POLITIKS OF GRAFFITI 161: “the reason the Constitution provided for impeachment was to anticipate a situation like the one that is before you today.”

DECEMBER 07, 2019

Week 160

Experts in authoritarianism advise to keep a list of things
subtly changing around you, so you’ll remember. *FROM ACTIVIST AMY SISKINDhttps://theweeklylist.org/weekly-list/week-160/ 
EJ8i5IYUEAI7SFG
“His reign will soon be over. Woe to the loyal subjects of this counterfeit king.” – Jim Carrey                                                                                                                                                        21nov19

This week, Trump traveled to London for the NATO summit as impeachment hearings got underway in the House Judiciary Committee, and Democrats on the House Intelligence Committee issued a scathing 300-page report. While Trump sought to display strength abroad, and used the summit as an excuse not to participate in impeachment hearings, a video at a Buckingham Palace reception surfaced Tuesday night showing world leaders openly mocking and laughing at him. He abruptly left early Wednesday, seething and returning in disgrace as the constitutional scholars testified in House impeachment hearings. Harvard Law School professor Noah Feldman said, “the reason the Constitution provided for impeachment was to anticipate a situation like the one that is before you today.”

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NYC. November 2019

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NYC. November 2019.

On Thursday, shortly after Trump tweeted “if you are going to impeach me, do it now, fast,” House Speaker Nancy Pelosi announced in somber tones and invoking the Founders and Constitution, that the House would begin drafting articles of impeachment. Meanwhile, Rudy Giuliani traveled back to Budapest and Kyiv, seeking dirt on the Bidens, meeting with Ukrainian officials, including one with ties to Russia.

This week Trump continued his feud with the so-called deep state, now growing to include the military — while his remaining conspiracy theories were set to be debunked in a report by the Justice Department Inspector General, in consultation with Attorney General William Barr’s handpicked prosecutor, John Durham.

  1. For 2019, Dictionary.com chose the word ‘existential’ as the word of the year, saying “the choice reflects months of high-stakes threats and crises, real and pondered, across the news, the world and throughout 2019.”
  2. On Saturday, NYT reported Trump’s intervention in the SEALs case has pitted him against military commanders who are committed to enforcing longstanding rules of combat, while Trump has never served.
  3. A former sniper who served in Chief Edward Gallagher’s platoon said Trump’s actions have “turned into a national clown show,” adding Trump is “saying he doesn’t trust any of the troops or their leaders.”
  4. Gallagher’s lawyer, Marc Mukasey, also represented Trump, but claimed he did not discuss the case with him. Also Bernard Kerik, New York police commissioner under Rudy Giuliani, spoke out for Gallagher on Fox News.
  5. Active-duty and retired officers say Trump’s intervention emboldens war criminals and erodes military order. Trump has also feuded with the intelligence community, law enforcement agencies, and diplomatic corps.
  6. On Saturday, Trump tweeted, “The Democrats are holding the most ridiculous Impeachment hearings in history,” adding, “Read the Transcripts, NOTHING was done or said wrong!”
  7. Uncharacteristically, it was his only tweet on Saturday related to impeachment. On Sunday, Trump also did not tweet about impeachment until shortly before midnight. He golfed both days near Mar-a-Lago.
  8. On Saturday, Rep. Doug Collins, the ranking Republican on the House Judiciary Committee, asked Chair Jerrold Nadler to expand the list of impeachment witnesses beyond the four constitutional law scholars.
  9. Collins cited in his letter the request was “to ensure fairness and restore integrity to the ongoing impeachment process,” but did not clarify whom Republicans wanted to call to testify.
  10. On Saturday, Politico reported the House Intelligence Committee will begin circulating a draft of the Trump-Ukraine report on Monday. Lawmakers had a 24 hour review period before voting.
  11. On Sunday, Rep. Val Demings told “This Week” that Democrats hope Trump will participate in impeachment hearings, saying, “If he has not done anything wrong, we’re certainly anxious to hear his explanation.”
  12. On Sunday, White House counsel Pat Cipollone told Nadler in a letter that Trump would not participate in the first hearing scheduled for Wednesday, saying it does not provide Trump “with any semblance of a fair process.”
  13. WAPO reported there is conflict within the GOP over how much Trump and his defenders should engage in the hearings. Some say Trump could benefit from the due-process protections that Nadler has offered.
  14. Trump did not tweet about the decision during the day. Meanwhile, Republicans renewed attacks on the process, with Rep. Collins calling on Intelligence Chair Adam Schiff to testify, and complaining “we’re rushing this.”
  15. On Sunday, Sen. John Kennedy told “Meet the Press” that “both Russia and Ukraine meddled in the 2016 election,” adding, “it’s been well documented in the Financial Times and Politico and The Economist,” and more.
  16. Host Chuck Todd asked Kennedy if he knew he was doing “exactly what the Russian operation is trying to get American politicians to do,” Kennedy responded “what harm would it do” for Trump to introduce evidence.
  17. On Monday, Kennedy doubled down, telling reporters he based his comments on “reporting in the Politico magazine, on reporting in the Financial Times, The Economist, the Washington Examiner.”
  18. Kennedy claimed that unlike other Senators, he had not been briefed by the intelligence community on the matter, and said Fiona Hill was “entitled to her opinion.”
  19. On Tuesday, Sen. Lindsey Graham broke from Trump, Kennedy, and other Trump allies, telling reporters, “I’m 1,000% confident that the hack of the DNC was by Russian operatives, no one else.”
  20. On Sunday, former FBI lawyer Lisa Page broke her silence, telling the Daily Beast of Trump’s attacks, “It’s like being punched in the gut,” adding, “My heart drops to my stomach when I realize he has tweeted about me again.”
  21. Page said Trump reading texts between her and Peter Strzok at an October rally in Minnesota, and mocking her having an orgasm on stage, was “the straw that broke the camel’s back” on her speaking out publicly.
  22. Page said Trump had accused her of “treason by name” and was trying to “destroy my life,” adding, “It never goes away or stops, even when he’s not publicly attacking me,” saying she has struggled to lead a normal life.
  23. Page said DOJ spokesperson Sarah Flores had selectively released her texts to reporters, saying, “Those texts were selected for their political impact. They lack a lot of context. Many of them aren’t even about him or me.”
  24. Page said, of the DOJ under Trump, “It’s crushing to see the noble Justice Department, my Justice Department, the place I grew up in, feel like it’s abandoned its principles of truth and independence.”
  25. On Sunday, “60 Minutes” reported Google and YouTube took down more than 300 Trump video ads, mostly over the summer, for violating company policy. A “60 Minutes” review found lack of transparency on the violations.
  26. On Monday, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg defended the decision not to take down political ads with false information on “CBS This Morning,” saying people should “judge for themselves the character of politicians.”
  27. Co-host Gayle King asked Zuckerberg what was discussed in his meeting with Trump at the White House, which was not disclosed until reported by news outlets. He answered, “it was a private dinner and… private discussion.”
  28. On Tuesday, BuzzFeed reported four Google employees who were fired last month for trying to organize workers said they will file charges with the National Labor Relations Board and push for a federal investigation.
  29. On Monday, the November Institute for Supply Management report found manufacturing activity contractedfor the fourth straight month. Experts attributed the contraction to Trump’s trade wars.
  30. Trump blamed his appointee, Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell, tweeting: “Manufacturers are being held back by the strong Dollar, which is being propped up by the ridiculous policies of the Federal Reserve.”
  31. Trump added the Fed “has called interest rates and quantitative tightening wrong from the first days of Jay Powell,” adding, “The Fed should lower rates,” claiming, “manufacturing will SOAR!”
  32. On Tuesday, an analysis by the solar industry showed Trump’s tariffs on solar panels in 2018 have cost the industry more than 62,000 jobs and nearly $19 billion in new private sector investment.
  33. On Wednesday, Reuters reported that Jared Kushner will assume a bigger role in U.S.-China trade talks, as the two countries try to reach an initial agreement to avoid new U.S. tariffs on December 15.
  34. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer and Treasury Sec. Steven Mnuchin have been leading. Kushner already has a considerable portfolio including Middle East peace, Trump’s wall, opioid addiction, and problems at the VA.
  35. On Monday, the Trump regime lifted a mysterious hold on $105 million in aid to Lebanon approved by Congress, after reporting in Week 159. The money was held up by the Office of Management and Budget for months.
  36. Aid to Lebanon also had the backing from the State Department, Pentagon, and National Security Council officials. An official declined to provide a reason for the regime putting a hold on the aid, citing the “process.”
  37. On Monday, Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelensky said in an interview with TIME that despite the ongoingimpeachment hearings, Ukraine still needs U.S. support to get back the territory seized by Russia in 2014.
  38. Zelensky denied he and Trump discussed withholding aid in the context of political favors, but pushed back on Trump’s claim of corruption and questioned the fairness of his decision to withhold aid.
  39. Zelensky said, “Look, I never talked to the president from the position of a quid pro quo,” adding, “I don’t want us to look like beggars,” and “I think that’s just about fairness. It’s not about a quid pro quo.”
  40. When asked if he trusts Putin ahead of their December 9 summit, Zelensky said, “I don’t trust anyone at all,” and said of Trump, “We’re at war. If you’re our strategic partner, then you can’t go blocking anything for us.”
  41. Shortly after, Trump tweeted that Zelensky, “just again announced that President Trump has done nothing wrong with respect to Ukraine,” adding, “If the Radical Left Democrats were sane…it would be case over!”
  42. Trump later told reporters before leaving for the NATO summit, Zelenksy “said very strongly that President Trump did absolutely nothing wrong. That should be case over.” The tweet and statement are misleading.
  43. On Monday, Rudy Giuliani threatened to sue Fox News host Steve Hilton for recommending Trump fire him, saying he “recklessly disregarded the truth,” and if not for him, Hilton “wouldn’t even be covering Burisma.”
  44. On Monday, former Trump campaign foreign policy adviser Carter Page lost an appeal, as a federal appeals court upheld a trial judge’s decision to throw out his defamation lawsuit against a pair of media outlets.
  45. On Monday, lawyers for Lev Parnas petitioned the federal court to release documents and recordings seized by federal prosecutors during Parnas’ arrest to the House committees leading the impeachment inquiry.
  46. Federal prosecutors described the materials seized from Parnas and his three co-defendants to be “voluminous,” and said, “We think a superseding indictment is likely” ahead of the trial, but did not specify the target.
  47. On Monday, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi led a delegation to the 2019 U.N. Framework Convention on Climate Change, saying, “on behalf of the House of Representatives and the Congress of the United States, ‘we’re still in it.’”
  48. On Monday, the Trump campaign announced it would no longer allow Bloomberg News reporters to get credentials for events, citing the outlet would no longer do investigative journalism on Democratic 2020 candidates.
  49. Although Trump campaign manager Brad Parscale claimed it was to avoid bias, the 2016 Trump campaign revoked press credentials from journalists working for WAPO, Politico, and BuzzFeed News.
  50. On Monday, Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson rejected the DOJ’s request to stay her order on Don McGahn’s testimony in Week 159, saying further delay “causes grave harm to both the Committee’s investigation.”
  51. However the DOJ has secured a January 3 hearing with an appeals court, and said it would keep on fighting if it loses its requests for a stay at the D.C. Circuit and petition the Supreme Court.
  52. On Monday, Fox News host Sean Hannity urged his listeners to call Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp and tell him to go with Trump’s pick, Rep. Doug Collins, for the open Senate seat, not “centrist businesswoman” Kelly Loeffler.
  53. On Tuesday, Trump ally Rep. Matt Gaetz said Kemp would end his career by picking Loeffler, tweeting, “Kemp announces the funeral time & location for his political career.”
  54. On Wednesday, Kemp bucked Trump, announcing he would appoint Loeffler to fill Sen. Johnny Isakson’s seat. Kemp said he hoped to strengthen the GOP’s appeal to women voters.
  55. On Monday, WAPO reported AG William Barr has told associates he disagrees with the DOJ IG findings in his report that the FBI had enough information in July 2016 to launch an investigation of the Trump campaign.
  56. Barr has not been swayed by IG Michael Horowitz’s rationale for the FBI having had a sufficient basis, possibly creating a fissure within the DOJ on the controversial issue ahead of the report’s release next week.
  57. It was not clear how Barr planned to make his disagreement known. Barr has privately said Horowitz did not have enough information to reach his conclusion, and agencies like the CIA hold information that could alter it.
  58. Part of Barr’s reluctance is related to John Durham’s investigation which is ongoing and Barr is involved with. It is not usual for an AG to disagree with an IG’s findings, but typically it is over the IG being too critical.
  59. On Monday, Roll Call reported a dozen House races have shifted towards Democrats in recent weeks, citingslow recruitment, self-inflicted wounds, and a shift in suburban voters towards Democrats.
  60. On Monday, CNN reported the IRS whistleblower declined to voluntarily appear for a transcribed Senate Finance Committee interview, after meeting in November with Republican and Democratic staffers.
  61. A source said the whistleblower was concerned about violating IRS code 6103, which says IRS employees can be fired, fined, or jailed for disclosing taxpayer information. It was unclear what lawmakers will do next.
  62. On Monday, North Dakota-based Fisher Sand and Gravel was awarded a $400 million contract by the Defense Department to build a portion of the border wall across an Arizona wildlife refuge.
  63. Trump had repeatedly pushed the Army Corps of Engineers to hire Fisher, but was told the company’s bid did not meet standards. Some officials have expressed concern with Trump getting involved in government contracts.
  64. Trump learned of Fisher through its CEO Tommy Fisher’s repeated appearances on Fox News where he promoted his firm and said it could do a better job than those chosen by the government.
  65. On Wednesday, House Homeland Security Chairman Bennie Thompson asked the Defense Department’s IG to investigate the contract to Fisher Sand and Gravel, which has a history of environmental and tax violations.
  66. Thompson said in his letter that a series of actions “raise concerns about the possibility of inappropriate influence” on the decision to award the firm a contract. The IG said it is reviewing the request.
  67. On Thursday, Sen. Kevin Cramer (R-ND) blocked the Armenian genocide resolution on the Senate floor at the request of the White House, saying it was not “the right time.” Fisher is a donor to Cramer.
  68. This marked the third time a Republican (also Sens. Graham and Ted Cruz) blocked the measure, opposed by Turkish government, at the request of the White House. It passed in the House 405-11.
  69. On Monday, in response to a FOIA request, the DOJ turned over a second set of summaries of FBI interviews, known as “302 reports” from the Mueller probe to BuzzFeed.
  70. The second batch included interviews with Michael Cohen, John Kelly, Corey Lewandowski, Hope Hicks, Rick Gates, Omarosa Manigault, Chris Christie, and Rod Rosenstein.
  71. Cohen said Trump knew about the negotiations for Trump Tower during the campaign, and that Trump family lawyer Jay Sekulow told him to make false statement to the House and Senate Intelligence committees.
  72. Gates said that Paul Manafort urged him not to take a plea deal, saying in October and November 2017 that the White House would protect them, and that they had two legal defense funds and would “take care of us.”
  73. Hicks said Trump was “angry, surprised, and frustrated” when Robert Mueller was appointed, and that when Jeff Sessions recused himself, the only time she had seen him “like that” was when the Access Hollywood tapes came out.
  74. Rosenstein said in May 2017 that Mueller had taken himself out of the running for FBI director position by time he met with Trump about the job. Trump had claimed Mueller applied and he turned him down.
  75. Rosenstein said he was “angry, ashamed, horrified and embarrassed” about the abrupt firing of James Comey, and how it was handled. He spoke to Mueller about becoming special counsel the next day.
  76. On Monday, former deputy DNI Susan Gordon told the Women’s Foreign Policy Group Trump’s most common response to intelligence briefings was not to believe what he was being told.
  77. Gordon also said it was difficult to figure out where Trump got information that shaped his opinion, saying he is probably “the first president that arrived with no framework,” and received input from “infinite people.”
  78. On Monday, Fox News host Tucker Carlson said, “I think we should probably take the side of Russia if we have to choose between Russia and Ukraine.” Carlson made similar remarks last week and said he was joking.
  79. On Thursday, Tucker Carlson said on his show that the House was trying to impeach Trump for holding up aid to Ukraine, adding, “Aid we shouldn’t be sending in the first place, in my view.”
  80. On Monday, Reuters reported Russia has set up a new online site for its national encyclopedia, after President Vladimir Putin called Wikipedia unreliable and said it should be replaced.
  81. On Saturday, the Columbus Dispatch reported a cyber attack on the Ohio Secretary of State’s office on Election Day originated in Panama and was traced back to a Russian-owned company.
  82. The Ohio Secretary of State said it was a “relatively unsophisticated” effort to insert malicious code and was thwarted, adding the cyberattack was looking for vulnerabilities in his office’s website.
  83. On Saturday, NBC News reported a new study by the Urban Institute found the three rule changes proposed by the Trump regime would cause millions of people to lose food stamps, known as SNAP.
  84. The study found 3.7 million fewer people would receive SNAP each month, 5.2 million households would seeaverage monthly benefits drop, and 982,000 students would lose access to free or reduced lunches.
  85. On Wednesday, the Trump regime formalized the first rule change, with the USDA mandating a work requirement for those who receive food stamps as of April 1. Nearly 700,000 were expected to lose food stamps.
  86. Agriculture Department Sec. Sonny Perdue told CNBC of the rule changes, “We’re trying to help these people get back into personal dignity of work and become part of the productive economy.”
  87. On Wednesday, the Senate confirmed Trump pick Sarah Pitlyk to the federal judiciary along party lines. Pitlyk, who opposes abortion, surrogacy, and fertility treatments, was rated “Not Qualified” by the American Bar Association.
  88. On Tuesday, a Texas judge temporarily blocked construction of a private wall along the U.S.-Mexico border by We Build the Wall, after the National Butterfly Center argued the new construction was “illegal.”
  89. On Tuesday, NYT and ProPublica reported newly uncovered documents reveal consulting company McKinsey was brought in by Immigration and Customs Enforcement to help the regime carry out its immigration policy.
  90. McKinsey’s advice included cutting spending on migrants’ food, medical care, and supervision, and looked for ways to speed deportations to meet Trump’s goals. Their advice made some career ICE staffers uncomfortable.
  91. Some ICE workers even complained the firm’s cost-cutting proposals jeopardized the health and safety of migrants. McKinsey also advised to move detainees to less expensive, less safe facilities, like rural county jails.
  92. McKinsey did $20 million of consulting work, even ghostwriting the firm’s contract extension. The firm was deeply involved in executing policies to effectuate Trump’s immigration crackdown. The work ended July 2018.
  93. A week after the McKinsey partner announced their work with ICE was over given McKinsey employee and partner outrage, the firm signed a new $2 million contract to advise CBP, which could be worth $8.4 million.
  94. On Wednesday, WAPO reported on 48 undocumented staffers who worked illegally for Trump at 11 of his properties, performing manual labor for years or decades. They said when hired, managers knew of their status.
  95. They noted when Trump entered the presidential politics, and denounced illegal immigrants as criminals and job-stealers, it upended their lives, causing many to be fired or to walk away after media reports about them.
  96. On Thursday, ProPublica reported Carlos Gregorio Hernandez Vasquez, 16, a Guatemalan migrant, died in Border Patrol care on May 19, after becoming seriously ill. He was held for 6 days, despite the 72 hour limit.
  97. Carlos was put in a small concrete holding cell in South Texas with another boy who was also sick, and who later alerted guards that Carlos was dead. He is the sixth child to die in care in government care in less than a year.
  98. On Wednesday, BBC reported more than 100 graves at a Jewish cemetery in France were defaced with swastikas and the number 14, which is linked to a white supremacist slogan.
  99. On Friday, WAPO reported West Virginia fired three state employees and suspended 34 more without pay after a photo surfaced showing a basic training class of correction officers giving a Nazi salute.
  100. On Tuesday, speaking to reporters at the NATO summit in London, Trump said French President Emmanuel Macron’s comments saying NATO is in a state of “brain death” were “very insulting” and “nasty.”
  101. Trump, while standing alongside NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg, also said Macron’s statement was “very disrespectful” and “very dangerous,” adding, “Nobody needs NATO more than France.”
  102. Trump also defended AG Barr, calling him “a great gentleman,” adding, “I do think the big report to wait for is going to be the Durham report…he’s highly respected. And we’re — and he’s worked very hard.”
  103. Trump also said of France imposing a digital services tax on U.S. technology companies, “I’m not going to let people take advantage of American companies,” and threatened to tax French companies in return.
  104. Trump called the impeachment inquiry “a hoax,” saying, “It’s done for purely political gain. They’re going to see whether or not they can do something in 2020, because otherwise they’re going to lose.”
  105. Trump also called impeachment a “witch hunt” and “very unpatriotic,” and said of censure being floated, “Now they want to go to censure because they have no case for impeachment, so they want to go to censure.”
  106. Later, in a news conference with Trump and Macron speaking on Syria and Turkey, Trump said, “Would you like some nice [IS] fighters? You can take everyone you want.” Macron scolded Trump, saying, “Let’s be serious.”
  107. Later, in a news conference with Canadian President Justin Trudeau, Trump called Chair Schiff a “maniac,” a“deranged human being,” and a “liar,” adding, “I think he’s a very sick man and he lies.”
  108. Trump continued, “This is a sick person. He’s a liar,” adding, “Pelosi knew he was lying and she went on the show, Stephanopoulos and said he told the truth. She was lying, too,” and, “These people are deranged.”
  109. When Pelosi was asked about impeachment while in Madrid Monday, she declined, citing her policy of not criticizing U.S. president while overseas, saying, “We’re here to talk positively about our agenda to save the planet.”
  110. Trump and British Prime Minister Boris Johnson did not meet ahead of the British election on December 12, an admission Trump is unpopular in Britain and per the U.S. ambassador, “any intervention would be counterproductive.”
  111. Asked about the U.K. election, Trump changed the subject to talking about gubernatorial races in Kentucky and Louisiana, where Republicans lost, adding, but in the U.K., “They may not like me because I’m representing us.”
  112. Trump later attended a reception at Buckingham Palace, where Prince Andrew was absent after association with Jeffrey Epstein. Trump, who has been pictured with the prince, said, “I don’t know Prince Andrew.”
  113. On Tuesday, House Intelligence Committee Republicans released a 123-page minority report, claiming there is “no direct, firsthand evidence” to suggest Trump pressured Ukraine to investigate the Bidens.
  114. The report claimed Trump did nothing wrong, including, “There is nothing inherently improper with Mayor Giuliani’s involvement,” and dismissed Trump’s behavior as “outside the beltway thinking.”
  115. Shortly after, House Intelligence Democrats released a 300-page impeachment report summarizing its two month probe, laying out in searing fashion what is likely to result in articles of impeachment next.
  116. The report cited Trump tried to “use the powers of his office to solicit foreign interference on his behalf in the 2020 election” and “placed his own personal and political interests” above the national interests.
  117. The report cited Trump’s “misconduct was not an isolated occurrence,” noting Trump “was elected in 2016with the benefit of an unprecedented and sweeping campaign” by Russia which he “welcomed and utilized.”
  118. The report said his “scheme subverted U.S. foreign policy toward Ukraine and undermined our national security in favor of two politically motivated investigations that would help his presidential re-election campaign.”
  119. The report made more than 100 references to the Constitution, and cited, ‘The evidence of the President’s misconduct is overwhelming, and so too is the evidence of his obstruction of Congress.”
  120. The report also cited an “unprecedented campaign of obstruction of this impeachment inquiry” by Trump for blocking witnesses and document release from the State Department, Pentagon, and OMB.
  121. The report called it unprecedented, saying Trump is “the first and only President in American history to openly and indiscriminately defy all aspects of the Constitutional impeachment process.”
  122. The report said even Nixon, “who obstructed Congress by refusing to turn over key evidence- accepted the authority of Congress […] permitted his aides and advisors to produce documents and testify.”
  123. The report also called White House efforts to block the inquiry “an existential threat to the nation’s Constitutional system of checks and balances, separation of powers, and rule of law.”
  124. The report described a months-long campaign driven by Trump to bend foreign policy, which included Vice President Mike Pence, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, acting chief of staff and Director of the OMB Mick Mulvaney, Energy Sec. Rick Perry, and others.
  125.  The report said these senior officials were “either knowledgeable of or active participants in an effort to extract from a foreign nation the personal political benefits sought by the President.”
  126. The report raised doubt about whether the September 9 call referenced by Gordon Sondland and amplified by Trump actually occurred, saying it was “not backed up by any records the White House was willing to provide.”
  127. The report cited Trump “engaged in a brazen effort to publicly attack and intimidate witnesses,” saying it raises “grave concerns about potential violations of the federal obstruction statute and other criminal laws.”
  128. The report cited threats to the 2020 election to explain the rush: “Given the proximate threat of further presidential attempts to solicit foreign interference in our next election, we cannot wait to make a referral.’
  129. Chair Schiff told reporters there is a “grave risk to the country” if lawmakers wait until they have “every last fact” before proceeding, saying we are inviting “further corruption of our elections.”
  130. The report included call records showing House Intelligence ranking member Devin Nunes had numerous calls in April with Giuliani, Parnas, and John Solomon — around the time Marie Yovanovitch was fired.
  131. There were also 16 calls between Giuliani and Parnas in early April and 10 calls between Parnas and Solomon. There were also Giuliani and White House phone numbers, including one “associated with” the OMB.
  132. Records show on April 24, the day Yovanovitch was summoned to D.C. and told she lost Trump’s confidence, Giuliani called the White House seven times, and received a call from “-1” and spoke to that person for eight minutes.
  133. Giuliani spoke to Parnas and Solomon on the day Biden announced his candidacy. He received a call from “-1” then called Sean Hannity. Trump appeared on Hannity’s show that night and discussed Solomon’s story.
  134. Schiff said, “the phone records show that there was considerable coordination among the parties, including the White House,” calling it “deeply concerning” a lawmaker might be complicit with Trump’s efforts.
  135. Schiff also said Trump action’s towards Ukraine meet the Constitutional definition of bribery, saying, “This is certainly, I think, what the founders had in mind when they used that word in the Constitution.”
  136. Schiff also said the intelligence panel is investigating whether Trump is the “-1” referenced in the call logs as making frequent calls to Giuliani in the House report.
  137. Shortly after, a lawyer for Parnas told reporters, “With appropriate protections, Mr. Parnas would be able to tell this story and fill in all the blanks.” Parnas has asked for immunity which Congress is unlikely to give.
  138. Shortly after, Bob Cusack, editor in chief of The Hill, tweeted the newspaper “is conducting a meticulous review” of Solomon’s work. The report revealed Solomon spoke with Nunes, Giuliani, and Parnas.
  139. On Tuesday, Sen. Kamala Harris dropped her 2020 presidential bid. Trump tweeted, “Too bad. We will miss you Kamala!” Harris responded, “Don’t worry, Mr. President. I’ll see you at your trial.”
  140. On Tuesday, Nunes filed a defamation suit against CNN for a story on his travel to Vienna to meet with foreign officials on getting dirt of the Bidens, saying CNN is “the mother of fake news” and “must be held accountable.”
  141. On Tuesday, when asked by Fox News host Sean Hannity if he spoke to Parnas, Nunes said, “it’s possible, adding, “I don’t really recall,” and “it seems very unlikely that I would be taking calls from random people.”
  142. On Tuesday, Giuliani told NYT he had nothing to do with the decision to withhold aid to Ukraine, saying, “I never discussed military assistance. I am expert on so many things it could have been some very esoteric subject.”
  143. On Tuesday, the House passed a resolution 339-to-71 disapproving of any future attempts to include Russia in the Group of Seven summits, which Trump has repeatedly floated.
  144. On Wednesday, a video circulated of NATO leaders Trudeau, Macron, Johnson and others at a reception at the Buckingham Palace gossiping and mocking Trump’s freewheeling news conference earlier in the day.
  145. The video opened with Johnson asking Macron, “Is that why you were late?” Trudeau jumps in and responds, “He was late because he takes a 40-minute press conference off the top.”
  146. Trudeau says shortly after, “I just watched his team’s jaws drop to the floor.” Prior to the reception, Trump had a 38 minute press event with Macron, and prior for 53 minutes with Stoltenberg.
  147. On Wednesday morning, standing alongside German Chancellor Angela Merkel, Trump called Trudeau “two-faced,” adding, “ he’s a nice guy,” but “I called him out” for not paying 2% and “I guess he’s not happy about it.”
  148. Trump, who has repeatedly demeaned domestic political rivals for being laughed at around the world, abruptly canceled a scheduled news conference, saying he had already answered too many questions, and left.
  149. Earlier in the week, Trump had blasted Democrats, saying, “Do Nothing Democrats purposely scheduled an Impeachment Hoax hearing on the same date as NATO. Not nice!” Now he was headed back to the U.S.
  150. On Wednesday, WAPO reported in a closed-door meeting of House Democrats, before the day’s hearing, Speaker Pelosi made clear to her caucus that impeachment is coming, possibly as soon as this month.
  151. Reportedly, Pelosi said, “Are you ready?” and, “We’re moving forward,” to which the caucus erupted with shouts of approval. Pelosi then turned the floor to Schiff who received a standing ovation.
  152. Pelosi then described “the gravity and somber nature of this moment,” and “a situation that the founders feared.” Vice President Pence held a similar meeting to rally House Republicans on Wednesday morning.
  153. On Wednesday, House Whip Steny Hoyer told reporters House Democrats would be considering congressional action against Nunes: “I think there are serious questions that have been raised by Mr. Nunes’ actions.”
  154. On Wednesday, the House Judiciary Committee held its first impeachment hearing, featuring four constitutional lawyers — three picked by Democrats and one by Republicans.
  155. Chair Nadler opened by addressing why hearings must be held now, saying, “We are all aware that the next election is looming — but we cannot wait,” adding, “The integrity of that election is the very thing at stake.”
  156. Nadler also said Trump “has shown us his pattern of conduct. If we do not act to hold him in check now” he “will almost certainly try again to solicit interference in the election for his personal, political benefit.”
  157. The hearing was acrimonious with ranking member Doug Collins calling the impeachment probe a “partisan coup d’etat,” and Republicans forcing roll call votes of the 41 members three time in the first 90 minutes.
  158. The hearings lasted eight hours. A couple of hours into the hearings, Trump left London to fly back to Washington. During the hearings Trump actively retweeted House Republicans and other allies’ accounts.
  159. Four legal scholars testified: Professors Noah Feldman of Harvard Law, Pamela Karlan of Stanford Law, Michael Gerhardt of North Carolina Law, and Jonathan Turley of George Washington University Law.
  160. Pam Karlan chastised Collins who accused her of not having read the report, saying she read all testimony and added, “I’m insulted by the suggestion that as a law professor I don’t care about those facts.”
  161. Noah Feldman said, “the reason the Constitution provided for impeachment was to anticipate a situation like the one that is before you today.” He noted he was not for impeachment based on Mueller report.
  162. Feldman also testified, “If we cannot impeach a president who uses his power for personal advantage, we no longer live in a democracy, we live in a monarchy or a dictatorship.”
  163. Feldman noted, “The possibility that the president might get caught in the process of attempting to abuse his office and then not be able to pull it off does not undercut in any way the impeachability of the acts.”
  164. Karlan called Trump’s action “an abuse that cuts to the heart of democracy,” and “It’s your responsibility to make sure that all Americans get to vote in a free and fair election next November.”
  165. The third Democratic witness, North Carolina Law professor Michael Gerhardt said, “If what we’re talking about isn’t impeachable, then nothing is impeachable,” citing bribery and obstruction of justice in the report.
  166. The Republicans’ witness, Jonathan Turley, said impeaching Trump for going to the courts is an “abuse of power,” saying the facts presented by House Intelligence do not meet the necessary standard for impeachment.
  167. Turley said, “I am concerned about lowering impeachment standards to fit a paucity of evidence and an abundance of anger,” and said of charges of bribery, “close enough is not good enough.”
  168. Republicans used a comment by Karlan, “The Constitution says there can be no titles of nobility. So while the President can name his son Barron, he can’t make him a baron,” to distract and fundraise. She later apologized.
  169. Nadler concluded by saying “all three parts” of his test for whether Trump should be impeached were met: he committed an impeachable act, that act was a “direct threat” to the Constitution, and some Trump supporter will be with them.
  170. Before Trump left NATO, he told reporters the hearing “is the most unfair thing that anybody’s ever seen.” Chair Nadler paused during questioning and noted the point where Trump’s lawyers could have participated.
  171. Asked about the House report, Trump said, “it’s a joke,” adding, “I watched the reviews….I watched Hannity, Sean Hannity, I watched Laura Ingram, I watched Tucker Carlson, I watched a lot of other legal scholars, frankly.”
  172. On Wednesday, Rep. Jim Banks wrote a letter to Senate Judiciary Committee chair Lindsey Graham, asking him to subpoena phone records of Schiff, Joe and Hunter Biden, and whistleblower attorney Mark Zaid.
  173. On Wednesday, Democrat Rep. Denny Heck said he would not seek re-election, citing he was “discouraged” by his Republican colleagues on impeachment, and “Civility is out. Compromise is out. All or nothing is in.”
  174. On Wednesday, WAPO reported John Durham, Barr’s handpicked prosecutor, said he could offer no evidence to the DOJ IG to support the right-wing conspiracy theory the Russia case was a U.S. intelligence setup.
  175. IG Horowitz contacted Durham and several U.S. intelligence agencies in compiling his report. Among the questions was whether Joseph Mifsud was an intelligence asset sent to ensnare Trump’s campaign.
  176. Horowitz’s report is set to come out Monday, and his interaction with Durham may dull expectations by Barr and Trump allies that Durham’s report will back various right-wing conspiracy theories.
  177. On Wednesday, NYT reported while House Democrats issued their report and held impeachment hearings, Giuliani traveled to Europe to interview Ukrainians to shift focus to wrongdoings by Trump’s political rivals.
  178. Giuliani met with former Ukrainian prosecutor, Yuriy Lutsenko, in Budapest on Tuesday, and met withViktor Shokin and Kostiantyn Kulyk in Kyiv Wednesday. All have faced allegations of corruption.
  179. Giuliani is using the trip to tape a documentary for One America News (OAN) promoting his pro-Trump, anti-impeachment narrative. He hoped to gather new material to undercut the House and Senate impeachment.
  180. Andrii Telizhenko and Andrii Artemenko, former Ukrainian officials who support Trump, joined Giuliani and the OAN crew. The two, along with Mykhaylo Okhendovsky, recorded interviews with OAN last month.
  181. Giuliani’s visit to meet with the same Ukrainian characters in the impeachment probe has sparked concern at the State Department. An official called it “shocking” he is unbowed by issues he faces at home.
  182. Asked about the trip, Giuliani texted the Times: “If S.D.N.Y. leaks and Democrats’ threats stopped me, then I should find a new profession,” and “I am gathering evidence to defend my client against the false charges.”
  183. On Thursday, Giuliani tweeted that an investigation into Biden’s conduct has not been resolved, claiming,“Obama embassy urged Ukrainian police NOT to investigate!” adding, “Stay tuned to find out why.”
  184. On Thursday, Andriy Derkach, a former Ukrainian lawmaker who served as a member of a pro-Russia party and attended a KGB-affiliated high school in Moscow, posted a photo with Giuliani on his Facebook page.
  185. On Friday, former Ukrainian diplomat Telizhenko tweeted a photo with Giuliani, saying, “Thank you @RudyGiuliani for your work and what you do for @realDonaldTrump, because we are fighting for the #TRUTH!”
  186. Pelosi called Giuliani’s trip an indication of “the arrogance of it all.” Asked if Trump was backing Giuliani, White House deputy press secretary Hogan Gidley said, “That’s a question between Rudy and the president.”
  187. On Wednesday, CNN reported federal prosecutors, who are investigating Giuliani and his associates, have deepened their focus on Naftogaz and have interviewed its CEO, Andriy Kobolyev.
  188. Prosecutors have also interviewed U.S. embassy official Suriya Jayanti, a foreign service officer based in Kyiv, who handles Naftogaz issues at the embassy and communicates with the company’s management.
  189. Sec. Perry said he told Jayanti about Parnas and Fruman’s corrupt intent with Naftogaz to replace Kobolyev as CEO. Andrew Favorov also said he relayed his concerns about the two to her.
  190. Jayanti was also identified as among those who overheard the July 26 call between Sondland and Trump. She was listed to give a closed-door deposition in October, but the deposition never occurred.
  191. On Wednesday, WSJ reported Zelensky is withholding his support for a proposed parliamentary investigation into Burisma, citing wanting to avoid Ukraine getting more caught up in U.S. politics.
  192. On Wednesday, WSJ reported the Trump regime is considering sending an additional 14,000 troops to the Middle East, as well as ships and other military hardware, to counter Iran.
  193. The deployment would double the number of troops sent to the region since Trump started a buildup in May. There is growing concern by military leaders that an attack on U.S. interests could leave few options.
  194. The Pentagon denied WSJ reporting: press secretary Alyssa Farah tweeted, “The U.S. is not considering sending 14,000 additional troops to the Middle East.” The U.S. has no diplomatic process in place with Iran.
  195. On Thursday, Politico reported Pentagon’s policy chief acknowledged the reporting on the additional 14,000 troops, after trying to knock it down Wednesday, after Defense Secretary Mark Esper said he is considering it.
  196. On Tuesday, at the NATO summit, Trump said, “We’re by far the most powerful country in the world,” and he still had “a good relationship” with Kim Jong Un, but “He definitely likes sending rockets up, doesn’t he?”
  197. On Thursday, North Korea’s first vice foreign minister threatened if Trump stoked “the atmosphere of confrontation,” citing his reference to “Rocket Man,” the North would resume calling Trump bad names like “dotard.”
  198. On Saturday, North Korea’s U.N. envoy said denuclearization is off the negotiating table with the U.S., adding“sustained and substantial dialogue” sought by the United States was a “time-saving trick.”
  199. On Thursday, Trump tweeted, “The Do Nothing Democrats had a historically bad day yesterday in the House,” adding, “They have no Impeachment case,” and, “they have gone crazy.”
  200. Trump also tweeted, “Therefore I say, if you are going to impeach me, do it now, fast, so we can have a fair trial in the Senate, and so that our Country can get back to business.”
  201. Trump also threatened, “We will have Schiff, the Bidens, Pelosi and many more testify, and will reveal, for the first time, how corrupt our system really is. I was elected to “Clean the Swamp,” and that’s what I am doing!”
  202. An hour later, in a formal address at 9 a.m. that lasted less than six minutes, Speaker Pelosi announced the House of Representatives would begin drafting impeachment articles against Trump.
  203. Pelosi announced in a somber tone, frequently invoking the Constitution and the founders, it had become clear from the two month investigation that Trump violated his oath by seeking foreign help for 2020 election.
  204. Pelosi stood in front of American flags, and said, “Our democracy is what is at stake. The president leaves us no choice but to act because he is trying to corrupt, once again, the election for his own benefit.”
  205. Pelosi said, “This isn’t about Ukraine; this is about Russia,” adding, “So sometimes people say, ‘Well, I don’t know about Ukraine, I don’t know that much about Ukraine.’”
  206. Pelosi added that it was Russia “who benefited by our withholding of that military assistance” to Ukraine, adding, “our adversary is Russia,” and repeating the phrase, “All roads lead to Putin.”
  207. Pelosi added, “Sadly, but with confidence and humility, with allegiance to our founders and a heart full of love for America, today I am asking our chairmen to proceed with articles of impeachment.”
  208. In instructing “chairmen,” Pelosi directed the chairs of the six House committees, meaning the articles could be broader than just Trump-Ukraine, as other investigations continue.
  209. Shortly after, Trump tweeted, “Radical Left Democrats have just announced that they are going to seek to Impeach me over NOTHING,” and, “they hang their hats on two totally appropriate (perfect) phone calls.”
  210. Trump also tweeted now the “act of Impeachment will be used routinely to attack future Presidents. That is not what our Founders had in mind,” adding, “the Republicans have NEVER been more united. We will win!”
  211. Shortly after, at her weekly news conference, Pelosi said she was sorry Trump “made this necessary,” but “If we do not act on this, the message to any future president would be, ‘You can do whatever you want.’”
  212. When asked if she was concerned about a backlash, Pelosi said, “This has absolutely nothing to do with politics…Democrats and Republicans…It’s about the Constitution of the United States…So no, I’m not concerned.”
  213. Referencing Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, she said, “The Grim Reaper says all we’re doing is impeachment… We have 275 bipartisan bills on your desk,” and called McConnell the “rogue Senate leader.”
  214. As Pelosi was leaving, a reporter from Sinclair asked if she hated Trump, invoking a comment by Rep. Collins that is why they are doing it. Pelosi said, “I don’t hate anybody,” and walked back to the microphone.
  215. Pelosi said she thinks Trump “is a coward” for not taking on gun violence, and “he is cruel” for not helping our Dreamers, and “he is in denial” about the climate crisis, adding, “However, that’s about the election.”
  216. Pelosi said, “This is about the Constitution,” adding, “as a Catholic, I resent your using the word ‘hate’ in a sentence that addresses me,” adding she prays for Trump “all the time,” and closed out with, “Don’t mess with me.”
  217. Shortly after, Trump tweeted, “Nancy Pelosi just had a nervous fit,” adding, “She says she “prays for the President.” I don’t believe her, not even close,” and, “Help the homeless in your district Nancy.”
  218. On Thursday, the House Judiciary Committee announced the next impeachment hearing will take place Monday, at which investigators will present evidence, the final step to drafting articles of impeachment.
  219. On Thursday, Republican Rep. Tom Graves, 49, of Georgia announced he would retire, saying it was time to “pass the baton.” Graves was the 21st Republican to announce they will not seek re-election in 2020.
  220. On Friday, Republican Rep. George Holding said he would not seek re-election in 2020, citing North Carolinaredrawing the congressional map. Holding was the 22nd Republican.
  221. On Thursday, the House Ethics Committee told Rep. Duncan Hunter in a letter he can no longer vote in the House, citing a House rule relating to any member convicted of a crime who could serve a prison sentence.
  222. Hunter changed his plea to guilty on Tuesday, and faces five years of prison. He and Chris Collins, the first two members of the House to support Trump, have both pleaded guilty to crimes.
  223. On Friday, Hunter announced he will resign from his seat after the holidays. Two Republicans will vie for his seat, including Darrell Issa who called on Trump to pardon Hunter.
  224. On Tuesday, a federal appeals court ruled Deutsche Bank and Capital One must turn over Trump’s financial records to the House Intelligence and Financial Services committees, and must turn over records next week.
  225. The court ruled, “The Committees’ interests in pursuing their constitutional legislative function is a far more significant public interest” than risking Trump being distracted from disclosing his private financial transactions.
  226. On Thursday, Trump asked the Supreme Court to void a subpoena from the House Oversight Committee that seeks his tax returns. The Supreme Court will decide as early as mid-December if it will hear the case.
  227. On Thursday, Karen McDougal sued Fox News, saying host Tucker Carlson had intentionally defamed her on his show by falsely accusing her of extortion, and she was “harassed, embarrassed and ridiculed” after.
  228. On Thursday, the Trump regime disputed some of the details in the House Intelligence Committee report about Giuliani’s calls to “White House Phone Number” and “-1” in an effort to weaken the Democrats’ case.
  229. Although the call logs show Giuliani was in frequent contact with the White House at key times of the Ukraine pressure campaign, an OMB official claimed he did not speak to anyone in OMB, or to Mick Mulvaney.
  230. On Thursday, WAPO reported phone records released in the House report revealed Trump routinely communicated with Giuliani and others speaking on cellphones vulnerable to monitoring by Russia and others.
  231. Additionally, the call between Giuliani and other Trump officials were also not on encrypted or otherwise shielded lines, raising concerns that Russia was about to learn of Trump’s efforts to withhold aid for investigations.
  232. Security experts suspected Giuliani would be a target of Russian surveillance given his focus on Ukraine. Experts said Russians could enlist its own operative in Ukraine to feed Giuliani disinformation while in Kyiv.
  233. Giuliani has used WhatsApp, but also had pocket-dialed a reporter, and had to go to an Apple store after losing his password. U.S. officials said Russia likely has him under physical surveillance on his trip this week.
  234. Officials said Trump’s use of unsecured lines has become the subject of renewed concerns by senior officials at the White House, who have repeatedly tried unsuccessfully to break him of the habit.
  235. On Thursday, Judge Richard Berman excoriated the Turkish government for an “extraordinary, sustained” pressure campaign to scuttle the case against state-owned Halbank for criminal money laundering charges.
  236. The judge also noted the Turkish government hired Giuliani to defend trader Reza Zarrab, and cited contacts between “Turkish and U.S. officials, lobbyists and attorneys” for Zarrab’s release despite criminal charges.
  237. On Friday, a Saudi military student, Ahmed Mohammed al-Shamrani, opened fire in a classroom, killing three and wounding eight at a naval base in Pensacola, Florida.
  238. An initial FBI investigation found no apparent connection to a foreign terrorist group, although Florida Republicans Sen. Rick Scott and Rep. Matt Gaetz claimed it was an act of terrorism.
  239. Trump took an unusually measured tones, seeming to defend the Saudis, tweeting, “King Salman of Saudi Arabia just called to express his sincere condolences and give his sympathies to the families and friends.”
  240. Trump also tweeted, “The King said that the Saudi people are greatly angered by the barbaric actions of the shooter,” and, “this person in no way shape or form represents the feelings of the Saudi people.”
  241. On Friday, Trump told reporters at a White House roundtable on small business and red tape reduction that“we’re looking very strongly at sinks and showers and other elements of bathrooms,” including low flow toilets.
  242. Trump said “at my suggestion” the EPA “is looking at that very strongly” saying, “People are flushing toilets 10 times, 15 times, as opposed to once. They end up using more water.”
  243. Trump said, “we’re looking very strongly at sinks and showers,” adding, “you turn the faucet on, in areas where there’s tremendous amounts of water, where the water rushes out to sea because you could never handle it.”
  244. Trump added, “You turn on the faucet; you don’t get any water. They take a shower and water comes dripping out. It’s dripping out — very quietly dripping out.” Trump continued on the subject for several minutes.
  245. Trump also complained about energy-efficient light bulbs, calling them “many times more expensive,” and “it doesn’t make you look as good,” adding, “It gives you an orange look. I don’t want an orange look.”
  246. On Thursday, 350 psychiatrists and other mental-health professionals submitted a petition to Congress, warning Trump’s mental health is rapidly deteriorating amid the impeachment inquiry.
  247. The petition said what makes Trump “so dangerous is the brittleness of his sense of worth. Any slight or criticism is experienced as a humiliation and degradation,” and he will react with “narcissistic rage.”
  248. They also wrote, “failing to monitor or to understand the psychological aspects” of impeachment on Trump “or discounting them could lead to catastrophic outcomes.”
  249. On Friday, Rep. Justin Amash said he will vote for impeachment, saying he believes there is “sufficient evidence” against Trump for obstruction of Congress, obstruction of justice and abuse of power.
  250. On Friday, more than 500 law professors signed an open letter saying Trump committed “impeachable conduct” and Congress would be well within their rights if they vote to remove him from office.
  251. The letter cites “overwhelming evidence” that Trump “betrayed his oath of office by seeking to use presidential power to pressure a foreign government to help him distort an American election.”
  252. They added, Trump’s “conduct is precisely the type of threat to our democracy that the Founders feared when they included the remedy of impeachment,” adding they “take no position” on if he committed a crime.
  253. On Friday, in a letter from White House counsel Pat Cipollone to Chair Nadler, the White House rejected the House Judiciary’s invitation to participate in Monday’s impeachment hearing before the 5 p.m. deadline.
  254. While not explicitly saying if the White House would participate, Cipollone called the inquiry “completely baseless” and said House Democrats had “violated basic principles of due process and fundamental fairness.”
  255. Cipollone also said, “House Democrats have wasted enough of America’s time with this charade. You should end this inquiry now and not waste even more time with additional hearings.”
  256. Nadler responded, saying Trump and team “cannot claim that the process is unfair” if they refuse to participate, adding Trump’s failure to respond “will not prevent us from carrying out our solemn constitutional duty.”
  257. On Friday, deputy press secretary Gidley told Fox News the impeachment inquiry is a “sham” and “doesn’t do anything to put food on the tables of the Americans people” — 48 hours after the USDA enacted a rule that cut food stamps for 700,000.
  258. On Friday, Chair Schiff revealed Jennifer Williams submitted additional classified evidence in the impeachment probe of a phone conversation between Pence and Zelensky that took place on September 18.
  259. In a letter to Pence, Schiff asked Pence’s office to declassify, saying classifying “certain portions” of the call “cannot be justified on national security or any other legitimate grounds we can discern.”
  260. On Friday, Trump tweeted, “Fake News @CNN is reporting that I am “still using personal cell phone for callsdespite repeated security warnings.” This is totally false information.” CNN stood by its reporting.
  261. On Friday, the Supreme Court granted Trump’s emergency request to temporarily block the House subpoena to Deutsche Bank and Capital One for Trump’s records until December 13.
  262. The temporary halt will allow the court to deliberate on a longer stay, while giving Trump’s lawyers time to prepare for a formal appeal.
  263. On Friday, WAPO reported Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov will travel to Washington next week to meet with Secretary of State Pompeo, his first visit since the Oval Office controversy where Trump shared classified information.
  264. Pompeo has kept Lavrov at arms length. It is unclear if Lavrov will meet with Trump. The White House refused to comment. One day before his arrival, Zelensky and Putin will meet in Paris.
  265. On Saturday, the LA Times Editorial Board said, “We’ve seen enough. Trump should be impeached,” citing “overwhelming evidence that Trump perverted U.S. foreign policy for his own political gain.”
  266. On Saturday, the House Judiciary Committee released a 55-page report laying out the “Constitutional Grounds for Presidential Impeachment,” saying Trump’s conduct rises to the level of impeachment.
  267. The report cited, “The Framers worst nightmare is what we are facing,” adding, “Trump abused his power, betrayed our national security, and corrupted our elections, all for personal gain.”
  268. The report concluded, “A President cannot escape impeachment just because his scheme to abuse power, betray the nation, or corrupt elections was discovered and abandoned.”
  269. Shortly after, Trump tweeted, “Read the Transcripts! Also, see where I say “us” (our Country) as opposed to “me” (meaning me) and where I then say that the Attorney General (of the United States) will call you.”
  270. Trump also tweeted, “People still remember Schiff’s made up and fraudulent version of my conversation. Witch Hunt!” adding, “our Country is doing better, perhaps, than it has ever done before. Jobs, Jobs, Jobs!”

