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

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“Guilty on ALL 7 Counts” – Roger Stone by Jim Carrey 15Nov19
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President Bone Spurs and the joke he is on Veterans’ Day. Art: Jim Carrey
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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.

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New York City. August 2019.

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Pro-Regime sticker found in downtown San Diego, CA. October 2019.
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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 138: IN THE GHETTO

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JUNE 29, 2019

Week 137

Experts in authoritarianism advise to keep a list of things
subtly changing around you, so you’ll remember. Art photos either taken by me all around the world or found by me on social media, and the list is from AMY SISKIND’S WEEKLY LIST: https://theweeklylist.org/weekly-list/week-137/

This week as Trump backed off mass deportations, public outcry grew over conditions at detention centers for migrant children. Reminiscent of Theresienstadt Ghetto in the Nazi era, the Trump regime offered limited tours of detention centers to the media — viewings that contradicted interviews of immigration lawyers and advocates who described first-hand the inhumane conditions and traumatized children. Much of the country was moved and heartbroken over a photo of a Salvadoran father and daughter who drowned on the bank of the Rio Grande trying to cross to the U.S.IMG_9269

This week Trump headed to the G-20 summit in Osaka, Japan, ahead of which he attacked Japan, China, and European countries. While there, he cozied up to Russian President Vladimir Putin and reveled in joking about 2016 election interference and attacking the free press. Trump had a second private meeting with Saudi Arabia Crown Prince MBS despite United Nations findings of his likely involvement in the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi.

The Supreme Court made two major decisions on gerrymandering and a Census citizenship question, and seemed to signal a shift towards revisiting controversial issues with the now five conservative justices. Robert Mueller agreed to testify before two House committees on July 17, as the Trump regime continued to stonewall all congressional investigations.

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To Anyone Who Will Listen: “Russia Bought My Er(l)ection.”
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Antwerp, Belgium 29jun19.
  1. On Monday, a group of famous actors performed a live-streamed reading of the Mueller report titled “The Investigation: A Search for the Truth in Ten Act,” highlighting the 10 instances of possible obstruction of justice.
  2. On Sunday, popular knitting website Ravelry, which has more than 8 million users, said in a statement it is banning sharing posts of support for Trump, saying support for Trump and his administration is “undeniably support for white supremacy.”
  3. On Sunday, the Salt Lake Tribune Editorial Board wrote, “Yes, we have concentration camps,” saying the comparison of detention facilities is correct, and noting “because that starts as this.”
  4. On Monday, the NYT Editorial Board wrote “Children Shouldn’t Be Dying at our Border” and gave a guide of action items for citizens, including calling Congress, reporting raids, and donating to humanitarian efforts.
  5. On Tuesday, the Highlights Magazine CEO condemned Trump’s detention center in a “statement about human decency,” calling for “more humane treatment of immigrant children” and noting our children are watching.
  6. On Saturday, Trump accused the media of misreporting on Iran, tweeting, “I never called the strike against Iran “BACK,” as people are incorrectly reporting, I just stopped it from going forward at this time!”
  7. On Saturday, the Oregon Capitol was closed over a “possible militia threat” from right-wing protesters, a day after Gov. Kate Brown sent state police to round up GOP lawmakers who walked out over a climate change bill.
  8. On Tuesday, as the walkout by GOP state senators entered its sixth day, Democratic Senate President Peter Courtney gave assurances that the climate change bill would not move forward if they returned.
  9. On Sunday, Trump repeated his threat that deportations were only being delayed, tweeting, “I want to give the Democrats every last chance to quickly negotiate,” adding, “Two weeks and big Deportation begins!”
  10. PBS “Newshour” reported Trump delayed the Immigration and Customs Enforcement deportations raids ahead of Vice President Mike Pence’s “Latinos for Trump” rollout Sunday in Miami to embrace Hispanic voters.
  11. On Sunday, in an interview with “Meet the Press,” when asked if he was prepared to lose the 2020 election, Trump said, “No, I’m probably not too prepared to lose. I don’t like losing. I haven’t lost very much in my life.”
  12. Trump also said he did not believe the 2016 vote count, saying, “I’ll say something that, again, is controversial. There were a lot of votes that I don’t believe,” adding, “There was much illegal voting.”
  13. Trump also said if Democrats start impeachment, “I think I win the election easier,” adding, “I did nothing wrong. So impeachment’s a very unfair thing because nothing that I did was wrong.”
  14. When asked if he has given any thought to his presidential library, at first Trump said, “I’m so busy,” then suggested that it might be at one of his properties.
  15. Trump said he had “a great conversation” with Saudi Crown Prince MBS on Friday, and defended the partnership saying, “I’m not a fool,” and repeating the lie that “Saudi Arabia is buying $400 billion worth” of U.S. goods.
  16. Trump also said his regime is doing a “fantastic job” on the border, and when asked about hurting migrant children, blamed Democrats saying if they changed the asylum law “everything would be solved immediately.”
  17. NBC News host Chuck Todd, who conducted the interview, was heavily criticized for softball questions, and for not pushing back on Trump for his numerous lies during the interview.
  18. Similar to his ABC News interview in Week 136, Trump’s NBC News interview was a ratings disappointment, and drew in just 3.1 million viewers, fewer than on ABC News at 3.9 million.
  19. On Sunday, Vice President Pence told “Face the Nation” the conditions for children at some detention centers were “heartbreaking” and “unacceptable,” but blamed Democrats for lack of funding.
  20. On Sunday, the sheriff of Hidalgo County, Texas said four bodies, including a young woman, a toddler, and two infants were found on the Texas-Mexico border.
  21. The four appeared to have died from dehydration and heat exposure. The bodies were found close to where a section of Trump’s wall is set to be erected. The FBI will take over as lead on the investigation.
  22. On Monday, NBC News reported in a private Facebook post, Justice Department lawyer Sarah Fabian defended herself, saying the viral video of her was selectively edited and gave a false impression of her in court.
  23. Fabian had reportedly been getting death threats since her defense of the Trump regime not supplying basic hygiene products to migrant children in Week 136, where she tried to parse “safe and sanitary” conditions.
  24. On Wednesday, AP reported the bodies of a Salvadoran man and his 23 month-old daughter were found on the bank of the Rio Grande. The AP released the photo to the American public, which was widely circulated.
  25. The girl was tucked under her father’s shirt with her arms grasped around his neck, indicating she clung to him as they drowned. The bodies were found Monday, when Mexican newspaper La Jornada circulated the photo.
  26. The family sought asylum. In desperation, when the bridge in Mexico was closed, Óscar Alberto Martínez Ramírez swam across the river with his daughter, left her on the bank on the U.S. side, and then went back for his wife. The girl jumped in after him and both were swept by the current.
  27. On Wednesday, Fox News host Shep Smith got emotional discussing the deaths and migrant crisis, saying“the process of presenting yourself” at the border has changed, and “there’s not adequate anything for anyone.”
  28. On Thursday, Ken Cuccinelli, acting director of ICE, told CNN that Martínez was to blame for his daughter’s drowning death, saying they should have sought asylum legally. They did.
  29. On Wednesday, employees of Wayfair Furniture walked out over the company’s sale of $200,000 of beds to a government contractor, BCFS, which operates shelters for migrant children on the southern border.
  30. The employees said in a letter, we “want to be sure that Wayfair has no part in enabling, supporting, or profiting from this practice.” In response, Wayfair donated $100,000 of the $86,000 profit to the Red Cross.
  31. On Monday, AP reported the government moved roughly 270 of the 300 migrant children at the Clint, Texas facility to other facilities after media scrutiny about inadequate food, water, and sanitation in Week 136.
  32. Rep. Veronica Escobar, who was briefed by Customs and Border Protection, said some of the children will be moved to Border Patrol Station 1 in El Paso. One advocate said conditions were not necessarily better there.
  33. On Tuesday, CNN reported 100 migrant children are being moved back to the controversial facility in Clint,which lawyers, doctors, and advocates warned has major health and hygiene problems.
  34. On Tuesday, NBC News reported a CBP official said the agency was not running low on supplies, in response to citizens looking to donate hygiene products and food to detention centers after last week’s reports.
  35. The official added that CBP is looking into the possibility of accepting donations in the future, but for now “we’re using operational funding to provide those things, but those things are available now.”
  36. On Tuesday, NYT reported John Sanders, the acting commissioner of the CBP agency, is expected to resignamid the public outcry over the mistreatment of migrant children.
  37. Sanders has led the agency since Trump tapped Kevin McAleenan, who previously held the role, to replace Kirstjen Nielsen as secretary of homeland security in Week 126.
  38. On Wednesday, NPR reported in sworn declarations, immigration rights lawyers who conducted interviews of the migrant children described the conditions in the Clint detention station as “inhumane.”
  39. The lawyers described tearful, malnourished children, who reeked of filth and were jammed into frigid, overcrowded conditions, and were not allowed to bathe, clean their clothes, or have access to hygiene products.
  40. NPR and other reporters were given a tour of the facility on Wednesday, and were give a vastly different showing of an orderly, clean facility with pantries stocked with snacks. Officials claimed the children could shower.
  41. Reporters were walked past holding cells of children, but not allowed to speak to them. The tour was meant rebut lawyers describing life-threatening conditions, and calling it “a public health emergency.”
  42. Similarly, on Friday, CBS News was given a guided tour of the Homestead detention center for migrant children in Homestead, Florida by Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar.
  43. Unlike previous reporting, the camera crew witnessed orderly lunch lines, and packed and boisterous classrooms. Azar told CBS News, “There’s been a lot of factual misrepresentations or just ignorant statements.”
  44. On Wednesday, a group of attorneys filed a lawsuit asking a federal judge to hold the Trump regime in contempt and take immediate action to remedy unsafe conditions for migrant children in detention centers.
  45. The lawsuit was based on the 1997 Flores agreement, and said conditions pose “an imminent threat to the health and welfare of class member children,” citing children “are dirty, cold, hungry and sleep-deprived.”
  46. On Thursday, at her weekly press conference, Speaker Nancy Pelosi said she spoke to Trump Wednesday on immigration, but during their negotiation the White House issued a statement saying they are done negotiating.
  47. Pelosi said she becomes “a lioness” when children are endangered, and paused when asked about the photo, saying “the little girl wanted to be with her father…he couldn’t save her and couldn’t save himself.”
  48. On Thursday, the House passed the Senate version of a Border Bill, sending a $4.6 billion humanitarian aid package to Trump for signature, but leaving House Democrats warring over accepting the Senate terms.
  49. In accepting the Senate version, Pelosi capitulated and dropped their insistence on stronger protections for migrant children. Moderate Democrats (129) broke to vote with Republicans to pass the bill.
  50. Vice President Pence reportedly privately gave Pelosi assurances they would abide by some protections, including 24-hour notice of a migrant child death and a 90-day limit for children in temporary intake facilities.
  51. On Sunday, in a homophobic op-ed titled “The shame of LGBTQ Pride,” West Virginia State Senator Mike Azinger argued “tolerance is the last virtue of a depraved society.”
  52. West Virginia Republican Party Chairwoman Melody Potter praised Azinger’s op-ed, calling it “right on and is biblically based,” and saying, “More people should do the same. Thank you!”
  53. On Friday, Arizona state senate President Karen Fann and House Speaker Russell Bowers ordered a Pride flag removed from the Arizona Capitol Museum, after Secretary of State Katie Hobbs put it up to celebrate Pride.
  54. Legislative Executive Director Mike Braun told local news he was responsible for removing the flag, saying Hobb’s office failed to follow the regulations, saying Hobbs “can’t just fly a pride flag because she wants to.”
  55. On Friday, three men in the Rochester, New York area pleaded guilty in a foiled plot to bomb a Muslim community. Police found 23 firearms and three “improvised explosive devices” in their possession.
  56. On Monday, the acting inspector general of the Treasury Department said his office would open an inquiry into why a new $20 featuring abolitionist Harriet Tubman was been delayed by Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin.
  57. On Monday, in an interview with The Hill in the Oval Office, Trump denied E. Jean Carroll’s rape allegation, saying “she’s not my type.” Trump also claimed “it never happened.”
  58. Most Republicans stood by Trump on the allegations. Sen. Susan Collins called the “not my type” comment “bizarre,” and Sens. Joni Ernst, Mitt Romney and Mike Braun said the allegations should be taken seriously.
  59. On Monday, Dean Baquet, the executive editor of the NYT, admitted critics were right, and the Times had been “overly cautious” in its coverage of Carroll’s allegations against Trump.
  60. On Wednesday, the two women that Carroll spoke to contemporaneously went public. Carol Martin and Lisa Birnbach, both well known figures in the 1990s, told the Times that Carroll confided in them.
  61. On Tuesday, CNN reported the Robert Murdoch owned New York Post pulled a story about Carroll’s rape accusations against Trump on orders of Col Allan, a former top editor and Trump supporter.
  62. On Wednesday, Marshae Jones, a 27 year-old black woman, was indicted in Alabama on charges of manslaughter for initiating a dispute that led to her to being shot and losing her pregnancy.
  63. On Friday, a federal judge imposed a life sentence for neo-Nazi James Fields, who killed Heather Heyer in Week 40 by crashing his car into a crowd of counterprotesters in Charlottesville. He also injured 30 people.
  64. Fields will not be eligible for parole. The judges said, “the release of the defendant into a free society is too great a risk.” Prosecutors said Fields remained unrepentant after the attack.
  65. On Monday, Trump signed an executive order putting in place new sanctions on Iran impacting Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei and other top leaders’ access to “key financial resources and support.”
  66. Trump also mentioned Ayatollah Khomeini on his list of Iranian leaders to be sanctioned. Khomeini died in 1989.
  67. On Monday, in an interview with The Hill, Trump said he does not need Congressional approval to strike Iran, and added on Congress, “I do like keeping them abreast, but I don’t have to do it legally.”
  68. On Monday, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell shut down the vote on an amendment which would require congressional approval for the use of military funds in Iran. Some Republicans had backed the amendment.
  69. On Tuesday, Iranian president Hassan Rouhani responded to the sanctions, saying Trump is “afflicted by a mental disorder,” echoing North Korean leader Kim Jong Un’s insult of “mentally deranged US dotard.”
  70. On Tuesday, Trump responded in a series of tweets, saying “Iran leadership doesn’t understand the words “nice” or “compassion,” they never have,” adding, “Sadly, the thing they do understand is Strength and Power.”
  71. Trump also tweeted, “obviously, the people of Iran are great people,” saying, “I know many of them…I have many friends that are Iranian,” but added, “ it’s very sad what’s happening to that country.”
  72. Trump also tweeted: “Iran’s very ignorant and insulting statement…only shows that they do not understand reality,” adding any attack on the U.S. will be met with “overwhelming force” and “obliteration.”
  73. On Tuesday, when Trump was asked by reporters in the Oval Office about his exit strategy in Iran if war breaks out, he responded, “You’re not going to need an exit strategy. I don’t need exit strategies.”
  74. On Tuesday, Eric Trump said an employee at a high-end bar Aviary in Chicago spit on him. Chicago Police Department officers were on scene assisting with the federal authorities.
  75. On Tuesday, Politico reported Trump is tiring of acting White House Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney, reportedly snapping at him and expressing frustration, signaling a slow deterioration of the relationship.
  76. Trump also does not like to hear bad news which Mulvaney must deliver, but as his third chief of staff, Trump is unlikely to fire him in the short-term. Trump is said to like the flexibility of having staff in an “acting” role.
  77. On Tuesday, Trump named Stephanie Grisham, First Lady Melania Trump’s communications director who has been with the Trump campaign since 2015, to be his third press secretary in less than three years.
  78. Grisham was also named communications director, a role vacant since Bill Shine left in March. She is one of the last remaining member of the Trump campaign still serving in the White House.
  79. On Tuesday, WAPO reported that while press secretary for the Republican majority in the Arizona House of Representatives, Grisham took away a reporter’s access to the House floor after critical coverage.
  80. On Tuesday, some 50 reporters showed up to toast Sarah Sanders at her going away party at Rare Steakhouse. One reporter told the Times, “You’d better not say I was here.”
  81. Notably, as press secretary, Sanders went more than 100 days without giving a press briefing, lied frequently, told Mueller she delivered false statements to reporters, and called the media “the enemy of the people.”
  82. On Monday, House Oversight Chair Elijah Cummings re-upped his demand in a letter to Mulvaney for his records of Trump’s past meetings with Russian President Vladimir Putin, ahead of their G-20 meeting.
  83. On Monday, Axios reported the House Oversight Committee will vote Wednesday to authorize to subpoena Kellyanne Conway for testimony in connection to her violations of the Hatch Act.
  84. On Monday, Conway said on “Fox & Friends” of calls for her firing that “they want to put a big roll of masking tape over my mouth,” and “chill free speech” because they do not know how to beat Trump.
  85. On Monday, White House counsel Pat Cipollone said in a letter to Chair Cummings that Conway would be barred from testifying before Congress “in accordance with long-standing precedent” of executive privilege.
  86. Henry Kerner of the watchdog special counsel, a Trump appointee, testified that Conway’s action created an “unprecedented challenge” to enforce ethics, citing repeated violation and her “unrepentant attitude.”
  87. On Wednesday, the House Oversight Committee voted 25-16, with Rep. Justin Amash joining Democrats, to subpoena Conway.
  88. On Monday, House Judiciary Chair Jerrold Nadler said Annie Donaldson, Don McGahn’s former chief of staff, will testify before his panel after being subpoenaed. Due to her pregnancy, testimony will be slightly delayed.
  89. On Monday, Rep. Jim Himes, a senior member of the House Intelligence Committee, came out for impeachment, tweeting: “there are moments for clarity and conviction. This is such a moment.” The total stood at 80.
  90. On Tuesday, HuffPost reported as pressure for impeachment grew, Democratic House leaders convened a closed-door meeting with members to show the perils of impeachment with polls in 50 battleground districts.
  91. Members expressed that Democrats were coming around to impeachment. Rep. Gerry Connolly said, “It’s a dam that could break at any minute,” adding, “We are one major explosive piece of testimony or evidence away.”
  92. One member said some representatives are looking to craft a message around “aggressive oversight and accountability” for 2020, citing evidence that voters in moderate districts support that.
  93. On Monday, House Oversight filed a contempt report against Attorney General William Barr and Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross for refusing to turn over subpoenaed documents about the citizenship question.
  94. On Tuesday, the House Oversight Committee released a transcript of an interview of James Uthmeier, a former senior Commerce Department official, on adding a citizenship question to the 2020 Census.
  95. Commerce Department lawyers instructed Uthmeier, a senior advisor to Secretary Ross, not to answer questions about his conversations with Ross. He refused to answer more than 100 questions.
  96. On Tuesday, WSJ reported the House Intelligence Committee interviewed Giorgi Rtskhiladze, a Georgian-American businessman who pitched a proposal to build a Trump Tower Moscow in 2015 to Michael Cohen.
  97. Rtskhiladze told the Journal during the eight hours of questioning he was asked about his proposal, his interactions with the Trump Organization, and his reference to compromising tapes of Trump — which he told the panel did not exist.
  98. The Mueller report details Rtskhiladze’s meeting with Cohen. He told the Journal that Cohen “was always keeping options open” and they had several conversations about the Trump Tower Moscow project
  99. Rtskhiladze forwarded a design of the tower sent by Cohen, saying, “If we could organize the meeting in New York at the highest level of the Russian Government and Mr. Trump” the project would get worldwide attention.
  100. On Tuesday, the House Judiciary and Intelligence committees announced that “pursuant to a subpoena” Robert Mueller had agreed to testify before both panels in open session testimony on July 17.
  101. The committee chairs said, “Americans have demanded to hear directly from the special counsel” on “Russia’s attack on our democracy” and “Trump and his associates’ obstruction of the investigation.”
  102. On Wednesday, Politico reported the two House committees also plan to call Mueller’s deputies to publicly testify, including Andrew Weissman, Andrew Goldstein, Jeanie Rhee, and Michael Dreeben.
  103. On Wednesday, “Fox & Friends” co-host Brian Kilmeade expressed doubt about Mueller, saying, “I don’t think he knows the details of the report,” and likened Mueller to the king of England, saying, “he assigns the people.”
  104. On Wednesday, Trump called into the Fox Business host Maria Bartiromo’s show, and said of Mueller testifying, “it never ends,” adding, “We had no obstruction, we had no collusion.”
  105. Trump repeated his refrain “there was no obstruction, there was no collusion,” adding there was “crime on the other side” that should be investigated, “you had people spying on my campaign, it’s real simple.”
  106. On Wednesday, Politico reported pro-impeachment Democrats hope Mueller’s testimony in a public forumdetailing his report will be a breakthrough in building support for impeachment.
  107. Just an estimated 3% of Americans have read the 448-page Mueller report, which is laden with footnotes and legalese. Impeachment supporters hope public testimony will also drive more members of Congress off the fence.
  108. On Wednesday, Trump sent a series of tweets before the first Democratic debate and while heading to the G-20 in Osaka, telling his supporters who to follow, adding, “Sorry, I’m on Air Force One, off to save the Free World!”
  109. Trump attacked Democrats, tweeting, “according to Fake News (and low ratings) @CNN, “Democrats say hearings could change impeachment debate,”” adding “they are hoping that yet another DO OVER.”
  110. Trump also tweeted, “No Collusion, No Obstruction!” adding, “Mueller said he was done after his last 9 minute news conference, as later corrected,” and “Now the Dems want to give it another try. Does it ever end?”
  111. Trump questioned why House Democrats are not calling “Comey, Brennan, Clapper, Page and her FBI lover(whose invaluable phone records were illegally deleted), Crooked Hillary, Podesta, Ohr (and Nellie).”
  112. Trump tweeted these people have “leaked, lied and did so many other terrible things,” saying they are not called “Because it is a Rigged Democrat Con Game, and the Fake and Corrupt Media loves every minute of it!”
  113. Trump blamed passage of the Super Predator Crime Bill on Joe Biden, Bill Clinton and “Crooked Hillary Clinton,” which he said “inflicted great pain on many,” especially African Americans. Trump was also for that crime bill.
  114. On Wednesday, a half hour into the Democratic debate, despite his earlier tweet that he was “off to save the Free World,” Trump tweeted, “BORING!
  115. Trump also tweeted about a technology glitch, saying “@NBCNews and @MSNBC should be ashamed of themselves,” adding, “Truly unprofessional and only worthy of a FAKE NEWS Organization.”
  116. On Thursday, after the second Democratic debate where Kamala Harris, a black senator, notionally won the debate, bots amplified a far-right conspiracy saying Harris is not black and is not a U.S. citizen.
  117. Donald Jr. also tweeted, and later deleted, a tweet saying Harris is not black, tweeting, “Is this true? Wow.” The conspiracy is reminiscent of Birtherism attacks on former president Obama, which Trump espoused.
  118. On Thursday, Twitter announced it will place a disclaimer on tweets sent by Trump and other leaders that break the company’s rules. Twitter has argued these tweets should remain up, since they serve the public interest.
  119. The disclaimer will say, “The Twitter Rules about abusive behavior apply to this Tweet. However, Twitter has determined that it may be in the public’s interest for the Tweet to remain available.”
  120. On Thursday, the House Foreign Affairs Committee released the former secretary of state Rex Tillerson’s seven hours of testimony last month that revealed Jared Kushner operated independently with foreign leaders.
  121. On several occasions Tillerson was blindsided by Kushner’s discussions with world leaders. He spotted Kushner with Mexico’s foreign secretary at a restaurant in D.C. hashing out a “fairly comprehensive plan of action.”
  122. Tillerson was surprised by the 2017 Gulf crisis in which the U.S. sided with Saudi Arabia and the UAE over Qatar. In Week 35, Kushner failed to get a bailout of 666 Fifth Avenue from the Qatari sovereign wealth fund.
  123. Tillerson also described the challenges of briefing Trump, who does not read papers and was easily distracted by peripheral topics. Tillerson said it was his choice to reduce media access to the State Department.
  124. On Thursday, in an interview with the BBC, the Dalai Lama said Trump’s time in office was defined by a “lack of moral principle.” In contrast, the Dalai Lama said he had “no worries” about a Trump presidency in 2016.
  125. The Dalai Lama is concerned with Trump’s withdrawal from the Paris accord and the migrant crisis: “When I saw pictures of some of those young children, I was sad. America … should take a global responsibility.”
  126. On Tuesday, Judge Emmet Sullivan rejected a DOJ motion for an appellate court to re-examine his rulings on Emoluments Clause lawsuit brought by 200 Democrats in Congress, saying it can move forward.
  127. On Tuesday, a federal appeals court said a lower court in Maryland should examine new allegations that the Trump regime had a discriminatory intent in wanting to add a citizenship question to the 2020 Census.
  128. The Maryland case examines whether the question violates equal-protection guarantees. The case in the Supreme Court considers whether the regime violated administrative law and the enumeration clause.
  129. On Tuesday, the DOJ filed a civil complaint against Trump adversary Omarosa Manigault Newman, saying she failed to file a financial disclosure report after she was fired in late 2017.
  130. In a statement, Newman’s attorney John Phillips said the allegations are “untrue,” and that Trump’s White House had chosen “to abuse process and use the Department of Justice to carry out retaliation.”
  131. On Wednesday, Politico reported former FEMA director Brock Long has repaid just 2% of the $151,000 of taxpayer money a Homeland Security Department inspector general probe found he spent for personal use.
  132. On Thursday, Paul Manafort pleaded not guilty in New York Supreme Court to to state fraud charges broughtby the Manhattan district attorney’s office, the third criminal case he has faced in recent years.
  133. The state case, which was brought just after his sentencing in March, could be a possible test of double jeopardy, which his attorney said he will file a motion claiming. A Trump pardon would not apply to state crimes.
  134. On Thursday, the Supreme Court ruled 5-4 along partisan lines to bar federal court challenges to partisan gerrymandering, the practice of state legislatures in power drawing voting maps to help its candidates.
  135. Chief Justice John Roberts, who wrote the majority opinion, has long argued that politics could play a role in drawing election districts, and that the judicial branch should not second-guess lawmakers’ judgment.
  136. Justice Elena Kagan delivered an impassioned dissent for the four liberal judges from the bench “with deep sadness,” saying the practices of gerrymandering “imperil our system of government.”
  137. Kagan also wrote, “Part of the court’s role in that system is to defend its foundations. None is more important than free and fair elections,” adding the ruling had taken away the remedy for escalating partisan manipulation.
  138. Also Thursday, the Supreme Court voted 5-4, with Roberts this time siding with liberal judges, to reject adding a citizenship question to the 2020 Census, saying the regime’s rationale “appears to have been contrived.”
  139. Roberts left the door open, saying the regime must “offer genuine justifications…reasons that can be scrutinized by courts and the interested public.” Time is short though, since census forms must be printed out soon.
  140. On Thursday, in reaction, Trump tweeted, “seems totally ridiculous that our government, and indeed Country, cannot ask a basic question of Citizenship in a very expensive, detailed and important Census.”
  141. Trump also said he wants to delay the 2020 census, tweeting, “I have asked the lawyers if they can delay the Census, no matter how long,” in order to give the Supreme Court additional information.
  142. The Census Bureau said it faces a Monday deadline to print the survey, which is taken every 10 years; although the bureau’s chief scientist said in appeals court testimony the deadline could be delayed until October 31.
  143. On Friday, the Supreme Court granted an appeal to the Trump regime’s effort to end the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, or DACA, in the court’s next term, after refusing to expedite consideration this term.
  144. On Friday, Roll Call reported the Supreme Court rulings this term signal a shift: without a justice in the middle, the five conservative justices will seek to undo long-standing precedents they believe were wrongly decided.
  145. On Friday, the House Ethics Committee announced it is launching a formal inquiry of Rep. Matt Gaetz over his tweet threatening Michael Cohen with the release of embarrassing information before his House testimony.
  146. Gaetz skipped an initial review, an extraordinary rebuke of his colleagues, which led the committee to launch a formal inquiry led by two Democrats and two Republicans. Gaetz tweeted he would skip the formal inquiry too.
  147. On Friday, a federal judge in California ruled against the Trump regime in two cases, preventing $2.5 billion in federal funds from being used for Trump’s wall in portions of California, New Mexico, Texas, and Arizona.
  148. The first lawsuit, brought by 17 attorneys general, blocked Trump’s attempt to move $2.5 billion from the Defense Department budget to build portions of his wall in California and New Mexico.
  149. The second lawsuit was brought by American Civil Liberties Union on behalf of several environmental groups and blocks $1 billion of funding the regime had allocated for Trump’s wall in Texas and Arizona.
  150. Both lawsuits alleged the Trump regime could not spend taxpayer money without Congressional approval. The judge found “no new factual or legal arguments persuade the Court” of the Trump regime’s analysis.
  151. On Wednesday, in a series of tweets, Trump attacked Megan Rapinoe, the co-captain of the U.S. women’s national soccer team, which was playing at the Women’s World Cup in France.
  152. Trump tweets were sparked by Rapinoe saying, “No, I’m not going to the White House,” adding, “We’re not going to be invited. I doubt it.” Rapinoe also does not join her team in singing the national anthem under Trump.
  153. Trump tweeted, “Women’s soccer player, @mPinoe, just stated that she is “not going to the F…ing White House if we win,”” adding, “Megan should WIN first before she TALKS! Finish the job!”
  154. Trump initially misspelled Rapinoe’s name and used an incorrect Twitter handle, but later deleted the tweet and corrected it. Trump also criticized “the NBA, which now refuses to call owners, owners” for not coming.
  155. Trump also tweeted, “We haven’t yet invited Megan or the team, but I am now inviting the TEAM, win or lose,” adding, “Megan should never disrespect our Country, the White House, or our Flag.”
  156. On Friday, Rapinoe scored two goals in the U.S. team’s 2–1 victory of France in the quarterfinals in Paris. She also accepted an invitation from Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez to visit the Capitol instead.
  157. On Monday, Bloomberg reported recently Trump privately discussed the idea of ending Japan Defense Pact, signed after World War II, with confidants, claiming it is too one-sided.
  158. On Wednesday, before heading to the G-20 summit in Japan, Trump questioned the treaty on Fox Business, saying if Japan is attacked, “we will fight World War III,” but if we are “they can watch on a Sony television.”
  159. Trump also berated China over stalled trade talks, falsely claiming, “Don’t let anyone tell you that China’s not paying for it. China’s paying for it,” adding, “We’re not paying for any of it.”
  160. Trump also complained about European leaders, saying, “Almost all countries in this world take tremendousadvantage of the United States,” he said. “It’s unbelievable.”
  161. Trump also attacked Germany and NATO, falsely claiming, “We pay for close to 100 percent of NATO,” adding, “People don’t know that. We pay for close to that because Germany doesn’t pay what they’re supposed to pay.”
  162. Trump however had no unkind words for Russia. When asked by reporters before leaving about his upcoming talks with Russian President Vladimir Putin, Trump responded what I say to Putin is “none of your business.”
  163. After landing, Trump went to dinner with Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison, who he had defended on Twitter in recent days over his government’s hard-line with refugees and asylum seekers.
  164. On Thursday, Putin told the Financial Times that Trump’s 2016 victory and the rise of nationalist-populist movements in Europe demonstrated “the liberal idea has become obsolete.”
  165. Putin also dismissed findings in the Mueller report, and said it was “strange” that Russia was still being accused of interference, and praised Trump as being “talented.”
  166. On Friday, at the G-20 when Trump and Putin spoke to reporters, one asked Trump if he would raise election interference. Trump joked with Putin, saying, “Don’t meddle in our election, president” while smiling.
  167. Trump then repeated the phrase “Don’t meddle in our election” while wagging his finger at Putin, while Putin and onlooking Secretary of State Mike Pompeo both smiled too.
  168. Trump said, “It’s a great honor to be with President Putin,” calling their relationship “very, very good.” Russia invited Trump to Moscow next year for the 75th anniversary of Victory Day, which Russia says he accepted.
  169. Trump also joked alongside Putin, saying of journalists, we should “get rid of them. Fake news is a great term, isn’t it?” and telling Putin, “You don’t have this problem in Russia but we do.” Putin responded, “we also have.”
  170. Trump’s remarks on the media came on the one year anniversary of the Capital Gazette shooting, in which five employees were shot and killed.
  171. Numerous journalists in Russia who were critics of Putin have been jailed or found dead. According to the World Press Freedom Index, Russia ranks near the bottom in terms of press freedom.
  172. In contrast to Trump, British Prime Minister Theresa May was photographed with Putin looking serious and stern, after a frosty meeting in which she confronted him over the the Salisbury poisoning.
  173. May told Putin “there cannot be a normalization of our bilateral relationship until Russia stops the irresponsible and destabilizing activity that threatens the U.K. and its allies.”
  174. In response to Putin’s FT interview, May told Putin the UK would “continue to unequivocally defend liberal democracy and protect the human rights and equality of all groups, including LGBT people.”
  175. On Friday, Trump was 30 minutes late for a meeting with world leaders, while sending tweets attacking Democratic rivals and bragging about the stock market.
  176. Trump tweeted, “I am in Japan at the G-20, representing our Country well, but I heard it was not a good day for Sleepy Joe or Crazy Bernie,” adding “One is exhausted, the other is nuts.”
  177. On Friday, former president Jimmy Carter, interviewed at a Carter Center event, said “Trump didn’t actually win the election in 2016,” adding Trump “was put into office because the Russians interfered on his behalf.”
  178. When asked if he believed Trump is an illegitimate president, Carter responded, “I would say yes.” Carter said on Russian interference that Trump “should condemn it,” and “admit that it happened.”
  179. On Saturday, when asked about Carter’s comments, Trump told reporters at the G-20, “Look, he was a nice man. He was a terrible president,” adding, “He’s a Democrat. And it’s a typical talking point.”
  180. Trump also said “as everybody now understands, I won not because of Russia, not because of anybody but myself,” adding that he “felt badly” for Carter because of how he had “been trashed within his own party.”
  181. On Friday, NYT reported that other than Putin, Trump met privately with only one other leader, Saudi Arabia Crown Prince MBS, at the G-20, despite the United Nations report in Week 136 on the murder of Jamal Khashoggi.
  182. The CIA also concluded Crown Prince MBS ordered the murder. Human rights and journalism advocacy groups warned Trump’s meeting would embolden autocrats to repress or kill journalists.
  183. On Saturday, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan told reporters Trump told him in a private meeting that he would not impose sanctions over Turkey’s deal to purchase a Russian missile defense system.
  184. Trump’s deal seemed to conflict with the Pentagon, which threatened to move industrial operations to other countries unless Turkey gave up its plans to purchase the Russian surface-to-air missile defense system.
  185. On Saturday, after meeting with Chinese President Xi Jinping at the G-20, Trump said he agreed to relax limits on Chinese telecommunications giant Huawei and delay new tariffs to restart trade negotiations.
  186. Last month the Commerce Department imposed sanctions on Huawei because of national security concerns or Chinese government spying. Huawei depends upon U.S. companies for computer chips.
  187. On Saturday, Trump held a news conference at the G-20. When asked about Putin’s FT comments that Western-style liberalism is obsolete, Trump mistook the meaning of the word liberalism.
  188. Trump criticized “what’s happening in Los Angeles, where it’s so sad to look,” and “what’s happening in San Francisco and a couple of other cities, which are run by an extraordinary group of liberal people.”
  189. Trump also complained about the cost of the Census, saying “The census was shocking to me. I figured it would be not expensive to do a census. It’s billions of dollars. You know that right? Billions. Billions.”
  190. On Friday, Rep. Joseph Kennedy III, a close ally of Speaker Pelosi, became the 85th member of Congress to call for impeachment. Also, 15 of the 24 House Judiciary Committee members are for impeachment
  191. On Friday, WSJ reported Deutsche Bank is considering cutting an additional 20,000 jobs. The bank faces a wide-ranging U.S. probe into possible money laundering, and the bank’s relationship with Trump.

