POLITIKS OF GRAFFITI 108: TRUMP TOWER MOSCOW

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I’m in Miami this week and the sidewalks are talking. 29nov18. Wynwood, Miami, FL.

DECEMBER 01, 2018

Week 107

Experts in authoritarianism advise to keep a list of things
subtly changing around you, so you’ll remember. https://theweeklylist.org/weekly-list/week-107/

This week started with escalations, both between Russia and Ukraine, and at the U.S.-Mexico border. Heartbreaking images and video surfaced from Tijuana of migrants from Central America, including women and children, some in diapers, being showered with tear gas from U.S. Customs and Border Protection. As Trump and the regime sought to justify the use of force, and Republicans remained almost universally silent, others condemned the action, including the Auschwitz Museum which invoked the uprise of Hitler. This, as data and reporting continues to point to a dangerous uptick in right-wing violence and acts of, and normalization of, hate.

This week the Mueller probe was center stage, as Trump stepped up his attacks to discredit Mueller ahead of the findings being released. The week started with focus on Jerome Corsi and Roger Stone as possible conduits between the Trump campaign and WikiLeaks. Until a bombshell Thursday, when Michael Cohen outlined in a plea agreement how he misled Congress about negotiating on the Trump Tower Moscow. Cohen said negotiations continued until June 2016, and that Trump and his children were also in the loop. Cohen’s documents made clear that other members of the regime, including Donald Jr., may have lied to Congress, and also called into question Trump’s written answers in the Mueller probe, submitted under oath in recent days, on his and his campaign’s contact with Russians.

