POLITIKS OF GRAFFITI 80: AMERICA HAS GUNORRHEA

Week 79 of this presidency: Experts in authoritarianism advise to keep a list of things subtly changing around you, so you’ll remember.

May 19, 2018 https://medium.com/@Amy_Siskind/week-79-experts-in-authoritarianism-advise-to-keep-a-list-of-things-subtly-changing-around-you-so-8703d04269ab

This was the first week in many, many months that the Republican Party showed any signs of standing up to Trump. Meanwhile, Trump and his allies spent the week attacking the FBI, alleging without evidence that the agency spied on his campaign as a means to discredit the Mueller probe—which continues to escalate as it reached its one-year mark.

This week, Trump shocked the country, referring to undocumented immigrants as “animals,” then trying to legitimize his comments by saying the reference was only to gang members. Days prior, the Trump regime took steps to open military bases to house immigrants who are unaccompanied minors, or children the regime separates from their parents, evoking comparisons to “camps.” This week also marked escalating acts of racism, transphobia, xenophobia, and new assaults on the rights of women.

Ivanka Trump and Jared Kushner were the faces of our country as Trump moved the US embassy in Israel to Jerusalem, leading to protests, scores of deaths, and hundreds of injuries. Kushner, who is still without full security clearance and has no foreign policy experience but is related to Trump, spoke for the US at the opening ceremony, evoking comparisons to autocratic regimes. Signs of misuse of power and pay for play in the Trump regime abound this week, domestically, and with regard to questionable dealings relating to China and Qatar.

IMG_1470
Los Angeles, CA. March 2018
  1. Late Saturday, Rudy Giuliani again tried to walk back his comments about Trump blocking the AT&T-Time Warner merger, telling ABC News Trump “did not interfere with the Justice Department going ahead with the case.”
  2. Giuliani also told ABC News Trump “had every right and power” to block the merger, adding as “other presidents have done in anti-trust cases.”
  3. WAPO reported Trump personally pushed US Postmaster General Megan Brennan to double the rate the Postal Service charges Amazon, and other firms, to ship packages.
  4. Brennan resisted, explaining in multiple conversations with Trump during 2017 and 2018 that the these arrangements are bound by contracts, and that the Amazon relationship is beneficial to the Post Office.
  5. Although Trump and Brennan have met on the matter at the White House several times, the meetings have never appeared on Trump’s public schedule.
  6. Trump has also had ongoing meetings during 2017 and 2018 with at least three groups of senior advisers to discuss Amazon’s business practices. Jeff Bezos, who owns Amazon, also owns The Washington Post.
  7. On Sunday, WAPO reported as the Mueller probe hits the one-year mark, Mueller is steaming ahead in a methodical, secretive way, while 10 blocks away, Trump combats the probe with “bluster, disarray and defiance.”
  8. Trump reportedly vents as often as “20 times a day” about the FBI raid on Michael Cohen. Trump reportedly brought in Giuliani as a confidant, as he is feeling increasingly isolated in the West Wing.
  9. The number of witnesses called from Trump’s campaign and staff have been “breathtaking,” including Avi Berkowitz, the personal assistant to Kushner, called twice. Some enter through the back of the building to avoid the press.
  10. On Sunday, Axios reported on the record number of leaks from Trump’s White House. A veteran reporter noted more leaks in a week from the Trump regime than in an entire year under George W. Bush.
  11. White House officials attribute their leaks to personal vendettas, ensuring there is an accurate record of what is happening, grudges, frustrations with incompetent or tone-deaf leadership, and an unhappy workplace.
  12. On Monday, Trump tweeted the “so-called leaks coming out of the White House” are exaggerated by the “Fake New Media,” adding of leakers, they “are traitors and cowards, and we will find out who they are!
  13. On Monday, at the daily briefing, deputy press secretary Raj Shah reiterated the leaks coming from the White House, not the disparaging statement made about John McCain, were the focus, and said there will be no apology for the remark.
  14. On Thursday, NYT reported the White House has canceled a large daily morning meeting of 30 communications staffers in response to the leaking of Kelly Sadler’s comments on McCain.
  15. The New Yorker reported that Sean Hannity typically calls Trump after his 9 p.m. Fox News show, and on some days they speak multiple times. White House staffers are used to Trump referencing these conversations.
  16. In the mornings, Trump is alone watching cable-TV and tweeting. Staffers are concerned with this pattern of behavior: Trump formally starts his day at 11 a.m. with his daily intelligence briefings in the Oval Office.
  17. On Tuesday, WAPO reported that according to Defense Department communications, the Trump regime is making preparations to hold immigrant children on military bases.
  18. The Department of Health and Human Services will visit four military installations in Texas and Arkansas to evaluate their suitability to shelter children. The bases would be used for unaccompanied minors, and children the regime separates from their parents.
  19. On Tuesday, at an appeals hearing for the Trump regime’s effort to end DACA, the panel scrutinized Trump’s past statements, repeatedly questioning whether racial bias played a role in the decision to wind down the program.
  20. On Tuesday, a Seattle judge blocked ICE from revoking a Mexican man, Daniel Ramirez Medina’s DACA protection, saying ICE had provided no evidence to back their claim that Ramirez is gang-affiliated.
  21. On Wednesday, Trump called for stronger immigration laws and hammered California for its sanctuary cities, saying of undocumented immigrants, “These aren’t people. These are animals.
  22. Trump also called on Jeff Sessions to investigate Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf for warning undocumented immigrants of an upcoming ICE sweep, saying, “You talk about obstruction of justice.”
  23. On Thursday, at the press briefing, press secretary Sarah Sanders defended Trump, saying his “animals” comment referred to MS-13 gang members, adding “Frankly, I don’t think the term the president used is strong enough.”
  24. On Thursday, the Anne Frank Center tweeted, “When we ask, “how could the Holocaust have happened?” this is the answer. When we think of anyone as less than human, that opens the door to atrocity.”
  25. On Friday, the Mexican government lodged a complaint with the State Department over Trump’s comments that some immigrants are “animals,” saying, “the assertions of the U.S. president are absolutely unacceptable.”
IMG_1397
Los Angeles, CA. March 2018
  1. A 13-year-old black boy in Houston was kidnapped after getting off a school bus Monday. His abductors, suspected of being white supremacists, took him to an abandoned building and assaulted him.
  2. A white woman in Memphis called the police on a black real estate investor who was inspecting a house. The woman demanded to know why he was outside. The police listened to his explanation, then told the woman she would be arrested if she interfered.
  3. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell appointed Tony Perkins, head of Family Research Council (FRC), for a spot on the Commission on International Religious Freedom. Southern Poverty Law Center considers FRC to be a hate group, and Perkins is a longtime anti-LGBTQ activist.
  4. Supporters of Patrick Little’s campaign for the Senate released anti-Semitic robocalls calling Sen. Dianne Feinstein a “traitorous Jew,”’ and saying Little will “get rid of all the nation-wrecking Jews from our country.”
  5. On Tuesday, Aaron Schlossberg, a lawyer, was captured in a video becoming enraged after overhearing two employees at a Fresh Kitchen in Manhattan speaking Spanish. Schlossberg raged, “this is America,” and “my next call is to ICE.”
  6. On Thursday, Rep. Adriano Espaillat and Bronx Borough President Diaz Jr. filed a formal complaint with the state court disciplinary system. Also on Thursday, Schlossberg was kicked out of his office space.
  7. A Starbucks barista in suburban Los Angeles is accused of printing a racial slur on a Latino customer’s drinks: instead of writing the customer’s name, Pedro, they wrote “Beaner,” a derogatory term for Mexicans in the US.
  8. Jazmina Saavedra, a GOP candidate for Congress in California, filmed herself confronting a transgender woman using a bathroom at a Denny’s in Los Angeles.
  9. Saavedra approached the woman, says, “I’m trying to use the ladies’ room and there is a man here claiming that he is a lady.” She confronted the transgender woman again while exiting, and later posted the video online.
  10. On Friday, the Trump regime announced a new rule under which clinics that provide abortions or refer patients to places that do would lose federal funding. The rule takes direct aim at Planned Parenthood.
  11. WAPO reported Virginia election officials mis-assigned 28 voters living in a predominantly African American precinct during the November 2017 election, possibly costing Democrats a pivotal race.
  12. The race between David Yancey and Shelly Simonds was decided by picking a name from a bowl. Yancey’s victory allowed Republicans to maintain control of the House of Delegates, 51 to 49, even as Democrats picked up 15 seats.
  13. On Friday, a school shooting at Santa Fe High School in southeast Texas killed ten. WAPO reported that in 2018 so far, more people have been killed at schools than have been killed while serving in the military.
  14. The FCC announced net neutrality rules will expire on June 11. Chairman Ajit Pai said, “these unnecessary and harmful internet regulations will be repealed and the bipartisan, light touch approach” will be restored.
  15. On Sunday, NYT reported Betsy DeVos’ Education Department plans to unwind a unit that was investigating widespread abuses and fraud by for-profit colleges. As Obama left office there were about a dozen employees; now there are three.
  16. The unit was investigating fraudulent activities at institutions, including DeVry Education Group. That investigated ended early 2018, and in the summer, DeVos named Julian Schmoke, a former dean at DeVry, as the team’s new supervisor.
  17. On Monday, Politico reported newly disclosed emails reveal Scott Pruitt’s Environmental Protection Agency and the White House sought to block publication of a federal health study on a nationwide water-contamination crisis earlier this year.
  18. The report found toxic chemicals have contaminated water supplies near military bases, chemical plants, and other sites from New York to Michigan to West Virginia. The regime said releasing it would be a “public relations nightmare.”
  19. On Monday, CNN reported that a letter from the EPA’s inspector general revealed that contrary to his public statements, Pruitt’s requested 24/7 security detail on his first day working for the agency.
  20. On Tuesday, Trump nominated Gordon Hartogensis, a self-described entrepreneur who is Speaker McConnell and Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao’s brother-in-law to lead the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation.
  21. The PBGC pays worker pensions when employers terminate their retirement plans. The state of the agency is dire: assets of $2.3 billion and liabilities of $67 billion. The White House did not provide a biographical information for Hartogensis with the announcement.
  22. On Tuesday, the Trump regime officially eliminated the White House’s top cyber adviser role, a position created under Obama. In Week 78, John Bolton had pushed to cut the role.
  23. The cyber adviser led a team who worked with agencies to develop a unified strategy for issues like election security and digital deterrence. Experts and government officials criticized the move as a step backwards.
  24. On Tuesday, the EPA inspector general announced it is investigating Pruitt’s use of nonpublic email accounts to assess whether he is keeping a record of his emails, and whether the EPA is searching all his accounts when fulfilling public records requests.
  25. On Tuesday and Wednesday, DeVos toured two New York City schools, but did not visit any of the city’s public schools. DeVos has yet to visit a district-run school in New York.
IMG_1307
Los Angeles, CA. March 2018
  1. The Scotsman reported Trump’s Scottish resort received £5,600 in US government funds for VIP visits by officials in his regime, marking the first known instance of the property receiving US taxpayer money.
  2. CNN reported that a former Trump campaign aide, Bryan Lanza, is lobbying on behalf of the chairman of EN+ Group, a company controlled by Deripaska. The company is seeking to reduce Deripaska’s stake in order to be freed of US sanctions.
  3. USA Today reported lobbying firms with ties to Trump and Pence collected at least $28 million in federal lobbying fees since Trump took office.
  4. Ballard Partners, overseen by Brian Ballard, has seen the biggest benefit, including a one-year contract with the government of Qatar that is worth as much as $2.1 million, reportedly for potential investments in Florida.
  5. On Sunday, Trump tweeted he would help a Chinese company, tweeting, “President Xi of China, and I, are working together to give massive Chinese phone company, ZTE, a way to get back into business, fast.”
  6. ZTE, the fourth-largest phone maker in the US, violated US sanctions by doing business with Iran. In March 2017, Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross announced an “unprecedented” $1.19 billion penalty against the company.
  7. In April 2018, citing ZTE engaged in a “extensive conspiracy” to evade U.S. laws, the Commerce Department banned American companies from buying or selling the phone-maker’s products for the next seven years.
  8. In Week 78, Trump pulled the US out of the Iran nuclear deal, and has re-imposed sanctions on Iran this last and this week, as well as threatening to go after European allies if they continue to do business with Iran.
  9. Trump tweeted, “China and the United States are working well together on trade, but past negotiations have been so one sided in favor of China,” adding, “But be cool, it will all work out!”
  10. On Sunday, press secretary Sanders said the regime is in touch with China, and Trump expected Ross to “exercise his independent judgment … to resolve the regulatory action involving ZTE based on its facts.”
  11. Agence France-Presse reported last Thursday, the developer of a resort outside of Jakarta signed a deal to receive as much as $500 million from the Chinese government. The Trump Organization has a deal to license the Trump name to the resort.
  12. At Monday’s press briefing, deputy press secretary Shah referred questions on the Indonesian project to the Trump Organization. The Trump Organization acknowledged its involvement, but refused to comment.
  13. On Tuesday, top intelligence officials told the Senate Intelligence Committee that ZTE cell phones could pose a national security risk to the US, saying their products could be used by the Chinese government to spy.
  14. On Wednesday, Trump tweeted,“Nothing has happened with ZTE except as it pertains to the larger trade deal,” contradicting Ross, who said Monday, “Our position has been that that’s an enforcement action separate from trade.”
  15. Trump also attacked media coverage of ZTE, tweeting “The Washington Post and CNN have typically written false stories about our trade negotiations with China.”
  16. On Thursday, in a rebuke to Trump, the House Appropriations Committee voted unanimously to accept an amendment that reinforces sanctions against ZTE, preventing the Commerce Department from renegotiating sanctions it enacted last month.
  17. On Sunday, Michael Avenatti tweeted photos, alleging that on December 12, 2016, members of the Trump transition team met with a group from Qatar that included Ahmed Al-Rumaihi, the head of Qatar’s sovereign wealth fund.
  18. On Tuesday, a spokesperson for Ahmed Al-Rumaihi confirmed he did meet with Trump transition officials that day, “in his then role as head of Qatar Investments,” but that he did not participate in meetings with Michael Flynn.
  19. On Wednesday, WAPO reported Cohen solicited at least $1 million from the government of Qatar in exchange for access on December 12, the same day the Qatari foreign minister was meeting with Flynn and Steve Bannon.
  20. Cohen did not participate in the official meeting at Trump Tower, but spoke separately with Ahmed al-­Rumaihi, who declined the offer. This is the first known time that Cohen pitched his influence.
  21. Rumaihi told the Post of Cohen, “He just threw it out there” as a cost of “doing business.” At the time, Cohen was also angling for a White House position, possibly chief of staff.
  22. NBC News reported Qatari officials have information showing illicit influence by the United Arab Emirates on Jared Kushner, including secret meetings. Trump associates George Nader and Elliott Broidy also attended the meetings.
  23. Qatari officials believe the secret meetings, as well as Qataris turning down the 666 Fifth Avenue deal with Kushner, influenced Trump’s public endorsement of an economic blockade of Qatar by its neighbors.
  24. Qataris did not share information with Mueller out of concern for harming their relationship with the Trump regime, after a Qatari delegation came to DC in early 2018 and felt the meetings were productive.
  25. On Thursday, NYT reported the Kushners are near a deal to get bailed out of the failing 666 Fifth Avenue deal by Brookfield Properties, whose second-largest shareholder is the Qatar Investment Authority.
  26. Foreign Policy reported Cohen met with Qatar’s minister of economy and commerce, Ahmed bin Jassim bin Mohammed Al Thanilast, last month in Miami, just days before the FBI raided his office and hotel room.
  27. The meeting took place on the sidelines of the Qatar-U.S. Economic Forum in Miami. A Qatari embassy spokesperson said Cohen requested a meeting with Al Thani, adding “The State of Qatar has never been a client of Mr. Cohen.”
  28. On Monday, Kushner and Ivanka were the smiling faces of America as the new US embassy opened in Jerusalem. In the protests that ensued, dozens of Palestinians were shot dead and thousands were injured.
  29. Trump did not attend, so after an introduction by the US ambassador to Israel, Kushner was the main US speaker at the opening. Kushner has no foreign policy expertise and continues to be denied full security clearance.
  30. Trump picked evangelical pastor Robert Jeffress to give a blessing at the opening. Jeffress has in the past said, “You can’t be saved by being a Jew,” and that “Islam is a false religion that is based on a false book.”
IMG_1306
Los Angeles, CA. March 2018
  1. On Monday, first lady Melania Trump was admitted to the hospital for a kidney procedure. Trump did not accompany her for the procedure, and it was noted the day prior, did not tweet about Melania on Mother’s Day.
  2. On Tuesday, the White House abruptly canceled their daily press briefing. No reason was given for the cancellation. On Wednesday, the White House news briefing was removed from the schedule.
  3. On Tuesday, the Seoul-based Yonhap News Agency reported Kim Jong Un threatened to cancel the upcoming summit with Trump, citing ongoing joint military drills involving South Korea and the US.
  4. On Wednesday, North Korea canceled its summit with South Korea, and said it may cancel the US summit if the US continues to insist on scrapping the country’s nuclear program.
  5. On Thursday, Trump sought to reassure Kim Jong Un, saying at an Oval Office meeting with NATO’s secretary-general Jens Stoltenberg that North Korea “will get protections that are very strong,” if they surrender their nuclear weapons.
  6. On Monday evening, a court filing revealed Mueller had obtained a secret order to suspend the statute of limitations on one of the charges brought against Paul Manafort. The secret order was made public after Manafort requested that the charge be thrown out.
  7. On Tuesday, a federal judge denied Manafort’s motion to dismiss the indictment against him in Washington DC, saying it “falls squarely within that portion of the authority granted to the Special Counsel.”
  8. On Monday, Facebook announced it will suspend an additional 200 apps as part of its investigation and audit process in the wake of the Cambridge Analytica revelations.
  9. On Tuesday, NYT reported the Justice Department and FBI have an open investigation into Cambridge Analytica and “associated U.S. persons.” The inquiry appears to be in it early stages.
  10. The investigation is focused on the company’s financial dealings, and how it acquired and used personal data pulled from Facebook and other sources. Prosecutors from the Justice Department’s securities and financial fraud division and the FBI’s cybercrime unit are involved.
  11. On Wednesday, Cambridge Analytica whistleblower Christopher Wylie testified before the Senate Judiciary Committee, saying the company offered services to discourage or suppress voting from targeted sections of Americans.
  12. Wylie said Bannon’s “goals was to suppress voting or discourage certain individuals in the US from voting,” adding African-Americans were particular targets of Cambridge Analytica’s “voter disengagement tactics.”
  13. Wylie explained how the Facebook data could have been shared with Russians, saying professor Aleksandr Kogan, who gathered the data, made numerous trips to Russia as part of his work with St. Petersburg University.
  14. On Monday, Politico reported Andrii Artemenko, the Ukrainian lawmaker who served as a conduit for the Russia-backed Ukrainian peace plan, will testify before a grand jury connected to the Mueller investigation.
  15. Artemenko contacted Felix Sater to find the best way to get his plan to the Trump regime during the transition. Sater introduced him to Cohen, who left the plan with then National Security Adviser Flynn.
  16. On Friday, Artemenko told Politico that in “at least” two interviews, FBI agents have peppered him with “assorted questions” about his “meetings, dealings and the questions discussed” with American politicians.
  17. Artemenko said these included congressmen, senators and members of the Trump regime. He was presented with a list of more than 140 questions, and is scheduled to appear before a grand jury on June 1.
  18. On Wednesday, Felix Ehrat, a top lawyer at Novartis who co-signed a $1.2 million contract to hire Cohen, said he would step down in June, saying, “Although the contract was legally in order, it was an error.”
  19. On Wednesday, Yahoo News reported prosecutors and congressional investigators have obtained text messages and emails which show Cohen was still working on the Trump Tower Moscow deal as late as May 2016.
  20. Text messages and emails from Sater provided to the government contradict Cohen’s statement that he gave up on the deal in January 2016. Sater and Cohen first met when they were both in high school.
  21. On Thursday, BuzzFeed reported that in December 30, 2015, when negotiations on Trump Tower stalled, Cohen texted Sater, “I will not let you fuck with my job and playing point person,” adding “Not you or anyone you know will embarrass me in front of Mr. T.”
  22. FBI agents told BuzzFeed that Cohen was speaking to multiple Russians about Trump Tower Moscow, even though he tried to reach and push the deal through Peskov, the Kremlin’s press secretary, on January 21, 2016.
  23. Sater reportedly kept working the Trump Tower Moscow deal through the RNC Convention, until July 26, 2016 when he read Trump tweet: “For the record, I have ZERO investments in Russia.”
  24. On Thursday, Reuters reported Jeffrey Yohai, a former business partner of Manafort who was divorced from Manafort’s daughter last August, cut a plea deal which requires him to cooperate with criminal probes.
  25. WSJ reported Yohai pleaded guilty to federal criminal charges in a sealed proceeding in California in January. Yohai also pleaded guilty to misrepresenting his income and assets to obtain a no limit credit card.
  26. Yohai has met with Mueller’s team, who have brought charges against Manafort, and also in recent months with the New York attorney general’soffice as part of the probe investigating both Manafort and Yohai.
  27. On Friday, Reuters reported Mueller recently subpoenaed John Kakanis, a key assistant to Roger Stone. Kakanis has worked as a driver, accountant, and operative for Stone, indicating the investigation is focusing on Stone.
  28. Reportedly, Kakanis has been briefly questioned by the FBI on topics including Russian interference in the 2016 election, WikiLeaks and its founder Julian Assange, and the hackers known as Guccifer 2.0.
  29. During the 2016 Republican primaries, a Stone PAC paid $130,000 to Citroen Associates for “voter fraud research and documentation” and “research services consulting.” Kakanis is the owner of Citroen.
  30. On Wednesday, the Senate Judiciary Committee released 2,500 pages of documents related to the June 2016 meeting at Trump Tower. The materials include transcripts and other exhibits.
  31. The roots of the meeting trace back to Trump’s Miss Universe pageant in Moscow, financed by Aras and Emin Agalarov in 2013. Trump wanted to meet with Putin, and continued pressing for that throughout the years.
  32. The transcripts reveal Donald Jr. did not think there was anything wrong with meeting with a Russian lawyer in hopes of getting dirt on Hillary Clinton. According to an attendee, he opened the meeting, saying, “I believe you have some information for us.”
  33. The transcripts also reveal the disappointment of Donald Jr., Kushner, and Manafort that the meeting did not yield harmful information. Rob Goldstone was also disappointed, and had reservations about setting the meeting up, “I believed it was a bad idea and that we shouldn’t do it.”
  34. Ike Kaveladze said Donald Jr. closed out the meeting by telling the Russians they could revisit the discussions about lifting sanctions should Trump win the election. Kaveladze said the Magnitsky Act dominated discussion.
  35. When asked if Trump was involved in drafting the statement about the meeting, Donald Jr. responded, “I don’t know. I never spoke to my father about it.” Later, Donald Jr. said he may have edited it through Hope Hicks.
  36. Donald Jr.’s frequently answered that he did not recall, including saying he did not remember ever discussing the Russia investigation with Trump, or many of the calls or emails leading up to the June 2016 meeting.
  37. Also in the documents is an email from Anthony Scaramucci to Goldstone on July 2017, after Trump appointed him a senior White House role, saying, “Obviously there is still pressure on all sides, but if we remain consistent and united I don’t envisage any issues we can’t ride out.”
  38. Documents revealed the Nov. 28, 2016 Goldstone email to Trump’s assistant, Rhona Graff sent to undermine US sanctions, was forwarded by Graff to Bannon, with a note, “The PE [president elect] knows Aras well. Rob is his rep in the US.”
  39. The Senate Judiciary Committee report also said the Kremlin used the NRA to help Trump in 2016, including an offer for a potential meeting between Trump and Putin, and possibly secretly funding the campaign.
  40. The report found the committee’s work is incomplete, “We still do not know the full story about the June 9 meeting at Trump Tower or, more broadly, the degree to which the campaign cooperated or communicated with Russia.”
  41. On Wednesday, Richard Burr and Mark Warner, leaders of the Senate Intelligence Committee, broke from the House Intelligence Committee, saying they agreed with the intelligence assessment.
  42. Warner said there was an “extensive, sophisticated” effort that was “ordered by President Putin himself,” with the purpose of helping Trump and hurting Hillary Clinton in the 2016 election.
  43. Several top Republicans in the Senate also voiced support for the intelligence community’s findings, including James Lankford, Susan Collins, and John Cornyn, who said the assessment was “by and large well done.”
  44. On Wednesday, according to a federally required annual financial disclosure form released by the Office of Government Ethics (OGE), Trump reimbursed Cohen for the $130,000 payment to Stormy Daniels.
  45. The payment was disclosed in a note at the bottom of Page 45 of the 92-page report states. “Mr. Cohen sought reimbursement of those expenses and Mr. Trump fully reimbursed Cohen in 2017” in the category of value between $100,001 and $250,000.
  46. Federal law requires White House officials to “report liabilities owed to any creditor that exceeded $10,000 at any time during the reporting period.”Trump did not report the payment in his 2017 filing.
  47. On Wednesday, OGE acting director David Apol referred Trump’s financial disclosures to the Justice Department, after determining Trump should have disclosed his reimbursement payment in last year’s form.
  48. In May 2017, information obtained under the Freedom of Information Act shows Trump’s former attorney, Sheri Dillon, wanted to submit last year’s financial disclosure without having him certify the information as true.
  49. Trump also listed $315 million in debt, including $175 million to Deutsche Bank, and $100 million to a far-less well-known lender, Ladder Capital.
  50. Trump’s disclosure also revealed Trump Hotel DC earned $40 million for calendar year 2017, Trump’s first year in office. Revenue included $350,000 in campaign funds, 60% from Republican National Committee events.
  51. Hotel customers included officials or lobbyists for the governments of Malaysia, Kuwait, and Saudi Arabia. Trump Hotel DC also hosted events for a number of domestic industries, including mining and confections.
  52. On Wednesday, The New Yorker reported the motivation for the official who leaked Cohen’s financial records was that two suspicious-activity reports (SARs), had gone missing from the FinCEN database.
  53. The official said that those two reports detail more than $3 million in additional questionable transactions from Cohen’s account, adding, “When something’s not there that should be, I immediately became concerned.”
  54. The three SARS were filed by First Republic. The one made public by Avenatti details only transactions from September of 2017 to January of 2018, and alludes to the previous two reports which have gone missing.
  55. On Thursday, WAPO reported the Treasury Department’s inspector general is expanding its probe into leaks, to include reports leaked to Avenatti as well as the source of The New Yorker story.
  56. Treasury officials said in a statement that since 2009, FinCEN has had the ability restrict access to sensitive SARs.
  57. On Friday, BuzzFeed reported that according to three sources, the two Cohen SARs are not missing, but rather Treasury Department officials have taken the highly unusual step of restricting access to them.
  58. Sources said limiting access is rare, and most likely came from the top of the Treasury Department. Limiting access to the SARs may have been an effort to crack down on leaks.
  59. On Wednesday, Axios reported a major rift between Peter Navarro and Steven Mnuchin has opened, with the two exchanging snipes during the Trump delegation’s trip to China two weeks ago.
  60. As China’s top trade negotiator Liu He arrived in Washington DC, regime members set to attend the meeting were Mnuchin, Ross, Robert Lighthizer, and Larry Kudlow. China hardliner Navarro was initially excluded.
  61. On Thursday, Bloomberg reported Navarro will take part in China talks. It was not known why the regime decided to reinstate him in the talks, or what role Navarro would play.
  62. On Wednesday, at a commencement address at the Virginia Military Institute, former Secretary of State Rex Tillerson warned of a “growing crisis in ethics and integrity,” and said if we don’t confront it, “then American democracy, as we know it, is entering its twilight years.”
  63. Tillerson also said if our leaders conceal the truth or if “we as people become accepting of alternative realities that are no longer grounded in facts,” then we are “are on a pathway to relinquishing our freedom.”
  64. On Wednesday, the Senate approved overturning the FCC’s net neutrality repeal by a 52-47 vote, with Sens. Collins, Lisa, Murkowski, and John Kennedy joining Democrats. The House does not intend to take the measure up.
  65. On Wednesday, NYT reported the FBI opened an investigation into the Trump campaign’s ties to Russia in the summer of 2016, dispatching agents to London for a highly secret meeting, privy to only a handful.
  66. Two agents met with the Australian ambassador, Alexander Downer, who had evidence that one of Trump’s advisers knew about Russia’s election meddling — that adviser turned out to be George Papadopoulos.
  67. The agents summarized their findings on August 2, 2016 for a small group of FBI officials who knew it by its code name: Crossfire Hurricane. Agents considered, then rejected, interviewing key Trump associates, for fear of revealing the existence of the case.
  68. The FBI investigated four unidentified Trump campaign aides in the early months: Flynn, Manafort, Papadopoulos, and Carter Page. Top officials were convinced there was almost no chance they could conclude if there was collusion before Election Day, and chose to keep it under wraps.
  69. On Wednesday, in testimony before the Senate Appropriations Committee,FBI director Christopher Wray defended the bureau against criticism by House Republicans. Wray said he doubled the number of staff in March to keep up with GOP document requests.
  70. Wray underscored the importance of protecting the identity of sources, saying, “The day that we can’t protect human sources is the day the American people start becoming less safe.”
  71. On Thursday, Trump marked the one-year anniversary of the Mueller probe, tweeting, “Congratulations America, we are now into the second year of the greatest Witch Hunt in American History.”
  72. Trump also repeated accusations the FBI had an informant inside his 2016 campaign, tweeting “word seems to be coming out that the Obama FBI ‘SPIED ON THE TRUMP CAMPAIGN WITH AN EMBEDDED INFORMANT.’”
  73. On Thursday morning, Trump surrogates parroted this mantra. Giuliani told “Fox & Friends” that he was “shocked to hear that they put a spy in the campaign,” and “I think the investigation should be thrown out.”
  74. Kellyanne Conway also appeared on “Fox & Friends,” saying “It looks like the Trump campaign may have been surveilled.” Corey Lewandowski went on Fox Business’ “Mornings with Maria,” and repeated the same allegations.
  75. On Thursday, WAPO reported Trump is joining forces with Rep. Devin Nunes and other of his allies on Capitol Hill and in the conservative mediato out a top-secret FBI source in order to undercut the Russia investigation.
  76. Reportedly the stakes are so high, the FBI is working to mitigate the potential damage if the sources is revealed, including steps to protect other live investigations and danger to associates of the informer.
  77. Trump allies believe outing the source and revealing details about their work could help them challenge the investigation, and give them grounds to remove Mueller, or his overseer, Rod Rosenstein.
  78. Trump complains the Mueller probe is “all-encompassing,” and encourages his allies to go on television and “beat the drums.” Bannon is back, acting as an informal adviser to Trump allies in and outside the White House.
  79. On Friday, Trump tweeted, “Reports are there was indeed at least one FBI representative implanted, for political purposes,” adding “It took place very early on, and long before the phony Russia Hoax became a ‘hot’ Fake News story.”
  80. Trump also tweeted is was the “all time biggest political scandal!” Trump also questioned in tweets why “disgraced FBI official Andrew McCabe” wasn’t being investigated, and why the Clinton case was dropped.
  81. On Friday, Sen. Warner warned in a statement that attempts to expose an FBI source during an active investigation was “potentially illegal,” adding, “Publicly outing a source risks not only their life, but the lives of every American.”
  82. On Friday, NYT reported that the FBI used an informant, not to spy, to talk to Page and Papadopoulos only after the FBI received evidence that the two had suspicious contacts linked to Russia during the campaign.
  83. The informant is an American academic who teaches in Britain, and was used, as opposed to an FBI agent, to ensure details of the inquiry were more closely held than is typical given it took place during the campaign.
  84. The informant had also contact with Flynn in 2014 at the Cambridge Intelligence Seminar. The source was alarmed by the general’s apparent closeness with a Russian woman and warned American authorities that Flynn could be compromised.
  85. On Friday, WAPO also reported the secret FBI source was a professor interested in American politics, not a spy. Some time in 2016, he began working as secret informant for the FBI.
  86. In addition to Papadopoulos and Page, WAPO also reported the professor met with Trump campaign co-chairman Sam Clovis for coffee in Northern Virginia, offering to lend the Trump team his foreign-policy experience.
  87. On Friday, NBC News reported the professor who met with both Page and Papadopoulos is Stefan Halper, a former official in the Nixon, Ford, and Reagan administrations.
IMG_1309
Los Angeles, CA. March 2018
  1. On Thursday, a poll released by Survey Monkey found that just 13% of Americans consider Trump honest and trustworthy. The poll was conducted between February 1 and May 9.
  2. On Thursday, while meeting with NATO Secretary General Stoltenberg at the White House, Trump again said NATO members that do not contribute fully would be “dealt with,” singling out Germany.
  3. On Friday, Giuliani told CNN Mueller has agreed to narrow the scope of a potential Trump interview from five to two topics, and agreed not to ask Trump about Cohen. Giuliani added “the main focus we want … is Russia.”
  4. Giuliani also backed off from saying there were informants embedded with the Trump campaign who spoke to federal authorities, saying, “I don’t know for sure, nor does the President, if there really was. We’re told that.”
  5. On Thursday, an appeals court denied Trump’s request to stay proceedings in the Summer Zervos defamation suit. The legal setback for Trump could open him up to discovery in the case, although Trump is likely to appeal.
  6. On Thursday, Avenatti told MSNBC that two other women with solid caseswho claim to have had affairs with Trump signed NDAs and received payments may soon come forward. Other cases are also being vetted.
  7. On Friday, lawyers for Cohen and Stephanie Clifford continued to attack each other in dueling memos. Cohen’s lawyers filed a scathing motion asking a judge to keep Avenatti from formally entering the case, saying he was “fanning a media storm” and “smearing” Cohen.
  8. Avenatti answered with a motion, arguing that many of his adversaries’ assaults on him were “unsubstantiated,” “baseless,” and lacking in “admissible evidence.”
  9. One year in on the Mueller probe, FiveThirtyEight found Mueller to be more productive than past investigations like Watergate, Iran-Contra, and Whitewater. Mueller has racked up five guilty pleas, 14 indictments of individuals, and the Cohen referral to the Southern District of New York.
Advertisements

