POLITIKS OF GRAFFITI 164: “MORAL UNFITNESS”

DECEMBER 28, 2019

Week 163

Experts in authoritarianism advise to keep a list of things
subtly changing around you, so you’ll remember. https://theweeklylist.org/weekly-list/week-163/
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artist: Jim Carrey, 22dec19

This was the quietest week in months as Congress left Washington for a two-week holiday break. After House Speaker Nancy Pelosi refused to transmit articles of impeachment to the Senate, Trump spent the week stewing and repeatedly attacking her on Twitter and in his limited public appearances. Sen. Lisa Murkowski became the first Republican Senator to speak out against Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s handling of the impeachment trial, saying she was “disturbed” by his “total coordination” with the White House.

Trump spent the week at Mar-a-Lago, removed from White House staffers and consumed with airing his personal grievances and amplifying far-right conspiracy theorists. He and his allies attacked Canadian Broadcasting Corporation for cutting out his cameo appearance in a Christmas showing of “Home Alone 2.” Trump also spent much of his days quoting hosts and guests on Fox News, and retweeting allies and conspiracy theorists.

This week the media did a bit of reckoning on its coverage of Trump, after Rolling Stone published an interview of “Meet the Press” host Chuck Todd, in which he admitted he has been “naive” in his coverage and complicit in the spread of disinformation. Evangelical leaders continued their online battle over whether Trump’s moral unfitness was grounds for his removal.

