POLITIKS OF GRAFFITI 126: IF YOU’RE WONDERING WHAT FASCISM LEADS TO…

APRIL 06, 2019

Week 125

Experts in authoritarianism advise to keep a list of things
subtly changing around you, so you’ll remember. https://theweeklylist.org/weekly-list/week-125/
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Miami, FL. November 2018. 
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not my pic. Clearly, disdain for this guy is felt all around the world…

This week, two weeks after Mueller had sent his final report to Attorney General William Barr, members of the special counsel anonymously broke their silence, indicating to the Times and the Post that their findings were more troubling than Barr’s letter had indicated. Meanwhile Trump changed his position on public release of the report, as he and his surrogates went into attack mode against the Democrats and Mueller’s team.

Republicans rebuked Trump this week, failing to stand with him on his threat to close the U.S.-Mexico border and to come up with an alternative to Obamacare ahead of the 2020 election. The House joined the Senate, voting to end U.S. involvement in Yemen, marking the first time both chambers of Congress have voted to invoke the war-powers resolution to end U.S. military engagement in a foreign conflict.

House Democrats took aggressive action this week, including demanding six years of Trump’s tax returns, preparing a lawsuit over Trump’s national emergency, and making public testimony from whistleblower Tricia Newbold on security clearance. Secret Service arrested a Chinese woman at Mar-a-Lago, raising concerns that Trump’s “Winter White House” is vulnerable to spying, while FBI director Christopher Wray told Congress white supremacy is a “persistent, pervasive threat.” Trump seemed off his game this week, stumbling on the birthplace of his father, mispronouncing words and making odd statements — raising concerns again about his mental health.

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“If you’re wondering what fascism leads to, just ask Benito Mussolini and his mistress Claretta.” – Jim Carrey

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not my pic. 

  1. On Monday, WAPO reported Trump has made 9,451 false or misleading claims in his first 801 days in office. In the last 200 days, Trump made 22 false or misleading claims per day, up from 5.9 per day in his first year in office.
  2. Ratings by E-Poll Market Research showed Trump is most often described as “aggressive” (48%),“mean” (38%), and “overexposed” (29%). His strong positive appeal is at 14%, while strong negative is 39%.
  3. Within the regime, press secretary Sarah Sanders scored 15% for “trustworthy,” and White House counselor Kellyanne Conway 8% for the same. Jared Kushner was most described as “insincere” (29%) and “creepy” (27%).
  4. NBC News reported that at least 14 major contributors to Trump’s inaugural committee have been nominated to ambassador positions, although experts say they are less qualified than nominees in the past.
  5. There are 52 still vacant ambassadorships out of 250, including in key countries like Saudi Arabia and Qatar. After two years, Obama had 11 unfilled, and George W. Bush had 15.
  6. On Saturday, returning from her two week suspension, Fox News host Jeanine Pirro said Trump’s accusers had a “blueprint for a future effort to overthrow the government,” adding they should face time behind bars.
  7. On Sunday, acting White House chief of staff Mick Mulvaney told “This Week” that Robert Mueller intended to have Attorney General William Barr determine whether Trump obstructed justice.
  8. On Sunday, a NBC News/WSJ poll found 40% of American do not believe Trump has been cleared of wrongdoing in the Mueller probe, while 29% believe he has.
  9. On Sunday, Fox News host Chris Wallace pressed Kellyanne Conway on her repeated claims that Trump has been totally exonerated in the Mueller investigation in a heated exchanged. Wallace said it “just isn’t true.”
  10. Actor Jim Carrey tweeted: “If you’re wondering what fascism leads to, just ask Benito Mussolini and his mistress Claretta,” along with a cartoon of the two being hanged upside down after they were executed in 1945.
  11. On Sunday, Alessandra Mussolini, Benito’s granddaughter, a far right politician, tweeted in response to Carrey: “You are a bastard.”
  12. On Sunday, hundreds of Polish nationalists protested in New York City over U.S. legislation which compensates Holocaust survivors whose property was seized during World War II.
  13. Some protestors chanted “Stop slandering Poland in the media,” and “Treat anti-Polonism like anti-Semitism,” while others perpetuated anti-Semitic stereotypes and denied the Holocaust, calling it a “hoax.”
  14. On Monday, Israeli researchers said they found a network of hundreds of fake Twitter accounts that reached more than 2.5 million Israelis boosting Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu ahead of next week’s election.
  15. On Sunday, Fox News apologized after a chyron on a “Fox & Friends” segment that read: “Trump Cuts Aid to 3 Mexican Countries.”
  16. On Monday, AP reported as Trump threatened to shut the U.S. border with Mexico, Trump is considering bringing on an “immigration czar” to coordinate policy between federal agencies.
  17. Trump is considering former Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach and former Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli for the position. Kobach was also a leader of Trump’s short-lived election-fraud commission.
  18. On Sunday, Axios reported Trump has told confidants that he is “saving” Judge Amy Barrett — young and viewed as an extremist — to replace Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg.
  19. On Monday, after Senate democrats voted down a disaster relief-package for Puerto Rico saying there was not enough money, Trump blamed Puerto Rican politicians in a tweet, calling them “incompetent or corrupt.”
  20. Trump again cited an incorrect number, tweeting: “91 Billion Dollars to Puerto Rico,” falsely claiming it was more than “than Texas & Florida combined,” and “taking dollars away from our Farmers.”
  21. On Tuesday, Trump again lashed out, falsely claiming in a tweet “Puerto Rico got 91 Billion Dollars,” adding, “all their local politicians do is complain & ask for more money. The pols are grossly incompetent.”
  22. Trump also tweeted that Puerto Ricans “only take from USA.” Puerto Rico Gov. Ricardo Rosselló responded to Trump, tweeting “this “place” you refer to, #PuertoRico, is home to over three million proud Americans.”
  23. On Tuesday, deputy press secretary Hogan Gidley referred to Puerto Rico as “that country” in an interview on MSNBC. When the host clarified Puerto Rico is a U.S. territory, Gidley said it was a “slip of the tongue.”
  24. On Friday, Trump attacked California politicians for wildfire funding, saying “California’s always the first one to complain. And I don’t mean the people of California. They’re fantastic. I’m talking about the politicians.”
  25. On Monday, Fox News host Tucker Carlson mocked MSNBC host Chris Hayes’ masculinity on his show, saying Hayes “is what every man would be if feminists ever achieved absolute power in this country.”
  26. On Tuesday, a gas station clerk in San Jose, California was fired after ranting at a woman speaking Spanish, demanding she prove she was a U.S. citizen, and saying, “Trump needs to hurry up and build the wall.”
  27. On Wednesday, Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents arrested 280 workers at CVE Technology Group in Allen, Texas in what authorities say is one of the largest enforcement actions of its kind in a decade.
  28. On Tuesday, Daily Beast reported the Department of Homeland Security disbanded a group of intelligence analysts who were part of the Office of Intelligence and Analysis (I&A) that focused on domestic terrorism.
  29. Numerous current and former DHS officials expressed concern with the move, citing the growing threat fromhomegrown violent extremists and domestic terrorists. I&A has been quietly cutting staff since last year.
  30. On Thursday, FBI director Christopher Wray testified before the House Appropriations Committee, and broke from Trump saying white supremacy presents a “persistent” and “pervasive” threat to the U.S.
  31. Wray also said: “The danger, I think, of white supremacists, violent extremism, or any other kind of violent extremism is, of course, significant.” Trump has downplayed the danger of white nationalism.
  32. On Thursday, BuzzFeed reported Barr said in a letter he was “troubled by the concerns” raised by a group of LGBTQ employees who complained about discrimination at the DOJ, and ordered an investigation.
  33. The group claimed employees have faced increasing discrimination under the Trump regime – including gay FBI agents at the academy being pushed out — leading to a decline in morale and an exodus of staff.
  34. On Thursday, 157 House Republicans voted against passing reauthorizing the Violence Against Women Act, which passed, and also booed Rep. Debbie Dingell during a debate on the House floor.
  35. The National Rifle Association pressured Republican lawmakers to oppose the bill because it adds a provision that people convicted of abusing their dating partners could not own or buy firearms.
  36. On Tuesday, the Alabama House and Senate introduced a bill that would make performing an abortion a Class A felony, and attempting to perform an abortion a Class C felony.
  37. On Friday, Kansas Republicans passed an ‘abortion reversal bill,’ requiring notice to patients that abortions can be reversed, despite the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists discrediting this view.
  38. On Friday, the Acadiana Advocate reported three historically black churches have burned down in 10 days in St. Landry Parish, Louisiana in what officials called “very suspicious” fires.
  39. On Saturday, Patrick Carlineo Jr. of Addison, New York was arrested after making a threatening call to Rep. Ilhan Omar’s office, telling a staffer “she’s a [expletive] terrorist. I’ll put a bullet in her [expletive] skull.”
  40. Alaska U.S. District Court Judge Sharon Gleason ruled that Trump’s 2017 executive order lifting an Obama-era ban on oil and gas drilling in the Arctic Ocean and parts of the North Atlantic coast was unlawful.
  41. Judge Gleason ruled the ban will remain in effect “unless and until revoked by Congress.” The ruling may have broader implications for the regime’s efforts to open drilling on coastline and public lands.
  42. On Tuesday, McClatchy reported the Trump 2020 campaign is seeking a list of “climate change victories” that can be attributed to Trump as polls show growing concern over global warming.
  43. White House officials have liaised with the E.P.A. on behalf of the campaign. For one, the regime plans to argue greenhouse gas emissions decreased in Trump’s first year in office due to private sector innovation.
  44. The regime is still divided on creating a presidential committee on climate security, since results would be made public. Trump continues to question the science behind climate change, while other in the regime disagree.
  45. On Wednesday, WAPO reported the Trump regime will cut federal inspectors for food safety inspections at hog plants by about 40%, and shift much of the power and responsibility to the pork industry.
  46. The proposed new system, scheduled to start in May, would allow plant owners to use plant employees for inspections, with training at owners’ discretion. Also, there will be no limits on slaughter-line speeds.
  47. On Wednesday, a coalition of Democratic attorneys general filed a lawsuit seeking to stop the rollback of school nutrition policies championed by former first lady Michelle Obama for “illegally weakening” standards.
  48. On Tuesday, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell failed to adopt a resolution to change the rules so that non-Cabinet level and district court judicial nominees would face just two hours of floor debate instead of 30.
  49. McConnell needed 60 votes, but got 51 from Republicans. On Wednesday, Leader McConnell used the “nuclear option” for the afternoon and evening only, with the Senate voting 51-48 to push through confirmations for some positions.
  50. On Thursday, Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp signed a controversial bill, in private, replacing the state’s voting machines with touchscreens, which Democrats warned they may make the system more vulnerable to hacking.
  51. On Monday, U.S. District Court Judge Beryl Howell rejected a request by the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press to unseal records relating to the mystery foreign state-owned company in the Mueller case.
  52. On Monday, BuzzFeed reported Judge T.S. Ellis III, the judge who presided over Paul Manafort’s case in Alexandria, will not face disciplinary action over four ethics complaints related to his treatment of Mueller’s team.
  53. On Tuesday, CNN reported that George Sorial, who since 2017 has served as the Trump Organization’s top compliance official and has been with the company since 2007, is stepping down to write a book.
  54. On Monday, House Judiciary Chair Jerrold Nadler said he plans to bring subpoenaing the full Mueller report to committee vote on Wednesday if Barr does not release it by the April 2 deadline.
  55. On Monday, Rep. Nadler also wrote an op-ed criticizing Barr’s decisions to unilaterally withhold parts of the Mueller report from Congress, and to render judgment on whether Trump obstructed justice.
  56. On Wednesday, the House Judiciary Committee voted 24-17 along party lines to authorize subpoenas for the full Mueller report and underlying documents.
  57. The committee also voted to subpoena five former White House officials they believe may have received documents relevant to Mueller’s probe including Donald McGahn, Steve Bannon, Hope Hicks, and Reince Priebus.
  58. The five, also including McGahn’s former deputy Ann Donaldson, were among the 81 individuals and entities sent document requests by Nadler last month.
  59. On Tuesday, Trump reversed course on calling for the public release of the Mueller report, tweeting about a segment on Fox News saying for that for Democrats “NOTHING WILL EVER SATISFY THEM!”
  60. Trump also tweeted, “Robert Mueller was a God-like figure to the Democrats, until he ruled No Collusion,” adding, Democrats “have become totally unhinged, and would like to go through the whole process again.”
  61. Trump also tweeted there is no amount of information that will satisfy “Jerry Nadler or Shifty Adam Schiff,” adding, “It is now time to focus exclusively on properly running our great Country!”
  62. On Tuesday, in an interview on CNN, former FBI director James Comey condemned Trump calling for a counter-investigation after the Mueller report on how the probe started, saying it creates a troubling precedent.
  63. When asked by host Christiane Amanpour whether he is kept awake at night by the possibility he helped Trump win, Comey replied, “Sure,” and, “I hope someday somebody proves that what we did was irrelevant.”
  64. On Monday, in a series of tweets, Trump said, “the cost of ObamaCare is far too high,” adding “good things are going to happen!” He tagged four Senators — Leader Mitch McConnell, Rick Scott, John Barrasso and Bill Cassidy.
  65. Trump also tweeted that the Republicans “are developing a really great HealthCare Plan with far lower premiums (cost) & deductibles than ObamaCare,” adding the replacement will come after the 2020 election.
  66. On Tuesday, Leader McConnell told reporters that he and Trump spoke Monday, and he “made it clear to him” that Senate Republicans had no intention of trying to overhaul Obamacare ahead of the 2020 election.
  67. McConnell cited the political peril of the issue for Republicans in the midterms. The Trump regime is continuing to push for the dismantling of the Affordable Care Act through the courts.
  68. On Tuesday, Trump told reporters he was “100 percent” prepared to shut the U.S.-Mexico border, saying, “If we don’t make a deal with Congress, the border’s going to be closed.”
  69. Trump also said Democrats in Congress need to address immigration: “Congress has to meet quickly and make a deal,” and adding, “Security is more important to me than trade.”
  70. Trump said of his decision to cut off aid to Guatemala, El Salvador, and Honduras: “They don’t do anything for us,” adding they have been “taking advantage” of the U.S. for many years, and “they arrange these caravans.”
  71. Around the same time, Leader McConnell told reporters, “Closing down the border would have potentially catastrophic economic impact on our country, and I would hope we would not be doing that sort of thing.”
  72. On Tuesday, at a White House event with NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg, Trump falsely claimed his father was born in Germany — the third time Trump has made this claim. Fred Trump was born in New York.
  73. Trump also ranted, threatening to “get rid of” immigration judges, chain migration, catch and release and visa lottery, and added, “we have to do something about asylum and to be honest with you.”
  74. Trump also on three separate occasions substituted the word “oranges” for “origins,” demanding to know the “oranges of the investigation.” Trump also stated out of the blue, “I’m very normal.”
  75. On Tuesday, Trump told House Republicans in a speech during the National Republican Congressional Committee’s spring dinner to be a “bit more paranoid than you are” about vote counting.
  76. Trump also said, “There were a lot of close elections … they seemed to, every single one of them went Democrat,” adding, “You don’t like it either, you just don’t want to say it because you’re afraid of the press.”
  77. Trump also falsely claimed that the noise from wind turbines causes cancer, as well as lowering property values: “If you have a windmill anywhere near your house, congratulations, your house just went down.”
  78. On Wednesday, during an exchange with reporters on whether wind turbine noise causes cancer, White House Director of Strategic Communications Mercedes Schlapp responded, “I don’t have an answer to that.
  79. The confusion on where his father was born, strange language, and the statement that he is “normal” caused some mental health professionals to question whether Trump is undergoing some kind of cognitive decline.
  80. On Thursday, Trump said he would delay closing the border with Mexico for a year, adding “that will be a very powerful incentive,” and that he is not bluffing: “I will do it. I don’t play games.”
  81. On Tuesday, according to a memo summarizing her testimony, White House Personnel Security Office whistleblower Tricia Newbold claimed the White House reversed 25 security clearances that were denied.
  82. Newbold called Congress her “last hope” for addressing what she considers improper conduct that has left the nation’s secrets exposed. She privately testified before the House Oversight Committee in March.
  83. Newbold said the 25 were granted access to national security information since 2018 despite allegations offoreign influence, conflicts of interests, questionable or criminal conduct, financial problems, or drug abuse.
  84. The 25 include Jared Kushner, Ivanka, and national security adviser John Bolton. Chair Elijah Cummings said his committee would vote to subpoena Carl Kline, Newbold’s direct manager, who overruled her clearance denials.
  85. Newbold had previously filed concerns with numerous White House officials, including Kline; his immediate supervisor, Samuel Price; the White House Counsel’s Office; assistant to the president Marcia Kelly; and Chief Security Officer Crede Bailey. None acted.
  86. Newbold, who has a rare form of dwarfism, also accused Kline of retaliation, alleging he moved her files to a shelf several feet above her, out of her reach, beginning in December 2017 when she hired a lawyer.
  87. On Wednesday, WAPO reported that Jared Kushner is “Senior White House Official 1” described in documents detailing Tricia Newbold’s testimony to the House Oversight Committee.
  88. In her testimony, Newbold said she and another career employee denied Kushner security clearance last yearbecause he had too many “significant disqualifying factors.” They were overruled by Kline.
  89. On Tuesday, the House Oversight Committee voted 22-15, along party lines, to subpoena Kline, who was White House personnel security chief for the first two years of Trump’s time in office.
  90. On Thursday, the Atlantic reported the number of whistleblowers in the era of Trump has spiked, with dozens inside the federal government cooperating with the House Oversight Committee.
  91. Whistleblowers started to come forward shortly after Trump took office, in relation to Michael Flynn. Among the whistleblowers, Democrats confirmed a handful work at the White House.
  92. On Monday, Trump tweeted, “Can you believe that the Radical Left Democrats” want to do the Census Report without a citizenship question, calling it “meaningless and a waste of the $Billions (ridiculous).”
  93. On Monday, the newly installed U.S. Census Bureau Director Steven Dillingham refused to comment on the question — Is this person a citizen of the United States? — saying the bureau must remain “totally objective.”
  94. On Tuesday, Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross rejected a second invitation to testify before a House committee, the Appropriations subcommittee, claiming it would be a distraction from the agency’s budget discussion.
  95. On Tuesday, the House Oversight Committee voted 23-14 to subpoena Ross’s records related to the regime’s decision to add the census question. Rep. Cummings said the regime’s “stonewalling” had left them no choice.
  96. On Friday, a third federal judge halted the Trump regime from adding a citizenship question to the 2020 Census. In a 119-page opinion, U.S. District Judge George Hazel of Maryland called the question unlawful.
  97. The judge wrote of “the lack of any genuine need for the citizenship question,” and noted “the mysterious and potentially improper political considerations that motivated” the regime to add it.
  98. On Tuesday, court documents revealed Secret Service agents arrested Yujing Zhang after she bypassed a security checkpoint and gained access to the reception area of Mar-a-Lago on Saturday.
  99. Zhang was carrying two passports, four cell phones, a laptop, and a thumb drive containing malicious software. She told security officials she was going to the swimming pool, although she was not carrying a swimsuit.
  100. Zhang was approached by a receptionist and asked why she was there. She claimed she was going to a United Nations Chinese American Association event later that evening. The receptionist knew the event did not exist.
  101. Zhang was charged with two federal crimes: making false statements to a federal officer and entering restricted property. The court filing did not provide additional information about the malware.
  102. On Tuesday, the Miami Herald reported the event Zhang was allegedly heading to was advertised on Chinese-language social media by Li “Cindy” Yang, whose business advertises access to Trump and his family.
  103. Although the event Zhang said she was attending did not exist, it was one of two advertised and promoted for that day by Yang’s business. Yang is not mentioned in the court filing.
  104. NBC News reported that Trump was golfing, and not at Mar-a-Lago when Zhang entered; however, first lady Melania Trump and other members of the Trump family were there.
  105. On Wednesday, WAPO reported that each weekend at Mar-a-Lago— a money-making operation for Trump — hundreds of members, overnight guests, and party-going strangers attend, and need to be screened.
  106. To protect Trump, the Secret Service is required to screen every visitor against pre-approved lists. For his business, Trump requires Secret Service to defer to Mar-a-Lago staffers about allowing in visitors not on the list.
  107. Even when Trump is at the property, visitors described times when names were not on the list, but Mar-a-Lago security personnel made exceptions if they knew the guest or found another staffer to vouch for them.
  108. On Wednesday, Senate leaders Chuck Schumer, Dianne Feinstein, and Mark Warner asked FBI director Wray to investigate whether foreign spies could exploit weaknesses at Mar-a-Lago to steal classified information.
  109. On Wednesday, House Oversight Committee Chair Cummings told reporters that Mazars USA, Trump’s tax and accounting firm, has asked for a so-called “friendly” subpoena so it can comply with the panel’s request.
  110. On Wednesday, House Ways and Means Committee Chair Richard Neal formerly requested in a letter to the IRS commissioner that the IRS hand over six years of Trump’s personal and business tax returns.
  111. Rep. Neal invoked a little-known provision in the federal tax code granted during Warren Harding’s administration to only tax-writing committees, which say that the Treasury secretary “shall” furnish the information.
  112. On Wednesday, at an event at the White House, Trump repeated the excuse for not releasing his returns that he used during the campaign, telling reporters, “We are under audit…I’m always under audit.”
  113. On Thursday, NYT reported on February 5, Trump pushed Leader McConnell to confirm Michael Desmond, his nominee to be the chief counsel of the IRS, before putting forward the confirmation of Barr.
  114. McConnell proceeded with Barr first, but Desmond was confirmed on February 27. In private practice,Desmond worked alongside William Nelson and Sheri Dillon, tax counsels to the Trump Organization.
  115. When asked Thursday by reporters if he would direct the IRS not to disclose his tax returns, Trump demurred, “They’ll speak to my lawyers,” adding, “They’ll speak to the attorney general.”
  116. On Thursday, the top federal ethics watchdog declined to certify Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin’s 2018 financial disclosure report, citing the sale of his stake in a film production business to his wife not complying with ethics rules.
  117. On Friday, Politico reported Mnuchin is losing two of his most trusted aides: Eli Miller, chief of staff, and Tony Sayegh, the top communications official — both as the agency faces pressure over Trump’s tax returns.
  118. On Friday, Trump’s personal lawyer, William Consovoy, asserted Trump’s right as a private citizen, and told the Treasury Department in a letter not to turn over his tax returns to House Democrats.
  119. Consovoy said Rep. Neal’s request did not have a “legitimate committee purpose” and “is a transparent effort by one political party to harass an official from the other party because they dislike his politics and speech.”
  120. The IRS and Treasury Department have given no indication of how they will respond to the the House request. Rep. Neal gave the IRS until next week to comply.
  121. On Wednesday, NYT reported the House Intelligence Committee has asked Stephanie Winston Wolkoff, a close friend of first lady Melania Trump and a top contractor to Trump’s inaugural, for documents related to the event.
  122. Winston Wolkoff’s lawyers said she has been cooperating with prosecutors in the Southern District of New York since last fall. She had also received a subpoena from the federal prosecutors.
  123. On Wednesday, NYT reported some members of Mueller’s team say the Mueller report was more damaging to Trump than Barr revealed in his letter. The team included 19 lawyers, 40 FBI agents, and other personnel.
  124. Some are also concerned that because of Barr’s portrayal of the report and how it shaped the narrative, Americans’ view will have hardened before the investigation’s conclusions become public.
  125. The special counsel’s investigators had already written multiple summaries as part of the report — which some felt Barr should have released along with his letter.
  126. Officials speaking for Barr told the Times that he was trying to keep with Justice Department practice not to disclose derogatory details in closing an investigation, pointing to Comey’s treatment of Hillary Clinton.
  127. On Wednesday, WAPO reported members of Mueller’s team have complained to close associates that the evidence they gathered on obstruction was alarming and significant.
  128. Some members were upset Barr did not release summary information the special counsel team had prepared. The members said summaries of different sections of the report were prepared for public view.
  129. One official said they assumed their summaries would be made public “and so they prepared their summaries to be shared in their own words — and not in the attorney general’s summary of their work.”
  130. On Wednesday, Rudy Giuliani told Fox News host Laura Ingraham that Mueller’s team was biased, saying “they are a bunch of sneaky, unethical leakers,” and adding, “And they are rabid Democrats who hate” Trump.
  131. On Thursday, when asked about the NYT report, press secretary Sanders told “Fox & Friends” that theDemocrats are a “sad excuse for a political party” and “nothing but sore losers” who are getting “beat” by Trump.
  132. On Thursday, in response to the NYT and WAPO stories, the Justice Department issues a statement saying it was concerned about illegally releasing grand jury information, which is confidential.
  133. The statement also said Barr “decided to release the report’s bottom-line findings and his conclusions immediately — without attempting to summarize the report” and then release the redacted version.
  134. Shortly after, Trump tweeted, “The New York Times had no legitimate sources” adding, “In fact, they probably had no sources at all! They are a Fake News paper.”
  135. Trump also falsely claimed in a tweet that the NYT has “already been forced to apologize for their incorrect and very bad reporting on me!”
  136. Trump also tweeted Democrats are subjecting him to the “highest level of Presidential Harassment” in the nation’s history, adding, “there is nothing we can ever give to the Democrats that will make them happy.”
  137. Trump also tweeted: “few people seem to care about the Russian Collusion Hoax,” but that “some Democrats are fighting hard to keep the Witch Hunt alive,” and calling it “ridiculous Collusion Delusion” and “so illegal!”
  138. On Thursday, NBC News reported according to an official who has spoken to Mueller’s team, the evidence on obstruction of justice is compelling and the report includes more information than has been made public.
  139. Mueller team members also said the report included detailed accounts of the Trump campaign’s contacts with Russia, revealing campaign members were manipulated by a sophisticated Russian intelligence operation.
  140. On Thursday, Speaker Pelosi told reporters, “people on the Mueller team think there’s a mischaracterization by the attorney general,” adding, “I don’t know, there is an easy answer to this: Release the Mueller report.”
  141. On Thursday, Rep. Nadler sent a letter to Barr requesting the public release of the summaries prepared by Mueller’s team, and all communications between the DOJ and Mueller’s office about the Mueller report.
  142. On Thursday, Sen. Rand Paul blocked a resolution calling for the public release of the Mueller probe from coming to the Senate floor. This marks the fourth time Republicans have blocked the vote.
  143. On Friday, Trump quoted an op-ed by Fox Business host Lou Dobbs saying Democrats have invented a cover-up, tweeting, “Trolling the Mueller Report. Democrats Lost On Collusion. Now They’re Inventing A Coverup.”
  144. On Friday, the DOJ responded to the Electronic Privacy Information Center lawsuit filed to make the Mueller report public, saying the DOJ shouldn’t “circumvent this orderly process” of Barr’s planned release.
  145. On Thursday, Axios reported Trump is expected to name Herman Cain on the Federal Reserve board. Cain, the CEO of Godfather’s Pizza, ran for president in 2012 but withdrew over sexual harassment allegations.
  146. Trump has told confidants he views his selection of Jerome Powell as Fed Chairman as one of his worst mistakes, reportedly saying Powell has no “feel” for the markets, and comparing him to a golfer who cannot putt.
  147. Guardian reported that Trump’s other pick, Stephen Moore, was held in contempt of court in November 2012 for failing to pay his ex-wife over $300,000 in money owed under their divorce settlement.
  148. Gavin de Becker, an investigator for Jeff Bezos, said in an op-ed Saudi Arabia had gained access to Bezos’ private information before the National Enquirer made information on his extramarital relationship public.
  149. On Thursday, the House joined the Senate, voting 247-175 to pass a measure to end U.S. involvement in Yemen, denouncing a Saudi-led bombing campaign that has been blamed for a humanitarian crisis.
  150. The measure marks the first time both chambers of Congress have voted to invoke the war-powers resolution to end U.S. military engagement in a foreign conflict. Trump is expected to veto the measure.
  151. On Friday, Saudi Arabia arrested two more U.S. citizens who were activists. The move puts additional pressure on Trump as he decides whether to side with Congress or veto their measure.
  152. On Thursday, Speaker Pelosi announced the House will file a lawsuit challenging Trump’s declaring a national emergency at the Southern border, saying we will “defend our democracy and our Constitution.”
  153. Speaker Pelosi said in a statement, “The president’s action clearly violates the Appropriations Clause by stealing from appropriated funds, an action that was not authorized by constitutional or statutory authority.”
  154. On Thursday, CBS News reported the Homestead facility in Miami, the largest shelter for unaccompanied minors, is rapidly adding more than 850 beds to a massive facility that currently houses more than 2,300 teens.
  155. Under the Flores settlement, unaccompanied minors are required to be housed in “non-secure” facilities, but Homestead has tall fencing. Sen. Jeff Merkley described Homestead as “a massive prison for migrant children.”
  156. On Thursday, the Miami Herald reported former White House chief of staff John Kelly was spotted at the Homestead shelter.
  157. Homestead, run by Caliburn International, is the only for-profit detention center in the country. Caliburn was formed after a company purchase by DC Capital Partners, where Kelly was employed as a lobbyist.
  158. On Friday, Trump withdrew his nominee for the director of ICE, Ronald Vitiello, a 30-year veteran of the U.S. Border Patrol who serves as a top official at ICE, saying he wants someone “tougher” to lead the agency.
  159. WAPO reported Trump’s decision to suddenly dump Vitiello caught DHS and lawmakers by surprise, with some mistaking it for a clerical error. He would have been Trump’s first senate-confirmed director of ICE.
  160. Vitiello was supposed to join Trump on his trip to the Mexican border, but was left off the list last minute. Reportedly, Trump had heard complaints about Vitiello by Stephen Miller, ICE union boss Chris Crane, and others.
  161. Six officials said Trump’s decision was a sign of Miller’s increasing power. Reportedly Trump told Miller he would be in charge of all immigration and border affairs, and would have a say in Trump’s third ICE nominee.
  162. On Friday, speaking to reporters before boarding his plane, Trump called on Congress to “get rid of the whole asylum system” because “it doesn’t work.” For the second time, Trump also said we should “get rid of judges.”
  163. On Friday, Trump again attacked the media, tweeting, “They can’t stand the fact” that his regime has done more that “virtually any other Administration,” adding, “They are truly the ENEMY OF THE PEOPLE!
  164. On Friday, Trump traveled to the border of Mexico in Calexico, California to participate in a roundtable on immigration and border security. Trump claimed migrants are straining the system and added, “Our country is full.
  165. Trump also defended his national emergency saying, “There is indeed an emergency on our southern border,” adding, “It’s a colossal surge, and it’s overwhelming our immigration system. We can’t take you anymore.”
  166. In a ceremonial gesture, Trump was presented with a piece of the future border wall. In his time in office, Trump has yet to add any new fencing or other barriers anywhere on the Southern border.
  167. Trump also complained about the build-up of migrants at the border, saying, “Judge Flores, whoever you may be, that decision is a disaster for our country.” Flores was a teenage migrant from El Salvador.
  168. Ahead of Trump’s visit, protestors flew a “baby blimp” Trump, the 20-foot-tall inflatable balloon of Trumpwearing a diaper and holding a cell phone, which has appeared across the U.S. and other places around the world.
  169. On Friday, in a letter, 41 immigration and civil rights groups urged Fortune 500 CEOs to blacklist Trump aides who were involved in planning, carrying out, or defending the regime’s family separation policies.
  170. On Friday, the State Department revoked the entry visa for Fatou Bensouda, the prosecutor of the International Criminal Court who was investigating possible war crimes by American forces in Afghanistan.
  171. On Saturday, WAPO reported, despite Trump’s claim that our country is full, DHS and the Labor Department plan to grant an additional 30,000 H-2B visas this summer, doubling the number they had planned to give out.
  172. H-2B visas allow foreigners to come to the U.S. for several months to work at companies such as landscaping, amusement parks, or hotels. Last year, about 80% these visas went to people from Mexico and Central America.
  173. On Thursday, Michael Cohen’s attorney said in a letter to Democrats in Congress that Cohen has discovered substantial files on a hard drive that he is working through and will provide in exchange for staying out of jail.
  174. On Friday, when asked to respond on Cohen, Trump replied, “he’s old news. He lied numerous times during his last testimony. They’ve had that for many months.”
  175. On Friday, Cohen’s attorneys publicly released the memo provided to House democrats Thursday, citing “Trump’s involvement in a conspiracy to collude with Russian government intervention” in the 2016 campaign.
  176. On Thursday, Trump told the Washington Times when asked for a reaction to former first lady Barbara Bush’s quote, he replied, “I have heard that she was nasty to me, but she should be. Look what I did to her sons.”
  177. On Friday, Roger Stone defended Trump in an Instagram post, calling Barbara Bush “nasty, rude, vindictive, entitled, self-important,” and adding, “that’s the woman I had several unpleasant encounters with.”
  178. On Friday, police were stationed outside the Ecuador embassy in London, following tweets from the WikiLeaks account said Julian Assange could be kicked out of the building within “hours to days.”
  179. British Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt said Assange is a “free man” and can leave the embassy whenever he chooses. Police said there is an active warrant for Assange’s arrest that they are obliged to execute if he leaves.
  180. On Friday, Trump said for the third time in three years, he will not attend the White House Correspondents’ Dinner, calling it “boring” and “negative.” Instead, Trump will hold a rally that night.
  181. On Friday, Commercial Bank of Ivanovo, a Russian bank in North Carolina which was 80% owned by former Congressman Charles Taylor, lost its license over repeatedly breaking anti-money laundering regulations.
  182. On Saturday, Trump tweeted, “I have not read the Mueller Report yet, even though I have every right to do so,” adding, “Only know the conclusions, and on the big one, No Collusion.”
  183. Trump also tweeted, “our great A.G. who found No Obstruction,” adding, “13 Angry Trump hating Dems (later brought to 18)” spent two years and $30 million and “found No Collusion, No Obstruction.”

