POLITIKS OF GRAFFITI 135: USA or GILEAD ?

JUNE 08, 2019

Week 134

Experts in authoritarianism advise to keep a list of things
subtly changing around you, so you’ll remember. https://theweeklylist.org/weekly-list/week-134/
IMG_8597
MY BODY, MY CHOICE by LEXI BELLA. Bushwick, Brooklyn, New Yor k25june19

This week Trump traveled to the U.K., where he was met with mass protests which he denied existed, then to his property in Ireland en route to the 75th anniversary of D-Day ceremony in Normandy, where he attacked Robert Mueller and Speaker Nancy Pelosi. In London, Trump and his children acted more as if a royal family than a head of state, and continued to intertwine their business dealings and the presidency.

IMG_8581
HEY YO, THEY CALL ME ‘INCOMPETENT.’ – from TOKIDOKI NOMAD BLOG. Near Union Square in New York City. 1june19 

Democrats in the House continue to clash over starting impeachment proceedings, as the Trump regime continued its stonewalling Congress for both witnesses and documentation related to the Mueller probe, the 2020 census citizenship question, and even the environment.

This week was notable for the escalation of broad-based attacks on women’s rights and protections, as an actress in “The Handmaid’s Tale” bemoaned how quickly the country is mirroring the fictional dystopian nation of Gilead. Conditions for migrants at the border worsened, with more deaths and army and oil-field worker facilities being requisitioned to house migrant children.

IMG_8780

TRUMP INTERNATIONAL DUMPSTERS. Spotted in Detroit, Michigan this week. *not my photo