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. 

DcxX_b0U0AEYkh4
“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.

Dc7luPNVQAAFtyG.jpg-large
“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.
Dcrjvu7VAAMSQ0s
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.
DcTJc1GVQAA1FPo
“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.

DcnePT8V0AA-aIE

  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.
DcdEEJsVAAABmhs
“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.
DcdEWQsV4AA50dR
“And let’s not kid ourselves… rotting donkeys stink too.”

POLITIKS OF GRAFFITI 77: “DISOBEY”

Week 76 of this dysfunctional regime: Experts in authoritarianism advise to keep a list of things subtly changing around you, so you’ll remember.

April 28, 2018 https://medium.com/@Amy_Siskind/week-76-experts-in-authoritarianism-advise-to-keep-a-list-of-things-subtly-changing-around-you-so-af60a31816b6

In some ways this week felt normal as leaders of France and Germany visited the White House, and the leaders of North and South Korea met for a historic summit and spoke of the denuclearizing the peninsula. In the days Macron was in America, the country seemed relatively calm with less news breaking and Trump refraining from his typical banter and tweets.

But beneath the veneer, the dysfunction and chaos of the Trump regime continued. Amid the firing and attempted nominations of top officials, Trump continues to unilaterally pick from a small circle of unqualified sycophants. This week the country was shocked when Speaker Ryan fired the House chaplain for speaking up for the less fortunate — symbolic for Republicans in the era of Trump who have joined in the weekly attacks on “the others” and those who would advocate for them. As the week ended, the country endured another fallen norm: a functional House Intelligence Committee.

