It’s been a whirlwind of a year, and I am now back in the States, hopefully in time to see a massive on November 6th. Blue Wave
*3 of the photos below were taken by me in the past couple of weeks in Germany, and 1 is by a street photographer in New York of a character spotted on Halloween night.
Week 103: Experts in authoritarianism advise to keep a list of things subtly changing around you, so you’ll remember.
November 3, 2018 https://medium.com/@Amy_Siskind/week-103-experts-in-authoritarianism-advise-to-keep-a-list-of-things-subtly-changing-around-you-dcf4cdf871fc
In normal times, after shootings and assassination attempts, our country would expect our head of state to calm things and seek unity. Instead, this week Trump did the exact opposite, Trump announced he will send an additional 5,200 troops to the U.S.-Mexico border, then upped it to 15,000, despite the migrants being weeks away and possibly never arriving. He and his allies and conservative media branded the migrants as carrying diseases, and being MS-13 gang members, child molesters, and violent young men. fanning the flames of hate with a manufactured crisis to gin up his base ahead of midterms.
Trump , and admitting in an interview with ABC News, “When I can, I tell the truth.” Trump continued to attack his political opponents and blame the media — which again this week he called the “enemy of the people” — for the growing violence, divisions, and unrest in our country. With the exception of House Speaker Paul Ryan speaking out one time, the Republicans have been silent, refusing to criticize Trump or ask him to tone down his rhetoric. And at a time of increasing domestic terrorism and uprise of white supremacists, this week Trump continues to ramp up his pace of lies, now averaging 30 false or misleading statement per day cut funding to an Obama-era program to fight violent extremism.
As midterms approach, early voting indicates voter enthusiasm not seen in decades, including a huge surge in young voters in some states.
Was stunned into silence when I saw this. Assumed to be an American tourist. The first-time EVER seeing an actual human being in front of me, wearing that disgusting hat. You truly can’t spell “HAT RED” without that “RED HAT.” Equally shocking, was to see this in Höchst (a district of Frankfurt), Germany, a quaint, quiet, beautiful, little town. I had SO many questions for this guy, but again, I was honestly rendered speechless. Now, I would ask: Who do you think you are? Do you think it’s funny to wear that in Germany? You don’t represent me AT ALL. So, you hate women, blacks, …? I wouldn’t be able to stop. So, I never started. 21oct18.
Following the synagogue attack in Pennsylvania, this was spotted on a wall on Zeil street (the biggest shopping street in Frankfurt seeing thousands of pedestrians a day) – 1nov18 – Germany
This is a photo by Dusty Rebel, NYC street photographer on Halloween night in Brooklyn, NY.
Found this on a wall near Hauptwache station in Frankfurt, Germany earlier this week.
On Saturday, appearing at the Future Farmers of America (FFA) convention shortly after the Pittsburgh massacre,
Trump joked he almost cancelled because his hair got wet, adding, “At least you know it’s mine.” Trump
considered cancelling his evening campaign rally in Illinois — as would be typical for a head of state after a mass shooting — but instead decided to proceed. Trump delivered
pre-scripted remarks at the FFA event, but starting that evening at a campaign rally, he was back to attacking his political opponents, including Rep. Maxine Waters. The attorney for musician
Pharrell Williams sent Trump a cease-and-desist letter after Trump played Williams’ song “Happy” to open his Illinois rally. On Sunday,
the names of the 11 victims were released: Rose Mallinger, 97; Joyce Fienberg, 75; Richard Gottfried, 65; Jerry Rabinowitz, 66; Irving Younger, 69; Daniel Stein, 71; Melvin Wax, 88; Bernice Simon, 84; Sylvan Simon, 86; David Rosenthal, 54; and Cecil Rosenthal, 59. On Sunday,
Trump attacked Democratic megadonor Tom Steyer, a target of a bomb in Week 102, tweeting “Just watched Wacky Tom Steyer,” and “he comes off as a crazed & stumbling lunatic who should be running out of money pretty soon.” Trump later tweeted “
the Fake News is doing everything in their power to blame Republicans, Conservatives and me” for division and hatred, claiming the “Fake & Dishonest reporting” is what causes problems. On Monday, Trump again blamed the media, tweeting the anger in our country is “caused in part by inaccurate, and even fraudulent, reporting of the news,” and
called the media “the true Enemy of the People.” Trump also tweeted the “
Fake News Media…must stop the open & obvious hostility & report the news accurately & fairly,” in order to “bring all sides together in Peace and Harmony. Fake News Must End!” On Monday, press secretary Sarah Sanders
held the first daily press briefing since October 3.
Sanders got in several testy exchanges with reporters. When asked if Trump was capable of toning it down, Sanders said, “You guys have a huge responsibility to play in the divisive nature of this country.” Sanders, two years after the election,
lied saying Trump “got elected by an overwhelming majority of 63 million Americans who came out and supported him.” Trump lost the popular vote by over 3 million ballots. On Sunday,
far-right candidate Jair Bolsonaro won the presidential election in Brazil, capping one of the most polarized and violent political campaigns in the country’s history. Bolsonaro’s presidential campaign was punctuated by openly racist, sexist, and homophobic comments.
Trump called to congratulate him. National security adviser John Bolton praised him as a “like-minded” partner. On Sunday,
Bend the Arc Pittsburgh Steering Committee, a group of Jewish leaders, wrote in an open letter,“Trump, you are not welcome in Pittsburgh until you fully denounce white nationalism.” The letter also called on Trump to stop targeting and endangering all minorities, and to recognize the dignity of all of us.
Over 70,000 signed the open letter. On Monday,
Vice President Pence invited Messianic Rabbi Loren Jacobs to say a prayer for the victims in Pittsburgh during a rally in Michigan. Jacobs drew outrage from many Jews after invoking Jesus during the prayer. On Tuesday, NBC News reported, according to a spokeswoman for the Union of Messianic Jewish Congregations,
Jacobs was defrocked 15 years ago, “after our judicial board found him guilty of libel.” On Tuesday,
Trump visited Pittsburgh to pay tribute to the 11 victims. Mayor Bill Peduto had urged Trump not to visit until after the funerals, saying, “all attention [Tuesday] should be on the victims.” Trump also traveled with
no official public itinerary and little advance planning, and without Pennsylvania Sen. Patrick Toomey ®, or local leaders whom the White House had invited. House Speaker Paul Ryan, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, and Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer
all declined Trump’s invitation to join him.
Thousands of Pittsburgh residents marched in protest of Trump’s visit. Signs read Trump is not welcome in Pittsburgh “until you stop targeting and endangering all minorities.”
Trump has repeatedly denigrated “globalists” despite warnings from Jewish groups that the word is code for Jews in anti-Semitic circles. The word appeared in one of Robert Bowers’ online rants. A mailer for Republican Ed Charamut in Connecticut showed his
Jewish opponent for state Senate wide-eyed with a fistful of money. On Tuesday, a synagogue in Irvine, California was
defaced overnight with anti-Semitic graffiti, including “Fuck Jews.” On Wednesday, when asked by reporters if the unfounded conspiracy theory about
George Soros funding caravan is true, Trump responded “I don’t know who, but I wouldn’t be surprised. A lot of people say yes.” On Friday,
anti-Semitic graffiti was found inside a Brooklyn, New York synagogue, saying “Hitler,” “Jews better be ready,” and “Die Jew rats, we are here!” An event planned for that evening was cancelled. On Monday,
a suspicious package headed to CNN’s worldwide headquarters in Atlanta was intercepted. The FBI said the package was “similar in appearance” to the other 14 found last week. On Monday, federal authorities said
Cesar Sayoc Jr. had prepared a list of 100 potential targets, but did not publicly name the individuals or news organizations. On Sunday, at Game 5 of the World Series between the Red Sox and the Dodgers at Dodger Stadium,
protestors unveiled a banner which read, “TRANS PEOPLE DESERVE TO LIVE.” Bryant Goldbach, a father in Kentucky,
apologized for dressing as a Nazi soldier and his son in an Adolf Hitler costume for a trick or treat event. On Monday, William Dugat,
an eighth-grade principal in Texas, was placed on leave after describing the U.S. on Facebook as “looking like Mexico and South America” with citizens “doomed to have a dirty country.”