  1. On Saturday, Trump announced the resignation of Emmet Flood, the White House lawyer during the Mueller probe, as of June 14, via a tweet, adding, “NO COLLUSION — NO OBSTRUCTION! Case Closed!”
  2. On Sunday, Trump tweeted that his “true friend” White House economic advisor Kevin Hassett is resigning. No reason was given, but speculation was his departure was related to Trump’s trade wars.
  3. On Sunday, WAPO reported informal briefings lasting five to six minutes on the White House driveway by Trump, press secretary Sarah Sanders, Kellyanne Conway, and others have replaced formal daily press briefings
  4. The James S. Brady Press Briefing Room has become dusty, cobwebbed, and abandoned. The last formal press briefing was 83 days ago, a record period for not briefing the press.
  5. Members of the media have complained about the “gaggles,” citing their brevity, impromptu nature, and lack of set topics, and said it allows the regime to communicate on their terms, not as has been done traditionally.
  6. WAPO also reported the media has stopped giving Trump the benefit of the doubt in describing false statements as “falsehoods” or “baseless claims,” and is increasingly using the term “lies.”
  7. On Sunday, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said in a speech that the Trump regime was ready to negotiate with the clerical leaders of Iran with “no preconditions,” weeks after the regime threatened to go to war.
  8. On Sunday, before departing for his U.K. trip, Trump made an unannounced stop at the McLean Bible Church in Virginia, in order to, according to the White House, “pray for the victims and community of Virginia Beach.”
  9. Trump came directly from Trump National Golf Club in Sterling, Virginia wearing khakis, a jacket over a polo shirt, and golf shoes. Neither Trump nor Pastor David Platt mentioned the shooting victims while on stage.
  10. On Sunday, in a statement posted on the church’s website, Pastor Platt said his prayer was not an endorsement of Trump or his policies, and expressed sympathy for church members “hurt” by Trump’s surprise visit.
  11. On Sunday, a cast member of “The Handmaid’s Tale” said the U.S. is now a “heck of a lot closer” to the fictional dystopian nation of Gilead than it was during filming of season one, adding, “which is terrifying.”
  12. On Sunday, acting White House chief of staff Mick Mulvaney said on “Fox News Sunday” that Trump did not know about the request to hide the USS John McCain, and said, “We think it’s much ado about nothing.”
  13. On Sunday, Rep. James Clyburn told “State of the Union” on impeachment, “we have to bring the public along,” adding we believe if “we sufficiently, effectively educate the public, then we will have done our jobs.”
  14. On Sunday, in an interview for “Axios on HBO,” when asked if he would alert the FBI if the Russia requested another meeting, Jared Kushner said I don’t know,” adding, “we were not given anything that was salacious.”
  15. On Saturday, London Mayor Sadiq Khan said in an op-ed the U.K. is “on the wrong side of history” with Trump’s visit, likening Trump to European dictators of the 1930s and 40s, and military juntas of the 1970s and 80s.
  16. On Monday, when asked by reporters before leaving for the U.K. if he would be willing to meet with Khan during his trip, Trump responded, “No, I don’t think much of him.”
  17. Trump also compared Khan to the New York City mayor, a Democrat who last month announced a 2020 presidential campaign, saying, “I think he’s — he’s the twin of de Blasio, except shorter.”
  18. En route, Trump attacked Khan, tweeting he “by all accounts has done a terrible job as Mayor of London,” and calling him a “stone cold loser” — just moments before landing in the U.K. for a visit.
  19. Trump’s tweet also alluded to his controversy over the weekend, where he denied calling Duchess Meghan Markle “nasty” despite an audio of him doing so, tweeting Khan was “foolishly “nasty”” to him.
  20. Hours later, as Trump arrived in the U.K. where Fox News is not aired, Trump tweeted, “The only problem is that @CNN is the primary source of news available” from the U.S., calling it “unfair with such bad, Fake News.”
  21. Trump tweeted: “Why doesn’t owner @ATT do something?”and suggested a boycott of AT&T, tweeting if people “stoped [sic] using or subscribing to @ATT, they would be forced to make big changes at @CNN.”
  22. Trump also tweeted, “Why wouldn’t they act. When the World watches @CNN, it gets a false picture of USA. Sad!” Trump drew criticism for attacking free speech and U.S. companies, both while on foreign soil.
  23. On Monday, Trump tweeted, “London part of trip is going really well. The Queen and the entire Royal family have been fantastic,” adding, “Tremendous crowds of well wishers and people that love our country.”
  24. Trump also tweeted, “Haven’t seen any protests yet,” adding, “But I’m sure the Fake News will be working hard to find them.” Tens of thousands of people had signed up for protests in central London on Tuesday.
  25. On Monday, CNN reported Queen Elizabeth II formally invited just Trump and first lady Melania to the official State Banquet at Buckingham Palace, however four of his five children, and two of their spouses, also showed up.
  26. Ivanka and Jared were set to attend in their capacity as formal adviser and part of the official U.S. delegation, but Trump also brought Donald Jr., Eric and his wife Lara, and Tiffany to mix with princes, dukes, and duchesses.
  27. On Tuesday, Mayor Khan responded to Trump, telling CNN it was “the sort of behavior I would expect from an 11-year old,” adding to respond in a like would be “beneath me to do childish tweets and name-calling.”
  28. On Tuesday, organizer of “Together Against Trump” estimated that 75,000 anti-Trump protestors turned outfor demonstrations in London. A 20-foot-tall, diaper-clad “Trump baby” blimp was flown above Parliament Square.
  29. At a news conference with British Prime Minister Theresa May, Trump again denied the protests, saying, “I don’t see any protests. I did see a small protest today when I came, very small. So a lot of it is fake news.”
  30. Shortly after the news conference, CNN aired footage of demonstrators, including a giant Trump robot sitting on a toilet and repeating, “fake news” and “witch hunt,” and others holding anti-Trump signage.
  31. On Wednesday, Trump tweeted, “If the totally Corrupt Media was less corrupt, I would be up by 15 points in the polls,” citing “tremendous success with the economy, maybe Best Ever!”
  32. Trump also tweeted, “If the Corrupt Media was actually fair, I would be up by 25 points,” adding, “Nevertheless, despite the Fake News, we’re doing great!” Notably these tweets were sent on the anniversary of D-Day.
  33. On Wednesday, in an interview with British broadcaster Piers Morgan, Trump said he was “making up for” not serving in Vietnam by spending billions on “rebuilding our military at a level it’s never seen before.”
  34. Trump said of the Vietnam war, he was “never a fan” of the conflict, adding “I thought it was a terrible war, I thought it was very far away, and at that time nobody ever heard of the country — today they are doing very well.”
  35. The interview was broadcast before Trump attended U.K. ceremonies to mark the 75th anniversary of the D-Day. When asked if he would serve in another war, Trump said, “I would not have minded that at all.”
  36. On Wednesday, Trump flew to his money losing golf course in Doonbeg, Ireland for a two-night stay. From there, Trump flew to France and back Thursday, before departing back to the U.S. on Friday.
  37. The visit marked the third time Trump has paused an overseas trip to stop at his properties (including Waikiki and Turnberry). It was not clear how many from Trump’s large contingent would stay at the resort.
  38. The Irish Times reported Trump originally wanted to meet with Irish Prime Minister Leo Varadkar at his golf club, but Varadkar suggested a nearby hotel. They settled on meeting at the VIP lounge at the airport.
  39. Weeks before the trip, Trump had threatened to cancel the stop in Ireland entirely and stop in Scotland instead amid the venue disagreement.
  40. WAPO reported Trump’s children also used the Europe trip to promote themselves and the family businesses. All the children used their social media accounts to promote their attendance at high-profile activities.
  41. Typically, family members participate in cultural events but not bilateral meetings; however, Trump children were present at the state dinner with the queen and a dinner at the residence of the U.S. ambassador, and more.
  42. It was unclear if American taxpayers would be paying the costs for the family’s travel. The Scotsman reported the trip cost the U.S. government close to $4 million, including $1.3 million for a five-star Qatari-backed hotel.
  43. The Irish Post reported during a pub crawl in Doonbeg, Donald Jr. and Eric ordered a round of drinks for locals, but failed to pay, saying they did not carry cash, and put it on the tab. The owner has not yet been paid.
  44. On Friday, despite the Trump Org’s 2017 pledge that “no communication of the Organization” would mention Trump, the Trump Doonbeg resort sent two tweets publicizing his visit. The tweets were later deleted.
  45. WAPO reported Trump has visited more than a dozen Trump-branded properties while in office. Trump has visited these properties every month in office except two: last December and January 2017 (when Trump was president for 12 days of the month).
  46. On Sunday, a CNN poll found support for impeachment rose from 37% last month to 41% — below the high of 47% in September 2018–54% do not support. The increase came from Democrats, with 76% in favor.
  47. On Saturday, an AirBnB host was taped asking black guests “which monkey is going to stay on the couch?” and then kicking them out in the middle of the night. This is the second racist AirBnB incident in recent months.
  48. On Saturday, Bishop Thomas Tobin drew ire after tweeting, “Catholics should not support or attend LGBTQ ‘Pride Month’ events” saying they “promote a culture and encourage activities” harmful for children.
  49. On Sunday, Tobin said he regretted the controversy his remarks, which came on the 50th anniversary of Stonewall riots, had created, but declined to withdraw the statement.
  50. On Monday, Mark Chambers, a mayor in Alabama, called for the killing of LGBTQ people on Facebook, saying, “The only way to change it would be to kill the problem out..without killing them out there’s no way to fix it.”
  51. Chambers later denied he wrote the post, then when confronted by the media defended his comments saying he did not say anything “killing out gays or anything like that.” On Tuesday, he apologized on Facebook.
  52. On Tuesday, three heterosexual men in Boston said they are making preparations for a possible “Straight Pride Parade” this summer. The organizers said they “feel we’re an oppressed majority.”
  53. On Friday, NBC News reported the Trump regime denied requests by U.S. embassies in in Israel, Germany, Brazil, and Latvia to fly pride flags on embassy flagpoles during LGBTQ Pride Month.
  54. The Obama administration made blanket grants for pride flags. Also, this year Secretary of State Pompeo did not approve a cable sent in past years giving encouragement to engage in outreach with local LGBTQ communities
  55. On Friday, Detroit police charged Devon Robinson, 18, for killing two gay men and a transgender woman. A Wayne County assistant prosecutor said the victims were targeted for being part of the LGBTQ community.
  56. On Wednesday, YouTube announced it will remove thousands of videos and channels that advocated for neo-Nazism, white supremacy, and bigotry that were used to “incite hatred, harassment, discrimination and violence.”
  57. On Saturday, AP reported in a vast expansion of the Trump regime’s screening, the State Department will require social media usernames, previous email addresses, and phone numbers from applicants for visas.
  58. The change, proposed in March 2018, will impact about 15 million applicants each year. In the past, only a small fraction of applicants identified for extra scrutiny were required to divulge this information.
  59. On Monday, Customs and Border Protection said in a statement that a 40 year-old Honduran woman apprehended near the border in Eagle Pass, Texas died that morning shortly after being in their care.
  60. This marked the third death in three days near the U.S.-Mexico border: on Sunday a 33-year-old Salvadoran man died and on Saturday, Johana Medina Leon, 25-year-old transgender women, died in El Paso.
  61. On Monday, a federal judge rejected a House lawsuit to block Trump from spending billions on his wall, saying the House lacked legal standing to sue Trump for overstepping his powers by transferring funds to pay for it.
  62. The judge said the case “presents a close question,” but said the House has other levers to use includingdenying funds, passing other legislation, conducting hearings and investigations, or overriding a president’s veto.
