POLITIKS OF GRAFFITI 167: “OATH? WHAT OATH?”

JANUARY 18, 2020

Week 166

Experts in authoritarianism advise to keep a list of things
subtly changing around you, so you’ll remember. https://theweeklylist.org/weekly-list/week-166/

This week the articles of impeachment were transmitted to the Senate, and the impeachment trial formally began. Senators were sworn in, but it was unclear if they planned to follow the oath they swore to deliver impartial justice.

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This week the House released hundreds of pages of documents provided by Lev Parnas, an associate of Rudy Giuliani. Parnas made stunning disclosures in MSNBC and CNN interviews of other Trump regime members being “in the loop” on Trump’s plan to withhold aid from Ukraine pending the announcement of investigations, including Vice President Mike Pence, former Energy Secretary Rick Perry, and many others.

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As the Senate trial was about to begin, the nonpartisan Government Accountability Office found Trump had violated the law by withholding Ukraine aid. The government of Ukraine also announced it would open a criminal investigation into Trump regime members’ alleged surveillance of former U.S. ambassador to Ukraine Maria Yovanovitch disclosed in the Parnas documents, while Secretary of State Mike Pompeo skipped scheduled Congressional hearings on Iran, and largely hid from the media for the balance of the week.

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  1. On Friday, WAPO reported that in a National Archives exhibit celebrating the centennial of women’s suffrage, a 49-by-69-inch photograph of the 2017 Women’s March was altered to blur posters carried by marchers critical of Trump.
  2. The Archives acknowledged in a statement to the Post that it made multiple alternations to the original photo blurring signs held by protestors that were critical of Trump or referenced women’s anatomy.
  3. The Archives said the decision was made by agency managers and museum staff members. Officials did not provide the Post with examples of other photographs being altered to avoid engaging political controversy.
  4. On Monday, Trump retweeted a doctored image of Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer wearing Muslim garments in front of an Iranian flag, which said, “The corrupted Dems trying their best to come to the Ayatollah’s rescue.”
  5. Jasmine El-Gamal, Obama’s adviser for the Middle East, called Trump’s tweet “deeply damaging” to Muslims in the U.S. as it suggests being Muslim is incompatible with being loyal to America.
  6. On Saturday, Trump tweeted support for anti-government protests in Tehran for victims of the plane crash, “To the brave, long-suffering people of Iran: I’ve stood with you since the beginning of my Presidency.”
  7. On Sunday, Trump continued, tweeting, “To the leaders of Iran — DO NOT KILL YOUR PROTESTERS. Thousands have already been killed or imprisoned by you, and the World is watching.”
  8. On Sunday, a new ABC News/Ipsos poll found 56% disapprove of Trump’s handling of Iran, 43% approve. The polls also found 52% feel less safe after the strike, 25% feel more safe, and 22% say they are not effected.
  9. On Sunday, Trump attacked Obama’s secretary of state, falsely claiming John Kerry admitted giving funds“ridiculously to Iran were used to fund attacks on the USA,” calling Kerry a “complete fool.”
  10. Trump also tweeted before Speaker Pelosi appeared on “This Week,” “ask Crazy Nancy why she allowed Adam “Shifty” Schiff to totally make up my conversation,” adding, “He got caught!”
  11. On Sunday, Pelosi told “This Week” that she would not rule out the House subpoenaing former NSA John Bolton to testify if the Senate trial does not include witnesses.
  12. Pelosi also said she has not ruled out the possibility of additional articles of impeachment against Trump, saying, “Let’s just see what the Senate does. The ball will be in their court soon.”
  13. When asked about Trump’s tweets, she said, “I don’t like to spend too much time on his crazy tweets, because everything he says is a projection,” adding, “Everything he says you can just translate it back to who he is.”
  14. Pelosi also said, “The president is impeached for life, regardless of any gamesmanship on the part of Mitch McConnell,” adding, “There is nothing the Senate can do to ever erase that.”
  15. Pelosi also said, “As I have said in terms of this president, all roads lead to Putin,” adding, “And sometimes I wonder about Mitch McConnell, too. Why is he an accomplice to all of that?
  16. Heading into impeachment, a Morning Consult/Politico poll found 57% of registered voters think the Senate should call witnesses at the impeachment trial, 24% do not.
  17. Shortly after Pelosi’s interview on “This Week,” Trump quoted Fox News analyst Gregg Jarrett, tweeting, “Pelosi has made a mockery of Impeachment. Her Articles are so weak,” and “she thought she could extort the Senate. She couldn’t.”
  18. Trump also tweeted a clip of Fox News host Jeanine Pirro’s show, adding, “This phony Impeachment Hoax should not even be allowed to proceed. Did NOTHING wrong. Just a partisan vote. Zero Republicans.”
  19. Shortly after, Trump tweeted, “Why did Nervous Nancy allow corrupt politician Shifty Schiff to lie before Congress? He must be a Witness, and so should she!”
  20.  Trump also tweeted, “Why should I have the stigma of Impeachment attached to my name when I did NOTHING wrong?” calling it “a totally partisan Hoax,” and “Very unfair to tens of millions of voters!”
  21. Trump also suggested the Senate should dismiss House charges, tweeting, “Many believe that by the Senate giving credence to a trial based on the no evidence, no crimes” gives it “credibility that it otherwise does not have.”
  22. Trump also attacked David Kris, a Justice Department official appointed to review the FBI’s wiretap reform, mimicking a Fox Business News segment in which Rep. Devin Nunes attacked Kris.
  23. Trump tweeted, “You can’t make this up! David Kris, a highly controversial former DOJ official, was just appointed by the FISA Court to oversee reforms,” adding, “Zero credibility. THE SWAMP!”
  24. Trump also lashed out at Michael Atkinson, his appointee for Intelligence Committee Inspector General, tweeting, “ICIG Michael Atkinson facing serious questions,” and suggesting he is part of an anti-Trump conspiracy.
  25. On Sunday, House Intelligence Committee Chair Adam Schiff told “Face the Nation” that his committee is “considering” subpoenaing Bolton, adding, “Americans want to see a fair trial in the Senate.”
  26. On Sunday, Defense Secretary Mark Esper told “Face the Nation” that he “didn’t see a specific piece of evidence” backing Trump’s claim that Iran was preparing to attack four U.S. embassies.
  27. Esper said Trump was making the point that such an attack was “probably” in the works, adding he shared that view, saying, “my expectation was they were going to go after our embassies.”
  28. On Monday, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo declined an invitation by the House Foreign Affairs Committeeto testify on the Soleimani strike. Chair Eliot Engel said he was “disappointed and frustrated” by the decision.
  29. On Monday, NBC News reported Trump authorized the killing of Iranian Gen. Qassem Soleimani in June 2019, in a directive that gave Trump the final sign-off on any specific operation.
  30. The idea initially came up in 2017 under former NSA H.R. McMaster, but came under more serious consideration in 2018 under Bolton. Trump signed off on the strike after the attack on the U.S. embassy in Baghdad.
  31. The directive’s existence explained why the option of the strike on Soleimani was on the menu provided to Trump, but undermined the regime’s stated rationale for carrying out the strike.
  32. On Monday, Trump tweeted, “The Democrats and the Fake News are trying to make terrorist Soleimani into a wonderful guy,” adding, “because I did what should have been done for 20 years.”
  33. Trump also tweeted, “it doesn’t really matter” whether “the future attack by terrorist Soleimani was “imminent” or not,” claiming, “because of his horrible past!” The original tweet misspelled “imminent” as “eminent.”
  34. On Monday, Pompeo shifted the explanation for the strike in a speech saying it was part of a larger strategy of deterrence, saying Iran “must now understand what we will do if they ever again pose risk to American lives.”
  35. Pompeo also responded to questions, saying, “There was in fact a set of imminent attacks that were being plotted by Qassem Soleimani,” and “It was unmistakable,” that “the risks were real and growing.”
  36. On Monday, CNN reported State Department officials say they were not notified of “imminent” threats against four U.S. embassies, and did not issue specific warnings to the embassies before the strike.
  37. On Thursday, Defense One reported 11 U.S. troops were injured in the January 8 Iran missile strike and airlifted to Kuwait and Germany. The Trump regime did not share this information with the American public.
  38. On Monday, Trump tweeted, falsely claiming, “I was the person who saved Pre-Existing Conditions in your Healthcare,” and “rid you of the expensive, unfair and very unpopular Individual Mandate.”
  39. Trump later tweeted “I stand stronger than anyone in protecting your Healthcare with Pre-Existing Conditions. I am honored to have terminated the very unfair, costly and unpopular individual mandate for you!”
  40. AP Fact Check reported Trump’s claims are false: his alternatives to Obamacare does not cover preexisting conditions, while they are covered with Obamacare in place.
  41. NYT reported the Trump regime said in a filing to the Supreme Court that its lawsuit to invalidate Obamacare is not in any rush, and can wait until after the elections while lower courts consider questions more carefully.
  42. The Republican states who filed the lawsuit, and had pushed the Supreme Court to settle the case quickly, reversed too, saying in a filing “the current petitions do not justify immediate, emergency review by the court.”
  43. On Monday, Trump tweeted, “Bernie Sander’s volunteers are trashing Elizabeth “Pocahontus” [sic] Warren, Everybody knows her campaign is dead,” and, “Mini Mike B is also trying, but getting tiny crowds.”
  44. Trump also tweeted, “Really Big Breaking News (Kidding): Booker, who was in zero polling territory, just dropped out,” adding, “I was sooo concerned that I would someday have to go head to head with him!”
  45. On Monday, Joseph Bondy, the attorney for Lev Parnas, tweeted a photo of Parnas and Trump together, and said they provided “a trove of Lev Parnas’ WhatsApp messages, text messages & images” to the House.
  46. On Monday, the White House urged Senate Republicans to preserve the option to speed through a Senate impeachment trial and dismiss charges as Trump looked for a quick end to the proceedings.
  47. Republicans debated including a provision in the resolution to dismiss the charges, which would require 51 votes and would stop the trial. Senate Majority Leader McConnell told Republicans he does not want to hold that vote if it would fail.
  48. On Monday, Trump tweeted, ““We demand fairness” shouts Pelosi and the Do Nothing Democrats, yet the Dems in the House wouldn’t let us have 1 witness, no lawyers or even ask questions,” calling it a “witch-hunt.”
  49. Pelosi responded, accusing Trump of a cover-up, contrasting it to the “Clinton impeachment process,” in which “66 witnesses were allowed to testify including 3 in the Senate trial, and 90,000 pages of documents were turned over.”
  50. Pelosi added in a tweet, “Trump was too afraid to let any of his top aides testify & covered up every single document,” adding, “The Senate must #EndTheCoverUp.”
  51. Later Monday, Sen. Roy Blunt, the No. 4 Republican, told reporters there “certainly there aren’t 51 votes for a motion to dismiss” articles of impeachment against Trump.
  52. On Monday, a Quinnipiac poll found 46% believe the Senate trial should remove Trump from office, 48% did not. The poll also found 66% say they would like to see Bolton testify.
  53. Later Monday, CBS News reported the White House is preparing for at least four GOP Senators to defect and vote to call witnesses, including Sens. Lisa Murkowski, Susan Collins, Mitt Romney, and possibly Cory Gardner.
  54. Other possible defections included Sens. Rand Paul and Lamar Alexander, a Senate “institutionalist.” White House officials also said they expected Trump to invoke executive privilege to block Bolton from testifying.
  55. On Monday, NYT reported Russians hackers from a military intelligence unit GRU successfully hacked Ukrainian gas company Burisma, which is at the center of the impeachment trial.
  56. It was unclear what hackers found, or what they were looking for; experts suggested they were searching for potentially embarrassing information on the Bidens, such as Trump sought in investigations he requested from Ukraine.
  57. The Russian tactic is similar to the one used in the 2016 election: the GRU set up fake websites that mimicked Burisma subsidiaries, and emailed them to Burisma employees in what looked like internal company emails.
  58. On Tuesday, CNN reported behind closed doors, Pelosi raised concerns to her caucus about the Russian hack into Burisma. Pelosi said she learned of the hack through reporting and the Gang of Eight had not been briefed.
  59. Pelosi also said McConnell is acting like a rogue Senate leader, and mused that she sometimes wonders if he has Russian connections.
  60. On Sunday, Axios reported Russian President Vladimir Putin urged Syrian President Bashar al-Assad to invite Trump to Damascus in a video that aired Sunday on Russia-1 television channel.
  61. On Wednesday, in his annual state-of-the-nation speech, Putin called for constitutional changes which would give him a path to hold on to power after the end of his term in 2024, as he reaches a two term limit again.
  62. In response, Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev, a long-time Putin ally, unexpectedly resigned, along with his entire cabinet. The change would weaken the presidency and give the cabinet and PM more power.
  63. On Monday, the Treasury Department released data showing the U.S. budget deficit surpassed $1 trillion in 2019, a 17% increase from 2018, and its highest level since 2012.
  64. On Monday, a Wisconsin judge found the state Elections Commission and three of its members in contemptfor not having removed more than 200,000 voters from the voter rolls, and fined them $250 per day each.
  65. On Monday, George Nader, a key witness in the Mueller probe, pleaded guilty to child sex charges. Nader also still faces federal court charges of conspiring to funnel illegal campaign contributions.
  66. On Wednesday, lawyers for Michael Flynn said he is looking to withdraw his guilty plea he offered two years ago, just two weeks before he was set to face his long-delayed sentencing.
  67. On Thursday, a federal judge agreed to postpone Flynn’s sentencing for another month while he considers the request to withdraw his plea.
  68. On Thursday, Time magazine’s cover story featured Kushner, with the headline, “The Family Business: the Unusual Power of Jared Kushner.” Campaign manager Brad Parscale refers to Kushner as “No. 2 after Trump.”
  69. On Monday, the Trump regime asked the Supreme Court to lift a lower court order blocking its effort to make it more difficult for immigrants who rely on public assistance, known as public charge, to gain legal status.
  70. On Monday, WAPO reported Trump is preparing to divert an additional $7.2 billion in Pentagon funds for his wall, five times the amount Congress had authorized — and bringing the total to $18.4 billion.
  71. The regime took $2.5 billion from military counterdrug programs in 2019 and will increase it to $3.5 billionin 2020. The regime will also divert $3.7 billion in military construction funding, up from $3.6 billion in 2019.
  72. Trump viewed the court ruling in his favor in Week 165 as encouragement to take more money. The regime has completed 101 miles of new barrier wall so far, far less than the 450 miles Trump promised by election day.
  73. On Monday, Nelly Jordan, a Republican Party leader in Delaware, was removed from her position as vice chair after posting on Facebook that Jewish people who support impeaching Trump are Jews “in name only.”
  74. On Tuesday, a high school student in Kentucky was expelled from Whitefield Academy after a photo of her 15th birthday celebration was shared on social media, showing her wearing a rainbow shirt.
  75. An official at the school said the picture “demonstrates a posture of morality and cultural acceptance contraryto that of Whitefield Academy’s beliefs,” and was one of her “lifestyle violations.”
  76. On Tuesday, leaked emails show Trump advisor Stephen Miller suggested to Breitbart the idea of shipping immigrants out of the U.S. on trains as a scare tactic, saying migrants might “replace existing demographics.”
  77. On Tuesday, Yahoo News reported that in addition to appointing judges who are extremists, out of 187 confirmed judges, 85% of Trump nominees have been white and 76% have been men.
  78. On Tuesday, Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee announced he will sign a measure into law which allowed continued funding to faith-based foster care and adoption agencies that exclude LGBTQ families based on religious beliefs.
  79. On Thursday, NYT reported the FBI arrested three men suspected of being members of a neo-Nazi hate group called The Base, on their way to a pro-gun rally in Virginia, in anticipation of a possible race war.
  80. On Friday, HuffPost reported three additional neo-Nazis were arrested in the lead-up to the Virginia gun rally: three Georgia men were arrested on charges of conspiracy to commit murder as part of The Base.
  81. Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam declared a state of emergency and banned firearms and other weapons on the Capitol grounds for the week. On Friday, the Supreme Court upheld the ban after it was challenged.
  82. On Friday, a WAPO-Ipsos poll found more than 8 in 10 black Americans describe Trump as racist, and has made racism a bigger issue in the country. The poll also found 9 in 10 disapprove of the job he has done.
  83. On Friday, Pew Research found 68% of Hispanic voters disapprove of Trump, and 67% are dissatisfied with the country’s direction under him. Among Democrats, 87% place a high importance on the 2020 election.
  84. On Friday, the Supreme Court agreed to consider whether the Trump regime can allow employers to limit women’s access to free birth control under the Affordable Care Act.
  85. On Tuesday, Parnas attorney Bondy shared a photo with the Daily Beast of Parnas with Ivanka and Jared at an event. A White House official called it “one of tens of thousands of pictures they take every year.”
  86. On Tuesday, Sen. Tim Kaine told reporters that as many as 10 Republican Senators are considering supporting his resolution that would direct Trump to remove forces from any hostilities against Iran within 30 days.
  87. On Tuesday, Politico reported Sen. Ted Cruz pitched the idea of witness reciprocity, saying if Democrats wanted to hear from Bolton as a witness, Republicans would be able to call Hunter Biden.
  88. On Tuesday, NYT reported behind the scenes, Trump’s team was inviting conservative activists to the White House to plan and strategize as they braced for a damaging period.
  89. Lawmakers were also anxious as they faced an unpredictable process, and debates raged publicly and privately about whether to call witnesses and compel no evidence.
  90. Later Tuesday, House Democrats released dozens of pages of notes, text messages, and other records provided by Parnas to the four House committees on the day before articles were set to be transmitted.
  91. Documents were sent to the Senate in a letter from Schiff saying, “Despite unprecedented obstruction” by Trump, “the committee continues to receive and review” evidence and will make “supplemental transmittals.”
  92. Documents included Parnas’ handwritten notes on Ritz-Carlton Hotel in Vienna paper, which he claimed were instructions from Giuliani, saying, “get Zalensky [sic] to announce that the Biden case will be investigated.”
  93. Documents also included exchanges with Ukrainian prosecutor Yuriy Lutsenko in March 2019 on WhatsApp, in which he complains to Parnas about Maria Yovanovitch: “you can’t even get rid of one [female] fool.”
  94. Documents also showed Parnas helped set up a video interview for Lutsenko with John Solomon at The Hillnewspaper on Yovanovitch. After the interview, Parnas texted it to Ahearn and wrote, “Have jr retweet it.”
  95. Ahearn replied “Sent,” then Parnas texted, urging him to “Watch Hannity.” Other texts indicate Trump tweeted about the Hannity segment, and Donald Jr. tweeted the U.S. needs “less of these jokes as ambassadors.”
  96. Texts from a Trump donor, former Marine and 2020 House candidate Robert Hyde, to Parnas seemed to indicate he had Yovanovitch under surveillance in March, and made comments that appeared threatening.
  97. On March 25, Hyde texted Parnas, “She’s talked to three people. Her phone is off. Computer is off.” Then later, “They know she’s a political puppet,” followed by, “They will let me know when she’s on the move.”
  98. Hyde also texted, “They are willing to help if we/you would like a price … Guess you can do anything in Ukraine with money … what I was told.” Parnas responded: “Lol.”
  99. Documents also included a May 10, 2019 letter from Giuliani to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky requesting a meeting, in which he said Trump had “knowledge and consent” of his actions, the first public document to state this.
  100. Giuliani also said in the letter that he was acting in Trump’s personal capacity, writing, “In my capacity as personal counsel to President Trump,” and added that he would “be accompanied by my colleague Victoria Toensing.”
  101. On Tuesday, Trump held a campaign rally in Milwaukee, Wisconsin during a Democratic debate. Trump said of Soleimani, “Great percentages of people don’t have legs or arms because of this son of a bitch.”
  102. Trump also mocked Democrats, saying it, “doesn’t matter” to them that Soleimani killed “hundreds of thousands of people,” claiming, “they’ll start a new investigation” over whether there was really any imminent threat.
  103. Trump also implied the number of embassies under attack could have been more than four — a charge his own regime did not back — saying, “If I didn’t kill him, and let’s say we lost three, four, five embassies or bases.”
  104. Trump blamed Obama for Soleimani, the “king of roadside bombs,” saying, “He should have been killed 20 years ago.” He also attacked Pelosi, saying, “her district is filthy dirty,” telling her to spend more time at home.
  105. Trump also touted a war crime, saying, “People said to me, ‘why are you staying in Syria?’” adding, “Because I kept the oil. Which frankly, we should have done in Iraq.”
  106. Trump also veered off, saying, “Somebody said, ‘Oh, sir, don’t mention the lightbulb,’” adding, “The new lightbulb costs five times as much, and it makes you look orange,” and he cares more about the orange light than the cost.
  107. Trump also commented on dishwashers, hyping “new dishwashers that give you more water so you can actually watch and rinse your dishes without having to do it 10 times.”
  108. NYT reported Trump’s voice was uncharacteristically hoarse as he delivered his standard rambling speech, delivering rosy memories of 2016 and airing grievances. He also faced protestors in the sea of red t-shirts.
  109. On Wednesday, Chair Schiff said the Parnas documents make clear Giuliani “is acting at the behest and with the knowledge and consent of the president,” and the documents represent a small sample of what Trump is withholding.
  110. On Wednesday, House Foreign Affairs Committee Chair Engel requested documents from the State Department related to Hyde, Parnas, and Yovanovitch, noting alarm that Hyde texted he had “a person inside.”
  111. On Wednesday, Politico reported the State Department abruptly canceled two classified congressional briefings on embassy security and the U.S. relationship with Iran scheduled for Wednesday.
  112. The cancellations coincided with the release of Parnas’ documents. A House aide said staffers were “furious” and noted briefings are required by law every month. The State Department gave no explanation.
  113. On Wednesday, WAPO reported White House lawyers are trying to engineer the fastest impeachment trial in American history, with a goal of concluding the trial in a few days without calling witnesses.
  114. White House aides were also concerned about managing Trump and his tweeting during the trial. They plan to have several surrogates on television defending Trump during the trial.
  115. White House counsel Pat Cipollone is expected to lead Trump’s defense team after Trump took advice not to appoint House members. Some aides worry if Cipollone will perform well enough on television for Trump.
  116. On Tuesday, European countries triggered a dispute mechanism in the Iran nuclear deal that could lead to the return of U.N. sanctions. Britain, France, and Germany said Iran’s recent statements left them “no choice.”
  117. On Wednesday, WAPO reported days before Britain, France, and Germany warned of the violation, Trump had threatened to impose a 25% tariff on European automobiles if they refused to call out Iran.
  118. On Wednesday, NPR reported the Trump regime is expected to release more than $8 billion allocated through a Department of Housing and Urban Development disaster recovery fund to Puerto Rico.
  119. The aid was supposed to be released months ago to help Puerto Rico rebuild in the wake of Hurricanes Irma and Maria in 2017. So far $1.5 billion has been made available after Congress approved $20 billion.
  120. Congressional Democrats have continuously complained about the delay. They sought to ramp up pressure on the regime after Puerto Rico recently faced a series of earthquakes recently.
  121. HUD was meant to release $8.2 billion of aid in September, but did not. Forty members of Congress asked HUD Sec. Ben Carson in a letter for “an explanation as to why your Department has chosen to violate the law.”
  122. On Wednesday, Politico reported that U.S. intelligence officials have quietly asked the House and Senate intelligence committees not to hold open hearings this year on election security, fearing anger by Trump.
  123. The request came from the Director of National Intelligence, saying they did not want intelligence chiefs to be seen on camera disagreeing with Trump on big issues like threats from Iran, Russia, or North Korea.
  124. On Thursday, AP reported federal officials announced in a change of policy, the FBI plans to notify state officials, in most cases the secretary of state, if local election systems have been breached.
  125. In the past, only local officials were notified, meaning state officials might certify an election without realizing there had been a breach in individual counties. The change is meant to bolster federal-state cooperation.
  126. On Friday, acting DHS Secretary Chad Wolf said at an event that Homeland Security “fully expects” Russia to attempt to interfere in U.S. elections in 2020, but added, “Let me be clear: We are prepared.”
  127. Wolf said, “As we saw in 2016,” Russia will “attempt to interfere in the 2020 elections to sow public discordand undermine our democratic institutions.” He also highlighted threats from China and Iran.
  128. Wolf said agencies are “laser-focused” on securing the 2020 elections, and praised reforms made since 2016 which he claimed ensure that “over 90 percent of votes cast in 2020 will have a corresponding paper ballot.”
  129. On Friday, the Kansas City Star reported a local Kansas City radio station, KCXL, signed a lease to broadcast six hours of programming from a Russian state-owned media outlet Radio Sputnik.
  130. The station is owned by RM Broadcasting in Florida. The owner, Arnold Ferolito, disputed the DNI’s 2017 assessment that Sputnik and RT were involved in Moscow’s efforts to influence the 2016 election.
  131. On Wednesday, Pelosi announced her impeachment managers, a diverse group led by Chair Schiff, including Chairs Jerrold Nadler and Zoe Logren, and Reps. Hakeem Jeffries, Sylvia Garcia, Val Demings and Jason Crow.
  132. There have been 20 impeachment managers in U.S. history and all have been white men. Pelosi picked three women to be part of the seven, and three people of color.
  133. As Pelosi was naming her managers in a ceremony, Trump tweeted, “Here we go again, another Con Job by the Do Nothing Democrats,” adding, “All of this work was supposed to be done by the House, not the Senate!”
  134. Pelosi said the managers would walk the articles to the Senate at 5 p.m. McConnell’s office said the Senate must first notify the House managers that they are ready to receive the articles and asked for Thursday at noon.
  135. In opening debate on the resolution, Nadler said Trump “gravely abused the power of his office” and “betrayed our country” by using the “powers of his office” to pressure a “government to help him win reelection.”
  136. Pelosi stood next to a poster of an American flag and a quote from the Pledge of Allegiance, and said “once somebody is impeached, they are always impeached. It cannot be erased,” adding Trump “gave us no choice.”
  137. Pelosi also said Trump was guilty of “an assault on the Constitution of the United States,” and addressing Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, added, “It’s not personal. It’s not political. It’s not partisan. It’s patriotic.”
  138. The resolution to send the articles passed 228-193. Pelosi held an engrossment ceremony at 5 p.m., then impeachment managers marched to the Capitol Rotunda to present the articles to the secretary of the Senate.
  139. Pelosi signed the resolution with black impeachment pens with her signature emblazoned in gold, and used one pen for each letter, then handed them out to members of Congress. Republicans complained.
  140. After the articles were delivered, McConnell announced the details for Thursday’s proceedings. As promised earlier, in the latest gamesmanship, McConnell did not accept articles Wednesday from Democrats’ procession.
  141. On Wednesday, as the House voted on impeachment, Trump signed phase one of the trade deal with China, months after initially claiming the countries had made a deal. The phase offered modest changes.
  142. Trump held a grandiose ceremony in the White House with Chinese officials, flanked by his team of all white men, inviting 27 members of Congress, four cabinet secretaries, two governors, and a Fox Business host.
  143. Trump told reporters, “Some of the congressmen may have a vote,” calling it “the impeachment hoax,” adding, “it’s not going to matter…But I’d rather have you voting than sitting here listening to me introduce you, OK?”
  144. Later Wednesday, Rep. Demings, one of the impeachment managers, called on McConnell to recuse himself from the impeachment trial given his statement on Fox News that he is coordinating with the White House.
  145. Deming’s statement noted: “The moment Senator McConnell takes the oath of impartiality required by the Constitution, he will be in violation,” adding, “he has effectively promised” to let Trump manage his own trial.
  146. Later Wednesday, Parnas told MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow, “Trump knew exactly what was going on,” adding, “He was aware of all my movements. I wouldn’t do anything without the consent” of Giuliani or Trump.
  147. Parnas also said of Zelensky and his inner circle, “they have no reason to speak to me,” adding, “They were told to meet with me. And that’s the secret that they’re trying to keep. I was on the ground doing their work.”
  148. Asked if the Ukraine effort by Giuliani was to hurt Joe Biden, Parnas said, “it was never about corruption. It was never — it was strictly about Burisma, which included Hunter Biden and Joe Biden.”
  149. Parnas said when he arrived in Kyiv in May, he was given a clear directive by Giuliani to make clear to Zelensky that unless he publicly announced an investigation, Ukraine’s relationship “would be sour” with the U.S.
  150. Parnas said that one of the consequences he threatened was that Vice President Pence’s planned trip to attend Zelensky’s inauguration, a high-level recognition urgently sought by Ukrainians, would be canceled.
  151. The next day, Trump instructed Pence to cancel his trip to the inauguration. Parnas said that Pence was aware of what they were up to, and that the Ukrainians got the message.
  152. Parnas also said Attorney General William Barr was likely aware of what was going on, saying, “Mr. Barr had to have known everything. I mean, it’s impossible,” adding, “Attorney General Barr was basically on the team.”
  153. Parnas also said that he met several times with Rep. Devin Nunes, who had denied knowing him Parnas to Fox News, and said he was referred to a Nunes aide who was aware of what he and Giuliani were doing.
  154. Parnas said he wants to testify because “I want to get the truth out,” adding, “it’s important for our country,” and, “There’s a lot of things that are being said that are not accurate.”
  155. A spokeswoman for the DOJ told MSNBC that Parnas’ claims regarding Barr were “100 percent false.” Maddow said her show asked for a comment from Pence’s office, but did not get a response.
  156. While the show was airing, Giuliani said in a statement to MSNBC that Parnas “never” spoke on behalf of Trump. Asked if Parnas was lying, Giuliani said, “All I can say is the truth,” and, “He’s a very sad situation.”
  157. Later Wednesday, Rep. Nunes changed his previous story on Fox News, saying he can now remember the call, but describing it as “very odd and random, and saying Yovanovitch was not discussed.
  158. Shortly after, Rep. Ted Lieu tweeted that Nunes wrote him a letter threatening that he “will sue me if I didn’t apologize for saying last month that Nunes conspired with Parnas.”
  159. Shortly after, Hyde told Sinclair Broadcasting he had “absolutely not” been monitoring Yovanovitch, saying, “It was just colorful, we were playing — I thought we were playing.”
  160. Later Wednesday, NYT reported on their interview with Parnas. Parnas expressed regret for having trusted Trump and Giuliani. His lawyer said Parnas was eager to cooperate with prosecutors investigating Giuliani.
  161. Parnas said he did not speak with Trump on Ukraine, but he met with him several times and was told by Giuliani Trump was in the loop. Parnas said of a text from Giuliani, “It’s going to work I have no 1 in it,” “no 1” is Trump.
  162. Texts and call logs turned over by Parnas revealed he was in contact with Tom Hicks Jr., a Trump family friend, and Joseph Ahearn, a fundraiser for Trump, about the developments in Ukraine.
  163. In one photograph from May 2018, Parnas is pictured with Hicks and Donald Jr. That month, Parnas and his associate Igor Fruman donated $325,000 to a pro-Trump super PAC, with which Hicks and Ahearn were affiliated.
  164. Texts revealed a circle of communications on the topic of Yovanovitch between Parnas, Hicks, and Giuliani, and conservative media Fox News host Sean Hannity, the Daily Caller, and One America News Network.
  165. Later Wednesday, WAPO reported Hyde has a history of turbulent behavior including being involuntarily committed to a psychiatric hospital after an incident at Trump’s Doral resort in May 2019.
  166. Hyde was also had a restraining order against him for “inappropriate behavior and advances” against a female political consultant. His social media posts included him at the bowling alley at the White House in May.
  167. Later Wednesday, NYT reported Hyde was often seen in Trump circles at the Trump Hotel DC, and gained access to Trump events having donated $25,000 to Trump’s inaugural committee, and other GOP causes.
  168. On Thursday, in an interview with CNN, Parnas said he met Ukrainian officials another time to demand an investigation of the Bidens: the first was in early 2019 with then-Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko.
  169. Parnas said he told Poroshenko he would need to announce an inquiry of Burisma: “Trump would either invite him to the White House or make a statement for him, but basically would start supporting him for president.”
  170. Parnas said he later told a Zelensky aide unless they announced an investigation “there was no aid,” “no inauguration, Pence wouldn’t be at the inauguration,” and “no visit to the White House.”
  171. Parnas also said Joe diGenova and Victoria Toensing arranged a sit-down with Barr and senior DOJ officials on behalf of their client Ukrainian oligarch Dmytro Firtash, who agreed to get dirt on the Bidens.
  172. Parnas said Barr was aware of the arrangement, saying, “Bill Barr basically did (the meeting) as a favor to Joe diGenova.” Parnas also got a cut of the $1 million retainer Firtash paid for the lawyers.
  173. On Thursday, NYT reported Ukraine has opened a criminal investigation into allies of Trump, following reports that Yovanovitch was under surveillance while stationed in Kyiv as revealed in Parnas’ documents.
  174. The Internal Affairs Ministry of Ukraine said documents “contain facts of possible violations of Ukrainian law and of the Vienna Convention on diplomatic relations, which protect the rights of diplomats.”
  175. The statement also noted Ukraine “cannot ignore such illegal activities” on its territory. The move was a remarkable departure for Zelensky, who has tried to avoid any hint of partisanship dealing with the U.S.
  176. On Thursday, Ukraine also said it has asked the FBI for help in investigating the reported hacking of Burisma by hackers working for Russia.
  177. On Thursday, Pence told reporters of Parnas, “I don’t know the guy,” and called the allegation that he was aware of efforts to pressure Ukraine to investigate the Bidens as “completely false.”
  178. On Thursday, the non-partisan federal watchdog agency Government Accountability Office said the White House’s Office of Management and Budget violated the law when it withheld $391 million from Ukraine.
  179. At issue is the Impoundment Control Act which limits a president’s power to withhold money that has been allocated by Congress without legislative branch approval. The Act was enacted in 1974 over Nixon’s veto.
  180. The Trump regime rejected the findings. This is the third time the GAO has found Trump violated the act, including in December 2017 related to Energy Department funds and December 2018 related to the DHS funds.
  181. Although the report does not result in any action or specific penalty against the White House or Trump, it will focus attention in the impeachment trial on the legality of Trump freezing Ukraine aide.
  182. On Thursday, GOP Sen. Martha McSally lashed out at a CNN reporter asking her about impeachment, saying, “You’re a liberal hack. I’m not talking to you.” McSally also tweeted a video clip of the encounter.
  183. On Thursday, at her weekly news conference, Pelosi said of Republicans who do not want the Parnas evidence introduced at the trial, “They’re afraid of the truth,” and “want to ignore anything new that comes up.”
  184. Pelosi added, “Public opinion will have a lot to do with this,” adding, “public opinion has grown enormously for seeing witnesses…and documentation,” and “they’ll just have to contend with the public on that.”
  185. Pelosi also criticized Facebook, calling the company “shameful” and accused it of acting in an “irresponsible” way, adding, “They didn’t even check on the money from Russia in the last election.”
  186. Pelosi added, “The Facebook business model is strictly to make money,” adding, “They don’t care about the impact on children” or the “truth,” and they intend “to be accomplices for misleading the American people.”
  187. On Thursday, the Senate began the formal impeachment trial. The House impeachment managers again walked the articles of impeachment to the Senate. Schiff read aloud the articles of impeachment to the Senators.
  188. Schiff added Trump “warrants impeachment and trial, removal from office, and disqualification to hold and enjoy any office of honor, trust, or profit under the United States.”
  189. Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts administered an oath to 99 senators in session (Sen. James Inhofe was absent), requiring them to swear to deliver “impartial justice” as jurors in the trial.
  190. The clerk then called each Senator by name for their turn to sign the oath book on a table in the well of the Senate, meant to convey the gravity of presidential and judicial impeachment trials.
  191. On Thursday, Senators voted unanimously to allow the sergeant-at-arms to “install appropriate equipment and furniture in the Senate chamber.” Cell phones, computers, and other electronic gadgets will not be allowed.
  192. On Thursday, shortly after the Senate trial got underway, Trump tweeted, “I JUST GOT IMPEACHED FOR MAKING A PERFECT PHONE CALL!”
  193. On Thursday, following calls from Democrats led by Sen. Kamala Harris, Senate Judiciary Committee Chair Lindsey Graham paused judicial nominations during the impeachment trial.
  194. On Thursday, NYT reported the DOJ will investigate a years-old leak of classified information about a Russian intelligence document, and appear to be focusing on former FBI director and Trump adversary James Comey.
  195. The investigation marked the second time the DOJ has investigated Comey, who Trump has called a “leaker” and said he should face prison time, and will focus on Comey providing details to reporters.
  196. Prosecutors are examining articles in the NYT and WAPO in 2017, which cite a Russian government document. The document played a key role in Comey’s decision not to recommend charges against Hillary Clinton.
  197. The timing of the investigation was highly unusual given leaks are typically investigated when they happen. It is being conducted by the U.S. attorney office in Washington, which is also investigating Andrew McCabe.
  198. On Thursday, in the second part of his MSNBC interview, Parnas said, “it was all about 2020, to make sure [Trump] had another four years,” adding, “There was no other reason for doing it.”
  199. Parnas also said then Energy Secretary Rick Perry was involved, noting on his way to Zelensky’s inauguration, he called Giuliani “to ask him what to discuss, and Rudy told him to make sure to give [Zelensky] the message.”
  200. Parnas added that Perry called Giuliani after the inauguration, saying “that he spoke to Zelensky, and Zelensky’s going to do it.” Parnas said the effort did lead to Zelensky making a general announcement.
  201. Parnas noted, “Giuliani blew his lid,” because the announcement “wasn’t supposed to be a corruption announcement,” adding, “It had to be about Joe Biden and Hunter Biden and Burisma.”
  202. Parnas also recalled a conversation with Trump at a super PAC dinner and saying something negative about Yovanovitch to him, then Trump immediately turning to an aide, John DeStefano, and said “fire her.”
  203. Parnas also said Trump lawyer Jay Sekulow was “in the loop,” adding he “didn’t agree with what Rudy was doing, but he knew what he was doing,” adding Selulow “didn’t want to be involved in the Ukraine stuff.”
  204. Parnos said Sekulow held discussions about getting a visa for Ukrainian general prosecutor Viktor Shokin so Giuliani could “debrief him in front of Lindsey Graham and certain other people like the attorney general.”
  205. Parnas also said that former Trump attorney John Dowd visited him in jail and told him to be a “good boy” and to “be quiet.” Records show Trump and Sekulow spoke about Dowd representing Parnas and Igor Fruman.
  206. Parnas also compared Trump to a “cult leader,” adding he believes he is more safe telling his story than leaving it in the hands of Barr, saying, “I’m more scared of our own justice department than I am of these criminals.”
  207. On Thursday, presidential historian Douglas Brinkley compared Trump to Billy the Kid and Al Capone, saying, “he’s going to be seen as acting in a demagogic way and acting in a dictatorial way.”
  208. On Friday, Trump announced his made-for-tv impeachment legal team, with the addition of former independent counsel Ken Starr and celebrity lawyer Alan Dershowitz.
  209. Trump also enlisted Robert Ray, Starr’s successor as independent counsel, who negotiated a settlement with Clinton as he left the White House. All three appear on Fox News, and face controversies.
  210. Dershowitz represented Jeffrey Epstein. Starr was fired as president of Baylor University over his mishandling of sexual misconduct by the football team. Ray was charged with stalking a former girlfriend.
  211. Trump’s legal team will be led by White House counsel Pat Cipollone, and his personal lawyer Sekulow, who will also be charged with preserving Trump’s support with Senate Republicans.
  212. Other lawyers on the team included Pam Bondi, the former Florida attorney general who declined to pursue charges against Trump University, along with Jane Serene Raskin, and Eric Herschmann.
  213. On Friday, Pompeo broke 72 hours of silence over alleged surveillance and threats to Yovanovitch, saying he believed the allegations were false, but that he had an obligation to evaluate and investigate the matter.
  214. Pompeo claimed in a radio interview that he had no knowledge of the allegations prior to the release of the Parnas documents, and claimed he did not know and had not met Parnas.
  215. On Friday, Chair Engel threatened in a letter to subpoena Pompeo to appear if he does not show up for the scheduled House Foreign Affair Committee hearing on January 29 to discuss Iran policy.
  216. On Friday, Trump tweeted, “The GOA got it exactly backwards,” meaning the GAO, citing quotes by Dershowitz and Sean Hannity on Fox News, adding, “They do what the House asks. The Swamp!”
  217. On Friday, the Trump regime proposed additional changes to former first lady Michelle Obama’s signature achievement of stricter nutritional standards on the school lunch menu. Friday was also Michelle’s birthday.
  218. USDA Deputy Under Secretary Brandon Lipps announced the changes would allow schools to cut the amount of vegetables and fruits on the menu, and sell more pizza, burgers, and fries.
  219. On Friday, newly released Parnas documents revealed repeated contact via text messages between Nunes’ aide, Derek Harvey, and Parnas relating to Giuliani’s Ukraine efforts.
  220. Text messages also revealed the three met at the Trump Hotel DC, and that Parnas set up calls for Harvey with the same Ukrainian prosecutors who were working with Giuliani.
  221. Text messages showed that Harvey sent Parnas Nunes’ contact information on April 10, two days before the two spoke. Parnas told MSNBC Nunes “couldn’t be in a spotlight,” citing “something to do with an ethics committee.”
  222. On Friday, Rep. Lieu tweeted a response to Nunes’ lawyer over his threat to sue him, saying, “It is true” Nunes worked with Parnas “and conspired to undermine our own government,” adding, “take your letter and shove it.”
  223. On Friday, Hyde pointed the finger at ardent European Trump supporter Anthony de Caluwe for surveilling Yovanovitch, claiming he had copied and pasted information received from him and sent it to Parnas.
  224. De Caluwe denied the allegations, telling NBC News that Hyde’s statement was “incorrect,” and saying he declined to provide the information Hyde sought, claiming, “I informed him it’s against the law.”
  225. On Saturday, de Caluwe reversed after an additional batch of documents were released, telling NBC News he did send the messages to Hyde, but that there was no actual surveillance and it was meant as a joke.
  226. De Caluwe said in a statement, “My engagement in this exchange with Rob is something that has no credibility. My friendship with Rob was jovial and this exchange was just a part of a ridiculous banter.”
  227. On Friday, in a court filing submitted shortly before midnight, former Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein said he was the one who made the decision to release Peter Strzok and Lisa Page texts.
  228. Rosenstein said he decided to release the texts to the media before his testimony citing concerns that they would be cherry-picked in a manner to undermine the DOJ, as well as Strzok and Page.
  229. On Saturday, Trump lawyer Bondi dismissed the new evidence on “TODAY,” saying, “Parnas liked to take pictures with a lot of people. He showed up at events pretty much everywhere where Republicans were.”
  230. When asked about evidence that Parnas had a breakfast meeting with Trump in September, just days before Parnas was arrested, Bondi replied, “I don’t know what that matters,” and “We’re going to stick to the facts” and law.
  231. On Saturday, WAPO reported at a Friday night fundraiser at Mar-a-Lago, Trump delivered a dramatic account, including new details, of the strike against Soleimani to donors.
  232. Trump did not mention an “imminent attack” or threats to U.S. embassies, instead saying Soleimani was responsible for “every young, beautiful man or woman who you see walking around with no legs, no arms.”
  233. Trump said to applause, “He was saying bad things about our country, like we’re going to attack, we’re going to kill your people. I said, ‘listen, how much of this shit do we have to listen to, right?’”
  234. Trump also described the Situation Room moments before the attack: ‘Sir, they have two minutes and 11 seconds.’ No emotion. ‘two minutes and 11 seconds to live, sir. They’re in the car….Then all of a sudden, boom.”
  235. Trump also bragged he increased the defense budget by $2.5 trillion (the actual amount is $738 billion), and said to those who criticize the budget deficit, “Who the hell cares about the budget? We’re going to have a country.”
  236. On Saturday, Trump retweeted, “Your 2nd Amendment is under very serious attack in the Great Commonwealth of Virginia,” and “That’s what happens when you vote for Democrats, they will take your guns away.”
  237. Trump’s tweet came as thousands were expected in Richmond to protest Gov. Northam’s measures put in place after arrests made by the FBI. The State Capitol was enclosed by a chain-link fence and barricades.
  238. On Saturday, thousands marched in the fourth Annual Women’s March in Washington DC and other U.S. cities. Participants said that this year demonstrators said they felt something new: hope.