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Trump talks to reporters during a briefing with military leaders and others in the Cabinet Room at the White House April 03, 2019. Notably, there was not a single woman or person of color at the table.

D3eWvb9WkAExIRy.jpg-large

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POLITIKS OF GRAFFITI 125: NOT EXONERATED (by any stretch of the imagination)

This week, none of the photos are mine, but they did come to me on my various social media accounts and I found them to be very appropriate to the insane happenings of this week. Art. is Art. is Art. And it informs us of what’s going on whether we care to read the words or not…

MARCH 30, 2019

Week 124

Experts in authoritarianism advise to keep a list of things
subtly changing around you, so you’ll remember. https://theweeklylist.org/weekly-list/week-124/

This week was dominated by news of the Mueller report, which was delivered to Attorney General William Barr last Friday, but has yet to be given to Congress or the American people. On Sunday, AG Barr sent a four-page letter to Congress, which he characterized as a “summary” of the Mueller report, but later in the week, in a second letter, wrote it “did not purport to be, an exhaustive recounting of the Special Counsel’s investigation or report” which was revealed to be nearly 400 pages long.

Barr’s Sunday letter said that Mueller did not find evidence Trump or his campaign knowingly colluded with Russia, but on obstruction of justice charges, Mueller did not render an opinion. Barr and deputy attorney general Rod Rosenstein however concluded not to proceed with criminal charges, and Trump instantly weaponized the information to falsely claim he was fully exonerated, and pivot to attacking Democrats and the media, with the help of his allies. The media was caught on its heels, as some of the initial reporting incorrectly cited the Mueller report, including the front page of Monday’s New York Times. Trump aides who had been jailed or investigated by Mueller’s team were given media opportunities to declare themselves as victims of an overaggressive prosecutor. By Friday, bowing to public pressure, Barr in a second letter said he would release a redacted version of the Mueller report by mid-April or sooner.

As Trump took his victory lap, the Justice Department, on his orders, argued to a federal appeals court that the Affordable Care Act should be invalidated. Trump also sought to end most aid to Puerto Rico, as the Pentagon notified Congress the first $1 billion was being allocated to his wall. With the economy continuing to weaken, Trump refreshed his attacks on the Federal Reserve, as his pick Stephen Moore came under increasing criticism. At week’s end photos emerged of hundreds of migrants being held in inhumane conditions under a bridge in El Paso due to overcrowding at facilities. Trump blamed Central American countries and, by Saturday, said he would cut off U.S. aid to El Salvador, Honduras, and Guatemala.

IMG_6160
A mural in Hodeida, Yemen derides the relationship between the US and Saudi Arabia.
It’s a graphic display of how people in the north of Yemen see America’s role in a war that’s been tearing into the fabric of their country for exactly four years. 
The US is Saudi Arabia’s biggest arms supplier. The jets and the bombs they drop as well as the tanks, artillery pieces and vehicles used by Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, who lead a coalition against Yemen’s Iran-backed Houthi movement, are mostly US-made.
IMG_6215
(SIC) effected = AFFECTED. An artist, Andrew Spear, shared this on my Facebook feed. Appropriate depiction of Betsy DeVILos.
IMG_6218
An apt cartoon demonstrating exactly how little Barr’s joke of a summary represents Mueller’s full report. What an insult to Americans. 
56321781_10218825144568064_6263550682649853952_n
And as soon as he lies to his base, telling them that a little 4-page summary “exonerated” him, he went right into trying to take away healthcare from Americans.
IMG_6217
This also came across my Facebook feed and I felt it was important to share it this week, of all weeks. 
  1. On Saturday, Mueller’s office said it is handing off its case before Judge Amy Berman Jackson against Rick Gates, who continued to cooperate in several investigations, to the D.C. U.S. Attorney’s office.
  2. On Saturday, in a call with roughly 120 House members, Speaker Nancy Pelosi amplified her call that the Mueller report be made public in full, and rejected the notion of classified briefings.
  3. On Sunday, Trump broke 40 hours of silence on Twitter, tweeting: “Good Morning, Have A Great Day!” and “MAKE AMERICA GREAT AGAIN!” Last weekend, Trump sent over 50 tweets, a record amount.
  4. On Sunday, Attorney General William Barr delivered a letter to the Chairs and ranking members of the House and Senate Judiciary committees outlining what he felt were the principal conclusions of the Mueller report.
  5. Barr said in his four-page summary that the Mueller investigation found that neither Trump nor any of his aides conspired with the Russian government’s efforts to manipulate the 2016 presidential election.
  6. The letter stated “despite multiple offers from Russian-affiliated individuals to assist the Trump campaign,” Mueller did not find evidence of “agreement — tacit or express — between the Trump campaign and the Russian government on election interference.”
  7. Barr also said Mueller did not reach a conclusion on obstruction of justice: “The Special Counsel states that “while this report does not conclude that the President committed a crime, it also does not exonerate him.””
  8. On obstruction of justice, Barr said Mueller’s report “catalogu[ed] the President’s actions, many of which took place in public view,” but also cited actions taken privately which are described in the report.
  9. Although Mueller did not take a stance, Barr and deputy attorney general Rod Rosenstein concluded the evidence gathered “is not sufficient to establish that the president committed an obstruction-of-justice offense.”
  10. Experts noted the unusual nature of Trump appointees, including his recently hand-picked AG, making a decision on obstruction of justice, rather than forwarding the full report to Congress for their judgment.
  11. Trump declared victory an hour later in his first public remarks, tweeting “No Collusion, No Obstruction, Complete and Total EXONERATION. KEEP AMERICA GREAT!”
  12. Press secretary Sarah Sanders said Mueller “did not find any collusion and did not find any obstruction. AG Barr and DAG Rosenstein further determined there was no obstruction…total and complete exoneration.”
  13. Trump later told reporters, “This was an illegal takedown that failed. And hopefully somebody’s going to be looking at the other side,” adding, “so many people have been so badly hurt, after not looking at the other side.”
  14. Speaker Pelosi and Leader Chuck Schumer said the letter “raises as many questions as it answers,” noting “Barr’s public record of bias against the Special Counsel’s inquiry,” and demanded release of the full report.
  15. House Judiciary Chair Jerrold Nadler called for the release of all underlying evidence, citing “Special Counsel Mueller worked for 22 months” to determine if Trump obstructed justice,” while “Barr took 2 days.”
  16. On Sunday, CNN reported Mueller’s team deliberated at length with the Justice Department about seeking to subpoena Trump for a sit-down interview, after Mueller made the request for months.
  17. The decision was made to accept written answers instead. By Mueller not making the request, AG Barr was able to write “there were no such instances” during the investigation where Mueller was turned down.
  18. On Monday, NYT noted Trump has ended norms in place since Watergate: firing an FBI director for investigating him and his associates, forcing out an attorney general for not protecting him, and dangling pardons.
  19. Because Mueller took no position on obstruction of justice according to Barr, future occupants of the White House will feel entitled to do the same, and thwart efforts by law enforcement to scrutinize their actions.
  20. On Sunday, Donald Jr. said in a statement the “Collusion Truthers in the media and Democrat Party” should be “held accountable,” saying they “are only going to double down on their sick and twisted conspiracy theories.”
  21. On Monday, Kellyanne Conway called on House Intelligence Committee chair Adam Schiff to resign, while House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy said Schiff should lose his committee leadership position.
  22. On Monday, Trump posted a tweet of a Fox News clip mocking Schiff. He later told reporters in the Oval Office, “There are a lot of people out there who have done some very, very evil things.”
  23. Trump added, “I would say treasonous things against our country,” and “those people will certainly be looked at,” and, “They lied to Congress. Many of them…They have done so many evil things.”
  24. On Monday, Schiff told reporters, “Undoubtedly there is collusion,” adding his committee will continue to investigate if Trump and the “people around him compromised in any way by a hostile foreign power.”
  25. On Monday, Trump’s re-election campaign sent a memo to television producers telling them to “employ basic journalistic standards when booking” officials who “made outlandish, false claims, without evidence.”
  26. The list included Democratic lawmakers Sen. Richard Blumenthal and Reps. Nadler, Schiff, and Eric Swalwell, as well as Democratic National Committee Chairman Tom Perez and former CIA Director John Brennan.
  27. On Monday, Steve Bannon told Yahoo News that with the Mueller probe over, Trump “is going to go full animal,” adding that Trump will “come off the chains.”
  28. Bannon also said Trump will use the report “to bludgeon” House members requesting documents, and that he had repeatedly told Trump, “Don’t say Mueller’s bad, I don’t think he’s going to have anything.”
  29. On Monday, Senate Judiciary Committee Chair Lindsey Graham said his committee may “look into the other side,” threatening to investigate FISA warrants, the Clinton campaign, and the counterintelligence investigation.
  30. On Wednesday, Sen. Rand Paul tweeted: “time for Congress to investigate” former President Obama, saying “What did [he]know and when? How did this hoax go on for so long unabated?”
  31. On Monday, after criticism that Barr and Rosenstein seemed to make a quick decision on obstruction of justice, a “leak” indicated the two knew Mueller would not make a decision on obstruction three weeks prior.
  32. On Monday, NBC’s Savannah Guthrie asked Sanders if Trump owed Mueller an apology for calling him “a national disgrace, discredited, a prosecutor gone rogue.” Sanders responded, “Are you kidding?”
  33. On Monday, in the evening, Trump tweeted, “the Fake News Media has lost tremendous credibility with its corrupt coverage,” praising Fox News for being “up BIG,” and “ratings of CNN & MSNBC tanked last night.”
  34. On Monday, Senate Leader Mitch McConnell blocked a resolution by Sen. Schumer to unanimously pass a non-binding resolution which cleared the House 420-0 in Week 121, for public release of the Mueller report.
  35. On Wednesday, McConnell again blocked a resolution, this time by Sen. Dianne Feinstein, ranking memberon the Senate Judiciary Committee, calling for the public release of the Mueller report.
  36. Both times, McConnell claimed Barr is working with Mueller to determine what in the report should or should not be released. Graham had blocked Schumer’s first attempt to bring the resolution to the floor in Week 121.
  37. On Monday, Graham told reporters at a morning press conference that Barr should testify publicly before his committee. Graham added he would leave it up to Barr if Mueller should testify.
  38. On Tuesday, Graham told reporters Barr told him he would send the Mueller report to the White House first, in case it wants to claim executive privilege over any parts, before it is made public.
  39. Graham also said Barr told him it would most likely take “weeks, not months,” to make a version of Mueller’s final report public.
  40. On Monday, six Democrats who chair House committees sent a letter to Barr requesting he submit the full Mueller report to Congress by April 2.
  41. On Tuesday, CNN reported Speaker Pelosi told House Democrats in a private meeting that Barr said it was his job to defend Trump and that Trump is “above the law” in a memo, so wait to see the full report.
  42. On Wednesday, AG Barr said he will not meet the Democrat’s April 2 deadline. Rep. Nadler said he is “disappointed” and that Democrats are exploring legal options, including possibly subpoenaing Mueller.
  43. On Tuesday, a Quinnipiac poll found 84% of Americans believe the Mueller report should be made public, 9% do not. Among Republicans, 77% say it should be made public, 17% do not.
  44. On Wednesday, a CNN poll found 56% of Americans do not believe Trump and his campaign were exonerated from collusion, while 43% believe he was: 77% of Republicans said he was, 80% of Democrats said he was not.
  45. Without seeing the full report, 7% said it makes them more likely to back Trump, and 6% less likely — while a combined 86% said they already figured out their vote or the investigation results would not sway them.
  46. On Thursday, NYT reported and the DOJ confirmed that the Mueller report exceeds 300 pages, revealing Mueller went beyond the bare-bones summary required by DOJ regulations.
  47. The length of the report also raised questions of how Barr could summarize its contents in four-pages.
  48. DOJ officials, including some in Barr’s office, may redact information that Trump could claim as privileged before sending it to Congress. Democrats would likely contest Trump claiming privilege.
  49. On Monday, the Supreme Court turned down the request of the mystery foreign state-owned company fighting the Mueller team’s subpoena to get a Supreme Court appeal.
  50. On Monday, Bloomberg reported a lawsuit by BTA Bank JSC alleged Felix Sater and the wealthy Kazakh businessman Ilyas Khrapunov explored financing a Trump Tower Moscow deal in 2012 using laundered money.
  51. The complaint filed in Manhattan federal court said Sater tried to help launder some of the $4 billion stolen a decade ago by Khrapunov’s father-in-law, ex-BTA Chairman Mukhtar Ablyazov.
  52. On Monday, the House Intelligence Committee postponed its scheduled interview with Sater this week, citing needing further answers to lingering questions arising from Barr’s summary of the Mueller report.
  53. On Wednesday, David Goodhand, an assistant U.S. attorney, told the chief judge of the U.S. District Court for D.C., Judge Beryl Howell, the court where Mueller’s grand jury was convened, that their cases are “continuing robustly.”
  54. The cases related to Russian collusion in the 2016 election, raising questions of why Mueller’s report was finalized while the cases continued to proceed in the D.C. court.
  55. The U.S. Attorney’s Office in D.C. is now leading the subpoena fight with the mystery foreign company, the upcoming trial in November against Roger Stone, and the sentencing of Rick Gates.
  56. On Monday, Graham said he told Trump over the weekend at Mar-a-Lago that he had encouraged John McCain to turn over the Steele dossier to the FBI, saying of it, “it could be a bunch of garbage, it could be true, who knows?”
  57. On Wednesday, Graham told CNN on Trump, “I could give a damn what he thinks about me and John McCain,” adding “I’m not into this idea the only way you can help honor John McCain is to trash out Trump.”
  58. On Monday, Rep. Mo Brooks quoted a passage from Hitler’s “Mein Kampf” on the House floor, comparing Hitler’s characterization of “big lie” propaganda to Democrats and the media use of the Mueller probe.
  59. On Monday, Pennsylvania Republican State Rep. Stephanie Borowicz was criticized for “disrespectful” prayer before the state’s first Muslim lawmaker, Democrat Rep. Movita Johnson-Harrell, was sworn in.
  60. NBC News reported advocates and lawyers said in a letter transgender and gay migrants held at an immigration facility in New Mexico have been subjected to “rampant sexual harassment, discrimination and abuse.”
  61. The letter relating to Otero County Processing Center in Chaparral claimed the warden placed or threatened to place migrants who complained with solitary confinement, or in barracks with heterosexual men.
  62. The facility is operated by Management & Training Corporation, a private company that has benefitted from Trump’s policies, said it follows ICE’s transgender detainee guidelines, and was not aware of the incidents.
  63. IndyStar reported Lynn Starkey, a counselor with 39 years of exemplary work at an Indiana high school, including teacher of the year recognition, was told she will lose her job over being in a same-sex marriage.
  64. Starkey will become the second guidance counselor at Roncalli High School, one of more than 60 schools run by the Archdiocese of Indianapolis, to lose her job over being in a sex-same marriage.
  65. On Friday, the Tulsa World reported the buildings that house Oklahoma’s Democratic Party headquarters were vandalized with racist and anti-Semitic symbols and words.
  66. On Friday, Pat Buchanan warned against “people from different…cultures and ethnicities and races” coming to the U.S. on Laura Ingraham’s podcast, claiming Black Americans have not been “fully assimilated.”
  67. On Monday, Jeremy Richman, the father of a first-grade girl killed in the 2012 Sandy Hook massacre, was found dead in an apparent suicide. This follows the suicides of two Parkland high school students last week.
  68. National Rifle Association’s Executive Vice President Wayne LaPierre warned in a fundraising letter the group could be “shut down forever,” blaming Democratic Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s pressure on banks and insurance companies.
  69. Alex Jones said in a sworn deposition that a “form of psychosis” caused him to believe certain events, like the Sandy Hook massacre, were staged. Jones blamed “trauma of the media and the corporations lying so much.”
  70. On Monday, federal prosecutors in New York charged Michael Avenatti, former attorney for Stormy Daniels, with an extortion attempt. He was also charged by federal prosecutors in California with bank and wire fraud.
  71. On Tuesday, the Cook County State’s Attorney’s Office dropped criminal charges against Jussie Smollett. As records were sealed, it was unclear why. Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel called it a “whitewash of justice.”
  72. On Thursday, Trump suggested the FBI and DOJ will review Smollett’s case, tweeting “FBI & DOJ to review the outrageous Jussie Smollett case in Chicago. It is an embarrassment to our Nation!”
  73. Bloomberg reported lawyers for Trump will go before an appeals court seeking to overturn a ruling that he cannot block critics on Twitter, claiming the account belongs to him personally and not the government.
  74. On Tuesday, Jennifer Utrecth, an attorney for the Justice Department, argued for Trump. One Circuit Judge remarked, “It’s curious to me that the Department of Justice is here representing essentially a private entity.”
  75. On Wednesday, Vijaya Gadde, Twitter’s head of legal, policy, and trust, told WAPO that the platform is considering labeling tweets that violate the company’s abuse terms, giving users who may see them context.
  76. The move would allow the company to keep tweets up because they are in the public interest. Twitter has been criticized as Trump’s tweets often violate its rules against bullying, dehumanization, and threatening harm.
  77. On Tuesday, Motherboard reported in a major policy shift, Facebook announced it would ban white nationalism and white separatism the same as white supremacy, on both its Facebook and Instagram platforms.
  78. Users who try to post that type of content will be directed to a nonprofit that helps people leave hate groups. Facebook made the shift after a backlash from civil rights activists and historians.
  79. On Thursday, Axios reported that Google is pulling a conversion therapy app, following pressure from LGBTQ groups. Apple, Amazon, and Microsoft have also banned the app in recent months.
  80. On Monday, the Pentagon notified Congress it authorized the transfer of $1 billion to begin construction of a new wall, the first such transfer since Trump’s veto of a resolution to block his national emergency.
  81. The Pentagon funds, diverted from other projects, will be used to build 57 miles of fencing and other measures on the U.S.-Mexico border. The Army Corp of Engineers will be deployed to begin planning and construction.
  82. Every Democrat on related Senate Appropriations Committee subcommittees joined in a letter to acting Secretary of Defense Patrick Shanahan to object, saying the funds and personnel were not approved.
  83. On Tuesday, the House fell short of overriding Trump’s veto of a resolution to block his national emergency. Fourteen Republicans crossed to join Democrats, but roughly 50 were needed.
  84. On Monday, the Trump regime broadened its attack on the Affordable Care Act, as the Justice Department argued to a federal appeals court that the entire law should be invalidated.
  85. In December, a federal judge ruled the ACA’s individual mandate was unconstitutional. A DOJ legal filing challenging the individual mandate at the 5th Circuit took it further saying the ACA should be struck down.
  86. The regime’s new position was harshly criticized by the insurance industry and by consumer advocates, saying it would put more than 100 million Americans’ coverage at risk.
  87. On Tuesday, Trump tweeted his support, saying, “The Republican Party will become “The Party of Healthcare!” However, Trump did not offer any information on the regime’s plans.
  88. On Tuesday, Politico reported Trump told Republicans they have to come up with “a plan that is far better than Obamacare.” Healthcare was a top issue for voters in the midterm victory by Democrats.
  89. Trump’s actions caught Republicans by surprise. Trump allies, including Rep. Mark Meadows, have acknowledged Trump has provided little to no guidance on crafting a health care plan.
  90. On Wednesday, Leader Schumer announced Democrats will try to force a vote on defunding the DOJ’s effortson invalidate the ACA.
  91. On Wednesday, Politico reported the shift in legal tactics by Trump was opposed by Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar and AG Barr. Allies of acting chief of staff Mick Mulvaney helped pushed the move.
  92. On Wednesday, federal judge James Boasberg blasted the Trump regime for failing to consider how many Medicaid beneficiaries would lose coverage under proposals to require recipients to work to get coverage.
  93. The Trump regime had approved the work requirement for Arkansas and Kentucky. The judge deemed the approvals to be “arbitrary and capricious,” and said the work requirement could not go into effect.
  94. On Thursday, a federal judge in D.C. blocked the Trump regime’s association health plans (AHPs), a cheaper alternative which allows businesses and individuals to band together to create group coverage.
  95. AHPs are less expensive and also exclude protections required under ACA. The judge found the plans violate the ACA, calling it an ACA “end-run” — a victory for blue states which had sued to block the plans.
  96. On Friday, Politico reported Trump appointee Seema Verma, who oversees Medicare, Medicaid, and Obamacare, directed millions of taxpayer dollars to Republican communications consultants.
  97. The subcontracts, routed through a larger federal contract, break with precedent. Staffers in her department raised concerns about her use of federal funds on GOP consultants and to amplify her own work.
  98. On Tuesday, NBC News reported Vice President Mike Pence talked director of national intelligence Dan Coats out of quitting over his frustration with Trump at the end of last year.
  99. Among the tensions, Trump pushed Coats to find evidence that Obama wiretapped him, demanded Coats publicly criticize U.S. intelligence as biased, and accused Coats of being behind leaks of classified information.
  100. Trump has also taken to referring to Coats privately as “Mister Rogers,” when he is upset Coats will not implement a directive or leaves Trump feeling disrespected. Pence has pushed Trump to refer to him as Coats.
  101. On Tuesday, Trump tweeted “the Mainstream Media is under fire and being scorned all over the World as being corrupt and FAKE,” saying for two years the media pushed the “Russian Collusion Delusion.”
  102. Trump also tweeted the media “always knew there was No Collusion,” and again invoked the phrase ‘enemy of the people,’ tweeting “they truly are the Enemy of the People and the Real Opposition Party!
  103. On Tuesday, WAPO reported Puerto Rico faces a food-stamp crisis as Congress missed the deadline for reauthorization in March, resulting in a cuts in stamps for 1.3 million, or 43% of the island’s residents.
  104. In an Oval Office meeting in February, Trump told top advisers to limit the federal support going to Puerto Rico to only money going to the electric grid, saying instead funds should be going to the mainland.
  105. On Tuesday, Trump told GOP senators behind closed doors that Puerto Rico received too much money to rebuild after Hurricane Maria, and it “is way out of proportion to what Texas and Florida and others have gotten.”
  106. On Wednesday, the White House told NBC News that Trump “will not put taxpayers on the hook to correct a decades-old spending crisis” that left Puerto Rico “with deep-rooted economic problems.”
  107. On Thursday, CNN reported Trump has refused to meet with Puerto Rico Gov. Ricardo Rosselló. Aides forRosselló said at a tense encounter at the White House in Wednesday, Trump aides said they were pushing too hard.
  108. Trump later denied Rosselló’s claims, telling reporters that he has “taken better care of Puerto Rico than any man, ever.” Trump claims Puerto Rico is wasting money, an assertion that Rosselló denied.
  109. On Tuesday, in her first testimony before the Democratic-led House, Education Department Secretary Betsy DeVos defended deep cuts to education as part of Trump’s budget to cut her agency’s spending by 10%.
  110. Proposed funding cuts included $18 million for the Special Olympics, while boosting funding for charter schools by $60 million.
  111. On Wednesday, following public outcry on cutting funding for the Special Olympics, DeVos issued a statement, blaming the media and some members of Congress for “falsehoods and fully misrepresenting the facts.”
  112. On Thursday, at a press conference, Trump told reporters “I just authorized the funding of the Special Olympics,” adding, “I have overridden my people.”
  113. After Trump’s statement, DeVos said, “I am pleased and grateful the president and I see eye-to-eye on this issue,” adding, “This is funding I have fought for behind-the-scenes over the last several years.”
  114. On Tuesday, Paula Kerger, the longtime president and CEO of PBS, said in an interview “I wish I knew” whyfor a third year Trump’s proposed federal budget would zero-out funding for the network.
  115. Kerger noted PBS is “in places where local journalism has really collapsed, and our local radio and TV stations really are the local media presence” saying she will again rely on Congress to restore funding.
  116. On Tuesday, WAPO reported the Army chose Palantir Technologies to build its intelligence systems, marking the first time the government chose a Silicon Valley software company over a traditional military contractor.
  117. Palantir was co-founded by Peter Thiel, the billionaire investor who has served as a Trump adviser from time to time, including during his 2016 campaign.
  118. On Wednesday, Bloomberg reported that Trump’s current pick for Federal Reserve, Stephen Moore, owes more than $75,000 to the Internal Revenue Service according to court documents.
  119. Moore also was the president of political advocacy organization Club for Growth when the group paid a $350,000 penalty to settle Federal Election Commission violations.
  120. WAPO reported experts are also concerned about Moore’s long record of controversial statements, and about Trump having a direct line to him impacting the market’s view of the Fed’s independence.
  121. On Thursday, the Commerce Department reported economic growth slowed at the end of 2018, with GDP gaining just 2.2% in the fourth quarter, putting yearly GDP grown at 2.9%, below Trump 3% promise.
  122. On Thursday, as the numbers came out, Trump tweeted “Very important that OPEC increase the flow of Oil. World Markets are fragile, price of Oil getting too high,” adding, “Thank you!”
  123. On Friday, CNBC reported OPEC leader Saudi Arabia said it will ignore Trump’s threshold for oil prices.
  124. On Friday, White House economic adviser Larry Kudlow told Axios that he “would love to see” the Fed cut rates by half a point, mirroring comments made by Stephen Moore.
  125. On Friday, Trump blamed the Fed for the slowing economy, tweeting: “Had the Fed not mistakenly raised interest rates, especially since there is very little inflation” GDP would be higher.
  126. On Thursday, Politico reported Leader McConnell is moving closer to using the procedural move known as the nuclear option to speed through Trump’s nominees, claiming “unprecedented obstruction.”
  127. The Senate Rules Committee approved a resolution in February that would limit debate time for executive branch nominees and District Court judges, but not Supreme Court and cabinet nominees.
  128. McConnell’s action comes after prodding by Trump at a closed-door meeting Tuesday. Democrats strenuously objected. McConnell is still hoping for bipartisan support of what he calls “a change the institution needs.”
  129. On Thursday, Jessie Liu, Trump’s pick for the number three position at the DOJ, withdrew from consideration over serving as a top official of the National Association of Women’s Lawyers, which supported abortion rights.
  130. On Friday, Politico reported that Linda McMahon will resign as head of the Small Business Administration, a cabinet position, to return to the private sector.
  131. On Friday, NBC News reported that according to the Partnership for Public Service, 155 high-ranking positions which require senate confirmation do not yet have a nominee by Trump.
  132. Experts say that after 26-months of Trump in office, every position should have a nominee. The Partnership for Public Service data also shows 282 of 714 (40%) of key executive branch jobs are unfilled.
  133. Another reason for lag is the high turnover. Brookings Institute found, prior to the McMahon resignation,turnover of top Trump officials was at 66%, including 10 of 12 cabinet positions.
  134. On Thursday, NBC News reported Trump is expected to pick Morgan Ortagus, a Fox News contributor, to replace Heather Nauert, a former Fox News anchor, as State Department spokesperson.
  135. HuffPost reported Trump has placed images of the White House emblazoned with the words “Trump Hotels” on products for sale at the Trump Store in Trump Hotel DC.
  136. On Wednesday, the Washingtonian reported the Trump Hotel DC pulled merchandise using White House images, citing criticism.
  137. On Wednesday, USA Today published excerpts from hours of interviews with Barbara Bush conducted by Susan Page for an upcoming book. Bush blamed Trump for a heart attack she said she had in June 2016.
  138. Bush said the morning after election day, “I woke up and discovered, to my horror, that Trump had won.” She also said, “Putin endorsed him, for heaven’s sake. Putin the killer!…That’s an endorsement you don’t want.”
  139. When asked if she still considered herself a Republican, in October 2017 she said yes, but in February 2018, Bush, who had been one of the most recognizable faces of the party, said, “I’d probably say no today.”
  140. NASA was forced to scrap its first all-female spacewalk because of a lack of “spacesuit availability” in astronaut Anne McClain’s size. McClain’s spot was substituted by a man for Friday’s mission.
  141. On Tuesday, George Papadopoulos told Reuters “my lawyers have applied for a pardon” from Trump, claiming Mueller’s team threatened him that if he did not agree to the plea deal, he would be charged with a more serious crime.
  142. Other former Trump aides also came public to say they were victims of an overly aggressive Mueller probe including Michael Caputo in an op-ed and on MSNBC alongside Carter Page.
  143. On Wednesday, in an interview with Fox News host Sean Hannity, Trump said he would not rule out pardons, saying, “Many, many people were in­cred­ibly hurt by this whole scam.”
  144. Several Trump allies, including Hannity, Fox New host Tucker Carlson, Sen. Rand Paul, Turning Point USA’s Charlie Kirk, and Judicial Watch’s Tom Fitton also spent the week publicly pushing for pardons.
  145. On Thursday, AP reported Trump’s closest advisers and GOP allies are trying to steer him away from pardons, saying it could spark a political firestorm overshadowing what Trump sees as a moment of triumph.
  146. On Wednesday, in an interview with ABC News, former Trump legal spokesman Mark Corallo said he spoke to Mueller’s team about the crafting of the statement to cover up the Trump Tower meeting.
  147. Corallo said Hope Hicks lied about the statement, and grew angry when he disagreed, adding when he said there were documents to prove she was lying, she responded, “Nobody’s ever going to see those documents.”
  148. On Wednesday, House Oversight Committee Chair Elijah Cummings sent a letter to Trump audit firm Mazars USA, requesting 10 years of “statements of financial condition” and audits for Trump and several of his companies.
  149. On Thursday, Judge Tanya Chutkan said Maria Butina, who admitted to working as a Russian agent to infiltrate the NRA, will be sentenced on April 26. Charges against Butina were not part of the Mueller probe.
  150. On Friday, the DOJ formally asked Judge Chutkan in a court filing to send Butina back to Russia after she is sentenced, and to have her acknowledge she cannot return to the U.S. for 10 years.
  151. On Thursday, Jared Kushner testified before the Senate Intelligence Committee at a closed-door hearing. Kushner, who appeared before the committee in 2017, was re-interviewed as part of its Russia investigation.
  152. Later Thursday, Kushner said in a statement, “today I voluntarily answered follow up questions” hoping it “puts an end to these baseless accusations,” and adding “it is time for Congress to complete its work, move on.”
  153. On Friday, Roger Stone, in another possible violation of his gag order, posted an Instagram image of Rep. Schiff’s head laid over a “bullschiff” meter. Stone later deleted the image.
  154. On Thursday, Trump tweeted, “Congressman Adam Schiff, who spent two years knowingly and unlawfully lying and leaking, should be forced to resign from Congress!”
  155. On Thursday, the nine Republicans on Schiff’s committee called on him to step down as chair, citing Schiff’s statement that there is collusion is “incompatible with your duties as the chairman.”
  156. On Thursday, Schiff gave an impassioned speech to his committee, citing his evidence of collusion, and adding “the day we do think that’s OK is the day we will look back and say that is the day America lost its way.”
  157. On Thursday, Speaker Pelosi told reporters at a press conference when asked about Barr’s letter said, “We don’t need you interpreting for us. It was condescending, it was arrogant, and it wasn’t the right thing to do.”
  158. Pelosi also said, “I have said, and I’ll say again, no thank you, Mr. Attorney General, we do not need your interpretation, show us the report and we can draw our own conclusions.”
  159. When asked about attacks on Schiff, Pelosi said, “What is the president afraid of? Is he afraid of the truth?That he would go after a member, a chairman of a committee,” adding “I think they’re just scaredy cats.”
  160. Pelosi also attacked Rep. Devin Nunes, saying, “I’m so proud of the work of Chairman Adam Schiff — in stark contrast to the irresponsible, almost criminal behavior of the previous chair of the committee.”
  161. On Thursday, Trump held his first rally since Mueller finished his probe, in Grand Rapids, Michigan — his first rally in the rust-belt in nearly 2 1/2 years. Trump spoke for more than 80-minutes.
  162. Before the rally, the chairwoman of the Michigan Republican Party held a warm-up rally where she led the crowd in chants of “No Collusion! No Obstruction!” and the crowd chanted, “Lock her up!”
  163. Trump declared victory in the Mueller investigation, hammering his critics and the media saying, “The Russia hoax is finally dead. The collusion delusion is over.”
  164. Trump invoked the “deep state,” saying the probe “was nothing but a sinister effort…to sabotage the will of the American people,” and an effort to “illegally regain power by framing innocent Americans.”
  165. Trump again attacked Rep. Schiff, saying, “They’re on artificial respirators right now,” and “Little pencil-neck Adam Schiff. He’s got the smallest, thinnest neck I’ve ever seen.”
  166. Contradicting his own 2020 budget proposal which slashed funding by 90%, Trump said he was going to fully fund the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative, saying “I support the Great Lakes. Always have….They’re big. Very deep.”
  167. With no outlines for an alternative, Trump barely mentioned healthcare. He invoked Sen. John McCain’s no vote which was met with boos, and renewed his pledge to protect coverage for pre-existing conditions.
  168. On Friday, Trump’s 2020 campaign started selling “Pencil-Neck Adam Schiff” t-shirts, with a description “He spent two years knowingly and unlawfully lying and leaking. He should be forced to resign.”
  169. On Friday, Pelosi again defended Schiff and took a shot at Rep. Nunes, tweeting his “calm, professional leadership is something we should all be proud of. Unlike his predecessor…”
  170. On Friday, in a two-page letter to Congress, AG Barr said the Mueller report, which numbers close to 400 pages, will be delivered to Congress “by mid-April, if not sooner.”
  171. Barr does not plan to submit the report to White House beforehand, saying Trump “would have the right to assert privilege over certain parts of the report, he has stated publicly that he intends to defer to me.”
  172. Barr said he would redact grand jury information, information about ongoing investigations, and information that would “potentially compromise sources and methods” used for intelligence collection.
  173. Barr’s letter also contradicted his Sunday letter which he characterized as a “summary” of the Mueller report, saying it “did not purport to be, an exhaustive recounting of the Special Counsel’s investigation or report.”
  174. Asked by reporters about the letter at Mar-a-Lago, Trump said, “I have great confidence in the attorney general, if that’s what he’d like to do,” adding, “I have nothing to hide. This was a hoax. This was a witch hunt.”
  175. Rep. Nadler responded, saying, “Congress requires the full and complete Mueller report, without redactions, as well as access to the underlying evidence, by April 2. That deadline still stands.”
  176. On Friday, in an op-ed, former deputy attorney general Sally Yates called for Barr to release the full Mueller report as soon as possible, saying, “It is time for the American people to hear the whole truth.”
  177. On Friday, Trump mocked Democrats tweeting, “Mueller was a Hero to the Radical Left Democrats, until he ruled that there was No Collusion with Russia,” adding, “no matter what we give them, it will never be enough.”
  178. On Friday, photos emerged of hundreds of migrants being held in a penned-in area under the Paso Del Norte International Bridge in El Paso. The regime described the situation as a temporary measure.
  179. Reportedly, a surge in migrants coming from Central America strained facilities at the Southwest border. This week, Customs and Border Protection handled thousands of people in excess of the system’s capacity.
  180. Advocates say migrants in the outdoor holding center complained of not having enough food and water, of not receiving adequate medical attention, and of being cold.
  181. On Friday, in a series of tweets, Trump threatened “I will be CLOSING the Border, or large sections of the Border, next week,” blaming Democrats and Mexico saying, “they just take our money and ‘talk.’”
  182. Trump later told reporters at Mar-a-Lago that there is a “very good likelihood” that he will close the borderwith Mexico next week: “I will close the border if Mexico doesn’t get with it.”
  183. On Saturday, Trump said he would cut hundreds of millions in aid to El Salvador, Honduras, and Guatemalaover what he said was their lack of help in stopping the flow of migrants to the U.S.
  184. On Friday, Trump demanded WAPO and NYT should be stripped of their Pulitzer Prizes for coverage of collusion with Russia, tweeting: “there was No Collusion! So, they were either duped or corrupt?”
  185. On Saturday, NYT reported on Trump’s 2020 campaign. Aides say he relies on always having a foil, and now without Mueller or a Democrat to run against, Trump will use the media as a stand-in.
  186. The campaign is also battling Trump’s preference for fights and distractions, and a tougher electoral map. Aides also say Trump, 72, is tired, and will only commit to one campaign event a day.
  187. On Saturday, Trump sent one tweet, then headed to his Trump International Golf Club in West Palm Beach for the 55th time.