  63. On Tuesday, Trump tweeted, “Just had a big victory in Federal Court over the Democrats in the House on the desperately needed Border Wall,” adding, “A big step in the right direction. Wall is under construction!”
  64. On Monday, the Supreme Court denied the Trump regime’s request for a swift hearing on its case to end the Obama-era Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program. No judge dissented.
  65. On Wednesday, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said he will “probably not” bring up a bill passed by the House passed to give dreamers 10 years of legal residence status if they meet certain requirements.
  66. On Wednesday, a Health and Human Services email obtained by WAPO showed the regime is canceling English classes, recreational programs, and legal aid for unaccompanied minors in federal migrant shelters.
  67. The regime cited funding and “a dramatic spike” in unaccompanied minors. The move could run afoul of a federal court settlement and state licensing requirements that mandate education and recreation.
  68. Attorneys said the move violated the Flores agreement that requires the government to provide education and recreational activities to migrant children in its care.
  69. Last week, attorneys also filed a motion claiming the regime is violating the Flores agreement by keeping migrant children at the Homestead facility for months in some cases, instead of releasing them within 20 days.
  70. On Friday, AP reported the Trump regime opened a new emergency facility in Carrizo Springs, Texas that can hold up to 1,600 migrant teens. The facility once housed oil field workers on government-leased land.
  71. The regime’s Office of Refugee Resettlement is also considering using Army and Air Force bases in Georgia, Montana, and Oklahoma to house 1,400 more migrant children. The facilities are considered temporary.
  72. On Wednesday, the regime said it will sharply curtail federal spending on medical research that uses tissue from aborted fetuses, largely conducted by the National Institutes of Health.
  73. The move, which fulfills a top goal of anti-abortion groups, will affect research on finding cures for diseases impacting millions of Americans like cancer, H.I.V., Parkinson’s, and dementia.
  74. On Wednesday, the Wisconsin legislature passed four anti-abortion bills, including an alarmist measureimposing criminal penalties on doctors who fail to give medical care to a baby born alive during an abortion attempt.
  75. Wisconsin’s Democratic governor said he planned to veto the bills, which Republicans will not be able to override. Trump touted the bills during a recent visit to the state, and mocked Gov. Tony Evers for his veto promise.
  76. On Wednesday, Dallas Morning News reported on a video of Arlington Rep. Ron Wright being used by anti-abortions group saying women “absolutely” should be punished for having abortions, “of course they should.”
  77. On Thursday, the LA Times reported on Missouri’s last abortion clinic, filled with patients sobbing and terrified that at any moment the judge could close the clinic, and doctors anxious and heartbroken.
  78. This week, Dr. Randall Williams, the director of the Missouri state health department questioned the clinic’s safety, and started requiring physicians to perform a pelvic exam at least 72 hours before every abortion.
  79. The Kansas City Star Editorial Board condemned the practice, saying the pelvic exams harasses women and doctors. One doctor who was forced to give a pelvic exam said, “It broke me as a physician to do this to her.”
  80. On Friday, the University of Alabama board of trustees voted to return a $26.5 million donation from top donor Hugh F. Culverhouse Jr. after he called for students to boycott the school over the state’s abortion ban.
  81. Hours after Culverhouse’s statement on the ban, the university said it was considering giving back his donation, the biggest donation ever made to the school. His name was also removed from the law school.
  82. On Friday, in an op-ed, Culverhouse, an independent voter, noted the students who need financial aid will lose out, as will the university for “all the names that will never appear on their admissions rolls.”
  83. On Saturday, 42 attorneys in Alabama, Georgia, Ohio, and Texas joined 38 elected officials including district attorneys and attorneys generals saying they will not prosecute health-care providers or women seeking abortions.
  84. On Friday, WAPO reported Scott Beierle’s mass shooting at a yoga studio in Week 104 was fueled by male supremacy. Hatred of women has become the new feeder network for white supremacy and neo-Nazi groups.
  85. The Southern Poverty Law Center has added “male supremacy” as a new category to its tracking list of U.S. hate movements, including men who view women as genetically inferior and needing to be sexually submissive.
  86. On Friday, lawyers for House Democrats questioned why the DOJ is not defending certain laws, including the department’s decision to walk away from defending a statute barring female genital mutilation.
  87. In defending the DOJ abandoning the first federal criminal prosecution for female genital mutilation in Michigan, Solicitor General Noel Francisco said the department determined it lacked a “reasonable defense.”
  88. On Wednesday, retailer Sephora closed its U.S. stores for one hour to provide diversity training to its 16,000 employees, a month after R&B star SZA said a Sephora employee called security on her while shopping.
  89. On Wednesday, the Oregon senate passed a bill allowing victims of racially motivated 911 calls to sue for up to $250, following nationwide incidents of white people calling police on black people doing everyday activities.
  90. On Friday, Nicholas Wesley Rose, 28, pleaded guilty to an anti-Semitic plot targeting three congregations in Orange County. Rose had “kill lists” of prominent Jewish figures.
  91. On Tuesday, the Oregon House passed a bill granting the state’s electoral votes to the national popular vote winner. Oregon’s seven electoral votes would make 196 of the 270 needed. The bill now goes to the governor.
  92. On Monday, NYT reported on Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao’s conflicts with her family’s shipping business. Her agency called to cut a program meant to stabilize the financially troubled U.S. maritime industry.
  93. The Chinese government has greatly expanded in the maritime industery. Both cuts were voted down in Congress. Her family’s gifts and donations have helped make her husband, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, one of the richest senators.
  94. A copy of Chao’s calendar showed 21 interviews or meetings in her first year with Chinese news orgs, including some related to her family company. In one, her father said he traveled on Air Force One and talked business with Trump.
  95. Her October 2017 trip to China as was abruptly canceled after media inquiries about her itinerary and companions, and ethics questions that were referred to the State and Transportation Departments.
  96. On Monday, George Nader, a key witness in the Mueller probe who served as liaison between Trump supporters, Middle East leaders and Russia in early 2017, was charged with transporting child pornography.
  97. Nader also helped arrange the Seychelles meeting in January 2017 between Erik Prince and a Russian official. Nader was charged on child pornography in April 2018. He pleaded guilty to the same charge in 1991.
  98. On Tuesday, Sen. Tim Kaine said the Trump regime gave a green light to U.S. energy firms to export technology and know-how to Saudi Arabia on Oct. 18, 2018, just 16 days after the Jamal Khashoggi killing.
  99. A second transfer was approved February 18. Sen. Kaine, a member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee cited Department of Energy records and said the regime took months to answer when transfers occurred.
  100. On Wednesday, WSJ reported the State Department forced out deputy assistant secretary Charles Faulkner after he steered billions in contracts to defense company Raytheon, where he previously worked as a lobbyist.
  101. On Wednesday, research by cybersecurity firm Symantec found Russia’s manipulation of Twitter through the Internet Research Agency had more sway and reached more people than originally believed.
  102. The report found a “vast disinformation network,” in which large fake accounts played to both sides of the aisle and pretended to be regional news outlets, while a smaller subset amplified those messages.
  103. On Thursday, WAPO reported Nahro al-Kasnazan, a wealthy Iraqi sheikh who urged a hardline approach to Iran in letters to Pompeo and National Security Advisor John Bolton, stayed 26 nights in Trump Hotel DC suite.
  104. The unusually long visit, the longest of 1,200 VIP guests listed, was estimated to cost tens of thousands. Kasnazan told the Post that he normally stay at the Hay-Adams hotel, but “just heard” about Trump Hotel DC.
  105. Kasnazan also told the Post that he is advocating for a U.S. military confrontation with Iran, and that he considers himself to be a viable candidate for president of Iraq. The White House did not comment.
  106. On Monday, House Judiciary Chair Jerrold Nadler said his committee would hold a hearing titled “Lessons from the Mueller Report: Presidential Obstruction and Other Crimes,” and call Nixon lawyer John Dean.
  107. On Monday, House Oversight Chair Elijah Cummings said he was moving to hold Attorney General William Barr and Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross in contempt of Congress for defying a subpoena seeking information on the 2020 citizenship question.
  108. Chair Cummings gave a Thursday deadline for turning over information and said in letters, “The Trump administration has been engaged in one of the most unprecedented cover-ups since Watergate.”
  109. On Thursday, the Justice and Commerce departments rejected Chair Cummings’ demand for more documents, saying documents are protected by attorney-client privilege and therefore cannot be disclosed.
  110. The Commerce Department accused the committee of trying to interfere with ongoing litigation. After the missed deadline, Chair Cummings said, “They seem determined to continue the Trump Administration’s cover-up.”
  111. On Friday, Chair Cummings said his panel would vote next week on holding Barr and Ross in contempt. Assistant Attorney General Stephen Boyd said a vote would halt any ongoing cooperation with the committee.
  112. On Friday, according to a letter released, the White House tried to block Kris Kobach from testifying before the House Oversight Committee about adding a citizenship question to the 2020 census.
  113. Kobach appeared before the panel Monday and refused 15 times to answer questions about his conversations with Trump or White House officials. White House counsel Pat Cipollone said the conversations are covered by executive privilege.
  114. On Monday, Politico reported House Democrats will hold a contempt vote against Barr and former White House counsel Don McGahn for defying congressional subpoenas. The vote is expected on June 11.
  115. On Tuesday, Judge Emmet Sullivan wrote in a notice that he accepted the DOJ’s explanation for not complying with his demand to make public transcripts of calls between Michael Flynn and the Russian ambassador.
  116. On Tuesday, CNN reported the White House directed Hope Hicks and Annie Donaldson not to turn over documents to the House Judiciary Committee related to their time at the White House.
  117. Pat Cipollone said in a letter the documents “remain legally protected from disclosure…because they implicate significant Executive Branch confidentiality interests and executive privilege.”
  118. On Tuesday, Chair Nadler said Hicks had agreed to turn over some documents to his committee, saying, “I thank her for that show of good faith.” It was unclear if she would satisfy Democrats’ sweeping demands.
  119. On Tuesday, NYT reported Paul Manafort is expected to be transferred in the new few weeks to Rikers Island jail complex in New York City where he will likely be held in isolation while facing state fraud charges.
  120. On Wednesday, Bloomberg reported House Ways and Means Chair Richard Neal will not move ahead on getting Trump’s New York state tax returns under a new bill expected to be signed into law by the governor.
  121. Several of Neal’s House colleagues disagreed, saying the returns would answer questions on issues such as foreign holdings. Neal said he does not want to appear to be on a fishing expedition.
  122. Secretary Steven Mnuchin has turned down three requests to turn over six years of Trump’s tax returns, including after being subpoenaed by Neal’s committee, and is expected to end up in court.
  123. On Tuesday, former Senate majority leader Harry Reid changed his opinion and said the House should open an impeachment inquiry. Reid told USA Today, “It’s not the right thing to do nothing.”
  124. Reid said the most important goal is to “give the American people a view of what’s going on,” adding public opinion may change, “that’s one reason an inquiry should go forward, to find out how the public reacts to this.”
