POLITIKS OF GRAFFITI 164: “MORAL UNFITNESS”

DECEMBER 28, 2019

Week 163

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

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

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

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

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

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

POLITIKS OF GRAFFITI 163: “PROFOUNDLY IMMORAL”

*From Amy Siskind’s Weekly List/Art selected and Photos taken by me

DECEMBER 21, 2019

Week 162

Experts in authoritarianism advise to keep a list of things
subtly changing around you, so you’ll remember. https://theweeklylist.org/weekly-list/week-162/
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In this historic week, Trump became the third president in U.S. history to be impeached. Unlike his recent predecessors who faced the process, Richard Nixon and Bill Clinton, Trump showed no remorse; rather as the vote was occurring, Trump blasted impeachment and his political opponents in a two-hour meandering speech at a campaign rally in Michigan. Even by his standards, his rhetoric was mean and petty — invoking a deceased Congressman, and suggesting he was watching from hell as his wife, Rep. Debbie Dingell, voted for impeachment.

Republicans continued to stand by Trump like sycophants. The hubris of Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and Sen. Lindsey Graham, saying their minds were made up and the Senate impeachment trial would not be fair, led House Speaker Nancy Pelosi to hold the articles of impeachment, refusing to transmit them before Congress recessed for the holiday break. Reporting continued to expose Trump’s strange ties to Russia, while in plain sight Trump allied with Russian President Vladimir Putin while continuing his frosty relationship with Ukraine.

As Trump continued his war on the so-called deep state, the exodus of senior employees at the Pentagon continued, and morale at Secretary of State Mike Pompeo’s office plummeted. The country felt on edge and divided as Congress and Trump departed, with Pelosi in control of the process, and no clear road ahead. Christianity Today, a mainstream evangelical magazine, called for Trump’s removal in a scathing op-ed, calling him “profoundly immoral.”F5CA7M4RLVGBJEE5DUMK4MOD7Q

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  1. On Monday, WAPO reported Trump has made 15,413 false or misleading statements as of December 10, his 1,055th day in office. Trump is averaging 32 per day over the past two months, a new high.
  2. Trump has ramped up the lies while in office: in 2017, he told 1,999 false or misleading claims, in 2018 he told 5,689, and so far in 2019 he has told 7,725 false or misleading claims.
  3. On Monday, PolitiFact announced the 2019 Lie of the Year is Donald Trump’s claim the whistleblower got this Ukraine call “almost completely wrong” — a statement it called “more ridiculous than wrong.”
  4. PolitiFact said it only uses the term lie to describe a “falsehood that proves to be of real consequence and gets repeated in a virtual campaign to undermine an accurate narrative.”
  5. On Saturday, Trump ally Sen. Lindsey Graham told CNN on impeachment, “I have made up my mind,” and said that Trump’s Senate trial “will die quickly, and I will do everything I can to make it die quickly.”
  6. When pressed about forming an opinion before the trial, Graham responded, “I am trying to give a pretty clear signal I have made up my mind,” adding, “I’m not trying to pretend to be a fair juror here.”
  7. On Saturday, Trump attacked Rep. Debbie Dingell, who recently lost her husband, after a Fox News appearance, tweeting last time he spoke to her she thanked “me for granting” funeral service honors for her husband.
  8. Trump also tweeted he watched “her ripping me” in the “Impeachment Hoax,” adding “pathetic!” Dingell tweeted she would work with him on legislation, “but I’ll also work to hold this Administration accountable.”
  9. On Saturday, Trump also attacked Fox News, tweeting it was “hard to believe” the network would be interviewing “sleazebag & totally discredited” James Comey and “corrupt politician Adam “Shifty” Schiff.”
  10. Trump also tweeted, “Fox is trying sooo hard to be politically correct,” yet “Commiecast MSNBC & Fake News CNN…ratings TANK,” saying they will “all die together,” and “Only pro Trump Fox shows do well.”
  11. On Sunday, as Rep. Jeff Van Drew, a Democrat who won in a Trump district, but was likely to lose the 2020 Democratic primary, said he may switch parties, Trump tweeted, “heard Jeff is very smart!
  12. Trump, who met with Van Drew last Friday, also tweeted of Van Drew’s no vote on impeachment, “Thank you for your honesty Jeff,” adding, “Democrats know you are right,” but “don’t have the “guts” to say so!”
  13. On Sunday, five of Van Drew’s staffers resigned in a letter, citing his “decision to join the ranks of the Republican party led by Donald Trump,” saying they can “no longer in good conscience continue our service.”
  14. CNN reported a sixth staffer resigned late Sunday. On Monday, NYT reported a seventh staffer resigned. Two Republicans who were planning to run in his district said they would work to defeat him.
  15. On Sunday, Sen. Graham told “Face the Nation” that Rudy Giuliani was welcome to come before the Senate Judiciary Committee on “Joe Biden, Hunter Biden and anything else you want to look at.”
  16. On Sunday, House Judiciary Chair Jerrold Nadler told “This Week” Trump “is openly seeking interference in the 2020 election,” and “he poses a continuing threat” to our national security and our election integrity.
  17. On Sunday, House Intelligence Chair Adam Schiff told “This Week,” “It’s a clear and present danger,” adding “and not something we can turn away from because the Republicans in the House refuse to do their duty.”
  18. On Sunday, a fight broke out as Chair Adam Schiff was about to speak at an event to thank Congress for passing the Armenian genocide resolution. Protesters called Schiff a “liar” and held signs saying, “Don’t Impeach.”
  19. On Sunday, James Comey told “Fox New Sunday” he took responsibility for errors made in the Justice Department Inspector General report, saying, “I was responsible for this,” and “I was overconfident in the procedures.”
  20. Shortly after, Trump tweeted, “As bad as the I.G. Report is for the FBI,” and “Horowitz was appointed by Obama,” adding, “tremendous bias and guilt exposed,” and Horowitz has “Big credibility loss. Obama knew everything!”
  21. Trump also suggested Comey should go to jail, tweeting, “So now Comey’s admitting he was wrong,” adding, “because he got caught red handed,” and, “Could it be years in jail? Where are the apologies to me and others, Jim?”
  22. On Sunday, Trump also picked up a GOP line that he was asking Zelensky to do the U.S., not him, a personal favor, tweeting, “A PERFECT phone call. “Can you do us (not me. Us is referring to our Country) a favor.””
  23. Trump also quoted Fox New host Jeanine Pirro, tweeting, “There is no bribery, or any crime at all,” and Turning Point USA President Charlie Kirk, saying, “The President did nothing wrong here. There is no crime.”
  24. On Sunday, a Fox News poll found 50% say Trump should be impeached and removed, 4% say impeached but not removed, and 41% say Trump should not be impeached — up slightly (49%/4%/41%) from late October.
  25. Trump, who had claimed strong polls and lack of support for impeachment, tweeted, “The @foxnewPolls, always inaccurate, are heavily weighted toward Dems. So ridiculous,” and, “Get a new pollster!”
  26. Trump also tweeted, “Approval Rating in Republican Party = 95%, a Record! Overall Approval Rating = 51%.” This was the 12th time Trump claimed, without citing a poll, his approval with Republicans was 95%.
  27. Trump also tweeted Fox News host Sean Hannity, who said the “Impeachment Hoax” is “lying, corruption and propaganda. Should never be allowed to happen,”” will be on Mark Levin’s show at 8 p.m.
  28. Trump also again attacked Speaker Nancy Pelosi, quoting a tweet of her news conference with the line it “wasn’t true,” adding, “Because Nancy’s teeth were falling out of her mouth, and she didn’t have time to think!”
  29. Trump also tweeted, “Congressional Do Nothing Democrats are being absolutely decimated in their districtson the “Impeachment Hoax,” and “Crazy Nancy is finding defending Shifty Schiff harder than she thought!”
  30. On Sunday, North Korea issued a cryptic threat, saying it will send the U.S. a “Christmas gift.” Saturday, North Korea state media reported “another crucial test” was successfully conducted at the Sohae Satellite site.
  31. On Monday, Bill Webster, the former director of the FBI and CIA, said in an op-ed that he was “deeply disturbed” by recent comments by Trump about director Christopher Wray, including that Trump could fire him.
  32. Webster also said he was “profoundly disappointed” in his “longtime” friends Rudy Giuliani for his activities, and Attorney General William Barr for his disparagement of members of the FBI.
  33. On Saturday, the Chair of the Wisconsin Democratic Party said the state’s purge of 234,000 voters last Friday was the “product of a right-wing legal and political strategy to prevent eligible voters from voting.”
  34. The Milwaukee Sentinel found that 55% of the voters purged lived in municipalities that Hillary Clinton carried in 2016. In 2016, Trump won by roughly 20,000 votes and Gov. Tony Evers won by less than 30,000 votes.
  35. On Monday, a federal judge in Georgia said he would allow that state’s planned voter roll purge of over 313,000 voters, or 4% of registered voters, but would allow a second hearing to reinstate the voters on Thursday.
  36. Fair Fight Action, a voting rights group founded by Stacey Abrams, filed the emergency request. Voter purges became a hot-button issue in 2018 when Abrams ran against Brian Kemp, who was then secretary of state.
  37. On Friday, AP reported Justin Clark, a top political adviser to Trump’s re-election campaign, told influential Republicans in Wisconsin to expect more aggressive use of Election Day monitoring of polling places.
  38. Clark said, “Traditionally it’s always been Republicans suppressing votes in places,” adding, “It’s going to be a much bigger program, a much more aggressive program, a much better-funded program.”
  39. Clark made the remarks on November 21 at a meeting of the Republican National Lawyers Association. A 20-minute audio of the event was provided to AP by the liberal group American Bridge.
  40. On Sunday, in a letter to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer proposed calling four witnesses, including John Bolton and Mick Mulvaney, who knew about the Ukraine aid, in Trump’s Senate trial.
  41. Schumer also proposed Robert Blair, senior adviser to Mulvaney, and Michael Duffey, an Office of Management and Budget official. The four were subpoenaed by the House. Schumer said he would welcome witnesses with “direct knowledge” of aid.
  42. On Monday, just after midnight, the House Judiciary Committee released a 658-page report, making the case that Trump committed “multiple federal crimes” as part of the first article of impeachment.
  43. The report cited Trump committed criminal bribery and wire fraud when he pressured Ukraine’s president to investigate his political rivals, and his actions need “not rise to the level of a criminal” to merit impeachment.
  44. The report said Trump’s “conduct here was criminal,” saying his behavior is “both constitutional and criminal in character,” and saying Trump “betrayed the people of this nation” and should be removed from office.
  45. The report, which came the day before the Rules Committee formally considered the articles of impeachment, provided a thorough analysis, starting with Trump “welcoming” Russian interference in 2016.
  46. The report found Trump “has fallen into a pattern of behavior: this is not the first time he has solicited foreign interference in an election, been exposed,” adding, “He will almost certainly continue on this course.”
  47. The report called Trump “the Framers’ worst nightmare,” saying he “abused his power in soliciting and pressuring a vulnerable foreign nation” and endorsed “a debunked conspiracy theory” promoted by Russia.
  48. The report included a 20-page scathing Republican dissent from ranking member Rep. Doug Collins, saying,“The case is not only weak but dangerously lowers the bar for future impeachments.”
  49. On Monday, 30 freshman Democrats pushed for Rep. Justin Amash, who left the Republican Party, to be the impeachment manager for Trump’s Senate trial, under the notion he could reach conservative lawmakers.
  50. On Monday, Trump tweeted, “The Impeachment Hoax is the greatest con job,” and said Democrats are making “life easy for the United Republican Party.” Twitter users mused at the new party, “United Republican Party.”
  51. Trump also tweeted of the 2020 debate, “I look very much forward to debating whoever the lucky person is who stumbles across the finish line in the little watched Do Nothing Democrat Debates.”
  52. Trump left an out to possibly skip the debate, claiming without proof “the so-called Commission on Presidential Debates is stacked with Trump Haters & Never Trumpers,” and that he “will make a decision at an appropriate time.”
  53. On Monday, six moderate Democrats elected in districts that Trump won backed impeachment. Roughly a dozen moderate Democrats had yet to announce their decision.
  54. On Monday, 750 historians signed a statement saying “Trump’s numerous and flagrant abuses of power are precisely what the Framers had in mind as grounds for impeaching and removing a president.”
  55. By Wednesday, the list had grown to over 1,500 historian signatories calling for Trump’s impeachment, including many high profile names like Pulitzer Prize winners Ron Chernow, Jon Meacham, and Taylor Branch.
  56. On Monday, in a federal court filing, House Democrats told the court lawmakers will continue their impeachment probe after the House vote this week, and regardless of the Senate trial outcome.
  57. The filing also indicated the House Judiciary Committee plans to continue its impeachment investigation arising from the Mueller probe, started earlier this year, which may lead to further articles of impeachment.
  58. The House general counsel also argued the House’s demands for grand jury materials related to the Mueller probe were still urgent, as the documents could become relevant to the Senate trial.
  59. On Tuesday, McConnell rejected Schumer’s request to call witnesses and set parameters for the Senate trial, calling it a “strange request,” and accusing him of trying to “short-circuit” their plans to negotiate the trial.
  60. Schumer replied that McConnell’s direct clear coordination with the White House takes away any chance of bipartisanship. White House counselor Kellyanne Conway will attend the GOP Senate lunch on Wednesday.
  61. On Tuesday, McConnell also told reporters, “I’m not an impartial juror,” adding, “This is a political process. There is not anything judicial about it. Impeachment is a political decision.”
  62. Later on a radio show, McConnell said witnesses would cause “mutual assured distraction,” adding, “I think we’ve heard enough. After we’ve heard the arguments, we ought to vote and move on.”
  63. CNN reported McConnell’s remarks infuriated Democrats. Schumer said he was “utterly amazed” McConnell would describe himself as not impartial, and challenged other GOP Senators to pledge to be impartial.
  64. On Tuesday, in an interview with BBC News, Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg said Trump “is not a lawyer,” and said of McConnell not being impartial, “If a judge said that, a judge would be disqualified.”
  65. On Tuesday, all the other House Democrats in districts won by Trump came out for impeachment on both articles, except for Rep. Jared Golden who supported just article one and Rep. Ron Kind who did not declare.
  66. Later Tuesday, the House Rules Committee reached an 11th hour agreement on the rules for the impeachment debate, after a day of partisan bickering, agreeing to permit six hours of floor debate.
  67. The small committee’s hearing was the last chance for Democrats and Republicans to spar over charges before the full House vote.
  68. Rep. Jamie Rasking cited Giuliani’s activities, saying the crime is “in progress, up to this very minute,” while GOP Rep. Tom Cole said. “There’s no way this can and should be viewed as legitimate.”
  69. This marked the first time in history that the Rules Committee, which is traditionally used by the House speaker to set the schedule for the chamber, has ever taken up impeachment.
  70. On Saturday, LA Times reported $20 million of the $250 million Pentagon portion of Ukraine aid has yet to be disbursed, and is sitting in U.S. accounts. One Senate aide said the reason for the holdup was unclear.
  71. On Sunday, in a series of tweets, Giuliani shared his Ukraine findings, citing “corruption in 2016 was so extensive it was POTUS’s DUTY to ask” for an investigation, and “Impeachment is part of Dem cover-up.”
  72. Giuliani also claimed according to “Witness Yuri Lutsenko, inheritor of Shokin’s office” that “Amb Yovanovitch perjured herself at least twice,” and “Clear doc proof of money laundering by Burisma & Biden’s.”
  73. Shortly after, Schiff told “This Week” of Giuliani, “the misconduct continues,” saying, “Giuliani went to the White House to brief Trump after his trip to Ukraine,” adding, “This is an ongoing threat to our democracy.”
  74. On Monday, in an interview with The New Yorker done in November, Giuliani said he viewed Marie Yovanovitch as an obstacle to digging up dirt on Joe Biden: “I believed that I needed Yovanovitch out of the way.”
  75. Later Monday, on Fox News, Giuliani backtracked, claiming Yovanovitch “was acting corruptly in that position and had to be removed,” saying she had made untrue statement to Congress without offering proof.
  76. Giuliani also told host Laura Ingraham “I didn’t need her out of the way. I forced her out because she’s corrupt,” adding, “She should’ve been fired if the State Department weren’t part of the deep state.”
  77. On Monday, NYT reported Giuliani provided detailed information to Trump about how Yovanovitch was impeding investigations into Trump’s political rivals ahead of 2020, setting off her recall as ambassador.
  78. Trump then connected Giuliani to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, who asked for more information. Within weeks, she was recalled. Giuliani told NYT, “You’d have to ask them [Trump and Pompeo]. But they relied on it.”
  79. On Monday, Trump told reporters Giuliani had not told him much about his recent trip to Ukraine, but said he “knows what he’s doing,” and “he’s a great person who loves our country and he does this out of love.”
  80. On Tuesday, Giuliani told CNN that Trump has been “very supportive” of his continuing efforts to dig up dirt on Trump’s behalf in Ukraine, adding he and Trump are “on the same page” and are “on offense.”
  81. On Tuesday, Giuliani tweeted, “Yovanovitch needed to be removed for many reasons most critical she was denying visas to Ukrainians,” adding, “She was OBSTRUCTING JUSTICE,” and “enabled Ukrainian collusion.”
  82. On Wednesday, journalists sharply criticized One America News (OAN) for ethical lapse in giving Giuliani a platform to spread propaganda, as he shared his three-hour documentary on his findings in Ukraine with Trump.
  83. Trump celebrated OAN’s decision to give Giuliani a reporting role, in helping to make his case against impeachment, especially as Trump continues his critiques of Fox News polling and guests when it suits him.
  84. On Thursday, at an event for Turning Point USA in West Palm Beach, Giuliani told conservative college students that Democrats “want to put Barr in prison, and they want to execute me.”
  85. On Saturday, Hallmark Channel pulled a series of ads by Zola featuring two brides kissing at the altarsurrounded by friends, saying they “are deemed controversial,” after being a targeted campaign by a conservative group.
  86. On Sunday, after widespread condemnation, Hallmark Channel apologized and reinstated the ads, saying, “We are truly sorry for the hurt and disappointment this has caused,” and said it would work with GLAAD.
  87. On Monday, West Point opened an administrative investigation “into the facts, circumstances, and intent of the Cadets in question,” who made an “OK” hand symbol during last Saturday’s Army-Navy football game.
  88. On Monday, LA Times reported under an agreement signed on September 25, the Trump regime is preparing to send immigrants seeking asylum to Honduras, even if they are not from that Central American country.
  89. The agreement, signed by Kevin McAleenan, then acting secretary of Homeland Security, and Honduras’ foreign minister, will effectively end the immigrants chances of finding asylum in the U.S.
  90. The regime has already started to send immigrants to Guatemala under an agreement that took effect on November 22, including a number of Honduran adults.
  91. On Friday, WAPO reported under a secret plan by Stephen Miller, Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents were embedded within government shelters that cares for unaccompanied migrant children.
  92. The agents collected fingerprints and other biometric information from adults seeking to claim the children. If the adults are deemed ineligible to take custody, ICE could use their information to arrest or deport them.
  93. Miller’s plan appeared to circumvent laws that restrict the use of refugee programs for deportation enforcement, as Congress had made clear it does not want sponsors to be scared away by the threat of deportation.
  94. After the Trump regime tried similar action in 2018, language was added to a 2019 funding bill specifically prohibited the Department of Health and Human Services from using child sponsor data. Miller’s plan circumvented HHS by using ICE agents.
  95. On Friday, NBC News reported an Iowa woman, Nicole Marie Poole Franklin, 42, has been charged with attempted murder after telling police she “intentionally” drove over a 14 year-old girl because she was Hispanic.
  96. On Saturday, 25 Jewish lawmakers called on Trump to fire Stephen Miller, saying, “His documentation of white nationalist and virulently anti-immigrant tropes is wholly unacceptable and disqualifying.”
  97. On Monday, U.S. District Judge Emmet Sullivan dismissed Michael Flynn’s motion to find prosecutors in contempt, saying there was no basis for his allegations that federal law enforcement entrapped him into a plea deal.
  98. The judge found Flynn told the same lies to the FBI, Pence, and senior White House officials, who repeated them publicly, leading to his firing in February 2017. Flynn will be sentenced on January 28.
  99. On Tuesday, Supreme Court justice Neil Gorsuch appeared on “Fox & Friends” to discuss his new book. Ironically, Gorsuch discussed American’s lack of knowledge of basic civics on a show that frequently distorts the truth.
  100. Gorsuch, who is meant to be a nonpartisan judge, opened his appearance on a hyper-partisan show, saying “Merry Christmas,” drawing a back and forth between Senators over the appropriateness of his statement.
  101. On Tuesday, Politico reported the Department of Transportation Inspector General found that Kentucky’s largest transportation grant under Trump benefited from Sec. Elaine Chao’s team input.
  102. A $67.4 million application for Boone County, a suburban district key to McConnell’s re-election, was granted despite the application initially be flagged as incomplete, while 55 other incompletes fell out of the running.
  103. On Tuesday, Politico reported Trump intervened to slash Medicaid funding for Puerto Rico in a larger government spending deal unveiled this week. Trump has called the island “one of the most corrupt places on Earth”
  104. Bipartisan lawmakers on two key congressional committees had endorsed $12 billion for Puerto Rico over four years. Trump cut the allocation to $5.7 billion over two years.
  105. On Tuesday, NBC News reported William Taylor, who testified in the impeachment inquiry and who Trump called a “Never Trumper,” was recalled as acting ambassador to Ukraine as of January 1.
  106. On Tuesday, Sen. Robert Menendez, the ranking member of the Foreign Relations Committee, excoriated Secretary of State Pompeo for “unceremoniously recalling” Taylor, a key impeachment witness.
  107. Menendez accused Pompeo in a letter of furthering Trump’s “inappropriate and unacceptable linking of U.S. policy to Ukraine to his personal and political benefit, and potentially your own.”
  108. On Wednesday, WSJ reported Taylor will hand over his duties days before Pompeo is set to visit Kyiv in January, so that Pompeo will avoid being photographed with him and raising Trump’s ire.
  109. On Tuesday, a federal judge ruled Lev Parnas can remain free on bail, despite concealing a $1 million paymentfrom a Russian bank account, saying he did not believe Parnas was being intentionally untruthful.
  110. An attorney for Parnas told NBC News that the payment in September came from Dmytro Firtash, a Ukrainian oligarch linked to Paul Manafort, who also has been linked to Russian organized crime.
  111. On Tuesday, Rick Gates, Trump’s former deputy campaign manager, was sentenced to 45 days in jail and three years’ probation after federal prosecutors said he provided “extraordinary assistance.”
  112. The judge also fined Gates $20,000 although his lawyer said Gates is broke. Gates spent more than 500 hourswith prosecutors and lawyers, and testified in the trials of Manafort, Roger Stone, and Greg Craig.
  113. On Tuesday, in a public order, Rosemary Collyer, the presiding judge over the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court, gave the FBI a January 10 deadline to come up with a proposal to address the DOJ IG report.
  114. On Tuesday, BBC reported the Trump regime is rejecting the House and Senate vote on recognizing Armenian genocide, siding with Turkey. The State Department said the regime’s position “has not changed.”
  115. On Tuesday, WSJ reported Trump ally Peter Thiel, a board member of Facebook, is at the center of the company’s decision to allow political ads without fact-checking for content.
  116. On Wednesday, The Hill reported principal deputy undersecretary of Defense Kari Bingen, the number two intelligence official in DoD, resigned, the fourth senior Pentagon official to resign in recent weeks.
  117. In addition to the four vacancies, six of the 21 deputy assistant secretary of Defense policy jobs remain unfilled, and several are filled by acting officials, including chief management officer and comptroller.
  118. Later Wednesday, The Hill reported Ambassador Tina Kaidanow, a longtime State Department official, resigned, becoming the fifth senior Pentagon official. Kaidanow started her position in September 2018.
  119. On Wednesday, CNN reported results in the annual “Best Places to Work in the Federal Government” showed morale in the Secretary Pompeo’s office dropped substantially in 2019, declining nine points from the prior year.
  120. Staffers in Pompeo’s office rated it poorly for effective leadership, teamwork, work-life balance, and pay, placing it at the bottom rank for agencies. The State Department overall improved by 0.6 points.
  121. On Wednesday, Roll Call reported the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service will review whether Donald Jr. illegally killed a rare sheep during an August trip to Mongolia, following a letter from the Center for Biological Diversity.
  122. On Wednesday, a New York judge threw out state fraud charges against Paul Manafort, dealing a setback to the Manhattan DA’s effort to make sure Manafort would still face charges if Trump pardons him for federal crimes.
  123. Manafort’s attorney argued the state charges covered conduct that he had already been charged for. Manhattan DA Cyrus Vance Jr. said he would appeal the ruling.
  124. On Wednesday, a federal appeals court struck down a central provision in the Affordable Care Act, saying requiring people to have health insurance is unconstitutional, and will send the case back to the Texas court.
  125. On Friday, a federal judge agreed to delay sentencing for Roger Stone by two weeks to February 20, because of a slowdown in compiling financial paperwork required by federal probation officials.
  126. On Tuesday, on the eve of impeachment, Trump sent House Speaker Pelosi a scathing six-page letter, which read like a string of his tweets, calling impeachment a “partisan impeachment crusade” and an “attempted coup.”
  127. In his rambling letter, Trump said he was expressing his “strongest and most powerful protest,” saying, “this impeachment represents an unprecedented and unconstitutional abuse of power” by Democrats.
  128. Trump also accused Pelosi of “breaking your allegiance to the Constitution” and “declaring open war on American Democracy” in pursuit of “this election-nullification scheme.”
  129. Trump said, “You have cheapened the importance of the very ugly word, impeachment!” and, “You are the ones bringing pain and suffering to our Republic for your own selfish personal, political, and partisan gain.”
  130. Trump also cited lies and conspiracy theories, about his “perfect” calls, referring to the Steele dossier “as illegally purchased from a foreign spy by Hillary Clinton” and “the use of spies against my campaign.”
  131. Trump also repeated a refrain used by Sen. Lindsey Graham, saying, “More due process was afforded to those accused in the Salem Witch Trials,” and that “history will judge you harshly” for the “impeachment charade.”
  132. CNN fact-checked Trump’s letter, and found it included numerous false claims and conspiracy theories that have been debunked, as well as new claims that were false, misleading, or lacked content.
  133. Later Tuesday, when asked about Trump’s letter, Pelosi told a reporter, “It’s ridiculous,” adding, “We’ve been working…I’ve seen the essence of it, though, and it’s really sick.”
  134. Later Tuesday, NYT noted the letter, signed with a Sharpie, revealed how angry Trump has become over becoming the third president in history to be impeached. Aides say he wanted to get some things off his chest.
  135. While the White House tried to focus Trump on his accomplishments, the letter cast his record in the context of his victimhood, saying to Pelosi, “It is a terrible thing you are doing, but you will have to live with it, not I!”
  136. White House counsel Pat Cipollone was not involved in drafting the letter. Other Trump aides helped, including Eric Ueland, director of Legislative Affairs, Stephen Miller, and Michael Williams, adviser to Mulvaney.
  137. On Tuesday, Chair Schiff said in a letter that Vice President Mike Pence’s unwillingness to declassify his September 18 call “raises profound questions about your knowledge” of Trump scheme to solicit Ukraine’s interference.
  138. Schiff said, “Your unwillingness to declassify the Supplemental Submission raises the serious question” about whether Pence is obstructing the House “not just to protect President Trump, but yourself as well.”
  139. On Tuesday, Daily Beast reported Russia’s state TV has celebrated foreign minister Sergey Lavrov’s visit to the White House. Rossiya 1 referred to Trump as an ‘agent’ in a segment, titled “Puppet Master and ‘Agent.’”
  140. The first deputy director general of Russia news agency ITAR-TASS said, “Sooner or later, the Democrats will come back into power,” and joked about offering Trump asylum in Russia.
  141. On Wednesday, a new poll by Gallup found Trump’s approval inched up to 45% in December, his third monthly increase, while 51% disapprove (net -6). In November, Trump’s approval was 43%, 54% disapprove (-11).
  142. Gallup also found support for impeachment dropped. Support for impeach and remove was 46%, 51% against, down from 50% support, 48% against in November.
  143. On Wednesday, a new poll by Economist/YouGov found 50% of registered voters were for impeach and remove, 43% were against it.
  144. On Wednesday, the day of his impeachment, Trump tweeted to his followers, “Say a PRAYER!” adding he will be impeached “by the Radical Left,” and, “AND I DID NOTHING WRONG! A terrible Thing.”
  145. Trump also quoted “Fox & Friends” co-host Brian Kilmeade tweeting, “My hope is that impeachment will never become this trivial again,” and adding, “Well said Brian!”
  146. Trump also quoted Rep. Doug Collins on “Fox & Friends,” tweeting, “They just wanted to get at the President. They had no intention of having a proper investigation,” adding, “They couldn’t find any crimes.”
  147. Trump also quoted Collins, tweeting, “It’s sad. Here’s a gentleman who came to the White House and all they had was [sic] never to let him have an easy breath,” adding, “All they wanted to do is impeach him.”
  148. Trump also tweeted Pelosi “will go down in history as the worst Speaker,” quoting a tweeted by Fox News’ Gregg Jarrett about Pelosi saying she did not read Trump’s letter, and adding, “Already thrown out once!”
  149. Just after Noon, Trump tweeted, “SUCH ATROCIOUS LIES BY THE RADICAL LEFT, DO NOTHING DEMOCRATS. THIS IS AN ASSAULT ON AMERICA, AND AN ASSAULT ON THE REPUBLICAN PARTY!!!!”
  150. On Wednesday, Pelosi opened the final House debate on impeachment, calling on members to stand up to “lawlessness and tyranny,” and saying, “If we do not act now, we would be derelict in our duty.”
  151. Pelosi said, “he gave us no choice,” adding, “For centuries, Americans have fought and died to defend democracy for the people,” and “our founders’ vision of a republic is under threat from actions from the White House.”
  152. Pelosi said Trump “is an ongoing threat to our national security and the integrity of our elections,” adding when history is written, I want to show them I was among the House “who stood up to lawlessness and tyranny.”
  153. Rep. Doug Collins rebutted, “There’s no bribery, no extortion, no wire fraud, no obstruction of justice anywhere in these articles.” The vote was expected to take place at 7 p.m. that night.
  154. Democrats characterized impeachment as urgent, with Chair Schiff saying, “The president and his men plot on,” adding, “The danger persists. The risk is real. Our democracy is at peril.”
  155. House Republicans compared impeachment to Jesus’s crucifixion, with Rep. Barry Loudermilk saying, “Pontius Pilate gave Jesus the opportunity to face his accusers,” and Rep. Mike Kelly compared it to the bombing of Pearl Harbor.
  156. Rep. John Lewis said, “When you see something that is not right, not just, not fair, you have a moral obligation to say something, to do something,” adding our children and grandchildren will ask what we did and said.
  157. Trump ally Rep. Matt Gaetz said, “Those who vote ‘yes’ on today’s articles of impeachment must carry the heavy burden of shame and guilt for as long as they serve in Congress — which won’t be long.”
  158. Ally Rep. Devin Nunes said, “The Ukraine hoax was based on a supposed whistleblower who colluded beforehand with the Democrats,” and, “It’s not easy to make a coup attempt boring, but the Democrats found a way.
  159. Rep. Ayanna Pressley said, “What we are doing here today is not only patriotic, it is uniquely American. America is a story of ordinary people confronting abuses of power with a steadfast pursuit of justice.”
  160. During the debate, WAPO reported some House Democrats pushed Pelosi to withhold impeachment articleswhile continuing to gather evidence, citing concerns of whether there would be a fair trial in the Senate.
  161. Notable during the debate was the lack of Republican diversity: of the 197 House members, 90% were white and 92% were men. For House Democrats, of the 233, just 50% were white and 60% were men.
  162. On Wednesday, Pence said in an interview with ABC News that “we may” release the call transcript, adding, “But the fact that after his sham investigation is over, Adam Schiff is now asking for more information.”
  163. As the House debate continued, Pence called what was happening a “disgrace.” When asked if Trump’s callwas “perfect,” Pence responded, “I think the president did nothing wrong.”
  164. On Wednesday, CNN reported Trump is hoping to move quickly to and through a Senate trial, asking Sen. Graham of Democrats, “What are they doing?” on withholding articles. Graham said, “I don’t know.”
  165. Late Wednesday, after over 11 hours of fiery debate, the House voted to impeach Trump on two articles. Trump is the first president to face a possible Senate impeachment trial in the year of his re-election.
  166. Hours before the vote, a new NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll found Americans split on impeachment, with 48% for impeachment and removal, and 48% against it, down slightly from 49%/46% in late October.
  167. The House first voted on the article charging abuse of power at 8:30 p.m. which was approved 230 to 197, then for the article of obstruction of Congress which passed 229 to 198.
  168. After the vote, Pelosi warned her members not to celebrate — no applause, no cheers — by raising one hand and giving a stern look, while banging the gavel with the other.
  169. Every Republican voted against both articles. Two Democrats voted against both articles, including Van Drew. Rep. Jared Golden voted yes only to abuse of power. Rep. Justin Amash voted for both articles.
  170. Rep. Tulsi Gabbard, a Democratic candidate for president in 2020, was the sole House member to vote ‘present,’ saying she “could not in good conscience vote against impeachment” or for a “partisan process.”
  171. On Wednesday evening, after the impeachment vote, Pelosi threatened to delay the Senate impeachment trial, citing concerns about an unfair trial, telling reporters, “So far we haven’t seen anything that looks fair to us.”
  172. As the impeachment vote was taking place, Trump held a campaign rally in Battle Creek, Michigan. Some television networks showed a split-screen or cut back and forth while the two articles were voted on.
  173. Although the White House had tried to portray an image of Trump in high spirits, during the two-hour meandering speech, Trump was red-faced, sweat beading on his upper lip, and slurred his words at times.
  174. Trump told supporters as he started, “By the way, it doesn’t really feel like we’re being impeached,” adding, “We did nothing wrong…and we have tremendous support in the Republican Party like we’ve never had before.”
  175. Trump added, “After three years of sinister witch hunts, hoaxes, scams,” Democrats are “trying to nullify the ballots of tens of millions of patriotic Americans,” calling it “a suicide march for the Democratic Party.”
  176. Trump was mostly mean and petty. He mused that Bill Clinton called his wife, Hillary, “Crooked” and mimicked him telling her to visit swing states in 2016, “You horrible human being, you better start listening to me.”
  177. As he had done at a rally two weeks ago when a woman protested at his rally, Trump paused to single her out to his supporters, calling her a “slob” and “disgusting person,” saying police were too gentle in escorting her out.
  178. Trump invoked his son Barron, who in Week 160 First Lady Melania and other Republicans complained was off limits, saying if Barron did a rally in Manhattan he could get more attendees than “Crazy Pocahontas.”
  179. Trump attacked Rep. Carolyn Maloney (NY) for voting for impeachment, calling her “a longtime nothing much” and saying she should return his donations, and said of Schumer (NY), “He used to kiss my ass.”
  180. Trump again disparaged Rep. Debbie Dingell of Michigan, calling her a “real beauty” for voting for impeachment, and noting he gave her family “an “A-plus” memorial” after the death of her husband.
  181. Trump added her deceased husband, Rep. John Dingell, must be “thrilled” looking down from heaven, then mused “maybe he’s looking up.” Trump’s comment drew moans from the Michigan crowd.
  182. Trump also yelled about light bulbs, saying “So we’re bringing back the old light bulb. It sounds like a little, but it’s big stuff,” and mused about toilets, but said if he said the word out loud the press would have a field day.
  183. Shortly after, Dingell tweeted to Trump, “I’m preparing for the first holiday season without the man I love. You brought me down in a way you can never imagine and your hurtful words just made my healing much harder.”
  184. Several Republicans called on Trump to apologize to Dingell, including two members of the House from Michigan and Graham. Meghan McCain, daughter of John who Trump also insulted, called his comment “horrific.”
  185. On Wednesday, WAPO reported that unlike Richard Nixon and Bill Clinton when they faced impeachment, Trump shows no remorse, rather slamming his opponents and urged his supporters to wage battle.
  186. Also unlike Nixon and Clinton, both sides are dug in and the process has not moved their positions. There is a high level of rhetoric and anger. Trump’s constant misdeeds have taken away the power of shock.
  187. During Nixon and Clinton’s impeachments Americans were glued to their TVs, but Trump has managed to distract. A WAPO-ABC poll found that 62% were closely watching Trump’s impeachment, versus 82% for Clinton.
  188. On Thursday, White House press secretary Stephanie Grisham defended Trump’s comments about Dingell on “Good Morning America,” saying he “is a counter-puncher,” adding, “He was just riffing.”
  189. On Thursday, 20 Republicans lined up on the House floor to offer Dingell their support, including Conference Chair Liz Cheney. Others apologized, but Dingell said they had no reason to since they did not say the words.
  190. On Thursday, in an emotional interview with CNN, Rep. Dingell said Trump’s claim about granting funeral accommodations were not even true, adding, “My family’s still hurting. … We’re a family grieving.”
  191. On Thursday, Trump sent a flurry of early morning tweets, saying “100% Republican Vote. That’s what people are talking about. The Republicans are united like never before!” and, “PRESIDENTIAL HARASSMENT!”
  192. Trump also lashed out at a possible delay, tweeting, ““The Senate shall set the time and place of the trial.” If the Do Nothing Democrats decide, in their great wisdom, not to show up, they would lose by Default!”
  193. Trump also tweeted he got impeached “without one Republican vote” in “the greatest Witch Hunt in American history,” saying, “Now the Do Nothing Party want to Do Nothing with the Articles & not deliver them.”
  194. On Thursday, a Trump campaign Twitter account, and accounts of other Trump allies, tweeted a video of House Majority Whip James Clyburn on CNN, claiming he called for Trump to be hanged. This was untrue.
  195. On Thursday, Democratic Senators tweeted photos of a stack of over 200 House-passed bills, 90% of bipartisan, which were “dead on Mitch McConnell’s desk,” saying McConnell, not impeachment, held up progress.
  196. On Thursday, McConnell blasted the House impeachment effort on the Senate floor in a 30 minute speech, calling it “the most rushed, least thorough, and most unfair” in modern history.”
  197. McConnell attacked Pelosi for being noncommittal on transmitting the articles of impeachment: “Pelosi suggested that House Democrats may be too afraid to even transmit their shoddy work product to the Senate.”
  198. Schumer spoke next, saying, “Can none of the President’s men come defend him under oath?” addressing his GOP colleagues, saying, “Democrats want a fair trial that examines the relevant facts.”
  199. Schumer added, “We want a fair trial. The message from Leader McConnell, at the moment, is that he has no intention of conducting a fair trial, no intention of acting impartially, no intention of getting the facts.”
  200. On Thursday, at her weekly news conference, Pelosi told reporters she is waiting on naming impeachment managers, saying, “The next thing for us will be when we see the process that is set forth in the Senate.”
  201. Pelosi added there needs to be a “fair process” before she sends the article of impeachment to the Senate, adding, “we’re ready.” Schumer and Pelosi met in the morning, and he told reporters, “We’re on the same page.”
  202. When asked what how she would respond to Republican criticism for holding on to the articles, Pelosi told reporters, “Frankly I don’t care, what [Republicans] have to say.”
  203. Pelosi also chided McConnell, saying our founders suspected “there could be a rogue president,” adding, “I don’t think they suspected that we could have a rogue president, and a rogue leader in the Senate at the same time.”
  204. Shortly after, deputy press secretary Hogan Gidley told Fox News that the White House is continuing to work with McConnell “to figure out the best way to move forward” on the impeachment trial.
  205. Shortly after, McConnell and Schumer held their first face-to-face meeting in a room off the Senate floor for 20 minutes to discuss the impeachment trial, but failed to produce any tangible results.
  206. After, McConnell told reporters, “We remain at an impasse,” and said the Senate would return to session on January 3. Senators and aides were pessimistic on an agreement given the two’s frosty relationship.
  207. Later, Trump tweeted, “Pelosi feels her phony impeachment HOAX is so pathetic she is afraid to present it to the Senate,” calling it a “SCAM,” and saying, “The Do Nothings are so bad for our Country!”
  208. On Thursday, WAPO reported Trump now bears the indelible mark of impeachment, perhaps his first time being held accountable despite the myriad of offenses committed during his time in office.
  209. On Thursday, Rep. Van Drew sat alongside Trump in the Oval Office to announce he was changing party affiliation and pledging his “undying support” to Trump.
  210. Trump told reporters, “I don’t feel like I’m being impeached because it’s a hoax, it’s a setup.” When asked how he feels about being impeached, he said, “It’s a horrible thing they did.”
  211. On Thursday, Rep. Mark Meadows, the ranking member of the Oversight Committee, became the 24th House Republican to retire in 2020. An ally of Trump, Meadows said he is open to a position in the regime.
  212. On Thursday, Putin defended Trump at his annual news conference in Moscow, saying he was impeached for “made-up reasons,” calling it “an internal political struggle, with the party that lost the election.”
  213. On Thursday, in an op-ed, Harvard Law Professor Noah Feldman, who testified in the House Judiciary hearings, argued impeachment happens only when the House transmits the articles of impeachment to the Senate.
  214. On Thursday, Bloomberg reported Trump’s lawyers may argue that Trump was not impeached because Pelosi did not transmit the articles, saying the Senate would already have jurisdiction if Trump was impeached.
  215. On Thursday, Harvard Law Professor Laurence Tribe said he disagreed with Feldman, saying, “under Art. I, Sec. 2, Clause 5, he was impeached on Dec 18, 2019. He will forever remain impeached. Period.”
  216. On Friday, Director of Legislative Affairs Eric Ueland told CBS News that Trump “is completely baffled at the theory” Pelosi is holding back impeachment articles to “leverage some sort of specific behavior out of the Senate.”
  217. Ueland and white house counsel Pat Cipollone toured the Senate floor, which would serve as a courtroom, and checked out support spaces. They were also introduced to people who are there when the Senate is in session.
  218. On Thursday, WAPO reported that White House officials feared Putin influenced Trump’s view on Ukraine and 2016 election, and that his resistance to believing U.S. intelligence comes from this connection.
  219. Trump first heard the theory from Paul Manafort who suggested Ukraine may have hacked the DNC in the summer of 2016, not Russia. Gates said Manafort “parroted a narrative” advanced by Konstantin Kilimnik.
  220. When Trump took office, he believed Ukraine tried to stop him from winning in 2016. When he privately met Putin in July 2017 at the G20 summit Trump become more insistent that Ukraine worked to defeat him.
  221. Senior officials said chief of staff John Kelly, national security adviser H.R. McMaster, and Secretary of State Rex Tillerson all tried to caution Trump not to rely on Putin’s word. Trump spent hours with Putin at the G20.
  222. After the G20, Kelly also had Homeland Security Advisor Tom Bossert, CIA Director Mike Pompeo, Director of National Intelligence Daniel Coats, and deputy Sue Gordon brief Trump that Russia interfered, not Ukraine.
  223. Trump did not believe U.S. intelligence. One former senior White House official claimed Trump said “Putin told me.” Allegations about Ukraine have also been promoted by fringe right-wing journalists and Giuliani.
  224. Starting in April 2017, Trump started pushing a false narrative that CrowdStrike, a computer security company the DNC hired to investigate the breach, was based in Ukraine. He pushed this on his July 25 call.
  225. Although senior U.S. officials, including the director of the FBI say there is no evidence, top GOP lawmaker who are defending Trump in the impeachment probe have also called for investigations of Ukraine.
  226. On Thursday, NYT reported prosecutor John Durham is scrutinizing former CIA director John Brennan’s rolein how the intelligence accessed Russian interference, and has requested Brennan’s emails and call logs.
  227. Durham said he is looking into what Brennan told officials, including former FBI director James Comey about his and the CIA’s view on the Steele dossier, and to see how it compares to his public 2017 testimony.
  228. Durham has also been examining any internal debate within the CIA on whether Putin ordered Russian interference, a question of interest to Attorney General Barr. A CIA informant within the Kremlin was a key source for the finding.
  229. Durham’s pursuit of Brennan again raises concerns that Trump is using the DOJ to go after his enemies. Trump has frequently publicly attacked Brennan for being part of the Obama era “deep state” targeting him.
  230. On Friday, 11 members of Congress sent a letter to Attorney General Barr, demanding he and Durham resign, saying Barr pushed “conspiracy theories,” and Durham’s work is “nothing but a sham.”
  231. The letter cited the two “inappropriately interfered in independent Department of Justice investigations and intentionally used your positions to mislead the American public in defense of President Donald J. Trump.”
  232. On Friday, in the first post-impeachment poll, Morning Consult found 51% of registered voters support impeachment and removal, 42% are against it.
  233. The poll also found most voters want more witnesses in Trump’s impeachment: 54% say the Senate should call witnesses in the trial, 27% say they should not, and 19% are undecided.
  234. On Wednesday, the Mormon Women for Ethical Government, in a statement, called on “our co-religionists” Sens. Mike Lee, Mitt Romney, Mike Crapo, and Tom Udall “to honor their oaths of office.”
  235. The statement said, “Any president or leader who forces political support and fails to honor and protect the free and legitimate elections on which our republic rests has lost the moral right to govern.”
  236. On Friday, in a scathing op-ed in magazine Christianity Today, editor in chief Mark Galli argued Trump should be removed from office. CT is a mainstream evangelical magazine founded in 1956 by Billy Graham.
  237. CT noted Trump “attempted to use his political power to coerce a foreign leader to harass and discredit one of the president’s political opponents,” calling it “a violation of the Constitution” and “profoundly immoral.”
  238. CT said Trump “dumbed down the idea of morality” in the regime, “hired and fired” people who are convicted criminals, and “admitted to immoral actions” in business and with women, “about which he remains proud.”
  239. CT added, “His Twitter feed alone — with its habitual string of mischaracterizations, lies, and slanders — is a near perfect example of a human being who is morally lost and confused.”
  240. CT said Trump has a “grossly immoral character” and should be removed, “not a matter of partisan loyaltiesbut loyalty to the Creator of the Ten Commandments.”
  241. CT added the impeachment hearings have “illuminated” Trump’s “moral deficiencies,” saying, “This damages the institution of the presidency…the reputation of our country…and the spirit and the future of our people.”
  242. CT closed saying, “we have reserved judgment on Mr. Trump for years,” but Trump’s actions will “crash down on the reputation of evangelical religion and on the world’s understanding of the gospel”…and “down on a nation.”
  243. On Friday, Trump blasted CT in a series of tweets, calling it “a far left magazine, or very “progressive,”” adding it “has been doing poorly and hasn’t been involved with the Billy Graham family for many years.”
  244. Trump also tweeted CT “knows nothing about reading a perfect transcript,” and would rather “have a Radical Left nonbeliever, who wants to take your religion & your guns, than Donald Trump as your President.”
  245. Trump also tweeted, “No President has done more for the Evangelical community, and it’s not even close,” adding, “I won’t be reading ET again” — seeming to make a reference to Entertainment Tonight (ET), not Christianity Today.
  246. Hours later, Trump tweeted, “I guess the magazine, “Christianity Today,” is looking for Elizabeth Warren, Bernie Sanders,” adding, “no President has ever done what I have done for Evangelicals, or religion itself!”
  247. Trump also tweeted a Breitbart article about Billy Graham’s son Franklin saying, “Christianity Today has moved to the left and is representing the elitist liberal wing of evangelicalism.” Trump thanked Franklin.
  248. On Friday, WAPO reported that behind Trump’s anger is a fear of losing evangelical support, who were key for him in battleground states in 2016. Recent polls show 75% of white evangelicals support him.
  249. White House officials were concerned Trump was bringing too much attention to the op-ed. Trump also put pressure on staffers to take action to counter the op-ed, like announcing an event already in the works.
  250. Later, editor Galli told MSNBC that CT is “not a far-left magazine,” and is often accused of being “too conservative,” adding it is “very rare” for CT to comment on politics “unless the moral stakes are raised very high.”
  251. Galli also said, “I don’t have any illusions” that his op-ed is “going to change many minds,” and said Trump’s immorality was a balance to Trump’s policy decisions, likening him to a wife abuser who also has good qualities.
  252. On Friday, former GOP Senator Jeff Flake said in an op-ed that Trump is on trial and “So are my Senate Republican colleagues,” saying it would be “indefensible” to echo House GOP and say Trump did nothing wrong.
  253. Flake said Trump had not changed or grown in office, saying, “If there ever was a time to put country over party, it is now. And by putting country over party, you might just save the Grand Old Party before it’s too late.”
  254. On Friday, Trump asked his supporters to donate to Van Drew, tweeting, “the Democrat Party’s Witch Hunt and CRAZY EXTREME policies are chasing common sense people,” adding, he “has my FULL Endorsement.”
  255. On Friday, Pelosi formally invited Trump to deliver his annual state of the union on February 4, and Trump accepted the invitation. The speech will take place during or just after the Senate impeachment trial.
  256. On Friday, Pelosi told AP that Trump “just got impeached,” adding, “He’ll be impeached forever. No matter what the Senate does. He’s impeached for ever because he violated our constitution.”
  257. Later Friday, Trump tweeted, “Nancy Pelosi is looking for a Quid Pro Quo with the Senate. Why aren’t we Impeaching her?” Members of Congress cannot be impeached.
  258. Trump also touted Putin speaking out against his impeachment, quoting a 36-hour-old AP tweet of a story about Putin defending him, and adding, “A total Witch Hunt!
  259. On Thursday, HuffPost reported Senate Republicans quietly removed the phrase “white nationalist” from a measure in the National Defense Authorization Act meant to address white nationalists in the military.
  260. The House amendment was drafted in July to specifically address the issue. The final bill only requires the DoD to monitor for “extremist and gang-related activity,” without referencing white nationalism.
  261. On Friday, West Point said the hand gestures made by cadets and midshipmen at last week’s Army-Navy football game were part of a game known as the “circle game” and not a white supremacist symbol.
  262. The superintendent of the US Military Academy said, “We investigated this matter thoroughly,” adding last Saturday they thought it was an innocent game, and “We are disappointed by the immature behavior of the cadets.”
  263. On Friday, WAPO reported the Trump regime threatened a presidential veto of a spending package if House Democrats did not remove language requiring prompt release of future military aid for Ukraine.
  264. The provision would have required the White House to swiftly release $250 million in military aid for Ukraine. The provision was removed and Trump signed the $1.4 trillion package last Friday night.
  265. On Friday, in a podcast interview with Michael Moore, Robert De Niro said Trump “needs to be confronted,” and “needs to be humiliated,” adding, “There has not been one thing about this person that has been redeeming.”
  266. On Friday, Facebook said it had removed hundreds of accounts with ties to Epoch Media Group, finding the group used fake accounts generated with artificial intelligence to spread disinformation in the U.S. and Vietnam.
  267. Content removed included 610 Facebook accounts, 89 Facebook Pages, 156 Groups, and 72 Instagram account, and sparked concern that AI could be used to create wide-scale disinformation campaigns.
  268. On Friday, the Trump regime delayed the scheduled Jan. 1 phase out of incandescent light bulbs, a bipartisan effort started in 2007 to save $14 billion in energy cost and reduce carbon emissions by 38 tons.
  269. Trump’s Energy Department made a final determination Friday claiming that imposing stricter energyefficiency standards “are not economically justified,” and the decision would “protect consumer choice.”
  270. Late Friday, Trump left for a two-week vacation at Mar-a-Lago amid the impeachment probe. CNN reported aides are concerned Trump will mingle with informal advisors and friends who may influence him.
  271. There are also numerous remaining decisions to be made relating to strategy, the legal team, who will make opening and closing arguments, and arranging who will go on television afterward to amplify the message.
  272. Aides are also concerned that after Trump finally agreed with McConnell to a short trial without witnesses, friends at Mar-a-Lago could steer him back to his instincts for a longer trial with witnesses to vindicate himself.
  273. On Saturday, the Center for Public Integrity made public 146 pages of new Pentagon and OMB documents provided by the DOJ under a court order related to Trump-Ukraine. Again, substantive information was redacted.
  274. The documents revealed aid to Ukraine was put on hold at 11:04 a.m. on July 25, shortly after Trump’s call which ended at 9:33 a.m. via an email sent by Michael Duffey of OMB.
  275. Documents also revealed internal notes showing Trump gave a formal order blocking the Pentagon’s portion of the aid on July 12, which was communicated to OMB by one of his aides.
  276. On Saturday, NYT reported Trump has taken over the Republican Party by instilling fear. Any GOP lawmaker who speaks out against him publicly or privately will incur his wrath and be ostracized from the party.
  277. Republicans are left with the option of being fully loyal to Trump or retiring. Since Trump took office, a remarkable 40% of Republicans have retired or been defeated in elections.
  278. Trump rewards those who show loyalty with favorable tweets or by visiting their state. He has helped allies win primaries as well. Those seeking re-election know they need his support with the base to win.

