POLITIKS OF GRAFFITI 90: TRULY ORWELLIAN

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

July 21, 2018 https://medium.com/@Amy_Siskind/week-88-experts-in-authoritarianism-advise-to-keep-a-list-of-things-subtly-changing-around-you-c4edff1d80a2

This week it was hard to believe what was happening right before our eyes: Trump stood on stage in Helsinki, after a two hour, private meeting with Putin, and sided with our former foreign adversary over the U.S. intelligence community. The free-world looked on in horror, and there was bipartisan outrage back at home — even concern raised that Trump may be compromised — and yet, as the week came to a close, Trump suffered no real consequences. The Republicans even rewarded him by inexplicably backing his partial ban of Chinese telecom company ZTE.

Trump stumbled defiantly through the rest of a shocking week: shifting his positions on backing U.S. intelligence, considering an offer to allow Russian intelligence to question the former U.S. ambassador to Russia, publicly criticizing the Federal Reserve, and threatening his former fixer Michael Cohen who had taped their conversations.

Russian Maria Butina was arrested and indicted on charges of spying — the 26th Russian to be indicted but first Russian to face charges in U.S. court for interfering in the 2016 election. As Butina’s ties to the NRA surfaced, Treasury Secretary Mnuchin took steps to change existing rules and allow dark money donors to remain anonymous. Shockingly, as the week came to a close, Trump has still yet to admit it was Russia who interfered in the 2016 election.

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Los Angeles, CA ~ March 2018
  1. On Sunday, British PM Theresa May told BBC that when she met with Trump, he advised her to sue the European Union, not go into negotiations. May noted this was in contrast to what he said at their new conference, “don’t walk away.”
  2. The White House canceled National Security Adviser John Bolton’s scheduled interview for Sunday on CNN’s “State of the Union.” Press secretary Sarah Sanders tweeted that a CNN reporter had “disrespected @POTUS & PM May.”
  3. On Sunday, NYT reported British investigators believe the nerve agent attack against Sergei Skripal and his daughter was likely carried out by GRU, the same Russian military intelligence indicted in the Mueller probe.
  4. On Sunday, in an interview on “CBS Evening News,” when Trump was asked about our biggest global foes ahead of Helsinki, he responded, “I think the European Union is a foe, what they do to us in trade.”
  5. On Sunday, en route to Helsinki, Trump tweeted he was looking forward to his meeting with Putin, while mocking critics, “I should have gotten Saint Petersburg in addition!” and calling the media “the enemy of the people.”
  6. As Trump and Putin were set to arrive, Finnish newspaper Helsingin Sanomat financed 300 billboards on the routes from the airport to the summit which read, “Mr. President, welcome to the land of free press.”
  7. On Sunday, Daily Mail reported that Morry Matson, a CVS in manager in Ohio and former Trump delegate, called the police on a black woman for trying to use a coupon at his store. Matson was dubbed “Coupon Carl.”
  8. The Toledo Blade reported a woman spray-painted “Hail Trump” and the N-word on a neighbor’s home, just hours before Toledo’s annual African-American Parade. Patricia Edelen, 47, was arrested.
  9. The mayor of Wilmington, Delaware apologized after Muslim children from the the Darul Amaanah Academy summer camp were asked to leave a public pool because of their religious clothing.
  10. Cal Poly rescinded a scholarship for pro-Trump wrestler Bronson Harmonafter video surfaced of him yelling an anti-gay slur and making an obscene gesture during a counter-protest to a Families Belong Together march.
  11. The Tennessean reported on a record number of Tennesseans using Confederate flag license plates: there were 3,273 active plates in June 2018, up 72% from June 2015.
  12. A HuffPost/YouGov survey found 85% of Trump voters believe MS-13, the gang Trump frequently conjures to defend his immigration policy, is a very serious or somewhat serious threat to the entire U.S.
  13. On Sunday, Trump’s Health and Human Services Department submitted revised plans to reunite families, after Judge Dana Sabraw accused the regime using safety concerns as “cover” to avoid meeting his July 26 deadline.
  14. Judge Sabraw said the government “has an absolute 100 percent obligation to meet these deadlines and to do it safely.” The regime will use methods other than DNA testing to verify parentage for older children.
  15. On Sunday, WAPO reported that experts say migrant children being reunited with parents may be deeply traumatized. Some children suffer nightmares, others have trouble trusting their parents again.
  16. A ten-year old described seeing an out-of-control kindergartener get injected with something after he misbehaved in class. She added, “They told us to behave, or we’d be there forever.”
  17. On Thursday, NBC News reported that as the court imposed July 26 deadline nears for the regime to reunify the 2,551 migrant children over 5 years old, in a court filing the regime said they have just unified just 364 so far.
  18. Of 1,607 parents eligible to be reunited, 719 have final orders of deportation, leaving them with the choice of bringing their child back to a violent country or leaving them behind in the care of the U.S. government.
  19. The judge temporarily halted the regime from deporting reunited migrant families, accepting the ACLU argument that many of who plan to seek asylum need time to file claims.
  20. On Friday, the Trump regime told the court that the federal government has reunited 450 children ages 5 to 17 years old. Judge Sabraw said, “I am very impressed with the effort that is being made.”
  21. On Monday, hours before his one-on-one summit with Putin, Trump sent two tweets calling the Mueller probe a “Rigged Witch Hunt” twice, and again blamed Obama for doing nothing.
  22. Trump also tweeted, “Our relationship with Russia has NEVER been worse thanks to many years of U.S. foolishness and stupidity,” and falsely claimed the probe was headed by Peter Strzok.
  23. The Twitter account for the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affair, headed by Sergey Lavrov, tweeted, “We agree.”
  24. On Monday, Germany’s foreign minister said Europe could no longer rely on the U.S. after Trump called the European Union a “foe,” urging Europeans to close ranks and readjust its partnership with the U.S.
  25. Putin arrived late, and the summit at the Presidential Palace in Helsinki started about an hour after schedule. In a short public greeting, Trump declared he expected to have an “extraordinary relationship” with Putin.
  26. Trump and Putin started by speaking alone, with only interpreters, for two hours — longer than the 90 minutes allotted on Trump’s daily schedule. After, the two held a 46 minute news conference.
  27. Unlike his adversarial tone with NATO allies, Trump refused to challenge Putin in any way, including his claim that Russia did not interfere in the U.S. election, saying, “I have President Putin — he just said it’s not Russia.”
  28. Trump made no mention of the Justice Department’s 12 indictments, and when pressed said, “I have great confidence in my intelligence people,” but Putin was “extremely strong and powerful in his denial today.”
  29. When asked if he would hold Russia accountable at all, Trump said, “I hold both countries responsible. I think that the United States has been foolish,” adding, “the probe is a disaster for our country. I think it’s kept us apart.”
  30. Trump declined an invitation by an AP reporter, with the world watching,to warn Putin not to interfere again, instead deferring to Putin who said, Russia “has never interfered and is not going to interfere” in U.S. elections.
  31. Putin suggested what Trump described as an “interesting idea” — Mueller’s investigators could come to Moscow and question the Russian suspects, so long as Russians could come to Washington D.C. to do the same.
  32. Trump insisted his campaign did not collude with Russia, and then rattled off conspiracy theories. When Putin was asked if he had compromising information on Trump, he said, “It’s hard to imagine greater nonsense.”
  33. Former intelligence chiefs condemned Trump. Former CIA Director John Brennan tweeted Trump’s performance “exceeds the threshold of “high crimes & misdemeanors,” calling it, “nothing short of treasonous.”
  34. Former Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel said Trump “failed America today.” Former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper said Trump “essentially capitulated and seems intimidated” by Putin.
  35. Sen. John McCain and several Democrats spoke out forcefully. McCain called the summit “a tragic mistake,” adding Trump delivered “one of the most disgraceful performances by an American president in memory.
  36. On Monday, Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats issued a statement saying U.S. intelligence has been “clear in our assessments of Russian meddling in the 2016 election and their ongoing, pervasive efforts to undermine our democracy.”
  37. On Monday, Trump played down his earlier comments, tweeting, “I have GREAT confidence in MY intelligence people,” adding, “to build a brighter future,” the two largest nuclear powers, “must get along!”
  38. On Monday, other Republicans reacted, but mainly in muted ways, defending the U.S. intelligence community and their assessment, but offering muted criticism of Trump and his behavior.
  39. Reuters reported Russian establishment viewed the summit as a win for Putin, noting the symbolism of a U.S. leader sitting down with Putin after four years of international isolation triggered by the annexation of Crimea.
  40. Russia state TV reported “Trump is ours,” and joked the U.S. lawmakers came to Russia “to make deals with our hackers” for midterms. They report Putin will run circles around “political neophyte” Trump.
  41. After the summit, in an interview with Sean Hannity that aired Monday night, Trump praised Putin: “I thought President Putin was very, very strong,” adding, “I think we’re doing really well with Russia as of today.”
  42. Late Monday, Trump returned from Helsinki to face protests at the White House. Protestors chanted, “Putin’s puppet” and “traitor” and carried giant letters that spelled out “liar.”
  43. On Tuesday, Motherboard reported Election Systems and Software, the top voting machine maker, admitted in a letter to Sen. Ron Wyden that it installed remote-access software on election-management systems.
  44. The company says it provided remote connection software “to a small number of customers between 2000 and 2006,” contradicting earlier statements, and raising concern about the security of their systems.
  45. On Tuesday, Vanity Fair reported Trump was surprised by the outrage about his summit. By time he landed back in Washington D.C., Trump “was enraged there was a lack of people out there defending him,”
  46. Reportedly, chief of staff John Kelly was irate about Trump’s comments at the summit, and called around to Republicans on Capitol Hill, giving them the go-ahead to speak out against Trump.
  47. On Tuesday, amid widespread criticism and condemnations, Trump tweeted, “While I had a great meeting with NATO…I had an even better meeting” with Putin, blaming “the Fake News” for misreporting.
  48. On Tuesday, Sen. Mark Warner, ranking Democrat on the Senate Intelligence Committee said he is concerned Trump got “taken advantage of” in his private session with Putin, saying, “We sure as heck need a briefing.”
  49. On Tuesday, Speaker Paul Ryan said the House may consider new sanctions on Russia. Ryan also said there is “no question” Russia interfered in 2016 election and “is not our ally.”
  50. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo will testify before Bob Corker’s Senate Foreign Relations Committee on July 25. Although the hearing was scheduled on North Korea, he is expected to be grilled on Trump’s meeting with Putin.
  51. On Tuesday, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and GOP leaders used their weekly press conference to support U.S. intelligence findings on Russian interference, and to reassure Europe about America’s commitment to its allies.
  52. McConnell said the Senate might move forward with new sanctions against Russia in the wake of Trump’s remarks, mentioning the bipartisan bill from Sens. Marco Rubio and Chris Van Hollen, which would impose new penalties.
  53. Facing pressure, reading from a prepared statement, Trump said he misspoke in Helsinki, saying, “I accept our intelligence community’s conclusion that Russia’s meddling in the 2016 election took place.”
  54. Trump claimed as he read the written statement, “The sentence should have been, ‘I don’t see any reason why it wouldn’t be Russia.’ Sort of a double negative,” in explaining his shifting position.
  55. Trump then ad-libbed and contradicted himself, “Could be other people also. A lot of people out there,” and added, “There was no collusion at all.” This jibes with Trump’s unwillingness to call out Russia.
  56. Photos of the note Trump was reading surfaced. At the top was an addition in black marker which read, “THERE WAS NO COLUSION,” and Trump crossed out the words, “Anyone involved in that meddling to justice.”
  57. A few hours later, Trump seemed to reverse course again, tweeting, “The meeting between President Putin and myself was a great success,” and blamed the media, “except in the Fake News Media!”
  58. A CBS poll found just 32% of Americans approve of Trump’s handling of the Helsinki summit, including 68% of Republicans. Seven in ten believe the U.S. intelligence assessments that Russia interfered in the elections.
  59. On Monday, the Justice Department disclosed that Maria Butina was arrested Sunday and appeared Monday in court.
  60. Butina is accused of trying to cultivate relationships with American politicians over a two-year period. Butina twice tried to set up secret meetings between Trump and Putin during the 2016 campaign.
  61. In June 2015, as Trump announced his campaign, Butina wrote a column in a conservative U.S. magazine, suggesting that only by electing a Republican could the U.S. and Russia hope to improve relations.
  62. In July 2015, at FreedomFest in Las Vegas, she asked Trump about his foreign politics relating to Russia at a public event. He answered, “I know Putin and I’ll tell you what, we get along with Putin.”
  63. According to charges, at the behest of Alexander Torshin, a Russian government official, Butina made connections through the National Rifle Association and religious organizations to steer the GOP towards pro-Russia positions.
  64. Butina is the 26th Russian to face charges in the Russia investigation, and the first to be arrested. Charges were filed by the DOJ, which already had an investigation underway, and worked parallel to the Mueller probe.
  65. In May 2016, Torshin and Butina proposed a meeting between Trump and Putin during the annual NRA convention in Kentucky. Kushner shot the idea down, and instead Donald Jr. met the two at the NRA dinner.
  66. The charges also say an American operative met with Butina in Moscow and helped identify political, news media, and business officials to target — the most explicit evidence yet of an American aiding Russian efforts.
  67. On Tuesday, a federal grand jury approved a criminal indictment of Butina with two charges, conspiracy and acting as a foreign agent. Her lawyer denied she was an “agent of the Russian Federation.”
  68. On Monday, Secretary Steven Mnuchin said the U.S. Treasury would no longer require certain tax-exempt organizations including politically active nonprofit groups, such as the NRA, to report dark money donors.
  69. Butina, who once posed with guns in Russian GQ magazine, pleaded not guilty to acting as a covert Russian agent working with Torshin in a plan that “was calculated, patient, and directed by the Russian Official.”
  70. Authorities said Butina used a student visa to attend American University, and through a pro-gun organization set up in Russia, got in contact with GOP operative Paul Erickson and other top NRA officials as early as 2013.
  71. Authorities also alleged Erickson had “involvement” in Butina’s efforts to establish a “back channel” line of communication between the Kremlin and the Republican Party through the NRA.
  72. On Tuesday, Adam Schiff, the ranking Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee tweeted Democrats wanted to interview Butina, but “GOP members of HPSCI refused our request to bring her and others in.”
  73. On Tuesday, in a court filing, Mueller asked the judge to grant immunity from prosecution for five potential witnesses whose testimony Mueller may want to compel in the upcoming Paul Manafort trial.
  74. Mueller said the potential witnesses have not been identified publicly in connection with the case, and asked the judge to seal from public view the court motions detailing the witnesses’ identities.
  75. On Tuesday, CNN reported the MP leading a British investigation into online disinformation said data collected by Professor Aleksandr Kogan on behalf of Cambridge Analytica had been accessed from Russia and other countries.
  76. On Wednesday, CNN reported prosecutors from Mueller’s team met with attorneys representing Andrew Miller, a former Roger Stone associate, and spent almost 90 minutes in a sealed court proceeding before Chief Judge Beryl Howell.
  77. The meeting signals Stone is still under investigation by Mueller team. Howell oversees matters related to the federal grand jury that has indicted in Week 87, led to the indictments of 12 Russians.
  78. On Wednesday, Mueller’s team published nearly 500 pieces of evidence for the Manafort trial, which begins next week. Exhibits include Manafort’s homes, cars, a $21,000 watch, and high-end clothing.
  79. There will also be photographs of the putting green at his home in the Hamptons, as well as email communication between Manafort and Tad Devine, a Democratic consultant, who worked for Ukrainian President Yanukovych.
  80. On Monday, FCC Chairman Ajit Pai announced he has serious concerns about Sinclair Broadcast Group’s acquisition of Tribune Media, saying he would put the deal through a lengthy administrative process, likely dooming it.
  81. AP reported Trump will be the first sitting president to skip the All-Star Game in Washington D.C., citing his preference for friendly crowds.
  82. NYT reported Trump has yet to award the National Arts Medals, an award created by Congress in 1985 to recognize the country’s greatest artists, which typically goes to about a dozen artists each year.
  83. On Tuesday, the Scotsman reported U.S. government spending records show Trump’s Turnberry firm was paid £52,477 to cover the accommodation bill for his weekend stay at his resort.
  84. In an op-ed Beck Dorey-Stein, a White House stenographer from 2012 to 2017, a staffer position that stays through changing administrations, saidTrump uniquely refused to be recorded and have a record of his words.
  85. In an interview, Dorey-Stein said “I quit because I couldn’t be proud of where I worked anymore,” adding, “I felt like President Trump was lying to the American people.”
  86. On Wednesday, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo opened the door to a possible criminal case against the Donald J. Trump Foundation, saying the state will provide a criminal referral if Attorney General Barbara Underwood asks for it.
  87. CNN reported on a 2016 panel in which Trump’s Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh, when asked what one decision should be overturned,said he would “put the nail” in the ruling which upholds independent counsels.
  88. On Wednesday, WAPO reported Trump loyalists at the Department of Veteran Affairs are taking aggressive steps to purge or reassign staff members disloyal to Trump ahead of Robert Wilkie’s likely confirmation.
  89. On Wednesday, the Senate confirmed Trump’s 23rd circuit court judge, breaking a record set by George H.W. Bush who got 22 confirmed.
  90. On Wednesday, anti-Trump protestors, joined by lawmakers, held a candlelight vigil in front of the White House to protest Trump’s refusal to denounce Russian interference, and to show support for Mueller.
  91. Protestors chanted, “Hell naw Kavanaugh,” and “Trump is not above the law!” According to organizers, similar protests took place in 200 cities around the country.
  92. On Wednesday, Politico reported the Interior Department’s internal watchdog opened a full investigation into a real estate deal involving a foundation established by Secretary Ryan Zinke and Halliburton Chairman David Lesar.
  93. Under the arrangement, Lesar would be building a parking lot to benefit a major redevelopment project that could raise the land value of Zinke’s nearby properties. Zinke has oversight over issues impacting Halliburton.
  94. On Thursday, the Trump regime’s Interior and Commerce departments announced a joint proposal which would strip the Endangered Species Act of key provisions, weakening a law enacted 45 years ago.
  95. If approved, protections for threatened plants and animals would be made on a case-by-case basis. The proposal would also strike the phrase “without reference to possible economic or other impacts” from the Act’s language.
  96. Conservationists decried much of the proposal, including the removal of a requirement compelling federal agencies to consult with scientists and wildlife agencies before approving permits for ventures such as drilling.
  97. Daily Beast reported Michael Barry, the senior National Security Council director for intelligence programs, is leaving the White House to rejoin the CIA, creating another in the growing list of vacancies in Bolton’s NSC.
  98. On Wednesday, James Comey, a Republican, urged votes for Democrats in the midterms, tweeting, “This Republican Congress has proven incapable of fulfilling the Founders’ design that “Ambition must..counteract ambition.”
  99. On Tuesday, in an interview with Fox News host Tucker Carlson, Trump said he’s bothered by Article 5 provisions of NATO that require the U.S. to come to the defense of other member countries.
  100. Carlson mentioned the small country of Montenegro, to which Trump responded, “They’re very strong people, they’re very aggressive people. They may get aggressive and, congratulations, you’re in World War Three.”
  101. Russia has made clear they view the region as part of their sphere of influence, and said the country would “regret” joining NATO in 2017. Article 5 has only been invoked once, after the U.S. was attacked on 9–11.
  102. On Wednesday, Trump continued to defend his Helsinki performance in a series of tweets, saying, “So many people at the higher ends of intelligence loved my press conference performance in Helsinki.”
  103. Trump added, “Putin and I discussed many important subjects at our earlier meeting,” saying even compared to the NATO summit, his meeting with Russia “may prove to be, in the long run, an even greater success.”
  104. Trump also said, “Some people HATE” that he gets along well with Putin,” adding, “They would rather go to war than see this. It’s called Trump Derangement Syndrome!”
  105. On Wednesday, when asked by a reporter whether Russia is still interfering in U.S. elections, Trump answered, “no,” contradicting Coats, and his declaration Tuesday that he believes U.S. intelligence on Russia.
  106. On Wednesday, at the Aspen Security Forum, FBI director Christopher Wray said he has threatened to resign. Wray reaffirmed that “Russia attempted to interfere with the last election and…continues to engage in malign influence.”
  107. On Wednesday, press secretary Sanders held a White House daily briefing for the first time in over two weeks.
  108. Sanders covered for Trump’s “no” answer, claiming it was in response to taking further questions from the press, saying the regime is “working very hard to make sure that Russia is unable to meddle in our elections.”
  109. Sanders refused to rule out the Kremlin’s request to question Americans, saying Trump is open to the idea of having former U.S. ambassador to Moscow Michael McFaul questioned by Russia, and Trump is “going to meet with his team” to discuss the offer.
  110. That Trump was considering turning over Americans drew astonishment and outrage from current and former U.S. officials. The proposition is unheard of. McFaul served as U.S. ambassador to Russia from 2012–2014.
  111. On Thursday, the Senate planned a resolution introduced by Democrats to block Trump from allowing Americans, such as McFaul, from being questioned by Russian intelligence.
  112. Shortly after, press secretary Sanders announced Trump disagreed with Putin’s proposal, which she said had been “made in sincerity.” Trump initially had described the idea as an “incredible offer.”
  113. The Senate’s resolution passed 98–0. WAPO reported Trump did not understand the massive diplomatic and security implications of turning Americans over to an autocratic regime that jails and kills dissidents.
  114. On Thursday, WAPO reported as Russian officials describe “important verbal agreements” in Helsinki, at the most senior levels across the U.S. military, officials are scrambling to determine what Trump agreed to.
  115. Press officers at the Pentagon are unable to answer media questions. As Moscow suggests a new arrangement regarding Syria, the U.S. General in the region was scheduled to brief media and did not yet know details.
  116. Defense Secretary Jim Mattis did not attend Trump’s Cabinet meeting on Wednesday, and has not appeared in public this week, or been available for comment.
  117. While Trump continued to tweet about the “big results” from the summit,State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert said the regime was “assessing . . . three takeaways,” which she characterized as “modest.”
  118. On Thursday, Trump-ally Devin Nunes blocked Rep. Schiff’s motion to subpoena the interpreter at Trump’s Helsinki summit with Putin to testify in closed session before the House Intelligence committee.
  119. On Thursday, in a speech on the House floor, House Minority Whip Steny Hoyer called on Republicans to bring up an amendment providing additional funding for election security, as House Democrats chanted “USA.”
  120. On Thursday, Trump criticized the European Union again, using the excuse of an EU fine on Google, tweeting, “I told you so!…They truly have taken advantage of the U.S., but not for long!”
  121. Trump blamed the media for outrage over his Putin summit, which he said was “a great success,” and again said referred to the media as “the real enemy of the people,” and “the Fake News Media.”
  122. Trump also tweeted, “The Fake News Media is going Crazy,” and accused the media of lying, saying, “Many of the stories written about me, and the good people surrounding me, are total fiction.”
  123. Trump accused the “Fake News Media” of wanting “so badly to see a major confrontation with Russia, even a confrontation that could lead to war,” tweeting they hate “that I’ll probably have a good relationship with Putin.”
  124. Trump also tweeted, “The Democrats have a death wish, in more ways than one,” saying Democrats want to abolish ICE.
  125. On Thursday, Putin warned there are certain political “forces” in the U.S. — a reference to what he views as an anti-Russian cabal within U.S. national security — trying to undermine his successful summit with Trump.
  126. Putin again invoked this deep state notion, saying consider the efforts of a “quite powerful” group in Washington that seeks to undermine good relations between the U.S. and Russia.
  127. On Thursday, Sanders tweeted Trump had asked national security adviser John Bolton to issue an invitation to Putin to come to “Washington in the fall and those discussions are already underway.”
  128. Sander’s tweet was sent hours after Trump had tweeted that he was looking forward to “our second meeting” with Putin, and defended his Helsinki summit performance.
  129. On Thursday, in an interview at the Aspen Security Forum, DNI Coats told NBC’s Andrea Mitchell that he still does not know what happened in Trump’s one-on-one meeting with Putin.
  130. Coats said he hopes to learn more about the meeting, adding of the summit, “If he had asked me how that ought to be conducted I would have suggested a different way, but that’s not my role, that’s not my job.”
  131. Coats also warned of a “cyber-9/11,” saying there are threats, “every day, against our institutions, against our military, against our financial services, against our critical infrastructure.”
  132. Coats said he felt the need to “correct the record” when he issued a statement Monday reaffirming that the U.S. intelligence community has concluded that Russia interfered, after Trump’s statement at the summit.
  133. Coats also said he was not made aware of until it was made public that Sergey Kislyak and Lavrov met with Trump in the Oval office in May 2017. Coats noted with a long sigh that it was probably not the best thing to do.
  134. During the interview, Mitchell read Coats the tweet by Sanders on a second summit with Putin in Washington. Coats said, “Say that again?” and then added, “Okaayyy, that’s gonna be special.”
  135. Coats was also asked if he is considering resigning, to which he responded, “That’s a place I don’t really go to publicly.”
  136. Earlier at the Aspen Security Forum, Tom Burt, Microsoft’s vice president for customer security and trust, said the same Russians who hacked the DNC have targeted at least three 2018 Congressional campaigns.
  137. Burt declined to name the candidates or their party, citing privacy concerns, but said they are notable candidates running for reelection. Trump’s DHS has said they’ve seen no sustained campaign against election systems.
  138. Also at Aspen, deputy attorney general Rod Rosenstein said the DOJ will inform American companies, private organizations, and individuals if they are being covertly attacked in order to affect elections or the political process.
  139. Rosenstein said focusing on a single election misses the point, adding Russian threats are “pervasive,” and “meant to undermine America’s democracy on a daily basis,” whether it is election time or not.
  140. Also at Aspen, Secretary of Homeland Security Kirstjen Nielsen refused to say whether Russian interference in 2016 helped Trump, saying she had not seen “any evidence” interference was to “favor a particular political party.”
  141. When asked about Trump’s comment that there were “fine people on both sides” in Charlottesville, Nielsen also blamed both sides, responding, “It’s not that one side was right and one side was wrong.”
  142. On Thursday, Republicans in the House voted down a Democratic effort to increase election security spending.
  143. Politico reported based on a survey of all 50 states, most states’ election offices have failed to fix their most glaring security weaknesses, and few have plans for how to use their share of election security funding.
  144. On Thursday, breaking long-standing practice, Trump criticized the Federal Reserve for raising rates, telling CNBC, “I am not happy…all of this work that we’re putting into the economy and then I see rates going up.”
  145. On Friday, Trump ratcheted up criticism of the Fed, tweeting, “China, the European Union and others have been manipulating their currencies and interest rates lower… taking away our big competitive edge.”
  146. Trump also tweeted the U.S. “should not be penalized because we are doing so well,” saying the U.S. should be able to “recapture what was lost due to illegal currency manipulation and BAD Trade Deals.”
  147. On Friday, Trump tweeted a 2010 video of Hillary Clinton in an interview with Russia state television, calling for a strong and stable Russia. Trump added, “Will the Dems and Fake News ever learn? This is classic!”
  148. On Friday, NYT reported Michael Cohen secretly taped a conversation with Trump two months before the election discussing payments to Karen McDougal, who said she had an affair with Trump. The FBI seized the recording in their raid.
  149. The recording undercuts the Trump campaign’s denial of any knowledge of payments to McDougal. Days before the 2016 election, Hope Hicks called McDougal’s claim of an affair “totally untrue.”
  150. Rudy Giuliani told the Times that Trump had discussed payments to McDougal with Cohen in person on the recording, and said Trump did not know in advance about the payment American Media Inc. made to silence McDougal.
  151. CNN reported Cohen had other recordings of Trump in his records that were seized by the FBI. Giuliani dismissed the other recording as mundane. A source told CNN that is not true.
  152. In the recording, Cohen and Trump discuss buying the rights to that contract from AMI. CNN reported when informed about the recording, Trump said, “I can’t believe Michael would do this to me.”
  153. WAPO reported in the recording, Cohen advised Trump to consider buying the rights to McDougal’s claims to better “control” the story, reportedly saying, “I think we need to bring this in-house.”
  154. On Saturday, Trump suggested there could be consequences for Cohen secretly recording him, tweeting, “Even more inconceivable that a lawyer would tape a client — totally unheard of & perhaps illegal.”
  155. On Saturday, Cohen attorney Davis responded, tweeting, “The strategy of @realdonaldtrump @potus @RudyGiuliani is flawed; just as is #Trump’s false #Twitter statement made against @michaelcohen212 this morning.”
  156. On Friday, in an op-ed, GOP Rep. Will Hurd, a former undercover CIA officer, said Trump is being manipulated by Putin, writing that Trump, “standing idle” while Putin “spouted lies” should “concern all Americans.”
  157. On Friday, Reuters reported Mnuchin is open to lifting sanctions from Russian aluminum giant Rusal, owned by oligarch Oleg Deripaska. Mueller is investigating financial ties between Deripaska and Manafort.
  158. On Friday, Republicans agreed to water down legislation in reconciling bills designed to punish Chinese telecom company ZTE, delivering a victory to Trump. The Senate version would had restored a full ban.
  159. On Friday, Trump again complained about being criticized by the “Fake News Media,” tweeting, “In the Old Days they would call it Diplomacy. If I was loud & vicious, I would have been criticized for being too tough.”
  160. On Friday, Trump also tweeted “The NFL National Anthem Debate is alive and well again — can’t believe it.” On Thursday, the NFL halted enforcement of anthem rules while working out a solution with players.
  161. Trump tweeted, “Isn’t it in contract that players must stand at attention, hand on heart?” It is not. He also called on the Commissioner, “First time kneeling, out for game. Second time kneeling, out for season/no pay!”
  162. On Saturday, WSJ reported at the end of a turbulent week, Trump is taking an increasingly defiant approach, tired of being told he can’t do things like criticize the Fed or the intelligence community.
  163. Trump’s comments on the Fed ricocheted through currency and bond markets, leaving the White House to clarify his comments and say Trump respects the Fed’s independence.
  164. Reportedly before the summit, Trump had authorized the Justice Department to release the indictments against 12 Russians, agreeing it would strengthen his hand with Putin in bringing up election interference.
  165. Trump’s plan, formulated with his aides, was for him to “shove it in Putin’s face and look strong doing it.” Trump did the exact opposite, siding with Putin and saying he saw no reason why Russia would have interfered.
  166. Russian associated social media accounts urged the U.S. to free Butina. On Thursday, the Russian Foreign Ministry posted a call to action on its Twitter account to mobilize a digital “flash mob,” including changing profile photos.
  167. On Saturday, TASS reported Russian Foreign Minister Lavrov told Secretary of State Pompeo that U.S. actions against Russian citizen Butina were inadmissible, and said she should be released as soon as possible.