  125. On Wednesday, Politico reported in a meeting with five House committee Chairs, Speaker Pelosi clashed with Judiciary Chair Nadler who called for launching impeachment proceedings.
  126. This is the second request Chair Nadler has made in recent weeks. More than half (13 of 24) members of the House Judiciary Committee are for impeachment. Pelosi again turned down the notion of impeachment.
  127. Pelosi said she preferred to oust Trump at the ballot box: “I don’t want to see him impeached, I want to see him in prison.” Chairs Adam Schiff, Elijah Cummings, Richard Neal, and Eliot Engle sided with Pelosi.
  128. Earlier Wednesday, Pelosi said in a speech, “Make no mistake, we know exactly what path we’re on. We know exactly what actions we need to take.” So far, 60 House Democrats have called for impeachment.
  129. Pelosi also played down the disagreement saying “there is no controversy” within the caucus over impeachment. She later told reporters, “I’m not feeling any pressure.”
  130. On Thursday, CNN reported that at a private meeting of the House Judiciary Committee on May 20, more than a dozen of the 24 members pushed Chair Nadler to start impeachment proceedings.
  131. Nadler made the case his committee could look into Trump’s controversies and scandals and decide on whether to pursue articles of impeachment, freeing up the other committees to focus on the legislative agenda.
  132. On Thursday, Trump quoted Fox News host Sean Hannity on the coverage of his Europe trip, tweeting, “MSNBC Ramps up hateful coverage and promotes conspiracy theories during Trump’s trip to Europe.”
  133. Trump quoted Hannity, tweeting that he “received glowing reviews from the British Media.” This was false. Trump was criticized by The Times, The Guardian, The Independent, Daily Telegraph, Daily Mirror, Daily Mail, etc.
  134. On Thursday, in an interview with Fox News taped ahead of a ceremony in Normandy commemorating the 75th anniversary of D-Day, Trump said Mueller “made such a fool of himself” with last week’s public statement.
  135. Trump told host Laura Ingraham on Mueller, “what people don’t report is the letter he had to do to straighten out his testimony because his testimony was wrong.” It was unclear what letter Trump was referring to.
  136. Trump also said of Mueller, He came out with a report with 13 horrible, angry Democrats who are totally biased against me,” adding, “A couple of them worked to Hillary Clinton.”
  137. On Russia, Trump said, “I think we can have a good relationship with Russia,” adding, “I think it’s hurt by the phony witch hunt. You know, I could have a good relationship with Russia.”
  138. Trump called Pelosi a “nasty, vindictive, horrible person,” adding, “I think she’s a disgrace. I don’t think she’s a talented person.” He said he tried to be nice to get deals done with her, but “she’s incapable of doing deals.”
  139. Trump also referred to Pelosi as “Nervous Nancy” twice and said she should stop focusing on his misdeeds and instead on her district in San Francisco, which he said has “drugs and needles all over the place.”
  140. The interview was taped with graves of Allied service members as a backdrop. Trump noted people gathering for the ceremony, saying “what they don’t realize is that I’m holding them up because of this interview.”
  141. When the interview aired, Ingraham said, “Some of you may have heard or read that President Trump supposedly held up the entire D-Day ceremony in order to do this interview with me. That is patently false — fake news.”
  142. Pelosi, who was also in France for the D-Day celebrations refused to respond to Trump in an interview, saying “I don’t talk about the president while I’m out of the country. That’s my principle.”
  143. On Friday, while flying back to the U.S., Trump tweeted “Nervous Nancy Pelosi is a disgrace to herself and her family for having made such a disgusting statement, especially since I was with foreign leaders overseas.”
  144. Trump also tweeted of her comment, “There is no evidence for such a thing,” adding, “Nervous Nancy & Dems are getting Zero work done,” and they want a “fishing expedition to see if they can find anything on me.”
  145. Trump also called it “illegal & unprecedented in U.S. history,” adding, “There was no Collusion — Investigate the Investigators!” and, “Go to work on Drug Price Reductions & Infrastructure!”
  146. On Thursday, Michael Flynn fired his lawyers, Robert Kelner and Stephen Anthony, shortly before sentencing. No reason was given for the late dismissal, triggering speculation that he may seek to back out of his plea deal.
  147. Kelner and Anthony asked Judge Emmet Sullivan to withdraw, saying because only sentencing remained, the change in defense team would not harm the prosecution or defense.
  148. The judge denied Kelner and Anthony’s motion on technical grounds on Thursday, prompting them to refile it late Thursday. On Friday, the judge granted the motion for Flynn to remove them.
  149. On Thursday, new attorneys for Ekim Alptekin, the Turkish businessman who hired Flynn and was indicted in December but remains in Turkey, suddenly appeared to make a request to the judge overseeing the case.
  150. Flynn was not charged in the case against his former business partner Bijan Rafiekian and Alptekin, but was expected to be the star witness. Questions on cooperation arose with Flynn bringing on new counsel.
  151. Judge Sullivan also released the audio of John Dowd’s phone call with Kelner following release of the transcript. The contents of the voice mail were mostly quoted in the Mueller report.
  152. The DOJ also released a slightly less redacted version of Peter Strzok’s FBI notes, which said a top Russian official tried to set up a video teleconference between Trump and Putin on the day after Trump’s inauguration.
  153. On Friday, Politico reported former Roger Stone aide Andrew Miller turned over his text messages with Stone from October 2016 to March 2017, and the written agenda for the 2016 RNC, to a grand jury.
  154. On Friday, the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals ordered the release of some sealed documents related to the mysterious legal battle between Mueller’s team and a state-owned foreign company by June 21.
  155. On Friday, in response to a lawsuit by CNN, a federal judge ruled that the FBI must un-redact more portions of former Director James Comey’s memos about his meetings with Trump.
  156. The ruling will allow the names of countries and world leaders referenced in conversation between the two, when Trump described his dismay about how Flynn had handled the scheduling of calls from world leaders.
  157. On Thursday, senior House Democrats on the Appropriations subpanel that funds the Interior Department urged Trump to rethink his July 4 plans, saying the celebration should be “non-partisan and apolitical.”
  158. The lawmakers said in the letter Trump’s plans “could create the appearance of a televised, partisan campaign rally on the Mall at public expense” and asked to consider an earlier time or alternative location.
  159. On Thursday, in a letter to top officials, Senate Democrats asked the Federal Reserve to review Trump’s Deutsche Bank transactions, citing NYT’s reporting on possible money laundering in Week 132.
  160. On Thursday, House Democrats formally introduced a resolution to hold Barr and McGahn in contempt of Congress. The resolution authorizes any committee chair to go to civil court to enforce a subpoena.
  161. On Thursday, Rudy Giuliani told the Washington Examiner he would be leaving Trump’s legal team. Later in the day, he reversed himself tweeting “I’m here until Pres. doesn’t need me or needs something else.”
  162. On Monday, the manufacturing gauge, the Institute for Supply Management reading, dropped to 52.1 for May, the lowest level since October 2106, amid global trade tensions.
  163. On Wednesday, credit ratings agencies Fitch downgraded and Moody’s lowered the outlook for Mexico’s sovereign debt citing credit worries over Pemex and trade tensions with the U.S.
  164. On Thursday, when asked by reporters about tariffs on China, Trump said tariffs could “go up another at least $300 billion and I’ll do that at the right time,” adding, “But I think China wants to make a deal.”
  165. On Thursday, the Mexican government said it is willing to make asylum changes towards a coordinated approach to stem the flow of Central American migrants, but said they will redraw if Trump imposes tariffs.
  166. Mexican called for the regime to commit to programs that will ease conditions fueling migration. House Ways and Means Chair Neal said he would introduce a resolution of disapproval if Trump imposed tariffs.
  167. On Friday, the U.S. nonfarm payrolls for May increased by just 75,000, significantly lower than economists expectation of a gain of 180,000. March and April adds were also revised lower by a combined 189,000.
  168. On Friday, CNBC report the Koch-backed Americans for Prosperity, a network that historically only backed Republicans, in the era of Trump will expand its political engagement to backing Democrats in 2019 and 2020.
  169. On Friday, on his flight back from Europe, Trump tweeted there is a “good chance” we will be able to make a deal with Mexico, adding if not, “Mexico will begin paying Tariffs at the 5% level on Monday!”
  170. Later Friday, Trump tweeted they reached a deal and the U.S. would suspend tariffs “indefinitely,” saying Mexico agreed to “strong measures to stem the tide of Migration through Mexico, and to our Southern Border.”
  171. On Saturday, Trump attacked the media for “much false reporting” on the deal, “by the Fake and Corrupt News Media, such as Comcast/NBC, CNN, @nytimes & @washingtonpost. These “Fakers” are Bad News!”
  172. On Saturday, Speaker Pelosi said in a statement, “Threats and temper tantrums are no way to negotiate foreign policy,” saying Trump undermined U.S. leadership threatening “our close friend and neighbor.”
  173. On Saturday, Trump tweeted “Nervous Nancy Pelosi & the Democrat House are getting nothing done,” adding perhaps they could lead the way with USMCA, trade deal “that replaces NAFTA, the worst Trade Deal.”
  174. On Friday, Trump tweeted: “For all of the money we are spending, NASA should NOT be talking about going to the Moon,” saying they should be focused on bigger things “including Mars (of which the Moon is a part).”
  175. Months ago, Trump had set a goal to put humans back on the moon by 2024 and budgeted $1.6 billion to be taken from Pell grants to fund it. It was unclear if Trump was backing off his own plan or what he meant.
  176. WAPO also fact-checked Trump’s tweet and noted it was unclear what Trump meant when he called the moon “a part” of Mars. The moon is a satellite of Earth.
  177. On Friday, a Russian destroyer nearly collided with a U.S. warship in the Philippine Sea. The U.S. Navy called the incident “unsafe and unprofessional” and released video corroborating their version of events.
  178. Russian state-controlled media claimed the near collision was staged by the U.S. to coincide with a visit by China President Xi Jinping to Russia. Trump did not make a statement or tweet about the incident.
  179. On Friday, Guardian reported Russian journalist Ivan Golunov was arrested and severely beaten in police custody with injuries including broken ribs and a concussion, after covering state corruption and business interests.
  180. On Friday, NYT reported a raft of legislation meant to protect U.S. elections after Mueller’s warning of a “sweeping and systematic” Russian attack is being blocked by Senate Majority Leader McConnell.
  181. McConnell is facing pressure to act not only from Democrats, but also members of his party. It is thought he does not want to enrage Trump who views talk on interference as questioning the legitimacy of his 2016 win.
  182. The House is planning hearings to force his hand. On Friday, the Intelligence Committee said it would hold hearings on the Russian counterintelligence threat detailed in the Mueller report.
  183. On Saturday, WAPO reported the White House blocked the State Department’s Bureau of Intelligence and Research from submitting testimony on climate change to the House Intelligence Committee.
  184. The written testimony noted, “absent extensive mitigating factors or events” human-caused climate change could be “possibly catastrophic,” and laid out the implications of rising carbon emissions.
  185. Implications in the 12-page report obtained by the Post include rising global temperatures and acidifying of the world’s oceans, as well as contributing to the frequency and intensity of extreme weather events.
  186. On Tuesday, an estimated 120,000 marched in Prague to protest Czech Republic Prime Minister Andrej Babis, who has been charged with subsidy fraud. The crowd was the biggest since the end of communism.
  187. On Wednesday, Australian police raided the offices of Australian Broadcasting Corporation and a prominent journalist seeking files related to stories known as the Afghan Files, raising concerns for press freedom.