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The bodies of Salvadoran migrant Oscar Alberto Martínez Ramírez and his nearly 2-year-old daughter Valeria lie on the bank of the Rio Grande in Matamoros, Mexico, Monday, June 24, 2019, after they drowned trying to cross the river to Brownsville, Texas. Martinez’ wife, Tania told Mexican authorities she watched her husband and child disappear in the strong current.

POLITIKS OF GRAFFITI 96: F E A R . . .

Week 95: Experts in authoritarianism advise to keep a list of things subtly changing around you, so you’ll remember.

September 8, 2018 https://medium.com/@Amy_Siskind/week-95-experts-in-authoritarianism-advise-to-keep-a-list-of-things-subtly-changing-around-you-so-5fcebd7e661

This week, the country watched the contentious Senate hearings for Trump’s Supreme Court nominee, Brett Kavanaugh. Senator Patrick Leahy called it the “most incomplete, most partisan, least transparent” vetting of a Supreme Court nominee in his forty-four years in the senate. As hearings wrapped up, questions linger about whether Kavanaugh has lied under oath in this and past judicial hearings, as well as whether Trump had selected Kavanaugh, who was not on his 2016 campaign list, in order to protect himself from the Mueller probe.

This week was also dominated by previews of Bob Woodward’s upcoming book “Fear” on Trump’s White House, and an explosive opinion piece in the Times by an anonymous senior official in the Trump regime. Both seemed to suggest that Trump is unfit for office, and his White House is operating chaotically, potentially exposing the country to danger. Trump lashed out, seeking to discredit Woodward, and summoning his Justice Department to investigate the NYT for what he described as “treason.”

As the week came to a close, former President Obama re-emerged on the national political scene, two months ahead of midterms, calling out Trump by name, and rallying voters to be engaged. As with the funeral of Sen. John McCain in Week 94, Obama’s presence, in sharp contrast to Trump, served as a reminder of how far from normalcy our country has strayed since Trump took office.

IMG_6174IMG_6172IMG_6481“Dear Mother Mary, Please take Putin away.” Kyiv, Ukraine. 7sep18. 

