POLITIKS OF GRAFFITI 158: “GUILTY ON ALL 7 COUNTS”

NOVEMBER 16, 2019

Week 157 of AMY SISKIND’S LIST

Experts in authoritarianism advise to keep a list of things
subtly changing around you, so you’ll remember. https://theweeklylist.org/weekly-list/week-157/

This week public impeachment hearings started, with three career diplomats testifying before the House Intelligence Committee. Senate Republicans were notably quiet in their defense of Trump, while Republican House members focused mostly on the process, especially for the third witness, Maria Yovanovitch, who proved unassailable. William Taylor testified about a previously unknown phone call on July 26 overheard by his staffer David Holmes, in which Trump asked about “the investigation,” and Sondland assured him Ukraine would comply. Closed door hearings continued as well, as more career officials came forward to testify.

This week, Trump faced threats on other fronts, as longtime ally Roger Stone was found guilty on all charges of lying to Congress, tampering with witnesses, and concealing evidence in an effort prosecutors said was to shield Trump. Stone’s conviction was the sixth of a senior Trump official arising from the Mueller probe. This week Trump lawyers appealed two cases to the Supreme Court, both of which would require him to turn over eight years of his tax returns.

The world order continued to shift, as Trump hosted and praised Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan at the White House, weeks after Turkish-forces invaded Northern Syria, and notably in contrast to having not yet hosted Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky. French President Emmanuel Macron announced France would host a Ukraine summit on December 9, inviting leaders of Ukraine, Russia, and Germany, while pledging unwavering support to Zelensky.IMG_3812Political Cartoons were on fire this week 🙂 IMG_3813

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“Guilty on ALL 7 Counts” – Roger Stone by Jim Carrey 15Nov19
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President Bone Spurs and the joke he is on Veterans’ Day. Art: Jim Carrey
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This is interesting. This was sent to me from a Canadian costume designer who explained that she isn’t a portrait artist, but Maria Yovanovitch inspired her, so she drew her. 🙂 Artist: Resa M.

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New York City. August 2019.

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Pro-Regime sticker found in downtown San Diego, CA. October 2019.
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New York City – August 2019. 
  1. On Saturday, CNN reported John Bolton, who refused to testify in the impeachment inquiry in Week 156, has landed a book deal. Bolton’s book will be published before the 2020 presidential election.
  2. On Saturday, Chair Adam Schiff said the whistleblower would not be called to testify, saying, “It remains the duty of the Intelligence Committee to protect whistleblowers,” and it would be “redundant and unnecessary.”
  3. On Saturday, NYT reported State Department officials are showing their support for Maria Yovanovitch, who is scheduled to testify in the impeachment inquiry Friday, using the hashtag #GoMasha.
  4. Employees also have raised money for department officials testifying, and share supportive notes about William Taylor and George Kent. Rarely have State officials been at the center of a revolt against a president and his top appointees.
  5. On Sunday, Nikki Haley claimed in a new book that John Kelly and Rex Tillerson tried to recruit her to undermine Trump, saying, “they weren’t being insubordinate, they were trying to save the country.”
  6. Haley also claimed that while serving as Secretary of State, Tillerson told her people would die if Trump went unchecked. At the time she was U.S. ambassador to the UN, and refused.
  7. On Sunday, Donald Jr. and his girlfriend Kimberly Guilfoyle were booed offstage by far right students at an event for his book, “Triggered,” at UCLA, after he refused to take questions.
  8. The scene contradicted the central thesis of Donald Jr.’s book on the left’s intolerance, and revealed a fissure between conservatives in Turning Point USA and self-professed nationalists in the “America First” movement.
  9. On Sunday, Sen. Lindsey Graham told “Fox News Sunday” that if House Democrats keep the whistleblower’s identity private then impeachment is “dead on arrival” when it reaches the Senate.
  10. On Sunday, Republicans complained about House Republicans not being able to call their chosen witnesses. Sen. John Kennedy said House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Chair Schiff are “doubling down on stupid.”
  11. Sen. Rand Paul told “Meet the Press” not being able to call Hunter Biden and the whistleblower is “sort of a sham,” adding, “That’s not really even a trial.”
  12. Shortly after, Trump also complained, tweeting, “Corrupt politician Adam Schiff” wants White House staffers “to testify in his and Pelosi’s disgraceful Witch Hunt,” but will not “allow ANY of our requested witnesses.”
  13. Trump also tweeted, “The call to the Ukrainian President was PERFECT. Read the Transcript! There was NOTHING said that was in any way wrong,” adding, “NOTHING WAS DONE WRONG!”
  14. Trump also warned, “Republicans, don’t be led into the fools trap of saying it was not perfect, but is not impeachable.” WAPO reported so far 14 Republicans and Trump appointees have said the call was not perfect.
  15. On Sunday, Sen. Ron Johnson said on “State of the Union” that he would take impeachment inquiry testimony from Gordon Sondland, Fiona Hill, and Alexander Vindman “with a grain of salt.”
  16. On Sunday, NYT reported Lev Parnas claimed he told a representative from the incoming government in Ukraine that VP Mike Pence would not come to the inauguration and aid would be frozen unless they announced an investigation of the Bidens.
  17. Parnas claimed he delivered the warning in Kiev, shortly before the inauguration in May. If his claim is corroborated, it would be the earliest instance of U.S. aid being tied to demands Ukraine investigate.
  18. Lawyers for Igor Fruman said Parnas’s claim, which contradicts the narrative of Trump and Rudy Giuliani and would directly link Giuliani to threats, was false, saying the demand did not come up in the meeting.
  19. On Sunday, Rep. Peter King, who served in Congress for almost three decades, said he would retire and not run in 2020. King was the 20th House Republican to announce their plan not to run in 2020.
  20. On Sunday, Bill Moyers told CNN for the first time in his life he fears for the country, saying, “a society, a democracy, can die of too many lies. And we’re getting close to that terminal moment.”
  21. On Monday, Axios reported a poll found 74% of Democrats say politics is making them angry, and 71% say they feel like “strangers in their own land.” For Republicans, the numbers were 57% angry, 52% like strangers.
  22. On Monday, Trump tweeted, “So with one Rally by me at the end of the campaign, I lift the poll numbers of Kentucky Governor Matt Bevin by 19 points.” This is false. A poll before had Bevin up by five points.
  23. On Monday, Trump attacked the impeachment probe, tweeting, “lawyer for the Whistleblower takes away all credibility from this big Impeachment Scam!” saying he and Schiff “should be investigared [sic] for fraud!
  24. Trump also falsely claimed “Shifty Adam Schiff” had “doctored transcripts,” and “Republicans should put out their own transcripts!” and “Schiff must testify as to why he MADE UP a statement from me.”
  25. On Monday, House investigators released transcripts of testimony for Laura Cooper, Catherine Croft, and Christopher Anderson. Cooper said she first learned at a mid-June meeting with Trump about aid being withheld.
  26. Cooper said she got “Follow-up from POTUS meeting” questions from Mick Mulvaney on which U.S. industries were involved in the aid, what other countries were contributing, and which agencies provided the funding.
  27. Cooper testified she and other Pentagon officials repeatedly warned the White House during the summer that failing to release aid to Ukraine that had been approved by Congress could violate the Impoundment Control Act.
  28. Cooper said Kurt Volker let her to make a “very strong inference” Ukraine knew aid was being withheld long before the information was made public, and Taylor sounded “alarm bells…that there were Ukrainians who knew.”
  29. Cooper said on July 18 the Pentagon sought clarification from the White House on why aid was being held up. On July 23, the Office of Management and Budget told agencies Trump had “concerns about Ukraine and Ukraine security assistance.”
  30. Cooper was asked by Steve Castor, one of the House Republican lawyers, about the whistleblower. Cooper said she was unaware of the complaint before it was made public. Much of her related testimony was redacted.
  31. Anderson, an adviser to Volker, testified he heard warning from Bolton on the influence Giuliani was having on Trump related to Ukraine, saying, “every time Ukraine is mentioned, Giuliani pops up.”
  32. Anderson testified Bolton told him Trump called him at home to complain about a CNN story that the Navy was pushing back against Russian aggression in the Black Sea. The operation was later canceled.
  33. Anderson said he was concerned that Giuliani’s presence with Trump would make it harder for the U.S. to push Russia back to the negotiations table to end its armed conflict with Ukraine.
  34. Croft, who succeeded Anderson, said she was “trepidatious” about taking the job, saying, “it was possible that the Trump administration would choose to change its policy to suit domestic politics.”
  35. Croft testified the Ukrainians “found out very early on” that Ukraine aid had been frozen. She said the decision by the OMB was made at Trump’s behest, and was widely circulated on July 18.
  36. Croft also testified Mulvaney, as then head of the OMB, put a hold on sending lethal Javelin missiles to Ukraine, citing, “Russia would react negatively to the provision of Javelins to Ukraine.”
  37. Croft noted it was “rather unusual to have OMB expressing concerns that were purely policy-based and not budget-oriented.” OMB staffers also started to regularly attend meetings on Ukraine, which was atypical.
  38. Cooper also said it was unusual for OMB to be out of step on withholding aid, after the Pentagon gave its approval in May, and approval of Ukraine’s anti-corruption work was “unanimous” from the ­other agencies.
  39. Shortly after, Trump reiterated his call for the whistleblower to testify, tweeting, “Where is the Whistleblower who gave so much false information? Must testify along with Schiff and others!”
  40. Trump also tweeted, “To think I signed the Whistleblower Protection Act!” Trump signed the the VA Accountability and Whistleblower Protection Act into law, which has nothing to do with the whistleblower’s complaint.
  41. Trump also tweeted, “Read the Transcript. It is PERFECT!” and added, “Schiff is giving Republicans NO WITNESSES, NO LAWYER & NO DUE PROCESS!” calling it “a totally one sided Witch Hunt.”
  42. Trump also repeated his false claim about Schiff altering transcripts, tweeting, “Just like Schiff fabricated my phone call, he will fabricate the transcripts that he is making and releasing!”
  43. Trump again teased about releasing a second Ukraine call transcript, tweeting, “In order to continue being the most Transparent President in history” he would release it, and “I am sure you will find it tantalizing!”
  44. On Monday, Condoleezza Rice, a former secretary of state under George W. Bush, said reports of shadow diplomacy in Ukraine were “deeply troubling,” and said of Trump’s July 25 call, “it is really murky.”
  45. On Monday, Trump returned to New York to kick off the 100th annual New York City Veterans Day Parade. Protestors gathered along the streets, carrying signs for impeachment, and shouting “Shame!”
  46. As Trump delivered his speech, protestors booed and jeered. Others shouted “Lock him up!” and “traitor,” and blew whistles, drowning out part of his 18 minute speech, delivered from behind a thick plexiglass shield.
  47. On Sunday, WAPO reported Mulvaney’s effort to join Charles Kupperman’s lawsuit upset allies of John Bolton, who has the same lawyer. Bolton views Mulvaney as a key participant in the Ukraine pressure campaign.
  48. On Monday, the lawyer for Kupperman said in a filing that Mulvaney should not be able join their lawsuitsince Mulvaney had spoken publicly about the impeachment inquiry at the White House briefing room.
  49. On Monday, House Democrats also filed saying Mulvaney should not be able to join, citing “the subpoena…has been withdrawn,” and “Mulvaney is differently situated from Kupperman in several important respects.”
  50. On Monday, Mulvaney filed a notice of withdrawal of his motion in Week 156 to join Kupperman’s lawsuit. On Tuesday, a notice filed by Mulvaney said he planned to file as a separate, related case.
  51. On Monday, WAPO reported on a rift between Mulvaney’s office and White House counsel Pat Cipollone’s camp over how to counter impeachment. The infighting has left the White House without a coherent strategy.
  52. Mulvaney and OMB officials who have been called to testify have refused. Mulvaney feels Cipollone is not doing enough to stop others. Cipollone feels Mulvaney made things worse with his October 17 press conference.
  53. On Tuesday, Mulvaney reversed course, saying he will not sue to block the impeachment subpoena, and instead he will “rely on the direction of” Trump and government lawyers in not appearing for a deposition.
  54. On Tuesday, in a series of tweets, Trump said, “Why is such a focus put on 2nd and 3rd hand witnesses, many of whom are Never Trumpers, or whose lawyers are Never Trumpers,” offering no evidence this is the case.
  55. Trump also tweeted, “all you have to do is read the phone call (transcript)” adding Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said “no pressure” was put on him to investigate “Sleepy Joe Biden,” and “I have an “obligation” to look into corruption.”
  56. Trump also tweeted Hunter Biden has “no knowledge or talent” and took millions from Ukraine and China, adding, “Both Bidens should be forced to testify in this No Due Process Scam!
  57. Trump sent a fourth tweet at 6:30 a.m., again referencing the second call, saying, “I will be releasing the transcript of the first, and therefore more important, phone call with the Ukrainian President before week’s end!”
  58. On Monday, Hillary Clinton called UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s delay in releasing a report on possible Russian interference in the Brexit vote “damaging, inexplicable and shaming.”
  59. On Monday, James Le Mesurier, a former British army officer who helped start the “White Helmets” aid group in Syria, was found dead, three days after Russia’s foreign ministry spokeswoman accused him of being a spy.
  60. On Tuesday, federal prosecutors asked a grand jury to issue a superseding indictment, alleging Russia-based Internet Research Agency conspired to interfere with more than one function of the Federal Election Commission.
  61. Prosecutors said IRA also tried to interfere with an FEC ban which prohibits spending on U.S. elections by foreign nationals. The case stemmed from the Mueller probe which indicted 13 Russian individuals and three firms.
  62. On Tuesday, a report by the Senate Intelligence Committee found Russian GRU hackers who stole tens of thousands of sensitive Democratic Party documents in 2016 struggled to disseminate them on social media.
  63. The report analyzed Facebook data, and found the Russian military hackers tried to post information on June 14 but got little traction. They then used Twitter persona Guccifer 2.0 to direct message U.S. journalists.
  64. On July 22, WikiLeaks published the documents and tweeted to its 3.2 million followers, and the documents went viral. Committee Chair Richard Burr called the threat of foreign interference “persistent and evolving.”
  65. On Monday, Politico reported a new report by consumer rights group Public Citizen found 200 mostly conservative campaigns and political groups have spent $8 million at Trump properties since 2016.
  66. The report found between 2012 and 2014, the groups spent just $69,000 at Trump businesses, but after he announced his run for president in 2015, the amount was $19 million, including monies spent by his campaign.
  67. On Monday, NYT reported a new draft of an EPA proposal, Strengthening Transparency in Regulatory Science, would significantly limit the scientific and medical research used to write public health rules.
  68. Scientists and physicians protested, saying the rule, which would be retroactively applied, would undermine science in policy making, noting studies on mercury, lead in paint, and air pollution would be excluded.
  69. On Monday, Politico reported Trump’s new national security adviser Robert O’Brien is moving to dramatically shrink the National Security Council, raising concerns the move is related to the impeachment inquiry.
  70. In the coming months, several dozen policy roles will be eliminated, and at least two NSC divisions are being phased out and a third moved to the White House. O’ Brien claims the changes are about improving efficiency of government.
  71. On Monday, AP reported a month after Energy Department Sec. Rick Perry visited Ukraine for Zelensky’s inauguration, two of his political supporters, Michael Bleyzer and Alex Cranberg, were awarded a gas exploration deal from the Ukrainian government.
  72. During that trip, Perry handed Zelensky a list of people he recommended as energy advisers. Bleyzer and Cranberg got the lucrative Varvynska deal despite offering millions of dollars less than their competitor to the Ukrainian government.
  73. On Monday, Trump tweeted, “A great try by @seanspicer. We are all proud of you!” after the former White House press secretary was voted off of “Dancing With the Stars.”
  74. On Tuesday, the Scotsman reported after four years and the case going to Scotland’s highest court, Trump’s firm lost a battle to stop an offshore wind farm, and must pay the Scottish government £225,000 for its legal bills.
  75. On Tuesday, Politico reported according to new documents, at least eight former Trump White House and campaign officials were hired by Medicare and Medicaid Services Administrator Seema Verma as consultants.
  76. The contractors were among at least 40 PR consultants hired on a $2.25 million contract to improve Verma’s personal brand and improve “strategic communications.” The contract was halted in April after Politico’s reporting.
  77. On Tuesday, Trump said at a speech at the Economic Club of New York that Ivanka “created 14 million jobs.” Since Trump took office, the economy has added about 6 million jobs.
  78. On Tuesday, NBC News reported Mina Chang, a top Trump appointee at the State Department, significantly embellished her resume and created a fake Time cover with her image, another example of the regime’s lax vetting.
  79. On Thursday, CNN reported the RNC will host its annual meeting at the Trump National Doral, according to an email to members. Trump abruptly reversed his decision to hold the G7 summit at the Doral in Week 154.
  80. On Sunday, the anniversary of Kristallnacht, stickers shaped like yellow Jewish stars saying “Jude” were found at multiple Jewish cemetery sites in Denmark and Sweden, and also found at some homes.
  81. On Tuesday, the FBI annual report showed hate crimes reached a 16-year high in 2018, including a 37% rise in attacks on people with disabilities and 34% rise in attacks against transgender people.
  82. On Tuesday, the Southern Poverty Law Center reported on over 900 emails sent by Stephen Miller to Breitbart editors from March 2015 to June 2016, suggesting he promoted white nationalism and far-right extremist ideas.
  83. Katie McHugh, a former Breitbart editor, leaked the emails, which were mostly related to race or immigration. Miller focused on crimes committed by nonwhites, and severely limiting or ending nonwhite immigration.
  84. The emails showed Miller used information from white supremacist sources like American Renaissance and VDARE and sent it to Breitbart and others for them to use in framing stories.
  85. Emails also show Miller reached out to anti-Muslim extremist Pamela Geller, and had ties to white nationalist figures, including Duke classmate Richard Spencer, a relationship he tried to hide to protect Trump.
  86. On Tuesday, AP reported the U.S. government held a record number of migrant children in custody in 2019: an unprecedented 69,550 children in the past year.
  87. The number of migrant children is up 42% from fiscal 2018 to 2019. United Nations researchers said the U.S. has detained more children away from their parents than any other country.
  88. On Wednesday, CNN reported immigration hardliner Ken Cuccinelli was expected to be elevated to acting deputy secretary of Homeland Security, the number two post in the department, giving him greater latitude on Trump’s signature issue.
  89. Chad Wolf was named acting secretary of DHS — the fifth person to hold the position under Trump. Republican and Democratic senators called on Trump to stop the “widespread use of temporary leadership.”
  90. On Tuesday, as the Supreme Court was about to hear a case to end DACA, Trump tweeted, “Many of the people in DACA, no longer very young, are far from ‘angels,’” adding, “Some are very tough, hardened criminals.”
  91. On Tuesday, it appeared the Supreme Court’s conservative majority would allow Trump to end DACA, which shields 700,000 young immigrants from deportation as has broad, bipartisan support.
  92. Trump’s two nominees, Brett Kavanaugh and Neil Gorsuch, said they would not second guess the regime’s reasoning and ask for further explanation. The decision will address Trump’s power over immigration.
  93. Later Tuesday, Trump quoted Fox Business host Lou Dobbs, tweeting, “DACA recipients with arrest records: 53,792!,” a misleading claim, and added, “Not good, but we will be able to make a deal with the Dems!”
  94. Trump also quoted Dobbs on the impeachment hearings starting Wednesday, tweeting, “This ridiculous Impeachment is a travesty, it’s not an inquiry. Just read the transcript.”
  95. Trump also quoted Fox News host Sean Hannity, saying, “The circus is coming to town,” blaming “The corrupt, compromised, coward & congenital liar Adam Schiff,” and “raging psychotic Democrats,” and “the Media Mob.”
  96. Trump added, “Everything you’re going to see in the next two weeks is rigged,” adding, “This is a phony showtrial” with “zero due process,” and “another fraudulent hoax conspiracy theory. It is another Witch Hunt.”
  97. Trump also added from Hannity that all Democrats have done for three years is “hurt Donald Trump and we, the people that support him. The Left has never accepted the results of the 2016 Election.”
  98. On Tuesday, House Democrats announced eight more witnesses will testify next week in the impeachment hearings, including Jennifer Williams, Vindman, Volker, Tim Morrison, Sondland, Cooper, David Hale, and Hill.
  99. On Wednesday, Trump continued to tweet from Fox News in the early morning, quoting “Fox & Friends,” tweeting, “‘Millions of Americans will see what a partisan sham this whole thing is.’ Rush Limbaugh”
  100. Trump also quoted “Fox & Friends” co-host Steve Doocy, tweeting: “The Democrats have stacked the deck against President Trump and the Republicans. They have leaked out everything.”
  101. Trump also quoted Charles Hurt on “Fox & Friends,” tweeting, “Nancy Pelosi cares more about power than she does about principle,” adding, “there was no quid…Ukraine got it’s money…there was no investigation.”
  102. Trump also tweeted, calling William Taylor and George Kent who were about to testify “NEVER TRUMPERS!” Politifact reported there is no evidence that either career foreign service officials are anti-Trump.
  103. On Wednesday, White House press secretary Stephanie Grisham told reporters Trump is “in the Oval in meetings. Not watching. He’s working.” Trump tweeted and retweeted dozens of times during the hearings.
  104. On Wednesday, ABC, CBS, PBS, and NBC broadcast networks pre-empted regular programming for the hearings. Cable-TV also broadcast it live — Fox News topped there with 2.9 million viewers, double an average day.
  105. On Wednesday, Giuliani wrote an op-ed in the WSJ, saying Trump’s “call with the Ukrainian president was innocent, and the House inquiry is a travesty,” claiming a “false narrative” from selectively leaked information.
  106. On Wednesday, a poll by Priorities USA found a plurality support impeachment in battleground states Florida, Michigan, Wisconsin, and Pennsylvania: 49% support impeachment and removal, 45% oppose it.
  107. On Wednesday, Sen. John Cornyn told reporters despite there being 53 GOP senators, Republicans do not have the 51 votes needed to dismiss impeachment articles, saying it would be better to have the trial.
  108. On Wednesday, William Taylor, acting U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine, and George Kent, the State Department’s top official on Ukraine policy, were the first two witnesses called in the House impeachment hearings.
  109. During the hearing, House committees announced two new closed door depositions for David Holmes, an official working at the U.S. Embassy in Ukraine, and Mark Sandy, an official working in the OMB.
  110. Taylor said a member of his staff overheard a phone conversation between Trump and Sondland at a restaurant in Kyiv. After, Taylor said Sondland told the staffer, “Trump cares more about the investigations” than about Ukraine.
  111. Taylor said Sondland told Trump from his cellphone that the Ukrainians were “ready to move forward.” This was the first mention of the call which took place on July 26. The staffer was identified as David Holmes.
  112. Taylor testified Sondland explained to him Trump was a “businessman,” and since he felt he had “been wronged by the Ukrainians” during the 2016 election, “he thought they owed him to fix that wrong.”
  113. Taylor spelled out the importance of U.S. aid to Ukraine, saying “Russian-led forces continue to kill Ukrainians in the war, one or two a week,” and “More Ukrainians would undoubtedly die without the US assistance.”
  114. Kent said during the Obama administration, he raised concerns about perception of conflicts of interest with Hunter Biden serving on the board of Burisma, but Joe Biden followed U.S. policy and did nothing wrong.
  115. The GOP’s rebuttal was that Ukraine did receive the aid, and there was no investigation of the Bidens. Republicans also complained on multiple occasions that the whistleblower was not scheduled to testify.
  116. Democrats shifted from using the words “quid pro quo” to “bribery” and “extortion.” Taylor noted aid to Ukraine was not only critical to that country, but also to America’s national interests.
  117. Both witnesses had resumes of bipartisan careers in foreign service. Kent noted of future witnesses, “Masha, Alex, and Fiona were born abroad before their families or they themselves personally chose to immigrate”
  118. On Wednesday, Trump was the only White House official to push back on the impeachment inquiry, telling reporters, “I don’t have teams…I’m the team,” and calling the inquiry a “sham,” and it “shouldn’t be allowed.”
  119. Trump also told reporters he did not “recall” the July 26 call with Sondland referenced by Taylor, saying, “No, not at all, not even a little bit.”
  120. Republicans emphasized that neither Taylor nor Kent directly spoke to Trump. Former Trump attorney John Dowd called Taylor “A pitiful, ignorant, insubordinate gossip with no trustworthy information.”
  121. On Wednesday, when asked about new revelations at the hearing, Trump ally Rep. Mark Meadows told reporters, “when we start to look at the facts, everybody has their impression of what truth is.”
  122. On Wednesday, Trump lawyer Joe diGenova blamed George Soros for Kent and Taylor’s testimony on Fox Business, saying he “controls a large part of” the State Department and “activities of FBI agents overseas.”
  123. George Soros’s Open Society Foundations requested Fox News and Fox Business ban diGenova from appearing over his anti-Semitic rant, and requested an on-air retraction.
  124. On Wednesday, Fox News’ prime time hosts all panned the hearings, calling them a “disaster,” “stupid,” “a national disgrace,” “DEM’S IMPEACHMENT COLLAPSE,” and a “cataclysmic mistake.”
  125. On Wednesday, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said he will not cut the impeachment trial short, and said with many GOP senators facing difficult reelection races, not to make motions that could divide the party.
  126. On Wednesday, WAPO reported Sondland’s cellphone call to Trump was a stunning breach of security. Calling a president from a cellphone violates protocols set up to protect senior officials’ communications.
  127. Russia has also shown an ability to monitor U.S. diplomats’ calls in Kyiv, and leak content to suit its interests. Trump has repeatedly shown a disregard for protocols, making him susceptible to spying.
  128. On Tuesday, NYT reported Trump has discussed firing the intelligence community’s inspector general, Michael Atkinson, whom he appointed, citing Atkinson reported the whistleblower complaint to Congress.
  129. Trump first surfaced the idea of firing Atkinson around when the complaint was made public, and he has raised the idea with aides again in recent weeks, saying he is not loyal. Some aides say Trump is just venting.
  130. Trump has started complaining about Atkinson publicly, questioning his integrity and accusing him of working with Democrats. Trump tweeted he should testify at impeachment hearings: “I.G.” should “be part of the list!”
  131. On Wednesday, WAPO reported senior aides are counseling Trump not to fire Mulvaney as chief of staff, after he has been threatening to do so for weeks. Trump is especially upset about Mulvaney’s news conference.
  132. Aides caution replacing Mulvaney during the impeachment inquiry would be unwise, especially given that he played an integral role in withholding aid from Ukraine, and cite Bolton as an example of why not to do it.
  133. On Wednesday, while the impeachment hearings were happening, Trump hosted Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan for a daylong visit at the White House, despite the authoritarian leader’s recent attack in Syria.
  134. The visit comes as Turkish forces have engaged in ethnic cleansing, and 180,000 have been forced to flee. McConnell said, “I share my colleagues’ uneasiness at seeing President Erdogan honored at the White House.”
  135. At a joint news conference with Erdogan, Trump called the impeachment hearings a “witch hunt,” saying, “I hear it’s a joke. I haven’t watched.” Trump added, “This is a sham and shouldn’t be allowed.”
  136. Trump also said, “I want to find out who is the whistleblower,” saying they got a lot wrong about his “perfect call,” and find out “why the IG” presented the complaint when “all he had to do was check the call.”
  137. Trump also said “great lawyers” like Fox News analyst Gregg Jarrett and conservative commentator Mark Levin say the call with “Ukraine was a perfect one,” and said of the hearing, “I hear that it’s a hoax.”
  138. Trump heaped praise on Erdogan, saying, “I’m a big fan of the president,” and said like himself, Erdogan has “great relationship with the Kurds,” and sided with him in believing that Europe should help him pay for the 3 million refugees.
  139. The day before the visit, Erdogan threatened to purchase Russian military fighter jets. Trump said this caused “very serious challenges for us,” and “We’ll be talking about it.”
  140. On Wednesday, Sen. Graham blocked a resolution in the Senate recognizing Armenian genocide that had passed 405-11 in the House, after meeting with Trump, Erdogan, and other GOP senators.
  141. On Thursday, Axios reported at a meeting in the Oval Office with five GOP senators, Erdogan took out an iPad and made the group watch an anti-Kurd propaganda film. Trump watched and said nothing.
  142. On Thursday, Turkish media reported Erdogan’s visit as a victory, saying Trump was “silent” when Erdogan returned his “scandalous” letter, and Erdogan told Sen. Graham “what he needed, he learned his lesson.”
  143. Late Wednesday, Trump tweeted, “Wow! Was just told that my son’s book, “Triggered,” is Number One on The New York Times Bestseller List. Congratulations Don!” The RNC had made a bulk purchase of the book.
  144. On Thursday, Trump attacked the Federal Reserve, tweeting, “Walmart announces great numbers. No impact from Tariffs,” after Walmart said it raised consumer prices, adding, “Inflation low (do you hear that Powell?)”
  145. On Thursday, AP reported a second diplomatic staffer, Suriya Jayanti, a foreign service officer based in Kyiv, also overheard Trump’s July 26 with Sondland at a restaurant in Kyiv.
  146. The first diplomat referenced by Taylor, David Holmes, a political counselor at the embassy in Kyiv, will testify before House investigators on Friday behind closed doors.
  147. On Thursday, Trump tweeted Rep. John Ratcliffe asked the two “star” witnesses, “where is the impeachable event in that call?” but they said nothing, adding, “That would be the end of a case run by normal people!”
  148. Trump also quoted Fox Business “Varney & Co.,” tweeting, “Neither one of the Democrat star witnesses at the Impeachment hearings could point out an impeachable offense. That’s the result!”
  149. Trump also quoted Dan Henniger of the WSJ, tweeting, “we’ve now had 3 years of the Democrats chasing Donald Trump,” adding Nancy Pelosi should “Look at her own story in the House. What have they done?”
  150. Trump also tweeted, “Where’s the Fake Whistleblower?
  151. On Thursday, at her weekly news conference, Speaker Pelosi said Trump committed “bribery” in the Ukraine scandal, saying what Trump “has admitted to and said it’s perfect — it’s perfectly wrong. It’s bribery.”
  152. Pelosi added, “The bribe is to grant or withhold military assistance in return for a public statement of a fake investigation into the elections.” Bribery is identified in the Constitution as an impeachable offense.
  153. Pelosi also said, “The devastating testimony corroborated evidence of bribery,” saying Trump “abused his power and violated his oath” in a “clear attempt” to “give himself an advantage in the 2020 election.”
  154. Pelosi also explained the meaning of the word ‘exculpatory’ to Trump, saying, “Mr. President, that means you have anything that shows your innocence — then he should make that known … so far we haven’t see that.”
  155. Pelosi said “We haven’t made a decision to impeach,” noting Nixon had strong public support in the weeks before he resigned, and adding what Trump did and the cover up “makes what Nixon did look almost small.”
  156. Pelosi said “The whistleblower is there to speak truth to power and have protection for doing that,” adding, “any retribution or harm coming to a whistleblower undermines our ability to hear truth about power.”
  157. On Thursday, WAPO reported Sondland’s attorney said Sondland had no plans to resign, and “has the full confidence” of Secretary of State Mike Pompeo. While some Republicans have turned on him, officials say he has a close relationship with Trump.
  158. Career diplomats in Brussels were appalled at Sondland’s leadership, saying he worked with Stephen Miller on a plan for more “skilled and wealthy” immigrants from Europe, as code for it being racially motivated.
  159. The plan, which Trump tasked him with in June 2018, would have encompassed all E.U. countries, but was scrapped. Sondland, who also worked on it with Jared Kushner, claimed he did not know the intention.
  160. On Wednesday, Attorney General William Barr told reporters, “I don’t remember” Trump making a request for him to do a news conference and say there was no wrongdoing in Ukraine.
  161. On Wednesday, AP reported the DOJ’s inspector general Michael Horowitz is close to releasing a report on the early stages of the FBI’s investigation of the Trump campaign’s involvement with Russia.
  162. Horowitz has been examining the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court applications to monitor Carter Page. The report will also test of credibility of Barr’s assertion the FBI’s investigative decisions were problematic.
  163. On Wednesday, Barr said of the report, “it’s my understanding that it is imminent,” adding, “A number of people who were mentioned in the report are having an opportunity right now to comment.”
  164. On Thursday, WAPO reported the DOJ IG told witnesses reviewing the draft sections of the report that they will not be able to give written feedback, only verbal feedback, an unusual step that leaves no paper trail.
  165. Witnesses are also being asked to review their section in a secure area, and say the entire draft document is marked “Top Secret,” so anyone who discusses the report’s contents could be committing a crime.
  166. Some expressed concern the unusual restrictions will make the report less accurate, saying they will not be able to ensure their changes are recorded accurately, and the IG can control the characterization of their comments.
  167. On Thursday, before heading to a rally in Louisiana, Trump had what was described as an “animated” talk with Barr in the Oval Office. The conversation was witnessed by the White House press corps.
  168. White House Counsel Pat Cippollone and press secretary Grisham were also in the meeting. Trump, whose departure was delayed by 45 minutes, passed by the press corps and did not speak to reporters.
  169. Later Thursday, after WAPO reporting, Horowitz changed course and told the Post witnesses can submit written feedback “consistent with rules to protect classified information.”
  170. On Friday, CNN reported, according to two witnesses, Trump was speaking to Barr and Cippollone about the upcoming report to be issued by Horowitz’s office, again raising concerns about the report’s integrity.
  171. Later Thursday, Trump held a rally in Louisiana for the second time in two weeks, as the Republican running for governor faced an unusually tight race. Trump does not have any other rallies scheduled for the rest of year.
  172. Trump told the crowd, “The absolutely crazed lunatics, the Democrats, radical left, and their media partners standing right back there…are pushing the deranged impeachment witch hunt for doing nothing wrong.”
  173. Trump attacked Kent and Taylor, saying, “You saw yesterday how about when they asked these two Never Trumpers, ‘what exactly do you think you impeach him for?’” adding, “they stood there and went like, ‘what?’”
  174. Trump also attacked Chair Schiff, mocking him and saying, “Little Shifty Schiff. He’s got the little 10-inch neck,” adding, “He will not make the LSU football team, that I can tell you.”
  175. Trump also said, “What a life I lead,” adding, “You think this is fun, don’t you? But it’s been very hard on my family.” And told the crowd, “You gotta give me a big win please. Please.”
  176. Later Thursday, just before midnight, Trump referenced in tweets Ukrainian Foreign Minister Vadym Prystaiko saying Sondland did not explicitly mention linking U.S. military aid to investigations of the Bidens.
  177. Trump tweeted, “Democrats must apologize to USA,” and “THE FAKE IMPEACHMENT INQUIRY IS NOW DEAD!”
  178. On Thursday, in an interview with the Guardian, Giuliani said he is confident Trump will stay loyal to him during the impeachment inquiry, and mused he has good “insurance” just in case.
  179. On Thursday, Bloomberg reported that Giuliani is being investigated by federal prosecutors for possible campaign finance violations, bribing foreign officials, and failure to register as a foreign agent.
  180. An official said Giuliani’s activities raise counterintelligence concerns, but there probably would not be charges for it. If he is charged or indicted, it could expose Trump to a new level of legal and political jeopardy.
  181. On Friday, WSJ reported federal prosecutors are investigating whether Giuliani personally profited from a Ukrainian natural-gas pipeline venture pushed by Parnas and Fruman.
  182. Parnas and Fruman pitched their plans for a pipeline in meetings in Ukraine, saying it had the support of the Trump regime. At the meetings, they also pushed for investigations into the Bidens and the 2016 election.
  183. In conversations over the summer, Parnas and Fruman told Ukrainian officials that Giuliani was a partner in the pipeline venture, a project of their company, Global Energy Producers, and a prospective investor.
  184. On Tuesday, Rick Gates testified at the trial for Roger Stone that Stone told him in April 2016 that WikiLeaks planned to dump information in the heat of the presidential race, two months before they were leaked.
  185. Gates also testified Stone requested contact information in June for Jared Kushner. Gates also said the campaign was elated when it learned more information on WikiLeaks publishing damaging emails, calling it “a gift.”
  186. Gates said Stone and Trump spoke in July 2016, after Trump told him “more information would be coming.” Trump said in his sworn written testimony to Mueller he did not recall getting information in advance.
  187. Testimony by Steven Bannon and Gates revealed how enthusiastic the Trump campaign was about using hacked emails starting in April 2016, and how involved Trump was in encouraging the campaign to seek it out.
  188. On Wednesday, Stone did not testify in his trial; instead his lawyers played audio of his Congressional testimony, arguing candidates use opposition research all the time, saying, “This is what happens in campaigns.”
  189. On Wednesday, a full panel of judges on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit voted 8-3 to let stand a three-judge decision that the House Oversight Committee can seek eight years of Trump’s tax returns.
  190. Two of the three dissenting judges were Trump appointees. The ruling was put on hold for seven days for Trump to appeal. Trump lawyer Jay Sekulow said they “will be seeking review at the Supreme Court.”
  191. On Thursday, Trump’s lawyers asked the Supreme Court to shield him from having to turn over his return in a separate case involving the Manhattan DA, who is investigating hush-money payments.
  192. Jay Sekulow wrote, “For the first time in our nation’s history” a president has been “subjected him to coercive criminal process,” calling it a perfect illustration of why a sitting president should be “categorically immune.”
  193. On Friday, Trump appealed to the Supreme Court for a second time in two days, relating to the House Oversight Committee, asking that his accounting firm Mazars USA not have to turn over his tax returns.
  194. The requests put the Supreme Court in a position to consider historic separations of power decisions, with two demands for the same information. The DOJ filed a brief in support for the House case.
  195. On Thursday, at a Federalist Society annual dinner honoring Brett Kavanaugh in Washington DC, protestors rolled up a big screen and blared Christine Blasey Ford’s testimony as guests were arriving.
  196. Also outside the event, protestors stood dressed up in Handmaid’s Tale costumes as guests entered, while others shouted, “I believe Anita Hill. I believe Dr Ford.” There were also protestors inside who were removed.
  197. On Thursday, political newsletter Popular Information revealed Facebook was a “gold sponsor” for the event, risking employee unrest and negative attention from activists over the companies policies.
  198. On Thursday, WAPO reported Mark Sandy, a longtime career employee of the OMB, is expected to break ranks and testify on Saturday to the House committees on impeachment, the first OMB employee to do so.
  199. Three other OMB employees who were political appointees refused to testify. Sandy was expected to testify behind closed doors in response to a subpoena, and provide information on the holdup of aid to Ukraine.
  200. On Thursday, NPR reported in the era of Trump, career civil servants are frequently targeted by the conservative media and alt-right trolls, saying they are part of the so-called “deep state” trying to undermine Trump.
  201. A State Department IG report concluded the treatment of Sahar Nowrouzzadeh, a foreign service officer, violated department policy, saying, “perceived political opinions, perceived association” led to her demotion.
  202. Nowrouzzadeh claimed she was falsely portrayed in conservative media as a “Muslim spy,” a member of the “deep state” who was disloyal to Trump. When she complained about the article, she was demoted.
  203. On Friday, Maria Yovanovitch testified in the impeachment inquiry. As the hearing started, the White House released the second transcript Trump had teased, of his April 21 call congratulating Zelensky on the election.
  204. The White House version was not verbatim, but based on the notes of national security council aides who listened in on the conversation. In his opening remarks, Rep. Devin Nunes read the transcript of the call aloud.
  205. The rough transcript released Friday differed significantly from the official readout White House had initially released describing the conversation on the day that it happened.
  206. The initial readout was based on talking points given to Trump, and included that Trump “expressed his commitment” to work with Zelensky to “strengthen democracy, increase prosperity, and root out corruption.”
  207. The readout was not adjusted to what Trump actually said. He did not in fact mention U.S. support for Ukraine in its fight over territory with Russia, or Ukraine’s effort to address corruption in the call.
  208. In the version Nunes read aloud, Zelensky invited Trump to his inauguration, and Trump invited him to visit the White House, saying, “We’ll let you know very soon, and we will see you very soon, regardless.”
  209. Trump did not attend, and WAPO reported he pulled Vice President Mike Pence from attending. Ultimately, the U.S. sent a delegation led by Sec. Perry that included Volker, Sondland, and Sen. Ron Johnson.
  210. Trump congratulated Zelensky, who said, “thank you so very much. As you can see, we tried very hard to do our best. We had you as a great example.” Trump then compared his own win, saying, “in a way, I did something similar.”
  211. Trump also bragged, “We have the most tremendous economy ever,” and added, to compliment Ukraine, “When I owned Miss Universe, they always had great people,” and “Ukraine was always very well represented.”
  212. After Nunes’s recital, Yovanovitch testified she was the victim of a “smear campaign” against her which was orchestrated by Trump allies working with corrupt Ukrainians, and leading to her recall based on untruths.
  213. She said, “Giuliani should have known those claims were suspect,” adding, “If our chief representative is kneecapped, it limits our effectiveness to safeguard the vital national security interests of the United States.”
  214. She said an article by John Solomon, quoting Yuri Lutsenko claiming she had spoken ill of Trump, was promoted by Donald Jr. and Fox News, and was false. Asked about it, she said, “Well, I was worried.”
  215. Yovanovitch testified the phone call saying she was recalled came while hosting a ceremony to honor a young anticorruption activist, Kateryna Handziuk, who was attacked with acid outside her home and later died.
  216. State Department Director General Carol Perez told her about “great concern” about her security. In a subsequent call she was told to get the next flight. She said, “I argued, ‘This is extremely irregular.’”
  217. Back home, she was told by deputy Secretary of State John Sullivan, “The president has lost confidence in you.” She said she felt “terrible” adding, “After 33 years of service to our country, this is not how I wanted my career to end.”
  218. She said when she read the transcript of Trump’s comments about her on the July 25 call, “It was a terrible moment,” adding, “A person who saw me actually reading the transcript said that the color drained from my face.”
  219. Yovanovitch added, “As Foreign Service professionals are being denigrated and undermined, the institution is also being degraded,” adding, “This will soon cause real harm, if it hasn’t already.”
  220. As Yovanovitch testified about Trump’s smear campaign against her, he tweeted, “Everywhere Marie Yovanovitch went turned bad. She started off in Somalia, how did that go?”
  221. Trump added, “Then fast forward to Ukraine, where the new Ukrainian President spoke unfavorably about her in my second phone call with him,” adding, “They call it “serving at the pleasure of the President.”
  222. Chair Schiff stopped the hearing to read her the tweets and ask what she thought. She responded, “It’s very intimidating,” adding, “I can’t speak to what the president is trying to do, but the effect is to be intimidating.”
  223. Fox News host Brett Baier called it “a turning point in this hearing so far,” saying Yovanovitch “was already a sympathetic witness,” and Trump’s tweet added “an article of impeachment real-time.”
  224. Yovanovitch testified about “a crisis in the state department” saying policy process is “unraveling,” and “leadership vacancies go unfilled, and senior and mid-level officers ponder an uncertain future and head for the doors.”
  225. Trump tweeted in response, saying vacancies are “because we do not want or need as many people as past administrations,” and “Democrats delay the approval process to levels unprecedented in the history.”
  226. Politico noted not a single Republican on the House Intelligence Committee backed up Trump for his Twitter attacks on Yovanovitch, or sought to legitimize the smear attempts at her or her removal.
  227. Republicans all praised Yovanovitch for her service and none tried to undercut her credibility or intentions. In response to their questioning, she said, “I do wonder, why it was necessary to smear my reputation.”
  228. At 3:20 p.m., Schiff gaveled the public hearing to a close. Yovanovitch received cheers and a standing ovation as she left the room.
  229. Later Friday, Trump defended his Yovanovitch attack, telling reporters, “I have the right to speak. I have freedom of speech just like other people do,” adding he is “allowed to speak up” if others are speaking about him.
  230. Trump also told reporters, “I watched a little bit of it today. I wasn’t able to yesterday because we had the president of Turkey here,” adding, “I watched some of it this morning and I thought it was a disgrace.”
  231. Later Friday, Fox Business host Lisa Kennedy lashed out at Trump for his tweet attacking Yovanovitch during her testimony, saying “it makes him look like a big dumb baby,” and “makes her look like a victim.”
  232. Speaker Pelosi told “Face the Nation” Trump’s tweet was “a mistake,” saying, “he knows her strength” and was trying to undermine it, adding, “He should not frivolously throw out insults, but that’s what he does.”
  233. Pelosi also said, “I think part of it is his own insecurity as an imposter,” adding, “I think he knows full well that he’s in that office way over his head. And so he has to diminish everyone else.”
  234. Later Friday, in response to the discrepancy in what Nunes read and the readout of Trump’s April 21 call with Zelensky, White House spokesperson Hogan Gidley blamed Vindman, who he said prepared the readout.
  235. Vindman said in his closed door testimony the April conversation “was actually a very good call,” and “Everybody was happy, high-fiving from that call because we were moving in the right direction for Ukraine.”
  236. WAPO later reported that Vindman was not responsible for making the final update to the readout, and that then press secretary Sarah Sanders held on to the readout before turning it over for public release.
  237. On Friday, Roger Stone was found guilty on all seven counts of obstructing a Congressional investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election. The jury deliberated for less than two days.
  238. Stone was found guilty of lying to Congress, tampering with a witness, and concealing reams of evidence. Prosecutors asserted Stone’s motive for the falsehoods was to protect Trump, making Trump and his campaign central.
  239. Stone’s defense team had urged jurors to treat the case as a referendum on Mueller’s entire Russia investigation, not him, and repeated there was “no collusion” with Russia, just a campaign interested in information.
  240. Two of the government prosecutors, Aaron Zelinsky and Adam Jed, served in the Mueller probe. Several other members of Mueller’s team sat in the courtroom gallery for opening and closing statements.
  241. Stone was released and will be sentenced on February 3. He faces up to 50 years in prison. Fox News hostTucker Carlson and InfoWars host Alex Jones have publicly called on Trump to pardon Stone.
  242. Trump tweeted now they “convict Roger Stone of lying and want to jail him for many years,” and “what about Crooked Hillary, Comey, Strzok, Page, McCabe, Brennan, Clapper, Shifty Schiff, Ohr & Nellie, Steele.”
  243. Trump also tweeted, and “all of the others, including even Mueller himself?” adding, “Didn’t they lie?” Trump then tweeted, “A double standard like never seen before in the history of our Country?
  244. Stone was the sixth person close to Trump to have been convicted of a crime stemming from the Russia investigation: Michael Cohen, Paul Manafort, Gates, Michael Flynn, and George Papadopoulos.
  245. Later Friday, David Holmes testified behind closed doors to the House committees in the late afternoon, telling lawmakers he overheard a phone call in Kyiv between Trump and Sondland on July 26.
  246. CNN obtained Holmes’ opening statement. Holmes said he was asked to be a note taker in a meeting between Sondland and Zelensky aide Andriy Yermak, but when he arrived, he was told it was a one-on-one meeting.
  247. After, he and two others went to lunch with Sondland. On the restaurant terrace, Sondland placed a call to Trump. Holmes said Trump spoke loudly and he could hear his voice though the earpiece on Sondland’s phone.
  248. Holmes said Sondland told Trump that “Zelensky ‘loves your ass.’” Holmes said he heard “Trump ask ‘So, he’s gonna do the investigation?’ and Ambassador Sondland replied that ‘he’s gonna do it.’”
  249. Sondland also told Trump that “Zelensky will do ‘anything you ask him to.’” Holmes added, “Even though I did not take notes of those statements, I have a clear recollection that these statements were made.”
  250. Holmes also said at a foreign policy meeting, Sondland said: “Damnit, Rudy. Every time Rudy gets involved he goes and f — -s everything up.” And Bolton expressed frustration over Giuliani’s influence with Trump.
  251. Holmes said Taylor told him on September 8: “Now they’re insisting Zelensky commit to the investigation in an interview with CNN,” adding, “I was surprised the requirement was so specific and concrete.”
  252. Holmes said on September 13, two days after aid was released, Taylor saw Yermak and stressed the importance of staying out of US politics. Holmes said Yermak “shrugged in resignation” as if “they had no choice.”
  253. Late Friday, at the end of impeachment hearings, Trump pardoned two Army officers and restored rank to a Navy SEAL, despite opposition by military justice experts and senior Pentagon officials.
  254. Defense Sec. Mark Esper and Army Sec. Ryan McCarthy had asked Trump not to intervene in the cases, citing overriding the Uniform Code of Military Justice could damage the integrity of the military judicial system.
  255. Esper and other military leaders told Trump a pardon could also hamper the ability of military leaders to ensure good order and discipline, and hurt confidence of U.S. allies and partners who host troops.
  256. The White House said Trump acted as commander in chief, and is “ultimately responsible for ensuring that the law is enforced and when appropriate, that mercy is granted.”
  257. On Friday, in a fiery, hour-long speech to conservative lawyers at the Federalist Society, AG Barr delivered a defense of Trump and his expansive views on executive power.
  258. Barr claimed “in waging a scorched-earth, no-holds-barred war,” the Resistance against Trump “is engaged in a systematic shredding of norms and undermining the rule of law.”
  259. Barr said, “Resistance is the language used to describe insurgency against rule imposed by an occupying military power,” adding it connotes a government is not legitimate, and is a “very dangerous” and “incendiary.”
  260. Barr said House Democrats were subverting what “the people,” who knew Trump was untraditional, decided, and Trump’s opponents are “engaged in a war to cripple by any means necessary a duly elected government.”
  261. Barr took shots at the legislative and judicial branches’ years of “encroachment” on executive power, blaming the Democrats and the media for wanting those branches to protect from a “would-be autocrat.”
  262. On Friday, the office of French President Emmanuel Macron said France would host a Ukraine Peace Summit on December 9, including Zelensky, Russian President Vladimir Putin, and German Chancellor Angela Merkel.
  263. Ahead of the summit, Macron promised Zelensky aid and support, telling him in a phone call “that Ukraine could further count on France’s support in all matters.”
  264. On Friday, the Moscow Times reported Russia landed attack helicopters and troops at a former U.S. air base in Northern Syria, vacated by Trump. The landing was shown on Russian Defense Ministry’s Zvezda TV channel.
  265. On Friday, CNN reported Trump is demanding South Korea pay roughly 400% more in 2020 to cover the costs of keeping U.S. troops on the peninsula. Aides say Trump’s demand “came out of thin air.”
  266. Trump’s proposed price hike frustrated Pentagon officials and deeply concerned Republican and Democratic lawmakers, and angered and unnerved Seoul, where leaders are questioning the alliance.
  267. On Saturday, CNN reported at last year’s White House Hanukkah Party, Trump had a private meeting with Giuliani, Parnas, and Fruman. Parnas shared a photo on social media of him with Trump, Pence, and Giuliani.
  268. Parnas told associates at the meeting, Trump tasked he and Fruman with “a secret mission” to pressure the Ukrainian government to investigate Joe and Hunter Biden. Giuliani would issue directives on behalf of Trump.
  269. On Saturday, Mark Sandy testified behind closed doors to the House committees, after receiving a subpoena which cited “an attempt by OMB to direct [him] not to appear for his scheduled deposition.”
  270. On Saturday, Trump had no public events. He spent the morning at the White House, tweeting about impeachment, promoting books including that of Donald Jr., and urging Republicans in Louisiana to vote.