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Mural by Jersey-based artist Jay Mack Muzik https://www.instagram.com/jaymackmuzik/ in Wynwood, Miami, Florida. 29nov18.
  1. WAPO reported right-wing violence is on the rise. Terrorism researchers say the trend started with white anxiety about Obama’s presidency, and has accelerated in the era of Trump.
  2. From 2010 through 2017, 92 of the 263 incidents of domestic terrorism were committed by right-wing attackers. Researchers say at least 20 people have died so far in 2018 in suspected right-wing attacks.
  3. On Saturday, The Guardian reported the British Parliament used its legal powers to seize internal Facebook documents, including confidential emails between senior executives, and with CEO Mark Zuckerberg.
  4. The move is unprecedented. The documents allegedly contain significant revelations about Facebook decisions on data and privacy controls that led to Cambridge Analytica being able to collect user data.
  5. On Sunday, the Independent reported the U.K. High Court will rule as early as Christmas whether Brexit should be declared “void,” citing a legal case by the criminal investigation into Leave funder Arron Banks.
  6. The superintendent of the Baraboo School District told parents the district is “not in a position to punish” students who made an apparent Nazi salute in a prom photo, saying “we cannot know the intentions in the hearts.”
  7. The 10-day investigation involved local authorities, parents, and others. The letter states, “because of students’ First Amendment rights, the district is not in a position to punish the students for their actions.”
  8. Police in Alabama fatally shot Emantic Fitzgerald Bradford Jr., a 21 year-old Black man who formerly served in the U.S. Army, at a Birmingham mall, after they mistook him for the gunman in a mall shooting.
  9. On Monday, a day before the run-off race for senator in Mississippi, two nooses were found hanging from trees, along with six “hate signs” at the state Capitol in Jackson.
  10. Dallas Morning News reported Ro Lockett, a 28 year-old Black man shopping with a friend and their sons, was handcuffed outside a Stonebriar Centre store after being falsely accused of shoplifting.
  11. WAPO reported an autopsy of Roxsana Hernandez Rodriguez, a transgender asylum seeker, who died in ICE custody weeks after arriving in the U.S. from Honduras, revealed she was beaten while in custody.
  12. Hernandez was part of a group of migrants that arrived in early May as she tried to escape violence she faced as a transgender woman. Transgender Law Center, on behalf of her family, plans to file a lawsuit.
  13. On Wednesday, AP reported the Trump regime has waived FBI checks on 2,100 caregivers and short-staffing mental health workers, putting the safety of 2,300 migrant teens living in tent cities at risk.
  14. Initially, the Department of Health and Human Services had planned to keep migrant children in the tent city in Tornillo for just a few days, but as the migrant children population ballooned, now talk is of making the detention camp 10 times as big.
  15. BCFS, a San Antonio nonprofit, runs Tornillo. The cost per night per child is $1,200, significantly higher than the $775 officials have publicly disclosed, and almost five times the cost of a typical youth migrant shelter.
  16. On Wednesday, Elizabeth Midlarsky, a Jewish professor and Holocaust scholar at Columbia Teachers College,found two spray-painted red swastikas, and the word “YID” scrawled on a wall outside her office.
  17. On Thursday, Sen. Tim Scott, the sole black GOP senator, gave the deciding opposition vote to Trump nominee Thomas Farr to the federal bench, citing Farr’s support of racially discriminatory election policies.
  18. In the New York Review of Books, Columbia professor Bernard Harcourt argued Trump is fueling a toxic blendof antebellum white supremacy, twentieth-century fascism, and European far-right movements of the 1970s.
  19. Harcourt warned Trump has enabled an upsurge of white nationalists and extremist organizations like Atomwaffen, Proud Boys, and Rise Above Movement, that threatens to push the country into violent social conflict.
  20. Two New York University researchers found that Trump in 2016 appealed to men who are secretly insecure about their manhood, calling it the “fragile masculinity hypothesis.” The same pattern continued in 2018 House races.
  21. The study measured search terms, like “erectile dysfunction,” “penis size, and “hair loss.” Fragile masculinity was not a factor for Republicans Mitt Romney in 2012, John McCain in 2008, or House races in 2014 and 2016.
  22. On Sunday, Trump congratulated himself on falling oil prices, tweeting, “So great that oil prices are falling (thank you President T).” Trump also issued a warning to the Fed, “Inflation down (are you listening Fed)!”
  23. On Sunday, a judge denied George Papadopoulos’ request to delay the start of his prison time, saying he must report to a federal prison camp in Oxford, Wisconsin to begin his 14-day sentence on Monday.
  24. On Sunday, attorney Alan Dershowitz told “ABC This Week” the Mueller report is going to be “devastating” to Trump. Dershowitz added that he knows that Trump’s “team is already working on a response to the report.”
  25. On Sunday, Russia opened fire on and seized three Ukrainian ships that were sailing off the coast of Crimea. Ukraine said it was a Russian “act of aggression.” Moscow said the ships had illegally entered its waters.
  26. On Sunday, U.S. Customs and Border Protection fired tear gas into Mexico to repel Central American migrants approaching the border. Traffic in both directions was suspended at the port between San Diego and Tijuana.
  27. Tensions had been rising as thousands of migrants arrived in Tijuana, and camped outside a sports stadium.Mexican police broke up the migrants’ daily protests on Sunday, triggering a rush toward the U.S. border.
  28. CBP was backed by U.S. military police, San Diego police, and the California Highway Patrol. Migrants, many with young children who were sick and hungry, were trapped between U.S. and Mexican forces.
  29. Hundreds of mostly Honduran migrants were subjected to a volley of canisters of tear gas. Photos and videos emerged of young children, some in diapers, suffering from exposure to tear gas.
  30. An AP reporter noted “Children screamed and coughed. Fumes were carried by the wind toward people who were hundreds of feet away.” A mother trying to run with her baby, said the gas “asphyxiates you more.”
  31. Mexico’s Interior Department said about 500 people attempted to rush the border. U.S. authorities put the number at 1,000. Mexico said it would deport 98 of the migrants.
  32. On Monday, Trump tweeted “Would be very SMART if Mexico would stop the Caravans long before they get to our Southern Border,” adding, “We will close the Border permanently if need be. Congress, fund the WALL!”
  33. On Monday, when asked by reporters if he was comfortable with tear-gassing children at the border, Trump responded “They had to use [it] because they were being rushed by some very tough people.”
  34. Trump also said there was “tremendous violence” during the confrontation with authorities,” adding “three Border Patrol people yesterday were very badly hurt through getting hit with rocks and stones.”
  35. A statement by CBP Commissioner Kevin McAleenan on Monday contradicted Trump, saying four agents were struck by rocks “but were wearing protective gear and did not suffer serious injuries.”
  36. Trump also falsely claimed “Obama had a separation policy; we all had the same policy. I tried to do it differently.” Obama did not have a separation policy, but Trump officially did with his “zero tolerance” policy.
  37. Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen said in a statement some migrants “sought to harm CBP personnel,” and some “women and children in the caravan are being used by the organizers as human shields.”
  38. On Monday, the Auschwitz Museum tweeted the Holocaust did not start with gas chambers, it “gradually developed from words, stereotypes & prejudice through legal exclusion, dehumanisation & escalating violence.”
  39. On Tuesday, WAPO reported the tear gas used on migrants, commonly known as CS gas, is considered a chemical weapon, and has been outlawed on the battlefield by nearly every nation, including the U.S.
  40. According to a biological and chemical weapons expert, research has noted that an infant exposed to CS gas develops severe pneumonitis and requires a month of hospitalization. Effects are not yet well documented.
  41. On Monday, in two tweets, Trump complained about CNN’s coverage and suggested that the U.S. government start its own worldwide television network in order to “show the World the way we really are, GREAT!”
  42. The Daily Beast reported according to emails obtained by the Sierra Club through the Freedom of Information Act, then EPA Chief Scott Pruitt chose topics for interviews on “Fox & Friends,” and knew questions in advance.
  43. In response to the reporting, Fox said it is disciplining employees involved in the email exchange with an aide to Pruitt. Fox would not say who was being disciplined or how, noting that it was a personnel matter.
  44. Sinclair Broadcasting distributed a two-minute commentary to its 200 local television stations featuring former Trump White House official Boris Epshteyn defending the use of tear gas on migrants at the border.
  45. Echoing language used by Trump, Epshteyn said, “The fact of the matter is that this is an attempted invasion of our country.” As of Wednesday morning, the segment had aired on at least two dozen Sinclair stations.
  46. Later Wednesday, Sinclair tried to distance itself from Epshteyn, tweeting, “The opinions expressed in this segment do not reflect the views of Sinclair Broadcast,” and “they are labeled clearly as commentary.”
  47. Author Margaret Atwood announced she will write a sequel to her landmark book “The Handmaid’s Tale,” which is also a popular TV-series. “The Testaments,” set 15 years later, will be released September 2019.
  48. Atwood tweeted, “Dear Readers, everything you’ve ever asked me about Gilead and its inner workings is the inspiration for this book. Well, almost everything! The other inspiration is the world we’ve been living in.
  49. Christine Blasey Ford, who has received continued death threats, moved houses four times, and hired private security since testifying, said she would donate remaining GoFundMe money to sexual assault survivors.
  50. Blasey Ford, who has not been able to return to work, said of testifying, “Although coming forward was terrifying, and caused disruption to our lives, I am grateful to have had the opportunity to fulfill my civic duty.”
  51. On Monday, Solicitor General Noel Francisco urged the Supreme Court to turn down cases on whether Trump had legally installed Matthew Whitaker as acting attorney general, saying the lower courts should weigh in first.
  52. On Monday, ABC News reported Jared Kushner was behind the push to inflate the Saudi arms deal to $110 billion, well over the actual number which is closer to $15 billion, to solidify the new alliance with crown prince MBS.
  53. On Tuesday, national security adviser John Bolton defended his decision to not listen to tape of Jamal Khashoggi’s murder, telling reporter, “I don’t speak Arabic,” and adding “What do you think I’ll learn from it?”
  54. On Tuesday, The Guardian reported that the White House is preventing CIA director Gina Haspel from briefing the Senate on Jamal Khashoggi’s death.
  55. Instead, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Defense Secretary James Mattis will brief the Senate on U.S. relations with Saudi Arabia, ahead of a vote on whether to support the Saudi’s military campaign in Yemen.
  56. On Monday, Trump attacked the Mueller probe in two tweets, saying, “When Mueller does his final report, will he be covering all of his conflicts of interest in a preamble.” There is no evidence of conflicts of interest.
  57. Trump also tweeted, “many campaign workers, people inside from the beginning, ask me why they have not been called (they want to be),” adding “there was NO Collusion & Mueller knows it!”
  58. On Monday, Jerome Corsi told CNN he is refusing to sign a plea deal with Mueller’s team, saying “They can put me in prison the rest of my life. I am not going to sign a lie.”
  59. In a statement following Corsi’s comments, Roger Stone said the special counsel was harassing Corsi “not for lying, but for refusing to lie,” and continued to maintain his own innocence.
  60. On Monday, the special counsel said in a filing that Paul Manafort had breached the plea agreement he signedtwo months ago by repeatedly lying, saying he should be sentenced immediately.
  61. The filing notes Manafort’s “crimes and lies” about “a variety of subject matters” relieve the special counsel of all promises they made to him in the plea agreement. Defense lawyers disagreed Manafort had violated the deal.
  62. On Tuesday, The Guardian reported Manafort held secret talks with Julian Assange inside the Ecuadorian embassy in London in 2013, 2015, and in March 2016. Manafort joined the Trump campaign on March 29, 2016.
  63. An internal document by Ecuador’s intelligence agency described Manafort as “one of several well-known guests. It also mentions “Russians.” In a statement, Manafort denied meeting Assange.
  64. On Tuesday, Trump again attacked Mueller in two morning tweets, saying the probe is a “Phony Witch Hunt” and that “Mueller and his gang of Angry Dems are only looking at one side, not the other.”
  65. Later Tuesday, Trump tweeted “at least 3 major players are intimating that the Angry Mueller Gang of Dems is viciously telling witnesses to lie about facts & they will get relief,” adding, “This is our Joseph McCarthy Era!”
  66. On Tuesday, NYT reported that Kevin Downing, a lawyer for Manafort, repeatedly briefed Trump’s lawyers on discussions with Mueller’s team after Manafort agreed to cooperate — a highly unusual arrangement.
  67. Rudy Giuliani defended the briefings, telling NYT they provided valuable insights about the probe and where it was headed, adding the information could help shape a legal defense strategy and public relations campaign.
  68. The briefings did not break the law, but did contribute to a deteriorating relationship between lawyers for Manafort and Mueller’s team. Downing assured Trump’s team that Manafort had not implicated him in wrongdoing.
  69. Last year, John Dowd broached the idea of pardoning Manafort and Michael Flynn. When asked by reporters Tuesday, press secretary Sarah Sanders said she had no knowledge of any conversations about a pardon for Manafort.
  70. NBC News reported according to legal experts the arrangement could amount to obstruction of justice or witness tampering if Manafort disclosed confidential information or Trump’s team discussed a pardon.
  71. On Tuesday, Corsi provided WAPO with a copy of a draft document of his statement of offense prepared by Mueller’s team as part of the plea deal, detailing ties between WikiLeaks and key associates in Trump’s orbit.
  72. According to the document, Corsi emailed Stone in early August 2016 about WikiLeaks’ plans. Nearly 10 weeks later the group published John Podesta’s hacked emails in October.
  73. Also in the document, Stone wrote to Corsi on July 25, 2016, urging him to find out Assange’s plans: “Get to [Assange] [a]t Ecuadorian Embassy in London and get the pending [WikiLeaks] emails.”
  74. Giuliani said Trump does not recall speaking to either Stone or Corsi about WikiLeaks, and that Trump’s legal team lodged a complaint last month with the DOJ about the Corsi document including Trump’s name.
  75. In the document, Mueller offered to let Corsi plead guilty to a single felony count of lying to federal investigators. Corsi rejected the deal. Giuliani said Mueller overplayed his hand: “They’ve screwed it up.”
  76. On Tuesday, Trump tweeted about the Mueller probe, saying “Wait until it comes out how horribly & viciously they are treating people, ruining lives for them refusing to lie. Mueller is a conflicted prosecutor gone rogue….”
  77. On Wednesday, CNN reported in Trump’s written answers to Mueller’s questions, he claimed Stone did not tell him about WikiLeaks, and that he was not told about the June 9 Trump Tower meeting involving Donald Jr.
  78. Both inquiries are central in the probe of whether there was collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia. Trump’s written answers could be subject to criminal charges if they are found to be false.
  79. On Wednesday, Trump told the New York Post that he never discussed a pardon with Manafort, adding “but I wouldn’t take it off the table. Why would I take it off the table?”
  80. Trump also ripped the Mueller probe, claiming Manafort, Stone, and Corsi were all asked to lie by the special counsel, saying “If you told the truth, you go to jail.” Trump also repeated his charge, “this is McCarthyism.”
  81. On Wednesday, WSJ reported that Manafort allegedly lied to Mueller’s team about his personal business dealings and about his contacts with his associate, Konstantin Kilimnik.
  82. The context is these statements do not appear to be central to the allegations of Russian interference in the 2016 election. It is unclear if Mueller’s team plans to accuse Manafort of additional lies.
  83. On Wednesday, WAPO reported that Mueller is looking into Trump’s late night calls to Stone from a blocked number during the campaign, to see whether Stone served as a bridge between Trump and WikiLeaks.
  84. According to the draft document of Corsi statement, Stone was in regular contact with Trump campaign officials, including “then-candidate Donald J. Trump.” Stone said Trump initiated the calls.
  85. Stone told the Post that he never discussed WikiLeaks with Trump, adding phone conversations are not that important, saying “unless Mueller has tape recordings of the phone calls, what would that prove?”
  86. According to phone records Trump’s team turned over to Mueller, there were numerous calls between Stone and Trump throughout the campaign. In midsummer, Trump associates wanted to know WikiLeaks’ plans.
  87. Corsi forwarded a request from Stone to Ted Malloch, an informal Trump adviser in London, to visit Assange and see what he has planned for the weeks leading up the election. It is not clear if Malloch did visit.
  88. On Wednesday, Trump retweeted a image posted by account “@The_Trump_Train,” which depicted Mueller, Obama, the Clintons, deputy attorney general Rod Rosenstein, and others behind bars.
  89. Trump also retweeted a false claim from this account, “Illegals can get up to $3,874 a month under Federal Assistance program…RT if you agree: If you weren’t born in the United States, you should receive $0 assistance.”
  90. On Wednesday, Trump defended his retweeting a photo of Rosenstein behind bars, telling the New York Postin an interview, “He should have never picked a special counsel.”
  91. On Wednesday, legislation brought to the floor to protect Mueller by Sens. Jeff Flake, Chris Coons ,and Cory Booker was blocked. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell called it a “solution in search of a problem.”
  92. A new analysis from the Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis found 84 farms in the Upper Midwest filed for bankruptcies in the 12 months ended June 2018, double the number from the same period in 2013–2014.
  93. On Monday, GM announced it plans to cut 14,800 jobs U.S. and Canada and end production at several North American factories, the first significant downsizing since its bankruptcy, citing lower sedan sales.
  94. The cuts would reduce GM’s annual costs by $4.5 billion by the end of 2020, freeing up money to invest in electric and self-driving vehicles. In reaction to the news, the company’s stock rose 4.8% on Monday.
  95. On Monday, Trump told GM CEO Mary Barra to stop making cars in China and open a plant in Ohio, “They better damn well open a new plant there very quickly,” adding, “You’re playing around with the wrong person.”
  96. On Tuesday, GM stock tumbled after Trump threatened the company, tweeting, “Very disappointed with General Motors and their CEO…We are now looking at cutting all @GM subsidies, including for electric cars.”
  97. It was not clear what subsidies Trump was referring to. The only related item is a $7,500 plug-in tax credit, which goes to the consumer, not the company. GM is also close to the 200,000 electric car cap on the credit.
  98. On Tuesday, in a wide-ranging, 20-minute interview with WAPO, Trump blamed Democrats, the Chinese government and the central bank for any economic weakness and recent declines in the stock market.
  99. He had especially tough words for his appointee Fed Chair Jerome “Jay” Powell, saying “So far, I’m not even a little bit happy with my selection of Jay. Not even a little bit,” adding, “the Fed is way off-base with what they’re doing.”
  100. When asked why he did not reappoint Janet Yellen, he said she impressed him greatly during an interview, but he believed that the 5-foot-3-inch economist was not tall enough to lead the central bank.
  101. Trump also bragged that the stock market was up 38% since he took office. This is false: the Dow Jones industrial average is up 25%, a smaller increase than during Obama’s first two years in office.
  102. Trump again questioned the CIA’s assessment that the Saudi crown prince ordered Khashoggi’s assassination, saying “Maybe he did and maybe he didn’t. But he denies it. And people around him deny it.
  103. Trump said of the recent climate change report, “One of the problems that a lot of people like myself, we have very high levels of intelligence,” and “You look at our air and our water, and it’s right now at a record clean.”
  104. On Wednesday, Fed Chair Powell said he now sees current interest rates “just below” neutral, a departure from his remarks two months ago, suggesting the Fed was near the end of raising rates.
  105. On Thursday, Trump again attacked GM, tweeting “General Motors is very counter to what other auto…companies are doing,” adding they are “pouring into the U.S.” and BMW “just announced a major new plant.”
  106. In the tweet, Trump also repeated his frequent false claims that “Big Steel is opening and renovating plants all over the country” — a claim which has been repeatedly debunked by fact checkers.
  107. BMW issued a statement in response to Trump’s tweet, saying, “We can confirm that we are considering building an engine plant in the U.S.,” saying the option has been under consideration for the past few years.
  108. On Wednesday, at 11:39 p.m., Trump continued his attacks on the Mueller probe, tweeting, “So much happening with the now discredited Witch Hunt. This total Hoax will be studied for years!”
  109. On Thursday, at 6:54 a.m., Trump again attacked the Mueller probe in two tweets, saying “Did you ever see an investigation more in search of a crime?” and calling it “a total disgrace.”
  110. Trump called the probe an “illegal Joseph McCarthy style Witch Hunt,” which he said “has shattered so many innocent lives,” and falsely claimed has wasted more than $40 million (a tweet Tuesday claimed $30 million).
  111. On Thursday, German authorities raided Deutsche Bank’s headquarters in Frankfurt over allegations of money laundering. The public prosecutors office said 170 officials were involved in the raid.
  112. The investigation is directed at two employees and other individuals, and is based on details in the Panama Papers; although prosecutors alleged there were “sufficient indications” for the suspicious nature before that.
  113. On Thursday, Michael Cohen made a surprise appearance before a federal judge in the Southern District of New York to plead guilty to lying to Congress about his role and timing related to the Trump Tower Moscow.
  114. Cohen said he lied about negotiations on Trump Tower Moscow ending January 2016, before the Iowa Caucuses, saying they continued until June 2016, after Trump had secured the Republican nomination.
  115. Cohen gave false answers in 2017 to both the Senate and House intelligence committees in order to be consistent with Trump’s “political message.” Trump said, “I have ZERO investments in Russia,” in January.
  116. Cohen said he also lied in saying he “never agreed to travel to Russia in connection with the Moscow project and ‘never considered’ asking Individual 1 to travel for the project.” Individual 1 is Trump.
  117. Cohen said he also “discussed the status and progress of the Moscow Project with Individual 1 on more than the three occasions,” and “briefed family members of Individual 1 within the Company about the project.”
  118. Cohen continued discussions on the project with “Individual 2,” Felix Sater, as late as June 2016. Cohen discussed traveling to Russia in May, and having Trump travel there after the Republican National Convention.
  119. Cohen also lied about not receiving a response and thinking the project was halted, admitting he had a 20 minute phone conversation with an assistant to Dmitry Peskov, a senior aide to Putin, on land and financing.
  120. Cohen told the judge he lied to “to be loyal to Individual 1 .” A prosecutor from Mueller’s team was present in the courtroom. Cohen’s lawyer said he has cooperated in the Mueller probe, and will continue to cooperate.
  121. When asked about Cohen’s plea deal as he left for the G20 summit, Trump said “Cohen is lying and he’s trying to get a reduced sentence for things that have nothing to do with me,” adding, “He’s a very weak person.”
  122. Trump also told reporters, “This was a project that we didn’t do, I didn’t do . . . There would be nothing wrong if I did do it.” This contradicts his earlier statements to reporters and on the campaign trail.
  123. On Thursday, in a tweet sent while aboard Air Force One, Trump canceled his scheduled meeting with Putin at the G20, citing “the ships and sailors have not been returned to Ukraine from Russia.”
  124. Earlier in the day, as he left the White House, Trump told reporters the meeting with Putin was still on. Russian officials were caught off guard by Trump’s abrupt cancelation.
  125. On the flight to Argentina, Trump tweeted plugs for several favorable books, including ones “by@GreggJarrett and @JudgeJeanine Pirro” saying “Go get them now, the phony Witch Hunt is well explained!”
  126. As Trump arrived at the G20, a giant Baby Trump blimp was launched by activists. The blimp was created for Trump’s visit to London, and was also used at his recent trip to Paris, before being shipped to Buenos Aires.
  127. That evening, just after Fox News host Sean Hannity’s show was over, Trump quoted Alan Dershowitz, tweeting, “He (Mueller) has no authority to be a roving Commissioner. I don’t see any evidence of crimes.”
  128. On Thursday, Yahoo News reported Mueller’s team is additionally looking at Ivanka and Donald Jr.’s roles in Trump Tower Moscow, which sources say was independent of Cohen’s efforts
  129. On Thursday, BuzzFeed reported as part of the negotiations, Cohen discussed plans to give Vladimir Putin the $50 million penthouse in Trump Tower Moscow in a conversation with a representative of Dmitry Peskov.
  130. On Thursday, WAPO reported Trump has tried to expand his real estate brand to Russia for 30 years, including traveling to Moscow and unveiling four ultimately unsuccessful attempts before running for president.
  131. The latest attempt began in September 2015, and according to court documents ended on June 14, 2016, the day WAPO reported Russia was suspected to be behind the hack of the Democratic National Committee.
  132. On Thursday, federal agents stormed the City Hall office of Alderman Ed Burke in Chicago, papering over office windows. Burke was recently defeated in his re-election over his property-tax reduction work for Trump.
  133. Over 12 years of working for Trump, Burke’s law firm, Klafter & Burke was allegedly able to cut the property taxes on Trump’s downtown tower by more than $14 million. Burke stopped working for Trump last summer.
  134. On Friday, Trump sent two tweets, admitted he “lightly looked at doing a building somewhere in Russia,” saying “Against all odds, I decide to run for President & continue to run my business-very legal & very cool.”
  135. On Friday, NPR reported Donald Jr.’s testimony to the Senate Judiciary Committee in September 2017 conflicts with Cohen’s account. Donald Jr. claimed there was no contact on Trump Tower Moscow during 2016.
  136. On Friday, at the G20 summit in Argentina, Saudi crown prince MBS and Putin were seen greeting each other by smiling, having an exuberant handshake, then firmly embracing.
  137. On Friday, Senate Intelligence Committee chair Richard Burr said his committee has worked with and made multiple referrals to Mueller for criminal prosecution, saying, “If you lie to us, we’re going to go after you.”
  138. On Friday, at a hearing for Manafort, Mueller’s team said they are considering new criminal charges, contending Manafort obstructed justice and committed additional federal crimes since entering a plea agreement.
  139. Manafort’s attorneys denied that he violated the plea deal and said they will rebut the government’s filing after they see it. Manafort, who is currently in prison, waived his right to appear in court.
  140. District Court Judge Amy Berman Jackson ordered Mueller’s team to provide a report by December 7 detailing how Manafort breached the agreement, and tentatively scheduled March 5 for Manafort’s sentencing.
  141. On Friday, CNN reported that after visiting Trump at Mar-a-Lago in March 2018, Cohen believed Trump would pardon him if he stayed on message and protected his boss. Lawyers for both were in steady communications.
  142. In the days following the raid on Cohen’s home and office, Trump started to distance himself from Cohen, saying Cohen only did a “tiny, tiny little fraction” of his legal work. Cohen knew the game had changed.
  143. On Friday, in a filing seeking a lenient sentence, Cohen claimed he was in “close and regular contact” with Trump’s White House staff and legal team as he prepared a statement for Congress on Trump Tower Moscow.
  144. Cohen said his false statement was based on Trump team efforts to portray that contact by Trump, his campaign, and company with Russia “as having effectively terminated before the Iowa caucuses of February 1, 2016.”
  145. Cohen’s lawyers claim Cohen kept Trump “apprised” of his contacts with Russia during the campaign, and that his false statement to Congress arose from his loyalty to Trump, who they referred to throughout as “Client-1.”
  146. Cohen’s lawyers asked for a sentence of time served, citing his cooperation with Mueller, guilty pleas on payments to silence women, and cooperation in the ongoing federal investigation into the Trump Foundation.
  147. Late Friday, Trump again plugged Hannity’s show, tweeting, “Watch @seanhannity on @FoxNews NOW. Enjoy!”
  148. On Wednesday, California Democrat TJ Cox declared victory, giving Democrats their 40th pick up in the House in the midterm elections. Democrats picked up seven seats in California alone.
  149. On Thursday, retiring House Majority Leader Paul Ryan cast doubt on the “bizarre” California election results, saying “This election system they have — I can’t begin to understand what ‘ballot harvesting’ is.”
  150. On Friday, AP retracted its call in a North Carolina 9th Congressional race, saying the board of elections delayed certifying results over “claims of irregularities and fraudulent activities related to absentee by-mail voting.”
  151. The race was called for Republican Mark Harris, after Democrat Dan McCready conceded on November 9.Harris had a lead of 905 votes out of 283,000 counted. The GOP has held this district since the early 1960s.
  152. Democratic Sen. Patty Murray and Maggie Hassan, along with survivors, called on Education Department Secretary Betsy DeVos to rescind the just released campus sexual abuse policies, calling it a major step backwards.
  153. On Wednesday, NBC News reported the Veterans Affair Department privately told Congress that veterans who did not receive their full GI bill payments due to a computer glitch, would not be reimbursed.
  154. On Thursday, after pressure from members of both parties of Congress, the VA reversed course and promised pay veterans the full amount of benefits they are due under the Forever GI Bill.
  155. On Friday, six additional White House officials were reprimanded for violating the Hatch Act, which prohibits public employees from conducting political activity in their official roles.
  156. The staffers included Raj Shah, Jessica Ditto, Madeleine Westerhout, Helen Aguirre Ferré, Alyssa Farah, and Jacob Wood. All deleted their social media posts that were in violation for supporting Trump
  157. The Office of Special Counsel also issued guidelines Friday, warning federal workers to avoid workplace talk about impeachment and #resistance for the next 705 days — until the day after Election Day 2020.
  158. On Friday, according to a Department of Homeland Security memo obtained by Politico, Secretary Nielsen requested the deployment of civilian law enforcement officers to the U.S.-Mexico border as early as next week.
  159. Current and former U.S. officials described the request, which would draw officers from other cabinet departments who in most cases have duties entirely unrelated to border security, as unprecedented.
  160. On Friday, documents released under the FOIA revealed months after joining the advisory board of World Patent Marketing in 2014, Whitaker fielded angry complaints from customers that they were being defrauded.
  161. One customer even showed up at Whitaker’s office in Iowa. As a U.S. attorney, Whitaker was a spokesperson for the company for three years, even participating in national television ads promoting the company.
  162. When the FTC subpoenaed Whitaker for his records in October 2017, he missed the deadline to reply, then made clear he had been named chief of staff for Jeff Sessions. Whitaker never provided any of his records.
  163. The FTC eventually filed a complaint against the company for cheating customers and making false promises. Some clients lost their life savings. In May 2018, the company paid a $25 million settlement and shut down.
  164. On Friday, Rep. Jerrold Nadler, incoming chair of the House Judiciary Committee, said Whitaker will appear before his committee in January, when a new Democratic majority will begin ramping up oversight of the Trump regime.
  165. On Friday, a federal judge for the Southern District of New York ruled against the Trump regime’s move to withhold grant funding from law enforcement agencies of so-called sanctuary cities.
  166. Judge Edgardo Ramos called the move illegal and unconstitutional. The ruling blocked the regime from enforcing those conditions on New York, New York City, and the six states that challenged the requirements.
  167. On Friday, a federal judge put off an immediate ruling on James Comey’s request to invalidate a subpoena from House Republicans to appear at a closed-door session, asking for additional legal briefs over the weekend.
  168. In the first half of Affordable Care Act registration, enrollment is down from 2.8 million last year to 2.4 million, with the biggest drops in Pennsylvania (down 25%), Missouri (down 25%), and Ohio (down 20%).
  169. Advocates note the enrollment period has been cut in half to just 45 days, less advertising, and government spending to help consumer has dropped from $63 million in 2016, to $36 million in 2017 to $10 million this year.
  170. On Saturday, WSJ reported that the CIA has intercepted at least 11 messages sent by crown prince MBS to his closest adviser, who oversaw the team that killed Khashoggi.
  171. Trump spoke briefly to the Saudi crown prince at the G20 summit. The exchange between the two leaders was not scheduled. A White House official sought to downplay the interaction as exchanging pleasantries.
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POLITIKS OF GRAFFITI 56: RESIST by LADY PINK

