POLITIKS OF GRAFFITI 160: “ROCKY’

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

POLITIKS OF GRAFFITI 153: KURDISH “DELIGHT” a.k.a. “GENOCIDE”

OCTOBER 12, 2019

Week 152

Experts in authoritarianism advise to keep a list of things
subtly changing around you, so you’ll remember. https://theweeklylist.org/weekly-list/week-152/
EGN1-3uUUAAwUSQ
The Fraudfather made Zelensky “an offer he couldn’t refuse”. – Jim Carrey

In addition to the number of not normal items surging since the start of the impeachment inquiry, Trump’s Twitter activity has proliferated — in one 25 minute span on Friday alone, he sent 33 tweets! In past weekly lists, we have covered that the potency of his tweets have had decreased, both in impact and visibility, as his time in office wears on. Also, notably, the media coverage of Trump’s frenzied tweeting has dropped off, making it harder each week to find sources that put what amounts to official pronouncements from the leader of our country into some context (and for me to link to for historical purposes).

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At Ocean Beach in San Diego, CA 8oct19

In the past two weeks, there has been a striking shift in the country’s sentiment towards impeachment — approval of not only an inquiry, but also removing Trump, has shifted in favor. Thus far, breaking news coming from our media has done most of the fact finding and informing. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi is keeping the focus of the inquiry narrow, but with reporting gushing out the scope of the July 25 Trump-Ukraine call has broadened in several different subplots which are commensurately unfolding.

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Ocean Beach, San Diego, CA 8oct19
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“Stay Woke” – San Diego, CA oct2019
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He has some supporters in San Diego. oct2019 – california

This week Trump abruptly pulled U.S. troops from Syria, enabling possible genocide by Turkey against the Kurds who fought alongside us, and allowing ISIS fighters to escape and regroup. It’s a calamity of our times — and yet few voices in the Republican Party, let alone the decorated military officials who served in the Trump regime, are willing to speak out. If anyone had doubts of how close we are to becoming an authoritarian state, this week’s list will remind you.