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Clerk of the House Cheryl Johnson, left, and House Sergeant at Arms Paul Irving pass through Statuary Hall at the Capitol to deliver the articles of impeachment against Trump to the Senate, on Capitol Hill in Washington, Wednesday, Jan. 15, 2020. Following are impeachment managers, House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff, D-Calif., left, and House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerrold Nadler, D-N.Y., and other managers Rep. Hakeem Jeffries, D-N.Y., Rep. Sylvia Garcia, D-Texas, Rep. Val Demings, D-Fla., Rep. Zoe Lofgren, D-Calif., and Rep. Jason Crow, D-Colo.

POLITIKS OF GRAFFITI 165: “Nothing in the world is more dangerous than sincere ignorance and conscientious stupidity.” -MLK

JANUARY 04, 2020

Week 164

Experts in authoritarianism advise to keep a list of things
subtly changing around you, so you’ll remember. https://theweeklylist.org/weekly-list/week-164/
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From Amsterdam this week. Artist: Teachr1 collab with Michael Rappaport.

Throughout my time keeping the list, I have been concerned that since Trump would do anything to stay in power, when he felt he was losing his grip, we risked him taking extraordinary actions. This week, Trump assassinated Iran’s top general Qasem Soleimani — a decision he made while vacationing in Mar-a-Lago, and unilaterally, without seeking approval or consulting with Congressional leaders.ENU7KGSWsAA63-4

As a backdrop, this week additional reporting and documents released under Freedom of Information Act requests painted a far more dire picture for Trump heading into a Senate impeachment trial. As House Speaker Nancy Pelosi continued to hold the articles of impeachment, the mood seemed to shift with Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell trying to defend his statements about pre-judging the matter and his actions of moving in lock-step with the White House.

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This week the country was again rocked by an anti-Semitic attack, amid a massive increase of hate crimes in U.S. major cities. Trump remained passive on the rise of hatred of all kinds, which continued to escalate to record levels in 2019.

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NYC, November 2019.
  1. On Monday, WAPO reported that during Trump’s first 1,075 days in office, he visited a Trump property on 331 days, or 31% of the time. Trump has dubbed his property Mar-a-Lago as the “Southern White House.”
  2. On Tuesday, CNN reported Trump closed out 2019 with a round of golf. During 2019, he spent one in every five days at one of the Trump golf courses — a total of 86 days.
  3. Trump, who criticized Obama for golfing while in office, tweeting in 2015, “I mean he’s played more golf than most people on the PGA Tour,” has golfed 251 days in three years. Obama golfed 333 rounds in eight years.
  4. On Thursday, 39 GOP senators and 168 representatives signed a “friend of the court” amicus brief asking the Supreme Court to “reconsider” Roe v. Wade as part of a Louisiana abortion access law due to be heard in March.
  5. On Friday, the Trump regime joined too, filing a brief asking the Supreme Court to allow the Louisiana law to go into effect, arguing that it does not pose an unconstitutional burden on women seeking an abortion.
  6. On Tuesday, NPR reported aid to farmers ballooned in 2019 to over $22 billion — including more than $14 billion in compensation for Trump’s trade wars — up from $13 billion in 2018, and the highest level in 14 years.
  7. On Friday, the Institute for Supply Management said its manufacturing index fell in December to 47.2, the lowest level since June 2009. Global trade remains the most significant issue due to Trump’s trade wars.
  8. On Saturday, AP reported there were more mass killings in the U.S. in 2019 than in any year dating back to at least the 1970s. Of the 41 mass killings, 33 were mass shootings. More than 210 people were killed.
  9. On Friday, a report by the Center for the Study of Hate and Extremism found anti-Semitic hate crimes in New York, Los Angeles, and Chicago —  the country’s three largest cities — are poised to hit an 18-year peak.
  10. NYC had 229 anti-Semitic hate crimes, a modern city record. The Anti-Defamation League noted conspiracy theories on the fringes 20 years ago have reached the mainstream through cable-TV and social media.
  11. On Saturday, five members of an ultra-Orthodox Hasidic Jewish congregation in Monsey, New York, a suburb outside of NYC, were stabbed with a machete-type knife while celebrating the seventh night of Hanukkah at their rabbi’s home.
  12. The incident marks the latest in a string of 13 anti-Semitic attacks in the New York-New Jersey region in recent months, including nine in NYC. Gov. Andrew Cuomo called it an act of domestic terrorism,”
  13. Gov. Cuomo also said it was endemic of “an American cancer on the body politic,” adding, “this is violence spurred by hate.” The Simon Wiesenthal Center called on Trump to have the FBI create a special task force.
  14. On Sunday, a gunman killed two worshipers attending services at the West Freeway Church of Christ in White Settlement, Texas, before the church’s security team fatally shot him.
  15. On Sunday, Trump continued his attacks on House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, again quoting a conspiracy theorytweet about her son being involved in a Ukraine corruption scandal, and adding, “Any answers Nancy?”
  16. Trump also tweeted a video of scenes of homelessness in San Francisco, and added, “Crazy Nancy Pelosishould spend more time in her decaying city and less time on the Impeachment Hoax!”
  17. Four hours later, Trump finally tweeted about the Monsey attack, calling it “horrific,” adding, “We must all come together to fight, confront, and eradicate the evil scourge of anti-Semitism.”
  18. Some Democrats urged Trump to do more, saying he has insufficiently denounced anti-Semitism despite a spike in hate crimes, and has frequently perpetuated offensive stereotypes about Jewish people.
  19. On Monday, Trump tweeted about the church shooting Sunday, saying, “It was over in 6 seconds thanks to the brave parishioners who acted…Lives were saved by these heroes, and Texas laws allowing them to carry arms!”
  20. On Saturday, Trump quoted a tweet about former FBI director James Comey, and added, “A Dirty Cop at the highest level. Scum!”
  21. On Monday, in an op-ed, Comey urged, “we need to fight through our fatigue and contempt,” calling Trump a “shrunken, withered figure,” and noting “the danger he poses to our nation and its values.”
  22. On Sunday, Ivanka told “Face the Nation” she may leave the White House if Trump is re-elected, saying her decision will be “driven first and foremost by my kids and their happiness.”
  23. When asked about migrant children being separated from their parents at the border, Ivanka said, “Immigration is not part of my portfolio, obviously,” adding, “I think everyone should be engaged.”
  24. On Wednesday, Trump named Ivanka and Jared to be included in the presidential delegation to Davos in late January. Critics continued to raise concerns about the family’s role in shaping foreign and financial policy.
  25. On Sunday, Daily Beast reported Republican lawmakers are steering clear of the information Rudy Giuliani collected on his recent trip to Ukraine, and are distancing themselves from him ahead of the impeachment trial.
  26. Sen. Lindsey Graham cautioned Giuliani to have U.S. intelligence scrub the information he gathered “to make sure it’s not Russia propaganda,” adding, “I’m very suspicious of what the Russians are up to all over the world.”
  27. On Sunday, the Kremlin posted a readout of a call between Russian President Vladimir Putin and Trump. Per the readout, Putin thanked Trump for information that “helped thwart terrorist acts in Russia.”
  28. The Kremlin readout also said the two discussed issues of mutual interest, and agreed to “continue bilateral cooperation in combating terrorism.” The White House had yet to release a readout, as has happened prior.
  29. On Monday, the White House said in a statement that Putin called to thank Trump, and to discuss “counterterrorism cooperation” and “future efforts to support effective arms control.”
  30. On Tuesday, Trump tweeted Putin “called to thank me and the U.S. for informing them of a planned terrorist attack,” saying “many lives” were saved and “Great & important coordination!” Details were unclear.
  31. On Sunday, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who has been indicted on three corruption cases, said, “Immunity isn’t against democracy; immunity is a cornerstone of democracy.”
  32. On Wednesday, Netanyahu announced he would ask Knesset for immunity from the three charges while in serving in office. The request would put the political establishment against the legal system ahead of the election.
  33. On Sunday, NYT reported half a million children have been separated from their families in Xinjiang, China by government authorities intent on instilling their loyalty to the Communist Party over Islam.
  34. On Sunday, NYT provided a full account of the 84 days of “conflict and confusion” behind the Ukraine frozen aid, based on dozens of interviews, previously undisclosed emails and documents, and reviews of testimony.
  35. NYT reported Trump’s demands to withhold aid went on a separate track from Giuliani’s efforts for investigations, sent shock waves through the White House and the Pentagon, and caused rifts in the senior ranks.
  36. The first hold-up came on June 19, when national security aide Robert Blair called Russell Vought, acting head of the Office of Management and Budget, and said Trump had a problem with the aid and stated, “We need to hold it up.”
  37. Given Congress appropriated $391 million of aid by September 30, four top appointees helped acting chief of staff Mick Mulvaney with the hold: Vought, Blair, Michael Duffey, and Mark Paoletta, OMB’s top lawyer.
  38. On June 19, Duffey told career OMB official Mark Sandy to attach a footnote to a routine budget document saying the aid was being temporarily withheld. Sandy had never done this in 12 years at the OMB.
  39. On June 27, Mulvaney emailed Blair, asking, “Did we ever find out about the money for Ukraine and whether we can hold it back?” Blair said it would be possible, but not pretty. “Expect Congress to become unhinged.”
  40. On July 18, a group of top officials meeting on Ukraine learned from an OMB officials that Trump had ordered the hold. That day, the House Foreign Affairs Committee received four calls warning them of the hold.
  41. On July 25, the Pentagon learned of the hold based on Duffey’s email sent 90 minutes after Trump’s call, and officials were concerned given Ukraine had seized a Russian tanker, which could lead to an escalation.
  42. Sandy received a go ahead from OMB lawyers to make a “brief pause” official by inserting a footnote into the budget document, prohibiting the Pentagon from spending any of the aid until August 5.
  43. In late July, Sandy’s authority to oversee the aid freeze was removed and given to political appointee Duffey. Two OMB staffers resigned. Frustrated Pentagon officials were kept in the dark on the reason for the freeze.
  44. Pentagon budget official Elaine McCusker told OMB $61 million of the money needed to be spent by August 12, or would be lost. OMB officials came to consensus on a legal rationale, but it was a “POTUS-level decision.”
  45. Mulvaney worked to schedule a conference call with Trump and Vought, then-NSA John Bolton, and White House counsel Pat Cipollone on August 12 at Trump’s Bedminster club where he was golfing, but the call did not happen.
  46. Mulvaney later reached Trump and aid was kept on hold, as OMB lawyers determined McCusker had inaccurately raised alarms. On the same day, the whistleblower submitted their complaint.
  47. In late summer, OMB officials, along with the White House and DOJ, came up with a rationale for the hold: that lifting it would undermine Trump’s negotiating position in his efforts to fight corruption in Ukraine.
  48. On August 28, Politico published a story on Ukrainian aid being frozen. Trump denied to Sen. Ron Johnson the freeze was related to investigations days later. He also learned of the whistleblower complaint in late August.
  49. In late August, Defense Secretary Mark Esper, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, and Bolton met with Trumpin the Oval Office to explain that releasing the aid was in the interests of the U.S.
  50. Sens. Johnson and Rob Portman pushed Trump to release the aid, including a September 11 call from Portman. On September 9, the chairs of three House committees said they would open an investigation.
  51. On September 10, the day before Trump released the aid, Duffey said in an email to McCusker the Pentagon had the authority to do more to release aid by the deadline. She replied, “You can’t be serious. I am speechless.”
  52. On Monday, Minority Leader Chuck Schumer called the NYT reporting a “game changer,” adding it shows all four witnesses Senate Democrats have requested were “intimately involved and had direct knowledge.”
  53. Schumer demanded Majority Leader McConnell call Mulvaney, Bolton, Blair, and Duffey to testify as the White House blocked them, adding if Trump is “so confident…why won’t you let your men testify?”
  54. On Monday, Sen. Susan Collins told Maine Public Radio she is “open to witnesses,” but said it was “premature to decide who should be called until we see the evidence” and get answers to the questions senators can submit.
  55. Collins also echoed Sen. Lisa Murkowski in being critical of McConnell working closely with the White House on preparations, calling it “inappropriate” for members in either party to prejudge evidence.
  56. To secure witnesses at the Senate trial, Senate Democrats would need at least four Republicans to join them. Senators will return to Washington, D.C. next week.
  57. Later Monday, Trump attacked CNN host Chris Cuomo, tweeting an article from far-right Breitbart on his bloopers, and adding, “He is Fake News, will always be Fredo to us. I should release some of his dishonest interviews?”
  58. Trump also retweeted a doctored video first sent on November 22 of his voice calling in to Chris Cuomo in the place of his mother, and calling Cuomo fake news. Trump has also publicly attacked his brother, Andrew.
  59. On Monday, according to Nielsen Media Research, Fox News averaged 2.5 million viewers per night in 2019, the highest viewership in the network’s 23-year history.
  60. Fox News was the network the most-watched channel on basic cable for 2019. MSNBC came in third with 1.75 million viewers, and CNN came in 22nd with 972,000 average viewers per night.
  61. On Thursday, NY Daily News reported former Fox News reporter Courtney Friel says in a new book that before Trump took office, he told her she was “the hottest one at Fox News” and should come to his office “so we can kiss.”
  62. On Saturday, at least 34 governors, including 13 Republicans, were granted the power to admit refugees by the State Department, after citing the need for workers despite Trump’s cap of 18,000 refugees in 2020.
  63. The Houston Chronicle reported Texas cities including Houston,San Antonio, Dallas, and Austin have also opted in. Trump’s drastic cuts to refugees led to the closure of more than 51 resettlement programs.
  64. On Sunday, AP reported that under Trump, asylum has become almost impossible to get. One factory worker from Honduras who applied, saying he feared being killed, was deported after eight months.
  65. Back in Honduras, a few months later, he was shot and injured. Apprehensions along the U.S.-Mexico border have plunged by more than 70% in the past six months, as the Trump regime sends a message to migrants not to try.
  66. On Monday, BuzzFeed reported a 40 year-old French man died in ICE custody, the fourth in fiscal year 2020, after eight died in fiscal 2019. He was in custody since November 12 and died December 29 in a hospital.
  67. The House Oversight and Reform Committee said it had launched an investigation into the medical care at ICE facilities, after reporting on a whistleblower account which revealed substandard care.
  68. On Tuesday, WAPO reported the Trump Org fired at least seven workers from its Virginia winery citing their lack of legal immigration status, 11 months after the company began purging undocumented workers.
  69. Two of the workers, who were fired after working at the winery for more than a decade, told the Post the winery had waited until after the year’s work was complete to dismiss them.
  70. On Monday, police said they were investigating swastikas spray-painted on Seth Paine Elementary School in Lake Zurich, Illinois. Also painted were “poop,” “Trump 2020” with an X through it, and “Joe Biden 2020.”
  71. On Monday, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported the DeKalb County Police Department’s homeland security unit is investigating a series of anti-Semitic and anti-Muslim flyers found on homes and cars.
  72. The flyers were found in an area known for its vibrant Jewish community. One flyer described the Holocaust as a “Jew lie” and said Jewish people are “odious creatures,” and was lined with swastikas.
  73. On Monday, West Virginia Gov. Jim Justice approved a recommendation of a report calling for the firing of all the West Virginia correctional officers who in Week 160 were seen giving a Nazi salute in their graduation photo.
  74. On Monday, a survey by Third Way/Joint Center found 80% of black voters say Trump’s election has made people with racist views more likely to speak out, and 55% say they now face more racism in their daily lives.
  75. On Thursday, NBC News reported Aaron Charles Rowe, 30, a Seattle man, was charged with a hate crime after attacking four men of Korean descent on a downtown street, striking them and shouting, “I hate Chinese.”
  76. On Monday, a federal judge dismissed the lawsuit brought by former Trump national security official Charles Kupperman to testify in the impeachment inquiry, saying the House had rescinded its subpoena.
  77. The case was the last long-shot for the House to compel testimony in the Ukraine probe. Bolton had cited the lawsuit as his rationale for not speaking publicly as a witness in the impeachment probe.
  78. On Monday, in a court filing, lawyers for Peter Strzok argued the FBI and Justice Department violated his rights to free speech and privacy in a lawsuit filed in August over his dismissal.
  79. The DOJ argued Strzok’s role in the investigation of Trump “imposed on him a higher burden of caution,” as it asked to dismiss the case. Strzok said his firing leaves career officials vulnerable to firing for political speech.
  80. While the DOJ had argued Trump had nothing to do with the decision to fire Strzok, the filing quoted Trump’s remarks last week taking credit for firing Strzok and others.
  81. On Monday, AP reported Erik Prince has been referred to the Treasury Department for possibly violations due to his trip last month to Caracas, Venezuela, which is under U.S. sanctions.
  82. Prince’s meeting with Venezuela’s Vice President Delcy Rodriguez was flagged as unauthorized diplomatic outreach, and raised questions over whether he was there to open a secret backchannel on behalf of Trump.
  83. On Monday, in a letter to Interior Secretary David Bernhardt, a coalition of 91 groups called for the removal of Bureau of Land Management (BLM) head William Pendley, as his temporary post is set to expire on Friday.
  84. Pendley is a controversial figure, and an odd pick by Trump, based on his past comments opposing federal land ownership. The letter cited “his actions betray BLM’s mission and demonstrate his lack of fitness to lead.”
  85. On Thursday, conservative Wisconsin Institute for Law and Liberty asked a judge to immediately purge over 200,000 voters, and find the Wisconsin Elections Commission in contempt and impose a daily fine until it does so.
  86. On Thursday, a federal judge directed the Commerce Department to review and release a cache of documentsincluding emails and attachments sent to and from Commerce Sec. Wilbur Ross and others.
  87. The documents include roughly 20,000 pages, about 40% of what the government had previously produced. The DOJ had argued the documents should not be released “because the case has already been decided.”
  88. On Monday, Sec. Pompeo told “Fox & Friends” he would not definitively rule out running for Senate in Kansas, but said it is “not something that I want to do.”
  89. On Tuesday, former Trump campaign manager Corey Lewandowski said he would not run for Senate in New Hampshire, tweeting, “I am certain I would have won,” but giving no explanation.
  90. On Tuesday, Trump accused Democrats of avoiding a Senate trial to protect the Bidens, tweeting, “The Democrats will do anything to avoid a trial in the Senate in order to protect Sleepy Joe Biden.”
  91. Trump also tweeted the trial would “expose the millions and millions of dollars that ““Where’s” Hunter, & possibly Joe, were paid by companies and countries for doing NOTHING,” adding, “Joe wants no part of this mess!”
  92. Biden said on the campaign trail Saturday that he would defy a subpoena to testify in the Senate impeachment trial, but later clarified to say there is no “legal basis” for him to be called as a witness.
  93. Later Tuesday, Trump called Pelosi the “most overrated person I know!” saying, “They didn’t get one Republican House vote,” and “produced no case,” adding, “so now she doesn’t want to go to the Senate. She’s all lies.”
  94. On Tuesday, thousands of supporters of Kataib Hezbollah, an Iranian-backed Iraqi militia, chanting “Death to America” and “America is the Great Satan,” stormed entrances to the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad.
  95. U.S.-trained Iraqi security forces stood by as the militia passed the green zone, hung their flags on the barbed wire protecting the compound, and breached the main embassy reception area and set it on fire.
  96. The militia set up tents, saying they would not leave until the U.S. pulled all diplomats and troops out of Iraq. Diplomats and staffers huddled in a fortified safe room, while the Pentagon sent reinforcements.
  97. The siege came in response to U.S. airstrikes targeting Kataib Hezbollah, which the Pentagon blamed for a rocket attack that killed an American defense contractor on December 27.
  98. Many drew comparisons to the Iran hostage crisis in 1979 after the siege of the embassy in Tehran. Comparisons were also made to a militant group’s attack on an American compound in Benghazi, and Republicans’ reaction.
  99. Later Tuesday, Sec. Pompeo told “Fox News” there were no plans to evacuate the 300 plus diplomats and staffers, or 5,000 troops from Iraq. He told CBS News the U.S. expected Iraqi officials to protect U.S. facilities.
  100. On Tuesday, after attacking Biden, Trump tweeted, “Iran is orchestrating an attack on the U.S. Embassy in Iraq. They will be held fully responsible,” adding, “we expect Iraq to use its forces to protect the Embassy.”
  101. Trump was at his Trump International Golf Club in West Palm Beach to play golf as news hit. Instead of golfing 18 holes as planned, he left the club after 45 minutes to return to Mar-a-Lago.
  102. Politico reported Trump was concerned with the optics. He tweeted, “to those many millions of people in Iraq who want freedom and who don’t want to be dominated and controlled by Iran, this is your time!”
  103. Trump also tweeted, “Very good meeting on the Middle East, the Military, and Trade. Heading back to The Southern White House (Mar-a-Lago!). Updates throughout the day.”
  104. The White House White did not respond to requests about whom Trump had met with at the golf course, or why they met at there rather than at Mar-a-Lago.
  105. Later Tuesday afternoon, Trump tweeted, “The Anti-Bengahzi!” then deleted and corrected the spelling, and tweeted “The Anti-Benghazi!”
  106. Trump also tweeted, “The Fake News said I played golf today, and I did NOT! I had meeting in various locations,” adding, “The Corrupt Lamestream Media knew this” but “failed to report or correct!”
  107. Later Tuesday, Trump tweeted, “The U.S. Embassy in Iraq is, & has been for hours, SAFE!” adding, “our great Warfighters” and “the most lethal military equipment in the world, was immediately rushed to the site.”
  108. Trump also tweeted, “Iran will be held fully responsible for lives lost, or damage incurred, at any of our facilities. They will pay a very BIG PRICE!” adding, “This is not a Warning, it is a Threat,” and, “Happy New Year!”
  109. Trump also quoted a lawyer on Fox News, tweeting, “It’s my opinion as a lawyer that the Articles of Impeachment are defective,” saying they should be dismissed. Trump added, “A great lawyer & person. Thank you Brad!”
  110. Trump quoted another Fox News commentator, saying, “This guy (Strzok) was organizing a coup to undo the 2016 election,” and adding, “And he wasn’t the only one,” and, “The greatest Witch Hunt in American history!
  111. On New Year’s Eve, Trump hosted a $1,000-a-head gala at Mar-a-Lago that he personally profited from. Trump boasted to reporters, “We’re going to have a great year, I predict,” as he arrived at his party.
  112. Trump continued to defend Kim Jong Un, saying, “he did sign a contract…an agreement, talking about denuclearization,” calling him a “man of his word” and adding the “Christmas gift” Kim promised might be a “beautiful vase.”
  113. Trump bragged about his handling of the embassy attack, saying, “This will not be a Benghazi. Benghazi should never have happened,” and said he did not want war with Iran, but if it came to that it “wouldn’t last long.”
  114. Trump called impeachment “a big, fat hoax,” saying, “We had, I guess, 196 to nothing, with the Republicans,” and adding, “We had three Democrats come over. One actually joined our party, as you know.”
  115. Trump added, “we did nothing wrong,” adding, “all you have to do is read the transcripts” or you could “go see or speak to the President of Ukraine.” He also called House Intelligence Chair Adam Schiff “a corrupt politician.”
  116. Trump added, “I think the impeachment thing — I call it ‘impeachment light.’ It’s a disgrace,” and “Nancy Pelosi should be ashamed of herself. She’s a highly overrated person. I know her well; she’s highly overrated.”
  117. Giuliani, who was attending the celebration, told reporters, “I would testify, I would do demonstrations, I’d give lectures, I’d give summations or I would do what I do best. I’d try the case. I would love to try the case.”
  118. On New Year’s Eve, Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts delivered his annual report on the state of the judiciary, in the midst of unprecedented rancor between the branches of government.
  119. Roberts warned, “we have come to take democracy for granted, and civic education has fallen by the wayside,” citing “social media can instantly spread rumor and false information on a grand scale.”
  120. Roberts warned against “mob violence,” and said “the public’s need to understand our government, and the protections it provides, is ever more vital. The judiciary has an important role to play in civic education.”
  121. Roberts called on judges to “reflect on our duty to judge without fear or favor,” and to “resolve to do our best to maintain the public’s trust that we are faithfully discharging our solemn obligation to equal justice.”
  122. Roberts, who has clashed with Trump on judicial independence, added, “We should celebrate our strong and independent judiciary, a key source of national unity and stability,” but added that “justice is not inevitable.”
  123. Without naming him, Roberts singled out Merrick Garland for praise for his exemplary educational work over two decades as a tutor at a local school, saying he was “inspiring his court colleagues to join in the effort.”
  124. On Wednesday, in his New Year’s speech, North Korean leader Kim Jong Un declared an end to the country’s moratorium on testing nuclear weapons and long-range missiles.
  125. Kim also threatened, “depending on the U.S. future attitude,” to expand the country’s nuclear force, and to show off a “new strategic weapon” in the near future​ and “shift to a shocking actual action.”
  126. On Wednesday, Sec. Pompeo canceled a week-long trip planned to Ukraine and four other countries to stay and monitor the situation in Iraq, to “ensure the safety and security of Americans in the Middle East.”
  127. Former State Department officials and associates of Pompeo told the Times he is keen to make sure American diplomats are not hurt, after as a congressman he was among the most scathing critics of Benghazi.
  128. Pompeo was scheduled to meet with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky on Friday to “reaffirm U.S. support for Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity” — the first senior level meeting since impeachment.
  129. Pompeo canceled another meeting with Zelensky planned for November, as it was in the middle of impeachment hearings. The second cancellation could add to Ukrainian suspicions that Trump has little regard for them.
  130. On Wednesday, Politico reported Trump is more comfortable and in a better mood while at Mar-a-Lago. One official described Trump as feeling “liberated” with fewer staffers trying to keep away shady characters.
  131. People who surround Trump at Mar-a-Lago are described as true believers, with one Mar-a-Lago member describing it as “a religious revival,” saying people jump up and down and scream Trump’s praises.
  132. On Wednesday, a GOP political consultant asked in an op-ed what the GOP stood for, saying “a party without a governing theory, a higher purpose or a clear moral direction is nothing more than a cartel, a syndicate.”
  133. He added, the “paranoid element in the party has existed for decades,” and warned “a party that has as its sole purpose the protection and promotion of its leader, whatever he thinks, is not on a sustainable path.”
  134. On Wednesday, NYT reported former Navy SEAL Edward Gallagher, who received clemency from Trump, has capitalized on his newfound fame by launching a lifestyle clothing brand, and garnering endorsements.
  135. Gallagher and his wife’s online shop refers to SEALs who testified against him in court as “mean girls.” Gallagher also frequently appears on Fox News and his lawyer said he is planning to write a book.
  136. On Thursday, Daily Beast reported Trump is considering pardoning Nicholas Slatten, an employee Blackwater, who was convicted of first-degree murder in the 2007 massacre in Baghdad.
  137. Blackwater was founded by Trump ally Erik Prince, who has claimed the company was railroaded in the massacre at the Nisour Square traffic circle by America’s far left.
  138. On Thursday, Australia declared a national emergency in New South Wales, citing brush fires which erupted two months ago are likely to get worse in the coming days amid record heat.
  139. A study by the University of Sydney warned the country’s wildlife is in jeopardy, saying approximately 480 million animals have been affected in New South Wales since September.
  140. On Thursday, Trump tweeted, “A lot of very good people were taken down by a small group of Dirty (Filthy) Cops, politicians, government officials,” and cited an investigation “illegally started & that SPIED on my campaign.”
  141. Trump also tweeted, “The Witch Hunt is sputtering badly, but still going on (Ukraine Hoax!),” saying if it happened to a Democratic president “it would be considered the CRIME OF THE CENTURY.”
  142. On Thursday, Just Security said it was able to review unredacted versions of emails from June until early October previously made public under the FOIA, between the Pentagon and OMB on withholding aid from Ukraine.
  143. The emails revealed that the White House was warned that withholding Ukraine aid was illegal, but Trump demanded it anyway. An email from Duffey to McCusker stated, “Clear direction from POTUS to hold.”
  144. On August 26, McCusker emailed Duffey that the Senate Arms Services Committee asked about the aid, “Has OMB directed DOD/DSCA to halt execution of all…If so, when, and what was the reason given?”
  145. On August 27, Sec. Esper’s chief of staff emailed McCusker about the hold, citing concern from a defense contractor. She said it was “difficult because OMB lawyers continue to consistently mischaracterize the process.”
  146. A draft letter from deputy Defense Secretary David Norquist to Vought on August 27 stated “we have repeatedly advised OMB officials that pauses beyond Aug. 19, 2019 jeopardize” obligations of the Impoundment Control Act.
  147. Duffey emailed McCusker on September 11 to say the hold is lifted. When she asked why, Duffey responded, “Not exactly clear but president made the decision to go. Will fill you in when I get details.”
  148. On Thursday, Sen. Schumer called the newly revealed emails a “devastating blow” to McConnell’s push “to have a trial without the documents and witnesses we’ve requested,” saying they further implicate Trump.
  149. Schumer added the emails “further expose the serious concerns raised by Trump administration officials about the propriety and legality of the president’s decision to cut off aid to Ukraine to benefit himself.”
  150. Aides also told WAPO that Schumer and McConnell did not communicate over the holidays. McConnell said he would be unconcerned if a trial never took place.
  151. On Thursday, Pelosi quoted the Just Security article, adding, “Trump engaged in unprecedented, total obstruction of Congress, hiding these emails,” adding, “Why won’t Trump & McConnell allow a fair trial?”
  152. Later Thursday, BuzzFeed reported on the third batch of FBI interview notes from the Mueller probe released by the FBI and DOJ under the FOIA, which included 356 of documents.
  153. Notably, the FBI and DOJ withheld vast swaths of information, citing a number of FOIA exemptions, including an ongoing investigation. The batch included a fully redacted 31-page interview, including the name.
  154. Documents revealed K.T. McFarland was interviewed by the FBI under a proffer agreement in December 2017. McFarland revised her summer interview after it was contradicted by Michael Flynn’s guilty plea.
  155. Roger Stone associate Jerome Corsi told the FBI he realized he had been lying to “protect his own cover story,” and “realized the way he wanted to remember things was not actually how things happened.”
  156. Michael Cohen said in November 2018 he tried to set up a meeting between Putin and Trump following the 2015 U.N. General Assembly at Trump Tower at Trump’s behest. He googled the number for the Kremlin.
  157. Paul Manafort said in October 2018 he believed Trump was sending him messages through Fox News host Sean Hannity. Manafort said Hannity told him Trump said “to hang in there,” and “that Trump had his back.”
  158. Ike Kaveladze said Donald Jr. asked about dirt on Hillary at the June 6, 2016 Trump Tower meeting. He said Kushner asked, “What are we doing here?” and Donald Jr. later asked: “Is there anything you have on Hillary?”
  159. Early Thursday, Reuters reported Iran Revolutionary Guards Commander Brigadier General Hossein Salami said: “We are not leading the country to war, but we are not afraid of any war.”
  160. Late Thursday, Iraqi television reported Maj. Gen. Qassim Soleimani, commander of Iran’s Revolutionary Guards Corps, was killed by an air strike on his convoy at Baghdad airport.
  161. An expert told the Times Soleimani is “irreplaceable and indispensable” to Iran’s military establishment. The strike killed five including Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis, the pro-Iranian chief of an umbrella group for Iraqi militias.
  162. Later Thursday, at around 9:30 p.m., Trump tweeted an image of the American flag with no text and pinned it to his page. Trump had gone most of the day without tweeting.
  163. Shortly after, Defense Secretary Esper confirmed that Soleimani was killed in what the Pentagon termed a “defensive action to protect U.S. personnel abroad,” and “at the direction of the president.”
  164. Esper also said in his statement that Soleimani was “actively developing plans to attack American diplomats and service members in Iraq and throughout the region,” but did not provide evidence to back the claim.
  165. Later Thursday, Pelosi spoke to Esper after getting no advance notice of the strike. She tweeted the action was taken “without an Authorization for Use of Military Force” and “without the consultation of the Congress.”
  166. Late Thursday, Trump ally Sen. Graham tweeted, “I appreciate President @realDonaldTrump’s bold action against Iranian aggression,” adding, “To the Iranian government: if you want more, you will get more.”
  167. On Friday, Graham told “Fox & Friends” that he “was briefed about the potential operation” while spending multiple days with Trump in Mar-a-Lago. The “Gang of Eight,” which Graham is not part of, was not notified.
  168. Graham added, “When the President brought it up to me, I was taken aback,” saying, “I’m worried about the stability of the Iraqi government today. I have no idea how they are going to respond.”
  169. On Friday, threatening retaliation, Iran’s supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said in a statement Soleimani’s death was “bitter” but that “the final victory will make life more bitter for the murderers and criminals.”
  170. On Friday, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani tweeted the flag of Soleimani will be raised and “the path of resistance to US excesses will continue,” adding, “The great nation of Iran will take revenge for this heinous crime.”
  171. On Friday, AP reported thousands of Iranians took the streets in Tehran after morning prayer, waving posters of Soleimani and chanting, “Death to deceitful America,” and burning Israeli flags.
  172. On Friday, Iraqi Prime Minister Adel Abdul Mahdi condemned the U.S. “assassination” of the Iraqi militia leader, calling it an act of aggression and a breach of the conditions under which U.S. forces operate in Iraq.
  173. On Friday, Putin said the strike risked “aggravating the situation” in the Middle East. China urged restraintfrom all sides, “especially the United States,” and said it was “highly concerned.”
  174. The European Union warned against a “generalized flare-up of violence.” Britain, France, and Germany called for “stability” and “calm,” and noted Iran bore some responsibility for the escalation.
  175. Although Trump did not inform European allies in advance, Pompeo expressed frustration at their reactions, saying they “all need to understand that what we did…saved lives in Europe as well.”
  176. Pompeo also spoke to Russian foreign minister Sergey Lavrov. The State Department readout called the strike a “decisive defensive action to protect U.S. personnel abroad,” adding the U.S. “remains committed to de-escalation.”
  177. The Russian Foreign Ministry readout cited Lavrov saying, “targeted actions by a UN member state to eliminate officials of another UN member state…grossly violate the principles of international law.”
  178. The U.K. government warned Trump against launching a war against Iran, and urged “all parties to de-escalate,” adding, “further conflict is in none of our interests.”
  179. On Friday, Netanyahu credited Trump for “acting swiftly,” saying the U.S. has a right to self-defense as Soleimani was responsible for the death of Americans other innocent people, and was “planning more such attacks.”
  180. On Friday, the State Department advised all Americans to leave Iraq: the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad issued a statement saying that due to heightened tensions in the region, U.S. citizens should depart Iraq immediately.
  181. On Friday, Trump sent a series of morning tweets, his first communications with the American people after the strike. Trump tweeted, “Iran never won a war, but never lost a negotiation!” It was unclear what he meant.
  182. Trump also tweeted, “General Qassem Soleimani has killed or badly wounded thousands of Americans over an extended period of time, and was plotting to kill many more…but got caught!”
  183. Trump added, “He was directly and indirectly responsible for the death of millions of people, including the recent large number of PROTESTERS killed in Iran,” adding, “He should have been taken out many years ago!
  184. Trump also tweeted, “The United States has paid Iraq Billions of Dollars a year, for many years,” and added, “The people of Iraq don’t want to be dominated & controlled by Iran, but ultimately, that is their choice.”
  185. On Friday, American oil workers fled Iraq. Sixteen years after the U.S. invasion of Iraq, Iran is the dominant power. Anti-government protestors who were protesting Iran’s influence feared their efforts would be stifled.
  186. On Friday, McConnell returned to DC and spoke from the Senate floor, calling it a “fantasy” that Pelosi can “hand design the trial proceedings,” and adding he will conduct senate business until he gets the articles.
  187. McConnell defended his coordination of the “trial mechanics with the White House,” comparing it to Schumer “openly coordinating political strategy with the Speaker.”
  188. McConnell added, “their turn is over,” and “they’ve done enough damage.” When asked by reporters if he will meet with Schumer about the trial, he said he had already “addressed all of the relevant issues” in remarks.
  189. Schumer spoke next, saying McConnell “hasn’t given one good reason why there shouldn’t be relevant witnesses or relevant documents,” and, “Instead of trying to find the truth, he is still using the same feeble talking points.”
  190. Schumer added, “I’m a member of the Gang of Eight, which is typically briefed in advance of operations of this level of significance,” saying the regime should not only look to “your inner and often insulated circle.”
  191. Shortly after, Pelosi said in a statement: “Today, Leader McConnell made clear that he will feebly comply with President Trump’s cover-up of his abuses of power and be an accomplice to that cover-up.”
  192. Pelosi added, “McConnell is doubling down on his violation of his oath, even after the exposure of new, deeply incriminating documents this week,” and “The American people deserve the truth.”
  193. On Friday, a federal judge ruled Lev Parnas can turn over documents and data seized by federal investigators when Parnas was arrested in October to the House Intelligence Committee as part of the impeachment inquiry.
  194. On Friday, a federal appeals court in Washington heard arguments from the DOJ and House Democrats in two separation-of-powers lawsuits relating to Don McGahn testifying and Mueller grand jury materials.
  195. The court held back-to-back hearings, spanning three hours, and did not announce a decision in either case; however, based on questioning, it appeared the House had a stronger case on the grand jury materials.
  196. A judge asked the House lawyer, “Are you here to say there may be a third article of impeachment?” relating to the Mueller probe, to which he responded, “Yes, that’s on the table. There is no doubt.”
  197. On Friday, Trump quoted Christopher Bedford, The Federalist Senior Editor, tweeting, “There is NOTHING NEW in these Emails at all that’s been discovered. It’s exactly what we knew before.”
  198. Trump continued quoting, “Trump wanted to question aid to a number of different places that he thought were wasteful,” and “Democrats argument for impeachment has not gotten stronger over the last few weeks.”
  199. On Friday, in a series of tweets, Vice President Mike Pence defended Trump, falsely linked Soleimani to the 9/11 attacks, tweeting he “assisted in the clandestine travel to Afghanistan of 10 of the 12 terrorists.”
  200. Pence also inaccurately described the number of terrorist as 12, while the correct number is 19. Scholars noted Al Qaeda is a radical Sunni group whose members consider Shiites to be apostates. Soleimani is a Shiite.
  201. On Friday, the Pentagon said it was prepared to deploy an additional 3,500 soldiers to the region. The soldiers joined roughly 650 already in the region, and planned to stay for 60 days.
  202. On Friday, Sen. Tim Kaine introduced a war powers resolution to force Trump to cease hostilities without approval by Congress. After 10 days, Kaine can force a full Senate vote on his motion without being blocked.
  203. Later Friday, Trump told reporters at Mar-a-Lago that he authorized the strike because Soleimani was plotting “imminent and sinister attacks” on Americans, saying, “We caught him in the act and terminated him.”
  204. Trump also said that Soleimani should have been taken out by his predecessors, and, “We took action last night to stop a war. We did not take action to start a war.” Trump also urged Iran not to retaliate.
  205. Trump also said, after spending almost all his time in office trashing U.S. intelligence agencies and taking the word of foreign governments over them, that America has “the best intelligence in the world.”
  206. On Friday, Russian state media blamed Trump’s impeachment for the assassination of Soleimani, which it described as “a terrorist act,” and claimed Trump may have been “set up” by U.S. intelligence.
  207. Hours later, AP reported Iraqi officials and Iranian-backed militias in Iraq claimed a second deadly air-stikekilled five members of a Popular Mobilization Forces medic convoy. U.S. officials denied involvement.
  208. Later Friday, in a speech to his evangelical Christian base in Miami, Trump told the crowd, “Evangelical Christians of every denomination and believers of every faith have never had a greater champion.”
  209. Trump brought Cissie Graham Lynch, a granddaughter of Billy Graham, the founder of Christianity Today, to the stage, in a rebuke of the editorial calling for his removal. She vowed to help Trump win re-election.
  210. Trump spoke briefly about the strike, saying Soleimani “was planning a very major attack, and we got him,” adding, “as president, I will never hesitate to defend the safety of the American people.”
  211. Trump said he would renew the importance of religion and family, toughen restrictions on abortion, and “safeguard students and teachers’ First Amendment rights to pray in our schools.”
  212. Trump jabbed at his 2020 opponents, again referring to Sen. Elizabeth Warren as the racial-slur “Pocahontas,” and saying we cannot let the “radical left” win as “everything we’ve done will be gone in short order.”
  213. Friday was also the last day for Christianity Today editor Mark Galli, who is retiring. Galli told the Times he was shocked by the response to his op-ed, which crashed the magazine’s website.
  214. Galli said he was “surprised by the ethical naïveté of the response I’m receiving to the editorial,” saying there seems to be “widespread ignorance” about “the gravity of Trump’s moral failings.”
  215. Galli added, “People wrote to me and said they had felt all alone and were waiting for someone in the evangelical leadership” to speak up, adding, “a lot of people who were feeling alone and they’re not feeling that way.”
  216. Galli added some of Trump’s closest followers are “being discipled by him,” saying, “They’re taking their cueson how to react in the public square from Donald Trump, whose basic response is to denigrate people.”
  217. Later Friday, Trump retweeted conservative commentator Dinesh D’Souza, comparing Schumer to Iran and the reason for not getting advance notice: “Neither were the Iranians, and for pretty much the same reason.”
  218. On Friday, Daily Beast reported Trump told friends and allies at Mar-a-Lago over the past several days that he was working on a “big” response to the Iranian regime, and they would hear or read about very “soon.”
  219. Later Friday, NYT reported in a terse response to its FOIA request, the White House said it would not turn over 20 emails between Blair and Duffey in which they discussed withholding aid, even with redactions.
  220. In a letter, the White House FOIA officer cited an exemption for correspondence involving the president’s staff, saying it would “inhibit the frank and candid exchange of views” in government decision-making.
  221. On Friday, Republican Rep. Phil Roe said he will not seek another term, becoming the 25th Republican to do so for 2020. Roe was the ranking member of the House Veterans Affairs Committee.
  222. On Saturday, Yale psychiatrist Bandy X. Lee urged Pelosi to request a 72-hour mental hold on Trump, following the Iran attack, saying “a mental health hold, which we have tried to avoid, will become inevitable.”
  223. Lee said mental health professionals “foresaw” this type of event as Trump’s “response to the impeachment proceedings, just as his pulling troops from northern Syria was a direct response to the announcement of an impeachment inquiry.”
  224. On Saturday, WAPO reported thousands mourned at a funeral procession for Soleimani chanting, “Death to America, death to Israel,” and “We will take our revenge!”
  225. An Iranian commander quoted by the Tasnim News Agency vowed retaliation, saying dozens of American and Israeli facilities and military assets in the Middle East were at risk.
  226. On Saturday, NATO suspended its Iraq training mission, saying, “The safety of our personnel in Iraq is paramount. We continue to take all precautions necessary.”
  227. On Saturday, a Survey Monkey poll found two of Republicans’ top four choices of whom they would consider voting for in the 2024 presidential election are Trump’s children, Donald Jr. and Ivanka.