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In this grab taken from video on Tuesday, Dec. 3, 2019, Britain’s Prime Minister Boris Johnson, right, speaks during a NATO reception. While NATO leaders are professing unity as they gather for a summit near London, several seem to have been caught in an unguarded exchange on camera apparently gossiping about Trump’s behavior. In footage recorded during a reception at Buckingham Palace on Tuesday, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau was seen standing in a huddle with French President Emmanuel Macron, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte and Britain’s Princess Anne.

POLITIKS OF GRAFFITI 160: “ROCKY’

NOVEMBER 30, 2019
Week 159
Experts in authoritarianism advise to keep a list of things
subtly changing around you, so you’ll remember.
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This week, more conspiracy theories were debunked, as a draft of the Department of Justice Inspector General report found the FBI did not try to place spies in Trump’s 2016 campaign, nor did Obama wiretap him. Trump allies continued to push the conspiracy that Ukraine, not Russia, may have interfered in 2016, despite it being thoroughly and widely disproved.
Trump sought to portray strength — firing the Navy Secretary and tweeting an image of his face super-imposed on the body of Sylvester Stallone in “Rocky.” He told supporters in Florida how hard he was working for them — as opposed to Democrats’ focus on impeachment — then clandestinely flew to Afghanistan on Thanksgiving to visit U.S. troops under false pretenses.
The House Judiciary Committee announced the start of impeachment hearings next week, as Trump and his team weighed whether to participate. The committee did not rule out an article related to the Mueller probe. Reporting revealed the September 9 call between Trump and Gordon Sondland — central in Trump’s defense of his actions towards Ukraine — may not have happened, and Rudy Giuliani faces a broad probe of possible criminal activity.
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1 On Saturday, NBC News reported the Trump regime is also holding back $105 million in congressionally-approved military assistance to Lebanon. Trump’s national security team is also in favor of the aid.
2 The aid was mentioned by David Hale in his closed-door impeachment hearing deposition. The Office of Management and Budget has not explained the reason for the delay.
3 On Sunday, House Intelligence Committee Chair Adam Schiff told “Meet the Press” the hearings produced “overwhelming” evidence Trump conditioned aid on investigations to help his re-election.
4 Schiff said it is “urgent” for the House to move forward and not do “months and month of rope-a-dope in the court,” adding, “we have another election where the president is threatening more foreign interference.”
5 On Sunday, ABC News reported the House Intelligence Committee is in possession of video and audio recordings, and photographs provided by Lev Parnas which include Rudy Giuliani and Trump.
6 Chair Schiff said on “Meet the Press” that Parnas and Igor Fruman were subpoenaed. Fruman has not cooperated. Parnas’ lawyer said his cooperation is “non-partisan,” and for “the best interests of our nation.”
7 On Sunday, WAPO reported a confidential White House review of Trump’s decision to put Ukraine aid on hold revealed emails showing extensive after-the-fact communication to come up with justification of his decision.
8 The research by the White House Counsel’s Office, triggered by the House impeachment inquiry, included emails between chief of staff Mick Mulvaney and other officials in early August on the hold Trump placed in mid-July.
9 Trump decided on the hold without a rationale or legal justification. Mulvaney asked OMB director Russell Vought in early August for a legal rationale. Vought said it was legal, but the NSA and the State Department disagreed.
10 Mulvaney’s request came as he learned the whistleblower made a complaint to the CIA’s general counsel. The White House released aid on September 11, two days after the House was notified of the complaint.
11 White House counsel Pat Cippollone’s office has overseen the review, and has kept tight control of his findings, exasperating tensions between he and Mulvaney, whose aides said they need information for public inquiries.
12 On Saturday, Rep. Adam Smith, a high ranking Democrat, said an ethics investigation of Rep. Devin Nunes is likely over allegations he met with Ukraine’s former top prosecutor, Viktor Shokin, to get dirt on the Bidens.
13 According to the lawyer for Parnas, a top aide for Nunes, Derek Harvey, also joined a group that frequently met at the Trump Hotel DC in the spring of 2019 to discuss the Biden matter and other topics.
14 Nunes told Breitbart, these “false and scandalous stories published by the Daily Beast and CNN are the perfect example of defamation and reckless disregard for the truth,” and threatened to sue for the “fake stories.”
15 Newsweek reported Nunes spent $57,000 of taxpayer monies on flights and other expenses for travel to Europe for himself and three staffers, Scott Glabe, George Pappas, and Harvey.
16 Rudy Giuliani appeared on Fox News on Saturday, saying “Devin Nunes says he didn’t meet with Shokin. I have no reason to believe that he did,” adding, “If he did, there would’ve been nothing wrong with it.”
17 Giuliani also said that he has a good relationship with Trump, adding, “I’ve seen things written like he’s going to throw me under the bus,” but “when they say that, I say he isn’t, but I have insurance.”
18 On Sunday, in an interview with NYT, former White House press secretary Sarah Sanders said, “I was attacked for everything, not just my performance,” and, “I don’t like being called a liar.” Sander repeatedly lied.
19 On Sunday, Rick Perry told “Fox & Friends” Trump is “the chosen one” and “sent by God to do great things.” Co-host Peter Hegseth said what Trump withstood is “unlike what really any other mortal could understand.”
20 On Monday, Nikki Haley told Christian Broadcasting Network on Trump, “I think God sometimes places people for lessons and sometimes places people for change. And you can look at everything that has happened.”
21 On Tuesday, First Lady Melania was booed while addressing a group of middle school and high school students in Baltimore in a speech about youth opioid use, four months after Trump publicly disparaged the city.
22 On Wednesday, former Democratic governor Martin O’Malley confronted acting deputy secretary of Homeland Security Ken Cuccinelli at Dubliner, a Capitol Hill Irish bar, on Thanksgiving Eve over immigration policy.
23 Onlookers said as the two passed, O’Malley unloaded on Cuccinelli over separating migrant children from their parents, invoking “kids in cages,” and telling him his immigrant parents would “be ashamed of him.”
24 On Wednesday, WAPO reported White House adviser Stephen Miller has emerged unscathed from leaked emails tying him to white nationalists and racist talking points. He boarded Air Force One with Trump on Tuesday.
25 The White House has vigorously defended Miller, and Republican lawmakers have refrained from commenting. Two dozen Senate Democrats and 100 in the House have called on him to step down.
26 On Wednesday, the editorial board for the Sacramento Bee, Nunes’ local paper, said in an op-ed he should “cease silly lawsuits and answer serious questions” about the roughly $60,000 spent on his trip to Europe.
27 The board cited Nunes’ ongoing lawsuit against Twitter accounts known as “Devin Nunes’ cow” and “Devin Nunes’ mom,” calling the suits a “mockery” and saying he was “eviscerated” in court filings this week.
28 On Thursday, NYT reported at least nine Republican organizations have bought Donald Jr.’s book in bulk in an effort to bolster sales. Nonetheless, “Triggered” dropped to number 2 this week as Anonymous’ book came out.
29 On Sunday, Trump tweeted about a non-existent poll, claiming, “Polls have now turned very strongly against Impeachment, especially in swing states. 75% to 25%. Thank you!”
30 On Monday, Trump tweeted again about an non-existent poll: “Support for Impeachment is dropping like a rock, down into the 20’s in some Polls,” adding, “Dems should now get down to work.”
31 Later Monday, Trump quoted “Fox & Friends” host Brian Kilmeade saying impeachment “is getting less and less popular by the day.” This tweet is also false.
32 In all three tweets, Trump did not cite a polling source for his numbers, and it appeared rather than cherry-picking polls which Trump has done in the past, he instead invented polls.
33 On Tuesday, a new CNN poll found 50% of Americans say Trump should be impeached, 43% say he should not — unchanged since October despite impeachment hearings. Independents are 47% in favor, 45% opposed.
34 The gender gap for impeachment was 40 points: women 61% in favor, 34% against; men 40%, 53%. The poll also found Trump’s approval with women was 32% with women, and 52% with men.
35 Relative to past presidents, CNN found support for Trump’s impeachment was high: Bill Clinton at his highest point was 29%, Obama was 33%, and George W. was 30%.
36 On Tuesday, a Politico/Morning Consult poll found support for impeachment up to 48%, with 45% against. Support has increased from +3 to +5 in the past week.
37 On Wednesday, Reuters/Ipsos found support for impeachment up to 47% for, 40% against. Net support is up 4 points in the poll since impeachment hearings began.
38 On Saturday, AP reported Secretary of Navy Richard Spencer said he does not consider a tweet by Trump to be a formal order, saying, “I need a formal order to act,” relating to a sailor who could lose his status as a Navy SEAL.
39 On Saturday, NYT reported Spencer and the admiral who leads the SEALs have threatened to resign or be fired if Trump halted their plan to expel the sailor, Chief Petty Officer Edward Gallagher.
40 On Sunday, Gallagher appeared on “Fox & Friends,” saying the Navy was retaliating against him and trying to take his Trident pin “after the president restored my rank,” and that he was “overjoyed” by Trump’s help.
41 Ahead of Gallagher’s appearance, Trump tweeted, “Navy Seal Eddie Gallagher will be on @foxandfriends this morning at 7:30 A.M.,” adding, “Have no fear, all will end well for everyone!”
42 Later Sunday, Trump tweeted, “I was not pleased with the way that Navy Seal Eddie Gallagher’s trial was handled,” saying, “he was treated very badly.” Trump also cited “large cost overruns” by the last administration.
43 Trump added, “Therefore, Secretary of the Navy Richard Spencer’s services have been terminated by Secretary of Defense Mark Esper,” and, “Eddie will retire peacefully with all of the honors” and his Trident pin.
44 Sec. Esper claimed Spencer privately proposed to White House officials that Gallagher could retire as SEAL with his pin if they did not interfere, but did not share the proposal with him, and so he lost confidence in him.
45 Shortly after, Spencer resigned in a letter to Trump, saying, “Unfortunately it has become apparent that in this respect, I no longer share the same understanding with the Commander in Chief who appointed me.”
46 Spencer added, “I cannot in good conscience obey an order that I believe violates the sacred oath I took in the presence of my family, my flag and my faith to support and defend the Constitution of the United States.”
47 On Wednesday, in an op-ed, Spencer responded to his firing, saying, “We are effective overseas not because we have the best equipment but because we are professionals. Our troops are held to the highest standards.”
48 Spencer noted, “Trump involved himself in the case almost from the start. Before the trial began,” and that Trump’s interest in the case “stemmed partly from the way the defendant’s lawyers” talked about it on Fox News.
49 Spencer wrote to Trump on November 14 to ask him not to get involved, and next day, White House Counsel Pat Cipollone called to say Trump would remain involved. Cipollone called again to tell Spencer to restore Gallagher’s rank.
50 Spencer said, “This was a shocking and unprecedented intervention,” adding Trump “has very little understanding of what it means to be in the military, to fight ethically,” or to be governed by “rules and practices.”
51 On Sunday, Sen. John Kennedy told “Fox News Sunday” he was not sure if it was Russia or Ukraine that interfered in the 2016 election, saying, “I don’t know, nor do you, nor do any others.”
52 On Monday, Kennedy backtracked, telling CNN, “I was wrong,” adding, “It was Russia who tried to hack the (Democratic National Committee) computer. I’ve seen no indication that Ukraine tried to do it.”
53 On Monday, Fox News host Tucker Carlson joked he was siding with Russia over Ukraine: “Why do I care what is going on in the conflict between Ukraine and Russia?…Why shouldn’t I root for Russia? Which I am.”
54 On Monday, Trump also quoted lawyer Sam Dewey, a frequent cable news commentator, tweeting, “President Trump is facing a process which is unprecedented for its unfairness.”
55 On Monday, Trump claimed credit at a ceremony for signing the Woman’s Suffrage Centennial Coin Act, saying, “I’m curious why wasn’t it done a long time ago?” adding, “now I’m president, we get things done.”
56 The bill, introduced in April 2019 with bipartisan support of all 25 female senators, commemorates the 100 year anniversary of when the 19th Amendment was ratified, giving women the right to vote.
57 On Monday, U.S. District Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson found that the White House claim that Don McGahn is “absolutely immune” to be “baseless,” saying he must comply with the House Judiciary subpoena.
58 In an 118-page opinion, the judge said, “per the Constitution, no one is above the law,” adding, “the primary takeaway from the past 250 years of recorded American history is that Presidents are not kings.”
59 The ruling also says that the House should have subpoena power over other top regime officials, and that Trump himself may not be immune from testimony.
60 Jackson’s wording was some of the strongest yet to criticize the White House’s approach to investigations into Trump. The Justice Department, which represents McGahn, said it would appeal.
61 On Tuesday, the lawyer for John Bolton said the court decision did not impact Bolton, claiming his “responsibilities are focused exclusively on providing information and advice to the president on national security.”
62 Jackson’s ruling said there was not “any difference whether the aides in question are privy to national security matters, or work solely on domestic issues,” saying that aides could cite executive privilege, but should testify.
63 On Tuesday, Trump attacked the ruling, tweeting, “the D.C. Wolves and Fake News Media are reading far too much” into it, and, “I am fighting for future Presidents and the Office of the President.”
64 Trump claimed, “I would actually like people to testify. Don McGahn’s respected lawyer has already stated that I did nothing wrong,” and complimented John Bolton as a “patriot” for not testifying.
65 Trump added, “I would love to have Mike Pompeo, Rick Perry, Mick Mulvaney and many others testify about the phony Impeachment Hoax,” adding, “It is a Democrat Scam that is going nowhere.”
66 On Tuesday, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said the debunked conspiracy theory that Ukraine, not Russia, interfered in the 2016 election is worthy of investigation, saying we have “a duty to make sure we chase that down.”
67 Pompeo told reporters that in his time as CIA director, he learned “there were many countries that were actively engaged in trying to undermine American democracy, our rule of law.”
68 Pompeo refused to say what he and Giuliani discussed in two March phone calls revealed in State Department records in Week 158, telling reporters, “I don’t have much to say with respect to the Ukraine investigation.”
69 Pompeo also side-stepped questions about Trump’s morning tweet, in which he said he would “love to have Mike Pompeo” and other officials testify, responding, “When the time is right, all good things happen.”
70 Later Tuesday, Bolton tweeted, “our country’s commitment to our national security priorities is under attack from within,” and, “America is distracted. Our enemies are not.” It was unclear what Bolton meant or his intention.
71 On Wednesday, a federal judge on the DC Circuit Court temporarily stayed Jackson’s order for McGahn to comply with a House subpoena to testify, and said the appeals court would hear arguments on January 3.
72 On January 3, the DC Circuit Court will also hear arguments on whether the DOJ must turn over Mueller grand jury testimony to the House. The DOJ is also representing McGahn.
73 On Monday, the Supreme Court blocked the House Oversight Committee from immediately obtaining Trump’s tax returns, giving Trump’s lawyers until December 5 to file a petition stating why it should accept the case.
74 If the petition is denied, the lower court ruling will go into effect. If accepted, the case will be heard before June. The House lawyer said, “Each day of delay harms Congress by depriving it of important information.”
75 On Tuesday, the House Oversight Committee sued AG William Barr and Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross for failing to turn over documents related to the regime’s failed attempt to add a citizenship question to the 2020 Census.
76 On Saturday, WAPO reported during the team’s visit to the White House as NCAA champions, the Columbia fencing team was not able to give Trump a letter critical of his gender equity policies, nor wear pins in support of it.
77 On Monday, WAPO reported José Ricardo Villalta Canales sued Maryland Natural Resources Police for turning him over to ICE where he remained in custody for three months, after being fined for cutting down a tree.
78 On Monday, WAPO reported the Education Secretary is poised to issue sweeping rules governing campus sexual assault, requiring universities to allow cross examination of those alleging sexual assault.
79 The proposal received an astounding 124,196 public comments, criticism from advocacy groups, survivors of sexual assault and campus leaders. Secretary Betsy DeVos said the new system would restore balance.
80 On Monday, DOJ Pride, a group of DOJ employees who are LGBTQ, sent a letter to AG Barr arguing the department’s stance against Title VII of the Civil Rights Act had a “clear and negative impact on employee morale.”
81 The letter cited concern the DOJ does not “support its LGBTQ workforce” or believe they “need or deserve anti-discrimination protections,” and the department “will be less able to recruit and retain talented employees.”
82 On Monday, Google fired Rebecca Rivers, the employee who helped organize a petition against its working with Customs and Border Protection. She was placed on administrative leave earlier this month.
83 On Monday, Trump ally and conservative broadcaster Rick Wiles warned on his show of a “Jew Coup,” saying Jewish members of Congress, the media, and the government were trying to take down Trump with impeachment.
84 On Wednesday, LA Magazine reported Tom Bowers, a Deutsche Bank executive who signed off on bank’s unorthodox loans to Trump, committed suicide. Rosemary Vrablic, Trump’s private banker, reported to Bower.
85 On Wednesday, Detroit Free Press reported 90 foreign students were arrested at a fake university set up the Department of Homeland Security in metro Detroit, bringing the total to 250 since it was set up in January.
86 University of Farmington was set up as part of a sting operation to entice foreign-born students, mostly from India, to register for a school that claimed it offered graduate programs in technology and computer studies.
87 The students arrived legally in the U.S. on student visas, but since the school was revealed to be a federal creation, they lost their immigration status, and 250 were arrested by Immigration and Customs Enforcement.
88 On Wednesday, WSJ reported according to a report by the DHS IG, the department did not have the necessary process in place to track how many migrant children were separated from their families.
89 The report found U.S. Customs and Border Protection was aware of the deficiency in November 2017, but the agency did little to address the problem ahead of mass separations that took place from May to June 2018.
90 The report found Trump’s “zero-tolerance” policy backfired, citing CBP agents were so overwhelmed, they released more migrants from detention and failed to turn over children in the required 72 hour window.
91 The report found at least 1,200 migrant children were not properly tracked by the government, and it is not known if they were reunited with their families.
92 On Thursday, WSJ reported that immigration judges in San Diego are quietly disrupting Trump’s new “Remain in Mexico” rule. Between January and September, 33% of the cases before the nine judges were terminated.
93 On Wednesday, ProPublica and Portland Monthly reported three women say they experienced sexual misconduct by Gordon Sondland in business settings before he become ambassador, including one saying he exposed himself.
94 All three women described professional retaliation when they rebuffed him, including one saying he backtracked from investing in her business. All three women agreed to be named in the reporting.
95 In a letter to ProPublica, Sondland’s attorney accused it of trying to “affect Ambassador Sondland’s credibility as a fact witness,” and suggested the news organizations of “veiled witness tampering.”
96 On Thursday, associates of Sondland said he had no plans to resign over the allegations, which he denied.
97 On Friday, Guardian reported the Ohio legislature introduced a bill that required doctors to “reimplant an ectopic pregnancy,” a procedure that does not exist in medical science, or face charges of “abortion murder.”
98 The bill, one of the most extreme anti-abortion introduced to date, marks the second time obstetricians and gynecologists have told Ohio legislators that an idea is medically impossible.
99 On Saturday, Rep. Ilhan Omar’s 2020 opponent, Danielle Stella, was permanently banned from Twitter, after tweeting the congresswoman “should be tried for #treason and hanged.”
100 Stella took to Facebook to defend her rhetoric and the accompanying image, citing a conspiracy theory and claiming, “I believe all involved should be thoroughly investigated. I did not threaten anyone.”
101 On Monday, Hong Kong voters delivered a landslide victory to pro-democracy candidates, who won almost 90% of districts. China-backed leader Carrie Lam said she will “listen humbly” to the views of the public.
102 However, the Chinese foreign minister warned, “Whatever happens, Hong Kong is always a part of China and any attempts to create chaos in Hong Kong or to jeopardise its prosperity and stability will not be successful.”
103 On Sunday, Axios reported that White House officials directed Sen. Lindsey Graham to block the Armenian genocide resolution after leaving a meeting with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan in the Oval Office.
104 On Monday, Sen. Ron Wyden said in his investigation of Turkish state-run bank Halkbank, accused of the biggest money laundering scheme in US history, he learned that Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin attended lunch with Erdoğan.
105 The Treasury Department disclosed Mnuchin had six other meetings with top Turkish officials. Wyden said Treasury “does not deny” Trump tasked Mnuchin “with intervening in the criminal investigation of Halkbank.”
106 On Monday, Reuters reported Turkey will test its new Russian S-400 missile defenses, despite pressure from the Trump regime to drop the system, which is incompatible with NATO defenses.
107 On Thursday, CNN reported the Trump regime plans to cut its financial contribution to NATO, seen as a symbolic move, ahead of Trump attending a summit of NATO’s 70th anniversary in London next week.
108 U.S. officials say the regime plans to reduce the U.S. contribution down to 16% of the overall budget, in line with Germany which provides 15% but has a smaller economy. Other NATO members will make up the shortfall.
109 On Thursday, speaking alongside the NATO chief, French President Emanuel Macron criticized Turkey’s operation in Syria against Kurds, who were critical in the fight against ISIS, after Trump’s withdrawal.
110 On Friday, Erdoğan called Macron “brain dead,” and “inexperienced” for saying Turkey should not be part of NATO. France summoned the Turkish envoy to explain Erdoğan’s comment.
111 On Thursday, Seoul said North Korea fired two short-range projectiles, the 13th major public weapons test by Kim Jong Un this year.
112 On Tuesday, WSJ reported Trump secretly met Sunday morning with Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp and his preferred pick to fill the state’s Senate seat, Kelly Loeffler, at the White House — and told Kemp not to pick Loeffler.
113 Reportedly, Trump did not inform White House aides about the meeting which turned acrimonious. Trump pushed for Rep. Doug Collins, who would be a certain vote against impeachment.
114 On Friday, Trump ally Rep. Matt Gaetz called for a primary challenge to Kemp for not obeying Trump, tweeting, “maybe you need a primary in 2022,” adding, “Let’s see if you can win one w/o Trump.”
115 On Sunday, WSJ reported Andrew Favorov, the head of natural gas for Naftogaz, told SDNY federal prosecutors that Parnas and Fruman tried to recruit him in March to help oust Naftogaz CEO Andriy Kobolyev.
116 Favorov said the two described Kobolyev and Marie Yovanovitch as part of “this Soros cartel” working against Trump, and said he should take over as CEO of Naftogaz. Favorov said he reported their plan to Kobolyev.
117 On Monday, WSJ reported prosecutors have subpoenaed Giuliani Partners, Giuliani’s consultant business, and sent subpoenas and other requests to possible witnesses for records and information on Giuliani, Parnas, and Fruman.
118 Subpoenas list eight possible charges, including obstruction of justice, money laundering, conspiracy to defraud, making false statements, serving as an agent of a foreign government without registering with the DOJ.
119 Other charges include donating funds from foreign nationals, making contributions in the name of another person or allowing someone else to use one’s name to make a contribution, and mail fraud and wire fraud.
120 On Monday, WAPO reported SDNY federal prosecutors are also investigating Parnas and Fruman’s interactions with Giuliani and the main pro-Trump super PAC, America First Action, set up after the election.
121 Investigators are scrutinizing Giuliani Partners’ donations to the PAC. Parnas and Fruman attended an America First dinner in April 2018, at which they spoke to Trump about Yovanovitch.
122 On Monday, NYT reported Giuliani targeted two Ukrainian oligarchs with legal trouble in the U.S., Dmitry Firtash and Ihor Kolomoisky, to help him dig up damaging information on Joe Biden.
123 Kolomoisky said he met with Giuliani and Parnas under a made-up pretense, and Giuliani asked him to set up a meeting with Zelensky. He said no, so Giuliani tweeted an uncomplimentary article about him.
124 Firtash initially said he did not have information on the Bidens, but hired lawyers Victoria Toensing and Joseph diGenova, recommended by Giuliani, who approached the DOJ on his behalf.
125 Confidential documents on Firtash made their way to John Solomon, who was a client of Toensing. Giuliani and Solomon obtained a sworn affidavit from Shokin saying Biden wanted him fired, taken by Firtash’s legal team.
126 On Tuesday, WAPO reported Venezuelan energy executive Alejandro Betancourt López hosted Giuliani in Madrid in August, and hired him to help him in a DOJ investigation of money laundering and bribery.
127 A month later, Giuliani was part of a legal team for Betancourt that met with the chief of the DOJ’s criminal division and other government attorneys, saying he should not face criminal charges.
128 The $1.2 billion money laundering case is the latest example of Giuliani using his access in the Trump regime to offer his services to foreign clients. The Madrid meeting took place as Giuliani pursued the Ukraine campaign.
129 On Tuesday, in an interview with former Fox News host Bill O’Reilly, Trump distanced himself from Giuliani and contradicted witnesses, saying of Giuliani’s efforts with Ukraine, “No, I didn’t direct him.”
130 Asked what Giuliani was doing in Ukraine, Trump said, “You have to ask that to Rudy,” and “I don’t even know,” adding, “I know he was going to go to Ukraine and I think he canceled a trip,” and “Rudy has other clients.”
131 In Week 130 NYT reported Giuliani had planned a trip to visit Zelensky to push for investigations, but canceled after political blowback. Gordon Sondland and Kurt Volker mentioned him 430 times in their testimony.
132 On Wednesday, WAPO reported Giuliani was in talks with Ukraine’s former top prosecutor, Yuri Lutsenko, on a deal for Giuliani Partners to work for Ukrainians. Legal agreements were drafted, but not signed.
133 Talks occurred between the two in New York in January and Warsaw in February, as Giuliani was gathering information on the Bidens and Ukraine 2016 interference, and wanted Lutsenko’s help with that.
134 Lutsenko wanted a pipeline to top U.S. officials arranged by Giuliani. Notably, Giuliani told WAPO that he does not charge Trump any fees for legal services.
135 Giuliani’s firm would have been paid a $200,000 retainer, then a $300,000 monthly fee from the Ministry of Justice. Toensing and diGenova were also mentioned, and were part of a separate proposal with the Ministry.
136 On Wednesday, Reuters reported Giuliani called Trump to say he was joking about having an “insurance policy” if Trump turned on him on the Ukraine scandal.
137 Giuliani’s lawyer Robert Costello said the call was made “at my insistence,” adding of Giuliani, “He shouldn’t joke, he is not a funny guy. I told him, ‘Ten thousand comedians are out of work, and you make a joke.’”
138 On Monday, WAPO reported Trump has made Jared Kushner the de facto project manager for constructing his wall, following frustration with the lack of progress ahead of the 2020 election.
139 Kushner has pushed CBP and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to expedite the process of taking over private land. More than 800 filings to seize private property are expected to be made in the coming months.
140 Kushner has started convening biweekly meetings in the West Wing, and has clashed with career officials who question his ideas and say he lacks knowledge on policy issues and politics of the immigration debate.
141 On Monday, Daniel Walsh, the deputy White House chief of staff, who had significant and broad responsibility, resigned. He was one of the last senior officials remaining from day one of the regime.
142 It was unclear what Walsh would do next, but the White House said he planned to join the private sector. Senior officials leaving the Trump regime have had mixed luck with their professional careers.
143 On Tuesday, the House committees released transcripts of OMB official Mark Sandy’s closed-door deposition in the impeachment inquiry. Sandy, a career official, was the only OMB official to testify.
144 Sandy, the deputy associate director for national-security programs, said he flagged concerns with his boss at OMB that the hold on Ukraine aid could violate appropriations laws.
145 Sandy said on July 12 he received an email from Mulvaney’s office, notifying him that Trump had directed the regime to freeze Ukraine’s military aid.
146 Sandy said he signed the paperwork for the hold in July, but was not given a reason for the hold until September, when he was told it was Trump’s desire to have other countries contribute aid to Ukraine.
147 Sandy said Michael Duffey, a political appointee took over the process for Ukraine aid on July 30, and began personally approving foreign aid and defense accounts, a task typically overseen by career officials.
148 Sandy said he first got questions on aid from Duffey on July 19 when Duffey said Trump had questions. On July 25, Sandy approved a temporary freeze after getting guidance from OMB lawyers.
149 Sandy said that two OMB officials had expressed frustration and quit, in part because of the hold on Ukraine aid. One was in the legal division and had a “dissenting opinion” over whether aid could be put on hold.
150 On Tuesday, the House also released the deposition transcript for Philip Reeker, a senior State Department official. The two transcripts were the final two to be released from closed-door impeachment depositions.
151 Reeker defended Yovanovitch, and described a State Department leadership failure, including by Pompeo, to defend her.
152 Reeker had a call with Ulrich Brechbuhl, counselor at State and confidant of Pompeo on April 24, who told him things had gotten “suddenly much worse” for her and there was “a lot of unhappiness” in the White House.
153 On Tuesday, the House Budget Committee said in a report that the OMB engaged in a “pattern of abuse” of its authority and the law by withholding State Department and Pentagon aid to Ukraine approved by Congress.
154 The report said limiting the spending is a violation of the Impoundment Control Act of 1974, adding the funds were not released until September 12, when the House was notified of the whistleblower complaint.
155 On Tuesday, the House Judiciary Committee announced its first public hearings on impeachment will start on December 4, with a panel on the “constitutional grounds for presidential impeachment.”
156 Chair Jerrold Nadler said Trump’s counsel can participate in the hearing and question witnesses. The House Intelligence report will be released shortly after Congress returns from Thanksgiving recess.
157 Chair Nadler in a letter to Trump, gave him until December 1 to inform the committee if he plans to participate in the hearings. House Judiciary has the power to draft articles of impeachment against Trump.
158 On Tuesday, NYT reported that Trump had already been briefed by lawyers from the White House counsel’s office about the whistleblower in late August — well before he released aid to Ukraine in September.
159 At the time lawyers briefed Trump, they were trying to determine if they were legally required to give the complaint to Congress, after it was given to the intelligence committee’s inspector general in mid-August.
160 In late August, the intelligence committee IG Michael Atkinson concluded the complaint should go to Congress. White House counsel Pat Cipollone and his deputy John Eisenberg disagreed, citing executive privilege.
161 Given the disagreement, advice was sought from the DOJ’s Office of Legal Counsel. A week later the OLC concluded the regime did not have to turn over the complaint.
162 On Tuesday, CNN reported according to a House Budget Committee summary, the OMB’s first official action to withhold $250 million in Pentagon aid to Ukraine came on the evening of July 25.
163 Trump spoke to Zelensky at 9:00 a.m. ET. Laura Cooper said an email from the State Department came at 2:31 p.m., saying, “Ukrainian embassy and House foreign affairs committee are asking about security assistance.”
164 Another email from State at 4:25 p.m. said, “The Hill knows about the FMF situation to an extent and so does the Ukrainian embassy.” Cooper said “my staff got a question from a Ukraine embassy contact” too.
165 A letter from Michael Duffey, an OMB political appointee, on August 9 said the OMB would begin releasing 2% of State Department funds each day. When Politico reported on August 29 of aid being withheld, 25% of funds were released each Sunday.
166 On Tuesday, at a rally near Miami, Florida which Trump dubbed a “homecoming rally” — the first in the state since he switched his primary residence — Trump lashed out at the impeachment inquiry.
167 Trump accused Democrats of “trying to rip our nation apart” with investigations, saying, “First it was the Russia hoax,” and “now the same maniacs are pushing the deranged … impeachment” narrative.
168 Trump continued to say that he did nothing wrong, and that Democrats are moving forward on impeachment because “they know that they cannot win the next election.”
169 Trump claimed he beat the “Clinton dynasty,” adding, “And then we beat Barack Hussein Obama and whatever the hell dynasty that is!” —  stressing Obama’s middle name. It was unclear what he meant.
170 Trump added, “we won these last two weeks so solidly,” and “You see what’s happening in the polls? Everybody said, ‘That’s really bulls***,” and described his supporters as the “super elite.”
171 Trump added, “They said he went into the hospital. And it’s true, I didn’t wear a tie,” adding, “first thing they do is say, ‘Take off your shirt, sir, and show us that gorgeous chest. We’ve never seen a chest quite like it.’”
172 Trump said he pushed back by pardoning and granting clemency to military members, saying, “I stuck up for three great warriors against the deep state,” and, “you know what I’m talking about.”
173 Trump added, “I had so many people say, ‘Sir, I don’t think you should do that,’” adding, “I will always stick up for our great fighters,” and, “People can sit there in air-conditioned offices and complain.”
174 Trump also claimed the “radical left” wants to “change the name Thanksgiving. They don’t want to use the term Thanksgiving.” The idea came from Fox News segments on the “War on Thanksgiving.”
175 Trump compared it to the so-called War on Christmas, saying, “Now everybody is using Christmas again,” saying of Thanksgiving, “Everybody here loves the name Thanksgiving and we’re not changing it!”
176 On Wednesday, WAPO reported while Trump’s phone conversation with Sondland on September 9 where he said, “I want nothing. I want no quid pro quo,” is a centerpiece of GOP defense, it may not have happened.
177 There are no other witness testimony or documents to corroborate Sondland’s impeachment inquiry testimony about the call. Trump referred only to what Sondland said in his written notes speaking to the press.
178 The White House has not located a record in its switchboard logs of the September 9 call, raising questions about the accuracy of Sondland’s testimony. Trump has cited the call as proof he was not seeking favor.
179 There was however a call between them in early September in which Trump said he wanted “no quid pro quo,” but that he did want Zelensky to publicly announce investigations into his political opponents.
180 Tim Morrison said after Sondland described that call to him on September 7, he had sinking feeling, saying he “did not think it was a good idea for the Ukrainian president to . . . involve himself in our politics.”
181 Sondland has been confronted about September 9 because of his WhatsApp messaging with William Taylor, and five hour delay in responding. His account of his conversation has evolved in his testimony.
182 Given the time difference, the call would have taken place at roughly 5:30 a.m. ET — two hours before a colleague said Sondland typically would have called. Trump’s first tweet on September 9 was at 6:21 a.m.
183 On Wednesday, NYT reported in a draft of his soon to be released report, DOJ IG Michael Horowitz found no evidence the FBI attempted to place undercover agents or informants inside Trump’s 2016 campaign.
184 The finding undercuts the conspiracy theories frequently cited by Trump and his allies that not only did the FBI spy, but also frequent accusations by Trump that Obama had ordered his phone to be tapped.
185 The report will also undercut a claim by Trump allies that Joseph Mifsud was an FBI informant. George Papadopoulos has helped spread the false claim, saying he was set up by the FBI and CIA, without offering proof.
186 The report was also expected to debunk a theory that the FBI relied on the Steele dossier information to open their investigation. The dossier was cited in the wiretap applications for Carter Page.
187 On Wednesday, ProPublica reported according to a review of documents, the Trump Org reported higher numbers to lenders, and lower to tax officials for Trump Tower, the third Trump property known to do so.
188 On Wednesday, Trump tweeted an image of his head superimposed on the body of Sylvester Stallone in his boxing gear from the movie “Rocky.” It was unclear why.
189 On Thursday, CNN reported there is worry and a morale problem at the Pentagon over Trump’s decision making, including intervening in the cases of service members, and sporadic and impulsive decision making.
190 Military leaders are also concerned that Trump is being influenced by Fox News commentators in ways that encourage him to politicize the military, an institution that is meant to stay above the fray of politics.
191 Military leaders also cited Trump’s intervention in war crimes has created “confusion,” making it appear there is no accountability if people violate their oath or commit crimes so long as they can get Trump in their corner.
192 They also cite concern of Trump’s divisive rhetoric and mercurial management style, including frequently issuing orders in tweets, which undermines national security by making planning increasingly difficult.
193 On Thursday, Thanksgiving, Trump made a surprise visit in Afghanistan. His flight was shrouded in secrecy and kept from the media until he arrived, in what was described as “a made-for-TV drama” display with the military.
194 Trump’s three-and-a-half-hour stop marked his second visit to a combat zone while in office, after facing criticism for going two years without a visit to troops overseas. He had hinted recently, “I’m going to a war zone.”
195 While visiting troops, Trump claimed he came because the Taliban “wants to make a deal. And we’re meeting with them, and we’re saying it has to be a cease-fire.” Trump broke off talks with the Taliban in September.
196 Trump also claimed, “They didn’t want to do a cease-fire, but now they do want to do a cease-fire,” adding, “It will probably work out that way…We’ve made tremendous progress.” It was unclear what Trump meant.
197 On Friday, WAPO reported neither the Taliban nor the government of Afghan President Ashraf Ghani indicated that a cease-fire was near, or even being discussed.
198 A spokesperson for the Taliban told the Post, “We are ready to talk, but we have the same stance to resume the talks from where it was suspended.” Back home, the Trump regime also lowered expectations on talks.
199 On Friday, Daily Beast reported Trump invoked Section 412 of the PATRIOT Act, which permits indefinite detention of resident aliens on national security grounds, on Palestinian Adham Amin Hassoun.
200 This marks the first time in the 18 years since the act was enacted that this obscure provision has been used. Hassoun was never accused of an act or plot of violence, but for cutting checks to extremist-tied Muslim charities.
201 On Friday, HuffPost reported that Trump has spent $115 million on travel and security expenses at golf trips. Some of those expenditures have gone to Trump’s personal benefit for staffers who stay and eat at his properties.
202 The exact amount cannot be determined, because the White House has repeatedly refused to provide documentation on aides staying at his properties, or receipts for the charges they incurred.
203 On Friday, Chair Nadler asked Trump in a letter if he intends to mount a defense during the committee’s consideration of impeachment articles, asking if his lawyers will present evidence or call witnesses.
204 Nadler gave a December 6 deadline. Nadler also said the committee has been investigating if Trump engaged in “obstruction of justice” detailed in the Mueller report, and may draft an impeachment article on the report.
205 Nadler said the committee will hear a public defense of Trump during the week of December 9, and the entire House plans to vote on impeachment during the week of December 16, before leaving for holiday break.
206 The White House had not yet responded to an email seeking comment on Friday, and Trump weighs whether to participate in the impeachment hearings, which he has called a sham and unfair.
207 On Friday, NYT after facing an outcry from Trump allies on Fox News for his silence on impeachment, Sen. Graham has emerged as a Trump defender. He tweeted on Wednesday, “Salem witches got a better deal than this!”
208 On Friday, CNN reported Ukrainian officials are discussing ways to improve the country’s standing with Trump, and may still announce investigations that would politically benefit Trump.
209 The discussions come as Zelensky is slated to meet with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Paris on December 9, along with leaders of France and Germany, and is eager to show that Ukraine has U.S. support.
210 On Friday, presidential historian David Brinkley predicted support for Trump will collapse “once the vote is taken by Congress to impeach him and he’s wearing the ‘I’ on his chest.”
211 Brinkley added after Congress votes, “you’re going to see that movement grow even more,” adding, “It tells you he doesn’t have a lot of friends, he’s a base politician. He doesn’t know how to turn this around.”
212 On Saturday, the Hill reported no Republican senators want to take over as chair of the Senate Ethics Committee, with Sen. Johnny Isakson retiring, an unusual occurrence to have a chair position difficult to fill.
213 The Ethics committee is responsible for enforcing standards of behavior for senators and their staff, and investigating potential violations of federal law or the Senate’s rules. One senator said “I’d rather have a root canal.”
214 On Saturday, CBS News reported Speaker Nancy Pelosi will lead a delegation of Democratic House and Senate members next week to the annual international climate summit known as COP25 in Madrid.
215 The trip comes after Trump formally withdrew from the Paris climate accord. Pelosi said, “On behalf of the U.S. Congress, I am proud to travel to COP25 to reaffirm the commitment of the American people.”
216 On Saturday, NYT reported on voting machines that malfunctioned in Northampton County, Pennsylvania in the 2019 election, and left officials scrambling to count paper ballots by hand overnight.
217 The machines were ExpressVoteXL, made by Election Systems & Software, and are among their newest and most high-end machines, which combines a touch-screen with a paper ballot. Problems were identified in testing.
218 The suburbs of Philadelphia will play a critical role in the 2020 election. The snafus highlighted the fears, frustrations, and mistrust over election security that many voters are feeling ahead of the election.
219 Concerns are heightened in an era when candidates and incumbents have challenged or discredited a close loss, either using unfounded allegations of voter fraud or claims of a “rigged” election.
220 On Saturday, WAPO reported as Trump faces impeachment, he and his aides have staged photo opportunities and public events to showcase him on the job and make him seem hard at work.
221 At his rally in Florida, Trump told supporters, “I’m working my ass off,” and “The failed Washington establishment is trying to stop me because I’m fighting for you and because we’re winning.”
222 Trump recently met with former Clinton strategist Mark Penn, who counseled him to focus on governing and travel more. Trump is seeking to draw a contrast to Democrats as they try to impeach and remove him.
223 On Saturday, Trump was uncharacteristically quiet on Twitter, unlike tweet storms in recent weeks. Between Friday, and the close of Week 159 mid-Saturday, Trump sent only four tweets.
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POLITIKS OF GRAFFITI 159: WHO WILL SURVIVE IN AMERICA?