  1. On Saturday, Politico reported U.S. District Judge Amy Berman Jackson ordered the White House to preserve records of all of Trump’s dealings with foreign leaders, including his interactions with Ukraine.
  2. On Saturday, Trump called for Sen. Mitt Romney’s impeachment, tweeting, without evidence, Utahnsconsider their vote for him “a big mistake,” and calling him “a fool” who plays into the hands of Democrats.
  3. Trump also tweeted, “So Crooked Hillary Clinton can delete and acid wash 33,000 emails AFTER getting a Subpoena,” adding, “but I can’t make one totally appropriate telephone call,” calling it a “Witch Hunt!”
  4. Trump also tweeted, “the first so-called second hand information “Whistleblower” got my phone conversation almost completely wrong, so now word is they are going to the bench.” This claim is false.
  5. Trump also tweeted that the other ““Whistleblower” is coming in from the Deep State,” falsely claiming, “also with second hand info,” adding, “Meet with Shifty. Keep them coming!”
  6. On Saturday, Axios reported on a conference call with House Republicans on Friday, Trump said he called Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky on July 25 at the urging of Energy Secretary Rick Perry.
  7. Trump claimed he did not want to make the call, signaling a new shift in strategy to distance himself. According to texts revealed in Week 151, Rudy Giuliani was the person pushing Trump to call. Perry is not mentioned.
  8. On Monday, AP reported businessmen and GOP donors used ties to Trump and Giuliani to install new board members at Ukraine’s massive state gas company Naftogaz under former president Petro Poroshenko.
  9. When Zelensky took office, Sec. Perry met with him and advanced a board slate for Naftogaz that included a past GOP donor from Texas. It is unclear if Perry’s efforts were coordinated with those of Giuliani’s allies.
  10. On Saturday, USA Today reported Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell is fundraising off impeachment in a new campaign ad on Facebook, saying “the way that impeachment stops is a Senate majority.”
  11. On Sunday, in an op-ed, Joe Biden said of Trump’s time in office, “It all comes down to the abuse of power. That is the defining characteristic of the Trump presidency,” adding, “You won’t destroy me” or my family.
  12. On Sunday, in a series of tweets, Trump attacked Joe Biden, saying, “It is INCREDIBLE to watch and read the Fake News and how they pull out all stops to protect Sleepy Joe Biden” and his “thrown out of the Military son.”
  13. Trump tweeted Hunter Biden “was handed $100,000 a month (Plus,Plus) from a Ukrainian based company, even though he had no experience in energy” and got “1.5 Billion Dollars from China despite no experience.”
  14. Trump added, “The Biden family was PAID OFF, pure and simple!” calling on the “fake news” to “stop making excuses for something that is totally inexcusable.” All of Trump’s statements in the tweets are false.
  15. On Sunday, Trump accused the House Speaker of treason, tweeting, “Pelosi knew of all of the many Shifty Adam Schiff lies and massive frauds” and “illegal meetings with a highly partisan “Whistleblower” & lawyer.”
  16. Trump added, “This makes Nervous Nancy every bit as guilty as Liddle’ Adam Schiff for High Crimes and Misdemeanors, and even Treason,” adding they must “be immediately Impeached!
  17. On Sunday, NBC News reported a second whistleblower has come forward, who, according to the attorney for the first whistleblower, “has first-hand knowledge” of Trump’s call with the Ukrainian president.
  18. The second whistleblower did not plan to file a separate complaint, and is entitled to legal protections for cooperating with the inspector general. On Sunday shows, Republicans brushed off the second whistleblower.
  19. On Sunday, Columbia Journalism Review reported the White House refused to send a representative on the Sunday talk shows. Host on major Sundays shows pushed back on Trump allies and their talking points.
  20. On Sunday, Sen. Lindsey Graham said on Fox News “Sunday Morning Futures” if the whistleblower allegations “are turned into an impeachment article,” he “will make sure” the whistleblower faces public questioning.
  21. On Sunday, in a contentious interview with “Meet the Press” host Chuck Todd, Sen. Ron Johnson said he does not trust the CIA or FBI, and parroted Trump citing Ukraine helped Hillary Clinton in the 2016 election.
  22. ABC host George Stephanopoulos said to Rep. Jim Jordan on Trump’s asking of China, “You’re telling us not to believe what we’ve seen with our own eyes,” and “you still can’t say whether you think it’s right or wrong.”
  23. On Monday, House Democrats took the extraordinary steps to protect the whistleblower of considering testimony at a remote location and obscuring their appearance and voice, after repeated threats by Trump.
  24. Democrats are concerned that without precautions, Republicans on the House Intelligence Committee could leak the identity. The whistleblower’s attorney is also in talks with the Senate Intelligence Committee.
  25. On Monday, Vanity Fair reported although Sen. Romney will not primary Trump in 2020, his aides say he is casting himself as “the lone voice of conscience,” to sway other Republicans as impeachment unfolds.
  26. On Sunday, WSJ reported Attorney General William Barr is sparking discord with long-time allies Italy, Australia, and the U.K. by working outside the usual channels in his investigation of the investigators.
  27. On Barr, Sen. Graham said, “He is simply doing his job,” while ranking Democrat of the Senate Intelligence Committee, Mark Warner warned, “This could put the Five Eyes relationship in jeopardy.”
  28. On Sunday, the Sunday Times reported British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, in an unprecedented move, will challenge Queen Elizabeth II to fire him rather resign, in an attempt to drive through Brexit on October 31.
  29. Late Sunday, after speaking to Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Trump for a second time in a year upended U.S. strategy in Syria, abruptly announcing the withdrawal of U.S. troops, abandoning Kurdish allies.
  30. Former defense secretary James Mattis resigned after Trump first threatened to pull out troops in December 2018 after his call with Erdogan. Mattis however did not speak out publicly this week.
  31. Some senior Pentagon officials were blindsided by Trump’s decision. In a White House statement Sunday and in Trump’s tweets Monday, Trump cited the U.S. shouldering too much of the cost of fighting ISIS.
  32. On Monday, Trump tweeted, “It is time for us to get out of these ridiculous Endless Wars, many of them tribal, and bring our soldiers home,” and, “WE WILL FIGHT WHERE IT IS TO OUR BENEFIT, AND ONLY FIGHT TO WIN.”
  33. On Monday, AP reported State Department and Pentagon officials held out hopes of persuading Turkey to abandon its expected invasion. Kurds had fought alongside U.S. forces for years in taking on ISIS.
  34. Sen. Graham called it “a major blunder,” and “an impulsive decision.” Leader McConnell warned “a precipitous withdrawal” would benefit Russia, Iran, and Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, and help ISIS regroup.
  35. Brett McGurk, the former U.S. envoy for the global coalition against ISIS who resigned with Mattis, tweeted Trump “is not a Commander-in-Chief,” and, “He makes impulsive decisions with no knowledge or deliberation.”
  36. Later Monday, Trump tweeted, “if Turkey does anything that I, in my great and unmatched wisdom, consider to be off limits, I will totally destroy and obliterate the Economy of Turkey.” It was unclear what Trump meant.
  37. When asked about Turkey attacking the Kurds, Trump told reporters “I have told Turkey that if they do anything outside of what we would think is humane..they could suffer the wrath of an extremely decimated economy.”
  38. Later, responding to widespread Republican and evangelical Christian leaders’ criticism, Trump defended himself, saying he had “consulted with everybody,” and adding, “I could name other people who are thrilled.”
  39. On Monday, former secretary of state Republican Colin Powell said, “The Republican Party has got to get a grip on itself” as GOP lawmakers flocked to defend Trump, adding, our foreign policy is “in shambles right now.”
  40. On Tuesday, Trump tweeted, “We may be in the process of leaving Syria, but in no way have we Abandoned the Kurds, who are special people,” adding, “Turkey, a NATO and Trading partner, has been very good.”
  41. Trump added, “any unforced or unnecessary fighting by Turkey will be devastating to their economy and to their very fragile currency.” On Tuesday night, Turkish forces were seen moving into the area.
  42. On Tuesday, Trump also tweeted, “Turkey is an important member in good standing of NATO,” adding Erdogan “is coming to the U.S. as my guest on November 13th. #ENDENDLESSWARS”
  43. On Tuesday, Sen. Graham threatened Turkey on Twitter with “sanctions from hell” if they move into Syria. Graham said he could gather a veto-proof majority in the Senate.
  44. On Wednesday, Turkey launched an offensive against Kurdish fighters in northeastern Syria after U.S. troops pulled back. Erdogan announced the start of the campaign in a tweet.
  45. On Wednesday, Trump tweeted, “Fighting between various groups that has been going on for hundreds of years. USA should never have been in Middle East,” adding, “The stupid endless wars, for us, are ending!”
  46. Trump also tweeted, “GOING INTO THE MIDDLE EAST IS THE WORST DECISION EVER MADE … IN THE HISTORY OF OUR COUNTRY!” and “BIG PICTURE! THE USA IS GREATER THAN EVER BEFORE!”
  47. On Wednesday, Sen. Graham tweeted, “Pray for our Kurdish allies who have been shamelessly abandoned by the Trump Administration,” adding, “I urge President Trump to change course while there is still time.”
  48. Rep. Liz Cheney, also a reliable Trump ally prior, tweeted, “Trump’s decision to withdraw U.S. forces from northern Syria is having sickening and predictable consequences,” adding lawmakers “must and will act.”
  49. On Wednesday, Gulnur Aybet, Erdogan’s senior policy adviser, told CNN Trump and Erdogan “reached an understanding over precisely what this operation is,” adding Trump “knows what the scope of this operation is.”
  50. On Wednesday, NBC News reported intelligence officials warn the 12,000 ISIS fighters being guarded by Kurds, the world’s largest concentration of terrorists, could escape, regroup, and attack America and Europe.
  51. Later Wednesday, Trump defended his decision to abandon the Kurds, telling reporters, “They didn’t help us in the Second World War; they didn’t help us with Normandy.” This statement is factually incorrect and nonsensical.
  52. Trump also said the Kurds battled alongside U.S. forces for “their land,” adding, “With all of that being said, we like the Kurds,” and said it will not be hard for the U.S. to form new partnerships: “Alliances are very easy.”
  53. Asked about ISIS fighters escaping prisons, Trump said “they are going to be escaping to Europe…they want to go back to their homes,” adding, Turkey and the Kurds have “hated each other for many, many years.”
  54. On Friday, BBC reported at least 11 Kurdish civilians along with dozens of fighters were killed as Turkey moved into northern Syria. Tens of thousands of civilians fled their homes.
  55. On Friday, Sen. Graham pleaded with Trump to “change course while you still can,” adding, “the reemergence of ISIS is on the way,” and the “ability to recruit partners to fight radical Islam…has been virtually destroyed.”
  56. On Friday, AP reported as Turkey captured more Kurdish-held villages in the border region, aid agencies have warned of a humanitarian crisis, with nearly a half-million people at risk near the border.
  57. Kurdish forces guarding prisons holding more than 10,000 Islamic State members were forced to abandon their posts. Putin said he doubts the Turkish army has resources to control the prison camps, and warned of mobilizing.
  58. On Friday, Defense Secretary Mark Esper confirmed the Pentagon planned to send an additional 2,000 troops and equipment to Saudi Arabia, “to assure and enhance the defense of Saudi Arabia.”
  59. On Friday, Trump told reporters, “Saudi Arabia at my request has agreed to pay us for everything we are doing. That is a first,” and, “we appreciate that,” adding, “Saudi Arabia, and other countries soon now.”
  60. On Friday, a bipartisan group of House lawmakers, led by Foreign Affairs Committee Chair Eliot Engel drafted a resolution condemning Trump’s decision to pull troops. The four-page resolution does not rebuke Trump by name.
  61. On Friday, a Pentagon spokesperson confirmed U.S. troops in the vicinity of Kobani, Syria came under fire from a Turkish incursion. Earlier an official told NPR troops were departing, as strikes were “too close for comfort.”
  62. On Saturday, AFP reported Turkey stepped up its assault in Syria, defying threats of sanctions from Europe and the U.S. The United Nations said the operation has already displaced 100,000 people.
  63. On Saturday, CNN reported the commander of the Kurdish-led forces told the Deputy Special Envoy to the Global Coalition to Defeat ISIS, William Roebuck, on Thursday, “You are leaving us to be slaughtered.”
  64. On Monday, a federal judge in San Francisco warned Education Secretary Betsy DeVos she could send her to jail for ignoring a court order by continuing to collect debt payments from Corinthian Colleges students.
  65. On Tuesday, Leader McConnell’s re-election campaign touted a Politico report showing his wife, Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao’s record of granting meetings to Kentuckians, calling McConnell a “Kentucky Asset.”
  66. The Trump regime’s Bureau of Land Management announced it would make 725,000 acres of land in California’s central coast open to oil and gas lease sales, paving the way for more fracking after a five-year moratorium.
  67. On Wednesday, the Hill reported the Trump regime eliminated a decade-old, Obama-era advisory board that advised on smart grid innovation, as part of a Trump executive order to cut federal advisory boards by a third.
  68. On Friday, Sen. Gary Peters, the ranking member of the Senate’s Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, criticized Vice President Mike Pence for not sharing requested information on his recent stay at Trump’s Doonbeg resort.
  69. On Monday, WAPO reported Trump’s company canceled an event for anti-Muslim group ACT for Americascheduled for November 7 at Mar-a-Lago. ACT of America said Trump’s company had “caved to the Left’s bullying tactics.”
  70. On Wednesday, Esquire reported a forthcoming book on Trump called “All the President’s Women: Donald Trump and the Making of a Predator,” includes 43 new accusations of sexual misconduct against Trump.
  71. One of the 43, Karen Johnson, told the authors Trump grabbed her vagina without her consent and forcibly kissed her at Mar-a-Lago resort in the early 2000s. She said she was afraid to come forward because of who he was.
  72. On Wednesday, a neo-Nazi killed two people on Yom Kippur, after unsuccessfully trying to force his wayinside a synagogue in Halle, Germany, while broadcasting his rampage on Twitch.
  73. The WAPO Editorial Board warned of the connection to mass murders at a synagogue in Pittsburgh, mosques in New Zealand, and a Walmart in El Paso, and called for resources and attention to “the enemy within.”
  74. On Tuesday, NYT reported Western security officials have concluded an elite unit inside the Russian intelligence system, known as Unit 29155, has led a campaign to destabilize Europe over at least the past decade.
  75. The unit underscores Russian President Vladimir Putin’s efforts to use hybrid warfare including propaganda, hacking attacks, and disinformation — as well as military confrontation — in fighting the West.
  76. On Tuesday, the second report from the GOP-led Senate Intelligence Committee found Russians actively worked in 2016 to damage Hillary Clinton and bolster Trump, and that interference is likely again in 2020.
  77. The 85-page report, capping 2 1/2 years of work, urged lawmakers to take sweeping efforts to protect the 2020 election, including regulations that would require the disclosure of ad buyers on social media.
  78. The report found extensive Russian manipulation of Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, Twitter, Google, and other platforms. The goal was to divide Americans, suppress the African American vote, and help elect Trump.
  79. The report found “a vastly more complex and strategic assault on the United States than was initially understood,” citing in 2016 a “broader, sophisticated and ongoing information warfare campaign.”
  80. On Monday, CNBC reported Zelensky aides dined with former Trump officials, including Sean Spicer and former State Department and HHS officials, at the Trump Hotel DC, on April 16 to establish contacts.
  81. On Monday, the three Democrat House committee chairs subpoenaed the Pentagon and the Office of Management and Budget demanding documents pertaining to the delay in military funds to Ukraine.
  82. The committees gave until October 15, and warned failure to comply “shall constitute evidence of obstructionof the House’s impeachment inquiry and may be used as an adverse inference against you” and Trump.
  83. On Monday, former Ukraine envoy Kurt Volker stepped down as the head of the McCain Institute for International Leadership, amid fallout of his role in Trump’s efforts to get Ukraine to investigate his political opponents.
  84. On Monday, NBC News reported a dozen House Democrats called on Gordon Sondland to resign as U.S. ambassador to the E.U. ahead of his Congressional testimony on Tuesday, citing his Trump-Ukraine texts.
  85. On Tuesday, the White House blocked Sondland from testifying. Sondland had flown to Washington from Europe, and House committee members had returned from a two-week recess to hear his testimony.
  86. Sondland’s lawyers told House staff members that a State Department official left Sondland a voicemail at 12:30 a.m. the night before directing him not to appear before Congress.
  87. Trump tweeted, “I would love to send Ambassador Sondland, a really good man and great American, to testify,” adding, “but unfortunately he would be testifying before a totally compromised kangaroo court.”
  88. Shortly after, Chair Schiff told reporters of Sondland, “we are also aware that the ambassador has text messages or emails on a personal device which have been provided to the State Department.”
  89. WAPO reported the use of WhatsApp and other messaging services is fairly widespread at the State Department, but copies must be made. Officials noted the irony that Secretary of State Mike Pompeo “went ballistic on Hillary Clinton for that.”
  90. Shortly later, at a news conference of Trump House allies, Rep. Matt Gaetz added, “this impeachment is a kangaroo court and Chairman Schiff is acting like a malicious Captain Kangaroo.” It was unclear what he meant.
  91. In texts with Sondland and Volker, William Taylor wrote, “I think it’s crazy to withhold security assistance for help with a political campaign,” Sondland replied hours later, “I suggest we stop the back and forth by text.”
  92. On Tuesday, CNN reported after Trump’s July 25 call, anxiety and concern spread among National Security Council staffers that what Trump had said, particularly on investigating Biden, had crossed the line.
  93. Trump made the call from the third-floor White House residence, where he watches television and makes calls before noon. A number of aides were not in the room, but were in the Situation Room, or on their own lines.
  94. About a week later, the CIA’s top lawyer contacted the top lawyer on the National Security Council. At least one National Security Council official alerted the White House’s national security lawyers.
  95. The White House lawyers later ordered the transcript would be moved to a highly classified server as part of an effort to keep most people from seeing it outside of the executive branch.
  96. On Tuesday, ABC News reported a two-page memo written by the whistleblower a day after Trump’s call said one White House official described the call as “crazy” and “frightening.”
  97. The memo also said, “The official, who listened to the entirety of the phone call, was visibly shaken by what had transpired and seemed keen to inform a trusted colleague within the U.S. national security apparatus.”
  98. Trump tweeted “the so-called Whistleblower” said the call was “crazy, frightening, and completely lacking in substance,” calling it “a very big Lie.” This is false: an official described the call to the whistleblower.
  99. Sen. Graham, chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee, went on the offensive, calling Giuliani to testify. Democrats said they would welcome the opportunity. Giuliani said he had not decided if he would appear.
  100. On Tuesday, Trump had lunch with former GOP congressman Trey Gowdy, who led the House inquiry into Benghazi, about joining Trump’s legal team in the impeachment inquiry. It was unclear if Gowdy accepted.
  101. On Tuesday, a WAPO-Schar School poll found 58% approve of the House opening an impeachment inquiry, 38% disapprove — the first poll to find majority support. Notably, 3 in 10 Republicans support the inquiry.
  102. The poll also found that 49% say the House should take the step of impeaching Trump and removing him from office. Among independents, 57% support an inquiry and 49% say Trump should be removed.
  103. On Tuesday, an NBC/WSJ poll found 55% support an impeachment inquiry, the highest level this year. Just 39% say Congress should let Trump finish out his term, down from 50% in July.
  104. On Tuesday, the Trump regime declared war on the impeachment inquiry, saying in a letter to House Democrats it would not cooperate with what it called an illegitimate effort “to overturn the results of the 2016 election.”
  105. The letter from White House counsel Pat Cipollone cited the inquiry violated precedent and denied Trump’s due process rights, and saying neither he or the executive branch would provide documents or testimony.
  106. The eight-page letter said the inquiry “violates the Constitution, the rule of law, and every past precedent,” and the call transcript established “the call was completely appropriate and that there is no basis for your inquiry.”
  107. The letter said there is “no legitimate basis” for the inquiry Pelosi is calling “impeachment” already underwaybecause the full House has not voted. Trump however would not commit to cooperating if the House did vote.
  108. The letter added, “In order to fulfill his duties to the American people, the Constitution” Trump and his regime “cannot participate in your partisan and unconstitutional inquiry under these circumstances.”
  109. The move marks a complete shift from last week when Trump said of the inquiry, “I always cooperate” saying allegations were meritless, and marks a potentially precedent-setting move to non-cooperation.
  110. Speaker Pelosi said in a statement, “continued efforts to hide the truth of the president’s abuse of power from the American people will be regarded as further evidence of obstruction,” adding, “You will be held accountable.”
  111. The WAPO Editorial Board said of the letter, Trump “is asserting autocratic authority to ignore the people’s elected representatives and the Constitution,” calling it “a new stage in an already dangerous presidency.”
  112. On Thursday, in a letter, University of Chicago Law School classmates of Cipollone criticized him, saying by blocking material and witnesses from the impeachment inquiry, he “distorts the law and the Constitution.”
  113. Later Tuesday, Trump quoted a headline from conservative Washington Examiner, saying “The (big deal) Whistleblower had a ‘PROFESSIONAL TIE’ to 2020 Democratic Candidate,” calling it “A Witch Hunt Scam!”
  114. On Wednesday, Sen. Graham told “Fox & Friends” he planned to send a letter to Speaker Pelosi saying Republicans will not impeach Trump over the Ukraine call, adding, “They’re about to destroy the nation.”
  115. On Wednesday, Fox News cut ties with Gowdy as he accepted an offer to join Trump’s legal team for the impeachment inquiry. As a House Judiciary Chair, Gowdy had been an advocate of Congress’ oversight powers.
  116. On Wednesday, WAPO analyzed Republicans in the Senate on impeachment. To impeach, 20 Republicans would need to join Democrats. So far, 14 have expressed concerns, 39 support Trump unequivocally.
  117. On Wednesday, a Fox News poll found 51% believe Trump should be impeached and removed, 43% disagree — a 16 point net shift from July when 42% were for impeach and remove and 50% were against.
  118. On Thursday, Trump attacked Fox News, tweeting, “I have NEVER had a good @FoxNews Poll,” adding, “Whoever their Pollster is, they suck,” and
    Fox News “is also much different than it used to be in the good old days.”
  119. Trump also tweeted complaints about “people like Andrew Napolitano…Shep Smith, @donnabrazile…& others,” saying Fox News “doesn’t deliver for US anymore. It is so different than it used to be.”
  120. On Thursday, NYT reported Barr met privately with Rupert Murdoch at Murdoch’s home in New York on Wednesday evening. It was unclear who else attended or what was discussed.
  121. On Friday, Fox News host Shep Smith abruptly resigned during his show, after 23 years at the network since its founding in 1996. Smith said the decision was his own, but gave no explanation of why he was leaving.
  122. On Friday, when asked about the departure, Trump told reporters, “Is he leaving?” Oh, that’s a shame…Is he leaving because of terrible ratings? If he’s leaving, I assume he’s leaving for bad ratings…Well, I wish him well.”