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Pro-Iranian militiamen and their supporters set a fire during a sit-in in front of the U.S. embassy in Baghdad, Iraq, Wednesday, Jan. 1, 2020. U.S. troops fired tear gas on Wednesday to disperse pro-Iran protesters who were gathered outside the U.S. Embassy compound in Baghdad for a second day as pro-Iranian militiamen and their supporters had camped out overnight at the gates of the embassy. On Tuesday, dozens of the protesters had broken into the compound, trashing a reception area and smashing windows in one of the worst attacks on the embassy in recent memory.

POLITIKS OF GRAFFITI 163: “PROFOUNDLY IMMORAL”

*From Amy Siskind’s Weekly List/Art selected and Photos taken by me

DECEMBER 21, 2019

Week 162

Experts in authoritarianism advise to keep a list of things
subtly changing around you, so you’ll remember. https://theweeklylist.org/weekly-list/week-162/
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In this historic week, Trump became the third president in U.S. history to be impeached. Unlike his recent predecessors who faced the process, Richard Nixon and Bill Clinton, Trump showed no remorse; rather as the vote was occurring, Trump blasted impeachment and his political opponents in a two-hour meandering speech at a campaign rally in Michigan. Even by his standards, his rhetoric was mean and petty — invoking a deceased Congressman, and suggesting he was watching from hell as his wife, Rep. Debbie Dingell, voted for impeachment.

Republicans continued to stand by Trump like sycophants. The hubris of Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and Sen. Lindsey Graham, saying their minds were made up and the Senate impeachment trial would not be fair, led House Speaker Nancy Pelosi to hold the articles of impeachment, refusing to transmit them before Congress recessed for the holiday break. Reporting continued to expose Trump’s strange ties to Russia, while in plain sight Trump allied with Russian President Vladimir Putin while continuing his frosty relationship with Ukraine.

As Trump continued his war on the so-called deep state, the exodus of senior employees at the Pentagon continued, and morale at Secretary of State Mike Pompeo’s office plummeted. The country felt on edge and divided as Congress and Trump departed, with Pelosi in control of the process, and no clear road ahead. Christianity Today, a mainstream evangelical magazine, called for Trump’s removal in a scathing op-ed, calling him “profoundly immoral.”F5CA7M4RLVGBJEE5DUMK4MOD7Q

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  1. On Monday, WAPO reported Trump has made 15,413 false or misleading statements as of December 10, his 1,055th day in office. Trump is averaging 32 per day over the past two months, a new high.
  2. Trump has ramped up the lies while in office: in 2017, he told 1,999 false or misleading claims, in 2018 he told 5,689, and so far in 2019 he has told 7,725 false or misleading claims.
  3. On Monday, PolitiFact announced the 2019 Lie of the Year is Donald Trump’s claim the whistleblower got this Ukraine call “almost completely wrong” — a statement it called “more ridiculous than wrong.”
  4. PolitiFact said it only uses the term lie to describe a “falsehood that proves to be of real consequence and gets repeated in a virtual campaign to undermine an accurate narrative.”
  5. On Saturday, Trump ally Sen. Lindsey Graham told CNN on impeachment, “I have made up my mind,” and said that Trump’s Senate trial “will die quickly, and I will do everything I can to make it die quickly.”
  6. When pressed about forming an opinion before the trial, Graham responded, “I am trying to give a pretty clear signal I have made up my mind,” adding, “I’m not trying to pretend to be a fair juror here.”
  7. On Saturday, Trump attacked Rep. Debbie Dingell, who recently lost her husband, after a Fox News appearance, tweeting last time he spoke to her she thanked “me for granting” funeral service honors for her husband.
  8. Trump also tweeted he watched “her ripping me” in the “Impeachment Hoax,” adding “pathetic!” Dingell tweeted she would work with him on legislation, “but I’ll also work to hold this Administration accountable.”
  9. On Saturday, Trump also attacked Fox News, tweeting it was “hard to believe” the network would be interviewing “sleazebag & totally discredited” James Comey and “corrupt politician Adam “Shifty” Schiff.”
  10. Trump also tweeted, “Fox is trying sooo hard to be politically correct,” yet “Commiecast MSNBC & Fake News CNN…ratings TANK,” saying they will “all die together,” and “Only pro Trump Fox shows do well.”
  11. On Sunday, as Rep. Jeff Van Drew, a Democrat who won in a Trump district, but was likely to lose the 2020 Democratic primary, said he may switch parties, Trump tweeted, “heard Jeff is very smart!
  12. Trump, who met with Van Drew last Friday, also tweeted of Van Drew’s no vote on impeachment, “Thank you for your honesty Jeff,” adding, “Democrats know you are right,” but “don’t have the “guts” to say so!”
  13. On Sunday, five of Van Drew’s staffers resigned in a letter, citing his “decision to join the ranks of the Republican party led by Donald Trump,” saying they can “no longer in good conscience continue our service.”
  14. CNN reported a sixth staffer resigned late Sunday. On Monday, NYT reported a seventh staffer resigned. Two Republicans who were planning to run in his district said they would work to defeat him.
  15. On Sunday, Sen. Graham told “Face the Nation” that Rudy Giuliani was welcome to come before the Senate Judiciary Committee on “Joe Biden, Hunter Biden and anything else you want to look at.”
  16. On Sunday, House Judiciary Chair Jerrold Nadler told “This Week” Trump “is openly seeking interference in the 2020 election,” and “he poses a continuing threat” to our national security and our election integrity.
  17. On Sunday, House Intelligence Chair Adam Schiff told “This Week,” “It’s a clear and present danger,” adding “and not something we can turn away from because the Republicans in the House refuse to do their duty.”
  18. On Sunday, a fight broke out as Chair Adam Schiff was about to speak at an event to thank Congress for passing the Armenian genocide resolution. Protesters called Schiff a “liar” and held signs saying, “Don’t Impeach.”
  19. On Sunday, James Comey told “Fox New Sunday” he took responsibility for errors made in the Justice Department Inspector General report, saying, “I was responsible for this,” and “I was overconfident in the procedures.”
  20. Shortly after, Trump tweeted, “As bad as the I.G. Report is for the FBI,” and “Horowitz was appointed by Obama,” adding, “tremendous bias and guilt exposed,” and Horowitz has “Big credibility loss. Obama knew everything!”
  21. Trump also suggested Comey should go to jail, tweeting, “So now Comey’s admitting he was wrong,” adding, “because he got caught red handed,” and, “Could it be years in jail? Where are the apologies to me and others, Jim?”
  22. On Sunday, Trump also picked up a GOP line that he was asking Zelensky to do the U.S., not him, a personal favor, tweeting, “A PERFECT phone call. “Can you do us (not me. Us is referring to our Country) a favor.””
  23. Trump also quoted Fox New host Jeanine Pirro, tweeting, “There is no bribery, or any crime at all,” and Turning Point USA President Charlie Kirk, saying, “The President did nothing wrong here. There is no crime.”
  24. On Sunday, a Fox News poll found 50% say Trump should be impeached and removed, 4% say impeached but not removed, and 41% say Trump should not be impeached — up slightly (49%/4%/41%) from late October.
  25. Trump, who had claimed strong polls and lack of support for impeachment, tweeted, “The @foxnewPolls, always inaccurate, are heavily weighted toward Dems. So ridiculous,” and, “Get a new pollster!”
  26. Trump also tweeted, “Approval Rating in Republican Party = 95%, a Record! Overall Approval Rating = 51%.” This was the 12th time Trump claimed, without citing a poll, his approval with Republicans was 95%.
  27. Trump also tweeted Fox News host Sean Hannity, who said the “Impeachment Hoax” is “lying, corruption and propaganda. Should never be allowed to happen,”” will be on Mark Levin’s show at 8 p.m.
  28. Trump also again attacked Speaker Nancy Pelosi, quoting a tweet of her news conference with the line it “wasn’t true,” adding, “Because Nancy’s teeth were falling out of her mouth, and she didn’t have time to think!”
  29. Trump also tweeted, “Congressional Do Nothing Democrats are being absolutely decimated in their districtson the “Impeachment Hoax,” and “Crazy Nancy is finding defending Shifty Schiff harder than she thought!”
  30. On Sunday, North Korea issued a cryptic threat, saying it will send the U.S. a “Christmas gift.” Saturday, North Korea state media reported “another crucial test” was successfully conducted at the Sohae Satellite site.
  31. On Monday, Bill Webster, the former director of the FBI and CIA, said in an op-ed that he was “deeply disturbed” by recent comments by Trump about director Christopher Wray, including that Trump could fire him.
  32. Webster also said he was “profoundly disappointed” in his “longtime” friends Rudy Giuliani for his activities, and Attorney General William Barr for his disparagement of members of the FBI.
  33. On Saturday, the Chair of the Wisconsin Democratic Party said the state’s purge of 234,000 voters last Friday was the “product of a right-wing legal and political strategy to prevent eligible voters from voting.”
  34. The Milwaukee Sentinel found that 55% of the voters purged lived in municipalities that Hillary Clinton carried in 2016. In 2016, Trump won by roughly 20,000 votes and Gov. Tony Evers won by less than 30,000 votes.
  35. On Monday, a federal judge in Georgia said he would allow that state’s planned voter roll purge of over 313,000 voters, or 4% of registered voters, but would allow a second hearing to reinstate the voters on Thursday.
  36. Fair Fight Action, a voting rights group founded by Stacey Abrams, filed the emergency request. Voter purges became a hot-button issue in 2018 when Abrams ran against Brian Kemp, who was then secretary of state.
  37. On Friday, AP reported Justin Clark, a top political adviser to Trump’s re-election campaign, told influential Republicans in Wisconsin to expect more aggressive use of Election Day monitoring of polling places.
  38. Clark said, “Traditionally it’s always been Republicans suppressing votes in places,” adding, “It’s going to be a much bigger program, a much more aggressive program, a much better-funded program.”
  39. Clark made the remarks on November 21 at a meeting of the Republican National Lawyers Association. A 20-minute audio of the event was provided to AP by the liberal group American Bridge.
  40. On Sunday, in a letter to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer proposed calling four witnesses, including John Bolton and Mick Mulvaney, who knew about the Ukraine aid, in Trump’s Senate trial.
  41. Schumer also proposed Robert Blair, senior adviser to Mulvaney, and Michael Duffey, an Office of Management and Budget official. The four were subpoenaed by the House. Schumer said he would welcome witnesses with “direct knowledge” of aid.
  42. On Monday, just after midnight, the House Judiciary Committee released a 658-page report, making the case that Trump committed “multiple federal crimes” as part of the first article of impeachment.
  43. The report cited Trump committed criminal bribery and wire fraud when he pressured Ukraine’s president to investigate his political rivals, and his actions need “not rise to the level of a criminal” to merit impeachment.
  44. The report said Trump’s “conduct here was criminal,” saying his behavior is “both constitutional and criminal in character,” and saying Trump “betrayed the people of this nation” and should be removed from office.
  45. The report, which came the day before the Rules Committee formally considered the articles of impeachment, provided a thorough analysis, starting with Trump “welcoming” Russian interference in 2016.
  46. The report found Trump “has fallen into a pattern of behavior: this is not the first time he has solicited foreign interference in an election, been exposed,” adding, “He will almost certainly continue on this course.”
  47. The report called Trump “the Framers’ worst nightmare,” saying he “abused his power in soliciting and pressuring a vulnerable foreign nation” and endorsed “a debunked conspiracy theory” promoted by Russia.
  48. The report included a 20-page scathing Republican dissent from ranking member Rep. Doug Collins, saying,“The case is not only weak but dangerously lowers the bar for future impeachments.”
  49. On Monday, 30 freshman Democrats pushed for Rep. Justin Amash, who left the Republican Party, to be the impeachment manager for Trump’s Senate trial, under the notion he could reach conservative lawmakers.
  50. On Monday, Trump tweeted, “The Impeachment Hoax is the greatest con job,” and said Democrats are making “life easy for the United Republican Party.” Twitter users mused at the new party, “United Republican Party.”
  51. Trump also tweeted of the 2020 debate, “I look very much forward to debating whoever the lucky person is who stumbles across the finish line in the little watched Do Nothing Democrat Debates.”
  52. Trump left an out to possibly skip the debate, claiming without proof “the so-called Commission on Presidential Debates is stacked with Trump Haters & Never Trumpers,” and that he “will make a decision at an appropriate time.”
  53. On Monday, six moderate Democrats elected in districts that Trump won backed impeachment. Roughly a dozen moderate Democrats had yet to announce their decision.
  54. On Monday, 750 historians signed a statement saying “Trump’s numerous and flagrant abuses of power are precisely what the Framers had in mind as grounds for impeaching and removing a president.”
  55. By Wednesday, the list had grown to over 1,500 historian signatories calling for Trump’s impeachment, including many high profile names like Pulitzer Prize winners Ron Chernow, Jon Meacham, and Taylor Branch.
  56. On Monday, in a federal court filing, House Democrats told the court lawmakers will continue their impeachment probe after the House vote this week, and regardless of the Senate trial outcome.
  57. The filing also indicated the House Judiciary Committee plans to continue its impeachment investigation arising from the Mueller probe, started earlier this year, which may lead to further articles of impeachment.
  58. The House general counsel also argued the House’s demands for grand jury materials related to the Mueller probe were still urgent, as the documents could become relevant to the Senate trial.
  59. On Tuesday, McConnell rejected Schumer’s request to call witnesses and set parameters for the Senate trial, calling it a “strange request,” and accusing him of trying to “short-circuit” their plans to negotiate the trial.
  60. Schumer replied that McConnell’s direct clear coordination with the White House takes away any chance of bipartisanship. White House counselor Kellyanne Conway will attend the GOP Senate lunch on Wednesday.
  61. On Tuesday, McConnell also told reporters, “I’m not an impartial juror,” adding, “This is a political process. There is not anything judicial about it. Impeachment is a political decision.”
  62. Later on a radio show, McConnell said witnesses would cause “mutual assured distraction,” adding, “I think we’ve heard enough. After we’ve heard the arguments, we ought to vote and move on.”
  63. CNN reported McConnell’s remarks infuriated Democrats. Schumer said he was “utterly amazed” McConnell would describe himself as not impartial, and challenged other GOP Senators to pledge to be impartial.
  64. On Tuesday, in an interview with BBC News, Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg said Trump “is not a lawyer,” and said of McConnell not being impartial, “If a judge said that, a judge would be disqualified.”
  65. On Tuesday, all the other House Democrats in districts won by Trump came out for impeachment on both articles, except for Rep. Jared Golden who supported just article one and Rep. Ron Kind who did not declare.
  66. Later Tuesday, the House Rules Committee reached an 11th hour agreement on the rules for the impeachment debate, after a day of partisan bickering, agreeing to permit six hours of floor debate.
  67. The small committee’s hearing was the last chance for Democrats and Republicans to spar over charges before the full House vote.
  68. Rep. Jamie Rasking cited Giuliani’s activities, saying the crime is “in progress, up to this very minute,” while GOP Rep. Tom Cole said. “There’s no way this can and should be viewed as legitimate.”
  69. This marked the first time in history that the Rules Committee, which is traditionally used by the House speaker to set the schedule for the chamber, has ever taken up impeachment.
  70. On Saturday, LA Times reported $20 million of the $250 million Pentagon portion of Ukraine aid has yet to be disbursed, and is sitting in U.S. accounts. One Senate aide said the reason for the holdup was unclear.
  71. On Sunday, in a series of tweets, Giuliani shared his Ukraine findings, citing “corruption in 2016 was so extensive it was POTUS’s DUTY to ask” for an investigation, and “Impeachment is part of Dem cover-up.”
  72. Giuliani also claimed according to “Witness Yuri Lutsenko, inheritor of Shokin’s office” that “Amb Yovanovitch perjured herself at least twice,” and “Clear doc proof of money laundering by Burisma & Biden’s.”
  73. Shortly after, Schiff told “This Week” of Giuliani, “the misconduct continues,” saying, “Giuliani went to the White House to brief Trump after his trip to Ukraine,” adding, “This is an ongoing threat to our democracy.”
  74. On Monday, in an interview with The New Yorker done in November, Giuliani said he viewed Marie Yovanovitch as an obstacle to digging up dirt on Joe Biden: “I believed that I needed Yovanovitch out of the way.”
  75. Later Monday, on Fox News, Giuliani backtracked, claiming Yovanovitch “was acting corruptly in that position and had to be removed,” saying she had made untrue statement to Congress without offering proof.
  76. Giuliani also told host Laura Ingraham “I didn’t need her out of the way. I forced her out because she’s corrupt,” adding, “She should’ve been fired if the State Department weren’t part of the deep state.”
  77. On Monday, NYT reported Giuliani provided detailed information to Trump about how Yovanovitch was impeding investigations into Trump’s political rivals ahead of 2020, setting off her recall as ambassador.
  78. Trump then connected Giuliani to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, who asked for more information. Within weeks, she was recalled. Giuliani told NYT, “You’d have to ask them [Trump and Pompeo]. But they relied on it.”
  79. On Monday, Trump told reporters Giuliani had not told him much about his recent trip to Ukraine, but said he “knows what he’s doing,” and “he’s a great person who loves our country and he does this out of love.”
  80. On Tuesday, Giuliani told CNN that Trump has been “very supportive” of his continuing efforts to dig up dirt on Trump’s behalf in Ukraine, adding he and Trump are “on the same page” and are “on offense.”
  81. On Tuesday, Giuliani tweeted, “Yovanovitch needed to be removed for many reasons most critical she was denying visas to Ukrainians,” adding, “She was OBSTRUCTING JUSTICE,” and “enabled Ukrainian collusion.”
  82. On Wednesday, journalists sharply criticized One America News (OAN) for ethical lapse in giving Giuliani a platform to spread propaganda, as he shared his three-hour documentary on his findings in Ukraine with Trump.
  83. Trump celebrated OAN’s decision to give Giuliani a reporting role, in helping to make his case against impeachment, especially as Trump continues his critiques of Fox News polling and guests when it suits him.
  84. On Thursday, at an event for Turning Point USA in West Palm Beach, Giuliani told conservative college students that Democrats “want to put Barr in prison, and they want to execute me.”
  85. On Saturday, Hallmark Channel pulled a series of ads by Zola featuring two brides kissing at the altarsurrounded by friends, saying they “are deemed controversial,” after being a targeted campaign by a conservative group.
  86. On Sunday, after widespread condemnation, Hallmark Channel apologized and reinstated the ads, saying, “We are truly sorry for the hurt and disappointment this has caused,” and said it would work with GLAAD.
  87. On Monday, West Point opened an administrative investigation “into the facts, circumstances, and intent of the Cadets in question,” who made an “OK” hand symbol during last Saturday’s Army-Navy football game.
  88. On Monday, LA Times reported under an agreement signed on September 25, the Trump regime is preparing to send immigrants seeking asylum to Honduras, even if they are not from that Central American country.
  89. The agreement, signed by Kevin McAleenan, then acting secretary of Homeland Security, and Honduras’ foreign minister, will effectively end the immigrants chances of finding asylum in the U.S.
  90. The regime has already started to send immigrants to Guatemala under an agreement that took effect on November 22, including a number of Honduran adults.
  91. On Friday, WAPO reported under a secret plan by Stephen Miller, Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents were embedded within government shelters that cares for unaccompanied migrant children.
  92. The agents collected fingerprints and other biometric information from adults seeking to claim the children. If the adults are deemed ineligible to take custody, ICE could use their information to arrest or deport them.
  93. Miller’s plan appeared to circumvent laws that restrict the use of refugee programs for deportation enforcement, as Congress had made clear it does not want sponsors to be scared away by the threat of deportation.
  94. After the Trump regime tried similar action in 2018, language was added to a 2019 funding bill specifically prohibited the Department of Health and Human Services from using child sponsor data. Miller’s plan circumvented HHS by using ICE agents.
  95. On Friday, NBC News reported an Iowa woman, Nicole Marie Poole Franklin, 42, has been charged with attempted murder after telling police she “intentionally” drove over a 14 year-old girl because she was Hispanic.
  96. On Saturday, 25 Jewish lawmakers called on Trump to fire Stephen Miller, saying, “His documentation of white nationalist and virulently anti-immigrant tropes is wholly unacceptable and disqualifying.”
  97. On Monday, U.S. District Judge Emmet Sullivan dismissed Michael Flynn’s motion to find prosecutors in contempt, saying there was no basis for his allegations that federal law enforcement entrapped him into a plea deal.
  98. The judge found Flynn told the same lies to the FBI, Pence, and senior White House officials, who repeated them publicly, leading to his firing in February 2017. Flynn will be sentenced on January 28.
  99. On Tuesday, Supreme Court justice Neil Gorsuch appeared on “Fox & Friends” to discuss his new book. Ironically, Gorsuch discussed American’s lack of knowledge of basic civics on a show that frequently distorts the truth.
  100. Gorsuch, who is meant to be a nonpartisan judge, opened his appearance on a hyper-partisan show, saying “Merry Christmas,” drawing a back and forth between Senators over the appropriateness of his statement.
  101. On Tuesday, Politico reported the Department of Transportation Inspector General found that Kentucky’s largest transportation grant under Trump benefited from Sec. Elaine Chao’s team input.
  102. A $67.4 million application for Boone County, a suburban district key to McConnell’s re-election, was granted despite the application initially be flagged as incomplete, while 55 other incompletes fell out of the running.
  103. On Tuesday, Politico reported Trump intervened to slash Medicaid funding for Puerto Rico in a larger government spending deal unveiled this week. Trump has called the island “one of the most corrupt places on Earth”
  104. Bipartisan lawmakers on two key congressional committees had endorsed $12 billion for Puerto Rico over four years. Trump cut the allocation to $5.7 billion over two years.
  105. On Tuesday, NBC News reported William Taylor, who testified in the impeachment inquiry and who Trump called a “Never Trumper,” was recalled as acting ambassador to Ukraine as of January 1.
  106. On Tuesday, Sen. Robert Menendez, the ranking member of the Foreign Relations Committee, excoriated Secretary of State Pompeo for “unceremoniously recalling” Taylor, a key impeachment witness.
  107. Menendez accused Pompeo in a letter of furthering Trump’s “inappropriate and unacceptable linking of U.S. policy to Ukraine to his personal and political benefit, and potentially your own.”
  108. On Wednesday, WSJ reported Taylor will hand over his duties days before Pompeo is set to visit Kyiv in January, so that Pompeo will avoid being photographed with him and raising Trump’s ire.
  109. On Tuesday, a federal judge ruled Lev Parnas can remain free on bail, despite concealing a $1 million paymentfrom a Russian bank account, saying he did not believe Parnas was being intentionally untruthful.
  110. An attorney for Parnas told NBC News that the payment in September came from Dmytro Firtash, a Ukrainian oligarch linked to Paul Manafort, who also has been linked to Russian organized crime.
  111. On Tuesday, Rick Gates, Trump’s former deputy campaign manager, was sentenced to 45 days in jail and three years’ probation after federal prosecutors said he provided “extraordinary assistance.”
  112. The judge also fined Gates $20,000 although his lawyer said Gates is broke. Gates spent more than 500 hourswith prosecutors and lawyers, and testified in the trials of Manafort, Roger Stone, and Greg Craig.
  113. On Tuesday, in a public order, Rosemary Collyer, the presiding judge over the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court, gave the FBI a January 10 deadline to come up with a proposal to address the DOJ IG report.
  114. On Tuesday, BBC reported the Trump regime is rejecting the House and Senate vote on recognizing Armenian genocide, siding with Turkey. The State Department said the regime’s position “has not changed.”
  115. On Tuesday, WSJ reported Trump ally Peter Thiel, a board member of Facebook, is at the center of the company’s decision to allow political ads without fact-checking for content.
  116. On Wednesday, The Hill reported principal deputy undersecretary of Defense Kari Bingen, the number two intelligence official in DoD, resigned, the fourth senior Pentagon official to resign in recent weeks.
  117. In addition to the four vacancies, six of the 21 deputy assistant secretary of Defense policy jobs remain unfilled, and several are filled by acting officials, including chief management officer and comptroller.
  118. Later Wednesday, The Hill reported Ambassador Tina Kaidanow, a longtime State Department official, resigned, becoming the fifth senior Pentagon official. Kaidanow started her position in September 2018.
  119. On Wednesday, CNN reported results in the annual “Best Places to Work in the Federal Government” showed morale in the Secretary Pompeo’s office dropped substantially in 2019, declining nine points from the prior year.
  120. Staffers in Pompeo’s office rated it poorly for effective leadership, teamwork, work-life balance, and pay, placing it at the bottom rank for agencies. The State Department overall improved by 0.6 points.
  121. On Wednesday, Roll Call reported the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service will review whether Donald Jr. illegally killed a rare sheep during an August trip to Mongolia, following a letter from the Center for Biological Diversity.
  122. On Wednesday, a New York judge threw out state fraud charges against Paul Manafort, dealing a setback to the Manhattan DA’s effort to make sure Manafort would still face charges if Trump pardons him for federal crimes.
  123. Manafort’s attorney argued the state charges covered conduct that he had already been charged for. Manhattan DA Cyrus Vance Jr. said he would appeal the ruling.
  124. On Wednesday, a federal appeals court struck down a central provision in the Affordable Care Act, saying requiring people to have health insurance is unconstitutional, and will send the case back to the Texas court.
  125. On Friday, a federal judge agreed to delay sentencing for Roger Stone by two weeks to February 20, because of a slowdown in compiling financial paperwork required by federal probation officials.
  126. On Tuesday, on the eve of impeachment, Trump sent House Speaker Pelosi a scathing six-page letter, which read like a string of his tweets, calling impeachment a “partisan impeachment crusade” and an “attempted coup.”
  127. In his rambling letter, Trump said he was expressing his “strongest and most powerful protest,” saying, “this impeachment represents an unprecedented and unconstitutional abuse of power” by Democrats.
  128. Trump also accused Pelosi of “breaking your allegiance to the Constitution” and “declaring open war on American Democracy” in pursuit of “this election-nullification scheme.”
  129. Trump said, “You have cheapened the importance of the very ugly word, impeachment!” and, “You are the ones bringing pain and suffering to our Republic for your own selfish personal, political, and partisan gain.”
  130. Trump also cited lies and conspiracy theories, about his “perfect” calls, referring to the Steele dossier “as illegally purchased from a foreign spy by Hillary Clinton” and “the use of spies against my campaign.”
  131. Trump also repeated a refrain used by Sen. Lindsey Graham, saying, “More due process was afforded to those accused in the Salem Witch Trials,” and that “history will judge you harshly” for the “impeachment charade.”
  132. CNN fact-checked Trump’s letter, and found it included numerous false claims and conspiracy theories that have been debunked, as well as new claims that were false, misleading, or lacked content.
  133. Later Tuesday, when asked about Trump’s letter, Pelosi told a reporter, “It’s ridiculous,” adding, “We’ve been working…I’ve seen the essence of it, though, and it’s really sick.”
  134. Later Tuesday, NYT noted the letter, signed with a Sharpie, revealed how angry Trump has become over becoming the third president in history to be impeached. Aides say he wanted to get some things off his chest.
  135. While the White House tried to focus Trump on his accomplishments, the letter cast his record in the context of his victimhood, saying to Pelosi, “It is a terrible thing you are doing, but you will have to live with it, not I!”
  136. White House counsel Pat Cipollone was not involved in drafting the letter. Other Trump aides helped, including Eric Ueland, director of Legislative Affairs, Stephen Miller, and Michael Williams, adviser to Mulvaney.
  137. On Tuesday, Chair Schiff said in a letter that Vice President Mike Pence’s unwillingness to declassify his September 18 call “raises profound questions about your knowledge” of Trump scheme to solicit Ukraine’s interference.
  138. Schiff said, “Your unwillingness to declassify the Supplemental Submission raises the serious question” about whether Pence is obstructing the House “not just to protect President Trump, but yourself as well.”
  139. On Tuesday, Daily Beast reported Russia’s state TV has celebrated foreign minister Sergey Lavrov’s visit to the White House. Rossiya 1 referred to Trump as an ‘agent’ in a segment, titled “Puppet Master and ‘Agent.’”
  140. The first deputy director general of Russia news agency ITAR-TASS said, “Sooner or later, the Democrats will come back into power,” and joked about offering Trump asylum in Russia.
  141. On Wednesday, a new poll by Gallup found Trump’s approval inched up to 45% in December, his third monthly increase, while 51% disapprove (net -6). In November, Trump’s approval was 43%, 54% disapprove (-11).
  142. Gallup also found support for impeachment dropped. Support for impeach and remove was 46%, 51% against, down from 50% support, 48% against in November.
  143. On Wednesday, a new poll by Economist/YouGov found 50% of registered voters were for impeach and remove, 43% were against it.
  144. On Wednesday, the day of his impeachment, Trump tweeted to his followers, “Say a PRAYER!” adding he will be impeached “by the Radical Left,” and, “AND I DID NOTHING WRONG! A terrible Thing.”
  145. Trump also quoted “Fox & Friends” co-host Brian Kilmeade tweeting, “My hope is that impeachment will never become this trivial again,” and adding, “Well said Brian!”
  146. Trump also quoted Rep. Doug Collins on “Fox & Friends,” tweeting, “They just wanted to get at the President. They had no intention of having a proper investigation,” adding, “They couldn’t find any crimes.”
  147. Trump also quoted Collins, tweeting, “It’s sad. Here’s a gentleman who came to the White House and all they had was [sic] never to let him have an easy breath,” adding, “All they wanted to do is impeach him.”
  148. Trump also tweeted Pelosi “will go down in history as the worst Speaker,” quoting a tweeted by Fox News’ Gregg Jarrett about Pelosi saying she did not read Trump’s letter, and adding, “Already thrown out once!”
  149. Just after Noon, Trump tweeted, “SUCH ATROCIOUS LIES BY THE RADICAL LEFT, DO NOTHING DEMOCRATS. THIS IS AN ASSAULT ON AMERICA, AND AN ASSAULT ON THE REPUBLICAN PARTY!!!!”
  150. On Wednesday, Pelosi opened the final House debate on impeachment, calling on members to stand up to “lawlessness and tyranny,” and saying, “If we do not act now, we would be derelict in our duty.”
  151. Pelosi said, “he gave us no choice,” adding, “For centuries, Americans have fought and died to defend democracy for the people,” and “our founders’ vision of a republic is under threat from actions from the White House.”
  152. Pelosi said Trump “is an ongoing threat to our national security and the integrity of our elections,” adding when history is written, I want to show them I was among the House “who stood up to lawlessness and tyranny.”
  153. Rep. Doug Collins rebutted, “There’s no bribery, no extortion, no wire fraud, no obstruction of justice anywhere in these articles.” The vote was expected to take place at 7 p.m. that night.
  154. Democrats characterized impeachment as urgent, with Chair Schiff saying, “The president and his men plot on,” adding, “The danger persists. The risk is real. Our democracy is at peril.”
  155. House Republicans compared impeachment to Jesus’s crucifixion, with Rep. Barry Loudermilk saying, “Pontius Pilate gave Jesus the opportunity to face his accusers,” and Rep. Mike Kelly compared it to the bombing of Pearl Harbor.
  156. Rep. John Lewis said, “When you see something that is not right, not just, not fair, you have a moral obligation to say something, to do something,” adding our children and grandchildren will ask what we did and said.
  157. Trump ally Rep. Matt Gaetz said, “Those who vote ‘yes’ on today’s articles of impeachment must carry the heavy burden of shame and guilt for as long as they serve in Congress — which won’t be long.”
  158. Ally Rep. Devin Nunes said, “The Ukraine hoax was based on a supposed whistleblower who colluded beforehand with the Democrats,” and, “It’s not easy to make a coup attempt boring, but the Democrats found a way.
  159. Rep. Ayanna Pressley said, “What we are doing here today is not only patriotic, it is uniquely American. America is a story of ordinary people confronting abuses of power with a steadfast pursuit of justice.”
  160. During the debate, WAPO reported some House Democrats pushed Pelosi to withhold impeachment articleswhile continuing to gather evidence, citing concerns of whether there would be a fair trial in the Senate.
  161. Notable during the debate was the lack of Republican diversity: of the 197 House members, 90% were white and 92% were men. For House Democrats, of the 233, just 50% were white and 60% were men.
  162. On Wednesday, Pence said in an interview with ABC News that “we may” release the call transcript, adding, “But the fact that after his sham investigation is over, Adam Schiff is now asking for more information.”
  163. As the House debate continued, Pence called what was happening a “disgrace.” When asked if Trump’s callwas “perfect,” Pence responded, “I think the president did nothing wrong.”
  164. On Wednesday, CNN reported Trump is hoping to move quickly to and through a Senate trial, asking Sen. Graham of Democrats, “What are they doing?” on withholding articles. Graham said, “I don’t know.”
  165. Late Wednesday, after over 11 hours of fiery debate, the House voted to impeach Trump on two articles. Trump is the first president to face a possible Senate impeachment trial in the year of his re-election.
  166. Hours before the vote, a new NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll found Americans split on impeachment, with 48% for impeachment and removal, and 48% against it, down slightly from 49%/46% in late October.
  167. The House first voted on the article charging abuse of power at 8:30 p.m. which was approved 230 to 197, then for the article of obstruction of Congress which passed 229 to 198.
  168. After the vote, Pelosi warned her members not to celebrate — no applause, no cheers — by raising one hand and giving a stern look, while banging the gavel with the other.
  169. Every Republican voted against both articles. Two Democrats voted against both articles, including Van Drew. Rep. Jared Golden voted yes only to abuse of power. Rep. Justin Amash voted for both articles.
  170. Rep. Tulsi Gabbard, a Democratic candidate for president in 2020, was the sole House member to vote ‘present,’ saying she “could not in good conscience vote against impeachment” or for a “partisan process.”
  171. On Wednesday evening, after the impeachment vote, Pelosi threatened to delay the Senate impeachment trial, citing concerns about an unfair trial, telling reporters, “So far we haven’t seen anything that looks fair to us.”
  172. As the impeachment vote was taking place, Trump held a campaign rally in Battle Creek, Michigan. Some television networks showed a split-screen or cut back and forth while the two articles were voted on.
  173. Although the White House had tried to portray an image of Trump in high spirits, during the two-hour meandering speech, Trump was red-faced, sweat beading on his upper lip, and slurred his words at times.
  174. Trump told supporters as he started, “By the way, it doesn’t really feel like we’re being impeached,” adding, “We did nothing wrong…and we have tremendous support in the Republican Party like we’ve never had before.”
  175. Trump added, “After three years of sinister witch hunts, hoaxes, scams,” Democrats are “trying to nullify the ballots of tens of millions of patriotic Americans,” calling it “a suicide march for the Democratic Party.”
  176. Trump was mostly mean and petty. He mused that Bill Clinton called his wife, Hillary, “Crooked” and mimicked him telling her to visit swing states in 2016, “You horrible human being, you better start listening to me.”
  177. As he had done at a rally two weeks ago when a woman protested at his rally, Trump paused to single her out to his supporters, calling her a “slob” and “disgusting person,” saying police were too gentle in escorting her out.
  178. Trump invoked his son Barron, who in Week 160 First Lady Melania and other Republicans complained was off limits, saying if Barron did a rally in Manhattan he could get more attendees than “Crazy Pocahontas.”
  179. Trump attacked Rep. Carolyn Maloney (NY) for voting for impeachment, calling her “a longtime nothing much” and saying she should return his donations, and said of Schumer (NY), “He used to kiss my ass.”
  180. Trump again disparaged Rep. Debbie Dingell of Michigan, calling her a “real beauty” for voting for impeachment, and noting he gave her family “an “A-plus” memorial” after the death of her husband.
  181. Trump added her deceased husband, Rep. John Dingell, must be “thrilled” looking down from heaven, then mused “maybe he’s looking up.” Trump’s comment drew moans from the Michigan crowd.
  182. Trump also yelled about light bulbs, saying “So we’re bringing back the old light bulb. It sounds like a little, but it’s big stuff,” and mused about toilets, but said if he said the word out loud the press would have a field day.
  183. Shortly after, Dingell tweeted to Trump, “I’m preparing for the first holiday season without the man I love. You brought me down in a way you can never imagine and your hurtful words just made my healing much harder.”
  184. Several Republicans called on Trump to apologize to Dingell, including two members of the House from Michigan and Graham. Meghan McCain, daughter of John who Trump also insulted, called his comment “horrific.”
  185. On Wednesday, WAPO reported that unlike Richard Nixon and Bill Clinton when they faced impeachment, Trump shows no remorse, rather slamming his opponents and urged his supporters to wage battle.
  186. Also unlike Nixon and Clinton, both sides are dug in and the process has not moved their positions. There is a high level of rhetoric and anger. Trump’s constant misdeeds have taken away the power of shock.
  187. During Nixon and Clinton’s impeachments Americans were glued to their TVs, but Trump has managed to distract. A WAPO-ABC poll found that 62% were closely watching Trump’s impeachment, versus 82% for Clinton.
  188. On Thursday, White House press secretary Stephanie Grisham defended Trump’s comments about Dingell on “Good Morning America,” saying he “is a counter-puncher,” adding, “He was just riffing.”
  189. On Thursday, 20 Republicans lined up on the House floor to offer Dingell their support, including Conference Chair Liz Cheney. Others apologized, but Dingell said they had no reason to since they did not say the words.
  190. On Thursday, in an emotional interview with CNN, Rep. Dingell said Trump’s claim about granting funeral accommodations were not even true, adding, “My family’s still hurting. … We’re a family grieving.”
  191. On Thursday, Trump sent a flurry of early morning tweets, saying “100% Republican Vote. That’s what people are talking about. The Republicans are united like never before!” and, “PRESIDENTIAL HARASSMENT!”
  192. Trump also lashed out at a possible delay, tweeting, ““The Senate shall set the time and place of the trial.” If the Do Nothing Democrats decide, in their great wisdom, not to show up, they would lose by Default!”
  193. Trump also tweeted he got impeached “without one Republican vote” in “the greatest Witch Hunt in American history,” saying, “Now the Do Nothing Party want to Do Nothing with the Articles & not deliver them.”
  194. On Thursday, a Trump campaign Twitter account, and accounts of other Trump allies, tweeted a video of House Majority Whip James Clyburn on CNN, claiming he called for Trump to be hanged. This was untrue.
  195. On Thursday, Democratic Senators tweeted photos of a stack of over 200 House-passed bills, 90% of bipartisan, which were “dead on Mitch McConnell’s desk,” saying McConnell, not impeachment, held up progress.
  196. On Thursday, McConnell blasted the House impeachment effort on the Senate floor in a 30 minute speech, calling it “the most rushed, least thorough, and most unfair” in modern history.”
  197. McConnell attacked Pelosi for being noncommittal on transmitting the articles of impeachment: “Pelosi suggested that House Democrats may be too afraid to even transmit their shoddy work product to the Senate.”
  198. Schumer spoke next, saying, “Can none of the President’s men come defend him under oath?” addressing his GOP colleagues, saying, “Democrats want a fair trial that examines the relevant facts.”
  199. Schumer added, “We want a fair trial. The message from Leader McConnell, at the moment, is that he has no intention of conducting a fair trial, no intention of acting impartially, no intention of getting the facts.”
  200. On Thursday, at her weekly news conference, Pelosi told reporters she is waiting on naming impeachment managers, saying, “The next thing for us will be when we see the process that is set forth in the Senate.”
  201. Pelosi added there needs to be a “fair process” before she sends the article of impeachment to the Senate, adding, “we’re ready.” Schumer and Pelosi met in the morning, and he told reporters, “We’re on the same page.”
  202. When asked what how she would respond to Republican criticism for holding on to the articles, Pelosi told reporters, “Frankly I don’t care, what [Republicans] have to say.”
  203. Pelosi also chided McConnell, saying our founders suspected “there could be a rogue president,” adding, “I don’t think they suspected that we could have a rogue president, and a rogue leader in the Senate at the same time.”
  204. Shortly after, deputy press secretary Hogan Gidley told Fox News that the White House is continuing to work with McConnell “to figure out the best way to move forward” on the impeachment trial.
  205. Shortly after, McConnell and Schumer held their first face-to-face meeting in a room off the Senate floor for 20 minutes to discuss the impeachment trial, but failed to produce any tangible results.
  206. After, McConnell told reporters, “We remain at an impasse,” and said the Senate would return to session on January 3. Senators and aides were pessimistic on an agreement given the two’s frosty relationship.
  207. Later, Trump tweeted, “Pelosi feels her phony impeachment HOAX is so pathetic she is afraid to present it to the Senate,” calling it a “SCAM,” and saying, “The Do Nothings are so bad for our Country!”
  208. On Thursday, WAPO reported Trump now bears the indelible mark of impeachment, perhaps his first time being held accountable despite the myriad of offenses committed during his time in office.
  209. On Thursday, Rep. Van Drew sat alongside Trump in the Oval Office to announce he was changing party affiliation and pledging his “undying support” to Trump.
  210. Trump told reporters, “I don’t feel like I’m being impeached because it’s a hoax, it’s a setup.” When asked how he feels about being impeached, he said, “It’s a horrible thing they did.”
  211. On Thursday, Rep. Mark Meadows, the ranking member of the Oversight Committee, became the 24th House Republican to retire in 2020. An ally of Trump, Meadows said he is open to a position in the regime.
  212. On Thursday, Putin defended Trump at his annual news conference in Moscow, saying he was impeached for “made-up reasons,” calling it “an internal political struggle, with the party that lost the election.”
  213. On Thursday, in an op-ed, Harvard Law Professor Noah Feldman, who testified in the House Judiciary hearings, argued impeachment happens only when the House transmits the articles of impeachment to the Senate.
  214. On Thursday, Bloomberg reported Trump’s lawyers may argue that Trump was not impeached because Pelosi did not transmit the articles, saying the Senate would already have jurisdiction if Trump was impeached.
  215. On Thursday, Harvard Law Professor Laurence Tribe said he disagreed with Feldman, saying, “under Art. I, Sec. 2, Clause 5, he was impeached on Dec 18, 2019. He will forever remain impeached. Period.”
  216. On Friday, Director of Legislative Affairs Eric Ueland told CBS News that Trump “is completely baffled at the theory” Pelosi is holding back impeachment articles to “leverage some sort of specific behavior out of the Senate.”
  217. Ueland and white house counsel Pat Cipollone toured the Senate floor, which would serve as a courtroom, and checked out support spaces. They were also introduced to people who are there when the Senate is in session.
  218. On Thursday, WAPO reported that White House officials feared Putin influenced Trump’s view on Ukraine and 2016 election, and that his resistance to believing U.S. intelligence comes from this connection.
  219. Trump first heard the theory from Paul Manafort who suggested Ukraine may have hacked the DNC in the summer of 2016, not Russia. Gates said Manafort “parroted a narrative” advanced by Konstantin Kilimnik.
  220. When Trump took office, he believed Ukraine tried to stop him from winning in 2016. When he privately met Putin in July 2017 at the G20 summit Trump become more insistent that Ukraine worked to defeat him.
  221. Senior officials said chief of staff John Kelly, national security adviser H.R. McMaster, and Secretary of State Rex Tillerson all tried to caution Trump not to rely on Putin’s word. Trump spent hours with Putin at the G20.
  222. After the G20, Kelly also had Homeland Security Advisor Tom Bossert, CIA Director Mike Pompeo, Director of National Intelligence Daniel Coats, and deputy Sue Gordon brief Trump that Russia interfered, not Ukraine.
  223. Trump did not believe U.S. intelligence. One former senior White House official claimed Trump said “Putin told me.” Allegations about Ukraine have also been promoted by fringe right-wing journalists and Giuliani.
  224. Starting in April 2017, Trump started pushing a false narrative that CrowdStrike, a computer security company the DNC hired to investigate the breach, was based in Ukraine. He pushed this on his July 25 call.
  225. Although senior U.S. officials, including the director of the FBI say there is no evidence, top GOP lawmaker who are defending Trump in the impeachment probe have also called for investigations of Ukraine.
  226. On Thursday, NYT reported prosecutor John Durham is scrutinizing former CIA director John Brennan’s rolein how the intelligence accessed Russian interference, and has requested Brennan’s emails and call logs.
  227. Durham said he is looking into what Brennan told officials, including former FBI director James Comey about his and the CIA’s view on the Steele dossier, and to see how it compares to his public 2017 testimony.
  228. Durham has also been examining any internal debate within the CIA on whether Putin ordered Russian interference, a question of interest to Attorney General Barr. A CIA informant within the Kremlin was a key source for the finding.
  229. Durham’s pursuit of Brennan again raises concerns that Trump is using the DOJ to go after his enemies. Trump has frequently publicly attacked Brennan for being part of the Obama era “deep state” targeting him.
  230. On Friday, 11 members of Congress sent a letter to Attorney General Barr, demanding he and Durham resign, saying Barr pushed “conspiracy theories,” and Durham’s work is “nothing but a sham.”
  231. The letter cited the two “inappropriately interfered in independent Department of Justice investigations and intentionally used your positions to mislead the American public in defense of President Donald J. Trump.”
  232. On Friday, in the first post-impeachment poll, Morning Consult found 51% of registered voters support impeachment and removal, 42% are against it.
  233. The poll also found most voters want more witnesses in Trump’s impeachment: 54% say the Senate should call witnesses in the trial, 27% say they should not, and 19% are undecided.
  234. On Wednesday, the Mormon Women for Ethical Government, in a statement, called on “our co-religionists” Sens. Mike Lee, Mitt Romney, Mike Crapo, and Tom Udall “to honor their oaths of office.”
  235. The statement said, “Any president or leader who forces political support and fails to honor and protect the free and legitimate elections on which our republic rests has lost the moral right to govern.”
  236. On Friday, in a scathing op-ed in magazine Christianity Today, editor in chief Mark Galli argued Trump should be removed from office. CT is a mainstream evangelical magazine founded in 1956 by Billy Graham.
  237. CT noted Trump “attempted to use his political power to coerce a foreign leader to harass and discredit one of the president’s political opponents,” calling it “a violation of the Constitution” and “profoundly immoral.”
  238. CT said Trump “dumbed down the idea of morality” in the regime, “hired and fired” people who are convicted criminals, and “admitted to immoral actions” in business and with women, “about which he remains proud.”
  239. CT added, “His Twitter feed alone — with its habitual string of mischaracterizations, lies, and slanders — is a near perfect example of a human being who is morally lost and confused.”
  240. CT said Trump has a “grossly immoral character” and should be removed, “not a matter of partisan loyaltiesbut loyalty to the Creator of the Ten Commandments.”
  241. CT added the impeachment hearings have “illuminated” Trump’s “moral deficiencies,” saying, “This damages the institution of the presidency…the reputation of our country…and the spirit and the future of our people.”
  242. CT closed saying, “we have reserved judgment on Mr. Trump for years,” but Trump’s actions will “crash down on the reputation of evangelical religion and on the world’s understanding of the gospel”…and “down on a nation.”
  243. On Friday, Trump blasted CT in a series of tweets, calling it “a far left magazine, or very “progressive,”” adding it “has been doing poorly and hasn’t been involved with the Billy Graham family for many years.”
  244. Trump also tweeted CT “knows nothing about reading a perfect transcript,” and would rather “have a Radical Left nonbeliever, who wants to take your religion & your guns, than Donald Trump as your President.”
  245. Trump also tweeted, “No President has done more for the Evangelical community, and it’s not even close,” adding, “I won’t be reading ET again” — seeming to make a reference to Entertainment Tonight (ET), not Christianity Today.
  246. Hours later, Trump tweeted, “I guess the magazine, “Christianity Today,” is looking for Elizabeth Warren, Bernie Sanders,” adding, “no President has ever done what I have done for Evangelicals, or religion itself!”
  247. Trump also tweeted a Breitbart article about Billy Graham’s son Franklin saying, “Christianity Today has moved to the left and is representing the elitist liberal wing of evangelicalism.” Trump thanked Franklin.
  248. On Friday, WAPO reported that behind Trump’s anger is a fear of losing evangelical support, who were key for him in battleground states in 2016. Recent polls show 75% of white evangelicals support him.
  249. White House officials were concerned Trump was bringing too much attention to the op-ed. Trump also put pressure on staffers to take action to counter the op-ed, like announcing an event already in the works.
  250. Later, editor Galli told MSNBC that CT is “not a far-left magazine,” and is often accused of being “too conservative,” adding it is “very rare” for CT to comment on politics “unless the moral stakes are raised very high.”
  251. Galli also said, “I don’t have any illusions” that his op-ed is “going to change many minds,” and said Trump’s immorality was a balance to Trump’s policy decisions, likening him to a wife abuser who also has good qualities.
  252. On Friday, former GOP Senator Jeff Flake said in an op-ed that Trump is on trial and “So are my Senate Republican colleagues,” saying it would be “indefensible” to echo House GOP and say Trump did nothing wrong.
  253. Flake said Trump had not changed or grown in office, saying, “If there ever was a time to put country over party, it is now. And by putting country over party, you might just save the Grand Old Party before it’s too late.”
  254. On Friday, Trump asked his supporters to donate to Van Drew, tweeting, “the Democrat Party’s Witch Hunt and CRAZY EXTREME policies are chasing common sense people,” adding, he “has my FULL Endorsement.”
  255. On Friday, Pelosi formally invited Trump to deliver his annual state of the union on February 4, and Trump accepted the invitation. The speech will take place during or just after the Senate impeachment trial.
  256. On Friday, Pelosi told AP that Trump “just got impeached,” adding, “He’ll be impeached forever. No matter what the Senate does. He’s impeached for ever because he violated our constitution.”
  257. Later Friday, Trump tweeted, “Nancy Pelosi is looking for a Quid Pro Quo with the Senate. Why aren’t we Impeaching her?” Members of Congress cannot be impeached.
  258. Trump also touted Putin speaking out against his impeachment, quoting a 36-hour-old AP tweet of a story about Putin defending him, and adding, “A total Witch Hunt!
  259. On Thursday, HuffPost reported Senate Republicans quietly removed the phrase “white nationalist” from a measure in the National Defense Authorization Act meant to address white nationalists in the military.
  260. The House amendment was drafted in July to specifically address the issue. The final bill only requires the DoD to monitor for “extremist and gang-related activity,” without referencing white nationalism.
  261. On Friday, West Point said the hand gestures made by cadets and midshipmen at last week’s Army-Navy football game were part of a game known as the “circle game” and not a white supremacist symbol.
  262. The superintendent of the US Military Academy said, “We investigated this matter thoroughly,” adding last Saturday they thought it was an innocent game, and “We are disappointed by the immature behavior of the cadets.”
  263. On Friday, WAPO reported the Trump regime threatened a presidential veto of a spending package if House Democrats did not remove language requiring prompt release of future military aid for Ukraine.
  264. The provision would have required the White House to swiftly release $250 million in military aid for Ukraine. The provision was removed and Trump signed the $1.4 trillion package last Friday night.
  265. On Friday, in a podcast interview with Michael Moore, Robert De Niro said Trump “needs to be confronted,” and “needs to be humiliated,” adding, “There has not been one thing about this person that has been redeeming.”
  266. On Friday, Facebook said it had removed hundreds of accounts with ties to Epoch Media Group, finding the group used fake accounts generated with artificial intelligence to spread disinformation in the U.S. and Vietnam.
  267. Content removed included 610 Facebook accounts, 89 Facebook Pages, 156 Groups, and 72 Instagram account, and sparked concern that AI could be used to create wide-scale disinformation campaigns.
  268. On Friday, the Trump regime delayed the scheduled Jan. 1 phase out of incandescent light bulbs, a bipartisan effort started in 2007 to save $14 billion in energy cost and reduce carbon emissions by 38 tons.
  269. Trump’s Energy Department made a final determination Friday claiming that imposing stricter energyefficiency standards “are not economically justified,” and the decision would “protect consumer choice.”
  270. Late Friday, Trump left for a two-week vacation at Mar-a-Lago amid the impeachment probe. CNN reported aides are concerned Trump will mingle with informal advisors and friends who may influence him.
  271. There are also numerous remaining decisions to be made relating to strategy, the legal team, who will make opening and closing arguments, and arranging who will go on television afterward to amplify the message.
  272. Aides are also concerned that after Trump finally agreed with McConnell to a short trial without witnesses, friends at Mar-a-Lago could steer him back to his instincts for a longer trial with witnesses to vindicate himself.
  273. On Saturday, the Center for Public Integrity made public 146 pages of new Pentagon and OMB documents provided by the DOJ under a court order related to Trump-Ukraine. Again, substantive information was redacted.
  274. The documents revealed aid to Ukraine was put on hold at 11:04 a.m. on July 25, shortly after Trump’s call which ended at 9:33 a.m. via an email sent by Michael Duffey of OMB.
  275. Documents also revealed internal notes showing Trump gave a formal order blocking the Pentagon’s portion of the aid on July 12, which was communicated to OMB by one of his aides.
  276. On Saturday, NYT reported Trump has taken over the Republican Party by instilling fear. Any GOP lawmaker who speaks out against him publicly or privately will incur his wrath and be ostracized from the party.
  277. Republicans are left with the option of being fully loyal to Trump or retiring. Since Trump took office, a remarkable 40% of Republicans have retired or been defeated in elections.
  278. Trump rewards those who show loyalty with favorable tweets or by visiting their state. He has helped allies win primaries as well. Those seeking re-election know they need his support with the base to win.

