POLITICS OF GRAFFITI 147: CHEETO CHRIST STUPID CZAR

AUGUST 31, 2019

Week 146

Experts in authoritarianism advise to keep a list of things
subtly changing around you, so you’ll remember. https://theweeklylist.org/weekly-list/week-146/
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from Jim Carrey, August 19, 2019

This week Trump’s strange behavior towards Russia drew renewed concern as he advocated for adding Russia back at the Group of Seven summit in France, then held up military aid to Ukraine. A vacated seat unfilled by Trump at the Federal Elections Commission left the election watchdog group without a quorum ahead of the 2020 election, while voting irregularities were reported this week in Mississippi and Georgia.

Fresh signs of Trump’s authoritarian bent went unchecked, as reporting surfaced a loose network of his allies seeking to discredit journalists, and Trump offering pardons to aides if they break the law in fast-tracking his wall ahead of 2020. Concerns of a pending recession heightened, as Trump’s trade war with China continued to escalate, and for the first time while Trump has been in office, more Americans think the economy is getting worse than better.

This week there was public outcry as the regime continued to take steps to limit immigration, while troubling conditions at detention centers persisted, and the regime is considering DNA testing of migrants. As Hurricane Dorian headed towards Florida, for the second time in two weeks, Trump canceled a scheduled trip to visit European allies, supposedly to stay back and monitor the storm, but instead spent Saturday golfing.

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New York City, May 2019.
  1. On Sunday, NYT reported a loose network of Trump allies are planning an aggressive operation to discredit news organizations deemed hostile to Trump by disclosing damaging information on journalists.
  2. The group has already released damaging information on journalists working for CNN, WAPO, and NYT in retaliation for reporting or covering allies consider unfair to Trump and his team, or harmful to his re-election.
  3. Operatives have examined a decade’s worth of public posts and statements made by hundreds of journalists. Only a small fraction has been made public. More will be disclosed as the 2020 election heats up.
  4. Operatives have also gathered information on journalists’ families, as well as liberal activists and political opponents. The White House claimed neither Trump or anyone in the White House was involved in or aware of the operation.
  5. On Sunday, NYT Publisher A.G. Sulzberger said in a public memorandum, “A Campaign Targeting Our Staff,” “Their goal is to silence critics and undermine the public’s faith in independent journalism.”
  6. Sulzberger also wrote, “This represents an escalation of an ongoing campaign against the free press,” adding, operatives “are using insinuation and exaggeration to manipulate the facts for political gain.”
  7. On Monday, Mother Jones reported the Federal Election Commission will partially shut down. The FEC needs a quorum of four of the six members. A third member resigned Monday, while Trump has left two seats vacant.
  8. On Friday, NPR reported this was the last business day for the FEC. Former FEC officials raised concern over the ability to counter another attempt by Russia or other foreign governments to interfere in the 2020 election.
  9. Former officials also expressed concern Trump will leave the seat vacant through the 2020 election. The Merit Systems Protection Board, which investigates violations of federal personnel practices, also lacks a quorum.
  10. On Saturday, WSJ reported at the Group of Seven summit, during a contentious debate at a closed door dinner, Trump called for reinstating Russia. Other world leaders rebuffed the request, saying it was too soon.
  11. On Sunday, Trump accused the media of trying to hurt his re-election prospects, tweeting, “Just like they are trying to force a Recession, they are trying to “will” America into bad Economic times, the worse the better.”
  12. Trump tweeted, “anything to make my Election more difficult to win,” adding, “the Leaders are getting along very well, and our Country, economically, is doing great — the talk of the world!”
  13. On Sunday, at a breakfast with British Prime Minister Boris Johnson at the G7 summit, Trump acknowledged he had regrets about the escalating trade war with China, telling reporters, “Yeah, sure. Why not.”
  14. Shortly after, White House press secretary Stephanie Grisham said Trump’s response was taken out of context, and his top economic adviser, Larry Kudlow, told reporters Trump had trouble hearing the question.
  15. Later Sunday, at a bilateral news conference, Trump told reporters he had reached a trade pact “in principle” with Japanese leader Shinzo Abe. However, Abe differed, saying more work remained to complete a deal.
  16. On Sunday, Kudlow told CNN that the trade deal with Japan would have major positive implications for the U.S., but could not offer precise details of the deal.
