POLITIKS OF GRAFFITI 105: THE HOUSE

The Weekly List from Amy Siskind

Week 104

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

https://theweeklylist.org/weekly-list/week-104/

 

In the midterms this week, Democrats took control of the House of Representatives, picking up between 35-40 seats, in an election dubbed “The Year of the Woman.” A history making 100 plus women will head to the House next session, as Democrats celebrated their upcoming check on Trump for the first time since he took office. As the week ended, senate races in Florida and Arizona and governor races in Florida and Georgia were still undecided, as Trump and his allies stoked false claims of voter fraud and interference by Democrats.

Americans did not get a chance to catch their breath, as the next day Trump took a major step towards ending the Mueller probe, forcing out Attorney General Jeff Sessions, and installing a crony who has been critical of the probe, and talked of starving it of funding to end it. Grassroots activists mobilized with protests nationwide to “Protect Mueller.” Post-election reporting indicated Trump is “depressed” ahead of possible indictments coming soon from the Mueller probe, including possibly of his son, Donald Jr.

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Photo by: Dusty Rebel. NYC, November 2018
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Photo and art by Miami 305’s own, ATOMIK. November 2018.
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9Nov18. Stony Brook, LI, NY
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Photographer unknown. Meme made by me. 6November2018
  1. In Tallahassee, Florida, Scott Beierle, 40, shot and killed Nancy Van Vessem, 61, and Maura Binkley, 21, and injured five others at a hot yoga studio, before killing himself.
  2. Beierle had recorded numerous misogynistic and racist videos, and had been accused of touching women’s buttocks without their consent. He expressed his disgust at women online and urged ‘incels’ to fight back.
  3. In an extensive article, the New York Times Magazine reported on the rise of white nationalism, and how U.S. law enforcement failed to see the threat coming, and now do not know how to stop it.
  4. White nationalism is no longer on the fringes, but has entered the political mainstream. A report produced by the Brennan Center for Justice calls out the DOJ for its “blind spot” when it comes to domestic terrorism and hate crimes.
  5. On Saturday, at a campaign rally in Florida, Trump bragged about sending the U.S. military to the border, as troops began putting up chain-link fencing topped with barbed wire earlier in that day.
  6. Trump also said it’s “a little suspicious how those caravans are starting,” insinuating, without evidence, that the Democrats were behind it.
  7. WAPO reported Trump’s military deployment, along with National Guard forces at the U.S.-Mexico border since April, could cost $200 million by the end of the year. Trump has asked the military to slash next year’s budget.
  8. NYT reported that according to analysis of data, the Trump regime has sharply lowered financial penalties against banks and big companies accused of malfeasance, mirroring the regime’s deregulatory agenda.
  9. Under Trump there has been a 62% drop in penalties imposed by the S.E.C., and a 72% decline in corporate penalties from the Justice Department’s criminal prosecutions.
  10. On Sunday, without citing evidence, using his position as Georgia’s Secretary of State, Brian Kemp’s office announced the Democrats were under investigation for allegedly trying to hack the state’s voter registration files.
  11. Trump appeared with Kemp at a campaign rally, but neither made mention of the investigation. Late Sunday, a spokesperson for Kemp said a person named Rachel Small had allegedly talked about trying to hack Kemp.
  12. On Sunday, Guns N’ Roses frontman Axl Rose tweeted that Trump should stop his “unauthorized use” of the band’s music at his rallies “without the songwriters’ consent,” adding “Can u say ‘shitbags?!’ ”
  13. On Monday, NBC and Facebook said they would stop running a 30-second inflammatory ad by Trump’s political team that featured Luis Bracamontes, saying it was racist. Both had run the ad over the weekend.
  14. Later that morning, Trump ally Fox News also said it would stop running the ad on Fox News Channel and Fox Business Network. CNN had refused to run the ad from the start, calling it “racist.”
  15. When asked about the ad being pulled by reporters later Monday, Trump responded, “You’re telling me something I don’t know about,” adding “We have a lot of ads, and they certainly are effective, based on the numbers.”
  16. When asked about critics who called the ad offensive, Trump responded, “A lot of things are offensive. Your questions are offensive a lot of times so, you know.”
  17. On Monday, HuffPost reported hundreds in armed militia groups are headed to U.S.- Mexico border followingTrump stoking fear of the “caravans,” sparking concern from the U.S. military.
  18. On Monday, in a statement, Attorney General Jeff Sessions said the Justice Department plans to monitor voting and investigate voter fraud, without specifying what fraud-related issues the department will be looking for.
  19. Sessions also said, “we are using every lawful tool that we have, both civil and criminal, to protect the rights of millions of Americans to cast their vote unimpeded,” and “fraud in the voting process will not be tolerated.”
  20. Shortly after, Trump tweeted “Law Enforcement has been strongly notified to watch closely for any ILLEGAL VOTING which may take place,” adding anyone caught will be subject to “Maximum Criminal Penalties.”
  21. In another tweet, Trump accused CNN of airing “Fake Suppression Polls” and engaging in“false rhetoric,” although he provided no evidence or explanation of what he was referring to.
  22. On Monday, the Des Moines Register reported DOJ personnel will be sent to a county in northwest Iowa, which has a large population of immigrants, to monitor the vote.
  23. On Saturday, Trump tweeted “rumor has it that Senator Joe Donnelly of Indiana is paying for Facebook ads,” adding, “Donnelly is trying to steal the election? Isn’t that what Russia did!?
  24. On Monday, WAPO reported that members of Russia’s lower house of parliament will be in the U.S. to help certify the integrity of the midterms, ensuring that the vote lives up to international democratic standards.
  25. The news was first reported by Russia-state media outlet Tass, which said two member of parliament will be examining cybersecurity, gerrymandering, voting rights, and campaign financing in the U.S.
  26. On Monday, Trump told reporters he “probably” will not be meeting with Vladimir Putin this weekend in Paris as scheduled, saying instead they will meet at the G20.
  27. On Monday, Facebook announced on the night before midterms it pulled down 115 “inauthentic” Facebook and Instagram accounts due to concerns “they were linked to the Russia-based Internet Research Agency.”
  28. After being out on the campaign trail for Democratic candidates in recent days, Obama gave his closing argument for voting in a series of tweets, including, “The character of our country is on the ballot.
  29. On Monday, Vanity Fair reported Trump has been working to absolve himself of any blame if the GOP loses the House. Trump claims he has brought crowds and excitement, and it would be worse without him.
  30. A West Wing official who testified before the Senate Intelligence Committee said with Mueller likely reporting his findings shortly, that other than Trump, Roger Stone and Donald Jr.will face the most exposure.
  31. Concern is Mueller will be able to prove that Donald Jr. perjured himself to investigators when he said he did not tell Trump beforehand about the June 2016 Trump Tower meeting.
  32. On Monday, in an interview with Sinclair Broadcasting, Trump said of his tone during his first two years in office, “I would like to have a much softer tone. I feel to a certain extent I have no choice, but maybe I do.”
  33. On Monday, in an apparent last-minute pitch to women who polls show overwhelmingly support Democrats this election, Trump brought Ivanka, Kellyanne Conway, and press secretary Sarah Sanders to a rally in Indiana.
  34. On Monday, watchdog group CREW reported Ivanka’s fashion brand won first trial approval for 16 new trademarks from the Chinese government in October, the largest number in a single month since Trump took office.
  35. On Monday, Fox News host Sean Hannity, who said in a tweet that he would not appear on stage with Trump, campaigned on stage with him in Missouri the night before midterms.
  36. Hannity’s first remark on stage was “by the way, all those people in the back are fake news.” Following Hannity, Trump introduced Fox News host Jeanine Pirro, and praised her opening monologues as “always brilliant.”
  37. CNN Business reported Fox News staffers have anonymously expressed outrage over Hannity’s rally appearance, saying “a new line was crossed,” and “I am so f — -ing mad.” Hannity was supposed to interview Trump.
  38. On Tuesday, Fox issued a statement saying, “Fox News does not condone any talent participating in campaign events,” adding “This was an unfortunate distraction and has been addressed.”
  39. On Tuesday, WSJ reported Taiwanese supplier Foxconn, which Trump has used as an example of bringing jobs to the U.S., is considering bringing Chinese workers to Wisconsin due to the tight U.S. labor market.
  40. A report by the Lexington Herald-Leader found that Kentucky has fewer coal jobs than when Trump took office, shrinking from 6,550 jobs in the first quarter of 2017, to 6,381 this past quarter.
  41. On Tuesday, Le Monde reported Dmitri Rybolovlev, the Russian oligarch who purchased a mansion from Trump in 2008, was detained in Monaco, and is under investigation for corruption and influence peddling.
  42. On Tuesday, voting irregularities were reported in several states. Several states extended voting hours including two precincts near Spelman and Morehouse College in Georgia, and Harris County in Texas.
  43. On Tuesday, in the midterm elections, Democrats took back control of the House, while Republicans kept control of the Senate. As of Saturday, Democrats had picked up 35 House seats, with more counts pending.
  44. In an election some dubbed as the “Year of the Woman,” for the first time in history, there will be more than 100 women in the House, including the first Muslim American (two) and Native American (two) women.
  45. A total of 34 new women won House seats, 33 of whom are Democrats, beating a previous high set in 1992, with close races still to be decided. Most of the women replaced incumbent men.
  46. They join 66 House women who were re-elected. There will be at least 100 women in the House next session, the largest number in U.S. history. The party gap is large: Democrats 87, Republicans 13, with races pending.
  47. Democrats also did well at the state level, flipping seven governorships, six state legislative chambers, and more than 300 state House and Senate seats.
  48. Democrats also added control of the trifecta — the legislative chambers and the governor’s office —  in seven more states: Maine, Connecticut, Colorado, Illinois, Nevada, New Mexico, and New York.
  49. With Democrats having 26 senate seats in play to Republicans having just 8, Democrats won 8 of the 10 senate seats in swing states, with the final two, Arizona and Florida, still undecided by weeks end.
  50. WSJ reported following midterm success, and after another mass shooting in Thousand Oaks, California, the Democrats plan to pursue the most aggressive gun-control legislation in decades.
  51. In the midterms, Democrats beat at least 15 House Republicans with an “A” rating from the National Rifle Association, while the candidates elected to replace them all scored an “F” NRA rating.
  52. On Wednesday, Vanity Fair reported according to friends who watched the midterms with Trump at first “his mood was great,” thinking he could defy political gravity, “but that was before everything went bad.”
  53. Trump insiders fear the White House is not set up to defend itself from the Democrat House onslaught. Trump reportedly is thinking what they could they release about him, and how does it work politically for him.
  54. Insiders also reportedly say Trump is “very depressed” about Donald Jr. possibly facing indictment. According to three sources, Donald Jr. has told friends he could be indicted as early as this week.
  55. On Wednesday, Trump warned House Democrats about investigating him, tweeting if they “waste Taxpayer Money investigating us,” then “we will likewise be forced to consider investigating them.”
  56. Trump also tweeted to warn “pundits or talking heads” against not giving “us proper credit for this great Midterm Election,” saying, “just remember two words — FAKE NEWS!”
  57. On Wednesday, the Department of Defense dropped the term “Operation Faithful Patriot” for the deployment of 5,200 military at the U.S.-Mexico border, saying the operation will now be referred to as “border support.”
  58. On Wednesday, Trump held a post-midterms press conference and was openly hostile to the media. Trump attacked CNN saying, “When you report fake news, which CNN does a lot, you are the enemy of the people.”
  59. Trump also attacked CNN’s Jim Acosta, telling him to put down the mic, and saying “CNN should be ashamed of itself having you working for them. You are a rude, terrible person.”
  60. When NBC’s Peter Alexander defended Acosta, Trump went after him as well, saying “Well I’m not a big fan of yours either, to be honest with you. You aren’t the best.”
  61. Trump attacked Yamiche Alcindor of ”PBS Newshour” when she asked about his using the label “nationalist,” responding, “That’s such a racist question,” and “I love our country. I do. You have nationalists. You have globalists.”
  62. Trump called out the Republicans by name who lost in midterms after rejecting his support, saying “They did very badly,” adding “I’m not sure if I should be happy or sad.”
  63. Trump threatened to retaliate against Democrats if they investigate him, saying “if they do that then all it is is a war-like posture,” and “They can play that game but we can play it better. It’s called the U.S. Senate.”
  64. Trump also said the Mueller probe is a “hoax,” and “a disgrace, it should have never been started because there was no crime,” saying the only reason he has not fired Mueller is because it might make him look bad.
  65. On Wednesday night, the White House revoked Acosta’s press credentials. Press secretary Sanders accused Acosta of “placing his hands on a young woman” who was trying to take the microphone as the rationale.
  66. On Thursday, reporters and new organizations of all political leanings slammed the White House for barring Acosta. The White House Correspondents’ Association also condemned the move.
  67. On Thursday, a CNN executive accused the White House of using a ‘doctored’ video to justify revoking Acosta’s press credentials.
  68. On Wednesday, at Trump’s request, Sessions resigned as attorney general. Sessions’s resignation letter reads, “Dear Mr. President, At your request, I am submitting my resignation.” The letter is not dated.
  69. WAPO reported Sessions received a call from Chief of Staff John Kelly on Wednesday morning telling him Trump wanted him to resign. Sessions wanted to finish the week, but Kelly said Wednesday would be his last day.
  70. Shortly after, Trump tweeted that Sessions would be replaced on an acting basis by Matthew Whitaker, Sessions’ chief of staff, and added “a permanent replacement will be nominated at a later date.”
  71. A DOJ official said Whitaker would assume authority over the Mueller probe, and that his role will be subject to the normal review process for conflicts.
