POLITIKS OF GRAFFITI 149: “EMBOLDENED REGIME”

SEPTEMBER 14, 2019

Week 148

Experts in authoritarianism advise to keep a list of things
subtly changing around you, so you’ll remember. https://theweeklylist.org/weekly-list/week-148/
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New York City, September 2019

As Congress returned to session, House Democrats had conflicting messages on impeachment. The Trump regime’s Justice Department seized on the divergence, saying lawmakers were not entitled to see the full Mueller report or grand jury information — the rationale used for seeking the documents. The emboldened regime also said it would pursue criminal charges against Trump opponent former FBI deputy director Andrew McCabe, and more stories emerged of the regime threatening agency officials in the National Oceanic and Atmosphere Administration. The Supreme Court again sided with Trump on an important anti-asylum decision, and Trump took new steps to roll back protections against the environment.

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New York City, September 2019

 

The Air Force said it would investigate crews’ stays at Trump’s property in Turnberry, Scotland, and almost 40 visits were identified. Meanwhile, Vice President Mike Pence and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo thumbed their noses at the emoluments clause, headlining events at Trump Hotel DC. A federal appeals court overturned a lower court ruling that will allow a Emoluments Clause lawsuit to proceed.

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New York City, September 2019

 

This week, Trump invited the Taliban to Camp David days before the anniversary of 9/11. The invitation was canceled and days later he fired his third national security advisor, giving him the highest turnover in presidential history of senior foreign policy advisors and NSAs. The Taliban visited Moscow later in the week.

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New York City, June 2019. Artist: Captain Eyeliner
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Graffiti up high in New York City, June 2019: “Open All Borders”

 

  1. On Saturday, at the GOP California convention, Trump campaign manager Brad Parscale predicted, “the Trumps will be a dynasty that lasts for decades,” citing Ivanka, Donald Jr., and Jared Kushner.
  2. On Tuesday, Trump posted an image in Twitter and Instagram with a “TRUMP 2024” campaign banner, continuing his repeated musing that he will continue beyond the Constitution’s two-term limit.
  3. On Saturday, WAPO reported National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration staffers were ordered in a September 1 directive not to contradict Trump on his false claim that Hurricane Dorian would hit Alabama.
  4. On Saturday, Trump attacked NYT reporter Peter Baker, calling him an “Obama flunky,” and saying of his reporting “THIS IS NOT TRUE. I said, VERY EARLY ON, that it MAY EVEN hit Alabama. A BIG DIFFERENCE.”
  5. Trump also called it “FAKE NEWS,” and said he “would like very much to stop referring to this ridiculous story, but the LameStream Media just won’t let it alone,” saying they are “defrauding & deceiving the public.”
  6. On Saturday, just before midnight, Trump tweeted a bizarre video of himself holding a laser pointer in front of a Hurricane Dorian forecast map, and using it to distract a cat labelled CNN.
  7. On Sunday, Trump bragged about his work on criminal justice reform, and tweeted, “@johnlegend and his filthy mouthed wife, are talking now about how great it is — but I didn’t see them around when we needed help.”
  8. Trump also tweeted complaining black anchor “@LesterHoltNBC doesn’t even bring up the subject” when he interviewed him, adding “the people that so desperately sought my help when everyone else had failed.”
  9. Later Sunday, John Legend tweeted, “imagine being president of a whole country and spending your Sunday night hate-watching MSNBC hoping somebody, ANYBODY, will praise you. Melania, please praise this man.”
  10. Chrissy Teigen, who Trump blocked on Twitter two years ago, responded, “lol what a pussy ass bitch. tagged everyone but me. an honor, mister president.”
  11. On Monday, before departing for a campaign rally in North Carolina, Trump told reporters people were standing in line “trying to get into the arena” and are “soaking wet.” It was not raining in Fayetteville.
  12. On Monday, NYT reported Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross threatened to fire top employees at NOAA last Friday, after the Birmingham office contradicted Trump on Dorian hitting Alabama.
  13. Ross’s threat resulted in the unsigned NOAA statement issued in Week 147 disavowing the National Weather Service’s position, which resulted in widespread anger that the agency was being used for political purposes.
  14. The Commerce Department said Ross “did not threaten to fire any NOAA staff over forecasting and public statements about Hurricane Dorian.” The Commerce Deparment’s inspector general did not respond for comment.
  15. On Tuesday, NOAA released an internal memo sent by the agency’s acting chief scientist on Sunday, saying he will investigate why the agency backed Trump’s false claim about Dorian and Alabama.
  16. On Wednesday, NYT reported on Trump’s orders, acting chief of staff Mick Mulvaney told Wilbur Ross to have NOAA publicly “correct” the forecasters claiming that Dorian would not hit Alabama.
  17. A senior official said Trump told his staff to have the NOAA publicly “clarify” the forecasters’ position, leading to the unsigned statement on Friday.
  18. On Saturday, Trump said he canceled scheduled “peace negotiations” with Taliban leadership and separatelywith Afghan President Ashraf Ghani at Camp David after a U.S. service member was killed in Kabul.
  19. The meeting was scheduled four days before the 18th anniversary of 9/11. Trump tweeted, “Unbeknownst to almost everyone,” the leaders “were going to secretly meet with me at Camp David on Sunday.”
  20. Trump also tweeted, “What kind of people would kill so many in order to seemingly strengthen their bargaining position?” adding, “If they cannot agree to a ceasefire…they probably don’t have the power to negotiate.”
  21. Trump pledged to end the war in Afghanistan and withdraw troops. However on Sunday, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo told “Meet the Press” that “any reduction in our forces will be based on actual conditions.”
  22. Pompeo refused to answer when he learned about the meeting with the Taliban, when he learned the meeting was canceled, or why they would host the Taliban days before the 9/11 commemoration.
  23. Pompeo told “Fox News Sunday,” the Defense Department has “full authority to do what they need to do” to protect U.S. forces. Trump was the main person pushing for the Camp David meeting.
  24. On Sunday, NBC News reported the meeting was first discussed on September 1 at a meeting in the Situation Room, and was vehemently opposed by national security adviser John Bolton and State Department officials.
  25. On Monday, Trump denied reporting that he had overruled Vice President Mike Pence and others when arranging the Taliban meeting, tweeting “This Story is False!” and blaming “the Dishonest Media.”
  26. Trump also tweeted, “I view much of the media as simply an arm of the Democrat Party,” calling them “corrupt,” and “extremely upset at how well our Country is doing under MY Leadership,” adding, “NO recession.”
  27. On Tuesday, Trump fired John Bolton, his third national security advisor, over disagreement in handling foreign policy in Iran, North Korea, and Afghanistan. Trump announced the firing on Twitter.
  28. Trump tweeted, “I informed John Bolton last night that his services are no longer needed at the White House,” adding, “I asked John for his resignation, which was given to me this morning.”
  29. Shortly after, Bolton texted “Fox & Friends” co-host Brian Kilmeade, saying he was watching the show and disputed Trump’s account, saying, “let’s be clear, I resigned.’”
  30. On Tuesday, NYT reported with Bolton fired, Trump has gone through more senior foreign policy and national security advisers than any other president, including those considered the experienced adults in the room.
  31. Experts said Bolton’s departure suggests Trump is essentially his own national security adviser. Regardless of who replaces him, it is unlikely to be an important position as Trump will make all decisions on his own.
  32. On Monday, former South Carolina governor Mark Sanford announced he would primary Trump in the 2020 GOP primary. In Week 147, South Carolina was one of four states that said it would not hold a primary.
  33. On Monday, Trump mocked Sanford, tweeting Sanford said he was away hiking on the Appalachian Trail, “then was found in Argentina with his Flaming Dancer friend,” adding “sounded like his political career was over. It was.”
  34. On Monday, CNN reported on a previously undisclosed secret mission in 2017 in which the U.S. extracted a top spy in Russia, over concerns Trump and his regime would mishandle classified intelligence and expose him.
  35. Concern about the duration of his and other spies’ cooperation with the U.S. started at the end of Obama’s time in office, and grew over the 2017 assessment of Russian meddling in the 2016 election.
  36. The decision to extract the top spy came shortly after Trump’s Oval Office meeting with Russian envoy Sergey Kislyak and Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, in which Trump disclosed highly classified information on Israel.
  37. NYT reported the midlevel Russian official had been cultivated over decades, and rose up the Russian government ranks, eventually landing a position in the highest levels of the Kremlin.
  38. When intelligence officials revealed the extent of Russia’s interference in the 2016 election, the media picked up on details of the CIA’s source. The extraction took away one of the CIA’s most important sources.
  39. It also took away intelligence’s view inside the Kremlin on planned interference in the 2018 and 2020 elections. The asset was in Putin’s inner-circle, and was instrumental in confirming Putin ordered interference.
  40. Some foreign intelligence officials say Trump’s closed-door meetings with Putin and his tweets about delicate or classified information have concerned overseas sources.
  41. On Tuesday, Secretary of State Pompeo called reporting on extracting a spy from Russia “materially inaccurate” and “factually wrong,” without providing any information on supposed inaccuracies.
  42. On Tuesday, CNN reported Trump has repeatedly expressed opposition to using intelligence gathered by foreign spies, including spies that provide crucial information on what is happening in hostile countries.
  43. Trump has said privately that using foreign spies can damage U.S. relationships with the countries and undermine his personal relationships with foreign leaders. Trump also has doubted the credibility of spies.
  44. On Thursday, Facebook sanctioned Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s page for saying voters should oppose a government composed of “Arabs who want to destroy us all — women, children and men.”
  45. Facebook said the post violated its hate speech policy. Netanyahu denied writing the post, saying it was a staffer’s irresponsible mistake.
  46. On Sunday, Politico reported arrests at the U.S.-Mexico border plummeted to 51,000 in August, down more than 60% from the peak in August, after the Trump regime struck a deal with Mexico in June.
  47. Mexico agreed to the deal, which heightened enforcement by Mexican authorities and expands the program know as “remain in Mexico,” after Trump threatened tariffs.
  48. Trump tweeted a quote by the National Border Patrol president: “In 22 years of patrolling our Southern Border, I have never seen Mexico act like a true Border Security Partner until President Trump got involved.”
  49. On Sunday, hundreds of Hurricane Dorian survivors in Freeport, Bahamas facing dire living conditions, boarded a ferry heading to Florida. A crew member announced those without a U.S. visa had to disembark.
  50. Customs and Border Protection blamed the incident on the ferry operator. There was a bipartisan call by lawmakers to waive the visa requirement. Dorian left at least 44 dead in the Bahamas.
  51. On Monday, acting CBP commissioner Mark Morgan claimed there was “confusion,” but that said this was a “humanitarian mission” so Bahamians would be allowed in “whether you have travel documents or not.”
  52. Morgan added, “we still need to vet you to make sure we’re not letting dangerous people in.” Later Monday, Trump told reporters we “have to be very careful,” adding, “everybody needs totally proper documentation.”
  53. Trump also told reporters, “I don’t want to allow people that weren’t supposed to be in the Bahamas to come into the United States — including some very bad people and very bad gang members.”
  54. On Tuesday, CNN reported the Trump regime will not grant temporary protected status, a form of humanitarian relief, to people from the Bahamas displaced by Dorian.
  55. A source said that Trump was at odds with senior administration officials who were for granting TPS. Mark Morgan told CNN people fleeing the Bahamas will be reviewed on a “case-by-case” basis.
  56. On Wednesday, the Texas Observer reported the Trump regime is conducting asylum hearings in makeshift tents by the ports of entry in Laredo and Brownsville and not allowing journalists access.
  57. The media is normally allowed to attend immigration hearings. After journalists were turned away, DHS issued a statement saying tent facilities “will not be open to in-person public access,” including media.
  58. On Wednesday, Newsweek reported ICE is building a “state-of-the-art urban warfare” training facility at Fort Benning, Georgia that will include “hyper-realistic” simulations of homes and buildings in Chicago and Arizona.
  59. On Monday, a federal judge issued a nationwide order barring the Trump regime policy which denies asylumto migrants crossing the border if they failed to obtain asylum in another country along the way.
  60. The regime’s new policy had effectively banned most Central Americans fleeing persecution and poverty. On Monday, Attorney General William Barr said Trump’s DOJ had “sought relief” from the Supreme Court.
  61. On Wednesday, the Supreme Court, in a brief, unsigned order said the Trump regime can continue to bar asylum seekers while the legal fight plays out in the courts.
  62. This marks the second time the Supreme Court has allowed the regime’s immigration policies to move ahead, including using $2.5 billion in Pentagon money to be transferred in July to build Trump’s wall.
  63. The rules reverse longstanding asylum policies which allowed migrants to seek haven no matter how they got to the U.S. The case will likely return to the Supreme Court, and take months to do so.
  64. Trump celebrated the order, tweeting, “While congress continues to do nothing,” the regime is using “every tool in the toolbox to try and solve the crisis at our southern border.”
  65. On Wednesday, WAPO reported Trump regime officials toured an unused California facility once used by the Federal Aviation Administration as a possible place to relocate homeless people.
  66. Ahead of Trump’s visit to the state next week, he directed aides to conduct a major crackdown on the homeless, some living in tent camps, saying, according to an aide, “how the hell we can get these people off the streets?”
  67. As part of Trump’s directive, the regime is considering razing tents and creating temporary facilities or refurbishing government facilities. Some officials questioned government’s role in operating homeless shelters.
  68. On Wednesday, California lawmakers passed a bill banning private prisons, including Immigration and Customs Enforcement detention centers, from operating in the state. The bill next moves to the Democratic governor.
  69. On Friday, WAPO reported Housing and Urban Development Secretary Ben Carson and other top regime officials plan to visit California next week as part of Trump’s plan to crack down on the state’s homeless.
  70. Reportedly Trump has taken an interest in the state’s rising homeless as a way to blame Democrats of doing nothing to address the issue. Carson’s trip could coincide with Trump’s visit to California for fundraisers.
  71. On Wednesday, Fox Business host Lou Dobbs warned on his show about the “pervasive” funding efforts of George Soros and said that the “tentacles” of the Jewish billionaire “work against sovereignty, work against our laws.”
  72. On Thursday, the city of Muskegon, Michigan fired Police Officer Charles Anderson after an investigation into Ku Klux Klan and Confederate memorabilia found at his home.
  73. On Friday, in a letter, House Judiciary Chair Jerrold Nadler and Immigration and Citizenship Subcommittee Chair Zoe Lofgren demanded the regime consult with Congress on refugee admissions.
  74. The letter was sent to Secretary of State Pompeo, acting DHS Secretary Kevin McAleenan, and Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar, and pointed to the law which mandates the regime discuss refugee admission with Congress.
  75. The letter cited the regime’s cut to possibly zero admissions would “undermine our nation’s core values, including our historic commitment to refugee resettlement, and critical foreign policy interests abroad.”
  76. On Monday, Trump praised activist shareholder Elliott Management which he said is “now involved with AT&T. As the owner of VERY LOW RATINGS @CNN,” adding, “perhaps they will now put a stop to all of the Fake News.”
  77. Trump also tweeted, “Also, I hear that, because of its bad ratings, it is losing a fortune,” and CNN “is bad for America.” He also said the media hates the U.S. and is “a fraudulent shame, & all comes from the top!”
  78. On Monday, CNN Business reported JP Morgan Chase created the “Volfefe Index”  — a mix of volatility and Trump’s “covfefe” tweet — to track the impact of his tweets on U.S. interest rates.
  79. On Sunday, the U.S. Air Force ordered a world-wide review of how it books overnight accommodations, following revelations in Week 147 of stops at Trump’s Turnberry resort.
  80. Additional times when the military stayed at Turnberry on stops have also been uncovered, including a stop on the way back from Al Udeid Air Base in Qatar in September 2018.
  81. The chief spokesperson for the Air Force told Politico, “lodging at higher-end accommodations, even if within government rates, might be allowable but not advisable. Therefore, we are reviewing all associated guidance.”
  82. On Monday, Trump tweeted, “I know nothing about an Air Force plane landing at an airport (which I do not own and have nothing to do with) near Turnberry Resort (which I do own)…NOTHING TO DO WITH ME.”
  83. On Monday, NYT reported documents obtained from Scottish government agencies under the FOIA reveal Trump and Trump Org had a direct dealing with setting up a deal between Turnberry and Glasgow Prestwick Airport.
  84. Starting in 2014, the Trump Org entered into a partnership with Prestwick to increase private and commercial air traffic to the region. As part of the deal, the airport routinely sent crews to stay at Turnberry.
  85. Trump visited the airport in 2014, and promised to increase traffic. The Air Force told the Times on Monday they did not know how many military crews were sent to Turnberry, but they are going through vouchers.
  86. On Monday, Trump told reporters he was so wealthy military stays were inconsequential and dismissedPence’s stay at Doonbeg, as “Every time you find a person landing in an airplane within 500 miles of something I own.”
  87. On Tuesday, House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy defended the military using Trump’s Turnberry as a stopover in Week 147, saying “ It’s just like any other hotel.”
  88. On Tuesday, the former FEMA deputy administrator in the Trump regime was arrested for allegedly taking bribes in the Hurricane Maria recovery from a company that got a $1.8 billion electric-grid contract.
  89. On Friday, Politico reported the Air Force released a preliminary tally showing crews stayed at Trump’s Turnberry up to 40 times, a number far higher than previously known.
  90. The tally does not include the number of crew members at Turnberry. House Democrats investigating the crews’ stays at Turnberry have not yet received any of the information they requested from the Pentagon.
  91. On Thursday, WAPO reported Vice President Pence and Secretary of State Pompeo were both scheduled to headline events for nonprofits that paid to rent the Trump Hotel DC on Friday.
  92. The speeches revealed Trump cabinet officials are willing to drive revenue to Trump and his family. According to documents, events in the hotel’s ballrooms have cost in the tens of thousands of dollars.
  93. On Friday, WAPO reported Pompeo spoke at a private event for the Concerned Women for America, a conservative nonprofit group, at the Trump Hotel DC, and lavished praise on the hotel.
  94. Pompeo said, “I look around. This is such a beautiful hotel. The guy who owns it must have been successful somewhere along the way,” adding, “That was for The Washington Post,” and gesturing towards reporters.
  95. On Friday, a federal appeals court in New York ruled that an Emoluments Clause case against Trump can move forward, after a lower court had thrown the case out.
  96. The lawsuit filed by Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington and others is the second emoluments lawsuit back on track — the other was filed by more than 200 members of Congress.
  97. The appeal court found that “Plaintiffs’ alleged injury meets the well‐established Article III threshold for economic competitors who allege that, because of unlawful conduct, their rivals enjoy a competitive advantage.”
  98. With the decision, Trump may be forced to open his business and personal finances to scrutiny in order to defend his actions and possible conflicts.
  99. Trump is also appealing two Washington federal court rulings which denied his request to dismiss the lawsuit brought by more than 200 members of Congress.
  100. On Tuesday, an ABC News/Washington Post poll found Trump’s approval dropped 6 points from a 44% peak in July, down to 38%, with 56% disapproving of the way he is doing his job.
  101. On handling of the economy, just 46% approve of the job Trump is doing, down from 51% in July, and just 35% approve of the way Trump is handling trade negotiations with China. Six in 10 say a recession is likely.
  102. On Tuesday, a new CNN poll found 60% of Americans do not believe Trump deserves a second term. Trump’s approval stood at 39%, same as it was in August, with 55% disapproving.
  103. On Tuesday, the Census Bureau reported for the first time since the Affordable Care Act took full effect in 2014, the share of Americans without healthcare increased from 7.9% in 2017 to 8.5% in 2018.
  104. The decrease in insured Americans was especially noteworthy given fewer Americans are living in poverty, and over that time frame the economy was strong.
  105. On Thursday, the heads of 145 companies sent a letter to Senate leaders demanding action on gun violence, calling it “simply unacceptable” for leaders to do “nothing about America’s gun violence crisis.”
  106. On Tuesday, Trump ally One America News sued Rachel Maddow, filing a federal defamation suit for $10 million after Maddow called it “paid Russian propaganda” on her July 22 MSNBC show.
  107. The suit contended Maddow’s comments were retaliation for OAN accusing Comcast of censorship for refusing to carry the channel. Maddow cited an OAN employee also worked for Russian-state media Sputnik News.
  108. On Tuesday, Republicans at a Senate Banking Committee hearing warned Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac are under-capitalized, and the housing finance system is worse off today than it was on the cusp of the 2008 crisis.
  109. On Wednesday, the anniversary of 9/11, Trump sparked anger after his first tweets of the day were about his trade war with China, saying, “China suspends Tariffs on some U.S. products. Being hit very hard.”
  110. Trump later tweeting a photo of himself and First Lady Melania with the words, “WE WILL NEVER FORGET.” Critics criticized Trump for forgetting, and inviting Taliban leaders to Camp David days before.
  111. On Wednesday, a new WAPO-ABC News survey found Trump polling behind the five top Democratic 2020 challengers in head-to-head match-ups.
  112. On Wednesday, before attending a 9/11 commemorative service, Trump attacked the poll in a series of tweets, calling it “phony” and “done by one of the worst pollsters of them all, the Amazon Washington Post/ABC.”
  113. Trump also tweeted this is a “suppression poll, meant to build up their Democrat partners,” adding he is “constantly fighting Fake News like Russia, Russia, Russia.”
  114. Trump also tweeted, “If it weren’t for the never ending Fake News about me” he would be leading over “the “Partners” of the LameStream Media by 20 points,” adding, “Sorry, but true!”
  115. On Wednesday, speaking at the 9/11 memorial, Trump said if attackers “come back to our country, we will go wherever they are and use power the likes of which the United States has never used before.”
  116. Trump added, “I’m not even talking about nuclear power. They will never have seen anything like what will happen to them.” It was unclear what Trump meant.
  117. On Wednesday, Republicans in the North Carolina House voted to override Gov. Roy Cooper’s budget veto by a vote of 55-9, while Democrats were at a ceremony commemorating 9/11. There are 65 Republicans in the House.
  118. Republican House Speaker Tim Moore, who had said there would be no votes that morning, said he took the opportunity to override the veto as he had promised to do.
  119. On Wednesday, BBC reported Queen Elizabeth II will honor former British Ambassador Kim Darroch, who resigned after his calling Trump “inept” and other disparaging things became public, as a lord.
  120. On Wednesday, the Oregonian reported at a U.S. Armed Forces swearing-in ceremony during a National Women’s Soccer League game in Portland, fans booed when enlistees were asked to pledge to obey Trump’s orders.
  121. On Tuesday, Politico reported as House Democrats return to DC, their leadership offered differing views on where the party stood on impeachment with 137 for an impeachment inquiry and 98 against it.
  122. Privately, Democrats worried the mixed messages could hurt them in court over access to key witnesses from the Mueller report. Their position in court has been based pursuing potential impeachment of Trump.
  123. On Thursday, WAPO reported a group of Democrats on the House Judiciary Committee have begun mapping out a list of possible charges and articles of impeachment against Trump.
  124. The range of charges discussed included five possible areas of obstruction of justice, abuse of power by defying subpoenas, violation of campaign finance laws, and allegations of profiting off the presidency.
  125. Publicly, Speaker Nancy Pelosi still voiced opposition to impeachment, so articles may not move forward, but there is a growing move behind-the-scenes by Democrats to move ahead, even if the Senate does not convict.
  126. House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer was asked by reporters on Wednesday about the nature of what the House Judiciary is doing on impeachment, and appeared not to know, and later had to clarify.
  127. On Tuesday, WAPO reported senior government officials have privately expressed concern that Trump’s nearly $30 billion bailout for farmers suffering from his trade war with China needs stronger legal backing.
  128. Two Agriculture Department officials said the bailout could surpass the original intent of the New Deal-era Commodity Credit Corporation, which was used to create substantially more limited programs.
  129. On Thursday, House Appropriations Committee Chair Nita Lowey proposed blocking the White House request for paying farm bailout money. Timing of the payouts is tied to congressional approval.
  130. In legislation to fund the government in November, Lowey left off the White House request which would allow them to avert the $30 billion spending cap they are expected to hit this fall.
  131. On Thursday, the Treasury Department announced the U.S. budget gap widened to $1.07 trillion in the first 11 months of the fiscal year, on higher military spending, rising rates, and Trump’s 2017 tax cuts.
  132. The deficit is the largest in seven years, during the last recession. A strong economy tends to narrow the deficit, but government spending grew by 7% over the period, while revenue grew just 3%.
  133. On Thursday, the Trump regime announced the repeal of Obama-era clean water protections which limited polluting chemicals that could be used near streams, wetlands, and other bodies of water.
  134. The rollback of the Clean Waters of the United States rule means polluters will no longer need a permit to discharge potentially harmful substances which will now be able to flow into waterways.
  135. On Thursday, Trump delivered a bizarre, incoherent hour-long speech at the House Republican retreat in Baltimore, in which he made several comments that were false or self-refuting.
  136. Trump appeared to struggle at times with his speech, mispronouncing VP Pence’s name, calling him “Mike Pounce,” as he named some notable Republicans in the crowd.
  137. Trump attacked Baltimore again, saying the city has “been destroyed by decades of failed and corrupt rule.” Trump said Los Angeles and San Francisco need to clean up their homelessness and he is addressing the issue.
  138. Trump claimed the Clean Waters Act “didn’t give you clean water,” falsely claiming, “by the way, today, we have the cleanest air, we have the cleanest water that we’ve ever had in the history of our country.”
  139. Trump also falsely and inexplicably claimed “there was nobody here” in America 25 years ago so “they probably had cleaner water.”
  140. Trump also railed against Obama-era energy-efficient light bulbs, saying, “What’s with the light bulb?” adding, “the bulb that we are being forced to use, number one…the lights no good I always look orange.”
  141. Trump also falsely claimed, “number two, it’s many times more expensive than that old incandescent bulb that worked very well and very importantly, I don’t know if you know this, they have warnings.”
  142. Trump also said, “And I said to one of the top people today, ‘Well they break a lot, don’t they?’ ‘Yes sir!’ ‘What do they do?’ ‘They just throw them away, they don’t care,’” and adding, “But they call it hazardous waste.”
  143. Trump also said of windmills, “If you happen to be watching the Democrat debate and the wind isn’t blowing, you’re not going to see the debate … ‘the goddamn windmill stopped!’” It was not clear what he meant.
  144. Trump also called MS-13 gang members “animals,” and hyperbolically added, “They take young women. They slice them up with a knife. They slice them up — beautiful, young.”
  145. Trump also mimicked deceased Sen. John McCain for voting against repealing Obamacare. Trump also told House Minority leader Kevin McCarthy he was “just like a cow” but “smaller.”
  146. The speech was dystopian and riddled with inconsistencies and lies, but Republicans mostly cheered, as they have done since he took office.
  147. On Thursday, after Beto O’Rourke said he would take away AR-15s at the Democratic debate, Texas Republican Representative Briscoe Cain tweeted, “My AR is ready for you Robert Francis.”
  148. Cain’s tweet sparked widespread criticism on Twitter. Later Thursday, O’Rourke responded, “This is a death threat, Representative. Clearly, you shouldn’t own an AR-15 — and neither should anyone else.”
  149. On Friday, Cain’s tweet was no longer visible. A spokesperson for Twitter said the company took it down because it violated its rule that “you may not threaten violence against an individual or a group of people.”
  150. On Friday, CNN reported that O’Rourke’s campaign press secretary said the campaign planned to report Cain’s tweet to the FBI.
  151. On Friday, Media-ite reported at least one Sinclair broadcasting station aired an advertisement during the Democratic debate of a photo of Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez burning.
  152. On Friday, a federal appeals court reinstated a lawsuit filed by the parents of Seth Rich against Fox News for the cable TV network’s role in falsely linking Rich to the disclosure of DNC emails to WikiLeaks.
  153. On Friday, WSJ reported at last month’s G7 summit, Trump joked while waiting for a meeting with Egyptian President Abdel Fattah Al Sisi, “Where’s my favorite dictator?” to a room of Egyptian and U.S. officials.
  154. On Friday, USA Today reported the U.S. attorney in Washington, Jessie Liu, recommended moving forward with unspecified criminal charges against former deputy FBI director Andrew McCabe.
  155. McCabe is a frequent target of Trump’s ire. McCabe’s attorneys appealed the decision to Deputy Attorney General Jeffrey Rosen, but their request was rejected by Rosen on Thursday.
  156. On Friday, House Intelligence Committee Chair Adam Schiff issued a subpoena, after publicly accusing acting Director of National Intelligence Joseph Maguire of withholding an “urgent” whistleblower complaint.
  157. Schiff said a DNI has never prevented “a properly submitted whistleblower complaint that the [IG] determined to be credible and urgent from being provided to the congressional intelligence committees. Never.”
  158. Schiff also said, “this raises serious concerns” about whether White House, DOJ or other officials are trying to prevent “a legitimate whistleblower complaint” from reaching Congress, “to cover up serious misconduct.”
  159. Schiff said the complaint was filed last month, and was required by law to be shared with Congress nearly two week ago, saying it raises the specter of what is “being withheld to protect” Trump and other regime officials.
  160. On Friday, Trump’s DOJ told a federal court judge that House Democrats’ request made in July to have access to secret grand jury materials from the Mueller probe should be denied.
  161. The DOJ said Democrats have “come nowhere close to demonstrating a particularized need” for the information. House lawmakers said they need it to determine whether to move forward with impeachment proceedings.
  162. Lawmakers asked for access to the unredacted Mueller report, and transcripts of grand jury testimony related to Trump’s knowledge of Russian interference and links to members of his campaign.
  163. Lawmakers also want grand jury testimony on Trump’s knowledge of potential “criminal acts” by him and his associates. The DOJ called the requests an “extraordinary order” that was overly broad.
  164. The DOJ filing also seized on the ongoing debate among and conflicting statements by Democratic leaders in Week 147 over how to describe their impeachment inquiry — and relates to grounds for requesting information.
  165. On Friday, in a series of tweets, Trump attacked Democrats on impeachment, saying, “How do you impeach a President who has helped create perhaps the greatest economy in the history of our Country?”
  166. Trump added, “All time best unemployment numbers, especially for Blacks, Hispanics, Asians & Women,” and “Number 1 in World & Independent in Energy. Will soon have record number of Judges.”
  167. Trump also tweeted he had “done more than any President in first 2 1/2 years despite phony & fraudulent Witch Hunt illegally led against him. WIN on Mueller Report, Mueller Testimony & James Comey.”
  168. Trump also tweeted, “You don’t impeach Presidents for doing a good (great!) job. No Obstruction, No Collusion, only treasonous crimes committed by the other side, and led by the Democrats. Sad!”
  169. On Friday, NYT reported the DOJ will honor the team of lawyers who worked to defended Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh during his confirmation process with one of its most prestigious awards.
  170. Attorney General Barr will present the Attorney General’s Award for Distinguished Service, the second highest award given by the department, to the group of lawyers.
  171. Then deputy AG Rod Rosenstein estimated he would need 100 lawyers around the clock to comb through Kavanaugh-related documents, and made a broad request for volunteers to U.S. attorneys.
  172. Some officials saw his outreach as an unusual insertion of politics into federal law enforcement. Typically, the Award for Distinguished Service is given to DOJ employees who worked on significant prosecutions.
  173. On Friday, AP confirmed Russian state news agency Tass reporting that the Taliban visited Moscow to meet with Russian officials, its first international trip days after Trump said his talk with the group are “dead.”
  174. On Saturday, Trump started his weekend of tweeting, saying, “A Very Stable Genius!” Thank you.” It was unclear what prompted his tweet.
  175. Shortly after, Trump attacked MSNBC weekend host Joy Reid, tweeting, “Who the hell is Joy-Ann Reid?Never met her, she knows ZERO about me, has NO talent,” adding, “Low Ratings. Fake News!”
  176. Trump then tweeted, “MAKE AMERICA GREAT AGAIN!” and “KEEP AMERICA GREAT!”
  177. On Saturday, BBC reported at a meeting in Washington on Friday between Brazil Foreign Minister Ernesto Araujo and Secretary of State Pompeo, the U.S. and Brazil agreed to promote private-sector development in the Amazon.