  123. On Wednesday, NYT reported on email correspondence within the State Department, in which officials were urged to “play down” the release of Ukraine aid when it was finally released, saying, “nothing to see here.”
  124. The emails also revealed diplomats’ frustration with the unexpected freezing of funds that Congress had already approved. Emails from senior officials did not explain why funds were being withheld.
  125. On Wednesday, Trump sought to discredit the whistleblower, tweeting their facts “have been so incorrect,” and citing, “The Whistleblower has ties to one of my DEMOCRAT OPPONENTS.”
  126. Trump also tweeted, “The Whistleblower’s lawyer is a big Democrat.” The lawyer, Mark Zaid responded, saying he is a registered Independent, and that the whistleblower spent their government career in apolitical roles.
  127. On Wednesday, Pence refused to give reporters a straight answer on what he knew about Ukraine, dodging repeated questions,. Notably, Pence has not been able to say he did not know about Trump’s true interests.
  128. On Thursday, 16 prominent conservative lawyers called for an “expeditious” impeachment probe, saying Trump’s asking for Ukraine and China to investigate his political opponent violates his oath of office.
  129. On Wednesday, the three House committee chairs requested in a letter that Trump’s former Russia adviser Fiona Hill appear in a deposition on October 14, as well as turn over documents dating back to January 2017.
  130. On Thursday, NBC News reported Hill will appear before Congress next week, and plans to testify that Giuliani and Sondland circumvented the National Security Council and the normal White House process.
  131. Hill will testify that the two also side-stepped then NSA John Bolton, to pursue a shadow policy on Ukraine. Hill is a Russian hawk, and had wound down her role before the July 25 call. Giuliani said he did not know her.
  132. On Friday, Sondland ignored State Department and White House instructions, announcing he would appear before House investigators under subpoena next week.
  133. On Thursday, a NPR-Marist poll found 52% approve of an impeachment inquiry, 43% disapprove. There was 19 point shift in independents, from 50–44% disapprove in late September, to 54–41% approve.
  134. On Thursday, CNN reported Trump is spending hours each day sending frenzied tweets and calling allies on Capitol Hill as impeachment looms. Trump called Leader McConnell three times a day to stress GOP unity.
  135. Aides are setting up campaign rallies in the coming weeks as a way to channel his frustration. He will appear in Minneapolis Thursday, then his campaign is looking for a venue in Louisiana for Friday.
  136. After Joe Biden came out for impeachment, Trump told reporters, reading from a script, “No American should ever face such persecution from their own government,” adding, “Except, perhaps, your President.”
  137. On Wednesday, Bloomberg reported Trump pressed then-Secretary of State Rex Tillerson to help persuade the DOJ to drop a criminal case against Reza Zarrab, an Iranian-Turkish gold trader who was a client of Giuliani.
  138. Others who attended the 2017 meeting in the Oval Office were shocked by Trump’s request. Tillerson refused, and repeated his objections to then Chief of Staff John Kelly in the hallway. The DOJ did not drop the case.
  139. On Thursday, WAPO reported Erdogan personally lobbied Trump to get the charges against Zarrab dropped when they met at the White House in May 2017. Giuliani also made a pitch to the DOJ to have the charges dropped.
  140. When Trump made the request to Tillerson, two of Zarrab’s attorneys, Giuliani and Michael Mukasey, were also in the room. The two proposed swapping Zarrab for an American pastor in Turkish custody.
  141. The case against Zarrab was launched by Preet Bharara, whom Trump abruptly fired. Former Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein refused to meet with Giuliani, and then AG Jeff Sessions did not drop the case.
  142. On Thursday, Politico reported Graham received a hoax call in August, from a person he thought was Turkey’s minister of defense, but turned out to be two Russian pranksters, with possible ties to Russian intelligence.
  143. Graham mentioned Trump’s interest in a “Turkish bank case,” apparently referring to the case of Reza Zarrab. Graham also labeled the Kurds as a “threat” to Turkey — contradicting his current public position.
  144. On Monday, Miami Herald reported Lev Parnas and Igor Fruman, Giuliani allies who peddled information about Ukraine corruption involving Biden and Hillary Clinton, will not respond to a deadline for documents.
  145. The two Florida businessmen are represented by former Trump attorney, John Dowd, who also said his clients do not plan to appear for depositions scheduled for this week. House Democrats plan to subpoena the two.
  146. On Thursday, WSJ reported Parnas and Fruman were arrested late Wednesday on criminal charges for their alleged efforts to funnel foreign money into U.S. elections and influence U.S. politics.
  147. The two, both U.S. citizens born in Ukraine when it was a Soviet republic, were arrested while awaiting an international flight out of Dulles Airport, the day before one of them was scheduled to testify before Congress.
  148. The 21-page indictment alleges the two engaged in political activities on behalf of one or more Ukrainian government officials, including lobbying, targeting a GOP congressman for help, and removing Marie Yovanovitch.
  149. The indictment also alleges their political giving was funded in part by an unnamed Russian donor, and the two set up a limited liability company, LLC Global Energy Producers, to disguise the money.
  150. In May 2018 the LLC gave $325,000 to a pro-Trump super PAC, and Fruman made donations of $400,000, misspelling his name “to evade the reporting requirements.” The two gave over $1 million to Republicans.
  151. Parnas donated to and sought help from former Rep. Pete Sessions in removing Yovanovitch. Sessions then wrote a letter to Pompeo, saying Yovanovitch was “bad mouthing” Trump in private conversations.
  152. Parnas and Fruman had dinner with Trump in May 2018. In July, Parnas and Giuliani had breakfast with Volker. According to Volker’s testimony, Giuliani mentioned investigating Biden and 2016 election interference.
  153. The two set up a meeting between Giuliani and Ukraine’s then-prosecutor general, Yuri Lutsenko. Trump and Giuliani claim Joe Biden tried to have Lutsenko fired. Lutsenko has said Hunter Biden “did not violate anything.”
  154. Since late 2018, the two had introduced Giuliani to several current and former senior Ukrainian prosecutors, and were a conduit to find dirt on the Bidens. The three had lunch at the Trump Hotel in DC on Wednesday.
  155. Giuliani, who identified the two as clients in May, told Fox News on Thursday he found their arrest “extremely suspicious,” and is not representing them. John Dowd did not respond.
  156. On Thursday, the Atlantic reported Giuliani was planning to fly to Vienna Thursday night. When Parnas and Fruman were apprehended Wednesday night at Dulles, they were also headed to Vienna.
  157. On Thursday, federal prosecutors from the Southern District of New York formally announced federal campaign finance charges, and cited the importance of protecting U.S. elections from foreign influence.
  158. A DOJ official said Attorney General Barr was briefed on the investigation in February, and informed Wednesday night that the two were about to be arrested.
  159. On Thursday, shortly after the arrests were announced, the two were subpoenaed by the three House committee chairs for “key documents” that have not been produced as part of the impeachment inquiry.
  160. Hours later, the three House committee chairs also subpoenaed Sec. Rick Perry for documents related to the impeachment inquiry, giving him a deadline of October 18.
  161. On Thursday, Trump told reporters before leaving for Minneapolis that he hopes Giuliani does not get indicted, and that he does not know Parnas and Fruman, saying, “I don’t know those gentlemen.”
  162. Trump added, “it’s possible I have a picture with them, because I have a picture with everybody,” adding, “maybe they were clients of Rudy. You’d have to ask Rudy.” Trump is seen in several 2018 photos with the two men.
  163. Politico reported Parnas’ relationship with Trump may have begun earlier than previously reported. At Trump’s 2016 election night party, Parnas described himself as a friend of Trump who lived not far from Mar-a-Lago.
  164. Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy said he would donate the $111,000 given by the two to the House Republicans’ main fundraising committee to charity. Five Republican campaign committees received nearly $500,000.
  165. On Thursday, Andrey Kukushkin, a Ukrainian-born California businessman, was arrested in San Francisco on campaign finance violations and appeared in court. Kukushkin was named in the SDNY indictment.
  166. The fourth defendant named in the SDNY indictment is David Correia. The four are accused of disguising contributions to two Nevada state office candidates from a Russian businessman to obtain marijuana licenses.
  167. On Thursday, WAPO reported Barr visited Italy to investigate a conspiracy theory advanced by Trump and Giuliani that Joseph Mifsud was a Western intelligence plant working to discredit the Trump campaign.
  168. On Thursday, in an interview with Sebastian Gorka at the Daily Caller, Trump hammered his former attorney general Jeff Sessions, saying he was “a total disaster,” and “an embarrassment to the great state of Alabama.”
  169. On Thursday, WSJ reported lawyers for the whistleblower asked Congress if they can submit testimony in writing instead of appearing in person, citing safety concerns, and that their identity may be exposed.
  170. On Thursday, WSJ reported that NBCUniversal joined CNN in not running a Trump ad using an unsubstantiated claim Biden promised Ukraine $1 billion to fire the prosecutor investigating the company with ties to his son.
  171. The ad also accuses “media lap dogs” of aiding the Democrats with their impeachment efforts including CNN and MSNBC journalists. Facebook denied a request by the Biden campaign to take a similar ad down.
  172. On Wednesday, CNN reported Matt Drudge, an influential conservative journalist, is souring on Trump. His website has featured overwhelmingly negative news about Trump and impeachment in recent weeks.
  173. On Thursday, Rep. John Shimkus, who is retiring in 2020, said Trump’s decision to withdraw troops was “terrible and despicable,” adding he told his staff “to take my name off the I support Donald Trump list.”
  174. On Friday, Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan became the third Republican governor to support the impeachment inquiry.
  175. On Thursday, Michael Pillsbury, one of Trump’s China advisers, told the Financial Times, “I got a quite a bit of background on Hunter Biden from the Chinese.” Hours later on C-SPAN, he denied making the comment.
  176. FT’s Washington bureau chief tweeted an October 9 email from Pillsbury, saying exactly what was quoted. Later Thursday, Pillsbury later told the Post, “Most everything I learned was already public or well-known.”
  177. On Thursday, WAPO reported at least four national security officials were so alarmed by Trump’s actions toward Ukraine before and after the July 25 call that they raised concern with NSC legal adviser John Eisenberg.
  178. There is no inspector general equivalent in the White House. One official on the call went directly to Eisenberg. During the day, two more did. It is not clear if Eisenberg took any action after the call or from earlier reports.
  179. Also, within minutes of the call, senior officials including former NSA John Bolton were contacted by subordinates. Bolton and others scrambled to get a copy of the call transcript, which was already being “locked down.”
  180. On Thursday, Trump tweeted Zelensky said “Trump applied no pressure and did absolutely nothing wrong,” saying this should end the “Democrat Scam,” adding, “but it won’t, because the Dems & Media are FIXED!”
  181. On Thursday, CNN reported Trump’s new NSA, Robert O’Brien, told White House staff that he plans to cut the National Security Council staff by almost half, and increase the percentage of political appointees.
  182. On Monday, a federal judge rejected Trump’s lawsuit to block the Manhattan district attorney from obtaining his tax returns as part of an investigation into hush-money payments during the 2016 campaign.
  183. Judge Victor Marrero cited, “The Court cannot square a vision of presidential immunity that would place the President above the law,” and called the assertion Trump is immune from criminal inquiries “repugnant.”
  184. The judge also questioned the legal memos from White House lawyers in the 1970s that the DOJ had relied on, saying the arguments they made rely on “conjurings of remote prospects and hyperbolic horrors.”
  185. Trump’s lawyers appealed within minutes, saying, “For the first time in our nation’s history, a county prosecutor has subjected the sitting President of the United States to criminal process.”
  186. Trump tweeted the Democrats “have failed on all fronts, so now they are pushing local New York City and State Democratic prosecutors” to go after him,” and, “A thing like this has never happened to any President before.”
  187. On Wednesday, a federal appeals court said Deutsche Bank does not have Trump’s personal tax returns. The bank does have returns “for individuals and entities named in the subpoenas,” however.
  188. NYT reported current and former Deutsche Bank officials had previously said the bank had portions of Trump’s personal and corporate tax returns. It was unclear when the bank stopped retaining those returns.
  189. On Friday, a federal appeals court voted 2-1 to reject Trump’s appeal of a House subpoena for his tax returns with a Trump appointee, Circuit Judge Neomi Rao the dissenting vote. Trump will likely appeal.
  190. Later Friday, Trump’s personal attorneys filed an appeal, again claiming he is immune from criminal investigation. The DOJ filed a supporting brief, but stopped short of supporting the assertion he has absolute immunity.
  191. On Tuesday, DOJ attorney argued against turning over Mueller grand jury materials to House Democrats, citing a 1974 ruling to release normally secret grand jury materials to the House was incorrectly decided.
  192. The materials handed over in 1974 were a roadmap to Nixon’s impeachment. U.S. District Court Beryl Howell said, “Wow,” and added, “As I said, the department is taking extraordinary positions in this case.”
  193. On Friday, a federal judge ruled that Trump violated federal law when he declared a national emergency in February to get millions for building a wall on the southern border, and called the proclamation “unlawful.”
  194. On Friday, a federal judge blocked a Trump regime policy set to go into effect Tuesday known the “public charge” rule, which would have denied legal residency to immigrants who rely on public welfare.
  195. On Wednesday, Trump told reporters NBA coach Steve Kerr was a “scared little boy” afraid to answer, for not giving an opinion on the on Houston Rockets general manager Daryl Morey’s comments on China and human rights.
  196. Kerr later responded, saying he has met five presidents, “And all I could think of last night was the contrast of what has happened in 35 years,” and, “It’s just sad that it’s come crashing down…and “we’re now living this.”
  197. On Saturday, Trump tweeted, “So funny to watch Steve Kerr grovel and pander when asked a simple question about China. He chocked, and looks weak and pathetic,” adding, “Don’t want him at the White House!”
  198. On Tuesday, Trump attacked Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey, after the mayor sought a $530,000 deposit to defray expenses of a Trump rally, calling him a “lightweight mayor,” and adding, “Dump Frey and Omar!”
  199. Frey responded, tweeting, “Welcome to Minneapolis where we pay our bills” and suggested at a press conference that Trump should spend more time doing his job and less time “tweeting garbage out.”
  200. Later Tuesday, Trump again attacked the “Radical Left Dem Mayor of Minneapolis” saying he is “doing everything possible to stifle Free Speech,” adding, “despite a record sell-out crowd at the Target Center.”
  201. CNN reported the Trump campaign has not paid at least six cities for rally costs: El Paso, TX ($470k), Spokane, WA ($65k), Mesa, AZ ($64k), Eau Claire, WI ($47k), Lebanon, OH ($16k) ,and Burlington, VT ($8k).
  202. On Thursday, Trump held a campaign rally at Target Center. The rally drew thousands of protestors chanting “Lock him up!” and holding signs. Some protestors clashed with Trump supporters outside the rally.
  203. A new department policy banned off-duty police from wearing their uniform, so the police union made red t-shirt which said, “Cops for Trump.” Trump tweeted his support, “I LOVE the Cops for Trump shirts.”
  204. Trump attacked Biden and his family, saying Biden “was never considered smart. He was never considered a good senator. He was only a good vice president because he figured out how to kiss Barack Obama’s ass.”
  205. Trump called Hunter “a loser,” saying he knows “nothing about energy,” and “nothing about China,” adding, “Whatever happened to Hunter? Where the hell is he?…I have an idea for a new T-shirt…Where’s Hunter?”
  206. Trump also spent six-minutes attacking Rep. Ilhan Omar, as a photo of her wearing a headscarf flashed on jumbo screens, calling her an “America-hating socialist” and a “disgrace.”
  207. Trump also attacked Somali refugees, telling attendees he will “give local communities a greater say in refugee policy,” and, “You should be able to decide what is best for your own cities and for your own neighborhoods.”
  208. Trump also performed an impression of former FBI agent Peter Strzok and attorney Lisa Page having sex, saying, “I love you, Lisa,” and “I love you too, Peter” before moaning “Lisa, I love you, Lisa! Lisa! Oh, God, I love you.”
  209. On Friday, on a conference call with House Democrats, Speaker Pelosi said of Trump’s comments on Biden, he “has become a potty-mouth and children are listening,” adding, “this is beyond disgraceful.”
  210. On Friday, at his second rally in two days in Louisiana, Trump lashed out at Pelosi, calling her “Nervous Nancy,” saying she “hates this country,” and comparing the inquiry to a “nonstop battle to overturn your vote.”
  211. Trump also attacked impeachment, saying “The radical Democrats’ policies are crazy,” adding, “they know they can’t win on Election Day, so they’re pursuing an illegal … unconstitutional bullshit impeachment.”
  212. During the rally, Trump abruptly switched topics and aired his grievances, attacking Democrats, including Schiff who he said “made it up,” to creating an imaginary back-and-forth between Page and Strzok.
  213. Trump also defended his decision to pull troops from Syria, saying, “I am not president of the world. I am president of the United States of America,” adding, “We reject globalism. We embrace patriotism.”
  214. On Thursday, in an op-ed, 17 former Watergate special prosecutors said Trump should be impeached, citing “there exists compelling prima facie evidence that President Trump has committed impeachable offenses.”
  215. On Thursday, Michael McKinley, a career diplomat and senior adviser to Pompeo, resigned over plummeting morale at the department and Pompeo’s failure to support staffers ensnared in the Ukraine controversy.
  216. CNN reported one of the reasons McKinley resigned was over the silence in the top ranks at the State Department, who were not defending Yovanovitch.
  217. On Friday, Yovanovitch testified behind closed doors to House committees. She said a top State Department official told her Trump pushed for her removal, though the department believed she had “done nothing wrong.”
  218. Her opening statement said undermining loyal diplomats would embolden “bad actors” who will “see how easy it is to use fiction and innuendo to manipulate our system” and serve the interests of adversaries like Russia.
  219. She said allegations circulated by Giuliani allies that she was disloyal to Trump were “fictitious,” there was a “concerted campaign” against her, and the department had been under pressure from Trump to remove her.
  220. Yovanovitch said Deputy Secretary of State John Sullivan informed her Trump had lost confidence in her when she was recalled from Kiev. Later Friday, Trump nominated Sullivan to be U.S. ambassador to Russia.
  221. Yovanovitch said she had never inhibited efforts by Ukraine to combat corruption, and was not part of discussions on suspending aid, but said recent events would hamper Ukraine’s reform and defense against Russia.
  222. Yovanovitch warned private influence and personal gain could undermine U.S. interests, saying harm will come when “private interests circumvent professional diplomats for their own gain, not the public good.”
  223. On Friday, the White House accidentally sent talking points on Yovanovitch’s deposition to Democrats, the second time it did so this month on matters relating to Ukraine.
  224. The talking points encouraged turning the table and attacking Chair Schiff, and reminded Republicans not to be concerned with any information shared by Yovanovitch, because Trump “did nothing wrong.”
  225. On Friday, AP reported White House aides are disappearing amid impeachment talk, including Sunday shows and beyond. White House counselor Kellyanne Conway’s last press gaggle was on September 27.
  226. White House press secretary Stephanie Grisham has yet to hold a daily press briefing. It has been seven months since the last daily briefing. Deputy press secretary Hogan Gidley has also been absent.
  227. On Friday, Kevin McAleenan resigned as acting Secretary of Homeland Security, the fourth person to hold the position under Trump, who announced the departure on Twitter.
  228. McAleenan had become more isolated in recent week. He recently told the Post in an interview that he did not have control of “the tone, the message, the public face and approach” of his department.
  229. On Thursday, CNN reported the FBI and SDNY prosecutors are examining Giuliani’s financial dealings with Parnas and Fruman. Giuliani said he was not aware of any law enforcement scrutiny.
  230. On Thursday, when asked by CNN if Giuliani could be indicted, Trump said “I hope not,” adding, “You know, he’s got a lot of clients. So, I just don’t know. I haven’t spoken to Rudy about it, I don’t know.”
  231. On Friday, when asked by reporters if Giuliani was still his attorney, Trump said, “Well, I don’t know. I haven’t spoken to Rudy. I spoke to him yesterday briefly. He’s a very good attorney and he has been my attorney.”
  232. Later Friday, NYT reported Giuliani is also under investigation by federal prosecutors in the SDNY for violating foreign lobbying laws in his work in Ukraine. They are also examining his efforts to undermine Yovanovitch.
  233. Giuliani acknowledged he worked with Parnas and Fruman to collect damaging information on Yovanovitch and the Bidens, and shared materials with government officials and a Trump-friendly columnist.
  234. Federal law requires U.S. citizens to disclose to the DOJ contacts with the U.S. government or media at the direction or request of foreign politicians or government officials. Giuliani claimed he was working for Trump.
  235. Parnas and Fruman connected Giuliani to Lutsenko, Ukraine’s top prosecutor, who disliked Yovanovitch’s reform efforts and wanted her recalled, and saw Giuliani as a way to pass negative information to Trump.
  236. Parnas also told people Yovanovitch was blocking his efforts to pursue gas deals in Ukraine, and that one of his companies paid Giuliani hundreds of thousands of dollars.
  237. On Friday, in the late afternoon, Trump announced from the Oval Office that he had reached the first phase of a trade deal with China. Previously, Trump had insisted on a full-blown trade agreement, not a piecemeal deal.
  238. Trump also criticized the Federal Reserve, and repeated his call that they should cut rates again, saying, “We have a great economy, but we have a Federal Reserve that’s not in step with the rest of the world.”
  239. Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin pronounced from the Oval Office that the next round of tariffs would not go into effect. Wall Street initially cheered the partial deal, but soon cooled seeing no real resolution.
  240. On Saturday, USA Today reported a senior adviser to China’s government said the multiple delays in reaching a trade deal have been due in large part to actions by Trump, and his concerns about the 2020 election.
  241. On Saturday, Trump tweeted the deal with China is “by far, the greatest and biggest deal ever made for our Great Patriot Farmers in the history of our Country.” Both sides acknowledge a full resolution is a far way off.
  242. On Saturday, the Hill noted that after his remarks on Monday, Leader McConnell has refused to publicly comment on impeachment. He is also dealing with a growing number of GOP senators raising concerns.
  243. On Saturday, Trump tweed, “Schiff is a lying mess!” quoting a headline on “Fox & Friends” based on a Washington Examiner story that Schiff recruited two former NSC aides who worked alongside the whistleblower.
  244. On Saturday, Trump defended Giuliani, tweeting, “So now they are after the legendary “crime buster” and greatest Mayor in the history of NYC.” Giuliani formerly headed the SDNY, which is now investigating him.
  245. Trump also tweeted, “He may seem a little rough around the edges sometimes, but he is also a great guy and wonderful lawyer,” adding, “Such a one sided Witch Hunt going on in USA. Deep State. Shameful!”