This week, a brand new mural by legendary street artist Lady Pink was created at Wynwood Walls in Miami, Florida for Art Basel week. I’m putting the piece up before the list because just by looking at each letter in the word “R E S I S T,” which she spelled out…you can see imagery that effectively represents the horror show, that we call 2017 in AmeriKKKa:

Week 55 of trump’s presidency: Experts in authoritarianism advise to keep a list of things subtly changing around you, so you’ll remember.

December 2, 2017 https://medium.com/@Amy_Siskind/week-55-experts-in-authoritarianism-advise-to-keep-a-list-of-things-subtly-changing-around-you-so-da7c2cad25cb

This week marked further erosion to our failing democracy. Attacks on, and deconstruction of our free press is happening at an alarming rate, as conservative billionaires buy up media outlets, some of which are then precipitously shuttered. Republicans in the Senate passed a tax bill whose primary beneficiary will be people like Trump and regime members, without any debate, scoring, hearings, or even a chance for senators to read a bill which impacts one-sixth of the US economy.

This week Trump continued his bigoted attacks on marginalized communities, dividing us at home and embarrassing our country on the world stage. There was disturbing reporting on Trump’s mental health, including his continued belief in conspiracy theories. With events and his actions this week, Trump’s net approval gap (-29) matched an all-time low.

This week was the second bombshell in the Mueller probe, as Michael Flynn pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI and agreed to cooperate. Flynn’s testimony in court documents ties in Trump son-in-law Jared Kushner, and Flynn’s ongoing cooperation will likely ensnare many higher-ups, including Trump.

Late Saturday, in retaliation for RT being told to register as a foreign agent in the US, Putin signed a law that allows the Russian government to list any foreign media operating in the country as a foreign agent.

Late Saturday, Trump tweeted Fox News is “MUCH more important” than CNN in the US, and “CNN International is still a major source of (Fake) news, and they represent our Nation to the WORLD very poorly.”

CNN Communications tweeted in response, “It’s not CNN’s job to represent the U.S to the world. That’s yours. Our job is to report the news.”

Former CIA and NSA Director Michael Hayden slammed Trump: “Until now it was not possible for me to conceive of an American President capable of such an outrageous assault on truth, a free press or the first amendment.”

On Sunday, Time Inc. was purchased by Meredith with a $650 million equity investment from the Koch brothers. A former EIC of Time Inc. added of the Koch involvement, “there is no question that it’s a media influence play.”

On Monday, Trump tweeted attacks at CNN again: “We should have a contest as to which of the Networks, plus CNN and not including Fox, is the most dishonest, corrupt and/or distorted” in their coverage of Trump.

As per Week 54, Trump’s DOJ sued to block AT&T’s pending merging with Time Warner, saying CNN would need to be spun off first. Per Week 52, Rupert Murdoch has made approaches to AT&T’s CEO to purchase CNN.

WAPO reported Trump is obsessive in his tv-watching, including using a TiVo. On Monday when he sent the tweet, Trump did not have his daily intelligence briefing, which left him more time to watch television.