  17. On Monday, French President Emmanuel Macron said he invited Iran’s foreign minister to the G7 “to mediate.” He praised Trump on U.S. sanctions while expressing concern about inflaming the region.
  18. On Monday, standing with First Lady Melania, Trump told reporters that Iran is a “country with tremendous potential,” and said North Korea has similar potential if it would disband its nuclear arms.
  19. Trump added he has gotten to know Kim Jong Un “extremely well,” and “the first lady has gotten to know Kim Jong Un and I think she would agree with me, he is a man with a country that has tremendous potential.”
  20. Later Monday, the White House issued a clarifying statement, saying, “Trump confides in his wife on many issues,” adding, “while the First Lady hasn’t met him, the President feels like she’s gotten to know him too.”
  21. On Monday, Trump skipped the session on climate, biodiversity, and oceans attended by other world leaders. His chair was symbolically empty during the portion of the session reporters attended.
  22. On Monday, when asked by reporters about his climate message at the G7, Trump falsely claimed, “we are right now having the cleanest air and cleanest water on the planet.”
  23. On Sunday, Trump again attacked Fox News for their polling results in Week 145, tweeting their polls “are only getting worse!” and “Now @donnabrazile & others on Fox,” adding, “Not what it used to be!”
  24. On Sunday, Joe Walsh announced he will challenge Trump for the Republican nomination in 2020, calling him “completely unfit,” and saying “everyone” in the GOP believes Trump is not fit for the job.
  25. On Sunday, Axios reported Trump has suggested multiple times to senior Homeland Security and national security officials that they explore using nuclear bombs to stop hurricanes from hitting the U.S.
  26. Reportedly at one meeting, Trump said “I got it. I got it. Why don’t we nuke them?” adding, “as they’re moving across the Atlantic, we drop a bomb inside the eye of the hurricane and it disrupts it.”
  27. On Monday, Trump tweeted from the G7 that the story that he “wanted to blow up large hurricanes with nuclear weapons prior to reaching shore is ridiculous,” adding, “I never said this. Just more FAKE NEWS!”
  28. Later Monday, Trump again tweeted about the story, saying he returned from “the very successful G-7,” and “the Fake News is still trying to perpetuate the phony story,” adding, “This is so ridiculous, never happened!
  29. On Monday, concluding the G7, Macron said there will be a meeting on the Ukraine conflict with the presidents of Russia, Ukraine, Germany, and France. Trump said he might invite Russia to the G7 in 2020.
  30. On Monday, Trump told reporters he will “probably” hold the 2020 G7 summit at his golf resort in Doral, Florida, saying the club is near the airport and has ample parking and the “biggest ballrooms in Florida.”
  31. Trump holding a summit of world leaders at his personal property where he would financially benefit would be unprecedented. The Doral has been “severely underperforming” according to company representatives.
  32. On Monday, Trump held a 68-minute news conference. Trump reiterated his support for Russia, saying, “A lot of people say having Russia, which is a power, inside the room is better than having them outside the room.”
  33. Trump also repeated the false claim Russia was dropped from the group because “President Putin outsmarted President Obama,” calling it “very embarrassing” for Obama. All G7 countries backed the decision.
  34. Asked why he continues to blame Obama for the annexation of Crimea by Yamiche Alcindor of PBS News, a black reporter, Trump said she had an ulterior motive. “I know you like President Obama,” he said, without answering her question.
  35. Asked about climate change, Trump responded, “I feel the US has tremendous wealth,” adding, “I’m not going to lose that wealth on dreams, on windmills — which, frankly, aren’t working too well.”
  36. Trump also claimed, “I’m an environmentalist. A lot of people don’t understand that,” adding, “I know more about the environment than most,” and “I want clean air. I want clean water. I want a wealthy country.”
  37. Trump claimed to have received “high-level calls” from Chinese officials seeking to negotiate a trade deal on Sunday night. Chinese officials said on Monday they were unaware of any such calls.
  38. Trump asked Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin to back up his assertion. Instead, Mnuchin said there had been “communication,” but did not use the word “call.”
  39. Trump said he would be willing to meet with Iranian President Hassan Rouhani. “Now, is that based on fact or based on gut? It’s based on gut,” adding, “Maybe it works and maybe it doesn’t. I say it all the time.”
  40. Trump described North Korea and Iran in terms of real estate potential, saying the two countries would want to deal with him because they sit on valuable land, while continuing to brag about his own properties.