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

THE LIST — weeks 1–52 of The Weekly List is out as a book! You can order your copy by clicking here.

Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Andrew Wheeler talks to members of the news media after a news conference announcing the repeal of landmark Obama-era clean water regulation at the headquarters of National Association of Manufacturers, an industry group that had opposed the Waters of the U.S. rule, September 12, 2019 in Washington, DC. The move rolls back the 2015 measure that placed limits on chemicals that could be used near rivers, streams, wetlands and other bodies of water that had stirred opposition from developers, farmers and oil and gas drillers.

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NEW YORK CITY STREET ART: DON’T CALL IT A COMEBACK

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Thailand artist Muebon for East Village Walls
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Cowboy Kid by Irish artist Solus. Avenue A.
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Wonderment through the eyes of a child
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Sitting next to the CUBE with my Leuchturm 1917 Bullet Journal at Astor Place

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You are loved. By Samo Arts. East Village.
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Philadelphia-based Angry Elephant and Harriet Tubman by Captain Eyeliner.
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My collaboration with NYC artist City Kitty is still going strong on St. Mark’s Place in the East Village. 

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H I S S
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Endless by BMoney138 and Lena McCarthy in First Street Green, East Village. 
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Nite Owl, Naito Oru.
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HEKTAD
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“People should fall in love with their eyes closed.” ~ Andy Warhol by The Postman Art. The cat is by Captain Eyeliner.
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King Kong by Zito One

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Boxer Ballerina by Solus. Location: Houston Street.
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Don’t call it a comeback. Renée Zellweger.

3/4sep2019. New York City.

BRUSSELS, BELGIUM: SMURF LOVE & “STARBUCKS ENTERPRISE”

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“The Smurfs” is a Belgian comic franchise by artist Peyo. This is street artist Space Invader’s homage to the comic in the heart of Brussels…

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Fire

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Remnants of the first city walls from the 12th or 13th century…
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from 1695, having been rebuilt…

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Knock, knock, knocking on Heaven’s door…

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Royal Theatre of the Mint. Built in 1700. Renovated three times since,  in 1856 , 1985 , and 2017.

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The coolest looking Starbucks I’ve ever seen.

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Starbucks Enterprise

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23aug19. Brussels, Belgium.

POLITIKS OF GRAFFITI 143: #ELPASOSTRONG #DAYTONSTRONG #ENTERNEXTCITYSTRONG

AUGUST 03, 2019

Week 142

Experts in authoritarianism advise to keep a list of things
subtly changing around you, so you’ll remember. https://theweeklylist.org/weekly-list/week-142/
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Brussels, Belgium 4aug19

This week started with Trump’s attacks on Black leader House Oversight Committee Chair Elijah Cummings, whose panel has several ongoing investigations targeting Trump and his family. Trump used dehumanizing language like “rats” and “infest” to disparage Cummings’ home district of Baltimore, then broadened his attack during the week to other prominent Black men including Al Sharpton, who he called a “con man” and CNN host Don Lemon who he called “dumb.” Trump refused to back off, escalating his racist attacks — gaslighting the country that he is not the racist, but Cummings is — as news of hate-based shootings and instances of overt racism spread in an anxious and increasingly divided country.

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A wheat paste depiction of him near the Palais de Justice in Brussels, Belgium July 2019

A new label for Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell — Moscow Mitch — struck a nerve with the leader, and as the media and Democrats questioned his unwillingness to secure the country’s election, his other ties to Russia came under scrutiny. Headwinds for impeachment continued post Mueller’s testimony as over half the House Democrats formally called for the start of an impeachment inquiry, while Trump continued to deny Russia interference happened or is happening now. Trump pushed out the Director of National Intelligence, Dan Coats, one of the few remaining voices who stood up to Trump on foreign policy, and perhaps the last non-partisan stop-gap to future Russia interference.

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No Borders – Louvain-La-Neuve, Belgium 27jul19

The future of the Republican Party came into question this week, as Rep. Will Hurd, the only Black American member of the House for the GOP, became the ninth Republican to say he will not seek re-election in 2020. Among the nine are also two of the 13 GOP women, including Rep. Susan Brooks, who was meant to recruit more women to run.