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  1. On Sunday, Christianity Today editor-in-chief Mark Galli told “Face the Nation” on his op-ed, “I’m not really making a political judgment about him…I am making a moral judgment that he’s morally unfit.”
  2. On Sunday, Timothy Dalrymple, the president and CEO of Christianity Today, acknowledged the “whirlwind” of responses for and against their op-ed, and said, “Trump would have you believe we are “far left”” which is “untrue.”
  3. Dalrymple said, “Out of love for Jesus and his church…is why we feel compelled to say that the alliance of American evangelicalism with this presidency has wrought enormous damage to Christian witness.”
  4. Dalrymple added Trump has “alienated many of our children and grandchildren,” “harmed African American, Hispanic American, and Asian American brothers and sisters,” and undercut our countless missionaries.
  5. On Sunday, an op-ed in The Christian Post called for Trump to be impeached, saying, “the Constitution is more important than abortion,” and citing “Trump’s behavior is a threat to our Constitutional order.”
  6. CP also reported nearly 200 evangelical leaders came out against the Christianity Today op-ed in a statement, saying it supported “the entirely-partisan, legally-dubious, and politically-motivated impeachment.”
  7. The statement threatened it is up to “Evangelicals like us to decide if we should subscribe to, advertise in and read your publication online and in print, but historically, we have been your readers.”
  8. On Monday, CT said it lost 2,000 subscribers, but gained 5,000 younger, more diverse, global subscribers. Christian leaders who have spoken out have lost book sales, conference attendees, donors, and members.
  9. On Monday, editor Napp Nazworth, who has worked for the CP website since 2011, resigned because the website was planning to publish a pro-Trump editorial slamming CT.
  10. On Tuesday, other evangelical leaders published a letter in support of CT, saying, “Although one may not agree with Mark Galli, we have an obligation to consider the character and actions of this president.”
  11. On Sunday, in a letter published at The Atlantic, former Congressman David Trott said, “Trump is psychologically, morally, intellectually, and emotionally unfit for office,” and called his actions in office “frightening.”
  12. On Tuesday, in an interview with Rolling Stone, “Meet the Press” host Chuck Todd said in three years of Trump he learned “the right has an incentive structure” to spread disinformation and confront journalists.
  13. Todd said he did not understand the motivations of GOP lawmakers telling lies “that they may know will look ridiculous in three or four years,” citing three senators who claimed Ukraine interfered in 2016 on his show.
  14. Todd said Trump “learned at the feet of a master of deception in Roy Cohn,” who learned from Joe McCarthy, and “we’re going to have another reckoning when this post-Trump era truly works itself out of our system.”
  15. On Thursday, First Draft’s “Year in Review” noted, “the biggest threat is failing to address the reality of online alternative media ecosystems,” which are driving much of the disinformation, understood by few.
  16. On Saturday, WAPO reported after three years in office, 1 in 4 U.S. circuit court judges are Trump nominees. Last week the Senate confirmed an additional 13 district court judges, for 50 overall.
  17. By contrast, Obama appointed 55 circuit judges in eight years. Also, two Supreme Court justices were appointed by Trump. Overall 187 judges were confirmed to the federal bench as the Senate speeds through picks.
  18. On Saturday, Trump aired his grievances in an evening speech to conservative college students at the Turning Point USA conference. Trump said of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, “Crazy Nancy, she’s crazy.”
  19. Trump added, “So now she says she has no case, so let’s not submit it. That’s good right? But you know what, so unfair. She has no case,” adding, “there’s no crime. There’s no nothing. How do you impeach?”
  20. Trump also praised Rep. Tulsi Gabbard for voting “present” on articles of impeachment, saying, “I give her respect. She didn’t vote the other day. I give her a lot of respect. She knew it was wrong.”
  21. Trump also mocked the Green New Deal, and attacked windmills, saying, “it is very expensive, and “they are made in China and Germany mostly,” and “tremendous fumes and gases are spewing into the atmosphere.”
  22. Trump also claimed “a windmill will kill many bald eagles,” adding, “they make you turn it off. And yet, if you killed one, they put you in jail. That is OK. But why is it OK for windmills to destroy the bird population?”
  23. On Sunday, an Instagram photo showed controversial Navy SEAL Eddie Gallagher presenting a “little gift” to Trump at Mar-a-Lago. Gallagher was convicted of being photographed with a 17 year-old captive’s corpse.
  24. On Sunday, Sen. Ron Johnson repeated a conspiracy theory on “This Week,” claiming, “There are serious questions about some actors in the DNC” working with Ukraine, and “I’m trying to get to the bottom of that.”
  25. Johnson also criticized Pelosi for withholding articles, calling the decision “bizarre,” adding, “they had to rush to this impeachment vote and then all of a sudden she’s sitting on it,” and calling the articles “pretty thin gruel.”
  26. On Sunday, Sen. Roy Blunt told “State of the Union” Pelosi does not have the right to hold the articles, adding, “it’s a very political process. Five of the so-called jurors, running for president.”
  27. On Sunday, House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy falsely stated on “Fox News,” based on the Justice Department IG report, the FBI “broke into” candidate Trump’s campaign, they “spied on him,” and “covered it up.”
  28. McCarthy also tweeted the falsehood on Sunday: “The FBI broke into President Trump’s campaign, spied on him, then tried to cover it up,” adding, “This is a modern-day Watergate.”
  29. On Sunday, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer spoke at a news conference, citing emails released to the Center for Public Integrity: “What is a trial with no witnesses and no documents?” calling it a “sham trial.”
  30. Schumer added, “If there was ever an argument that we need Mr. Duffey to come testify, this is that information,” adding, “This email is explosive,” citing Michael Duffey’s email on July 25 putting aid on hold.
  31. On Sunday, Trump tweeted, “Crazy Nancy wants to dictate terms on the Impeachment Hoax to the Republican Majority Senate, but striped [sic] away all Due Process,” adding, “Their case is dead.”
  32. Later, Trump tweeted, “The Democrats and Crooked Hillary paid for & provided a Fake Dossier,” falsely claiming, “They spied on my campaign, then tried to cover it up — Just Like Watergate, but bigger!”
  33. On Monday, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell told “Fox & Friends” that “We haven’t ruled out witnesses,” adding, “let’s handle this case just like we did with President Clinton. Fair is fair.”
  34. On Monday, Schumer sent a letter to Senators arguing for the White House to produce documents related to withholding aid from Ukraine, saying, “I believe it is essential that the Senate hear from certain witnesses.”
  35. Citing Duffey’s email putting aid on hold sent 91 minutes after Trump’s July 25 phone call, Schumer said there is “no good reason why evidence that is directly relevant” to articles should be withheld.
  36. Schumer also rejected McConnell’s comparison to the trial of Clinton, who was impeached after a lengthy independent counsel investigation, saying waiting until after presentations to decide on witnesses would be too late.
  37. On Monday, Pelosi tweeted Trump “blocked his own witnesses and documents” over “phony complaintsabout the House process,” adding, “What is his excuse now?”
  38. On Monday, Sen. Lindsey Graham tweeted that Pelosi should “stop playing games with the Constitution,” adding, “The Senate will decide how we dispose of this sham created by the House.”
  39. On Monday, in an op-ed Sen. Patrick Leahy criticized McConnell for “vowing a quick acquittal,” saying, “he is ‘not an impartial juror’” and pledging “no difference” between Trump and our position.
  40. Leahy also cited Graham “admitted that he’s ‘not trying to pretend to be a fair juror here,’” saying, “our job is to follow the facts and abide by the Constitution,” and “it’s not to rig the trial” in favor of or against Trump.
  41. On Monday, The Hill reported those who know Trump well say he is feeling the scars of being impeached deeply. Many who know him say that despite his bluster, Trump is acutely insecure.
  42. Unlike his tendency to deny past failures, former staffer Omarosa Manigault Newman said, “Impeachment effectively undermines his desire to be significant, because he now has that asterisk tattooed to his head.”
  43. On Monday, the Justice Department filed a brief saying the House’s vote to impeach Trump last week undercut lawmakers’ ongoing court case demanding testimony from former White House counsel Don McGahn.
  44. The DOJ also argued the looming Senate impeachment trial on articles unrelated to McGahn could make it appear the Court is weighing in on impeachment “at a time when political tensions are at their highest levels.”
  45. On Monday, lawyers for the House Judiciary Committee said in a filing the panel is open to additional articles of impeachment if additional evidence is found that Trump tried to obstruct justice.
  46. The House also argued, “McGahn’s testimony is critical both to a Senate trial and to the Committee’s ongoing impeachment investigations” to determine if Trump’s conducts warrants further action by the panel.
  47. On Monday, journalist Tom Brokaw said there were “significant differences” between Trump and Richard Nixon, saying, “Nixon was always aware of being presidential,” and “Trump plays from the gutter frankly.”
  48. On Tuesday, Trump tweeted a series of quotes from “Fox & Friends.” Trump quoted analyst Brit Hume, saying Pelosi and Schumer are in doubt, and “the evidence they’ve brought forth so far not being good enough.”
  49. Trump quoted co-host Brian Kilmeade, saying, “it should be intolerable, because the American people have had it with this,” with Trump adding, “the Radical Left, Do Nothing Democrats have gone CRAZY.”
  50. Trump also quoted the show, tweeting, “Christmas week at All-Time Record Highs,” and pushed McConnell’s new book, “The Long Game,” tweeting, “187 new Federal Judges have been confirmed” under Trump.
  51. On Tuesday, the day of Christmas Eve, Trump addressed the troops in a video conference, saying, “I’m at a place called Mar-a-Lago. We call it the ‘southern White House’ because I really pretty much work.”
  52. Trump also addressed his cameo appearance in the movie “Home Alone 2,” saying, “it was an honor to do it,” adding, “it turned out to be a very big hit, obviously. It’s a big Christmas hit — one of the biggest.”
  53. After, Trump vented to reporters on impeachment and Democrats. Trump said, “It’s up to Mitch McConnell, and we have the majority,” adding, “he’s going to do what he wants to do,” and, “they treated us very unfairly.”
  54. Trump slammed Democrats, saying Pelosi “hates all of the people who voted for me and the Republican Party,” and House Intelligence Committee Chair Adam Schiff ran the impeachment probe as “a sick, corrupt politician.”
  55. Trump also railed against FBI agents investigating Russia interference in the 2016 election, calling them“dirty people,” “bad people,” and “evil people,” adding, “We have no place in our country for people like that.”
  56. When asked if he would pardon Roger Stone, Trump said he had not thought about it, but added, “He got hit very hard…as did General Flynn and a lot of other people. And now they are finding out it was all a hoax.”
  57. Trump also falsely claimed he barely knew Stone, saying, “Stone was not involved in my campaign in any way. Other than the very, very beginning.” Stone was in direct contact with senior Trump officials throughout.
  58. Trump added, “We had dirty cops; we had people spying on my campaign,” repeating a debunked conspiracy theory, saying, “They did terrible things, the likes of which had never been done before in our country.”
  59. Later Tuesday, viewers in Canada noted on social media that Trump’s cameo appearance in “Home Alone 2” had been cut from the broadcast of the movie on Canadian Broadcasting Corporation.
  60. On Tuesday, Rep. Paul Gosar tweeted a video of a studio light almost falling on Hillary and Bill Clinton decades ago, with the message, “Remember the reason for the season! #MerryChristmas”
  61. On Monday, AP reported when Lev Parnas and Igor Fruman met with Andrew Favorov, the No. 2 at Naftogaz, in March at a conference in Houston, they sought the removal of his boss and ambassador Marie Yovanovitch.
  62. The two informed him that Trump would soon be moving Yovanovitch, who was a key backer of anti-corruption efforts at Naftogaz, and asked his help in removing CEO Andriy Kobolyev, who was also anti-corruption.
  63. Favarov, who was stunned by their proposal, politely left the meeting with no intention of helping. In the weeks that followed, he was bombarded by Fruman with texts on WhatsApp.
  64. In April, after Volodymyr Zelensky won as president, Favarov and Kobolyev came to Washington and met with Fiona Hill, and then, along with Parnas and Fruman, they met an aide to Energy Sec. Rick Perry.
  65. Perry would later put forward names of allies for the Naftogaz supervisory board, and his allies won a big contract to export U.S. natural gas exports to Eastern Europe, another goal mentioned by Fruman and Parnas.
  66. On Monday, in an interview with New York Magazine “over Bloody Marys,” Rudy Giuliani claimed he was “more a Jew” than Holocaust survivor George Soros, a frequent target of right-wing attacks.
  67. Giuliani added, “Don’t tell me I’m anti-Semitic if I oppose him,” adding, “Soros is hardly a Jew,” and, “He doesn’t belong to a synagogue, he doesn’t support Israel, he’s an enemy of Israel,” and is a “horrible human being.”
  68. Giuliani added of Soros, “He’s elected eight anarchist D.A.’s” and claiming without evidence, “he put all four ambassadors there” — the four who testified in the impeachment probe — and “he’s employing the FBI agents.”
  69. Giuliani’s comments were criticized by Jewish organizations for leaning on old anti-Semitic tropes that powerful Jews secretly pull the strings for world events, and endorsing antisemitic conspiracy theories.
  70. Giuliani called the Southern District of New York the biggest betrayal, saying, “If they’re investigating me, they’re assholes,” and “they’re idiots. Then they really are a Trump-deranged bunch of silly New York liberals.”
  71. On Monday, NYT reported John Durham’s decision to go public after the DOJ IG report was released with a statement surprised people who have worked with him, saying it was out of character in an open case.
  72. Some former co-workers said Durham has placed his reputation for impartiality on the line by taking the assignment. In past high profile cases he was known not to allow leaks or bend to pressure from DOJ higher-ups.
  73. On Thursday, Edward MacMahon, a lawyer for Lev Parnas, asked to withdraw, saying Parnas’ “apparent ability to fund his defense has diminished.” Lawyer Joseph Bondy will continue to represent Parnas.
  74. On Monday, Saudi Arabia sentenced five low-level men to death for the murder of Jamal Khashoggi, reflecting the Saudi argument the killing was not ordered by the royal court, but was a decision of agents on the ground.
  75. A U.N. investigator said the kingdom’s actions amount to obstruction of justice, as the trial was done in secret. Neither Saudi Crown Prince MBS or his top aides who allegedly ordered the killing will face any consequences.
  76. On Monday, Daily Beast reported a document sent from the State Department to lawmakers argued against a bipartisan Senate bill to punish Turkey for buying Russian weapons, saying it would bring the countries closer.
  77. The “Countering America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act” passed after Russia interfered in the 2016 election, mandating sanctions for new purchases of Russia weapons, but the Trump regime has not acted.
  78. The State Department also argued against provisions in the bill that would give Kurds fighters access to Special Immigrant Visas, and against sanctions against Halkbank, a Turkish bank involved in money-laundering.
  79. On Thursday, a federal judge rejected a request by Turkey’s state-owned Halkbank to halt criminal proceedings against the bank for helping Iran evade U.S. economic sanctions.
  80. On Monday, WAPO reported concerns about election security in Georgia persist as new voting machines are rolled out for 2020. Experts warned the new machines are vulnerable to potential intrusions or malfunctions.
