POLITIKS OF GRAFFITI 122: A “FOX”Y REGIME

MARCH 09, 2019

Week 121

Experts in authoritarianism advise to keep a list of things
subtly changing around you, so you’ll remember. https://theweeklylist.org/weekly-list/week-121/
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By parisemike in Venice, California. March 2019.

This week a bombshell exposé by Jane Mayer on the ties between Trump and Fox News sparked questions of whether America had its first version of state TV. The piece had broad fallout, and sparked a renewed conversation on the line between journalism and propaganda.

This week Democrats ramped up investigations, while Trump hit back and escalated his pace of daily lies and misleading statements. With Congressional hearings finally underway, Trump and his regime continued a pattern of irreverent corruption and kleptocracy, as well as continued efforts to limit transparency and hide information.

A shocking story by an NBC affiliate revealed U.S. Customs and Border Patrol has been keeping a database of journalists and other activists involved at the Southern border, the second list by the Trump regime targeting U.S. journalists that has been uncovered since Trump came into power. The regime also reportedly revoked an award from a journalist who had been critical of Trump on social media.

Several revealing and concerning stories about haphazard U.S. foreign policy were reported, seeming to suggest increasingly that decisions are being made solely by Trump, who continues to show a general disinterest in, and at times hostility towards, both U.S. intelligence and protocols. This week the Commerce Department reported the largest trade deficit in goods in the nation’s history, as Trump’s isolationist policies and trade wars took hold — the federal budget deficit also ballooned, largely as a result of the Republican tax break.