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Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., holds hands with Rep. Debbie Dingell, D-Mich., as they walk to the chamber where the Democratic-controlled House of Representatives begins a day of debate on the impeachments charges against Trump for abuse of power and obstruction of Congress, at the Capitol in Washington, Wednesday, Dec. 18, 2019.

POLITIKS OF GRAFFITI 162: “ABUSE OF POWER & OBSTRUCTION OF CONGRESS”

DECEMBER 14, 2019

Week 161 – (*list is from Amy Siskind – photos of political art from me)

Experts in authoritarianism advise to keep a list of things
subtly changing around you, so you’ll rememberhttps://theweeklylist.org/weekly-list/week-161/
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Cocoa Beach, FL 13nov19

This week, the House Judiciary Committee debated and voted to approve two articles of impeachment against Donald J. Trump, for abuse of power and obstruction of Congress. After two fiery days of debate, the panel took a somber vote Friday, marking the fourth time in U.S. history the Judiciary passed articles of impeachment. Remarkably, Senate Leader Mitch McConnell appeared on Fox News the night prior, saying he was in “total coordination” with the White House, and there was “zero chance” Trump would be removed from office.

On the same day Democratic House leadership announced the House would move forward on impeachment, Trump hosted Russian foreign minister Sergey Lavrov in the Oval Office, closed to U.S. press. Notably, the day prior, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, who has yet to be invited to the White House, met with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Paris, without Trump issuing any sort of statement or tweet in support of Ukraine.

This week the Justice Department Inspector General report was released, and although IG Mike Horowitz found no political bias and said the FBI was justified in opening its investigation, Trump and Attorney General William Barr both publicly disparaged the report. Former AG Eric Holder called on Barr to step down.

With impeachment in full gear, Trump, who fears the stain on his legacy, while portraying strength, has taken to binge tweeting — on one day alone tweeting or retweeting 123 times. The full House will vote on impeachment next Wednesday, and as the week came to a close, only one moderate House Democrat had defected.

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Orlando, FL 1dec19. Artist: Andrew Spear