Susan Westwood, a white woman, harassed two black women who were waiting for their car to be jumped outside their North Carolina apartment complex, saying disparaging things, and “I’m white” three times. Students at an elementary school in La Quinta, California were
ordered to remove depictions of Mexican culture from a performance about Mexican Independence Day, and told next time to sing ‘Yankee Doodle’ instead. An Idaho school district apologized after photos circulated showing
elementary school staffers wearing Mexican stereotype Halloween costumes and standing behind a cardboard “Make America Great Again” wall. On Monday,
Gab.com, the website used by Pittsburgh synagogue shooter Robert Bowers including his post before the shooting, and a platform for anti-Semitism and white nationalism, was suspended. On Tuesday,
Facebook banned Proud Boys and its founder Gavin McInnes from Facebook and Instagram, citing the New York assaults in Week 101, and the company’s rules against hate groups. On Wednesday, CNN reported that
more than 100 immigrants have waited in line in more than 10 cities carrying paperwork ordering them to appear before a judge, only to find out that court dates had not been scheduled. Some
notices were issued for dates that did not exist (September 31) or for times when the court is closed. Lawyers and advocates say this reflects how chaotic the system has become under the Trump regime. On Friday, the African Burial Ground Monument in Lower Manhattan, a symbol of
New York’s prominent and long-ignored role in colonial African-American culture, was defaced with the words “KILL NIGGERS.” On Tuesday, agricultural dairy cooperative
Land O’Lakes withdrew its support for Rep. Steve King, citing his inflammatory comments on immigration and support for candidates with tie to white supremacists. During a recent trip to
Europe paid for by a Holocaust memorial group, King met with an Austrian far-right party with ties to neo-Nazi groups. Tuesday, King’s seat was moved from “leans” to “likely” Republican. On Tuesday, Rep. Steve Stivers,
chair of the National Republican Congressional Committee, tweeted “King’s recent comments, actions, and retweets are completely inappropriate.”
Stivers added, “We must stand up against white supremacy and hate in all forms, and I strongly condemn this behavior.” The Sioux City Journal, which had endorsed King in previous races, endorsed his opponent. On Friday,
AT&T’s political action committee pulled its support from King over his ties to white nationalists. Semiconductor maker Intel Corp and Purina PetCare also pulled their support from King. On Monday, “Fox & Friends” co-host
Brian Kilmeade suggested migrants may bring diseases into the U.S., saying, “What about diseases? I mean, there’s a reason you can’t bring a kid to school unless he’s inoculated.” Shortly after,
Trump tweeted “many Gang Members and some very bad people are mixed into the Caravan,” adding, “This is an invasion of our Country and our Military is waiting for you!” On Monday,
the Department of Defense announced it will deploy at least 5,200 active-duty troops to the U.S.-Mexico border to prevent migrants from illegally entering the U.S. According to a Homeland Security official,
the troops will join about 2,100 National Guardsmen who are already deployed along the border. The migrants are still nearly 1,000 miles away from the U.S. border. Immigrant advocacy groups and the ACLU criticized the regime sending military forces,
saying migrants are exercising their rights under international and federal laws to seek asylum. The Trump regime is
considering restricting or blocking the migrants’ ability to enter the country, including denying asylum. In a migrant group in the spring, 93% passed the first hurdle towards seeking asylum. On Tuesday,
Newsweek reported on a document that shows the Trump regime was informed that “ only a small percentage” of the migrants traveling with several “caravans” will likely make it to the U.S. border. The Operational documents by a Pentagon official outlining the deployment, dubbed Operation Faithful Patriot, were
sent to the Trump regime before the deployment of the additional 5,200 troops. On Tuesday,
Axios released an interview in which Trump said he plans to sign an executive order that would remove the right to citizenship for babies of non-citizens and unauthorized immigrants born on U.S. soil. Trump said, “You can definitely do it with an Act of Congress. But now they’re
saying I can do it just with an executive order,” claiming he would not need a constitutional amendment to the 14th Amendment.
Trump also falsely claimed, “We’re the only country in the world where a person comes in and has a baby, and the baby is essentially a citizen.” This claim is false: more than 30 countries provide birthright citizenship. Hours later,
House Speaker Paul Ryan, who rarely breaks from Trump, rejected his comments in an interview, saying ”You obviously cannot do that. You cannot end birthright citizenship with an executive order,” NPR issued a fact check saying
the 14th Amendment cannot be overridden by executive order. On Wednesday,
Trump tweeted “Paul Ryan should be focusing on holding the Majority rather than giving his opinions on Birthright Citizenship,” adding, “our new Republican Majority will work on this.” On Wednesday,
Trump tweeted “the Caravans are made up of some very tough fighters and people,” adding they “fought back hard and viciously against Mexico” and soldiers were “unable, or unwilling to stop Caravan.” Trump was referencing an incident Sunday in which some in a caravan of roughly 3,000 migrants threw rocks and bottles when they crossed into Mexico.
One migrant was killed, and dozens were injured. Trump also tweeted, “these Caravans, which are also made up of some very
bad thugs and gang members…TURN AROUND!” Most of those traveling in the caravans are mothers and children seeking asylum. On Wednesday, speaking to reporters,
Trump said he could send up to 15,000 troops to the U.S.-Mexico border, surpassing the number of soldiers currently stationed in Afghanistan. As of
Tuesday, there were 5,239 troops deployed to the border, as well as 2,092 National Guard members. The roughly 7,300 total troops is roughly equal to the number of troops in Iraq and Syria combined. The two caravans, fleeing poverty and violence, each have over 3,000 migrants. At the speed they are traveling,
they are weeks away from the U.S. border. According to a research fellow at the Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments, the cost to
deploy 15,000 active-duty troops through mid-December would range from $90 million to $110 million. On Wednesday,
WAPO reported Trump is mobilizing the powers of the military and federal government in the final days leading up to the midterms to stoke fear and anxieties of his supporters. In addition to the vast deployment to the southern border,
Trump has moved to lower Medicare drug prices and suggested the idea of a 10% tax cut for the middle class, sending officials scrambling.
WAPO reports the cumulative effect has been that Trump has “transformed parts of the federal bureaucracy into a factory of threats, directives and actions — an outgrowth of a campaign strategy.” On Wednesday,
Trump and House and Ways Means Chair Kevin Brady conceded there is no chance of a middle class tax cut this year, despite Trump’s promises in Weeks 101 and 102. On Wednesday, in an interview with ABC News, Trump said he tries to tell the truth: “Well, I try. I do try … and I always want to tell the truth.
When I can, I tell the truth.” Trump said he believes
reporting on the number of migrants in the caravan is too low, saying “I’m pretty good at estimating crowd size. And I’ll tell you they look a lot bigger than people would think.” When asked women and children fleeing violence and seeking asylum, Trump said the crowds are “
mostly young men,” and that women and children in pictures are being purposefully posed for the cameras. On Wednesday,
Trump revived the ‘Willie Horton’ tactic, tweeting a new ad linking Luis Bracamontes, a twice-deported Mexican immigrant who was given the death penalty for killing police officers, to the Democrats. The ad says, “Illegal immigrant, Luis Bracamontes, killed our people!” and “
Democrats let him into our country. . . . Democrats let him stay.” Bracamontes can be heard saying, “I’m going to kill more cops soon.” In 1988, when a similar ad ran supporting George H.W. Bush,
the Bush campaign had publicly distanced itself from the ad. Trump instead pinned the videos, which critics say is “far worse” than the 1988 ad, to his page. On Wednesday, at a campaign rally in Florida, Trump attacked Democrats, immigrants, and the media,
which he called the “enemy of the people.” On Thursday, providing no evidence, Sen. Chuck Grassley cited “Law Enforcement Sensitive” information, but provided no details and said
members of the caravan are child molesters and MS-13 gang members. On Thursday, in an address from the White House, Trump said
the regime was preparing to change the country’s asylum practices ahead of the caravans of migrants approaching. Trump said migrants were taking advantage of the asylum process by making false claims of persecution, and
vowed to build “tent cities” to detain asylum seekers until their court hearings. Trump also
falsely claimed that just 3% of asylum seekers show up for court. According to the Justice Department, it was 89% last year, 91% in 2016, 93% in 2015, and 94% in 2014. Trump also said, unlike Mexico, U.S. troops would not accept bottles or stones being thrown at them, telling reporters “
They want to throw rocks at our military, our military fights back. I told them to consider it a rifle.” On Friday,
NYT reported the Nigerian Army, which has been criticized for rampant human rights abuses, used Trump’s words to justify its fatal shootings of rock-throwing protesters. The Nigerian Army claimed to have killed
three of the protestors who had hurled rocks at heavily armed soldiers. Amnesty International and leaders of the protest said more than 40 people were killed. On Friday,
Trump backed off from his Thursday remarks, telling reporters on the South Lawn that migrants who throw stones at members of the U.S. military at the border will be arrested, not shot. Trump again invoked Mexico, calling it “disgraceful,”adding, “they hit them with rocks and some were very seriously injured.” But,
Trump falsely claimed, “I didn’t say shoot,” saying rock throwers will be arrested. On Friday, CNN reported that
the Pentagon rejected an October 26 request by the Trump regime for troops to take on duties viewed as law enforcement functions, such as crowd and traffic control. NBC News reported the
Trump regime will not renew the Obama-era Countering Violent Extremism Grant Program set up to fight domestic terrorism. The program has a $10 million budget run through the Department of Homeland Security. The
only grant that specifically fought white supremacists, made to Chicago-based Life After Hate to dissuade young people them from following supremacist ideology, was excluded from funding. Recipients who did receive funding through the DHS Office of Terrorism Prevention Partnerships were told it was a “one time” opportunity, and on Tuesday,
reference to future funding was removed from the website.