  41. During a bilateral news conference with Prime Minister Boris Johnson, Trump again mentioned his properties, incorrectly citing his Doonbeg golf and hotel resort as being in the U.K., not Ireland.
  42. Trump made another push for hosting the 2020 G7 at his Doral property, saying, “we have a series of magnificent buildings,” referencing bungalows, incredible conference rooms and restaurants, “it’s like such a natural.”
  43. On Tuesday, Miami Herald reporting on a 2016 lawsuit by an insurance executive claiming he was bitten by bedbugs in his room at Trump’s Doral club resurfaced. The suit was settled in early 2017.
  44. Trump tweeted, “No bedbugs at Doral,”adding, “The Radical Left Democrats, upon hearing that the perfectly located (for the next G-7) Doral National MIAMI…spread that false and nasty rumor. Not nice!”
  45. On Tuesday, after Slate published a leaked internal memo “evidence of bedbugs” in the NYT’s office, Trump tweeted “A made up Radical Left Story about Doral bedbugs, but Bret Stephens is loaded up with them!
  46. Stephens, a conservative NYT columnist who is anti-Trump, admonished a college professor for likening him to a bedbug in a tweet. Trump tweeted, “He is now quitting Twitter after being called a ‘bedbug.’ Tough guy!
  47. On Saturday, Rep. Steve King doubled down on his comments that rape and incest not be factored in abortion decisions, tweeting: “their lives are as precious as any other, regardless of how they came to be.”
  48. On Sunday, calls for boycotting restaurant Olive Garden went viral on false rumors it was funding Trump’s re-election campaign. Olive Garden tweeted: “Our company does not donate to presidential candidates.”
  49. On Saturday, ABC News reported it took Immigration and Customs Enforcement eight days to realize they had left two children, ages 12 and 14, without either parent after the Mississippi raids.
  50. On Tuesday, the Miami Herald reported the Trump regime has quietly gutted the bulk of a “medical deferred action” policy, which removed the threat of immediate deportation for families facing serious illnesses.
  51. Denial letters from U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service obtained by the Herald show the agency will now only accept applications and renewals from military members and their families.
  52. On Tuesday, the Harvard Crimson reported incoming freshman Ismail Ajjawi, 17, a resident of Tyre, Lebanon was deported after arriving at Boston Logan Airport and being subjected to hours of questioning.
  53. Immigration officers also searched his phone and computer before canceling Ajjawi’s visa. In a statement, a Customs and Border Protection spokesperson said CBP found Ajjawi “inadmissible” to the country.
  54. Politico reported Jimmy Aldaoud, a 41 year-old man from Detroit who came to the U.S. as a young child, died after being deported to Iraq, reportedly due to his inability to obtain insulin to treat his diabetes.
  55. On Wednesday, a lawsuit filed by 19 states against the Trump regime alleged detained migrant girls are being given limited access to basics like sanitary pads and tampons — in some cases only one per day.
  56. On Wednesday, according to a new USCIS policy, children born to U.S. service members and government employees overseas will no longer be granted automatic citizenship. The policy is set to go into effect in October.
  57. Instead, the Trump regime will require parents of the children, including those born on military bases, and children adopted, to apply for citizenship on behalf of their children before they turn 18 years-old.
  58. Following the announcement, amid widespread confusion, acting director of USCIS Ken Cuccinelli said in a statement, “this policy update does not affect who is born a US citizen, period,” adding, “born outside the US.”
  59. The move was also condemned by veterans groups, calling it “an abominable and antipatriotic position” and a “preposterous change,” adding, “Military members already have enough to deal with.”
  60. On Thursday, the Trump regime looked to clarify the new USCIS policy, after facing a political firestorm for saying it will affect the citizenship applications of “a very small” number of children born abroad.
  61. The regime claimed the issue arose from USCIS and the State Department having different policies. The State Department said in a statement Thursday that it had been working with USCIS “for some time to align” the policies.
  62. On Thursday, BuzzFeed reported, according to the CDC, nearly 900 adult migrants had mumps in the past 12 months at 57 detention centers in 19 states. An additional 33 staff members also were infected.
  63. The first cases were identified at Texas detention facilities in December. Since then federal health agency has been working with ICE and other federal agencies to control the outbreaks, described as “striking.”