  81. On Monday, Jim Martin, a small-business operator and Independent, filed a lawsuit objecting to state party chairs determining who appears on the Minnesota primary ballot. Trump will be the only GOP candidate.
  82. Martin wrote, “By stripping us of our ability to govern ourselves….we Minnesotans are driven downwards into the disparaging pits of authoritarianism,” adding, “I find this to be shocking.”
  83. On Tuesday, Popular Science reported the Trump regime has taken down Toxmap, a free, interactive online application which provided detailed information on pollution data from the internet.
  84. Toxmap, which combined pollution data from at least a dozen U.S. government sources, allowed researchers, students, and activists to identify sources of toxic chemicals and pollution.
  85. On Wednesday, Steven Jorge, 28, was charged with a hate crime after he punched and kicked a 65 year-old Jewish man in Midtown NYC around midday, and yelled “F*** you, Jew.”
  86. On Friday, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio said the city is increasing its police presence in some Brooklyn neighborhoods with large Jewish populations, following eight recent incidents of anti-Semitism.
  87. The incidents are being investigated as possible hate crimes. The mayor also tweeted, “there will be increased visits to houses of worship and other critical areas in the community.”
  88. On Thursday, Reuters reported on a caravan of 1,500 families of Mexican migrants and Americans of Mexican origin, all with U.S. legal status, heading south to Mexico to leave the U.S.
  89. One member of the caravan, Jesus Mendoza, 35, a painter, is returning to Mexico for the first time since 2001, saying of the U.S., “There’s a lot of extortion, corruption, many people have been attacked.”
  90. On Friday, a local Fox station reported Immigration and Customs Enforcement has begun asking immigration courts to deport young adults who have remained in the U.S. under DACA.
  91. The Supreme Court has yet to rule on the DACA program. If the court rules in favor of the Trump regime, ICE is expected to actively work to deport Dreamers.
  92. On Friday, HuffPost reported Trump’s Interior Department removed “sexual orientation” from the agency’s ethics guide on workplace discrimination, leaving “race, color, religion, sex, age, or handicap.”
  93. Documents obtained through a FOIA request show then-Deputy Secretary of the Interior David Bernhardt made the change in an August 2017 letter, claiming it was a clarification, and sexual orientation came under “sex.”
  94. On Friday, a federal judge denied an effort to restore 98,000 Georgia voters who were removed from the voter roll earlier this month because they had not voted in eight years, citing the state’s “use it or lose it” law.
  95. On Tuesday, a new HuffPost-YouGov poll found 47% of voters think Trump should be removed from office, 42% disagree. On impeachment, 49% approve, 42% disagree.
  96. On Tuesday, the Trump re-election campaign launched a website encouraging supporters to confront their “snowflake” relatives over the holidays, and providing talking points on 12 hot-button issues.
  97. On Tuesday, Politico reported Trump promoted Robert Blair, a top aide to acting White House chief of staff Mick Mulvaney who refused to testify after being subpoenaed by the House in the impeachment probe.
  98. Blair will serve as the special representative for international telecommunications policy. Chair Schiff had said some evidence showed Blair “was a percipient witness to the President’s misconduct.”
  99. On Tuesday, Sen. Lisa Murkowski told an Anchorage TV station she was “disturbed” to hear McConnell say there would be “total coordination” between the White House and the Senate over the impeachment trial.
  100. Murkowski became the first GOP Senator to speak out, noting what McConnell said “has further confused the process,” and added, “To me, it means we have to take that step back from being hand in glove with the defense.”
  101. Murkowski said Pelosi rushed the process, saying the House should have gone through the courts to hear witnesses, but “How we will deal with witnesses remains to be seen,” adding she wants a “full and fair process.”
  102. On Wednesday, hours after his Christmas message calling for “understanding and respect” and unity, Trump attacked Pelosi, calling her “Crazy Nancy Pelosi.”
  103. Trump added,“just because she has a slight majority,” Pelosi should not be able to impeach him, saying there were “ZERO Republican votes,” “no crime,” and his July 25 call was “perfect, with “no pressure.””
  104. Trump added the “Scam Impeachment” was “very unfair with no Due Process, proper representation, or witnesses” — notably Trump chose not to participate in the House hearings.
  105. Trump attacked California Gov. Gavin Newsom, tweeting he has “done a really bad job on taking care of the homeless population,” and threatening, “If he can’t fix the problem, the Federal Govt. will get involved!”
  106. On Wednesday, WAPO reported on the climate of mistrust and threats under Trump. The regime is on its third Russia adviser in six months, and they have no background. Kyiv is about to lose its second ambassador.
  107. The only expert on Ukraine remaining has never spoken to Trump. The CIA agent who was the whistleblower is driven to and from work by armed security officers when threats spike because of Trump’s tweets.
  108. Starting in 2017, Steve Bannon had compiled an enemy list of 50 people they wanted exiled from the National Security Council, most who worked as civil servants in the Obama administration, for fear of the “deep state.”
  109. Career staffers like Fiona Hill and Stephanie Holmes were repeatedly threatened over smears spread on the far-right, as well as internal and external efforts to discredit them. Several resurfaced for impeachment.
  110. Republicans, who for decades cast themselves as the champion of the FBI, CIA, Pentagon, and other national security institutions, have turned on those agencies and perceived enemies in order to protect Trump.
  111. Three years in, the enemies list has expanded to include people hired by Trump. The notion that nonpartisan civil servants can serve presidents of either party, a bedrock of foreign policy since World War II, is under attack.
  112. On Thursday, Trump continued his Twitter storm, tweeting, “Nancy Pelosi’s District in California has rapidly become one of the worst anywhere,” citing the “homeless & crime,” saying, “she has lost total control.”
  113. Trump also attacked “her equally incompetent governor, Gavin Newsom,” later adding, “Crazy Nancy should clean up her filthy dirty District & help the homeless there. A primary for N?”
  114. Trump also tweeted, “The Radical Left, Do Nothing Democrats” want to “RUSH everything,” citing he is “‘a threat to National Security’,” adding, “they are vicious,” and now “they want to go very slowly. Liars!”
  115. Later Thursday, Trump retweeted a post by the re-election campaign’s official “war room” account that quoted an article in the Washington Examiner naming the alleged whistleblower.
  116. Daily Beast reported Trump has spoken to various friends, media figures, and senior officials about going public with the whistleblower’s name. Ivanka and White House counsel Pat Cipollone cautioned him against it.
  117. On Thursday, an op-ed in the Courier Journal, McConnell’s home state paper, said he was about to violate two oaths to the Constitution, saying, “All senators should take their obligation of faithful impartiality seriously.”
  118. The op-ed by a law professor added, “We Kentuckians know that our word is our bond. Oaths are the most solemn of promises, and their breach results in serious reputational — and sometimes legal — consequences.”
  119. On Thursday, Sen. Richard Blumenthal said at a news conference that five to 10 GOP senators have “severe misgivings” about McConnell’s strategy of “denying a full, fair proceeding with witnesses and documents.”
  120. On Thursday, an MSN tracking poll found support for Trump’s removal from office hit an all-time high: 55% said Trump should be removed, up from 48% last week, while 40% say he should not.
  121. On Thursday, WAPO reported Washington Capitals’ Alex Ovechkin and his wife spent Christmas Eve at Trump’s personal holiday dinner at Mar-a-Lago, after they first met in March when the team won the Stanley Cup.
  122. Ovechkin is a close friend of Putin, and in 2017 he founded an online political campaign for Putin, “Putin Team.” When Trump met Putin in Helsinki in July 2018, he presented him with an Ovechkin shirt.
  123. On Thursday, Donald Jr. tweeted an article about Trump’s cameo being cut in the Christmas broadcast of “Home Alone 2” on CBC, calling it “pathetic.”
  124. On Thursday “Fox & Friends” co-host Ed Henry also commented, saying of CBC, “How bad is your Trump Derangement Syndrome for you to cut that out of a happy movie?”
  125. On Thursday, CBC responded in a tweet, saying, “These edits were done in 2014 when we first acquired the film and before Mr. Trump was elected president,” in order to allow for commercials.
  126. Later Thursday, Trump reacted in a series of tweets. Trump tweeted, “I guess Justin T doesn’t much like my making him pay up on NATO or Trade!” to a Fox article about his cut cameo.
  127. Trump also tweeted, “The movie will never be the same! (just kidding),” quoting another article, and retweeted an article in which Fox News contributor Katie Pavlich called it “censorship” on “Fox & Friends.”
  128. WAPO reported Canadians do play close attention to U.S. politics, and Trump is unpopular. A poll done earlier this month found 60% of Canadians supported Trump being impeached and removed.
  129. On Thursday, a YouGov survey found 41% of Germans think Trump is the most dangerous of five world leaders including North Korea’s Kim Jong Un, China’s Xi Jinping, Iran’s Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, and Vladimir Putin.
  130. Kim was in second place at 17%, followed by Putin and Khamenei with 8%, and Xi with 7%. Although the U.S. is one of Germany’s closest allies, public trust has significantly eroded under Trump.
  131. On Tuesday, BBC reported Russia’s Ministry of Communications said the government had successfully tested a country-wide alternative to the global internet, and the results will be presented to Putin.
  132. Experts are concerned about the trend of unplugging from the internet in authoritarian countries. China and Iran have already done so, giving the governments control over what their citizens see.
  133. On Thursday, Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu won a primary for the Likud leadership in a landslide with 72% of the vote, setting the stage for another election on March 2.
  134. On Friday, WAPO reported a year after the Knesset voted to dissolve itself, members have been sent home again for a third election, raising questions about the efficacy of the country’s parliamentary democracy.
  135. Over that year, important functions of the executive and legislative branches have been nonexistent: senior appointments are stalled, only six laws were passed in 2019, and no state budget has been approved.
  136. On Friday, NYT reported the Russian military said it has deployed a hypersonic weapon that flies at superfast speeds, and can evade American defense missile systems, possibly renewing an arms race.
  137. Moscow is eager for Trump to renew the last remaining arms control treaty between Moscow and the U.S. which expires in January 2021. The announcement may be viewed as an attempt to restart diplomatic talks.
  138. The treaty, called New START, was put in place under Obama. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said in November, “the world has changed” since then. Trump has hinted he may want to restart the arms race, saying U.S. technology would win.
  139. On Friday, NYT reported on video interviews and text obtained of the Navy SEALs in Eddie Gallagher’s platoon who turned on him to testify. Earlier this week, Trump hosted Gallagher and his wife at Mar-a-Lago.
  140. Seven of the 22 men in his platoon testified against him, describing him as “evil” and “toxic,” saying he shot civilians and exposed the platoon to enemy fire to increase his chances for a Silver Star.
  141. Since the trial, Gallagher has publicly insulted the men who testified against him on social media and on Fox News. After retiring with full honors thanks to Trump, he also started a SEAL-themed clothing line.
  142. A recent survey conducted by the Military Times found Trump’s approval with active-duty service members was 42% view him favorably, while 50% view him unfavorably — a low point in his approval.
  143. Trump’s approval has been in decline since taking office, when 46% were favorable, 37% unfavorable. Trump was viewed least favorably by women (28%) and non-white (29%) members.
  144. On Friday, NBC News reported the Army National Guard kicked out two members after a liberal group exposed their membership in a religious group with white supremacist ties.
  145. The Atlanta Antifascists published a report saying Brandon Trent East and Dalton Woodward were leaders of the Norse pagan group Ravensblood Kindred, which endorses white supremacy.
  146. On Friday, the NYT Editorial Board praised Sen. Lisa Murkowski as “a stirring conscience in the Senate,” saying she took “public duty more seriously than party loyalty,” and urged other senators to do the same.
  147. The Times also noted, “in a Republican Party so cowed by this president, with most lawmakers too timid to question even his most grotesque behavior, Ms. Murkowski’s expression of concern sets her apart.”
  148. On Friday, Trump retweeted two tweets containing a hashtag associated with QAnon, a far-right conspiracy theory which has raised concerns within the FBI.
  149. Trump also retweeted an account called @TrumpGirlOnFire, which described Obama as a “proud Muslim” and called for him to be imprisoned. The account was suspended on Saturday.
  150. Trump also retweeted a photo showing a fake “Bernie Sanders 2020 Free Shit” lawn sign in grass, with dog feces next to it.
  151. Trump also continued his attacks on Pelosi, tweeting she is “demanding fairness from Leader McConnell when she presided over the most unfair the most unfair hearing in the history of the United States Congress!”
  152. Trump also quoted a “Fox & Friends” guest, tweeting, “Speaker Pelosi and Chuck Schumer’s drive to try and rig the trial against the President is misplaced,” adding, “This President will be exonerated.”
  153. Trump also quoted a tweet by @John_KissMyBot calling for the release of the transcripts of an alleged secret meeting between Schiff and the whistleblower, adding, “Come on Crazy Nancy, do it!”
  154. Trump quoted a tweet of a video by @InBlondWeTrust of homelessness in Pelosi’s district, adding, “Nancy, this just doesn’t seem right!”
  155. Trump also tweeted, then retweeted a OAN video of Pelosi’s son Paul, implying that he might be involved in the Ukrainian corruption scandal, adding, “Wow Crazy Nancy, what’s going on? This is big stuff!”
  156. The Hill reported Trump had tweeted about Pelosi more than 20 times as of Friday since he arrived at Mar-a-Lago, and had addressed her during two public appearances — saying she has gotten under his skin.
  157. On Friday, Pelosi responded, tweeting a video of the evidence uncovered, adding, “The facts are clear and every witness told the same story…Trump abused his power for his own personal gain.”
  158. On Saturday, Trump tweeted, “California and New York must do something about their TREMENDOUS Homeless problems,” and “If their Governors can’t handle the situation…they must call and “politely” ask for help.”
  159. On Saturday, MarketWatch reported a study by the Federal Reserve found Trump’s strategy to use import tariffs to protect and boost U.S. manufacturers backfired and led to job losses and higher prices.
  160. Fed researchers found retaliation is not an effective tool given the globally interconnected supply chains, noting any reduction in competition was offset by the effects of rising input costs and retaliatory tariffs.
  161. On Saturday, NYT reported that science is under attack under Trump. In his three years in office, he has diminished the role of science in federal policymaking, while halting or disrupting research projects.
  162. Trump appointees have halted government studies, reduced the influence of scientists in regulatory decisions, and stopped researchers from speaking publicly. Hundreds of scientists are departing.
  163. Staffing at the EPA is at its lowest level in a decade. Federal scientists say hiring freezes and departures have made it harder to conduct scientific work. The regime has cut federal advisory boards by one-third.
  164. The regime has also questioned established scientific research. Internal documents at the EPA revealed political appointees have overruled career experts on several occasions.