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

THE LIST — weeks 1–52 of The Weekly List is out as a book! You can order your copy by clicking here.

Anti-Trump protesters hold placards and balloons depicting US President Donald Trump as an orange baby as they gather in Trafalgar Square during a demonstration against the US State Visit in central London on June 4, 2019 the second day of the visit. — Trump turns from pomp and ceremony to politics and business on Tuesday as he meets Prime Minister Theresa May on the second day of a state visit expected to be accompanied by mass protests.

Advertisements

POLITIKS OF GRAFFITI 65: IMPEACH!

Week 64 of this presidency: Experts in authoritarianism advise to keep a list of things subtly changing around you, so you’ll remember.

February 3, 2018 https://medium.com/@Amy_Siskind/week-64-experts-in-authoritarianism-advise-to-keep-a-list-of-things-subtly-changing-around-you-so-6d8d62a0e4b5

The news this week was dominated by the Devin Nunes memo, which, following high drama and despite calls to withhold it from US intelligence leaders including Trump appointee Christopher Wray, was released on Friday. Trump suffered no consequences for making highly classified information public, nor for pushing out Deputy Director of the FBI Andrew McCabe, almost assuring he will irreverently continue to take steps to undermine the Mueller probe, likely dispensing with Rod Rosenstein next. With few exceptions, Republicans remain silent and complicit.

This was also the week of Trump’s first State of the Union address which was a blur in the bedlam of Week 64. Critical stories about Russia’s slow creep into our country and Trump’s refusal to impose sanctions were the most alarming stories this week, yet received little attention. Nor did the stories about the continued dismantling of our executive branch agencies, and ICE ramping up their heinous activities, unchecked.