  64. On Thursday, BuzzFeed reported, according to a draft of policy, the Trump regime wants to allow CBP officials to collect DNA samples from undocumented immigrants in their custody.
  65. The regime estimated CBP officials will spend more than 20,000 additional work hours in its first year of implementation, testing hundreds of thousands of migrants if the policy is fully implemented.
  66. On Thursday, in letter to acting DHS secretary Kevin McAleenan, House Oversight Committee Chair Elijah Cummings said the Department of Homeland Security is blocking members of Congress from visiting detention facilities.
  67. Cummings said poor conditions persisted at the facilities, despite the House passing a $4.6 billion border aid package in June. Migrants complain of spoiled food and inadequate medical care.
  68. Cummings’ letter also cited cruelty: “One detainee alleged that a Border Patrol agent told a child who had spilled soup that the child would not receive more food unless the child drank the spilled soup off the floor.”
  69. On Tuesday, a federal judge temporarily blocked a Missouri law banning most abortions at eight weeks of pregnancy, less than 24 hours before the law was set to take effect.
  70. The judge did not however block a provision of the law prohibiting abortions on the basis of a fetus’s race, sex, or Down syndrome diagnosis, but noted plaintiffs would likely prevail in having that struck down too.
  71. On Thursday, the Rockland County Republican Party in New York removed an anti-Semitic video warning “a storm is brewing,” adding if “they” — the ultra-Orthodox Jewish residents — “win, we lose.”
  72. New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo issued a statement calling the video “the very definition of discrimination and antisemitism.” The chairman of the New York State Republican Party issued a statement calling it a “bad mistake.”
  73. On Tuesday, NBC News reported the Trump regime is pulling $271 million from the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s Disaster Relief Fund to send to the southern border just ahead of the fall hurricane season.
  74. Funds will be used for temporary locations for court hearings for asylum-seekers along the U.S.-Mexico border, and Immigration and Customs Enforcement would get an additional $155 million.
  75. On Tuesday, Trump tweeted, “Wow! Yet another big storm heading to Puerto Rico,” asking, “Will it ever end?” Trump again falsely claimed Congress approved $92 billion in aid to Puerto Rico, “an all time record.”
  76. On Wednesday, as Hurricane Dorian headed towards Puerto Rico, Trump lashed out, tweeting Puerto Rico “is one of the most corrupt places on earth.” He earlier insulted “the incompetent Mayor of San Juan” in a tweet.
  77. Trump also tweeted, “Their political system is broken and their politicians are either Incompetent or Corrupt,” adding, “Congress approved Billions of Dollars last time….and it is sent to Crooked Pols. No good!”
  78. On Thursday, as Dorian was expected to reach Category 4 in Florida, but spare Puerto Rico, Trump took a conciliatory tone, tweeting, “Puerto Rico is in great shape with Hurricane Dorian taking a largely different route.”
  79. Trump also tweeted, “Hurricane Dorian looks like it will be hitting Florida late Sunday night,” adding, “it will be a very big Hurricane,” and, without evidence, “perhaps one of the biggest!
  80. Shortly after, the Tampa Bay Times reported Mar-a-Lago is in the projected path of Hurricane Dorian. The storm was expected to make landfall as a Category 4 storm on Monday.
  81. Later Thursday, Trump canceled his Poland trip to monitor Dorian, and sent Vice President Mike Pence instead, saying, “It’s something very important for me to be here…looks like it could be a very, very big one.”
  82. On Monday, the House Judiciary Committee subpoenaed former White House aide Rob Porter to testify about Trump’s efforts to impede the Russia investigation, citing him as the “most critical fact witness.”
  83. On Monday, NYT reported federal prosecutors are near a final decision on whether to seek an indictment for former deputy FBI director Andrew McCabe, a frequent target of Trump, on charges of lying to a federal agent.
  84. A prosecution would please Trump, who has made McCabe a central part of his aim to discredit the DOJ and FBI over the Russia investigation. Already two prosecutors have left the case over mishandling.
  85. On Monday, WAPO reported some of the video footage outside of Jeffrey Epstein’s jail call is unusable. It was not clear why the footage was too flawed for investigators to use. Video is considered critical to the inquiry.
  86. On Tuesday, attorneys for Jeffrey Epstein told a judge the evidence of his death is “far more consistent with assault” than suicide, and told the court they would provide evidence to support their assertion.