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Trump speaks to members of the media following a Christmas Eve video teleconference with members of the military at his Mar-a-Lago estate in Palm Beach, Fla., Tuesday, Dec. 24, 2019.

POLITIKS OF GRAFFITI 161: “the reason the Constitution provided for impeachment was to anticipate a situation like the one that is before you today.”

DECEMBER 07, 2019

Week 160

Experts in authoritarianism advise to keep a list of things
subtly changing around you, so you’ll remember. *FROM ACTIVIST AMY SISKINDhttps://theweeklylist.org/weekly-list/week-160/ 
EJ8i5IYUEAI7SFG
“His reign will soon be over. Woe to the loyal subjects of this counterfeit king.” – Jim Carrey                                                                                                                                                        21nov19

This week, Trump traveled to London for the NATO summit as impeachment hearings got underway in the House Judiciary Committee, and Democrats on the House Intelligence Committee issued a scathing 300-page report. While Trump sought to display strength abroad, and used the summit as an excuse not to participate in impeachment hearings, a video at a Buckingham Palace reception surfaced Tuesday night showing world leaders openly mocking and laughing at him. He abruptly left early Wednesday, seething and returning in disgrace as the constitutional scholars testified in House impeachment hearings. Harvard Law School professor Noah Feldman said, “the reason the Constitution provided for impeachment was to anticipate a situation like the one that is before you today.”

IMG_0419

NYC. November 2019

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NYC. November 2019.

On Thursday, shortly after Trump tweeted “if you are going to impeach me, do it now, fast,” House Speaker Nancy Pelosi announced in somber tones and invoking the Founders and Constitution, that the House would begin drafting articles of impeachment. Meanwhile, Rudy Giuliani traveled back to Budapest and Kyiv, seeking dirt on the Bidens, meeting with Ukrainian officials, including one with ties to Russia.

This week Trump continued his feud with the so-called deep state, now growing to include the military — while his remaining conspiracy theories were set to be debunked in a report by the Justice Department Inspector General, in consultation with Attorney General William Barr’s handpicked prosecutor, John Durham.