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Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., holds hands with Rep. Debbie Dingell, D-Mich., as they walk to the chamber where the Democratic-controlled House of Representatives begins a day of debate on the impeachments charges against Trump for abuse of power and obstruction of Congress, at the Capitol in Washington, Wednesday, Dec. 18, 2019.

POLITIKS OF GRAFFITI 156: LOCK HIM UP!

NOVEMBER 02, 2019

Week 155

Experts in authoritarianism advise to keep a list of things
subtly changing around you, so you’ll remember. https://theweeklylist.org/weekly-list/week-155/

This week, further testimony in the impeachment probe brought the fifth and sixth public confirmation of a quid pro quo between Trump and Ukraine, including so far William Taylor, Gordon Sondland, Sen. Ron Johnson, Mick Mulvaney, Alexander Vindman and Tim Morrison. By week’s end, Senate Republicans discussed shifting their defense of Trump to acknowledging his quid pro quo, but saying it was not illegal — differing from House Republicans who continued to deny it, and Trump who maintained he had a “perfect” call and tested out new explanations for what occurred. Allegations of a possible White House cover up of Trump’s July 25 call also surfaced in this week’s testimony.

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IMPEACH. CRIMINAL. VOTE OUT. North Park, San Diego, CALIFORNIA. 2nov19.

The House of Representatives took its first full, public vote on impeachment, passing a resolution to proceed with public hearings, and setting out ground rules to proceed. In the meantime, aspects of the Mueller probe came back into the spotlight as ongoing court cases played out, and Speaker Nancy Pelosi said she would not rule out including new information in the impeachment inquiry.

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CLOSE UP. 

Trump tried to pivot and focus attention on a successful raid that killed the head of ISIS, seeking to turn it into a Hollywood story to distract attention and legitimize his haphazard foreign policy. This week hundreds of U.S. troops abandoned Kurdish allies in Syria, while hundreds of others moved back to Syria to protect oilfields not owned by the U.S. Trump attended his first Major League Baseball game for the World Series, and was treated to boos when he was announced, and chants of “Lock him up!” an inning later.