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Top U.S. diplomat in Ukraine William Taylor, second from right, and career Foreign Service officer George Kent, second from left, testify before the House Intelligence Committee on Capitol Hill in Washington, Wednesday, Nov. 13, 2019, during the first public impeachment hearing of Trump’s efforts to tie U.S. aid for Ukraine to investigations of his political opponents.

POLITIKS OF GRAFFITI 155: “QUID PRO SCHMO!”

OCTOBER 26, 2019

Week 154

Experts in authoritarianism advise to keep a list of things
subtly changing around you, so you’ll remember. https://theweeklylist.org/weekly-list/week-154/
EHMmvdxUUAAJPho
“Bye, Mick! by Jim Carrey – 18oct19 – “Quid Pro Schmo!”

This week marked a major shift in the world order, as Trump finalized the evacuation of troops on Turkey-Syria border, and the void of leadership was instantaneously filled by Russia. Russian President Vladimir Putin hosted Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan in Sochi, before hosting 40 African nations there, at what was dubbed the first Russia-Africa summit. As House Speaker Nancy Pelosi suggested to Trump in Week 153, “All roads with you lead to Putin.” Later in the week, Trump zig-zagged and sent U.S. troops and armored vehicles back to the region to guard oil fields, and suggested to millions of Kurdish civilians, displaced and endangered by his withdrawal, that they should relocate there.

This week marked a major shift in the impeachment inquiry, as career diplomats continue to defy Trump’s order not to testify. In a case related to the Mueller probe, Chief District Judge Beryl Howell ruled the House impeachment inquiry is legal, dealing another blow to Trump’s strategy of stonewalling the inquiry based on it not being legally authorized. Nine witnesses have testified so far, crystallizing a picture of clear quid pro quo. Despite stunts and distractions by Trump’s Republican allies, House Democrats continued to prevail in the messaging battle. By week’s end, Trump was forced to bring in additional lawyers and convene staffers to come up with a strategy to defend himself from impeachment.

This week Trump’s Department of Justice turned the investigation of the investigators into a criminal probe — raising concerns Attorney General William Barr is acting to give Trump a political victory and punish his enemies. Barr too is increasingly being drawn into the impeachment probe, while drawing rebukes for his handling of the whistleblower complaint.

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San Diego, CA – October 2019 – State Street
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Image for t-shirts being sold in Pacific Beach. October 2019. San Diego, CA. – Interesting because of the FIVE DEFERMENTS and stuff…
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Image for t-shirts being sold in Pacific Beach. October 2019. San Diego, CA. – There’s definitely an element… – Interesting because there’s no wall and stuff…
IMG_3445
Image for t-shirts being sold in Pacific Beach. October 2019. San Diego, CA. – Interesting because he’s a SUPER DIPSHIT and stuff…

 

  1. On Saturday, the NYT Editorial Board cited the “crisis of the Republican Party,” writing Trump has repeatedly “acted against the national interest,” and reminding Republicans of their sacred oath to the Constitution.
  2. On Saturday, former chief strategist Steve Bannon told the New York Post Trump will be “impeached by Pelosi in the next six weeks,” and the White House needs to take it more seriously and establish an impeachment squad.
  3. On Saturday, NBC News reported Attorney General William Barr has expanded the investigation of the investigators to dig into the origins of the Russia probe, amid concern about whether it has legal or factual basis.
  4. U.S. Attorney John Durham has requested to speak to CIA analysts involved in the intelligence assessment, raising tensions between the CIA and the Department of Justice over what documents he can examine.
  5. Politico reported among the conspiracy theories being investigated by Durham and Barr is that Joseph Mifsud was a Western intelligence asset, and the CIA under then Trump adversary John Brennan was involved.
  6. On Wednesday, Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte took the unusual step of publicly stating Italy’s intelligence services had informed Barr the country played no rule in the events leading up to the Russia investigation.
  7. On Thursday, the DOJ shifted the administrative review of the Russia investigation into a criminal inquiry, raising alarms that AG Barr is looking to give Trump a political victory, and going after his perceived enemies.
  8. The shift gave Durham power to subpoena for testimony and documents, to impanel a grand jury, and to file criminal charges. It also gave rise to the unusual situation of the DOJ conducting a criminal investigation of itself.
  9. It was not clear what potential crimes Durham is investigating. Trump has made clear that he sees the DOJ as a political tool to wield against his enemies, not an independent agency.
  10. On Saturday, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and a bipartisan congressional delegation made an unannounced trip to visit Jordan and Afghanistan, highlighting differences with Trump on troop withdrawal from Syria.
  11. After the meeting with Jordan, Pelosi said, “With the deepening crisis” the group discussed “regional stability, increased flow of refugees, and the dangerous opening that has been provided to ISIS, Iran and Russia.”
  12. In Afghanistan, the delegation was also joined by Defense Secretary Mark T. Esper and top U.S. military commanders and diplomats to visit Afghan President Ashraf Ghani and top Aghan officials, and then U.S. troops.
  13. On Saturday and Sunday, Trump skipped golf and stayed at the White House, avoiding the media. Trump sent over 50 tweets on Saturday alone.
  14. On Sunday, Trump defended his Syria withdrawal, tweeting the incorrect name of his defense secretary — “Mark Esperanto” —  and quoting him saying ,“The ceasefire is holding up very nicely,” with some “minor skirmishes.”
  15. On Saturday, Trump abruptly announced in the late evening that his Doral golf resort would not host the 2020 G7 summit, tweeting, “as usual, the Hostile Media & their Democrat Partners went CRAZY!”
  16. Trump also tweeted, “I thought I was doing something very good for our Country,” adding, “I announced that I would be willing to do it at NO PROFIT or, if legally permissible, at ZERO COST to the USA.”
  17. Trump also tweeted, “based on both Media & Democrat Crazed and Irrational Hostility…We will begin the search for another site, including the possibility of Camp David, immediately. Thank you!”
  18. WAPO reported the Doral’s net operating income decline 69% from 2015 to 2017, and the G7 would have promoted it. Last week’s announcement had sparked criticism from both Democrats and Republicans.
  19. On Sunday, acting White House chief of staff Mick Mulvaney told “Fox News Sunday” that Trump “still considers himself to be in the hospitality business,” adding Trump “was honestly surprised at the level of pushback.”
  20. Host Chris Wallace told Mulvaney a “well-connected” Republican told him there is a 20% chance enough GOP senators will vote to impeach Trump. Mulvaney said that person “doesn’t know what they’re talking about.”
  21. On Sunday, Sen. Lindsey Graham reversed his position, claiming Trump’s withdrawal could succeed, saying he was “increasingly optimistic” that was can have “historic solutions in Syria that have eluded us for years.”
  22. On Sunday, Graham told Axios he was open to changing his mind on impeachment: “If you could show me…Trump actually was engaging in a quid pro quo, outside the phone call, that would be very disturbing.”
  23. On Sunday, the DOJ took the unusual step of publicly distancing itself from Giuliani, saying department officials would not have met with him about his clients if they knew the SDNY was investigating Igor Fruman and Lev Parnas.
  24. In Week 153, NYT reported the head of the DOJ Criminal Division and lawyers from the Fraud Section met with Giuliani a few weeks ago. Barr was informed of the SDNY investigation in February.
  25. On Sunday, the DOJ said the two names in the Mueller report, who Judge Beryl Howell said in Week 153should not have been redacted since they did not testify before the grand jury, were Donald Jr. and Don McGahn.
  26. On Monday, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said he could not form a new government after the deadlocked election in September. His rival Benny Gantz will have an opportunity to form a government.
  27. On Monday, Quartz reported Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and Jared Kushner will attend Saudi Arabia’s third annual investment conference that many U.S. officials skipped last year after the murder of Jamal Khashoggi.
  28. According to a federal procurement filing, the State Department recently booked 45 rooms at Riyadh’s Burj Rafal Hotel for two “VVIP visitors” taking part in the Saudi’s Future Investment Initiative.
  29. On Tuesday, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson lost a critical vote in Parliament that would have enabled him to meet his Brexit deadline of October 31, throwing the process into disarray.
  30. On Wednesday, amid continued protest in Hong Kong, its government formally withdrew an amended version of the extradition bill that sparked protests. Hong Kong leader Carrie Lam said she would drop the bill.
  31. On Sunday, NYT reported Turkey President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has nuclear ambitions. In September, he told a meeting of his governing party that the West insists “we can’t have them,” adding, “This, I cannot accept.”
  32. On Monday, NYT reported Trump’s Syria withdrawal handed ISIS its biggest win in more than four years, allowing its re-emergence as a network of terrorists. As many as 18,000 fighters remain in Iraq and Syria.
  33. ISIS fighters are assassinating local village headmen as a way to intimidate government informants in Syria. American withdrawal also set off jubilation and lifted morale on social media and encrypted chat networks.
  34. On Monday, Kurds heckled U.S. troops as they withdrew from Syria and moved towards Iraq. Sec. Esper saidthe U.S. was considering keeping a small force in Syria to prevent oil fields from falling into ISIS’s hands.
  35. Shortly after, Trump told reporters at a cabinet meeting, “We have a good relationship with the Kurds, but we never agreed to protect the Kurds” adding, “We never agreed to protect the Kurds for the rest of their lives.”
  36. Asked about leaving troops to secure oil fields, Trump said, “there is no reason for it.” Trump added, on bringing troops home, “you’re going to have people fighting like they’ve been fighting for 300 years, it’s very simple.”
  37. On Tuesday, NBC News reported after Graham and Retired Gen. Jack Keane, a Fox News analyst, repeatedly showed Trump a map of oil fields in northern Syria, Trump reversed again, agreeing to leave some troops.
  38. On Monday, in a rare joint statement, House Foreign Affairs Committee Chair Eliot Engel and top foreign affairs lawmakers from the multiple European allies condemned Trump and Turkey for actions in Syria.
  39. On Monday, NBC News reported the Pentagon has drawn up plans for a quick withdrawal from Afghanistan in case Trump blindsides military leaders by ordering an immediate withdrawal.
  40. On Tuesday, Erdogan met with Russian President Vladimir Putin for an hours-long meeting in Sochi. Turkey and Russia came to an agreement as the deadline expired for the “pause” agreed to with the U.S. last week.
  41. The deal bolstered Russia’s ally, Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, to regain control over more territory and be recognized in the region, and elevated Putin to a prominent role in the region as U.S. troops withdrew.
  42. Under the deal, Russia and the Syrian government would start removing Kurdish militias from a far larger part of the border, then once gone, Turkey and Russia would begin jointly patrolling the border region.
  43. Trump applauded the deal, tweeting, “Good news seems to be happening with respect to Turkey, Syria and the Middle East.” As U.S. forces arrived in Iraq from Syria, Iraq’s military said they would have to leave.
  44. On Wednesday, Trump announced in a press conference that Turkey had agreed to a permanent cease-fire in northeast Syria, claiming credit for bringing peace to the region after decades of U.S. failed efforts.
  45. Trump said the cease-fire may be temporary. “You would define the word ‘permanent’ in that part of the world as somewhat questionable,” adding, “Turkey, Syria and all forms of the Kurds have been fighting for centuries.”
  46. Trump added, “We have done them a great service and we’ve done a great job for all of them. And now, we’re getting out,” adding, “Let someone else fight over this long bloodstained sand” — although there is no sand there.
  47. Trump pushed back on criticism, saying the people giving him and the U.S. advice “are the ones that got us into the Middle East mess, but never had the vision or the courage to get us out; they just talked.”
  48. Trump said “a small number of U.S. troops will remain in the area where they have the oil,” and that he would now permanently lift sanctions on Turkey providing it agrees to “protect religious and ethnic minorities.”
  49. Trump said, “I have just spoken to General Mazloum, a wonderful man, the Commander-in-Chief of the SDF Kurds…he was extremely thankful.” Trump meant Ferhat Abdi Şahin. It is doubtful that he was thankful.
  50. Trump said of ISIS, “there were a few that got out…and they’ve been largely recaptured.” Sec. Esper said “a little bit more than a hundred,” and James Jeffrey, Trump’s envoy to Syria said we do not know where they are.
  51. Many Democrats and Republicans called Trump’s retreat a historic foreign policy debacle, which undermined U.S. credibility with allies, empowered American adversaries, and gave ISIS a chance to regroup.
  52. Later Wednesday, Syrian state news media reported Syrian government troops were deployed to the area for the first time in five years, and that Russian forces were also in the area.
  53. On Thursday, Gen. Mazloum Abdi, a senior Kurdish commander, said Turkey resumed attacks in northeastern Syria, within 48 hours of saying it would no longer use force, and 24 hours after Trump heralded a cease-fire.
  54. On Thursday, Trump shifted his focus to protecting oil fields, tweeting, “We will NEVER let a reconstituted ISIS have those fields!” and adding, “Perhaps it is time for the Kurds to start heading to the Oil Region!”
  55. It was not immediately clear if Trump was suggesting that the entire Syrian Kurdish population, which numbers in the millions, should uproot and move themselves to the Arab majority area near the oil fields.
  56. Trump’s tweet highlighted a complete shift in policy from allying with Kurds in fighting ISIS, to keeping Syria and ISIS from possessing oil fields in the country. The oil fields are under control of Syrian Kurdish forces.
  57. On Thursday, Sen. John Cornyn, the No. 3 Republican in the senate, defended Trump’s withdrawal, saying it was not a bad idea to get U.S. troops out of the way if Turkey planned to “ethnically cleanse the Kurds.”
  58. On Friday, Trump defended his troop withdrawal in a series of tweets, saying, “Turkey fully understands not to fire on the Kurds,” adding, “I don’t have to repeat that large scale Sanctions will be imposed for violations.”
  59. Trump also tweeted, “USA has gained Trillions of Dollars in wealth since November 2016,” adding, “Oil is secured. Our soldiers have left and are leaving Syria for other places, then COMING HOME! “
  60. Trump also tweeted, “We were supposed to be there for 30 days — That was 10 years ago,” adding, “I simply say, THE OIL, AND WE ARE BRINGING OUR SOLDIERS BACK HOME, ISIS SECURED!”
  61. On Friday, Esper told reporters that the U.S. will leave troops and armored vehicles in Syria to prevent ISIS from gaining control of oil fields. Esper did not provide details, and the statement marked another shift in policy.
  62. On Saturday, Erdogan said if Russia fails to clear Kurdish fighters, who he called “terrorists,” from within 30 km of Turkey’s border, “then we will handle the situation by ourselves and will do all the cleansing work.”
  63. On Friday, NYT reported when Trump froze military aid to Ukraine, its military struggled in a bare-bones fight with Russian-backed separatists. Ukrainian soldiers said the move hurt their confidence in their U.S. ally.
  64. On Friday, WAPO reported amid Trump’s retreat, Putin has been forging stronger ties with African countries. Putin hosted 40 African counties in Sochi this week in what was dubbed the first Russia-Africa summit.
  65. On Monday, a U.K. judge refused to delay Julian Assange’s extradition hearing. Assange mumbled and paused as he gave his name, blaming a “superpower” with “unlimited resources,” saying he “can’t think properly.”
  66. On Monday, Trump held a 71-minute cabinet meeting open to the media, which was billed as a discussion of the regime’s “successful rollback of the abuses and the high cost of the bloated regulatory state.”
  67. The cabinet meeting, like others under Trump, consisted of him boasting about his supposed accomplishment and attacking his critics, while cabinet members took turns showering him with praise.
  68. Trump told at least 21 lies during the meeting. He falsely claimed Obama tried to call North Korea’s Kim Jong Un 11 times, but said Kim did not take Obama’s calls, claiming, “Lack of respect. But he [Kim] takes my call.”
  69. Trump defended his decision to withdraw troops, saying, “I’m the one who did the capturing,” adding, “I’m the one who knows more about it than you people or the fake pundits.”
  70. Trump complained about having to change the venue of the G7 summit, saying, “You people with this phony emoluments clause,” saying, “It would have been the best G7 ever,” and he would have held it “for free.”
  71. Trump added, “I’m very good at real estate,” and said of claims that hosting the G7 at the Doral was for promotion, “I don’t need promotion. I get more promotion than any human being that’s ever lived.”
  72. Trump claimed again, without evidence, being president was costing him “between $2 billion and $5 billion,” and falsely claimed he was the only president other than George Washington to give up his salary.
  73. Trump said of Democrats, “They’re vicious and they stick together. They don’t have Mitt Romney in their midst, they don’t have people like that.” He repeatedly used the words “illegitimate” and “phony.”
  74. Trump also said, “Republicans have to get tougher and fight,” adding, “We have some that are great fighters, but they have to get tougher and fight,” saying, “Democrats are trying to hurt the Republican Party for the election.”
  75. On Monday, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer said in a letter to acting Director of National Intelligence Joseph Maguire and IG Michael Atkinson that he is concerned Trump could expose the whistleblower.
  76. On Monday, Pelosi released a four-page “Fact Sheet,” laying out Democrats’ most compelling evidence so far on impeachment in three sections: the “shakedown,” “the pressure campaign,” and “the cover up.”
  77. On Monday, House Republicans introduced a resolution to censure House Intelligence Committee Chair Adam Schiff for his handing of the impeachment inquiry. The House voted along party lines 218-195, failing. Rep. Justin Amash voted with Democrats.
  78. On Monday, WAPO reported Republican lawmakers, donors, and advisers are increasingly concerned about Trump’s unsteady and bombastic behavior, and want a more disciplined approach to impeachment.
  79. Trump continued to spearhead his own impeachment defense. After Mulvaney’s performance in Week 153, a growing number of Trump allies called for sweeping changes, citing uncertainty and mixed messages.
  80. Trump was reluctant to set up an impeachment war room, feeling confident he can defend himself, and believing Democrats are divided and scattered on how to proceed.
  81. On Monday, WAPO reported according to testimony by George Kent, Trump was urged by Putin and Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban to adopt a hostile view of Ukraine, saying the country was hopelessly corrupt.
  82. Putin told Trump in May Ukraine was “just a den of corruption.” Members of the Trump regime who blunted Putin and Orban’s influence had resigned. The two did not push to investigate Biden or the 2016 election.
  83. On Monday, Trump did an hour-long interview on the Fox News show “Hannity.” Trump seemed to reference “Fast and Furious,” saying Obama could have been impeached “where guns went all over the place.”
  84. Trump pushed unfounded Biden conspiracies, and said if his sons Donald Jr. and Eric accepted payments from questionable foreign sources “it would be the biggest story of the century.” Of note, both of his sons do.
  85. Trump told Sean Hannity he wants to cancel the White House subscription to the NYT, saying, “We don’t even want it in the White House anymore,” and adding, “We’re going to probably terminate that and the Washington Post.”
  86. On Tuesday, a new CNN poll found support for impeaching AND removing Trump at an all-time high at 50% overall, including 87% of Democrats, 50% of Independents, and 6% of Republicans.
  87. On Tuesday, Bloomberg reported that Trump has floated Mnuchin and his counselor Kellyanne Conway as possible replacements for Mulvaney as chief of staff.
  88. On Tuesday, Trump compared the impeachment to a lynching, tweeting he was “without due process or fairness or any legal rights,” and adding, “Republicans must remember what they are witnessing here — a lynching.”
  89. Trump has increasingly used incendiary language to describe impeachment as the risk increases. Some saw his stoking racial tensions as part of his long pattern of rallying his base behind him by evoking racism.
  90. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell called it “an unfortunate choice of words,” while Sen. Graham defended Trump, saying, “that’s exactly what’s going on in the U.S. House of Representatives right now”.
  91. On Tuesday, William Taylor Jr., the acting U.S. ambassador to Ukraine, testified behind closed doors to the three House committees. WAPO obtained his 15-page opening statement, describing quid pro quo.
  92. The State Department tried to block Taylor’s deposition on Tuesday, prompting House Democrats to issue a subpoena for this testimony.
  93. Taylor, a West Point graduate, served in the Army and is one of the country’s most experienced diplomats having served in every administration for both parties since 1985. He kept meticulous notes.
  94. Taylor said there were two channels to Ukraine, official, which he headed, and an unofficial channel includingKurt Volker, Gordon Sondland, Energy Sec. Rick Perry, and Rudy Giuliani, calling it “a confusing and unusual arrangement.”
  95. Taylor said, “By mid-July it was becoming clear to me that the meeting President Zelensky wanted was conditioned on the investigations of Burisma and alleged Ukrainian interference in the 2016 U.S. elections.”
  96. Taylor expressed shock and bewilderment, as U.S. policy toward was overtaken, and Trump demanded Zelensky “go to a microphone and say he is opening investigations of Biden and 2016 election interference.”
  97. Taylor cited AG Barr, saying, “We also discussed the possibility that the Ukrainian Prosecutor General,” not Zelensky, would make a statement about investigations, “in coordination” with Barr’s 2016 election probe.
  98. Taylor cited Giuliani’s role, saying the push to make Zelensky commit to investigating Burisma and the 2016 election showed how official U.S. foreign policy “was undercut by the irregular efforts led by Mr. Giuliani.”
  99. Taylor wrote, “I sat in astonishment” on a July 18 call with White House officials, when he heard an Office of Management and Budget official off camera say she had been instructed not to release military aid to Ukraine.
  100. Taylor said on a July 19 call, NSC staffers Fiona Hill and Alexander Vindman said “Sondland had connected “investigations” with an Oval Office meeting” for Zelensky, causing then-NSA John Bolton to walk out.
  101. Taylor said he was concerned Russian forces would kill more Ukrainians if aid was withheld: “Over 13,000 Ukrainians had been killed in the war…More Ukrainians would undoubtedly die without the U.S. assistance.”
  102. Taylor said of the July 25 call, “strangely,” he received no readout even though he was scheduled to meet with Zelensky and Volker the next day, adding, “The Ukrainian government issued a short, cryptic summary.”
  103. Taylor said in an August 29 cable to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo he expressed concern about withholding aid, and that Pompeo carried these concerns into a White House meeting, but did not respond to him.
  104. Taylor testified that he learned at a meeting with Zelensky and Vice President Pence on September 1 that Ukrainians were informed by Sondland that aid was conditioned on an investigation into Burisma.
  105. Taylor said on a September 8 call, the day after his text exchange with Sondland expressing concern about withholding military aid, Sondland told him Ukraine had to “pay up” before Trump would “sign a check.”
  106. Taylor described demands for secrecy: on a June 28 call between himself, Sondland, Volker, and Perry, Sondland said before Zelensky got on the call that “he wanted to make sure no one was transcribing or monitoring.”
  107. Taylor’s testimony contradicted that of Sondland in Week 153 who said Trump was not seeking a quid pro quo — a red line for some Republicans — saying it was clear to him the arrangement met the dictionary definition.
  108. CBS News reported lawmakers were stunned by Taylor’s testimony, and there were audible gasps at points. Democratic Rep. Stephen Lynch, a senior member of the oversight committee said, “This is a sea change.”
  109. Shortly after, Speaker McConnell denied Trump’s account that McConnell said his July call 25 was “innocent” on October 3, telling reporters, “I don’t recall any conversations with the president about that phone call.”
  110. White House press secretary Stephanie Grisham said in a statement, “Trump has done nothing wrong,” calling it a “coordinated smear campaign from far-left lawmakers and radical unelected bureaucrats.”
  111. The statement also said, “Today was just more triple hearsay and selective leaks from the Democrats’ politically-motivated, closed door, secretive hearings,” adding, “there was no quid pro quo.”
  112. On Tuesday, a DOJ official told Politico the department was unaware ambassadors were discussing linking the Ukraine investigation to AG Barr’s probe into investigations into interference in the 2016 election.
  113. On Tuesday, Sen. Amy Klobuchar released new evidence the DOJ buried the whistleblower complaint by failing to refer it to the Federal Election Commission, despite a longstanding agreement between the agencies.
  114. The 1978 memorandum of understanding requires that complaints involving campaign finance violations are turned over to the FEC even if the DOJ declines to launch a criminal investigation.
  115. On Tuesday, in an extraordinary letter, more than 60 IGs, led by the DOJ IG and National Science Foundation IG, slammed the DOJ Office of Legal Counsel for not turning over the whistleblower complaint to Congress.
  116. The letter cited the OLC “substituted its judgment,” and created uncertainty for federal employees and contractors “about the scope of whistleblower protections, thereby chilling whistleblower disclosures.”
  117. On Wednesday, the New York City Bar Association demanded Barr recuse himself from the Ukraine matter, saying he viewed “his primary obligation as loyalty to the President individually rather than to the nation.”
  118. On Tuesday, the anonymous author of the September 2018 NYT op-ed, “I Am Part of the Resistance Inside the Trump Administration,” announced the publishing of a tell-all-book, titled “A Warning” on November 19.
  119. The author will remain anonymous, did not take a book advance, and will donate some proceeds to government accountability causes. There is no modern day precedent for a firsthand account by an anonymous author.
  120. The book’s back cover says: “You will hear a great deal from Donald Trump directly, for there is no better witness to his character than his own words and no better evidence of the danger he poses than his own conduct.”
  121. On Tuesday, Kirstjen Nielsen said in a speech at the FORTUNE Most Powerful Women Summit that she resigned because “saying no” and refusing to do things that others in the regime wanted was “not going to be enough.”
  122. Singer-songwriter Brandi Carlile dropped out of the summit, citing the “atrocity of family separation.” A truck was parked outside the event with a billboard reading: “Powerful women don’t put kids in cages.”
  123. On Monday, WSJ reported Lev Parnas’ private Instagram account revealed photos showing he had VIP access to Trump dating back to 2015. He is also seen in photos with Trump’s family and Giuliani.
  124. On Tuesday, WAPO reported that federal prosecutors in Chicago who had been investigating a Ukrainian oligarch, Dmytro Firtash, reached out to their New York counterparts after Igor Fruman and Parnas were arrested.
  125. Parnas had been a translator for lawyers representing Firtash since late July. At Parnas’s suggestion, Firtash switched attorneys, firing Lanny Davis and hiring Trump allies Victoria Toensing and Joseph diGenova.
  126. Toensing and diGenova were able to secure a rare face-to-face meeting with AG Barr and other DOJ officials. Barr did not intercede, and the DOJ claimed they are working closely with Austria on having Firtash expedited.
  127. While Firtash was still represented by Davis, Giuliani accused him of having ties to the Russian mob, then shifted. In 2017, U.S. prosecutors said Firtash had ties to the “upper echelons” of Russian organized crime.
  128. Parnas and Fruman hoped to see new leadership at Ukrainian state oil and gas giant Naftogaz. As part of that deal, the company would put aside a financial dispute with Firtash, resulting a windfall of $1 billion for Firtash.
  129. Parnas and Fruman put Giuliani in touch with former Ukrainian prosecutor Viktor Shokin in January, who swore in an affidavit Joe Biden was behind his firing. Lawyers for Firtash were behind the document.
  130. On Tuesday, BuzzFeed reported a grand jury subpoenaed records of Parnas and Fruman as part of the investigation into their extravagant spending at Trump hotels and millions of dollars in financial transfers.
  131. Documents obtained show dozens of transfers into Parnas’s accounts, totaling more than $3 million, as he and Fruman traveled around to different counties in search of damaging information on Joe Biden.
  132. On Tuesday, Vanity Fair reported Michael Cohen is cooperating with state and federal prosecutors while in prison, on the matters of what Trump means by “quid pro quo,” and the investigations into Parnas.
  133. Cohen’s lawyer also asked the three House committee chairs for help reducing his prison sentence, citing Cohen provided the SDNY with “fresh information, of additional possible crimes by Mr. Trump or his associates.”
  134. On Wednesday, the lawyer for Parnas tied his case to Trump, telling a judge that some evidence could be subject to executive privilege since Parnas used Giuliani as his attorney at the same time as Trump did.
  135. On Wednesday, CNN reported Giuliani is looking for a defense attorney. He said in Week 153 he would not seek a new lawyer unless he felt one was needed.
  136. Wednesday evening, Giuliani tweeted citing the “Fake News” and saying “everything” was “to defend my client against false charges,” adding Democrats “don’t believe Trump has rights,” and “Justice will prevail.”
  137. On Thursday, Politico reported that lawyers diGenova and Toensing are also representing journalist John Solomon, an ally of Giuliani who appeared in the SDNY indictments of Parnas and Fruman.
  138. On Friday, CNN reported since Parnas and Fruman’s arrest, prosecutors subpoenaed Fruman’s brother, and issued multiple subpoenas and conducted several property searches — in one, blowing the door off a safe.
  139. On Friday, Tampa Bay Times reported Parnas and Fruman were given VIP seating at the January inauguration of Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis. The two also got access to an area reserved for an exclusive crowd of dignitaries.
  140. On Monday, AP reported a DOJ official said the Trump regime is planning to collect DNA samples from asylum-seekers, and add the information to a massive FBI database used by law enforcement hunting for criminals.
  141. The DOJ issued amended regulations that mandated collecting DNA, and said the regime hopes to have a pilot program in place after a 20-day comment period, and expand from there.
  142. On Monday, the Anti-Defamation League said 2019 is on track to be another high year for anti-Semitic incidents: in the first six months of 2019 there were 780 incidents, similar to record years in 2017 and 2018.
  143. On Monday, two University of Connecticut students, Jarred Mitchell Karal and Ryan Gilman Mucaj, were arrested after a video surfaced showing the two yelling racial slurs at a campus apartment complex parking lot.
  144. On Tuesday, NYT reported between December 2017 and June 2019, more than a million children lost coverage on the two main programs for low-income children, Medicaid and the Children’s Health Insurance Program.
  145. Officials blame new paperwork making registration much harder, and immigrant parents concerned that signing up their children, who are citizens, will make it harder to get a green card or increase the risk of deportation.
  146. On Tuesday, a South Carolina Senate subcommittee stripped exceptions for rape and incest from a bill that would outlaw abortion in the state after six weeks of pregnancy. The bill will now advance to full committee.
  147. On Wednesday, Noor Abukaram, a high school junior in Ohio, was disqualified after running her best time in a meet, for wearing a Nike hijab. A High School Athletic Association official said she needed a waiver.
  148. On Wednesday, the Phoenix New Times reported Jose Segovia-Benitez, a 38-year-old Marine Corps veteran who served two tours of duty in Iraq, was deported by ICE to El Salvador. He lived in the U.S. since he was 3.
  149. On Thursday, a grand jury failed to indict ICE officer Capt. Thomas Woodworth, who in Week 144 drove his truck into group of Never Again Action activists blocking the entrance of an ICE detention facility.
  150. On Thursday, the Trump regime acknowledged in a federal court that 1,556 more migrant families were forcibly separated under its “zero-tolerance” policy before the policy was halted than was previously known.
  151. The information came in response to demand by the ACLU, and revealed 4,300 total families, many more than the 2,800 previously reported, were separated. The ACLU said it is not know if the 1,556 have been reunited.
  152. The ACLU said the Trump regime has separated a total of 5,460 migrant children since July 2017, including the 1,090 separated since the judge ordered the practice to stop in June 2018 except in limited circumstances.
  153. On Friday, the lawyer for the family of Roxsana Hernandez, a Honduran transgender woman who died while in U.S. custody, said video footage of her death at a privately run detention facility was deleted by ICE.
  154. On Monday, Facebook announced it had found and taken down four state-backed disinformation campaigns, three from Iran and one from Russia. Facebook has taken down dozens already ahead of the 2020 election.
  155. One network linked to the Internet Research Agency, a Kremlin-backed troll farm, used the same strategies as 2016. IRA trolls posed as locals in swing states, praising Trump and attacking Joe Biden.
  156. On Wednesday, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg testified before the House Financial Service Committee. Chair Maxine Waters said, “You have opened up a serious discussion about whether Facebook should be broken up.”
  157. Waters cited monopolistic practices; lack of diversity in leadership ranks; enabling housing discrimination through its ad platform; infringing on users’ privacy; and facilitating foreign election interference.
  158. On Friday, Facebook announced will add high quality journalism including USA Today, WSJ, WAPO, and NYT; but included Breitbart, a far-right website which has been accused of inaccurate and incendiary reporting.
  159. On Tuesday, WAPO reported that Trump’s company has removed his name from a pair of skating rinks in Central Park, Wollman Rink and Lasker Rink. Trump’s company still runs the two rinks.
  160. On Tuesday, Senate Republicans blocked two election security bills: John Thune blocked the Honest Ads Act, sponsored by Amy Klobuchar, and John Kennedy blocked the Election Security Act by Dick Durbin.
  161. On Wednesday, Axios reported an internal White House memo on cybersecurity from the Office of the Chief Information Security Officer warned the White House is at risk of being “electronically compromised.”
  162. At least a dozen high-ranking officials have resigned or been pushed out of the cybersecurity missionestablished under Obama to protect the White House from Russian hacking and other threats.
  163. On Thursday, the Senate confirmed Justin Walker, an ex-Kavanaugh clerk deemed “Not Qualified” by the American Bar Association, for a seat on the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Kentucky.
  164. On Wednesday, a Quinnipiac poll found 59% believe Trump pursued his personal interests in Ukraine, while 33% said he was acting in the U.S.’s interests. Approval for an impeachment inquiry held steady at 55%.
  165. On Wednesday, the Daily Caller reported it spoke to the 53 Republican senators about impeachment, and only seven completely ruled it out.
  166. On Wednesday, Trump lashed out at Democrats and the impeachment probe in a storm of tweets and retweets that started after midnight and continued into the early dawn.
  167. Trump attacked the impeachment inquiry, saying, “The Witch Hunt continues!” and “The Democrats Scam goes on and on! They Do Nothing!” and, “It never ends. The Do Nothing Dems are terrible!”
  168. Trump also tweeted, “Where is the Whistleblower?” and “The Do Nothing Dems case is DEAD!” and continued his rants about closed-door hearings, quoting other calling it “shady backroom tactics” and a “mockery.”
  169. On Wednesday, Laura Cooper, the Pentagon official who oversees Ukraine policy, was scheduled to testify before the three House committees behind closed doors on the White House decision to withhold Ukraine aid.
  170. NYT reported the Pentagon sent a letter to Cooper on Tuesday, signed by David Norquist, the No. 2 Pentagon official, warning her not to speak to Congress. She was subpoenaed by the House same day and appeared.
  171. On Wednesday, dozens of House Republicans, led by House Minority Whip Steve Scalise, stormed the secure facility where the committees were holding hearings, after Trump demanded the GOP “get tough and fight.”
  172. At a news conference before entering the hearing, House Republicans spoke to the press, calling the impeachment process as a “sham,” and lambasting House Democrats for closed door hearings.
  173. Trump ally Rep. Matt Gaetz told reporters, “Behind those doors they intend to overturn the results of an American presidential election. We want to know what’s going on.”
  174. Bloomberg reported that Trump knew in advance of House Republicans’ plan to disrupt the hearings, and approved of it. Members of the House Freedom Caucus chanted, “Let us in! Let us in!”
  175. Axios reported 13 of the 41 House Republicans who were on a list compiled by Gaetz as planning to storm the hearings were part of the three House committees allowed inside the hearings already.
  176. Chair Schiff delayed the hearing, and consulted with the House’s sergeant-at-arms on removing the protesters. Schiff also threatened House Republicans with ethics violations.
  177. The protest violated House rules on entering a Sensitive Compartmented Information Facility (SCIF) during a classified hearing, including bringing in electronic devices which are strictly prohibited inside.
  178. Rep. Alex Mooney tweeted the audio of a phone call he made inside the SCIF, adding “My report from inside the SCIF hearing room where we are exposing Adam Schiff’s secret so-called impeachment inquiry.
  179. On Wednesday, House Homeland Security Committee Chair Bennie Thompson asked the sergeant-at-arms to “take action with respect to the members involved in the breach,” and remind them of protocol.
  180. Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy excused cellphones brought in, saying, “These are individuals who have never been in Intel Committee before or anywhere else. So it’s nothing serious from that matter.”
  181. The WSJ Editorial Board, a newspaper owned by Rupert Murdoch, said in an op-ed titled, “Schiff’s Secret Bombshells,” that if the testimony about Trump is so damning, “why not make it public?
  182. After a five-hour delay caused by House Republicans, Cooper testified for more than three hours, starting around 3 p.m. The SCIF required a full security sweep before the deposition resumed.
  183. On Wednesday, top Republicans on the three House committees demanded in a letter to Chair Schiff that he bring the whistleblower in to testify publicly.
  184. On Wednesday, Trump tweeted Republicans who do not support him are “human scum,” saying, “The Never Trumper Republicans…are in certain ways worse and more dangerous…than the Do Nothing Democrats.”
  185. Trump also attacked Taylor and his lawyer of both being “Never Trumpers.” Taylor served as a diplomat starting under Ronald Reagan, and was asked by Pompeo to take over as ambassador after Marie Yovanovitch was ousted.
  186. On Thursday, press secretary Grisham defended Trump’s “human scum” remark on “Fox & Friends,” saying, “The fact that people continue to try and negate anything that he’s doing…they deserve strong language.”
  187. On Friday, White House counselor Kellyanne Conway distanced herself from Trump’s “human scum” remark, telling reporters “I would have used different words.”
  188. On Thursday, a female reporter for conservative Washington Examiner said Conway described herself as a “powerful woman” and threatened to investigate the reporter’s personal life for mentioning Conway’s husband.
  189. Conway denied threatening the reporter on Friday, despite the Examiner publishing a transcript of the call, saying, “I never threatened anyone,” and “If I threaten someone you’ll know it.”
  190. On Wednesday, NYT reported that high-level Ukrainian officials knew about the aid freeze by the first week in August, undercutting Trump’s denial of a quid pro quo based on Ukrainians not knowing about it.
  191. Ukrainians were told they should reach out to Mulvaney to address aid being frozen. On September 1, Sondland, Volker, and Giuliani drafted a statement for Zelensky to deliver to say he was opening an investigation.
  192. Taylor said Zelensky met with Sens. Ron Johnson and Christopher Murphy on September 5 in Kiev, and was told he should “not jeopardize bipartisan support by getting drawn into U.S. domestic politics.”
  193. On Wednesday, NYT reported White House aides feared another Ukraine back channel involving Kashyap Patel, a former aide to Rep. Devin Nunes, who helped the committee try to undermine the Russia investigation.
  194. When the GOP lost the House, Patel moved to Trump’s NSC staff and won his ear advancing unsubstantiated facts. Trump referred to Patel as one of his top Ukraine policy specialist, though he works on counterterrorism.
  195. On Wednesday, speaking at the annual Shale Insight Conference in Pittsburgh, Trump said, “we’re building a wall in Colorado,” which is not on the U.S. border. It was unclear what he meant.
  196. Trump added, “you can’t get over, you can’t get under.” Some supporters gave Trump standing ovation. He added, “And we’re not building a wall in Kansas, but they get the benefit of the walls that we just mentioned.”
  197. On Wednesday, NYT reported that Steve Bannon has started a radio show called “War Room” from his home in Washington, where he and Trump loyalists offer advice for Trump on handling the impeachment inquiry.
  198. On Thursday, Trump thanked House Republicans for storming the SCIF, tweeting, “Thank you to House Republicans for being tough, smart, and understanding in detail the greatest Witch Hunt in American History.”
  199. On Thursday, NYT reported after a meeting between Trump and McConnell on Monday evening, Trump complained privately that Senate Republicans were not doing enough to protect him from House Democrats.
  200. At a White House lunch on Thursday, Trump complained to Senate Republicans that he was a victim of never-ending political assaults by his enemies wielding an unfair process, claiming he has done nothing wrong.
  201. Privately, White House officials conceded they are losing the messaging battle, as Democrats prepare to call a string of high-profile witnesses in public hearings that could start as soon as mid-November.
  202. On Thursday, shortly after the lunch with Trump, Sen.Graham pulled another stunt, claiming he had 44 Republicans, including McConnell, as co-sponsors on a resolution to condemn the House’s impeachment inquiry.
  203. On Thursday, WSJ reported Trump’s White House instructed federal agencies not to renew their subscription to the NYT and WAPO, saying in an email that not renewing “will be a significant cost saving.”
  204. On Thursday, WAPO reported White House trade representative Robert Lighthizer withdrew a recommendation to restore some of Ukraine’s trade privileges in late August, after John Bolton warned him Trump would oppose it.
  205. Bolton told Lighthizer Trump would be against action that benefited Ukraine. It is not clear if Trump directed Bolton to intervene on trade privileges or if he was aware of the discussion.
  206. In his testimony before Congress on Tuesday, Taylor said that Tim Morrison, the National Security Council’s top Russia official, told him on August 22, “The president doesn’t want to provide any assistance at all.”
  207. A White House official told the Post the presidential proclamation about the trade status of Ukraine was held up, along with that of two other countries, as part of a routine “country review process.”
  208. In March 2018, Trump reauthorized the program through 2020. In early October, Lighthizer sent paperwork to the White House again, then withdrew it on October 17 amid the storm of the impeachment inquiry.
  209. The regime now plans to restore some of Ukraine’s suspended privileges in a package of measures later this month. Bolton resigned September 10, one day before Ukraine’s military aid was released.
  210. On Thursday, CNN reported that Tim Morrison, a top Russia and Europe adviser on Trump’s NSC who was mentioned 15 times in Taylor’s opening statement, is scheduled to testify next week before the House committees.
  211. Morrison is a current White House official, and he will be the first witness who was on the July 25 phone call. Morrison is expected to use his notes as a basis for this testimony and corroborate Taylor’s testimony.
  212. On Friday, Politico reported according to his attorney, Tim Morrison plans to testify before Congress in the impeachment probe next Thursday, even if the White House attempts to block him.
  213. On Friday, NBC News reported lawyers for Bolton have been in contact with officials for the three House committees about his possibly testifying in the impeachment probe.
  214. On Friday, Bolton aid Charles Kupperman, a former top national security aide to Trump, asked a federal court to rule on whether he must comply with a House subpoena and testify in the impeachment inquiry.
  215. On Wednesday, Trump’s private attorney William Consovoy told a federal appeals court that a sitting president could not be prosecuted while in office, even for shooting someone in the middle of Fifth Avenue.
  216. Consovoy also argued immunity extended to Trump’s business, the Trump Org., and asked the court to block a subpoena for Trump’s tax returns from the Manhattan DA, calling it “a bad faith effort to harass” Trump.
  217. On Wednesday, a federal judge ordered the State Department to begin releasing Ukraine-related records, including communications between Trump and Giuliani, to House impeachment investigators in 30 days.
  218. The release was ordered after a lawsuit filed by a government watchdog group, American Oversight, on October 1. The lawsuit also seeks documents related to the recall of Yovanovitch.
  219. On Wednesday, State Department counselor T. Ulrich Brechbuhl headed a delegation to Greenland, which Trump tried to buy in August. House Democrats are seeking Brechbuhl’s testimony about the July 25 call.
  220. On Thursday, Trump’s DOJ filed a lawsuit against California, saying the state’s emissions-trading system with Quebec is an unconstitutional foray in the federal government’s role of collaborating with foreign countries.
  221. On Thursday, Education Secretary Betsy DeVos was held in contempt of court and fined $100,000 after violating a court order to stop collecting student loans from defunct for-profit Corinthian College.
  222. On Thursday, A. Wayne Johnson, a top education official appointed by DeVos, resigned and called for canceling most of the outstanding student loans, saying the student-loan system is “fundamentally broken.”
  223. On Thursday, Politico reported that the National Archives and Records Administration launched a probe of Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross’ use of private emails for official business based on an article in the Post.
  224. On Thursday, the House Transportation Committee issued a subpoena to the General Services Administration seeking financial records on the Trump Hotel DC, which is housed on federally-owned land.
  225. On Friday, WSJ reported that the Trump Organization is exploring a sale of Trump Hotel DC, motivated in part by continuing accusations that Trump is flouting government ethics by profiting from the property.
  226. On Friday, Judge Beryl Howell ordered the DOJ to release all secret grand jury materials in the Mueller probeto the House Judiciary Committee, citing its possible use as Congress is conducting an impeachment inquiry.
  227. Judge Howell gave the DOJ until Wednesday to turn over materials, saying the committee has shown it needs the materials cited in the Mueller Report “to avoid a possible injustice in the impeachment inquiry.”
  228. Judge Howell turned down the White House Counsel’s office argument that the House did not vote on impeachment, saying “a House resolution has never, in fact, been required to begin an impeachment inquiry.”
  229. On Friday, acting Homeland Security Secretary Kevin McAleenan said in response to a House Homeland Security Committee subpoena that he will not testify next Wednesday, one day before departing office.
  230. On Friday, NYT reported career civil-servants are facing unprecedented legal bills under Trump. Legal advice for testifying in the impeachment inquiry can cost $15,000 or more. Some have asked for donations.
  231. On Friday, NBC News reported Giuliani had mistakenly dialed an NBC reporter and left a three-minute long voicemail message at 11:07 p.m., during which he was speaking to someone else in the room.
  232. On the voicemail Giuliani says, “I expected it would happen…The minute you touch on one of the protected people, they go crazy. They come after you,” seeming to refer to Democrats. The other man says, “You got the truth on your side”
  233. Giuliani can be heard saying, “I gotta get you to get on Bahrain.” He later says, “Is Robert around?” and when the other man answers he is in Turkey, Giuliani says, “The problem is we need some money.”
  234. On Friday, Maria Butina, who infiltrated conservative U.S. political groups as Trump rose to power, was released from prison after serving an 18-month sentence. She is expected to be immediately deported to Russia.
  235. During her flight back to Moscow, the crew of Aeroflot escorted her to business class, where Russia-state media outlet RT and Sputnik heralded her return. She received a hero’s welcome back in Moscow.
  236. On Thursday, Trump pressured the Federal Reserve, tweeting it would be “derelict in its duties if it doesn’t lower the Rate” ahead of the Fed’s meeting next week, and added the Fed is “way too slow to cut!”
  237. On Friday, the Treasury Department announced the U.S. deficit hit $984 billion in 2019, up 26% in the past year, and the largest deficit in 7 years. When Trump took office, budget deficit was $665 billion in 2017.
  238. Overall, after Trump campaigned on eliminating the deficit in eight years, the deficit is up 50% in the Trump era. The Trump regime did not defend the increased deficit, but blamed Congress for not cutting expenditures.
  239. On Friday, Treasury Secretary Mnuchin said the U.S. is close to finalizing phase one of a trade deal with China. Trump held a ceremony in the Oval Office and bragged on Twitter that this phase was complete in Week 152.
  240. On Friday, after Trump announced he would attend Game 5 of the World Series, the Nationals announced that José Andrés, a naturalized citizen from Spain and long-time critic of Trump, would throw the first pitch.
  241. On Friday, Major League Baseball umpire Rob Drake apologized, after sending tweets warning that if Trump is impeached, “ YOU WILL HAVE ANOTHER CIVAL WAR!!! #MAGA2020.”
  242. On Friday, former presidents Obama and Clinton, Speaker Pelosi, and Hillary Clinton eulogized Rep. Elijah Cummings at a funeral in Baltimore. Trump did not attend. The White House did not respond as to why.
  243. Maya Rockeymoore Cummings, the wife of Rep. Cummings, said the “attacks on his beloved city,” Baltimore, had “hurt” and been personally painful for him in his final days, without mentioning Trump by name.
  244. On Friday, Trump spoke to reporters at the White House, dismissing the need for an impeachment team, saying, “I don’t have teams, everyone’s talking about teams,” adding, “I’m the team. I did nothing wrong.”
  245. Trump also warned of a recession, saying, “If anything ever happened with this phony witch hunt that the Democrats are doing…I really believe you’d have a recession-depression, the likes of which this country hasn’t seen.”
  246. Later Friday, Trump spoke at Benedict College in South Carolina, a historically black college. Fewer than 10 students were given tickets. More than half the 300 seats were reserved for allies, some from out of state.
  247. In an hour long speech on criminal justice, Trump claimed he had done more for black people than any other president, and belittled Obama’s record, saying he had done “not too much” for black people.
  248. Later Friday, Trump tweeted an apparent reference to his new iPhone, saying to Apple CEO Tim Cook, “To Tim: The Button on the IPhone was FAR better than the Swipe!”
  249. Trump also attacked the impeachment inquiry, tweeting, “The entire Impeachment Scam was based on my perfect Ukrainian call,” adding, “The Democrats must end this Scam now. Witch Hunt!”
  250. Trump complained, “Democrats just announced that they no longer want the Whistleblower to testify,” falsely claiming that the whistleblower complaint “bore NO RELATIONSHIP to the call itself.”
  251. Trump also threatened to sue Democrats, tweeting, “My lawyers should sue the Democrats and Shifty Adam Schiff for fraud!”
  252. On Friday, WAPO reported as the week comes to a close, a frustrated Trump has realized White House efforts to block witnesses from testifying have failed, and the inquiry poses a serious threat to his keeping power.
  253. Trump brought back criminal defense attorneys, Jane and Marty Raskin, who were part of his legal team during the Mueller probe, an acknowledgement the fact are bad, and they need to get in front of them.
  254. White House officials have also begun holding regular strategy sessions, some time in the Situation Room, and are considering adding veteran impeachment lawyers and communications specialists to the team.
  255. The belated scramble showed the strategy of claiming in a White House letter, much of which Trump dictated, that the impeachment inquiry was invalid has failed. Nine key figures have already testified in the inquiry.
  256. Judge Howell’s ruling took away counsel Pat Cipollone’s main argument that the House impeachment inquiry was not legally authorized. Trump expressed anger at people testifying, asking why they cannot be stopped.
  257. On Saturday, Trump denied WAPO reporting, tweeting, “The Fake Washington Post keeps doing phony stories,” adding he is not concerned “because I did nothing wrong,” and adding, “Witch Hunt continues!”
  258. Trump also lashed out at Pelosi, tweeting her San Francisco district “is in such horrible shape that the City itself is in violation of many sanitary & environmental orders,” adding, “all she works on is Impeachment.”
  259. Trump also quoted Fox News host Tucker Carlson, tweeting, “Not a single American citizen has been charged with anything related to Russian Collusion.” This is false. Trump added, “It was all an illegal Witch Hunt!”
  260. On Friday, Microsoft was awarded a $10 billion contract for the Joint Enterprise Defense Infrastructure over Amazon. Trump had threatened to intervene in July. In a statement, Amazon said it was surprised.
  261. On Saturday, CNN reported that in a new biography, “Holding The Line: Inside Trump’s Pentagon with Secretary Mattis,” former Defense Secretary James Mattis said Trump told him to “screw Amazon” on the contract.
  262. On Saturday, WAPO reported CertiPath, a company with financial ties to Trump’s younger brother Robert, was awarded a $33 million government contract, raising protests over possible favoritism by the two other bidders.
  263. On Saturday, Phil Reeker, the assistant Secretary of State for Europe and Eurasian Affairs, testified in the impeachment inquiry. Trump ally Rep. Jim Jordan asked in a letter to postpone Reeker’s Saturday deposition.