POLITIKS OF GRAFFITI 84: DICKTATOR (“He’s tough. I want my people (?!) to stand up for me the way Kim Jong Un’s do for him.”) WOW ~Wake up, AmeriKKKa ! !

The content of that paraphrase above is what freaked me the fuck out this week as I observed from abroad, the tightening grip his preposterous lies and mentally ill despotic behavior are having on his gullible, violent base. America is unrecognizable… 

Week 83: Experts in authoritarianism advise to keep a list of things subtly changing around you, so you’ll remember.

June 16, 2018 https://medium.com/@Amy_Siskind/week-83-experts-in-authoritarianism-advise-to-keep-a-list-of-things-subtly-changing-around-you-so-aa4da2f1782a

This week the atrocities at our southern border finally garnered widespread attention, as stories on the scope and the devastating impact of the Trump regime’s zero-tolerance policy were reported. Sessions invoked the Bible to justify the regime’s practice of separating migrant children from their parents, and exacerbated the crisis by ordering immigration judges to stop granting asylum to most victims of domestic abuse and gang violence. Amid widespread condemnation, Trump repeated false claims blaming Democrats for the border crisis — continuing his pattern of constructing an alternative version of reality to feed his base.

Trump held a well choreographed summit with Kim Jong Un in Singapore, which received media attention on the scale of a Super Bowl, but resulted in little in the way of substance. Trump continues his pattern of ignoring human rights abuses abroad, while cozying up to dictators and alienating former democratic allies. Trump’s capacity and culpability for human rights abuses at home may explain why.

This week Trump’s former campaign chair, Paul Manafort, was sent to jail, pending his trial, and Trump insider Michael Cohen lost his legal representation, amid persistent rumors that he may cooperate. As the week came to a close, Rudy Giuliani bragged that Trump would clean things up by issuing pardons.