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San Jose, Costa Rica 7mar19.
  1. On Saturday, The Atlantic reported House Oversight Committee Democrats are poring over the Cohen testimony. Chairman Rep. Elijah Cummings said the transcript is providing a road map for Democrats to follow.
  2. WAPO reported in Trump’s first 773 days in office, he has made 9,014 false or misleading claims. Trump has escalated the pace from 5.9 per day in his first year, to 16.5 per day in his second, to 22 per day so far in 2019.
  3. A leaked document obtained by NBC station KNSD-TV revealed U.S. Custom and Border Protection kept a secret database tracking 59 journalists and immigration advocates related to the caravans.
  4. The database, compiled with the help of Mexican authorities, labeled people as organizers, instigators, or “unknown,” and said they should be targeted for screening at the border.
  5. The database included 10 journalists, seven of whom are U.S. citizens, and included 31 Americans in all. Based on symbols on the database, 12 appeared to have been questioned and nine were arrested at the border.
  6. NBC News confirmed that several people in the database had been pulled aside at the border and told they were being questioned as part of a “national security investigation.”
  7. On Thursday, according to a statement from Customs and Border Protection, the Department of Homeland Security and the House Homeland Security Committee are investigating whether CBP agents targeted journalists for questioning.
  8. Foreign Policy reported the State Department rescinded a “Women of Courage” award for Finnish journalist Jessikka Aro without explanation, reportedly after seeing her social media posts that were critical of Trump.
  9. NBC News reported just two days after Trump’s failed second summit with Kim Jong Un, photo imagery by Beyond Parallel revealed North Korea is “rapid rebuilding” the long-range rocket site at Sohae Launch Facility.
  10. On Saturday, WAPO reported despite the ongoing investigations of Trump and his failed North Korea summit, Republicans continue to rally around Trump. His ownership of the party was especially visible at CPAC.
  11. Republicans cited Trump’s pull in the primaries, a fraying consensus about conservatism as nationalism, an overhaul of the judiciary branch, and a shared disdain of the media and Democrats.
  12. Fox News host Sean Hannity said on his show of Trump critics: “I think they put themselves at great jeopardy.” An increase in tribalism was also cited, with a senator saying Watergate might not be prosecuted today.
  13. On Saturday, Trump skipped the annual Gridiron dinner in D.C. Ivanka, who Trump reportedly asked to sub in for him that afternoon, said, “As if being Donald Trump’s daughter isn’t the hardest job in the world.”
  14. On Sunday, NYT reported that following Trump’s public criticism of their agencies, intelligence chiefs have revamped their presentations to Trump to focus on what he wants to hear about: economics and trade.
  15. Intelligence officials giving Trump briefings worked to answer his repeated question of who is winning — meaning what country is making more money. Briefers also use charts and graphs of economic data.
  16. Trump has also reduced in-person briefings to twice a week by either director of national intelligence Dan Coats or C.I.A. director Gina Haspel, featuring far more charts and visual aids to appeal to Trump.
  17. Trump is easily bored by activities and motivations of secondary foreign officials, and has shown less interestthan previous leaders on potential terrorist plots or spy work. Trump only wants information he agrees with.
  18. WAPO reported two years in, Trump’s national security officials and Republican allies are struggling to defend and explain his haphazard foreign policy statements — the mantra: it is what Trump says it is.
  19. Trump’s foreign policy is described as “part nationalist, part conservative, part isolationist, part militaristic pageantry.” Trump distrusts traditional allies like NATO, slapping tariffs on allies and adversaries.
  20. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has had trouble being in sync on Trump’s statements on North Korea, and trade negotiator Robert Lighthizer was corrected by Trump in front of Chinese officials in the Oval Office.
  21. On Sunday, when asked about North Korea’s involvement in Otto Warmbier’s death on “State of the Union,” national security adviser John Bolton responded that “My opinion doesn’t matter.”
  22. On Wednesday, Trump signed an executive order canceling the requirement that U.S. intelligence officials publicly report the number of civilians killed in drone strikes on terrorist targets outside war zones.
  23. Rep. Adam Schiff called it “a troubling retreat from transparency,” and other experts warned the lack of data would give propaganda to Islamist extremists who claim the U.S. acts without regard for civilians.
  24. On Wednesday, Russian President Vladimir Putin said his security forces had nabbed 600 spies during 2018, including 129 officers and 465 agents of foreign intelligence agencies.
  25. Putin told Russian state news TASS, “Just like before, and now probably even harder, (foreign intelligence services) are trying to influence events in our country,” adding they are seeking to “step up” their activities.
  26. Putin did not specify any countries by name. Paul Whelan, a resident of Michigan and a former Marine who was arrested last year on suspicion of espionage, is being held at the Lefortovo detention center in Moscow.