  72. Trump has told advisers that Whitaker is loyal and would not have recused himself in Sessions’ shoes. Rod Rosenstein went to the White House that afternoon for what an official said was a pre-scheduled meeting.
  73. Whitaker has said in the past the Mueller probe has gone too far, should be given a budget “so low that his investigation grinds to almost a halt,” and that the finances of the Trump family should not be under scrutiny.
  74. On Wednesday, Reps. Jerrold Nadler, Adam Schiff, and Elijah Cummings, along with Sen. Dianne Feinstein, sent letters to top White House officials demanding that they preserve records following the firing of Sessions.
  75. On Wednesday, Guardian reported Whitaker was paid to sit on the advisory board of World Patent Marketing, which was ordered in May to pay a $26 million settlement as part of a vast scam of aspiring inventors.
  76. Emails filed in federal court show from August 2015 Whitaker used his role as a former federal prosecutor in a threatening email to a customer of World Patent, who had complained to the Better Business Bureau.
  77. On Thursday, CNN reported Trump had already begun reviewing with his lawyers the written answers to questions from special counsel Robert Mueller when he fired Sessions.
  78. Roger Stone continues to be a focus. On Thursday, Mueller’s team is set to appear in court to defend its authority as another one of Stone’s former associates aims to quash a subpoena for grand jury testimony.
  79. As Mueller’s team begins to write its final report on the Russia probe, the White House is looking to hire as many as two dozen lawyers for the counsel’s office as Democrats take control of the House.
  80. On Thursday, George Conway and Neal Katyal, Obama’s former solicitor general, wrote in an op-ed that Trump’s appointment of an acting attorney general, bypassing the Senate, is unconstitutional and illegal.
  81. The two lawyers also asserted in their op-ed that since his appointment is unconstitutional, anything Whitaker “does, or tries to do, in that position is invalid.”
  82. On Thursday, The Daily Beast reported that in a summer 2017 interview on a conservative political talk-radio show, Whitaker said “The truth is there was no collusion with the Russians and the Trump campaign.”
  83. On Thursday, NYT reported in a 2014 interview, Whitaker said the courts “are supposed to be the inferior branch,” and criticized the Supreme Court’s power to review legislative and executive acts.
  84. On Thursday, CNN reported Whitaker has close personal ties to Sam Clovis, who has been interviewed in the Mueller probe. Whitaker was Clovis’ campaign chair in 2014 when he ran for state treasurer in Iowa.
  85. Des Moines Register republished a 2014 article on Whitaker, in which he says he would only support federal judges who have a Biblical view: “If they have a secular world view, then I’m going to be very concerned.”
  86. On Thursday, “Protect Mueller” demonstrators took to the streets in cities and towns across the country to protect the Mueller investigation, after the departure of Sessions and appointment of Whitaker.
  87. According to protest organizers, progressive groups were able to mobilize about 100,000 people at approximately 900 nationwide “rapid response” rallies just one day after Sessions’ resignation.
  88. On Friday, CNN reported that the backlash to the Whitaker appointment has caught the White House by surprise and raised concerns about his ability to remain in the post if he remains in the headlines.
  89. On Friday, speaking to reporters, Trump tried to distance himself from Whitaker, saying “I don’t know Matt Whitaker,” and “I didn’t speak to Matt Whitaker” about the federal probe into Russian election interference.
  90. On Friday, Vox reported Whitaker privately advised Trump last year on how the White House might be able to pressure the Justice Department to investigate the president’s political adversaries like Hillary Clinton.
  91. At the same time, Whitaker, as chief of staff to Sessions, was advising him and Rosenstein on how to counter Trump’s demands that the DOJ open an investigation into whether the FBI “infiltrated or surveilled” his campaign.
  92. When asked by CNN’s Abby Phillip, who is a Black woman, whether he wanted Whitaker to “rein in Mueller,” Trump responded, “What a stupid question,” adding “You ask a lot of stupid questions.”
  93. When asked about revoking Acosta’s press credentials, Trump attacked reporter April Ryan, also a Black woman, saying “you talk about somebody that’s a loser. She doesn’t know what the hell she’s doing.”
  94. In two days, Trump has aggressively attacked three Black women reporters: PBS’s Yamiche Alcindor, Phillip, and Ryan. In an op-ed Ryan wrote of Trump long track record of publicly insulting Black women.
  95. Trump also threatened to revoke the credentials of additional White House reporters if they did not “treat the White House with respect,” saying “When you’re in the White House, this is a very sacred place for me.”
  96. On Friday, Majority Leader Mitch McConnell rejected calls to pass legislation to protect the special counselafter several Republicans called on him to do so, saying, “It’s going to be allowed to finish.”
  97. McConnell also dismissed concerns over Whitaker’s appointment, saying he serves at the pleasure of Trump, and adding “I think this will be an interim, a very interim AG.”
  98. On Friday, the WAPO Editorial Board wrote that even as legal experts spar over whether his appointment without a Senate confirmation is constitutional, Whitaker is unfit for the job.
  99. On Wednesday, the Trump regime rolled out a rule that will exempt employers from providing insurance coverage for birth control if it conflicts with their religious or moral beliefs.
  100. The rule, which will take effect in 60 days, would roll back an Obama-era birth control rule which required employers must cover all forms of contraception under Obamacare.
  101. On Wednesday, Patrick Casey, head of the white nationalist group Identity Evropa, whose members marched in Charlottesville in 2017, posted a picture on Twitter of himself standing in front of the White House.
  102. In the tweet, Casey writes, “Evropa has landed at the White House!” The group’s motto, “You will not replace us,” echoes the “Jews will not replace us” chants of white supremacists in Charlottesville.
  103. On Thursday, lawyers for Christine Blasey Ford said she is continuing to receive death threats. Dr. Ford has had to move four times, and has been unable to return to her job as a professor at Palo Alto University.
  104. On Thursday, Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg was hospitalized after breaking three ribs. Trump told reporters, “I wish her well. She said something very inappropriate during the campaign.”
  105. On Thursday, the San Francisco Court of Appeals ruled that the Trump regime must preserve the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program begun under Obama.
  106. The ruling rejected the regime’s claim that ending DACA was not reviewable by the courts. The regime took the unusual step of asking the Supreme Court to review the case before the appeals court had ruled.
  107. On Thursday, the Trump regime invoked national security powers meant to protect the against threats from abroad, saying Trump can deny asylum to anyone who does not enter the country at an official port of entry,
  108. Trump is reportedly planning to deny asylum to migrants from Central America, whom he dubbed the caravans. The new rules draw upon the same authority he used to ban travel from Muslim countries in his Travel Ban.
  109. On Friday, in a setback for the Trump regime, a federal judge blocked construction on the 1,179-mile Keystone XL oil pipeline, saying the regime failed to follow established rules and procedures for decisions like these.
  110. The judge said the Trump regime failed to present a “reasoned explanation” for the move and “simply discarded” the effect that construction would have on climate change.
  111. When asked by reporters about the ruling, Trump said “It was a political decision made by a judge,” adding, “I think it’s a disgrace.”
  112. On Friday, WAPO reported that in former First Lady Michelle Obama’s new memoir she says she will never forgive Trump for advancing the false birther claim about her husband, which endangered her family.
  113. When asked about this by reporters, Trump said Michelle was undoubtedly paid a lot of money to write her book, and shifting to Obama said, “I’ll never forgive him for what he did to our United States military.”
  114. Trump also told reporters that he won the election not because of collusion with Russian, but because he was the better candidate and Clinton “didn’t know what the hell she was doing.”
  115. When asked about Acosta, Trump said “he’s a very unprofessional guy,” and denied the video was altered, saying “Nobody manipulated it. Give me a break,” adding “It wasn’t doctored. They gave a close-up view.”
  116. Trump was also agitated that the Florida and Arizona senate races, which appeared to go Republican on election night, still had outstanding votes to be counted and were undecided.
  117. Of Arizona, where counting of mail-in ballots continued, Trump said Democrat Kyrsten Sinema’s votes seemed to be coming “out of the wilderness.”
  118. On Friday, in a series of eight tweets, Trump tweeted, “Just out — in Arizona, SIGNATURES DON’T MATCH. Electoral corruption — Call for a new Election?” adding, “We must protect our Democracy!”
  119. Trump appeared to be referencing a Fox News segment discussing a lawsuit by the Arizona GOP on Wednesday over the counting of mail-in ballots, which was later settled Friday, allowing the votes to be counted.
  120. Trump said “what’s going on in Florida is a disgrace,” adding of Republican Rick Scott, “He easily won, but every hour he seems to be going down,” and “I think people have to look at it very cautiously.”
  121. Trump had tweeted Thursday night, “Law Enforcement is looking into another big corruption scandal having to do with Election Fraud in #Broward and Palm Beach. Florida voted for Rick Scott!”
  122. On Friday, Trump also tweeted about the Georgia governor race where Brian Kemp declared victory but votes are still being counted, saying Republican Kemp “ran a great race in Georgia — he won. It is time to move on!”
  123. Trump also tweeted, “You mean they are just now finding votes in Florida and Georgia — but the Election was on Tuesday?” and “Let’s blame the Russians and demand an immediate apology from President Putin!”
  124. Trump tweeted Democrats sent their “best Election stealing lawyer, Marc Elias,” to Broward County, then they started “miraculously” finding votes, adding “I am sending much better lawyers to expose the FRAUD!”
  125. Trump also tweeted, “Rick Scott was up by 50,000+ votes on Election Day, now they “found” many votes and he is only up 15,000 votes. “The Broward Effect,” adding “How come they never find Republican votes?
  126. Trump tweeted in 2016 he was winning by so much in that Broward County, which was “probably getting ready to do a “number,” couldn’t do it because not enough people live in Broward for them to falsify a victory!
  127. On Friday, Sen. Marco Rubio, in a series of tweets, suggested “democrat lawyers are descending on #Florida” to steal the election. He also referenced Broward County. Trump thanked him in a tweet.
  128. On Friday, standing on the porch of the Governor’s Mansion for a press conference, Scott accused “unethical liberals” of plotting to steal a U.S. Senate seat from him.
  129. Scott said he asked the state enforcement agency under his control to investigate the Broward Supervisor of Elections. A spokesperson for the agency said Scott did not submit a request, adding “We do not have an active investigation.”
  130. On Friday, Hannity said on his show, “This is a disgrace that they get to do this election in and election out,” adding “somebody needs to go to jail here, if this keeps happening.” Scott nodded along as Hannity spoke.
  131. Sen. Lindsey Graham tweeted, without evidence, that there are “shenanigans going on in Broward and Palm Beach,” and in another tweet, “it didn’t work with Kavanaugh and it won’t work with @ScottforFlorida.”
  132. On Saturday, the Florida secretary of state, Republican Ken Detzner, ordered recounts of the senate and governor races, an unprecedented review of two major races.
  133. On Friday, WSJ reported Federal prosecutors have gathered evidence of Trump’s central role in hush payoffsto Stormy Daniels and Karen McDougal, which violated campaign-finance laws.
  134. In August 2015, as a presidential candidate, Trump met with David Pecker, chief executive of AMI. Pecker offered to use the National Enquirer to buy the silence of women about their sexual encounters with Trump.
  135. The Journal found that Trump was involved in or briefed on nearly every step of the agreements. He directed deals in phone calls and meetings with Michael Cohen and others. Cohen, Pecker, and Trump no longer speak.
  136. Cohen, who Trump called “my attorney” in April 2018, pleaded guilty to campaign-finance violations. Federal prosecutors who investigated Cohen are now examining business dealings by the Trump Organization.
  137. On Saturday, in a tweet, Trump attacked authorities in California, claiming “gross mismanagement of the forests” is the cause of the state’s wildfires, and threatening federal aid, “Remedy now, or no more Fed payments!”
  138. Nine people have died, hundreds of homes have been destroyed, and hundreds of thousands have been evacuated in a spate of wildfires this week as a result of the Camp Fire in the area of Paradise, California.
  139. On Friday, Trump traveled to Paris for ceremonies to honor the military in World War I as part of Armistice Day. He was scheduled to attend the military parade, after his plans to hold one in Washington were scuttled.
  140. On Friday, shortly after landing in Paris, Trump tweeted French President Macron’s call for a European army is “very insulting,” adding “Europe should first pay its fair share of NATO, which the U.S. subsidizes greatly!”
  141. Macron has warned his fellow European nations that they can no longer rely on the U.S. to defend them. His latest remarks came after Trump decided to pull out of a key 1987 nuclear treaty with Russia.
  142. On Saturday, Trump canceled a visit to the U.S. military cemetery outside Paris at the site of a 1918 battle in which U.S. and French forces fended off German troops during World War I, due to rainy weather.
  143. The battle, in which more than 1,800 died, looms large in the history of the U.S. Marines Corps. Chief of staff John Kelly, a retired Marine Corps general, his wife, and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo will visit instead.
  144. Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, German Chancellor Angela Merkel, and French President Emmanuel Macron did attend ceremonies for their fallen at cemeteries outside Paris.
  145. On Saturday, Trump named seven who will receive a Presidential Medal of Freedom award. The group includes Miriam Adelson, wife of Sheldon Adelson, both of whom gave $56 million to GOP Super PACs this cycle.
  146. On Saturday, NYT reported that the 5,600 American troops who were rushed to U.S.-Mexico border by Trump have little electricity, will receive no combat pay, and face holidays away from home.
  147. Military morale is an issue. The deployment orders last through mid-December, meaning the troops will miss Thanksgiving, and have little to do beyond providing logistical support, unless Trump declares martial law.
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POLITIKS OF GRAFFITI 94: “CLOSER THAN THEY APPEAR”