  1. ABC News reported press secretary Sarah Sanders spent a combined three hours and 58 minutes at 13 press briefings during June, July, and August — significantly less than last summer and in prior administrations.
  2. WAPO reported that after 592 days in office, Trump has made 4,713 false or misleading claims. Although he averaged 4.9 claims per day in his first 100 days, in the past 3 months he has averaged 15.4 false claims per day.
  3. After June with 534 false or misleading claims, August ranked second with 469 claims. Immigration is the top source of Trump’s misleading claims, now totaling 592 claims.
  4. NYT compiled a list of Trump ethical lapses in the Trump regime so far. First, five who have been convicted of or have pleaded guilty to crimes five, including Michael Cohen, Paul Manafort, George Papadopoulos, Rick Gates, and Michael Flynn.
  5. Second, seven current and former Cabinet officials have misspent taxpayer money or violated ethics rules, including Scott Pruitt, Ben Carson, David Shulkin, Wilbur Ross, Tom Price, Brenda Fitzgerald, and Nikki Haley.
  6. Finally, four current or former White House staffers have security or ethics issues, including Rob Porter, Dan Scavino Jr., Kellyanne Conway, and John McEntee.
  7. In a letter to the Senate Judiciary Committee last Friday, Trump said he will not release 102,000 pages of records from Kavanaugh’s tenure for George W. Bush, claiming they would be covered by executive privilege.
  8. On Sunday talk shows, Democratic members of the Senate Judiciary Committee spoke out against Trump’s refusal to release records. Dick Durbin said there’s “more concealment of documents…than ever in the history” of the country, and Amy Klobuchar said, “This is not normal.”
  9. On Sunday, Axios reported Omarosa taped nearly every conversation she had while working in the White House. She carried two phones, allowing her to record conversations she was having on one phone on the other.
  10. On Sunday, in an op-ed at the Des Moines Register, Mollie Tibbett’s father asked that people not distort her death to advance racist views: “On behalf of my family and Mollie’s memory, I’m imploring you to stop.”
  11. An Idaho white supremacist group placed a robocall in Florida targeting Democrat Andrew Gillum, saying “Well hello there. I is Andrew Gillum,” and in the background are sounds of drums and monkeys.
  12. The calls end saying they were funded by The Road to Power, an anti-Semitic, white supremacist website, which also did robocalls in Week 94using the death of Mollie Tibbetts to promote white supremacist messages.
  13. On Sunday, members at the North Austin Muslim Community Center in Austin, Texas said someone tried to break into their building. Photos show shattered glass on the front door and side entrance.
  14. Vassar College said the students responsible for creating and distributing a “disorientation” guide that is “provocative of violence and anti-Semitism” distributed to incoming freshmen last week will face penalties.
  15. On Monday, New Yorker editor David Remnick canceled a scheduled appearance by Steve Bannon at the magazine’s October festival, after a social media backlash and several notables pulled out in protest.
  16. On Wednesday, the Atlantic reported Daily Caller writer and editor Scott Greer wrote under a pseudonym for an alt-right website associated with Richard Spencer. Greer severed ties with The Daily Caller after the Atlanticreporting.
  17. On Wednesday, the Justice Department issued subpoenas demanding millions of North Carolina voter records be turned over to ICE by September 25, threatening chaos two months ahead of midterms.
  18. The secretive move appeared to be part of an effort to crack down on unauthorized voting, after federal officials announced 19 noncitizens in North Carolina were charged last week with casting illegal votes in 2016.
  19. Critics speculated the move was a continuation of the work by the Trump regime’s Election Integrity Commission, which was disbanded in January after finding no evidence of significant fraud or a corrupt voting system.
  20. On Thursday, ProPublica reported internal documents from a Chicagoshelter for migrant children forcibly separated from their parents, one of the nation’s largest networks for unaccompanied minors, reveal despair and tedium.
  21. Documents reveal children considering suicide, going on a hunger strike, contemplating escape. A 10-month-old boy was repeatedly bitten by an older child and later hospitalized after falling from a highchair.
  22. On Thursday, the Trump regime announced a new rule which would allow immigrant children with their parents to be held in detention indefinitely, upending a ban on indefinite detention in place since 1997.
  23. The rule proposed by the departments Homeland Security and Health and Human Services is meant to terminate the Flores settlement agreement which says children must be released in 20 days, citing court backlogs can drag out the time immigrants must wait.
  24. On Thursday, in a court document, the Trump regime said 416 migrant children separated under Trump’s zero-tolerance policy have yet to be reunited with their parents, 14 of which are under 5 years-old.
  25. On Monday, NBC News anchor Chuck Todd said in an op-ed it was time for the press to stop complaining and start fighting back, citing Trump’s “campaign to destroy the legitimacy of the American news media.”
  26. On Tuesday, Trump shot back at “Sleepy Eyes Chuck Todd of Fake NBC News” in a tweet, saying of the media they have been fighting: “They’ve gone all out, and I WON, and now they’re going CRAZY!”
  27. Trump also called out “NBC FAKE NEWS” over their killing of the Harvey Weinstein story, and again called for reexamining NBC’s TV license, which it does not have. The FCC does not issue licenses to TV networks.
  28. On Tuesday, in an interview with The Daily Caller, Trump said of NBC and their pattern of alleged corruption, “Well, not only NBC, I think the media, large segments of the, not all, large segments of the media are corrupt.”
  29. Trump also said about Chuck Todd, “He’s Sleepy Eyes Chuck Todd. He covers me very dishonestly,” and of CNN commentator Ana Navarro, “she’s sick. I mean, she’s sick.”
  30. Trump told The Daily Caller on the topic of Mueller, “I could give you 100 pictures of him and Comey hugging and kissing each other. You know, he’s Comey’s best friend.” No such pictures have been made public.
  31. On Monday, The Young Turks reported federal documents show at least two former clients of FEMA Administrator William “Brock” Long have received FEMA contracts totaling more than $14 million.
  32. Long joined FEMA in June 2017 after six years at Hagerty Consulting, a disaster consulting firm. Eagle Hill won a $53k contract from FEMA, while Booz Allen got multiples contracts totaling approximately $14 million.
  33. On Tuesday, AP reported analysis completed by Trump’s EPA concluded that the rollback of pollution rules would lead to a greater number of people dying prematurely and suffering health problems in coal country.
  34. The EPA analysis found Trump’s plan would lead to thousands more heart attacks, asthma problems, and other illnesses that would not have occurred under the Obama administration’s plan.
  35. On Thursday, the Guardian reported, according to documents released under the FOIA, a government photographer edited official pictures of Trump’s inauguration to make the crowd appear bigger.
  36. Documents provided by the inspector general of the Department of Interior reveal an early morning call between Trump and the acting National Park Service director, Michael Reynolds on January 21, 2017.
  37. Documents also show that Sean Spicer, then White House press secretary, called NPS officials repeatedly that same day to follow up on making the photos more flattering.
  38. On Monday, Nike revealed Colin Kaepernick, the former NFL quarterback who drew Trump’s ire by kneeling during the national anthem, as a face of its campaign for the 30th anniversary of “Just Do It.”
  39. The caption for Kaepernick read: “Believe in something. Even if it means sacrificing everything.” Kaepernick has sued the NFL for collusion, citing no team would employ him up after he protested.
  40. On Tuesday, in an interview with The Daily Caller, Trump said Nike sent a “terrible message” picking Kaepernick, and added Nike was a tenant of his and paid “a lot of rent,” referring to its Niketown store on East 57th Street.
  41. Trump supporters responded by trending #BoycottNike, and showing photos and videos on social media of Nike products being set on fire, cut up, or otherwise destroyed.
  42. On Wednesday, Trump tweeted, “Just like the NFL, whose ratings have gone WAY DOWN, Nike is getting absolutely killed with anger and boycotts,” adding, of the NFL, “I just find it hard to watch, and always will, until they stand for the FLAG!”
  43. On Friday, Edison Trends reported Nike sales grew 31% from the Sunday of Labor Day weekend through Tuesday, as compared with a 17% gain in the prior year. Nike’s stock also rebounded back.
  44. On Tuesday, the Senate Judiciary Committee hearing for Kavanaugh began. Hours before the hearing, the White House sent 42,000 pages of documents to the committee that had been previously withheld.
  45. Democrats complained that William Burck, a private attorney who is a Kavanaugh associate, and works for George W. Bush and worked with Bush’s presidential library, is deciding which documents can be released.
  46. Democrats also complained just 4% of Kavanaugh’s White House records have been made public, and 7% have been made available to the committee. That compares to 99% of Justice Elena Kagan’s White House records.
  47. Women dressed as handmaids from the Hulu series, “The Handmaid’s Tale,” stood lining the halls outside the hearing room.
  48. U.S. Capitol Police said they had made 70 arrests on the first day of hearings, which was marked by frequent outbursts by protestors.
  49. On Tuesday, in an interview with The Daily Caller, Trump called the anti-Kavanaugh protestors “an embarrassment to the country,” adding, “in the old days, we used to throw them out.”
  50. On Wednesday, the second day of Kavanaugh hearings, the number of seats for the public were reduced by half, from 48 to 24. Following media inquiries, the committee restored the full 48 seats six hours later.
  51. NYT reported on hundreds of pages of emails detailing Maria Butina’s work with former N.R.A president David Keene, and his wife Donna, a Washington D.C. lobbyist, to pursue a big pay day for brokering jet fuel.
  52. On Sunday, NYT reported the FBI and Justice Department attempted to gain cooperation from roughly a half-dozen Russian oligarchs. Bruce Ohr and Christopher Steele were involved in the effort.
  53. Between 2014 and 2016, agents unsuccessfully tried to turn Oleg Deripaska into an informant to get information on Russian organized crime and later on Russian aid to Trump’s 2016 campaign.
  54. The Daily Beast reported Nell Hughes, a highly-visible Trump surrogate on CNN during the 2016 election, took a new job with Russian-state media outlet, RT.
  55. On Tuesday, NYT reported Mueller’s team told Trump’s lawyers in a letter that they will accept written answers from Trump on whether his campaign conspired with Russia’s election interference.
  56. Mueller did not say he was giving up on an interview altogether, including on questions of obstruction of justice; but the tone of the letter indicates the scope may be more limited than Trump’s team initially believed.
  57. On Thursday, Rudy Giuliani told AP early in the day that Trump would not voluntarily submit to an interview. Later, he told Politico Trump would provide some written answers, and has not ruled out an interview.
  58. On Wednesday, U.K. authorities charged two men it says are Russian G.R.U. military intelligence officers, Alexander Petrov and Ruslan Boshirov, with the nerve-agent poisoning of Sergei Skripal.
  59. Prime Minister May said the use of a chemical weapon, which left a British woman dead and four people seriously ill, was carried out by officers and was almost certainly approved “at a senior level of the Russian state.”
  60. Reuters reported PM May had briefed Trump on Tuesday evening, ahead of the charges. Trump did not issue any comment or tweet.
  61. On Wednesday, NYT reported Mueller’ team subpoenaed Jerome Corsi, a conspiracy theorist with links to Roger Stone, to testify on Friday before a federal grand jury in Washington, D.C. on Russia’s election interference.
  62. Corsi, who previously worked for Alex Jones’ Infowars, was also one of the people whom Trump, before he was a candidate, contacted for information Obama’s birth certificate in pressing the false birther claim.
  63. Corsi did not testify on Friday. His attorney spoke to Mueller’s office Thursday to negotiate a voluntary interview for his client in lieu of a grand jury appearance. The topic is thought to be Corsi’s contacts with Stone.
  64. Corsi shared research with Stone around the same time Stone said he was in contact with Julian Assange and had advance knowledge of WikiLeaks’ releases of the hacked emails.
  65. On Friday, radio host Randy Credico, an associate of Stone, with a dog in tow, testified before Mueller’s grand jury. Credico’s attorney said, “Mr. Credico’s testimony was concerning his relationship with Roger Stone.”
  66. On Tuesday, WAPO reported on Bob Woodward’s upcoming book, “Fear,” which is drawn from hundreds of hours of interviews with firsthand participants and witnesses that were conducted on “deep background.”
  67. The book describes John Dowd conducting a mock interview with Trump, which provoked stumbles, contradictions and lies from Trump. Dowd said Trump could end up in “an orange jumpsuit” if he testifies.
  68. Trump’s national security team was shaken by his lack of curiosity and knowledge about world affairs, and contempt of mainstream perspectives. Jim Mattis said Trump had the understanding of a “a fifth- or sixth-grader.”
  69. Gary Cohn removed documents from Trump’s desk to avoid him signing. Trump said of his initial speech after Charlottesville condemning white supremacists, “That was the biggest fucking mistake I’ve made.”
  70. On Tuesday, Trump tweeted the book “has already been refuted and discredited” by Chief of Staff John Kelly and Defense Secretary Mattis, saying, “their quotes were made up frauds,” and “Woodward is a Dem operative.”
  71. Trump also tweeted the book, “has me calling Jeff Sessions “mentally retarded” and “a dumb southerner.” I said NEITHER,” adding, “never used those terms on anyone.” A video surfaced of Trump saying “retarded
  72. Trump also told The Daily Caller that Woodward had not interviewed him for the book, saying, “I probably would have preferred to speak to him, but maybe not…He wanted to write the book a certain way.”
  73. WAPO released the audio of Woodward seeking an interview with Trump as he was writing the book. Trump said no, and then called Woodward in August to say he would participate after the manuscript was done.
  74. On Wednesday, Axios reported Trump’s White House was caught flat-footed and unprepared by the explosive content in Woodward’s book, and that no one had seen an advance copy, similar to Omarosa’s book.
  75. On Wednesday, press secretary Sanders told “Good Morning America” thatWoodward’s hundreds of hours of tapes are probably come from “disgruntled former employees” and “a lot of anonymous sources.”
  76. On Wednesday, Trump tweeted a statement by Kelly, denying a passage in Woodward’s book that he called Trump an “idiot” and other negative things: “The idea I ever called the President an idiot is not true.”
  77. Trump also tweeted out a statement by Mattis denying what is attributed to him in the book. Trump wrote, “Thank you General Mattis, book is boring & untrue!”
  78. Throughout, Woodward said he stood by his reporting. He provided CNN acopy of a letter Cohn stole from Trump’s desk described in the book, which would have terminated a free trade deal with South Korea.
  79. On Wednesday, Vanity Fair reported after news of the Woodward book broke, “pandemonium” broke out as the West Wing came to a standstill. Current and former staffers pointed the finger in all directions for leaks.
  80. Reportedly after the McCain funeral, Ivanka and Kushner told Trump that if they are going to last in Washington, he needs to get control of himself, saying they cannot be this far off the mark with the establishment.
  81. On Tuesday, Laura Kelly, the former Republican governor of Kansas,endorsed the Democrat running for governor over GOP nominee Kris Kobach.
  82. On Tuesday, in the Massachusetts primary, Ayanna Pressley — a black, female, Bostonian — sent shock waves after beating 10-term incumbent Michael Capuano by 17 points for a congressional seat once held by J.F.K.
  83. On Wednesday, at a hearing before the Senate Intelligence Committee,Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg testified, “We were too slow to spot this and too slow to act” relating to Russian interference in the 2016 election.
  84. Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey testified the company found itself unprepared and ill-equipped for the immensity of the problems it faced: abuse, harassment, troll armies, propaganda and misinformation.
  85. Google, which has been under attack from Trump and his allies for allegedly rigging search results against Trump and conservatives, did not show up for the hearings.
  86. Outside the Senate Intelligence hearings, Alex Jones taunted Sen. Marco Rubio as he was speaking to the media, calling him a “little gangster thug” and “frat boy.” After Jones patted him, Rubio said, “not to touch me again.”
  87. On Thursday, joining Facebook, Apple, and Google, Twitter permanently suspended Alex Jones’s account, as well as the account for Infowars, citing, “videos posted yesterday that violate our abusive behavior policy.”
  88. On Monday, Trump blasted attorney general Sessions, tweeting, “investigations of two very popular Republican Congressmen” were charged right before midterms, saying Democrats, “must love him now.”
  89. On Wednesday, Sessions announced he was gathering state attorneys general to examine whether tech companies like Google, Facebook and Twitter are “intentionally stifling the free exchange of ideas” online.
  90. On Friday, WAPO reported Democratic attorneys general have not yet been invited by Sessions to the Justice Department’s upcoming review of tech companies, prompting charges that the inquiry is a politically motivated attack.
  91. Attorneys general from two tech hubs, California and New York, as well as officials from Connecticut and Washington, which are active on issues related to technology, consumer protection, and antitrust, were not invited.
  92. On Wednesday, a poll conducted by the Kaiser Family Foundation poll found Trump’s approval rating has dropped to 37%. This third poll follows two polls in Week 94 which found his approval had dropped to 36%.
  93. On Thursday, a weekly survey conducted for The Economist found Trump’s approval rating had fallen to 38%, two points above his all-time low in December. His approval was pulled down by college-educated whites.
  94. On Wednesday, NYT published an anonymous op-ed by a senior Trump official who claimed to be part of the resistance inside the Trump regimewho have vowed to “thwart parts of his agenda and his worst inclinations.”
  95. The official wrote “the root of the problem” is Trump’s “amorality,” adding, “he is not moored to any discernible first principles that guide his decision making,” and he is “impetuous, adversarial, petty and ineffective.”
  96. The official wrote that there were “early whispers” of the Cabinet invoking the 25th Amendment to remove Trump, but decided instead to avoid a constitutional crisis and work within the administration to contain him.
  97. On Wednesday, WAPO reported Trump reacted to the NYT op-ed with “volcanic” anger and was “absolutely livid” over what he considered a treasonous act of disloyalty. Trump tweeted, “TREASON?”
  98. Trump also questioned in a tweet, does the “so-called “Senior Administration Official” really exist,” or whether it was the “Failing New York Times with another phony source?”
  99. Trump also tweeted that if the “GUTLESS anonymous person does indeed exist,” then, falsely claiming, the Times should “for National Security purposes, turn him/her over to government at once!
  100. Trump was angered by a line in the op-ed calling Sen. John McCain “a lodestar for restoring honor to public life and our national dialogue.” NYT’s editor said the op-ed came in before the Woodward story broke.
  101. The op-ed put White House is disarray as aides canceled meetings and huddled behind closed doors to strategize on a response. Aides said it was hard to narrow down the person, saying it could be so many people.
  102. WAPO also reported prior the op-ed there was a dwindling circle of people Trump felt he could trust. After the op-ed, a source said Trump fretted that he could only trust his children.
  103. On Wednesday and Thursday, one by one, Trump’s cabinet, Vice President Pence and others senior officials came forward to deny writing the op-ed. NYT reported Trump’s White House had a list of about 12 suspects.
  104. Trump ally Sen. Rand Paul recommended that Trump force members of his regime to take polygraph examinations. Another proposal by aides was asking senior officials to sign sworn affidavits that could be used in court.
  105. On Thursday, NYT reported Kim Jong-un offered an olive branch to Trump, telling a South Korean envoy that he wanted to denuclearize North Korea before Trump’s first term ends.
  106. On Thursday, without context, Trump tweeted, “Kim Jong Un of North Korea proclaims “unwavering faith in President Trump,”” thanking “Chairman Kim,” and saying “We will get it done together!”
  107. On Thursday, in a Fox News interview, Trump said of the person who wrote the op-ed, “may not be a Republican, it may not be a conservative, it may be a deep state person who has been there for a long time.”
  108. On Thursday, Trump tweeted, “The Deep State and the Left, and their vehicle, the Fake News Media, are going Crazy — & they don’t know what to do.”
  109. On Thursday, First Lady Melania Trump said in a statement the free press is “important to our democracy,” but to the op-ed writer, “you are not protecting this country, you are sabotaging it with your cowardly actions.”
  110. On Friday, Trump told reporters aboard Air Force One that Sessions “should be investigating who the author of that piece was” saying the NYTop-ed is a “national security” issue.
  111. Hours later, a White House official tried to clarify Trump’s comments about wanting the Justice Department to investigate, saying they did not amount to an order to federal prosecutors.
  112. On Friday, Trump told North Dakota television station KVLY that he can identify up to five people who could have written the anonymous op-ed, adding, “mostly people that either I don’t like or don’t respect.”
  113. Trump also told KVLY that the issue is “reverberating in the opposite direction,” saying people think it is “disgusting” that the Times would publish such a piece.
  114. On Wednesday, Sen. Kamala Harris grilled Kavanaugh about whether he had discussed Mueller’s investigation with any individuals at Trump lawyer Marc Kasowitz’s law firm. Kavanaugh avoided answering directly.
  115. On Thursday, NYT reported on leaked Kavanaugh documents it obtained. As a lawyer for the W. Bush administration, he challenged the accuracy of Roe v. Wade abortion rights decision to be “settled law of the land.
  116. Kavanaugh also engaged with the DOJ in what became the Bush administration’s warrantless surveillance program, and was critical about some Department of Transportation affirmative action regulations.
  117. On Thursday, Sen. Cory Booker released confidential documents relating to Kavanaugh’s views on racial profiling, saying, “I’m knowingly violating the rules,” and “I openly accept the consequences.”
  118. Several other Democrats, including Sens. Dick Durbin, Mazie Hirono, Sheldon Whitehouse, and Richard Blumenthal said they also planned to release confidential documents or reserved the right do so in the future.
  119. When asked by Sen. Booker if he would recuse himself from the Mueller probe, Kavanaugh answered no, saying, “All I would be doing is demonstrating that I don’t have the independence of the judiciary.”
  120. Sen. Blumenthal asked Kavanaugh if like his predecessor Justice Neil Gorsuch, he would condemn Trump’s attacks on the judiciary, Kavanaugh said he did not want to “get within three Zip codes” of such a political controversy.
  121. On Thursday, when Sen. Harris pressed Kavanaugh again on whether he had a conversation with anyone at Kasowitz Benson Torres about the Mueller probe, after initially dodging, he answered, “The answer is no.”
  122. On Thursday, Mother Jones summarized the five times Kavanaugh appears to have lied to Congress while under oath, including saying he knew nothing about warrantless wiretapping and torture in a 2006 hearing.
  123. In 2004, Kavanaugh said he had not “personally” worked on the nomination of Judge Pryor for W. Bush, and in 2006 downplayed his rolein the nomination of Charles Pickering, a controversial judicial appointee.
  124. In 2002 he was a White House lawyer working on judicial nominations when Manuel Miranda, a GOP aide on the Senate Judiciary Committee, stole thousands of documents belonging to the committee’s Democratic staff.
  125. On Friday, a former Democratic staffer who wrote some of the stolen confidential emails Kavanaugh received from Miranda, said Kavanaugh for should be impeached for lying about it.
  126. Citing the op-ed, Sen. Dianne Feinstein, the ranking Democrat, tweeted, “Kavanaugh used materials stolen from Democratic senators to advance President Bush’s judicial nominees. He was asked about this in 2004, 2006 and this week. His answers were not true.”
  127. According to U.S. Capitol Police, at least 227 demonstrators, mostly women, were arrested between the start of the nomination hearings on Tuesday and the end of testimony on Friday.
  128. On Thursday, Trump held a rally in Montana, for the second time since July 4. Sections of the arena were empty, and the crowd was silent at timesduring his speech, which lasted for over an hour.
  129. Before his speech, Trump did an interview with Fox News at the arena, which aired Friday morning on “Fox & Friends.”
  130. In the interview, Trump accused the NYT of “virtually” committing “treason” by publishing the anonymous op-ed. Trump also said the author must be “fairly low level,” and suggested they could be a “deep state person.”
  131. In his speech, Trump told the audience they had to show up at the polls, saying, “this election, you aren’t just voting for a candidate, just before bringing up what he called “the impeachment word.”
  132. Trump said Democrats will impeach him, regardless of whether he has done something to merit it, impersonating Rep. Maxine Waters and saying, “It doesn’t matter, you will impeach him!”
  133. Trump also said his impeachment would be strictly political, saying it would start of a cycle of impeachment, “If the opposite party becomes president, every time before it even starts.”
  134. Trump praised Rep. Greg Gianforte, who in Week 28 body-slammed a reporter, mimicking the move while speaking, “This man has fought in more ways than one, for your state…He is a fighter and a winner.”
  135. A 17 year-old senior at Billings’ West High School who stood behind Trump drew national attention for his facial expressions, interpreted as looks as disbelief, and mouthing the word, “Have you?”
  136. Tyler Linfesty said before the rally he was told, “you have to be enthusiastic and be clapping and cheering.” He was escorted off-stage, then he said the Secret Service agents took him to a back room and looked at his ID.
  137. On Thursday, Sen. Elizabeth Warren told CNN that Trump should be removed from office, saying if senior officials think “the President of the United States is not able to do his job, then they should invoke the 25th Amendment.”
  138. On Friday, NBC News reported, according to experts, a majority of the country’s voting machines and the PCs that tally the votes are not reliable. Most voting machines are close to 15 years old.
  139. Despite U.S. intelligence finding Russia compromised seven states prior to the 2016 election, little progress has been made in the two years since to improve matters. Lack of funding is cited by state voting officials.
  140. On Friday, Papadopoulos was sentenced in federal court in Washington to 14 days in prison for lying to the FBI. Papadopoulos is the first former Trump campaign aide to be sentenced in Mueller probe.
  141. Prosecutors said Papadopoulos repeatedly lied in January 2017 interview with investigators, which hampered the Russia probe at a critical moment, allowing professor Joseph Mifsud to leave the U.S. in February 2017.
  142. The judge stressed the importance of the investigation to the integrity of American democracy, saying determining whether a foreign government interfered in the electoral process was “a matter of enormous importance.”
  143. Trump mocked the sentence, tweeting, “14 days for $28 MILLION — $2 MILLION a day, No Collusion. A great day for America!” This is a false claim: the Mueller probe has secured other guilty pleas and indictments.
  144. On Friday, Papadopoulos told the Times he had “no recollection” of telling any Trump advisers about the emails supposedly in Russia’s hands. He said a call with Stephen Miller that was scheduled later that day was canceled.
  145. Papadopoulos also claimed he had no memory of discussing the dirt about Hillary Clinton in May 2016 with Alexander Downer, the top Australian diplomat in London, which prompted the FBI to open its investigations.
  146. On Friday, in a court filing by the Democratic National Committee in its suit against Russia, the Trump campaign, and WikiLeaks for interfering in the 2016 election, DNC lawyers say professor Joseph Mifsud may be dead.
  147. The filing say DNC lawyers believe all the defendants in the case have been served with the complaint, “with the exception of Mifsud (who is missing and may be deceased).” The lawyers did not elaborate further.
  148. On Friday, Bloomberg reported Manafort is considering a plea deal to avoid a second criminal trial in September. Manafort faces as long as 10 years in prison under advisory sentencing guidelines in the Virginia case.
  149. It is not clear if Manafort would cooperate in Mueller’s probe of Russian interference in the 2016 election, although experts expect Mueller would require it. Manafort faces emotional and financial costs in a second trial.
  150. On Friday, Bloomberg reported in a follow-up to the Cohen conviction,federal prosecutors in Manhattan are investigating whether anyone else at the Trump Organization violated campaign-finance laws.
  151. The Trump Organization chief financial officer Allen Weisselberg cooperated with the Cohen probe, with limited immunity. Trump Organization is a stable of private companies run by Donald Jr. and Eric since Trump took office.
  152. On Friday, Trump told reporters, “Canada has been ripping us off for a long time.” Later, at his speech in North Dakota, Trump threatened tariffs on cars, which he said would cause the “ruination” of Canada.
  153. Also at his rally in North Dakota, Trump called Woodward an “idiot” and said he wrote a “fiction book.” Trump said, “the concept is true,” but that he would not use crude words, adding, “I went like to the best college.”
  154. On Friday, WAPO reported House Speaker Paul Ryan and Majority Leader Mitch McConnell tried to coax Trump away from his threats to shut down the government at the end of the month by using props and flattery.
  155. McConnell presented a Washington Examiner article which claims Trump is brilliantly handling the current budget process, while Ryan brought glossy photos of a wall under construction along the U.S.-Mexico border.
  156. On Friday, a lawyer for Essential Consultants, the company created by Cohen in 2016, sought to void the nondisclosure agreement at issue in a lawsuit filed by Stephanie Clifford, seeking to avoid further litigation.
  157. The filing included a promise by Cohen not to sue Stephanie Clifford, also known as Stormy Daniels, over claims that she breached the contract, and reserved the right to seek repayment of the $130,000 hush money payment.
  158. On Friday, former President Obama re-entered the national political debate giving an hour-long speech at University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, and for the first time, calling out Trump by name.
  159. Obama said of Trump, “He is a symptom, not the cause. He’s just capitalizing on resentments that politicians have been fanning for years, a fear and anger that’s rooted in our past”
  160. Obama compared Trump to foreign demagogues who exploit “a politics of fear and resentment and retrenchment,” saying, “This is not normal. These are extraordinary times, and they are dangerous times.”
  161. Obama rebuked Trump’s response to Charlottesville, saying, “We’re supposed to stand up to discrimination…and unequivocally to Nazi sympathizers. How hard can that be, saying that Nazis are bad?”
  162. Obama also said, “None of this is conservative,” adding, “It’s not conservative. It sure isn’t normal. It’s radical. It’s a vision that says the protection of our power and those who back us is all that matters.”
  163. At a rally in Fargo, North Dakota, Trump responded to Obama’s speech, saying, “I’m sorry, I watched it, but I fell asleep,” adding, “I found he’s very good, very good for sleeping.”
  164. At a later stop in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, Trump said Obama’s re-emergence will motivate Trump’s base. “Now if that doesn’t get you out to vote for the midterms, nothing will.”
  165. Politico reported Trump is jealous of the fawning coverage and adulation Obama has received, and sees him as a much more formidable political opponent than Hillary. Aides worry Obama could get in to Trump’s head.