31165458_763937857132570_9127502817710309376_o
Photo by Paul Hehn in Portland, Oregon this week.
  1. The National Socialist Movement, a neo-Nazi group, held a rally in Draketown, Georgia on Saturday. Approximately two dozen people participated in the event, which included burning swastikas 12–18 feet high.
  2. On Saturday, Trump said he is considering a posthumous pardon for boxer Jack Johnson at the request of Sylvester Stallone, tweeting of Johnson, “His trials and tribulations were great…I am considering a Full Pardon!”
  3. On Sunday, Trump quoted Fox News, tweeting: “GOP Lawmakers asking Sessions to Investigate Comey and Hillary Clinton,” and adding, “Good luck with that request!”
  4. On Sunday, after Chuck Todd’s show, “Meet the Press,” Trump referred to Todd in a tweet, for a second time, as “Sleepy Eyes Chuck Todd.” It was noted on social media that “sleepy-eyes” has been used as an anti-Semitic slur.
  5. On Monday, Trump quoted Kim Strassel, a WSJ opinion writer, tweeting, “after reviewing the dumb Comey Memos, ‘you got to ask, what was the purpose of the Special Counsel?’”adding “there’s no there there.’”
  6. Trump also tweeted, “Dan Henninger of the WSJ said Memos would show that this would be one of the weakest obstruction cases ever brought!”
  7. The Trump regime is challenging Native Americans’ historic standing, saying the tribes are a race rather than a separate government, and therefore should not be exempt from Medicaid work requirements.
  8. New York City police searched for man wearing a ‘Make America Great Again’ hat and t-shirt who made derogatory statements to a 24-year-old Hispanic man and then physically assaulted him on a Manhattan subway.
  9. The co-owner of Grandview Golf Club in Pennsylvania and his son called the police to complain that a group of black women were playing too slowly and refused to leave the course.
  10. The five women golfers, who call themselves Sisters in the Fairway, have been around for over a decade, have golfed around the country and world, and are very familiar with golf etiquette. The golf club apologized.
  11. A senior at Riverview High School in Sarasota, Florida asked a girl to the prom by holding up a sign which read, “If I was black I’d be picking cotton, but I’m white so I’m picking u 4 Prom?”
  12. A newly released report by the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) found the Trump regime has shown an “unprecedented level of government hostility” towards Muslims.
  13. Of the nearly 2,599 reports of anti-Muslim incidents CAIR received, about 35% involved a government agency. Customs and Border Patrol accounted for 348 of the reported incidents (38% of government agency reports).
  14. On Tuesday, a DC federal judge called the Trump regime’s decision to end the DACA program “virtually unexplained” and therefore “unlawful,” becoming the third judge to rule against the regime’s decision to rescind DACA.
  15. The judge found the decision to phase out the program starting in March “was arbitrary and capricious.” The judge ordered the Trump regime to continue the Obama-era program and re-open it to new applicants.
  16. On Friday, Oklahoma’s House of Representatives approved a measure that would allow adoption and foster care agencies to reject same-sex couples on religious grounds.
  17. A new in-depth study released by University of Pennsylvania political scientist Diana Mutz examining data from 2012 to 2016 revealed agrowing body of evidence that the 2016 election was not about economic hardship.
  18. Mutz found “dominant groups that felt threatened by change” voted for Trump and he took advantage of the trend. Mutz noted “For the first time since Europeans arrived in this country,” white Americans are told they will become the minority race.
  19. BuzzFeed reported a TV-station owned by Sinclair Broadcasting fired reporter Suri Crowe after she clashed with station management over refusing to seed doubt about man-made climate change.
  20. Politico reported US colleges are blaming Trump’s immigration policies as for a second year, fewer international students are applying, while countries such as Australia, Canada, Spain and Japan are seeing a spike.
  21. Intercept reported the US Border Patrol has faked statistics to make it appear there was a dramatic increase in assault on agents, up 73% from 2016 to 2017, when in reality, the number of assaults was down.
  22. The Border Patrol has made up cases, like the death of Agent Rogelio Martinez which the FBI ruled was death caused by a fall. The calculation methodology has also changed, so each attack is multiplied agents by number of attacks by number of objects.
  23. On Saturday, NYT reported contrary to Scott Pruitt’s previous statements, he did meet with J. Steven Hart, co-owner of the condominium he rented. The meeting was set up on behalf of an executive associated with Smithfield Foods in 2017.
  24. On Saturday, NYT reported Pruitt’s fancy Oklahoma City home, worth well more than his modest salary could afford, was purchased alongside law school friend, Kenneth Wagner, who now has a top political job at the EPA.
  25. Mortgage financing for the home was provided by a local bank led byAlbert Kelly, another business associate of Pruitt. Kelly is now a top aide to Pruitt in the EPA, and runs the agency’s Superfund program.
  26. A school in Cheyenne, Wyoming, where Betsy DeVos suggested teachers needed to be armed to protect children from grizzly bears, voted to arm school employees,who would need at least 24 hours of initial firearms training.
  27. ProPublica reported Devos’ Education Department is considering rolling back Obama-era guidelines which address racial discrimination in school discipline: black students are almost four times as likely to receive an out-of-school suspension.
  28. Devos’ department has already closed 65 discrimination cases without any mandated reform. Hans Bader, an attorney adviser to DeVos, has accused the Obama administration of using disparate impact to create “racial quotas.”
  29. On Tuesday, Pruitt’s EPA proposed a rule that would limit the kinds of scientific research it can use in crafting regulations. The rule would exclude research based on confidential medical and industry data.
  30. Pruitt claimed the measure was a way to boost transparency for the industries the EPA regulates. Experts say the rule is a boon to big business which has long requested this change.
  31. On Tuesday, Mick Mulvaney, director of the OMB and acting director of the CFPB, told 1,300 bankers at an American Bankers Association conference in Washington that when he was in Congress, he would only meet with lobbyists who had contributed to his campaign.
  32. Mulvaney also told the bankers about his plans to reduce the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s power, including cutting public access to the bureau’s database of consumer complaints.
  33. On Wednesday, HUD Secretary Ben Carson proposed far-reaching changes to federal housing subsidies aimed at low-income Americans receiving federal assistance.
  34. Carson’s proposal, part of what the regime has dubbed “Welfare Reform 2.0,” would triple rent for the poorest households and make it easier for housing authorities to impose work requirements.
  35. HuffPost obtained a draft copy of Jeff Session’s Justice Department’s five-year strategic plan which includes cracking down on undocumented immigrants and security leaks, focusing on campus speech issues, and targeting the MS-13 gang.
  36. Absent from Sessions’ DOJ strategic plan were items focused on during the Obama administration, including civil rights enforcement and criminal justice reform.
  37. According to annual data published Wednesday by US Courts, the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance (FISA) Court denied more surveillance orders during Trump’s first year than in the court’s 40-year history.
  38. On Sunday, Axios reported there is increasing concern in the White House that Ronny Jackson, Trump nominee for VA secretary, will not get confirmed. Jackson faces skepticism from senators of both parties.
  39. On Monday, when asked about Mike Pompeo’s nomination, press secretary Sarah Sanders told Fox News that “Democrats have to decide whether they love this country more than they hate” Trump.
  40. On Monday, in a letter to the Senate, 109 retired generals and admirals said they were “deeply troubled” by Trump’s pick of Gina Haspel for CIA director, citing her links to a former US torture program.
  41. On Monday, Trump expressed frustration over the confirmation of his nominees, tweeting “Hard to believe Obstructionists May vote against” Pompeo, adding, “The Dems will not approve hundreds of good people.”
  42. Trump’s nominee for ambassador to Germany, Richard Grenell, has also been held up as Democrats, citing his history of misogynistic statements online and his dismissiveness about Russia meddling in the US election.
  43. Trump nominee Stuart Kyle Duncan was confirmed to the US Fifth Circuit Court, 50–47. Duncan has a disturbing record of anti-LGBTQ advocacy, and has fought his entire career against abortion and voting rights.
  44. On Tuesday, allegations against Jackson publicly surfaced, including drinking while on duty, creating a hostile workplace, and improperlyhanding out prescriptions to staff during trips.
  45. On Tuesday, at a joint news conference with French President Macron,Trump suggested Jackson should drop out, “I said to Dr. Jackson, what do you need it for? To be abused by a bunch of politicians? . . . If I was him . . . I wouldn’t do it.”
  46. On Tuesday, Sen. Jon Tester, ranking Democrat on the Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committee, told NPR that 20 active duty or former military members had come forward with allegations against Jackson.
  47. On Tuesday, CNN reported that during an overseas trip in 2015, when Jackson was the White House physician, he was intoxicated and banged on the hotel room door of a female employee.
  48. On Wednesday, WAPO reported Jackson has grown frustrated and told colleagues he may withdraw. Later that day, Democrats released a document summarizing interviews of 23 of Jackson’s current and former colleagues alleging professional misconduct.
  49. The reported cites Jackson provided “a large supply” of Percocet to a White House military official that left his staff scrambling to account for the missing drugs, and that Jackson got intoxicated and “wrecked a government vehicle.” Jackson denied all allegations.
  50. On Thursday, Washington Examiner reported more than a half-dozen veterans groups expressed frustration, saying they were never contactedby the White House or VA officials in the lead up to Jackson’s nomination.
31164052_764029633790059_4694318350229045248_o
Photo by Paul Hehn in Portland, Oregon this week.
  1. On Thursday, Jackson withdrew from consideration for VA nominee, thanking Trump and saying in a statement, “ I did not expect to have to dignify baseless and anonymous attacks on my character and integrity.”
  2. On Thursday, Pruitt testified before two House committees about controversial spending and management decisions while heading the EPA.Pruitt accused critics of attacking him in order to derail Trump’s agenda.
  3. Pruitt defended himself on spending, claiming “I was not aware of the amount,” and “I was not aware of the approval,” and said there was “no truth” to charges of retaliation and didn’t recall related conversations.
  4. Pruitt told Congress allegations against him are “fiction,” “lies,” and “half-truths.” He is the subject of at least five investigations into his conduct by agency watchdogs.
  5. On Thursday, after the hearing, California’s AG Xavier Becerra said Pruitt violated impartiality requirements in the rulemaking process over his refusal to recuse himself from the process of repealing a landmark power plant rule.
  6. In his previous job as Oklahoma’s attorney general, Pruitt sued the EPA more than a dozen times to block the Clean Power Plan. Eight other states and the District of Columbia joined Becerra in his letter.
  7. Bryan Rice resigned just six months after Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke appointed him to lead the Bureau of Indian Affairs, following a negative inspector general report on the reassignment of dozens of senior staff.
  8. The Bureau of Indian Affairs is part of the Interior Department and has8,000 employees and a $2.5 billion annual budget, and handles government relations with more than 500 federally-recognized tribes.
  9. On Thursday, WAPO reported a timeline provided by the FBI to the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee revealed Don McGahn first received “derogatory information” about Rob Porter in March 2017.
  10. McGahn has said he was not aware of allegations against Porter until just before they became public, which happened in February 2018. The White House has given shifting stories about what they knew and when.
  11. Also at his joint news conference with Macron Tuesday, Trump brushed a speck of dandruff off Macron’s shoulder, remarking he needed to look “perfect.” Trump also said the US special relationship with France is not “fake news.”
  12. On Wednesday, Macron addressed a joint meeting of the US Congress.Macron criticized Trump’s isolationist principles, and said the US participation in the global community is vital.
  13. Macron was critical of Trump’s opposition to the Paris climate accord — calling for the US to “make our planet great again,” and said Trump’s attacks on international trade agreements was short-sighted.
  14. Macron got a standing ovation when he said we must “protect our democracies” against “the ever-growing virus of fake news, which exposes our people to irrational fear and imaginary risks.”
  15. On Monday, Robert Mueller’s team defended the search of Paul Manafort’s storage locker, stating prosecutors had the cooperation of an assistant to Manafort, Alexander Trusko, to gain access before the court-ordered search.
  16. CNN reported Trump has been ramping up usage of his personal cell phone to contact outside adviser recently. Sources said that Trump has also used his cell phone for direct outreach to GOP lawmakers.
  17. Experts say Trump’s cell phone usage makes his communications vulnerable to eavesdropping from foreign governments. Also, Trump’s private calls will not be captured for government accountability and history.
  18. Sources say Trump’s cell phone use is also an indication of John Kelly’s waning influence. Corey Lewandowski reportedly bragged of unfettered access, and John Bolton and Larry Kudlow are direct reports to Trump, bypassing Kelly.
  19. On Monday, Bloomberg reported that despite the excuse Trump gave to James Comey, per the Comey memos, that he never spent an overnight in Russia as denial for salacious reports in the dossier about his trip to the 2013 Miss Universe pageant in Moscow. This is not true.
  20. Flight records obtained, combined with Trump’s social-media posts, show Trump’s jet landed on a Friday, and left pre-dawn on Sunday. Vnukovo airport, where Trump landed, is less than an hour from the Ritz-Carlton Hotel.
  21. On Tuesday, Daily Beast reported that Thomas Roberts, a former NBC anchor and host of the 2013 Miss Universe pageant, confirmed that Trump did stay overnight in Moscow.
  22. On Thursday, Trump denied he told Comey that he didn’t stay overnight in Moscow, telling “Fox & Friends,” “Of course I stayed there.” Trump added Comey “ didn’t write those memos accurately. He put a lot of phony stuff.”
  23. On Tuesday, TPM reported Comey brought on former US attorney Pat Fitzgerald to represent him as a potential witness in the Mueller probe. Fitzgerald told TPM he has been representing Comey since 2017.
  24. In 2003, when Comey was deputy attorney general, he selected Fitzgerald to run the special counsel to investigate Scooter Libby for disclosure of a CIA employee’s identity. In Week 74, Trump pardoned Libby.
  25. On Tuesday, Christopher Wylie, the Cambridge Analytica whistleblower, provided a closed-door briefing to the House Judiciary Committee on how the company obtained data on tens of millions of Facebook users.
  26. Not a single Republican on the committee attended the briefing. Wylie told reporters after that he hopes Congress will investigate whether the company, which worked for the Trump campaign, broke US law.
  27. Rev. Patrick Conroy, the 60th Chaplain of the United States House of Representatives, said in a letter that he was fired by Speaker Paul Ryan because of a prayer he offered about the GOP tax bill.
  28. In his speech, Rev. Conroy told House members to “be mindful that the institutions and structures of our great nation guarantee the opportunities that have allowed some to achieve great success, while others continue to struggle.”
  29. Rev. Conroy told the NYT, “A staffer came down and said, We are upset with this prayer; you are getting too political.” Representatives of both sides expressed outrage about the firing.
  30. In a special election Tuesday, the GOP won an open Congressional seat in Arizona by just 6 points after winning the seat by 37 points in 2016. Thisfollows a trend of Republicans losing support since Trump took office.
  31. On Wednesday, former Sen. Harry Reid broke his silence in an interview with NBC News, saying he is worried US institutions have been “decimated” under Trump, and blaming Republicans for being lax on Russian meddling.
  32. Reid said Trump, Comey, and the Koch brothers are all responsible for the American people not knowing earlier about Russian interference in the US election. Reid said Republicans are scared of the Koch brothers.
  33. On Wednesday, Sens. Jeanne Shaheen and Sheldon Whitehouse asked eight banks, including Deutsche Bank, for details about accounts, assets or services the banks provided to any of the 96 Russian oligarchs identified by the Treasury Department to have ties to Putin.
  34. On Wednesday, WAPO reported Rudy Giuliani met with Mueller Tuesday to reopen negotiations on the special counsel interviewing Trump. Giuliani conveyed the ongoing resistance of Trump and his advisers to an interview.
  35. Giuliani pressed for clarity on when the probe would wrap up. Mueller reportedly said he is seeking to question Trump about steps he took during the transition and early months of his regime
  36. Vanity Fair reported that, according to sources, Giuliani was the best Trump could do given all better-qualified white-collar defense lawyers who said no. Trump views Giuliani as a marquee name and a vocal advocate.
  37. Trump’s former lead lawyer, John Dowd, said of Giuliani, “I haven’t talked to him yet…I’m not aware of him ever defending a case.” Sources also noted Giuliani was formerly the AG of the Southern District of New York, the jurisdiction where Michael Cohen’s case is being tried.
  38. Mueller also reiterated that an interview is essential for investigators to understand Trump’s intent in making key decisions as they seek to wrap up their investigation of possible obstruction of justice.
  39. On Wednesday, CNN reported dozens of the Russian diplomats expelled last month were suspected spies, believed to have been tracking Russian defectors and their families who had resettled in the US.
  40. That and other US intelligence has raised concerns that Russia was seeking to target Russian émigrés viewed as traitors or enemies of the Kremlin, similar to the former Russian spy and his daughter in the UK.
  41. On Thursday, the Senate Judiciary Committee voted 14–7 to advance legislation that would protect Mueller. Committee chair Chuck Grassley said he is working to change Mitch McConnell’s position of not bringing a bill to the floor.
  42. The committee’s legislation would delay any action to fire a special counsel by 10 days, and guarantee the ousted special counsel a chance to have three federal judges swiftly review the decision.
  43. Grassley added an amendment which was adopted by the panel which would require that Congress be notified 30 days in advance of any special counsel being terminated. Four Republicans voted along with Democrats.
  44. On Thursday, a House Judiciary Committee hearing headlined by pro-Trump video-bloggers Diamond and Silk, Lynnette Hardaway and Rochelle Richardson, devolved into yelling and partisan bickering, with the two claiming, “We’ve been censored.”
  45. On Thursday, hours before the hearing on his “Fox & Friends” interview,Trump praised Diamond and Silk as “amazing … beautiful, wonderful women,” and called them “warriors.”
  46. The two said under oath that they weren’t paid. FEC filings reveal the Trump campaign paid the duo $1,275 on November 22, 2016. Richardson called the figures “fake news.”
  47. On Friday, a federal court in Washington threw out a civil lawsuit by Manafort which challenged Mueller’s authority in the Russia investigation. Manafort’s attorneys also filed lawsuits to dismiss two criminal cases against him.
  48. On Friday, Republicans on the House Intelligence Committee released a250 page-long report on its findings. Partisan bickering led to a total breakdown of the committee, as Devin Nunes re-seized control after being recused months prior.
  49. While the majority report is critical of Russia for meddling in the election, the report questions the Intelligence Committee’s conclusion that the Kremlin wanted Trump to win.
  50. The majority report also accuses the FBI of “significant intelligence tradecraft failings,” echoing charges by Trump that the bureau is inept, biased, and corrupt. The report is also full of strange redactions.
  51. The majority report downplays the outreach of Alexander Nix, then CEO of Cambridge Analytica, to Wikileaks, but found the Trump campaign’s outreach, “highly objectionable and inconsistent with U.S. national security interests.”
  52. Among the revelation in the majority report are that Michael Flynn and his son went to the home of Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak for a private meeting before traveling to Russia in 2015 for a dinner hosted by RT.
  53. The majority report said none of the evidence from testimony pointed to collusion. Democrats cited the uncooperative central witnesses who were not called to task, as well as the 30 plus witnesses they were unable to call.
  54. Trump immediately praised the report, tweeting, “Just Out:…“No evidence” that the Trump Campaign “colluded, coordinated or conspired with Russia.” Clinton Campaign paid for Opposition Research obtained from Russia- Wow! A total Witch Hunt! MUST END NOW!”
  55. On Friday, the Democrats on the House Intelligence Committee released a report called “Minority View,” citing, “the Committee’s Majority has shattered its commitment by rushing to end its investigation prematurely.”
  56. The Democrat’s report also claims Republicans “failed to meet the mandate given to the HPSCI” and “engaged in a systematic effort to muddy the waters, and to deflect attention” away from Trump.
  57. Among the revelations in the minority report is that the Agalarovs and Trumps have a relationship dating back to 2013 Miss Universe pageant in Moscow, and were in regular contact before and after the Trump Tower meeting.
  58. The minority report also points to a strong possibility that Trump himself was communicating with Donald Jr. as he worked to schedule the June 9 Trump Tower meeting with Natalia Veselnitskaya.
  59. On Friday, House Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi said House Democrats will continue to investigate alleged Russian meddling in the 2016 election.
  60. On Friday, in an interview with NBC News, Russian lawyer Veselnitskaya acknowledged she was not just a private lawyer, but also a source of information for top Kremlin official, Yuri Chaika, the prosecutor general.
  61. Veselnitskaya has maintained until now that she met with Donald Jr., Jared Kushner, and Manafort on June 9 at Trump Tower in a private capacity, not as a representative of the Russian government.
  62. On Friday, as Trump met with German Chancellor Merkel in the Oval Office, he told reporters, “No collusion…No coordination, no nothing,” adding he was “very honored by the report. It was totally conclusive. Strong. Powerful.”
  63. Trump did remember to shake Merkel’s hand this year, telling reporters, “we actually have had a great relationship right from the beginning,” adding later, “We need a reciprocal relationship, which we don’t have.”
  64. At a joint news conference, Merkel looked perplexed as Trump rambled on about the withdrawal of Ronny Jackson, saying Washington DC can be a “very mean place” and people an be fired “as fast as they fire people in Germany.”
  65. Late Friday evening, Trump again tweeted about the report, after deleting a tweet with a misspelling, calling the investigation a “big Hoax” and “Witch Hunt,” and saying “There should never have been a Special Counsel appointed.”
  66. On Friday, CNN reported the NRA is gathering up documents related to its interactions with the Kremlin-linked banker Alexander Torshin ahead of a possible Congressional investigation.
  67. On Wednesday, Cohen invoked his Fifth Amendment right in federal court in a lawsuit brought by Stephanie Clifford, citing an “ongoing criminal investigation” by the FBI and US Attorney for the SDNY.
  68. In letters to the court filed Wednesday, lawyers for Cohen, Trump, and the Trump Organization asked to review documents seized from Cohen in the FBI raid, adding Trump himself would be available for the review process.
  69. On Thursday, US District Judge Kimba Wood appointed Barbara Jones as special-master to review materials seized from Cohen and determine if they include confidential communications between him and his legal clients, including Trump.
  70. Jones served as a federal judge for 16 years in the SDNY, and was the first woman to lead a federal organized crime task force.
IMG_1943
By Teachr1 in Los Angeles, CA – April 7, 2018
  1. On Thursday, New York Post reported feds seized as many as 16 cell phones in the raid of Cohen’s office and hotel room, including two BlackBerrys, suggesting Cohen has been holding on to his devices for many years.
  2. On Thursday, WSJ reported on the relationship between Cohen and Trump, and how hurt Cohen was about Trump leaving him behind in New York after moving to the White House.
  3. Cohen believed he would get a key role, either as a campaign manager after Manafort left, or as chief of staff after Reince Priebus departed. Cohen reportedly told Trump, “Boss, I miss you so much.”
  4. Trump reportedly said of why he didn’t bring Cohen to Washington DC,he’s like a “bull in a china shop,” who when brought in to fix a problem sometimes breaks more china.
  5. Trump has been mean to Cohen in the past, including showing up late for Cohen’s son’s bar mitzvah speech and telling guests he only came after Cohen had repeatedly called him, his secretary, and his children begging him to appear.
  6. Cohen was even kept on the outside at Trump’s inauguration festivities: he and his guests were not given priority access, and Cohen was very hurt. Questions remain as to whether Cohen will remain loyal to Trump.
  7. Since the FBI raid, Cohen has been frequently been seen out on the town at fancy restaurants with friends, smoking cigars, which may be interpreted as an attempt to show he is not frightened by the investigation.
  8. WSJ also reported that privately Cohen has begun complaining to associates, both about being left in New York and about Trump’s failure to repay him for the $130,000 he had drawn off his home-equity line to pay Clifford.
  9. On Thursday, in a rambling 30-minute interview with “Fox & Friends,”Trump said Cohen represented him in silencing Stephanie Clifford: “Michael represents me, like with this crazy Stormy Daniels deal, he represented me,”
  10. In Week 73, Trump denied any knowledge of the $130,000 payment to Clifford arranged by Cohen. Trump’s White House has denied allegations that Trump had an affair with Clifford.
  11. Trump also tried to distance himself from Cohen, saying, “This doesn’t have to do with me. Michael is a businessman…I would say, probably, the big thing is his business. I have nothing to do with his business.”
  12. Trump further tried to distance himself from Cohen, saying “I have so many attorneys you wouldn’t believe,” adding his legal work using Cohen was, “As a percentage of my overall legal work, a tiny, tiny fraction.”
  13. When asked about his alleged ties to Russia on “Fox & Friends,” Trump said he was “very disappointed in my Justice Department,” adding “ I have decided I won’t be involved. I may change my mind at some point.”
  14. Trump threatened the FBI, “You look at the corruption at the top of the FBI, it’s a disgrace, and our Justice Department — which I try to stay away from, but at some point, I won’t,” adding That’s not the FBI. That’s a fix.”
  15. Trump said, “the special counsel — and by the way, and Intelligence Committee and everybody else has found no collusion.” Trump added thatthe Russia investigation is like a “cloud over my head.”
  16. On Thursday, Sessions, who is recused from the Russia investigation, criticized how long Mueller is taking, saying, “This thing needs to conclude.”
  17. Trump also attacked Sen. Tester on “Fox & Friends” over his passing along concerns of whistleblowers on Jackson, “I want to tell you that Jon Tester — I think this is going to cause him a lot of problems in his state.”
  18. Trump said of Comey, “I did a great thing for the American people by firing him,” adding, “Those memos were about me and they’re phony memos. He didn’t write those memos accurately. He put a lot of phony stuff.”
  19. Trump also repeated his lie about the election, “The Electoral College is set up perfectly for the Democrats and this was an absolute total beating in the Electoral College.” And to rate himself: “I would give myself an A+.”
  20. On Friday, the judge in the Stephanie Clifford’ lawsuit against Trumpagreed to delay the case by three months as requested by Cohen, citing a criminal investigation Cohen is facing.
  21. On Thursday, another cache of text messages between FBI officials Peter Strzok and Lisa Page were released to Congress. The cache included messages from December 2016 to May 2017, which were originally thought to be missing.
  22. The messages express dismay over Comey’s firing, and discuss the prospect of working for Mueller. There is also a cryptic text from May: “”We need to open the case we’ve been waiting on now while Andy is acting.”
  23. Page called Trump an “idiot” and “a douche,” among other insults, but also sent insulting texts about Hillary Clinton, Eric Holder, and Bernie Sanders. There was no evidence of the “secret society” alleged by Sen. Ron Johnson.
  24. Early Friday morning, Trump again attacked Comey, tweeting, “He illegally leaked CLASSIFIED INFORMATION,” adding, “He lied all over the place to cover it up. He’s either very sick or very dumb.”
  25. A Pew Research study found the longstanding partisan gap over compromise has disappeared: 46% of Democrats believe elected officials should compromise, down from 69% in 2017 (Republicans at 44%).
  26. Several Republicans embroiled in tough primaries are using Trump’s tactics, using phrases like “drain the swamp,” “build the wall,” and “fake news,” and calling for the jailing of Hillary Clinton and Comey.
  27. A new Quinnipiac poll found 53% believe the Russian government has compromising information about Trump, 35% do not. Only Republicans and white men don’t believe this.
  28. The poll also found 74% say Trump should not fire Mueller (13% disagree), and that 37% of Republican voters say the news media is “an important part of democracy, while 51% says it’s “the enemy of the people.”
  29. On Friday, influential conservative website RedState fired a handful of prominent writers, all of whom were anti-Trump voices.
IMG_9971
Brooklyn, New York – February 2018
IMG_9263
Jacksonville, Florida – February 2018

POLITIKS OF GRAFFITI 76: TAX DAY, BUT NOT FOR TRUMP

Week 75 of this presidency: Experts in authoritarianism advise to keep a list of things subtly changing around you, so you’ll remember.