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New York City 26nov19

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New York City 22nov19

  1. On Wednesday, Time named public servants who testified in the impeachment probe as the “Guardians of the Year 2019,” including Fiona Hill, Marie Yovanovitch, Alexander Vindman, William Taylor, and others.
  2. On Thursday, WAPO reported Trump is ramping up the number of tweets he sends since the impeachment inquiry got underway. In the seven days ending on Thursday, he averaged roughly 60 tweets and retweets per day.
  3. The monthly tweeting during impeachment is Trump’s busiest, with over 1,000 tweets in October. The uptick started in April with the release of the Mueller report, as Trump exceeded 500 tweets, his highest since midterms.
  4. The month of December has spiked further, with an average of more than 40 tweets and retweets per day. The only other prior month since 2016 with over 30 tweets and retweets was in October 2019.
  5. Thursday was Trump’s busiest day of tweeting to date: with 89 tweets and retweets in the first three hours of the day, 123 overall. He also sent nine tweets shortly after noon, while receiving his intelligence briefing.
  6. On Saturday, the Boston Globe Editorial Board called for impeachment, saying Trump’s actions with foreign states are “an outrageous betrayal,” and that he “betrayed the US taxpayer” to advance his corrupt agenda.
  7. On Tuesday, the WAPO Editorial Board called for impeachment, saying despite “unprecedented stonewalling” that “more than enough proof exists” for the House to impeach Trump.
  8. On Wednesday, the USA Today Editorial Board called for impeachment, saying Trump’s “Ukraine shakedown and stonewalling are too serious for the House to ignore.”
  9. On Wednesday, the Philadelphia Inquirer Editorial Board called for impeachment, saying, “Such an act of tyranny is what the Constitution was created to protect against.”
  10. On Thursday, the Orlando Sentinel Editorial Board, in Florida where Trump now has his primary residence, called for Trump to be impeached, and for the Senate to remove him from office.
  11. On Friday, the Tampa Bay Times Editorial Board called for Trump’s impeachment, adding “we hope the impeachment process and a trial in the Senate will give voters a more complete picture of Trump’s conduct.”
  12. On Thursday, the board of the nonpartisan ACLU voted 55-2 to adopt a resolution supporting impeachment for the second time in the organization’s 99-year history, citing “the extraordinary circumstances.”
  13. On Friday, Fox News anchor Chris Wallace said in a speech that Trump “is engaged in the most direct, sustained assault on freedom of the press in our history,” adding his “attacks have done some damage.”
  14. On Saturday, Vice President Mike Pence’s office turned down a request from House Intelligence Committee Chair Adam Schiff for information on a call between Pence and Ukrainian President Zelensky made in Week 160.
  15. Pence’s office cited Schiff “continues to operate in an underhanded manner,” claiming Pence “does not even know what he wants declassified.” Pence aide Jennifer Williams divulged the September 18 call.
  16. On Saturday, at a State Department reception for the Kennedy Center Honorees, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo quipped, “When will I be loved?” Honoree Linda Ronstadt later responded when he stops “enabling Donald Trump.”
  17. On Saturday, BuzzFeed reported Carla Sand, U.S. ambassador to Denmark, banned Stanley Sloan, a NATO expert who is a critic of Trump, from speaking at a Copenhagen event celebrating NATO’s 70th anniversary.
  18. On Saturday, “Fox & Friends” co-host Pete Hegseth said he was banned from Twitter after sharing a manifesto written by Pensacola shooter Mohammed Alshamrani, adding, “Big tech does the bidding of the Left.”
  19. On Saturday, Trump told reporters, “I have a very good relationship with Kim Jong Un,” adding, “He knows I have an election coming up. I don’t think he wants to interfere with that, but we’ll have to see.”
  20. Trump said of the shooting at the naval base in Pensacola, “I spoke with the King of Saudi Arabia. They are devastated in Saudi Arabia,” adding, “the King will be involved in taking care of families and loved ones.”
  21. Ask about Rudy Giuliani’s trip, Trump said “he came back from someplace, and he’s going to make a report, I think to the Attorney General and to Congress,” claiming, “I have not spoken to him about that information.”
  22. Trump also headlined a closed-door Republican dinner in Aventura, Florida, where he brought army officersClint Lorance and Mathew Golsteyn, whom he recently pardoned, on-stage, and openly mocked House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.
  23. On Saturday, in a speech to the Israeli-American Council, Trump mused, “You’re not going to vote for the wealth tax” of Sen. Elizabeth Warren, repeating the racist nickname, “You’re not going to vote for Pocahontas.”
  24. Trump also said, “A lot of you are in the real estate business because I know you very well. You’re brutal killers, not nice people at all. But you have to vote for me, you have no choice.”
  25. Several Jewish leaders and organizations criticized Trump for trafficking in anti-Semitic tropes. The American Jewish Committee cited “money references that feed age-old and ugly stereotypes.”
  26. Trump also mused at the event about not leaving office after two terms, saying, “A lot of them say, ‘you know he’s not leaving’ … So now we have to start thinking about that, because it’s not a bad idea.”
  27. On Sunday, when asked if he spoke to Lev Parnas, Rep. Devin Nunes told Fox Business, “I got a call from a number that was Parnas’s wife,” claiming he did not know the person on the phone, so he “put them to staff.”
  28. On Sunday, Trump sent more than 100 tweets and retweets — his most in a single day so far and four times his daily average — attacking the impeachment inquiry and top Democrats.
  29. Trump also attacked Fox News, tweeting, “Don’t get why @FoxNews puts losers on like @RepSwalwell,” saying, “The Dems wouldn’t let @FoxNews get near their bad ratings debates,” adding, “yet Fox panders. Pathetic!”
  30. Earlier, “Fox News Sunday” hosted Rep. David Cicilline, a House Judiciary member, who said Trump’s actions were “a classic example” and that “all of the potential articles of impeachment are on the table.”
  31. Trump also quoted Sen. Ted Cruz from his appearance on “Meet the Press,” tweeting, “Any president has the authority to investigate corruption,” and “The President himself released the transcript of the call.”
  32. Trump also quoted Cruz, tweeting, “This is a kangaroo court in the House,” saying Democrats are impeaching “because they hate the president,” and, “this is Democrats putting on a circus.”
  33. On Sunday, WAPO reported Giuliani, while having a cybersecurity contract with Qatar in 2017 and early 2018, tried to replace Trump’s nominee for U.S. ambassador to Qatar in late 2018.
  34. Giuliani pushed for Scott Taylor, a former Virginia congressman, who he said would be more supportive of Trump’s agenda, highlighting Giuliani’s dual role marketing his access and being a shadow foreign policy adviser.
  35. In November 2018 Trump nominated Mary Catherine Phee, a talented diplomat, to the role vacant since June 2017. Her nomination expired, and Trump did not renominate her. The role remains vacant.
  36. On Sunday, WAPO reported as the FBI found the Pensacola shooting was terrorism on Sunday, Trump continued his defense of Saudis, while even his close allies called for a reassessment of the U.S.-Saudi relationship.
  37. Trump, who typically would jump to label shooting by a foreigner from a Muslim-majority country as terrorism, continued to refrain and has yet to make a public call for full cooperation by the Saudis.
  38. On Sunday, Trump warned in a pair of tweets that Kim Jong Un could “void” their “special relationship” after North Korea claimed it carried out a “very important test” at its missile-engine test site.
  39. Trump also tweeted, “Kim Jong Un is too smart and has far too much to lose, everything actually, if he acts in a hostile way,” adding, “He signed a strong Denuclearization Agreement with me in Singapore.”
  40. On Monday, a senior North Korean official called Trump a “heedless and erratic old man,” and said he should “think twice if he does not want to see bigger catastrophic consequences.”
  41. On Monday, the Trump regime blocked a United Nations Security Council meeting scheduled on Human Rights Day to discuss human rights abuses in North Korea, the second year in a row the Trump regime has done so.
  42. On Monday, White House counselor Kellyanne Conway claimed without evidence on “Fox & Friends” the impeachment inquiry is helping Trump in battleground states, saying Democrats are making him into a “victim.”
  43. On Monday, the House Judiciary Committee held impeachment hearings. Lawyers on both sides from the House Intelligence Committee presented their findings, and were questioned by lawmakers and Judiciary lawyers.
  44. Democratic counsel Daniel Goldman argued Trump “directed a scheme” to pressure Ukraine to open investigations, and he “used his office” to withhold an Oval Office meeting and military aid to pressure Ukraine.
  45. Goldman also said that “everyone was in the loop,” and that “despite the public discovery of this scheme, which prompted the president to release the aid, he has not given up.”
  46. Republicans repeatedly interrupted the hearing, and argued Zelensky did not feel pressured, that Ukraine did not know aid was held up, and the aid was eventually released without any announcement of an investigation.
  47. Republican counsel Stephen Castor mostly attacked Democrats for the way they conducted the probe, rather than focus on Trump’s actions. They also claimed Trump was justified in investigating corruption in Ukraine.
  48. Democrat Judiciary counsel Barry Berke called Trump’s acts “brazen” and said “the evidence is overwhelming,” and that the the facts were “uncontradicted” and “cannot be disputed.”
  49. Berke played clips of Trump asking Russia to release Hillary’s emails, and then of Trump telling reporters he wanted Ukraine to investigate Biden, saying the House must act now because Trump is trying to corrupt 2020.
  50. Berke said Trump “really does believe he can act as though he were above the law,” and “can put his personal and political interests over the nation’s interests, over the nation’s national security interests, over the nation.”
  51. An hour into the hearings, Trump tweeted “Witch Hunt!” followed by a storm of tweets including “The Do Nothing Democrats are a disgrace!” and “Read the Transcripts!”
  52. On Monday, NYT reported that Attorney General William Barr decided to make additional details about dossier-author Christopher Steele public as part of the release of the DOJ IG report.
  53. IG Mike Horowitz notified Christopher Steele on Sunday that the DOJ had allowed for the release of the information. Steele was not given details about the information, or how it would affect the report’s portrayal of him.
  54. The late notification was highly unusual given that witnesses interviewed, including Steele, had been given an opportunity to review and comment. The additional information on Steele was originally blacked out.
  55. On Monday, the DOJ IG released its highly anticipated report. The 434-page report concluded the FBI had an “authorized purpose” when it initiated its investigation into the 2016 Trump campaign.
  56. The IG examined over one million documents, and interviewed over 100 witnesses, saying, “We did not find documentary or testimonial evidence that political bias or improper motivation influenced the decisions”
  57. The report debunked conspiracy theories promoted by Trump, his allies, and Republicans that the investigation was launched out of animus against Trump, or that the FBI broke its own rules on using informants.
  58. However, the IG report also found as the FBI renewed its FISA application to surveil Carter Page, officials emphasized damaging information on Trump associates and played down exculpatory evidence.
  59. The IG report found 17 errors or omissions by the FBI as it sought approval to conduct surveillance on Pagein applications filed in the secret FISA court.
  60. The report also found the Steele dossier was not as reliable a source as officials described to the court. Horowitz launched a broader audit of FISA work to study how systematic FISA applications problems might be.
  61. Trump told reporters, “It is incredible. Far worse than I ever would’ve thought possible. It’s an embarrassment to our country, it’s dishonest. It’s everything that a lot of people thought it would be, except far worse.”
  62. Trump added, “This was an overthrow of government, this was an attempted overthrow,” and “I look forward to the Durham report, which is coming out in the not-too-distant future. He’s got his own information.”
  63. Barr issued a statement, saying, “The Inspector General’s report now makes clear that the FBI launched an intrusive investigation of a U.S. presidential campaign on the thinnest of suspicions that, in my view, were insufficient.”
  64. Durham also took the unusual step of issuing a statement, saying, “our investigation is ongoing,” and “We do not agree with some of the report’s conclusions as to predication and how the FBI case was opened.”
  65. The draft of the report had a footnote which noted Horowitz asked Durham whether he had evidence to support the conspiracy theory on Joseph Mifsud and he did not. That footnote was not in the final report.
  66. On Monday, Fox News anchor Chris Wallace said on-air of the IG report, “this comes against the backdrop of Donald Trump talking about the investigation of him in 2016 as a political hit job.”
  67. Wallace added, “At one point, he talked about President Obama ordering the wiretapping of the Trump Tower,” but said of the report, “the headline is they didn’t find the things that Bill Barr and Donald Trump alleged.”
  68. On Monday, former FBI director James Comey said his scheduled appearance on “Fox & Friends” for Tuesday had been canceled, saying he offered to “answer their questions,” but they “must have read the report.”
  69. Shortly after, FBI director Christopher Wray, a Trump appointee, was asked in an ABC News interview whether he thought the FBI unfairly targeted the Trump campaign. Wray responded, “I do not.”
  70. Asked about 2016 interference, Wray said, “We have no information that indicates that Ukraine interfered with the 2016 presidential election,” adding for 2020, “we think Russia represents the most significant threat.”
  71. Wray said the IG report found “the investigation was opened with appropriate predication and authorization,” but also found some actions “unacceptable and unrepresentative of who we are as an institution.”
  72. Wray said he would address the “serious performance failures” found in the IG report, adding, “In my view, every error and omission is significant and it’s something we need to take seriously.”
  73. Wray said Trump invoking a “Deep State” out to get him was “a disservice to the men and women who work at the FBI,” saying it is “not a term I would use” and is “an affront to them.”
  74. On Monday, ABC News reported that Ivanka Trump met with British intelligence officer Christopher Steele, who ran the Russia desk, when he left covert service and moved to private practice in 2010.
  75. Ivanka also stayed in touch with Steele, exchanging two additional emails, but the two did not work together. Steele told investigators he met with “a Trump family member at Trump Tower and had ‘been friendly’” with the family member for years.
  76. On Monday, ABC News also reported Giuliani said on a radio show he plans to transmit his “report” based on his recent Ukraine visit to AG Barr and to Republicans in Congress by the end of the week.
  77. Giuliani also hinted on the radio show hosted by Steve Bannon and Jason Miller that he may have spoken to Trump: “I haven’t been able to describe it to him in person, but it makes everything he did absolutely justified.”
  78. Late Monday, CNN reported at a private evening meeting between Speaker Pelosi and her leadership team, House Democrats decided to move forward with at least two articles of impeachment.
  79. A third article, obstruction of justice, was debated, but concern was getting moderate Democrats on board. House Democrats announced a news conference on Capitol Hill to share the next steps on Tuesday morning.
  80. Later Monday, AP reported the House would move forward on two articles, abuse of power and obstruction of Congress. Trump did not respond on Twitter as the news came out Monday night.
  81. On Tuesday, Speaker Pelosi and leaders of six key committees said Trump’s actions towards Ukraine and efforts to block Congress from investigating left them no choice but to pursue impeachment.
  82. Chair Jerrold Nadler said Trump “holds the ultimate public trust. When he betrays that trust and puts himself before country, he endangers the Constitution, he endangers our democracy and he endangers our national security.”
  83. Chair Schiff said, “The argument ‘Why don’t you just wait’ amounts to this: ‘Why don’t you just let him cheat in one more election?’” adding, “Why not let him have foreign help just one more time?”
  84. On Tuesday, the House Judiciary Committee released a nine-page draft of the two articles of impeachment, accusing Trump of carrying out a “scheme” to benefit his own re-election, rather than the country.
  85. The draft stated, “Trump used the powers of the Presidency in a manner that compromised the national security of the United States and undermined the integrity of the United States democratic process.”
  86. The draft also stated, “In the history of the republic, no president has ever ordered the complete defiance of an impeachment inquiry or sought to obstruct and impede so comprehensively the ability of the House.”
  87. The draft was released ahead of a House Judiciary Committee meeting late Wednesday, in which the committee was set to debate the charges, before the committee was set to vote on the charges on Thursday.
  88. In reaction, Trump tweeted, “Nadler just said that I “pressured Ukraine to interfere in our 2020 Election.” Ridiculous,” claiming Zelenksy said there “WAS NO PRESSURE,” and “Nadler and the Dems know this.”
  89. White House press secretary Stephanie Grisham accused Democrats of “manufacturing an impeachment inquiry and forcing unfounded accusations,” saying Trump will “address these false charges in the Senate.”
  90. Trump’s campaign war room account tweeted a video of Trump’s face superimposed onto the body of the Marvel Comics supervillain Thanos, citing the “sham impeachment,” and adding, “Trump’s reelection is inevitable.”
  91. As the House unveiled impeachment articles, Trump met with Russian foreign minister Sergey Lavrov in the Oval Office for the first time since May 2017 after he fired Comey. The meeting was closed to U.S. press.
  92. The White House claimed they discussed arms control, denuclearization of North Korea, Iran’s nuclear program and trade, and that Trump warned him about election interference. Secretary Pompeo was also in the meeting.
  93. Trump tweeted a photo with Lavrov at his desk, saying, “Just had a very good meeting,” and, “Discussed many items including Trade, Iran, North Korea, INF Treaty, Nuclear Arms Control, and Election Meddling.”
  94. Shortly after, at a press conference at the State Department with Lavrov, Pompeo said, “On the question of interference in our domestic affairs, I was clear it’s unacceptable, and I made our expectations of Russia clear.”
  95. Lavrov said, “We have highlighted once again that all speculations about our alleged interference in domestic processes in the United States are baseless,” adding, “There are no facts that would support that.”
  96. Later at a press conference at the Russian embassy, Lavrov contradicted Trump, telling reporters the two had “not discussed elections,” then when pressed again, he gave a second answer that was more obtuse.
  97. Trump and Pompeo came under fire for meeting with Lavrov in the Oval Office one day after the first talks between Zelensky and Putin in Paris. Zelensky still has not been invited to meet Trump at the White House.
  98. On Wednesday, Pompeo told reporters, “Trump made clear in the meeting that he had with Foreign Minister Lavrov and the rest of the Russian team…America finds their meddling in our elections unacceptable.”
  99. On Wednesday, Daily Beast reported Ukrainian officials had hoped for a statement of support from Trump ahead of Zelenksy’s meeting with Putin, and had been watching Trump’s Twitter feed over the weekend.
  100. One official in the Zelensky administration said based on “the signals we got, we firmly believed there would be a statement.” Officials say Trump’s silence and meeting with Lavrov send “a terrible signal.”
  101. On Tuesday, GOP senator Mike Crapo blocked a bill re-introduced by Sen. Chris Van Hollen (D)and Sen. Marco Rubio (R), meant to prevent Russia and other countries from interfering in elections.
  102. Crapo, Chair of the Senate Banking Committee, said the Senate already passed sanctions targeting Russia in 2017, adding Trump “has probably put more sanctions on the Russians than any president in our history.”
  103. On Wednesday, the Kremlin announced Putin and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan pledged on a phone call to continue military cooperation.
  104. The call came after the Senate Armed Services Committee backed a resolution to impose sanctions on Turkey for its offensive in Syria, and for the use of the Russian S-400 missile defense system.
  105. On Thursday, over the objection of Trump and Turkey, the Senate unanimously passed the Armenian genocide resolution, after Republican Senators blocked it on the three occasions at the behest of the White House.
  106. On Tuesday, Trump also lashed out at Wray, tweeting, “I don’t know what report current Director of the FBI Christopher Wray was reading, but it sure wasn’t the one given to me.”
  107. Trump also threatened to fire Wray, tweeting: “With that kind of attitude, he will never be able to fix the FBI, which is badly broken despite having some of the greatest men & women working there!”
  108. Giuliani also attacked him, saying, “Wray is wrong, he hasn’t investigated anything, he doesn’t know,” adding the FBI blocks any information “that would demonstrate the high level of corruption and collusion.”
  109. On Tuesday, Barr told NBC News that Horowitz used a standard that was “deferential” to the FBI, and a final judgement cannot be made until Durham completes his work, which he expects will be a “watershed.”
  110. Barr added, “our nation was turned on its head for three years based on a completely bogus narrative that was largely fanned and hyped by a completely irresponsible press,” and the FBI may have acted in “bad faith.”
  111. When asked about the debunked claim Ukraine meddled in 2016, Barr said, “I am confident the Russians attempted to interfere…I don’t know about the Ukrainians,” adding, “I haven’t even looked into it, frankly.”
  112. On Tuesday, Politico reported a group of 10 vulnerable House Democrats whose districts are pro-Trump floated the idea of censure instead of impeachment at the Monday meeting. Pelosi has ruled out a censure.
  113. Later Tuesday, Trump and Pence held a rally in Hershey, Pennsylvania. In one of his most fiery speeches yet, Trump spoke for 65-minutes railing against Democrats, impeachment, law enforcement, and the media.
  114. Trump dismissed the inquiry against him as “impeachment crap,” and called the articles “flimsy, pathetic, ridiculous,” and “the lightest impeachment in the history of the country, by far.”
  115. Trump said Democrats are “impeaching me because they want to win an election and that’s the only way they can do it,” and that “the impeachment hoax is about overturning your great 2016 vote.”
  116. Trump said House Democrats are “embarrassed by the impeachment” but “the silver lining” is “that’s the reason they approved USMCA.” Earlier Tuesday, McConnell said he would not take USMCA forward this year.
  117. Trump said of his re-election, a “battle is the survival of the American nation itself,” and mused about ripping up the Constitution and serving 29 years: “Should we give it a shot? Maybe we will. I’m only kidding.”
  118. Trump said of the IG report, “The FBI also sent multiple undercover human spies to surveil and record people associated with our campaign,” saying they “destroyed the lives of people that were great people.”
  119. Trump called FBI agents scum, saying, “Their lives have been destroyed by scum,” repeating, “okay, by scum,” and attacked Wray again, saying, “You have great people in the FBI, but not in leadership.”
  120. Trump noted the DOJ IG was appointed by Obama, referencing him as “Barack Hussein Obama,” and hyped the upcoming report by Durham, calling him “Bull Durham.”
  121. Trump spread unsourced claims about Lisa Page and Peter Strzok, saying, “Did I hear he needed a restraining order after this whole thing, from Lisa? That’s what I heard. I don’t know if it’s true.” Page tweeted it was a “lie.”
  122. On Tuesday, Trump allies in the Senate said they may not call witnesses in hopes of expediting the trial, which is expected to begin in January after the holiday recess. Sen. Kevin Cramer said calling witnesses would be “risky.”
  123. Trump was said to want a lengthy trial, with witnesses including Joe and Hunter Biden and Schiff. McConnell called that idea, in a closed-door meeting with his caucus, “mutually assured destruction.”
  124. On Tuesday, a poll by Hill-HarrisX found Trump’s approval with independent voters is dipping amid impeachment: from 44% approval in early November to 39% approve, 56% disapprove.
  125. On Sunday, NYT reported the Trump regime will block the World Trade Organization from appointing new members to a crucial panel that hears trade disputes. This is the second year the regime will do so.
  126. The panel is a seven-member body, with only three members left, two of whose terms expire Tuesday, leaving the group without a quorum for hearing international trade disputes.
  127. The move by Trump could spell the demise of the 24 year-old WTO, as Trump wages his trade wars. Trump took similar steps of not appointing replacements to de-fang the Federal Election Commission in Week 148.
  128. On Monday, in a 103-page filing made public, Amazon Web Services claimed that it lost the JEDI contract, worth as much as $10 billion, because of Trump’s attack on Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos.
  129. The filing claimed Trump “made no secret of his personal dislike” for Bezos by publicly criticizing him, then “used his office” to prevent AWS from winning the contract, including “behind-the-scenes attacks” against AWS.
  130. Amazon called on the Defense Department to terminate the award, and conduct another review of the submitted proposals. A Pentagon spokesperson denied any “external influences” on the award decision.
  131. On Monday, an analysis by the Tariffs Hurt the Heartland campaign found American companies paid a record $7.2 billion in import taxes in October, twice the monthly average before Trump began imposing tariffs.
  132. The group found Trump’s tariffs have added $42 billion in import taxes overall. Small business owners said, “We’re paying the taxes, not China,” and, “This trade war has lasted long enough and done enough damage.”
  133. On Monday, Russia was banned from the Olympics for four years for tampering with doping tests. Russian President Putin said Russia had grounds to appeal, and said the ban violated the Olympic charter.
  134. On Monday, WAPO reported according to a DOJ spokesperson, AG Barr rescheduled his holiday party for 200 guests that was set to take place at the Trump Hotel DC on Sunday.
  135. The spokesperson said the new date would not be disclosed but it would take place at Trump Hotel DC. Protests were expected. The DOJ claimed Trump Hotel DC was not Barr’s first choice for venue.
  136. On Monday, HuffPost reported in a letter to Trump spearheaded by Sen. Kamala Harris, 27 Democratic Senators called for “the immediate removal” of Stephen Miller as a White House advisor.
  137. The letter cited leak emails, showing what is driving Miller is “not national security, it’s white supremacy,” adding he “is unfit to serve in any capacity at the White House, let alone as a senior policy adviser.”
  138. On Monday, Houston police chief Art Acevedo blasted “smug” McConnell, Cornyn, and Cruz for gun control inaction after a sergeant was shot dead, saying they “don’t want to piss off the NRA.”
  139. On Monday, New York AG Letitia James issued a new subpoena to the National Rifle Association covering at least four areas, including campaign finance, payments to board members, and tax compliance.
  140. On Tuesday, Trump paid $2 million to eight charities as part of the settlement for misuse of funds in his foundation. Donald Jr., Eric, and Ivanka were ordered go through mandatory training to ensure they don’t repeat the conduct.
  141. On Tuesday, in a filing, federal prosecutors recommended that Rick Gates gets probation, citing he continued to cooperate with Mueller even after getting pressure not to and offers of monetary assistance.
  142. On Tuesday, Lisa Page sued the DOJ and FBI for alleged violations of the Privacy Act by unlawfully disclosing information about her — a 90 page document including 375 text messages — to reporters.
  143. On Tuesday, Rep. Ted Yoho said he would not seek re-election in 2020, becoming the 23rd Republican to do so.
  144. On Wednesday, a federal judge rejected the Trump regime’s motion to dismiss a lawsuit by watchdog groupsAmerican Oversight and Democracy Forward seeking notes of Trump’s face-to-face meetings with Putin.
  145. The groups argued Pompeo violated the Federal Records Act by allowing Trump to confiscate meeting notes prepared by State Department staffers, and by not preserving them. The judge was a Trump appointee.
  146. On Tuesday, Fox affiliate KTVI reported a Missouri teacher gave fifth-graders an assignment, asking them to set a hypothetical value on slaves. The district has placed the teacher on administrative leave.
  147. On Tuesday, a federal judge in Texas said the Trump regime could not use $3.6 billion of military construction funds to build Trump’s wall along the southern border, saying Trump overstepped his authority.
  148. The ruling impacted one set of Pentagon funds, leaving three others ruled on by the Supreme Court in place. The lawsuit was file by El Paso County and Border Network for Human Rights.
  149. Pelosi said in a statement: “Once again, the courts have resoundingly ruled against the President’s attempt to negate our system of separation of powers,” and “Article II does not mean that he can ‘do whatever he wants.’”
  150. On Tuesday, NBC News reported the Pentagon IG opened a review to determine if Trump’s deployment of troops to the U.S.-Mexico border is legal, three months after 30 members of Congress requested it.
  151. The review will examine whether the deployment violates a law prohibiting active duty military troops from carrying out law enforcement duties, and will examine the troops’ activities, training, and the cost.
  152. On Wednesday, six doctors who wanted to give flu shots to migrant children at a detention center in Chula Vista, California were arrested by Customs and Border Protection after being turned away and lying down in protest.
  153. On Wednesday, NPR reported newly obtained internal emails from the Education Department revealed career department officials sided with defrauded students over Education Department Secretary Betsy DeVos.
  154. In the cases of more than 200,000 borrowers, DeVos sided with for-profit colleges, saying students “got value” from the schools. Students claim the schools lied about job prospects and the transferability of credits.
  155. DeVos has the power to override staffers, and has done so. On Tuesday the department came out with a new plan to calculate how much debt relief, if any, students get. Most are unlikely to qualify for full relief.
  156. On Wednesday, ProPublica reported Donald Jr. shot and killed an endangered sheep on a trip to Mongolia in August 2019, and got a permit after the hunt, a rare occurrence. A total of 86 permits were given last year.
  157. Following the hunt, Donald Jr. met with Mongolia’s president, Khaltmaagiin Battuiga, before the leaving the country. He was given a permit on September 2.
  158. On Thursday, USA Today reported four months before Donald Jr.’s trip, the Mongolian ambassador and foreign minister visited Mar-a-Lago. It is unclear if Donald Jr, who was also there for Easter, met the officials.
  159. On Thursday, NBC News reported that the Pentagon IG will review the Army Corps of Engineers decision in Week 160 to award a $400 million contract to Fisher Sand & Gravel, after the company was touted by Trump.
  160. On Friday, NYT reported immense amounts of methane gas are escaping from oil and gas sites nationwide, while Trump’s EPA weakens regulations. Visual imagery showed gas, which worsens global warming, seeping out.
  161. Fossil fuel companies contacted the Trump regime in March 2017 and argued for the rollback of methane emissions rules. In March 2018, industry lobbyists rebutted scientific evidence of large fugitive emissions.
  162. In August, the Trump regime proposed a broad rollback, rescinding direct regulations of methane emissions completely, and claiming companies would want to minimize leaks since methane is a valuable resource.
  163. On Wednesday, Trump sent more than 40 tweets and retweets on a variety of subjects, mostly related to impeachment and the DOJ IG report, before 9:30 a.m. ET.
  164. On Wednesday, AP reported Trump and his allies are continuing to work to delegitimize the impeachment inquiry, calling it a “circus” and a “farce,” and insist that Trump did not a single thing wrong.
  165. His allies have glossed over Trump’s abuse of power and obstruction of Congress, instead stonewalling, using schoolyard tactics and taunts, and mocking and complaining about the process.
  166. Trump ally America First Policies conducted focus groups on independents, and found frustration with Congress and “endless investigations.” The attack strategy is to keep independents skeptical.
  167. On Wednesday, Sinclair Broadcasting said it was dropping Boris Epshteyn and other political analysts in as part of a company-wide effort to move away from political commentary in favor of investigative journalism.
  168. Epshteyn’s political commentary had been “must run” across all of Sinclair’s 193 stations, and had been widely criticized. It was unclear what caused the shift ahead of an election year.
  169. On Wednesday, a Quinnipiac poll found 45% support impeaching and removing Trump, 51% are against it. In late November, 45% supported impeachment and 48% were against it.
  170. On Wednesday, a Reuters/Ipsos poll found 45% support impeachment, 41% do not. The majority of independents also support impeachment, with 38% support, 35% do no support, and 27% not sure.
  171. The polls also found Trump’s overall approval at 40%, 54% disapprove, and among independents approval is 32%, 62% disapprove. Also, 55% say the country is on the wrong track, 32% say it is on the right track.
  172. On Wednesday, Horowitz testified before the Senate Judiciary Committee, saying the FBI was justified in opening its 2016 investigation into the Trump campaign, but he could not vindicate the FBI’s former leaders.
  173. Chair Lindsey Graham invoked J. Edgar Hoover, saying, “We can’t write this off as being just about one man or one event,” adding the system went “off-the-rails,” saying the FISA court would have to undergo significant changes.
  174. Ranking member Dianne Feinstein said, “This was not a politically motivated investigation. There is no ‘deep state,’” and defended the FBI’s for looking into alleged election-year wrongdoing as “motivated by facts, not bias.”
  175. Horowitz said the Steele dossier had “no impact” on opening the investigation, adding, “It was not known to the team that opened the investigation at the time they opened it.”
  176. Horowitz said he met with Durham in November to discuss his findings, and said they disagreed over whether the FBI should have opened a preliminary investigation, as opposed to a full investigation.
  177. Preliminary investigations do not allow investigators to seek surveillance warrants, but the FBI did not take that step until three months later. Horowitz said he was “surprised” by Durham’s public statement.
  178. Horowitz said he was “very concerned” about leaks from FBI field offices to Giuliani about the Hillary Clinton email probe, adding, “We are investigating” and have found some that “violated FBI policy.”
  179. Horowitz added, “What’s proving to be very hard is to prove the actual substance of the communications” between agents and reporters and individuals, and said, “We have other investigations ongoing.”
  180. While Horowitz was testifying, Trump tweeted, “They spied on my campaign!” Barr told the WSJ that Horowitz’s report did not go far enough, and the FBI’s handling of the matter was a “travesty.”
  181. On Tuesday, NYT reported Trump expects to sign an executive order Wednesday which will effectively interpret Judaism as a race or nationality, not just a religion.
  182. The regime said the order was meant to target anti-Semitism on college campuses, by withholding federal aidto institutions that fail to combat discrimination, citing the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement.
  183. Jewish Americans and organizations, as well as pro-Palestinian organizations, condemned the order, citing a violation of free speech, and Trump’s own role emboldening white nationalism and perpetuating anti-Semitism.
  184. On Tuesday, a shooting spree occurred at a kosher marker in Jersey City, New Jersey, killing a police officer and three others. The suspects, who were part of the Black Hebrew Israelite movement, a hate group, were also killed.
  185. On Wednesday, Jared Kushner clarified in an op-ed that the order “does not define Jews as a nationality,” rather if Jews are discriminated against, “they are entitled to protection by the anti-discrimination law.”
  186. On Wednesday, Trump signed the order during a Hanukkah reception, saying it would extend the Civil Rights Act that prohibits discrimination on the basis of race, color, and national origin, to include anti-Semitic “hate.”
  187. Trump also cited the Jersey shooting, saying, “Our thoughts turn to the grieving families in New Jersey,” and “we vow to crush the monstrous evil of anti-Semitism whenever and wherever it appears.”
  188. Joining Trump at the Hanukkah ceremony was evangelical pastor Robert Jeffress, who once said Jews were going to hell. Jeffress said in his remarks, Trump is “the most pro-faith president in history.”
  189. Alan Dershowitz was also at the reception, and said in remarks the order “is a game changer,” and “One of the most important events in the 2,000-year battle against anti-Semitism.”
  190. On Wednesday, journalists also noted that the White House, for a second year in a row, canceled the media Christmas Party. Unlike the first time, this year the cancellation was normalized, and got little attention.
  191. On Wednesday, ABC News reported Trump is considering adding Alan Dershowitz to his impeachment legal team. Trump allies have been advocating for Trump to add to his team.
  192. Dershowitz has been in the news in recent months for representing now-deceased Jeffrey Epstein. Also, Virginia Roberts Giuffre alleged in courts filings that she was lent out to Dershowitz for sex by Epstein.
  193. On Wednesday, CNN reported that while Trump publicly minimizes impeachment, privately he is somber. Trump takes impeachment seriously and does not want to be stained like Clinton who he referenced frequently.
  194. Aides say while Trump has been preparing to be impeached “for some time,” he was surprised by what did it, “Frankly, I think he’s a little surprised it’s the Ukraine thing that’s done it.”
  195. On Wednesday, Chair Schiff submitted additional classified information shared by Pence aide Jennifer Williams to Nadler ahead of the House Judiciary Committee debating articles of impeachment Wednesday night.
  196. On Wednesday, Pence again rejected requests from Schiff to declassify content of his call with Zelensky, saying in a letter the request, “coming after the completion of your report, serves no legitimate” purpose.
  197. Pence’s lawyer also rebuked Williams, saying “the contents of a classified call with a foreign head of state should never have been discussed in an unclassified committee hearing or an unclassified deposition.”
  198. On Wednesday, Bloomberg reported federal prosecutors said in a filing that Lev Parnas received $1 million from Russia in September that he tried to conceal. The payment was made to his wife, Svetlana Parnas.
  199. Prosecutors said the undisclosed payment was “used on personal expenses and to purchase a home.” The payment raised new questions about the nature of Parnas and Igor Fruman’s work, and who they were working for.
  200. Prosecutors asked the judge to revoke Parnas’ bail, saying he “poses an extreme risk of flight, and that risk of flight is only compounded by his continued and troubling misrepresentations.”
  201. On Wednesday, the House Judiciary Committee began debate on the two articles of impeachment at 7 p.m. ET. Trump is the fourth president in U.S. history to face the prospect of impeachment while in office.
  202. Nadler said, “When his time has passed, when his grip on our politics is gone, when our country returns, as surely it will…history will look back on our actions here today. How would you be remembered?”
  203. Ranking members Doug Collins, screaming, railed against the Democrats for not allowing the Republicans to hold a minority hearing, and said Democrats are “tearing down a world leader” and calling Zelensky “a liar.”
  204. Rep. Debbie Mucarsel-Powell said many of her constituents fled dictatorships in Cuba and Venezuela, viewing the U.S. as a “beacon of freedom,” while “even the most powerful are held to account.”
  205. On Thursday, the House Judiciary continued the debate for more than 14 hours, before Chair Nadler ended at 11:15 p.m., saying, “It has been a long two days of consideration of these articles, and it is now very late at night.”
  206. During the Thursday debate, Republican screamed irate complaints about the process, complaining about their inability to take the lead or call their witnesses, and claiming it was the “death knell for minority rights.”
  207. Republicans frequently interrupted with tirades to propose amendments or parliamentary points of order, and demand roll call votes. They did not however directly defend Trump’s action or his so-called perfect call with Zelensky.
  208. Democrats and Republicans battled back and forth on a variety of topics, including who had the historic high-ground, with no agreements or consensus on the process or the wrongfulness of Trump’s acts.
  209. In one heated exchange, Rep. Matt Gaetz chided Hunter Biden for a substance abuse problem. Rep. Hank Johnson responded, “The pot calling the kettle black is not something that we should do,” referring to Gaetz’s D.U.I.
  210. Collins spoke in a screaming voice throughout, calling the hearing a “kangaroo court,” and at one point abruptly storming out of the hearings, saying Democrats are trying to “knee-cap our democracy.”
  211. Trump watched the debate, live tweeting comments such as, “Dems Veronica Escobar and Jackson Lee purposely misquoted my call,” adding, “They know that but decided to LIE in order to make a fraudulent point! Very sad.”
  212. Rep. Escober responded to Trump by tweeting a greeting to him in Russia, saying, ““Privyet, @realdonaldtrump,” using the Russian word for “hi,” and adding, “No one is above the law, not even you.”
  213. During the debate, Trump spent the day on Twitter, sending more than 100 tweets, including numerous video clips of House Democrats, and claiming an unfair attempt to oust him from office.
  214. Trump’s campaign manager Brad Parscale claimed impeachment “lit up our base,” but Trump’s repeated claims on how impeachment would help Republicans was undermined by recent November elections.
  215. Collins said he would cut off debate in time to permit a vote late Thursday, but when they did, Nadler movedthe vote to the morning, saying Trump should face charges in the light of day, not dark of night.
  216. On Thursday, Trump mocked 16 year-old climate activist Greta Thunberg who was named Time’s Person of the Year, tweeting, “Greta must work on her Anger Management problem, then go to a good old fashioned movie with a friend! Chill Greta, Chill!”
  217. After Trump’s tweet, Thunberg changed her Twitter bio to: “A teenager working on her anger management problem. Currently chilling and watching a good old fashioned movie with a friend.”
  218. A few hours after his tweet, Trump’s campaign sent out an altered image of the Time cover with Trump’s head superimposed on Thunberg’s body with the tagline, “power of promises kept.”
  219. Other Trump allies joined in bashing the 16 year-old activist, a week after, led by First Lady Melania, they expressing outrage when Stanford University law professor Pamela Karlan invoked Barron Trump’s name.
  220. Later Thursday, Former First Lady Michele Obama defended Thunberg, tweeting, “don’t let anyone dim your light,” adding, “Ignore the doubters and know that millions of people are cheering you on.”
  221. After Trump’s tweet and Melania’s silence were widely criticized, the White House said Friday, “Their son is not an activist who travels the globe giving speeches. He is a 13-year-old who wants and deserves privacy.”
  222. On Thursday, former AG under Obama Eric Holder said in an op-ed that Barr is unfit to be attorney general, citing his “words and actions have been fundamentally inconsistent with his duty to the Constitution.”
  223. On Thursday, Pelosi told Hollywood Reporter, “I’ve said to many of my friends in the press, ‘You’re accomplices, whether you want to be or not,’ [and they say,] ‘If he’s saying it, then it’s news,’” adding, “it monopolizes the airwaves.”
  224. On Thursday, Pelosi said at her news conference that Democratic leaders are not whipping their members on impeachment, saying we do not “whip something like this. People have to come to their own conclusions.”
  225. Pelosi said, “The facts are clear — irrefutable, in fact.” When asked why bribery was not included as an article, she said she is not a lawyer and “the articles are what they are. They’re very powerful, they’re very strong.”
  226. On Wednesday, a Richland judge threw out a lawsuit challenging the South Carolina Republican Party’s decision not to hold a primary in 2020. Former GOP SC Gov. Mark Sanford suspended his campaign last month.
  227. On Thursday, NYT reported Trump is considering sitting out the 2020 general election debates, claiming he does not trust the Commission on Presidential Debates, a non-profit that sponsors the debates.
  228. On Thursday, Trump ally Mike Huckabee teased about an appearance on “Hannity,” tweeting he will explain how Trump “will be eligible for a 3rd term due to the illegal attempts by Comey, Dems, and media , et al.”
  229. On Thursday, former Gov. Bill Weld said as many as six Republican senators are privately supporting impeachment. Weld also said House Republicans will “regret” their decision not to support impeachment.
  230. On Thursday, Reuters reported the Trump campaign is countering impeachment by ramping up Facebook ads, running more than 2,500 ads citing “impeach” or “impeachment” in the week through December 5.
  231. On Thursday, the DOJ released internal Office of Legal Counsel memos sought by House Democrats, some dating back to the Nixon administration, used to justify their immunity claims.
  232. On Thursday, Senate Majority Leader McConnell told Fox News Host Sean Hannity, he will be in “total coordination” with the White House on impeachment strategy, and “There will be no difference” between Trump’s position and our position.
  233. McConnell met with Pat Cipollone, White House counsel, and Eric Ueland, White House congressional liaison, earlier Thursday. He told Hannity, “Everything I do during this I’m coordinating with the White House counsel.”
  234. McConnell’s comments were remarkable: according to the Constitution, the rules for an impeachment trial of the President of the United States require the Senate to take an oath to act as impartial jurors.
  235. Late Thursday, the Trump regime released heavily redacted communications between government agencies on withholding aid to Ukraine, following a FOIA request by the Center for Public Integrity (CPI).
  236. An official from CPI said, “Every substantive exchange between officials at the agencies was blacked out. Public Integrity is planning to file a motion Friday challenging the government’s response.”
  237. The Department of Defense and Office of Management and Budget are required to turn over all documents from April onward related to withholding aid. More documents are required to be released by December 20.
  238. On Thursday, Prime Minister Boris Johnson and his Conservative Party won in a landslide, handing the Labour Party its worst showing in more than 80 years. Johnson will now push forward with Brexit in January.
  239. On Friday, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer said in a statement if impeachment comes to the Senate, “every single senator will take an oath to render ‘impartial justice,’” calling for a “fair and honest trial.”
  240. On Friday, after fiery debate Wednesday evening and all day Thursday, the House Judiciary Committee voted on the two articles of impeachment at 10 a.m. Unlike the debate, the vote was somber and without interruption.
  241. In the hours leading up to the vote, Trump continued his Twitter tirade starting at 6:51 a.m. saying, “The Republicans House members were fantastic yesterday,” and calling them “Republican warriors.”
  242. Trump also tweeted, “the Dems have no case at all,” and “had no answers and wanted out!” Trump also falsely claimed, “My Approval Rating in the Republican Party is 95%, a Record. Thank you! #2020Election”
  243. Trump also falsely claimed, “Poll numbers have gone through the roof in favor of No Impeachment, especially with Swing States and Independents in Swing States,” calling it a “total Hoax” and a “scam.”
  244. Trump also tweeted, “The Do Nothing Democrats have become the Party of lies and deception!” while “The Republican Party is more united now than at any time in its history — by far!”
  245. Trump also tweeted, “Congratulations to @foxandfriends on being named, BY FAR, the Number One Rated cable news show” and “CNN and MSNBC have totally tanked, their ratings are terrible. They have zero credibility!”
  246. The House took back-to-back votes on the two articles of impeachment, with votes falling along party lines, 23-17. The full House is expected to vote on the articles of impeachment next Wednesday.
  247. Nadler said, “Today is a solemn and sad day,” adding, “For the third time in a little over a century and half,” the committee had voted articles of impeachment against a sitting president.
  248. As of late Friday, only one Democrat, Jeff Van Drew, indicated he would vote no on impeachment. The count stood at 166 for, 159 against and 106 still undecided or no response according to a count by the NYT.
  249. Shortly before the vote, Giuliani was spotted at the White House. Giuliani said he wanted to brief U.S. officials on what he learned on his Ukraine trip. It was not clear if he met with Trump.
  250. Giuliani also tweeted, “The American people have already made up their mind on this #ImpeachmentScam,” adding, “This is a SMOKESCREEN for the Obama-Biden administration’s corruption. It will soon be proven.”
  251. On Friday, WSJ reported that last Saturday Trump called Giuliani as his airplane was still taxiing down the runway in Kyiv, asking, “What did you get?” Giuliani responded, “More than you can imagine.”
  252. Giuliani said when he returned, Trump instructed him to brief Barr and GOP lawmakers. Shortly after, Trump told reporters Giuliani would deliver a report to the DOJ and Congress, saying, “I hear he has found plenty.”
  253. During his trip to Ukraine, Giuliani met with a member of Ukraine’s parliament to discuss the creation of a group called “Friends of Ukraine STOP Corruption.”
  254. Several of Giuliani’s friends have urged him to lie low during the congressional and federal investigations. He texted on his trip, “Just having fun while Dems and friends try to destroy my brilliant career.”
  255. Shortly after the vote, Trump spoke to reporters during an Oval Office visit with Paraguayan President Mario Abdo Benítez, saying, “It’s a very sad thing for our country, but it seems to be very good for me politically.”
  256. Trump called impeachment a “witch hunt,” “hoax” and “sham,” saying his July 25 call with Zelensky was “perfect,” and added, “To use the power of impeachment on this nonsense is an embarrassment to this country.”
  257. Trump said, “My poll numbers, as you know, have gone through the roof.” This is false. Trump’s approval numbers have stayed the same. Support of impeachment surged at the beginning of the inquiry, then remained flat.
  258. Trump also said, “I’ll do long or short. I’ve heard Mitch, I’ve heard Lindsey [Graham], I think they are very much in agreement on some concept,” adding, “I’ll do whatever they want to do. It doesn’t matter.”
  259. Trump also said, “I wouldn’t mind the long process, because I’d like to see the whistleblower, who’s a fraud,” and threatened someday there will be Democratic president with a GOP House and they will “remember it.”
  260. On Friday, NYT reported Zelensky is eager to repair Ukraine’s relationship with the U.S. He has met with lobbyists to the Trump regime, hoping to open new channels of communications and re-establish ties.
  261. Zelensky’s team was discouraged by the absence of support ahead of his meeting with Putin, and frustrated about Trump’s meeting with Lavrov. When Giuliani came to Kyiv, no Ukrainian government official met with him.
  262. On Friday, CNN reported the White House has further restricted the number of officials who listen in to Trump’s calls with foreign leaders after the July 25 call led to the impeachment inquiry.
  263. The White House is also disseminating call transcripts to a much smaller group of people. Senior officials are looking to protect Trump, whose calls sometimes veer off into unguarded or undiplomatic territory.
  264. One official jokingly called the change, “The Vindman Rule.” On Friday, speaking to reporters, Trump referred in a mocking voice to “lieutenant colonel” Vindman, calling him a “beauty.”
  265. On Friday, the Supreme Court said it will take up the case of whether Trump must turn over his financial information to three congressional committees and the Manhattan District Attorney.
  266. The case will be heard in March, with a ruling before the court session ends in June — putting the landmark ruling likely coming in the months ahead of the November election.
  267. Pelosi signaled disappointment that the court took the case, citing further delays in Democrats’ investigation of Trump’s finances, saying the materials are “related to Congress’s need for legislation and oversight.”
  268. The historic case will test the Constitution’s separation-of-powers, and will mark the first time the president’s personal conduct has come before the court.
  269. A third case by the House Oversight Committee seeking 10 years of financial records from Trump, Donald Jr., Eric, and Ivanka from Deutsche Bank and Capital One is still proceeding in the 2nd Circuit.
  270. Later Friday, Trump tweeted, “It’s not fair that I’m being Impeached when I’ve done absolutely nothing wrong!” saying Democrats “have become the Party of Hate,” and “They are so bad for our Country!”
  271. Trump also falsely claimed in a tweet, “After watching the disgraceful way that a wonderful man, @BrettKavanaugh, was treated,” and the “whole Impeachment Hoax,” “so many Dems are voting Republican!”
  272. On Friday, NYT reported Cipollone is expected to represent Trump at the Senate trial, along with outside lawyers. However, Trump has noted his lack of TV experience, and is asking people are who his lawyer should be.
  273. As the Trump regime prepares, talks over the weekend will focus on how long the trial will last, how much time each side will get, whether witnesses will be called, who will get to speak, and where they will sit.
  274. Trump continued to push for witnesses, including Hunter Biden, Pelosi, and Schiff. The Senate has specific rules for trials, revised in 1986. The Senate must take up impeachment 1 p.m. the day after the House vote.
  275. Resolutions may pass with a simple majority of 51 votes. Meaning with the Senate split 53 to 47, if four Republicans defect, McConnell could lose control of the proceedings, and can only lose 2 votes to pass resolutions.
  276. Unlike the impeachment trial of Bill Clinton, where Trent Lott and Tom Daschle issued a joint statement after the House voted on articles, McConnell has yet to consult with Schumer on the parameters of the trial.
  277. On Friday, Reuters reported Trump ally Erik Prince held secret talks with top Venezuelan officials, including Vice President Delcy Rodriguez, who is under U.S. sanctions, raising questions of whether Prince violated the law.
  278. On Friday, a Wisconsin judge ordered the purge of 234,000 voters who may have moved. The Wisconsin Elections Commission planned to remove them in 2021 if no response, his order would be before the 2020 election.
  279. On Saturday, Trump continued his Twitter storm, saying without evidence voters are turning on Democrats. Trump quoted a Congressman, tweeting, “Independent voters are fed up and frustrated with the Democrats.”
  280. Trump also quoted an advisory member to his campaign, tweeting, “There are 31 House Democrats in Trump won Congressional Districts. Those Dems will have to answer to their constituents come 2020.”
  281. Trump also retweeted a tweet by Donald Jr. targeting a list of moderate Democrats: “Enough! These Democrats in Trump districts said they were with @realDonaldTrump. They lied!”
  282. On Saturday, at the Army-Navy football game which Trump attended, cadets were shown in a viral video flashing the “OK” White Power symbol, a hand signal that has been adopted by white supremacists.
  283. On Saturday, WAPO reported Trump met with the one Democrat planning to vote against impeachment so far, Jeff Van Drew, to speak about him changing his party. Van Drew was behind in his New Jersey primary race.
  284. On Saturday, as the week came to a close, an average of polls on impeachment by website FiveThirtyEight, found that 47.7% of Americans do support, and 45.7% do not support impeachment.

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House Judiciary Committee Chairman Rep. Jerrold Nadler, D-N.Y., speaks to the media following a House Judiciary Committee vote on the articles of impeachment against Trump, Friday, Dec. 13, 2019, on Capitol Hill in Washington.

POLITIKS OF GRAFFITI 159: WHO WILL SURVIVE IN AMERICA?

NOVEMBER 23, 2019

Week 158

Experts in authoritarianism advise to keep a list of things
subtly changing around you, so you’ll remember. AMY SISKIND’S LIST: https://theweeklylist.org/weekly-list/week-158/
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On the Bowery in New York City, USA 21Nov19

This was a remarkable week in impeachment hearings as nine witnesses testified. By week’s end, it was clear that there was a coordinated effort that included multiple senior Trump officials “in the loop” seeking investigations from Ukraine in exchange for aid and a White House visit — an effort that went against U.S. national security interests. Trump and his allies’ defense, claiming Ukrainian corruption and 2016 interference, was also debunked, leaving by week end their only defense to be lack of a firsthand witness to Trump directing the activities. The impeachment hearings were stunning as, with each passing day, it became all the more clear how irreverently and irresponsibly Trump has acted, yet how unwilling the Republican Party was to stand up to him and hold him accountable.

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West Village, NYC, USA 21nov19

Another conspiracy theory was also debunked as a draft of the Department of Justice Inspector General found there was no political bias by senior FBI officials against Trump in getting the wiretap of Carter Page. Trump took an unusual trip to Walter Reed Medical Center early in the week that led to speculation of a health issue, and spent the rest of the week ranting and bullying about impeachment, mostly on Twitter and Fox News, and largely avoiding the press. Trump and his allies continued to attack and discredit impeachment witnesses publicly, and blocked testimony from senior officials and subpoenaed documents from the State Department. Trump continued his battle with the U.S. military, flexing his commander in chief might to overturn their rules.

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East Village, NYC, USA 22nov19

As the week came to end, and Congress left for Thanksgiving break, it was unclear where the impeachment investigation would head next. The House Intelligence Committee started writing its report, but did not rule out further hearings, and the Judiciary Committee also considered follow up on information gleaned from the Roger Stone trial related to Trump’s written testimony in the Mueller probe.