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Former U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch is surrounded by lawyers, aides and journalists as she arrives at the U.S. Capitol October 11, 2019 in Washington, DC. Yovanovitch was invited to testify behind closed doors to the House Intelligence, Foreign Affairs and Oversight committees as part of the ongoing impeachment investigation against Trump.

POLITIKS OF GRAFFITI 67: “INCONTROVERTIBLE” ~ RUSSIA INTERFERED WITH THE 2016 ELECTION

Week 66 of this presidency: Experts in authoritarianism advise to keep a list of things subtly changing around you, so you’ll remember.

February 17, 2018 https://medium.com/@Amy_Siskind/week-66-experts-in-authoritarianism-advise-to-keep-a-list-of-things-subtly-changing-around-you-so-a3c69c829741

For the first time in quite a while, this week Trump had no control over the narrative. What was supposed to be his Infrastructure Week, was quickly supplanted by the Rob Porter scandal, which carried over from Week 65 and escalated, highlighting the Trump White House dysfunction. Another mass shooting shook the country and left Trump and his regime flat-footed ahead of bombshell indictments unsealed by Mueller against Russians on Friday.

The indictments highlight what heads of US intelligence unanimously agreed to in Senate hearings, and what H.R. McMaster called “incontrovertible” — that Russia interfered in the 2016 presidential election. Trump’s continued denial of Russian meddling leaves him in an isolated and untenable position, as the country awaits his response to Russia.

Of note, this week there was push-back from inspector generals, watchdog groups, and the judicial branch against the regime’s kleptocracy and corruption — some of the first signs of accountability.