On Tuesday, AT&T’s CEO said the company will offer concessions to get the merger done, but will not sell assets, including CNN.

LA Weekly’s staff was gutted Wednesday, including nine of the 13 editorial staff and all but one staff writer, as Semanal completed their purchase. The ownership of Semanal is a mystery.

On Friday, the LA Weekly, the second largest publication in Los Angeles, issued its last print edition. The website was not updated, and the social media accounts were dormant. The media outlet was quickly shut down.

Walmart pulled a t-shirt offered on its online store, which read, “Rope. Tree. Journalist. SOME ASSEMBLY REQUIRED,” after a journalist advocacy group told the retailer it found the shirt threatening.

On Monday morning, Mick Mulvaney showed up at Consumer Financial Protection Bureau offices with bags of donuts. Deputy Director Leandra English sent an email to her colleagues, saying she hoped everyone had a great Thanksgiving break, signed as “acting director.”

On Monday, English sued the Trump regime over its appointment of Mulvaney to head the CFPB. Under the Dodd-Frank Act, the deputy director serves as acting director when the director role is open.

On Tuesday, US District Judge Timothy Kelly, recently appointed to the federal court by Trump, refused to block Mulvaney from taking over as acting director of the CFPB.

On Thursday, Mulvaney told Fox Business Network that the authority wielded by the CFPB “should frighten people,” adding “there is no accountability to Congress.”

Reuters reported in a Thursday evening email to her CFPB colleagues, English said of reports due in December “to be sure that these are still on track,” and signed the email, “Leandra English, Acting Director.”

On Monday, at an event to honor Native American veterans, Trump evoked his nickname for Warren: “…we have a representative in Congress who they say was here a long time ago. They call her Pocahontas.”

John Norwood, general secretary of the Alliance of Colonial Era Tribes, said Trump’s nickname “smacks of racism,” and that using the reference as a derogatory insult was “insulting to all American Indians.”

The National Congress of American Indians criticized Trump for making remarks during an event meant to honor “code talkers” — Native Americans that acted as communications specialists during WW2.

Trump was also criticized for standing before a portrait of Andrew Jackson, who is known for his harsh treatment of Native Americans as president, and who famously signing the Indian Removal Act.

Trump ally Betsy DeVos weighed in, and in a rare rebuke, said of Trump’s ‘Pocahontas’ comment: “…I think that we can all do well to reflect on the things we say before we say them.”

NYT reported Trump is questioning the authenticity of the “Access Hollywood” tape. Shortly after he took office, Trump told a GOP senator he wanted an investigation, saying “We don’t think that was my voice.”

Since then, Trump has continued to suggest the voice on the tape is not actually him. Advisers say Trump continued to hold on to a series of conspiracy theories, including that he won the popular vote.

In recent months, Trump has also questioned the authenticity of Obama’s birth certificate behind closed-doors, including telling at least one senator.

On Wednesday, Trump tweeted about the 2001 death of a Scarborough aide: “…will they terminate low ratings Joe Scarborough based on the ‘unsolved mystery’…” This claim is false — the cause of death is known.

On Wednesday morning, Trump retweeted three anti-Muslim videos posted by Jayda Fransen, deputy leader of Britain First, a far-right and ultra-nationalist political group. The videos purport to show Muslims assaulting people and smashing a statue of the Virgin Mary.

British PM May condemned Trump saying in a statement: “it is wrong for the president to have done this…Britain First seeks to divide communities by their use of hateful narratives that peddle lies and stoke tensions.”

The leader of the Church of England called on Trump to delete the retweeted videos, saying “It is deeply disturbing that the President of the United States has chosen to amplify the voice of far-right extremists.”

The Dutch government responded to Trump on Twitter, saying the child in in the video is not a migrant : “Facts do matter. The perpetrator of the violent act in this video was born and raised in the Netherlands.”

Multiple State Department officials warned the WH that Trump’s anti-Muslim tweets could increase threats at US embassies in the Middle East, which are already on high security alert.

Late Wednesday, at 1 a.m. GMT, Trump fired back at the leader of our closest ally, first tweeting at the wrong account, @theresamay, which is a private account with six followers.

Fourteen minutes later, Trump deleted the tweet and tweeted at PM May, “don’t focus on me, focus on the destructive Radical Islamic Terrorism that is taking place within the United Kingdom. We are doing just fine!”

NYT reported immigration arrests are up 40% under Trump, whose regime targets anyone living in the country illegally for arrest and deportation. Obama had focused on arresting serious criminals and recent arrivals.

In some states like Georgia and the Carolinas, arrests are up 80%. In Atlanta, neighbors try to warn each other as ICE cars patrol — leading many to miss work, keep their kids out of school, or not come home.

Chaos erupted in a Brooklyn, NY courthouse after ICE agents arrested Genaro Rojas Hernandez in the hallway. Hernandez is the fortieth individual taken into custody by ICE agents inside a NYC courthouse.

On Sunday, following a cascade of criticism, the NYT issued a semi-apology after readers accused the paper of normalizing a Nazi. The paper interviewed one the neo-Nazis who marched in Charlottesville.

On Monday, the US District Court for DC ruled the Trump regime cannot ban new transgender recruits from enlisting while the case is being heard. The judge also blocked the ban on funds for gender reassignment surgery.

On Thursday, Trump wrote a proclamation to commemorate World AIDS Day on December 1. Noticeably absent were any references to communities most at risk, including LGBTQ people and people of color.

ONE Campaign released a report on Trump’s WH proposed $800 million cut to HIV/AIDS efforts which experts predicts could result in millions of new HIV infections and hundreds of thousands of deaths.

Daily Beast reported Trump bragged to a reporter from Maximum Golf, “there is nothing in the world like first-rate pussy” while scanning the diners at Mar-A-Lago and spotting and a young socialite in 2000.

POLITICO reported WH ethics lawyer James Schultz resigned last week after almost a year in the WH, and plans to return to private practice.

Bloomberg reported the WH is weighing a ban for employees on using personal mobile phones, raising concerns for staff they will be cut off from family and friends. Trump has repeatedly complained about leaks.

On Monday, Maliz Beams, a top State Department official appointed by the Trump regime, resigned after just three months. Beams served as a special adviser to Rex Tillerson, and was closely involved in efforts to reorganize the agency.

WSJ reported as Trump’s one-year anniversary in the WH approaches, senior officials warn of “significant turnover,” saying there is a lengthy list of WH aides and cabinet members potentially on their way out.

BuzzFeed reported Trump’s WH and the CIA are considering a set of proposals to pay millions of dollars for former US intelligence officers to run privatized covert actions and intelligence gathering.

On Friday, reversing an Obama-era proposal, Trump’s EPA said it will not issue a rule requiring hard-rock mining companies to pay for the costs to clean up their mines when they’re finished.

On Friday, a federal judge ruled the Trump regime can’t delay an Obama-era immigration rule which lets foreign start-up founders into the US without a visa, after venture capitalists group and others sued.

In a letter, Sen. Chris Coons reminded Jeff Sessions and Rod Rosenstein he had given them two weeks for an explanation of why Dana Boente was forced to resign. After no response, Coons demanded to have his question answered.

On Tuesday, Coons also called for hearings into possible presidential interference, citing reports last month that Trump interviewed candidates for positions with oversight in districts where he has business dealings.

On Tuesday, Bloomberg reported the Manhattan DA’s office is interviewing 10 to 20 of Paul Manafort’s work associates and lenders, including Stephen Calk, whose bank provided Manafort with three loans totaling $16 million.

Calk was named as an economic adviser to the Trump campaign in August 2016. In Week 36, the loans to Manafort represented 24% of Calk’s bank’s equity capital and typically the bank focuses on loans to military members.

Investigators are also examining real estate transactions involving Manafort’s immediate family and former son in law. Unlike federal charges, those found guilty of a state crime cannot be pardoned by Trump.

POLITICO reported lawmakers are scrambling to put any measures in place to help secure the nation’s voting system and prevent hacking in the 2018 election. Voters in Texas and Illinois have primaries in just three months.

Senators complained about the lack of urgency with proposed legislation yet to hit the floor, and the House companion bill in limbo. Trump has yet to acknowledge Russian hacking of the 2016 election.

WAPO reported Flynn’s role in Mideast nuclear projects, as cited in Week 44, could compound his legal issues. Flynn served as an adviser to two Washington-based companies pursuing Middle East deals in 2015.

ACU Strategic Partners proposed a partnership with Russia and IP3/IronBridge proposed working with China. In various filings in 2016 and 2017, Flynn did not initially disclose his connection to ACU.

In a presentation to King Salman Bin Abdul Aziz of Saudi Arabia, IP3 listed Flynn as Formidable US Leadership. Lawmakers were not informed of Flynn’s relationship with IP3 according to Rep. Elijah Cummings .

Intercept reported Erik Prince met with Kirill Dmitriev, CEO of the Russian Direct Investment Fund (RDIF), on his trip to Seychelles cited in Week 21. The trip was allegedly to set up a back-channel between Trump and Russia.

Prince claimed he was in Seychelles on business. RDIF is under US sanctions, meaning Prince could have violated sanctions against Russia. Prince will testify to the House Intel Committee later this week.

Rachel Maddow reported that with the addition of the Dmitriev, so far, there have been 19 Russians identified as having met with Trump campaign officials.

BuzzFeed reported the Senate Intel Committee has requested information from Twitter on 45 Russia-linked accounts that tweeted propaganda about Trump, Brexit, and German Chancellor Angela Merkel in 2016.

On Thursday, Reza Zarrab, who is now cooperating with US prosecutors, implicated Erdogan in a NY court, saying the Turkish PM personally authorized a transaction on behalf of Iran in a money laundering scheme.

Prior to cooperating, Erdogan had enlisted Flynn to get Zarrab released in exchange for a large payout in Week 53. In Week 20, Zarrab was represented by Rudy Giuliani who flew to Turkey to meet with Erdogan.

CNN identified radio host Randy Credico as the intermediary between Roger Stone and Julia Assange during the 2016 campaign season. Credico has been subpoenaed by the House Intel Committee to testify.

On Thursday, Rep. Adam Schiff, the ranking Democrat on the House Intel Committee, expressed concern that Sessions refused to answer if he was ever instructed by Trump to take any action he believed would hinder the Russia investigation, in a closed-door meeting with the committee.

NBC News reported Donald Jr. will meet with the House Intel Committee next week. Lawmakers want to know about the June 9 meeting at Trump Tower and his May 2016 encounter with Alexander Torshin at an NRA event.

On Wednesday, Russian state-funded RT had its US Capitol credential revoked. The Congressional Radio & Television Correspondents’ Galleries cited RT being forced to register as a foreign agent by the DOJ.

On Friday, in retaliation, the Russian government will consider the resolution next week which would ban American journalists from accessing the lower chamber of its parliament, the Duma.

On Thursday, Manafort struck a revised bail deal with prosecutors to pledge four properties worth $11 million as bail, clearing the way for him to be released from the house arrest.

On Thursday, NYT reported Trump urged senior Republicans in the Senate, including Richard Burr who chairs the Senate Intel Committee, to end the panel’s investigation into Russia’s interference in the 2016 election.

Burr said Trump told him the investigation was overshadowing his first year and he wanted to see it come to an end. Burr also said committee members were approached by Trump, and shared their conversations.

Trump expressed these sentiments to Roy Blunt, who serves on the committee, while flying on Air Force One to Springfield, MO in August. Trump told Blunt he wanted “to wrap up this investigation.”

Trump complained to Mitch McConnell and Bob Corker, who is chair of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, in phone conversations about the continuing investigations, and blamed McConnell as leader for not shielding him.

Trump called Sen. Thom Tillis, who in August introduced a bipartisan bill limiting the president’s power to dismiss special prosecutors, over the summer. Tillis said Trump “just asked me where my head was” on the legislation.

AP reported Bronze Star LLC, a newly-created Florida company, won $30 million in contracts from FEMA to provide emergency tarps and plastic sheeting for repairs to Puerto Rico.

