POLITIKS OF GRAFFITI 119: STUCK IN THE ROUGH

FEBRUARY 16, 2019

Week 118

Experts in authoritarianism advise to keep a list of things
subtly changing around you, so you’ll remember. https://theweeklylist.org/weekly-list/week-118/

This was a jarring week as Trump declared a national emergency after Congress refused to fund his wall — perhaps his most brazen authoritarian act yet. Trump’s predilection not to govern, but rather rule by an unprecedented executive fiat, set off alarm bells for Constitutional separation of powers, as Trump departed early Friday for a weekend of golf at Mar-a-Lago.

This week the Mueller probe made news as reporting indicated Trump’s former campaign chair Paul Manafort discussed a peace plan for Ukraine and handed off internal polling data in a secretive meeting to a business associate with ties to Russian intelligence, and a search warrant revealed Roger Stone was in direct contact with WikiLeaks while interacting with the Trump campaign —both in the months before the 2016 election.

At a Trump campaign-style event in El Paso, a BBC cameraman was physically assaulted by a supporter — symbolic of Trump’s continued attacks on the media and his stoking of hatred against marginalized communities. Trump’s speech in El Paso and his declaring a manufactured emergency in Rose Garden were both a repetition of disproven lies and exaggerations, as Trump continues to propagate a dystopian alternate reality and act unilaterally.

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“Great news! The Epic National Emergency at our border has had no negative impact on The Leader’s golf game.” – Jim Carrey

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Wiesbaden, Germany. October 2018.
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I discovered these “Sidewalk Merkels” in Frankfurt, Germany in October 2018.

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  1. A CNN poll found 51% of American approve of the way Mueller is handling the investigation, while just 35% approve of the way Trump is responding. 33% believe Trump and 56% Mueller.
  2. On impeachment, 61% believe if Trump authorized his campaign to coordinate with Russia he should be impeached, while 65% support it if Mueller’s report finds Trump tried to interfere in the investigation.
  3. On Saturday, Trump appeared to mock the Trail of Tears, tweeting: “Today Elizabeth Warren, sometimes referred to by me as Pocahontas, joined the race,” adding, “See you on the campaign TRAIL, Liz!”
  4. Thousands of Native Americans died in the forced relocation. Conservatives tried to defend the statement noting Trump’s lack of historical knowledge, despite his pattern of insulting Native Americans.
  5. Donald Jr. also made light of the Trail of Tears, quoting Trump’s tweet and adding, “Savage!!! Love my President.”
  6. On Sunday, actor Rob Lowe deleted a tweet mocking Sen. Warren over her past Native American ancestry claims which said she “would bring a whole new meaning to Commander in ‘Chief.” He later apologized.
  7. On Sunday, acting chief of staff Mick Mulvaney told “Fox News Sunday” if Congress will not give Trump money for his border wall, “we will go off and find the money someplace else,” adding, “sort of move money around.”
  8. Mulvaney also said the regime was close to identifying the source of the leaks of Trump’s daily schedule, adding based on his work at the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, “it’s nearly impossible to fire a federal worker.”
  9. On Sunday, Trump defended last week’s reporting on his Executive Time, tweeting “it should have been reported as a positive, not negative,” adding, “I probably work more hours than almost any past President.”
  10. Trump also tweeted, “The fact is, when I took over as President, our Country was a mess,” adding several examples of why, and saying, “I had no choice but to work very long hours!”
  11. Later Sunday, Axios reported a White House staffer had leaked an additional four days of Trump’s private schedules from last week. Trump spent 50% of his time in “Executive Time” during those days.
  12. On Sunday, Trump took a swipe at global warming and Amy Klobuchar, tweeting: “Klobuchar announced that she is running for President, talking proudly of fighting global warming while standing in a virtual blizzard.”
  13. On Monday, Rep. Ilhan Omar apologized after tweets saying support for Israel was “all about the Benjamins baby,” which drew condemnation from fellow Democrats, including Speaker Nancy Pelosi.
  14. On Monday, Trump told reporters of Rep. Omar, “I think she should be ashamed of herself,” adding “I think it was a terrible statement and I don’t think her apology was adequate.”
  15. On Tuesday, Trump called on Rep. Omar to resign and calling her “terrible,” adding “she should either resignfrom Congress or she should certainly resign from the House Foreign Affairs Committee.”
  16. On Wednesday, Rep. Omar responded, tweeting, “You have trafficked in hate your whole life — against Jews, Muslims, Indigenous, immigrants, black people and more. I learned from people impacted by my words. When will you?”
  17. On Monday, the Roosevelt School District on Long Island said it had taken appropriate action after teachers displayed two nooses as part of a large classroom collage under the term “back to school necklaces.”
  18. On Monday, Ruben Diaz Sr., a member of the New York City Council, said the legislative body is “controlled by the homosexual community.” The speaker of the council demanded an apology, Diaz refused.
  19. On Monday, Democrats sought to put a cap on ICE detention beds, saying it will force the Trump regime “to prioritize deportation for criminals and people who pose real security threats, not law-abiding immigrants.”
  20. The Trump regime asked for 52,000 beds given its claim that the number illegally crossing the border has reached 2,000 per day. Democrats are looking for a cap at 16,500 beds, the level as Obama left office.
  21. On Tuesday, rapper 21 Savage was released from ICE custody on bond after being detained in Week 117 for overstaying his visa. ICE refused to answer why it had originally refused to release him on bond.
  22. On Tuesday, Republicans in Wisconsin’s state legislature blocked a resolution to recognize Black History Month, citing the resolution mentioned the former NFL quarterback Colin Kaepernick.
  23. The Sandusky Register reported city leaders of Sandusky, Ohio declared Election Day will become a paid holiday, replacing Columbus Day. The city is 69% white, 23% black, 7% Hispanic, and 0.4% Native American.
  24. On Tuesday, Guardian reported that advocates say the Trump regime is continuing to separate families at the border, despite claims the practice ceased with the end of “zero tolerance,” including in El Paso, Texas.
  25. Daily Beast reported a Trump regime report released Tuesday revealed the regime is considering using Goodfellow Air Force Base in San Angelo, Texas, to house detained unaccompanied immigrant children.
  26. Environmental law experts say Goodfellow, formerly used as a landfill site, is toxic and could pose serious health risks including exposure to multiple toxic chemicals, heavy metals, and contaminated groundwater.
  27. On Thursday, the American Civil Liberties Union filed a lawsuit against Customs and Border Protection on behalf of two American women who were stopped inside a convenience store in Montana in Week 80 for speaking Spanish.
  28. The lawsuit claimed the women were shocked when the agent said their accent was “very strong” and asked where they were born. The agent said he was “dead serious” and asked to see their identification.
  29. The agent also said speaking Spanish “is very unheard of up here.” CBP agents have the authority to detain and question people up to 100 miles from an international border.
  30. On Thursday, AP reported the commander for the Portland, Oregon police rapid response team exchanged friendly text messages with the leader of right-wing extremist group, Patriot Prayer.
  31. According to a member of Portland’s city council, Lt. Jeff Niiya exchanged collaborative text messages with Patriot Prayer leader Joey Gibson to provide aid and support for the group’s plans to demonstrate.
  32. Fox News refused to air a national advertisement for “A Night at the Garden,” an Oscar-nominated documentary about the 1939 Nazi rally at Madison Square Garden. The ad was titled “It Can Happen Here.”
  33. On Monday, Michael Cohen postponed his testimony scheduled for this week before the Senate Intelligence Committee due to post surgery medical needs. This is Cohen’s third postponement in February.
  34. YouTube announced it will longer recommend videos that “come close to” violating its community guidelines, including conspiracy theory videos. Experts say the goal had been to keep people on the site to see ads.
  35. On Tuesday, ranking Democrat Mark Warner said he “respectfully disagrees with Senate Intelligence Committee Chair Richard Burr that the committee has not found evidence of Trump-Russia collusion.
  36. In a rare public split of the leaders, Warner told reporters, “I’m not going to reach any conclusion until we finish the investigation. And we still have a number of the key witnesses to come back.”
  37. Warner also noted that the Senate has not uncovered direct evidence: “We were never going to find a contract signed in blood saying, ‘Hey Vlad, we’re going to collude,’” but there may be circumstantial evidence.
  38. Warner added, “there’s never been a campaign in American history that during the campaign and its aftermath that the campaign folks affiliated with the campaign had as many ties with Russia as the Trump campaign.”
  39. Among the key witnesses to testify or come back is Cohen, who Burr said “any good will that might have existed…is now gone” after Cohen was seen out with friends on Saturday night and then postponed his testimony.
  40. Burr also added he would prefer Cohen appear before the committee prior to going to prison on March 6, but “the way he’s positioning himself [by] not coming to the committee, we may help him go to prison.”
  41. The Atlantic reported despite Burr claiming Christopher Steele had not responded to the committee’s attempts to engage with him, Democratic aides say Steele submitted written answers to the committee in August.
  42. Another contention is Burr’s unwillingness to hire outside investigators, which experts saw as a “red flag” given the complex nature of the investigation, including financial transactions with Deutsche Bank.
  43. On Wednesday, Trump tweeted: “The Senate Intelligence Committee: THERE IS NO EVIDENCE OF COLLUSION BETWEEN THE TRUMP CAMPAIGN AND RUSSIA!”
  44. On Wednesday, Cohen lawyer Lanny Davis disputed Burr’s claims, calling them “inaccurate,” and said Cohen is suffering from severe post shoulder surgery pain, but will testify to Congress before going to prison.
  45. On Tuesday, WAPO reported a meeting on August 2, 2016 between Paul Manafort, Rick Gates, and Konstantin Kilimnik at the Grand Havana Room has emerged as a potential fulcrum in Mueller’s investigation.
  46. Kilimnik, a Russian political operative, flew into the U.S. for the meeting. According to a partially redacted transcript of the February 4 hearing, the three discussed a proposed resolution to the conflict over Ukraine.
  47. During the hearing, Judge Amy Berman alluded to Manafort handing off internal polling data from Trump’s presidential campaign to Kilimnik, and that after the meeting, the three exited from three separate doors.
  48. Mueller’s team said among the false statements Manafort made while cooperating were key lies about the August meeting and other interactions with Kilimnik, who also has ties to Russian oligarch Oleg Deripaska.
  49. On Wednesday, the judge ruled Manafort had lied to Mueller’s team, breaching his cooperation agreementand is “no longer bound” by the plea agreement, possibly adding additional years on to his prison sentence.
  50. The judge said Mueller’s team established Manafort “intentionally made multiple false statements to the FBI, [Mueller’s office] and the grand jury,” including on “his interactions and communications with Kilimnik.”
  51. Manafort also lied about a payment from a company to a law firm, which he previously said was a loan repayment, and made material false statements on another case which is not yet publicly known.
  52. The judge said she will factor in Manafort’s lies in his sentencing on March 13, where he faces up to 10 years in prison in the D.C. case, along with a possible seven-to-10-year sentence in his related Virginia case.
  53. On Sunday, NBC News reported ahead of Trump’s scheduled trip to the El Paso, Texas, politicians and business leaders say his portrayal of their community is unfair, misleading, and exaggerated.
  54. In El Paso, violent crime has been cut in half since the 1990s, with recent data showing fewer than 400 incidents per 100,000 people. McAllen, Texas, where Trump visited in January, has seen a similar drop off.
  55. Also, according to U.S. Border Patrol statistics, the number of undocumented immigrants apprehended at the border dropped from nearly 120,000 in 2000 to 25,000 in 2017.
  56. On Monday, in a series of morning tweets, Trump ripped media fact-checkers, quoting Fox News host Jesse Watters who accused them of lying to the public, saying “Fact checkers have become Fake News.”
  57. On Monday, the El Paso County Commissioners Court approved a resolution condemning the Trump regimefor misinformation and lies about a “crisis situation” noting “2017 was the lowest year of illegal cross-border migration on record.”
  58. Trump also attacked Democrats, saying they “do not want us to detain, or send back, criminal aliens,” and “are so self righteous and ANGRY!” adding, “Loosen up and have some fun. The Country is doing well!”
  59. Trump also tweeted, shortly after the additional Axios reporting on his considerable Executive Time, “No president ever worked harder than me (cleaning up the mess I inherited)!”
  60. On Monday, lawmakers said in the late evening that they had reached an “agreement in principle” to avoid a government shutdown, without giving Trump much of the money he sought to build his wall.
  61. The deal includes just $1.375 billion for 55 miles of fencing, and does not include the cap Democrats wanted on ICE detention beds. Lawmakers hoped to avoid a shutdown at the end of the three-week extension Friday.
  62. On Monday, Trump was briefed on the committee’s progress as he took the stage in El Paso. He told the crowd, “Just so you know, we’re building the wall anyway.” Trump also said the wall “has to be built.”
  63. On the stage, banners read “Finish the Wall.” Trump falsely claimed a “big, beautiful wall right on the Rio Grande” is already being built. The crowd chanted “Lock her up!” and “Build the Wall,” reminiscent of 2016.
  64. Trump said, “I will never sign a bill that forces the mass release of violent criminals into our country. And I will never abolish or in any way mistreat our great heroes from ICE and Border Patrol and law enforcement.”
  65. Trump repeated his attack on media fact-checkers, telling the crowd, “Where are the fact-checkers? Some of the most dishonest people in media are the so-called ‘fact-checkers.’’
  66. Trump also went off topic, saying embattled VA Governor Ralph Northam would “even allow a newborn babyto come out into the world, wrap the baby, and make the baby comfortable, and then…execute the baby!”
  67. Democrat Beto O’Rourke held a protest rally in El Paso. Trump said “We have 35,000 people tonight and he has 200 people, 300 people.” Actual estimates were 6,500 for Trump’s rally and at least 10,000 for Beto.
  68. At the Trump rally, a BBC cameraman was attacked. A spokesperson said, “BBC cameraman Ron Skeans was violently pushed and shoved.” A BBC reporter said the supporter also tried to smash Skeans’ camera.
  69. A viral 36-second video captured a Trump supporter wearing a red Make America Great Again cap shouting at the media as he is restrained by event security. The crowd’s chant shifted from “U.S.A.” to “Let him go.”
  70. On Tuesday, press secretary Sarah Sanders said in a statement that Trump “condemns all acts of violence against any individual or group of people — including members of the press.” Trump did not comment or tweet.
  71. On Tuesday, the White House Correspondents’ Association condemned the physical attack, and called on Trump to “make absolutely clear to his supporters that violence against reporters is unacceptable.” He did not.
  72. Bloomingdale’s issued an apology and removed t-shirts that read “Fake News” from its stores, after reporter Allison Kaden suggested on a New York news station that the clothing “delegitimizes” journalists.
  73. On Tuesday, at a meeting with his cabinet, Trump told reporters he is again considering a military parade, in what he called “a ‘Salute to America’ parade,” saying it would be “a gathering, as opposed to a parade.”
  74. Trump suggested July 4 for the parade, and after having his requests stymied by the Pentagon under James Mattis, this time said he would enlist the Interior Department, which oversees the National Park Services.
  75. On Tuesday, Trump said he was “extremely unhappy” with the bipartisan shutdown deal, singling out Democrats and saying, “It’s sad. They’re doing the country no favors. They’re hurting our country very badly.”
  76. A White House official told NBC News that even if Trump signs the deal, other options are on the table to build his wall, including redirecting federal money through executive orders.
  77. On Tuesday, conservative commentator Ann Coulter ripped Trump, tweeting, “Trump talks a good game on the border wall but it’s increasingly clear he’s afraid to fight for it,” adding, “call this his ‘Yellow New Deal.’”
  78. On Wednesday, NYT reported White House aides sought to minimize the damage of Trump agreeing to the bipartisan deal by calling conservative news hosts Lou Dobbs and Sean Hannity, and conservative lawmakers.
  79. Trump criticized Speaker Pelosi and Democrats saying, “With the wall, they want to be stingy,”and again threatening to redirect federal funds, adding, “but we have options that most people don’t really understand.”
  80. On Monday, California governor Gavin Newsom announced he will recall the 360 National Guard troops who had been deployed to the border, saying the state would not be part of Trump’s “manufactured crisis.”
  81. On Wednesday, Trump tweeted “California has been forced to cancel the massive bullet train project after having spent and wasted many billions of dollars,” saying the state owes the government $3.5 billion.
  82. On Wednesday, Governor Newsom responded, tweeting “Fake news,” adding, “this is CA’s money, allocated by Congress for this project,” and “(Also, desperately searching for some wall $$??).”
  83. On Monday, Trump tweeted, “Coal is an important part of our electricity generation mix” adding Tennessee Valley Authority “should give serious consideration to all factors before voting to close viable power plants.”
  84. The 49 year-old coal plant Trump cited buys much of its coal from Murray Energy, chaired by Trump mega-donor, Robert Murray. The TVA board, an independent agency, planned to meet Thursday to discuss its closure.
  85. On Thursday, the TVA said it would close two coal-fired plants, including the one that purchased coal from Murray Energy. Kentucky Sens. Mitch McConnell and Rand Paul had also urged TVA to keep the plants open.
  86. On Tuesday, the Treasury Department’s daily statement showed the national debt passed $22 trillion for the first time. When Trump took office, the national debt stood at $19.95 trillion.
  87. The surge in the national debt resulted from Trump’s $1.5 trillion tax cut for the rich and corporations in 2017, as well as a growth in domestic and military spending.
  88. On Thursday, the Internal Revenue Service released data showing for the first 12 days of this year’s tax filing season, the first year reflecting Trump’s 2017 tax-cut law, the average tax refund was 8.7% less than in the prior year.
  89. On Wednesday, WAPO reported Trump installed a room-sized golf simulator at the White House, which allows him to play virtual rounds at courses around the world. The system costs about $50,000.
  90. White House officials said Trump paid for the installation, and that Trump did not play during his “Executive Time.” Trump played 70 rounds of outdoor golf a year, about double Obama at 38 rounds.
  91. On Sunday, Daily Beast reported that according to multiple sources, Michael Sanchez, brother to Lauren Sanchez who has ties to Trump associates, was the one to give Jeff Bezos’ texts to the National Enquirer.
  92. On Monday, WSJ reported that last year America Media Inc. sought Justice Department advice on whether it should register as a foreign agent after publishing a magazine promoting Saudi Arabia and crown prince MBS.
  93. AMI also sought Saudi financing in last year when considering an acquisition of Time, Sports Illustrated, Fortune, and Money. A lawyer for David Pecker said Sunday the financing was “never obtained.”
  94. On Tuesday, when asked by a reporter if he was aware that AMI was investigating Jeff Bezos, Trump responded, “No, no I wasn’t.”
  95. On Tuesday, Trump ally Tom Barrack defended Saudi Arabia at a summit in Abu Dhabi, saying of Jamal Khashoggi’s murder, “whatever happened in Saudi Arabia, the atrocities in America are equal, or worse …”
  96. On Wednesday, in a rebuke to Trump, the House voted 248-to-177 to halt aid for Saudi Arabia’s conflict in Yemen. The Senate passed a parallel resolution in December. Trump could vote to veto the resolution.
  97. Bipartisan members of Congress expressed fresh outrage after Trump’s White House missed a legally mandated deadline to report whether the regime believes Saudi crown prince MBS is behind Khashoggi’s murder.
  98. On Wednesday, FEMA director Brock Turner resigned, saying in a statement he was leaving “to go home to” his family.” A spokesperson for the agency said Turner’s departure was unrelated to last year’s vehicle controversy.
  99. On Wednesday, Politico reported former Interior Department secretary Ryan Zinke will team up with Corey Lewandowski, working as a senior adviser at Washington lobbying firm Turnberry Solutions.
  100. On Friday, a federal court in D.C. ruled the Mashantucket Pequot tribe can revive a lawsuit and add new claims of political interference, after the Interior Department under Zinke had blocked their plans to open a casino.
  101. On Tuesday, Jonathan Reiner, former VP Dick Cheney’s cardiologist, tweeted: “It’s been 4 days since the president underwent his annual physical exam and still no data has been released. What are they hiding?
  102. On Thursday, the White House released limited information on Trump’s physical exam, with the doctor citing Trump “remains in very good health.” Trump reportedly weighs 243 pounds, making him technically obese.
  103. On Tuesday, former Trump attorney John Dowd told ABC News that the Mueller probe was “a terrible waste of time,” adding, “I will be shocked if anything regarding the president is made public, other than ‘We’re done.’”
  104. Dowd said Trump cooperated and at “no time in history has anybody had this kind of look at communications with the president,” adding if he were supervising Mueller, “ [I would] tell him to ‘knock it off, get it done.”
  105. On Wednesday, Roger Stone’s legal team asked the judge to hold Mueller’s team in contempt, claiming they had “publicly distributed the Indictment prior to its release from the sealing ordered by the Court” to CNN.
  106. Stone has used the raid to fundraise for his legal fees, writing in emails and on social media of the FBI’s “excessive use of force,” and equating it to captures of Osama bin Laden and Pablo Escobar.
  107. On Thursday, in an interview aired on CBS, former acting FBI director Andrew McCabe said he authorized an investigation into Trump’s ties to Russia the day after meeting him in May 2017, for fear he would be fired.
  108. McCabe said he was speaking to someone who “won the election for the presidency, and who might have done so with the aid of the government of Russia, our most formidable adversary,” adding it “troubled me greatly.”
  109. On “CBS This Morning,” Scott Pelley, the correspondent who interviewed McCabe, said McCabe disputes the assertion that deputy director Rod Rosenstein was joking about wearing a wire when he met with Trump.
  110. Pelly said there were discussions of the 25th Amendment — “counting noses” on where various cabinet members would vote. The full interview with McCabe about his new book will air on Sunday’s “60 Minutes.”
  111. A spokesperson for Rosenstein released a statement saying he “never authorized any recording that Mr. McCabe references,” adding, “there is no basis to invoke the 25th Amendment,” nor was he considering it.
  112. As CBS was airing their story, the Atlantic published an excerpt from his book in which Trump wanted McCabe to send a sinister message to employees: “I felt the way I’d felt in 1998, in a case involving the Russian Mafia.”
  113. Shortly after, Trump attacked McCabe, tweeting: “Disgraced FBI Acting Director Andrew McCabe pretends to be a “poor little Angel” when in fact he was a big part of the Crooked Hillary Scandal & the Russia Hoax.”
  114. Trump also called McCabe “a puppet for Leakin’ James Comey,” and “part of “insurance policy” in case I won,” adding, “McCabe’s wife received BIG DOLLARS from Clinton people for her campaign.”
  115. Trump ally Lindsey Graham, chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee, said in a statement that it was “imperative” that McCabe and others come before his committee to address what appears to be bias against Trump.
  116. On Thursday, Alan Dershowitz, an informal adviser to Trump, told Fox News host Tucker Carlson of the DOJ discussing the 25th Amendment to remove Trump, “If that’s true, it is clearly an attempted coup d’etat.”
  117. Trump quoted Dershowitz, tweeting: “Trying to use the 25th Amendment to try and circumvent the Election is a despicable act of unconstitutional power grabbing…which happens in third world countries.”
  118. On Thursday, WAPO reported McCabe’s book also took aim at former AG Jeff Sessions, saying he did not read intelligence reports, and often confused classified material with newspaper clips.
  119. McCabe also accused Sessions of being racist, saying he blamed nearly every societal problem on immigrants and uttered racist sentiments. Sessions also became overwhelmed in meetings on multiple subjects.
  120. On Wednesday, in outlining their Russia probe, Democrats said at least three committees will be involved: House Intelligence Committee will take the lead, along with House Financial Services and House Foreign Affairs.
  121. House investigators also indicated they may target Ivanka, citing “a number of public reports about her involvement in the Trump Tower Moscow deal,” and saying she may have relevant information.
  122. On Friday, in a letter to White House Counsel Pat Cipollone, House Oversight Committee Chair Elijah Cummings said two Trump attorneys may have lied to Congress about Cohen’s hush money payments.
  123. Cummings also questioned the false statements made by the two attorneys, Sheri Dillon and Stefan Passantino, wondering whether they “were acting at the direction of, or coordination with, the president.”
  124. On Saturday, Politico reported Rep. Adam Schiff, chair of the Intelligence Committee and Rep. Eliot Engel, chair of the Foreign Affairs Committee, are close to taking action to force Trump to reveal his private talks Putin.
  125. Schiff and Engel are consulting with House General Counsel Douglas Letter on the best way to compel the Trump regime to turn over documents and other information related to the one-on-one meetings.
  126. On Thursday, Daily Beast reported that DHS has gutted two task forces set up to protect against foreign adversaries meddling in U.S. elections in response to the 2016 election.
  127. The two tasks forces were set up as part of the Cyber Security and Infrastructure Agency to secure election infrastructure and focus on foreign influence efforts, including through social media.
  128. The staff for both task forces have dwindled. Before midterms the CSIA task forces reported to Chris Krebs, the Senate-confirmed director. After, leadership has been moved to someone lower in command.
  129. Experts say Trump has shown no interest in securing U.S. elections, or coming up with a strategy. A lawmaker suggested the task forces were never intended to be permanent.
  130. On Wednesday, House Judiciary Chair Jerry Nadler said in a letter that Matt Whitaker may have “misled” the committee in his testimony last week, calling it “unsatisfactory” or “contradicted by other evidence.”
  131. Nadler also said he would seek more information from Whitaker, and that his staff would work for a “reasonable accommodation” about further information, leaving open the possibility of deposing him.
  132. On Thursday, William Barr was sworn in as the new attorney general. Whitaker will stay on at the DOJ as a senior counselor in the associate attorney general’s office.
  133. On Thursday, Fox Business host Lou Dobbs called on AG Barr to investigate Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts for his “liberal” based appointments on the FISA court, which oversees surveillance.
  134. On Thursday, the White House announced that Trump will sign the bipartisan government spending bill, but would also declare a national emergency and seek $8 billion for his border wall under executive actions.
  135. As of Thursday, the $8 billion included $1.375 billion in the spending bill; $600 million from the Treasury Department; $2.5 billion from a Defense Department; and $3.5 billion from a military construction budget.
  136. Press secretary Sanders said the executive action was to “ensure we stop the national security and humanitarian crisis at the border.” The Senate and House both passed the spending bill by large majorities.
  137. Speaker Pelosi told reporters if Trump declares a national emergency, Democrats could consider legal actions, saying “first of all, it’s not an emergency,” and adding that Trump “has tried to sell a bill of goods.”
  138. On the one-year anniversary of the Parkland shooting, Pelosi also warned Republicans that if Trump sets the precedent, a future Democratic president could declare gun violence a national emergency.
  139. Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer released a statement vowing to defend the Constitution’s separation of powers, saying “declaring a national emergency would be a lawless act, a gross abuse of the power.”
  140. On Friday, in a rambling, incoherent 50-minute speech from the Rose Garden, Trump declared a national emergency to build his wall, a campaign promise he had said Mexico would pay for back in 2016.
  141. Trump was sniffling and often went off topic and ad-libbed during the speech. His remarks were confusing, full of false and misleading statements, and veered off to numerous unrelated topics.
  142. Before speaking about the national emergency, Trump opened with a long preamble about trade deals and North Korea, including falsely claiming Obama was on the verge of striking North Korea.
  143. Trump oddly noted after declaring a national emergency, “I can do the wall over a longer period of time. I didn’t need to do this” — a statement certain to be used in legal challenges.
  144. In making his case, Trump falsely described a lawless, chaotic southern border. Illegal border crossings have been declining for decades. It is not true that immigrants commit more crimes than native-born Americans.
  145. Trump used campaign-style rhetoric: “we’re talking about an invasion of our country with drugs, with human traffickers, with all types of criminals and gangs.” WAPO reported Trump used the word “invasion” seven times.
  146. Trump also repeated a series of false claims, including: “A big majority of the big drugs, the big drug loads don’t go through ports of entry. They can’t go through ports of entry.”
  147. Trump also said, “You can’t take human traffic — women and girls — you can’t take them through ports of entry.” This is false. About 80% of human trafficking victims passed through official ports of entry.
  148. Trump also used an unproven and exaggerated claim: “You have chain migration. Where a bad person comes in, brings 22 or 23 or 35 of his family members…They are all in.”
  149. Trump acknowledged he would likely lose in lower-court judges, and the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit would probably rule against him before he ultimately got a “fair shake” in the Supreme Court.
  150. The White House claimed over 50 national emergencies have been declared since 1976 when Congress enacted the National Emergencies Act, allowing presidents to bypass Congress.
  151. However, NYT reported there is no precedent for Trump’s national emergency, where a president has asked for funds from Congress, been denied, then used emergency powers to get funds and move forward.
  152. Of past national emergencies, 51 of 59 have been related to imposing sanctions or trade regulations on foreign officials and groups for things like human rights violations, terrorism, or narcotics trafficking.
  153. Only once has a president’s national emergency been challenged in court: in 1952, in the case of Youngstown Sheet & Tube Co. v. Sawyer, the Supreme Court overturned President Harry Truman’s national emergency.
  154. Trump cited Obama: “We may be using one of the national emergencies that (Obama) signed having to do with cartels, criminal cartels. It’s a very good emergency he signed.” This order froze financial assets.
  155. In 2014, both Trump and Pence said Obama should not use executive authority on “DREAMers.” Trump tweeted: “Repubs must not allow Pres Obama to subvert the Constitution…because he is unable to negotiate w/ Congress.”
  156. When reporters asked Trump about his February summit with North Korea, Trump said that Japan Prime Minister Shinzo Abe had nominated him for the Nobel Peace Prize for opening a dialogue with North Korea.
  157. Trump also complained that Obama was there “for about 15 seconds” before he was awarded the prize, and “he didn’t even know what he got it for,” adding, “I’ll probably never get it, but that’s OK.”
  158. Trump claimed Abe “gave me the most beautiful copy of a letter” he sent. AP could not confirm Trump’s claim. Japan’s Foreign Ministry said it cannot comment on details of the exchanges between Trump and Abe.
  159. As Trump was speaking, the dystopian Hulu series of “The Handmaid’s Tale” was filming for season 3 in around Washington D.C. Onlookers tweeted confusion about whether it was a real life protest instead.
  160. Ahead of him signing the bill, conservative commentator Ann Coulter tweeted Trump is not fighting, and “the goal of a national emergency is for Trump to scam the stupidest people in his base for 2 more years.”
  161. When asked about Coulter’s influence, Trump told reporters, “I don’t know her. I hardly know her. I haven’t spoken to her in way over a year,” adding, “I have nothing against her, but she’s off the reservation.”
  162. On Friday, Coulter fired back, saying in an interview “It was one thing, the promise he made every single day at every single speech,” adding, “the only national emergency is that our president is an idiot.”
  163. On Friday, House Democrats said they will vote on a joint resolution overriding Trump’s national emergency, forcing Senate Republicans to go on the record, after several spoke against Trump declaring an emergency.
  164. Pelosi and Schumer said in a statement, Trump’s declaration “if unchecked, would fundamentally alter the balance of powers, inconsistent with our Founders’ vision,” adding, “Congress cannot let the president shred the Constitution.”
  165. On Friday, the first legal challenge was filed against Trump’s national emergency by legal advocacy group Public Citizen, on behalf of three Texas landowners and an environmental group.
  166. Government watchdog group Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics sued, saying Trump’s DOJ failed to show the legal authority of his national declaration by refusing to provide documents requested under the FOIA.
  167. The ACLU announced a lawsuit against the Trump regime over his “blatantly illegal declaration,” saying, “There is no emergency. This is an unconstitutional power grab that hurts American communities.”
  168. On Friday, California’s Gov. Newsom and AG Xavier Becerra said the state would sue the Trump regime over his declaration. Newsom called Trump’s wall “a vanity project, a monument to stupidity.”
  169. On Friday, CNN reported press secretary Sanders has been interviewed in the Mueller probe. Sanders said Trump “urged me, like he has everyone in the administration, to fully cooperate with the special counsel.”
  170. The White House did not immediately grant Mueller’s team an interview with Sanders. The interview took place late last year, around the time the special counsel interviewed John Kelly.
  171. While it is unclear what the topics were, two areas of interest appear to be how she composed statements made on the podium defending Trump and Sanders’ statements relating to the June 9 Trump Tower meeting.
  172. On Wednesday, Jerome Corsi filed an amicus brief arguing for the court to impose a gag order on Stone. On Friday, Corsi also sued Stone for defamation, seeking damages in excess of $25 million.
  173. On Friday, Mueller’s team said in a new filing that search warrants executed on accounts in the investigation into Russian hackers uncovered communications between Stone with Guccifer 2.0 and with WikiLeaks.
  174. The warrants were part of the case against 12 Russian GRU officers. Although the content of the communications was not provided, this was the clearest indication yet of Stone’s direct contact with WikiLeaks.
  175. Stone’s attorneys objected to his case being labeled as “related” to the Russian hacking case, and asked it be moved to a new judge. The judge denied the requests, saying they are indeed related.
  176. The judge also issued a gag order for Stone in and around the Washington, D.C. courthouse where the case is being heard, and said she could change her mind and amend her order to broaden the gag “if necessary.”
  177. On Friday, Mueller’s team filed a memo with the court in Virginia, saying Manafort’s crimes including tax and bank fraud were “brazen” and “serious,” and noting federal guidelines for such crimes would be 19.5 to 24.5 years.
  178. The memo said Manafort “acted for more than a decade as if he were above the law,” and failed to pay millions of taxes, adding, “the sentence here should reflect the seriousness of these crimes” to deter others.
  179. The memo also said “Manafort’s age does not eliminate the risk of recidivism he poses,” saying his “criminal activity has occurred over more than a decade,” and he conspired to tamper with witnesses after indicted.
  180. Mueller’s team also said they would fine Manafort tens of millions of dollars. Judge T.S. Ellis has not set a sentencing date. Manafort will be sentenced in his D.C. case on March 13.
  181. On Friday, the Guardian reported a senior Belgian intelligence officer is under investigation over allegedly exchanging confidential information with a woman believed to be a Russian agent.
  182. Additionally, Clement Vandenborre, head of counter-intelligence at GISS, was suspended for allegedly shredding confidential documents as part of the scheme. The Belgian capital is home to NATO headquarters.
  183. On Friday, at the Munich Security Conference, German Chancellor Angela Merkel addressed the conference with critiques of U.S. foreign policy, receiving a sustained standing ovation, except from Ivanka.
  184. Vice President Mike Pence, defending U.S. foreign policy, told the audience at the conference that he brings greetings from Trump, and not a single person clapped.
  185. Pence also followed Trump’s lead, criticizing NATO allies, saying they “still need to do more,” adding the U.S. expects “every NATO member to put in place a credible plan to meet the 2 percent threshold.”
  186. The Munich Security Conference report cited the Trump regime for displaying an “irritating enthusiasm for strongmen across the globe” and “disdain for international institutions and agreements.”
  187. On Saturday, in an op-ed titled, “Phony Wall, Phony Emergency,” the Times Editorial Board called out Trump for his “breathtaking display of executive disregard for the separation of powers.”
  188. The Editorial Board also mocked Trump for leaving early Friday to head to Mar-a-Lago after signing the bill, noting Trump “plans to manage the border crisis from the golf course at Mar-a-Lago this weekend.”