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“PLAYED LIKE A FIDDLE.” How “unprecedented” is an agreement by North Korea to end its nuclear program and cease hostilities? 1985: North Korea signs Nuclear NonProliferation Treaty 1992: North Korea signs historic agreement to halt nuclear program! (#1) 1994: North Korea signs historic agreement to halt nuclear program! (#2) 1999: North Korea signs historic agreement to end missile tests 2000: North Korea signs historic agreement to reunify Korea! Nobel Peace Prize is awarded 2005: North Korea declares support for “denuclearization” of Korean peninsula 2005: North Korea signs historic agreement to halt nuclear program and “denuclearize”! (#3) 2006: North Korea declares support for “denuclearization” of Korean peninsula 2006: North Korea again support for “denuclearization” of Korean peninsula 2007: North Korea signs historic agreement to halt nuclear program! (#4) 2007: N&S Korea sign agreement on reunification 2010: North Korea commits to ending Korean War 2010: North Korea announces commitment to “denuclearize” 2010: North Korea again announces commitment to “denuclearize” 2011: North Korea announces plan to halt nuclear and missile tests 2012: North Korea announces halt to nuclear program 2015: North Korea offers to halt nuclear tests 2016: North Korea again announces support for “denuclearization” (source: D. Neal) *To be clear: THIS WAS NO DEAL. China is reaping the benefits of a photo op (AND NOTHING MORE) by 45. Oh, 45 mentioned some hotels he’d like to see on the beaches there. So, again, a business deal for him, A DESTRUCTION DEAL FOR AMERICA. WE ARE SO FUCKED. 
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Artist and location unknown, but this popped up somewhere in the world this week. AMERICA IS A JOKE TO THE REST OF THE WORLD, if you haven’t realized it yet. 
  1. Late Saturday, after departing the G7 summit early, Trump announced that he was backing out of the joint communique, repeating his mantra, “We must put the American worker first!”
  2. Late Saturday, while aboard Air Force One, Trump lashed out at Canada’s Prime Minister Trudeau in a tweet, calling him “Very dishonest & weak.”
  3. On Sunday, Peter Navarro, a trade adviser to Trump, further escalated the rhetoric against Trudeau on “Fox News Sunday,” saying, “There’s a special place in hell for any foreign leader that engages in bad faith diplomacy.”
  4. On Sunday, top White House economic adviser Larry Kudlow told “State of the Union” that Trudeau “stabbed us in the back,” saying, “He did a great disservice to the whole G7.”
  5. On Monday, Kudlow was hospitalized after suffering a mild heart attack.
  6. On Sunday, other G7 leaders issued statements in support of Trudeau, with Britain’s Prime Minister May saying she is “fully supportive of Justin Trudeau,” and France and Germany issuing similar statements.
  7. On Sunday, NYT reported Trump did not want to go to the G7, but aides pushed him to do so. He rebelled by showing up late and leaving early, as well as by acting out by crossing his arms and swiveling in his seat.
  8. On Sunday, Axios reported that at a White House visit in April, French President Macron told Trump that France and the U.S. should work together on their “China problem,” Trump said the European Union is “worse than China.”
  9. Rep. Louie Gohmert told “Fox & Friends Weekend” that Mueller is “covering up” for Hillary Clinton, and “he’s trying to have a coup against” against Trump.
  10. On Sunday, NYT reported while Trump was at the G7 summit, burned-out White House staffers are considering resigning, including chief of staff John Kelly and one of his deputies, Joe Hagin. Turnover is at 51%.
  11. Trump does not mind people leaving, and is comfortable removing barriers that might challenge him. Trump believes he can function as his own chief of staff, communications director, and HR manager.
  12. Trump is re-energized, and feels he gained ground in dictating the narrative of news coverage. He continues to be paranoid about leakers — aides seeking his favor try to identify people who could be disloyal.
  13. On Monday, Canada’s House of Commons unanimously condemned the personal attacks on Trudeau by Trump and his surrogates.
  14. AP conducted a fact check of Trump’s statements on trade, and found hisexamples to be factually incorrect, adding Trump glossed over the parts of the economy “that don’t support his faulty contention.”
  15. On Tuesday, amid growing tensions with Canada, Trump’s Department of Homeland Security announced a “strengthened” Northern Border Strategyto help “combat terrorism” and “help facilitate travel and trade” at its border.
  16. WAPO reported on mass trials in courtrooms packed with parents in the Southwest who were separated from their children after crossing the border. The number of defendants has soared under Trump’s new crackdown.
  17. Migrant parents face the decision of pleading guilty and hoping to be reunified with their children, or pleading innocent and waiting days or weeks for trial without their children.
  18. In McAllen, Texas alone, 415 children had been separated from their parents between May 21 and June 5. In one day in court, the judge sentenced 100 people, including 28 parents.
  19. On Sunday, WAPO reported that 206 undocumented immigrants were transferred last week to the Federal Detention Center in Seattle, 174 of which were women. The women were kept in three concrete pods.
  20. Rep. Pramila Jayapal said half the women said they were forcibly separated from their children. Some said children as young as 12 monthshad been taken away — some heard their children screaming for them in the next room.
  21. The women were fleeing threats of rape and gang violence in Cuba, El Salvador, Honduras, and Guatemala. ICE confirmed it has moved 1,600migrants to federal prisons due to the surge of illegal crossings and implementation of the zero-tolerance policy.
  22. On Monday, Jeff Sessions ordered immigration judges to stop granting asylum to most victims of domestic abuse and gang violence, continuing the regime’s efforts to change immigration laws to make them less friendly.
  23. According to the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, there was a backlog of 311,000 asylum claims in late January. Immigration attorneys said a substantial portion fall under the categories Sessions targeted.
  24. WAPO reported the Honduran father, Marco Antonio Muñoz, who killed himself in Week 82 after being separated from his wife and son, was seeking asylum after the murder of his brother-in-law in Honduras.
  25. The parents also have a older son who is an American citizen who they put in a plane to flee, while the couple went by land with the younger son.
  26. AP reported U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, the agency which oversees immigration applications, will focus on identifying Americans suspected of cheating to get their citizenship and seek to strip them of it.
  27. Up until now, the agency pursued cases as they arose, but not through a coordinated effort. The new steps come as the regime cracks down on illegal immigration and looks to reduce legal immigration to the U.S.
  28. On Tuesday, McClatchy reported the Trump regime is looking to erect tent cities at military posts around Texas to shelter the growing number of children separated from their parents crossing the border.
  29. Trump’s Department of Health and Human Services confirmed they are looking at the Fort Bliss site along with Dyess Air Force Base in Abilene and Goodfellow AFB in San Angelo to hold between 1,000 and 5,000 children.
  30. The Office of Refugee Resettlement at HHS is responsible for the care of more than 11,200 migrant children and growing. The approximately 100 shelters designated for children are 95% full.
  31. CNN interviewed an attorney in McAllen, Texas who said an undocumented immigrant from Honduras said federal authorities took her daughter while she was breastfeeding in a detention center.
  32. When the mother tried to resist, she was handcuffed. An assistant public defender in Texas said some parents also claim they have been told their children are being taken to be bathed or cleaned up, then disappear.
  33. On Thursday, images inside a migrant children center at a former Walmart in Brownsville, Texas, revealed a large mural of Trump with a quote — in English and Spanish — from his 1987 book The Art of the Deal.
  34. DHS said the mural is one of 20 depicting U.S. presidents at shelters. Theothers feature inspiring quotes about immigration, while Trump’s quote reads, “Sometimes by losing a battle you find a new way to win the war.”
  35. On Thursday, NBC News reported the regime will house the overflow of migrant children in tents in Tornillo, Texas. The DHS will erect a “tent city” full of large tents, which are estimated to hold 450 beds for children.
  36. On Thursday, Daily Beast reported that MVM Inc., a scandal plagued defense contractor company, is set to benefit from the migrant children detention centers. The company is advertising to hire all sorts of personnel, in fields not in their expertise.
  37. MVM bills itself as an “extensive domain expertise in counter-narcotics, criminal and civil investigations, public safety, and national security,” and has no relevant experience with the care of migrant children.
  38. On Thursday, WAPO reported House Republicans are circulating a proposal to limit Trump’s policy of separating migrant children. The policy has been criticized by human rights groups, clergy, and lawmakers on both sides.
  39. On Thursday, Sessions continued to defend the policy in a speech in Indiana, saying the previous policy amounted to “a declaration of open borders,” and the short-term separation was “not unusual or unjustified.”
  40. Sessions countered a cardinal in the Roman Catholic Church who called the policy, “immoral,” by citing Romans 13 in the Bible: “Orderly and lawful processes are good in themselves and protect the weak and lawful.”
  41. On Friday, DHS revealed that in the six weeks since Sessions’ zero tolerance policy took effect, 1,995 children have been separated from 1,940 adults.
  42. On Friday, the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights, a nonpartisan fact-finding agency, issued a letter asking Sessions and DHS Secretary Kirstjen Nielsento halt the family separations, saying the policy raises “grave concerns” about due process and coercive tactics.
  43. On Friday, in a speech in Scranton, PA, Sessions criticized Philadelphia and its mayor over the city’s ‘sanctuary’ status, saying the city is coddling dangerous criminals and refusing to turn them over to ICE.
  44. On Friday, NPR reported pediatricians are sounding the alarm, saying migrant children separated from their parents suffer “irreparable harm,” including “toxic stress” that disrupts a child’s brain development and harms long-term health.
  45. Colleen Kraft, president of the American Academy of Pediatrics, who saw a young girl crying, was told by staff that federal regulations prevented them from touching or holding the child to soothe her.
  46. Antar Davidson, an employee of Southwest Key, which operates more than two dozen shelters for migrant children from Texas to California, quit his job, saying staffers are not trained to handle the influx of younger, more traumatized children.
  47. Davidson said the breaking point was when he was called over the radio and asked to translate for two siblings, ages 6 and 10, that they couldn’t hug each other after being separated from their parents.
  48. The U.S. is expected to quit the U.N. human rights panel when sessions open on Monday. The U.S. had long played a “leadership role” in the council, which was set up in 2006.
  49. The ACLU highlighted Tiana Smalls, who reported that on a Greyhound bus to Las Vegas, as the bus approached an agricultural checkpoint at the Nevada state line, the bus driver said, “We are being boarded by Border Patrol. Please be prepared to show your documentation upon request.”
  50. Smalls stood and said, “This is a violation of your Fourth Amendment rights… We are not within 100 miles of a border.” She used Google translate to repeat her message in Spanish. The agents left.
  51. On Tuesday, Rep. Steve King linked to an anti-immigrant tweet by Mark Collett, Britain’s most high-profile white supremacists, and added, “Europe is waking up… Will America… in time?”
  52. Bloomberg reported that according to advocacy group Alliance for Justice, so far 88% of Trump’s additions to the federal bench are white and 76% are male. There is only one Hispanic justice.
  53. During Obama’s presidency, just 38% of judicial nominees were white males. Trump’s picks are the least diverse in 24 years — since Ronald Reagan was in office.
  54. On Monday, Politico reported Steven Cheung, a senior communications directed, resigned. Cheung was one of the last remaining campaign-era Trump aides still working at the White House.
  55. On Tuesday, WAPO reported Joel McElvain, who has worked at the Justice Department for more than 20 years, resigned last Friday, the morning after Sessions notified Congress the agency will not defend the ACA.
  56. Sessions defended himself, saying he acknowledged the executive branch “has a long-standing tradition of defending the constitutionality of duly enacted statutes,” but said the move is not unprecedented.
  57. CBS News reported both press secretary Sarah Sanders and deputy press secretary Raj Shah are planning to resign. Sanders has told friends she plans to leave at the end of the year. Shah has not settled on a date.
  58. Politico reported Trump’s White House is hosting a jobs fair amid the exodus of employees. The “Executive Branch Job Fair” was advertised with an email that was blasted out widely to Republicans on the Hill.
  59. Politico reported despite requirement under the Presidential Records Act that the White House must preserve all memos, letters, emails, and papers that Trump touches, Trump has a routine habit of ripping every paper up.
  60. Solomon Lartey, a career government official, and his colleagues have hadto tape together large piles of shredded paper and send them to the National Archives to be properly filed away.
  61. On Monday, the Supreme Court ruled 5–4 that Ohio can purge voters from voter rolls if they fail to return a card sent after their first missed election. Other conservative states are expected to follow.
  62. On Tuesday, Trump praised the ruling from Singapore, tweeting, “Just won big Supreme Court decision on Voting! Great News!”
  63. According to financial disclosure forms released Monday, Jared Kushner and Ivanka brought in at least $82 million during 2017 while serving as senior White House advisers.
  64. Ivanka earned almost $ 3.9 million from the Trump Hotel DC. The couple earned immense sums from other enterprises, which ethics experts say could create conflicts of interest.
  65. Acting director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau Mick Mulvaney changed the name of the agency founded by Sen. Elizabeth Warren to BCFP, which stands for the Bureau of Consumer Financial Protection.
  66. Foreign Policy reported Mari Stull, a former food and beverage lobbyist recently hired as a senior adviser in the State Department, is quietly vetting career diplomats and American employees of international institutions to determine if they are loyal to Trump.
  67. Sources say Stull is gathering intel and making lists. She has the full support of her boss, Kevin Moley, who was appointed by the White House in January. One State Department official said, “Everyone is looking to bail.”
  68. NPR reported the Commerce Department released 1,320 pages of internal memos, emails and other documents as part of a lawsuit related to Wilbur Ross’s decision to add a citizenship question to the 2020 census.
  69. A July 2017 email reveals “at the direction of Steve Bannon,” Kris Kobach and Ross spoke on the phone. Kobach told Ross including “aliens” in census numbers for congressional reapportionment is a “problem.”
  70. On Friday, WAPO reported that Pence’s VP office is a gateway to influence the Trump regime. Under Pence, twice as many companies and other interests hired lobbyists contacted the office than under Biden or Cheney.
  71. Lobbyists, who rake in millions for access, also donate to Trump or advocates for Pence, in one case helping him get on the ticket. Actions taken by Pence and his staff as a result of lobbying are not disclosed in federal filings.
  72. On Wednesday, WAPO reported last year Scott Pruitt enlisted Samantha Dravis, a top aide, to contact Republican donors to help his wife find a job. Pruitt’s wife landed a temporary position with conservative group.
  73. Rep. Elijah Cummings, the top Democrat on the House Oversight Committee sent a letter to Renzi Stone, founder of public relations firm Saxum, asking for documentation on how he helped Pruitt get tickets for the Rose Bowl.
  74. Saxum, which is based in Oklahoma, represented Plains All American Pipeline LP, a company which has a petition pending before the EPA.
  75. On Friday, the Office of Government Affairs Director David Apol said in a letter he is considering “formal corrective action proceeding” regarding alleged improper behavior by Pruitt, an unprecedented step against a sitting Cabinet member.
  76. Apol urged the EPA’s in-house watchdog to expand its ongoing investigations to review the latest allegations about Pruitt, including that he used EPA resources to find a job for his wife.
  77. On Monday, McClatchy reported in addition to Alexander Torshin and Maria Butina, other prominent Russian officials — Dmitry Rogozin and Sergei Rudov — met with NRA representatives, mostly in Moscow, during the 2016 campaign.
  78. The NRA reported $30 million in donations to the Trump campaign, $21 million from its lobbying arm which does not disclose donors. NRA insiders said the group spent $70 million overall, including field operations and online advertising.
  79. The NRA also spent $24.4 million to back Republican candidates for Congress in 2016.
  80. It is a crime to donate or use foreign money in U.S. election campaigns.Mueller’s team and the Senate Intelligence Committee are both investigating whether Russian money was donated to Trump’s campaign.
  81. On Tuesday, Vanity Fair reported that within the next month, Mueller is reportedly planning to deliver his findings in the obstruction of justiceinvestigation to Rod Rosenstein, and per sources, “Donald is very worried.”
  82. According to a source, Michael Cohen has told friends he expects to be arrested any day now. Trump is concerned that Cohen might flip. In the meantime, Trump is enjoying acting on his impulses, unchecked.
  83. Kushner reportedly is also flaunting his status in front of Kelly since he had his security clearance restored. Republican sources say Kushner recently stood up and walked out of a meeting that Kelly was leading.
  84. On Tuesday, Mueller’s team filed a motion to limit evidence-sharing in its case against 13 Russians and three Russian entities, citing the risk of revealing the identities of “uncharged co-conspirators.”
  85. The motion also indicates the investigation is far from over, mentioning “uncharged individuals and entities” which are believed to be “continuing to engage in interference operations” in the U.S.
  86. On Tuesday, Fox News reported that according to two unnamed House Intelligence Committee staffers, at a January 2018 meeting, Rosenstein threatened to use the power of his office to subpoena Devin Nunes and the committee.
  87. CNN reported according to a DOJ staffer, Rosenstein plans to “request that the House general counsel conduct an internal investigation of these Congressional staffers’ conduct” when he returns from a foreign trip.
  88. On Wednesday, a new POLITICO/Morning Consult poll showed Mueller’s public image was at an all-time low after months of attacks by Trump, with 36% of voters seeing him unfavorably.
  89. By party, 53% of Republicans, 24% of Democrats and 33% of Independents see Mueller unfavorably. The biggest spike came from Republicans, with unfavorable up 26% from July.
  90. On Wednesday, ABC News reported Cohen’s legal team from McDermott, Will & Emery LLP are expected to leave the case. A source familiar said the change in counsel is due to a fee dispute. No replacement has been named.
  91. On Thursday, WSJ reported federal prosecutors are investigating whether Cohen illegally engaged in secret lobbying. Prosecutors have contacted companies that hired Cohen as a consultant, including AT&T and Novartis.
  92. On Thursday, CBS News reported sources say Cohen is feeling increasingly isolated and believes Trump and his allies are turning on him. Cohen is especially upset over statements made by Rudy Giuliani.
  93. On Friday, CNN reported Cohen has expressed anger at his treatment by Trump, and indicated to family and friends he is willing to cooperate with federal investigators to alleviate pressure on himself and his family.
  94. Cohen has not yet met with prosecutors to discuss a deal. He is currently trying to find a new legal team, as his current lawyers have until Friday at noon to complete the review of 3.7 million files seized in the FBI raid.
  95. On Friday, federal prosecutors told the court they have reassembled 16 pages of shredded documents and recovered 731 pages of encrypted text messages seized in the Cohen raid.
  96. On Friday, a federal judge revoked Manafort’s bail and sent him to jail to await trial, citing charges that Manafort tried to influence testimony of two government witnesses.
  97. Judge Amy Berman said Manafort cannot remain free, even under the strictest conditions, saying, “This is not middle school. I can’t take away his cellphone.” Manafort’s first trial is scheduled for next month.
  98. Two hours later, Trump tweeted that jailing Manafort was a “tough sentence” and “very unfair.”
  99. Trump also tweeted that he “Didn’t know Manafort was the head of the Mob,” and then continued his attack on Comey, “What about Comey and Crooked Hillary and all of the others?”
  100. Trump also tweeted that Manafort “represented Ronald Reagan, Bob Dole and many other top political people and campaigns.”
  101. On Friday, when asked about Manafort, Giuliani told the New York Daily News, “When the whole thing is over, things might get cleaned up with some presidential pardons.”
  102. Giuliani also said he didn’t understand “the justification” for putting Manafort in jail, adding the Mueller probe “should not go forward,” and “It’s time for Justice to investigate the investigators.”
  103. On Monday, the repeal of net neutrality, which had required internet service providers to offer equal access to all web content, took effect.
  104. As of late May, 29 state legislatures had introduced bills to ensure net neutrality. Two governors have signed executive orders to force net neutrality, and Washington state has signed net neutrality into law.
  105. On Monday, George Conway, husband of Kellyanne Conway, penned an op-ed defending the constitutionality of the Mueller probe, after Trump tweeted “the Special Councel is totally UNCONSTITUTIONAL!”
  106. On Tuesday, Trump met with Kim Jong Un in Singapore. All major U.S. media attended the well choreographed event, which was dubbed “historic,” with non-stop coverage on every major outlet.
  107. As Trump and Kim both declared the summit a success, the two sides differed on what was agreed to publicly, and their agreement was summarized in a short document which lacked details.
  108. Trump said in a series of tweets, “There is no longer a Nuclear Threat from North Korea,” adding, everybody “can now feel much safer than the day I took office” and people could “sleep well tonight!”
  109. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said the regime expected “major disarmament” before the end of Trump’s first term. Kim described the beginning of a “step-by-step and simultaneous” process towards denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula.
  110. As Trump and Kim were signing the document in front of reporters, CNN’s Jim Acosta asked, “did he agree to denuclearize?” Trump responded, “We’re starting that process very quickly.” Acosta then asked if Trump and Kim had discussed Otto Warmbier. Trump did not respond.
  111. On Tuesday, Brad Parscale, Trump’s 2020 reelection campaign manager, tweeted, “Jim @Acosta should immediately have his press credentials suspended. He is an absolute disgrace!”
  112. In an interview with George Stephanopoulos after the summit, Trump said of Kim Jong Un, a brutal dictator, “His country does love him. His people, you see the fervor. They have a great fervor.”
  113. On Tuesday morning, in a stunning concession, Trump said the U.S. will halt joint military exercises with South Korea, an announcement which baffled allies, military officials, and lawmakers from the GOP.
  114. Reuters reported leaders of U.S. ally South Korean were caught by surprise. The South Korean presidential office said “we need to find out the precise meaning or intentions” of Trump announcement.
  115. A January 2018 WSJ article noted Trump may have gotten this idea from a conversation with Putin: “If the U.S. stopped joint military exercises with the South Koreans, it could help moderate Kim Jong Un’s behavior.”
  116. KPNA, North Korea’s official news agency, described the summit as an “epoch-making meeting,” and asserted Trump had “expressed his intention” to lift sanctions when nukes are no longer a factor.
  117. On Tuesday, Trump held his first official solo press conference in 16 months.
  118. As reporters waited for Trump to come on stage, two huge screens came down instead, with a movie type production portraying North Korea as a paradise. The film lasted four minutes. Reporters thought it was North Korean propaganda
  119. The film then looped and played in English. The film was made in America, by or on the orders of his White House, for the benefit of Kim. Trump then came on stage and said, “I hope you liked it. I thought it was good.”
  120. Trump said Kim, “is very talented. Anybody that takes over a situation like he did, at 26 years of age, and is able to run it, and run it tough.” An estimated 80,000 to 120,000 people are imprisoned in North Korea.
  121. Trump also lauded North Korea’s “great beaches,” and said he told Kim, “You know, instead of doing that (develop nuclear weapons), you could have the best hotels in the world right there.”
  122. On Wednesday, upon returning to the U.S., in a series of tweets, Trump called the press America’s “biggest enemy” — singling out “Fake News, especially NBC and CNN” for downplaying his deal with North Korea.
  123. On Thursday, Trump faced a backlash after he was seen in a 42-minute video of the summit, first broadcast by North Korea’s state news channel, saluting a North Korean general. Sanders called it a “common courtesy.”
  124. Military and intelligence experts said U.S. leaders typically do not salute military officials from adversarial nations. U.S. ally South Korea is still technically at war with North Korea.
  125. On Sunday, at the Tony Awards, actor Robert DeNiro said expletives about Trump, “First, I wanna say: ‘F — — Trump.’ It’s no longer ‘down with Trump,’ it’s ‘f — — Trump.’”
  126. On Tuesday, Trump attacked DeNiro in two tweets, calling him a “very Low IQ individual,” who has “received to many shots to the head by real boxers in movies,” adding, “Wake up Punchy!”
  127. On Tuesday, after GOP leaders blocked a vote on legislation which would give Congress veto power over certain Trump tariffs, Sen. Bob Corker accused the GOP of cowering to Trump, “let’s don’t do anything that might upset” him.
  128. On Friday, Trump unilaterally imposed tariffs on $50 billion in Chinese products. Within an hour, the Ministry of Commerce in Beijing pledged to erect trade barriers of the “same scale and the same strength.”
  129. On Thursday, the New York attorney general filed a civil lawsuit against the Donald J. Trump Foundation, accusing the campaign and family of violating campaign finance laws, self-dealing and illegal coordination with the presidential campaign.
  130. The lawsuit seeks to dissolve the foundation and bar Trump, Donald Jr., Ivanka, and Eric from serving on nonprofit organizations. The attorney general also sent referrals to the IRS and FEC for further action.
  131. The lawsuit gives numerous examples of Trump using foundation monies to win political favor or settle legal claims against his various businesses, as well as pay off his legal bills and promote Trump hotels.
  132. The lawsuit also claims that $2.8 million raised by the foundation at an Iowa event in 2016 was allocated by senior campaign officials to veteran groups, making it an “improper in-kind contribution” to the campaign.
  133. NY AG Barbara Underwood tweeted, “Our investigation found that the Trump Foundation raised in excess of $2.8 million in a manner designed to influence the 2016 presidential election.”
  134. On Thursday, the Justice Department inspector general issued a report rebuking James Comey for breaking FBI and Justice Department protocolin his handling of the 2016 investigation of Hillary Clinton’s email scandal.
  135. The 568-page report by IG Michael Horowitz found Comey was not motivated by political bias when he cleared Hillary Clinton of criminal wrongdoing.
  136. Horowitz wrote Comey acted “unilaterally” and outside the scope of his authority when he held the July 2016 press conference, and rebuked Comey for sending a letter to Congress in late October 2016.
  137. The report also included previously unreported text messages between Lisa Page and Peter Strzok in which Page asked, Trump’s “not ever going to become president, right?,”and Strzok responded, “No. No he won’t. We’ll stop it.”
  138. Horowitz wrote Strzok, Page, and three other bureau staffers were being passed on to the FBI’s Office of Professional Responsibility for possible disciplinary action. Strzok is still with the FBI. Page left last month.
  139. On Friday, Trump told reporters that he is “totally exonerated” by Justice Department IG report. He also accused the FBI of “plotting against my election,” saying Comey was the ringleader in a “den of thieves.”
  140. Trump also claimed the Mueller investigation “has been totally discredited,” by the report. The Mueller probe was not mentioned in the report.
  141. On Friday, Rep. Kevin McCarthy, who is vying to win House leadership when Paul Ryan resigns, told “Fox and Friends” that “I think the Mueller investigation has got to stop,” citing the texts.
  142. On Friday, in a wide-ranging surprise interview with “Fox & Friends” host Steve Doocy on the North Lawn of the White House, Trump said he opposes the immigration bill cobbled together by House Republicans.
  143. Trump’s opposition caught House Republican leaders by surprise. Ryan had told members he had been briefing Trump on their legislative strategy, and Trump was on board.
  144. The bill would have provided $25 billion for Trump’s border wall and a new visa program to give Dreamers a path to residency and citizenship, but would have ended the regime’s practice of separating migrant children from parents.
  145. Trump also said, “I hate the children being taken away. The Democrats have to change their law. That’s their law.” Sanders had also blamed the Democrats at the daily briefing on Thursday. These statements are untrue.
  146. Later Friday, the White House changed positions, saying Trump “fully supports both the Goodlatte bill and the House leadership bill,” saying Trump has misunderstood the question by Doocy.
  147. Later Friday, the White House issued a statement by Trump on “Democrats’ Dangerous Immigration Policies,” blaming “CONGRESSIONAL DEMOCRATS’ FAMILY SEPARATION POLICY.”
  148. On Saturday, for the fourth time in 24 hours, Trump falsely blamed Democrats for “their forced family breakup at the Border,” and accusing them of “High Crime and Obstruction. Sad!”
  149. Trump also told Doocy that Kim Jong Un is a “strong head” of his country, adding of Kim, “He speaks and his people sit up at attention. I want my people to do the same.”
  150. When pressed on his comment, Trump insisted it was a joke and attacked the media, saying, “I’m kidding. You don’t understand sarcasm. Hey, who are you with? …You’re with CNN? Hey, you are the worst.”
  151. Trump also said “Manafort has nothing to do with our campaign,” adding that he felt “a little badly” that prosecutors were targeting the longtime Republican operative, “He worked for many other Republicans.”
  152. After naming other Republicans (Reagan, Dole, McCain) Trump said Manafort worked for him “for 49 days or something? A very short period of time.” Manafort was Trump’s campaign manager for 114 days.
  153. Trump also said of Michael Flynn, “Some people say [Flynn] lied and some people say he didn’t lie.” Flynn pled guilty to lying.
  154. On Friday, Trump also told a CBS News reporter who was asking questions to “quiet” at least five time. He also said to reporters, “She’s so obnoxious.”
  155. MSNBC host Katy Tur detailed a total of 19 lies or misleading statements in Trump’s interview with Doocy on her show Friday.
  156. AP reported at least four former Cambridge Analytica employees affiliated with Data Propria, a new company specializing in voter and consumer targeting work, have been quietly working for the 2020 Trump campaign.
  157. In a conversation overheard by AP, Matt Oczkowski, who led Cambridge Analytica data team, said he and Parscale were “doing the president’s work for 2020.” Parscale is a part owner of Data Propria’s parent company, Cloud Commerce.
  158. Cloud Commerce is also paying Parscale other amounts. A former FEC chair said it was unusual for an incumbent’s campaign to direct large amounts of business to outside firms tied to his campaign manager.
  159. On Thursday, Rob Rogers, who joined the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette as an editorial cartoonist in 1993 and was a finalist for a Pulitzer Prize in 1999,was fired, as the paper has shifted to the right.
  160. Rogers cartoons had appeared in the paper roughly five times a week, but around Memorial Day, started disappearing. Rogers said in the past three months, 19 cartoons or proposals for cartoons were rejected.
  161. On Saturday, in an op-ed, Rogers said he was fired for making fun of Trump. He said starting in March, management said his cartoons on Trump were “too angry” and said he was “obsessed with Trump.”
  162. Russian news agency TASS reported that according to a White House spokesperson, Moscow and Washington are exploring “the opportunity of a meeting” between Putin and Trump, with Austria as a possible venue.
  163. On Saturday, WAPO reported Trump is planning to meet with Putin in July, after months of prodding by Trump, who has faced resistance from senior political aides and diplomats questioning the value of a meeting.
  164. A U.S. official said after meeting with Kim Jong Un, Trump said he wanted to invite Putin to the White House. The official said, “We ignored it.” Trump has become a strong public advocate for engagement with Russia.
  165. According to a new Ipsos poll, for Global News and Reuters, Americans approve of how Trudeau is handling the trade dispute over Trump, by a 57–37 margin.
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You should hope NOT. My photo of a sticker on the streets of Chisinau , Moldova, on 10June2018.