NOVEMBER 23, 2019

Week 158

Experts in authoritarianism advise to keep a list of things
subtly changing around you, so you’ll remember. AMY SISKIND’S LIST: https://theweeklylist.org/weekly-list/week-158/
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On the Bowery in New York City, USA 21Nov19

This was a remarkable week in impeachment hearings as nine witnesses testified. By week’s end, it was clear that there was a coordinated effort that included multiple senior Trump officials “in the loop” seeking investigations from Ukraine in exchange for aid and a White House visit — an effort that went against U.S. national security interests. Trump and his allies’ defense, claiming Ukrainian corruption and 2016 interference, was also debunked, leaving by week end their only defense to be lack of a firsthand witness to Trump directing the activities. The impeachment hearings were stunning as, with each passing day, it became all the more clear how irreverently and irresponsibly Trump has acted, yet how unwilling the Republican Party was to stand up to him and hold him accountable.

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West Village, NYC, USA 21nov19

Another conspiracy theory was also debunked as a draft of the Department of Justice Inspector General found there was no political bias by senior FBI officials against Trump in getting the wiretap of Carter Page. Trump took an unusual trip to Walter Reed Medical Center early in the week that led to speculation of a health issue, and spent the rest of the week ranting and bullying about impeachment, mostly on Twitter and Fox News, and largely avoiding the press. Trump and his allies continued to attack and discredit impeachment witnesses publicly, and blocked testimony from senior officials and subpoenaed documents from the State Department. Trump continued his battle with the U.S. military, flexing his commander in chief might to overturn their rules.

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East Village, NYC, USA 22nov19

As the week came to end, and Congress left for Thanksgiving break, it was unclear where the impeachment investigation would head next. The House Intelligence Committee started writing its report, but did not rule out further hearings, and the Judiciary Committee also considered follow up on information gleaned from the Roger Stone trial related to Trump’s written testimony in the Mueller probe.