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Donald Trump Holds MAGA Rally: Trump speaks during a rally at the El Paso County Coliseum on February 11, 2019 in El Paso, Texas. Trump continues his campaign for a wall to be built along the border as the Democrats in Congress are asking for other border security measures.

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POLITIKS OF GRAFFITI 116: SUBVERSION & INDICTMENTS

JANUARY 26, 2019

Week 115

Experts in authoritarianism advise to keep a list of things
subtly changing around you, so you’ll remember.  https://theweeklylist.org/weekly-list/week-115/

This is the longest and perhaps most perilous week for Trump so far. Not only did House Speaker Nancy Pelosi outmaneuver him in the government shutdown, but by week’s end she was publicly questioning if Trump is beholden to Russian President Vladimir Putin, and if his campaign coordinated efforts to subvert the 2016 U.S. election. Meanwhile, House committees, now chaired by Democrats, geared up to challenge Trump and his regime on a number of fronts, including inquiries into Deutsche Bank’s handling of Trump’s accounts and the regime’s process of granting of security clearances.

Following dire warnings from agencies, unions, and former government officials about safety and security risks, public outcries and protests from unpaid furloughed workers, and plummeting approval, Trump finally agreed to reopen the government Friday. The final impetus appeared to be delayed flights at New York’s LaGuardia Airport due to staffing issues with unpaid air traffic controllers.

This week a sixth Trump insider, Roger Stone, was indicted on seven counts Friday, raising further concerns that the Trump campaign coordinated with Russia to subvert the election. A line in the indictment document, a senior Trump campaign official was directed to contact Stone,” left pundits speculating if the person directing Stone to gather information on the WikiLeaks’ release of Clinton Campaign emails stolen by Russia was Trump or a family member. Trump attorney Rudy Giuliani also made incriminating public statements about the timing of Trump’s discussions with Michael Cohen on the Trump Tower Moscow project, as Trump continued to publicly threaten Cohen and his family, raising concerns of witness tampering.

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Artwork by Jim Carrey this week. Pic 1: 45. Pic 2: Roger Stone.

  1. WAPO reported Trump has made 8,158 false or misleading claims in his first two years in office, including more than 6,000 in the second year alone.
  2. Trump averaged 5.9 false or misleading claims per day in his first year in office, and almost triple that, 16.5 per day, in his second year. The biggest topic of Trump’s misleading claims is immigration.
  3. On Saturday, Trump gave a 13 minute speech in which he offered a 3-year reprieve on his attempts to end the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, and temporary protected status, in exchange for $5.7 billion for his wall.
  4. The proposal was put together by a small group of Trump insiders, without consulting Democrats. House Speaker Pelosi called it a “non-starter,” and vowed to pass legislation in the coming week to reopen the government.
  5. WAPO reported Trump’s speech and handling of the shutdown accentuated traits of his time in office: a shortage of empathy; difficulty accepting responsibility; and a desire for revenge against political foes.
  6. Trump has approached the shutdown like a public relations challenge. White House aides acknowledge he is losing the battle of public opinion. One friend said even if his base is intact, he is ripping the nation apart.
  7. Trump has also drawn criticism for his competence as an executive. West Wing aides acknowledge they hadno contingency plans for the shutdown, and are learning about problems at agencies though reporting in real time.
  8. On Sunday, Brett McGurk, the former U.S. envoy to fight against ISIS who resigned after Trump announced withdrawal from Syria, told “Face the Nation” that “there is no plan” for what comes after troops are withdrawn.
  9. On Sunday, amid trade negotiations between the countries, China granted Ivanka Trump’s company preliminary approval for another five trademarks. The applications were filed in 2016 and 2017.
  10. On Sunday, Trump tweeted, “The Media is not giving us credit for the tremendous progress we have made with North Korea,” adding “Looking forward to meeting with Chairman Kim at end of February!”
  11. On Tuesday, NBC News reported according to a report from Beyond Parallel, a project sponsored by a defense think tank, North Korea has as many as 20 undisclosed missile sites in the country.
  12. Reportedly, some Trump officials and U.S. allies are nervous because they know so little about what Trump and Kim Jong Un talked about in Singapore, and are concerned about what Trump might agree to next.
  13. On Sunday, Rudy Giuliani told “Meet the Press” that discussions to build a Trump Tower in Moscow remained an “active proposal” as late as November of 2016, months later than Trump previously publicly admitted.
  14. Giuliani said Trump can “remember having conversations” with Michael Cohen “throughout 2016.” Cohen admitted he worked on the project through June 2016, after telling Congress talks ended January 2016.
  15. On Sunday, Giuliani told the Times that Trump had said discussions about the project were “going on from the day I announced to the day I won.”
  16. On Monday, Giuliani tried to walk back his comments in a statement, saying his remarks about discussions between Trump and Cohen “were hypothetical and not based on conversations I had with the president.”
  17. Hours later, in an interview with The New Yorker, Giuliani said “I have been through all the tapes” of conversation between Trump and Cohen. The existence of tapes had not been previously discussed.
  18. When pressed about the tapes in the interview, Giuliani responded “I shouldn’t have said tapes,” adding, “No tapes. Well, I have listened to tapes, but none of them concern this.”
  19. Vanity Fair reported Trump is “furious” about Giuliani’s recent botched press appearances. Reportedly Trump is being advised by Ivanka and Jared and others to fire Giuliani before he does more damage.
  20. AP reported that Trump’s close allies have urged him to bench Giuliani, with some suggesting he be barred from evening interviews because of concerns that he was going on TV after drinking.
  21. On Monday, NYT reported that a confidential document, titled “Terms of Removal” and signed by representatives of Oleg Deripaska and the Treasury Department, is significantly different than what has been publicly shared.
  22. The Treasury Department described the broad contours of the agreement in a letter to Congress, which was released publicly. However, major details were not provided to Congress, which voted last week.
  23. The deal is significantly less punitive and contains provisions that free Deripaska from hundreds of millions of dollars in debt, while leaving him and his allies with majority ownership of his most important company.
  24. Despite the Treasury Department indicating that Deripaska had lowered his stake in the sanctioned companies below the 50% threshold to 44.95%, the document reveals the actual overall stake is closer to 57%.
  25. Also Viktor Vekselberg, who has attracted Mueller’s attention, has a stake in Mr. Deripaska’s empire,as does Len Blavatnik, a Ukrainian-born billionaire, who donated $1 million to Trump inauguration.
  26. On Monday, Russian opposition leader Alexey Navalny announced he has heard audio recordings of Deripaska’s associates plotting to have Anastasia Vashukevich arrested.
  27. Vashukevich was supposed to be deported, when released from prison in Thailand, to her home to Belarus, but instead she was arrested during their layover at Moscow in connection with a prostitution case.
  28. On Tuesday, Vashukevich, who said she had evidence Russia interfered in the U.S. election, was freed from Russian police custody. TASS News reported she remains a suspect in an unrelated criminal case.
  29. On Tuesday, ABC News reported congressional investigators are looking into Robert Foresman, now vice chairman of UBS’s investment arm, who lived for years in Moscow and led a $3 billion Russian investment fund.
  30. Foresman, who has ties to the Kremlin, sought a sit down with Trump through the producer of “The Apprentice,” Mark Burnett, during the transition period. Burnett helped get him a meeting with Tom Barrack.
  31. The meeting with Barrack was canceled, but Foresman continued to pursue a role on Trump’s team by meeting with Michael Flynn. Foresman did not support Trump in the primary or general election.
  32. Records also show Foresman had a December 2016 meeting with Sergei Gorkov, chairman of a state-owned Russian development bank. Gorkov also flew in for one day in December for a meeting with Jared Kushner.
  33. On Tuesday, the Supreme Court allowed the mystery foreign government-owned company thought to be part of the Mueller probe to file appeal papers under seal.
  34. On Saturday, the Diocese of Covington criticized any students involved in taunting Native Americans at the Indigenous Peoples March, adding the matter is under investigation and students could be expelled.
  35. Nathan Phillips, a veteran in the indigenous rights movement, said he felt threatened by the teens. The Indigenous Peoples Movement called the incident “emblematic of our discourse in Trump’s America.”
  36. On Monday, USA Today reported the Sandmann family hired Louisville public relations firm RunSwitch PR, which was instrumental in a 3-page statement in which Nick defended his actions, and an extended video.
  37. On Monday, Trump tweeted “Looking like Nick Sandman & Covington Catholic students were treated unfairly with early judgements proving out to be false — smeared by media.”
  38. The tweet was sent during Fox News host Tucker Carlson’s show, whom Trump quoted in a tweet: “‘New footage shows that media was wrong about teen’s encounter with Native American’ @TuckerCarlson.”
  39. On Tuesday, in the morning Trump again tweeted on Covington, invoking his common anti-media theme: “Nick Sandmann and the students of Covington have become symbols of Fake News and how evil it can be.”
  40. ICE arrested Carmen Puerto Diaz at a green card interview with her husband. Diaz, who is five months into a high risk pregnancy, was denied medication for days, and was later released after public outrage.
  41. Star Tribune reported coach Michael Walker, whose high school team is predominantly black, pulled out of a MLK Day game in Minneapolis, citing the host team had a front row Trump 2020 banner last time they played.
  42. On Monday, Mark Bartlett, 51, was arrested in Florida, after a video showed him drawing a gun, and yelling racial slurs at a group of Black Americans participating in an anti-gun violence event on MLK Day.
  43. On Tuesday, the Supreme Court ruled 5-4 to allow Trump’s transgender military ban to proceed, clearing the way for it to go into effect while lower courts hear additional arguments.
  44. On Tuesday, the Supreme Court took no action on the Trump regime’s appeal in the “Dreamers” case, leaving the program in place, and signaling that the court will not hear the regime’s challenge in the current term.
  45. On Tuesday, Trump’s Justice Department said it plans to ask the Supreme Court to take up hearing the case on adding a citizenship question to the 2020 census on an expedited basis in order to decide the case by June.
  46. Trump, who tried to end the program in 2017, said in a cabinet meeting this month that he had expected to use a victory in the Supreme Court as leverage in negotiations with Democrats on immigration.
  47. On Tuesday, the day after Sen. Kamala Harris announced her 2020 presidential run, Trump supporters rekindled birtherism, claiming she is not eligible to run because her parents were not born in the U.S. Harris was born in Oakland.
  48. On Wednesday, James Jackson, a 30 year-old white supremacist, pleaded guilty to killing a Black man with a sword in New York. Jackson had planned to carry out many attacks against Black men.
  49. Jackson picked New York because it’s “the media capital of the world” and he “wanted to make a statement.” The criminal complaint states Jackson “was angered by black men mixing with white women.”
  50. On Wednesday, Colorado police arrested Christopher Cleary, 27, who threatened to kill “as many girls as I see,” because he is a virgin and had been rejected by women multiple times.
  51. On Wednesday, the Trump regime granted a waiver to give Miracle Hill Ministries in South Carolina permission to participate in the federally funded foster-care program, even though the group openly discriminates.
  52. Miracle Hill does not permit adoption by LGBTQ and non-Christian parents. The waiver overrides an Obama-era regulation barring groups that discriminate on the basis of religion from receiving federal money.
  53. On Thursday, newly-appointed Florida secretary of state Michael Ertel resigned after photos emerged of him posing as a Hurricane Katrina victim in blackface at a private Halloween party 14 years ago.
  54. On Thursday, NBC News reported the Trump regime plans to begin turning asylum-seekers back at the southern border on Friday to wait in Mexico under a new policy designed to crack down on immigration.
  55. Customs and Border Protection officers will begin turning back asylum-seekers from Central America at the San Ysidro port of entry in California from Tijuana, Mexico, where thousands are waiting in poor conditions.
  56. Currently, immigrants who pass an initial “credible fear” interview are allowed to remain in the U.S. to see an immigration judge. The new policy dubbed Migration Protection Policy is likely to be sued by advocates.
  57. Beginning Friday, asylum-seekers will be sent back to Tijuana with a notice to appear in court in San Diego. On their court dates, I.C.E. will provide transportation from the port of entry to immigration court.
  58. On Monday, Trump marked Martin Luther King Jr. Day with a 2-minute visit to Washington’s Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial. This was Trump’s only public event for the day.
  59. On Monday, National Review reported that Rep. Joe Neguse said the House Judiciary Committee will likely investigate whether Supreme Court justice Brett Kavanaugh committed perjury during his confirmation hearing.
  60. On Tuesday, a North Carolina Superior Court judge denied Republican Mark Harris’ request to certify the still-disputed 9th District congressional race, saying the Board of Elections should complete its investigation.
  61. On Tuesday, the House voted 357-22 on legislation to prevent Trump from pulling out of the North Atlantic Treaty Association, after reporting that Trump considered pulling out during 2018. The bill will now move to the Senate.
  62. On Wednesday, Trump backed a coup in Venezuela by opposition leader, Juan Guaidó, the 35-year-old National Assembly leader. President Nicolás Maduro dismissed Guaidó’s claim to the presidency.
  63. Maduro responded by giving American diplomats 72 hours to leave the country with a derisive “be gone!” and accused the Trump regime of plotting to overthrow him. The U.S. said it would ignore the deadline.
  64. On Tuesday, as Congress returned to session on Day 32 of the shutdown, Trump tweeted, “Without a Wall our Country can never have Border or National Security,” adding, “Must finally be done correctly. No Cave!”
  65. Speaker Pelosi told reporters “We cannot have the president, every time he has an objection, to say I’ll shut down the government until you come to my way of thinking…If we hold the employees hostage now, they’re hostage forever.”
  66. The Transportation Security Administration reported TSA employees called out at a national rate of 10% on Sunday, a record high and a jump from 3.1% one year ago on the same weekend.
  67. A TSA spokesperson told ABC News we are in “uncharted territory.” Employees say they are unable to continue to unpaid work, and at February 1, when rent and mortgages are due, things will get worse.
  68. On Tuesday, Politico reported furloughed federal workers are running up credit card debt, taking out loans, flocking to pawn shops, finding temporary work, and asking friends and family to help.
  69. A spokesperson for the Consumer Bankers Association, which represents retail lenders, said calls for help have picked up tenfold, and will increase further nearing February 1 when mortgage and rent payments are due.
  70. On Tuesday, a report issued by the FBI Agents Association, the group representing 13,000 agents, said the shutdown has impeded the agency’s efforts to crack down on child trafficking, violent crime, and terrorism.
  71. The 72-page report says the FBI has been unable to issue grand jury subpoenas and indictments in several cases. Field offices have run out of basic supplies like copy paper, forensic supplies, and DNA swab kits.
  72. On Tuesday, the State Department canceled the 16th International Export Control and Border Security Conference, focused on border security and scheduled to take place in Scotland in mid-February, citing the shutdown.
  73. On Tuesday, Trump tweeted that he told press secretary Sarah Sanders “not to bother” with giving formal press briefings from the “podium” anymore, saying, “the press covers her so rudely & inaccurately.”
  74. Sanders has not taken questions from the podium since December 18, and she appeared just once in September, November, and December. The number of press briefings has steadily declining since Trump took office.
  75. According to data collected by The American Presidency Project, in 2018, the Trump regime averaged less than 5 press briefings per month, fewer than any president in recent history.
  76. CNN reported the lack of briefings is also a result of an ongoing power struggle for control between Sanders, Bill Shine, Kellyanne Conway, and Mercedes Schlapp on the communications team, going on for months.
  77. Also staffing of the White House press office has dwindled. Roles of many younger press aides who have departed, including “assistant press secretary” or “deputy press secretary” positions, remain unfilled.
  78. Unlike in past administrations, there has not been a rush of candidates to fill empty seats. The White House has not prioritized hiring, but Trump’s campaign is actively hiring for the 2020 re-election.
  79. On Tuesday, A. Wess Mitchell, the assistant secretary of state for European and Eurasian affairs, resigned effective February. The resignation comes at a time when Europeans are questioning Trump’s commitment to alliances.
  80. Mitchell’s departure creates another assistant secretary of state vacancy at the State Department. Six of the 24 spots have nominees awaiting Senate confirmation. Mitchell was the first assistant secretary under Trump.
  81. On Tuesday, Politico reported Shahira Knight, Trump’s legislative affairs director who acts as his liaison to Congress, is planning to leave in the coming months what many insiders say is a thankless job.
  82. Slate reported that the Trump regime’s Department of Justice’s Office on Violence Against Women quietly changed the definition of domestic violence last April with little notice, making the definition substantially more limited.
  83. Under the new definition, only harms that constitute a felony or misdemeanor crime may be called domestic violence, excluding critical components of the phenomenon like the dynamics of power and control.
  84. Rolling Stone reported Susan Combs, Trump’s unconfirmed appointee who is leading the Interior Department’s reorganization, earned almost $2.1 million in recent years from oil companies who stand to benefit.
  85. Combs, who was nominated by Trump in July 2017, has also been fiercely opposed to protecting endangered species during her time in Texas government — a position in line with the oil and gas industry.
  86. On Thursday, California Assemblyman Brian Maienschein, who serves in a conservative stronghold, announced he would switch parties and become a Democrat, blaming Trump’s behavior and divisiveness.
  87. On Thursday, the Golden State Warriors made their annual trip to Washington D.C. as NBA champions.Rather than visit the White House, the team was seen in photos visiting with former President Obama.
  88. On Wednesday, Trump sent a letter to Pelosi, saying he had checked, and that there were no such concerns from the Secret Service, and “therefore, I will be honoring your invitation” and delivering the State of the Union.
  89. Hours later, Pelosi sent a letter to Trump, saying she would not pass a resolution authorizing him to come, saying “I look forward to welcoming you” to the House to speak “when government has been opened.”
  90. On Wednesday, Trump said he would look for alternative venues for the State of the Union, telling reporters, “The State of the Union has been canceled by Nancy Pelosi because she doesn’t want to hear the truth.”
  91. Trump also told reporters, “It’s a great, great horrible mark.” Ronald Reagan’s address was postponed after the Challenger space shuttle exploded, but there is no precedent for a SOTU invitation being rescinded.
  92. On Wednesday, after 11 p.m. EST, Trump tweeted that Pelosi had “changed her mind because of the Shutdown, suggesting a later date. This is her prerogative,” adding, “I will do the Address when the Shutdown is over.
  93. On Wednesday, a CBS News poll found that 71% of Americans do not believe that Trump’s wall is worth the government shutdown, while just 28% believe it is.
  94. The poll found 47% believe Pelosi is doing a better job handling shutdown negotiations, to 35% for Trump. Also, 60% believe the shutdown is causing serious problems, 34% said some problems, 5% no problems.
  95. Trump’s approval fell 3 points from November down to 36%, while 59% of Americans disapprove, a high for his time in office for this poll.
  96. On Wednesday, a Politico/Morning Consult poll found 57% of Americans believe it is likely that Russia “has compromising information“ on Trump, compared to 31% who do not think it is likely.
  97. On Wednesday, an AP-NORC poll found Trump’s approval at a yearlong low of 34%, down from 42% in December. Trump’s standing with independents is among its lowest points of his time in office.
  98. The polls also found that 71% of women and independents disapprove of Trump, both up from 58% in December, and 76% of college graduates disapprove, up from 65% in December.
  99. The polls also found 60% of Americans blame Trump for the government shutdown, while just 31% blame congressional Democrats and 36% congressional Republicans.
  100. On Wednesday, Trump unveiled a new slogan in the early morning, tweeting, “BUILD A WALL & CRIME WILL FALL!,” adding “this is the new theme, for two years until the Wall is finished,” and, “Use it and pray!”
  101. Minutes later, Trump again tweeted, “BUILD A WALL & CRIME WILL FALL!” And again in the afternoon, Trump tweeted, “Even Trump Haters like (MS)NBC acknowledge you “BUILD A WALL & CRIME WILL FALL!”
  102. On Wednesday, Day 33 of the shutdown, led by several unions that represent furloughed federal employees and out-of-work contractors, hundreds of workers staged a sit-in inside the Hart Senate Office Building.
  103. Protesters stood in silence for 33 minutes, holding Styrofoam plates with messages like: “Jobs not walls,” “Will work for pay,” and “Please let us work.” The empty plates signified the need to feed their families.
  104. After the silence, protestors shouted, “No more food banks,” and, “They need paychecks!” Some staged a sit-inoutside senators’ offices, and demanded a meeting with Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell.
  105. When McConnell’s office staff refused, a dozen took seats in the hallway outside his office, and were later pulled up from the floor and arrested, their arms zip tied behind their backs, by the U.S. Capitol Police.
  106. On Wednesday, McConnell blocked a bill to temporarily reopen the Department of Homeland Security, the fourth time he has blocked a House’s DHS bill from coming to the floor
  107. McConnell has also blocked legislation three times that would have opened other departments and agencies, arguing it would be a “show” vote because Trump will not sign it.
  108. On Wednesday, WAPO reported acting chief of staff Mick Mulvaney has pressed agency heads to provide him with a list by Friday of programs which would be impacted if the shutdown lasts until March or April.
  109. Mulvaney’s request is the first known by a top White House official for a broad accounting of the spreading impact of the shutdown. So far officials have been focused on the wait times at airports, but not other programs.
  110. Officials are already grappling with keeping their agencies functioning as unpaid workers refuse to show up. Over months, the impact is expected to extend to tens of millions of Americans who rely on government services.
  111. Federal workers will miss their second paycheck on Friday. Unions are filing legal action against the regime for making employees work without pay. Agencies are still trying to understand the scope of their problems.
  112. Other impacts include the federal court system is likely to halt major operations after February 1, and the Department of Agriculture will run out of funding to pay food stamp benefits in March to 40 million people.
  113. On Wednesday, a joint statement by air traffic controllers, pilots, and flight attendants unions said, “We have a growing concern for the safety and security of our members, our airlines and the traveling public.”
  114. The 130,000 aviation professionals said, “We cannot even calculate the level of risk currently at play, nor predict the point at which the entire system will break,” adding, “It is unprecedented.”
  115. On Wednesday, five bipartisan former secretaries of the Department of Homeland Security, including John Kelly, sent a letter to Trump and Congress calling for an end to the shutdown, calling it “unconscionable.”
  116. The letter said “DHS employees who protect the traveling public, investigate and counter terrorism, and protect critical infrastructure should not have to rely on the charitable generosity of others.”
  117. On Thursday, former secretary Jeh Johnson said at an event “from a security standpoint we are letting our guard down,” adding, the “very people we depend on for security are made to suffer.”
  118. On Monday, Lara Trump, campaign adviser and wife of Eric Trump, told Bold TV said federal workers are going through “a little bit of pain,” but that Trump’s wall “is so much bigger than any one person.”
  119. Kevin Hassett, chair of the Council of Economic Advisers, appeared to compare the shutdown to a vacation, saying it could leave workers “better off” since they will receive back pay and without having to report to work.
  120. On Thursday, Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross told CNBC, “I don’t really quite understand why” federal workers need to go to food banks, adding, “these folks will get back pay once this whole thing gets settled down.”
  121. Ross also said “It’s kind of disappointing that the air traffic controllers are calling in sick.” The anchor said it is because they cannot support their families, Ross responded, “They are eventually going to be paid.”
  122. On Thursday, Pelosi took a swipe at Ross and Trump, telling reporters “I don’t know if it’s a “let them eat cake” kind of attitude, or “call your father for money,” or this is character building for you, it is all going to end well.”
  123. Minutes later, suggesting he was watching Pelosi’s press conference, Trump tweeted “Nancy just said she “just doesn’t understand why?” Very simply, without a Wall it all doesn’t work,” adding, “We will not Cave!”
  124. On Wednesday, Michael Cohen indefinitely postponed his scheduled February 7 testimony to Congress, with his attorney Lanny Davis citing verbal attacks by Trump, including unspecified threats against Cohen’s family.
  125. Trump allies Reps. Jim Jordan and Mark Meadows also sent a letter to Cohen’s attorney, Guy Petrillo, suggesting Cohen would face aggressive questioning from House Republicans.
  126. Trump allies have privately said Cohen’s disclosures are one of the most significant threats to Trump. Cohen has spent more than 70 hours in interviews with investigators for the Southern District of New York and with Mueller’s team.
  127. On Wednesday, committee chairs Reps. Elijah Cummings and Adam Schiff said they understood Cohen’s concerns for his family’s safety and repeated their earlier warning against efforts to intimidate witnesses.
  128. On Thursday, in an early morning tweet, Trump called Cohen a “bad lawyer” who “sadly will not be testifying before Congress,” adding Cohen, “is using the lawyer of Crooked Hillary Clinton to represent him.”
  129. That lawyer, Lanny Davis, in an interview on Thursday accused Giuliani of witness tampering for recent comments he made about Cohen’s father-in-law, suggesting he might have ties to organized crime.
  130. On Thursday, the Senate Intelligence Committee issued a subpoena for Cohen to appear privately before the panel next month and correct false testimony he delivered last year about the Trump Tower Moscow project.
  131. On Wednesday, House committee chairs Reps. Maxine Waters and Adam Schiff said they are planning to launch a joint investigation of Deutsche Bank over its business dealings with Trump.
  132. Waters asked Deutsche Bank for details of its handling of Trump’s accounts in May 2017, but the bank refused to cooperate, citing privacy. She now has subpoena power as chair of the House Financial Service Committee.
  133. On Thursday, Deutsche Bank AG said it received an inquiry from the two House committees on its ties to Trump. Reps. Waters and Schiff said they are in talks with the bank and expect its cooperation in its inquiries.
  134. On Wednesday, in a letter sent by committee chair Rep. Elijah Cummings to White House counsel Pat Cipollone, the House Oversight Committee announced it will investigate White House security clearances.
  135. The letter also states the investigation will look into why the regime is “defying federal law by failing to provide to Congress information about its security clearance process required by the SECRET Act.”
  136. The letter seeks information about security clearance issued for Jared Kushner, John Bolton, Michael Flynn, Michael Flynn Jr., K.T. McFarland, Robert Porter, Robin Townley, John McEntee, and Sebastian Gorka.
  137. Cummings said he also sent a letter to the National Rifle Association about Bolton, seeking information about his contacts with Maria Butina. Democrats vowed to subpoena Trump if documents are not turned over.
  138. On Thursday, NBC News reported Jared Kushner’s application for a top-secret clearance was rejected by two career White House security specialists, but was overruled by their supervisor, Carl Kline.
  139. Kline became director of the personnel security office in the Executive Office of the President in May 2017.Kushner was one of at least 30 cases in which he overruled security experts, approving top security clearance.
  140. The FBI background check on Kushner raised concerns about potential foreign influence on him, citing questions about his family’s business, his foreign contacts, his foreign travel, and meetings during the campaign.
  141. Kline recommended to the CIA that Kushner be granted “sensitive compartmented information” (SCI) clearance. CIA officials wondered how Kusher was granted top-secret clearance and denied the SCI request.
  142. On Thursday, Trump tweeted promotion of a book by conservative commentator Doug Wead, who had appeared on “Fox & Friends” that morning calling Trump the “most accessible” president in history.
  143. Trump also quoted Wead, tweeting, “This is everything FDR dreamed about, the New Deal to put America back to work. Think of LBJ, he gave people food stamps & welfare. Donald Trump’s giving them a job.”
  144. Trump also repeated his new slogan, tweeting, “Without a Wall there cannot be safety and security at the Border or for the U.S.A. BUILD THE WALL AND CRIME WILL FALL!”
  145. On Thursday, the Senate rejected dueling proposals to end the shutdown. The Senate voted 52-44 to reject House-backed legislation that would fund the government through February 8, with six Republicans joining the Democrats.
  146. The Senate also voted down Trump’s proposal by a 50-47 vote which would have provided $5.7 billion for his border wall and granted temporary protection for some undocumented immigrants.
  147. On Thursday, in an unplanned evening press availability, Trump claimed, “In fact, I see a lot of the Democrats — almost all of them are breaking saying, ‘Walls are good. Walls are good.’” This is a false statement.
  148. Trump floated the idea of a prorated down payment for his wall to reopen the government. Speaker Pelosi scoffed at the idea being discussed in the Senate, and added of Trump, “I don’t think he knows what he wants.”
  149. Trump threatened to declare a national emergency, saying: “I have other alternatives,” and adding, “A lot of people who wants this to happen. The military wants this to happen. This is a virtual invasion of our country.”
  150. Trump defended Wilbur Ross, saying “perhaps he should have said it differently,” and claiming, without evidence, that grocery stores and banks “are working along” with furloughed federal workers.
  151. On Thursday, CNN reported the White House is preparing a draft proclamation for Trump to declare a national emergency. The questions of legality and legal challenges are the main hold ups in acting.
  152. The draft states: “The massive amount of aliens who unlawfully enter the United States each day is a direct threat to the safety and security of our nation and constitutes a national emergency.”
  153. Also $7 billion in possible funding for the wall has been identified: $681 million in Treasury forfeiture funds, $3.6 billion in military construction, $3 billion in Pentagon civil works funds, and $200 million in DHS funds.
  154. On Thursday, Trump attacked Michael D’Antonio, a commentator and Trump biographer, for “playing his biggest con of all on Fake News CNN,” tweeting D’Antonio is “a broken down hack who knows nothing about me.”
  155. On Friday, in an early morning raid, FBI agents arrested Roger Stone at his home in Fort Lauderdale. In Mueller’s team 24-page document, Stone was indicted on seven counts of lying, obstruction and witness tampering.
  156. CNN video footage showed FBI agents at Stone’s door: “FBI. Open the door,” before adding, “FBI. Warrant.” The FBI agents who arrested Stone were working without pay given the government shutdown.
  157. The indictment said Stone sought stolen emails from WikiLeaks that could damage Trump’s opponents. In July 2018, Mueller indicted 12 Russians of orchestrating the hacks and distributing documents to WikiLeaks.
  158. The indictment also notes before Stone’s actions in the summer of 2016, the Democratic National Committee had already announced it had been hacked by Russians, implying Stone knew that too.
  159. The indictment said “a senior Trump campaign official was directed to contact Stone” about future releases by “Organization 1,” thought to be WikiLeaks. It was unclear who directed the senior campaign official.
  160. After WikiLeaks released its first set of Clinton campaign emails on October 7, 2016, Stone received a text message from “an associate of the high-ranking Trump campaign official” saying “well done.”
  161. In an October 2016 email to Steve Bannon, then-campaign chief executive, Stone implied he had information about WikiLeaks’ plans. It was not clear if Bannon is the high-ranking official and his lawyer declined to comment.
  162. Stone tried to cover up what he had done by lying to Congress. He also tried persuade another witness, identified as “Person 2” — thought to be Randy Credico —  to refuse to talk to the House Intelligence Committee.
  163. Jerome Corsi confirmed to CNN that he is “Person 1” in the indictment and that the statements about him in the indictment are “accurate.” Corsi also said what the indictment contains “confirms I did nothing wrong.”
  164. After Stone’s arrest, Trump tweeted, “Greatest Witch Hunt in the History of our Country! NO COLLUSION!”
  165. Trump also tweeted, “Who alerted CNN to be there?” echoing a tweet by former Fox News host Greta van Susteren, who falsely claimed the FBI had tipped off CNN to cover Stone’s arrest. CNN monitored grand jury activity.
  166. Stone appeared in a Fort Lauderdale court with steel shackles on his wrists and ankles Friday morning, and was released on a bond. On the courthouse steps, he made the V-for-victory gesture used by Richard Nixon.
  167. Stone said “There is no circumstance whatsoever under which I will bear false witness against the president, nor will I make up lies to ease the pressure on myself.” The crowd booed and chanted, “Lock him up!”
  168. With Stone’s indictment, the Mueller probe has now led to charges against 34 people and guilty pleas by six Trump associates and advisers. Stone got his start in politics working for Nixon’s 1972 re-election campaign.
  169. Agents also moved to search Stone’s New York City apartment. His case was assigned to assigned to U.S. District Judge Amy Berman Jackson of the District of Columbia, who is also hearing Paul Manafort’s case.
  170. On Friday, House Intelligence Committee chair Adam Schiff said his committee will release all interview transcripts from its Russia probe to Mueller, citing Stone is second witness to be indicted for lying.
  171. On Friday, the Nixon Foundation distanced itself from Stone, tweeting during his time as a college student, Stone “was a junior scheduler on the Nixon reelection committee. Mr. Stone was not a campaign aide or adviser.”
  172. On Friday, Mueller’s team said in court that Manafort should not any get credit for cooperating when he is sentenced on February 8, saying the “multiple discernible lies” were not instances of “mere memory lapses.”
  173. On Friday, TSA Administrator David Pekoske tweeted that the department had scraped together funds left over from last year to make a “a partial payment” to TSA screeners for the first two-weeks of the shutdown.
  174. On Friday, WAPO reported at least 14,000 of the 26,000 unpaid Internal Revenue Service employees, whose work includes tax processing and call centers, did not show up this week after being called back last week.
  175. On Friday, the Federal Aviation Administration announced it was restricting flights into and out of New York’s LaGuardia Airport, saying there were not enough air traffic controllers to manage flights safely.
  176. Within hours, delays at LaGuardia had a ripple effect on other East Coast airports. The FAA’s action was the first time staffing shortages hit air traffic control centers during the shutdown.
  177. On Friday, an ABC News/Washington Post poll found Trump’s approval at 37%, one point off the low in his first two years, as 60% of Americans disapproved of his handling of the shutdown.
  178. Trump’s two-year average approval rating of 38% is the lowest on record for a president in 72 years of polls, compared with an average of 61% for the 12 previous presidents since 1945.
  179. The poll also found Trump’s approval among women dropped to a new low of 27 %, down 9 points since November, while 49% of men approved. His rating with independents dropped to 32%, matching its low.
  180. Shortly after the FAA’s action, the White House announced Trump would address the press from the Rose Garden. In the afternoon, cabinet officials and White House aides lined the sides and applauded him as he spoke.
  181. Trump claimed victory, saying he was “very proud to announce” what he called “a deal to end the shutdown and reopen the federal government.” The government would reopen for three weeks with no funding for his wall.
  182. At a joint press conference after the speech, Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer thanked federal workers for working a month without pay. Rather than accepting credit, Pelosi praised the unity of her caucus.
  183. Pelosi said McConnell “is a professional” so it is painful to see him kowtowing to Trump, saying she asked him, “Do you just want to abolish the Congress or maybe just the United States Senate? Because that is effectively what you’re doing.” Pelosi said his response was “nothing.”
  184. Later, Trump gave no explanation for his capitulation, tweeting, “This was in no way a concession. It was taking care of millions of people” hurt by the shutdown, adding, “in 21 days, if no deal is done, it’s off to the races!”
  185. Conservative commentator Ann Coulter expressed outrage, tweeting “Good news for George Herbert Walker Bush: As of today, he is no longer the biggest wimp ever to serve as President of the United States.”
  186. On Friday evening, press secretary Sanders quoted Trump’s tweet saying this was in no way a concession,” adding that in 21 days, Trump “is moving forward building the wall with or without the Democrats.”
  187. Late Friday, Trump signed a bill to temporarily reopen the government, ending a 35 day shutdown, the longest in the nation’s history. Over one million government contractors will not be reimbursed for missed pay.
  188. Late Friday, in a series of tweets, Pelosi said Trump’s “continued efforts to undermine” the Mueller probe “raises the questions,” adding, “What does Putin have on @realDonaldTrump, politically, personally or financially?”
  189. Pelosi also asked, mirroring a statement issued by her office Friday, why has the Trump regime “continued to discuss pulling the U.S. out of NATO, which would be a massive victory for Putin?
  190. Pelosi also tweeted “Stone’s indictment makes clear there was a deliberate, coordinated effort by top Trump campaign officials to subvert the will of the American people during the 2016 Election. #FollowTheFacts.”
  191. On Saturday, Trump sought to shift the narrative, tweeting, “If Roger Stone was indicted for lying to Congress, what about the lying done by Comey, Brennan, Clapper, Lisa Page & lover, Baker and soooo many others?”
  192. Trump also sent a series of five tweets arguing for his wall, culminating with a video of snippets Schumer and Pelosi, with his new slogan “BUILD A WALL & CRIME WILL FALL!”
  193. On Saturday, NYT compiled a list of more than 100 in-person meetings, phone calls, text messages, emails, and private messages on Twitter that Trump and his campaign associates had with Russians during the 2016 election.
  194. Gizmodo reported that some of Trump’s photos on Facebook and Instagram have been manipulated to make him appear thinner, and to make his fingers appear slightly longer.