POLITIKS OF GRAFFITI 82: FLOTUS IS MISSING !

Week 81 of this presidency: Experts in authoritarianism advise to keep a list of things subtly changing around you, so you’ll remember.

June 2, 2018 https://medium.com/@Amy_Siskind/week-81-experts-in-authoritarianism-advise-to-keep-a-list-of-things-subtly-changing-around-you-so-4995c7fcd890

This week, Trump is pushing for meetings with North Korea and Russia, while aggressively confronting some of our closest allies, Canada, Mexico, and the European Union with an ill-planned, unprovoked trade war — reminiscent of a theme we’ve covered at The Weekly List: Trump cozying up to authoritarian regimes and alienating our democratic allies. As noted before, this new world alignment, distancing our country from our democratic allies, benefits and empowers Russia.

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Los Angeles, CA – based street artist, PLASTIC JESUS, began circulating these last week. 
  1. WAPO reported the number of migrant children held in custody without their parents has surged 21% in the past month up to 10,773 under the Trump regime’s new policy of “zero tolerance.”
  2. A Health and Human Services official said shelters are at 95% capacity, and as the agency prepares to add thousands of new bed spaces in the coming weeks, the agency is exploring housing children on military bases.
  3. In Texas, Dennis Rivera-Sarmiento, a “quiet kid” and an undocumented Honduran immigrant was flagged for deportation by ICE after a schoolyard scuffle with a girl who bullied him. He was released from detention after efforts by the school, community, and lawyers.
  4. ICE still classifies schools as “sensitive locations” where enforcement actions are generally prohibited, but a pronouncement by Education Secretary Betsy DeVos in Week 80 may open the door to more referrals.
  5. Advocates also note that in the era of Trump, ICE makes arrests of parents picking up children at school, and in some cases, school disciplinarianshave helped to build ICE cases against students.
  6. Houston Chronicle reported on a leaked photo image which shows dozens of immigrants in orange jumpsuits with their hands and feet shackled, undergoing a “mass trial” in Pecos, Texas.
  7. The mass trial comes as the Trump regime implements its zero-tolerance policy announced by Jeff Sessions which orders prosecutors to criminally charge 100 percent of immigrants entering the country illegally.
  8. VICE reported, as the Trump regime ramps up separating parents from children, the Office of Refugee Resettlement (ORR) has quietly informed organizations it is cutting a federal program in place for decades that helps at least 1,000 immigrant minors each year.
  9. ORR will no longer fund organizations representing unaccompanied minors in immigration court. In the past two weeks alone, 658 kids were divided from their mothers and fathers as they crossed the border.
  10. BuzzFeed reported a Salvadoran mother who applied for asylum on May 2 as part of a caravan of Central Americans, and passed the first steps of the process, said her sons ages 2 and 7 were taken away from her on May 8.
  11. She was given no explanation, “The official said you have 10 minutes to say goodbye…they kept asking me why they were leaving me. I couldn’t tell them why.” Her sons were placed in the care of the federal government in New York.
  12. On Friday, WAPO reported the number of migrants attempting to cross illegally into the U.S. remained high in May, despite implementation of the regime’s zero-tolerance measures and deployment of the National Guard.
  13. In the coming days, the Department of Homeland Security will release the numbers of May arrests along the Southwest border. Trump has used thismeasure to gauge the success of his hard-line immigration policies.
  14. Midwest farmers are becoming desperate for workers. In Week 80, Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen said the Department of Homeland Security would issue 15,000 seasonal guest-worker visas. Border agents said families and teenagers traveling alone make up most of the increase this spring.
  15. The New England Journal of Medicine published a Harvard study on mortality in Puerto Rico after Hurricane Maria, estimating 4,645 may have died, many from delayed medical care. The official death count is 64.
  16. The report also found the mortality rate remained high as of the end of December 2017, with roughly one-third of the deaths attributed to delayed or interrupted health care.
  17. Researchers from Harvard’s T.H. Chan School of Public Health and other institutions who conducted the study for a cost of about $50,000 said the territory’s government refused to provide data to them.
  18. The Harvard numbers make Hurricane Maria the single most deadly natural disaster in modern America. NPR noted the federal government had three times as many people on the ground in Texas (Harvey), and twice as many in Florida (Irma).
  19. National Nurse United, the largest union for registered nurses, said the study confirmed what nurses who went to the island witnessed: residents “left to die” by a federal response that “failed its own American citizens.”
  20. NBC News reported the mountain areas of Puerto Rico are still living in desperation, one sign reads, “We need light!” Puerto Ricans told NBC, “we are suffering here,” and “we feel like we’ve been forgotten.”
  21. On Friday, the Puerto Rico Institute of Statistics (PRIS) filed a lawsuit to compel Puerto Rico’s public officials to publish in an open source way preliminary and daily updates about deaths in Puerto Rico.
  22. In Week 47, Trump praised his regime’s relief response as “incredible,”bragging “only 16 people are known to have died,” many less than Katrina(1,833 deaths). Trump has made no mention of Puerto Rico in many months.
  23. On Saturday, Trump lashed out at the Mueller probe, saying, “whole Russia Probe is Rigged,” and attacking the “13 Angry Democrats,” a reference to Mueller’s team. Mueller is a Republican and others on his team owe their jobs to Republican presidents.
  24. Trump also tweeted, “#SPYGATE & CONFLICTS OF INTEREST!” andasking when the 13 will “reveal their disqualifying Conflicts of Interest?” saying, “the only Collusion is with the Dems, Justice, FBI & Russia.”
  25. On Sunday, Rudy Giuliani said on “State of the Union” that Trump’s use of “Spygate” is a PR tactic to sway public opinion and avoid impeachment, “Members of Congress…are going to be informed a lot by their constituents.”
  26. On Sunday, in a series of tweets, Trump attacked Obama for doing nothing “about the so-called Russian Meddling” because Obama thought Hillary would win. Trump has not acknowledged Russian meddling.
  27. Trump also asked why the “13 Angry Democrats” have not investigated “Crooked Hillary Clinton” and her “ many crimes, much Collusion with Russia?” adding, “Rigged Investigation!”
  28. Trump sent a strange tweet, “Who’s going to give back the young and beautiful lives (and others) that have been devastated and destroyed by the phony Russia Collusion Witch Hunt?” saying they came to Washington DC with “stars in their eyes” and “ went back home in tatters!”
  29. On Sunday, Sen. Marco Rubio told “This Week” that he sees “no evidence” to support Trump’s claims that the FBI spied on his campaign, saying the FBI was, “investigating individuals with a history of links to Russia.”
  30. On Sunday, Rubio also told “Face the Nation” that Congress would take steps to challenge Trump and prevent ZTE from operating in the U.S., saying China uses companies like ZTE for espionage.
  31. On Monday, Memorial Day, Trump sent a tone-deaf tweet, saying “those who died for our country would be very happy,” saying “Best economy in decades, lowest unemployment numbers for Blacks and Hispanics EVER.”
  32. On Monday, Trump also attacked Sally Yates in a tweet, quoting Jonathan Turley on Fox News, “Sally Yates is part of concerns people have raised about bias in the Justice Dept. I find her actions to be really quite unbelievable.”
  33. On Monday, NYT reported with “Spygate,” Trump, who has trafficked in conspiracy theories for decades, is again using elaborate, unproven theories to erode public trust, and his efforts are having an effect.
  34. Critics worry Trump is sowing distrust in institutions, and in undermining the idea of objective truth, creating widespread suspicions of the government and news media. Some Republicans have joined Trump in spreading conspiracy theories.
  35. On Monday, WAPO reported that increasingly in the White House, Trump is unilaterally making decisions. Key roles like communications director, formerly held by Hope Hicks, remain unfilled.
  36. In recent months, Trump has unofficially performed the roles of many other senior staffers, leaving those employees to carry out his decisions. Staffers also focus on trying to curb Trump’s most outlandish impulses.
  37. Warring factions within the regime are largely gone, and replaced by solo players seeking to win favor with Trump. Remaining staffers say they “get” Trump.
  38. On Tuesday, Rep. Trey Gowdy, who attended the classified briefing last week, told Fox News the FBI was not “spying” on the Trump campaign, saying “the FBI did exactly what my fellow citizens would want them to do.”
  39. Judge Andrew Napolitano, a close ally of Trump, also appeared on Fox News and agreed with Gowdy, saying of the spy accusations, “There is no evidence for that whatsoever.”
  40. On Wednesday, Gowdy told “This Morning,” that Trump’s lawyers “have an obligation to go share with him” what lawmakers learned, repeating “Russia’s intentions toward our country were the target.”
  41. On Friday, Politico reported that Gowdy is under fire from his GOP colleagues for challenging Spygate. Trump allies have been branding him gullible or clueless backer of the intelligence community.
  42. Gowdy, who in the past shouldered politically explosive investigations led by the Republican Party, now finds himself getting little support from his House colleagues.
  43. A federal court blocked DeVos’s Department of Education from paring back a loan relief program for defrauded students at failed Corinthian College. The agency under DeVos has shown leniency for for-profit education scams.
  44. DeVos had said some students would only get a part of their federal student loan forgiven, based on their earning. The court said the agency’s use of Social Security Administration data violates the Privacy Act.
  45. Politico reported that Sinclair Broadcasting, forced to sell two dozen television stations to comply with federal ownership rules, is making side-deals which allows it to continue to dictate programming at four stations.
  46. John Bolton tapped Fred Fleitz as National Security Council chief of staff. Fleitz last worked at the Center for Security Policy, designated by the Southern Poverty Law Center as a hate group for espousing espouses anti-Muslim conspiracy theories.
  47. Trump appointed Diane Foley to help manage the federal government’s family-planning program at DHS. Foley, an anti-science religious fundamentalist is also staunchly anti-choice.
  48. In her new role, Foley will be a primary overseer of Title X, the federal program that provides subsidized contraception and screenings for cancerand STIs for low-income Americans.
  49. On Friday, a judge in Des Moines, Iowa temporarily blocked the nation’s most restrictive abortion law, which bans most abortions if a fetal heartbeat can be detected.
  50. On Sunday, California Women’s head basketball coach Lindsay Gottlieb was confronted by a Southwest Airline employee at the Denver Airport,and asked to prove that her biracial son was hers.
  51. In Northern California, Jonathan McConkey, a pilot and certified flight instructor and his assistant, Kelsi Hoser, tried to kidnap a Chinese student and send him “back to China.” Police foiled the plot.
  52. On Thursday, HuffPost reported a Washington, DC judge dismissed felony charges against 10 people arrested while protesting Trump’s inauguration, saying the government prosecutors withheld evidence.
  53. The government withheld undercover videos that James O’Keefe’s Project Veritas had turned over. The judge called it a “serious violation,” and said the government is barred from bringing charges in the future.
  54. WSJ reported that Deutsche Bank’s U.S. operations were secretly downgraded by the Federal Reserve about a year ago, saying the bank is in “troubled condition,” a rare censure for a financial institution.
  55. The punitive action by the Fed means U.S. overseers have a say in Deutsche Bank’s U.S. hiring and firing, and also has pressured the bank to improve controls and oversight.
  56. On Thursday, the largest federal employee union sued the Trump regime, saying his executive order in Week 80 which severely restricts the time employees can spend on union activity violates the First Amendment.
  57. The FBI issued an urgent bulletin for people with a home or small office internet router to turn it off and on in order to thwart the spread of foreign malware, called VPNFilter, is linked to Russia.
  58. More than half a million devices worldwide have been compromised so far. The Justice Department has linked the malware to a hacking group including the Sofacy Group, apt28, fancy bear, and sandworm.
  59. On Wednesday, a U.S. judge dismissed two lawsuits by Moscow-based Kaspersky Lab that sought to overturn bans on the security software maker’s products in U.S. government networks.
  60. The bans were issued last year after U.S. officials said the software products could enable Russian espionage and threaten national security. Kaspersky is a graduate of the KGB, and has ties to the Kremlin.
  61. A federal study conducted by DHS found signs of sophisticated surveillance devices for intercepting cell phone calls and texts operating near the White House and other sensitive locations in Washington, DC.
  62. The study was prompted by a Sen. Ron Wyden pushing for a more aggressive response to cellular system insecurity. The study suggests foreign intelligence agencies are using sophisticated technology to spy on U.S. officials.
  63. On Tuesday, Trump held a rally in Nashville. Trump continued his focus on M-13 gang members, leading the crowd in chants to call them “animals,” and saying of Rep. Nancy Pelosi,“She loves MS-13, can you imagine?”
  64. Trump also incited the crowd onto chants of “lock her up!” evoking “Crooked Hillary,” and tried to get the crowd to boo George W. Bush.
  65. He also said Mexico was going to pay for The Wall, made factually incorrect and embellished statements on a number of topics, and falsely accused unnamed people of “infiltrating” his campaign.
  66. NYT listed the crowd size as 1,000 in Nashville. Trump complained Wednesday, tweeting, “The Failing and Corrupt @nytimes…This is the way they demean and disparage. They are very dishonest people.”
  67. On Wednesday, NYT issued a correction of its crowd-size estimate for the Trump rally, saying “the fire marshall’s office estimated that approximately 5,500 people attended the rally.”
  68. On Tuesday, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said of the Mueller probe to reporters, “it’s called passing water through a sieve” — a Russian expression that means flogging a dead horse.
  69. On Tuesday, NYT reported on a confrontation between Sessions and Trump at Mar-a-Lago, after Sessions flew down in March 2017 to ask a pressing question on the travel ban after Trump refused to take his calls.
  70. Trump berated Sessions, and pressured him to reverse his decision to recuse himself. Mueller’s team is investigating Trump’s public and private attacks on Sessions, and efforts to get him to resign.
  71. Mueller’s team interviewed Sessions at length in January, as well as other current and former White House staffers. Eight of Mueller’s 49 questions for Trump relate to why he tried to get Sessions to reverse his recusal.
  72. On Wednesday, in a tweet, Trump said he wished he had had picked someone else as attorney general, and not Sessions.
  73. On Wednesday, late in the evening, Trump quoted his ally Joe diGenova, who appeared on Fox News, tweeting “The recusal Of Jeff Sessions was an unforced betrayal of the President of the United States.”
  74. On Thursday, Trump quoted Gowdy in his tweets about firing Sessions, “Sessions should have shared these reasons for recusal before he took the job, not afterward.”
  75. On Thursday, Axios reported Trump pressured Sessions to reverse his recusal on at least four times, three times in person and once over the phone. Officials say the four interactions happened throughout 2017, including at the end of the year.
  76. Trump reportedly told Sessions he would be a “hero” to conservatives if he did the “right thing” and reversed his recusal. Trump also urged him to investigate Hillary Clinton.
  77. On Wednesday, NYT reported Andrew McCabe wrote a confidential memo last spring in the chaotic days after James Comey was fired, detailing a conversation he had at the Justice Department with Rod Rosenstein.
  78. The memo reportedly describes that Trump originally asked Rosenstein to reference Russia in his memo, including that he was not under investigation. Rosenstein said this was unnecessary and did not include it.
  79. In a court filed update on Tuesday, Barbara Jones, the special master appointed by the judge in the Michael Cohen case, said prosecutors have released 300,000 pieces of potential evidence to prosecutors seized from Cohen.
  80. So far, 252 items have been flagged as privileged. Jones will make a recommendation to the court about that material by June 4. She also released one million files from three of his cell phones on Wednesday.
  81. On Wednesday, Jones said she had received “data from a video recorder, two computers, and mobile storage devices” that “includes various video, electronic communications and documents” in the last two weeks.
  82. Prosecutors said the government was piecing together documents from a paper shredder seized during the Cohen raid, noting “absent a search warrant, these records could have been deleted without record.”
  83. Cohen attorney’s said they have received 3.7 million files, of which 1.3 million have been turned over to Jones. The judge set a June 15 deadline for Cohen’s lawyers to determine what is privileged and turn over the rest.
  84. On Wednesday, Russian dissident journalist Arkady Babchenko sent shock waves around the world when he appeared at a news conference in Ukraine, less than 24 hours after being reported as dead.