  27. On Thursday, Daily Beast reported U.S. embassy staffers in Riyadh said Jared Kushner did not include any embassy officials in his meeting last week with Saudi King Salman and Crown Prince MBS.
  28. Additionally, the Saudi government provided security and handled the entire schedule for Kushner and his entourage, responsibilities typically carried out by the U.S. embassy. Little detail of the meeting was given.
  29. On Friday, Bloomberg reported the Trump regime is drawing up plans to demand allies, including Germany and Japan and eventually other countries hosting U.S. troops, pay the full price of American soldiers deployed on their soil.
  30. On Monday, 21 states and D.C. sued the Trump regime over a rule announced in Week 119 which would prevent family planning clinics that provide abortions or abortion referrals from receiving federal funds.
  31. For the third time, Rep. Steve King promoted Faith Goldy, a Canadian white nationalist, in a tweet. Goldy once recommended a book calling for the “elimination of Jews” and has appeared on The Daily Stormer podcast.
  32. On Monday, a federal judge said the Trump regime violated the law when it halted the Obama-era Equal Employment Opportunity Commission’s efforts to collect pay data by race and gender from large companies.
  33. U.S. District Judge Tanya Chutkan ordered the regime to reinstate the rule, saying the government had failed to demonstrate that the requirements would “meaningfully increase the burden on employers.”
  34. WAPO reported while Trump invited the NCAA’s Division 2 football champs to the White House, he has not invited any women’s championship teams. Obama, George W. Bush, and Bill Clinton did so numerous times.
  35. A poster at an event sponsored by the Republican Party of West Virginia which linked Rep. Ilhan Omar to 9/11 sparked outrage. The poster was put up by ACT for America, classified as an anti-Muslim hate group by the SPLC.
  36. On Monday, after tornadoes hit Alabama, Trump tweeted: “FEMA has been told directly by me to give the A Plus treatment” to the red state, in contrast to mismanagement in Puerto Rico, and threats to California.
  37. On Monday, HuffPost reported Trump is advancing young judicial nominees who are members of the Federalist Society, and hold ideologies that are extremely anti-abortion and anti-LGBTQ.
  38. On Tuesday, the Senate confirmed Allison Rushing, 37, to the federal appeals court. Rushing interned for Alliance Defending Freedom, an anti-LGBTQ group. She was opposed by over 200 civil rights organizations.
  39. On Tuesday, a group of male Republican New Hampshire lawmakers wore pearls to a Congressional hearing, seeming to mock mothers of victims of gun violence who also attended the hearing.
  40. On Wednesday, a federal judge ruled Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross violated the constitutional underpinning of representative democracy by adding a citizenship question to the 2020 Census.
  41. U.S. District Judge Richard Seeborg in San Francisco also found Ross made a “strong showing of bad faith” by trying to conceal his motives behind adding the question.
  42. The judge also said Ross was fully aware that the question would result in a census undercount, particularly among Latinos, adding Ross engaged in a “cynical search” to find an expert who approved of his plan.
  43. On Wednesday, the House Oversight Committee opened an investigation into Georgia’s voting problems, sending a letter to Gov. Brian Kemp, who at the time when he ran for governor also served as secretary of state.
  44. Issues under investigation included voter purges and suspensions, malfunctioning and hackable machines, and efforts to close precincts and polling places — all of which may have contributed to voter suppression.
  45. On Friday, News 4 reported administrators at Sidwell Friends School in D.C. are investigating high school students who included two swastikas and racist imagery in an on-screen presentation made for 500 students.
  46. On Friday, Daily News reported school administrators in Bronxville, New York are investigating an allegation that a teacher held a fake auction in which her white students bid on black students pretending to be slaves.
  47. On Friday, College of Charleston students walked out of class to protest the school administration’s slow response to a video shot during a First Year Experience class which featured slavery jokes and racist slurs.
  48. A police officer in Boulder, Colorado was placed on administrative leave after a video went viral of him drawing his gun on a black student, who works and lives at the property, picking up trash in front of his home.
  49. On Saturday, NBC News reported 29 parents who had been deported to Central America by immigration officers returned to the southern border to demand asylum and reunification with their children.
  50. The parents have 27 children in U.S. custody, the youngest 5 years-old — some separated from their children for more than a year. Some children are still detained, and others are living with foster families or relatives.
  51. On Sunday, Trump tweeted: “After more than two years of Presidential Harassment, the only things that have been proven is that Democrats and other broke the law.”
  52. Trump also tweeted that the Michael Cohen testimony was “given by a liar to reduce his prison time,” adding Cohen’s “just written book manuscript showed” it’s a lie. Cohen’s lawyer said the manuscript Trump references does not exist.