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.

Roger Stone, a former advisor to President Donald Trump, exits the Federal Courthouse on January 25, 2019 in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. Stone strikes the famous pose of his personal hero, the late former president Richard M. Nixon, by raising his arms high and making V-for-victory signs with his fingers.

POLITIKS OF GRAFFITI 99: “This week Trump was literally the laughing stock of the world.”

Dark days and I’m really feeling it as I travel through Germany watching my country and its very dark element become unrecognizable to me. How to return to that? It’s a sad, cruel joke and the entire world sees it exactly that same way. It’s an embarrassment and I can’t help but use an apologetic tone when replying “the USA,” when someone asks me where I’m from. The photos this week are from Tokyo (it translates into something like “kiss a dick”), here in Dresden, they really want to see David Hasselhoff become our next president (Germany LOVES him), and they have a “No Nazis” signature mantra echoing on the streets. Also, two very poignant pieces from Jim Carrey. “Entitled Little Shits” featuring that lying Kavanaugh, and “Why Don’t You Report?” featuring traitorous Lindsey Graham. Critics accuse Carrey of really ugly portraitures, but I have to ask, isn’t it all very ugly right now? His artwork is the most authentic representation we have right now ~ the TRUTH.

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Roughly translates into “Kiss a Dick.” Tokyo, Japan. September 2018. Photo: Harukidude.

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DoO7jZzXcAA6H9f.jpg-large
“Why Don’t You Report?” Lindsey Graham by Jim Carrey.
DnUJsoiU8AA1W3C.jpg-large
“Entitled Little Shits.” Brett Kavanaugh by Jim Carrey. 

Week 98 of this: Experts in authoritarianism advise to keep a list of things subtly changing around you, so you’ll remember.

September 29, 2018 https://medium.com/@Amy_Siskind/week-98-experts-in-authoritarianism-advise-to-keep-a-list-of-things-subtly-changing-around-you-so-a1a9b7d4296a

This week our country was riveted as new allegations of sexual assault surfaced against Trump’s Supreme Court nominee, Brett Kavanaugh. On Thursday, 20 million Americans tuned in to the watch the Kavanaugh hearings. Despite Dr. Christine Blasey Ford coming across as poised and credible, while a belligerent Kavanaugh delivered testimony riddled with inaccuracies, Republicans planned to push forward for a confirmation vote on Friday. In a stunning turn, the power of the #MeToo movement and protests changed a key senator’s vote early Friday, pushing off Kavanaugh’s confirmation and forcing Trump to open a one-week FBI investigation into the sexual assault allegations against his nominee.

This week Trump was literally the laughing stock of the world, as leaders gathered at the UN General Assembly laughed out loud at a braggadocious claim during his speech. On Thursday, Trump held an 80-minute news conference, only his fifth since taking office, which was panned by media outlets as “bizarre,” “insane,” and “surreal.”

Increasingly, our country feels at war with itself, as Trump and white male Republican leadership readied to push through Kavanaugh’s nomination at any cost, ignoring the voices of women. Trump’s push on Kavanaugh threatened the integrity of another institution, the Supreme Court, while he continued his attacks on the FBI, the Department of Justice, and, his favorite target, the media. Notable this week were comparisons of the Kavanaugh proceedings to a storyline in “The Handmaid’s Tale.”

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Dresden, Germany 28sep18
  1. On Saturday, WAPO reported Trump’s advisers are counseling him not to fire deputy attorney general Rod Rosenstein, citing concern it would feed the Democratic narrative of a regime in chaos and hurt the GOP in the midterms.
  2. Aides say Trump will fire Sessions after the election anyway, so removing Rosenstein would just hurt Republicans. Aides also say Trump could revive the incident later if Mueller’s probe produces an unfavorable conclusion.
  3. The FBI Agents Association defended its members amid Trump’s vitriol, tweeting “Attacks on our character and demeaning comments” will not stop agents from dedicating “our lives to protecting the American people.”
  4. On Sunday, WAPO reported the fight for Kavanaugh risks exacerbating the GOP’s problem with women, as it reveals the party’s hyper-masculine mindset. All 11 Republicans on the Senate Judiciary Committee are white men.
  5. Trump is also pulling the party along with him in grievances about what he sees as injustice against accused men, setting the stage for white men dismissing women and attacking them with victim blame.
  6. Reportedly, Sen. Mitch McConnell called Trump last Friday to warn him that Trump’s tweets attacking Dr. Christine Blasey Ford were not helpfuland could cause new problems. Trump stopped attacking her over the weekend.
  7. On Saturday, the Trump regime announced a proposed rule which would make it harder to obtain visas or green cards for immigrants who have ever been dependent on public benefits, including Medicaid or food stamps.
  8. The rule would apply to immigrants already in the US legally as well as those seeking to enter. Disqualifying benefits would also include the Medicare Part D low-income subsidy and vouchers for Section 8 housing.
  9. The proposed rule is based on “public charge,” which was first implemented in the 1800s as a way to deny entry to immigrants who were likely to become a drain on the economy.
  10. The US already has a law that allows it to deny green cards to immigrants it believes could become “a public charge.” The rule would expand the definition to public benefit to programs like food stamps or Medicaid.
  11. Advocates say the new rule could cause about one-third of immigrants to drop or avoid signing up for benefits if enacted, leading to worse health outcomes and increased communicative diseases and poverty.
  12. On Monday, Trump declared himself an “absolute no” on the question of statehood for Puerto Rico, citing critics such as San Juan’s mayor Carmen Yulín Cruz as his rationale.

POLITIKS OF GRAFFITI 91: ENEMY OF THE STATE

Week 90 of this policymaker: Experts in authoritarianism advise to keep a list of things subtly changing around you, so you’ll remember.

August 4, 2018 https://medium.com/@Amy_Siskind/week-90-experts-in-authoritarianism-advise-to-keep-a-list-of-things-subtly-changing-around-you-so-9a61f5ac66b9

Artwork: Mueller’s investigation is tightening and 45 is going insane. By Jim Carrey.

This week Trump’s battle with the media escalated as he ramped up his “enemy of the state” rhetoric, and his staffers and supporters followed his lead. The United Nations Human Rights office issued a statement condemning Trump’s media attacks, which this week put a CNN reporter in danger at a Trump rally in Tampa, Florida.

As the first trial for Paul Manafort got underway, Trump called on Attorney General Jeff Sessions to end the Mueller probe. Even as his top national security officials took the unusual step of appearing together and briefing the press on the ongoing Russia cyber threat, and as social media companies and experts revealed ongoing attacks, Trump continued to label the Russian investigation as a hoax, and took no leadership steps to address the threat and protect our country.

As the Senate held hearings on Trump’s “zero tolerance” policy, stories continued to surface about the inhumane treatment of migrants. The Trump regime took the position that the reunification was complete — even as hundreds of families remain separated. Kleptocracy, incompetence, and corruption continued to plague the regime, but in the daily chaos, got little attention or coverage.

WAPO reported Trump has made 4,229 false or misleading claims in his first 558 days. His lies are escalating: now averaging 7.6 false or misleading claims per day, up from 4.9 claims per day in his first 100 days.

On July 5, Trump reached a new high of 79 false or misleading claims in a single day. June and July 2018 ranked first and second overall, with 532 and 446 claims — roughly 16 false or misleading claims per day.

By topic, Trump has told the most lies about: economic issues, trade deals or jobs (1,293), followed by immigration (538), trade (432), the Russia probe (378), and taxes (336).

On Sunday, Trump tweeted about a meeting with NYT publisher A.G. Sulzberger, saying they discussed “the vast amounts of Fake News being put out by the media & how that Fake News has morphed into phrase, ‘Enemy of the People.’”

On Sunday, in a statement, Sulzberger said he accepted Trump’s invitation for a July 20 meeting to raise his concerns about Trump’s “deeply troubling anti-press rhetoric,” saying, “the phrase ‘fake news’ is untrue and harmful.”

Sulzberger said he told Trump “his language was not just divisive but increasingly dangerous,” warning, “inflammatory language is contributing to a rise in threats against journalists and will lead to violence.”

Sulzberger said overseas, governments are using Trump’s words as justification to crack down on journalists, and warned that Trump’s attacks were “putting lives at risk” and “undermining” our democratic ideals.

On Sunday, in a series of tweets, Trump said, “I will not allow our great country to be sold out by anti-Trump haters in the dying newspaper industry,” including the “failing” New York Times and Washington Post.

Trump added, “the media-driven insane by their Trump Derangement Syndrome..truly puts the lives of many, not just journalists, at risk!” and called the media “very unpatriotic!

On Tuesday, Trump continued his battle with the media, tweeting, “The Fake News Media is going CRAZY,” accusing the media of being “unhinged,” and of ruining the lives of “innocent and decent people.”

Trump also tweeted that in 7 years, when he is out of office, media “ratings will dry up and they will be gone!” Trump continues to target CNN, NBC News, WAPO, and NYT as “fake news” for coverage he deems unfair.

On Tuesday, Trump renewed his government shutdown threat, tweeting, “I don’t care what the political ramifications are,” adding, “Border Security is National Security,” and saying a shutdown “is a very small price to pay.”

On Tuesday, Trump held a rally in Tampa, Florida. Ahead of the rally, Trump supporters crowded around CNN’s Jim Acosta, threateningly, giving him the middle finger, and leading chants of “CNN sucks.”

Trump repeated his anti-immigrant rhetoric, promising “tremendous border security that’s going to include the wall,” and claiming, without evidence, that Democrats were encouraging undocumented immigrants to vote.

Trump made a case for the need for voter IDs to prevent voter fraud, falsely claiming, “You know if you go out and you want to buy groceries you need a picture on a card. You need ID.”

After the rally, Acosta tweeted a video of Trump supporters attacking him, saying, “I’m very worried that the hostility whipped up by Trump and some in conservative media will result in somebody getting hurt.”

After the rally, Trump retweeted a video tweeted by Eric Trump, with the caption, “WATCH: Supporters of President Trump Chant ‘CNN Sucks’ During Jim Acosta’s Live Spot at Florida Rally.”

At the rally, there were sighting of “QAnon” related signs and t-shirts. QAnon is an internet conspiracy cult claiming to have access to top security clearance information about an alleged deep state plot against Trump.

On Thursday, at an event hosted by Axios, Ivanka said she has had “my fair share of reporting on me personally that I know not to be fully accurate,” but she said, she does “not consider the media the enemy of the people.”

Ivanka said she considered the low point of her tenure at the White House to be Trump’s “zero tolerance” policy, saying, “That was a low point for me…I am very vehemently against family separation.”

At the daily press briefing, CNN’s Jim Acosta, who had been harassed at a Trump rally, asked press secretary Sarah Sanders if she agreed with Ivanka that the press is not the enemy of the people. Sanders refused to answer.

Sanders also defended the mob scene in Tampa as “freedom of speech,” and said the media “continues to ratchet up the verbal assault against” Trump and the regime. After her non-answer, Acosta left the room.

On Thursday, the United Nations Human Rights office issued a statement condemning Trump’s attacks on the media, saying they violate basic norms of press freedom and human rights.

The statement cited Trump’s labeling of the media as the “enemy of the American people,” “very dishonest,” or “fake news,” and accusing the media of “distorting democracy” or spreading “conspiracy theories.”

On Sunday, in a series of tweets, Trump lashed out at Mueller, claiming without evidence or explanation that Mueller has conflicts of evidence, tweeting, “Is Robert Mueller ever going to release his conflicts of interest.”

Trump tweeted of Mueller, “we had a very nasty & contentious business relationship, I turned him down to head the FBI.” Rod Rosenstein has testified that he knows of no disqualifying conflict of interest with Mueller.

Trump also tweeted, “There is No Collusion,” falsely claiming the “Mueller Rigged Witch Hunt…was started by a fraudulent Dossier,” paid for by Hillary and the DNC, and, “Therefore, the Witch Hunt is an illegal Scam!”

Trump also falsely claimed the Mueller probe is a “Rigged Witch Hunt, headed now by 17…Angry Democrats,” and again falsely claimed the probe “was started by a fraudulent Dossier.”

On Sunday, Trump tweeted he is “willing to ‘shut down’ government” if the Democrats do not give him votes for his wall, adding, “Immigration based on MERIT! We need great people coming into our Country!”

On Monday, Attorney General Sessions announced the formation of a “religious liberty task force” within the Justice Department which he claimed will help protect religious communities from discrimination.

Sessions warned of a “dangerous movement” that he said was eroding protections for religious Americans, and falsely claimed “nuns were being forced to buy contraceptives” — a reference to Obama’s health care policy.

Civil rights groups and LGBTQ advocates condemned Sessions’ task force, saying it is not consistent with religious freedoms, and that the guidance would encourage private groups to discriminate with government funds.

A synagogue in Carmel, Indiana was vandalized with spray-painted Nazi images, including a swastika. The synagogue has not been attacked before.

The Boston Globe reported that someone called the police to report a black woman eating lunch in a campus common room “seemed out of place.” The woman is a rising sophomore at Smith College working on campus.

NYT reported Peter Wright, Trump’s nominee to head the EPA’s Superfund program, was a lawyer at Dow Chemical when the company submitted disputed data, misrepresented scientific evidence, and delayed cleanup.

On Monday, NYT reported the Trump regime is considering granting a $100 billion tax cut mainly to the wealthy, through the Treasury Department changing the definition of “cost” for calculating capital gains.

Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said in an interview at the Group of 20 summit that his department was studying such a move, bypassing Congress, if it can’t get done through the legislative process.

On Wednesday, the Trump regime took another step to hobble the Affordable Care Act, widening the availability of skimpy health plans designed for short-term use that do not cover pre-existing conditions.

The health insurance industry, hospitals, doctors, and patient advocacy groups warned that consumers with these plans would be stranded when they need care, and defections would drive up costs in the ACA marketplaces.

On Thursday, the Trump regime said it would freeze Obama-era fuel-efficiency requirements for cars and trucks, which were meant to improve public health and combat climate change, through the year 2026.

Trump’s plan would also revoke California’s legal waiver to set its own tailpipe restrictions, which the state has used to curb greenhouse-gas emissions, and restrict other states from following California’s lead.

Automakers had a mixed reaction to the move, but oil and gas interests cheered it. The plan is part of the Department of Transportation’s deregulatory efforts, arguing for affordability and safety.

On Sunday, Charles Koch expressed “regret” over his network’s past support for some Republican candidates who are not standing up to Trump’s policies, and threatened to hold them to account.

On Monday, the Kochs announced they would not support the Trump-backed Republican candidate to take on Sen. Heidi Heitkamp in North Dakota, warning that siding with Trump will carry a political cost with their network.