April 21, 2018 https://medium.com/@Amy_Siskind/week-75-experts-in-authoritarianism-advise-to-keep-a-list-of-things-subtly-changing-around-you-so-ac41bda4c55d

This week Trump became increasingly frantic about the fed raid on Michael Cohen, as innuendo swirled that Cohen could cooperate with federal prosecutors if indicted. Trump spent much of the week attacking James Comey, and teetering on firing Rod Rosenstein and Robert Mueller. Yet again this week, the national focus continued to be on Trump’s gyrations, with no visible efforts in Congress towards the typical discussions and debates on policy or legislation.

The untold and less-covered stories continue to be loss of rights and protections for marginalized communities and women, and the outright cruelty of the Trump regime when it comes to immigrants. Kleptocracy and corruption continues unabated, and in a sign of our country’s normalization of the previously unthinkable, Tax Day came and went this week with barely a whimper for Trump not sharing past returns.

IMG_6236
Wynwood, Miami, Florida. December 2017. Apparently, the “Neo Fascism” tag was added by a “woke” citizen some time in the night…
  1. On Sunday, Trump attacked Comey in a series of tweets, calling him a “slimeball,” “Slippery James Comey,” and adding, “(he is not smart!), will go down as the WORST FBI Director in history, by far!”
  2. Trump also tweeted, “The big questions in Comey’s badly reviewed book aren’t answered like, how come he gave up Classified Information (jail), why did he lie to Congress (jail).
  3. Trump also attacked a former president again, “Why can’t we all find out what happened on the tarmac” between “Wild Bill and Lynch?” Trump asked if Loretta Lynch was “promised a Supreme Court seat, or AG” to lay off Hillary.
  4. A NBC News/WSJ poll found Trump’s approval dropped back down to 39%, down 4 points from last month. His disapproval rose to 57%.
  5. On Sunday, shortly after the poll was released, Trump tweeted “Just hit 50% in the Rasmussen Poll much higher than President Obama at same point.” The Rasmussen number is 7.5 points above the average poll.
  6. On Sunday, in his first TV interview about his book, Comey castigated Trump for being a serial liar, “morally unfit,” and a “stain” on all around him. Comey said Trump was incinerating the country’s norms like wildfire.
  7. Two black men waiting for a friend to arrive at a Starbucks in Philadelphia were handcuffed and arrested after a white Starbucks employee called the police. The men were held by police for nine hours before being released.
  8. On Tuesday, Starbucks announced the company will close 8,000 of its stores on the afternoon of May 29 to conduct “racial-bias education”training for nearly 175,000 employees.
  9. HuffPost reported a federal judge in Washington barred the federal government from implementing Trump’s transgender military ban, saying transgender people have been “subjected to systemic oppression and forced to live in silence,” and are therefore a protected class.
  10. On Tuesday, Miami Herald reported ICE arrested Juan Gaspar-García, an undocumented Guatemalan man with Down syndrome, as part of a raid at TentLogix. Gaspar-García, 22, was one of 28 people detained.
  11. Gaspar-García’s sister launched a petition, saying, “My brother does not have the ability to understand certain situations and probably does not understand why he is there or what is happening.” He also has diabetes.
  12. World-famous Muslim author and activist Yassmin Abdel-Magied, who who holds dual citizenships in Sudan and Australia, was detained at Minneapolis-St. Paul airport by US Customs and Border Protection.
  13. American authorities said Abdel-Magied, who was being paid to speak at the conference, was in violation of her visitor’s visa. She was denied entry to the US, and after a three hour detainment, was sent back to London.
  14. Politico reported, as part of the Trump regime’s broader plan to reduce immigration, Jeff Sessions is seeking to remove domestic violence and sexual violence as persecution that would justify asylum in the US.
  15. The city of Albuquerque passed a measure making it harder for federal officials to deport undocumented immigrants, a week after a judge blocked the Trump regime from withholding funding from cities that took such steps.
  16. AP reported Manuel Duran Ortega, a reporter working for Spanish-language media outlet Memphis Noticias, was detained by ICE, allegedly because he has been critical of local police cooperating with federal ICE.
  17. Ortega, who is originally from El Salvador, was arrested by police in Memphis, then taken into custody ICE and detained in Louisiana. Southern Poverty Law Center asked a federal court to release Ortega.
  18. On Wednesday, Syracuse.com reported ICE agents stormed a farm owned by John Collins in upstate New York without a warrant. The agents pinned his worker, Marcial de Leon Aguilar, up against a window.
  19. Collins said the men did not identify themselves and were screaming at Aguilar. The seven officers cuffed Aguilar and took him across the road to their vehicles as Collins’ children, waiting for the school bus, looked on. Collins said Aguilar had proper documentation to work for him.
  20. On Wednesday, Trump attacked California and its sanctuary cities in a tweet, saying, “there is a Revolution going on in California,” which he called “crime infested & breeding concept.”
  21. On Wednesday, Gov. Jerry Brown reached an agreement with the Department of Homeland Security and Defense officials on the terms of California’s National Guard deployment at the border: the state’s 400 troops will work solely against drug trafficking and cross-border criminal groups.
  22. On Thursday, Trump shot back at Brown, tweeting Brown deployed troops “to do nothing,” and “The crime rate in California is high enough,” and the federal government “will not be paying for Governor Brown’s charade.”
  23. NYT reported, according to data prepared by DHS’s Office of Refugee Resettlement, more than 700 immigrant children have been taken from their parents at the US border, including more than 100 under the age of four.
  24. Officials claim the agency does not separate families at the border for deterrence purposes, but Trump officials, including Kelly, have publicly suggested this in the past. A spokesman for DHS said, “As required by law, D.H.S. must protect the best interests of minor children crossing our borders.”
  25. On Wednesday, in the biggest power outage since Hurricane Maria, a toppled transmission line left all of Puerto Rico without power. Puerto Rico Electric Power Authority said power restoration could take up to 36 hours.
  26. BuzzFeed reported at a closed-door UN meeting in March, Trump regime officials called the US a “pro-life nation,” and pushed for references to contraception, abortion, and comprehensive sex education to be struck.
  27. On Thursday, a federal judge in Washington DC ruled the Trump regime’s cuts to the Obama-era Teen Pregnancy Prevention Program (TPPP) were unlawful, and ordered the Department of Health and Human Services to accept and process applications of four grantees.
  28. On Friday, Trump’s HHS announced the TPPP will shift federal funding aimed at reducing teen pregnancy rates to programs that teach abstinence. The changes mark a major shift in the way the federal government treats teen pregnancy.
  29. On Thursday, a federal appeals court found an Indiana abortion law signed by then Gov. Mike Pence is unconstitutional. The law banned women from having abortions based on the gender, race, or disability of the fetus.
  30. A UK parliamentary committee released audio from November in which Nigel Oakes, the founder and CEO of SCL Group, Cambridge Analytica’s parent company, told a reporter Trump deliberately demonized Muslims and stoked fears about ISIS to appease his base — as Hitler did with Jews.
  31. VICE News reported that following their inquiry to Facebook, the company removed two pages associated with white supremacist Richard Spencer.
  32. On Saturday, WAPO reported that eight months after the white-nationalist rally in Charlottesville, the alt-right movement is in disarray amid lawsuits, arrests, infighting, tepid recruitment, and banishment from social media.
  33. One of the biggest groups, the Traditionalist Worker Party, dissolved in March; Andrew Anglin, founder of The Daily Stormer, has gone into hiding; and Richard Spencer canceled a college speaking tour.
  34. Elizabeth Pierce, FCC Chair Ajit Pai’s pick to run a federal advisory committee, was arrested after federal prosecutors accused her of forging contracts to induce firms to invest more than $250 million in a fraud scheme.
  35. On Monday, Rob Joyce, a top White House cybersecurity official, became the fourth member of Trump’s National Security Council to resign in the days since John Bolton took over at National Security Adviser.
  36. On Tuesday, Republican Rep. Charlie Dent, a critic of Trump and leader of a moderate band of Republicans, said he would quit Congress next month before serving out his term. Dent had already announced his retirement.
  37. On Tuesday, FCC Commissioner Mignon Clyburn, a strong advocate for net neutrality, announced she will step down from the commission. Clyburn has served on the commission since 2009.
  38. On Monday, NPR reported the Environmental Protection Agency removed the San Jacinto Waste Pits, a heavily contaminated site near Houston, from a list of sites that require special attention by Scott Pruitt, citing significant clean-up progress.
  39. The site, which is next to homes and schools and took decades to get federal attention, saw significant damage from Hurricane Harvey. Pruitt is leaving it to two companies responsible for the contamination to come up with a court-ordered plan within 29 months.
  40. Ryan Zinke’s Interior Department announced the killing of birds resulting from an activity, such as an oil spill, is no longer prohibited under the Migratory Bird Treaty Act, sapping the strength of a century-old law to protect birds.
  41. A federal judge ruled Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach was in contempt of court for failing to comply with a 2016 preliminary injunctionthat blocked a Kansas law requiring people to provide proof of citizenship when they register to vote.
  42. Kobach, who also serves as co-chair of Trump’s Election Integrity Commission, had assured the judge he would send out postcards to the roughly 18,000 people whose registrations were being held up. He did not.
  43. Betsy DeVos’ Education Department’s Office for Civil Rights has begun dismissing hundreds of civil rights cases under a new protocol, saying serial filing have become burdensome to the office.
  44. The new provision resulted in the dismissal of more than 500 disability rights complaints. DeVos has already rescinded guidances meant to protect students against campus sexual assault, and black and transgender students against bias.
  45. The Government Accountability Office concluded the EPA did not comply with the Financial Services and General Government Appropriations Act by spending $43,000 to install a private phone booth in Pruitt’s office without notifying Congress spending was above the $5,000 limit.
  46. CNN reported Samantha Dravis, one of Pruitt’s most trusted advisers and top EPA official, tried to back-date her resignation letter after the House oversight committee requested to interview her as part of its investigation.
  47. On Wednesday, a group of 170 Democratic lawmakers, including 131 representatives and 39 senators, signed a resolution calling on Pruitt to resign.
  48. On Wednesday, Daily Beast reported Rep. James Bridenstine, Trump NASA nominee, led a small non-profit organization into losses. Some of the losses were the result of a company that Bridenstine co-owned using the non-profit’s resources.
  49. On Thursday, the Senate confirmed Bridenstine to lead NASA, by a vote of 50–49. Bridenstine has no scientific credentials, does not believe humans are primarily to blame for the global climate crisis, and is the first elected official to hold the position.
  50. The Philippine Embassy sent invitations for its Independence Day celebration on June 12, which will be held at the Trump Hotel DC. The hotel is seen by foreign delegations as a place to be seen and curry favor.
IMG_1308
Hard to believe, hard to digest, facts about the state of our union. Los Angeles, CA. 7apr18
  1. On Thursday, WSJ reported that the Kushner Cos. received a federal grand-jury subpoena in mid-March for information related to paperwork the company filed in New York City on its rent-regulated tenants.
  2. On Wednesday, the parents of two children who died in the 2012 Newtown school shooting sued InfoWars’ Alex Jones for defamation. Jones is a right-wing conspiracy theorist who said the shooting never happened.
  3. In a YouTube video, Jones backtracked and said he now believes the 2012 Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting did really happen, and that the families are being used by the Democratic Party and the news media.
  4. On Friday, Intercept reported, according to documents, in February 2017 Elliott Broidy provided Russian gas giant Novatek a $26 million lobbying plan aimed at removing the company from a US sanctions list.
  5. When Broidy sought legal advice on the plan and avoiding registering under the Foreign Agent Registration Act, a law firm flagged the avoidance of lobbying registration as a problem. That advice was a factor in the decision not to move forward with the agreement.
  6. On Sunday, WSJ reported federal prosecutors are investigating money flowing in and out of Essential Consultants, the Delaware limited-liability company used by Michael Cohen for payment deals to at least two women.
  7. Cohen used Essential Consultants to make pay $130,000 to Stephanie Clifford. Installments were also made by Broidy towards the payment made for negotiating a nondisclosure agreement related to his affair.
  8. On Sunday, Axios reported Trump tried to block Pence from getting his pick for his national security adviser. Pence has planned to pick Nikki Haley’s deputy Jon Lerner, who was part of the “Never Trump” movement.
  9. On Sunday, US ambassador to the UN Haley told “Face the Nation” the US is preparing new sanctions against Russia for their role in Assad’s use of chemical weapons in Syria, adding Secretary Steven Mnuchin would be announcing the sanctions on Monday.
  10. WAPO reported Trump met with his national security advisers late Sunday, and told them he was uncomfortable rolling out new sanctions. On Monday, White House officials put the brakes on new sanctions.
  11. On Monday, the White House was said to be in a “holding pattern” on sanctions, enacting them only if Russia does something which threatens US interests. The Trump regime reportedly decided to characterize Haley’s announcement as a misstatement.
  12. On Tuesday, National Economic Council Director Larry Kudlow told reporters Haley “got ahead of the curve.” Haley responded, “With all due respect, I don’t get confused.” Kudlow reportedly called Haley Tuesday to apologize.
  13. On Tuesday, WAPO’s Carol Leonnig told MSNBC the Russian government was given a backdoor assurance on Sunday night that the threats of sanctions were nothing to worry about, and to just ignore Haley.
  14. On Tuesday, NYT reported that Trump grew angry while watching television Sunday and seeing Haley announce sanctions were coming, when he had not decided yet.
  15. The miscue highlights crossed circuits in a regime without a secretary of state, Bolton starting anew and several members of the national security officials resigning, and a marginalized White House staff.
  16. Trump is at odds with Haley, who is among the most hawkish senior officials on Russia. Recently, he saw her on television criticizing Russia over its intervention in Ukraine, and yelled at the screen, “Who wrote that for her?”
  17. On Friday, Russian news agency RIA Novosti reported Foreign MinisterLavrov said Trump invited Putin to the White House during a phone call, and that Trump said he would be happy for a reciprocal visit to Moscow.
  18. On Sunday, the LA Times reported Trump’s Solicitor Gen. Noel Francisco intervened in a minor SEC case to ask the Supreme Court to clarify the president’s constitutional power to fire all “officers of the United States.”
  19. On Sunday, the NYT Editorial Board wrote that if Trump moves against Mueller or Rosenstein, “it will be up to Congress to affirm the rule of law, the separation of powers and the American constitutional order.”
  20. On Sunday night, in a letter to US District Judge Kimba Wood, Trump asked the judge to allow him to review documents seized by the FBI from Cohen’s office before criminal investigators see the material.
  21. The FBI is using a “taint team” of prosecutors outside the investigation to review all materials seized from Cohen’s office, hotel room, and security deposit box to access what is covered by attorney-client privilege.
  22. On Monday, Justice Wood said she would not grant the President exclusive first access to documents seized in the raids, but said she would consider appointing an independent lawyer to review the seized materials.
  23. Also in court Monday, Cohen’s attorneys acknowledged he represented Broidy, and sought to avoid naming a third client. Under orders from the judge, the third client was disclosed to be Sean Hannity.
  24. Shortly after, Hannity tweeted, “Cohen has never represented me in any matter. I never retained him, received an invoice, or paid legal fees. I have occasionally had brief discussions with him about legal questions.”
  25. On Tuesday, The Atlantic reported Hannity has ties to two other lawyers who are close to Trump: Jay Sekulow and Victoria Toensing, wife and law partner of Joseph diGenova.
  26. The two sent a cease and desist letter on May 25, 2017 to KFAQ, a radio station based in Tulsa, when conservative activist Debbie Schlussel saidHannity was “creepy” towards her. Sekulow, Toensing, and diGenova are frequently on Hannity’s show.
  27. On Tuesday, Fox News said it was “unaware” and “surprised” by Hannity’s business relationship with Cohen, but expressed “we have reviewed the matter and spoken to Sean and he continues to have our full support.
  28. On Tuesday, WAPO reported Trump is now leaning against granting an interview to Mueller’s team, following the FBI raids on Cohen. When the news broke on Cohen, Sekulow and other Trump advisers were in a preparatory session for a meeting with Mueller’s team.
  29. Mark Corallo, former spokesperson for Trump’s legal team saidunexpected raids “are generally reserved for mafia dons and drug kingpins.” Trump continues to have trouble staffing his legal team.
  30. WAPO also reported Trump was so upset by the raids, he had trouble concentrating on the options laid out to him by his national security team for missile strikes in Syria.
  31. On Wednesday, WSJ reported Jay Goldberg, who represented Trump in the 1990s and early 2000s, cautioned Trump not to trust Cohen, saying Cohen is likely to cooperate with federal prosecutors if facing criminal charges.
  32. In a fifteen-minute conversation, Goldberg reportedly told Trump, on a scale of 100 to 1, where 100 is fully protecting, Cohen “isn’t even a 1.” Trump is seeking advice as prosecutors ramp up their investigation of Cohen.
  33. On Thursday, Cohen dropped his libel suit against BuzzFeed and Fusion GPS over the dossier. Letting go of the defamation lawsuit could give Cohen more time to focus on the high-profile cases against him.
  34. On Tuesday, April 17, taxes were due. Trump filed an extension because of the complexity of preparing his 2017 returns, and plans to file by mid-October. Trump is the only modern day US leader not to release his taxes.
  35. On Tuesday, WAPO reported that CIA director Mike Pompeo made a previously undisclosed trip to meet with Kim Jong Un over Easter weekend, shortly after he was nominated as Trump’s secretary of state.
  36. Trump hinted about the meeting while speaking to the press from Mar-a-Lago Tuesday while meeting with Japan PM Abe. The meeting marks the highest-level meeting between the two countries since 2000.
  37. On Sunday, Steven Molo, a former prosecutor who specializes in white collar defense and courtroom litigation, turned down the opportunity to represent Trump in the Mueller probe, citing an unidentified conflict.
  38. On Tuesday, AP reported as Trump left for a two-day summit with Japanese PM Abe, his anger against the probe has intensified, with him musing publicly about firing Mueller and Rosenstein.
  39. On Tuesday, at the start of his visit with Abe, Trump plugged Mar-a-Lago as a destination, saying, “Many of the world’s great leaders request to come to Mar-a-Lago in Palm Beach. They like it. I like it.”
  40. On Wednesday, Trump changed his prior story, claiming in a tweet “Comey, the worst FBI Director in history” was “not fired because of the phony Russia investigation,” adding “ NO COLLUSION (except by the Dems)!”
  41. On Wednesday, CNN reported that Trump believes “all of this will eventually collapse on itself,” and since he is innocent of wrongdoing with Russia, he can represent himself in the Mueller probe.
  42. On Wednesday, at a new conference with Abe at Mar-a-Lago, Trump reiterated, “There’s been nobody tougher on Russia than President Donald Trump,” adding he would sanction Russia as soon as they deserve it.
  43. Trump declined to say whether he would fire Mueller or Rosenstein, saying, “We are hopefully coming to the end,” about the probe, and adding “It is a bad thing for our country — very, very bad thing for our country.”
  44. Trump also referred to the Mueller probe as “a hoax created largely by the Democrats as a way of softening the blow of a loss,” and said there had been no collusion five times.
  45. On Wednesday, WTAE reporter Marcie Cipriani obtained emails sent to Pittsburgh police detectives warning them of a “potential large scale protest” Trump fires Mueller. Detectives have been instructed to bring their riot gear to work.
  46. On Wednesday, in a letter to Gov. Andrew Cuomo and state lawmakers,New York AG Eric Schneiderman said he is moving to change state law so he and local prosecutors could bring criminal charges against aides of Trump who are pardoned.
  47. On Thursday, WAPO reported Rudy Giuliani, former New York AG, says he is joining Trump’s legal team dealing with the Mueller probe, saying he hopes to “negotiate an end to this for the good of the country.”
  48. Giuliani will work alongside Ty Cobb and Sekulow on a team that has had a hard time recruiting legal talent. On whether Trump will sit for an interview with Mueller, Giuliani said, “It’s too early for me to say.”
  49. Politico reported Giuliani’s new role could be complicated by him becoming a witness in the Mueller probe in several areas including his ties to Turkish-Iranian gold dealer Reza Zarrab. Trump’s lawyers deny there are any conflicts of interest.
  50. On Friday, WAPO reported that Sessions told Don McGahn last weekend in a phone call that he might leave his job if Trump fires Rosenstein.
  51. Sessions also reportedly asked for details about Trump’s meeting with Rosenstein at the White House on April 12, and expressed relief to learn it was largely cordial.
  52. As of Friday, more than 800 former Justice Department employees had signed an open letter calling on Congress to “swiftly and forcefully respond to protect the founding principles of our Republic and the rule of law” if Trump fires Rosenstein or Mueller.
  53. On Friday, Axios reported Trump has not cooled off on Rosenstein. According to a source, Trump is still trying to figure out a clean way to get rid of him, then Rosenstein will be fired.
  54. On Tuesday on “The View,” Stephanie Clifford and her lawyer unveiled a sketch of the man who allegedly threatened her in 2011 after she agreed to tell her story. A $100,000 reward is being offered to identify the man.
  55. On Wednesday, Trump tweeted about the sketch posted by Clifford, saying it was “about a nonexistent man. A total con job.” The tweet was accompanied by another tweet suggesting the man looked like Clifford’s former husband.
  56. On Wednesday, Karen McDougal settled her lawsuit seeking to invalidate her contract with AMI, parent of National Enquirer, over $150,000 paid to her in 2016 for her story about her affair with Trump which never ran.
  57. Under the settlement, McDougal will keep the $150,000 she was paid and AMI has the rights to up to $75,000 for any future profits from her story. She is no longer prohibited from discussing her relationship publicly.
  58. Vanity Fair interviewed Michael Avenatti, Stephanie Clifford’s attorney, who claimed there have been three raids of Cohen in eight days and “there’s a significant level of cooperation” between he and Clifford and the SDNY AG’s office.
  59. Avenatti alleges he has evidence of bank fraud involving Cohen, which he shared with the FBI and believes the smoking gun are the Suspicious Activities Reports flagging transactions. He thinks Cohen will be indicted.
  60. On Friday, WAPO reported that Keith Davidson, the former lawyer for both Stephanie Clifford and Karen McDougal, is said to be cooperating in the federal probe of Cohen. Davidson’s lawyer confirmed.
IMG_1305
Californians reminding mike pence some things he’s apparently forgotten from his dear bible. Los Angeles, CA. 7apr18
  1. Davidson represented both women while they negotiated their settlements in 2016. According to CNN, as part of the raids on Cohen, federal investigators have taped conversations between Cohen and Davidson.
  2. On Friday, a federal judge in Los Angeles said there were “gaping holes” in a request by Trump’s personal lawyer to delay Stephanie Clifford’s lawsuit to end her non-disclosure agreement.
  3. On Sunday, Speaker Paul Ryan told “Meet the Press” that he doesn’t think it’s necessary to pass legislation to protect Mueller from being fired, saying, “It’s not in the president’s interest to do that. We have a rule of law system.”
  4. On Tuesday, six House Republicans endorsed legislation to block Trump from firing Mueller, despite assurances from Speaker Ryan that the effort was unnecessary. A handful of other Republicans are also evaluating it.
  5. On Tuesday, Leader Mitch McConnell told Fox News he would not put legislation on the Senate floor to block Trump from firing Mueller, saying, “I don’t think he should fire Mueller and I don’t think he’s going to.”
  6. On Thursday, Senate Judiciary Committee chair Chuck Grassley said hiscommittee will vote next week on a bill to protect Mueller from being fired by Trump.
  7. Grassley said he had promised senators Lindsey Graham, Thom Tillis, Chris Coons, and Cory Booker that if they could merge their two bipartisan bills into one, he would bring the bill up for a committee vote.
  8. On Tuesday, Trump tweeted about online retailers in his continued attacks on Amazon, tweeting “States and Cities throughout our Country are being cheated and treated so badly by online retailers,” calling it “very unfair.”
  9. On Wednesday, House Judiciary Committee chair Bob Goodlatte said he plans to issue a subpoena to Justice Department demanding the Comey memos on his meetings with Trump be released to his committee.
  10. Goodlatte’s move would make him the third Republican committee chair, including Devin Nunes of the House Intelligence Committee and Trey Gowdy of the House Oversight Committee, to demand access to the Comey memos.
  11. Jerry Nadler, the top Democrat on the House Judiciary Committee said in a statement Wednesday that he feared the Republicans “have manufactured an excuse” to hold Rosenstein in contempt of Congress.
  12. On Thursday, the Justice Department released the Comey memos with congressional leaders. In a letter to Goodlatte, Nunes, and Gowdy, the agency said it was releasing both redacted and un-redacted versions.
  13. On Thursday, the Associated Press obtained the 15 pages of seven Comey memos. Although the memos were unclassified, some portions were blacked out as classified.
  14. Although much of the content had already been made public, details emerged of Trump’s obsession with political rivalries and fears the bureaucrats and government officials were trying to undermine him.
  15. The memos also reveal Trump’s obsession with his inaugural crowd size, his venting about subordinates and leaks, and not appreciating or caringabout protocol boundaries for the White House and DOJ.
  16. The memos reveal that after Comey’s meeting at Trump Tower about the dossier and alleged tapes with prostitutes, Trump brought up the subject at least two more times.
  17. The memos also reveal that US intelligence agencies had corroborated at least part of the dossier, and that Trump gave contradictory statements to Comey on whether then chief of staff Reince Priebus knew they were meeting.
  18. The memos also reveal that Priebus asked Comey if Michael Flynn were being wiretapped. The response was redacted. Comey tried to explain that such inquiries should be routed from the White House counsel’s office to the DOJ.
  19. Comey described an irate Trump when then-NSA Flynn did not tell him right away that Putin had called to congratulate him. Trump said, “Six days was not an appropriate period of time to return a call” from the leader of a country like Russia.
  20. The memos show Trump’s focus on Andrew McCabe, including a January dinner at which Trump asked Comey whether Mr. McCabe “had a problem” with the him. In an Oval Office meeting weeks later, Trump brought it up again.
  21. On Friday, WSJ reported the Justice Department inspector general is probing Comey for at least two of the memos he gave to a friend outside the government which contained information now considered classified.
  22. Comey considered the memos personal rather than government documents, and gave four memos to his friend Daniel Richman, a former federal prosecutor who is now a professor at Columbia Law School.
  23. A poll released by NPR, PBS NewsHour, and Marist University showed anincreasing number of Americans believe the FBI is biased against Trump, including more than half of all Republicans.
  24. On Thursday, Bloomberg reported Rosenstein told Trump last Thursday at a White House meeting that Trump is not a target of any part of the Mueller probe, or the federal investigation into Cohen. This seemed to have cooled Trump from firing Rosenstein or Mueller.
  25. The meeting was also attended by McGahn, Kelly, and FBI general counsel Dana Boente. Despite Rosenstein’s assurance, Mueller has not ruled out making Trump a target a future point.
  26. On Thursday, NBC News reported in January the Justice Department’s inspector general had recommended a criminal investigation into whether McCabe lied to federal officials about a leak to the WSJ.
  27. On Thursday, Comey told CNN he feels “conflicted” about McCabe’s criminal referral, adding “I like him very much as a person, but sometimes even good people do things they shouldn’t do.”
  28. McCabe’s lawyer Michael Bromwich responded, “We are confident that,unless there is inappropriate pressure from high levels of the administration, the U.S. attorney’s office will conclude that it should decline to prosecute.”
  29. On Friday, Axios reported Bromwich said McCabe plans to sue for defamation, wrongful termination and other possible civil claims. Bromwich also accused McCabe’s opponents, including Trump, of “continuing slander.”
  30. Bromwich also said McCabe was “upset and disappointed” about some of the things Comey said about him. Bromwich added of Comey, “Nobody’s memory is perfect, people are fallible.”
  31. On Friday, Vox reported at a January 22, 2017 White House meeting with Sessions and Christopher Wray, Trump asked why two senior FBI officialswho were disloyal to him, Peter Strzok and Lisa Page, were still in their jobs.
  32. Trump pressed Sessions and Wray to move aggressively to uncover derogatory information on Strzok and Page within FBI files and turn it over to congressional Republicans working to discredit the them.
  33. Jonathan Greenberg, an investigative journalist, revealed that Trump had repeatedly lied to him, starting in May 1984, about Trump’s wealth, in hopes of staying and rising on the Fortune 400 list.
  34. Greenberg said Trump used an alter ego of himself, John Barron, on phone calls to make inflated claims about his net worth, like “You have down Fred Trump [as half owner]…but I think you can really use Donald Trump now.”
  35. Over time, Greenberg discovered Trump should not have been on the first three Fortune 400 list at all. In 1982, Fortune listed Trump at $100 million, but really he was worth roughly $5 million.
  36. On Friday, the Democratic Party filed a multimillion-dollar lawsuit against the Russian government, the Trump campaign, and the WikiLeaks organization for conspiring to disrupt the 2016 campaign and elect Trump.
  37. The complaint was filed in federal district court in Manhattan and alleges top Trump campaign officials conspired with the Russian government and its military spy agency to hurt Hillary by disseminating stolen information.
  38. The suit does not name Trump, but does name Donald Jr., Kushner, Paul Manafort, and Rick Gates, as well as Roger Stone who claimed he was in contact with Julian Assange. It also names the Russian military intelligence service, the GRU.
  39. Trump Campaign Manager Brad Parscale called it a “sham lawsuit,” and Trump tweeted “this can be good news in that we will now counter for the DNC Server that they refused to give to the FBI.”
  40. On Friday, Sen. Coons of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee said he will not support Mike Pompeo’s nomination for secretary of state, marking the first time since 1945 the full senate will vote on a cabinet-level nominee with an unfavorable report from a committee.
  41. On Friday at 11:13 pm, Trump hinted at a flawed premise for Mueller in a misspelled tweet: “Comey illegally leaked classified documents to the press in order to generate a Special Council?”
  42. Trump hinted therefore that Mueller should be fired: “Therefore, the Special Council was established based on an illegal act?” adding: “Really, does everybody know what that means?”
  43. On Friday, NYT reported that while Cohen said he would “take a bullet” for Trump, for years Trump treated Cohen poorly, with insults, dismissive statements, and threats to fire him at least twice.
  44. Federal agents seized decades of documents in their raids on Cohen’s office and hotel room. While Cohen has been a staunch defender of Trump, after the raid, the leverage has shifted to Cohen.
  45. On Saturday, in a series of tweets, some of which were deleted and tweeted again due to misspelling, Trump attacked the NYT over the Cohen story, saying Cohen will not “flip” and cooperate against him.
  46. Trump complimented Cohen, calling him “a fine person with a wonderful family,” and “a businessman for his own account/lawyer who I have always liked & respected.”
  47. Trump also lashed out at one of the NYT reporters on the story, tweeting, “a third rate reporter named Maggie Haberman, known as a Crooked H flunkie who I don’t speak to and have nothing to do with.”
  48. The tweets were sent Saturday morning from Mar-a-Lago, where Trump has spent almost the entire week, just before he headed out to to one of his golf course for the second consecutive day.
  49. Four former presidents and Melania attended the funeral for Barbara Bush on Saturday. Trump tweeted he was headed to the “Southern White House,” his second nickname for Mar-a-Lago, to watch the funeral service, after golfing.
  50. Trump will host French President Macron for his first state dinner next Tuesday. Unlike his predecessors, Trump has not invited any members of Congress from the opposing party or any members of the media.
  51. Again demonstrating his affinity for military ceremonies, the White House announced Trump said he will speak at the US Naval Academy Commencement next month.
IMG_8553
New York City. February 2018.
IMG_8635
Sidewalk stencil. Brooklyn, New York. February 2018. 