  85. On Wednesday, CNN reported that the Senate Intelligence Committee is divided along party lines as to whether the Trump campaign colluded with Russia, making it unlikely the committee will reach a consensus.
  86. Daily Beast reported the Senate Intelligence Committee sent a document request to Roger Stone last week, and plans to call him in for an interview. Stone said he has “already begun to think about what to wear.”
  87. On Friday, NBC News reported Jared Kushner’s close friend, hedge fund manager Rick Gerson, is under investigation by Mueller’s team for a meeting with UAE’s Crown Prince Mohammed in Seychelles in January 2017.
  88. The meeting took place less than two week before Trump’s inauguration, and around the time Erik Prince met with Russian and UAE officials. Prince Mohammed has close ties to George Nader, who organized the meeting.
  89. Gerson had met Nader weeks earlier at a secret meeting with Prince Mohammed, Kushner, Michael Flynn, and Steve Bannon at the Four Seasons in New York. UAE’s ambassador to the U.S., Yousef Otaiba, also attended.
  90. On Thursday, Trump quoted Rush Limbaugh, tweeting, “If they were really concerned about the Russians infiltrating a campaign (hoax)…Why not tell Trump?” Trump was warned by U.S. intelligence in August 2016.
  91. On Thursday, WAPO reported the D.C. U.S. Attorney’s Office recently interviewed Comey as part of an investigation of into whether his deputy McCabe lied to federal agents, and should be charged with a crime.
  92. The Justice Department Inspector General referred the case after accusing McCabe in April of misleading investigators and Comey four times, three of which were under oath, about authorizing a disclosure to the WSJ.
  93. On Thursday, Trump continued his lie about Spygate, tweeting, “the corrupt Mainstream Media is working overtime not to mention the infiltration of people, Spies (Informants), into my campaign!”
  94. Trump also contradicted his own statement to Lester Holt in Week 26 about his rationale for firing Comey, tweeting, “Not that it matters but I never fired James Comey because of Russia!”
  95. Trump also contradicted what he said about firing Comey to Lavrov and Kislyak in the Oval Office in Week 26: “I faced great pressure because of Russia. That’s taken off.”
  96. On Thursday, the Justice Department said the Mueller probe spent $4.5 million on between October 2017 and March 2018. The Justice Department spent another $5.5 million on supporting the investigation.
  97. Including prior expenditures, both direct and indirect, for the first six months, this brings total spending to $16.7 million. Mueller team’s cost is $7.7 million to date. Previous special counsels did not report indirect costs.
  98. In Week 80, Trump called the special counsel a “$20,000,000 Witch Hunt,” in a tweet. Kenneth Starr spent more than $52 million investigating Bill Clinton.
  99. On Friday, Trump tweeted, “A.P. has just reported that the Russian Hoax Investigation” cost “over $17 million, and going up fast.” The AP said it did not report the costs are going up, and that $9 million would have been spent absent the Mueller probe.
  100. On Saturday, Trump attacked the Mueller probe, parroting Dan Bongino on “Fox & Friends” — “$17 million spent, it’s a scam Investigation…We now know there was Russian collusion, with Russians and the Democrats.”
  101. Politico reported Trump lashed out at Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross, saying he’s “past his prime” and “no longer a killer.” Ross has been increasingly marginalized by Trump, and barred from making trade deal decisions.
  102. On Wednesday, Trump threatened sweeping tariffs on steel and aluminum imports from Canada, Mexico, and the European Union, saying those U.S. trading partners failed to agree to a range of demands.
  103. Politico reported a carefully organized trade policy process put together by Rob Porter for coordination between Cabinet officials and senior aides is not being followed. Instead, Trump is deciding himself.
  104. Prior to Trump’s announcement on Thursday, following whipsawing statements from factions within the regime warring over global trade policy, Trump had grown impatient with lack of action.
  105. On Thursday, Trump imposed tariffs of 25% on steel and 10% on aluminum from the European Union, Canada, and Mexico, an action which will further strain diplomatic relationships and provoke retaliation.
  106. On Thursday, Mexico and the European Union announced steps to retaliate. European leaders also vowed to proceed with a complaint to the World Trade Organization.
  107. Canadian Prime Minister Trudeau said, “Over the past 150 years, Canada has been America’s most steadfast ally,” adding the tariffs are “an affront” and the idea that Canada could be considered a national security threat to the U.S. “inconceivable.”
  108. On Friday, Canada filed a challenge with the World Trade Organization, and said it will request a panel under the North American Free Trade Agreement. Canada said it will “closely collaborate with the European Union.”
  109. On Friday, Reuters reported Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin was isolated at the G7 meeting in Canada over tariffs. French finance minister Bruno Le Maire said “we are going to have a G6 plus one.”
  110. On Tuesday, ABC canceled “Roseanne” after Roseanne Barr sent a series of vitriolic and racist tweets, first at Chelsea Clinton, and later at Valerie Jarrett, saying of Jarrett, “muslim brotherhood & planet of the apes had a baby=vj.”
  111. In an exchange with Chelsea, Roseanne sent anti-Semitic tweets about George Soros, a Holocaust survivor, calling him a Nazi “who turned in his fellow Jews 2 be murdered in German concentration camps & stole their wealth.”
  112. On Wednesday, Trump ripped Disney CEO Bob Iger for apologizing to Jarrett, but not him: “he never called President Donald J. Trump to apologize for the HORRIBLE statements made and said about me on ABC.”
  113. Trump, however, did not directly address Roseanne’s tweets, or condemn them in any way.
  114. At the daily briefing, when asked about Trump’s non-comment, press secretary Sarah Sanders said, “No one is defending what she said,” adding Trump is “simply calling out media bias,” and is owed an apology.
  115. Trump again demanded an apology from Iger, still without commenting on Roseanne’s words, tweeting, “Iger, where is my call of apology? You and ABC have offended millions of people, and they demand a response.”
  116. Iger and Trump have been on bad terms since Iger left Trump’s business advisory council after Trump pulled out of the Paris climate agreement. Iger has also been critical of Trump for ending DACA.
  117. On Wednesday, reality TV star Kim Kardashian West met with Trump and Kushner at the White House to advocate for a pardon for Alice Marie Johnson, 63, a woman serving a life sentence for drug offenses.
  118. Kardashian West posed for photos in front of the West Wing before entering. Trump tweeted about the meeting along with a photo, saying, “Great meeting…talked about prison reform and sentencing.”
  119. On Thursday, Trump pardoned conservative commentator and outspoken critic of the Obama administration, Dinesh D’Souza, who was convicted in 2014 of funneling illegal campaign contributions, tweeting D’Souza “was treated very unfairly by our government!”
  120. In 2014, D’Souza voluntarily pled guilty to making illegal contributions, admitted he knew what he did was against the law, and apologized for his conduct. The judge found no unfairness.
  121. Experts noted that D’Souza faced charges in the Southern District of New York, same court where Cohen faces possible campaign-finance violations and other possible crimes.
  122. Roger Stone called the pardon “a signal to Mike Flynn and Paul Manafort and even Robert Mueller,” adding “the special counsel has awesome powers, as you know, but the president has even more awesome powers.”
  123. D’Souza did not apply for a pardon through the Justice Department office, as would be typical. Trump told reporters “nobody asked me to do it,” saying he has never met D’Souza, but has seen him on television.
  124. Trump also said he is considering commuting Rod Blagojevich’s sentence and pardoning Martha Stewart, and has already pardoned Joe Arpaio, Kristian Saucier, Lewis “Scooter” Libby, and Jack Johnson.
  125. New York Attorney General Barbara Wood issued a statement of rebuke, saying, “Trump’s latest pardon make crystal clear his willingness to use his pardon power to thwart the cause of justice, rather than advance it.”
  126. Wood also called on state lawmakers to close a loophole in New York’s double jeopardy law to ensure people who break New York law could not “evade accountability” through “a strategically-timed pardon” by Trump.
  127. On Wednesday, Ivanka dropped off a White House conference call with press in advance of “White House Sports and Fitness Day,” after a reporter asked about Chinese trademarks being awarded to her fashion brand.
  128. On Thursday, comedian Samantha Bee apologized for calling Ivanka Trump a “feckless cunt” on her TBS show in a segment criticizing Ivanka for her silence on the regime’s separating children from parents at the border.
  129. On Thursday, Sanders condemned Samantha Bee’s words as “vile and vicious,” and urged executives at Time Warner and TBS to act, citing “explicit profanity about female members of this administration.”
  130. On Friday, Trump tweeted that Samantha Bee should be fired, “Why aren’t they firing no talent Samantha Bee for the horrible language used on her low ratings show?” TBS and CNN are owned by Time Warner.
  131. On Friday, Trump broke decades of protocol, tweeting about the jobs reports before the release. Treasury yields moved sharply higher within seconds of his tweet. Trump was briefed on the numbers Thursday night.
  132. At 7:21 a.m., Trump tweeted, “Looking forward to seeing the employment numbers at 8:30 this morning.” At 8:30 a.m., the Bureau of Labor Statistics announced the numbers.
  133. On Friday, Bloomberg reported that two South Korean firms have bought $100 million in junior debt on a Citigroup deal for a New Jersey residential building partly owned by Kushner Cos.
  134. Prior to receiving the Citigroup loan in early 2018, shortly after the bank’s CEO met with Kushner at the White House, Kushner Cos and its partner had trouble finding a firm to refinance more than $180 million of loans.
  135. Kushner drew scrutiny in Week 26 when his sister mentioned him by name and the EB-5 visa program, visas which allow immigrants a path to a green card for investing $500,000, to market the loan to Chinese investors.
  136. Daily Beast reported ZTE hired Bryan Lanza, a veteran of the Trump 2016 presidential campaign who works for Mercury Public Affairs, a powerhouse lobbying and public relations in Washington DC, on May 14.
  137. NBC News reported on a new U.S. intelligence assessment which concluded North Korea does not intend to give up its nuclear weapons, contrary to Trump’s public statements as he tries to get the summit back on track.
  138. The CIA report says Kim Jong Un, in a peaceful gesture towards Trump whose love of fast-food burgers is well known, may instead offer to open a Western hamburger franchise in Pyongyang as a show of goodwill.
  139. Foreign Policy reported Secretary of State Mike Pompeo met with North Korea’s Kim Yong Chol, a four-star army general and former military intelligence chief. Chol has served three regimes, and helped groom Kim Jong Un.
  140. Kim Young Chol is linked to some of the country’s highest-profile military operations, including two deadly attacks in 2010 that killed 50 South Koreans and an alleged 2014 cyberattack on Sony Pictures.
  141. The meetings, which took place in New York, was the highest-level visit to the U.S. by a North Korean in 18 years. The two had dinner together on Wednesday, then formal talk on Thursday morning.
  142. On Friday, with little public notice, Trump met with Kim Yong Chol in the Oval Office for over an hour. Afterwards, Trump told reporters that the June 12 summit in Singapore is on, despite canceling it in Week 80.
  143. Trump also showed reporters a letter from Kim Jong Un delivered by Kim Young Chol, and said it was “ a very nice letter” and “very interesting.” Trump later admitted that he had not opened the letter yet.
  144. Asked by a reporter if Kim Jong Un is committed to denuclearization, Trump said, “Yeah, I think so. He’d like to see it happen.” The June 12 meeting will be North Korea’s first-ever summit with a U.S. president.
  145. On Friday, WAPO reported cash-strapped North Korea is requiring that a foreign country pick up Kim Jong Un’s $6,000 hotel bill for the summit in Singapore. The Trump regime is trying to find a discrete way to do so.
  146. On Friday, WSJ reported the White House is preparing for a potential summit between Trump and Putin of Russia. Jon Huntsman, the U.S. ambassador to Russia, is working to arrange the meeting.
  147. Politico reported on a recent closed-door fundraiser for Trump, at which he bragged to donors, using classified information, about a February skirmish between U.S. troops and Russian mercenaries in Syria.
  148. The New York City fundraiser was attended by about 100 of Trump’s top-dollar supporters. Trump reportedly shared the strikes may have been as brief as “10 minutes” and took out 100 to 300 Russians.
  149. In an op-ed, former CIA director John Brennan said he would speak out until integrity returns. Brennan fears Trump’s lying, “mean-spirited and malicious behavior, and his self-absorption” will be emulated by young people.
  150. Brennan, who served four presidents, said Trump “has shown highly abnormal behavior by lying routinely,” and “intentionally fueling divisions in our country,” and actively working to degrade our institutions.
  151. On Saturday, Trump attacked Brennan, citing “Fox & Friends” guest Dan Bongino in a tweet, “no single figure in American history has done more to discredit the intelligence community than this liar.”
  152. WAPO reported emails released as part of a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) lawsuit by the Sierra Club, show Scott Pruitt spent $1,650 of taxpayer money on 12 customized fountain pens.
  153. Emails released as part of a FOIA request by the Environmental Defense Fund and the Southern Environmental Law Center, and provided to APreveal cooperation between Pruitt’s Environmental Protection Agency and climate-change deniers.
  154. John Konkus, the EPA’s deputy associate administrator, emailed with Heartland Institute seeking suggestions for scientists and economists who reject man-made climate-change, for an EPA public hearing in 2017.
  155. Emails from Konkus and the EPA’s Liz Bowman with Heartland also complain about critical coverage from media such as the Post and AP, and celebrating a reporter leaving the Times, “Ding Dong, the Witch is Dead.”
  156. On Friday, the Hill reported Williams & Jensen, the firm chaired by J. Steven Hart, who along with his wife rented a condo to Pruitt, did in fact lobby the EPA on behalf of three clients last year.
  157. Hart left the firm in April after the fallout from the condo rental. Williams & Jensen then hired outside counsel to comb through its disclosure filings from 2017 and 2018, and filed 14 amendments to Hart’s forms.
  158. NYT reported in December, at one of the biggest games of the University of Kentucky basketball season, Pruitt and his son were given courtside seats belonging to Joseph W. Craft III, a billionaire coal executive.
  159. Craft has engaged in an aggressive campaign to reverse the Obama administration’s environmental crackdown on the coal industry. He and his wife also donated $2 million to Trump’s candidacy and inauguration.
  160. Agency records show Pruitt met with Craft at least seven times during his first 14 months as head of the EPA. Coal companies have welcomed what they consider a sea of change under the Trump regime.
  161. On Friday, Trump left for Camp David but First Lady Melania Trump did not accompany him. Melania has not been seen publicly since May 10, and has missed several joint appearance that would be typical for a first lady.
  162. A tweet from the @FLOTUS Twitter account this week read, “I see the media is working overtime speculating where I am,” adding I am “great” and “working hard” — terms commonly used by Trump on Twitter.
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New York City, February 2018

POLITIKS OF GRAFFITI 81: FIRST AMENDMENT ASSAULTS ~ PAY ATTENTION

This week, a new street art piece depicting America and its gun problem is featured with three very relevant political cartoons related to the NFL controversy. The artists’ names are clearly visible for credits.

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Shoreditch, London. Pegasus Art. https://www.instagram.com/pegasusart/

Week 80 of this presidency:  Experts in authoritarianism advise to keep a list of things subtly changing around you, so you’ll remember.

May 26, 2018 https://medium.com/@Amy_Siskind/week-80-experts-in-authoritarianism-advise-to-keep-a-list-of-things-subtly-changing-around-you-so-2feacda0c6f0

This week, despite the White House providing no evidence to back Trump’s claim that the Obama administration spied on his 2016 campaign for political reasons, and despite Trump ostensibly branding “spy” and “Spygate” to rile his base and hurt the credibility of the FBI, Justice Department, and Mueller probe, the media was nonetheless consumed the entire week with covering this manufactured storyline. Reminiscent of Trump’s success in using the Nunes memo as a shiny coin to distract in Week 64, this week important stories and storylines received little or no national coverage.

After a social media barrage at the end of the week, the story that finally captured the country’s and some media attention was the Trump regime’s increasingly cruel and racist policies at the border. Immigrants are being dehumanized by Trump in words, and his regime is enacting inhumane policies resulting in families being separated, and children going missing.

This week had numerous examples of assaults on the First Amendment, including arrests of high school students protesting gun violence, media outlets being barred from an EPA event, and NFL owners banning public protests by their players in an effort to appease Trump.