  87. On Monday, a Roanoke poll of the state of Virginia found Trump’s approval dropped to 27% — a new low in the poll — and down from 38% in February, while 53% say they disapprove.
  88. On Tuesday, a Morning Consult poll found that Trump’s net approval has dropped significantly in every battleground state, including Wisconsin (+6 in 2016, now -14), Michigan (+7, -11,) and Pennsylvania (+10, -8).
  89. On Tuesday, Deutsche Bank told a federal appeals court it has some of the Trump tax returns requested by congressional subpoenas related to Trump, his family, and his businesses, “in either draft or as-filed form.”
  90. Although in the letter to the court the identities of the people or organizations were redacted, bank officials told the Times the bank has portions of multiple years of Trump’s personal and corporate tax returns.
  91. Deutsche Bank also has returns for “immediate family” within the definition provided in the subpoenas, related to the parties. Capital One responded it does not have any tax returns in its possession.
  92. On Wednesday, MSNBC host Lawrence O’Donnell retracted a story from his Tuesday show that Russian oligarchs had co-signed for Deutsche Bank loans to Trump, and apologized for not adhering to professional standards.
  93. Earlier Wednesday, a lawyer for Trump said in a letter to NBC Universal and O’Donnell that his “statements are false and defamatory, and extremely damaging,” and demanded he “retract, correct and apologize.”
  94. On Thursday, Trump attacked O’Donnell, tweeting “Crazy Lawrence O’Donnell” who he said “has been calling me wrong” since before his 2016 campaign, was “forced by NBC to apologize” which he did “while crying.”
  95. Trump added, “the most ridiculous claim of all, that Russia, Russia, Russia, or Russian oligarchs, co-signed loan documents for me,” adding, “Totally false, as is virtually everything else he, and much of the rest of the LameStream Media, has said,” and, “ALL APOLOGIZE!”
  96. Trump also tweeted, “The totally inaccurate reporting” by O’Donnell is “NO DIFFERENT than the horrible, corrupt and fraudulent Fake News that I…have had to put up with for years,” adding, “So bad for the USA!”
  97. On Tuesday, WAPO reported Attorney General William Barr booked a 200-person holiday party in December at the Trump Hotel DC, which is likely to deliver over $30,000 to Trump’s property.
  98. Barr booked the event last month, and is paying for it himself. According to a DOJ official, Barr picked Trump Hotel DC because other comparable hotels were already booked, not to curry favor with Trump.
  99. Even though Barr booked the hotel himself, and not the DOJ, the decision is also noteworthy given that the DOJ is currently defending Trump in lawsuits related to the emoluments clause.
  100. On Tuesday, WAPO reported Trump instructed Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue to exempt Alaska’s Tongass National Forest from logging restrictions, after privately discussing it with the state’s governor.
  101. The restrictions known as “roadless rule” have been in place for nearly 20 years, created during Bill Clinton’s administration. If Trump’s plan succeeds it would impact 9.5 million acres, more than half of the world’s largest intact temperate rainforest.
  102. On Thursday, Trump’s EPA proposed rolling back Obama-era regulations on climate-changing methane leaksfrom many oil facilities, easing requirements on oil and gas sites to monitor leaks and plug them.
  103. EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler, a former coal lobbyist, said the proposed rule followed Trump’s directive to remove “unnecessary and duplicative regulatory burdens from the oil and gas industry.”
  104. On Tuesday, NYT reported at an event with farmers, Sec. Perdue was peppered with complaints about the impact of Trump’s trade war with China. As the trade war escalates, some farmers are panicking.
  105. The impact has also started to hit manufacturers like Deere & Company, which cut its profit forecast for the second time this year, citing farmers delaying purchases of equipment on worries over exports.
  106. On Tuesday, Trump complained about the media covering 2020 candidate Sen. Elizabeth Warren’s crowd size, tweeting they do stories on “Elizabeth “Pocahontas” Warren…my crowds, which are far bigger, get no coverage.”
  107. On Tuesday, Trump attacked the Federal Reserve, tweeting, “The Federal Reserve loves watching our manufacturers struggle with their exports,” adding, “Our Fed has been calling it wrong for too long!”
  108. On Wednesday, a new Quinnipiac poll found Trump’s approval down to 38%, 56% disapprove, down from 40% approve, 54% disapprove a month ago. The poll also showed Trump far behind 2020 Democratic contenders.