  1. For 2019, Dictionary.com chose the word ‘existential’ as the word of the year, saying “the choice reflects months of high-stakes threats and crises, real and pondered, across the news, the world and throughout 2019.”
  2. On Saturday, NYT reported Trump’s intervention in the SEALs case has pitted him against military commanders who are committed to enforcing longstanding rules of combat, while Trump has never served.
  3. A former sniper who served in Chief Edward Gallagher’s platoon said Trump’s actions have “turned into a national clown show,” adding Trump is “saying he doesn’t trust any of the troops or their leaders.”
  4. Gallagher’s lawyer, Marc Mukasey, also represented Trump, but claimed he did not discuss the case with him. Also Bernard Kerik, New York police commissioner under Rudy Giuliani, spoke out for Gallagher on Fox News.
  5. Active-duty and retired officers say Trump’s intervention emboldens war criminals and erodes military order. Trump has also feuded with the intelligence community, law enforcement agencies, and diplomatic corps.
  6. On Saturday, Trump tweeted, “The Democrats are holding the most ridiculous Impeachment hearings in history,” adding, “Read the Transcripts, NOTHING was done or said wrong!”
  7. Uncharacteristically, it was his only tweet on Saturday related to impeachment. On Sunday, Trump also did not tweet about impeachment until shortly before midnight. He golfed both days near Mar-a-Lago.
  8. On Saturday, Rep. Doug Collins, the ranking Republican on the House Judiciary Committee, asked Chair Jerrold Nadler to expand the list of impeachment witnesses beyond the four constitutional law scholars.
  9. Collins cited in his letter the request was “to ensure fairness and restore integrity to the ongoing impeachment process,” but did not clarify whom Republicans wanted to call to testify.
  10. On Saturday, Politico reported the House Intelligence Committee will begin circulating a draft of the Trump-Ukraine report on Monday. Lawmakers had a 24 hour review period before voting.
  11. On Sunday, Rep. Val Demings told “This Week” that Democrats hope Trump will participate in impeachment hearings, saying, “If he has not done anything wrong, we’re certainly anxious to hear his explanation.”
  12. On Sunday, White House counsel Pat Cipollone told Nadler in a letter that Trump would not participate in the first hearing scheduled for Wednesday, saying it does not provide Trump “with any semblance of a fair process.”
  13. WAPO reported there is conflict within the GOP over how much Trump and his defenders should engage in the hearings. Some say Trump could benefit from the due-process protections that Nadler has offered.
  14. Trump did not tweet about the decision during the day. Meanwhile, Republicans renewed attacks on the process, with Rep. Collins calling on Intelligence Chair Adam Schiff to testify, and complaining “we’re rushing this.”
  15. On Sunday, Sen. John Kennedy told “Meet the Press” that “both Russia and Ukraine meddled in the 2016 election,” adding, “it’s been well documented in the Financial Times and Politico and The Economist,” and more.
  16. Host Chuck Todd asked Kennedy if he knew he was doing “exactly what the Russian operation is trying to get American politicians to do,” Kennedy responded “what harm would it do” for Trump to introduce evidence.
  17. On Monday, Kennedy doubled down, telling reporters he based his comments on “reporting in the Politico magazine, on reporting in the Financial Times, The Economist, the Washington Examiner.”
  18. Kennedy claimed that unlike other Senators, he had not been briefed by the intelligence community on the matter, and said Fiona Hill was “entitled to her opinion.”
  19. On Tuesday, Sen. Lindsey Graham broke from Trump, Kennedy, and other Trump allies, telling reporters, “I’m 1,000% confident that the hack of the DNC was by Russian operatives, no one else.”
  20. On Sunday, former FBI lawyer Lisa Page broke her silence, telling the Daily Beast of Trump’s attacks, “It’s like being punched in the gut,” adding, “My heart drops to my stomach when I realize he has tweeted about me again.”
  21. Page said Trump reading texts between her and Peter Strzok at an October rally in Minnesota, and mocking her having an orgasm on stage, was “the straw that broke the camel’s back” on her speaking out publicly.
  22. Page said Trump had accused her of “treason by name” and was trying to “destroy my life,” adding, “It never goes away or stops, even when he’s not publicly attacking me,” saying she has struggled to lead a normal life.
  23. Page said DOJ spokesperson Sarah Flores had selectively released her texts to reporters, saying, “Those texts were selected for their political impact. They lack a lot of context. Many of them aren’t even about him or me.”
  24. Page said, of the DOJ under Trump, “It’s crushing to see the noble Justice Department, my Justice Department, the place I grew up in, feel like it’s abandoned its principles of truth and independence.”
  25. On Sunday, “60 Minutes” reported Google and YouTube took down more than 300 Trump video ads, mostly over the summer, for violating company policy. A “60 Minutes” review found lack of transparency on the violations.
  26. On Monday, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg defended the decision not to take down political ads with false information on “CBS This Morning,” saying people should “judge for themselves the character of politicians.”
  27. Co-host Gayle King asked Zuckerberg what was discussed in his meeting with Trump at the White House, which was not disclosed until reported by news outlets. He answered, “it was a private dinner and… private discussion.”
  28. On Tuesday, BuzzFeed reported four Google employees who were fired last month for trying to organize workers said they will file charges with the National Labor Relations Board and push for a federal investigation.
  29. On Monday, the November Institute for Supply Management report found manufacturing activity contractedfor the fourth straight month. Experts attributed the contraction to Trump’s trade wars.
  30. Trump blamed his appointee, Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell, tweeting: “Manufacturers are being held back by the strong Dollar, which is being propped up by the ridiculous policies of the Federal Reserve.”
  31. Trump added the Fed “has called interest rates and quantitative tightening wrong from the first days of Jay Powell,” adding, “The Fed should lower rates,” claiming, “manufacturing will SOAR!”
  32. On Tuesday, an analysis by the solar industry showed Trump’s tariffs on solar panels in 2018 have cost the industry more than 62,000 jobs and nearly $19 billion in new private sector investment.
  33. On Wednesday, Reuters reported that Jared Kushner will assume a bigger role in U.S.-China trade talks, as the two countries try to reach an initial agreement to avoid new U.S. tariffs on December 15.
  34. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer and Treasury Sec. Steven Mnuchin have been leading. Kushner already has a considerable portfolio including Middle East peace, Trump’s wall, opioid addiction, and problems at the VA.
  35. On Monday, the Trump regime lifted a mysterious hold on $105 million in aid to Lebanon approved by Congress, after reporting in Week 159. The money was held up by the Office of Management and Budget for months.
  36. Aid to Lebanon also had the backing from the State Department, Pentagon, and National Security Council officials. An official declined to provide a reason for the regime putting a hold on the aid, citing the “process.”
  37. On Monday, Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelensky said in an interview with TIME that despite the ongoingimpeachment hearings, Ukraine still needs U.S. support to get back the territory seized by Russia in 2014.
  38. Zelensky denied he and Trump discussed withholding aid in the context of political favors, but pushed back on Trump’s claim of corruption and questioned the fairness of his decision to withhold aid.
  39. Zelensky said, “Look, I never talked to the president from the position of a quid pro quo,” adding, “I don’t want us to look like beggars,” and “I think that’s just about fairness. It’s not about a quid pro quo.”
  40. When asked if he trusts Putin ahead of their December 9 summit, Zelensky said, “I don’t trust anyone at all,” and said of Trump, “We’re at war. If you’re our strategic partner, then you can’t go blocking anything for us.”
  41. Shortly after, Trump tweeted that Zelensky, “just again announced that President Trump has done nothing wrong with respect to Ukraine,” adding, “If the Radical Left Democrats were sane…it would be case over!”
  42. Trump later told reporters before leaving for the NATO summit, Zelenksy “said very strongly that President Trump did absolutely nothing wrong. That should be case over.” The tweet and statement are misleading.
  43. On Monday, Rudy Giuliani threatened to sue Fox News host Steve Hilton for recommending Trump fire him, saying he “recklessly disregarded the truth,” and if not for him, Hilton “wouldn’t even be covering Burisma.”
  44. On Monday, former Trump campaign foreign policy adviser Carter Page lost an appeal, as a federal appeals court upheld a trial judge’s decision to throw out his defamation lawsuit against a pair of media outlets.
  45. On Monday, lawyers for Lev Parnas petitioned the federal court to release documents and recordings seized by federal prosecutors during Parnas’ arrest to the House committees leading the impeachment inquiry.
  46. Federal prosecutors described the materials seized from Parnas and his three co-defendants to be “voluminous,” and said, “We think a superseding indictment is likely” ahead of the trial, but did not specify the target.
  47. On Monday, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi led a delegation to the 2019 U.N. Framework Convention on Climate Change, saying, “on behalf of the House of Representatives and the Congress of the United States, ‘we’re still in it.’”
  48. On Monday, the Trump campaign announced it would no longer allow Bloomberg News reporters to get credentials for events, citing the outlet would no longer do investigative journalism on Democratic 2020 candidates.
  49. Although Trump campaign manager Brad Parscale claimed it was to avoid bias, the 2016 Trump campaign revoked press credentials from journalists working for WAPO, Politico, and BuzzFeed News.
  50. On Monday, Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson rejected the DOJ’s request to stay her order on Don McGahn’s testimony in Week 159, saying further delay “causes grave harm to both the Committee’s investigation.”
  51. However the DOJ has secured a January 3 hearing with an appeals court, and said it would keep on fighting if it loses its requests for a stay at the D.C. Circuit and petition the Supreme Court.
  52. On Monday, Fox News host Sean Hannity urged his listeners to call Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp and tell him to go with Trump’s pick, Rep. Doug Collins, for the open Senate seat, not “centrist businesswoman” Kelly Loeffler.
  53. On Tuesday, Trump ally Rep. Matt Gaetz said Kemp would end his career by picking Loeffler, tweeting, “Kemp announces the funeral time & location for his political career.”
  54. On Wednesday, Kemp bucked Trump, announcing he would appoint Loeffler to fill Sen. Johnny Isakson’s seat. Kemp said he hoped to strengthen the GOP’s appeal to women voters.
  55. On Monday, WAPO reported AG William Barr has told associates he disagrees with the DOJ IG findings in his report that the FBI had enough information in July 2016 to launch an investigation of the Trump campaign.
  56. Barr has not been swayed by IG Michael Horowitz’s rationale for the FBI having had a sufficient basis, possibly creating a fissure within the DOJ on the controversial issue ahead of the report’s release next week.
  57. It was not clear how Barr planned to make his disagreement known. Barr has privately said Horowitz did not have enough information to reach his conclusion, and agencies like the CIA hold information that could alter it.
  58. Part of Barr’s reluctance is related to John Durham’s investigation which is ongoing and Barr is involved with. It is not usual for an AG to disagree with an IG’s findings, but typically it is over the IG being too critical.
  59. On Monday, Roll Call reported a dozen House races have shifted towards Democrats in recent weeks, citingslow recruitment, self-inflicted wounds, and a shift in suburban voters towards Democrats.
  60. On Monday, CNN reported the IRS whistleblower declined to voluntarily appear for a transcribed Senate Finance Committee interview, after meeting in November with Republican and Democratic staffers.
  61. A source said the whistleblower was concerned about violating IRS code 6103, which says IRS employees can be fired, fined, or jailed for disclosing taxpayer information. It was unclear what lawmakers will do next.
  62. On Monday, North Dakota-based Fisher Sand and Gravel was awarded a $400 million contract by the Defense Department to build a portion of the border wall across an Arizona wildlife refuge.
  63. Trump had repeatedly pushed the Army Corps of Engineers to hire Fisher, but was told the company’s bid did not meet standards. Some officials have expressed concern with Trump getting involved in government contracts.
  64. Trump learned of Fisher through its CEO Tommy Fisher’s repeated appearances on Fox News where he promoted his firm and said it could do a better job than those chosen by the government.
  65. On Wednesday, House Homeland Security Chairman Bennie Thompson asked the Defense Department’s IG to investigate the contract to Fisher Sand and Gravel, which has a history of environmental and tax violations.
  66. Thompson said in his letter that a series of actions “raise concerns about the possibility of inappropriate influence” on the decision to award the firm a contract. The IG said it is reviewing the request.
  67. On Thursday, Sen. Kevin Cramer (R-ND) blocked the Armenian genocide resolution on the Senate floor at the request of the White House, saying it was not “the right time.” Fisher is a donor to Cramer.
  68. This marked the third time a Republican (also Sens. Graham and Ted Cruz) blocked the measure, opposed by Turkish government, at the request of the White House. It passed in the House 405-11.
  69. On Monday, in response to a FOIA request, the DOJ turned over a second set of summaries of FBI interviews, known as “302 reports” from the Mueller probe to BuzzFeed.