IMG_8153
New York City, January 2018
  1. On Sunday, Alexey Navalny, an anti-corruption opponent of Putin was dragged violently into a van while protesting in central Moscow. He was later released, pending trial. The US issued no statement on the arrest.
  2. On Monday, CIA director Mike Pompeo told BBC News that there has beenno significant diminishing of Russian attempts at subversion in Europe and the US, and that Russia will likely target the US midterm elections.
  3. On Monday, a Russian jet buzzed an American spy plane over the Black Sea, in what the State Department characterized as an “unsafe” flyby. The encounter was first reported by Russia’s RIA news agency.
  4. On Tuesday, Russian news agency TASS first reported that Sergei Naryshkin, the director of Russia’s Foreign Intelligence Service (or SVR) visited the US for consultations with US counterparts to discuss the war on terror.
  5. On Wednesday, WAPO reported two Russian spy chiefs, Naryshkin and Alexander Bortnikov, who runs the FSB, came to DC to meet with Pompeo. A senior US intelligence official was called back from Moscow for the meeting.
  6. The head of Russia’s military intelligence also came to DC, but it is not clear if he met with Pompeo. The meetings raised concerns that the Trump regime is willing to move beyond the issue of election interference.
  7. Naryshkin is currently under sanctions imposed by the Obama administration for his alleged role in Russia’s 2014 annexation of Crimea. SVR is also thought to have played a key role in US election interference.
  8. On Friday, CNN reported the CIA followed a multi-agency legal process to give Naryshkin access. In a letter to Sen. Chuck Schumer, Pompeo defended the meeting saying he and others met with Russians “to keep Americans safe.”
  9. Schumer said Pompeo’s meeting represented “a serious national security issue,” noting Pompeo did not directly acknowledge that he met with Russian counterparts, and his “refusal to answer that question is deeply troubling.”
  10. On Monday, the Trump regime announced it would not implement new sanctions against Russia, despite a law that passed almost unanimously in Congress in August to punish Russia for interfering in the 2016 election.
  11. Monday was the deadline to impose sanctions on anyone doing business with Russian defense and intelligence sectors. A State Department spokesperson said, “the mere threat of sanctions will deter Russia’s aggressive behavior.”
  12. On Tuesday, Secretary Steven Mnuchin defended the Treasury Department’s decision to delay implementation of Russia sanctions to the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, vowing “there will be sanctions.”
  13. On Tuesday, BuzzFeed reported the Treasury Department lifted their list of Russian oligarchs from Forbes magazine’s ranking of the “200 richest businessmen in Russia 2017.” Treasury officials did not deny the charge.
  14. Democratic lawmakers blasted Trump for holding off on Russian sanctions, while Republicans stayed silent with the exception of Sen. Susan Collins who called the move “perplexing.”
  15. On Friday, Bloomberg reported that the Treasury Department memo argues imposing sanctions on Russia would slow Russian growth and provoke retaliation, and “could hinder the competitiveness” of US asset managers.
  16. Sen. Mark Warner, ranking Democrat on the Senate Intelligence Committee, told Politico that in late 2017, his committee received “extraordinarily important new documents” on the Trump campaign’s possible collusion with Russia.
  17. Warner noted, “We’re seeing this coordinated effort to try to impede the investigation.” The Senate Intelligence Committee, however, has remained functional. Warner added, “Mueller is getting closer and closer to the truth.”
  18. Daily Beast reported that Julian Assange messaged a Twitter account he thought was Sean Hannity inviting him to send a message through other channels, offering, “Have some news about [Sen Mark] Warner.”
  19. On Monday, NBC News reported the day after James Comey was fired, Trump called Andrew McCabe demanding to know why Comey was allowed to fly back from DC on a FBI plane. Trump was enraged Comey took a FBI plane.
  20. McCabe said he hadn’t been asked, but said he would have authorized it. Trump then attacked McCabe, suggesting he ask his wife how it feels to be a loser. McCabe responded, “OK, sir,” and hung up.
  21. On Monday, facing pressure from the Trump regime, conservative media and Republicans in congress, McCabe abruptly and unexpectedly announced he would step down as deputy FBI director.
  22. On Monday, Carl Bernstein slammed the “enablers” putting Trump ahead of the country, calling McCabe’s departure a “Monday Night Slaughter,” referencing Nixon’s famous Saturday Night Massacre.
  23. On Sunday, in an interview with British journalist Piers Morgan on Britain’s ITV, Trump also shared he sometimes tweets from bed, adding he is “very busy during the day, very long hours.”
  24. Trump said, “I wouldn’t say I’m a feminist,” but rather for all people. Trump also said women “really like” our military, adding “I think they want to be safe at home.”
  25. Trump dismissed global warming, saying that ice caps were going to melt but instead “they’re at a record level.” He also pushed back on global warming and climate change saying it’s “getting too cold all over the place.”
  26. The US Travel Association reported spending by international visitors fell sharply in 2017: through November 2017, spending dropped by 3.3%, which translates to $4.6 billion less spent and 40,000 lost jobs.
  27. Axios reported, according to National Security Council documents, the Trump regime is considering paying for and building a centralized nationwide 5G network, an unprecedented federal takeover of a historically private infrastructure.
  28. On Monday, Trump’s FCC chairman Ajit Pai spoke out against the regime’s plan, saying he would oppose, “any proposal for the federal government to build and operate a nationwide 5G network.”
  29. Arizona Capitol Times reported that Trump supporters targeted a Navajo lawmaker, staffers, and children protesting congressional efforts to pass immigration reform, telling them “go home” and “get out of the country.”
  30. Boston Herald reported that illegal immigrants married to US citizens who are seeking to gain legal residency are being swept up by ICE. One spouse was arrested at his USCIS interview, an initial step for obtaining a green card.
  31. Chicago Tribune reported that Miguel Perez Jr., who served two tours in Afghanistan and has lived in the US since age 8, began a hunger strike to avoid deportation to Mexico, where he said he would face certain death. Perez was diagnosed with PTSD after serving, and had a felony drug conviction.
  32. Kansas City Star reported that ICE detained Syed Ahmed Jamal, a 54-year-old chemistry professor who has lived in the US for 30 years, as he was leaving his front-yard to take his seventh-grade daughter to school.
  33. Washington will no longer require residents to provide their place of birth in obtaining a license after the state’s licensing department was found to have been providing personal information of residents to ICE officials.
  34. The day after Harry Pangemanan took shelter from ICE at the Reformed Church in NJ, his two US-born daughters returned home to find the door-frame crushed and house ransacked.
  35. Rev. Seth Kaper-Dale said the home of Arthur Jemmy and Silfia Tobing, an Indonesian Christian couple who also entered sanctuary at Reformed Church to escape deportation in October, has also been ransacked.
  36. Arizona Legislature expelled GOP Rep. Don Shooter who was accused of sexually harassing several women around the state capital. At least a half dozen Arizona lawmakers have resigned or been forced out over sexual misconduct.
  37. VICE News reported Trump’s head of the Office of Refugee Resettlement, Scott Lloyd, discussed using so-called “abortion reversal,” a controversial, scientifically unproven method, on an undocumented teen in the custody of his agency.
  38. Paul Nehlen, a Republican running for Congress in WI, tweeted a list of names of his “mostly Jewish” critics including phone numbers and email addresses, saying of his critics, “74 are Jews, while only 7 are non-Jews.”
  39. Boston Globe reported the Koch Brothers are ramping up spending on college campuses from $35 million in 2014 to $100 million in 2017, to promote far-right values and ideas and to invite conservative speakers.
  40. A new report by the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) found the amount of white supremacist propaganda targeting college students has increased by 258 percent between fall 2016 and fall 2017.
  41. The ADL counted 346 incidents of hate propaganda spread on 216 college campuses in 44 states and DC since September 2016. ADL’s CEO said, “White supremacists are targeting college campuses like never before.”
  42. Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke named Paul Daniel Smith director of the National Park Service. A 2006 investigation found Smith “inappropriately used his position” to “circumvent NPS procedures,” allowing a NFL owner to cut down trees.
  43. On Tuesday, Politico reported Trump’s CDC Director Brenda Fitzgerald bought shares of a tobacco company one month into her role which includes reducing tobacco use, the leading cause of preventable death.
  44. On Wednesday, Fitzgerald resigned. The tobacco stock was among at least a dozen purchases she made after taking the role as CDC head.
  45. WAPO reported, based on information obtained under the FOIA, Housing and Urban Development Secretary Ben Carson was warned by agency officials that sending his son on a listening tour may violate ethics rules by “using his position” for private gain.
  46. Saying the immediate humanitarian emergency has subsided, as of January 31 FEMA said it will “officially shut off” the mission of providing potable water and food to residents of Puerto Rico.
  47. Nearly a third of Puerto Rico is still without electricity, and many residents, especially in remote areas, depended on FEMA for a steady supply of food and drinking water.
  48. The Environmental Defense Fund said, based on records obtained under the FOIA, Trump’s EPA head Scott Pruitt was personally involved in removing climate change web pages from the agency’s website last April.