Bronze Star had never won a government contract or delivered tarps or plastic sheeting before. These urgently needed supplies were never delivered, so FEMA cancelled the contract and will restart the process.

Vox reported two social science researchers concluded the death toll in Puerto Rico is closer to 1,085, 20 times the official count of 58, based on examining historical averages of deaths in September and October.

USA Today reported Trump’s actions have sparked an aggressive cottage industry of ethics watchdog groups, which are closing tracking and challenging his every move with lawsuits and filing requests.

CREW filed a complaint asking the DOJ to investigate whether Kris Kobach is improperly getting a financial benefit from serving as vice chair of Trump’s Election Integrity Committee. In Week 54, Donald Jr. campaigned for Kobach.

On Tuesday, a US District Judge approved a preservation subpoenas issued by the attorneys general of MD and DC to twenty-three Trump businesses including Mar-A-Lago, as part of an emoluments lawsuit.

POLITICO reported Trump gave Kellyanne Conway the approval to criticize AL senate candidate Doug Jones on tv. In Week 54, former Office of Government Ethics director Walter Shaub filed an ethics complaint against Conway for this violation of the Hatch Act.

In an interview with Esquire, Sen. John McCain said of Trump, “I think he’s a person who takes advantage of situations,” adding “I don’t think he has the fundamental underpinnings of principles and beliefs.”

Dictionary.com announced its Word of the Year is complicit. Use of the word spiked on April 5 when Ivanka was asked if she and Kushner were complicit, and on October 24 when Sen. Jeff Flake said, “I will not be complicit.”

On Tuesday, Rep. Nancy Pelosi and Sen. Chuck Schumer abruptly pulled out of a scheduled lunch with Trump and Republican leaders to discuss budget and immigration issues after Trump sent an abusive tweet about “Chuck and Nancy.”

Amid efforts to repeal net neutrality, FCC chairman Ajit Pai accused Twitter of having “double standard when it comes to suspending or de-verifying conservative users.” He did not specify which accounts he was referring to.

On Thursday, NYT reported Trump’s WH has developed a plan to fire Tillerson and replace him with CIA Director Mike Pompeo. In turn, Pompeo would likely be succeeded by Sen. Tom Cotton. Trump has not signed off on the plan by Kelly.

CNN reported the reports that Trump would be replacing Tillerson were meant to express Trump’s deep displeasure with Tillerson and publicly shame him.

On Friday, Trump denied Tillerson is on his way out, tweeting, “The media has been speculating that I fired Rex Tillerson or that he would be leaving soon — FAKE NEWS!” Trump added in, “(I call the final shots).”

Bloomberg reported Tillerson is increasingly concerned about secret talks between Kushner and Saudi Arabian Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, fearing the talks could backfire and leave the region in chaos.

Tillerson and senior officials in the State Department have been left in the dark on Kushner’s discussion to create Palestinian state or territory backed financially by a number of countries including Saudi Arabia.

On Wednesday, the House passed a measure which requires members, employees, interns, fellows, and other short-term staff, to complete a program that includes anti-harassment and anti-discrimination training.

On Thursday, Trump’s FBI director Christopher Wray told the House Homeland Security Committee his agency has taken steps to “get in front” of future threats from Russia. This is the first news or suggestion of this.

On Wednesday, Trump told a crowd in MO the Republican tax bill “is going to cost me a fortune.” This statement is false. NYT describes the proposal as “almost tailor-made to enrich the president and people like him.”

AP fact-checked Trump’s speech in MO and found numerous false statements, citing “Trump’s tax fiction” and “embrace of propaganda” relating to the anti-Muslim videos.

On Thursday, the Republicans brought a tax bill to the floor for a vote. There were no hearings or real debate on the bill, and members of the Senate did not have a chance to read this version before the vote.

After the vote was well underway and almost complete Thursday evening, the Senate Parliamentarian ruled a fiscal trigger, important to winning over Corker’s support, will not work under Senate rules.

On Thursday, the Treasury Department’s inspector general launched an inquiry into whether the department hid its analysis as referenced by Secretary Steven Mnuchin of the Republican tax bill, or whether no such analysis exists.

On Friday, Republicans again brought the tax bill up for a vote. Hours before the vote, Democrats were handed copies of the bill with handwritten changes scribbled in the margins.

Late Friday evening, Schumer’s motion to give the senators two days to read the 479 page tax bill was voted down 52–48. He tweeted, “in my long career in politics, I have not seen a more regressive piece of legislation.”

ABC News reported Flynn’s lawyers met with Mueller’s team on Monday, a sign the parties are working on a possible plea deal.

House Democrats have forwarded Mueller information on more than a dozen foreign contacts and overseas trips by Flynn which were not disclosed during the process of renewing his security clearances.

On Wednesday, CNN reported Mueller’s team has postponed grand jury testimony of public relations consultant hired by Flynn’s lobbying firm, another indication the parties are working on a plea deal.

CNN reported Mueller’s team met with Kushner earlier this month. Sources say the conversation lasted less than 90 minutes, and was primarily related to Flynn.

WAPO reported Trump feel confident the Mueller probe will be completed by year-end, and that he will be exonerated. Trump has taken comfort from lawyer Ty Cobb, who initially said the probe would be done by Thanksgiving.

One outside adviser warned if there was no statement of exoneration by year-end, Trump would “blow a gasket.”

On Friday, Flynn pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI about conversations with Sergey Kislyak in December during the transition period. Flynn also became the first WH official to cooperate in the Mueller probe.

Flynn, who was especially known for vigorously leading “Lock her up!” chants at Trump rallies, emerged from the courthouse to chants by hecklers of “Lock him up!

At lunchtime, the WH canceled an opportunity for reporters to question Trump about Flynn’s guilty plea. Reporters had hoped to pepper Trump with questions in passing, but instead were escorted to the press room.

Flynn’s discussions with Kislyak were an effort to undermine Obama on foreign policy before Trump took power. The transition team was led by Mike Pence, and senior members include Kushner, Reince Priebus and K.T. McFarland.

Flynn spoke to Kislyak on December 29 and asked that Russia not escalate after the Obama administration imposed sanctions. On December 30, Putin announced Russia would not take actions against the sanctions.

On December 30, Trump tweeted: “Great move on delay (by V. Putin) — I always knew he was very smart!” On December 31, Kislyak called Flynn to tell him no action would be taken, and Flynn called the transition team.

Court papers revealed Flynn was directed by a “very senior transition official” to contact foreign government, including Russia to discuss a UN resolution regarding Israeli settlements. The official was Kushner.

Bloomberg reported Kushner told Flynn he needed to get every foreign minister or ambassador from countries on the UN Security Council to delay or vote against the resolution, a possible violation of the Logan Act.

AP reported former deputy NSA K.T. McFarland is the person described as a “senior transition” official who Flynn contacted on December 29 to discuss what to communicate to Kislyak in response to Obama sanctions.

Flynn and Kislyak spoke five times on December 29. McFarland was in Mar-A-Lago at the time, as was Trump.

Trump lawyer Cobb sought to distance Flynn from Trump by stressing Flynn served as NSA “for 25 days,” and was a “former Obama administration official.”

The special counsel indicated the information provided to the court was a partial description of Flynn’s involvement: “these facts do not constitute all of the facts known to the parties concerning the charged offense.”

On Friday, Sen. Mark Warner, Vice Chairman of the Senate Intel Committee issued a statement saying, “The Special Counsel’s probe has found illegal behavior stretching into the senior most levels of the White House.”

On Friday after the Flynn plea, Rep. Jerrold Nadler said the House Judiciary Committee has enough evidence to probe Trump for obstruction of justice.

On MSNBC, Michael Bechloss compared Flynn cooperating to when Dean turned on Nixon in Watergate, adding “There’s a very good chance that decades from now, we may look back on this day as a big day in history…”

ABC News reported in recent weeks, Flynn felt abandoned by Trump, and in the 24 hours before he agreed to cooperate, was concerned about the crippling legal costs if he decided to contest the charges.

On Friday, Washington Examiner reported Flynn will sell his house to offset legal costs from the Mueller probe.

On Saturday morning, Trump appeared before the media and expressed no concern about Flynn’s guilty plea. Trump told reporters three time that there was “no collusion” between his campaign and the Russians.

On Saturday, Trump tweeted he fired Flynn “because he lied to the Vice President and the FBI. He has pled guilty to those lies.” This possibly points to obstruction of justice since shortly after, Trump asked Comey to let it go.

On Saturday, Trump’s net approval fell to -29 at Gallup (approve 33, disapprove 62). This matches Trump’s widest disapproval gap.

POLITIKS OF GRAFFITI 54: RACIST LANDLORD

IMG_4239
“Trollump and the Ring” by London-based artist Fanakapan. In Soho, New York City, November 2017

Week 53 of trump’s presidency: Experts in authoritarianism advise to keep a list of things subtly changing around you, so you’ll remember.

November 18, 2017 https://medium.com/@Amy_Siskind/week-53-experts-in-authoritarianism-advise-to-keep-a-list-of-things-subtly-changing-around-you-so-577dcb601736

This week the headlines and narrative were dominated by women (and men) sharing their stories of sexual assault and harassment — a historic movement. Stories entered the political domain with accusations against men of both parties, reopening questions about Trump’s sordid past. Trump tweeted himself into the sexual assault discussion, almost as if to be part of the zeitgeist, despite the perilous risks. This is the shortest list in many weeks as Trump was largely absent from the narrative and headlines.

This week the Russia probe entered Trump’s inner-circle, as more lines of direct and indirect communications surfaced, and efforts at cooperation between the Trump campaign and Russia were revealed. A political backlash against Trump continued as a special election in Oklahoma 37, a district Trump comfortably won by 40 points, went to a Democrat — a 26 year-old lesbian whose wife is African American.