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East Village, NYC, USA 22nov19
  1. On Saturday, the White House said Trump underwent a partial examination at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center ahead of his annual physical. Trump had his last physical in February.
  2. Press secretary Stephanie Grisham said Trump made the unscheduled visit, citing, “Anticipating a very busy 2020, the President is taking advantage of a free weekend here in Washington, D.C.”
  3. Grisham later appeared on Fox News’ “Justice with Judge Jeanine” and said Trump is as “healthy as can be,” and that any speculation is “wholly irresponsible & dangerous for the country.”
  4. Later, just after midnight. Trump tweeted, “Visited a great family of a young man under major surgery,” adding, “Also began phase one of my yearly physical. Everything very good (great!). Will complete next year.”
  5. On Monday, Dr. Sean Conley, Trump’s physician, said in a memo said Trump “has not had any chest pain, norwas he evaluated or treated,” adding the visit was a “routine, planned interim checkup.”
  6. On Tuesday, Trump recounted First Lady Melania asking him about reports he had a heart attack, telling reporters he told her, “These people are sick, they’re sick, and the press really in this country is dangerous.”
  7. On Saturday, Democrat John Bel Edwards won the election for governor of Louisiana, after Trump held two rallies for the Republican running, and told the crowd days before, “You got to give me a big win, please, O.K.”
  8. Edwards won a red state, similar to Andy Beshar in Kentucky in Week 156, by energizing African-Americans and moderate whites in and around the urban centers. Trump won Louisiana by 20 points in 2016.
  9. On Saturday, House investigators released the transcript of Tim Morrison’s testimony. Morrison testified that Gordon Sondland was in regular touch with Trump, and claimed to be acting on his orders.
  10. Morrison said Sondland briefed Trump before the July 25 call, and that until he spoke to Sondland on September 1, he had not drawn a connection between withholding Ukraine aid and an investigation.
  11. Morrison said he did not hear anything troubling on the July 25 call, unlike Alexander Vindman, but recommended access to it be limited. He claimed the call was placed on a highly-classified server by mistake.
  12. Morrison disputed Vindman’s account that he asked for edits to the July 25 transcript to include a mention of Burisma, saying, “I believe it was accurate and complete,” and Vindman’s proposed changes were accepted.
  13. Morrison said John Bolton met with Trump privately in August in an effort to get him to release the $400 million in military aid to Ukraine. He said Bolton emerged and said Trump was “not yet ready” to release the money.
  14. The House also released the transcript of Jennifer Williams’ testimony. Williams testified she was on the July 25 call and her contemporaneous notes reflected Ukrainian President Zelensky did mention Burisma.
  15. Williams said Trump’s request for investigations on the July 25 call struck her as “unusual and inappropriate” and “shed some light on possible other motivations” for his decision to freeze military aid to Ukraine.
  16. She added she found the call to be “more specific to the president in nature, to his personal political agenda,” than “foreign policy objective” of U.S. She put a hard copy of the call transcript in Vice President Mike Pence’s briefing book.
  17. Williams also said that Pence canceling his trip to Zelensky’s inauguration was decided by Trump. She said she was given no explanation for the change of plans.
  18. On Sunday, Trump attacked Williams, referring to her as a Never Trumper, tweeting, “Tell Jennifer Williams, whoever that is, to read BOTH transcripts of the presidential calls, & see the just released ststement [sic].”
  19. Trump added, “Then she should meet with the other Never Trumpers…& work out a better presidential attack!” In her testimony, Williams said she had reviewed the April 21 call transcript with Pence.
  20. Trump also tweeted, “The Crazed, Do Nothing Democrats are turning Impeachment into a routine partisan weapon. That is very bad for our Country, and not what the Founders had in mind!!!!”
  21. Trump added, “Republicans & others must remember, the Ukrainian President and Foreign Minister both said that there was no pressure placed on them,” adding, “But why isn’t Germany, France (Europe) paying?”
  22. Trump also tweeted, “Where is the Fake Whistleblower?
  23. On Sunday, Trump attacked Fox News host Chris Wallace, tweeting he is “nasty & obnoxious,” and his “dumb and unfair interview” of Trump ally Rep. Steve Scalise “would never have happened in the @FoxNews past.”
  24. On Monday, Fox Business host Neil Cavuto defended Wallace, saying journalists are “obligated to question,” adding, “The best we can do as journalists is be fair to all,” and, “That’s not fake doing that.”
  25. On Sunday, WSJ reported Sondland plans to testify Wednesday that he kept several Trump regime officials apprised of his Ukraine push, including White House chief of staff Mick Mulvaney and Energy Secretary Rick Perry.
  26. On Sunday, Speaker Nancy Pelosi told “Face the Nation” she has “no idea” if the impeachment inquiry will wrap by year-end, noting depositions could continue into Thanksgiving week, and could lead to more hearings.
  27. Pelosi also said, “I will make sure he does not intimidate the whistleblower,” adding, “I told the president, you’re in my wheelhouse when you come after the whistleblower.”
  28. Pelosi also invited Trump to testify, saying, “If he has information that is exculpatory…then we look forward to seeing it,” adding, “He could come right before the committee and talk, speak all the truth that he wants.”
  29. Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer echoed Pelosi, telling reporters if Trump does not agree with what he is hearing, “He should come to the committee and testify under oath,” adding, “What is he hiding?”
  30. On Monday, Trump tweeted, “Our Crazy, Do Nothing…Speaker of the House, Nervous Nancy Pelosi…suggested on Sunday’s DEFACE THE NATION that I testify about the phony Impeachment Witch Hunt.”
  31. Trump said he will “strongly consider” testifying “in order to get Congress focused again,” adding, “Even though I did nothing wrong, and don’t like giving credibility to this No Due Process Hoax.”
  32. On Monday, an ABC News/Ipsos poll found 70% of Americans think Trump’s request for Ukraine to investigate a political rival was wrong, 25% say his actions were not wrong.
  33. The poll also found 51% say Trump should be impeached and removed, 6% say his actions were wrong but he should not be impeached, 13% impeached but not removed, and 25% he did nothing wrong.
  34. On Monday, NBC News reported Trump has turned his ire in the impeachment hearings to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo as diplomats from State testify, threatening to bring down his presidency.
  35. Trump confronted Pompeo at an October 29 White House lunch about his lackluster effort to stop diplomatsfrom testifying. Trump also blames him for choosing William Taylor, who has provided damaging testimony.
  36. Trump criticized Pompeo for hiring a “Never Trumper” on Twitter on October 23. On October 26, Pompeo was excluded as Trump sat with his national security team during the raid that killed ISIS leader al-Baghdadi.
  37. Pompeo is also under siege from State Department staffers. His decision to allow the State Department to help cover legal of officers ensnared in the impeachment inquiry could further strain his relationship with Trump.
  38. On Monday, Pompeo told reporters, “I always defend State Department employees,” but declined to answer questions related to William Taylor and Maria Yovanovitch’s impeachment hearing testimony.
  39. Pompeo denied any “nefarious purposes” for Yovanovitch’s recall, adding, “The State Department is doing a fantastic job. I think we’ve delivered in a way that the Obama administration has not delivered on Ukraine.
  40. On Tuesday, Time reported Pompeo planned to stay at the State Department until early spring 2020, then run for Senate, but is worried the impeachment inquiry is hurting his reputation, and straining his relationship with Trump.
  41. On Monday, the Hill Editor-In-Chief Bob Cusack said in an email to staffers the paper was reviewing and updating John Solomon’s Ukraine columns. Yovanovitch testified his work was part of the smear campaign against her.
  42. On Tuesday, CNN reported Jimmy Finkelstein, the owner of the Hill, has been friends with Trump for decades, and boasts of their close friendship. Hill staffers revolted over Solomon’s columns and how they were handled.
  43. On Monday, Politico reported David Holmes said in testimony that he “vividly” recalled the conversation because Trump spoke so loudly that it caused Sondland to wince and hold the phone away from his ear.
  44. Holmes was concerned Russia was monitoring the call given two of the three mobile networks in Ukraine are Russian-owned, and “We generally assume that mobile communications in Ukraine are being monitored.”
  45. Holmes said, “I’ve never seen anything like this,” adding, a “conversation of this level of candor, colorful language.” He reported the call to his supervisor. He will testify publicly on Thursday, alongside Fiona Hill.
  46. On Monday, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said he “can’t imagine a scenario” under which the Senate would remove Trump, saying House Democrats are “seized with Trump derangement syndrome.”
  47. McConnell also complained about the lack of civility in political discourse, saying, “People are acting out,” and “We need to learn how to behave better, how to disagree without anger.”
  48. On Monday, CNN reported prosecutors in the SDNY have contacted people associated with Ukraine’s state-run oil-and-gas company, Naftogaz, as part of an investigation into Rudy Giuliani and associates.
  49. Prosecutors are investigating whether Giuliani, Igor Fruman, and Lev Parnas tried to secure energy deals. Fruman and Parnas also worked to oust CEO Andriy Kobolyev, who is known for his anti-corruption reforms.
  50. On Tuesday, AP reported a lawyer for Andrew Favorov, the director of the integrated gas division at Naftogaz, said he will cooperate with the probe into Giuliani and will meet voluntarily with the DOJ.
  51. On Sunday, Trump tweeted, “Our great Farmers will recieve [sic] another major round of “cash,” compliments of China Tariffs.” The payments are the second part of a three-tranche $16 billion federal aid package.
  52. On Monday, Trump met with Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell at the White House. Trump tweeted the meeting was “good & cordial” and “everything was discussed including interest rates.”
  53. While it is not uncommon for a president to meet with a Fed Chair, it is uncommon to discuss rates. In a statement after, the Fed said monetary policy is “based solely on careful, objective and non-political analysis.”
  54. On Monday, CBS News reported San Diego billionaire Doug Manchester, Trump’s nominee for U.S. ambassador for the Bahamas, was asked by the RNC for another $500,000 donation as he awaited Senate confirmation.
  55. Manchester, whose nomination has been stalled in the Senate, was first appointed by Trump the day after he was sworn in, after donating $1 million to Trump’s inaugural fund.
  56. On Monday, Mina Chang, a high-ranking State Department staffer who in Week 157 was reported to have inflated her resume, resigned, saying it “is the only acceptable moral and ethical option for me at this time.”
  57. On Monday, Paul Erickson, the former boyfriend of Russian agent Maria Butina, pleaded guilty to wire fraud and money laundering. The case was separate from the one against Butina.
  58. On Monday, WAPO reported the IRS whistleblower, who filed a complaint in August saying at least one Trump political appointee at Treasury tried to interfere with an audit of Trump or Pence, filed additional documents.
  59. The IRS whistleblower met with staffers for Sens. Charles Grassley and Ron Wyden, the chair and ranking member of the Senate Finance Committee, earlier this month. Follow-up interviews are expected.
  60. On Monday, Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts temporarily halted a ruling that required Trump’s accounting firm to turn over his tax returns, and gave the House Oversight Committee until Thursday to respond.
  61. On Thursday, House lawyers urged the Supreme Court to reject Trump’s attempt to shield his tax returns, citing the “rapidly advancing impeachment inquiry” puts their case on even stronger grounds.
  62. On Thursday, Manhattan DA Cy Vance urged the Supreme Court in an opposition brief to stay out of the fightfor Trump’s tax returns, citing the courts have already ruled unanimously in two seminal cases.
  63. On Tuesday, lawyers for the House Judiciary Committee asked a federal judge for an expedited ruling on whether Don McGahn should abide by their subpoena to testify “as part of the House’s impeachment inquiry.”
  64. Lawyers noted the “need for McGahn’s testimony has become even more pressing.” Part of the committee’s inquiry is related to whether Trump was truthful in his written testimony, as Roger Stone was convicted of lying.
  65. On Tuesday, the judge said she would rule by November 25 on the House lawsuit seeking to enforce a subpoena against McGahn, who skipped testifying in May. House Democrats filed a lawsuit in August.
  66. On Tuesday, a Manhattan appeals court judge dismissed Trump’s request to dismiss Summer Zervos’ defamation lawsuit, and cleared the way for Trump to be deposed. The judge agreed to fast-track Trump’s appeal.
  67. On Tuesday, watchdog group American Oversight obtained emails under the FOIA showing U.S. ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley sent confidential information on private email after losing her classified system password.
  68. On Tuesday, the White House faced fresh allegations of dishonesty after press secretary Grisham said in a radio interview that Obama aides left “you will fail” and other disparaging notes for the incoming Trump regime.
  69. No other Trump aides have made similar allegations. Obama aides pushed back at the suggestion, saying it was a lie. Later in the day, Grisham tried to walk back her story, saying she viewed the action as a harmless prank.
  70. On Thursday, Politico reported newly released documents show the Secret Service spent more than $250,000 at Trump properties in the first five months of 2017. The majority was spent at Trump’s golf courses.
  71. On Sunday, Hong Kong police stormed Hong Kong Polytechnic University, which was occupied by protestors. Universities have become the new battlegrounds for protests after months of arrests.
  72. On Sunday, Guardian reported UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson met with an ex-KGB agent at a lavish Italian party in April 2018, without his personal security detail, a month after the nerve agent attack in Salisbury.
  73. Senior UK officials blame the delayed release of UK intelligence’s investigation into Russian interference in Brexit on wanting to protect Johnson’s relationship with Trump, given what the report says on Trump.
  74. On Sunday, AP reported Defense Secretary Mark Esper said the U.S. and South Korea have indefinitely postponed joint exercises in an “act of goodwill” towards North Korea to keep the door open to diplomacy.
  75. The move comes as Japan’s defense minister, whose country feels threatened by North Korea, told Esper that “no one could be optimistic about” changing the North’s behavior.
  76. On Sunday, Trump tweeted, “Mr. Chairman, Joe Biden may be Sleepy and Very Slow,” adding, “I am the only one who can get you where you have to be,” and, “You should act quickly, get the deal done. See you soon!”
  77. On Monday, an adviser to North Korea leader Kim Jong Un snubbed Trump saying, “we are no longer interested in such talks that bring nothing to us,” adding Trump has not earned a new summit to “brag about.”
  78. On Tuesday, NBC News reported the Foreign Policy Research Institute found among 2020 Democrats, Tulsi Gabbard is the most popular with Russian propagandists (46% favorable, 44% unfavorable) and Joe Biden the least (3% favorable, 53% unfavorable).
  79. Researchers, which analyzed more than 1,700 news stories put out by Sputnik, Russia Today and RT, found a similar pattern to Russia backing Trump over Hillary Clinton in 2016.
  80. On Wednesday, NBC News reported that Trump hosted a previously undisclosed dinner for Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg and board member Peter Thiel in October — the second meeting in recent months.
  81. On Wednesday, Benny Gantz failed to form a government in Israel, deepening the political crisis, and making it likely Israel will need to hold its third national election in less than a year.
  82. On Thursday, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was indicted on bribery, fraud, and breach of trust charges. Netanyahu is not legally required to step down, but the charges put his political future in doubt.
  83. This is the first time in Israeli history that a sitting prime minister has been indicted. Members of Netanyahu’s right-wing Likud party called for a primary challenge ahead of the next election.
  84. Shortly later, in a televised statement, Netanyahu called the corruption charges against him an “attempted coup” which is “tainted by extraneous considerations, aiming to bring down a right-wing prime minister.”
  85. On Friday, Netanyahu told reporters, “Police and investigators are not above the law,” and parroting Trump, said, “The time has come to investigate the investigators.”
  86. On Thursday, a Federal Elections Commission disclosure showed the RNC paid $94,800 to Books-a-Million on October 29 to buy Donald Jr.’s new book, days before it was released.
  87. On Saturday, the FBI revealed Richard Tobin, 18, of Brooklawn, New Jersey, directed a far-right network to vandalize networks in Michigan and Wisconsin last September, in what he called “Operation Kristallnacht.”
  88. On Sunday, Christine Blasey Ford received the ACLU courage award. Dr. Ford said, “I was not prepared for the venom, the persistent attacks. I was not prepared to be physically threatened and forced out of my home.”
  89. On Monday, NBC News reported the Trump regime is preparing to publish a rule that would send migrants who pass through Guatemala, El Salvador, or Honduras back to those countries before they can seek asylum.
  90. Immigration advocates said the three countries should not be deemed “safe third countries,” and that the Trump regime bullied the governments into signing agreements that will be deadly for asylum seekers sent back.
  91. On Monday, Media Matters reported Clarence Mason Weaver, an advisory board member of “Black Voices for Trump,” believes women should strive to be “handmaidens,” “be submissive,” and stay out of the workplace.
  92. On Tuesday, Patrick Carlineo Jr., 55, an Islamophobic man from Addison, New York, pleaded guilty to threatening to kill Rep. Ilhan Omar. Although he faces 10 years, Omar asked the judge for “compassion” in his sentencing.
  93. On Tuesday, NBC News reported a second batch of leaked emails showed Stephen Miller had more editorial influence over Breitbart during the 2016 campaign than was previously known.
  94. At the time, Miller not only pushed anti-Marco Rubio stories, but also fed the website anti-immigrant stories. More than 80 Democratic members of Congress have called on Miller to resign.
  95. On Wednesday, University of Georgia confirmed reports that swastikas were drawn on Jewish students’ doors earlier this year. One student said the letters for a Jewish sorority, Sigma Delta Tau, were torn off her door.
  96. On Thursday, a jury acquitted humanitarian worker Scott Warren, who was arrested by Border Patrol in Week 135 for harboring two migrants and providing them food and shelter in the Arizona desert.
  97. On Tuesday, just after midnight Trump falsely quoted Fox News, tweeting, “Pelosi just stated that ‘it is dangerous to let the voters decide Trump’s fate.’” The quote was from Fox News reporter Mike Emanuel an hour prior.
  98. Trump continued, “In other words, she thinks I’m going to win and doesn’t want to take a chance on lettingthe voters decide,” adding, “Like Al Green, she wants to change our voting system,” and, “Wow, she’s CRAZY!”
  99. Pelosi said in a Dear Colleague memo, “The weak response to these hearings has been, “Let the election decide,” calling that a “dangerous position,” citing Trump is “jeopardizing the integrity of the 2020 elections.”
  100. Late Monday, Sen. Ron Johnson wrote in a letter, Vindman fits the profile of “a significant number of bureaucrats and staff members within the executive branch [who] have never accepted President Trump as legitimate.”
  101. Trump called Vindman a “Never Trumper;” Fox Host Laura Ingaham said he worked “against the president’s interests;” and Rep. Douglas Collins cited “concern regarding the credibility and judgment” of Vindman in a letter.
  102. Tim Morrison questioned Vindman’s “judgment” and was critical of his going directly to White House attorney John Eisenberg, rather than up the chain of command. Eisenberg had told Vindman to come directly to him.
  103. WSJ reported the Army is ready to relocate Vindman and his family to an Army base to protect him, and has stepped up patrols of his home and security assessment after Trump and allies have attacked him.
  104. On Tuesday, Vindman and Jennifer Williams testified in the morning in the impeachment inquiry. Both were on the July 25 call. In the afternoon, Kurt Volker and Tim Morrison testified.
  105. In his opening statement, Vindman denounced smears of government officials testifying, saying, “The vile character attacks on these distinguished and honorable public servants is reprehensible.”
  106. Vindman closed out his statement addressing his father: “Dad, my sitting here today…is proof that you made the right decision forty years ago to leave the Soviet Union. Do not worry, I will be fine for telling the truth.”
  107. Vindman said of the July 25 call he took Trump’s requests to Zelensky to open investigations into the “2016 election, the Bidens and Burisma” as demands, citing the power disparity between the two men.
  108. Vindman said, “Frankly, I couldn’t believe what I was hearing,” it was “in certain regards, my worst fear of how our Ukraine policy could play out,” and “was likely to have significant implications for U.S. national security.”
  109. Both Vindman and Williams said they knew of no one at the National Security Council, the State Department, or Pentagon who was in favor of holding up aid to Ukraine, and described Giuliani’s outsized influence.
  110. Williams was asked by House Democrats about Trump’s Sunday tweet attacking her, saying it looked like witness intimidation. She said, “It certainly surprised me. I was not expecting to be called out by name.”
  111. Republican’s counsel questioned Vindman over dual loyalties, asking about an offer to be Ukraine’s defense minister. Vindman said he took the offer as a joke, and reported it to his superiors and counterintelligence.
  112. Fox News picked up on the inquiry, and moments later sent out an alert, saying, “Vindman says Ukrainian official offered him the job of Ukrainian defense minister.”
  113. GOP Rep. Jim Jordan said Morrison and Hill raised questions on his judgment. Vindman read his performance review by Hill: “Alex is a top 1 percent military officer and the best Army officer I have worked with.”
  114. During the testimony, the official White House Twitter account, tweeted, “Tim Morrison, Alexander Vindman’s former boss, testified in his deposition that he had concerns about Vindman’s judgment.”
  115. Rep. Joaquin Castro asked Vindman if he was aware of any evidence that Ukraine interfered in 2016, Vindman responded, “I am not, adding, “This is a Russian narrative that President Putin has promoted.”
  116. Later Tuesday, Trump spoke to reporters from a cabinet meeting, his first public appearance in days. He said of Vindman, “I understand now he wears his uniform when goes in. No, I don’t know Vindman at all.”
  117. Trump also said, “We have to get USMCA signed. Nancy Pelosi can’t get it off her desk,” adding, “The woman is grossly incompetent. All she wants to do is focus on impeachment, which is just a little pipe dream she’s got.”
  118. Trump also accused Pelosi of using the USMCA to get impeachment votes, calling it “a kangaroo court headed by little Shifty Schiff, where we don’t have lawyers, we don’t have witnesses, we don’t have anything.”
  119. Trump added, “they’re using this impeachment hoax for their own political gain” to damage the GOP and him, saying, “but it’s had the opposite effect,” and falsely claiming, “I’m the highest I’ve ever I’ve ever been in the polls.”
  120. Shortly after, Lt. Gen. Keith Kellogg, NSA to Pence who was on the July 25 call, contradicted Williams’ testimony, saying he heard “nothing wrong or improper on the call.”
  121. On Tuesday, ahead of his public testimony, Kurt Volker revised his closed door House testimony, citing, “I have learned many things that I did not know at the time of the events in question.”
  122. Volker had testified that investigations were not discussed at the July 10 meeting. He said he now recalled that Sondland made a “generic comment about investigations” and that “all of us thought it was inappropriate.”
  123. Volker testified, “I opposed the hold on U.S. security assistance as soon as I learned about it on July 18,” but thought they could “turn it around” before Ukrainians knew, adding, “I did not know the reason for the hold.”
  124. Volker claimed he did not understand that requests that Ukraine investigate Burisma was related to the Bidens, saying the former investigation would be “appropriate and unremarkable,” and the latter “unacceptable.”
  125. Volker said there was no direct quid pro quo, but in his attempts to set up a summit between Trump and Zelensky, he tried to negotiate a statement by Zelensky promising investigations of the 2016 election and Burisma.
  126. Volker disputed being part of an “irregular” channel of Ukraine policy, and said he had never heard the term “three amigos” referencing himself, Secretary Perry, and Sondland, adding, “I frankly cringe when I hear it.”
  127. Morrison said being on the July 25 call he feared “how its disclosure would play in Washington’s political climate. My fears have been realized,” and urged lawmakers “not to lose sight” of the ongoing conflict in Ukraine.
  128. Morrison said he recommended that access to the July 25 call transcript be restricted, but that its placement onto a highly classified computer system was an “administrative error.”
  129. Morrison said he was surprised that Vindman went to Eisenberg, not him, after the July 25 call. Vindman said he did so at Bolton’s direction. Morrison said Vindman was frustrated over being excluded from meetings.
  130. Morrison said he did not skip his own chain of command by going to Eisenberg after the call, saying he was required to go to Charles Kupperman for “administrative matters.”
  131. Morrison said he was told on a September 1 conversation Sondland said “Ukrainians would have to have the prosecutor general make a statement with respect to the investigations as a condition of having the aid lifted.”
  132. WAPO Editorial Board noted the two witnesses requested by Republicans, Volker and Morrison, added to the evidence that Trump abused his office. Their testimony was sharply different than the narrative pushed by Rep. Devin Nunes.
  133. Later Tuesday, the Washington Examiner reported Republicans are shifting strategy to accepting “quid quo pro” did occur, but now saying it does not matter, and it relatively common occurrence with foreign aid.
  134. On Wednesday, Russian President Vladimir Putin said at an investment conference in Moscow that he has “great respect” for the U.S., and hopes Russia will not be accused of meddling in the 2020 U.S. election.
  135.  Putin noted the blame has been shifted to Ukraine, saying, “Hopefully no one accuses us of election interference in the United States. Now they’re accusing Ukraine. We’ll let them deal with that themselves.”
  136. On Wednesday, Sondland testified in the impeachment inquiry. In his opening statement he said of the central question in the impeachment inquiry, “Was there a ‘quid pro quo?’” that “the answer is yes.”
  137. Sondland’s 19-page opening statement included texts and emails not previously made public, and was filled with new details and disclosures, saying his memory had been refreshed by other testimony.
  138. Sondland complained several times about the State Department’s refusal to turn over his materials, which he said would have been “helpful” in reconstructing who he spoke to and met with, when and what was said.
  139. Sondland said that he and other senior regime officials “followed the president’s orders,” coordinating with Giuliani on getting Ukraine to launch investigations. Trump directed them to “talk to Rudy.”
  140. Sondland said, “Giuliani was expressing the desires of the president of the United States,” and that they were carrying out Trump’s wishes, saying, “we knew that these investigations were important to the president.”
  141. He said he worked with Giuliani on this “at the express direction of the president of the United States,” adding “there was no secret” about what was happening in the regime, and “Everyone was in the loop.”
  142. He said Perry, Volker, and himself did not want to work with Giuliani: “We did not want to work with Mr. Giuliani. Simply put, we were playing the hand we were dealt,” adding, “we followed the president’s orders.”
  143. Sondland said that Zelensky “had to announce the investigations — he didn’t have to actually do them.” He said although he was not directly told aid was tied to investigations, it was “abundantly clear” that was the case.
  144. Sondland said he did not know why aid was being withheld, but that he “shared concerns of the potential quid pro quo regarding the security aid with Sen. Ron Johnson,” and Ukrainian officials.
  145. Sondland said Pompeo “was aware that a commitment to investigations was among the issues we were pursuing” and the “State Department was fully supportive of our engagement” and “commitment to investigations”
  146. Sondland also testified, “based on my communications with Secretary Pompeo” that he felt comfortabletelling a top Zelensky aide that funds would not be unfrozen until Ukraine committed publicly to investigations.
  147. Sondland said he spoke to Pence before he met with Zelensky in Warsaw on September 1 and told him “that I had concerns that the delay in aid had become tied to the issue of investigations.”
  148. Sondland read from a July 19 email he sent to Mulvaney, Pompeo, Perry and others, in which he told them Zelensky would conduct a “fully transparent investigation” and “turn over every stone.”
  149. Fox New anchor Chris Wallace said Sondland “took out the bus and ran over President Trump, Vice President Pence, Mike Pompeo, John Bolton, Rudy Giuliani, Mick Mulvaney,” adding, “He implicates all of them.”
  150. Fox News contributor Ken Starr questioned if Sondland flipping would cause GOP senators to push Trump to resign, and later added, “articles of impeachment are being drawn up if they haven’t already been drawn up.”
  151. Sondland also confirmed David Holmes’ account of his July 26 call with Trump, saying it “did not strike me as significant,” and “I would have been more surprised” if Trump did not mention investigations.
  152. However, Sondland said in that call, and in others, he had no “recollection of discussing Vice President Biden or his son.” Sondland, Morrison, and Volker all claimed they did not connect Burisma to the Bidens.
  153. An August 26 email from Sondland showed he provided Bolton with Giuliani’s contact information, days before Bolton traveled to Ukraine, saying Bolton’s office had “requested Mr. Giuliani’s contact information.”
  154. During the testimony, Trump spoke to reporters outside the White House before heading to Texas, while reading off a piece of paper. He said of Sondland “seems like a nice guy,” but added, “I don’t know him very well.”
  155. Trump read from his notes recounting a September 9 conversation with Sondland, when he told him, “I want nothing. I want nothing. I want no quid pro quo. Tell Zelensky — President Zelensky to do the right thing.”
  156. September 9 was the day the House Intelligence Committee learned of the whistleblower’s complaint. Sondland was relaying in testimony what Trump had told him to tell Taylor.
  157. Trump also told reporters, “That means it’s all over,” and read again from his notes in all capitalized, bold black letters, “This is the final word from the president of the United States: ‘I want nothing.’”
  158. Shortly after, Trump tweeted, “Impeachment Witch Hunt is now OVER!” citing he said, “I WANT NOTHING!I WANT NOTHING! I WANT NO QUID PRO QUO! TELL PRESIDENT ZELENSKY TO DO THE RIGHT THING!”
  159. During the testimony, Giuliani tweeted Sondland was “speculating based on VERY little contact. I never met him and had very few calls with him, mostly with Volker.” Minutes later, Giuliani deleted the tweet.
  160. Shortly after, Marc Short, Pence’s chief of staff, issued a statement saying Pence never spoke to Sondland about “investigating the Bidens, Burisma, or the conditional release of financial aid to Ukraine.”
  161. A State Department spokesperson said “Sondland never told Secretary Pompeo that he believed the president was linking aid to investigations of political opponents. Any suggestion to the contrary is flat out false.”
  162. Later Wednesday, Laura Cooper and David Hale testified in the impeachment hearing. Cooper said military aid to Ukraine was critically important and she did not know over the summer why it was withheld.
  163. Cooper said since her closed door deposition, she has learned from her staffers Ukraine reached out to them as early as July 25 to ask what was going on with military aid, significantly earlier than previously known.
  164. Trump allies have claimed Ukrainians did not know aid was being withheld until August 28. Cooper also said during the week of August 6, her staffers interacted with Ukrainian officials who raised the hold on aid.
  165. Although Republicans repeatedly claimed Democrats would not allow their witnesses, Hale was the third on their list. Hale said Pompeo did call Fox News host Sean Hannity about Yovanovitch, which Pompeo denied.
  166. Hale also said that Giuliani was behind allegations that led to Yovanovitch being ousted, adding, “I believe that she should have been able to stay at post and continue to do the outstanding work.”
  167. Hale said the first time he heard of investigations into the Bidens and 2016 election was in March when Yovanovitch emailed him “speculating on the motives of various actors” behind “the smear campaign.”
  168. Hale said at a July 26 interagency meeting chaired by Kupperman, all agencies advocated for resuming aid to Ukraine. The Office of Management and Budget said aid was on freeze, and that the order came from Trump through Mulvaney.
  169. On Wednesday, a Gallup poll found Trump’s approval for November 1–14 was up to 43% from 41% in October. His disapproval fell from 57% to 54%. Trump’s handling of the economy remains his strongest area.
  170. On Thursday, American Research group found Trump’s approval at 37%, while 60% disapprove. The net -23 approval is the lowest for the past year.
  171. On Thursday, an Emerson College poll found 34% of independents support impeachment, 49% are against it — a sharp move from October when 48% supported it and 39% were against it.
  172. On Wednesday, Yahoo News reported the FBI reached out to a lawyer for the CIA whistleblower to ask to interview them. No interview has been scheduled, and it is unclear what the scope of the questioning would be.
  173. On Wednesday, lawyers for Vindman sent a warning letter to Fox News seeking a retraction or correction of an October segment by host Laura Ingraham suggesting Vindman might be guilty of espionage.
  174. The letter said the segment “sparked a torrent of republications and copycat false charges.” The letter also highlighted other inflammatory statements made on Fox News by Donald Jr. and host Tucker Carlson.
  175. Fox News responded on the Ingraham segment: “as a guest on Fox News, John Yoo was responsible for his own sentiments,” and “he has subsequently done interviews to clarify what he meant.”
  176. Later Wednesday, Trump held a publicity stunt at an Apple plant that has been making high-end computers since 2013. Trump accepted a plate with the words “Assembled in USA.”
  177. Shortly after, Trump tweeted the falsehood, “Today I opened a major Apple Manufacturing plant in Texasthat will bring high paying jobs back to America.” Apple needs waivers on components from China.
  178. On Thursday, Sen. Johnson said in a radio interview Sondland “never used the word ‘quid pro quo,’” saying “he described to me some kind of arrangement” and when he asked Trump, he “adamantly denied” it.
  179. On Thursday, Trump attacked Fox News for its impeachment coverage, tweeting why they “waste airtime on Democrat Rep. Eric Swalwell,” saying, “Fox should stay with the people that got them there, not losers!”
  180. Trump added, “The Republican Party, and me, had a GREAT day yesterday with respect to the phony Impeachment Hoax,” but you “would have no idea they were reporting on the same event. FAKE & CORRUPT NEWS!”
  181. Trump also tweeted, “Bob Mueller, after spending two years and 45 million dollars, went over all of my financials, & my taxes, and found nothing,” adding, “the Witch Hunt continues,” and “is not legal.”
  182. Trump added, “But I’m clean,” adding, “when I release my financial statement (my decision) sometime prior to Election,” it will show “that I am much richer than people even thought — And that is a good thing.”
  183. Trump continued, “I never in my wildest dreams thought my name would in any way be associated with the ugly word, Impeachment!” adding the calls “were PERFECT,” and, “Great corruption & dishonesty by Schiff.”
  184. Trump also called Democrats “human scum,” saying, “Corrupt politician Adam Schiff’s lies are growing by the day,” telling Republicans, “Keep fighting tough,” and citing “the most unfair hearings in American History.”
  185. Trump also tweeted, “But we are winning big, and they will soon be on our turf,” referring to the Senate.
  186. Trump quoted attorney Sam Dewey on Fox News, tweeting, “The new House Resolution gives Adam Schiff (the most dishonest man in politics) the power unilaterally to release edited transcripts.”
  187. Trump again quoted Dewey, tweeting, “Nothing gives Schiff jurisdiction over Impeachment.” Trump then retweeted his first tweet of the morning. Trump then tweeted, “Read the two Transcripts of Ukrainian calls!”
  188. On Thursday, at her weekly news conference, Speaker Pelosi told reporters “we haven’t made any decision,” on whether there is enough evidence to impeach Trump, adding “the day’s not over.”
  189. Pelosi also indicated there may be more witnesses, saying “testimony of one person may lead to the need for testimony of another.” And lashed out at Republicans for “the defense” of Trump’s behavior.
  190. Pelosi said Trump violated his oath of office, saying, “the facts are uncontested as to what happened,” and adding, “when we see a violation of the Constitution, we have no choice but to act.”
  191. Pelosi said Trump “used his office for his own personal gain,” undermined U.S. “national security” by withholding aid to Ukraine “to the benefit of the Russians,” and “undermined the integrity of our elections.”
  192. Pelosi said on reluctant witnesses, “we’re not going to wait till the courts decide,” adding, “That might be information that’s available to the Senate,” and “it’s a technique. It’s obstruction of justice, obstruction of Congress.”
  193. On Thursday, Fiona Hill and David Holmes testified in the impeachment hearing. Hill is the co-author of a 500-page book analyzing the psyche of Putin, and is a foremost expert on Russia.
  194. Hill criticized Republicans for propagating a “fictional narrative” that Ukraine interfered in the 2016 elections, saying, “These fictions are harmful even if they are deployed for purely domestic political purposes.”
  195. Hill said of the investigation, “I would ask that you please not promote politically driven falsehoods that so clearly advance Russian interests,” adding, “I refuse to be part of an effort to legitimize an alternate narrative.”
  196. Hill said, “President Putin and the Russian security services operate like a super PAC,” deploying millions of dollars to interfere, and that Russia will do again in 2020, saying time is “running out of time to stop them.”
  197. Hill said Russia’s goal “is to delegitimize the president,” and to put whoever won in 2016, Trump or Clinton, “under a cloud,” adding, “It’s a playbook they will run again in 2020.”
  198. Hill said Trump’s pressure campaign was purely political and had nothing to do with reforming corruption in Ukraine, the explanation frequently cited by Trump and Republicans.
  199. At her deposition, Hill had described a “shadow foreign policy” being run by Sondland, but said after his testimony, she realized he kept Trump, Mulvaney, and Pompeo “in the loop” about his efforts.
  200. Hill described a July 10 meeting with Ukrainians, after which Sondland told her “That he had an agreement with chief of staff Mulvaney that in return for investigations this meeting [with Trump] would get scheduled.”
  201. Hill said when she told Bolton, he said, “I am not part of whatever drug deal Sondland and Mulvaney are cooking up,” and told her to report the conversation to White House lawyer Eisenberg.
  202. Hill said Bolton told her that “Giuliani’s a hand grenade who’s going to blow everybody up, which she took to mean Giuliani was “pushing views that would come back to haunt us,” adding, “that’s where we are today.”
  203. Hill said after Yovanovitch’s ouster, she had confronted Sondland with her concerns, and he told her that “he was in charge of Ukraine,” and when she asked, “who put you in charge?” Sondland said, “the president.”
  204. Hill said she now realized Sondland was “ involved in a domestic political errand, and we were being involved in national security, foreign policy,” adding she had told him “this is all going to blow up. And here we are.”
  205. Holmes said he was convinced in late August that Trump froze military aid for the investigations, calling it “an expression of dissatisfaction with the Ukrainians who had not yet agreed to the Burisma/Biden investigation.”
  206. Both Hill and Holmes made it clear that Burisma was “code” for Biden, and that anyone who worked on Ukraine would know that, contradicting public testimony by Volker, Morrison, and Sondland.
  207. Holmes testified about the July 26 call between Trump and Sondland, saying after the call Sondland told him that Trump cared only about “big stuff that benefits the president” like the “Biden investigation.”
  208. As Holmes testified, Trump tweeted, “I have been watching people making phone calls my entire life,” adding, “My hearing is, and has been, great,” questioning Holmes being “able to hear or understand a conversation.”
  209. Holmes also said at the lunch someone asked why Giuliani was “so active in the media with respect to Ukraine” and Sondland responded, “‘Dammit Rudy. Every time Rudy gets involved he goes and f — -s everything up.’”
  210. On Thursday, during the hearings, Trump hosted Senate Republicans for lunch, including Susan Collins and Mitt Romney, who have shown tepid support, to woo them. Lisa Murkowski was invited but did not attend.
  211. At the lunch, with roughly six senators attending, Trump passed around a transcript of his first phone call with Zelensky, and discussed which witnesses should be called in a Senate trial.
  212. On Thursday, AP reported public testimony provided loads of evidence, but the one hole is no witness could attest to Trump directly conditioning the release of $400 military aid to an announcement of the investigations.
  213. Without direct proof, Republican support in the House seemed to remain intact despite witnesses showing Trump was willing to leverage the presidency to push a foreign government for personal political help.
  214. On Thursday, Daily Beast reported that according to Andriy Yermak, Lev Parnas was with Giuliani in Madrid when he met them in Madrid earlier this year and urged him to investigate the Bidens.
  215. On Thursday, after the impeachment hearings, Senate Judiciary Committee Chair Lindsey Graham sent to a letter to Secretary Pompeo as part of launching a probe of Biden, Burisma, and Ukraine.
  216. Graham asked for any calls Joe Biden had with former Ukraine president Petro Poroshenko relating to the firing of the country’s top prosecutor and Burisma, investigating unsubstantiated claims on the prosecutor’s firing.
  217. On Friday, Joe Biden said in an interview, “Lindsey is about to go down in a way that I think he’s going to regret his whole life,” adding of Lindsey, “I’m just embarrassed by what you’re doing, for you. I mean, my Lord.”
  218. On Thursday, former Fox News anchor Shepard Smith announced at a Committee to Protect Journalists event, that he would donate $500,000 to the nonprofit group, which advances press freedoms around the world.
  219. Smith told the crowd, “Autocrats have learned how to use those same online tools to shore up their power. They flood the world of information with garbage and lies, masquerading as news. There’s a phrase for that.”
  220. On Friday, Trump appeared on “Fox & Friends” for 53 minutes. PolitiFact found many of Trump’s points “were either inaccurate or repeated debunked conspiracy theories.”
  221. Trump falsely claimed, “They were spying on my campaign,” adding, “This was an overthrow attempt at the presidency. They tried to overthrow the presidency. This is a disgrace.”
  222. Trump said, “Adam Schiff is a sick puppy,” but that his July 25 call was “appropriate,” “perfect” “nice,” and “everything,” adding Zelensky said, “what are they talking about? They must think we’re nuts in this country.”
  223. Trump said of impeachment, “Frankly, I want a trial,” adding Pelosi is “crazy as a bedbug. She is nuts, ” and “the one I want to testify most is ‘Shifty Schiff,’ and I want to find out why did he make up my statement?”
  224. Trump said he knew the identity of the whistleblower: “I know exactly who it is,” telling the hosts, “By the way you know who the whistleblower is too, otherwise you’re not doing your job. Everybody knows it.”
  225. Trump said a “historic” report by the DOJ IG is coming, and, “I don’t like to use the word ‘deep state.’ I just say they’re really bad, sick people,” and mentioned the “modern-day version of whatever wiretapping may be.”
  226. Trump repeated the debunked conspiracy theory about Ukraine’s 2016 involvement, saying, “They gave the server to Crowdstrike, or whatever it’s called….which is a company owned by a very wealthy Ukrainian.”
  227. Crowdstrike is a U.S. cybersecurity firm hired by the DNC in May 2016 to investigate the breach of its server. Conspiracy theorists claim the company’s chief technology officer is Ukrainian, but he was born in Russia.
  228. Trump asked, “Why isn’t Germany putting up money? Why isn’t France putting up money (for Ukraine)?Why isn’t all of the European nations, why aren’t they putting up?” The EU has put up $15 billion since 2014.
  229. Trump falsely claimed of Volker, “I don’t know him,” and “This guy, Sondland, hardly know him,” and praised Giuliani, adding if he goes to a country and “you hear it’s a corrupt country, I mean it means a lot.”
  230. Trump said of Yovanovitch, “she’s an Obama person,” adding, “everybody says is so wonderful, she wouldn’t hang my picture in the embassy,” and, “This was not an angel, this woman, OK?.”
  231. Trump also said of Yovanovitch, “I said, ‘Why are you being so kind?’ ‘Well, sir, she’s a woman. We have to be nice,’” adding, “She’s very tough. I heard bad things.”
  232. Shortly after, lawyers for Yovanovitch said in a statement, “The Embassy in Kyiv hung the official photographs of the President, Vice President, and Secretary of State as soon as they arrived from Washington, DC.”
  233. Trump also said, If it weren’t for me Hong Kong would have been obliterated in 14 minutes.” In was unclear what he meant. He added “we have to stand with Hong Kong but I’m also standing with President Xi.”
  234. Trump also said of Kellyanne Conway’s husband, George, “I don’t know what Kellyanne did to that guy” calling him “some kind of a nut job,” and, “She must have done some bad things to him because that guy’s crazy.”
  235. On Friday, NYT reported in addition to Hill’s testimony, U.S. intelligence officials informed senators and their aides that Russia was behind the years-long campaign to frame Ukraine for hacking the 2016 U.S. election.
  236. The revelations showed the Russian’s success not only at sowing discord in the U.S., but also in undermining the government of Ukraine and influencing the American political debate.
  237. On Thursday, Trump intervened and reversed a U.S. Navy decision to oust Edward Gallagher from the SEALs, and lose his Trident pin, after Gallagher had been at the center of a high-profile war crimes prosecution.
  238. Trump tweeted, “The Navy will NOT be taking away Warfighter and Navy Seal Eddie Gallagher’s Trident Pin,” adding, “This case was handled very badly from the beginning. Get back to business.”
  239. On Friday, Navy Secretary Richard Spencer said Gallagher should face a planned “trident review board,” which could lead to his ouster from the SEALs, despite Trump’s tweet.
  240. On Friday, WAPO reported Trump took the advice of Pete Hegseth, a Fox News personality, when he issued pardons in Week 157. Trump called Hegseth numerous times to discuss the issue.
  241. Defense Secretary Mark Esper and Army Secretary Ryan McCarthy tried to persuade Trump not to, and senior military officials brought documents and data to a meeting to show Trump he was fed bad information.
  242. Trump was lobbied with information that the three cases involved overly restrictive rules of engagement during the Obama administration. Trump tweeted Sunday, “Our great warfighters must be allowed to fight.”
  243. On Friday, CNN reported DOJ IG Michael Horowitz found a former FBI lawyer is under investigation for allegedly altering a document related the 2016 surveillance of a Trump campaign adviser, Carter Page.
  244. However, the alterations, outlined in a draft of the IG’s soon to be released report, were made by a low-level FBI lawyer who has since been forced out of the agency, and did not effect the validity of the surveillance subpoena.
  245. Horowitz turned the evidence over to U.S. Attorney John Durham for his investigation of the investigators. The IG report is expected to be released on December 9.
  246. Later Friday, Trump told reporters at the White House, “I think we had a tremendous week with the hoax,” adding, “They call it the impeachment hoax. And that’s really worked out incredibly well.”
  247. Trump added he has “tremendous support” from Republicans, adding, “I don’t think I’ve ever seen support in the Republican Party like we do right now,” and “We’ve never had this kind of support.”
  248. Asked if the whistleblower should be fired, Trump said, “ What whistleblower? I don’t think there is. I consider it to be a fake whistleblower,” falsely claiming the complaint did not track what he said.
  249. On Friday, Chair Schiff told the LA Times that his committee has begun work on its report in the impeachment inquiry, which will be handed off to the House Judiciary Committee, but is not ruling out further hearings.
  250. Schiff added, “We’re not foreclosing the possibility of additional depositions or hearings,” but added, “we’re also not willing to wait months and months and let them play rope-a-dope with us in the courts.”
  251. On Friday, Politico reported after Thanksgiving, House Democrats are planning to hold at least one hearing on Trump’s misdeeds in the Mueller report, fueling possible additional articles of impeachment.
  252. Democrats say Roger Stone’s trial raised the question of whether Trump provided false statements in his written testimony to Mueller’s team relating to WikiLeaks. Democrats also hope to get McGahn’s testimony.
  253. On Friday, Bolton tweeted, “Glad to be back on Twitter after more than two months,” and later explained the White House “refused to return access to my personal Twitter account. Out of fear of what I may say?
  254. A White House spokesperson denied it, saying, “The White House did not block Mr. Bolton.” Trump also denied it on “Fox & Friends,” saying, “of course not,” and, “No, I actually had a good relationship with John.”
  255. On Friday, a group of conservative-leaning lawyers called Checks & Balances told the Times in a statement: “In recent months, we have become concerned by the conduct of Attorney General William Barr.”
  256. The group said they were so alarmed by Barr’s speech last week, they felt the need to push back on his expansive view of executive power. The group sharply denounced abuses of power by Trump.
  257. The group also said Barr’s interpretation set a dangerous precedent, with one member saying, “Conservatism is respect for the rule of law,” and another saying, “It’s important for conservatives to speak up.”
  258. On Friday, AG Barr said in an interview with AP that the death of Jeffrey Epstein was a “perfect storm of screw-ups,” refuting statements from Epstein’s family that he may have been murdered.
  259. Later Friday, NYT reported the highly anticipated DOJ IG report will sharply criticize lower-level employees for sloppiness, but absolve top ranking officials of abusing their power over bias against Trump.
  260. The report, while not finalized, is expected to show a proper legal basis for the government’s applications to monitor Carter Page, but find errors were made, including the use of human sources in the report.
  261. IG Horowitz found a low-level lawyer, Kevin Clinesmith, altered an email used in court to renew the Carter Page wiretap. Horowitz referred the matter to John Durham for a potential criminal charge.
  262. Clinesmith left the Russia investigation in February 2018 after the IG found he was one of a handful of FBI officials who expressed animus towards Trump in text messages. Clinesmith resigned two months ago.
  263. The report was expected to find no politically biased actions by top officials targeted by Trump, including James Comey, Andrew McCabe, and Peter Strzok, debunking conspiracy theories used by Trump and his allies.
  264. On Friday, Trump tweeted an altered video of a CNN segment mocking host Chris Cuomo, replacing the voice of Cuomo’s mother with Trump screaming things like “I want no quid pro quo,” and “fake news.”
  265. On Friday, a lawyer for Lev Parnas said he is willing to tell Congress that Devin Nunes, the ranking member on the House Intelligence Committee, met with former Ukrainian Prosecutor Victor Shokin about digging up dirt.
  266. The lawyer told CNN Parnas learned from Shokin that he met Nunes “in Vienna last December.” Congressional records show Nunes and three aides traveled to Europe from November 30 to December 3, 2018.
  267. The lawyer told CNN, “Nunes had told Shokin of the urgent need to launch investigations into Burisma, Joe and Hunter Biden, and any purported Ukrainian interference in the 2016 election.”
  268. On Friday, CBS News reported according to a “Memorandum of Investigative Activity,” the whistleblower reached out to the intelligence committee IG on October 8 to clarify the nature of their contact.
  269. The IG passed the October 18 memo to House and Senate intelligence committees, saying the whistleblower acknowledged reaching out to Chair Schiff, but clarified that nothing substantial was discussed.
  270. On Friday, WAPO reported Trump has opened up Camp David as an “adult playground” and venue to woo Republican lawmakers during the impeachment inquiry, hosting by Mulvaney and White House officials.
  271. Trump has called in to compliment lawmakers at the dinners. Trump has also in recent weeks stopped attacking Republicans. He has also brought them along to sporting events in an effort to woo them.
  272. In recent weeks, Trump has also invited groups of Senate Republicans for lunch on Thursdays. Trump’s message at lunches echoes what he says publicly, and attendees claim they feel no overt pressure to stay on his side.
  273. Late Friday, the State Department released nearly 100 pages of documents to the FOIA to watchdog group American Oversight, just before the midnight court-imposed deadline. More documents will be released.
  274. Documents revealed a clear paper trail between Giuliani and Pompeo in the weeks before Yovanovitch was ousted. The two also spoke on the phone on March 26 and March 29, before her recall in April.
  275. Late Friday, Trump quoted Jason Chaffetz appearing on Fox News, tweeting, “The support for Impeachment is not there. I think the Democrats will have to come up with a new game plan.”
  276. On Saturday, Trump tweeted, “Adam Schiff will be compelled to testify should the Democrats decide” despite his calls which were “totally appropriate (perfect), to go forward with the Impeachment Hoax.”
  277. Trump added, “Polls have now turned very strongly against Impeachment!” and tweeted an Emerson College poll, quoting Joe Concha tweeting, “You see why Pelosi is reluctant to go in with this.”
  278. On Friday, in a speech at the ADL’s International Leadership Award, Sacha Baron Cohen said social media giants, Facebook, Twitter, and Google are “the greatest propaganda machines in history.”
  279. On Saturday, WSJ reported James Barnes, the Facebook employee who was embedded in the Trump 2016 campaign and helped him win using its powerful tools, left Facebook and will work for Democrats in 2020.