POLITIKS OF GRAFFITI 94: “CLOSER THAN THEY APPEAR”

Week 93 of this international embarrassment: Experts in authoritarianism advise to keep a list of things subtly changing around you, so you’ll remember.

August 25, 2018 https://medium.com/@Amy_Siskind/week-93-experts-in-authoritarianism-advise-to-keep-a-list-of-things-subtly-changing-around-you-so-960e3340ff19

This was an ominous week for Trump, as three longtime allies turned on him. If you’ve come to one of my book events, I’ve said one of the three paths to ending Trump’s time in office was through the #MeToo movement, as in this case with hush money payments to silence women and the cover-up. This week in court, Michael Cohen essentially called Trump an unindicted co-conspirator in the crime of making hush money payments with the “principal purpose of influencing” the 2016 presidential election. Cohen was also subpoenaed in New York’s probe of the Trump Foundation. News later in the week indicated Trump’s bookkeeper for decades, Allen Weisselberg, and his longtime ally David Pecker, chairman and CEO of American Media, were both granted immunity in Manhattan court in exchange for their testimony.

As Cohen was pleading guilty, Paul Manafort was simultaneously being found guilty of eight felony counts in Virginia — his first of two trials. After initial denials by his press secretary that a pardon was under consideration, Trump spent the week publicly praising Manafort while attacking the Mueller probe, setting the stage for what aides believe is a coming pardon.

And yet not a single Republican spoke out against Trump this week. By the end of the week, leading Senate Republicans seemed open to Trump firing Attorney General Jeff Sessions after the midterms, potentially leaving the Mueller probe vulnerable. As news on Cohen and Manafort came out, Republicans and Fox News focused on the death of a University of Iowa student who was killed by an undocumented immigrant from Mexico, with Trump ally Newt Gingrich telling Axios, “If Mollie Tibbetts is a household name by October, Democrats will be in deep trouble.”