POLITIKS OF GRAFFITI 74: DOUCHES & DUNCES

Should have known we could count on Los Angeles street artists to have an opinion on the current political situation in our slowly (or, rather quickly) unraveling democracy. All over the LA streets yesterday, I found these brilliant “Douche” and “Dunce” stickers. I don’t know the artist behind them, but would love to give credit where credit is due, if anyone knows. 

IMG_4984
What happens when you take a joke too far? The 45th president of the Divided States of America.

Another important point to note this week, as it has come out that the regime is collecting data on journalists and bloggers, I understand, and have always understood, that my blog may eventually hit their radar. TOKIDOKI is quite ‘small potatoes,’ compared to actual political blogs, but I have always understood the risk of this weekly post and I feel it’s my duty as an an American to stand up for what I believe in and to help keep the masses informed, no matter how much they want to close their eyes and cover their ears. We won’t be silenced. This quote from Martin Niemöller is my inspiration:

First they came for the Socialists, and I did not speak out—
Because I was not a Socialist.

Then they came for the Trade Unionists, and I did not speak out—
Because I was not a Trade Unionist.

Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out—
Because I was not a Jew.

Then they came for me—and there was no one left to speak for me.

Week 73 of this godforsaken presidency: Experts in authoritarianism advise to keep a list of things subtly changing around you, so you’ll remember.

April 7, 2018 https://medium.com/@Amy_Siskind/week-73-experts-in-authoritarianism-advise-to-keep-a-list-of-things-subtly-changing-around-you-so-fcd309a62b9b

This was an alarming week simply for all that happened in what should have been a quiet holiday week with Congress out of town. As in recent weeks, Trump is not seeking to work with the input of Congress, nor does the Republican Party seem to have a policy plan; rather Trump is governing unilaterally.

This week, after a Mar-a-Lago weekend where Fox News hosts told him he was viewed as softening on immigration, Trump spent the week creating a crisis to demonize and take actions against immigrants — using the shiny coin of “caravans” to energize his base around the hatred of others.

Trump is acting against the advice of his dwindling pool of senior staffers, and gyrating on issues like withdrawing troops from Syria and tariffs. But again, Trump is calling the shots and choosing the focus. As departures continue, Trump stayed with loyalist Scott Pruitt as scandals engulfed his EPA chief — a story which consumed a great portion of our media’s attention, despite a myriad of alarming developments, including the regime starting a database to track journalists and bloggers.