  1. On Monday, a group of Christian leaders warned in a statement about the rise of “Christian nationalism,” saying “America has no second-class faiths. All are equal under the U.S. Constitution.”
  2. The group warned “Christian nationalism” seeks to bind Christianity and American citizenship in a way that “provides cover for white supremacy and racial subjugation,” citing “intimidation and distortion of scripture.”
  3. On Tuesday, the faith leaders of the Washington National Cathedral released a statement saying “Have We No Decency?” in response to Trump, asking elected officials, “When does silence become complicity?”
  4. The leaders said we “believe in the sacredness of every single human being, the time for silence is over. We must boldly stand witness against the bigotry, hatred, intolerance, and xenophobia that is hurled at us.”
  5. On Sunday, Santino William Legan shot and killed three people at the Gilroy Garlic Festival in Gilroy, California. Legan, a 19 year-old white man, had connections on his Instagram account to white nationalist literature.
  6. On Sunday, a shooting outside a North Miami, Florida synagogue left one injured, and is being investigated by police as a hate crime. The shooting marked the third synagogue shooting in less than a year.
  7. On Sunday, NPR reported that Alexei Navalny, a leader of the opposition movement and longtime critic of Russian President Vladimir Putin, was hospitalized with an “allergic reaction” four days after being arrested.
  8. On Sunday, the son of Vladimir Kara-Murza tweeted that his father, a “historian, TV journalist, one of the founders of the ‘old NTV,’” had died. Kara-Murza was a prominent Kremlin critic. He was 59 years-old.
  9. On Tuesday, an international group of researchers found a radioactive cloud that blanketed a large part of Europe in 2017 started in Russia. The release likely originated in the Mayak reprocessing plant.
  10. On Wednesday, China’s army released a video showing soldiers practicing shooting protestors, as the top Chinese military official in Hong Kong called protests there in recent weeks “absolutely intolerable.”
  11. WSJ reported on the rise of “disrupters” being elected globally, including Trump, Boris Johnson in the U.K., Narendra Modi in India, Viktor Orban in Hungary, Jair Bolsonaro in Brazil, and Matteo Salvini in Italy.
  12. On Sunday, Axios reported Trump plans to nominate Rep. John Ratcliffe to replace Dan Coats as the Director of National Intelligence, saying Ratcliffe’s performance questioning Robert Mueller raised his chances for the spot.
  13. Later Sunday, Trump announced on Twitter that Coats would step down. Coats was one of the few remaining national security officials willing to contradict Trump on matters such as Russia and North Korea.
  14. Rep. Ratcliffe has no intelligence background or experience, but has embraced Trump’s theories on the Russia investigation. Senate Intelligence Committee Chair Richard Burr called him too political.
  15. On Tuesday, Trump told reporters, on Ratcliffe’s appointment, “we need somebody strong” that can “really rein it in,” saying the intelligence agencies “have run amok. They’ve run amok.”
  16. On Tuesday, NYT reported Ratcliffe’s aides were sent scrambling after he overstated several parts of his biography in various prosecutorial roles in order to bolster his resume.
  17. Ratcliffe falsely claimed he tried suspects accused of funneling money to the Hamas, touted his role as U.S. attorney though he was only an interim appointee, and falsely claimed he oversaw terrorism investigations.
  18. On Saturday, the Baltimore Sun Editorial Board wrote in response to Trump’s Twitter attacks on House Oversight Committee Chair Elijah Cummings, “Better to have a few rats than to be one.”
  19. The editorial board wrote Cummings has been “a thorn” in Trump’s side, adding Trump “sees attacking African American members of Congress as good politics,” adding it “warms the cockles of the white supremacists.”
  20. On Saturday, Barack Obama, who rarely comments on politics, tweeted an op-ed written by 149 African Americans who served in his administration, criticizing Trump’s attacks on the four congresswomen.
  21. Obama wrote, “I’m proud of how they’re continuing to fight for an America that’s better.” The group wrote “racism, sexism, homophobia and xenophobia” by Trump and others is “poisoning of our democracy.”
  22. On Sunday, Trump defended himself, tweeting there is “nothing racist” in his attacks on Cummings who has done “a terrible job” in his district, and “Dems always play the race card when they are unable to win with facts.”
  23. Shortly after, Trump tweeted again, calling Cummings a “racist,” adding he should “focus more of his energy on helping the good people of his district,” adding, “His radical “oversight” is a joke!”
  24. NYT reported that Chair Cummings’ House Oversight Committee had voted to last Thursday along party lines to approve subpoenas for Jared Kushner and Ivanka’s White House emails sent from private accounts.
  25. On Sunday, acting White House chief of staff Mick Mulvaney defended Trump on “Face the Nation,” saying “everything that Donald Trump says is offensive to some people,” but that “doesn’t mean that it’s racist.”
  26. On Monday, Trump attacked Cummings and civil rights leader Al Sharpton. Trump tweeted, “I have known Al for 25 years,” calling him a “con man,” and a “troublemaker” who “Hates Whites & Cops!”
  27. Trump also tweeted that Baltimore “has the worst Crime Statistics in the Nation. 25 years of all talk, no action!” and “same old Bull,” and adding, “Next, Reverend Al will show up to complain & protest.”
  28. Later Monday, Trump tweeted, “Crazy Bernie Sanders recently equated the City of Baltimore to a THIRD WORLD COUNTRY!” adding Democratic 2020 candidate Bernie Sanders “must now be labeled a Racist.”
  29. Trump also tweeted, “Baltimore can be brought back,” but not by “King Elijah and that crew,” adding that when Baltimore wants to see the city rise again, “I am in a very beautiful oval shaped office waiting for your call!”
  30. On Monday, WAPO reported House Republicans will hold their yearly retreat in Baltimore in September, despite Trump calling the city a “very dangerous & filthy place” where “no human being would want to live.”
  31. On Monday, the Baltimore Sun Editorial Board wrote, “Cummings didn’t cause Baltimore’s woes; it was people who profited from racism. Sound familiar, Mr. Trump?” citing Trump’s federal housing discrimination suit.
  32. The editorial board also noted Chair Cummings’ time is being occupied by the investigations into Trump’s wrongdoing, including conditions at the border, private email accounts, and profiting off his time in office.
  33. On Monday, Sen. Chris Murphy encouraged Trump critics to unfollow Trump’s Twitter account, citing attacks on Chair Cummings, and saying Trump’s “feed is the most hate-filled, racist, and demeaning” he followed.
  34. Sen. Rand Paul said in a interview with conservative Breitbart News that Rep. Ilhan Omar is “ungrateful,” adding, “I’m willing to contribute to buy her a ticket to go visit Somalia. I think she can look and maybe learn.”
  35. On Monday, Sen. Steve Daines, who last week defended Trump from accusations of racism for his “go back” to other countries tweets, introduced a resolution to formally condemn socialism.
  36. On Monday, in response to a request by Chair Cummings and other Democrats, the State Department’s inspector general reported Trump spent $234k on his trip to his property in Turnberry, Scotland in July 2018.
  37. On Tuesday, a report by Chair Cummings’ House Oversight Committee raised concerns about Trump insiders using access to the White House to promote their own commercial interests.
  38. Thomas Barrack, who oversaw Trump’s inaugural committee, used access to push dozens of nuclear power plants in Saudi Arabia while lobbying to avoid restrictions on the transfer of U.S. nuclear technology to the Saudis.
  39. The report also found, according to emails obtained, Trump aides submitted drafts of Trump’s “America First” energy speech delivered during the 2016 campaign to the United Arab Emirates first for edits.
  40. On Tuesday, at an event in Jamestown commemorating the 400th anniversary of Virginia’s first legislative assembly, Trump’s speech was interrupted by a Muslim lawmaker yelling “You can’t send us back!
  41. Trump brushed off the encounter with delegate Ibraheem Samirah, which uncharacteristically stopped his speech, saying the event was “fantastic.” The Virginia Legislative Black Caucus boycotted Trump’s speech.
  42. On Wednesday, Trump attacked CNN debate moderator Don Lemon, who is also a Black man, tweeting Lemon is “the dumbest man on television” and “too dumb (stupid} to understand.”
  43. Trump tweeted Lemon asked “a debate “question” that I was a racist, when in fact I am “the least racist person in the world,”” adding, “No wonder CNN’s ratings (MSNBC’s also) have gone down the tubes.”
  44. On Wednesday, Peggy Wallace Kennedy, daughter of segregationist George Wallace, said Trump’s tactics are even worse than her father’s, saying, “I’ve never seen anything like it,” and “We cannot go backward.”
  45. On Tuesday, a Quinnipiac poll found that 51% say Trump is racist, 45% say his is not. White voters say 46% he is and 50% he is not, while Black voters say 80–11% say he is racist, and Hispanics 55–44%.
  46. The polls also found 60–32% say Congress should not begin impeachment proceedings, although support for starting impeachment is 61–29% among Democrats and 66–23% among Black voters.
  47. On Wednesday, WAPO reported a North Carolina billboard advertisement for a gun shop, Cherokee Guns, compared the four Congresswomen in the Squad to the “4 Horsemen,” calling them “Idiots,” and “Signed, the Deplorables.”
  48. In a Facebook post, Cherokee Guns took credit. Rep. Rashidi Tlaib tweeted Wednesday, “How the hell is this not inciting violence?” and asked Trump ally Rep. Mark Meadows, whose district it was in, to “do the right thing.”
  49. The owner of the gun shop, Doc Wacholz, told the Citzens-Times, “They’re socialists, from my point of view,” adding, “I also feel a couple of them, being Muslim, have ties to actual terrorists groups.
  50. On Thursday, Rep. Ilhan Omar tweeted photos of her visiting “Mother Africa” with Speaker Nancy Pelosi and other members of the Congressional Black Caucus to affirm the U.S.’s partnership with Ghana.
  51. On Thursday, Speaker Pelosi, a Baltimore native, defended Cummings, saying Trump “doesn’t know what he’s talking about,” and adding Trump should ask Kushner, “who’s a slumlord there,” about “rodent infestations.”
  52. On Thursday, Baltimore Police said they were investigating a burglary at the home of Chair Cummings last Saturday night at 3:40 a.m. The incident took place hours before Trump Twitter attack that started in Week 141.
  53. On Friday, Trump tweeted, “Really bad news! The Baltimore house of Elijah Cummings was robbed. Too bad!” The tweet drew some limited pushback from Republicans.
  54. On Saturday, in a series of tweets, Trump said, “the Dems are now coming out of shock from the terrible Mueller performance” and talking impeachment, saying, “How sick & disgusting and bad for our Country.”
  55. Trump added, “We gave Nadler and his Trump hating Dems the complete Mueller Report,” adding, “Nothing will ever be good enough for them,” and “NO COLLUSION, NO OBSTRUCTION, TOTAL EXONERATION.”
  56. Later that evening, Trump tweeted, quoting from a guest on Fox News, that the biggest thing from Mueller’s testimony was “he was asked, was there ANYTHING that impeded your investigation, the answer was a clear…NO.”
  57. Trump also tweeted just before midnight, “the Mueller Report itself, was a disaster for this illegal Democrat inspired Witch Hunt,” adding, “They can’t help themselves, they are totally lost, they are Clowns!”
  58. On Sunday, House Judiciary Committee Chair Jerrold Nadler told “This Week” that Mueller’s testimony “broke the lie” Trump and AG William Barr have been using, no collusion, no obstruction and total exoneration.
  59. Nadler added information gleaned from the petition to release grand jury information in Week 141 will be used to determine if impeachment resolutions before his committee will be brought forward to the House.
  60. On Sunday, Nadler told “State of the Union” of Trump, “My personal view is that he richly deserves impeachment. He’s done many impeachable offenses.” 107 Democrats supported impeachment, 45% of the caucus.
  61. On Sunday, Sen. Patty Murray, the number 3 Senate Democrat, called for impeachment proceedings to begin. On Monday, Sen. Debbie Stabenow, the number 4 Democrat, also called for impeachment.
  62. On Sunday, on “Meet the Press,” Sen. Rick Scott, who was governor of Florida at the time of Russia hacking his state, admitted he has not read the Senate Intelligence Committee report on Russian interference.
  63. On Sunday, the Coalition for Good Governance accused Georgia election officials in a federal court filing of destroying evidence of “hacking, unauthorized access, and potential of manipulation of election results.”
  64. The brief stated officials “almost immediately” began destroying evidence after a 2017 lawsuit alleging voting machines were outdated and vulnerable to hacking in the Handel-Ossoff Congressional run-off race.
  65. On Monday, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell defended his decision to block election security bills in a speech on the Senate floor, calling criticism against him “modern-day McCarthyism.”
  66. NYT reported McConnell is incensed by the label “Moscow Mitch” and being called a “Russian asset” in a WAPO column. McConnell is also facing question back in his home state of Kentucky where he faces re-election.
  67. On Tuesday, Trump came to McConnell’s defense, telling reporters “Mitch McConnell is a man that knows less about Russia and Russian influence than even Donald Trump…And I know nothing.”
  68. Trump also said “Mitch McConnell loves our country. He’s done a great job,” adding the Post “is a Russian asset by comparison,” and “ought to be ashamed of themselves, and they ought to apologize.”
  69. On Wednesday, Politico reported according to a lobbying disclosure, two former top staffers to McConnell lobbied Congress and the Treasury Department for a Kentucky mill backed by Russian aluminum giant Rusal.
  70. The two work for lobbying firm Akin Gump, and were hired by Rusal’s partner, Kentucky-based Braidy Industries, in May to help lobby for the $1.7 billion project.
  71. Democrats called for a review of Rusal’s $200 million investment, citing concern the mill will supply the Defense Department, and McConnell’s role in blocking a congressional effort to stop the investment.
  72. On Friday, Politico reported Braidy Industries hired RunSwitch PR, a public relations firm co-founded in 2012 by Scott Jennings, a former McConnell aide, to boost PR ahead of Democrats’ call for an investigation.
  73. Braidy claimed the aluminum will be used for the food and auto industries. Democrats are pushing for investigation into the Treasury Department’s lifting of sanctions against Rusal in January.
  74. On Thursday, WAPO reported during the last week before summer break, McConnell continued his singular focus of the judiciary, leading the Senate in confirming 13 more of Trump’s judicial nominees.
  75. Since Trump took office, McConnell has pushed through 144 judicial appointees, reshaping the courts and their decisions for decades. Trump has nominated 1 in 5 judges on the appellate bench.
  76. On Thursday, Politico reported Trump’s new defense secretary, Mark Esper, is putting a $10 billion contract with Amazon on hold, after Trump suggested the Defense Department’s process may have been rigged.
  77. Trump told reporters on July 18 that there had been “tremendous complaints” about the contracting process. Amazon’s owner Jeff Bezos also owns the Washington Post.
  78. On Friday, the WAPO Editorial Board wrote the bipartisan Deter Act is a “smart way to keep Putin out of our election,” saying to McConnell, “there is no excuse for refusing to punish a country that attacks U.S. democracy.”
  79. On Saturday, WAPO columnist Dana Milbank wrote of McConnell and his “new posture toward Moscow,” citing his blocking election security and helping Rusal, saying “McConnell was a Russia hawk for decades.”
  80. Milbank also noted McConnell’s tepid support for investigating Russia, adding, “If Americans don’t have confidence our elections are free and fair, nothing else in our democracy has value.”
  81. On Thursday, in a raucous session before summer break, Senate Judiciary Committee Chair Lindsey Graham skirted committee rules to push through a bill that would increase the time migrant children can be detained.
  82. Ranking Democrat Dianne Feinstein called it “a new precedent that will denigrate this committee and the institution of the Senate.” Sens. Mazie Hirono called it “unconstitutional” and Sheldon Whitehouse “illegitimate.”
  83. On Thursday, alongside #MoscowMitch, #LeningradLindsey trended for Graham forcing the controversial asylum bill through his committee, breaking protocol even though it likely will not pass in the full senate.
  84. On Monday, Attorney General William Barr changed the rules of asylum claims, saying immigrants fearing persecution because of threats against a family members are no longer eligible for asylum.
  85. On Tuesday, the ACLU told a federal judge in San Diego that the Trump regime has separated 911 migrant children from their parents since the judge ordered a stop to border separation on June 26, 2018.
  86. Lawyers said children were taken from parents for having a dirty diaper, for malicious destruction of property of $5, and for a speech impediment that made it hard to answer Custom and Border Patrol agents’ questions.
  87. The ACLU also said statistics provided by the government though legal proceedings show 20% of separations were of children under the age of 5. Neither the DOJ or Department of Homeland Security commented.
  88. On Tuesday, artist James Baldwin installed three pink seesaws at the U.S.-Mexico border, inspired by a drawing from Ronald Real’s book depicting children on either side of the border wall seesawing with each other.
  89. On Friday, WGBH reported Boston artist Karyn Alzayer put chicken wire cages around the iconic “Make Way for Ducklings” statues in the Boston public gardens, separating the mother from her baby ducklings.
  90. Each duck was also swaddled in a shiny emergency blanket. Alzayer said, “The Mallards are Boston’s quintessential immigrant family,” adding, “In the book they moved here for a better life.”
  91. On Friday, Trump signed an executive order ending two Obama-era United States Citizenship and Immigration Services programs that allowed Filipino and Haitian veterans to bring family members the U.S.
  92. The programs allowed veterans to bring in family members before their green cards were available. The regime ended the programs to “ensure that parole is used only on a case-by-case basis, consistent with the law.”
  93. On Friday, Politico reported on emails released under the FOIA which revealed White House adviser Stephen Miller aggressively pushed the Department of Homeland Security to move faster to limit immigration.
  94. Miller pushed to limit green cards, barring legal immigrants from obtaining them if they receive certain government benefits, and called DHS officials an “embarrassment” for not acting faster.
  95. On Friday, a federal judge in D.C. vacated the Trump regime’s initial asylum ban from November, which barred migrants from claiming asylum if they did not enter the U.S. through designated ports of entry.
  96. On Thursday, Yahoo News reported a May 30 FBI intelligence bulletin from the bureau’s Phoenix field office identified fringe conspiracy theories as a domestic terrorism threat, and called it a growing threat.
  97. The 15-page document lists a number of related arrests, including some that are not yet public, and specifically mentions QAnon, a conspiracy theory network which believes in a deep state conspiracy against Trump.
  98. On Monday, WAPO reported Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell may be preparing to cut interest rates, a move noted to be risky by many economists for the economy, seeming to bow to pressure from Trump.
  99. On Tuesday, Trump attacked the Fed, telling reporters, “I’m very disappointed in the Fed,” adding, “I would like to see a large cut, and I’d like to see immediately the quantitative tightening stop.”
  100. Trump added, “The Fed moved, in my opinion, far too early and for too severely. It puts me at a — somewhat of a disadvantage,” but “Fortunately I’ve made the economy so strong that nothing’s going to stop us.”
  101. On Wednesday, the Fed lowered its benchmark rate by a quarter point, the first interest rate cut since 2008. Legendary investor Leon Cooperman accused Trump of trying to boost stocks ahead of the election.
  102. On Tuesday, Bloomberg reported 54% of the Trump regime’s $8.4 billion of trade-war aid for farmers went to the biggest farms, just one-tenth of recipients. Advocates say farmer who needed aid the most got very little.
  103. On Thursday, in a series of tweets, Trump cited unsuccessful trade talks with China, and announced he would be “putting a small additional Tariff of 10% on the remaining 300 Billion Dollars of goods and products.”
  104. Trump tweeted, “my friend President Xi said that he would stop the sale of Fentanyl” to the U.S., saying “this never happened, and many Americans continue to die!” but he looks forward to a “bright” future with China.
  105. Trump had agreed in June after meeting with Xi and agreeing to resume trade talks, not to impose more tariffs. He told reporters at the White House, “Until such time as there is a deal, we’ll be taxing them.”
  106. On Friday, the Dow dropped another 300 points on fears of a trade war with China, heading into the worst week of 2019. A spokesperson for China said countermeasures will be taken if Trump imposes tariffs.
  107. On Monday, after signing a bill to fund the care of 9/11 responders, Trump told reporters, “I was down there also, but I’m not considering myself a first responder. But I was down there. I spent a lot of time down there.”
  108. Trump’s claim is false. Trump has also made false statements about how Muslims reacted to the attack. On the day of the attack, he falsely claimed in an interview that one of his buildings was now “the tallest” downtown.
  109. On Monday, the Senate failed to override Trump’s vetoes of legislation passed in the House and Senate which would have blocked the sale of certain weapons to Saudi Arabia. Five Republicans voted with Democrats.
  110. On Monday, an inspector general report found Eric Blankenstein, a Trump appointee at the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, “may have abused his authority” to try to defuse a WAPO article about a past racist statement.
  111. On Tuesday, Trump lashed out at MSNBC co-hosts Joe Scarborough and Mika Brzezinski, tweeting, “Morning Joe & Psycho ratings have really crashed,” adding, “Very small audience.”
  112. Trump also tweeted, “People are tired of hearing Fake News delivered with an anger that is not to be believed,” adding, “they helped get me elected. Thanks! Was on all the time. Lost all of its juice!
  113. Trump tweeted “Morning Joe & Psycho” were in his room the night he won New Hampshire, and that Mika lied saying Trump wanted to preside over their marriage, saying, “They were married by Elijah, King of Baltimore!
  114. On Tuesday, in an interview with C-SPAN, asked about his tweets, Trump responded, “if I got fair coverage I wouldn’t even have to tweet. It’s my only form of defense. If the press covered me fairly I wouldn’t need that.”
  115. Trump blamed the media for 80% of Black Americans viewing him as racist, saying, “If the press did treat me fairly, I’d have tremendous support from the African American community,” naming several celebrities.
  116. When asked if he ever regretted a tweet, Trump said, “Not much. I sent the one about wiretapping, in quotes, and that turned out to be true.” Trump sent that tweet for several weeks, and it is a lie.
  117. When asked about his typical day, Trump responded, “Well, I stay up late, I like to read a lot, which people don’t understand that…I watch a lot of Fox. I tend to not watch too much of CNN.”
  118. On Tuesday, a federal judge dismissed the Democrat National Committee lawsuit against the Trump campaign, WikiLeaks, and the Russian government which claimed they conspired in the 2016 election.
  119. The judge found Trump officials were shielded under the First Amendment, and Russia could not be in the courts for election interference and should face actions like sanctions instead.
  120. Trump celebrated the ruling, tweeting a judge dismissed a lawsuit “against our historic 2016 campaign for President,” calling it “yet another total & complete vindication & exoneration,” adding, “The Witch Hunt Ends!
  121. On Tuesday, House Foreign Affairs Committee Chair Eliot Engel became the 114th House Democrat to come out for impeachment, the second major committee chair. Currently 48% of the caucus is for an inquiry.
  122. Engel said Mueller’s testimony “provided ample evidence that the president committed obstruction of justice.” A spokesperson for Speaker Pelosi did not comment on what will happen if the 50% threshold is met.
  123. On Wednesday, House Appropriations Committee Chair Nita Lowey became the 117th of 235 House Democrats, one below the majority threshold. By Thursday, Democrats for impeachment were the majority.
  124. On Thursday, Rep. Ted Deutch became the 17th of 24 Judiciary Committee and 118th House member to back impeachment in a Sun Sentinel op-ed, titled “No more debate. Impeachment inquiry is underway.”
  125. On Wednesday, the DOJ and House Judiciary Committee agreed to a two month timetable for court filingsrelated the committee’s request in Week 141 for Mueller’s grand jury materials.
  126. The DOJ has until September 13 for its first brief, and the House until September 30 for its response, meaning a ruling from Chief U.S. District Court of D.C. Judge Beryl Howell in October at the earliest.
  127. On Monday, a federal judge ordered attorneys for Trump, House Democrats and New York to come up with a compromise by Tuesday over Trump’s request for a restraining order on release of his state tax returns.
  128. On Tuesday, the attorneys wrote in a joint filing “the parties are unable to reach agreement.” House Democrats urged the judge to reject Trump’s request for a restraining order.
  129. On Thursday, the judge temporarily blocked New York from sharing Trump’s state tax returns. New York officials contended the federal court in D.C. does not have jurisdiction over them, and should be heard in NY.
  130. Later Thursday, the federal judge in D.C. agreed to hear a challenge to his jurisdiction in the matter. The hearing is set for August 29.
  131. On Tuesday, California Gov. Gavin Newsom signed a new election law, requiring all presidential candidates to release their tax returns in order to be included on the state’s primary ballot, becoming the first state to do so.
  132. On Tuesday, Politico reported Republican Rep. Mike Conaway of Texas said he will not seek re-election in 2020, becoming the fifth Republican to announce their retirement in the past two weeks.
  133. On Wednesday, a federal judge in Montana overturned an IRS rule which shielded political nonprofit donorsto 501(c)4 groups from having their identities made public.
  134. The ruling is a blow to Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, who said the rule protected donor privacy. Groups such as the National Rifle Association and Americans for Prosperity, a Koch brothers’ group, could be impacted.
  135. On Thursday, three NRA board members, who had raised concerns about reckless spending and mismanagement by the group’s leaders and were then stripped of committee assignment, resigned from the board.
  136. On Thursday, the DOJ said it will not prosecute former FBI director James Comey, despite its internal watchdog referring Comey for leaking some of his memos to NYT after Trump fired him in May 2017.
  137. The Hill reported the DOJ rationale was although Comey’s action was a technical violation, the department did not want to make its first case against the Russia investigators “with such thin margins and look petty and vindictive.”
  138. On Thursday, Trump’s EPA moved to finalize a rule that would make it easier to obtain air pollution permits, arguing the process under the Clean Air Act, known as New Source Review, is too burdensome.
  139. On Thursday, as senators left for summer break, Sen. Susan Collins called the mood in D.C. “constant chaos,” with Trump diverting attention from policy. Sen. Mike Rounds welcome getting back to “sanity” back home.
  140. On Thursday, Rep. Will Hurd, the sole black Republican in the House, said he will not seek re-election, becoming the third Texas Republican announcing a retirement this week, and the sixth in the past two weeks.
  141. In an interview with WAPO, Hurd said of Trump, “When you imply that because someone doesn’t look like you, in telling them to go back…you’re implying they’re not an American…and they have less worth than you.”
  142. Hurd is the ninth Republican to announce they will not seek re-election in 2020. Among the nine are two of the 13 House GOP women, including Rep. Susan Brooks who was slated to recruit more GOP women to run.
  143. On Friday, NYT reported that Kiron Skinner, the State Department’s top policy planner and the highest-ranking African-American woman in the department, has been forced out of her job.
  144. Her group was tasked with countering the rise of China. Officials claimed she was fired over her “abusive” management style. She is the first departure from Secretary of State Mike Pompeo’s small inner circle.
  145. On Thursday, Facebook announced it had found and taken down a covert campaign by the government of Saudi Arabia on Facebook and Instagram to prop up the kingdom and attack its enemies.
  146. On Thursday, the Manhattan D.A.’s office issued subpoenas to the Trump Organization for documents related to $130,000 in hush-money payments to Stormy Daniels, reviving an investigation into the company’s role.
  147. The inquiry will examine whether senior executives at the Trump Organization filed false business records about the payments — a state crime. The Manhattan D.A. also subpoenaed America Media Inc.
  148. On Wednesday, Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin spoke on the phone. The White House released a two sentence readout on the call later that night, hours after Russia had given public notice of the call.
  149. The readout said Trump “expressed concern over the vast wildfires afflicting Siberia” and the leaders “discussed trade between the two countries.” No other details of the call were released.
  150. On Thursday, when asked if he discussed election interference with Putin on a call Wednesday, Trump told reporters at the White House on interference, “You don’t really believe this. Do you believe this?”
  151. Trump said on election interference, “We didn’t talk about that,” adding instead they discussed wildfires in Siberia, telling reporters, “I think he appreciated it. We would be able to help them.”
  152. On Thursday, Trump signed an executive order imposing new sanctions on Russia for the poisoning of a former Russian military intelligence officer, Sergei Skripal, in Salisbury, U.K.
  153. Lawmakers on both sides had criticized Trump’s delay in imposing sanctions. On Monday, the top Democrat and Republican on the House Foreign Affairs Committee sent a letter threatening legal action.
  154. On Thursday, Trump held a campaign rally in Cincinnati, Ohio which 17,500 attended. Trump mocked “left-wing extremists,” and Democrats, including Sen. Elizabeth Warren who he continued to call “Pocahontas.”
  155. Donald Jr. warmed up the crowd, saying, “It’s sad that using ‘racism’ has become the easy button of left-wing politics.” Trump supporters held up t-shirts saying “TRUMP & Republicans Are Not RACIST.”
  156. Trump invoked his 2016 opponent, saying, “Do you remember when Hillary used the word ‘deplorable’?” adding, “not a good day for Hillary. Crooked Hillary. She is a crooked one.” The crowd chanted, “Lock her up!
  157. Protestors briefly interrupted the rally two times, one for close to four minutes as they were led out of the arena. One protestor held a sign that read “Immigrants Built America,” which Trump supporters tore away.
  158. Trump blamed the mayor, “Do you have a Democrat mayor? Well, that’s what happens,” then brought up homicide rates in Baltimore and Chicago, saying they support illegal immigrants rather than their own communities.
  159. Trump said Baltimore’s homicide rate “is significantly higher than El Salvador, Honduras, Guatemala,” then asked the audience, “Gimme a place” for others, and repeated, “I believe it’s higher than Afghanistan.”
  160. Trump also again attacked two familiar targets in California, saying Los Angeles had “horrible, disgusting conditions” and San Francisco is now all “deplorable.”
  161. Trump promised to “very shortly” cure pediatric cancer and AIDS, without offering details, and said, “Our nation is stronger today than ever before,” adding, “We’re finally putting America first. It’s about time.”
  162. Trump mocked environmentalists and clean-energy advocates, saying “We’ve ended the war on American energy.” He also attacked windmills again saying they are “noisy” and “kill birds.”
  163. Later Thursday, WCPO Cincinnati reported Dallas Frazier, a 29 year-old Trump supporter, was charged with assault after getting out of a pick-up truck and punching an anti-Trump protester outside the Trump rally.
  164. On Thursday, a nationwide committee of federal judges concluded that 83 ethics complaints filed against Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh during and after his confirmation process will remain dismissed.
  165. The ruling by Committee on Judicial Conduct and Disability confirms a late 2018 ruling by a panel of judges. As there is no appeal option, the only way Kavanaugh could be investigated further would be in Congress.
  166. On Wednesday, CNN reported North Korea launched at least one projectile into the Sea of Japan, the third launch in the past week. The tests violate a United Nations Security Council resolution.
  167. On Thursday, Trump played down the test, telling reporters “short-range missiles” are “very standard,” and “We never made an agreement on that,” adding “I think it’s very much under control, very much under control.”
  168. On Friday, Trump again defended Kim Jong Un, tweeting his “friend” Kim “does not want to disappoint me with a violation of trust,” adding, “the potential as a Country, under Kim Jong Un’s leadership, is unlimited.”
  169. On Friday, Trump announced on Twitter that he would drop his plans to nominate Rep. Ratcliffe for DNI, tweeting: “Our great Republican Congressman…is being treated very unfairly by the LameStream Media.”
  170. Trump added, “rather than going through months of slander and libel, I explained to John how miserable it would be for him and his family to deal with these people,” he will “stay in Congress.”
  171. Trump later told reporters outside the White House, that he likes for the press to vet his nominees, saying, “I like when you vet, no, no, you vet. I think the White House is a great vetting process. You vet for me.”
  172. Ratcliffe is the 62nd nominee withdrawn by Trump, an unprecedented number. Politico reported White House officials have blamed Trump’s lack of judgement and impulsiveness.
  173. On Friday, WAPO reported Trump ally Sen. Kevin Cramer demanded to see the Army Corps’ border wall contracts, after the companies owned by Tom Fisher, his preferred vendor by him and Trump, did not get selected.
  174. Cramer put a temporary hold on the confirmation of Michael Wooten for a senior post at the White House Office of Management and Budget in an attempt to get sensitive information on the contracting bids.
  175. Fisher’s company is based in Cramer’s home state of North Dakota. He and his family have donated thousands to his campaign. Cramer mused in a interview that Trump had deputized him to deal with the bidding process.
  176. On Friday, Brian Karem, the chief White House correspondent for Playboy magazine, said his press pass was suspended for 30 days over an argument he had with Sebastian Gorka at Trump’s Social Media Summit last month.
  177. The White House said wrote that Karem “failed to abide by basic norms of decorum and order,” and was rude to Gorka, “a guest of the president.” Playboy called Karem’s suspension “incredibly concerning.”
  178. Karem told WAPO he believes the move was in retaliation for tough questioning, as the suspension came hours after Trump had fielded several of his questions. His attorney will appeal the suspension on Monday.
  179. On Friday, the Fresno Bee reported Rep. Devin Nunes is suing a group of people in his district who called him a “fake farmer,” claiming they were coordinating with “dark money” groups to hurt his campaign.
  180. One of the defendants, fruit grower Paul Buxman said he had never heard of the term “dark money” and had voted for Nunes in every election but one. Nunes also sued a parody Twitter cow account in Week 123.
  181. On Friday, according to a pair of letters released by the Swedish Prosecution Authority, the Trump regime warned Sweden of the “negative consequences” if rapper ASAP Rocky was not released.
  182. On Friday, Rocky was released from jail, pending a verdict, and landed back in the U.S. on Saturday. Trump tweeted on Friday, “It was a Rocky Week, get home ASAP A$AP!” A final judgment is expected on August 14.
  183. Trump’s unusual intervention in the case left tensions between the two countries. Trump weighed in on the assault case last month after a public outcry by celebrities, including reality TV star Kim Kardashian-West.
  184. On Friday, after weeks of mass protests, Puerto Rico governor Ricardo Rossello stepped down. His successor Pedro Pierluisi was sworn in temporarily until Wednesday when the Senate will hear his nomination.
  185. On Saturday, Trump retweeted a racist attack on London mayor Sadiq Khan by British far-right activist Katie Hopkins, saying “The nipple-height Mayor of Londonistan has NEVER been so unpopular.”