Motherboard reported social media posts of American citizens who oppose Trump are the focus of the latest U.S. military research, funded by the U.S. Army and West Point Military Academy. The research is part of a
wider effort by the Trump regime to consolidate the U.S. military’s role and influence on domestic intelligence, and keeps details of the program outside the scope of Freedom of Information Act. The
ACLU filed several FOIA requests to U.S. government agencies over concern had “spiked” under Trump. FOIA requests have not revealed the technologies being deployed. s that domestic social media surveillance On Monday, the
U.S. Treasury estimated it will issue $1.3 trillion in debt in 2018, compared to $546 billion in 2017, citing higher government spending and sluggish tax revenues resulting from the GOP tax cut. On Monday,
Julian Assange told reporters that Ecuador is seeking to end his asylum in its London embassy and hand him over to the U.S., claiming newly imposed rules were meant to push him out.
Assange is challenging the Ecuadorian government in a lawsuit for requiring him to pay for medical bills, phone calls, and clean up after his cat. An official said Assange’s stay had cost the country $6 million. On Tuesday,
WSJ reported Mueller’s team is examining at least two August conference calls advertised online to the public in which Roger Stonepromoted himself as “the ultimate political insider.” Stone reportedly
told listeners about WikiLeaks’ plans to release information that would affect the 2016 presidential campaign before the election. In one call, Stone said he was in touch with Julian Assange. On Tuesday, the
Atlantic reported Mueller has asked the FBI to investigate a company run by a pro-Trump conspiracy theorist which offered to paywomen to make false claims against him in the days ahead of midterms. A spokesperson for Mueller’s team
confirmed allegations came to their attention by several journalists, who were contacted by a Lorraine Parsons. Jennifer Taub also contacted Mueller’s office with similar information. Parsons said in an email
she had been offered $20,000 by a man claiming to work for a firm called Surefire Intelligence “to make accusations of sexual misconduct and workplace harassment” against Mueller.
Surefire Intelligence was hired by Republican activist Jack Burkman. Taub, a law professor who had never met Mueller, was also contacted by Surefire, which was incorporated in Delaware less than three weeks ago. On Tuesday, Burkman, who has peddled other conspiracy theories, tweeted that
he would hold a press conference two days later to “reveal the first of Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s sex assault victims.” Also Tuesday,
Jacob Wohl, a writer for , tweeted “Several media sources tell me that a scandalous story about Mueller is breaking tomorrow. Should be interesting. Stay tuned!” Gateway Pundit On Tuesday, NBC News reported Wohl’s email is listed in the domain records for Surefire Intelligence’s website and
calls to a number listed on its website went to voicemail for a phone number listed as Wohl’s mother. On Thursday, at a news conference organized by
Burkman and Wohl, the alleged victim of Mueller was a no-show. Instead Wohl and Burkman took turns speaking at the podium, detailing the allegations. On Tuesday,
WAPO reported as part of its investigation, Mueller’s team is examining whether WikiLeaks coordinated its activities with Roger Stone and the Trump campaign, including the group’s timing.
Mueller’s team interviewed Stephen Bannon, Trump’s then chief strategist, about claims Stone is said to have made privately about WikiLeaks before the group released emails that prosecutors said were hacked by Russians. On Wednesday,
Reuters reported the Senate Intelligence Committee is pursuing a wide-ranging examination of Bannon’s activities during the 2016 presidential campaign. The committee is
investigating what information Bannon might have about contacts during the campaign between Moscow and Trump campaign advisers George Papadopoulos and Carter Page. On Thursday,
NYT revealed emails between Stone, Bannon, and Matthew Boyle, Breitbart’s Washington editor, in early October 2016 discussing the release of Hillary Clinton campaign emails stolen by Russians. The emails discuss the timing of Julian Assange’s WikiLeaks releasing the stolen emails, and provide
evidence of a connection to the Trump campaign, where Bannon, formerly of Breitbart, was chief executive. The emails reveal Breitbart News was closely intertwined with the Trump campaign, and that people in
Bannon’s orbit saw Stone as a direct link to WikiLeaks. Stone had been trying to get in touch with Bannon to tell him about Assange’s plan. When Assange publicly announced the release of the stolen emails,
Bannon contacted Stone to ask about Assange’s plan. On Thursday, the
Guardian reported Arron Banks faces a criminal inquiry of his unofficial leave campaign in the Brexit referendum. Some MP’s have called for the process of departing the European Union to be suspended. The National Crime Agency will
examine Arron Banks’ contacts with Russian officials, and a series of deals offered to him by Moscow. Banks has repeated denied taking money from Russians.
The Daily Beast reported that the Senate Intelligence Committee has asked the National Rifle Association to provide documents on its connections to Russia, including a 2015 trip some of its top leaders made to Moscow. On Monday, at a religious freedom conference,
Rev. Will Green interrupted Attorney General Jeff Sessions, saying “Brother Jeff, as a fellow United Methodist I call upon you to repent, to care for those in need.” Security escorted Green out of the room. Rev. Darrell Hamilton II said “That is a person that
represents the Christian tradition, the faith that everyone here professes to believe in.” He was also escorted out. On Monday,
AP obtained an October 22 letter sent by former president Jimmy Carter to secretary of state Brian Kemp, calling on him to resign in order to “ensure the confidence of our citizens in the outcome.” On Tuesday,
NYT reported in North Dakota, tribal governments are working feverishly to provide the necessary identification to voters. Some Native Americans believe their anger could actually fuel higher turnout. On Tuesday,
the Spirit Lake Tribe filed a complaint against North Dakota Secretary of State to stop the new voter identification law before the midterms, saying the law disenfranchises voters living on reservations. The suit, also filed by the Campaign Legal Center,
described mass confusion and bureaucratic obstacles as Native Americans tried to obtain the addresses and corresponding identification now required. On Thursday, a federal judge, appointed by George W. Bush, refused to block North Dakota’s ID law, and said in a brief, two-page order that
it was simply too close to Election Day to do so. On Thursday, a judge
ruled against a restraining order requesting an additional polling place in Dodge City, Kansas, saying “the court cannot order defendant to open another polling location” five days prior to the election. The judge noted that Ford County Clerk Deborah Cox’s response to the ACLU’s October 19 letter was troubling: instead of replying,
she forwarded the letter to the Secretary of State’s office with the comment “LOL.” On Wednesday,
federal judges ordered Ohio to allow voters who had been purged for not voting over a six-year period to participate in midterms. The ruling overturned a federal judge’s ruling from early October which said the purge was not illegal. On Friday, a federal judge in
Georgia ordered new U.S. citizens must be allowed to vote if they show proof of citizenship at the polls, citing with Kemp’s process, citizens were being turned away. The ruling
could affect more than 3,000 people whose registrations have been placed on hold. In all, there are still nearly 47,000 pending voter registrations in Georgia because of the state’s “exact match” law. On Wednesday,
WAPO reported the office of acting inspector general, Mary Kendall referred one of its three probes into the conduct of Secretary Ryan Zinke to the Justice Department for further investigation.
Zinke is reportedly looking for a political nominee to replace Kendall. In Week 101, Department of Housing and Urban Development Secretary Ben Carson said in an email to his staff that Suzanne Tufts would take the role, but Zinke later denied this. The probe referred
relates to Zinke’s role in a Montana land development deal backed by David Lesar, chairman of the oil services firm Halliburton, first reported in Week 89. The foundation is now headed by Zinke’s wife. On Wednesday, CNN reported that
Don McGahn ended his time as White House counsel with a contentious last conversation with Trump, in which Trump blamed him for Robert Mueller being appointed special counsel. Trump complained that the appointment happened on McGahn’s watch. One source said
Trump’s frustration about Mueller is another example of him shifting blame for the ongoing Russia investigation.
Politico reported Trump could see a further exodus of up to six Cabinet officials after midterms. Nikki Haley has already resigned, and Sessions, whom Trump frequently criticizes, is expected to be fired.
Others could include Defense Secretary Jim Mattis, Zinke, Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross, and Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen. An aide said Trump is looking to bring on better performers.
Foreign Policy reported under a proposal being floated to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, U.S. diplomats at the United Nations would be prohibited from using phrases like “sexual and reproductive health.” Internal memos show the growing influence of conservative Christians inside the regime, and efforts to
scale back programs vital to women’s health relating to abortion and sexual activity among young people.