IMG_1190
A fact about Mike Pence: “Campaign finance records from the 1990 effort showed that Pence, then 31, had been using political donations to pay the mortgage on his house, his personal credit card bill, groceries, golf tournament fees and car payments for his wife.” Although, NOT illegal at the time (it IS now), it stunned voters because of the hypocrisy. And this is what the GOP continues to do to its supporters, behaving like “Do as I say, not as I do,” and it’s truly frustrating and heartbreaking to watch my fellow Americans SWINDLED and made to LOOK LIKE FOOLS. The people they vote for laugh at them and run all the way to the bank. https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/mike-pence-used-campaign-funds-to-pay-his-mortgage–and-it-cost-him-an-election/2016/07/15/90858964-49ed-11e6-bdb9-701687974517_story.html?utm_term=.40b05a075219
  1. Trump’s Department of Homeland Security will monitor 290,000 news sources around the world, and compile a database of journalists, editors, foreign correspondents, and bloggers to identify top “media influencers.
  2. WAPO reported that in reaction to Trump, tens of millions of Americans are joining protests and getting political. One in five Americans have protested or participated in rallies since the beginning of 2016.
  3. Of those participating, 19% said this was their first time marching or joining a political gathering. About one-third saying they intend to volunteer or work for a 2018 congressional campaign.
  4. The number of women who have filed to run for US House seats in November 2018 continued to swell. So far, a record 309 women have filed to run in both parties, breaking the record of 298 in 2012.
  5. In a letter addressed to the Republican chair and ranking Democrat on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, more than 200 former diplomats expressing alarm over the slide in US leadership in the world.
  6. In what one former undersecretary described as a “cry from the heart,”diplomats urged senators to grill Mike Pompeo about his plans to reverse the corrosion of the State Department at his confirmation hearing.
  7. Politico reported Rex Tillerson spent $12 million while Secretary of State to hire an army of consultants, mostly from the consulting firm Deloitte, to make the State Department leaner and modernized to the standards.
  8. Congressional officials, who for months have been unsuccessfully trying to get information on Tillerson’s project, said it would be a subject in the Senate confirmation of Pompeo.
  9. Russian bots tweeted their support of Fox News host Laura Ingraham, who in Week 72 disparaged a Parkland student: #IstandwithLaura jumped 2,800 percent in 48 hours and was the top trending hashtag for the bots.
  10. On Easter Sunday, shortly after tweeting “HAPPY EASTER,” Trump sent a series of tweets venting on immigration and vowing “NO MORE DACA DEAL!”
  11. Trump blamed Mexico and Democrats, warning “Getting more dangerous. ‘Caravans’ coming,” and threatened Mexico, tweeting “They must stop the big drug and people flows, or I will stop their cash cow, NAFTA.”
  12. On Monday, CNN reported that over the weekend at Mar-a-Lago, Trump heard from allies, some of whom work for Fox News including Jeanine Pirro and Sean Hannity, that his base believes he is softening on immigration.
  13. Trump’s tweet about “Caravans” was related to a segment aired extensively on Fox News about Central Americans trekking from the Mexico-Honduras border into the US. His tweet followed a segment Sunday on “Fox & Friends.
  14. On Monday, at the annual White House Easter Egg Roll, Trump spoke to the crowd of roughly 30,000 parents and children on a variety of topics including bragging about his handling of the economy, “We’re going to make it bigger and better and stronger.”
  15. Trump also touted the military, “So just think of $700 billion, because that’s all going into our military this year,” and said of the DACA kids, “Democrats have really let them down. It’s a shame…”
  16. In a report titled, “Hate in the White House,” the Southern Poverty Law Center enumerated the many groups and individuals associated with hate groups and extremist ideology that are part of the Trump regime.
  17. Former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright penned an op-ed, “Will We Stop Trump Before It’s Too Late?” warning, “fascism poses a more serious threat now than at any time since the end of World War II.”
  18. On Monday, WAPO reported according to new DOJ directives, the Trump regime will pressure US immigration judges to process cases faster by imposing a quota system tied to their annual performance reviews.
  19. Immigration judges will be expected to clear at least 700 cases a year to receive a “satisfactory” performance rating. Their union called the quota an “unprecedented” step that risks undermining judicial independence.
  20. WAPO reported ICE ignored a directive from Defense Secretary Jim Mattis saying that noncitizen troops and veterans should not be deported, moving to deport Xilong Zhu, 27, who came from China in 2009 to attend US college.
IMG_1109
“Mitch McConnell is the Republican majority leader who will always put the fate of his party over the functioning of government. As Barack Obama’s tormentor, his legislative achievements were nonexistent, but he succeeded in stifling much of the Democrats’ agenda. Now he is in full bloom as an obstructionist, even with his own party in power.” https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2017/may/11/mitch-mcconnell-republican-party-trump-russia
  1. Zhu enlisted in the Army and was caught in an immigration dragnet created by the DHS. Zhu’s case comes as the Trump regime has pressured immigration judges to speed up deportation proceedings.
  2. The Sunlight Foundation’s Web Integrity Project reported a webpage that focused on breast cancer was scrubbed from the Department of Health and Human Services’ Office on Women’s Health. Information on insurance for low-income people was also removed.
  3. Bob Nonini, a Republican lieutenant governor candidate in Idaho, softened his stance Tuesday, a day after saying saying punishments for women who get an abortion should include the possibility of the death penalty.
  4. BuzzFeed reported that in at least 18 cases, Betsy DeVos’ Department of Education has failed to inform colleges that complaints were filed against them relating to campus sexual assault.
  5. DeVos’ department is still, almost a year later, working on an overhaul of Title IX regulations dealing with handling of sexual misconduct, but under the Clery Act, the department is required to track and disclose crimes reported on campus.
  6. Dayanna Volitich, a Florida middle school teacher, resigned after it was revealed that she is responsible for a white supremacist podcast and Twitter account full of racist and anti-Semitic posts.
  7. On Monday, the Trump regime said it will roll back an Obama-era car pollution standard in California. The EPA’s statement was notable in suggesting the regime would take on California’s authority to set its own rules.
  8. On Thursday, San Francisco city attorney Dennis Herrera sued Jeff Sessions, asking a federal court to overturn his December decision to revoke legal guidance designed to protect minorities, the indigent, and disabled.
  9. On Thursday, NBC News reported Puerto Rico’s Department of Education will close 283 of the island’s 1,100 schools this summer, following a sharp drop in enrollment amid the economic slump and departure of families.
  10. On Monday, House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy said Trump’s White House is considering using “rescission,” an obscure 1974 law that allows presidents to try to cancel spending approved by Congress, to slash from the budget bill approved last week.
  11. On Tuesday, DJ Gribbin, Trump’s top infrastructure aide, resigned after Trump acknowledged this week that his public works program wouldn’t happen before the midterm elections this fall.
  12. NPR reported Kentucky lawmakers signed a measure preventing federally-certified radiologists from judging X-rays in state black lung compensation claims, leaving it to physicians who typically work for the coal companies.
  13. Deadspin compiled a shocking video of news anchors at networks owned by Sinclair Broadcasting spliced together reciting propaganda-type scripts provided and required by the company.
  14. The script includes paradoxically warning viewers about “troubling trend of irresponsible, one-sided news stories plaguing our country,” and warns about “false news” and “fake stories.”
  15. Sinclair Broadcasting currently owns or operates 193 stations, and that number will rise to more than 230 if its proposed merger with Tribune Media goes through, which is highly likely under the Trump regime.
  16. Krish Vignarajah, a Democratic gubernatorial candidate in Maryland, is boycotting Sinclair-owned stations after Sinclair forced affiliate stations to read statements decrying “fake news” from other news stations.
  17. David Smith, executive chairman of Sinclair Broadcast, wrote in emails to New York that the entire print media “serves no real purpose,” adding it is reality-distorting tool of leftists that has “no credibility” and no relevance.
  18. On Wednesday, CNN reported a Sinclair producer in Nebraska resigned on March 26, citing corporate mandates for the past year and a half, and saying promos warning of “fake” news were just the final straw.
  19. A new study by researchers at Ohio State University found fake news played a significant role in the 2016 election: about 4% of Obama supporters were dissuaded from voting for Hillary by fake news.
  20. Among the top fake news stories that Obama supporters believed were that Hillary was in very poor health, Pope Francis endorsed Trump, and that Hillary approved weapons sales to Islamic jihadists, including ISIS.
IMG_1094
“House Speaker Paul D. Ryan (R-Wis.), among all elected Republicans, may be faring the worst during the Trump era. By defending, rationalizing, excusing and ignoring President Trump’s egregious behavior and attack on democratic norms, Ryan has gone from respected wonk to disgraced toady.” https://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/right-turn/wp/2017/08/22/why-paul-ryan-defender-of-the-indefensible-should-just-stop-talking/?utm_term=.f3523c2a164c
  1. Jill McCabe, the wife of Andrew McCabe wrote in an op-ed, “it’s time to set the record straight,” saying Trump and others attacked her reputation with “such destructive lies,” in an “effort to vilify us to suit their needs.”
  2. ProPublica reported on a Trump project in Mumbai, where the Trump Organization had licensing deals, had its permits revoked after investigators found “significant irregularities.”
  3. In Week 67, Donald Jr. made an “unofficial” business trip to India to deliver a foreign policy speech on at an event with Indian PM Modi. ProPublica reported that while there, he tried to get the decision overruled.
  4. On Tuesday, a lawsuit filed by nonprofit watchdog group Democracy Forward claims the Trump regime has failed to provide information on Jared Kushner’s meeting with Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman last May in Riyadh.
  5. On Thursday, Daily Mail reported Saudi crown prince Mohammed bin Salman bragged Kushner handed him US classified intelligence that the crown prince used as part of a purge of ‘corrupt’ princes and businessmen.
  6. NYT reported David Pecker, owner of the National Enquirer, took Kacy Grine, a French businessman who advises one of Saudi Arabia’s richest men and sometimes Crown Prince MBS, to meet with Trump in the Oval Office and then to briefly meet with Kushner.
  7. The New Yorker reported on Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman’s efforts to remake the Middle East, and his connections to Jared Kushner — “They became close very fast,” according to a former US official who see MBS periodically.
  8. New Yorker also reported a financial analyst present at a meeting between Charles Kushner and Qataris, said Kushner’s father pitched a huge renovation of 666 Fifth Avenue, “He asked for just under a billion dollars.”
  9. Charles Kushner has maintained he attended the meeting only out of politeness and did not talk business. The financial analyst also said Charles Kushner hosted a follow-up meeting the next day at 666 Fifth Avenue.
  10. The New Yorker also reported SCL Group, the parent company of Cambridge Analytica, had been retained by the Emirati government. In Week 30, Trump sided with Saudi Arabia and the UAE in a blockade of Qatar. In Week 31, the US ambassador to Qatar resigned.
  11. On Friday, Bloomberg reported an investment group that includes Kushner Cos, will receive $600 million in financing from JPMorgan Chase to build a residential tower in Brooklyn. A source said approval of the deal took months as it was run up the chain of command at JPMorgan.
  12. On Sunday, China announced its plan to counter Trump’s new tariffs on steel and aluminum, levying duties that will take effect Monday on more than 128 US goods exported to the country.
  13. On Monday, Trump attacked Amazon for the fourth time this week tweeting, “Only fools, or worse, are saying that our money losing Post Office makes money with Amazon,” adding, “not a level playing field!”
  14. On Monday, the Dow Jones Industrial Average fell as much as 759 points, closing down more 450 points over fears of trade wars with China and Mexico (NAFTA). Amazon was another down day, falling 5.2%.
  15. Amazon is the 17th company Trump has attacked since the election, often driving down their stock price. According to historians, unlike past leaders, Trump’s attacks are not about policy, but rather to “discredit his perceived opponents.”
  16. The stock market is having its worst second quarter since the Great Depression due to trade tariffs imposed by China and Trump’s public lashing of Amazon.
  17. On Wednesday, Bloomberg reported China is targeting their tariffs at American farmers in swing-states like Ohio and Iowa in a way that could impact the midterm elections.
  18. On Wednesday, National Economic Council Director Larry Kudlow sought to tamp down fears of a trade war with China, saying Trump’s tariffs “are all proposals” right now, adding “we’re putting it out for comment.”
  19. On Thursday, Trump said he instructed the US Trade Representative toconsider an additional $100 billion of tariffs on Chinese products. The representative expressed support for the move, calling Trump’s response “appropriate.”
  20. On Friday, Kudlow again cautioned “this is not a trade war,” adding no new duties have been implemented, and talks with China will continue for several months before anything is done.
  21. Clothing is exempted from the tariffs providing a big break to American clothing companies that hold trademarks in China, including Ivanka’s clothing companies which manufacture in China.
  22. On Friday, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said in a CNBC interview that Amazon’s tax-collecting doesn’t make sense, calling it “unfair” and saying infrastructure is “very, very important for the states’ economies.”
  23. On Friday, the Dow Jones Industrial Average plunged another 500 points on fears of Trump’s trade war with China, and possibly Mexico. Also, job adds for March came in at 103,000, well below the 193,000 expected.
  24. On Sunday, Trump’s lawyers filed an appeal, asking a New York state appeals court to throw out, or freeze a defamation lawsuit by Summer Zervos while Trump is in office.
  25. On Monday Trump and his attorney Michael Cohen filed papers in a federal court in Los Angeles asking that their case with Stephanie Clifford be heard by a private arbitrator in lieu of a jury.
IMG_1101
Sean Spicer. “He was dreadful as press secretary. Perpetually flustered and easily aggravated, his briefings were chiefly characterized by panicky cycles through whichever members of the press corps he happened to spot in a given moment, moving at a clip that left him garbling words, offering up rhetorical gems like “Holocaust centers,” and lashing out at reporters. His job was never going to be an easy one, what with a staff-jockeying president intent on speaking for himself and not through his communications team. But Spicer was exceptionally, mesmerizingly bad at it.” https://www.theringer.com/2017/7/21/16078116/politics-sean-spicer-resignation-donald-trump-anthony-scaramucci-white-house-a009b1d6bc3d
  1. On Thursday, Trump told reporters aboard Air Force One that he didn’t know Cohen paid Stephanie Clifford $130,000 days before the election. This is his first public response to questions about the payment.
  2. Clifford’s lawyer said Trump’s statement would be shown to be untruthfulif he is deposed. The statement also raises questions of whether the hush agreement is valid, given one party did not know about it.
  3. Trump’s comments also have implications for the complaint filed by Common Cause with the FEC and DOJ, claiming the argued that the payment was made to influence the election but not publicly disclosed.
  4. On Monday, Egypt’s state news agency MENA reported Trump called Egypt’s President al-Sisi to express his “sincere congratulations” on his re-election victory. Al-Sisi won 97% of the vote.
  5. On Monday, WSJ reported Mueller is investigating an August 4, 2016 email by Roger Stone in which he claimed he had met with WikiLeaksfounder Julian Assange: “I dined with Julian Assange last night.”
  6. The email was addressed to Trump adviser Sam Nunberg. The next day, Stone praised Assange on Twitter. Stone claims the email was a joke, and that he never had contact with Assange in 2016.
  7. On Wednesday, CNN reported the day Stone allegedly sent the email to Assange, he appeared on the InfoWars radio show and predicted “devastating” upcoming disclosures about the Clinton Foundation.
  8. On Monday, Yuri Ushakov, the Kremlin foreign policy adviser said in Moscow that during Trump’s March 20 call with Putin, Trump proposed the two meet at the White House in the near future, and that Putin would like to take him up on the suggestion.
  9. On Monday, press secretary Sarah Sanders confirmed that a White House meeting was discussed on the call, but played down the prospect, saying, “We have nothing further to add at this time.”
  10. A visit would be a significant gesture to Russia: Putin has not been invited to visit the White House since 2005. Amid expelling diplomats, Trump has yet to directly criticize Putin, and Russian state-owned news outlets have not criticized Trump directly.
  11. On Tuesday, the State Department told CNN the US and Russia can replace diplomats in each other’s countries who were expelled last week, describing the process as standard practice.
  12. On Tuesday, the Mueller probe notched its first prison sentence: attorney Alex van der Zwaan was sentenced to 30 days in prison, a $20,000 fine, and two months of supervised release.
  13. On Tuesday, Mueller’s team disclosed a memo from Rod Rosenstein in response to Paul Manafort’s motion to dismiss charges, contending Mueller was authorized to investigate only matters arising from the main subject of the investigation.
  14. The Rosenstein August 2017 memo was written to clarify his initial public order, and says Mueller was tasked with examining allegations that Manafort, in particular, committed a crime by “colluding with Russian government officials.”
  15. After the memo was revealed, Rosenstein became the subject of attacks by Fox News pundits, including Andrew Napolitano, and Joe DiGenova who told Sean Hannity that Rosenstein’s conduct “has been a disgrace legally and every other way.”
  16. On Tuesday, WAPO reported Mueller’s team told Trump lawyers in early March that Mueller is continuing to investigate Trump, but views him as a subject of his investigation into Russia’s interference in the 2016 election, not a criminal target as of now.
  17. The special counsel is preparing a report about the Trump’s actions while in office and potential obstruction of justice. Mueller reiterated the need to interview Trump to complete his probe.
  18. On Wednesday, Facebook acknowledged that Cambridge Analytica had improperly gathered detailed information on 87 million people, 71 million of whom were Americans.
  19. The company said overall, “malicious actors” took advantage of search tools on its platform — now disabled — to discover the identities and collect information on most of its 2 billion users worldwide. The scam started on the so-called “Dark Web” where criminals posted stolen information.
  20. Facebook suspended Canadian tech firm AggregateIQ from its platform. AggregateIQ has been linked with Cambridge Analytica, and is under investigation for whether it broke privacy laws or used unauthorized data.
IMG_1097
“Donald Trump Jr. is a terrible asshole and a person with the voice and demeanor of a terrible asshole. There are no doubt other men in the United States who inherit vast wealth from their families, spend their time liking social media posts accusing the teenage survivors of a school shooting of being paid actors, and believe people in deep poverty should smile more…” https://splinternews.com/why-does-donald-trump-jr-sound-like-such-a-terrible-as-1823194010
  1. Open Secrets reported that in the final weeks leading up the 2016 election,Robert Mercer donated to Secure America Now, a group that used Facebook and Google to target anti-Muslim ads at swing voters.
  2. On Wednesday, CNN reported Mueller is questioning Russian oligarchs who travel into the US. At least one oligarch was stopped and his electronic devices searched when his private jet landed at a New York area airport.
  3. At least two other oligarchs have been questioned as well, all relating to whether wealthy Russians illegally funneled cash donations directly or indirectly into Trump’s presidential campaign and inauguration.
  4. On Thursday, McClatchy reported Mueller’s team questioned an associate of the Trump Organization who was involved in overseas deals with Trump. Investigators showed up at his home with subpoenas compelling electronic records and sworn testimony,
  5. Investigators were particularly interested in the associate’s interactions with Cohen, who has been involved with Trump Organization business deals in Georgia, Kazakhstan, and Russia.
  6. On Friday, the Treasury Department imposed major sanctions against seven Russian oligarchs and the 12 companies they own, as well as 17 senior government officials, a state-owned weapons trading company and its subsidiary, a Russian bank.
  7. Included in the sanction list are Putin’s son-in-law, Kirill Shamalov, Oleg Deripaska, who once had close ties to Manafort, oil executive Igor Rotenberg, and Aleksandr Torshin, who courted NRA leaders and Trump.
  8. Trump made no public comment, nor did he send any tweets about the Russian sanctions.
  9. On Friday, CNN reported Trump has begun informal preparation for a possible interview with Mueller’s team, a sign his legal team is considering allowing an interview, even though they have not formally agreed to it yet.
  10. On Friday, CNN reported Joseph Schmitz, a Trump adviser, played a key role in trying to get the FBI and other government agencies to review materials from the dark web in the summer of 2016, which he wrongly thought were Hillary’s deleted emails.
  11. On Monday, CNN reported the US military has been working on plans to send dozens of additional US troops to northern Syria. Trump’s remarks on possibly withdrawing all troops have puzzled many at the Pentagon.
  12. CNN reported in a meeting with his national security team on Tuesday, Trump became irritated when his top military leaders warned him of the risks of withdrawing from Syria, saying it would be unwise.
  13. On Tuesday, Trump escalated his anti-immigrant rhetoric, floating the idea of sending the military to the US-Mexico border. Trump said at a news conference he would soon meet with Mattis to discuss having the military deployed.
  14. WAPO reported Trump was briefed on the possibility of sending troops by DHS Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen, and that White House aides loved the idea, including senior adviser Stephen Miller who has been involved in the planning.
  15. On Tuesday, Trump threatened to cut off foreign aid to Honduras as he continued to complain about the caravan of roughly 1,000 migrants, primarily from Honduras, traveling through Mexico.
  16. Trump also threatened Mexico with NAFTA: “Cash cow NAFTA is in play, as is foreign aid to Honduras and the countries that allow this to happen.” Mexico had taken steps late Monday to break up the caravan.
  17. On Tuesday, the Mexican ambassador to the US warned Trump’s call for the US military to guard the US-Mexico border is an unwelcome one, saying the Mexican government is still trying to clarify what Trump meant. The US ambassador to Mexico, Roberta Jacobson, resigned in Week 68.
  18. On Wednesday, Trump signed a proclamation directing the national guard to be deployed to the US-Mexico border. The strategy will require the cooperation of border-state governors who oversee their respective National Guard operations.
  19. Although George W. Bush and Obama had also deployed National Guard personnel, Trump’s proclamation comes at a time when the number of people crossing illegally is at its lowest level since 1971, although there was an uptick in March.
  20. Later Tuesday, Trump hosted the leaders of three Baltic states — Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania — who are concerned about Russian aggression. Trump told the leaders of himself, “Nobody has been tougher on Russia”
IMG_1110
“Does anyone make an easier target than Kim Jong Un? He’s Fatboy Kim the Third, the North Korean tyrant with a Fred Flintstone haircut—the grinning, chain-smoking owner of his own small nuclear arsenal, brutal warden to about 120,000 political prisoners, and effectively one of the last pure hereditary absolute monarchs on the planet. He is the Marshal of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, the Great Successor, and the Sun of the 21st Century.” https://www.vanityfair.com/news/2015/02/kim-jong-un-north-korea-understanding
  1. At a joint press conference following the meeting, Trump called US immigration laws “horrible” and “very unsafe,” saying he is calling on Congress to “get their act together” to change them, adding “we don’t have laws. We have catch and release.”
  2. Trump encouraged Latvian President Vējonis to pick a Baltic, not US, reporter because they are “real news, not fake news.”
  3. Also at the joint news conference, Trump reiterated his intent to pull US troops out of Syria, “I want to bring our troops back home. I want to start rebuilding our nation.”
  4. As Trump held the joint press conference with heads of three Baltic states, a White House reporter noted it has been 411 days since Trump held a solo news conference, his only. This is far fewer than his predecessors.
  5. Later Tuesday, in his last public remarks as Trump’s national security adviser, H.R. McMaster denounced Russia for its increased aggression around the world, and declared the US has “failed to impose sufficient costs.”
  6. The three Baltic leaders were present for his remarks, and McMaster lauded their to counter Russia. McMaster said, “Russia has used old and new forms of aggression to undermine our open societies and the foundations of international peace and stability.”
  7. On Wednesday, the day after Trump’s joint news conference, Russia tested missiles in the Baltic Sea, just outside of NATO territorial waters.
  8. On Thursday, at a speech in West Virginia to talk about the new tax law,Trump read the first lines of the speech, then threw the pieces of paper it was written on into the air, and instead preceded to give a rambling speech.
  9. Trump alleged without evidence that people voted multiple times, “in many places, like California, the same person votes many times,” adding, “Not a conspiracy theory, folks. Millions and millions of people.”
  10. Politifact tweeted a fact-check story from November 18, 2016, which found that Trump and far-right media’s claims of three millions illegal votes was false.
  11. Trump also ranted about immigration policies like catch-and-release and family based migration, and repeated a claim from his campaign kickoff speech that immigrant women “are raped at levels that nobody has ever seen before.”
  12. It was unclear what Trump was referring to, although this week he has been frequently mentioning caravans. White House spokesman Hogan Gidley said Trump was referring to “smugglers in general.”
  13. On Wednesday, Oregon Governor Kate Brown said in a series of tweets she will refuse to send her state’s National Guard to the U.S.-Mexico border, adding “I’m deeply troubled by Trump’s plan to militarize our border.”
  14. On Friday, Arizona and Texas were poised to send hundreds of National Guard personnel to the US-Mexico border. Trump’s Wednesday memorandum does not specify how long or in what capacity the troops will serve.
  15. Late Friday, Secretary Mattis approved using Defense Department money to pay for as many as 4,000 National Guard personnel to perform border security missions, meaning the federal government will foot the bill.
  16. Late Friday, Trump signed a memo ending a policy known as “catch-and-release,” under which immigrants without proper paperwork are released from detention while awaiting a court hearing on their status.
  17. As part of Trump’s memo, he asks Mattis to come up with a list of military facilities that could be used to detain illegal immigrants, and Sessions and Nielsen to identify any other resources or steps that may be needed.
  18. On Tuesday, Trump bragged about hitting 50% approval at the “honest polling” Rasmussen, saying it was higher than “Cheatin’ Obama” with the same pollster at the same point in office.
  19. Former White House communications director Jen Psaki told CNN Trump’s use of “Cheatin’ Obama” may have “racial undertones,” referring to Trump’s birther claims that Obama “shouldn’t have been president.”
  20. On Tuesday, Judge Rebecca Dallet won a bitter race for a seat on the Wisconsin Supreme Court, 56–44. Democrats in Wisconsin had not won an open Supreme Court seat election since 1995.

IMG_1100

  1. On Wednesday, Judith Giuliani filed a contested divorce against Rudy Giuliani in Manhattan Supreme Court. This follows the divorce filings in recent weeks by the wives of Donald Jr., and White House aide Dan Scavino.
  2. Juli Briskman, the Virginia cyclist who was fired after flipping off Trump, sued her former employer Akima, saying “I believe that Americans should not be forced to choose between their principles and their paychecks.”
  3. In a statement Friday, the White House announced Trump will again skip the White House Correspondents’ Dinner, sending press secretary Sanders instead.
  4. On Friday, NPR reported evangelical leaders are organizing a sit-down with Trump on June 19 at the Trump International Hotel DC, over concern his sex-scandals and divisive rhetoric could suppress evangelical turnout in November.
  5. On Thursday, AP reported Mick Mulvaney gave big pay raises to the deputies he has brought in to help him run the bureau, even as he has requested an budget of zero funding for the agency in Week 62.
  6. Mulvaney has hired eight appointees, paying four $259,500 a year and one $239,595 — more than members of Congress and cabinet secretaries. The top salary under the general federal government pay scale is $134,776.
  7. On Thursday, Simon Edelman filed a complaint with the US Office of Special Counsel, the government agency that protects federal employees, including whistle-blowers from reprisals.
  8. In Week 62, Edelman was fired after leaking a photo of Secretary Rick Perry embracing Robert Murray, CEO of Murray Energy. Edelman’s lawyer said he leaked a photo for the “reasonable belief that he was reporting evidence of criminal corruption, obstruction of justice, and ethics violations.”
  9. ABC News reported the Environmental Protection Agency paid $2,460 to a Capitol Hill condo association after EPA administrator Scott Pruitt’s security detail broke down the door after being unable to reach him by phone on a weekday afternoon. He had been napping.
  10. On Tuesday, The Atlantic reported after the White House denied his request to give two aides large raises, Pruitt used a hiring loophole within the Safe Drinking Water Act to grant the raises.
  11. Despite an encouraging phone call Trump gave Pruitt on Monday, White House insiders indicated Trump and the regime are displeased with the ethical issues Pruitt has found himself embroiled in.
  12. On Monday, WAPO reported last year Pruitt considered leasing a private jet on a month-to-month basis to accommodate his travel needs. The estimated cost came in at $100,000 a month.
  13. On Monday, NYT reported that in March 2017, the EPA signed off on a Canadian energy company’s pipeline-expansion plan, a client of Williams & Jensen, whose owner is renting Pruitt his condominium for $50 a day.
  14. On Monday, Daily Beast reported that the same condominium was used to host at least three GOP fundraisers during the time Pruitt was renting; although Pruitt was not invited or present during the events.
  15. On Monday, amid calls for Pruitt to resign, Trump called his embattled EPA chief to tell Pruitt to “keep your head up” and “keep fighting,” because the White House has “got your back.”
  16. On Thursday, the EPA’s top ethics watchdog Kevin Minoli clarified his earlier statement that Pruitt’s rental arrangement had not broken the federal gift rule, saying at that time, he didn’t have all the facts.
  17. Minoli’s clarification came after being sent a series of questions by former head of the Office of Government Ethics Walter Shaub. Minoli will examine the use of a second room by Pruitt’s daughter as a gift, and whether Pruitt violated the impartiality rule by meeting with people from the landlord’s lobbying firm.
  18. On Thursday, Samantha Dravis, the associate administrator of the EPA’s office of policy, resigned. Dravis formerly worked as Pruitt’s policy director and general counsel at the Republican Attorneys General Association.
  19. On Thursday, CNN reported that Trump floated the idea of replacing Sessions with Pruitt as recently as this week, despite the brewing scandals.
  20. On Thursday, on a flight returning from a speech in West Virginia, Trump defended Pruitt to the media, saying he is doing “a fantastic job,” and that Pruitt is a “fantastic person.”