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Virginia state delegate, Ibraheem S. Samirah is escorted out after holding up a sign while Trump speaks at Jamestown Settlement on Tuesday July 30, 2019 in James City County VA. Tuesday July 30th marks the 400th anniversary of the convening of the first General Assembly that took place at a church on what is now Historic Jamestown.

POLITIKS OF GRAFFITI 142: “TROUBLING SIGNS OF ERODING NORMS”

JULY 27, 2019

Week 141

Experts in authoritarianism advise to keep a list of things
subtly changing around you, so you’ll remember. https://theweeklylist.org/weekly-list/week-141/
DCIM107GOPROGOPR3106.
“BaltiMore is a plague. No one wants to visit it. Also, Jared does business there.” Brussels, Belgium 28jul19

This week Robert Mueller testified before the House Judiciary and Intelligence Committees about his 448 page report. The testimony was the first glimpse many Americans had of its findings, especially Mueller’s stark warnings on Russia’s past and ongoing interference, and Trump’s and other regime members’ financial and other conflicts. While the media quibbled over whether Mueller was made-for-television articulate, the House Judiciary Committee took the first steps to effectively start an impeachment investigation, as over 100 House members have now come out in favor of impeachment. Despite testimony by Mueller and FBI director Christopher Wray, as well as a bipartisan Senate Intelligence Committee sounding alarms about Russia’s ongoing efforts at election interference, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell continued to halt efforts by Congress to counter Russian meddling.

IMG_8158
NYC, June 2019

Troubling signs of eroding norms and Trump seizing power at an alarming rate continued. Trump ramped up attacks on the media, calling them “fake” and “the enemy of the people,” and saying the press has lost all credibility. Trump continued his diatribe on the Federal Reserve and targeted U.S. companies with his ire. A disturbing Supreme Court ruling allowed Trump to take funds from the Pentagon to build his wall, while he continued to push to end asylum and ramp up rhetoric on deportation — further fanning the flames of “us” versus “them” in America.