  1. Despite messaging during his Asia trip about using diplomacy with N. Korea, late Saturday, Trump tweeted, “Why would Kim Jong-Un insult me by calling me ‘old,’ when I would NEVER call him ‘short and fat’?
  2. On Sunday, in response to Trump siding with Putin over US intelligence on Russian interference in Week 52, ex-intelligence chiefs James Clapper and John Brennan said Trump is being “played” by Putin.
  3. When asked about why his regime had yet to implement sanctions on Russia after the Senate and House voted almost unanimously to do so,Trump said he would rather have Russia “in a friendly posture.
  4. As Trump returned from his trip, former diplomats and Asia experts said China came out ahead and Trump came home largely empty-handed. Theformer Australian PM wrote Trump ceded economic leadership to China.
  5. During Trump’s Asia trip, world leaders from 11 countries reached agreement on the core elements of the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership trade deal, without the US.
  6. On Monday, Trump met with controversial leader Duterte. Trump boasted of their “great relationship,” and laughed when Duterte called journalists “spies.” At least 177 Filipino media workers have been killed since 1986.
  7. The WH said the two leaders “briefly” discussed human rights, but Duterte’s spokesman denied that the issue was discussed. Tuesday,Trudeau did bring up human rights, which Duterte called an “insult.
  8. On Tuesday evening, as Trump returned from his Asia trip, he tweeted “May God be with the people of Sutherland Springs.” That shooting took place 9 days prior. Tuesday, there was a mass shooting in Northern CA.
  9. NYT reported Trump is rapidly reshaping the judiciary, including eight appellate judges, seats Republicans held open during Obama’s final two years in office, with extremist conservative judges.
  10. On Monday, WAPO reported Jeff Sessions is considering a second special counsel to investigate GOP concerns, including the Clinton Foundation, Uranium One, and Hillary’s emails. Trump has been encouraging this.
  11. NYT reported Sessions is shattering longstanding norms by doing so, and so the credibility of any investigation presumably would be called into question since Trump is publicly going after a political rival.
  12. On Saturday, Trump was once again tweeting about his former political rival: “Crooked Hillary Clinton is the worst (and biggest) loser of all time…give it another try in three years!”
  13. WAPO reported in Trump’s first 298 days, he has made 1,628 false or misleading statements.
  14. Despite having no criminal record, a MI woman Zahrija Purovic, 50,who lived in the US for 30 years, worked and paid taxes and raised her three children here, was deported to Montenegro.
  15. Seattle Times reported on Pacific County, which voted for Trump but now laments a spike in deportations of their neighbors. There have been 28 ICE arrests this year so far, up from eight last year and zero many years before.
  16. NYT reported due to the Post Office unusually long delays of delivering DACA applications, including ones sent by certified mail, at least 74 young immigrants’ applications in NYC and Chicago were rejected for being late.
  17. Vox reported the Trump regime has rejected 4,000 “late” DACA renewal applications, some of which were sitting in mailboxes. A lawsuit alleges USCIS is being stricter than usual, and arbitrarily denying applications.
  18. On Thursday, in a reversal, acting DHS director Elaine Duke instructed the immigration agency to allow applicants to re-submit their paperwork if they have proof that they mailed their renewal on time.
  19. San Francisco Chronicle reported the Trump regime plans to stop granting work permits to spouses of H-1B visa holders, overturning a 2015 rule. Last year, 100K spouses and children of H-1B holders came to the US.
  20. AP reported Trump is choosing white men as judges at the highest rate in decades. So far, 91% of Trump’s nominees are white, and 81% are male.
  21. After nine months of trusting Trump to protect them for living in pro-Trump states, farming groups are moving to fight Trump’s effort to withdraw from NAFTA, saying the move would be a disaster for farmers.
  22. The Trump administration’s US Fish and Wildlife Service said it plan to reverse an Obama-era ban on bringing elephant trophies back from two African countries. The regime claims Zimbabwe and Zambia support reversing the ban.
  23. On Friday, following public backlash, Trump said he would delay the new policy on elephant trophies until he can review “all conservation facts.”
  24. ABC News confirmed the Trump regime’s US Fish and Wildlife Service also began issuing permits for lion trophies hunted in Zambia and Zimbabwe about a month ago.
  25. The University of SC women’s basketball team declined an invitation from Trump to celebrate their 2017 NCAA championship at the WH.
  26. Trump’s controversial judicial nominee Brett Talley did not disclose he is married to Donald McGahn’s chief of staff. In Week 52, Talley is also viewed as unqualified to be a federal district judge due to lack of experience.
  27. On Wednesday, Richard Cordray announced he would step down as head of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, an agency created by Sen. Elizabeth Warren after the 2008 financial crisis. Republicans have taken steps under Trump to dismantle the agency.
  28. Trump is expected to nominate Mick Mulvaney to acting head of the CFPB, an agency Mulvaney said he wanted to kill. Mulvaney will not require confirmation since he is serving as WH budget director.
  29. Jamie Johnson, a Trump DHS appointee, resigned after CNN uncovered tapes of his radio show in which he claimed blacks turned cities into “slums” and Islam’s only contribution to society was “oil and dead bodies.”
  30. On Wednesday, a bipartisan group of Senators wrote a letter to Rex Tillerson expressing “deep reservations” about lack of staffing, which threatens “to undermine the long-term health and effectiveness” of US diplomacy.
  31. The FCC repealed a 1970s rule put in place to ensure a diversity of voices and opinions by prohibiting ownership of a newspaper and tv-station in the same market. Trump ally Sinclair will be the biggest beneficiary.
  32. On Wednesday, 13 Senate Democrats called for the FCC Inspector General to open an investigation into potential quid pro quo between FCC chair Ajit Pai, the Trump regime, and Sinclair Broadcasting.
  33. The Koch brothers provided a half-billion dollar equity investments in a Meredith bid for Time Inc., potentially moving another major media company into the hands of conservative billionaires.
  34. On Wednesday, Steven Mnuchin and his wife caused a stir by posing for pictures with him holding sheets of money at the Bureau of Engraving, while the Republicans push a tax plan which benefits the rich and corporations.
  35. USA Today reported taxpayers are paying the legal costs for at least 10 DOJ lawyers and paralegals to work on four lawsuits related to Trump’s unprecedented decision not to divest of his private businesses.
  36. WAPO reported the Interior Department’s watchdog Deputy IG Mary Kendall sent a letter to Ryan Zinke’s office saying management of his travel was “deficient” and lacked oversight. Zinke has failed to keep complete records.
  37. A federal judge heard arguments Friday on whether Trump’s own tweets about the Steele dossier should force the federal government to reveal more information about its efforts to verify the claims in the dossier.
  38. On Friday, Bloomberg reported Trump will begin paying his legal bills related to the Russia probe from his own pocket, relieving the Republican Party of future payments.
  39. WH lawyer Ty Cobb said the OGE and a tax firm are also working on amechanism for Trump to contribute to staffers’ legal bills, raising ethical concerns that Trump is doing this to influence staffer testimony.
  40. On Monday morning, WAPO released a list of at least 30 known times the Trump campaign was in contact with Russians during the campaign.
  41. On Monday, Russian state-funded RT registered with the DOJ as a foreign agent. RT is now required to publicly disclose details about its funding and operations, and mark certain content with labels.
  42. Reuters reported, in retaliation, Russia named nine US-government sponsored media outlets likely to be labelled “foreign agents” in a new law that is being rushed through Russian parliament.
  43. On Monday, The Atlantic reported on Twitter direct messages betweenWikiLeaks and Donald Jr. starting September 20, 2016 and through July 2017. The messages have been turned over to Congressional investigators.
  44. US intelligence believes WikiLeaks was chosen by Russia to disseminate hacked emails. Donald Jr. forwarded one email to Steve Bannon, Kellyanne Conway, Jared Kushner, and Brad Parscale. Kushner in turn forwarded the message to Hope Hicks.
  45. Kushner has told congressional investigators he did not communicate with WikiLeaks, and did not recall anyone on the campaign who had.
  46. On October 3, 2016, the day after Roger Stone tweeted, “Wednesday @Hillary Clinton is done. #Wikileaks,” Donald Jr. messaged WikiLeaksasking, “What’s behind this Wednesday leak I keep reading about?
  47. On October 12, 2016, WikiLeaks messaged Donald Jr. about the upcoming release of Podesta hacked emails and asked that Trump tweet about it. Trump did in fact tweet about it, fifteen minutes later.
  48. In the last 30 days of his presidential campaign, Trump mentioned WikiLeaks 164 times.
  49. In a message on Election Day, WikiLeaks encouraged Donald Jr. that if Trump loses he “DOES NOT concede,” and instead focuses on “CHALLENGING the media and other types of rigging.”
  50. WikiLeaks suggested they be the means for releasing Trump’s tax returns to help them appear impartial. After Trump won, WikiLeaks asked to have Trump suggest “Australia appoint Assange ambassador to DC.”
  51. On July 11, 2017, three days after the NYT reported on Donald Jr.’s June 9 Trump Tower meeting and emails, WikiLeaks suggested they make the emails public. Hours later, Donald Jr. tweeted the emails himself.
  52. CNN reported the Russia-linked trolls that meddled in US politics posted dozens of pro-Brexit messages on the day of the UK referendum.
  53. CNN reported the House Intelligence Committee will interview Russian-American lobbyist Rinat Akhmetshin next week about his involvement in the June 9 Trump Tower meeting.
  54. BuzzFeed reported the FBI is investigating 60 money transfers sent through Citibank accounts by the Russian Foreign Ministry, most with a note saying the money was to be used “to finance election campaign of 2016.”
  55. On Thursday, NBC News reported Reza Zarrab, a dual Turkish-Iranian national with close ties to Turkey’s Erdogan is cooperating with federal investigators in a money-laundering case.
  56. Legal experts say prosecutors may be looking for ties to Mike Flynn. Mueller is investigating whether Erdogan offered Flynn $15 million to use his position as NSA to extradite a cleric and drop charges against Zarrab.
  57. In Week 20 in March 2017, the acting US attorney told a judge Rudy Giuliani and Marc Mukasey had joined Zarrab’s defense team to “explore a potential disposition of the criminal charges.” Both met with Erdogan in Turkey.
  58. WSJ reported Mueller has subpoenaed more than a dozen top Trump officials seeking documents and emails that reference a set of Russia-related keywords. This is Mueller’s first official order to the campaign.
  59. In a letter, the Senate Judiciary Committee said it has uncovered evidence that Kushner was forwarded a document about a “Russian backdoor overture” that he failed to turn over the Congressional investigators.
  60. Kushner also failed to turn over a September 2016 email he received about WikiLeaks, and communication with Russian-born businessman Sergei Millian, former head of the Russian-American Chamber of Commerce.
  61. The letter also criticized Kushner for not turning over a copy of a government document that Mr. Kushner completed to obtain a security clearance, a SF-86, which has been amended at least twice.
  62. On Friday, CBS News reported the “Russian backdoor overture and dinner invite” to Kushner was requested by Alexander Torshin in May 2016 and his assistant, Maria Butina.
  63. Torshin has close ties to Putin. He was a senator and appointed deputy governor of the Bank of Russia. He also is suspected of having ties to organized crime.
  64. Torshin and Butina had requested to meet with Trump, and then have Trump travel to Russia to meet Putin. The request was made through an intermediary who was attached to a NRA event in Kentucky.
  65. The intermediary forwarded the five-page request to the Trump campaign, including Paul Manafort and Rick Gates. Eventually it was forwarded to Kushner.
  66. NBC News reported the two hoped to meet Trump on the sidelines of the NRA convention in Louisville. Torshin also hoped to meet a high-level Trump campaign officials, saying he may have a message from Putin for Trump.
  67. Kushner received a lengthy email exchange between the intermediary and Rick Dearborne, who now serves as deputy chief of staff in the WH.Kushner told Dearborne and others in the campaign not to move forward.
  68. While Kushner was telling Dearborne and others not to accept, Torshin was seated with Donald Jr. at a private dinner on the sidelines of the NRA event, according to an account Torshin gave to Bloomberg.
  69. Yahoo reported the WH abruptly canceled a February meeting between Trump and Torshin after national security discovered Torshin was named by Spanish police as a suspected “godfather” of an organized crime ring.
  70. Politico reported Kushner is still operating on interim security clearance ten months in. He continues to work on sensitive foreign policy issues while his application for a permanent clearance remains under review.
  71. NYT reported the US Office of Acquisitions has hired Elite Security to guard the Moscow Embassy and consulates in St. Petersburg, after Putin ordered the US to slash their staff by 755 employees in July in retaliation.
  72. The contract was no-bid. Elite Security is a company with run by Putin’s former KGB boss, an 82-year-old veteran spy who spent 25 years planting agents and hunting down operatives in Western countries.
  73. A new book, Collusion: How Russia Helped Donald Trump Win, quotesSteele as telling friends he believes 70–90% of the dossier is accurate, and his report will be vindicated by the Mueller investigation.
  74. On Wednesday, in nearly seven hours of testimony to the House Intel Committee, Fusion GPS co-founder Glenn Simpson defended the Steele dossier, saying nothing in it has been disproven and some has been corroborated.
  75. Simpson also said Steele did not pay the sources he used to compile the dossier. Simpson is now cooperating with the three congressional committees investigating Russian meddling.
  76. CNN reported the DOJ’s probe into Deutsche Bank’s role in a $10 million Russian money laundering scheme has gone dormant. The DOJ and the US attorney for SDNY were investigating how the bank missed red flags.
  77. The investigation has been closely watched Democrats, who have asked Deutsche to turn over documents, but the bank has been non-responsive. Trump and Kushner have extensive banking relationships with Deutsche.
  78. Judicial Watch filed under the FOIA against the DOJ for all records relating to Veselnitskaya’s immigration parole. At the time she met with Donald Jr. at Trump Tower, Veselnitskaya wasn’t supposed to be in the US.
  79. British publicist Roger Goldstone, who helped set up the Trump Tower meeting between Donald Jr. and Veselnitskaya, is ready to come to the US and meet Mueller’s team. Goldstone is currently living in Bangkok.
  80. Foreign Policy reported Kushner’s newspaper, The Observer, pursued a relationship with WikiLeaks starting in 2014. During the 2016 election, the newspaper actively published hacked emails shared by WikiLeaks.
  81. Although Kushner claimed to keep a distance from his newspaper, he spoke to EIC Ken Kurson daily. Kurson also sat with the Trump family at the RNC.
  82. Politico reported in interviews with Greek media last year, George Papadopoulos boasted of a “blank check” for a job in the Trump regime, and to representing Trump in meetings overseas with foreign leaders.
  83. AP reported Congressional investigators are looking into a June 2017 meeting between Rinat Akhmetshin and Ike Kaveladze in Moscow. Both had attended the June 9, 2016 meeting at Trump Tower with Donald Jr.
  84. Congressional investigators want to know if the meeting was to knowwhether there was some effort to get their stories straight before it became public on July 8, when the NYT broke the story.
  85. Mueller is also investigating the June 9 meeting which occurred weeks after Trump clinched the nomination. A grand jury has already heardtestimony about the meeting which Kushner and Manafort also attended.
  86. NYT reported Whitefish Energy billed PREPA $319 an hour for linemen, 17 times higher than what is typical in Puerto Rico. Senior linemen coming from Florida to work in Puerto Rico were paid $100 or less.
  87. Power in Puerto Rico is spotty almost two months after Hurricane Maria.Early in the week, 50% of the island had power, then a major transmission line failed, reducing it to 22%. Whitefish Energy had repaired the line.
  88. The USNS Comfort departed Puerto Rico. Since arriving Comfort staff have treated 1,899 patients, performed 191 surgeries, provided 76K liters of oxygen, and ten tons of food and water.
  89. On Tuesday, Sessions testified before the House Judiciary Committee.Sessions again revised his account of what he knew about the Trump campaign’s dealing with Russia, despite saying, “my story had never changed.
  90. Asked about Papadopoulos statements placing Sessions in a meeting where Russia was discussed, he answered, “I had no recollection of this meeting until I saw these news reports.
  91. Sessions claimed his memory was refreshed after reading Papadopoulos’ account, and said to the best of his recollection, Papadopoulos “was not authorized to represent the campaign with the Russian government.
  92. The day after Sessions’s testimony, Sergey Kislyak told Russia-1, a popular Russia state-owned channel, that it would take him more than 20 minutes to name all of the Trump officials he’s met with or spoken to on the phone.
  93. On Friday, Sessions joked before a speech at the Federalist Society, “Is Ambassador Kislyak in the room? … Any Russians?
  94. On Tuesday special elections, Allison Isley-Freeman, a 26 year-old lesbian, won in an Oklahoma district Trump had carried+40. Democrats won the mayor of Albuquerque, NM for the first time in eight years, in a blowout.
  95. On Wednesday, six Democrats demanded impeachment hearings citing the Comey firing, violations of the emoluments clause, and Trump’s undermining of the federal judiciary and freedom of press.
  96. A Texas woman, Karen Fonseca, made news for a pickup truck bumper sticker with an expletive-filled message to Trump and his supporters. Fonseca said she’s been stopped by police, but is exercising free speech.
  97. On Wednesday, Sheriff Troy Nehls posted a photo of the truck on Facebook and asked for information on the driver. The post was taken down. On Thursday, Fonseca was picked up for an outstanding warrant from August.
  98. Breaking with tradition of nearly two decades, Trump will not meet with the eight American Nobel laureates before they travel to Sweden to receive their prizes. One honoree said he was “relieved.”
  99. On Thursday, the Department of Defense’s Twitter account retweeted, then deleted a post calling on Trump to resign. The chief spokesperson tweeted, the account “erroneously retweeted content that would not be endorsed.”
  100. On Tuesday, Speaker Paul Ryan announced a new mandatory anti-harassment and discrimination training for all House members and staff.
  101. On Thursday, Trump tweeted about Al Franken’s sexual misconduct, saying “The Al Frankenstien picture is really bad […] Where do his hands go in pictures 2, 3, 4, 5 & 6 while she sleeps?……”
  102. Press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said in a press briefing that the difference between Trump and Franken, she said, is that “Franken has admitted wrongdoing” but Trump has not.
  103. In an interview with Mother Jones, Hillary questioned the legitimacy of the 2016 election citing Russian interference and voter suppression. In WI, voter suppression possibly impacted 45K voters, Trump won by 23K votes.
  104. Politico reported Trump is obsessed with polls, and decries those that show his popularity falling as fake. Aides in the WH often show him only the polls that make him feel good.
  105. Air Force Gen. John Hyten, a top US nuclear commander of the of the Strategic Command (STRATUM), said he would push back against Trumpif he ordered a nuclear launch the general believed to be illegal.