  53. Trump also tweeted: “I am an innocent man being persecuted by some very bad, conflicted & corrupt people in a Witch Hunt,” adding the investigation is “only because I won the Election!”
  54. On Sunday, House Judiciary Chair Jerrold Nadler told “This Week” his committee will be issuing documentsto dozens of entities and individuals. Asked if he thought Trump obstructed justice, Nadler responded, “Yes, I do.”
  55. On Sunday, Senate Intelligence ranking democrat Mark Warner told “Meet the Press” his committee has found “enormous amounts of evidence” of potential collusion between Trump and Russians during the 2016 election.
  56. On Sunday, House Intelligence chair Adam Schiff told “Face the Nation” that his committee has uncovered both “direct evidence” and “abundant circumstantial evidence” of the Trump campaign colluding with Russia.
  57. On Sunday, in the evening, Trump tweeted: “Presidential Harassment by “crazed” Democrats at the highest level in the history,” and “the most vicious and corrupt Mainstream Media” any president has endured.
  58. He also tweeted, yet the most “successful first two years,” adding “We are WINNING big, the envy of the WORLD.”
  59. On Monday, an exposé by Jane Mayer in The New Yorker reported on ties between Trump and Fox News, with an expert saying it is the closest our country has come to having state TV.
  60. Since Trump took office, he has given 42 interviews to Fox News (7 to Hannity alone), while only giving 10 to the three major television networks combined, and none to CNN.
  61. Mayer also reported, citing information compiled by the left-leaning watchdog group Media Matters, thatTrump has parroted lines from Fox News shows more than 200 times on Twitter since August 2018.
  62. In addition to Bill Shine, Deputy Chief of Staff for Communications, other ex Fox News alumni who worked for Trump include Ben Carson, John Bolton, K.T. McFarland, Heather Nauert, Hope Hicks, and Sebastian Gorka.
  63. Shine, who was complicit in a workplace culture of coverups, payoffs, and victim intimidation relating to sexual assault, is still being paid millions from Fox News even while collecting a paycheck from the White House.
  64. Trump frequently retweets claims of Fox News during his “Executive Time.” Although press secretary Sarah Sanders has stopped doing daily press briefings, she has appeared on Fox News shows thirty times.
  65. Mayer also reported prior to the network’s presidential debate, Fox employees may have alerted Trump that Megyn Kelly was going to ask him tough questions, including on his alleged mistreatment of women.
  66. Fox News also reportedly killed the Stormy Daniels story ahead of the election. Fox reporter Diana Falzone, who uncovered it, was told “Good reporting, kiddo. But Rupert wants Donald Trump to win. So just let it go.”
  67. Mayer also reported that in a Oval Office meeting with John Kelly, Trump pressured Gary Cohn to tell the DOJ to block the AT&T-Time Warner merger, over Trump’s ire against CNN. Cohn told Kelly not to follow through.
  68. On Tuesday, WAPO reported in a letter responding to Sen. Elizabeth Warren and Rep. Pramila Jayapal, T-Mobile acknowledged it had spent $195,000 at the Trump Hotel DC after announcing a merger with Sprint.
  69. T-Mobile spent 14% of its D.C. expenditures over those 10 months at Trump Hotel DC. The T-Mobile-Sprint megamerger will require approval from the DOJ and Federal Communications Commission.
  70. On Wednesday, the Democratic National Committee barred Fox News from hosting or televising a candidate debate for the party’s 2020 primary election, a highly unusual rebuke.
  71. Chairman Tom Perez said in a statement Fox News “is not in a position to host a fair and neutral debate for our candidates,” citing Mayer’s reporting showing an “inappropriate relationship” between Trump and the network.
  72. On Wednesday, Trump tweeted, “Democrats just blocked @FoxNews from holding a debate,” adding, “I think I’ll do the same thing with the Fake News Networks and the Radical Left Democrats in the General Election.”
  73. On Friday, Nancy Erica Smith, lawyer for Diana Falzone issued a statement demanding Fox release her from her nondisclosure agreement so she can talk about getting the Stormy Daniels story before the 2016 election.
  74. On Tuesday, WAPO reported that in 2011, shortly after Trump challenged President Obama to “show his record,” the headmaster at New York Military Academy, which Trump attended, was instructed to bury Trump’s record.
  75. The academy superintendent, Jeffrey Coverdale, told the Post some trustees gave him a directive to hand over Trump’s records to them, but he refused, instead for the first time moving them elsewhere on campus.
  76. Coverdale left the school in 2013, and is not sure what happened after. On the campaign trail, Trump over-inflated his academic success in high school and college. Trump was not an academic standout at the academy.
  77. On Sunday, Roger Stone posted an image on Instagram which contained an image of him under the words “Who framed Roger Stone.” The post was up for roughly 24 hours before Stone apparently deleted it.
  78. On Monday, Mueller’s team notified Judge Amy Jackson Berman of the post, saying it could be in violation of the judge’s gag order, which covers “posts on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram or any other form of social media.”
  79. On Tuesday, Judge Jackson blasted Stone in court over his new book that criticizes Mueller, and demandedthat Stone explain his efforts to comply with the gag order by March 11.