  109. The polls also showed, for the first time since Trump took office, more voters say the economy is getting worse (37%) than better (31%). In June, just 23% said the economy was getting worse, 38% better.
  110. On Wednesday, Trump attacked the Fed, tweeting, “Our Federal Reserve cannot “mentally” keep up with the competition,” citing other countries keeping interest rates low, and adding, “No Clue Fed!”
  111. On Wednesday, Sen. Thom Tillis, who is up for re-election, sided with Trump in his feud with the Fed, calling on the Senate Banking Committee to investigate the Fed’s independence — a highly unusual move.
  112. On Wednesday, a letter by the Footwear Distributors and Retailers of America signed by over 200 companies urged Trump to cancel his tariff hikes on China, saying it is tantamount to taxing the American consumer.
  113. On Thursday, Trump again attacked the Fed, tweeting, “The Economy is doing GREAT, with tremendous upside potential!” adding, “If the Fed would do what they should, we are a Rocket upward!
  114. On Friday, Trump attacked the Fed, tweeting, “If the Fed would cut, we would have one of the biggest Stock Market increases in a long time,” and “Badly run and weak companies are smartly blaming these small Tariffs.”
  115. Trump also tweeted, “We don’t have a Tariff problem (we are reigning in bad and/or unfair players), we have a Fed problem,” adding, “They don’t have a clue!”
  116. On Friday, Trump tweeted telling General Motors, which is “now one of the smallest auto manufacturers” in Detroit, to move its plants out of China, saying they moved there, “BEFORE I CAME INTO OFFICE.”
  117. On Friday, Trump again surfaced the idea of easing capital gains taxes, tweeting, “An idea liked by many?” to an article quoted by Sen. Ted Cruz. Last week Trump swore off the idea, saying it was “elitist.”
  118. On Wednesday, in a series of tweets, Trump again attacked Fox News, saying the network is “heavily promoting the Democrats” and the DNC Communications Director being interviewed was “spewing out whatever she wanted with zero pushback” from the anchor.
  119. Trump also tweeted, “Fox hires “give Hillary the questions” @donnabrazile, Juan Williams and low ratings Shep Smith,” saying, “HOPELESS & CLUELESS!” adding, “I will still find a way to Win.”
  120. Trump also tweeted “the New” Fox News “is letting millions of GREAT people down!” adding, “We have to start looking for a new News Outlet. Fox isn’t working for us anymore!
  121. On Wednesday, several Fox News personalities pushed back. Senior political analyst Brit Hume tweeted, “Fox News isn’t supposed to work for you,” and contributor Guy Benson tweeted, “We don’t work for you.”
  122. On Wednesday, Beto O’Rourke’s campaign acknowledged it had ejected Breitbart reporters from an event, saying the right-wing publication walks a line “between being news and a perpetrator of hate speech.”
  123. Later Tuesday, WAPO reported Trump directed aides to fast-track billions in construction contracts, aggressively seize private land, and disregard environmental rules, in order to build the wall before the election.
  124. Trump has told aides he will pardon them of any wrongdoing if they break the law in building the wall quickly. Trump has promised crowds at his campaign rallies 500 miles of fencing by November 2020.
  125. In meetings, Trump has mentioned the loud cheers he gets from his crowds when he mentions his wall. So far, the regime has completed just 60 miles of “replacement” barrier during Trump’s time in office.
  126. Trump insisted the wall be painted black, making it hot to the touch, despite significant additional costs, and wants to remove the upper part of the fence which thwarts climbers because he finds it unsightly.
  127. WAPO noted that several of the 15 pardons by Trump so far, which he has granted unchecked, have carried an overtly political tone. Several Democrats on the House Judiciary Committee threatened an investigation.
  128. On Wednesday, Trump tweeted, “Another totally Fake story in the Amazon Washington Post (lobbyist),” adding, “This was made up by the Washington Post only in order to demean and disparage — FAKE NEWS!”
  129. Later Wednesday, Trump tweeted, “The Amazon Washington Post and @CNN just did a Fake Interview on Pardons for Aids [sic] on the Wall, adding his wall is “vitally important. Will make a BIG impact. So bad!”
  130. Trump also tweeted, “There has never been a time in the history of our Country that the Media was so Fraudulent, Fake, or Corrupt!” adding, “my legacy will be the exposing of massive dishonesty in the Fake News!”