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East Village, NYC, USA 22nov19
  1. On Saturday, the White House said Trump underwent a partial examination at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center ahead of his annual physical. Trump had his last physical in February.
  2. Press secretary Stephanie Grisham said Trump made the unscheduled visit, citing, “Anticipating a very busy 2020, the President is taking advantage of a free weekend here in Washington, D.C.”
  3. Grisham later appeared on Fox News’ “Justice with Judge Jeanine” and said Trump is as “healthy as can be,” and that any speculation is “wholly irresponsible & dangerous for the country.”
  4. Later, just after midnight. Trump tweeted, “Visited a great family of a young man under major surgery,” adding, “Also began phase one of my yearly physical. Everything very good (great!). Will complete next year.”
  5. On Monday, Dr. Sean Conley, Trump’s physician, said in a memo said Trump “has not had any chest pain, norwas he evaluated or treated,” adding the visit was a “routine, planned interim checkup.”
  6. On Tuesday, Trump recounted First Lady Melania asking him about reports he had a heart attack, telling reporters he told her, “These people are sick, they’re sick, and the press really in this country is dangerous.”
  7. On Saturday, Democrat John Bel Edwards won the election for governor of Louisiana, after Trump held two rallies for the Republican running, and told the crowd days before, “You got to give me a big win, please, O.K.”
  8. Edwards won a red state, similar to Andy Beshar in Kentucky in Week 156, by energizing African-Americans and moderate whites in and around the urban centers. Trump won Louisiana by 20 points in 2016.
  9. On Saturday, House investigators released the transcript of Tim Morrison’s testimony. Morrison testified that Gordon Sondland was in regular touch with Trump, and claimed to be acting on his orders.
  10. Morrison said Sondland briefed Trump before the July 25 call, and that until he spoke to Sondland on September 1, he had not drawn a connection between withholding Ukraine aid and an investigation.
  11. Morrison said he did not hear anything troubling on the July 25 call, unlike Alexander Vindman, but recommended access to it be limited. He claimed the call was placed on a highly-classified server by mistake.
  12. Morrison disputed Vindman’s account that he asked for edits to the July 25 transcript to include a mention of Burisma, saying, “I believe it was accurate and complete,” and Vindman’s proposed changes were accepted.
  13. Morrison said John Bolton met with Trump privately in August in an effort to get him to release the $400 million in military aid to Ukraine. He said Bolton emerged and said Trump was “not yet ready” to release the money.
  14. The House also released the transcript of Jennifer Williams’ testimony. Williams testified she was on the July 25 call and her contemporaneous notes reflected Ukrainian President Zelensky did mention Burisma.
  15. Williams said Trump’s request for investigations on the July 25 call struck her as “unusual and inappropriate” and “shed some light on possible other motivations” for his decision to freeze military aid to Ukraine.
  16. She added she found the call to be “more specific to the president in nature, to his personal political agenda,” than “foreign policy objective” of U.S. She put a hard copy of the call transcript in Vice President Mike Pence’s briefing book.
  17. Williams also said that Pence canceling his trip to Zelensky’s inauguration was decided by Trump. She said she was given no explanation for the change of plans.
  18. On Sunday, Trump attacked Williams, referring to her as a Never Trumper, tweeting, “Tell Jennifer Williams, whoever that is, to read BOTH transcripts of the presidential calls, & see the just released ststement [sic].”
  19. Trump added, “Then she should meet with the other Never Trumpers…& work out a better presidential attack!” In her testimony, Williams said she had reviewed the April 21 call transcript with Pence.
  20. Trump also tweeted, “The Crazed, Do Nothing Democrats are turning Impeachment into a routine partisan weapon. That is very bad for our Country, and not what the Founders had in mind!!!!”
  21. Trump added, “Republicans & others must remember, the Ukrainian President and Foreign Minister both said that there was no pressure placed on them,” adding, “But why isn’t Germany, France (Europe) paying?”
  22. Trump also tweeted, “Where is the Fake Whistleblower?
  23. On Sunday, Trump attacked Fox News host Chris Wallace, tweeting he is “nasty & obnoxious,” and his “dumb and unfair interview” of Trump ally Rep. Steve Scalise “would never have happened in the @FoxNews past.”
  24. On Monday, Fox Business host Neil Cavuto defended Wallace, saying journalists are “obligated to question,” adding, “The best we can do as journalists is be fair to all,” and, “That’s not fake doing that.”
  25. On Sunday, WSJ reported Sondland plans to testify Wednesday that he kept several Trump regime officials apprised of his Ukraine push, including White House chief of staff Mick Mulvaney and Energy Secretary Rick Perry.
  26. On Sunday, Speaker Nancy Pelosi told “Face the Nation” she has “no idea” if the impeachment inquiry will wrap by year-end, noting depositions could continue into Thanksgiving week, and could lead to more hearings.
  27. Pelosi also said, “I will make sure he does not intimidate the whistleblower,” adding, “I told the president, you’re in my wheelhouse when you come after the whistleblower.”
  28. Pelosi also invited Trump to testify, saying, “If he has information that is exculpatory…then we look forward to seeing it,” adding, “He could come right before the committee and talk, speak all the truth that he wants.”
  29. Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer echoed Pelosi, telling reporters if Trump does not agree with what he is hearing, “He should come to the committee and testify under oath,” adding, “What is he hiding?”
  30. On Monday, Trump tweeted, “Our Crazy, Do Nothing…Speaker of the House, Nervous Nancy Pelosi…suggested on Sunday’s DEFACE THE NATION that I testify about the phony Impeachment Witch Hunt.”
  31. Trump said he will “strongly consider” testifying “in order to get Congress focused again,” adding, “Even though I did nothing wrong, and don’t like giving credibility to this No Due Process Hoax.”
  32. On Monday, an ABC News/Ipsos poll found 70% of Americans think Trump’s request for Ukraine to investigate a political rival was wrong, 25% say his actions were not wrong.
  33. The poll also found 51% say Trump should be impeached and removed, 6% say his actions were wrong but he should not be impeached, 13% impeached but not removed, and 25% he did nothing wrong.
  34. On Monday, NBC News reported Trump has turned his ire in the impeachment hearings to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo as diplomats from State testify, threatening to bring down his presidency.
  35. Trump confronted Pompeo at an October 29 White House lunch about his lackluster effort to stop diplomatsfrom testifying. Trump also blames him for choosing William Taylor, who has provided damaging testimony.
  36. Trump criticized Pompeo for hiring a “Never Trumper” on Twitter on October 23. On October 26, Pompeo was excluded as Trump sat with his national security team during the raid that killed ISIS leader al-Baghdadi.
  37. Pompeo is also under siege from State Department staffers. His decision to allow the State Department to help cover legal of officers ensnared in the impeachment inquiry could further strain his relationship with Trump.
  38. On Monday, Pompeo told reporters, “I always defend State Department employees,” but declined to answer questions related to William Taylor and Maria Yovanovitch’s impeachment hearing testimony.
  39. Pompeo denied any “nefarious purposes” for Yovanovitch’s recall, adding, “The State Department is doing a fantastic job. I think we’ve delivered in a way that the Obama administration has not delivered on Ukraine.
  40. On Tuesday, Time reported Pompeo planned to stay at the State Department until early spring 2020, then run for Senate, but is worried the impeachment inquiry is hurting his reputation, and straining his relationship with Trump.
  41. On Monday, the Hill Editor-In-Chief Bob Cusack said in an email to staffers the paper was reviewing and updating John Solomon’s Ukraine columns. Yovanovitch testified his work was part of the smear campaign against her.
  42. On Tuesday, CNN reported Jimmy Finkelstein, the owner of the Hill, has been friends with Trump for decades, and boasts of their close friendship. Hill staffers revolted over Solomon’s columns and how they were handled.
  43. On Monday, Politico reported David Holmes said in testimony that he “vividly” recalled the conversation because Trump spoke so loudly that it caused Sondland to wince and hold the phone away from his ear.
  44. Holmes was concerned Russia was monitoring the call given two of the three mobile networks in Ukraine are Russian-owned, and “We generally assume that mobile communications in Ukraine are being monitored.”
  45. Holmes said, “I’ve never seen anything like this,” adding, a “conversation of this level of candor, colorful language.” He reported the call to his supervisor. He will testify publicly on Thursday, alongside Fiona Hill.
  46. On Monday, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said he “can’t imagine a scenario” under which the Senate would remove Trump, saying House Democrats are “seized with Trump derangement syndrome.”
  47. McConnell also complained about the lack of civility in political discourse, saying, “People are acting out,” and “We need to learn how to behave better, how to disagree without anger.”
  48. On Monday, CNN reported prosecutors in the SDNY have contacted people associated with Ukraine’s state-run oil-and-gas company, Naftogaz, as part of an investigation into Rudy Giuliani and associates.
  49. Prosecutors are investigating whether Giuliani, Igor Fruman, and Lev Parnas tried to secure energy deals. Fruman and Parnas also worked to oust CEO Andriy Kobolyev, who is known for his anti-corruption reforms.
  50. On Tuesday, AP reported a lawyer for Andrew Favorov, the director of the integrated gas division at Naftogaz, said he will cooperate with the probe into Giuliani and will meet voluntarily with the DOJ.
  51. On Sunday, Trump tweeted, “Our great Farmers will recieve [sic] another major round of “cash,” compliments of China Tariffs.” The payments are the second part of a three-tranche $16 billion federal aid package.
  52. On Monday, Trump met with Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell at the White House. Trump tweeted the meeting was “good & cordial” and “everything was discussed including interest rates.”
  53. While it is not uncommon for a president to meet with a Fed Chair, it is uncommon to discuss rates. In a statement after, the Fed said monetary policy is “based solely on careful, objective and non-political analysis.”
  54. On Monday, CBS News reported San Diego billionaire Doug Manchester, Trump’s nominee for U.S. ambassador for the Bahamas, was asked by the RNC for another $500,000 donation as he awaited Senate confirmation.
  55. Manchester, whose nomination has been stalled in the Senate, was first appointed by Trump the day after he was sworn in, after donating $1 million to Trump’s inaugural fund.
  56. On Monday, Mina Chang, a high-ranking State Department staffer who in Week 157 was reported to have inflated her resume, resigned, saying it “is the only acceptable moral and ethical option for me at this time.”
  57. On Monday, Paul Erickson, the former boyfriend of Russian agent Maria Butina, pleaded guilty to wire fraud and money laundering. The case was separate from the one against Butina.
  58. On Monday, WAPO reported the IRS whistleblower, who filed a complaint in August saying at least one Trump political appointee at Treasury tried to interfere with an audit of Trump or Pence, filed additional documents.
  59. The IRS whistleblower met with staffers for Sens. Charles Grassley and Ron Wyden, the chair and ranking member of the Senate Finance Committee, earlier this month. Follow-up interviews are expected.
  60. On Monday, Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts temporarily halted a ruling that required Trump’s accounting firm to turn over his tax returns, and gave the House Oversight Committee until Thursday to respond.
  61. On Thursday, House lawyers urged the Supreme Court to reject Trump’s attempt to shield his tax returns, citing the “rapidly advancing impeachment inquiry” puts their case on even stronger grounds.
  62. On Thursday, Manhattan DA Cy Vance urged the Supreme Court in an opposition brief to stay out of the fightfor Trump’s tax returns, citing the courts have already ruled unanimously in two seminal cases.
  63. On Tuesday, lawyers for the House Judiciary Committee asked a federal judge for an expedited ruling on whether Don McGahn should abide by their subpoena to testify “as part of the House’s impeachment inquiry.”
  64. Lawyers noted the “need for McGahn’s testimony has become even more pressing.” Part of the committee’s inquiry is related to whether Trump was truthful in his written testimony, as Roger Stone was convicted of lying.
  65. On Tuesday, the judge said she would rule by November 25 on the House lawsuit seeking to enforce a subpoena against McGahn, who skipped testifying in May. House Democrats filed a lawsuit in August.
  66. On Tuesday, a Manhattan appeals court judge dismissed Trump’s request to dismiss Summer Zervos’ defamation lawsuit, and cleared the way for Trump to be deposed. The judge agreed to fast-track Trump’s appeal.
  67. On Tuesday, watchdog group American Oversight obtained emails under the FOIA showing U.S. ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley sent confidential information on private email after losing her classified system password.
  68. On Tuesday, the White House faced fresh allegations of dishonesty after press secretary Grisham said in a radio interview that Obama aides left “you will fail” and other disparaging notes for the incoming Trump regime.
  69. No other Trump aides have made similar allegations. Obama aides pushed back at the suggestion, saying it was a lie. Later in the day, Grisham tried to walk back her story, saying she viewed the action as a harmless prank.
  70. On Thursday, Politico reported newly released documents show the Secret Service spent more than $250,000 at Trump properties in the first five months of 2017. The majority was spent at Trump’s golf courses.
  71. On Sunday, Hong Kong police stormed Hong Kong Polytechnic University, which was occupied by protestors. Universities have become the new battlegrounds for protests after months of arrests.
  72. On Sunday, Guardian reported UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson met with an ex-KGB agent at a lavish Italian party in April 2018, without his personal security detail, a month after the nerve agent attack in Salisbury.
  73. Senior UK officials blame the delayed release of UK intelligence’s investigation into Russian interference in Brexit on wanting to protect Johnson’s relationship with Trump, given what the report says on Trump.
  74. On Sunday, AP reported Defense Secretary Mark Esper said the U.S. and South Korea have indefinitely postponed joint exercises in an “act of goodwill” towards North Korea to keep the door open to diplomacy.
  75. The move comes as Japan’s defense minister, whose country feels threatened by North Korea, told Esper that “no one could be optimistic about” changing the North’s behavior.
  76. On Sunday, Trump tweeted, “Mr. Chairman, Joe Biden may be Sleepy and Very Slow,” adding, “I am the only one who can get you where you have to be,” and, “You should act quickly, get the deal done. See you soon!”
  77. On Monday, an adviser to North Korea leader Kim Jong Un snubbed Trump saying, “we are no longer interested in such talks that bring nothing to us,” adding Trump has not earned a new summit to “brag about.”
  78. On Tuesday, NBC News reported the Foreign Policy Research Institute found among 2020 Democrats, Tulsi Gabbard is the most popular with Russian propagandists (46% favorable, 44% unfavorable) and Joe Biden the least (3% favorable, 53% unfavorable).
  79. Researchers, which analyzed more than 1,700 news stories put out by Sputnik, Russia Today and RT, found a similar pattern to Russia backing Trump over Hillary Clinton in 2016.
  80. On Wednesday, NBC News reported that Trump hosted a previously undisclosed dinner for Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg and board member Peter Thiel in October — the second meeting in recent months.
  81. On Wednesday, Benny Gantz failed to form a government in Israel, deepening the political crisis, and making it likely Israel will need to hold its third national election in less than a year.
  82. On Thursday, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was indicted on bribery, fraud, and breach of trust charges. Netanyahu is not legally required to step down, but the charges put his political future in doubt.
  83. This is the first time in Israeli history that a sitting prime minister has been indicted. Members of Netanyahu’s right-wing Likud party called for a primary challenge ahead of the next election.
  84. Shortly later, in a televised statement, Netanyahu called the corruption charges against him an “attempted coup” which is “tainted by extraneous considerations, aiming to bring down a right-wing prime minister.”
  85. On Friday, Netanyahu told reporters, “Police and investigators are not above the law,” and parroting Trump, said, “The time has come to investigate the investigators.”
  86. On Thursday, a Federal Elections Commission disclosure showed the RNC paid $94,800 to Books-a-Million on October 29 to buy Donald Jr.’s new book, days before it was released.
  87. On Saturday, the FBI revealed Richard Tobin, 18, of Brooklawn, New Jersey, directed a far-right network to vandalize networks in Michigan and Wisconsin last September, in what he called “Operation Kristallnacht.”
  88. On Sunday, Christine Blasey Ford received the ACLU courage award. Dr. Ford said, “I was not prepared for the venom, the persistent attacks. I was not prepared to be physically threatened and forced out of my home.”
  89. On Monday, NBC News reported the Trump regime is preparing to publish a rule that would send migrants who pass through Guatemala, El Salvador, or Honduras back to those countries before they can seek asylum.
  90. Immigration advocates said the three countries should not be deemed “safe third countries,” and that the Trump regime bullied the governments into signing agreements that will be deadly for asylum seekers sent back.
  91. On Monday, Media Matters reported Clarence Mason Weaver, an advisory board member of “Black Voices for Trump,” believes women should strive to be “handmaidens,” “be submissive,” and stay out of the workplace.
  92. On Tuesday, Patrick Carlineo Jr., 55, an Islamophobic man from Addison, New York, pleaded guilty to threatening to kill Rep. Ilhan Omar. Although he faces 10 years, Omar asked the judge for “compassion” in his sentencing.
  93. On Tuesday, NBC News reported a second batch of leaked emails showed Stephen Miller had more editorial influence over Breitbart during the 2016 campaign than was previously known.
  94. At the time, Miller not only pushed anti-Marco Rubio stories, but also fed the website anti-immigrant stories. More than 80 Democratic members of Congress have called on Miller to resign.
  95. On Wednesday, University of Georgia confirmed reports that swastikas were drawn on Jewish students’ doors earlier this year. One student said the letters for a Jewish sorority, Sigma Delta Tau, were torn off her door.
  96. On Thursday, a jury acquitted humanitarian worker Scott Warren, who was arrested by Border Patrol in Week 135 for harboring two migrants and providing them food and shelter in the Arizona desert.
  97. On Tuesday, just after midnight Trump falsely quoted Fox News, tweeting, “Pelosi just stated that ‘it is dangerous to let the voters decide Trump’s fate.’” The quote was from Fox News reporter Mike Emanuel an hour prior.
  98. Trump continued, “In other words, she thinks I’m going to win and doesn’t want to take a chance on lettingthe voters decide,” adding, “Like Al Green, she wants to change our voting system,” and, “Wow, she’s CRAZY!”
  99. Pelosi said in a Dear Colleague memo, “The weak response to these hearings has been, “Let the election decide,” calling that a “dangerous position,” citing Trump is “jeopardizing the integrity of the 2020 elections.”
  100. Late Monday, Sen. Ron Johnson wrote in a letter, Vindman fits the profile of “a significant number of bureaucrats and staff members within the executive branch [who] have never accepted President Trump as legitimate.”
  101. Trump called Vindman a “Never Trumper;” Fox Host Laura Ingaham said he worked “against the president’s interests;” and Rep. Douglas Collins cited “concern regarding the credibility and judgment” of Vindman in a letter.
  102. Tim Morrison questioned Vindman’s “judgment” and was critical of his going directly to White House attorney John Eisenberg, rather than up the chain of command. Eisenberg had told Vindman to come directly to him.
  103. WSJ reported the Army is ready to relocate Vindman and his family to an Army base to protect him, and has stepped up patrols of his home and security assessment after Trump and allies have attacked him.
  104. On Tuesday, Vindman and Jennifer Williams testified in the morning in the impeachment inquiry. Both were on the July 25 call. In the afternoon, Kurt Volker and Tim Morrison testified.
  105. In his opening statement, Vindman denounced smears of government officials testifying, saying, “The vile character attacks on these distinguished and honorable public servants is reprehensible.”
  106. Vindman closed out his statement addressing his father: “Dad, my sitting here today…is proof that you made the right decision forty years ago to leave the Soviet Union. Do not worry, I will be fine for telling the truth.”
  107. Vindman said of the July 25 call he took Trump’s requests to Zelensky to open investigations into the “2016 election, the Bidens and Burisma” as demands, citing the power disparity between the two men.
  108. Vindman said, “Frankly, I couldn’t believe what I was hearing,” it was “in certain regards, my worst fear of how our Ukraine policy could play out,” and “was likely to have significant implications for U.S. national security.”
  109. Both Vindman and Williams said they knew of no one at the National Security Council, the State Department, or Pentagon who was in favor of holding up aid to Ukraine, and described Giuliani’s outsized influence.
  110. Williams was asked by House Democrats about Trump’s Sunday tweet attacking her, saying it looked like witness intimidation. She said, “It certainly surprised me. I was not expecting to be called out by name.”
  111. Republican’s counsel questioned Vindman over dual loyalties, asking about an offer to be Ukraine’s defense minister. Vindman said he took the offer as a joke, and reported it to his superiors and counterintelligence.
  112. Fox News picked up on the inquiry, and moments later sent out an alert, saying, “Vindman says Ukrainian official offered him the job of Ukrainian defense minister.”
  113. GOP Rep. Jim Jordan said Morrison and Hill raised questions on his judgment. Vindman read his performance review by Hill: “Alex is a top 1 percent military officer and the best Army officer I have worked with.”
  114. During the testimony, the official White House Twitter account, tweeted, “Tim Morrison, Alexander Vindman’s former boss, testified in his deposition that he had concerns about Vindman’s judgment.”
  115. Rep. Joaquin Castro asked Vindman if he was aware of any evidence that Ukraine interfered in 2016, Vindman responded, “I am not, adding, “This is a Russian narrative that President Putin has promoted.”
  116. Later Tuesday, Trump spoke to reporters from a cabinet meeting, his first public appearance in days. He said of Vindman, “I understand now he wears his uniform when goes in. No, I don’t know Vindman at all.”
  117. Trump also said, “We have to get USMCA signed. Nancy Pelosi can’t get it off her desk,” adding, “The woman is grossly incompetent. All she wants to do is focus on impeachment, which is just a little pipe dream she’s got.”
  118. Trump also accused Pelosi of using the USMCA to get impeachment votes, calling it “a kangaroo court headed by little Shifty Schiff, where we don’t have lawyers, we don’t have witnesses, we don’t have anything.”
  119. Trump added, “they’re using this impeachment hoax for their own political gain” to damage the GOP and him, saying, “but it’s had the opposite effect,” and falsely claiming, “I’m the highest I’ve ever I’ve ever been in the polls.”
  120. Shortly after, Lt. Gen. Keith Kellogg, NSA to Pence who was on the July 25 call, contradicted Williams’ testimony, saying he heard “nothing wrong or improper on the call.”
  121. On Tuesday, ahead of his public testimony, Kurt Volker revised his closed door House testimony, citing, “I have learned many things that I did not know at the time of the events in question.”
  122. Volker had testified that investigations were not discussed at the July 10 meeting. He said he now recalled that Sondland made a “generic comment about investigations” and that “all of us thought it was inappropriate.”
  123. Volker testified, “I opposed the hold on U.S. security assistance as soon as I learned about it on July 18,” but thought they could “turn it around” before Ukrainians knew, adding, “I did not know the reason for the hold.”
  124. Volker claimed he did not understand that requests that Ukraine investigate Burisma was related to the Bidens, saying the former investigation would be “appropriate and unremarkable,” and the latter “unacceptable.”
  125. Volker said there was no direct quid pro quo, but in his attempts to set up a summit between Trump and Zelensky, he tried to negotiate a statement by Zelensky promising investigations of the 2016 election and Burisma.
  126. Volker disputed being part of an “irregular” channel of Ukraine policy, and said he had never heard the term “three amigos” referencing himself, Secretary Perry, and Sondland, adding, “I frankly cringe when I hear it.”
  127. Morrison said being on the July 25 call he feared “how its disclosure would play in Washington’s political climate. My fears have been realized,” and urged lawmakers “not to lose sight” of the ongoing conflict in Ukraine.
  128. Morrison said he recommended that access to the July 25 call transcript be restricted, but that its placement onto a highly classified computer system was an “administrative error.”
  129. Morrison said he was surprised that Vindman went to Eisenberg, not him, after the July 25 call. Vindman said he did so at Bolton’s direction. Morrison said Vindman was frustrated over being excluded from meetings.
  130. Morrison said he did not skip his own chain of command by going to Eisenberg after the call, saying he was required to go to Charles Kupperman for “administrative matters.”
  131. Morrison said he was told on a September 1 conversation Sondland said “Ukrainians would have to have the prosecutor general make a statement with respect to the investigations as a condition of having the aid lifted.”
  132. WAPO Editorial Board noted the two witnesses requested by Republicans, Volker and Morrison, added to the evidence that Trump abused his office. Their testimony was sharply different than the narrative pushed by Rep. Devin Nunes.
  133. Later Tuesday, the Washington Examiner reported Republicans are shifting strategy to accepting “quid quo pro” did occur, but now saying it does not matter, and it relatively common occurrence with foreign aid.
  134. On Wednesday, Russian President Vladimir Putin said at an investment conference in Moscow that he has “great respect” for the U.S., and hopes Russia will not be accused of meddling in the 2020 U.S. election.
  135.  Putin noted the blame has been shifted to Ukraine, saying, “Hopefully no one accuses us of election interference in the United States. Now they’re accusing Ukraine. We’ll let them deal with that themselves.”
  136. On Wednesday, Sondland testified in the impeachment inquiry. In his opening statement he said of the central question in the impeachment inquiry, “Was there a ‘quid pro quo?’” that “the answer is yes.”
  137. Sondland’s 19-page opening statement included texts and emails not previously made public, and was filled with new details and disclosures, saying his memory had been refreshed by other testimony.
  138. Sondland complained several times about the State Department’s refusal to turn over his materials, which he said would have been “helpful” in reconstructing who he spoke to and met with, when and what was said.
  139. Sondland said that he and other senior regime officials “followed the president’s orders,” coordinating with Giuliani on getting Ukraine to launch investigations. Trump directed them to “talk to Rudy.”
  140. Sondland said, “Giuliani was expressing the desires of the president of the United States,” and that they were carrying out Trump’s wishes, saying, “we knew that these investigations were important to the president.”
  141. He said he worked with Giuliani on this “at the express direction of the president of the United States,” adding “there was no secret” about what was happening in the regime, and “Everyone was in the loop.”
  142. He said Perry, Volker, and himself did not want to work with Giuliani: “We did not want to work with Mr. Giuliani. Simply put, we were playing the hand we were dealt,” adding, “we followed the president’s orders.”
  143. Sondland said that Zelensky “had to announce the investigations — he didn’t have to actually do them.” He said although he was not directly told aid was tied to investigations, it was “abundantly clear” that was the case.
  144. Sondland said he did not know why aid was being withheld, but that he “shared concerns of the potential quid pro quo regarding the security aid with Sen. Ron Johnson,” and Ukrainian officials.
  145. Sondland said Pompeo “was aware that a commitment to investigations was among the issues we were pursuing” and the “State Department was fully supportive of our engagement” and “commitment to investigations”
  146. Sondland also testified, “based on my communications with Secretary Pompeo” that he felt comfortabletelling a top Zelensky aide that funds would not be unfrozen until Ukraine committed publicly to investigations.
  147. Sondland said he spoke to Pence before he met with Zelensky in Warsaw on September 1 and told him “that I had concerns that the delay in aid had become tied to the issue of investigations.”
  148. Sondland read from a July 19 email he sent to Mulvaney, Pompeo, Perry and others, in which he told them Zelensky would conduct a “fully transparent investigation” and “turn over every stone.”
  149. Fox New anchor Chris Wallace said Sondland “took out the bus and ran over President Trump, Vice President Pence, Mike Pompeo, John Bolton, Rudy Giuliani, Mick Mulvaney,” adding, “He implicates all of them.”
  150. Fox News contributor Ken Starr questioned if Sondland flipping would cause GOP senators to push Trump to resign, and later added, “articles of impeachment are being drawn up if they haven’t already been drawn up.”
  151. Sondland also confirmed David Holmes’ account of his July 26 call with Trump, saying it “did not strike me as significant,” and “I would have been more surprised” if Trump did not mention investigations.
  152. However, Sondland said in that call, and in others, he had no “recollection of discussing Vice President Biden or his son.” Sondland, Morrison, and Volker all claimed they did not connect Burisma to the Bidens.
  153. An August 26 email from Sondland showed he provided Bolton with Giuliani’s contact information, days before Bolton traveled to Ukraine, saying Bolton’s office had “requested Mr. Giuliani’s contact information.”
  154. During the testimony, Trump spoke to reporters outside the White House before heading to Texas, while reading off a piece of paper. He said of Sondland “seems like a nice guy,” but added, “I don’t know him very well.”
  155. Trump read from his notes recounting a September 9 conversation with Sondland, when he told him, “I want nothing. I want nothing. I want no quid pro quo. Tell Zelensky — President Zelensky to do the right thing.”
  156. September 9 was the day the House Intelligence Committee learned of the whistleblower’s complaint. Sondland was relaying in testimony what Trump had told him to tell Taylor.
  157. Trump also told reporters, “That means it’s all over,” and read again from his notes in all capitalized, bold black letters, “This is the final word from the president of the United States: ‘I want nothing.’”
  158. Shortly after, Trump tweeted, “Impeachment Witch Hunt is now OVER!” citing he said, “I WANT NOTHING!I WANT NOTHING! I WANT NO QUID PRO QUO! TELL PRESIDENT ZELENSKY TO DO THE RIGHT THING!”
  159. During the testimony, Giuliani tweeted Sondland was “speculating based on VERY little contact. I never met him and had very few calls with him, mostly with Volker.” Minutes later, Giuliani deleted the tweet.
  160. Shortly after, Marc Short, Pence’s chief of staff, issued a statement saying Pence never spoke to Sondland about “investigating the Bidens, Burisma, or the conditional release of financial aid to Ukraine.”
  161. A State Department spokesperson said “Sondland never told Secretary Pompeo that he believed the president was linking aid to investigations of political opponents. Any suggestion to the contrary is flat out false.”
  162. Later Wednesday, Laura Cooper and David Hale testified in the impeachment hearing. Cooper said military aid to Ukraine was critically important and she did not know over the summer why it was withheld.
  163. Cooper said since her closed door deposition, she has learned from her staffers Ukraine reached out to them as early as July 25 to ask what was going on with military aid, significantly earlier than previously known.
  164. Trump allies have claimed Ukrainians did not know aid was being withheld until August 28. Cooper also said during the week of August 6, her staffers interacted with Ukrainian officials who raised the hold on aid.
  165. Although Republicans repeatedly claimed Democrats would not allow their witnesses, Hale was the third on their list. Hale said Pompeo did call Fox News host Sean Hannity about Yovanovitch, which Pompeo denied.
  166. Hale also said that Giuliani was behind allegations that led to Yovanovitch being ousted, adding, “I believe that she should have been able to stay at post and continue to do the outstanding work.”
  167. Hale said the first time he heard of investigations into the Bidens and 2016 election was in March when Yovanovitch emailed him “speculating on the motives of various actors” behind “the smear campaign.”
  168. Hale said at a July 26 interagency meeting chaired by Kupperman, all agencies advocated for resuming aid to Ukraine. The Office of Management and Budget said aid was on freeze, and that the order came from Trump through Mulvaney.
  169. On Wednesday, a Gallup poll found Trump’s approval for November 1–14 was up to 43% from 41% in October. His disapproval fell from 57% to 54%. Trump’s handling of the economy remains his strongest area.
  170. On Thursday, American Research group found Trump’s approval at 37%, while 60% disapprove. The net -23 approval is the lowest for the past year.
  171. On Thursday, an Emerson College poll found 34% of independents support impeachment, 49% are against it — a sharp move from October when 48% supported it and 39% were against it.
  172. On Wednesday, Yahoo News reported the FBI reached out to a lawyer for the CIA whistleblower to ask to interview them. No interview has been scheduled, and it is unclear what the scope of the questioning would be.
  173. On Wednesday, lawyers for Vindman sent a warning letter to Fox News seeking a retraction or correction of an October segment by host Laura Ingraham suggesting Vindman might be guilty of espionage.
  174. The letter said the segment “sparked a torrent of republications and copycat false charges.” The letter also highlighted other inflammatory statements made on Fox News by Donald Jr. and host Tucker Carlson.
  175. Fox News responded on the Ingraham segment: “as a guest on Fox News, John Yoo was responsible for his own sentiments,” and “he has subsequently done interviews to clarify what he meant.”
  176. Later Wednesday, Trump held a publicity stunt at an Apple plant that has been making high-end computers since 2013. Trump accepted a plate with the words “Assembled in USA.”
  177. Shortly after, Trump tweeted the falsehood, “Today I opened a major Apple Manufacturing plant in Texasthat will bring high paying jobs back to America.” Apple needs waivers on components from China.
  178. On Thursday, Sen. Johnson said in a radio interview Sondland “never used the word ‘quid pro quo,’” saying “he described to me some kind of arrangement” and when he asked Trump, he “adamantly denied” it.
  179. On Thursday, Trump attacked Fox News for its impeachment coverage, tweeting why they “waste airtime on Democrat Rep. Eric Swalwell,” saying, “Fox should stay with the people that got them there, not losers!”
  180. Trump added, “The Republican Party, and me, had a GREAT day yesterday with respect to the phony Impeachment Hoax,” but you “would have no idea they were reporting on the same event. FAKE & CORRUPT NEWS!”
  181. Trump also tweeted, “Bob Mueller, after spending two years and 45 million dollars, went over all of my financials, & my taxes, and found nothing,” adding, “the Witch Hunt continues,” and “is not legal.”
  182. Trump added, “But I’m clean,” adding, “when I release my financial statement (my decision) sometime prior to Election,” it will show “that I am much richer than people even thought — And that is a good thing.”
  183. Trump continued, “I never in my wildest dreams thought my name would in any way be associated with the ugly word, Impeachment!” adding the calls “were PERFECT,” and, “Great corruption & dishonesty by Schiff.”
  184. Trump also called Democrats “human scum,” saying, “Corrupt politician Adam Schiff’s lies are growing by the day,” telling Republicans, “Keep fighting tough,” and citing “the most unfair hearings in American History.”
  185. Trump also tweeted, “But we are winning big, and they will soon be on our turf,” referring to the Senate.
  186. Trump quoted attorney Sam Dewey on Fox News, tweeting, “The new House Resolution gives Adam Schiff (the most dishonest man in politics) the power unilaterally to release edited transcripts.”
  187. Trump again quoted Dewey, tweeting, “Nothing gives Schiff jurisdiction over Impeachment.” Trump then retweeted his first tweet of the morning. Trump then tweeted, “Read the two Transcripts of Ukrainian calls!”
  188. On Thursday, at her weekly news conference, Speaker Pelosi told reporters “we haven’t made any decision,” on whether there is enough evidence to impeach Trump, adding “the day’s not over.”
  189. Pelosi also indicated there may be more witnesses, saying “testimony of one person may lead to the need for testimony of another.” And lashed out at Republicans for “the defense” of Trump’s behavior.
  190. Pelosi said Trump violated his oath of office, saying, “the facts are uncontested as to what happened,” and adding, “when we see a violation of the Constitution, we have no choice but to act.”
  191. Pelosi said Trump “used his office for his own personal gain,” undermined U.S. “national security” by withholding aid to Ukraine “to the benefit of the Russians,” and “undermined the integrity of our elections.”
  192. Pelosi said on reluctant witnesses, “we’re not going to wait till the courts decide,” adding, “That might be information that’s available to the Senate,” and “it’s a technique. It’s obstruction of justice, obstruction of Congress.”
  193. On Thursday, Fiona Hill and David Holmes testified in the impeachment hearing. Hill is the co-author of a 500-page book analyzing the psyche of Putin, and is a foremost expert on Russia.
  194. Hill criticized Republicans for propagating a “fictional narrative” that Ukraine interfered in the 2016 elections, saying, “These fictions are harmful even if they are deployed for purely domestic political purposes.”
  195. Hill said of the investigation, “I would ask that you please not promote politically driven falsehoods that so clearly advance Russian interests,” adding, “I refuse to be part of an effort to legitimize an alternate narrative.”
  196. Hill said, “President Putin and the Russian security services operate like a super PAC,” deploying millions of dollars to interfere, and that Russia will do again in 2020, saying time is “running out of time to stop them.”
  197. Hill said Russia’s goal “is to delegitimize the president,” and to put whoever won in 2016, Trump or Clinton, “under a cloud,” adding, “It’s a playbook they will run again in 2020.”
  198. Hill said Trump’s pressure campaign was purely political and had nothing to do with reforming corruption in Ukraine, the explanation frequently cited by Trump and Republicans.
  199. At her deposition, Hill had described a “shadow foreign policy” being run by Sondland, but said after his testimony, she realized he kept Trump, Mulvaney, and Pompeo “in the loop” about his efforts.
  200. Hill described a July 10 meeting with Ukrainians, after which Sondland told her “That he had an agreement with chief of staff Mulvaney that in return for investigations this meeting [with Trump] would get scheduled.”
  201. Hill said when she told Bolton, he said, “I am not part of whatever drug deal Sondland and Mulvaney are cooking up,” and told her to report the conversation to White House lawyer Eisenberg.
  202. Hill said Bolton told her that “Giuliani’s a hand grenade who’s going to blow everybody up, which she took to mean Giuliani was “pushing views that would come back to haunt us,” adding, “that’s where we are today.”
  203. Hill said after Yovanovitch’s ouster, she had confronted Sondland with her concerns, and he told her that “he was in charge of Ukraine,” and when she asked, “who put you in charge?” Sondland said, “the president.”
  204. Hill said she now realized Sondland was “ involved in a domestic political errand, and we were being involved in national security, foreign policy,” adding she had told him “this is all going to blow up. And here we are.”
  205. Holmes said he was convinced in late August that Trump froze military aid for the investigations, calling it “an expression of dissatisfaction with the Ukrainians who had not yet agreed to the Burisma/Biden investigation.”
  206. Both Hill and Holmes made it clear that Burisma was “code” for Biden, and that anyone who worked on Ukraine would know that, contradicting public testimony by Volker, Morrison, and Sondland.
  207. Holmes testified about the July 26 call between Trump and Sondland, saying after the call Sondland told him that Trump cared only about “big stuff that benefits the president” like the “Biden investigation.”
  208. As Holmes testified, Trump tweeted, “I have been watching people making phone calls my entire life,” adding, “My hearing is, and has been, great,” questioning Holmes being “able to hear or understand a conversation.”
  209. Holmes also said at the lunch someone asked why Giuliani was “so active in the media with respect to Ukraine” and Sondland responded, “‘Dammit Rudy. Every time Rudy gets involved he goes and f — -s everything up.’”
  210. On Thursday, during the hearings, Trump hosted Senate Republicans for lunch, including Susan Collins and Mitt Romney, who have shown tepid support, to woo them. Lisa Murkowski was invited but did not attend.
  211. At the lunch, with roughly six senators attending, Trump passed around a transcript of his first phone call with Zelensky, and discussed which witnesses should be called in a Senate trial.
  212. On Thursday, AP reported public testimony provided loads of evidence, but the one hole is no witness could attest to Trump directly conditioning the release of $400 military aid to an announcement of the investigations.
  213. Without direct proof, Republican support in the House seemed to remain intact despite witnesses showing Trump was willing to leverage the presidency to push a foreign government for personal political help.
  214. On Thursday, Daily Beast reported that according to Andriy Yermak, Lev Parnas was with Giuliani in Madrid when he met them in Madrid earlier this year and urged him to investigate the Bidens.
  215. On Thursday, after the impeachment hearings, Senate Judiciary Committee Chair Lindsey Graham sent to a letter to Secretary Pompeo as part of launching a probe of Biden, Burisma, and Ukraine.
  216. Graham asked for any calls Joe Biden had with former Ukraine president Petro Poroshenko relating to the firing of the country’s top prosecutor and Burisma, investigating unsubstantiated claims on the prosecutor’s firing.
  217. On Friday, Joe Biden said in an interview, “Lindsey is about to go down in a way that I think he’s going to regret his whole life,” adding of Lindsey, “I’m just embarrassed by what you’re doing, for you. I mean, my Lord.”
  218. On Thursday, former Fox News anchor Shepard Smith announced at a Committee to Protect Journalists event, that he would donate $500,000 to the nonprofit group, which advances press freedoms around the world.
  219. Smith told the crowd, “Autocrats have learned how to use those same online tools to shore up their power. They flood the world of information with garbage and lies, masquerading as news. There’s a phrase for that.”
  220. On Friday, Trump appeared on “Fox & Friends” for 53 minutes. PolitiFact found many of Trump’s points “were either inaccurate or repeated debunked conspiracy theories.”
  221. Trump falsely claimed, “They were spying on my campaign,” adding, “This was an overthrow attempt at the presidency. They tried to overthrow the presidency. This is a disgrace.”
  222. Trump said, “Adam Schiff is a sick puppy,” but that his July 25 call was “appropriate,” “perfect” “nice,” and “everything,” adding Zelensky said, “what are they talking about? They must think we’re nuts in this country.”
  223. Trump said of impeachment, “Frankly, I want a trial,” adding Pelosi is “crazy as a bedbug. She is nuts, ” and “the one I want to testify most is ‘Shifty Schiff,’ and I want to find out why did he make up my statement?”
  224. Trump said he knew the identity of the whistleblower: “I know exactly who it is,” telling the hosts, “By the way you know who the whistleblower is too, otherwise you’re not doing your job. Everybody knows it.”
  225. Trump said a “historic” report by the DOJ IG is coming, and, “I don’t like to use the word ‘deep state.’ I just say they’re really bad, sick people,” and mentioned the “modern-day version of whatever wiretapping may be.”
  226. Trump repeated the debunked conspiracy theory about Ukraine’s 2016 involvement, saying, “They gave the server to Crowdstrike, or whatever it’s called….which is a company owned by a very wealthy Ukrainian.”
  227. Crowdstrike is a U.S. cybersecurity firm hired by the DNC in May 2016 to investigate the breach of its server. Conspiracy theorists claim the company’s chief technology officer is Ukrainian, but he was born in Russia.
  228. Trump asked, “Why isn’t Germany putting up money? Why isn’t France putting up money (for Ukraine)?Why isn’t all of the European nations, why aren’t they putting up?” The EU has put up $15 billion since 2014.
  229. Trump falsely claimed of Volker, “I don’t know him,” and “This guy, Sondland, hardly know him,” and praised Giuliani, adding if he goes to a country and “you hear it’s a corrupt country, I mean it means a lot.”
  230. Trump said of Yovanovitch, “she’s an Obama person,” adding, “everybody says is so wonderful, she wouldn’t hang my picture in the embassy,” and, “This was not an angel, this woman, OK?.”
  231. Trump also said of Yovanovitch, “I said, ‘Why are you being so kind?’ ‘Well, sir, she’s a woman. We have to be nice,’” adding, “She’s very tough. I heard bad things.”
  232. Shortly after, lawyers for Yovanovitch said in a statement, “The Embassy in Kyiv hung the official photographs of the President, Vice President, and Secretary of State as soon as they arrived from Washington, DC.”
  233. Trump also said, If it weren’t for me Hong Kong would have been obliterated in 14 minutes.” In was unclear what he meant. He added “we have to stand with Hong Kong but I’m also standing with President Xi.”
  234. Trump also said of Kellyanne Conway’s husband, George, “I don’t know what Kellyanne did to that guy” calling him “some kind of a nut job,” and, “She must have done some bad things to him because that guy’s crazy.”
  235. On Friday, NYT reported in addition to Hill’s testimony, U.S. intelligence officials informed senators and their aides that Russia was behind the years-long campaign to frame Ukraine for hacking the 2016 U.S. election.
  236. The revelations showed the Russian’s success not only at sowing discord in the U.S., but also in undermining the government of Ukraine and influencing the American political debate.
  237. On Thursday, Trump intervened and reversed a U.S. Navy decision to oust Edward Gallagher from the SEALs, and lose his Trident pin, after Gallagher had been at the center of a high-profile war crimes prosecution.
  238. Trump tweeted, “The Navy will NOT be taking away Warfighter and Navy Seal Eddie Gallagher’s Trident Pin,” adding, “This case was handled very badly from the beginning. Get back to business.”
  239. On Friday, Navy Secretary Richard Spencer said Gallagher should face a planned “trident review board,” which could lead to his ouster from the SEALs, despite Trump’s tweet.
  240. On Friday, WAPO reported Trump took the advice of Pete Hegseth, a Fox News personality, when he issued pardons in Week 157. Trump called Hegseth numerous times to discuss the issue.
  241. Defense Secretary Mark Esper and Army Secretary Ryan McCarthy tried to persuade Trump not to, and senior military officials brought documents and data to a meeting to show Trump he was fed bad information.
  242. Trump was lobbied with information that the three cases involved overly restrictive rules of engagement during the Obama administration. Trump tweeted Sunday, “Our great warfighters must be allowed to fight.”
  243. On Friday, CNN reported DOJ IG Michael Horowitz found a former FBI lawyer is under investigation for allegedly altering a document related the 2016 surveillance of a Trump campaign adviser, Carter Page.
  244. However, the alterations, outlined in a draft of the IG’s soon to be released report, were made by a low-level FBI lawyer who has since been forced out of the agency, and did not effect the validity of the surveillance subpoena.
  245. Horowitz turned the evidence over to U.S. Attorney John Durham for his investigation of the investigators. The IG report is expected to be released on December 9.
  246. Later Friday, Trump told reporters at the White House, “I think we had a tremendous week with the hoax,” adding, “They call it the impeachment hoax. And that’s really worked out incredibly well.”
  247. Trump added he has “tremendous support” from Republicans, adding, “I don’t think I’ve ever seen support in the Republican Party like we do right now,” and “We’ve never had this kind of support.”
  248. Asked if the whistleblower should be fired, Trump said, “ What whistleblower? I don’t think there is. I consider it to be a fake whistleblower,” falsely claiming the complaint did not track what he said.
  249. On Friday, Chair Schiff told the LA Times that his committee has begun work on its report in the impeachment inquiry, which will be handed off to the House Judiciary Committee, but is not ruling out further hearings.
  250. Schiff added, “We’re not foreclosing the possibility of additional depositions or hearings,” but added, “we’re also not willing to wait months and months and let them play rope-a-dope with us in the courts.”
  251. On Friday, Politico reported after Thanksgiving, House Democrats are planning to hold at least one hearing on Trump’s misdeeds in the Mueller report, fueling possible additional articles of impeachment.
  252. Democrats say Roger Stone’s trial raised the question of whether Trump provided false statements in his written testimony to Mueller’s team relating to WikiLeaks. Democrats also hope to get McGahn’s testimony.
  253. On Friday, Bolton tweeted, “Glad to be back on Twitter after more than two months,” and later explained the White House “refused to return access to my personal Twitter account. Out of fear of what I may say?
  254. A White House spokesperson denied it, saying, “The White House did not block Mr. Bolton.” Trump also denied it on “Fox & Friends,” saying, “of course not,” and, “No, I actually had a good relationship with John.”
  255. On Friday, a group of conservative-leaning lawyers called Checks & Balances told the Times in a statement: “In recent months, we have become concerned by the conduct of Attorney General William Barr.”
  256. The group said they were so alarmed by Barr’s speech last week, they felt the need to push back on his expansive view of executive power. The group sharply denounced abuses of power by Trump.
  257. The group also said Barr’s interpretation set a dangerous precedent, with one member saying, “Conservatism is respect for the rule of law,” and another saying, “It’s important for conservatives to speak up.”
  258. On Friday, AG Barr said in an interview with AP that the death of Jeffrey Epstein was a “perfect storm of screw-ups,” refuting statements from Epstein’s family that he may have been murdered.
  259. Later Friday, NYT reported the highly anticipated DOJ IG report will sharply criticize lower-level employees for sloppiness, but absolve top ranking officials of abusing their power over bias against Trump.
  260. The report, while not finalized, is expected to show a proper legal basis for the government’s applications to monitor Carter Page, but find errors were made, including the use of human sources in the report.
  261. IG Horowitz found a low-level lawyer, Kevin Clinesmith, altered an email used in court to renew the Carter Page wiretap. Horowitz referred the matter to John Durham for a potential criminal charge.
  262. Clinesmith left the Russia investigation in February 2018 after the IG found he was one of a handful of FBI officials who expressed animus towards Trump in text messages. Clinesmith resigned two months ago.
  263. The report was expected to find no politically biased actions by top officials targeted by Trump, including James Comey, Andrew McCabe, and Peter Strzok, debunking conspiracy theories used by Trump and his allies.
  264. On Friday, Trump tweeted an altered video of a CNN segment mocking host Chris Cuomo, replacing the voice of Cuomo’s mother with Trump screaming things like “I want no quid pro quo,” and “fake news.”
  265. On Friday, a lawyer for Lev Parnas said he is willing to tell Congress that Devin Nunes, the ranking member on the House Intelligence Committee, met with former Ukrainian Prosecutor Victor Shokin about digging up dirt.
  266. The lawyer told CNN Parnas learned from Shokin that he met Nunes “in Vienna last December.” Congressional records show Nunes and three aides traveled to Europe from November 30 to December 3, 2018.
  267. The lawyer told CNN, “Nunes had told Shokin of the urgent need to launch investigations into Burisma, Joe and Hunter Biden, and any purported Ukrainian interference in the 2016 election.”
  268. On Friday, CBS News reported according to a “Memorandum of Investigative Activity,” the whistleblower reached out to the intelligence committee IG on October 8 to clarify the nature of their contact.
  269. The IG passed the October 18 memo to House and Senate intelligence committees, saying the whistleblower acknowledged reaching out to Chair Schiff, but clarified that nothing substantial was discussed.
  270. On Friday, WAPO reported Trump has opened up Camp David as an “adult playground” and venue to woo Republican lawmakers during the impeachment inquiry, hosting by Mulvaney and White House officials.
  271. Trump has called in to compliment lawmakers at the dinners. Trump has also in recent weeks stopped attacking Republicans. He has also brought them along to sporting events in an effort to woo them.
  272. In recent weeks, Trump has also invited groups of Senate Republicans for lunch on Thursdays. Trump’s message at lunches echoes what he says publicly, and attendees claim they feel no overt pressure to stay on his side.
  273. Late Friday, the State Department released nearly 100 pages of documents to the FOIA to watchdog group American Oversight, just before the midnight court-imposed deadline. More documents will be released.
  274. Documents revealed a clear paper trail between Giuliani and Pompeo in the weeks before Yovanovitch was ousted. The two also spoke on the phone on March 26 and March 29, before her recall in April.
  275. Late Friday, Trump quoted Jason Chaffetz appearing on Fox News, tweeting, “The support for Impeachment is not there. I think the Democrats will have to come up with a new game plan.”
  276. On Saturday, Trump tweeted, “Adam Schiff will be compelled to testify should the Democrats decide” despite his calls which were “totally appropriate (perfect), to go forward with the Impeachment Hoax.”
  277. Trump added, “Polls have now turned very strongly against Impeachment!” and tweeted an Emerson College poll, quoting Joe Concha tweeting, “You see why Pelosi is reluctant to go in with this.”
  278. On Friday, in a speech at the ADL’s International Leadership Award, Sacha Baron Cohen said social media giants, Facebook, Twitter, and Google are “the greatest propaganda machines in history.”
  279. On Saturday, WSJ reported James Barnes, the Facebook employee who was embedded in the Trump 2016 campaign and helped him win using its powerful tools, left Facebook and will work for Democrats in 2020.

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

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

Fiona Hill, former senior director for Europe and Russia at the National Security Council, and David Holmes, political counselor for the US Embassy in Ukraine, are sworn in before testifying during the House Select Intelligence Committee hearing on the impeachment inquiry into Trump on Thursday, Nov. 21, 2019.

POLITIKS OF GRAFFITI 158: “GUILTY ON ALL 7 COUNTS”

NOVEMBER 16, 2019

Week 157 of AMY SISKIND’S LIST

Experts in authoritarianism advise to keep a list of things
subtly changing around you, so you’ll remember. https://theweeklylist.org/weekly-list/week-157/

This week public impeachment hearings started, with three career diplomats testifying before the House Intelligence Committee. Senate Republicans were notably quiet in their defense of Trump, while Republican House members focused mostly on the process, especially for the third witness, Maria Yovanovitch, who proved unassailable. William Taylor testified about a previously unknown phone call on July 26 overheard by his staffer David Holmes, in which Trump asked about “the investigation,” and Sondland assured him Ukraine would comply. Closed door hearings continued as well, as more career officials came forward to testify.

This week, Trump faced threats on other fronts, as longtime ally Roger Stone was found guilty on all charges of lying to Congress, tampering with witnesses, and concealing evidence in an effort prosecutors said was to shield Trump. Stone’s conviction was the sixth of a senior Trump official arising from the Mueller probe. This week Trump lawyers appealed two cases to the Supreme Court, both of which would require him to turn over eight years of his tax returns.

The world order continued to shift, as Trump hosted and praised Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan at the White House, weeks after Turkish-forces invaded Northern Syria, and notably in contrast to having not yet hosted Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky. French President Emmanuel Macron announced France would host a Ukraine summit on December 9, inviting leaders of Ukraine, Russia, and Germany, while pledging unwavering support to Zelensky.IMG_3812Political Cartoons were on fire this week 🙂 IMG_3813

IMG_3814
“Guilty on ALL 7 Counts” – Roger Stone by Jim Carrey 15Nov19
IMG_3815
President Bone Spurs and the joke he is on Veterans’ Day. Art: Jim Carrey
IMG_3819
This is interesting. This was sent to me from a Canadian costume designer who explained that she isn’t a portrait artist, but Maria Yovanovitch inspired her, so she drew her. 🙂 Artist: Resa M.

IMG_0237

New York City. August 2019.