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

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

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

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

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

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

POLITIKS OF GRAFFITI 92: ENTRENCHED IN THE SWAMP

Week 91 of this administration: Experts in authoritarianism advise to keep a list of things subtly changing around you, so you’ll remember.

August 11, 2018 https://medium.com/@Amy_Siskind/week-91-experts-in-authoritarianism-advise-to-keep-a-list-of-things-subtly-changing-around-you-so-1fe8c655810b

This was a week of widespread and outrageous corruption in the Trump orbit — from Congressman Chris Collins and insider trading, to Secretary Wilbur Ross and grifting, to Secretary of State Kris Kobach miscounting votes, to the “Mar-a-Lago Crowd” controlling the Department of Veterans Affairs, and more. The phrase “drain the swamp” has disappeared from Trump’s vernacular, as he and his apostles appear to be squarely inside the swamp.

As Paul Manafort’s trial sped along, several associates of Roger Stone were subpoenaed, suggesting he is a point of focus in the Mueller probe. Trump and his surrogates continued to ramp up attacks on the Mueller probe, and related areas like the FBI — and several plan to focus on a new shiny coin: Bruce Ohr. A surreptitiously taped and leaked audio of a Republican fundraiser revealed House Intelligence Committee chairman Devin Nunes’ plans to protect Trump at all costs, including the possible impeachment of deputy AG Rod Rosenstein.

Themes of white nationalism were front and center this week with a diatribe by Fox News host Laura Ingraham on changing demographics, and the regime’s continued efforts to whiten America, while ignoring brown lives lost in Puerto Rico and inhumanely separated at our Southern border. As the week came to a close, on the one-year anniversary of Charlottesville, Trump condemned “all types of racism,” in simpatico with white nationalist leader Jason Kessler who stated, “White people should be able to have the same rights as other groups.”

Below: “Doomsday Donald” by UK artist Chris Czee Tampin. August 2018. https://www.czee13.com/czee13