IMG_4234IMG_4270IMG_4199IMG_4273DCIM100GOPROGOPR7441.

The New York City art scene continues to RESIST!

 

POLITIKS OF GRAFFITI 49: LOST! (MY MARBLES)

Week 48 of trump’s presidency: Experts in authoritarianism advise to keep a list of things subtly changing around you, so you’ll remember.

October 14, 2017 https://medium.com/@Amy_Siskind/week-48-experts-in-authoritarianism-advise-to-keep-a-list-of-things-subtly-changing-around-you-so-e8a21132e25a

This week, starting with ominous statements by Sen. Corker, numerous accounts by Trump aides and Republican insiders leaked to the media describing a WH in peril. Increasingly, Trump seems isolated, erratic, unmoored and unfit for office.

The humanitarian crisis in Puerto Rico worsened with the inadequate response by the federal government. Amid criticism, Trump threatened to pull out, but later backed off. Although the death count officially stands at 45, reporting revealed possibly hundreds more preventable deaths related to the Hurricane Maria.

Trump remains silent on both California’s deadliest wildfires and the deadliest combat incident since he took office. He continues to focus on undoing Obama’s legacy, piece-by-piece. The Mueller investigation hit Trump’s inner-circle, and social media’s role in aiding Russia continues to unfold.