IMG_1597
Pro-Regime sticker found in downtown San Diego, CA. October 2019.
IMG_8124
New York City – August 2019. 
  1. On Saturday, CNN reported John Bolton, who refused to testify in the impeachment inquiry in Week 156, has landed a book deal. Bolton’s book will be published before the 2020 presidential election.
  2. On Saturday, Chair Adam Schiff said the whistleblower would not be called to testify, saying, “It remains the duty of the Intelligence Committee to protect whistleblowers,” and it would be “redundant and unnecessary.”
  3. On Saturday, NYT reported State Department officials are showing their support for Maria Yovanovitch, who is scheduled to testify in the impeachment inquiry Friday, using the hashtag #GoMasha.
  4. Employees also have raised money for department officials testifying, and share supportive notes about William Taylor and George Kent. Rarely have State officials been at the center of a revolt against a president and his top appointees.
  5. On Sunday, Nikki Haley claimed in a new book that John Kelly and Rex Tillerson tried to recruit her to undermine Trump, saying, “they weren’t being insubordinate, they were trying to save the country.”
  6. Haley also claimed that while serving as Secretary of State, Tillerson told her people would die if Trump went unchecked. At the time she was U.S. ambassador to the UN, and refused.
  7. On Sunday, Donald Jr. and his girlfriend Kimberly Guilfoyle were booed offstage by far right students at an event for his book, “Triggered,” at UCLA, after he refused to take questions.
  8. The scene contradicted the central thesis of Donald Jr.’s book on the left’s intolerance, and revealed a fissure between conservatives in Turning Point USA and self-professed nationalists in the “America First” movement.
  9. On Sunday, Sen. Lindsey Graham told “Fox News Sunday” that if House Democrats keep the whistleblower’s identity private then impeachment is “dead on arrival” when it reaches the Senate.
  10. On Sunday, Republicans complained about House Republicans not being able to call their chosen witnesses. Sen. John Kennedy said House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Chair Schiff are “doubling down on stupid.”
  11. Sen. Rand Paul told “Meet the Press” not being able to call Hunter Biden and the whistleblower is “sort of a sham,” adding, “That’s not really even a trial.”
  12. Shortly after, Trump also complained, tweeting, “Corrupt politician Adam Schiff” wants White House staffers “to testify in his and Pelosi’s disgraceful Witch Hunt,” but will not “allow ANY of our requested witnesses.”
  13. Trump also tweeted, “The call to the Ukrainian President was PERFECT. Read the Transcript! There was NOTHING said that was in any way wrong,” adding, “NOTHING WAS DONE WRONG!”
  14. Trump also warned, “Republicans, don’t be led into the fools trap of saying it was not perfect, but is not impeachable.” WAPO reported so far 14 Republicans and Trump appointees have said the call was not perfect.
  15. On Sunday, Sen. Ron Johnson said on “State of the Union” that he would take impeachment inquiry testimony from Gordon Sondland, Fiona Hill, and Alexander Vindman “with a grain of salt.”
  16. On Sunday, NYT reported Lev Parnas claimed he told a representative from the incoming government in Ukraine that VP Mike Pence would not come to the inauguration and aid would be frozen unless they announced an investigation of the Bidens.
  17. Parnas claimed he delivered the warning in Kiev, shortly before the inauguration in May. If his claim is corroborated, it would be the earliest instance of U.S. aid being tied to demands Ukraine investigate.
  18. Lawyers for Igor Fruman said Parnas’s claim, which contradicts the narrative of Trump and Rudy Giuliani and would directly link Giuliani to threats, was false, saying the demand did not come up in the meeting.
  19. On Sunday, Rep. Peter King, who served in Congress for almost three decades, said he would retire and not run in 2020. King was the 20th House Republican to announce their plan not to run in 2020.
  20. On Sunday, Bill Moyers told CNN for the first time in his life he fears for the country, saying, “a society, a democracy, can die of too many lies. And we’re getting close to that terminal moment.”
  21. On Monday, Axios reported a poll found 74% of Democrats say politics is making them angry, and 71% say they feel like “strangers in their own land.” For Republicans, the numbers were 57% angry, 52% like strangers.
  22. On Monday, Trump tweeted, “So with one Rally by me at the end of the campaign, I lift the poll numbers of Kentucky Governor Matt Bevin by 19 points.” This is false. A poll before had Bevin up by five points.
  23. On Monday, Trump attacked the impeachment probe, tweeting, “lawyer for the Whistleblower takes away all credibility from this big Impeachment Scam!” saying he and Schiff “should be investigared [sic] for fraud!
  24. Trump also falsely claimed “Shifty Adam Schiff” had “doctored transcripts,” and “Republicans should put out their own transcripts!” and “Schiff must testify as to why he MADE UP a statement from me.”
  25. On Monday, House investigators released transcripts of testimony for Laura Cooper, Catherine Croft, and Christopher Anderson. Cooper said she first learned at a mid-June meeting with Trump about aid being withheld.
  26. Cooper said she got “Follow-up from POTUS meeting” questions from Mick Mulvaney on which U.S. industries were involved in the aid, what other countries were contributing, and which agencies provided the funding.
  27. Cooper testified she and other Pentagon officials repeatedly warned the White House during the summer that failing to release aid to Ukraine that had been approved by Congress could violate the Impoundment Control Act.
  28. Cooper said Kurt Volker let her to make a “very strong inference” Ukraine knew aid was being withheld long before the information was made public, and Taylor sounded “alarm bells…that there were Ukrainians who knew.”
  29. Cooper said on July 18 the Pentagon sought clarification from the White House on why aid was being held up. On July 23, the Office of Management and Budget told agencies Trump had “concerns about Ukraine and Ukraine security assistance.”
  30. Cooper was asked by Steve Castor, one of the House Republican lawyers, about the whistleblower. Cooper said she was unaware of the complaint before it was made public. Much of her related testimony was redacted.
  31. Anderson, an adviser to Volker, testified he heard warning from Bolton on the influence Giuliani was having on Trump related to Ukraine, saying, “every time Ukraine is mentioned, Giuliani pops up.”
  32. Anderson testified Bolton told him Trump called him at home to complain about a CNN story that the Navy was pushing back against Russian aggression in the Black Sea. The operation was later canceled.
  33. Anderson said he was concerned that Giuliani’s presence with Trump would make it harder for the U.S. to push Russia back to the negotiations table to end its armed conflict with Ukraine.
  34. Croft, who succeeded Anderson, said she was “trepidatious” about taking the job, saying, “it was possible that the Trump administration would choose to change its policy to suit domestic politics.”
  35. Croft testified the Ukrainians “found out very early on” that Ukraine aid had been frozen. She said the decision by the OMB was made at Trump’s behest, and was widely circulated on July 18.
  36. Croft also testified Mulvaney, as then head of the OMB, put a hold on sending lethal Javelin missiles to Ukraine, citing, “Russia would react negatively to the provision of Javelins to Ukraine.”
  37. Croft noted it was “rather unusual to have OMB expressing concerns that were purely policy-based and not budget-oriented.” OMB staffers also started to regularly attend meetings on Ukraine, which was atypical.
  38. Cooper also said it was unusual for OMB to be out of step on withholding aid, after the Pentagon gave its approval in May, and approval of Ukraine’s anti-corruption work was “unanimous” from the ­other agencies.
  39. Shortly after, Trump reiterated his call for the whistleblower to testify, tweeting, “Where is the Whistleblower who gave so much false information? Must testify along with Schiff and others!”
  40. Trump also tweeted, “To think I signed the Whistleblower Protection Act!” Trump signed the the VA Accountability and Whistleblower Protection Act into law, which has nothing to do with the whistleblower’s complaint.
  41. Trump also tweeted, “Read the Transcript. It is PERFECT!” and added, “Schiff is giving Republicans NO WITNESSES, NO LAWYER & NO DUE PROCESS!” calling it “a totally one sided Witch Hunt.”
  42. Trump also repeated his false claim about Schiff altering transcripts, tweeting, “Just like Schiff fabricated my phone call, he will fabricate the transcripts that he is making and releasing!”
  43. Trump again teased about releasing a second Ukraine call transcript, tweeting, “In order to continue being the most Transparent President in history” he would release it, and “I am sure you will find it tantalizing!”
  44. On Monday, Condoleezza Rice, a former secretary of state under George W. Bush, said reports of shadow diplomacy in Ukraine were “deeply troubling,” and said of Trump’s July 25 call, “it is really murky.”
  45. On Monday, Trump returned to New York to kick off the 100th annual New York City Veterans Day Parade. Protestors gathered along the streets, carrying signs for impeachment, and shouting “Shame!”
  46. As Trump delivered his speech, protestors booed and jeered. Others shouted “Lock him up!” and “traitor,” and blew whistles, drowning out part of his 18 minute speech, delivered from behind a thick plexiglass shield.
  47. On Sunday, WAPO reported Mulvaney’s effort to join Charles Kupperman’s lawsuit upset allies of John Bolton, who has the same lawyer. Bolton views Mulvaney as a key participant in the Ukraine pressure campaign.
  48. On Monday, the lawyer for Kupperman said in a filing that Mulvaney should not be able join their lawsuitsince Mulvaney had spoken publicly about the impeachment inquiry at the White House briefing room.
  49. On Monday, House Democrats also filed saying Mulvaney should not be able to join, citing “the subpoena…has been withdrawn,” and “Mulvaney is differently situated from Kupperman in several important respects.”
  50. On Monday, Mulvaney filed a notice of withdrawal of his motion in Week 156 to join Kupperman’s lawsuit. On Tuesday, a notice filed by Mulvaney said he planned to file as a separate, related case.
  51. On Monday, WAPO reported on a rift between Mulvaney’s office and White House counsel Pat Cipollone’s camp over how to counter impeachment. The infighting has left the White House without a coherent strategy.
  52. Mulvaney and OMB officials who have been called to testify have refused. Mulvaney feels Cipollone is not doing enough to stop others. Cipollone feels Mulvaney made things worse with his October 17 press conference.
  53. On Tuesday, Mulvaney reversed course, saying he will not sue to block the impeachment subpoena, and instead he will “rely on the direction of” Trump and government lawyers in not appearing for a deposition.
  54. On Tuesday, in a series of tweets, Trump said, “Why is such a focus put on 2nd and 3rd hand witnesses, many of whom are Never Trumpers, or whose lawyers are Never Trumpers,” offering no evidence this is the case.
  55. Trump also tweeted, “all you have to do is read the phone call (transcript)” adding Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said “no pressure” was put on him to investigate “Sleepy Joe Biden,” and “I have an “obligation” to look into corruption.”
  56. Trump also tweeted Hunter Biden has “no knowledge or talent” and took millions from Ukraine and China, adding, “Both Bidens should be forced to testify in this No Due Process Scam!
  57. Trump sent a fourth tweet at 6:30 a.m., again referencing the second call, saying, “I will be releasing the transcript of the first, and therefore more important, phone call with the Ukrainian President before week’s end!”
  58. On Monday, Hillary Clinton called UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s delay in releasing a report on possible Russian interference in the Brexit vote “damaging, inexplicable and shaming.”
  59. On Monday, James Le Mesurier, a former British army officer who helped start the “White Helmets” aid group in Syria, was found dead, three days after Russia’s foreign ministry spokeswoman accused him of being a spy.
  60. On Tuesday, federal prosecutors asked a grand jury to issue a superseding indictment, alleging Russia-based Internet Research Agency conspired to interfere with more than one function of the Federal Election Commission.
  61. Prosecutors said IRA also tried to interfere with an FEC ban which prohibits spending on U.S. elections by foreign nationals. The case stemmed from the Mueller probe which indicted 13 Russian individuals and three firms.
  62. On Tuesday, a report by the Senate Intelligence Committee found Russian GRU hackers who stole tens of thousands of sensitive Democratic Party documents in 2016 struggled to disseminate them on social media.
  63. The report analyzed Facebook data, and found the Russian military hackers tried to post information on June 14 but got little traction. They then used Twitter persona Guccifer 2.0 to direct message U.S. journalists.
  64. On July 22, WikiLeaks published the documents and tweeted to its 3.2 million followers, and the documents went viral. Committee Chair Richard Burr called the threat of foreign interference “persistent and evolving.”
  65. On Monday, Politico reported a new report by consumer rights group Public Citizen found 200 mostly conservative campaigns and political groups have spent $8 million at Trump properties since 2016.
  66. The report found between 2012 and 2014, the groups spent just $69,000 at Trump businesses, but after he announced his run for president in 2015, the amount was $19 million, including monies spent by his campaign.
  67. On Monday, NYT reported a new draft of an EPA proposal, Strengthening Transparency in Regulatory Science, would significantly limit the scientific and medical research used to write public health rules.
  68. Scientists and physicians protested, saying the rule, which would be retroactively applied, would undermine science in policy making, noting studies on mercury, lead in paint, and air pollution would be excluded.
  69. On Monday, Politico reported Trump’s new national security adviser Robert O’Brien is moving to dramatically shrink the National Security Council, raising concerns the move is related to the impeachment inquiry.
  70. In the coming months, several dozen policy roles will be eliminated, and at least two NSC divisions are being phased out and a third moved to the White House. O’ Brien claims the changes are about improving efficiency of government.
  71. On Monday, AP reported a month after Energy Department Sec. Rick Perry visited Ukraine for Zelensky’s inauguration, two of his political supporters, Michael Bleyzer and Alex Cranberg, were awarded a gas exploration deal from the Ukrainian government.
  72. During that trip, Perry handed Zelensky a list of people he recommended as energy advisers. Bleyzer and Cranberg got the lucrative Varvynska deal despite offering millions of dollars less than their competitor to the Ukrainian government.
  73. On Monday, Trump tweeted, “A great try by @seanspicer. We are all proud of you!” after the former White House press secretary was voted off of “Dancing With the Stars.”
  74. On Tuesday, the Scotsman reported after four years and the case going to Scotland’s highest court, Trump’s firm lost a battle to stop an offshore wind farm, and must pay the Scottish government £225,000 for its legal bills.
  75. On Tuesday, Politico reported according to new documents, at least eight former Trump White House and campaign officials were hired by Medicare and Medicaid Services Administrator Seema Verma as consultants.
  76. The contractors were among at least 40 PR consultants hired on a $2.25 million contract to improve Verma’s personal brand and improve “strategic communications.” The contract was halted in April after Politico’s reporting.
  77. On Tuesday, Trump said at a speech at the Economic Club of New York that Ivanka “created 14 million jobs.” Since Trump took office, the economy has added about 6 million jobs.
  78. On Tuesday, NBC News reported Mina Chang, a top Trump appointee at the State Department, significantly embellished her resume and created a fake Time cover with her image, another example of the regime’s lax vetting.
  79. On Thursday, CNN reported the RNC will host its annual meeting at the Trump National Doral, according to an email to members. Trump abruptly reversed his decision to hold the G7 summit at the Doral in Week 154.
  80. On Sunday, the anniversary of Kristallnacht, stickers shaped like yellow Jewish stars saying “Jude” were found at multiple Jewish cemetery sites in Denmark and Sweden, and also found at some homes.
  81. On Tuesday, the FBI annual report showed hate crimes reached a 16-year high in 2018, including a 37% rise in attacks on people with disabilities and 34% rise in attacks against transgender people.
  82. On Tuesday, the Southern Poverty Law Center reported on over 900 emails sent by Stephen Miller to Breitbart editors from March 2015 to June 2016, suggesting he promoted white nationalism and far-right extremist ideas.
  83. Katie McHugh, a former Breitbart editor, leaked the emails, which were mostly related to race or immigration. Miller focused on crimes committed by nonwhites, and severely limiting or ending nonwhite immigration.
  84. The emails showed Miller used information from white supremacist sources like American Renaissance and VDARE and sent it to Breitbart and others for them to use in framing stories.
  85. Emails also show Miller reached out to anti-Muslim extremist Pamela Geller, and had ties to white nationalist figures, including Duke classmate Richard Spencer, a relationship he tried to hide to protect Trump.
  86. On Tuesday, AP reported the U.S. government held a record number of migrant children in custody in 2019: an unprecedented 69,550 children in the past year.
  87. The number of migrant children is up 42% from fiscal 2018 to 2019. United Nations researchers said the U.S. has detained more children away from their parents than any other country.
  88. On Wednesday, CNN reported immigration hardliner Ken Cuccinelli was expected to be elevated to acting deputy secretary of Homeland Security, the number two post in the department, giving him greater latitude on Trump’s signature issue.
  89. Chad Wolf was named acting secretary of DHS — the fifth person to hold the position under Trump. Republican and Democratic senators called on Trump to stop the “widespread use of temporary leadership.”
  90. On Tuesday, as the Supreme Court was about to hear a case to end DACA, Trump tweeted, “Many of the people in DACA, no longer very young, are far from ‘angels,’” adding, “Some are very tough, hardened criminals.”
  91. On Tuesday, it appeared the Supreme Court’s conservative majority would allow Trump to end DACA, which shields 700,000 young immigrants from deportation as has broad, bipartisan support.
  92. Trump’s two nominees, Brett Kavanaugh and Neil Gorsuch, said they would not second guess the regime’s reasoning and ask for further explanation. The decision will address Trump’s power over immigration.
  93. Later Tuesday, Trump quoted Fox Business host Lou Dobbs, tweeting, “DACA recipients with arrest records: 53,792!,” a misleading claim, and added, “Not good, but we will be able to make a deal with the Dems!”
  94. Trump also quoted Dobbs on the impeachment hearings starting Wednesday, tweeting, “This ridiculous Impeachment is a travesty, it’s not an inquiry. Just read the transcript.”
  95. Trump also quoted Fox News host Sean Hannity, saying, “The circus is coming to town,” blaming “The corrupt, compromised, coward & congenital liar Adam Schiff,” and “raging psychotic Democrats,” and “the Media Mob.”
  96. Trump added, “Everything you’re going to see in the next two weeks is rigged,” adding, “This is a phony showtrial” with “zero due process,” and “another fraudulent hoax conspiracy theory. It is another Witch Hunt.”
  97. Trump also added from Hannity that all Democrats have done for three years is “hurt Donald Trump and we, the people that support him. The Left has never accepted the results of the 2016 Election.”
  98. On Tuesday, House Democrats announced eight more witnesses will testify next week in the impeachment hearings, including Jennifer Williams, Vindman, Volker, Tim Morrison, Sondland, Cooper, David Hale, and Hill.
  99. On Wednesday, Trump continued to tweet from Fox News in the early morning, quoting “Fox & Friends,” tweeting, “‘Millions of Americans will see what a partisan sham this whole thing is.’ Rush Limbaugh”
  100. Trump also quoted “Fox & Friends” co-host Steve Doocy, tweeting: “The Democrats have stacked the deck against President Trump and the Republicans. They have leaked out everything.”
  101. Trump also quoted Charles Hurt on “Fox & Friends,” tweeting, “Nancy Pelosi cares more about power than she does about principle,” adding, “there was no quid…Ukraine got it’s money…there was no investigation.”
  102. Trump also tweeted, calling William Taylor and George Kent who were about to testify “NEVER TRUMPERS!” Politifact reported there is no evidence that either career foreign service officials are anti-Trump.
  103. On Wednesday, White House press secretary Stephanie Grisham told reporters Trump is “in the Oval in meetings. Not watching. He’s working.” Trump tweeted and retweeted dozens of times during the hearings.
  104. On Wednesday, ABC, CBS, PBS, and NBC broadcast networks pre-empted regular programming for the hearings. Cable-TV also broadcast it live — Fox News topped there with 2.9 million viewers, double an average day.
  105. On Wednesday, Giuliani wrote an op-ed in the WSJ, saying Trump’s “call with the Ukrainian president was innocent, and the House inquiry is a travesty,” claiming a “false narrative” from selectively leaked information.
  106. On Wednesday, a poll by Priorities USA found a plurality support impeachment in battleground states Florida, Michigan, Wisconsin, and Pennsylvania: 49% support impeachment and removal, 45% oppose it.
  107. On Wednesday, Sen. John Cornyn told reporters despite there being 53 GOP senators, Republicans do not have the 51 votes needed to dismiss impeachment articles, saying it would be better to have the trial.
  108. On Wednesday, William Taylor, acting U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine, and George Kent, the State Department’s top official on Ukraine policy, were the first two witnesses called in the House impeachment hearings.
  109. During the hearing, House committees announced two new closed door depositions for David Holmes, an official working at the U.S. Embassy in Ukraine, and Mark Sandy, an official working in the OMB.
  110. Taylor said a member of his staff overheard a phone conversation between Trump and Sondland at a restaurant in Kyiv. After, Taylor said Sondland told the staffer, “Trump cares more about the investigations” than about Ukraine.
  111. Taylor said Sondland told Trump from his cellphone that the Ukrainians were “ready to move forward.” This was the first mention of the call which took place on July 26. The staffer was identified as David Holmes.
  112. Taylor testified Sondland explained to him Trump was a “businessman,” and since he felt he had “been wronged by the Ukrainians” during the 2016 election, “he thought they owed him to fix that wrong.”
  113. Taylor spelled out the importance of U.S. aid to Ukraine, saying “Russian-led forces continue to kill Ukrainians in the war, one or two a week,” and “More Ukrainians would undoubtedly die without the US assistance.”
  114. Kent said during the Obama administration, he raised concerns about perception of conflicts of interest with Hunter Biden serving on the board of Burisma, but Joe Biden followed U.S. policy and did nothing wrong.
  115. The GOP’s rebuttal was that Ukraine did receive the aid, and there was no investigation of the Bidens. Republicans also complained on multiple occasions that the whistleblower was not scheduled to testify.
  116. Democrats shifted from using the words “quid pro quo” to “bribery” and “extortion.” Taylor noted aid to Ukraine was not only critical to that country, but also to America’s national interests.
  117. Both witnesses had resumes of bipartisan careers in foreign service. Kent noted of future witnesses, “Masha, Alex, and Fiona were born abroad before their families or they themselves personally chose to immigrate”
  118. On Wednesday, Trump was the only White House official to push back on the impeachment inquiry, telling reporters, “I don’t have teams…I’m the team,” and calling the inquiry a “sham,” and it “shouldn’t be allowed.”
  119. Trump also told reporters he did not “recall” the July 26 call with Sondland referenced by Taylor, saying, “No, not at all, not even a little bit.”
  120. Republicans emphasized that neither Taylor nor Kent directly spoke to Trump. Former Trump attorney John Dowd called Taylor “A pitiful, ignorant, insubordinate gossip with no trustworthy information.”
  121. On Wednesday, when asked about new revelations at the hearing, Trump ally Rep. Mark Meadows told reporters, “when we start to look at the facts, everybody has their impression of what truth is.”
  122. On Wednesday, Trump lawyer Joe diGenova blamed George Soros for Kent and Taylor’s testimony on Fox Business, saying he “controls a large part of” the State Department and “activities of FBI agents overseas.”
  123. George Soros’s Open Society Foundations requested Fox News and Fox Business ban diGenova from appearing over his anti-Semitic rant, and requested an on-air retraction.
  124. On Wednesday, Fox News’ prime time hosts all panned the hearings, calling them a “disaster,” “stupid,” “a national disgrace,” “DEM’S IMPEACHMENT COLLAPSE,” and a “cataclysmic mistake.”
  125. On Wednesday, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said he will not cut the impeachment trial short, and said with many GOP senators facing difficult reelection races, not to make motions that could divide the party.
  126. On Wednesday, WAPO reported Sondland’s cellphone call to Trump was a stunning breach of security. Calling a president from a cellphone violates protocols set up to protect senior officials’ communications.
  127. Russia has also shown an ability to monitor U.S. diplomats’ calls in Kyiv, and leak content to suit its interests. Trump has repeatedly shown a disregard for protocols, making him susceptible to spying.
  128. On Tuesday, NYT reported Trump has discussed firing the intelligence community’s inspector general, Michael Atkinson, whom he appointed, citing Atkinson reported the whistleblower complaint to Congress.
  129. Trump first surfaced the idea of firing Atkinson around when the complaint was made public, and he has raised the idea with aides again in recent weeks, saying he is not loyal. Some aides say Trump is just venting.
  130. Trump has started complaining about Atkinson publicly, questioning his integrity and accusing him of working with Democrats. Trump tweeted he should testify at impeachment hearings: “I.G.” should “be part of the list!”
  131. On Wednesday, WAPO reported senior aides are counseling Trump not to fire Mulvaney as chief of staff, after he has been threatening to do so for weeks. Trump is especially upset about Mulvaney’s news conference.
  132. Aides caution replacing Mulvaney during the impeachment inquiry would be unwise, especially given that he played an integral role in withholding aid from Ukraine, and cite Bolton as an example of why not to do it.
  133. On Wednesday, while the impeachment hearings were happening, Trump hosted Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan for a daylong visit at the White House, despite the authoritarian leader’s recent attack in Syria.
  134. The visit comes as Turkish forces have engaged in ethnic cleansing, and 180,000 have been forced to flee. McConnell said, “I share my colleagues’ uneasiness at seeing President Erdogan honored at the White House.”
  135. At a joint news conference with Erdogan, Trump called the impeachment hearings a “witch hunt,” saying, “I hear it’s a joke. I haven’t watched.” Trump added, “This is a sham and shouldn’t be allowed.”
  136. Trump also said, “I want to find out who is the whistleblower,” saying they got a lot wrong about his “perfect call,” and find out “why the IG” presented the complaint when “all he had to do was check the call.”
  137. Trump also said “great lawyers” like Fox News analyst Gregg Jarrett and conservative commentator Mark Levin say the call with “Ukraine was a perfect one,” and said of the hearing, “I hear that it’s a hoax.”
  138. Trump heaped praise on Erdogan, saying, “I’m a big fan of the president,” and said like himself, Erdogan has “great relationship with the Kurds,” and sided with him in believing that Europe should help him pay for the 3 million refugees.
  139. The day before the visit, Erdogan threatened to purchase Russian military fighter jets. Trump said this caused “very serious challenges for us,” and “We’ll be talking about it.”
  140. On Wednesday, Sen. Graham blocked a resolution in the Senate recognizing Armenian genocide that had passed 405-11 in the House, after meeting with Trump, Erdogan, and other GOP senators.
  141. On Thursday, Axios reported at a meeting in the Oval Office with five GOP senators, Erdogan took out an iPad and made the group watch an anti-Kurd propaganda film. Trump watched and said nothing.
  142. On Thursday, Turkish media reported Erdogan’s visit as a victory, saying Trump was “silent” when Erdogan returned his “scandalous” letter, and Erdogan told Sen. Graham “what he needed, he learned his lesson.”
  143. Late Wednesday, Trump tweeted, “Wow! Was just told that my son’s book, “Triggered,” is Number One on The New York Times Bestseller List. Congratulations Don!” The RNC had made a bulk purchase of the book.
  144. On Thursday, Trump attacked the Federal Reserve, tweeting, “Walmart announces great numbers. No impact from Tariffs,” after Walmart said it raised consumer prices, adding, “Inflation low (do you hear that Powell?)”
  145. On Thursday, AP reported a second diplomatic staffer, Suriya Jayanti, a foreign service officer based in Kyiv, also overheard Trump’s July 26 with Sondland at a restaurant in Kyiv.
  146. The first diplomat referenced by Taylor, David Holmes, a political counselor at the embassy in Kyiv, will testify before House investigators on Friday behind closed doors.
  147. On Thursday, Trump tweeted Rep. John Ratcliffe asked the two “star” witnesses, “where is the impeachable event in that call?” but they said nothing, adding, “That would be the end of a case run by normal people!”
  148. Trump also quoted Fox Business “Varney & Co.,” tweeting, “Neither one of the Democrat star witnesses at the Impeachment hearings could point out an impeachable offense. That’s the result!”
  149. Trump also quoted Dan Henniger of the WSJ, tweeting, “we’ve now had 3 years of the Democrats chasing Donald Trump,” adding Nancy Pelosi should “Look at her own story in the House. What have they done?”
  150. Trump also tweeted, “Where’s the Fake Whistleblower?
  151. On Thursday, at her weekly news conference, Speaker Pelosi said Trump committed “bribery” in the Ukraine scandal, saying what Trump “has admitted to and said it’s perfect — it’s perfectly wrong. It’s bribery.”
  152. Pelosi added, “The bribe is to grant or withhold military assistance in return for a public statement of a fake investigation into the elections.” Bribery is identified in the Constitution as an impeachable offense.
  153. Pelosi also said, “The devastating testimony corroborated evidence of bribery,” saying Trump “abused his power and violated his oath” in a “clear attempt” to “give himself an advantage in the 2020 election.”
  154. Pelosi also explained the meaning of the word ‘exculpatory’ to Trump, saying, “Mr. President, that means you have anything that shows your innocence — then he should make that known … so far we haven’t see that.”
  155. Pelosi said “We haven’t made a decision to impeach,” noting Nixon had strong public support in the weeks before he resigned, and adding what Trump did and the cover up “makes what Nixon did look almost small.”
  156. Pelosi said “The whistleblower is there to speak truth to power and have protection for doing that,” adding, “any retribution or harm coming to a whistleblower undermines our ability to hear truth about power.”
  157. On Thursday, WAPO reported Sondland’s attorney said Sondland had no plans to resign, and “has the full confidence” of Secretary of State Mike Pompeo. While some Republicans have turned on him, officials say he has a close relationship with Trump.
  158. Career diplomats in Brussels were appalled at Sondland’s leadership, saying he worked with Stephen Miller on a plan for more “skilled and wealthy” immigrants from Europe, as code for it being racially motivated.
  159. The plan, which Trump tasked him with in June 2018, would have encompassed all E.U. countries, but was scrapped. Sondland, who also worked on it with Jared Kushner, claimed he did not know the intention.
  160. On Wednesday, Attorney General William Barr told reporters, “I don’t remember” Trump making a request for him to do a news conference and say there was no wrongdoing in Ukraine.
  161. On Wednesday, AP reported the DOJ’s inspector general Michael Horowitz is close to releasing a report on the early stages of the FBI’s investigation of the Trump campaign’s involvement with Russia.
  162. Horowitz has been examining the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court applications to monitor Carter Page. The report will also test of credibility of Barr’s assertion the FBI’s investigative decisions were problematic.
  163. On Wednesday, Barr said of the report, “it’s my understanding that it is imminent,” adding, “A number of people who were mentioned in the report are having an opportunity right now to comment.”
  164. On Thursday, WAPO reported the DOJ IG told witnesses reviewing the draft sections of the report that they will not be able to give written feedback, only verbal feedback, an unusual step that leaves no paper trail.
  165. Witnesses are also being asked to review their section in a secure area, and say the entire draft document is marked “Top Secret,” so anyone who discusses the report’s contents could be committing a crime.
  166. Some expressed concern the unusual restrictions will make the report less accurate, saying they will not be able to ensure their changes are recorded accurately, and the IG can control the characterization of their comments.
  167. On Thursday, before heading to a rally in Louisiana, Trump had what was described as an “animated” talk with Barr in the Oval Office. The conversation was witnessed by the White House press corps.
  168. White House Counsel Pat Cippollone and press secretary Grisham were also in the meeting. Trump, whose departure was delayed by 45 minutes, passed by the press corps and did not speak to reporters.
  169. Later Thursday, after WAPO reporting, Horowitz changed course and told the Post witnesses can submit written feedback “consistent with rules to protect classified information.”
  170. On Friday, CNN reported, according to two witnesses, Trump was speaking to Barr and Cippollone about the upcoming report to be issued by Horowitz’s office, again raising concerns about the report’s integrity.
  171. Later Thursday, Trump held a rally in Louisiana for the second time in two weeks, as the Republican running for governor faced an unusually tight race. Trump does not have any other rallies scheduled for the rest of year.
  172. Trump told the crowd, “The absolutely crazed lunatics, the Democrats, radical left, and their media partners standing right back there…are pushing the deranged impeachment witch hunt for doing nothing wrong.”
  173. Trump attacked Kent and Taylor, saying, “You saw yesterday how about when they asked these two Never Trumpers, ‘what exactly do you think you impeach him for?’” adding, “they stood there and went like, ‘what?’”
  174. Trump also attacked Chair Schiff, mocking him and saying, “Little Shifty Schiff. He’s got the little 10-inch neck,” adding, “He will not make the LSU football team, that I can tell you.”
  175. Trump also said, “What a life I lead,” adding, “You think this is fun, don’t you? But it’s been very hard on my family.” And told the crowd, “You gotta give me a big win please. Please.”
  176. Later Thursday, just before midnight, Trump referenced in tweets Ukrainian Foreign Minister Vadym Prystaiko saying Sondland did not explicitly mention linking U.S. military aid to investigations of the Bidens.
  177. Trump tweeted, “Democrats must apologize to USA,” and “THE FAKE IMPEACHMENT INQUIRY IS NOW DEAD!”
  178. On Thursday, in an interview with the Guardian, Giuliani said he is confident Trump will stay loyal to him during the impeachment inquiry, and mused he has good “insurance” just in case.
  179. On Thursday, Bloomberg reported that Giuliani is being investigated by federal prosecutors for possible campaign finance violations, bribing foreign officials, and failure to register as a foreign agent.
  180. An official said Giuliani’s activities raise counterintelligence concerns, but there probably would not be charges for it. If he is charged or indicted, it could expose Trump to a new level of legal and political jeopardy.
  181. On Friday, WSJ reported federal prosecutors are investigating whether Giuliani personally profited from a Ukrainian natural-gas pipeline venture pushed by Parnas and Fruman.
  182. Parnas and Fruman pitched their plans for a pipeline in meetings in Ukraine, saying it had the support of the Trump regime. At the meetings, they also pushed for investigations into the Bidens and the 2016 election.
  183. In conversations over the summer, Parnas and Fruman told Ukrainian officials that Giuliani was a partner in the pipeline venture, a project of their company, Global Energy Producers, and a prospective investor.
  184. On Tuesday, Rick Gates testified at the trial for Roger Stone that Stone told him in April 2016 that WikiLeaks planned to dump information in the heat of the presidential race, two months before they were leaked.
  185. Gates also testified Stone requested contact information in June for Jared Kushner. Gates also said the campaign was elated when it learned more information on WikiLeaks publishing damaging emails, calling it “a gift.”
  186. Gates said Stone and Trump spoke in July 2016, after Trump told him “more information would be coming.” Trump said in his sworn written testimony to Mueller he did not recall getting information in advance.
  187. Testimony by Steven Bannon and Gates revealed how enthusiastic the Trump campaign was about using hacked emails starting in April 2016, and how involved Trump was in encouraging the campaign to seek it out.
  188. On Wednesday, Stone did not testify in his trial; instead his lawyers played audio of his Congressional testimony, arguing candidates use opposition research all the time, saying, “This is what happens in campaigns.”
  189. On Wednesday, a full panel of judges on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit voted 8-3 to let stand a three-judge decision that the House Oversight Committee can seek eight years of Trump’s tax returns.
  190. Two of the three dissenting judges were Trump appointees. The ruling was put on hold for seven days for Trump to appeal. Trump lawyer Jay Sekulow said they “will be seeking review at the Supreme Court.”
  191. On Thursday, Trump’s lawyers asked the Supreme Court to shield him from having to turn over his return in a separate case involving the Manhattan DA, who is investigating hush-money payments.
  192. Jay Sekulow wrote, “For the first time in our nation’s history” a president has been “subjected him to coercive criminal process,” calling it a perfect illustration of why a sitting president should be “categorically immune.”
  193. On Friday, Trump appealed to the Supreme Court for a second time in two days, relating to the House Oversight Committee, asking that his accounting firm Mazars USA not have to turn over his tax returns.
  194. The requests put the Supreme Court in a position to consider historic separations of power decisions, with two demands for the same information. The DOJ filed a brief in support for the House case.
  195. On Thursday, at a Federalist Society annual dinner honoring Brett Kavanaugh in Washington DC, protestors rolled up a big screen and blared Christine Blasey Ford’s testimony as guests were arriving.
  196. Also outside the event, protestors stood dressed up in Handmaid’s Tale costumes as guests entered, while others shouted, “I believe Anita Hill. I believe Dr Ford.” There were also protestors inside who were removed.
  197. On Thursday, political newsletter Popular Information revealed Facebook was a “gold sponsor” for the event, risking employee unrest and negative attention from activists over the companies policies.
  198. On Thursday, WAPO reported Mark Sandy, a longtime career employee of the OMB, is expected to break ranks and testify on Saturday to the House committees on impeachment, the first OMB employee to do so.
  199. Three other OMB employees who were political appointees refused to testify. Sandy was expected to testify behind closed doors in response to a subpoena, and provide information on the holdup of aid to Ukraine.
  200. On Thursday, NPR reported in the era of Trump, career civil servants are frequently targeted by the conservative media and alt-right trolls, saying they are part of the so-called “deep state” trying to undermine Trump.
  201. A State Department IG report concluded the treatment of Sahar Nowrouzzadeh, a foreign service officer, violated department policy, saying, “perceived political opinions, perceived association” led to her demotion.
  202. Nowrouzzadeh claimed she was falsely portrayed in conservative media as a “Muslim spy,” a member of the “deep state” who was disloyal to Trump. When she complained about the article, she was demoted.
  203. On Friday, Maria Yovanovitch testified in the impeachment inquiry. As the hearing started, the White House released the second transcript Trump had teased, of his April 21 call congratulating Zelensky on the election.
  204. The White House version was not verbatim, but based on the notes of national security council aides who listened in on the conversation. In his opening remarks, Rep. Devin Nunes read the transcript of the call aloud.
  205. The rough transcript released Friday differed significantly from the official readout White House had initially released describing the conversation on the day that it happened.
  206. The initial readout was based on talking points given to Trump, and included that Trump “expressed his commitment” to work with Zelensky to “strengthen democracy, increase prosperity, and root out corruption.”
  207. The readout was not adjusted to what Trump actually said. He did not in fact mention U.S. support for Ukraine in its fight over territory with Russia, or Ukraine’s effort to address corruption in the call.
  208. In the version Nunes read aloud, Zelensky invited Trump to his inauguration, and Trump invited him to visit the White House, saying, “We’ll let you know very soon, and we will see you very soon, regardless.”
  209. Trump did not attend, and WAPO reported he pulled Vice President Mike Pence from attending. Ultimately, the U.S. sent a delegation led by Sec. Perry that included Volker, Sondland, and Sen. Ron Johnson.
  210. Trump congratulated Zelensky, who said, “thank you so very much. As you can see, we tried very hard to do our best. We had you as a great example.” Trump then compared his own win, saying, “in a way, I did something similar.”
  211. Trump also bragged, “We have the most tremendous economy ever,” and added, to compliment Ukraine, “When I owned Miss Universe, they always had great people,” and “Ukraine was always very well represented.”
  212. After Nunes’s recital, Yovanovitch testified she was the victim of a “smear campaign” against her which was orchestrated by Trump allies working with corrupt Ukrainians, and leading to her recall based on untruths.
  213. She said, “Giuliani should have known those claims were suspect,” adding, “If our chief representative is kneecapped, it limits our effectiveness to safeguard the vital national security interests of the United States.”
  214. She said an article by John Solomon, quoting Yuri Lutsenko claiming she had spoken ill of Trump, was promoted by Donald Jr. and Fox News, and was false. Asked about it, she said, “Well, I was worried.”
  215. Yovanovitch testified the phone call saying she was recalled came while hosting a ceremony to honor a young anticorruption activist, Kateryna Handziuk, who was attacked with acid outside her home and later died.
  216. State Department Director General Carol Perez told her about “great concern” about her security. In a subsequent call she was told to get the next flight. She said, “I argued, ‘This is extremely irregular.’”
  217. Back home, she was told by deputy Secretary of State John Sullivan, “The president has lost confidence in you.” She said she felt “terrible” adding, “After 33 years of service to our country, this is not how I wanted my career to end.”
  218. She said when she read the transcript of Trump’s comments about her on the July 25 call, “It was a terrible moment,” adding, “A person who saw me actually reading the transcript said that the color drained from my face.”
  219. Yovanovitch added, “As Foreign Service professionals are being denigrated and undermined, the institution is also being degraded,” adding, “This will soon cause real harm, if it hasn’t already.”
  220. As Yovanovitch testified about Trump’s smear campaign against her, he tweeted, “Everywhere Marie Yovanovitch went turned bad. She started off in Somalia, how did that go?”
  221. Trump added, “Then fast forward to Ukraine, where the new Ukrainian President spoke unfavorably about her in my second phone call with him,” adding, “They call it “serving at the pleasure of the President.”
  222. Chair Schiff stopped the hearing to read her the tweets and ask what she thought. She responded, “It’s very intimidating,” adding, “I can’t speak to what the president is trying to do, but the effect is to be intimidating.”
  223. Fox News host Brett Baier called it “a turning point in this hearing so far,” saying Yovanovitch “was already a sympathetic witness,” and Trump’s tweet added “an article of impeachment real-time.”
  224. Yovanovitch testified about “a crisis in the state department” saying policy process is “unraveling,” and “leadership vacancies go unfilled, and senior and mid-level officers ponder an uncertain future and head for the doors.”
  225. Trump tweeted in response, saying vacancies are “because we do not want or need as many people as past administrations,” and “Democrats delay the approval process to levels unprecedented in the history.”
  226. Politico noted not a single Republican on the House Intelligence Committee backed up Trump for his Twitter attacks on Yovanovitch, or sought to legitimize the smear attempts at her or her removal.
  227. Republicans all praised Yovanovitch for her service and none tried to undercut her credibility or intentions. In response to their questioning, she said, “I do wonder, why it was necessary to smear my reputation.”
  228. At 3:20 p.m., Schiff gaveled the public hearing to a close. Yovanovitch received cheers and a standing ovation as she left the room.
  229. Later Friday, Trump defended his Yovanovitch attack, telling reporters, “I have the right to speak. I have freedom of speech just like other people do,” adding he is “allowed to speak up” if others are speaking about him.
  230. Trump also told reporters, “I watched a little bit of it today. I wasn’t able to yesterday because we had the president of Turkey here,” adding, “I watched some of it this morning and I thought it was a disgrace.”
  231. Later Friday, Fox Business host Lisa Kennedy lashed out at Trump for his tweet attacking Yovanovitch during her testimony, saying “it makes him look like a big dumb baby,” and “makes her look like a victim.”
  232. Speaker Pelosi told “Face the Nation” Trump’s tweet was “a mistake,” saying, “he knows her strength” and was trying to undermine it, adding, “He should not frivolously throw out insults, but that’s what he does.”
  233. Pelosi also said, “I think part of it is his own insecurity as an imposter,” adding, “I think he knows full well that he’s in that office way over his head. And so he has to diminish everyone else.”
  234. Later Friday, in response to the discrepancy in what Nunes read and the readout of Trump’s April 21 call with Zelensky, White House spokesperson Hogan Gidley blamed Vindman, who he said prepared the readout.
  235. Vindman said in his closed door testimony the April conversation “was actually a very good call,” and “Everybody was happy, high-fiving from that call because we were moving in the right direction for Ukraine.”
  236. WAPO later reported that Vindman was not responsible for making the final update to the readout, and that then press secretary Sarah Sanders held on to the readout before turning it over for public release.
  237. On Friday, Roger Stone was found guilty on all seven counts of obstructing a Congressional investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election. The jury deliberated for less than two days.
  238. Stone was found guilty of lying to Congress, tampering with a witness, and concealing reams of evidence. Prosecutors asserted Stone’s motive for the falsehoods was to protect Trump, making Trump and his campaign central.
  239. Stone’s defense team had urged jurors to treat the case as a referendum on Mueller’s entire Russia investigation, not him, and repeated there was “no collusion” with Russia, just a campaign interested in information.
  240. Two of the government prosecutors, Aaron Zelinsky and Adam Jed, served in the Mueller probe. Several other members of Mueller’s team sat in the courtroom gallery for opening and closing statements.
  241. Stone was released and will be sentenced on February 3. He faces up to 50 years in prison. Fox News hostTucker Carlson and InfoWars host Alex Jones have publicly called on Trump to pardon Stone.
  242. Trump tweeted now they “convict Roger Stone of lying and want to jail him for many years,” and “what about Crooked Hillary, Comey, Strzok, Page, McCabe, Brennan, Clapper, Shifty Schiff, Ohr & Nellie, Steele.”
  243. Trump also tweeted, and “all of the others, including even Mueller himself?” adding, “Didn’t they lie?” Trump then tweeted, “A double standard like never seen before in the history of our Country?
  244. Stone was the sixth person close to Trump to have been convicted of a crime stemming from the Russia investigation: Michael Cohen, Paul Manafort, Gates, Michael Flynn, and George Papadopoulos.
  245. Later Friday, David Holmes testified behind closed doors to the House committees in the late afternoon, telling lawmakers he overheard a phone call in Kyiv between Trump and Sondland on July 26.
  246. CNN obtained Holmes’ opening statement. Holmes said he was asked to be a note taker in a meeting between Sondland and Zelensky aide Andriy Yermak, but when he arrived, he was told it was a one-on-one meeting.
  247. After, he and two others went to lunch with Sondland. On the restaurant terrace, Sondland placed a call to Trump. Holmes said Trump spoke loudly and he could hear his voice though the earpiece on Sondland’s phone.
  248. Holmes said Sondland told Trump that “Zelensky ‘loves your ass.’” Holmes said he heard “Trump ask ‘So, he’s gonna do the investigation?’ and Ambassador Sondland replied that ‘he’s gonna do it.’”
  249. Sondland also told Trump that “Zelensky will do ‘anything you ask him to.’” Holmes added, “Even though I did not take notes of those statements, I have a clear recollection that these statements were made.”
  250. Holmes also said at a foreign policy meeting, Sondland said: “Damnit, Rudy. Every time Rudy gets involved he goes and f — -s everything up.” And Bolton expressed frustration over Giuliani’s influence with Trump.
  251. Holmes said Taylor told him on September 8: “Now they’re insisting Zelensky commit to the investigation in an interview with CNN,” adding, “I was surprised the requirement was so specific and concrete.”
  252. Holmes said on September 13, two days after aid was released, Taylor saw Yermak and stressed the importance of staying out of US politics. Holmes said Yermak “shrugged in resignation” as if “they had no choice.”
  253. Late Friday, at the end of impeachment hearings, Trump pardoned two Army officers and restored rank to a Navy SEAL, despite opposition by military justice experts and senior Pentagon officials.
  254. Defense Sec. Mark Esper and Army Sec. Ryan McCarthy had asked Trump not to intervene in the cases, citing overriding the Uniform Code of Military Justice could damage the integrity of the military judicial system.
  255. Esper and other military leaders told Trump a pardon could also hamper the ability of military leaders to ensure good order and discipline, and hurt confidence of U.S. allies and partners who host troops.
  256. The White House said Trump acted as commander in chief, and is “ultimately responsible for ensuring that the law is enforced and when appropriate, that mercy is granted.”
  257. On Friday, in a fiery, hour-long speech to conservative lawyers at the Federalist Society, AG Barr delivered a defense of Trump and his expansive views on executive power.
  258. Barr claimed “in waging a scorched-earth, no-holds-barred war,” the Resistance against Trump “is engaged in a systematic shredding of norms and undermining the rule of law.”
  259. Barr said, “Resistance is the language used to describe insurgency against rule imposed by an occupying military power,” adding it connotes a government is not legitimate, and is a “very dangerous” and “incendiary.”
  260. Barr said House Democrats were subverting what “the people,” who knew Trump was untraditional, decided, and Trump’s opponents are “engaged in a war to cripple by any means necessary a duly elected government.”
  261. Barr took shots at the legislative and judicial branches’ years of “encroachment” on executive power, blaming the Democrats and the media for wanting those branches to protect from a “would-be autocrat.”
  262. On Friday, the office of French President Emmanuel Macron said France would host a Ukraine Peace Summit on December 9, including Zelensky, Russian President Vladimir Putin, and German Chancellor Angela Merkel.
  263. Ahead of the summit, Macron promised Zelensky aid and support, telling him in a phone call “that Ukraine could further count on France’s support in all matters.”
  264. On Friday, the Moscow Times reported Russia landed attack helicopters and troops at a former U.S. air base in Northern Syria, vacated by Trump. The landing was shown on Russian Defense Ministry’s Zvezda TV channel.
  265. On Friday, CNN reported Trump is demanding South Korea pay roughly 400% more in 2020 to cover the costs of keeping U.S. troops on the peninsula. Aides say Trump’s demand “came out of thin air.”
  266. Trump’s proposed price hike frustrated Pentagon officials and deeply concerned Republican and Democratic lawmakers, and angered and unnerved Seoul, where leaders are questioning the alliance.
  267. On Saturday, CNN reported at last year’s White House Hanukkah Party, Trump had a private meeting with Giuliani, Parnas, and Fruman. Parnas shared a photo on social media of him with Trump, Pence, and Giuliani.
  268. Parnas told associates at the meeting, Trump tasked he and Fruman with “a secret mission” to pressure the Ukrainian government to investigate Joe and Hunter Biden. Giuliani would issue directives on behalf of Trump.
  269. On Saturday, Mark Sandy testified behind closed doors to the House committees, after receiving a subpoena which cited “an attempt by OMB to direct [him] not to appear for his scheduled deposition.”
  270. On Saturday, Trump had no public events. He spent the morning at the White House, tweeting about impeachment, promoting books including that of Donald Jr., and urging Republicans in Louisiana to vote.