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  1. On Saturday, at a rally in Ohio, Trump staked out a new position on U.S. elections interference, saying, “It’s a lot of people…Russia is there, China is there. We are doing well with North Korea, but they’re probably there.”
  2. Trump said the meddling will “happen really big now” because the U.S. is “taking our wealth back.” Trump also criticized the media and the “elite” class, saying “it drives them crazy” that he won the presidency.
  3. On Sunday, Sen. Amy Klobuchar told “Meet the Press” that she is very concerned the midterm elections could come under digital assault, adding Trump is still “undermining this on national TV” and saying “it’s a hoax.”
  4. Klobuchar also said the Russians are not stopping with election interference, saying she would “love to see” concerns “broadened out” to discuss the threats to our power grid system and our financial system.
  5. On Wednesday, the Tampa Bay Times reported Sen. Bill Nelson of Florida said Russian operatives have “penetrated certain counties in the state” ahead of the midterms, and “they now have free rein to move about.”
  6. Nelson and GOP Sen. Marco Rubio wrote a letter in July to 67 county election supervisors about potential threats. Nelson is running for re-election against Gov. Rick Scott, who denied knowledge of the allegations.
  7. Sen. Mark Warner, ranking member of the Senate Intelligence Committee, said in a statement, “Russian activities continue to pose a threat…I hope all state and local elections officials, including Florida’s, will take this issue seriously.”
  8. Security activists filed a federal lawsuit against the state of Georgia that included exhibits from activists and voters who experienced a series of irregularities in the 2016 election and May 2017 primary.
  9. The lawsuit comes amid swelling public concern for the security of Georgia’s voting systems. Mueller’s July 2018 indictment indicated that Russian operatives visited county election websites in Georgia.
  10. Cybersecurity experts warned there were security flaws on the state election website leading up to the 2016 contest that permitted the download and manipulation of voter information.
  11. On Monday, Sen. Rand Paul led a U.S. delegation to visit Moscow in what he characterized as a continuation of Trump’s diplomatic outreach to Putin. Paul met with members of the Russian Council.
  12. Paul met with Konstantin Kosachev, the chairman of the council’s foreign policy panel, who was put under U.S. sanction for Russia’s actions againstthe U.S. government in April 2018.
  13. Paul said Monday he invited Russian lawmakers to visit Washington. When asked by CNN whether the issue of Russian interference came up, Paul said he had “general discussions about a lot of issues.”
  14. Paul was joined by Texas State Sen. Don Huffines, and his twin brother Phillip who ran unsuccessfully for a Texas state senate seat. On Tuesday, Sen. Huffines took to Twitter to defend his visit to Moscow.
  15. On Wednesday, Paul delivered a letter from Trump to Putin that Paul said “emphasized the importance of further engagement” between the two leaders on issues such as countering terrorism.
  16. On Saturday, WAPO reported Trump is privately brooding about the widening fallout of the Russia probe, and fretting that he is not getting enough credit for what he claims are political triumphs.
  17. Trump is concerned the Mueller probe could ruin the lives of what he calls “innocent and decent people,” including Donald Jr. who he believes may have inadvertently wandered into legal jeopardy with the June 9 meeting.
  18. On Sunday, Trump tweeted about the WAPO story, saying the “Fake News” is reporting “a complete fabrication” about the meeting “my wonderful son, Donald, had in Trump Tower.”
  19. Trump also admitted, “this was a meeting to get information on an opponent,” and falsely claiming it was “totally legal and done all the time in politics.” Trump also added, “I did not know about it!”
  20. Trump also tweeted, without evidence, “Mueller and the 17 Angry Democrats” are biased, saying, “This is the most one sided Witch Hunt in the history of our country,” calling it again a “Rigged Witch Hunt.”
  21. On Sunday, Trump attorney Jay Sekulow told “This Week” that he made a mistake by denying Trump was involved in a misleading statement last year on Donald Trump Jr.’s meeting, saying he had “bad information.”
  22. Hope Hicks, who was reportedly visiting Ivanka and Jared at Trump’s Bedminster golf club, ended up joining Trump aboard Air Force One on Saturday to attend his rally in Ohio that evening.
  23. Hicks’ presence sparked speculation she might rejoin the regime, but also noted was her role in July 2017 in helping Trump draft a misleading statement on Air Force One about the June 9 Trump Tower meeting.
  24. On Saturday, First Lady Melania Trump issued a statement in support of LeBron James, saying he is doing “good things on behalf of our next generation,”after Trump disparaged James in Week 90.
  25. On Sunday, Portland, Oregon’s police chief ordered a review of her officers’ behavior at a far-right rally Saturday, after accusations the police were heavy-handed in their crackdown against anti-fascist protesters.
  26. On Wednesday, Fox News host Laura Ingraham complained that changing U.S. demographics have been “foisted” on the American people, saying “it does seem like the America we know and love doesn’t exist anymore.”
  27. Ingraham also said of the demographic changes, “none of us ever voted for and most of us don’t like,” adding, “much of this is related to both illegal, and in some cases, legal immigration that, of course, progressives love.”
  28. On Thursday, Ingraham tried to distance herself from the white supremacists cheering her comments, saying her comments had “nothing to do with race or ethnicity” but a “shared goal of keeping America safe.”
  29. On Friday, Trump slammed the NFL players who knelt during preseason games, tweeting, “the NFL players are at it again — taking a knee when they should be standing proudly for the National Anthem.”
  30. Trump suggested players who “make a fortune doing what they love” should “Be happy, be cool,” adding, “Find another way to protest. Stand proudly for your National Anthem or be Suspended Without Pay!”
  31. On Sunday, Trump again attacked the media, tweeting “it’s true” that they are “the Enemy of the People,” saying they “purposely cause great division & distrust,” can also “cause War,” and they are “very dangerous & sick!”
  32. On Sunday, Fox News’ Chris Wallace challenged national security adviser John Bolton about Trump’s tweet, asking “What wars have we started?” Bolton avoided the question, and said media bias has been around for a long time.
  33. Newseum issued an apology for selling “You Are Very Fake News” t-shirts in its gift shop and online, saying, “ A free press is an essential part of our democracy and journalists are not the enemy of the people.”
  34. On Monday, GOP strategist Karl Rove told Fox News that Trump should “tone down” his attacks on the media, comparing Trump’s use of the phrase “enemy of the people” to that of Stalin against his enemies.
  35. Politico reported the networks are boosting security staff for the first time to protect reporters at Trump’s rallies. Reporters say at recent events there is a sense that violence could easily break out at any time.
  36. Guardian reported the Trump regime rescinded an Obama-era ban which prohibited farmers from planting biotech crops engineered to resist insects. The pesticides are linked to declining bee populations.
  37. Rolling Stone reported the EPA is evaluating allowing asbestos, enacting the Significant New Use Rule, which allows the government to evaluate use on a case-by-case basis. Trump has long supported the use of asbestos.
  38. Not included in the evaluation process are the potential effects of exposure to chemicals in the air, ground, or water, allowing the EPA to circumvent an Obama-era law for evaluating potentially dangerous chemicals.
  39. Until recently, 95% of asbestos used in the U.S. came from Brazil, with the balance from Russia. Brazil recently banned asbestos, leaving Russia. A Russian asbestos company shared an image featuring Trump on Facebook.
  40. On Friday, NYT reported, according to internal emails, the EPA’s in-house scientists and lawyers objected to the agency’s new rules on a measure to review applications for using asbestos in consumer products.
  41. Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey is leading an effort among Democratic state attorneys to fight the asbestos plan. Exposure to asbestos has been linked to lung cancer, mesothelioma, and other ailments.
  42. Reuters reported that the second annual ‘America First Energy Conference’ this week was attended by some of the country’s most vocal climate change doubters, as well as by a handful of Trump administration officials.
  43. The presence of Trump officials gave a boost to outlandish ideas such aspumping carbon dioxide into the air makes the planet greener, and the United Nations produces fake science to control the global energy market.
  44. On Friday, Betsy DeVos’s Department of Education released a document outlining a proposal to scrap an Obama-era rule aimed at protecting students from career training programs.
  45. The “Gainful Employment” regulations required programs at for-profit-colleges that prepare students for careers to prove graduates were earning enough to repay the debt they incurred to complete the program.
  46. On Sunday, WSJ reported Canadians, upset with Trump over tariffs and treatment of their prime minister, are boycotting products made in the U.S. and buying Canadian.
  47. On Monday, South Carolina TV-maker Element Electronics said it will close its Winnsboro plant in response to tariffs imposed by Trump.
  48. On Monday, NBC News reported the limited number of H-2B visas being issued by the Trump regime is leaving companies that depend on foreign seasonal workers, like landscaping and crabbing businesses, struggling to stay afloat.
  49. Small business owners are losing revenue, saying American workers don’t want temporary jobs, leaving them unable to fill positions. The Trump family continues to use H-2B visas for their businesses.
  50. First lady Melania Trump’s parents, Viktor and Amalija Knavs, were sworn in as U.S. citizens, obtaining citizenship through a path referred to by Trump as “chain migration,” which Trump is currently trying to eliminate.
  51. The Knavses were eligible for green cards and to apply for citizenship because their daughter Melania is a citizen, the most common way immigrants to the U.S. get green cards and eventually become citizens.
  52. Trump’s paternal grandfather and mother, who migrated from Germany and Scotland, also used chain migration to become citizens, as did Ivana, Trump’s first wife and mother to his three oldest children.
  53. On Tuesday, NBC News reported that White House senior adviser Stephen Miller is working on a plan to limit the number of migrants who obtainlegal status in the U.S. His plan would circumvent Congress.
  54. According to a draft, immigrants living legally in the U.S. who have used, or whose households have used, popular public welfare programs like Obamacare or food stamps would be blocked from becoming citizens.
  55. On Tuesday, the ACLU sued Attorney General Jeff Sessions and others over policies instructing asylum officers that claims based on domestic or gang violence will not establish the basis for asylum or refugee status.
  56. The ACLU claims asylum seekers will be deported to places where they face grave danger. The Trump regime claim the asylum process is exploited by immigrants to pass credible fear screenings and be released into the country.
  57. The Texas Observer reported an ICE transport company van transporting eight Central American mothers separated from their children under “zero-tolerance” crashed in July. ICE denied the incident happened.
  58. When pressed further by the Observer, citing a San Marcos Police Department report on the accident and significant injuries to migrant mothers, ICE changed the story to the incident being a “fender bender.”
  59. On Thursday, Helen Aguirre Ferré, the White House director of media affairs for Latino and African-American news outlets, quietly resigned. The White House did not comment on her reason for leaving or her future.
  60. The Trump regime still does not offer a Spanish version of the White House website, available under the W. Bush and Obama administrations. The Spanish site was supposed to launch in late 2017.
  61. On Thursday, a federal judge in Washington halted a deportation of a woman and her daughter while a hearing appealing their deportations was underway, and threatened to hold Sessions in contempt of court.
  62. The ACLU said government attorneys in another case informed them that the pair was on a flight to El Salvador. When Judge Emmet Sullivan in Washington was informed, he ordered the government to “turn the plane around.”
  63. WAPO reported, according to government data, the number of migrant families taken into custody along the border remained nearly unchanged from June to July, suggesting separating families did not deter migrants.
  64. WAPO reported, as of August 9, 559 of the 2,551 children separated from their parents remain separated. Since the July 26 deadline imposed by the court, the Trump regime has made almost no progress in reunificiations.
  65. The latest figures provided by the Trump regime show just 34 migrant parents waived the right to be reunified with their children, compared with the 120 that the government reported a week prior.
  66. On Thursday, NYT reported in a report to Congress, the Puerto Rico government acknowledged that Hurricane Maria killed an estimated 1,427, far more than the official death toll of 64.
  67. The estimate comes from comparing deaths in the last four months of 2017 to previous years. Officials say they await the outcome of the George Washington University study to provide certainty around final numbers.
  68. On Monday, Trump quoted Dan Bongino on “Fox & Friends,” saying “Collusion with Russia was very real,” and repeating his false claims that “Hillary Clinton and her team 100% colluded with the Russians.”
  69. Trump also parroted Bongino’s claim without evidence,“so did Adam Schiff,” saying he tried to collude with Russians “to obtain compromising material on DJT,” and adding “ we should demand a full investigation.”
  70. On Monday, Bloomberg reported the Senate Intelligence Committee’s Russia probe is likely to extend beyond the midterms, longer than chairman Richard Burr had hoped, for the panel plans to interview more witnesses for its final report.
  71. On Monday, at the Manafort trial, Rick Gates testified he and and Manafort had 15 foreign accounts which were not disclosed to the federal government. Gates said they also did not submit required forms at Manafort’s direction.
  72. Gates testified he committed crimes alongside and at the direction of Manafort. Gates said Ukraine former pro-Russian President Viktor Yanukovych’s backers moved money from accounts in Cyprus to Manafort.
  73. Gates also testified he cheated Manafort out of “several hundred thousand” dollars by submitting false expense reports. The monies were taken out of some of the undisclosed foreign bank accounts in Cyprus.
  74. On Tuesday, Gates admitted on cross-examination to having an affair, as Manafort’s defense team continued to try to hammer Gates’ credibility. Gates denied using company money for his affair.
  75. Gates testified that Manafort was paid $4 million a year to help Yanukovych govern after he was elected president in 2010. Yanukovych pivoted towards Moscow, which led to protests and his ouster in 2014.
  76. On Wednesday, the forensic accountant showed Manafort controlled or had a stake in 31 bank accounts in Cyprus, St. Vincent, the Grenadines, and the U.K., opened by Manafort, Gates, and Konstantin Kilimnik.
  77. On Wednesday, Fox News judicial analyst Andrew Napolitano said Judge T.S. Ellis has shown “an extraordinary bias” against prosecutors in the Manafort trial, and added, “He’s making too much of the case about him.”
  78. On Thursday, Judge Ellis apologized to jurors after berating prosecutorsfor allowing a witness to watch the proceedings, despite having given his earlier approval, saying, “It appears I may well have been wrong.”