IMG_9827
Wind-up whiny toy in the window of a shop in Brussels, Belgium. July 2019.
  1. On Saturday, more than 20,000 gathered in Moscow demanding free and fair elections, a continuation of protests from Week 140 over opposition candidates not being allowed on the ballot for local elections in September.
  2. On Saturday, Trump showed up at a wedding being held at one of his properties, the National Golf Club Bedminster. The bride and groom were ardent Trump fans and invited him. The crowd chanted, “U-S-A! U-S-A!”
  3. On Saturday, Trump mocked London Mayor Sadiq Khan after the city’s police department Twitter account was hacked, tweeting: “With the incompetent Mayor of London, you will never have safe streets!”
  4. On Sunday, WAPO reported on the political crisis created by Trump’s racist tweets in Week 140. Reporting was based on interviews with 26 White House aides, advisers, lawmakers, and others.
  5. Aides said Trump did not fully understand the impact of his racist tweets sent before golfing. Trump had acted alone, and created a crisis that he continued to flame on his own during the week, despite advice of aides.
  6. The White House feared close to 50 Republicans might vote with House Democrats on the resolution of disapproval. Trump was obsessed with the vote tally, and he and other aides labored to keep the GOP caucus together.
  7. On Sunday, Trump tweeted that the WAPO story “with its phony sources who do not exist, is Fake News,” saying people were only talking about “the record setting crowd and the tremendous enthusiasm” at his rally.
  8. Trump then tweeted, “Presidential Harassment!” and then in another tweet added, “MAKE AMERICA GREAT AGAIN!”
  9. Trump also tweeted, “I don’t believe the four Congresswomen are capable of loving our Country,” calling them “weak & insecure” and adding, “They should apologize to America (and Israel).”
  10. On Monday, Trump again attacked WAPO, tweeting, “the Amazon Washington Post” reported “total Fake News,” adding, “It is a made up story meant to demean & belittle,” and “The Post had no sources.”
  11. Trump also tweeted, “the Mainstream Media is out of control,” claiming “they constantly lie and cheat in order to get their Radical Left Democrat views out,” adding, “they have gone bonkers.”
  12. Trump also again invoked enemy of the people, tweeting, “Fake News Equals the Enemy of the People!
  13. On Monday, Bloomberg reported that the Pentagon slipped in revealing that it is conducting a secret Army “emerging classified flight mission” involving Black Hawk helicopters flying over the Washington D.C. area.
  14. The operation was disclosed as part of the Army’s $2.5 billion request this month to Congress to “reprogram” funds, including $1.5 million for aircraft maintenance, air crews, and travel in support of the mission.
  15. On Sunday, House Judiciary Chair Jerrold Nadler told “Fox News Sunday” that the Mueller report presents “very substantial evidence” that Trump is “guilty of high crimes and misdemeanors” — an impeachable offense.
  16. On Sunday, House Intelligence Chair Adam Schiff told “Face the Nation” the Mueller report contains “a pretty damning set of facts,” adding of Mueller’s upcoming testimony, “Who better to bring them to life.”
  17. On Sunday, when asked about Trump’s racist statements on “Fox News Sunday,” White House adviser Stephen Miller said Democrats “try to silence and punish and suppress” people by using the term “racist.”
  18. Miller said “the core element” of Trump’s philosophy is “America First.” When asked about Trump saying the U.S. was “crippled” and a “laughingstock” under Obama, he said it was “out of love” for the country.
  19. On Sunday, when asked on “This Week” if Trump is a racist, House Oversight Chair Elijah Cummings said he “tried to give him the benefit of the doubt,” adding, “I believe he is. Yes, no doubt about it.”
  20. On Sunday, the president of the Illinois Republican County Chairmen’s Association apologized for the group posting a meme on their Facebook page of the four congresswomen, calling them “The Jihad Squad.”
  21. The text of the meme, which was posted on Friday and later taken down, read, “POLITICAL JIHAD IS THEIR GAME. IF YOU DON’T AGREE WITH THEIR SOCIALIST IDEOLOGY, YOU’RE RACIST.”
  22. On Sunday, the Times Picayune reported Charlie Rispoli, a police officer in Gretna, Louisiana posted on his Facebook page that Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez should be shot: “This vile idiot needs a round…”
  23. On Monday, Rispoli was fired, along with officer Angelo Varisco, who liked his post. Gretna’s police chief said, “To insinuate a violent act against a seated U.S. congresswoman” is “completely irresponsible and intolerable.”
  24. On Monday, Trump tweeted the four congresswomen are “a very Racist group of troublemakers who are young, inexperienced, and not very smart,” and “against ICE and Homeland Security. So bad for our Country!”
  25. On Monday, WAPO obtained talking points for Trump’s re-election campaign: “The President loves America. He will stick up for this country, our flag, and the men and women who serve this country in uniform.”
  26. On Monday, Rep. Rashida Tlaib was introduced at the NAACP annual convention as “one of the four women who was told to go back home.” She said, “Yeah, I’m not going nowhere, not until I impeach this president.”
  27. On Monday, amid calls for Puerto Rico Gov. Ricardo Rosselló to resign over a scandal, Trump insulted him and his adversary San Juan Mayor Carmen Yulín Cruz who was not involved in the scandal, calling them “grossly incompetent.”
  28. Trump said Cruz is “so bad for her people,” and repeated the false claim that the island received $92 billion in aid. Trump also said “we did a great job” and “I’m the best thing that ever happened to Puerto Rico.”
  29. On Tuesday, the NAACP leadership voted unanimously at their annual convention to support impeachment. Derrick Johnson, the group’s president, said Trump is “unfit to serve this country.”
  30. On Sunday, Rudy Giuliani said in a radio interview that Mueller “shouldn’t really [testify],” adding, “He’s already commented more than any prosecutor has ever commented about a case he didn’t bring.”
  31. On Monday, Trump tweeted, “Highly conflicted Robert Mueller should not be given another bite at the apple,” saying it will be “bad for him and the phony Democrats” who are wasting time on “this ridiculous Witch Hunt.”
  32. Trump also tweeted, “NO COLLUSION, NO OBSTRUCTION!” and asked why “Clinton’s people” were “given immunity,” and why texts messages between “Peter S and his lover, Lisa Page” were “deleted and destroyed.”
  33. Later, Trump told reporters at the White House that he does not plan to watch Mueller testify: “I’m not going to be watching Mueller because you can’t take all those bites out of the apple.”
  34. Trump repeated false claims about Mueller: “There’s a lot of conflicts…He wanted the job of the FBI director, he didn’t get it. And we had a business relationship where I said no, and I would say that he wasn’t happy.”
  35. Trump said Democrats have “gone off the deep end” and “They’re not doing anything,” adding, “All they care about is a phony investigation. They’re wasting their time.”
  36. On Monday, White House counselor Kellyanne Conway told reporters Trump has “zero concerns” about Mueller testifying, calling it “a do-over of the do-over of the do-over” and an insult to the American people.
  37. On Monday, the Justice Department instructed Mueller in a letter to significantly limit his congressional testimony, and “not go beyond” the public unredacted version of the report.
  38. The letter also prohibits answering questions on matters that could be covered by executive privilege, a broad, vague category given Trump was investigated while working in the executive branch.
  39. The letter also reminded Mueller that Roger Stone and a separate case still await trial, and that it is the DOJ’s “longstanding policy not to discuss the conduct of uncharged third-parties.”
  40. On Tuesday, Chair Nadler called it “incredibly arrogant” to try to “instruct” Mueller on what to say, calling it “part of the ongoing cover-up by the administration to keep information away from the American people.”
  41. On Tuesday, Trump tweeted, “Newest Poll: Only 11% in favor of starting ridiculous impeachment hearings” — a number is not close to any real poll. Trump also accused Democrats of “Trump Derangement Syndrome.”
  42. On Tuesday, Trump told teenagers at the Turning Point USA summit of Mueller’s testimony, “These people have gone totally crazy,” calling it a “witch hunt” and saying the report found “no collusion, no obstruction.”
  43. Trump again repeated the claim that Article II of the Constitution gave him power to “do whatever I want as president.” Article II grants the president “executive power,” but does not give him total power.
  44.  Trump also told the teens, “we have our best poll numbers today that we’ve ever had, can you imagine how good our poll numbers, with all the things we’ve done…if we had a fair media?” One teen yelled “100 percent.”
  45. On Tuesday, Mueller asked the House Judiciary Committee to allow Aaron Zebley, one of his top deputies and counsel, to testify with him Wednesday. The move went against the DOJ wishes, and created an air of uncertainty.
  46. In a statement, ranking Republican Rep. Douglas Collins accused Democrats of an 11th hour trick, and accused Chair Nadler of “again allowing the committee’s business to devolve into chaos.”
  47. Rep. Collins cited an “unprecedented decision” to allow a witness’s counsel to both advise him privately and testify alongside him, adding it could jeopardize whether the hearing “complies with the rules of the House.”
  48. Later Tuesday, Trump tweeted about the “last minute change,” saying “What a disgrace to our system. Never heard of this before,” and adding, “VERY UNFAIR, SHOULD NOT BE ALLOWED. A rigged Witch Hunt!”
  49. On Monday, Trump again attacked the “very misguided” Federal Reserve, saying, “With almost no inflation, our Country is needlessly being forced to pay a MUCH higher interest rate than other countries.”
  50. Trump also claimed if interest rates were lower the “GDP & our Country’s wealth accumulation” would be “much higher,” adding, “Such a waste of time & money,” and the Fed “missed it (Big!). Don’t miss it again!”
  51. On Monday, WAPO reported Judy Shelton, Trump’s nominee to fill an open seat of the Federal Reserve Board, plans to push for a rate cut, saying in an email, “I would have voted for a 50-basis-point cut at the June meeting.”
  52. On Monday, Politico reported on dysfunction at the Commerce Department under Secretary Wilbur Ross, saying Ross does not hold regular meetings with senior staffers and is rarely in the building.
  53. Ross reportedly is disengaged, falls asleep in meetings, and spends most of his time kissing up to Trump. Sources also said there is constant infighting among top officials, and departures of senior staffers without explanation.
  54. On Monday, Politico reported Kelly Craft, Trump’s nominee to be ambassador to the United Nations, spent seven of her 20 months as ambassador to Canada back at her U.S. homes, including 60 personal days.
  55. On Monday, while meeting with Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan at the White House, Trump offered to mediate the long-running Kashmir conflict. Less than an hour later, India rejected Trump’s offer.
  56. Trump also said the duration of the Afghanistan war is “ridiculous,” adding he could “win that war in a week,” but “Afghanistan would be wiped off the face of the earth. I don’t want to kill 10 million people.”
  57. On Monday, according to a new set of rules published in the Federal Register, the Trump regime will expand its power to speed deportations of undocumented immigrants who have entered in the past two years.
  58. The rules allow the regime to fast-track the deportation process, bypassing immigration judges, which the regime claimed is a “necessary response” to the influx, although southern border apprehensions fell in June and July.
  59. On Wednesday, the White House praised a federal judge in the District of Columbia who ruled against blocking the regime’s new restrictions saying migrants are ineligible for asylum if they pass through another country.
  60. Later Wednesday, a second federal judge in San Francisco ordered the Trump regime to continue to accept asylum claims from all eligible migrants, and preventing the regime’s rules from being carried out.
  61. On Monday, the Dallas Morning News reported Francisco Erwin Galicia, an 18 year-old born in Dallas, was picked up by Border Patrol, and according to his lawyer, was detained for three weeks and may be deported by ICE.
  62. On Tuesday, after reporting by the newspaper, Galicia was released. His mother said an ICE official called and said they had found his documents and citizenship to be valid. Both ICE and CBP refused to comment.
  63. Galicia told MSNBC of his time at a Texas detention facility, “We couldn’t breathe or brush our teeth,” saying, “we were about 60 people in one small room,” and calling the conditions “inhumane.”
  64. The teen said he lost 26 pounds during his 23 days in custody, saying, “It was more psychological,” adding, “They said they were going to charge me. They would insult me so I would sign my deportation order.”
  65. On Monday, WTVF-Nashville reported a group of people in Hermitage, Tennessee formed a human chain around a man and his 12 year-old son to protect them from ICE for four hours. Eventually, ICE left.
  66. On Tuesday, ICE revealed in the deportation raids touted by Trump as targeting 2,000 migrant families, just 35 have been arrested, including 18 family members and 17 who were encountered during the operation.
  67. Trump had touted the raids as “very successful.” Advocacy groups had handed out flyers to prepare for the raids, and although the raids were not successful, they have instilled fear into the immigrant community.
  68. On Tuesday, Trump threatened Guatemala, tweeting: “Guatemala, which has been forming Caravans and sending large numbers of people, some with criminal records…has decided to break the deal they had with us.”
  69. Guatemalan President Jimmy Morales postponed a meeting with Trump last week after the country’s court blocked the “safe third country” accord, requiring migrants to seek protection there, not continue to the U.S.
  70. Trump tweeted, “we are looking at the “BAN,” Tariffs, Remittance Fees, or all of the above,” adding, “Guatemala has not been good. Big U.S. taxpayer dollars going to them was cut off by me 9 months ago.”
  71. On Wednesday, Border Patrol Chief Carla Provost acknowledged in a Congressional hearing that she was a member of the racist Facebook group “I’m 10–15,” saying, “I didn’t think anything of it at the time.”
  72. On Wednesday, Nancy Goodman, a white woman in Raleigh, North Carolina called two women the “N-word” at a confrontation in a restaurant. Goodman said she would do it again, saying, “I used that word because they forced me to.”
  73. On Thursday, Daniel Leonard, a member of the Toms River school board faced calls to resign after posting on Facebook that his “life would be complete” if Rep. Rashida Tlaib were dead.
  74. Leonard also called Rep. Ilhan Omar a “terrorist,” and posted a meme calling her “Sharia Barbie,” showing a Barbie doll with a black and blue eye, which read “Comes with Jihab, Bruises & Quran.”
  75. On Tuesday, Boris Johnson won the race to be the Tory leader and become the next British prime minister, replacing Theresa May. Johnson has been one of the most vocal proponents of Brexit.
  76. WAPO reported Sens. Ted Cruz and Bill Kennedy introduced a nonbinding resolution that would label antifascists as “domestic terrorists,” in step with Trump’s attacks on so-called “radical” activists.
  77. Antifascists, or “antifa,” are a collection of groups and individuals who support aggressive opposition to activists on the far right, in some cases leading to violence. Conservative media has referred to them as terrorists.
  78. On Tuesday, lawyers for Cesar Sayoc said in a defense filing he became obsessed with Trump as a “surrogate father” and believed an “alternative reality” that Democrats were working to hurt him and other supporters. Sayoc sent mail bombs to prominent Democrats, including the Obamas and Hillary Clinton.
  79. Sayoc’s lawyers said Fox News also helped radicalize him, saying he began “watching Fox News religiously,” watching “Fox & Friends” in the morning and Sean Hannity in prime time. He actively followed Trump on Twitter.
  80. On Tuesday, PEN America called for the State Department to disband the new Commission on Unalienable Rights, citing “serious concerns” over the commission’s purpose, process, and membership.
  81. On Tuesday, FBI director Christopher Wray told the Senate Judiciary Committee the FBI has recorded about 100 arrests of domestic terrorism suspects in the past nine months, and most involve white supremacy.
  82. Wray also testified the Russians “are absolutely intent on trying to interfere with our elections,” and said they have not been deterred by sanctions: “My view is until they stop they haven’t been deterred enough.”
  83. Wray said he was cooperating with Attorney General William Barr in his inquiry on the origins of the of the investigation of Russian interference in the 2016 election, and said the bureau has instituted new policies and training to ensure impartiality.
  84. Wray also admitted when asked by Sen. Mazie Hirono if he read the Mueller report, that he had not, saying, “I’ve — I’ve reviewed it, I wouldn’t say I’ve read every single word.”
  85. On Tuesday, Politico reported that Rep. Devin Nunes met with Trump and other senior White House officials last week to discuss replacements for Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats.
  86. Some on Capitol Hill and in the intelligence community speculated that given Trump and Nunes’ similar views on intelligence issues, Nunes could be under consideration for DNI or another intelligence position.
  87. One member of Congress told Politico that Trump “would certainly consider Devin Nunes for the director’s position.” The notion has provoked some anxiety at the top level of ODNI.
  88. On Monday, BuzzFeed reported two unofficial envoys, Lev Parnas and Igor Fruman, who reported to Rudy Giuliani, met with top officials in Ukraine to lobby the Ukrainian government to help Trump win 2020.
  89. The two pushed prosecutors to investigate allegations against 2020 candidate Joe Biden, and to open a probe into whether Ukrainian officials sought to help Hillary Clinton win 2016 by leaking evidence on Paul Manafort.
  90. On Tuesday, a federal grand jury convicted Bijan Rafiekian, a former business partner of Michael Flynn and Trump transition adviser, on two foreign-agent felony counts for work he and Flynn did for Turkish interests.
  91. The verdict in Alexandria, Virginia was from a case started by Mueller’s team, and came despite Flynn being dropped as a witness under his new legal representation. Rafiekian faces up to 15 years in prison.
  92. On Tuesday, Trump continued his attacks on the four congresswomen, tweeting he will win Minnesota in 2020 “because of America hating anti-Semite Rep. Omar,” and called the four “a Nightmare for America!”
  93. Later, at the Turning Point USA summit, addressing a group of teenagers, Trump railed against the four, calling Rep. Rashida Tlaib “vicious” and “a crazed lunatic.” The teens chanted, “One Squad Under God.”
  94. Trump again repeated his conspiracy theory on illegal voting, saying Democrats won in “California and numerous other states” are “rigged” because undocumented immigrants vote “many times — not just twice.”
  95. On Tuesday, a bipartisan group of senators introduced the Freedom of Information Act bill to counteract an EPA policy and a Supreme Court ruling which make it easier for the Trump regime to withhold information.
  96. On Tuesday, Trump’s private lawyers sued New York State officials and the House Ways and Means Committee to block congressional Democrats from obtaining his state tax returns under a newly enacted New York law.
  97. AG Letitia James of New York said her office had “all the confidence that this law is legal” and pledged to “vigorously defend” it. A spokesman for House Ways and Means Chair Richard Neal declined to comment.
  98. On Wednesday, ahead of Mueller’s testimony, Trump tweeted, “why didn’t the highly conflicted Robert Mueller” investigate “Crooked Hillary Clinton deleted and acid washed” emails, saying, “She must have GREAT lawyers!”
  99. Trump asked why “Mueller & his band of 18 Angry Democrats” did not investigate “Crooked Hillary Clinton, Lyin’ & Leakin’ James Comey, Lisa Page and her Psycho lover, Peter S, Andy McCabe…and many more.”
  100. On Wednesday, Robert Mueller testified before the House Judiciary and the House Intelligence Committees. Mueller said in his opening remarks he would not address the origins of the investigation or Steele dossier.
  101. Mueller also said, “Over the course of my career, I’ve seen a number of challenges to our democracy. The Russian government’s effort to interfere in our election is among the most serious.”
  102. Mueller testified to the House Judiciary Committee that despite Trump’s repeated proclamations, the report does not exonerate Trump, and did not conclude that Trump did not commit obstruction of justice.
  103. Mueller said DOJ rules say a sitting president cannot be indicted, but that Trump could be prosecuted for obstruction of justice after he leaves office. Mueller also said Trump refused to be interviewed by his team.
  104. When asked if the Russians perceived a benefit from a candidate, Mueller said, “It would be Trump,” and confirmed that Manafort gave polling data to an associate with ties to Russian intelligence.
  105. Democrats tried to systematically walk through Volume 2, the obstruction of justice charges, including when he attempted to have Mueller fired, reading parts of the report out loud and Mueller responding with short affirmations.
  106. Mueller did say there was a sufficient factual and legal basis for further investigation, and that Trump had a motive to impede the Russia investigation, countering Barr who said Trump was merely frustrated.
  107. Republicans repeatedly asked about the origins of the investigation and the Steele dossier. Mueller refused to roughly 200 questions posed to him, frequently saying, “I’m just going to leave it as it appears in the report.”
  108. Despite saying he did not plan to watch, Trump live-tweeted the testimony, including quoting Fox News host Chris Wallace: “This has been a disaster for the Democrats and a disaster for the reputation of Robert Mueller.”
  109. Mueller refused to address the issue of impeachment. Republicans accused Mueller and his team members of being biased against Trump. Mueller pushed back, saying he never asked about the political affiliation of his team.
  110. Six Trump aides were charged with crimes in the Mueller probe including Michael Flynn, Michael Cohen, Rick Gates, Paul Manafort, George Papadopoulos, and Roger Stone.
  111. Mueller was more forceful in testimony before the intelligence committee. Chair Schiff accused Trump of “disloyalty” to the country, while ranking Republican Nunes compared the probe to the search for the Loch Ness monster.
  112. Mueller corrected morning testimony where he said did not indict Trump because of the OLC opinion on indicting a sitting president, saying, “We did not reach a determination as to whether the president committed a crime.”
  113. Mueller said the Russia probe is “not a witch hunt” or a hoax. He also said Russia interfered in the 2016 election and the Trump campaign appeared to welcome that help. Several members of the campaign lied to his team.
  114. Mueller affirmed that Trump’s foreign dealings, including efforts and conversations on Trump Tower Moscow, could expose him to being blackmailed by Russians. Same with other regime members.
  115. Mueller gave his most pointed criticism on Trump for his praising of WikiLeaks, saying, “Problematic is an understatement…it displays of giving some hope or some boost to what is and should be illegal behavior.”
  116. Mueller said it is not acceptable to take help from foreign governments, saying, “I hope this is not the new normal, but I fear it is,” adding, “We don’t use the word collusion,” but there may have been a conspiracy.
  117. When asked if his team found evidence to suggest Russia would try to interfere in future elections, Mueller said, “They’re doing it as we sit here,” adding, “And they expect to do it during the next campaign.”
  118. Mueller said he decided not to subpoena Trump for testimony, saying Trump would have fought it and would have extended the investigation for a “substantial period of time.”
  119. Mueller also said of Trump’s written answers, “he wasn’t always being truthful.” Mueller agreed that accepting foreign help is “unpatriotic,” and agreed when government officials lie it can open them up to blackmail.
  120. Notably, ranking member Nunes did not use his closing time to pose any questions to Mueller. In the afternoon session, one Republican did ask Mueller how to stop election interference in the future.
  121. Aaron Zebley, who served as a sort of chief of staff to Mueller during the probe and was sworn in for both hearings, did not speak. Republicans objected to him being there however.
  122. When Mueller’s testimony ended at approximately 3:30 p.m., Trump tweeted: “TRUTH IS A FORCE OF NATURE!”
  123. The Republican National Committee said in a statement the testimony was “a disaster for Democrats,” and, “After three years, millions of taxpayer dollars…There was no collusion and no obstruction. Case closed.”
  124. Trump emerged to speak to reporters, saying had a “very good day,” adding Mueller did “horrible” job and said the investigation was “phony,” and said it was a “devastating day” for Democrats.
  125. Trump also said, “This has been a very bad thing for our country,” and “three years of embarrassment and waste of time for our country,” adding Mueller did not have the right to “exonerate.”
  126. When asked about Mueller saying he could be indicted after leaving office, Trump lashed out calling it “a very dumb and unfair question,” and telling the reporter, “you’re fake news, you’re one of the worst.”
  127. On Wednesday, Politico reported during a closed-door meeting of House Democrats after the hearings, House Judiciary Chair Nadler pushed to launch impeachment proceedings, but was rebuffed by Speaker Nancy Pelosi.
  128. Nader cited even though polls showed limited support for impeaching Richard Nixon when the House began impeachment hearings in 1973, public support grew as more evidence came out about Nixon’s behavior.
  129. Democrats had a lengthy discussion on impeachment, with rank-and-file lawmakers asking technical questions, including whether it would require a full vote of the House or if it could be initiated by the Judiciary Committee.
  130. In a press conference after the meeting, Speaker Pelosi seemed to soften on starting an impeachment inquiry, telling reporters, “If we have a case for impeachment, that’s the place we will have to go.”
  131. Pelosi said she wanted to build “a strong case” based on “the facts and the law,” adding, “The stronger our case is, the worse the Senate will look for just letting the president off the hook.”
  132. Pelosi added if the “cone of silence and the obstruction of justice and the coverup in the White House prevents us from getting that information,” it will be “even more grounds to go forward” with impeachment.
  133. Nadler told reporters, “Today was a watershed day in telling the facts to the American people,” adding, “we face a time of great danger,” and “This cannot go on. And it’s up to Congress to safeguard the Constitution.”
  134. Chair Cummings told reporters, “I’m begging the American people to pay attention,” urging listeners not to accept Trump’s conduct, or that of AG Barr or Republican lawmakers, as “normal.”
  135. Cummings added, “if you want to have a democracy intact for your children and your children’s children and generations yet unborn, we have got to guard against this moment. This is our watch.”
  136. On Wednesday, the House passed a measure which endorsed all Trump-focused subpoenas, past and future, after a Trump appointed judge questioned whether the House voted to authorize its investigations.
  137. On Wednesday, the DOJ said in a letter to Speaker Pelosi it will not bring charges against AG Barr and Sec. Ross after the House voted in Week 140 to hold them in criminal contempt for refusing to comply with subpoenas.
  138. On Wednesday, Trump vetoed three joint resolutions that had bipartisan support in the House and Senate, which would have prohibited arms sales to Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates.
  139. On Wednesday, Bernie Madoff asked Trump to commute his 150-year sentence, filing a petition for clemency with the DOJ. Madoff has served ten years in prison and is 81 years-old.
  140. On Thursday, the Senate Intelligence Committee released the first of its five-part report on Russian interference in the 2016 election, which found Russia’s “directed extensive activity” started back in 2014.
  141. The report found that Russia targeted the election systems of all 50 states, and described “an unprecedented level of activity against state election infrastructure” as part of an effort to find vulnerabilities.
  142. The report also found “Russian cyberactors were in a position to delete or change voter data” in the Illinois voter database. The report, including key findings, were heavily redacted at the behest of U.S. intelligence agencies.
  143. The report found Russia did not change votes or manipulate voting machines, but warned of an ongoing threat, and gave a series of public recommendations for 2020, much of which was redacted.
  144. The report recommended ensuring a paper trail for voter machines and paper backups for registration system, as well as strategic steps and opening discussions with U.S. allies on how to deter cyberattacks.
  145. The report also found widespread intelligence failure in countering Russian efforts, saying the scope was underestimated, warnings were inadequate, and state officials under-reacted or resisted federal help.
  146. On Thursday, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell blocked Senate Democrats from pushing forward a bill which had passed in the House and would authorize additional funding for the state election systems.
  147. McConnell also blocked a second bill that had passed in the House mandating the use of paper ballots, claiming, “This is partisan legislation from the Democratic House of Representatives.”
  148. A WAPO columnist compared McConnell to “a Russian asset,” saying Russia “is attacking us today…Yet each time we try to raise our defenses to repel the attack, McConnell…blocks us from defending ourselves.”
  149. CNN reported Election Systems & Software, the largest U.S. election equipment manufacturer, has been quietly lobbying to require all voting equipment to create a paper trail, a sharp departure from its past position.
  150. On Saturday, AP reported a federal judge could force Georgia to use an interim voting system, finding its current voting system is “way too old and archaic” and its machines are unsecure and vulnerable to hacking.
  151. On Thursday, AG Barr directed the Bureau of Prisons to reinstate the death penalty, after 16 years without executions, and to schedule the execution of five death row inmates.
  152. On Thursday, North Korea tested a new type of short-range ballistic missile, launching two missiles,according to the South Korean government, expanding the North’s ability to deliver nuclear warheads.
  153. On Thursday, WAPO reported that during Trump’s speech at Turning Point USA’s student summit on Tuesday, he was standing in front of a doctored presidential seal which included a Russian symbol.
  154. A closer examination of videos from the event revealed rather than the Latin phrase “E pluribus unum,” the seal says “45 es un títere,” a Spanish phrase that translates to “45 is a puppet.”
  155. The fake seal, which was meant to poke fun at Trump’s love of golf and ties to Russia, also showed the eagle clutching cash in its right talons. Turning Point USA fired the person on the video team who displayed the fake seal.
  156. On Thursday, Vox reported the Trump regime is planning to crack down on “broad-based categorical eligibility,” which enables states to enroll people who have applied for other low-income programs to get food stamps.
  157. The move would bump roughly 3.1 million people off food stamps, roughly 8% of those currently on the program, and would allow the Trump regime to bypass Congress.
  158. On Thursday, CNN reported that Monica Crowley, Trump’s pick for Treasury spokesperson, had repeatedly spread a smear that Barack Obama was secretly a Muslim, saying, “Can he be both loyal to Islam and loyal to the United States?”
  159. On Thursday, a total of five additional House Democrats came out for impeachment, including Rep. Katherine Clark, vice chair of the House Democratic Caucus and the highest-ranking Democrat to join the effort.
  160. On Thursday, Trump called in to Sean Hannity’s show to talk about Mueller’s testimony, calling it a “very poor performance” and saying people watching “couldn’t believe when they saw what was going on.”
  161. Trump also called it “a disgrace to our country,” saying he “watched a little bit at the very beginning and I couldn’t believe what I was seeing,” even though he was tweeting about the testimony throughout.
  162. Trump called the Mueller probe “a fake witch hunt and it should never be allowed to happen to another president again,” adding, “This was treason. This was high crimes,” and the press lost “all credibility.”
  163. Trump also said, “It’s fake news,” repeating the press is “the enemy of the people,” and added on firing Mueller, “I had the absolute right to fire him but I didn’t,” and this was a coup attempt, in my opinion.”
  164. On Friday, Rep. Ann Kuster of New Hampshire became the 99th Democrat to come out for impeachment, bringing the total to 100 members of Congress. Later, Rep. Chris Pappas of a swing district in NH made it 101.
  165. On Friday, Politico reported with Democrats moving closer, Pelosi said she has “no complaint,” adding, “I’m willing to take whatever heat there is. The decision will be made in a timely fashion. This isn’t endless.”
  166. On Friday, Rep. Martha Roby of Alabama announced she plans to retire at the end of the term, the third Republican to announce their resignation this week. Roby is one of only 13 Republican women in the House.
  167. On Friday, Trump attacked Fox News in a pair of tweets, saying, “@FoxNews is at it again. So different from what they used to be during the 2016 Primaries, & before — Proud Warriors!”
  168. Trump also tweeted about “new Fox Polls, which have always been terrible to me (they had me losing BIG to Crooked Hillary),” complaining about a poll which showed Trump down by 10 points to Biden.
  169. Trump blamed it on “three year vicious Witch Hunt, perpetrated by the Lamestream Media in Collusion with Crooked and the Democrat Party,” saying no way he can lose “with the greatest Economy in U.S. history.”
  170. The day before Trump had celebrated Fox News in a series of tweets, over their polls showing his approval rating higher, tweeting: “President Trump’s Approval Rating on Economy is at 52%.”
  171. Trump also tweeted, “There may or may not be National Security concerns with regard to Google and their relationship with China.” Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin said there was no concern on Wednesday.
  172. Trump also attacked Apple, saying the company “will not be given Tariff waiver, or relief, for Mac Pro parts that are made in China.” Apple shared dipped slightly on the tweet.
  173. Trump also attacked the Federal Reserve again, tweeting that second quarter GDP up 2.1% was “Not bad considering we have the very heavy weight of the Federal Reserve anchor wrapped around our neck.”
  174. Trump also attacked France for a new tax law targeting U.S. technology giants like Apple, tweeting, “We will announce a substantial reciprocal action on Macron’s foolishness shortly.”
  175. On Friday, in a petition to the court over the Mueller probe, the House Judiciary Committee asked the federal judge to unseal grand jury secrets related, saying the panel is considering articles of impeachment.
  176. Chair Nadler told reporters, “Because Department of Justice policies will not allow prosecution of a sitting president,” the House “is the only institution of the federal government” that can hold “Trump accountable.”
  177. The House application states, “the House must have access to all the relevant facts and consider whether to exercise all its full Article I powers,” including “recommendation of articles of impeachment.”
  178. Chair Nadler stood with other House Judiciary Committee members (pictured below), several of whom told reporters the application indicates the start of an impeachment investigation.
  179. On Friday, Trump told reporters from the Oval Office that “it’s a disgrace” that Democrats continue to investigate him, adding, “they want to go fishing and I watched Bob Mueller and they have nothing.”
  180. Trump threatened Obama, saying, “Let’s look into Obama the way they’ve looked at me … they could look into the book deal that President Obama made. Let’s subpoena all of his records.”
  181. On Friday, a federal judge dismissed the $250 million defamation lawsuit brought by Covington student Nicholas Sandmann against WAPO, saying its coverage was protected by the First Amendment and deemed opinion.
  182. On Friday, the Supreme Court ruled that Trump can proceed with plans to use Pentagon funds for construction of his wall, overruling a lower court which found reallocating Pentagon funds would violate federal law.
  183. The unsigned ruling split along ideological lines, 5 to 3, with Justice Stephen Breyer proposing a compromise which others did not sign, and came after an emergency filing by the regime during the court’s summer recess.
  184. Speaker Pelosi said in a statement the decision allows Trump “to defy the bipartisan will of the Congress and proceed with contracts to spend billions of dollars on his wall undermines the Constitution and the law.”
  185. On Friday, Sen. Dianne Feinstein, ranking member on the Judiciary Committee, urged Chair Lindsey Graham to back down from a threatened rules change in order to vote on a bill to change the Flores settlement.
  186. Feinstein said in her letter, “Your announcement to disregard these rules…and change the rules unilaterally in a partisan manner is deeply concerning,” saying it would “set an unfortunate precedent for the future.”
  187. On Friday, NBC News reported U.S. troops are stationed inside the Border Patrol’s holding facility in Donna, Texas, a move close to violating a federal law forbidding troops from being in direct contact with migrants.
  188. The troops are not armed, and are monitoring migrant adults and children from just a few feet away and are supposed to report any problems to CBP officials rather than interact.
  189. Rep. John Garamendi said the regime is “teetering on the edge of the Posse Comitatus law,” a 1878 federal law that prohibits the government from using military forces to act as a police force within U.S. borders.
  190. On Friday, the National Institutes of Health issued new strict requirements by the Trump regime for researchers seeking federal funding grants for research using fetal tissue.
  191. Going forward, grant applications and renewals must provide a detailed justification for using tissue collected from elective abortions, and document why no alternative methods could accomplish the same.
  192. On Friday, the Senate Armed Services Committee said it would move forward with confirmation hearings for Gen. John Hyten, Trump’s nominee to be the number two general, despite sexual assault accusations.
  193. On Saturday, in a series of tweets, Trump attacked Chair Cummings, who is a Black American, calling him a “brutal bully,” accusing him of “shouting and screaming at the great men & women of Border Patrol.”
  194. Trump claimed Cummings’ district of Baltimore “is FAR WORSE and more dangerous,” than the border, and “considered the Worst in the USA,” and “a disgusting, rat and rodent infested mess.”
  195. Trump also tweeted Cumming’s district is the “worst run and most dangerous,” asking, “Where is all this money going? How much is stolen?” and threatening, “Investigate this corrupt mess immediately!”
  196. Cummings tweeted back, “Each morning, I wake up, and I go and fight for my neighbors,” adding, “It is my constitutional duty to conduct oversight of the Executive Branch. But, it is my moral duty to fight for my constituents.”
  197. An hour before Trump’s attack on Cummings, “Fox & Friends” ran a segment questioning, “How do living conditions in Rep. Cummings’ Baltimore district compare to those at the border?”
  198. On Saturday, CNN reported Raj Shah, the former White House deputy press secretary, took a job at Fox News, continuing the revolving door between the cable network and Trump’s White House.
  199. On Saturday, Moscow police arrested more than 1,000 protestors in continuing protests over the fairness of upcoming city elections. Protestors yelled, “We love Russia! They love money!”