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 Attorney General William Barr departs his home March 26, 2019 in McLean, Virginia. Democratic members of the Congress have urged Barr to release the full text of Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election and possible obstruction of justice charges against Trump.

POLITIKS OF GRAFFITI 122: A “FOX”Y REGIME

MARCH 09, 2019

Week 121

Experts in authoritarianism advise to keep a list of things
subtly changing around you, so you’ll remember. https://theweeklylist.org/weekly-list/week-121/
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By parisemike in Venice, California. March 2019.

This week a bombshell exposé by Jane Mayer on the ties between Trump and Fox News sparked questions of whether America had its first version of state TV. The piece had broad fallout, and sparked a renewed conversation on the line between journalism and propaganda.

This week Democrats ramped up investigations, while Trump hit back and escalated his pace of daily lies and misleading statements. With Congressional hearings finally underway, Trump and his regime continued a pattern of irreverent corruption and kleptocracy, as well as continued efforts to limit transparency and hide information.

A shocking story by an NBC affiliate revealed U.S. Customs and Border Patrol has been keeping a database of journalists and other activists involved at the Southern border, the second list by the Trump regime targeting U.S. journalists that has been uncovered since Trump came into power. The regime also reportedly revoked an award from a journalist who had been critical of Trump on social media.

Several revealing and concerning stories about haphazard U.S. foreign policy were reported, seeming to suggest increasingly that decisions are being made solely by Trump, who continues to show a general disinterest in, and at times hostility towards, both U.S. intelligence and protocols. This week the Commerce Department reported the largest trade deficit in goods in the nation’s history, as Trump’s isolationist policies and trade wars took hold — the federal budget deficit also ballooned, largely as a result of the Republican tax break.