  79. On Thursday, in a court filing, Mueller’s team asked to keep a discussion between trial attorneys and the judge regarding a question to Gates secret,signaling Gates may also be assisting in Mueller’s Russia probe.
  80. On Friday, for the second time in two days, prosecutors asked Judge Ellis to take back a critical remark directed at them in front of the jury, saying it could “sow confusion among the jurors about the merits of that charge.”
  81. On Friday, Dennis Raico, a former senior vice president at Federal Savings Bank, testified CEO Steve Calk “expedited” approval of $16 million in loans for Manafort, adding it “made me very uncomfortable.”
  82. On Friday, there was an unexplained five-hour delay in the Manafort trial. Before the lunch break, Judge Ellis stressed to jurors the importance of not discussing the case and told them to “keep an open mind.”
  83. NBC News reported Kristin Davis, the “Manhattan Madam” is scheduled to testify this week before Mueller’s grand jury in Washington. Davis said in July she believed it was in regard to her relationship with Roger Stone.
  84. On Thursday, MSNBC host Ari Melber reported Mueller’s office had “indicated” it plans to subpoena Randy Credico, the associate of Stone who was his alleged connection to Wikileaks during the 2016 election.
  85. On Friday, Credico said that he had received a subpoena to testify before the grand jury in Mueller’s investigation of Russian interference on September 7, and said he did not plan to fight it.
  86. On Friday, U.S. District Chief Judge Beryl Howell found Andrew Miller, a Stone associate, in contempt for refusing to testify before the grand jury. Miller’s attorney plans to appeal the decision.
  87. According to a June court transcript, the subpoena of Miller seeks information about Stone and key figures in the hacking of the Democratic National Committee, and the release of Democrats’ emails by Wikileaks.
  88. On Friday, Stone told the NYT, “the ongoing attempt to interrogate themappears to be an effort to fabricate some other ‘crime’ to pressure me into testifying” against Trump, adding, “It really has the smell of a witch hunt.”
  89. On Friday, BuzzFeed reported FBI agents and congressional investigators are examining a series of transactions which GOP operative Peter W. Smithmade as his effort to procure Clinton’s emails heated up.
  90. A day after he finished a report saying he was working with Trump campaign officials, he transferred $9,500 from an account to fund the email project to his personal account, and withdrew $4,900 in cash.
  91. Responding to an FBI subpoena, Smith’s bank, Northern Trust turned over documents showing 88 suspicious cash withdrawals totaling about $140,000 between January 2016 and April 2017.
  92. On Wednesday, Politico reported, according to a Russian document, Putin presented Trump with a series of requests in Helsinki, including new talks on controlling nuclear arms and prohibiting weapons in space.
  93. Russian officials, including Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov complained about the document being leaked. U.S. officials have yet to be fully briefedby Trump on the contents of his two hour meeting with Putin.
  94. On Wednesday, more than a month past a statutory deadline and after being called out by Republican members of Congress, the Trump regime issued new sanctions against Russia for the U.K. Skripal poisoning.
  95. The U.S. had joined European countries in publicly blaming Moscow within days of the March attack, but the Trump regime had yet to issue the formal determination that triggers automatic sanctions in a 1991 law.
  96. The Chemical and Biological Weapons and Warfare Elimination Act of 1991 will impose sanctions in two tranches: the first has little impact, the second, if Russia does not provide “reliable assurances” will be substantial.
  97. On Wednesday, WAPO reported the White House is drafting a sanctions order to punish foreign interference in U.S. elections, in an effort to appear serious about combatting Russian disinformation and hacking.
  98. The draft order is meant to stave off aggressive legislation introduced in the Senate in Week 90, and to answer continuing criticism that Trump has sided with Putin over U.S. intelligence on Russian hacking.
  99. In an effort to make the order palatable to Trump, Russia is not singled out, and reference is made to past attempts by the “Soviet Union” to interfere in U.S. elections. The draft grants Trump discretion on sanctions.
  100. A recent Gallup Poll found 40% of Republicans regard Russia as an ally or at least as a country friendly to the U.S., double the percentage from 2014.
  101. A new public opinion survey conducted by Ipsos found 43% of Republicans said that they believed Trump “should have the authority to close news outlets engaged in bad behavior.” Just 36% disagreed.
  102. On Tuesday, Trump tweeted congratulating “Troy Balderson on a great win in Ohio, and took credit for the win. The race remains undecided at the week’s end in a traditionally safe GOP district that Trump won by 11 points.
  103. On Tuesday, after election primary victories, Rashida Tlaib of Michigan was poised to become the first Muslim woman in Congress, and Sharice Davids of Kansas the first Native American. Davids is also openly gay.
  104. On Wednesday, Corey Stewart, the neo-Confederate Republican nominee for Senate in Virginia tweeted about Michigan gubernatorial candidateAbdul El-Sayed who lost her primary, calling her an “ISIS commie.”
  105. On Wednesday, in a tape obtained by “The Rachel Maddow Show” of a July GOP fundraiser, Rep. Devin Nunes said impeaching Rosenstein would delay the Senate’s ability to confirm Trump’s Supreme Court nominee.
  106. In the audio from fundraiser for Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers, Nunes said “Rosenstein deserves to be impeached,” and added, “if Sessions won’t unrecuse and Mueller won’t clear the president, we’re the only ones.”
  107. Nunes also suggested the Republicans must keep the House majority to protect Trump from the Mueller probe, saying, “We have to keep all these seats…We have to keep the majority.”
  108. Nunes also said, hypothetically, if a campaign received and released stolen emails from a foreign government — using an example of McMorris Rodgers and the country of Portugal — “Well, if that’s the case, then that’s criminal.”
  109. On Tuesday, Forbes reported on numerous allegations against Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross from his business days which have sparked lawsuits, reimbursements, and an SEC fine of more than $120 million.
  110. Mother Jones reported ex-Trump campaign aides Jason Osborne and Mike Rubino are lobbying for a Russian-backed Serbian separatist party in Bosnia, whose leader has been sanctioned by the Treasury Department.
  111. The two registered with the Justice Department to lobby for the political party of Milorad Dodik. Party officials have met with Steve Bannon, Corey Lewandowski, and Rep. Dana Rohrabacher.
  112. On Tuesday, WSJ reported Michael Cohen is under investigation by federal prosecutors for possible tax fraud, for underreporting income for his taxi-medallion business in federal tax returns.
  113. Prosecutors also are looking into whether any employees at the Sterling National Bank, which provided financing for Cohen’s taxi-medallion business, allowed Cohen to inflate collateral value to obtain loans.
  114. ProPublica reported three of Trump’s Palm Beach cronies — Marvel Entertainment chairman Ike Perlmutter, Bruce Moskowitz, and Marc Sherman — have had significant influence in shaping veteran’s policies.
  115. None of the three have any military or government experience. VA insiders refer to them as the “Mar-a-Lago Crowd.” Trump has been a powerful ally — speaking on the phone and dining with Perlmutter frequently.
  116. Hundreds of documents obtained under the FOIA reveal the three hovered over public servants without transparency, accountability, or oversight, and have been calling the shots at Veterans Affairs since Trump took office.
  117. An analysis done by NBC News of revenue at Trump Hotel DC based on public filings and social media found substantial spending at the hotel by federal agencies, Trump’s political allies, and foreign governments.
  118. Trump took in more than $40 million in revenues from the hotel in 2017, and Ivanka took in $3.9 million. Trump loyalists and senior aides like Mike Pence, Rudy Giuliani, Larry Kudlow, and Lewandowski frequent the hotel.
  119. PACs and GOP campaigns have spent the most at the hotel. Religious groups and lobbyists for the petroleum and banking industries have held events there, as have foreign governments like Kuwait and Saudi Arabia.
  120. On Wednesday, Rep. Chris Collins, the first member of Congress to endorse Trump in February 2016, was charged with insider trading. In Trump‘s early days, Collins served as an informal liaison to Congress.
  121. A video was uncovered of what appears to be Collins calling his son to tell him to sell stock in Australian biotech company Innate while at the White House picnic on June 22, 2017.
  122. On Saturday, Rep. Collins reversed course and suspended his bid for re-election in 2018, saying he had decided it was “in the best interests” of his district, the Republican Party, and Trump’s agenda.
  123. On Wednesday, Reuters reported the Trump regime cut 40 jobs at the Office of Financial Research, a government agency tasked with identifying looming financial risks, created in the wake of the 2008 financial crisis.
  124. On Thursday, Kansas Gov. Jeff Colyer called on his opponent Secretary of State Kris Kobach to recuse himself from vote counting after multiple counties reported voting totals on the secretary of state’s website were inaccurate.
  125. Kobach was ahead by just 191 votes on election night, but at least two known errors had cost Colyer roughly 100 votes. Late Thursday, Kobach agreed to recuse himself.
  126. On Wednesday, Daily Beast reported Omarosa Manigault-Newman, the former “Apprentice” star who followed Trump to the White House, has secret recordings she made of Trump — the contents of which will be in her upcoming book.
  127. Omarosa said the tapes reveal Trump frequently used the word “nigger” while he was the host of the reality television show “Celebrity Apprentice,” although she did not personally hear him use the word.
  128. On Friday, WAPO reported Omarosa was offered a $15,000-a-month contract by Trump campaign adviser Lara Trump to stay silent after being fired from her job as a White House aide in December 2017.
  129. The West Hollywood city council unanimously approved a proposal to remove Trump’s star from the Hollywood Walk of Fame, citing costs of acts of vandalism and demonstrations.
  130. On Thursday, Tribune Media terminated its merger agreement with Sinclair Broadcast Group, and sued the owner, alleging it failed to make sufficient efforts to get their $3.9 billion deal approved by regulators.
  131. After over a year of supporting the merger, Trump’s FCC Chair had soured on it in Week 88. The Hollywood Reporter noted Fox News, a competitor to Sinclair, was the big winner of the deal not going through.
  132. On Thursday, NYT reported senior American national security officials pushed to complete the NATO deal before the July 11 summit in Brussels began, to protect from Trump blowing up the deal while at the summit.
  133. National security adviser Bolton communicated through U.S. ambassador to NATO Kay Bailey Hutchison. On July 4, NATO’s secretary general toldambassadors the usual infighting over the agreement had to be dropped.
  134. The new agreement, completed in advance of the summit, gives American national security officials the ability to assure the public and skittish allies, even while Trump continues to publicly bash NATO.
  135. On Wednesday, the 45th anniversary of Nixon’s resignation, Giuliani told Fox News host Sean Hannity in contrast to Nixon’s downfall, this time the wrongdoing is on the side of the investigator, not the president.
  136. Giuliani said, “In this case, the investigation was much worse than the no-crime,” and called the Mueller probe “Corrupt investigations through and through,” that is “going to lead to some very big reforms.”
  137. On Thursday, Trump lashed out, tweeting the Mueller probe is “an illegally brought Rigged Witch Hunt run by people who are totally corrupt and/or conflicted,” and ended his tweet with a foreboding, “Stay tuned!”
  138. On Thursday, the special master appointed after the Cohen raid said she “has concluded her review” of four million items to determine what is subject to attorney-client privilege.
  139. In the last batch of items reviewed, Cohen claimed 4,808 were privileged, while the special master agreed with the designation for about half. The documents have been turned over to federal prosecutors in New York.
  140. The Hill reported House Judiciary Committee chair Bob Goodlatte is preparing to subpoena people connected to the Steele dossier, including DOJ official Bruce Ohr, his wife Nellie Ohr, and Fusion GPS co-founder Glenn Simpson.
  141. Bruce Ohr is under GOP scrutiny for his contacts with Simpson and Steele during the 2016 election, while Nellie Ohr worked for Fusion GPS at that time. The committee will also go subpoena former FBI and DOJ officials.
  142. Sekulow and Nunes are also speaking out. Sekulow told “This Week” on Sunday that Ohr’s ties to Steele and Fusion GPS “concerned” him, and Nunes said Monday on “Hannity” that Ohr’s involvement is troubling.
  143. It is unclear why Ohr has become the focus of attention from Trump allies. Ohr was removed from the Deputy Attorney’s office when his ties to Steele came to public light. Most of the allegations have been public for months.
  144. On Friday, Sekulow and Giuliani hosted Sean Hannity’s afternoon radio show. The lawyers criticized Mueller’s Russia investigation, with Giuliani claiming Mueller’s investigation was “born in corruption.”
  145. WAPO reported although on vacation this week in Bedminster, New Jersey,Trump continued to actively tweet about the Mueller probe, and ancillary subjects such as the FBI and collusion, sending 10 tweets as of Friday.
  146. On Friday, Trump quoted Fox Business host Maria Bartiromo on the Mueller probe, tweeting, “No evidence to launch even an investigation into potential collusion…and here we are, a year and a half later.” This is false.
  147. Trump also quoted Jenna Ellis of the Washington Examiner, tweeting, “FBI thought they wouldn’t get caught because they thought that Hillary was going to win. There is overt bias…a double standard that needs to stop.”
  148. On Saturday, Trump attacked the FBI’s handling of Andrew McCabe’s text messages in a pair of tweets, asking “What are they hiding? McCabe wife took big campaign dollars from Hillary people…..”
  149. Trump threatened he may “get involved,” and asked, “Will the FBI ever recover it’s once stellar reputation, so badly damaged by Comey, McCabe, Peter S and his lover… FBI have been hurt by these clowns and losers!”
  150. On Wednesday, Donald Jr. posted a poll graphic to his Instagram account which doctored Trump’s approval from 40% up to 50%, ahead of Obama’s 45%, backing his father’s claim that he has better approval than Obama.
  151. After the doctored post was reported on, Donald Jr. deleted it on Friday, but not until after tens of thousands of people had seen, shared, or endorsed the false 50% approval rating.
  152. On Thursday, Vice President Pence laid out Trump’s plans for the Space Force, which would become the sixth branch of the U.S. Armed Forces, equal to the other five. The new branch needs to be approved by Congress.
  153. Shortly after Pence’s speech, Trump tweeted, “Space Force all the way!” and his campaign sent supporters an email asking them to vote on a Space Force logo, and to consider making a campaign donation.
  154. States of emergency were declared for the Commonwealth of Virginia and Charlottesville at the one-year anniversary of the white nationalist “Unite the Right” rally and counter-protests that turned deadly last year.
  155. On Saturday, Trump tweeted “The riots in Charlottesville a year ago resulted in senseless death and division,” and, reminiscent of his “both sides” remarks, said he condemns, “all types of racism and acts of violence.”
  156. Jason Kessler, a white nationalist leader who is organizing the Unite the Right 2018 rally in Lafayette Square on Sunday, said, “White people should be able to have the same rights as other groups.