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Tuesday, Oct. 22, 2019, Russian President Vladimir Putin, right, and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan shake hands after a joint news conference, hours before a five-day cease-fire between Turkish troops and Kurdish fighters in northeastern Syria was set to expire, in Sochi, Russia. Russia and Turkey reached an agreement that would cement their power in Syria, deploying their forces across nearly its entire northeastern border to fill the void left by President Donald Trump’s abrupt withdrawal of U.S. forces.

POLITIKS OF GRAFFITI 153: KURDISH “DELIGHT” a.k.a. “GENOCIDE”

OCTOBER 12, 2019

Week 152

Experts in authoritarianism advise to keep a list of things
subtly changing around you, so you’ll remember. https://theweeklylist.org/weekly-list/week-152/
EGN1-3uUUAAwUSQ
The Fraudfather made Zelensky “an offer he couldn’t refuse”. – Jim Carrey

In addition to the number of not normal items surging since the start of the impeachment inquiry, Trump’s Twitter activity has proliferated — in one 25 minute span on Friday alone, he sent 33 tweets! In past weekly lists, we have covered that the potency of his tweets have had decreased, both in impact and visibility, as his time in office wears on. Also, notably, the media coverage of Trump’s frenzied tweeting has dropped off, making it harder each week to find sources that put what amounts to official pronouncements from the leader of our country into some context (and for me to link to for historical purposes).

IMG_2957
At Ocean Beach in San Diego, CA 8oct19

In the past two weeks, there has been a striking shift in the country’s sentiment towards impeachment — approval of not only an inquiry, but also removing Trump, has shifted in favor. Thus far, breaking news coming from our media has done most of the fact finding and informing. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi is keeping the focus of the inquiry narrow, but with reporting gushing out the scope of the July 25 Trump-Ukraine call has broadened in several different subplots which are commensurately unfolding.

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Ocean Beach, San Diego, CA 8oct19
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“Stay Woke” – San Diego, CA oct2019
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He has some supporters in San Diego. oct2019 – california

This week Trump abruptly pulled U.S. troops from Syria, enabling possible genocide by Turkey against the Kurds who fought alongside us, and allowing ISIS fighters to escape and regroup. It’s a calamity of our times — and yet few voices in the Republican Party, let alone the decorated military officials who served in the Trump regime, are willing to speak out. If anyone had doubts of how close we are to becoming an authoritarian state, this week’s list will remind you.

  1. On Saturday, Politico reported U.S. District Judge Amy Berman Jackson ordered the White House to preserve records of all of Trump’s dealings with foreign leaders, including his interactions with Ukraine.
  2. On Saturday, Trump called for Sen. Mitt Romney’s impeachment, tweeting, without evidence, Utahnsconsider their vote for him “a big mistake,” and calling him “a fool” who plays into the hands of Democrats.
  3. Trump also tweeted, “So Crooked Hillary Clinton can delete and acid wash 33,000 emails AFTER getting a Subpoena,” adding, “but I can’t make one totally appropriate telephone call,” calling it a “Witch Hunt!”
  4. Trump also tweeted, “the first so-called second hand information “Whistleblower” got my phone conversation almost completely wrong, so now word is they are going to the bench.” This claim is false.
  5. Trump also tweeted that the other ““Whistleblower” is coming in from the Deep State,” falsely claiming, “also with second hand info,” adding, “Meet with Shifty. Keep them coming!”
  6. On Saturday, Axios reported on a conference call with House Republicans on Friday, Trump said he called Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky on July 25 at the urging of Energy Secretary Rick Perry.
  7. Trump claimed he did not want to make the call, signaling a new shift in strategy to distance himself. According to texts revealed in Week 151, Rudy Giuliani was the person pushing Trump to call. Perry is not mentioned.
  8. On Monday, AP reported businessmen and GOP donors used ties to Trump and Giuliani to install new board members at Ukraine’s massive state gas company Naftogaz under former president Petro Poroshenko.
  9. When Zelensky took office, Sec. Perry met with him and advanced a board slate for Naftogaz that included a past GOP donor from Texas. It is unclear if Perry’s efforts were coordinated with those of Giuliani’s allies.
  10. On Saturday, USA Today reported Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell is fundraising off impeachment in a new campaign ad on Facebook, saying “the way that impeachment stops is a Senate majority.”
  11. On Sunday, in an op-ed, Joe Biden said of Trump’s time in office, “It all comes down to the abuse of power. That is the defining characteristic of the Trump presidency,” adding, “You won’t destroy me” or my family.
  12. On Sunday, in a series of tweets, Trump attacked Joe Biden, saying, “It is INCREDIBLE to watch and read the Fake News and how they pull out all stops to protect Sleepy Joe Biden” and his “thrown out of the Military son.”
  13. Trump tweeted Hunter Biden “was handed $100,000 a month (Plus,Plus) from a Ukrainian based company, even though he had no experience in energy” and got “1.5 Billion Dollars from China despite no experience.”
  14. Trump added, “The Biden family was PAID OFF, pure and simple!” calling on the “fake news” to “stop making excuses for something that is totally inexcusable.” All of Trump’s statements in the tweets are false.
  15. On Sunday, Trump accused the House Speaker of treason, tweeting, “Pelosi knew of all of the many Shifty Adam Schiff lies and massive frauds” and “illegal meetings with a highly partisan “Whistleblower” & lawyer.”
  16. Trump added, “This makes Nervous Nancy every bit as guilty as Liddle’ Adam Schiff for High Crimes and Misdemeanors, and even Treason,” adding they must “be immediately Impeached!
  17. On Sunday, NBC News reported a second whistleblower has come forward, who, according to the attorney for the first whistleblower, “has first-hand knowledge” of Trump’s call with the Ukrainian president.
  18. The second whistleblower did not plan to file a separate complaint, and is entitled to legal protections for cooperating with the inspector general. On Sunday shows, Republicans brushed off the second whistleblower.
  19. On Sunday, Columbia Journalism Review reported the White House refused to send a representative on the Sunday talk shows. Host on major Sundays shows pushed back on Trump allies and their talking points.
  20. On Sunday, Sen. Lindsey Graham said on Fox News “Sunday Morning Futures” if the whistleblower allegations “are turned into an impeachment article,” he “will make sure” the whistleblower faces public questioning.
  21. On Sunday, in a contentious interview with “Meet the Press” host Chuck Todd, Sen. Ron Johnson said he does not trust the CIA or FBI, and parroted Trump citing Ukraine helped Hillary Clinton in the 2016 election.
  22. ABC host George Stephanopoulos said to Rep. Jim Jordan on Trump’s asking of China, “You’re telling us not to believe what we’ve seen with our own eyes,” and “you still can’t say whether you think it’s right or wrong.”
  23. On Monday, House Democrats took the extraordinary steps to protect the whistleblower of considering testimony at a remote location and obscuring their appearance and voice, after repeated threats by Trump.
  24. Democrats are concerned that without precautions, Republicans on the House Intelligence Committee could leak the identity. The whistleblower’s attorney is also in talks with the Senate Intelligence Committee.
  25. On Monday, Vanity Fair reported although Sen. Romney will not primary Trump in 2020, his aides say he is casting himself as “the lone voice of conscience,” to sway other Republicans as impeachment unfolds.
  26. On Sunday, WSJ reported Attorney General William Barr is sparking discord with long-time allies Italy, Australia, and the U.K. by working outside the usual channels in his investigation of the investigators.
  27. On Barr, Sen. Graham said, “He is simply doing his job,” while ranking Democrat of the Senate Intelligence Committee, Mark Warner warned, “This could put the Five Eyes relationship in jeopardy.”
  28. On Sunday, the Sunday Times reported British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, in an unprecedented move, will challenge Queen Elizabeth II to fire him rather resign, in an attempt to drive through Brexit on October 31.
  29. Late Sunday, after speaking to Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Trump for a second time in a year upended U.S. strategy in Syria, abruptly announcing the withdrawal of U.S. troops, abandoning Kurdish allies.
  30. Former defense secretary James Mattis resigned after Trump first threatened to pull out troops in December 2018 after his call with Erdogan. Mattis however did not speak out publicly this week.
  31. Some senior Pentagon officials were blindsided by Trump’s decision. In a White House statement Sunday and in Trump’s tweets Monday, Trump cited the U.S. shouldering too much of the cost of fighting ISIS.
  32. On Monday, Trump tweeted, “It is time for us to get out of these ridiculous Endless Wars, many of them tribal, and bring our soldiers home,” and, “WE WILL FIGHT WHERE IT IS TO OUR BENEFIT, AND ONLY FIGHT TO WIN.”
  33. On Monday, AP reported State Department and Pentagon officials held out hopes of persuading Turkey to abandon its expected invasion. Kurds had fought alongside U.S. forces for years in taking on ISIS.
  34. Sen. Graham called it “a major blunder,” and “an impulsive decision.” Leader McConnell warned “a precipitous withdrawal” would benefit Russia, Iran, and Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, and help ISIS regroup.
  35. Brett McGurk, the former U.S. envoy for the global coalition against ISIS who resigned with Mattis, tweeted Trump “is not a Commander-in-Chief,” and, “He makes impulsive decisions with no knowledge or deliberation.”
  36. Later Monday, Trump tweeted, “if Turkey does anything that I, in my great and unmatched wisdom, consider to be off limits, I will totally destroy and obliterate the Economy of Turkey.” It was unclear what Trump meant.
  37. When asked about Turkey attacking the Kurds, Trump told reporters “I have told Turkey that if they do anything outside of what we would think is humane..they could suffer the wrath of an extremely decimated economy.”
  38. Later, responding to widespread Republican and evangelical Christian leaders’ criticism, Trump defended himself, saying he had “consulted with everybody,” and adding, “I could name other people who are thrilled.”
  39. On Monday, former secretary of state Republican Colin Powell said, “The Republican Party has got to get a grip on itself” as GOP lawmakers flocked to defend Trump, adding, our foreign policy is “in shambles right now.”
  40. On Tuesday, Trump tweeted, “We may be in the process of leaving Syria, but in no way have we Abandoned the Kurds, who are special people,” adding, “Turkey, a NATO and Trading partner, has been very good.”
  41. Trump added, “any unforced or unnecessary fighting by Turkey will be devastating to their economy and to their very fragile currency.” On Tuesday night, Turkish forces were seen moving into the area.
  42. On Tuesday, Trump also tweeted, “Turkey is an important member in good standing of NATO,” adding Erdogan “is coming to the U.S. as my guest on November 13th. #ENDENDLESSWARS”
  43. On Tuesday, Sen. Graham threatened Turkey on Twitter with “sanctions from hell” if they move into Syria. Graham said he could gather a veto-proof majority in the Senate.
  44. On Wednesday, Turkey launched an offensive against Kurdish fighters in northeastern Syria after U.S. troops pulled back. Erdogan announced the start of the campaign in a tweet.
  45. On Wednesday, Trump tweeted, “Fighting between various groups that has been going on for hundreds of years. USA should never have been in Middle East,” adding, “The stupid endless wars, for us, are ending!”
  46. Trump also tweeted, “GOING INTO THE MIDDLE EAST IS THE WORST DECISION EVER MADE … IN THE HISTORY OF OUR COUNTRY!” and “BIG PICTURE! THE USA IS GREATER THAN EVER BEFORE!”
  47. On Wednesday, Sen. Graham tweeted, “Pray for our Kurdish allies who have been shamelessly abandoned by the Trump Administration,” adding, “I urge President Trump to change course while there is still time.”
  48. Rep. Liz Cheney, also a reliable Trump ally prior, tweeted, “Trump’s decision to withdraw U.S. forces from northern Syria is having sickening and predictable consequences,” adding lawmakers “must and will act.”
  49. On Wednesday, Gulnur Aybet, Erdogan’s senior policy adviser, told CNN Trump and Erdogan “reached an understanding over precisely what this operation is,” adding Trump “knows what the scope of this operation is.”
  50. On Wednesday, NBC News reported intelligence officials warn the 12,000 ISIS fighters being guarded by Kurds, the world’s largest concentration of terrorists, could escape, regroup, and attack America and Europe.
  51. Later Wednesday, Trump defended his decision to abandon the Kurds, telling reporters, “They didn’t help us in the Second World War; they didn’t help us with Normandy.” This statement is factually incorrect and nonsensical.
  52. Trump also said the Kurds battled alongside U.S. forces for “their land,” adding, “With all of that being said, we like the Kurds,” and said it will not be hard for the U.S. to form new partnerships: “Alliances are very easy.”
  53. Asked about ISIS fighters escaping prisons, Trump said “they are going to be escaping to Europe…they want to go back to their homes,” adding, Turkey and the Kurds have “hated each other for many, many years.”
  54. On Friday, BBC reported at least 11 Kurdish civilians along with dozens of fighters were killed as Turkey moved into northern Syria. Tens of thousands of civilians fled their homes.
  55. On Friday, Sen. Graham pleaded with Trump to “change course while you still can,” adding, “the reemergence of ISIS is on the way,” and the “ability to recruit partners to fight radical Islam…has been virtually destroyed.”
  56. On Friday, AP reported as Turkey captured more Kurdish-held villages in the border region, aid agencies have warned of a humanitarian crisis, with nearly a half-million people at risk near the border.
  57. Kurdish forces guarding prisons holding more than 10,000 Islamic State members were forced to abandon their posts. Putin said he doubts the Turkish army has resources to control the prison camps, and warned of mobilizing.
  58. On Friday, Defense Secretary Mark Esper confirmed the Pentagon planned to send an additional 2,000 troops and equipment to Saudi Arabia, “to assure and enhance the defense of Saudi Arabia.”
  59. On Friday, Trump told reporters, “Saudi Arabia at my request has agreed to pay us for everything we are doing. That is a first,” and, “we appreciate that,” adding, “Saudi Arabia, and other countries soon now.”
  60. On Friday, a bipartisan group of House lawmakers, led by Foreign Affairs Committee Chair Eliot Engel drafted a resolution condemning Trump’s decision to pull troops. The four-page resolution does not rebuke Trump by name.
  61. On Friday, a Pentagon spokesperson confirmed U.S. troops in the vicinity of Kobani, Syria came under fire from a Turkish incursion. Earlier an official told NPR troops were departing, as strikes were “too close for comfort.”
  62. On Saturday, AFP reported Turkey stepped up its assault in Syria, defying threats of sanctions from Europe and the U.S. The United Nations said the operation has already displaced 100,000 people.
  63. On Saturday, CNN reported the commander of the Kurdish-led forces told the Deputy Special Envoy to the Global Coalition to Defeat ISIS, William Roebuck, on Thursday, “You are leaving us to be slaughtered.”
  64. On Monday, a federal judge in San Francisco warned Education Secretary Betsy DeVos she could send her to jail for ignoring a court order by continuing to collect debt payments from Corinthian Colleges students.
  65. On Tuesday, Leader McConnell’s re-election campaign touted a Politico report showing his wife, Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao’s record of granting meetings to Kentuckians, calling McConnell a “Kentucky Asset.”
  66. The Trump regime’s Bureau of Land Management announced it would make 725,000 acres of land in California’s central coast open to oil and gas lease sales, paving the way for more fracking after a five-year moratorium.
  67. On Wednesday, the Hill reported the Trump regime eliminated a decade-old, Obama-era advisory board that advised on smart grid innovation, as part of a Trump executive order to cut federal advisory boards by a third.
  68. On Friday, Sen. Gary Peters, the ranking member of the Senate’s Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, criticized Vice President Mike Pence for not sharing requested information on his recent stay at Trump’s Doonbeg resort.
  69. On Monday, WAPO reported Trump’s company canceled an event for anti-Muslim group ACT for Americascheduled for November 7 at Mar-a-Lago. ACT of America said Trump’s company had “caved to the Left’s bullying tactics.”
  70. On Wednesday, Esquire reported a forthcoming book on Trump called “All the President’s Women: Donald Trump and the Making of a Predator,” includes 43 new accusations of sexual misconduct against Trump.
  71. One of the 43, Karen Johnson, told the authors Trump grabbed her vagina without her consent and forcibly kissed her at Mar-a-Lago resort in the early 2000s. She said she was afraid to come forward because of who he was.
  72. On Wednesday, a neo-Nazi killed two people on Yom Kippur, after unsuccessfully trying to force his wayinside a synagogue in Halle, Germany, while broadcasting his rampage on Twitch.
  73. The WAPO Editorial Board warned of the connection to mass murders at a synagogue in Pittsburgh, mosques in New Zealand, and a Walmart in El Paso, and called for resources and attention to “the enemy within.”
  74. On Tuesday, NYT reported Western security officials have concluded an elite unit inside the Russian intelligence system, known as Unit 29155, has led a campaign to destabilize Europe over at least the past decade.
  75. The unit underscores Russian President Vladimir Putin’s efforts to use hybrid warfare including propaganda, hacking attacks, and disinformation — as well as military confrontation — in fighting the West.
  76. On Tuesday, the second report from the GOP-led Senate Intelligence Committee found Russians actively worked in 2016 to damage Hillary Clinton and bolster Trump, and that interference is likely again in 2020.
  77. The 85-page report, capping 2 1/2 years of work, urged lawmakers to take sweeping efforts to protect the 2020 election, including regulations that would require the disclosure of ad buyers on social media.
  78. The report found extensive Russian manipulation of Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, Twitter, Google, and other platforms. The goal was to divide Americans, suppress the African American vote, and help elect Trump.
  79. The report found “a vastly more complex and strategic assault on the United States than was initially understood,” citing in 2016 a “broader, sophisticated and ongoing information warfare campaign.”
  80. On Monday, CNBC reported Zelensky aides dined with former Trump officials, including Sean Spicer and former State Department and HHS officials, at the Trump Hotel DC, on April 16 to establish contacts.
  81. On Monday, the three Democrat House committee chairs subpoenaed the Pentagon and the Office of Management and Budget demanding documents pertaining to the delay in military funds to Ukraine.
  82. The committees gave until October 15, and warned failure to comply “shall constitute evidence of obstructionof the House’s impeachment inquiry and may be used as an adverse inference against you” and Trump.
  83. On Monday, former Ukraine envoy Kurt Volker stepped down as the head of the McCain Institute for International Leadership, amid fallout of his role in Trump’s efforts to get Ukraine to investigate his political opponents.
  84. On Monday, NBC News reported a dozen House Democrats called on Gordon Sondland to resign as U.S. ambassador to the E.U. ahead of his Congressional testimony on Tuesday, citing his Trump-Ukraine texts.
  85. On Tuesday, the White House blocked Sondland from testifying. Sondland had flown to Washington from Europe, and House committee members had returned from a two-week recess to hear his testimony.
  86. Sondland’s lawyers told House staff members that a State Department official left Sondland a voicemail at 12:30 a.m. the night before directing him not to appear before Congress.
  87. Trump tweeted, “I would love to send Ambassador Sondland, a really good man and great American, to testify,” adding, “but unfortunately he would be testifying before a totally compromised kangaroo court.”
  88. Shortly after, Chair Schiff told reporters of Sondland, “we are also aware that the ambassador has text messages or emails on a personal device which have been provided to the State Department.”
  89. WAPO reported the use of WhatsApp and other messaging services is fairly widespread at the State Department, but copies must be made. Officials noted the irony that Secretary of State Mike Pompeo “went ballistic on Hillary Clinton for that.”
  90. Shortly later, at a news conference of Trump House allies, Rep. Matt Gaetz added, “this impeachment is a kangaroo court and Chairman Schiff is acting like a malicious Captain Kangaroo.” It was unclear what he meant.
  91. In texts with Sondland and Volker, William Taylor wrote, “I think it’s crazy to withhold security assistance for help with a political campaign,” Sondland replied hours later, “I suggest we stop the back and forth by text.”
  92. On Tuesday, CNN reported after Trump’s July 25 call, anxiety and concern spread among National Security Council staffers that what Trump had said, particularly on investigating Biden, had crossed the line.
  93. Trump made the call from the third-floor White House residence, where he watches television and makes calls before noon. A number of aides were not in the room, but were in the Situation Room, or on their own lines.
  94. About a week later, the CIA’s top lawyer contacted the top lawyer on the National Security Council. At least one National Security Council official alerted the White House’s national security lawyers.
  95. The White House lawyers later ordered the transcript would be moved to a highly classified server as part of an effort to keep most people from seeing it outside of the executive branch.
  96. On Tuesday, ABC News reported a two-page memo written by the whistleblower a day after Trump’s call said one White House official described the call as “crazy” and “frightening.”
  97. The memo also said, “The official, who listened to the entirety of the phone call, was visibly shaken by what had transpired and seemed keen to inform a trusted colleague within the U.S. national security apparatus.”
  98. Trump tweeted “the so-called Whistleblower” said the call was “crazy, frightening, and completely lacking in substance,” calling it “a very big Lie.” This is false: an official described the call to the whistleblower.
  99. Sen. Graham, chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee, went on the offensive, calling Giuliani to testify. Democrats said they would welcome the opportunity. Giuliani said he had not decided if he would appear.
  100. On Tuesday, Trump had lunch with former GOP congressman Trey Gowdy, who led the House inquiry into Benghazi, about joining Trump’s legal team in the impeachment inquiry. It was unclear if Gowdy accepted.
  101. On Tuesday, a WAPO-Schar School poll found 58% approve of the House opening an impeachment inquiry, 38% disapprove — the first poll to find majority support. Notably, 3 in 10 Republicans support the inquiry.
  102. The poll also found that 49% say the House should take the step of impeaching Trump and removing him from office. Among independents, 57% support an inquiry and 49% say Trump should be removed.
  103. On Tuesday, an NBC/WSJ poll found 55% support an impeachment inquiry, the highest level this year. Just 39% say Congress should let Trump finish out his term, down from 50% in July.
  104. On Tuesday, the Trump regime declared war on the impeachment inquiry, saying in a letter to House Democrats it would not cooperate with what it called an illegitimate effort “to overturn the results of the 2016 election.”
  105. The letter from White House counsel Pat Cipollone cited the inquiry violated precedent and denied Trump’s due process rights, and saying neither he or the executive branch would provide documents or testimony.
  106. The eight-page letter said the inquiry “violates the Constitution, the rule of law, and every past precedent,” and the call transcript established “the call was completely appropriate and that there is no basis for your inquiry.”
  107. The letter said there is “no legitimate basis” for the inquiry Pelosi is calling “impeachment” already underwaybecause the full House has not voted. Trump however would not commit to cooperating if the House did vote.
  108. The letter added, “In order to fulfill his duties to the American people, the Constitution” Trump and his regime “cannot participate in your partisan and unconstitutional inquiry under these circumstances.”
  109. The move marks a complete shift from last week when Trump said of the inquiry, “I always cooperate” saying allegations were meritless, and marks a potentially precedent-setting move to non-cooperation.
  110. Speaker Pelosi said in a statement, “continued efforts to hide the truth of the president’s abuse of power from the American people will be regarded as further evidence of obstruction,” adding, “You will be held accountable.”
  111. The WAPO Editorial Board said of the letter, Trump “is asserting autocratic authority to ignore the people’s elected representatives and the Constitution,” calling it “a new stage in an already dangerous presidency.”
  112. On Thursday, in a letter, University of Chicago Law School classmates of Cipollone criticized him, saying by blocking material and witnesses from the impeachment inquiry, he “distorts the law and the Constitution.”
  113. Later Tuesday, Trump quoted a headline from conservative Washington Examiner, saying “The (big deal) Whistleblower had a ‘PROFESSIONAL TIE’ to 2020 Democratic Candidate,” calling it “A Witch Hunt Scam!”
  114. On Wednesday, Sen. Graham told “Fox & Friends” he planned to send a letter to Speaker Pelosi saying Republicans will not impeach Trump over the Ukraine call, adding, “They’re about to destroy the nation.”
  115. On Wednesday, Fox News cut ties with Gowdy as he accepted an offer to join Trump’s legal team for the impeachment inquiry. As a House Judiciary Chair, Gowdy had been an advocate of Congress’ oversight powers.
  116. On Wednesday, WAPO analyzed Republicans in the Senate on impeachment. To impeach, 20 Republicans would need to join Democrats. So far, 14 have expressed concerns, 39 support Trump unequivocally.
  117. On Wednesday, a Fox News poll found 51% believe Trump should be impeached and removed, 43% disagree — a 16 point net shift from July when 42% were for impeach and remove and 50% were against.
  118. On Thursday, Trump attacked Fox News, tweeting, “I have NEVER had a good @FoxNews Poll,” adding, “Whoever their Pollster is, they suck,” and
    Fox News “is also much different than it used to be in the good old days.”
  119. Trump also tweeted complaints about “people like Andrew Napolitano…Shep Smith, @donnabrazile…& others,” saying Fox News “doesn’t deliver for US anymore. It is so different than it used to be.”
  120. On Thursday, NYT reported Barr met privately with Rupert Murdoch at Murdoch’s home in New York on Wednesday evening. It was unclear who else attended or what was discussed.
  121. On Friday, Fox News host Shep Smith abruptly resigned during his show, after 23 years at the network since its founding in 1996. Smith said the decision was his own, but gave no explanation of why he was leaving.
  122. On Friday, when asked about the departure, Trump told reporters, “Is he leaving?” Oh, that’s a shame…Is he leaving because of terrible ratings? If he’s leaving, I assume he’s leaving for bad ratings…Well, I wish him well.”
  123. On Wednesday, NYT reported on email correspondence within the State Department, in which officials were urged to “play down” the release of Ukraine aid when it was finally released, saying, “nothing to see here.”
  124. The emails also revealed diplomats’ frustration with the unexpected freezing of funds that Congress had already approved. Emails from senior officials did not explain why funds were being withheld.
  125. On Wednesday, Trump sought to discredit the whistleblower, tweeting their facts “have been so incorrect,” and citing, “The Whistleblower has ties to one of my DEMOCRAT OPPONENTS.”
  126. Trump also tweeted, “The Whistleblower’s lawyer is a big Democrat.” The lawyer, Mark Zaid responded, saying he is a registered Independent, and that the whistleblower spent their government career in apolitical roles.
  127. On Wednesday, Pence refused to give reporters a straight answer on what he knew about Ukraine, dodging repeated questions,. Notably, Pence has not been able to say he did not know about Trump’s true interests.
  128. On Thursday, 16 prominent conservative lawyers called for an “expeditious” impeachment probe, saying Trump’s asking for Ukraine and China to investigate his political opponent violates his oath of office.
  129. On Wednesday, the three House committee chairs requested in a letter that Trump’s former Russia adviser Fiona Hill appear in a deposition on October 14, as well as turn over documents dating back to January 2017.
  130. On Thursday, NBC News reported Hill will appear before Congress next week, and plans to testify that Giuliani and Sondland circumvented the National Security Council and the normal White House process.
  131. Hill will testify that the two also side-stepped then NSA John Bolton, to pursue a shadow policy on Ukraine. Hill is a Russian hawk, and had wound down her role before the July 25 call. Giuliani said he did not know her.
  132. On Friday, Sondland ignored State Department and White House instructions, announcing he would appear before House investigators under subpoena next week.
  133. On Thursday, a NPR-Marist poll found 52% approve of an impeachment inquiry, 43% disapprove. There was 19 point shift in independents, from 50–44% disapprove in late September, to 54–41% approve.
  134. On Thursday, CNN reported Trump is spending hours each day sending frenzied tweets and calling allies on Capitol Hill as impeachment looms. Trump called Leader McConnell three times a day to stress GOP unity.
  135. Aides are setting up campaign rallies in the coming weeks as a way to channel his frustration. He will appear in Minneapolis Thursday, then his campaign is looking for a venue in Louisiana for Friday.
  136. After Joe Biden came out for impeachment, Trump told reporters, reading from a script, “No American should ever face such persecution from their own government,” adding, “Except, perhaps, your President.”
  137. On Wednesday, Bloomberg reported Trump pressed then-Secretary of State Rex Tillerson to help persuade the DOJ to drop a criminal case against Reza Zarrab, an Iranian-Turkish gold trader who was a client of Giuliani.
  138. Others who attended the 2017 meeting in the Oval Office were shocked by Trump’s request. Tillerson refused, and repeated his objections to then Chief of Staff John Kelly in the hallway. The DOJ did not drop the case.
  139. On Thursday, WAPO reported Erdogan personally lobbied Trump to get the charges against Zarrab dropped when they met at the White House in May 2017. Giuliani also made a pitch to the DOJ to have the charges dropped.
  140. When Trump made the request to Tillerson, two of Zarrab’s attorneys, Giuliani and Michael Mukasey, were also in the room. The two proposed swapping Zarrab for an American pastor in Turkish custody.
  141. The case against Zarrab was launched by Preet Bharara, whom Trump abruptly fired. Former Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein refused to meet with Giuliani, and then AG Jeff Sessions did not drop the case.
  142. On Thursday, Politico reported Graham received a hoax call in August, from a person he thought was Turkey’s minister of defense, but turned out to be two Russian pranksters, with possible ties to Russian intelligence.
  143. Graham mentioned Trump’s interest in a “Turkish bank case,” apparently referring to the case of Reza Zarrab. Graham also labeled the Kurds as a “threat” to Turkey — contradicting his current public position.
  144. On Monday, Miami Herald reported Lev Parnas and Igor Fruman, Giuliani allies who peddled information about Ukraine corruption involving Biden and Hillary Clinton, will not respond to a deadline for documents.
  145. The two Florida businessmen are represented by former Trump attorney, John Dowd, who also said his clients do not plan to appear for depositions scheduled for this week. House Democrats plan to subpoena the two.
  146. On Thursday, WSJ reported Parnas and Fruman were arrested late Wednesday on criminal charges for their alleged efforts to funnel foreign money into U.S. elections and influence U.S. politics.
  147. The two, both U.S. citizens born in Ukraine when it was a Soviet republic, were arrested while awaiting an international flight out of Dulles Airport, the day before one of them was scheduled to testify before Congress.
  148. The 21-page indictment alleges the two engaged in political activities on behalf of one or more Ukrainian government officials, including lobbying, targeting a GOP congressman for help, and removing Marie Yovanovitch.
  149. The indictment also alleges their political giving was funded in part by an unnamed Russian donor, and the two set up a limited liability company, LLC Global Energy Producers, to disguise the money.
  150. In May 2018 the LLC gave $325,000 to a pro-Trump super PAC, and Fruman made donations of $400,000, misspelling his name “to evade the reporting requirements.” The two gave over $1 million to Republicans.
  151. Parnas donated to and sought help from former Rep. Pete Sessions in removing Yovanovitch. Sessions then wrote a letter to Pompeo, saying Yovanovitch was “bad mouthing” Trump in private conversations.
  152. Parnas and Fruman had dinner with Trump in May 2018. In July, Parnas and Giuliani had breakfast with Volker. According to Volker’s testimony, Giuliani mentioned investigating Biden and 2016 election interference.
  153. The two set up a meeting between Giuliani and Ukraine’s then-prosecutor general, Yuri Lutsenko. Trump and Giuliani claim Joe Biden tried to have Lutsenko fired. Lutsenko has said Hunter Biden “did not violate anything.”
  154. Since late 2018, the two had introduced Giuliani to several current and former senior Ukrainian prosecutors, and were a conduit to find dirt on the Bidens. The three had lunch at the Trump Hotel in DC on Wednesday.
  155. Giuliani, who identified the two as clients in May, told Fox News on Thursday he found their arrest “extremely suspicious,” and is not representing them. John Dowd did not respond.
  156. On Thursday, the Atlantic reported Giuliani was planning to fly to Vienna Thursday night. When Parnas and Fruman were apprehended Wednesday night at Dulles, they were also headed to Vienna.
  157. On Thursday, federal prosecutors from the Southern District of New York formally announced federal campaign finance charges, and cited the importance of protecting U.S. elections from foreign influence.
  158. A DOJ official said Attorney General Barr was briefed on the investigation in February, and informed Wednesday night that the two were about to be arrested.
  159. On Thursday, shortly after the arrests were announced, the two were subpoenaed by the three House committee chairs for “key documents” that have not been produced as part of the impeachment inquiry.
  160. Hours later, the three House committee chairs also subpoenaed Sec. Rick Perry for documents related to the impeachment inquiry, giving him a deadline of October 18.
  161. On Thursday, Trump told reporters before leaving for Minneapolis that he hopes Giuliani does not get indicted, and that he does not know Parnas and Fruman, saying, “I don’t know those gentlemen.”
  162. Trump added, “it’s possible I have a picture with them, because I have a picture with everybody,” adding, “maybe they were clients of Rudy. You’d have to ask Rudy.” Trump is seen in several 2018 photos with the two men.
  163. Politico reported Parnas’ relationship with Trump may have begun earlier than previously reported. At Trump’s 2016 election night party, Parnas described himself as a friend of Trump who lived not far from Mar-a-Lago.
  164. Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy said he would donate the $111,000 given by the two to the House Republicans’ main fundraising committee to charity. Five Republican campaign committees received nearly $500,000.
  165. On Thursday, Andrey Kukushkin, a Ukrainian-born California businessman, was arrested in San Francisco on campaign finance violations and appeared in court. Kukushkin was named in the SDNY indictment.
  166. The fourth defendant named in the SDNY indictment is David Correia. The four are accused of disguising contributions to two Nevada state office candidates from a Russian businessman to obtain marijuana licenses.
  167. On Thursday, WAPO reported Barr visited Italy to investigate a conspiracy theory advanced by Trump and Giuliani that Joseph Mifsud was a Western intelligence plant working to discredit the Trump campaign.
  168. On Thursday, in an interview with Sebastian Gorka at the Daily Caller, Trump hammered his former attorney general Jeff Sessions, saying he was “a total disaster,” and “an embarrassment to the great state of Alabama.”
  169. On Thursday, WSJ reported lawyers for the whistleblower asked Congress if they can submit testimony in writing instead of appearing in person, citing safety concerns, and that their identity may be exposed.
  170. On Thursday, WSJ reported that NBCUniversal joined CNN in not running a Trump ad using an unsubstantiated claim Biden promised Ukraine $1 billion to fire the prosecutor investigating the company with ties to his son.
  171. The ad also accuses “media lap dogs” of aiding the Democrats with their impeachment efforts including CNN and MSNBC journalists. Facebook denied a request by the Biden campaign to take a similar ad down.
  172. On Wednesday, CNN reported Matt Drudge, an influential conservative journalist, is souring on Trump. His website has featured overwhelmingly negative news about Trump and impeachment in recent weeks.
  173. On Thursday, Rep. John Shimkus, who is retiring in 2020, said Trump’s decision to withdraw troops was “terrible and despicable,” adding he told his staff “to take my name off the I support Donald Trump list.”
  174. On Friday, Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan became the third Republican governor to support the impeachment inquiry.
  175. On Thursday, Michael Pillsbury, one of Trump’s China advisers, told the Financial Times, “I got a quite a bit of background on Hunter Biden from the Chinese.” Hours later on C-SPAN, he denied making the comment.
  176. FT’s Washington bureau chief tweeted an October 9 email from Pillsbury, saying exactly what was quoted. Later Thursday, Pillsbury later told the Post, “Most everything I learned was already public or well-known.”
  177. On Thursday, WAPO reported at least four national security officials were so alarmed by Trump’s actions toward Ukraine before and after the July 25 call that they raised concern with NSC legal adviser John Eisenberg.
  178. There is no inspector general equivalent in the White House. One official on the call went directly to Eisenberg. During the day, two more did. It is not clear if Eisenberg took any action after the call or from earlier reports.
  179. Also, within minutes of the call, senior officials including former NSA John Bolton were contacted by subordinates. Bolton and others scrambled to get a copy of the call transcript, which was already being “locked down.”
  180. On Thursday, Trump tweeted Zelensky said “Trump applied no pressure and did absolutely nothing wrong,” saying this should end the “Democrat Scam,” adding, “but it won’t, because the Dems & Media are FIXED!”
  181. On Thursday, CNN reported Trump’s new NSA, Robert O’Brien, told White House staff that he plans to cut the National Security Council staff by almost half, and increase the percentage of political appointees.
  182. On Monday, a federal judge rejected Trump’s lawsuit to block the Manhattan district attorney from obtaining his tax returns as part of an investigation into hush-money payments during the 2016 campaign.
  183. Judge Victor Marrero cited, “The Court cannot square a vision of presidential immunity that would place the President above the law,” and called the assertion Trump is immune from criminal inquiries “repugnant.”
  184. The judge also questioned the legal memos from White House lawyers in the 1970s that the DOJ had relied on, saying the arguments they made rely on “conjurings of remote prospects and hyperbolic horrors.”
  185. Trump’s lawyers appealed within minutes, saying, “For the first time in our nation’s history, a county prosecutor has subjected the sitting President of the United States to criminal process.”
  186. Trump tweeted the Democrats “have failed on all fronts, so now they are pushing local New York City and State Democratic prosecutors” to go after him,” and, “A thing like this has never happened to any President before.”
  187. On Wednesday, a federal appeals court said Deutsche Bank does not have Trump’s personal tax returns. The bank does have returns “for individuals and entities named in the subpoenas,” however.
  188. NYT reported current and former Deutsche Bank officials had previously said the bank had portions of Trump’s personal and corporate tax returns. It was unclear when the bank stopped retaining those returns.
  189. On Friday, a federal appeals court voted 2-1 to reject Trump’s appeal of a House subpoena for his tax returns with a Trump appointee, Circuit Judge Neomi Rao the dissenting vote. Trump will likely appeal.
  190. Later Friday, Trump’s personal attorneys filed an appeal, again claiming he is immune from criminal investigation. The DOJ filed a supporting brief, but stopped short of supporting the assertion he has absolute immunity.
  191. On Tuesday, DOJ attorney argued against turning over Mueller grand jury materials to House Democrats, citing a 1974 ruling to release normally secret grand jury materials to the House was incorrectly decided.
  192. The materials handed over in 1974 were a roadmap to Nixon’s impeachment. U.S. District Court Beryl Howell said, “Wow,” and added, “As I said, the department is taking extraordinary positions in this case.”
  193. On Friday, a federal judge ruled that Trump violated federal law when he declared a national emergency in February to get millions for building a wall on the southern border, and called the proclamation “unlawful.”
  194. On Friday, a federal judge blocked a Trump regime policy set to go into effect Tuesday known the “public charge” rule, which would have denied legal residency to immigrants who rely on public welfare.
  195. On Wednesday, Trump told reporters NBA coach Steve Kerr was a “scared little boy” afraid to answer, for not giving an opinion on the on Houston Rockets general manager Daryl Morey’s comments on China and human rights.
  196. Kerr later responded, saying he has met five presidents, “And all I could think of last night was the contrast of what has happened in 35 years,” and, “It’s just sad that it’s come crashing down…and “we’re now living this.”
  197. On Saturday, Trump tweeted, “So funny to watch Steve Kerr grovel and pander when asked a simple question about China. He chocked, and looks weak and pathetic,” adding, “Don’t want him at the White House!”
  198. On Tuesday, Trump attacked Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey, after the mayor sought a $530,000 deposit to defray expenses of a Trump rally, calling him a “lightweight mayor,” and adding, “Dump Frey and Omar!”
  199. Frey responded, tweeting, “Welcome to Minneapolis where we pay our bills” and suggested at a press conference that Trump should spend more time doing his job and less time “tweeting garbage out.”
  200. Later Tuesday, Trump again attacked the “Radical Left Dem Mayor of Minneapolis” saying he is “doing everything possible to stifle Free Speech,” adding, “despite a record sell-out crowd at the Target Center.”
  201. CNN reported the Trump campaign has not paid at least six cities for rally costs: El Paso, TX ($470k), Spokane, WA ($65k), Mesa, AZ ($64k), Eau Claire, WI ($47k), Lebanon, OH ($16k) ,and Burlington, VT ($8k).
  202. On Thursday, Trump held a campaign rally at Target Center. The rally drew thousands of protestors chanting “Lock him up!” and holding signs. Some protestors clashed with Trump supporters outside the rally.
  203. A new department policy banned off-duty police from wearing their uniform, so the police union made red t-shirt which said, “Cops for Trump.” Trump tweeted his support, “I LOVE the Cops for Trump shirts.”
  204. Trump attacked Biden and his family, saying Biden “was never considered smart. He was never considered a good senator. He was only a good vice president because he figured out how to kiss Barack Obama’s ass.”
  205. Trump called Hunter “a loser,” saying he knows “nothing about energy,” and “nothing about China,” adding, “Whatever happened to Hunter? Where the hell is he?…I have an idea for a new T-shirt…Where’s Hunter?”
  206. Trump also spent six-minutes attacking Rep. Ilhan Omar, as a photo of her wearing a headscarf flashed on jumbo screens, calling her an “America-hating socialist” and a “disgrace.”
  207. Trump also attacked Somali refugees, telling attendees he will “give local communities a greater say in refugee policy,” and, “You should be able to decide what is best for your own cities and for your own neighborhoods.”
  208. Trump also performed an impression of former FBI agent Peter Strzok and attorney Lisa Page having sex, saying, “I love you, Lisa,” and “I love you too, Peter” before moaning “Lisa, I love you, Lisa! Lisa! Oh, God, I love you.”
  209. On Friday, on a conference call with House Democrats, Speaker Pelosi said of Trump’s comments on Biden, he “has become a potty-mouth and children are listening,” adding, “this is beyond disgraceful.”
  210. On Friday, at his second rally in two days in Louisiana, Trump lashed out at Pelosi, calling her “Nervous Nancy,” saying she “hates this country,” and comparing the inquiry to a “nonstop battle to overturn your vote.”
  211. Trump also attacked impeachment, saying “The radical Democrats’ policies are crazy,” adding, “they know they can’t win on Election Day, so they’re pursuing an illegal … unconstitutional bullshit impeachment.”
  212. During the rally, Trump abruptly switched topics and aired his grievances, attacking Democrats, including Schiff who he said “made it up,” to creating an imaginary back-and-forth between Page and Strzok.
  213. Trump also defended his decision to pull troops from Syria, saying, “I am not president of the world. I am president of the United States of America,” adding, “We reject globalism. We embrace patriotism.”
  214. On Thursday, in an op-ed, 17 former Watergate special prosecutors said Trump should be impeached, citing “there exists compelling prima facie evidence that President Trump has committed impeachable offenses.”
  215. On Thursday, Michael McKinley, a career diplomat and senior adviser to Pompeo, resigned over plummeting morale at the department and Pompeo’s failure to support staffers ensnared in the Ukraine controversy.
  216. CNN reported one of the reasons McKinley resigned was over the silence in the top ranks at the State Department, who were not defending Yovanovitch.
  217. On Friday, Yovanovitch testified behind closed doors to House committees. She said a top State Department official told her Trump pushed for her removal, though the department believed she had “done nothing wrong.”
  218. Her opening statement said undermining loyal diplomats would embolden “bad actors” who will “see how easy it is to use fiction and innuendo to manipulate our system” and serve the interests of adversaries like Russia.
  219. She said allegations circulated by Giuliani allies that she was disloyal to Trump were “fictitious,” there was a “concerted campaign” against her, and the department had been under pressure from Trump to remove her.
  220. Yovanovitch said Deputy Secretary of State John Sullivan informed her Trump had lost confidence in her when she was recalled from Kiev. Later Friday, Trump nominated Sullivan to be U.S. ambassador to Russia.
  221. Yovanovitch said she had never inhibited efforts by Ukraine to combat corruption, and was not part of discussions on suspending aid, but said recent events would hamper Ukraine’s reform and defense against Russia.
  222. Yovanovitch warned private influence and personal gain could undermine U.S. interests, saying harm will come when “private interests circumvent professional diplomats for their own gain, not the public good.”
  223. On Friday, the White House accidentally sent talking points on Yovanovitch’s deposition to Democrats, the second time it did so this month on matters relating to Ukraine.
  224. The talking points encouraged turning the table and attacking Chair Schiff, and reminded Republicans not to be concerned with any information shared by Yovanovitch, because Trump “did nothing wrong.”
  225. On Friday, AP reported White House aides are disappearing amid impeachment talk, including Sunday shows and beyond. White House counselor Kellyanne Conway’s last press gaggle was on September 27.
  226. White House press secretary Stephanie Grisham has yet to hold a daily press briefing. It has been seven months since the last daily briefing. Deputy press secretary Hogan Gidley has also been absent.
  227. On Friday, Kevin McAleenan resigned as acting Secretary of Homeland Security, the fourth person to hold the position under Trump, who announced the departure on Twitter.
  228. McAleenan had become more isolated in recent week. He recently told the Post in an interview that he did not have control of “the tone, the message, the public face and approach” of his department.
  229. On Thursday, CNN reported the FBI and SDNY prosecutors are examining Giuliani’s financial dealings with Parnas and Fruman. Giuliani said he was not aware of any law enforcement scrutiny.
  230. On Thursday, when asked by CNN if Giuliani could be indicted, Trump said “I hope not,” adding, “You know, he’s got a lot of clients. So, I just don’t know. I haven’t spoken to Rudy about it, I don’t know.”
  231. On Friday, when asked by reporters if Giuliani was still his attorney, Trump said, “Well, I don’t know. I haven’t spoken to Rudy. I spoke to him yesterday briefly. He’s a very good attorney and he has been my attorney.”
  232. Later Friday, NYT reported Giuliani is also under investigation by federal prosecutors in the SDNY for violating foreign lobbying laws in his work in Ukraine. They are also examining his efforts to undermine Yovanovitch.
  233. Giuliani acknowledged he worked with Parnas and Fruman to collect damaging information on Yovanovitch and the Bidens, and shared materials with government officials and a Trump-friendly columnist.
  234. Federal law requires U.S. citizens to disclose to the DOJ contacts with the U.S. government or media at the direction or request of foreign politicians or government officials. Giuliani claimed he was working for Trump.
  235. Parnas and Fruman connected Giuliani to Lutsenko, Ukraine’s top prosecutor, who disliked Yovanovitch’s reform efforts and wanted her recalled, and saw Giuliani as a way to pass negative information to Trump.
  236. Parnas also told people Yovanovitch was blocking his efforts to pursue gas deals in Ukraine, and that one of his companies paid Giuliani hundreds of thousands of dollars.
  237. On Friday, in the late afternoon, Trump announced from the Oval Office that he had reached the first phase of a trade deal with China. Previously, Trump had insisted on a full-blown trade agreement, not a piecemeal deal.
  238. Trump also criticized the Federal Reserve, and repeated his call that they should cut rates again, saying, “We have a great economy, but we have a Federal Reserve that’s not in step with the rest of the world.”
  239. Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin pronounced from the Oval Office that the next round of tariffs would not go into effect. Wall Street initially cheered the partial deal, but soon cooled seeing no real resolution.
  240. On Saturday, USA Today reported a senior adviser to China’s government said the multiple delays in reaching a trade deal have been due in large part to actions by Trump, and his concerns about the 2020 election.
  241. On Saturday, Trump tweeted the deal with China is “by far, the greatest and biggest deal ever made for our Great Patriot Farmers in the history of our Country.” Both sides acknowledge a full resolution is a far way off.
  242. On Saturday, the Hill noted that after his remarks on Monday, Leader McConnell has refused to publicly comment on impeachment. He is also dealing with a growing number of GOP senators raising concerns.
  243. On Saturday, Trump tweed, “Schiff is a lying mess!” quoting a headline on “Fox & Friends” based on a Washington Examiner story that Schiff recruited two former NSC aides who worked alongside the whistleblower.
  244. On Saturday, Trump defended Giuliani, tweeting, “So now they are after the legendary “crime buster” and greatest Mayor in the history of NYC.” Giuliani formerly headed the SDNY, which is now investigating him.
  245. Trump also tweeted, “He may seem a little rough around the edges sometimes, but he is also a great guy and wonderful lawyer,” adding, “Such a one sided Witch Hunt going on in USA. Deep State. Shameful!”