  49. On Tuesday, a February 2016 radio interview surfaced in which Pruitt said of Trump, if elected, he would “use executive power to confront Congress in a way that is truly unconstitutional.” Pruitt was asked about the comments this week at a hearing of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee, where he stated he didn’t recall making the comments. Later that day, the EPA sent out a statement from Pruitt lavishing praise on Trump.
  50. Vox reported on ways Pruitt is slowly “strangling his agency,” including rolling back regulations on companies he is meant to regulate, and halting or delaying implementation of laws and cleanup of Superfund sites.
  51. On Wednesday, after being overruled by the Supreme Court in the regime’s efforts to repeal the Obama era Clean Water Rule or Waters rule, Pruitt’s EPA announced instead it would delay implementation by two years.
  52. On Thursday, Tom Shannon, the third-ranking official at the State Department announced he was stepping down. Shannon, the most senior career diplomat at State with 34 years of experience, cited personal reasons.
  53. Bloomberg reported that with Shannon’s departure, seven of the nine top jobs at the State Department are vacant. Those roles oversee trade policy, nuclear weapon proliferation, refugee issues, and countering human trafficking.
  54. Mick Mulvaney, acting director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB), requested zero funding for the second fiscal quarter of 2018. Mulvaney is known to want to dismantle the agency he now runs.
  55. A DC Circuit judge ruled the structure of the CFPB complies with the Constitution, a rebuke to the Trump regime which claimed having independent directors who Trump couldn’t fire without grounds robbed him of his constitutional powers.
  56. The Intercept reported Mulvaney stripped a CFPB office devoted to lending discrimination of its enforcement power, transferring the Office of Fair Lending and Equal Opportunity to a department under his purview.
  57. Mulvaney claimed the restructuring was an effort at streamlining, saying the office will now instead focus on consumer advocacy and education. Staffers say the office had taken on important cases of discrimination.
  58. On Friday, Trump’s Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar, in one of his first acts after being sworn in, granted Indiana permission to add work requirements to its Medicaid program, becoming the second state to do so.
  59. On Friday, K.T. McFarland withdrew her nomination to be ambassador to Singapore. Her confirmation stalled after senators asked if she answered truthfully about her knowledge of contacts between Michael Flynn and Sergey Kislyak.
  60. Trump appointed the husband of a former Trump household aide as an EPA official, the latest example of Trump appointing people with close ties to his family or businesses rather than those with relevant experience.
  61. Reversing the Obama-era push to reduce the US nuclear arsenal, Defense Secretary Jim Mattis unveiled a new nuclear strategy which includes two new types of weapons. Experts and Americans remain concerned about Trump’s volatility.
  62. An op-ed in South Korea daily Hankyroeh claimed White House NSC director Matthew Pottinger said in a closed-door meeting with Korean Peninsula experts a “bloody nose” strike on the North Korea “might help in the midterm elections.”
  63. Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg announced she will not attend Trump’s first SOTU, as did ten members of the House, including Trump targets during 2017: Reps. John Lewis, Frederica Wilson, and Maxine Waters.
  64. On Tuesday, Rep. Paul Gosar of Arizona, an immigration hardliner, announced he has asked the US Capitol Police and Jeff Sessions to check the identification of all State of the Union attendees, and arrest any illegal immigrants.
  65. Official tickets distributed for Trump’s State of the Union misspelled union as “uniom.” Trump’s WH blamed the sergeant-at-arms for the mistake, the sergeant-at-arms did not return a request for comment.
  66. On Monday, in a fundraising solicitation, Trump offered those willing todonate $35 or more to his reelection campaign the opportunity to see their name displayed during a live-streaming of the State of the Union.
  67. In a break from long-standing tradition, Melania rode to the State of the Union with her invited guests, arriving separately from Trump. The two have not been publicly seen together since New Year’s Eve.
  68. Also breaking tradition, Trump repeatedly clapped for himself during the State of the Union. Some found the non-stop clapping to be a distraction, while others questioned why Trump was repeatedly clapping for himself.
  69. Politifact reported that of the ten statements Trump made during the State of the Union, four were “Mostly False” and two “Half True.”
  70. After a State of the Union billed as a “unifying” speech to bridge a partisan divide, Trump’s first two tweets after on Thursday blasted Democrats, “Resist, Blame, Complain and Obstruct — and do nothing.”
  71. On Thursday, Trump claimed in a tweet that he had “the highest number” of viewers for his State of the Union in history. This claim is false — the 45.6 million viewers puts his speech in ninth place.
  72. Twitter notified the Senate Judiciary Committee that among its findings,Russian bots retweeted Trump almost half a million times in the final weeks before the 2016 election.
  73. Wired reported Mueller’s team has interviewed at least one Facebook employee who was involved Trump’s campaign. Questions may have involved whether the Trump campaign helped Russia target ads.
  74. Facebook embedded staff with the Trump campaign’s San Antonio–based digital team and sold more than 3,000 Facebook and Instagram ads to accounts linked to the Russian troll farm Internet Research Agency.
  75. On Tuesday, CNN reported Trump’s lawyers are arguing Mueller has not met the high threshold to introduce Trump in-person. Discussions are ongoing, and lawyer John Dowd said he would make the final decision.
  76. On Tuesday, NBC News reported Trump is privately telling friends and aides things are going great. Trump is convinced Paul Manafort will not flip, and he is sure tax cuts and regulatory rollbacks will get him re-elected.
  77. Trump reportedly has a two-track strategy for Mueller: either he will be let off with no charges, or he will discredit the investigation and the FBI without removing Mueller and ask Sessions to prosecute him and his team.
  78. On Wednesday, NYT reported that Mark Corallo, a former spokesperson for Trump’s legal team, plans to tell Mueller about a previously undisclosed conference call between him, Hope Hicks, and Trump on Donald Jr.’s Trump Tower meeting.
  79. During the call, Hicks said that emails written by Donald Jr. before the meeting “will never get out” because few people have access to them, leaving Corallo concerned she was contemplating obstruction of justice.
  80. Corallo reportedly was not only alarmed by what Hicks said, but also thatshe had said it with Trump on the phone without a lawyer, and therefore the conversation could not be protected by attorney-client privilege.
  81. Corallo contemporaneously shared his account with three colleagues, who later told the Times. He also immediately notified the legal team and jotted down notes to memorialize it. He also shared his concerns with Steve Bannon.
  82. On Wednesday, Mueller’s team filed a report seeking a 90 day delay in Flynn’s sentencing hearing. AP reported it is common for sentencing to be delayed until the government believes a person has fully cooperated.
  83. On Thursday, three lawyers for Rick Gates informed a federal court they are withdrawing from representing him in the Mueller probe. In Week 63, Gates hired attorney Tom Green, a sign that he may be seeking to cooperate.
  84. NYT reported that Trump’s re-election campaign raised $15.2 million in the last three months of last year, and about 25% went to legal fees, including fees in the Russia probe for Michael Cohen and the campaign.
  85. The Office of Government Ethics unofficially okayed a legal defense fund, the Patriot Legal Expenses Fund Trust, which will raise money from donors to pay the legal expenses of the members of the Trump regime in the Mueller probe.
  86. WAPO reported Trump broke from his own Justice Department, calling for the release of the Nunes memo. In Week 63, the DOJ said in a statement the release without official review would be “extraordinarily reckless.”
  87. Trump’s wishes were conveyed to Sessions by White House Chief of Staff John Kelly in two conversations. Reportedly, Trump is frustrated and angry that he can’t issue orders to “my guys” at what he sometimes calls the “Trump Justice Department.”
  88. Trump has also been complaining about Rosenstein, who Trump refers to as “the Democrat from Baltimore,” (Rosenstein is not a Democrat), saying he should be fired for not properly supervising the Mueller probe.
  89. On Monday, Bloomberg reported Trump erupted on the flight back from Davos after learning the Department of Justice’s Stephen Boyd has issued a statement saying releasing the memo would be “extraordinarily reckless,” saying it undermined him.
  90. Trump met with Sessions and Wray at the White House last Monday. Kelly held separate meetings and calls with senior DOJ officials, adding a disclaimer that the White House isn’t expecting officials to do anything illegal or unethical.
  91. On Sunday, NYT reported Trump has long been mistrustful of Rosenstein, who appointed Mueller. Reportedly, Trump considered firing Rosensteinlast summer, and has recently told associates he is frustrated with him.
  92. Fox News’s Sean Hannity and Republicans have recently ramped up attacks on Rosenstein, including Sessions in Week 63 as he said in a speech investigators must be free of bias.
  93. On the Sunday talks shows, Sen. Lindsey Graham said firing Mueller “would be the end” of Trump, and Sen. Collins said it “wouldn’t hurt” to protect Mueller through legislation. All other Republicans were silent.