Motherboard reported the EPA.gov pages that provided information about climate change have been changed from claiming that they are “updating” to an error message indicating they have been removed. On Wednesday,
WAPO reported according to a proposed order, Trump has agreed to produce portions of his calendar from 2007 and 2008 as part of discovery in a defamation lawsuit brought by Summer Zervos. On Friday, a judge in Maryland
denied the Justice Department’s request to pause the emoluments clause lawsuit alleging that Trump is violating the Constitution in order to allow a higher court to intervene. The judge also sharply questioned Trump’s position that his business does not improperly accept gifts or payments. The decision could
pave the way for plaintiffs to seek documents related to Trump’s D.C. hotel. On Friday,
Michael Cohen shares numerous examples with , including “Name one country run by a black person that’s not a shithole…Name one city.” Vanity Fair of racist remarks made by Trump
Cohen also alleges that Trump told him, “black people are too stupid to vote for me,” and said about Kwame Jackson, a contestant on “The Apprentice,” “There’s no way I can let this black f-g win.”
NYT reported the candidates in the midterms are the most diverse set to run in U.S. history: 272 of the 964 are women, 215 are black, Hispanic, Asian, Native American or multiracial, and 26 are LGBTQ individuals. Polling firms reported a
sharp increase in early voting for 18–29 year-olds in midterms compared to 2014: Tennessee, after Taylor Swift’s urging, is up 767%, Georgia up 415%, Texas up 448%, and Nevada up 364%. On Friday, Twitter announced it has
removed more than 10,000 automated accounts that appeared to be Democrats, and were posting messages discouraging people from voting in the midterms. An ABC News/
Washington Post poll found 49% of Americans believe the way Trump speaks motivates violence, versus 19% who believe it discourages violence. On Friday, when asked about the poll by an ABC News reporter, Trump responded, “You know what,
you’re creating violence by your question. You are creating. You,” pointing directly at the reporter.
Trump also said, “The fake news is creating violence,” adding, “I’ll tell you what, if the media would write correctly and write accurately and write fairly, you’d have a lot less violence in the country.” On Friday, for the first time in the newspaper’s history,
the Pittsburgh , a traditional Jewish mourners’ prayer, on its front page to honor synagogue shooting victims. Post-Gazette put the opening words of the Kaddish On Friday,
WAPO reported according to The Fact Checker’s database, Trump has made 6,420 false or misleading claims in his 649 days in office. In the first nine months in office, Trump averaged five false or misleading claims per day. In the seven weeks leading up the midterms,
Trump is averaging 30 false or misleading claims per day. On Friday, CREW reported
the White House secretly granted an ethics waiver for Solicitor General Noel Francisco, which would allow him to take on oversight of the Mueller probe if Rod Rosenstein was fired or quit. Francisco’s former firm,
Jones Day, represents the Trump Presidential Campaign in the Special Counsel investigation. The firm still owes Francisco half a million dollars. Additionally, Francisco appeared before the DOJ as a member of a “Landing Team” on behalf of Trump’s Transition Team.
The waiver is not included on an online list maintained by the Office of Government Ethics.
Week 95: Experts in authoritarianism advise to keep a list of things subtly changing around you, so you’ll remember.
September 8, 2018 https://medium.com/@Amy_Siskind/week-95-experts-in-authoritarianism-advise-to-keep-a-list-of-things-subtly-changing-around-you-so-5fcebd7e661
This week, the country watched the contentious Senate hearings for Trump’s Supreme Court nominee, . Brett Kavanaugh. Senator Patrick Leahy called it the “most incomplete, most partisan, least transparent” vetting of a Supreme Court nominee in his forty-four years in the senate As hearings wrapped up, questions linger about whether Kavanaugh has lied under oath in this and past judicial hearings, as well as whether Trump had selected Kavanaugh, who was not on his 2016 campaign list, in order to protect himself from the Mueller probe.
This week was also dominated by previews of Bob Woodward’s upcoming book “Fear” on Trump’s White House, and an explosive opinion piece in the Times by an anonymous senior official in the Trump regime. Both seemed to suggest that , Trump is unfit for office, and his White House is operating chaotically potentially exposing the country to danger. Trump lashed out, seeking to discredit Woodward, and summoning his Justice Department to investigate the NYT for what he described as “treason.”
As the week came to a close, former President Obama re-emerged on the national political scene, two months ahead of midterms, calling out Trump by name, and rallying voters to be engaged. As with the funeral of Sen. John McCain in Week 94, Obama’s presence, in sharp contrast to Trump, served as a reminder of how far from normalcy our country has strayed since Trump took office.
“Dear Mother Mary, Please take Putin away.” Kyiv, Ukraine. 7sep18.
ABC News reported press secretary Sarah Sanders spent a combined
three hours and 58 minutes at 13 press briefings during June, July, and August — significantly less than last summer and in prior administrations.
WAPO reported that after 592 days in office, Trump has made 4,713 false or misleading claims. Although he averaged 4.9 claims per day in his first 100 days, in the past 3 months he has averaged 15.4 false claims per day. After June with
534 false or misleading claims, August ranked second with 469 claims. Immigration is the top source of Trump’s misleading claims, now totaling 592 claims.
NYT compiled a list of Trump ethical lapses in the Trump regime so far. First, five who have been convicted of or have pleaded guilty to crimes five, including Michael Cohen, Paul Manafort, George Papadopoulos, Rick Gates, and Michael Flynn.
Second, seven current and former Cabinet officials have misspent taxpayer money or violated ethics rules, including Scott Pruitt, Ben Carson, David Shulkin, Wilbur Ross, Tom Price, Brenda Fitzgerald, and Nikki Haley.
Finally, four current or former White House staffers have security or ethics issues, including Rob Porter, Dan Scavino Jr., Kellyanne Conway, and John McEntee. In a letter to the Senate Judiciary Committee last Friday,
Trump said he will not release 102,000 pages of records from Kavanaugh’s tenure for George W. Bush, claiming they would be covered by executive privilege. On Sunday talk shows,
Democratic members of the Senate Judiciary Committee spoke out against Trump’s refusal to release records. Dick Durbin said there’s “more concealment of documents…than ever in the history” of the country, and Amy Klobuchar said, “This is not normal.” On Sunday,
Axios reported Omarosa taped nearly every conversation she had while working in the White House. She carried two phones, allowing her to record conversations she was having on one phone on the other. On Sunday, in an op-ed at the
Des Moines Register, Mollie Tibbett’s father asked that people not distort her death to advance racist views: “On behalf of my family and Mollie’s memory, I’m imploring you to stop.” An
Idaho white supremacist group placed a robocall in Florida targeting Democrat Andrew Gillum, saying “Well hello there. I is Andrew Gillum,” and in the background are sounds of drums and monkeys. The calls end saying they were funded by The Road to Power, an anti-Semitic, white supremacist website, which also did robocalls in Week 94
using the death of Mollie Tibbetts to promote white supremacist messages. On Sunday, members at the North Austin
Muslim Community Center in Austin, Texas said someone tried to break into their building. Photos show shattered glass on the front door and side entrance. Vassar College said the students responsible for
creating and distributing a “disorientation” guide that is “provocative of violence and anti-Semitism” distributed to incoming freshmen last week will face penalties. On Monday,
New Yorker editor David Remnick canceled a scheduled appearance by Steve Bannon at the magazine’s October festival, after a social media backlash and several notables pulled out in protest. On Wednesday, the
Atlantic reported Daily Caller writer and editor Scott Greer wrote under a pseudonym for an alt-right website associated with Richard Spencer. Greer severed ties with The Daily Caller after the Atlanticreporting. On Wednesday, the
Justice Department issued subpoenas demanding millions of North Carolina voter records be turned over to ICE by September 25, threatening chaos two months ahead of midterms. The secretive move appeared to be part of an
effort to crack down on unauthorized voting, after federal officials announced 19 noncitizens in North Carolina were charged last week with casting illegal votes in 2016. Critics speculated the move was a
continuation of the work by the Trump regime’s Election Integrity Commission, which was disbanded in January after finding no evidence of significant fraud or a corrupt voting system. On Thursday,
ProPublica reported internal documents from a Chicago shelter for migrant children forcibly separated from their parents, one of the nation’s largest networks for unaccompanied minors, reveal despair and tedium. Documents reveal children considering suicide, going on a hunger strike, contemplating escape.
A 10-month-old boy was repeatedly bitten by an older child and later hospitalized after falling from a highchair. On Thursday, the Trump regime announced a new rule which would
allow immigrant children with their parents to be held in detention indefinitely, upending a ban on indefinite detention in place since 1997. The rule proposed by
the departments Homeland Security and Health and Human Services is meant to terminate the Flores settlement agreement which says children must be released in 20 days, citing court backlogs can drag out the time immigrants must wait. On Thursday, in a court document, the Trump regime said
416 migrant children separated under Trump’s zero-tolerance policy have yet to be reunited with their parents, 14 of which are under 5 years-old. On Monday, NBC News anchor Chuck Todd said in an op-ed
it was time for the press to stop complaining and start fighting back, citing Trump’s “campaign to destroy the legitimacy of the American news media.” On Tuesday,
Trump shot back at “Sleepy Eyes Chuck Todd of Fake NBC News” in a tweet, saying of the media they have been fighting: “They’ve gone all out, and I WON, and now they’re going CRAZY!” Trump also called out “NBC FAKE NEWS” over their killing of the Harvey Weinstein story, and again
called for reexamining NBC’s TV license, which it does not have. The FCC does not issue licenses to TV networks. On Tuesday, in an interview with
The Daily Caller, Trump said of NBC and their pattern of alleged corruption, “Well, not only NBC, I think the media, large segments of the, not all, large segments of the media are corrupt.”