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Former U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch is surrounded by lawyers, aides and journalists as she arrives at the U.S. Capitol October 11, 2019 in Washington, DC. Yovanovitch was invited to testify behind closed doors to the House Intelligence, Foreign Affairs and Oversight committees as part of the ongoing impeachment investigation against Trump.

POLITIKS OF GRAFFITI 151: A COURAGEOUS WHISTLEBLOWER

SEPTEMBER 28, 2019

Week 150

Experts in authoritarianism advise to keep a list of things
subtly changing around you, so you’ll remember. https://theweeklylist.org/weekly-list/week-150/

This week House Speaker Nancy Pelosi announced a formal impeachment inquiry of Trump. I’ve always had the sense that when we were finally on the road to the end of the Trump regime, the weekly list would ramp up big time. Week 150 has 225 not normal items, 10% more than any other week — a sign of the bedlam we will face as the truth slowly drips out, and Trump uses every means possible to distract from it and remain in power.

The impeachment inquiry, although narrow in scope, has already turned over and intertwined troubling items from earlier weekly lists, which like so many in the chaos, were normalized and forgotten. Although the impeachment inquiry is focused on Trump’s conversations and actions towards Ukraine, we already have reporting of similar cover-ups of communications with leaders from Russia and Saudi Arabia. As the inquiry expands it is also ensnaring others, including Rudy Giuliani and Attorney General William Barr, whose repeated efforts to cover up for Trump are gradually being assembled into a mosaic of behavior unbefitting his office.

It is remarkable that it took 150 weeks for a courageous whistleblower to bring Trump’s actions into the light of day, after all the highly decorated and reputable officials who worked for the regime at one time or another allowed Trump to operate our government in the fashion of a mob boss, and left in silence without speaking out or exposing corruption and criminal activity for the good of the country.

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“Rise up! Rise up armies of darkness! Bring me the whistleblowers, that I might suck the marrow from their bones and build my border wall with their traitorous skulls!!! If you wanna call that witness intimidation, fine.” – JIM CARREY
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Yippie-ki-yay MF! – JIM CARREY
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GRETA  by Jody_artist in Bristol, UK
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I took this pic in Barrio Logan in San Diego, CA 21 sep2109

 

  1. On Sunday, WAPO reported so far 18 House Republican have announced plans to resign, retire, or run for another office in 2020, imperiling the GOP’s chances of taking back the House in 2020.
  2. Since Trump’s inauguration in January 2017, nearly 40% of the 241 Republicans who were in office then are gone or are leaving due to election loss, retirement, or quitting in disgust.
  3. On Monday, a report by the Brookings Institute on turnover of White House “A-Team” jobs found 78% of those senior positions have turned, and 31% having turned more than once.
  4. The author of the study, Kathryn Dunn Tenpas, told NBC News, “It’s historic, it’s unprecedented, it’s off the charts,” adding in 32 months Trump surpassed “all of his predecessors who served four-year terms.”
  5. On Monday, in an op-ed on the growing threat to journalism, NYT publisher A.G. Sulzberger said Trump was ready to allow an NYT journalist to be arrested in Egypt. The reporter’s native Ireland got him out.
  6. On Saturday, WAPO reported Trump’s call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, which took place the day after Robert Mueller’s public testimony, revealed a leader convinced of his invincibility.
  7. Trump criticized Democrats for what he called “the Ukraine Witch Hunt.” Some Democrats expressed concern that House Democrats’ unwillingness to impeach Trump has only encouraged his lawlessness.
  8. On Sunday, Trump told reporters he discussed Biden on the call, saying it was “largely the fact that we don’t want our people like Vice President Biden and his son creating to the corruption already in the Ukraine.”
  9. Trump also told reporters the call was “absolutely perfect,” adding, “It was a beautiful, warm, nice conversation,” but added the Bidens “were involved in a lot of different things that took place in our country.”
  10. On Sunday, Sen. Mitt Romney was the lone Republican to speak out, tweeting if Trump “asked or pressured” Ukraine to investigate “his political rival” directly or indirectly “it would be troubling in the extreme.”
  11. On Sunday, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo told “This Week” that Trump 2020 rival Joe Biden should be investigated if he improperly intervened to protect his son from an investigation in Ukraine.
  12. On Sunday, Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin told “Meet the Press” that “there was no connection” between military aid to Ukraine and and Trump’s interest in investigating the Bidens.
  13. When asked why Congress should not see the whistleblower complaint, Mnuchin said “I think that would be a terrible precedent,” and added, “I think things are being implied that just don’t exist.”
  14. On Sunday, Rudy Giuliani made an unscheduled 11-minute rambling appearance on “Fox New Sunday,” calling out various Ukrainian officials and George Soros for being involved in a vast criminal conspiracy.
  15. Giuliani cited “Ukrainian collusion” aimed at influencing the 2016 U.S. election, saying of Hunter Biden’s business dealings with China, “When the rest of this comes out, this will be a lot bigger than Spiro Agnew.”
  16. On Sunday, House Intelligence Chair Adam Schiff told “State of the Union” if Trump pressured Ukraine to investigate Biden, the only remedy may be impeachment, saying, “we may very well have crossed the Rubicon here.”
  17. Schiff added Trump “sought foreign assistance and welcomed foreign assistance in the last presidential campaign as a candidate, he is now doing the same thing again but now using the power of the presidency.”
  18. On Sunday, WAPO reported House Democrats are becoming frustrated with Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s unwillingness to move forward on impeachment, with one saying on oversight, “We’re been very weak.”
  19. Speaker Pelosi said in a “Dear Colleague” letter, sent on Sunday to Republicans and Democrats, “If the administration persists in blocking this whistle-blower…they will be entering a grave new chapter of lawlessness.”
  20. Pelosi also signaled in her letter, “a whole new stage of investigation.” Meanwhile, NYT reported Trump told aides that the Democrats are overplaying their hand, and worked to focus public attention on Biden.
  21. Several freshmen House members conferred over the weekend, with one saying in an interview, “There are lines being crossed right now that I fear will be erased.” Influential Chair Schiff also shifted toward impeachment.
  22. On Sunday, an NBC/WSJ poll found 69% of voters say they do not like Trump personally, regardless of their feelings about his policy agenda. Just 29% say they like him personally, and 25% approve of his policy agenda.
  23. On Monday, Trump claimed the Nobel Peace Prize is rigged against him, telling reporters he “would get a Nobel Prize for a lot of things, if they give it out fairly, which they don’t,” adding Obama “had no idea why he got it.”
  24. On Monday, Facebook removed a patriotic “I Love America” page with 1.1 million followers, after discovering it was run by Ukrainians, and had become heavily into pro-Trump and conservative content in recent weeks.
  25. On Monday, WAPO reported Trump told acting White House chief of staff Mick Mulvaney to hold back almost $400 million in military aid to Ukraine days before his call with Velensky.
  26. Officials at the Office of Management and Budget, which Mulvaney heads, relayed the orders to the State Department and Pentagon during a mid-July meeting, saying Trump had “concerns” about how money was spent.
  27. For two months, regime officials told lawmakers, who had given bi-partisan support to aid for Ukraine, that delays in the aid were due to an “interagency process.” The aid was finally released on September 11.
  28. GOP senators on the appropriations committee said aid was held up while Trump assessed if Zelenksy was pro-Russian or pro-Western. The ranking Democrat threatened to freeze spending if the money was not released.
  29. On Monday, a senior official said the money was held up over concerns about “a lot of corruption in Ukraine.” Trump repeated that his call was “a perfect phone call,” and said he was considering releasing the transcript.
  30. When asked about withholding aid in exchange for an investigation into the Bidens, Trump also told reporters, “If you don’t talk about corruption, why would you give money to a country that you think is corrupt?”
  31. Trump also said, “Joe Biden and his son are corrupt,” adding, “If a Republican ever did what Joe Biden did, if a Republican ever said what Joe Biden said, they’d be getting the electric chair right now.”
  32. On Monday, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell accused Democrats of trying to “politicize” the whistleblower complaint. Republicans largely remained silent about the complaint, except for Lindsey Graham.
  33. On Monday, seven freshmen Democrats who are veterans of the military, defense, and intelligence in swing districts wrote in an op-ed if allegations are true, “we believe these actions represent an impeachable offense.”
  34. The seven wrote, “We have devoted our lives to the service and security of our country….we have sworn oaths to defend the Constitution,” adding, we join to “uphold that oath as we enter uncharted waters.”
  35. On Monday, WAPO reported Speaker Pelosi is quietly sounding out her caucus to gauge support for impeachment. On Monday night, 146 House Democrats backed impeachment.
  36. On Monday, at the United Nations summit in New York, Trump skipped key climate crisis talks, instead reserving a conference room and chairing his own meeting on religious freedom held in the same building.
  37. On Monday, Trump mocked 16 year-old activist Greta Thunberg, who spoke at the U.N. on dangers to the environment, tweeting, “She seems like a very happy young girl looking forward to a bright and wonderful future.”
  38. On Tuesday, Fox News apologized for what it called a “disgraceful” comment about Thunberg by guest Michael Knowles who called her a “mentally ill Swedish child.” Fox said he will not be booked again.
  39. Fox News was silent on host Laura Ingraham likening Thunberg to a murderous cult of children from Stephen King’s “Children of the Corn,” saying, “I can’t wait for Stephen King’s sequel, ‘Children of the Climate.’”
  40. On Thursday, the Trump regime slashed the refugee cap to 18,000 for the coming year, down from 30,000 last year, 45,000 in Trump’s first year, and from 110,000 when Obama left office.
  41. Most of the 18,000 slots are reserved: the regime will reserve 4,000 for Iraqis in the U.S. military, 5,000 for those persecuted for religion, 1,500 for Central Americans, and 7,500 for family reunification.
  42. With the revised cap, the regime essentially eliminated all spots for people fleeing persecution or war. When Trump took office, the U.S. was the world’s leading destination for refugees.
  43. On Thursday, the Anti-Defamation League said in a new report it was classifying the ‘OK’ hand gesture as a hate symbol, along with several others, to its database of slogans and symbols used by extremists.
  44. On Friday, a federal judge blocked the Trump regime’s efforts to detain migrant families indefinitely, preserving the the landmark 1997 settlement known as the Flores Agreement.
  45. Judge Dolly Gee wrote the Trump regime’s efforts failed “to implement and are inconsistent with” the Flores Agreement, adding, “The blessing or the curse […] of a binding contract is its certitude.”
  46. On Friday, a federal judge blocked the Trump regime’s efforts to expand a program known as “expedited removal,” which fast-tracked deportations by sending recent border-crossers within 100 miles back to Mexico.
  47. The judge said the regime’s decision-making process appeared to violate federal law and appeared arbitrary. She also faulted the regime for not carrying out the notice-and-comment practice required to change federal law.
  48. On Friday, the American Medical Association, citing a wave of killings of at least 18 transgender people across the country, most of them transgender women of color, declared the killings an “epidemic.”
  49. On Tuesday, the U.K. Supreme Court’s 11 justices unanimously ruled that Prime Minister Boris Johnson suspending Parliament for five weeks ahead of the October 31 Brexit deadline was illegal.
  50. The court ruled the suspension “void and of no effect,” and Parliament reconvened Wednesday. Amid calls for him to resign, Johnson, who was at the U.N. General Assembly said he “disagreed profoundly” with the ruling.
  51. On Tuesday, speaking to reporters before delivering his speech to the U.N. General Assembly, Trump changed the story on why he halted aid to Ukraine, saying it was not about corruption but aid from European countries.
  52. Trump said, “I’ll continue to withhold [aid] until such time as Europe and other nations contribute to Ukraine,” falsely claiming, “Because they’re not doing it; it’s the United States. We’re putting up the bulk of the money.”
  53. Trump said he authorized the release of the call transcript, saying, “You will see it was a very friendly and totally appropriate call,” adding, “NO quid pro quo!” and saying he is the target of the “most Destructive Witch Hunt of all time!”
  54. Trump later said Pompeo had received permission from Ukraine for the release, tweeting, “they don’t know either what the big deal is.” One person familiar said of the release, “It’s an incredible miscalculation.”
  55. On Tuesday, Trump delivered his third U.N. General Assembly speech. Uncharacteristically, a subdued Trump read from the teleprompter with little inflection in his voice. World leaders remained quiet as he spoke.
  56. Trump delivered a 30-minute nationalist speech, saying the future belongs to “patriots” not “globalists,” citing illegal immigration and socialism, and criticizing other countries that he believed are treating the U.S. unfairly.
  57. In a 24-hour period, 57 House Democrats, including moderate Democrats who won in Trump districts, switched their position to supporting a formal impeachment proceeding, bringing the total to 197.
  58. Rep. John Lewis announced support, saying, “There comes a time when you have to be moved by the spirit of history to take action,” adding, “To delay or to do otherwise would betray the foundation of our democracy.”
  59. Sen. Dick Durbin, the No. 2 Senate Democrat joined the call for impeachment. Sens. Patty Murray and Debbie Stabenow, the No. 3 and No. 4 Democrats, have already come out for impeachment. Ten other senators joined as well.
  60. An NBC News analyst said Trump called Pelosi Tuesday morning, and asked, “Can we work something out” on the whistleblower complaint. She responded, “Tell your people to obey the law” and she was moving ahead.
  61. Pelosi told Trump, “You have come into my wheelhouse,” due to her 25 years in House Intelligence, including as chair. Pelosi and her leadership team considered forming a select committee to conduct the inquiry.
  62. On Tuesday at 5 p.m. EST, Speaker Pelosi took the extraordinary step of announcing a formal impeachment inquiry, speaking for five-minutes in front of American flags, saying that Trump had violated the Constitution.
  63. Pelosi said, “The actions of the Trump presidency have revealed the dishonorable fact of the president’s betrayal of his oath of office, betrayal of our national security and betrayal of the integrity of our elections.”
  64. Pelosi said for the past several months House committees have gathered “all the relevant facts and consider whether to exercise its full Article 1 powers” including “the utmost gravity of articles of impeachment.”
  65. Moments later, in a series of tweets, Trump said, “Such an important day at the United Nations,” adding, “the Democrats purposely had to ruin and demean it with more breaking news Witch Hunt garbage.”
  66. Trump also tweeted: “Pelosi, Nadler, Schiff and, of course, Maxine Waters! Can you believe this?” adding, “They never even saw the transcript of the call. A total Witch Hunt!” and “PRESIDENTIAL HARASSMENT!”
  67. Shortly after, Trump told reporters impeachment is a “continuation of the witch hunt” and will be “a positive for me in the election,” adding, “By the way, she hasn’t even seen the phone call. The phone call was perfect.”
  68. Trump , who was unusually subdued, alleged, without evidence that Biden and his son profited from dealings in Ukraine. He also insulted journalists, and accused WAPO of publishing a “fake article.”
  69. During his press conference, MSNBC host Nicolle Wallace cut away to tell her viewers, “We hate to do this…But the president isn’t telling the truth.” NBC’s Andrea Mitchell said, “We don’t know what he’s talking about.”
  70. Trump’s campaign sent out a fundraising text after the announcement, raising $1 million in 3 hours, and according to campaign manager Brad Parscale’s tweet, bringing in $5 million in the 24 hours post announcement.
  71. Later Pelosi told reporters, Trump admitted he spoke to Zelensky “about something that would assist him in his election,” adding, “so, that has changed everything,” and “It’s really a sad day for our country.”
  72. On Tuesday, Politico reported Trump has approved and the White House is preparing to release the whistleblower complaint to Congress by the end of the week, reversing its position to withhold the document.
  73. On Tuesday, the Senate unanimously passed a non-binding measure urging Trump to release the whistleblower complaint. The measure was introduced by Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer.
  74. On Tuesday, WAPO reported Trump’s moves with Ukraine began shortly after Zelensky was sworn in in April, and Giuliani saw him as a political neophyte and possible ally to go after Trump’s political opponents.
  75. After the Mueller probe ended, Giuliani focused on Ukraine, and pushed for personnel changes at the U.S. embassy, while deploying his own emissaries and seeking meetings with officials working for Zelensky.
  76. Giuliani targeted the U.S. ambassador to Ukraine, Marie Yovanovitch, a career official, falsely claiming she had a secret role in exposing Paul Manafort and was part of a conspiracy by George Soros. She was fired.
  77. WAPO also reported National Security Council officials feared, based on meetings before the July 25 phone call, that Trump was prepared to use U.S. leverage with Ukraine’s new leader for his own political gain.
  78. Officials described an atmosphere of intense pressure inside the NSC since the existence of the complaint became known. Trump tweeted of the whistleblower, “Is he on our Country’s side. Where does he come from.”
  79. On Wednesday, a Quinnipiac poll found 37% of voters said Trump should be impeached and removed from office, while 57% said he should not. The poll was conducted last Thursday through Monday.
  80. On Wednesday, the White House released a rough, five-page transcript of the call between Trump and the Ukrainian president, describing it as a memorandum of a telephone conversation that is not a verbatim account.
  81. The White House said the transcript reflects the notes and memories of those in the Situation Room during the call, and that a number of factors “can affect the accuracy of the record.”
  82. The call begins with Trump congratulating Zelensky, but quickly Trump pressed him to investigate his political rivals, including Biden and a conspiracy theory that Hillary Clinton’s email server is in the Ukraine.
  83. When Zelensky mentions buying more U.S. missiles, Trump says, “I would like you to do us a favor because our country has been through a lot and Ukraine knows a lot about it,” adding, “The server, they say Ukraine has it.”
  84. Trump repeatedly said Zelensky should work with AG Barr or Giuliani to investigate Biden. Trump said, “I would like to have the Attorney General call you or your people and I would like you to get to the bottom of it.”
  85. Trump also told Zelensky, “There’s a lot of talk about Biden’s son, that Biden stopped the prosecution” of his son, adding, “Biden went around bragging that he stopped the prosecution…It sounds horrible to me.”
  86. Zelensky responded “my candidate” for the prosecutor job “will look into the situation,” and noted he stayed at the Trump Tower during his last visit to New York City.
  87. In a statement, spokesperson Kerri Kupec said the DOJ’s criminal division “reviewed the official record of the call” and found “there was no campaign finance violation and that no further action was warranted.”
  88. Kupec also said Barr did not speak to Trump “about having Ukraine investigate anything related to former Vice President Biden or his son,” nor did Barr discuss “anything related to Ukraine” with Giuliani.
  89. Trump publicly acknowledged he asked Zelensky to investigate Biden’s son. Hunter Biden was not accused of any wrongdoing. Joe Biden and other Western officials did pressure Ukraine to fire its top prosecutor.
  90. Shortly after the transcript was released, Trump claimed victory, telling reporters, “It’s the single greatest witch hunt in American history. Probably in history, but in American history. It’s a disgraceful thing.”
  91. Trump also said “There was no pressure,” and “the way you had that built up, that call, it was going to be the call from hell,” adding people are instead saying, “I never knew you could be so nice.”
  92. Later in a joint appearance at the U.N., Zelensky told reporters “nobody pushed me,” and Trump added, “In other words, no pressure.” Trump also said Pelosi “lost her way” and had “been taken over by the radical left.”
  93. Trump also tweeted, “Will the Democrats apologize after seeing what was said on the call with the Ukrainian President? They should, a perfect call — got them by surprise!”
  94. Trump quoted “Fox & Friends” co-host Steve Doocy, tweeting, “Democrats have been talking” about impeachment since “before he was inaugurated,” and host Brett Baier, “You don’t see a direct quid pro quo in this.”
  95. On Wednesday, WAPO reported several Senate Republicans were stunned by the transcript, and questioned the White House’s judgment in releasing it, with one anonymously calling it a “huge mistake.”
  96. Sen. Romney said “It remains troubling in the extreme,” while aides for others fretted having to defend Trump. Loyalist Sen. Lindsey Graham tweeted, “What a nothing (non-quid pro quo) burger.”
  97. On Wednesday, Cindy McCain, wife of the late Sen. John McCain, Graham’s best friend, said the GOP is “excluding people for the wrong reasons” and is no longer “the party that my husband and I belonged to.”
  98. Axios reported some of Trump’s advisors thought the release was a mistake. White House counsel Pat Cipollone invited Trump’s most loyal lawmakers to come hear talking points in the morning before the release.
  99. Later Wednesday, the White House mistakenly sent Trump-Ukraine talking points to Democratic lawmakers and staffers, in an email titled, “What you need to know: President Trump’s call with President Zelenskyy.”
  100. Talking points included there was no quid pro quo, and what Trump talked about “was entirely proper,” and Trump did not mention Giuliani or Biden “until after President Zelensky had raised Giuliani first.”
  101. On Wednesday, Politico reported House Democrats discussed narrowing the impeachment focus in a morning meeting to Trump’s implicit threat to withhold military aid unless Ukraine investigated the Bidens.
  102. Democrats hoped to seize the public fervor and move to articles of impeachment by year-end or sooner. As of Wednesday morning, 208 House Democrats had come out for starting an impeachment inquiry.
  103. On Wednesday, WAPO reported acting Director of National Intelligence Joseph Maguire threatened to resign if he could not speak freely at his testimony Thursday before the House and Senate Intelligence committees about the whistleblower complaint.
  104. After the Post reporting, Maguire denied it, saying in a statement, “at no time have I considered resigning my position,” and the White House press secretary tweeted, “This is actually not true.”
  105. Later Wednesday, NBC News reported Trump allies are concerned about Giuliani’s exposure, given he has no official role. A senior official said his claim that the State Department “asked me” to look into Ukraine is false.
  106. The State Department, however, acknowledged one of its officials put Giuliani in touch with a senior aide to Zelensky, but said his claims that he worked through State to coordinate his talks is highly questionable.
  107. On Wednesday, NPR reported the Pentagon sent a letter to four congressional committees in May certifying that the government of Ukraine had taken reform steps, okaying $250 million in military aid.
  108. On Wednesday, the whistleblower complaint was delivered to Congress late in the day to a secure facility where senior intelligence lawmakers, known as the Gang of Eight, were able to view it.
  109. On Wednesday, the House voted 421-0 on a non-binding resolution calling on Trump to turn over the whistleblower complaint. The measure was amended to mirror the Senate version passed unanimously Tuesday.
  110. On Wednesday, the Senate voted to terminate Trump’s February declaration of a national emergency at the southern border. Eleven Republicans voted with Democrats.
  111. To date, the regime has reprogrammed about $6.1 billion of funds to build Trump’s wall. The Senate also voted to reject the emergency declaration in March, but the measure was vetoed by Trump.
  112. On Wednesday, at a pre-trial conference for Roger Stone, the defense revealed they may call Steve Bannon as a witness, and the judge deferred ruling on whether a clip from “The Godfather” can be used by prosecutors.
  113. On Wednesday, a federal judge issued a one-day stay of the Manhattan District Attorney’s subpoena for years of Trump’s personal and business tax returns, instructing lawyers to come to agreement on how to proceed.
  114. On Thursday, the Manhattan DA office said it “reached a temporary arrangement” to pause the subpoena until October 7 or two business days after the judge rules on whether it should be permanently barred.
  115. The letter also said Trump’s accounting firm, Mazars USA, “will resume gathering and preparing all documents responsive to the subpoena,” and will begin “a rolling production” at the expiration of the arrangement.
  116. On Thursday, the Hill reported a group of scientists whose advisory panel was disbanded by EPA director Andrew Wheeler plan to form their own group to study air pollution without the backing of the government.
  117. A former director of the Science Advisory Board said, “This is the first time in the history of EPA where the credibility of the agency’s science review process has been so compromised” that an independent group is needed.
  118. On Wednesday, NYT reported in late August two top intelligence officials asked the DOJ if the whistleblower complaint should be forwarded to Congress, and were told no, the DOJ would handle the criminal referral.
  119. After four weeks, the DOJ decided Trump had not violated campaign finance laws. After the call transcript became public, the DOJ response furthered the perception AG Barr is acting as Trump’s ally and protector.
  120. A DOJ official said Barr did not know about the call until the DNI and IG sent the complaint; however the DOJ advised DNI Maguire not to forward the complaint to Congress and ruled out criminal conduct by Trump.
  121. At the behest of Trump, Barr is also overseeing a review into what role countries, including Ukraine, played in the FBI’s decision to start a counterintelligence investigation of Trump campaign in the 2016 election.
  122. On Thursday, Trump tweeted the “markets would crash” if he was impeached. On Tuesday, ahead of Pelosi’s announcement, the S&P 500 and Nasdaq had the worst day in a month, but rebounded on Wednesday.
  123. On Thursday, a declassified copy of the whistleblower complaint was publicly released, detailing Trump using the power of his office to try to get Ukraine to interfere in the 2020 election by investigating Biden.
  124. The complaint showed the whistleblower was not just alarmed by the call, but also a four-month pattern of behavior, and this was “not the first time” a transcript was placed in a highly classified server to protect Trump.
  125. The complaint is based on months of conversations with colleagues “in the course of official interagency business.” The whistleblower was not a direct witness to many of the events described in the complaint.
  126. The complaint stated State Department official T. Ulrich Brechbuhl was in the room for the call. After the call, two senior State Department officials had to advise Ukrainian leaders on “how to ‘navigate’” Trump’s demands.
  127. The complaint cited multiple White House officials who were “deeply disturbed” about what they heard on the call, believing that likely “they had witnessed the President abuse his office for personal gain.”
  128. The complaint states Trump “sought to pressure the Ukrainian leader to take actions” to help his 2020 reelection bid, adding Giuliani was “a central figure in this effort” and Barr “appears to be involved as well.”
  129. The complaint by an intelligence official cited an attempted cover-up, saying “senior White House officials had intervened to ‘lock down’ all records of the phone call, especially the official word-for-word transcript.”
  130. The complaint stated the transcript was placed on an isolated computer system: “the President’s call with President Zelensky was placed into a computer system managed directly by the National Security Council.”
  131. The complaint added, “this set of actions underscored to me that White House officials understood the gravity of what had transpired in the call,” noting it is “customary” to keep transcripts of calls in the Situation Room.
  132. The complaint stated there were “approximately a dozen” White House officials listening to the call, and the whistleblower said “multiple officials recounted fact patterns that were consistent with one another.”
  133. The complaint said Trump made clear a future meeting or call with Zelensky would depend on whether he would “play ball” on investigating Joe Biden, Hunter Biden, and other matters.
  134. The complaint says Trump “instructed Vice President Pence to cancel his planned travel to Ukraine” for Zelensky’s inauguration, saying it was “made clear” to them Trump wanted to see how Zelensky “chose to act.”
  135. The complaint cites a four-month pattern of actions and cover-up that “pose risks to U.S. national security and undermine the U.S. government’s efforts to deter and counter foreign interference in U.S. elections.”
  136. On Thursday, the LA Times reported speaking at private breakfast in New York where he wound up U.N. events, Trump called reporters “scum,” and raged at Democrats and the whistleblower.
  137. Trump said the whistleblower “never saw the report, never saw the call, he never saw the call,” and, “I want to know who’s the person” and who gave them the information, adding, “Because that’s close to a spy.”
  138. Trump also said of the whistleblower, “You know what we used to do in the old days when we were smart? Right? The spies and treason, we used to handle it a little differently than we do now.”
  139. Trump said of Biden, “you have Sleepy Joe Biden who’s dumb as a rock…and his kid, who’s got a lot of problems, he got thrown out of the Navy…and now this kid goes into Ukraine, walks away with millions of dollars.”
  140. On Thursday, Chair Schiff called Trump’s remarks “witness intimidation,” citing Trump’s “suggestion that those involved in the whistleblower complaint should be dealt with as “we used to do” for “spies and treason.”
  141. On Thursday, Pelosi told reporters, outlining information in the complaint, “This is a cover-up.” She also said her caucus had reached a consensus that impeachment would focus on “this allegation” related to Ukraine.
  142. On Thursday, acting DNI Maguire testified publicly before the House Intelligence Committee for three hours — the first Trump regime member to speak publicly about the whistleblower complaint.
  143. Maguire defended his decision not to turn over the complaint to Congress, saying he consulted with the White House and DOJ and could not act until they resolved if it contained materials protected by executive privilege.
  144. Maguire said he consulted with the White House, then the Office of Legal Counsel. The OLC found the complaint was not of “urgent concern” under the whistleblower law, which mandates handing it over to Congress.
  145. Maguire expressed “support for the whistleblower,” who followed regular procedures for raising a concern with the inspector general, and whose identity he said he did not know.
  146. Shortly after, Trump tweeted, “Adam Schiff has zero credibility. Another fantasy to hurt the Republican Party!” Schiff told reporters, “I’m always flattered when I’m attacked by someone” of Trump’s character.
  147. Trump also tweeted, “Liddle’ Adam Schiff” said that “the Whistleblower, even though he or she only had second hand information, “is credible.”” calling it a “Democrat Scam!”
  148. Shortly after, the NYT reported the whistleblower is a male who works for the CIA. Lawyers for the whistleblower refused to confirm, and said publishing information about him was dangerous.
  149. The Times also drew widespread public criticism for revealing information on the whistleblower. Dean Banquet, the executive editor, said the Times was right to provide information to let readers decide if he is credible.
  150. On Thursday, CNN reported Giuliani told them he has “no knowledge of any of that crap” in the complaint. Giuliani, who was in a room at Trump Hotel DC, could be heard listening to Maguire testify in the background.
  151. Giuliani also refuted that two State Department officials had spoken to him to “contain the damage,” saying he had a “nice little trail” of text message conversations with the top U.S. diplomat, Kurt Volker, to prove his story.
  152. On Thursday, Pompeo told reporters he had not fully read the whistleblower complaint, but said, “To the best of my knowledge” the actions undertaken by State Department were “entirely appropriate.”
  153. On Thursday, NYT reported in the complaint Trump told Zelensky Marie Yovanovitch, his former ambassador to Ukraine was “bad news,” adding, “She’s going to go through some things.”
  154. Yovanovitch, a decorated 33-year veteran of the State Department, was vilified by the right-wing news and called a “joker” by Donald Jr., for allegedly being disloyal to Trump and disparaging him behind his back.
  155. A former Ukrainian prosecutor claimed Yovanovitch blocked him and his team from getting visas to come to the U.S. and deliver damaging information about Joe and Hunter Biden to the FBI.
  156. Later Thursday, appearing on Fox News host Laura Ingraham’s show, Giuliani read a series of personal texts from his iPad to show how involved the State Department was in his actions with Ukraine.
  157. On Thursday, WAPO’s impeachment count tracker noted 218 House lawmakers now support an impeachment inquiry of Trump — a majority of the House.
  158. On Thursday, Hillary Clinton said in an interview with CBS News that Trump “knows he’s an illegitimate president,” and that “he knows” that he stole the 2016 election through “many varying tactics.”
  159. On Thursday, Morning Consult found support for impeachment is up 13 net points since the weekend, with support for impeachment up 7 points from 36% to 43%, and opposition dropping from 49% to 43%.
  160. On Thursday, Gov. Phil Scott of Vermont was the first GOP governor to back an impeachment inquiry. Later that day, Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker became the second. Both have been openly critical of Trump.
  161. On Friday, Rep. Mark Amodei became the first Republican member of the House to back an impeachment inquiry, saying “I’m a big fan of oversight, so let’s let the committees get to work and see where it goes.”
  162. On Friday, the Connecticut Post was the first editorial board to call on Trump to step down, citing Trump’s behavior being “far outside the accepted norms of a democratic leader.”
  163. On Thursday, Vanity Fair reported on “management bedlam” at Fox News as Trump faces impeachment, even as allies put on a brave face and parrot talking points, concerns remain about the unraveling of his presidency.
  164. Reportedly, host Sean Hannity told friends the whistleblower allegations are “really bad,” and Fox Corp CEO Lachlan Murdoch is already thinking about how to position the cable network in the post-Trump era.
  165. Infighting has also broken out between the network’s news and opinion sides, with battles playing out on-air between Shepard Smith and Tucker Carlson for two days, while executives asked them to stop on day three.
  166. On Friday, Fox News host Chris Wallace clashed with fellow host Sandra Spin, saying, “The spinning that has been done by the president’s defenders over the last 24 hours since this very damaging” and “deeply misleading.”
  167. On Friday, Fox News correspondent Geraldo Rivera told “Fox & Friends” the whistleblower is a “rotten snitch,” adding, “I’d love to wap him, but that’s another story.”
  168. Co-host Ainsley Earhardt said there is no proof that Trump did anything wrong in asking Zelensky to investigate Joe Biden, falsely claiming, “we don’t have proof that the president was holding back” aid for the investigation.
  169. On Thursday, Politico reported that Chair Schiff told his committee the White House had “hijacked” the release of 53 witness interviews authorized by the committee under then Chair Devin Nunes over a year ago.
  170. The transcripts were delivered to the DNI for review, then in March when the office said it was ready to share, the White House intervened, holding them up for months to supposedly screen for executive privilege.
  171. On Thursday, Pelosi announced that the House Intelligence Committee will take the lead on the narrow impeachment inquiry. Pelosi said, “the focus now is on this allegation,” adding, “This is a coverup.”
  172. The Judiciary Committee will continue its probe of the Mueller findings and more, and the other four committees will also continue their ongoing investigations of Trump while the Ukraine investigation plays out.
  173. On Friday, Trump attacked Schiff in a series of tweets, saying, “To show you how dishonest the LameStream Media is, I used the word Liddle’, not Liddle, in discribing [sic] Corrupt Congressman Liddle’ Adam Schiff.”
  174. Trump apparently was referencing a segment on CNN, but it was unclear what he meant. He also tweeted, “Low ratings @CNN purposely took the hyphen out and said I spelled the word little wrong.”
  175. Dictionary Merriam-Webster tweeted a clarification, “A hyphen is a mark-used to divide or to compound words. An apostrophe is a mark ‘ used to indicate the omission of letters or figures.”
  176. Trump also attacked Schiff for describing at the opening of the hearing him telling Zelensky “seven times” to “make up dirt on my political opponent,” tweeting Schiff, “fraudulently read to Congress.”
  177. Trump added “HE WAS DESPERATE AND HE GOT CAUGHT” and “lied to Congress” and “attempted to defraud the American Public.” Trump called on Schiff “to immediately resign from Congress based on this fraud!
  178. Schiff responded, tweeting “You engaged in a shakedown to get election dirt from a foreign country.” Trump responded, saying Schiff should be “investigated” and called him a “sick man.”
  179. Trump allies mocked Schiff on “Fox & Friends,” with Trump attorney Jay Sekulow likening it to a “‘Saturday Night Live’ routine,” and White House spokesman Hogan Gidley calling it “some type of crazy cosplay.”
  180. On Friday, House Freedom Caucus Chairman-elect Andy Biggs introduced a resolution to censure Schiff, saying his comments were an “egregiously false and fabricated retelling” that “had no relationship to the call itself.”
  181. On Friday, on MSNBC, Speaker Pelosi accused the White House of “a cover-up of the cover-up,” and said AG Barr has “gone rogue” with his handling of the controversy.
  182. Pelosi later told CNN, “I do think the attorney general has gone rogue,” and “He has for a long time now,” adding, “it’s curious that he would be making decisions about how the complaint would be handled.”
  183. On Friday, more than 300 former U.S. national security and foreign policy officials said in a statement Trump’s action are a “profound national security concern,” and they support an inquiry to determine the facts.
  184. The statement, signed by officials who worked for administrations of both parties, said “there is no escapingthat what we already know is serious enough to merit impeachment proceedings.”
  185. On Friday, WSJ reported Pence advised Trump not to release the transcript of the Ukraine call, raising concern of the precedent. He later sided with Trump who felt messaging had got away and it was his only option.
  186. On Friday, CNN reported Corey Lewandowski has had conversations with White House officials in recent days about taking a position within the regime as a lead in the impeachment team.
  187. Discussions, including a Thursday afternoon meeting at the White House revealed Trump does not yet have a strategy. White House press secretary Stephanie Grisham denied an impeachment response team is in the works.
  188. On Friday, CNN reported the White House acknowledged regime officials directed that the call transcript be filed in a highly classified system, confirming allegations in the whistleblower complaint.
  189. The phone call did not contain intelligence secrets or military plans, which would merit moving it to a highly classified system. There is also no evidence of any wrongdoing by Joe or Hunter Biden.
  190. On Friday, NPR reported according to a newly released Senate report after an 18-month investigation, the National Rifle Association acted as a “foreign asset” for Russia in the period leading up to the 2016 election.
  191. The report also described how closely involved the NRA was in organizing a 2015 visit by some of its leaders to Moscow. Sen. Ron Wyden said the Senate investigation could have legal implications for the NRA.
  192. On Friday, NYT reported Trump met with the NRA’s Wayne LaPierre at the White House to discuss prospective gun legislation, and whether the NRA could help Trump as he faces impeachment and a tough re-election.
  193. LaPierre asked Trump to “stop the games” over gun control legislation. Later that evening, the NRA issued a statement denying the Times’ reporting of a special arrangement pertaining to support.
  194. On Friday, WAPO reported the Fraternal Order of Police, an umbrella group of D.C. police unions, is holding its annual holiday gala at Trump Hotel DC, drawing criticism over costs and association with Trump.
  195. The head of three police unions said they were put off by the selection. Some are also upset over the choice given they went without pay for six weeks during the government shutdown in early 2019.
  196. On Friday, Kurt Volker, who served part-time as the State Department’s special envoy for Ukraine, resigned. House leaders announced Friday they would interview Volker as part of their investigation next week.
  197. On Friday, three House Democrat committees sent subpoenas to Pompeo, the first subpoenas in the impeachment inquiry, demanding he produce documents and a slate of witnesses relating to his dealings with Ukraine.
  198. The subpoenas from Oversight, Intelligence, and Foreign Affairs stated: “Your failure or refusal to comply with the subpoena shall constitute evidence of obstruction of the House’s impeachment inquiry.”
  199. Deposition requests also went to Yovanovitch; Volker; George Kent, a deputy assistant secretary of state; T. Ulrich Brechbuhl, a State Department counselor; and Gordon Sondland, the ambassador to the EU.
  200. Democrats said, despite the two week recess starting Friday, more subpoenas were forthcoming, as well as possibly the first formal impeachment hearing next week before the House Intelligence panel.
  201. On Friday, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters he hoped the U.S. would not release transcripts of the phone conversations between Russian President Vladimir Putin and Trump.
  202. Peskov said “we would like to hope that it wouldn’t come to that in our relations, which are already troubled by a lot of problems.” He also called publication of the Trump-Zelensky call “quite unusual.”
  203. On Friday, WAPO reported at Trump’s 2017 meeting in the Oval office with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and Ambassador Sergey Kislyak, he said he was not concerned about Moscow’s 2016 election interference.
  204. Trump cited because the U.S. did the same in other countries. His remarks alarmed White House officials and prompted them to limit access to a memo summarizing the meeting to an unusually small number of people.
  205. The White House limited access to Trump’s calls with foreign leaders after remarks he made to leaders of Mexico and Australia appeared in the media. The Lavrov meeting memo was limited to an even smaller group.
  206. On Friday, CNN reported the White House also tried to restrict access to Trump’s calls with Putin and Saudi Crown Prince MBS. Reportedly aides took remarkable steps to keep the conversations from becoming public.
  207. For Trump’s calls with Crown Prince MBS, a transcript was never circulated to officials who ordinarily would have access. The call happened shortly after the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi.
  208. Access to the transcript of at least one call with Putin was also tightly restricted. It was not clear if aides also moved these calls to the highly secured electronic system cited in the whistleblower complaint.
  209. On Friday, WAPO reported Giuliani canceled a scheduled paid appearance on a panel at a Kremlin-back conference in Armenia next week that Putin and other top Russian officials are expected to attend.
  210. The conference was sponsored by Russia and Moscow-based Eurasian Economic Union, a counterweight to the European Union. Earlier Friday, Giuliani told the Post he still planned to attend, but canceled later.
  211. On Friday, WAPO reported in remarks to the U.S. Mission to the United Nations on Thursday, Trump said he discussed Hunter Biden’s China work with Stephen Schwarzman, Blackstone CEO and his China go-between.
  212. Trump alleges, without evidence, Hunter got the Chinese to put $1.5 billion into an investment fund. Investigators may now examine if Trump sought information on the Bidens in China. Schwarzman had no comment.
  213. Later Friday, Bloomberg reported a spokesperson for Schwarzman said, “Steve never spoke to the president about Joe Biden or his family, nor has he had any conversations with the Chinese about Biden or his family.”
  214. On Friday, a Hill-HarrisX survey found support for impeachment proceedings rose by 12 points from June to 47% support, 42% oppose — the second poll in two days to find a dramatic increase in support.
  215. On Friday, Deutsche Bank told a federal appeals court that it has the tax returns of two Trump family members, but did not disclose their identity. Capital One told the court it did not have any tax returns.
  216. On Friday, the chair of the Federal Election Commission Ellen Weintraub revealed in a series of tweets that GOP FEC Commissioner Caroline Hunter took the unprecedented step of blocking publication of a weekly digest.
  217. The blockade came after Weintraub included a “Draft Interpretive Rule Concerning Prohibited Activities Involving Foreign Nationals” on the FEC website. Hunter objected to it being added to the “Weekly Digest.”
  218. On Saturday, Politico reported Republican lawmakers are concerned about Giuliani’s public behavior and statements, with several saying he should stop speaking out, or go on vacation away from the public eye.
  219. Republican lawmakers are also privately expressing concern about Giuliani’s role in the Ukraine episode. Democrats are considering bringing him to testify after subpoenaing State Department documents.
  220. On Saturday, a third poll in three days showed growing support for impeachment: a NPR-PBS NewsHour-Marist survey found 49% approval for impeachment, 46% disapprove — a 10 point jump.
  221. On Saturday, in a tweet, Trump explicitly singled out two Jewish members of Congress and four women of color, calling them “Do Nothing Democrat Savages.”
  222. Trump tweeted, “people like Nadler, Schiff, AOC Plus 3, and many more, had a Republican Party who would have done to Obama what the Do Nothings are doing to me,” adding, “Oh well, maybe next time!”
  223. Shortly after, Trump sent an additional three tweets, “PRESIDENTIAL HARASSMENT!” and “MAKE AMERICA GREAT AGAIN!” and “KEEP AMERICA GREAT!”
  224. On Saturday, Trump arrived at Trump National Golf Club in Sterling, Virginia for his 233rd day of golf at a Trump course, and 306th visit to a Trump property since taking office.
  225. As the week ended, 225 House members had come out for an impeachment inquiry, including 223 of the 235 House Democrats, one Independent, and one Republican.