On Tuesday, Trump dismissed criticism by the Koch networks of his trade and immigration policies, tweeting they have “become a total joke in real Republican circles,” and “I don’t need their money or bad ideas.”

On Thursday, Republican National Committee Chairwoman Ronna Romney McDaniel warned GOP donors in a memo to steer clear of the Koch political network, escalating a fight between Trump’s allies and the Kochs.

On Monday, the Treasury Department predicted the U.S. government’s borrowing needs in the second half of this year will jump to $769 billion, the highest level since the 2008 financial crisis.

On Wednesday, Trump escalated his trade war with China, instructing U.S. trade representative to look into increasing tariffs on many Chinese imports from 10% to 25%.

On Friday, China announced it would retaliate by imposing $60 billion of tariffs on U.S. products if Trump follows through on his threats.

On Monday, two University of Virginia history professors, William Hitchcock and Melvyn Leffler, resigned in protest over the school’s decision to offer a paid senior fellowship to former Trump official Mark Short.

They claim Short attacked the free media and truth, backed rhetoric and policies that have empowered white supremacists, undermined the FBI and our intelligence agencies, and disenfranchised millions of voters.

On Monday, Trump tweeted, “Wow, highest Poll Numbers in the history of the Republican Party. That includes Honest Abe Lincoln and Ronald Reagan.” Politifact rated his claim as “false” using several measures.

On Monday, WAPO reported U.S. spy agencies see signs that North Korea is constructing new missiles at a factory that produced the country’s first intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs) capable of reaching the U.S.

The satellite images indicate work is underway at the Sanumdong factory, which produced two of North Korea’s ICBMs, including the first with a proven range that could allow it to strike the U.S. East Coast.

Although Trump tweeted North Korea was “no longer a Nuclear Threat” following his summit with Kim Jong Un, North Korea has made few tangible moves signaling an intention to disarm.

On Thursday, Trump thanked Kim Jong Un for returning the remains of 55 soldiers, tweeting, “I am not at all surprised that you took this kind action. Also, thank you for your nice letter — l look forward to seeing you soon!”

Remains of 55 were returned, while about 5,300 American war remains are still in North Korea. Defense Secretary Jim Mattis cautioned the remains could be non-U.S. soldiers: “We don’t know who’s in these boxes.”

Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney announced the city will end a major data-sharing contract with ICE, citing misuse of information, and ICE detaining undocumented immigrants who are not accused of any crime.

Guardian reported the Trump regime plans to rescind Obama-era work permits for spouses of holders of H-1B visas, effectively confining spouses, mostly women, to home and stripping their families of a second income.

On Monday, U.S. District Judge Dolly Gee in Los Angeles ordered the Trump regime to stop administering psychotropic medications to migrant children without first obtaining consent or a court order.

Judge Gee said the regime has been medicating children at a Shiloh Residential Treatment Center in Texas without consent. She ordered the children be moved from the facility, except those posing a “risk to harm” to themselves or others.

On Tuesday, at a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing, senior officials from Border Patrol, ICE, HHS, and the DOJ said they learned about Trump’s “zero tolerance” policy in April when Sessions publicly announced it.

Officials said because they did not get advance warning, they did not put protocols in place to eventually reunify families. They also did not challenge lawmakers’ assertions that the initiative was a failure.

Matthew Albence, the number two official at ICE, described family detention centers as “more like a summer camp,” saying migrants have food, water, and educational and recreational opportunities.

Cmdr. Jonathan White from the department of Health and Human Services said he warned his superiors that separating children from parents carried a “significant risk of harm” and could inflict “psychological injury.” He was assured the regime would not implement separation.

The acting head of Border Patrol, Carla Provost said, “The initiative was a prosecution initiative, and our focus was on the prosecution element only.” Several senators called for Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen to resign.

On Tuesday, Trump tweeted, “A highly respected Federal judge” said ““Trump Administration gets great credit” for reuniting illegal families.” About one-third of families separated under Trump’s policy remain apart.

On Wednesday, NYT reported the Trump regime is considering a second sharp reduction in the number of refugees admitted to the U.S., a program meant to offer protection to the world’s most vulnerable people.

Last year the regime set the cap at 45,000 — a historic low. This year, as Stephen Miller has installed allies in key positions, in one plan being discussed, no more than 25,000 refugees could be resettled.

HuffPost reported at a federal prison complex in Victorville, California, which staffers warned was not equipped to handle the influx from ICE, there have been infectious disease outbreaks and an attempted suicide.

The ACLU filed a lawsuit Tuesday over the “inhumane conditions” at Victorville, saying they violated the constitutional rights of immigrants detained there. There is one doctor for 4,300 inmates and detainees.

On Thursday, in a 2–1 decision, the U.S. appeals court struck down a key part of Trump’s contentious effort to crack down on “sanctuary cities,” saying an executive order threatening to cut funding was unconstitutional.

In a letter addressed to the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA), a group of U.S. historians demanded that the regulatory body stop ICE from erasing records of the agency’s treatment of immigrants.

Historians sent the letter July 25, after learning ICE had sought permission from NARA to begin destroying years’ worth of data, including information on sexual abuse, solitary confinement, and in-custody deaths.

On Wednesday, a bipartisan group of 14 senators sent a letter to Sessions, Nielsen, and HHS Secretary Alex Azar demanding information on the status of separated families, including those where the parents have been deported.

On Thursday, in a court filing, the DOJ said the ACLU, which represents plaintiffs in lawsuit over family separations, should “use their considerable resources and their network” to take the lead on finding deported parents.

The Trump regime also suggested that the ACLU should find out whether the deported parents want to be reconnected with their children, or whether they waive that option.

Politico reported that per a Trump regime official, an estimated three-quarters of deported parents who left the country alone left no record behind that they ever consented to leave their children in the U.S.

On Friday, Judge Dana Sabraw rejected the Trump regime’s request to make the ACLU primarily responsible for locating migrant parents who were deported, saying the government bears “100 percent” of the burden.

The judge also scolded the regime for moving so slowly to track down the deported parents, calling it “just unacceptable” that an estimate of only about 12 of close to 500 parents have been located.

Sabraw suggested the regime appoint a person to lead the reunification process, saying, “for every parent who is not located there will be a permanently orphaned child.” He will hold another hearing next week.

On Friday, a federal judge in Washington, D.C. ordered that the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program should be fully restored, and gave the Trump regime a 20-day deadline to do so.

Judge John Bates said the regime has failed to justify its proposal to end DACA. The Justice Department is expected to appeal. A case being tried in Texas is expected to be decided next week in agreement with the Trump regime.

California and New York courts have ruled the regime cannot end DACA, but only ordered the regime to continue renewing existing applications. Bates’ ruling goes further, ordering the program reopened in its entirety.

On Tuesday, a federal judge temporarily blocked public availability of blueprints that provide instructions for making guns using 3-D printers, hours before the documents were expected to be published online.

Hours before, Trump had tweeted about the 3-D plastic guns, “Already spoke to NRA, doesn’t seem to make much sense!” Sen. Chuck Schumer tweeted, “Your administration approved this…And to check with the NRA?”

The Trump regime had suddenly settled a 2013 case with Cody Wilson on June 29, allowing public availability of the instructions. Twenty-one attorneys general asked Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Sessions to withdraw from the settlement.

A CBS poll asking strong Trump supporters who they trust for accurate information found: 91% trust Trump, 63% trust friends and family, and just 11% trust the mainstream media.

The poll also found 70% of Republicans call the Russia investigation a “witch hunt,” while 77% of Democrats call it a “critical” matter of national security.

A billboard in a heavily Republican Grand Junction, Colorado replaced the “O” in the word “GOP” with a Soviet-era communism symbol. The resident behind it is upset with Trump’s actions on Russia, immigration, and tariffs.

On Sunday, Democratic Sen. Jeanne Shaheen told “Face the Nation” her office has been the subject of at least one phishing attack by Russians targeting email accounts and social media profiles.

Activist Emma Best published 11,000 WikiLeaks Twitter direct messages. The messages reveal WikiLeaks wanted the GOP to defeat Hillary Clinton, who was described in a message as a “well-connected, sadistic sociopath.”

On Tuesday, Facebook announced it had uncovered and removed “sophisticated” efforts, possibly linked to Russia, to manipulate U.S. politics by sowing discord, ahead of the upcoming midterm elections.

Facebook did not directly name Russia, but said 32 fake accounts on Facebook and Instagram were involved in “coordinated” and “inauthentic” political behavior. One page alone had close to 300,000 followers.

One page promoted “No Unite the Right 2” march, a planned counter demonstration, and another to amplify “Abolish ICE.” Facebook noted the efforts mirror Internet Research Agency moves before the 2016 election.

On Tuesday, at a cybersecurity summit in New York, Department of Homeland Security Secretary Nielsen issued her strongest warning to Russia, saying, “Mark my words: America will not tolerate this meddling.”

She warned that there is an “urgent, evolving crisis,” warning of “online” attacks, like a small bank in Blacksburg, Virginia which was a target of Russian hackers who stole $2.4 million over the course of two weekends.

On Wednesday, social media and technology experts testified before the Senate Intelligence Committee, saying Russia and other foreign actors have not slowed their efforts to spread misinformation and propaganda.

Central to this third hearing was Russia’s exploited tech companies’ hesitation to regulate what is posted on their platforms. Experts and senators said companies no longer have an excuse for not taking action.

Sen. Richard Burr, chair of the committee, said of Russian interference efforts: “Some feel that we as a society are sitting in a burning room, calmly drinking a cup of coffee, telling ourselves ‘this is fine.’ That’s not fine.”

On Wednesday, the Senate rejected a Democratic proposal to provide states with more election security funding ahead of the midterms, by a 50–47 vote. Sen. Bob Corker was the only Republican to vote in support.

BuzzFeed reported on a cash trail left by Maria Butina and Paul Erickson, the Republican consultant, at Wells Fargo Bank, whose anti-money laundering team started tracking their bank activity in early 2017 after an FBI referral.

Suspicious transactions include $89,000 passed between Erickson’s US accounts and Butina’s account at Russia’s Alfa Bank, a $45,000 payment to an undisclosed law firm, and various cash withdrawals.

WAPO reported in the weeks before the 2016 election, Butina socialized with Trump aide J.D. Gordon, who served as the campaign’s director of national security until August 2016, then joined Trump’s transition effort.

According to documents and testimony provided to the Senate Intelligence Committee, the two exchanged emails in September and October 2016, and Gordon invited Butina to a concert and his birthday party.

A Yahoo Finance/Survey Monkey poll found 11% of Republicans say it would be appropriate for Russia to intervene in U.S. midterms on behalf of Trump and Republicans, and 29% say it wouldn’t be a big deal.

Starting Sunday, Rudy Giuliani made a series of erratic TV appearance to push back on Michael Cohen’s assertion that Trump knew about the June 9 Trump Tower meeting. Giuliani said Cohen has “lied all his life.”

On Monday, appearing on “Fox & Friends,” Giuliani said he had been “looking in the federal code,” and “my client didn’t do it, and even if he did it, it’s not a crime,” adding, “collusion is not a crime.”

On Monday, Giuliani told CNN there was a “planning meeting” to prep Donald Jr. for June 9, which was attended by Kushner, Manafort, Rick Gates, who is cooperating, and others. Giuliani later reversed himself.

On Tuesday, Trump sided with Giuliani, tweeting, “collusion is not a crime,” and reasserting, “but that doesn’t matter because there was No Collusion (except by Crooked Hillary and the Democrats)!”

On Tuesday, Vanity Fair reported Trump thinks Giuliani is “saying too much.” Chief of Staff John Kelly wants to get rid of him, and reportedly White House counsel Don McGahn “hates Rudy with intensity of 1,000 burning suns.”

On Tuesday, the trial in federal court for Manafort in Alexandria on bank and tax fraud charges began. A jury of 6 women and 6 men were selected. Manafort’s attorneys are seeking to place blame with Gates.

On Wednesday, Trump called on Sessions to end the Mueller investigation, tweeting Sessions “should stop this Rigged Witch Hunt right now, before it continues to stain our country any further.”

Trump called the Mueller investigation a “terrible situation, and repeated his false claim, tweeting, “Mueller is totally conflicted, and his 17 Angry Democrats that are doing his dirty work are a disgrace to USA!”

When asked about Trump’s tweets to end the Mueller investigation in Wednesday’s press briefing, Sanders said, “It’s not an order, it’s the president’s opinion…[Trump] wants to see it come to an end.”

Trump’s attorneys also tried to downplay his tweets, with Giuliani saying Trump “carefully used the word, ‘should,’” and Jay Sekulow saying Trump “has issued no order or direction to the Department of Justice on this.”

Trump also tweeted that Manafort “worked for me for a very short time. Why didn’t government tell me that he was under investigation,” adding “These old charges have nothing to do with Collusion — a Hoax!”

Trump also compared Manafort’s treatment to that of Al Capone, tweeting, “who was treated worse, Alfonse Capone, legendary mob boss, killer…or Paul Manafort, political operative & Reagan/Dole darling.”

On Wednesday, WAPO reported in a letter sent Monday, Mueller renewed negotiations with Trump’s legal team about terms for an in-person interview with Trump, following an extended standoff since March.

Mueller reportedly said he is willing to accept some answers in written form, reducing the number of questions his investigators would ask Trump in an interview.

NYT reported Trump is eager to meet with investigators to clear himself of wrongdoing. Reportedly Trump believes he can convince Mueller’s team that their own inquiry is a “witch hunt” and end the inquiry.

Trump’s legal team were preparing to tell Mueller there would be no interview and risk a court fight over a subpoena that could drag through midterms, but Trump pushed them to continue negotiating.

According to NYT, the scope of the questioning includes whether Trump associates and Russia coordinated in election interference and whether Trump tried to obstruct the investigation.

On Thursday, Manafort’s bookkeeper, Heather Washkuhn, said his lavish lifestyle continued until 2015 when he ran out of cash, then he and Gates began trying to fudge numbers to secure loans.

Washkuhn testified she did not have access to all of Manafort’s transactions. She also did not have any records of the foreign accounts Manafort used to pay for clothes, cars, real estate and home remodeling.

Washkhun undercut Manafort’s defense that Gates was to blame, characterizing Manafort as a “very knowledgeable” client, and saying, “He was very detail-oriented. He approved every penny of everything we paid.”

On Friday, Cindy Laporta, one of Manafort’s accountants who was granted immunity, testified that in 2015 she went along with falsifying his tax records, not wanting to confront a longtime client.

Laporta said Gates told her Manafort could not afford to pay his taxes, and instructed her to misrepresent $900,000 in income as a business loan. She estimated she saved Manafort at least $400,000 in taxes.

Laporta testified she helped Manafort obtain millions of dollars of loans fraudulently, including listing a rental property as a second home, sending a forged loan-forgiveness letter, and lying about a large future payment.

On Thursday, a federal judge in Washington ruled Andrew Miller, a former assistant to Roger Stone, must testify before the special counsel’s grand jury on Russian interference in the 2016 election.

Miller worked for Stone during the 2016 presidential campaign, and is one of at least six of Stone’s associates to be called to testify in the Mueller probe. Stone has accused Mueller’s team of harassing his associates.

On Thursday, Reuters reported that according to Russian agencies citing senior lawmaker Konstantin Kosachov, Sen. Rand Paul will lead a U.S. delegation to Moscow and will meet Russian members of parliament on August 6.

On Thursday, top national security officials made a rare appearance in the White House briefing room to warn that Russia continues to target the U.S. election system, and vowed to combat interference.

No new details about attacks or policies were announced, but there was a show of unity of top officials, for the first time appearing together, including Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats, national security adviser John Bolton, Secretary Nielsen, FBI Director Christopher Wray, and NSA Director Paul Nakasone.

Although each security official acknowledged attacks by Russia and said their agency would take steps to counter, there is no leadership from the White House, and Bolton eliminated the top cybersecurity job in Week 79.

Also at the conference, Coats acknowledged two weeks after Helsinki, he still is “not in a position” to “fully understand” what occurred during that meeting, raising questions about why Trump is keeping him in the dark.

The joint appearance follows the first meeting of the National Security Council led by Trump on election security, last week. The meeting lasted less than an hour and resulted in no new orders.

On Thursday, a bipartisan group of senators introduced what Sen. Lindsey Graham called the “bill from hell” to punish Russia for election interference, and activities in Syria and Ukraine, by imposing new restrictions and sanctions.

The measure also expresses strong support for NATO, and would require two-thirds of the Senate to vote in order to leave the alliance. The measure would need to pass the House and Senate, and be signed by Trump.

On Thursday, NYT reported at his campaign rally in Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania, Trump made 15 inaccurate claims on things like highway spending, immigration, crowd size, and legislative accomplishments.

Trump also lied that U.S. Steel Corporation “is opening up seven plants” — they are not opening any. He again repeated false claims about NATO members being “delinquent” and that “funding was going down.”

Despite his press conference by his top security officials earlier in the day, Trump falsely claimed “Russia is very unhappy that Trump won,” and that diplomatic efforts with Putin “are being hindered by the Russian hoax.”

On Thursday, at a screening for Dinesh D’Souza’s new documentary, Donald Jr. compared the Nazi platform in the early 1930s to the DNC platform today, adding, “It’s the exact opposite of what you’ve been told.”

On Thursday, Jerry Falwell Jr. grouped Hitler as a “progressive elite,” tweeting, “the future will be progressive elites (… ⁦@HillaryClinton⁩, Hitler, Soros) v freedom loving average Americans!”

On Thursday, WSJ reported a major Trump donor, Franklin Haney, gave a $10 million contract to Cohen in early April, shortly before the April 9 raid, to help his efforts to complete a pair of nuclear reactors in Alabama.

Cohen was paid a monthly retainer in addition to the $10 million success fee. Authorities are investigating whether Cohen engaged in unregistered lobbying in his work for corporate clients, including AT&T and Novartis.

WAPO reported that room revenue at Trump International Hotel in Manhattan rose 13% in the first quarter of 2018, due to providing rooms for accompanying travelers of the Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia.

Four Democratic senators called for an investigation into tours on Air Force One, after BuzzFeed obtained an invitation revealing members of Trump’s Florida clubs were invited for tours last year.

On Friday, WSJ reported the Kushner family closed a deal to unload 666 Fifth Avenue, an investment made by Kushner at the top of the market in 2007, and which has been not been financeable for years.

Kushner Cos. will lease the property to Brookfield Asset Management for 99 years, paid upfront, in an amount that will allow the Kushner family to pay off the $1.1 billion of debt on the building and buy out its partner.

In Week 87 it was noted that a unit of Brookfield is awaiting approval from the Trump’s Committee on Foreign Investment for its acquisition of the nuclear-power company Westinghouse Electric.

Maine Secretary of State Matthew Dunlap, a Democrat who served on Trump’s voter fraud commission, in a lawsuit won access to and then published a trove of documents on Friday revealing no signs of voter fraud.

Dunlap said Trump’s repeated claims that millions of people voted illegally were false. In a letter Dunlap wrote, “these documents show that there was…a pre-ordained outcome…without any evidence to back it up.”

Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said he would not delay hearings for Trump’s Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh to wait for records from Kavanaugh’s time as as staff secretary in the Bush White House from 2003–2006.

On Thursday, the National Archives warned that it would not be able to fulfill the GOP’s request for documents on Kavanaugh until late October. McConnell’s unwillingness to wait on documents breaks longtime norms.

Poynter Institute reported the Newseum is selling Trump “Make America Great Again” hats and t-shirts that say “You are very fake news,” on their website.

On Friday, just before midnight, Trump tweeted, “Lebron James was just interviewed by the dumbest man on television, Don Lemon. He made Lebron look smart, which isn’t easy to do.” Lemon’s show is on CNN.

Journalist Dan Rather blasted Trump for his “racist” criticism of James, calling it a “disgrace.” Trump has continually attacked black athletes, and made disparaging comments about the intelligence of black Americans.

The Guardian reported U.S. counter-intelligence investigators discovered a suspected Russian spy had been working in the U.S. embassy in Moscow for more than a decade, undetected.

In her role, the Russian national had access to the agency’s intranet and email systems, which gave her a window into highly confidential material including the schedules of the president and vice-president.

The U.S. Department of State’s Regional Security Office sounded the alarm in January 2017, but Secret Service let her continue in her post for months, possibly to avoid potential embarrassment.

WAPO reported she worked as a local investigator in the U.S. Secret Service office at the embassy since 2001. She was fired in August 2017 after investigators surveilled her meetings and communications with FSB agents.

Protesters remained outside the White House for a third straight week, since Trump’s Helsinki summit with Putin. One night, protesters held giant letters spelling “TREASON” and other signs calling Trump a traitor.

The day-to-day rallies have been dubbed, “Kremlin Annex,”and have morphed into a mix of demonstrations, roasts and dance parties. Organizers plan to keep protesting until Trump is out of office.

POLITIKS OF GRAFFITI 90: TRULY ORWELLIAN

George Orwell’s 1984: “The party told you to reject the evidence of your eyes and ears. It was their final, most essential command.”

and 45 this week: “Just remember, what you’re seeing and what you’re reading is not what’s happening,”

Week 89 of this: Experts in authoritarianism advise to keep a list of things subtly changing around you, so you’ll remember.

July 28, 2018 https://medium.com/@Amy_Siskind/week-89-experts-in-authoritarianism-advise-to-keep-a-list-of-things-subtly-changing-around-you-so-f710c1092ba

These are all of the images that passed through my feeds this week. The first one is by Jim Carrey. The second one is by Oddo Personnosrep from London, England.

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This week there were dramatic developments in several areas which could be perilous trouble for Trump: a federal judge ruled an emoluments clauses lawsuit can proceed; Michael Cohen asserted Trump knew about, and approved, the June 9 Trump Tower meeting with Russians to get dirt on Hillary; Trump’s decades-long bookkeeper was subpoenaed to testify in the Southern District; leaked tapes revealed Trump knew about the payments to silence former Playboy model Karen McDougal just before the election — all as the trial of Trump’s former campaign manager, Paul Manafort, is set to kick off Tuesday.

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Seeking to counter these closing walls, Trump continued to promote his alternative version of the truth, telling a crowd in Kansas City, “Just remember, what you’re seeing and what you’re reading is not what’s happening,” and pushing a new storyline that Putin wants to help Democrats win the midterms. Trump reportedly is living in his own reality as well, admonishing staffers that only Fox should be on televisions, and retaliating against those who are critical of him, including exploring revoking security clearances and banning a reporter from a Rose Garden press briefing.

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As a court deadline for reuniting migrant families arrived on Friday, 711 out of 2,551 children ages 5 to 17, and 46 children of 103 children under 5 have yet to be reunited with their parents, while the Trump regime claimed their work is done.