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San Jose, Costa Rica 7mar19.
  1. On Saturday, The Atlantic reported House Oversight Committee Democrats are poring over the Cohen testimony. Chairman Rep. Elijah Cummings said the transcript is providing a road map for Democrats to follow.
  2. WAPO reported in Trump’s first 773 days in office, he has made 9,014 false or misleading claims. Trump has escalated the pace from 5.9 per day in his first year, to 16.5 per day in his second, to 22 per day so far in 2019.
  3. A leaked document obtained by NBC station KNSD-TV revealed U.S. Custom and Border Protection kept a secret database tracking 59 journalists and immigration advocates related to the caravans.
  4. The database, compiled with the help of Mexican authorities, labeled people as organizers, instigators, or “unknown,” and said they should be targeted for screening at the border.
  5. The database included 10 journalists, seven of whom are U.S. citizens, and included 31 Americans in all. Based on symbols on the database, 12 appeared to have been questioned and nine were arrested at the border.
  6. NBC News confirmed that several people in the database had been pulled aside at the border and told they were being questioned as part of a “national security investigation.”
  7. On Thursday, according to a statement from Customs and Border Protection, the Department of Homeland Security and the House Homeland Security Committee are investigating whether CBP agents targeted journalists for questioning.
  8. Foreign Policy reported the State Department rescinded a “Women of Courage” award for Finnish journalist Jessikka Aro without explanation, reportedly after seeing her social media posts that were critical of Trump.
  9. NBC News reported just two days after Trump’s failed second summit with Kim Jong Un, photo imagery by Beyond Parallel revealed North Korea is “rapid rebuilding” the long-range rocket site at Sohae Launch Facility.
  10. On Saturday, WAPO reported despite the ongoing investigations of Trump and his failed North Korea summit, Republicans continue to rally around Trump. His ownership of the party was especially visible at CPAC.
  11. Republicans cited Trump’s pull in the primaries, a fraying consensus about conservatism as nationalism, an overhaul of the judiciary branch, and a shared disdain of the media and Democrats.
  12. Fox News host Sean Hannity said on his show of Trump critics: “I think they put themselves at great jeopardy.” An increase in tribalism was also cited, with a senator saying Watergate might not be prosecuted today.
  13. On Saturday, Trump skipped the annual Gridiron dinner in D.C. Ivanka, who Trump reportedly asked to sub in for him that afternoon, said, “As if being Donald Trump’s daughter isn’t the hardest job in the world.”
  14. On Sunday, NYT reported that following Trump’s public criticism of their agencies, intelligence chiefs have revamped their presentations to Trump to focus on what he wants to hear about: economics and trade.
  15. Intelligence officials giving Trump briefings worked to answer his repeated question of who is winning — meaning what country is making more money. Briefers also use charts and graphs of economic data.
  16. Trump has also reduced in-person briefings to twice a week by either director of national intelligence Dan Coats or C.I.A. director Gina Haspel, featuring far more charts and visual aids to appeal to Trump.
  17. Trump is easily bored by activities and motivations of secondary foreign officials, and has shown less interestthan previous leaders on potential terrorist plots or spy work. Trump only wants information he agrees with.
  18. WAPO reported two years in, Trump’s national security officials and Republican allies are struggling to defend and explain his haphazard foreign policy statements — the mantra: it is what Trump says it is.
  19. Trump’s foreign policy is described as “part nationalist, part conservative, part isolationist, part militaristic pageantry.” Trump distrusts traditional allies like NATO, slapping tariffs on allies and adversaries.
  20. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has had trouble being in sync on Trump’s statements on North Korea, and trade negotiator Robert Lighthizer was corrected by Trump in front of Chinese officials in the Oval Office.
  21. On Sunday, when asked about North Korea’s involvement in Otto Warmbier’s death on “State of the Union,” national security adviser John Bolton responded that “My opinion doesn’t matter.”
  22. On Wednesday, Trump signed an executive order canceling the requirement that U.S. intelligence officials publicly report the number of civilians killed in drone strikes on terrorist targets outside war zones.
  23. Rep. Adam Schiff called it “a troubling retreat from transparency,” and other experts warned the lack of data would give propaganda to Islamist extremists who claim the U.S. acts without regard for civilians.
  24. On Wednesday, Russian President Vladimir Putin said his security forces had nabbed 600 spies during 2018, including 129 officers and 465 agents of foreign intelligence agencies.
  25. Putin told Russian state news TASS, “Just like before, and now probably even harder, (foreign intelligence services) are trying to influence events in our country,” adding they are seeking to “step up” their activities.
  26. Putin did not specify any countries by name. Paul Whelan, a resident of Michigan and a former Marine who was arrested last year on suspicion of espionage, is being held at the Lefortovo detention center in Moscow.
  27. On Thursday, Daily Beast reported U.S. embassy staffers in Riyadh said Jared Kushner did not include any embassy officials in his meeting last week with Saudi King Salman and Crown Prince MBS.
  28. Additionally, the Saudi government provided security and handled the entire schedule for Kushner and his entourage, responsibilities typically carried out by the U.S. embassy. Little detail of the meeting was given.
  29. On Friday, Bloomberg reported the Trump regime is drawing up plans to demand allies, including Germany and Japan and eventually other countries hosting U.S. troops, pay the full price of American soldiers deployed on their soil.
  30. On Monday, 21 states and D.C. sued the Trump regime over a rule announced in Week 119 which would prevent family planning clinics that provide abortions or abortion referrals from receiving federal funds.
  31. For the third time, Rep. Steve King promoted Faith Goldy, a Canadian white nationalist, in a tweet. Goldy once recommended a book calling for the “elimination of Jews” and has appeared on The Daily Stormer podcast.
  32. On Monday, a federal judge said the Trump regime violated the law when it halted the Obama-era Equal Employment Opportunity Commission’s efforts to collect pay data by race and gender from large companies.
  33. U.S. District Judge Tanya Chutkan ordered the regime to reinstate the rule, saying the government had failed to demonstrate that the requirements would “meaningfully increase the burden on employers.”
  34. WAPO reported while Trump invited the NCAA’s Division 2 football champs to the White House, he has not invited any women’s championship teams. Obama, George W. Bush, and Bill Clinton did so numerous times.
  35. A poster at an event sponsored by the Republican Party of West Virginia which linked Rep. Ilhan Omar to 9/11 sparked outrage. The poster was put up by ACT for America, classified as an anti-Muslim hate group by the SPLC.
  36. On Monday, after tornadoes hit Alabama, Trump tweeted: “FEMA has been told directly by me to give the A Plus treatment” to the red state, in contrast to mismanagement in Puerto Rico, and threats to California.
  37. On Monday, HuffPost reported Trump is advancing young judicial nominees who are members of the Federalist Society, and hold ideologies that are extremely anti-abortion and anti-LGBTQ.
  38. On Tuesday, the Senate confirmed Allison Rushing, 37, to the federal appeals court. Rushing interned for Alliance Defending Freedom, an anti-LGBTQ group. She was opposed by over 200 civil rights organizations.
  39. On Tuesday, a group of male Republican New Hampshire lawmakers wore pearls to a Congressional hearing, seeming to mock mothers of victims of gun violence who also attended the hearing.
  40. On Wednesday, a federal judge ruled Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross violated the constitutional underpinning of representative democracy by adding a citizenship question to the 2020 Census.
  41. U.S. District Judge Richard Seeborg in San Francisco also found Ross made a “strong showing of bad faith” by trying to conceal his motives behind adding the question.
  42. The judge also said Ross was fully aware that the question would result in a census undercount, particularly among Latinos, adding Ross engaged in a “cynical search” to find an expert who approved of his plan.
  43. On Wednesday, the House Oversight Committee opened an investigation into Georgia’s voting problems, sending a letter to Gov. Brian Kemp, who at the time when he ran for governor also served as secretary of state.
  44. Issues under investigation included voter purges and suspensions, malfunctioning and hackable machines, and efforts to close precincts and polling places — all of which may have contributed to voter suppression.
  45. On Friday, News 4 reported administrators at Sidwell Friends School in D.C. are investigating high school students who included two swastikas and racist imagery in an on-screen presentation made for 500 students.
  46. On Friday, Daily News reported school administrators in Bronxville, New York are investigating an allegation that a teacher held a fake auction in which her white students bid on black students pretending to be slaves.
  47. On Friday, College of Charleston students walked out of class to protest the school administration’s slow response to a video shot during a First Year Experience class which featured slavery jokes and racist slurs.
  48. A police officer in Boulder, Colorado was placed on administrative leave after a video went viral of him drawing his gun on a black student, who works and lives at the property, picking up trash in front of his home.
  49. On Saturday, NBC News reported 29 parents who had been deported to Central America by immigration officers returned to the southern border to demand asylum and reunification with their children.
  50. The parents have 27 children in U.S. custody, the youngest 5 years-old — some separated from their children for more than a year. Some children are still detained, and others are living with foster families or relatives.
  51. On Sunday, Trump tweeted: “After more than two years of Presidential Harassment, the only things that have been proven is that Democrats and other broke the law.”
  52. Trump also tweeted that the Michael Cohen testimony was “given by a liar to reduce his prison time,” adding Cohen’s “just written book manuscript showed” it’s a lie. Cohen’s lawyer said the manuscript Trump references does not exist.
  53. Trump also tweeted: “I am an innocent man being persecuted by some very bad, conflicted & corrupt people in a Witch Hunt,” adding the investigation is “only because I won the Election!”
  54. On Sunday, House Judiciary Chair Jerrold Nadler told “This Week” his committee will be issuing documentsto dozens of entities and individuals. Asked if he thought Trump obstructed justice, Nadler responded, “Yes, I do.”
  55. On Sunday, Senate Intelligence ranking democrat Mark Warner told “Meet the Press” his committee has found “enormous amounts of evidence” of potential collusion between Trump and Russians during the 2016 election.
  56. On Sunday, House Intelligence chair Adam Schiff told “Face the Nation” that his committee has uncovered both “direct evidence” and “abundant circumstantial evidence” of the Trump campaign colluding with Russia.
  57. On Sunday, in the evening, Trump tweeted: “Presidential Harassment by “crazed” Democrats at the highest level in the history,” and “the most vicious and corrupt Mainstream Media” any president has endured.
  58. He also tweeted, yet the most “successful first two years,” adding “We are WINNING big, the envy of the WORLD.”
  59. On Monday, an exposé by Jane Mayer in The New Yorker reported on ties between Trump and Fox News, with an expert saying it is the closest our country has come to having state TV.
  60. Since Trump took office, he has given 42 interviews to Fox News (7 to Hannity alone), while only giving 10 to the three major television networks combined, and none to CNN.
  61. Mayer also reported, citing information compiled by the left-leaning watchdog group Media Matters, thatTrump has parroted lines from Fox News shows more than 200 times on Twitter since August 2018.
  62. In addition to Bill Shine, Deputy Chief of Staff for Communications, other ex Fox News alumni who worked for Trump include Ben Carson, John Bolton, K.T. McFarland, Heather Nauert, Hope Hicks, and Sebastian Gorka.
  63. Shine, who was complicit in a workplace culture of coverups, payoffs, and victim intimidation relating to sexual assault, is still being paid millions from Fox News even while collecting a paycheck from the White House.
  64. Trump frequently retweets claims of Fox News during his “Executive Time.” Although press secretary Sarah Sanders has stopped doing daily press briefings, she has appeared on Fox News shows thirty times.
  65. Mayer also reported prior to the network’s presidential debate, Fox employees may have alerted Trump that Megyn Kelly was going to ask him tough questions, including on his alleged mistreatment of women.
  66. Fox News also reportedly killed the Stormy Daniels story ahead of the election. Fox reporter Diana Falzone, who uncovered it, was told “Good reporting, kiddo. But Rupert wants Donald Trump to win. So just let it go.”
  67. Mayer also reported that in a Oval Office meeting with John Kelly, Trump pressured Gary Cohn to tell the DOJ to block the AT&T-Time Warner merger, over Trump’s ire against CNN. Cohn told Kelly not to follow through.
  68. On Tuesday, WAPO reported in a letter responding to Sen. Elizabeth Warren and Rep. Pramila Jayapal, T-Mobile acknowledged it had spent $195,000 at the Trump Hotel DC after announcing a merger with Sprint.
  69. T-Mobile spent 14% of its D.C. expenditures over those 10 months at Trump Hotel DC. The T-Mobile-Sprint megamerger will require approval from the DOJ and Federal Communications Commission.
  70. On Wednesday, the Democratic National Committee barred Fox News from hosting or televising a candidate debate for the party’s 2020 primary election, a highly unusual rebuke.
  71. Chairman Tom Perez said in a statement Fox News “is not in a position to host a fair and neutral debate for our candidates,” citing Mayer’s reporting showing an “inappropriate relationship” between Trump and the network.
  72. On Wednesday, Trump tweeted, “Democrats just blocked @FoxNews from holding a debate,” adding, “I think I’ll do the same thing with the Fake News Networks and the Radical Left Democrats in the General Election.”
  73. On Friday, Nancy Erica Smith, lawyer for Diana Falzone issued a statement demanding Fox release her from her nondisclosure agreement so she can talk about getting the Stormy Daniels story before the 2016 election.
  74. On Tuesday, WAPO reported that in 2011, shortly after Trump challenged President Obama to “show his record,” the headmaster at New York Military Academy, which Trump attended, was instructed to bury Trump’s record.
  75. The academy superintendent, Jeffrey Coverdale, told the Post some trustees gave him a directive to hand over Trump’s records to them, but he refused, instead for the first time moving them elsewhere on campus.
  76. Coverdale left the school in 2013, and is not sure what happened after. On the campaign trail, Trump over-inflated his academic success in high school and college. Trump was not an academic standout at the academy.
  77. On Sunday, Roger Stone posted an image on Instagram which contained an image of him under the words “Who framed Roger Stone.” The post was up for roughly 24 hours before Stone apparently deleted it.
  78. On Monday, Mueller’s team notified Judge Amy Jackson Berman of the post, saying it could be in violation of the judge’s gag order, which covers “posts on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram or any other form of social media.”
  79. On Tuesday, Judge Jackson blasted Stone in court over his new book that criticizes Mueller, and demandedthat Stone explain his efforts to comply with the gag order by March 11.
  80. Judge Jackson also chastised Stone’s lawyers for misrepresenting to her that publication of the book, titled “The Myth of Russian Collusion,” was “imminent,” after they admitted the book is already on sale.
  81. Judge Jackson will decide whether the book release and/or the Instagram post violate the gag order and justify consequences for Stone. A status conference for Stone was previously scheduled for March 14.
  82. On Monday, Jerome Corsi retracted an article he wrote in 2018 for InfoWars and apologized. The article claimed murdered Democratic National Committee staffer Seth Rich was behind leaking DNC emails to Wikileaks.
  83. Corsi also tweeted, telling followers “I’m not being threatened,” and wrote, “As Christians gentleman, I have sympathy for the suffering the Seth Rich family has gone through. I hope all will understand that. God Bless.”
  84. On Monday, former lead counsel for Trump Ty Cobb told an ABC News podcast that Mueller is an “American hero,” and, parting ways with Trump added, “I don’t feel the investigation is a witch hunt.”
  85. Cobb also said he disagreed with the more confrontational approach being taken by Trump’s current legal team, saying it “wouldn’t have been” his strategy, adding that he doesn’t “feel the same way about Mueller.”
  86. On Monday, House Ways and Means Chair Richard Neal said his committee will likely seek 10 years of Trump’s tax returns, relying on a 1924 law that gives tax-writing committees broad powers.
  87. On Monday, the House Judiciary Committee announced it is sending 81 letters seeking information and documents from individuals and groups relating to Trump’s campaign, businesses, transition, and regime.
  88. Rep. Nadler said in a statement: “Trump has evaded accountability for his near-daily attacks on our basic legal, ethical, and constitutional rules and norms.” The investigation will focus on obstruction of justice by Trump.
  89. When asked by reporters Monday if he would cooperate, Trump responded: “I cooperate all the time with everybody,” adding, “no collusion. It’s all a hoax.” Recipients have until March 18 to respond.
  90. Later, press secretary Sarah Sanders said in a statement that Nadler and the Democrats “have embarked on this fishing expedition,” adding, “they are terrified” that their “false narrative of ‘Russia collusion’ is crumbling.”
  91. On Monday, Rep. Schiff said he has hired Daniel Goldman, a veteran prosecutor in the SDNY with experiencefighting Russian organized crime, to lead his committee’s investigation of the Trump regime.
  92. Goldman will join two other former federal prosecutors. The House Intelligence Committee will beaggressively investigating whether collusion occurred between the Trump campaign and Russia.
  93. On Monday, Fox News host Sean Hannity blasted the House investigation, calling it a “gruesome display of modern-day McCarthyism.”
  94. On Tuesday, Trump parroted Hannity’s comments, tweeting: “We the people will now be subjected to the biggest display of modern day McCarthyism,” adding, “which is the widest fishing net expedition.”
  95. Trump also started undermining the 2020 election, tweeting Democrats were “vicious and totally showed their cards,” adding they “are trying to win an election in 2020 that they know they cannot legitimately win!”
  96. Trump’s 2020 campaign said in a statement: “These desperate Democrats know they cannot beat President Trump in 2020,” saying instead they are on a “disgraceful witch hunt” to “topple the will of the American people.”
  97. On Tuesday, former Trump campaign aide Michael Caputo said he does not plan to cooperate with the House inquiry, and is working with some of the 80 others to begin a joint strategy of resisting requests for testimony.
  98. On Tuesday, a new Quinnipiac University poll found 64% of registered voters believe Trump had committed crimes before entering office, and 45% think he committed crimes while serving in office.
  99. After Cohen’s Congressional testimony last week, 50% believe Cohen and 35% believe Trump. Just 30% believe Trump is honest, the lowest rating in the poll since Trump took office.
  100. On Tuesday, House Oversight Chair Cummings said the White House refused to hand over documents related to security clearances to his committee. Instead, White House Counsel Pat Cipollone offered a briefing.
  101. On Wednesday, CNN reported Trump pressured John Kelly and White House counsel Don McGahn to grant security clearance to Ivanka after concerns were raised by the personnel office.
  102. After both Kelly and McGahn refused, Trump granted Ivanka and Jared security clearances on his own. Three weeks ago, Ivanka told ABC News that Trump had “no involvement” in her or Kushner’s clearance.
  103. On Friday, Axios reported a White House source leaked documents to the House Oversight Committee related to Kushner and Ivanka’s security clearance, after the White House rejected the request.
  104. On Monday, NBC News reported Matthew Whitaker, who had been serving as a senior counselor since Attorney General William Barr was sworn in, left the Justice Department. His next move was unclear.
  105. On Tuesday, WSJ reported Trump plans to nominate Jessie Liu to the number 3 spot at the DOJ, replacing Rachel Brand who left in February 2018. Liu would be the lone minority woman in DOJ leadership.
  106. Liu previously served on Trump’s transition team at the DOJ, and acknowledged she had an in-person interview with Trump before he nominated her to be U.S. attorney, something highly unusual.
  107. On Tuesday, NYT reported New York state regulators have subpoenaed Aon PLC, Trump’s insurance broker, following Cohen’s House testimony last week that Trump exaggerated his wealth to insurance companies.
  108. The nine-page subpoena served by a state agency which is part of Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s administration demands materials relating to Aon’s business with Trump and the Trump Org dating back to 2009.
  109. On Tuesday, Trump tweeted: “PRESIDENTIAL HARASSMENT!”
  110. On Tuesday, Trump told reporters, “It’s too bad,” adding, “Instead of doing infrastructure, instead of doing health care, instead of doing so many things that they should be doing, they want to play games.”
  111. On Tuesday, NYT reported it had obtained six checks written by Trump while in office of $35,000 each paid to Michael Cohen — one of 11 such payments made to Cohen to reimburse for hush money payments.
  112. The dates on the check revealed the parallel lives Trump was leading while in office and conducting the country’s business, while paying for efforts to keep his affairs out of the public eye in the run up to the 2016 election.
  113. Cohen claimed the checks started in February 2017 after a meeting in the Oval Office. The first check for January and February for $70,000 was signed on February 14 by Donald Jr. and Allen Weisselberg.
  114. On Tuesday, WSJ reported a lawyer for Michael Cohen, Stephen Ryan, approached Trump’s attorneys about the possibility of a pardon after the FBI raided Cohen’s properties in April 2018.
  115. Trump attorneys, including Jay Sekulow, Rudy Giuliani, and Joanna Hendon, dismissed the idea of a pardon; however, Giuliani left open the possibility that Trump could grant one in the future.
  116. Ryan also approached Trump Organization general counsel Alan Garten and outside attorney Alan Futerfas. Ryan left the impression if Cohen could not rely on a pardon, he might cooperate with SDNY prosecutors.
  117. Conversations among parties on this topic are being probed by the House Judiciary Committee, and were part of their document requests made on Monday.
  118. On Tuesday, NBC News reported the House and Senate intelligence committees are also investigating the pardon discussions. It is not clear how serious the discussions were, and no pardon was granted.
  119. On Wednesday, WSJ reported Cohen directed Ryan to ask for a pardon from Trump, contradicting his testimony before Congress where he said, “I have never asked for, nor would I accept, a pardon from Mr. Trump.”
  120. On Thursday, Cohen attorney Lanny Davis said “Prior to Michael Cohen’s decision to leave the ‘Joint Defense Group’ and tell the truth on July 2, 2018, Michael was open to the ongoing ‘dangling’ of a possible pardon.”
  121. On Wednesday, Cohen gave the House Intelligence Committee documentation showing edits to the false written statement he delivered to Congress in 2017 about the Trump Tower Moscow project.
  122. Cohen claimed in his testimony that Trump attorney Jay Sekulow made changes to his statement to the House and Senate Intelligence Committees, and that it was also reviewed by lawyers like Abbe Lowell.
  123. On Thursday, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi told reporters Trump’s children are fair game for House committees, saying, “They are investigating certain subjects. Whoever falls into that net, falls into the net.”
  124. On Thursday, ABC News reported Congressional lawmakers are planning to ask Donald Jr. to return to testify about the Trump Tower Moscow project, after he said he knew “very little” about a deal in prior testimony.
  125. On Thursday, Cohen sued the Trump Organization, saying the company is obligated to pay both his $1.9 million in legal bills, and another $1.9 million he owes as part of a criminal sentence.
  126. Cohen said the company paid his legal counsel — at the time, McDermott Will & Emery LLP — but stopped covering the fees they are contractually obligated to pay after he started cooperating with federal investigators.
  127. On Friday, Fox News reported Democrats on the House Intelligence Committee traveled to New York to meet with Cohen at least four times for over 10 hours before last week’s public testimony.
  128. On Monday, Senate Leader Mitch McConnell said he would not stop passage of a resolution to block Trump’s national emergency declaration, after Sen. Rand Paul became the fourth to say he would vote for it.
  129. Sen. Paul said as many as 10 Republicans may vote for the measure, a serious rebuke to Trump and rare example of Congress standing up to try to rein in his power. Trump is likely to veto the measure.
  130. On Tuesday, Sen. Lindsey Graham said Senate Republicans opposing Trump’s national emergency declaration are “playing with fire,” after meeting with Trump, saying the “border is in a state of crisis.”
  131. On Tuesday, the Treasury Department announced the federal budget deficit grew by 77% in the first four months of fiscal year 2019, amid falling revenue caused by Trump’s tax cuts and higher spending.
  132. The deficit grew from $176 billion to $310 billion year over year. White House economic adviser Larry Kudlow acknowledged on Fox News that national debt has “inched up a bit,” but said “growth solves the problem.”
  133. On Wednesday, General Motors closed a massive assembly plant in Lordstown, Ohio — a plant that had operated for 50 years. This marks the first time GM will not be manufacturing cars in Ohio in half a century.
  134. GM also plans to close plants in Detroit and Oshawa, Ontario, and transmission plants in Warren, Michigan, and near Baltimore.
  135. On Wednesday, at the American Workforce Policy Advisory Board meeting at the White House, Trump called Apple Inc. CEO Tim Cook “Tim Apple.” Previously, Trump called Lockheed Martin’s CEO “Marillyn Lockheed.”
  136. On Thursday, the Commerce Department announced the U.S. trade deficit in goods with the rest of the world in 2018 rose to $891 billion, the largest deficit in U.S. history.
  137. The overall trade deficit grew 12.5% from 2017 to $621 billion. American exports to China slumped nearly 50% in December from the year prior, as the trade gap in goods overall for 2018 with China reached $419 billion.
  138. On Wednesday, Secretary of Homeland Security Kirstjen Nielsen testified before the House Homeland Security Committee about Trump’s “zero tolerance” policy— Nielsen’s first hearing since Democrats took control.
  139. Nielsen backed Trump’s emergency declaration, saying, “this is not a manufactured crisis. This is truly an emergency,” and claiming the number of immigrants entering the U.S. illegally had doubled from a year ago.
  140. Also Wednesday, DHS acting inspector general John V. Kelly said in a separate hearing he has opened three investigations into the Trump regime’s immigration policies, including tracking separated children.
  141. The IG will also look into whether deported parents were given the opportunity to take their children with them. Nielsen told lawmakers, “To the best of my knowledge, every parent was afforded that option.”
  142. When Rep. Nanette Barragán asked, “You let kids be separated without tracking them. Do you know how outrageous that is…You have no feeling, no compassion, no empathy here,” Nielsen did not respond.
  143. On Thursday, AP reported that the Pentagon may use $1 billion in leftover funds set aside for military pay and pension accounts to pay for Trump’s wall. The funds are currently available since recruitment is down.
  144. CNBC reported the firm owned by Trump’s former longtime bodyguard Keith Schiller was paid $225,000 by the Republican National Committee for security consulting since he left the White House in September 2017.
  145. The RNC claimed Schiller was kept on to “work on other security needs for the committee” for the 2020 convention. It was unclear what that work entailed. The RNC fee to Schiller is $15,000 per month.
  146. On Friday, The Guardian reported Trump’s inauguration committee took money from shell companies tied to foreigners. It is illegal for non-resident foreigners to donate to political campaigns, including inaugurations.
  147. The Guardian identified three payments of $25,000 each, coming from an Indian real estate investor, a lobbyist with ties to Chinese investors, and an Israeli with international links.
  148. On Thursday, the House voted 407-23 on a measure to condemn all forms of hate, sparked by a fierce debate between Democrats following comments by Rep. Ilhan Omar which were viewed as anti-Semitic.
  149. Trump, seeking to capitalize on the infighting, tweeted Wednesday, “It is shameful that House Democrats won’t take a stronger stand against Anti-Semitism in their conference.”
  150. Trump has been silent to the same in the GOP and trafficked in anti-Semitic tropes. Republicans were silent this week about Rep. Jim Jordan’s tweet, in which he replaced the letter “s” with $ in spelling Tom Steyer’s name.
  151. On Thursday, Judge T.S. Ellis III sentenced Paul Manafort to 47 months in prison, dismissing sentencing guidelines of 19 to 24 year as “vindictive” and “way out of whack” for 69 year-old Manafort.
  152. Legal experts criticized Ellis’s sentence, saying wealthy white-collar criminals often receive lighter sentences because the judge empathizes with them. Manafort arrived in court gray-haired and in a wheelchair.
  153. The judge had predicted some pushback. However, his sentencing provoked a social media firestorm including public defenders, prosecutors, and ordinary citizens — citing racial disparity in sentencing as well.
  154. Observers also noted Judge Ellis showed his distaste for special counsel throughout proceedings. Judge Amy Berman Jackson will sentence Manafort next week on two conspiracy charges.
  155. On Friday, in a series of morning tweets, Trump said, “Thank you @foxandfriends. Great show!” Trump did not publicly change course despite earlier reporting by Jane Mayer on his ties to the network.
  156. Trump also tweeted, “I cannot believe the level of dishonesty in the media. It is totally out of control, but we are winning!” Adding in another tweet, “PRESIDENTIAL HARASSMENT!”
  157. Trump also falsely claimed in a tweet, “Both the Judge and the lawyer in the Paul Manafort case stated loudly” that “there was NO COLLUSION with Russia,” adding, “the Witch Hunt Hoax continues.”
  158. Judge Ellis actually said that Manafort was “not before this court for anything having to do with collusion with the Russian government to influence this election.”
  159. After disappointing job numbers of 20,000 added in February, Trump quoted a “Fox & Friends” guest Stuart Varney, tweeting: “This is as good a time as I can remember to be an American Worker.”
  160. Trump also tweeted, “Bad lawyer and fraudster Michael Cohen” said under oath he did not ask for a pardon and “his lawyers totally contradicted him,” adding, “he directly asked me for a pardon. I said NO. He lied again!”
  161. Trump also claimed Cohen lied under oath to Congress about wanting a job in the administration: “He also badly wanted to work at the White House. He lied!”
  162. Cohen responded, tweeting: “Just another set of lies” by Trump, adding since it was International Women’s Day, Trump should apologize for his “own #lies and #DirtyDeeds” to Karen McDougal and Stephanie Clifford.
  163. On Friday, before departing for Alabama, Trump told reporters he felt “very badly for Paul Manafort.” Trump also repeated the false claim that “the judge said there was no collusion with Russian…It’s a collusion hoax.”
  164. When asked about a pardon for Manafort, Trump said, “I haven’t discussed it,” and also claimed Cohen “directly asked me for a pardon.” Trump also accused Democrats of becoming the “anti-Israel party, anti-Jewish party.”
  165. Visiting Alabama, Trump signed Bibles while visiting relief sites. The act of signing Bibles drew mixed reviews from clergy, with some saying it was appropriate, while others said Trump was wrong to do so.
  166. On Friday, ex-Fox News executive Bill Shine abruptly resigned from the White House, after nine months on the job. Shine said he will now work as a senior advisor for Trump’s 2020 re-election campaign.
  167. Shine was Trump’s fifth communications director, as Trump continues to believe he does not need one. The move, after Mayer’s reporting, came as a surprise to White House aides and officials on the Trump 2020 campaign.
  168. On Friday, Air Force Secretary Heather Wilson resigned to become president of the University of Texas at El Paso. Wilson was seen as a candidate to replace Jim Mattis in the still unfilled defense secretary spot.
  169. On Friday, Trump formally nominated former oil and gas lobbyist David Bernhardt to succeed Ryan Zinke at the Interior Department. Bernhardt was been the acting secretary since Zinke’s departure.
  170. Congressional Democrats who have tried to conduct oversight said acting secretary Bernhardt claimed said he could not provide his calendar, because he has not maintained one in years and is not legally bound to do so.
  171. On Friday, Trump allies on the House Judiciary Committee revived allegations of FBI misconduct, publicly releasing a transcript of an August interview with DOJ official Bruce Ohr.
  172. Later Friday, Trump again attacked Cohen, quoting Rep. Mike Turner: “The only time that Michael Cohen told the truth is when he pled that he is guilty,” adding also “no collusion” and “I did not tell him to lie!”
  173. On Friday, the Miami Herald reported Li Yang, the founder of Orchids of Asia Day Spa, posed with Trump for a photograph at a Super Bowl party, 19 days before Robert Kraft was arrested for soliciting prostitution.
  174. Yang said she no longer owns the spa, which has been accused of human trafficking. Yang also posted a photowith and signed by Trump on her social media from a fundraiser at Mar-a-Lago on March 2, 2018.
  175. Mother Jones reported Yang and her husband, Zubin Gong, started GY US Investments LLC in 2017, which on its website in mostly Chinese, offers services for clients looking to make high-level connections in the U.S.
  176. Yang’s bio photo on the website is a photo with Trump with his signature, and says she is a member of the “Presidential Fundraising Committee.” Yang donated $42,000 to a Trump PAC and $16,000 to his campaign.
  177. Yang’s Facebook page, since taken down, included photos of her with Donald Jr., Rep. Matt Gaetz, RNC Chair Ronna McDaniel, Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao and Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis among others.
  178. The GY US Investments website also lists upcoming events at Mar-a-Lago. Photos show Chinese executives at the Mar-a-Lago New Year’s event mingling with Trump family members including Eric and Donald Jr.
  179. ProPublica reported on another case of Trump’s buddies from Mar-a-Lago being given inside access: Albert Hazzouri, a dentist from Scranton, PA, whom Trump had previously called out at a rally for being a good golfer.
  180. Hazzouri sent Trump a note on Mar-a-Lago stationary, with the salutation “Dear King,” as a favor to the 163,000-member American Dental Association relating to “veterans’ care and American Native Indians’ care.”
  181. Trump wrote on the note, “Send to David S at the V.A.,” meaning David Shulkin, then head of Veterans Affairs. Next to the Mar-a-Lago logo, a Trump aide stamped: “The president has seen.”
  182. On Friday, in an interview with Al Jazeera, Erik Prince admitted he attended an August 2016 Trump Tower previously reported by the Times in Week 80, that also included Donald Jr. and George Nader.
  183. Reportedly at the meeting, Nader said the UAE and Saudi Arabia wanted to help Trump win the White House.When asked why he did not disclose the meeting to Congress, Prince said maybe they got the transcript wrong.

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

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

A bombshell exposé by Jane Mayer, “The Making of the Fox New White House,” explored ties between Trump and the cable-TV network, asking if America had its first state TV.

POLITIKS OF GRAFFITI 121: COWARDLY CRIMINAL FAWNING OVER MURDEROUS DICkTATORS (AMERICA IS ASHAMED)

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Jim Carrey, Feb 27
If Trump makes a nuclear deal w/ North Korea, it’s a FRAUD: China and Russia trying to keep their Prize Pony in the White House. When there’s a Nobel Prize for cowardice and moral desolation Trump will be the first to receive it.

MARCH 02, 2019

Week 120

Experts in authoritarianism advise to keep a list of things
subtly changing around you, so you’ll remember. https://theweeklylist.org/weekly-list/week-120/

This week the country was riveted by the public testimony of Michael Cohen, Trump’s long-time attorney and fixer, before the House Oversight Committee — the first public testimony in the new Democrat-controlled Congress. Cohen’s testimony overwhelmed the spectacle of Trump’s second summit with North Korea dictator Kim Jong Un in Hanoi — which produced no concrete results, despite a pre-planned joint signing ceremony. Cohen, who said he is now in “constant contact” with federal prosecutors, gave seven hours of testimony, offering an insider’s perspective and many new details which, by week’s end, were already leading Congressional investigators to call more witnesses and open new areas of inquiry.

As Cohen was testifying and Trump meeting with Kim, Jared Kushner met with the Saudi King Salman and Crown Prince MBS, then Turkish President Recep Erdogan. Just as Kushner stayed silent during his Saudi visit on the murder of Jamal Khashoggi, Trump sided with another dictator, saying he believed Kim played no part of the brutal torture and death of American college student Otto Warmbier, before trying to reverse himself the next day. During Kushner’s trip, the Times reported Trump had ordered officials to grant his son-in-law top-secret security clearance, overruling concerns by U.S. intelligence and former White House Counsel Don McGahn.

Trump returned from his rough week abroad to a hero’s welcome at the 2019 Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC), a conference which notably had been a forum for conservative debate, but under Trump has evolved into a pro-Trump cult-like setting, and giving center stage to those who previously were fringe players of the Republican Party.