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US Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, Democrat of California, announces a formal impeachment inquiry of US President Donald Trump on September 24, 2019, in Washington, DC. — Amid mounting allegations of abuse of power by the US president, Pelosi announced the start of the inquiry in the House of Representatives, the first step in a process that could ultimately lead to Trump’s removal from office.

POLITICS OF GRAFFITI 147: CHEETO CHRIST STUPID CZAR

AUGUST 31, 2019

Week 146

Experts in authoritarianism advise to keep a list of things
subtly changing around you, so you’ll remember. https://theweeklylist.org/weekly-list/week-146/
ECXHfIbVAAAtDx0
from Jim Carrey, August 19, 2019

This week Trump’s strange behavior towards Russia drew renewed concern as he advocated for adding Russia back at the Group of Seven summit in France, then held up military aid to Ukraine. A vacated seat unfilled by Trump at the Federal Elections Commission left the election watchdog group without a quorum ahead of the 2020 election, while voting irregularities were reported this week in Mississippi and Georgia.

Fresh signs of Trump’s authoritarian bent went unchecked, as reporting surfaced a loose network of his allies seeking to discredit journalists, and Trump offering pardons to aides if they break the law in fast-tracking his wall ahead of 2020. Concerns of a pending recession heightened, as Trump’s trade war with China continued to escalate, and for the first time while Trump has been in office, more Americans think the economy is getting worse than better.

This week there was public outcry as the regime continued to take steps to limit immigration, while troubling conditions at detention centers persisted, and the regime is considering DNA testing of migrants. As Hurricane Dorian headed towards Florida, for the second time in two weeks, Trump canceled a scheduled trip to visit European allies, supposedly to stay back and monitor the storm, but instead spent Saturday golfing.

IMG_8122
New York City, May 2019.
  1. On Sunday, NYT reported a loose network of Trump allies are planning an aggressive operation to discredit news organizations deemed hostile to Trump by disclosing damaging information on journalists.
  2. The group has already released damaging information on journalists working for CNN, WAPO, and NYT in retaliation for reporting or covering allies consider unfair to Trump and his team, or harmful to his re-election.
  3. Operatives have examined a decade’s worth of public posts and statements made by hundreds of journalists. Only a small fraction has been made public. More will be disclosed as the 2020 election heats up.
  4. Operatives have also gathered information on journalists’ families, as well as liberal activists and political opponents. The White House claimed neither Trump or anyone in the White House was involved in or aware of the operation.
  5. On Sunday, NYT Publisher A.G. Sulzberger said in a public memorandum, “A Campaign Targeting Our Staff,” “Their goal is to silence critics and undermine the public’s faith in independent journalism.”
  6. Sulzberger also wrote, “This represents an escalation of an ongoing campaign against the free press,” adding, operatives “are using insinuation and exaggeration to manipulate the facts for political gain.”
  7. On Monday, Mother Jones reported the Federal Election Commission will partially shut down. The FEC needs a quorum of four of the six members. A third member resigned Monday, while Trump has left two seats vacant.
  8. On Friday, NPR reported this was the last business day for the FEC. Former FEC officials raised concern over the ability to counter another attempt by Russia or other foreign governments to interfere in the 2020 election.
  9. Former officials also expressed concern Trump will leave the seat vacant through the 2020 election. The Merit Systems Protection Board, which investigates violations of federal personnel practices, also lacks a quorum.
  10. On Saturday, WSJ reported at the Group of Seven summit, during a contentious debate at a closed door dinner, Trump called for reinstating Russia. Other world leaders rebuffed the request, saying it was too soon.
  11. On Sunday, Trump accused the media of trying to hurt his re-election prospects, tweeting, “Just like they are trying to force a Recession, they are trying to “will” America into bad Economic times, the worse the better.”
  12. Trump tweeted, “anything to make my Election more difficult to win,” adding, “the Leaders are getting along very well, and our Country, economically, is doing great — the talk of the world!”
  13. On Sunday, at a breakfast with British Prime Minister Boris Johnson at the G7 summit, Trump acknowledged he had regrets about the escalating trade war with China, telling reporters, “Yeah, sure. Why not.”
  14. Shortly after, White House press secretary Stephanie Grisham said Trump’s response was taken out of context, and his top economic adviser, Larry Kudlow, told reporters Trump had trouble hearing the question.
  15. Later Sunday, at a bilateral news conference, Trump told reporters he had reached a trade pact “in principle” with Japanese leader Shinzo Abe. However, Abe differed, saying more work remained to complete a deal.
  16. On Sunday, Kudlow told CNN that the trade deal with Japan would have major positive implications for the U.S., but could not offer precise details of the deal.
  17. On Monday, French President Emmanuel Macron said he invited Iran’s foreign minister to the G7 “to mediate.” He praised Trump on U.S. sanctions while expressing concern about inflaming the region.
  18. On Monday, standing with First Lady Melania, Trump told reporters that Iran is a “country with tremendous potential,” and said North Korea has similar potential if it would disband its nuclear arms.
  19. Trump added he has gotten to know Kim Jong Un “extremely well,” and “the first lady has gotten to know Kim Jong Un and I think she would agree with me, he is a man with a country that has tremendous potential.”
  20. Later Monday, the White House issued a clarifying statement, saying, “Trump confides in his wife on many issues,” adding, “while the First Lady hasn’t met him, the President feels like she’s gotten to know him too.”
  21. On Monday, Trump skipped the session on climate, biodiversity, and oceans attended by other world leaders. His chair was symbolically empty during the portion of the session reporters attended.
  22. On Monday, when asked by reporters about his climate message at the G7, Trump falsely claimed, “we are right now having the cleanest air and cleanest water on the planet.”
  23. On Sunday, Trump again attacked Fox News for their polling results in Week 145, tweeting their polls “are only getting worse!” and “Now @donnabrazile & others on Fox,” adding, “Not what it used to be!”
  24. On Sunday, Joe Walsh announced he will challenge Trump for the Republican nomination in 2020, calling him “completely unfit,” and saying “everyone” in the GOP believes Trump is not fit for the job.
  25. On Sunday, Axios reported Trump has suggested multiple times to senior Homeland Security and national security officials that they explore using nuclear bombs to stop hurricanes from hitting the U.S.
  26. Reportedly at one meeting, Trump said “I got it. I got it. Why don’t we nuke them?” adding, “as they’re moving across the Atlantic, we drop a bomb inside the eye of the hurricane and it disrupts it.”
  27. On Monday, Trump tweeted from the G7 that the story that he “wanted to blow up large hurricanes with nuclear weapons prior to reaching shore is ridiculous,” adding, “I never said this. Just more FAKE NEWS!”
  28. Later Monday, Trump again tweeted about the story, saying he returned from “the very successful G-7,” and “the Fake News is still trying to perpetuate the phony story,” adding, “This is so ridiculous, never happened!
  29. On Monday, concluding the G7, Macron said there will be a meeting on the Ukraine conflict with the presidents of Russia, Ukraine, Germany, and France. Trump said he might invite Russia to the G7 in 2020.
  30. On Monday, Trump told reporters he will “probably” hold the 2020 G7 summit at his golf resort in Doral, Florida, saying the club is near the airport and has ample parking and the “biggest ballrooms in Florida.”
  31. Trump holding a summit of world leaders at his personal property where he would financially benefit would be unprecedented. The Doral has been “severely underperforming” according to company representatives.
  32. On Monday, Trump held a 68-minute news conference. Trump reiterated his support for Russia, saying, “A lot of people say having Russia, which is a power, inside the room is better than having them outside the room.”
  33. Trump also repeated the false claim Russia was dropped from the group because “President Putin outsmarted President Obama,” calling it “very embarrassing” for Obama. All G7 countries backed the decision.
  34. Asked why he continues to blame Obama for the annexation of Crimea by Yamiche Alcindor of PBS News, a black reporter, Trump said she had an ulterior motive. “I know you like President Obama,” he said, without answering her question.
  35. Asked about climate change, Trump responded, “I feel the US has tremendous wealth,” adding, “I’m not going to lose that wealth on dreams, on windmills — which, frankly, aren’t working too well.”
  36. Trump also claimed, “I’m an environmentalist. A lot of people don’t understand that,” adding, “I know more about the environment than most,” and “I want clean air. I want clean water. I want a wealthy country.”
  37. Trump claimed to have received “high-level calls” from Chinese officials seeking to negotiate a trade deal on Sunday night. Chinese officials said on Monday they were unaware of any such calls.
  38. Trump asked Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin to back up his assertion. Instead, Mnuchin said there had been “communication,” but did not use the word “call.”
  39. Trump said he would be willing to meet with Iranian President Hassan Rouhani. “Now, is that based on fact or based on gut? It’s based on gut,” adding, “Maybe it works and maybe it doesn’t. I say it all the time.”
  40. Trump described North Korea and Iran in terms of real estate potential, saying the two countries would want to deal with him because they sit on valuable land, while continuing to brag about his own properties.
  41. During a bilateral news conference with Prime Minister Boris Johnson, Trump again mentioned his properties, incorrectly citing his Doonbeg golf and hotel resort as being in the U.K., not Ireland.
  42. Trump made another push for hosting the 2020 G7 at his Doral property, saying, “we have a series of magnificent buildings,” referencing bungalows, incredible conference rooms and restaurants, “it’s like such a natural.”
  43. On Tuesday, Miami Herald reporting on a 2016 lawsuit by an insurance executive claiming he was bitten by bedbugs in his room at Trump’s Doral club resurfaced. The suit was settled in early 2017.
  44. Trump tweeted, “No bedbugs at Doral,”adding, “The Radical Left Democrats, upon hearing that the perfectly located (for the next G-7) Doral National MIAMI…spread that false and nasty rumor. Not nice!”
  45. On Tuesday, after Slate published a leaked internal memo “evidence of bedbugs” in the NYT’s office, Trump tweeted “A made up Radical Left Story about Doral bedbugs, but Bret Stephens is loaded up with them!
  46. Stephens, a conservative NYT columnist who is anti-Trump, admonished a college professor for likening him to a bedbug in a tweet. Trump tweeted, “He is now quitting Twitter after being called a ‘bedbug.’ Tough guy!
  47. On Saturday, Rep. Steve King doubled down on his comments that rape and incest not be factored in abortion decisions, tweeting: “their lives are as precious as any other, regardless of how they came to be.”
  48. On Sunday, calls for boycotting restaurant Olive Garden went viral on false rumors it was funding Trump’s re-election campaign. Olive Garden tweeted: “Our company does not donate to presidential candidates.”
  49. On Saturday, ABC News reported it took Immigration and Customs Enforcement eight days to realize they had left two children, ages 12 and 14, without either parent after the Mississippi raids.
  50. On Tuesday, the Miami Herald reported the Trump regime has quietly gutted the bulk of a “medical deferred action” policy, which removed the threat of immediate deportation for families facing serious illnesses.
  51. Denial letters from U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service obtained by the Herald show the agency will now only accept applications and renewals from military members and their families.
  52. On Tuesday, the Harvard Crimson reported incoming freshman Ismail Ajjawi, 17, a resident of Tyre, Lebanon was deported after arriving at Boston Logan Airport and being subjected to hours of questioning.
  53. Immigration officers also searched his phone and computer before canceling Ajjawi’s visa. In a statement, a Customs and Border Protection spokesperson said CBP found Ajjawi “inadmissible” to the country.
  54. Politico reported Jimmy Aldaoud, a 41 year-old man from Detroit who came to the U.S. as a young child, died after being deported to Iraq, reportedly due to his inability to obtain insulin to treat his diabetes.
  55. On Wednesday, a lawsuit filed by 19 states against the Trump regime alleged detained migrant girls are being given limited access to basics like sanitary pads and tampons — in some cases only one per day.
  56. On Wednesday, according to a new USCIS policy, children born to U.S. service members and government employees overseas will no longer be granted automatic citizenship. The policy is set to go into effect in October.
  57. Instead, the Trump regime will require parents of the children, including those born on military bases, and children adopted, to apply for citizenship on behalf of their children before they turn 18 years-old.
  58. Following the announcement, amid widespread confusion, acting director of USCIS Ken Cuccinelli said in a statement, “this policy update does not affect who is born a US citizen, period,” adding, “born outside the US.”
  59. The move was also condemned by veterans groups, calling it “an abominable and antipatriotic position” and a “preposterous change,” adding, “Military members already have enough to deal with.”
  60. On Thursday, the Trump regime looked to clarify the new USCIS policy, after facing a political firestorm for saying it will affect the citizenship applications of “a very small” number of children born abroad.
  61. The regime claimed the issue arose from USCIS and the State Department having different policies. The State Department said in a statement Thursday that it had been working with USCIS “for some time to align” the policies.
  62. On Thursday, BuzzFeed reported, according to the CDC, nearly 900 adult migrants had mumps in the past 12 months at 57 detention centers in 19 states. An additional 33 staff members also were infected.
  63. The first cases were identified at Texas detention facilities in December. Since then federal health agency has been working with ICE and other federal agencies to control the outbreaks, described as “striking.”
  64. On Thursday, BuzzFeed reported, according to a draft of policy, the Trump regime wants to allow CBP officials to collect DNA samples from undocumented immigrants in their custody.
  65. The regime estimated CBP officials will spend more than 20,000 additional work hours in its first year of implementation, testing hundreds of thousands of migrants if the policy is fully implemented.
  66. On Thursday, in letter to acting DHS secretary Kevin McAleenan, House Oversight Committee Chair Elijah Cummings said the Department of Homeland Security is blocking members of Congress from visiting detention facilities.
  67. Cummings said poor conditions persisted at the facilities, despite the House passing a $4.6 billion border aid package in June. Migrants complain of spoiled food and inadequate medical care.
  68. Cummings’ letter also cited cruelty: “One detainee alleged that a Border Patrol agent told a child who had spilled soup that the child would not receive more food unless the child drank the spilled soup off the floor.”
  69. On Tuesday, a federal judge temporarily blocked a Missouri law banning most abortions at eight weeks of pregnancy, less than 24 hours before the law was set to take effect.
  70. The judge did not however block a provision of the law prohibiting abortions on the basis of a fetus’s race, sex, or Down syndrome diagnosis, but noted plaintiffs would likely prevail in having that struck down too.
  71. On Thursday, the Rockland County Republican Party in New York removed an anti-Semitic video warning “a storm is brewing,” adding if “they” — the ultra-Orthodox Jewish residents — “win, we lose.”
  72. New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo issued a statement calling the video “the very definition of discrimination and antisemitism.” The chairman of the New York State Republican Party issued a statement calling it a “bad mistake.”
  73. On Tuesday, NBC News reported the Trump regime is pulling $271 million from the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s Disaster Relief Fund to send to the southern border just ahead of the fall hurricane season.
  74. Funds will be used for temporary locations for court hearings for asylum-seekers along the U.S.-Mexico border, and Immigration and Customs Enforcement would get an additional $155 million.
  75. On Tuesday, Trump tweeted, “Wow! Yet another big storm heading to Puerto Rico,” asking, “Will it ever end?” Trump again falsely claimed Congress approved $92 billion in aid to Puerto Rico, “an all time record.”
  76. On Wednesday, as Hurricane Dorian headed towards Puerto Rico, Trump lashed out, tweeting Puerto Rico “is one of the most corrupt places on earth.” He earlier insulted “the incompetent Mayor of San Juan” in a tweet.
  77. Trump also tweeted, “Their political system is broken and their politicians are either Incompetent or Corrupt,” adding, “Congress approved Billions of Dollars last time….and it is sent to Crooked Pols. No good!”
  78. On Thursday, as Dorian was expected to reach Category 4 in Florida, but spare Puerto Rico, Trump took a conciliatory tone, tweeting, “Puerto Rico is in great shape with Hurricane Dorian taking a largely different route.”
  79. Trump also tweeted, “Hurricane Dorian looks like it will be hitting Florida late Sunday night,” adding, “it will be a very big Hurricane,” and, without evidence, “perhaps one of the biggest!
  80. Shortly after, the Tampa Bay Times reported Mar-a-Lago is in the projected path of Hurricane Dorian. The storm was expected to make landfall as a Category 4 storm on Monday.
  81. Later Thursday, Trump canceled his Poland trip to monitor Dorian, and sent Vice President Mike Pence instead, saying, “It’s something very important for me to be here…looks like it could be a very, very big one.”
  82. On Monday, the House Judiciary Committee subpoenaed former White House aide Rob Porter to testify about Trump’s efforts to impede the Russia investigation, citing him as the “most critical fact witness.”
  83. On Monday, NYT reported federal prosecutors are near a final decision on whether to seek an indictment for former deputy FBI director Andrew McCabe, a frequent target of Trump, on charges of lying to a federal agent.
  84. A prosecution would please Trump, who has made McCabe a central part of his aim to discredit the DOJ and FBI over the Russia investigation. Already two prosecutors have left the case over mishandling.
  85. On Monday, WAPO reported some of the video footage outside of Jeffrey Epstein’s jail call is unusable. It was not clear why the footage was too flawed for investigators to use. Video is considered critical to the inquiry.
  86. On Tuesday, attorneys for Jeffrey Epstein told a judge the evidence of his death is “far more consistent with assault” than suicide, and told the court they would provide evidence to support their assertion.
  87. On Monday, a Roanoke poll of the state of Virginia found Trump’s approval dropped to 27% — a new low in the poll — and down from 38% in February, while 53% say they disapprove.
  88. On Tuesday, a Morning Consult poll found that Trump’s net approval has dropped significantly in every battleground state, including Wisconsin (+6 in 2016, now -14), Michigan (+7, -11,) and Pennsylvania (+10, -8).
  89. On Tuesday, Deutsche Bank told a federal appeals court it has some of the Trump tax returns requested by congressional subpoenas related to Trump, his family, and his businesses, “in either draft or as-filed form.”
  90. Although in the letter to the court the identities of the people or organizations were redacted, bank officials told the Times the bank has portions of multiple years of Trump’s personal and corporate tax returns.
  91. Deutsche Bank also has returns for “immediate family” within the definition provided in the subpoenas, related to the parties. Capital One responded it does not have any tax returns in its possession.
  92. On Wednesday, MSNBC host Lawrence O’Donnell retracted a story from his Tuesday show that Russian oligarchs had co-signed for Deutsche Bank loans to Trump, and apologized for not adhering to professional standards.
  93. Earlier Wednesday, a lawyer for Trump said in a letter to NBC Universal and O’Donnell that his “statements are false and defamatory, and extremely damaging,” and demanded he “retract, correct and apologize.”
  94. On Thursday, Trump attacked O’Donnell, tweeting “Crazy Lawrence O’Donnell” who he said “has been calling me wrong” since before his 2016 campaign, was “forced by NBC to apologize” which he did “while crying.”
  95. Trump added, “the most ridiculous claim of all, that Russia, Russia, Russia, or Russian oligarchs, co-signed loan documents for me,” adding, “Totally false, as is virtually everything else he, and much of the rest of the LameStream Media, has said,” and, “ALL APOLOGIZE!”
  96. Trump also tweeted, “The totally inaccurate reporting” by O’Donnell is “NO DIFFERENT than the horrible, corrupt and fraudulent Fake News that I…have had to put up with for years,” adding, “So bad for the USA!”
  97. On Tuesday, WAPO reported Attorney General William Barr booked a 200-person holiday party in December at the Trump Hotel DC, which is likely to deliver over $30,000 to Trump’s property.
  98. Barr booked the event last month, and is paying for it himself. According to a DOJ official, Barr picked Trump Hotel DC because other comparable hotels were already booked, not to curry favor with Trump.
  99. Even though Barr booked the hotel himself, and not the DOJ, the decision is also noteworthy given that the DOJ is currently defending Trump in lawsuits related to the emoluments clause.
  100. On Tuesday, WAPO reported Trump instructed Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue to exempt Alaska’s Tongass National Forest from logging restrictions, after privately discussing it with the state’s governor.
  101. The restrictions known as “roadless rule” have been in place for nearly 20 years, created during Bill Clinton’s administration. If Trump’s plan succeeds it would impact 9.5 million acres, more than half of the world’s largest intact temperate rainforest.
  102. On Thursday, Trump’s EPA proposed rolling back Obama-era regulations on climate-changing methane leaksfrom many oil facilities, easing requirements on oil and gas sites to monitor leaks and plug them.
  103. EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler, a former coal lobbyist, said the proposed rule followed Trump’s directive to remove “unnecessary and duplicative regulatory burdens from the oil and gas industry.”
  104. On Tuesday, NYT reported at an event with farmers, Sec. Perdue was peppered with complaints about the impact of Trump’s trade war with China. As the trade war escalates, some farmers are panicking.
  105. The impact has also started to hit manufacturers like Deere & Company, which cut its profit forecast for the second time this year, citing farmers delaying purchases of equipment on worries over exports.
  106. On Tuesday, Trump complained about the media covering 2020 candidate Sen. Elizabeth Warren’s crowd size, tweeting they do stories on “Elizabeth “Pocahontas” Warren…my crowds, which are far bigger, get no coverage.”
  107. On Tuesday, Trump attacked the Federal Reserve, tweeting, “The Federal Reserve loves watching our manufacturers struggle with their exports,” adding, “Our Fed has been calling it wrong for too long!”
  108. On Wednesday, a new Quinnipiac poll found Trump’s approval down to 38%, 56% disapprove, down from 40% approve, 54% disapprove a month ago. The poll also showed Trump far behind 2020 Democratic contenders.
  109. The polls also showed, for the first time since Trump took office, more voters say the economy is getting worse (37%) than better (31%). In June, just 23% said the economy was getting worse, 38% better.
  110. On Wednesday, Trump attacked the Fed, tweeting, “Our Federal Reserve cannot “mentally” keep up with the competition,” citing other countries keeping interest rates low, and adding, “No Clue Fed!”
  111. On Wednesday, Sen. Thom Tillis, who is up for re-election, sided with Trump in his feud with the Fed, calling on the Senate Banking Committee to investigate the Fed’s independence — a highly unusual move.
  112. On Wednesday, a letter by the Footwear Distributors and Retailers of America signed by over 200 companies urged Trump to cancel his tariff hikes on China, saying it is tantamount to taxing the American consumer.
  113. On Thursday, Trump again attacked the Fed, tweeting, “The Economy is doing GREAT, with tremendous upside potential!” adding, “If the Fed would do what they should, we are a Rocket upward!
  114. On Friday, Trump attacked the Fed, tweeting, “If the Fed would cut, we would have one of the biggest Stock Market increases in a long time,” and “Badly run and weak companies are smartly blaming these small Tariffs.”
  115. Trump also tweeted, “We don’t have a Tariff problem (we are reigning in bad and/or unfair players), we have a Fed problem,” adding, “They don’t have a clue!”
  116. On Friday, Trump tweeted telling General Motors, which is “now one of the smallest auto manufacturers” in Detroit, to move its plants out of China, saying they moved there, “BEFORE I CAME INTO OFFICE.”
  117. On Friday, Trump again surfaced the idea of easing capital gains taxes, tweeting, “An idea liked by many?” to an article quoted by Sen. Ted Cruz. Last week Trump swore off the idea, saying it was “elitist.”
  118. On Wednesday, in a series of tweets, Trump again attacked Fox News, saying the network is “heavily promoting the Democrats” and the DNC Communications Director being interviewed was “spewing out whatever she wanted with zero pushback” from the anchor.
  119. Trump also tweeted, “Fox hires “give Hillary the questions” @donnabrazile, Juan Williams and low ratings Shep Smith,” saying, “HOPELESS & CLUELESS!” adding, “I will still find a way to Win.”
  120. Trump also tweeted “the New” Fox News “is letting millions of GREAT people down!” adding, “We have to start looking for a new News Outlet. Fox isn’t working for us anymore!
  121. On Wednesday, several Fox News personalities pushed back. Senior political analyst Brit Hume tweeted, “Fox News isn’t supposed to work for you,” and contributor Guy Benson tweeted, “We don’t work for you.”
  122. On Wednesday, Beto O’Rourke’s campaign acknowledged it had ejected Breitbart reporters from an event, saying the right-wing publication walks a line “between being news and a perpetrator of hate speech.”
  123. Later Tuesday, WAPO reported Trump directed aides to fast-track billions in construction contracts, aggressively seize private land, and disregard environmental rules, in order to build the wall before the election.
  124. Trump has told aides he will pardon them of any wrongdoing if they break the law in building the wall quickly. Trump has promised crowds at his campaign rallies 500 miles of fencing by November 2020.
  125. In meetings, Trump has mentioned the loud cheers he gets from his crowds when he mentions his wall. So far, the regime has completed just 60 miles of “replacement” barrier during Trump’s time in office.
  126. Trump insisted the wall be painted black, making it hot to the touch, despite significant additional costs, and wants to remove the upper part of the fence which thwarts climbers because he finds it unsightly.
  127. WAPO noted that several of the 15 pardons by Trump so far, which he has granted unchecked, have carried an overtly political tone. Several Democrats on the House Judiciary Committee threatened an investigation.
  128. On Wednesday, Trump tweeted, “Another totally Fake story in the Amazon Washington Post (lobbyist),” adding, “This was made up by the Washington Post only in order to demean and disparage — FAKE NEWS!”
  129. Later Wednesday, Trump tweeted, “The Amazon Washington Post and @CNN just did a Fake Interview on Pardons for Aids [sic] on the Wall, adding his wall is “vitally important. Will make a BIG impact. So bad!”
  130. Trump also tweeted, “There has never been a time in the history of our Country that the Media was so Fraudulent, Fake, or Corrupt!” adding, “my legacy will be the exposing of massive dishonesty in the Fake News!”
  131. Later, after Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand dropped out of the 2020 primary, Trump tweeted mocking her, saying “a sad day for the Democrats,” adding, “they never found out that she was the one I was really afraid of!”
  132. On Tuesday, a federal appeals court sided with the ACLU and others in upholding the block of an Indiana lawwhich would allow the immediate purge of voters with a duplicate registration in another state.
  133. On Tuesday, state officials in Mississippi confirmed at least three reports of voting machines changing votes in the GOP governor runoff. The issue emerged when a voter posted a video of a machine changing his vote.
  134. On Wednesday, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported allegations of missing votes in the midterm election have been turned over to Congress. The anomaly appeared in electronic voting, but not paper ballots.
  135. On Wednesday, Prime Minister Boris Johnson asked Queen Elizabeth II to suspend Parliament in September, as way to limit Parliament’s ability to challenge his plan with a Brexit deadline of October 31.
  136. The explosive maneuver was immediately challenged as undemocratic and possibly unconstitutional, and likely to be challenged in court. Normally, in time of crisis, British leaders have convened Parliament.
  137. On Thursday, Johnson faced a growing backlash including strains within his Conservative party, protests in London and other cities, and an online petition against the action which garnered more than a million signatures.
  138. On Thursday, seven Hong Kong pro-democracy leaders were arrested ahead of the 13th consecutive weekend of protests. Police claimed the seven were arrested in connection with past protest-related offenses.
  139. On Friday, an eighth leader was arrested. Activists could face up to five years in prison. The arrests came as China said it was rotating fresh military troops to Hong Kong as part of a “routine arrangement.”
  140. On Wednesday, Politico reported Trump is holding up $250 million in military assistance to Ukraine. According to an aide, Trump is doing so in order to ensure the money is being used in the best interest of the U.S.
  141. Trump’s move irked lawmakers and advocates who say the funding is critical to keep a check on Russia. U.S. support of Ukraine has long been seen as a litmus test for leadership pushing back at Russia.
  142. CNN reported blocking the aid package was supported by acting White House chief of staff Mick Mulvaney, and some in the State Department and national security council. The State Department told CNN policy has not changed.
  143. Trump’s deference to Russia has alarmed bipartisan lawmakers and U.S. allies. At the G7 summit, Trump downplayed Russia’s annexation of Crimea. Rudy Giuliani has pushed Ukraine to investigate Joe Biden and his son.
  144. On Thursday, Business Insider reported current and former U.S. intelligence officials are concerned about Trump’s fervent defense of Russia for aggression in Ukraine, and his lobbying to have them readmitted at the G7.
  145. Several officials compared Trump to a “Russian asset” noting his actions are “directly out of the Putin playbook.” Another official offered, “useful idiot is more like it.”
  146. On Thursday, the Hill reported House Judiciary Committee Chair Jerome Nadler has set up a post-recess showdown with Trump as his committee is set to call a series of subpoenaed witnesses to publicly testify.
  147. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi told Democrats on a call “the public isn’t there on impeachment,” however if Trump’s White House continues to block House subpoenas, she could face renewed pressure to back impeachment.
  148. On Friday, 135 of the 235 House Democrats supported starting an impeachment inquiry. Just two of the of the House members in the 31 districts that went for Trump in 2016 support the move.
  149. On Thursday, the DOJ inspector general said in a report James Comey violated DOJ and FBI policy by leaking one memo to a law professor friend after being fired in May 2017, but that the DOJ declined to prosecute.
  150. The report found “By not safeguarding sensitive information…and by using it to create public pressure for official action, Comey set a dangerous example for the over 35,000 current FBI employees.”
  151. The IG however found “no evidence that Comey or his attorneys released any of the classified information.” Trump has repeatedly claimed that Comey released classified information.
  152. Shortly after, Comey tweeted, “I don’t need a public apology from those who defamed me, but a quick message with a ‘sorry we lied about you’ would be nice.”
  153. Comey also tweeted, “And to all those who’ve spent two years talking about me ‘going to jail’ or being a ‘liar and a leaker’ — ask yourselves why you still trust people who gave you bad info for so long,” including Trump.
  154. Hours later, Trump tweeted, “Perhaps never in the history of our Country has someone been more thoroughly disgraced and excoriated than James Comey” in the IG report, adding, “He should be ashamed of himself!”
  155. On Friday, Trump tweeted that he and his supporters should be “given our stolen time back” after the release of the IG report. It was unclear what Trump meant, but he frequently muses about extra time in office.
  156. Trump tweeted the report showed “how unfairly I, and tens of millions of great people who support me, were treated,” saying, “Our rights and liberties were illegally stripped away by this dishonest fool.”
  157. Trump also praised Barr, tweeting, “The fact that James Comey was not prosecuted for the absolutely horrible things he did just shows how fair and reasonable Attorney General Bill Barr is,” adding, “Comey got lucky.”
  158. On Friday, Trump tweeted a photo of an Iranian launchpad, which revealed the U.S. may be violating Iran’s airspace to spy on its missile program. The image appeared to have been taken from an aircraft.
  159. The image could have been taken from a surveillance drone, like the one shot down by Iran in June. Experts say the image is likely highly classified as it bears markings resembling those made by intelligence analysts.
  160. On Friday, Illinois Rep. John Shimkus announced he will not seek re-election, becoming the 14th Republicanto announce he will not run next year.
  161. On Friday, Education Secretary Betsy DeVos finalized rules, scaling back an Obama-era program allowing federal loan forgiveness for students if their college defrauded them.
  162. On Friday, ABC News reported a digital data firm connected with Brad Parscale, campaign manager for Trump’s re-election, has received more than $900,000 in business from a pro-Trump super PAC.
  163. Parscale, who reportedly has recently spent lavishly, said reporting on his company, Red State Data and Digital, LLC, “are simply another attempt to smear President Trump by attacking those who work for him.”
  164. On Friday, prosecutors told a judge in a court filing that they are prepared for sentencing Michael Flynn as soon as October, citing “The defendant’s cooperation has ended.”
  165. Flynn’s lawyers erupted in a subsequent court filing, saying prosecutors had “engaged in even more malevolent conduct in the prosecution of Mr. Flynn” and withheld evidence.
  166. On Thursday, Trump’s personal assistant Madeleine Westerhout, whose office sat in front of the Oval Officeand who has been with Trump since the start of his time in office, abruptly resigned.
  167. The departure came after Westerhout shared details about the president’s family and the Oval Office operations at a dinner with press at Trump’s Bedminster club. She was not allowed to return to the office on Friday.
  168. On Saturday, Politico reported Westerhout was fired over comments at an off-the-record dinner she and deputy White House press secretary Hogan Gidley held with reporters on August 17.
  169. Westerhout bragged that she was closer to Trump than his two daughters, adding Trump could not pick Tiffany out of a crowd and did not like being in pictures with her because he viewed her as overweight.
  170. Shortly after, Trump tweeted Westerhout has “a fully enforceable confidentiality agreement,” adding, “she is a very good person and I don’t think there would ever be reason to use it.”
  171. Trump also tweeted, “She called me yesterday to apologize, had a bad night,” adding, “I fully understood and forgave her!” and, “I love Tiffany, doing great!”
  172. Trump also renewed his attacks on former White House aide Omarosa Manigault Newman, saying he was suing people for violating confidentiality including “disgusting and foul mouthed Omarosa.”
  173. Trump also tweeted of Omarosa, “I gave her every break, despite the fact that she was despised by everyone, and she went for some cheap money from a book,” adding, “Numerous others also!”
  174. Trump also repeated his attacks on Comey, tweeting, “I was right about Comey, CROOKED COP!”
  175. Trump also tweeted that the “top shows” on Fox News “are those that are Fair (or great) to your favorite President, me!” Trump cited host Sean Hannity’s “shoe,” before deleting the tweet and tweeting show.
  176. On Saturday, after canceling his trip to Poland to monitor Hurricane Dorian, Trump went golfing at the Trump National Golf Club in Sterling, Virginia, his 226th day of golf at a Trump golf property.
  177. On Saturday evening just after midnight, Trump’s 15% tariffs tax on Chinese-made products will take effect, impacting the price of shoes, televisions, diapers, and other products.