  131. Later, after Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand dropped out of the 2020 primary, Trump tweeted mocking her, saying “a sad day for the Democrats,” adding, “they never found out that she was the one I was really afraid of!”
  132. On Tuesday, a federal appeals court sided with the ACLU and others in upholding the block of an Indiana lawwhich would allow the immediate purge of voters with a duplicate registration in another state.
  133. On Tuesday, state officials in Mississippi confirmed at least three reports of voting machines changing votes in the GOP governor runoff. The issue emerged when a voter posted a video of a machine changing his vote.
  134. On Wednesday, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported allegations of missing votes in the midterm election have been turned over to Congress. The anomaly appeared in electronic voting, but not paper ballots.
  135. On Wednesday, Prime Minister Boris Johnson asked Queen Elizabeth II to suspend Parliament in September, as way to limit Parliament’s ability to challenge his plan with a Brexit deadline of October 31.
  136. The explosive maneuver was immediately challenged as undemocratic and possibly unconstitutional, and likely to be challenged in court. Normally, in time of crisis, British leaders have convened Parliament.
  137. On Thursday, Johnson faced a growing backlash including strains within his Conservative party, protests in London and other cities, and an online petition against the action which garnered more than a million signatures.
  138. On Thursday, seven Hong Kong pro-democracy leaders were arrested ahead of the 13th consecutive weekend of protests. Police claimed the seven were arrested in connection with past protest-related offenses.
  139. On Friday, an eighth leader was arrested. Activists could face up to five years in prison. The arrests came as China said it was rotating fresh military troops to Hong Kong as part of a “routine arrangement.”
  140. On Wednesday, Politico reported Trump is holding up $250 million in military assistance to Ukraine. According to an aide, Trump is doing so in order to ensure the money is being used in the best interest of the U.S.
  141. Trump’s move irked lawmakers and advocates who say the funding is critical to keep a check on Russia. U.S. support of Ukraine has long been seen as a litmus test for leadership pushing back at Russia.
  142. CNN reported blocking the aid package was supported by acting White House chief of staff Mick Mulvaney, and some in the State Department and national security council. The State Department told CNN policy has not changed.
  143. Trump’s deference to Russia has alarmed bipartisan lawmakers and U.S. allies. At the G7 summit, Trump downplayed Russia’s annexation of Crimea. Rudy Giuliani has pushed Ukraine to investigate Joe Biden and his son.
  144. On Thursday, Business Insider reported current and former U.S. intelligence officials are concerned about Trump’s fervent defense of Russia for aggression in Ukraine, and his lobbying to have them readmitted at the G7.
  145. Several officials compared Trump to a “Russian asset” noting his actions are “directly out of the Putin playbook.” Another official offered, “useful idiot is more like it.”
  146. On Thursday, the Hill reported House Judiciary Committee Chair Jerome Nadler has set up a post-recess showdown with Trump as his committee is set to call a series of subpoenaed witnesses to publicly testify.
  147. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi told Democrats on a call “the public isn’t there on impeachment,” however if Trump’s White House continues to block House subpoenas, she could face renewed pressure to back impeachment.
  148. On Friday, 135 of the 235 House Democrats supported starting an impeachment inquiry. Just two of the of the House members in the 31 districts that went for Trump in 2016 support the move.
  149. On Thursday, the DOJ inspector general said in a report James Comey violated DOJ and FBI policy by leaking one memo to a law professor friend after being fired in May 2017, but that the DOJ declined to prosecute.
  150. The report found “By not safeguarding sensitive information…and by using it to create public pressure for official action, Comey set a dangerous example for the over 35,000 current FBI employees.”
  151. The IG however found “no evidence that Comey or his attorneys released any of the classified information.” Trump has repeatedly claimed that Comey released classified information.
  152. Shortly after, Comey tweeted, “I don’t need a public apology from those who defamed me, but a quick message with a ‘sorry we lied about you’ would be nice.”
  153. Comey also tweeted, “And to all those who’ve spent two years talking about me ‘going to jail’ or being a ‘liar and a leaker’ — ask yourselves why you still trust people who gave you bad info for so long,” including Trump.
  154. Hours later, Trump tweeted, “Perhaps never in the history of our Country has someone been more thoroughly disgraced and excoriated than James Comey” in the IG report, adding, “He should be ashamed of himself!”