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  1. On Saturday, Trump accused the Mueller probe of trying to hurt Republicans in the midterms, tweeting “the Rigged Witch Hunt…seems intent on damaging the Republican Party’s chances in the November Election.”
  2. Trump also tweeted, “No Collusion, No Obstruction,” adding, “13 Angry Democrats…want this Witch Hunt to drag out to the November Election,” saying the GOP needs to “get smart fast and expose what they are doing!
  3. On Sunday, Rep. Trey Gowdy told “Fox News Sunday” that “It can be proven…that Russia is not our friend and they tried to attack us,” adding Trump regime members should consider quitting over Russia.
  4. On Sunday, Sen. Marco Rubio said he wants a vote on the bipartisan DETER Act in which the DNI would be required to conclude if any foreign nations interfered in elections, and if so, sanctions would be imposed.
  5. On Saturday, the Justice Department released a 412 page redacted copy of the FISA application seeking a warrant against Carter Page, along with three renewals, to news organizations that had filed FOIA lawsuits.
  6. The application says Page was “the subject of targeted recruitment by the Russian government” to “undermine and influence the outcome of the 2016 U.S. presidential election in violation of U.S. criminal law.”
  7. The application also revealed that Page “has been collaborating and conspiring with the Russian government,” and efforts are being “coordinated with Page and perhaps other individuals associated with” Trump’s campaign.
  8. On Sunday, Page told “State of the Union” the FISA warrant accusations are “so ridiculous,” “misleading,” and “a complete joke.” Page said “I sat in on some meetings, but to call me an adviser I think is way over the top.”
  9. On Sunday, in a series of tweets, Trump claimed, without evidence, to be vindicated, tweeting that the warrants are “ridiculously heavily redacted.”
  10. Trump also tweeted there is “little doubt that the Department of “Justice” and FBI misled the courts” — putting the word Justice in quotes. Trump called it a “Witch Hunt Rigged, a Scam!”
  11. Trump tweeted, without evidence, his campaign “was illegally being spied upon (surveillance) for the political gain of Crooked Hillary Clinton and the DNC,” adding, “Republicans must get tough now. An illegal Scam!”
  12. Trump also quoted Fox News’ Pete Hegseth and Andrew McCarthy, tweeting, “This is so bad that they should be looking at the judges who signed off on this,” and, “Page was just the foot to surveil…ILLEGAL!”
  13. Lawfare reported the four judges who signed off on the FISA warrants were nominated by Republican presidents, and then and appointed to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court by a conservative.
  14. Lawfare also reported there are “long-term, programmatic consequenceslong after we’re finished” with Trump — of allowing a FOIA request to apply to a highly-confidential FISA warrant.
  15. The redacted warrant also dispels a claim by Rep. Devin Nunes and Trump that there was not proper disclosure that dossier author Christopher Steele was paid by Democrats: not only is this in a footnote, but also more than a full page in the applications.
  16. Later Sunday, Trump tweeted “Obama knew about Russia before the Election. Why didn’t he do something about it?” Trump answered himself, tweeting, “Because it is all a big hoax, that’s why.”
  17. On Sunday, Trump also tweeted, “I had a GREAT meeting with Putin,” blaming the “Fake News” for using every bit of their energy to “disparage it,” and adding, “so bad for our country!”
  18. AP reported Trump’s Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh suggested at a roundtable discussion in 1999 that the 8–0 ruling in 1974 that forced Nixon to turn over the Watergate tapes may have been wrongly decided.
  19. WAPO reported documents released by the Interior Department under the FOIA on July 16, and retracted a day later reveal in Secretary Ryan Zinke’s quest to shrink national monuments last year, important evidence was dismissed.
  20. Zinke and aides ignored information that public sites boosted tourism and spurred archaeological discoveries, focusing instead on logging, ranching, and energy development that would be unlocked.
  21. On Tuesday, federal labor mediators advised the Education Department that it had engaged in “bad-faith bargaining” when it implemented a contract this year that gutted compensation and benefits provisions.
  22. The department also limited its 3,900 employees’ ability to carry out union duties during the work day. Mediators said curtailing workers’ protections and access to union representation is in violation of federal law.
  23. On Wednesday, Education Department Secretary Betsy DeVos proposed ending Obama-era policies which eased access to loan forgiveness for students defrauded by for-profit colleges.
  24. The Trump regime’s new rules would require borrowers to prove they have fallen into deep financial distress to file for debt relief, or to prove the higher education institutions they attended had intentionally misled them.
  25. On Thursday, a federal judge in Manhattan ruled that the largest of the six lawsuits against the Census Bureau and the Commerce Department over the new citizenship question on the 2020 census can move forward.
  26. Huffpost reported, based on applications obtained through a FOIA request, the federal government has issued more than three dozen permits allowing hunters to import lion trophies from Africa since 2016.
  27. WAPO reported Trump has yet to nominate a science adviser to lead the Office of Science and Technology. Every administration since Eisenhower has named a science adviser by their first October, except Trump.
  28. WAPO reported documents obtained by Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility (PEER) show the EPA worked to “discredit employees who sounded the alarm as they left the agency” in 2017.
  29. A report by the nonpartisan Brennan Center found nine states with a history of racial discrimination are aggressively removing voters from their rolls, following the Supreme Court’s decision for Ohio purging in Week 87.
  30. Fox News reported that several Republican candidates who are Nazis and anti-Semites have won their primaries, creating a headache for the Republican Party.
  31. On Monday, hundreds of protestors, including many women dressed in the red cloaks and white bonnets of “The Handmaid’s Tale,” protested Vice President Pence during his visit to Philadelphia.
  32. On Thursday, WKXW-FM hosts Dennis Malloy and Judi Franco in New Jersey were kicked off the air after calling Gurbir Grewal, the nation’s first Sikh attorney general, “turban man.”
  33. On Tuesday, Rep. Maxine Waters’ office in Los Angeles was evacuated after receiving a package labeled “anthrax.” The item was determined not be a danger.
  34. On Tuesday, while addressing the conservative high school students at Turning Point USA High School Leadership Summit, Attorney General Jeff Sessions briefly joined students in chants by students of “Lock her up!
  35. On Thursday, Sessions said “I perhaps should’ve taken a moment to advise them of the fact you’re presumed innocent until a case is made.” Chants of “Lock her up!” are still popular at Trump rallies and conservative events.
  36. Guardian reported Trump’s “zero-tolerance” policy has turned thewindowless basement beneath the federal courthouse in San Diego into a pop-up “dungeon” like meeting place for lawyers and migrant clients.
  37. Lawyers have three hours to introduce themselves, discuss why their clients crossed the border, and to explain the intricacies of plea deals and misdemeanors, before the clients are herded into court for a mass hearing.
  38. On Monday, in a court filing, the Trump regime said 463 migrant parents separated from their children have already been deported, and said that number is still “under review,” meaning the number could be higher.
  39. The regime has reunited 879 parents with their children out of 2,551 as of Monday, with the deadline for reunifying all by Thursday looming. The judge temporarily suspended deportations of families that have been reunited.
  40. Texas Tribune reported in court filings, hundreds of migrants describe inhumane conditions in federal custody including cramped, cold conditions, and tearful separations of children and mothers.
  41. Migrants also described rotten sandwich meat turned green or black, drinking water that smells like chlorine, and being told by border agents, “they don’t want stupid people like me here bothering their country.”
  42. On Tuesday, the Justice Department instructed U.S. attorneys offices in an agency-wide email not to use the term “undocumented” immigrants and instead refer to someone illegally in the U.S. as “an illegal alien.”
  43. In 2013, The Associated Press Stylebook changed its terminology to not describe a person as illegal, only actions. The DOJ said the goal is “to clear up some confusion and to be consistent in the way we draft our releases.”
  44. The Nation reported a 6-year-old girl from Guatemala separated from her mother under Trump’s “zero-tolerance” policy was sexually abused while at an Arizona detention facility run by Southwest Key Programs.
  45. The girl was forced to sign a statement confirming that she understood it was her responsibility to stay away from her abuser, and was instructed to “maintain my distance from the other youth involved.”
  46. On Wednesday, PBS reported in 100 pages of testimony provided in court,migrant parents they were pressured by immigration officials to sign forms waiving their reunification rights in a “coercive and misleading manner.”
  47. On Thursday, the Trump regime said in a court filing they had reunited1,442 families with children ages 5 to 17, and said an additional 378 children have already been released under “appropriate circumstances.”
  48. Of the 711 still in government custody, the regime maintains that it could not or should not have reunited all of those children because their parents were deported, or declined to be reunified or have criminal histories.
  49. On Thursday, BuzzFeed reported 123 asylum-seekers being held at a federal prison in Sheridan, Oregon, many of whom are Sikh and Hindu,are being denied religious items and time and space for prayers.
  50. On Friday, NYT reported on children left behind after parents were misled and deported. One father from Guatemala said, “the official told me, ‘Sign here, and you will be deported together.’” He was deported alone.
  51. Of the 711 children still in custody, 431 parents were deported; 120 have parents who waived the right to reunification; 79 have a parent here who has not been found; 94 have a parent whose location is under “review;” 67 have a parent who raised a “red flag.”
  52. The Trump regime claimed it had met the San Diego court’s deadline, saying the 711 remaining children are not “eligible” to be given back.
  53. The Trump regime continues to face immigration lawsuits across the country, including a case in Seattle filed by 17 states on family separations and how the government handles claims for asylum for children in detention.
  54. A federal judge in Los Angeles she would appoint an independent monitor to evaluate conditions for migrant children housed in border processing centers. Advocates say children are being medicated for convenience.
  55. WAPO reported according to her testimony to the Senate in April, Maria Butina received financial support from Russian billionaire Konstantin Nikolaev for a pro gun rights group in Russia from 2012–2014.
  56. Nikolaev’s fortune came from port and railroad investments in Russia. He is on the board of American Ethane, a Houston company showcased by Trump at an event in China last year. He claims he has not met Trump.
  57. Nikolaev’s son Andrey, who is studying in the U.S., volunteered for Trump’s 2016 campaign. Nikolaev was spotted at the Trump Hotel DCduring Trump’s inauguration in January 2017.
  58. Nikolaev’s net worth matches the description in the court filings last week for the billionaire “funder” of Butina’s activities — a “known Russian businessman with deep ties to the Russian Presidential Administration.”
  59. Nikolaev has also invested in Silicon Valley companies, including Grabr. Alexey Repik, a Russian pharmaceutical executive who attended Trump’s inauguration and had access to exclusive events, is also a Grabr investor.
  60. On Sunday, Reuters reported that in April 2015, Butina traveled to the U.S. with Alexander Torshin, then the Russian Central Bank deputy governor,for separate meetings with Stanley Fischer and Nathan Sheets.
  61. Fischer was then the Federal Reserve vice chairman, and Sheets a Treasury undersecretary. The meetings were arranged by the Center for the National Interest, a D.C. think tank supportive of improving U.S.-Russia relations.
  62. On Thursday, ABC News reported that one of the “friendship and dialogue dinners” with influential Americans that Butina held was in February 2017 at Bistro Bis with Rep. Dana Rohrabacher.
  63. Rohrabacher also attended a meeting Butina helped arrange two years earlier in St. Petersburg, Russia which also included her mentor, Kremlin-connected banker Torshin.
  64. On Thursday, Russia’s Foreign Ministry demanded Butina be released, saying, “Her arrest is motivated solely by the motives of the U.S. domestic and foreign policy, and therefore she is a political prisoner.”
  65. On Monday, in a series of tweets, Trump called for the end of the Mueller probe, falsely claiming the “Fake Dirty Dossier” was “responsible for starting the totally conflicted and discredited Mueller Witch Hunt!”
  66. Trump also cited Tom Fitton on “Fox & Friends,” tweeting “misconduct by the FBI and the Justice Department” using the Dossier to get a search warrant on Page was “a fraud and a hoax designed to target Trump…
  67. On Monday, WSJ reported at a briefing, the Department of Homeland Security for the first time publicly revealed that last year Russian hackers got inside the control rooms of U.S. electric utilities where they could have caused blackouts.
  68. DHS said some companies still may not know they have been compromised, because the attackers used credentials of actual employees to get inside utility networks. Their goal is to be disguised as employees.
  69. Hackers stole confidential information, such as how utility networks are configured, what equipment was in use, and how it was controlled. They familiarized themselves with how the facilities were supposed to work.
  70. On Tuesday, offering no evidence, Trump tweeted, “I’m very concerned that Russia will be fighting very hard to have an impact on the upcoming Election,” adding “they will be pushing very hard for the Democrats.”
  71. Putin acknowledged that he wanted Trump to win at the Helsinki summit joint news conference. The Atlantic noted the White House transcriptinitially did not include this question in their transcript.
  72. The discrepancy involved a question from a Reuters reporter, “Did you want President Trump to win the election and did you direct any of your officials to help him do that?” Putin says, “Yes, I did. Yes, I did.”
  73. After the “Rachel Maddow Show” and The Post also raised the issue of the discrepancy in the transcript, the White House ultimately updated it to include the missing question on Thursday.
  74. On Thursday, Daily Beast reported Russia’s GRU intelligence agency behind the 2016 election hacking targeted Sen. Claire McCaskill, a vulnerable Democrat, as she began her 2018 re-election campaign.
  75. McCaskill has been highly critical of Russia. In August 2017, around the time of the attempted hack, Trump traveled to Missouri and attacked McCaskill, telling the crowd to “vote her out of office.”
  76. McCaskill later released a statement: “While this attack was not successful, it is outrageous that they think they can get away with this. I will not be intimidated…Putin is a thug and a bully.”
  77. On Monday, press secretary Sarah Sanders announced Trump is “looking to take away” security clearances for six former senior national security and intelligence officials who were critical of him over his Helsinki summit.
  78. The officials, who served under W. Bush and Obama, include former CIA directors John Brennan and Michael Hayden, former FBI director James Comey, former NSA Susan Rice, former DNI James Clapper, and former FBI deputy director Andrew McCabe.
  79. Comey and McCabe already lost security clearance when they were fired. Experts said while Trump probably does have the authority to unilaterally suspend or terminate a security clearance, no president has ever done so.
  80. On Wednesday, the White House banned CNN reporter Kaitlan Collins from attending a press event with Trump in the Rose Garden. Sanders claimed Collins “shouted questions and refused to leave.”
  81. Hours earlier, Collins peppered Trump with questions about Michael Cohen and the Helsinki meeting with Putin, while Trump and European Commission President Jean-Claude sat for pictures, typical for pool reporters.
  82. CNN said in a statement, “This decision to bar a member of the press is retaliatory in nature and not indicative of an open and free press. We demand better.”
  83. The President of Fox News said in a statement, “We stand in strong solidarity with CNN for the right to full access for our journalists as part of a free and unfettered press.”
  84. White House Correspondents’ Association President said, “This type of retaliation is wholly inappropriate, wrong-headed, and weak. It cannot stand.” Reporters ask questions to hold people in power “accountable.”
  85. On Monday, U.S. District Judge T.S. Ellis delayed the start of Paul Manafort’s case to July 31. Ellis will begin meeting jurors this week, as scheduled. The jury will consist of 16 people.
  86. The judge also granted immunity for the five witnesses requested by Mueller: James Brennan, Donna Duggan, Conor O’Brien, Cindy Laporta, and Dennis Raico. Manafort appeared in court wearing a green jumpsuit.
  87. Two of the witnesses, Brennan and Raico, worked at the The Federal Savings Bank in Chicago, the bank led by Stephen Calk which gave Manafort a $16 million loan, a significant portion of the bank’s capital.
  88. Mueller’s team asserts Calk knew Manafort submitted a fraudulent loan application but approved it anyway because he wanted to be appointed by Trump as Secretary of the Army.
  89. On Monday, in a court filing, U.S. prosecutors were given access to 12 audio recordings seized at the April Cohen raid. According to the retired judge Barbara Jones, “the parties” no longer object to the government listening.
  90. According to sources, Trump’s legal team had originally asserted privilege, but later dropped their claim. Cohen attorney Lanny Davis tweeted, “The tapes will speak for themselves — spin can’t change facts.”
  91. Vanity Fair reported according to Cohen allies, it’s not the recordings that are valuable, but the backstories. Sources say Cohen has discussed the content of the June 9 meeting at Trump Tower.
  92. Sources also say Rudy Giuliani, who had claimed the tapes were “exculpatory,” may have waived privilege to undercut Cohen, who could have potentially used the tapes as a bargaining chip to cut a deal with prosecutors.
  93. On Tuesday, Cohen’s attorney Davis gave CNN a copy of a recording of Cohen and Trump discussing how they would buy the rights to Karen McDougal’s story about an alleged affair Trump had with her years earlier.
  94. The recording reveals Trump had contemporaneous knowledge of a proposal to buy the rights to the story. Cohen told Trump about his plans to set up a company and finance the purchase of the rights from AMI.
  95. On Wednesday, WAPO reported the release came as a surprise to prosecutors handling the Cohen case. Former prosecutors found it off that someone angling for a plea deal would make potential evidence public.
  96. Inside the White House, Trump reportedly raged about the release. Wednesday morning, Trump tweeted, “What kind of lawyer would tape a client? So sad!” His surrogates have attacked Cohen’s reputation.
  97. Sources say the government seized more than 100 recordings that Cohen made of his conversations on his iPhone with people discussing matters that could relate to Trump and his businesses, and with Trump talking.
  98. On Wednesday, WSJ reported federal investigators are examining the years-long dealings of Cohen and AMI. The DOJ is investigating whether AMI at times acted like an extension of Mr. Trump and his campaign.
  99. Prosecutors subpoenaed AMI on the same day in early April that the FBI raided Cohen. Investigators subpoenaed AMI chairman and CEO David Pecker separately, and delivered a subpoena to AMI for information on the payment to McDougal.
  100. On Monday, Politico reported Trump advisers have quietly begun planning for when Sanders departs. Bill Shine has been asking around for recommendations, and a short-list of replacements has already emerged.
  101. On Tuesday, Ivanka announced she is shutting down her fashion brand, a year after stepping away from leading the business, claiming she wanted to avoid the appearance of profiting off her father’s presidency.
  102. Ivanka’s brand had faced a consumer backlash, and retailers including Marshall’s, Nordstrom, T.J. Maxx, and Hudson’s Bay Company had stopped selling her products. Trump fans bought her products however.
  103. Ivanka was also criticized amid Trump’s America first mantra for her products being manufactured in Bangladesh, Indonesia, and China, where low-wage laborers have limited ability to advocate for themselves.
  104. On Thursday, Axios reported Ivanka and Kushner plan to stay at the White House for the long-term. They have gained power, having eliminated their adversaries including Steve Bannon and Rex Tillerson, and John Kelly is sidelined.
  105. Trump told CNBC that stock market gains since the election give him the opportunity to fight trade wars, saying, “This is the time. You know the expression we’re playing with the bank’s money.”
  106. Trump also said, “I would have a higher stock market right now. … It could be 80 percent if I didn’t want to do this.” Market gains have slowed with Trump’s tariffs, with the benchmark index up just 4.9% in 2018.
  107. On Tuesday, Harley Davidson announced Trump’s tariffs will cost the company $50 million in profit this year, and an addition $100 million in 2019 — wiping out almost all the company’s 2019 projected profits.
  108. On Tuesday, Whirlpool’s stock plunged 14.5%, the biggest loss since 1987, as Trump’s tariffs caused the prices of steel and aluminum used in the manufacture of the company’s products to substantially rise.
  109. On Tuesday, at a Veterans of Foreign Wars convention in Kansas City,Trump told farmers caught in his escalating trade war to be “a little patient” and they would be “the biggest beneficiaries” of his policies.
  110. Trump told the crowd of 4,000, “stick with us,” adding, “don’t believe the crap you see from these people, the fake news.” Some veterans in the crowd then pointed, booed and hissed at journalists at the event.
  111. Trump also told the crowd, “Just remember, what you’re seeing and what you’re reading is not what’s happening,” invoking comparison on social media to George Orwell’s book, “1984.”
  112. Trump’s heavily partisan remarks were unusual for an address to the nonpartisan VFW. After the event, the national headquarters for the VFW issued a statement of support for the media, and condemning the boos.
  113. On Wednesday, the Trump’s regime announced $12 billion in emergency aid to farmers caught in Trump’s trade war. The aid is designed to help farmers facing tariffs in China, Mexico, and other countries retaliating.
  114. The regime will largely rely on a 1933 program called the Commodity Credit Corporation, a division of the Agriculture Department created during the Great Depression to reimburse farmers for lost business.
  115. On Wednesday, in a series of tweets, Trump attacked critics of his tariffs, tweeting, “every time I see a weak politician asking to stop Trade talks or the use of Tariffs…I wonder, what can they be thinking?”
  116. Trump also tweeted, “Are we just going to continue and let our farmers and country get ripped off?” saying, “negotiations are going really well, be cool,” and “China is targeting our farmers” and “being vicious.”
  117. On Wednesday, automakers Ford, General Motors, and Fiat Chrysler scaled back their 2018 earnings due to rising prices for raw materials. GM stock fell 8% and Fiat Chrysler 16% intraday — the worst plunge in years.
  118. On Wednesday, Reuters reported the European Union is readying a package of tariffs on $20 billion of U.S. goods if Trump imposes trade levies on imported cars, as threatened.
  119. On Wednesday, after a meeting with European Commission President Junckner and Trump backing off his EU tariff threat, and declared “very big day for free and fair trade,” despite the fact no deal was agreed to.
  120. NYT reported that Trump was upset when Melania’s television aboard Air Force One was tuned to CNN. He raged at this stuff for violating a rule that the White House entourage should watch Fox.
  121. Trump is increasingly living in a world of select information, abetted by aides who insulate him from the outside world, and he bends the truth to his own narrative. For now, his approval with Republicans remains high.
  122. Axios reported Trump has been frustrated and has complained that some of his recent TV appearances have not had the production values of the prime time TV shows he watches daily. Bill Shine will help.
  123. On Thursday, Facebook’s market value fell by $119 billion or 19%, thelargest one-day loss in market value by any company in U.S. stock market history, after releasing a disastrous quarterly report.
  124. On Tuesday, a Quinnipiac poll showed Trump’s approval dropped from 38 approve, 58 disapprove in July 24, compared to 43 approve, 52 disapprove on June 20. Just 31% of women approve of Trump (64% disapprove).
  125. American voters believe 51–35 percent “that the Russian government has compromising information” on Trump, and 68% are “very concerned” or “somewhat concerned” about Trump’s relationship with Russia.
  126. On Wednesday, a NBC News/Marist poll found Trump’s approval sagging in three Midwest states: Michigan 36 approve/54 disapprove; Minnesota 38/51: and Wisconsin 36/52.
  127. Also in those states, the majority do not believe Trump deserves to be re-elected versus try someone new: Michigan 28/62; Minnesota 38/60; Wisconsin 31/63.
  128. On Wednesday, a federal judge in Maryland said he will allow plaintiffs to proceed with their case, which says Trump has violated the emoluments clauses, little-used anti-corruption clauses in the Constitution.
  129. The marks the first time in U.S. history that a federal judge has interpreted those constitutional provisions and applied their restrictions to a sitting president.
  130. The opinion says the Constitution’s ban on emoluments could cover any business transactions with foreign governments where Trump derived a “profit, gain or advantage.” Trump has not divested of his business empire.
  131. On Wednesday, Reps. Mark Meadows and Jim Jordan, two top Trump-allies in the House, filed articles of impeachment to oust Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, the overseer of the Special Counsel investigation.
  132. Meadows however sidestepped a procedural move that could have forced the issue to a vote as the House prepared to leave for a five-week summer recess, and will not return until September.
  133. On Thursday, Speaker Paul Ryan firmly rejected the effort to impeach Rosenstein. Later, conservatives said Ryan agreed to give the DOJ “one last chance” in August to turn over the documents lawmakers have subpoenaed.
  134. On Thursday, NYT reported Mueller’s team is examining Trump’s tweets and negative comments about Sessions and Comey as part of a wide-ranging inquiry into possible obstruction of justice.
  135. Mueller’s team has told Mr. Trump’s lawyers they are examining the tweets under a section “Tampering With a Witness, Victim, or an Informant,” suggesting they may be investigating Trump for witness tampering.
  136. Investigators want to interview Trump about tweets he wrote about Sessions and Comey, and why he has continued to publicly criticize Comey and McCabe, another possible witness against Trump.
  137. On Thursday, WSJ reported Allen Weisselberg, a longtime bookkeeper for Trump, has been subpoenaed to testify as a witness before a federal grand jury in the criminal probe Cohen. It is not known if he has appeared yet.
  138. Weisselberg, has served as executive vice president and chief financial officer at the Trump Organization for decades, and has been described as “the most senior person in the organization that’s not a Trump.”
  139. Weisselberg is prized by Trump for his loyalty. He worked for Trump’s father, Fred’s, real-estate firm in the 1980s. For years, at least through the financial crisis, Weisselberg prepared Trump’s tax returns.
  140. He has been linked to the payments made to Stephanie Clifford and McDougal, and is mentioned in the recording released by Cohen this week, “I’ve spoken with Allen Weisselberg about how to set the whole thing up.”
  141. On Sunday, WAPO reported that since Kim Jong Un’s summit with Trump, North Koreans have canceled follow-up meetings, demanded more money, and failed to maintain basic communications with the U.S.
  142. Even as Trump told the media last week, “Discussions are ongoing and they’re going very well,” North Korea maintains a testing facility Trump said would be destroyed, and is hiding key parts of its nuclear program.
  143. Trump has vented his frustration to staffers over lack of progress, as North Korea fully engages with South Korea and China. Trump said Russia would help, but UN ambassador Nikki Haley said Russia is abetting illegal smuggling.
  144. On Sunday night, Trump tweeted there would be “consequences” if Iranian President Hassan Rouhani continues threatening America: “NEVER, EVER THREATEN THE UNITED STATES AGAIN OR YOU WILL SUFFER CONSEQUENCES THE LIKES OF WHICH FEW THROUGHOUT HISTORY HAVE EVER SUFFERED BEFORE.”
  145. Trump added, “WE ARE NO LONGER A COUNTRY THAT WILL STAND FOR YOUR DEMENTED WORDS OF VIOLENCE & DEATH. BE CAUTIOUS!” The threat was similar to those made to Kim Jong Un.
  146. On Monday, Bolton doubled-down on Trump’s threat in a statement to reporters, saying he spoke to Trump and “if Iran does anything at all to the negative, they will pay a price like few countries have ever paid before.
  147. On Tuesday, Reuters reported the Kremlin was reticent on the idea of a second summit in Washington D.C. Kremlin aide Yuri Ushakov suggested the two could possibly meet at the G20 in Argentina in late November.
  148. On Tuesday, CNN reported the White House has suspended the practice of publishing public summaries, known as “readouts,” of Trump’s phone calls with world leaders, breaking a long-time precedent of both parties.
  149. Trump has had at least two calls with foreign leaders in the last two weeks, including Turkish President Erdogan and Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu. The calls were reported first by foreign media.
  150. On Wednesday, Bolton announced that Trump will postpone the second summit with Putin until next year, saying Trump believes the second meeting “should take place after the Russia witch hunt is over.”
  151. Republican leaders Speaker Ryan and Majority Leader Mitch McConnell had said Putin would not be welcome for meetings on Capitol Hill, which customarily occur when a foreign head of state visits Washington.
  152. On Friday, Putin said he is ready to go to Washington D.C., and for Trump to come to Moscow, saying, “He has this invitation already and I told him about it,” adding but there “has to be necessary conditions.”
  153. It is not clear when Putin first invited Trump to Moscow — details from their meeting remain unknown. On Friday, Sanders said Trump is open to visiting Russia if Putin extends a formal invitation.
  154. On Wednesday, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo testified before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee on Trump’s meetings with Putin and Kim Jong Un. Pompeo was defiant, sparring with senators from both sides.
  155. Ahead of his testimony, knowing Pompeo would be grilled on Crimea, the State Department issued a “declaration” stating the U.S. rejects Russia’s annexation of Crimea and calling on Russia to end its occupation.
  156. In three hours of testimony, Pompeo dodged questions from frustrated senators on both sides asking for more information on Trump’s meeting with Putin, saying, “Presidents are entitled to have private meetings.”
  157. Committee chair Bob Corker said senators have “serious doubts” about Trump’s foreign policy, saying the White House “is making it up as they go,” and intentionally creates distrust in institutions like NATO.
  158. Sen. Robert Menendez said the takeaways are the regime “is increasingly not transparent” and on North Korea, “we have no agreements on anything.” Pompeo said North Korea has a different definition of denuclearization.
  159. On Thursday, Trump tweeted “we will look into…‘SHADOW BANNING’” Republicans — suppressing their content on Twitter. Twitter acknowledged the issue, calling it unintentional and saying it was not targeting Republicans.
  160. On Thursday, CNN reported Cohen says Trump knew in advance about the June 9 meeting where Russians were expected to give his campaign dirt on Hillary Clinton, and is willing to make that assertion to Mueller.
  161. Cohen alleges he was present, along with several others, when Donald Jr. informed Trump about the Russians’ offer. Cohen claims Trump approvedgoing ahead with the meeting with the Russians.
  162. On Friday, Trump responded to Cohen’s allegations, tweeting, “I did NOT know of the meeting with my son, Don jr.” Giuliani also continued to try to discredit Cohen, saying he is not credible.
  163. Trump also lashed out at Cohen, tweeting, “Sounds to me like someone is trying to make up stories in order to get himself out of an unrelated jam (Taxi cabs maybe?). He even retained Bill and Crooked Hillary’s lawyer.”
  164. Trump also repeated his false statement, tweeting, “the only Collusion with Russia was with the Democrats,” adding, “the rigged Witch Hunt continues! How stupid and unfair to our Country…”
  165. On Thursday, AP reported Natalia Veselnitskaya, the Russian said to have promised Donald Jr. dirt on Hillary, worked more closely with senior Russian government officials than she previously disclosed.
  166. Scores of emails, transcripts, and legal documents obtained through Russian opposition figure Mikhail Khodorkovsky’s London-based investigative unit, portray Veselnitskaya as a well connected attorney.
  167. On Friday, at a community forum in West Hollywood, Michael Avenatti claimed he is now representing three additional women who had relations with Trump and were “paid hush money prior to the 2016 election.”
  168. VICE reported Anastasia Vashukevich, who claims to have hours of tapes of conversations with Oleg Deripaska, will give the tapes to Deripaska. FBI investigators have tried to speak with her, but were rebuffed by Thai authorities.
  169. TMZ first reported Kristin Davis, known as the “Manhattan Madam,” wassubpoenaed by Mueller’s team as part of the Russia probe. Davis worked for Roger Stone for over a decade and the two are close friends.
  170. Lori Stegmann, a devout Republican commissioner in northwestern Oregon became a Democrat, saying “I cannot condone the misogyny, the racism, and the unethical and immoral behavior” of the Trump regime.
  171. Stegmann, an orphan and an immigrant, said, “I feel like I struck a nerve because so many people told me ‘That’s what I’m feeling,’ and ‘You’re right, the Republican party I joined has changed.’”

POLITIKS OF GRAFFITI 86: VIOLENCE

I’m watching from abroad and all I can see is a violent nation tearing itself apart. Weekly List from Amy Siskind and art by Jim Carrey.

Week 85 of disastrous 45: Experts in authoritarianism advise to keep a list of things subtly changing around you, so you’ll remember.

June 30, 2018 https://medium.com/@Amy_Siskind/week-85-experts-in-authoritarianism-advise-to-keep-a-list-of-things-subtly-changing-around-you-so-d581acd7874e

This was a devastating week for our country. People — especially women, people of color, people with disabilities, and LGBTQ people — are legitimately scared. Much is at stake as our country shows increasing signs of sliding towards authoritarianism.

While some voices on the left called for civility, Trump ramped up threats and attacks on members of Congress, a restaurant owner, a publicly-traded US corporation, and our media on his Twitter account and at campaign rallies. The week of stoked up rhetoric and hatred flamed culminated with a mass shooting at the Capital Gazette in Annapolis, where five employees were killed.

Early in the week, Trump celebrated a Supreme Court victory for his Muslim Ban, and the retirement of Supreme Court Justice Kennedy — giving Trump the power to potentially reshape our highest court and place issues like abortion and civil rights, gay marriage, and healthcare in jeopardy.

Americans took to the streets again this week to protest Trump’s “zero-tolerance” policy and to call for the abolishment of ICE — a rallying cry that is picking up support. Migrant families remained separated as the rest of the world looks on in horror.

In all this chaos, progress of the Mueller probe into possible Trump campaign collusion with Russia was overshadowed, but there were many developments this week, as Trump prepares for a summit with Putin, continues to deny Russian interference in the 2016 election, and continues to work to undermine the investigation.

A bipartisan poll commissioned by George W. Bush and Joe Biden revealed half of Americans think the United States is in “real danger of becoming a nondemocratic, authoritarian country.”

The polls also found 55% see democracy as “weak,” and 68% believe it is “getting weaker.” Eight in 10 Americans say they are either “very” or “somewhat” concerned about the condition of democracy here.

For the first time, the U.S. was listed among Thomson Reuters’ list of the world’s most dangerous countries for women, the only Western nation to appear in the top 10.

The U.S. ranked 3rd for “sexual violence,” which includes domestic rape, rape by a stranger, and lack of access to justice in rape cases, and 6th in “non-sexual violence,” including domestic, physical, and mental abuse.

On June 23, the Department of Homeland Security issued a fact sheet asaying 522 children who were in custody of Border Patrol have been reunited with their families . 2,053 migrant children remain separated.

As the week closed out, only 6 of the 2,053 migrant children in custody of the Health and Human Services Office of Refugee Resettlement (ORR) had been reunited with their parents: 2,047 remained separated.

NBC News reported the Obama-era Family Case Management Program, launched in early 2016 with the aim of keeping asylum-seeking families together and out of detention, was canceled by Trump one year ago.

Miami Herald reported according to Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz at least 10 migrant babies and toddlers, ranging in age from newborns to 5 year-olds, are being housed in “tender-age shelters” in Miami-Dade County.

On Saturday, NYT reported Border Patrol agents shut down stretches of highway along Interstate 95 in New Hampshire and Maine last week, and asked people traveling in cars, “What country are you a citizen of?

On Sunday, WAPO reported migrant children are held all over the US, far away from parents who do not know the location of the their children. The children, before arriving, had already gone through hellish journeys.

Migrant children held in a converted Walmart in Brownsville, Texas each morning are required to stand and recite the Pledge of Allegiance, in English. US authorities are compiling mug shots, many of children in tears.

HHS has more than 100 shelters in 17 states housing separated migrant children. Locations are based on space availability, accommodations, demographics of the children and proximity to potential sponsors.