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House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerrold Nadler (D-NY) and fellow Democratic members of the committee hold a news conference about this week’s testimony of former special counsel Robert Mueller July 26, 2019 in Washington, DC. Nadler said that the hearing was an “inflection point,” because Mueller testified that President Donald Trump’s 2016 campaign welcomed assistance from Russians and that Trump “was not exonerated.”

POLITIKS OF GRAFFITI 140: “THE CHAOS OF OUR LIVES”

JULY 13, 2019

Week 139

Experts in authoritarianism advise to keep a list of things
subtly changing around you, so you’ll remember. Amy Siskind’s Weekly List:  https://theweeklylist.org/weekly-list/week-139/ and my photos/art picks from all over the world:
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“Jeffrey Epstein and Alex Acosta are great guys.” Antwerp-Berchem, Belgium 13jul19

This is the longest week so far, and it felt that way. The chaos of our lives has obfuscated the damage and extremes under Trump, as each week blurs into the next week’s crises and unprecedented actions. This week’s turmoil centered on Jeffrey Epstein’s arrest and the resignation of Labor Secretary Alex Acosta, the 13th Cabinet member to depart the regime — next week there will certainly be new plot lines to engage and exhaust the American people.

IMG_9694
Located in the front of the Palais de Justice in Brussels, Belgium. 7jul19

IMG_9695 

This week the Democrats seemed to take a step back, amid party infighting. Notably, the Trump regime continues to successfully stonewall all the House efforts at accountability, and seemingly Democratic leadership is taking a slight uptick in Trump popularity as a rationale to back off in tone, while in actuality, the lack of action by the Democrats has normalized the previously unthinkable of accepting foreign help and obstructing justice. While the country eagerly awaited Robert Mueller’s testimony on July 17, that too evaporated and became a moving target.

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If there’s any question whether or not he is a joke to other countries…here’s a postcard in a shop window in Brussels, Belgium. 7jul19

 

Trump careened from one rage to another this week, but notably, he is largely getting his way. When things go against him, he finds new ways to re-center and seize the narrative. His central message of immigration continues to be front and center and Fox News seized on the theme of “these are not our children” to dull the news on conditions at detention centers, as deportation raids were set to start. Trump continued to repeat his themes that the media is “the enemy of the people,” that he will serve more than two terms, and that Democrats are enabling millions of “illegal aliens” to vote — all setting the stage for an unpredictable 2020 election.