IMG_1098

  1. On Thursday, CBS News reported Pruitt wanted to use his vehicle’s lights and sirens to get to his official appointment. When his security detail toldhim sirens could be used only in emergencies, the agent, a 16-year veteran was removed from his detail.
  2. Despite Pruitt claiming that the lobbying firm run the condominium owner has no business before the EPA, Daily Beast reported, based on lobbying disclosure forms and publicly-listed EPA records, there is a long list of companies that do.
  3. On Thursday, NYT reported at least five officials at the EPA, four of them high ranking and one a Trump appointee, were reassigned or demotedafter raising concerns about Pruitt’s spending and management of the agency.
  4. On Thursday, Politico reported Pruitt fell behind on his $50-a-night payments for the condominium, forcing his lobbyist landlord to pester him for payment.
  5. On Friday, Politico reported that the couple who owned the condominium had originally agreed to allow Pruitt to rent it for six weeks until he got settled, but when he wouldn’t leave, they changed the locks.
  6. On Friday, Trump tweeting defending Pruitt, saying he is doing a “great job but is TOTALLY under siege,” and decrying reporting that Pruitt may replace Sessions as attorney general by the “honest and corrupt” media.
  7. On Friday, WSJ reported, according to a White House aide, John Kelly urged Trump last week that Pruitt should step down, citing negative reports about Pruitt’s spending habits and management style.
  8. On Friday, AP reported that Pruitt’s total security costs approach $3 million, including travel expense such as flying first-class to avoid unpleasant interactions, security overtime, and a soundproof phone booth in his office.
  9. On Friday, in a letter, 64 Democrats in the US House urged Trump to call on Pruitt to resign. Three Republicans in the House have also called on Pruitt to resign.
  10. On Friday, Trump met with Pruitt to discuss the controversies. Conservative groups are rallying behind Pruitt, warning Trump getting someone as dogged as Pruitt though the Senate would be impossible.
  11. On Saturday, Rep. Trey Gowdy, chair of the House Oversight Committee, said he would probe the actions of Pruitt, saying “I don’t have a lot of patience for that kind of stuff.”

IMG_1192

POLITIKS OF GRAFFITI 66: PRESIDENT OF THE DIVIDED STATES

Week 65 of this presidency: Experts in authoritarianism advise to keep a list of things subtly changing around you, so you’ll remember.

February 10, 2018 https://medium.com/@Amy_Siskind/week-65-experts-in-authoritarianism-advise-to-keep-a-list-of-things-subtly-changing-around-you-so-28d95a0899dd

This week the chaos in our country infected Trump’s beloved stock market, which suffered its most volatile week since the financial crisis of 2008, as the Republican Party of Trump abandoned yet another of its guiding principles, fiscal responsibility. The regime suffered multiple resignations from its thinly staffed White House, as well as resignation of the third-ranking official at the Department of Justice amid escalating attacks on our institutions by Trump and his allies.

Troubling signs that Russia never left, and plans to meddle in our midterms emerged, although an increasingly autocratic Trump has conveniently yet to acknowledge Russian interference in our 2016 election. The whitewashing of America continues with statements and actions by Trump and his regime which are antithetical to American values. Trump also continues his pattern of siding with men facing allegations of abuse, ignoring victims’ suffering and accusing them of telling lies, despite Steve Bannon’s warnings that the “anti-patriarchy movement” is changing the US power structure.

IMG_8388

  1. Late Saturday, WAPO reported Trump is hopeful that the release of the Devin Nunes memo release will pave the way for further shake-ups, including the firing of Rod Rosenstein, as he continues to take steps to derail the Mueller probe.
  2. Late Saturday, TIME reported that in an August 2013 letter to an academic press, Carter Page bragged about his tie to the Kremlin: “I have had the privilege to serve as an informal advisor to the staff of the Kremlin.”
  3. On Sunday, Republicans lawmakers including Rep. Trey Gowdy tried to distance themselves from the Nunes memo. Four members of the House Intelligence Committee said the memo should not impact the Mueller probe.
  4. Asked about the Nunes memo release in an interview with CBS News, former CIA director Leon Panetta said, “I’ve been in public life for over 50 years. I have never in my lifetime seen anything like this happen.”
  5. On Monday, Nunes admitted a central part of his memo’s case against the FBI is untrue: the FBI did disclose a law firm working for Hillary’s campaign and the Democratic Party paid for the dossier in a footnote.
  6. Also on Monday, Nunes told Fox & Friends that George Papadopoulos who is mentioned in his memo, “never even knew who Trump — never even had met with” him. This is a lie. There a picture of the two together.
  7. Amid the onslaught of attacks, Republican voters have soured on the FBI. Gallup found 49% of GOP voters think the FBI is doing an “excellent” or “good” job in December 2017, down from 62% in 2014.
  8. On Monday, the House Intelligence Committee voted unanimously to release the Democratic rebuttal to the Nunes memo. Trump now has five days to review it and decide on redactions, if any, and if it should be released.
  9. On Tuesday, Trump met with Rosenstein to discuss the Democratic rebuttal memo. Chief of staff John Kelly told reporters he asked key lawyers and national security officials to complete a final evaluation of the memo by Thursday.
  10. On Monday, at a speech in Ohio, Trump called the Democrats who didn’t applaud his State of the Union speech “un-American” and “treasonous,” adding “I mean they certainly didn’t seem to love our country that much.”
  11. On Tuesday, Sen. Jeff Flake took to the Senate floor to rebuke Trump’s “not normal” comments, adding “Democratic colleagues love this country as much as we do. To suggest otherwise is simply unconscionable.”
  12. On Tuesday, Democratic Rep. Hakeem Jeffries took the House floor saying, “how dare you lecture us,” asking if it is treason for a “campaign to meet with a hostile foreign power to sell out our democracy and rig the election?”
  13. On Tuesday, press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said Trump was “clearly joking” when he made the comment about Democrats. Deputy press secretary Hogan Gidley added that the remark was “tongue-in-cheek.”
  14. On Tuesday, White House officials say they have begun planning for a grand military parade later this year showcasing the might of America’s armed forces. Trump reportedly said, “I want a parade like the one in France.”
  15. Trump’s idea for a military parade was met with widespread bipartisan condemnation calling it a waste of money, and saying it would break from democratic traditions. Conservative Joe Walsh tweeted, “Trump isn’t a King.”
  16. Robert J. O’Neill, a Fox News contributor and former Navy SEAL who killed Osama bin Laden, tweeted that Trump’s parade idea is “third world bullshit,” saying a “First World” country doesn’t do such things.
  17. On Thursday, Democrats introduced the PARADE (Preventing the Allocation of Resources for Absurd Defense Expenditures) Act, which would block Trump from spending taxpayers funds for his parade.
  18. Chicago Sun Times reported Arthur Jones, an outspoken Holocaust denier, activist anti-Semite, and white supremacist, is set to become the GOP nominee for an Illinois congressional seat, representing parts of Chicago.
  19. The Southern Poverty Law Center reported released a report, “The Alt-Right is Killing People.” Of 12 incidents which led to death or injuries, nine of those incidents occurred during 2017.
  20. The Guardian reported that court documents reveal California police worked with, and expressed sympathy for, neo-Nazis while working to identify anti-fascist activists and Trump protesters after violent clashes at rallies.
  21. Dallas Morning News reported the Trump regime capped the number of refugees it would admit at 45,000 for the fiscal year 2018, down from 85,000 allowed in Obama’s final year in office.
  22. In the first four months of fiscal year 2018, just 6,700 refugees have been admitted, putting the US on pace to take 20,000 refugees, the lowest since the 1980 Refugee Act gave US leaders the power to set caps.
  23. On Wednesday, the FBI released information that Border Patrol agent Rogelio Martinez, whose death in November 2017 was used by Trump to push for his border wall, was the result of an accident, not a homicide.
  24. Reuters reported the Trump regime plans to revamp a US government program called “Countering Violent Extremism,” from countering all violent ideologies to solely focusing on Islamist extremism.
  25. On Thursday, Trump tweeted “Time to end the visa lottery. Congress must secure the immigration system and protect Americans,” and linked to the 2010 case of Mubarak Ahmed Hamed, who illegally transferred money.
  26. WAPO reported an employee of the Montana Department of Labor resigned after learning ICE planned to subpoena the state for labor data which would be used to “hunt down & deport undocumented workers.”
  27. CNN reported Amer Adi, who has lived in the US for almost 40 years, has a wife and four daughters who are US citizens, and who Ohio Rep. Tim Ryan described as a “pillar” of his community, was deported to Jordan by ICE.
  28. Since Trump took office, ICE arrests have increased by 42%. Tens of thousands of undocumented immigrants have been arrested, including many like Adi who are deeply rooted and have no criminal convictions.
  29. Reuters reported Trump’s Department of Homeland Security has drafted rules that would allow ICE to scrutinize immigrants’ use of certain taxpayer-funded public benefits, for them or their children, to determine if they could become a public burden.
  30. Under the draft, a person would be considered a “public charge” if they depend on “any government assistance,” the result of which is effectively barring lower- and middle-income people from immigrating.
  31. On Tuesday, at a meeting with Leader Mitch McConnell, Kelly said undocumented immigrants who hadn’t signed up for the DACA program were either “too afraid” or “too lazy to get off their asses.”
  32. When asked later that day by the media to clarify his comments, Kelly doubled-down saying, “I gotta say that some of them just should have probably gotten off the couch and signed up.”
  33. Kelly’s words were met with harsh condemnation from Democrats and advocates, calling his words “ignorant,” “discriminatory,” and “cruel.” Advocates cite fear, cost, and misinformation as the main barriers.
  34. On Tuesday, when asked by the media about the pending government shutdown, Trump said he would “love to see a shutdown” if it helped get a tough immigration deal, including his border wall, passed in Congress.
  35. On Wednesday, Rep. Nancy Pelosi held the House floor for over eight hours, the longest continuous speech in the chamber since 1909, to advocate for Dreamers, and for a vote on a bill to address DACA.
  36. On Monday, Reuters reported acting director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau Mick Mulvaney planned to pull-back from a full-scale probe of how hackers stole personal date of 143 million Americans from Equifax.
  37. Intercept reported coal lobbyist Andrew Wheeler hosted fundraisers for Sens. John Barrasso and Jim Inhofe, Republicans on the Committee on Environment and Public Works, ahead of his nomination for a top EPA position.
  38. Association of Health Care Journalists reported The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services threatened to ban a reporter from press calls after he refused to delete parts of a published story at the request of CMS administrator Seema Verma.
  39. The agency followed through with its threat last week when Virgil Dickson of Modern Healthcare said his phone went mute during a CMS press calland a woman’s voice told him he was not allowed to participate.
  40. EPA administrator Scott Pruitt said in an interview with KSNV News 3 Las Vegas, that the warming climate is not “necessarily is a bad thing,” suggesting instead that a warm climate could be beneficial.
  41. The state legislature in Idaho voted to strip all mentions of human-caused climate change from statewide science guidelines, the first state to do so. Parents, teachers, and students are pushing back for revised standards.
  42. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos told Politico she found it “hurtful” being criticized for not upholding civil rights. She responded to lawsuits against her and her department for repealing Obama-era rules on campus sexual assault, saying she hoped “nobody who has been involved” would now not come forward.
  43. On Thursday, the two largest teachers union were blocked from entering the Education Department building to deliver complaints in the form of 80,000 report cards to DeVos, because they did not have an appointment.
  44. A three-month study conducted by Oxford, as part of the school’s Computational Propaganda Research Project, found Trump supporters consume and share the most fake news on Twitter and Facebook.
  45. Congressional Republicans took another step in quietly dismantling Obamacare, disbanding the Independent Payment Advisory Board, a board designed to tame runaway Medicare costs, should they ever arise.
  46. Judge Gonzalo Curiel, whom Trump described in 2016 as a “hater” and a “Mexican” who disliked Trump because of his strong border stance, will hear a key environmental case on Trump’s border wall with Mexico.
  47. On Monday, the Supreme Court denied a request from Pennsylvania Republicans to delay redrawing congressional lines. The deadline to redraw districts, which will benefit Democrat, was Friday.
  48. Pennsylvania State Rep. Cris Dush sent a letter to fellow House Republicans calling for the impeachment of the five justices who ruled that the legislature must redraw the state’s gerrymandered maps.
  49. On Friday, Dallas Morning News reported that county Republicans filed a lawsuit alleging the Democratic Party chair did not sign petitions of 128 candidates, so they should be kicked off the March 6 primary ballot.
  50. Sen. Chuck Grassley sent a letter of rebuke to Jeff Sessions, saying a memo which instructs Department of Justice employees not to communicate with Congress without pre-approval discourages whistleblowers and does not comply with the law.
  51. Spain extradited Russian citizen Pyotr Levashov, aka Peter Severa, a spam kingpin, to the US to face charges of links to a series of powerful botnets that were capable of pumping out billions of spam emails.
  52. A counter-extradition request from Russia was rejected. Levashov was apprehended while vacationing with his family in Barcelona in April. In Week 22, his wife said he was arrested for being “linked to Trump’s win.”
  53. On Monday, NYT reported Trump’s lawyers have advised him against being interviewed by Mueller’s team over concern Trump would make false statements and contradict himself, and could be charged with lying.
  54. If Trump refuses to be interviewed, Mueller could subpoena him to testify before a grand jury, a court fight that could be determined by the Supreme Court. It could also prompt accusations that Trump has something to hide.
  55. On Tuesday, Steve Bannon did not show up to testify before the House Intelligence Committee, despite a subpoena. Bannon’s attorney said theWhite House would not let him testify beyond 14 pre-approved yes-or-no questions.
  56. On Tuesday, Rep. Adam Schiff said if Bannon maintains his refusal, the committee should commence contempt proceedings to compel his testimony. The House has given Bannon one week to comply with their subpoena.
  57. On Wednesday, Schiff said in a statement that neither Bannon and Corey Lewandowski have “articulated legitimate grounds for refusing to appear and answer questions.” Schiff plans to subpoena Lewandowski too.
  58. NBC News reported Bannon is likely to meet with Mueller’s team next week. Bannon has reportedly struck a deal with Mueller’s team to avoid having to testify before a grand jury.
  59. Politico reported that the FBI was monitoring Carter Page when he spoke to Bannon in January 2017, and may have picked up the call. In Page’s November testimony to the House Intelligence Committee, he mentioned the call.
  60. According to Page, Bannon called to ask him to cancel a planned television appearance shortly before Trump’s January 21 inauguration. The two then discussed the dossier which was made public on January 11 by BuzzFeed.
  61. Research findings by BuzzFeed and Jonathan Albright of Columbia University reveal Russian trolls were active on Tumblr during the 2016 election, although the company has yet to face Congressional scrutiny.
  62. Russian-run Tumblr accounts used the same or similar usernames as the list of confirmed Russian troll farm Internet Research Agency accounts on other social media. Accounts generated hundreds of thousands of interactions which were anti-Hillary Clinton.
  63. On Tuesday, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said that Russia is already gearing up to meddle in the 2018 midterms, following the playbook it used in 2016. Tillerson warned the US is not “better prepared” and that Russia will adapt as well.
  64. In an interview with NBC News the head of cybersecurity at the Department of Homeland Security, Jeanette Manfra said, “We saw a targeting of 21 states and an exceptionally small number of them were actually successfully penetrated.”
  65. NBC News reported many of the states complained the federal government did not provide specific threat details. Manfra said clearances are being processed to make more sharing possible.
  66. On Thursday, George W. Bush said during his talk at an economic summit in Abu Dhabi that there is “pretty clear evidence that the Russians meddled” in the 2016 US election.
  67. A poll by NBC News/SurveyMonkey found 79% of Americans are concerned our voting systems might be vulnerable to computer hackers, while just 55% say our federal government is doing enough about it.
  68. On Wednesday, the WSJ reported the Senate Intelligence Committee is drafting is a report on vulnerabilities in the US election system based on the committee’s Russia probe which is expected to be released in March.
  69. On Thursday, Fox News reported Sen. Mark Warner, ranking Democrat of the Senate Intelligence Committee, had extensive contact via texting with a lobbyist for a Russian oligarch who was offering him access to Christopher Steele.
  70. Of note: last week in Week 64, Assange messaged a Twitter account he thought belonged to Fox News’ Sean Hannity offering, “Have some news about [Sen Mark] Warner.” Fox News broke the story on Warner.
  71. On Thursday, shortly after the Fox News story, Trump tweeted “Senator Mark Warner got caught having extensive contact with a lobbyist for a Russian oligarch.” Russian bots were also active in attacking Warner.
  72. Republican Sen. Marco Rubio, also on the Senate Intelligence Committee, tweeted in response to the Fox News story, “Sen.Warner fully disclosed this to the committee four months ago. Has had zero impact on our work.
  73. On Wednesday, Sen. Ron Johnson released a new report which included additional texts between FBI agent Peter Strzok and Page. A September 2, 2016 text from Page says, “potus wants to know everything we’re doing.”
  74. Shortly after the next texts were released, Trump tweeted, “NEW FBI TEXTS ARE BOMBSHELLS!” Press secretary Sanders added the report, “further shows that there is reason for us to have great cause for concern.”
  75. Sen. Johnson asserted the text was Obama wanting to know about the Clinton email investigation, however the investigation was closed at that time. September 2 was three days before Obama confronted Putin for meddling in our election on the sidelines of the G20 meeting in Hangzhou, China.
  76. On Thursday, FBI informant Douglas Campbell resurrected Uranium One, saying in a statement to three congressional committees that Russia routed $3 million through an American lobbying firm to influence Hillary and Obama.
  77. On Thursday, CBS News reported that House Intelligence Republicans will literally wall off their aides from Democratic staffers. Republicans on the committee claim to not be part of this, instead suggesting the move is by Nunes.
  78. A Marist College poll found Americans who strongly disapprove of Trump is up to 44% from 39% last month, while just 24% strongly approve.
  79. The poll also found 71% do not think the FBI is out to get Trump. Also, 55% said they would believe Mueller over Trump, compared to 30% who said the reverse.
  80. WAPO reported Christopher Steele, according to colleagues, was so concerned about what he learned from his Russia network on the Kremlin’s plans, he said “it was like “sitting on a nuclear weapon.”
  81. Steele was summoned to Rome to meet with the US intelligence. He shared that Russia had damaging information on Trump, and they planned to carry out an operation to tilt the US election, ordered by Putin.
  82. The FBI treated Steele as a peer. On Russian expertise, Steele had been sought out by the DOJ on past cases, as well as providing briefing material for British prime ministers and at least one US president.
  83. Speaker Paul Ryan tweeted then deleted a tweet celebrating a high school secretary’s $1.50/week pay increase under the GOP tax law. Ryan collected $500,000 from the Koch Brothers days after the law passed.
  84. Ryan, in turn, donated $5,000 to 143 Republican members of Congress.
  85. CNN reported under the Republican tax law, Exxon will lower its tax bill by $6 billion, as the company’s tax rate is lowered from 35% to 21%. Tillerson recused himself for one year only from matters relating to Exxon.
  86. WAPO reported according to a document released by the Treasury Department, the US government expects to borrow $955 billion in 2018 up from $519 billion last year, and the highest borrowing amount in six years.
  87. The jump in borrowing is the biggest since a spike under Reagan. The Congressional Budget Office said in a report the steep increase in borrowing is from lower tax receipts resulting from the GOP tax law.
  88. On Tuesday, the Commerce Department announced the trade gap in goods and services rose to $566 billion in 2017, the highest level since 2008.
  89. Following the sell-off Friday on the release of the Nunes memo, the global sell-off continued Monday, with the Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJIA) plunging 1,175 points, the largest single-day drop in history.
  90. CNBC reported the DJIA traveled more than 20,000 points this week, the most volatility since October 2008, during the financial crisis.
  91. On Tuesday, Democrats picked up a seat in the Missouri state House of Representatives. Mike Revis, a 27-year-old, won the race by four points, in a deep-red district that Trump had won by 28 points.
  92. So far in nine 2018 special election races, Democratic candidates are running 27 points ahead of Clinton and 12 ahead of Obama. In 70 races in 2017, Democrats ran 10 points ahead of Clinton and 7 ahead of Obama.
  93. Lawfare reported, based on 103 FBI emails obtained under a FOIA request, that despite statements by Trump and Sanders, bureau employees were shocked by Comey’s firing, and were supportive of him as their leader.
  94. NYT reported FEMA awarded Tiffany Brown, an Atlanta entrepreneur and sole owner of her company with no experience in large-scale disaster relief, a $156 million contract to deliver meals for Puerto Ricans.
  95. Brown’s contract called for delivering 30 million meals. By the time 18.5 million meals were due, only 50,000 had been delivered. House Democrats have asked Rep. Gowdy to subpoena documents from FEMA.
  96. Reps. Elijah Cummings and Gerald Connolly, the Democratic leaders on the House Oversight Committee send a letter to committee chair Gowdy complaining that 13 of the 19 subpoenas put forth by Democrats have been rejected.
  97. On Friday, Sen. Tim Kaine demanded the release of a secret memo outlining Trump’s interpretation of his legal authority to wage war. Sessions was briefed on the memo last April, but Trump has yet to brief Congress.
  98. On Tuesday, the National Weather Service sent out an errant tsunami warning on Twitter to several East Coast locations. The warnings were supposed to be a test, but due to a glitch came out as an actual warning.
  99. In an op-ed, former Office of Government Ethics director Walter Shaub criticized the Russia probe legal defense fund set up by the Trump regime in Week 64 as “unethical” citing Trump’s ability to allocate funds and lack of visibility on donors.
  100. WAPO reported that, breaking with tradition, Trump does not read his daily intelligence reports, instead relying on oral briefings. Experts say by not reading the detailed classified info, Trump could miss detail and nuance.
  101. In the quickly shifting US media landscape, Time Inc. takeover by Meredith with funding by the Koch Brother was completed, Newsweek was in disarray after being raided by the Manhattan DA, and biotech billionaire Dr. Patrick Soon-Shiong took over the LA Times.
  102. Daily Beast reported that a media startup Redfish, a Berlin-based media collective marketed as “grassroots,” is actually supported by the Kremlinand most of its in-house staff last worked for Russian government media.
  103. On Friday, at the opening ceremony for the Winter Olympics in South Korea, Vice President Pence and the second lady sat stone faced while South Korean president Moon, North Korea officials and others stood together to applaud their athletes.
  104. As Pence led the US delegation, openly gay figure skater Adam Rippon told a reporter, “You mean Mike Pence, the same Mike Pence that funded gay conversion therapy?” Rippon turned down a meeting request from Pence.
  105. On Tuesday, UK’s Daily Mail reported the two ex-wives of Trump aide Rob Porter say he was physically and emotionally abusive, and his second wife had an order of protection against him. Porter is currently dating Hope Hicks.
  106. Porter had a central role in the Trump regime, working for Kelly and as Staff Secretary, controlling the information that reached Trump, including highly classified information. On Wednesday, Kelly said “Porter is a man of true integrity and honor, and I can’t say enough good things about him.
  107. Porter denied the allegations, but resigned on Wednesday. CNN reportedsenior aides to Trump had known about the abuse allegations for months. Trump reportedly learned of the allegations this week.
  108. Hicks did not recuse herself from the White House media strategy. A statement from Sen. Orrin Hatch was being released by the White House without his office’s knowledge as new facts came out and the senator’s office was issuing an updated statement. Porter formerly served as chief of staff to Hatch.
  109. A year into serving, Porter was unable to get permanent security clearance. Kelly and others had been aware since early fall that this was due to the FBI speaking to Porter’s ex-wives as part of routine background.
  110. Late Wednesday, reportedly after seeing photos of Porter’s first wife with a black eye, Kelly said in a statement he was “shocked” by the allegations against Porter, and “there is no place for domestic violence in our society.”
  111. On Thursday, Porter’s second ex-wife Jennifer Willoughby said she told the FBI about the abuse and protective order. She said when FBI agents asked if Porter could potentially be blackmailed, she answered, “maybe.”
  112. Intercept reported a friend of Porter tried to silence Porter’s first ex-wife Colbie Holderness by contacting her husband ahead of her FBI interview in January 2017. Holderness described her abuse in detail to the FBI, and told them she believed Porter’s history would make him easy to blackmail.
  113. On Thursday, WAPO reported that White House counsel Donald McGahn knew Porter’s ex-wives accused him of domestic violence in January 2017, but allowed him to continue as an influential aide and gatekeeper of information to Trump.
  114. McGahn’s views didn’t change in June when the FBI flagged some of its findings to the White House, or in September when he learned the domestic violence claims were delaying Porter’s security clearance, or in November when Porter’s former girlfriend contacted him about the allegations.
  115. Rep. Cummings slammed House Oversight Committee chair Gowdy in a letter for stonewalling efforts to get information on the security clearance process at the White House. Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney called for an investigation of Porter.
  116. CNN reported 30 to 40 White House officials and political appointees are still operating without full security clearances, including Jared Kushner. Experts describe the backlog as unusual after more than a year in office.
  117. WAPO reported McGahn and others are hesitant to act on others not getting security clearance, because they have not taken steps on Kushner, who has access to highly classified materials including the daily briefings.
  118. On Friday, CNN reported Trump is frustrated with Hicks over her role in what has become the Porter scandal. Trump thinks Hicks let her romantic relationship cloud her judgment, and put her priorities ahead of his.
  119. WAPO reported Kelly told White House staff in a Friday morning meeting to communicate a new version of events, and to say he took action to remove Porter within 40 minutes of learning abuse allegations were credible.
  120. This version contradicts reporting and accounts of numerous White House officials who say Kelly knew about the allegations for months. Kelly also told his staff to convey to other White House aides that he cares about domestic violence.
  121. On Friday, Trump told reporters he was “very sad” about Porter’s departure and “we wish him well.” Trump did not express any sympathy for Porter’s victims, instead adding Porter “says he’s innocent.
  122. WAPO’s Jennifer Rubin noted Trump has yet to put forth a nominee for the DOJ’s director for the office of violence against women, nor has he named a White House adviser for violence against women, a position created by Obama.
  123. The House voted to change decades-old procedures handling reports of sexual harassment and assault accusations. The bill still has to pass through the Senate and Trump. Eight lawmakers have resigned or said they will not seek re-election since the start of #MeToo.
  124. Changes include a rule that lawmakers cannot have sexual relations with their staff, a new office will help guide victims, taxpayers will no longer pay lawmakers’ legal bills, and non-disclosure statements will no longer be required.
  125. In an interview with Bloomberg, Bannon warned Trump the “anti-patriarchy movement” is going to dramatically alter the power structure in the US, adding “I think it’s going to unfold like the tea party, only bigger.”
  126. On Friday, Rachel Brand, the third-highest-ranking official at the DOJ, a department under constant attack by Trump, resigned to take a position at Walmart. Brand was confirmed for the position just nine months ago.
  127. Brand would have been next in line to oversee the Mueller investigation if Trump fires Rosenstein, renewing concerns Trump will move to end the Mueller probe. Trump appointee Noel Francisco is now next in line.
  128. On Friday, Kelly’s deputy chief of staff, Jim Carroll, announced he will leave the White House to lead the Office of National Drug Control Policy. Reportedly, the resignation was planned prior to the Porter scandal.
  129. Carroll is the third deputy chief of staff to resign in the first 13 months since Trump took office. Late Friday, the NYT reported Kelly has offered to resign over the Porter scandal.
  130. On Friday WAPO reported that a second White House staffer, David Sorensen, a speechwriter for Stephen Miller, resigned amid allegations by his ex-wife, Jessica Corbett, that he was physically and emotionally abusive.
  131. Corbett first contacted the Post after Porter’s case became public. Corbett said she detailed her domestic abuse allegations to an FBI agent in October 2017, as part of Sorensen’s background check process.
  132. NYT reported US spies paid a $100,000 down-payment in Berlin in September 2017 to a Russian who promised to deliver stolen NSA cyberweapons as well as compromising information on Trump.
  133. Reportedly the Russian handed over data in October and December, but all was related to the 2016 election and alleged ties between Trump and Russia, not the NSA or CIA hacking tools. The CIA then cut ties.
  134. Intercept further reported Trump appointee CIA director Mike Pompeo was at times reluctant to stay involved in the operation, fearing the information obtained from the Russians would be Trump-related material.
  135. Some sources claim that the CIA has become so politicized under Pompeo, agents fear taking in materials that could be damaging to Trump, and also fear Trump’s blowback on their agencies and firing senior officials.
  136. Late Friday, Trump announced he will not allow the Democrats’ rebuttal memo to be declassified and released. McGahn said in a letter the memo contains “numerous properly classified and especially sensitive passages.”
  137. On Saturday, Trump tweeted he did not release the memo because it is “very political and long.” Sen. Dianne Feinstein called it “hypocrisy at its worst” adding she has read the classified materials and the Nunes memo is “misleading.”
  138. On Saturday, again following his pattern of supporting men accused of assault, Trump tweeted “lives are being shattered and destroyed by a mere allegation,” adding, “some are true and some are false.”
DCIM100GOPROGOPR7815.
Sticker on trash bin in Manhattan, NYC. 9feb18