  94. On Monday, the House Intelligence Committee voted along party lines to make the Nunes memo public, citing transparency. Current and former intelligence officials expressed concern that releasing the memo could harm national security.
  95. Nunes has not reviewed the classified information underlying the memo, which was prepared by Republican staff. The committee also voted along party lines not to release the Democrat’s 10-page rebuttal memo.
  96. Using an obscure committee rule to make classified information public for the first time in the panel’s 40-plus-year history, Trump has five days to decide whether to release the memo, or if no decision, it will be released.
  97. The Nunes memo reportedly claims the FBI abused the FISA over its use of the dossier to get a FISA warrant on Carter Page. It cites the roles of McCabe and Rosenstein who appears to be the regime’s next target.
  98. WSJ reported Carter Page was on the US counterintelligence radar as far back 2013, well before the dossier. Page was interviewed by the FBI after he met Victor Podobnyy, a junior attaché at the Russian consulate in NYC.
  99. In March 2016, Trump named Page to WAPO as one of his five on his foreign policy advisory committee, along with Papadopoulos. Page had many unexplained trips to Moscow during 2016 and after the election.
  100. On Tuesday, at his weekly press conference, Speaker Paul Ryan backed making the Nunes memo public and investigating the FBI, “Let it all out, get it all out there. Cleanse the organization.”
  101. On Tuesday, WAPO reported both Rosenstein and Wray made a last-ditch plea to Kelly at the White House on Monday about the dangers of releasing the Nunes memo, saying the release could jeopardize classified information.
  102. Rosenstein also said the DOJ was not convinced the memo accurately describes its investigative practices. Kelly said Trump was still likely to release the memo. On Tuesday, Trump claimed he had still not read it.
  103. On Tuesday, Daily Beast reported that when Nunes was asked by Democrat Rep. Mike Quigley if his staff had talked to the White House on the memo, as had been the case with Nunes’s March claim of surveillance, Nunes refused to answer.
  104. On Wednesday, CNN reported in December 2017, Rosenstein went to the White House to ask for Trump’s help in fighting off document demands from Nunes. Instead Trump asked about the status of the Mueller probe.
  105. Rosenstein was reportedly caught off guard by Trump’s question, and demurred on the Russia investigation. Trump asked Rosenstein if he was “on my team,” to which he answered, “Of course, we’re all on your team.”
  106. On Wednesday, CNN reported, based on emails they obtained, FBI agent Peter Strzok co-wrote the first draft of the controversial Comey letter sent to Congress on newly uncovered Clinton emails just days before the 2016 election.
  107. Strzok also supported reopening the Clinton email investigation when the emails were discovered on Anthony Weiner’s laptop. Republicans have in past weekly lists been painting Strzok as having been biased against Trump.
  108. On Wednesday, a transcript of the contentious Monday House Intelligence Committee meeting was released. Nunes said of the FBI and DOJ, “we are not going to be briefed by people that are under investigation by this committee.”
  109. Also in the transcript, as reported by the Daily Beast, Nunes refused to answer whether the Republican staffers who wrote the memo worked with the White House, and cut off Quigley during questioning on that subject.
  110. On Wednesday, Wray’s FBI said in a statement, after a limited opportunity to review the memo, “we have grave concerns about material omissions of fact that fundamentally impact” its accuracy. Trump appointed Wray.
  111. On Wednesday night, Reuters reported an official of the Trump regime said the Nunes memo is likely to be released on Thursday. Rumors also circulated that Wray could quit if the memo is released.
  112. Late Wednesday night, Rep. Adam Schiff tweeted that he discovered Nunes had made material changes to the memo he sent to the White House, and therefore the White House is reviewing a document the House Intelligence Committee did not approve for release.
  113. Democrats on the House Intelligence Committee say five changes were made to the memo, Republican say there were only two, which they described as “ “accommodations,” but not initiated by the White House.
  114. CNN reported in recent phone calls, Trump has told friends he believes the Nunes memo will expose bias at the FBI’s top ranks, thereby making it easier to argue that the Mueller probe is prejudiced against him.
  115. Schumer and Rep. Nancy Pelosi sent letters to Ryan asking him to intervene in the Nunes memo’s release. Pelosi called Nunes’ actions “dangerous” and “illegitimate,” and said he should be removed as committee chair.
  116. The WAPO Editorial Board wrote that Speaker Ryan’s handling of the Nunes memo had tarnished the House, “Mr. Ryan bears full responsibility for the deterioration of congressional oversight of intelligence operations.”
  117. On Thursday, Comey defended his former colleagues from Republican attacks, tweeting “American history shows that, in the long run, weasels and liars never hold the field, so long as good people stand up.”
  118. On Friday, ahead of the memo release, Trump attacked “top Leadership and Investigators” of the FBI and DOJ, both of whom he appointed, for having “politicized the sacred investigative process in favor of Democrats.”
  119. Former CIA director John McLaughlin said, “the bargain is the intelligence community gives congressional intelligence committees everything in exchange for impartiality, but the GOP has broken that trust.”
  120. On Friday, Sen. John McCain issued a statement criticizing Trump’s attacks on the FBI, saying “The latest attacks on the FBI and Department of Justice serve no American interests — no party’s, no president’s, only Putin’s.”
  121. On Friday, Trump approved release of the memo without redactions, saying from the Oval Office, “I think it’s a disgrace what’s happening in our country. . . . A lot of people should be ashamed of themselves and much worse than that.”
  122. When asked by reporters whether he has confidence in Rosenstein, Trump said, “You figure that one out.” Press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said in a briefing earlier this week Rosenstein would remain in the regime “until Trump saw fit.”
  123. Friday afternoon, the DJIA closed down 666 points on market jitters related to the release the Nunes memo. This marks the biggest drop in the Dow since 2008, except for the day after the Brexit vote.
  124. AP reported information disclosed in the memo “ is extraordinary because it involves details about surveillance of Americans, national security information the government regards as among its most highly classified.”
  125. The memo accuses those who approved the FISA application of Page — a group including Comey, Sally Yates, McCabe and Rosenstein — of being politically motivated and relying on the dossier paid for by the DNC.
  126. The FISA application on Page was granted and renewed three times. Even without the dossier, this renewal would only have been granted if the judge believed surveillance was yielding information about the target.
  127. Ironically, the memo’s conclusion states: “The Papadopoulos information triggered” the FBI opening a counterintelligence investigation in late July 2016 into the Trump campaign and Russia — not the dossier.
  128. Conservative media outlets, including Fox News and the Washington Examiner, were given key points from the Trump regime before the Nunes memo was released to the public.
  129. Despite being recused from the Russia investigation, Sessions weighed in backing Trump on the memo in a statement: “I have great confidence in the men and women of this Department. But no Department is perfect.”
  130. On Friday evening, Nunes admitted on Fox News that he did not read the application for surveillance which was the basis for his classified memo. Nunes admitted he relied on the review of committee member Trey Gowdy.
  131. On Wednesday, Rep. Gowdy became the latest Republican who chairs a committee to announce he will not seek reelection. So far, 41 RepublicanHouse members have announced they will not run for Congress in 2018.
  132. On Friday, Democratic leadership including Pelosi, Schumer, top leadership in both chambers, and top Democrats on the Intelligence and Judiciary committees wrote in a letter to Trump that firing Rosenstein would spark a “constitutional crisis.”
  133. On Friday, Weekly Standard reported that Nunes says there will be more memos coming, adding “We are in the middle of what I call ‘Phase Two’ of our investigation, which involves other departments,” including State.
  134. On Saturday, Trump tweeted, “This memo totally vindicates “Trump” in probe. But the Russian Witch Hunt goes on and on. Their was no Collusion and there was no Obstruction,” calling it an “American disgrace.”
  135. Trump also cited in a tweet a bump up in his polling numbers atRasmussen where his approval rating is up to 49%. Trump approval numbers also improved to 42% in a Monmouth poll this week.
  136. In an op-ed “Why I Am Leaving the FBI,” Josh Campbell, a former supervisory special agent, said “relentless attacks on the bureau undermine” not just the premier law enforcement agency, but also “the nation’s security.”
  137. Citing Trump’s extreme abuse of norms, Preet Bharara and Christine Todd Whitman announced a bipartisan project to review informal rules and recommend which should be enshrined into law.
  138. WSJ reported that in Trump’s first months in office, while Melania and Barron were living in New York, Melania took 21 flights on Air Force jets in a three-month span at a cost of more than $675,000 to taxpayers.
  139. Palm Beach Post reported that Trump sued the Palm Beach County Property Appraiser over the valuation of his Trump National Golf Club. The county sent a bill for $398,315. Trump responded by suing and paying $296,595.
  140. Sen. Ron Johnson, who in Week 63 said he had an informant about a non-existent “secret society,” requested the DOJ turn over texts and emails from 16 additional FBI and DOJ employees, including Comey and McCabe.

Graffiti on the streets in New York City in November 2017:

IMG_3771IMG_3770IMG_3768