IMG_8552
by Consumerart in the East Village, NYC ~ Feb2018
  1. NBC News reported Associate Attorney General Rachel Brand resigned due to her frustration that key positions in her jurisdiction were unfilled, and her concern that Rod Rosenstein’s job was in danger and she would assume oversight of the Russia probe.
  2. On Sunday, Kellyanne Conway, Mick Mulvaney, and Marc Short appeared on Sunday shows to defend the White House’s handling of the Rob Porter abuse allegations. Mulvaney’s timeline on “Face the Nation” was differentthan John Kelly’s version.
  3. When asked if Hope Hicks was in danger dating Porter, Conway said “I’ve rarely met somebody so strong with such excellent instincts and loyalty and smarts.” Porter’s first ex-wife, Colbie Holderness, responded in an op-ed about domestic abuse.
  4. On Tuesday, Politico reported in the hours after Daily Mail broke the story about Porter’s abuse, press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders hastily arranged an off-the-record meeting between Porter and four reporters to tell his side of the story.
  5. On Sunday, WAPO reported under Trump ICE arrests have surged by 40%. The biggest jump has been arrests of immigrants with no criminal convictions: 37,734 arrests in fiscal 2017, more than doubling 2016’s arrests.
  6. Street-level ICE officers and field directors have greater latitude to determine whom they arrest and under what conditions. Trump officials call it taking “the shackles off,” and happily report morale is up at ICE.
  7. Houston Chronicle reported Carlos Gudiel Andres, husband and father of five, was arrested early morning while packing his tools for work, the latest case of ICE targeting predominantly Hispanic apartment complexes.
  8. Community members held a rally in CT for Zhe Long Huang and Xiang Jin Li, known as “Kris and Tony,” who face deportation to China. The couple, who own a local nail salon, fear being separated from their two sons.
  9. In Kansas, ICE handcuffed a chemistry professor, Syed A. Jamal, who has been in the US for 30 years, as he was leaving to drive his daughter to school. Jamal, who coached kids in science and sports, awaits deportation.
  10. In Phoenix, ICE was set to deport Jesus Armando Berrones-Balderas, a father of five who has lived in the US since he was one and has a son battling cancer. After media coverage, ICE granted him a one-year stay.
  11. Toronto Star reported US Border Patrol is boarding buses and trains within 100 miles of Canada and asking passengers if they are citizens. A 1953 law gives the patrol the right to do this within 100 miles of our borders.
  12. On Tuesday, BuzzFeed reported Raphael Sanchez, while chief counsel for ICE in Seattle, stole the identities of multiple immigrants while their immigration cases were under review.
  13. Sanchez pleaded guilty to using the immigrants’ information to open up credit cards and loans in their names, taking payments of more than $190,000 from the false accounts. He resigned from the agency.
  14. Reuters reported the Trump regime is considering closing more than 20 US resettlement offices, and cutting back operations at more than 40 others as part of the State Department’s plan to reduce the number of refugees allowed in.
  15. On Tuesday, a second judge, US District Judge Nicholas Garaufis in Brooklyn, ruled DACA could not end in March, saying the regime could eventually rescind DACA, but the reasons given in September were too arbitrary to stand.
  16. Vox analyzed the hiring records for three Trump properties in New York and Florida and found only one out of 144 jobs went to a US worker from 2016 to the end of 2017. The rest were foreign workers under H-2B visas.
  17. Jocelyn Morfii, an elementary school teacher at Saints Peter and Paul Catholic School in Miami for seven years, was fired after marrying a woman. The principal said it was “difficult and necessary decision.”
  18. USA Today reported that 92% of Trump’s federal judge nominees are white. Of the 87 picks so far, just one is African American, one is Hispanic, and five are Asian American.
  19. Boston Globe reported Charles Johnson, a 29 year-old who questions if six million Jews died in the Holocaust, argues black people are “dumber” than white people, and is part of white supremacist circles, has found mainstream acceptance working for a pro-Trump super PAC in DC.
  20. On Sunday, Rick Blood, the GOP deputy mayor of Mendham, ex-Gov. Chris Christie’s hometown, published a Facebook post comparing immigrants to raccoons in the basement, and lauded Trump as the exterminator.
  21. Blood deleted the post, which was a version of a post circulating on conservative blogs since early 2016. On Monday he faced Mendham residents, and then, after a township committee meeting, resigned.
  22. On Monday, Brandon Defrain, GOP chair in Bay County, Michigan resigned his post and from the party. In a Facebook post he said “I can no longer remain silent” about Trump, citing racism, hatred, and violation of civil rights.
  23. Lissa Luca, a Democratic candidate in West Virginia’s House of Delegates, was forcibly escorted out after using a public hearing on the House floor to list the donations GOP lawmakers had received from the oil and gas industry.
  24. On Monday, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, led by acting director Mulvaney, dropped its lawsuit against Golden Valley Lending, a payday lender that allegedly charged people interest rates of up to 950 percent.
  25. On Monday, is a speech to the National Sheriffs Association, Sessions broke from his prepared written remarks — “The sheriff is a critical part of our legal heritage” — to instead invoke the “Anglo-American heritage.”
  26. On Thursday, the US appeals court in Virginia said Trump’s Muslim Ban was probably unconstitutional, putting it on hold pending Supreme Court review. Trump’s comments and tweets were reviewed in the case.
  27. On Thursday, the House voted to amend the Americans with Disabilities Act, to require written notice of violations, and giving businesses 60 days to come up with a plan and an additional 60 days to take action.
  28. On Thursday, Planned Parenthood and eight other groups sued Trump’s Department of Health and Human Services, saying the agency unlawfully canceled their five-year grants for teen pregnancy prevention midstream and with no explanation
  29. Heath Hall, the Federal Railroad Administration’s acting chief since June, resigned following another deadly Amtrak crash. Politico reported Hall was simultaneously working as a public relations consultant in Mississippi.
  30. Trump’s pick to run the Census Bureau, Thomas Brunell, a deeply partisan professor with no government experience who had defended racial gerrymandering and voter suppression, withdrew from consideration.
  31. According to data obtained by McClatchy, the State Department is promoting 50% fewer people into the first levels of senior Foreign Service positions, creating a crisis for the future diplomatic corps and a leadership vacuum.
  32. The Trump regime has also proposed another steep cut in the diplomatic budget of more than 25%, raising concerns the regime is intentionally undercutting the department’s work and US influence in the world.
  33. According to WAPO in partnership with Partnership for Public Service, after 13 months in office, Trump has yet to put forth a nominee for 1 in 3 key roles in the executive branch: 225 of 636 positions have no nominee.
  34. On Sunday, Politico reported Rep. Devin Nunes created his own alternative news site. The website, “The California Republican,” is paid for by Nunes’ campaign committee, and is classified on Facebook as a “media/news company.”
  35. On Sunday, WAPO reported based on information obtained under the FOIA, unlike his predecessors, Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Scott Pruitt travels first-class and on military jets, and stays at very high-end hotels, costing taxpayers tens of thousands.
  36. Pruitt also tends to bring a larger entourage of political advisers on his trips than past administrators, and rarely discloses his schedule in advance citing “security concerns” and that it could be a “distraction.”
  37. NYT reported that a $225,000 donation resulted in special treatment for Fitzgerald trucks, as Pruitt helped the company secure a pollution loophole that Obama tried to close, and the Trump regime is championing.
  38. A federal court ruled Trump’s Department of Energy must implement four Obama-era energy efficiency regulations, which have been delayed for more than a year, saying failure is “a violation of the department’s duties.”
  39. The Veterans Affairs inspector general found Secretary David Shulkin’s chief of staff doctored an email and made false statements to justify having taxpayers cover expenses for his wife on a 10-day trip to Europe.
  40. The inspector general also found Shulkin improperly accepted tickets to Wimbledon worth thousands of dollars and other gifts, and directed an aide to act as a “personal travel concierge” to him and his wife.
  41. On Thursday, Shulkin refused to resign, instead saying his chief of staff’s email account had been hacked: “We’ve seen that somebody is impersonating her, and we have to fully investigate that.”
  42. NYT reported the FCC inspector general opened an investigation by the end of 2017 into whether commissioner Ajit Pai and his aides improperlypushed for rule changes which benefitted Sinclair Broadcasting.
  43. AT&T will seek testimony from the Department of Justice’s antitrust chief, in exploring whether Trump influenced the department’s decision to block the company’s proposed acquisition of Time Warner to retaliate at CNN.
  44. WAPO tabulated that in Trump’s first 13 months in office, more than 40% (9 out of 22) of the people he originally picked for Cabinet-level jobs have faced ethical or other controversies.
  45. On Thursday, the Trump regime agreed to settle a pending lawsuit by nonprofit group Public Citizen filed last August, and will post visitor logs for some White House offices, including Office of Management and Budget and the drug czar’s office.
  46. On Sunday, the day before the White House released its 2019 budget,Mulvaney told “Fox News Sunday” that the US will post a larger budget deficit this year and could see a “spike” in interest rates as a result.
  47. On Monday, Trump unveiled his $1.5 trillion infrastructure plan which his aides told Axios is not expected to pass, and his $4 trillion budget which his aides said reads like “science fiction.”
  48. The aides told Axios Trump’s real focus in 2018 is “looking for opportunities to stir up the base” — “unexpected cultural flashpoints” like the NFL and kneeling that Trump can latch onto in person and on Twitter.
  49. As part of the infrastructure plan, Trump would give Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke the unilateral power to approve construction of pipelines through national parks. Currently, construction requires an act of Congress.
  50. Also as part of the infrastructure plan, the Trump regime wants to sell off or privatize a broad array of government assets, including the Reagan National Airport and the George Washington Memorial Parkway.
  51. As part of the budget, the Trump regime wants to shake-up the SNAP program (food stamps). Under the regime’s proposal, recipients would get half their benefits in a “USDA Foods package” determined by the regime.
  52. The package includes “shelf-stable milk, ready to eat cereals, pasta, peanut butter, beans and canned fruit and vegetables,” but not fresh produce. The regime says it will save $129 million over 10 years with these limitations.
  53. Trump’s budget also proposed ending federal funding for the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, which provides some funds to PBS and NPR. PBS CEO Paula Kerger said this would result in closing some local PBS stations.
  54. On Wednesday, Mulvaney told a congressional panel Trump’s military parade could cost up to $30 million, but it is not included in the budget because it came up late.
  55. On Tuesday, in Senate testimony, Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats said the nation’s debt, likely to escalate with the Republican’s $1.5 trillion tax cut and other fiscal measures, “represents a dire threat to our economic and national security.”
  56. AP reported the amount of money spent lobbying by corporations, trade associations, and special interest groups spiked in the final months of 2017, in the battle for tax breaks in the Republican tax bill.
  57. The GOP tax bill was mostly written in private. Watchdog group Public Citizens reported more than 4,600 lobbyists were engaged specifically on the tax rewrite, an average of 13 lobbyists for every member of Congress.
  58. On Monday, Trump tweeted, “4.2 million hard working Americans have already received a large Bonus and/or Pay Increase.” This is false. A survey found less than 2% of America benefited from the GOP tax law.
  59. Democratic Gov. Tom Wolf of Pennsylvania announced a directive for counties replacing electronic voting systems to buy machines with a paper backup, citing hackers scanned voter registration databases in the 2016 election.
  60. Foreign Policy reported BuzzFeed has hired Anthony Ferrante, who works for FTI Consulting and is a former FBI and National Security Council cybersecurity expert, to lead a team in verifying the Steele dossier.
  61. BuzzFeed is being sued for libel by Russian technology executive Aleksej Gubarev who claims the website was reckless in publishing the dossier. A source said of BuzzFeed’s strategy: “If it’s fact, it’s not libel, that’s the idea.”
  62. On Monday, Russia news agency Tass was again the first to report a telephone conversation between Trump and Putin. According to Tass, the content discussed had to do with diplomacy in the Middle East.
  63. On Monday, Putin hosted Palestinian President Abbas in Moscow and reportedly told him Trump coveys “his best wishes.” Reuters reportedAbbas told Putin he wants the US peace role diluted.
  64. On Monday, CNN reported Sens. Chuck Grassley and Lindsey Graham sent a letter to former National Security Adviser Susan Rice asking why she sent an email to herself the day of Trump’s inauguration about an Oval Office meeting on Russian interference.
  65. The email details a January 5 meeting attended by Rice, Obama, James Comey, Sally Yates, and Joe Biden. Obama stressed he wanted every aspect handled by the Intelligence and law enforcement communities “by the book.”
  66. In January, Comey, James Clapper, John Brennan, and Mike Rogers released a public report saying Russia meddled in the election to help Trump win. Obama was also briefed on conversations between Michael Flynn and Sergey Kislyak.
  67. The email states: “Obama said he wants to be sure that, as we engage with the incoming team, we are mindful to ascertain if there is any reason that we cannot share information fully as it relates to Russia.” The email was sent at 12:15 p.m., just minutes before Obama left office.
  68. On Tuesday, leaders of the US intelligence agencies testified before the Senate Intelligence Committee. DNI Coats warned, “There should be no doubt that Russia perceives its past efforts as successful and views the 2018 US midterm elections as a potential target for Russian influence operations.”
  69. Leaders laid out the challenges which include the flow of Russian misinformation and shoring up defenses of electoral systems. Almost every state is taking steps to protect voter databases and election equipment.
  70. Coats said, “We need to inform the American public that this is real,” adding, “there needs to be a national cry for that.” Trump continues to deny that Russia interfered in the 2016 election, calling it “a hoax.”
  71. Sen. Jack Reed asked the leaders if Trump has directed them to take “specific actions to confront and to blunt” Russian interference activities. All are taking some actions, but none have been specifically directed by Trump.
  72. On Wednesday, WAPO reported at the behest of Trump in April, Don McGahn called Dana Boente at DOJ and tried to get him to persuade Comey to publicly state Trump was not personally under investigation in the Russia probe.
  73. McGahn’s office has also reportedly prepared a detailed reconstruction of the 18 days between the time of Yates’s warning and Flynn’s firing, and turned the document over to Mueller for his review.
  74. On Thursday, CNN reported Rick Gates is finalizing a plea deal with Mueller, indicating he will become the third regime member to cooperatein the investigation. The plea negotiations had been ongoing for about a month.
  75. Gates has already had a “Queen for a Day” interview, in which he can answer any questions about his own case and other potential criminal activity he witnessed, and not have it used against him if he cooperates.
  76. On Friday, as part of the wrangling over Paul Manafort’s bail, Mueller’s team told a federal judge they have found evidence of “additional criminal conduct” by Manafort not addressed in their indictment last October.
  77. Mueller’s filing shows Manafort obtained a mortgage using “doctored profit and loss statements” which overstated his consulting company’s income “by millions of dollars.” There are also references to “conspiracies,” suggesting that someone beyond Manafort was involved in the fraud.
  78. NBC News released, in a public database, more than 200,000 malicious activity tweets created by Russian-linked accounts during the 2016 presidential race, which were deleted by Twitter.
  79. Russia threatened to block YouTube and Instagram if they did not removecontent posted by opposition leader Aleksei Navalny of Russian oligarch Oleg Deripaska and deputy prime minister Sergei Prikhodko on Deripaska’s yacht.
  80. On Thursday, Steve Bannon told the House Intelligence Committee he has been instructed by the White House to invoke executive privilege on behalf of Trump, saying he could only answer 25 pre-approved questions on the Russia investigation.
  81. Rep. Adam Schiff said Bannon’s claim of executive privilege is “breathtaking and insupportable.” He added Democrats will push for initiating contempt charges against Bannon, but it is unclear if Republicans will go along.
  82. On Thursday, NBC News reported Bannon spent 20 hours with Mueller’s team at multiple meetings over the past week as part of the investigation of Russian interference and other issues that have arisen in the probe.
  83. Daily Beast reported Mark Corallo, former legal spokesperson for Trump, was interviewed this week by Mueller. In Week 64, Corallo was said to be planning to share information relating to obstruction of justice.
  84. FBI director Christopher Wray contradicted the White House timeline on Porter. Wray said the FBI submitted a partial report to the White House in March, completed it in late July, and followed up in November with additional information requested by the White House, before closing the file in January.
  85. Later Tuesday, the White House again changed its story on Porter: Sanders said the White House Office of Personnel Security didn’t consider the investigation complete until November, and it had not made a final determination thereafter.
  86. On Tuesday, at the Senate hearings, Coats said officials with an interim clearance should have limited access to sensitive information. He called the security clearance process in Trump’s White House “broken.”
  87. On Tuesday, Rep. Trey Gowdy announced the House Oversight Committee has opened an investigation into Trump’s employment of Porter, and what White House officials knew about domestic abuse accusations against him.
  88. On Tuesday, WAPO reported many White House staffers feel misled and blame chief of staff John Kelly. One White House official called Kelly “a big fat liar,” and added, “his handling of the Porter scandal amounts to dereliction of duty.”
  89. There is also infighting as press secretary Sanders and her deputy Raj Shah echoed Vice President Pence saying the White House could have been handled this better, while Kelly disagrees, telling the WSJ Monday, “It was all done right.”
  90. WAPO’s Philip Rucker, a reporter on the story, told MSNBC they tried to get a subordinate of Kelly to go on the record and say something positiveabout him for balance, but were unable to find one.
  91. On Wednesday, Politico reported nine days into the Porter scandal, press secretary Sanders is pushing for senior officials who made the decisions around Porter’s security clearance to speak to the press directly.
  92. On Wednesday, NBC News reported more than 130 appointees working in Trump’s Executive Office did not have permanent security clearances as of November 2017, including Ivanka, Kushner, Dan Scavino, and McGahn.
  93. On Trump’s National Security Council, 10 of 24 officials had only interim security clearances as of November, including Dina Powell (who has resigned), Fiona Hill, Kevin Harrington, John Rader, and Joshua Steinman.
  94. On Wednesday, National Economic Council official George David Banks who served since February 2017 became the third White House official to resign after being told he would not receive permanent security clearance.
  95. NBC News reported that in addition to the basic questionnaire to gain security clearance, some members of the Trump regime were required to answer supplemental questions asking if they are vulnerable to blackmail.
  96. On Friday, WAPO reported, amid fallout from the Porter scandal, Kelly announced an overhaul of the White House security clearance processwhich places the onus on the FBI and DOJ to hand-deliver updates and information.
  97. The five-page document begins, “We should — and in the future, must — do better,” is addressed to McGahn and McMaster, with Sessions and Wray copied, and gives 48 hours to report derogatory information to the White House.
  98. Also Friday, Kelly announced starting next week, the White House will no longer allow some employees with interim security clearances access to top-secret information, which could impact Kushner in his role as senior adviser.
  99. Kushner may not be able to maintain his extensive portfolio, which necessitate classified briefings. Kushner has also attended meetings where classified info was discussed, and had access to the President’s Daily Brief.
  100. Bloomberg reported the IRS and DOJ have issued subpoenas for documents from lenders and investors in real estate projects managed by Kushner’s family in New York and New Jersey within the past year.
  101. Talking Points Memo reported that Kushner quietly filed an addendum to his personal financial disclosure on January 3, 2018, adding a number of additional business interests which were previously undisclosed.
  102. According to a recent update by Ivanka, Kushner has taken out millions more in loans, signaling liquidity issues. The couple is battling a lawsuit accusing them of illegally omitting information on 32 other companies.
  103. TPM asked Kushner’s lawyer about public documents of other undisclosed business interests. The lawyer said Kushner “has provided complete information” on his financial disclosure, but there may be further updates.
  104. On Friday, Reed Cordish, a senior Trump adviser on government-to-government and technology initiatives, and close friend of Kushner and Ivanka, resigned.
  105. On Tuesday, Michael Cohen told the NYT he paid $130,000 of hush money to Stephanie Clifford out of his own pocket, saying neither the Trump Organization nor the Trump campaign was a party to the transaction.
  106. On Wednesday, NYT reported Cohen’s payment has raised potential legal questions ranging from breach of contract to ethics violations. Cohen has also been vague on whether he was reimbursed for his payment.
  107. On Thursday, tax documents released by Trump’s Inaugural Committee show the committee spent nearly all of the $107 million it raised. The majority of the funds, $57 million, went to four event-planning companies.
  108. The largest payment of $25.8 million went to WIS Media Partners, an event-production company formed 45 days before the inauguration, led by Stephanie Winston Wolkoff, a friend and now unpaid adviser to Melania.
  109. On Friday, Ronan Farrow reported on Trump’s nine month affair with Playboy model Karen McDougal starting in 2006, which she memorialized in an eight-page handwritten document provided to The New Yorker.
  110. McDougal was paid $150,000 by American Media, Inc. (AMI), publisher of the National Enquirer, on November 4, 2016 for exclusive rights to her story. David Pecker who owns AMI is a friend of Trump, and never ran her story.
  111. Six former employees of AMI said Pecker routinely made arrangements with women called “catch-and-kill” — paying for stories that would never run. One employee said Pecker used the unpublished stories as leverage.
  112. On Friday, First Lady Melania Trump broke with the tradition of walking as a couple across the South Lawn to Marine One amid the new allegations of Trump’s marital affairs.
  113. On Wednesday, 17 people were killed in a mass shooting at a high school in Parkland, Florida. This marks the third mass shooting in the last five months: at a school, church, and concert, done with a AR-15 semi-automatic rifle.
  114. On Thursday, Trump tweeted blaming the shooting on mental illness and later called for mental health action. In February 2017, Trump signed a GOP bill revoking Obama-era gun checks for people with mental illness.
  115. Trump’s budget proposed a $25 million reduction in funds designated for national school safety activities, and the elimination of a $400 million grant program used to prevent bullying and for mental health assistance.
  116. Wired reported that in the aftermath of the shooting, pro-gun Russian bots flooded Twitter. The top hashtags the bots were active in within 24 hours of the shooting included #Parkland, #guncontrol, and #guncontrolnow.
  117. On Thursday, Politico reported the White House is feeling rudderless as this week Trump hung back behind staff rather than take decisive action in the face of the Porter scandal and then the Parkland school shooting.
  118. On Friday, Mueller’s office unveiled criminal indictments against 13 Russian nationals and three foreign entities, which revealed a sophisticated network of interference in the 2016 presidential election.
  119. The 37-page indictment includes conspiracy to defraud the US and aggravated identity theft, and reveals how the campaign also relied on extensive intelligence work by Russian operatives on US soil.
  120. Two operatives, Aleksandra Krylova and Anna Bogacheva, traveled as tourists through at least nine states in June 2014 to gather intelligenceused to evaluate political targets on social media before the campaigns got into full swing.
  121. Russians stole the identities of American citizens and posed as political activists. They also set up US bank accounts and used computer servers located in the US.
  122. Charges say the operation was primarily meant to communicate derogatory information about Clinton, to denigrate Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio, and to support Bernie Sanders and Trump. There was also a push to back Jill Stein.
  123. Political ads sought to chip away Black Americans’ support for Hillary and to lower Muslim American turnout. Operatives also pushed social media hashtags like #Hillary4Prison and #TrumpTrain.
  124. One of the three entities indicted was Internet Research Agency, whose operations targeted US social media and which employed hundreds of people, and at one point had a monthly budget of over $1.25 million.
  125. Starting in June 2016 when Trump had clinched the GOP nomination, the operatives began to organize and coordinate pro-Trump political rallies. In August, the operatives focused on Florida which Trump narrowly won.
  126. NYT reported the Federal Election Commission had also launched its own investigation into Internet Research Agency last year, on whether it may have violated the FEC Act of 1971 with the purchase of Facebook ads.
  127. In September 2017, as social media companies started disclosing Russia’s presence, one defendant, Viktorovna Kaverzina, emailed her family: “We had a slight crisis here at work: the FBI busted our activity (not a joke).
  128. Mueller’s team also unsealed an indictment against 28-year-old Richard Pinedo, a California computer science major whose company opened bank accounts and sold them to shadowy purchasers for cash.
  129. Pinedo pleaded guilty to identity fraud, and has been cooperating with Mueller’s team. He also wrote a plea supporting the indictment of Russian nationals. His lawyer said Pinedo sold accounts to Russians unwittingly.
  130. After the indictments were released, Rosenstein held a press conference. Of note, he stood alone without Mueller or anyone from Mueller’s team. He said the defendants conducted information warfare against the US.
  131. Rosenstein said he and Wray had briefed Trump on the indictments Friday morning. Experts noted the time frame between informing Trump and the public was unusually short.
  132. Rosenstein noted the defendants “communicated with unwitting individuals associated with the Trump campaign,” and added, “there’s no allegation in this indictment” (emphasis added) of knowing collusion.
  133. The DOJ said Mueller’s work is not complete. The charges did not address the hacking of Democratic email systems or whether Trump tried to obstruct the FBI investigation into Russian interference.
  134. None of the defendants were arrested, and it is highly unlikely Russia will extradite its citizens to the US. Experts speculated the level of detail given this may indicate Mueller is perhaps deterring Russia from further action, and it may also elicit relevant documents from businesses and banks.
  135. On Friday, the White House issued a statement saying the indictments show “there was NO COLLUSION between the Trump campaign and Russia and that the outcome of the election was not changed or affected.”
  136. On Friday, Trump suggested he was vindicated, tweeting Russia started their operation in 2014, “long before I announced that I would run,”adding “the Trump campaign did nothing wrong — no collusion!
  137. Trump made no mention of a foreign power disrupting our election or acknowledging it occurred, nor did he announce any steps to address it.He was conspicuously silent on all these points again on Saturday.
  138. On Saturday, at the 2018 Munich Security Conference, Russian foreign minister Sergey Lavrov called the indictments “just blabber.” Lavrov also noted that Vice President Pence had raised questions about the investigation.
  139. Shortly after Lavrov spoke, McMaster told the audience that evidence of Russia interference in the 2016 presidential election is “now really incontrovertible.
  140. Former US ambassador Kislyak told the audience the indictments were “some kind of hunting spree throughout the world on Russian computer wizards,” adding they have “spoiled the trust” between the two countries.
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East Village, NYC ~ Feb2018
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Spineless, Corrupt, Speaker of the House Paul Ryan by Jim Carrey
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Artist unknown ~ NYC ~ Feb2018
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“Trump = Enemy of the People” sticker on 6th (Avenue of the Americas) in New York City. Feb2018