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Miami, FL Dec 2018
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Miami, FL Dec 2018

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Jim Carrey,  Feb 28
Know how you can tell when an admitted liar is being truthful? When he has CORROBORATING EVIDENCE! Like this hush money check to Michael Cohen signed by his boss…CROOKED DONALD TRUMP!!!

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Jim Carrey,  Feb 21
If u can still support this repugnant oaf, while ignoring 17 investigations, 34 indictments, 7 guilty pleas, 9000 lies, child imprisonment, money laundering, racism, misogyny, infidelity, environmental rape, and high treason, you’re not just misinformed… you’re a Sith.
  1. The Southern Poverty Law Center reported that in the era of Trump, eight Republicans with openly white supremacist, nativist, anti-LGBT or anti-government ties won seats in Congress in the midterms.
  2. Additionally, ten other Republicans, who also courted hate and extremism, won their primaries, but lost in general elections.
  3. On Saturday, WAPO reported ahead of the second summit with Kim Jong Un, Trump has changed the definition of success from denuclearization to “no rush,” as long as North Korea maintains a testing moratorium.
  4. Trump also claimed success in ratcheting down rhetoric with North Korea, which he had inflamed. Reportedly, he may look to create a spectacle to distract from Michael Cohen’s public Congressionaltestimony Wednesday.
  5. On Sunday, Trump tweeted: “We will be having one of the biggest gatherings in the history of Washington, D.C., on July 4th,” adding, “fireworks display, entertainment and an address by your favorite President, me!”
  6. It was unclear what Trump meant as a major 4th of July parade already takes place in D.C. each year. A spokesperson for Washington’s mayor told CNN, “Like you, we are still assessing what will be different.”
  7. Trump also tweeted, “The only Collusion with the Russians was with Crooked Hillary Clinton and the Democratic National Committee,” adding, “And, where’s the Server that the DNC refused to give to the FBI?”
  8. Trump also retweeted an earlier tweet saying, “Highly respected Senator Richard Burr, head of Senate Intelligence, said… “WE HAVE FOUND NO COLLUSION BETWEEN THE TRUMP CAMPAIGN AND RUSSIA.””
  9. On Sunday, House Intelligence chair Adam Schiff told “This Week” Democrats will do whatever is necessary to make the Mueller report public, including subpoenaing the report and calling Mueller to testify.
  10. On Sunday, Steve Bannon told “Face the Nation” that 2019 “will be the most vitriolic year in American politics since before the Civil War,” citing the SDNY investigations and Democrats weaponizing the Mueller probe.
  11. On Sunday, House Judiciary chair Jerrold Nadler said in a radio interview that Trump and his conduct are “the greatest threat to the democratic system and to the constitutional government since the Civil War.”
  12. On Sunday, Republican Sen. John Cornyn tweeted a quote by fascist dictator Benito Mussolini, who had ties to socialism. Cornyn later tried to play it off as critique of the Democratic-socialists.
  13. On Sunday, Reuters reported Russian state television listed U.S. military facilities Moscow would target in the event of a nuclear strike, adding that with weapons being developed, Russia could hit them in less than five minutes.
  14. On Monday, Russian foreign minister Sergey Lavrov told a Russian news agency that Trump has asked for Moscow’s advice in dealing with North Korea at the second summit this Wednesday and Thursday.
  15. Lavrov, who is also visiting Vietnam this week, added “the U.S. is even asking our advice, our views on this or that scenario of how the summit in Hanoi could pan out.”
  16. On Monday, BBC reported concerns have been raised that Elizaveta Peskova, daughter of Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov, is interning for a right-wing French politician Aymeric Chauprade at the European Union.
  17. On Monday, in an interview with CNN, former Senate leader Harry Reid said in the age of Trump, he wishes for George W. Bush “every day,” saying, “he and I had our differences, but no one ever questioned his patriotism.”
  18. Reid said he did not think the Senate would go along with impeaching Trump, but added, “I don’t think there would be a backlash because the vast majority of the people know something’s wrong with Trump.”
  19. Reid also said former FBI director James Comey did not do enough to stop Russia in 2016: “I watch [Comey] in the halls…being so self-righteous I almost wanted to shout, ‘Where were you when we needed you?’”
  20. On Monday, Trump attacked Reid tweeting he got thrown out and is “working hard to put a good spin on his failed career,” adding he “led through lies and deception,” and was replaced by “Cryin’ Chuck Schumer.”
  21. On Monday, Trump tweeted: “Oil prices getting too high,” urging the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries, “please relax and take it easy. World cannot take a price hike — fragile!”
  22. On Monday, in a radio interview, former Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen said Trump shows a “lack of understanding” of basic economics, citing his stance on reducing trade deficits with China and others.
  23. Yellen also noted that Trump pressuring the Fed is unhealthy, saying: “I think it does have the impact, especially if conditions in the U.S. for any reason were to deteriorate, it could undermine confidence in the Fed.”
  24. On Tuesday, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the DC Circuit rejected the DOJ’s attempt to overturn AT&T’s merger with Time Warner. Trump’s DOJ had wanted Time Warner to spin off CNN, the frequent target of Trump’s ire.
  25. On Monday, Politico reported two House committees, Finance and Intelligence, will target Trump’s personal finances, crossing Trump’s stated red line of examining his personal finances.
  26. The committees will examine why Deutsche Bank would lend to the Trump Organization when other banks would not, and given Deutsche’s ties to laundering Russian money, whether Russia was involved.
  27. On Saturday, several University of Mississippi basketball players kneeled on the court during the national anthem to show solidarity with counter protestors amid a rally in support to a monument for the Confederacy.
  28. On Sunday, while accepting an award at the Oscars, Spike Lee said of the 2020 election, “Let’s all be on the right side of history. Make the moral choice between love versus hate. Let’s do the right thing!”
  29. On Monday, Trump tweeted in response, “Be nice if Spike Lee could read his notes…when doing his racist hit on your President, who has done more for African Americans…than almost any other Pres!”
  30. AP reported Elecia Dexter, a black woman, will replace Goodloe Sutton as publisher and editor of the Democrat-Reporter. Sutton, who had been in that role since the 1960s, will retain ownership of the newspaper.
  31. On Monday, Maryland Democrat Del. Mary Ann Lisanti apologized to the Maryland Black Caucus for using the n-word to refer to Prince George’s district while out after-hours with colleagues at a cigar bar.
  32. On Tuesday, Virginia first lady Pat Northam handed out raw cotton to two eighth-grade students on a mansion tour, and asked them to imagine being enslaved and having to pick the crop. She apologized Wednesday.
  33. On Wednesday, Detroit Free Press reported a police officer Gary Steele was fired after posting a racially insensitive Snapchat video after stopping a 23 year-old woman for an expired license plate.
  34. On Wednesday, Daily Beast reported Marc Short, VP Pence’s incoming chief of staff, in a college column maligned people living with HIV and AIDS, saying it spread largely as the result of “repugnant” homosexual intercourse.
  35. Fairbanks, Alaska mayor Jim Matherly vetoed a measure passed by the city council, which would have which extended protections in employment, housing, and public accommodations to the LGBTQ community.
  36. On Monday, the Born-Alive Abortion Survivors Protection Act, requiring doctors to provide care to infants who “survive an abortion or attempted abortion,” got 53 votes, 7 shy of the 60 needed to advance in the Senate.
  37. On Monday, Alva Johnson, an event planner on Trump’s 2016 campaign, said in a lawsuit that Trump kissed her on the lips without her consent before a rally in Tampa on August 24, 2016.
  38. More than a dozen women have publicly accused Trump of touching them in an inappropriate way; Johnson is the first new charge since he took office. In the news chaos, the accusations got very little media attention.
  39. Press secretary Sarah Sanders said in a statement the accusation was “absurd on its face,” and “This never happened and is directly contradicted by multiple highly credible eye witness accounts.”
  40. On Tuesday, an attorney for lawyer Alan Dershowitz asked in a letter to the U.S. District Court of Appeals that the Jeffrey Epstein sex abuse case be held behind closed doors, and without the media having access.
  41. On Monday, Axios reported according to Department of Health and Human Services documents, thousands of unaccompanied migrant children have reported being sexually assaulted in U.S. custody.
  42. The Office of Refugee Resettlement received a 4,556 complaints from October 2014 to July 2018, with a record number of complaints, totaling 514, for the second quarter of 2018.
  43. On Thursday, in a letter to the DHS’s Inspector General and Officer for Civil Rights and Civil Liberties, three immigration advocacy groups claimed infants as young as five-months old are being detained by ICE.
  44. The groups said there have been “an alarming increase in the number of infants” in ICE custody at the Dilley, Texas, facility, now at least nine under the age of one, and urged the departments to “intervene immediately.”
  45. On Friday, ten members of the Proud Boys appeared in a New York Supreme Court, facing charges of assault and rioting for an attack outside the Metropolitan Republican Club in Manhattan in Week 101.
  46. Prosecutors recommended as much as a year in jail. Two Proud Boys have already pleaded guilty. In Week 119, the new head of the Proud Boys was named a volunteer by Roger Stone and stood behind Trump at a rally.
  47. On Saturday, Politico reported Qatar hired Stuart Jolly, a former Trump campaign staffer, as a D.C. lobbyist. Qatar also has former Trump campaign manager Corey Lewandowski’s firm on monthly retainer.
  48. On Monday, NBC News reported the number of Americans taking the State Department exam to become diplomats has declined in the first two years of the Trump regime, and is now at its lowest level since 2008.
  49. On Monday, 58 former U.S. national security officials, both Democrat and Republican, said in a letter to the Trump regime they are aware of “no emergency that remotely justifies” diverting funds to build a border wall.
  50. On Tuesday, the Senate voted to confirm Eric Miller as a judge on the country’s most liberal appeals court in Washington State without the consent of either home-state senator, known as “blue slips.”
  51. This is the first time a nominee had been confirmed without the support of at least one home-state senator. Sen. Patty Murray called it a “dangerous first” and accused the GOP of “bending to the will” of Trump.
  52. Miller will sit on the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, the frequent subject of Trump’s ire for its left leaning and decisions against him, as well as the court likely to hear the appeal of his national emergency.
  53. On Thursday, the Senate confirmed Andrew Wheeler, a former coal lobbyist and D.C. insider to lead the E.P.A., along party lines. Wheeler had been the acting administrator since Scott Pruitt resigned amid ethics violations.
  54. In his time serving, Wheeler has sought to repeal environmental regulations, undoing much of the Obama-era legacy, and promoted coal. The regime described it as an effort to combat regulatory overreach.
  55. On Wednesday, McCrae Dowless, the North Carolina political operative who worked for Republican Mark Harris in 2018, was indicted on seven felonies amid allegations of ballot-tampering in the 9th Congressional District.
  56. On Friday, Politico reported that state officials are opting for 2020 voting machines in Georgia, Delaware, Philadelphia and other jurisdictions which pose unacceptable risks, and could be hacked by Russia or China.
  57. The new machines print out a slip of paper with the vote displayed in plain text and embedded in a barcode.Security experts warn hackers could manipulate the barcodes without voters noticing.
  58. Politico reported Democratic Party chairs in four early states want 2020 candidates to sign a pact to avoidwaging social media disinformation warfare against each other, citing reports of disinformation in Week 119.
  59. On Monday in an interview with MSNBC’s Ayman Mohyeldin, Jim Walden, the attorney for former Cambridge Analytica employee Brittany Kaiser said when she spoke to Mueller’s team, they asked her extensively about data and data mining by the company.
  60. He also said that the RNC and NRA exported their voter data to Cambridge Analytica to use in analyzing the last six percent of voters, but that the Trump campaign did not want to be publicly associated with the company.
  61. Kaiser flew to New York to meet with then campaign manager Corey Lewandowski. Bannon, who was a stakeholder in Cambridge Analytica along with the Mercers, did coordinating with the Trump campaign.
  62. On Monday, WSJ reported the Trump Organization donated $191,000 in profits from foreign governmentsto the U.S. Treasury, a 30% increase from the $150,000 in 2017. It was unclear how profits were calculated.
  63. On Monday, WSJ reported the House Judiciary Committee is investigating whether Matthew Whitaker perjured himself in his Week 117 testimony on if Trump asked him to put Geoffrey Berman in charge of the SDNY investigation.
  64. On Monday, in federal court in D.C., Paul Manafort’s attorneys asked for leniency on sentencing, in light of his age (he turns 70 on April 1) and health concerns, adding he is not a hardened criminal.
  65. On Friday, in federal court in Virginia, Manafort’s attorneys again asked for leniency, saying Manafort is a loyal, compassionate, idealistic man who has learned a “harsh lesson.”
  66. On Tuesday, prosecutors asked the federal judge in the Maria Butina case to delay her sentencing, saying she is still cooperating. The judge agreed to wait until March 28 to decide the date for a sentencing hearing.
  67. On Tuesday, the House Oversight Committee voted to subpoena the Trump regime over family separations at the southern border, in what will be the first subpoenas of the new Congress.
  68. The Justice Department, Homeland Security, and Health and Human Services will be subpoenaed. Chairman Rep. Elijah Cummings said committee members have been seeking documents for seven months.
  69. On Tuesday, the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled unanimously against Roger Stone associate Andrew Miller, finding no flaw in deputy attorney general Rod Rosenstein’s appointment of Mueller.
  70. On Tuesday, Twitter permanently suspended Trump supporter and far-right activist Jacob Wohl after he told USA Today he planned to set up fake accounts in an attempt to manipulate the 2020 presidential election.
  71. Wohl told WAPO Tuesday that creating a false account was largely an “intellectual exercise” to gauge whetherthe account could be used to impact liberal women.
  72. On Tuesday, Trump ally Rep. Matt Gaetz tweeted a threat at Cohen the day before his Congressional testimony, saying, “Hey @MichaelCohen212 -Do your wife & father-in-law know about your girlfriends?”
  73. Speaker Nancy Pelosi tweeted a statement, “I encourage all Members to be mindful” of comments on social media and to the press warning, “efforts to intimidate family members or pressure witnesses will not be tolerated.”
  74. Later Tuesday, Gaetz tweeted, “Speaker, I want to get the truth too,” around “liars” like Cohen, adding, “it was NOT my intent to threaten, as some believe I did. I’m deleting the tweet” and “I’m sorry.”
  75. On Wednesday, Daily Beast reported the Florida Bar opened an investigation into whether Gaetz violated professional conduct rules by threatening Michael ahead of his Congressional testimony.
  76. A staff writer for the Atlantic reported Gaetz took a call from Trump in Hanoi to discuss the Cohen testimony: “I was happy to do it for you. You just keep killing it,” Gaetz was heard telling him.
  77. On Tuesday, Cohen met behind closed doors with the Senate Intelligence Committee. Senators from both parties said the testimony made a strong impression on them.
  78. Ranking Democrat Mark Warner said: “When this investigation started I said it may be the most important thing I’m involved in…. Nothing that’ve I heard today dissuades me from that view.”
  79. On Tuesday, Hillary Clinton, who worked as an attorney for the House Judiciary Committee during the Nixon impeachment inquiry, advocated for more public hearings to help the public understand what happened.
  80. On Tuesday, Speaker Pelosi said before voting to block Trump’s national emergency, “The resolution is not about politics. It’s not about partisanship. It’s about patriotism. It’s about the Constitution.”
  81. Pelosi also asked, “Is your oath of office to Donald Trump or is it to the Constitution of the United States?”The resolution of disapproval passed 245 to 182, with 13 Republicans voting along.
  82. On Tuesday, the White House press corps was evicted from its workspace at the Melia Hotel. NBC News reported a Vietnamese security officer barked “You must go now!” at members of the press corp in the lobby.
  83. The move was highly unusual since the White House had approved of and supported the use of the space. It was unclear who was behind it — North Korea, Vietnam, the U.S., or a combination of those governments.
  84. On Wednesday, in an evening interaction with the media, when a reporter asked Trump for his reaction to Cohen’s written testimony, Trump did not respond and simply shook his head. Other reporters asked as well.
  85. Shortly after, the White House banned four journalists from covering Trump’s dinner with Kim Jong Un in Hanoi, in what WAPO called “an extraordinary act of retaliation.”
  86. Press secretary Sanders said reporters from the Associated Press, Bloomberg News, the Los Angeles Times, and Reuters were excluded over “sensitivities over shouted questions in the previous sprays.”
  87. Sanders had tried to exclude all reporters and only allow photographers and television crew, but reversed after loud pushback, allowing just one reporter from Robert Murdoch-owned WSJ to attend.
  88. On Wednesday, from his hotel room in Hanoi at roughly 4 p.m. ICT/4 a.m. EST, Trump attacked Cohen, tweeting: “Michael Cohen was one of many lawyers who represented me (unfortunately). He had other clients also.”
  89. Trump also tweeted that Cohen “was just disbarred by the State Supreme Court for lying & fraud. He did bad things unrelated to Trump,” adding, “he is lying in order to reduce his prison time. Using Crooked’s lawyer!”
  90. Trump also attacked a Democrat: “I have now spent more time in Vietnam than Da Nang Dick Blumenthal, the third rate Senator from Connecticut” adding, “his war stories of his heroism in Vietnam were a total fraud.”
  91. As Cohen’s testimony got underway, it overwhelmed the spectacle of Trump’s second summit, which received little attention. Trump had urged his team to respond to Cohen even before he touched down Tuesday night.
  92. On Tuesday, in the late evening, Cohen’s opening testimony was made public. Cohen asked the House Oversight Committee to protect his family from Trump’s threats, sharing copies of tweets he found threatening.
  93. Cohen said he was ashamed of his failings, and called Trump a “racist,” “conman,” and “cheat,” adding as a candidate he knew Stone was talking with Julian Assange about a WikiLeaks drop of DNC emails.
  94. Cohen provided copies of financial statements for 2011–2013 Trump gave to banks like Deutsche, and a copy of a check Trump wrote from his personal bank account in April 2017 to reimburse hush money payments.
  95. Cohen also provided a second check signed by Donald Jr. and Trump Organization Chief Financial Officer Allen Weisselberg. The monthly payment checks for $35,000 each were written after Trump took office.
  96. Cohen also provided letters he wrote on Trump’s behalf that threatened Trump’s high school, colleges, and the College Board not to release his grades or SAT scores ahead of the campaign.
  97. Cohen also said Individual #1 is Trump, and that he ran for president to promote his brand, but did not think he would win, saying Trump called the campaign the “greatest infomercial in political history.”
  98. Cohen said, as Trump arrived in Vietnam 50 years later, he helped him cover up his service record. He saw Donald Jr., who Trump said had the worst judgment, whisper “the meeting is all set” just before June 9.
  99. On Wednesday, with the country watching the public hearings, Cohen said that he was willing to tell all now out of fear that if Trump were to lose the 2020 election, “there will never be a peaceful transition of power.”
  100. Republicans on the committee spent the day attacking and trying to discredit Cohen as a liar and a grifter seeking to cash in on a movie or book deal. Rep. Paul Gosar scolded Cohen, saying, “liar, liar, pants on fire.”
  101. Cohen testified Trump knew in advance that WikiLeaks planned to release emails damaging to Hillary Clinton, saying he overheard a July 2016 call from Stone saying the group would publish a “massive dump” within days.
  102. Cohen said he briefed Trump on Trump Tower Moscow’s progress, and also gave updates to Donald Jr. and Ivanka. He also talked to former campaign manager Corey Lewandowski about possible business travel to Russia.
  103. Cohen also said Jay Sekulow and other members of Trump’s legal team made “several” changes to his false statement to Congress, including changing the length of time the “project stayed and remained alive.”
  104. Cohen also said he did not travel to Prague, had no knowledge of the salacious tape mentioned in the Steele dossier, and lamented lying to First Lady Melania Trump to cover Trump’s affairs with other women.
  105. As Rep. Mark Meadows defended Trump as not being a racist, Lynne Patton, a political appointee at HUD who is a Black woman, stood behind him. The GOP members on the committee were all white.
  106. Rep. Rashida Tlaib called it “insensitive” and possibly racist “to use a black woman as a prop.” Patton has become one of the few, and most prominent, Black American officials in the Trump regime.
  107. Rep. Cummings closed out the hearing, saying, “When we’re dancing with the angels, the question will be asked, ‘In 2019, what did we do to make sure we kept our democracy intact? Did we stand on the sidelines and say nothing?’ Come on now! We can do more than one thing. And we have got to get back to normal.”
  108. During the testimony, Roger Stone wrote in a text message to BuzzFeed News: “Mr. Cohen’s statement is not true.” A spokesperson for the special counsel declined to comment on whether Stone had violated his gag order.
  109. On Wednesday, Fordham University confirmed Cohen had sent the school a letter in May 2015, threatening legal action if Trump’s academic records became public. The school also received a call from a campaign staffer.
  110. On Thursday, Rep. Cummings told reporters his panel will look to interview several of the people Cohen mentioned in his testimony, including Donald Jr., Ivanka, and Allen Weisselberg.
  111. Other names mentioned by Cohen in his testimony included Trump’s longtime assistant Rhona Graff, Stone, Corey Lewandowski, Jay Sekulow, Rudy Giuliani, and several others who worked at the Trump Organization.
  112. On Thursday, Cohen gave his third day of testimony for 7.5 hours before the House Intelligence Committee behind closed doors. Committee chair Schiff said Cohen would return to testify on March 6.
  113. Rep. Schiff also said the committee plans to make Cohen’s testimony public at some point, and that Felix Sater, who Cohen said worked with him on the Trump Tower Moscow project, will publicly testify March 14.
  114. On Wednesday, a White House statement revealed Jared Kushner met with King Mohammed bin Salman and Crown Prince MBS in Saudi Arabia on Tuesday to discuss a Mideast peace plan and “economic investment.”
  115. The White House readout did not specify if the three discussed the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi. It was unclear what “economic investment” referred to.
  116. The White House also said Kushner met with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Wednesday, also to push a Mideast peace plan.
  117. On Thursday, NYT reported Trump ordered former chief of staff John Kelly to give Kushner top-secret security clearance last May, despite concerns from intelligence officials and White House counsel Don McGahn.
  118. Kelly was so troubled, he wrote a contemporaneous internal memo about how he had been “ordered” by Trump. McGahn also wrote an internal memo detailing the concerns that had been raised about Kushner.
  119. In January, Trump said he had no role in Kushner’s security clearance. Last May, Kushner’s attorney Abbe Lowell had claimed Kushner went through the standard process for clearance, as did Ivanka three months ago.
  120. The full scope of intelligence concerns was not clear. The Kushner family’s business has ties to foreign governments and investors in, and Kushner had unreported contacts with, countries including Israel, the UAE, and Russia.
  121. A spokesperson for Lowell told the Times, “In 2018, White House and security clearance officials affirmed that Mr. Kushner’s security clearance was handled in the regular process with no pressure from anyone. That was conveyed to the media at the time, and new stories, if accurate, do not change what was affirmed at the time.”
  122. On Thursday, Rep. Cummings said his committee had launched an investigation into Kushner’s security clearance process, and threatened to subpoena if the White House continues to not cooperate.
  123. On Friday, in a letter, Rep. Cummings wrote on the request for information on Kushner’s security clearance, “I am now writing a final time to request your voluntary cooperation with this investigation.”
  124. On Friday, a spokesperson for Lowell issued a new statement: “Mr. Lowell was not aware of nor told of any request for or action by the President to be involved in the security clearance process. Again, officials affirmed at the time that the regular process occurred without any pressure.”
  125. On Thursday, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was indicted on corruption charges following a two-year investigation. Netanyahu faces one count of bribery and three counts of breach of trust.
  126. In a televised statement Netanyahu dismissed the charges as a politically motivated “witch-hunt,” adding, “there is nothing to these (allegations).”
  127. On Thursday, Trump defended Kim over the death of American college student Otto Warmbier, saying “he tells me he didn’t know about it” until after the fact, and “I take him at his word.”
  128. Warmbier’s family, who said their son was brutally tortured, won a $501 million judgement against North Korea in December. In defending him, Trump said Kim “feels badly about it.”
  129. Trump drew bipartisan criticism for his remarks. In the past year, Trump has also sided with Putin, taking his word that did not interfere in the 2016 U.S. election and with Crown prince MBS over the murder of Jamal Khashoggi.
  130. On Thursday, Trump abruptly canceled a working lunch amid a standoff over North Korea demanding the U.S. remove all economic sanctions without North Korea completely ending its nuclear program.
  131. Trump told reporters “Sometimes you have to walk,” adding, “This wasn’t a walk away, like you get up and walk out. No, this was very friendly. We shook hands. . . . There’s a warmth that we have, and I hope that stays.”
  132. Trump also told reporters Cohen’s testimony was “shameful” and false, and that “having a fake hearing like that and having it in the middle of this very important summit is really a terrible thing.”
  133. Trump carved out one area, “He lied a lot, but it was very interesting because he didn’t lie about one thing; he said no collusion with the Russian hoax,” adding of that one part, “I was actually impressed.”
  134. Trump left Hanoi empty-handed, despite the White House having scheduled a joint signing ceremony where Trump and Kim were meant to triumphantly conclude their two-day summit.
  135. On Friday, in a rare news conference in the middle of the night, North Korea’s foreign minister Ri Yong Ho disputed Trump’s account of why the summit ended, saying Kim demanded only partial sanctions relief.
  136. Ri also told reporters North Korea had offered to put a permanent halt of the country’s nuclear and intercontinental ballistic missile tests in writing, adding Trump wasted an opportunity that “may not come again.”
  137. Later, a State Department senior official then clarified the U.S. position saying that the North Koreans“basically asked for the lifting of all sanctions.”
  138. The official acknowledged the North’s demand was for lifting of United Nations Security Council sanctions imposed in 2016, and not sanctions imposed earlier when the North conducted its first nuclear test.
  139. Later, North Korea state-run media took a softer tone than Ri, not mentioning Trump’s decision to walk away without any agreements, and indicating the North was looking ahead to more talks.
  140. On Friday, in a series of five morning tweets, Trump attacked Cohen over his testimony, tweeting: “Wow, just revealed that Michael Cohen wrote a “love letter to Trump” manuscript for a new book that he was pushing.”
  141. Trump also tweeted, “Your heads will spin when you see the lies, misrepresentations and contradictionsagainst his Thursday testimony,” adding, “Like a different person! He is totally discredited!”
  142. Trump also tweeted, “Cohen’s book manuscript shows that he committed perjury on a scale not seen before…What does Hillary Clinton’s lawyer, Lanny Davis, say about this one. Is he being paid by Crooked Hillary.”
  143. Trump also tweeted, “Oh’ I see! Now that the 2 year Russian Collusion case has fallen apart… they say, “gee, I have an idea, let’s look at Trump’s finances and every deal he has ever done” and follow “discredited” Cohen.
  144. Trump also tweeted, “No way, it’s time to stop this corrupt and illegally brought Witch Hunt,” adding “time to start looking at the other side,” and “Republicans have been abused long enough. Must end now!”
  145. A new Hill-HarrisX poll revealed 37% of respondents found Cohen credible, while 25% did not and 39% had not yet formed an opinion.
  146. Cohen’s credibility was split along party lines: with 58% of Democrats finding him credible, 11% do not; while just 15% of Republicans found him credible, 48% do not.
  147. On Friday, Warmbier’s parents issued a statement saying, “Kim [Jong Un] and his evil regime are responsiblefor the death of our son Otto,” adding, “No excuses or lavish praise can change that.”
  148. On Friday, Trump sought to clarify his comments on Warmbier’s death, tweeting, “I never like being misinterpreted,” and saying “Of course I hold North Korea responsible.” This is not what Trump said Thursday.
  149. Trump also tweeted: “Remember, I got Otto out along with three others. The previous Administration did nothing,” adding, “Otto Warmbier will not have died in vain,” and, “I love Otto and think of him often!”
  150. On Wednesday, NYT reported the attorney general for the District of Columbia subpoenaed Trump’s inaugural committee, the third government body to do so after New York and New Jersey.
  151. The subpoena sought documents related to payments to the Trump Hotel DC and the Trump Organization, including any communications related to “the pricing of venue rentals.”
  152. The subpoena also named Fairmont Hotel and AccorHotels, which was paid $1.56 million for a block of rooms, and also requested information on the role Ivanka, Donald Jr., and Eric played on the committee.
  153. On Thursday, House Financial Services Committee chair Maxine Waters she was given a lead that may result in her opening an investigation into the Trump Foundation. Cohen mentioned the foundation in his testimony.
  154. Rep. Waters also said Deutsche Bank is “now being cooperative,” adding, “they had not been,” and, “they have offered to cooperate and my staff have just started to work with them to get the documents.”
  155. On Thursday, Republican senators urged Trump not to move forward with his national emergency declaration, saying there is support for a resolution to disapprove to pass in the Senate.
  156. The House has already passed a resolution to block Trump’s emergency declaration. This would necessitate Trump invoking his veto power for the first time. There is not enough support to override a veto.
  157. On Friday, Mueller’s team told federal District Judge Amy Berman Jackson in a new filing that it expects its case against Stone to take five to eight days in court.
  158. On Friday, in a late evening filing, Judge Berman Jackson ordered Stone’s attorney to explain why they did not tell her about the imminent publication of a book that could violate his eight-day old gag order.
  159. In the order, the judge asked the attorneys why they had not told the court about the book in a court filing or during the February 21 hearing, saying Stone “should not be talking about this Court” or the special prosecutor.
  160. On Friday, the day of the March 1 deadline for Trump to dramatically increase tariffs on China, Trump tweeted, “I have asked China to immediately remove all Tariffs” on U.S. agricultural products.
  161. Trump also tweeted “I did not increase their second traunch of Tariffs to 25% on March 1st,” adding “this is very important for our great farmers.” American farmers have been suffering from Trump’s trade wars.
  162. Trump made the request “based on the fact that we are moving along nicely with trade discussions” with China. It was unclear what progress has been made. China has imposed retaliatory tariffs.
  163. On Friday, WAPO ran a story titled “In America, talk turns to something unspoken for 150 years: Civil war,” citing many of the examples chronicled in The Weekly List as well or use of the term or similar in recent times.
  164. The 2019 Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) focused on the threat of socialism. The conference used to be forum for conservative debate, but has reportedly evolved into a pro-Trump event.
  165. A 16-foot high painting of Trump’s face in front of the American flag titled ‘Unafraid and Unashamed’ by artist Julian Raven hung in the CPAC exhibition hall. The painting was first unveiled at a Trump rally in 2015.
  166. The CPAC speaker roster was full of Trump loyalists who previously were considered on the fringe of the GOPlike YouTube duo Diamond and Silk, and activist-provocateur James O’Keefe.
  167. Conservative radio host Erick Erickson said CPAC was “filled with speakers, grifters, and performance artists, while never-Trump conservative Bill Kristol tweeted: “Some future. Some party.”
  168. On Friday, Matt Schlapp, chairman of the CPAC, defended nationalism in an interview with Fox News, saying “there’s nothing wrong with nationalism,” while defending the call for stronger borders.
  169. On Saturday, Trump tweeted “93% Approval Rating in the Republican Party,” adding “Not bad considering I get the most unfair (BAD) press in the history of presidential politics! And don’t forget the Witch Hunt!”
  170. Despite his rough week, Trump arrived to CPAC on Saturday to a hero’s welcome to a sea of red ‘MAGA’ hats, chants of “Trump! Trump! Trump! Trump!” and “four more years.”
  171. As Trump walked on stage, he hugged an American flag as “God Bless the USA” played over the speakers. As he started to speak, chants of “Lock her up!” from attendees erupted.
  172. Trump’s meandering, off-script speech lasted over two-hours — his longest. He attacked Mueller, Democrats, socialism, climate change, and a supposed caravan at the southern border full of “stone cold killers,”
  173. Trump told the crowd he was joking when he asked Russia to hack Clinton’s emails, and criticized the “fake news” for taking him seriously, “So everybody is having a good time, I’m laughing, we’re all having fun.”
  174. Trump also said of the media, “These people are sick, and I’m telling you, they know the game and they play it dirty, dirtier than anybody has ever played the game.”
  175. Trump mocked former attorney general Jeff Sessions for recusing himself, using a southern accent, saying “And the attorney general says ‘I’m gonna recuse myself,’” as the crowd booed.
  176. Trump invited conservative activist Hayden Williams, 26, on stage, and said he will sign an executive order “very soon” requiring colleges and universities to support free speech if they want to receive federal grants.
  177. On Saturday, Trump tweeted about one of his Scottish golf courses, “Very proud of perhaps the greatest golf course anywhere in the world. Also, furthers U.K. relationship!” — using his Twitter account to promote his business interests.
  178. Experts noted Trump is meant to be walled off from his business while in office. Additionally, concerns were raised over tying his family business interests to U.S. foreign policy.
  179. Trump also retweeted a tweet promoting his 2020 campaign merchandise, “Get your OFFICIAL campaign merchandise” with the website link, adding, “if you’re at @CPAC, check out our Official booth!” #TeamTrump.”