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  1. On Saturday, Trump responded to the NYT story in Week 92 on White House counsel Don McGahn cooperating, tweeting he “allowed” McGahn and others “to fully cooperate” and turned over documents.
  2. Trump also tweeted, “we readily gave over one million pages of documents,” adding, “Most transparent in history. No Collusion, No Obstruction. Witch Hunt!
  3. On Saturday, Fox News host Jeanine Pirro bashed Mueller and linked him to Benghazi, saying, “you testified…to cover for Hillary Clinton’s incompetence,” adding on the probe, “you got nothing.”
  4. On Sunday, on Meet the Press, when asked about his comments that Trump testifying in the Mueller probe would be a perjury trap, Trump’s lawyer Rudy Giuliani said, “No, truth isn’t truth. Truth isn’t truth.”
  5. Giuliani’s assertion is reminiscent of Kellyanne Conway’s in Week 11 of “alternative facts.” After the interview, Merriam Webster tweeted the definition of “truth.”
  6. Giuliani also lied, claiming Donald Trump Jr. did not know Natalia Veselnitskaya was Russian ahead of the June 9 Trump Tower meeting, saying he did not know if “she was Russian at the time. All they had was her name.”
  7. On Sunday, in a series of six tweets, Trump lashed out at “the Failing New York Times” who he said wrote a “Fake piece,” adding “this is why the Fake News Media has become the Enemy of the People. So bad for America!”
  8. Trump also claimed, without offered proof, that some members of the media are “very Angry at the Fake Story in the New York Times,” claiming they “actually called to complain and apologize” for the story.
  9. Trump tweeted that the NYT implied that by McGahn giving “testimony to the Special Councel, he must be a John Dean type ‘RAT,’” adding “ So many lives have been ruined over nothing.”
  10. Trump also referred to the Mueller probe as “McCarthyism at its WORST!” and repeated the false charge, “No Collusion and No Obstruction, except by Crooked Hillary and the Democrats.”
  11. Trump also compared the Mueller investigation to McCarthyism, “Study the late Joseph McCarthy,” because we are in a period when “Mueller and his gang … make Joseph McCarthy look like a baby!
  12. On Sunday, Cohen’s lawyer Lanny Davis said in the past few months,Cohen has reached out regularly to John Dean, the former White House counsel who helped bring down the presidency of Richard Nixon.
  13. On Sunday, NYT reported Trump’s legal team does not know what McGahn told Mueller’s team when the team was fully cooperating, a potentially damaging mistake. McGahn has offered a limited accounting.
  14. After McGahn was first interviewed in November 2017, Trump’s legal team did not ask for a complete description, and McGahn’s lawyer, William Burck, did not inform them of what was said in subsequent interactions.
  15. On Sunday, on State of the Union, Trump surrogate Rick Santorum saidMueller could avoid charges of McCarthyism by investigating the FBI and Department of Justice.
  16. On Sunday, NYT reported federal investigators looking into whether Cohen committed bank and tax fraud are focusing on the more than $20 million in loans obtained by taxi businesses owned by Cohen and his family.
  17. On Monday, CNN reported Darren Beattie, a speechwriter for Trump who attended a conference frequented by white nationalists, the H.L. Mencken Club Conference, in 2016, has left the White House.
  18. On Tuesday, WAPO reported Trump adviser Larry Kudlow hosted Peter Brimelow, the publisher of a website that serves as a platform for white nationalism, at his home last weekend for his birthday party.
  19. On Monday, at a White House ceremony for Border Patrol agent Adrian Anzaldua, Trump introduced him without attempting to pronounce his last name, and said Adrian could speak “perfect English.”
  20. New Jersey Globe reported that Rick Jankowski, a Monroe Township school board candidate, made racist and homophobic comments on Facebookbetween 2013–2016, including calling black people “fucking monkeys.”
  21. On Wednesday, NBC News reported Christine Hallquist, who in Week 92became the first transgender gubernatorial candidate, is now getting a steady stream of death threats and other personal attacks.
  22. Kansas City Star reported Michael Dargy Jr., a Westport security guard, ordered a “Trayvon Martini” from a black bartender at a Westport bar on Monday. On Wednesday, Dargy Jr. was fired.
  23. Atlanta-Journal Constitution reported Buford City Schools superintendent Geye Hamby was named in a race-discrimination lawsuit, with recordings, for yelling racist slurs at a group of black workers at a construction site.
  24. On Friday, Texas Monthly reported on a complaint filed by a Honduran woman who entered the U.S. in June, was separated from her nine-year-old daughter. and met an immigration officer nicknamed the “deporter” who told her, “You are all ignorant and keep coming.”
  25. In the complaint, she says, “He called me in to sign my deportation papers a couple days after I was told I did not qualify for asylum,” adding, “Don’t you understand that we don’t want you in this country?
  26. On Friday, PBS reported according to a status update by the federal government, 528 migrant children remained separated from their parents. Of those, 23 children are under the age of 5.
  27. There are also 343 children whose parents are no longer in the U.S. TheTrump administration has made almost no progress in reunification since the court-imposed deadline passed.
  28. On Thursday, Adam Housley became the second Fox News reporter to resign in recent weeks. Housley, who was at Fox News for two decades, left over frustrations with the direction and tone of coverage in the Trump-era.
  29. Politico reported Betsy DeVos’s Department of Education has dismissed at least five investigations involving transgender students who were denied bathroom access. Another has been delayed for at least three years.
  30. AP reported Federal Communications Commission chair Ajit Pai told a Senate panel that Don McGahn called him for a “status update” on the agency’s action on the Sinclair-Tribune deal on July 16 or 17. Pai expressed “serious concerns” about the merger.
  31. On Monday, Bloomberg reported that Trump complained to wealthy Republican donors at a Hamptons fundraiser last Friday about Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell’s interest rate hikes.
  32. On Monday, Trump told Reuters he is “not thrilled” with Powell, adding, while he is negotiating with other countries, he “should be given some help by the Fed. The other countries are accommodated.”
  33. NBC News reported across the federal government, the Trump administration is emphasizing a less-punitive approach to combat white-collar crime and civil violations, reversing steps by the Obama administration.
  34. The regime plans to reward companies that report violations and take steps to fix them in areas such as failing to pay overtime and committing financial fraud, as well as smaller fines for polluters that come forward.
  35. On Monday, acting Environmental Protection Agency director Andrew Wheeler signed a plan to weaken regulation of coal-fired power plants, replacing the Obama-era Clean Power Plan with the Affordable Clean Energy Rule.
  36. On the heels of an earlier decision to let automobiles pollute more, the new plan erases the Obama administration’s efforts to impose pollution controls on carbon dioxide pollution and transition to cleaner energy.
  37. The Trump proposal will give states more authority to make their own plans for regulating greenhouse gas emissions. The regime has routinely dismissed the threat of climate change and questioned its cause.
  38. Bloomberg reported despite Trump’s promises, the coal industry is losing customers as utilities turn to natural gas and renewable power to generate electricity. Coal production and consumption continue to decrease.
  39. Trump nominated Kathy Kraninger, an architect of his family separation policy who has no background in financial regulation or consumer protection, to lead the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.
  40. Kraninger refused to answer about her role in the zero-tolerance policy at her Senate confirmation hearing, saying she would not discuss the “general topic” of immigration because it would be a “slippery slope.”
  41. Reuters reported Pentagon officials are sounding the alarm inside the Trump regime about the sharp drop in Iraqi refugees who have helped American troops in battle coming to the U.S. as a safe haven.
  42. So far just 48 Iraqis have been admitted, compared to more than 3,000 in 2017 and about 5,100 in 2016. The Pentagon is concerned the drop will harm national security by dissuading locals from cooperating with the U.S.
  43. On Wednesday, NYT reported DeVos is considering a plan to allow states to use federal funding to purchase guns for educators.
  44. The plan would undermine efforts by Congress to restrict federal funding on guns and would to be the first time that a federal agency has authorized the purchase of weapons without a congressional mandate.
  45. On Sunday, on “Meet the Press,” former CIA director John Brennan said he is willing to take Trump to court to prevent other current and former intelligence officials from having their clearances stripped.
  46. On Monday, in a series of tweets, Trump escalated his attacks on Mueller, calling him “disgraced and discredited,” saying his “whole group of Angry Democrat Thugs spent over 30 hours with the White House Councel.”
  47. Trump also said that “Mueller’s Angry Dems” are “enjoying ruining people’s lives” but “REFUSE” to look at corruption on the Democrats’ side, adding, “They are a National Disgrace!”
  48. Trump also tweeted that he hoped Brennan, whom he called “the worst CIA Director in our country’s history,” brings a lawsuit so he can get documents on how Brennan was “involved with the Mueller Rigged Witch Hunt.”
  49. Trump also said in his tweets that DOJ official Bruce Ohr, who he said is “at the center of FALSE ALLEGATIONS” in the Steele dossier should be “fired from the Jeff Sessions “Justice” Department,” putting justice in quotes.
  50. On Monday, as Trump was sending his tweets, First Lady Melania Trump was giving a speech about the “destructive and harmful” uses of social media at a cyberbully summit as part of her “Be Best” campaign.
  51. Also on Monday, Melania announced she plans to travel to Africa without Trump in October, saying, “I am excited to educate myself on the issues facing children throughout the continent.”
  52. On Monday, more than 175 former U.S. intelligence community and national security officials said in the third open-letter on the topic that they are deeply concerned by the politicization of security clearances.
  53. On Tuesday, Trump tweeted “even James Clapper” has admonished Brennan after Clapper said his rhetoric is concerning, adding, maybe Clapper is “being nice to me so he doesn’t lose his Security Clearance.”
  54. On Monday, in an interview with Reuters, Trump said he was concerned the Mueller probe would be a perjury trap, saying “it’s my word against his (Comey), and he’s best friends with Mueller.”
  55. Trump also asserted that he retained the power to intervene in the Mueller probe, “I can go in, and I could do whatever — I could run it if I want. But I decided to stay out…So far, I haven’t chosen to be involved.”
  56. Trump also said the Mueller probe has hampered his efforts to improve relations with Russia and refused to blame Russia for interfering in the 2016 election, if it was Russia “they played right into the Russians’ hands.”
  57. Reuters reported the FBI is probing cyber-attacks on the California congressional campaigns of David Min and Hans Keirstead. Both lost primaries in races critical to Democrats taking control of the House.
  58. On Sunday, Senator Rand Paul rode on Air Force One and played a round of golf with Trump. Paul recently visited Moscow and, in Week 92, had been advocating to dropping U.S. sanctions on two Russian lawmakers.
  59. On Tuesday, a report released by Microsoft revealed that the Russian military intelligence unit that attacked the 2016 election is targeting conservative U.S. think tanks that have broken with Trump on Russia.
  60. Microsoft said it detected and seized websites created in recent weeks by hackers linked to Russia’s G.R.U. that tried to trick people into thinking they were clicking on the think tanks’ websites before being redirected.
  61. The think tanks targeted have been critical of Trump’s interactions with and handling of Russia, including continued sanctions and pressing for human rights. Microsoft also found websites imitating the U.S. Senate.
  62. On Tuesday, Christopher Steele won a U.S. libel case brought by three Russian oligarchs — Mikhail Fridman, Petr Aven and German Khan — who claimed Steele defamed them in his dossier.
  63. The three own a stake in Russia’s Alfa Bank. In Week 21, the FBI was investigating ties between Alfa Bank and the Trump Organization. The judge threw out the case, citing free speech under the First Amendment.
  64. On Thursday, Reality Winner, the former government contractor whopleaded guilty to mailing a classified U.S. report to a news organization, got a five-year sentence, the longest ever imposed for a leak.
  65. Winner had leaked information to the Intercept which detailed Russiangovernment efforts to penetrate a Florida-based supplier of voting software and the accounts of election officials ahead of the 2016 election.
  66. Civil rights activists mobilized to try to stop Georgia from closing seven of nine polling precincts in a predominantly black county ahead of the midterms. Stacey Abrams, a black American, is running for governor.
  67. The Randolph County elections board claims the seven polling places are being shuttered because they are not ADA compliant. The polling places were used during the May 22 primary election and July 24 primary runoff.
  68. On Friday, after facing intense national scrutiny, the Randolph County board of elections voted to keep the seven polling places open. The consultant who recommended closings was fired Thursday.
  69. The Young Turks reported an election day computer “glitch” in Kansas’ most populous county, has cast a shadow over the legitimacy of Kris Kobach’s victory in the state’s governor primary, which he won by about 300 votes.
  70. On Tuesday, the Democratic National Committee alerted the FBI of an attempted hack of its voter database. The DNC said the attempt failed, and the culprit is not known.
  71. On Thursday, DNC Chief Security Officer Bob Lord said in a statement that hack was actually a test built by an unnamed third party and that the test was not authorized by the DNC or any of the party’s security vendors.
  72. On Thursday, Yahoo News reported the White House blocked a bipartisan bill in the Senate which would have significantly bolstered defenses against election interference.
  73. The Secure Elections Act previously had widespread bipartisan support. On Wednesday, GOP Senate Rules Committee chair Roy Blunt canceled the markup, the next step for the bill. No explanation was given.
  74. On Friday, Google informed Senator Pat Toomey that hackers with ties to a “nation-state” sent phishing emails to old campaign email accounts during 2016 to try to hack his campaign. The infiltration was not successful.
  75. On Friday, Detroit Free Press reported clerks in every Michigan county received identical Freedom of Information Act requests seeking copies of the ballots and other records from the 2016 election.
  76. The requests are signed by “Emily,” with no last name, and requests that records be sent to a United Action Group at a post office box in Astoria, New York. Messages from the Detroit Free Press were not returned.
  77. Information requested includes: absentee ballots, envelopes the absentee ballots were mailed in, records listing the names of voters who requested absentee ballots, and provisional ballots, both counted and uncounted.
  78. On Monday, concern was raised that Trump’s continued tweets and public statements in support of Manafort and deriding the Mueller probe, while the jury was not sequestered, could impact their deliberations.
  79. On Monday, a Defense Department spokesman contradicted Trump’s rationale for canceling the military parade, saying Trump was not briefed on the cost estimate and that the $92 million estimate was not valid.
  80. On Tuesday, Michael Cohen, Trump’s former personal attorney, pleaded guilty to eight counts of tax evasion, bank fraud, and campaign finance violations, including two charges related to hush money payments.
  81. Cohen said he made the payments “at the direction” of an unnamed candidate in 2016, and that a $150,000 payment in August 2016 was for the “principal purpose of influencing” the 2016 presidential election.
  82. The judge asked Cohen if he knew what he did was illegal, and he responded he did. Cohen said, “at the direction” of a candidate, he used the money from a home equity line to pay $130,000 to Stephanie Clifford.
  83. Cohen said at the direction of a candidate, he and David Pecker arranged to keep one of the alleged affairs from the public with a payment by National Enquirer of $150,000 to Karen McDougal.
  84. According to Cohen’s plea filing, in January 2017, executives at the Trump Organization directed Cohen be paid $420,000, reimbursing him for his payment, along with money for taxes and expenses and a $60,000 bonus.
  85. According to the filing, the Trump Organization relied on sham invoices by Cohen to conceal the nature of the payments. Cohen submitted monthly invoices, and received all monthly checks totaling $420,000.
  86. Cohen is out on bail until his scheduled sentencing in December. According to court filings, Cohen faces a recommended prison sentence of 46 to 63 months. He is not cooperating in the Mueller probe at this point.
  87. Almost simultaneously, Trump’s former campaign manager Paul Manafort was convicted by a federal jury in Virginia on eight felony counts. The judge declared a mistrial on the other 10 counts where unanimous jury consensus was not reached.
  88. The eight charges include five counts of tax fraud, one count of failure to file a report of foreign bank and financial accounts, and two counts of bank fraud. Manafort faces seven to nine years in prison.
  89. On Tuesday, Trump told reporters as he arrived in West Virginia for a campaign rally that he feels “very badly” for Manafort and a “sad thing that happened,” but that it has “nothing to do with Russian collusion.”
  90. Trump said of Manafort “he was a great man, he was with Ronald Reagan and many people over the years,” adding, “It doesn’t involve me.” Trump also called the Mueller probe “a witch hunt and a disgrace.”
  91. On Tuesday, Cohen attorney Lanny Davis said Cohen has information that would be of interest to Mueller and is happy to share it, including the crime of hacking and whether Trump knew about it ahead of time.
  92. On Tuesday, Trump held a rally in West Virginia, a state he won by 40 points. He covered a bevy of topics, but did not mention Cohen or Manafort.
  93. The closest he got was attacking the Mueller probe, saying, “Fake news and the Russian witch hunt…Where is the collusion? You know, they’re still looking for collusion. Where is the collusion? Find some collusion!”
  94. On Tuesday, Rep. Duncan Hunter and his wife were indicted for using campaign funds for personal use. Hunter was the second GOP Congressman to endorse Trump after Rep. Chris Collins, who was indicted in Week 91.
  95. On Thursday, Hunter shifted blame to his wife for the alleged campaign fund abuses, telling Fox News, “She was also the campaign manager, so whatever she did that’ll be looked at too.”
  96. On Wednesday, in morning tweets, Trump attacked Cohen, saying, “If anyone is looking for a good lawyer, I would strongly suggest that you don’t retain the services of Michael Cohen!”
  97. Trump also tweeted that he felt “very badly for Paul Manafort and his wonderful family,” adding “unlike Michael Cohen, he refused to ‘break’ — make up stories in order to get a ‘deal.’”
  98. Trump also falsely tweeted that Cohen pleaded guilty to two counts of campaign finance violations that are “not a crime,” and that Obama “had a big campaign finance violation and it was easily settled!”
  99. On Wednesday, Democratic senators called for a delay of the vote on Trump’s Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh, citing Manafort’s criminal convictions and Cohen’s guilty pleas.
  100. On Wednesday, at the daily press briefing, press secretary Sarah HuckabeeSanders said that Trump “did nothing wrong” seven times in response to reporters’ questions on Manafort’s guilty verdict and Cohen’s guilty plea.
  101. Sanders also said it was “a ridiculous accusation” to say Trump has lied to the American people. WAPO has recorded 4,229 false or misleading statements by Trump, including changing stories on the Cohen payment.
  102. Sanders also told reporters that she “wasn’t aware” of any discussions of Trump pardoning Manafort and that the topic was “not something that’s been up for discussion.”
  103. On Thursday, Giuliani said in an interview that Trump asked his lawyers whether he could pardon Manafort and other aides last week. His lawyers counseled him not to until after the Mueller probe concluded.
  104. Giuliani also told Sky News in the interview, which took place while he was golfing in Scotland, that Cohen is a “massive liar” and that the “American people would revolt” if Trump were impeached.
  105. On Thursday, Sanders said in a statement that the topic of a pardon is not under active consideration “in the White House” and that Trump “has not made a decision on pardoning Paul Manafort or anyone else.”
  106. On Wednesday, the New York State Department of Taxation and Finance issued a subpoena to Cohen as part of its ongoing probe of whether the Trump Foundation violated New York tax laws.
  107. The probe is separate from the NY Attorney General’s lawsuit against the Trump Foundation. A spokesperson said, “We will be working with the NY Attorney General and the Manhattan district attorney as appropriate.”
  108. On Thursday, NY Attorney General Barbara Underwood asked the Department of Taxation to make a referral on Cohen, an administrative step that allows her office to investigate him for possible violations of state tax law.
  109. WAPO reported when Cohen got the subpoena, he called the Department of Taxation to offer help. Cohen had no formal role at the Trump Foundation, but he had wide knowledge of Trump and his family’s affairs.
  110. Cohen also had a role in at least one Trump Foundation matter: arranging for a Ukrainian steel magnate, Victor Pinchuk, to donate $150,000 to the Trump Foundation in 2015.
  111. On Wednesday, “Fox & Friends” co-host Ainsley Earhardt interviewed Trump at the White House, the day after the Cohen and Manafort news. In May, Trump had praised Earhardt and encouraged people to buy her book.
  112. On Wednesday evening, while appearing on Hannity to promote the interview ahead of it airing, Earhardt told Sean Hannity Trump told her he would consider a pardon, saying, “I think he feels bad for Manafort.”
  113. On Thursday, the interview aired on Fox News. When Trump complained reporters “like to cover nonsense,” Earhardt answered “right.” She asked Trump, “Is the press the enemy of the people?” instead of challenging him.
  114. Trump said he knew about the hush money payments after they were made, telling Earhardt, “later on I knew … later on,” contradicting Cohen’s statement in court on Tuesday.
  115. Trump also falsely claimed because the payments came from his personal funds, there was no violation of campaign finance laws, saying, “They didn’t come out of the campaign. It is not even a campaign violation.”
  116. When asked about Cohen and a longstanding legal practice, Trump said, “It’s called flipping and it almost ought to be illegal,” adding, “It almost ought to be outlawed. It’s not fair.”
  117. When Earhardt asked Trump to grade himself, he said, “I give myself an A+,” adding, “I don’t think any president has ever done what I’ve done in this short — we haven’t even been two years.”
  118. Trump also said that if he got impeached, “I think the market would crash. I think everybody would be very poor,” explaining, “because without this thinking, you would see numbers you wouldn’t believe.”
  119. Trump also falsely claimed that Manafort “wasn’t with the campaign long,” and claimed that the FBI “surveilled my campaign, it’s very simple.”
  120. Trump also said of Sessions that the only reason he gave him the job was because “I felt loyalty,” but that Sessions “never took control of the Justice Department,” adding of Sessions’ recusal, “what kind of man is this?”
  121. On Thursday, Sessions, who rarely pushes back, issued a statement saying, “While I am Attorney General, the actions of the Department of Justice will not be improperly influenced by political considerations.”
  122. On Friday, Trump shot back at Sessions, sarcastically tweeting it was “GREAT” that Sessions is not influenced and said Sessions should look into “corruption on the “other side.”
  123. Trump listed, “deleted Emails, Comey lies & leaks, Mueller conflicts, McCabe, Strzok, Page, Ohr, FISA abuse, Christopher Steele & his phony and corrupt Dossier,” as things he wanted the DOJ to investigate.
  124. On Wednesday night, after midnight (1:10 a.m.), Trump tweeted, “NO COLLUSION — RIGGED WITCH HUNT!
  125. On Wednesday, Paula Duncan, a Trump supporter who was a juror in the Manafort trial, told Fox News that one holdout juror prevented the jury from convicting Manafort on all 18 counts.
  126. On Thursday, Duncan told NBC News the one holdout was a woman, who she does not believe was a Trump supporter. Duncan said the jurors did not put much stock in Rick Gates’ testimony.
  127. On Wednesday, WSJ reported a turning point for Cohen on Trump was in June when his father Maurice Cohen, a Holocaust survivor, told him he didn’t survive the Holocaust to have his name sullied by Trump.
  128. Prosecutors also had testimony from Cohen’s accountant and business partners, documents that implicated he and his wife, and details about hush money payments to women by David Pecker.
  129. On Thursday, Trump tweeted about a segment on Fox News host Tucker Carlson’s show the night before, saying he directed Secretary of State Mike Pompeo to “study the South Africa land and farm seizures and expropriations.”
  130. Echoing talking points used by white nationalists group of a racially charged conspiracy theory, Trump tweeted, “South African Government is now seizing land from white farmers.”
  131. On Thursday, NYT reported the Manhattan district attorney is considering pursuing criminal charges against the Trump Organization and two senior company officials for hush money payments made to Stephanie Clifford.
  132. The investigation would focus on how the company accounted for its reimbursements to Cohen for the $130,000 he paid Clifford. The office’s review is still in the early stages.
  133. If charges are brought, Trump has no power to pardon people and corporate entities convicted of state crimes.
  134. On Thursday, Vanity Fair reported David Pecker, CEO of American Media, Inc., which owns the National Enquirer, has been granted immunity by federal prosecutors for providing information on hush money payments.
  135. Pecker has met with prosecutors and provided details about payments Cohen arranged to silence Stephanie Clifford and Karen McDougal.Pecker, like Cohen, has reportedly said Trump was aware of the payments.
  136. Vanity Fair also reported that to distract from headlines, Trump is considering taking away clearances from former members of his administration, including H.R. McMaster and Rex Tillerson.
  137. On Friday, WSJ reported Allen Weisselberg, who served for decades as chief financial officer and executive vice president of the Trump Organization, has testified and been granted immunity.
  138. Along with Cohen and Pecker, Weisselberg is the third longtime Trump confidant to provide information on hush money payments. Weisselberg testified before a grand jury in Manhattan.
  139. Weisselberg was one of the Trump Organization executives who helped reimburse Cohen for the $130,000 to Stephanie Clifford. The Journalcould not ascertain if he told prosecutors that Trump knew about the payments.
  140. On Friday, NYT reported Weisselberg struck a deal in earlier in the summer with federal prosecutors, granting him immunity for his grand jury testimony.
  141. Reportedly the deal is narrow in scope, protecting Weisselberg from self-incrimination in sharing information with prosecutors about Cohen, and did not offer blanket immunity.
  142. Trump reportedly has been alternating between anger and “a surprising state of calm.” One aide said he relishes conflict: “He enjoys the battle.”
  143. On Friday, AP reported the National Enquirer kept a safe containing documents on hush money payments and stories that it killed as part of its cozy relationship with Trump leading up to the 2016 election.
  144. Sources told AP the safe was also a great source of power for Pecker, using embarrassing stories obtained about celebrities under catch-and-kill deals in order to ask them for favors in return for keeping stories secret.
  145. Cohen’s filings said Pecker “offered to help deal with negative stories about (Trump’s) relationships with women” by helping the campaign identify stories they could purchase to avoid publication.
  146. On Friday, CNN reported Dino Sajudin, the former doorman who says he has knowledge of an alleged affair Trump had with an ex-housekeeper, which resulted in a child, has been released from his contract with AMI.
  147. Sajudin was part of a “catch-and-kill” deal, in which he received $30,000 for the story, but it never ran. The story first became public in Week 74, when AMI responded by calling his story “not credible.”
  148. On Friday, in a letter to Senate Judiciary Committee chair Chuck Grassley,all ten Democrats on the committee called for postponing the Supreme Court confirmation hearing for Judge Brett Kavanaugh.
  149. The letter cited concerns about possible “criminal wrongdoing” by Trump, as well as doubts Kavanaugh believes a president can even be investigated, and the unprecedented lack of transparency in the confirmation process.
  150. On Friday, Trump called off a planned visit to North Korea by Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, days before the scheduled visit for the next round of nuclear talks, in a series of tweets.
  151. Trump tweeted he asked Pompeo not to go “because I feel we are not making sufficient progress with respect to the denuclearization.” The tweets mark an abrupt shift: Trump had previously claimed progress was being made.
  152. A CNN reporter tweeted that State Department staffers were caught “completely off guard” by the cancellation, saying they had been “briefing allies’ embassies about their objectives” just ten minutes before.
  153. On Friday, Sen. John McCain’s family announced that he was ending medical treatment for aggressive brain cancer. Trump and the White House were silent amid the news.
  154. On Friday, Politico reported that despite the fact that Trump’s lawyers and a myriad of informal White House advisers have advised him against it,aides expect him to move forward and pardon Manafort.
  155. Aides said Trump wants to use his unilateral authority to issue pardons to absolve Manafort and is setting the stage to do so by calling Manafort a “brave man,” and continuing to criticize the Mueller probe.
  156. Unlike previous administrations that had formalized processes for selecting who receives a pardon, under the Trump regime, the pardon process in the White House has been far more ad hoc.
  157. On Wednesday, Axios reported Newt Gingrich wants to use Mollie Tibbetts, an 20-year-old University of Iowa student who was murdered by an undocumented immigrant from Mexico, to help the GOP in midterms.
  158. Gingrich said, “If Mollie Tibbetts is a household name by October, Democrats will be in deep trouble.” Fox News has been repeatedly covering the story, and Trump mentioned it at his West Virginia rally.
  159. Gingrich said he sees the Tibbetts story as a way to distract from the Manafort and Cohen stories, saying, “We are living in two alternative political universes.”
  160. The Tibbetts family has repeatedly asked that Mollie’s death not be politicized.
  161. On Friday, the Independent reported a network of Russian-linked Twitter accounts have been tweeting divisive content about Mollie Tibbetts’ deathin an apparent attempt to divert from stories about Cohen and Manafort.
  162. There was a flurry of activity starting Tuesday, after news on Manafort and Cohen. Throughout Tuesday afternoon and Wednesday, #MollieTibbetts was the most shared hashtag among the Russian-linked accounts.
  163. On Saturday, Trump denied knowing about the Trump Tower meeting, tweeting, “I did NOT know about the meeting,” and adding, “just another phony story by the Fake News Media!”
  164. Trump also attacked Sessions again in a pair of tweets, saying Sessions “doesn’t understand what is happening underneath his command position,” with “highly conflicted Bob Mueller and his gang of 17 Angry Dems.”
  165. Trump also quoted Sen. Lindsey Graham, who had in 2017 strongly defended Sessions, in a tweet, saying, “Every President deserves an Attorney General they have confidence in,” and, “these are not lifetime appointments.”
  166. Trump also attacked the FBI in a series of tweets, saying the “big story” is “that the FBI ignored tens of thousands of Crooked Hillary Emails,” and threatening, “At some point I may have to get involved!”
  167. Trump also tweeted “this news is just out,” quoting Fox News in a tweet, saying, “The FBI only looked at 3000 of 675,000 Crooked Hillary Clinton Emails,” adding, ““The FBI looked at less than 1%” of Crooked’s Emails!”
  168. On Saturday, Senate Republicans who had once backed their former colleague said Sessions would likely be ousted after midterms, with Graham, John Cornyn, and Grassley saying they are open to a new AG.
  169. Although Graham said, “I don’t buy it,” that having Sessions in place was not the only way to protect Mueller, Sen. Bob Corker said, “We are in a sad place in our country’s history.”