  70. The second batch included interviews with Michael Cohen, John Kelly, Corey Lewandowski, Hope Hicks, Rick Gates, Omarosa Manigault, Chris Christie, and Rod Rosenstein.
  71. Cohen said Trump knew about the negotiations for Trump Tower during the campaign, and that Trump family lawyer Jay Sekulow told him to make false statement to the House and Senate Intelligence committees.
  72. Gates said that Paul Manafort urged him not to take a plea deal, saying in October and November 2017 that the White House would protect them, and that they had two legal defense funds and would “take care of us.”
  73. Hicks said Trump was “angry, surprised, and frustrated” when Robert Mueller was appointed, and that when Jeff Sessions recused himself, the only time she had seen him “like that” was when the Access Hollywood tapes came out.
  74. Rosenstein said in May 2017 that Mueller had taken himself out of the running for FBI director position by time he met with Trump about the job. Trump had claimed Mueller applied and he turned him down.
  75. Rosenstein said he was “angry, ashamed, horrified and embarrassed” about the abrupt firing of James Comey, and how it was handled. He spoke to Mueller about becoming special counsel the next day.
  76. On Monday, former deputy DNI Susan Gordon told the Women’s Foreign Policy Group Trump’s most common response to intelligence briefings was not to believe what he was being told.
  77. Gordon also said it was difficult to figure out where Trump got information that shaped his opinion, saying he is probably “the first president that arrived with no framework,” and received input from “infinite people.”
  78. On Monday, Fox News host Tucker Carlson said, “I think we should probably take the side of Russia if we have to choose between Russia and Ukraine.” Carlson made similar remarks last week and said he was joking.
  79. On Thursday, Tucker Carlson said on his show that the House was trying to impeach Trump for holding up aid to Ukraine, adding, “Aid we shouldn’t be sending in the first place, in my view.”
  80. On Monday, Reuters reported Russia has set up a new online site for its national encyclopedia, after President Vladimir Putin called Wikipedia unreliable and said it should be replaced.
  81. On Saturday, the Columbus Dispatch reported a cyber attack on the Ohio Secretary of State’s office on Election Day originated in Panama and was traced back to a Russian-owned company.
  82. The Ohio Secretary of State said it was a “relatively unsophisticated” effort to insert malicious code and was thwarted, adding the cyberattack was looking for vulnerabilities in his office’s website.
  83. On Saturday, NBC News reported a new study by the Urban Institute found the three rule changes proposed by the Trump regime would cause millions of people to lose food stamps, known as SNAP.
  84. The study found 3.7 million fewer people would receive SNAP each month, 5.2 million households would seeaverage monthly benefits drop, and 982,000 students would lose access to free or reduced lunches.
  85. On Wednesday, the Trump regime formalized the first rule change, with the USDA mandating a work requirement for those who receive food stamps as of April 1. Nearly 700,000 were expected to lose food stamps.
  86. Agriculture Department Sec. Sonny Perdue told CNBC of the rule changes, “We’re trying to help these people get back into personal dignity of work and become part of the productive economy.”
  87. On Wednesday, the Senate confirmed Trump pick Sarah Pitlyk to the federal judiciary along party lines. Pitlyk, who opposes abortion, surrogacy, and fertility treatments, was rated “Not Qualified” by the American Bar Association.
  88. On Tuesday, a Texas judge temporarily blocked construction of a private wall along the U.S.-Mexico border by We Build the Wall, after the National Butterfly Center argued the new construction was “illegal.”
  89. On Tuesday, NYT and ProPublica reported newly uncovered documents reveal consulting company McKinsey was brought in by Immigration and Customs Enforcement to help the regime carry out its immigration policy.
  90. McKinsey’s advice included cutting spending on migrants’ food, medical care, and supervision, and looked for ways to speed deportations to meet Trump’s goals. Their advice made some career ICE staffers uncomfortable.
  91. Some ICE workers even complained the firm’s cost-cutting proposals jeopardized the health and safety of migrants. McKinsey also advised to move detainees to less expensive, less safe facilities, like rural county jails.
  92. McKinsey did $20 million of consulting work, even ghostwriting the firm’s contract extension. The firm was deeply involved in executing policies to effectuate Trump’s immigration crackdown. The work ended July 2018.
  93. A week after the McKinsey partner announced their work with ICE was over given McKinsey employee and partner outrage, the firm signed a new $2 million contract to advise CBP, which could be worth $8.4 million.
  94. On Wednesday, WAPO reported on 48 undocumented staffers who worked illegally for Trump at 11 of his properties, performing manual labor for years or decades. They said when hired, managers knew of their status.
  95. They noted when Trump entered the presidential politics, and denounced illegal immigrants as criminals and job-stealers, it upended their lives, causing many to be fired or to walk away after media reports about them.
  96. On Thursday, ProPublica reported Carlos Gregorio Hernandez Vasquez, 16, a Guatemalan migrant, died in Border Patrol care on May 19, after becoming seriously ill. He was held for 6 days, despite the 72 hour limit.
  97. Carlos was put in a small concrete holding cell in South Texas with another boy who was also sick, and who later alerted guards that Carlos was dead. He is the sixth child to die in care in government care in less than a year.
  98. On Wednesday, BBC reported more than 100 graves at a Jewish cemetery in France were defaced with swastikas and the number 14, which is linked to a white supremacist slogan.
  99. On Friday, WAPO reported West Virginia fired three state employees and suspended 34 more without pay after a photo surfaced showing a basic training class of correction officers giving a Nazi salute.
  100. On Tuesday, speaking to reporters at the NATO summit in London, Trump said French President Emmanuel Macron’s comments saying NATO is in a state of “brain death” were “very insulting” and “nasty.”
  101. Trump, while standing alongside NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg, also said Macron’s statement was “very disrespectful” and “very dangerous,” adding, “Nobody needs NATO more than France.”
  102. Trump also defended AG Barr, calling him “a great gentleman,” adding, “I do think the big report to wait for is going to be the Durham report…he’s highly respected. And we’re — and he’s worked very hard.”
  103. Trump also said of France imposing a digital services tax on U.S. technology companies, “I’m not going to let people take advantage of American companies,” and threatened to tax French companies in return.
  104. Trump called the impeachment inquiry “a hoax,” saying, “It’s done for purely political gain. They’re going to see whether or not they can do something in 2020, because otherwise they’re going to lose.”
  105. Trump also called impeachment a “witch hunt” and “very unpatriotic,” and said of censure being floated, “Now they want to go to censure because they have no case for impeachment, so they want to go to censure.”
  106. Later, in a news conference with Trump and Macron speaking on Syria and Turkey, Trump said, “Would you like some nice [IS] fighters? You can take everyone you want.” Macron scolded Trump, saying, “Let’s be serious.”
  107. Later, in a news conference with Canadian President Justin Trudeau, Trump called Chair Schiff a “maniac,” a“deranged human being,” and a “liar,” adding, “I think he’s a very sick man and he lies.”
  108. Trump continued, “This is a sick person. He’s a liar,” adding, “Pelosi knew he was lying and she went on the show, Stephanopoulos and said he told the truth. She was lying, too,” and, “These people are deranged.”
  109. When Pelosi was asked about impeachment while in Madrid Monday, she declined, citing her policy of not criticizing U.S. president while overseas, saying, “We’re here to talk positively about our agenda to save the planet.”
  110. Trump and British Prime Minister Boris Johnson did not meet ahead of the British election on December 12, an admission Trump is unpopular in Britain and per the U.S. ambassador, “any intervention would be counterproductive.”
  111. Asked about the U.K. election, Trump changed the subject to talking about gubernatorial races in Kentucky and Louisiana, where Republicans lost, adding, but in the U.K., “They may not like me because I’m representing us.”
  112. Trump later attended a reception at Buckingham Palace, where Prince Andrew was absent after association with Jeffrey Epstein. Trump, who has been pictured with the prince, said, “I don’t know Prince Andrew.”
  113. On Tuesday, House Intelligence Committee Republicans released a 123-page minority report, claiming there is “no direct, firsthand evidence” to suggest Trump pressured Ukraine to investigate the Bidens.
  114. The report claimed Trump did nothing wrong, including, “There is nothing inherently improper with Mayor Giuliani’s involvement,” and dismissed Trump’s behavior as “outside the beltway thinking.”
  115. Shortly after, House Intelligence Democrats released a 300-page impeachment report summarizing its two month probe, laying out in searing fashion what is likely to result in articles of impeachment next.
  116. The report cited Trump tried to “use the powers of his office to solicit foreign interference on his behalf in the 2020 election” and “placed his own personal and political interests” above the national interests.
  117. The report cited Trump’s “misconduct was not an isolated occurrence,” noting Trump “was elected in 2016with the benefit of an unprecedented and sweeping campaign” by Russia which he “welcomed and utilized.”
  118. The report said his “scheme subverted U.S. foreign policy toward Ukraine and undermined our national security in favor of two politically motivated investigations that would help his presidential re-election campaign.”
  119. The report made more than 100 references to the Constitution, and cited, ‘The evidence of the President’s misconduct is overwhelming, and so too is the evidence of his obstruction of Congress.”
  120. The report also cited an “unprecedented campaign of obstruction of this impeachment inquiry” by Trump for blocking witnesses and document release from the State Department, Pentagon, and OMB.
  121. The report called it unprecedented, saying Trump is “the first and only President in American history to openly and indiscriminately defy all aspects of the Constitutional impeachment process.”
  122. The report said even Nixon, “who obstructed Congress by refusing to turn over key evidence- accepted the authority of Congress […] permitted his aides and advisors to produce documents and testify.”
  123. The report also called White House efforts to block the inquiry “an existential threat to the nation’s Constitutional system of checks and balances, separation of powers, and rule of law.”
  124. The report described a months-long campaign driven by Trump to bend foreign policy, which included Vice President Mike Pence, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, acting chief of staff and Director of the OMB Mick Mulvaney, Energy Sec. Rick Perry, and others.
  125.  The report said these senior officials were “either knowledgeable of or active participants in an effort to extract from a foreign nation the personal political benefits sought by the President.”
  126. The report raised doubt about whether the September 9 call referenced by Gordon Sondland and amplified by Trump actually occurred, saying it was “not backed up by any records the White House was willing to provide.”
  127. The report cited Trump “engaged in a brazen effort to publicly attack and intimidate witnesses,” saying it raises “grave concerns about potential violations of the federal obstruction statute and other criminal laws.”
  128. The report cited threats to the 2020 election to explain the rush: “Given the proximate threat of further presidential attempts to solicit foreign interference in our next election, we cannot wait to make a referral.’
  129. Chair Schiff told reporters there is a “grave risk to the country” if lawmakers wait until they have “every last fact” before proceeding, saying we are inviting “further corruption of our elections.”
  130. The report included call records showing House Intelligence ranking member Devin Nunes had numerous calls in April with Giuliani, Parnas, and John Solomon — around the time Marie Yovanovitch was fired.
  131. There were also 16 calls between Giuliani and Parnas in early April and 10 calls between Parnas and Solomon. There were also Giuliani and White House phone numbers, including one “associated with” the OMB.
  132. Records show on April 24, the day Yovanovitch was summoned to D.C. and told she lost Trump’s confidence, Giuliani called the White House seven times, and received a call from “-1” and spoke to that person for eight minutes.
  133. Giuliani spoke to Parnas and Solomon on the day Biden announced his candidacy. He received a call from “-1” then called Sean Hannity. Trump appeared on Hannity’s show that night and discussed Solomon’s story.
  134. Schiff said, “the phone records show that there was considerable coordination among the parties, including the White House,” calling it “deeply concerning” a lawmaker might be complicit with Trump’s efforts.
  135. Schiff also said Trump action’s towards Ukraine meet the Constitutional definition of bribery, saying, “This is certainly, I think, what the founders had in mind when they used that word in the Constitution.”
  136. Schiff also said the intelligence panel is investigating whether Trump is the “-1” referenced in the call logs as making frequent calls to Giuliani in the House report.
  137. Shortly after, a lawyer for Parnas told reporters, “With appropriate protections, Mr. Parnas would be able to tell this story and fill in all the blanks.” Parnas has asked for immunity which Congress is unlikely to give.
  138. Shortly after, Bob Cusack, editor in chief of The Hill, tweeted the newspaper “is conducting a meticulous review” of Solomon’s work. The report revealed Solomon spoke with Nunes, Giuliani, and Parnas.
  139. On Tuesday, Sen. Kamala Harris dropped her 2020 presidential bid. Trump tweeted, “Too bad. We will miss you Kamala!” Harris responded, “Don’t worry, Mr. President. I’ll see you at your trial.”