  80. Judge Jackson also chastised Stone’s lawyers for misrepresenting to her that publication of the book, titled “The Myth of Russian Collusion,” was “imminent,” after they admitted the book is already on sale.
  81. Judge Jackson will decide whether the book release and/or the Instagram post violate the gag order and justify consequences for Stone. A status conference for Stone was previously scheduled for March 14.
  82. On Monday, Jerome Corsi retracted an article he wrote in 2018 for InfoWars and apologized. The article claimed murdered Democratic National Committee staffer Seth Rich was behind leaking DNC emails to Wikileaks.
  83. Corsi also tweeted, telling followers “I’m not being threatened,” and wrote, “As Christians gentleman, I have sympathy for the suffering the Seth Rich family has gone through. I hope all will understand that. God Bless.”
  84. On Monday, former lead counsel for Trump Ty Cobb told an ABC News podcast that Mueller is an “American hero,” and, parting ways with Trump added, “I don’t feel the investigation is a witch hunt.”
  85. Cobb also said he disagreed with the more confrontational approach being taken by Trump’s current legal team, saying it “wouldn’t have been” his strategy, adding that he doesn’t “feel the same way about Mueller.”
  86. On Monday, House Ways and Means Chair Richard Neal said his committee will likely seek 10 years of Trump’s tax returns, relying on a 1924 law that gives tax-writing committees broad powers.
  87. On Monday, the House Judiciary Committee announced it is sending 81 letters seeking information and documents from individuals and groups relating to Trump’s campaign, businesses, transition, and regime.
  88. Rep. Nadler said in a statement: “Trump has evaded accountability for his near-daily attacks on our basic legal, ethical, and constitutional rules and norms.” The investigation will focus on obstruction of justice by Trump.
  89. When asked by reporters Monday if he would cooperate, Trump responded: “I cooperate all the time with everybody,” adding, “no collusion. It’s all a hoax.” Recipients have until March 18 to respond.
  90. Later, press secretary Sarah Sanders said in a statement that Nadler and the Democrats “have embarked on this fishing expedition,” adding, “they are terrified” that their “false narrative of ‘Russia collusion’ is crumbling.”
  91. On Monday, Rep. Schiff said he has hired Daniel Goldman, a veteran prosecutor in the SDNY with experiencefighting Russian organized crime, to lead his committee’s investigation of the Trump regime.
  92. Goldman will join two other former federal prosecutors. The House Intelligence Committee will beaggressively investigating whether collusion occurred between the Trump campaign and Russia.
  93. On Monday, Fox News host Sean Hannity blasted the House investigation, calling it a “gruesome display of modern-day McCarthyism.”
  94. On Tuesday, Trump parroted Hannity’s comments, tweeting: “We the people will now be subjected to the biggest display of modern day McCarthyism,” adding, “which is the widest fishing net expedition.”
  95. Trump also started undermining the 2020 election, tweeting Democrats were “vicious and totally showed their cards,” adding they “are trying to win an election in 2020 that they know they cannot legitimately win!”
  96. Trump’s 2020 campaign said in a statement: “These desperate Democrats know they cannot beat President Trump in 2020,” saying instead they are on a “disgraceful witch hunt” to “topple the will of the American people.”
  97. On Tuesday, former Trump campaign aide Michael Caputo said he does not plan to cooperate with the House inquiry, and is working with some of the 80 others to begin a joint strategy of resisting requests for testimony.
  98. On Tuesday, a new Quinnipiac University poll found 64% of registered voters believe Trump had committed crimes before entering office, and 45% think he committed crimes while serving in office.
  99. After Cohen’s Congressional testimony last week, 50% believe Cohen and 35% believe Trump. Just 30% believe Trump is honest, the lowest rating in the poll since Trump took office.
  100. On Tuesday, House Oversight Chair Cummings said the White House refused to hand over documents related to security clearances to his committee. Instead, White House Counsel Pat Cipollone offered a briefing.
  101. On Wednesday, CNN reported Trump pressured John Kelly and White House counsel Don McGahn to grant security clearance to Ivanka after concerns were raised by the personnel office.
  102. After both Kelly and McGahn refused, Trump granted Ivanka and Jared security clearances on his own. Three weeks ago, Ivanka told ABC News that Trump had “no involvement” in her or Kushner’s clearance.
  103. On Friday, Axios reported a White House source leaked documents to the House Oversight Committee related to Kushner and Ivanka’s security clearance, after the White House rejected the request.
  104. On Monday, NBC News reported Matthew Whitaker, who had been serving as a senior counselor since Attorney General William Barr was sworn in, left the Justice Department. His next move was unclear.
  105. On Tuesday, WSJ reported Trump plans to nominate Jessie Liu to the number 3 spot at the DOJ, replacing Rachel Brand who left in February 2018. Liu would be the lone minority woman in DOJ leadership.
  106. Liu previously served on Trump’s transition team at the DOJ, and acknowledged she had an in-person interview with Trump before he nominated her to be U.S. attorney, something highly unusual.