POLITIKS OF GRAFFITI 90: TRULY ORWELLIAN

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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“PLAYED LIKE A FIDDLE.” How “unprecedented” is an agreement by North Korea to end its nuclear program and cease hostilities? 1985: North Korea signs Nuclear NonProliferation Treaty 1992: North Korea signs historic agreement to halt nuclear program! (#1) 1994: North Korea signs historic agreement to halt nuclear program! (#2) 1999: North Korea signs historic agreement to end missile tests 2000: North Korea signs historic agreement to reunify Korea! Nobel Peace Prize is awarded 2005: North Korea declares support for “denuclearization” of Korean peninsula 2005: North Korea signs historic agreement to halt nuclear program and “denuclearize”! (#3) 2006: North Korea declares support for “denuclearization” of Korean peninsula 2006: North Korea again support for “denuclearization” of Korean peninsula 2007: North Korea signs historic agreement to halt nuclear program! (#4) 2007: N&S Korea sign agreement on reunification 2010: North Korea commits to ending Korean War 2010: North Korea announces commitment to “denuclearize” 2010: North Korea again announces commitment to “denuclearize” 2011: North Korea announces plan to halt nuclear and missile tests 2012: North Korea announces halt to nuclear program 2015: North Korea offers to halt nuclear tests 2016: North Korea again announces support for “denuclearization” (source: D. Neal) *To be clear: THIS WAS NO DEAL. China is reaping the benefits of a photo op (AND NOTHING MORE) by 45. Oh, 45 mentioned some hotels he’d like to see on the beaches there. So, again, a business deal for him, A DESTRUCTION DEAL FOR AMERICA. WE ARE SO FUCKED. 
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Artist and location unknown, but this popped up somewhere in the world this week. AMERICA IS A JOKE TO THE REST OF THE WORLD, if you haven’t realized it yet. 
  1. Late Saturday, after departing the G7 summit early, Trump announced that he was backing out of the joint communique, repeating his mantra, “We must put the American worker first!”
  2. Late Saturday, while aboard Air Force One, Trump lashed out at Canada’s Prime Minister Trudeau in a tweet, calling him “Very dishonest & weak.”
  3. On Sunday, Peter Navarro, a trade adviser to Trump, further escalated the rhetoric against Trudeau on “Fox News Sunday,” saying, “There’s a special place in hell for any foreign leader that engages in bad faith diplomacy.”
  4. On Sunday, top White House economic adviser Larry Kudlow told “State of the Union” that Trudeau “stabbed us in the back,” saying, “He did a great disservice to the whole G7.”
  5. On Monday, Kudlow was hospitalized after suffering a mild heart attack.
  6. On Sunday, other G7 leaders issued statements in support of Trudeau, with Britain’s Prime Minister May saying she is “fully supportive of Justin Trudeau,” and France and Germany issuing similar statements.
  7. On Sunday, NYT reported Trump did not want to go to the G7, but aides pushed him to do so. He rebelled by showing up late and leaving early, as well as by acting out by crossing his arms and swiveling in his seat.
  8. On Sunday, Axios reported that at a White House visit in April, French President Macron told Trump that France and the U.S. should work together on their “China problem,” Trump said the European Union is “worse than China.”
  9. Rep. Louie Gohmert told “Fox & Friends Weekend” that Mueller is “covering up” for Hillary Clinton, and “he’s trying to have a coup against” against Trump.
  10. On Sunday, NYT reported while Trump was at the G7 summit, burned-out White House staffers are considering resigning, including chief of staff John Kelly and one of his deputies, Joe Hagin. Turnover is at 51%.
  11. Trump does not mind people leaving, and is comfortable removing barriers that might challenge him. Trump believes he can function as his own chief of staff, communications director, and HR manager.
  12. Trump is re-energized, and feels he gained ground in dictating the narrative of news coverage. He continues to be paranoid about leakers — aides seeking his favor try to identify people who could be disloyal.
  13. On Monday, Canada’s House of Commons unanimously condemned the personal attacks on Trudeau by Trump and his surrogates.
  14. AP conducted a fact check of Trump’s statements on trade, and found hisexamples to be factually incorrect, adding Trump glossed over the parts of the economy “that don’t support his faulty contention.”
  15. On Tuesday, amid growing tensions with Canada, Trump’s Department of Homeland Security announced a “strengthened” Northern Border Strategyto help “combat terrorism” and “help facilitate travel and trade” at its border.
  16. WAPO reported on mass trials in courtrooms packed with parents in the Southwest who were separated from their children after crossing the border. The number of defendants has soared under Trump’s new crackdown.
  17. Migrant parents face the decision of pleading guilty and hoping to be reunified with their children, or pleading innocent and waiting days or weeks for trial without their children.
  18. In McAllen, Texas alone, 415 children had been separated from their parents between May 21 and June 5. In one day in court, the judge sentenced 100 people, including 28 parents.
  19. On Sunday, WAPO reported that 206 undocumented immigrants were transferred last week to the Federal Detention Center in Seattle, 174 of which were women. The women were kept in three concrete pods.
  20. Rep. Pramila Jayapal said half the women said they were forcibly separated from their children. Some said children as young as 12 monthshad been taken away — some heard their children screaming for them in the next room.
  21. The women were fleeing threats of rape and gang violence in Cuba, El Salvador, Honduras, and Guatemala. ICE confirmed it has moved 1,600migrants to federal prisons due to the surge of illegal crossings and implementation of the zero-tolerance policy.
  22. On Monday, Jeff Sessions ordered immigration judges to stop granting asylum to most victims of domestic abuse and gang violence, continuing the regime’s efforts to change immigration laws to make them less friendly.
  23. According to the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, there was a backlog of 311,000 asylum claims in late January. Immigration attorneys said a substantial portion fall under the categories Sessions targeted.
  24. WAPO reported the Honduran father, Marco Antonio Muñoz, who killed himself in Week 82 after being separated from his wife and son, was seeking asylum after the murder of his brother-in-law in Honduras.
  25. The parents also have a older son who is an American citizen who they put in a plane to flee, while the couple went by land with the younger son.
  26. AP reported U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, the agency which oversees immigration applications, will focus on identifying Americans suspected of cheating to get their citizenship and seek to strip them of it.
  27. Up until now, the agency pursued cases as they arose, but not through a coordinated effort. The new steps come as the regime cracks down on illegal immigration and looks to reduce legal immigration to the U.S.
  28. On Tuesday, McClatchy reported the Trump regime is looking to erect tent cities at military posts around Texas to shelter the growing number of children separated from their parents crossing the border.
  29. Trump’s Department of Health and Human Services confirmed they are looking at the Fort Bliss site along with Dyess Air Force Base in Abilene and Goodfellow AFB in San Angelo to hold between 1,000 and 5,000 children.
  30. The Office of Refugee Resettlement at HHS is responsible for the care of more than 11,200 migrant children and growing. The approximately 100 shelters designated for children are 95% full.
  31. CNN interviewed an attorney in McAllen, Texas who said an undocumented immigrant from Honduras said federal authorities took her daughter while she was breastfeeding in a detention center.
  32. When the mother tried to resist, she was handcuffed. An assistant public defender in Texas said some parents also claim they have been told their children are being taken to be bathed or cleaned up, then disappear.
  33. On Thursday, images inside a migrant children center at a former Walmart in Brownsville, Texas, revealed a large mural of Trump with a quote — in English and Spanish — from his 1987 book The Art of the Deal.
  34. DHS said the mural is one of 20 depicting U.S. presidents at shelters. Theothers feature inspiring quotes about immigration, while Trump’s quote reads, “Sometimes by losing a battle you find a new way to win the war.”
  35. On Thursday, NBC News reported the regime will house the overflow of migrant children in tents in Tornillo, Texas. The DHS will erect a “tent city” full of large tents, which are estimated to hold 450 beds for children.
  36. On Thursday, Daily Beast reported that MVM Inc., a scandal plagued defense contractor company, is set to benefit from the migrant children detention centers. The company is advertising to hire all sorts of personnel, in fields not in their expertise.
  37. MVM bills itself as an “extensive domain expertise in counter-narcotics, criminal and civil investigations, public safety, and national security,” and has no relevant experience with the care of migrant children.
  38. On Thursday, WAPO reported House Republicans are circulating a proposal to limit Trump’s policy of separating migrant children. The policy has been criticized by human rights groups, clergy, and lawmakers on both sides.
  39. On Thursday, Sessions continued to defend the policy in a speech in Indiana, saying the previous policy amounted to “a declaration of open borders,” and the short-term separation was “not unusual or unjustified.”
  40. Sessions countered a cardinal in the Roman Catholic Church who called the policy, “immoral,” by citing Romans 13 in the Bible: “Orderly and lawful processes are good in themselves and protect the weak and lawful.”
  41. On Friday, DHS revealed that in the six weeks since Sessions’ zero tolerance policy took effect, 1,995 children have been separated from 1,940 adults.
  42. On Friday, the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights, a nonpartisan fact-finding agency, issued a letter asking Sessions and DHS Secretary Kirstjen Nielsento halt the family separations, saying the policy raises “grave concerns” about due process and coercive tactics.
  43. On Friday, in a speech in Scranton, PA, Sessions criticized Philadelphia and its mayor over the city’s ‘sanctuary’ status, saying the city is coddling dangerous criminals and refusing to turn them over to ICE.
  44. On Friday, NPR reported pediatricians are sounding the alarm, saying migrant children separated from their parents suffer “irreparable harm,” including “toxic stress” that disrupts a child’s brain development and harms long-term health.
  45. Colleen Kraft, president of the American Academy of Pediatrics, who saw a young girl crying, was told by staff that federal regulations prevented them from touching or holding the child to soothe her.
  46. Antar Davidson, an employee of Southwest Key, which operates more than two dozen shelters for migrant children from Texas to California, quit his job, saying staffers are not trained to handle the influx of younger, more traumatized children.
  47. Davidson said the breaking point was when he was called over the radio and asked to translate for two siblings, ages 6 and 10, that they couldn’t hug each other after being separated from their parents.
  48. The U.S. is expected to quit the U.N. human rights panel when sessions open on Monday. The U.S. had long played a “leadership role” in the council, which was set up in 2006.
  49. The ACLU highlighted Tiana Smalls, who reported that on a Greyhound bus to Las Vegas, as the bus approached an agricultural checkpoint at the Nevada state line, the bus driver said, “We are being boarded by Border Patrol. Please be prepared to show your documentation upon request.”
  50. Smalls stood and said, “This is a violation of your Fourth Amendment rights… We are not within 100 miles of a border.” She used Google translate to repeat her message in Spanish. The agents left.
  51. On Tuesday, Rep. Steve King linked to an anti-immigrant tweet by Mark Collett, Britain’s most high-profile white supremacists, and added, “Europe is waking up… Will America… in time?”
  52. Bloomberg reported that according to advocacy group Alliance for Justice, so far 88% of Trump’s additions to the federal bench are white and 76% are male. There is only one Hispanic justice.
  53. During Obama’s presidency, just 38% of judicial nominees were white males. Trump’s picks are the least diverse in 24 years — since Ronald Reagan was in office.
  54. On Monday, Politico reported Steven Cheung, a senior communications directed, resigned. Cheung was one of the last remaining campaign-era Trump aides still working at the White House.
  55. On Tuesday, WAPO reported Joel McElvain, who has worked at the Justice Department for more than 20 years, resigned last Friday, the morning after Sessions notified Congress the agency will not defend the ACA.
  56. Sessions defended himself, saying he acknowledged the executive branch “has a long-standing tradition of defending the constitutionality of duly enacted statutes,” but said the move is not unprecedented.
  57. CBS News reported both press secretary Sarah Sanders and deputy press secretary Raj Shah are planning to resign. Sanders has told friends she plans to leave at the end of the year. Shah has not settled on a date.
  58. Politico reported Trump’s White House is hosting a jobs fair amid the exodus of employees. The “Executive Branch Job Fair” was advertised with an email that was blasted out widely to Republicans on the Hill.
  59. Politico reported despite requirement under the Presidential Records Act that the White House must preserve all memos, letters, emails, and papers that Trump touches, Trump has a routine habit of ripping every paper up.
  60. Solomon Lartey, a career government official, and his colleagues have hadto tape together large piles of shredded paper and send them to the National Archives to be properly filed away.
  61. On Monday, the Supreme Court ruled 5–4 that Ohio can purge voters from voter rolls if they fail to return a card sent after their first missed election. Other conservative states are expected to follow.
  62. On Tuesday, Trump praised the ruling from Singapore, tweeting, “Just won big Supreme Court decision on Voting! Great News!”
  63. According to financial disclosure forms released Monday, Jared Kushner and Ivanka brought in at least $82 million during 2017 while serving as senior White House advisers.
  64. Ivanka earned almost $ 3.9 million from the Trump Hotel DC. The couple earned immense sums from other enterprises, which ethics experts say could create conflicts of interest.
  65. Acting director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau Mick Mulvaney changed the name of the agency founded by Sen. Elizabeth Warren to BCFP, which stands for the Bureau of Consumer Financial Protection.
  66. Foreign Policy reported Mari Stull, a former food and beverage lobbyist recently hired as a senior adviser in the State Department, is quietly vetting career diplomats and American employees of international institutions to determine if they are loyal to Trump.
  67. Sources say Stull is gathering intel and making lists. She has the full support of her boss, Kevin Moley, who was appointed by the White House in January. One State Department official said, “Everyone is looking to bail.”
  68. NPR reported the Commerce Department released 1,320 pages of internal memos, emails and other documents as part of a lawsuit related to Wilbur Ross’s decision to add a citizenship question to the 2020 census.
  69. A July 2017 email reveals “at the direction of Steve Bannon,” Kris Kobach and Ross spoke on the phone. Kobach told Ross including “aliens” in census numbers for congressional reapportionment is a “problem.”
  70. On Friday, WAPO reported that Pence’s VP office is a gateway to influence the Trump regime. Under Pence, twice as many companies and other interests hired lobbyists contacted the office than under Biden or Cheney.
  71. Lobbyists, who rake in millions for access, also donate to Trump or advocates for Pence, in one case helping him get on the ticket. Actions taken by Pence and his staff as a result of lobbying are not disclosed in federal filings.
  72. On Wednesday, WAPO reported last year Scott Pruitt enlisted Samantha Dravis, a top aide, to contact Republican donors to help his wife find a job. Pruitt’s wife landed a temporary position with conservative group.
  73. Rep. Elijah Cummings, the top Democrat on the House Oversight Committee sent a letter to Renzi Stone, founder of public relations firm Saxum, asking for documentation on how he helped Pruitt get tickets for the Rose Bowl.
  74. Saxum, which is based in Oklahoma, represented Plains All American Pipeline LP, a company which has a petition pending before the EPA.
  75. On Friday, the Office of Government Affairs Director David Apol said in a letter he is considering “formal corrective action proceeding” regarding alleged improper behavior by Pruitt, an unprecedented step against a sitting Cabinet member.
  76. Apol urged the EPA’s in-house watchdog to expand its ongoing investigations to review the latest allegations about Pruitt, including that he used EPA resources to find a job for his wife.
  77. On Monday, McClatchy reported in addition to Alexander Torshin and Maria Butina, other prominent Russian officials — Dmitry Rogozin and Sergei Rudov — met with NRA representatives, mostly in Moscow, during the 2016 campaign.
  78. The NRA reported $30 million in donations to the Trump campaign, $21 million from its lobbying arm which does not disclose donors. NRA insiders said the group spent $70 million overall, including field operations and online advertising.
  79. The NRA also spent $24.4 million to back Republican candidates for Congress in 2016.
  80. It is a crime to donate or use foreign money in U.S. election campaigns.Mueller’s team and the Senate Intelligence Committee are both investigating whether Russian money was donated to Trump’s campaign.
  81. On Tuesday, Vanity Fair reported that within the next month, Mueller is reportedly planning to deliver his findings in the obstruction of justiceinvestigation to Rod Rosenstein, and per sources, “Donald is very worried.”
  82. According to a source, Michael Cohen has told friends he expects to be arrested any day now. Trump is concerned that Cohen might flip. In the meantime, Trump is enjoying acting on his impulses, unchecked.
  83. Kushner reportedly is also flaunting his status in front of Kelly since he had his security clearance restored. Republican sources say Kushner recently stood up and walked out of a meeting that Kelly was leading.
  84. On Tuesday, Mueller’s team filed a motion to limit evidence-sharing in its case against 13 Russians and three Russian entities, citing the risk of revealing the identities of “uncharged co-conspirators.”
  85. The motion also indicates the investigation is far from over, mentioning “uncharged individuals and entities” which are believed to be “continuing to engage in interference operations” in the U.S.
  86. On Tuesday, Fox News reported that according to two unnamed House Intelligence Committee staffers, at a January 2018 meeting, Rosenstein threatened to use the power of his office to subpoena Devin Nunes and the committee.
  87. CNN reported according to a DOJ staffer, Rosenstein plans to “request that the House general counsel conduct an internal investigation of these Congressional staffers’ conduct” when he returns from a foreign trip.
  88. On Wednesday, a new POLITICO/Morning Consult poll showed Mueller’s public image was at an all-time low after months of attacks by Trump, with 36% of voters seeing him unfavorably.
  89. By party, 53% of Republicans, 24% of Democrats and 33% of Independents see Mueller unfavorably. The biggest spike came from Republicans, with unfavorable up 26% from July.
  90. On Wednesday, ABC News reported Cohen’s legal team from McDermott, Will & Emery LLP are expected to leave the case. A source familiar said the change in counsel is due to a fee dispute. No replacement has been named.
  91. On Thursday, WSJ reported federal prosecutors are investigating whether Cohen illegally engaged in secret lobbying. Prosecutors have contacted companies that hired Cohen as a consultant, including AT&T and Novartis.
  92. On Thursday, CBS News reported sources say Cohen is feeling increasingly isolated and believes Trump and his allies are turning on him. Cohen is especially upset over statements made by Rudy Giuliani.
  93. On Friday, CNN reported Cohen has expressed anger at his treatment by Trump, and indicated to family and friends he is willing to cooperate with federal investigators to alleviate pressure on himself and his family.
  94. Cohen has not yet met with prosecutors to discuss a deal. He is currently trying to find a new legal team, as his current lawyers have until Friday at noon to complete the review of 3.7 million files seized in the FBI raid.
  95. On Friday, federal prosecutors told the court they have reassembled 16 pages of shredded documents and recovered 731 pages of encrypted text messages seized in the Cohen raid.
  96. On Friday, a federal judge revoked Manafort’s bail and sent him to jail to await trial, citing charges that Manafort tried to influence testimony of two government witnesses.
  97. Judge Amy Berman said Manafort cannot remain free, even under the strictest conditions, saying, “This is not middle school. I can’t take away his cellphone.” Manafort’s first trial is scheduled for next month.
  98. Two hours later, Trump tweeted that jailing Manafort was a “tough sentence” and “very unfair.”
  99. Trump also tweeted that he “Didn’t know Manafort was the head of the Mob,” and then continued his attack on Comey, “What about Comey and Crooked Hillary and all of the others?”
  100. Trump also tweeted that Manafort “represented Ronald Reagan, Bob Dole and many other top political people and campaigns.”
  101. On Friday, when asked about Manafort, Giuliani told the New York Daily News, “When the whole thing is over, things might get cleaned up with some presidential pardons.”
  102. Giuliani also said he didn’t understand “the justification” for putting Manafort in jail, adding the Mueller probe “should not go forward,” and “It’s time for Justice to investigate the investigators.”
  103. On Monday, the repeal of net neutrality, which had required internet service providers to offer equal access to all web content, took effect.
  104. As of late May, 29 state legislatures had introduced bills to ensure net neutrality. Two governors have signed executive orders to force net neutrality, and Washington state has signed net neutrality into law.
  105. On Monday, George Conway, husband of Kellyanne Conway, penned an op-ed defending the constitutionality of the Mueller probe, after Trump tweeted “the Special Councel is totally UNCONSTITUTIONAL!”
  106. On Tuesday, Trump met with Kim Jong Un in Singapore. All major U.S. media attended the well choreographed event, which was dubbed “historic,” with non-stop coverage on every major outlet.
  107. As Trump and Kim both declared the summit a success, the two sides differed on what was agreed to publicly, and their agreement was summarized in a short document which lacked details.
  108. Trump said in a series of tweets, “There is no longer a Nuclear Threat from North Korea,” adding, everybody “can now feel much safer than the day I took office” and people could “sleep well tonight!”
  109. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said the regime expected “major disarmament” before the end of Trump’s first term. Kim described the beginning of a “step-by-step and simultaneous” process towards denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula.
  110. As Trump and Kim were signing the document in front of reporters, CNN’s Jim Acosta asked, “did he agree to denuclearize?” Trump responded, “We’re starting that process very quickly.” Acosta then asked if Trump and Kim had discussed Otto Warmbier. Trump did not respond.
  111. On Tuesday, Brad Parscale, Trump’s 2020 reelection campaign manager, tweeted, “Jim @Acosta should immediately have his press credentials suspended. He is an absolute disgrace!”
  112. In an interview with George Stephanopoulos after the summit, Trump said of Kim Jong Un, a brutal dictator, “His country does love him. His people, you see the fervor. They have a great fervor.”
  113. On Tuesday morning, in a stunning concession, Trump said the U.S. will halt joint military exercises with South Korea, an announcement which baffled allies, military officials, and lawmakers from the GOP.
  114. Reuters reported leaders of U.S. ally South Korean were caught by surprise. The South Korean presidential office said “we need to find out the precise meaning or intentions” of Trump announcement.
  115. A January 2018 WSJ article noted Trump may have gotten this idea from a conversation with Putin: “If the U.S. stopped joint military exercises with the South Koreans, it could help moderate Kim Jong Un’s behavior.”
  116. KPNA, North Korea’s official news agency, described the summit as an “epoch-making meeting,” and asserted Trump had “expressed his intention” to lift sanctions when nukes are no longer a factor.
  117. On Tuesday, Trump held his first official solo press conference in 16 months.
  118. As reporters waited for Trump to come on stage, two huge screens came down instead, with a movie type production portraying North Korea as a paradise. The film lasted four minutes. Reporters thought it was North Korean propaganda
  119. The film then looped and played in English. The film was made in America, by or on the orders of his White House, for the benefit of Kim. Trump then came on stage and said, “I hope you liked it. I thought it was good.”
  120. Trump said Kim, “is very talented. Anybody that takes over a situation like he did, at 26 years of age, and is able to run it, and run it tough.” An estimated 80,000 to 120,000 people are imprisoned in North Korea.
  121. Trump also lauded North Korea’s “great beaches,” and said he told Kim, “You know, instead of doing that (develop nuclear weapons), you could have the best hotels in the world right there.”
  122. On Wednesday, upon returning to the U.S., in a series of tweets, Trump called the press America’s “biggest enemy” — singling out “Fake News, especially NBC and CNN” for downplaying his deal with North Korea.
  123. On Thursday, Trump faced a backlash after he was seen in a 42-minute video of the summit, first broadcast by North Korea’s state news channel, saluting a North Korean general. Sanders called it a “common courtesy.”
  124. Military and intelligence experts said U.S. leaders typically do not salute military officials from adversarial nations. U.S. ally South Korea is still technically at war with North Korea.
  125. On Sunday, at the Tony Awards, actor Robert DeNiro said expletives about Trump, “First, I wanna say: ‘F — — Trump.’ It’s no longer ‘down with Trump,’ it’s ‘f — — Trump.’”
  126. On Tuesday, Trump attacked DeNiro in two tweets, calling him a “very Low IQ individual,” who has “received to many shots to the head by real boxers in movies,” adding, “Wake up Punchy!”
  127. On Tuesday, after GOP leaders blocked a vote on legislation which would give Congress veto power over certain Trump tariffs, Sen. Bob Corker accused the GOP of cowering to Trump, “let’s don’t do anything that might upset” him.
  128. On Friday, Trump unilaterally imposed tariffs on $50 billion in Chinese products. Within an hour, the Ministry of Commerce in Beijing pledged to erect trade barriers of the “same scale and the same strength.”
  129. On Thursday, the New York attorney general filed a civil lawsuit against the Donald J. Trump Foundation, accusing the campaign and family of violating campaign finance laws, self-dealing and illegal coordination with the presidential campaign.
  130. The lawsuit seeks to dissolve the foundation and bar Trump, Donald Jr., Ivanka, and Eric from serving on nonprofit organizations. The attorney general also sent referrals to the IRS and FEC for further action.
  131. The lawsuit gives numerous examples of Trump using foundation monies to win political favor or settle legal claims against his various businesses, as well as pay off his legal bills and promote Trump hotels.
  132. The lawsuit also claims that $2.8 million raised by the foundation at an Iowa event in 2016 was allocated by senior campaign officials to veteran groups, making it an “improper in-kind contribution” to the campaign.
  133. NY AG Barbara Underwood tweeted, “Our investigation found that the Trump Foundation raised in excess of $2.8 million in a manner designed to influence the 2016 presidential election.”
  134. On Thursday, the Justice Department inspector general issued a report rebuking James Comey for breaking FBI and Justice Department protocolin his handling of the 2016 investigation of Hillary Clinton’s email scandal.
  135. The 568-page report by IG Michael Horowitz found Comey was not motivated by political bias when he cleared Hillary Clinton of criminal wrongdoing.
  136. Horowitz wrote Comey acted “unilaterally” and outside the scope of his authority when he held the July 2016 press conference, and rebuked Comey for sending a letter to Congress in late October 2016.
  137. The report also included previously unreported text messages between Lisa Page and Peter Strzok in which Page asked, Trump’s “not ever going to become president, right?,”and Strzok responded, “No. No he won’t. We’ll stop it.”
  138. Horowitz wrote Strzok, Page, and three other bureau staffers were being passed on to the FBI’s Office of Professional Responsibility for possible disciplinary action. Strzok is still with the FBI. Page left last month.
  139. On Friday, Trump told reporters that he is “totally exonerated” by Justice Department IG report. He also accused the FBI of “plotting against my election,” saying Comey was the ringleader in a “den of thieves.”
  140. Trump also claimed the Mueller investigation “has been totally discredited,” by the report. The Mueller probe was not mentioned in the report.
  141. On Friday, Rep. Kevin McCarthy, who is vying to win House leadership when Paul Ryan resigns, told “Fox and Friends” that “I think the Mueller investigation has got to stop,” citing the texts.
  142. On Friday, in a wide-ranging surprise interview with “Fox & Friends” host Steve Doocy on the North Lawn of the White House, Trump said he opposes the immigration bill cobbled together by House Republicans.
  143. Trump’s opposition caught House Republican leaders by surprise. Ryan had told members he had been briefing Trump on their legislative strategy, and Trump was on board.
  144. The bill would have provided $25 billion for Trump’s border wall and a new visa program to give Dreamers a path to residency and citizenship, but would have ended the regime’s practice of separating migrant children from parents.
  145. Trump also said, “I hate the children being taken away. The Democrats have to change their law. That’s their law.” Sanders had also blamed the Democrats at the daily briefing on Thursday. These statements are untrue.
  146. Later Friday, the White House changed positions, saying Trump “fully supports both the Goodlatte bill and the House leadership bill,” saying Trump has misunderstood the question by Doocy.
  147. Later Friday, the White House issued a statement by Trump on “Democrats’ Dangerous Immigration Policies,” blaming “CONGRESSIONAL DEMOCRATS’ FAMILY SEPARATION POLICY.”
  148. On Saturday, for the fourth time in 24 hours, Trump falsely blamed Democrats for “their forced family breakup at the Border,” and accusing them of “High Crime and Obstruction. Sad!”
  149. Trump also told Doocy that Kim Jong Un is a “strong head” of his country, adding of Kim, “He speaks and his people sit up at attention. I want my people to do the same.”
  150. When pressed on his comment, Trump insisted it was a joke and attacked the media, saying, “I’m kidding. You don’t understand sarcasm. Hey, who are you with? …You’re with CNN? Hey, you are the worst.”
  151. Trump also said “Manafort has nothing to do with our campaign,” adding that he felt “a little badly” that prosecutors were targeting the longtime Republican operative, “He worked for many other Republicans.”
  152. After naming other Republicans (Reagan, Dole, McCain) Trump said Manafort worked for him “for 49 days or something? A very short period of time.” Manafort was Trump’s campaign manager for 114 days.
  153. Trump also said of Michael Flynn, “Some people say [Flynn] lied and some people say he didn’t lie.” Flynn pled guilty to lying.
  154. On Friday, Trump also told a CBS News reporter who was asking questions to “quiet” at least five time. He also said to reporters, “She’s so obnoxious.”
  155. MSNBC host Katy Tur detailed a total of 19 lies or misleading statements in Trump’s interview with Doocy on her show Friday.
  156. AP reported at least four former Cambridge Analytica employees affiliated with Data Propria, a new company specializing in voter and consumer targeting work, have been quietly working for the 2020 Trump campaign.
  157. In a conversation overheard by AP, Matt Oczkowski, who led Cambridge Analytica data team, said he and Parscale were “doing the president’s work for 2020.” Parscale is a part owner of Data Propria’s parent company, Cloud Commerce.
  158. Cloud Commerce is also paying Parscale other amounts. A former FEC chair said it was unusual for an incumbent’s campaign to direct large amounts of business to outside firms tied to his campaign manager.
  159. On Thursday, Rob Rogers, who joined the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette as an editorial cartoonist in 1993 and was a finalist for a Pulitzer Prize in 1999,was fired, as the paper has shifted to the right.
  160. Rogers cartoons had appeared in the paper roughly five times a week, but around Memorial Day, started disappearing. Rogers said in the past three months, 19 cartoons or proposals for cartoons were rejected.
  161. On Saturday, in an op-ed, Rogers said he was fired for making fun of Trump. He said starting in March, management said his cartoons on Trump were “too angry” and said he was “obsessed with Trump.”
  162. Russian news agency TASS reported that according to a White House spokesperson, Moscow and Washington are exploring “the opportunity of a meeting” between Putin and Trump, with Austria as a possible venue.
  163. On Saturday, WAPO reported Trump is planning to meet with Putin in July, after months of prodding by Trump, who has faced resistance from senior political aides and diplomats questioning the value of a meeting.
  164. A U.S. official said after meeting with Kim Jong Un, Trump said he wanted to invite Putin to the White House. The official said, “We ignored it.” Trump has become a strong public advocate for engagement with Russia.
  165. According to a new Ipsos poll, for Global News and Reuters, Americans approve of how Trudeau is handling the trade dispute over Trump, by a 57–37 margin.
IMG_3313
You should hope NOT. My photo of a sticker on the streets of Chisinau , Moldova, on 10June2018.