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V O T E. Downtown San Diego, CALIFORNIA 2nov19
  1. On Saturday, former White House chief of staff John Kelly said at a conference that he warned Trump if he replaced him with “a ‘yes man,’ someone who won’t tell you the truth,” he would “be impeached.”
  2. Trump said Kelly “never said anything like that,” or he would have thrown him “out of the office.” White House press secretary Stephanie Grisham said Kelly “was totally unequipped to handle the genius” of Trump.
  3. Late Saturday, Trump tweeted, “Something very big has just happened!” The White House said Trump will make a major announcement on Sunday at 9 a.m. EST. It was not immediately clear what Trump would discuss.
  4. On Sunday, Trump announced an operation by U.S. Special Forces on Saturday killed Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, the founder and leader of ISIS. Trump notably thanked other countries before thanking U.S. troops.
  5. Trump particularly emphasized Russia, thanking “the nations of Russia, Turkey, Syria, and Iraq” and the “Syrian Kurds,” then later saying “Russia was great, Russia let us fly through space. Russia hates ISIS as much as us.”
  6. Trump delivered an unusually vivid account, saying al-Baghdadi “died after running into a dead-end tunnel, whimpering, screaming and crying all the way,” adding, “He died like a dog, he died like a coward.”
  7. Trump also said of oilfields, “We have taken it and secured it,” and repeated his 2016 campaign rhetoric, “I said keep the oil,” confirming the world’s worst suspicions about American motives in the region.
  8. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said in a statement that Trump notified Russia before telling Congress, saying,“The House must be briefed,” adding, “the Russians but not top Congressional Leadership were notified.”
  9. Trump only informed two Senate Republicans, Sens. Richard Burr and Lindsey Graham, and claimed he did not tell Speaker Pelosi because he “wanted to make sure this kept secret.”
  10. A spokesperson for the Russian Defense Ministry refuted Trump’s announcement, saying Russia did not provide access to air space for U.S. air units, and calling Trump’s victory lap nothing but “propaganda.”
  11. On Sunday, NYT reported Trump’s Syria troop withdrawal complicated the Pentagon’s plans for the al-Baghdadi raid, which were underway for months, and caused a risky night raid before the pullout was complete.
  12. On Monday, Trump told reporters he is considering releasing parts of the video of the raid, saying “it was an amazing display of intelligence and military power,” and evoking comparisons to a reality-TV type rollout.
  13. Trump also defended not notifying Democratic leaders beforehand, saying, “I’ve watched Adam Schiff leak,” calling him a “corrupt politician” and “the biggest leaker in Washington.”
  14. On Monday, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said he was not notified ahead of the raid, but Trump tried to connect before the news conference. House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy also was not notified.
  15. On Monday, Gen. Mark Milley, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, told reporters the Pentagon could not confirm al-Baghdadi died “screaming, crying and whimpering,” and was not sure how Trump got his information.
  16. On Monday, NBC News reported some of the details Trump gave were false, while others may have revealed highly classified or tactically sensitive information. Officials cited his entertainment background.
  17. On Monday, NBC News reported a Kurdish informant provided key information to U.S. intelligence that was essential to the raid. Trump said Sunday that Kurds provided “some information that turned out to be helpful.”
  18. On Monday, Defense Secretary Mark Esper announced a broad defense of Syrian oilfields, saying U.S. troops would use “overwhelming force” to protect the oilfields from not only ISIS, but also Syria and Russia.
  19. On Wednesday, NBC News reported acting White House chief of staff Mick Mulvaney learned of the raid after it was already underway, an extraordinary move by Trump not to notify his chief of staff.
  20. On Wednesday, Trump tweeted a fake photo of him placing a medal around the neck of a hero dog involved in the raid — an altered photo of Trump awarding a Medal of Honor to James McCloughan, an army medic.
  21. On Wednesday, NYT reported in Syria, hundreds of U.S. troops are abandoning Kurdish allies, while hundreds arrive to guard oil fields: troops at the oil fields are expected to reach 900, as 1,000 are withdrawn.
  22. On Friday, NYT reported Trump seemed to have made up his vivid comments about the death of Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, when he claimed he was “whimpering and crying and screaming all the way.”
  23. In addition to Gen. Milley, Defense Sec. Esper, and the regional commander who oversaw the operation, other senior Defense Department officials all say they have no idea what Trump is talking about.
  24. On Monday, Politico reported U.S. policy toward Ukraine is in shambles. Officials in Kiev wondered who they can trust in Washington, given recent departures and the inquiry. Experts worry about “lasting damage.”
  25. On Tuesday, British Parliament voted to dissolve and set up an early election on December 12, the first December election since 1923, at which the issue of Brexit will be front and center.
  26. On Wednesday, Russia’s Defense Ministry said it had successfully test-launched a Bulava intercontinental ballistic missile for the first time from a nuclear submarine, striking a target thousands of kilometers away.
  27. The test came as Trump pulled out of the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty, which banned deployment of short- and medium-ranged missiles in August.
  28. On Friday, Syrian President Bashar Assad told NBC News that Trump is “the best” president, citing his transparency, saying, “Trump speaks with transparency to say ‘we want the oil.’”
  29. On Sunday, Trump attended Game 5 of the World Series between the Nationals and Astros. When his presence was announced, the crowd let out thunderous boos. One inning later, fans chanted “Lock him up!
  30. The Lerner family, the principal owners of the Nationals, put in a request to the MLB not to be put in a position to turn down a request to be seated with Trump. Trump sat with a group of his Republican allies.
  31. This marked the first time Trump attended a MLB game since taking office. Until Trump, every president since William Taft had throw out a ceremonial first pitch. Trump left the game early after being booed.
  32. On Monday, when asked about Trump being booed, White House deputy press secretary Hogan Gidley told reporters, “I didn’t talk to [Trump] about it. I know that there were some people there cheering as well.”
  33. On Monday, WAPO reported on concerns raised by Democratic campaigns who reporting indicated were targeted by a Russia-based disinformation campaign on Instagram, the first of 2020, and have been left in the dark.
  34. Democratic lawmakers, campaigns, and security experts worry the Trump regime and social media companies do not have a response or strategy in place for 2020. China and Iran have also manipulated social media.
  35. On Monday, in a letter to Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg and his lieutenants, more than 250 Facebook employees said they “strongly object” to the decision to let politicians post any claims they wanted.
  36. On Wednesday, Facebook said it took down three Russian-backed influence networks aimed at African countries. Russia has been testing disinformation networks ahead of the 2020 U.S. election.
  37. The networks were linked to Yevgeny Prigozhin, the Russian oligarch known as “Putin’s chef,” who was indicted in the U.S. and accused of interfering in the 2016 U.S. election.
  38. On Wednesday, Twitter’s CEO Jack Dorsey announced the company will ban all political ads starting November 22, tweeting, “We believe political message reach should be earned, not bought.”
  39. Trump’s campaign manager Brad Parscale said in a statement it was “a very dumb decision,” calling it a partisan act meant to silence conservatives. Democrats praised the decision.
  40. On Wednesday, former CIA director John Brennan said Russia’s influence operation swayed votes in the 2016 election, a statement that went further than past public statements by U.S. intelligence officials and lawmakers.
  41. Brennan said there was possibly some effect on the final result, which gave Trump the presidency, adding, “How many, in which states, I don’t know. Whether it changed the outcome, I don’t know.”
  42. On Wednesday, Georgia state officials announced the state plans to purge 300,000 names from its voter rolls, roughly 4% of registered voters, removing voters who have moved away or stop casting ballots.
  43. On Sunday, Senate Judiciary Committee ranking member Dianne Feinstein released a letter from committee Democrats, calling on Attorney General William Barr to recuse himself from matters relating to Ukraine.
  44. On Monday, AG Barr told Fox News the accusation that he acts as Trump’s personal lawyer are “completely wrong and there is no basis for it,” adding, “I act on behalf of the United States.”
  45. On Monday, WAPO reported Senate Republicans are struggling to defend Trump: while Trump allies have strained to argue about the inquiry process, others are having trouble defending facts and are not speaking up.
  46. Several GOP senators cited being a “juror” in their unwillingness to comment to the press. Senators have also complained about a lack of strategy from the White House and their limited grasp of the full facts.
  47. One veteran senator said, “It feels like a horror movie.” Leader McConnell is prioritizing keeping control of the Senate, as support for impeachment has grown in several swing districts up for re-election in 2020.
  48. On Monday, Sens. Susan Collins and Lisa Murkowski joined Mitt Romney saying they would not co-sponsor Graham’s resolution. Leader McConnell, although a co-sponsor, did not commit to bring the resolution to the floor.
  49. On Sunday, chairs of the three House committees insisted that Charles Kupperman, a deputy to former NSA John Bolton, appear before their committees on Monday, saying he could face a contempt citation if he declines.
  50. On Monday, Kupperman did not appear. His attorneys asked the courts for an expedited hearing of their lawsuit filed last Friday, after the House subpoenaed him, and the White House claimed “constitutional immunity.”
  51. Chair Schiff told reporters it was “deeply regrettable” that Kupperman was a “no-show,” saying witnesses like Kupperman “need to do their duty and show up,” adding his refusal “may warrant a contempt proceeding.”
  52. Schiff also said Kupperman’s decision to not show has “no basis in law,” and was further evidence of Trump’s efforts to obstruct Congress. Later, a federal judge set a court date of Thursday for Kupperman’s lawsuit.
  53. Schiff added, “We are not willing to let the White House engage us in a lengthy game of rope-a-dope in the courts, so we press ahead,” citing the previous stonewalling by the Trump regime in the Mueller probe.
  54. Later Monday, Speaker Pelosi said in a letter the House will vote Thursday to bring the impeachment inquiry public, establishing rules for presentation of evidence and outlining due process, saying, “Nobody is above the law.”
  55. Pelosi said, “We are taking this step to eliminate any doubt as to whether the Trump administration may withhold documents, prevent witness testimony, disregard duly authorized subpoenas or continue obstructing.”
  56. On Monday, WAPO reported Sen. Ron Johnson met with Ukrainian diplomat Andrii Telizhenko for at least 30 minutes on Capitol Hill in July about the unsubstantiated claim the DNC worked with Ukraine in 2016.
  57. Johnson’s staffers also met with Telizhenko for five hours. The meetings point to his emerging role as the most involved member of Congress on Ukraine, and could make him a person of interest in the inquiry.
  58. On Monday, Rep. Greg Walden, ranking member on the House Energy and Commerce Committee, announced he will retire in 2020, becoming the fourth GOP ranking member to depart in 2020.
  59. On Monday, during his first visit to Chicago for the International Association of Chiefs of Police, Trump blasted Chicago police superintendent Eddie Johnson, who boycotted the event, for “not doing his job.”
  60. Trump attacked Johnson, a Black man, over Chicago’s “sanctuary city” policies, saying, “People like Johnson put criminals and illegal aliens before the citizens of Chicago,” adding, “Frankly, those values, to me, are a disgrace.”
  61. Trump also attacked Chicago, whose officials have been outspokenly against his immigration policies, saying, “It’s embarrassing to us as a nation,” adding, “Afghanistan is a safe place by comparison.”
  62. Thousands in Chicago gathered outside of Trump Tower to protest his first visit to their city with homemade signs, and chants like “Lock him up!” and “This is what democracy looks like!” Trump did not see the protests.
  63. On Monday, the Fraternal Order of Police, the largest police union with 330,000 members, attacked the impeachment process in a statement, accusing Congress of violating due process “to score political points.”
  64. The statement, which was also tweeted, accused “many Members of Congress” of “undermining that trust in due process,” adding, “Just as local law enforcement officers are often convicted in the media.”
  65. On Friday, Trump again attacked Johnson, tweeting, “Chicago will never stop its crime wave with the current Superintendent of Police,” and thanking allies Kevin Graham and “the GREAT Chicago Police Officers.”
  66. On Monday, the DOJ filed a motion asking Judge Beryl Howell to stay her order to turn over grand jury materials in the Mueller probe, pending review of an appeals court.
  67. On Tuesday, a three-judge appeals court temporarily blocked the release of the Mueller probe materials while Judge Howell has “sufficient opportunity to consider the emergency motion” by DOJ.
  68. On Saturday, WAPO reported Republican lawmakers loyal to Trump have used the impeachment inquiry to ask questions related to the whistleblower, reportedly in an effort to “unmask” their identity.
  69. On Monday, Daily Beast reported Derek Harvey, a top aide to Rep. Devin Nunes, has provided notes to House Republicans with the supposed name of the whistleblower, in hopes of getting the name added to transcripts.
  70. On Tuesday, Trump promoted Nunes’ new book, tweeting, “A great new book just out,” adding, “The True Story Of How Congressman Devin Nunez [sic] Uncovered the Biggest Political Scandal In U.S. History.”
  71. On Monday, NYT reported Army officer Alexander Vindman, the top Ukraine expert on the NSC, will testify Tuesday he twice reported concerns about Trump’s pressure tactics on Ukraine out of a “sense of duty.”
  72. According to his opening statement, Vindman was expected to testify he heard Trump ask Ukraine’s president to investigate his political rivals. Vindman will be the first person present on the July 25 call to testify.
  73. Vindman said, “I did not think it was proper to demand that a foreign government investigate a U.S. citizen,” adding he was worried about the implications for Ukraine in what would be considered a “partisan play.”
  74. Vindman worried “This would all undermine U.S. national security,” and added, “I am a patriot, and it is my sacred duty and honor to advance and defend our country irrespective of party or politics.”
  75. Vindman planned to say he is not the whistleblower, but that his account will corroborate the complaint, and that he watched with alarm as “outside influencers” began pushing a “false narrative” about Ukraine.
  76. Vindman said he first brought concerns to John Eisenberg, the NSC top lawyer, on July 10 when Sondlandspoke about “Ukraine delivering specific investigations in order to secure the meeting with the president.”
  77. Vindman went again to Eisenberg on July 25, accompanied by his twin brother Yevgeny, who is a lawyer on the National Security Council. Both serve as lieutenant colonels in the Army.
  78. Vindman’s testimony aligns with that of Fiona Hill, and her concern of the July 10 call along with Bolton, as well as that of William Taylor; but differed from Sondland who testified no concerns were ever raised to him on Ukraine.
  79. Shortly after, Rep. Joaquin Castro, a member of the House Intelligence Committee, tweeted based on Vindman’s testimony, “I believe that Ambassador Gordon Sondland committed perjury.”
  80. Shortly after, Fox News host Laura Ingraham attacked Vindman on her show, speculating he was a double-agent for Ukraine, given he was born there and is fluent in their language. Her guest accused him of espionage.
  81. Shortly before midnight, Trump quoted Ingraham, tweeting, “There is no underlying crime in that transcript,” and added, “Where is the Whistleblower? That is why this is now called the Impeachment Hoax!”
  82. Trump also tweeted, “The only crimes in the Impeachment Hoax were committed by Shifty Adam Schiff,” saying “he totally made up my phone conversation” and “should be Impeached, and worse.”
  83. On Tuesday, “Fox & Friends” co-host Brian Kilmeade continued the attack on Vindman, saying although he got a purple heart, “He is from the Soviet Union, he emigrated here and has an affinity for the Ukrainian people.”
  84. On Tuesday, CNN contributor Sean Duffy also suggested Vindman’s loyalty was to Ukraine, saying, “He has an affinity, probably, for his homeland,” and “I don’t know that he’s concerned about American policy.”
  85. On Tuesday, Trump tweeted, “Why are people that I never even heard of testifying about the call,” adding, “Just READ THE CALL TRANSCRIPT…THE IMPEACHMENT HOAX IS OVER! Ukrain [sic] said NO PRESSURE.”
  86. Trump called Vindman a “Never Trumper” in a series of tweets, saying, “Where’s the Whistleblower?” and “Just read the Transcript, everything else is made up garbage by Shifty Schiff and the Never Trumpers!”
  87. Trump also tweeted, “The Do Nothing Democrats are working hard to make everyone forget the Best Economy Ever, the monumental weekend raid,” adding, “The Impeachment Hoax is a disgrace. Read the transcript!”
  88. Trump also tweeted, “How many more Never Trumpers will be allowed to testify about a perfectly appropriate phone call” adding, “READ THE TRANSCRIPT! I knew people were listening in on the call.”
  89. Trump also tweeted, “according to the Corrupt Media, the Ukraine call “concerned” today’s Never Trumper witness,” adding, “Was he on the same call that I was?” and “ask him to read the Transcript,” and “Witch Hunt!”
  90. Vindman and his twin brother fled to the U.S. from Ukraine at age 3. He has served in the U.S. Army for two decades under Democrats and Republicans, and earned a Purple Heart from fighting in the Iraq War.
  91. Later Tuesday, top Republicans pushed back on the Vindman attacks, with No. 2 GOP Sen. John Thune saying “He’s a patriot,” and Rep. Liz Cheney calling it “shameful” to question Vindman’s loyalty or patriotism.
  92. When Leader McConnell was pressed by a reporter about Vindman’s testimony, he side-stepped answering, instead responding, “I’m not gonna question the patriotism of any of the people who are coming forward.”
  93. Later, Trump also tweeted, ““Nervous Nancy Pelosi” is trying to destroy the Republican Party, but that “The Do Nothing Dems will lose many seats in 2020. They have a Death Wish, led by a corrupt politician, Adam Schiff!”
  94. On Tuesday, NYT reported Vindman testified that the White House transcript of the July 25 call between Trump and Zelensky omitted crucial words and phrases, and two of his corrections were not incorporated.
  95. The two omissions were Trump’s assertion there was a recording of Biden discussing Ukraine corruption, and a mention by Zelensky of Burisma Holdings. He also hinted that Trump aides left things out of the transcript.
  96. The call transcript has ellipses at three points where Trump is supposedly trailing off. Vindman said the third set were Trump referencing a tape of Biden commenting about his efforts to oust Viktor Shokin.
  97. On Tuesday, WSJ reported House Democrats accused Republicans of trying to unmask the whistleblower during their questioning of Vindman. Vindman said he is not the whistleblower, and does not know who it is.
  98. Lawyers for the whistleblower told the Journal the team has received abusive communications and multiple death threats — that have led to at least one law-enforcement investigation.
  99. On Wednesday, Politico reported Vindman testified after attending Zelensky’s inauguration he hoped to brief Trump and give a positive review. His briefing was canceled as aides said it might confuse Trump.
  100. Vindman said he was instructed “at the last second” not to attend the debriefing, as Trump believed Kashyap Patel, a former staffer of Rep. Devin Nunes with no Ukraine expertise, was the NSC’s top Ukraine expert.
  101. On Wednesday, CNN reported Vindman believed a quid quo pro existed on July 10 when Sondland told Ukrainian government officials they would need to deliver “specific investigations” to get a meeting with Trump.
  102. He realized Trump was behind withholding aid on August 15 when Bolton had him to write an interagency memo asking for Trump to release the aid. Trump refused after a meeting at Bedminster on August 16.
  103. On Tuesday, the House released the resolution detailing next steps in the public impeachment inquiry. The vote on Thursday will mark the first time House members will go on the public record voting for the inquiry.
  104. The eight-page resolution laid out the format for public hearings, permitting staff counsels to question witnesses for up to 45 minutes per side. Transcripts of past interviews will be redacted and publicly released.
  105. The measure allows Trump or his attorneys to participate in impeachment proceedings held by the House Judiciary Committee. If Trump “refuses to cooperate” the Chair has the discretion to impose appropriate remedies.
  106. The measure gives Republicans subpoena power, but only with the approval of the chairman or full committee.
  107. Trump and Republicans have repeatedly called on House Democrats to hold a vote, and Pelosi choosing to do so nullifies this talking point. House Republicans criticized the resolution in a letter before it was released.
  108. The White House said in a statement the resolution “confirms that House Democrats’ impeachment has been an illegitimate sham from the start as it lacked any proper authorization by a House vote.”
  109. NBC News reported what shifted Pelosi’s mind on holding a vote were the facts in evidence, and wanting the American public to hear from witnesses. Republicans had been complaining about closed-door hearings.
  110. On Tuesday, Sen. Bob Menendez asked the Office of Special Counsel to open a probe into whether Secretary of State Mike Pompeo violated the Hatch Act by recent trips to Kansas, as Republicans urge him to run for senate in 2020.
  111. On Tuesday, a federal judge in Florida said Lev Parnas can be questioned under oath about financial transfershe made to Republican political campaigns, including Trump. Parnas is under house arrest in Florida.
  112. On Tuesday, federal prosecutors blasted what they said was an “extraordinary” new claim by Michael Flynnthat he is the victim of a “plot to set up an innocent man.” Flynn is set to be sentenced December 18.
  113. On Tuesday, George Papadopoulos filed paperwork to run for a House seat vacated by Democrat Katie Hill, after she resigned Sunday. Hill said she was a victim of “revenge porn.”
  114. On Tuesday, a poll by Grinnell College found 81% of Americans say it is not okay for political candidates to ask for assistance from a foreign government to help them win an election, including 81% of Republicans.
  115. However most Republicans do not feel that rises to the level of impeachment: 42% overall believe Trump should be impeached and removed, while 44% say he should not (including 87% of Republicans).
  116. On Wednesday, Trump tweeted, “Republicans are very unified and energized in our fight on the Impeachment Hoax with the Do Nothing Democrats,” citing the “very infair [sic] Process.”
  117. Trump also tweeted, “the Transcript leads EVERYBODY to see that the call with the Ukrainian President was a totally appropriate one,” calling impeachment “a continuation of the Witch Hunt Hoax.”
  118. Trump also again attacked Vindman, tweeting “Yesterday’s Never Trumper witness could find NO Quid Pro Quo in the Transcript,” adding Zelensky “found NOTHING wrong with it. Witch Hunt!”
  119. Trump also quoted “Fox & Friends” co-host Steve Doocy who said Pelosi is putting impeachment up to a vote “because that’s what her political left really wants,” adding, “A disgraceful use of Impeachment. Will backfire!
  120. On Wednesday, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer asked the Army in a letter to provide Vindman, who returned to work Wednesday, the same protections against retaliation as those provided to whistleblowers.
  121. On Wednesday, CNN reported House Republicans plan to stick to the messaging strategy focused on criticizing the impeachment process, but not pushing back on the underlying facts as Trump pushed them to do.
  122. Republicans have expressed exasperation that the White House has not done more to coordinate their message with lawmakers, and has not provided guidance or even a point person to contact on impeachment.
  123. On Wednesday, Catherine Croft, a State Department employee who worked on Ukraine issues for the NSC, and worked under Kurt Volker, testified before the three House committees behind closed doors.
  124. Both the White House and the State Department had directed Croft not to appear for her deposition, and to limit the scope of her testimony. The House Intelligence Committee issued a subpoena to compel her testimony.
  125. In her opening statement, Croft said lobbyist Robert Livingston called her repeatedly, and “told me that Ambassador Yovanovitch should be fired,” calling her an “Obama holdover” and “associated with George Soros.”
  126. Croft said she notified her boss, Fiona Hill, and George Kent. Croft said he learned of military aid being withheld from Ukraine on a July 18 call with the Office of Management and Budget “at the direction of the President.”
  127. Croft and Christopher Anderson, a career Foreign Service officer who also testified on Wednesday, both had a positive view of Ukraine’s new president Zelensky, in contrast to Trump, Rudy Giuliani, and the regime.
  128. Both testified that Livingston’s lobbying firm was in touch with them during 2018, and that his firm has ongoing business in Ukraine, including some relating to former prime minister Yulia Tymoshenko.
  129. Livingston’s firm accompanied Tymoshenko to a meeting with Anderson in December 2018. Anderson also said Bolton told him that Giuliani “could be an obstacle to increased White House engagement” on Ukraine.
  130. On Wednesday, Just Security reported that over the summer, alarmed officials at the Pentagon strongly warned the White House about withholding Ukraine funding, repeatedly advising to release the funds.
  131. After the Pentagon certified Ukraine in late May, it repeatedly told the White House that if aid was not released, at least in part, before fiscal year-end September 30, it might never make its way to Ukraine.
  132. In late July, the Pentagon told the White House it could be at risk of violating the Impoundment Control Act, which punishes the executive branch for not spending money appropriated by Congress.
  133. On Wednesday, ranking Senate Democrats Ron Wyden and Menendez, asked U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer in a letter for details on the Trump regime delay in restoring Ukraine’s trade privileges.
  134. On Wednesday, in another stunt outside the secured facility, Trump ally Rep. Matt Gaetz told reporters he filed an ethics complaint against Schiff, claiming Schiff has violated rules overseeing the impeachment inquiry.
  135. On Wednesday, House Democrats asked Bolton to testify in the impeachment inquiry. Later Wednesday, Bolton’s attorney, who also represents Kupperman, said he would not testify without a subpoena.
  136. House Democrats also invited John Eisenberg and his deputy Michael Ellis to testify on Monday. It was doubtful they will appear as their office wrote the legal memo spelling out the regime’s unwillingness to cooperate.
  137. On Thursday, a federal judge said he will fast-track the case on Kupperman’s testifying, calling it a “matter of great public interest and a matter of great urgency.” Oral arguments will begin December 10.
  138. On Thursday, another federal judge heard a case on Don McGahn testifying to the House on the Mueller report. She chided the DOJ for blocking him and claims of “absolute immunity,” and said she will rule soon.
  139. On Wednesday, Politico reported Leader McConnell met privately with Trump and warned him to stop attacking Republican Senators, reminding him they will be deciding his fate at the impeachment trial.
  140. After the meeting, the one major shift is that Trump has stopped publicly attacking Republican Senators, such as Sen. Mitt Romney who last week he called a “pompous ass.”
  141. On Wednesday, John Sullivan, Trump’s nominee to be U.S. Ambassador to Russia, testified at a Senate confirmation hearing. Sullivan claimed he was unaware of what was happening with Ukraine policy.
  142. Sullivan broke from Trump, saying, “Soliciting investigations into a domestic political opponent” would not be “in accord with our values,” although he said Trump has “denied that there was any quid pro quo.”
  143. Sullivan acknowledged that he was the one who notified Yovanovitch that she was being recalled, but said despite trying to find out why, he was not given a reason, and that Giuliani was involved in her recall.
  144. On Wednesday, former GOP senator William Cohen, who sat on the Judiciary Committee during Watergate said Trump sounds like a dictator, invoking the book “1984” and repeating lies until they become the truth.
  145. On Wednesday, Secretary of State Pompeo falsely claimed on Fox News that the reason the Obama administration did not give Ukraine lethal defensive military equipment was related to Hunter Biden.
  146. On Wednesday, WAPO reported after Trump’s July 25 call, Vindman rushed to Eisenberg’s office and told him what Trump did was wrong. Eisenberg scribbled notes on a yellow legal pad.
  147. Eisenberg then proposed moving the transcript of the call to a highly classified server and restricting access to it, a step that goes against long-standing White House protocol.
  148. On July 10, two top Ukrainian officials in Zelenksy’s new administration, Andriy Yermak and Oleksandr Danyliuk, came to Washington, and met in Bolton’s office with Vindman, Sondland, Hill, and Volker.
  149. According to Vindman and Hill, rather than speak about combating corruption, Sondland turned the conversation to pursuing investigations important to Trump, causing an alarmed Bolton to cut the meeting short.
  150. Vindman said Sondland told the officials that Ukraine must deliver on “investigations into the 2016 election, the Bidens, and Burisma.” He and Hill reported the incident to Eisenberg, but it is unclear if he took action.
  151. On Thursday, WSJ reported Vindman’s identical twin, Yevgeny Vindman, an NSC lawyer handling ethics issues, may be called to testify. He was not on the July 25 call, but was present when his brother reported to Eisenberg.
  152. On Wednesday, Tim Morrison, the top Russia official on Trump’s National Security Council who is a conservative hawk and lifelong Republican, resigned. Morrison was expected to testify on Thursday.
  153. Morrison was brought on by Bolton, and served on the NSC for 15 months. In July, he replaced Fiona Hill as Trump’s top Russia adviser. He will be replaced by Andrew Peek, a deputy assistant secretary of state.
  154. In William Taylor’s testimony, he said Morrison told him that he had alerted NSC lawyers that Sondland had informed a top Ukrainian official that military aid was contingent on opening an investigation into Burisma.
  155. NYT reported the White House directed Morrison not to appear on Thursday, but he agreed to appear under a subpoena. He told colleagues he did not want anyone to think his testifying was related to his departure.
  156. On Thursday, Morrison testified before the House committees. He was expected to confirm Taylor’s testimony that Trump used his office to pressure Ukraine to investigate the Bidens, or quid pro quo.
  157. Morrison was also expected to testify that he alerted Taylor that Trump and his deputies were planning to withhold both military aid and a White House visit until Ukraine investigated the Bidens and the 2016 U.S. election.
  158. Morrison was expected to corroborate he spoke to Taylor at least twice in early September, first to alert him to Sondland, and then to share a “sinking feeling” about a conversation between Sondland and Trump.
  159. On Thursday, NYT reported Morrison confirmed quid pro quo, saying Sondland told him military aid for Ukraine would not be released until the country committed to investigations wanted by Trump.
  160. Morrison also said he was told about a September call between Trump and Sondland, where Trump said he was not looking for quid pro quo, but went on to “insist” that Zelensky publicly announce investigations of Democrats.
  161. Morrison also said of the July 25 call, “I want to be clear, I was not concerned that anything illegal was discussed,” but still asked Eisenberg to review, citing concern that a summary could leak out.
  162. Morrison however confirmed Taylor’s testimony that he had “a sinking feeling” when he learned Trump was asking Zelensky to announce investigations, even as Trump denied it was quid pro quo.
  163. Morrison also testified he tried to find out if Sondland went rogue— referring to him as a “free radical” — or if he was acting at the direction of Trump, even asking Trump’s executive secretary if he spoke to Sondland.
  164. On Thursday, Trump seized on Morrison saying matters discussed on the call were not illegal, tweeting, “But the Crooked Democrats don’t want people to know this!” and “Thank you to Tim Morrison for your honesty.”
  165. On Thursday, an AP-NORC poll found 61% of Americans say Trump has little or no respect for the country’s democratic institutions and traditions, including 1 in 4 Republicans. Trump’s approval remained steady at 42%.
  166. On Thursday, a WAPO/ABC News poll found Americans are split over impeachment, with 49% for and 47% against — split along party lines, and unchanged from an earlier poll in October.
  167. The poll found Trump’s approval remained at 38%, but that his support with Republicans dropped to 74%, the lowest approval since taking office, and down eight points from September.
  168. On Thursday, before the House voted, Trump sent a series of tweets, quoting Fox News host Laura Ingraham saying, “Now is the time for Republicans to stand together and defend the leader of their party.”
  169. On Thursday, as the House was debating the measure before voting and the stock market dipped, Trump tweeted, “the Impeachment Hoax is hurting our Stock Market. The Do Nothing Democrats don’t care!”
  170. On Thursday, the House voted 232-196 to approve the impeachment resolution with just two Democrats joining Republicans, and Rep. Justin Amash voting with Democrats.
  171. Shortly after, Trump slammed the impeachment vote, tweeting, “The Greatest Witch Hunt In American History!
  172. After the vote, House Republicans gathered to speak to reporters. Rep. Louie Gohmert called the measure a “coup” against Trump and warned of a potential “civil war.”
  173. Whip Steve Scalise held up a poster showing a communist hammer-and-sickle behind the Kremlin, saying, “Maybe in the Soviet Union you do something like this,” calling it “a sham process, a tainted process.”
  174. On Thursday, the Minneapolis Star Tribune reported Trump will be the only name that appears on the Minnesota Republican primary ballot, the fifth state to take his three primary competitors off the ballot.
  175. On Thursday, Politico reported Trump is tapping his vast donor network as a tool to reward Republican Senators who have his back on impeachment, and send a message to those who are not on board.
  176. Trump’s reelection campaign sent a fundraising appeal to its massive email list to support three senators up in 2020 who supported the anti-impeachment resolutions: Cory Gardner, Joni Ernst, and Thom Tillis.
  177. Sen. Susan Collins, who recently has been critical of Trump and did not sign the resolution, was omitted. A senior Republican strategist said Trump “has the ability to turn on the money spigot like no one else.”
  178. On Thursday, CNN reported Trump had lunch with some Senate Republicans at the White House after the vote, signaling a change in approach and an outreach effort.
  179. Part of the reason for the outreach is White House concern that Senate Republicans’ part of the process will not be as predictable as what unfolded in the House.
  180. On Thursday, Trump told conservative Washington Examiner in a interview that he had “a good call” with Zelensky, and may read it for a “fireside chat” on live television “because people have to hear it.”
  181. Trump also shuffled through a pile of papers and held up a copy of news clippings reporting on Morrison’s opening statement, and said it was “fantastic,” adding, “This was going to be their star witness.”
  182. On Monday, Arizona Central reported a 33 year-old Mexican woman died on Saturday at an area hospital, after being in Customs and Border Patrol custody for two weeks, likely from complications caused by dehydration.
  183. Her death is the second in two weeks: a 49 year-old Mexican man died hours after Border Patrol took him into custody near Casa Grande, likely of a preexisting heart condition.
  184. On Tuesday, a federal judge issued a preliminary injunction against Alabama’s abortion ban, that was signed into law in May, pending a full hearing, saying it “violates an individual’s constitutional right.”
  185. On Tuesday, Missouri state health director, Dr. Randall Williams, testified at a state hearing on Planned Parenthood’s license that he kept a spreadsheet to track the menstrual periods of women who visited them.
  186. The spreadsheet was used to help identify patients who had undergone failed abortions, and whether complication reports were filed. The hearings will decide if PP keeps its license to perform abortions.
  187. On Tuesday, CNN reported the U.S. is on track to not admit any refugees in the month of October, citing a State Department moratorium in place through November 5. Roughly 500 flights were canceled in October.
  188. The Trump regime proposed capping refugees at 18,000 in the coming fiscal year, a historic low. The consistent delays in incoming travel suggests Trump may not have signed off on the new ceiling.
  189. On Tuesday, NYT reported the White House is considering using a loophole for Trump to be able to replace acting DHS Sec. Kevin McAleenan with an immigration extremist, in line with Trump’s views.
  190. To bypass Senate confirmation and other laws, Trump would tap that person as assistant secretary of the Countering Weapons of Mass Destruction Office, then elevate them to be the acting secretary of DHS.
  191. On Wednesday, CBS 13 Sacramento reported a Nazi flag was removed from a California corrections department window visible to the public following public outcry. Officers said it was meant to be a learning tool.
  192. On Wednesday, five swastikas were found drawn in chalk on the wall of the University of Massachusetts Amherst Fine Arts Center. University police were informed of the matter.
  193. On Wednesday, Miami Herald reported Dr. Michael Baden, a world-leading forensic pathologist hired by Jeffrey Epstein’s brother Mark, said Jeffrey’s injuries are consistent with strangulation, not suicide.
  194. On Thursday, the Trump regime said it was considering adding two more countries to its Muslim ban, branded as a travel ban. It was unclear which two countries were under consideration.
  195. On Thursday, Sens. Kamala Harris and Richard Blumenthal demanded the DOJ investigate whether ICE broke the law by failing to preserve video of a transgender woman, Roxsana Hernández, who died in their custody.
  196. On Friday, the Department of Health and Human Services proposed a new rule that would roll back an Obama-era regulation protecting against sexual orientation- and gender identity-based discrimination in adoption agencies and foster cares.
  197. The regime’s new rule would allow recipients of federal grants, including faith-based adoption agencies and foster care providers, to turn away same-sex couples.
  198. On Friday, officer Kevin Wilcox retired from the East Hampton Police Department, a week after the APreported he was formerly a member of hate group the Proud Boys, and had donated to its leader.
  199. On Friday, ProPublica reported that the Trump regime is creating a new center in suburban Virginia that will allow immigration agents access to classified intelligence information, for the first time.
  200. The classified information will be eventually be used in screening every person coming into the U.S., including foreign vacationers, people applying for permanent residency, and immigrants requesting asylum.
  201. On Monday, automakers General Motors, Toyota, Fiat Chrysler, and Hyundai said in a court filing they sided with the Trump regime against California on the states ability to set its own auto emissions standards.
  202. On Tuesday, Trump attacked the Federal Reserve as policymakers met on rates, tweeting, “The Fed doesn’t have a clue! We have unlimited potential, only held back by the Federal Reserve,” but “we are winning anyway!”
  203. On Wednesday, the Federal Reserve voted to cut rates for a third time this year, with two regional governors dissenting, and following repeated and frequent bullying by Trump.
  204. On Thursday, Trump continued to attack the Federal Reserve, tweeting, “People are VERY disappointed in Jay Powell and the Federal Reserve. The Fed has called it wrong from the beginning, too fast, too slow.”
  205. Trump also tweeted, “China is not our problem, the Federal Reserve is! We will win anyway,” and added, “We are now, by far, the biggest and strongest Country, but the Fed puts us at a competitive disadvantage.”
  206. On Thursday, NYT reported in late September, Trump, who was a lifelong New Yorker, changed his primary residence to Palm Beach, Florida, saying Mar-a-Lago will be his primary residence.
  207. On Friday, NY Gov. Andrew Cuomo told MSNBC, “I think it is a desperate legal move where he’s now going to argue ‘Well the state should have no right to my taxes,’” adding if you defrauded the state, “you defrauded it.”
  208. Later Friday, Trump tweeted, “I love New York, but New York can never be great again under the current leadership of Governor Andrew Cuomo,” adding, “Cuomo has weaponized the prosecutors to do his dirty work.”
  209. On Monday, a federal judge said after reviewing an amended version of the lawsuit filed by Nick Sandmann against WAPO, which was previously dismissed, three of the 33 libel statements could proceed into discovery.
  210. On Wednesday, Trump cheered, tweeting, “the Nick Sandman [sic] libel suit” is moving forward against “the thoroughly disgustingPost, which he noted “is no longer available at the White House!”
  211. On Tuesday, Murray Energy Holdings, the private coal company owned by Trump mega-donor Robert Murray, filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy.
  212. On Wednesday, the American Farm Bureau Federation reported for the 12-month period ended September 30, farm bankruptcies rose 24% from the year prior, and to the highest level since 2011, due to Trump’s trade wars.
  213. On Thursday, a new report by the American Farm Bureau Federation found that 40% of 2019 farm income will come from federal aid programs and insurance, again, related to Trump’s trade war with China.
  214. On Thursday, NYT reported Trump’s EPA is set to roll back Obama-era regulations which control the leaking of heavy metals like arsenic, lead, and mercury into water supplies from coal-fired power plants.
  215. On Tuesday, the American Bar Association said after 60 interviews, it concluded Trump nominee for the 9th Circuit Lawrence VanDyke was “not qualified.” Of the seven other “not qualified,” five have been confirmed.
  216. The ABA cited VanDyke is “arrogant, lazy, an ideologue, and lacking in knowledge.” VanDyke got teary-eyed when asked during confirmation hearings about the ABA saying he would not treat LGBTQ litigants fairly.
  217. On Thursday, Sen. Graham said he would hand back chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee to Chuck Grassley, saying Grassley asked if he could return after his tenure on the Senate Finance Committee.
  218. On Thursday, Catherine Herridge, a founding employee of Fox News in 1996 and a leader in the network’s Washington bureau, resigned to join CBS News. In her departing statement, Herridge noted, “facts matter.”
  219. Herridge was the latest to depart, amid a shrinking role for real reporting, replaced by opinion-based talk shows Trump and his supporters prefer. Fox News’ president claimed, “Journalism is a huge part of the mandate here.”
  220. On Thursday, Yahoo News reported the State Department agreed to release documents related to Trump’s handling of aid to Ukraine to the House, after a court decision in a lawsuit filed by American Oversight.
  221. Among the documents being turned over are communications between departmental officials and Trump’s private lawyers and associates, including Giuliani, Victoria Toensing, and Joseph diGenova.
  222. Documents also include communications by Pompeo, and two of his close associates at State, Ulrich Brechbuhl and Brian Bulatao, as well as the calendar related to Yovanovitch’s dismissal and Giuliani meetings.
  223. On Thursday, a federal judge denied Igor Fruman’s request to lift his house arrest. SDNY prosecutors also signaled his brother Steve “could be involved” in the alleged campaign finance scheme.
  224. On Thursday, CNN reported a video from an October 2018 midterm election rally in Nevada shows Lev Parnas standing directly behind Trump before and during the rally.
  225. On Friday, Trump tweeted, “Wow, a blowout JOBS number just out,” falsely claiming 303,000 had been added minutes after an official government report said 128,000 jobs were added in October.
  226. Trump also tweeted, “Louisiana, I’ll see you tonight,” and then deleted the tweet. Trump has a political rally in Tupelo, Mississippi on Friday evening.
  227. Trump also bragged, tweeting, “ISIS has a new leader. We know exactly who he is!” Nathan Sales, the U.S. counter-terrorism coordinator later clarified to reporters that the U.S. is researching the new leader.
  228. Trump also quoted a guest on Fox News, tweeting, “Adam Schiff has taken all of the power for himself. That is very unfair,” adding, “There were dozens of people on this call,” and, “this is not about Impeachment.”
  229. Trump also tweeted, “The public is watching and seeing for themselves how unfair this process is,” adding, “Corrupt politicians, Pelosi and Schiff, are trying to take down the Republican Party. It will never happen.”
  230. On Friday, press secretary Stephanie Grisham told Fox News “We are prepared for an impeachment to happen,” adding she hoped Democrats would “come to their senses” but it seems “a foregone conclusion.”
  231. Grisham also said Trump was serious about hosting a fireside chat to read the Ukraine call, saying “it’s always a serious consideration,” but “I don’t know what the logistics of it would look like just yet.”
  232. Grisham also shot down the prospect that White House daily briefings would return, saying, “we’re doing just fine,” and Trump “continues to speak to the American people.” The last daily briefing was on March 11.
  233. On Friday, Speaker Pelosi said in an interview with Bloomberg that she assumes “there would be public hearings in November,” but added the case first “has to be ironclad.”
  234. Pelosi said closed door hearings will continue as long as they are productive, adding she does not know the timetable, and, “We have not made any decisions on if the president will be impeached.”
  235. Pelosi also said it is possible the inquiry could continue into 2020. When asked if Trump was correct that his call with Zelensky was perfect, Pelosi responded, “No, it’s perfectly wrong — you can’t do that.”
  236. Asked about parts of the Mueller probe re-emerging in recent weeks, Pelosi said, “There were 11 obstruction of justice provisions in the Mueller report,” she added later, “Perhaps some of them will be part of this.”
  237. Pelosi also said of impeachment, We had no choice. We took an oath to protect and defend our democracy,” adding, “If Republicans have a higher loyalty” to Trump than to their oath of office, “that’s their problem.”
  238. On Friday, the Energy Department’s spokesperson said outgoing Sec. Rick Perry refused to testify in the impeachment inquiry, saying he will “not partake in a secret star chamber inquisition.”
  239. On Friday, Independent reported UK intelligence official are shaken by requests made by AG Barr, in what is seen as an effort to overturn the conclusions of U.S. intelligence and Mueller on Russian interference.
  240. Officials say the information requested by Barr “ is like nothing we have come across before,” saying Barr is looking for help in doing “a hatchet job on their own intelligence services.”
  241. On Friday, before leaving for a rally, Trump told reporters “you cant impeach a president who did nothing wrong,” and, “You can’t impeach a president that has the greatest economy of the history of our nation.”
  242. Trump praised House Democrats for voting against the resolution, saying “I think the Republicans have been amazing,” and adding, “We even had Democrats…because they said, ‘this is not impeachable.’”
  243. When asked about his call being not perfect, Trump cited Morrison, saying, “all they have to do is read the transcript now the gentleman that came in yesterday … he was terrific…he said he didn’t see anything wrong with it.”
  244. Trump also told reporters Homeland Security official Chad Wolf is now acting DHS secretary. DHS disputedTrump’s statement minutes later saying McAleenan is still in charge, and is not leaving until November 7.
  245. On Friday, WAPO reported Vindman testified that Eisenberg instructed him not to discuss his concerns about the July 25 call with anyone outside the White House — another alleged attempt to cover up.
  246. Vindman said the request came after White House lawyers learned on July 29 that a CIA employee had anonymously raised concerns about the call, revealing concern at the White House that the call was not “perfect.”
  247. Vindman also said while meeting with Eisenberg, he heard him turn to another attorney in the room and propose steps to restrict access to the call transcript — what the whistleblower called “lock down” the transcript.
  248. Vindman said the CIA employee’s concerns were relayed to the White House. Vindman’s testimony provided several steps White House officials took which could be interpreted as attempts to cover up Trump’s conduct.
  249. On Friday, WAPO reported a possible shift in strategy by Republican Senators on impeachment, as a growing number consider acknowledging Trump’s quid pro quo with Ukraine.
  250. The senators planned to claim that Trump’s actions were not illegal and do not rise to the level of an impeachable offense. The strategy was a main topic at a private GOP Senator lunch on Wednesday.
  251. Conservative Senators are considering saying that quid pro quo is not illegal unless there is “corrupt intent.” The strategy would clash with House Republicans who continue to say there was no quid pro quo.
  252. With House Democrats’ vote taking away the GOP narrative about a secretive process, Republicans have been frantically seeking a new strategy to defend Trump, who has frustrated them with his shifting message.
  253. On Friday, before the rally, Trump tweeted, “The Whistleblower must come forward to explain why his account of the phone call with the Ukrainian President was so inaccurate (fraudulent?).”
  254. Trump also tweeted, “Why did the Whistleblower deal with corrupt politician Shifty Adam Schiff and/or his committee?” adding, “You can’t Impeach someone who hasn’t done anything wrong!
  255. On Friday, in his first rally since the House impeachment vote, Trump railed against impeachment, saying House Democrats have been “plotting to overthrow the election since the moment I won.”
  256. Trump said, “Yesterday, the Democrats voted to potentially nullify the votes of 63 million Americans,” saying Democrats were “disgracing” themselves, and bringing “shame” to the House.
  257. Trump seemed to test a new alibi, saying he withheld aid to Ukraine because he wanted European allies, including Germany and France, to do more to support the country.
  258. Trump also complained he got less media attention than Obama did for the raid that killed Osama Bin Laden, saying, “Conan, the dog, got more publicity than me” — the dog used in the al-Baghdadi raid.
  259. Trump also attacked Biden, saying “He’s dropping like a rock,” and chided Beto O’Rourke, who withdrew from the 2020 race, saying he “quit like a dog,” and he “wasn’t smart.”
  260. Trump also attacked CNN repeatedly, pointing at their camera and falsely telling the crowd, “Their light just went off. See? Look. Their light was on — they just turned it off.” The light was on the entire time.
  261. On Friday, Sean Doolittle became the first member of the World Series champion Washington Nationals to decline a White House visit, citing Trump’s rhetoric, enabling conspiracy theories, and divisiveness.
  262. Doolittle also said, “My wife and I stand for inclusion and acceptance, and we’ve done work with refugees, people that come from, you know, the ‘shithole countries.’”
  263. On Saturday, WAPO reported smugglers in Mexico are sawing through new sections of Trump’s border wall using commercially available power tools, creating gaps for people and drugs to pass through in recent months.
  264. According to U.S. agents, the breaches have been made using a popular cordless household tool known as a reciprocating saw, which retails for as little as $100 and can cut through steel-and-concrete bollards in minutes.
  265. On Saturday, NYT found in an analysis that Trump’s Twitter feed is full of conspiracy-mongers and racists. He has retweeted white supremacists and 145 unverified accounts, some of which appear to be fake.
  266. The analysis also found fake accounts tied to intelligence services in China, Iran, and Russia had directed thousands of tweets at Trump. Russian accounts tagged Trump more than 30,000 times.
  267. Among his most fervent followers, at least 23,000 have QAnon references in their profiles, and he also has a large anti-Muslim following. Followers have been able to game Trump into repeatedly spreading propaganda.