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

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

Michael Cohen, former lawyer for Trump, testifies before the House Oversight Committee on Capitol Hill, on Wednesday, February 27, 2019.

SAN JOSE, COSTA RICA POLITIKS & GRAFFITI: “REBELLION”

My journey to becoming a global documenter of graffiti and street art began back in Bogota, Colombia in 2012. It was all of the words scrawled and stenciled on the walls all over the city that prompted a keen interest within me. Two things happened: My Spanish improved quickly (because I had to go home and translate the words into English) and secondly, I got a sense almost overnight of the political issues of the disenfranchised elements of society within the country.

Realizing that graffiti had the power to communicate important messages and concerns of ordinary citizens, I began to pay close attention to the writings on the walls all over the world. It’s amazing what you can see when you look. It’s amazing what you can hear when you listen. It’s amazing what you can understand when you open your heart.  

Once the foundation of my passion was set, my documentation progressed to all genres of street art including murals, stickers, sculptures, wheat pastes, everything and anything, that I judged to be making a statement of some kind in a public arena. 

Since 2012, this blog has grown exponentially and one series in particular, the “Politiks of Graffiti” series featuring street art images I’ve collected around the world, combined with the weekly list covering the current state of the U.S. government compiled by activist Amy Siskind, has garnered a lot of interest and has a bit of a following on Twitter. It’s important to note that I cover all forms of political statements I discover in public art. It’s unfortunate that it just so happens, the current “P.O.G” is heavily laden with visual commentary of ’45.’ I would love for it to be something else, or something more, and I believe it will be, eventually. 

In the future, I plan to do a book of “Graffiti and Global Politics,” or something like that, using the images I’ve collected around the world in the past decade. 

That being said, I am currently in San Jose, Costa Rica and the walls are rife with political statements. 

Please check them out below: 

DCIM103GOPROG0101513.
On the very first day I arrived in San Jose, I saw this stencil on walls, on roads (literally, I was crossing the street, looked down, and this image was stenciled on the road!), and here at a bus stop. I researched to find out that this man is Oscar Arias. He is a former President of Costa Rica and a Nobel Peace Prize laureate. He’s been accused of sexual assault by a nuclear disarmament activist. VIOLADOR is RAPIST in Spanish. 
DCIM103GOPROG0031587.
These two stencils are about domestic violence and oppression of the poor. On the left: “If he insults you, he doesn’t love you. If he hits you, don’t stay.” On the right: “The rich abort the dying poor.” 
DCIM103GOPROG0031506.
“The revolution will be feminist or it will not be.” I take it to mean that the revolution must be run by women, because if it isn’t. then there won’t be one at all. 
IMG_3927
“There are bullets and good decisions.”
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“They infuse terror and want forgiveness.”
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“Welcome Migrants”
IMG_4080
“My body does not want your opinion.”
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“The rich abort the dying poor.”
IMG_4099
“Against patriarchal and capitalist violence, our deep rebellion.”
DCIM103GOPROG0071510.
“The earth is feminist.”
IMG_3766
I’m not sure about this translation: “Outside rosaries of our ovaries.” It definitely has something to do with telling men that they don’t make decisions for women and their bodies. 

11/12/13/14/15FEB2019 San Jose, Costa Rica.

POLITIKS OF GRAFFITI 119: STUCK IN THE ROUGH

FEBRUARY 16, 2019

Week 118

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

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

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

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

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

IMG_9894IMG_9932

IMG_9827
Wiesbaden, Germany. October 2018.
IMG_9994
I discovered these “Sidewalk Merkels” in Frankfurt, Germany in October 2018.

IMG_9993

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

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

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…
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A sticker found in Orlando, Florida. 9Feb19. *(sic) familys = families

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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.

POLITIKKKS OF GRAFFITI 117: VIKTORIES FOR PUTIN

Week 116

Experts in authoritarianism advise to keep a list of things
subtly changing around you, so you’ll remember. https://theweeklylist.org/weekly-list/week-116/

This week concerns about Trump’s foreign policy were front and center, as the regime rolled back sanctions against a Russian oligarch, and withdrew from the Cold War-era Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty — both seen as victories for Putin. The Financial Times reported on a previously undisclosed one-on-one meeting between Trump and Putin at the G20 just months after Helsinki. Congress rebuked Trump’s foreign policy again this week in a piece of legislation drafted by Majority Leader Mitch McConnell over Trump’s withdrawal of troops from Syria and Afghanistan. Heads of U.S. Intelligence agencies testified before the Senate on their annual “Worldwide Threat Assessment,” revealing findings in sharp contrast from Trump on Iran, ISIS, and North Korea, as well as the southern border. Trump reacted by castigating his appointed agency heads, then later inviting them to the Oval office and blaming the media instead.

This week Trump continued to threaten to do whatever it takes to build his wall, including declaring a national emergency if the bipartisan congressional group does not fully fund it. Meanwhile, Trump continued his false narrative that the wall is being built, while spreading other disinformation about immigration and voter fraud. The far-right has increasingly adopted Trump’s strategy of creating alternative realities and embracing conspiracy theories — this week claiming an attack on a gay, black actor was a hoax, and spreading conspiracies about Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s health. The country is increasingly divided, as the U.S. Intelligence assessment also warned that Russia and other countries are looking to sow dissent, spread disinformation, and interfere in future U.S. elections.