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.

Bags over the handles of gas pumps signal to customers that the station has ran out of gas on August 31, 2019 in Fort Pierce, Florida. Gas stations throughout much of Florida have been running out of gas as the area prepares for the impact of Hurricane Dorian. Dorian, once expected to make landfall near Fort Pierce as a category 4 storm , is currently expected to turn north and stay off of the Florida coast, lessening the impact on the area.

POLITIKS OF GRAFFITI 132: “CONGRESS, WHA DAT?”

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R E S I S T sticker on the back of a bank in Stony Brook, Long Island on 18may2019.

Week 131: Experts in authoritarianism advise to keep a list of things subtly changing around you, so you’ll remember.

May 18, 2018 https://medium.com/@Amy_Siskind/week-131-experts-in-authoritarianism-advise-to-keep-a-list-of-things-subtly-changing-around-you-ce28fa6a0c71

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Closeup of R E S I S T sticker. Stony Brook, Long Island. 18may2019.

This week, in a letter, White House counsel Pat Cipollone issued a blanket refusal of records and testimony from Trump and dozens of current and former White House staff, saying Trump did not recognize Congress as a law enforcement body with the legitimate purpose to investigate. While the letter sent shock waves, Congress’s reaction was decidedly muted as House Democratic leaders sought to avoid impeachment, as other deadlines passed without cooperation.

This week Trump welcomed another far-right authoritarian to the White House, Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban, whom Trump likened to a “twin brother.” Tensions escalated with Iran, and the regime issued conflicting statements and stances, and increasingly stood alone.

More troubling stories about atrocities being committed and contemplated against migrants surfaced, including a planned operational blitz to round up 10,000 migrants in 10 U.S. cities. Trump rolled out a new immigration plan, emphasizing skills over family ties, in an uncharacteristically low-energy Rose Garden speech that was met with a cool reception. Attacks on abortion rights were front and center of the national dialogue as Alabama passed the country’s most restrictive ban, setting up a possible challenge for Roe v. Wade. Other states are set to follow.

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“I think If you’re going to terminate a pregnancy, it should be done sometime before the fetus becomes Governor of Alabama.” – Jim Carrey

 

  1. This week, the Nos. 1, 2, and 3 spots on the New York Times paperback nonfiction best-seller list were the three different editions of the Mueller report.
  2. The White House has not held a press briefing for over two months, and only two so far this year. Briefings were a near-daily event in every recent administration going back to President Nixon.
  3. WAPO observed in the first part of 2018 the briefings got shorter and shorter, then during the summer, they began to disappear. The Pentagon and State Department have also almost entirely stopped briefings.
  4. The University of Virginia Center for Politics conducted a poll asking respondents whether the 2020 election should be delayed and Trump should get an extra two years in office.
  5. New data from the U.S. Social Security Administration revealed the popularity of the name “Donald” dropped to its lowest ranking ever in 2018 to number 526, down from the 487th most popular name for boys in 2017.
  6. The New York Post reported state Education Departments’ statistics show staffers flagged a record-high 5,875 incidents of harassment, discrimination, and bullying in 2017–2018, up 60% from the year prior.
  7. On Saturday, Trump attacked Don McGahn, tweeting: “I was NOT going to fire Bob Mueller, and did not fire Bob Mueller,” adding, “McGahn had a much better chance of being fired than Mueller. Never a big fan!”
  8. On Sunday, on Mother’s Day, Trump sent more than 30 tweets and retweets — only one mentioning the holiday. Between Saturday and Sunday, Trump sent a total of nearly three dozen tweets and 62 retweets.
  9. Trump mocked Democrats, saying their “new and pathetically untrue sound bite is that we are in a “Constitutional Crisis,”” adding, “they and their partner, the Fake News Media,” say it “loud” and “often as possible.”
  10. Trump called Democrats “a sad JOKE!” saying, “We may have the strongest Economy in our history,” but “we have had a giant SCAM…a Witch Hunt, a Treasonous Hoax,” adding, “That is the Constitutional Crisis.”
  11. Trump also tweeted, “Despite two years and millions of dollars spent, the Democrats are acting like crazed lunatics” since the Mueller report came out, and adding, “It is all a big Hoax, the biggest in American history!”
  12. Trump also claimed “the Dems have been working overtime to damage me and the Republican Party” since the report came out, adding, “issuing over 80 demands for documents and testimonies, and with NO REASON.”
  13. Trump also tweeted: “The “Constitutional Crisis” is the Democrats refusing to work.” Despite Republican efforts to move on from the Russia probe, that was the number one topic by far of Trump’s weekend Twitter activity.
  14. On Monday, Trump thanked “Fox & Friends” tweeting, “great show this morning and congratulations on your number one” and congratulated One America News Network (OANN) on “the great job you are doing.”
  15. OANN launched in 2013 and went all-in for Trump in 2016. The network amplifies right-wing conspiracy theories and propaganda originating from the Kremlin. Trump is a loyal viewer, so segments are a way to reach him.
  16. Gulf Coast Media, a media company that owns three Florida radio stations, will broadcast parts of Trump’s speeches every hour of every day until the 2020 election. The owner bought the stations in 2018.
  17. On Monday, in a series of tweets on space exploration, Trump said, “Under my Administration, we are restoring @NASA to greatness,” adding he is upping the budget “so that we can return to Space in a BIG WAY!”
  18. Later Monday, the Trump regime sent a budget amendment to Congress, saying the regime would use $1.9 billion in surplus Pell Grant money to fund other budget priorities, including a $1.6 billion NASA budget boost.
  19. On Monday, the stock market experienced a dramatic drop off of close to 2.5% as China imposed $60 billion in tariffs in retaliation for Trump’s move last week, and the trade war escalated.
  20. On Monday, Trump told reporters, “We’re taking in billions of dollars in tariffs. I love the position that we are in, we’ve gone up a lot since our great election.” There was no proof that this was true.
  21. On Monday, Sen. Tom Cotton told “CBS this Morning” on the farmers suffering, “There will be some sacrifice on the part of Americans, I grant you that.” Arkansas farmers accused Cotton of mocking them.
  22. On Tuesday, Trump sent a series of tweets, saying “Our great Patriot Farmers will be one of the biggest beneficiaries” of his trade war, falsely claiming “This money will come from the massive Tariffs being paid.”
  23. Trump also tweeted, “In one year Tariffs have rebuilt our Steel Industry — it is booming!” The jobs moving back in the steel sector are estimated to cost U.S. businesses and consumers $900,000 per year for each job.
  24. Trump also tweeted, “Billions of Dollars, and moving jobs back to the USA where they belong,” adding, “This should have been done by our leaders many years ago. Enjoy!” There is no proof for this claim.
  25. Trump also attacked the Federal Reserve again, tweeting China “will be pumping money into their system and probably reducing interest rates,” adding if the Fed “ever did a “match,” it would be game over, we win!”
  26. Trump plugged Sen. Cotton’s book, tweeting: “Our great Senator (and Star)… has just completed a wonderful book,” adding, “On sale today, make it big!” The plug helped make the book a bestseller.
  27. Trump told reporters the trade war with China was “a little squabble,” and “We always win.” China state media said one person and his regime are threatening “the entire country and all the people of China.”
  28. WAPO reported some Republicans are expressing concern. Sen. Chuck Grassley of Iowa said he planned to write Trump a letter and added, “I’m not sure if you talk to him face to face, he hears everything you say.”
  29. Republicans also expressed concern that Trump did not have a clear endgame. With Trump’s shift to imposing tariffs last Friday, GOP lawmakers have fielded angry phone calls from constituents.
  30. On Wednesday, Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue said the regime could make between $15-20 billion of aid available to farmers in a second round of assistance to offset losses from Trump’s trade war.
  31. Officials are considering funding the aid through an expansion of bailout funds from the Commodity Credit Corp, a division of the USDA that was created during the Great Depression.
  32. On Thursday, a National Farmers Union executive told Fox News on the impact of Trump’s trade war with China, “We’ve had a lot of farmers — a lot more bankruptcies going on, a lot more farmer suicides.”
  33. On Thursday, the Daily News reported the USDA purchased $62 million of pork from a U.S. company owned by Joesley and Wesley Batista, wealthy brothers who have confessed to bribing hundreds of top officials in Brazil.
  34. The purchase was made using funds from a $12 billion program meant for U.S. farmers harmed by Trump’s trade wars, and raised outrage from watchdog groups for helping bailout a Brazilian-owned company.
  35. On Thursday, the Trump regime defended the $62 million bailout, saying it will eventually trickle down to struggling U.S. farmers, adding the U.S. subsidiary owned by the Brazilian brothers was an “approved vendor.”
  36. On Thursday, Walmart’s CFO said Trump’s trade war with China will result in higher prices for consumers, adding the company will try ease the pain to consumers by trying to obtain products from different countries.
  37. On Monday, Trump said he will attend the G-20 summit in Osaka next month, and meet with Russian President Vladimir Putin and Chinese President Xi Jinping — the first mention of another meeting with Putin.
  38. On Monday, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo canceled his planned trip to Moscow and instead met with European Union allies in Brussels, as the Trump regime raised the possibility of a conflict with Iran.
  39. Shortly after Pompeo’s meetings, Trump told reporters in the Oval Office, “it would be a very bad mistake” if Iran does anything, adding, “I’m hearing little stories about Iran. If they do anything they will suffer greatly.”
  40. On Monday, Trump hosted Hungary’s hard-right leader Prime Minister Viktor Orban, thumbing his nose at former presidents Obama and W. Bush who refused to host him. Orban also remains an outcast in Europe.
  41. Trump told reporters Orban has “done a tremendous job in so many ways” and has “kept his country safe,” adding, “respected all over Europe” and “probably like me a little bit controversial, but that’s okay.”
  42. Orban said he and Trump have “similar approaches” to many global issues. Trump failed to mention Hungary’s slide into authoritarianism, or its human rights and free speech abuses, or growing anti-Semitism.
  43. As their meeting ended, according to Hungarian media, Trump told Orban “It’s like we’re twins.” The White House defended criticism of the meeting, saying it was about defending “freedom and prosperity.”
  44. On Monday, at a meeting with his top security aides, Trump reviewed military plans that could send as many as 120,000 troops to the Middle East amid a possible escalation with Iran.
  45. The plans were ordered by national security adviser John Bolton, a long-time Iran hawk pushing for battle since working for President W. Bush. Trump. European allies worried tensions could boil over inadvertently.
  46. On Monday, Yleem Poblete, the assistant secretary of state for arms control, verification and compliance, and noted as an Iran hawk, resigned after serving for one year in the regime. No explanation was given.
  47. On Tuesday, a senior British military official told reporters at the Pentagon he saw no increased threat from Iran. Hours later, U.S. Central Command issued an unusual rebuke, citing “identified credible threats.”
  48. NYT reported several European officials privately expressed concern that Bolton and Pompeo are pushing Trump on a course that could lead the U.S. to war, reminiscent of faulty intelligence that led to the Iraq invasion.
  49. On Thursday, Gene Simmons of the rock band Kiss used the Pentagon briefing room to address troops before visiting the White House. The White House did not comment on the reason for Simmons’ visit.
  50. On Monday, two Senators, a Democrat and a Republican, asked in a letter to the Health and Human Services Assistant Secretary to turn over information on the treatment of migrant children in federally funded shelters.
  51. The senators demanded information related to “horrific and intolerable allegations of excessive compensation, self-dealing, and sexual abuse,” asking whether the ORR has failed to uphold its statutory duties.
  52. On Monday, WAPO reported before Trump’s purge at the Department of Homeland Security in April, officials had challenged a plan to arrest thousands of parents and children of migrants in 10 major U.S. cities.
  53. The regime sought to target families who had entered the country after Trump’s “zero tolerance” policy, to show force and send a message the U.S. was going to be tough and detain and deport recent immigrants quickly.
  54. The plan would have targeted immigrants who did not show for their hearings. The initial target list of the blitz operation was 2,500 adults and children, seen as a first step to arresting and deporting 10,000 migrants.
  55. Then DHS secretary Kirstjen Nielsen and acting ICE director Ronald Vitiello fought against the plan, citing operational and logistical issues, but not moral concerns, about arresting families.
  56. The plan was strongly backed by Stephen Miller and ICE Deputy Director Matthew Albence. Reportedly, Nielsen and Vitiello’s pushback was a factor in Trump’s decision to oust both.
  57. Non-partisan watchdog group CREW filed requested documents from DHS relating to former White House Chief of Staff John Kelly and CaliburnInternational, after recent reports Kelly joined the company’s board.
  58. On Wednesday, WAPO reported a fourth migrant from Guatemala, a 2 1/2 year-old boy, died three days after being apprehended by Customs and Border Protection at the southern border in the El Paso area.
  59. Guatemala’s Consul Tekandi Paniagua said the boy developed appeared to have developed a form of pneumonia, after spending three days in federal custody, but the death remained under investigation.
  60. CBP officials are required to notify Congress of a death in custody within 24 hours. The death occurred on April 6. When WAPO inquired if lawmakers were notified, an official said they would do so.
  61. On Wednesday, the White House announced Trump would unveil a plan to overhaul parts of the immigration system to emphasize immigrants’ skill over family ties. Jared Kushner spent months working on the plan.
  62. The plan would vastly scale back allowing immigrants to bring their spouses and children to live with them, and instead allow in immigrants who have specific skills, English proficiency, and educational attainment.
  63. The plan also calls for constructing some of the border wall, reducing the number of immigrants, but did not address the fate of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA).
  64. On Thursday, Trump rolled out the plan at the Rose Garden, but got a cool reception. Although Trump’s speech was meant to strike a centrist, conciliatory tone, Trump quickly went off script and started attacking.
  65. Trump attacked Democrats as being for “open borders, lower wages and, frankly, lawless chaos,” saying if they refused to support his “merit-based, high-security plan,” he would pass it after the GOP wins back the House.
  66. Trump was more low-energy than usual during the address, and his words seemed to drag and go off course at times. Trump also refused to take questions from the press.
  67. NYT reported Kushner had wanted to elevate the moment and have Trump speak at the Statue of Liberty. Instead, staff chose the Rose Garden so members of Congress and Trump’s cabinet could come and show support.
  68. Speaker Nancy Pelosi said the plan “repackaged the worst of its past failed immigration plans” and described it as “dead-on-arrival,” and “not a remotely serious proposal.”
  69. On Friday a 4th Circuit federal appeals court ruled that the Trump regime acted in an “arbitrary and capricious” manner when it sought to end the DACA program without adequately explaining why.
  70. The ruling overturns a lower court ruling in Maryland last year, which Trump has praised on Twitter. The ruling will not have an immediate impact as other federal courts have already ruled against Trump.
  71. Politico reported Trump’s pick for ICE director, Mark Morgan, told Fox News host Tucker Carlson earlier this year that he could tell which migrant children will become gang members by looking into their eyes.
  72. On Wednesday, Daily Beast reported that children born to LGBTQ parents who had them out of wedlock and then moved to the U.S. may be stripped of their citizenship rights.
  73. On Monday, the New Haven Fire Department chief said a fire at the Diyanet Mosque of New Haven, Connecticut was set intentionally. The blaze came during the month of Ramadan.
  74. On Friday, Massachusetts state officials said three fires at a Rabbi’s home and nearby Chabad Jewish Center just outside Boston were “intentionallyset.” Police say they are investigating the fires as a possible hate crime.
  75. On Sunday, International House of Pancakes stoked controversy when the chain tweeted a photo of a fake sonogram with a stack of pancakes in the womb, along with “Happy Mother’s Day to ALL the moms out there!”
  76. On Monday, former Trump staffer Omarosa Manigault Newman submitted a court declaration as part of proposed collective-action lawsuit against Trump spearheaded by Alva Johnson for gender-based pay discrimination.
  77. On Tuesday, the Alabama state senate approved a measure that would effectively ban abortion, criminalizing the procedure for doctors, punishable by up to 99 years in jail.
  78. The measure includes an exception when the mother’s life is at serious risk, but not for cases of rape or incest. The bill was reportedly drafted with the hope of reaching the Supreme Court to challenge Roe v. Wade.
  79. The Guttmacher Institute reported more than 300 proposals to restrict abortion were introduced in states from January to March, noting a shift in the strategy and moving toward “near-total and total abortion bans.”
  80. On Thursday, the Senate voted to confirm Wendy Vitter to the U.S. District Court. Vitter said of Planned Parenthood “they kill over 150,000 females a year. The first step in promoting women’s health is to let them live.”
  81. On Friday, Missouri’s House passed a bill banning abortion after eight weeks of pregnancy, with exceptions for medical emergencies, but not rape or incest. Doctors who perform abortions could face 5–15 years in prison.
  82. GOP Gov. Mike Parson, who said “Until the day that we no longer have abortions in this country, I will never waiver in the fight,” is expected to sign the bill. The law only kicks in if Roe v. Wade is overturned.
  83. Missouri Rep. Barry Hovis said during a debate of granting exceptions for rape and incest, “Most of them were date rapes or consensual rapes.” Hovis later apologized for using the term consensual rape.
  84. On Friday, Austin City Council member Leslie Pool said she is drafting a resolution for the city to boycott the state of Alabama over its extreme anti-abortion law, saying “Austin should help fight back.”
  85. On Saturday, Louisiana’s Democratic Gov. John Bel Edwards said he is ready to sign an abortion ban bill awaiting one final vote in the state House, would prohibit abortion after a fetal heartbeat is detected.
  86. On Tuesday, the Maine state senate voted to join an interstate effort with 15 other states that will award presidential electors based on the winner of the national popular vote, not as is currently done in the Electoral College.
  87. On Tuesday, on a trip to a liquefied natural gas facility in Louisiana, Trump knocked the Green New Deal and windmills, saying, “you want to see a bird cemetery? Go under a windmill. You’ve got every type of bird.”
  88. On Wednesday, the Interior Department renewed two mineral leases near the Boundary Waters Wilderness area in Minnesota, opening the wilderness area to copper mining despite heavy opposition.
  89. The move rolled back an Obama era moratorium. Conservation groups say the regime conducted an insufficient environmental review and ignored 39,000 comments during the 41 day review period.
  90. A U.N. pact to add plastic waste to the Basel Convention, a treaty which regulates movement of hazardous materials from one country to another, was approved by 187 countries, but not by the U.S.
  91. On Monday, prosecutors asked Federal Judge Amy Berman Jackson to further postpone sentencing for Rick Gates, citing Gates “continues to cooperate with the government as required by his Plea Agreement.”
  92. Prosecutors said in their filing that Gates may be a trial witness against former Obama White House counsel Gregory Craig and Trump ally Roger Stone. Judge Jackson approved their request.
  93. On Monday, NYT reported AG William Barr assigned John Durham, the U.S. attorney in Connecticut, to examine the origins of the Russia investigation, a move that Trump has long called for — investigating the investigators.
  94. Durham’s inquiry will be the third into the origins of the investigation, along with John Huber, the U.S. attorney in Utah’s inquiry, and the DOJ inspector general’s examination of the use of wiretapping applications.
  95. Durham’s assignment complicates matters for three Senate committee chairs — Sens. Lindsey Graham, Ron Johnson, and Chuck Grassley — who were also set to open their own investigations into investigators.
  96. On Tuesday, CNN reported Barr is also working in close collaboration withCIA Director Gina Haspel, Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats, and FBI Director Christopher Wray to review the Russia probe origins.
  97. On Sunday, Senate Judiciary Committee Chair Lindsey Graham told “Fox News Sunday” that Donald Jr. should ignore the Senate Intelligence Committee subpoena and not show up to a hearing.
  98. On Monday, Politico reported Senate Republicans were concerned about an ugly floor vote if Donald Jr. did not comply with the Senate Intelligence Committee’s subpoena, and hoped parties would work out a deal.
  99. On Monday, Chair Graham changed his stance, saying Donald Jr. should “just show up and plead the Fifth and it’s over with,” adding, “This whole thing is nuts,” and “To me, it’s over.”
  100. On Monday, Sen. Joe Manchin, a conservative Democrat, told CNN, “this is not the Lindsey I know,” adding, “Lindsey Graham has been a dear friend since I’ve been in the Senate. I can’t explain what’s going on right now.”
  101. On Tuesday, Donald Jr. reached a deal with the Senate Intelligence Committee to have him testify in mid-June, but the interview will be for only two-to-four hours and limited in scope to five-to-six topics.
  102. On Monday, in a court filing, Trump’s attorneys objected to Judge Amit Mehta’s intention to rule from the bench after Tuesday’s hearing on Trump’s lawsuit seeking to block the House Oversight Mazars subpoena.
  103. Lawyers cited they need more time to collect evidence and develop their cases, saying Trump’s rights were undermined by the accelerated timetable. Experts say Trump’s strategy seemed to be to stall the probes.
  104. On Tuesday, Judge Mehta raised doubts about arguments by Trump’s legal team that the subpoena was an invalid exercise of congressional power, adding Congress has a significant “informing function.”
  105. Although Trump’s lawyer argued Congress has no basis for investigating Trump’s financial disclosure, Mehta pushed back that investigations of such financial violations are “strictly” under Congress’ purview.
  106. The House Oversight lawyer pushed for a quick ruling, saying, “This Congress is limited in time…Any delay here undermines the House’s ability to do what the Constitution allows it to do.”
  107. Mehta’s ruling, expected Friday at the earliest, will be the first and could provide a blueprint for other judges deciding on Trump’s attempts to block or hinder other congressional investigations.
  108. On Tuesday, House Democrat committee chairs wrote letters to Cipollone and Barr demanding information on the regime’s decisions to call for the dismantling of the Affordable Care Act, and if Trump was involved.
  109. On Monday, Serhiy Leshchenko, an Ukrainian lawmaker, told journalists Prosecutor General Yuriy Lutsenko made up claims about possible 2020 foe Joe Biden in an alleged bid to curry favor with Trump.
  110. Leshchenko shared a parts of a letter send by Lutsenko through unofficial channels to Trump’s personal attorney, Rudy Giuliani. The prosecutor’s spokeswoman denied the letter came from him.
  111. On Tuesday, Bloomberg reported Yuriy Lutsenko said that neither Hunter Biden nor Burisma, the company Biden sat on the board of, were currently the focus of an investigation, countering allegations by Giuliani.
  112. Lutsenko said he would turn over information to Barr about Burisma’s payments to Biden, but added, “I do not want Ukraine to again be the subject of U.S. presidential elections.”
  113. On Tuesday, Gov. Ron DeSantis told reporters, “two Florida counties experienced intrusion into the supervisor of election networks” during the 2016 election, but added no votes were manipulated or results altered.
  114. DeSantis got the information in an FBI briefing. While Sen. Marco Rubio said the Mueller report said Russia was in a position to manipulate voter registration data, DeSantis claimed the FBI told him that did not occur.
  115. On Thursday, NPR reported Florida lawmakers were angry after leaving an FBI briefing which left many of their questions on the 2016 hacking unanswered, and frustrated that they were not notified sooner.
  116. Lawmakers said even after the Mueller report and briefing, they do not know exactly what happened. A Republican lawmaker responded to a reporter asking if more than two counties were hacked, “It’s possible.”
  117. On Tuesday, at a joint press conference with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov and Pompeo, Lavrov rejected claims of Russian election interference and accused the U.S. of interfering in Russian domestic policy.
  118. Lavrov said “The facts tell us that there is no proof of those trying to hype up this topic,” to which Pompeo responded with a smirk, “You can see we have some disagreements on this issue.”
  119. On Tuesday, NYT reported the House Intelligence Committee sent document requests to four lawyers who represented Trump or his familyon whether they helped obstruct the panel’s Russia investigation.
  120. Letters went to Jay Sekulow; Alan Futerfas, who represents Donald Jr.; Alan Garten, the top lawyer at the Trump Organization; and Abbe Lowell, who represents Ivanka. All were part of the joint defense agreement.
  121. Chair Adam Schiff’s letter suggested the four may have “shaped and edited the false statement” by Micheal Cohen and “engaged in discussions about potential pardons” in an effort to deter witnesses from cooperating.
  122. On Tuesday, the House Judiciary Committee formally scheduled a hearing for former White House counsel Don McGahn on May 21. Chair Jerry Nadler said McGahn will be held in contempt if he does not appear.
  123. On Tuesday, NBC News reported some members of the House Judiciary Committee are expressing frustration and urging leadership to take a “second look” at impeachment as a tool to get the regime to comply.
  124. The committee had hoped that Mueller would testify on May 15, but members said Trump’s action were behind that not happening. The DOJ declined to comment on why Mueller has not yet agreed to testify.
  125. On Wednesday, House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer said House Democrats will not hold floor votes on contempt resolutions against Attorney General Barr or any other Trump regime officials until at least June.
  126. Hoyer added, “We don’t want to do it just individually.” There was a divide among Democrats, with Chairs Nadler and Jim McGovern and others pushing for more aggressive action.
  127. On Wednesday, in a letter to Chair Nadler, White House counsel Pat Cipollone said Congress has no right to a “do-over” of the special counsel’sinvestigation, issuing a sweeping rejection of House demands.
  128. Cipollone’s letter issued a blanket refusal of records and testimony from dozens of current and former White House staff, rejecting Congress’s standing to investigate Trump for possible obstruction of justice.
  129. Cipollone said Congress is not a law enforcement body and does not have a legitimate purpose to investigate what it is pursuing, and without asserting executive privilege, said it would only consider narrow requests.
  130. The White House also said it is instructing the 81 Trump allies or Trump-related entities who received document requests from Chair Nadler in early March not to comply.
  131. Chair Nadler responded, “The American people ought to be astonished by a claim by the White House that the president cannot be held accountable, that he’s above the law, that he is in fact a dictator.”
  132. Nadler said of the 81 recipients, “We will subpoena whoever we have to subpoena. We will hear from Mueller, we will hear from McGahn…We will hold in contempt whoever doesn’t comply with subpoenas.”
  133. On Wednesday, Nadler said in an interview with CNBC that he believed Trump committed crimes while in office, and said of Barr, “Bill Barr is just a liar. And, he’s just representing the president.”
  134. When asked if we are heading for impeachment, Nadler said, “Probably, but I don’t know,” adding that Trump is making it “increasingly difficult” to avoid.
  135. On Wednesday, when he encountered Speaker Pelosi at at a law enforcement ceremony, Barr asked if she “brought your handcuffs.” Pelosi told Barr that the Sergeant at Arms was there should an arrest be needed.
  136. On Wednesday, Vice President Mike Pence, Leader Mitch McConnell, and Supreme Court Justice John Roberts flew on Air Force Two to a funeral — notably unusual for the three to be together, especially on a flight.
  137. On Wednesday, WAPO reported despite Trump’s unwillingness to cooperate with 20 congressional investigations, Speaker Pelosi told House members in a closed-door meeting to stick with policy, not focus on impeachment.
  138. On Wednesday, Trump granted a full pardon to Conrad Black, a billionaire friend who wrote a complimentary book about him. Black was convicted in 2007 on fraud charges, including embezzlement and obstruction.
  139. On Wednesday, Senate Democrats introduced legislation requiring hand-marked paper ballots and “statistically rigorous” cybersecurity audits. Sen. Ron Wyden, who is leading the legislation, accused the White House of taking insufficient steps.
  140. On Thursday, 20 House Democrats, led by Rep. Mary Gay Scanlon, vice chairwoman of the House Judiciary Committee, did a public reading of the redacted Mueller report on a C-SPAN station starting at noon.
  141. On Thursday, House Intelligence Committee Chair Schiff said his committee will hold hearings next week on whether to hold Barr in contempt for ignoring their subpoena of the unredacted Mueller report.
  142. In a letter to Barr, Chair Schiff wrote that the DOJ’s refusal “leaves the Committee no choice but to initiate action next week to enforce the subpoena.” The subpoena deadline was Wednesday.
  143. On Thursday, a group of Democratic lawmakers with top roles on committees overseeing the Treasury Department sent a letter to Sec. Steven Mnuchin relating to Rusal’s investment in the Kentucky mill.
  144. Rusal’s board approved a a $200 million investment in an aluminum plant with Braidy Industries on Thursday, four months after Congress voted to lift sanctions on the company owned by Russian oligarch Oleg Deripaska.
  145. Braidy’s CEO told NYT his company did not discuss the Rusal investment before it was announced with the Trump regime or Kentucky’s senators, Mitch McConnell and Rand Paul. McConnell backed lifting sanctions.
  146. On Thursday, in response to a motion filed by WAPO earlier in the year, Judge Emmet Sullivan ordered prosecutors to publicly release conversations Micheal Flynn had with Russian ambassador in late 2016.
  147. Sullivan also ordered the government to provide a public transcript of a November 2017 voice mail from then Trump attorney John Dowd involving Flynn reminding him of Trump’s fondness for him.
  148. Per Mueller report, Dowd said it wouldn’t surprise him if Flynn cooperates but “[I]f… there’s information that implicates the President, then we’ve got a national security issue [so] … we need some kind of heads-up.”
  149. In his order, Sullivan also ordered the government to provide him with a copy of all relevant recordings, including any calls Flynn made to the Russians, so he can review them.
  150. Sullivan also ordered still-redacted portions of the Mueller report related to Flynn be given to the court and made public. Newly unsealed court records show Flynn was a deep source of useful information to Mueller.
  151. Newly unredacted portions of the Mueller report also revealed Flynn told Mueller’s team that people linked to the Trump regime and Congress reached out to him in an effort to impact his willingness to cooperate.
  152. Prosecutors did not identify which member(s) of Congress reached out to Flynn. The Mueller report revealed Trump asked Reince Priebus and K.T. McFarland to reach out to Flynn and tell him to stay strong.
  153. On Friday, CNN reported in April 2018, Flynn sent a Twitter direct message to Rep. Matt Gaetz, saying, “You stay on top of what you’re doing. Your leadership is so vital for our country now. Keep the pressure on.”
  154. The message was sent months after the December 2017 start of Flynn’s cooperation, and within an hour of Rep. Gaetz appearing on Fox Business’ “Lou Dobbs Tonight,” where he criticized the Mueller investigation.
  155. On Thursday, Barr told Fox News the public must know if the “government officials abused their power and put their thumb on the scale” in the early stages of the Mueller probe.
  156. On Friday, in an interview with WSJ, Barr said there may be rule changes at the DOJ in the wake of the Russia probe, saying, “Government power was used to spy on American citizens.”
  157. Barr also said, “I can’t imagine any world where we wouldn’t take a look and make sure that was done properly,” adding, “we need to ensure that the government doesn’t use its powers to put a thumb on the scale.”
  158. On Friday, Fox News anchor Chris Wallace said during an interview on “America’s Newsroom” that Barr “clearly is protecting” Trump, and “advocating his point of view.”
  159. Fox News contributor Judge Andrew Napolitano said in an op-ed we have lost sight of the basic constitutional norms. Napolitano said on Fox News Trump violated the separation of powers three times in the past week.
  160. On Friday, Trump sent a series of 13 morning tweets, many during the airing of “Fox & Friends,” including his campaign lines “DRAIN THE SWAMP!” and “MAKE AMERICA GREAT AGAIN!”
  161. Trump also quoted “Fox & Friends,” tweeting, “What happened is that Donald Trump won. Down goes Comey.”
  162. Trump also tweeted: “My Campaign for President was conclusively spied on. Nothing like this has ever happened in American Politics,” adding, “TREASON means long jail sentences, and this was TREASON!
  163. Trump also tweeted, “Will Jerry Nadler ever look into the fact that Crooked Hillary deleted and acid washed 33,000 emails AFTER getting a most powerful demand notice for them from Congress?”
  164. Trump also tweeted about Michael Flynn, saying it seems he “was under investigation long before was common knowledge,” adding, “It would have been impossible for me to know this.” This statement is false.
  165. Trump also tweeted, “the Fake News Media is hurting our Country with its fraudulent and highly inaccurate coverage of Iran,” calling it “made up” and “DANGEROUS.”
  166. Trump also tweeted, “At least Iran doesn’t know what to think, which at this point may very well be a good thing!”
  167. Bloomberg reported Trump was increasingly isolated on Iran, as the world saw confusion on U.S. strategy. Beyond Israel and Saudi Arabia, allied support is not forthcoming.
  168. A few hours later, Trump tweeted, “With all of the Fake and Made Up News out there, Iran can have no idea what is actually going on!”
  169. On Friday, at a speech to the National Association of Realtors in Washington, D.C. went off topic, criticizing the media’s coverage which claims he is at odds with top security officials in the regime on Iran.
  170. Trump said of the media using anonymous sources: “Everything is ‘a source says.’ There is no source. The person doesn’t exist. The person’s not alive. It’s bullshit, OK? It’s bullshit.”
  171. Trump also referred to journalists as “bad people,” complaining that he has to uses speeches and social media to get his message across, saying the media not him has led to confusion on U.S. strategy on Iran.
  172. On Friday, at the 5 p.m. deadline, the Treasury Department refused to comply with a House subpoena for Trump’s tax returns, saying in a letter “the Committee’s request lacks a legitimate legislative purpose.”
  173. House Ways and Means Committee Chair Richard Neal said the law provides “clear statutory authority” for the committee’s request, and said he would consult with counsel “on how best to enforce the subpoenas.”
  174. On Friday, Chair Nadler told Politico that there is no Mueller hearing planned for next week. Nadler had set a new tentative date of May 23. Nadler said this could change if Mueller wanted to come in.
  175. On Friday, WAPO reported a group of House Judiciary Committee Democrats are growing impatient and have privately discussed ways to increase pressure on House leadership for impeachment.
  176. Some senior Democrats hope the courts will come to their rescue; but if Democrats choose to litigate all the cases of Trump stonewalling, it could take months or years — as Trump runs out the clock.
  177. Democratic leaders have backed the idea of bundling citations and scheduling one major contempt vote, before then taking them to court. But that process will take weeks more.
  178. On Saturday, AP reported some Democrats say Trump’s stonewalling leaves them almost no choice but to open an impeachment inquiry — not necessarily to impeach Trump, but as part of a legal strategy.
  179. Experts cited the Constitution gives Congress the sole power to impeach, and courts are wary of interfering. Impeachment inquiry may be the only way to get Trump to comply with requests for documents and testimony.
  180. On Saturday, WAPO reported an attempt by Stephen Miller to push for another DHS shake-up was thwarted by acting DHS Secretary Kevin McAleenan, who threatened to resign if he was not given more time.
  181. Tempers flared when Miller urged Trump to elevate Mark Morgan, who Trump picked to be the new director of ICE to become the new commissioner of CBP instead, without McAleenan’s knowledge or consent.
  182. On Saturday, Austria’s far-right Vice Chancellor Heinz-Christian Strache resigned after a 2017 video surfaced, showing him promising government contracts to a woman claiming to be the niece of a Russian oligarch.
  183. The video was filmed on the Spanish island of Ibiza three months before the Austrian elections, and revealed Strache eagerly willing to promise Russia government contracts in exchange for campaign donations.
  184. The scandal and resignation come just ahead of next week’s elections for the European Parliament where far-right, populist leaders were campaigning to increase their share of power, benefiting Russia.

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Migrants, mostly from Central America, wait to board a van which will take them to a processing center, on May 16, 2019, in El Paso, Texas. — About 1,100 migrants from Central America and other countries are crossing into the El Paso border sector each day.

POLITIKS OF GRAFFITI 130: THE “DEMOCRACY BARR” KEEPS GOING LOWER AND LOWER

IMG_7556
San Jose, Costa Rica. May 2019.

MAY 04, 2019

Week 129

Experts in authoritarianism advise to keep a list of things
subtly changing around you, so you’ll remember. This is AMY SISKIND’S LIST: https://theweeklylist.org/weekly-list/week-129/ 

This week a leaked letter sent from special counsel Robert Mueller to Attorney General William Barr days after Barr released his four-page “summary” indicated Mueller did not believe that Barr captured the “context, nature, and substance” of his work. Mueller’s letter, leaked in part to the Post the day before Barr was set to testify before the Senate, shook the country and set off a firestorm, including allegations Barr had lied in previous Congressional testimony. His demeanor at his Senate testimony did little to mollify concern that Barr had acted in concert with Trump’s team to shape the narrative ahead of the redacted report’s release, and was continuing to protect Trump from its contents and repercussions.

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Jim Carrey May 1
“Watching William Barr testify is like getting caught in a monsoon of vomit. READY THE ARK!”

 

House Democrats sounded the alarms and escalated matters as Trump, his family, and regime all continued to stonewall Congressional demands, including a lawsuit to block Deutsche Bank from cooperating with House subpoenas and Barr being a no-show for House testimony. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi wore the gravity of the situation in her demeanor at her weekly press conference, admitting she had trouble sleeping after watching the top law enforcement officer’s performance. Pelosi, who has been committed to avoiding impeachment, was reported to be losing patience.

Trump hit 10,000 lies and has ratcheted up the pace, and this week threatened social media companies and the “deep state” trying to remove him. New stories of corruption and kleptocracy were reported, but still Trump has suffered no consequences for his or his regime’s actions while in office. Trump closed out the week irreverently speaking to Russian President Vladimir Putin privately, and saying they agreed about the “Russian Hoax,” while failing to mention Russia’s ongoing meddling.