Trump also said about Chuck Todd, “He’s Sleepy Eyes Chuck Todd. He covers me very dishonestly,” and of CNN commentator Ana Navarro, “she’s sick. I mean, she’s sick.” Trump told
The Daily Caller on the topic of Mueller, “I could give you 100 pictures of him and Comey hugging and kissing each other. You know, he’s Comey’s best friend.” No such pictures have been made public. On Monday,
The Young Turks reported federal documents show at least two former clients of FEMA Administrator William “Brock” Long have received FEMA contracts totaling more than $14 million. Long joined FEMA in June 2017 after six years at Hagerty Consulting, a disaster consulting firm.
Eagle Hill won a $53k contract from FEMA, while Booz Allen got multiples contracts totaling approximately $14 million. On Tuesday,
AP reported analysis completed by Trump’s EPA concluded that the rollback of pollution rules would lead to a greater number of people dying prematurely and suffering health problems in coal country. The
EPA analysis found Trump’s plan would lead to thousands more heart attacks, asthma problems, and other illnesses that would not have occurred under the Obama administration’s plan. On Thursday, the
Guardian reported, according to documents released under the FOIA, a government photographer edited official pictures of Trump’s inauguration to make the crowd appear bigger. Documents provided by the inspector general of the Department of Interior
reveal an early morning call between Trump and the acting National Park Service director, Michael Reynolds on January 21, 2017. Documents also show that Sean Spicer, then White House press secretary, called
NPS officials repeatedly that same day to follow up on making the photos more flattering. On Monday, Nike revealed Colin Kaepernick, the former NFL quarterback who drew Trump’s ire by kneeling during the national anthem,
as a face of its campaign for the 30th anniversary of “Just Do It.” The caption for Kaepernick read: “
Believe in something. Even if it means sacrificing everything.” Kaepernick has sued the NFL for collusion, citing no team would employ him up after he protested. On Tuesday, in an interview with
The Daily Caller, Trump said Nike sent a “terrible message” picking Kaepernick, and added Nike was a tenant of his and paid “a lot of rent,” referring to its Niketown store on East 57th Street.
Trump supporters responded by trending #BoycottNike, and showing photos and videos on social media of Nike products being set on fire, cut up, or otherwise destroyed. On Wednesday, Trump tweeted, “Just like the NFL,
whose ratings have gone WAY DOWN, Nike is getting absolutely killed with anger and boycotts,” adding, of the NFL, “I just find it hard to watch, and always will, until they stand for the FLAG!” On Friday, Edison Trends reported
Nike sales grew 31% from the Sunday of Labor Day weekend through Tuesday, as compared with a 17% gain in the prior year. Nike’s stock also rebounded back. On Tuesday, the Senate Judiciary Committee hearing for Kavanaugh began.
Hours before the hearing, the White House sent 42,000 pages of documents to the committee that had been previously withheld. Democrats complained that William Burck, a private attorney who is a Kavanaugh associate, and works for George W. Bush and worked with Bush’s presidential library,
is deciding which documents can be released. Democrats also complained just
4% of Kavanaugh’s White House records have been made public, and 7% have been made available to the committee. That compares to 99% of Justice Elena Kagan’s White House records. Women dressed as handmaids from the Hulu series, “
The Handmaid’s Tale,” stood lining the halls outside the hearing room.
U.S. Capitol Police said they had made 70 arrests on the first day of hearings, which was marked by frequent outbursts by protestors. On Tuesday, in an interview with
The Daily Caller, Trump called the anti-Kavanaugh protestors “an embarrassment to the country,” adding, “in the old days, we used to throw them out.” On Wednesday, the second day of Kavanaugh hearings,
the number of seats for the public were reduced by half, from 48 to 24. Following media inquiries, the committee restored the full 48 seats six hours later.
NYT reported on hundreds of pages of emails detailing Maria Butina’s work with former N.R.A president David Keene, and his wife Donna, a Washington D.C. lobbyist, to pursue a big pay day for brokering jet fuel. On Sunday,
NYT reported the FBI and Justice Department attempted to gain cooperation from roughly a half-dozen Russian oligarchs. Bruce Ohr and Christopher Steele were involved in the effort. Between 2014 and 2016,
agents unsuccessfully tried to turn Oleg Deripaska into an informant to get information on Russian organized crime and later on Russian aid to Trump’s 2016 campaign. The
Daily Beast reported Nell Hughes, a highly-visible Trump surrogate on CNN during the 2016 election, took a new job with Russian-state media outlet, RT. On Tuesday,
NYT reported Mueller’s team told Trump’s lawyers in a letter that they will accept written answers from Trump on whether his campaign conspired with Russia’s election interference.
Mueller did not say he was giving up on an interview altogether, including on questions of obstruction of justice; but the tone of the letter indicates the scope may be more limited than Trump’s team initially believed. On Thursday, Rudy Giuliani told
AP early in the day that Trump would not voluntarily submit to an interview. Later, he told would provide some written answers, and has not ruled out an interview. Politico Trump On Wednesday,
U.K. authorities charged two men it says are Russian G.R.U. military intelligence officers, Alexander Petrov and Ruslan Boshirov, with the nerve-agent poisoning of Sergei Skripal. Prime Minister May said the use of a chemical weapon, which left a British woman dead and four people seriously ill, was carried out by officers and was
almost certainly approved “at a senior level of the Russian state.”
Reuters reported PM May had briefed Trump on Tuesday evening, ahead of the charges. Trump did not issue any comment or tweet. On Wednesday,
NYT reported Mueller’ team subpoenaed Jerome Corsi, a conspiracy theorist with links to Roger Stone, to testify on Friday before a federal grand jury in Washington, D.C. on Russia’s election interference. Corsi, who previously worked for Alex Jones’
Infowars, was also one of the people whom Trump, before he was a candidate, contacted for information Obama’s birth certificate in pressing the false birther claim.
Corsi did not testify on Friday. His attorney spoke to Mueller’s office Thursday to negotiate a voluntary interview for his client in lieu of a grand jury appearance. The topic is thought to be Corsi’s contacts with Stone.
Corsi shared research with Stone around the same time Stone said he was in contact with Julian Assange and had advance knowledge of WikiLeaks’ releases of the hacked emails. On Friday, radio host
Randy Credico, an associate of Stone, with a dog in tow, testified before Mueller’s grand jury. Credico’s attorney said, “Mr. Credico’s testimony was concerning his relationship with Roger Stone.” On Tuesday,
WAPO reported on Bob Woodward’s upcoming book, “Fear,” which is drawn from hundreds of hours of interviews with firsthand participants and witnesses that were conducted on “deep background.” The book describes John Dowd
conducting a mock interview with Trump, which provoked stumbles, contradictions and lies from Trump. Dowd said Trump could end up in “an orange jumpsuit” if he testifies. Trump’s national security team was
shaken by his lack of curiosity and knowledge about world affairs, and contempt of mainstream perspectives. Jim Mattis said Trump had the understanding of a “a fifth- or sixth-grader.” Gary Cohn
removed documents from Trump’s desk to avoid him signing. Trump said of his initial speech after Charlottesville condemning white supremacists, “That was the biggest fucking mistake I’ve made.” On Tuesday,
Trump tweeted the book “has already been refuted and discredited” by Chief of Staff John Kelly and Defense Secretary Mattis, saying, “their quotes were made up frauds,” and “Woodward is a Dem operative.” Trump also tweeted the book, “
has me calling Jeff Sessions “mentally retarded” and “a dumb southerner.” I said NEITHER,” adding, “never used those terms on anyone.” A video surfaced of Trump saying “retarded” Trump also told
The Daily Caller that Woodward had not interviewed him for the book, saying, “I probably would have preferred to speak to him, but maybe not…He wanted to write the book a certain way.”