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Fiona Hill, former senior director for Europe and Russia at the National Security Council, and David Holmes, political counselor for the US Embassy in Ukraine, are sworn in before testifying during the House Select Intelligence Committee hearing on the impeachment inquiry into Trump on Thursday, Nov. 21, 2019.

POLITIKS OF GRAFFITI 134: CLOWN REGIME

JUNE 01, 2019

Week 133

Experts in authoritarianism advise to keep a list of things
subtly changing around you, so you’ll remember. https://theweeklylist.org/weekly-list/week-133/
IMG_8674
Clown images of Mueller and 45. Bushwick, Brooklyn, NY. 1jun19. artist: https://www.instagram.com/degrupo/

This week, special counsel Robert Mueller addressed the nation for the first time since the start of his investigation. Notably, Mueller said, “If we had had confidence that the president clearly did not commit a crime, we would have said so,” contradicting Attorney General William Barr’s statements, and Trump’s repeated proclamations of “no obstruction.” Mueller resigned and closed the special counsel office, and seemed to pass the ball to Congress on whether to pursue charges against Trump. Speaker Nancy Pelosi demurred, but pressure built this week after Mueller’s appearance with 55 members of Congress backing an impeachment inquiry, up from 31 last week, including 13 of the 24 House Judiciary Committee members.

Trump exploded after Mueller’s appearance, seeking to discredit him and the investigation. Later, he shifted the narrative by starting a trade war with Mexico, invoking a decades old act to empower himself to impose tariffs over a so-called “national emergency” at our southern border. As the week came to a close, Trump’s Department of Justice thumbed its nose at a court order to produce documents related to Michael Flynn. The regime has now usurped both the legislative and judicial branch — seizing and consolidating power with increasingly authoritarian actions. Adding to the authoritarian feel were the continued attacks on the rights of marginalized communities and women, the stripping of protections for the environment, and a shocking discovery this week related to the 2020 census citizenship question. And yet, there has been no accountability or consequences for Trump, his family, and the remaining members of the regime.

IMG_8693
“P H O N Y.” Bushwick, Brooklyn, NY. 1jun19.
  1. On Saturday, 2020 candidate Sen. Amy Klobuchar told a crowd in Iowa that during Trump’s 2017 inauguration speech, the late Sen. John McCain “kept reciting” the names of dictators.
  2. On Saturday, during his trip to Japan, Trump sided with Kim Jong Un over his senior advisers, tweeting, “North Korea fired off some small weapons, which disturbed some of my people, and others, but not me.”
  3. Trump also tweeted: “I have confidence that Chairman Kim will keep his promise to me,” and sided with Kim over Joe Biden, saying he “smiled” when Kim “called Swampman Joe Biden a low IQ individual, & worse.”
  4. In Trump’s initial tweet, Trump misspelled Biden’s name, saying “Joe Bidan a low IQ individual.” Trump then deleted the tweet. Earlier in the week, North Korea had called Biden a “fool of low IQ” and an “imbecile.”
  5. Members of the regime sought to downplay recent North Korea tests. Japanese Prime Minister Abe has yet to meet with Kim, and therefore relies on the U.S. as an intermediary. The U.S. has 54,000 forces in Japan.
  6. Japan is threatened by North Korea’s short-range missiles. Trump has downplayed North Korea’s tests, saying they do not violate his agreement with Kim, since short-range missiles do not directly threaten the U.S.
  7. On Sunday, press secretary Sarah Sanders told “Meet the Press,” of Trump and Kim, “I think they agree in their assessment” of Biden, adding Trump “doesn’t need somebody else to give him an assessment of Joe Biden.”
  8. On Monday, Memorial Day, in a series of tweets during his visit to Japan, Trump said, “The Dems are getting NOTHING done in Congress!” adding, “they only want a Do-Over on Mueller!”
  9. Trump also tweeted, “Impeach for what, having created perhaps the greatest Economy in our Country’s history, rebuilding our Military, taking care of our Vets,” adding the “Dems are Obstructionists!
  10. On Tuesday, Trump tweeted, “I was actually sticking up for Sleepy Joe Biden while on foreign soil,” adding Kim called him a “low IQ idiot,” but he relayed the Kim’s quote “as a much softer “low IQ individual.””
  11. On Tuesday, NYT reported that during Trump’s four-day trip to Japan, despite red carpet treatment, Trump focused on politics at home rather than diplomacy, tweeting at every opportunity he had.
  12. Past precedent is for American officials traveling abroad to leave domestic politics at home once they leave. Trump spent his time attacking Democrats, his 2020 rivals, and his national security adviser John Bolton.
  13. On Tuesday, AP reported the Navy is reviewing whether members violated Defense Department policy or regulations by wearing an arm patch with the words “Make Aircrews Great Again” during Trump’s visit to Japan.
  14. On Thursday, WSJ reported a May 15 email from a U.S. Indo-Pacific Command official to U.S. Navy and Air Force officials said the “USS John McCain needs to be out of sight” ahead of Trump’s visit to Japan.
  15. The official who made the request said it was the result of conversations between the White House Military Office and the Navy. Reportedly Acting Defense Secretary Pat Shanahan was aware of the concern.
  16. According to photos obtained by the Journal, a tarp was hung over the ship’s name ahead of Trump’s arrival, then the Navy used a barge to block the name and gave the sailors on the ship the day off.
  17. On Thursday, Trump tweeted, “I was not informed about anything having to do with the Navy Ship USS John S. McCain during my recent visit to Japan,” adding, “I loved being with our great Military Men and Women.”
  18. On Thursday, Trump reiterated to reporters, “I wasn’t involved. I would not have done that,” but said whoever kept the ship out of sight, “did it because they thought I didn’t like him. And they were well-meaning.”
  19. WAPO reported staffers did not want McCain’s name seen in photographs during Trump’s visit. Trump was not involved in the planning, but the request was reportedly made to keep him from becoming upset.
  20. Hours later, Trump discounted the story, tweeting: “The Navy put out a disclaimer on the McCain story. Looks like the story was an exaggeration, or even Fake News — but why not, everything else is!”
  21. On Thursday, Secretary Shanahan told reporters, “I would never dishonor the memory of a great American patriot like Sen. John McCain,” and “I’d never disrespect the young men and women that crew that ship.”
  22. The action was criticized by some Republican lawmakers. Meghan McCain tweeted: “It was named after my great grandfather and grandfather…and my father was added as namesake after he died. Get a life.”
  23. On Sunday, the Times drew criticism for a piece on Hope Hicks, featuring a glamorous photo of Hicks, and positing that she faced an “existential” question of whether she should comply with a congressional subpoena.
  24. On Sunday, Fox News host Chris Wallace challenged Sen. Lindsey Graham on “Fox New Sunday,” forcing him to watch clips of himself calling for the impeachment of former President Bill Clinton for ignoring subpoenas.
  25. Graham said on “Fox News Sunday” that Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s job is “very much at risk,” adding, “Nancy Pelosi is riding a bucking, wild bronco called the Democratic caucus.”
  26. On Sunday, Rep. Liz Cheney told “This Week” that the beginnings of Mueller’s investigation were suspect and needed to be investigated, saying, “That sounds an awful lot like a coup and it could well be treason.”
  27. Rep. Cheney specified texts exchanged by Peter Strzok and Lisa Page that were critical of Trump, and named James Comey and Andrew McCabe for their roles in the investigation.
  28. On Monday, Trump tweeted a news article about Rep. Cheney’s remarks, adding, “Liz Cheney: Statements by agents investigating Trump ‘could well be treason.’”
  29. On Sunday, press secretary Sanders told “Meet the Press” there was an “outrageous amount of corruption that took place at the F.B.I. They leaked information. They lied,” and they wanted to take down Trump.
  30. On Sunday, Axios reported according to CrowdTangle, Trump’s Twitter interaction rate, a measure of the impact his tweets, has fallen precipitously, reaching a new low this month.
  31. Trump’s interaction rate, measured by retweets and likes per tweet, divided by size of following, has fallen from 0.55% in November 2016, to 0.32% in June 2017, and down to 0.16% in May 2019.
  32. The number of tweets sent has increased from 157 times per month during his first 6 months, to 284 times per month over the last 6 months. As of May 25, Trump is up to 343, sure to break his record in August of 348.
  33. Utah judge Michael Kwan was suspended for making anti-Trump comments in court and on Facebook, including referencing to the “Access Hollywood” tape and calling Trump’s time in office a “fascist takeover.”
  34. While Facebook continued to defend their choice not to remove altered videos of Speaker Pelosi, the platform banned artist Kate Kretz, who turned MAGA hats into symbols of hate such as a Nazi arm band or a KKK hood.
  35. On Tuesday, CNN reported Facebook executives Mark Zuckerberg and Sheryl Sandberg did not attend a hearing in Ottawa, ignoring a subpoena from Canadian parliament. The two risk being held in comtempt.
  36. On Wednesday, in her first interview on the matter, Speaker Pelosi said Facebook’s unwillingness to take the videos down shows its leaders were “willing enablers” of Russian interference in the 2016 election.
  37. Pelosi also said, “We have said all along, poor Facebook, they were unwittingly exploited by the Russians,” but added, of the altered video, “I think it’s wrong,” and “I can take it . . . But [Facebook is] lying to the public.”
  38. On Wednesday, Vox reported cybersecurity firm FireEye revealed Facebook and Twitter removed thousands of accounts linked to Iran, which were impersonating Americans and GOP candidates for Congress.
  39. On Sunday, Nolan Brewer pleaded guilty to vandalizing Congregation Shaarey Tefilla, a synagogue in Indiana,with Nazi symbolism. Brewer was sentenced to three years in prison.
  40. Brewer detailed his road to radicalization to federal agents, including meeting with far-right group Identity Evropa, and being inspired by writings of former Breitbart editor Ben Shapiro and the Nazi website Stormfront.
  41. On Sunday, the New York Post reported incoming college students are rejected schools in states with restrictive abortion laws. One admissions consultant had 61 clients remove Georgia and Ohio schools from their list.
  42. On Tuesday, Planned Parenthood said Missouri’s health department refused to renew its annual license to provide abortion. PP will close the state’s last abortion clinic, effectively ending legal abortion in Missouri.
  43. On Tuesday, the Supreme Court turned down an appeal of an Indiana law banning abortion on the basis of sex or disability, but upheld part of the same law requiring abortion providers to bury or cremate fetal remains.
  44. Justice Clarence Thomas wrote in his opinion: “From the beginning, birth control and abortion were promoted as a means of effectuating eugenics.” Observers noted Thomas left the door open to outlaw birth control.
  45. Vice President Mike Pence applauded the Supreme Court expanding “protections for the unborn,” tweeting he was “proud” to have signed the bill into law, and calling it “a victory for life.”
  46. On Wednesday, the Louisiana state house passed a bill banning abortion once a heartbeat is detectable, with no exception for a pregnancy due to rape or incest. The Democratic governor is expected to sign it.
  47. On Friday, a Missouri judge granted Planned Parenthood’s request for a temporary restraining order against the state pulling its license. Missouri would have become the only state without a clinic that provides abortion.
  48. On Wednesday, Rewire News reported some pregnant migrant mothers in U.S. Marshals Services custody are not receiving adequate services, and are shackled when accessing prenatal care, giving birth, and postpartum care.
  49. Some mothers are forced to give their children up to Texas DFPS. A spokesperson claimed the protection agency may request temporary custody of the child when a parent or relative is not available to care for a child.
  50. On Thursday, NBC News reported Customs and Border Protection agents rounded up 1,036 migrants illegally crossing near El Paso early Wednesday, the largest group ever encountered; the previous record of 424 was set last month.
  51. On Thursday, Trump told reporters on the South Lawn that he was “going to do something very dramatic on the border” and it will be a “big league statement,” “my biggest statement, so far, on the border.”
  52. Trump also said he will not be closing the border, but that “the asylum procedures are ridiculous,” adding, “No place in the world has what we have in terms of ridiculous immigration laws.”
  53. On Thursday, Politico reported Trump is considering a draft proposal which would prohibit migrants from seeking asylum if they have resided in a country other than their own before arriving at the U.S. border.
  54. The proposal would effectively ban migrants from Central America from seeking asylum since almost all have had to undertake long journeys that traced through Mexico.
  55. On Friday, CNN reported an unannounced visit by the Department of Homeland Security Inspector General to an El Paso, Texas Border Patrol processing facility found “dangerous overcrowding” and unsanitary conditions.
  56. The IG found “standing room only” conditions at facilities with a maximum capacity of 125 migrants. On May 7 and 8, logs indicated that there were “approximately 750 and 900 detainees, respectively.”
  57. The report stated, “We also observed detainees standing on toilets in the cells to make room and gain breathing space, thus limiting access to the toilets.” Cells held four to five times their capacity.
  58. The IG found Border Patrol managers were concerned about an “immediate risk to the health and safety” and faced decreasing morale, and stated the situation at the border is “an acute and worsening crisis.”
  59. On Tuesday, Rep. Steve King said at a town hall that not all cultures contribute equally to civilization, adding saying so is “devaluing” the Founding Fathers, and “It is not about race…It is about culture.”
  60. On Thursday, a white campground manager in Mississippi pulled a gun on a black couple setting up for a picnic, saying they did not have a reservation. After a video was posted on Facebook, the manager was fired.
  61. On Wednesday, Motherboard reported Twitter has started researching whether white supremacists should be banned from their platform, or be allowed to stay and have their ideas engaged.
  62. On Thursday, Politico reported the State Department quietly published a notice on the federal register that it will establish a new body called the Commission on Unalienable Rights to focus on human rights.
  63. The notice says the commission will provide “fresh thinking” where discourse has departed from “our nation’s founding principles of natural law and natural rights” — raising alarm bells with LGBTQ advocates.
  64. On Thursday, New York City police said they were investigating an anti-Semitic message on a billboard at the Jewish Children’s Museum in Brooklyn which read, “Hitler is coming.”
  65. According to the New York City Police Department, the city has seen a 67% increase in hate crimes from April 2018 to April 2019. Gov. Andrew Cuomo ordered the incident investigated as a hate crime.
  66. On Thursday, Fox News host Laura Ingraham, countering Pelosi’s complaints about the altered video on Facebook, defended extremists who have been banned, including white supremacist Paul Nehlen.
  67. Nehlen describes himself as “pro-white,” and has said we need to “rid white lands of Jews.” After public outcry, Fox News defended Ingraham in a statement, saying she is “a fierce protector of freedom of speech.”
  68. On Friday, on Ingraham’s show, Rudy Guiliani claimed he canceled his trip to meet Ukraine’s new president, who is Jewish, because he is “surrounded by Soros people, Democrats, and people trying to set us up.”
  69. On Saturday, WAPO reported the Trump regime will end the Job Corps Civilian Conservation Centers program which trains disadvantaged young people for wildland fire fighting and other jobs in rural communities.
  70. Over 1,100 job center workers will lose their jobs at the soon-to-be-closed centers. WAPO reported the closings will result in the largest number of federal job cuts in a decade. No reason was given for the cuts.
  71. On Monday, NYT reported on the Trump regime hardening its attack on climate science. In the coming months, Trump will complete the rollback of federal efforts to curb greenhouse-gas emissions initiated by Obama.
  72. Trump is described as an “armchair naysayer” on climate change, and has been influenced by friends and donors including Carl Icahn, who owns oil refineries, and Harold Hamm, an oil-and-gas billionaire.
  73. Trump appointee James Reilly, director of the United States Geological Survey, ordered using computer models that project the impact of climate change through 2040, not the end of the century as was previously done.
  74. Scientists say this is misleading, since the planet is expected to warm at the same rate through 2050, but depending on carbon emissions levels, the rate of warming through is the end of the century is highly variable.
  75. The regime is also targeting the National Climate Assessment, a report that has been produced every four years since 2000. The next report, due in 2021 or 2022, will not automatically include worst case scenarios.
  76. The regime is setting up a climate review panel, led by a climate change denier, William Happer, who serves on the National Security Council, and along with John Bolton, has been funded by Robert and Rebekah Mercer.
  77. On Tuesday, WSJ reported Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao’s financial disclosure forms show she still owns shares of Vulcan Materials Co., more than a year after she said she would divest her stake.
  78. Bloomberg reported Kushner Cos got $800 million of financing backed by Freddie Mac to buy apartments in Maryland and Virginia — the company’s biggest purchase in a decade.
  79. Prior to Kushner taking a White House role, Kushner Cos had roughly $500 million in loans from Fannie and Freddie. Trump appointed Joseph Otting, former CEO of Steve Mnuchin’s OneWest Bank, to oversee the agency.
  80. Over Memorial Day weekend, the group We Build The Wall, through which veteran Brian Kolfage raised millions on a GoFundMe page, started construction of a private wall along the New Mexico-Mexico border.
  81. About half a mile of steel fencing was put up on land owned by American Eagle Brick Co. Fisher Sand & Gravel, the North Dakota company Trump has been pushing to build his wall, did the construction.
  82. On Tuesday, the town government of Sunland Park, New Mexico ordered the group to stop construction, saying it lacked necessary permits. We Build The Wall stopped construction on Wednesday.
  83. On Monday, Republican leaders in the Senate, including Sens. Lindsey Graham, John Corynyn, and Thom Tillis, vowed to quickly quash any impeachment charges. The three are up for re-election in 2020.
  84. On Tuesday, the Guardian reported a new book by author Michael Wolff claims Mueller prepared a three-count obstruction of justice indictment, but decided to shelve it. A special counsel spokesperson denied it.
  85. On Tuesday, in a 25-tweet post, Rep. Justin Amash accused Attorney General William Barr of using his post “to sell the president’s false narrative to the American people.”
  86. On Tuesday, at a town hall of 700 in Grand Rapids, Michigan, Amash was greeted by a standing ovation. Amash said, “I think it’s really important that we do our job as Congress. That we would not allow misconduct to go undeterred.”
  87. On Tuesday, Democrats in the House and Senate told U.S. District Judge Emmet Sullivan they would like to pursue getting Trump’s personal financial records and corporate records in their emoluments lawsuit.
  88. Democrats claim they have not been able to consider and approve business proceeds from foreign governments, and are requesting documents from banks, the Trump Org, and his trust account beginning in late June.
  89. On Tuesday, Roger Stone tried and failed for a second time to get his criminal case moved to a new judge, citing his case was not related to a separate criminal case against Russian military officers.
  90. On Tuesday, bowing to a request by CNN, the DOJ agreed in federal court to publicly release lists describing hundreds of miscellaneous court actions, such as search warrants, used in the Mueller investigation
  91. On Tuesday, Trump cautioned Roy Moore, who is considering running for the senate again in 2020, tweeting: “Republicans cannot allow themselves to again lose the Senate seat in the Great State of Alabama.”
  92. In his last run for Senate, Trump backed Moore, who is accused of seeking out multiple teen girls while in his 30s. Moore said Wednesday, “There’s a lot I have to offer,” adding, “Everything seems to be very favorable.”
  93. On Wednesday, Moore struck back at Trump, telling Politico: “The president doesn’t control who votes for the United States Senate in Alabama,” adding, “They know I’ll win. That’s why they’re upset.”
  94. On Tuesday, the new State Department spokesperson, Morgan Ortagus, said she would resume news briefings, saying she would answer questions almost every weekday when not traveling with Secretary of State Mike Pompeo.
  95. Since Eisenhower, State Department daily briefings were the norm. Under Trump, the briefings shrank to twice a week or less, some weeks none at all. The Department of Defense has gone almost a year without a briefing.
  96. On Wednesday, the DOJ announced Mueller would hold a press conference at 11 a.m. EST. Barr and Trump’s aides were notified Tuesday evening. Barr was in Alaska, and Trump watched from the White House.
  97. Mueller spoke to the public for the first time since his investigation began, and in remarks that lasted for just under 10 minutes, announced he was resigning and closing the special counsel’s office.
  98. Mueller said his office did not “make a determination,” saying DOJ policy prohibits charging a sitting president with a crime, seeming to counter Barr who said evidence was insufficient to warrant a prosecution.
  99.  Mueller seemed to pass the responsibility to Congress, saying “the Constitution requires a process other than the criminal justice system to formally accuse a sitting president of wrongdoing.”
  100. Mueller also raised eyebrows by saying, “If we had had confidence that the president clearly did not commit a crime, we would have said so.” This statement contradicted Barr’s public statements and Trump’s narrative.
  101. Mueller said he and Barr had disagreed over whether to release his team’s summaries, but said, “I certainly do not question the attorney general’s good faith in that decision,” and complimented him releasing the report.
  102. Mueller said he did not want to comment further in public, saying, “The report is my testimony,” and adding, “I am making that decision myself. No one has told me whether I can or should testify or speak further.”
  103. Mueller opened and closed his remarks commenting on Russian interference in the 2016 election, saying there were “multiple, systematic efforts” and that “allegation deserves the attention of every American.”
  104. Shortly after Mueller finished, Trump tweeted, “Nothing changes from the Mueller Report,” adding, “There was insufficient evidence and therefore, in our Country, a person is innocent. The case is closed! Thank you.”
  105. Press secretary Sanders said, “We consider this case closed,” and downplayed the appearance, saying Mueller “has closed his office and it’s time for everybody to move on.”
  106. Speaker Pelosi resisted calls for impeachment, saying, “You don’t bring an impeachment unless you have all the facts,” adding we need an “ironclad case that even the Republican Senate…will be convinced.”
  107. Speaker Pelosi said “the press makes more a of a fuss,” saying “it’s like 35…maybe its 38 out of 238” House members who are for impeachment, adding, “but we want to do what’s right and what gets results.”
  108. Mueller’s remarks also pushed three more Democratic 2020 presidential candidates to call for impeachment, making 10 out of 23. Rep. Amash said, “The ball is in our court, Congress.”
  109. Late Wednesday, Trump tweeted, “How do you impeach a Republican President for a crime that was committed by the Democrats? WITCH-HUNT!”
  110. On Thursday, in a series of tweets, Trump attacked Mueller referencing “the Greatest Presidential Harassment in history,” and falsely claiming Mueller spent “$40,000,000 over two dark years.”
  111. Trump also accused Mueller of having a personal vendetta against him, calling him “highly conflicted” and said he “would have brought charges, if he had ANYTHING, but there were no charges to bring!”
  112. Trump also tweeted: “Russia, Russia, Russia! That’s all you heard at the beginning of this Witch Hunt Hoax,” adding, “now Russia has disappeared because I had nothing to do with Russia helping me to get elected.”
  113. In an earlier version of the tweet that was deleted, Trump said, “I had nothing to do with Russia helping me to get elected.” This was his first public acknowledgment that Russia interfered expressly to help him.
  114. Trump also tweeted, “So now the Dems and their partner, the Fake News Media, say he fought back against this phony crime that didn’t exist,” and “Could this be Obstruction? No, Mueller didn’t find Obstruction either.”
  115. A half-hour later, Trump told reporters, “No, Russia did not help me get elected,”adding “You know who got me elected? I got me elected. Russia didn’t help me at all. Russia, if anything, I think, helped the other side.”
  116. Trump also told reporters that Mueller was “totally conflicted” and “a true never-Trumper,” adding, “Robert Mueller should have never been chosen” by former deputy attorney general Rod Rosenstein.
  117. Trump said Mueller was “totally conflicted” because he had discussions about the position of FBI director, and is friendly with James Comey. “He loves Comey. Whether it’s love or a deep like, he was conflicted.”
  118. Trump also cited an unidentified “business dispute” with Mueller. It has been previously reported that the White House alleges a dispute over membership fees at Trump National Golf Club in Northern Virginia.
  119. Trump said of Democrats advocating for impeachment, “It’s a dirty, filthy, disgusting word, and it has nothing to do with me,” adding, “There was no high crime, and there was no misdemeanor.”
  120. Afterwards, Trump tweeted, “Robert Mueller came to the Oval Office…seeking to be named the Director of the FBI,” and “I told him NO. The next day he was named Special Counsel — A total Conflict of Interest.”
  121. Trump’s use of “Russia, Russia, Russia” was widely mocked and referenced by Dictionary.com, which tweeted, “Palilogy is a word that describes the technique of repeating a word or phrase for emphasis.”
  122. CNN fact-checked Trump’s morning statements and tweets and found 21 lies and falsehoods about the Russia investigation, Mueller’s findings, the cost of the probe, and the legal restrictions that Mueller faced.
  123. As of Thursday evening, 50 House members were in favor of starting an impeachment inquiry of Trump, including five committee chairs, 11 members of the House Judiciary Committee, and one Republican.
  124. On Thursday, a Republican group, the Republicans for the Rule of Law, said it would hand-deliver copies of the Mueller report to every Republican member of Congress with sections highlighted.
  125. On Friday, “CBS This Morning” aired Barr’s first network interview. The interview was taped Thursday from Alaska the day after Mueller spoke publicly. Barr appeared in casual attire by a fireplace.
  126. Barr countered Mueller’s public statement, saying, “The opinion says you cannot indict a president while he is in office,” but added Mueller “could’ve reached a decision as to whether it was criminal activity.”
  127. Barr said Mueller “had his reasons for not doing it, which he explained and I am not going to, you know, argue about those reasons,” but added he and Rosenstein “felt it was necessary” for them to make a decision on the issue.
  128. Barr also said he did not understand what Mueller meant when he seemed to refer the investigation to Congress, saying, “The Department of Justice doesn’t use our powers of investigating crimes as an adjunct to Congress.”
  129. When asked about his reputation, “You’re now someone who’s accused of protecting the president, enabling the president, lying to Congress,” Barr responded, “I don’t care about my legacy,” adding,“I’ll be dead.”
  130. Barr added, “we live in a crazy, hyperpartisan period of time,” saying he would be “attacked because nowadays people don’t care about the merits or the substance, they only care about who it helps.”
  131. Barr also criticized the media for allegedly ignoring surveillance of the Trump campaign, saying, “Normally the media would be interested in letting the sunshine in and finding out what the truth is.”
  132. As of Friday, 55 House members were in favor of starting an impeachment inquiry, including 13 of the 24members of the House Judiciary Committee.
  133. On Thursday, just before the Supreme Court was set to rule likely in favor of adding a new citizenship question to the 2020 census, new evidence was found in the files of GOP redistricting strategist Thomas Hofeller.
  134. Hofeller, who was known as the “Michelangelo of gerrymandering, the architect of partisan political maps” died last summer. His estranged daughter found the files while sorting through his personal effects.
  135. Hofeller urged Mark Neuman, his friend for decades and part of Trump’s transition team, to consider the census question. Neuman later became an informal adviser on census issues to Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross.
  136. Files cited his 2015 study which found adding a citizenship question would allow Republicans to draft even more extreme gerrymandered maps to give a structural advantage to ‘Republicans and Non-Hispanic Whites.’
  137. Hofeller wrote a key part of the DOJ letter claiming the question was needed to enforce the 1965 Voting Rights Act, the rationale used by the regime for adding the question. The regime hid Hofeller’s involvement.
  138. The documents were included in a federal court filing on Thursday by opponents of the question, and represent the clearest evidence to date that the Trump regime added the question to advance Republican interests.
  139. The filing also sought sanctions against the defendants in the lawsuit, led by Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross, who were accused of misrepresentations “on the central issues of this case.”
  140. On Friday, the NYT Editorial Board said in an op-ed that the Trump regime lied about the census, calling on the Supreme Court to see these actions as “a blatant attempt to rig a constitutional mandate.”
  141. On Wednesday, the Miami Herald reported federal prosecutors in Washington D.C. subpoenaed Trump’s Mar-a-Lago and Trump Victory, a political fundraising committee, for records relating to donor Cindy Yang.
  142. Yang has drawn scrutiny for allegedly trying to sell Chinese citizens access to the Trump regime. Bing Bing Peranio and several others who had donated to Trump were also named in the subpoenas.
  143. Prosecutors also sought information on at least eight Trump-related events that Yang advertised to Chinese clients, including five that gave proceeds to Trump Victory for Trump’s re-election.
  144. On Thursday, Judge Amy Berman Jackson certified that the federal government now owns condo 43G in Trump Tower, which was seized from Paul Manafort as part of the Mueller probe.
  145. On Thursday, late in the day, Trump said he would impose a 5% tariff on Mexican imports beginning June 10 unless Mexico stopped the flow of illegal immigrants coming to the U.S. border.
  146. The White House added tariffs would increase to 10% on July 1, then an additional 5% on the first day of each month, reaching 25% “until Mexico substantially stops the illegal inflow of aliens coming through its territory.”
  147. The White House cited the 1977 International Emergency Economic Powers which gives Trump power to impose tariffs on countries if he cites a “national emergency,” as he did months ago for the southern border.
  148. WAPO reported White House officials were caught off guard by the announcement which seemed to escalateon Thursday afternoon, after Trump’s morning storm on Mueller.
  149. Some aides tried to talk Trump out of imposing tariffs, saying it would undermine passage of the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA) trade deal, which was just sent to Congress.
  150. Republican senators also warned Trump Mexico tariffs could blow up the USMCA trade deal. Sens. Chuck Grassley and Joni Ernst from farm state Iowa expressed concern about the impact on the agriculture community.
  151. In a harsh letter late Thursday, Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador told Trump “social problems can’t be resolved through taxes or coercive measures,” adding, “The statue of liberty is not an empty symbol.”
  152. On Thursday, Costco’s chief financial officer said the retailer is starting to see the effect of Trump’s trade war with China, as consumers are beginning to see higher prices for goods like furniture, bikes, and luggage.
  153. On Friday, Trump brushed back criticism, tweeting: “In order not to pay Tariffs, if they start rising, companies will leave Mexico,” adding Mexico has taken “30 percent of our Auto Industry…come back home to the USA.”
  154. Trump tweeted tariffs are about “stopping drugs as well as illegals!” adding, “90 percent of the Drugs” come from Mexico and our southern border, and “80,000 people died last year, 1,000,000 people ruined.”
  155. CNBC reported Treasury Secretary Mnuchin and top trade advisor Robert Lighthizer opposed Trump’s surprise move to impose tariffs — it was pushed by Stephen Miller as a way to counter the surge in border crossings.
  156. On Friday, the Dow dropped more than 350 points, with shares of the Big three auto makers, railroads, and consumer goods companies dropping sharply. Mexico is one of the U.S.’s largest trading partners.
  157. On Friday, CNBC reported business groups, including the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, are considering legal options, including suing the White House over Trump’s new tariffs.
  158. On Friday, Fox News host Tucker Carlson advocated for Trump’s tariffs, saying, “When the United States is attacked by a hostile foreign power, it must strike back. And make no mistake, Mexico is a hostile foreign power.”
  159. On Friday, Trump said in a proclamation that the regime would end India’s special trade treatment, removing the country’s designation as a beneficiary developing country.
  160. On Friday, the deadline for Judge Emmett Sullivan’s order related to Michael Flynn, the DOJ turned over a voice mail recording, but failed to comply with turning over recordings of his calls with Russian officials.
  161. The DOJ cited as rationale that it did not rely on the recordings to establish Flynn’s guilt or in his sentencing. The DOJ also failed to release unredacted portions of the Mueller report related to Flynn as ordered.
  162. Sullivan had ordered that the materials be made public, including transcripts and recording of any conversations Flynn has with Russian officials, including his December 2016 conversation with Russian ambassador Sergey Kislyak.
  163. Prosecutors provided only one item, a transcript of a November 2017 call between Trump attorney John Dowd and Flynn attorney Rob Kelner, much of which was already made public in the Mueller report.
  164. Dowd possibly obstructed justice saying, “I understand your situation, but let me see if I can’t state it in starker terms,” adding, if “there’s information that implicates the President, then we’ve got a national security issue.”
  165. On Friday, in the criminal case against Flynn’s former business partner Bijan Rafiekian, a memo that was part of the Mueller probe revealed Flynn’s Turkish client complained about Trump’s stance during the campaign.
  166. Ekim Alptekin, a Turkish businessman, paid Flynn $500,000 to advance Turkish government interests. The October 2016 memo says, “Start a strategic outreach campaign for the next President…regardless of party.”
  167. The memo also indicated that part of the work was investigating alleged financial ties between schools and supporters of Gulen, a cleric the Turkey wanted the U.S. to extradite, and Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton.
  168. On Monday, Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz was ousted by parliament in a no-confidence vote, making the center-right politician the shortest-serving chancellor since 1945 with just 525 days in office.
  169. The ousting comes after Austria’s vice chancellor resigned in Week 131 after a video emerged showing him offering government contracts to a purported Russian investor in exchange for campaign donations.
  170. On Wednesday, Boris Johnson, the leading candidate to succeed Theresa May as British Prime Minister, was ordered to appear in court to face summons on three counts of misconduct relating to alleged Brexit lies.
  171. On Wednesday, Israel’s Parliament voted to dissolve itself. The country will hold an unprecedented second election after Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu failed to form a governing coalition.
  172. On Wednesday, Lt. Gen. Robert Ashley, the director of the Defense Intelligence Agency, said in speech that Russia is “probably” not adhering to an international treaty banning nuclear weapons testing.
  173. Russia rebuked the accusation with Konstantin Kosachev, head of the foreign relations, saying, “Unfounded accusations from the mouths of the Americans have already become an absurd norm in international affairs.”
  174. On Thursday, South Korean newspaper Chosun Ilbo reported North Korea executed Kim Hyok Chol, North Korea’s special envoy to the U.S., along with three other foreign ministry officials over the failed Hanoi summit.
  175. Another official, Kim Jong Un’s top deputy, Kim Yong Chol, was sentenced to hard labor. The five were accused of spying for the U.S. for “poorly reporting on the negotiations without properly grasping U.S. intentions.”
  176. On Friday, Secretary of State Pompeo told reporters in Germany, “We’ve seen the reporting…We’re doing our best to check it out.” On May 5, Pompeo smirked when asked about the execution on ABC’s “This Week.”
  177. On Friday, Bloomberg reported that Trump is expected to face thousands of protestors when he visits the U.K. next week. Protestors are also planning to fly another giant balloon depicting Trump as an orange baby.
  178. On Friday, speaking to British tabloid The Sun, Trump said he was surprised Meghan Markle, Duchess of Sussex, called him “divisive” and “misogynistic” in 2016, saying, “I didn’t know that she was nasty.”
  179. On Friday, Trump ally Alan Dershowitz said in an op-ed that the Supreme Court could overrule impeachmentif the House were to impeach Trump despite his not having committed “high crimes and misdemeanors.”
  180. On Saturday, Speaker Pelosi spoke at the California Democratic Party convention in San Francisco. A person in the crowd shouted, “Impeach!,” which soon became dozens shouting, then close to a hundred chanting.
  181. Pelosi said Congress would continue to aggressively investigate Trump and his regime, saying, “What is the president covering up?” adding, “We must investigate the president’s welcoming of the assault on our democracy.”
  182. Pelosi added, “Mueller warned us in the starkest terms that there was an attack on our election and an attack on our democracy,” questioning, “Why won’t the president defend us from this attack?
  183. On Saturday, beginning in the evening and ending on Sunday, New Neighborhood, Slightly Altered States, and other arts and media companies hosted a public reading of the Mueller report in Queens, NY.

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Special Counsel Robert Mueller makes a statement about the Russia investigation in his first public appearance on May 29, 2019 at the Justice Department in Washington, DC.

POLITIKS OF GRAFFITI 133: “ALARMING POWERS”

MAY 25, 2019

Week 132

Experts in authoritarianism advise to keep a list of things
subtly changing around you, so you’ll remember. https://theweeklylist.org/weekly-list/week-132/
IMG_8126
“IMPEACH” sticker in Times Square, NYC. 23may19.

This week the first Republican, Rep. Justin Amash, came out for impeaching Trump. While Trump allies sought to attack and punish Amash to avoid further defections, momentum grew among the House Democratic caucus for impeachment hearings. Feeling the pressure Speaker Nancy Pelosi defended staying focused on policy, but directly attacked Trump for a “cover-up,” leading Trump to storm out of a scheduled meeting with Democratic leaders, saying he refused to work with them until they stop investigating him. The two leaders publicly battled, as altered videos of Pelosi appeared online, a redux of false attacks on Hillary Clinton’s mental acumen used in 2016.

In authoritarian-type moves, Trump granted his attorney general alarming powers to investigate the investigators. Trump bypassed Congress, invoking a national emergency again to sell weapons to Saudi Arabia, and “joked” about serving up to five terms in office. Trump continued to stonewall House oversight as Trump prevented Don McGahn from testifying, and appealed rulings thwarting his efforts to block the release of financial documents from Mazars USA and Deutsche Bank.

This week the war on women’s reproductive rights continued, while the regime quietly stripped protections from the LGBTQ community. A sixth immigrant was reported to have died in U.S. government custody in the last eight months — this, the second death hidden by the Trump regime until uncovered by the press. Speaker Pelosi noted in ten years not a single child died in custody at the border.