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Top U.S. diplomat in Ukraine William Taylor, second from right, and career Foreign Service officer George Kent, second from left, testify before the House Intelligence Committee on Capitol Hill in Washington, Wednesday, Nov. 13, 2019, during the first public impeachment hearing of Trump’s efforts to tie U.S. aid for Ukraine to investigations of his political opponents.

POLITIKS OF GRAFFITI 156: LOCK HIM UP!

NOVEMBER 02, 2019

Week 155

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

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

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

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

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CLOSE UP. 

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

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

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

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

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

POLITIKS OF GRAFFITI 155: “QUID PRO SCHMO!”

OCTOBER 26, 2019

Week 154

Experts in authoritarianism advise to keep a list of things
subtly changing around you, so you’ll remember. https://theweeklylist.org/weekly-list/week-154/
EHMmvdxUUAAJPho
“Bye, Mick! by Jim Carrey – 18oct19 – “Quid Pro Schmo!”

This week marked a major shift in the world order, as Trump finalized the evacuation of troops on Turkey-Syria border, and the void of leadership was instantaneously filled by Russia. Russian President Vladimir Putin hosted Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan in Sochi, before hosting 40 African nations there, at what was dubbed the first Russia-Africa summit. As House Speaker Nancy Pelosi suggested to Trump in Week 153, “All roads with you lead to Putin.” Later in the week, Trump zig-zagged and sent U.S. troops and armored vehicles back to the region to guard oil fields, and suggested to millions of Kurdish civilians, displaced and endangered by his withdrawal, that they should relocate there.

This week marked a major shift in the impeachment inquiry, as career diplomats continue to defy Trump’s order not to testify. In a case related to the Mueller probe, Chief District Judge Beryl Howell ruled the House impeachment inquiry is legal, dealing another blow to Trump’s strategy of stonewalling the inquiry based on it not being legally authorized. Nine witnesses have testified so far, crystallizing a picture of clear quid pro quo. Despite stunts and distractions by Trump’s Republican allies, House Democrats continued to prevail in the messaging battle. By week’s end, Trump was forced to bring in additional lawyers and convene staffers to come up with a strategy to defend himself from impeachment.

This week Trump’s Department of Justice turned the investigation of the investigators into a criminal probe — raising concerns Attorney General William Barr is acting to give Trump a political victory and punish his enemies. Barr too is increasingly being drawn into the impeachment probe, while drawing rebukes for his handling of the whistleblower complaint.

IMG_1173
San Diego, CA – October 2019 – State Street
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Image for t-shirts being sold in Pacific Beach. October 2019. San Diego, CA. – Interesting because of the FIVE DEFERMENTS and stuff…
IMG_3448
Image for t-shirts being sold in Pacific Beach. October 2019. San Diego, CA. – There’s definitely an element… – Interesting because there’s no wall and stuff…
IMG_3445
Image for t-shirts being sold in Pacific Beach. October 2019. San Diego, CA. – Interesting because he’s a SUPER DIPSHIT and stuff…

 

  1. On Saturday, the NYT Editorial Board cited the “crisis of the Republican Party,” writing Trump has repeatedly “acted against the national interest,” and reminding Republicans of their sacred oath to the Constitution.
  2. On Saturday, former chief strategist Steve Bannon told the New York Post Trump will be “impeached by Pelosi in the next six weeks,” and the White House needs to take it more seriously and establish an impeachment squad.
  3. On Saturday, NBC News reported Attorney General William Barr has expanded the investigation of the investigators to dig into the origins of the Russia probe, amid concern about whether it has legal or factual basis.
  4. U.S. Attorney John Durham has requested to speak to CIA analysts involved in the intelligence assessment, raising tensions between the CIA and the Department of Justice over what documents he can examine.
  5. Politico reported among the conspiracy theories being investigated by Durham and Barr is that Joseph Mifsud was a Western intelligence asset, and the CIA under then Trump adversary John Brennan was involved.
  6. On Wednesday, Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte took the unusual step of publicly stating Italy’s intelligence services had informed Barr the country played no rule in the events leading up to the Russia investigation.
  7. On Thursday, the DOJ shifted the administrative review of the Russia investigation into a criminal inquiry, raising alarms that AG Barr is looking to give Trump a political victory, and going after his perceived enemies.
  8. The shift gave Durham power to subpoena for testimony and documents, to impanel a grand jury, and to file criminal charges. It also gave rise to the unusual situation of the DOJ conducting a criminal investigation of itself.
  9. It was not clear what potential crimes Durham is investigating. Trump has made clear that he sees the DOJ as a political tool to wield against his enemies, not an independent agency.
  10. On Saturday, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and a bipartisan congressional delegation made an unannounced trip to visit Jordan and Afghanistan, highlighting differences with Trump on troop withdrawal from Syria.
  11. After the meeting with Jordan, Pelosi said, “With the deepening crisis” the group discussed “regional stability, increased flow of refugees, and the dangerous opening that has been provided to ISIS, Iran and Russia.”
  12. In Afghanistan, the delegation was also joined by Defense Secretary Mark T. Esper and top U.S. military commanders and diplomats to visit Afghan President Ashraf Ghani and top Aghan officials, and then U.S. troops.
  13. On Saturday and Sunday, Trump skipped golf and stayed at the White House, avoiding the media. Trump sent over 50 tweets on Saturday alone.
  14. On Sunday, Trump defended his Syria withdrawal, tweeting the incorrect name of his defense secretary — “Mark Esperanto” —  and quoting him saying ,“The ceasefire is holding up very nicely,” with some “minor skirmishes.”
  15. On Saturday, Trump abruptly announced in the late evening that his Doral golf resort would not host the 2020 G7 summit, tweeting, “as usual, the Hostile Media & their Democrat Partners went CRAZY!”
  16. Trump also tweeted, “I thought I was doing something very good for our Country,” adding, “I announced that I would be willing to do it at NO PROFIT or, if legally permissible, at ZERO COST to the USA.”
  17. Trump also tweeted, “based on both Media & Democrat Crazed and Irrational Hostility…We will begin the search for another site, including the possibility of Camp David, immediately. Thank you!”
  18. WAPO reported the Doral’s net operating income decline 69% from 2015 to 2017, and the G7 would have promoted it. Last week’s announcement had sparked criticism from both Democrats and Republicans.
  19. On Sunday, acting White House chief of staff Mick Mulvaney told “Fox News Sunday” that Trump “still considers himself to be in the hospitality business,” adding Trump “was honestly surprised at the level of pushback.”
  20. Host Chris Wallace told Mulvaney a “well-connected” Republican told him there is a 20% chance enough GOP senators will vote to impeach Trump. Mulvaney said that person “doesn’t know what they’re talking about.”
  21. On Sunday, Sen. Lindsey Graham reversed his position, claiming Trump’s withdrawal could succeed, saying he was “increasingly optimistic” that was can have “historic solutions in Syria that have eluded us for years.”
  22. On Sunday, Graham told Axios he was open to changing his mind on impeachment: “If you could show me…Trump actually was engaging in a quid pro quo, outside the phone call, that would be very disturbing.”
  23. On Sunday, the DOJ took the unusual step of publicly distancing itself from Giuliani, saying department officials would not have met with him about his clients if they knew the SDNY was investigating Igor Fruman and Lev Parnas.
  24. In Week 153, NYT reported the head of the DOJ Criminal Division and lawyers from the Fraud Section met with Giuliani a few weeks ago. Barr was informed of the SDNY investigation in February.
  25. On Sunday, the DOJ said the two names in the Mueller report, who Judge Beryl Howell said in Week 153should not have been redacted since they did not testify before the grand jury, were Donald Jr. and Don McGahn.
  26. On Monday, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said he could not form a new government after the deadlocked election in September. His rival Benny Gantz will have an opportunity to form a government.
  27. On Monday, Quartz reported Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and Jared Kushner will attend Saudi Arabia’s third annual investment conference that many U.S. officials skipped last year after the murder of Jamal Khashoggi.
  28. According to a federal procurement filing, the State Department recently booked 45 rooms at Riyadh’s Burj Rafal Hotel for two “VVIP visitors” taking part in the Saudi’s Future Investment Initiative.
  29. On Tuesday, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson lost a critical vote in Parliament that would have enabled him to meet his Brexit deadline of October 31, throwing the process into disarray.
  30. On Wednesday, amid continued protest in Hong Kong, its government formally withdrew an amended version of the extradition bill that sparked protests. Hong Kong leader Carrie Lam said she would drop the bill.
  31. On Sunday, NYT reported Turkey President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has nuclear ambitions. In September, he told a meeting of his governing party that the West insists “we can’t have them,” adding, “This, I cannot accept.”
  32. On Monday, NYT reported Trump’s Syria withdrawal handed ISIS its biggest win in more than four years, allowing its re-emergence as a network of terrorists. As many as 18,000 fighters remain in Iraq and Syria.
  33. ISIS fighters are assassinating local village headmen as a way to intimidate government informants in Syria. American withdrawal also set off jubilation and lifted morale on social media and encrypted chat networks.
  34. On Monday, Kurds heckled U.S. troops as they withdrew from Syria and moved towards Iraq. Sec. Esper saidthe U.S. was considering keeping a small force in Syria to prevent oil fields from falling into ISIS’s hands.
  35. Shortly after, Trump told reporters at a cabinet meeting, “We have a good relationship with the Kurds, but we never agreed to protect the Kurds” adding, “We never agreed to protect the Kurds for the rest of their lives.”
  36. Asked about leaving troops to secure oil fields, Trump said, “there is no reason for it.” Trump added, on bringing troops home, “you’re going to have people fighting like they’ve been fighting for 300 years, it’s very simple.”
  37. On Tuesday, NBC News reported after Graham and Retired Gen. Jack Keane, a Fox News analyst, repeatedly showed Trump a map of oil fields in northern Syria, Trump reversed again, agreeing to leave some troops.
  38. On Monday, in a rare joint statement, House Foreign Affairs Committee Chair Eliot Engel and top foreign affairs lawmakers from the multiple European allies condemned Trump and Turkey for actions in Syria.
  39. On Monday, NBC News reported the Pentagon has drawn up plans for a quick withdrawal from Afghanistan in case Trump blindsides military leaders by ordering an immediate withdrawal.
  40. On Tuesday, Erdogan met with Russian President Vladimir Putin for an hours-long meeting in Sochi. Turkey and Russia came to an agreement as the deadline expired for the “pause” agreed to with the U.S. last week.
  41. The deal bolstered Russia’s ally, Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, to regain control over more territory and be recognized in the region, and elevated Putin to a prominent role in the region as U.S. troops withdrew.
  42. Under the deal, Russia and the Syrian government would start removing Kurdish militias from a far larger part of the border, then once gone, Turkey and Russia would begin jointly patrolling the border region.
  43. Trump applauded the deal, tweeting, “Good news seems to be happening with respect to Turkey, Syria and the Middle East.” As U.S. forces arrived in Iraq from Syria, Iraq’s military said they would have to leave.
  44. On Wednesday, Trump announced in a press conference that Turkey had agreed to a permanent cease-fire in northeast Syria, claiming credit for bringing peace to the region after decades of U.S. failed efforts.
  45. Trump said the cease-fire may be temporary. “You would define the word ‘permanent’ in that part of the world as somewhat questionable,” adding, “Turkey, Syria and all forms of the Kurds have been fighting for centuries.”
  46. Trump added, “We have done them a great service and we’ve done a great job for all of them. And now, we’re getting out,” adding, “Let someone else fight over this long bloodstained sand” — although there is no sand there.
  47. Trump pushed back on criticism, saying the people giving him and the U.S. advice “are the ones that got us into the Middle East mess, but never had the vision or the courage to get us out; they just talked.”
  48. Trump said “a small number of U.S. troops will remain in the area where they have the oil,” and that he would now permanently lift sanctions on Turkey providing it agrees to “protect religious and ethnic minorities.”
  49. Trump said, “I have just spoken to General Mazloum, a wonderful man, the Commander-in-Chief of the SDF Kurds…he was extremely thankful.” Trump meant Ferhat Abdi Şahin. It is doubtful that he was thankful.
  50. Trump said of ISIS, “there were a few that got out…and they’ve been largely recaptured.” Sec. Esper said “a little bit more than a hundred,” and James Jeffrey, Trump’s envoy to Syria said we do not know where they are.
  51. Many Democrats and Republicans called Trump’s retreat a historic foreign policy debacle, which undermined U.S. credibility with allies, empowered American adversaries, and gave ISIS a chance to regroup.
  52. Later Wednesday, Syrian state news media reported Syrian government troops were deployed to the area for the first time in five years, and that Russian forces were also in the area.
  53. On Thursday, Gen. Mazloum Abdi, a senior Kurdish commander, said Turkey resumed attacks in northeastern Syria, within 48 hours of saying it would no longer use force, and 24 hours after Trump heralded a cease-fire.
  54. On Thursday, Trump shifted his focus to protecting oil fields, tweeting, “We will NEVER let a reconstituted ISIS have those fields!” and adding, “Perhaps it is time for the Kurds to start heading to the Oil Region!”
  55. It was not immediately clear if Trump was suggesting that the entire Syrian Kurdish population, which numbers in the millions, should uproot and move themselves to the Arab majority area near the oil fields.
  56. Trump’s tweet highlighted a complete shift in policy from allying with Kurds in fighting ISIS, to keeping Syria and ISIS from possessing oil fields in the country. The oil fields are under control of Syrian Kurdish forces.
  57. On Thursday, Sen. John Cornyn, the No. 3 Republican in the senate, defended Trump’s withdrawal, saying it was not a bad idea to get U.S. troops out of the way if Turkey planned to “ethnically cleanse the Kurds.”
  58. On Friday, Trump defended his troop withdrawal in a series of tweets, saying, “Turkey fully understands not to fire on the Kurds,” adding, “I don’t have to repeat that large scale Sanctions will be imposed for violations.”
  59. Trump also tweeted, “USA has gained Trillions of Dollars in wealth since November 2016,” adding, “Oil is secured. Our soldiers have left and are leaving Syria for other places, then COMING HOME! “
  60. Trump also tweeted, “We were supposed to be there for 30 days — That was 10 years ago,” adding, “I simply say, THE OIL, AND WE ARE BRINGING OUR SOLDIERS BACK HOME, ISIS SECURED!”
  61. On Friday, Esper told reporters that the U.S. will leave troops and armored vehicles in Syria to prevent ISIS from gaining control of oil fields. Esper did not provide details, and the statement marked another shift in policy.
  62. On Saturday, Erdogan said if Russia fails to clear Kurdish fighters, who he called “terrorists,” from within 30 km of Turkey’s border, “then we will handle the situation by ourselves and will do all the cleansing work.”
  63. On Friday, NYT reported when Trump froze military aid to Ukraine, its military struggled in a bare-bones fight with Russian-backed separatists. Ukrainian soldiers said the move hurt their confidence in their U.S. ally.
  64. On Friday, WAPO reported amid Trump’s retreat, Putin has been forging stronger ties with African countries. Putin hosted 40 African counties in Sochi this week in what was dubbed the first Russia-Africa summit.
  65. On Monday, a U.K. judge refused to delay Julian Assange’s extradition hearing. Assange mumbled and paused as he gave his name, blaming a “superpower” with “unlimited resources,” saying he “can’t think properly.”
  66. On Monday, Trump held a 71-minute cabinet meeting open to the media, which was billed as a discussion of the regime’s “successful rollback of the abuses and the high cost of the bloated regulatory state.”
  67. The cabinet meeting, like others under Trump, consisted of him boasting about his supposed accomplishment and attacking his critics, while cabinet members took turns showering him with praise.
  68. Trump told at least 21 lies during the meeting. He falsely claimed Obama tried to call North Korea’s Kim Jong Un 11 times, but said Kim did not take Obama’s calls, claiming, “Lack of respect. But he [Kim] takes my call.”
  69. Trump defended his decision to withdraw troops, saying, “I’m the one who did the capturing,” adding, “I’m the one who knows more about it than you people or the fake pundits.”
  70. Trump complained about having to change the venue of the G7 summit, saying, “You people with this phony emoluments clause,” saying, “It would have been the best G7 ever,” and he would have held it “for free.”
  71. Trump added, “I’m very good at real estate,” and said of claims that hosting the G7 at the Doral was for promotion, “I don’t need promotion. I get more promotion than any human being that’s ever lived.”
  72. Trump claimed again, without evidence, being president was costing him “between $2 billion and $5 billion,” and falsely claimed he was the only president other than George Washington to give up his salary.
  73. Trump said of Democrats, “They’re vicious and they stick together. They don’t have Mitt Romney in their midst, they don’t have people like that.” He repeatedly used the words “illegitimate” and “phony.”
  74. Trump also said, “Republicans have to get tougher and fight,” adding, “We have some that are great fighters, but they have to get tougher and fight,” saying, “Democrats are trying to hurt the Republican Party for the election.”
  75. On Monday, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer said in a letter to acting Director of National Intelligence Joseph Maguire and IG Michael Atkinson that he is concerned Trump could expose the whistleblower.
  76. On Monday, Pelosi released a four-page “Fact Sheet,” laying out Democrats’ most compelling evidence so far on impeachment in three sections: the “shakedown,” “the pressure campaign,” and “the cover up.”
  77. On Monday, House Republicans introduced a resolution to censure House Intelligence Committee Chair Adam Schiff for his handing of the impeachment inquiry. The House voted along party lines 218-195, failing. Rep. Justin Amash voted with Democrats.
  78. On Monday, WAPO reported Republican lawmakers, donors, and advisers are increasingly concerned about Trump’s unsteady and bombastic behavior, and want a more disciplined approach to impeachment.
  79. Trump continued to spearhead his own impeachment defense. After Mulvaney’s performance in Week 153, a growing number of Trump allies called for sweeping changes, citing uncertainty and mixed messages.
  80. Trump was reluctant to set up an impeachment war room, feeling confident he can defend himself, and believing Democrats are divided and scattered on how to proceed.
  81. On Monday, WAPO reported according to testimony by George Kent, Trump was urged by Putin and Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban to adopt a hostile view of Ukraine, saying the country was hopelessly corrupt.
  82. Putin told Trump in May Ukraine was “just a den of corruption.” Members of the Trump regime who blunted Putin and Orban’s influence had resigned. The two did not push to investigate Biden or the 2016 election.
  83. On Monday, Trump did an hour-long interview on the Fox News show “Hannity.” Trump seemed to reference “Fast and Furious,” saying Obama could have been impeached “where guns went all over the place.”
  84. Trump pushed unfounded Biden conspiracies, and said if his sons Donald Jr. and Eric accepted payments from questionable foreign sources “it would be the biggest story of the century.” Of note, both of his sons do.
  85. Trump told Sean Hannity he wants to cancel the White House subscription to the NYT, saying, “We don’t even want it in the White House anymore,” and adding, “We’re going to probably terminate that and the Washington Post.”
  86. On Tuesday, a new CNN poll found support for impeaching AND removing Trump at an all-time high at 50% overall, including 87% of Democrats, 50% of Independents, and 6% of Republicans.
  87. On Tuesday, Bloomberg reported that Trump has floated Mnuchin and his counselor Kellyanne Conway as possible replacements for Mulvaney as chief of staff.
  88. On Tuesday, Trump compared the impeachment to a lynching, tweeting he was “without due process or fairness or any legal rights,” and adding, “Republicans must remember what they are witnessing here — a lynching.”
  89. Trump has increasingly used incendiary language to describe impeachment as the risk increases. Some saw his stoking racial tensions as part of his long pattern of rallying his base behind him by evoking racism.
  90. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell called it “an unfortunate choice of words,” while Sen. Graham defended Trump, saying, “that’s exactly what’s going on in the U.S. House of Representatives right now”.
  91. On Tuesday, William Taylor Jr., the acting U.S. ambassador to Ukraine, testified behind closed doors to the three House committees. WAPO obtained his 15-page opening statement, describing quid pro quo.
  92. The State Department tried to block Taylor’s deposition on Tuesday, prompting House Democrats to issue a subpoena for this testimony.
  93. Taylor, a West Point graduate, served in the Army and is one of the country’s most experienced diplomats having served in every administration for both parties since 1985. He kept meticulous notes.
  94. Taylor said there were two channels to Ukraine, official, which he headed, and an unofficial channel includingKurt Volker, Gordon Sondland, Energy Sec. Rick Perry, and Rudy Giuliani, calling it “a confusing and unusual arrangement.”
  95. Taylor said, “By mid-July it was becoming clear to me that the meeting President Zelensky wanted was conditioned on the investigations of Burisma and alleged Ukrainian interference in the 2016 U.S. elections.”
  96. Taylor expressed shock and bewilderment, as U.S. policy toward was overtaken, and Trump demanded Zelensky “go to a microphone and say he is opening investigations of Biden and 2016 election interference.”
  97. Taylor cited AG Barr, saying, “We also discussed the possibility that the Ukrainian Prosecutor General,” not Zelensky, would make a statement about investigations, “in coordination” with Barr’s 2016 election probe.
  98. Taylor cited Giuliani’s role, saying the push to make Zelensky commit to investigating Burisma and the 2016 election showed how official U.S. foreign policy “was undercut by the irregular efforts led by Mr. Giuliani.”
  99. Taylor wrote, “I sat in astonishment” on a July 18 call with White House officials, when he heard an Office of Management and Budget official off camera say she had been instructed not to release military aid to Ukraine.
  100. Taylor said on a July 19 call, NSC staffers Fiona Hill and Alexander Vindman said “Sondland had connected “investigations” with an Oval Office meeting” for Zelensky, causing then-NSA John Bolton to walk out.
  101. Taylor said he was concerned Russian forces would kill more Ukrainians if aid was withheld: “Over 13,000 Ukrainians had been killed in the war…More Ukrainians would undoubtedly die without the U.S. assistance.”
  102. Taylor said of the July 25 call, “strangely,” he received no readout even though he was scheduled to meet with Zelensky and Volker the next day, adding, “The Ukrainian government issued a short, cryptic summary.”
  103. Taylor said in an August 29 cable to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo he expressed concern about withholding aid, and that Pompeo carried these concerns into a White House meeting, but did not respond to him.
  104. Taylor testified that he learned at a meeting with Zelensky and Vice President Pence on September 1 that Ukrainians were informed by Sondland that aid was conditioned on an investigation into Burisma.
  105. Taylor said on a September 8 call, the day after his text exchange with Sondland expressing concern about withholding military aid, Sondland told him Ukraine had to “pay up” before Trump would “sign a check.”
  106. Taylor described demands for secrecy: on a June 28 call between himself, Sondland, Volker, and Perry, Sondland said before Zelensky got on the call that “he wanted to make sure no one was transcribing or monitoring.”
  107. Taylor’s testimony contradicted that of Sondland in Week 153 who said Trump was not seeking a quid pro quo — a red line for some Republicans — saying it was clear to him the arrangement met the dictionary definition.
  108. CBS News reported lawmakers were stunned by Taylor’s testimony, and there were audible gasps at points. Democratic Rep. Stephen Lynch, a senior member of the oversight committee said, “This is a sea change.”
  109. Shortly after, Speaker McConnell denied Trump’s account that McConnell said his July call 25 was “innocent” on October 3, telling reporters, “I don’t recall any conversations with the president about that phone call.”
  110. White House press secretary Stephanie Grisham said in a statement, “Trump has done nothing wrong,” calling it a “coordinated smear campaign from far-left lawmakers and radical unelected bureaucrats.”
  111. The statement also said, “Today was just more triple hearsay and selective leaks from the Democrats’ politically-motivated, closed door, secretive hearings,” adding, “there was no quid pro quo.”
  112. On Tuesday, a DOJ official told Politico the department was unaware ambassadors were discussing linking the Ukraine investigation to AG Barr’s probe into investigations into interference in the 2016 election.
  113. On Tuesday, Sen. Amy Klobuchar released new evidence the DOJ buried the whistleblower complaint by failing to refer it to the Federal Election Commission, despite a longstanding agreement between the agencies.
  114. The 1978 memorandum of understanding requires that complaints involving campaign finance violations are turned over to the FEC even if the DOJ declines to launch a criminal investigation.
  115. On Tuesday, in an extraordinary letter, more than 60 IGs, led by the DOJ IG and National Science Foundation IG, slammed the DOJ Office of Legal Counsel for not turning over the whistleblower complaint to Congress.
  116. The letter cited the OLC “substituted its judgment,” and created uncertainty for federal employees and contractors “about the scope of whistleblower protections, thereby chilling whistleblower disclosures.”
  117. On Wednesday, the New York City Bar Association demanded Barr recuse himself from the Ukraine matter, saying he viewed “his primary obligation as loyalty to the President individually rather than to the nation.”
  118. On Tuesday, the anonymous author of the September 2018 NYT op-ed, “I Am Part of the Resistance Inside the Trump Administration,” announced the publishing of a tell-all-book, titled “A Warning” on November 19.
  119. The author will remain anonymous, did not take a book advance, and will donate some proceeds to government accountability causes. There is no modern day precedent for a firsthand account by an anonymous author.
  120. The book’s back cover says: “You will hear a great deal from Donald Trump directly, for there is no better witness to his character than his own words and no better evidence of the danger he poses than his own conduct.”
  121. On Tuesday, Kirstjen Nielsen said in a speech at the FORTUNE Most Powerful Women Summit that she resigned because “saying no” and refusing to do things that others in the regime wanted was “not going to be enough.”
  122. Singer-songwriter Brandi Carlile dropped out of the summit, citing the “atrocity of family separation.” A truck was parked outside the event with a billboard reading: “Powerful women don’t put kids in cages.”
  123. On Monday, WSJ reported Lev Parnas’ private Instagram account revealed photos showing he had VIP access to Trump dating back to 2015. He is also seen in photos with Trump’s family and Giuliani.
  124. On Tuesday, WAPO reported that federal prosecutors in Chicago who had been investigating a Ukrainian oligarch, Dmytro Firtash, reached out to their New York counterparts after Igor Fruman and Parnas were arrested.
  125. Parnas had been a translator for lawyers representing Firtash since late July. At Parnas’s suggestion, Firtash switched attorneys, firing Lanny Davis and hiring Trump allies Victoria Toensing and Joseph diGenova.
  126. Toensing and diGenova were able to secure a rare face-to-face meeting with AG Barr and other DOJ officials. Barr did not intercede, and the DOJ claimed they are working closely with Austria on having Firtash expedited.
  127. While Firtash was still represented by Davis, Giuliani accused him of having ties to the Russian mob, then shifted. In 2017, U.S. prosecutors said Firtash had ties to the “upper echelons” of Russian organized crime.
  128. Parnas and Fruman hoped to see new leadership at Ukrainian state oil and gas giant Naftogaz. As part of that deal, the company would put aside a financial dispute with Firtash, resulting a windfall of $1 billion for Firtash.
  129. Parnas and Fruman put Giuliani in touch with former Ukrainian prosecutor Viktor Shokin in January, who swore in an affidavit Joe Biden was behind his firing. Lawyers for Firtash were behind the document.
  130. On Tuesday, BuzzFeed reported a grand jury subpoenaed records of Parnas and Fruman as part of the investigation into their extravagant spending at Trump hotels and millions of dollars in financial transfers.
  131. Documents obtained show dozens of transfers into Parnas’s accounts, totaling more than $3 million, as he and Fruman traveled around to different counties in search of damaging information on Joe Biden.
  132. On Tuesday, Vanity Fair reported Michael Cohen is cooperating with state and federal prosecutors while in prison, on the matters of what Trump means by “quid pro quo,” and the investigations into Parnas.
  133. Cohen’s lawyer also asked the three House committee chairs for help reducing his prison sentence, citing Cohen provided the SDNY with “fresh information, of additional possible crimes by Mr. Trump or his associates.”
  134. On Wednesday, the lawyer for Parnas tied his case to Trump, telling a judge that some evidence could be subject to executive privilege since Parnas used Giuliani as his attorney at the same time as Trump did.
  135. On Wednesday, CNN reported Giuliani is looking for a defense attorney. He said in Week 153 he would not seek a new lawyer unless he felt one was needed.
  136. Wednesday evening, Giuliani tweeted citing the “Fake News” and saying “everything” was “to defend my client against false charges,” adding Democrats “don’t believe Trump has rights,” and “Justice will prevail.”
  137. On Thursday, Politico reported that lawyers diGenova and Toensing are also representing journalist John Solomon, an ally of Giuliani who appeared in the SDNY indictments of Parnas and Fruman.
  138. On Friday, CNN reported since Parnas and Fruman’s arrest, prosecutors subpoenaed Fruman’s brother, and issued multiple subpoenas and conducted several property searches — in one, blowing the door off a safe.
  139. On Friday, Tampa Bay Times reported Parnas and Fruman were given VIP seating at the January inauguration of Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis. The two also got access to an area reserved for an exclusive crowd of dignitaries.
  140. On Monday, AP reported a DOJ official said the Trump regime is planning to collect DNA samples from asylum-seekers, and add the information to a massive FBI database used by law enforcement hunting for criminals.
  141. The DOJ issued amended regulations that mandated collecting DNA, and said the regime hopes to have a pilot program in place after a 20-day comment period, and expand from there.
  142. On Monday, the Anti-Defamation League said 2019 is on track to be another high year for anti-Semitic incidents: in the first six months of 2019 there were 780 incidents, similar to record years in 2017 and 2018.
  143. On Monday, two University of Connecticut students, Jarred Mitchell Karal and Ryan Gilman Mucaj, were arrested after a video surfaced showing the two yelling racial slurs at a campus apartment complex parking lot.
  144. On Tuesday, NYT reported between December 2017 and June 2019, more than a million children lost coverage on the two main programs for low-income children, Medicaid and the Children’s Health Insurance Program.
  145. Officials blame new paperwork making registration much harder, and immigrant parents concerned that signing up their children, who are citizens, will make it harder to get a green card or increase the risk of deportation.
  146. On Tuesday, a South Carolina Senate subcommittee stripped exceptions for rape and incest from a bill that would outlaw abortion in the state after six weeks of pregnancy. The bill will now advance to full committee.
  147. On Wednesday, Noor Abukaram, a high school junior in Ohio, was disqualified after running her best time in a meet, for wearing a Nike hijab. A High School Athletic Association official said she needed a waiver.
  148. On Wednesday, the Phoenix New Times reported Jose Segovia-Benitez, a 38-year-old Marine Corps veteran who served two tours of duty in Iraq, was deported by ICE to El Salvador. He lived in the U.S. since he was 3.
  149. On Thursday, a grand jury failed to indict ICE officer Capt. Thomas Woodworth, who in Week 144 drove his truck into group of Never Again Action activists blocking the entrance of an ICE detention facility.
  150. On Thursday, the Trump regime acknowledged in a federal court that 1,556 more migrant families were forcibly separated under its “zero-tolerance” policy before the policy was halted than was previously known.
  151. The information came in response to demand by the ACLU, and revealed 4,300 total families, many more than the 2,800 previously reported, were separated. The ACLU said it is not know if the 1,556 have been reunited.
  152. The ACLU said the Trump regime has separated a total of 5,460 migrant children since July 2017, including the 1,090 separated since the judge ordered the practice to stop in June 2018 except in limited circumstances.
  153. On Friday, the lawyer for the family of Roxsana Hernandez, a Honduran transgender woman who died while in U.S. custody, said video footage of her death at a privately run detention facility was deleted by ICE.
  154. On Monday, Facebook announced it had found and taken down four state-backed disinformation campaigns, three from Iran and one from Russia. Facebook has taken down dozens already ahead of the 2020 election.
  155. One network linked to the Internet Research Agency, a Kremlin-backed troll farm, used the same strategies as 2016. IRA trolls posed as locals in swing states, praising Trump and attacking Joe Biden.
  156. On Wednesday, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg testified before the House Financial Service Committee. Chair Maxine Waters said, “You have opened up a serious discussion about whether Facebook should be broken up.”
  157. Waters cited monopolistic practices; lack of diversity in leadership ranks; enabling housing discrimination through its ad platform; infringing on users’ privacy; and facilitating foreign election interference.
  158. On Friday, Facebook announced will add high quality journalism including USA Today, WSJ, WAPO, and NYT; but included Breitbart, a far-right website which has been accused of inaccurate and incendiary reporting.
  159. On Tuesday, WAPO reported that Trump’s company has removed his name from a pair of skating rinks in Central Park, Wollman Rink and Lasker Rink. Trump’s company still runs the two rinks.
  160. On Tuesday, Senate Republicans blocked two election security bills: John Thune blocked the Honest Ads Act, sponsored by Amy Klobuchar, and John Kennedy blocked the Election Security Act by Dick Durbin.
  161. On Wednesday, Axios reported an internal White House memo on cybersecurity from the Office of the Chief Information Security Officer warned the White House is at risk of being “electronically compromised.”
  162. At least a dozen high-ranking officials have resigned or been pushed out of the cybersecurity missionestablished under Obama to protect the White House from Russian hacking and other threats.
  163. On Thursday, the Senate confirmed Justin Walker, an ex-Kavanaugh clerk deemed “Not Qualified” by the American Bar Association, for a seat on the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Kentucky.
  164. On Wednesday, a Quinnipiac poll found 59% believe Trump pursued his personal interests in Ukraine, while 33% said he was acting in the U.S.’s interests. Approval for an impeachment inquiry held steady at 55%.
  165. On Wednesday, the Daily Caller reported it spoke to the 53 Republican senators about impeachment, and only seven completely ruled it out.
  166. On Wednesday, Trump lashed out at Democrats and the impeachment probe in a storm of tweets and retweets that started after midnight and continued into the early dawn.
  167. Trump attacked the impeachment inquiry, saying, “The Witch Hunt continues!” and “The Democrats Scam goes on and on! They Do Nothing!” and, “It never ends. The Do Nothing Dems are terrible!”
  168. Trump also tweeted, “Where is the Whistleblower?” and “The Do Nothing Dems case is DEAD!” and continued his rants about closed-door hearings, quoting other calling it “shady backroom tactics” and a “mockery.”
  169. On Wednesday, Laura Cooper, the Pentagon official who oversees Ukraine policy, was scheduled to testify before the three House committees behind closed doors on the White House decision to withhold Ukraine aid.
  170. NYT reported the Pentagon sent a letter to Cooper on Tuesday, signed by David Norquist, the No. 2 Pentagon official, warning her not to speak to Congress. She was subpoenaed by the House same day and appeared.
  171. On Wednesday, dozens of House Republicans, led by House Minority Whip Steve Scalise, stormed the secure facility where the committees were holding hearings, after Trump demanded the GOP “get tough and fight.”
  172. At a news conference before entering the hearing, House Republicans spoke to the press, calling the impeachment process as a “sham,” and lambasting House Democrats for closed door hearings.
  173. Trump ally Rep. Matt Gaetz told reporters, “Behind those doors they intend to overturn the results of an American presidential election. We want to know what’s going on.”
  174. Bloomberg reported that Trump knew in advance of House Republicans’ plan to disrupt the hearings, and approved of it. Members of the House Freedom Caucus chanted, “Let us in! Let us in!”
  175. Axios reported 13 of the 41 House Republicans who were on a list compiled by Gaetz as planning to storm the hearings were part of the three House committees allowed inside the hearings already.
  176. Chair Schiff delayed the hearing, and consulted with the House’s sergeant-at-arms on removing the protesters. Schiff also threatened House Republicans with ethics violations.
  177. The protest violated House rules on entering a Sensitive Compartmented Information Facility (SCIF) during a classified hearing, including bringing in electronic devices which are strictly prohibited inside.
  178. Rep. Alex Mooney tweeted the audio of a phone call he made inside the SCIF, adding “My report from inside the SCIF hearing room where we are exposing Adam Schiff’s secret so-called impeachment inquiry.
  179. On Wednesday, House Homeland Security Committee Chair Bennie Thompson asked the sergeant-at-arms to “take action with respect to the members involved in the breach,” and remind them of protocol.
  180. Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy excused cellphones brought in, saying, “These are individuals who have never been in Intel Committee before or anywhere else. So it’s nothing serious from that matter.”
  181. The WSJ Editorial Board, a newspaper owned by Rupert Murdoch, said in an op-ed titled, “Schiff’s Secret Bombshells,” that if the testimony about Trump is so damning, “why not make it public?
  182. After a five-hour delay caused by House Republicans, Cooper testified for more than three hours, starting around 3 p.m. The SCIF required a full security sweep before the deposition resumed.
  183. On Wednesday, top Republicans on the three House committees demanded in a letter to Chair Schiff that he bring the whistleblower in to testify publicly.
  184. On Wednesday, Trump tweeted Republicans who do not support him are “human scum,” saying, “The Never Trumper Republicans…are in certain ways worse and more dangerous…than the Do Nothing Democrats.”
  185. Trump also attacked Taylor and his lawyer of both being “Never Trumpers.” Taylor served as a diplomat starting under Ronald Reagan, and was asked by Pompeo to take over as ambassador after Marie Yovanovitch was ousted.
  186. On Thursday, press secretary Grisham defended Trump’s “human scum” remark on “Fox & Friends,” saying, “The fact that people continue to try and negate anything that he’s doing…they deserve strong language.”
  187. On Friday, White House counselor Kellyanne Conway distanced herself from Trump’s “human scum” remark, telling reporters “I would have used different words.”
  188. On Thursday, a female reporter for conservative Washington Examiner said Conway described herself as a “powerful woman” and threatened to investigate the reporter’s personal life for mentioning Conway’s husband.
  189. Conway denied threatening the reporter on Friday, despite the Examiner publishing a transcript of the call, saying, “I never threatened anyone,” and “If I threaten someone you’ll know it.”
  190. On Wednesday, NYT reported that high-level Ukrainian officials knew about the aid freeze by the first week in August, undercutting Trump’s denial of a quid pro quo based on Ukrainians not knowing about it.
  191. Ukrainians were told they should reach out to Mulvaney to address aid being frozen. On September 1, Sondland, Volker, and Giuliani drafted a statement for Zelensky to deliver to say he was opening an investigation.
  192. Taylor said Zelensky met with Sens. Ron Johnson and Christopher Murphy on September 5 in Kiev, and was told he should “not jeopardize bipartisan support by getting drawn into U.S. domestic politics.”
  193. On Wednesday, NYT reported White House aides feared another Ukraine back channel involving Kashyap Patel, a former aide to Rep. Devin Nunes, who helped the committee try to undermine the Russia investigation.
  194. When the GOP lost the House, Patel moved to Trump’s NSC staff and won his ear advancing unsubstantiated facts. Trump referred to Patel as one of his top Ukraine policy specialist, though he works on counterterrorism.
  195. On Wednesday, speaking at the annual Shale Insight Conference in Pittsburgh, Trump said, “we’re building a wall in Colorado,” which is not on the U.S. border. It was unclear what he meant.
  196. Trump added, “you can’t get over, you can’t get under.” Some supporters gave Trump standing ovation. He added, “And we’re not building a wall in Kansas, but they get the benefit of the walls that we just mentioned.”
  197. On Wednesday, NYT reported that Steve Bannon has started a radio show called “War Room” from his home in Washington, where he and Trump loyalists offer advice for Trump on handling the impeachment inquiry.
  198. On Thursday, Trump thanked House Republicans for storming the SCIF, tweeting, “Thank you to House Republicans for being tough, smart, and understanding in detail the greatest Witch Hunt in American History.”
  199. On Thursday, NYT reported after a meeting between Trump and McConnell on Monday evening, Trump complained privately that Senate Republicans were not doing enough to protect him from House Democrats.
  200. At a White House lunch on Thursday, Trump complained to Senate Republicans that he was a victim of never-ending political assaults by his enemies wielding an unfair process, claiming he has done nothing wrong.
  201. Privately, White House officials conceded they are losing the messaging battle, as Democrats prepare to call a string of high-profile witnesses in public hearings that could start as soon as mid-November.
  202. On Thursday, shortly after the lunch with Trump, Sen.Graham pulled another stunt, claiming he had 44 Republicans, including McConnell, as co-sponsors on a resolution to condemn the House’s impeachment inquiry.
  203. On Thursday, WSJ reported Trump’s White House instructed federal agencies not to renew their subscription to the NYT and WAPO, saying in an email that not renewing “will be a significant cost saving.”
  204. On Thursday, WAPO reported White House trade representative Robert Lighthizer withdrew a recommendation to restore some of Ukraine’s trade privileges in late August, after John Bolton warned him Trump would oppose it.
  205. Bolton told Lighthizer Trump would be against action that benefited Ukraine. It is not clear if Trump directed Bolton to intervene on trade privileges or if he was aware of the discussion.
  206. In his testimony before Congress on Tuesday, Taylor said that Tim Morrison, the National Security Council’s top Russia official, told him on August 22, “The president doesn’t want to provide any assistance at all.”
  207. A White House official told the Post the presidential proclamation about the trade status of Ukraine was held up, along with that of two other countries, as part of a routine “country review process.”
  208. In March 2018, Trump reauthorized the program through 2020. In early October, Lighthizer sent paperwork to the White House again, then withdrew it on October 17 amid the storm of the impeachment inquiry.
  209. The regime now plans to restore some of Ukraine’s suspended privileges in a package of measures later this month. Bolton resigned September 10, one day before Ukraine’s military aid was released.
  210. On Thursday, CNN reported that Tim Morrison, a top Russia and Europe adviser on Trump’s NSC who was mentioned 15 times in Taylor’s opening statement, is scheduled to testify next week before the House committees.
  211. Morrison is a current White House official, and he will be the first witness who was on the July 25 phone call. Morrison is expected to use his notes as a basis for this testimony and corroborate Taylor’s testimony.
  212. On Friday, Politico reported according to his attorney, Tim Morrison plans to testify before Congress in the impeachment probe next Thursday, even if the White House attempts to block him.
  213. On Friday, NBC News reported lawyers for Bolton have been in contact with officials for the three House committees about his possibly testifying in the impeachment probe.
  214. On Friday, Bolton aid Charles Kupperman, a former top national security aide to Trump, asked a federal court to rule on whether he must comply with a House subpoena and testify in the impeachment inquiry.
  215. On Wednesday, Trump’s private attorney William Consovoy told a federal appeals court that a sitting president could not be prosecuted while in office, even for shooting someone in the middle of Fifth Avenue.
  216. Consovoy also argued immunity extended to Trump’s business, the Trump Org., and asked the court to block a subpoena for Trump’s tax returns from the Manhattan DA, calling it “a bad faith effort to harass” Trump.
  217. On Wednesday, a federal judge ordered the State Department to begin releasing Ukraine-related records, including communications between Trump and Giuliani, to House impeachment investigators in 30 days.
  218. The release was ordered after a lawsuit filed by a government watchdog group, American Oversight, on October 1. The lawsuit also seeks documents related to the recall of Yovanovitch.
  219. On Wednesday, State Department counselor T. Ulrich Brechbuhl headed a delegation to Greenland, which Trump tried to buy in August. House Democrats are seeking Brechbuhl’s testimony about the July 25 call.
  220. On Thursday, Trump’s DOJ filed a lawsuit against California, saying the state’s emissions-trading system with Quebec is an unconstitutional foray in the federal government’s role of collaborating with foreign countries.
  221. On Thursday, Education Secretary Betsy DeVos was held in contempt of court and fined $100,000 after violating a court order to stop collecting student loans from defunct for-profit Corinthian College.
  222. On Thursday, A. Wayne Johnson, a top education official appointed by DeVos, resigned and called for canceling most of the outstanding student loans, saying the student-loan system is “fundamentally broken.”
  223. On Thursday, Politico reported that the National Archives and Records Administration launched a probe of Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross’ use of private emails for official business based on an article in the Post.
  224. On Thursday, the House Transportation Committee issued a subpoena to the General Services Administration seeking financial records on the Trump Hotel DC, which is housed on federally-owned land.
  225. On Friday, WSJ reported that the Trump Organization is exploring a sale of Trump Hotel DC, motivated in part by continuing accusations that Trump is flouting government ethics by profiting from the property.
  226. On Friday, Judge Beryl Howell ordered the DOJ to release all secret grand jury materials in the Mueller probeto the House Judiciary Committee, citing its possible use as Congress is conducting an impeachment inquiry.
  227. Judge Howell gave the DOJ until Wednesday to turn over materials, saying the committee has shown it needs the materials cited in the Mueller Report “to avoid a possible injustice in the impeachment inquiry.”
  228. Judge Howell turned down the White House Counsel’s office argument that the House did not vote on impeachment, saying “a House resolution has never, in fact, been required to begin an impeachment inquiry.”
  229. On Friday, acting Homeland Security Secretary Kevin McAleenan said in response to a House Homeland Security Committee subpoena that he will not testify next Wednesday, one day before departing office.
  230. On Friday, NYT reported career civil-servants are facing unprecedented legal bills under Trump. Legal advice for testifying in the impeachment inquiry can cost $15,000 or more. Some have asked for donations.
  231. On Friday, NBC News reported Giuliani had mistakenly dialed an NBC reporter and left a three-minute long voicemail message at 11:07 p.m., during which he was speaking to someone else in the room.
  232. On the voicemail Giuliani says, “I expected it would happen…The minute you touch on one of the protected people, they go crazy. They come after you,” seeming to refer to Democrats. The other man says, “You got the truth on your side”
  233. Giuliani can be heard saying, “I gotta get you to get on Bahrain.” He later says, “Is Robert around?” and when the other man answers he is in Turkey, Giuliani says, “The problem is we need some money.”
  234. On Friday, Maria Butina, who infiltrated conservative U.S. political groups as Trump rose to power, was released from prison after serving an 18-month sentence. She is expected to be immediately deported to Russia.
  235. During her flight back to Moscow, the crew of Aeroflot escorted her to business class, where Russia-state media outlet RT and Sputnik heralded her return. She received a hero’s welcome back in Moscow.
  236. On Thursday, Trump pressured the Federal Reserve, tweeting it would be “derelict in its duties if it doesn’t lower the Rate” ahead of the Fed’s meeting next week, and added the Fed is “way too slow to cut!”
  237. On Friday, the Treasury Department announced the U.S. deficit hit $984 billion in 2019, up 26% in the past year, and the largest deficit in 7 years. When Trump took office, budget deficit was $665 billion in 2017.
  238. Overall, after Trump campaigned on eliminating the deficit in eight years, the deficit is up 50% in the Trump era. The Trump regime did not defend the increased deficit, but blamed Congress for not cutting expenditures.
  239. On Friday, Treasury Secretary Mnuchin said the U.S. is close to finalizing phase one of a trade deal with China. Trump held a ceremony in the Oval Office and bragged on Twitter that this phase was complete in Week 152.
  240. On Friday, after Trump announced he would attend Game 5 of the World Series, the Nationals announced that José Andrés, a naturalized citizen from Spain and long-time critic of Trump, would throw the first pitch.
  241. On Friday, Major League Baseball umpire Rob Drake apologized, after sending tweets warning that if Trump is impeached, “ YOU WILL HAVE ANOTHER CIVAL WAR!!! #MAGA2020.”
  242. On Friday, former presidents Obama and Clinton, Speaker Pelosi, and Hillary Clinton eulogized Rep. Elijah Cummings at a funeral in Baltimore. Trump did not attend. The White House did not respond as to why.
  243. Maya Rockeymoore Cummings, the wife of Rep. Cummings, said the “attacks on his beloved city,” Baltimore, had “hurt” and been personally painful for him in his final days, without mentioning Trump by name.
  244. On Friday, Trump spoke to reporters at the White House, dismissing the need for an impeachment team, saying, “I don’t have teams, everyone’s talking about teams,” adding, “I’m the team. I did nothing wrong.”
  245. Trump also warned of a recession, saying, “If anything ever happened with this phony witch hunt that the Democrats are doing…I really believe you’d have a recession-depression, the likes of which this country hasn’t seen.”
  246. Later Friday, Trump spoke at Benedict College in South Carolina, a historically black college. Fewer than 10 students were given tickets. More than half the 300 seats were reserved for allies, some from out of state.
  247. In an hour long speech on criminal justice, Trump claimed he had done more for black people than any other president, and belittled Obama’s record, saying he had done “not too much” for black people.
  248. Later Friday, Trump tweeted an apparent reference to his new iPhone, saying to Apple CEO Tim Cook, “To Tim: The Button on the IPhone was FAR better than the Swipe!”
  249. Trump also attacked the impeachment inquiry, tweeting, “The entire Impeachment Scam was based on my perfect Ukrainian call,” adding, “The Democrats must end this Scam now. Witch Hunt!”
  250. Trump complained, “Democrats just announced that they no longer want the Whistleblower to testify,” falsely claiming that the whistleblower complaint “bore NO RELATIONSHIP to the call itself.”
  251. Trump also threatened to sue Democrats, tweeting, “My lawyers should sue the Democrats and Shifty Adam Schiff for fraud!”
  252. On Friday, WAPO reported as the week comes to a close, a frustrated Trump has realized White House efforts to block witnesses from testifying have failed, and the inquiry poses a serious threat to his keeping power.
  253. Trump brought back criminal defense attorneys, Jane and Marty Raskin, who were part of his legal team during the Mueller probe, an acknowledgement the fact are bad, and they need to get in front of them.
  254. White House officials have also begun holding regular strategy sessions, some time in the Situation Room, and are considering adding veteran impeachment lawyers and communications specialists to the team.
  255. The belated scramble showed the strategy of claiming in a White House letter, much of which Trump dictated, that the impeachment inquiry was invalid has failed. Nine key figures have already testified in the inquiry.
  256. Judge Howell’s ruling took away counsel Pat Cipollone’s main argument that the House impeachment inquiry was not legally authorized. Trump expressed anger at people testifying, asking why they cannot be stopped.
  257. On Saturday, Trump denied WAPO reporting, tweeting, “The Fake Washington Post keeps doing phony stories,” adding he is not concerned “because I did nothing wrong,” and adding, “Witch Hunt continues!”
  258. Trump also lashed out at Pelosi, tweeting her San Francisco district “is in such horrible shape that the City itself is in violation of many sanitary & environmental orders,” adding, “all she works on is Impeachment.”
  259. Trump also quoted Fox News host Tucker Carlson, tweeting, “Not a single American citizen has been charged with anything related to Russian Collusion.” This is false. Trump added, “It was all an illegal Witch Hunt!”
  260. On Friday, Microsoft was awarded a $10 billion contract for the Joint Enterprise Defense Infrastructure over Amazon. Trump had threatened to intervene in July. In a statement, Amazon said it was surprised.
  261. On Saturday, CNN reported that in a new biography, “Holding The Line: Inside Trump’s Pentagon with Secretary Mattis,” former Defense Secretary James Mattis said Trump told him to “screw Amazon” on the contract.
  262. On Saturday, WAPO reported CertiPath, a company with financial ties to Trump’s younger brother Robert, was awarded a $33 million government contract, raising protests over possible favoritism by the two other bidders.
  263. On Saturday, Phil Reeker, the assistant Secretary of State for Europe and Eurasian Affairs, testified in the impeachment inquiry. Trump ally Rep. Jim Jordan asked in a letter to postpone Reeker’s Saturday deposition.