WAPO released the audio of Woodward seeking an interview with Trump as he was writing the book. Trump said no, and then called Woodward in August to say he would participate after the manuscript was done. On Wednesday,
Axios reported Trump’s White House was caught flat-footed and unprepared by the explosive content in Woodward’s book, and that no one had seen an advance copy, similar to Omarosa’s book. On Wednesday, press secretary Sanders told “Good Morning America” that
Woodward’s hundreds of hours of tapes are probably come from “disgruntled former employees” and “a lot of anonymous sources.” On Wednesday, Trump
tweeted a statement by Kelly, denying a passage in Woodward’s book that he called Trump an “idiot” and other negative things: “The idea I ever called the President an idiot is not true.” Trump also tweeted out a
statement by Mattis denying what is attributed to him in the book. Trump wrote, “Thank you General Mattis, book is boring & untrue!” Throughout, Woodward said he stood by his reporting. He provided CNN a
copy of a letter Cohn stole from Trump’s desk described in the book, which would have terminated a free trade deal with South Korea. On Wednesday,
Vanity Fair reported after news of the Woodward book broke, “ pandemonium” broke out as the West Wing came to a standstill. Current and former staffers pointed the finger in all directions for leaks. Reportedly
after the McCain funeral, Ivanka and Kushner told Trump that if they are going to last in Washington, he needs to get control of himself, saying they cannot be this far off the mark with the establishment. On Tuesday, Laura Kelly, the former Republican governor of Kansas,
endorsed the Democrat running for governor over GOP nominee Kris Kobach. On Tuesday, in the Massachusetts primary,
Ayanna Pressley — a black, female, Bostonian — sent shock waves after beating 10-term incumbent Michael Capuano by 17 points for a congressional seat once held by J.F.K. On Wednesday, at a hearing before the Senate Intelligence Committee,
Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg testified, “We were too slow to spot this and too slow to act” relating to Russian interference in the 2016 election. Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey testified
the company found itself unprepared and ill-equipped for the immensity of the problems it faced: abuse, harassment, troll armies, propaganda and misinformation. Google, which has been under attack from Trump and his allies for allegedly rigging search results against Trump and conservatives,
did not show up for the hearings. Outside the Senate Intelligence hearings,
Alex Jones taunted Sen. Marco Rubio as he was speaking to the media, calling him a “little gangster thug” and “frat boy.” After Jones patted him, Rubio said, “not to touch me again.” On Thursday, joining Facebook, Apple, and Google,
Twitter permanently suspended Alex Jones’s account, as well as the account for Infowars, citing, “videos posted yesterday that violate our abusive behavior policy.” On Monday,
Trump blasted attorney general Sessions, tweeting, “investigations of two very popular Republican Congressmen” were charged right before midterms, saying Democrats, “must love him now.” On Wednesday,
Sessions announced he was gathering state attorneys general to examine whether tech companies like Google, Facebook and Twitter are “intentionally stifling the free exchange of ideas” online. On Friday,
WAPO reported Democratic attorneys general have not yet been invited by Sessions to the Justice Department’s upcoming review of tech companies, prompting charges that the inquiry is a politically motivated attack.
Attorneys general from two tech hubs, California and New York, as well as officials from Connecticut and Washington, which are active on issues related to technology, consumer protection, and antitrust, were not invited. On Wednesday, a poll conducted by the
Kaiser Family Foundation poll found Trump’s approval rating has dropped to 37%. This third poll follows two polls in Week 94 which found his approval had dropped to 36%. On Thursday, a weekly survey conducted for
The Economist found Trump’s approval rating had fallen to 38%, two points above his all-time low in December. His approval was pulled down by college-educated whites. On Wednesday,
NYT published an anonymous op-ed by a senior Trump official who claimed to be part of the resistance inside the Trump regimewho have vowed to “thwart parts of his agenda and his worst inclinations.” The official wrote “
the root of the problem” is Trump’s “amorality,” adding, “he is not moored to any discernible first principles that guide his decision making,” and he is “impetuous, adversarial, petty and ineffective.” The official wrote that there were “
early whispers” of the Cabinet invoking the 25th Amendment to remove Trump, but decided instead to avoid a constitutional crisis and work within the administration to contain him. On Wednesday,
WAPO reported Trump reacted to the NYT op-ed with “ volcanic” anger and was “absolutely livid” over what he considered a treasonous act of disloyalty. Trump tweeted, “TREASON?” Trump also questioned in a tweet,
does the “so-called “Senior Administration Official” really exist,” or whether it was the “Failing New York Times with another phony source?” Trump also tweeted that if the “GUTLESS anonymous person does indeed exist,” then, falsely claiming, the
” Times should “for National Security purposes, turn him/her over to government at once! Trump was
angered by a line in the op-ed calling Sen. John McCain “a lodestar for restoring honor to public life and our national dialogue.” NYT’s editor said the op-ed came in before the Woodward story broke.
The op-ed put White House is disarray as aides canceled meetings and huddled behind closed doors to strategize on a response. Aides said it was hard to narrow down the person, saying it could be so many people.
WAPO also reported prior the op-ed there was a dwindling circle of people Trump felt he could trust. After the op-ed, a source said Trump fretted that he could only trust his children. On Wednesday and Thursday,
one by one, Trump’s cabinet, Vice President Pence and others senior officials came forward to deny writing the op-ed. NYT reported Trump’s White House had a list of about 12 suspects. Trump ally
Sen. Rand Paul recommended that Trump force members of his regime to take polygraph examinations. Another proposal by aides was asking senior officials to sign sworn affidavits that could be used in court. On Thursday,
NYT reported Kim Jong-un offered an olive branch to Trump, telling a South Korean envoy that he wanted to denuclearize North Korea before Trump’s first term ends. On Thursday, without context,
Trump tweeted, “Kim Jong Un of North Korea proclaims “unwavering faith in President Trump,”” thanking “Chairman Kim,” and saying “We will get it done together!” On Thursday, in a Fox News interview,
Trump said of the person who wrote the op-ed, “may not be a Republican, it may not be a conservative, it may be a deep state person who has been there for a long time.” On Thursday,
Trump tweeted, “The Deep State and the Left, and their vehicle, the Fake News Media, are going Crazy — & they don’t know what to do.” On Thursday,
First Lady Melania Trump said in a statement the free press is “important to our democracy,” but to the op-ed writer, “you are not protecting this country, you are sabotaging it with your cowardly actions.” On Friday, Trump told reporters aboard Air Force One that
Sessions “should be investigating who the author of that piece was” saying the NYTop-ed is a “national security” issue. Hours later, a White House official tried to clarify Trump’s comments about wanting the Justice Department to investigate,
saying they did not amount to an order to federal prosecutors. On Friday, Trump told North Dakota television station KVLY that
he can identify up to five people who could have written the anonymous op-ed, adding, “mostly people that either I don’t like or don’t respect.” Trump also told KVLY that
the issue is “reverberating in the opposite direction,” saying people think it is “disgusting” that the Times would publish such a piece. On Wednesday, Sen. Kamala Harris grilled
Kavanaugh about whether he had discussed Mueller’s investigation with any individuals at Trump lawyer Marc Kasowitz’s law firm. Kavanaugh avoided answering directly. On Thursday,
NYT reported on leaked Kavanaugh documents it obtained. As a lawyer for the W. Bush administration, he challenged the accuracy of Roe v. Wade abortion rights decision to be “settled law of the land.” Kavanaugh also engaged with the DOJ in what became the Bush administration’s warrantless surveillance program, and was
critical about some Department of Transportation affirmative action regulations. On Thursday, Sen. Cory Booker
released confidential documents relating to Kavanaugh’s views on racial profiling, saying, “I’m knowingly violating the rules,” and “I openly accept the consequences.”
Several other Democrats, including Sens. Dick Durbin, Mazie Hirono, Sheldon Whitehouse, and Richard Blumenthal said they also planned to release confidential documents or reserved the right do so in the future. When asked by Sen. Booker
if he would recuse himself from the Mueller probe, Kavanaugh answered no, saying, “All I would be doing is demonstrating that I don’t have the independence of the judiciary.” Sen. Blumenthal asked Kavanaugh if like his predecessor Justice Neil Gorsuch, he would condemn Trump’s attacks on the judiciary,
Kavanaugh said he did not want to “get within three Zip codes” of such a political controversy. On Thursday, when Sen. Harris pressed Kavanaugh again on whether he had a conversation with anyone at Kasowitz Benson Torres about the Mueller probe,
after initially dodging, he answered, “The answer is no.” On Thursday,
Mother Jones summarized the five times Kavanaugh appears to have lied to Congress while under oath, including saying he knew nothing about warrantless wiretapping and torture in a 2006 hearing. In 2004, Kavanaugh said he had
not “personally” worked on the nomination of Judge Pryor for W. Bush, and in 2006 downplayed his rolein the nomination of Charles Pickering, a controversial judicial appointee. In 2002 he was a White House lawyer working on judicial nominations when Manuel Miranda, a GOP aide on the Senate Judiciary Committee, stole
thousands of documents belonging to the committee’s Democratic staff. On Friday, a former Democratic staffer who wrote some of the stolen confidential emails Kavanaugh received from Miranda, said
Kavanaugh for should be impeached for lying about it. Citing the op-ed, Sen. Dianne Feinstein, the ranking Democrat, tweeted, “Kavanaugh used materials stolen from Democratic senators to advance President Bush’s judicial nominees.