On Sunday, Trump tweeted “all of these people to invade our Country” should be deprived of their due-process rights: “we must immediately, with no Judges or Court Cases, bring them back from where they came.”

On Monday, in a series of tweets, Trump reiterated his call to turn people away, saying immigrants should “simply be stopped at the Border and told they cannot come into the U.S. illegally.”

Trump tweeted, “Hiring many thousands of judges, and going through a long and complicated legal process, is not the way to go.” This is a lie: there are 335 judges nationwide, with the budget for 150 more.

On Monday, at a White House event, Trump told the press, “We want a system where, when people come in illegally, they have to go out,” adding, “a nice simple system that works.”

On Monday, Trump also attacked the restaurant in Virginia that asked press secretary Sarah Sanders to leave in Week 84, tweeting “Red Hen Restaurant should focus more on cleaning its filthy canopies.”

Trump wrote, “if a restaurant is dirty on the outside, it is dirty on the inside!” CNBC reported Virginia Department of Health found no violations at the property, but Mar-a-Lago had 78 infractions in three years.

On Tuesday, a man was arrested by police for throwing what appeared to be a large quantity of chicken dung at the restaurant. Protestors also carried pro-Trump and anti-LGBTQ signs.

On Wednesday, the White House announced Sanders would receive Secret Service protection.

On Saturday, at a Nevada rally for Sen. Dean Heller, Trump mocked Sen. John McCain for his thumbs down on the Republican plan to repeal ObamaCare, saying, “It’s alright, because we’ve essentially gutted it anyway.”

Trump also called Rep. Jacky Rosen who is running against Heller, “Wacky Jacky,” and noted she is campaigning with Sen. Elizabeth Warren: “Wacky Jacky is campaigning with Pocahontas.”

On Saturday, Rep. Maxine Waters encouraged supporters to “absolutely harass” Trump’s Cabinet officials. On Monday, in a tweet, Trump called Waters “an extraordinarily low IQ person.”

Trump also tweeted, Waters “has just called for harm to supporters, of which there are many, of the Make America Great Again movement,” adding a veiled threat, “Be careful what you wish for Max!

On Tuesday, Trump continued his attacks on Rep. Water, tweeting she and Nancy Pelosi are “the face of the Democrats,” who want “Open Borders and Unlimited Crime” and “pick Crooked Hillary for Pres.”

On Wednesday, Trump tweeted that Waters’ “crazy rants have made her” and Pelosi “the unhinged FACE of the Democrat Party,” and that they will “Make America Weak Again,” but have no fear, he is not going anywhere.

On Wednesday, at a rally in North Dakota, Trump make several false and inflammatory statements, including on Rep. Waters, “Maxine. She’s a beauty. I mean, she practically was telling people the other day to assault.”

On Thursday, Waters canceled two events, saying she has faced increased threats, this week, including a serious death threat on Monday.

On Sunday, Politico reported Sen. Mark Warner said at a DSCC retreat “If you get me one more glass of wine,” I’ll tell you stuff only Bob Mueller and I know,” adding “If you think you’ve seen wild stuff so far, buckle up.”

On Monday, Trump tweeted Warner was in a “near drunken state,” asking why “only he and Bob Mueller, the leader of the 13 Angry Democrats” know the information, “Isn’t this highly illegal. Is it being investigated?”

On Monday, ABC News reported Mueller is digging deeper into Erik Prince, reviewing communications on his phones and computer, a sign he may be looking for potential inconsistencies in his sworn testimony.

Prince says he has spoken voluntarily with Congress and cooperated completely with the Mueller probe. The further scrutiny could signal Mueller is pressuring Prince to turn into a witness against other targets.

On Tuesday, Bloomberg reported Mueller is accelerating his probe into possible collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia in the 2016 election, with an eye towards conclusion and possible indictments by fall.

Suspicious contacts with Russians includes at least 13 people associated with the Trump campaign: Michael Cohen, Michael Flynn, George Papadopoulos, Jared Kushner, Michael Caputo, Roger Stone, Paul Manafort, Donald Jr., Carter Page, Jeff Sessions, J.D. Gordon, Rick Gates, and Prince.

On Tuesday, Judge Kimba Wood said prosecutors can have access to the over 4 million files seized in the raid on Cohen, with the exception of 22,000 documents from the Trump Organization under review until of July 5.

On Wednesday, Reuters reported an unsealed search warrant application by a FBI agent in July 2017 revealed Manafort’s tax returns show a $10 million loan from a Russian lender identified as Oleg Deripaska.

Mueller has been investigating financial links between Manafort and Deripaska, who also financially backed Manafort’s consulting work in Ukraine when it started in 2005–2006.

The application also confirmed Mueller is investigating Manafort’s role in the June 9 Trump Tower meeting. The application sought “communications, records, documents and other files” from attendees.

On Monday, Trump quoted Fox News analyst Judge Napolitano, tweeted, “Was there a conspiracy in the Obama Department of Justice and the FBI” to prevent Trump from becoming president,” and “was Strzok at the core.”

On Wednesday, Strzok testified before the House Judiciary Committee for 11 hours. Despite a request from Rep. Ted Lieu that the hearing be public, the Republicans decided to keep it private.

On Thursday, deputy attorney general Rod Rosenstein and FBI director Christopher Wray were questioned in a contentious House Judiciary Committee hearing. Rosenstein was the primary target of a berating by Republicans.

Republicans urged Rosenstein to end the Mueller probe, and accused him of not cooperating and turning over information they requested, although over 880,000 documents have been redacted and turned over.

The hearing was paused so the House could vote on a measure to publicly rebuke Rosenstein. The resolution calling on the Justice Department to “comply with requests including subpoenas” by July 6 passed 226–183.

On Thursday, WAPO reported Mueller’s team and UK investigators are looking into the “Bad Boys of Brexit,” a group of wealthy British donors who cultivated ties to Russian officials and Trump’s campaign.

Contact started in August 2016 as Arron Banks, a wealthy British businessman met with Russian Ambassador Alexander Yakovenko. Banks also knew Steve Bannon, a fellow Brexit supporter.

Bannon had just become chief executive of Trump’s campaign. Less than a week later, Banks and Nigel Farage came to Jackson, Mississippi where both met with Trump and Farage spoke onstage at a Trump rally.

Both inquiries are examining Russia’s involvement in seismic political events that have shaken the world order. Mueller’s team is looking into whether Brexit leaders serve as a conduit between the Kremlin and Trump.

On Thursday, ABC News reported Mueller is examining the presence of several billionaires with deep ties to Russia who attended exclusive, invitation-only receptions during Trump’s inauguration festivities.

On Thursday, Andrew Miller, a former aide to Stone, was subpoenaed to appear before the grand jury hearing evidence in the Russia investigation. Miller worked for Stone around the time of the Republican National Convention.

Miller’s appearance was postponed after a lawyer, Paul Kamenar, filed a motion. Kamenar said the National Legal and Policy Center, a conservative nonprofit organization, was paying for his services.

On Thursday, Mueller’s team said they were ready for a sentencing hearing for Papadopoulos who pled guilty to lying and then cooperated in the Russia probe. Papadopoulos will be sentenced on September 7.

On Friday, Mueller’s team asked a federal court for an additional postponement in scheduling a sentencing hearing for Flynn. The delay suggests Flynn is still actively cooperating with Mueller’s team.

On Friday, a federal judge in Virginia said he would not dismiss charges against Manafort based on allegations that prosecutors leaked grand jury information. Jury selection is scheduled to start July 25.

WAPO reported Facebook convened a meeting last month between tech companies and FBI and Department of Homeland Security officials who are responsible for protecting elections ahead of the midterm elections.

Trump and Putin will hold their first summit in Helsinki on July 16. NBC News reported Russia once again announced the news before the White House. John Bolton met with Putin Thursday ahead of the planned summit.

On Thursday, before details of the meeting were announced, Trump tweeted about the Mueller probe, “Russia continues to say they had nothing to do with meddling in our election!

Trump has yet to acknowledge Russian interference in the 2016 election despite agreement by the CIA, FBI, National Security Agency, Republican head of the Senate Intelligence Committee, and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo.

Politico reported Chinese leaders are “absolutely confused” about Trump’s demands on trade, saying he has raised many different issues and there is no clear U.S. strategy, making concessions and negotiation difficult.

On Monday, Harley-Davidson announced the company will move some production out the U.S. to avoid European Union import duties of 25% on U.S. products, imposed after Trump started a trade war.

On Monday, Trump attacked Harley-Davidson, saying the company was “the first to wave the White Flag,” after he “fought hard for them.”

On Monday, the Dow closed dropped more than 300 points, closing below its 200-day moving average, a key technical level, for the first time since June 2016, as investors braced for Trump’s trade actions.

On Tuesday, Trump threatened Harley-Davidson, tweeting “If they move, watch, it will be the beginning of the end,” adding, “they will be taxed like never before!”

Trump also tweeted this false statement: “We are getting other countries to reduce and eliminate tariffs and trade barriers that have been unfairly used.” Other countries are retaliating against his actions.

On Tuesday, the Congressional Budget Office said that U.S. government debt is on track to hit historically high levels, and that debt-to-GDP will reach 78% by the end of the year, the highest ratio since 1950.

On Tuesday, Everett Eissenstat, a key trade adviser, resigned from Trump’s economic team. Eissenstat had worked with both the National Economic Council and the National Security Council.

On Thursday, Trump again threatened Harley-Davidson, saying, “build those beautiful motorcycles in the United States,” adding, “Don’t get cute with us…your customers won’t be happy if you don’t.”

On Tuesday, Trump announced, “U.S. Steel just announced they’re expanding or building six new facilities.” This is the third reference Trump has made to this expansion. The statement is not true.

On Friday, Canada’s Foreign Ministers announced retaliatory tariffs on U.S. steel and aluminum products, as well as foodstuffs such as coffee, ketchup, and whiskies, saying “We will not escalate and we will not back down.”

On Friday, Axios reported Trump repeatedly threatens to withdraw from the World Trade Organization, a move that would throw global markets into turmoil. People around him are not taking his threat seriously.

A viral video showed a white woman confronting Esteban Guzman as he was doing yard work and calling him a rapist “because you’re Mexicans,” adding “Even the president of the United States says you’re a rapist.”

Alison Ettel, the woman dubbed “Permit Patty” for threatening to call the police on an 8-year-old black girl selling water on the street, resigned as CEO of TreatWell Health after area companies dropped her products.

Dennis Hof, the Nevada brothel owner featured in HBO’s series “Cathouse” who won a GOP primary for state lawmaker credits Trump for inspiring him: “I’m riding the Trump wave. He’s Christopher Columbus.”

On Wednesday, the Las Vegas Review reported Hof was accused of raping a prostitute at one of his brothels in 2005, according to a newly released report from Lyon County Sheriff’s Department.

On Tuesday, Fox News suspended ex-Trump aide David Bossie after a “Fox & Friends Weekend” appearance in which he said to Joel Payne, a black American Democratic strategist, “You’re out of your cotton-picking mind.”

A report by the Anti-Defamation League found the amount of white supremacist propaganda on college campuses rose sharply: 292 occurrences in the District and 47 states, a 77% increase from last year.

The propaganda appeared on stickers, posters, banners, and fliers, and uses white supremacist words and images to attack Jews, Blacks, Muslims, nonwhite immigrants, and the LGBTQ community.

On Sunday, WAPO reported that emails released under a FOIA lawsuit by the Sierra Club, reveal J. Steven Hart and his wife, Vicki pushed for the EPA to hire Jimmy Guilliano, while Scott Pruitt was renting their condo.

Ryan Zinke’s Interior Department announced a plan to allow private landowners kill critically endangered American red wolves in North Carolina that stray onto their property from a protected federal wildlife refuge.

On Friday, a federal judge in Kentucky blocked the Trump regime from instituting the first-ever Medicaid work requirements, a blow to the regime’s efforts to scale back the health care program for the poor.

On Sunday, the Texas Tribune reported migrants at a detention facility outside Houston have been told they can reunite with their children at the airport if they agree to sign a voluntary deportation and not seek asylum.

On Monday, Kevin McAleenan, the top border security official, said his agency has temporarily stopped handing over migrant adults with children for prosecution, undercutting claims “zero tolerance” is still in place.

Because ICE does not have enough detention space for the surge of families coming across the border, McAleenan will revive the “catch and release” approach used during the Obama administration.

On Monday, “The Rachel Maddow Show” shared a video of migrant children at Cayuga Centers in East Harlem, including a sobbing girl asking for her mother, leaked by an employee, who resigned.

The employee said she started seeing a “huge influx” of much younger children coming in, and realized was due to the Trump regime’s family separation policy. The facility was under-staffed and over-crowded.

On Tuesday, at a news conference in El Paso, Texas, migrant parents no longer facing charges told stories of separation. One mother who reached her son by phone said, “He’s mad at me. He thinks that I abandoned him.”

A father cried as he shared that as he was separated from his 5 year-old daughter, she told him, “Dad, you’re going to jail and I’m going I don’t know where.” She is in Chicago now.

On Tuesday, the Department of Homeland Security Inspector General released a report which found, “Neither the inspections nor the onsite monitoring ensure consistent compliance with detention standards.

On Tuesday, Daily Beast reported an immigration lawyer said an ICE officer in Kansas City, Missouri broke her foot and locked her in a room when she dropped off a 3-year-old Honduran boy to be reunited with his mother.

On Tuesday, Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar, whose agency has custody of 2,047 migrant children, told Congress the children will not be reunited with parents who are still in custody.

Azar said the regime will reunite children with their parents only if the parents drop their claims for asylum in the U.S. and agree to be deported. The process of seeking asylum can take months or years.

Ethel Kennedy, the widow of Robert Kennedy, will participate in the “Break Bread Not Families” hunger strike to protest Trump’s “zero tolerance” policy. The strike will last 24 days, symbolizing the 2,400 migrant children.

On Tuesday, 17 states, including Washington, New York, and California, sued the Trump regime in federal court in Seattle to force officials to reunite migrant families who have been separated at the border.

Late Tuesday, a federal judge in San Diego ordered border authorities to reunite migrant families within 30 days, or 14 days if the child is younger than 5, and issued a nationwide injunction on future family separations.

The judge also blasted the Trump regime for what he called “a chaotic circumstance of the Government’s own making,” saying no adequate planning had been done before officials separated families.

On Wednesday, Texas Tribune reported migrant children as young as 3 years-old are being ordered into court for their own deportation proceedings, according to attorneys in several states.

Children detained under the new “zero tolerance” policy face immigration proceedings without their parents. Advocates say often the parent might be the only one who knows why they fled.

An advocate said a 3 year-old climbed up on the table during the hearing. A member of the American Academy of Pediatrics called the practice “grossly inappropriate,” adding “I’m ashamed that we’re doing this.”

On Wednesday, VICE shared a tape of a conversation between a distraught 7-year old held in an ORR shelter and his mother in Guatemala. The boy crossed the border with his father a month ago and hasn’t spoken to him.

On Thursday, Pompeo and Ivanka unveiled a new 68-page report on international human trafficking, which decreed harmful effects of family separation, saying it puts children at additional risk of human trafficking.

On Thursday, PBS reported that under Trump federal judges are setting unusually large bonds, as high as $25,000, for detained immigrants, including separated parents — $1,500 is the minimum required by law.

On Friday, WAPO reported a 12 year-old migrant boy from Mexico was described in his file as showing signs of depression brought on by “being kept from his family,” who had crossed the border before him.

When his condition deteriorated, he was transferred to a psychiatric facility in Texas and put on antidepressants. ORR refused to release him to his adult sister, saying he is not yet “psychologically sound” for release.

On Friday, responding to and citing the San Diego judge’s ruling to counter the Flores agreement, the regime said it will detain migrant families together in custody indefinitely rather than release them.

The new filing does not explicitly say the regime will hold families beyond 20 days, but that it will detain them “during the pendency” of immigration proceedings, which in many cases can last months.

Texas Observer reported 19 special agents in ICE’s Homeland Security Investigative (HSI), the branch responsible for national security, organized crime, narcotics smuggling and human trafficking, sent a letter to Kirstjen Nielsen asking for the elimination the agency.

HSI officials wrote thst “the perception of HSI’s investigative independence is unnecessarily impacted by the political nature” of ERO, the branch that carries out immigration arrests and deportations.

Williamson County in Texas voted to terminate its contract with ICE at the T. Don Hutto Residential Center in January 2019. The detention center houses 500 women, 40% of whom were separated from their children.

On Tuesday, 28 year-old Latina Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez beat Joe Crowley in a primary for New York’s 14th congressional district. Ocasio-Cortez is a democratic socialist, and has called for the abolishment of ICE.

On Wednesday, Trump tweeted, “Extremist Democrat politicians have called for the complete elimination of ICE,” saying, “these radical protesters want ANARCHY.”

On Thursday, CBS News reported James Schwab, a former ICE spokesperson now a whistleblower, had a surprise visit from agents from the DHS Inspector General’s Office three months after he resigned.

The agents questioned Schwab if he had been in contact with Oakland’s mayor — the subject he was asked to lie about. Schwab said he was “completely shocked” and it was “absolutely” an intimidation technique.

Intercept reported Thomson Reuters Special Services is providing ICE with “a continuous monitoring and alert service that provides real-time jail booking data, as well as access to a vast license-plate scanning database.

On Thursday, several hundred mostly-female protestors from 47 states, along with Democratic lawmakers, protested Trump’s “zero tolerance” policy and called to the elimination of ICE on Capitol Hill.

Protestors marched from Freedom Plaza to Capitol Hill. When walking past the Trump Hotel DC, protestors yelled, “Shame,” then burst into boos and demanded, “Where are the children?

Protestors staged a sit-in, wrapping themselves in mylar blankets like the ones being used at detention centers. Capitol Police arrested 575 including Rep. Pramila Jayapal and charged them with unlawfully demonstrating.

On Friday, Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand became the first US senator to call for elimination of ICE. New York City Mayor Bill De Blasio also said ICE should be disbanded, as have Reps. Mark Pocan and Jayapal.

On Friday, acting director of ICE, Thomas Homan retired, after 16 months of serving. Homan was viewed as the most controversial deportation chief in the agency’s brief history.

Homan told Congress in June 2017 of his budget increase, “If you’re in this country illegally and you committed a crime by entering this country, you should be uncomfortable. You should look over your shoulder.”

On Saturday, in a series of tweets, Trump attacked Democrats over immigration and defended ICE, calling it “one of the smartest, toughest, and most spirited law enforcement groups.”

Trump also claimed, “I have watched ICE liberate towns from the grasp of MS-13 & clean out the toughest of situations.” This is a false statement.

On Monday, the Supreme Court upheld Trump’s Travel Ban by a 5–4 vote. In her dissent, Justice Sonia Sotomayor said the decision was no better than Korematsu v. United States, the decision that endorsed internment camps.

The ban impacts eight countries, six of them with Muslim majorities, including Syria, Libya, Iran, Yemen, Chad, Somalia, North Korea, and Venezuela. Trump does not have properties in any of the countries.

Trump’s White House issued a statement, calling the ruling a “vindication following months of hysterical commentary from the media and Democratic politicians.”

Senate Leader Mitch McConnell, who for 10 months kept the Republican-controlled Senate from voting on Obama’s nominee to replace Justice Antonin Scalia, tweeted a picture of him shaking hands with Justice Neil Gorsuch.

On Wednesday, Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy shocked the country by saying he would retire. Kennedy, who had been a swing vote for many social issues, left Trump opening to reshape the highest court.

On Thursday, NYT reported that Trump had worked quietly to assure Kennedy of his judicial legacy and build a connection with him — for example stopping to say, “Say hello to your boy. Special guy.”

Kennedy’s son Justin rose to become Deutsche Bank’s global head of real estate capital markets, and over a decade lent Trump more than $1 billion at a time when others banks would not lend to him.

This fall the Supreme Court will consider whether the double jeopardy clause bars states and the federal government from separately trying the same person for the same criminal offense.

The case would have implications whether a Trump pardon from federal prosecution will shield someone from state prosecution even if that state retains its dual sovereignty loophole, for example Cohen in New York.

A new NBC News/Marist poll found voters in three battleground states — Arizona, Florida, and Ohio — prefer the next Congress to be a check on Trump rather than a booster for his policy priorities.

Most voters said Trump did not deserve to be re-elected: Arizona (35% deserves to be re-elected/57% does not), Florida (37%/54%) and Ohio (34%/58%).

A Monmouth poll found six months in support for the Republican tax law has fallen from 40% approval in April to 34%.

On Tuesday, the Toronto Star reported that Trump made a record 103 false claims last week, on average 15 per day.

On Monday, NBC News reported in recent months, Trump is relying less and less on the advice of Defense Secretary Jim Mattis, one of the longest-serving cabinet members, instead making decisions on his own.

Mattis has been excluded from decisions on Iran and North Korea, and was blindsided when Trump overruled him by publicly directing the Pentagon to create a sixth military branch overseeing operations in space.

Satellite images taken by 8 North, a Pyongyang-monitoring website, revealed North Korea is upgrading a major nuclear research facility despite Trump’s claim that Kim Jong Un vowed to disarm.

On Thursday, Trump’s appointment for U.S. ambassador to South Korea, retired Navy Adm. Harry Harris, was confirmed by a Senate voice vote. The key diplomatic post had been vacant since Trump took office.

On Friday, NBC News reported U.S. intelligence agencies believe North Korea has increased its production of fuel for nuclear weapons at multiple secret sites in recent months.

Officials say Kim Jong Un has been producing surreptitiously while seeking concessions from Trump. One officials said there is “absolutely unequivocal evidence” that Kim is trying to deceive Trump.

On Friday, the UN snubbed Trump by rejecting the U.S. pick for the position of director general of the International Organization for Migration, a position that has been held by an American since the 1960s.

James Melville Jr., the U.S. ambassador to Estonia, a U.S. diplomat for 33 years and ambassador to Estonia since 2015, resigned Friday amid a string of controversial comments Trump made about U.S. allies in Europe.

On Monday, in a rally in South Carolina, before Trump got up to speak his supporters yelled “CNN fake news” began chanting for CNN’s Jim Acosta to leave. A woman pointed at him and said, “Take him out.”

As Trump started the rally, he attacked the press and calling media outlets gathered at the rally “fake news,” and repeated another common refrain of his about the media, “The enemy, the enemy of the people I call ’em.”

On Thursday, a gunman opened fire on the newsroom of the Capital Gazette in Annapolis, Maryland, killing five and injuring others before being taken into custody.

On Thursday, NYPD and Chicago police were deployed to major media outlets in their outlets. NYPD said the deployment was “out of an abundance of caution, and not based on any specific threats.”

Within minutes of the shooting, Fox News host Sean Hannity blamed Rep. Waters for the shooting, saying he knew “something horrible was going to happen because of the rhetoric. Really, Maxine?”

On Thursday, Milo Yiannopoulos said his call for “vigilante squads to start gunning journalists”on Tuesday was just a “troll,” insisting he “wasn’t being serious.”

On Thursday, before departing for Wisconsin, Trump tweeted, “My thoughts and prayers are with the victims and their families. Thank you to all of the First Responders who are currently on the scene.”

When Trump returned, reporters tried to question him on the shooting, NBC News asked “Can you please talk to us about the dead reporters in Annapolis?” Trump walked away from reporters and refused to answer.

On Friday, Trump told the press the shooting “shocked the conscience of our nation,” and that, “Journalists, like all Americans, should be free from the fear of being violently attacked while doing their job.”

Trump did not address gun control, or the current climate of hostility towards journalists. Police have described the shooting as a “targeted attack.” The shooter had sued the paper for defamation six years ago.

ProPublica reported since Trump declared his candidacy in late 2015, the Trump Organization has had revenues of more than $16 million from his campaign, Republican organizations, and government agencies.

On Wednesday, Bill Shine, a former Fox News co-president accepted a role as White House communications director, which has been vacant since Hope Hicks resigned in March.

Shine was close to Roger Ailes, and was fired from Fox News last spring amid the network’s sexual harassment scandals. Shine was accused in lawsuits of covering up for Ailes and dismissing women’s concerns.

On Wednesday, Interior Secretary Zinke deleted a tweet with a photo of him wearing socks with Trump’s face and the slogan “Make America Great Again,” after several watchdog groups said he was violating federal law.

On Thursday, Politico reported Maggie Cordish, a close friend of and top adviser for Ivanka, resigned. There are no plans to replace her, signaling Ivanka will stop her efforts to get Congress to pass a paid family leave bill.

In Week 66, Cordish’s husband Reed, a friend of Jared, also resigned from the White House Office of American Innovation. Trump had sued his father, David Cordish in 2004, but later they became friends.

On Thursday, WSJ reported Trump is consulting with advisers about his next chief of staff pick. Kelly has reportedly told colleagues he does not plan to stay beyond the one-year mark, which is July 31.

The top frontrunners are said to be Nick Ayers, who serves as chief of staff to Vice President Mike Pence, and Mick Mulvaney. A White House spokesperson called the article “fake news.”

On Friday, Vanity Fair reported that Hope Hicks is also being discussed as a possible chief of staff. Reportedly, Hicks has she has told people she is open to the job if Trump asked.

On Friday, Trump fed the speculation, telling reporters en route to his golf club in Bedminster that Hicks could return to the White House in some sort of role, saying, “I think everybody misses it.”

CNN reported Andrew Veprek, a Trump appointee to deputy assistant secretary for refugees and migration at the State Department, tore into standard UN documents that condemn racism as a threat to democracy.

Veprek disputed the idea that leaders have a “duty” to condemn hate, and repeatedly rejected use of the words nationalism, populism, and xenophobia — but said populism and nationalism are not dirty words.

On Saturday, tens of thousands participated in “Keep Families Together” marches across the country to protest Trump’s “zero-tolerance” policy and to demand families be reunited.

Over 600 marches took place across the country, with over 30,000 people in New York City and Washington DC. Immigration advocates said they had never seen Americans show up for immigrants like this.

POLITIKS OF GRAFFITI 79: “FRAUDULENT SHYSTER” ~ WHY WASN’T THAT ENOUGH?

* A couple of thoughts before heading into the weekly list from Amy Siskind – I think I saw somewhere today that in Week 1 when she began this, she had like a list of “9.” The evidence of treason, kleptocracy, corruption, and collusion has increased so rapidly that, today, we are looking at a list of “170.” Remarkable. And frightening.

** Today’s artwork featured is that of Jim Carrey, the actor/artist. I used a couple pieces of his before, but this week, he was really on a roll with spot-on interpretations of the various ‘characters’ in this ‘shitshow’ we are being forced to endure.

*** An interesting point was brought up today on Twitter: If we had been more forceful in insisting that candidates divulge their tax information, we would have known without a doubt the extent of his corruption and we never would have gotten to this place. 

WHY WASN’T THAT ENOUGH ? : 

**** And I just had thoughts (regularly consumed by thoughts about this treasonous leadership) – When he dodged the draft FIVE times and said his personal Vietnam was seeing how many women he could sleep with, why wasn’t that enough? (to at least lose the support of the current military and every other American who has ever served for this country) – When he said he’d bring jobs back to America, but had all of his campaign merchandise made in China, why wasn’t that enough? (Factories are closing up and leaving left and right. Today we hear Harley Davidson is moving to Thailand) – When he mocked the disabled, why wasn’t that enough? – When he asked people how hot they think his daughter is, why wasn’t that enough? – When he said he’d like to date her if she wasn’t his daughter, why wasn’t that enough? – When he said he grabs women by their pussies, why wasn’t that enough? – 

What has this country become that we are so divided with an element of citizens that embrace this fraudulent shyster? My anger has just become sadness. I don’t want to fight. I want common sense and humanity to prevail. 

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“Scam-a-Gram”

Week 78 of this presidency: Experts in authoritarianism advise to keep a list of things subtly changing around you, so you’ll remember.

May 12, 2018 https://medium.com/@Amy_Siskind/week-78-experts-in-authoritarianism-advise-to-keep-a-list-of-things-subtly-changing-around-you-so-e2f79899deae

This week Trump threatened to take away media credentials, equating negative coverage to fake news. Trump and his surrogates continued to publicly undermine the Mueller probe, pressing for its completion and questioning the validity of its outcome; yet, seemed unprepared to handle the fallout of information made public by Stephanie Clifford’s attorney, Michael Avenatti.

This was another week of resignations and disquiet within Trump’s cabinet as he continues to bully dissent and turn a blind eye to kleptocracy, incompetence, and ethics violations. Against the advice of former senior officials, Trump pulled the US out of the Iran nuclear deal, further isolating America on the world stage. Acts of hate and distrust of “others” continue to escalate, as does the regime’s cruelty towards those not white, straight, and male. While Trump remains popular with his base, increasingly Americans are worried about aspects of everyday life that are forebodingly shifting ever-so subtly.