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Tuesday, Oct. 22, 2019, Russian President Vladimir Putin, right, and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan shake hands after a joint news conference, hours before a five-day cease-fire between Turkish troops and Kurdish fighters in northeastern Syria was set to expire, in Sochi, Russia. Russia and Turkey reached an agreement that would cement their power in Syria, deploying their forces across nearly its entire northeastern border to fill the void left by President Donald Trump’s abrupt withdrawal of U.S. forces.

POLITIKS OF GRAFFITI 152: WITH IMPEACHMENT LOOMING…

OCTOBER 05, 2019

Week 151

Experts in authoritarianism advise to keep a list of things
subtly changing around you, so you’ll remember. https://theweeklylist.org/weekly-list/week-151/

With impeachment looming, Trump started this week by attacking the credibility of House Intelligence Committee Chair Adam Schiff and the whistleblower, both of whom he also endangered with his rhetoric. Midweek, Trump shifted strategy, openly soliciting foreign help from China and Ukraine in the 2020 election on national television, speaking to reporters on the South Lawn of White House. Republicans remained silent on Trump’s unprecedented request, which the head of the Federal Election Commission reminded the country, in a tweet, is illegal.

IMG_2756
“Trump/Pence MUST GO!” A “Refuse Fascism” sticker is posted by the sign to Mexico with “No USA Return” in San Ysidro, the border town (with Tijuana, Mexico) on 5oct19

This week others in the regime became ensnared in the inquiry, as reporting revealed the involvement of not only Trump’s personal lawyer, Rudy Giuliani, but also Attorney General William Barr, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, and possibly Vice President Mike Pence, among others. Three House committee chairs sent subpoenas to Pompeo, Pence, and at the end of the week, the White House, and witnesses started to appear before House investigators in private hearings. Polling showed a dramatic shift in attitudes towards impeachment, with the majority of Americans now in favor.

IMG_2759
Here’s a portion of the BORDER WALL separating California and Mexico. 5oct19

As noted last week, I had always thought as we approached the end of Trump’s time in power, the lists would balloon: following last week’s 225 not normal items — 20 items longer than any previous list — this week we hit 240 items. In addition to the news on impeachment, this week’s list has many important stories on the continued degradation of American values and the regime’s cruelty, which got lost in the chaos of the news cycle.IMG_2754IMG_2758