He was asked about this in 2004, 2006 and this week. His answers were not true.” According to U.S. Capitol Police,
at least 227 demonstrators, mostly women, were arrested between the start of the nomination hearings on Tuesday and the end of testimony on Friday. On Thursday,
Trump held a rally in Montana, for the second time since July 4. Sections of the arena were empty, and the crowd was silent at timesduring his speech, which lasted for over an hour.
Before his speech, Trump did an interview with Fox News at the arena, which aired Friday morning on “Fox & Friends.” In the interview,
Trump accused the . Trump also said the author must be “fairly low level,” and suggested they could be a “deep state person.” NYT of “virtually” committing “treason” by publishing the anonymous op-ed In his speech,
Trump told the audience they had to show up at the polls, saying, “this election, you aren’t just voting for a candidate, just before bringing up what he called “the impeachment word.”
Trump said Democrats will impeach him, regardless of whether he has done something to merit it, impersonating Rep. Maxine Waters and saying, “It doesn’t matter, you will impeach him!” Trump also said
his impeachment would be strictly political, saying it would start of a cycle of impeachment, “If the opposite party becomes president, every time before it even starts.”
Trump praised Rep. Greg Gianforte, who in Week 28 body-slammed a reporter, mimicking the move while speaking, “This man has fought in more ways than one, for your state…He is a fighter and a winner.” A
17 year-old senior at Billings’ West High School who stood behind Trump drew national attention for his facial expressions, interpreted as looks as disbelief, and mouthing the word, “Have you?” Tyler Linfesty said before the rally he was told, “you have to be enthusiastic and be clapping and cheering.”
He was escorted off-stage, then he said the Secret Service agents took him to a back room and looked at his ID. On Thursday,
Sen. Elizabeth Warren told CNN that Trump should be removed from office, saying if senior officials think “the President of the United States is not able to do his job, then they should invoke the 25th Amendment.” On Friday, NBC News reported, according to experts,
a majority of the country’s voting machines and the PCs that tally the votes are not reliable. Most voting machines are close to 15 years old. Despite U.S. intelligence finding Russia compromised seven states prior to the 2016 election,
little progress has been made in the two years since to improve matters. Lack of funding is cited by state voting officials. On Friday,
Papadopoulos was sentenced in federal court in Washington to 14 days in prison for lying to the FBI. Papadopoulos is the first former Trump campaign aide to be sentenced in Mueller probe. Prosecutors said Papadopoulos repeatedly lied in January 2017 interview with investigators,
which hampered the Russia probe at a critical moment, allowing professor Joseph Mifsud to leave the U.S. in February 2017. The judge stressed the importance of the investigation to the integrity of American democracy,
saying determining whether a foreign government interfered in the electoral process was “a matter of enormous importance.”
Trump mocked the sentence, tweeting, “14 days for $28 MILLION — $2 MILLION a day, No Collusion. A great day for America!” This is a false claim: the Mueller probe has secured other guilty pleas and indictments. On Friday, Papadopoulos told the
Times he had “ no recollection” of telling any Trump advisers about the emails supposedly in Russia’s hands. He said a call with Stephen Miller that was scheduled later that day was canceled. Papadopoulos also claimed
he had no memory of discussing the dirt about Hillary Clinton in May 2016 with Alexander Downer, the top Australian diplomat in London, which prompted the FBI to open its investigations. On Friday, in a court filing by the Democratic National Committee in its suit against Russia, the Trump campaign, and WikiLeaks for interfering in the 2016 election,
DNC lawyers say professor Joseph Mifsud may be dead. The filing say
DNC lawyers believe all the defendants in the case have been served with the complaint, “with the exception of Mifsud (who is missing and may be deceased).” The lawyers did not elaborate further. On Friday,
Bloomberg reported Manafort is considering a plea deal to avoid a second criminal trial in September. Manafort faces as long as 10 years in prison under advisory sentencing guidelines in the Virginia case. It is
not clear if Manafort would cooperate in Mueller’s probe of Russian interference in the 2016 election, although experts expect Mueller would require it. Manafort faces emotional and financial costs in a second trial. On Friday, Bloomberg reported in a follow-up to the Cohen conviction,
federal prosecutors in Manhattan are investigating whether anyone else at the Trump Organization violated campaign-finance laws. The Trump Organization chief financial officer
Allen Weisselberg cooperated with the Cohen probe, with limited immunity. Trump Organization is a stable of private companies run by Donald Jr. and Eric since Trump took office. On Friday, Trump told reporters, “Canada has been ripping us off for a long time.” Later, at his speech in North Dakota, Trump threatened tariffs on cars, which
he said would cause the “ruination” of Canada. Also at his rally in North Dakota,
Trump called Woodward an “idiot” and said he wrote a “fiction book.” Trump said, “the concept is true,” but that he would not use crude words, adding, “I went like to the best college.” On Friday,
WAPO reported House Speaker Paul Ryan and Majority Leader Mitch McConnell tried to coax Trump away from his threats to shut down the government at the end of the month by using props and flattery. McConnell presented a
Washington Examiner article which claims Trump is brilliantly handling the current budget process, while Ryan brought glossy photos of a wall under construction along the U.S.-Mexico border. On Friday, a lawyer for Essential Consultants, the company created by Cohen in 2016,
sought to void the nondisclosure agreement at issue in a lawsuit filed by Stephanie Clifford, seeking to avoid further litigation. The filing included
a promise by Cohen not to sue Stephanie Clifford, also known as Stormy Daniels, over claims that she breached the contract, and reserved the right to seek repayment of the $130,000 hush money payment. On Friday,
former President Obama re-entered the national political debate giving an hour-long speech at University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, and for the first time, calling out Trump by name. Obama said of Trump, “
He is a symptom, not the cause. He’s just capitalizing on resentments that politicians have been fanning for years, a fear and anger that’s rooted in our past” Obama compared Trump to foreign demagogues who exploit “a politics of fear and resentment and retrenchment,”
saying, “This is not normal. These are extraordinary times, and they are dangerous times.”
Obama rebuked Trump’s response to Charlottesville, saying, “We’re supposed to stand up to discrimination…and unequivocally to Nazi sympathizers. How hard can that be, saying that Nazis are bad?” Obama also said, “None of this is conservative,” adding, “
It’s not conservative. It sure isn’t normal. It’s radical. It’s a vision that says the protection of our power and those who back us is all that matters.” At a rally in Fargo, North Dakota,
Trump responded to Obama’s speech, saying, “I’m sorry, I watched it, but I fell asleep,” adding, “I found he’s very good, very good for sleeping.” At a later stop in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, Trump said Obama’s re-emergence will motivate Trump’s base. “
Now if that doesn’t get you out to vote for the midterms, nothing will.”
Politico reported Trump is jealous of the fawning coverage and adulation Obama has received, and sees him as a much more formidable political opponent than Hillary. Aides worry Obama could get in to Trump’s head.
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.
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; 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. Michael Cohen asserted Trump knew about, and approved, the June 9 Trump Tower meeting with Russians to get dirt on Hillary;
Seeking to counter these closing walls, Trump continued to promote his alternative version of the truth, telling a crowd in Kansas City, 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. “Just remember, what you’re seeing and what you’re reading is not what’s happening,”
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.
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.”
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! 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. 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. 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. 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.” 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. 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.” On Sunday, in a series of tweets, Trump claimed, without evidence, to be vindicated, tweeting that the warrants
are “ridiculously heavily redacted.” 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!” 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!”
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!”
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.
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. 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. 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.” 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!”
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.
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. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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.
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.
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.
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. 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. Fox News reported that
several Republican candidates who are Nazis and anti-Semites have won their primaries, creating a headache for the Republican Party. 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. 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.” 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. 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!” 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.
Guardian reported Trump’s “zero-tolerance” policy has turned the windowless basement beneath the federal courthouse in San Diego into a pop-up “dungeon” like meeting place for lawyers and migrant clients.
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. 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. 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.
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.
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.” 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.” 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.”
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. 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.” 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.” On Thursday, the Trump regime said in a court filing they had reunited
1,442 families with children ages 5 to 17, and said an additional 378 children have already been released under “appropriate circumstances.” 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. 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. 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.
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.” 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.
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. 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.
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. 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. 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. 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.” 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. 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. 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. 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. Rohrabacher also attended a meeting
Butina helped arrange two years earlier in St. Petersburg, Russia which also included her mentor, Kremlin-connected banker Torshin. 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.” 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!” 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…” 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.
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.
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. 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.” Putin acknowledged that
he wanted Trump to win at the Helsinki summit joint news conference. The Atlantic noted the White House transcript initially did not include this question in their transcript.