POLITIKS OF GRAFFITI 91: ENEMY OF THE STATE

Week 90 of this policymaker: Experts in authoritarianism advise to keep a list of things subtly changing around you, so you’ll remember.

August 4, 2018 https://medium.com/@Amy_Siskind/week-90-experts-in-authoritarianism-advise-to-keep-a-list-of-things-subtly-changing-around-you-so-9a61f5ac66b9

Artwork: Mueller’s investigation is tightening and 45 is going insane. By Jim Carrey.

This week Trump’s battle with the media escalated as he ramped up his “enemy of the state” rhetoric, and his staffers and supporters followed his lead. The United Nations Human Rights office issued a statement condemning Trump’s media attacks, which this week put a CNN reporter in danger at a Trump rally in Tampa, Florida.

As the first trial for Paul Manafort got underway, Trump called on Attorney General Jeff Sessions to end the Mueller probe. Even as his top national security officials took the unusual step of appearing together and briefing the press on the ongoing Russia cyber threat, and as social media companies and experts revealed ongoing attacks, Trump continued to label the Russian investigation as a hoax, and took no leadership steps to address the threat and protect our country.

As the Senate held hearings on Trump’s “zero tolerance” policy, stories continued to surface about the inhumane treatment of migrants. The Trump regime took the position that the reunification was complete — even as hundreds of families remain separated. Kleptocracy, incompetence, and corruption continued to plague the regime, but in the daily chaos, got little attention or coverage.

WAPO reported Trump has made 4,229 false or misleading claims in his first 558 days. His lies are escalating: now averaging 7.6 false or misleading claims per day, up from 4.9 claims per day in his first 100 days.

On July 5, Trump reached a new high of 79 false or misleading claims in a single day. June and July 2018 ranked first and second overall, with 532 and 446 claims — roughly 16 false or misleading claims per day.

By topic, Trump has told the most lies about: economic issues, trade deals or jobs (1,293), followed by immigration (538), trade (432), the Russia probe (378), and taxes (336).

On Sunday, Trump tweeted about a meeting with NYT publisher A.G. Sulzberger, saying they discussed “the vast amounts of Fake News being put out by the media & how that Fake News has morphed into phrase, ‘Enemy of the People.’”

On Sunday, in a statement, Sulzberger said he accepted Trump’s invitation for a July 20 meeting to raise his concerns about Trump’s “deeply troubling anti-press rhetoric,” saying, “the phrase ‘fake news’ is untrue and harmful.”

Sulzberger said he told Trump “his language was not just divisive but increasingly dangerous,” warning, “inflammatory language is contributing to a rise in threats against journalists and will lead to violence.”

Sulzberger said overseas, governments are using Trump’s words as justification to crack down on journalists, and warned that Trump’s attacks were “putting lives at risk” and “undermining” our democratic ideals.

On Sunday, in a series of tweets, Trump said, “I will not allow our great country to be sold out by anti-Trump haters in the dying newspaper industry,” including the “failing” New York Times and Washington Post.

Trump added, “the media-driven insane by their Trump Derangement Syndrome..truly puts the lives of many, not just journalists, at risk!” and called the media “very unpatriotic!

On Tuesday, Trump continued his battle with the media, tweeting, “The Fake News Media is going CRAZY,” accusing the media of being “unhinged,” and of ruining the lives of “innocent and decent people.”

Trump also tweeted that in 7 years, when he is out of office, media “ratings will dry up and they will be gone!” Trump continues to target CNN, NBC News, WAPO, and NYT as “fake news” for coverage he deems unfair.

On Tuesday, Trump renewed his government shutdown threat, tweeting, “I don’t care what the political ramifications are,” adding, “Border Security is National Security,” and saying a shutdown “is a very small price to pay.”

On Tuesday, Trump held a rally in Tampa, Florida. Ahead of the rally, Trump supporters crowded around CNN’s Jim Acosta, threateningly, giving him the middle finger, and leading chants of “CNN sucks.”

Trump repeated his anti-immigrant rhetoric, promising “tremendous border security that’s going to include the wall,” and claiming, without evidence, that Democrats were encouraging undocumented immigrants to vote.

Trump made a case for the need for voter IDs to prevent voter fraud, falsely claiming, “You know if you go out and you want to buy groceries you need a picture on a card. You need ID.”

After the rally, Acosta tweeted a video of Trump supporters attacking him, saying, “I’m very worried that the hostility whipped up by Trump and some in conservative media will result in somebody getting hurt.”

After the rally, Trump retweeted a video tweeted by Eric Trump, with the caption, “WATCH: Supporters of President Trump Chant ‘CNN Sucks’ During Jim Acosta’s Live Spot at Florida Rally.”

At the rally, there were sighting of “QAnon” related signs and t-shirts. QAnon is an internet conspiracy cult claiming to have access to top security clearance information about an alleged deep state plot against Trump.

On Thursday, at an event hosted by Axios, Ivanka said she has had “my fair share of reporting on me personally that I know not to be fully accurate,” but she said, she does “not consider the media the enemy of the people.”

Ivanka said she considered the low point of her tenure at the White House to be Trump’s “zero tolerance” policy, saying, “That was a low point for me…I am very vehemently against family separation.”

At the daily press briefing, CNN’s Jim Acosta, who had been harassed at a Trump rally, asked press secretary Sarah Sanders if she agreed with Ivanka that the press is not the enemy of the people. Sanders refused to answer.

Sanders also defended the mob scene in Tampa as “freedom of speech,” and said the media “continues to ratchet up the verbal assault against” Trump and the regime. After her non-answer, Acosta left the room.

On Thursday, the United Nations Human Rights office issued a statement condemning Trump’s attacks on the media, saying they violate basic norms of press freedom and human rights.

The statement cited Trump’s labeling of the media as the “enemy of the American people,” “very dishonest,” or “fake news,” and accusing the media of “distorting democracy” or spreading “conspiracy theories.”

On Sunday, in a series of tweets, Trump lashed out at Mueller, claiming without evidence or explanation that Mueller has conflicts of evidence, tweeting, “Is Robert Mueller ever going to release his conflicts of interest.”

Trump tweeted of Mueller, “we had a very nasty & contentious business relationship, I turned him down to head the FBI.” Rod Rosenstein has testified that he knows of no disqualifying conflict of interest with Mueller.

Trump also tweeted, “There is No Collusion,” falsely claiming the “Mueller Rigged Witch Hunt…was started by a fraudulent Dossier,” paid for by Hillary and the DNC, and, “Therefore, the Witch Hunt is an illegal Scam!”

Trump also falsely claimed the Mueller probe is a “Rigged Witch Hunt, headed now by 17…Angry Democrats,” and again falsely claimed the probe “was started by a fraudulent Dossier.”

On Sunday, Trump tweeted he is “willing to ‘shut down’ government” if the Democrats do not give him votes for his wall, adding, “Immigration based on MERIT! We need great people coming into our Country!”

On Monday, Attorney General Sessions announced the formation of a “religious liberty task force” within the Justice Department which he claimed will help protect religious communities from discrimination.

Sessions warned of a “dangerous movement” that he said was eroding protections for religious Americans, and falsely claimed “nuns were being forced to buy contraceptives” — a reference to Obama’s health care policy.

Civil rights groups and LGBTQ advocates condemned Sessions’ task force, saying it is not consistent with religious freedoms, and that the guidance would encourage private groups to discriminate with government funds.

A synagogue in Carmel, Indiana was vandalized with spray-painted Nazi images, including a swastika. The synagogue has not been attacked before.

The Boston Globe reported that someone called the police to report a black woman eating lunch in a campus common room “seemed out of place.” The woman is a rising sophomore at Smith College working on campus.

NYT reported Peter Wright, Trump’s nominee to head the EPA’s Superfund program, was a lawyer at Dow Chemical when the company submitted disputed data, misrepresented scientific evidence, and delayed cleanup.

On Monday, NYT reported the Trump regime is considering granting a $100 billion tax cut mainly to the wealthy, through the Treasury Department changing the definition of “cost” for calculating capital gains.

Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said in an interview at the Group of 20 summit that his department was studying such a move, bypassing Congress, if it can’t get done through the legislative process.

On Wednesday, the Trump regime took another step to hobble the Affordable Care Act, widening the availability of skimpy health plans designed for short-term use that do not cover pre-existing conditions.