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House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) speaks at Republican leaders press conference after the House vote on a resolution formalizing the impeachment inquiry on Capitol Hill in Washington on October 31, 2019. Notably, those who immediately surrounded him were all white and male.

POLITIKS OF GRAFFITI 154: DECONSTRUCTING OUR DEMOCRACY

OCTOBER 19, 2019

Week 153

Experts in authoritarianism advise to keep a list of things
subtly changing around you, so you’ll remember. https://theweeklylist.org/weekly-list/week-153/

This week they just said it out loud: Trump’s acting chief of staff Mick Mulvaney scolded reporters, saying Ukraine was a quid pro quo, and “Get over it!” This was yet another in a series of unending trial balloons to gauge just how far Trump could push boundaries, and what he could normalize on his path to deconstructing our democracy. At the same news conference, Mulvaney informed reporters that Trump would host the 2020 G7 summit at his Doral Resort, an unprecedented act and another trial balloon. By the end of the week, Republicans were tiring of Donald J. Trump.

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A patriot waiting for his train at Old Town Depot. San Diego, CA 12oct19

Further evidence of shifting moods was the flow of career professionals and Trump appointees defying his stonewall and testifying before Congress. Unlike his successful dodge of the Mueller probe, the reporting and testimony all seem to point to Trump being at the center of demanding help from a foreign government, and withholding Congressionally-approved funds as a hammer. At week’s end, in a congressional hearing on Hurricane Maria, it became clear it had done the same to Puerto Rico, withholding aid approved by Congress at his whim.

IMG_3050
Old Town Depot. San Diego, CA 12oct19

Trump has also shown his utter ineptitude on foreign policy, and the consequences of his withdrawal of troops from Syria resulted in calamity one week later. By week’s end, diplomats were questioning if the U.S. could be held responsible for Crimes Against Humanity for ethnic cleansing, due to Trump’s callousness and indifference, at times seeming to encourage Turkish brutality.

As noted by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, “All roads lead to Putin” — Trump has handed Russia two huge victories by hobbling support to Ukraine and leaving a vacuum which Moscow quickly occupied in Syria. Hillary Clinton posited Trump being compromised by Russia, and Admiral Michael McRaven said in an op-ed, “Our Republic is Under Attack from the President.” Again, we seem to be teetering on the end of Trump or the end of American democracy.