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New York City November 2018
  1. WAPO reported Trump has told more than 10,000 false or misleading statements. For the first 5,000 lies, Trump took 601 days and told 8 lies a day. For the last 5,000 lies, Trump took 226 days, averaging 23 lies a day.
  2. At his Saturday campaign rally in Wisconsin, Trump told 61 lies. In Week 128, during his interview with Fox News host Sean Hannity and in a National Rifle Association speech, Trump told 45 lies and 24 lies, respectively.
  3. A Politico/Morning Consult poll found 60% say Trump’s use of Twitter is a bad thing, and 19% said it is a good thing. Also, 7 in 10 say he uses Twitter too much, while 14% said he uses it the right amount.
  4. In an op-ed, Patti Davis, daughter of Ronald Reagan, called on Republicans to stop using his name to justify their silence, warning the democracy her father swore to uphold is “being degraded and chipped away at.”
  5. Davis added, “if you are going to stand silent as America is dismantled and dismembered, as democracy is thrown onto the ash heap of yesterday, shame on you. But don’t use my father’s name on the way down.”
  6. On Saturday, Trump skipped the White House Correspondents’ Dinner for the third time, and told his regime to skip as well. Instead of a comedian, historian Ron Chernow was featured at a more subdued dinner.
  7. Chernow said, “Like every future president, [George] Washington felt maligned and misunderstood by the press,” adding “But he never generalized that into a vendetta against the institution.”
  8. On Saturday, Trump held a campaign rally in Green Bay, Wisconsin. He opened by condemning anti-Semitism and hate crimes after the synagogue shooting, and a day after defending his “very fine people” comments.
  9. Trump spoke for 90 minutes, at the same time as the Correspondents’ Dinner, leading the crowd in chant of “Luck her up!” and “CNN sucks,” as well as going after the late senator John McCain over his healthcare vote.
  10. Trump said the “radical, liberal democrats put all their hopes behind their collusion delusion, which is totally exposed as a complete and total fraud,” while the “Republican Party is the party of all Americans.”
  11. Trump said the Russia probe was “greatest political hoax in American history,” adding, “this witch hunt was never really just about me. It was always about stopping you,” the “freedom-loving citizens.”
  12. Trump bragged about the plan to bus immigrants who cross illegally to sanctuary cities, saying he was proud “that was actually my sick idea.” He also called people “sick” who worry he will not leave at the end of his term.
  13. Trump also said the Jussie Smollett case is a “disgrace to our nation,” adding, “he said he was beat up by ‘MAGA country.’ Turned out to be a total lie.”
  14. Trump made the false inflammatory claim that in Wisconsin after a baby is born, doctors and mothers “take care of the baby, they wrap the baby beautifully,” then they meet to decide whether to execute the baby.
  15. On Saturday, in tweets, Trump attacked Fox News legal analyst Andrew Napolitano who said in an op-ed last week what Trump did was “unlawful, defenseless and condemnable,” and, “On obstruction, Barr is wrong.”
  16. Trump tweeted, “Andrew came to my office to ask that I appoint him to the U.S. Supreme Court, and I said NO,” adding, “Also asked for pardon for his friend,” and Napolitano is “a good “pal” of low ratings Shepard Smith.”
  17. On Sunday, former deputy attorney general Sally Yates told “Meet the Press” that Trump would likely be indicted on obstruction of justice if he were not president.
  18. Yates also said, “the bigger issue is not just whether or not this establishes a crime that can be proven beyond a reasonable doubt, but is this the kind of conduct that we should expect from the president of the United States?”
  19. On Saturday, House Oversight Committee Chair Elijah Cummings pulled back from plans to initiate contempt proceedings against former White House security clearance chief Carl Kline, calling on Kline to appear May 1.
  20. On Sunday, Attorney General William Barr warned Democrats on the House Judiciary Committee that he will not show up to testify if they stick to the format proposed by Chairman Jerrold Nadler.
  21. Barr said he will only allow members of Congress, not House Judiciary Committee counsels to ask questions. Nadler responded, “the witness is not going to tell the committee how to conduct its hearing, period.”
  22. On Monday, deputy attorney general Rod Rosenstein submitted his resignation letter, capping a tumultuous two years. In his letter, Rosenstein said the DOJ needs to remain nonpartisan, while jabbing at the media.
  23. On Monday, the Commerce Department reported personal income for farmers plunged in the first quarter by an annualized $11.8 billion, the most in three years, as a result of Trump’s trade wars.
  24. On Saturday, NYT reported New York attorney general Letitia James opened an investigation into the National Rifle Associations’s tax-exempt status, instructing the NRA in a letter to preserve financial records.
  25. The investigation is reportedly the cause of NRA leadership infighting. Allegations include illegallytransferring funds out of the foundation and transactions benefiting others which could threaten its nonprofit status.
  26. On Thursday, Democrats on the Senate Committee on Finance sent a letter to the NRA requesting letters, third-party audits, memos, and other materials related to alleged self-dealing and the NRA’s nonprofit status.
  27. On Saturday, San Diego police said according to his manifesto, the Chabad of Poway synagogue shooter drew inspiration from the Pittsburgh synagogue and New Zealand mosque shootings.
  28. On Saturday, a group of white nationalists interrupted author Jonathan Metzl at a Washington DC event discussing his book “Dying of Whiteness: How the Politics of Racial Resentment is Killing America’s Heartland.”
  29. On Monday, court papers revealed that a U.S. Army veteran’s large-scale domestic terrorist plot in retaliationfor the killing of Muslims by a white supremacist in New Zealand was foiled by the FBI.
  30. On Monday, the White House hosted the winner of the Teacher of the Year award, Rodney Robinson, who is a black man. Trump and Vice President Mike Pence did not attend, even though neither had a scheduling conflict.
  31. On Monday, Trump hosted the NCAA women’s tournament champion Baylor Bears at the White House, following criticism he had not hosted a women’s championship team alone in his 27 months in office.
  32. Trump asked Baylor coach Kim Mulkey if she would like a job at the White House, and she responded, “No.” Trump also commented about the players’ “beautiful arms,” which he said had “great definition.”
  33. On Monday, the White House pushed to designate the Muslim Brotherhood a terrorist group, imposing wide-ranging sanctions, after Trump agreed with Egypt’s President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi that it made sense to do so.
  34. The Waterford Daily Times reported a New York judge gave Shane Piche, a former school bus driver who admitted to raping a 14 year-old girl, no jail time, saying he had no prior arrests and there was only one victim.
  35. On Thursday, Michael Wysolovski, 33, pleaded guilty to first-degree cruelty and was given probation in a Georgia court for allegedly for holding a teenage girl captive to have sex with him, at times in a dog cage.
  36. On Tuesday, Roy Moore sent an email to supporters, saying he is “seriously considering” a Senate bid in 2020, citing Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh’s confirmation in the face of sexual assault allegations.
  37. On Wednesday, Stephen Taubert, who threatened to hang Obama and kill Rep. Maxine Waters in phone calls, was sentenced to prison. Taubert said at sentencing that he was provoked by the two’s public criticism of Trump.
  38. On Thursday, an Ohio high school student who posted a sign which read, “If I was black I’d be picking cotton, but I’m white so I’m picking you for prom?” on social media, will not be attending the prom or graduation.
  39. On Thursday, the Trump regime rolled out a new conscience rule which shields health workers from providing services like abortion, sterilization, or assisted suicide, if they cite a religious or conscientious objection.
  40. The Department of Health and Human Services also changed the Office for Civil Rights’ mission statement, adding the office “protects that exercise of religious beliefs and moral convictions by individuals and institutions.”
  41. On Monday, Trump ordered new restrictions on those seeking asylum on the southern border, adding an application fee for work permits and directing immigration cases be completed within 180 days.
  42. On Tuesday, an ABC News/Washington Post poll found 64% of Americans oppose Trump declaring a national emergency to build his wall (34% approve). On asylum, just 30% approve stricter rules.
  43. On Wednesday, BuzzFeed reported that a 16 year-old unaccompanied immigrant boy died in custody of the Office of Refugee Resettlement, after becoming “noticeably ill,” including having a fever, chills, and a headache.
  44. On Thursday, emails obtained by NBC News revealed the Trump regime had “no way to link” migrant children separated from their parents, and no central database with location information about separated families during the regime’s “zero tolerance” policy.
  45. Although nearly 3,000 families were separated, the emails reveal the regime only had enough information to reconnect 60 parents with their children when Trump ended the policy in June 2018.
  46. On Friday, CBS News reported former White House chief of staff John Kelly joined the board of Caliburn International, the company operating Homestead, the largest facility for unaccompanied migrant children.
  47. Caliburn is the parent company of Comprehensive Health Services, the only private company operating shelters. Prior to working for Trump, Kelly was on the board of DC Capital Partners, which now owns Caliburn.
  48. Federal records show Comprehensive received $222 million to operate Homestead between July 7, 2018 and April 20, 2019, and could receive up to $341 million through December for growing and operating the facility.
  49. On Monday, the White House said it is reviewing past writing of Trump’s Federal Reserve nominee Stephen Moore, following reporting on his anti-women views. Typically such review would be done prior to a nomination.
  50. On Wednesday, Moore expressed regret over his 2016 racist statements about then President Obama, when he commented, “First thing Donald Trump does as President is kick a black family out of public housing.”
  51. On Thursday, Trump tweeted that Moore was withdrawing from consideration. Hours earlier that morning, Moore had been boasting that he would be easily confirmed by the Senate.
  52. On Tuesday, WAPO reported at Trump National Golf Club Westchester in Briarcliff Manor, New York, undocumented workers were told to clock out, then stay and work hours more without pay, known as “side work.
  53. The NY attorney general’s office confirmed it had received complaints from workers about conditions. Six employees who spoke to the NY AG told WAPO they were denied promotions, vacation days, and health insurance.
  54. The club was formerly managed by Dan Scavino, White House director of social media. Scavino told the Posthe was unaware of any violations, and questions were an “attempt to attack the President through me.”
  55. On Thursday, Univision News reported that in addition to undocumented workers at Trump golf courses, Trump vineyard in Charlottesville, Virginia also hired workers without legal documents.
  56. Seven undocumented employees were interviewed by Univision. They detailed working from sunrise to sunset, without overtime pay or benefits, and were also asked to do personal chores for their supervisors.
  57. On Tuesday, U.S. District Judge Emmet Sullivan ruled a lawsuit brought against Trump by House Democratsfor violating the emoluments clause of the Constitution can proceed.
  58. This, and another emoluments lawsuit by the attorneys general of D.C. and Maryland, represent the first time federal judges have interpreted and applied the clauses’ restrictions to a sitting president.
  59. On Monday, the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals turned back a request from a Roger Stone associate, Andrew Miller, to reexamine a lawsuit questioning the constitutionality of Robert Mueller’s appointment.
  60. On Tuesday, Politico reported the D.C. U.S. Attorney’s office subpoenaed Roger Stone associate Randy Credico to testify in Stone’s case. The subpoena orders him to appear in court November 5, the first day of trial.
  61. On Monday, WAPO reported as U.S. national security officials are preparing to counter Russian interference in the 2020 election, Trump and his senior aides are seeking to downplay the threat.
  62. Trump’s rhetoric and lack of focus have made it more difficult for government officials to come up with a comprehensive strategy, and by not making a public statement against interference, Trump is inviting more.
  63. Despite the Mueller report, which security analysts viewed as an alarm call and a roadmap for how Russian operatives work, Trump continues to deny Russia changed a single vote so not to raise questions of his legitimacy.
  64. Trump also continues to insist it was not only Russia that interfered, has taken no leadership on protecting 2020, and told aides that in public statements they must emphasize that Russia did not influence his win.
  65. On Monday, Trump, three of his children, and business sued Deutsche Bank and Capital One to prevent the banks from responding to subpoenas from the House Intelligence and Financial Services committees.
  66. The lawsuit claimed the subpoenas “have no legitimate or lawful purpose,” and “were issued to harass” Trump, and it alleges, “No grounds exist to establish any purpose other than a political one.”
  67. On Tuesday, Eric Trump, who is involved with the lawsuit against the banks, told “Fox and Friends” that “They want to harass Trump,” adding “it’s not just my father. It’s, ‘Eric, I want to see all your bank records.’”
  68. On Tuesday, House Financial Services Chair Waters said lawmakers would fight “tooth and nail” for the information, and how it plays out could inform the decision to launch impeachment proceedings against Trump.
  69. On Tuesday, NYT reported Deutsche Bank has compiled reams of materials to hand over to Congress, including multiple pages from each of Trump’s annual federal tax returns. The subpoena deadline was May 6.
  70. On Thursday, a federal judge in Manhattan paused the subpoenas pending the court case which will start May 22. Attorneys representing the House are now expected to fight the Trump lawsuit.
  71. On Wednesday, attorneys for the House Oversight Committee said Trump’s suit to block the subpoena of Mazars USA was an attack on constitutional checks and balances and on Congress’s oversight powers.
  72. On Tuesday, House Judiciary Committee Chair Adam Schiff said his committee made a criminal referral to the DOJ for Erik Prince, saying Prince “knowingly and willfully” making false statements to Congress.
  73. Rep. Schiff cited six instances in which Prince allegedly misled the committee about his 2017 meeting in the Seychelles with a Russian banker tied to the Kremlin, saying it “impaired the Committee’s understanding.”
  74. On Tuesday, Daily Beast reported Rep. Schiff has hired Patrick Fallon, former chief of the F.B.I.’s Financial Crimes Section, as work for the committee ramps up its investigation into Trump’s finances.
  75. On Wednesday, Julian Assange was jailed over a bail breach. Assange’s attorney said he was “gripped” by fear of rendition “as threats rained down on him from America, they overshadowed everything.”
  76. On Wednesday, Trump’s DOJ filed its first full argument in the conservative-leaning 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals for striking down the entire Affordable Care Act.
  77. The DOJ argued that the “individual mandate” requiring Americans to have coverage is unconstitutional, and therefore the entire ACA should be struck down. The case will be heard in July.
  78. On Thursday, WAPO reported the Trump regime sought to remove all mentions of climate change from an international statement on Arctic policy that Secretary of State Mike Pompeo may endorse next week.
  79. The regime threatened a standoff in crafting principles among the eight Arctic nations next week, including wanting no reference to the Paris accord, but later softened its position when other countries disagreed.
  80. In preparing for the meeting, the White House devised a plan in February to challenge scientific consensusthat the burning of fossil fuels is the leading cause of climate change, and took control of the U.S. message.
  81. The EPA weakened a standard for cleaning up groundwater pollution caused by toxic chemicals which eventually will impact drinking water consumed by millions of Americans, after pressure from the Pentagon.
  82. Standards released last week eliminated a section that addressed how the EPA planned to respond to“immediate threats posed by hazardous waste sites.” The Pentagon had brought their concerns to the White House.
  83. On Thursday, in a symbolic vote, the House voted to keep the U.S. in the Paris climate agreement, by a vote of 231-190 with three Republicans joining the Democrats. The Senate is unlikely to take up the measure.
  84. On Thursday, a federal judge in Maryland ruled that a revised set of lawsuits filed against Trump’s Muslim Ban, which were based on issues not already heard by the Supreme Court, could move forward.
  85. The lawsuits included data on how the regime has enforced the ban. The judge wrote the Supreme Court ruling does not “preclude a different determination at a later stage of the case on a more fulsome record.”
  86. On Thursday, Reuters reported the State Department allowed seven foreign governments to rent condominiums in New York’s Trump World Tower in 2017 without approval from Congress.
  87. The governments of Iraq, Kuwait, Malaysia, Saudi Arabia, Slovakia, Thailand, and the European Union were approved in 2017, out of a total 13 notes sent to the State Dept seeking permission for rent or renew leases.
  88. Legal experts say collecting fees is a potential breach of the emoluments clause. Reuters obtained data through the end of 2017 though the Freedom of Information Act, and no data for 2018 or 2019 is yet available.
  89. On Thursday, the California state senate voted 27-10 to require presidential candidates to release five years’ worth of income tax returns in order to appear on the state’s primary ballot.
  90. On Tuesday, 12 Democratic Senators called on the DOJ inspector general to investigate Barr’s handling of the Mueller report, including his impartiality and whether he lied to the American public about it.
  91. On Tuesday, Daily Beast reported that according to Rep. Nadler, Mueller is willing to testify before House Democrats, but that the DOJ has been unwilling to set a date for it to happen.
  92. On Tuesday, WAPO reported Mueller sent a letter to the DOJ on March 27, three days after AG Barr released his four-page letter, saying it “did not fully capture the context, nature, and substance” of Mueller’s work.
  93. Mueller wrote, “There is now public confusion about critical aspects of the results of our investigation. This threatens to undermine a central purpose for which the Department appointed the Special Counsel: to assure full public confidence in the outcome of the investigations.”
  94. The letter also requested that Barr release the report’s introductions and executive summaries, and made initial suggested redactions, saying the redaction process “need not delay release of the enclosed materials.”
  95. The day after Mueller’s letter, the two spoke on the phone and Mueller said media coverage of the obstruction investigation, but not Russian interference, was misguided and creating public misunderstandings.
  96. Barr’s letter quoted only passages that the investigation found no conspiracy or coordination; however, the redacted report showed Mueller believed significant evidence existed that Trump obstructed justice.
  97. Mueller’s team worked with the DOJ to redact the report. Before it was released, Barr said he “disagreed with some of the special counsel’s legal theories” about what constitutes presidential obstruction of justice.
  98. Barr was scheduled to appear before the Senate Judiciary Committee on Wednesday. Minority Leader Chuck Schumer said Barr needed to bring a copy of the letter from Mueller that was partially leaked to the Post along.
  99. Rep. Nadler demanded a copy of the letter by 10 a.m. Wednesday. Nadler also questioned Barr’s April 10 testimony to his committee, where he said, “I don’t know whether Bob Mueller supported my conclusion.”
  100. On Wednesday, Trump lashed out over the national firefighters union endorsing Democratic candidate Joe Biden, retweeting roughly 60 tweets that disagreed with the endorsement.
  101. Some of the accounts Trump retweeted appeared to be fake accounts. The barrage came just hours before Barr’s Senate testimony.
  102. Ahead of the hearing, Trump also tweeted a quote by Fox Business Host Lou Dobbs, saying, “No President in history has endured such vicious personal attacks by political opponents.”
  103. Trump tweeted: “Why didn’t President Obama do something about Russia in September (before November Election) when told by the FBI? He did NOTHING.” Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell had blocked Obama.
  104. Trump also tweeted: “NO COLLUSION, NO OBSTRUCTION,” adding there “was there No Collusion (by Trump), but the bad actions were done by the “other” side?” and, “greatest con-job in the history of American Politics!”
  105. On Wednesday, Barr testified before the Senate Judiciary Committee to discuss the Mueller investigation and report. Shortly before the hearing started, Mueller’s March 27 letter to Barr was publicly released.
  106. The March 27 letter indicated Mueller first reached out to Barr in a March 25 letter to express his concerns, and also at that time enclosed the introduction and executive summary for each volume to be made public.
  107. Chair Lindsey Graham said after all this time and money, “Mueller has concluded there was no collusion. For me, it is over.” Graham endorsed Barr not charging Trump, but admitted he had not read the full report.
  108. Barr said Mueller was in part to blame for the delayed release, saying his team should have pre-redacted it. In their phone call, Barr claimed Mueller was “was not suggesting that we had misrepresented his report.”
  109. Barr said he was “surprised” Mueller had left the decision on whether Trump attempted to obstruct justice to him, and confused that Mueller extended and expanded his probe to look into “additional episodes ”
  110. Barr said he has assigned investigators to review allegations of spying on the Trump 2016 campaign, he would report their finding to Congress, and Trump had not “waived executive privilege” to allow Don McGahn to testify.
  111. Barr disagreed with Mueller not determining if Trump obstructed justice, but said once Mueller submitted his report, Mueller’s task had ended, and then “It was my baby.”
  112. Barr said he was not familiar with bipartisan legislation to enhance the security of the election system, of which Sen. Amy Klobuchar said, “The White House made calls to stop this.” Barr said he would take a look at the legislation.
  113. Klobuchar reminded Barr he had previously said convincing a witness to change testimony could be considered obstruction of justice, and gave examples from the report of Trump doing so, while Barr dodged to answer.
  114. Barr said he “wasn’t interested” in honoring Mueller’s request to release the executive summaries, saying he “was not in the business of putting out periodic summaries.”
  115. Barr said, “I don’t recall” if he had conversations with the White House on the 14 cases spun out of the Mueller probe. Barr also said to stop using the process as a political weapon and “the job of the DOJ is now over.”
  116. Barr defended Trump, saying he was “falsely accused of colluding with the Russians and accused of being treasonous,” adding, but “to listen to some of the rhetoric,” you would think Mueller found the opposite.
  117. When asked by Sen. Kamala Harris whether anyone at the White House has “suggested” opening criminal cases, Barr paused in silence and struggled to answer the question, leaving himself wiggle room.
  118. Barr admitted he, Rosenstein, and his DOJ staff had not read the underlying evidence compiled by Mueller in coming to their judgment on whether there was sufficient evidence to charge obstruction of justice.
  119. Barr also said Mueller’s letter to him was a “bit snitty” and “was probably written by one of his staff people.” Merriam-Webster dictionary said look-ups for the word “snitty” spiked by 150,000% after Barr used the word.
  120. After his testimony, press secretary Sarah Sanders tweeted, “AG Bill Barr served President George H.W. Bush honorably as AG,” and has so for Trump, adding, “Democrats only disgrace and humiliate themselves.”
  121. Trump told Fox Business’s Trish Regan that Sen. Harris and others running for president were hard on Barr for “political points,” and singled out Harris, who is a Black woman, calling her “very nasty.”
  122. Harris was one of many Democrats who called on Barr to resign, including 2020 candidates and many others in the House and Senate
  123. The WAPO Editorial Board wrote Barr “torched his reputation,” and his testimony “compounded the damage,” adding the DOJ should enable “Mueller to speak publicly and under oath at the earliest opportunity.”
  124. The board said Mueller should address “his substantive findings” not only on Trump’s misbehavior but also on Barr’s “manipulation of his work,” and not only should Trump should be held accountable, so should Barr.
  125. On Wednesday, the House Judiciary Committee voted along party lines to allow members of its staff to question Barr on Thursday. Some noted that Christine Blasey Ford was questioned by outside counsel in the Senate.
  126. On Wednesday, the DOJ said Barr will not testify before the House Judiciary Committee on Thursday, citing “Nadler’s insistence on having staff question” Barr, and calling it “inappropriate” and “unprecedented.”
  127. The DOJ also said it will not comply with the committee’s subpoena for Mueller’s full, unredacted report plus the underlying evidence and grand jury information, saying the request was “not legitimate oversight.”
  128. On Tuesday, Chair Cummings told reporters he could fine or hold former White House Personnel Security Director Carl Kline in contempt if he refuses to answer questions in a closed-door interview Wednesday.
  129. On Wednesday, Cummings told reporters Kline told his committee “the buck pretty much stopped with him,” but added, “There’s much more information that we need to dig into.”’
  130. Cummings also said members of Congress who favor investigations rather than an impeachment inquiry have become “very impatient,” adding, “I don’t know what the White House is trying to push or pressure us into.”
  131. On Wednesday, the White House also said it would not comply with the House Oversight Committee’s request for documents related to the security clearances of Trump regime officials.
  132. White House counsel Pat Cipollone said, “it is not within the authority of Congress to second guess” how Trump selects advisors, and the request showed a “total disregard for individual privacy,” and was “highly inappropriate.”
  133. On Wednesday, Roll Call reported House Democrats are considering reviving a congressional power not used since the 1930s to counter the Trump’s regime stonewalling called “inherent contempt.”
  134. The process would allow Congress to authorize its sergeant-at-arms to execute an arrest warrant against an official who refuses to comply with Congressional subpoenas or takes actions that obstruct their oversight.
  135. On Thursday, Chair Nadler convened the House Judiciary Committee. An empty chair marked Barr’s spot, and he was a no-show. Rep. Steven Cohen brought a bucket of Kentucky Fried Chicken, calling Barr a chicken.
  136. Nadler warned Trump “is trying to render Congress inert,” adding if the House does not “stand up to him together today, we risk forever losing the power to stand up to any president in the future.”
  137. After, Nadler threatened to hold Barr in contempt of Congress if the DOJ does not provide access to the fully unredacted version of Mueller’s report, and will hold a vote possibly as early as Monday.
  138. On Thursday, press secretary Sanders said Nadler should quit, saying, “he and his committee aren’t capable of … asking questions themselves and need to staff it out,” adding, “seems like a pretty pathetic moment.”
  139. On Thursday, at her weekly press conference, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi told reporters Barr lied to Congress, adding, “Nobody is above the law. Not the president of the United States, and not the attorney general.”
  140. When asked by a reporter if Barr should go to jail, Pelosi responded, “There’s a process involved here, and as I said, I’ll say it again, the committee will act upon how we will proceed.“
  141. Pelosi called Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell the “grim reaper” for refusing to allow the Senate to vote on Democratic priorities including an infrastructure plan she and Schumer discussed with Trump.
  142. Before the press conference, Politico reported Pelosi told colleagues in a caucus meeting that she could not sleep Wednesday night after watching Barr’s testimony before the Senate Judiciary Committee.
  143. WAPO reported Pelosi also spoke of impeachment at that caucus meeting, saying, “Ignoring subpoenas of Congress, not honoring subpoenas of Congress — that was Article III of the Nixon impeachment.”
  144. Pelosi said to the press, “I really lost sleep last night,” and, “How sad it is for us to see the top law enforcement officer in our country misrepresenting, withholding the truth from the Congress of the United States.”
  145. On Thursday, at a WAPO Live event, House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy accused U.S. law enforcement of treason, saying, “Their actions are a coup,” adding, “I do not believe they were abiding by the rule of law.”
  146. On Thursday, Reuters reported on a five-page letter from White House lawyer Emmet Flood to Barr sent on April 19, in which Flood says Trump has the right to instruct advisors not to testify.
  147. The letter, sent one day before the redacted Mueller report was released, also said the report is deeply flawed, with Flood calling it “part ‘truth commission’ report and part law school exam paper.”
  148. The letter said it is one thing for a president to “encourage complete cooperation and transparency in a criminal investigation…It is something else entirely to allow his advisers to appear before Congress.”
  149. The letter says the report acts as a “roadmap” for evidence of the special counsel’s “refusal to follow applicable law,” and provided justification for an investigation of the investigators of Trump’s 2016 campaign.
  150. On Friday, Senate Judiciary Chair Graham invited Mueller to testify before the committee “regarding any misrepresentation” by Barr on the substance of their phone call. Days before Graham said he would not call Mueller.
  151. On Friday, when asked by reporters if he would allow Mueller to testify before Congress, Trump responded, “That’s up to our attorney general.”
  152. On Friday, Chair Nadler gave Barr until Monday at 9 a.m. EST to comply with the House subpoena for the unredacted Mueller report and underlying evidence before moving to hold Barr in contempt of Congress.
  153. On Friday, WAPO reported notes taken by Annie Donaldson, White House counsel Don McGahn’s chief of staff, during meetings with Trump were cited more than 65 times in the Mueller report.
  154. Donaldson’s notes describe McGahn’s and others’ concern Trump could be accused of criminal obstruction. She was known for her careful tracking of details, and is reportedly dismayed her notes may be made public.
  155. Donaldson left the White House in December. House Judiciary Chair Nadler has already signaled he will subpoena Donaldson to testify. The precision of her notes drew comparison to the Nixon tapes in Watergate.
  156. On Friday, Trump spoke to Russian President Vladimir Putin by phone for over an hour, without any third party listening in, and without providing a normal readout of the conversation.
  157. Trump said Putin assured him that “he’s not looking to get involved in Venezuela,” contradicting Secretary Pompeo who said Thursday “hundreds, if not more” Russians were working in Venezuela.
  158. On election interference, Trump told reporters Putin “said something to the effect that it started off as a mountain and it ended up being a mouse,” and “he knew that because he knew there was no collusion whatsoever.”
  159. When asked by NBC’s Kristen Welker, “Did you tell him not to meddle in the next election?” Trump responded, “Excuse me, I’m talking, I’m answering this question. You are very rude.”
  160. When pressed again by reporters on whether he raised the issue of election interference or warned Putin not to do it again, Trump responded, “We didn’t discuss that. Really, we didn’t discuss it.”
  161. Shortly after, Trump tweeted about the call, saying, “As I have always said, long before the Witch Hunt started, getting along with Russia, China, and everyone is a good thing, not a bad thing.”
  162. Trump also tweeted, again dismissing interference in the 2016 election cited in the Mueller report, “We discussed Trade, Venezuela, Ukraine, North Korea, Nuclear Arms Control and even the “Russian Hoax.””
  163. On Friday, in a letter, Sen. Kamala Harris called on the DOJ inspector general to investigate if Barr had received or complied with any requests from the White House to investigate Trump’s “perceived enemies.”
  164. On Wednesday, attorneys for Covington teen Nick Sandmann filed a $275 million lawsuit against NBC Universal accusing the network creating a “false narrative” driven by its “anti-Trump agenda,” the third such suit.
  165. On Thursday, Talking Points Memo reported McClatchy, publisher of Fresno Bee, has not been served by Rep. Devin Nunes to take the case to trial, nor has Liz Mair, after Nunes threatened on Fox News on April 8.
  166. On Thursday, Facebook announced it is banning several far-right and anti-Semitic figures and organizations, including Louis Farrakhan, Alex Jones, Milo Yiannopoulos, and Laura Loomer for being “dangerous.”
  167. Facebook said the action to more aggressively enforce its hate-speech policies comes as bigoted violence is on the rise around the world, and its platform has been used by hateful groups and individuals.
  168. On Friday, Donald Jr. tweeted, criticizing the “silencing of conservatives by Facebook & the rest of the Big Tech monopoly men,” calling it a “censorship campaign,” adding, “ how long before they come to purge you?’
  169. On Friday, Trump tweeted, “I am continuing to monitor the censorship of AMERICAN CITIZENS,” adding, “we have what’s known as FREEDOM OF SPEECH!” and threatening, “We are monitoring and watching, closely!!”
  170. Trump also tweeted, “The wonderful Diamond and Silk have been treated so horribly by Facebook,” and threatened, “we’re looking into. It’s getting worse and worse for Conservatives on social media!
  171. Trump also tweeted his disappointment that “Conservative thinkers like James Woods” were banned from Twitter. Woods was suspended for tweeting “‘If you try to kill the King, you best not miss’ #HangThemAll.”
  172. On Thursday, NYT reported that the FBI sent a woman posing as an research assistant to meet with George Papadopoulos in London as part of a counterintelligence investigation of the Trump campaign’s ties to Russia.
  173. The London operative, nicknamed Azra Turk, yielded no fruitful information in 2016 through her exchanges, but the FBI called the action legal and carefully considered under extraordinary circumstances.
  174. Turk worked alongside a longtime informant, Cambridge professor Stefan Halper. The FBI’s actions are under scrutiny by the DOJ inspector general. Barr has said the results could be made public in May or June.
  175. On Friday, Trump tweeted, “Finally, Mainstream Media is getting involved — too “hot” to avoid,” adding, ““Details effort to spy on Trump Campaign.” @foxandfriends”” and “This is bigger than WATERGATE, but the reverse!
  176. On Friday, Vice President Pence told Fox News, “We’ve got to get to the bottom of how all this started,” adding, “And as the attorney general said when he testified before Congress, there was spying.”
  177. On Friday, Trump’s re-election campaign manager Brad Parscale said, “There is a word for this in the English language: Spying,” adding, “As President Trump has said, it is high time to investigate the investigators.”
  178. On Thursday, Sen. Graham told reporters he planned to ask Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts to look into the use of the FISA court in the 2016 election, saying Trump is “down” on the FISA court.
  179. As chief justice, Roberts appoints judges in the FISA courts. Experts noted it is highly unusual for a Chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee to ask a chief justice to “look into” the lower courts handling of cases.
  180. On Friday, prosecutors urged Judge Amy Berman Jackson in a filing to reject Roger Stone’s obscure challengeto their indictment based on Congress allowed the independent counsel statute to expire in 1999.
  181. Prosecutors said that Mueller’s appointment was valid. A hearing is set for May 30. Prosecutors also opposed a motion by Stone’s lawyers to be provided with a full, unredacted copy of the Mueller report.
  182. On Saturday, North Korea launched a short-range missile off its east coast. This is the second provocation by North Korea in recent weeks, and is likely to raise tensions in stalled denuclearization talks with the U.S.
  183. On Saturday, NYT reported on Speaker Pelosi’s concerns that Trump will not give up power voluntarily if he loses re-election by a slim margin, saying, “he’s not going to respect the election.”
  184. Pelosi said, “He would poison the public mind. He would challenge each of the races; he would say you can’t seat these people,” adding Trump will not respect the election results “short of an overwhelming defeat.”
  185. Trump feels energized and emboldened to goad Pelosi, believing the Republican Senate will be compliant. Pelosi has been committed to avoiding impeachment, but is losing patience.
  186. Trump remains respectful of Pelosi. She said, “Maybe he knows that I pray for him. I pray that his heart will be open for good things, to help people instead of taking babies out of the arms of their mothers, for example.”
  187. On Saturday, Trump tweeted, “Very good call yesterday” with Putin, adding “Tremendous potential…despite what you read and see in the Fake News Media,” and, “Look how they have misled you on “Russia Collusion.””

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A chicken rests near the empty seat for US Attorney General Bill Barr in the House Judiciary Committee room on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC, on May 2, 2019. US Congressman Steve Cohen placed it after Barr failed to show and the hearing was convened. 

POLITIKS OF GRAFFITI 129: DERANGED DONALD

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“45 Hearts Russia & North Korea” San Jose, Costa Rica 25Apr2019

APRIL 27, 2019

Week 128

Experts in authoritarianism advise to keep a list of things
subtly changing around you, so you’ll remember. The list is Amy Siskind’s: https://theweeklylist.org/weekly-list/week-128/
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Here’s a sticker depicting the shameful exchange of $2 million dollars for Otto Warmbier who had already been made a vegetable by his captors. Another example of 45 being caught lying after having said repeatedly Kim Jong Un didn’t know anything about Otto. Anyone who knows anything knows that Kim Jong Un knows EVERYTHING that happens in NK and he definitely is the one who ordered Otto to be detained. It’s sick how much he fawns over Kim Jong Un. 45 knows NOTHING of this world and its history or politics. San Jose, Costa Rica. 26apr19.

This week Trump’s White House refused all requests by House Democrats to interview current or former members of the regime, or to turn over records, including those requested by subpoena. The NYT Editorial Board noted Trump “is effectively declaring lawmakers powerless over him. This, warn the experts, puts the nation in uncharted territory and threatens to erode its democratic foundations.” With Congress out of town for a second holiday week, the feeling of Trump’s omnipotence felt all the more palpable.

This week while the country grappled with the contents of the redacted Mueller report, Trump and his allies invoked a failed “coup” and threatened to investigate the investigator. They also sought to downplay Russian interference and its impact in 2016 — with Jared Kushner dismissing Russian efforts as “some Facebook ads.” Alarming reporting indicated Trump is refusing to work to safeguard the 2020 election, nor would his campaign pledge not to take stolen information again, even as FBI director Christopher Wray said Moscow’s interference in the past has been a “dress rehearsal” for the 2020 presidential contest.