POLITIKS OF GRAFFITI 35: TWITTER TWAT

Week 34 of trump’s presidency: Experts in authoritarianism advise to keep a list of things subtly changing around you, so you’ll remember.

July 8, 2017 https://medium.com/@Amy_Siskind/week-34-experts-in-authoritarianism-advise-to-keep-a-list-of-things-subtly-changing-around-you-so-a15f5f9de76b

This is arguably the most alarming weekly list so far. A plot that has played out week-by-week as Trump alienated our allies while cozying up to authoritarians, followed by his embarrassing behavior at the NATO and G7 meetings, culminated this week at the G20 with US isolationism. This videohttps://goo.gl/VR1zxi, which traces weekly not normal items, explains why Putin is the winner in this new world alignment.

This week Trump amped-up his assault on the media, including encouraging violence. With this, Trump has distracted the country and media, and taken back the narrative. In the atmosphere of chaos, this week also stands out for the number of important stories that received little or no media coverage.

  1. As more and more states refused to comply with what Trump described as his “very distinguished VOTER FRAUD PANEL”, he questioned, “What are they trying to hide?
  2. By midweek, 44 states and DC refused to provide some or all of the voter roll data requested by Trump’s Election Integrity Commission.
  3. States are denying the request based on concerns over privacy and federal overreach, and also concern that the effort of identifying voter affiliation will be used to purge Democrats from voter rolls.
  4. The Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law filed a Hatch Act complaint against Kobach, saying he used Trump’s commission to solicit political campaign money.
  5. A Maryland official, Deputy SoS Luis Borunda, resigned from Trump’s commission.
  6. Several experts on the regulatory process told The Hill that Trump’s commission may have violated the law by failing to submit the requests to states through OIRA, as required by the Paperwork Reduction Act.
  7. A DOJ letter sent to 44 states’ election officials on the same day Kobach and Pence made their requests, asks states to detail their compliance with the NVRA. This request also raised concerns about voter purging.
  8. At a rally in DC Saturday night, Trump continued his attacks on the “fake” media, saying, “I’m President and they’re not.”
  9. On Sunday, Trump tweeted a video created by a Reddit user from both his personal account and the official @POTUS account, showing him violently wrestling down a person whose face is the CNN logo.
  10. The Reddit user was named “HanAssholeSolo” and his posts were full of anti-Muslim, anti-Semitic and other white supremacists materials.
  11. The Reddit user later apologized, but Trump did not. The parents and wife of the CNN reporter who covered the story received around 50 harassing phone calls. Allegedly, CNN did not defend the reporter.
  12. As Trump continued his anti-CNN rhetoric, the cable network’s anchors and executives received death threats and other harassing messages.
  13. Following Trump’s tweet, three media watchdog groups have started to do something they never imagined: documenting violent threats and actions against the media in the US.
  14. Maine’s Governor LePage said he makes up stories to mislead the press. LePage also called the media “vile” and “inaccurate.”
  15. NYT reported the Trump regime discussed using the pending merger between Time Warner and AT&T as leverage over CNN.
  16. On Thursday, Trump media ally Daily Caller reported the WH doesn’t support the merger if Zucker still heads CNN.
  17. Trump ally and Bannon patron Bob Mercer bought 2.5mm shares of Time Inc., owner of Time magazine in the first quarter of 2017. Per Week 33, David Pecker, owner of National Enquirer is also interested in Time Inc.
  18. Maddow reported that TRMS was sent a forged NSA document. Maddow speculated this was an attempt to trick her show into reporting a false story, and hence weakening her credibility and dulling that storyline.
  19. Maddow said that other media outlets may also be receiving forged documents as well, citing recently retracted stories at CNN and Vice.
  20. POLITICO reported on the Trump regime’s obsessive crackdown on leaks from the intelligence community, which has led to an “increasingly tense and paranoid working environment” in the national security community.
  21. On Sunday, protestors gathered at rallies in dozens of cities around the country to call for Trump’s impeachment.
  22. NBC reported that in Trump’s first 168 days in office, he spent 50 days at Trump properties and 36 days at Trump golf resorts.
  23. NYT reported that while working with industry players, not EPA staff, Pruitt has moved to undo, delay or block 30 environmental rules, a rollback larger in scope than any other in the agency’s 47-year history.
  24. Several states sued over the EPA’s decision to keep a Dow pesticide, which studies show can harm children’s brains, on the market. Per Week 33, Dow spent millions lobbying and donated to Trump’s inauguration.
  25. The Wisconsin assembly passed a bill which would block students from protesting conservative speakers on college campuses.
  26. NYT reported the Trump regime’s latest anti-immigrant tactic is to target undocumented parents suspected of having paid to have their children smuggled into the US.
  27. POLITICO reported that Trump insider Stephen Miller has been holding meetings with agencies on how to further curb the entry of refugees. Miller clashed with Tillerson, who demanded autonomy.
  28. A new law in Florida allows parents and residents to file complaints with school boards to challenge what’s taught in science classes.
  29. Attorneys general for 18 states and DC sued DeVos and the Dept of Education over a decision to roll back rules put in place to help students who have been defrauded by their colleges.
  30. Devos’s Dept of Education may stop publishing the list of college and universities in violation of Title IX for mishandling campus sexual assault. The Obama Administration started the list to hold schools accountable for an issue which impacts 1 in 5 college women and 1 in 20 college men.
  31. WAPO reported the WH gender pay gap until has more tripled under Trump, with female staffers earning on average 63% of what their male counterparts make. This is the biggest WH gender pay gap in decades.
  32. Female journalists were banned from the Speaker’s lobby, a room area where reporters speak to members of Congress, because their sleeveless dressed were not viewed as “appropriate attire.”
  33. In a 53 page memo to the court, Trump attorney Kasowitz argued for the dismissal of a sexual harassment lawsuit against Trump, claiming Trump cannot be sued in state court while in office.
  34. The Auschwitz Memorial condemned a political video posted by Louisiana Republican Clay Higgins, which the congressman filmed inside an Auschwitz gas chamber.
  35. At a protest outside Sen Portman’s office in Columbus, OH, a woman in a wheelchair was pushed out of her chair to the ground by a police officer.
  36. The KKK plans a rally in downtown Charlottesville today, and warned that many of its 80–100 members and supporters will be armed.
  37. Pro-Trump Twitter operatives are marketing their services to candidates and others, promising to mobilize their followers and networks for pay.
  38. Guardian reported investigators are looking into whether the Trump campaign and far-right websites coordinated with Russia in spreading fake news. Sen Warner noted key voters in swing states were targeted.
  39. Motherboard reported on an analysis of the Twitter bots that helped Trump, and found the same bots and alt-right narrative emerged in the French election against Macron.
  40. On July 4, NRP tweeted the Declaration of Independence, and was attacked by Trump supporters who called it “propaganda” and “spam.
  41. A new NPR/PBS NewsHour/Marist poll found Trump’s net approval with Independents has fallen by 17 points since he took office.
  42. The poll also found that the majority (54%) of Americans believe Trump did something illegal or unethical with Russia.
  43. While his predecessors Clinton, W. Bush and Obama celebrated July 4th by visiting troops, Trump spent the day on a Trump-branded golf course. McCain, Warren and Graham visited troops in Afghanistan.
  44. Despite his recusal, Sessions spoke to Fox & Friends about the Trump-Russia probe, offering advice to Mueller on hiring practices and tempo.
  45. WSJ reported the OGE will release an additional two dozen ethics waivers just filed for Trump regime members working on issues they handled in their private-sector jobs. Trump has already granted as many waivers to WH officials as Mr. Obama did in his eight years in office.
  46. The State Depart’s Office of the Inspector General said the State Dept and USAID have failed to adequately track more than $30bn of foreign aid.
  47. In a survey of 35k employees in the State Dept and USAID, workers said they were concerned about the future of their agencies and the lack of support from the Trump regime and Tillerson.
  48. An Indiana nonprofit is suing Pence’s successor for keeping residents in the dark on the deal between the Trump regime and Pence with Carrier. The group’s request for information in December went unanswered.
  49. In another sign the Trump regime won’t take civil rights seriously, Trump nominated Eric Dreiband to the DOJ’s Civil Rights Division. Dreiband has spent his career defending companies from charges of discrimination.
  50. One of the DOJ’s top corporate crime watchdogs, Hui Chen, resigned, saying holding companies to standards the Trump regime wasn’t living up to was “creating a cognitive dissonance that I could not overcome.”
  51. Walter Shaub, director of the OGE resigned in frustration, six months before his term ended, saying, “It’s clear that there isn’t more I could accomplish.” Shaub and OGE have 24 items in The Weekly List.
  52. Shaub said in post-resignation interview that Trump’s ethics program is “a very serious disappointment,” and that his efforts to get basic information from the regime was “like pulling teeth.”
  53. CREW filed an ethics complaint against Kushner, saying he failed to make the required disclosure of his ownership interest in Cadre. The online real estate investment company has a value of $800mm.
  54. The Russian sanctions bill, which passed in the Senate 98–2, stalled in the House as Republican Pete Sessions, chair of the House Rules Comm, said it would make American energy companies less competitive.
  55. WSJ reported energy companies including Exxon and Chevron, and other industries, are lobbying against the Russian sanctions bill, saying it would hurt their business with Russian partners.
  56. Trump Organization renewed more than 1k web domains, including many which refer to Trump and Russia, like TrumpTowerMoscow.com., indicating possible interest in future development.
  57. Axios reported that Russian government-owned Sputnik news is coming to the DC airwaves after taking over a FM radio station. The FCC has not yet been notified according to a spokesperson.
  58. Matt Tait, who is cited in the WSJ story on possible Trump campaign collusion with Russia on Hillary’s deleted emails, wrote an op-ed, “The Time I Got Recruited to Collude with the Russians,” to tell his story.
  59. Tait said it was clear to him that Smith knew Flynn and his son, well, and that they knew the “dark web” was likely Russia but didn’t care. Tait warned it could be “part of a wider Russian campaign against the US.”
  60. Tait also received a document titled “A Demonstrative Pedagogical Summary to be Developed and Released Prior to November 8, 2016,” which list four groups involved, including group one which listed: Bannon, Conway, Clovis, Flynn and Lisa Nelson.
  61. McClatchy reported a Kremlin documents shows Kaspersky Lab, a leading global seller of anti-virus programs, has ties to Russia’s spying apparatus. Kaspersky’s certification has a FSB military intelligence unit number.
  62. Kaspersky security software is available globally, including at Target and Walmart. The company also serves as a subcontractor for US federal software contracts, and was used by the DNC last summer.
  63. CNN reported that Russia is stepping up spying efforts in the US post the US elections. Officials cited said Russia feels emboldened by the lack of a significant retaliatory response by Trump and Obama.
  64. US Intel estimates that Russia has 150 operatives in the US. Since the election, many have tried to sneak in under the guise of business.
  65. Strangely, the State Dept reportedly continues to grant temporary duty visas to suspected Russian intelligence officers, despite knowledge.
  66. AP reported on a lawsuit filed by Coalition for Good Governance, saying Georgia’s 6th Congressional election results should be voided because of previously identified problem with the touchscreen voting system.
  67. The suit cites the work of a private cybersecurity researcher who found that a misconfigured server had left Georgia’s 6.7 million voter records exposed to hackers last August.
  68. Republican SoS in Georgia, Brian Kemp blamed the media for developing a false narrative about Russia hacking, and said states are doing enough to keep elections secure and “anything to the contrary is fake news.
  69. WSJ reported that Mueller has hired an “absolute cream of the crop” team of 15 top attorneys with experience in national security, public corruption and financial crimes for the Russia probe.
  70. FT reported Russian-born Sater has agreed to co-operate with an international investigation into a money-laundering network. Per Week 32, Sater has extensive ties to organized crime and the Trump family.
  71. In their campaign for the upcoming election, Merkel’s party has dropped the reference to the US as a “friend.” Four years ago, her party referred to the US as Germany’s “most important friend” outside of Europe.
  72. Bloomberg reported China and Germany have stepped up to lead this year’s G20 summit, a role formerly held by the US.
  73. Pew Research found that 17 of the 19 G20 countries in their survey look to Merkel, not Trump, to lead in world affairs.
  74. Guardian reported Trump considered a sneak visit to Downing Street in order to avoid massive UK protests en route to or from the G20 summit. After the story broke, the WH said Trump would not visit.
  75. Instead, on his way to the G20, Trump chose to stop off at Poland, despite the new far-right government’s authoritarian leanings including cracking down on judges and the media.
  76. AP reported the Polish government promised the WH cheering crowds as part of the invitation. Members of the ruling party and pro-government activists bussed in groups of people for Trump’s speech.
  77. Trump gave another of his dystopian speeches in Poland, saying Western civilization was at risk of decline because of “radical Islamic terrorism” and government bureaucracy.
  78. At a news conference in Poland, Trump said he thinks meddling in the US election was done by Russia, but “it could have been other people in other countries” and that “nobody really knows for sure.”
  79. Also on his trip to Poland, Trump continued to dismiss and belittle US intelligence, saying, “Do we even have seventeen intelligence agencies?
  80. The day before Trump was set to meet with Putin, seemingly as a bargaining chip, The Moscow Times reported the Russian embassy to the US is accusing the US of “kidnapping” a man accused of cyber-fraud.
  81. Ahead of his meeting with Putin, top Senate Democrats sent a letter to Trump saying not raising Russia’s interference in our election would be “a severe dereliction of the duty of the office to which you were elected.”
  82. LA Times reported that in preparing Trump for his meeting with Putin, aids had written a list of “tweet-length sentences,” which summarize the main points.
  83. Trump met with Mexico’s Pena Nieto at the G20. After the meeting, Trump was asked if Mexico will pay for the wall to which he responded, “absolutely.” Mexico’s foreign minister said the wall was not discussed.
  84. Friday, without provocation or reason, Trump tweeted a random lieabout Podesta: “Everyone here is talking about why John Podesta refused to give the DNC server to the FBI and the CIA. Disgraceful!”
  85. At the G20, Trump and Putin met for 2:16 hours off-camera, behind closed doors. The meeting was originally scheduled to last 30 minutes.
  86. Only Tillerson and Trump were present from the US side, despite media speculation that McMaster and Fiona Hill would be included.
  87. Lavrov and Tillerson gave different accounts of what happened behind closed doors. Lavrov said Trump told Putin some circles in America were “exaggerating” allegations of Russian interference in the US election.
  88. Sally Yates tweeted Trump’s refusal to confirm Russian interference“insults career intel pros & hinders our ability to prevent in future.”
  89. Tillerson’s version differed, but both said they agreed to put whatever happened behind them: “There was not a lot of re-litigating of the past.” Tillerson added, “This is a very important relationship.
  90. Russia faces no consequences from Trump for interfering in our election. It was unclear if Trump returned the two Russian compounds seized by Obama as punishment for Russia interfering in our election.
  91. In an op-ed, “Trump Caves to Putin,” conservative journalist Stephen Hayes laid out an indictment of how Trump bowed to Putin on Russian interference and foreign policy. Elected Republicans however were silent.
  92. AP reported Saturday that Putin said, “he thinks Trump believes his denial of Russian meddling in US vote, but better to ask Trump himself.”
  93. Ivanka took her father’s seat at a G20 meeting on Saturday. Normally, government ministers or senior officials would take such a role.
  94. Trump isolated the US from other G20 countries on a series of policies ranging from climate to free trade.
  95. The US abstained from signing onto the G20 communique on climate-related issues, the sole country at the summit to do so.
  96. As the summit came to a close, leaders feared for that the G20 summits may be ineffective while Trump is in office. President Macron said, “Our world has never been so divided.”
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Artist: Subdude in London, England