  107. On Tuesday, NYT reported New York state regulators have subpoenaed Aon PLC, Trump’s insurance broker, following Cohen’s House testimony last week that Trump exaggerated his wealth to insurance companies.
  108. The nine-page subpoena served by a state agency which is part of Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s administration demands materials relating to Aon’s business with Trump and the Trump Org dating back to 2009.
  109. On Tuesday, Trump tweeted: “PRESIDENTIAL HARASSMENT!”
  110. On Tuesday, Trump told reporters, “It’s too bad,” adding, “Instead of doing infrastructure, instead of doing health care, instead of doing so many things that they should be doing, they want to play games.”
  111. On Tuesday, NYT reported it had obtained six checks written by Trump while in office of $35,000 each paid to Michael Cohen — one of 11 such payments made to Cohen to reimburse for hush money payments.
  112. The dates on the check revealed the parallel lives Trump was leading while in office and conducting the country’s business, while paying for efforts to keep his affairs out of the public eye in the run up to the 2016 election.
  113. Cohen claimed the checks started in February 2017 after a meeting in the Oval Office. The first check for January and February for $70,000 was signed on February 14 by Donald Jr. and Allen Weisselberg.
  114. On Tuesday, WSJ reported a lawyer for Michael Cohen, Stephen Ryan, approached Trump’s attorneys about the possibility of a pardon after the FBI raided Cohen’s properties in April 2018.
  115. Trump attorneys, including Jay Sekulow, Rudy Giuliani, and Joanna Hendon, dismissed the idea of a pardon; however, Giuliani left open the possibility that Trump could grant one in the future.
  116. Ryan also approached Trump Organization general counsel Alan Garten and outside attorney Alan Futerfas. Ryan left the impression if Cohen could not rely on a pardon, he might cooperate with SDNY prosecutors.
  117. Conversations among parties on this topic are being probed by the House Judiciary Committee, and were part of their document requests made on Monday.
  118. On Tuesday, NBC News reported the House and Senate intelligence committees are also investigating the pardon discussions. It is not clear how serious the discussions were, and no pardon was granted.
  119. On Wednesday, WSJ reported Cohen directed Ryan to ask for a pardon from Trump, contradicting his testimony before Congress where he said, “I have never asked for, nor would I accept, a pardon from Mr. Trump.”
  120. On Thursday, Cohen attorney Lanny Davis said “Prior to Michael Cohen’s decision to leave the ‘Joint Defense Group’ and tell the truth on July 2, 2018, Michael was open to the ongoing ‘dangling’ of a possible pardon.”
  121. On Wednesday, Cohen gave the House Intelligence Committee documentation showing edits to the false written statement he delivered to Congress in 2017 about the Trump Tower Moscow project.
  122. Cohen claimed in his testimony that Trump attorney Jay Sekulow made changes to his statement to the House and Senate Intelligence Committees, and that it was also reviewed by lawyers like Abbe Lowell.
  123. On Thursday, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi told reporters Trump’s children are fair game for House committees, saying, “They are investigating certain subjects. Whoever falls into that net, falls into the net.”
  124. On Thursday, ABC News reported Congressional lawmakers are planning to ask Donald Jr. to return to testify about the Trump Tower Moscow project, after he said he knew “very little” about a deal in prior testimony.
  125. On Thursday, Cohen sued the Trump Organization, saying the company is obligated to pay both his $1.9 million in legal bills, and another $1.9 million he owes as part of a criminal sentence.
  126. Cohen said the company paid his legal counsel — at the time, McDermott Will & Emery LLP — but stopped covering the fees they are contractually obligated to pay after he started cooperating with federal investigators.
  127. On Friday, Fox News reported Democrats on the House Intelligence Committee traveled to New York to meet with Cohen at least four times for over 10 hours before last week’s public testimony.
  128. On Monday, Senate Leader Mitch McConnell said he would not stop passage of a resolution to block Trump’s national emergency declaration, after Sen. Rand Paul became the fourth to say he would vote for it.
  129. Sen. Paul said as many as 10 Republicans may vote for the measure, a serious rebuke to Trump and rare example of Congress standing up to try to rein in his power. Trump is likely to veto the measure.
  130. On Tuesday, Sen. Lindsey Graham said Senate Republicans opposing Trump’s national emergency declaration are “playing with fire,” after meeting with Trump, saying the “border is in a state of crisis.”
  131. On Tuesday, the Treasury Department announced the federal budget deficit grew by 77% in the first four months of fiscal year 2019, amid falling revenue caused by Trump’s tax cuts and higher spending.
  132. The deficit grew from $176 billion to $310 billion year over year. White House economic adviser Larry Kudlow acknowledged on Fox News that national debt has “inched up a bit,” but said “growth solves the problem.”
  133. On Wednesday, General Motors closed a massive assembly plant in Lordstown, Ohio — a plant that had operated for 50 years. This marks the first time GM will not be manufacturing cars in Ohio in half a century.