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And this. Brussels, Belgium. 7jul19

 

  1. On Saturday, Jeffrey Epstein was arrested by federal agents at Teterboro Airport in New Jersey after arriving from Paris. Agentsnalso broke down the door of his Manhattan townhouse to execute search warrants.
  2. Daily Beast reported Epstein was arrested by the FBI-NYPD Crimes Against Children Task Force on charges of sex trafficking dozens of minors in New York and Florida between 2002 and 2005. He will appear in court Monday.
  3. On Monday, Politico reported the White House was closely watching the media coverage of Labor Secretary Alex Acosta’s involvement with the 2008 plea deal with Epstein, but Trump was sticking with him for now.
  4. On Tuesday, Trump told reporters of Epstein, that he “knew him like everybody in Palm Beach knew him,” adding, “I had a falling out with him. I haven’t spoken to him in 15 years. I was not a fan of his.”
  5. On Tuesday, White House counselor Kellyanne Conway told reporters that Trump “hasn’t talked or had contact with Epstein in years and years and years — and over a decade at least,” while defending Acosta.
  6. NYT reported in 1992, a Florida businessman flew in 28 girls for a “calendar girl” competition at Mar-a-Lago. He told the Times the event meant for VIPs was only attended by Trump and Epstein.
  7. Epstein was photographed at Mar-a-Lago in the 1990s and early 2000s, but he was not a member. Trump later distanced himself from Epstein, reportedly over a failed business arrangement between them.
  8. WAPO reported Epstein’s black book contained 14 phone numbers for Trump; Melania; his personal assistant, Norma Foerderer; his houseman; his security officer; his brother Robert and his wife; Ivana; and Ivanka.
  9. During the week, an additional 14 women came forward, saying Epstein sexually assaulted them as children. Epstein’s lawyers asked that he be released from prison to stay at his $77 million mansion awaiting trial.
  10. On Sunday, the U.S. Women’s Soccer Team won the World Cup. It took Trump several hours to send a congratulatory tweet, hours after former president Obama and others leaders had done so.
  11. On Tuesday, the team was honored at a ticker-tape parade in lower Manhattan. Captain Megan Rapinoe said the team accepted an invitation from Minority Leader Chuck Schumer to visit, but has not heard from Trump.
  12. The team was the third, along with the NBA’s Golden State Warriors and the NFL’s Philadelphia Eagles, to have an invitation rescinded after players publicly criticized Trump or indicated they did not plan to attend.
  13. Rapinoe told Trump on CNN, “Your message is excluding people,” adding, “You have incredible responsibility as the chief of this country to take care of every single person,” and “you need to do better for everyone.”
  14. On Thursday, ABC News reported the NYPD is investigating vandalism of eight posters of Rapinoe in the New York subway which were defaced with various homophobic statements as a possible hate crime.
  15. On Saturday, in memos dating from 2017 to present leaked to the Daily Mail, U.K. Ambassador to the U.S. Ambassador Kim Darroch, a top British diplomat, described Trump as “inept,” “insecure,” and “incompetent.”
  16. Darroch wrote Trump’s White House was “uniquely dysfunctional,” and unlikely to “become substantially more normal” and warned Trump could be indebted to Russians, and his career could end in “disgrace.”
  17. The British government defended the ambassador, saying in a statement “The British public would expect our ambassadors to provide ministers with an honest, unvarnished assessment of the politics in their country.”
  18. On Monday, Trump tweeted he will no longer deal with Darroch, saying, “I do not know the Ambassador, but he is not liked or well thought of within the US.” Despite his claim, Trump has met Darroch several times.
  19. Trump also tweeted, “The good news for the wonderful United Kingdom is that they will soon have a new Prime Minister,” adding he “thoroughly enjoyed” his recent visit, and was most impressed by the Queen.
  20. On Tuesday, Trump again attacked Darroch, calling him “the wacky Ambassador, “a very stupid guy,” and “a pompous fool,” adding, “tell him the USA now has the best Economy & Military.”
  21. Trump also attacked Prime Minister Theresa May on Brexit, tweeting, “I told @theresa_may how to do that deal, but she went her own foolish way-was unable to get it done,” adding, “A disaster!”
  22. On Tuesday, U.K. Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt defended PM May, responding to Trump, tweeting: “these comments are disrespectful and wrong to our Prime Minister and my country.”
  23. PM May stood by Darroch in a statement, calling the leak “unfortunate,” adding the “selective extracts” leaked “do not reflect the closeness of, and the esteem in which we hold, the relationship.”
  24. On Wednesday, Darroch, after facing days of intense criticism from Trump including Trump calling him a “pompous fool,” resigned, saying he could not be an effective ambassador if the Trump regime would not deal with him.
  25. Lawmakers from both parties, including Sens. Lindsey Graham and Mark Warner expressed disappointment. The Daily Mirror headline said, “Traitor Boris backs Trump not Britain,” citing Johnson who is likely to replace May.
  26. On Wednesday, another ambassador told the Times, “It could have been any of us,” saying disdain for Trumpis almost ubiquitous, with almost all foreign officials describing living in something of a black hole in D.C.
  27. On Thursday, German, French, and European Union ambassadors held a breakfast for Darroch’s departure, showing solidarity and their support for him, including tweets noting who “our true friends are.”
  28. On Sunday, acting director of Citizenship and Immigration Services Ken Cuccinelli told “Fox New Sunday” that he expects a citizenship question to be on the 2020 Census, saying Trump “has expressed determination.”
  29. Cuccinelli also criticized House Democrats visiting detention facilities, calling it “the height of hypocrisy,” saying they “come down and complain” but are “not helping fix the problem.”
  30. On Sunday, acting secretary of Homeland Security Kevin McAleenan told “This Week” that reporting on conditions at detention centers are “unsubstantiated,” claiming “there’s adequate food, water,” and showers.
  31. On Sunday, Trump tweeted, “The Fake News Media, in particular the Failing @nytimes, is writing phony and exaggerated accounts of the Border Detention Centers.”
  32. Trump tweeted, “people should not be entering our Country illegally…We should be allowed to focus on United States Citizens first,” adding, “Border Patrol, and others in Law Enforcement, have been doing a great job.”
  33. On Sunday, the Times defended their reporting in Week 138, issuing a statement saying, “We are confident in the accuracy of our reporting on the U.S. Border Patrol’s detention centers.”
  34. On Sunday, Trump also attacked Fox News in a series of tweets, saying, “Watching @FoxNews weekend anchors is worse than watching low ratings Fake News @CNN, or Lyin’ Brian Williams.”
  35. Trump complained, “@FoxNews, who failed in getting the very BORING Dem debates, is now loading up with Democrats,” adding, “& even using Fake unsourced @nytimes as a “source” of information.”
  36. Trump also tweeted Fox News “is changing fast, but they forgot the people who got them there!” and complained about Democrat Donna Brazille, “she is all over Fox” and Shep Smith, “by far their lowest rated show.”
  37. On Monday, AP reported Trump was upset at the network airing a scene at a sports bar in France during the United States women’s World Cup Championship, where the crowd was chanting “Fuck Trump!”
  38. Fox News also angered Trump, airing two segments on Sunday which cited NYT reporting on child detention centers in Texas, with a commentator from a liberal watchdog group calling it “the stuff of nightmares.”
  39. A poll by YouGov Blue and Data for Progress tested the impact of the phrase “These are not our children,” used repeatedly by Fox News to defend Trump’s immigrant policies.
  40. When asked whether they agree with the statements that migrant detention centers have “unacceptable conditions” or that migrants are “not our children,” the split was 40%/60% for Republicans, and 92%/8% for Democrats.
  41. On Tuesday, NBC News reported according to accounts collected by Department of Homeland Security case managers, migrant children held at a border station in Yuma, Arizona alleged sexual assault and retaliation by CBP agents.
  42. The 30 accounts collected between April 10 and June 12 include being touched inappropriately by agents, and being retaliated against for complaining about unsanitary conditions, hunger, and overcrowding.
  43. One child stayed in soiled underwear for 10 days because he was afraid to ask for a clean pair. All of the children interviewed had been held at the border station longer than the 72 hours allowed under the law.
  44. On Tuesday, 18 Jewish protestors from the Never Again Action group were arrested by Capitol police in D.C. as they protested the regime’s immigration detention camps and called for the defunding of ICE.
  45. On Wednesday, Yazmin Juarez, the mother whose toddler died weeks after they were released by ICE, testified before the House Oversight Committee, saying, “I watched my baby girl die, slowly, and painfully.”
  46. In the hearing on the treatment of migrant children, Juarez described seeing a number of sick children in the detention center where they were held. Juarez has filed a wrongful death claim against the Trump regime.
  47. An attorney advocate told the panel she interviewed hundreds of immigrant children who complained about “open” toilets, saying they are embarrassed to use the toilets. One boy said he tried not to eat to avoid it.
  48. On Friday, the House released a report based on testimony and subpoenaed information on child separations under Trump, with new information on 2,648 children who were separated from their parents.
  49. The report found at least 18 migrant children under the age of two were separated from their parent, and “kept apart for 20 days to half a year.” Also, children were kept at Border Patrol facilities longer than 72 hours.
  50. On Friday, Vice President Mike Pence visited a migrant detention facility in McAllen. WAPO reported he saw 400 men crammed behind chained fences in sweltering heat, without enough room to lie down on the concrete floor.
  51. When reporters arrived the migrant men screamed they had been held there for 40 days or longer, were hungry, had not been able to brush their teeth, and had to ask permission to go outside to get drinking water.
  52. The patrol agent in charge admitted many of the men had not showered in 10 to 20 days. Pence said, “I was not surprised by what I saw,” adding, “I knew we’d see a system that was overwhelmed,” and “This is tough stuff.”
  53. Pence blamed Democrats, saying they need to “step up, do their jobs, and end this crisis,” and gave a more positive view than Democrats and news reports, “Every family I spoke to said they were being well cared for.”
  54. Pence also said, “What you saw today was a very clean facility,” adding, “it was just a few short weeks ago that Congress finally acknowledged the crisis and gave us an additional $4.6 billion in humanitarian aid.”
  55. Pence also praised employees at the facilities, saying, “I was deeply moved to see the care that our Customs and Border Protection personnel are providing,” saying they are “doing a tough job in a difficult environment.”
  56. On Friday, the Intercept reported Border Patrol chief Carla Provost was a member of the secret Facebook “I’m 10-15,” discovered in Week 136, which is under investigation by Homeland Security.
  57. On Friday, Adweek reported Ogilvy’s leadership team looked to address staff concern over its work for CPB, which had not been previously reported. Many agency staffers were unaware of the relationship.
  58. On Monday, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo unveiled a new Commission on Unalienable Rights, which he said would present him with “an informed review of the role of human rights in American foreign policy.”
  59. On Thursday, 22 countries including our former allies Britain, France, Canada, and Germany issued a joint statement condemning China’s mass detention of Uyghur and other minorities. The U.S. was not a signatory.
  60. On Monday, William Latson, a principal at a Florida high school, was reassigned to an administrative position over a 2018 email exchange in which he said the Holocaust was not “a factual, historical event.”
  61. On Tuesday, WAPO reported while the Senate has confirmed Trump’s judicial picks to circuit courts at a record pace — 1 in 5 seats on the appellate bench— not one of the 41 judges is Hispanic or black.
  62. On Tuesday, Mississippi Today reported Robert Foster, a Republican candidate for governor, denied a woman reporter access to his campaign, saying being alone with a woman could be used to smear him.
  63. Foster said, “I put my wife and my Christian beliefs above anyone else’s feelings or opinions.” As the story gained national attention, Foster refused to back down, saying, “perception is reality in this world.”
  64. On Tuesday, a panel of judges on the U.S. 5th Circuit Court of Appeals sharply questioned attorneys defending the Affordable Care Act, signaling the panel may throw away part of the law.
  65. The case could be the third to head to the Supreme Court. The DOJ, which typically is charged with defending the nation’s laws, declined to discuss the litigation.
  66. On Wednesday, a Catholic high school teacher who was fired for being in a same-sex marriage sued the Archdiocese of Indianapolis, saying it “illegally interfered with his contractual and employment relationship.”
  67. On Friday, Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey said he had a change of heart over his tweet to “withdraw all financial incentive dollars” from Nike following the Betsy Ross sneaker controversy, and would welcome a new Nike plant.
  68. On Friday, the District’s attorney general issued subpoenas to the National Rifle Association and its foundation “as part of an investigation into whether these entities violated the District’s Nonprofit Act.”
  69. On Sunday, Rep. Justin Amash, who last week left the Republican Party, told “State of the Union” that high-level Republicans have privately thanked him for supporting impeachment.
  70. On Monday, Rep. Amash resigned from the House Oversight Committee. He had been the sole Republican joining the panel’s Democrats in efforts to investigate Trump.
  71. On Sunday, Rep. Peter King said on a radio interview, “there was severe, serious abuses that were carried outin the FBI and, I believe, top levels of the CIA” against candidate Trump, adding it is “going to come out.”
  72. On Sunday, an ABC News/WAPO poll found Trump reached a career-high approval rating of 44%, 2 points better than the prior peak, while 53% disapprove.
  73. The poll also found 37% are for impeachment, steady from April; however opposition to impeachment has grown to a new high of 59%. By party, 61% of Democrats, 37% of independents, and 7% of Republicans are for it.
  74. On Sunday, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi told the Times, Trump “would rather not be impeached,” adding, “he every day practically self-impeaches by obstructing justice and ignoring the subpoenas.”
  75. Asked if Trump had pressured her on the issue, Pelosi said, “He may have one time said something like, ‘I’m glad you’re not doing this impeachment because there’s nothing there,’” adding, “But that means nothing to me.”
  76. On Monday, BuzzFeed reported multiple House Democrats, including several moderates, who are for starting an impeachment inquiry said it was based on feedback from their constituents.
  77. On Monday, Trump retweeted a two-year old tweet with a fictitious quote by Ronald Reagan predicting Trump would be president. The account who first sent the quote had 13 followers.
  78. On Tuesday, the Court of Appeals for the 2nd Circuit ruled Trump cannot block his critics on Twitter, saying he violated the First Amendment, in a case that could have broad implications for public officials.
  79. Trump had blocked seven of the people behind the lawsuit while the case was appealed. A spokesperson for the DOJ, which is defending Trump, said we “are exploring possible next steps.”
  80. On Saturday, CNN reported Trump’s U.S. Department of Agriculture suspended data collection for Honey Bee Colonies, part of an Obama-era focus on protecting pollinators whose populations have plummeted.
  81. The annual survey was suspended for the third since Trump took office. Budgetary concerns were cited. The USDA also moved key research units from Washington D.C. to Kansas City, sparking an exodus of experts.
  82. On Monday, as environmental issues gained traction in the 2020 race, Trump delivered a speech defendinghis record on the environment. WAPO reported Ivanka had also pushed him to address the environment.
  83. Speaking from the White House, Trump said, “We want the cleanest air, we want crystal clean water, and that’s what we’re doing,” adding the regime is pursuing “technologies and processes” to make production cleaner.
  84. Trump said the U.S. “does not have to sacrifice our own jobs to lead the world on the environment,” saying the regime is working “harder than many previous,” maybe all of them, and mocked the Green New Deal.
  85. Trump was joined by three Cabinet secretaries overseeing energy, two of whom are former lobbyists for the coal and oil industries (Andrew Wheeler and David Bernhardt), and did not mention climate change.
  86. Trump nonsensically claimed no one had heard of “forest management” to prevent wildfires until he took office, saying, “you don’t have to have any forest fires” if you clean the forest, like they do in “forest nations.”
  87. Environmental advocates described Trump’s speech as a “1984” moment. Federal data showed air quality has significantly worsened under Trump, with carbon dioxide emissions having their biggest increase since 2010.
  88. Fox News, uncharacteristically, cut into Trump’s speech to fact-check him live. Host Shepard Smith said on air that Trump’s policies have been “widely criticized by environmentalists and academics.”
  89. On Tuesday, CNN reported a whistleblower said he was pressured to reverse an environment finding that Mike Ingram’s proposed housing and golf course project in Arizona desert would threaten endangered species.
  90. The decision came after Interior Department Sec. Bernhardt met with Ingram at a Montana hunting lodge, which was not listed on Bernhardt’s official calendar. Ingram is also a donor and fundraiser for Trump.
  91. Whistleblower Steve Spangle, a 30-year veteran of the Fish and Wildlife Service, was overruled by higher ups. The meeting was one of at least 11 Ingram had with top officials at the Interior and the EPA.
  92. On Wednesday, WSJ reported Rod Schoonover, a State Department intelligence analyst, resigned after the White House blocked part of his testimony to Congress on climate change and its threat to national security.
  93. Schoonoever’s testimony cited scientific journals and intelligence reports, and concluded climate change could cause increased humanitarian crises, competition for resources, and risk of political instability.
  94. On Sunday, WAPO reported in response to their inquiry on if career attorneys would withdraw from the case on adding a citizenship question to the 2020 Census, the DOJ said in a statement it was changing lawyers.
  95. Reportedly, at least some of the career attorneys had legal or ethical concerns over Trump’s orders. It is a nearly unheard-of move to switch legal teams in the midst of such a case.
  96. The DOJ said new lawyers will be part of the department’s Civil Division and Consumer Protection Branch. Analysts say the new team will be proceeding on increasingly shaky legal ground.
  97. On Monday, Attorney General William Barr said in an interview that he believes there is a legal path for the regime to add the citizenship question, but declined to give details.
  98. Barr said Trump is “right on the legal grounds,” adding, “I felt the Supreme Court decision was wrong.” He also acknowledged that some of the career attorneys did not want to continue working on the case.
  99. On Monday, Speaker Pelosi said she planned to schedule a full House vote “soon” to hold Barr and Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross in contempt for defying House subpoenas related to the citizenship question.
  100. On Tuesday, Trump quoted a “Fox & Friends” co-host, tweeting, “There should be a question about Citizenship on the Census,” adding, “Working hard on something that should be so easy. People are fed up!
  101. On Tuesday, a federal judge in New York rejected the DOJ’s request to change lawyers in the 2020 census case, saying, “Defendants provide no reasons, let alone ‘satisfactory reasons.’”
  102. Judge Jesse Furman said to change its legal team, the DOJ must meet the legal requirement of satisfactorily explaining the existing lawyers’ departure and showing the switch would not impede the case,
  103. On Wednesday, a second federal judge, Judge George Hazel in Maryland said he shared the concern of the federal judge in New York, and denied the DOJ’s bid to withdraw the attorneys from the 2020 census case.
  104. Judge Hazel wrote he was concerned that “a shift in counsel at this late stage may be disruptive to an already complicated and expedited case,” but with assurances was “inclined to ultimately permit the withdrawal.”
  105. On Monday, in an interview with the AP, Barr accused Democrats of trying to create a “public spectacle” by subpoenaing Robert Mueller to testify. There is no indication Mueller does not want to testify before Congress.
  106. Barr also said the DOJ would seek to block any attempts by House Democrats to subpoena members of the special counsel’s team.
  107. On Monday, Barr told reporters he is recusing himself from the Epstein case, saying, “I am recused from that matter because one of the law firms that represented Epstein long ago was a firm I subsequently joined.”
  108. During his Senate confirmation hearing, when asked if he would conduct an investigation of the DOJ’s handling of the Epstein case, Barr responded, “I have to recuse myself from Kirkland & Ellis matters, I am told.”
  109. On Tuesday, the DOJ said Barr would not recuse himself from the SDNY prosecution of Epstein, but he will remain uninvolved in the DOJ’s review of the handling of Epstein’s 2008 plea deal in Florida.
  110. On Tuesday, Trump tweeted, “the Radical Left is using Commerce to hurt their “Enemy,”” citing a planned boycott of Home Depot over its owner’s financial support of Trump. Notably, Trump has called for boycotts too.
  111. On Monday, CNN reported Felix Sater is scheduled to testify to the House Intelligence Committee behind closed doors. In Week 136, Sater was a no-show to scheduled testimony, saying he overslept after taking a sedative.
  112. On Tuesday, a House spokesperson said Sater “has not fully cooperated,” saying he obstructed the panel’s investigation by withholding documents and testimony, adding he “will remain under subpoena until he does so.”
  113. On Monday, AP reported a federal grand jury is probing whether GOP fundraiser Elliott Broidy used his position as vice chair of Trump’s inaugural committee to cultivate business deals with foreign governments.
  114. The U.S. Attorney’s Office in Brooklyn subpoenaed Trump’s inaugural committee seeking records relating to 20 individuals and businesses, investigating whether Broidy violated the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act.
  115. On Monday, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo signed a bill that allows Congress to obtain Trump’s state tax returns. House Ways and Means Committee Chair Richard Neal said he will not seek Trump’s state returns.
  116. On Tuesday, the California Assembly passed a measure requiring presidential candidates to release five years of tax returns. The measure passed the state Senate, and awaits Gov. Gavin Newsom’s signature.
  117. On Tuesday, in newly unsealed documents, federal prosecutors told a judge they no longer plan to call Michael Flynn as a witness in the trial of Bijan Rafiekian, Flynn’s former partner in a consulting business.
  118. Flynn was set to cooperate in exchange for a lenient sentence, but the July 3 filing said in an abrupt shift that prosecutors will instead argue Flynn was a co-conspirator — raising concerns Flynn may expect a pardon.
  119. On Friday, an attorney for Bijan Rafiekian said in court that federal prosecutors have extensive evidence that the Turkish government tried to influence Trump’s 2016 campaign through Flynn.
  120. Rafiekian’s trial starts next week, and Flynn was, until last week, supposed to be the government’s star witness against Rafiekian on their being paid by Turkey to push for the expulsion of cleric Fethullah Gulen.
  121. Flynn’s attorney Sidney Powell claimed the government is trying to get him to lie, saying Flynn did not intentionally lie about the role of the Turkish government, but signed documents without reading them first.
  122. Powell said, “Should the government’s case here fail, it will not be because of anything Mr. Flynn did or did not do,” claiming the government is trying to retaliate against him, and his former lawyers struck a bad deal.
  123. Prosecutor Brandon Van Grack, part of Mueller’s team who worked on Flynn’s case, said it is the “first time” he is hearing that Flynn does not believe he was “willfully” or “knowingly” lying to his former attorneys.
  124. On Tuesday, Politico reported the House Judiciary Committee will vote on Thursday to authorize 12 subpoenas for witnesses in the Mueller probe, representing a broadening of the panel’s Trump-related investigations.
  125. The 12 include Jared Kushner, Jeff Sessions, Rod Rosenstein, Michael Flynn, John Kelly, Corey Lewandowski, Robert Porter, David Pecker, Rick Dearborn, Jody Hunt, Keith Davidson, and Dylan Howard.
  126. On Thursday, the House Judiciary voted to approve the subpoenas for 12 witnesses. The panel also approvedsubpoenas for documents and testimony from regime officials related to the “zero tolerance” policy.
  127. On Monday, Congressional Democrats issued 37 subpoenas for Trump’s financial and business records, as part of an emoluments lawsuit brought by more than 200 Democrats in Congress.
  128. The subpoenas were issued to Trump Tower, his hotels in New York and D.C., and Mar-a-Lago. Plaintiffs are also seeking information on trademarks granted to Trump businesses by foreign governments.
  129. The DOJ asked the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit in a court filing to dismiss the case or put subpoenas on hold, saying the judge “ignored the unique separation-of-powers concerns.”
  130. On Wednesday, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 4th District dismissed the emoluments lawsuit brought by the attorneys general of Maryland and D.C. who claimed Trump’s business holdings were a conflict of interest.
  131. The court ruled the lawsuit failed to definitively show state or foreign governments switched to patronizing the Trump Hotel DC because it distributes profits to Trump, rather than the hotel’s characteristics.
  132. On Wednesday, Trump celebrated the win, tweeting, “Word just out that I won a big part of the Deep State and Democrat induced Witch Hunt,” adding, “unanimous decision in my favor.”
  133. Trump also tweeted, “I don’t make money, but lose a fortune for the honor of serving and doing a great job as your President (including accepting Zero salary!).” The attorneys general said they would file an appeal.
  134. On Wednesday, at a White House ceremony for Trump to sign an executive order on advancing kidney health, Trump said “the kidney has a very special place in the heart. It’s an incredible thing.”
  135. On Tuesday, Reuters reported three members of the DOJ’s Inspector Generals office met with Christopher Steele in London during Trump’s visit in early June, interviewing him for 16 hours over two days.
  136. Inspector General Michael Horowitz met with Steele as part of the DOJ’s inquiry into the early stages of the FBI investigation into Trump, Hillary Clinton, Russia, and Carter Page.
  137. Horowitz’s investigators found Steele’s information sufficiently and surprisingly credible, dampening expectations of Trump’s allies. Mueller’s team interviewed Steele twice in September 2017.
  138. On Tuesday, Politico reported only a small segment of members of Congress have read the Mueller report. Sen. Tim Scott said, “What’s the point?” while Sen. Lisa Murkowski called it “tedious.”
  139. On Tuesday, Yahoo News reported Russia’s foreign intelligence service, known as the SVR, was behind a fake intelligence report that circulated in the summer of 2016 about the death of DNC staffer Seth Rich.
  140. According to the fake report, Rich was on his way to alert the FBI to corrupt dealings by Hillary Clinton, and was killed by her associates. The conspiracy was picked up by a website which frequents in Russian propaganda.
  141. Over the next two and half years, Russia state media also ran with a conspiracy that Rich was the source of Democratic Party emails leaked to WikiLeaks, which was first floated by Julian Assange on August 9, 2016.
  142. On Wednesday, Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell hinted at the first interest rate cut in over a decade. Fed watchers noted Powell has been under extreme pressure in unprecedented attacks by Trump to cut rates.
  143. On Wednesday, testifying before the House Financial Services Committee, Powell said he would not resign if Trump asked him to, saying “the law clearly gives me a four-year term and I fully intend to serve it.”
  144. On Wednesday, WAPO reported Trump’s July Fourth event cost the D.C. government $1.7 million and other costs for police, bankrupting a special fund to protect the city from terrorist threats and other security needs.
  145. On Tuesday, Trump praised Labor Department Secretary Acosta, telling reporters he felt “very badly” for him, and Acosta “works so hard and has done such a good job,” adding he is looking at the situation closely.
  146. On Wednesday, Politico published an excerpt from an upcoming book saying the GOP almost abandoned Trump after the “Access Hollywood” tape, until his ferocious attack on the Clintons in the third debate.
  147. On Wednesday, the Guardian reported that in Acosta’s 2020 budget for the Labor Department, he planned to slash funding for the International Labor Affairs Bureau, the agency that fights the sexual exploitation of children.
  148. On Wednesday, Acosta held a press conference to defend his role in brokering the plea deal for Epstein in 2008 after a chorus of Democrats called for him to resign. The conference was watched closely by Trump.
  149. Acosta, who was the top federal prosecutor in Miami at the time, said of the victims, “I wanted to help them.” While Acosta condemned Epstein’s “horrific” crimes, he refused to apologize, typical of the Trump strategy.
  150. Acosta claimed prosecutors in his office overrode state authorities because they wanted to make sure Epstein went to “jail and put the world on notice that he was and is a sexual predator,” rather than “roll the dice” at trial.
  151. Later, Barry Krischer, a former Palm Beach state attorney, said Acosta was trying to “rewrite history,” adding, “I can emphatically state that Mr. Acosta’s recollection of this matter is completely wrong.”
  152. Krischer said Acosta’s office abandoned its own 53-page indictment after secret negotiations with Epstein’s lawyers, saying “the U.S. attorney’s office always had the ability to file its own federal charges.”
  153. On Wednesday, House Oversight Chair Elijah Cummings sent a letter to Acosta, requesting that he testify before his committee this month, saying, “Your testimony is even more critical now” with the SDNY indictment.
  154. On Thursday, in a series of 20 morning tweets, Trump raged on a variety of unrelated topics as news of Epstein was unfolding, and announcement were coming on ICE raids and a citizen question executive order.
  155. Trump tweeted, “The Fake News is not as important, or as powerful, as Social Media,” adding, “they have lost tremendous credibility since that day in November, 2016” when he came down the escalator (it was 2015).
  156. Trump attacked “The Fake News Media” for saying “the banks didn’t like me,” adding Deutsche Bank was “one of the largest and most prestigious banks in the world! They wanted my business, and so did many others!”
  157. Trump attacked 2020 contender Sen. Elizabeth Warren, whom he again called “Pocahontas,” tweeting an apparent typo of “1000/24th” instead of 1/1,024th Native American. Trump then deleted the tweet.
  158. Trump tweeted about serving more than two terms, “when I ultimately leave office in six years, or maybe 10 or 14 (just kidding),” saying the media “will quickly go out of business for lack of credibility, or approval.”
  159. On Thursday, NYT reported nationwide round ups by ICE of thousands of members of undocumented families for deportation are scheduled to begin on Sunday, and continue over several days.
  160. ICE is reportedly targeting at least 2,000 immigrants who have been ordered to be deported. The raids will include “collateral” deportations, deportations of immigrants who happen to be on the scene during the raids.
  161. The operation, originally announced by Trump in Week 136, was postponed partly because of pushback from his own immigration agency. Agents have also expressed apprehension about arresting babies and young children.
  162. On Thursday, in the morning, ABC News reported regime officials said Trump was expected to issue an executive order to add a citizenship question to the 2020 Census, and announce it later on Thursday.
  163. Later Thursday, at a press conference with Barr and Commerce Secretary Ross, Trump backed off from his efforts to add a citizenship question, including without explanation, an executive order.
  164. Instead Trump issued an executive order directing every department and agency to provide the Commerce Department “all requested records regarding the number of citizens and noncitizens in our country.”
  165. Trump said, “We will utilize these vast federal databases to gain a full, complete, and accurate count of the noncitizen population.” Barr said this would mark the end of the three court cases on adding the question.
  166. Trump said he is “not backing down,” claiming Democrats are trying to hide “illegal aliens in our midst,” adding, “this is part of a broader left-wing effort to erode the rights of the American citizen.”
  167. Barr seemed to blame the shift in strategy on timing “to implement any new decision” as forms are being printed, claiming the citizenship questions would have survived a legal review by the Supreme Court.
  168. Barr also said the information may be used for congressional redistricting: “There is a current dispute over whether illegal aliens can be included for apportionment purposes…this data may possibly prove relevant.”
  169. On Thursday, Trump hosted 200 conservative social media personalities, including controversial names like Sebastian Gorka, “Diamond and Silk,” and James O’Keefe at a “Social Media Summit” at the White House.
  170. Trump bragged how his tweets used to be more effective: “I used to watch it: it’d be like a rocket ship when I put out a beauty,” adding, “Like when I said, remember I said somebody was spying on me?”
  171. Trump said, “To me free speech is not when you see something good and then you purposely write bad,” adding, “To me that’s very dangerous speech, and you become angry at it. But that’s not free speech.”
  172. On Thursday, the American Federation of Teachers union sued Education Secretary Betsy DeVos, alleging her department mismanaged a program that forgives teachers’ and public workers’ loans after 10 years of payment.
  173. DeVos tried to end Public Service Loan Forgiveness for three years by removing it from her budget, but lawmakers have funded it. The lawsuit alleges DeVos denied applicants “on arbitrary and capricious grounds.”
  174. On Thursday, WAPO reported in an upcoming book by reporter Tim Alberta, former House Speaker Paul Ryan said of Trump, “ he didn’t know anything about government … I wanted to scold him all the time.”
  175. Ryan also said people around Trump “helped to stop him from making bad decisions. All the time.” The author said he did not think Ryan could stand another two years of Trump, and viewed retirement as an “escape hatch.”
  176. On Thursday, Trump attacked Ryan on Twitter, calling him “the failed V.P. candidate” and “lame duck failure,” and saying his “record of achievement was atrocious (except during my first two years as President).”
  177. Trump also tweeted Ryan “quit Congress because he didn’t know how to Win,” adding, “They gave me standing O’s in the Great State of Wisconsin, & booed him off the stage,” and, “He promised me the Wall, & failed.”
  178. On Friday, before heading to Ryan’s home state of Wisconsin for a rally, Trump told reporters on the South Lawn, Ryan was a “baby,” and a “terrible speaker,” and “didn’t know what the hell he was doing.”
  179. Trump also claimed Alberta may have paid Ryan for an interview, telling reporters, “maybe he gets paid for that.” In a tweet, Alberta responded, “I did not pay Paul Ryan for the interview.”
  180. Trump allies in the House dismissed Ryan’s take, calling it “a little bit of revisionist history.” Rep. Amash called Ryan one of Trump’s “biggest enablers,” calling it “ridiculous” he waited until he left to criticize him.
  181. On Thursday, William McGinley, the chief liaison between the White House and federal agencies, resigned. McGinley was one of the last remaining senior staffers from the beginning of Trump’s time in office.
  182. On Friday, Acosta resigned as Labor Secretary. Trump, standing with Acosta on the South Lawn, announced the resignation, saying Acosta had called him that morning saying he planned to step down.
  183. Trump said, “This was him, not me,” adding Acosta “has been a “great, great secretary” and a “tremendous talent,” and noting Acosta “went to Harvard, a great student.”
  184. Trump named Acosta’s deputy, Patrick Pizzella, to serve as Labor Secretary. With Acosta’s departure, four cabinet positions will be led by acting secretaries (labor, chief of staff, defense, homeland security).
  185. Including Acosta, 13 Trump Cabinet members have departed, not counting those who served in an acting capacity. Several also left under ethics scandals including Scott Pruitt, Tom Price, David Shulkin, and Ryan Zinke.
  186. Standing with Acosta, Trump attacked familiar targets for 30 minutes. He said the Times is a “very dishonest newspaper” doing “a tremendous disservice to this country,” and “They are truly the enemy of the people.”
  187. Trump also mentioned Article 2 of the Constitution on the executive branch, saying, “Nobody ever mentions Article 2,” adding, “It gives me all of these rights at a level that nobody has ever seen before.
  188. On Friday, Mueller said he would postpone his testimony to allow members of the House Judiciary and Intelligence committees to question him. Under the July 17 deal, Mueller would have appeared for just two hours for each committee.
  189. Because of the five-minute questioning limit, only senior members of each committee could participate, raising an outcry from other committee members. Negotiations continued between parties during the day.
  190. Later Friday, the two House committees and Mueller seemed to reach agreement to postpone his testimony until July 24, and give both panels more time to question him.
  191. On Friday, speaking to reporters at the White House, Trump berated House Democrats on the testimony, saying there is nothing Mueller “can say,” adding, “He’s written a report.
  192. Trump added the report said, “It said no collusion, and it said, effectively, no obstruction,” adding, “They want to go it again and again and again because they want to hurt the president before the election.”
  193. Trump also confirmed ICE raids are set to start on Sunday, and will target criminals, saying, “There’s nothing to be secret about. ICE is law enforcement, they’re great patriots. They have a tough job.”
  194. Most mayors in the 10 cities targeted have criticized the raids, and said they will not cooperate with ICE or give them police database information or cooperation. New Orleans was removed due to a tropical storm.
  195. Trump criticized “mayors in sanctuary cities” citing New York City’s mayor, saying, “But a guy like de Blasio probably wouldn’t want the raid. Many mayors do…They don’t want to have crime in their cities or states.”
  196. Trump said of the controversy between Speaker Pelosi and four freshman Democrats, Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez should treat Pelosi “with respect,” also claiming she lied about a migrant woman drinking toilet water.
  197. Trump also said of the four freshmen, also including Reps. Omar Ilhan, Rashida Tlaib, and Ayanna Pressley, all of whom are women of color, that they are a group of people that he does not “know where they came from.”
  198. On Friday, tens of thousands of protestors participated in over 700 “Lights for Liberty” immigration vigils around the country to protest conditions at immigration detention centers at the southern border.
  199. On Friday, Axios reported Trump is privately telling confidants that he wants to remove Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats. Sources said the conversations on the topic have been happening for months.
  200. A source said Trump views the Office of DNI as an unnecessary bureaucratic layer and since he cannot get rid of it, he wants to “downsize” the office. Reportedly, Trump is no longer listening to Coats.
  201. On Friday, the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled in favor of the Trump regime, saying the DOJ was within its rights to withhold Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS) grants from sanctuary cities.
  202. On Friday, CNN reported a federal investigation by the Manhattan U.S. Attorney’s office into whether Trump Organization executives violated campaign finance laws looks to be wrapping up without charges.
  203. On Friday, the Federal Trade Commission voted to approve the $5 billion Facebook settlement over releasing private information on users to Cambridge Analytica. Democrats labelled the settlement “chump change.”
  204. BuzzFeed reported on a secret recording of a meeting revealing Russia tried to funnel millions of dollars into Italian deputy prime minister Matteo Salvini’s far-right party. Salvini is known as “European Trump.”
  205. The meeting of three Russians and three Italians, including a close aide to Salvini, was held in October 2018to discuss a strategy to undermine liberal democracies and shape a new, nationalist Europe aligned with Moscow.
  206. No evidence has surfaced that the deal went through, or showing Salvini’s direct involvement, but the tape ignited questions of whether the far-right League party broke Italian political laws.