The health insurance industry, hospitals, doctors, and patient advocacy groups warned that consumers with these plans would be stranded when they need care, and defections would drive up costs in the ACA marketplaces.

On Thursday, the Trump regime said it would freeze Obama-era fuel-efficiency requirements for cars and trucks, which were meant to improve public health and combat climate change, through the year 2026.

Trump’s plan would also revoke California’s legal waiver to set its own tailpipe restrictions, which the state has used to curb greenhouse-gas emissions, and restrict other states from following California’s lead.

Automakers had a mixed reaction to the move, but oil and gas interests cheered it. The plan is part of the Department of Transportation’s deregulatory efforts, arguing for affordability and safety.

On Sunday, Charles Koch expressed “regret” over his network’s past support for some Republican candidates who are not standing up to Trump’s policies, and threatened to hold them to account.

On Monday, the Kochs announced they would not support the Trump-backed Republican candidate to take on Sen. Heidi Heitkamp in North Dakota, warning that siding with Trump will carry a political cost with their network.

On Tuesday, Trump dismissed criticism by the Koch networks of his trade and immigration policies, tweeting they have “become a total joke in real Republican circles,” and “I don’t need their money or bad ideas.”

On Thursday, Republican National Committee Chairwoman Ronna Romney McDaniel warned GOP donors in a memo to steer clear of the Koch political network, escalating a fight between Trump’s allies and the Kochs.

On Monday, the Treasury Department predicted the U.S. government’s borrowing needs in the second half of this year will jump to $769 billion, the highest level since the 2008 financial crisis.

On Wednesday, Trump escalated his trade war with China, instructing U.S. trade representative to look into increasing tariffs on many Chinese imports from 10% to 25%.

On Friday, China announced it would retaliate by imposing $60 billion of tariffs on U.S. products if Trump follows through on his threats.

On Monday, two University of Virginia history professors, William Hitchcock and Melvyn Leffler, resigned in protest over the school’s decision to offer a paid senior fellowship to former Trump official Mark Short.

They claim Short attacked the free media and truth, backed rhetoric and policies that have empowered white supremacists, undermined the FBI and our intelligence agencies, and disenfranchised millions of voters.

On Monday, Trump tweeted, “Wow, highest Poll Numbers in the history of the Republican Party. That includes Honest Abe Lincoln and Ronald Reagan.” Politifact rated his claim as “false” using several measures.

On Monday, WAPO reported U.S. spy agencies see signs that North Korea is constructing new missiles at a factory that produced the country’s first intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs) capable of reaching the U.S.

The satellite images indicate work is underway at the Sanumdong factory, which produced two of North Korea’s ICBMs, including the first with a proven range that could allow it to strike the U.S. East Coast.

Although Trump tweeted North Korea was “no longer a Nuclear Threat” following his summit with Kim Jong Un, North Korea has made few tangible moves signaling an intention to disarm.

On Thursday, Trump thanked Kim Jong Un for returning the remains of 55 soldiers, tweeting, “I am not at all surprised that you took this kind action. Also, thank you for your nice letter — l look forward to seeing you soon!”

Remains of 55 were returned, while about 5,300 American war remains are still in North Korea. Defense Secretary Jim Mattis cautioned the remains could be non-U.S. soldiers: “We don’t know who’s in these boxes.”

Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney announced the city will end a major data-sharing contract with ICE, citing misuse of information, and ICE detaining undocumented immigrants who are not accused of any crime.

Guardian reported the Trump regime plans to rescind Obama-era work permits for spouses of holders of H-1B visas, effectively confining spouses, mostly women, to home and stripping their families of a second income.

On Monday, U.S. District Judge Dolly Gee in Los Angeles ordered the Trump regime to stop administering psychotropic medications to migrant children without first obtaining consent or a court order.

Judge Gee said the regime has been medicating children at a Shiloh Residential Treatment Center in Texas without consent. She ordered the children be moved from the facility, except those posing a “risk to harm” to themselves or others.

On Tuesday, at a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing, senior officials from Border Patrol, ICE, HHS, and the DOJ said they learned about Trump’s “zero tolerance” policy in April when Sessions publicly announced it.

Officials said because they did not get advance warning, they did not put protocols in place to eventually reunify families. They also did not challenge lawmakers’ assertions that the initiative was a failure.

Matthew Albence, the number two official at ICE, described family detention centers as “more like a summer camp,” saying migrants have food, water, and educational and recreational opportunities.

Cmdr. Jonathan White from the department of Health and Human Services said he warned his superiors that separating children from parents carried a “significant risk of harm” and could inflict “psychological injury.” He was assured the regime would not implement separation.

The acting head of Border Patrol, Carla Provost said, “The initiative was a prosecution initiative, and our focus was on the prosecution element only.” Several senators called for Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen to resign.

On Tuesday, Trump tweeted, “A highly respected Federal judge” said ““Trump Administration gets great credit” for reuniting illegal families.” About one-third of families separated under Trump’s policy remain apart.

On Wednesday, NYT reported the Trump regime is considering a second sharp reduction in the number of refugees admitted to the U.S., a program meant to offer protection to the world’s most vulnerable people.

Last year the regime set the cap at 45,000 — a historic low. This year, as Stephen Miller has installed allies in key positions, in one plan being discussed, no more than 25,000 refugees could be resettled.

HuffPost reported at a federal prison complex in Victorville, California, which staffers warned was not equipped to handle the influx from ICE, there have been infectious disease outbreaks and an attempted suicide.

The ACLU filed a lawsuit Tuesday over the “inhumane conditions” at Victorville, saying they violated the constitutional rights of immigrants detained there. There is one doctor for 4,300 inmates and detainees.

On Thursday, in a 2–1 decision, the U.S. appeals court struck down a key part of Trump’s contentious effort to crack down on “sanctuary cities,” saying an executive order threatening to cut funding was unconstitutional.

In a letter addressed to the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA), a group of U.S. historians demanded that the regulatory body stop ICE from erasing records of the agency’s treatment of immigrants.

Historians sent the letter July 25, after learning ICE had sought permission from NARA to begin destroying years’ worth of data, including information on sexual abuse, solitary confinement, and in-custody deaths.

On Wednesday, a bipartisan group of 14 senators sent a letter to Sessions, Nielsen, and HHS Secretary Alex Azar demanding information on the status of separated families, including those where the parents have been deported.

On Thursday, in a court filing, the DOJ said the ACLU, which represents plaintiffs in lawsuit over family separations, should “use their considerable resources and their network” to take the lead on finding deported parents.

The Trump regime also suggested that the ACLU should find out whether the deported parents want to be reconnected with their children, or whether they waive that option.

Politico reported that per a Trump regime official, an estimated three-quarters of deported parents who left the country alone left no record behind that they ever consented to leave their children in the U.S.

On Friday, Judge Dana Sabraw rejected the Trump regime’s request to make the ACLU primarily responsible for locating migrant parents who were deported, saying the government bears “100 percent” of the burden.

The judge also scolded the regime for moving so slowly to track down the deported parents, calling it “just unacceptable” that an estimate of only about 12 of close to 500 parents have been located.

Sabraw suggested the regime appoint a person to lead the reunification process, saying, “for every parent who is not located there will be a permanently orphaned child.” He will hold another hearing next week.

On Friday, a federal judge in Washington, D.C. ordered that the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program should be fully restored, and gave the Trump regime a 20-day deadline to do so.

Judge John Bates said the regime has failed to justify its proposal to end DACA. The Justice Department is expected to appeal. A case being tried in Texas is expected to be decided next week in agreement with the Trump regime.

California and New York courts have ruled the regime cannot end DACA, but only ordered the regime to continue renewing existing applications. Bates’ ruling goes further, ordering the program reopened in its entirety.

On Tuesday, a federal judge temporarily blocked public availability of blueprints that provide instructions for making guns using 3-D printers, hours before the documents were expected to be published online.

Hours before, Trump had tweeted about the 3-D plastic guns, “Already spoke to NRA, doesn’t seem to make much sense!” Sen. Chuck Schumer tweeted, “Your administration approved this…And to check with the NRA?”

The Trump regime had suddenly settled a 2013 case with Cody Wilson on June 29, allowing public availability of the instructions. Twenty-one attorneys general asked Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Sessions to withdraw from the settlement.

A CBS poll asking strong Trump supporters who they trust for accurate information found: 91% trust Trump, 63% trust friends and family, and just 11% trust the mainstream media.

The poll also found 70% of Republicans call the Russia investigation a “witch hunt,” while 77% of Democrats call it a “critical” matter of national security.

A billboard in a heavily Republican Grand Junction, Colorado replaced the “O” in the word “GOP” with a Soviet-era communism symbol. The resident behind it is upset with Trump’s actions on Russia, immigration, and tariffs.

On Sunday, Democratic Sen. Jeanne Shaheen told “Face the Nation” her office has been the subject of at least one phishing attack by Russians targeting email accounts and social media profiles.

Activist Emma Best published 11,000 WikiLeaks Twitter direct messages. The messages reveal WikiLeaks wanted the GOP to defeat Hillary Clinton, who was described in a message as a “well-connected, sadistic sociopath.”

On Tuesday, Facebook announced it had uncovered and removed “sophisticated” efforts, possibly linked to Russia, to manipulate U.S. politics by sowing discord, ahead of the upcoming midterm elections.

Facebook did not directly name Russia, but said 32 fake accounts on Facebook and Instagram were involved in “coordinated” and “inauthentic” political behavior. One page alone had close to 300,000 followers.

One page promoted “No Unite the Right 2” march, a planned counter demonstration, and another to amplify “Abolish ICE.” Facebook noted the efforts mirror Internet Research Agency moves before the 2016 election.

On Tuesday, at a cybersecurity summit in New York, Department of Homeland Security Secretary Nielsen issued her strongest warning to Russia, saying, “Mark my words: America will not tolerate this meddling.”

She warned that there is an “urgent, evolving crisis,” warning of “online” attacks, like a small bank in Blacksburg, Virginia which was a target of Russian hackers who stole $2.4 million over the course of two weekends.

On Wednesday, social media and technology experts testified before the Senate Intelligence Committee, saying Russia and other foreign actors have not slowed their efforts to spread misinformation and propaganda.

Central to this third hearing was Russia’s exploited tech companies’ hesitation to regulate what is posted on their platforms. Experts and senators said companies no longer have an excuse for not taking action.

Sen. Richard Burr, chair of the committee, said of Russian interference efforts: “Some feel that we as a society are sitting in a burning room, calmly drinking a cup of coffee, telling ourselves ‘this is fine.’ That’s not fine.”

On Wednesday, the Senate rejected a Democratic proposal to provide states with more election security funding ahead of the midterms, by a 50–47 vote. Sen. Bob Corker was the only Republican to vote in support.

BuzzFeed reported on a cash trail left by Maria Butina and Paul Erickson, the Republican consultant, at Wells Fargo Bank, whose anti-money laundering team started tracking their bank activity in early 2017 after an FBI referral.