  140. On Tuesday, Nunes filed a defamation suit against CNN for a story on his travel to Vienna to meet with foreign officials on getting dirt of the Bidens, saying CNN is “the mother of fake news” and “must be held accountable.”
  141. On Tuesday, when asked by Fox News host Sean Hannity if he spoke to Parnas, Nunes said, “it’s possible, adding, “I don’t really recall,” and “it seems very unlikely that I would be taking calls from random people.”
  142. On Tuesday, Giuliani told NYT he had nothing to do with the decision to withhold aid to Ukraine, saying, “I never discussed military assistance. I am expert on so many things it could have been some very esoteric subject.”
  143. On Tuesday, the House passed a resolution 339-to-71 disapproving of any future attempts to include Russia in the Group of Seven summits, which Trump has repeatedly floated.
  144. On Wednesday, a video circulated of NATO leaders Trudeau, Macron, Johnson and others at a reception at the Buckingham Palace gossiping and mocking Trump’s freewheeling news conference earlier in the day.
  145. The video opened with Johnson asking Macron, “Is that why you were late?” Trudeau jumps in and responds, “He was late because he takes a 40-minute press conference off the top.”
  146. Trudeau says shortly after, “I just watched his team’s jaws drop to the floor.” Prior to the reception, Trump had a 38 minute press event with Macron, and prior for 53 minutes with Stoltenberg.
  147. On Wednesday morning, standing alongside German Chancellor Angela Merkel, Trump called Trudeau “two-faced,” adding, “ he’s a nice guy,” but “I called him out” for not paying 2% and “I guess he’s not happy about it.”
  148. Trump, who has repeatedly demeaned domestic political rivals for being laughed at around the world, abruptly canceled a scheduled news conference, saying he had already answered too many questions, and left.
  149. Earlier in the week, Trump had blasted Democrats, saying, “Do Nothing Democrats purposely scheduled an Impeachment Hoax hearing on the same date as NATO. Not nice!” Now he was headed back to the U.S.
  150. On Wednesday, WAPO reported in a closed-door meeting of House Democrats, before the day’s hearing, Speaker Pelosi made clear to her caucus that impeachment is coming, possibly as soon as this month.
  151. Reportedly, Pelosi said, “Are you ready?” and, “We’re moving forward,” to which the caucus erupted with shouts of approval. Pelosi then turned the floor to Schiff who received a standing ovation.
  152. Pelosi then described “the gravity and somber nature of this moment,” and “a situation that the founders feared.” Vice President Pence held a similar meeting to rally House Republicans on Wednesday morning.
  153. On Wednesday, House Whip Steny Hoyer told reporters House Democrats would be considering congressional action against Nunes: “I think there are serious questions that have been raised by Mr. Nunes’ actions.”
  154. On Wednesday, the House Judiciary Committee held its first impeachment hearing, featuring four constitutional lawyers — three picked by Democrats and one by Republicans.
  155. Chair Nadler opened by addressing why hearings must be held now, saying, “We are all aware that the next election is looming — but we cannot wait,” adding, “The integrity of that election is the very thing at stake.”
  156. Nadler also said Trump “has shown us his pattern of conduct. If we do not act to hold him in check now” he “will almost certainly try again to solicit interference in the election for his personal, political benefit.”
  157. The hearing was acrimonious with ranking member Doug Collins calling the impeachment probe a “partisan coup d’etat,” and Republicans forcing roll call votes of the 41 members three time in the first 90 minutes.
  158. The hearings lasted eight hours. A couple of hours into the hearings, Trump left London to fly back to Washington. During the hearings Trump actively retweeted House Republicans and other allies’ accounts.
  159. Four legal scholars testified: Professors Noah Feldman of Harvard Law, Pamela Karlan of Stanford Law, Michael Gerhardt of North Carolina Law, and Jonathan Turley of George Washington University Law.
  160. Pam Karlan chastised Collins who accused her of not having read the report, saying she read all testimony and added, “I’m insulted by the suggestion that as a law professor I don’t care about those facts.”
  161. Noah Feldman said, “the reason the Constitution provided for impeachment was to anticipate a situation like the one that is before you today.” He noted he was not for impeachment based on Mueller report.
  162. Feldman also testified, “If we cannot impeach a president who uses his power for personal advantage, we no longer live in a democracy, we live in a monarchy or a dictatorship.”
  163. Feldman noted, “The possibility that the president might get caught in the process of attempting to abuse his office and then not be able to pull it off does not undercut in any way the impeachability of the acts.”
  164. Karlan called Trump’s action “an abuse that cuts to the heart of democracy,” and “It’s your responsibility to make sure that all Americans get to vote in a free and fair election next November.”
  165. The third Democratic witness, North Carolina Law professor Michael Gerhardt said, “If what we’re talking about isn’t impeachable, then nothing is impeachable,” citing bribery and obstruction of justice in the report.
  166. The Republicans’ witness, Jonathan Turley, said impeaching Trump for going to the courts is an “abuse of power,” saying the facts presented by House Intelligence do not meet the necessary standard for impeachment.
  167. Turley said, “I am concerned about lowering impeachment standards to fit a paucity of evidence and an abundance of anger,” and said of charges of bribery, “close enough is not good enough.”
  168. Republicans used a comment by Karlan, “The Constitution says there can be no titles of nobility. So while the President can name his son Barron, he can’t make him a baron,” to distract and fundraise. She later apologized.
  169. Nadler concluded by saying “all three parts” of his test for whether Trump should be impeached were met: he committed an impeachable act, that act was a “direct threat” to the Constitution, and some Trump supporter will be with them.
  170. Before Trump left NATO, he told reporters the hearing “is the most unfair thing that anybody’s ever seen.” Chair Nadler paused during questioning and noted the point where Trump’s lawyers could have participated.
  171. Asked about the House report, Trump said, “it’s a joke,” adding, “I watched the reviews….I watched Hannity, Sean Hannity, I watched Laura Ingram, I watched Tucker Carlson, I watched a lot of other legal scholars, frankly.”
  172. On Wednesday, Rep. Jim Banks wrote a letter to Senate Judiciary Committee chair Lindsey Graham, asking him to subpoena phone records of Schiff, Joe and Hunter Biden, and whistleblower attorney Mark Zaid.
  173. On Wednesday, Democrat Rep. Denny Heck said he would not seek re-election, citing he was “discouraged” by his Republican colleagues on impeachment, and “Civility is out. Compromise is out. All or nothing is in.”
  174. On Wednesday, WAPO reported John Durham, Barr’s handpicked prosecutor, said he could offer no evidence to the DOJ IG to support the right-wing conspiracy theory the Russia case was a U.S. intelligence setup.
  175. IG Horowitz contacted Durham and several U.S. intelligence agencies in compiling his report. Among the questions was whether Joseph Mifsud was an intelligence asset sent to ensnare Trump’s campaign.
  176. Horowitz’s report is set to come out Monday, and his interaction with Durham may dull expectations by Barr and Trump allies that Durham’s report will back various right-wing conspiracy theories.
  177. On Wednesday, NYT reported while House Democrats issued their report and held impeachment hearings, Giuliani traveled to Europe to interview Ukrainians to shift focus to wrongdoings by Trump’s political rivals.
  178. Giuliani met with former Ukrainian prosecutor, Yuriy Lutsenko, in Budapest on Tuesday, and met withViktor Shokin and Kostiantyn Kulyk in Kyiv Wednesday. All have faced allegations of corruption.
  179. Giuliani is using the trip to tape a documentary for One America News (OAN) promoting his pro-Trump, anti-impeachment narrative. He hoped to gather new material to undercut the House and Senate impeachment.
  180. Andrii Telizhenko and Andrii Artemenko, former Ukrainian officials who support Trump, joined Giuliani and the OAN crew. The two, along with Mykhaylo Okhendovsky, recorded interviews with OAN last month.
  181. Giuliani’s visit to meet with the same Ukrainian characters in the impeachment probe has sparked concern at the State Department. An official called it “shocking” he is unbowed by issues he faces at home.
  182. Asked about the trip, Giuliani texted the Times: “If S.D.N.Y. leaks and Democrats’ threats stopped me, then I should find a new profession,” and “I am gathering evidence to defend my client against the false charges.”
  183. On Thursday, Giuliani tweeted that an investigation into Biden’s conduct has not been resolved, claiming,“Obama embassy urged Ukrainian police NOT to investigate!” adding, “Stay tuned to find out why.”
  184. On Thursday, Andriy Derkach, a former Ukrainian lawmaker who served as a member of a pro-Russia party and attended a KGB-affiliated high school in Moscow, posted a photo with Giuliani on his Facebook page.
  185. On Friday, former Ukrainian diplomat Telizhenko tweeted a photo with Giuliani, saying, “Thank you @RudyGiuliani for your work and what you do for @realDonaldTrump, because we are fighting for the #TRUTH!”
  186. Pelosi called Giuliani’s trip an indication of “the arrogance of it all.” Asked if Trump was backing Giuliani, White House deputy press secretary Hogan Gidley said, “That’s a question between Rudy and the president.”
  187. On Wednesday, CNN reported federal prosecutors, who are investigating Giuliani and his associates, have deepened their focus on Naftogaz and have interviewed its CEO, Andriy Kobolyev.
  188. Prosecutors have also interviewed U.S. embassy official Suriya Jayanti, a foreign service officer based in Kyiv, who handles Naftogaz issues at the embassy and communicates with the company’s management.
  189. Sec. Perry said he told Jayanti about Parnas and Fruman’s corrupt intent with Naftogaz to replace Kobolyev as CEO. Andrew Favorov also said he relayed his concerns about the two to her.
  190. Jayanti was also identified as among those who overheard the July 26 call between Sondland and Trump. She was listed to give a closed-door deposition in October, but the deposition never occurred.
  191. On Wednesday, WSJ reported Zelensky is withholding his support for a proposed parliamentary investigation into Burisma, citing wanting to avoid Ukraine getting more caught up in U.S. politics.
  192. On Wednesday, WSJ reported the Trump regime is considering sending an additional 14,000 troops to the Middle East, as well as ships and other military hardware, to counter Iran.
  193. The deployment would double the number of troops sent to the region since Trump started a buildup in May. There is growing concern by military leaders that an attack on U.S. interests could leave few options.
  194. The Pentagon denied WSJ reporting: press secretary Alyssa Farah tweeted, “The U.S. is not considering sending 14,000 additional troops to the Middle East.” The U.S. has no diplomatic process in place with Iran.
  195. On Thursday, Politico reported Pentagon’s policy chief acknowledged the reporting on the additional 14,000 troops, after trying to knock it down Wednesday, after Defense Secretary Mark Esper said he is considering it.
  196. On Tuesday, at the NATO summit, Trump said, “We’re by far the most powerful country in the world,” and he still had “a good relationship” with Kim Jong Un, but “He definitely likes sending rockets up, doesn’t he?”
  197. On Thursday, North Korea’s first vice foreign minister threatened if Trump stoked “the atmosphere of confrontation,” citing his reference to “Rocket Man,” the North would resume calling Trump bad names like “dotard.”
  198. On Saturday, North Korea’s U.N. envoy said denuclearization is off the negotiating table with the U.S., adding“sustained and substantial dialogue” sought by the United States was a “time-saving trick.”
  199. On Thursday, Trump tweeted, “The Do Nothing Democrats had a historically bad day yesterday in the House,” adding, “They have no Impeachment case,” and, “they have gone crazy.”
  200. Trump also tweeted, “Therefore I say, if you are going to impeach me, do it now, fast, so we can have a fair trial in the Senate, and so that our Country can get back to business.”
  201. Trump also threatened, “We will have Schiff, the Bidens, Pelosi and many more testify, and will reveal, for the first time, how corrupt our system really is. I was elected to “Clean the Swamp,” and that’s what I am doing!”
  202. An hour later, in a formal address at 9 a.m. that lasted less than six minutes, Speaker Pelosi announced the House of Representatives would begin drafting impeachment articles against Trump.
  203. Pelosi announced in a somber tone, frequently invoking the Constitution and the founders, it had become clear from the two month investigation that Trump violated his oath by seeking foreign help for 2020 election.
  204. Pelosi stood in front of American flags, and said, “Our democracy is what is at stake. The president leaves us no choice but to act because he is trying to corrupt, once again, the election for his own benefit.”
  205. Pelosi said, “This isn’t about Ukraine; this is about Russia,” adding, “So sometimes people say, ‘Well, I don’t know about Ukraine, I don’t know that much about Ukraine.’”
  206. Pelosi added that it was Russia “who benefited by our withholding of that military assistance” to Ukraine, adding, “our adversary is Russia,” and repeating the phrase, “All roads lead to Putin.”
  207. Pelosi added, “Sadly, but with confidence and humility, with allegiance to our founders and a heart full of love for America, today I am asking our chairmen to proceed with articles of impeachment.”
  208. In instructing “chairmen,” Pelosi directed the chairs of the six House committees, meaning the articles could be broader than just Trump-Ukraine, as other investigations continue.
  209. Shortly after, Trump tweeted, “Radical Left Democrats have just announced that they are going to seek to Impeach me over NOTHING,” and, “they hang their hats on two totally appropriate (perfect) phone calls.”