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  1. Border Patrol detained and questioned two women for 35 minutes after hearing them speak Spanish at a gas station in Havre, Montana, a town in the northern part of the state, near the border with Canada.
  2. On Monday, Rep. Steve King introduced the Mayor Libby Schaaf Act of 2018, named for the Oakland mayor, which calls for up to five years’ imprisonment for officials who warn residents of ICE raids.
  3. On Monday, former Maricopa County sheriff Joe Arpaio, pardoned by Trump last year after being convicted of contempt of court in a racial profiling case, filed a petition to run for U.S. Senator of Arizona.
  4. On Monday, tripling-down on Trump’s “animals” comments in Week 79, the White House issued a statement saying, “The violent animals of MS-13 have committed heinous, violent attacks in communities across America.”
  5. On Tuesday, in testimony before the House, Education Secretary Betsy DeVos said it’s up to individual schools to decide whether to call ICE if they suspect their students are undocumented.
  6. Civil rights groups said DeVos’ comments violate the Supreme Court‘s 1982 ruling in Plyler v. Doe, which guarantees the rights of students to receive a public education regardless of their immigration status.
  7. NBC News reported as the Trump regime prepares to ramp up separating immigrant children from their parents coming over the border, that fromOctober 2017 to mid-April, more than 700 children have been separated.
  8. Children are turned over to the Office of Refugee Resettlement, and the government tries to connect them with family members in the US. Under a new proposal from the Department of Homeland Security, relatives would also need to go through security checks, making it less likely they will come forward.
  9. On Wednesday, NPR reported according to an ACLU report, immigrant children who are detained by border patrol suffer physical, verbal, sexual, and psychological abuse, including denial of drinking water and food.
  10. Allegations in the ACLU report included denying a pregnant teen medical care, forcing a 16 year-old girl to forcibly spread her legs and be touched, and threatening a child with sexual abuse by an adult male detainee.
  11. The Arizona Daily Star reported Alma Jacinto, a 36 year-old from Guatemala, was separated from her sons, ages 8 and 11, and forced to wear a yellow bracelet on her left wrist.
  12. The yellow bracelet identifies parents who are arrested with their children and prosecuted in Operation Streamline, a fast-track program of the Trump regime. Prosecutors refuse to tell Jacinto where her children are.
  13. According to The Arizona Republic, the Office of Refugee Resettlement reported that at the end of 2017 the agency did not know the location of 1,475 of the that of the 7,635 children placed with sponsored individuals.
  14. PBS reported Department of Health and Human Services officials came under fire during Congressional testimony in April for the missing children. It was revealed that some of the children had been victims of sex trafficking.
  15. Steven Wagner, the acting assistant secretary of HHS’ Administration for Children and Families said from October 2016 and December 2017 the agency was unable to locate 19% of immigrant children taken in.
  16. NYT reported most of the children taken into government care are from Honduras, El Salvador, and Guatemala, and were fleeing from drug cartels, gang violence, and domestic abuse, government data shows.
  17. The Trump regime appointed Ronald Mortensen, an immigrant hard-liner who advocates for restricting legal and illegal immigration and is opposed to DACA, to a senior role in the Bureau of Population, Refugees and Migration.
  18. CNN reported an undocumented woman, Claudia Patricia Gomez Gonzalez, 20, from Guatemala was shot in the head and killed by a Border Patrol agent near Laredo, Texas on Wednesday. The agent claimed he came under attack by migrants armed with “blunt objects.”
  19. On Friday, Border Patrol changed their account of shooting of the undocumented woman, saying the migrants did not have blunt objects, but “rushed” the officer after ignoring orders to get on the ground.
  20. The revised statement also refers to the gunshot victim as a “member of the group.” Customs and Border Protection canceled a press conference that was supposed to take place on Friday.
  21. WAPO reported in addition to Trump’s tirade against DHS Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen in Week 78, he has been berating her all spring over a rise in illegal crossings. The rise, due to migration patterns returning to historic seasonal norms, has stripped Trump of his proudest accomplishment.
  22. Trump is also furious at Nielsen for not securing money for his border wall, even though she was not party to the spending deal struck by senior White House aides that Trump signed.
  23. Nielsen has said Trump doesn’t understand the nuances of immigration law. One expert said Trump wants Nielsen to deliver a crackdown that looks like the Iraq War: “He wants to do shock and awe,”
  24. Trump met with Stephen Miller and Kushner ahead of his February 2017 speech to Congress, and acting like he was at a rally, “recited a few made-up Hispanic names and described potential crimes they could have committed, such as rape or murder.” Miller and Kushner laughed.
  25. LA Times reported that Brandon Judd, president of the National Border Patrol Council union which represents 15,000 agents, called Trump’s National Guard deployment to the border a “colossal waste.”
  26. The union endorsed Trump in 2016. Judd said when he heard the National Guard was going to the border “I was extremely excited” for help to alleviate the Border Patrol workload, but “that has not happened at all.”
  27. Houston Chronicle reported on Esteban Pastor, a 28 year-old escaping from Guatemala who was detained in Texas and separated from his sick 18 month-old crossing the border. When he was deported three months later, agents were unable to locate his baby.
  28. Few procedures are in place to track and reunify families. Nielsen has defended the regime’s practice of separating parents from children, saying children are taken from criminals imprisoned for breaking the law.
  29. Before the Trump regime, most parents with children weren’t prosecuted for crossing the border illegally, a misdemeanor for first offenders, but deported or freed together under a practice called “catch and release.”
  30. On Saturday, facing pressure for news about separated families and missing children, Trump tweeted blaming Democrats for the “horrible horrible law that separates children from there parents.”
  31. Trump also blamed Democrats for “PROTECTING MS-13 THUGS,” and added, “ Catch and Release, Lottery and Chain must also go with it.” Trump also said we “MUST continue building the WALL!”
  32. On Friday, DHS said, for a second year in a row, it would issue 15,000 additional guest workers visas for 2018, following an outcry from businesses over being hurt by the country’s labor squeeze.
  33. Capitol Police arrested four of the eights students from the Montgomery County Students for Gun Control who staged a sit-in outside of Speaker Paul Ryan’s office last Friday. The students were calling on Ryan to pass common-sense gun control legislation.
  34. On Tuesday, AP reported the Environmental Protection Agency barred the Associated Press, CNN, and the environmental-focused news organization E&E from a national summit on harmful water contaminants convened by Scott Pruitt in Washington DC.
  35. According to AP, when their reporter asked to speak to an EPA public-affairs person, “the security guards grabbed the reporter by the shoulders and shoved her forcibly out of the EPA building.”
  36. On Tuesday, when asked at the press briefing about the EPA turning away reporters, press secretary Sarah Sanders said she would “look into” it, saying “I can’t speak to a situation I don’t have a lot of visibility into.”
  37. On Wednesday, reporters were again barred from attending the EPA water pollution event. Journalists from AP, Politico, and many others were turned away, told the sessions were were closed to reporters.
  38. On Wednesday, a federal judge ruled that Trump cannot blocking Twitter users, saying it is a violation of the First Amendment. Twitter is a public forum and silencing critics is not permissible under the U.S. Constitution.
  39. On Wednesday, the NFL announced players will be allowed to stay in the locker room during the national anthem, but teams will be fined if their players kneel during the anthem.
  40. The policy was adopted without the players’ union involvement. In a statement Wednesday, the union said it would review and “challenge any aspect of it that is inconsistent with the collective bargaining agreement.”
  41. On Thursday, when asked about the NFL move on “Fox & Friends,” Trump said the owners did the right thing, “You have to stand proudly for the national anthem…maybe they shouldn’t be in the country.”
  42. Conversely, NBA commissioner Adam Silver told athletes, “do not [just] stick to sports.” This week, Milwaukee police released a disturbing video of Bucks player, Sterling Brown’s arrest, with obvious racial undertones.
  43. On Monday, at a private White House signing ceremony, Trump repealed auto-lending guidance from the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau that protected minority customers from predatory practices.
  44. Trump’s Interior Department said it would reverse Obama-era rules barring hunters in Alaska from baiting brown bears with bacon and doughnuts and using spotlights to shoot mother black bears and cubs hibernating in their dens.
  45. On Tuesday, Trump’s DHS unveiled the regime’s proposed regulations which would ban organizations that perform or refer patients for abortions from receiving Title X dollars.
  46. The regulation would also remove “medically approved” family planning services from the requirement, meaning formerly ineligible organizations, some of which oppose contraception, could now received Title X funding.
  47. Rep. Dana Rohrabacher told a group of realtors that homeowners should be able to refuse to sell their homes to gays and lesbians, saying they should not be forced to do business with “someone they think is doing something that is immoral.”
  48. On Thursday, the House passed a bill to reauthorize funds for the military, which includes authorization for Trump’s request to hold a military parade.
  49. Speaking at a Naval Academy commencement, Trump told graduates, “our ancestors tamed a continent,” adding “We are not going to apologize for America. We are going to stand up for America.”
  50. The Arizona Republic reported the Arizona Department of Education plans to make changes to the K-12 curriculum, including removing the word “evolution” in some areas and describing it as a “theory” in others.
  51. In a letter, Democrat Sen. Jeff Merkley and GOP Sen. Pat Toomey,demanded the FCC investigate identity theft and fraud of two million Americans, including the two senators, in public comments for net neutrality.
  52. Politico reported that John Bolton relied on Matthew Freedman, a consultant and former lobbyist who worked for Paul Manafort and was fired from Trump’s transition team, to meet with potential job applicants for the National Security Council.
  53. Mark Inch, a retired Army major general who was appointed nine months ago to oversee the Federal Bureau of Prisons and its more than 180,000 inmates, resigned citing the regime continually flouting “departmental norms.”
  54. On Saturday, Trump attacked the FBI and DOJ, tweeting, “If the FBI or DOJ was infiltrating a campaign for the benefit of another campaign, that is a really big deal,” and called for the release or review of documents.
  55. On Saturday, Jeanine Pirro opened her Fox News show, calling Jeff Sessions, “the single most dangerous person,” saying that Sessions is,“the most of powerful prosecutor in the world,” who “hides behind” Rosenstein.
  56. On Sunday, Fox News host Maria Bartiromo told “Fox & Friends” thateither Obama or Hillary “were sort of masterminding all of this,” saying agencies “were all involved in trying to take down Donald Trump.”
  57. On Sunday, Trump vented in a series of seven tweets, deriding the “$20,000,000 Witch Hunt,” and attacking his political opponents, including Hillary Clinton, Andrew McCabe, Obama and the Podesta brothers.
  58. Trump also tweeted “The Failing and Crooked” NYT published a “long & boring story,” adding the “World’s most expensive Witch Hunt” found nothing on Russia, so “now they are looking at the rest of the World!
  59. Later Sunday, Trump tweeted, “I hereby demand….the Department of Justice look into whether or not the FBI/DOJ infiltrated or surveilled the Trump Campaign for Political Purposes,” and if the requests came from the Obama administration.
  60. Hours later, Rod Rosenstein announced the Justice Department inspector general will expand an ongoing review to include an inquiry to determine “whether there was any impropriety or political motivation in how the FBI conducted its counterintelligence investigation.”
  61. Over the weekend, media widely reported Stefan Halper is the FBI source.Halper is a Republican who worked for Nixon and Ford and donated to George W. Bush, and is an emeritus professor at the University of Cambridge.
  62. On Sunday, former CIA director John Brennan tweeted at Speaker Ryan and Leader Mitch McConnell, saying Trump was on a “disastrous path” and Republican leaders would bear responsibility for the “harm done to our democracy” if they did not intervene.
  63. On Monday, hours before attending the swearing in of his new CIA director, Trump attacked Brennan in a series of tweets, saying he “has disgraced” himself, the country, and the entire intelligence community.
  64. Trump also quoted Dan Bongino who had appeared on “Fox & Friends” that morning, saying of Brennan, “This was a Political hit job, this was not an Intelligence Investigation,” and Brennan is “worried about staying out of Jail.”
  65. On Monday, Michael Caputo hinted on Fox News that there is a second informant that penetrated Trump’s campaign, adding when the truth comes out, “[James] Clapper and the rest of them are going to be wearing some orange suits.”
  66. On Monday, Trump met privately for about an hour with Rosenstein, Christopher Wray, and Daniel Coats. Sanders said the meeting had been on the schedule since last week.
  67. After the meeting, the White House announced John Kelly would convene another gathering between the officials and congressional leaders to “review highly classified and other information.”
  68. On Monday, Rudy Giuliani told HuffPost that Robert Mueller will not be allowed to interview Trump until Trump learns more about the secret FBI informant, saying “I don’t care so much about the name as I do about the content.”
  69. On Tuesday, Rep. Lee Zeldin and 11 House conservatives introduced a resolution calling for a second special counsel to investigate possible misconduct by the Justice Department and FBI during the 2016 election.
  70. On Tuesday, DHS Secretary Nielsen told a reporter she was unaware of the finding in the January 2017 intelligence community’s assessment that Russia intervened to help Trump win: “I do not believe that I’ve seen that conclusion.”
  71. On Wednesday, Trump tweeted, saying things have turned for the “Criminal Deep State,” saying they are “caught in a major SPY scandal” and calling the Russia probe, “phony” and a “made up Scam.”
  72. Trump later tweeted his branded term for the ongoing attack on the FBI and Justice Department: “SPYGATE could be one of the biggest political scandals in history!”
  73. On Wednesday, as he left the White House, Trump told reporters asking for proof of his spying allegations, Trump, “All you have to do is look at the basics and you’ll see it. Looks like a very serious event, but we’ll find out.”
  74. On Thursday, Trump tweeted, “Clapper has now admitted that there was Spying in my campaign,” adding, “Starting to look like one of the biggest political scandals in U.S. history. SPYGATE.”
  75. Trump incorrectly attributed a statement by former DNI Clapper on “The View” speaking about his new book. Clapper had said, “They were spying on — a term I don’t particularly like … what the Russians were doing.”
  76. On Thursday, Trump also tweeted, without citing evidence, “Large dollars were paid to the Spy, far beyond normal,” adding this is “one of the biggest political scandals in U.S. history.”
  77. On Thursday, AP reported Trump told an ally this week that he wanted “to brand” the informant a spy, believing the term would resonate more in the media and with the public, and came up with the term “Spygate.”
  78. On Tuesday, the White House announced that FBI and Justice Department officials would brief only Reps. Devin Nunes and Trey Gowdy on confidential intelligence on the FBI’s Russia informant.
  79. After complaints by top House and Senate Democrats Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer, a second meeting was scheduled at 2 p.m., including the “Gang of Eight” and Gowdy, immediately after the noon meeting for Nunes and Gowdy.
  80. At the last minute, Rep. Adam Schiff, the top Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee, was also invited to attend both meetings. Speaker Ryan said due to a scheduling conflict, he would attend the first meeting.
  81. On Thursday, without advance notice and raising suspicions from lawmakers on both sides, chief of staff Kelly and White House lawyer Emmet Flood attended both meetings.
  82. Reportedly, Kelly and Flood delivered a message from Trump and then left. Rep. Schiff said Flood’s “involvement — in any capacity — was entirely improper, and I made this clear to him.”
  83. Later Thursday, the White House released a statement, saying Kelly and Flood made only, “brief remarks before the meetings started to relay the President’s desire for as much openness as possible under the law.”
  84. After the meeting, Schiff read a statement on behalf of Pelosi, Schumer, Warner and himself: “Nothing we heard today has changed our view that there is no evidence to support any allegation that the FBI or any intel agency placed a spy in the Trump campaign.”
  85. Sen. McConnell told Fox News of the meeting that he learned “nothing particularly surprising.” He also told NPR he supports the Mueller investigation, as well as the inspector general’s investigation of the Justice Department.
  86. On Friday, Trump again attacked the FBI on Twitter, repeating his claim without evidence that the informant was “paid a fortune.”
  87. Trump also tweeted, without evidence, “imagine having Spies placed in a competing campaign, by the people and party in absolute power,” saying it was for “political advantage and gain,” but they still “LOST!”
  88. On Friday, Giuliani told the AP Trump’s legal team wants a briefing on the classified information shared with lawmakers, and may use it to take to the Justice Department as part of an effort to try to end the Mueller probe.
  89. Giuliani said the White House is hoping for a readout next week, adding “If the spying was inappropriate, that means we may have an entirely illegitimate investigation.”
  90. On Thursday, WSJ reported, according to emails reviewed by the Journal,Roger Stone privately sought emails he thought were damaging to Hillary Clinton from WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange.
  91. In a September 18, 2016 message, Stone asked Randy Credico, a New York radio personality who had interviewed Assange, for Hillary’s emailsrelated to the 2011 Libyan peace deal. Credico eventually responded, “That batch probably coming out in the next drop.”
  92. Credito told WSJ he first got to know Stone in August 2016 when Stone agreed to be on his show. Credito said Stone had claimed to be in touch with Assange, and had predicted the release of damaging information.
  93. The emails contradict Stone’s testimony to Congress, in which he said he “merely wanted confirmation” from an acquaintance that Assange had information on Hillary. Stone maintains he hasn’t been contacted by Mueller’s office.
  94. On Wednesday, Mueller’s team asked a federal judge to deny a request byAP, CNN, NYT, Politico, and WAPO for a “broad unsealing” of search warrants, affidavits, and other materials related to Manafort.
  95. Mueller’s team argued in its filing that the investigation is “not a closed matter but an ongoing criminal investigation with multiple lines of non-public inquiry.”
  96. The filing noted the probe has resulted in criminal charges against 22 individuals and entities, adding unsealing materials would create “a serious risk of jeopardizing the ongoing and interconnected aspects of the investigation.”
  97. On Saturday, NYT reported on a meeting arranged by Erik Prince at Trump Tower on August 3, 2016 between Donald Jr., George Nader, and Joel Zamel, an Israeli specialist in social media manipulation.
  98. Nader, an emissary for Crown Prince Mohammed bin Zayed al-Nahyan of the UAE and Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman of Saudi Arabia, said the princes were eager to help Trump win the election.
  99. Zamel came to with a multimillion-dollar proposal for a social media manipulation. Reportedly, Donald Jr. responded positively to the offers for help, and Nader was embraced as a close ally by Trump campaign advisers.
  100. After Trump was elected, Nader paid Zamel as much as $2 million after a presentation by Zamel demonstrating the significance of their help. Mueller is investigating these interactions, and Nader is cooperating.
  101. On Saturday, WSJ said it has reviewed a subpoena by Mueller team for Zamel, which has not yet been issued. Zamel runs two companies that were involved in the 2016 election, Wikistrat and Psy-Group. Mueller’s team has conducting interviews about Zamel’s work.
  102. Psy-Group, which is a secretive private intelligence firm with the motto “shape reality,” has veteran Israeli intelligence officials linked to it. Wikistrat uses a network of experts to analyze geopolitical problems.
  103. Zamel’s attorney said his client offered nothing to and received nothing from the Trump campaign. Donald Jr.’s attorney said in a statement that Donald Jr. “was not interested and that was the end of it.”