IMG_3316

IMG_3317
Meme from Rosie O’Donnell’s Twitter Page, 3Feb19
  1. Watchdog group Transparency International released its Corruption Perceptions Index for 2018. The U.S. dropped four points to 71 over 2017, and dropped out of the top 20 nations for the first time since 2011.
  2. The scale is 1 to 100, with 1 being very corrupt and 100 the cleanest. The report cites the U.S. drop “is a red flag and comes at a time when the U.S. is experiencing threats to its system of checks and balance, as well as an erosion of ethical norms at the highest levels of power.”
  3. On Saturday, in a series of evening tweets, Trump railed against the indictment of Roger Stone, claiming Stone “didn’t even work for me anywhere near the Election!”
  4. Trump also tried to draw a whataboutism type comparison: “What about the Fake and Unverified “Dossier,” a total phony conjob, that was paid for by Crooked Hillary to damage me and the Trump Campaign?”
  5. Trump also complained he had endured “one sided Fake Media coverage (collusion with Crooked H?)” during his “very successful presidential campaign,” adding in a third tweet, “WITCH HUNT!”
  6. On Sunday, on “This Week,” Roger Stone accused Mueller of using “Gestapo tactics,” saying, “They could simply have called my lawyers and I would have turned myself in…It’s an attempt to poison the jury pool.”
  7. On Saturday, NYT reported Trump’s defeat in the border wall standoff with Congress has left him vulnerable to a primary fight, as anti-Trump Republicans are urging fellow Republicans to run.
  8. A top Trump campaign official, Bill Stepien, traveled to the Republican National Committee meeting in New Mexico to orchestrate a unanimous resolution of support for Trump, in an effort to project party unity.
  9. The resolution, although largely symbolic, was also a sign of the RNC’s deepening ties to Trump. The RNC has historically waited for candidates to clinch the primary to give “undivided support.”
  10. On Sunday, in an interview with WSJ, Trump said he thinks it is “less than 50-50” that the 17 members of congress charged with negotiating a deal over border wall funding would come up with something he could accept.
  11. Trump vowed he would build a wall anyway by using executive powers to declare a national emergency. When asked if he would accept less than $5.7 billion for his wall, he responded, “I doubt it. I have to do it right.”
  12. On Sunday, Trump tweeted, “58,000 non-citizens voted in Texas, with 95,000 non-citizens registered to vote,” citing a list compiled by the Texas secretary of state’s office, and mentioned on a “Fox & Friends” segment.
  13. Texas politicians and voters’ advocates asked officials to investigate both figures, suggesting the notion of voter fraud has been conjured in the past as a way to remove voters from the rolls.
  14. Trump also tweeted Sunday, “the cost of illegal immigration so far this year is $18,959,495,168. Cost Friday was $603,331,392.” It is unclear where Trump got his numbers from, but experts said they were too high.
  15. Trump also tweeted “There are at least 25,772,342 illegal aliens, not the 11,000,000 that have been reported.” Most studies put the number close to 11 million, and Trump’s Department of Homeland Security recently estimated 12 million.
  16. On Saturday, Reuters reported after NATO and Russia failed to resolve a dispute over a new Russian missile allies say is a threat to Europe, the U.S. may pull out from the Intermediate-range Nuclear Forces Treaty.
  17. On Sunday, at the Screen Actors Guild Awards, actress Patricia Arquette thanked Robert Mueller and “everyone working to make sure that we have sovereignty for the United States of America” while accepting an award.
  18. WAPO reported that Trump, who often spends days in the presidential residence, relishes giving tours of the White House to hundreds of acquaintances and strangers, bragging about how he has improved it.
  19. Trump reportedly has claimed, without evidence, that his private dining room off the Oval Office was in “rough shape” and had a hole in the wall, saying of Obama, “he just sat in here and watched basketball all day.”
  20. Although former President Obama typically does not respond to Trump, an Obama White House official told WAPO there was no hole in the wall, and that Obama rarely worked in the room and did not watch basketball there.
  21. On Monday, a Congressional Budget Office report found the 35 day government shutdown cost the U.S. economy about $3 billion in forgone economic activity that will not be recovered, not including indirect effects.
  22. The agency’s annual report also out Monday found the federal budget deficit will hit about $900 billion this year, and exceed $1 trillion every year beginning in 2022, two years earlier than the CBO estimated last year.
  23. The CBO also estimated the national debt will soar to almost $29 trillion in 10 years — making debt held by the public the largest percentage since 1947, and more than twice the average of the past 50 years.
  24. On Monday, White House economic adviser Larry Kudlow pushed back on the CBO assessment of the government shutdown cost, saying, “We frequently disagree with CBO with all respect.”
  25. A new Politico/Morning Consult poll found just 31% support shutting the government down again to force Congress to appropriate money for the wall, while 58% oppose it.
  26. On Tuesday, Harley-Davidson announced Trump’s tariffs had wiped out its profits in the fourth quarter of 2018. The company’s stock plunged 7.6% on the day, and overall was down by 33% for the year.
  27. On Wednesday, the Federal Reserve said it will not raise rates this year. When chairman Jerome Powell was asked if Trump swayed the decision, he responded the Fed did not take “political considerations into account.”
  28. On Wednesday, NBC News reported Foxconn may not build a $10 billion plant in Wisconsin, citing the high cost of U.S. labor. Trump announced the Foxconn deal with much ballyhoo at a White House ceremony in 2017.
  29. On Wednesday, Louis Woo, special assistant to Foxconn Chief Executive Terry Gou, told Reuters the company would instead create a “technology hub” in Wisconsin that would largely consist of research facilities.
  30. On Friday, after talks with the White House, Foxconn said it is moving forward with construction of the Wisconsin factory, but would not clarify what kind of jobs will be housed at the $10 billion plant.
  31. On Monday, New Jersey state Sen. Dawn Addiego became the latest to leave the Republican Party and become a Democrat. Addiego’s defection gave the Democrats in New Jersey their largest majority in decades.
  32. On Monday, an AP-NORC poll found 35% approve of Trump’s handling of foreign policy, 63% disapprove. Also, 53% say U.S. standing in the world will get worse next year, while 21% say get better, and 25% stay the same.
  33. On Monday, Trump again denied global warming, tweeting in the Midwest “windchill temperatures are reaching minus 60 degrees, the coldest ever recorded,” adding “What the hell is going on with Global Waming [sic]?”
  34. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Twitter account responded, “Winter storms don’t prove that global warming isn’t happening,” with an accompanying illustration to explain.
  35. On Monday, Politico reported Senate Rules Committee chair Roy Blunt plans to take up a measure in his committee to cut debate time on some lower-level Trump nominees for the judicial and executive branch.
  36. Sen. Blunt said he hopes the measure can be passed in a bipartisan way, but added if it cannot, Republicans are prepared to use the “nuclear option” and act unilaterally and add a permanent reduction.
  37. On Sunday, a Washington Post-ABC News poll taken before Stone’s indictment found half of Americans are skeptical that Mueller’s report will be fair, with 28% having “just some” confidence, and 22% “none at all.”
  38. Most Americans favored Congressional Democrats: getting Trump’s tax returns (60%), investigating campaign collusion with Russia (57%), ties to foreign governments (61%), and Trump’s relationship with Putin (59%).
  39. On Sunday, the Trump regime lifted sanctions on Oleg Deripaska, one of Russia’s most influential oligarchs. The sanctions were put in place against Deripaska and six other oligarchs in April over 2016 election interference.
  40. One Deripaska company, EN+, announced seven new directors as part of the deal, including Christopher Bancroft Burnham, a banker who served on Trump’s State Department transition team.
  41. Rep. Jackie Speier wrote to Treasury Secretary Mnuchin raising concerns that he sold a stake in his film company to Len Blavatnik. A spokesperson for Mnuchin tweeted that this was false information.
  42. Democrats Rep. Elijah Cummings and Sen. Ron Wyden wrote to Treasury seeking information on Mnuchin’s relationship with Blavatnik, and whether he sought ethics guidance or to minimize conflicts of interest.
  43. NBC News reported even as the European Union moved forward last week with sanctions against Russia for poisoning Sergei Skripal in the U.K., three months after deeming Russia in violation, the U.S. has yet to do so.
  44. On Saturday, The Daily Beast reported, three weeks into the term, House Republican leadership has yet to name the intelligence committee’s GOP membership, stalling the committee from conducting hearings.
  45. On Monday, Rep. Adam Schiff, chair of the House Intelligence Committee, said Michael Cohen will testify before his panel on February 8; however, it will be closed-door testimony.
  46. On Monday, WAPO reported Lanny Davis said Cohen has swapped attorneys, wanting new representation as he navigates testifying before congressional panels. This is the third iteration of his legal team.
  47. Cohen is bringing on Michael Monico and Barry Spevack, two Chicago-based lawyers, and firing Guy Petrillo and Amy Lester. Reportedly, Cohen has fallen behind in payments to Petrillo and Lester.
  48. On Monday, in a written response to Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse, Trump’s attorney general nominee William Barr said he has discussed the Mueller probe with Vice President Michael Pence, including a “general discussion”
  49. Barr cited occasional conversations in the spring of 2017 on policy and personnel, and “In these conversations, I did not provide legal advice, nor, to the best of my recollection, did he provide confidential information.”
  50. On Monday, Judge T.S. Ellis abruptly canceled sentencing for Paul Manafort in the Virginia case scheduled for February 8, citing the current dispute in D.C. court over whether Manafort broke his plea deal.
  51. On Monday, press secretary Sarah Sanders convened the first White House briefing since December 18, the first in 41 days. Both CNN and MSNBC did not cover the briefing.
  52. National security adviser John Bolton said the U.S. will impose sanctions against Venezuela’s state-owned oil company, Petróleos de Venezuela, S.A., cutting off President Nicolás Maduro’s main source of cash.
  53. At the White House briefing, Bolton held a yellow notepad with what appeared to be the words “5,000 troops to Colombia,” sparking reporters to speculate on a military intervention.
  54. When asked by reporters to clarify Bolton’s notes, a White House spokesman reiterated Trump’s “all options are on the table” declaration.
  55. Sanders fielded questions, ducking answering as in the past. When asked if Trump is considering pardoning Stone, she responded, “I’m not aware of that. I haven’t had any discussions with him on that matter.”
  56. Sanders also said of Stone, “This has nothing to do with the president, and certainly nothing to do with the White House,” adding, “This is something that has to do solely with that individual.”
  57. On Monday, at a Justice Department news conference on an unrelated topic, acting attorney general Matthew Whitaker told reporters he had been “fully briefed” on the Mueller probe and it is “close to being completed.”
  58. Experts noted it was highly unusual for a DOJ official to publicly comment on an ongoing investigation, and expressed concern that Whitaker might participate in the review process after the investigation concludes.
  59. On Tuesday, Sens. Richard Blumenthal and Charles Grassley of the Senate Judiciary Committee introduced a bill to ensure the Mueller report would be released directly to Congress and the public.
  60. The Senate Judiciary Committee also delayed a scheduled vote to move William Barr’s confirmation forward by one week, citing concerns based on his testimony that the Mueller report would be released.
  61. On Monday, CNN reported Mueller’s team still wants to have Stone associate Andrew Miller appear before the grand jury. Miller has been fighting a subpoena in Mueller’s Russia probe of the 2016 election.
  62. Miller’s attorney told CNN that Mueller’s team made clear to him that they and the Justice Department are considering an additional indictment of Stone and may have plans to charge others.
  63. On Tuesday, the National Rifle Association made its first attempt to distance itself from a December 2015 trip taken by a group of its high-ranking members to Moscow, saying the trip was not “official.”
  64. ABC News reported that NRA emails and photos posted on social media show the organization was significantly involved in planning the trip to meet with senior Kremlin officials.
  65. In one email, a NRA employee helps Maria Butina make travel arrangements for the delegation which included the NRA president and future president, as well Trump campaign surrogate sheriff David Clarke.
  66. Dozens of pages of emails between August 2015 and November 2016 detail Butina’s efforts to organize the summit. Sen. Ron Wyden is investigating the meeting and seeking “information and documentation” from the NRA.
  67. On Tuesday, Financial Times reported that Trump and Putin spoke during last November’s G20 summit in Argentina without a U.S. official present to take notes. Only First Lady Melania Trump attended.
  68. The White House had previously disclosed that Trump met Putin for an “informal” talk, but did not disclose that Trump had no official member of his team present. Putin had a translator present, Trump did not.
  69. According to a Russian government official, the two spoke for about 15 minutes about a number of foreign policy issues. Trump had canceled formal bilateral talks due to a dispute over Ukrainian naval vessels.
  70. In a new memoir, Chris Christie said Trump and Jared Kushner thought firing then national security adviser Michael Flynn would end the “Russia thing” as a side effect. Trump comes off well in Christie’s book
  71. On Tuesday, Trump attacked former aide Cliff Sims, whose book was much more critical, calling him “ a low level staffer that I hardly knew,” and saying his book is “boring” and based on “made up stories and fiction.”
  72. Trump also tweeted that Sims “signed a non-disclosure agreement. He is a mess!” Trump campaign chief operating officer Michael Glassner said it may sue Sims, claiming he violated his NDA.
  73. On Wednesday, a court filing by Mueller’s team revealed Russian troll farm Internet Research Agency, currently facing a legal battle for interference in the 2016 election, is waging a disinformation campaign against Mueller.
  74. According to the filing, Mueller’s team turned over one million pages of evidence to lawyer for for Concord Management, owned by Yevgeniy Prigozhin, known as “Putin’s chef,” as part of discovery.
  75. Concord is accused of funding IRA. Allegedly someone connected to Concord manipulated and leaked the documents to reporters to make it appear that Mueller’s case against IRA and Concord were flimsy.
  76. According to the filing, a Twitter account called @HackingRedstone tweeted: “We’ve got access to the Special Counsel Mueller’s probe database,” and sent the altered documents. The account was suspended.
  77. On Friday, an unsealed docket confirmed that it is Mueller’s team that is involved in the mysterious grand jury subpoena fight that a government-owned foreign company has taken to the Supreme Court.
  78. WAPO reported that on January 18 about a dozen long-time employees from Latin America at the Trump National Golf Club in Westchester County, New York were summoned, one by one, and fired.
  79. The employees, who compose about half the wintertime staff, claim they were fired over their undocumented status, following reporting on undocumented labor at Trump’s club in Bedminster, New Jersey.
  80. A former manager said the club emphasized finding cheap labor, and despite Trump’s public pronouncements of “America first,” the attitude towards hiring undocumented workers was “don’t ask, don’t tell.”
  81. On Monday, BuzzFeed reported according to a petition posted by the Department of Labor, Eric Trump’s Virginia winery is looking to hire 23 foreign guest workers under the federal H-2 visa program.
  82. The program allows U.S. employers to hire foreign laborers on a temporary basis so long as no qualified U.S. worker wants to the job. Trump Vineyard Estates, LLC pays $12.25 per hour for the positions.
  83. A report by the Anti-Defamation League on murder and extremism in the U.S. found domestic extremists killed at least 50 people in 2018, the fourth-deadliest year on record for extremist-related killings since 1970.
  84. The report also noted “every single extremist killing had a link to right-wing extremism,” and that “white supremacists were responsible for the great majority of the killings.”
  85. LA Times reported two years after Trump signed an order to hire 5,000 new Border Patrol agents and 10,000 more Immigration and Customs Enforcement officers, thousands of positions remain unfilled.
  86. The regime has spent tens of millions on hiring, yet Border Patrol has about 2,000 more vacancies than when Trump signed the order. ICE has hired 1,325 investigators and deportation officers, but lost about 1,600.
  87. On Sunday, veteran journalist Tom Brokaw said on a “Meet the Press” panel about xenophobia in the U.S. that Hispanics should “work harder at assimilation.” Brokaw later apologized in a series of tweets.
  88. On Monday, NBC News reported comedian Mohanad Elshieky, who was traveling home to Oregon after a performance, was ordered off a Greyhound bus after two Customs and Border Protection officers boarded.
  89. The officers asked if he was an American citizen, so he showed his driver’s license and valid work authorization card. They made him call for details on his asylum document. CBP called the incident a misunderstanding.
  90. On Tuesday, Jussie Smollett, a gay, Black actor, was attacked by two men who yelled racial and homophobic slurs, hit him, poured an unknown chemical substance on him, and wrapped a rope around his neck.
  91. Smollett plays a gay musician on TV, and he also self-identifies as being gay, and is an activist for LGBTQ rights and HIV education. Chicago police said they were investigating the incident as a possible hate crime.
  92. In a follow-up interview with Chicago police, Smollett said his attackers yelled “MAGA country” during the assault. He was attacked while walking downtown around 2 a.m.
  93. Right-wing internet and social media accounts put forward, without evidence or by citing false information, that Jussie’s attack was a hoax — similar to the Covington kids alternative narrative in Week 115.
  94. In an impassioned appearance on Smollett, actress Ellen Page accused Trump and Vice President Pence of fostering a climate of hate, saying “connect the dots” with the rise in crimes against marginalized people.
  95. On Thursday, when asked about the attack on Smollett, Trump said “That I can tell you is horrible. I’ve seen it. Last night. It’s horrible. Doesn’t get worse.” Trump then pivoted the discussion to the need for his wall.
  96. On Thursday, AP reported ICE has started force-feeding immigrants at a Texas location, after immigrants at several facilities have gone on hunger strikes over the past month to protest conditions inside detention facilities.
  97. At an El Paso, Texas ICE detention center, nearly 30 men, mostly from India and Cuba, have been striking to protest what they say is rampant verbal abuse and threats of deportation from guards.
  98. There are also hungers strikes at ICE facilities in Miami, Phoenix, San Diego, and San Francisco. The men in El Paso are being force-fed through nasal tubes leading to persistent nose bleeds and vomiting.
  99. On Thursday, CBS News reported ICE told hundreds of immigrants they were issued a Notice to Appear (NTA) for hearings scheduled January 31 or risk being deported. For many immigrants, the notices were fake.
  100. Immigration attorneys in Chicago, Miami, Texas, and Virginia said they learned the dates were not real when they called the courts to confirm after an advisory from the Executive Office of Immigration Review.
  101. ICE blamed the confusion from the government shutdown and a Supreme Court ruling last summer which necessitates having a date on the NTA, as opposed to ICE’s former practice of listing date at “to be determined.”
  102. On Wednesday, WAPO reported nearly 100,000 comments were posted with the Education Department website on Secretary Betsy DeVos’s plan to overhaul rules on campus sexual assault — 20 times what is typical.
  103. A spokesperson for the American Council on Education, which represents university presidents, said DeVos’s plan is the most controversial regulatory undertaking in the history of the Education Department.
  104. Several figures in the pro-Trump media, including Sebastian Gorka, falsely claimed online that Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg is hiding a secret illness or is dead. The claims were based on a QAnon conspiracy theory.
  105. HuffPost reported Rep. Steve King’s house.gov official government website links to a white nationalist blog that contains racists, anti-Semitic, and Nazi sympathizing content.
  106. ABC News reported according to court papers filed Friday night, the Trump regime does not know how manymigrant children were separated from their parents at the southern border before the “zero-tolerance” policy.
  107. The filings, in response to the findings by the department of Health and Human Services inspector general in Week 114 and mandated by a California judge, showed the regime could not confirm or deny reports of thousands of additional family separations.
  108. The deputy director of the Office of Refugee Resettlement told the judge that identifying separated children between July 2017 and June 2018 was not feasible, and that the regime does not intend to figure it out.
  109. On Friday, photos surfaced from Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam’s 1984 medical school yearbook which showeda man in blackface and another in a Ku Klux Klan robe. Northam apologized and said he was in the photo.
  110. On Saturday, despite a flood of calls from numerous prominent Democrats and progressive organizations and activists for him to resign, Northam refused and changed his story to say he was not pictured in the photo.
  111. On Tuesday, an ABC News/Washington Post poll found 56% of all adults say they would not consider voting for Trump in 2020, while just 28% said they definitely will vote for him, and 14% said they would consider it.
  112. Among mainline Republicans, 27% want a Republican other than Trump. When including GOP leaners, 41% of women, 42% of independents, and 49% of moderates want another Republican alternative.
  113. On Tuesday, Director of National Intelligence Daniel Coats, CIA Director Gina Haspel, FBI Director Christopher Wray, and other top U.S. intelligence officials gave annual testimony before the Senate Intelligence Committee on national security challenges.
  114. The testimony highlighted the distance between intelligence officials and Trump on several critical fronts, and are detailed in an annual “Worldwide Threat Assessment” released on Tuesday.
  115. The report stressed the growing cyberthreat from two U.S. adversaries, Russia and China, which it said are “more aligned than at any point since the mid-1950s.”
  116. None of the officials said there is a security crisis at the U.S.-Mexico border, negating the need for a national emergency. Coats said high crime rates and a weak job market were spurring Central Americans to migrate.
  117. Coats said, contrary to Trump’s assertions, North Korea was “unlikely to completely give up its nuclear weapons and production capabilities,” which the country’s leaders consider “critical to the regime’s survival.”
  118. Officials also warned that ISIS has not been defeated as Trump asserted in his plans to withdraw U.S. troops from Syria, but rather is a still-formidable organization capable of attacking the U.S.
  119. Haspel said Iran was in compliance with the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action agreement, but Iranian leaders are discussing reneging on the deal if they fail to reap the economic benefits given Trump pulled the U.S. out.
  120. Officials warned that Russia, and other countries, continues to interfere with U.S. politics via “information warfare” and “refine their capabilities and add new tactics as they learn from each other’s experiences.”
  121. On Wednesday, in a series of five morning tweets, Trump blasted the U.S. intelligence chiefs. On Iran, he called them “extremely passive and naive” adding, “They are wrong!” and perhaps they “should go back to school!”
  122. Trump tweeted on Iran: “They are testing Rockets (last week) and more, and are coming very close to the edge. There [sic] economy is now crashing, which is the only thing holding them back,” adding, “Be careful of Iran.”
  123. Trump also celebrated what he claimed were his accomplishments, saying ISIS’s control in parts of Iraq and Syria “will soon be destroyed,” and that there was a “decent chance of Denuclearization” in North Korea.
  124. On Thursday, Trump tweeted a photo of him meeting with Haspel, Coats, and others in the Oval office, sayingthey “told me that what they said on Tuesday at the Senate Hearing was mischaracterized by the media.”
  125. Trump said their testimony on Iran, ISIS, North Korea was “was distorted” by the press, saying “a false narrative is so bad for our Country” adding, “happily, we had a very good meeting” and “we are all on the same page!”
  126. Representatives from the CIA and DNI declined to comment. None of the agencies whose leaders testified have issued retractions or amendments to their written or spoken statements.
  127. On Tuesday, WAPO reported U.S. intelligence officials learned in late 2018 that Russia made a secret proposal to North Korea in the fall 2018 to build and operate a nuclear power plant there.
  128. Byproduct and waste would be transferred back to Russia, reducing the risk North Korea would use it to build nuclear weapons. The offer marked a new attempt by Moscow to intervene in the high-stakes nuclear talks.
  129. On Thursday, Trump announced he is planning to meet with Kim Jong Un for a second summit at the end of February. CNN reported sources say the location will be the Vietnamese coastal city of Da Nang.
  130. On Wednesday, a Gallup poll found Republican Party favorability dropped to 37% from 45% in September, due to the government shutdown. Favorability for Democrats stayed at 45%.
  131. On Wednesday, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell blasted the Democrats’ bill that would make Election Day a federal holiday, calling it “another paid holiday and a bunch of government workers being paid.”
  132. On Wednesday, press secretary Sanders told the Christian Broadcasting Network that “God calls all of us to fill different roles” and that he wanted “Trump to become president, and that’s why he’s there.”
  133. Sanders also said “I think he has done a tremendous job in supporting a lot of the things that people of faith really care about,” adding Speaker Pelosi calling his wall “immoral is a ridiculous charge.”
  134. On Wednesday, in a letter, Senate Judiciary Committee chair Lindsey Graham asked FBI director Wray for a briefing on Stone’s arrest , including “the number of agents involved, the tactics employed, the timing.”
  135. Graham also asked if the FBI had tipped off the media, writing “the American public has had enough of the media circus that surrounds the Special Counsel’s investigation.” CNN has insisted they were not tipped off.
  136. On Wednesday, in an interview with the Daily Caller, Trump criticized the FBI’s arrest of Stone, saying he was “disappointed to see that go down that way…where it was on camera…a very, very disappointing scene.”
  137. Trump also said “I thought it was very unusual. You know, I’ve stayed out of that whole situation because there was no collusion whatsoever,” adding, “you have 29 people and you have armored vehicles.”
  138. When Daily Caller asked if he would ask the FBI to review its use of force, Trump responded, “I think it’s a good question for you to ask, and it’s something I’ll think about.”
  139. Daily Caller also compared FBI resources spent on the Las Vegas shooting to the Mueller probe, Trump said of the probe “well over 30 million dollars now on this Russian collusion hoax, and everybody knows it’s a hoax.”
  140. On Thursday, NPR provided a fact check of whether the FBI used unusual force when arresting Stone, and found the answer to be no, the arrest was typical for law enforcement agencies.
  141. On Thursday, in a court filing, Mueller’s team described evidence seized in the FBI raid of Stone as “voluminous and complex,” and asked the judge to delay the trial to give them more time to sift through the information.
  142. Investigators seized hard drives with “several terabytes of information” including “FBI case reports, search warrant applications and results, bank and financial records, and the contents of numerous physical devices.”
  143. On Friday, Judge Amy Berman Jackson said she is considering slapping a gag order on Stone, who has been on a media blitz since his indictment. Jackson said the trial will likely take place in July or August.
  144. The judge admonished Stone about witness tampering. When Judge Jackson asked if he understood an agreement not to contact any witnesses or potential victims, he replied, “I do, your honor.”
  145. On Thursday, CNN reported according to records provided to the Senate Intelligence Committee, Donald Jr.’s calls to a blocked number before and after the June 9 Trump Tower meeting were not with Trump.
  146. ABC News reported Donald Jr.’s calls on June 6 and June 9 were with two family friends: NASCAR CEO Brian France, and real estate developer Howard Lorber, who has done business in Russia.
  147. Trump’s ties to Lorber have drawn the interest of congressional investigators. In the 1990s, when Trump explored real estate options in Russia, Lorber accompanied him on a tour of Moscow.
  148. On Thursday, Trump touted the calls were not made to him, tweeting, “Just out: The big deal…Don jr telephone calls, after the innocent Trump Tower meeting…conclusively found NOT to be made to me.”
  149. Trump also tweeted a Daily Caller article saying “New Evidence Destroys Adam Schiff’s Theory About Trump Tower Meeting.” Trump added, “This Witch Hunt must end!”
  150. Trump also conjured a Daily Caller article, tweeting “Nellie Ohr…was long ago investigating for pay (GPS Fusion) members of my family,” adding, “created by ousted & discredited Christopher Steele. Illegal! WITCH HUNT.”
  151. On Thursday, NBC News reported Tricia Newbold, the “whistleblower” in the story about Carl Kline’s role in granting security clearance to Kushner and at least 30 others against expert advice in Week 115, was suspended
  152. The notice, proposed on December 3 but signed Wednesday, said in Newbold’s 18-year career she has not faced any “prior formal disciplinary action,” but harshly criticizes Newbold for her “defiance.”
  153. On Thursday, Democratic Reps. Ted Lieu and Don Beyer in a letter called on acting chief of staff Mick Mulvaney to revoke Jared Kushner’s security clearance, citing reporting in Week 115.
  154. On Thursday, Trump sent a series of morning tweets, alternating between demanding a wall and saying that one was already built, saying, “Large sections of WALL have already been built.” This is a false claim.
  155. Trump also tweeted, “the Wall is getting done one way or the other,” and that Republicans “are wasting their time” talking with Democrats, adding, “I’ve got you covered. Wall is already being built.”
  156. In response, Speaker Pelosi told reporters “It doesn’t matter what Congress does? Really, a president who wants Congress to become completely irrelevant in how we meet the needs of the American people? No.”
  157. Later Thursday, Trump told reporters in the Oval Office of the bipartisan congressional committee met for the first time that they must fund $5.7 billion for his wall, saying, “I don’t think they’re going to make a deal.”
  158. Trump added, “And if it’s not going to work, then the politicians are really wasting a lot of time,” saying he could end up circumventing Congress by declaring a national emergency to fund his wall.
  159. On Thursday, in a rebuke of Trump’s foreign policy, the Senate voted 68-to-23 to advance legislation drafted by Leader Mitch McConnell strongly opposing Trump withdrawing troops from Syria and Afghanistan.
  160. Contrary to Trump’s assertions, McConnell said “I believe the threats remain. ISIS and Al Qaeda have yet to be defeated, and American national security interests require continued commitment to our mission there.”
  161. The rebuke, along with the House vote to prohibit the use of funds to withdraw from NATO in Week 115,signals an increasing trend of growing dissent to Trump’s foreign policy by Congress.
  162. Congress is also questioning Trump’s moves in Venezuela, where he is following the lead of Sen. Marco Rubio. Sens. Cory Gardner and Bob Menendez plan to reintroduce the North Korea Policy Oversight Act.
  163. On Thursday, the Trump regime cut off all U.S. aid to Palestinian security forces for training and equipment, an unintended consequence of the Anti-Terrorism Clarification Act (ATCA) signed by Trump last October.
  164. ATCA was meant to make the Palestinian Authority pays compensation to terror victims who won civil suits against the PLO in U.S. courts in exchange for U.S. aid. Palestinians chose not to sign or receive aid.
  165. On Friday, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo announced the U.S. will withdraw in six-months from the 1987 Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty, one of the last major nuclear arms control treaties with Russia.
  166. Trump did not say if the U.S. would replace the I.N.F., telling reporters “I hope we’re able to get everybody in a big, beautiful room and do a new treaty that would be much better,” without specifying who he meant.
  167. Trump’s decision, when first leaked in October, took European allies by surprise, leaving allies fearful of Trump’s unilateral instincts and their recognition that Putin poses a growing threat.
  168. On Friday, WAPO reported Leader McConnell has privately cautioned Trump about declaring a national emergency, telling him the move could trigger political blowback and divide the GOP.
  169. At least six Republican senators are fiercely opposed to the move, and polling during the shutdown found that 66% of Americans were against it as well — 12 points higher than opposition to the wall.
  170. On Thursday, NYT interviewed Trump in the Oval office for 85 minutes, after publisher A.G. Sulzberger declined an off-the-record dinner invitation from Trump and asked for an on-the-record interview.
  171. The Times drew criticism that the paper was normalizing Trump. In the interview, Trump took credit for popularizing the term “fake news,” and called himself a victim of “unfair” coverage, saying, “I’m a victim of that.”
  172. In a rambling interview, Trump insisted he forced Jim Mattis to resign, said Rudy Giuliani “has been wrong” on Trump Tower Moscow and other matters, and signaled forgiveness for Steve Bannon.
  173. Trump claimed it was not he who directed a senior campaign official to contact Stone about WikiLeaks, and claimed deputy attorney general Rod Rosenstein told him he is “not a target of the investigation.”
  174. On Friday, Trump hinted to reporters he will unveil some action on to the wall at the State of the Union, saying “you’ll hear the State of the Union, and then you’ll see what happens right after the State of the Union.”
  175. Trump said “I think there’s a good chance we’ll have to” declare a national emergency in order to appropriate the funds to build his border wall, adding “we have very, very strong legal standing to win.”
  176. Trump also falsely claimed several time the wall is being built, saying “We’re building the wall, and we’re building a lot of wall,” adding, “but I can do it a lot faster the other way.”
  177. Trump also claimed, without evidence, that Democrats are “not being honest” in their conference negotiations because of the forthcoming 2020 election, but “I know the Republicans want to do something.”
  178. On Saturday, NYT reported Trump sought a previously unreported loan from Deutsche Bank in early 2016 to get money for Trump’s Turnberry property, at a time when he was lending tens of millions to his campaign.
  179. Although Deutsche Bank had been a lender of last resort for Trump for years, they turned down the loan, fearing the reputation of the bank could be harmed because of Trump’s polarizing statements during his campaign.
  180. Bankers in the private banking unit appealed the denial to Deutsche Bank’s top executives in Frankfurt. Reportedly it was upon this review that senior officials realized the scope of lending to Trump.
  181. On Saturday, NBC News reported analysis of the main English-language news sites used by Russia in the 2016 election show Rep. Tulsi Gabbard, who is about to announce her 2020 run, is the favored Democrat.
  182. Websites and social media linked to the Kremlin noted sites associated with propaganda, including RT, the Russian-owned TV outlet; Sputnik News, a radio outlet; and blog Russia Insider are all backing Gabbard.
  183. Washington Examiner fired two reporters who were nonpartisan, straight-news reporters on Friday, while hiring new staff, signaling a possible shift in news coverage to be more conservative and Trump-friendly.

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Trump participates in a meeting with National Security Adviser Ambassador John Bolton; Director of the Central Intelligence Agency Gina Haspel and Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats, right, in the Oval Office Thursday, Jan. 31. 2019, at the White House. (Official White House Photo)

POLITIKS OF GRAFFITI 116: SUBVERSION & INDICTMENTS

JANUARY 26, 2019

Week 115

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

POLITIKS OF GRAFFITI 115: XENOPHOBIA AND CONCEALMENT ~ THE “NEW BLACK” IN THE USA

This was a soul-sucking week if there’s ever been one. I can’t believe this nightmare anymore. In addition to my photos from December in Miami, there is this generation’s answer to the “Segregation Diner” Pic at the bottom of Amy’s list. The longest list so far, by the way. SMH.

JANUARY 19, 2019

Week 114

Experts in authoritarianism advise to keep a list of things
subtly changing around you, so you’ll remember. https://theweeklylist.org/weekly-list/week-114/
img_2090img_2791img_2858

This week marked 29 days of the government being shuttered, with no end in sight. Agencies continued to feel the effects, as thousands of furloughed employees were called back to work unpaid. Federal workers formed blocks-long lines at food banks, and borrowed from retirement accounts to make ends meet. Trump’s approval continued to fall this week, with one poll indicating he is losing support from his base. Conversely, House Speaker Pelosi’s popularity hit a 10-year high as the two did battle, and Trump reckoned with the first check on his power.

This week was full of bombshell stories which, along with the continued shutdown, rocked the country and made people increasingly anxious and scared about the direction of the country. Major storylines included Trump concealing contents of meetings with Russian President Vladimir Putin, Trump’s continued fixation of withdrawing the U.S. from NATO — a boon to Russia, and Michael Cohen paying an IT firm to rig online polls to boost Trump. Trump attorney Rudy Giuliani made headlines, telling CNN, “I never said there was no collusion between the campaign or between people in the campaign,” which he later retracted. A bombshell BuzzFeed News story suggesting Trump directed Cohen to lie to Congress on Trump Tower Moscow was refuted by Mueller’s team, which Trump and his allies quickly weaponized to attack the credibility of the media.

This week had shocking stories of racism and xenophobia being normalized, including a lawsuit citing alarming racism at a General Motors plant in Ohio, a group of white teens taunting a Native American at the Indigenous Peoples March — days after Trump himself invoked Wounded Knee Massacre to attack Sen. Elizabeth Warren who he still refers to as “Pocahontas,” and reports that the regime drastically undercounted the number of migrant children separated from their parents at the southern border.