Suspicious transactions include $89,000 passed between Erickson’s US accounts and Butina’s account at Russia’s Alfa Bank, a $45,000 payment to an undisclosed law firm, and various cash withdrawals.

WAPO reported in the weeks before the 2016 election, Butina socialized with Trump aide J.D. Gordon, who served as the campaign’s director of national security until August 2016, then joined Trump’s transition effort.

According to documents and testimony provided to the Senate Intelligence Committee, the two exchanged emails in September and October 2016, and Gordon invited Butina to a concert and his birthday party.

A Yahoo Finance/Survey Monkey poll found 11% of Republicans say it would be appropriate for Russia to intervene in U.S. midterms on behalf of Trump and Republicans, and 29% say it wouldn’t be a big deal.

Starting Sunday, Rudy Giuliani made a series of erratic TV appearance to push back on Michael Cohen’s assertion that Trump knew about the June 9 Trump Tower meeting. Giuliani said Cohen has “lied all his life.”

On Monday, appearing on “Fox & Friends,” Giuliani said he had been “looking in the federal code,” and “my client didn’t do it, and even if he did it, it’s not a crime,” adding, “collusion is not a crime.”

On Monday, Giuliani told CNN there was a “planning meeting” to prep Donald Jr. for June 9, which was attended by Kushner, Manafort, Rick Gates, who is cooperating, and others. Giuliani later reversed himself.

On Tuesday, Trump sided with Giuliani, tweeting, “collusion is not a crime,” and reasserting, “but that doesn’t matter because there was No Collusion (except by Crooked Hillary and the Democrats)!”

On Tuesday, Vanity Fair reported Trump thinks Giuliani is “saying too much.” Chief of Staff John Kelly wants to get rid of him, and reportedly White House counsel Don McGahn “hates Rudy with intensity of 1,000 burning suns.”

On Tuesday, the trial in federal court for Manafort in Alexandria on bank and tax fraud charges began. A jury of 6 women and 6 men were selected. Manafort’s attorneys are seeking to place blame with Gates.

On Wednesday, Trump called on Sessions to end the Mueller investigation, tweeting Sessions “should stop this Rigged Witch Hunt right now, before it continues to stain our country any further.”

Trump called the Mueller investigation a “terrible situation, and repeated his false claim, tweeting, “Mueller is totally conflicted, and his 17 Angry Democrats that are doing his dirty work are a disgrace to USA!”

When asked about Trump’s tweets to end the Mueller investigation in Wednesday’s press briefing, Sanders said, “It’s not an order, it’s the president’s opinion…[Trump] wants to see it come to an end.”

Trump’s attorneys also tried to downplay his tweets, with Giuliani saying Trump “carefully used the word, ‘should,’” and Jay Sekulow saying Trump “has issued no order or direction to the Department of Justice on this.”

Trump also tweeted that Manafort “worked for me for a very short time. Why didn’t government tell me that he was under investigation,” adding “These old charges have nothing to do with Collusion — a Hoax!”

Trump also compared Manafort’s treatment to that of Al Capone, tweeting, “who was treated worse, Alfonse Capone, legendary mob boss, killer…or Paul Manafort, political operative & Reagan/Dole darling.”

On Wednesday, WAPO reported in a letter sent Monday, Mueller renewed negotiations with Trump’s legal team about terms for an in-person interview with Trump, following an extended standoff since March.

Mueller reportedly said he is willing to accept some answers in written form, reducing the number of questions his investigators would ask Trump in an interview.

NYT reported Trump is eager to meet with investigators to clear himself of wrongdoing. Reportedly Trump believes he can convince Mueller’s team that their own inquiry is a “witch hunt” and end the inquiry.

Trump’s legal team were preparing to tell Mueller there would be no interview and risk a court fight over a subpoena that could drag through midterms, but Trump pushed them to continue negotiating.

According to NYT, the scope of the questioning includes whether Trump associates and Russia coordinated in election interference and whether Trump tried to obstruct the investigation.

On Thursday, Manafort’s bookkeeper, Heather Washkuhn, said his lavish lifestyle continued until 2015 when he ran out of cash, then he and Gates began trying to fudge numbers to secure loans.

Washkuhn testified she did not have access to all of Manafort’s transactions. She also did not have any records of the foreign accounts Manafort used to pay for clothes, cars, real estate and home remodeling.

Washkhun undercut Manafort’s defense that Gates was to blame, characterizing Manafort as a “very knowledgeable” client, and saying, “He was very detail-oriented. He approved every penny of everything we paid.”

On Friday, Cindy Laporta, one of Manafort’s accountants who was granted immunity, testified that in 2015 she went along with falsifying his tax records, not wanting to confront a longtime client.

Laporta said Gates told her Manafort could not afford to pay his taxes, and instructed her to misrepresent $900,000 in income as a business loan. She estimated she saved Manafort at least $400,000 in taxes.

Laporta testified she helped Manafort obtain millions of dollars of loans fraudulently, including listing a rental property as a second home, sending a forged loan-forgiveness letter, and lying about a large future payment.

On Thursday, a federal judge in Washington ruled Andrew Miller, a former assistant to Roger Stone, must testify before the special counsel’s grand jury on Russian interference in the 2016 election.

Miller worked for Stone during the 2016 presidential campaign, and is one of at least six of Stone’s associates to be called to testify in the Mueller probe. Stone has accused Mueller’s team of harassing his associates.

On Thursday, Reuters reported that according to Russian agencies citing senior lawmaker Konstantin Kosachov, Sen. Rand Paul will lead a U.S. delegation to Moscow and will meet Russian members of parliament on August 6.

On Thursday, top national security officials made a rare appearance in the White House briefing room to warn that Russia continues to target the U.S. election system, and vowed to combat interference.

No new details about attacks or policies were announced, but there was a show of unity of top officials, for the first time appearing together, including Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats, national security adviser John Bolton, Secretary Nielsen, FBI Director Christopher Wray, and NSA Director Paul Nakasone.

Although each security official acknowledged attacks by Russia and said their agency would take steps to counter, there is no leadership from the White House, and Bolton eliminated the top cybersecurity job in Week 79.

Also at the conference, Coats acknowledged two weeks after Helsinki, he still is “not in a position” to “fully understand” what occurred during that meeting, raising questions about why Trump is keeping him in the dark.

The joint appearance follows the first meeting of the National Security Council led by Trump on election security, last week. The meeting lasted less than an hour and resulted in no new orders.

On Thursday, a bipartisan group of senators introduced what Sen. Lindsey Graham called the “bill from hell” to punish Russia for election interference, and activities in Syria and Ukraine, by imposing new restrictions and sanctions.

The measure also expresses strong support for NATO, and would require two-thirds of the Senate to vote in order to leave the alliance. The measure would need to pass the House and Senate, and be signed by Trump.

On Thursday, NYT reported at his campaign rally in Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania, Trump made 15 inaccurate claims on things like highway spending, immigration, crowd size, and legislative accomplishments.

Trump also lied that U.S. Steel Corporation “is opening up seven plants” — they are not opening any. He again repeated false claims about NATO members being “delinquent” and that “funding was going down.”

Despite his press conference by his top security officials earlier in the day, Trump falsely claimed “Russia is very unhappy that Trump won,” and that diplomatic efforts with Putin “are being hindered by the Russian hoax.”

On Thursday, at a screening for Dinesh D’Souza’s new documentary, Donald Jr. compared the Nazi platform in the early 1930s to the DNC platform today, adding, “It’s the exact opposite of what you’ve been told.”

On Thursday, Jerry Falwell Jr. grouped Hitler as a “progressive elite,” tweeting, “the future will be progressive elites (… ⁦@HillaryClinton⁩, Hitler, Soros) v freedom loving average Americans!”

On Thursday, WSJ reported a major Trump donor, Franklin Haney, gave a $10 million contract to Cohen in early April, shortly before the April 9 raid, to help his efforts to complete a pair of nuclear reactors in Alabama.

Cohen was paid a monthly retainer in addition to the $10 million success fee. Authorities are investigating whether Cohen engaged in unregistered lobbying in his work for corporate clients, including AT&T and Novartis.

WAPO reported that room revenue at Trump International Hotel in Manhattan rose 13% in the first quarter of 2018, due to providing rooms for accompanying travelers of the Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia.

Four Democratic senators called for an investigation into tours on Air Force One, after BuzzFeed obtained an invitation revealing members of Trump’s Florida clubs were invited for tours last year.

On Friday, WSJ reported the Kushner family closed a deal to unload 666 Fifth Avenue, an investment made by Kushner at the top of the market in 2007, and which has been not been financeable for years.

Kushner Cos. will lease the property to Brookfield Asset Management for 99 years, paid upfront, in an amount that will allow the Kushner family to pay off the $1.1 billion of debt on the building and buy out its partner.

In Week 87 it was noted that a unit of Brookfield is awaiting approval from the Trump’s Committee on Foreign Investment for its acquisition of the nuclear-power company Westinghouse Electric.

Maine Secretary of State Matthew Dunlap, a Democrat who served on Trump’s voter fraud commission, in a lawsuit won access to and then published a trove of documents on Friday revealing no signs of voter fraud.

Dunlap said Trump’s repeated claims that millions of people voted illegally were false. In a letter Dunlap wrote, “these documents show that there was…a pre-ordained outcome…without any evidence to back it up.”

Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said he would not delay hearings for Trump’s Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh to wait for records from Kavanaugh’s time as as staff secretary in the Bush White House from 2003–2006.

On Thursday, the National Archives warned that it would not be able to fulfill the GOP’s request for documents on Kavanaugh until late October. McConnell’s unwillingness to wait on documents breaks longtime norms.

Poynter Institute reported the Newseum is selling Trump “Make America Great Again” hats and t-shirts that say “You are very fake news,” on their website.

On Friday, just before midnight, Trump tweeted, “Lebron James was just interviewed by the dumbest man on television, Don Lemon. He made Lebron look smart, which isn’t easy to do.” Lemon’s show is on CNN.

Journalist Dan Rather blasted Trump for his “racist” criticism of James, calling it a “disgrace.” Trump has continually attacked black athletes, and made disparaging comments about the intelligence of black Americans.

The Guardian reported U.S. counter-intelligence investigators discovered a suspected Russian spy had been working in the U.S. embassy in Moscow for more than a decade, undetected.

In her role, the Russian national had access to the agency’s intranet and email systems, which gave her a window into highly confidential material including the schedules of the president and vice-president.

The U.S. Department of State’s Regional Security Office sounded the alarm in January 2017, but Secret Service let her continue in her post for months, possibly to avoid potential embarrassment.

WAPO reported she worked as a local investigator in the U.S. Secret Service office at the embassy since 2001. She was fired in August 2017 after investigators surveilled her meetings and communications with FSB agents.

Protesters remained outside the White House for a third straight week, since Trump’s Helsinki summit with Putin. One night, protesters held giant letters spelling “TREASON” and other signs calling Trump a traitor.

The day-to-day rallies have been dubbed, “Kremlin Annex,”and have morphed into a mix of demonstrations, roasts and dance parties. Organizers plan to keep protesting until Trump is out of office.