IMG_7427
Great depiction here of “Deranged Donald,’ a perfect moniker given to him by George Conway this week on Twitter. San Jose, Costa Rica. 27apr19.
DCIM104GOPROG0042268.
“Komrade trump waving his favorite country’s flags” San Jose, Costa Rica. 26apr19.
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“Making deals and taking money from these two countries, as well as repeatedly defending them at the expense of our great nation…this true says it all: Russia + 45 + North Korea = TRAITOR” San Jose, Costa Rica. 27apr19.
DCIM104GOPROG0072337.
“Idiot in CHEIF.” (sic) That’s how he spells it. So stupid, it’s sad. San Jose, Costa Rica. 27apr19
  1. A Gallup study found a sharp increase in the U.S. from 2017 to 2018 of feelings of stress (from 49% to 55%), worry (40% to 45%), and anger (17% to 22%). All are at a record level since the poll started.
  2. The study also found Americans’ stress rate was one of the highest out of the 143 countries studied, beating the global average of 35% by 20 percentage points.
  3. On Sunday, as Trump’s team sought to shape the narrative on the Mueller report, Rudy Giuliani said on “State of the Union” that there is “nothing wrong with taking information from Russians.”
  4. Giuliani also said former White House counsel Don McGahn was not lying but “hopelessly confused” and “wrong.”
  5. Later Sunday, on “Meet the Press,” Giuliani said the decision to use information stolen by a foreign adversary “depends on where it came from,” and “depends on the stolen material.”
  6. On Sunday, House Judiciary Chair Jerrold Nadler told “Meet the Press” that he would call McGahn to testify before his committee.
  7. Nadler also said some of Trump’s actions outlined in the Mueller report may warrant impeachment, saying “we may get to that, we may not,” adding his committee would “go where the evidence leads us.”
  8. On Sunday, House Oversight Chair Elijah Cummings told “Face the Nation” if the House voted to impeach but the Senate did not, “I think history would smile upon us for standing up for the Constitution.”
  9. On Sunday, in series of tweets, Trump touted a NYT op-ed, saying, “Do you believe this? The New York Times Op-Ed: MEDIA AND DEMOCRATS OWE TRUMP AN APOLOGY,” adding, “Well, they got that one right!”
  10. Trump also tweeted he went through “the worst and most corrupt political Witch Hunt” in U.S. history, adding, “when it was the “other side” that illegally created the diversionary & criminal event and even spied.”
  11. Just before attending an Easter service, Trump tweeted, “Despite No Collusion, No Obstruction, The Radical Left Democrats do not want to go on to Legislate,” adding, “only to Investigate and waste time.”
  12. Trump also tweeted, “How do you impeach a Republican President for a crime that was committed by the Democrats?” adding, “MAKE AMERICA GREAT AGAIN!”
  13. On Sunday, after multiple bomb blasts in Sri Lanka that killed at least 138 people, Trump tweeted that “horrible terrorist attacks” had killed “at least 138 million people.” Trump later deleted and tweeted “nearly 140 people.”
  14. On Sunday, Daily Beast reported that Russia state media channels broadcasted segments from Fox News host Sean Hannity’s show, which bashed “media hysteria” over the Russia investigation.
  15. On Monday, starting in the morning, Esquire reported that Trump tweeted 50 times in a 24 hour period, several of which included clips or quotes from Fox News, and retweets of allies like Rep. Devin Nunes.
  16. On Monday, Trump also retweeted a series of tweets by Tom Fitton, President of conservative Judicial Watch, including a list of names under “COUP UPDATE: Who needs to be investigated.”
  17. On Monday, Trump tweeted: “Only high crimes and misdemeanors can lead to impeachment,” adding there was “No Collusion, No Obstruction,” and “Tables are finally turning on the Witch Hunt!”
  18. Trump also tweeted, “Isn’t it amazing that the people who were closest to me…were never even called to testify before Mueller.” AP fact checked this to be false, saying many were interviewed, including Trump’s family.
  19. On Monday, when asked by reporters during the White House Easter Egg Roll if he was concerned about being impeached, Trump responded, “Not even a little bit.”
  20. When asked if he was troubled that staffers did not follow his requests, Trump responded, “nobody disobeys my orders.” WAPO counted 15 instances of staffers disobeying Trump in the redacted Mueller report.
  21. On Monday, Rep. Doug Collins, ranking member of the House Judiciary said he had reviewed a less-redacted version of the Mueller report, which he said reinforced “the principal conclusions made public last month.”
  22. On Monday, in a call with House members, Speaker Nancy Pelosi said leaders had no immediate plans for impeachment proceedings: “This isn’t about Democrats or Republicans. It’s about saving our democracy.”
  23. Reportedly, several House members pushed back on the leadership in the 90-minute call. Democratic leadership played down impeachment, but did not rule it out completely.
  24. On Tuesday, Speaker Pelosi said in an interview, “Impeachment is one of the most divisive paths that we could go down in our country. But if the path of fact finding takes us there, we have no choice. But we’re not there yet.”
  25. On Tuesday, in a series of tweets, Trump attacked the media. Trump attacked NYT economist Paul Krugman for his column saying Republicans no longer support American values, calling him “obsessed with hatred.”
  26. Trump tweeted, “I wonder if the New York Times will apologize to me a second time,” adding, “On this onethey will have to get down on their knees & beg for forgiveness” and “they are truly the Enemy of the People!
  27. Trump then tweeted, “Radical Left Democrats, together with their leaders in the Fake News Media, have gone totally insane!” adding, “the Republican agenda is working. Stay tuned for more!”
  28. Trump sent a fourth tweet at 6:27 a.m., saying “In the ‘old days’” a good economy would make a president immune from criticism, but under his “greatest economy in history” to the media, “it means NOTHING.
  29. Trump then attacked “Morning Psycho (Joe), who helped get me elected in 2016 by having me on (free) all the time,” saying his ratings had “nosedived,” adding, “Angry, Dumb and Sick.”
  30. Trump praised “Fox and Friends” calling it “by far the best of the morning political shows on television,” and quoted Fox Business host Maria Bartiromo for calling him “The best thing ever to happen to Twitter.”
  31. Trump tweeted a reference to Obama having “over 100 M” Twitter followers, adding his should be higher than that if “Twitter wasn’t playing their political games,” and “no wonder Congress wants to get involved.”
  32. Trump concluded the morning Twitter tirade which started at 5:59 a.m. at 7:47 a.m., tweeting his 2020 campaign slogan, “KEEP AMERICA GREAT!”
  33. On Tuesday, WAPO reported Trump met in the Oval Office with Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey. A significant portion of the meeting was spent on Trump complaints that Twitter has limited or removed some of his followers.
  34. WAPO reported that Dorsey also called Rep. Ilhan Omar on Tuesday, and stood by Twitter’s decision not to take down Trump’s video that led to a flood of death threats to Omar, saying the tweet did not violate its rules.
  35. Motherboard reported that Twitter does not use a proactive, algorithmic solution to white supremacy like it does for ISIS, because the company is concerned it would ensnare and lead to the banning of some Republican politicians.
  36. On Monday, Tom Perez, chairman of the Democratic National Committee, wrote an open letter to RNC chair Ronna Romney McDaniel, asking that the GOP pledge not to use “stolen information” in the 2020 campaigns.
  37. On Tuesday, as several 2020 Democratic presidential candidates committed to the same, the Trump re-election campaign refused to commit to rule out using hacked materials.
  38. On Tuesday, when asked if Trump will accept help from Russia in 2020, White House spokesperson Hogan Gidley said, “I don’t understand the question,” saying Trump has denounced Russian involvement in 2016.
  39. On Wednesday, when NBC News asked Vice President Mike Pence if he regretted using hacked emails or would pledge not to do so again, he sidestepped the question and said the Mueller report found no collusion.
  40. On Tuesday, Jared Kushner said in an interview at TIME’s 100 summit that the idea the Trump campaign colluded with Russia is “nonsense,” and all Russia did was buy “some Facebook ads” and “try to sow dissent.”
  41. On Wednesday, in an op-ed at Breitbart, Donald Jr. called the Mueller probe an “attempted coup,” adding “Russiagate” was “egged on by a wildly irresponsible media” and Democrats as “tax-funded opposition research.”
  42. On Tuesday, NBC News reported that shortly after the release of the redacted Mueller probe, a network of more than 5,000 pro-Trump Twitter bots railed against the “Russiagate hoax.”
  43. The bots were created last November and December, and had ties to previously pushed messages backing the government of Saudi Arabia. Twitter pulled down the accounts Sunday night, citing “manipulation.”
  44. On Wednesday, NYT reported in the months before she resigned, Department of Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen was warned by acting chief of staff Mick Mulvaney not to bring up Russian election interference in front of Trump.
  45. Officials said Nielsen had become increasingly concerned about Russia’s continued activity during and after the 2018 elections, and was preparing for new and different types of interference in 2020.
  46. Mulvaney said raising Russian interference with Trump would question the legitimacy of his victory. Nielsen eventually gave up on a White House meeting of cabinet secretaries to coordinate a strategy to protect 2020.
  47. Nielsen instead pulled together her own meetings of cabinet secretaries and agency heads two times. She fumed when 45% of the cyberdefense workforce was furloughed during the government shutdown.
  48. On Wednesday, Facebook announced it expects to be fined between $3 to 5 billion by the Federal Trade Commission for privacy violations — by far the biggest fine yet by the agency.
  49. Facebook was accused of not protecting user data from being harvested without their consent by Cambridge Analytica, and also suffering a data breach which exposed personal information of 50 million users.
  50. On Thursday, Politico reported the FBI will meet with Sen. Rick Scott and Gov. Ron DeSantis to discuss the agency’s suspicion that Russians hacked at least one county in Florida during the 2016 election.
  51. Gov. DeSantis said at a press conference, “They won’t tell us which county it was, are you kidding me?” When former Sen. Bill Nelson raised the issue of hacking during the 2018 election, Sen. Scott called it “irresponsible.”
  52. On Friday, FBI director Christopher Wray addressed the Council on Foreign Relations, saying of Russia’s efforts to undermine American democracy “It’s pretty much a 365-days-a-year threat.”
  53. Wray also Russian efforts include, “fake news, propaganda, false personas, et cetera, to spin us up, pit us against each other, sow divisiveness and discord, and undermine Americans’ faith in democracy.”
  54. Wray said Russian efforts were “at full speed” during the 2018 midterm elections, and warned Russia keeps “upping their game,” and “2018 was just a dress rehearsal for 2020.”
  55. On Wednesday, Trump tweeted that the Mueller report, “despite being written by Angry Democrats and Trump Haters, and with unlimited money….($35,000,000),” found “I DID NOTHING WRONG.”
  56. Trump tweeted if Democrats tried to impeach him he would “first head to the U.S. Supreme Court,” claiming there are no “‘High Crimes and Misdemeanors,’ there are no Crimes by me at all.”
  57. On Wednesday, Politico reported Trump has so far tweeted about the Mueller probe more than 50 times since the redacted version was released last Thursday.
  58. In addition to tweets, Trump has made inflammatory statements about witnesses — both exposing him to further charges of witness intimidation, obstruction of justice, and impeding a congressional investigation.
  59. Trump also tweeted, “I didn’t call Bob Costa of the Washington Post, he called me (Returned his call)! Just more Fake News,” in response to a tweet from Costa Tuesday saying, “Trump called me this evening.”
  60. On Monday, Trump issued a memo saying, based on a recent Homeland Security report, visa overstay rates are “unacceptably high” and a “widespread problem,” and instructed federal agencies to consider action.
  61. Trump gave the State Department four months to recommend sanctions against countries allowing overstays — focusing on rates, not the number of overstays. Of the 20 with the highest overstay rates, 13 are in Africa.
  62. Customs and Border Protection announced a new holding facility in El Paso will be operational by May 1. CBP awarded the contract to build the facility to Deployed Resources LLC in a program to limit competition.
  63. On Tuesday, CBS News reported Larry Hopkins, the head of the United Constitutional Patriots, told the FBI that his militia group was training to assassinate former president Obama, Hillary Clinton, and George Soros.
  64. The militia group was stationed at the U.S.-Mexico border where, according to their videos, they have captured and detained about 5,600 migrants who illegally entered the country in the past 60 days.
  65. On Tuesday, Union Pacific Police told the United Constitutional Patriots they would have to leave their campsite in Sunland Park, New Mexico by Friday, saying it is on private land. The group was there since February.
  66. On Tuesday, acting Homeland Security Secretary Kevin McAleenan said the regime’s family separation policy, while it did deter behavior, resulted in “losing public trust,” adding “ family separation is not on the table.”
  67. However, CNN reported according to a senior White House official, talk of reinstating family separation is in discussion at the highest levels, with Stephen Miller driving those discussions.
  68. On Thursday, CBS News reported DHS is exploring five cities for new locations to set up permanent shelters for unaccompanied minor children, as the agency prepares for an expected increase in apprehensions.
  69. On Friday, WAPO reported the Pentagon is preparing to loosen long-standing rules that prohibit military troops from interacting with migrants entering the U.S. as part of Trump’s operation along the Southern border.
  70. DHS has requested the Pentagon to provide 300 troops to work as lawyers, cooks, and drivers to assist with handling a surge of migrants along the border. This would be the second waiver of the policy under Trump.
  71. Experts worry using military lawyers with little or no experience with immigration cases could slow down proceedings. The case backlog is 850,000 cases now, up from more than 630,000 when Trump took office.
  72. On Tuesday, in a handwritten letter filed in the Southern District of New York, Cesar Sayor, who pleaded guilty to mailing explosive devices, said attending a rally for Trump “became like a new found drug.”
  73. On Tuesday, at a town hall in Iowa, Rep. Steve King compared his experience with being censured in the House with the suffering of Jesus, saying, “I have a better insight into what he went through.”
  74. On Tuesday, the Supreme Court heard arguments on Trump’s Census citizenship question. The five conservative judges seemed poised to allow the regime to add the question. The decision will be announced in June.
  75. Adding the question could have broad effects: an estimated 6.5 million people might not be counted, reducing Democrats’ representation and funding when Congressional districts are allocated in 2021.
  76. On Tuesday, a report by the Census Bureau found Hispanic turnout surged from 27% in the 2014 midterms to 40% in 2018, the largest increase of any group. Latino voters supported Democrats by wide margins.
  77. On Wednesday, the Florida House passed legislation requiring people to pay criminal fines and fees before they can vote. In the 2018 midterms, Florida had voted to repeal the state’s lifelong voting ban for felony convictions.
  78. On Tuesday, Andy McKean, Iowa’s longest-serving Republican lawmaker, announced he is switching to become a Democrat, citing Trump as “a poor example for the nation and particularly for our children.”
  79. On Tuesday, an Oregon judge granted a preliminary injunction blocking new federal restrictions by the Trump regime which bar taxpayer-funded family planning clinics from referring patients to abortion providers.
  80. On Thursday, a Washington state judge also temporarily blocked the Trump regime from implementing a banon abortion referrals at federally funded family planning clinics.
  81. On Wednesday, John Ducey, mayor of Brick Township in New Jersey apologized for telling people complaining about parks and beaches being “invaded” and “ruined” by “Hasidic and Orthodox Jews” to call the police.
  82. On Friday, BuzzFeed reported Trump’s Mar-a-Lago received 58 applications from U.S. workers from 2014 to mid 2018, but hired just one, instead bringing in more than 375 low-wage workers on short-term visas.
  83. On Saturday, HuffPost reported that the military is investigating four more servicemen for possible ties to the white nationalist group Identity Evropa, raising the total under investigation to 11.
  84. On Monday, Trump said he would not nominate his “friend” Herman Cain for a seat on the Federal Reserve Board, tweeting Cain, “a truly wonderful man, has asked me not to nominate him.”
  85. On Monday, CNN reported on a number of interviews with and columns by Stephen Moore from 2000–2003,in which he expressed extremely sexist views of women in sports. Moore said his statements were “a spoof.”
  86. On Tuesday, Moore invoked Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh on a conservative radio show: “They’re pulling a Kavanaugh against me.” On Wednesday, he said he would bow out if he becomes a liability.
  87. On Tuesday, Trump reversed course on attacking Harley-Davidson after the company reported a 27% drop in first quarter profits in part due to his tariffs, vowing in a tweet, “So unfair to U.S. We will Reciprocate!”
  88. On Tuesday, as Trump planned his next visit to the United Kingdom for June, a group of MPs called on British Prime Minister Theresa May and the government to rescind the invitation for a full state visit.
  89. On Wednesday the day after accepting an invitation for a state visit from Queen Elizabeth II, Trump tweeted a baseless accusation that the U.K. helped Obama spy on his 2016 campaign.
  90. Trump cited a claim by Larry Johnson, a former CIA analyst and blogger, who has made past false allegations. U.S. and British intelligence vehemently denied the claim when it first surfaced two years ago.
  91. On Tuesday, NBC News reported that the Interior Department’s Office of Inspector General has opened investigations of six Trump senior department appointees over possible ethical misconduct.
  92. The complaint outlined how, despite a Trump executive order requiring employees to recuse themselves, the six continued to discuss policy matters with organizations that had employed them in the past.
  93. On Thursday, Interior Department Secretary David Bernhardt told the WSJ that the regime has indefinitely sidelined its plans to dramatically expand offshore drilling after a ruling by a federal judge in Alaska.
  94. On Monday, the Trump Organization sued House Oversight Chair Cummings and Mazars USA, seeking a court order to block the House subpoena for eight years of Trump’s financial statements.
  95. On Monday, the White House told Carl Kline, who formerly oversaw security clearances and now works in the Defense Department, not to comply with a subpoena from House Democrats to be interviewed.
  96. On Tuesday, Rep. Cummings said in a letter that the White House and Kline “now stand in open defiance of a duly authorized congressional subpoena” and he will consult “about scheduling a vote on contempt.”
  97. On Monday, the House Judiciary Committee subpoenaed McGahn to testify on May 21 and requested documents related to several incidents detailed in Mueller’s redacted report be delivered by May 7.
  98. On Tuesday, Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin said in a letter to House Ways and Means Committee Chair Richard Neal that he would miss the April 23 deadline for providing Trump’s tax returns.
  99. Mnuchin questioned the legitimacy of the request, while Trump’s attorney called it a politically motivatedfishing expedition. Mnuchin said he would make a final decision by May 6.
  100. On Tuesday, in an interview with WAPO, Trump said he is opposed to White House aides testifying in Congress, saying it was unnecessary since the White House had already cooperated in the Mueller probe.
  101. Trump said the White House Counsel’s Office has not “made a final, final decision” about asserting executive privilege, but he opposes cooperating with House Democrats, saying, “I don’t want people testifying to a party.”
  102. On Tuesday, WAPO reported Trump’s White House plans to fight the House Judiciary subpoena to have McGahn testify. McGahn was mentioned more than 150 times in the redacted Mueller report.
  103. McGahn’s lawyer, William Burck, started discussions about testimony with the House Judiciary Committee. A friend of McGahn said, “He’s not eager to testify. He’s not reluctant,” but will cooperate with a subpoena.
  104. On Wednesday, the DOJ said deputy assistant Attorney General John Gore will not comply with a House Oversight Committee subpoena to testify about the Trump regime’s addition of a citizen question to the Census.
  105. Chairman Cummings said Gore and the DOJ had not claimed “any legally valid privilege,” and could be held in contempt, and Gore’s behavior was part of a “massive, unprecedented, and growing pattern of obstruction.”
  106. On Wednesday, WAPO reported in a letter to Rep. Cummings, counsel Pat Cipollone said the White House will not allow Stephen Miller to testify before the Oversight Committee on the regime’s immigration policies.
  107. Cipollone offered to make “cabinet secretaries and other agency leaders” available instead. Democrats are concerned that although Miller has not been confirmed by the Senate, he is effectively in charge of immigration.
  108. On Wednesday, NYT reported the Mueller report also revealed Trump fixated on wanting former AG Jeff Sessions to target a political rival, Hillary Clinton, in ways not seen since Nixon’s presidency.
  109. The Mueller report revealed three times that Trump pressured Sessions, including calling him at home in the middle of the night in 2017 to order him to reverse his recusal and order the prosecution of Hillary.
  110. There is no evidence Sessions acted on Trump’s orders to reopen the FBI case, and it is not known what effect Trump’s orders will have on House Democrats’ decision to move forward on impeachment.
  111. On Wednesday, Giuliani warned on “Fox & Friends” that Hillary committed obstruction of justice during the investigation into her private email server, adding the days of “you cannot indict a Clinton” are over.
  112. On Thursday, Trump tweeted, it has been “incorrectly reported by the Fake News Media,” saying, “I never told then White House Counsel Don McGahn to fire Robert Mueller, even though I had the legal right to do so.”
  113. Trump also tweeted, “If I wanted to fire Mueller, I didn’t need McGahn to do it, I could have done it myself,” adding that he let the “illegal investigation (there was no crime), headed by a Trump hater” continue.
  114. On Thursday, Burck pushed back on Trump calling McGahn a liar, saying in a statement that McGahn’s conversations with Trump had been “accurately described” in Mueller’s report.
  115. On Thursday, when asked about the House subpoenaing McGahn, Trump told reporters “We’re fighting all the subpoenas. Look, these aren’t like impartial people. The Democrats are trying to win 2020.”
  116. On Thursday, WAPO reported Trump’s attacks on McGahn are driven by his growing belief that Democrats will use McGahn’s testimony as a cornerstone of possible impeachment against him.
  117. Reporting also indicated that Trump is the one driving the standoff with Congress. Trump is watching television, and urging everyone around him, from Giuliani to Cipollone to take a hard line.
  118. On Thursday, Politico reported Trump allies are urging him to stop talking and tweeting about Mueller, calling his continued attacks “a complete and utter disaster” which will generate more negative news cycles.
  119. On Thursday, NBC News reported that as part of its counterintelligence mission, the FBI is continuing to investigate Russian attempts to influence the Trump regime before and after the 2016 election.
  120. The FBI will assess the national security damage caused by senior members of the Trump campaign and transition team meeting with a sophisticated foreign adversary. Democrats have demanded to be briefed.
  121. On Thursday, the LA Times Editorial Board noted Trump has declared himself immune from congressional oversight, adding we will soon find ourselves in a constitutional crisis like when Nixon resisted subpoenas for tapes.
  122. On Thursday, Trump called in to Fox New host Sean Hannity’s show. The two spoke in a rambling interview which lasted for 45 minutes.
  123. Trump called the FBI probe into his 2016 campaign and the subsequent Mueller probe “a coup,” adding, “This was an attempted overthrow of the United States government.”
  124. Trump said called the investigation “the greatest political scandal in the history of our country. Again, bigger than Watergate. Because it means so much this was a coup….This was an attempted coup.”
  125. Trump said Mueller went “hog wild to find something…which obviously wasn’t there,” calling the investigation a “one-sided witch hunt” by “angry Democrats” who are “very serious Trump haters.”
  126. Trump said the report found “No collusion and also no obstruction,” adding “the statement was made and the attorney general, you know, understood it very well…and made a decision right on the spot.”
  127. Trump said the report did not “mention Strzok and Page and McCabe and Comey and the lies and the leaksand overthrow and the whole thing with the Hillary Clinton got a win 100 million to 1, two lovers, two sick lovers.”
  128. Trump also threatened to declassify the FISA court applications related to the investigation of Russia’s meddling, saying, “Everything is going to be declassified and more, much more…It will all be declassified.”
  129. Trump told Hannity, “I watch you and Tucker and I watch Laura and your great guys in the morning with Steve and Ainsley and Brian. Brian came a long way. I kid him but he came a long way, and so many other people.”
  130. On Thursday, Abigail Slater, one of Trump’s top tech advisers, resigned to take a job at Fox Corp. as a senior vice president for policy and strategy.
  131. On Thursday, deputy attorney general Rod Rosenstein fired back at critics of his handling of the Mueller report in a speech at the Armenian Bar Association, likely one of his last speeches as a senior DOJ official.
  132. Rosenstein said the information disclosed in the Mueller report “is only the tip of the iceberg of a comprehensive Russian strategy to influence elections, promote social discord, and undermine America.”
  133. Rosenstein defended his handling of the Mueller probe and report, saying, “It is not our job to render conclusive factual findings. We just decide whether it is appropriate to file criminal charges.”
  134. Rosenstein called out the Obama administration for not going public on Russian interference and “how they relate to a broader strategy to undermine America,” and the FBI and Congress for leaks about the case.
  135. Rosenstein critiqued Congress, politics, and the media, saying “There is not Republican justice and Democrat justice. There is only justice and injustice,” and referred to Trump in a positive manner.
  136. Rosenstein attacked the media, “Some of the nonsense that passes for breaking news today would not be worth the paper it was printed on,” and defended his deadpan facial expression standing behind Barr last week.
  137. On Friday, WAPO reported on Rosenstein’s efforts to protect Mueller while keeping his job. Rosenstein repeatedly assured Trump he would be treated fairly, that he was not a “target,” and that he was on Trump’s team.
  138. After the NYT reporting that he had suggested wearing a wiretap, Rosenstein got teary-eyed ahead of the meeting with then chief of staff John Kelly saying, “I give the investigation credibility. I can land the plane.”
  139. Rosenstein, whose status in the White House had been fluid, reportedly begged Kelly, “I can go. I’m ready to go. I can resign. But I don’t want to go out with a tweet,” citing his long career at the DOJ and his reputation.
  140. On Friday, in the evening, White House counsel Pat Cipollone wrote in a letter to the ranking Republican on the House Oversight Committee that Kline is available to testify May 1, but the scope “will be limited.”
  141. On Friday, a new ABC News/Washington Post poll found 31% believe Trump is telling the truth about the Mueller investigation, 58% do not. On obstruction, 47% believe Trump obstructed justice, 41% do not.
  142. Nonetheless, support for impeachment was at just 37%, a new low, with 56% opposing it. Democrats support impeachment by 62%, while independents were at 36% and Republicans at 10%.
  143. On whether Russia undermined the legitimacy of the 2016 election, 42% said yes and 49% said no. On whether foreign interference threatens the legitimacy of the 2020 election, 53% said yes and 37% said no.
  144. The poll also found a large gender gap in Trump’s approval: with overall approve/disapprove at 39%/54%, with men approving by +1 (47%/46%) and women disapproving by -30 (32%/62%).
  145. Trump’s average approval rating of 38% through this point in the term is the lowest of any president in the poll. The other 12 presidents range from the second lowest, Ford, at 47%, to Kennedy at 73%.
  146. On Thursday, Russian President Vladimir Putin and North Korea leader Kim Jong Un held their first summit. Putin said he will brief the U.S. and China, raising his profile in the stalemate over N. Korean denuclearization.
  147. On Thursday, WAPO reported the U.S. envoy sent to pick up Otto Warmbier in 2017 was given a $2 million bill for care of the comatose student. The envoy was instructed by Trump to sign an agreement to pay.
  148. CNN reported that the Trump regime did not pay the $2 million bill, and that North Korea did not raise the issue as it sought to ease tensions with the U.S. in 2018.
  149. On Friday, Trump tweeted the quote, ““President Donald Trump is the greatest hostage negotiator that I know of in the history of the United States.”” It was unclear who the quote was attributed to, if anyone.
  150. Trump also tweeted more of the supposed quote, ““20 hostages, many in impossible circumstances, have been released in last two years. No money was paid,”” and added, “Cheif [sic] Hostage Negotiator, USA!
  151. On Friday, a Gallup poll found 20% of Russians — a record — would like to move to another country, including 44% of those aged 15 to 29, with dislike for Putin being correlated to wanting to leave.
  152. On Friday, speaking to reporters before leaving the White House, Trump said “I never told Don McGahn to fire Mueller. If I wanted to fire Mueller, I would have done it myself. It’s very simple. I had the right to.”
  153. Trump said “in the history of our country, there has never been a President that’s been more transparentthan me or the Trump administration,” adding, “I let White House Counsel McGahn testify. I let everybody testify.”
  154. Trump defended his “very fine people on both sides” comment on Charlottesville in response to a Joe Biden campaign video, saying, “If you look at what I said, you will see that that question was answered perfectly.”
  155. Trump told reporters, “I was talking about people that went because they felt very strongly about the monument to Robert E. Lee, a great general,” adding, “Whether you like it or not, he was one of the great generals.”
  156. On Friday, the National champion University of Virginia men’s basketball team declined Trump’s invitationto visit the White House, just hours after Trump’s statements on Charlottesville, where the school campus is located.
  157. On Friday, Trump spoke at the National Rifle Association convention, railing against the Mueller probe, the “corrupt” news media, and the “bad apples” at the Justice Department.
  158. Trump said the highest level of the government “tried for a coup, didn’t work out so well,” adding, “Didn’t need a gun for that one, did I?”
  159. Trump said Democrats are “obsessed with hoaxes, delusions and witch hunts,” instead of infrastructure and trade deals, and renewed his pledge to repeal the Affordable Care Act
  160. Trump also announced the U.S. will withdraw from a United Nations arms treaty signed in 2013 which regulates conventional weapons including small arms, battle tanks, combat aircraft and warships.
  161. Experts warned the withdrawal signals the U.S. is once again walking away from America’s leadership role. Trump said, “we will never surrender American sovereignty to anyone,” while the crowd chanted “USA! USA!”
  162. Shortly after Trump’s speech, WSJ reported Wayne LaPierre, the NRA’s CEO, said in a letter to the board sent Thursday that he is being extorted and pressured to resign by the organization’s president, Oliver North.
  163. North also sent a letter to the board later Thursday saying his actions were for the good of the NRA, and that he was forming a crisis committee to examine financial matters. On Saturday, North involuntarily resigned.
  164. Campaign Legal Center Action, a gun safety group, sued the Federal Election Commission for failing to act on its complaints that the NRA improperly coordinated political spending with Trump and others.
  165. Any significant FEC investigation requires four commissioners to vote to approve the move. Under Trump,the six-member body has two vacancies, and partisan gridlock has halted actions.
  166. On Friday, the NYT Editorial Board said Trump is showing a new level of contempt, writing that, unlike his predecessors who invoked privilege in certain cases, Trump vows to “not cooperate with any congressional inquiry.”
  167. The Times Board added, “He is effectively declaring lawmakers powerless over him. This, warn the experts, puts the nation in uncharted territory and threatens to erode its democratic foundations.”
  168. On Wednesday, WSJ reported on a March 25 phone call with Michael Cohen taped by actor and Trump critic,Tom Arnold. Cohen, who begins a three-year prison sentence on May 6, said he remained “a man all alone.”
  169. Cohen walked back part of his guilty plea, saying “there is no tax evasion,” and said of charges and losing everything, “All for what? Because Trump, you know, had an affair with a porn star? That’s really what this is about.”
  170. On Wednesday, CNN reported that Deutsche Bank began the process of turning over Trump’s financial records to New York Attorney General Letitia James in response to a subpoena.
  171. On Thursday, a federal judge said Christopher Hasson, the Coast Guard officer who had been indicted on weapons and drug charges and accused of a terror attack plot, will be released from detention awaiting trial.
  172. On Friday, Rep. Maxine Waters, one of his Democratic targets, said in a statement: “There is no credible justification” for the judge allowing someone “clearly dangerous and unrepentant” to “walk free.”
  173. On Friday, Russian Maria Butina was given the maximum sentence of 18 months in prison for failing to register as a foreign agent and for conspiring to infiltrate Republican political circles for the Kremlin.
  174. After the hearing, a lawyer for Butina said he “disagreed strongly” with the sentence and said the case was marked by “complete and utter Russophobia.” Butina will be deported to Russia after her sentence.
  175. Volodymyr Zelenskiy, a comedian who plays a president on television, won the Ukraine presidential election by a landslide. Zelenskiy, who has never held public office, said he would fight corruption in the political system.
  176. On Friday, a spokesperson for the Council of Chief State School Officers, said Trump is not expected to attend this years National Teacher of the Year award ceremony.
  177. On Take Your Kids to Work Day, press secretary Sarah Sanders spent 28 minutes taking questions from children. WAPO calculated that so far in 2019, Sanders has spent 82 minutes briefing the White House press.
  178. The U.S. Chamber of Commerce said it will disentangle its brand from the GOP for the first time in 40 years, citing the party’s move to protectionism, nativism, and isolationism under Trump.
  179. On Saturday, Trump tweeted: “Congratulations to Nick Bosa on being picked number two in the NFL Draft.” Nick is white. The number one draft pick Kyler Murray is a black man and was not mentioned by Trump.
  180. Trump tweeted to Bosa, who is playing for San Francisco 49ers, “always stay true to yourself.” Bosa has had to apologize and delete past tweets about Colin Kaepernick, including one where he called him a “clown.”
  181. The AG in the Polish province of Jaroslaw opened a criminal investigation into an anti-Semitic activity over the Easter holiday which involved an effigy of a stereotypical Jew being hanged, beaten, and set on fire.
  182. On Saturday, the NYT issued an apology for using a cartoon in its international edition showing the Israeli prime minister as a weiner dog with Star of David dog collar leading around Trump wearing a skullcap.
  183. On Saturday, one died and three were injured during a shooting at a Passover celebration at Chabad of Poway synagogue in San Diego, exactly six months after the shooting in Pittsburgh.
  184. Police detained a white male, 19, for questioning. Leaving for a rally, Trump called the attack a “hate crime” and “hard to believe,” adding, “My deepest sympathies to all of those affected.”
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“Let’s all drink a toast to the new king of lies, and the minions who help him while democracy dies, and our kids who’ll be taught that the wicked are wise because Potus was Jack from ‘Lord of The Flies’. How much poison are you willing to swallow?!” Poem and artwork from Jim Carrey. Created on Apr 24
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Artist unknown, but tweeted with comment by

@RobinH2222 Apr 27                                                                                                                                             “We are NO LONGER A DEMOCRACY! We can’t enforce our House subpoenas & the GOP is refusing to uphold our Constitution. The Justice Dept. has been decapitated at the top & is in Trump’s pocket, with AG Barr, Trump’s fixer, protecting Trump & not the Rule of Law or our Constitution.”

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Russian President Vladimir Putin greets North Korean Leader Kim Jong-un during their meeting on April 25, 2019 in Vladivostok, Russia. Reports have indicated that Pyongyang’s nuclear program will be at the top of the list of issues to discuss as the meeting between both leaders came soon after a failed summit between Kim and Trump in Hanoi, which ended without an agreement made.

POLITIKS OF GRAFFITI 128: “I’M F***ED!”

APRIL 20, 2019

Week 127

Experts in authoritarianism advise to keep a list of things
subtly changing around you, so you’ll remember. https://theweeklylist.org/weekly-list/week-127/
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I captured this in NYin November 2018.

This week Attorney General William Barr publicly released a redacted version of the Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s report, almost a month after he delivered it to Barr. The redacted report differed substantially from Barr’s March 24 letter, as well as from statements delivered by Barr at a press conference hours before the report’s release — casting Barr more as a defense attorney for Trump than an attorney general. Concerns grew further when it was revealed Trump’s White House attorneys had previewed the report in consultation with the Justice Department days earlier.

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Brooklyn, NY in October 2018

 

On Thursday, as the redacted report was released, Trump, who had expressed no interest in reading the report, seemed confident he had turned the corner and was in the clear. As the press and public finally dug into the contents of the redacted report and statements by current and former White House official witnesses, by Friday, Trump shifted back to anger and attack mode, starting by retaliating against former White House counsel Don McGahn. After reading the report, Senator Elizabeth Warren became the first 2020 contender to call for impeachment hearings.

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I found this in Miami, FL in December 2018. 

 

Trump’s attorneys continued to stonewall and seek to block requests from House Democrats for information, alarming even Senate Republicans who this week spoke out on his empowering his office at the expense of Congress. Republicans also for the first time publicly spoke out on Trump’s reliance on acting secretaries, with the regime shrinking, and power increasingly consolidating to Trump, his family, and a few trusted aides’ hands.

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 JIM CARREY THIS WEEK 
It’s not illegal for Trump’s head to spin around while he vomits copious amounts of green bile either, but he’s definitely not fit to be President, he’s definitely not exonerated and Barr definitely couldn’t go any lower.

 

  1. For the third year in a row, U.S. standing in Reporters Without Borders’ annual World Press Freedom Index declined. The U.S. fell three spots to 48th of 180 countries, just below Romania.
  2. For the first time since the index was established, the U.S. fell into the ranks of countries whose treatment of journalists is considered “problematic.” The group cited Trump’s rhetorical hostility.
  3. TIME reported it has been over 300 days since the Pentagon held a press briefing. Defense officials have also stopped identifying senior officials given prominent assignments.
  4. Part of the shift is from Trump’s penchant for surprises. There is also a reluctance to deal with the media. The role of Defense Secretary, vacated by Jim Mattis in December, remains with an acting secretary.
  5. White House daily press briefings have also been dramatically cut back: there have been just two briefings so far in 2019 — the last one took place 38 days ago.
  6. On Saturday, Trump tweeted the NYT story on him offering a pardon to his incoming Secretary of Homeland Security Kevin McAleenan was “wrong on almost every fact,” adding the Times “will lie & cheat anyway possible.”
  7. Trump also tweeted the Times had to beg their fleeing subscribers for forgiveness in that they covered the Election (and me) so badly,” and, “they even apologized to me,” and, “now they are even worse, really corrupt.”
  8. Trump also tweeted the false claim that he “never ordered anyone to close our Southern Border, adding, “although I have the absolute right to do so, and may if Mexico does not apprehend the illegals coming to our Border.”
  9. Trump also sent a series of tweets about sending detainees to sanctuary cities, saying “The USA has the absolute legal right to have apprehended illegal immigrants transferred to Sanctuary Cities.”
  10. Trump also tweeted, “Democrats must change the Immigration Laws FAST,” adding if not, they should take care of migrants including “Gang Members, Drug Dealers, Human Traffickers, and Criminals of all shapes.”
  11. On Sunday, deputy press secretary Hogan Gidley told NPR Trump’s remarks are “not political retribution,” but rather recharacterized them, saying Democrats should consider the remarks “to be an olive branch.”
  12. On Sunday, reporter Jon Karl said on “This Week” that the White House has been briefed about the Mueller report and “there is significant concern on the president’s team about what will be in this report.”
  13. Karl also said “what worries them most is what Don McGahn told the special counsel.”
  14. On Sunday, as the country braced for release of the Mueller report, press secretary Sarah Sanders told Fox New Sunday, “We consider this case to be closed. There was no collusion. There was no corruption.”
  15. On Sunday, WSJ reported lawyers for Trump have been working on a counter report which is 140-pages long, but according to Rudy Giuliani, the lawyers plan to whittle down to 50-pages.
  16. On Sunday, NYT reported that since the Barr letter, Trump has felt emboldened, confident and liberated. As staffers brace for the redacted report to be released, Trump has no interest in reading the full report.
  17. Aides say Trump plans to act as if the redacted report is extraneous to the Barr letter, which in his mind said case closed. He is escalating his language to feed his base, and also to enrage the media and political rivals.
  18. On Sunday, Sanders on “This Week” denied Trump ordered McAleenan to close the border and would pardon him, saying Trump “is not asking anybody to do anything outside of those bounds.”
  19. Sanders also said of Trump’s attacks on Rep. Ilhan Omar, that he wishes her “no ill will and certainly not violence towards anyone,” but added he is calling her out for her “history of anti-Semitic comments.”
  20. On Sunday, Speaker Nancy Pelosi took the extraordinary step of asking the U.S. Capitol Police and the House sergeant-at-arms to work to “safeguard Congresswoman Omar, her family and her staff.”
  21. An aide to Rep. Omar told Politicothere has been an increase in threats” against the Congresswoman since Trump’s Friday tweet. Omar’s office reported the threats to the FBI and Capitol Police.
  22. NYT reported Trump has stepped up his attack of Rep. Omar ahead of 2020 and has privately said his attacks on Muslims are being well received by his base — similar to his success with this line of attack in 2016.
  23. On Monday, Trump tweeted again about Rep. Omar, saying Speaker Pelosi should look at Omar’s “anti-Semitic, anti-Israel and ungrateful U.S. HATE statements,” adding, “she is out of control.”
  24. Later, Trump said in an interview with a local news affiliate in Rep. Omar’s home state, “She’s been very disrespectful to this country” and to Israel, adding, “She’s got a way about her that’s very, very bad for our country.”
  25. On Monday, former NYPD Commissioner Bernard Kerik told Fox News host Sean Hannity that Rep. Omar “is infatuated with al Qaeda, with Hamas, Hezbollah,” and that she “should be removed from Congress.”
  26. On Friday, federal authorities arrested a Florida man, John Kless, 49, for leaving voicemails threatening to kill Rep. Omar, the other freshman Muslim woman Rashida Tlaib, Rep. Eric Swalwell, and Sen. Cory Booker.
  27. Kless’s voicemails were laced with bigotry and profanity, including telling Rep. Tlaib, “It was your Taliban bitch, the one who opened up her fucking towel-head mouth…She’s lucky she’s just getting death threats, bitch.”
  28. Politico reported that Trump will not nominate anyone to serve on a United Nations committee on racism, continuing the regime’s retreat from international bodies that monitor human rights.
  29. On Sunday, AP reported a Wisconsin middle school gym teacher was placed on indefinite leave after she separated students by race and asked black students to research games enslaved children played.
  30. On Tuesday, the Advocate reported the California National Guard will not discharge transgender troops. Maj. Gen. Matthew Beevers said, “as long as you fight, we don’t care what gender you identify as.”
  31. On Wednesday, Map Pesqueira, a student at UT-Austin, told NBC News he is set to lose his army scholarship following Trump’s transgender military ban, saying, “I’m so far into my transition, I’m unable to serve.”
  32. On Monday, Immigration and Customs Enforcement reversed its decision to deport Jose Gonzalez Carranza, the spouse of a soldier killed in Afghanistan and parent of a 12 year-old, allowing him to return to the U.S.
  33. On Tuesday, in a lawsuit brought against DHS and ICE by two migrant families, a federal appeals court in the 4th District ruled detainees do not have to be held in the same state as their children.
  34. On Tuesday, Daily Beast reported a draft report released to McAleenan by members of an advisory council recommended “emergency action” to implement what the report dubbed as the “Flores Fix.”
  35. The report recommended Congress enact emergency legislation to make it easier for the Trump regime to detain children with their parents indefinitely — calling for legislation to roll back the Flores agreement.
  36. On Thursday, the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals upheld that most of California’s “sanctuary” laws can be enforced, rejecting the bulk of a lawsuit brought by the Trump regime.
  37. The decision was authored by a Republican appointee. The panel refused to block California’s law prohibitingpolice from notifying federal immigration authorities of the release dates of immigrant inmates.
  38. On Thursday, a new Housing and Urban Development proposal rolled out by Secretary Ben Carson would evict families from public housing if just one member is considered to be undocumented.
  39. The current practice is to adjust families’ benefits, while the new policy would evict entire families. Carson tweeted, “Thanks to Donald Trump’s leadership, we are putting America’s most vulnerable first.”
  40. On Monday, as the centuries-old Notre Dame cathedral was engulfed in flames, Trump tweeted, encouraging France, “perhaps flying water tankers could be used to put it out,” adding, “Must act quickly!”
  41. The French government responded in a series of tweets in French and English, dismissing the suggestion, saying “The drop of water by air on this type of building could indeed result in the collapse of the entire structure.”
  42. Several far-right pundits and websites started conspiracies on what caused the blaze, with some attempting to blame racial or religious minorities for the outbreak of the fire.
  43. Later at a roundtable, Trump invoked conspiracy theories as the cause, saying “they think it was caused by — at this moment, they don’t know. But they think it was caused by renovation, and I hope that’s the reason.”
  44. On Saturday, NYT reported that although Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell has denied Trump is influencing Fed policy, the central bank has largely moved in the direction that Trump wants in recent months.
  45. On Sunday, Trump again attacked and blamed the Federal Reserve, tweeting, “If the Fed had done its job properly, which it has not, the Stock Market would have been up 5000 to 10,000 additional points.”
  46. Trump also tweeted, “GDP would have been well over 4% instead of 3%…with almost no inflation,” adding, “Quantitative tightening was a killer, should have done the exact opposite!”
  47. On Monday, WSJ reported former Federal Reserve officials and foreign central bankers at the International Monetary Fund event expressed concern Trump has weakened the central bank and its global role.
  48. Officials expressed concern that Trump has interfered with the Fed’s independence, with his continued public criticism and nominating cronies who are extremists and loyal to him.
  49. On Tuesday, Bloomberg reported the White House is talking to candidates to replace Stephen Moore and Herman Cain as Trump’s nominees for the Federal Reserve Board.
  50. On tax day CNN noted with changes under the GOP tax bill, the 10 states with the largest increase in refunds for 2018 were all red states in 2016, and the 10 states with the largest decrease in refunds were all blue states.
  51. On Wednesday, AP reported that Ivanka said Trump asked her if she was interested in the job of World Bank chief, but she passed on the opportunity, saying she was “happy with the work” she is doing.
  52. On Wednesday, Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin said he planned to hire Fox News contributor Monica Crowley as his spokeswoman. The hire comes as House Democrats demanded Trump’s tax returns.
  53. Crowley previously withdrew her nomination by Trump for a position at the National Security Council after allegations she plagiarized portions of her 2012 book and 2000 Ph.D. thesis, which she called a “political hit job.”
  54. On Wednesday, Bloomberg reported Rick Perry is planning to resign as Energy Secretary in the coming weeks. Perry would become the 16th member of Trump’s cabinet to depart.
  55. On Monday, the Interior Department’s internal watchdog said in a letter that it has opened an investigation into ethics complaints against Secretary David Bernhardt, who was confirmed by the senate last week.
  56. On Monday, the House’s Intelligence and Financial Services committees subpoenaed Deutsche Bank and other banks for documents related to Trump and the Trump Organization’s finances.
  57. The committees also subpoenaed banks including JPMorgan Chase, Bank of America, and Citigroup, and is also seeking information related to possible money-laundering by people in Russia and Eastern Europe.
  58. Alan Garten, the Trump Organization’s lawyer, said the company is weighing trying to block the subpoena. While Deutsche Bank has been cooperative, its lawyers said they will consult with the White House.
  59. On Monday, Politico reported Trump lawyers William Consovoy and Stefan Passantino urged Mazars USA not to comply with a subpoena House Oversight Committee Chair Elijah Cummings issued Monday.
  60. The lawyers warned of potential legal action, putting Mazars “on notice,” and calling the subpoena a politically motivated scheme by Democrats to take down Trump.
  61. On Monday, CNN reported Republican lawmakers are concerned with the White House snubbing House Democrats, saying the failure to comply bolsters the power of Trump’s office at the expense of Congress.
  62. Several Senate Republicans also voiced concern with Trump’s growing reliance on using acting secretaries, circumventing the Senate process, and his threats to send migrants to sanctuary cities.
  63. On Tuesday, WAPO reported Trump’s attorneys are not planning to comply with Congressional requests for information, likely resulting in a protracted legal fight that could test the power of congressional subpoenas.
  64. Trump’s lawyers have already refused to turn over information on granting security clearances and meetings with foreign leaders. White House Counsel Pat Cipollone is also preparing for legal battles over subpoenas.
  65. Protracted legal fights will drain lawmakers’ times and resources, and the cases could drag beyond the end of the Congressional session. Trump has told aides he is furious with the inquiries and does not want to cooperate.
  66. On Tuesday, Rusal, the aluminum company partially owned by Russian oligarch Oleg Deripaska which was recently removed from the U.S. sanctions list, announced it will invest in a Kentucky aluminum mill.
  67. Rusal will invest $200 million in a taxpayer-backed aluminum mill Braidy Industries plans to build in exchange for a 40% stake. Braidy would not have been able to form the partnership if sanctions were still in place.
  68. On Tuesday, Trump vetoed a resolution to end military assistance in Saudi Arabia’s war in Yemen — his second veto. Trump said the measure harms bilateral relations and interferes with his power as commander in chief.
  69. On Monday, the DOJ announced a redacted version of the Mueller report will be released on Thursday, the day before Passover and Easter Weekend, and during the two weeks when Congress is out of session.
  70. Shortly after, Trump tweeted, “Since there was no Collusion, why was there an Investigation in the first place!” adding, “Answer — Dirty Cops, Dems and Crooked Hillary!”
  71. Trump also tweeted the report “was written by 18 Angry Democrats who also happen to be Trump Haters (and Clinton Supporters)…who SPIED” on his campaign and others “who fabricated the whole Russia Hoax.”
  72. On Tuesday, NBC News reported former and current White House officials are concerned the Mueller report will expose them as a source of damaging information on Trump, and his wrath will follow.
  73. Some officials and their attorneys sought clarity from the DOJ on whether names of those who cooperated would be redacted from the public version, but said the DOJ refused to provide a response.
  74. On Tuesday, U.S. District Court Judge Reggie Walton, a George W. Bush appointee, in response to a lawsuit by BuzzFeed to release the full Mueller report said Barr has sowed public mistrust with his handling of the report.
  75. Judge Walton said Barr “created an environment that has caused a significant part of the public … to be concerned about whether or not there is full transparency,” but denied BuzzFeed’s request.
  76. Monmouth polls found 28% say the country is headed in the right direction and 62% say things are on the wrong track. Trump’s net approval fell from -7 in March to -14 in April (40% approve/54 disapprove).
  77. On Wednesday, Trump tweeted the “FBI made 11 payments to Fake Dossier’s discredited author,” adding the “Witch Hunt has been a total fraud…brought to you by Dirty Cops, Crooked Hillary and the DNC.”
  78. On Wednesday, Trump said in an interview he is considering doing his own news conference after attorney general Barr, saying “Barr is going to be giving a news conference. Maybe I’ll do one after that; we’ll see.”
  79. Trump also said “You’ll see a lot of very strong things come out,” indicating he has apparently been briefed ahead of the news conference.
  80. Shortly after, the DOJ announced Barr would hold a press conference at 9:30 a.m. on Thursday ahead of the release of the report. Deputy attorney general Rod Rosenstein will join, but Robert Mueller and his staff will not.
  81. The DOJ said the press conference will take place before the release of the redacted report to the media and the public. Journalist noted the unusual nature of holding a press conference without providing materials.
  82. On Wednesday, a new Politico/Morning Consult poll found 38% believe Trump’s campaign was spied on. The spying allegations were revived in Week 126 when Barr testified to lawmakers he believed “spying did occur.”
  83. On Wednesday, NYT reported DOJ officials have had numerous discussions with White House lawyers about conclusions in the Mueller report in recent days.
  84. The talks have helped Trump’s legal team prepare its strategy and response. The discussions have added to concerns about how Barr has conducted himself since he received the Mueller report four weeks ago.
  85. There is also a sense of paranoia among Trump aides about his reaction, and that the report will provide a road map for retaliation by Trump against current and former officials who spoke to Mueller’s team.
  86. DOJ rules do not require Barr to make the report public. The House Judiciary Committee has already voted to authorize a subpoena of Barr to release the full report — which could be sent within a day.
  87. On Wednesday, House Judiciary Chair Jerrold Nadler told reporters Congress will receive a copy of the redacted report hours after the press conference, adding he is troubled the White House has been briefed.
  88. In the evening, Rep. Nadler held an impromptu press conference, saying Barr “appears to be waging a media campaign” on behalf of Trump, “the very subject of the investigation at the heart of the Mueller report.”
  89. Shortly after, WAPO reported according to anonymous sources the DOJ will be releasing a lightly redacted version of the Mueller report, offering a granular look at the ways Trump may have obstructed justice.
  90. The DOJ also revealed in a court filing that a “limited number” of lawmakers would be allowed to review, in a private setting, part of the Mueller report related to the criminal case against Roger Stone.
  91. On Thursday, days after positive tweets by Trump about Kim Jong Un, North Korea’s Central News Agency said it test-fired a new type of “tactical guided weapon.”
  92. On Thursday, BuzzFeed reported for the first time, Australian officials confirmed in a letter a meeting betweenformer high commissioner Alexander Downer and former Trump adviser George Papadopoulos.
  93. At the March 2016 meeting in London, Papadopoulos told Downer that Russia had political dirt on Hillary Clinton. The meeting led to the FBI opening an investigating into Trump’s links with Russia.
  94. On Thursday, ahead of Barr’s new conference, Trump sent a total of 11 tweets, some quoting Fox News shows hosts and conservative group Judicial Watch.
  95. Trump also tweeted, “The Greatest Political Hoax of all time! Crimes were committed by Crooked, Dirty Cops and DNC/The Democrats,” and, “PRESIDENTIAL HARASSMENT!”
  96. On Thursday, Barr held a news conference, hours before the Mueller report was released and without Muellerof a member of his team present. He said the report will be released to Congress between 11 a.m. and noon.
  97. Barr made repeated reference to the phrase “no collusion,” echoing language frequently used by Trump, even though collusion is not a legal term.