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  1. On Tuesday, Bloomberg reported Mueller’s team has subpoenaed bank records for payments made to Psy-Group’s Cyprus bank accounts. While Psy-Group is based in Israel, it’s headquartered in Cyprus.
  2. Following Trump’s victory, Psy-Group formed an alliance with Cambridge Analytica to try to win U.S. government business. A proposal sent to the State Department offers Psy-Group “has conducted messaging/influence operations in well over a dozen languages and dialects.”
  3. Mueller’s team interviewed people associated with Psy-Group’s U.S. operation in February. Shortly after, the company’s CEO Royi Burstien told employees in Tel Aviv the company was closing down. Burstien is a former commander of an Israeli psychological warfare unit.
  4. On Wednesday, WSJ reported Mueller’s team has also interviewed Zamel, likely as part of their investigation into the influence of the UAE in the 2016 election. Zamel is said to be close to top officials in the UAE.
  5. Zamel starting making contacts with the UAE in 2014, and founded Psy-Group in 2016. Some of Psy-Group’s work included setting up “honey traps” — creating compromising information to be used for leverage.
  6. On Sunday, WAPO reported Andrew Intrater, chief executive of Columbus Nova and cousin of Viktor Vekselberg, not only made donations to Trump, but also signed a $1 million annual contract with Cohen for help finding investors.
  7. Intrater was reportedly impressed with the large number of wealthy people Cohen seemed to know, but after Cohen was unable to identify any new investors, the contract was terminated and Cohen was paid $500,000.
  8. On Sunday, a newly-filed Federal Election Commission report showed theRNC paid $451,780 to Trout Cacheris & Janis, a law firm that represents Hope Hicks and others Mueller’s Russia probe.
  9. On Tuesday, NYT reported Evgeny Freidman, a Russian immigrant known as the Taxi King, and significant business partner of Cohen, has agreed to cooperate with state or federal investigations as part of a plea deal.
  10. Friedman is accused of failing to pay more than $5 million in taxes and faced four counts of criminal tax fraud and one of grand larceny. Under the plea deal, he will plead guilty to a single count and get no jail time.
  11. Giuliani changed his position on whether Trump would speak to Mueller — telling the WSJ he opposed it, then WAPO he was for it. Giuliani later told BuzzFeed that he and Trump last talked a “couple weeks ago.
  12. Giuliani also told WAPO he was concerned about a perjury trap saying the “truth is relative,” adding, reminiscent of Kellyanne Conway’s alternative facts, “They may have a different version of the truth than we do.”
  13. CNN reported Trump’s lawyers are trying to narrow the scope of the Mueller interview to limit or eliminate questions regarding Trump’s conduct after he took office, especially related to obstruction of justice.
  14. Mueller is reportedly against written responses, and will insist on asking Trump questions about his time in office. The Mueller team continues to be tight lipped, not speaking publicly, about the investigation.
  15. On Tuesday, AP reported based on a review of the emails and documents,Elliott Broidy and Nader worked to cultivate the princes of Saudi Arabia and the UAE, then lobby Congress and the White House on the gulf state’s behalf.
  16. Summaries written by Broidy reveal he had two meeting with Trump. Broidy was also passing messages to the Trump from the two princes, and told Trump he was seeking business with them.
  17. Neither Broidy or Nader registered under Foreign Agents Registration Act, although both waged an anti-Qatar campaign on behalf of foreign client. Broidy came close to netting more than $1 billion in business as payment for his work.
  18. Cadre, a real estate technology startup co-founded and partly owned by Kushner, is in discussions about a $100 million investment with SoftBank, a private fund that gets almost half its capital from the governments of Saudi Arabia and the UAE.
  19. On Wednesday, BBC reported Cohen received a payment of at least $400,000 through an intermediary to broker talks between the Ukrainian president Poroshenko and Trump. The meeting took place at the White House last June.
  20. A senior intelligence official in Kiev said that Sater also helped Cohen. A week after Poroshenko returned home, Ukraine’s National Anti Corruption Bureau announced it was dropping its investigation of Manafort.
  21. On Wednesday, Mueller’s team asked a federal judge to start the process ofpreparing a pre-sentencing report for George Papadopoulos.
  22. On Friday, NYT reported according to video footage from C-Span and and an interview with Intrater who also attended, Donald Jr. and Cohen met with Vekselberg at Trump Tower on January 9, 2017.
  23. According to Intrater, the meeting took place in Cohen’s office on the 26th floor. The topics discussed were shared interests and a mutual desire to strengthen Russia’s relations with the U.S. under Trump.
  24. Intrater claimed Vekselberg, his cousin and biggest client, had no role in Columbus Nova’s decision to hire Cohen for $1 million contract shortly after the election, or the multiple donations made to Trump.
  25. On Friday, Politico reported bankruptcy lawyers for Jeffrey Yohai, Manafort’s son-in-law who is cooperating in the Mueller probe, areseeking to drop partial representation citing unpaid bills and lack of candor.
  26. On Friday, Yahoo News reported the FBI has obtained a secret wiretaps collected by Spanish police of conversations involving Alexander Torshinthat lead up to his meeting with Donald Jr. at the NRA convention in May 2016.
  27. The conversations took place between Torshin and Alexander Romanov, a convicted Russian money launderer, and were wiretapped as part of officials’ investigation into Spanish organized crime.
  28. Despite allegations of ties to Russian money laundering, Torshin continues to travel to the U.S., including to the National Prayer Breakfast in February 2017 where he was supposed to meet with Trump, but that meeting was canceled the night prior.
  29. On Sunday, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said the regime had decided to put the trade war with China “on hold,” despite the fact that meetings in Beijing and Washington DC produced no major agreement.
  30. On Tuesday, following action rebuking Trump in the House in Week 79,the Senate Banking Committee voted 23–2 to make it harder for Trump to modify penalties against ZTE.
  31. On Tuesday, speaking at the White House, Trump floated a new plan to fine ZTE and shake up its management in lieu of sanctions, saying the company has been hurt by an April Commerce Department decision.
  32. On Friday, the Trump regime told Congress it had a new deal to revive ZTE, under which the company would pay a substantial fine, hire an American compliance officers, and change its management team.
  33. WAPO reported a letter being circulated to dozens of wealthy entrepreneurs in China last week, topped with the insignia of a real Republican committee, offered access to Trump at a fundraiser.
  34. The invitation offers a handshake and a one-on-one photo with Trump for $100,000. U.S. election law allows foreign visitors to attend fundraisers as long as they do not pay their own entry, but the invitation does raise ethical concerns.
  35. Watchdog group CREW noted that Ivanka’s business has won approval for Chinese trademarks recently, including on May 7 her business received “registration” approval for five trademark applications.
  36. Politico reported that Trump uses at least two at least two iPhones to contact friends and tweet, which are not equipped with sophisticated security features designed to shield his communications.
  37. On Thursday, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo began testimony before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee by reading a letter from Trump to Kim Jong Un cancelling the Singapore summit.
  38. The letter thanked Kim Jong Un for releasing three prisoners, but included a threat, “You talk about your nuclear capabilities, but ours are so massive and powerful that I pray to God they will never have to be used.”
  39. Shortly after canceling the summit, Trump told the press, “It’s possible that the existing summit could take place, or a summit at some later date.”
  40. South Korea President Moon, who had visited Trump at the White House Tuesday, convened an emergency meeting after the announcement. Spokesman Kim Eui-kyeom told reporters, “We are trying to figure out what President Trump’s intention is and the exact meaning of it.
  41. On Friday, NYT reported the summit with North Korea may be on again, a startling reversal which speaks to Trump improvising and erratic style, as well as deep divisions within the regime on how to proceed.
  42. On Saturday, Trump tweeted attacked the NYT in two tweets, saying unlike what “the Failing and Corrupt New York Times” has said, there is “ZERO disagreement” in the regime on how to deal with North Korea.
  43. Trump also said the “Failing” Timesquotes “a senior White House official,” who doesn’t exist.” The NYT countered, saying Trump falsely claimed the Times made up a source.
  44. On Wednesday, CNN reported Kushner had his White House security clearance restored, after months of uncertainty stemming in part from Kushner being questioned in the Mueller probe.
  45. Kushner’s attorney Abbe Lowell said Kushner met with Mueller’s team for a second time in April for a seven hour interview. Lowell claimed Kushner is finished with Mueller’s inquiries. Mueller did not comment.
  46. On Thursday, Axios reported Ivanka now also has full security clearance.Both Ivanka and Kushner were reportedly given full Top Secret clearance on May 1.
  47. USA Today reported T Retail LLC, a company formed in May 2017 and listed in Trump’s financial disclosure statement as earning over $100,000, is a store that sells items from t-shirts to hats to dog leashes, branded with the “Trump” name.
  48. On Thursday, in a statement, T-Mobile said it hired Turnberry Solutions in August to help in the lobbying effort to secure federal approval for its proposed takeover of Sprint. Corey Lewandowski is affiliated with Turnberry.
  49. WSJ reported Lewandowski receives a cut of the fees paid to the lobbying firm on the T-Mobile contract. Lewandowski has denied any relationship to Turnberry, although they share Capitol Hill office space.
  50. On Friday, in three executive orders, Trump rolled back civil-service protections federal employees have enjoyed for a generation, making it easier to fire poor performers and change rules related to unions.
  51. One order will limit the time federal employees can spend doing union business to no more than a quarter of their workday on “official time,”taking away a benefit granted by Congress four decades ago.
  52. Firing based on performance will change a long-standing tradition of basing layoffs on seniority. The order will now require agencies to charge unions for space in federal buildings they now use for free.
  53. WAPO reported it has now been more than two weeks since First lady Melania Trump was seen in public, prior to her kidney procedure. Melania was last seen on May 10. There has been no update on her health.
  54. On Friday, a reporter asked Trump as he was boarding Marine One about Melania, and Trump pointed to a window in the White House residence, and said: “She’s doing great. She’s looking at us right there.” She was not there.
  55. On Tuesday, women of color, LGBTQ women, and women who have served in the military made historic firsts winning their Democratic primaries. Stacey Abrams of Georgia will have a shot to become the first black female governor.
  56. The Center for American Women and Politics found in primaries so far,women make up more than 40% of House Democratic nominees, a record. Republican House women are down from prior years to under 10%.
  57. The Senate, led by Amy Klobuchar and Roy Blunt, passed a long-stalled bill to overhaul how sexual harassment complaints are made and handled, and to make lawmakers pay settlements out of their own pockets.
  58. On Friday, Harvey Weinstein, whose allegations of sexual assault were part of the start of the #MeToo movement, came handcuffed into a courtroom where he was charged with rape and sexual abuse.

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

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

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

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

WHY WASN’T THAT ENOUGH ? : 

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

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

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“Scam-a-Gram”

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

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

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

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

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

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

POLITIKS OF GRAFFITI 78: NO MORE SEPARATION OF CHURCH & STATE AND 3,000 LIES

Week 77 of this regime: Experts in authoritarianism advise to keep a list of things subtly changing around you, so you’ll remember.

May 5, 2018 https://medium.com/@Amy_Siskind/week-77-experts-in-authoritarianism-advise-to-keep-a-list-of-things-subtly-changing-around-you-so-f847ed1b1a87

Have we normalized that Trump lies to the American people? That was a central question after Trump lawyer Rudy Giuliani publicly contradicted recent statements by Trump and the White House, saying Trump reimbursed Michael Cohen for a $130,000 payment to silence Stephanie Clifford, made days before the 2016 election. According to The Washington Post, Trump has told over 3,000 false or misleading statements since taking office.

This week we learned that Trump had himself dictated the medical letter used during his campaign, and as his White House doctor exited in disgrace, questions surfaced about access to accurate information about Trump’s health — another broken norm. This was another week plagued by resignations, attacks on our institutions and norms, and our values. The morning after Giuliani’s bombshell disclosure, Trump signed an executive order at the National Day of Prayer eliminating a boundary between religious groups and government.