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Wynwood, Florida 17oct19 – photo by Pascal Doytier
  1. WAPO reported Trump has made 13,435 false or misleading claims heading into his first 1,000 days in office. Nearly 20% of his lies come from his prolific tweeting. Fewer than 3 in 10 believe his most common lies.
  2. Trump has averaged 22 lies per day over the last 65 days. When Trump crossed 10,000 lies in April, he was averaging 14 lies per day. The most common subjects are trade, the economy, and the Russia investigation.
  3. On Wednesday, an analysis by ProPublica and Columbia Journalism Investigations found halfway through Trump’s first term, his regime has hired 281 lobbyists, one in every 14 hired. Watchdog groups called it a “staggering” number.
  4. On Friday, a Brookings Institute analysis found turnover in the Trump regime at 80% of “A-Team” members of the executive office. Additionally, the tenth Senate-confirmed cabinet member resigned this week.
  5. On Thursday, Russian news agency TASS reported Russia and the U.S. are gradually resuming cooperation on cyber security. It was unclear what this meant, and no U.S. media reported on it.
  6. On Tuesday, the family of British teenager Harry Dunn, who was killed in a crash involving a U.S. diplomat’s wife, was surprised when Trump invited them to the White House, then said the suspect was in the next room.
  7. The shocked family declined the meeting. A spokesperson for the Dunn family said Wednesday, “Reflecting on it this morning, I think Charlotte and Tim realize that the President was only doing it for himself.”
  8. On Saturday, speaking at the Values Voter Summit in D.C., Trump threatened to sue House Democrats Adam Schiff and Speaker Nancy Pelosi over impeachment, adding, “Or maybe we should just impeach them.”
  9. On Saturday, Trump had lunch with Rudy Giuliani at his golf course in Sterling, VA in a show of support, after appearing to distance himself late last Friday. Later on Fox News, Trump called him “a great gentleman.”
  10. On Saturday, Politico reported on an April 2014 photo of Trump standing shoulder to shoulder with Lev Parnas, both smiling. In Week 152 Trump said, “I don’t know those gentlemen.”
  11. On Saturday, WAPO reported Gordon Sondland, U.S. ambassador to the E.U., is expected to tell Congress this week in testimony that the no quid pro quo with Ukraine text he sent was dictated to him by Trump.
  12. A person close to Sondland said he believed at the time what Trump told him when he replied to William Taylor, acting ambassador to Ukraine, but that he had no direct knowledge if Trump was telling the truth.
  13. On Sunday, an NBC/WSJ poll found 55% are in favor of an impeachment inquiry, with 39% against. Within the GOP, 91% of Trump Republicans say there is not enough evidence, but just 58% of party Republicans agree.
  14. On Sunday, Trump continued his attacks on a Fox News newsman, tweeting, “Somebody please explain to Chris Wallace of Fox, who will never be his father (and my friend), Mike Wallace,” about his call with Ukraine.
  15. Trump added, “It was only Schiff’s made up version of that conversation that was bad!” Fox News anchor Chris Wallace responded, “One of us has a daddy problem, and it’s not me.”
  16. On Sunday, a CBS News poll found 63% say Trump should cooperate with the impeachment inquiry, 37% said he should not. Republicans remain opposed (16%), Democrats for (88%) and Independents divided (47%).
  17. On Sunday, Trump warned Democrats, tweeting “the Democrats are going to lose a lot of House Seatsbecause of their Fraudulent use of Impeachment,” adding, “Senate Seats will also be put at risk.”
  18. On Sunday, NYT reported Trump plan to bring on former Rep. Trey Gowdy failed after discovering due to lobbying rules disclosed by Gowdy 30 minutes after the statement about his joining the team had gone public.
  19. On Sunday, NYT reported a violent video of the likeness of Trump shooting, stabbing, and assaulting the news media and his political opponents was played at a conference at Trump National Doral Miami.
  20. The conference was hosted by pro-Trump group, American Priority, and speakers included Donald Jr., Sarah Huckabee Sanders, and Florida Gov. Rick DeSantis. Sanders and Donald Jr. claimed they did not see the video.
  21. White House press secretary Stephanie Grisham tweeted Monday that Trump had not seen the video. Trump was not involved in creating the video, but refused to comment on or condemn it on Twitter or in public.
  22. On Saturday, a 28 year-old black woman, Atatiana Koquice Jefferson, was killed in a bedroom in her apartment in Fort Worth, Texas by a police officer, after her neighbor called for a wellness check on her.
  23. On Monday, Aaron York, the police officer, was arrested, hours after he resigned. York shot Jefferson at 2:25 a.m. while she was babysitting her nephew. A SWAT-type presence responded to the wellness check call.
  24. On Saturday, in White Plains, a suburb of New York City, a man wearing a baseball cap with a swastika drawn on top walked into a diner at lunchtime. Police were called and he was escorted out.
  25. On Monday, the home page of the State Department website showed Secretary of State Mike Pompeo giving a speech to the American Association of Christian Counselors, headlined: “Being a Christian Leader.”
  26. Attorney General William Barr gave a speech at University of Notre Dame, where he blamed “secularists” and “so-called progressives” for destroying society and precipitating the crises of family dissolution, crime, and drugs.
  27. On Thursday, NBC News reported Brittany Spencer, a waitress in Wisconsin, was fired for refusing to serve customers making transphobic comments about a transgender person seated at the bar.
  28. The restaurant, Fat Joe’s Bar and Grill, disabled their Facebook page. Spencer said she is looking for a new job, and filed a complaint with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.
  29. On Thursday, at a Justice Department ceremony, Matthew Shepard’s parents rebuked Barr and the Trump regime for siding with employers, saying they can legally discriminate against gay and transgender workers.
  30. On Thursday, the Council on American-Islamic Relations said in a complaint that Madinah Brown was barred from wearing a hijab to her job at a Delaware agency, the New Castle County Detention Center.
  31. On Sunday, Hunter Biden said in a statement he is stepping down from the board of Chinese firm BHR, and will not engage in any foreign work if Joe Biden wins 2020. Biden has not been accused of any wrongdoing.
  32. On Monday, Trump tweeted, “Wow! Hunter Biden is being forced to leave a Chinese Company,” adding, “Now watch the Fake News wrap their greasy and very protective arms around him.”
  33. On Monday, Trump demanded the whistleblower testify and be identified, tweeting, “Adam Schiff now doesn’t seem to want the Whistleblower to testify. NO!” adding, “he got my Ukraine conversation sooo wrong.”
  34. Trump added, “We must determine the Whistleblower’s identity to determine WHY this was done to the USA,” and calling it “A total Impeachment Scam!
  35. On Monday, WAPO reported amid Trump’s attacks on Chair Schiff, including accusations of treason, Schiff has faced escalating threats of violence from Trump’s fans such as “SHIFTY SHIFF NEEDS TO BE HUNG.”
  36. On Monday, Trump again attacked the Fox poll from Week 152, tweeting, “the Fox Impeachment poll has turned out to be incorrect” based on a questionable analysis in the Murdoch-owned New York Post published on Friday.
  37. Trump attacked the NYT for mentioning the poll, tweeting, “the Corrupt New York Times used this poll” despite the New York Post analysis, “Fox News Pollster Braun Research Misrepresented Impeachment Poll.”
  38. On Tuesday, a new poll by conservative pollster Scott Rasmussen found 50% favor impeachment and removal of Trump, 38% disapprove. Net support for impeach and remove is up 16 points since early September.
  39. On Tuesday, a new poll by Axios found 76% of college students support an impeachment inquiry, including 76% of Independents. Support for an impeachment inquiry was 52% in May.
  40. On Monday, Fiona Hill, the White House’s former top Russia adviser, testified before the House Intelligence, Oversight, and Financial Services committees behind closed doors for close to 10 hours.
  41. In a letter, the White House tried to limit her testimony, citing executive privilege. Hill’s attorney responded Sunday saying in part, executive privilege disappears when there is possible government misconduct.
  42. Rep. Matt Gaetz pulled a stunt, trying to attend though not a member of the committees hosting. After the parliamentarian ruled he had to leave, he called it “further evidence that Adam Schiff’s clown show” continues.
  43. Hill said Giuliani ran a shadow foreign policy in Ukraine that circumvented U.S. officials and career diplomats, in order to personally benefit Trump. Hill also said she was infuriated with Marie Yovanovitch’s removal.
  44. Hill also said she confronted Sondland about Giuliani’s activities. Giuliani told the Post, “I don’t know Fiona and can’t figure out what she is talking about.” Chair Schiff said transcripts of the deposition will be made public.
  45. NYT reported Hill testified former national security adviser John Bolton got into a tense exchange with Sondland on July 10 about efforts to press Ukraine to investigate Trump’s political opponents.
  46. Bolton told her to notify the chief lawyer for the National Security Council about the rogue effort by Sondland, Giuliani, and acting White House chief of staff Mick Mulvaney. He referred to Giuliani as “a hand grenade.”
  47. Hill also said Bolton told her to inform White House lawyers, “I am not part of whatever drug deal Sondland and Mulvaney are cooking up.” Bolton had frequently expressed concerns about Giuliani’s activities.
  48. Hill testified when she confronted Sondland, whose portfolio included the E.U., he told her he was in charge. She compared it to Alexander Haig Jr.’s declaration he was in charge after the assassination attempt on Reagan.
  49. Hill testified that Sondland was viewed as a potential national security risk because he was a donor and hotelier, but unprepared for his job. Hill said she raised concerns with intelligence officials inside the White House.
  50. On Wednesday, NYT reported European officials were struck by Sondland’s self-confidence, bordering on arrogance. An official said at a dinner party, Sondland said his job was “to destroy the European Union.’’
  51. During Hill’s closed door testimony, Trump tweeted a clip of Mark Levin on Fox News saying, “This is a Democrat Party Impeachment” not a “FULL HOUSE,” and calling it “a silent COUP effort.”
  52. On Monday, WSJ reported federal prosecutors in the Southern District of New York are examining Giuliani’s business dealings with Ukraine. Witnesses have been questioned since at least August.
  53. The SDNY is examining Giuliani’s finances, meetings, and work for Vitali Klitschko, a mayor in Kharkiv. Giuliani tried to do a deal with Klitschko in 2014 to restore order in the city, but the fee of $300,000 was too high.
  54. In May 2017, Giuliani Security & Safety inked a contract with the city administration of Kharkiv. Pavel Fuks, a Kharkiv native who had made a fortune in Russian real estate, paid the contract.
  55. On Monday, Giuliani told Reuters he was paid $500,000 by Lev Parnas’ company, Boca Raton-based Fraud Guarantee, in August 2018 as a technologies consultant and legal advisor on regulatory issues.
  56. According to the SDNY indictment unsealed in Week 152, an unidentified Russian businessman arranged for two $500,000 wires in September and October 2018 to bank accounts controlled by Igor Fruman.
  57. On Tuesday, Giuliani told the Post the $500,000 from Fraud Guarantee was legitimate and originated in the U.S., saying, “I will prove beyond any doubt it came from the United States of America.”
  58. On Tuesday, the Detroit News reveals photos of Parnas and Fruman at Florida Gov. DeSantis’ election night party. DeSantis returned $50,000 in donations from entities controlled by the two last week.
  59. On Tuesday, former Rep. Pete Sessions was subpoenaed by a SDNY grand jury about his interactions with Giuliani and associates. An attorney for Sessions said he is not a target, and is cooperating.
  60. The subpoena sought documents on Giuliani’s business dealings with Ukraine and his role in Yovanovitch’s ouster, as well as on his interactions with Giuliani and the four men who were indicted in Week 152.
  61. On Wednesday, David Correia, the fourth man in the SDNY probe of Giuliani associates who tried to bribe Nevada officials on behalf of a Russian businessman, was arrested after getting off a flight at JFK Airport.
  62. On Tuesday, WAPO reported Giuliani privately pressed Trump to extradite cleric Fethullah Gulen to Turkey, a top priority for Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan. Giuliani pushed the issue so often, one official described it as his “hobby horse.”
  63. It is unclear why Giuliani was pushing the cause. In Week 152 he also pressed former Secretary of State Rex Tillerson. Giuliani was not registered as a foreign lobbyist, which would be required if he were paid.
  64. On Tuesday, the SDNY announced it had charged Halkbank, a Turkish state-owned bank, in a 6-count indictment for “fraud, money laundering, and sanctions offenses” relating to helping Iran evade U.S. sanction.
  65. Reza Zarrab, a client of Giuliani, testified that he helped orchestrate the deals with Iran, including bribing Turkey’s finance minister, and alleged, “Erdogan knew of and supported the laundering effort on behalf of Iran.”
  66. On Wednesday, USA Today reported that the federal investigation of Giuliani includes a counterintelligence probe, indicating prosecutors in the SDNY are looking at a broader set of issues.
  67. Kenneth McCallion, who has represented several Ukrainian clients, said FBI counterintelligence agents interviewed him in February or March, and asked about Giuliani’s business dealings with Parnas and Fruman.
  68. On Tuesday, Giuliani refused to comply with a Congressional subpoena to turn over documents about his efforts with Ukraine, calling the impeachment inquiry “unconstitutional, baseless, and illegitimate.”
  69. Giuliani also parted ways with John Sale, whom he hired to represent him in the inquiry, and wrote the letter to Congress, tweeting Sale represented him for this matter only, adding, “At this time, I do not need a lawyer.”
  70. Pence also refused to comply with the House request to turn over documents, saying the “self-proclaimed impeachment inquiry…calls into question your commitment to fundamental fairness and due process rights.”
  71. The Defense Department and Office of Management and Budget also refused to comply with Congressional subpoenas to turn over documents. All claimed the inquiry was illegitimate without a full House vote.
  72. On Tuesday, after meeting with House Democrats, Speaker Pelosi told reporters at a news conference on the impeachment inquiry that “All roads seem to lead to Putin with the president.”
  73. Pelosi also said the full House would not be voting on the impeachment inquiry “at this time,” despite pressure from Trump and Republicans to do so, saying “We’re not here to call bluffs. We’re here to find the truth.”
  74. On Tuesday, NYT reported the White House has opened an internal review of the Ukraine call, which some fear is a hunt for a scapegoat. The review threatened Trump’s narrative that the call was “perfect.”
  75. It was not clear who sought the review, but Mulvaney encouraged it and his aides are helping White House counsel Pat Cipollone conduct it. The review could also center on how deputy White House counsel John Eisenberg handled the transcript.
  76. On Tuesday, NYT reported Kostiantyn Kulyk, the Ukrainian prosecutor behind a dossier on Hunter Biden, has been indicted on corruption and has ties to a Ukrainian warlord accused of working for Russian intelligence.
  77. On the July 25 call, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky told Trump the prosecutor “will look into the situation” on Hunter Biden. It was unclear if Kulyk, who remains a department head in the prosecutor general’s office, is still on this case.
  78. On Tuesday, TIME reported Ukrainian oligarch Dmitry Firtash, who has has spent the last five years in Vienna fighting extradition to the U.S., provided dirt to Trump associates on Robert Mueller and Joe Biden.
  79. On Wednesday, NBC News reported Parnas and Fruman were advocating on behalf of Firtash when they pitched a natural gas deal, and Firtash produced a document that Giuliani used to attack Joe Biden.
  80. The DOJ has yet to respond to a query by GOP Sen. Roger Wicker on why Firtash has yet to be extradited from Austria. Giuliani claimed said he has “nothing to do with Firtash,” and never spoke to Trump about his case.
  81. On Wednesday, ProPublica reported Trump’s businesses used two different sets of figures for two properties, to make them appear more profitable to a lender and less profitable to officials who set the buildings’ property tax.
  82. Documents for 40 Wall Street and the Trump International Hotel and Tower were the two of the four properties obtained under the FOIA. One real estate professional said the discrepancies are “versions of fraud.”
  83. On Sunday, NPR reported all U.S. forces involved in fighting ISIS were prepared to evacuate from Syria, after troops were endangered by Turkey’s incursion. Turkey’s rapid military invasion put U.S. troops in danger.
  84. Trump came under considerable criticism from both Democrats and Republicans. Former NSA Susan Rice called it “nothing short of a self-inflicted catastrophe,” adding ISIS will “rejuvenate and reconstitute itself.”
  85. On Sunday, Trump tweeted, “Very smart not to be involved in the intense fighting along the Turkish Border, for a change,” adding, “Those that mistakenly got us into the Middle East Wars are still pushing to fight.”
  86. Trump also tweeted, “The Kurds and Turkey have been fighting for many years. Turkey considers the PKK the worst terrorists of all,” and, “Others may want to come in and fight…Let them!” adding, “Endless Wars.”
  87. On Sunday, when asked on “This Week” why there was a delay in imposing sanctions on Turkey, Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin responded that “it is a complicated, developing situation involving a NATO ally.”
  88. On Sunday, Defense Secretary Mark Esper defended the withdrawal of troops on “Fox News Sunday,” saying their presence would not stop Turkey’s advance and, “I’m not one to … classify them as a tripwire.”
  89. Esper also told “Face the Nation” that Trump ordered 1,000 troop to be withdrawn, a larger withdrawal than initially indicated, amid reports Turkey was expanding its offensive.
  90. On Sunday, Retired Marine Gen. John Allen told CNN, “There is blood on Trump’s hands for abandoning our Kurdish allies,” adding, “a full blown ethnic cleansing is underway by Turkish supported militias.”
  91. On Sunday, Hevrin Khalaf, the Secretary-General of the pro-Kurdish Future Syria Party, was pulled from her SUV and executed by a Turkish-backed militia in Syria, along with 10 others.
  92. On Sunday, Kurdish forces, abandoned by the U.S. after five years of fighting together, announced a new deal with the government in Damascus, an enemy of the U.S. that is backed by Russia.
  93. On Monday, Trump attacked “Fox & Friends” co-host Brian Kilmeade who called the withdrawal a mistake, tweeting he “got it all wrong,” adding, “Europe had a chance to get their ISIS prisoners, but didn’t want the cost.”
  94. Trump also claimed without evidence the Kurds “may be releasing some” of the ISIS fighters “to get us involved,” adding, “The same people who got us into the Middle East mess are the people who most want to stay there!”
  95. On Monday, the Trump regime called on Turkey to implement an immediate cease-fire and imposed sanctions. Vice President Pence said he will lead a delegation to travel to Turkey in the “immediate future.”
  96. Pence told reporters Trump spoke to Turkish President Erdogan on Monday and communicated to him “very clearly” to “stop the invasion.” Turkey ignored Trump and continued its military aggression.
  97. Later Monday, Trump again defended himself, tweeting, “After defeating 100% of the ISIS Caliphate, I largely moved our troops out of Syria. Let Syria and Assad protect the Kurds and fight Turkey for their own land.”
  98. Trump also defended abandoning the Kurds, tweeting, “I hope they all do great, we are 7,000 miles away!” and, “I would much rather focus on our Southern Border which abuts and is part of the United States of America.”
  99. On Monday, WAPO reported a U.S. official with knowledge of military operations in Syria said it was likely Russia would move into the northern city of Manbij to take the place of U.S. troops that left.
  100. On Tuesday, Russia said that its troops were patrolling territory in northern Syria between Syrian and Turkish forces, filling a vacuum left by Trump’s withdrawal and illustrating the change of power in the area.
  101. On Tuesday, NYT reported Trump following his gut on Syria had resulted in bloody carnage, civilians displaced, the end of peace at a volatile border, and provided a victory for Russia, Iran, the Syrian government, and ISIS.
  102. Rarely has presidential decision resulted in such calamity in so short a time frame. Trump ignored months of warnings from his depleted, inexperienced foreign policy team, and had no back-up plan.
  103. Reportedly over the weekend, State and Energy Department officials quietly reviewed plans for extracting roughly 50 tactical nuclear weapons at Incirlik Air Base in Turkey, about 250 miles from the Syrian border.
  104. On Tuesday, Trump told reporters, “We want to bring our soldiers back home after so many years, and they’re the greatest warriors in the world,” promised “Massive tariffs on steel,” and halted trade negotiations.
  105. On Tuesday, Russian President Vladimir Putin invited Erdogan to visit Russia “in the coming days,” and Erdogan accepted. Kurdish troops looked to Damascus and Moscow to help stop the Turkish onslaught.
  106. On Wednesday, Erdogan told Sky News he would not meet with Pence and his delegation, saying, “I’m not going to talk to them. They will be talking to their counterparts. When Trump comes here, I’ll be talking.”
  107. Erdogan’s communications director later clarified that he would not meet with the U.S. delegation Wednesday, but would meet with Pence and Pompeo Thursday. It was unclear what Erdogan meant in his comments.
  108. On Wednesday, in the Oval Office before Pence and Pompeo left for Turkey to try to negotiate a ceasefire, Trump told reporters his handling has been “strategically brilliant,” adding, “It’s not our problem.”
  109. On Wednesday, WAPO reported Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell briefed Senate Republicans over lunch to be ready for an impeachment trial of Trump — the third in U.S. history — as soon as Thanksgiving.
  110. Later Wednesday, in a news conference with Italian President Sergio Mattarella, Trump said the ongoing conflict was between Turkey and Syria, not the U.S., saying, “They’ve been warring for many years.”
  111. Trump said of the Kurds, “They’re no angels. They’re no angels. Go back and take a look,” but adding the Kurds would be fine because they “know how to fight,” and, “Let them fight their own wars.”
  112. Trump assessed the region saying, “There’s a lot of sand they can play with,” and, “It’s possibly never going to be very stable,” and said the PKK was respected by ISIS “because they’re as tough, or tougher than ISIS.”
  113. Trump also confirmed NYT reporting on the existence of roughly 50 nuclear weapons in Turkey, the first U.S. official to do so, saying, “We’re confident, and we have a great — a great air base there.”
  114. While defending his pullout from Syria, Trump praised his decision to send more troops and equipment to Saudi Arabia, saying the U.S. is sending missiles and “great power,” and “they’re paying for that.”
  115. On Wednesday, WSJ reported the Pentagon carried out an airstrike to destroy an ammunition-storage facility at a U.S. base in Syria that housed the headquarters of anti-ISIS efforts, so it would not get into enemy hands.
  116. Brett McGurk, the former Special Presidential Envoy for the Global Coalition to Counter ISIS, tweeted the strike was part of a “break glass” procedure “reserved for an extreme worst-case scenario.”
  117. On Wednesday, Fox Business reported on an unconventional letter Trump sent to Erdogan on October 9, three days after the two spoke by phone, in which he warned he could destroy Turkey’s economy.
  118. Trump suggested they “work out a good deal,” adding history “will look upon you forever as the devil if good things don’t happen,” and, “Don’t be a tough guy. Don’t be a fool!” The letter closed out: “I will call you later.”
  119. Trump told reporters of the letter, “I didn’t give them a green light,” adding, “if anybody saw the letter…I wrote a letter right after that conversation, a very powerful letter, that was never giving a green light.”
  120. Later Wednesday, the House voted 354-60 on a nonbinding resolution condemning Trump’s withdrawal of U.S. troops from Syria. House Republicans called the withdrawal “disastrous” and a “catastrophe.”
  121. Trump ally Sen. Lindsey Graham said Trump will “be held accountable” for ISIS re-emerging, and Leader McConnell said he was “sorry we are where we are,” and called the U.S.-Kurd partnership “a terrific alliance.”
  122. On Wednesday, Foreign Policy reported Turkey advanced on the Kurdish-held border town of Kobani, despite Erdogan’s promise to Trump that he would not attack the symbolically important town.
  123. On Wednesday, in a meeting on Syria, the first between Trump and Congressional leaders since the impeachment inquiry, Democratic leaders walked out after Trump called Speaker Pelosi a “third-grade politician.”
  124. Trump also called former Defense Secretary James Mattis “the world’s most overrated general,” adding, “He wasn’t tough enough. I captured ISIS. Mattis said it would take 2 years. I captured them in 1 month.”
  125. Speaker Pelosi told reporters Trump appeared visibly “shaken up” after House passage of a bipartisan condemnation, adding they could not continue because “he was just not relating to the reality of it.”
  126. Pelosi also said, “He just couldn’t handle it,” adding, “I think now we have to pray for his health. Because this was a very serious meltdown on the part of the president.”
  127. Pelosi told reporters she said to Trump that Russia had long sought a “foothold” in the Middle East, and Trump’s decision to pull out the troops has offered an opportunity, and told him, “All roads with you lead to Putin.”
  128. Later Wednesday, Trump tweeted Pelosi had the “meltdown” and is a “very sick person,” and that she “needs help fast! There is either something wrong with her “upstairs,” or she just plain doesn’t like our great Country.”
  129. Trump tweeted a photo from the meeting of Pelosi standing while speaking while others sit, adding, “Nervous Nancy’s unhinged meltdown!” Pelosi, the only woman at the table, made the photo her Twitter cover.
  130. On Thursday, BBC reported on Trump’s letter, saying the mixture of threats and locker-room banter enraged Erdogan. His staff said he threw the letter in the trash and launched the Syrian operation in the same day.
  131. On Thursday, Syria said it would counter Turkey “by all legitimate means.” According to the Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, dozens of civilians have been killed and 300,000 have been displaced.
  132. Shortly after, Pence met with Erdogan at the Turkish presidential palace for a private meeting with only translators. The meeting was scheduled to be a 10-minute precursor, but lasted more than one hour.
  133. On Thursday, WAPO reported ISIS is racing to capitalize on the instability, and is stepping up attacks to free prisoners and warning of more, calling weakened Kurdish forces an abandoned American ally.
  134. On Thursday, Pelosi told reporters Trump had a “meltdown” when she and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer pressed him for his plans in the region and to combat ISIS.
  135. She said Trump defended the withdrawal, citing his campaign promise to bring troops home. Pelosi said her question to him was, “is Saudi Arabia home?” and he responded, “well the Saudi Arabians are paying for it.”
  136. Pelosi told reporters in the now iconic photo Trump tweeted of her standing and pointing her finger at him, she questioned his loyalty to the country, asking, why do “all roads lead to Putin?
  137. On Thursday, Sen. Rand Paul blocked an effort to bring the House-passed Syria resolution up for a vote. Majority Leader McConnell earlier in the day said he wanted a resolution stronger than what passed in the House.
  138. On Thursday, Turkey agreed to a five day cease-fire to allow Kurds to retreat to a safe zone. Pence claimed the agreement “ends all violence,” but Turkey’s foreign minister contradicted him, calling it a “pause.”
  139. The agreement was heralded as a victory for Turkey: Kurdish forces will disarm and clear the safe zone, Turkey is not obligated to withdraw troops, and Trump lifted sanctions. Kurds were not party to the agreement.
  140. Trump celebrated the deal, tweeting, “Great news out of Turkey,” and “Millions of lives will be saved!” adding, “There needed to be some “tough” love in order to get it done,” and, “Great for everybody. Proud of all!”
  141. Trump told reporters his unorthodox approach made a deal possible, and praised Erdogan as “very smart” and a “friend,” claiming, “Everybody agreed to things that three days ago they would have never agreed to.”
  142. Trump said Turkey “had a legitimate problem,” referring to Kurds living along the Turkish border in Syria, adding, “And they had to have it cleaned out.” Trump drew criticism for seeming to endorse ethnic cleansing.
  143. Shortly after, Sen. Mitt Romney took to the senate floor, saying, “Are we so weak and so inept diplomatically that Turkey forced the hand of the United States of America? Turkey?”
  144. Romney said the “decision to abandon” the Kurds “strikes at American honor” and “will stand as a bloodstain in the annals of American history.” And of complex situations, “Russia seems to have figured it out.”
  145. On Thursday, Admiral Michael McRaven, a former commander of the U.S. Special Operations Command who oversaw the raid that killed Osama bin Laden, said in an op-ed, “Our Republic is Under Attack from the President.”
  146. McRaven cited “the assaults on our institutions,” including intelligence, the State Department, and the press, and added, “our leaders stand beside despots and strongmen, preferring their government narrative to our own.”
  147. He added, “We are the most powerful nation…because our ideals of universal freedom and equality…protectors of the less fortunate,” adding these virtues “have sustained this nation for the past 243 years.”
  148. McRaven said if “Trump doesn’t demonstrate the leadership that America needs, then it is time for a new person in the Oval Office,” adding, “the sooner, the better,” and “The fate of our Republic depends upon it.”
  149. Later Thursday, at an annual dinner, Jim Mattis mocked Trump, saying, “I’m not just an overrated general. I’m the greatest, the world’s most overrated,” adding, “So I guess I’m the Meryl Streep of generals.”
  150. Mattis said people asked him if Trump calling him “overrated” bothered him, and he said, “Of course not. I have earned my spurs on the battlefield,” adding, “Donald Trump earned his spurs in a letter from a doctor.”
  151. On Thursday, Pew Research found 54% approve of an impeachment inquiry, 44% disapprove. A majority 58% say Trump has definitely or probably done things that are grounds for impeachment.
  152. On Friday, Erdogan told reporters that Trump’s letter to him broke “diplomatic and political courtesy,” adding, “we will not forget this lack of respect,” and “we will take the necessary steps” when the time comes.
  153. On Friday, the Times of London reported Turkey is suspected of using white phosphorus, known as chemical weapons, against Kurdish civilians in Syria. UN chemical weapons inspectors announced an investigation.
  154. On Friday, NBC News reported fighting continued on the Turkey-Syria border, despite the U.S.-led cease-fire, or pause. Kurdish forces claimed Turkish forces were not slowing down their assault.
  155. Later Friday, Trump tweeted that he spoke to Erdogan, saying, “he told me there was minor sniper and mortar fire that was quickly eliminated,” adding, “He very much wants the ceasefire, or pause, to work.”
  156. Trump added the Kurds want “the ultimate solution” to happen — again invoking terminology of genocide — adding, “it was always held together with very weak bandaids, & in an artificial manner.”
  157. Trump quoted an Erdogan tweet, saying, “many more lives will be saved when we defeat terrorism, which is humanity’s arch enemy,” and added, “DEFEAT TERRORISM!” — seeming to again endorse ethnic cleansing.
  158. Later Friday, Trump told reporters the situation is “fragile,” and saying of critics of his decisions in the region, “these are the same people that have been failing for the last 20 years,” who “didn’t know what they were doing.”
  159. On Friday, Speaker McConnell said in an op-ed “Withdrawing U.S. forces from Syria is a grave strategic mistake,” but did not mention Trump by name.
  160. On Saturday, BBC reported Kurdish and Turkish forces accused the other of violating the pause. Erdogan said if Kurds do not withdraw by Tuesday, “we will start where we left off and continue to crush the terrorists’ heads.”
  161. On Monday, Politico reported Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg has been hosting secretive talks and off-the-record dinners with conservative journalists and commentators to discuss free speech and partnerships.
  162. Zuckerberg has met with Tucker Carlson, Sen. Graham and others. Reportedly, he is concerned Attorney General Barr will take action to break up the company, and is looking to appease the Trump regime.
  163. On Thursday, Zuckerberg made the decision to allow politicians to post political ads with misleading or false claims on Facebook, saying tech companies should not decide what is true, and it’s “something we have to live with.”
  164. On Monday, China said it wanted another round of trade talk before signing phase one of the trade deal, after Trump’s grand rollout last Friday in the Oval Office. It was unclear when the next round would take place.
  165. On Tuesday, The Chronicle of Higher Education reported Trump trade adviser Peter Navarro repeatedly quoted economist Ron Vara in his book on China. Ron Vara does not exist, but is an anagram of his last name.
  166. On Tuesday, George Kent, the deputy assistant secretary in the Bureau of European and Eurasian Affairs, testified for seven hours behind closed doors to the three House committees about Trump-Ukraine.
  167. The State Department directed Kent not to appear, and tried to limit his testimony. The House Intelligence Committee then issued a last-minute subpoena compelling him to appear, and he complied.
  168. Similarly, the State Department and the White House told Hill and Yovanovitch not to appear as part of its “full halt” to any cooperation. The three fit a pattern of current of former officials disregarding Trump.
  169. Kent testified he, along with others whose portfolios included Ukraine, were sidelined from all decision making relating to Ukraine after a May 23 meeting organized by Mulvaney. Kent called it “wrong.”
  170. Kent said three people declared themselves responsible for Ukraine: Sondland, Kurt Volker, and Energy Sec. Rick Perry. The three had just returned from President Zelensky’s inauguration, and urged Trump to meet him.
  171. They called themselves the “three amigos.” Perry said on Tuesday he “was involved in that [Ukraine policy] more than anybody. And I never saw or heard anything that was untoward, not by the president, not by anybody.”
  172. Kent testified Giuliani relied on former Ukrainian prosecutor general Yuriy Lutsenko for damaging information on Yovanovitch, which was also shared with John Solomon, a former columnist for the Hill.
  173. Giuliani and the Hill claimed Yovanovitch provided a “do not prosecute list” to Ukrainian officials to protect the Bidens and others. Kent testified the document was phony, noting most of the names are misspelled.
  174. Kent testified he was told to “lay low” after raising concerns about Giuliani. Kent came to lawmakers’ attention after his emails were cited in a packet provided to Congress by the Intelligence Community’s IG Michael Atkinson.
  175. On Wednesday, WAPO reported Mulvaney was a key facilitator of the campaign to pressure Ukraine, driven by a desire to please Trump. He listened to Trump and Giuliani discuss enlisting Ukraine in conspiracies.
  176. Mulvaney met frequently with Sondland, and details were kept from Bolton and others raising concerns. Mulvaney was not on the July 25 call, but his top aide Rob Blair was and briefed him.
  177. On Trump’s order, he placed $400 million of aid on hold the week before the call. The off-the-book effort with Ukraine could not have proceeded without his facilitating meetings, circumventing national security, and blocking aid.
  178. On Tuesday, Trump complained, tweeting, “Democrats are allowing no transparency at the Witch Hunt hearings,” adding, “If Republicans ever did this they would be excoriated by the Fake News.”
  179. On Tuesday, Trump tweeted a video by Project Veritas, a group that has been discredited, claiming bias against him by CNN. Trump later tweeted, “rumor has it that Jeff Zucker will be resigining [sic] momentarily?”
  180. On Friday, in a four-page letter to CNN, Zucker, and EVP David Vigilante, Trump’s attorney threatened to suethe network over their alleged pro-impeachment bias, demanding a “substantial payment.”
  181. On Tuesday, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 4th Circuit agreed to rehear the emoluments clause lawsuit relating to the Trump Hotel DC brought by the attorneys general of Maryland and the District.
  182. On Wednesday, Trump tweeted support of Rep. Andy Biggs reintroducing a censure of Chair Schiff for a vote in the House, saying, “Hope all House Republicans, and honest House Democrats” will vote to “CENSURE.”
  183. Trump accused Schiff of “fabricating (making up) a totally phony conversation with the Ukraine President and U.S. President, me.” Biggs has support of leaders Kevin McCarthy, Liz Cheney, and Minority Whip Steve Scalise.
  184. On Wednesday, Schiff said in a letter to colleagues he will make interview transcripts public when they do not “jeopardize investigative equities.” He noted special counsels for Nixon and Clinton investigated privately.
  185. On Wednesday, a Gallup poll found support for impeaching AND removing Trump is up 14 net points since June: 52% say he should be impeached, 46% disagree — up from 45% for impeachment, 53% against in June.
  186. Approval for Congress rose dramatically from 18% in September to 25%, driven mostly by Democrats and some Independents. Trump’s approval dropped slightly to 39% from 40% in late September.
  187. On Wednesday, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo signed a measure into law, closing the “double jeopardy” loophole, and allowing the state of New York to pursue charges against people who have been pardoned by a president.
  188. On Wednesday, Michael McKinley, a former senior adviser to Pompeo who resigned in Week 152, testified before the three House committees behind closed doors. Pompeo did not thank him for his 37 years of service.
  189. WAPO reported according to portions of his testimony, he said, “I was disturbed by the implication that foreign governments were being approached to procure negative information on political opponents.”
  190. He said he resigned over “the utilization of our ambassadors overseas to advance domestic political objectives” and the failure to “offer support to Foreign Service employees caught up” in the impeachment inquiry.
  191. He also cited “the unwillingness of State Department leadership to defend Yovanovitch.” He said, “I was convinced that this would also have a serious impact on Foreign Service morale and the integrity of our work overseas.”
  192. While he was testifying, Trump told reporters while seated beside Italian President Sergio Mattarella that Pelosi hands out subpoenas “like cookies,” and, “I have all these people testifying. . . . I don’t even know these people.”
  193. Trump also continued his complaint echoed by loyal Republicans about closed-door hearings, saying, “We’re not allowed to representation. We’re not allowed to lawyers. We’re not allowed to have anything.”
  194. On Wednesday, in an interview with the WSJ, Sec. Perry said he sought out Giuliani at the direction of Trump in the spring, to better understand Trump’s concerns about Ukrainian corruption.
  195. Perry said when he called Giuliani to ease a path between Trump and Zelensky, Giuliani described unsubstantiated claims about Ukraine’s alleged interference in the 2016 election on behalf of Hillary Clinton.
  196. Perry claimed that he never heard Trump, any of his appointees, Giuliani, or Ukrainian officials discuss investigating Joe and Hunter Biden, and that Trump did not make an explicit demand for a meeting with Zelensky.
  197. On Thursday, Mulvaney announced that Trump awarded the 2020 G-7 summit to his Trump Doral golf resort, marking the first time in modern history a sitting president has awarded a massive contract to himself.
  198. Mulvaney also acknowledged to reporters that Trump held up military aid to Ukraine in part over Trump’s request for the country to investigate an unfounded conspiracy about the Democratic National Committee server.
  199. Mulvaney cited three reasons for holding up the aid: corruption in Ukraine, frustration that European governments were not providing more aid to Ukraine, and Trump’s demand that Kiev investigate the DNC server.
  200. When asked by a reporter if this amounted to quid pro quo, Mulvaney said, “We do that all the time with foreign policy.” He claimed holding up aid was not related to the Bidens, despite the July 25 phone call.
  201. When pressed on foreign policy, Mulvaney told reporters, “Get over it,” adding, “There’s going to be political influence in foreign policy. That is going to happen. Elections have consequences.”
  202. Later Mulvaney added, “Did [Trump] also mention to me, in the past, the corruption related to the DNC server? Absolutely. No question about that. But that’s it. And that’s why we held up the money.”
  203. Shortly after, Jay Sekulow, one of Trump’s personal lawyers, told the Times that Trump’s “legal counsel was not involved in acting chief of staff Mick Mulvaney’s press briefing.”
  204. On Thursday, Chair Schiff said, “I think Mr. Mulvaney’s acknowledgment means that things have gone from very, very bad to much, much worse.”
  205. Later Thursday, the Post Editorial Board wrote Mulvaney’s comments reveal “It was a quid pro quo. It was corrupt,” and he confessed it “in the cynical expectation…Republicans would not hold Trump accountable.”
  206. Later Thursday, Mulvaney reversed himself in a written statement, claiming, “Once again, the media has decided to misconstrue my comments to advance a biased and political witch hunt” against Trump.
  207. Mulvaney wrote, “there was absolutely no quid pro quo between Ukrainian military aid and any investigation,” and Trump “never told me to withhold any money until the Ukrainians did anything related to the server.”
  208. On Friday, Pelosi called Mulvaney’s statement a “confession,” and said “it’s also a cavalier attitude of get over it,” saying the Trump regime has “tried to make a lawlessness normal and even make lawlessness a virtue.”
  209. On Thursday, Sondland testified before the House committees behind closed doors for more than nine hours, saying he believed it was improper for the White House to withhold aid pending opening an investigation.
  210. Sondland said in an opening statement Trump directed him and others to work with Giuliani to push Ukraine to conduct investigations, but said he was not aware of their motives — a claim House Democrats found suspect.
  211. He said that he and other senior administration officials did not want to work with Giuliani, but that they could not ignore Trump’s directive. He said he and others later pieced together the scheme.
  212. He said in responding to Bill Taylor’s text,“I asked the president: ‘What do you want from Ukraine?’ The president responded, ‘Nothing. There is no quid pro quo.’ The president repeated: ‘no quid pro quo’ multiple times.”
  213. On Thursday, in the House Judiciary Committee’s effort to obtain grand jury materials in the Mueller probe, Judge Beryl Howell ruled the DOJ improperly redacted a court filing.
  214. The judge said the DOJ redacted two names who figure prominently in the probe, invoking grand jury secrecy protections even though they did not testify before a grand jury, and ordered the DOJ to reveal their names.
  215. On Thursday, Bloomberg reported in what may be an off-shoot of the Mueller probe, U.S. federal authorities are seeking records seized from Terra Services, a U.K. company associated with Oleg Deripaska.
  216. On Thursday, AP reported a farming business owned by billionaire West Virginia Gov. Jim Justice received $125,000 in soybean farm aid, the maximum amount. The median amount in Trump’s program is $6,438.
  217. On Thursday, Rick Perry resigned as Energy Secretary. Perry oversaw a 25% expansion of the department’s budget in his two years. Trump said as he arrived in Texas that Perry would leave at the end of the year.
  218. Perry said he was resigning to spend more time with his family. He said he and Energy Department lawyers would not comply with a Friday deadline in a congressional subpoena for documents related to his work in Ukraine.
  219. On Thursday, at a campaign rally in Dallas, Trump said he was smart to let Turkey attack the Kurds, comparing them to “two kids in a lot,” saying, “sometimes you have to let them fight,” and “then you pull them apart.”
  220. Previously, Trump had denied he had given the green light to Erdogan to attack the Kurds, but changed his story at the rally, saying, “Without a little tough love, they would never have made this deal.”
  221. Trump accused the “radical Democrats” of “trying to overthrow the results of a great, great election — maybe, maybe the greatest election,” in order to “impose their extreme agenda,” saying they do not love our country.
  222. Trump also attacked Pelosi, calling her “Crazy Nancy,” and saying, “She is Crazy,” as well as the whistleblower, saying, “Who’s the whistle-blower? Who is the whistle-blower? Is the whistle-blower a spy?”
  223. On Thursday, Hillary Clinton said in an interview that Putin has kompromat on Trump, and that Russia is grooming a third-party candidate in the Democratic field to upset the race in 2020.
  224. On Friday, White House press secretary Stephanie Grisham emailed press on the 2020 G7 summit, saying, “Everything will be done at cost due to the emoluments clause,” but did not give details to answer what that meant.
  225. On Thursday, outgoing Homeland Security Secretary Kevin McAleenan announced the regime would reinstate aid to Guatemala, Honduras, and El Salvador, after Trump had abruptly cut off aid due to an influx of migrants.
  226. On Friday, at congressional hearings, two top officials in Housing and Urban Development, Irv Dennis and David Woll, admitted they knowingly failed to “comply with the law,” stalling Puerto Rico hurricane relief funds.
  227. Dennis and Woll, in defending the delays, echoed talking points of Trump and HUD Sec. Ben Carson, citing “alleged corruption” and “fiscal irregularities,” as well as “Puerto Rico’s capacity to manage these funds.”
  228. Two years after Maria hit Puerto Rico, the island has received just a third of the $43 billion Congress allocated toward hurricane recovery. Wolf claimed deadlines were missed because HUD was waiting on audits.
  229. On Friday, WAPO reported George Kent said in his testimony he warned in 2015 Hunter Biden’s position at Burisma could raise conflicts of interest, but was rebuffed, in part as Joe was overwhelmed with his other son Beau battling cancer.
  230. On Friday, WAPO reported after two weeks of closed-door testimony, Trump has emerged as the center of orchestrating efforts to pressure Ukraine to dig up dirt on his political opponents.
  231. Despite Trump White House efforts, a growing number of officials are coming forward with damaging evidence of potential violations of law, including prohibitions on accepting campaign help from a foreign entity.
  232. Testimony has also revealed that although Giuliani took actions outside normal channels and without being a government official and going through normal protocols for those positions, he did so at Trump’s behest.
  233. On Friday, Politico reported according to House Democrats, Republicans are trying to paint Giuliani as a rogue, one-man mission who took actions not sanctioned by Trump.
  234. On Friday, former GOP Gov. John Kasich told CNN Trump deserves to be impeached, calling withholding aid from Ukraine “totally inappropriate” and “an abuse of power,” and adding, “I say it with great sadness.”
  235. On Friday, Rep. Francis Rooney said on CNN of Trump regime’s digging into unproven allegations from linking Ukraine to a DNC server, “What, are we trying to exculpate Russia?
  236. On Friday, Rep. Scalise and Rep. Tom Cole introduced a resolution to change the rules of impeachment, and allow members not on the overseeing committees to have access to proceedings, depositions, and transcripts.
  237. On Friday, Trump attacked Sen. Romney, tweeting a video accusing him of being “exposed by news reports as a Democrat secret asset,” and adding, “REPUBLICANS MUST STICK TOGETHER AND FIGHT!”
  238. On Friday, speaking to Christina Koch and Jessica Meir, the first all-woman spacewalk, Trump incorrectly said this was “the first time for a woman outside of the space station.” The first woman walked in space in 1984.
  239. On Friday, a multiyear State Department probe of Hillary Clinton’s handling of emails with secretary of state concluded, finding no deliberate mishandling of classified information by department employees.
  240. The State Department review examined emails that were up to 9 years-old. The report found 38 employees violated security procedures, but none involved material marked classified, in its review of 33,000 emails.
  241. On Friday, WAPO reported a growing number of Republican lawmakers are exasperated with Trump’s indefensible behavior, including hosting the G7 at his property, the Syria withdrawal, and Ukraine.
  242. Heading into a likely impeachment vote, fewer Republicans are willing to publicly defend Trump’s actions, and as Americans’ sentiment shifts, at least one, Rep. Francis Rooney, is considering voting for impeachment.
  243. On Friday, CNN reported Giuliani pressed the State Department and White House to grant a visa to Viktor Shokin, a Ukrainian prosecutor general fired in 2016 after pressure from the West, Joe Biden, the IMF, and EU.
  244. In House testimony, Kent said Giuliani made the request in January. Giuliani previously told CNN Shokin had promised dirt on Democrats. The visa was rejected by “the political leadership” of the State Department.
  245. On Friday, NYT reported that despite congressional and SDNY scrutiny, Giuliani is continuing to represent clients, and use his access to Trump and his regime to broker deals and take on consulting contracts.
  246. A few weeks ago Giuliani secured a meeting with the head of the DOJ’s criminal division and attorneys in the fraud section to discuss a foreign bribery case involving one of his clients.
  247. Impeachment investigators have subpoenaed records related to Giuliani’s involvement with 45 Energy Group, which was paid $425,000 by a foreign company seeking American support for a methane project in Uzbekistan.
  248. On Friday, a USA Today/Ipsos poll found 54% of Americans believe removing troops from Syria is damaging the U.S. reputation as a trusted ally, and 61% believe we have an obligation to protect the Kurds.
  249. Later Friday, during an appearance on “Real Time,” Trump tweeted that Susan Rice “was a disaster to President Obama as National Security Advisor” and “is now telling us her opinion on what to do in Syria.”
  250. Rice responded, “then why did you come up and hug me…when I’d never met you (which was totally gross),” and say “I had been “very unfairly treated” over Benghazi” and “was doing a great job for the country?”
  251. On Saturday, NYT reported that federal prosecutors, led by John Durham and closely overseen by Barr, have already interviewed about two dozen current and former FBI officials, indicating the investigation is far along.
  252. Durham’s team has also sought help from governments to prove right-wing attacks and conspiracy theories about origins of the Russia investigation, raising concerns that he is looking to deliver Trump a political victory.
  253. Mulvaney mentioned on Thursday that Durham’s team has sought help from Ukraine. Durham has yet to interview former FBI officials who played key roles including Peter Strzok, James Comey, and Andrew McCabe.
  254. The investigations of the investigators, including DOJ IG Michael Horowitz’s work, has grown to include 2,800 subpoenas, 500 search warrants, 13 requests to foreign governments for evidence, and 500 witness interviews.
  255. On Saturday, Rep. Francis Rooney announced he would retire in 2020. Rooney said Friday on possible support for impeachment, “I’ll be looking at my children a lot longer than I’m looking to anybody in this building.”
  256. On Saturday, NBC News reporter Richard Engel tweeted diplomats in DC are alarmed that the U.S. could “be held responsible for Crimes Against Humanity for ethnic cleansing” for knowing and failing to stop it.
  257. On Saturday, Trump tweeted, “Such a disgrace that the Do Nothing Democrats are doing just as their name suggests, Doing Nothing! USMCA anyone?” and separately tweeted, “#StopTheCoup.”
  258. The tweets were two of 31 tweets and retweets sent by Trump before noon on Saturday. Trump skipped golfing to remain in the White House amid the pending crisis.

REST IN POWER ELIJAH CUMMINGS.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi addresses President Donald Trump during a meeting with congressional leaders on Syria in the Cabinet Room at the White House, Oct. 16, 2019 (credit: Official White House Photo by Shealah Craighead)

POLITIKS OF GRAFFITI 131: A CONSTITUTIONAL CRISIS

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“This week was also notable for the hostility towards women and women’s rights in several states, with new pieces of legislation with overtly misogynistic tones enacted or threatened…” San Jose, Cosa Rica. April 2019

Week 130: Experts in authoritarianism advise to keep a list of things subtly changing around you, so you’ll remember.

May 11, 2019

This week marked a subtle shift in House Democrats’ position on impeachment, as House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and her committee chairs cited a “constitutional crisis,” and argued Trump was “goading” them and giving them no choice with his continued stonewalling. The House Judiciary Committee voted to hold Attorney General William Barr in contempt of Congress, and threatened the same for former White House counsel Don McGahn. Trump said he would block special counsel Robert Mueller from testifying, and later in the week backed off. Notably, the Republican-led Senate Intelligence Committee served the first subpoena on a member of Trump’s family, Donald Trump Jr.

There was more reporting on Trump’s irreverence around norms and laws, including his attempts to have McGahn publicly state he did not believe Trump obstructed justice, and dispatching personal attorney Rudy Giuliani to Ukraine to spur investigations likely to help his re-election.

This week was also notable for the hostility towards women and women’s rights in several states, with new pieces of legislation with overtly misogynistic tones enacted or threatened, reminiscent of decades ago. By week’s end, actress Alyssa Milano called for women to protest Georgia’s heartbeat fill through a sex strike. The continued divisions in our country under Trump were also apparent when the World Series Champion Red Sox visited the White House: all the white players attended, while the coach and all but one of the black and Latino players skipped the visit.