IMG_8346

IMG_8279
Artist SacSix in NYC. feb2018

POLITIKS OF GRAFFITI 25: “MOLOCH!”

Week 24 of Donald Trump’s presidency: Experts in authoritarianism advise to keep a list of things subtly changing around you, so you’ll remember.

April 29, 2017 https://medium.com/@Amy_Siskind/week-24-experts-in-authoritarianism-advise-to-keep-a-list-of-things-subtly-changing-around-you-so-2ecfe069542f

Today marks day 100 of the Trump regime. Despite the Republicans having control of the House and Senate, Trump has yet to tally a single legislative accomplishment. He was obsessive this week in pushing for Trumpcare 3 ahead of the 100-day mark; but the Resistance, which continues to grow in number and fervor, headed him off.

And all the while, the drumbeat of Russia grows louder. This week, Speaker Ryan acknowledged Russian interference. Trump’s involvement has evolved from a “Trump-Russia probe” to a “Trump-Russia scandal,” and this week, to a “Trump-Russia cover-up.” As this unfolds, concern grows that Trump will seek to distract attention by starting a war. The one constant throughout the weeks is Trump’s attempts to enrich himself and his regime through a growing list of conflicts of interest and corruption.

  1. Speaker Ryan acknowledged that Russia interfered with our election, and said US probes could help our allies prevent similar interference.
  2. As Le Pen advanced to the French presidential election runoff, Putin is using many of the tools successfully employed in the US to target France.
  3. WikiLeaks released more top-secret CIA documents. Our media has by and large stopped covering the WikiLeaks document dumps.
  4. A group of psychiatrists at a conference held at Yale Medical School cited a “Duty to Warn” about Trump being dangerously ill.
  5. Of the ten items listed on Trump’s contract with the American people for the first 100 days of his administration, he accomplished none of them.
  6. The State Department and two US embassies promoted Mar-a-Lago on their website with a 400-word blog post. After public outrage, the post was removed.
  7. NYT reported the State Department is likely to remain largely unstaffed into 2018. Trump has yet to fill 200 leadership jobs which require Senate confirmation. Tillerson is taking no action either.
  8. Similarly, as the Trump regime launched its tax plan, the Treasury Department does not have a single confirmed appointee in positions tasked with reforming the tax code.
  9. Trump’s tax reform plan was launched with Mnuchin handing out a one-pager with broad details and no numbers.
  10. Democrats, including former Obama ethics chief Norm Eisen noted Trump’s tax reform could save him hundreds of millions of dollars. Without tax returns, it’s impossible to know his total benefit.
  11. Beyond State, the slow pace of nominations in the first 100 days has left cabinet agencies in limbo. Only 26 of the 556 senior positions which require Senate confirmation have been filled.
  12. Haley was the only member of the Trump regime to condemn the abuse and killings of gay men in the Russian republic of Chechnya. Days later, the State Department said they want to clear her remarks in advance.
  13. UN diplomats were invited to the WH, but Tillerson was not included. Haley was there, and Trump publicly threatened to fire her, “Does everybody like Nikki? Good, otherwise she could easily be replaced.”
  14. In his first 100 days, Trump has an unprecedented number (15) of appointees who got fired, withdrew or quit.
  15. Carl Bernstein said there is a “serious belief” in the FBI and Congress that there is an active cover-up underway by the Trump regime of their involvement with Russia.
  16. On Monday, Yahoo reported that the Senate Intelligence Committee’s Russia probe had stalled due to lack of staffing and Sen Burr’s unwillingness to sign off on witness requests.
  17. Democrats in the Senate Intelligence Committee hired April Doss, the former head of intelligence law at the NSA. Burr refused to bring on additional staffing, saying staffing levels were already sufficient.
  18. Trump picked ally Dana Boente to take over the Justice Department unit’s probe of Trump-Russia. Boente was last named by Trump as an interim acting-AG on the Monday Night Massacre (firing of Yates).
  19. On Tuesday, POLITICO reported that Flynn’s lobbying work for Turkey came to him via Dmitri Zairian, a Russian with ties to the Putin regime.
  20. The WH denied a request by House Oversight Committee leaders Chaffetz and Cummings to release documents related to Flynn.
  21. Shortly thereafter, Chaffetz and Cummings addressed the press, saying Flynn may have broken the law by not disclosing payments from Russia.
  22. The next day, Chaffetz posted an explanation on Facebook of why he was leaving office, citing a foot injury. His explanation was met with much skepticism.
  23. Friday, Cummings said the WH is “covering up” for Flynn. Sen Blumenthal said there is “powerful, mounting, incontrovertible evidence” of a violation of criminal law.
  24. The Pentagon’s internal watch dog group opened an investigation into whether Flynn took payments from foreign governments after leaving the military.
  25. Democrats on the House Oversight Committee released documents showing the Pentagon warned Flynn not to take foreign payments without advance approval from the military. Flynn did not seek approval.
  26. Spicer blamed Obama for Flynn having security clearance, neglecting the fact that Obama fired Flynn, and Trump appointed him to NSA.
  27. NBC reported the Trump team did do a background check on Flynn as part of him becoming NSA. Despite their public denials, senior transition team members like Pence and Sessions would have seen the information.
  28. Michael Cohen said he may sue Buzzfeed for publishing the Steele dossier, which includes allegations that Cohen traveled to Prague in August to meet with Russians.
  29. The Guardian reported that Steele had also alerted the UK government with two memos about collusion between Trump and Russia. His contact in the US appears to have been with McCain, not Comey.
  30. Steele’s memo also reported that four members of the Trump regimetravelled to Prague for secret discussion with the Kremlin in August/September 2016 on how to pay hackers for penetrating the Democratic party computer systems.
  31. Peter Severa, a Russian hacker whose wife said he was “linked to Trump’s win” in Week 22, was indicted in Bridgeport, CT on eight counts related to the Kelihos botnet malware.
  32. Rep Ciciline, a ranking member of the House Judiciary Committee, requested the Inspector General open an investigation into the firings of Yates and Bharara. Yates will testify on May 8th in a Senate hearing.
  33. Trump made 16 false claims in a bizarre interview with AP. He also made at least 15 comments which AP classified as “unintelligible.”
  34. Also in the AP interview, Trump bragged about getting highest ratings since 9/11 coverage.
  35. Trump said he planned to keep on his controversial press secretary, Spicer, because “the guy gets great ratings.
  36. After a second EO was blocked, Trump said he would “absolutely” consider proposals to break-up the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals. This threat was compared to the type of action of a dictator might take.
  37. The Trump regime set up a VOICE (Victims of Immigration Crime Engagement) hotline for callers to report on immigrants. The hotline was flooded with calls with reports of space aliens.
  38. A federal judge in San Francisco temporarily blocked the Trump regime efforts to withhold money from sanctuary cities.
  39. WAPO reported on ICE data which shows half of the immigrants arrested had no criminal convictions or had committed traffic offenses.
  40. Supreme Court Justice Roberts spoke out against Trump’s immigration plan, describing the regime’s interpretation as “prosecutorial abuse” for making it easy to strip citizenship for even lying about minor infractions.
  41. Trump’s Muslim Ban suffered another setback as the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals denied his request for an 11-member court review.
  42. A report by the ADL revealed that anti-Semitic incidents in the US rose by 86% in the first three months of 2017, over the same period last year.
  43. Trump proposed budget would strip all funding from a State Department bureau that promotes the rights of women around the world.
  44. A Trump supporter stormed a cafeteria at a Kentucky university and asked about political affiliation, before stabbing two women.
  45. Trump’s USDA rolled back Michelle Obama’s school nutrition standards.
  46. Mnuchin said Trump will not release his tax returns, adding Trump “has given more financial disclosure than anybody else.
  47. NYT reported that Kushner recently financed real-estate transactions in NYC through the Steinmetz family, who are under investigation for bribing a government official in Guinea to secure mining rights.
  48. The investigator who found Florida AG Bondi did nothing wrong by accepting $25k of campaign cash and then dropping the investigation of Trump U, ignored key evidence already unearthed.
  49. POLITICO reported that Lewandowki’s DC firm is offering foreign clients in-person meetings with Trump, Pence and other senior regime members.
  50. HuffPost’s Christina Wilkie compiled a public spreadsheet to identify $107mm of donations to Trump inauguration. Discrepancies have been found, and the regime has yet to explain where unspent monies went.
  51. Ivanka was booed for defending her father at a conference for female business leaders in Berlin.
  52. WAPO reported that workers endured long hours and low pay working at factories used by Ivanka’s company in China.
  53. Facebook revealed fake accounts were used on its platform to sway the US election. Facebook also indicated its findings do “not contradict” the January 6 report issued by the US Director of National Intelligence.
  54. Commerce Secretary Ross said the Trump regime would impose a 20% tariff on Canadian softwood lumber.
  55. On Wednesday morning, Trump said he was considering withdrawing from NAFTA. By the evening, amidst confusion and without a reasonable explanation, he changed course and said the US would remain.
  56. Trump ceremoniously summoned the entire US Senate onto a bus to the WH for a closed-door meeting on N Korea. To the Senators’ frustration, nothing was offered beyond public information. Stagecraft.
  57. Trump gave another disturbing 100-day interview to Reuters, for which the first headline to break was “there is a chance of a ‘major, major conflict with North Korea.”’
  58. Trump also bemoaned to Reuters about missing his past life, and added, “This is more work than in my previous life. I thought it would be easier.
  59. Trump brought a printed map handout to his Reuters interview to showcase his electoral win.
  60. Trump also asked WAPO in his 100-day interview to put his electoral college handout on their front page.
  61. The US economy grew at just 0.7% in the first quarter, the weakest showing in three years. Expectedly, Trump did not comment or tweet.
  62. The Resistance claimed another victory as Trumpcare 3 failed to muster support in the House, despite the GOP’s 47 seat advantage.
  63. Fallout from the O’Reilly ouster continued, as CNN reported FoxNews is now under federal investigation by USPIS and the Justice Department for settlement payments and the overall environment at the network.
  64. A new CNN/OCR poll found that 2/3 of Americans do not believe Trump is honest and trustworthy.
  65. Koi, the restaurant in Trump Soho, became the latest Trump business to suffer a decline in business and close. Unlike Trump Hotel DC, Koi didn’t have the benefit of foreign diplomats patronizing it to win favor.
  66. The Trump regime announced Friday that the EPA website would be undergoing changes, and then removed climate science from public view.
  67. The White House Correspondents’ Dinner will go on without Trump tonight. He will instead hold a campaign rally in Pennsylvania.

All photos taken by me as I walked the streets of NYC & Philadelphia in March & April 2017:

IMG_1105
Moloch
[moh-lok, moluh k]
noun
1.a deity whose worship was marked by the propitiatory sacrifice ofchildren by their own parents. II Kings 23:10; Jer. 32:35.
2.anything conceived of as requiring appalling sacrifice:the Moloch of war.
3.(lowercase) a spiny agamid lizard, Moloch horridus, of Australiandeserts, that resembles the horned lizard.
IMG_1463

DCIM100GOPROG0125570.DCIM100GOPROG0115569.DCIM100GOPROG0315589.IMG_1790DCIM100GOPROG0165574.IMG_1685IMG_1357

Please come back next week for “Politiks of Graffiti 26!”