  1. On Saturday night, Richard Spencer led another white supremacist torch-lit rally at University of Virginia. The rally lasted 10 minutes and 40–50 people attended. Spencer vowed, “we will keep coming back.”
  2. On Sunday, Trump attacked former ally Corker in a series of incendiary tweets, saying “Corker “begged” me to endorse him for re-election” and “wanted to be Secretary of State.” Trump claimed to have said no to both.
  3. Corker responded, tweeting it’s a shame the WH has become an “adult day care center,” and that someone “missed their shift this morning.”
  4. On Sunday, Pence left a Colts game after a protest during the national anthem. Pence later issued a full statement opposing the protests. The Colts were playing the 49ers, a team known to protest.
  5. Before the game, Pence tweeted a photo of he and the Second Lady wearing Colts gear. The photo was one he originally tweeted in 2014.
  6. Shortly after, Trump tweeted he had asked Pence to leave the game “if any players kneeled,” and said he was proud of Pence and the Second Lady.
  7. The pool of journalists covering Pence were not allowed into the stadium, and were told, “there may be an early departure from the game.” ABCestimated Pence’s flight cost taxpayers nearly $250k.
  8. Bowing to pressure from Trump, the Cowboy’s Jerry Jones, after kneeling with players in week 3 of the season, changed course saying any player who “disrespects the flag” by kneeling will not be allowed to play.
  9. On Tuesday, Trump threatened the NFL over protests saying the league is “getting massive tax breaks” and the law should be changed. This claim is false: the NFL gave up its 501(c)(6) tax-exempt status in 2015.
  10. On Tuesday, bowing to pressure from Trump and fans, NFL Commissioner Goodell, who previously had said players had the right to voice their opinions, sided with owners opposed to letting players demonstrate.
  11. On Monday, Pence headlined a fundraiser in CA for Republicans including controversial, Kremlin-ally Rohrabacher. Rohrabacher had a previously undisclosed meeting in Russia with Veselnitskaya described in Week 47.
  12. University of Wisconsin approved a policy which calls for suspending or expelling students who disrupt campus speeches and presentations. The policy mirrors Republican legislation passed by the state Assembly.
  13. On Columbus Day, unlike Obama, Trump celebrated the “arrival of Europeans,” but did not mention of the suffering of Native Americans.
  14. On Sunday, the Trump’s DHS allowed the Jones Act waiver, which helped speed relief to Puerto Rico, to expire. No explanation was given.
  15. Trump’s EPA announced it would repeal the Clean Power Plan, Obama’s signature policy to curb greenhouse gas emissions from power plants. The statement described the regulation as the “so-called Clean Power Plan.”
  16. On Friday, Trump addressed the Value Voters Summit hosted by Family Research Council, which has been classified by SPLC as an anti-gay hate group. Trump is the first US leader to address the group.
  17. Reuters reported the Trump regime has been quietly cutting support for halfway houses for federal prisoners, severing contracts with as many as 16 facilities, necessitating some inmates stay behind bars longer.
  18. ABC reported the Treasury Dept’s inspector general is looking into allegations reported by BuzzFeed in Week 47 that agency officials have been illegally looking at private financial records of US citizens.
  19. A report compiled by the Government Accountability Office (GAO) at House and Senate Democrats’ request, found the Trump transition team ignored ethics officials and refused to cooperate with the GAO.
  20. Trump named Kathleen Hartnett White to the WH’s Council on Environmental Quality. Hartnett White, a climate science denier, once also said, “fossil fuels dissolved the economic justification for slavery.”
  21. In response to a filing by CREW, Trump’s DOJ told a court in DC that Trump can destroy records without judicial review, including tweets.
  22. Brian Brooks became the second candidate under consideration for deputy Treasury Secretary to withdraw from consideration. Mnuchin said he has no plans to fill the number two slot in his agency.
  23. WAPO reported at the Interior Dept, when Zinke enters the building a staffer takes the elevator to the seventh floor, climbs the stairs to the roof and puts up a special flag. The flag comes down when he leaves.
  24. On Wednesday, NBC reported Tillerson calling Trump a “moron” was provoked by Trump suggesting a tenfold increase in the US nuclear arsenalduring a July 20 meeting with the high-ranking national security leaders.
  25. In response to the story which he called “Fake News,” Trump tweeted a threat to revoke the broadcasting licenses of “NBC and the Networks.”
  26. Later that afternoon, at a news conference, Trump again lashed out at the independent news media saying it’s “frankly disgusting the press is able to write whatever it wants to write.”
  27. In a statement Wednesday night, Republican Sen. Sasse asked Trump if he was “recanting” his oath to protect the First Amendment.
  28. Indiana Republican lawmaker Jim Lucas drafted a bill that would require professional journalists to be licensed by state police.
  29. Under pressure to confirm Trump’s judicial nominees, McConnell will no longer allow “blue slips,” used by senators to deny a nominee from their state a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing and vote on confirmation.
  30. The Trump regime withdrew from United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), citing anti-Israel bias and a being in arrears on a $550MM payment. Israel remains part of UNESCO.
  31. NYT published an interview with Corker in which he said Trump is treating his office like a “reality show” with reckless threats at other country that could put our country “on the path to World War III.
  32. Corker said he is concerned about Trump, and Trump’s behavior should concern “anyone who cares about our nation.” He added there is no ‘good cop, bad cop’ underway with Tillerson — Trump is undermining diplomacy.
  33. Corker said nearly all Senate Republican share his concerns: “the vast majority of our caucus understands what we’re dealing with here.”
  34. WAPO reported Trump is frustrated by his cabinet and that he is not getting enough credit for his handling of three hurricanes. Trump is lashing out and rupturing alliances with both Republicans and Democrats.
  35. One confidant said Trump is like a whistling teapot, saying when he does not blow off steam, he can turn into a pressure cooker and explode: “I think we are in pressure cooker territory.”
  36. POLITICO quoted 10 sources current and former WH aides who employed strategies like delays and distractions as “guardrails” in trying to manage Trump’s impulsivity.
  37. Vanity Fair reported sources say Trump is “unstable,” “losing a step,” and “unraveling.” They say the WH is in crisis as advisers struggle to contain Trump who is increasingly unfocused and consumed by dark moods.
  38. Trump allegedly told his former bodyguard Schiller, “I hate everyone in the White House!” Kelly is allegedly miserable in the job, and is staying on in a sense of duty and to keep Trump from making disastrous decisions.
  39. One former official speculated Kelly and Mattis have discussed what they would do if Trump ordered a nuclear strike — “would they tackle him?”
  40. According to sources, Bannon said the risk to Trump’s presidency wasn’t impeachment, but the 25th Amendment. Bannon thinks Trump has only a 30% chance of making it the full term.
  41. In a column “What Bob Corker Sees in Trump,” conservative columnist Peggy Noonan urged Republicans they have a duty to speak on the record about what they see happening with Trump.
  42. On Thursday, at a signing ceremony for his health care executive order, Trump nearly walked out of the room without signing the order. Pence pulled him back in.
  43. On Tuesday, Tump said in an interview with Forbes that he could beat Tillerson in an IQ test. Trump met with Tillerson later that day at the WH.
  44. On Friday, Corker called out Trump for his effort to disempower Tillerson saying: “You cannot publicly castrate your own secretary of state without giving yourself that binary choice.”
  45. CNN’s Fareed Zakaria said, “It’s very clear now that we essentially have no diplomacy going on in the United States,” adding the way Trump has treated Tillerson is “the most dramatic example of it.”
  46. On CBS’s “60 Minutes,” Parscale claimed he fine-tuned ads on Facebook to directly reach voters with the exact messages they cared most about. He also claimed he handpicked Republican Facebook employees to help.
  47. Daily Beast reported the Kremlin recruited two black video bloggers, Williams and Kalvin Johnson, to produce incendiary YouTube videos calling Hillary a racist. The videos were spread on social media platforms.
  48. WAPO reported Google has uncovered evidence about $100k of ads purchased by Russian agents to spread disinformation on across the company’s many products, including YouTube, during the 2016 election.
  49. Google said the ads do not appear to be from the same Kremlin-linked troll farm that bought ads on Facebook. Some ads touted Trump, Sanders and Stein, while others aimed to fan the flames of divisive issues.
  50. Nunes, who recused himself as Chair of the House Intel Comm’s Russia probe, unilaterally signed off on subpoenas to Fusion GPS, the research firm that produced the Steele dossier. Democrats were not consulted.
  51. Reuters reported Grassley, the Republican chair of the Senate Judiciary Comm, is also taking steps to discredit the dossier according to Democrats on the committee.
  52. Carter Page told the Senate Intel Comm that he will not cooperate with any requests to appear before the panel on Russia, and will plead the Fifth.
  53. Daily Beast reported the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence is looking at Cambridge Analytica’s work from the Trump campaign as part of its Russian probe.
  54. Cambridge Analytica, which has ownership ties to the Mercers and Bannon, was brought in to help the campaign by Kushner. The company is also under investigation in the UK watchdog for its role in Brexit.
  55. NYT reported Israel caught Kaspersky Lab working with the Russian government to search the world for US secrets, using Kaspersky software to scan for classified words. Kaspersky software is used by 400MM people.
  56. WSJ reported that Russia’s use of the Kaspersky program to spy on the US is broader and more pervasive than the operation against one individual in Week 47. Trump continues to deny Russian meddling in the US election.
  57. POLITICO reported as part their posture to cooperate, Trump’s attorneys may offer Mueller a meeting with Trump. If Mueller doesn’t ask by Thanksgiving, attorneys may force the issue by volunteering his time.
  58. Legal experts were surprised by Trump’s lawyers strategy noting Trump would be speaking under oath and he routinely distorts facts, and that Trump would be interviewed in connection with a criminal investigation.
  59. CNN reported Russian operatives used YouTube, Tumblr and even Pokémon Go as part of their effort to interfere in the election, using a campaign titled “Don’t Shoot Us” to spread a divisive message.
  60. NBC reported Manafort had a previously undisclosed $26MM loan from Deripaska through a series of transactions. It is unclear if the $26MM is a loan or an indirect payment from the Russian oligarch.
  61. The loan brings the total financial relationship between Manafort and Deripaska to $60MM over the past decade, according to financial documents filed in Cyprus and the Cayman Islands.
  62. Manafort’s spokesman, Jason Maloni, initially responded to NBC with a statement including: “Mr. Manafort is not indebted to former clients today, nor was he at the time he began working for the Trump campaign.”
  63. Maloni’s statement was later revised and that sentence was removed. Both Manafort and Maloni have received subpoenas to supply documents and testimony in the Mueller probe.
  64. Yahoo reported Andrew Feinberg, fmr correspondent for Sputnik, provided a guide and emails to FBI investigators looking into possible violations of the law which requires agents of foreign nations to register with the DOJ.
  65. Further, the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence is investigating RT and Sputnik as possible parts of the Russia state run propaganda machine in the broader probe into Russia’s election meddling.
  66. On Friday, Mueller’s team interviewed Trump’s former chief of staff, Priebus. Priebus’ lawyer said he voluntarily met with investigators and “was happy to answer all of their questions.”
  67. Priebus was present during Trump’s efforts to limit the Russia probe, and for discussions that led to the firing of Comey. He was also asked to leave the Oval Office before the infamous Trump-Comey conversation.
  68. POLITICO reported Twitter deleted tweets and other user data of potentially irreplaceable value to investigators in the Russia probe.
  69. Federal investigators believe Twitter was one of Russia’s most potent weapons. Bots and fake accounts launched recurring waves of pro-Trump, anti-Clinton story lines that were either false or greatly exaggerated.
  70. AP reported Twitter has turned over 201 accounts linked to Russian attempts at influencing the 2016 election to Senate investigators. It is unclear if the posts associated with these accounts have been deleted.
  71. CNN reported an attorney for Roger Stone said he has complied with the House Intel Comm request to provide the identity of his intermediary to WikiLeaks’ Assange.
  72. WSJ reported Congressional investigators are homing in on connections between the Trump campaign, and Facebook and Twitter. Digital director Parscale was paid $88MM during the campaign, the highest paid vendor.
  73. Every vendor that worked with Parscale on the Trump campaign signed a nondisclosure agreement, and there are no federal disclosure requirements for online ads.
  74. Both Congress and Mueller are investigating the role activity on Facebook and Twitter played in the 2016 election, and whether the Russian social-media activity was in any connected to the Trump campaign.
  75. A Morning Consult poll found Trump’s approval has fallen in every state since he took office. The swings were as high as 30 percentage points in blue-states IL and CA, to 11 points in red-state LA.
  76. A Reuters/Ipsos poll found Trump’s popularity is eroding in small towns and rural communities: in September 47 approve/47 disapprove, down from 55/39 in his first four weeks in office.
  77. WAPO reported as of October 10, Trump’s first 263 days in office, he has made 1,318 false or misleading claims.
  78. The Brookings Institute released a 108-page report which concluded Trump “likely obstructed justice” in his firing of Comey. If Mueller agrees, there are legitimate articles of impeachment that could be drawn up.
  79. In a letter to Mattis, over 100 Democrats are demanding proof that Trump did indeed consult with the Pentagon as he claimed in a tweet, prior to announcing his ban of transgender individuals from military service.
  80. A Kaiser Foundation poll found 62% of Americans say Puerto Ricans aren’t getting the help they need. 76% were aware Puerto Ricans are US citizens.
  81. On Thursday, in a series of tweets, Trump threatened to abandon Puerto Rico’s recovery effort, blaming the island for its infrastructure problems and saying and relief workers would not stay “in P.R. forever.”
  82. The tweets follow harsh criticism from Puerto Rico of the Trump regime’s response to Hurricane Maria. One Puerto Rican said, “He doesn’t think of us as Americans.”
  83. Trump also quoted a Sharyl Attkisson, a television journalist with Sinclair Broadcasting, in saying that while Puerto Rico survived Hurricane Maria, now “a financial crisis looms largely of their own making.”
  84. Later Thursday, the WH issued a statement committing “the full force of the U.S. government” for now, but adding “successful recoveries do not last forever.”
  85. At a House Energy and Commerce hearing about efforts to rebuild the island’s energy grid, Sec Perry referred to Puerto Rico as a country.
  86. Next day, Trump referred to the Virgin Islands’ governor as a president.
  87. VOX reported although the official death count in Puerto Rico is 45, they found 81 death linked to Hurricane Maria, as well as 450 more reported deaths, most of causes still unknown, and 69 still missing.
  88. Puerto Rico’s governor said four deaths are being investigated as cases of leptospirosis, a disease spread by animals’ urine through contaminated water. A total of ten people have come down with the disease.
  89. Rachel Maddow reported a doctor resigned from the disaster response team in Puerto Rico after seeing medical workers getting manicures and pedicures from residents of the island in medical triage tents.
  90. NYT reported on Puerto Rico’s health care is in dire condition, and continues to suffer from mismanagement. The US Comfort ship with 800 medical personnel which can serve 250, has seen 82 patients in six days.
  91. CNN reported Puerto Ricans are drinking water from a hazardous-waste site, having no other options for water.
  92. A POLITICO/Morning Consult poll found just 32% of registered voters think the federal government has done enough to help Puerto Rico.
  93. Bloomberg revealed one of its reporters was inadvertently put on the Pentagon’s internal email list which detailed how to spin Hurricane Maria to convince the public that the government response was going well.
  94. On Thursday, Trump also signed an executive order ending Obamacare subsidies for the poor. Not paying the subsidies could boost premiums for millions and send the health insurance exchanges into turmoil.
  95. NPR estimated consumers who earn 400% of the federal poverty level — $48k for individuals or $98.4k for a family of four — will see their the cost of their plans rise by, on average, 20% nationwide.
  96. Doctors, hospitals, insurers, state insurance commissioners and patient advocates denounced Trump’s move. Trump actions puts pressure on Congress to protect consumers from soaring premiums.
  97. WSJ reported if Congress doesn’t succeed, WH aides said Trump “will claim victory” for ending the Iran deal, cutting billions in payments to health insurers, and deporting hundreds of thousands of immigrants.
  98. On Friday, a coalition of attorneys general from 18 states and DC filed a lawsuit to block Trump’s halt to subsidy payments under Obamacare.
  99. NYT reported as of Friday, Trump has taken 12 actions which could weaken Obamacare and curtail enrollment, including spreading negative news releases and posting infographics criticizing the health law.
  100. On Saturday, Trump boasted on Twitter that health insurance companies’ stocks “plunged yesterday” after his steps to dismantle Obamacare.
  101. A Kaiser Health poll found 71% of Americans say the Trump regime should work to improve Obamacare, while just 21% say make it fail.
  102. On Friday, Trump slammed Iran as a “menace” and called for “decertification” of the nuclear deal, Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPoA), saying Iran is “not living up to the spirit of the deal.”
  103. Trump sent the deal back to Congress with a 60-day window to address its “many serious flaws” or see it “terminated.”
  104. Top officials on Trump’s national security team, including Mattis and Tillerson said Iran has technically complied with its restrictions. The International Atomic Energy Association also confirmed compliance.
  105. Daily Beast reported while McMaster also wanted to save the Iran Deal, Trump consulted Fox News’ Sean Hannity and fmr UN Ambassador John Bolton, two neoconservatives who pushed for decertification.
  106. The leaders of Britain, Germany and France declared their commitment to stand by JCPoA. They deal was the culmination of 16 years of diplomacy.
  107. After being added to Trump’s travel ban, Chad pulled its troops from the fight against Boko Haram in Niger. US officials had warned Trump his decision would have major consequences for the fight against terrorism.
  108. California’s deadliest wildfires charred more than 221,754 acres of land in Northern CA, and left at least 35 dead and hundreds more missing. Trump has yet to publicly comment or tweet about the wildfires.
  109. Nor has Trump publicly commented on the deadliest combat incident since he took office, which took place in Niger last Saturday while Trump was golfing. The ambush by ISIS left four soldiers dead and two wounded.
  110. As the week ended, 24 days after Hurricane Maria, just 64% of Puerto Ricans had access to drinking water, and only 14.6% had electricity.
  111. Trump spent his fourth weekend since Hurricane Maria golfing. On Saturday, he visited Trump National Golf Club in VA, his 72nd day of golf since taking office.

Artistic Expressions of PoLiTiKs found on the stReEts of New YoRk CiTy tHis moNth: 

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a print from Instagram

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