The discrepancy involved a question from a , “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.” Reuters reporter 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. 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. 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.”
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.” 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.
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. 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. 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.” 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.
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.”
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.”
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.” 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. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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.”
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. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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.
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. 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. 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. 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.” 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. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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.” 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. 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.
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.
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?”
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.” 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. 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. 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.
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. 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.
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. On Thursday, Facebook’s market value fell by $119 billion or 19%, the
largest one-day loss in market value by any company in U.S. stock market history, after releasing a disastrous quarterly report. 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). 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. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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.
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. 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. 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.” 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. 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.” 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. 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.
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. 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.”
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. 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. ” 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. On Tuesday, CNN reported t
he 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. 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. 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.” 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. 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.” 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. 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. 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. 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.” 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. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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.
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.” 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…” 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. 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. 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.”
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. TMZ first reported Kristin Davis, known as the “Manhattan Madam,” was
subpoenaed 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. 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. 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.’”
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: stood on stage in Helsinki, after a two hour, private meeting with Putin, and Trump 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. sided with our former foreign adversary over the U.S. intelligence community.
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.
Los Angeles, CA ~ March 2018
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.” 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.” 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. 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.” 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.” 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.” 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.” 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. 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.
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. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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.” 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.
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. 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. 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.” 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.
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. The Twitter account for the
Russian Ministry of Foreign Affair, headed by Sergey Lavrov, tweeted, “We agree.” 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.
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. 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. 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.” 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.” 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.” 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. 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.
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.”
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.” 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. 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.” 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.” 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!” 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.
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. 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. 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.” 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.” 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. 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. 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,” 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. 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. 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.” 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.” 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. 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. 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. 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.” 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.
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. 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.” 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!” 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. On Monday, the Justice Department disclosed that
Maria Butina was arrested Sunday and appeared Monday in court.
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.
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. 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.” 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.
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. 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. 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. 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.” 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. 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.” 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. 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. 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.” 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. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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.
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.
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. 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. In an op-ed Beck Dorey-Stein, a White House stenographer from 2012 to 2017, a staffer position that stays through changing administrations, said
Trump uniquely refused to be recorded and have a record of his words. 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.” 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. 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. 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. On Wednesday,
the Senate confirmed Trump’s 23rd circuit court judge, breaking a record set by George H.W. Bush who got 22 confirmed. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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.
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. 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.” 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. 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.” 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. 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.” 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.”
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!” 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. 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.” On Wednesday, press secretary Sanders held a White House daily briefing for the
first time in over two weeks. 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.” 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. 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. 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. 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.” 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. 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.
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. 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. 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.” 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. 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.” 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!” 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.” 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.” 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.” Trump also tweeted, “
The Democrats have a death wish, in more ways than one,” saying Democrats want to abolish ICE. 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. 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. 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.” 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. 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. 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.” 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.”
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. 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. 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.” Coats was also asked if he is considering resigning, to which he responded, “
That’s a place I don’t really go to publicly.” 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. 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. 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. 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. 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.” 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.” On Thursday, Republicans in the House
voted down a Democratic effort to increase election security spending.
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. 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.” 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.”
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.” 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!” 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. 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.” 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. 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. 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.”
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.” 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.” 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.” 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.” 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. 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. 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.” 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. 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!” 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. 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. 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. 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.
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. 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.
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 Trump’s capacity and culpability for human rights abuses at home may explain why. cozying up to dictators and alienating former democratic allies.
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.
“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.
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.
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!” Late Saturday, while aboard Air Force One,
Trump lashed out at Canada’s Prime Minister Trudeau in a tweet, calling him “Very dishonest & weak.” 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.” 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.” On Monday,
Kudlow was hospitalized after suffering a mild heart attack. 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. 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. 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.” 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. 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%. 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. 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. On Monday, Canada’s House of Commons
unanimously condemned the personal attacks on Trudeau by Trump and his surrogates.
AP conducted a fact check of Trump’s statements on trade, and found his examples to be factually incorrect, adding Trump glossed over the parts of the economy “that don’t support his faulty contention.” 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.
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.
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. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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.
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. 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.
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. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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. DHS said the mural is one of 20 depicting U.S. presidents at shelters. The
others feature inspiring quotes about immigration, while Trump’s quote reads, “Sometimes by losing a battle you find a new way to win the war.” 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. 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. 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. 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. 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.” 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.” 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. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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.” 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. 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?”
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. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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.
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.
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. Solomon Lartey, a career government official, and his colleagues have had
to tape together large piles of shredded paper and send them to the National Archives to be properly filed away. 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. On Tuesday,
Trump praised the ruling from Singapore, tweeting, “Just won big Supreme Court decision on Voting! Great News!” 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. 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. 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.
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.
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.” 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. 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.” 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. 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. 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. 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. Saxum, which is based in Oklahoma,
represented Plains All American Pipeline LP, a company which has a petition pending before the EPA. 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. 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. 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. 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. The
NRA also spent $24.4 million to back Republican candidates for Congress in 2016. 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. 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.” 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. 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. 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.” 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. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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. Two hours later, Trump tweeted that
jailing Manafort was a “tough sentence” and “very unfair.”
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?”
Trump also tweeted that Manafort “represented Ronald Reagan, Bob Dole and many other top political people and campaigns.” 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.” 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.” On Monday,
the repeal of net neutrality, which had required internet service providers to offer equal access to all web content, took effect. 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. 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!” 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. 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. 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!” 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. 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. 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!” 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.” 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.
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. 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.” 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. On Tuesday,
Trump held his first official solo press conference in 16 months. 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
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.” 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. 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.” 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. 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.” 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. 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.’” 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!” 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. 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.” 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. 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. 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. 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.
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.” 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. The 568-page report by IG Michael Horowitz
found Comey was not motivated by political bias when he cleared Hillary Clinton of criminal wrongdoing. 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. 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.” 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. 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.” Trump also claimed
the Mueller investigation “has been totally discredited,” by the report. The Mueller probe was not mentioned in the report. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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. Later Friday, the
White House issued a statement by Trump on “Democrats’ Dangerous Immigration Policies,” blaming “CONGRESSIONAL DEMOCRATS’ FAMILY SEPARATION POLICY.” 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!” 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.” 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.” 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.” 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. Trump also said of Michael Flynn, “
Some people say [Flynn] lied and some people say he didn’t lie.” Flynn pled guilty to lying. 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.” MSNBC host Katy Tur detailed a total of
19 lies or misleading statements in Trump’s interview with Doocy on her show Friday.
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. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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.” 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. 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. 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. 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.
You should hope NOT. My photo of a sticker on the streets of Chisinau , Moldova, on 10June2018.
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.
Los Angeles, CA – based street artist, PLASTIC JESUS, began circulating these last week.
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.” 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. 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. 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. 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.
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. 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.
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. 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.
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. 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. 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. 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.
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.
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. 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. 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. 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). 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.” 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.” 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. 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. 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. Trump also tweeted, “#SPYGATE & CONFLICTS OF INTEREST!” and
asking when the 13 will “reveal their disqualifying Conflicts of Interest?” saying, “the only Collusion is with the Dems, Justice, FBI & Russia.” 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.” 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. 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!”
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!” 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.” 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. 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.” 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.” 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. 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. 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. 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.
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. 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.”
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.” 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.” 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. Gowdy, who in the past shouldered politically explosive investigations led by the Republican Party,
now finds himself getting little support from his House colleagues. 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. 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.
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. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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.
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. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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?” 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. 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.
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.” On Wednesday,
, saying “the fire marshall’s office estimated that approximately 5,500 people attended the rally.” NYT issued a correction of its crowd-size estimate for the Trump rally 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. 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.
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. 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. On Wednesday, in a tweet,
Trump said he wished he had had picked someone else as attorney general, and not Sessions. 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.” 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.” 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. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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.” 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. 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. 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.
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.” 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. 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.
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. 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. 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. 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 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!” 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!” 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.” 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. 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. 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. 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. 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.”
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. 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.
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. 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. 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. 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.
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.” 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.” 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.” 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.” 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.” 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.”
Trump, however, did not directly address Roseanne’s tweets, or condemn them in any way. 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.
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.” 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. 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. 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.” 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!” 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. 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.
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.”
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.
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.
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.” 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. 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. 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. 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.” 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. 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.
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. 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. 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.
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.
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. 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. 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.
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. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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.
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. 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. 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. 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. 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.”
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. Emails released as part of a FOIA request by the Environmental Defense Fund and the Southern Environmental Law Center, and provided to
AP reveal cooperation between Pruitt’s Environmental Protection Agency and climate-change deniers. 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. Emails from Konkus and the EPA’s Liz Bowman with Heartland
also complain about critical coverage from media such as the , “Ding Dong, the Witch is Dead.” Post and AP, and celebrating a reporter leaving the Times 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. 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.
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. 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. 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. 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.
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.
New York City, February 2018