  155. On Friday, Trump tweeted that he and his supporters should be “given our stolen time back” after the release of the IG report. It was unclear what Trump meant, but he frequently muses about extra time in office.
  156. Trump tweeted the report showed “how unfairly I, and tens of millions of great people who support me, were treated,” saying, “Our rights and liberties were illegally stripped away by this dishonest fool.”
  157. Trump also praised Barr, tweeting, “The fact that James Comey was not prosecuted for the absolutely horrible things he did just shows how fair and reasonable Attorney General Bill Barr is,” adding, “Comey got lucky.”
  158. On Friday, Trump tweeted a photo of an Iranian launchpad, which revealed the U.S. may be violating Iran’s airspace to spy on its missile program. The image appeared to have been taken from an aircraft.
  159. The image could have been taken from a surveillance drone, like the one shot down by Iran in June. Experts say the image is likely highly classified as it bears markings resembling those made by intelligence analysts.
  160. On Friday, Illinois Rep. John Shimkus announced he will not seek re-election, becoming the 14th Republicanto announce he will not run next year.
  161. On Friday, Education Secretary Betsy DeVos finalized rules, scaling back an Obama-era program allowing federal loan forgiveness for students if their college defrauded them.
  162. On Friday, ABC News reported a digital data firm connected with Brad Parscale, campaign manager for Trump’s re-election, has received more than $900,000 in business from a pro-Trump super PAC.
  163. Parscale, who reportedly has recently spent lavishly, said reporting on his company, Red State Data and Digital, LLC, “are simply another attempt to smear President Trump by attacking those who work for him.”
  164. On Friday, prosecutors told a judge in a court filing that they are prepared for sentencing Michael Flynn as soon as October, citing “The defendant’s cooperation has ended.”
  165. Flynn’s lawyers erupted in a subsequent court filing, saying prosecutors had “engaged in even more malevolent conduct in the prosecution of Mr. Flynn” and withheld evidence.
  166. On Thursday, Trump’s personal assistant Madeleine Westerhout, whose office sat in front of the Oval Officeand who has been with Trump since the start of his time in office, abruptly resigned.
  167. The departure came after Westerhout shared details about the president’s family and the Oval Office operations at a dinner with press at Trump’s Bedminster club. She was not allowed to return to the office on Friday.
  168. On Saturday, Politico reported Westerhout was fired over comments at an off-the-record dinner she and deputy White House press secretary Hogan Gidley held with reporters on August 17.
  169. Westerhout bragged that she was closer to Trump than his two daughters, adding Trump could not pick Tiffany out of a crowd and did not like being in pictures with her because he viewed her as overweight.
  170. Shortly after, Trump tweeted Westerhout has “a fully enforceable confidentiality agreement,” adding, “she is a very good person and I don’t think there would ever be reason to use it.”
  171. Trump also tweeted, “She called me yesterday to apologize, had a bad night,” adding, “I fully understood and forgave her!” and, “I love Tiffany, doing great!”
  172. Trump also renewed his attacks on former White House aide Omarosa Manigault Newman, saying he was suing people for violating confidentiality including “disgusting and foul mouthed Omarosa.”
  173. Trump also tweeted of Omarosa, “I gave her every break, despite the fact that she was despised by everyone, and she went for some cheap money from a book,” adding, “Numerous others also!”
  174. Trump also repeated his attacks on Comey, tweeting, “I was right about Comey, CROOKED COP!”
  175. Trump also tweeted that the “top shows” on Fox News “are those that are Fair (or great) to your favorite President, me!” Trump cited host Sean Hannity’s “shoe,” before deleting the tweet and tweeting show.
  176. On Saturday, after canceling his trip to Poland to monitor Hurricane Dorian, Trump went golfing at the Trump National Golf Club in Sterling, Virginia, his 226th day of golf at a Trump golf property.
  177. On Saturday evening just after midnight, Trump’s 15% tariffs tax on Chinese-made products will take effect, impacting the price of shoes, televisions, diapers, and other products.

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

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Bags over the handles of gas pumps signal to customers that the station has ran out of gas on August 31, 2019 in Fort Pierce, Florida. Gas stations throughout much of Florida have been running out of gas as the area prepares for the impact of Hurricane Dorian. Dorian, once expected to make landfall near Fort Pierce as a category 4 storm , is currently expected to turn north and stay off of the Florida coast, lessening the impact on the area.

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