POLITIKS OF GRAFFITI 28: TANGERINE TYRANT

Week 27: Experts in authoritarianism advise to keep a list of things subtly changing around you, so you’ll remember.

May 20, 2017 https://medium.com/@Amy_Siskind/week-27-experts-in-authoritarianism-advise-to-keep-a-list-of-things-subtly-changing-around-you-so-cd6be88c85b7

This week’s list has over 100 items, and matches the feel of complete chaos: bombshell after bombshell about Trump’s ties to, and efforts to undermine the investigation into Russia.

Although the biggest headline of the week was the appointment of a special counsel to investigate Trump-Russia, of equal importance was the diurnal harbingers of our fading democracy. Trump’s WH invitation to yet another brutal authoritarian: Ergodan of Turkey, and the ensuing melee outside the Turkish embassy in DC, is a wake-up call for us all.

  1. WSJ reported that three former employees of the Trump organization saw him tape phone calls from Trump Tower. Trump still has not revealed if his alleged taped conversations with Comey really exist.
  2. The Economist interviewed Trump about his economic policy, and described his strategy to be “unimaginative and incoherent.” The interview revealed alarming lack of knowledge of basic concepts.
  3. Gen Michael Hayden said on CNN he’s usually not in favor of special prosecutors, but after Trump fired Comey, “I’ve changed my mind.
  4. Richard Spencer and his torch-carrying white supremacist followers marched in Charlottesville, VA to protest the removal of a Confederate monument, chanting, “You will not replace us.”
  5. Merkel’s party seized a key state from rivals in the last election, putting her in a strong position for Germany’s general election in September. This would mark the fourth setback for Putin since Trump.
  6. An NBC poll found that just 29% approve of Trump firing Comey, and 78% want an outside special prosecutor.
  7. Trump spent Mother’s Day on the golf course, and did not see Melania or Barron.
  8. The Trump regime issued a statement on N. Korea’s missile test, which oddly started out with a Russian perspective.
  9. NY Magazine reported that candidates for FBI director were being screened for their loyalty to Trump.
  10. WAPO reported on the ways Trump has leveraged his presence at Mar-a-Lago to enhance his club’s event business and enrich himself.
  11. Axios reported Sunday that Trump is considering a sweeping shake-up in his regime. One confidant said, “He’s frustrated, and angry at everyone.”
  12. The Trump regime has hidden massive amounts of data on issues such as workplace violations, energy efficiency, and animal welfare abuses — lessening the “naming and shaming” effect on corporate behavior.
  13. Clapper said US institutions are under assault — both externally with Russian interference in our election system, and internally from Trump.
  14. WNYC reported NJ Republican Rep Frelinghuysen wrote a letter to a constituent’s employer complaining about her progressive activism: “P.S. One of the ringleaders works in your bank!”
  15. Page wrote a bizarre letter to Rosenstein, complaining about Obama and Clinton, and citing Maroon 5 lyrics in the footnotes.
  16. A WAPO reporter noted “This Is Not Normal,” when the paper accidentally published Mathis’s personal cell phone number, which was on a yellow sticky note in a photo of Trump bodyguard Keith Schiller.
  17. Russian aluminum oligarch Deripaska is suing AP for libel in connection with their reporting on his ties to Manafort.
  18. Mother Jones reported that 50 farmworkers outside of Bakersfield, CA were poisoned by a pesticide just green-lighted by Trump’s EPA.
  19. Trump met with UAE crown prince Sheikh Mohammed at the WH Monday. In Week 21 it was noted that this crown prince brokered a meeting between Prince and a Putin ally in Seychelles, shortly after a clandestine US meeting with Kushner, Bannon and Flynn.
  20. On Monday, WAPO reported that Trump revealed highly classified information on ISIS to Lavrov and Kislyak at the WH meeting. As mentioned in Week 26, US media was excluded.
  21. WAPO also noted that they withheld the most significant details from the story at the urging of WH officials who warned “revealing them would jeopardize important intelligence capabilities.”
  22. Buzzfeed confirmed WAPO’s story, adding an official who was briefed on Trump’s leak said, “it’s far worse than what has already been reported.
  23. Reuters and NYT also confirmed the story, with NYT adding the leaked information came from an ally. The WH continued to deny the WAPO story Monday night.
  24. Trump took to Twitter Tuesday morning saying he leaked to Russia for “humanitarian reasons” and which he has “the absolute right to do.” Trump also ironically tweeted a complaint about “the LEAKERS.”
  25. Fmr US ambassador to Russia McFaul said Trump does not “have the right to leak classified information obtained from other countries, without their permission.”
  26. A European official told AP that their country “might stop sharing intel with US if Trump gave classified info to Russian diplomats.
  27. At a press conference Tuesday, McMaster claimed that Trump decided to leak highly classified info to the Russians on the spur of moment, and wasn’t aware where the information came from.
  28. NYT reported that Israel was the source of the intelligence given to Russia. The leak raises concerns that the information could be passed to Iran, “Russia’s close ally and Israel’s main threat in the region.”
  29. Buzzfeed reported an Israeli intelligence official said knowing Trump leaked to Russia without that country’s prior knowledge was Israel’s “worst fears confirmed.”
  30. ABC reported Trump’s leak endangered an Israeli spy placed inside ISIS.
  31. WSJ reported that the Israeli source Trump leaked was considered so sensitive, it wasn’t shared with Five Eyes, our closest allies.
  32. For the first time, more Americans support Trump’s impeachment (48%) than oppose it (41%) according to PPP. Their polling was conducted before the Russia leak.
  33. Trump hosted Turkey’s Ergodan at the WH, another in a string of brutal authoritarians invited to the WH despite human rights abuses at home.
  34. After the meeting, a video captured Ergodan’s bodyguards viciously attacking protestors outside the Turkish embassy in DC. Later, a video surfaced of Ergodan watching as his guards beat protestors.
  35. DC police chief Newsham said diplomatic immunity could limit what the city can do to hold Erogodan’s bodyguards accountable.
  36. Republicans and Democrats spoke out against the attack, with McCain calling for Turkey’s ambassador to be expelled.
  37. Ceren Borazan tweeted a photo (see below) and wrote: “Dear @POTUSI’m being attackd in this photo. I was assaulted by this man, strangled for protesting. Please help me find & prosecute this man.” The tweet was retweeted over 55k times. Trump has not responded to the assaults.
  38. Following outcry, the State Dept summoned the Turkish ambassador; but two bodyguards who were detained, we released and allowed to leave without redress.
  39. The @VP account tweeted then deleted a photo of Trump and Ergodan’s sons in law — both in government positions of power — seated across from one another at lunch.
  40. NYT reported that Comey had been writing memos on his interactions with Trump, including a February 14 meeting at which Trump asked Comey to end the FBI investigation of Flynn.
  41. NYT also reported that the meeting took place in the Oval Office, and before it started, Trump asked Sessions and Pence to leave the room.
  42. According to a Comey associate, Trump also told Comey he should consider putting reporters in prison for publishing classified information.
  43. WAPO reported Comey had shared his notes with a small circle in the FBI and DOJ — raising questions of whether Sessions and Rosenstein were aware before they wrote the memo to back Trump’s firing of Comey.
  44. That evening, and the following morning, TV networks — including Fox News — complained that elected Republicans were refusing to go on-air.
  45. The Russian Foreign Minister advised Americans not to believe the WAPOstory on Trump leaking to Russia. A spokesperson wrote on Facebook about American newspaper: “You shouldn’t read them.”
  46. Wednesday morning, Putin offered to hand over records of Trump and Lavrov’s conversation to the US House and Senate.
  47. NBC reported Feds have subpoenaed Manafort for a $3.5mm mortgage taken out on his Hampton home just after leaving the Trump campaign. Mortgage documents were never filed, and taxes never paid on the loan.
  48. Eleven Democratic Senators called for an investigation of Sessions’s involvement with the Comey firing, after his stated recusal from the Trump-Russia investigation.
  49. In another sign of US decline under Trump, France’s PM, economic minister and national security adviser are all experts on Germany.
  50. 27-year-old Jean Jimenez-Joseph became the seventh person this year to die while under ICE custody. Jimenez-Joseph committed suicide, but ICE said he ‘passed away’ while at a detention center.
  51. ICE data revealed 41,000 arrests in Trump’s first 100 days, a 38% increase over the same period in 2016.
  52. As crises loom this week, a new NBC/WSJ poll found that only a quarter of Americans find Trump to be honest.
  53. WSJ reported Russian state-run bank VEB indirectly provided hundreds of millions in financing to Ukrainian steel mill owned by Alexander Shnaider, who then funded construction of a Trump project in Toronto.
  54. Delivering a commencement speech at the Coast Guard Academy, Trump said, “No politician in history… has been treated worse or more unfairly.
  55. On Wednesday, Rosenstein appointed a special counsel, Robert Mueller, to oversee the federal investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election and possible collusion between Russia and the Trump regime.
  56. Rosenstein was set to appear before the full Senate on Thursday and House on Friday.
  57. The WH was blinded by the special counsel news: given only 30 minutes advanced notice.
  58. WH PR strategy was in chaos, with Conway cancelling a scheduled appearance on Tucker Carlson’s show an hour before airtime. No members of Trump’s inner circle appeared on TV Wednesday.
  59. WAPO reported a month before Trump clinched the GOP nomination, in a private conversation with fellow GOP leaders, House Majority Leader McCarthy said Trump could be getting money from Putin, “There’s two people I think Putin pays: Rohrabacher and Trump.”
  60. Some GOP leaders laughed, and McCarthy continued, “Swear to God.” Speaker Ryan swore the attendees to secrecy.
  61. When called for comment, spokespeople for Ryan and McCarthy denied the WAPO story — until the Post told them they had audio.
  62. Pence registered a PAC on Wednesday, typically a signal of seeking higher office. Neither Biden or Cheney had active PACs while in office.
  63. NYT reported that Flynn officially disclosed to the Trump transition team on January 4 that he was under federal investigation for secretly working as a paid lobbying for Turkey.
  64. Pence headed Trump’s transition team, but he continued to deny he knew about Flynn’s lobbying. Pence was also notified about Flynn by Rep Cummings in a letter dated November 18.
  65. NYT reported the Trump regime was aware of Flynn’s business dealings in early November, even before his infamous pro-Turkey op-ed on Nov 8.
  66. NYT also reported acting FBI director McCabe confirmed to Congress a “highly significant” investigation into possible collusion between the Trump regime and Russia to sway the 2016 election.
  67. FBI prosecutor Brandon Van Grack is leading a grand jury inquiry in VA looking into Flynn’s foreign lobbying, and has started issuing subpoenas.
  68. NBC reported that both Manafort and Flynn are considered “subjects” of a criminal investigation.
  69. Also per NBC: the FBI, with help from the Treasury Dept, CIA and other agencies, is examining contacts, money transfers and business relationships between the Trump regime and Russia.
  70. McClatchy reported that one of the Trump regime’s first foreign policy decisions, involving the fight against ISIS, was made by Flynn in coordination with outgoing NSA Susan Rice. Flynn went against Obama administration advice, and put Turkey’s interests ahead of US interests.
  71. Reuters reported that the Trump regime had at least 18 undisclosed contacts with Russian officials in the 7 months leading up to the election.
  72. Six of the undisclosed contacts involved Kislyak with Flynn and three other Trump regime members. The other 12 involved Russian officials or people close to Putin and Trump campaign advisers.
  73. Reuters also reported that after the election, Flynn and Kislyak had conversations about setting up a back-channel communication between Trump and Putin that could bypass the US national security bureaucracy.
  74. Yahoo reported that Trump was in touch with Flynn as recently as April 25th, telling him to “stay strong.”
  75. On Thursday, Flynn’s lawyer said his client will not honor the Senate Intel Comm’s subpoena.
  76. WH advisers and personal associates are urging Trump to hire an experienced outside attorney to deal with the Trump-Russia probe.
  77. TIME reported Russia tried to hack the Defense Dept’s Twitter accountsby sending 10,000+ tailored messages in an effort to get them to click, which would have enabled hackers to control the account.
  78. Thursday, Chaffetz, the chair of the House Oversight Committee, resigned from Congress without explanation.
  79. Newsweek reported that Trump staffers are starting to look for new jobs, and are worried about the taint of having worked for the Trump regime.
  80. Thursday, Rosenstein briefed the Senate. McCaskill and other senators said shared that Rosenstein knew Comey was going to be fired before he wrote his memo.
  81. Thursday, Trump tweeted the Special Counsel/Russian is the “single greatest witch hunt of a politician,” and continued to cite Rosenstein’s memo as justification for his firing of Comey.
  82. Trump denied collusion between his campaign and Russia in the 2016 election, but said “I can only speak for myself.
  83. On Friday, Rosenstein released his opening remarks to the House and Senate which include on Comey firing, “My memorandum is not a statement of reasons to justify a for-cause termination.”
  84. After Rosenstein briefed the House, Cummings told the media, “This is about the fight for the soul of our democracy. We cannot afford to lose this one.”
  85. NYT reported Trump called Comey weeks after taking office, and asked when he was planning to publicly state that Trump was not under investigation. Comey tried to explain proper chains of communication.
  86. According to a friend, Comey was troubled by many of his encounters with Trump, including a Jan 22 ceremony in the WH blue room, where Comey tried to blend in the blue curtains to avoid Trump’s attention.
  87. WAPO also reported on Comey’s apprehension around meetings with Trump, citing his extensive preparations with staff, and writing out notes in his car directly after meetings.
  88. NYT also reported Priebus asked Comey to push back on media reports in mid February that the Trump regime had been in contact with Russia during the election.
  89. Kushner, while in a WH room with a high-level delegation of Saudis, called the chief executive of Lockheed Martin, and asked if she would cut the price on a $100bn+ weapons deal with Saudi Arabia.
  90. CNN reported that despite his recusal, Nunes continues to review intelligence relating to Russia, including as part of the Gang of Eight. Nunes had recused himself over his close ties to the Trump regime.
  91. Pence’s team continued to spin stories and distance him from Trump, indicating Pence was kept in the dark on Flynn and Russia, and that he’s a “loyal soldier” but the news cycle is wearing on him.
  92. In Trump’s first 119 days, he has made 586 false and misleading claims.
  93. As Trump floated Joe Lieberman as his top pick for FBI director, mysteriously Liberman’s Wikipedia page was edited to remove ‘Donald Trump’ as a notable client of his firm.
  94. As Trump leaves for his first overseas trip, foreign leaders have been instructed to praise him for winning the Electoral College. A report cited: ‘Compliment him on his election win, and compare him favorably to former President Obama.’
  95. On Friday, Rep Carlos Curbelo became the first Republican to call for Trump’s impeachment.
  96. Spicer issued a statement Friday afternoon in response to NYT stories, accusing Comey of “grandstanding” and “politicizing” the Russia probe, and hurting our ability “to engage and negotiate with Russia.”
  97. NYT reported late Friday on a document detailing conversations between Trump and Russian officials in the Oval Office. Trump said “I just fired the head of the F.B.I. He was crazy, a real nut job.”
  98. Stepping closer to obstruction of justice charges, Trump also allegedly told Russian officials that firing Comey had relieved “great pressure” on him, and that he is not under investigation.
  99. WAPO reported late Friday that law enforcement has identified a current WH official as “a significant person of interest.
  100. Reuters reported that the Trump regime is exploring ways to use obscure ethics rules to undermine the special counsel investigation of Trump-Russia — citing since Kushner and Manafort were clients of Mueller’s former firm, Mueller should be barred from investigating them.
  101. Late Friday, NY Magazine reported the person of interest in the WAPO story is Kushner.
  102. CNN reported that intercepts of Russian communications reveal Russian officials bragged during the presidential campaign that they could use Flynn to influence Trump.
  103. Trump pick for deputy Treasury Secretary, James Donovan, withdrew from consideration on Friday.
  104. A former Trump campaign official who has hired counsel in the Russian probe told a CNN reporter that Trump should help pay for legal costs.
  105. As Trump left for his first foreign trip, one reporter noted, “Almost palpable relief the circus has left town for a few days.” Truly was a different feel from the not normal chaos of recent months.