  210. Trump also tweeted now the “act of Impeachment will be used routinely to attack future Presidents. That is not what our Founders had in mind,” adding, “the Republicans have NEVER been more united. We will win!”
  211. Shortly after, at her weekly news conference, Pelosi said she was sorry Trump “made this necessary,” but “If we do not act on this, the message to any future president would be, ‘You can do whatever you want.’”
  212. When asked if she was concerned about a backlash, Pelosi said, “This has absolutely nothing to do with politics…Democrats and Republicans…It’s about the Constitution of the United States…So no, I’m not concerned.”
  213. Referencing Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, she said, “The Grim Reaper says all we’re doing is impeachment… We have 275 bipartisan bills on your desk,” and called McConnell the “rogue Senate leader.”
  214. As Pelosi was leaving, a reporter from Sinclair asked if she hated Trump, invoking a comment by Rep. Collins that is why they are doing it. Pelosi said, “I don’t hate anybody,” and walked back to the microphone.
  215. Pelosi said she thinks Trump “is a coward” for not taking on gun violence, and “he is cruel” for not helping our Dreamers, and “he is in denial” about the climate crisis, adding, “However, that’s about the election.”
  216. Pelosi said, “This is about the Constitution,” adding, “as a Catholic, I resent your using the word ‘hate’ in a sentence that addresses me,” adding she prays for Trump “all the time,” and closed out with, “Don’t mess with me.”
  217. Shortly after, Trump tweeted, “Nancy Pelosi just had a nervous fit,” adding, “She says she “prays for the President.” I don’t believe her, not even close,” and, “Help the homeless in your district Nancy.”
  218. On Thursday, the House Judiciary Committee announced the next impeachment hearing will take place Monday, at which investigators will present evidence, the final step to drafting articles of impeachment.
  219. On Thursday, Republican Rep. Tom Graves, 49, of Georgia announced he would retire, saying it was time to “pass the baton.” Graves was the 21st Republican to announce they will not seek re-election in 2020.
  220. On Friday, Republican Rep. George Holding said he would not seek re-election in 2020, citing North Carolinaredrawing the congressional map. Holding was the 22nd Republican.
  221. On Thursday, the House Ethics Committee told Rep. Duncan Hunter in a letter he can no longer vote in the House, citing a House rule relating to any member convicted of a crime who could serve a prison sentence.
  222. Hunter changed his plea to guilty on Tuesday, and faces five years of prison. He and Chris Collins, the first two members of the House to support Trump, have both pleaded guilty to crimes.
  223. On Friday, Hunter announced he will resign from his seat after the holidays. Two Republicans will vie for his seat, including Darrell Issa who called on Trump to pardon Hunter.
  224. On Tuesday, a federal appeals court ruled Deutsche Bank and Capital One must turn over Trump’s financial records to the House Intelligence and Financial Services committees, and must turn over records next week.
  225. The court ruled, “The Committees’ interests in pursuing their constitutional legislative function is a far more significant public interest” than risking Trump being distracted from disclosing his private financial transactions.
  226. On Thursday, Trump asked the Supreme Court to void a subpoena from the House Oversight Committee that seeks his tax returns. The Supreme Court will decide as early as mid-December if it will hear the case.
  227. On Thursday, Karen McDougal sued Fox News, saying host Tucker Carlson had intentionally defamed her on his show by falsely accusing her of extortion, and she was “harassed, embarrassed and ridiculed” after.
  228. On Thursday, the Trump regime disputed some of the details in the House Intelligence Committee report about Giuliani’s calls to “White House Phone Number” and “-1” in an effort to weaken the Democrats’ case.
  229. Although the call logs show Giuliani was in frequent contact with the White House at key times of the Ukraine pressure campaign, an OMB official claimed he did not speak to anyone in OMB, or to Mick Mulvaney.
  230. On Thursday, WAPO reported phone records released in the House report revealed Trump routinely communicated with Giuliani and others speaking on cellphones vulnerable to monitoring by Russia and others.
  231. Additionally, the call between Giuliani and other Trump officials were also not on encrypted or otherwise shielded lines, raising concerns that Russia was about to learn of Trump’s efforts to withhold aid for investigations.
  232. Security experts suspected Giuliani would be a target of Russian surveillance given his focus on Ukraine. Experts said Russians could enlist its own operative in Ukraine to feed Giuliani disinformation while in Kyiv.
  233. Giuliani has used WhatsApp, but also had pocket-dialed a reporter, and had to go to an Apple store after losing his password. U.S. officials said Russia likely has him under physical surveillance on his trip this week.
  234. Officials said Trump’s use of unsecured lines has become the subject of renewed concerns by senior officials at the White House, who have repeatedly tried unsuccessfully to break him of the habit.
  235. On Thursday, Judge Richard Berman excoriated the Turkish government for an “extraordinary, sustained” pressure campaign to scuttle the case against state-owned Halbank for criminal money laundering charges.
  236. The judge also noted the Turkish government hired Giuliani to defend trader Reza Zarrab, and cited contacts between “Turkish and U.S. officials, lobbyists and attorneys” for Zarrab’s release despite criminal charges.
  237. On Friday, a Saudi military student, Ahmed Mohammed al-Shamrani, opened fire in a classroom, killing three and wounding eight at a naval base in Pensacola, Florida.
  238. An initial FBI investigation found no apparent connection to a foreign terrorist group, although Florida Republicans Sen. Rick Scott and Rep. Matt Gaetz claimed it was an act of terrorism.
  239. Trump took an unusually measured tones, seeming to defend the Saudis, tweeting, “King Salman of Saudi Arabia just called to express his sincere condolences and give his sympathies to the families and friends.”
  240. Trump also tweeted, “The King said that the Saudi people are greatly angered by the barbaric actions of the shooter,” and, “this person in no way shape or form represents the feelings of the Saudi people.”
  241. On Friday, Trump told reporters at a White House roundtable on small business and red tape reduction that“we’re looking very strongly at sinks and showers and other elements of bathrooms,” including low flow toilets.
  242. Trump said “at my suggestion” the EPA “is looking at that very strongly” saying, “People are flushing toilets 10 times, 15 times, as opposed to once. They end up using more water.”
  243. Trump said, “we’re looking very strongly at sinks and showers,” adding, “you turn the faucet on, in areas where there’s tremendous amounts of water, where the water rushes out to sea because you could never handle it.”
  244. Trump added, “You turn on the faucet; you don’t get any water. They take a shower and water comes dripping out. It’s dripping out — very quietly dripping out.” Trump continued on the subject for several minutes.
  245. Trump also complained about energy-efficient light bulbs, calling them “many times more expensive,” and “it doesn’t make you look as good,” adding, “It gives you an orange look. I don’t want an orange look.”
  246. On Thursday, 350 psychiatrists and other mental-health professionals submitted a petition to Congress, warning Trump’s mental health is rapidly deteriorating amid the impeachment inquiry.
  247. The petition said what makes Trump “so dangerous is the brittleness of his sense of worth. Any slight or criticism is experienced as a humiliation and degradation,” and he will react with “narcissistic rage.”
  248. They also wrote, “failing to monitor or to understand the psychological aspects” of impeachment on Trump “or discounting them could lead to catastrophic outcomes.”
  249. On Friday, Rep. Justin Amash said he will vote for impeachment, saying he believes there is “sufficient evidence” against Trump for obstruction of Congress, obstruction of justice and abuse of power.
  250. On Friday, more than 500 law professors signed an open letter saying Trump committed “impeachable conduct” and Congress would be well within their rights if they vote to remove him from office.
  251. The letter cites “overwhelming evidence” that Trump “betrayed his oath of office by seeking to use presidential power to pressure a foreign government to help him distort an American election.”
  252. They added, Trump’s “conduct is precisely the type of threat to our democracy that the Founders feared when they included the remedy of impeachment,” adding they “take no position” on if he committed a crime.
  253. On Friday, in a letter from White House counsel Pat Cipollone to Chair Nadler, the White House rejected the House Judiciary’s invitation to participate in Monday’s impeachment hearing before the 5 p.m. deadline.
  254. While not explicitly saying if the White House would participate, Cipollone called the inquiry “completely baseless” and said House Democrats had “violated basic principles of due process and fundamental fairness.”
  255. Cipollone also said, “House Democrats have wasted enough of America’s time with this charade. You should end this inquiry now and not waste even more time with additional hearings.”
  256. Nadler responded, saying Trump and team “cannot claim that the process is unfair” if they refuse to participate, adding Trump’s failure to respond “will not prevent us from carrying out our solemn constitutional duty.”
  257. On Friday, deputy press secretary Gidley told Fox News the impeachment inquiry is a “sham” and “doesn’t do anything to put food on the tables of the Americans people” — 48 hours after the USDA enacted a rule that cut food stamps for 700,000.
  258. On Friday, Chair Schiff revealed Jennifer Williams submitted additional classified evidence in the impeachment probe of a phone conversation between Pence and Zelensky that took place on September 18.
  259. In a letter to Pence, Schiff asked Pence’s office to declassify, saying classifying “certain portions” of the call “cannot be justified on national security or any other legitimate grounds we can discern.”
  260. On Friday, Trump tweeted, “Fake News @CNN is reporting that I am “still using personal cell phone for callsdespite repeated security warnings.” This is totally false information.” CNN stood by its reporting.
  261. On Friday, the Supreme Court granted Trump’s emergency request to temporarily block the House subpoena to Deutsche Bank and Capital One for Trump’s records until December 13.
  262. The temporary halt will allow the court to deliberate on a longer stay, while giving Trump’s lawyers time to prepare for a formal appeal.
  263. On Friday, WAPO reported Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov will travel to Washington next week to meet with Secretary of State Pompeo, his first visit since the Oval Office controversy where Trump shared classified information.
  264. Pompeo has kept Lavrov at arms length. It is unclear if Lavrov will meet with Trump. The White House refused to comment. One day before his arrival, Zelensky and Putin will meet in Paris.
  265. On Saturday, the LA Times Editorial Board said, “We’ve seen enough. Trump should be impeached,” citing “overwhelming evidence that Trump perverted U.S. foreign policy for his own political gain.”
  266. On Saturday, the House Judiciary Committee released a 55-page report laying out the “Constitutional Grounds for Presidential Impeachment,” saying Trump’s conduct rises to the level of impeachment.
  267. The report cited, “The Framers worst nightmare is what we are facing,” adding, “Trump abused his power, betrayed our national security, and corrupted our elections, all for personal gain.”
  268. The report concluded, “A President cannot escape impeachment just because his scheme to abuse power, betray the nation, or corrupt elections was discovered and abandoned.”
  269. Shortly after, Trump tweeted, “Read the Transcripts! Also, see where I say “us” (our Country) as opposed to “me” (meaning me) and where I then say that the Attorney General (of the United States) will call you.”
  270. Trump also tweeted, “People still remember Schiff’s made up and fraudulent version of my conversation. Witch Hunt!” adding, “our Country is doing better, perhaps, than it has ever done before. Jobs, Jobs, Jobs!”

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

In this grab taken from video on Tuesday, Dec. 3, 2019, Britain’s Prime Minister Boris Johnson, right, speaks during a NATO reception. While NATO leaders are professing unity as they gather for a summit near London, several seem to have been caught in an unguarded exchange on camera apparently gossiping about Trump’s behavior. In footage recorded during a reception at Buckingham Palace on Tuesday, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau was seen standing in a huddle with French President Emmanuel Macron, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte and Britain’s Princess Anne.

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

IMG_3814
“Guilty on ALL 7 Counts” – Roger Stone by Jim Carrey 15Nov19
IMG_3815
President Bone Spurs and the joke he is on Veterans’ Day. Art: Jim Carrey
IMG_3819
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.

IMG_0237

New York City. August 2019.

IMG_1597
Pro-Regime sticker found in downtown San Diego, CA. October 2019.
IMG_8124
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.

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

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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.

IMG_1173
San Diego, CA – October 2019 – State Street
IMG_3444
Image for t-shirts being sold in Pacific Beach. October 2019. San Diego, CA. – Interesting because of the FIVE DEFERMENTS and stuff…
IMG_3448
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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THE LIST — weeks 1–52 of The Weekly List is out as a book! You can order your copy by clicking here.

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

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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 champions