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Photo by Lois Brunet in Paris, France on May 3, 2018
  1. On Saturday, for the second time,Trump skipped the White House Correspondents Dinner (WHCD). The last US leader to skip the dinner was Ronald Reagan, shortly after he was shot in an assassination attempt.
  2. Instead, Trump held a rally in Washington Township, Michigan, delivering an 80-minute campaign-style speech, full of factually incorrect and dystopian statements, including, “We have the worst laws anywhere in the world,” and “We don’t have borders.”
  3. During his speech, Trump asked, “Any Hispanics in the room?” The crowd booed, then Trump continued “Naw, not so many? That’s OK,” before repeating his demand for a border wall.
  4. Trump also continued his attacks on Sen. Jon Tester: “I know things about the senator I can say, too. If I said them, he would never be elected again,” as well as attacks on James Comey: “He is a liar and a leaker.”
  5. On Sunday and Monday, Trump attacked the WHCD, tweeting the dinner “is DEAD as we know it,” saying it “was a total disaster and an embarrassment to our great Country,” and, “FAKE NEWS is alive and well.”
  6. A tree gifted to Trump by Macron last week, and planted together by the two men on the White House lawn, disappeared. The sapling was taken from the site of a World War One battle in north-east France, and Macron said should serve as reminder of “these ties that bind us”.
  7. On Monday, WAPO reported Trump has made 3,001 false or misleading claims in the 466 days since he took office, averaging 6.5 claims a day.
  8. On Monday, President Muhammadu Buhari of Nigeria visited the White House. Both leaders tried to avoid conflict over Trump’s “shithole countries” comment. Trump said, “You do have some countries that are in very bad shape and very tough places to live in.”
  9. Trump stirred controversy, saying, “We have had very serious problems with Christians who are being murdered in Nigeria,” ignoring the deaths of Muslims. A Muslim rights groups claimed, Trump “is luring Nigerian Christians into bolder confrontation with Muslims”.
  10. Intercept reported that since Trump took office, from January 2017 to November 2017, Muslim refugee admissions dropped by 94%, from 50% of all refugees to just 10%.
  11. Even while the Supreme Court considers Trump’s Travel Ban, the regime is taking other steps. US embassies have been ordered to intensify their screening process to identify “populations warranting increased scrutiny.”
  12. Trump’s Department of Homeland Security has explored surveillance software and social media screening that could be used to profile Muslims and other minorities. In February, the DHS established a National Vetting Center to identify terrorists and criminals, which has also sounded alarms about surveillance.
  13. Patrick Little, an extremist who has called for the country to be “free from Jews,” and who is backed by David Duke and other far-right extremists, could be the Republican candidate who will face Sen. Dianne Feinstein in November.
  14. Army Times reported the Army is investigating the 101st Airborne chaplains over allegations that without providing any reason, they ended Friday night Shabbat services for Jewish soldiers and their families.
  15. On Tuesday, despite Trump’s vows to keep them out and calling up the National Guard, US officials started allowing in caravan members who are seeking asylum from brutal violence in countries such as El Salvador, Honduras, and Guatemala, bowing to US and international law.
  16. On Wednesday, Jeff Sessions said 35 assistant US attorneys and 18 immigration judges would be sent to the southern border to allow for more cases to be brought against illegal crossings and human smuggling.
  17. On Friday, US border officers granted entry to the last 83 of the 288 caravan members. Concern grew that asylum seekers would be detained indefinitely, or that children would be separated from their parents.
  18. On Friday, Trump’s DHS ended temporary protection status for 57,000 Hondurans in the US since 1999. This follows the regime ending protections for 200,000 Salvadorans, 50,000 Haitians, and 9,000 Nepalis.
  19. On Wednesday, at an event in Arizona, Vice President Pence praised Sheriff Joe Arpaio as a “great friend” of Trump and a “tireless champion of strong borders and the rule of law.”
  20. On Tuesday, Jacob Scott Goodwin, 23, one of the white supremacists who viciously beat a black man in a parking garage in Charlottesville during last year’s “Unite the Right” rally, was found guilty of malicious wounding.
  21. On Wednesday, Iowa’s Republican controlled legislature fast-tracked a bill that would ban abortion once a fetal heartbeat is detected, typically around six weeks, sending what could be the nation’s most restrictive legislation to the governor.
  22. On Friday, in what the Iowa Starting Line described as “A Dark Day in Iowa,” Governor Kim Reynolds signed the bill, banning nearly all abortions in Iowa.
  23. AP reported after two Native American teen brothers visiting Colorado State University arrived 30 minutes late and joined for a campus tour underway, a parent called the campus police to report feeling “nervous” about their presence.
  24. Campus police patted down the teens and released them only after they provided an email proving they had reserved spots on the tour. The school apologized to the boys’ family and issued a letter to the student body.
  25. BuzzFeed reported Sessions’ Justice Department overhauled its manual for federal prosecutors: a section titled “Need for Free Press and Public Trial” was removed, as were references to the department’s work on racial gerrymandering.
  26. New sections include Sessions’ focus on religious liberty and the Trump regime’s efforts to crack down on government leaks. Also added are admonishments not to share classified information and directing prosecutors to report contacts with the media.
  27. On Monday, Robert Redfield, director of the Centers for Disease Control, asked to have his salary reduced after Sen. Patty Murray sent a letter to Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar, questioning why Redfield’s $375,000 annual compensation is more than double that of his predecessor.
  28. On Monday, Reuters reported the Environmental Protection Agency granted Trump ally Carl Icahn’s company, CVR Energy, a waiver which will allow it to avoid tens of millions of dollars in costs related to the US Renewable Fuel Standard program.
  29. Foreign Policy reported that 38 US ambassadorship positions remain unfilled by Trump, leaving the State Department to rely on lower-level officials to pick up the slack, even in embassies of strategic importance.
  30. Unfilled US ambassadorships include hot spots and key allies such as South Korea, Turkey, Mexico, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, and the European Union.
  31. On Tuesday, The Wichita Eagle reported that Kansas lawmakers abandoned a plan to force Kris Kobach to pay contempt of court charges out of his own pocket, meaning Kobach will be able to use state monies.
  32. On Tuesday, California and 17 other states sued the Trump regime, saying Scott Pruitt’s EPA acted “arbitrarily and capriciously” in changing course on greenhouse gas regulations related to auto emissions.
  33. On Thursday, as the position of VA Secretary remained vacant and now without a nominee from Trump, a key healthcare program, Veterans Choice Program, will run out of money in the coming weeks.
  34. Michael Stoker, credited with coining the “Lock her up” chant, was nominated by Trump to lead the EPA’s San Francisco-based regional office, a long-open vacancy. The regime has struggled to find people interested in taking the appointment.
  35. On Sunday, Politico reported Ronny Jackson will not return to his role as White House physician.
  36. On Monday, deputy press secretary Raj Shah said, “Despite published reports, there are no personnel announcements at this time,” and that Jackson “is currently on active duty, assigned to the White House.”
  37. On Monday, CNN reported Vice President Pence’s doctor alerted White House aides that Jackson may have violated federal privacy protections for Pence’s wife, Karen, and intimidated the doctor in confrontations about the violation last fall.
  38. On Friday, Jennifer Pena, the White House physician assigned to Vice President Pence, resigned.
  39. NBC News reported Trump’s former personal doctor for more than 35 years, Dr. Harold Bornstein, said his offices were raided by Keith Schiller, a Trump lawyer, and a third man in February 2017. At the time, Schiller was director of Oval Office operations at the White House.
  40. All medical records were removed. The raid took place two days after Bornstein told a newspaper he had prescribed hair growth medicine for Trump. Bornstein said he felt “raped, frightened and sad.”
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New York City February 2018
  1. On Tuesday, Bornstein told CNN that Trump dictated the glowing letter he issued about Trump’s health, “(Trump) dictated the letter and I would tell him what he couldn’t put in there.”
  2. On Monday, Thomas Homan, Trump’s nominee in November to lead ICE, said he would retire in June after a tumultuous tenure as the agency’s acting director. Homan never had a confirmation hearing.
  3. On Monday night, Nino Perrotta, head of Pruitt’s security team who led his 24-hour detail, resigned. Perrotta is set to testify before the House Oversight Committee on Wednesday.
  4. On Monday, Albert Kelly, a top aide in charge of Superfund sites, also resigned. Kelly is a former banker from Oklahoma who was banned from the industry for life by the FDIC . Last week, lawmakers asked Pruitt to order Kelly to testify before their committee.
  5. On Thursday, Liz Bowman, the top public affairs official at the EPA, became the third top EPA official to resign during the week.
  6. Sam Clovis, former co-chairman on the Trump campaign then nominated to and withdrew from a USDA undersecretary role by Trump, resigned from the Natural Resources Conservation Service.
  7. On Friday, two top FBI aides who worked alongside Comey resigned: James Baker and Lisa Page. Although they came the same day, their resignations were not related.
  8. Baker was one of Comey’s closest confidants. Baker was the FBI’s top lawyer until December 2017, when he was reassigned by FBI director Christopher Wray. Baker has been investigated by the Justice Department on suspicion of sharing classified information with reporters.
  9. Page advised Comey, while serving under his then deputy, Andrew McCabe. She advised FBI leadership on Comey’s decision to hold a news conference to announce the bureau was recommending Hillary Clinton face no charges.
  10. On Monday, Kevin Chmielewski, a whistleblower from the EPA told ABC News Pruitt was “bold-faced” lying in his congressional hearing when he said no EPA employees faced retaliation for raising concerns about his spending decisions.
  11. WAPO reported that shortly after he took office, Pruitt came up a list of at least a dozen countries he wanted to visit, and asked aides to help him find official reasons to travel to each.
  12. Pruitt then recruited friends and political allies to help make the trips happen, raising ethical concerns. So far, Pruitt has travelled to Italy and Morocco, and canceled trips to Australia, Japan, and Israel.
  13. On Tuesday, WAPO reported Richard Smotkin, a former Comcast lobbyist who has known Pruitt for years, helped arrange Pruitt’s controversial trip to Morocco in December 2017.
  14. Records obtained by WAPO show the visit’s cost exceeded $100,000, more than twice what was previously reported. Pruitt was accompanied by eight staffers and his round-the-clock security detail.
  15. In April, Smotkin won a $40,000-a-month contract, retroactive to January, with the Moroccan government to promote the kingdom’s interests. Smotkin registered recently as a foreign agent representing Morocco.
  16. On Thursday, The Atlantic reported Michael Abboud, a member of Pruitt’s press team, shopped negative stories about Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke to multiple outlets in order to divert attention away from Pruitt.
  17. CNN calculated that during Pruitt’s 2010 campaign for Oklahoma attorney general and 2014 re-election campaign, he reimbursed himself for nearly $65,000 of expenses without proper documentation.
  18. Politico reported Michael Roman, a longtime opposition researcher who served in the White House as a special assistant to Trump, resigned. Roman acted as a right-hand man to White House counsel Don McGahn.
  19. On Monday, the cover story for Trump ally David Pecker’s National Enquirer targeted Michael Cohen, trumpeting, “Trump Fixer’s Secrets & Lies,” with a subhead reading: “Payoffs and threats exposed.”
  20. On Tuesday, CNN asked Cohen whether he thought a message was being sent by the story’s publication, and he responded, “What do you think?”
  21. On Monday, ABC News reported that the Trump campaign has spent nearly $228,000 to cover some of the legal defense expenses for Cohenbetween October 2017 and January 2018, possibly violating campaign finance laws.
  22. On Monday, Stephanie Clifford filed a defamation lawsuit against Trump, alleging he attempted to tarnish her reputation by dismissing her account of a man who threatened her in 2011, tweeting the composite sketch was “a total con job.”
  23. On Wednesday, the lawyer for Summer Zervos subpoenaed Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, which owns archives of “The Apprentice,” and the Beverly Hills Hotel, where Zervos says Trump groped her, seeking records to prove that he defamed her.
  24. On Monday, Sen. John McCain released a new book, saying Trump’s“reality show facsimile of toughness” matters more to him than the nation’s values, and comparing the actions of our government under Trump to “crimes of despotic ones.”
  25. On Monday, hours before tariffs on steel and aluminum were scheduled to take effect against Canada, Mexico, Argentina, Australia, Brazi,l and the EU, the Trump regime announced it would hold off until at least June 1.
  26. Sen. Marco Rubio told the Economist that the GOP tax law was a boon to big corporations only saying, “there’s no evidence whatsoever that the money’s been massively poured back into the American worker.”
  27. On Tuesday, former HHS Secretary Tom Price said at the World Health Care Congress that the Republicans repeal of the individual mandate “will harm” people insured through Obamacare because of higher cost.
  28. On Wednesday, Trump tweeted the Obama Administration “has long been asking for three hostages to be released from a North Korean Labor camp, but to no avail.” This is false. Two of the three were arrested after Trump took office.
  29. The Guardian reported the government of Qatar bought a $6.5 million apartment in New York’s Trump World Tower on January 17, soon after an emoluments lawsuit was thrown out on December 21, 2017.
  30. On Thursday, AT&T and Time Warner said in a court filing said they were the victims of differential treatment by the DOJ from other similar transactions. Trump’s DOJ has demanded they sell off networks including CNN.
  31. On Thursday, ProPublica reported Jared Kushner’s ethics disclosure forms have been updated at least 40 times, most recently for misstating financials on two Brooklyn loans.
  32. For one of the Brooklyn projects, 215 Moore Street, BofI Federal Bank took over the mortgage, as the bank did for another Kushner Cos. project in New Jersey. BofI Federal Bank faced a Securities and Exchange Commission investigation last year.
  33. On Thursday, New York State Supreme Court Judge Eileen Bransten ruled that a condominium on the Upper West Side could remove the bronze letters that spell T-R-U-M-P from the building.
  34. On Thursday, House Chaplain Patrick Conroy rescinded his resignation and vowed to stay until the end of the year, saying in a letter that there was no just cause for him to be ousted from the position.
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Williamsburg, Brooklyn, NY February 2018
  1. Within hours, Speaker Paul Ryan reversed his position and said Conroy will remain. Ryan claimed his original rationale was questioning whether Conroy was delivering sufficient “pastoral services” to the entire House.
  2. Trump’s delegation to Beijing left with scant progress in trade talks. China’s President Xi and Vice President Wang refused to meet with the US delegation which included Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and US Trade Representative Lighthizer.
  3. On Monday, Paul Manafort asked a judge to investigate who is leaking nonpublic and possibly classified information about his case to the media, saying the leaks interfere with his right to a free trial and may violate grand jury secrecy rules.
  4. The Atlantic reported the DCCC said it is pledging not to use “illegally stolen and hacked materials” against Republicans in any campaigns in the midterms. The NRCC has so far declined to match that commitment.
  5. On Monday, NYT reported Mueller has 49 questions on an array of subjects he wants to ask Trump about his ties to Russia and to determine whether he obstructed the inquiry itself.
  6. The questions chiefly deal with Trump’s firing of Comey and Michael Flynn, his treatment of Sessions, and the June 9 Trump Tower meeting. They also deal with Trump’s business dealings, including his knowledge of Cohen’s discussions on a Moscow deal.
  7. Questions also include Jared’s attempt to set up back channel communications with Russia; whether Trump had contact with Roger Stone about the DNC hacking; and Trump’s 2013 trip to Moscow for the Miss Universe pageant.
  8. Mueller is also seeking information on what Trump knew about a potential pardon for Flynn, and what Trump knew about campaign aides, including the former chairman Manafort, reaching out for assistance from Moscow.
  9. In January, John Dowd gave Mueller written explanations for a short list of questions, but in early March, Mueller said he needed to interview Trump. When Mueller’s team gave a revised longer list, it cemented Dowd’s view Trump should not sit for an interview. Dowd resigned shortly after.
  10. On Monday, WAPO reported that members of the Trump-allied conservative House Freedom Caucus have drafted a one-page articles of impeachment against Rod Rosenstein.
  11. The draft relates to a dispute with Rosenstein over requests for documents about the decisions and behavior of federal law enforcement in the Russia probe and other probes, including Hillary Clinton’s email server.
  12. On Tuesday, Trump tweeted, “So disgraceful that the questions concerning the Russian Witch Hunt were “leaked” to the media. No questions on Collusion.” This is false. There were more than a dozen on collusion.
  13. Trump also tweeted, “you have a made up, phony crime, Collusion, that never existed, and an investigation begun with illegally leaked classified information,” and “It would seem very hard to obstruct justice for a crime that never happened! Witch Hunt!”
  14. On Tuesday, at the Newseum, Rosenstein was asked about the draft articles of impeachments and responded, “I think they should understand by now that the Department of Justice is not going to be extorted.”
  15. Rosenstein also said he would not comment on documents “that nobody has the courage to put their name on,” adding the threats would not change his behavior.
  16. On Wednesday, Trump joined the House conservatives, tweeting the legal system was “rigged,” and threatening, “At some point I will have no choicebut to use the powers granted to the Presidency and get involved!”
  17. On Wednesday, the Justice Department denied a request by the House Freedom Caucus to view an unredacted version of the August memosigned by Rosenstein, saying turning over the memo would “threaten the integrity” of Mueller investigation.
  18. On Tuesday, WAPO reported on a tense March 5 meeting, at which Trump’s lawyers told Mueller that Trump had no obligation to speak with federal investigators, and Mueller responded he could subpoena Trump to appear before a grand jury.
  19. This was the first mention of a subpoena. Dowd reportedly responded, “This isn’t some game. You are screwing with the work of the president of the United States.”
  20. After the meeting, Mueller’s team agreed to provide more information about the subjects prosecutors wanted to discuss with Trump, from which Jay Sekulow compiled a list of 49 questions he believed Trump would be asked.
  21. On Tuesday, the special counsel office and Flynn agreed to delay Flynn’s sentencing for another 60 days, on top of the original 90 days extension, saying the delay was necessary “due to the status” of the investigation.
  22. On Tuesday, Jill Stein said her campaign would only provide some of the documents requested by the Senate Intelligence Committee about her campaign’s contact with Russians, saying the request was too broad.
  23. On Wednesday, Trump hired Emmet Flood, who represented Bill Clinton during his impeachment, signaling Trump advisers do not see the Mueller probe ending soon, and are worried about Democrats taking control of the House in November.
  24. Flood also worked for George W. Bush to fend off congressional investigators. Press secretary Sarah Sanders said, “Emmet Flood will be joining the White House staff to represent the president and the administration against the Russia witch hunt.”
  25. Flood will replace Ty Cobb who had tried to convince Trump that cooperating would bring the Mueller probe to an end. Flood is expected to take a much more adversarial approach.
  26. On Wednesday, former Trump campaign aide Michael Caputo slammed the Senate Intelligence Committee for its Russia probe which he said had cost him $125,000 in legal fees and is forcing him to relocate to pay off legal fees.
  27. On Wednesday, NYT reported while Manafort faces US charges for money laundering and financial fraud related to his work in Ukraine, in Ukraine, four cases against him have been effectively frozen.
  28. The decision to halt the investigations was handed down to an anti-corruption prosecutor, and coincided with the Trump regime finalizing plans to sell Ukraine sophisticated anti-tank missiles.
  29. Additionally, Ukrainian law enforcement allowed a possible witness of collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia to leave for Russia. Ukrainian politicians have reportedly concluded that any help prosecuting Manafort could bring down Mr. Trump’s wrath.
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New York City February 2018
  1. On Friday, NYT reported the Russian oligarch who was reported in Week 73 to be stopped by Mueller’s team as he stepped off his private plane when it landed at a New York area airport was Viktor Vekselberg.
  2. Federal agents questioned Vekselberg and searched his electronic devices.Vekselberg attended Trump’s inauguration, as well as the 2015 RT dinnerin Russia where Michael Flynn and Jill Stein sat at Putin’s table.
  3. Vekselberg controls a company that has been the largest single shareholder in the Bank of Cyprus. At the time Vekselberg’s company was making the investment, Wilbur Ross was its vice chairman.
  4. Vekselberg, a native of Ukraine, is believed to have a favorable relation with Putin, and is one of the Russian oligarchs on the recent sanction list. He also has long-running business ties to the US.
  5. On Friday, the House Intelligence Committee released a newly unredacted section of its final Russia report detailing testimony from Comey and McCabe. Per the report, McCabe said the two agents who interviewed Michael Flynn “didn’t think he was lying.”
  6. On Friday, CNN reported that Rep. Devin Nunes, after months of demanding an unredacted version of a document from the Justice Department explaining how the Russia investigation began in 2016, has not read the document.
  7. On Wednesday, on Fox News’ “Hannity,” Trump attorney Rudy Giuliani gave a wide-ranging interview. Giuliani revealed Trump reimbursed Cohen for the $130,000 to Stephanie Clifford, contradicting recent prior statement by both Trump and the White House.
  8. Giuliani told Hannity the $130,000 reimbursement “is going to turn out to be perfectly legal. That money was not campaign money,” adding they “funneled it through a law firm and the president repaid it.”
  9. Later in the interview, Giuliani said Trump “didn’t know about the specifics of [the payment] as far as I know,” but Trump “did know about the general arrangement that Michael would take care of things like this.”
  10. Also in the interview, Giuliani said Trump fired Comey because “Comey would not, among other things, say that he wasn’t a target of the investigation.”
  11. Giuliani attacked Comey, saying he should be prosecuted and calling him a “disgraceful liar” and a “very perverted man,” and said, “every FBI agent in America has his head down because of you.”
  12. Giuliani called Hillary “a criminal,” saying, “she should go to jail. I do not know why the Justice Department is not investigating her,” adding, “Comey fixed the whole case.”
  13. Giuliani however warned Mueller to not go after Ivanka, “Ivanka Trump? I think I would get on my charger and go ride into their offices with a lance,” adding “If they go after her, the whole country will turn on them.
  14. When asked about Jared, who has testified in the Mueller probe, Giuliani said, Giuliani called him a “fine man,” but said, “men are disposable.”
  15. Giuliani said of the Mueller probe, “This has become a witch hunt like the president said. And if you look at the questions that are being asked, they’re trap questions. A first-year prosecutor would do better than that.”
  16. Giuliani attacked the Department of Justice, saying the department underSessions is “completely unhinged and out of control. It breaks my heart” adding on Trump’s view of Sessions: he “isn’t that he’s angry, he’s heartbroken. He never expected this from Jeff.
  17. After attacking both Sessions and Rosenstein, Giuliani said, “The two of them can redeem themselves…They should order the investigation over,” adding “the whole investigation was totally unnecessary.”
  18. Giuliani also referred to the FBI agents who searched Cohen’s home, office and hotel room as “storm troopers.”
  19. Late Wednesday, Giuliani told the WSJ that Trump authorized him to announce the reimbursement after a discussion last week, saying Trump told him he was “very pleased…We finally got our side of the story.”
  20. Late Wednesday, Giuliani told BuzzFeed that Cohen “had complained to some people” after the 2016 election that he’d not been fully paid by Trump. Cohen later reportedly met with Trump about the matter.
  21. According to Giuliani, Trump told Cohen, “We’ll cover your expenses,” and agreed to pay him $35,000 a month “out of his personal funds” over the course of a year-long period that began in the first few months of 2017.
  22. On Wednesday, Caputo told CNN about being interviewed in the Mueller probe: “they are still really focused on Russia collusion. They know more about the Trump campaign than anyone who ever worked there.”
  23. Caputo also said of the Mueller probe, “The Senate and the House are net fishing. The special counsel is spearfishing. They know what they are aiming at and are deadly accurate.”
  24. On Thursday, Trump, in a series of tweets, acknowledged the payment to Stephanie Clifford, saying a non-disclosure agreement was “used to stop the false and extortionist accusations made by her about an affair.”
  25. Contrary to his prior statement that he knew nothing of the payment, Trump tweeted these agreements are “very common among celebrities and people of wealth,” adding he “played no roll in this transaction” — misspelling the word “role.”
  26. Trump also tweeted Cohen “received a monthly retainer, not from the campaign and having nothing to do with the campaign,” adding “money from the campaign, or campaign contributions, played no roll in this transaction.”
  27. Shortly after, George Conway, husband of White House counselor Kellyanne Conway, tweeted out a section of the campaign finance lawwhich indicates the payment would be subject to the law, and should have been reported.
  28. On Thursday, at the National Day of Prayer, Trump announced an executive order which would establish a new faith-based office to expand government grants to and partnerships with religiously-affiliated groups.
  29. At the ceremony, Trump said he was responsible for people saying “Merry Christmas” more, and people talking more openly about prayer. Since Trump took office, the position of director of the White House faith-based office has been vacant.
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New York City February 2018
  1. Trump has expanded White House access for conservative Christians — evangelicals, in particular, and also Catholics who are alarmed by the issues like gay rights, and seek to promote conservative religious rights.
  2. On Thursday, Giuliani appeared on “Fox & Friends,” saying Trump didn’t know the details of the payment to Clifford, “$135,000 seems like a lot of money. It’s not when you are putting $100 million into your campaign.”
  3. Giuliani said the payment was not political for Trump, saying Trump “had been hurt personally — not politically, personally — and the first lady by some of the false allegations, that one more false allegation, six years old.”
  4. Giuliani said politics was behind the payment by Cohen, “Imagine if that came out on Oct. 15, 2016, in the middle of the last debate with Hillary Clinton … Cohen didn’t even ask. Cohen made it go away. He did his job.”
  5. On Thursday, Mueller’s team requested an additional 70 blank subpoenas ahead of their trial against Manafort in Alexandria, Virginia, where Manafort faces several charges, including bank fraud.
  6. On Thursday, WAPO reported that McGahn, John Kelly, Sanders, and Flood were not aware of Giuliani’s strategy, or did they know that Trump reimbursed Cohen for the $130,000 paid to Stephanie Clifford.
  7. The shifting story left Trump’s White House in turmoil again. WAPO noted, “It has become standard operating procedure for Trump and his aides to deceive the public with false statements and shifting accounts.”
  8. Giuliani told WAPO he discussed the issue with Trump a few days ago and claimed they agreed to get in front of the narrative by releasing the story publicly: “I saw the opportunity, I was going to get this over with.”
  9. Stephen Ryan, Cohen’s attorney, has been aware of the payment for weeks or months, but didn’t share it because Cohen did not want to appear to be contradicting Trump’s denial in early April.
  10. On Thursday, NBC News reported Cohen’s phones were being wiretapped by federal investigators. The story was later corrected.
  11. On Thursday, when asked for his reaction, Giuliani told The Hill of thefederal investigators in the Cohen case that Sessions should “step in, in his role as defender of justice, and put these people under investigation.”
  12. Later Thursday, NBC News corrected their earlier reporting, saying Cohen’s phone logs were being monitored, not wiretapped where investigators listen in. At least one phone call between Cohen and the White House was logged.
  13. The monitoring of Cohen’s phones was in place in the weeks leading up to the raids on Cohen’s offices, hotel room and home. It is not yet known when the monitoring was originally authorized.
  14. On Friday, Trump slammed NBC News, tweeting “NBC NEWS is wrong again!” adding “They cite “sources” which are constantly wrong….they are fabricated, fiction!” and saying, “now as bad as Fake News CNN. Sad!”
  15. On Friday, Giuliani told NBC News in a telephone interview that Trump wasn’t aware of the payment to Clifford until recently, saying Trump responded, “Oh my goodness, I guess that’s what it was for.”
  16. Giuliani said Trump was subsequently on board with the decision to go public, saying, “You’re not going to see daylight between the president and me. We’re going to work hard to have a consistent strategy.”
  17. On Friday, Trump told reporters Giuliani needed more time to “get his facts straight,” adding “virtually everything said has been said incorrectly,” and noting Giuliani “just started a day ago.”
  18. On Friday, Giuliani released a cryptic statement clarifying his remarks and trying to walk back his claim Trump had repaid Cohen, saying, “My references to timing were…my understanding of these matters.”
  19. On Friday, WAPO reported that press secretary Sanders has told colleagues the Giuliani interview left her in an untenable position. The interview was the first she heard of Trump reimbursing Cohen.
  20. Sanders responded to reporters, “I’ve given the best information I had at the time,” six times when pressed with questions, also answering, “Some information I am aware of, and some I’m not.”
  21. Sanders does not have the personal access to Trump that Hope Hicks enjoyed. Although combative with reporters in public, Sanders is largely regarded as more pleasant and helpful behind the scenes.
  22. On Friday, NYT reported Trump had known about the payment to silence Stephanie Clifford at least several months before he told reporters aboard Air Force One that he had no knowledge of it.
  23. On Friday, WSJ reported according to public records, Cohen gained access to as much as $774,000 through two financial transactions during the 2016 presidential campaign. Giuliani said this week Cohen had resolved problems for Trump beyond Clifford.
  24. Cohen gained access to $529,000 through a new mortgage cosigned by him and his wife on a condominium owned by her parents at Trump World Tower and an additional $245,000 by nearly doubled the amount he could borrow under his bank credit line tied to his Manhattan apartment.
  25. Federal investigators are examining whether Cohen committed bank fraudby making false statements inflating the value of his assets to obtain loans or by misstating the intended purpose of the loans.
  26. Giuliani said this week that Trump had reimbursed Cohen for the Clifford payment through a $35,000-a-month retainer. On Friday, Giuliani said Trump would have done this whether he was running for office or not.
  27. Dallas Morning News reported guns will be banned for appearances by both Pence and Trump at the upcoming National Rifle Association (NRA) convention in Dallas.
  28. On Friday, at the NRA convention, Pence urged state and local leaders to allow qualified school personnel to carry concealed firearms, saying,“The quickest way to stop a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun.”
  29. On Air Force One on the way to the convention, Trump told reporters the NRA is a “great organization that loves this country.” Trump also said he has a “record crowd” attending the convention.
  30. Trump went off script to ridicule former Secretary of State John Kerry : “not the best negotiator we’ve ever seen. He never walked away from the table except to be in that bicycle race where he fell and broke his leg.
  31. On Wednesday, 18 House Republicans and five running for Congress nominated Trump for the Nobel Peace Prize for his efforts to get North Korean leader Kim Jong Un to give up his nuclear weapons program.
  32. On Friday, federal judge T.S. Ellis expressed skepticism about Mueller team’s bank fraud case against Manafort, saying prosecutors’ interest in Manafort was to provide material that would lead to Trump’s “prosecution or impeachment.”
  33. Ellis repeated this suspicion several times, and suggested the charges brought by Mueller’s team in Virginia were designed to pressure Manafort into giving information on Trump or others in the campaign.
  34. Ellis mimicked a prosecutor, saying they weren’t interested in material that didn’t “further our core effort to get Trump” — saying that is why they moved the Cohen case to New York, but kept the Manafort case in Virginia.
  35. Ellis ordered Mueller’s prosecutors to turn over a full, unredacted version of Rosenstein’s August 2 memo which describes the criminal allegations Mueller’s team can investigate, under seal, in two weeks.
  36. On Friday, at the NRA convention, Trump held up the CNN article. As the crowd booed, Trump said, “they have a headline: ‘Judge in Manafort case says Mueller’s aim is to hurt Trump,’” adding “It’s called the witch hunt.”
  37. On Friday, Trump threatened another immigration fight on the upcoming spending bill, saying at the NRA convention, and repeating a mantra from his campaign speech, “They’re not sending their finest, that I can tell you.”
  38. On Friday, Trump reiterated his battle call on immigration, tweeting, “We are going to demand Congress secure the border in the upcoming CR. Illegal immigration must end!”
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New York City February 2018

POLITIKS OF GRAFFITI 77: “DISOBEY”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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