  1. On Saturday, NYT reported the Trump impeachment battle will for the first time in our country’s history test the scope of what is acceptable for a president’s interactions with foreign countries.
  2. The Constitution does envision a showdown over foreign influence over a sitting U.S. president, in the emoluments clause. Trump’s entire time in office has been overshadowed by questions of foreign ties.
  3. On Saturday, WAPO reported the Trump regime is investigating email records of as many as 130 current and former senior State Department officials who sent emails to then Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.
  4. Former officials received emails saying they sent retroactively classified information that now constitute potential security violations. The investigation began 18 months ago and was dropped, then picked up again in August.
  5. Although a State Department official told the Post the investigation has nothing to do with Trump, the action appears to be part of a pattern of his using executive branch powers against perceived political adversaries.
  6. On Saturday, WAPO reported with impeachment looming, Trump has sought to portray himself as a victim, with the “deep state” out to get him — a core to his public persona and a strategy used by past authoritarians.
  7. On Saturday, Trump tweeted a video calling impeachment “the single greatest scam in the history of American politics,” adding, “It is disgraceful what the Do Nothing Democrats are doing (the Impeachment Scam).”
  8. Trump also tweeted, “How do you impeach a President who has created the greatest Economy in the history of our Country, entirely rebuilt our Military into the most powerful it has ever been, Cut Record Taxes.”
  9. Trump also tweeted Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky “told the Fake News” at the United Nations, “HE WAS NOT PRESSURED BY ME IN ANY WAY, SHAPE, OR FORM,” saying that should bring an end to the “Witch Hunt.”
  10. On Saturday, CNN reported Trump is frustrated with acting White House chief of staff Mick Mulvaney for not having a strategy in place for after the Ukraine call transcript was released. Sources say he is on shaky ground.
  11. On Sunday, Trump attacked House Intelligence Committee Chair Adam Schiff in a series of tweets, saying he “made up what I actually said by lying,” adding, “His lies were made in perhaps the most blatant and sinister manner ever seen” in Congress.
  12. Trump also tweeted that Schiff “wrote down and read terrible things,” adding he wants Schiff “questioned at the highest level for Fraud & Treason.”
  13. Trump also demanded to meet the whistleblower, tweeting, “Like every American, I deserve to meet my accuser,” adding he/she represented “a perfect conversation…in a totally inaccurate and fraudulent way.”
  14. Trump also tweeted, “I want to meet not only my accuser, who presented SECOND & THIRD HAND INFORMATION,” but also “the person who illegally gave this information” which was “largely incorrect.”
  15. Trump also tweeted, “Was this person SPYING on the U.S. President?” threatening, “Big Consequences!” and added, “What is going on now is the single greatest scam in the history of American politics.”
  16. On Sunday, Trump’s first homeland security adviser, Tom Bossert, told “This Week” he repeatedly told Trump there was no basis to the theory that Ukraine intervened in the 2016 election on behalf of the Democrats.
  17. Bossert said he was “deeply disturbed” about Trump’s outreach to Zelensky, and condemned Rudy Giuliani, saying he and his team are “repeating that debunked theory to the president.”
  18. Giuliani told “This Week” of Bossert, he “doesn’t know what he’s talking about,” and “Everything I did was to defend my client and I am proud of having uncovered what will turn out to be a massive pay-for-play scheme.”
  19. Chair Adam Schiff told “This Week” the inquiry was “moving forward with all speed,” and his committee plans to hear from the whistleblower “very soon.”
  20. On Sunday, AP reported Attorney General William Barr was “surprised and angry” to learn that Trump had lumped him in with his personal lawyer, Giuliani, on his call with Zelensky.
  21. On Sunday, host Chris Wallace reported on “Fox News Sunday” that Trump was working with two more personal lawyer “off the books” — Joseph diGenova and Victoria Toensing — to pressure Ukraine.
  22. On Sunday, a CBS News poll found 55% of Americans approve of an impeachment inquiry, while 45% disapprove. Notably, 23% of Republicans approve, along with 87% of Democrats and 49% of Independents.
  23. Also, 42% believe Trump deserves to be impeached over Ukraine, 36% believe he does not deserve it, and 22% say it is too soon to say.
  24. On Sunday, “60 Minutes” reported the whistleblower’s lawyers sent a letter to the acting director of national intelligence asking for “appropriate resources” to keep their client safe.
  25. They cited Trump’s threats and “certain individuals” offering a “$50,000 bounty” for their identity. “60 Minutes” reported the whistleblower is under federal protection because they fear for their safety.
  26. Shortly after, the attorney for the whistleblower tweeted, “no agreement has been reached with Congress on contact with the whistleblower.” CBS News said it “stands by its sources and reporting on the whistle-blower.”
  27. On Sunday, support for Austria’s far-right party plunged in the election. A covert video in May showed the party’s vice-chancellor offering a lucrative contract to a woman he believed was the niece of a Russian oligarch.
  28. On Sunday, Chair Schiff told “Meet the Press” that Congress is looking to obtain records of Trump’s calls with Russian President Vladimir Putin, amid reporting that the White House has hidden his calls with foreign leaders.
  29. On Monday, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters that Washington would need Russian consent to publish transcripts of calls between Trump and Putin.
  30. On Monday, the Treasury Department announced new sanctions against Yevgeniy Prigozhin, the Russian oligarch known as “Putin’s Chef,” for attempting to interfere in the 2018 U.S. election.
  31. On Wednesday, when asked by reporters if Russia plans to interfere in the U.S. election in 2020, Putin quipped, “I’m going to tell you a secret. Yes, sure. We’re going to do that. Don’t tell anybody.”
  32. Putin added, “We see that (the U.S.) is trying to use any pretext to attack Trump, and now they’re even trying to use Ukraine,” adding he has a good relationship with Trump “built on trust,” and did not interfere in 2016.
  33. On Monday, Trump again attacked the whistleblower, tweeting, “The Fake Whistleblower complaint is not holding up,” adding, “The Whistleblower knew almost nothing, its 2ND HAND description of the call is a fraud!”
  34. Trump also tweeted a conspiracy theory from a right-wing website: “WHO CHANGED THE LONG STANDING WHISTLEBLOWER RULES JUST BEFORE SUBMITTAL OF THE FAKE WHISTLEBLOWER REPORT?”
  35. Trump also tweeted, “Again, the President of Ukraine said there was NO (ZERO) PRESSURE PUT ON HIM BY ME,” adding, “Case closed!”
  36. Shortly after, Trump tweeted “if the so-called “Whistleblower” has all second hand information,” and “almost everything he has said about my “perfect” call” is wrong, “why aren’t we entitled to interview” them.
  37. Trump also tweeted he wanted to interview the whistleblower and “also the person who gave all of the false information to him,” adding, “It is just another Democrat Hoax!”
  38. Later Monday, despite legal protections guaranteed to whistleblowers, Trump told reporters “We’re trying to find out” the whistleblower’s identity.
  39. Trump also, despite not knowing the identity of the whistleblower, accused them of having political “bias” and being part of a “political hack job.” The whistleblower’s attorney said Trump is putting them at risk.
  40. Later Monday, the intelligence community inspector general (ICIG) sent a four-page statement saying the whistleblower used firsthand information and information from other sources in the August 12 complaint.
  41. The ICIG also clarified the complaint was processed under procedures put in place in May 2018, not, as Trump and his ally Sen. Lindsey Graham suggested, just before the complaint came forward.
  42. The ICIG also wrote, “the information provided as well as other information gathered and determined that the complaint was both urgent and that it appeared credible.”
  43. On Sunday, Trump quoted Pastor Robert Jeffress’s appearance on Fox News, tweeting: “If the Democrats are successful” in impeaching him from office, “it will cause a Civil War like fracture in this Nation.”
  44. John Coates, a Harvard Law School professor, said Trump’s “threatening civil war if Congress exercises its constitutionally authorized power” is itself a basis for impeachment.
  45. On Monday, former House Speaker Newt Gingrinch, who led the impeachment against Bill Clinton, told “Fox & Friends” of the Trump impeachment, “What you are watching is a legislative coup d’etat.”
  46. On Monday, Trump trade advisor Peter Navarro told CNBC that House Democrats have “declared war” on Trump.
  47. On Tuesday, Trump tweeted, “I am coming to the conclusion that what is taking place is not an impeachment, it is a COUP, intended to take away the Power of the People.”
  48. On Tuesday, starting with Fox News host Sean Hannity on his show at 9:30 p.m. EST, talk of a “coup” was mentioned nearly every hour on Fox News. Right-wing outlets like Breitbart and Rush Limbaugh also used “coup.”
  49. On Wednesday, Trump tweeted a video made by his re-election campaign repeating the “coup” claim against a back-drop of grainy shots of House Democrats and Biden. The campaign will spend $8 million to air the ad.
  50. On Monday, in a series of tweets, Trump again attacked Chair Schiff, suggesting he should be arrested for treason, saying he “made up a FAKE & terrible statement” which “bore NO relationship to what I said on the call.”
  51. Later, at a swearing in ceremony for his new Labor secretary, Trump continued, saying, “Adam Schiff — representative, congressman — made up what I said. He actually took words and made it up.”
  52. Also Monday, Giuliani told Fox Business News that Schiff “stood in front of the American people with millions of people listening and he lied,” adding, “just like he lied when he said he had direct evidence of Russian collusion.”
  53. Also Monday, Eric Trump told “Fox & Friends” that Schiff “is exactly why we need term limits in this country,” adding, “He’s a total disgrace.”
  54. On Monday, Trump quoted a pollster on Fox News, tweeting the idea of impeachment started “once they saw the President’s numbers going up, they said ‘We gotta do something,’ so they made this whole thing up.”
  55. Trump also tweeted, “The Fake News Media wants to stay as far away as possible from the Ukraine and China deals made by the Bidens,” adding, “A Corrupt Media is so bad for our Country.”
  56. On Monday, CNN reported the Trump campaign ran 1,800 ads on Facebook mentioning “impeachment” in the last seven days. The ads have been viewed 16-18 million times and cost $600,000 to $2 million.
  57. On Monday, Republican chairmen of two Senate committees, Ron Johnson and Chuck Grassley, sent a letter to the DOJ asking Barr to investigate ties between Ukraine and Hillary Clinton’s 2016 campaign.
  58. On Monday, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell told CNBC that the Senate would “have no choice” but to take up impeachment and hold a trial if the House votes to charge Trump.
  59. On Monday, Democrats on the Senate Judiciary Committee pressed committee chair Lindsey Graham to call Barr and other senior officials before the committee to testify on Ukraine.
  60. On Monday, former senator Jeff Flake called on his Republican colleagues to stand up to Trump in an op-ed, saying, “Trust me when I say you can go elsewhere for a job. But you cannot go elsewhere for a soul.”
  61. On Monday, Rep. Mac Thornberry, the top Republican on the House Armed Services Committee, said he would retire. Rep. Chris Collins resigned ahead of a guilty plea, making 20 Republicans to exit in 2020.
  62. On Monday, the chairs of the House Intelligence, Oversight, and Foreign Affairs Committees subpoenaed Rudy Giuliani about his interactions with Trump regime officials in his role as an intermediary with Ukraine.
  63. The letter from the three chairs cites “credible allegations that you acted as an agent of the president in a scheme to advance his personal political interests by abusing the power of the Office of the President.”
  64. Giuliani was given an October 15 deadline to turn over information. Three of Giuliani’s business associates: Lev Parnas, Igor Fruman, and Semyon “Sam” Kislin were also scheduled to give depositions.
  65. On Monday, WSJ reported Secretary of State Mike Pompeo took part in the July 25 call between Trump and Ukrainian President Zelensky, tying the State Department more closely to the impeachment inquiry.
  66. On Monday, NYT reported in a recent phone call with Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison, Trump pushed the leader to help AG Barr gather information for a DOJ investigation meant to discredit the Mueller probe.
  67. Trump’s call was made at the request of AG Barr. The White House curbed access to the call transcript to a small group of aides, similarly to what had been done with the Ukraine call.
  68. The discussion revealed Trump once again using the power of presidency to advance personal political interests. The call was specifically made to request Australia’s help in Barr’s investigation.
  69. Trump essentially asked Australia to investigate itself. The FBI started an investigation of the Trump 2016 campaign after an Australian official told the department about George Papadopoulos’s London meeting.
  70. On Monday, WAPO reported Barr has held private meetings overseas with foreign intelligence officials to ask their help in the DOJ inquiry, hoping to discredit U.S. intelligence agencies’ examination of Trump-Russia in 2016.
  71. In addition to the request to Australia, Barr made overtures to British intelligence, and traveled to Italy for a second trip last week with John Durham, who has been put in charge of “investigating the investigators.”
  72. Current and former intelligence and law enforcement officials expressed frustration and alarm that the attorney general was personally investigating conspiracy theories and baseless allegations three years later.
  73. In a statement, a spokesperson for the Australian government said it has “always been ready to assist and cooperate with efforts that help shed further light on the matters under investigation,” citing the conversation.
  74. On Tuesday, Daily Beast reported Barr went to Rome with John Durham last week in an under-the-radar trip which was quietly announced just days prior, to look into events leading up to the Mueller probe.
  75. Barr and Durham were especially interested in what Italian intelligence knew about Joseph Mifsud, who allegedly offered George Papadopolous dirt on Hillary in London, and listened to a taped deposition he had given.
  76. On Wednesday, Sen. Graham asked in a letter for “continued cooperation” from Australia, Italy, and the U.K. in Barr’s investigation, including an Australian diplomat who he says was “directed to contact” Papadopoulos.
  77. Australia’s ambassador responded, tweeting, “We reject your characterization” of our diplomat’s role in the FBI’s 2016 investigation, adding we will work closely with Barr to “resolve any misunderstandings.”
  78. On Wednesday, the Times of London reported Trump called UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson on July 26, the day after his call with Zelensky, and two days after Mueller’s testimony, to ask for help discrediting Mueller.
  79. The call also came just two days after Johnson took office. Trump asked Johnson to help accumulate evidencethat would discredit the Mueller investigation after it did not exonerate him.
  80. On Tuesday, the Hill reported former White House aide Sebastian Gorka, a contributor to Sinclair TV and a talk show host on Salem Radio Network, traveled with Pompeo to the Vatican as part of the limited press pool.
  81. On Tuesday, Hong Kong police shot a protestor in the chest, one of six live rounds filed by police, in one of the most violent days of protests, as China celebrated 70 years of Communist party rule.
  82. Shortly after, Trump tweeted, “Congratulations to President Xi and the Chinese people on the 70th Anniversary of the People’s Republic of China!” — a communist government that has not held a free election.
  83. On Wednesday, Sigal Mandelker, Treasury’s undersecretary for terrorism and financial intelligence, and the top U.S. sanctions chief, resigned to join the private sector.
  84. On Friday, CNN reported Trump promised Chinese President Xi Jinping that the U.S. would remain silent on Hong Kong democracy protests while trade talks continued, a remarkable backing away from human rights.
  85. Trump’s commitment to not talk about the protests necessitated then-U.S. general counsel in Hong Kong, Kurt Tong, to have to cancel a speech on the protests in Washington scheduled for June.
  86. On Monday, in a court filing, a lawyer for House Democrats said they believe grand-jury redactions in the Mueller report revealed Trump lied about his knowledge of his campaign’s contacts with WikiLeaks.
  87. The filing was made with the House Judiciary Committee seeking Mueller’s grand jury materials, saying, “The text redacted…and any underlying evidence to which it may point are critical” to the investigation.
  88. On Monday, in a letter to the judge, the U.S. attorney’s office in Manhattan said it is joining Trump in the lawsuit to block disclosure of his tax returns, saying the complaint “raises a number of significant constitutional issues.”
  89. The letter puts the U.S. attorney’s office up against Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance Jr. Vance’s office have said their subpoena is valid and any dispute should be heard in state court.
  90. On Thursday, the Manhattan District Attorney has asked a judge in a sharply-worded court filing to reject federal prosecutors from backing Trump, calling the DOJ decision to intervene on Trump’s side “audacious.”
  91. The filing also stated, “Until quite recently and for more than a year, DOJ prosecutors in this very District conducted a highly publicized grand jury investigation into some of the very same transactions and actors.”
  92. On Tuesday, WAPO reported a federal judge warned U.S. prosecutors that they needed to either charge former acting FBI director Andrew McCabe or to drop their investigation on whether he lied to investigators.
  93. The judge said the prosecutors’ indecision was undermining the credibility of the DOJ, and said if a decision was not made by November 15, he would order them to release internal FBI documents related to McCabe’s firing.
  94. On Monday, attorneys for Michael Flynn said in a filing that a judge’s decision to overturn a guilty verdict for Flynn’s business partner Bijan Rafiekian last week “renders meaningless” his December 2017 guilty plea.
  95. The filing suggests Mueller team prosecutor Brandon Van Grack bullied Flynn into a plea deal. Flynn is due for sentencing December 18, but if he is granted access to additional Mueller documents, it will likely be delayed.
  96. On Tuesday, ISM U.S. manufacturing purchasing managers’ index, a gauge of U.S. manufacturing, came in at 47.8%, the lowest level since June 2009, during a severe recession. Experts cited Trump’s escalating trade war.
  97. On Tuesday, Trump tweeted, blaming the Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell, saying he “allowed the Dollar to get so strong,” and adding, “They are their own worst enemies, they don’t have a clue. Pathetic!”
  98. On Tuesday, WAPO reported officials in Montana are warning residents for the second time this year about mailers sent by the Republican National Committee which look like official census forms but are actually solicitations for money.
  99. The mailers say “2019 Congressional District Census” and urge recipients to send at least $15 to “help pay for the costs of processing [the] Census Document,” and add to the confusion around the citizenship question.
  100. On Tuesday, a federal judge ruled against the Trump regime, saying Harvard University does not discriminateagainst Asian-Americans in admissions — the biggest legal challenge to affirmative action in years.
  101. The judge wrote, “Diversity will foster the tolerance, acceptance and understanding that will ultimately make race conscious admissions obsolete.” The regime is expected to appeal to the Supreme Court.
  102. On Tuesday, a federal judge in Georgia temporarily blocked a new abortion law that outlawed abortions once a fetal heartbeat is detected, before many women realize they are pregnant, from going into law.
  103. On Tuesday, NYT reported at a meeting in the Oval Office in March on immigration, Trump was fuming and ordered advisers to shut down the entire 2,000-mile border with Mexico by noon the next day.
  104. Trump also mused about fortifying the border by stocking a trench with alligators, adding electrified spikes that could pierce human flesh, and shooting migrants who cross the border in the legs to slow them down.
  105. People at the meeting included Kirstjen Nielsen; Pompeo; Kevin McAleenan; Stephen Miller; Jared Kushner, and other senior staffers. Trump said “I ran on this” and “You are making me look like an idiot!”
  106. White House advisers were able to convince Trump to give them a reprieve, and a week later Nielsen talked him out of it. Miller took it as an opportunity and saw to it that Nielsen and others were pushed out.
  107. On Tuesday, WAPO reported a Fairfax County police officer was suspended for turning over a driver involved in a traffic accident to Immigration and Customs Enforcement after finding they had an immigration violation.
  108. The Fairfax police chief said the officer violated a long-standing policy of not performing civil immigration enforcement for ICE, despite stepped-up enforcement by the Trump regime. The incident is under investigation.
  109. On Wednesday, NYT reported the Trump regime plans to collect DNA samples from hundreds of thousands of detained immigrants held in federal detention centers which currently hold more than 40,000 people.
  110. Senior officials at the Department of Homeland Security said the DOJ was developing a federal regulation to give immigration officers authority to collect DNA. There is a 2005 exemption for collecting from immigrants.
  111. DHS officials plan to rollback the exemption in the DNA Fingerprint Act of 2005, and would provide a comprehensive DNA profile. The results would also be shared with other law enforcement agencies.
  112. On Thursday, AP and FRONTLINE reported the Trump regime is shifting caretaking of migrant children to the private sector and contractors from religious-based non-profits, which traditionally cared for children.
  113. The only private company to care for migrant children so far is CHS, owned by Caliburn International Corp. Former Trump chief of staff John Kelly serves on Caliburn’s board and stands to financially benefit.
  114. Conditions inside Caliburn facilities were described as jail-like. The children wear matching grey pants and black sweatshirts, and are not allowed to touch each other. There are alarms on the windows.
  115. A citizen whistleblower complaint claimed Caliburn’s revenues could increase from $65 million in 2017 to $275-325 million per year based on the child detention business. The business was awarded on a no-bid basis.
  116. On Friday, WSJ reported the Trump regime will deny visas to immigrants who cannot prove they have health insurance, or the ability to pay for medical costs once they become permanent U.S. citizens.
  117. Trump’s proclamation will go into effect on November 3. Trump cited, “immigrants who enter this country should not further saddle our health care system, and subsequently American taxpayers, with higher costs.”
  118. Stephen Miller and others in the regime are behind this latest move to limit immigration by placing financial burdens and obstacles on immigrants. Miller was also behind the recent “public charge” rule.
  119. On Friday, NYT reported the Agriculture Department moved this week to slice another $4.5 billion over five years from the food stamp program, trimming monthly benefits by as much as $75 for one-in-five families.
  120. The move, which changes how people’s income and expenses are calculated, marks the third time the regime has cut the program. Trump has used executive orders, since Congress would not comply.
  121. On Wednesday, Politico reported the House Oversight Committee is investigating two entities, a trade association and a foreign government, for booking a large block of rooms at Trump hotels and using few of them.
  122. On Wednesday, Senate Democrats asked the IRS Commissioner to strip the National Rifle Association of its tax-exempt status, after a senate report in Week 150 found it worked closely with Russians in the 2016 election.
  123. On Tuesday, Pompeo tweeted a letter accusing three House committee chairs of trying to bully State Department officials to testify, saying they were not given time to prepare or consult with department legal counsel.
  124. In response, the three chairs wrote, “Any effort to intimidate witnesses or prevent them from talking with Congress…is illegal and will constitute evidence of obstruction of the impeachment inquiry.”
  125. On Tuesday, WSJ reported House leaders plan to question former State Department officials: Kurt Volker will be deposed on Thursday and Marie Yovanovitch on October 11.
  126. On Tuesday, in a letter to the State Department, more than two dozen former U.S. diplomats and others experts said they were “disturbed” by reports linking Yovanovitch’s ouster to “absurd and unfounded allegations.”
  127. The letter also said Trump’s comments about her on the July 25 phone call “could be interpreted as a threat,” and “Such language and the broader attack on Ambassador Yovanovitch should be condemned unequivocally.”
  128. Also Tuesday, the State Department inspector general contacted several House and Senate committees, asking to brief their staffers on Wednesday on an undisclosed matter.
  129. On Tuesday, Politico reported in the spring of 2018 the Trump regime ordered an upgrade of the security of the National Security Council’s codeword system as part of an effort to ferret out and deter leaks.
  130. Part of the rationale for the upgrade of the system, known as NICE, or NSC Intelligence Collaboration Environment, was to prevent any leaks of the transcripts of Trump’s conversations with foreign leaders.
  131. On Tuesday, Giuliani hired Jon Sale, who served as an assistant special Watergate prosecutor, to represent him in the congressional investigation of Trump’s actions towards Ukraine.
  132. On Tuesday, Sen. Angus King told CNN that he and his staff had reconstructed the call between Trump and Zelensky using the memo, and determined more than two-thirds of the call time is unaccounted for.
  133. On Tuesday, Sen. Grassley, chair of the Senate Finance Committee, defended the whistleblower saying they followed protocol, and noted, “We should always work to respect whistleblowers’ requests for confidentiality.”
  134. On Thursday, a second Republican senator, Joni Ernst, also from Iowa, joined Grassley, saying, “I stand with Chuck Grassley on this. We have laws in place,” adding, “Whistleblowers should be protected.”
  135. On Wednesday, Trump told reporters that Schiff “should resign from office in disgrace, and frankly they should look at him for treason,” also calling Schiff a “lowlife.”
  136. Later Wednesday, House Minority leader Kevin McCarthy signed a censure resolution against Schiff introduced in Week 150 by Rep. Andy Biggs, the incoming chairman of the House Freedom Caucus.
  137. On Wednesday, speaking to reporters alongside Finnish President Sauli Niinisö, Trump called the whistleblower “fake” and “vicious” and into “some bad things” in a 40-minute press conference.
  138. A red-faced, enraged Trump also called the White House official who alerted the whistleblower a “spy,” said Schiff was guilty of “treason,” and said Speaker Nancy Pelosi, “hands out subpoenas like they’re cookies.”
  139. Trump sparred with a Reuters reporter for asking about Ukraine, glaring at him and saying, “Are you talking to me?” then telling him, “We have the president of Finland, ask him a question.”
  140. When pressed again on Ukraine and Biden, Trump responded, “I’ve answered everything. It’s a whole hoax. And you know who’s playing into it? People like you.” Trump also called the media “corrupt” and “fake.”
  141. Trump continued to air grievances while President Niiniso looked on, repeatedly using the terms “hoax” “scam” and “fraud.” Niiniso barely got to speak, at one point interjecting, “I think the question is for me.”
  142. A Finnish reporter asked Niiniso “I have to ask, what kind of favors has Mr. Trump asked from you?” to which Trump interjected, “I think you mean the other way around,” before Niiniso gave a thoughtful answer.
  143. Trump said of impeachment, “We’ll work together with shifty Schiff and Pelosi and all of them.” He also added of the call transcript with Ukraine, “There are those who think I am a very stable genius, ok?
  144. Finnish reporters described the conference to their readers back home with ridicule and concern, celebrating Niiniso’s dignity during Trump’s unhinged monologues, and criticizing Trump’s treatment of the press.
  145. Finnish newspaper Hufvudstadsbladet wrote: “Niinisto’s visit was overshadowed by Circus Trump — President Niinisto asked Trump to safeguard U.S. democracy.”
  146. On Wednesday, former Ukraine President Petro Poroshenk said in a statement to Bloomberg, Joe Biden never asked him to open or close any criminal cases, saying nothing improper was done related to his son.
  147. On Wednesday, NYT reported the three House committees are preparing to subpoena the White House by Friday if it does not comply with requests for documents related to Trump’s interactions with Ukraine.
  148. Speaking to reporters alongside Speaker Pelosi, Schiff said, “We’re not fooling around here,” adding the House will not let this “drag on months and months and months, which would be the administration’s strategy.”
  149. Schiff called Trump’s tweet demanding to “meet” the whistleblower “a blatant effort to intimidate witnesses” and “an incitement of violence,” adding, We will do everything in our power” to protect the whistleblower.
  150. As Schiff was speaking, Trump tweeted, “The Do Nothing Democrats should be focused on building up our Country, not wasting everyone’s time and energy on BULLSHIT,” adding he “got overwhelmingly elected.”
  151. Trump also tweeted, “Adam Schiff should only be so lucky to have the brains, honor and strength of Secretary of State Mike Pompeo,” calling Schiff a “lowlife” who “completely fabricated my words.”
  152. Trump also tweeted, “Congressman Adam Schiff should resign for the Crime” of “fraudulently fabricating a statement of the President of the United States and reading it to Congress,” adding, “he is sick!”
  153. Trump also live-tweeted as Speaker Pelosi spoke about working with Trump on legislation to lower drug prices, tweeting, “It is just camouflage for trying to win an election through impeachment.”
  154. Pelosi said Trump asking Zelensky for “a favor” was sufficient reason to move forward, adding of the founders, “They never thought that we’d have a president who would kick those guardrails over,” calling it “sad.”
  155. On Wednesday, NYT reported Schiff learned about the outlines of the whistleblower’s concern before complaint was filed, showing how determined the whistleblower was to make their concerns known.
  156. The whistleblower approached a House Intelligence Committee aide after he had a colleague convey his concerns to the CIA’s top lawyer. In both approaches, the accusation was left vague.
  157. In a news conference after the NYT reporting, Trump waved a copy of the article and said, “Big stuff. That’s a big story,” falsely claiming that Schiff “helped write” the complaint, and calling it “a scam.”
  158. On Wednesday, an Economist/YouGov Poll found support for impeachment increasing to 45% from 37% in late July. Democrats’ support jumped by 20 points, and Independents rose eight points.
  159. On Friday, CNN reported support for Trump’s impeachment is unprecedented: with both Nixon and Clinton, impeachment actions started off with more opposing than supporting impeachment.
  160. On Wednesday, after much build-up and speculation, the State Department IG turned over a packet of news clipping, timelines, and interview notes on the Bidens given to them by Giuliani.
  161. Rep. Jamie Raskin, who was the only lawmaker to attend IG Steve Linick’s briefing, called it a “completely irrelevant distraction,” and “essentially a packet of propaganda and disinformation spreading conspiracy theories.”
  162. On Wednesday, WAPO reported Trump repeatedly involved Vice President Mike Pence in efforts to pressure Ukraine’s leader, at a time when Trump has using other channels to solicit information on his political opponents.
  163. Trump instructed Pence not to attend Zelensky’s inauguration in May, then months later Trump used to Pence to relay aid was still being withheld pending aggressive action on corruption ahead of Trump’s July 25 call.
  164. Officials close to Pence say he was not aware of Trump’s pressing for damaging information on the Bidens; although one of Pence’s top advisers was on the July 25 call, and there were visible signs of Trump’s strategy.
  165. Pence’s actions came as the U.S. ambassador to Kiev was abruptly recalled, Giuliani inserted himself into the U.S.-Ukraine relationship, and alarms were raised inside the White House about the whistleblower complaint.
  166. On Wednesday, WAPO reported Giuliani has consulted with Paul Manafort through the federal prisoner’s lawyer several times in recent months, in hopes of bolstering his story that Ukraine helped Hillary Clinton in 2016.
  167. Giuliani said he is looking into the existence of the black ledger obtained by Ukraine’s National Anti-Corruption Bureau, which revealed cash payments to Manafort that led him to resign from Trump’s campaign.
  168. Giuliani claimed the ledger was used as a pretext for U.S. authorities to re-open a case against Manafort. The FBI already had a case open about his Ukraine work in 2013, and Mueller’s team did not mentioned the ledger.
  169. On Thursday, WAPO reported an IRS whistleblower filed a complaint saying he was told at least one Treasury Department political appointee acted to interfere with the annual audit of Trump or Pence’s tax returns.
  170. The Trump regime dismissed the complaint as flimsy because it was based on conversations with other government officials, but House Democrats were alarmed by the complaint which was flagged in a federal court filing.
  171. On Thursday, Pelosi told “Good Morning America” the Democrats’ investigation does not “hinge on” whether McConnell “has the guts to really do what the Constitution requires,” or “the impact” on the election.
  172. Pelosi added, “separate from that, the reelection of Donald Trump would do irreparable damage to the United States,” adding, “we have some serious repair and healing to do in our country for what he’s done so far.”
  173. On Thursday, Trump shifted strategy, snubbing his nose at impeachment and telling reporters on the South Lawn of the White House, “China should start an investigation into the Bidens.”
  174.  Asked what he hoped Zelensky would do after his July 25 call, Trump said, “If they were honest about it, they’d start a major investigation into the Bidens” — seeming to underscore his claim he did nothing wrong asking.
  175. Schiff cited Trump “encouraging a foreign nation to interfere again,” telling reporters, “It endangers our elections, it endangers our national security, it ought to be condemned by every member of this body.”
  176. No Republicans condemned Trump. Instead, House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy prodded Pelosi in a letter asking if the House would vote on an official impeachment inquiry and if the GOP could call witnesses.
  177. Pelosi responded in a letter, noting McCarthy’s request came “shortly after the world witnessed President Trump on national television asking yet another foreign power to interfere in the upcoming 2020 elections.”
  178. On Thursday, GOP Sen. Ron Johnson defended Trump’s call on Ukraine and China, saying, “If there’s potential criminal activity, the president of the United States is our chief law enforcement officer.”
  179. On Thursday, CNN reported Johnson was a signatory to a February 2016 bipartisan letter to then-Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko to make “reforms to the Prosecutor General’s office,” similar to Biden’s request.
  180. On Thursday, Ellen Weintraub, the head of the Federal Election Commission, re-upped a June tweet of a memorandum stating it is illegal for anyone running for public office to solicit help from a foreign national.
  181. On Thursday, Fox News host Tucker Carlson said in an op-ed on Trump’s calling a foreign head of state to investigate his political opponent, “Some Republicans are trying, but there’s no way to spin this as a good idea.”
  182. On Thursday, WSJ reported Trump ordered the removal of then U.S. ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch, saying she was undermining him abroad and obstructing his efforts to get Ukraine to investigate Biden.
  183. State Department officials were told in the spring that her removal was a priority. Pompeo supported the move. Career officials told Yovanovitch they could not shield her from Trump and his allies.
  184. Giuliani told the Journal that Yovanovitch displayed an “anti-Trump bias” in private conversations, and had been obstacle to Trump’s efforts to push Ukraine to investigate the Bidens. Giuliani said he alerted Trump of both.
  185. Giuliani gave Pompeo a document on March 28 detailing a timeline on the Bidens’ dealings with Ukraine, as well as allegations of impropriety against Yovanovitch, including that she was “very close” to Biden.
  186. Trump said of her on Thursday, “I don’t know if I recalled her or somebody recalled her but I heard very, very bad things about her for a long period of time.” Yovanovitch will testify before lawmakers on October 11.
  187. On Thursday, Trump again mocked 16 year-old climate activist Greta Thunberg, quoting a tweet that referred to her as “an actress,” and telling the person who tweeted it, “Keep up the great work.”
  188. On Thursday, Fox News host Sean Hannity took a shot at his colleagues on his show, saying, “We have a few resistance people on the channel,” as the civil-war within the network continued to spill out publicly.
  189. On Thursday, Politico reported Energy Secretary Rick Perry is expected to depart from the regime in November. Unlike most in Trump’s cabinet, Perry had largely avoided controversies until the Ukraine investigation.
  190. Sen. Bob Menendez, the ranking Democrat on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee pressed Perry for information about his May travel to Ukraine, and asked who asked him to attend Zelensky’s inauguration.
  191. Perry is also part of a House subpoena sent Monday to Giuliani on the inauguration, but has not been directly called to testify himself. He has frequently visited Ukraine, including meeting with Zelensky.
  192. On Thursday, Trump said in a speech in Florida the regime is looking at starting a news network, saying CNN is “terrible for our country, adding, “we ought to start our own network and put some real news out there.”
  193. Trump also said of CNN and other media, “they are so bad for our country,” adding, “I go out there and they say, ‘Boy, the media hates your country,’ and it’s just a shame. It’s just a shame. And we really are.”
  194. On Thursday, a USA TODAY/Ipsos Poll found a plurality of Americans (45%) support impeachment, while 38% disapprove — a major shift in attitude since June when 32% supported impeachment, 61% disapproved.
  195. Shortly after, Trump tweeted as U.S. president, “I have an absolute right, perhaps even a duty, to investigate, or have investigated, CORRUPTION,” including “asking, or suggesting, other Countries to help us out!”
  196. On Friday, Trump tweeted, “As President I have an obligation to end CORRUPTION, even if that means requesting the help of a foreign country or countries,” falsely claiming, “It is done all the time.”
  197. Trump also claimed he is duty-bound to investigate corruption, tweeting “This has NOTHING to do with politics or a political campaign against the Bidens. This does have to do with their corruption!
  198. On Friday, CNN reported that Trump and Giuliani are taking charge of the narrative on the impeachment inquiry, sidelining White House officials and making it harder to defend Trump and hurting his case.
  199. White House officials say Jared Kushner and White House chief of staff Mick Mulvaney are the two most focused on developing an impeachment strategy. It was unclear if one had the senior-most role.
  200. On Friday, Trump told reporters, “This is not about politics. This is about corruption,” adding, “if you look and you read our Constitution and many other things, I have an obligation to look at corruption.”
  201. On Thursday, former special U.S. envoy to Ukraine Kurt Volker gave a 10-hour deposition to the House Intelligence Committee, along with texts sent relating to Trump-Ukraine.
  202. Volker, the first State Department official to testify, told House investigators he warned Giuliani against trusting information he was getting from Ukrainian political figures about Joe and Hunter Biden.
  203. Volker claimed he was never given an explanation for Trump extending an invitation to the White House to Zelensky that was later withdrawn, or for halting military aid, which deeply concerned Ukrainian officials.
  204. Giuliani told the Post he “did not recall” being told by Volker, saying, “I’m pretty certain he never said that the claims weren’t true,” he would have “asked him what kind of investigation he’d done and how he knew that.”
  205. On Thursday, NYT reported that Volker and Gordon Sondland, the U.S. ambassador to the E.U., worked on a statement in August for Zelensky that would have committed Ukraine to investigate Trump’s political opponents.
  206. Volker told Congress Thursday that Giuliani provided him and Sondland with critical elements of the language. The Ukrainians did not release the statement which would have given credence to allegations on Biden.
  207. On Thursday, in a letter to members of the three House committees from their Chairs, dozens of text messages from top State Department officials about a possible Trump-Ukraine quid pro quo were released.
  208. Late Thursday, Democrats publicly released text messages between U.S. and Ukrainian officials. The messages revealed how Trump tied the release of military aid to investigations that could help Trump’s 2020 campaign.
  209. The three committee chairs said the released text exchanges represented “only a subset of the full body of the materials” provided by Volker, and they hope to make the rest public later.
  210. Texts were sent by three U.S. diplomats: Kurt Volker; William Taylor Jr., the top American diplomat in Ukraine; and Gordon Sondland, a major GOP fundraiser and ambassador to the E.U.
  211. The texts revealed U.S. diplomats encouraged Zelensky to conduct a public investigation of Joe and Hunter Biden in exchange for a visit with Trump at the White House, in what one diplomat called a “crazy” swap.
  212. The texts lay out the raw contours of a potential quid-pro-quo exchange. An adviser to Zelensky appeared to agree to an investigation of Burisma, a Ukrainian gas company where Hunter Biden served on the board.
  213. Before the July 25 call, U.S. officials said Ukraine needed to open investigations in order for Zelensky to get a meeting with Trump, which was urgently needed by Ukraine given ongoing Russian aggression.
  214. U.S. officials said Trump would not set a date for a meeting until there was a “deliverable” — a publicly announced investigation. An aide to Zelensky said he understood a meeting was contingent on the investigations.
  215. In late August, Ukrainian officials became aware military aid was also being delayed. Taylor asked Sondland if other Americans knew of the delays in aid and a meeting, and added Russia must be pleased.
  216. On Friday, Ukraine’s prosecutor general, Ruslan Ryaboshapka, said he would audit several cases handled by his predecessors, including a criminal case involving the company that employed Hunter Biden.
  217. The move sparked concern that Ukraine was bowing to political pressure from Trump. Ryaboshapka said he intended to review 15 cases, including one on the owner of the natural gas company Burisma Holdings.
  218. On Friday, Trump tweeted a headline by conservative Washington Times about the texts, falsely claiming, “Ukraine envoy blows ‘massive hole’ into Democrat accusations,” and adding, “Case Closed!”
  219. On Friday, WSJ reported Sen. Johnson said he was told by Sondland in late August that the hold-up in military aid to Ukraine was related to a desired investigation that Trump and his allies wanted.
  220. Johnson said when he called Trump the next day on August 31, Trump flatly rejected the claim: “He said, ‘Expletive deleted — No way. I would never do that. Who told you that?”
  221. On Thursday, Sen. Ben Sasse said, “Americans don’t look to Chinese commies for the truth. If the Biden kid broke laws…that’s a matter for American courts, not communist tyrants running torture camps.”
  222. On Friday, Sen. Mitt Romney became the second Republican to criticize Trump, tweeting Trump’s “brazen and unprecedented appeal to China and to Ukraine to investigate Joe Biden is wrong and appalling.”
  223. On Friday, Rep. William Hurd, who is retiring in 2020, said “it is terrible” for Trump to ask China to probe Biden, adding congratulating China “on 70 years of communism via a tweet” is also something he would not do.
  224. On Friday, intelligence community inspector general Michael Atkinson testified before the House Intelligence Committee behind closed doors. Atkinson received the whistleblower complaint.
  225. Atkinson, who was appointed by Trump in 2017, deemed the complaint an “urgent concern,” which requires the complaint be given to Congress, but acting DNI Joseph Maguire refused to on advice of the DOJ.
  226. On Friday, NBC News reported weeks before the whistleblower complaint became public, the CIA’s general counsel, Trump appointee Courtney Simmons Elwood, made a criminal referral to the DOJ about it.
  227. The move meant that she and other senior officials concluded that a crime had been committed, raising further questions about why the DOJ later declined to open an investigation in Trump pressuring Zelensky.
  228. On Friday, chairs of the three House committees requested a wide-ranging batch of documents from Pence in the impeachment inquiry, relating to Trump’s pressuring Ukraine and any role Pence played, by October 15.
  229. On Friday, WAPO reported senior staffers working for Trump have all along been worried about his calls with foreign leaders, citing his diplomatic blunders, making promises he could not keep, and asking for favors.
  230. Aides said in his first call with Putin, Trump said something like, “Oh my gosh, my people didn’t tell me you wanted to talk to me.” Trump has also been consistently cozy with other authoritarian leaders.
  231. Aides bristled on how Trump spoke to longtime allies, especially women leaders like Theresa May. Unlike past leaders, Trump has rejected much of the protocol and preparation associated with foreign calls.
  232. On Friday, the three House committee chairs subpoenaed the White House for Ukraine documents, after the regime failed to comply with repeated requests, marking the third subpoena sent since impeachment began.
  233. In a letter to Mulvaney, the three said, “We deeply regret that President Trump has put us — and the nation — in this position,” and gave until October 18 to respond. The White House called it political posturing.
  234. On Friday, NYT reported a second intelligence official who was alarmed by Trump’s dealings with Ukraine is considering filing his own report and testifying before Congress.
  235. The official has more direct information about the events, and was interviewed by the intelligence community inspector general to corroborate the allegations in the first complaint.
  236. On Friday, Bloomberg reported Trump ordered a cut to national security staff as the White House confronts an impeachment inquiry. The stated reason was to make the council leaner under the new National Security Adviser.
  237. On Saturday, Trump tweeted, “the so-called Whistleblower’s account of my perfect phone call is “way off,” not even close,” adding, “Schiff and Pelosi never thought I would release the transcript of the call…they got caught.”
  238. Trump also tweeted, “This is a fraud against the American people!” However, documents, firsthand witness accounts, and public statements by Trump over two weeks have bolstered the facts outlined in the complaint.
  239. Trump also attacked Sen. Romney, tweeting, “If Mitt worked this hard on Obama, he could have won. Sadly, he choked!” and calling him “a pompous “ass” who has been fighting me from the beginning.”
  240. After golfing, Trump tweeted, “Not only are the Do Nothing Democrats interfering in the 2020 Election, but they are continuing to interfere in the 2016 Election. They must be stopped!” It was unclear what he meant.

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

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Trump and Finnish President Sauli Niinisto hold a joint press conference in the East Room of the White House in Washington, DC, on October 2, 2019.

POLITIKS OF GRAFFITI 151: A COURAGEOUS WHISTLEBLOWER

SEPTEMBER 28, 2019

Week 150

Experts in authoritarianism advise to keep a list of things
subtly changing around you, so you’ll remember. https://theweeklylist.org/weekly-list/week-150/

This week House Speaker Nancy Pelosi announced a formal impeachment inquiry of Trump. I’ve always had the sense that when we were finally on the road to the end of the Trump regime, the weekly list would ramp up big time. Week 150 has 225 not normal items, 10% more than any other week — a sign of the bedlam we will face as the truth slowly drips out, and Trump uses every means possible to distract from it and remain in power.

The impeachment inquiry, although narrow in scope, has already turned over and intertwined troubling items from earlier weekly lists, which like so many in the chaos, were normalized and forgotten. Although the impeachment inquiry is focused on Trump’s conversations and actions towards Ukraine, we already have reporting of similar cover-ups of communications with leaders from Russia and Saudi Arabia. As the inquiry expands it is also ensnaring others, including Rudy Giuliani and Attorney General William Barr, whose repeated efforts to cover up for Trump are gradually being assembled into a mosaic of behavior unbefitting his office.

It is remarkable that it took 150 weeks for a courageous whistleblower to bring Trump’s actions into the light of day, after all the highly decorated and reputable officials who worked for the regime at one time or another allowed Trump to operate our government in the fashion of a mob boss, and left in silence without speaking out or exposing corruption and criminal activity for the good of the country.

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“Rise up! Rise up armies of darkness! Bring me the whistleblowers, that I might suck the marrow from their bones and build my border wall with their traitorous skulls!!! If you wanna call that witness intimidation, fine.” – JIM CARREY
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Yippie-ki-yay MF! – JIM CARREY
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GRETA  by Jody_artist in Bristol, UK
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I took this pic in Barrio Logan in San Diego, CA 21 sep2109

 

  1. On Sunday, WAPO reported so far 18 House Republican have announced plans to resign, retire, or run for another office in 2020, imperiling the GOP’s chances of taking back the House in 2020.
  2. Since Trump’s inauguration in January 2017, nearly 40% of the 241 Republicans who were in office then are gone or are leaving due to election loss, retirement, or quitting in disgust.
  3. On Monday, a report by the Brookings Institute on turnover of White House “A-Team” jobs found 78% of those senior positions have turned, and 31% having turned more than once.
  4. The author of the study, Kathryn Dunn Tenpas, told NBC News, “It’s historic, it’s unprecedented, it’s off the charts,” adding in 32 months Trump surpassed “all of his predecessors who served four-year terms.”
  5. On Monday, in an op-ed on the growing threat to journalism, NYT publisher A.G. Sulzberger said Trump was ready to allow an NYT journalist to be arrested in Egypt. The reporter’s native Ireland got him out.
  6. On Saturday, WAPO reported Trump’s call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, which took place the day after Robert Mueller’s public testimony, revealed a leader convinced of his invincibility.
  7. Trump criticized Democrats for what he called “the Ukraine Witch Hunt.” Some Democrats expressed concern that House Democrats’ unwillingness to impeach Trump has only encouraged his lawlessness.
  8. On Sunday, Trump told reporters he discussed Biden on the call, saying it was “largely the fact that we don’t want our people like Vice President Biden and his son creating to the corruption already in the Ukraine.”
  9. Trump also told reporters the call was “absolutely perfect,” adding, “It was a beautiful, warm, nice conversation,” but added the Bidens “were involved in a lot of different things that took place in our country.”
  10. On Sunday, Sen. Mitt Romney was the lone Republican to speak out, tweeting if Trump “asked or pressured” Ukraine to investigate “his political rival” directly or indirectly “it would be troubling in the extreme.”
  11. On Sunday, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo told “This Week” that Trump 2020 rival Joe Biden should be investigated if he improperly intervened to protect his son from an investigation in Ukraine.
  12. On Sunday, Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin told “Meet the Press” that “there was no connection” between military aid to Ukraine and and Trump’s interest in investigating the Bidens.
  13. When asked why Congress should not see the whistleblower complaint, Mnuchin said “I think that would be a terrible precedent,” and added, “I think things are being implied that just don’t exist.”
  14. On Sunday, Rudy Giuliani made an unscheduled 11-minute rambling appearance on “Fox New Sunday,” calling out various Ukrainian officials and George Soros for being involved in a vast criminal conspiracy.
  15. Giuliani cited “Ukrainian collusion” aimed at influencing the 2016 U.S. election, saying of Hunter Biden’s business dealings with China, “When the rest of this comes out, this will be a lot bigger than Spiro Agnew.”
  16. On Sunday, House Intelligence Chair Adam Schiff told “State of the Union” if Trump pressured Ukraine to investigate Biden, the only remedy may be impeachment, saying, “we may very well have crossed the Rubicon here.”
  17. Schiff added Trump “sought foreign assistance and welcomed foreign assistance in the last presidential campaign as a candidate, he is now doing the same thing again but now using the power of the presidency.”
  18. On Sunday, WAPO reported House Democrats are becoming frustrated with Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s unwillingness to move forward on impeachment, with one saying on oversight, “We’re been very weak.”
  19. Speaker Pelosi said in a “Dear Colleague” letter, sent on Sunday to Republicans and Democrats, “If the administration persists in blocking this whistle-blower…they will be entering a grave new chapter of lawlessness.”
  20. Pelosi also signaled in her letter, “a whole new stage of investigation.” Meanwhile, NYT reported Trump told aides that the Democrats are overplaying their hand, and worked to focus public attention on Biden.
  21. Several freshmen House members conferred over the weekend, with one saying in an interview, “There are lines being crossed right now that I fear will be erased.” Influential Chair Schiff also shifted toward impeachment.
  22. On Sunday, an NBC/WSJ poll found 69% of voters say they do not like Trump personally, regardless of their feelings about his policy agenda. Just 29% say they like him personally, and 25% approve of his policy agenda.
  23. On Monday, Trump claimed the Nobel Peace Prize is rigged against him, telling reporters he “would get a Nobel Prize for a lot of things, if they give it out fairly, which they don’t,” adding Obama “had no idea why he got it.”
  24. On Monday, Facebook removed a patriotic “I Love America” page with 1.1 million followers, after discovering it was run by Ukrainians, and had become heavily into pro-Trump and conservative content in recent weeks.
  25. On Monday, WAPO reported Trump told acting White House chief of staff Mick Mulvaney to hold back almost $400 million in military aid to Ukraine days before his call with Velensky.
  26. Officials at the Office of Management and Budget, which Mulvaney heads, relayed the orders to the State Department and Pentagon during a mid-July meeting, saying Trump had “concerns” about how money was spent.
  27. For two months, regime officials told lawmakers, who had given bi-partisan support to aid for Ukraine, that delays in the aid were due to an “interagency process.” The aid was finally released on September 11.
  28. GOP senators on the appropriations committee said aid was held up while Trump assessed if Zelenksy was pro-Russian or pro-Western. The ranking Democrat threatened to freeze spending if the money was not released.
  29. On Monday, a senior official said the money was held up over concerns about “a lot of corruption in Ukraine.” Trump repeated that his call was “a perfect phone call,” and said he was considering releasing the transcript.
  30. When asked about withholding aid in exchange for an investigation into the Bidens, Trump also told reporters, “If you don’t talk about corruption, why would you give money to a country that you think is corrupt?”
  31. Trump also said, “Joe Biden and his son are corrupt,” adding, “If a Republican ever did what Joe Biden did, if a Republican ever said what Joe Biden said, they’d be getting the electric chair right now.”
  32. On Monday, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell accused Democrats of trying to “politicize” the whistleblower complaint. Republicans largely remained silent about the complaint, except for Lindsey Graham.
  33. On Monday, seven freshmen Democrats who are veterans of the military, defense, and intelligence in swing districts wrote in an op-ed if allegations are true, “we believe these actions represent an impeachable offense.”
  34. The seven wrote, “We have devoted our lives to the service and security of our country….we have sworn oaths to defend the Constitution,” adding, we join to “uphold that oath as we enter uncharted waters.”
  35. On Monday, WAPO reported Speaker Pelosi is quietly sounding out her caucus to gauge support for impeachment. On Monday night, 146 House Democrats backed impeachment.
  36. On Monday, at the United Nations summit in New York, Trump skipped key climate crisis talks, instead reserving a conference room and chairing his own meeting on religious freedom held in the same building.
  37. On Monday, Trump mocked 16 year-old activist Greta Thunberg, who spoke at the U.N. on dangers to the environment, tweeting, “She seems like a very happy young girl looking forward to a bright and wonderful future.”
  38. On Tuesday, Fox News apologized for what it called a “disgraceful” comment about Thunberg by guest Michael Knowles who called her a “mentally ill Swedish child.” Fox said he will not be booked again.
  39. Fox News was silent on host Laura Ingraham likening Thunberg to a murderous cult of children from Stephen King’s “Children of the Corn,” saying, “I can’t wait for Stephen King’s sequel, ‘Children of the Climate.’”
  40. On Thursday, the Trump regime slashed the refugee cap to 18,000 for the coming year, down from 30,000 last year, 45,000 in Trump’s first year, and from 110,000 when Obama left office.
  41. Most of the 18,000 slots are reserved: the regime will reserve 4,000 for Iraqis in the U.S. military, 5,000 for those persecuted for religion, 1,500 for Central Americans, and 7,500 for family reunification.
  42. With the revised cap, the regime essentially eliminated all spots for people fleeing persecution or war. When Trump took office, the U.S. was the world’s leading destination for refugees.
  43. On Thursday, the Anti-Defamation League said in a new report it was classifying the ‘OK’ hand gesture as a hate symbol, along with several others, to its database of slogans and symbols used by extremists.
  44. On Friday, a federal judge blocked the Trump regime’s efforts to detain migrant families indefinitely, preserving the the landmark 1997 settlement known as the Flores Agreement.
  45. Judge Dolly Gee wrote the Trump regime’s efforts failed “to implement and are inconsistent with” the Flores Agreement, adding, “The blessing or the curse […] of a binding contract is its certitude.”
  46. On Friday, a federal judge blocked the Trump regime’s efforts to expand a program known as “expedited removal,” which fast-tracked deportations by sending recent border-crossers within 100 miles back to Mexico.
  47. The judge said the regime’s decision-making process appeared to violate federal law and appeared arbitrary. She also faulted the regime for not carrying out the notice-and-comment practice required to change federal law.
  48. On Friday, the American Medical Association, citing a wave of killings of at least 18 transgender people across the country, most of them transgender women of color, declared the killings an “epidemic.”
  49. On Tuesday, the U.K. Supreme Court’s 11 justices unanimously ruled that Prime Minister Boris Johnson suspending Parliament for five weeks ahead of the October 31 Brexit deadline was illegal.
  50. The court ruled the suspension “void and of no effect,” and Parliament reconvened Wednesday. Amid calls for him to resign, Johnson, who was at the U.N. General Assembly said he “disagreed profoundly” with the ruling.
  51. On Tuesday, speaking to reporters before delivering his speech to the U.N. General Assembly, Trump changed the story on why he halted aid to Ukraine, saying it was not about corruption but aid from European countries.
  52. Trump said, “I’ll continue to withhold [aid] until such time as Europe and other nations contribute to Ukraine,” falsely claiming, “Because they’re not doing it; it’s the United States. We’re putting up the bulk of the money.”
  53. Trump said he authorized the release of the call transcript, saying, “You will see it was a very friendly and totally appropriate call,” adding, “NO quid pro quo!” and saying he is the target of the “most Destructive Witch Hunt of all time!”
  54. Trump later said Pompeo had received permission from Ukraine for the release, tweeting, “they don’t know either what the big deal is.” One person familiar said of the release, “It’s an incredible miscalculation.”
  55. On Tuesday, Trump delivered his third U.N. General Assembly speech. Uncharacteristically, a subdued Trump read from the teleprompter with little inflection in his voice. World leaders remained quiet as he spoke.
  56. Trump delivered a 30-minute nationalist speech, saying the future belongs to “patriots” not “globalists,” citing illegal immigration and socialism, and criticizing other countries that he believed are treating the U.S. unfairly.
  57. In a 24-hour period, 57 House Democrats, including moderate Democrats who won in Trump districts, switched their position to supporting a formal impeachment proceeding, bringing the total to 197.
  58. Rep. John Lewis announced support, saying, “There comes a time when you have to be moved by the spirit of history to take action,” adding, “To delay or to do otherwise would betray the foundation of our democracy.”
  59. Sen. Dick Durbin, the No. 2 Senate Democrat joined the call for impeachment. Sens. Patty Murray and Debbie Stabenow, the No. 3 and No. 4 Democrats, have already come out for impeachment. Ten other senators joined as well.
  60. An NBC News analyst said Trump called Pelosi Tuesday morning, and asked, “Can we work something out” on the whistleblower complaint. She responded, “Tell your people to obey the law” and she was moving ahead.
  61. Pelosi told Trump, “You have come into my wheelhouse,” due to her 25 years in House Intelligence, including as chair. Pelosi and her leadership team considered forming a select committee to conduct the inquiry.
  62. On Tuesday at 5 p.m. EST, Speaker Pelosi took the extraordinary step of announcing a formal impeachment inquiry, speaking for five-minutes in front of American flags, saying that Trump had violated the Constitution.
  63. Pelosi said, “The actions of the Trump presidency have revealed the dishonorable fact of the president’s betrayal of his oath of office, betrayal of our national security and betrayal of the integrity of our elections.”
  64. Pelosi said for the past several months House committees have gathered “all the relevant facts and consider whether to exercise its full Article 1 powers” including “the utmost gravity of articles of impeachment.”
  65. Moments later, in a series of tweets, Trump said, “Such an important day at the United Nations,” adding, “the Democrats purposely had to ruin and demean it with more breaking news Witch Hunt garbage.”
  66. Trump also tweeted: “Pelosi, Nadler, Schiff and, of course, Maxine Waters! Can you believe this?” adding, “They never even saw the transcript of the call. A total Witch Hunt!” and “PRESIDENTIAL HARASSMENT!”
  67. Shortly after, Trump told reporters impeachment is a “continuation of the witch hunt” and will be “a positive for me in the election,” adding, “By the way, she hasn’t even seen the phone call. The phone call was perfect.”
  68. Trump , who was unusually subdued, alleged, without evidence that Biden and his son profited from dealings in Ukraine. He also insulted journalists, and accused WAPO of publishing a “fake article.”
  69. During his press conference, MSNBC host Nicolle Wallace cut away to tell her viewers, “We hate to do this…But the president isn’t telling the truth.” NBC’s Andrea Mitchell said, “We don’t know what he’s talking about.”
  70. Trump’s campaign sent out a fundraising text after the announcement, raising $1 million in 3 hours, and according to campaign manager Brad Parscale’s tweet, bringing in $5 million in the 24 hours post announcement.
  71. Later Pelosi told reporters, Trump admitted he spoke to Zelensky “about something that would assist him in his election,” adding, “so, that has changed everything,” and “It’s really a sad day for our country.”
  72. On Tuesday, Politico reported Trump has approved and the White House is preparing to release the whistleblower complaint to Congress by the end of the week, reversing its position to withhold the document.
  73. On Tuesday, the Senate unanimously passed a non-binding measure urging Trump to release the whistleblower complaint. The measure was introduced by Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer.
  74. On Tuesday, WAPO reported Trump’s moves with Ukraine began shortly after Zelensky was sworn in in April, and Giuliani saw him as a political neophyte and possible ally to go after Trump’s political opponents.
  75. After the Mueller probe ended, Giuliani focused on Ukraine, and pushed for personnel changes at the U.S. embassy, while deploying his own emissaries and seeking meetings with officials working for Zelensky.
  76. Giuliani targeted the U.S. ambassador to Ukraine,