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CHISINAU, MOLDOVA GRAFFITI: “DEAR EU, PLEASE ACCEPT US”

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Here is some graffiti depicting a Moldovan mother and child walking up a path to the European Union. The Republic of Moldova has been actively pursuing European Union membership for years. But, due to its poverty level (the poorest of any countries pursuing membership) and its ongoing Transnistrian dispute (Transnistria is an independently formed breakaway republic backed by, you guessed it, Russia), the EU has not been willing to accept the country. The EU has set up shop in Chisinau (since 2005) and is trying to ‘help’ with the conflict in order to (possibly) eventually bring Moldova into the Union, as Moldova has desperately tried to gain entry for so long… – I’m taking a road trip to Transnistria today, as I wish to see it for myself.

7july17. Chisinau, Moldova.

 

POLITIKS OF GRAFFITI 30: COVFEFE

Week 29 of trump’s presidency: Experts in authoritarianism advise to keep a list of things subtly changing around you, so you’ll remember.

June 3, 2017 https://medium.com/@Amy_Siskind/week-29-experts-in-authoritarianism-advise-to-keep-a-list-of-things-subtly-changing-around-you-so-c9e9f26fc799

This was an abbreviated week with Memorial Day and Congress out of session. Republicans were largely in hiding. Without the background noise in DC, two major themes played out: the spreading Russia crisis, and the shaping of a new world order.

Even before Megyn Kelly’s prime-time interview of Putin, Russia has become a national obsession. Several bombshells on Trump-Russia broke this week, as the collusion puzzle continues to piece together. And seemingly at Putin’s behest, a new world order is shaping with Trump distancing himself from our democratic allies, and cozying up to brutal authoritarian states.

  1. As the Trump-Russia scandal spread, Donald Jr, Eric and Eric’s wife Lara met with GOP leaders to discuss strategy. Donald Jr and Eric were supposed to steer clear from politics while running the family business.
  2. SoS Tillerson, Exxon’s former CEO, was present in Saudi Arabia at the same time Exxon’s current CEO was signing a major deal with state-owned Saudi Basic Industries Corporation (SABIC).
  3. The Trump regime planned to quietly sell $1.2mm of semiautomatic handguns to Ergodan’s security guards. After these guards beat American protestors at the Turkish embassy in DC, members of Congress objected.
  4. Belgian newspaper Le Soir reported that during his Brussels visit, Trump complained to the Belgian PM about his difficulties in setting up golf courses in the EU.
  5. In the final leg of his trip, Trump continued to ignore US press. Trump was the only G7 leader to not hold a press conference after the summit.
  6. The WH omitted the name of the husband of Luxembourg’s gay PM from the caption of a photo taken at the NATO summit. It was later corrected.
  7. Merkel warned Europeans that the US and Britain are no longer reliable partners, and that Europe “must take its fate into its own hands.
  8. Macron said his prolonged, white-knuckled handshake with Trump was “not innocent,” telling French media, “we must show that we will not make small concessions, even symbolic ones.”
  9. In an interview with Megyn Kelly, Putin it would be a good thing for Moscow if NATO were completely “falling apart.”
  10. In sharp contrast to Trump, on Monday France’s Macron stood on stage next to Putin and called Russian media outlets “organs of influence and propaganda.” France also accepted LGBTQ refugees from Chechnya.
  11. While visiting Australia, McCain sought to reassure our important ally, telling them Trump’s actions have “unsettled many Americans as well.”
  12. CNN reported that Trump’s return from his first foreign trip finds him lonely and angry. One source said, “I see him emotionally withdrawing. He’s gained weight. He doesn’t have anybody whom he trusts.”
  13. A furious Trump threatened a WH shake-up again and again this week amid the broadening Russia crisis; however it also became clear that few are interested in working for Trump.
  14. Trump’s Communications Director quit Tuesday. Other than that, no changes were made this week despite all the drama.
  15. Kellyanne Conway’s husband, George Conway, withdrew his name from consideration to lead the Civil Division of the DOJ.
  16. Reuters reported that Trump FBI director search has become “chaotic,”and said Trump interviewed candidates for 10–20 minutes, and in one case, mostly talked about himself.
  17. AP reported Trump gave his cell number to world leaders and urged them to call him directly, raising concerns about security and secrecy.
  18. Trump’s Twitter account experienced a strange surge of followers in the month of May. Nearly half his new followers are likely fake accounts.
  19. Rolling back 40 years of progress, the Trump regime plans to disband the Labor Department division responsible for policing discrimination among federal contractors.
  20. Also as part of this move, Trump will also roll back protections for the LGBTQ community, and for victims of campus sexual assault.
  21. Amid racial tensions in Portland, OR after a two men were killed by a white supremacist while coming to the aid of Muslims women, a Republican said the party should use militia groups at public events.
  22. Three days after the Portland attack, Trump tweeted attack was “unacceptable;” although he did so through the @POTUS Twitter account, not the personal account he typically uses.
  23. One hundred eighth graders on a field trip to DC refused to pose with Paul Ryan. One student added, “I don’t want to be associated with him.”
  24. WNYC reported Trump SoHo plans layoffs, citing in the past five months room and event bookings are down sharply.
  25. As Trump lost the appeal in federal court on his second Muslim Ban, the regime gave US embassies broad discretion to limit travelers through intensified screening measures for visa applicants.
  26. In another act of violence against US media, several windows at the Lexington Herald-Leader were shattered by bullets.
  27. Texas’s House passed SB 4, which attempts to abolish “sanctuary cities” by making local officials who refuse to enforce the Trump’s regime’s extremist measures liable and subject to removal from office.
  28. A Texas state representation, Matt Rinaldi, called ICE on SB 4 protesters. He also threatened to “put a bullet in one of his colleague’s heads” during a scuffle on the House floor.
  29. A man arrested for failing to pay fare on Minneapolis light rail faces deportation after undergoing inappropriate questioning by a transit officer on his immigration status. The exchange was captured on video.
  30. In Michigan, ICE agents ate breakfast at an Ann Arbor restaurant, complimented the chef on the waffles and bacon and eggs and toast, and then went to the kitchen area and arrested three restaurant workers.
  31. A Guardian article described ICE agents as “out of control” and “getting worse” as arrests of non-violent undocumented immigrants explode across the country. Agents have also been accused of targeting protestors.
  32. The Trump regime filed a petition with the SCOTUS to appeal the second Muslim Ban rulings. Ironically the Ban, marketed as imperative to protecting America, had a 90 day tenor. It is now over 120 days later.
  33. A noose was found at the segregation exhibition of the National Museum of African American History and Culture.
  34. NYC sculptor Alex Gardena, upset about the Fearless Girl statue looking at the bull, placed a statue of a urinating dog next to the girl.
  35. Signaling his lack of knowledge on governing and his continued authoritarian bent, Trump tweeted the Senate ‘should switch to 51 votes, immediately, and get Healthcare and TAX CUTS approved.’
  36. China arrested one activist, and two others disappeared, after investigating alleged labor abuse at a factory that makes Ivanka’s shoes.
  37. Sen Judiciary Comm chair Grassley called for an investigation into a Chinese co marketing investments in a property partly managed by Kushner using EB-5 visas (granting visas for $500k investments).
  38. McCain said Russia is a bigger threat to the US than ISIS, and said “We have done nothing since the election last November to respond to Vladimir Putin’s attempt to change the outcome of our elections.”
  39. POLITICO reported as Mueller ramps up his Russia investigation, Trump aids are responsible for preserving materials, despite many using auto-delete apps. Destroying materials could expose aids to criminal charges.
  40. On Meet the Press, Clapper said of the Kushner-Russia reports his warning light was clearly on, and “all of us in the intelligence community, very concerned about the nature of these approaches to the Russians.”
  41. NYT reported that the FBI is investigating Kushner’s motives for meeting with Gorkov, head of VEB, a Russian state bank, and whether it had to do with Russia’s interference in the 2016 election.
  42. CNN reported on intercepted conversations during the 2016 election which reveal Russians believed they had “derogatory” information on Trump and some of his tops aides that could be used to influence them.
  43. At a Recode conference, Hillary said the Russians “could not have known how best to weaponize that information” without help from Americans.
  44. Trump’s close confidant and personal attorney, Michael Cohen was asked by House and Senate investigators “to provide information and testimony” on contacts he had with Russia. So far Cohen has declined.
  45. The House Intel Comm sent a preliminary request for information to former Trump aid, Boris Epshteyn.
  46. The New Yorker reported that Trump reached out to ally Roger Stone, who is at the center of congressional and FBI investigations, on May 11th and told him, “good job.”
  47. CNN reported that Congress is investigating a possible third undisclosed meeting between Sessions and Kislyak.
  48. The House Intel Comm issued seven subpoenas Wednesday on the Trump-Russia probe — four subpoenas related to Russia investigation, and three were issued to the NSA, FBI and CIA on “unmasking.”
  49. Schiff said no Democrats were consulted on the “unmasking” subpoenas. Democrats on the House Intel Comm said that Nunes violated his Russian recusal by issuing these subpoenas.
  50. The WH finally disclosed waivers granted. VOX reported that Trump has granted more lobbyist waivers in 4 months than Obama did in 8 years!
  51. The waiver granted to Bannon for communicating with Breitbart may have violated ethics rules, as it was granted retroactively.
  52. WH Office of Management Director Mulvaney said the day of the CBO “has probably come and gone.”
  53. It has been 36 days since the State Dept held a daily press briefing.
  54. POLITICO reported the WH ordered agencies not to comply with Democrat’s oversight requests, as Republicans fear the information could be used against Trump. None of these requests have been honored so far.
  55. Trump tweeted at 12:06 a.m.: “Despite the constant negative press covfefe…” While Twitter stayed awake lambasting Trump, the tweet remained up until morning, when it was replaced by a humorous version.
  56. When Spicer was asked about the Trump tweet the next day, he refused to admit wrong or a mistake instead saying, “The president and a small group of people know exactly what he meant.
  57. Amid outrage by corporate CEOs, US and international politicians and experts, and a clear majority of US citizens, Trump formally withdrew from the Paris Accord with another of his hallmark dystopian speeches.
  58. While delivering his speech, Trump referred to a casino robbery in a Manila casino as an “act of terrorism.” This was a false statement.
  59. Trump also bragged in his speech about adding one million jobs. The actual number is closer to 600k. Trump’s top economic adviser Cohn said Trump was using the ADP number, ignoring its own government report.
  60. May’s nonfarm payroll number came in Friday well below expectations (138k actual vs. 185k expected).
  61. After Trump pulled from the Paris Accord, Ivanka sought to recreate her image, tweeting support for the LGBTQ community and being featured as the “most powerful Jewish woman.” Both were met with outrage.
  62. A poll by POLITICO/Morning Consult found support for Trump impeachment is rising: 43% this week, up from 38% last week.
  63. WAPO reported that the Trump regime is moving to return the two US compounds the Obama administration had taken away from Russia as punishment for interfering in the 2016 election.
  64. Yahoo reported that days after taking office, the Trump regime tasked the State Dept with finding ways to lift economic sanctions, to return the two US compounds, and to relieve tensions Russia
  65. As these were the same State Dept employees that helped develop punitive measures, they were alarmed and rallied congressional allies.
  66. WAPO reported that while Kushner and VEB’s Gorkov have given different accounts for why they met, shortly after their meeting, Gorkov met with Putin in Japan.
  67. Congressional investigators are looking into whether Kushner was vulnerable to Russian influence because his real estate holding are over-leveraged, and whether this led to his meeting with Gorkov.
  68. WAPO reported that Kushner financed a luxury skyscraper in Jersey City using federal loans meant to help poor, job-starved areas.
  69. NBC reported that five current and former officials say Trump participated in a private meeting in April 2016 with Kushner, Sessions and Kislyak at the Mayflower Hotel.
  70. Nigel Farage is a “person of interest” in the FBI’s Trump-Russia scandal, in part for meeting with Assange at the Ecuadorian Embassy in March.
  71. James Comey is scheduled to testify in front of the Senate Intel Comm next Thursday, and is expected to say that Trump asked him to back off the investigation of Flynn.
  72. ABC reported that Comey is angry, saying Rosenstein and Sessions never relayed any concerns about his job performance before firing him.
  73. NYT reported that Trump could try to block Comey’s from testifying citing executive privilege. As of today, Trump has not decided if he will try to block Comey’s testimony.
  74. Going a step further than Trump, Putin said maybe “patriotically minded” private Russian hackers meddled in the US election
  75. DOJ’s Weissman, who oversaw foreign bribery and bank cases, is joining Mueller’s Russia investigation team.
  76. AP reported Mueller has taken over a separate DOJ criminal probe into Manafort, which predates the 2016 election.
  77. Mueller may also expand his inquiry to investigate Sessions’s and Rosenstein’s roles in firing Comey.
  78. Reuters reported special counsel will also probe Flynn’s ties to Turkey.
  79. POLITICO reported the Trump regime is pushing Congress for legislative victories as Trump grows impatient; but as the Trump-Russia scandal heats up, it’s unlikely any legislation will be passed in coming months.
  80. Today, Americans in 150+ cities will participate in the “March for Truth”to demand the urgency and transparency on Trump-Russia.