  1. On Saturday, WAPO reported Trump has concealed the contents of his five face-to-face interactions with Russian President Vladimir Putin since taking office, leaving even members of his own regime largely in the dark.
  2. Trump’s behavior is a break from norms of previous presidents who required senior aides to attend meetings with adversaries, including Russia, and especially noteworthy given investigations into Trump’s Russia ties.
  3. After Trump’s meeting with Putin in Hamburg in 2017, also attended by then-Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, Trump confiscated the notes of his interpreter and instructed the linguist not to discuss the contents.
  4. White House officials and then-National Security Adviser H.R. McMaster were unable to get a full account of the Hamburg meeting, even from Tillerson. The contents of the Helsinki meeting are also unknown.
  5. As a result, there is no detailed record, even in classified files, of Trump’s meeting with Putin, breaking from past norms. Concerns have been compounded by the Trump’s pro-Kremlin actions and positions.
  6. On Saturday, after the WAPO story broke, Trump spoke to Fox News host Jeanine Pirro, attacking the Postand its owner Jeff Bezos, and falsely claiming he did not try to conceal contents of his meetings with Putin.
  7. Before going on the show, Trump promoted his appearance in a tweet, adding, “I am in the White House waiting for Cryin’ Chuck and Nancy to call,” and, “Watch @JesseBWatters before and @greggutfeld after.”
  8. When Pirro asked Trump if he is or has ever been working for Russia, rather than answer directly, Trump responded, “I think it’s the most insulting thing I’ve ever been asked.”
  9. Trump said Michael Cohen “should give information maybe on his father-in-law,” adding, “And I guess he didn’t want to talk about his father — he’s trying to get his sentence reduced.”
  10. Pirro painted Speaker Pelosi as uncaring, saying, “Nancy Pelosi’s in Hawaii over the holidays. Now she’s in Puerto Rico with a bunch of Democrats and lobbyists enjoying the sun and partying down there.”
  11. On Sunday, Pirro retracted her false claim about Speaker Pelosi, tweeting “The Speaker’s office says she has been in DC all weekend.” Pirro said she had “based that on numerous reports that turned out to be wrong.”
  12. On Sunday, three Democrats who chair House committees issued a statement calling on Trump to cease “efforts to discourage, intimidate, or otherwise pressure” Cohen “not to provide testimony to Congress.”
  13. WSJ reported Cohen’s testimony before the House Oversight Committee on February 7 is expected to be highly restricted to avoid interfering with Mueller’s Russia investigation.
  14. On Sunday, in a series of morning tweets on immigration and his wall, Trump tweeted, “I’m in the White House, waiting. The Democrats are everywhere but Washington as people await their pay.”
  15. Trump also tweeted another misleading claim he has repeatedly used to push for his wall: “Thousands of illegal aliens who have committed sexual crimes against children…Most came through our Southern Border.”
  16. On Sunday, a Washington Post-ABC News poll found 53% of American blame Trump and the GOP for the government shutdown, while just 29% blame Congressional Democrats.
  17. On Sunday, a CNN poll found 56% of Americans oppose Trump’s wall, while 39% support it. The poll also found 55% blame Trump for the government shutdown, while 32% blame the Democrats.
  18. On Sunday, CBC News reported units of the Canadian Air Traffic Control Association sent pizzas to their counterparts at U.S. control centers as a gesture of solidarity and respect.
  19. On Sunday, Trump again attacked WAPO owner Bezos, tweeting, “So sorry to hear the news about Jeff Bozo being taken down by a competitor,” referring to the National Enquirer exposé that led to his divorce.
  20. Trump also tweeted the Enquirer is “far more accurate than the reporting in his lobbyist newspaper, the Amazon Washington Post,” and that he hopes the Post will be “placed in better & more responsible hands!”
  21. Trump then invoked Wounded Knee, one of the worst Native American massacres, while attacking Sen. Elizabeth Warren. Congress formally apologized in 1990 for the massacre, which killed and maimed hundreds.
  22. Trump tweeted about a video created by Warren, “If Elizabeth Warren, often referred to by me as Pocahontas, did this commercial from Bighorn or Wounded Knee instead of her kitchen…in full Indian garb, it would have been a smash!”
  23. On Sunday, an op-ed titled “Brexit and the U.S. Shutdown: Two Governments in Paralysis” explored two venerable democracies in crisis over populist projects — Brexit and Trump’s wall — both of which are stalled.
  24. On Tuesday, British Parliament rejected Prime Minister Theresa May’s Brexit deal in a 432 to 202 landslide, leaving withdrawal from the European Union, and her political future, in doubt.
  25. Historians said not since the Victorian age has there been a comparable party split and defeat. Britain risks crashing out of the E.U. in a way which would have harsh economic and humanitarian consequences.
  26. On Sunday, WAPO reported on Trump’s erratic Syria withdrawal, which included announcing a full withdrawal, then sending national security adviser John Bolton to reassure allies and say there would be preconditions.
  27. Days later, Trump again switched positions and starting withdrawing troops. Trump’s impulsive behavior resulted in Jim Mattis resigning, and rattled allies and partners unsure about U.S. commitment to the region.
  28. On Monday, WSJ reported Turkey is seeking the extradition of Enes Kanter, a Turkish center for the N.B.A.’s New York Knicks, who prosecutors in Istanbul claim is part of the movement by of cleric Fethullah Gulen.
  29. On Monday, NYT reported according to senior officials, Trump said privately that he wanted to withdraw the U.S. from the North Atlantic Treaty Organization several times during 2018.
  30. Such a move would essentially destroy NATO, and be a coup for Russia. Officials say when they think the issue of NATO membership has been settled, Trump again brings up his desire to leave the 70 year-old alliance.
  31. In his resignation letter, Mattis cited his commitment to America’s alliances. European and American officials said Mattis, a former top NATO commander, had reassured allies, and his exit has increased worries.
  32. On Monday, House Intelligence and Foreign Affairs committees met with lawyers to evaluate legal options for subpoenaing the interpreters who were present when Trump privately spoke to Putin.
  33. On Monday, speaking to reporters in front of the White House, Trump said, “I never worked for Russia,” adding, “I think it’s a disgrace that you even asked that question because it’s a whole big fat hoax. It’s just a hoax.”
  34. Trump said of James Comey, “He was a bad cop and he was a dirty cop,” and called the F.B.I. officials who launched the counterintelligence investigation of his ties to Russia “known scoundrels” and “dirty cops.”
  35. On Monday, Fox News legal analyst Gregg Jarrett told host Sean Hannity that it is time to disband and replace the F.B.I., saying, “Frankly, it’s time that it be halted in its tracks, reorganized and replaced.”
  36. On Monday, conservative-leaning Rasmussen Reports said Trump’s approval in its daily tracking poll had fallen to 43%, the lowest in nearly a year. Trump’s approval has been falling since his Oval Office address.
  37. Conversely, Speaker Pelosi has seen her popularity rise since the midterms due to a 13 point rise in Democratic support with her opposition to Trump. Gallup ratings has her more popular than she has been in a decade.
  38. Gallup reported Trump’s year two approval average is the lowest for second-year presidents elected to office since World War II. At 39%, he is on track to have the lowest approval rating of any president.
  39. Trump’s job approval also set a new record for polarization of 79 points, as he averaged 87% job approval among Republicans and 8% among Democrats. The previous high was 77 points under Obama.
  40. On Monday, two Transportation Security Administration officers were fired after a passenger was able to get a gun through a checkpoint in Atlanta. TSA said in a statement it was not because of the shutdown.
  41. In an anonymous op-ed at the conservative Daily Caller a senior Trump official wrote they hope for a long government shutdown, calling it “an opportunity to strip wasteful government agencies for good.”
  42. The official also wrote of “targeting the resistance,” saying, “Now that we are shut down, not only are we identifying and eliminating much of the sabotage and waste, but we are finally working on the president’s agenda.”
  43. Donald Jr. tweeted the Daily Caller op-ed, writing, “Worth the read,” on Monday. On Tuesday, Trump sharedit as well, retweeting Donald Jr.’s tweet.
  44. On Monday, Politico reported White House deputy press secretary Raj Shah resigned, and will be joining lobbying firm Ballard Partners.
  45. WAPO reported Deputy Secretary Pam Patenaude, second-in-command at the Department of Housing and Urban Development, resigned after butting heads with the Trump regime over her 16-month tenure.
  46. Patenaude, widely regarded as HUD’s most capable political leader and the main administrator of the department, departed over housing policy and the regime’s attempt to block disaster-recovery money for Puerto Rico.
  47. On Monday, The Guardian reported two are dead and 40 detained in a new crackdown on LGBTQ people in Russia’s Chechnya region. Activists say the deaths were caused by the use of torture by police.
  48. On Monday, House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy told reporters that the GOP had voted unanimously to strip Rep. Steve King of his committee assignments, following King’s white supremacy remarks in Week 113.
  49. On Tuesday, the Des Moines Register and Sioux City Journal editorial boards both called on Rep. King to resign.
  50. On Tuesday, the WAPO Editorial Board noted after a 40 seat House drubbing in the midterms, theRepublicans have finally spoke out about Rep. King’s bigotry. The board ask, “What about Trump’s?
  51. On Wednesday, HuffPost reported Reps. Andy Harris and Phil Roe met with Holocaust-denying white nationalist Chuck Johnson to discuss “DNA sequencing” at the Capitol.
  52. On Tuesday, HuffPost reported Second Lady Karen Pence started working as an art teacher this week at Immanuel Christian School, a private school that openly bans LGBTQ teachers and students.
  53. The school’s “parent agreement” says it will refuse admission to students who participate in or condone homosexual activity. The employment application says faculty pledge not to engage in homosexual activity.
  54. On Thursday, CNN reported on a lawsuit against General Motors by eight employees, saying managers at the Toledo Powertrain plant in Ohio did little or nothing to stop racism and intimidation during 2018.
  55. Employees described bathrooms declared for “whites only,” black supervisors denounced as “boy” and ignored by their subordinates, and black employees being called “monkey,” or told to “go back to Africa.”
  56. Employees described nooses being hung around the plant. The lawsuit said GM responded by having mandatory meetings after the nooses, but the focus was on violence, not racial discrimination or intimidation.
  57. On Thursday, the House floor erupted after Republican Rep. Jason Smith yelled “Go back to Puerto Rico” across the aisle as Democratic Rep. Tony Cárdenas was at the podium.
  58. Smith’s spokesman claimed the remark was not directed at Cárdenas, but rather at Democrats who vacationed there last week. Rep. Smith also apologized to Rep. Cárdenas.
  59. On Thursday, the inspector general for the Department of Health and Human Services issued a report finding the Trump regime separated thousands more migrant children at the border than previously reported.
  60. The regime also separated 118 children from July to November, after the end of its zero-tolerance policy, andthousands more who were taken in before the regime announced its policy of separating families.
  61. The report found separated children accounted for 0.3% of unaccompanied minors in HHS custody in late 2016, but the number surged to more than tenfold to 3.6% by August 2017.
  62. The report also found flawed data systems and poor communication between federal agencies. Migrant children also were also kept longer in Border Patrol holding cells, with 860 staying for longer than three days.
  63. On Thursday, NBC News reported according to a draft plan of the regime zero-tolerance policy leaked by a whistleblower to Sen. Jeff Merkley, the Trump regime weighed speeding up the deportation of migrant children.
  64. The plan would deny migrant children their legal right to asylum hearings after separating them from their parents, and also showed the regime would target parents in migrant families for increased prosecutions.
  65. On Friday, Sen. Merkley requested an FBI investigation into whether Department of Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen lied under oath while testifying before Congress on Trump’s family separation policy.
  66. On Saturday, Covington Catholic High School faced a backlash after viral videos of its students, many wearing “Make America Great Again” caps, taunted a man who was drumming at the Indigenous Peoples March in Washington DC.
  67. Covington is a private, all-boys schools in Kentucky. The school’s website showed students planned to attend the March for Life event on Friday. After fielding calls and emails, the school made their social media private.
  68. On Monday, Trump hosted the College Football National Champion Clemson Tigers at the White House, andserved fast food from McDonald’s, Wendy’s, and Burger King, calling it “great American food.”
  69. On Tuesday, Trump tweeted about the event “Because of the Shutdown I served them massive amounts of Fast Food (I paid), over 1000 hamberders.” Trump deleted the tweet, and spelled hamburger correctly in a replacement tweet.
  70. In response, the Twitter account for Burger King poked fun at Trump’s misspelling, tweeting, “due to a large order placed yesterday, we’re all out of hamberders. just serving hamburgers today.”
  71. On Monday, CNN reported Trump’s legal team rebuffed Mueller’s request in recent weeks for an in-person session with Trump to ask follow-up questions. Reportedly, Mueller was not satisfied with the written answers.
  72. On Monday, The Daily Beast reported Mueller’s team and and federal prosecutors in Manhattan are investigating a meeting attended by Rep. Devin Nunes, then NSA Michael Flynn, and dozens of foreign officials.
  73. The breakfast event took place at Trump Hotel DC on Jan. 18, 2017, two days before Trump’s inauguration. Investigators are examining Trump inaugural committee misspent funds and foreign contributions.
  74. On Tuesday, Paul Manafort’s team filed a 31-page court document with 406 nearly black-out exhibitsdetailing the deliberate falsehoods told by Manafort to support the government’s argument his plea deal is now void.
  75. The heavily redacted document cites Manafort lied about payments and financial relationships, his dealings with Konstantin Kilimnik, his contacts with people in the Trump regime, and other topics.
  76. Based on the document, Kilimnik appears to a central figure in Mueller’s investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election, and that Manafort communicated with Kilimnik beginning on August 2, 2016.
  77. On Tuesday, Mueller’s team told a federal judge former Trump campaign aide Rick Gates is cooperating with “several ongoing investigations,” and asked the judge to delay his sentencing for financial crimes.
  78. The Daily Beast reported Gates is cooperating in the ongoing investigation into possible Middle Eastern election influence, and has answered questions about Psy Group, which alleged helped with social media manipulation.
  79. On Thursday, Facebook took down hundreds of pages from an account that posed as independent news sites in eastern Europe, but was actually run by employees of Russian state-owned news agency Sputnik.
  80. Facebook said the 364 pages and accounts removed had almost 800,000 followers, and were targeting users in Romania, Latvia, Estonia, Lithuania, Georgia, and Moldova and posting anti-NATO messaging.
  81. On Wednesday, Trump attorney Rudy Giuliani told CNN, “I never said there was no collusion between the campaign or between people in the campaign,” adding, “I said the president of the United States.”
  82. Giuliani’s backpedaling was the latest in a series of conflicting statements. Previously, he had denied that there was any coordination by Trump campaign aides. His comments received much public attention
  83. On Thursday, Giuliani changed his story again, telling the Times, “I have no knowledge of collusion involving the campaign, nor does the president. However, I only represent the president, and that’s all I can speak for.”
  84. On Thursday, the Belarusian escort Anastasia Vashukevich, who claimed to have tapes that could link Russia to Trump’s election, and had links to Deripaska, was deported from Thailand to Russia.
  85. Aleksei Navalny, the Russian opposition leader, posted a video on Twitter Friday showing that Vashukevich was forcibly detained — struggling as two men tried to put her in a wheelchair, and drag her into an elevator.
  86. On Thursday, WSJ reported in early 2015, Cohen hired IT firm RedFinch Solutions LLC, run by John Gauger, who is chief information officer at Liberty University, to rig polls in favor of Trump.
  87. In January 2014, Cohen asked Gauger to help push up Trump’s ranking in a CNBC online poll of the country’s top business leaders, and in February 2015 in a Drudge Report poll of potential Republican candidates.
  88. Cohen had asked Gauger to create a Twitter account, @WomenForCohen, which was created in May 2016 and described Cohen as a “sex symbol,” promoting his appearances and statements on Trump’s candidacy.
  89. Cohen had said he would pay Gauger $50,000, but when Gauger showed up at Trump Tower to collect, Cohen instead gave him between $12,000 and $13,000 in cash and a boxing glove — allegedly pocketing the rest.
  90. On Thursday, Lanny Davis, an attorney who has been advising Cohen on his media strategy, told MSNBC thatCohen is reconsidering his plan to testify before Congress because of intimidation by Trump.
  91. On Thursday, WSJ reported on a settlement reached between Mueller’s team and law firm Skadden Arps. The settlement is fallout from Manafort’s years of work in Ukraine for pro-Russia politicians.
  92. Skadden agreed to turn over $4.6 million in fees for work it did for Ukraine in 2012 with Manafort, to register as lobbyists for a foreign government in connection with that work, and to acknowledge it misled the DOJ.
  93. On Friday, the Hill reported the Senate Intelligence Committee has subpoenaed Jerome Corsi for an interview and documents. Corsi’s attorney said his legal team plans to contest the subpoena.
  94. On Monday, the White House announced Ivanka Trump will play a role in selecting the next president of the World Bank. The White House also said despite rumors in Week 113, Ivanka is not a candidate for the position.
  95. Officials claim Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin asked Ivanka for her help. Ethics experts raised concerns about Ivanka’s involvement given she continues to hold trademarks around the world.
  96. On Monday, a federal judge in Philadelphia put a nationwide hold on the Trump regime’s rules set to take effect that day allowing employers to opt out of providing women with no-cost birth control.
  97. Judge Wendy Beetlestone noted that the Trump regime violated procedural requirements for how regulations must be created, and that the rules exceed the scope of authority under the Affordable Care Act.
  98. On Tuesday, a federal judge in New York blocked the Trump regime from adding a question about citizenship to the 2020 census, saying Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross’s decision to add the question broke the law.
  99. The Trump regime claimed they needed to add the question to enforce the Voting Rights Act of 1965. The government has not asked about citizenship status of the entire population since the 1950 census.
  100. WAPO reported in April 2018, the day after T-Mobile announced its $26 billion merger with Sprint, which would require approval from the Trump regime, executives started staying at the Trump Hotel DC.
  101. By mid-June, one T-mobile executive had stayed at the hotel ten times. Celebrity CEO John Legere stayed for three days after the announcement and at least three other times, wearing his company t-shirt in the lobby.
  102. On Friday, NYT reported Treasury Secretary Mnuchin flew to Los Angeles on a private jet owned by billionaire Michael Milken, the latest example of regime officials using luxury or government aircraft for personal reasons.
  103. Trump regime officials, including Mnuchin, had been encouraging Trump to pardon Milken, who pleaded guilty to six criminal charges related to securities transactions undertaken in the 1980s and served jail time.
  104. On Tuesday morning, Trump tweeted “A big new Caravan is heading up to our Southern Border from Honduras,” adding, “Tell Nancy and Chuck that a drone flying around will not stop them. Only a Wall will work.”
  105. Tens of thousands of Hondurans and other Central Americans have migrated north in recent years to flee violence and poverty; but until last year under Trump, got little notice.
  106. On Tuesday, the Senate Judiciary Committee held confirmation hearing for attorney general nominee William Barr. He faced tough questions on the department remaining independent, and on the Mueller probe.
  107. Asked about a 2017 email he sent to the NYT saying he saw more reason to investigate Uranium One and the Clinton Foundation than Russia, Barr said an investigation “shouldn’t be launched just because” Trump wants it.
  108. When asked if the Mueller report will be made fully public, Barr suggested Mueller’s findings would be filtered through the attorney general, who would decide what Congress and the public would be allowed to see.
  109. Barr said he saw no reason to revise DOJ guidelines that sitting presidents cannot be indicted, but that if Trump pardoned someone in exchange for not incriminating him, that it would be a crime.
  110. Barr committed to not fire Mueller, and said he would make sure Mueller had the funds and time necessary to finish his work. Barr also said Giuliani would not be allowed to “correct” the report as Giuliani said in Week 113.
  111. Barr said that he would seek the advice of DOJ career ethics personnel on recusal, but he would make the final decision on his own recusal. Barr also said would resign if Trump fired someone to try to stop the investigations.
  112. On Tuesday, House Judiciary Committee chair Jerome Nadler said acting attorney general Matt Whitaker has agreed to testify next month about his views on the Mueller probe and his decision not to recuse himself.
  113. National Geographic reported key environmental impacts of the shutdown include national parks at risk, halt to monitoring toxic chemicals and food screenings, disrupting long-term science, and marine animals at risk.
  114. On Monday, the Food and Drug Administration called back hundreds of furloughed workers, without pay, to resume inspections of some high-risk foods. It was unclear how many of the workers would return.
  115. On Monday, Glamour reported domestic violence shelters nationwide are struggling to remain open as federal funding that was set aside for them last year for reimbursement has not arrived.
  116. On Tuesday, the White House called tens of thousands of employees back to work, without pay, at the Federal Aviation Administration to ensure flight safety and the Internal Revenue Service to process tax returns.
  117. Trump also tried a new strategy of reaching out to moderate House Democrats in districts that voted for him in 2016 and inviting them to lunch at the White House to go around Speaker Pelosi. None showed up.
  118. On Tuesday, a revised estimate by the Council of Economic Advisers showed that the shutdown is beginning to have real economic consequences, and could push the U.S. economy into a contraction.
  119. On Tuesday, active Coast Guard members missed their first paycheck — the only military branch to work without pay during the shutdown. The Coast Guard is part of the Department of Homeland Security.
  120. Coast Guard Commandant Adm. Karl Schultz said in a statement, “To the best of my knowledge, this marks the first time in our Nation’s history that service members in a U.S. Armed Force have not been paid during a lapse in government appropriations.”
  121. On Tuesday, six prominent veterans’ groups held a rare, joint news conference calling for an end to the shutdown, saying tens of thousands of veterans are facing financial hardships as they go without pay.
  122. Bloomberg reported furloughed federal workers are pulling money out of retirement plans to make ends meet. One data point showed a 34% jump in hardship withdrawals in the two and 1/2 weeks after Christmas.
  123. On Tuesday, Trump tweeted, “Why is Nancy Pelosi getting paid when people who are working are not?” Pelosi responded: “stop holding the paychecks of 800,000 Americans hostage. Re-open the government!”
  124. On Tuesday, Senate Leader Mitch McConnell for a second time blocked a House bill to reopen the government from coming to the floor for a vote.
  125. On Tuesday, House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer announced he plans to introduce a resolution which wouldblock the Trump regime from lifting sanctions on Russian oligarch Oleg Deripaska’s businesses.
  126. On Wednesday, Democrats fell short in the Senate on a measure to keep sanctions on Deripaska’s companies, as 11 Republicans joined Democrats in a 57-42 vote, short of the 60 needed. Sen. Bernie Sanders did not vote.
  127. On Thursday, in a rebuke to Trump, 136 House Republicans joined Democrats in a 362-53 vote to oppose a Treasury Department plan to lift sanctions against Deripaska’s companies.
  128. House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy and Whip Steve Scalise broke with Trump to join Democrats to support the resolution, as did the with the rest of their leadership team, leaving Leader McConnell in an awkward spot.
  129. Politico reported the Border Patrol union deleted a webpage from 2012 which said building walls and fencesalong the border to stop illegal immigration would be “wasting taxpayer money.”
  130. On Wednesday, popular rapper Cardi B blasted Trump over the government shutdown in a viral, expletive-laden message to her nearly 40 million Instagram followers, that was shared all over social media.
  131. In the 58-second video, Cardi B says “Our country is in a hellhole right now,” adding “all for a f‐‐‐ing wall,” and “And I really feel bad for these people that gotta go to f‐‐‐ing work to not get motherf‐‐‐ing paid.”
  132. On Wednesday, day 26 of the shutdown, the House passed a disaster relief bill to reopen parts of the government through February 8. Trump said he will not support any bill without $5.7 billion of funding for his wall.
  133. On Thursday, Trump tweeted “The Left has become totally unhinged. They no longer care what is Right for our Countrty! [sic]” and later saying Schumer is “groveling” to end the shutdown, but Pelosi will not.
  134. On Friday, the Senate Republicans blocked the legislation. This marks the third time McConnell has blocked House stop-gap measures.
  135. On Thursday, a new NPR/PBS NewsHour/Marist poll found as Trump’s approval with parts of his base is slipping. Trump had a net 18 point loss with suburban men, from 51-to-39 approve to 42-to-48 from December.
  136. Trump also lost 24 points with white women without a college degree from 54-to-34 down to 43-to-47. Overall, he has lost a net 10 points with Republicans from 90-to-7 percent approve to 83-to-10 percent.
  137. On Wednesday, Pelosi sent a letter to Trump, asking him to postpone his State of the Union addressscheduled for January 29 in the House chamber or deliver it in writing, citing security concerns related to the shutdown.
  138. Pelosi cited the Secret Service and Department of Homeland Security have key responsibilities for planning and implementing security, and are both hamstrung by furloughs. Pelosi suggested using the Oval Office instead.
  139. AP reported while he remained publicly silent, behind the scenes Trump was stewing about how Pelosi’s movewas being received on cable TV, reiterating fears he was being outmaneuvered in the public eye.
  140. On Thursday, as her delegation was set to depart, Trump advised Pelosi in a letter made public that he was postponing the House delegation’s trip to Afghanistan due to the shutdown and called it a “public relations event.”
  141. Trump wrote, “Due to the Shutdown, I am sorry to inform you that your trip to Brussels, Egypt, and Afghanistan has been postponed. We will reschedule this seven-day excursion when the Shutdown is over.”
  142. Trump wrote, “Obviously, if you would like to make your journey by flying commercial, that would certainly be your prerogative.” The trip was to visit troops and commanders in Afghanistan, an active U.S. combat zone.
  143. In a statement, Pelosi’s spokesperson said the stop in Brussels was mainly to allow the pilot to rest, and also was set to have included meetings with NATO leadership. He also noted Egypt was not on her itinerary.
  144. It is typical for members of Congress to travel around the world as part of their congressional business on military planes arranged by the State Department. Details are kept secret for security reasons until they return.
  145. Trump then canceled the trip by several Cabinet officials to the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, citing the partial government shutdown. Trump canceled his own appearance at Davos last week.
  146. Two hours after Trump grounded Pelosi, Melania Trump took off on an Air Force-modified Boeing 757 — the same type of plane Pelosi’s delegation was set to use — from Joint Base Andrews, and headed to Mar-a-Lago.
  147. On Friday, Pelosi spokesperson said as the delegation “prepared to fly commercially to proceed with this vital trip…This morning, we learned that the administration had leaked the commercial travel plans as well.”
  148. On Friday, Trump tweeted, “Why would Nancy Pelosi leave the Country with other Democrats on a seven day excursion,” adding, “Nancy & her ‘big donors’ in wine country” want farm workers to “have easy access in!”
  149. On Friday, the Official Twitter Account of the Presidency of the Republic of Turkey tweeted a photo of Sen. Lindsey Graham shaking hands with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan at Turkey’s Presidential Complex.
  150. On Friday, Pelosi told reporters the leak was a shocking break of protocol. She said Trump’s “inexperience” may have led him to leak the information, but his staff should have known the “danger not only to us but to other people.”
  151. When asked by reporters if she thought Trump was retaliating over her request to postpone the State of the Union, Pelosi said “I would hope not. I don’t think the president would be that petty, do you?
  152. WAPO reported that Trump has regularly breached security protocols, also including having a Russian photographer in the Oval Office and inadvertently revealing Jared Kushner heading to Iraq in advance.
  153. On Friday, California Gov. Gavin Newsom said his state will offer the federal workers unemployment coverage, despite the federal government telling the state that it cannot do so.
  154. On Friday, former president George W. Bush posted a photograph on Instagram of him delivering pizza to his unpaid secret service detail, and calling for both sides to end the government shutdown.
  155. On Friday, in a series of tweets on immigration, Trump tweeted, “Another big Caravan heading our way. Very hard to stop without a Wall!”
  156. Trump also tweeted an unfounded claim by the Washington Examiner, saying, “Border rancher: ‘We’ve found prayer rugs out here,’” claiming Islamic prayer rugs are being found at the southern border.
  157. Ahead of the midterms, Trump had also claimed “there very well could be” large number of Middle Easterners in the caravan, but later acknowledged “there’s no proof of anything.”
  158. Trump also claimed in a tweet that the GOP is behind him on keeping the government shut for his wall, “Never seen the Republican Party so unified. No “Cave” on the issue of Border and National Security.”
  159. On Friday, Trump had a 90-minute meeting in the Oval Office with Kim Yong-chol, a former North Korean intelligence chief, who has acted as the top nuclear negotiator.
  160. After the meeting, press secretary Sarah Sanders announced Trump and Kim Jong-un will hold a second summit in February, despite North Korea’s failure to dismantle its nuclear arsenal following the meeting in Singapore.
  161. On Friday, Trump’s 2020 campaign sent an email seeking donations of $20.20, and pledging to send fake bricks to Speaker Pelosi and Minority Leader Schumer over their refusal to pay for the wall.
  162. On Thursday late evening, BuzzFeed News released a bombshell story that Trump directed Michael Cohen to lie to Congress about the Trump Tower Moscow Project (NOTE: Mueller’s team later refuted this story).
  163. BuzzFeed’s sources for the story were two federal law enforcement officials involved in an investigation. Cohen was not interviewed for the story.
  164. Mueller’s team learned about Trump directing Cohen to lie through interviews with multiple witnesses from the Trump Organization and internal company emails, text messages, and a cache of other documents.
  165. Attorneys close to the regime helped Cohen prepare his testimony and draft his statement to the Senate panel. An attorney for Don McGahn said he had “no involvement with or knowledge of Michael Cohen’s testimony.”
  166. Trump was aware Cohen was speaking to Russian government officials about the deal, and supported a plan to personally visit Moscow and meet with Putin during the presidential campaign to jump-start negotiations.
  167. Donald Jr. and Ivanka also received regular briefings from Cohen, who was put in charge of the project. Federal investigators are seeking to clarify the roles the two played in the Moscow tower negotiation.
  168. The deal reportedly would have brought Trump in excess of $300 million in profits. Reportedly, Trump had more at least 10 face-to-face meetings with Cohen about the project during the campaign.
  169. A spokesperson for Ivanka, who was slated to manage the project’s spa, told BuzzFeed she was only “minimally involved.” Donald Jr. told Congress in September 2017 he was only “peripherally aware” of the project.
  170. On Thursday, Giuliani dismissed the report, telling a WAPO reporter, “If you believe Cohen I can get you a great deal on the Brooklyn Bridge.” Cohen was not a source for the story.
  171. On Thursday, in reaction to the BuzzFeed story, the Twitter account for dictionary Merriam Webster tweeted, “‘Suborn’ — specifically: to induce to commit perjury — broadly: to induce secretly to do an unlawful thing.”
  172. On Friday, Trump tweeted a quote by Kevin Corke on Fox News that Cohen is “convicted of perjury and fraud,” and adding “Lying to reduce his jail time!” and again threatening Fima Shusterman, “Watch father-in-law!”
  173. On Friday evening, Mueller’s office issued a rare statement: “BuzzFeed’s description of specific statements to the special counsel’s office, and characterization of documents and testimony obtained by this office, regarding Michael Cohen’s congressional testimony are not accurate.”
  174. The statement from Mueller’s team shook the country, after the media had been covering the BuzzFeed Newsstory and its impact all day long, and Democratic lawmakers had suggested it could spell the end of Trump.
  175. Mueller’s team speaks exceedingly rarely in public on any matter, and had never previously issued a statement regarding evidence in its investigation. No other media outlets were able to confirm BuzzFeed’s reporting.
  176. WAPO reported Mueller’s denial aimed to make clear that none of the statements in the story are accurate. Reportedly concern grew over Democrats in Congress demanding answers and investigations in the story.
  177. BuzzFeed News said in a statement Friday night, “We are continuing to report and determine what the special counsel is disputing. We remain confident in the accuracy of our report.”
  178. On Friday, Trump retweeted tweets disparaging BuzzFeed, saying, “This isn’t journalism,” and, “many journalists have lost their integrity,” and the story “blew up in their face and the rest of the fake news are casualties.”
  179. Trump also tweeted “Remember it was Buzzfeed that released the totally discredited “Dossier,” paid for by Crooked Hillary Clinton and the Democrats,” adding: “on which the entire Russian probe is based!”
  180. Trump also tweeted: “A very sad day for journalism, but a great day for our Country!” Trump later repeated a familiar line, tweeting, “Fake News is truly the ENEMY OF THE PEOPLE!”
  181. Trump told reporters, “I appreciate the special counsel coming out with a statement,” calling it “appropriate,” and adding, “I think that the BuzzFeed piece was a disgrace to our country. It was a disgrace to journalism.”
  182. On Saturday, Trump tweeted a quote by Newt Gingrich saying “no president since Abraham Lincoln who has been treated worse or more unfairly by the media,” adding, “other than your favorite President, me!”
  183. Trump also tweeted, “Many people are saying that the Mainstream Media will have a very hard time restoring credibility,” adding including “the disgraceful Buzzfeed story & the even more disgraceful coverage!”
  184. A Pew Research poll found just 29% of Americans think Trump’s presidency will be successful in the long-term, 47% think it’ll be unsuccessful, and 23% say it is too early to tell. The results are the most pessimistic in 25 years.
  185. Also notably the 47% who say unsuccessful is higher than ever measured at any point in any term in the last 25 years for any president, and also suggests Trump’s approval rating has little chance or room to improve.
  186. As the week came to a close, and the government shutdown hit day 29, Trump prepared to deliver a speech, reportedly to offer protections from deportation for some undocumented immigrants in exchange for his wall.

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A student from Covington Catholic High School in a MAGA hat mocks Native American elder Nathan Phillips at the Indigenous Peoples March in Washington, DC on January 18, 2019.