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Vice President Mike Pence visited a detention center in McAllen, Texas on Friday and saw hundreds of migrant detainees packed into their holding areas surrounded by a chain-link fence.

BRUGES, BELGIUM STREETART: DANCE OF FOOLS by STANSLABBINCK

“Fools” is the nickname for the citizens of Bruges. “Brugse Zotten” = “The Bruges Fools.”

From the artist’s Instagram page: https://www.instagram.com/stanslabbinck/?hl=en

“I made this mural for Legendz, a streetart festival in the centre of Bruges.

It tells the story of the legend of the bruges fools. This is the nickname of the citizens of the city of Bruges. In the 15th century there was a discontent between the Habsburg emperor Maximilian I of Austria and the people of Bruges, who sought more urban autonomy. After Maximilian of Austria was imprisoned for more than four months, the monarch imposed a ban on organizing annual fairs in Bruges.
This prohibition was a financial loss for Bruges, after which the city offered him a big party with the intention of spawning him. In this way, the people of Bruges could again ask for permission to hold an annual fair and also to build a new shelter for the mental ill. According to legend, Maximilian would have responded with the legendary words: ‘Close all the gates of Bruges and you have one big nuthouse.’ —- The four figures symbolize the four seasons.”

“I see a lot of fools who rule countries , walking high above their people.”

IMG_9907IMG_9905IMG_9904IMG_9908IMG_9906DCIM107GOPROG0272946.

6jul19 Bruges, Belgium