A closing note: the number of items we have normalized and/or forgotten about from the early lists is astounding. Each week brings new bombshells and scandals – stories that in normal times would be front page news for weeks or months — for example, Pence’s (Week 16) and Tillerson’s (Week 19) email scandals. In the chaos, we have forgotten.

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And to the increasing number of people equating our loathing of this person with being anti-American, I’ll just say that that is the absolute OPPOSITE of what we are. On the other hand, a true measure of being anti-American is actually dodging military service, not three times, not four, but FIVE times (!) when mandated to serve this country like everyone else at the time. Other examples of him being anti-American, hmm…how about…aligning with dictatorships (Russia, Philippines, Turkey) and destroying western relationships. He despises freedom and he’s convincing uninformed people (i.e. Fox News viewers) that if they don’t blindly follow his regime, then they are against our country. FALSE. We are FOR our country. You deserve better. Believe in your ability to THINK.

POLITIKS OF GRAFFITI 13: NOTHING TO SEE HERE

Week 12 of Donald Trump’s presidency: Experts in authoritarianism advise to keep a list of things subtly changing around you, so you’ll remember.published February 4, 2017 https://medium.com/@Amy_Siskind/week-12-experts-in-authoritarianism-advise-to-keep-a-list-of-things-subtly-changing-around-you-so-1dd061886793#.l82fi9v15

An observation on Week 12: several of the most important items in this very long list are the ones not getting coverage: including Ukraine, and the many abuses of power to silence dissent and stomp on ethics. Conflicts of interest abound, unfettered.

Protests over Trump’s Muslim Ban took place all over the country and around the world. Thousands protested in major airports and cities, including many red states.

Trump’s EO was criticized by many, and supported by few. Christian leaders spoke our voraciously against prioritizing Christian refugees.

Innumerable horrid stories about the impact of the Muslim ban surfaced during the week. Spicer minimized its impact. Presidents of 598 colleges and universities wrote a letter of concern about the Ban.

Trump promoted Bannon, under a reorganization of the National Security Council, to a regular seat on the principals committee. Criticism and outrage of this move was widespread. Democrats proposed a bill to remove Bannon from the NSC.

A Federal Judge in NY issued a temporary order, blocking Trump’s EO from deportation of arrivals. Next morning, the Department of Homeland Security issued a statement that they would not abide by the court order, and would continue to enforce Trump’s EO. Four other Federal Judges issued similar temporary orders.

The Judicial Branch was removed from the WH website. It was later restored.

An op-ed, “Trial Ballon for a Coup?”, which included a diagram showing an almost completely gutted State Department, trended for an entire day.

In just 12 hours, more than 875k people in the UK signed a petition, demanding Trump’s state visit to Britain be canceled.

Germany’s Merkel, per her spokesperson, had to explain the Geneva Convention, and the requirement for the international community to take in war refugees on humanitarian grounds, to Trump.

Books topping the Amazon list included, “1984,” “It Can’t Happen Here,” and “Brave New World.”

Trump continued to say his Executive Order should not be termed a “Muslim Ban.” Trump insider Rudy Giuliana told Fox News, Trump had called him seeking advice for a ‘Muslim Ban’ and how to do it legally.

According the Sen Rubio, the State Department was instructed not to speak to Congress about Trump’s Muslim Ban.

On a day when the NYT described Bannon’s elevation and Michael Flynn stumbling, Flynn’s Twitter account was taken down.

AP reported the voter fraud expert chosen by Trump to conduct his voter fraud investigation, is registered to vote in three states.

POLITICO reported that several House Judiciary Committee aides secretly worked on Trump’s Muslim Ban. Their bosses were not aware of the EO or their staffs’ involvement.

Acting Attorney General Sally Yates directed the Justice Department not to defend Trump’s Muslim Ban, citing the ban not being legal.

Hours later, Trump fired her, saying she “betrayed” the DOJ. Her memo was rescinded that same night. Trump’s action, named for a similar firing by Nixon, became known as the “Monday Night Massacre.”

WSJ reported that Trump’s tax plan, counter to changes proposed by Congressional Republicans, would preserve millions in tax benefits for Trump companies.

Days after Trump’s phone conversation with Putin, Russia escalated hostilities in the Ukraine. Among the chaos of the Muslim Ban, etc., few in the US noticed.

Six were killed in a mosque shooting in Quebec. The perpetrator was a white man, who “liked” Trump’s Facebook page. The next day, the Eiffel Tower went dark overnight in support. Trump, however, said nothing publicly about the attack.

The WH publicly stated that any State Department employees who disagree with Trump’s Muslim Ban should resign.

As Trump prepares to name his Supreme Court pick, for the first time in decades, no one is bothering to advocate for diversity anymore.

In relatiation for their coverage, Trump said he would no longer send his spokespeople to appear on CNN. On reporter noted, “They’re trying to cull CNN from the herd.”

Trump announced his Supreme Court nominee in reality-tv show type format, claiming he had invited both finalist to the prime-time announcement.

Trump’s sons, who are running his business supposedly walled-off, sat in the front row for the Supreme Court announcement, and mingled with politicians, including the Chair of the Senate Finance Committee.

WAPO reported that Eric Trump’s business trip to Uruguay in January for the Trump Organization, cost tax-payers nearly $100,000 in hotel rooms for Secret Service and embassy staff.

For a second day in a row, Trump personally attacked Schumer on Twitter: “Fake Tears Chuck Schumer.”

Trump canceled a trip to Milwaukee, where he was scheduled to deliver an economic address, due to the threat of protests.

The House Oversight Committee stopped accepting calls relating to investigating Trump.

As part of Black History Month, Trump cited Frederick Douglass, who he described as still alive, and Pence tweeted about a white man.

Trump’s first overseas raid ended in failure. Among the dead were a Navy SEAL and 15 women women and children, including an 8 year-old American. Trump has relaxed Obama’s stance on protecting civilians.

The Yemen raid garnered little media attention for days, until Reuters reported via US military officials that Trump “approved his first covert counterterrorism operation without sufficient intelligence, ground support or adequate backup preparations.”

Spicer admitted that Trump was not in the Situation Room during the Yemen raid. He issued the green light while at dinner, and during the raid itself, Trump was busy sending unrelated, incendiary tweets.

In the third wave of mass disruption in January, 17 Jewish Community Centers (JCC’s) received bomb threats.

FLOTUS Melania Trump said she and Barron may never move to the WH.

Reuters’ Editor-in-Chief announced that their reporters would cover the Trump adminisration as an authoritarian regime.

On the day Tillerson was confirmed, the House killed a transparency rules which required oil companies to report payments to foreign governments. As Exxon CEO, Tillerson had lobbied against this provision.

The House’s move on transparency also impacts the ability to trace the owner of a 19% stake of Roseneft, mentioned in Week 11’s list.

In a phone call, Trump threatened his Mexican counterpart with sending US military to stop “bad hombres down there.” Next day, Trump said this was just meant to be “lighthearted.”

Trump’s first call with Australia, one of our closest allies, went terribly, and ended prematurely after, according to Australian media, Trump berated PM Turnbull.

Later that night at 10:55 pm, Trump tweeted Obama had agreed “to take thousands of illegal immigrants from Australia.” This is a lie: Obama accepted 1,250 refugees. Next day, McCain called Turnbull to express US support. Hoyer also issued a statement of support.

Trump opened his remarks at the National Prayer Service by attacking Arnold Schwarzenegger for “The Apprentice” getting low ratings. Trump continues to hold the role of Executive Producer of the show.

Later at the National Prayer Service, Trump promised to “totally destroy” the Johnson Amendment, which forbids churches from political activity in order to maintain their tax-exempt status.

Trump lifted sanctions, introduced by Obama in December, on Russia’s FSB. A former head of Russia’s FSB claimed this to be the start of a formal “anti-terror alliance” in the DUMA.

Virginia filed a contempt motion against Trump over his Muslim Ban, asking the US District Court to make sure that the federal government complied with the temporary restraining order.

At the hearing, the Justice Department said over 100,000 visas have been revoked as part of Trump’s Muslim Ban. The State Department later said the number was closer to 60,000.

NBC reported, via a FOIA request, that emails reveal Ethics officials warned Trump against an ‘unprecendented’ efforts to staff his cabinet without ethics vetting. Trump aides rebuffed OCE efforts.

As per the Week 11 List, Trump issued a Holocaust statement without mentioning Jews. This week, POLITICO reported the State Department’s draft statement did reference Jewish victims, but Trump team took it out.

Due to lower sales caused by boycotts, both Nordstroms and Neiman Marcus announced, they will no longer carry Ivanka Trump’s brand.

A poll by Public Policy Polling (PPP) revealed that 40% of registered voters support impeaching Trump. Polls asking during Nixon years, didn’t reach this level until 16 weeks into the Watergate scandal.

A former PM of Norway was detained for hours at Dulles Airport because his passport showed a visit to Iran in 2014.

Trump ordered female staffers to “dress like women.” Twitter mocked his words, with a campaign using the hashtag #DressLikeAWoman.

Conway continued telling outright lies, citing a fabricated Bowling Green Massacre as a rational for Trump’s Muslim Ban.

Trump said he would be “cutting a lot out of Dodd Frank” since his friends with “nice businesses” are having a hard time borrowing money, because of rules and regulations.

NPR reported that Trump faces 55 lawsuits in his first two weeks— as compared to 5 for Obama, 4 for W. Bush and 5 for Clinton.

The New Yorker and Vanity Fair canceled their involvement with White House Correspondents’ Dinner parties.

As the week came to a close, a federal judge appointed by President Bush ruled that Trump’s Muslim Ban EO be halted, nationwide, immediately.

Upcoming TIME cover.

Artist unknown.

Creator: Terry Young


Upcoming: POLITIKS OF GRAFFITI 14

Previous posts: https://jacquelinemhadel.com/2017/02/15/politiks-of-graffiti-12-amerikan-gothik/

KIEV, UKRAINE IMAGES: IT’S A POWDER KEG, CEASEFIRE NO MORE…

Images you’re about to see from today, February 22, 2015:

~ Gathering of Ukrainians at St. Michael’s Cathedral Square

~ Mobile film stations were set up in the square by the Ukrainian Military Defense to show the Ukrainian people “evidence” of the current Russian aggression.

~ Children are laughing and smiling, climbing on tanks (seemingly unaware of the real horrors occurring in Donetsk, Debaltseve…)

~ Burnt out cars (bombed, shelled) from the war with Russia (and the Separatists) brought in from Donetsk, Debaltseve with Ukrainians (and their children) getting up close and peering into them.

~ Waving of Ukrainian flags (blue & yellow) and “a black and red flag, this one raised by pro-Ukraine protesters, belongs to the Ukrainian Insurgent Army (UPA). The members were Ukrainian nationalists who fought against both sides in WW2 for an independent Ukraine – even resorting to collaborating with the German army as a tactical strategy to achieve nationalist goals. Some accuse them of murdering Jews and Poles, so in Russia this flag is regarded as fascist. (BBC News)

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22feb15. Kiev, Ukraine.

BOOKS: THE CENTURY TRILOGY by KEN FOLLETT

from Wikipedia:

Fall of Giants is a historical novel by Welsh-born author Ken Follett. It is the first in the Century Trilogy, and follows five interrelated families throughout the course of the 20th century between 1911 and 1924. The first book covers notable events such as World War I, the Russian Revolution, and the struggle for women’s suffrage.

Winter of the World is an historical novel by Welsh-born author Ken Follett, written in 2012. It is the second book in the Century Trilogy, after Fall of Giants. The story starts in 1933, with the Nazi seizure of power, includes World War II, and concludes in 1949.

According to Follett, the third book, provisionally titled Edge of Eternity, will cover the Cold War and is to be published in late 2014.

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Ever since “Pillars of the Earth” and “World Without End,” Follett has captured me as a reader. Before those two books, I wouldn’t have deigned to read his “thrillers.” But alas, as I can see the man knows how to conduct in-depth research, I will gladly read anything he writes.

The first week of May was spent with “Winter of the World” and what a lovely week it was.