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Orlando, Florida 7may19
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New York City November 2018
  1. On Sunday, an NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll found 60% of Americans believe Trump has been dishonest in the Russia investigation, while 37% believe he has been honest, including 75% of Republicans.
  2. On impeachment, 48% are against it, while 49% believe Congress should hold impeachment hearings. Of those for impeachment hearings, 17% say now and 32% say if there is enough evidence in the future.
  3. In an interview with Rolling Stone, civil rights icon Rep. John Lewis said, “I hate to say it, but I think we’re in deep trouble,” adding, “I have never been like this, even during the height of the civil-rights movement.”
  4. Rep. Lewis said, “Sometimes you’re afraid to go to sleep, to turn off the radio or the television or to pick up a book or a newspaper,” and during the civil-rights movement “there was a greater sense of hope and optimism.”
  5. WAPO’s Dana Milbank wrote in an op-ed that he had his White House credentials revoked, after covering four presidents over 21 years. Milbank said he was a part of a mass purge of “hard pass” holders.
  6. Milbank said seven other White House reporters for the Post similarly had their pass revoked, but were all later granted exceptions except him, adding, “I strongly suspect it’s because I’m a Trump critic.”
  7. On Sunday, Trump threatened China with higher tariffs, tweeting: “the 10% will go up to 25% on Friday,” adding, “the Trade Deal with China continues, but too slowly, as they attempt to renegotiate. No!”
  8. CNBC reported if Trump imposes the new tariffs, the U.S. would be one of the most protectionist countries in the world, with the U.S. tariff rate rising above many emerging market countries.
  9. On Sunday, after saying in Week 129 he would let the attorney general decide, Trump tweeted “Bob Mueller should not testify. No redos for the Dems!” saying, “There was no crime, except on the other side.”
  10. Trump cited, “After spending more than $35,000,000 over a two year period, interviewing 500 people, using 18 Trump Hating Angry Democrats& 49 FBI Agents,” the Mueller report found “NO COLLUSION.”
  11. AP reported as a private citizen, Mueller could decide whether to testify. When Mueller’s report was given to Barr on March 22, his spokesperson said Mueller would be “concluding his service within the coming days.”
  12. On Sunday, Trump retweeted a tweet by Jerry Falwell Jr. citing “no obstruction, no collusion” and saying “Trump should have 2 yrs added to his 1st term as pay back for time stolen by this corrupt failed coup.”
  13. Experts noted the pattern of Trump using trial balloons on extending his term, and writing them off as jokes. In Week 129, Speaker Pelosi expressed concern Trump would not accept a loss unless it was by a wide margin.
  14. Trump later tweeted, “Despite the tremendous success…including perhaps the greatest ECONOMY,” saying, “they have stolen two years of my (our) Presidency (Collusion Delusion) that we will never be able to get back.”
  15. On Monday, Michael Cohen reported to prison for a three-year sentence, after trying for months to push off the start of his sentence by dangling new incriminating information against others.
  16. Cohen told reporters he hope the “country will be in a place without xenophobia, injustice and lies at the helm,” when he gets out, and added he had more secrets to share, saying, “There still remains much to be told.”
  17. On Tuesday, Reuters reported according to a tape Tom Arnold made of a conversation with Cohen in March, Jerry Falwell Jr. asked Cohen to help him handle racy photos that should be kept “between husband and wife.”
  18. Falwell enlisted Cohen’s help in 2015, the year Trump announced his candidacy. Cohen helped persuade Falwell to endorse Trump just before the critical Iowa caucuses in early 2016 — surprising many at the time.
  19. On Monday, NYT reported Stephanie Winston Wolkoff, a contractor for Trump’s inaugural committee and former advisor to First Lady Melania Trump disputed the White House account of her departure.
  20. Winston Wolkoff said, “Was I fired? No. Did I personally receive $26 million or $1.6 million? No. Was I thrown under the bus? Yes.” Her lawyer told inaugural officials last fall she is cooperating with federal prosecutors.
  21. On Monday, Trump tweeted Democrats are calling for impeachment because they “can’t win the election fairly,” adding, “You can’t impeach a president for creating the best economy in our country’s history.”
  22. Trump also tweeted “there are “No High Crimes & Misdemeanors,” No Collusion, No Conspiracy, No Obstruction. ALL THE CRIMES ARE ON THE OTHER SIDE,” and “the tables are turning!”
  23. On Monday, the House Judiciary Committee said it will begin contempt proceedings against Attorney General William Barr after the DOJ failed to comply with a subpoena to turn over the full Mueller report by 9 a.m.
  24. Chair Jerry Nadler said his committee would vote Wednesday on holding Barr in contempt, despite DOJ efforts to negotiate. Nadler will meet with the DOJ Tuesday, after pushing back on their offer to meet Wednesday.
  25. A contempt citation would be the second in history after Republicans held President Obama’s AG Eric Holder in contempt of Congress in 2012. Democrats are discussing punitive measures like levying fines against Barr.
  26. On Monday, Politico reported Republicans on the House Judiciary Committee, including ranking member Rep. Doug Collins, want Mueller to testify in front of their committee, despite Trump’s opposition.
  27. Senate Judiciary Committee Chair Lindsey Graham said he will not hold a full hearing with Mueller, but is willing to hear testimony strictly on the issue of whether Mueller disputes Barr’s characterization of his findings.
  28. On Monday, three Senate Democrats asked the DOJ inspector general and the Office of Professional Responsibility director asking them to investigate if Barr shared the names of Mueller spinoff cases with White House staff.
  29. On Monday, more than 500 former federal prosecutors signed on a statement saying Mueller’s findings would have produced obstruction charges against Trump if he were not in office.
  30. Signatories included prosecutors who worked in both Democratic and Republican administrations, and directly rebutted Barr’s determinationthat evidence was not sufficient to establish Trump committed a crime.
  31. The letter also stated such conduct “would, in the case of any other person … result in multiple felony charges for obstruction of justice.” By Thursday, the letter had over 800 signatories.
  32. On Monday, New York Attorney General Letitia James said she sued the Trump Treasury Department and IRS for failing to respond to records requests as required by law on a change in donor disclosure requirements.
  33. James cited in July 2018 the agency eliminated disclosure requirements for tax-exempt groups for donations of more than $5,000, which impedes the AG’s ability to regulate those organizations.
  34. On Monday, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin rejected the House Ways and Means Committee’s legal request for Trump’s tax returns, saying the request from Congress does not “serve a legitimate legislative purpose.”
  35. Mnuchin said he had consulted with the DOJ, and that they had concluded it would not be lawful to turn over the tax returns because of potential violations of privacy.
  36. Neither the Treasury Department or DOJ would provide the legal opinion to reporters. Legal experts said Mnuchin’s refusal was unprecedented sincethe power for lawmakers is written explicitly in a 1924 law.
  37. On Monday, a new version of the Mueller report was released due to BuzzFeed News and watchdog group EPIC FOIA requests, detailing information withheld because of ongoing law enforcement proceedings
  38. On Monday, the Orlando Sentinel reported Sen. Marco Rubio knew about Russia hacking attempts in Florida in 2016 as early as May 2018, but claims he did not back Bill Nelson’s statement citing classified information.
  39. On Tuesday, FBI director Christopher Wray said at a Senate Appropriations subcommittee hearing that he has no evidence the FBI illegally monitored Trump’s campaign during the 2016 election.
  40. Wray said he does not consider court-approved FBI surveillance to be “spying,” and when asked if the FBI illegally spied, responded, “I don’t think I personally have any evidence of that sort.”
  41. On Tuesday, according to a letter sent from Pat Cipollone to former White House counsel Don McGahn’s attorney, the White House instructed McGahn not to comply with a subpoena from House Democrats.
  42. In a second letter to Chair Nadler, Cipollone said, “McGahn does not have the legal right to disclose these documents to third parties,” and said requests for documents should instead come to the White House.
  43. In a letter from McGahn’s attorney to Chair Nadler, he said McGahn was instructed not to produce documents “because they implicate significant Executive Branch confidentiality interests and executive privilege.”
  44. McGahn’s attorney said, “Where co-equal branches of government are making contradictory demands…the appropriate response for Mr. McGahn is to maintain the status quo” until an accommodation is reached.
  45. On Tuesday, the House Judiciary Committee sent a letter to McGahn saying he too will be charged with contempt of Congress if he does not produce documents and show up to his public hearing on May 21.
  46. On Tuesday, CNN reported, according to newly released court records, Mueller’ team fought the public release of James Comey’s memo, for fear Trump and other witnesses would change their stories to match his.
  47. On Tuesday, Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said on the Senate floor it is time to “finally end this ‘Groundhog Day’ spectacle,” saying the Trump-Russia conspiracy is “case closed.”
  48. McConnell also parroted Trump blaming Obama, saying, “Maybe stronger leadership would have left the Kremlin less emboldened. Maybe tampering with our democracy wouldn’t have seemed so very tempting.”
  49. Sen. Elizabeth Warren fired back, directly reading from the Mueller reportand saying, “If any other human being in this country had done what’s documented in the Mueller report, they’d be arrested and put in jail.”
  50. Warren also said, “We took an oath not to try and protect Donald Trump, we took an oath to protect and serve the Constitution,” adding, “the way we do that is we begin impeachment proceedings now against this president.”
  51. On Tuesday, Speaker Pelosi said in a speech that Trump is “goading” Democrats to try to impeach him, saying, “That’s what he’s doing. Every single day, he’s just like taunting, taunting, taunting.”
  52. Pelosi also said Trump “knows that it would be very divisive in the country, but he doesn’t really care,” adding, “He just wants to solidify his base.”
  53. On Tuesday, House Oversight Committee Chair Elijah Cummings threatened in a letter to withhold salaries from Trump officials at the Interior and Commerce departments who have refused to testify.
  54. Chair Cummings sent the letter to seven officials who have declined or not responded to the committee’s request for an interview on adding a citizenship question to the 2020 Census.
  55. On Tuesday, NYT reported based on Trump’s official Internal Revenue Service tax transcripts obtained from 1985 to 1994, Trump suffered business losses of $1.17 billion over the decade.
  56. The Times found by comparing his results with other high-income earners, Trump lost more money than nearly any other individual American taxpayer in that time, and avoided paying any taxes in eight of ten years.
  57. In contrast to his father Fred who made steady money every year, Trump’s primary source of income changed each year, and any gains were always overtaken by losses in casinos and other projects.
  58. On Wednesday, Trump responded to the NYT story and defended himself, tweeting: “Real estate developers in the 1980′s & 1990′s, more than 30 years ago, were entitled to massive write offs and depreciation.”
  59. Trump also tweeted: “You always wanted to show losses for tax purposes” claiming, “almost all real estate developers did — and often re-negotiate with banks,” calling it “sport.”
  60. Trump also called the story, based on “very old information,” “a highly inaccurate Fake News hit job!
  61. On Wednesday, “Fox & Friends” defended Trump from the Times story, saying it is all part of his “impressive” business career, with host Ainsley Earhardt adding, “It’s beyond what most of us could ever achieve.”
  62. On Sunday, Red Sox manager Alex Cora, who was born in Puerto Rico, said he will not visit the White House celebration of the team’s 2018 World Series win, citing Trump’s handling of the hurricane relief effort.
  63. On Monday, Trump tweeted a false claim he had previously stated, “Puerto Rico has been given more money by Congress for Hurricane Disaster Relief, 91 Billion Dollars, than any State in the history of the U.S.”
  64. Ahead of the visit, the White House misspelled the team’s name on its website, writing the “Boston Red Socks.” On the day of the visit, the White House mistakenly referred to the team as “World Cup Series Champions.”
  65. The Red Sox team visit was notably racially divided: every white player attended the White House visit, while all but one of the team’s black and Latino players skipped the visit.
  66. On Monday, Trump awarded golfer Tiger Woods with the Presidential Medal of Freedom in honor of his Masters victory last month, following a decade-long drought after a serial philandering scandal.
  67. Trump has been cultivating Woods as a celebrity who could add sheen to his golf courses since Woods was 21. By honoring Woods, Trump leaves the appearance of using his office to reward a business partner.
  68. On Monday, the summary of a 1,500-page report on the environment approved by U.S. and 131 other countries found humans are speeding extinction and altering the natural world at an “unprecedented” rate.
  69. On Monday, students in Phoenix protested that Thomas Torres, a high school senior who had lived in the U.S. since he was a toddler and was scheduled to graduate on May 22, faced deportation to Mexico.
  70. Torres was taken into custody after a traffic stop by sheriff’s deputies and turned over to Border Patrol who placed him in detention awaiting deportation. Torres played football and worked several part-time jobs.
  71. On Monday, TYT reported according to police reports, a militia member at the Southern border asked why we are apprehending migrants not “lining them up and shooting them” and said we should “put them all in a gas chamber.”
  72. On Wednesday, at a rally in Panama City, Florida, Trump said of the influx of migrants at the Southern border, “It’s an invasion,” adding, on letting border patrol use weapons, “We can’t. Other countries do. We can’t.”
  73. When Trump asked, “How do you stop these people?” a supporter shouted “Shoot them!” The crowd laughed. Trump grinned and shook his head, and said, “Only in the Panhandle you can get away with that statement.”
  74. A new Pew Research Poll found 47% of white Republicans say it bothers them “some” or “a lot” to “hear people speak a language other than English in a public place.” For white Democrats, 18% felt the same.
  75. On Tuesday, WAPO reported the Trump regime has sent new guidelines to asylum officers, directing them to take a more skeptical and confrontational approach while interviewing asylum seekers.
  76. Asylum officers were instructed to be more aggressive, and make migrants provide detailed justifications to prove their claims of persecution before concluding they have a well-founded fear of harm if deported.
  77. On Tuesday, the Ninth Circuit court ruled that the Trump regime can continue to enforce its “Remain in Mexico” policy that returns asylum seekers to Mexico while they wait for turn in immigration court.
  78. On Wednesday, immigration legal group RAICES filed a formal complaint against the Trump regime, saying ICE is blocking detained immigrants from obtaining free legal help.
  79. On Tuesday, following a shooting at STEM School Highlands Ranch in Colorado that afternoon, Trump tweeted 11 times after 9 p.m., but did not mention or express sympathy for the students killed or injured.
  80. On Wednesday, in the afternoon, Trump first addressed the shooting, tweeting “God be with the families and thank you to the First Responders for bravely intervening. We are in close contact with Law Enforcement.”
  81. On Tuesday, the Courier News reported a group of white supremacists interrupted a Holocaust remembrance event meant to honor survivors in Russellville, Arkansas, carrying Nazi flags and shouting racial slurs.
  82. On Wednesday, online retailer Redbubble apologized and removed items from its website after the Auschwitz Memorial condemned it on Twitter for allowing several products depicting scenes of the concentration camp.
  83. On Wednesday, the Florida Bar determined to proceed with further investigation into whether Rep. Matt Gaetz should face discipline for his tweet threatening Michael Cohen in Week 120.
  84. On Tuesday, Trump tweeted an article in conservative Breitbart News, saying “‘Forgotten Man’ Story: Under Trump,” adding, “Red Counties Economically Thrive” citing a Brookings Institute report.
  85. On Tuesday, Georgia Republican Gov. Brian Kemp signed legislation banning abortion once a fetal heartbeat can be detected, which can be as early as six weeks, before many women know they are pregnant.
  86. On Tuesday, the Texas state senate passed a bill banning abortion after 20 weeks for “discriminatory abortions,” and removed exceptions for unviable pregnancies or if the fetus has “severe and irreversible” abnormalities.
  87. On Thursday, the Alabama state senate voted 23-6 on a bill to criminalize abortions, making preforming the procedure a felony punishable by up to 99 years imprisonment. The bill was then tabled after a shouting match.
  88. Alabama Senate Republicans, all of whom are men, also tried to push through a measure making abortion for underage girls who are raped punishable by 99 years imprisonment. The vote will be next week.
  89. A bill considered in the Alabama House would criminalize false rape accusations, and make the accuser pay the accused’s legal bill if the accused is found not guilty.
  90. On Wednesday, Tennessee House Speaker Glen Casada faced calls to resign after a scandal involving sexually explicit and misogynistic text messages with his chief of staff, who also admitted to using cocaine.
  91. On Friday, actress Alyssa Milano called for a sex strike, tweeting: “Our reproductive rights are being erased…JOIN ME by not having sex until we get bodily autonomy back.” #SexStrike trended on Twitter.
  92. On Wednesday, Bill Larion, a Michigan city worker, was fired over an anti-Muslim Facebook post mocking model Halima Aden, saying, “Cute picture. Should be on the cover of camels are us.”
  93. On Thursday, a report by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found the uninsured rate for ages 45-64 jumped to 10.3% in 2018 from 9.3% a year earlier — the first government study that has shown an increasing rate of uninsured Americans.
  94. The uninsured rate has been increasing since Trump took, due to his regime’s efforts to dismantle the Affordable Care Act and add restrictions to Medicaid, after bottoming out in 2016.
  95. On Friday, the Pentagon shifted $1.5 billion in funding to support Afghan forces to build Trump’s wall, citing the need to support “higher priority items based on unforeseen military requirements.”
  96. A total of $2.5 billion of Pentagon funds have been shifted to Trump’s wall so far. Also, more than 4,000 troops and 19 aircraft are supporting Customs and Border Protection personnel at the border.
  97. On Tuesday, Politico reported economists in the Agriculture Department say the Trump regime is retaliating against them for publishing reports about how Trump’s trade tariffs are hurting farmers.
  98. Six economists quit in one day in late April over concern that Trump loyalist Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue was reshaping the USDA’s research wing to bring reporting information directly under his control.
  99. On Tuesday, in a letter to Chair Nadler sent late in the evening, Barr threatened if the House committee proceeds with the contempt process, Barr will ask the White House to invoke executive privilege .
  100. On Wednesday, Speaker Pelosi said in a morning interview, “ I think that the attorney general should be held in contempt,” adding impeaching Barr is not “off the table.”
  101. Pelosi also said, “every single day, whether it’s obstruction, obstruction, obstruction — obstruction of having people come to the table with facts, ignoring subpoenas,” adding Trump is “becoming self-impeachable.”
  102. On Wednesday, in an interview with NYT, Chair Cummings said, “It sounds like he’s asking us to impeach him,” while listing all the way Trump is stonewalling, calling it “far worse than Watergate.”
  103. Cummings also said on impeachment, “he puts us in a position where we at least have to look at it,” adding the regime “threw away the guardrails.” He said he sees a “constitutional crisis” our founding fathers did not envision.
  104. On Wednesday, Trump’s cabinet meeting at the White House, which was scheduled to be open to the press, was closed to the press just prior. Typically coverage is allowed.
  105. On Wednesday, as the House Judiciary Committee adjourned to begin contempt proceedings, the White House asserted executive privilege over the Mueller report, Trump’s first use of executive authority.
  106. On Wednesday, after six hours of debate, the House Judiciary Committee voted 24-16, along party lines, to hold Barr in contempt of Congress for not turning over the full Mueller report.
  107. At a press conference after, Chair Nadler said “there can be no higher stakes than this attempt to arrogate all power to the executive branch,” adding, “We are now in a constitutional crisis.”
  108. Nadler added, “Our fight is not just about the Mueller report…Our fight is about defending the rights of Congress, as an independent branch, to hold the president, any president, accountable.”
  109. Nadler told reporters Democrats plan to go to court, saying Trump’s claim of executive privilege is nonsense since much of the report has either been released publicly or shared with lawyers.
  110. On Wednesday, the House Intelligence Committee sent a subpoena to the DOJ for the full Mueller report and underlying evidence, as well as any counterintelligence and foreign intelligence materials.
  111. On Friday, Politico reported the House Intelligence Committee showed a rare instance of bipartisanship, with Republicans praising Chair Adam Schiff for his efforts to obtain the full Mueller report and related documents.
  112. On Wednesday, Democrats on the Senate Judiciary sent a letter to Chair Graham saying the committee would “benefit greatly” from having Mueller testify, requesting a broad hearing not limited in scope.
  113. On Wednesday, the New York state senate passed a bill 39-21 allowing the state Department of Taxation and Finance to release state tax returnsrequested by the leaders of the House Ways and Means Committee.
  114. The bill would apply to Trump’s New York state tax returns, and the state is also home for headquarters of his businesses. New York’s assembly and governorship are also under Democratic control, so sign-off is expected.
  115. The state Senate also passed a bill which would eliminate the “double jeopardy loophole,” which prevents New York prosecutors from bringing similar charges against someone who has been pardoned from Trump.
  116. On Wednesday at his rally in Panama City Beach, Florida, Trump also said “After two years, nothing — no collusion,” adding, “Democrats are saying, ‘We want more,’” and, “It’s time to stop this nonsense.”
  117. Trump said about the media, “In six years, they’re all going to be out of business, folks,” adding, “If we want to drive them crazy, I’ll say in 10 years. They’ll go crazy. ‘See, he is a despot. He is a despot.’”
  118. Trump also repeated his false claim that Puerto Rico was getting $91 billion in disaster aid after Hurricane Maria, despite being ungrateful to him, saying, “You’re getting your money, one way or the other.”
  119. On Wednesday, Trump derailed a bipartisan House bill opposed by ally Matthew Schlapp, tweeting: “Republicans shouldn’t vote for H.R. 312, a special interest casino Bill, backed by Elizabeth (Pocahontas) Warren.”
  120. The bill to open casinos in Massachusetts was opposed by lobbyist Schlapp who represents casinos in neighboring Rhode Island, and whose wifeMercedes is the White House strategic communications director.
  121. On Thursday, Trump tweeted GOP lawmakers “should not vote for the BAD DEMOCRAT” aid package for Puerto Rico, then just before midnight tweeted, “Republicans must stick together!”
  122. On Friday, the House passed a disaster relief package 257-150, with 34 Republicans voting in support, for $19 billion in rebuilding assistance to communities hit by hurricanes, extreme flooding, tornadoes, and wildfires.
  123. On Wednesday, for the third time, Senate Majority leader Mitch McConnell broke precedent, confirming a judge on the Second Circuit, based in New York, without allowing “blue slips” from New York’s senators.
  124. On Wednesday, Axios reported the Republican-led Senate Intelligence Committee subpoenaed Donald Jr. to answer questions about his previoustestimony before Senate investigators on the Russia investigation.
  125. This marks the first subpoena of one of Trump’s children. Donald Jr. told the Senate Judiciary Committee in September 2017 he was “peripherally aware” of the Trump Tower Moscow project, which was refuted by Cohen.
  126. On Thursday, Republicans attacked Chair Richard Burr. Sen. Rand Paul tweeted, “Apparently the Republican chair of the Senate Intel Committee didn’t get the memo from the Majority Leader that this case was closed.”
  127. White House acting chief of staff Mick Mulvaney said in an interview, “To subpoena the president’s son and not at least get a heads-up is, let’s say, bad form,” adding Trump and his son are “two different people.”
  128. Burr’s fellow North Carolina senator, Thom Tillis, tweeted, “I agree with Leader McConnell: this case is closed,” after Donald Jr.’s friend Charlie Kirk made a threat to support Tillis’ 2020 primary opponent.
  129. WSJ reported before Majority Leader McConnell’s “case closed” speech, he privately conveyed his displeasure to Burr about the subpoena; although his spokesperson was careful to add McConnell did not direct Burr.
  130. On Thursday, Trump told reporters of the subpoena, “I was very surprised,” adding, “My son’s a very good person. Works very hard.” Trump declined to publicly say if Donald Jr. should fight the subpoena.
  131. On Thursday, Reuters reported that Donald Jr. likely would not comply with the subpoena by invoking his Fifth Amendment rights to avoid self-incrimination.
  132. On Thursday, at her weekly news conference, Speaker Pelosi said she agreed with Nadler the country is in a “constitutional crisis,” citing the regime “has decided that they are not going to honor their oath of office.”
  133. Pelosi said on timing of a full House vote to hold Barr in contempt, “we’ll just see because there may be some other contempt of Congress issues that we might want to deal with at the same time,” referencing McGahn.
  134. On Thursday, Trump backed off from his statement earlier in the week that Mueller should not testify, telling reporters, “I’m going to leave that up to our very great attorney general, and he’ll make a decision on that.”
  135. When reminded by a reporter that Barr has no objections, Trump added, “to me, it looks like a redo,” and changed his statement on obstruction, saying, “no collusion and essentially no obstruction.”
  136. On Thursday, on a CNN Town Hall, former FBI director James Comey said it “sure looks like” Trump would be charged with obstruction of justice and prosecuted if he were not in office, adding “there’s 10 different episodes.”
  137. Shortly after, Trump tweeted, “James Comey is a disgrace to the FBI & will go down as the worst Director in its long and once proud history,” adding, “almost all Republicans & Democrats thought he should be FIRED.”
  138. On Thursday, the judge overseeing the case involving Trump’s lawsuit to fight the House Oversight subpoena to Mazars USA for financial records, put the case on a fast-track with a hearing scheduled for May 14.
  139. On Thursday, Judge Amy Berman Jackson, who is overseeing the case involving Roger Stone, ordered the DOJ to provide her with the unredacted portions of the Mueller report on Stone for her private review.
  140. On Tuesday, Trump hosted anti-immigrant extremist and populist Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban, who like Trump has vilified journalists and fostered tension with the European Union.
  141. Orban joins the long list of leaders previously excluded due to anti-Democratic practices. Trump has also hosted or met with the leaders of Egypt, Turkey, the Philippines, North Korea, China, and Russia.
  142. On Wednesday, WAPO reported Trump is complaining about being misled by national security adviser John Bolton on the U.S.-backed effort to oust Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro with a young opposition figure.
  143. Trump said reportedly in jest that Bolton wants to get him “into a war.” Maduro publicly mocked Trump for attempted a “foolish” coup last week by opposition leader Juan Guaidó. Trump called Maduro a “tough cookie.”
  144. Trump said Bolton has backed him into a corner. Trump said he discussed Venezuela with Russian President Vladimir Putin last week. Russia backs Maduro and has sold him arms.
  145. On Friday, the State Department announced Secretary of State Mike Pompeo will travel to Russia to meet with Putin and Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov next Tuesday. Pompeo also met with Lavrov on May 6.
  146. The meeting comes after Pompeo had a confrontational meeting with British Prime Minister Theresa May on Wednesday, and abruptly canceled his meeting scheduled this week with German Chancellor Angela Merkel.
  147. On Thursday, South Korea said North Korea had launched two short-range missiles, the second launch in the past five days. The launches come two months after Trump’s second summit with Kim Jong Un.
  148. On Thursday, the U.S. seized a North Korean ship, the Wise Honest, which was violating American law and international sanctions by exporting coal. The move was sure to escalate tensions.
  149. On Thursday, the Miami Herald reported the FBI has opened an investigation into whether Li “Cindy” Yang illegally funneled money from China into Trump’s re-election or other campaign-finance violations.
  150. Investigators obtained a grand jury subpoena for records from Bing Bing Peranio, an employee of Yang’s family’s spa, asking for information on a 2018 donation of $5,400 and other contributions made since 2014.
  151. On Friday, Trump raised the tariffs on $200 billion of Chinese goods from 10% to 25%. According to the Trade Partnership Worldwide, the tariff increase will cost the average family of four $767 a year.
  152. China threatened retaliation, as Trump’s trade deal appeared to be falling apart. Despite his campaign promises, Trump has only completed one small trade deal with South Korea in his two years in office.
  153. On Thursday, Trump accused former Obama Secretary of State John Kerry of violating the Logan Act, saying, “John Kerry speaks to them a lot…That’s a violation of the Logan Act,” and added “frankly he should be prosecuted on that.”
  154. Kerry helped craft the 2015 Iran nuclear deal, which Trump exited. This is the first time Trump has publicly acknowledged that he asked members of his regime to look into whether they could prosecute Kerry.
  155. On Thursday, Sen. Kamala Harris demanded in a letter that Barr clarify if Trump or any White House staff have asked him to investigate anyone, after Trump made threats to prosecute Kerry.
  156. On Friday, NYT reported Giuliani was planning to travel to Ukraine to meet with the nation’s president-elect Volodymyr Zelensky, to urge him to pursue investigations that could benefit Trump and help his re-election.
  157. The first is to push Ukraine to open an investigation that would call into question the origin of and seek to discredit the special counsel investigation of Russian interference in the 2016 election.
  158. Trump has claimed Ukrainian officials tried to help Hillary Clinton in 2016 by focusing attention on Paul Manafort’s business in Ukraine. He has also said he would like Barr to review material gathered by Ukrainian prosecutors.
  159. Trump also sought to target a 2020 foe, Joe Biden, by seeking an investigation into his role in stopping a Ukrainian prosecutor from investigating his son Hunter’s ties to a Ukrainian gas company.
  160. Giuliani is working with Victoria Toensing, a lawyer who was named last year, along with her husband, to help Trump in the Mueller investigation, but whose appointment was rescinded due to conflicts of interest.
  161. The couple frequently appear on Fox News and use social media to advance a claim that the Mueller investigation was part of the DOJ efforts to frame Trump. Toensing tweeted “the real collusion began in @Ukraine.”
  162. Giuliani and Toensing have both met with Yuriy Lutsenko, the Ukrainian prosecutor who pushed the investigations, including that Clinton was behind the release of documents on Manafort’s work in Ukraine pre-2014.
  163. Giuliani’s planned trip raised concerns that Trump was pressing a foreign government to help him win reelection, and seeking to discredit the investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election.
  164. On Friday, Trump told Politico it would be “appropriate” for him to speak to Barr about opening an investigation into Joe Biden or his son, adding, “but I have not done that as of yet. … It could be a very big situation.”
  165. Giuliani, who was set to leave Sunday, told Politico of his meeting with Zelensky, “I just want to tell him, ‘Don’t let these crooks talk you out of the investigation. There are real facts there they’ve got to investigate.”
  166. On Friday, Sen. Christopher Murphy sent a letter to the GOP chair of the Foreign Relations Committee asking him to open an investigation into Giuliani’s activities, which he called “private foreign policy engagement.”
  167. Late Friday, Giuliani canceled his trip, saying he was being “set up” by Ukrainians who were critical of his efforts, and by Democrats who said he was meddling in the election, calling it “ridiculous” and “spin.”
  168. On Thursday, a new Reuters/Ipsos poll found support for impeaching Trump is rising: from 40% in mid-April to 45% in the new poll.
  169. On Friday, Chair Nadler told reporters Mueller will not testify May 15 as planned. Nadler declined to give a reason, but said, “He will come at some point. If it’s necessary, we will subpoena him and he will come.”
  170. On Friday, Politico reported some Democrats are reconsidering the idea of impeachment as a means of gaining access to the documents and testimony that the Trump regime is withholding.
  171. On Friday, House Ways and Means Committee Chair Richard Neal issued subpoenas to both IRS Commissioner Charles Rettig and Treasury Secretary Mnuchin for Trump’s tax returns.
  172. Neal gave a deadline of May 17 to turn over six years of returns, or is expected to go to court to enforce his request shortly thereafter. Other committee members have been frustrated with his measured approach.
  173. On Friday, WSJ reported Trump asked White House counsel Emmet Flood to reach out to McGahn within a day of the release of Mueller’s report to Barr to make a public statement defending Trump from obstruction.
  174. Trump wanted McGahn to release a statement saying he did not believe his interactions with Trump, including Trump’s calls for him to fire Mueller, amounted to obstruction of justice.
  175. McGahn declined. William Burck, McGahn’s attorney said in a statement, “We did not perceive it as any kind of threat or something sinister. It was a request, professionally and cordially made.”
  176. NYT also reported White House officials asked McGahn at least twice to publicly declare Trump never obstructed justice. Trump instructed the officials to make the request, and viewed McGahn as disloyal.
  177. One request was made to Burck before the redacted Mueller report was released but after it was given to Barr. McGahn entertained the request, but declined.
  178. A second request was made around the time Rudy Giuliani attacked McGahn’s credibility in April after the Mueller report was released. McGahn’s opinion as a witness does not determine obstruction.
  179. On Friday, CNN’s chief legal analyst Jeffrey Toobin warned that America’s constitutional system “may simply be incapable of responding” to the threat posed by Trump’s defiance of Congress.
  180. Toobin wrote, “The Framers anticipated friction among the three branches of government,” adding, “But the Trump White House has now established a complete blockade against the legislative branch.
  181. On Tuesday, Trump said he wanted to resume fireworks on July 4th over the forest at Mount Rushmore, tweeting: “THE BIG FIREWORKS, after many years of not having any, are coming back.”
  182. On Friday, WAPO reported Trump may take over the Washington DC July 4th celebration, moving the fireworks away from the Mall and tentatively planing to address the nation from the steps of the Lincoln Memorial.
  183. Fireworks on the Mall has been broadcast live on television since 1947. Trump inserting himself raised concerns of turning a non-partisan holiday celebration into a campaign rally.
  184. On Saturday, Trump sent close to 60 tweets in 45 minutes, retweeting praise and affirmation of conservative commentators, Republican lawmakers, conservative websites, and his family.
  185. The topics included Hillary Clinton’s emails, security at the Southern border, the Mueller report, support for Trump’s trade war with China, and criticizing Chair Burr’s decision to subpoena Donald Jr.
  186. Trump also tweeted voters do not care about seeing his tax returns, saying he won in 2016 “partially based on no Tax Returns while I am under audit (which I still am),” adding, “Make it a part of the 2020 Election!”

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Michelle Disher, from Roswell, and others dressed as characters from “The Handmaid’s Tale”, protest outside the Capitol where Georgia’s Republican Gov. Brian Kemp, was to sign legislation, Tuesday, May 7, 2019, in Atlanta, banning abortions once a fetal heartbeat can be detected, which can be as early as six weeks, before many women know they’re pregnant.

POLITIKS OF GRAFFITI 118: LEAKY REGIME

FEBRUARY 09, 2019

Week 117

Experts in authoritarianism advise to keep a list of things
subtly changing around you, so you’ll remember. https://theweeklylist.org/weekly-list/week-117/

This week was filled with news of Congressional inquiries, subpoenas, and investigations, as House committee chairs took the first steps to hold Trump and his regime accountable. Leaks from the regime heightened concerns about a White House rapidly devolving to the Trump Organization, with Trump largely freelancing and acting unilaterally, and taking the advice from a small group of sycophantic insiders.