  134. GM also plans to close plants in Detroit and Oshawa, Ontario, and transmission plants in Warren, Michigan, and near Baltimore.
  135. On Wednesday, at the American Workforce Policy Advisory Board meeting at the White House, Trump called Apple Inc. CEO Tim Cook “Tim Apple.” Previously, Trump called Lockheed Martin’s CEO “Marillyn Lockheed.”
  136. On Thursday, the Commerce Department announced the U.S. trade deficit in goods with the rest of the world in 2018 rose to $891 billion, the largest deficit in U.S. history.
  137. The overall trade deficit grew 12.5% from 2017 to $621 billion. American exports to China slumped nearly 50% in December from the year prior, as the trade gap in goods overall for 2018 with China reached $419 billion.
  138. On Wednesday, Secretary of Homeland Security Kirstjen Nielsen testified before the House Homeland Security Committee about Trump’s “zero tolerance” policy— Nielsen’s first hearing since Democrats took control.
  139. Nielsen backed Trump’s emergency declaration, saying, “this is not a manufactured crisis. This is truly an emergency,” and claiming the number of immigrants entering the U.S. illegally had doubled from a year ago.
  140. Also Wednesday, DHS acting inspector general John V. Kelly said in a separate hearing he has opened three investigations into the Trump regime’s immigration policies, including tracking separated children.
  141. The IG will also look into whether deported parents were given the opportunity to take their children with them. Nielsen told lawmakers, “To the best of my knowledge, every parent was afforded that option.”
  142. When Rep. Nanette Barragán asked, “You let kids be separated without tracking them. Do you know how outrageous that is…You have no feeling, no compassion, no empathy here,” Nielsen did not respond.
  143. On Thursday, AP reported that the Pentagon may use $1 billion in leftover funds set aside for military pay and pension accounts to pay for Trump’s wall. The funds are currently available since recruitment is down.
  144. CNBC reported the firm owned by Trump’s former longtime bodyguard Keith Schiller was paid $225,000 by the Republican National Committee for security consulting since he left the White House in September 2017.
  145. The RNC claimed Schiller was kept on to “work on other security needs for the committee” for the 2020 convention. It was unclear what that work entailed. The RNC fee to Schiller is $15,000 per month.
  146. On Friday, The Guardian reported Trump’s inauguration committee took money from shell companies tied to foreigners. It is illegal for non-resident foreigners to donate to political campaigns, including inaugurations.
  147. The Guardian identified three payments of $25,000 each, coming from an Indian real estate investor, a lobbyist with ties to Chinese investors, and an Israeli with international links.
  148. On Thursday, the House voted 407-23 on a measure to condemn all forms of hate, sparked by a fierce debate between Democrats following comments by Rep. Ilhan Omar which were viewed as anti-Semitic.
  149. Trump, seeking to capitalize on the infighting, tweeted Wednesday, “It is shameful that House Democrats won’t take a stronger stand against Anti-Semitism in their conference.”
  150. Trump has been silent to the same in the GOP and trafficked in anti-Semitic tropes. Republicans were silent this week about Rep. Jim Jordan’s tweet, in which he replaced the letter “s” with $ in spelling Tom Steyer’s name.
  151. On Thursday, Judge T.S. Ellis III sentenced Paul Manafort to 47 months in prison, dismissing sentencing guidelines of 19 to 24 year as “vindictive” and “way out of whack” for 69 year-old Manafort.
  152. Legal experts criticized Ellis’s sentence, saying wealthy white-collar criminals often receive lighter sentences because the judge empathizes with them. Manafort arrived in court gray-haired and in a wheelchair.
  153. The judge had predicted some pushback. However, his sentencing provoked a social media firestorm including public defenders, prosecutors, and ordinary citizens — citing racial disparity in sentencing as well.
  154. Observers also noted Judge Ellis showed his distaste for special counsel throughout proceedings. Judge Amy Berman Jackson will sentence Manafort next week on two conspiracy charges.
  155. On Friday, in a series of morning tweets, Trump said, “Thank you @foxandfriends. Great show!” Trump did not publicly change course despite earlier reporting by Jane Mayer on his ties to the network.
  156. Trump also tweeted, “I cannot believe the level of dishonesty in the media. It is totally out of control, but we are winning!” Adding in another tweet, “PRESIDENTIAL HARASSMENT!”
  157. Trump also falsely claimed in a tweet, “Both the Judge and the lawyer in the Paul Manafort case stated loudly” that “there was NO COLLUSION with Russia,” adding, “the Witch Hunt Hoax continues.”
  158. Judge Ellis actually said that Manafort was “not before this court for anything having to do with collusion with the Russian government to influence this election.”
  159. After disappointing job numbers of 20,000 added in February, Trump quoted a “Fox & Friends” guest Stuart Varney, tweeting: “This is as good a time as I can remember to be an American Worker.”
  160. Trump also tweeted, “Bad lawyer and fraudster Michael Cohen” said under oath he did not ask for a pardon and “his lawyers totally contradicted him,” adding, “he directly asked me for a pardon. I said NO. He lied again!”
