election day coming next Tuesday, Twitter bots swarmed an important governor’s race in Virginia. Similar to the 2016 election, the bots are focused on fanning racial strife.
  127. Joe Ricketts, a Trump supporter, shuttered both DNAinfo and Gothamist, two of NYC’s leading sources of local news which he purchased in March, after employees voted to join a union. Ricketts made no attempt to sell.
  128. ProPublica reported two former CIA employees say Christopher Sharpley, Trump’s nominee for CIA inspector general, “deliberately misled Congress” by saying he didn’t know about a pending complaint filed against him.
  129. Mother Jones reported the Trump Organization experienced a major cyber breach in 2013, likely by Russian hackers. Until the week, the penetration had gone undetected. Information could be compromised.
  130. In Week 47, Kushner and Ivanka’s personal emails accounts used for WH business were redirected to Trump Organization servers.
  131. On Saturday, Trump solicited the Saudi Arabia government, tweeting to ask them to list their IPO of Aramco on the New York Stock Exchange.
  132. On Saturday, en route to his Asia trip on a stop in Hawaii, Trump visited his Trump-branded Hawaii resort. This marks Trump’s 97th trip to a Trump-owned property during his time in office.
  133. As Trump headed on a trip to Asia, there is a sense that Trump has accelerated China’s rise by being and unsteady leader. Media say Beijing is the “new role model,” and Trump needs to prove his can be “constructive.”

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Former campaign manager for Trump, Paul Manafort, leaves U.S. District Court after pleading not guilty following his indictment on federal charges on October 30, 2017 in Washington, DC.

Photos taken by me around New York City in October 2017:IMG_3723IMG_3725IMG_3724IMG_1809IMG_1962IMG_2245IMG_1959IMG_2690