With the government reopened, Trump delivered an otherwise mundane State of the Union speech, with the most memorable part being his attack on the investigations against him, evoking former President Richard Nixon’s 1974 speech shortly before impeachment proceedings began. Trump continued to push his manufactured crisis at the southern border, sending thousands more troops as he stoked racism and fear.

Other than his State of the Union speech, Trump was relatively quiet in the public sphere this week, with fewer tweets and public comments than his recent more frenetic pace. In addition to the Congressional investigations being launched, more news of subpoenas and investigations of the Trump Organization and its properties surfaced, including the emoluments clause case and inquiries farmed out by the Mueller probe.

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A popular meme making its rounds on the internet this week ~ after that mundane speech…
IMG_3522
A sticker found in Orlando, Florida. 9Feb19. *(sic) familys = families

IMG_3367

IMG_3366
Sing to the tune of Billy Joel’s “Just Like a Woman…” 🙂 
  1. WAPO reported in his 745 days in office, Trump has made 8,459 false or misleading claims. The most frequently repeated claims related to the Russian investigation, trade with China, tax cuts, and immigration.
  2. Morning Consult’s Trump Tracker found Trump had his worst monthly approval rating of his time in office in January, with a record-low 40% saying they approve, while 55% disapprove.
  3. Those who disapprove include 88% of Democrats and 56% of independents. A majority of voters in 27 states said they disapproved of Trump, while a majority in just 12 states saying they approved.
  4. A CNN poll found 7 in 10 say the federal government is doing a bad job of governing, including 43% who say this the worst job of governing in their lifetimes — double the share (21%) after the 1996 shutdown.
  5. On Saturday, Trump tapped Ronny Jackson to receive a promotion and become his top medical adviser, even though Jackson is still under investigation by the Pentagon after his derailed VA secretary nomination.
  6. It was unclear if the Senate Armed Services Committee would act on Jackson’s promotion nomination to become a two-star admiral while the investigations into mismanagement and misconduct are still ongoing.
  7. On Saturday, TIME reported several senior intelligence briefers broke two years of silence to warn that Trump is endangering American security with what they say is a stubborn disregard for their assessments.
  8. The briefers described Trump’s “willful ignorance,” as well as their attempts to keep his attention by using visual aids, shortening briefings points to two or three sentences, and repeating his name and title.
  9. Briefers said Trump reacts with anger when given information that contradicts positions he has taken or his beliefs. Officials were warned to avoid giving intelligence assessments that contradict his public stances.
  10. Briefers gave examples of Trump misidentifying Nepal and Bhutan as being part of India, and of the island Diego Garcia, home to a Naval Support Facility, Trump asked “are the people nice, and are the beaches good?”
  11. Trump has also ignored warning by intelligence on North Korea, including officials trying to get his attention by building a miniature version of a facility with New York’s Statue of Liberty to scale to show him the size.
  12. On Sunday, in an interview with CBS’ “Face the Nation,” Trump renewed his pledge to withdraw troops from Syria and Afghanistan, and repeated his claim that James Mattis “resigned because I asked him to resign.”
  13. Trump said there is “very little ISIS and you have the caliphate almost knocked out,” adding “we’re at 99 percent now” — in stark contrast to Senate testimony by top U.S. Intelligence officials in Week 116.
  14. The rest of the interview aired before the Super Bowl. Trump said NFL ratings were now “terrific” because players were not kneeling and the league was not battling him. Ratings for the game hit a 10-year low.
  15. Trump said of the intelligence chiefs, “I have intel people, but that doesn’t mean I have to agree,” and cited intelligence failures leading up to the Iraq War. Trump typically gets just three intelligence briefings each week.
  16. Trump also declined to say if the Mueller report should be made public, saying he will defer to the Justice Department: “That’s up to the attorney general. I don’t know. It depends. I have no idea what it’s going to say.”
  17. Trump called the Mueller probe “a total witch hunt,” adding, “it doesn’t implicate me in any way. There was no collusion. There was no obstruction,” and, “I think it’s a disgrace.”
  18. When asked about the 34 indictments, Trump said none of the charges were related to him, saying “many” of the Russians charged “were bloggers from Moscow or they were people that had nothing to do with me.”
  19. Trump also said House Speaker Nancy Pelosi is “very rigid,” and said of another government shutdown in 12 days when the extension runs out, “I don’t take anything off the table.”
  20. Amid Super Bowl commercials, WAPO featured an ad titled “Democracy Dies in Darkness” on the importance of the free press, saying, “Because knowing empowers us. Knowing helps us decide. Knowing keeps us free.”
  21. On Sunday, Axios reported that leaked copies of Trump’s private schedules for nearly every working day since the midterms show Trump spent around 60% of the last three months in “Executive Time.”
  22. The schedules revealed Trump spends his mornings in the residence, watching TV, reading the papers, and responding by phoning aides, Congressional allies, friends, regime officials, and informal advisers.
  23. Trump’s first meeting is typically at 11 or 11:30 a.m. Since midterms, he has spent 297 hours in Executive Time and 77 hours in meetings that included policy planning, legislative strategy, and video recordings.
  24. Presidential historians said there is no precedent for this type of schedule. Press secretary Sarah Sanders said, “Trump has a different leadership style than his predecessors and the results speak for themselves.”
  25. Axios reported the leak of Trump’s schedule left the White House rattled and set off internal finger-pointingand accusations of weaponizing Trump’s schedule.
  26. On Sunday, WAPO reported Trump is at a watershed moment of his time in office, facing a crossroads as Democrats take control of the House, and he finds himself at odds with intelligence officials and some GOP senators.
  27. White House aides describe a chaotic, freewheeling atmosphere reminiscent of Trump’s early weeks in office. Jared Kushner is acting as a de facto chief of staff as Trump remains unchecked and isolated.
  28. Mick Mulvaney, the acting chief of staff, has said he is trying to manage the staff but not Trump, and meets with Trump just twice a day. Trump is increasingly operating the White House like a family-owned business.
  29. On Monday, a Gallup poll found 60% of Americans oppose new construction on the border, up from 57% in June. The poll also found 81% support a path to citizenship for immigrants in the U.S. illegally.
  30. On Sunday, She’yaa Bin Abraham-Joseph, the rapper known as 21 Savage, was arrested by ICE “during a targeted operation with federal and local law enforcement partners.” An ICE spokesperson claimed he is a felon.
  31. 21 Savage arrived from the U.K. at age of seven, making him akin to a “Dreamer.” 21 Savage’s legal team said he is not a convicted felon, which would disqualify him, and that ICE “provided incorrect information.”
  32. In Virginia, Governor Ralph Northam said he had no plans to resign in the wake of a blackface scandal, while Lt. Gov Justin Fairfax faced two accusations of sexual assault, and AG Mark Herring admitted to wearing blackface at a party decades ago.
  33. On Thursday, Trump tweeted, “Democrats at the top are killing the Great State of Virginia,” adding, “if the three failing pols were Republicans, far stronger action would be taken.”
  34. On Thursday, GOP Rep. Steve King, who recently drew criticism for overt racism and xenophobia, reintroduced legislation that would make English the official language of the U.S.
  35. On Friday, a video of a June speech by Trump supporter Candace Owens surfaced in which she seemed to defend Hitler, calling him a “national socialist,” and adding he “just wanted to make Germany great.”
  36. Cindy McCain apologized after claiming she stopped a case of human trafficking at the Phoenix airport saying “something didn’t click.” Police found no evidence of wrongdoing, rather it was a mixed-race family.
  37. On Wednesday, luxury brand Gucci said it would stop selling a $890 sweater that resembles blackface, and in a statement said it “deeply apologizes for the offense caused.”
  38. The NAACP Legal Defense Fund demanded an apology from a school district in Binghamton, New York, after AP reported that four 12-year-old female students said they were strip searched for drugs at school.
  39. On Wednesday, Virginia police sergeant Robert Stamm was suspended after being identified by an anti-fascist group as having an “affinity with white nationalist groups,” including tattoos, flags, and banners.
  40. On Thursday, by a 5-4 vote, the Supreme Court blocked Louisiana from enforcing a law that women’s advocacy groups said would leave only a single doctor legally allowed to perform abortions in the state.
  41. Chief Justice John Roberts, who has voiced concern about maintaining the integrity of the nation’s highest court after Kavanaugh’s confirmation process, voted with the court’s liberal members.
  42. Justice Kavanaugh filed a dissent, writing only for himself, saying he would have allowed the law to go into effect and see if it imposed a burden on women.
  43. WAPO reported despite allegations of ballot tampering in North Carolina’s 9th district, the Trump regime is focused instead on prosecution of non-citizens for alleged voter fraud.
  44. Twenty immigrants were rounded up in August 2018 over several days for illegally voting in 2016, one of the most aggressive voting-fraud crackdowns by a Trump-appointed prosecutor, Robert Higdon Jr.
  45. Higdon also issued subpoenas for millions of records of foreign-born voters in August. All but one of the 20 arrested are legal residents, and just five defendants received minimal fines or mis­demeanor convictions.
  46. The crackdown in North Carolina comes as Trump and other Republicans attempt to portray illegal voting as a widespread phenomenon that threatens the integrity of American elections.
  47. On Monday, the ACLU and other civil rights groups sued Texas officials and five county elections administrators over an advisory urging counties to review the citizenship status of thousands of flagged voters.
  48. The lawsuit claims Texas officials knew the list was flawed, including the names of naturalized citizens who are eligible to vote, and called the advisory “a thinly veiled attempt to decrease minority voter participation.”
  49. On Sunday, the Pentagon deployed an additional 3,750 troops to the southern border to help install wire barriers and monitor crossings, bringing the total number of active-duty troops there to around 6,000.
  50. On Sunday, Trump tweeted “with Caravans marching through Mexico and toward our Country, Republicans must be prepared to do whatever is necessary,” adding, “if there is no Wall, there is no Security.”
  51. On Tuesday, Trump tweeted about the troops, saying, “tremendous numbers of people are coming up through Mexico in the hopes of flooding our Southern Border,” adding, “We will build a Human Wall if necessary.
  52. On Tuesday, Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham, the newly-elected Democratic governor of New Mexico, ordered the withdrawal of the majority of the state’s National Guard troops from the U.S.-Mexico border.
  53. The announcement was made shortly before the SOTU. Lujan Grisham said, “New Mexico will not take part in the president’s charade of border fear-mongering by misusing our diligent National Guard troops.”
  54. On Wednesday, NBC News reported Customs and Border Protection officials in Eagle Pass, Texas will let in just 20 migrants per day, after a caravan of 1,800 arrived, a process referred to as metering.
  55. On Thursday, Commander Jonathan White, a senior Health and Human Services official, told a House oversight subcommittee he raised concerns about separating families before “zero tolerance” was announced.
  56. White’s concerns included the policy would be “inconsistent with our legal requirement to act in the best interest of the child” and expose them to unnecessary harm, and it would exceed the capacity of the program.
  57. White said he shared his concerns with then-director of the Office of Refugee Resettlement Scott Lloyd, adding, “Neither I nor any career person in (the ORR) would ever have supported such a policy proposal.”
  58. On Monday, AP reported Belarusian model Anastasia Vashukevich, who had claimed to have information on ties between Russians and Trump’s campaign, said she has turned over the information to Oleg Deripaska.
  59. On Monday, BuzzFeed reported Rinat Akhmetshin, a Soviet military officer turned Washington lobbyist, received half a million dollars in suspicious payments before and after attending the June 9 Trump Tower meeting.
  60. Akhmetshin received a wire transfer of $100,000 from Denis Katsyv, owner of Prevezon Holdings, and $52,000 from a foundation funded by Katsyv and other wealthy Russians to try to undermine the Magnitsky Act.
  61. On Monday, ABC News reported prosecutors from the Southern District of New York public corruption section have subpoenaed documents from Trump’s inauguration committee.
  62. Prosecutors are seeking documents and records on the inauguration committee’s donors, and information on attendees at inauguration events including benefits to top-level donors.
  63. Prosecutors also subpoenaed the committee on its communications with California money-manager Imaad Zuberi and his company, Avenue Ventures. Zuberi is the only person named in the subpoena.
  64. Zuberi has largely donated to Democrats in the past, including Hillary Clinton and former President Obama. Records show Avenue Ventures donated $900,000 to the inaugural committee.
  65. The subpoena also requested records of vendors and contractors, including communications with payment-processing company Stripe. Jared Kushner’s brother Josh’s venture capital firm is a major investor in Stripe.
  66. On Tuesday, Rudy Giuliani said Trump “had little to no involvement in the inaugural committee.” Press secretary Sarah Sanders called it “hysteria,” adding, “anything to try to create and tie problems to this president.”
  67. On Friday, WNYC and ProPublica reported on evidence of potential tax law violations of self-dealing by Trump’s inaugural committee which spent at least $1.5 million at Trump Hotel DC around his inauguration.
  68. Evidence show that the nonprofit 58th Presidential Inaugural Committee paid $175,000 per day for event space, despite internal objections at the time that the rate was too high.
  69. Tom Barrack, the inauguration committee’s chair, also had a stake in Trump Hotel DC. Tax law prohibits nonprofits from paying inflated prices to entities owned by people who also control or influence its activities.
  70. On Monday, the Times of London reported prosecutors in Maryland have subpoenaed financial documents from the trust that owns the Trump Hotel DC and his golf resort in Turnberry, Scotland, in the emoluments case.
  71. Newsweek reported the Maryland attorney general has also subpoenaed Donald Jr., who is a trustee of the Trump Organization, and Allen Weisselberg, the organization’s financial officer.
  72. During his January 2018 testimony before the House Intelligence Committee, Glenn Simpson, co-founder of Fusion GPS, said Trump’s Scotland golf courses were used to funnel money from unknown sources.
  73. On Tuesday, NYT reported SDNY prosecutors are also investigating firms recruited by Paul Manafort over the flow of foreign money — another investigation spun off from the Mueller probe.
  74. The firms being investigated for payments to help improve the image of the Russia-aligned president of Ukraine include Mercury Public Affairs, the Podesta Group and Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom.
  75. On Tuesday, BuzzFeed reported on a cache of Trump Organization internal documents which reveal efforts to build Trump Tower Moscow was a long-running, detail-oriented undertaking.
  76. Documents show Michael Cohen and Felix Sater worked with Trump Organization lawyers and Ivanka to push forward negotiations while Trump was on the campaign trail, often praising Putin at key deal junctures.
  77. On Friday, Ivanka told “Good Morning America” that she knew “literally almost nothing” about the Trump Tower Moscow project, adding, “we were an active business.”
  78. Ivanka also said of the project, “there was never a binding contract. I never talked to the — with a third party outside of the organization about it. It was one of — I mean we could have had 40 or 50 deals like that.”
  79. Ivanka downplayed doing business with Russia: “It’s not like it’s a strange thing, as a hospitality company or a development company, to have a hotel or a property in Russia. We’re not talking about Iran.”
  80. On Wednesday, CNN reported the Manhattan U.S. Attorney’s office is seeking interviews with executives from the Trump Organization. The specific inquiry and topics was not yet clear.
  81. The investigation is in addition to the cases against Cohen and investigation of the inaugural committee, andmay pose more threat to Trump, his family, and allies after the Mueller investigation and his time in office.
  82. On Wednesday, House Intelligence Committee chair Adam Schiff announced “in the interests of the investigation” Michael Cohen’s testimony scheduled for February 7 will be postponed to February 28.
  83. On Wednesday, a spokesperson for the special counsel said prosecutor Scott Meisler left the probe in December, but remains active in cases he is involved in — indicating the Mueller probe could be nearing its conclusion.
  84. On Wednesday, Paul Erickson, a GOP political operative and boyfriend of Maria Butina, was indicted in South Dakota on charges of wire fraud and money laundering — separate from the Mueller’s case against Butina.
  85. On Thursday, a federal judge in New York ordered the government to submit redacted search warrants on the Cohen raid in April, saying the redactions are necessary because “aspects” of the investigation continue.
  86. In keeping names confidential, federal prosecutors told the judge some individuals in the materials are cooperating, and others are subjects of the investigation into campaign finance crimes.
  87. On Monday, Politico reported Trump is expected to name Treasury Department official David Malpass to run the World Bank. Malpass has been a vocal critic of the bank, and is expected to rein in its work.
  88. On Monday, Trump ally Sen. Lindsey Graham warned Republicans to back Trump if he declares a national emergency to fund his wall, saying, “This is about more than a barrier. This is about us as a party.”
  89. Roll Call reported that the first Monday in the month of February was the legal deadline for submitting a president’s budget fiscal 2020 budget request to Congress. Trump ignored the law established in 1990.
  90. On Wednesday, the Miami Herald reported the DOJ opened an investigation into Secretary of Labor Alex Acosta’s role in negotiating a plea deal with Jeffrey Epstein over an accusation of molesting underage girls.
  91. The probe was opened at the request of GOP Sen. Ben Sasse. Epstein is known to have many powerful friends, including Trump, Bill Clinton, and lawyer Alan Dershowitz, who often defends Trump in the media.
  92. On Wednesday, the Trump regime announced it will roll back Obama-era restrictions requiring payday and vehicle title lenders to make an effort to find out whether borrowers could afford to pay them back before lending.
  93. The effort of rescinding the requirement on the lenders, whose lending practices are thought by many experts to be predatory, came as Mick Mulvaney took over as head of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.
  94. WAPO updated reporting to show T-Mobile executives seeking merger approval booked at least 52 nights at Trump Hotel DC. Sen. Elizabeth Warren and Rep. Pramila Jayapal issued letters demanding information.
  95. On Friday, ABC News reported Trump’s 2020 campaign has paid nearly $100,000 of donor money to law firm representing Jared Kushner, according to campaign finance records.
  96. Payments of $55,330 and $42,574 were made to Winston & Strawn, the firm Kushner attorney Abbe Lowell joined in May 2018. Contributions of $200 or less made up 98.5% of funds raised by the campaign last quarter.
  97. On Tuesday, 30 minutes before the State of the Union, the Trump campaign sent out a text message to supporters soliciting donations in exchange for having their name appear on a special livestream.
  98. Despite his expected call for unity, ahead of the speech Trump dismissed former Vice President Joseph Biden as “dumb,” and tweeted Sen. Chuck Schumer is “upset that he didn’t win the Senate, after spending a fortune.”
  99. Trump also told reporters “I hope I haven’t wounded Pocahontas too badly,” saying he would like to run against Sen. Warren, and said of Virginia Governor Ralph Northam, “he choked like a dog” at his press conference.
  100. Trump also recounted how he felt betrayed by deceased Sen. John McCain voting against a measure to repeal the Affordable Care Act, adding “by the way, he wrote a book and the book bombed.”
  101. Women in the House wore white to the SOTU. Rep. Lois Frankel called it a “sea of #Suffragette white,” sending the message House Democratic women “are fighting for the economic security of women & families.”
  102. Congresswomen wore white to Trump’s SOTU in 2017, and black in 2018 in solidarity with the #MeToo movement. But the sheer mass of 89 women in 2019 made a statement. Tiffany Trump also wore white.
  103. Trump delivered an hour and 21 minute SOTU, the third longest, in what was billed as a “unifying” speech, and billed as the theme “Choosing Greatness.” The speech was delayed due to the government shutdown.
  104. Trump’s speech was packed with false and misleading claims, and dubious figures related to the economy, trade, immigration, and foreign policy, many of which Trump has repeatedly used.
  105. Trump, reading his speech from a teleprompter said, “An economic miracle is taking place in the United States — and the only thing that can stop it are foolish wars, politics, or ridiculous partisan investigations.”
  106. Trump then added, “If there is going to be peace and legislation, there cannot be war and investigation. It just doesn’t work that way.” Democrats reacted with dismay and outrage. Republicans were subdued.
  107. Trump remarks echoed Richard Nixon in his 1974 SOTU: “I believe the time has come to bring that investigation and the other investigations of this matter to an end,” shortly before impeachment proceedings began.
  108. Speaker Pelosi displayed vivid responses to Trump’s speech with gestures, shaking her head in disagreement, and giving a visible look of disbelief over Trump’s comments on “politics or ridiculous partisan investigations.”
  109. Pelosi also frequently checked the written copy of Trump’s speech as he spoke, and on two occasions calmed her caucus’ reaction by raising her hand. Democrats remained polite and disciplined throughout the speech.
  110. On Wednesday, in the first act under the leadership of Rep. Adam Schiff, the House Intelligence Committee voted to send Mueller unredacted transcripts of more than 50 witness interviews in the Russia probe.
  111. Democrats said the testimony will allow Mueller’ team to determine whether perjury charges are warranted, and include testimony of Steve Bannon, Hope Hicks, Corey Lewandowski, Donald Jr., and Jared Kushner.
  112. Schiff told reporters the committee’s work would expand to include any “foreign actors” who might have worked to influence Trump, his family or associates, or to impede any investigations.
  113. The committee will also look at Trump’s foreign policy and whether he, his family, and his advisers “are or were at any time at heightened risk of” foreign “exploitation, inducement, manipulation, pressure or coercion.”
  114. On Wednesday, Trump told reporters that Schiff is “just a political hack,” adding, “he’s trying to build a name for himself,” and “no other politician has to go through that. It’s called presidential harassment.”
  115. On Thursday, CNN reported Schiff has hired officials with experience at the National Security Council to help with oversight of the Trump regime. It is unclear if the officials worked for Trump, but the move enraged him.
  116. On Thursday, in a series of early morning tweets, Trump said, “the Dems and their committees are going ‘nuts’,” adding committee heads are “even stealing people who work at White House! A continuation of Witch Hunt!”
  117. CNN reported when a regime official was asked about Trump’s tweet about “stealing people who work at White House,” the official responded to reporters, “ask Adam Schiff what that means.”
  118. Trump also tweeted, “So now Congressman Adam Schiff announces…he is going to be looking at every aspect of my life, both financial and personal,” adding, “Never happened before! Unlimited Presidential Harassment…”
  119. Trump sent a third tweet on the matter at 7:37 a.m. EST, saying, “PRESIDENTIAL HARASSMENT! It should never be allowed to happen again!”
  120. On Wednesday, Politico reported House Financial Services Chair Maxine Waters and Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin are in conversation about his testifying about lifting sanctions of Oleg Deripaska’s companies.
  121. Waters called for Mnuchin to testify after his department failed to turn over documents requested by Democrats by the deadline on Tuesday.
  122. On Thursday, at the National Prayer Breakfast, Trump told the crowd, “I will never let you down,” then shifted and made an apparent gaffe, celebrating the “abolition of civil rights.”
  123. Trump praised Second Lady Karen Pence, saying “she just went back to teaching art classes at a Christian school,” calling her a “terrific woman.” The school openly discriminates against LGBTQ students and staff.
  124. On Thursday, acting attorney general Matthew Whitaker said he would not appear before the House Judiciary Committee as scheduled Friday unless committee Democrats gave him assurances he would not be subpoenaed.
  125. In the early evening, chair Rep. Jerrold Nadler sent a letter to Whitaker, saying the committee would not make that promise and “there will be no need for a subpoena” if Whitaker answers lawmakers’ questions.
  126. After negotiations, Whitaker said he would appear on Friday, and Nadler agreed that no subpoena would be issued Thursday or Friday, after a day of back and forth public bickering between Democrats and the DOJ.
  127. On Thursday, a House Ways and Means Committee panel brought in several experts in tax law to begin hearings to lay the groundwork for a potential request to obtain Trump’s tax returns.
  128. The subcommittee discussed a provision which would compel presidential candidates to release 10 years of tax returns within 30 days of garnering their party’s nomination. Republicans oppose the measure.
  129. Since the 1970s, every president has released at least one-year of tax returns. Trump claimed he cannot release his returns because they are being audited, and that they are “extremely complex.”
  130. On Thursday, a CNN poll found that 87% of Americans believe Mueller’s investigators should release a full, public report — just 9% believe they should not. Republicans agree, with 80% calling for the release.
  131. On Thursday, CBS News reported Senate Intelligence Committee chair Richard Burr said two years in, its Russia investigation is broader, and perhaps more consequential, than people thought it would be.
  132. Burr said the committee started off with investigating the 2016 election, but came to a “better understanding of what happened and how coordinated and organized the effort was.
  133. Burr also said because of access to intelligence product “we’ve interviewed people that I don’t even know if the special counsel knows about them,” and said their product will cover well beyond the 2016 election.
  134. Burr also said access “gave us tremendous insight to know when somebody was lying to us,” adding that the committee had “not been shy” in referring individuals for criminal prosecution.
  135. Burr also said based on the evidence to date, including interviewing more than 200 witnesses and 300,000 documents, “we don’t have anything that would suggest there was collusion by the Trump campaign and Russia.”
  136. Burr said the committee is close to releasing a report on the Obama administration’s response to Russian interference, but that the rest could occupy the committee for decades, and much of it kept confidential.
  137. On Thursday, Trump tweeted, “highly respected Senator Richard Burr” said today that “ after an almost two year investigation, he saw no evidence of Russia collusion,” adding, “Thank you!”
  138. On Friday, Trump tweeted, “the mainstream media has refused to cover the fact that the head of the VERY important Senate Intelligence Committee” […] “just stated that they have found NO COLLUSION between “Trump” & Russia.”
  139. Trump also tweeted, “it is all a GIANT AND ILLEGAL HOAX” used as an excuse “as to why Crooked Hillary Clinton lost the Election.”
  140. Trump also tweeted, “someday the Fake News Media will turn honest & report that Donald J. Trump was actually a GREAT Candidate,” and then tweeted a 50% approval rating by conservative pollster Rasmussen polls.
  141. On Thursday, NYT reported U.S. intelligence agencies intercepted a conversation of Saudi crown prince MBS telling a top aide in 2017 that he would use a “bullet” on journalist Jamal Khashoggi.
  142. On Thursday, a United Nations-led inquiry into the Khashoggi’s murder found the “brutal and premeditated killing” was “planned and perpetrated by officials of the state of Saudi Arabia.”
  143. On Thursday, a bipartisan group of senators introduced the Saudi Arabia Accountability and Yemen Act, which would impose sanctions on those responsible for Khashoggi’s death and prohibit the sale of some weapons.
  144. On Friday, CNN reported Trump refused to meet a legal requirement to send Congress a report due that day on whether crown prince MBS was responsible for the killing of Khashoggi.
  145. A spokesperson for the White House told CNN that Trump “maintains his discretion to decline to act on congressional committee requests when appropriate.” The refusal is likely to anger members of both parties.
  146. On Thursday, in a blog post on Medium, Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos accused American Media Inc, the publisher of the National Enquirer, of attempting to extort him over leaked naked photos. Bezos published AMI emails.
  147. Bezos’ blog post insinuates AMI, whose owner is Trump ally David Pecker, may have been politically motivated because of his ownership of WAPO, which had recapped AMI’s “catch and kill” practices.
  148. Bezos hinted at a Saudi connection: “an AMI leader advised us that Mr. Pecker is ‘apoplectic’ about our investigation. For reasons still to be better understood, the Saudi angle seems to hit a particularly sensitive nerve.”
  149. On Thursday, Ronan Farrow tweeted that he “and at least one other prominent journalist involved in breaking stories about the National Enquirer’s arrangement with Trump” received blackmail threats.
  150. Farrow, who reported on the Enquirer’s “catch and kill” practice that benefited Trump during the 2016 presidential campaign, also tweeted he was told “stop digging or we’ll ruin you.”
  151. In response to Farrow, Associated Press editor Ted Bridis tweeted AP was warned “AMI had hired private investigators to dig into backgrounds” of AP journalists who were reporting “on tabloid’s work on behalf of Trump.
  152. On Friday, AMI said in a statement that it “acted lawfully in the reporting of the story” and “was in good faithnegotiations to resolve all matters with him,” but said it would thoroughly investigate the extortion claims.
  153. On Friday, AP reported federal prosecutors in the SDNY are investigating whether AMI violated an earlier cooperation agreement with its handling of the story on Bezos.
  154. On Friday, a White House spokesperson said he “wasn’t sure” if Trump was aware of the situation between Bezos and Pecker, adding he was “not aware” of the last time Trump spoke to Pecker.
  155. On Thursday, WAPO reported the government reopening is off to a rocky start as thousands of federal employees experienced delays or received incorrect amounts in their paychecks.
  156. The mood is described as subdued, with workers fatigued and demoralized. Private contractors have not been paid for invoices, and some had bureaucratic hurdles as contracts expired during the shutdown.
  157. On Friday, in a combative six-hour publicly televised hearing, acting attorney general Whitaker testifiedbefore the House in what likely will be his last appearance before William Barr is expected to be confirmed.
  158. Daily Beast reported Whitaker went through extensive preparation, including multiple practice committee hearings. Sources said, “They hate this guy so much,” and “We don’t know what they’re going to do.”
  159. Whitaker largely avoided answering questions, was an unsteady witness and often belligerent and rude to members of Congress, seeming to performing for an audience of one: Trump.
  160. Whitaker monitored the clock closely, at one point jabbing the committee chair Rep. Nadler, saying, “Mr. Chairman, I see that your five minutes is up,” resulting in gasps and laughs from the audience.
  161. Whitaker said he has not influenced the Mueller probe in any way, nor spoken to Trump about it since his appointment. Whitaker added he had not discussed the probe with other White House officials.
  162. Whitaker refused to disagree with Trump’s characterization of the probe as a “witch hunt,” instead frequently repeating the line, “It would be inappropriate for me to talk about an ongoing investigation.”
  163. When asked about speaking with Trump on other investigations, Whitaker hedged, saying “I am not going to discuss my private conversations with the president of the United States. No matter what the question is.”
  164. He also refused to answer questions about whether he had approved investigative steps in the Mueller probe, and whether he had been briefed on the probe, and if so, how often.
  165. Whitaker said the DOJ believes a sitting president cannot be indicted, saying, “That is still the policy of the Department of Justice.”
  166. In an exchange with Rep. Madeleine Dean, Whitaker seemed to contradict himself on how he was notified by Trump of getting the job, saying it was by Trump’s tweet, then by a phone call, then said he could not recall.
  167. On Friday, House Veterans Affairs Committee Chair Mark Takano said his committee is opening an investigation of three member of Trump’s Mar-a-Lago who have had outsized influence in the Veterans Affairs.
  168. Takano requested documents from Ike Perlmutter, Bruce Moskowitz, and Marc Sherman, and their companies, of contacts with current or former VA officials.
  169. On Friday, Trump underwent his second annual physical while in office. Although this week he brought Ronny Jackson back to his staff, it was conducted by Dr. Sean Conley, a Navy officer.
  170. Details were sparse. Conley said Trump is in “very good health,” and that “reports and recommendations are being finalized,” but did not say when or if they would be publicly released.
  171. The physical was the only thing on Trump’s Friday schedule. When asked by reporters, a White House spokesperson did not explain why or how Trump was tweeting during his physical.
  172. On Friday, Trump confirmed a second summit with Kim Jong Un, tweeting, “my representatives have just left North Korea after a very productive meeting.” The summit will take place in Hanoi on February 27 and 28.
  173. Trump also tweeted, “North Korea, under the leadership of Kim Jong Un, will become a great Economic Powerhouse,” adding, “I have gotten to know him & fully understand how capable he is.”
  174. Trump has continued to ignore and dispute evidence from experts and U.S. intelligence officials that North Korea’s compliance in talks is no more than smoke and mirrors, as their nuclear build-up continues.
  175. On Saturday, Trump reacted to oversight for the first time this week by House Democrats, tweeting, “the Democrats in Congress yesterday were vicious and totally showed their cards for everyone to see.”
  176. Trump also tweeted, “When the Republicans had the Majority they never acted with such hatred and scorn!” — this is false. Trump also claimed if Democrats were still in power “the U.S. would be in a Depression.”
  177. Trump also again raised the specter of voter fraud, tweeting: “The Dems are trying to win an election in 2020 that they know they cannot legitimately win!”