Following are various art pieces collected in my social media feed throughout the week: 

18557253_1699737440044294_3608585254213462892_npaul heyn portlandStahler Skam. Photo Alex ArtLife. Portland, OR.IMG_312218447456_1735228299826535_826944409094025593_n18485382_10212861314476233_1777321943579916643_n18278523_1869327583316156_2013512660993949515_o

18404156_1529894120416788_6392263938087566999_o
Evil Mike Pence. Portland, Oregon.

18238935_1869325779983003_8202462100577507106_o18279054_1869315193317395_430418503014361910_o18359194_1869306033318311_5609930370227301843_o18558922_10103146919829337_6837397189962762788_o18485757_10212917175032518_886209998376115439_n

Next week: Politiks of Graffiti 29 ! 

POLITIKS OF GRAFFITI 14: LIE LIE LAND

Week 13 of Donald Trump’s presidency: Experts in authoritarianism advise to keep a list of things subtly changing around you, so you’ll remember.published February 11, 2017 https://medium.com/@Amy_Siskind/week-13-experts-in-authoritarianism-advise-to-keep-a-list-of-things-subtly-changing-around-you-so-26b5f975afeb#.lpea5mkq8

Given that we’re 13 weeks into this tracking exercise, starting this week I’ll be adding a section at the bottom of the list, “Some Things We’ve Already Normalized.” The goal is to remind us of items in the early lists, that at the time were unprecedented and shocking; but have long since been accepted and forgotten. We must remember what normal used to be to resist, and find our way back — and so we begin!

In a Fox News interview, when O’Reilly referred to Putin as a “killer,” Trump responded, “Well, you think our country is so innocent?”

Trump’s comments were condemned by leaders and voices on both sides. Putin demanded an apology from Fox News.

The NYT ran a disturbing story describing Trump first two weeks. Like the WAPO story cited in Week 10, Trump is reportedly still isolated — going upstairs alone at 6:30 pm, and maintaining a small inner-circle.

The NYT also reported that Trump wasn’t fully briefed on the EO he signed giving Bannon a National Security Council seat. Trump tweeted that he calls his own shots, and referred to the story as fake news.

The WSJ reported that arrests of Russian intelligence officers are likely linked to Russia’s US hacking.

Pelosi called on the FBI to probe Trump’s personal and financial ties to Russia, to explore whether Russia may be blackmailing him.

By the end of the week, 6 NE Patriots said they would not attend the Super Bowl celebration ceremony at the White House.

McClatchy reported on efforts to silence public opinion: the WH comment line is shut down, signatures aren’t being counted on petitions, and Federal agencies are no longer allowed to respond to requests.

On SNL, Melissa McCarthy delivered a devasting portrayal of Spicer. Days later, Trump is reportedly rattled, and rumored to be seeking a replacement.

Spurred into a consideration by a petition signed by 1.5 million citizens, UK officials announced that Trump would not be allowed to address the UK Parliament during his upcoming visit.

As of this week, key roles in the Executive Branch are empty. Of the 658 positions that are open and require Senate confirmation, Trump has appointed only 35 (8 are confirmed, and 27 await confirmation).

Trump continued to assert that the “very dishonest press” doesn’t report terrorist attacks. At first, the source of his claim appeared to be InfoWars. The WH later released a list of attacks, with several misspellings (all attacks on the list had in fact been covered).

The White House is still not open to the public. Tours typically resume shortly after the new president takes office.

As part of her lawsuit against Mail Online, Melania mentioned the “once-in-a-lifetime” merchandising possibilities she envisioned as FLOTUS.

Republicans in a House committee voted to eliminate the agency charged with protecting voting machines from being hacked.

Without explanation or warning, the USDA purged a page on animal welfare from it’s website.

Trump attacked the federal judges ruling on his Muslim Ban, and questioned the indepence of the judicial branch, saying, “The courts seem to be so political,” and threatening that any terrorist attacks would be the fault of these judges if they don’t rule his way.

Trump also referred to federal justice Robart, a W. Bush appointee who ruled against Trump’s Muslim Ban, as a “so-called judge.”

Trump nominee for the SCOTUS called Trump’s remarks, “demoralizing” and “disheartening.” Trump refuted, saying Gorsuch’s comments were misrepresented. In response, a spokesperson for Gorsuch said it was true.

During a debate on the confirmation of Sessions, Warren was formerly silenced by McConnell and Republicans for reading a letter by Coretta Scott King, in a refrain that will go into the history books: “She was warned. She was given an explanation. Nevertheless, she persisted.” The rule cited by McConnell, Rule XIX, was not used on GOP men like Cruz.

A HuffPost story seemed to call Trump’s mental health into question, citing via leaks that Trump called Flynn at 3 a.m. to ask him about a weak dollar and the economy. A member of W Bush NSC added, “I genuinely do not think this is a mentally healthy president.”

In response to Trump’s failed raid in Yemen, according to the NYT, Yemenis withdrew permission for US antiterror ground mission. More stories came out questioning Trump’s decision-making process and truthfulness on the Yemen raid.

WSJ reported that Trump’s appointee to acting SEC Chair is seeking to get rid of the requirement under Dodd Frank that companies disclose the pay gap between CEO’s and their employees.

Trump tweeted, from both his personal account and the POTUS account, that Nordstrom has treated his daughter unfairly. He included a veiled threat, “She’s a great person — always pushing me to do the right thing.” Nordstrom cited lagging sales, and their stock rose 4.1% that day.

Trump’s attack against Nordstrom was widely condemned by ethics experts as a clear violation of federal ethics rules.

Next day, Conway said on Fox News, “Go buy Ivanka’s stuff is what I would say.” Spicer later that day said Conway was “counseled.” Trump sided with Conway.

Chaffetz, head of the House Oversight Committee, called Conway’s statement, “wrong, wrong, wrong.” Next day, Conway made a snide remark about Chaffetz’s stormy townhall.

France’s spy agency, the DGSE, said Russia is actively working to get Le Pen elected. Le Pen announced that if she wins, Jews would have to leave France if they did not give up their Israeli citizenship.

A bipartisan group of Senators introduced a bill that would require congressional approval for Trump to lift sanctions on Russia.

A Hitler’s Valentine’s Day card was handed out by a the College Republicans at Central Michigan University. Nationwide, anti-semitism incidents continue to escalate since Election Day.

Reuters reported that Trump did not get briefed prior to his phone call with Putin, and had to ask aides about the New START treaty.

Breaking 7 decades of presidential precedents, Trump said he will not rely on White House Council of Economic Advisers.

Democrats in the House moved to force a debate on Trump’s Russia business conflicts and ties.

Rachel Maddow reported in order to shield himself from having to pay for the clean-up of a failed SC business formerly owned by his son, Trump claimed to have no relationship to former owner.

Townhalls hosted by Republicans in Utah, Tennessee and others states had huge crowds show up and vociferously show their displeasure.

A national poll conducted by PPP found that 51% of Trump supporters think the “Bowling Green massacre” — a lie put forward by Conway in Week 12 — is justification for Trump’s Muslim Ban.

Courts again turned back Trump, this time in his efforts to scale back an Obama-era consumer protection designed to avoid conflicts of interests when brokers give retirement advice.

FLOTUS Trump again broke with tradition, not hosting the FL of Japan during her tour of Washington DC.

WAPO broke that despite his earlier denials, Flynn did indeed have conversations with Russia’s ambassador about sanctions while Obama was still in office. Flynn changed his version to having “no recollection.”

Aids for Pence, who had vouched for Flynn on Sunday tv, said Flynn had lied to Pence, and Flynn was his only source. When asked about this story, Trump feigned ignorance, despite WAPO having it on page 1.

In a meeeting with Senators, Trump again asserted voter fraud, citing alleged buses of Massachusetts people who voted in New Hampshire.

Trump has still not come to an agreement with Federal officials over his Trump DC hotel’s violation of lease.

After a conversation with the leader of Taiwan in Week 3, an action not taken by an American president in decades, Trump asserted his bumble was to show strength to China. Unceremoniously this week, Trump changed course, and said he would honor the ‘One China’ policy.

Without notice, days after Sessions is confirmed, federal agents started conducting mass immigration raids in at least six states. Citizens reported seeing check-points in several major cities.

CNN broke that US intelligence has corroborated some parts of the infamous Russian dossier. Spicer responded by attacking CNN for fake news reporting.

Gallup found that only 29% of Americans think Trump is respected in the world. 67% believe he is not.

Trump continued to actively lie this week. Protests and marches continued nationwide.

Some Things We’ve Already Normalized:

The first family is not living in the White House.

Trump is not receiving daily intelligence briefings.

Trump remains an Executive Producer of “The Celebrity Apprentice.”

Media coverage of Trump includes images of his tweets.

Our Secretary of State is a former CEO of Exxon, who has close ties to Putin, and no government or diplomatic experience.

Theresa May and Donald Trump by UK artist Bambi

Photo: Ocean Morisset, New York City

Specific location unknown

Beavis and Butthead

Stay tuned for POLITIKS OF GRAFFITI 15 coming soon!

Some previous links: https://jacquelinemhadel.com/2017/02/15/politiks-of-graffiti-12-amerikan-gothik/ AND https://jacquelinemhadel.com/2017/02/16/politiks-of-graffiti-13-nothing-to-see-here/ and many more… 

POLITIKS OF GRAFFITI 4: DUMP TRUMP

Lead-up posts to this one can be found at: https://jacquelinemhadel.com/2017/02/03/the-politiks-of-graffiti-world-view-of-donald-trump/ AND https://jacquelinemhadel.com/2017/02/04/politiks-of-graffiti-2-bad-hombre/ AND https://jacquelinemhadel.com/2017/02/06/politiks-of-graffiti-3-don-deplorable/

Written by Amy Siskind: Week 3: Experts in authoritarianism advise to keep a list of things subtly changing around you, so you’ll remember. published December 3, 2016Source: https://medium.com/@Amy_Siskind/week-3-experts-in-authoritarianism-advise-to-keep-a-list-of-things-subtly-changing-around-you-so-ea468ab3eaa7#.a0x202tpx https://catalogadventures.wordpress.com/2017/01/17/written-by-amy-siskind-week-3-experts-in-authoritarianism-advise-to-keep-a-list-of-things-subtly-changing-around-you-so-youll-remember-published-december-3-2016/

Observation: each week the list is getting longer, and more troubling/frightening.

1. SPLC issued a startling report on the profoundly negative impact of the election results on our schools and children. This in addition to 867 cases of hate attacks in the 10 days post election, and 892 active hate groups.

2. Reports nationwide, including our college campuses, of women being grabbed by the genitals, and being told a variation of “it’s no big deal.”

3. Trump continues to be disinteresed in availing himself of daily intelligence briefings.

4. Our news cycles now being led by Trump’s Twitter account. Our media seems unable to do anything but follow along.

5. Trump sent a total of 13 tweets on Jill Stein’s recounts, the most consecutive tweets on any subject. Still not a single tweet condemning nationwide hate crimes carried out in his name.

6. Trump tweets there were “millions of people who voted illegally.” KellyAnne Conway and other loyalists parroted and embellished this false claim during the week.

7. Despite his clams of millions of illegal votes, Trump and the GOP apparatus aggressively filed lawsuits to prevent vote recounts.

8. Trump retweeted a 16 year-old’s tweet attacking a CNN reporter. The 16 year-old complained that Trump edited his tweet.

9. Kellyanne Conway scolded a 17 year-old, in response to the girl’s question about working for a man with a history of sexual asasult.

10. Unprovoked by events or any reason, Trump suggested — again via a tweet – consequences for burning the American flag: “perhaps loss of citizenship or year in jail!”

11. Senate Majority leader McConnell awoke from a seeming slumber to condemn this, while Speaker Paul Ryan assured America he was tutoring Trump on the Constitution.

12. Trump’s campaign held a cyber Monday sale on Trump merchandise at its online store.

13. Russia claimed to be in talks with several people on the Trump team regarding Syria, before Trump takes office.

14. After spending the entire general election criticizing Hillary’s email practices, Trump considers Gen Petraeus for SoS- despite a requirement that the General notify his probation officer in order to leave North Carolina (fortunately, there’s no travel entailed in the SoS position).

15. Trump continued to conduct his SoS selection like episodes of The Bachelor. Romney was shamed into a public apology-lite remarks after feasting on frog legs, only to find days later, the current and former CEOs of Exxon had been added to the contestant list.

16. Under continued pressure, Trump tweeted he would leave his businesses, but offered little detail or comfort this would be anything but having his children run things. Hardly arms-length.

17.Eight members of the Senate Intelligence Committee wrote a letter to President Obama, urging him to declassify information related to Russia’s interference with our election. Although 17 intelligence agencies have said Russia was involved in hacking, the public is aware of no response or actions that have been taken.

18. Bahrain — the same Bahrain that Trump falsely chastised Hillary for allegedly accepting donations to the Clinton Foundation — booked space at the Trump International Hotel in DC for a reception.

19. Even Trump loyalists (see image below) rebelled at Trump’s appointment of Goldman Sachs execs to his cabinet and inner circle. Since election day, GS stock has rallied by 23%, or a 347% annualized return.

20. Seemingly unaware or disinterested in the fact the campaign is over, Trump embarked on a “Victory Tour” — later, rebranded as a “Thank You Tour”- visting only the states he won. His first rally in Cinncinatti was half empty.

21. At the Cincinnati rally, after being egged on by Trump, supporters chanted, “Lock her up! Lock her up!” and Trump did nothing to stop them. Same night, Trump loyalist Cory Lewandowski told a panel that NYT editor Dean Baquet should be imprisioned.

22. In kicking off the tour, Trump and Pence engineered a populist saving of 1,000 American jobs, at a cost of $7mm to Indiana taxpayers. A WSJ editorial referred to the ploy as “Trump’s Carrier Shakedown.”

23. In a 48 hour period, Trump did incredible damage to our country’s global standing, conducting conversations with foreign leaders without being briefed by or consulting with the State Department.

24. Pakistan government readout of Trump’s phone conversation with Pakistan PM Sharif: described the PM as “a terrific guy” who made him feel as though “I’m talking to a person I have known for long.”

25. Trump invited Phillipine leader Rodrigo Duterte to the WH, and congratulated him on handling the drug war, the “right way.”

26. Trump became the first US leader to have a phone conversation with Taiwan, since diplomatic ties were cut in 1979. Trump explained it away in 2 tweets. China promptly responded in protest.

From Oner Vertual, “Virtual” in Los Angeles, CA.
By Digitiser2000 on Twitter.
Spotted in Italy. Photo from Oner Vertual FB.
V for Vendetta. Los Angeles, CA.

Photo by Paul Hehn, Portland, Oregon.
Wheatpaste in Los Angeles, CA. Oner Vertual FB.


Jordanian artist Osama Hajjaj for Al Arab Al Yawm doesn’t mention Trump, it makes a clear statement about Trump’s impact on Muslims in and out of the United States.

PLEASE STAY TUNED TO THIS CONTINUING SERIES. UPCOMING: POLITIKS OF GRAFFITI 5