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“Psycho Mike-O”
  1. The Guardian reported the Trump regime hired an Israeli private intelligence agency to conduct a “dirty ops” campaign against Obama diplomats who negotiated the deal with Tehran.
  2. Individuals targeted include Ben Rhodes, a top national security adviser, and Colin Kahl, deputy assistant to Obama. Trump has a May 12 deadlinedecide whether to scrap or continue the Iran nuclear program.
  3. The New Yorker reported the intel firm was Black Cube, the same retained by Harvey Weinstein in 2016 to investigate the women and journalists who might come forward against him for sexual misconduct.
  4. On Sunday, WAPO reported Gina Haspel, Trump’s nominee for CIA director, sought to withdraw her nomination last Friday rather than face expected tough Senate questioning about her role in the agency’s interrogation program.
  5. White House aides, including press secretary Sarah Sanders and legislative affairs head Marc Short rushed to Langley Friday to push her to not withdraw. Saturday afternoon, Haspel agreed to move forward.
  6. On Sunday, NYT reported Sen. John McCain, as part of his final wishes,has told his inner circle does not want Trump to attend his funeral. McCain would however like Obama and George W. Bush to deliver eulogies.
  7. Margaret Atwood, author of “The Handmaid’s Tale” which has been made into a TV-series, told ABC News, “We’re not living in Gilead yet, but there are Gilead-like symptoms going on,” pointing to examples like attacks on the free press and attempts to roll back reproductive rights.
  8. On Monday, Trump called on Congress to pull back more than $15 billion in spending approved in the recent budget, half of which would come from two accounts within the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP).
  9. HuffPost reported after several years of dramatic decline, the uninsured rate rose to 12.2% last year, up from 10.9% at the end of 2016, as Trump’s efforts to undermine Obamacare continue.
  10. In Rialto, California, a neighbor called the police on three black women who carried their luggage out of an Airbnb they had rented. The police responded as if it were an in-progress burglary, sending six police officers and a helicopter.
  11. On Monday, a white graduate student at Yale called the police on Lolade Siyonbola, a black student who was napping in a common area of their dorm. Siyonbola was questioned for 15 minutes by police, and forced to show her student ID.
  12. On Monday, Jeff Sessions announced the Trump regime will separate parents who enter the US illegally from their children, instead of keeping them in detention together.
  13. Sessions said, “If you are smuggling a child then we will prosecute you,” adding, “If you don’t like that, then don’t smuggle children over our border.” The goal is to prosecute 100% who enter the US illegally.
  14. On Thursday, in an interview with NPR, when asked about separating migrant families at the border, chief of staff John Kelly said of immigrants, “They don’t integrate well; they don’t have skills” to assimilate well.
  15. Kelly also said he supported the Department of Homeland Securities recent decisions to end temporary protected status (TPS) for Haiti, El Salvador, Nepal, Nicaragua, Sudan, and Honduras.
  16. On Tuesday, Axios reported an annual study of 18–24 year-olds in 16 Arab states found a sharp spike in negative sentiment against the US: 57% see the US as the enemy (up from 32% in 2016) versus 35% who view the country as an ally.
  17. Further, 73% of Arab youth said Trump’s election has had a negative impact on their view of the US. Arab youth view Russia more favorably than the US, as the US fell out of the top five spots for the first time.
  18. The World reported a North Bend, Oregon school district is facing discrimination claims after a LGBTQ student was allegedly forced to read Bible passages as a form of punishment. The ACLU is involved in the case.
  19. On Friday, the Trump regime rolled back Obama-era rules that protected transgender inmates by allowing them to use facilities that match their gender identity, including cell blocks and bathrooms.
  20. Mediaite reported that in a video made last December Juan Pablo Andrade, a policy advisor for the Trump-tied nonprofit America First, praised Nazisand expressed disappointment that they didn’t “keep fucking going.”
  21. On Wednesday, at Senate hearings for Gina Haspel, former CIA operative turned activist 78 year-old Ray McGovern was tackled and thrown to the ground by police after protesting Haspel’s use of waterboarding, possibly dislocating his arm.
  22. BuzzFeed reported only families of Parkland shooting victims who are Trump supporters have received condolence letters or any sort of communication from Trump or the White House.
  23. On Thursday, Oliver North, the newly elected National Rifle Association President, said that gun control activists like the students from Parkland, are “civil terrorists.”
  24. On Tuesday, Rear Adm. Timothy Ziemer, the top White House official in charge of pandemic response, abruptly resigned after the the global health security team he oversaw was disbanded by John Bolton.
  25. The upheaval at Scott Pruitt’s EPA continued, as John Konkus, the press office’s second in command, became the fourth senior official to resign in the past week.
  26. BuzzFeed reported Elizabeth Erin Walsh, a high-ranking Commerce Department official, was escorted out of the department’s headquarters last Thursday. Sources say she is part of an internal investigation. Walsh is a former Goldman Sachs executive nominated by Trump.
  27. The publication Science reported Trump’s White House canceled NASA’s Carbon Monitoring System, a $10-million-a-year research line used to verify the national emission cuts agreed to in the Paris climate accords.
  28. After Sen. Tammy Baldwin announced she would not turn in a so-called blue slip for Trump judicial nominee Michael Brennan, judiciary chair Chuck Glassley broke Senate tradition by ignoring her and gave Brennan a hearing.
  29. On Tuesday, Rep. Daniel Donovan introduced a bill that would require post offices around the country to display pictures of Trump and Pence.
  30. Trump appointed Mehmet Oz, a discredited doctor who has long used his tv-show “Dr. Oz Show” as a platform to market alternative medicine, to his council on sport, fitness, and nutrition.
  31. On Monday, two top Democrats on the House Energy and Commerce Committee asked the Office of Special Counsel (OSC) to investigate that the three GOP FCC commissioners attended the CPAC conference in February.
  32. The letter comes after the OSC had concluded that one of the commissioners, Mike O’Rielly, had violated the Hatch Act during a CPAC panel discussion by urging voters to re-elect Trump, and issued a warning.
  33. On Monday, incoming Secretary of State Mike Pompeo held his first press conference, welcoming reporters but taking no questions.
  34. Politico reported Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao has done numerous interviews with her father, chairman of a shipping company in China, in front of the Department of Transportation emblem, raising ethics concerns she is using her position to benefit her family business.
  35. On Tuesday, fair-housing advocates filed a lawsuit against the Department of Housing and Urban Development and HUD Secretary Ben Carson for suspending a 2015 Obama-era rule requiring communities to examine and address barriers to racial integration.
  36. On Wednesday, Mick Mulvaney’s Consumer Financial Protection Bureau said it will shut its student lending office, ending investigations on potential abuses by companies in the $1.5 trillion student loan market. The office had been responsible for returning $750 million in relief.
  37. On Monday, more than 10,000 EPA documents were made public under a Freedom of Information Act filed by the Sierra Club revealed the agency’s efforts to shield Pruitt from tough questions and public scrutiny.
  38. Emails show decisions to limit advance notice of Pruitt’s schedule, to limit questioning and control the message. Breaking from EPA tradition of 25 years, Pruitt does not do public speaking events on most official trips.
  39. On Monday, NYT reported that senior White House staffers are urging Trump to fire Pruitt. Aides say Andrew Wheeler, a former coal lobbyist and Pruitt’s deputy, could be just as effective at undoing regulations.
  40. NYT reported Pruitt dined last year in Rome with Cardinal George Pell, a prominent climate-science denialist who has sexual abuse allegations since 2016. The EPA’s official description of the dinner intentionally omitted the cardinal’s attendance.
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Scott Pruitt, “Environment Plundering Ass”
  1. Twenty days after the dinner, authorities in Australia charged Cardinal Pell with sexual assault. Whistleblower Kevin Chmielewski said EPA officials were concerned the meeting would reflect poorly on Pruitt if made public.
  2. On Friday, Trump continued to stand by Pruitt, saying “I do” have confidence in him despite Pruitt facing a dozen active investigations over lavish spending and ethical lapses.
  3. On Sunday, NYT reported Michael Cohen has spent much of his personal and professional life with immigrants from Russia and Ukraine. His father-in-law is from Ukraine, as was one of Cohen’s partners in the taxi business.
  4. As Cohen started working for Trump, limited liability companies he controlled started to amass real estate in all-cash deals, including five buildings in Manhattan between 2011 and 2015.
  5. Cohen also has a history of turning all-cash real estate deals for a huge profit in a short time. On one day in 2014, he sold four buildings in Manhattan for $32 million in cash. Banks steered clear of him.
  6. On Saturday, Rudy Giuliani appeared on Jeanine Pirro’s Fox News show, appearing to backpedal, saying, “I’m still learning [the facts] … I’ve been in the case for two weeks.”
  7. Giuliani insisted Trump did not violate campaign finance laws, “Every campaign finance expert, Republican and Democrat, will tell you…it was to save his family, to save embarrassment, it’s not a campaign donation.”
  8. On Sunday, Giuliani appeared on ABC’s “This Week,” changing his story again on Clifford, “You know, I’m not really involved in the — in the Daniels thing. So I don’t — I don’t know. I mean, he denies that it happened.”
  9. Giuliani smeared Clifford, calling her the “woman you saw on SNL last nite trying to make more money.” He also said, “I never thought $130k was a real payment. It’s a nuisance payment.”
  10. Giuliani also said Trump doesn’t need to comply with a subpoena from Mueller’s team, adding, “He’s the President of the United States. We can assert the same privileges other presidents have,” and said he wouldn’t rule out Trump asserting his Fifth Amendment right.
  11. Giuliani also said it was time for Rod Rosenstein to shut down the Mueller probe: “There’s no question that the amount of government misconduct is accumulating. I happen to believe it’s greater than anybody realizes.”
  12. Giuliani also said he can’t speak to whether Trump lied when he denied knowledge of the silencing agreement, adding, “But in any event, that’s not the crime.”
  13. On Sunday, Giuliani told CNN he is still getting up to speed on Trump’s legal situation two weeks later, adding “I am focused on the law more than the facts right now.”
  14. On Monday, Giuliani said Trump’s lawyers hope to decide by May 17, the one-year anniversary of Mueller’s appointment, whether Trump will testify in the Mueller probe. Trump’s lawyers remain divided.
  15. On Monday, Politico reported Trump had initially told aides he was bringing on Emmet Flood to replace Don McGahn, and did not want to lose Ty Cobb, who reportedly resigned in part because of the confusion over reporting lines.
  16. Reportedly, as Giuliani continues his media tour, and while they still speak daily, Trump is growing frustrated. Aides expect Trump to fire Giuliani if his behavior does not change.
  17. On Tuesday, AP reported Trump is annoyed Giuliani has reinvigorated the Clifford story and extended its lifespan. Concern has also been raised by the State Department and Pentagon that Giuliani is weighing in on foreign policy matters.
  18. On Monday, Trump suggested legal action is coming against Mueller’s team, tweeting, “The 13 Angry Democrats in charge of the Russian Witch Hunt are starting to find out that there is a Court System in place.”
  19. Trump accused the team of “unrevealed Conflicts of Interest!” without offering any proof. Several members of Mueller’s team have donated to Democrats. Mueller is a Republican appointed by George W. Bush, and Rosenstein was appointed by Trump.
  20. Trump also tweeted “Why is Peter S still there?” — referring to Strzok who remains at the FBI after Lisa Page resigned in Week 77. Trump again tweeted about the “Phony Witch Hunt” which he said will “wrongfully impacts the Mid-Term Elections.”
  21. On Monday, First Lady Melania Trump rolled out her first initiative, “Be Best,” which she said would tackle opioid abuse, social media pressures, and mental health issues for children. The link to “Be Best” website initially delivered an error message.
  22. Critics noted the similarities to a speech delivered by former First Lady Michelle Obama last year, urging men to “be better.”
  23. Critics also noted the similarities between the “Be Best” campaign materialand an educational booklet, “Talking With Kids About Being Online,” produced in the Obama-era by the Federal Trade Commission.
  24. On Tuesday, Trump announced he would withdraw from the Iran nuclear deal, despite pleas from our European allies. He called the agreement, “a great embarrassment to me as a citizen and all citizens of the United States.”
  25. Pence told Congress the US would no longer participate in the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), and would restore sanctions with 90- and 180-day wind-down periods.
  26. Former National Security Adviser H.R. McMaster and former Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, both pushed out by Trump, had been advocates for remaining in JCPOA. Bolton, the new NSA, has advocated for bombing Iran as recently as 2015.
  27. Iranian President Rouhani said he directed his country’s diplomats to negotiate with the Europeans, Russia, and China about remaining in the nuclear deal. Iran is ready to start unlimited uranium enrichment if negotiations fail.
  28. In a joint statement, Macron, Merkel and May expressed “regret and concern” over Trump’s decision, saying of JCPOA, “This agreement remains important for our shared security.”
  29. On Tuesday, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said the Boeing and Airbus licenses to replenish Iran’s aging fleet of commercial planes “will be revoked,” causing the companies to lose $39 billion in contracts.
  30. On Wednesday, the Agence France-Presse reported that Saudi Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir said Saudi Arabia will “do everything we can” to build nuclear weapons if regional rival Iran does the same.
  31. On Thursday, in a speech honoring French President Macron, German Chancellor Merkel said Europe can no longer rely on US protection, saying “Europe must take its destiny in its own hands.”
  32. Foreign Policy reported Richard Johnson, a career civil servant and one of the State Department’s top experts on nuclear proliferation, resigned this week after Trump withdrew from the Iran nuclear deal.
  33. The resignation is a part of a brain drain officials warn about across the government, and especially in the State Department. The office Johnson led has gone from seven full-time staffers when Trump took office to none.
  34. On Thursday, Iran’s supreme leader shared a photo of himself reading Michael Wolff’s “Fire and Fury” on Instagram. The photo was taken at this year’s Tehran International Book Fair.
  35. On Wednesday, Trump suggested pulling credentials from the media, citing a study by right-leaning Media Research Center which found 91% of media coverage of him was negative in 2018.
  36. Trump tweeted, “The Fake News is working overtime,” adding “91% of the Network News about me is negative (Fake),” insinuating negative news is fake news, and threatened, “Take away credentials?”
  37. Margaret Talev, President of the White House Correspondents Association tweeted in response, “A free press must be able to report on the good, the bad, the momentous and the mundane, without fear or favor,”
  38. Talev added that a leader “preventing a free and independent press from covering the workings of our republic would be an unconscionable assault on the First Amendment.”
  39. On Wednesday, press secretary Sanders defended Trump, saying the regime is “very committed to a free press,” citing her near-daily briefings. Sanders added, “At the same time, the press has a responsibility to put out accurate information.”
  40. On Wednesday, the Trump regime hosted a gathering of 52 military mothers and spouses for Mothers Day. Attendees were all white women, despite racial and ethnic minority groups making up roughly 40% of armed services, and women serving as well.
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“Ukraine stops investigating Manafort (who helped destroy their democracy, and maybe ours) in exchange for a missile shipment from Trump. Congrats America, we are now a global protection racket.”
  1. At the gathering, Trump claimed earlier this year he approved the first pay raises for service members in a decade. This claim is false: pay has increased every year for more than three decades.
  2. On Sunday, Rep. Devin Nunes threatened that he planned to urge lawmakers to hold Sessions with contempt of court for failing to hand over classified materials related to the Russia investigation.
  3. On Tuesday, WAPO reported that last Wednesday senior FBI and national intelligence officials relayed an urgent message to the White House that the information Nunes is seeking could endanger a top-secret intelligence source.
  4. Top White House officials and Trump backed the decision after being persuaded that Sessions turning over documents could risk lives by exposing the source, a US citizen who has provided intelligence to the CIA and FBI.
  5. The information however has been turned over to Mueller. Nunes reportedly vented his frustration Sunday when he threatened Sessions.Several officials are concerned Trump may shift to support Nunes.
  6. On Wednesday, CBS News reported the Justice Department invited Reps. Nunes and Trey Gowdy to a briefing Thursday on the classified information Nunes demanded in a subpoena last week.
  7. On Thursday, Speaker Paul Ryan said he supports Nunes’ request to review surveillance documents, saying, “This request is perfectly appropriate.”
  8. On Thursday, after the private meeting, Nunes backed away from his open confrontation with the Justice Department after senior intelligence officials said they could not give him top-secret information about an intelligence source who aided Mueller.
  9. On Saturday, NYT reported that since the House Republicans issued their report finding no collusion between Trump and Russia in Week 76, Nunes’ committee has turned their attention from investigation to investigators.
  10. Top officials at the Justice Department are increasingly concerned that Nunes and Republican lawmakers are mining government secrets to weaponize against those investigating Trump, including Mueller.
  11. Nunes’ relationship with the Justice Department has so eroded that Speaker Ryan suggested Rep. Gowdy accompany Nunes on Thursday to help keep the meeting civil.
  12. AP reported that Mueller’s team has questioned Tom Barrack, one of Trump’s closest friends and confidants over decades, about possible coordination between the Trump campaign and Russia in the 2016 election.
  13. The interview, which reportedly happened months ago, focused on Paul Manafort and Rick Gates, and included financial matters about the campaign, the transition, and Trump’s inauguration.
  14. On Sunday, WSJ reported that Democrats on the House Intelligence Committee are planning to publicly release 3,000 Facebook ads bought by Kremlin-linked Internet Research Agency (IRA).
  15. On Thursday the IRA ads were released. Some 3.7 million users clicked on the ads, and they were seen by over 33 million users, according to Facebook statistics. IRA spent $100,000 on the ads. Trump has yet to acknowledge Russian interference in the 2016 election.
  16. On Tuesday, NPR reported the US voting system is still vulnerable to cyberattacks six months ahead of midterms. Much of the process — registering to vote, finding the polling place, checking in, and voting — is still digital.
  17. The Department of Homeland Security said Russian hackers targeted 21 states in 2016. Hackers did break in to the registration system in Illinois, and stole the username and password of an election official in Arizona.
  18. On Wednesday, Politico reported Bolton is pushing to eliminate the top White House cybersecurity job, at a time the US faces growing digital threats. The role is currently held by Rob Joyce, who is departing.
  19. On Tuesday, Senate Intelligence Committee chair Richard Burr said he hoped to wrap up the committee’s Russia probe in August, with a handful of witnesses left to interview and a number of interim reports to prepare.
  20. On Tuesday, Dutch attorney Alex van der Zwaan become the first person convicted in the Mueller probe to go to prison. His projected release date is June 4.
  21. On Friday, UK’s Electoral Commission fined Leave.EU £77,380 for breaches of election law in the 2016 EU referendum, and referred Leave.EU’s chief executive Liz Bilney to the police for “serious offenses.”
  22. On Thursday, Giuliani said Trump’s new lawyers have not held a lengthy prep session with Trump for a potential interview with Mueller’s team. Giuliani also said real negotiations about an interview are not happening.
  23. On Friday, in an interview with AP, Giuliani said Trump and his legal team will not decide whether Trump will agree to be interviewed by Muelleruntil after Trump’s summit with North Korea’s Kim Jong Un on June 12.
  24. Giuliani said he did not expect Mueller to interview Ivanka, Donald Jr., Eric, or Kushner, adding “our understanding is that he’s pretty much finished,” and that Trump is “basically the last witness.”
  25. On Tuesday, Rachel Crooks, who alleges Trump kissed her without her consent when she was working as a receptionist in Trump Tower in 2006, secured her primary bid for state office in Ohio.
  26. In Tuesday’s primaries, women candidates won 17 of 20 Democratic races for open seats. Women donors have also set a new record, accounting for 31% of all monies going to House candidates, up from 27% in 2014.
  27. On Monday, New York AG Eric Schneiderman resigned after he was accused of physically abusing four women in an article published by The New Yorker. Trump had tweeted in 2013 on Schneiderman, “ Wait and see, worse than Spitzer or Weiner.”
  28. On Friday, Peter Gleason, who represented two additional alleged victims of Schneiderman, in a letter urged Judge Kimba Wood for an order to protect any records Cohen might have concerning their discussion of the women.
  29. On Tuesday, Stephanie Clifford’s attorney Michael Avenatti released a 7-page executive summary detailing payments to Essential Consultants, LLC, the entity established in October 2016 to make the hush payment to Clifford.
  30. Cohen set up an account at First Republic Bank in October 2016. In setting up the account, Cohen made certain representations that were false, constituting bank fraud. From October 2016 to January 2018 Cohen used the First Republic to engage in $4,425,033 of suspicious transactions.
  31. Essential received approximately $500,000 in eight payments from Russian oligarch, Viktor Vekselberg and his cousin Andrew Intrater through a company named Columbus Nova between January and August 2017. In Week 77, Vekselberg was interviewed by Mueller’s team.
  32. Intrater is the CEO of Columbus Nova, which was listed on the website of the Renova Group, a Russian asset management company, as one of its “companies” until November 2017. Renova’s website is currently listed as “under construction.”
  33. Intrater made several political donations, including $29,600 to the Republican National Committee in June 2017, $35,000 to the Trump Victory PAC in June 2017, and $250,000 to the Trump Inauguration Fund.
  34. Essential also received four payments of $99,980 each from Novartis from late 2017 to early 2018. Following these payments, Trump took a dinner meeting with the incoming Novartis CEO in Davos in late January 2018.
  35. Essential also received four payments of $50,000 from AT&T in late 2017 to early 2018. Essential also received a payment of $150,000 from Korea Aerospace Industries on November 27, 2017.
  36. Cohen also received, through Essential and/or Michael D. Cohen & Associates, at least $187,500 from Elliott Broidy.
  37. On Tuesday evening, AT&T confirmed it paid Cohen’s company $200,000 in four transactions, saying he “did no legal or lobbying work for us, and the contract ended in December 2017.” AT&T asserted Cohen provided information about what made Trump tick.
  38. On Wednesday, Giuliani told TIME that Trump told him Tuesday night thathe does not know anything about payments from Vekselberg. But when asked about AT&T and Novartis, Giuliani said, “I have no idea. I doubt it.”
  39. On Wednesday, press secretary Sanders when asked about Avenatti’s allegations for Cohen selling access to Trump, responded, “I haven’t heard the president express any specific concerns about that.”
  40. Giuliani also said Trump’s legal team is confident that Mueller does not believe that Trump had a role in the transactions, saying, “He was good on it. Nobody’s concerned about it. It doesn’t involve us.”
  41. Later Wednesday, Giuliani told Bloomberg on the payments to Cohen,Trump “was unaware of this,” adding, Trump “is not involved in any respect. It’s a dead issue as far as I’m concerned.”
  42. On Wednesday, CNN reported Mueller’s team questioned Vekselberg, chairman of Renova Group, about payments made by the US subsidiary, Columbus Nova, to Cohen and Trump’s campaign and inaugural fund.
  43. Vekselberg was questioned about Intrater’s $300,000 in political donations to Trump. Intrater was also questioned in the Mueller probe. Vekselberg is under US sanction as of last month for actions including interfering in the 2016 election, so can no longer travel to the US.

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  1. In a statement, Columbus Nova said the company is “solely owned and controlled by Americans.” Cohen’s attorney has said Cohen has seven clients, but did not specify if Columbus Nova is one.
  2. Vekselberg, who attended Trump’s inauguration, this week attended the inauguration for Putin’s fourth term.
  3. On Friday, NPR reported that the FBI cautioned four years ago that a foundation controlled by Vekselberg, the Skolkovo Foundation, might have been acting on behalf of Russia’s intelligence services.
  4. In April 2014, FBI Assistant Special Agent in Charge Lucia Ziobro wrote a column warning Vekselberg’s foundation may be part of a Moscow spying campaign seeking to siphon up American science and technology.
  5. On Wednesday, ProPublica reported Marc Kasowitz, Trump’s personal lawyer, also represented Columbus Nova in recent years in a commercial case. A spokesperson for Kasowitz said the case settled in early 2017.
  6. Kasowitz’s work for Columbus Nova stretches back to at least 2010. ProPublica also reported that Cohen spent a short period in February 2017 working at the offices of Kasowitz Benson Torres in midtown Manhattan
  7. On Wednesday, AT&T and Novartis both said they asked for information by Mueller’s team in November 2017 about their relationship with Essential Consulting. Both companies said they fully cooperated.
  8. On Wednesday, AT&T said it paid Cohen $600,000 (not $200,000), composed of a year’s payment of $50,000 per month, as part of a consulting contract to get insight into Trump’s thinking.
  9. On Wednesday, STAT reported that Cohen pitched himself to Novartis’ then-chief executive officer Joe Jimenez in early 2017, promising help gaining access to Trump and influential officials in the new regime.
  10. On Wednesday, Novartis issued a statement, saying the company had paid Cohen’s Essential Consultants $100,000 per month ($1.2 million total) for advice on how Trump would approach US health-care policy.
  11. Novartis said a month after signing the deal, executives met with Cohen and he “would be unable to provide the services that Novartis had anticipated.” The contract expired on February 2018.
  12. On Wednesday, the Treasury Department inspector general said it is investigating whether Suspicious Activity Reports on Cohen’s banking transactions were “improperly disseminated” to Avenatti.
  13. On Wednesday, WAPO reported Columbus Nova is listed as the owner of several websites targeted toward white nationalists, including Alt-right.co, Alternate-right.com, Alternate-rt.com, Alt-rite.com and others, created during the 2016 election.
  14. Intrater’s brother Frederick, who is a design manager at Columbus Nova, is also named alongside the company on the registration for the websites. Frederick claimed he was not acting on behalf of Columbus Nova, although he used his company email address.
  15. On Thursday, WAPO reported that according to documents obtained, the $600,000 payment by AT&T was part of a deal for Cohen to provide advice on the $85 billion merger with Time Warner.
  16. On Friday, AT&T issued a memo saying it did not hire Cohen to lobby on its behalf. AT&T’s CEO Randall Stephenson wrote in the memo, “our past association with Cohen was a serious misjudgment.”
  17. Also in the memo, Bob Quinn, AT&T’s head lobbyist who oversaw the hiring of Cohen, announced he is retiring. Two sources familiar with the situation told Reuters Quinn was forced to retire.
  18. On Friday, Giuliani escalated his battle with Avenatti, telling Business Insider he wouldn’t debate Avenatti as offered, because “I don’t get involved with pimps.
  19. Avenatti responded, tweeting “Hey Rudy — It turns out I’m not the only “pimp” you have experience with,” along with a video from Independent UK showing Giuliani dressed in drag while being seduced by Trump.
  20. On Friday, Avenatti tweeted, “Why was Mr. Cohen paying Demeter Direct Inc. in Los Angeles large sums of money from his Essential Consultants LLC account? Keep attacking me Mr. Giuliani and @foxnews.”
  21. On Friday, CNN reported Mark Ko, the head of a company called Demeter Direct, served as a middle person between Cohen and Korea Aerospace Industries. Ko said, “The payment was all legal based on the contract.”
  22. On Friday, WSJ reported Cohen had also made an overture to provide consulting services to Ford Motor Co. in January 2017, but was quickly rejected. Cohen had touted his proximity to Trump.
  23. Mueller’s team has since requested information from Ford about Cohen’s outreach including emails and records, and has interviewed Ford’s head of government affairs, Ziad Ojakli, who was the recipient of Cohen’s pitch.
  24. On Friday, Giuliani told HuffPost that Cohen never spoke with Trump about his big-dollar clients, saying “Whatever lobbying was done didn’t reach the president.”
  25. To offer proof, Giuliani admitted AT&T’s planned merger with Time Warner did not go through because of Trump, “ He did drain the swamp …The president denied the merger. They didn’t get the result they wanted.”
  26. On Saturday, Giuliani attempted to backtrack in the morning, telling CNN “He told me directly he didn’t interfere.” The White House also issued a statement saying, “The Department of Justice denied the deal.”
  27. On Thursday, Trump greeted three Americans freed from North Korean prison, two who were imprisoned while he was in office, at an air base in Maryland along with Melania, Pence, and Pompeo when they arrived at 3 a.m.
  28. Hours before the freed Americans arrived, Trump said in a cabinet meeting that “everyone thinks” he deserves the Nobel Peace Prize for their release, adding “But I would never say it. The prize I want is victory for the world.”
  29. As Trump boarded Marine One back to the White House, he told reporters,“I think you probably broke the all-time in history television rating for 3 o’clock in the morning.”
  30. On Thursday, at a rally in Elkhart, Indiana with Pence, Trump got cheers from the crowd when he said he deserves an “extension” of his presidency past 8 years.
  31. Trump then tried to walk back the comment, saying the media would be “happy” when he is no longer in office, but that, “When I’m not here, their ratings are going to sink.”
  32. On Wednesday, NRATV host Dan Bongino warned that Trump will be impeached if Republicans lose the House in the midterms, urging his viewers, “It’s time for us to protect the crown.”
  33. On Thursday, a day after Sen. McCain opposed Haspel’s nomination, retired Air Force Lt. Gen. Thomas McInerney supported the use of torture on Fox Business, saying, “it worked on John. That’s why they call him ‘Songbird John.’”
  34. On Thursday, Kelly Sadler, a special assistant in the White House, said of McCain during a discussion among the White House communications staffers about Haspel’s nomination, “It doesn’t matter, he’s dying anyway.
  35. The White House refused to apologize for comments by Sadler, who showed up for work Friday. Sanders told reporters, “I’m not going to validate a leak one way or the other out of an internal staff meeting.”
  36. ABC News reported at a staff meeting Friday, Sanders called Sadler’s comment “unacceptable,” but was more upset about the leaks. Sadler apologized to Meghan McCain, but is not expected to be fired.
  37. On Friday, former Vice President Joe Biden, whose son died from the same type of brain cancer as McCain was diagnosed with, said, “People have wondered when decency would hit rock bottom with this administration. It happened yesterday.”
  38. On Thursday, on NBC’s “Today” show, parroting Trump, Pence said that one year in it’s time to end the Mueller probe: “we’ve fully cooperated…I think it’s time to wrap it up.”
  39. On Thursday, Kelly told NPR of the Mueller probe, “Something that has gone on this long without any real meat on the bone, it suggests to me that there is nothing there, relative to our president.”
  40. Kelly also said Trump was “somewhat embarrassed, frankly” about the Russia probe, and that he and Trump have “a close relationship” and spend up to eight hours a day together.
  41. On Thursday, NYT reported Department of Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen told colleagues she almost resigned after Trump berated her in a lengthy tirade in front of his entire cabinet Wednesday for her failure to adequately secure the nation’s borders.
  42. One persistent issue which has upset Trump is Nielsen resisting his direction that parents be separated from their children when crossing illegally as a way to deter immigration.
  43. Nielsen, a Kelly protege, had drafted a resignation letter, but had not submitted it. One person close to Nielsen said she is miserable in the job. Trump reportedly views her with suspicion because she worked for years for George W. Bush.
  44. As Pruitt and Nielsen and Kelly have all been rumored to fired or resign, NPR reported Trump has already had more Cabinet turnover in his first term than any US leader in the past 100 years.
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“Elephants take a long time to decompose… and the stench can be unbearable.”
  1. Politico reported that based on a report it obtained, the first stage of a multibillion-dollar military-VA digital health program championed by Kushner was so riddled with problems it could have led to patient deaths.
  2. The Pentagon’s evaluation lists 156 “critical” or “severe” incident reports with the potential to result in patient deaths. The program’s price tag was $20 billion, and was designed to address problems with military and veteran health care.
  3. On Friday, Trump laid out his strategy to reduce prescription drug prices, but in a break from one of his most popular campaign promises, dropped his call for Medicare to negotiate lower prices with drug manufacturers.
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“And let’s not kid ourselves… rotting donkeys stink too.”