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Vice President Mike Pence and Speaker Nancy Pelosi behind Trump at the State of the Union on February 5, 2019 in Washington, DC. After President Trump said “we must reject the politics of revenge, resistance, and retribution — and embrace the boundless potential of cooperation, compromise, and the common good,” Pelosi looked at Trump, he turned around, and she clapped in a sarcastic manner, which went viral.

POLITIKS OF GRAFFITI 113: THE TRAITOR HAS A “PELOSI PROBLEM” NOW

JANUARY 05, 2019

Week 112

 Experts in authoritarianism advise to keep a list of things
subtly changing around you, so you’ll remember. https://theweeklylist.org/weekly-list/week-112/

Here are my political art finds paired with activist Amy Siskind’s weekly list of what’s happening in politics in our country. For more information, please click the link to her page above. 

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By artist, LEAF, in New York City. Jan 2019. (not my photo)

This week, for the first time since he took office, Trump faced a check on his power as the 116th Congress was sworn in. As House Speaker Nancy Pelosi took back the gavel, she made clear she will take Trump on, telling the Times she considers herself Trump’s equal, and the “TODAY” show that Trump can be indicted while in office. The 116th Congress, the most diverse by race, religion, and gender — on the Democratic side — stood in sharp contrast to Trump, who increasingly surrounds himself with rooms full of white men.

The government shutdown passed three weeks, with no end in sight, as Trump dug in his heels and Pelosi’s House voted to reopen the government without any funding for his wall. As the shutdown’s impact was increasingly felt across the country, including unpaid essential TSA workers calling in sick at four major airports, reporting indicated the Trump regime had not planned for or anticipated a long-term shutdown, and is caught flat-footed. Trump’s lack of empathy for those impacted by the shutdown, and threat to call a national emergency, further belied his autocratic tendencies.

Trump held a bizarre cabinet meeting in which he rambled on for 95 minutes, full of lies, revisionist history and self-aggrandizement — as his cabinet members took turns praising him. Although displays like this in his first year would be the topic of discussion for days, there was a notably shorter focus and reaction to the spectacle, as if truly we are the frogs in water close to boil. The federal grand jury seated in Washington D.C. for the Mueller probe was extended for an additional six months, as the 18 month mark passed.

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Photo: Pascal Doytier. Miami, Florida. End of December 2018.
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Shared by Hunter Schwarz on IG. This was spotted on the window of Trump Tower, Chicago. 
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Wynwood, Miami, Florida. December 2018. 
  1. The International Federation of Journalists, an international trade association, said in its annual report 94 journalists and media workers died in 2018, 12 more than 2017, after declining for the last six years.
  2. Reporters Without Borders also found journalists faced an “unprecedented level of hostility” in 2018. The group blamed politicians and public figures for encouraging disdain for the news media.
  3. In 2018, 348 reporters were detained, 60 held hostage, 3 missing, and 80 were killed. Of those killed, 61% were murdered or deliberately targeted for their reporting, while 39% were killed while reporting.
  4. Also in 2018, for the first time the U.S. joined the list of the deadliest countries for journalists, with six killed, including the four murdered at the Capital Gazette newspaper in Annapolis, Maryland in Week 85.
  5. On Saturday, a server outage caused by a malware attack which originated from outside the U.S. disrupted deliveries of the LA Times and other newspapers across the country.
  6. On Saturday, CNET reported CenturyLink customers, including those trying to reach 911 emergency service, experienced outages which dragged on for two days. FCC Chairman Ajit Pai called for an investigation.
  7. On Saturday, at 10:01 p.m., Trump tweeted “Absolutely nothing” (on Russian Collusion). Kimberley Strassel, The Wall Street Journal,” adding, “The only Russian Collusion was with Hillary and the Democrats!”
  8. Trump also quoted Fox News co-host Jesse Watters, tweeting, “the FBI, under President Obama, rigged the investigation for Hillary and really turned the screws on Trump,” adding, “Whole Hoax exposed.”
  9. On Sunday, in an interview with the LA Times, departing chief of staff John Kelly painted a dim portrait of Trump, saying his tenure would be best measured by what he stopped Trump from doing.
  10. Kelly also said Trump never told him to do anything illegal, and that Trump “was fully informed on the impact” of every decision he made. Kelly has opposed withdrawing from Syria and Afghanistan.
  11. Kelly admitted that he was not consulted when he served as secretary of homeland security about Trump’s Muslim Ban, saying “I had very little opportunity to look at them” before the orders were issued.
  12. Kelly also tried to distance himself from Trump’s zero-tolerance policy, saying “What happened was Jeff Sessions — he was the one that instituted the zero-tolerance process on the border,” adding, “He surprised us.”
  13. Kelly also said Trump has backed away from the idea of a solid concrete wall long ago, saying Trump “still says ‘wall’ — oftentimes frankly he’ll say ‘barrier’ or ‘fencing,’ now he’s tended toward steel slats.”
  14. Yahoo News reported that with continued White House resignations, Trump has increasingly turned to Stephen Miller to be the public face with the media. Several called Miller’s reemergence a “public relations catastrophe.”
  15. Miller’s reemergence also comes as the White House press operation retreats. Since December 19, the communications team has ceased basic tasks like daily press briefings and distributing Trump’s public schedule.
  16. According to data compiled by The American Presidency Project at the University of California at Santa Barbara, press secretary Sarah Sanders has slowed daily press briefings down to just one per month recently.
  17. WAPO reported that increasingly Trump’s White House has no response to inquiries. Instead of the typical “no comment” response from prior administrations, the Trump regime simply does not answer inquiries at all.
  18. The White House has also stopped explaining or seeking to clarify Trump’s tweets, like the one on Christmas Eve day that he “just gave out a 115 mile long contract.” No response was given inquiries on multiple tweets.
  19. On Sunday, arguing for his wall, Trump tweeted, “President and Mrs. Obama built/has a ten foot Wall around their D.C. mansion/compound…the U.S. needs the same thing.” The Obamas do not have a ten foot wall.
  20. On Monday, New Year’s Eve, Trump sent a total of 13 tweets. Trump attacked critics of his decision towithdraw from Syria as “failed generals” and complained about coverage by the “Fake News Media.”
  21. Trump also tweeted, “I’m in the Oval Office. Democrats, come back from vacation now” to discuss his border wall. Politico reported there was no Marine posted outside the West Wing, meaning Trump was not in the Oval Office.
  22. Trump also tweeted, “It’s incredible how Democrats can all use their ridiculous sound bite and say that a Wall doesn’t work,” adding “They now say it is immoral- but it is far more immoral for people to be dying!”
  23. Trump also falsely claimed in a tweet, “MEXICO IS PAYING FOR THE WALL through the many billions of dollars a year that the U.S.A. is saving through the new Trade Deal.”
  24. Trump also tweeted “without the Wall there can be no Border Security.” He added, “Throughout the ages some things NEVER get better and NEVER change. You have Walls and you have Wheels.”
  25. On Monday, the U.S. stock markets closed out 2018, posting its worst performance in a decade, as the Dow Jones Industrial Average and Standard & Poor’s 500 were down 6.2%.
  26. On Monday, the U.S. Strategic Command deleted a tweet which noted the “big” Times Square ball drop celebration at midnight, and joked “if ever needed, we are #ready to drop something much, much bigger.”
  27. In a follow-up tweet, U.S. Strategic Command, a government account, apologized: “Our previous NYE tweet was in poor taste & does not reflect our values…We are dedicated to the security of America & allies.”
  28. On Monday, Chief Pentagon spokeswoman Dana White resigned, tweeting it has been her honor and privilege to serve alongside “Secretary Mattis, our Service members and the civilians who support them.”
  29. Trump closed out 2018 with an interview on Fox News, marking his 41st since his inauguration. The phone interview with Pete Hegseth aired on the cable network’s New Year’s Eve countdown show.
  30. During his time in office, Trump has formed symbiotic relationships with several Fox News and Fox Business hosts and contributors, drawing criticism and comparisons to state-run TV.
  31. On Tuesday, the first day of the new year, Trump’s first tweet was to promote a pro-Trump book by former White House aide Sebastian Gorka, “a very good and talented guy,” adding, “Lots of insight — Enjoy!”
  32. Trump then tweeted, “HAPPY NEW YEAR TO EVERYONE, INCLUDING THE HATERS AND THE FAKE NEWS MEDIA! 2019 WILL BE A FANTASTIC YEAR FOR THOSE NOT SUFFERING FROM TRUMP DERANGEMENT SYNDROME. JUST CALM DOWN AND ENJOY THE RIDE, GREAT THINGS ARE HAPPENING FOR OUR COUNTRY!”
  33. Trump spent New Year’s Eve holed up in the White House also continued his attacks on Democrats, tweeting, “The Democrats do not care about Open Borders and all of the crime and drugs that Open Borders bring!”
  34. Trump also attacked retired Gen. Stanley McChrystal, tweeting, “‘General’ McChrystal” got fired like a dog by Obama,” adding, “Known for big, dumb mouth. Hillary lover!” Notably, Trump put the word General in quotes.
  35. The tweet was in response to McChrystal telling “This Week” on Sunday he would not work for Trump, saying, “It’s important for me to work for people who I think are basically honest,” adding, “I don’t think he tells the truth.”
  36. On Saturday, CNN reported Trump quietly issued an executive order Friday freezing federal workers’ pay for 2019, canceling a 2.1% across-the-board pay raise that was set to take effect in January.
  37. Trump had initially told lawmakers of his plan in August, saying the federal budget could not support the raise, and describing a pay raise as “inappropriate.” The 2.6% raise for U.S. troops in 2019 was not effected.
  38. WAPO reported the U.S. Office of Personnel Management is facing scrutiny after tweeting a sample letter for furloughed federal workers suggesting they bargain with landlords and offer to do chores to cover their rent.
  39. On Tuesday, WSJ reported as the government shutdown continues, federal workers are worried about paying their bills. Some are filing unemployment claims or telling landlords they cannot pay their rent on time.
  40. Of the 800,000 employees impacted, 420,000 have been deemed essential and are working without pay. The American Federation of Government Employees sued Monday, saying requiring employees to work without pay is illegal.
  41. PBS “Newshour” reported national parks, left open to visitors but with little staff on duty, were impacted byvandalism, overflowing garbage and toilets, illegal off-roading, and other damaging behavior in fragile areas.
  42. However, E&E News reported the Old Post Office tower which shares facilities with the Trump Hotel DC, will remain open during the shutdown, with funds provided by the General Services Administration.
  43. On Sunday, Jazmine Barnes, a 7-year-old Black girl, was shot and killed while riding in a car leaving a Walmart in Texas with her mom and three sisters by an unidentified white man in his 40s, driving a red truck.
  44. In Florida, Daniel Taylor, a white man who grabbed a Black female employee and later kicked another at a McDonald’s during an argument over straws, was arrested after a video of the incident went viral.
  45. The Arizona Republic reported on videos obtained from the Arizona Department of Health Services which show migrant children being dragged and shoved at an Arizona shelter operated by Southwest Key.
  46. The incidents involving three children were reported in mid September, and the shelter closed in late October. State regulators said the company failed to perform background checks on all its employees.
  47. On Tuesday, AP reported U.S. authorities fired tear gas into Mexico to stop migrants from crossing the border. Customs and Border Protection claimed in a statement that tear gas was used to target rock throwers.
  48. An AP photographer contradicted CBP, saying at least three volleys of gas were launched at migrants, including women and children, before rocks were thrown. An AP journalist also saw plastic pellets fired by U.S. agents.
  49. On Thursday, in a statement, Mexico’s foreign affairs ministry formally asked the U.S. government to conduct a thorough investigation of the tear-gassing, reiterating its commitment to the safety of migrants.
  50. WAPO reported Emma Torres, a former kitchen employee at Trump’s Bedminster golf club, said she informed a human resources officer at the club that she did not have papers to live in the U.S. legally.
  51. Torres said superiors kept her name, and those of other undocumented workers, off a list of people to be vetted by the Secret Service before Trump visited the club, because of their status and because they did not have papers.
  52. Victorina Morales, mentioned in the NYT story, said Secret Service agents gave her a pin to wear every time Trump visited. It is unclear if Morales received a screening from Secret Service, or the purpose of the pin.
  53. On Wednesday, in a segment titled “Men in Decline,” Fox News host Tucker Carlson claimed there is “more drug and alcohol abuse” and “higher incarceration rates” in areas where women earn more than men.
  54. Carlson added “before you applaud that as a victory for feminism, consider some of the effects. Study after study has shown that when men make less than women, women generally don’t want to marry them.”
  55. On Thursday, Carlson compared the barrage of criticism he received to “how we wound up in the dark ages,” saying, “This is why important science is no longer being conducted. This is why art isn’t being made.”
  56. On Friday, a D.C. court sided with the Trump regime, saying restrictions on transgender people serving in the military can stand. The decision lifted an injunction barring the regime from limiting their service.
  57. The order does not change the status quo since three other cases have temporarily prevented the regime from implementing its policy, but the ruling was seen as a blow to civil rights and gay rights organizations.
  58. On Friday, the Guardian reported the Trump regime has stopped cooperating with UN investigators on investigations of potential human rights violations occurring inside America.
  59. The State Department stopped responded to queries on May 7, 2018, leaving at least 13 requests unanswered, and sending a dangerous signal to authoritarian regimes around the world.
  60. In his televised New Year’s Eve message, Kim Jong-un said international sanctions must be lifted before North Korea will give up weapons or stop producing nuclear material — the position prior to the Singapore Summit.
  61. Responding in a tweet, Trump mischaracterized the statement saying “North Korea will not make or test nuclear weapons, or give them to others,” adding, “I also look forward to meeting with Chairman Kim.”
  62. On Monday, federal prosecutors filed a status report under seal in the case of Sam Patten, a Republican consultant who pleaded guilty to failing to register as a lobbyist for a political party in Ukraine in August.
  63. Patten, a business associate of Paul Manafort, ran a company with a Russian national identified only as “Person A,” thought to be Konstantin Kilimnik. Patten has been cooperating in the Mueller probe.
  64. On Monday, Russia’s state security service, the FSB, said it had arrested Paul Whelan, an American citizen, on suspicion of spying. Foreigners found guilty of spying on Russia face 10 to 20 years in prison.
  65. Putin has publicly said Maria Butina was not known to any of his spy agencies, and Russia’s Foreign Ministry has extensively used social media to portray her as a political prisoner.
  66. On Thursday, Russia charged Whelan with espionage, claiming he spent years cultivating confidential sources, and allegedly received a flash drive containing a list of employees for a secret Russian agency.
  67. The family said Whelan, a Marine Corps veteran, was in Russia for a wedding. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said U.S. officials hoped to gain consular access to see Whelan.
  68. On Saturday, Russia foreign ministry dismissed chances of a swap of Whelan for Dmitry Makarenko, a Russian arrested on December 29, after being indicted in Miami in 2017 for breaking U.S. law.
  69. On Friday, CNN reported a federal grand jury convened in D.C. for the Mueller probe has been extended for up to six additional months. The grand jury’s term was set to expire over the weekend.
  70. On Friday, The Daily Beast reported Democrats are looking at ways to block the Trump regime from lifting U.S. sanctions on Russian oligarch Oleg Deripaska-controlled companies EN+ and Rusal.
  71. On Friday, WSJ reported the FBI is investigating fake texts sent to Republican House members by someone impersonating a top aide to Vice President Mike Pence.
  72. Netflix blocked an episode of its show “Patriot Act With Hasan Minhaj” which was critical of Crown Prince MBS, from streaming in Saudi Arabia, after the Saudi government said the episode violated its cybercrime laws.
  73. The Saudi Press Agency reported prosecutors will seek the death penalty for five of the 11 suspects accused of killing journalist Jamal Khashoggi. The Saudis claims neither MBS or King Salman knew of the operation.
  74. On Wednesday, in an interview with The New York Times Magazine, former Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid called Trump an “amoral” person and said he’s “the worst President we’ve ever had.”
  75. On Wednesday, incoming Utah Sen. Mitt Romney wrote a sharp rebuke of Trump in an op-ed the day before he was sworn in. Romney said that two years in, Trump has “not risen to the mantle of the office.”
  76. Romney wrote a “president shapes the public character of a nation,” saying a leader “should unite us and inspire us,” and “demonstrate the essential qualities of honesty and integrity,” but that Trump’s character falls short.
  77. Romney also noted “the world needs American leadership, and it is in America’s interest to provide it,” adding, the world is increasingly under leadership by China and Russia which is “autocratic, corrupt and brutal.”
  78. In response to Romney’s op-ed, Trump tweeted in the morning, “Here we go with Mitt Romney, but so fast! Question will be, is he a Flake? I hope not,” adding, “I won big, and he didn’t…Be a TEAM player & WIN!”
  79. GOP chairwoman Ronna McDaniel, Romney’s niece, tweeted “For an incoming Republican freshman senator” to attack Trump is what the “Democrats and media want” and is “disappointing and unproductive.”
  80. On Wednesday, ahead of a meeting with party leaders, Trump again tweeted false claims about the wall, including “Mexico is paying for the Wall through the new USMCA Trade Deal.”
  81. Trump also tweeted another false claim: “Much of the Wall has already been fully renovated or built.” Some walls and fencing have been replaced during Trump’s time in office, but no new wall has been built.
  82. Wednesday marked the 12th day of the shutdown. Trump said he will veto any measure that did not include $5.6 billion for his wall, telling Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer he would “look foolish” if he backed down.
  83. On Wednesday, Trump also held a cabinet meeting open to the press in which he went on a 95-minute stream-of-consciousness diatribe full of lies, revisionist history, and self-aggrandizement.
  84. On the table where the meeting took place there was a noticeable “Game of Thrones”-style poster with a photo of Trump which read “SANCTIONS ARE COMING NOVEMBER 4.” Trump did not mention the poster in his diatribe.
  85. Trump again trashed Mattis, saying he “essentially” fired him, adding, “What’s he done for me?” Trump also suggested even though he dodged the draft, “I think I would have been a good general, but who knows?”
  86. Trump again took credit for falling oil prices, falsely claiming his calls to leaders were the reason for the fall, “I called up certain people, and I said let that damn oil and gasoline — you let it flow, the oil.”
  87. Trump also took a swipe at Democrats for calling his wall immoral, saying, “Then we have to do something about the Vatican, because the Vatican has the biggest wall of them all.”
  88. Trump also complained that Democrats left D.C. over the holiday, saying “I was here on Christmas evening. I was all by myself in the White House — it’s a big, big house — except for the guys on the lawn with machine guns.”
  89. Trump falsely claimed there were 35 million immigrants illegally in the U.S. In 2016, Pew Research estimated 10.7 million, and Secretary of Homeland Security Kirstjen Nielsen told Congress there were between 11 and 22 million last week.
  90. Trump described the recent stock market downturn in late 2018 as a “glitch,” saying the markets will soar again on the strength of his trade deals.
  91. Trump also addressed Romney’s op-ed, saying “They say I am the most popular president in the history of the Republican Party,” and adding Romney is not a “team player.”
  92. Trump claimed he could have any government job and be the “most popular person” in Europe, despite a recent poll showing just 16% think he would “do the right thing in world affairs,” down from 84% for Obama.
  93. Trump also defended pulling troops from Afghanistan giving an inaccurate and incomplete account: “Russia used to be the Soviet Union. Afghanistan made it Russia, because they went bankrupt fighting in Afghanistan.”
  94. Several cabinet members interjected praise for Trump, including Vice President Pence who thanked him for his strong stand on border security, and Secretary Nielsen who said “now more than ever we need the wall.”
  95. Acting AG Matthew Whitaker added, “Sir, Mr. President, I will start by highlighting the fact that you stayed” in D.C., giving up Christmas and New Year’s with your family while “some members of Congress went on vacation.”
  96. On Wednesday, Whitaker had breakfast with former AG Ed Meese, who told an AP reporter Whitaker said U.S. Attorney John Huber is continuing to investigate FBI-related concerns raised in the last year by GOP lawmakers.
  97. Huber is investigating FBI surveillance of former Trump campaign adviser Carter Page, and whether the FBI should have done more to investigate the Clinton Foundation. The DOJ has provided no public updates on his work.
  98. Later, Trump held a meeting with Congressional leaders to discuss the government shutdown. Axios reportedTrump chose the Situation Room as a location as a way to dramatize security concerns at the border.
  99. On Wednesday, Apple lowered its first quarter guidance. CEO Tim Cook cited lower-than-anticipated revenue in China following the trade tensions between the U.S. and China resulting from the trade war.
  100. On Thursday, the Dow Jones tumbled more than 600 points, amid Apple’s shares plunging 10%, a weaker-than-expected manufacturing monthly number, and rising fears of an economic slowdown.
  101. On Thursday, the Treasury Department released numbers showing the U.S. national debt reached a record $22 trillion at the end of 2018, more than $2 trillion higher than when Trump took office.
  102. On Thursday, with Pelosi set to be sworn in as Speaker of the 116th Congress, she told “TODAY” in an interview that she will not rule out indicting Trump, despite Justice Department guidelines against it.
  103. On impeachment, Pelosi said, “We have to wait and see what happens with the Mueller report. We shouldn’t be impeaching for a political reason,” and on funding for Trump’s wall, “No, no. Nothing for the wall.”
  104. Asked about Trump criticizing her vacation in Hawaii during the shutdown, Pelosi said Trump “may not know this, but Hawaii is part of the United States of America; maybe he doesn’t realize that.”
  105. Pelosi will reclaim the House Speaker gavel she last had from 2007 until eight years ago. When the NYT asked Pelosi whether she considers herself Trump’s equal, she responded, “the Constitution does.”
  106. The 116th Congress sworn in Thursday is the most racially diverse and most female group of representatives ever elected to the House, after an election dubbed the “Year of the Woman.”
  107. The freshman class included historic firsts, including the first two Native American women and first two Muslim American women, as well as several who are the first African-American women elected in their states.
  108. The diversity was only on the Democratic side, where 60% of the incoming class is women. The Republican freshman class included just two women in the House and two in the Senate, and just one person of color.
  109. Pelosi took her speaker’s oath surrounded by scores of children who were her family members and family members of the incoming class, saying, “I now call the House to order on behalf of all of America’s children.”
  110. On Thursday, shortly after Pelosi spoke, Trump convened an impromptu news conference, his first in the White House briefing room. CNN and Fox News broke away from other coverage; MSNBC did only for a short time.
  111. Trump stood alongside notably all white male border patrol agents to give his standard message about immigration and border patrol, delivered no new news, and left after without taking any questions from reporters.
  112. On Thursday, Trump posted a “Game of Thrones”-style image similar to the one of the table in the cabinet meeting Wednesday, which read “THE WALL IS COMING” on his official Instagram page.
  113. On Thursday, Trump tweeted an image from conservative outlet The Daily Wire that read “Warren 1/2020th,” a reference to DNA results, after Sen. Elizabeth Warren announced her 2020 presidential run.
  114. On Thursday, in the evening, the House voted to reopen the government without giving Trump any money for his wall. A handful of House Republicans joined Democrats in voting for the bill.
  115. When reporters asked Pelosi if she would accept “even a dollar” for Trump’s wall, she joked “A dollar? A dollar? Yeah, one dollar,” adding, “We are not doing a wall. So that’s that.
  116. On Thursday, at a MoveOn rally in the evening near Capitol Hill, Rep. Rashida Tlaib, one of the two freshman Muslim American women told the crowd, “‘We’re going to go in there and impeach the motherfucker.”
  117. On Friday, Trump tweeted “How do you impeach a president who has won perhaps the greatest election of all time,” and “had the most successful first two years of any president, and is the most popular Republican.”
  118. Trump also asserted, without evidence, “no Collusion with Russia, it was the Dems that Colluded.” The grounds for impeachment are “high crimes and misdemeanors,” and not related to job performance or popularity.
  119. Trump continues to take credit for stock market gains and positive economic announcements, while blaming others including the Fed Chair, the Treasury Secretary, and Democrats for bad news.
  120. On Friday, Trump blamed Thursday’s stock market sell-off on Democrats, saying in a tweet he had warned that “if the Democrats take over the House or Senate, there will be disruption to the Financial Markets.”
  121. On Friday, when asked by the moderator at the American Economic Association’s annual meeting, Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell said he would not resign if Trump asked him to.
  122. On Friday, press secretary Sanders, speaking to reporters outside the White House, falsely claimed CBP picked up nearly 4,000 known or suspected terrorists “that came across our southern border” last year.
  123. According to DOJ public records and two former counterterrorism officials who spoke to NBC News, not a single immigrant has been arrested at the southwest border on terrorism charges in recent years.
  124. Also, a head of Trump’s meeting with Congressional leaders Friday, the White House issued a misleading statement: “3,775 known or suspected terrorists [were] prevented from traveling or entering the U.S.” in 2017.
  125. WAPO reported the DOJ also acknowledged errors and deficiencies in a controversial report issued in January 2018, which implied a link between terrorism and immigration, but again refusing to correct or retract it.
  126. The report was written in compliance with Trump’s March 2017 executive order to justify his Muslim ban. Critics expressed alarm at highly misleading data without context, and sued for corrections or retraction.
  127. For example, the DOJ claimed between 2003 and 2009, immigrants were convicted of 69,929 sex offenses.The offenses actually spanned a period from 1955 to 2010–55 years, according to GAO date.
  128. On Friday, sitting congressman and Trump ally Rep. Matt Gaetz co-hosted the Fox News show “Outnumbered.”
  129. On Friday, The Daily Beast reported Trump kicked off the meeting with Congressional leaders with a 15-minute long, profanity-laced rant including a demand for a wall, saying the word “fuck” at least three times.
  130. Pelosi and Schumer urged Trump to reopen the government, saying he was holding the government hostage.Trump responded, “I’m not going to say it’s for leverage, but I’m not going to get a deal unless I do this.”
  131. Trump threatened to keep the government closed for “years” if that is what it took to get his wall. Trump also said he did not want to call the partial government shutdown a “shutdown,” but rather to use the term “strike.”
  132. Trump also blamed Pelosi for Rep. Rashida Tlaib’s comments, and telling the leaders he was too popular to impeach. Trump also then reportedly apologized to Pelosi for cursing so much in the meeting.
  133. After the meeting, Trump spoke to the press in the Rose Garden. In a rambling, hour-long news conference,Trump asserted he had the power to declare a national emergency to build the wall without Congress.
  134. Trump also said the government would stay closed until he got funding for his wall, and claimed, without providing evidence, that previous presidents have told him they wished they had built a wall themselves.
  135. Trump offered no empathy for federal workers, saying the “safety net is going to be having a strong border because we’re going to be safe,” and landlords would “work with” them and be “nice and easy.”
  136. Trump also offered the possibility that the shutdown would not end, “We’ll see what happens. It may get solved; it may not get solved.” Senate Leader Mitch McConnell was silent in the meeting, and did not attend the press briefing.
  137. When asked about comments by Rep. Rashida Tlaib, Trump told reporters “I thought her comments were disgraceful,” adding he thought her remarks “dishonored” the country.
  138. On Friday, Leader McConnell took to the Senate floor and took the unusual position that the shutdown fight was between Trump and the Democrats. Republicans facing tough 2020 re-elections are speaking out.
  139. On Friday, Politico reported that contrary to Trump’s claims in the news conference, former presidents Clinton, Bush and Obama did not confide in him that they regretted not building a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border.
  140. WAPO reported while federal workers go without pay, senior members of the Trump regime, includingcabinet secretaries, deputy secretaries, and Vice President Mike Pence will get a roughly $10,000 raise as of January 5.
  141. WAPO reported the shutdown has put further strain on the immigration system, as employees at the borderare working but not getting paid, and judges and clerks in backlogged immigration courts have been sent home.
  142. Agents are taking an average of more than 2,000 migrants per day into custody. With nowhere to detain them, the Trump regime is releasing hundreds onto the streets in El Paso, Yuma, and other border cities.
  143. Also, while the Trump regime has threatened to crack down on companies that hire unauthorized workers, the shutdown has crippled the main compliance tool for employers to make sure they are following the law.
  144. On Wednesday, Sen. Lindsey Graham told Fox News host Sean Hannity if Trump gives in on funding for his wall, “that’s the end of 2019, in terms of him being” effective in office, and “probably the end of his presidency.”
  145. NBC News reported the shutdown is jeopardizing the welfare of some of the poorest families and the elderly. Most of the Department of Housing and Urban Development’s enforcement activities have been suspended.
  146. Public housing officials are concerned about rental assistance payments from the government — a suspension could put millions of tenants at risk if the shutdown continues to February.
  147. On Friday, CNN reported that hundreds of Transportation Security Administration officers, who are required to work without pay during the shutdown, have called out sick at four major U.S. airports.
  148. Some of the reasons given for calling in sick include parents cannot afford child care without a paycheck, and workers finding cash-paying jobs outside of the government to pay their rent and other bills.
  149. The TSA is bracing for more call outs next week, and are working closely to rearrange scheduling to maintain normal wait times in security lines, and well as manage concerns about the safety of air travel.
  150. On Friday, WAPO reported the Trump regime, which had not anticipated a long-term shutdown, recognized only this week the breadth of the potential impact of keeping the government closed.
  151. Thousands of federal programs are affected by the shutdown, including food stamps for 38 million low-income Americans, which would start to run of funding in February. Grocers and retailers would also be hurt.
  152. The White House has not briefed lawmakers on the expanding consequences of a continuing shutdown, leading to confusion. Economists warn of the impact to the economy with a drop-off in spending.
  153. On Friday, Mary Mayhew, the director of the Center for Medicaid and CHIP Services who joined the regime in October 2018, resigned to join the incoming Florida governor’s office.
  154. On Saturday, Trump took a combative tone in a series of tweets. Trump complained about the media coverage: “Washington Post and NBC reporting of events, including Fake sources, has been very inaccurate.”
  155. Trump also tweeted, “we need a WALL! In 2018, 1.7 million pounds of narcotics seized, 17,000 adults arrested with criminal records, and 6000 gang members,” adding, “A big Human Trafficking problem.”
  156. Trump also again referenced federal workers being Democrats, tweeting “I don’t care that most of the workers not getting paid are Democrats,” adding, “I am in the White House ready to go, where are the Dems?”
  157. Shortly after, Pence met with congressional aides for three hours. Pence did not have the okay to float a new or specific compromise number for the wall as he did last month with Schumer. No progress was made.
  158. WAPO reported Trump boasted in a call with friends Friday night that he was in a strong negotiating positionbecause he captured the attention of the political world, and said things his core voters appreciated.
  159. The government shutdown is now three weeks old, the second longest shutdown in history, with no end in sight. Trump is looking for optics to enhance his wall pitch, like visiting the border or meeting with sheriffs.
  160. On Saturday, Trump tweeted many people who oppose him, “including President Obama & the Dems” have had campaign violations, claiming, “While no big deal, I did not commit a campaign violation!
  161. On Saturday, Trump tweeted, “‘Former @NYTimes editor Jill Abramson rips paper’s “unmistakably anti-Trump” bias,’” adding. “Hence the term Fake News, Enemy of the People, and Opposition Party!”
  162. Abramson told Politico, Fox News host Howard Kurtz in a report headlined, “Former NY Times editor rips Trump coverage as biased” took her book “totally out of context,” calling it an attempt to “Foxify my book.”