  161. Trump also claimed Cohen lied under oath to Congress about wanting a job in the administration: “He also badly wanted to work at the White House. He lied!”
  162. Cohen responded, tweeting: “Just another set of lies” by Trump, adding since it was International Women’s Day, Trump should apologize for his “own #lies and #DirtyDeeds” to Karen McDougal and Stephanie Clifford.
  163. On Friday, before departing for Alabama, Trump told reporters he felt “very badly for Paul Manafort.” Trump also repeated the false claim that “the judge said there was no collusion with Russian…It’s a collusion hoax.”
  164. When asked about a pardon for Manafort, Trump said, “I haven’t discussed it,” and also claimed Cohen “directly asked me for a pardon.” Trump also accused Democrats of becoming the “anti-Israel party, anti-Jewish party.”
  165. Visiting Alabama, Trump signed Bibles while visiting relief sites. The act of signing Bibles drew mixed reviews from clergy, with some saying it was appropriate, while others said Trump was wrong to do so.
  166. On Friday, ex-Fox News executive Bill Shine abruptly resigned from the White House, after nine months on the job. Shine said he will now work as a senior advisor for Trump’s 2020 re-election campaign.
  167. Shine was Trump’s fifth communications director, as Trump continues to believe he does not need one. The move, after Mayer’s reporting, came as a surprise to White House aides and officials on the Trump 2020 campaign.
  168. On Friday, Air Force Secretary Heather Wilson resigned to become president of the University of Texas at El Paso. Wilson was seen as a candidate to replace Jim Mattis in the still unfilled defense secretary spot.
  169. On Friday, Trump formally nominated former oil and gas lobbyist David Bernhardt to succeed Ryan Zinke at the Interior Department. Bernhardt was been the acting secretary since Zinke’s departure.
  170. Congressional Democrats who have tried to conduct oversight said acting secretary Bernhardt claimed said he could not provide his calendar, because he has not maintained one in years and is not legally bound to do so.
  171. On Friday, Trump allies on the House Judiciary Committee revived allegations of FBI misconduct, publicly releasing a transcript of an August interview with DOJ official Bruce Ohr.
  172. Later Friday, Trump again attacked Cohen, quoting Rep. Mike Turner: “The only time that Michael Cohen told the truth is when he pled that he is guilty,” adding also “no collusion” and “I did not tell him to lie!”
  173. On Friday, the Miami Herald reported Li Yang, the founder of Orchids of Asia Day Spa, posed with Trump for a photograph at a Super Bowl party, 19 days before Robert Kraft was arrested for soliciting prostitution.
  174. Yang said she no longer owns the spa, which has been accused of human trafficking. Yang also posted a photowith and signed by Trump on her social media from a fundraiser at Mar-a-Lago on March 2, 2018.
  175. Mother Jones reported Yang and her husband, Zubin Gong, started GY US Investments LLC in 2017, which on its website in mostly Chinese, offers services for clients looking to make high-level connections in the U.S.
  176. Yang’s bio photo on the website is a photo with Trump with his signature, and says she is a member of the “Presidential Fundraising Committee.” Yang donated $42,000 to a Trump PAC and $16,000 to his campaign.
  177. Yang’s Facebook page, since taken down, included photos of her with Donald Jr., Rep. Matt Gaetz, RNC Chair Ronna McDaniel, Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao and Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis among others.
  178. The GY US Investments website also lists upcoming events at Mar-a-Lago. Photos show Chinese executives at the Mar-a-Lago New Year’s event mingling with Trump family members including Eric and Donald Jr.
  179. ProPublica reported on another case of Trump’s buddies from Mar-a-Lago being given inside access: Albert Hazzouri, a dentist from Scranton, PA, whom Trump had previously called out at a rally for being a good golfer.
  180. Hazzouri sent Trump a note on Mar-a-Lago stationary, with the salutation “Dear King,” as a favor to the 163,000-member American Dental Association relating to “veterans’ care and American Native Indians’ care.”
  181. Trump wrote on the note, “Send to David S at the V.A.,” meaning David Shulkin, then head of Veterans Affairs. Next to the Mar-a-Lago logo, a Trump aide stamped: “The president has seen.”
  182. On Friday, in an interview with Al Jazeera, Erik Prince admitted he attended an August 2016 Trump Tower previously reported by the Times in Week 80, that also included Donald Jr. and George Nader.
  183. Reportedly at the meeting, Nader said the UAE and Saudi Arabia wanted to help Trump win the White House.When asked why he did not disclose the meeting to Congress, Prince said maybe they got the transcript wrong.

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.

A bombshell exposé by Jane Mayer, “The Making of the Fox New White House,” explored ties between Trump and the cable-TV network, asking if America had its first state TV.

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POLITIKS OF GRAFFITI 105: THE HOUSE

The Weekly List from Amy Siskind

Week 104

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

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

 

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

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

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