POLITIKS OF GRAFFITI 63: “THIS ONE IS BROKEN”

Week 62 of this presidency: Experts in authoritarianism advise to keep a list of things subtly changing around you, so you’ll remember.

January 20, 2018 https://medium.com/@Amy_Siskind/week-62-experts-in-authoritarianism-advise-to-keep-a-list-of-things-subtly-changing-around-you-so-e261e4c56fab

Trump marked his one-year anniversary in office with a government shutdown, the first shutdown in history when a single party is in control of the House, Senate, and White House. Trump’s erratic behavior and fluid positions on issues were fuel on the flames of a country and Congress torn and divided. Conversely, the anniversary of the Women’s March celebrated millions marching in 250 cities across the country, and marked a record number of women running for office and becoming politically involved.

This week new evidence emerged of Russia’s effort to financially support Trump’s 2016 campaign, while the Mueller probe engulfed more Trump insiders quoted in Wolff’s book. With all the noise and chaos, it was again easy to miss the continued dismantling of our federal agencies, and disappearing rules and protections for women and marginalized communities.

The art featured in this week’s post is by Jim Carrey, a multi-talented, “WOKE” human. Three more brilliant pieces are featured at the bottom of this, unfortunately, extensive list: 

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  1. In Week 61 a false missile warning was sent to Hawaiians on Saturday. At the time, Trump was golfing at Trump International Golf Club in West Palm Beach, and was informed within minutes while having lunch.
  2. Residents and visitors of Hawaii were not informed it was a false alarm for 38 minutes, despite state officials and Trump knowing within minutes.Frantic messages between loved ones show “goodbyes”, and “I love yous”.
  3. Trump made no mention of the incident on Saturday, instead tweeting about “fake news” and the Wolff book. On Sunday evening, Trump told the press, “Well, that was a state thing…I love that they took responsibility.”
  4. Politico reported the erroneous alert sent the White House scrambling, and raised concern about the regime’s preparedness. The regime has not yet tested a formal plan for how to respond to a domestic missile attack.
  5. On Tuesday, Japanese public broadcaster NHK issued an apology after the company’s app issued a false alert saying North Korea had likely launched a ballistic missile, warning, “evacuate inside the building or underground.”
  6. On Saturday, press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders tweeted a meme, “Fake news is at it again!” accusing the Wall Street Journal of misquoting Trump. The Journal quoted Trump as saying, “I probably have a good relationship with Kim Jong Un.”
  7. Late Saturday, the WSJ released the tape of the interview via a tweet. The Journal stated they have reviewed the audio “as well as the transcript provided by an external service, and stand by what we reported.”
  8. On Sunday morning, Trump attacked the WSJ, tweeting, “Obviously I didn’t say that,” and in a second tweet, “and they knew exactly what I said and meant. They just wanted a story. FAKE NEWS!”
  9. On Sunday, the WSJ issued a statement, again refuting Trump and saying the Journal stands by what was reported.
  10. Trump also said in the WSJ interview that he “should get credit for firing” James Comey, saying “it turned out I was right” because “many things have been found out about Comey” since his departure.
  11. Dozens of refugees from Puerto Rico who came to Connecticut after Hurricane Maria are set to be evicted from hotels by FEMA, after the agency said their homes back on the island are “habitable,” so they should go back.
  12. The Detroit Free Press reported after 30 years in the US, 40 year-old Jorge Garcia, a husband and father, was deported to Mexico. Garcia has no criminal record, not even a traffic ticket, and paid his taxes every year.
  13. Economic Policy Institute said if Trump’s Department of Labor proposed rule allowing employers to pocket tips so long as they pay minimum wagegoes into effect, women workers would lose $4.6 billion, 80% of the $5.8 billion lost.
  14. Politico reported Trump’s Department of Health and Human Services is planning to expand “conscience” protections for those who do not want to perform abortions or treat transgender patients based on their gender identity on the basis of moral objections.
  15. Intercept reported on a prosecutor in Whatcom County, Washington who sought a warrant to get Facebook to disclose names of anti-pipeline activists. The first two attempts were fought and won by the ACLU and Facebook.
  16. Facebook advised the prosecutor to seek formal guidance from the Department of Justice, and on the third request, using a DOJ template, the prosecutor was successful in obtaining a warrant and gained access tomessages to and from the page and a list of everyone “invited” to the protest event.
  17. Simon Edelman, a photographer for the Department of Energy, was fired after leaking a photo of Secretary Rick Perry embracing Robert Murray, CEO of Murray Energy, at private meeting. Edelman is seeking whistleblower protections.
  18. According to a report released by Gallup, the number of Americans without health insurance grew by 1.3%, the biggest increase since 2008, as 3.2 million Americans went uninsured during Trump’s first year.
  19. The House unveiled a bipartisan landmark sexual assault bill under which taxpayers would no longer pay for sexual harassment settlements in cases involving members of Congress, and victims would have more rights and resources when filing a complaint.
  20. An employee of the Agriculture Department anonymously issued a statement saying the USDA is being dismantled from within, citing talent flow are retiring or quitting, and positions on the front lines going unfilled.
  21. Betsy DeVos’s Education Department awarded two companies with contracts to collect overdue student loans, including Performant Financial, a company with ties to DeVos. The contracts are worth hundreds of millions.
  22. Reuters reported Simon Henshaw, a top US diplomat in charge of refugee issues resigned, becoming the third State Department senior official to depart or be reassigned from refugee work in recent weeks.
  23. McClatchy reported the unexpected departure of top ranked diplomat John Feeley sent shock waves through the State Department. Sixty percent of top-ranking career diplomats have left, and staffers wonder who will leave next.
  24. Staffers said the departure caused them reassess their commitment to a regime they feel is undercutting the department’s work and US influence in the world. New applications to join the foreign service have fallen by half.
  25. The New York Times reported that under the Trump regime, which has embraced corporate interests, the uranium mining industry is making a renewed push into areas of the Grand Canyon and Utah’s Bears Ears National Monument.
  26. Mining companies lobbied Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke extensively to shrink Utah’s national monuments, which the regime did in Week 56. Abandoned mines have already left a toxic legacy in these areas, included tainted groundwater.
  27. On Wednesday, 10 of the 12 members of the National Park Service advisory board resigned. In May 2017, Zinke suspended all outside committees while he reviewed their work. No meetings have taken place.
  28. The resignations leave the federal government without a body to designate national historic and natural landmarks, and again illustrates the extent to which the Trump regime has marginalized federal advisory boards.
  29. Trump’s Environmental Protection Agency, in a shift from past practices, is “streamlining” the safety review of new chemicals. Experts and advocates warn the regime is skipping important steps to “protect the public from hazardous chemicals.”
  30. The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, now under Mick Mulvaney’s leadership, is considering repealing of a key set of rules enacted last year which protect consumers against predatory payday lenders.
  31. WSJ reported, citing funding cuts, the CDC plans to scale back or halt its work to prevent infectious-disease epidemics and other health threats in 39 foreign countries, narrowing their work down from 49 to 10 countries.
  32. Politico reported Teresa Manning, the anti-birth control official who led Trump’s HHS Title X federal family planning program, was fired last Friday. Manning maintains she resigned.
  33. On Thursday, Trump appointee Carl Higbie resigned as chief of external affairs for the volunteer service organization after CNN unearthed racist, sexist, anti-Muslim, and anti-LGBTQ comments he made on radio shows.
  34. The Washington Post reported Trump has yet to put forth a nominee for 245 of the 633 key roles in the executive branch which require Senate confirmation, including the role of ambassador to South Korea.
  35. On Sunday, conservative columnist Erick Erickson tweeted Trump called friends to brag about his “shithole” countries remark, adding according to one friend, Trump “thought it would play well with the base.”
  36. On Sunday talk shows, Sens. Tom Cotton and David Perdue changed their recollection of not recalling Trump’s comments in Week 61, to aggressively going after Senator Dick Durbin for “gross misrepresentation,” saying the words were not spoken.
  37. On Sunday, Department of Homeland Security secretary Kirstjen Nielsen, told “Fox News Sunday” that she did not recall Trump “saying that exact phrase,” adding Trump “will continue to use strong language” because he feels “very passionate about immigration.”
  38. On Sunday evening, Trump again denied the “shithole” countries remark to reporters, saying “I’m not a racist,” and “I am the least racist person you have ever interviewed, that I can tell you.”
  39. On Monday, Trump attacked Durbin, branding him as “Dicky Durbin” and saying Durbin “misrepresented what was said at the DACA meeting.”
  40. On Monday, Martin Luther King Jr. Day, Trump went golfing and held no public events. Past US leaders from both parties have done some form of community service to commemorate King’s life of service.
  41. On Monday, in a slight towards Cotton and Purdue, Sen. Lindsey Graham said “My memory hasn’t evolved. I know what was said and I know what I said.”
  42. On Monday, WaPo reported on the past Thursday meeting on immigration. On a 10:15 a.m. call with Durbin, Trump expressed pleasure and was on board with Durbin and Graham’s bipartisan immigration pact.
  43. When Durbin and Graham arrived at the White House at noon, Trump was surrounded by immigration hardliners and was “fired up.” Trump said he was not interested in the bipartisan plan, and started his racist rant.
  44. On Tuesday, Trump tweeted, based on a “Fox & Friends” segment, that his approval ratings with Black Americans has doubled and unemployment for Black Americans is the lowest ever. The approval statement is false, and unemployment for Black Americans has been declining since 2011.
  45. On Tuesday, Nielsen testified before the Senate Judiciary Committee and was pressed by Democrats. She told Durbin she remembered just “general profanity.” Sen. Cory Booker told Nielsen her silence and amnesia are “complicity.”
  46. A Quinnipiac poll found American voters say 58–35 percent that Trump’s alleged comments on immigrants are racist. Americans disapprove 57–38 of the job Trump is doing.
  47. On Saturday, the Trump regime’s US Citizenship and Immigration Services, following a federal court order in Week 61, resumed accepting requests to renew a grant of deferred action under DACA.
  48. On Tuesday, the Trump’s DOJ said it would take the rare step of asking the Supreme Court to overturn the federal judge’s DACA ruling and allow the regime to phase out DACA, beginning in March.
  49. On Tuesday, Jeff Sessions told Fox News’ Tucker Carlson that a “good nation” does not admit immigrants who are “illiterate” and have “no skills.” Sessions also criticized Graham for reciting Emma Lazarus’ poem inscribed on the pedestal of the Statue of Liberty.
  50. On Wednesday, Trump’s chief of staff John Kelly told Democratic lawmakers that Trump’s hard-line immigration policies were “uninformed,” and the US would never construct a wall and that Mexico would never pay for it.
  51. On Thursday, Trump took to Twitter to push back on Kelly’s remarks, saying NAFTA was “a bad joke,” and saying a reworked trade deal would make Mexico pay for his wall “directly or indirectly.”
  52. On Thursday, GOP Rep. Scott Perry falsely claimed on Tucker Carlson’s show that ISIS was behind the Las Vegas shooting, based he said on what he “believed” to be “credible evidence.”
  53. Corey Lewandowski said he would voluntarily appear before the House Intelligence Committee this week for the committee’s Russian investigation. On Tuesday, he hired lawyer Peter Chavkin, of Mintz Levin, to represent him.
  54. On Tuesday, NYT reported Steve Bannon was subpoenaed last week by Mueller, the first grand jury subpoena to a member of Trump’s inner circle. Bannon was cast aside by the Trump regime and Breitbart in Week 61.
  55. The subpoena was issued shortly after Wolff’s book, quoting Bannon, was released. NYT reported the subpoena may be a sign Bannon is not a targetof the Mueller probe since the DOJ rarely allows targets to be subpoenaed.
  56. On Tuesday, Bannon went before the House Intelligence Committee behind closed doors. WaPo reported that Mueller subpoenaing Bannon before he spoke to Congress may have been a way to cement his cooperation.
  57. Bannon arrived on Tuesday without documents and refused to answer questions about conversations. Bannon’s attorney William Burck said the White House had told Bannon not to respond, “executive privilege belongs to the President of the United States. It’s not Mr. Bannon’s right to waive it.”
  58. The House then issued a subpoena, but Bannon still refused to cooperate. Bannon spent more than 10 hours behind closed doors, and will be called back. As per Week 61, Burck also represents McGahn and Priebus.
  59. Late Tuesday, the Daily Beast reported according to sources, although Bannon is not cooperating with the House Intelligence Committee, he will tell all to Mueller. The House subpoena was issued by Trump ally Devin Nunes.
  60. Bloomberg reported Don McGahn’s office was deeply involved with instructing Burck on which questions Bannon could answer, raising questions of conflicts with McGahn’s role as a witness and Burck representing him.
  61. On Wednesday, chief of staff Kelly told Fox News that the White House didn’t urge Bannon to invoke executive privilege, saying, “Steve has had very, very little contact with the White House since he left.”
  62. On Wednesday, Reps. Michael Conaway and Adam Schiff instructed Bannon to return on Thursday. Burck responded the committee did not give Bannon sufficient time to prepare and to complete discussions with the White House.
  63. The committee then proposed an alternative date for Bannon to return on January 29. Bannon has yet to agree to that date.
  64. Foreign Policy reported Trump made the decision to curtail Bannon’s testimony to the House citing executive privilege based on legal advice from deputy White House counsel Uttam Dhillon. This privilege will not extend to Mueller.
  65. NBC News reported FBI agents visited Bannon’s home last week to serve him with a subpoena to testify before a grand jury as part of the Trump-Russia probe. This indicates Mueller still has a grand jury empaneled.
  66. The agents were unaware Bannon had retained Burck hours earlier. The agents then served Burck. Bannon could be interviewed by Mueller’s team before the end of the month.
  67. Axios reported Bannon made one important slip up in his House testimony, when he admitted he’d had conversations with Reince Priebus, Sean Spicer, and former legal spokesman Mark Corallo about Donald Jr.’s Trump Tower meeting with Russians.
  68. Politico reported Corallo, who is mentioned in Wolff’s book, hired attorneys Victoria Toensing and Joseph diGenova ahead of possible being called in by Mueller’s team.
  69. Corallo spent a two-month stint on Trump’s legal team, and resigned in July 2017. Wolff’s book speculates Corallo quit in part over Trump’s role in crafting Don Jr.’s statement on the June 9 meeting.
  70. AP reported that the White House’s contention is that “pretty much everything is off limits” until Trump says it’s not. This week the House Intelligence Committee also interviewed Trump insiders Lewandowski, Rick Dearborn, and Hope Hicks.
  71. BuzzFeed reported Mueller’s team is investigating transactions marked as “suspicious activity” by Citibank, which handles Russian embassy accounts, which were sent to the US Treasury’s financial crimes unit.
  72. Included in the unusual activity was a $120,000 payment to Sergey Kislyak ten days after the election, and an attempt to withdraw $150,000 from the Russian embassy account five days after Trump’s inauguration.
  73. On Thursday, McClatchy reported the FBI is investigating whether Alexander Torshin, a top Russian banker with ties to Putin, illegally funneled money to the NRA to help Trump win the 2016 election.
  74. The NRA spent a record $55 million in 2016, including $30 million to Trump, three times what the group donated to Romney in 2012. Most was spent by an arm of the NRA which is not required to disclose donors.
  75. Torshin has ties to organized crime, and has been implicated of money laundering in Spain. Per Week 53, Torshin tried to arrange a meeting with Trump through Jared Kushner, but instead sat with Donald Jr. at a NRA dinner.
  76. On Thursday, the House Intelligence Committee released testimony by Glenn Simpson, founder of Fusion GPS. Much of the information overlaps with the Senate testimony release in Week 61, but there is additional detail,
  77. Simpson testified that he believes Trump’s golf courses in Scotland and Ireland may have been financed by illicit Russian money, something Eric Trump discussed in a radio interview with WBUR, then later denied.
  78. Simpson also singled out Trump properties in Panama and Toronto where Russian mafia figures were listed as buyers. Simpson said Russia’s mafia is under the dominion of the Russian government and Russian intelligence.
  79. Simpson said the Russian government had “infiltrated” the NRA via Torshin, and other conservative organizations to influence the US election. Ironically Simpson said, Putin is not in favor of universal gun ownership.
  80. Yahoo News reported that hacking group Shadow Brokers, which leaked hacked classified NSA manuals, very likely used Kaspersky software to exfiltrate the documents as part of a Russian intelligence operation.
  81. A status hearing for George Papadopoulos, who has pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI and is cooperating in the Mueller probe, was postponed for up to 90 days, an indication the probe will stay active at least until spring.
  82. German monthly Manager Magazin reported Deutsche Bank could have information about suspicious money transfers by Kushner and Kushner Companies. Deutsche Bank has submitted the suspicious information to the Federal Financial Supervisory Authority for Germany, BaFin.
  83. Politico reported the criminal trial for Paul Manafort and Rick Gates is likely to start in September, just before the midterm elections. The judge admonished Gates for an event where lobbyists said Mueller’s team was “very unfair.”
  84. Trump attorney Ty Cobb revised his timing of when Mueller would complete the special counsel probe, saying it will be wrapped up in 4 to 6 weeks. Cobb also speculated the investigation will ultimately be immaterial.
  85. Daily News reported Omarosa Manigault-Newman may have taped West Wing conversations, and now fears being subject to the Mueller probe. A source said the WH cell phone ban was due to Omarosa’s history of recording conversations.
  86. A new poll by PBS Newshour, NPR, and Marist found that 42% of Americans have not heard of Mueller. Whether they know him or not, two-thirds of Americans want his team to be able to finish the investigation.
  87. Tristan Harris, a former Facebook manager told NBC News Facebook, which put profits ahead of users, is a “living, breathing crime scene” for the 2016 election,” adding, “only they have full access to what happened.”
  88. On Friday, Twitter announced as part of their efforts towards transparency following Congressional hearings, 677,775 people in the US were notified they had followed, tweeted or liked content from a Russia-linked bots.
  89. Twitter also updated the number of Russia-linked bots involved in US election interference to over 50,000, and raised the number associated with Kremlin-linked Internet Research Agency from 1,000 to 3,800.
  90. Laurence Fink, CEO of BlackRock, which manages $6 trillion in investments, said he would be informing public companies they need to contribute to society, not just make profits, for BlackRock to support them.
  91. On Monday, the WSJ reported that in early 2017, US counterintelligence told Kushner that Wendi Deng Murdoch could be using her relationship with Ivanka to further the interests of the Chinese government.
  92. Kushner and Ivanka emerged as important contact points within the Trump regime for the Chinese government in early 2017. Both Kushner Companies and Ivanka’s brand have continuing business ties to China.
  93. Rep. Elijah Cummings is pushing House Oversight Committee chair Trey Gowdy to subpoena the WH for documents related to Flynn and Kushner’s security clearance. Cummings questions why their clearances were not suspended.
  94. NBC News reported watchdog group Public Citizen, in a report titled “Presidency for Sale,” analyzed monies spent at Trump properties during 2017 in order to curry favor with the president, raising concerns of conflicts of interest.
  95. The report cited four foreign governments, 16 special interest groups, and 35 Republican congressional campaign committees spent money at Trump properties in 2017. The biggest spender was Saudi Arabia.
  96. Documents obtained by conservative watchdog group Judicial Watch show Trump spent an additional $3.2 million since June on flights to his properties, bringing the total money spent on Trump travel to $15.5 million.
  97. Miami Herald reported a November inspection of Mar-a-Lago turned up two priority lodging violations which could pose a “significant threat to the public health” and 15 violations in the club’s two main kitchens.
  98. Bloomberg reported that Wolff got access to the White House by pitching a sympathetic view of Trump’s first 100 days. In the inexperienced White House , almost everyone who spoke to him thought someone else had approved it.
  99. On Tuesday, Trump hosted Nursultan Nazarbayev, the president of Kazakhstan, at the White House. Nazarbayev has been accused of committing human rights violations and cracking down on political opposition.
  100. At a press conference with the two leaders, Trump ordered CNN’s Jim Acosta, “Out!” after Acosta peppered Trump with questions about which immigrants Trump would let in: “Just Caucasian or white countries, sir?”
  101. On Wednesday, Sen. Jeff Flake delivered a speech on the Senate floor about Trump’s attacks on the press and the truth. Flake said Trump’s lies have eroded “trust in our vital institution.”
  102. Flake compared Trump’s rhetoric towards the media to that of Joseph Stalin, citing his repeated use of “enemy of the people,” and adding “the free press is the guardian of democracy.”
  103. Flake also criticized his colleagues for not standing up to Trump, saying “a Congress that fails to act as a check on the president adds to the danger.”
  104. Also on Wednesday, Flake’s fellow Arizona senator, John McCain, penned an op-ed telling Trump to stop attacking the press, saying Trump’s rhetoric is providing cover for regimes around the world to crack down on free press.
  105. McCain cited the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) data showing 2017 was “one of the most dangerous years to be a journalist.” CPJ also documented 21 journalists were jailed on “fake news” charges in 2017.
  106. That evening, Trump launched what was, according to him, his “Highly-Anticipated 2017 Fake News Awards,” which he tweeted were selected to single out “the most corrupt & biased of the Mainstream Media.”
  107. Trump chose to launch his awards on the Republican National Committee website, which proceeded to crash with the incoming traffic. The website finally came back online a little over an hour later.
  108. CNN reported that Trump has used the word “fake” — “fake news,” “fake polls,” “fake media,” and “fake stories” — as an insult more than 400 timessince taking office, averaging more than once per day.
  109. On Thursday, in lieu of normal editorial page content, the NYT editorial board devoted the page entirely to letters from Trump supporters.
  110. The owner of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, a Trump ally, ordered the paper to run an editorial defending Trump from charges of racism. The move sparked outrage in a city where Hillary won 75% of the vote.
  111. CNN reported that a Fox News reporters, Diana Falzone, had filed a story about the alleged sexual relationship between Trump and Stephanie Clifford in October 2016, but executives at Fox News killed it. Clifford uses the stage name “Stormy Daniels.”
  112. WSJ reported Trump lawyer Michael Cohen used a private Delaware company, Essential Consultants LLC, established on October 17, 2016, to make the $130,000 payment to Stephanie Clifford cited in Week 61.
  113. Cohen listed himself as the “authorized person” for the company, rather than hiring a lawyer or an agent, a tactic used to obscure identity. Clifford was identified as “Peggy Peterson” in the agreement to hide her identity.
  114. Cohen had planned to use a Delaware company called Resolution Consultants LLC, created September 30, to make the payment. On the morning he created Essential, he dissolved Resolution two minutes later.
  115. Mother Jones reported that during a series of sexual and romantic encounters between Stephanie Clifford and Trump, he had her spank him with a Forbes magazine with him, Ivanka, and Donald Jr. on the cover.
  116. On Friday, the Trump regime rescinded 2016 guidance from the Obama administration which said defunding Planned Parenthood could be against federal law.
  117. Variety reported Trump may skip the Super Bowl pre-game interview, breaking a decades-old tradition. Trump has been highly-critical of NFLplayers for kneeling during the national anthem.
  118. On Tuesday, in a special election in the 10th state senate district in Wisconsin, Democrat Patty Schachtner won by nine points, in a district Trump carried by 17 points in 2016.
  119. On Thursday, Trump visited Pennsylvania’s 18th district where a special election for a congressional seat will be held in March. Trump tweeted he was going “to give my total support to RICK SACCONE,” a “great guy.”
  120. Later that morning, the White House denied Trump’s visit to Pennsylvania was for Saccone’s campaign. Press secretary Sanders said the trip was instead “to discuss the incredible successes his tax plan is already achieving.”
  121. A Gallup survey of 134 countries found approval of US leadership at 30% after Trump’s first year, a record low and down from 48% in Obama’s last year. China is second at 31%, and Germany is now the top-rated global power at 41%.
  122. In the Western Hemisphere, Trump’s approval plummeted: Canadian approval of US leadership fell from 60% to 20%, and Mexico approval fell from 44% to 16%. Approval of US leadership in Iceland is just 8%.
  123. Trump finished his first year with 37% approval, the lowest in modern history. Unlike his predecessors, Trump’s approval stayed in a narrow 10 point range since he took office, the least movement since Johnson.
  124. On Thursday, Bloomberg reported Trump would mark the one-year anniversary of his inauguration with a gala at Mar-a-Lago, with tickets starting at $100K a couple, and $250K to participate in a roundtable.
  125. At the one-year anniversary of Trump’s inauguration, the government shut down. This is the first government shutdown in which one party is in the control of the House, Senate, and White House.
  126. Trump was originally scheduled to fly to Mar-a-Lago on Friday at 4 p.m. He canceled due to the shutdown, but the Mar-a-Lago Saturday gala moved forward without him, with Donald Jr. and Eric hosting in his place.
  127. In Week 9, before taking office, Trump said he would hand over the family businesses to Donald Jr. and Eric, and not mix politics with business.
  128. USA Today reported a year after Trump’s inauguration, for which the committee raised a record $106.7 million, there is still no clarity or accounting of where the leftover funds have gone.
  129. Trump raised double what Obama’s committee raised, for a much smaller event. Thomas Barrack, the inaugural committee’s chairman, had said extra money would go to charity, but would not comment to USA Today.
  130. Mother Jones outlined women’s political activism in the year since the Women’s March: a record 602 are running for office in 2018, 480 of who are not incumbents; 441,808 donated $200 or more to a federal political campaign in the first half of 2017, eight times higher than 2013.
  131. On the anniversary of the historic Women’s March, millions of women, children, and male allies again took to the streets in cities across the country.
  132. The size of the Women’s March in Chicago exceeded last year, as over 300K showed. Hundreds of thousands showed up at marches in DC, New York, Los Angeles, Philadelphia, and tens of thousands in 250 cities across the country including Austin, Charlotte, Cleveland, Chattanooga, and more.

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