IMG_8165
A sticker depicting the TREASONOUS relationship between 45 and Saudi Arabia. New York City. 22may19.
IMG_8135
ILLEGITIMATE. Sticker in New York City. 22may19.
IMG_8142
Flag flying outside of a Firehouse in NYC. A solemn reminder of the courage and sacrifice of many, protecting a country which is being sold to the highest bidder by an incompetent con man. 24may19. 
  1. The Times tallied 29 open investigations related to Trump, including ten federal criminal investigations, eight state and local investigations, and 11 Congressional investigations.
  2. On Saturday, Michigan Rep. Justin Amash became the first Republican to say Trump committed impeachable offenses, and that Attorney General William Barr “deliberately misrepresented” the Mueller report.
  3. In a series of tweets, Amash said: “Contrary to Barr’s portrayal, Mueller’s report reveals that President Trump engaged in specific actions and a pattern of behavior that meet the threshold for impeachment.”
  4. Amash tweeted, “Few members of Congress” read Mueller’s report, and “America’s institutions depend on officials to uphold both the rules and spirit of our constitutional system” even when “personally inconvenient.”
  5. On Saturday, Republican National Committee Chairwoman Ronna McDaniel slammed Amash for “parroting the Democrats’ talking points on Russia,” and subtly threatened a primary challenge in 2020.
  6. On Sunday, Trump attacked Rep. Amash, tweeting: “Never a fan of @justinamash,” calling him “a total lightweight” and “a loser who sadly plays right into our opponents hands!”
  7. Trump also tweeted, “If he actually read the biased Mueller Report, “composed” by 18 Angry Dems who hated Trump” he would find “NO COLLUSION and, ultimately, NO OBSTRUCTION.”
  8. On Sunday, Michigan state Rep. Jim Lower said he would primary Amash, saying in a statement, “I am a Pro-Trump, Pro-Life, Pro-Jobs, Pro-2nd Amendment, Pro-Family Values Republican.”
  9. House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy accused Amash of being a closet Democrat, while the WAPO Editorial Board celebrated him, saying, “Could this be … a Republican with backbone?”
  10. On Monday, Amash doubled down, saying in a 20 tweet thread
    “some of the president’s actions were inherently corrupt,” adding, “Other actions were corrupt — and therefore impeachable.”
  11. On Monday, in an evening vote, the House Freedom Caucus voted to formally condemn Amash, one of its founding members, but stopped short of kicking him out of the group.
  12. On Sunday, House Intelligence Committee Chair Adam Schiff told “Face the Nation” that impeachment hearings could be an “additional tool” to get information, adding the House is “gradually escalating the tactics.”
  13. On Sunday, Guardian reported U.S. prosecutors will be given open access by Ecuadorian officials to Julian Assange’s possessions during his time living in the Ecuadorian embassy in London.
  14. On Sunday, Trump threatened Iran, tweeting: “If Iran wants to fight, that will be the official end of Iran. Never threaten the United States again!” It was unclear what prompted the tweet, perhaps Fox News segments.
  15. On Monday, when asked by reporters about Iran, Trump said he had seen “no indication that anything is happening or will happen,” adding, “But if it does it will be met with great force.”
  16. On Wednesday, the Senate Foreign Relations Committee voted to reject a Democratic proposal to requirecongressional approval before Trump can take military action against Iran. Only GOP Sen. Rand Paul voted for it.
  17. On Sunday, NYT reported anti-money-laundering specialists at Deutsche Bank recommended in 2016 and 2017 that multiple transactions involving Trump and Kushner be reported to a federal financial-crimes watchdog.
  18. The transactions, including some by Trump’s foundation, set off computer systems alerts. Staffers prepared suspicious activity reports which should have been sent to the Treasury Department unit policing financial crimes.
  19. At least some transactions involved money flowing back and forth with overseas entities or individuals. Staffers were overruled by executives and the SAR reports were never filed.
  20. Tammy McFadden, an experienced staffer in the bank’s Jacksonville office, said she found money had moved from Kushner Companies to Russian individuals, and wanted to report the transactions. She was later fired.
  21. Typically SAR reports are reviewed by a team of anti-money laundering experts. Instead the reports went to private banking relationship managers in New York who said McFadden’s concerns were unfounded and did not file SARs.
  22. Several anti-money laundering staffers who complained about the processes to the head of the bank’s financial crimes investigations division in Jacksonville were ignored and criticized for having a negative attitude.
  23. On Monday, is a series of five tweets, Trump attacked the Times for its reporting, saying, “The Failing New York Times (it will pass away when I leave office in 6 years),” adding, “keep writing phony stories.”
  24. Trump also tweeted, “When you don’t need or want money, you don’t need or want banks,” adding, “Fake Media only says this to disparage, and always uses unnamed sources (because their sources don’t even exist.)”
  25. Trump also tweeted, “The Mainstream Media has never been as corrupt and deranged as it is today,” adding, “FAKE NEWS is actually the biggest story of all and is the true ENEMY OF THE PEOPLE!
  26. On Monday, Deutsche Bank shares fell nearly 3%, down 5% since the start of the year — hitting a record low amid downgrades.
  27. On Wednesday, Deutsche Bank management said it used faulty software to detect money laundering. The bank nonetheless maintained that no suspicious transactions had been missed as a result.
  28. On Monday, the White House counsel blocked Don McGahn from testifying before the House Judiciary Committee scheduled for Tuesday, citing a Department of Justice opinion.
  29. The 15-page legal opinion argued McGahn cannot be compelled to testify based on past DOJ legal opinionsregarding the president’s close advisers, and his immunity is broader than a claim of executive privilege.
  30. As a private citizen, McGahn was not bound by an Office of Legal Counsel (OLC) memo to refuse to comply with a subpoena, but McGahn’s lawyer, William Burck, said in a letter that McGahn would not testify.
  31. On Monday, Rep. David Cicilline, a member of House Democratic leadership who serves on the Judiciary Committee, said if McGahn does not testify, the panel should open an impeachment inquiry into Trump.
  32. On Monday, WAPO reported Michael Cohen told a House panel at closed-door hearings that Trump lawyer Jay Sekulow instructed him to falsely claim Trump Tower Moscow negotiations ended on January 31, 2016.
  33. Cohen testified in February and March 2019 before the House Intelligence Committee. Sekulow called Cohen’s claim “completely false.” The four lawyers Schiff sent requests to last week cited attorney-client privilege.
  34. On Monday, the House Intelligence Committee voted 12-7 to release Cohen’s testimony. Cohen said Jared and Ivanka’s attorney, Abbe Lowell, also reviewed his testimony and was aware of the “false” statements.
  35. Cohen said, through an intermediary, Lowell reached out to tell Cohen to edit his testimony to distance himself from Ivanka in the Trump Tower Moscow negotiations.
  36. Cohen also said he discussed the possibility of a pardon with Sekulow and Robert Costello, an intermediary for Rudy Giuliani. Costello wrote in an email to Cohen, “Sleep well tonight, you have friend in high places.”
  37. Cohen said in his testimony that Trump had read his written testimony, which was false, before it was provided to Congress, with Sekulow saying the client likes it and that is good.
  38. On Monday, federal judge Amit Mehta ruled Mazars USA, Trump’s accounting firm, must turn over Trump’s financial records to the House Oversight Committee — an early judicial test of Trump’s stonewall tactic.
  39. Mehta wrote, “It is simply not fathomable that a Constitution that grants Congress the power to remove a President for reasons including criminal behavior would deny Congress the power to investigate him for unlawful conduct.”
  40. The judge also drew comparisons to former president James Buchanan, generally considered by historians to be one of the country’s worst leaders, who he said also complained bitterly about “harassing” congressional inquiries.
  41. The judge also denied Trump’s lawyer’s request that he issue a stay of his ruling until the Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia completed its review of the case.
  42. Trump told reporters Monday he would appeal the ruling, saying, “totally the wrong decision by obviously an Obama-appointed judge,” adding it was “crazy” because “this never happened to any other president.”
  43. On Monday, Chair Jerry Nadler told CNN if McGahn does not show, the “first thing we are going to do is hold McGahn in contempt.” Nadler issued a letter to McGahn Monday evening saying he expected him to appear.
  44. On Monday, Politico reported during a closed-door leadership meeting in Speaker Pelosi’s office, Democrats clashed over impeachment, with Pelosi and her allies rejecting the call to move forward for now.
  45. Three leaders, Reps. Cicilline, Jamie Raskin, and Joe Neguse pushed to begin impeachment proceedings. Pelosi and her allies argued the majority of Democrats do not want impeachment.
  46. At a Steering and Policy Committee meeting, Rep. Steve Cohen called for impeachment. Pelosi said, “This isn’t about politics at all. It’s about patriotism. It’s about the strength we need to have to see things through.”
  47. Pelosi and her allies argue anti-Trump fervor is overwhelming messaging on their agenda, and most House members are against it. Also impeaching in the House and acquitting in the Senate would strengthen Trump’s hand.
  48. WAPO reported at least five members of Pelosi’s leadership team are pushing for impeachment, including four on the Judiciary Committee. Nadler met with Pelosi and made the case to start the inquiry.
  49. The Indianapolis Star reported dozens of graduates walked out in protest at a commencement address by Vice President Mike Pence at Taylor University. The school had debated the appropriateness of his appearance.
  50. On Monday, BuzzFeed reported Immigration and Customs Enforcement is detaining 52,398 migrants, a record high. Earlier in May, the average daily population was 46,873.
  51. On Monday, NBC News reported Gregorio Hernandez Vasquez, a 16 year-old from Guatemala, died in Customs and Border Protection custody at the Weslaco Border Patrol Station in south Texas.
  52. Vasquez was diagnosed with the flu the day before, and was unresponsive Monday morning during a welfare check. He is the fifth migrant child to die in U.S. custody since December.
  53. On Wednesday, CBP temporarily closed the migrant facility, saying “a large number” of people in custody were found to have high fevers.
  54. On Wednesday, AP reported the Pentagon will build temporary shelter at the U.S.-Mexican border for at least 7,500 adult migrants in ICE custody, following a request by the Department of Homeland Security. The military will not operate the facilities.
  55. On Wednesday, CBS News reported a 10 year-old girl from El Salvador died in U.S. custody on September 29, 2018. Her death, the sixth known in the past eight months, was not previously reported.
  56. On Thursday, Speaker Pelosi said at a news conference, “It’s important to note that in the 10 years before this, not a single child died in custody at the border. Now, 6 children have died in the last several months.”
  57. On Thursday, BuzzFeed reported the ACLU of Texas sued the U.S. government over the fatal CBP shooting of Claudia Patricia Gómez González, a 20 year-old Guatemalan woman, in May 2018.
  58. On Monday, AL.com reported Alabama Public Television refused to air an episode of the animated series “Arthur” which featured a gay wedding, choosing to re-run an episode in the slot instead.
  59. On Monday, CNN reported Muhlaysia Booker, a transgender woman whose brutal assault was captured on video in April in a possible hate crime, was found dead by the Dallas police after being shot.
  60. On Tuesday, two dozen states, cities, and counties sued the Trump regime over its new rule which would shield health care workers who refuse medical procedures if it violates their “conscience.”
  61. The lawsuit argued the new rule would have dire effects for patients who depend on government assistance, particularly low-income people of color, women, and LGBTQ people
  62. On Wednesday, a HUD proposal would gut protections for transgender people at homeless shelters, allowing taxpayer-funded shelters “to consider a range of factors,” such as religious beliefs, for whom they admit.
  63. On Friday, the Trump regime’s Health and Human Services department moved to revoke transgender health protection by removing “gender identity” as protected under federal laws that prohibit sex discrimination in health care.
  64. The move is the latest in a series targeted at the LGBTQ community, including in the military, housing, and healthcare, and would reverse an Obama-era policy the regime is already not enforcing.
  65. On Wednesday, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin told the House Financial Services Committee the redesign of the $20 bill to add Harriet Tubman, announced in April 2016 by Obama’s Treasury Secretary Jack Lew, will be delayed until 2028.
  66. Trump had said in 2016 of removing his hero Andrew Jackson, “ I think it’s very rough when you take somebody off the bill.” Mnuchin also said, “The $10 and the $50 will come out with new features beforehand.”
  67. CNN reported the U.S. Food and Drug Administration sent a warning letter to Aid Access, a European organization that provide doctor-prescribed abortion pills by mail, to stop deliveries.
  68. On Wednesday, NPR reported that anti-abortion groups, fueled by passage of the Alabama abortion ban, are reconsidering decades-old talking points on exceptions for rape and incest.
  69. In a letter to RNC Chair Ronna Romney McDaniel, one anti-abortion group wrote: “A child conceived in rape is still a child. We don’t blame children for other matters outside their control. Why should we do so here?”
  70. On Friday, a federal judge in Mississippi temporarily blocked a state law which would have banned abortion after six weeks. The same judge had blocked a ban at 15 weeks last November.
  71. On Friday, Missouri Gov. Mike Parson signed legislation banning abortion at eight weeks into law. The Missouri law has an exception for medical emergencies, but not for rape and incest.
  72. On Wednesday, Dayton, Ohio Mayor Nan Whaley warned people to avoid Dayton’s downtown area on Saturday, as the city braced for a rally organized by a group with ties to the Ku Klux Klan.
  73. On Friday, the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston apologized after students from a middle school where the majority are Latino or Black on a field trip were told by a staff member “no food, no drink, no watermelon.”
  74. After reviewing footage of the visit, the museum found other visitors made racist comments to the students. Those identified had their membership revoked or will be banned from visiting.
  75. On Monday, NYT reported Kris Kobach has given the White House a list of 10 demands if he is to become the regime’s “immigration czar,” including a jet on call, weekends off, and becoming secretary of homeland security.
  76. On Tuesday, the Nevada state senate voted to join 14 other states in the National Popular Vote Interstate Compact to pledge their electors to the candidate with the most nationwide popular votes.
  77. The measure now moves to the state’s Democratic governor who has not indicated if he will sign it. Nevada, with its six electoral votes, would bring the total to 195. Once 270 electors are pledged, the compact would kick in.
  78. On Monday, at a campaign rally in Pennsylvania, Trump joked about serving a fifth term: “if things keep going like they’re going — we’ll go and we’ll do what we have to do: we’ll do a three and a four and a five.”
  79. On Monday, the Department of Education’s Office of Inspector General found Secretary Betsy DeVos used her personal email account for “a limited number of emails” — fewer than 100 — from January 2017 to April 2018.
  80. On Tuesday, at a House Financial Services Committee hearing, HUD Secretary Ben Carson confused a question about REO, or “real estate owned,” with the sandwich cookie, Oreo.
  81. After the hearing, Carson tweeted at Rep. Katie Porter who asked the question, “OH, REO! Thanks, @RepKatiePorter. Enjoying a few post-hearing snacks. Sending some your way!” with a photo of the cookies.
  82. On Tuesday, Rachel Maddow reported Wendy Vitter, the controversial judge confirmed in Week 130, was rushed through by Mitch McConnell weeks after her husband alerted him a big investment by Rusal for Kentucky.
  83. On Wednesday, former Secretary of State Rex Tillerson told the House Foreign Affairs Committee that Russian President Vladimir Putin out-prepared Trump in a key meeting in Hamburg, Germany in 2017.
  84. Tillerson said what was supposed to be a exchange of pleasantries ballooned into a two-hour-plus meeting spanning the globe. A committee aide recounted that “Putin seized every opportunity to push what he wanted.”
  85. Tillerson also said Jared Kushner that should have consulted more often with State Department colleagues, saying his lack of knowledge of history exposed him to being outmaneuvered.
  86. On Thursday, Trump attacked Tillerson on Twitter, calling him “a man who is “dumb as a rock” and totally ill prepared,” and adding, “I don’t think Putin would agree. Look how the U.S. is doing!”
  87. On Thursday, WAPO reported Trump has repeatedly asked the Army Corps of Engineers to award a border wall contract to a Fisher Industries, a North Dakota construction firm whose CEO is a GOP donor and on Fox News.
  88. On a call made from Air Force One, Trump aggressively pushed Fischer to DHS leaders and the commanding general of the Army Corps. DHS and military officials are reportedly concerned by Trump pushing the company.
  89. Trump called the commanding general to the Oval Office on Thursday and again brought up Fischer first thing. Fischer sued the U.S. government last month after the Army did not accept its bid for part of the wall.
  90. Fischer is building fencing in New Mexico, and their machinery was seen in El Paso, Texas. The company’s CEO Tommy Fischer has gone on conservative media and met with members of Congress to push their services.
  91. Jared Kushner has also been pushing for Fischer. An aide said Trump was told the company was cheaper than others and could build the wall faster, and that he frequently sees Fischer on Fox News.
  92. On Tuesday, Trump’s attorney filed a notice of appeal for federal judge Mehta’s ruling on Mazars. The case will be heard by Merrick Garland, the chief judge at the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals.
  93. On Tuesday, ABC News reported Democrats on the House Judiciary are pushing back on a DOJ offer to have Mueller give a public opening statement and then answer committee questions behind closed door.
  94. Reportedly, Mueller is seek guidance from the DOJ’s Office of Legal Counsel to advice on what he can and cannot say. The House Intelligence Committee is also in talks with the DOJ to have Mueller testify.
  95. On Tuesday, CNN reported sources on Mueller’s team say he is hesitant to testify to Congress — not wanting to seem political. Mueller has been seen arriving at work every morning since submitting his report.
  96. On Tuesday, the New York state assembly passed a double loophole bill, allowing the state to prosecutepeople pardoned by Trump. The bill now moves to Democratic Gov. Andrew Cuomo, who is expected to sign.
  97. On Wednesday, the New York state assembly passed a bill giving Congress the right to ask for Trump’s and his organization’s state tax returns. The bill is expected to be signed into law by Gov. Cuomo.
  98. On Tuesday, the House Judiciary Committee issued subpoenas to former White House communications director Hope Hicks and to Don McGahn’s former chief of staff, Annie Donaldson.
  99. The subpoenas called for Hicks and Donaldson to produce requested documents by June 4, and for Hicks to testify June 19 and for Donaldson to appear for a deposition on June 24.
  100. On Tuesday, WAPO reported a confidential 10-page draft memo prepared last fall by the Internal Revenue Service said Trump’s tax returns must be given to Congress unless he invokes executive privilege.
  101. The memo states disclosure to the House “is mandatory, requiring the Secretary to disclose returns, and return information, requested,” and exposed a break from the Treasury Department which refused to reply.
  102. The memo states the law “does not allow the Secretary to exercise discretion in disclosing the information provided the statutory conditions are met,” contradicting Secretary Mnuchin.
  103. On Tuesday, a Quinnipiac Poll found Trump’s approval at 38%, while 57% disapprove, for a net approval of -19. That is down from May 2, when Trump’s approval was 41% and 55% disapprove, for a net approval of -14.
  104. Going into the 2020 election, 54% said that they “definitely” will not vote to re-elect Trump, historically strong opposition.
  105. On Wednesday, a Monmouth University survey found 60% say Trump should not be re-elected in 2020, while 37% said he should. Trump’s approval with Republicans remains high at 86%.
  106. On Wednesday, Chair Schiff said he would not enforce a subpoena against Attorney General Barr, after the House Intelligence Committee and DOJ reached an 11th hour deal on Mueller report materials.
  107. Under the deal, the DOJ will supply redacted material and underlying information, but in a staged manner. Schiff said the subpoena “will remain in effect and will be enforced” until materials are provided.
  108. On Wednesday, after a meeting with her caucus, Speaker Pelosi said Trump is engaged in a “cover-up,” adding, “we do believe that it’s important to follow the facts. We believe that no one is above the law.”
  109. Nearly a dozen out of the 24 Democrats on the House Judiciary Committee voiced support for opening an impeachment inquiry. Other Democrats have come out in recent days to publicly voice their support.
  110. On Wednesday, Trump abruptly stormed out of a scheduled meeting with Democratic congressional leadersto discuss advancing legislation after three minutes, and marched to the Rose Garden to address reporters.
  111. Trump had walked into the Cabinet Room, shaken, did not shake Speaker Pelosi and Minority Leader Chuck Schumer’s hands, and said “Speaker Pelosi said something terrible today and accused me of a cover-up.”
  112. Trump blasted Democrats, telling reporters, “Instead of walking in happily to a meeting, I walk in to look at people who said I was doing a cover-up,” adding, “I don’t do cover-ups.”
  113. Trump also said he cannot work on infrastructure “under these circumstances,” adding, “get these phony investigations over with,” and “we’re going to go down one track at a time.”
  114. Pelosi told reporters Democrats were ready to give Trump a signature accomplishment but “for some reason, maybe it was lack of confidence on his part…he just took a pass,” and, “it makes me wonder why.”
  115. Pelosi also called Trump’s actions an “orchestrated event — almost to an ‘oh, poor baby’ point of view,” and adding the visuals “obviously were planned long before” the meeting.
  116. Pelosi added, “In any event, I pray for the president of the United States, and I pray for the United States of America.” Schumer said “they came up with a very inelegant way to get out” of getting a infrastructure deal done.
  117. Later, at an event for a liberal policy group, Pelosi said, “The fact is, in plain sight in the public domain, this president is obstructing justice and he’s engaged in a cover-up,” adding, “that could be an impeachable offense.”
  118. At the same event, Chair Schiff likened Barr to a “personal attorney” for Trump, saying Barr has the “duplicity of Rudy Giuliani without all the good looks and general likability.”
  119. Later, in a letter to House Democrats, Pelosi accused Trump of throwing a “temper tantrum,” citing Trump’s threat to stop working with Democrats as being concerned only with his own job, not the American people.
  120. On Wednesday, in late night tweets, Trump said of Pelosi’s accusations he has a temper tantrum, “This is not true,” and “I was purposely very polite and calm,” adding, “Can be easily proven. It is all such a lie!”
  121. Trump also tweeted, “Zero is getting done with the Democrats in charge of the House,” adding, “All they want to do is put the Mueller Report behind them and start all over again. No Do-Overs!”
  122. On Wednesday, on the Fox News show “Hannity,” Sen. Lindsey Graham likened the two year investigation led by Special Counsel Mueller as a “political rectal exam.”
  123. On Wednesday, federal judge Edgardo Ramos rejected Trump’s request to halt House subpoenas, saying Deutsche Bank and Capital One may turn over financial documents related to Trump and his businesses.
  124. On Wednesday, NBC News reported nine banks have been subpoenaed by the House Financial Services Committee about their dealing with the Trump Organization. So far two, Wells Fargo and TD Bank, have complied.
  125. Chair Maxine Waters is especially interested in Trump’s business relationship with Russia and other foreign entities. Other banks include Citigroup, Morgan Stanley, Royal Bank of Canada and Toronto-Dominion Bank, and JP Morgan Chase.
  126. On Wednesday, NBC News tabulated that 31 of the 235 House Democrats have called for the start of an impeachment inquiry.
  127. On Wednesday, Sen. Christopher Murphy, a member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, warned Trump may use an obscure loophole in the Arms Export Control Act to sell bombs to Saudi Arabia, circumventing Congress.
  128. Murphy said in a tweet, “Arms control law allows Congress to reject a sale to a foreign country. But Trump would claim the sale constitutes an ‘emergency.’” Sen. Bob Menendez called it “a dangerous precedent.”
  129. On Friday, Trump declared a national emergency, citing tensions with Iran, as a means to bypass Congressional approval and sell over $8 billion of weapons to Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, and Jordan.
  130. The move angered members of both parties. Rep. Mike McCaul, the top Republican on the House Foreign Affairs Committee, said Trump’s move could damage future White House interactions with Congress.
  131. On Wednesday, newly unsealed search warrants revealed Michael Cohen exchanged 230 telephone calls and 950 text messages with Russian oligarch Viktor Vekselberg between November 8, 2016 and July 14, 2017.
  132. On Thursday, on “Fox & Friends,” Donald Jr. slammed Senate Intelligence Committee Chair Richard Burr, saying, “You have one Republican who’s too weak to stand up to the Democrats.”
  133. On Thursday, in a series of tweets, Trump sought to portray Democrats as the obstacle to passing legislation like infrastructure, tweeting, “The Democrats have become known as THE DO NOTHING PARTY!”
  134. Trump also tweeted, “The Democrats are getting nothing done in Congress,” adding, “All of their effort is about a Re-Do of the Mueller Report, which didn’t turn out the way they wanted.”
  135. Trump tweeted he “was extremely calm yesterday,” adding Democrats and “the Fake News Media” made it up and “so many stories about the meeting use the Rage narrative anyway — Fake & Corrupt Press!”
  136. On Thursday, in a closed-door meeting with House Democratic leadership, Speaker Pelosi reportedly said that Trump “wants to be impeached, so he can be exonerated by the Senate.”
  137. On Thursday, at her weekly news conference, Pelosi told reporters Trump wants to be impeached, saying, “The White House is just crying out for impeachment,” adding, “That’s why he flipped yesterday.”
  138. Pelosi also said, “I think what really got to him was these court cases,” citing the Mazars USA and Deutsche Bank rulings going against him, and added “he wants us to be” on a path to impeachment, but we are not.
  139. Pelosi said Trump’s storming out of the meeting was staged, calling him the “master of distraction,”and adding Trump “has a bag of tricks and the White House has a bag of tricks that they save for certain occasions.”
  140. Pelosi said Trump’s behavior, including “obstruction of justice, the things he’s doing, it’s clear. It’s in plain sight…Ignoring subpoenas, obstruction of justice,” adding, “Yes, these could be impeachment offenses.”
  141. Pelosi said she was concerned about Trump, “I pray for the President of the United States,” adding, “I wish that his family or his administration or his staff would have an intervention for the good of the country.”
  142. On Thursday, press secretary Sarah Sanders denied Trump’s walkout was pre-planned, saying he “absolutely” intended to stay for the meeting, and the placards on the Rose Garden podium “had been printed weeks ago.”
  143. On Thursday, during a meeting to support America’s farmers and ranchers in the White House, Trump went off topic and asked aides to step to the microphone and attest to his calm demeanor in the meeting yesterday.
  144. Trump had five members of the regime speak for him, including Kellyanne Conway, who said he was “very calm,” and economic adviser Larry Kudlow, who said “You were very calm” but Speaker Pelosi “lost it.”
  145. Trump also called Speaker Pelosi “crazy Nancy,” and added “she’s lost it.”
  146. The event was supposed to focus on announcing a $16 billion farm aid package to offset losses from Trump’s trade war. Trump falsely claimed the aid was offset by “the billions of dollars the Treasury takes in” from China.
  147. On Thursday, Chair Nadler pushed House colleagues to empower committee chairs with the ability to hold individuals in contempt of Congress without going to the floor for a full House vote.
  148. Nadler cited the change could avoid clogging up the House floor given Trump’s all-out stonewalling of Congressional subpoenas. House Oversight Committee Elijah Cummings supported the proposed change.
  149. A faction of House Democrats are also pushing to invoke Congress’ inherent contempt powers, which have not been used in nearly a century, to allow members to impose fines on those who defy a House subpoena.
  150. On Thursday, Chicago banker Stephen Calk was indicted in Manhattan on a charge that he arranged $16 million in loans to then campaign chair Paul Manafort in an effort to obtain a high-level position in the Trump regime.
  151. Calk made the loans in his position as chairman of Federal Savings Bank in hopes of a cabinet position like Treasury Secretary. If convicted, he could face up to 30 years in prison.
  152. On Thursday, WAPO reported altered videos of Speaker Pelosi’s Wednesday speech, which make her sound as if she is drunk and slurring her words, rapidly spread around social media.
  153. A version of the video posted by the conservative Facebook page Politics WatchDog had over 2 million view by Thursday evening. The origins of the video is unclear, but it also appeared on Twitter, YouTube, and news sites.
  154. Rudy Giuliani tweeted the altered video, along with the comment, “What is wrong with Nancy Pelosi? Her speech pattern is bizarre.” Giuliani later deleted the tweet.
  155. On Thursday, Trump tweeted a heavily edited video of Speaker Pelosi meant to question her mental acuity, writing: “PELOSI STAMMERS THROUGH NEWS CONFERENCE.”
  156. The clip was a segment on Fox News, and included derogatory remarks by commentator Gregg Jarrett GOP operative Ed Rollins, who opined, “I think she is getting worn down….I think she’s very inarticulate.”
  157. On Friday, Trump pinned the tweet to the top of his page. Giuliani told WAPO, “I have been noticing a gradual change in her speech pattern and gestures for sometime,” adding, “I’d like to see original video.”
  158. On Thursday, in a late evening directive, Trump directed the country’s sixteen intelligence agencies to fully cooperate with Barr in his review of the investigation into Russian election interference in 2016.
  159. The directive came hours after Trump was asked at an impromptu press conference, “Who specifically are you accusing of treason?” following his tweet in Week 131 referencing “this was TREASON!”
  160. Trump replied, “If you look at Comey; if you look at McCabe; if you look at probably people higher than that; if you look at Strzok; if you look at his lover, Lisa Page, his wonderful lover — the two lovers, they talked openly.”
  161. In the directive, Trump also delegated significant authority to Barr to declassify intelligence documents as he sees fit, after consulting with intelligence agency heads.
  162. The Times reported Barr wanted more information on what foreign assets the CIA had in Russia in 2016, and what those informants told the agency about how Putin interfered in the 2016 election.
  163. The DOJ confirmed Barr asked Trump to issue the directive to broaden his authority, and also extends to the Departments of Defense, Energy, and Homeland Security. Experts raised red flags about the power given to Barr.
  164. Sarah Sanders said in a statement, the directive will “help ensure that all Americans learn the truth about the events that occurred…during the last presidential election and will restore confidence in our public institutions.”
  165. On Friday, Facebook refused to remove the altered videos, saying instead it would notify users independent fact-checkers had deemed it had been manipulated, and use algorithms to reduce the video’s prominence.
  166. Later Friday, Trump told reporters before departing for Japan that he can “absolutely” work with Speaker Pelosi, and denied knowledge of the fake videos, saying, “I don’t know about the videos.”
  167. On Thursday, federal prosecutors charged Julian Assange with an 18-count indictment for violating the Espionage Act, alleging he unlawfully obtained and disclosed national defense information.
  168. WAPO noted the charges raised new concerns for journalists who publish classified information, and could change the delicate balance in U.S. law between press freedom and government secrecy.
  169. First Amendment advocates expressed concerns that prosecuting Assange could set a dangerous precedent. The DOJ could not point to comparable charges which were successfully prosecuted.
  170. On Thursday, a federal appeals court in Washington, D.C. said it would expedite its review of Trump’s attempt to block Mazars USA from releasing information to the House, with oral arguments starting July 12.
  171. The ruling means the accounting firm will not hand over Trump’s business records to the House Oversight Committee while the case is pending. Since the case is likely to go to the Supreme Court, this likely will take into 2020.
  172. On Saturday, Trump lawyers also secured a deal with the House to delay disclosure of Trump records from Deutsche Bank and Capital One sought by the Intelligence and Financial Services committees.
  173. On Friday, Trump tweeted: “The Dems want a second shot at Bob Mueller, are very unhappy with the No Collusion Report,” adding, “no second chances — must get back to work. So bad for our Country!”
  174. On Friday, former GOP Rep. Tom Coleman wrote in an op-ed published in the Kansas City Star, that based on the finding in the Mueller report Trump and Vice President Mike Pence are illegitimate and should be impeached.
  175. On Thursday, DOJ lawyers argued in a D.C. court that the House cannot sue Trump to stop him from using military funds to build his border wall under his national emergency declaration.
  176. On Friday, a federal judge in California temporarily blocked parts of Trump’s wall from being built, saying the regime is acting illegally by shifting money from other programs without Congressional approval.
  177. U.S. District Judge Haywood S. Gilliam Jr wrote shifting funds when Congress says no “does not square with fundamental separation of powers principles dating back to the earliest days of our Republic.”
  178. On Saturday, Trump tweeted “another activist Obama appointed judge has just ruled against us” on his wall, adding, “This is a ruling against Border Security and in favor of crime, drugs and human trafficking.”
  179. On Saturday, during his visit to Japan, Trump again attacked the Federal Reserve, saying the stock market would be 7,000 to 10,000 higher and growth would have exceeded 3%, “but they wanted to raise interest rates.”
  180. On Saturday, Trump tweeted: “Can’t believe that Rolling Thunder would be given a hard time with permits,” citing the last year of the motorcycle ride due to permit costs, adding, “They love our Country…If I can help, I will!”
  181. The group’s leader said they were still planning to have this year’s ride be their last in Washington. The group has not had any contact with Trump or anyone from the regime.
  182. On Saturday, an estimated 500 to 600 people of all persuasions showed up in Dayton, Ohio to counter-protest a much feared Ku Klux Klan rally. Only nine people showed up for the KKK rally.
  183. On Friday, UK’s Theresa May resigned as prime minister, acknowledging she was unable to steer the country to deliver Brexit. Boris Johnson, a far-right, Trump-like figure is a leading contender to take her spot.
  184. In Australia, in a shocking upset, center-right Prime Minister Scott Morrison won re-election after almost every poll for three years showed him losing. Pundits warned Democrats to watch for same ahead of 2020.

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Deutsche Bank was front and center this week, with reporting the bank failed to report transactions flagged by anti-money laundering specialists. Trump also lost his case to block the House subpoena of Deutsche Bank for his transactions as a bank customer.

POLITIKS OF GRAFFITI 73: “THE GREAT POLITICAL SWINDLE” ~ god SAVE AMERICA

*Unfortunately, for our country, this list, PROVEN, as well as supported by The National Library of Congress, is getting longer and longer every week. 

** In an effort to make it more reader-friendly and easier to digest, I’ve broken it up  most of the way, by inserting a photo (all taken by me,) between every 20 facts.

*** This list is by Amy Siskind and the link to her actual list is highlighted below. PLEASE, if these facts strike a chord and mean something to you, PLEASE share this post. Street Art comes in many forms, but no matter what, it gives a voice to the voiceless. Help us to make their voices heard. Resoundingly. 

Week 72 of this presidency: Experts in authoritarianism advise to keep a list of things subtly changing around you, so you’ll remember.

March 31, 2018 https://medium.com/@Amy_Siskind/week-72-experts-in-authoritarianism-advise-to-keep-a-list-of-things-subtly-changing-around-you-so-15d0c913ef70

In a week some described as relatively quiet on the news front heading into Passover and Easter, Trump continued to seize power. Trump is acting increasingly strident and confident in his — and solely his — abilities and judgment. As Hope Hicks departed and Trump had yet to name her replacement, news stories indicated Trump is considering becoming his own press secretary, as well as possibly his own chief of staff. Trump continues to be scattered legislatively, save his obsession with his border wall, while continuing to strike out at adversaries, this week’s favored target being Amazon.

Trump’s remaining inner-circle continues to be plagued by possible ethics violations and incompetence. With the exit of attorney John Dowd, Trump is without a lead counsel in the Mueller probe, as he also faces threats on a number of other fronts including Stephanie Clifford, the emoluments clause and the unraveling of Cambridge Analytica’s involvement in the US election.

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Venice Beach, California. 25march2018.
  1. In a case brought by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, a federal appeals court rejected the position of Sessions’ DOJ and ruled transgender people are protected by the Civil Rights Act of 1964 that bans workplace discrimination based on sex.
  2. Fake photos of the teens who spoke at March For Our Lives went viral on the far right. One photo showed leader Emma Gonzalez and other leaders ripping up what was photoshopped to be the Constitution.
  3. Rep. Steve King attacked Gonzalez for her Cuban heritage on his Facebook page: “This is how you look when you claim Cuban heritage yet don’t speak Spanish and ignore the fact that your ancestors fled the island.”
  4. Rep. King was excoriated by critics for his post about Emma Gonzalez. His staff responded, “just pointing out the irony of someone wearing a communist flag while advocating for gun control. — Team King”
  5. On Sunday, Trump attorney Jay Sekulow said Joseph DiGenova and his wife Victoria Toensing would not be joining Trump’s legal team in the Mueller probe, citing conflicts of interest.
  6. Having lost lead attorney John Dowd as well last week, this leaves Trump without a traditional criminal defense attorney as Mueller’s team enters a critical phase in its investigation of the Trump campaign’s ties to Russia.
  7. On Sunday, Trump sent two tweets, claiming top lawyers want to represent him and “Fame & fortune will NEVER be turned down by a lawyer, though some are conflicted,” adding “there was NO COLLUSION.”
  8. Trump also tweeted about “the $1.6 Billion given to building and fixing the border wall” in the spending bill. The law says funds can be used only to repair and build previously approved fencing, not to build a new wall.
  9. The law also bars construction on a Texas wildlife preserve that the Trump regime had previously identified as a starting point for work on a new border wall in Week 37.
  10. On Tuesday, WAPO reported that privately, Trump has started pushing the US military to fund construction of his border wall, saying Jim Mattis and congressional leaders could push for the funding citing a “national security” risk.
  11. On Wednesday, Trump tweeted construction of his border wall has begun, and included four photos. This statement false: Trump’s border wall has not been started, and the photos are from a 2009 replacement project.
  12. California’s senators and Democratic colleagues called for a probe into the resignation of San Francisco ICE spokesperson James Schwab, who resigned in Week 70 citing false statements made by the Trump regime.
  13. A new Indiana law requires all doctors to ask every woman seeking treatment for a physical or psychological condition whether she haspreviously had an abortion “in any way connected to the ailment.”
  14. Intercept reported, according to a string of emails and documents obtained through a public records request, ICE uses backend Facebook data to locate and track immigrants that it is working to round up.
  15. According to a directive shared by ICE on Thursday, the Trump regime will abandon a policy of generally releasing pregnant women from immigrant detention, instead deciding on a case-by-case basis.
  16. On Friday, in a big victory for the ACLU, a US District Court judge in Washington DC ruled that the Trump regime cannot block undocumented teens from getting abortions.
  17. On Friday, ABC News reported halfway through the fiscal year (October 1, 2017), the Trump regime has admitted less than a quarter of its proposed refugees ceiling: just 10,548 out of the 45,000.
  18. The regime’s cap of 45,000 is the lowest since the refugee admissions program began in 1975. Obama has set the cap at 110,000 for the fiscal year, and Trump lowered it once taking office.
  19. Under rules proposed by the State Department Friday, nearly all applicants for a visa to the US, an estimated 14.7 million people per year, will be asked to submit their social-media usernames for the past five years.
  20. The proposal covers 20 social media platforms, and includes people wanting to come to the US for business or pleasure, including countries such as Brazil, China, India and Mexico.
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On a t-shirt through the window in an East Village, New York City shop. November 2017.
  1. On Monday the Commerce Department announced that the 2020 US Census will include a question about citizenship. Opponents fear this will lead to inaccurate population counts, affecting the distribution of federal funding and redistricting for House seats.
  2. Career officials at the Census Bureau were critical of the plan to add the question, but Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross decided to include it despite their input. The census has not asked participants about citizenship since 1950.
  3. In a draft of the 2020 US Census released Tuesday, questions regarding categories of sexual orientation and gender identity were removed, sparking outrage from LGBTQ advocacy groups.
  4. Data in census categories — for example race, gender, length of commute — are used by federal agencies make decisions about law enforcement, health care, equal employment opportunities, and more.
  5. Politico reported, based on interviews, public documents, and FEMA records the hurricane response by the Trump regime in Puerto Rico was significantly undersized compared to the response to Hurricane Harvey.
  6. Within 9 days of the storms, FEMA had approved $141.8 million in individual assistance for victims of Harvey, and only $6.2 million for victims of Hurricane Maria.
  7. Also nine days in, the federal government had dispatched 30,000 personnel in the Houston region, compared to only 10,000 at the same point after Maria.
  8. Puerto Rico was strong-armed into using an experimental funding formula to access federal funds for rebuilding. The formula requires that Puerto Rico pay for any excess costs in the rebuilding effort. The funding formula has never been used for a disaster of this scale.
  9. Seattle Post-Intelligencer reported Seattle’s KOMO-TV is now being forced by owner Sinclair Broadcasting to read Sinclair-written scripts warning of the dangers of “one-sided news stories plaguing our country.”
  10. Sinclair has also imposed must-run segments on things like the “Deep State” produced by Sinclair’s Kristine Frazao, who prior worked as a reporter and anchor for the Russian-government funded news network RT.
  11. On Monday, CNN reported Secretary Ryan Zinke told Interior Department staffers that diversity isn’t important. Three high ranking officials in say he said, “I don’t care about diversity,” or “I don’t really think that’s important anymore.”
  12. On Monday, three more contractors in Secretary Ben Carson’s Department of Housing and Urban Development lost their jobs over a widening ethics controversy surrounding Accel Corporation, a private employment agency, and their staffing arrangement with HUD.
  13. After interviewing over 20 insiders and reviewing internal emails NYT reported that HUD appears to be abandoning efforts to enforce fair housing laws.
  14. In Week 69 Carson changed HUD’s mission statement, eliminating the mandate to “build inclusive and sustainable communities free from discrimination.”
  15. Diana Flynn, a top civil rights lawyer in the Justice Department, is resigning and will become the litigation director at Lambda Legal, an LGBTQ advocacy organization which is currently suing to stop Trump’s transgender military ban.
  16. The Trump administration has established an anti-regulation litmus test for judicial appointments, with the hope to weaken what they have labeled the “administrative state.”
  17. WSJ reported Scott Pruitt’s Environmental Protection Agency agreed to test a water-purification system developed by Water-Gen Ltd., an Israeli technology company, at the request of Republican donor and Trump ally, Sheldon Adelson.
  18. The Trump regime picked a new fight with the state of California, as the EPA’s Pruitt reportedly will move to roll back an Obama-era goal to have car makers meet a 54.5 mpg standard by 2025, one of Obama’s signature efforts to fight climate change.
  19. The move would be a victory for carmakers, and could allow them to roll back industry standards worldwide. The move would also be likely to spark a courtroom challenge from California.
  20. HuffPost received a leaked memo from the Office of Public Affairs at Pruitt’s EPA which listed eight approved talking points regarding climate change. The talking points downplay the role humans play in climate change, stating that the toll of human action on the climate is unknown.
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Chelsea, Manhattan, NYC. November 2017.
  1. On Thursday, ABC News reported Pruitt has been living in a DC condo co-owned with his wife by Stephen Hart, CEO of the lobbying firm Williams and Jensen, which represents a roster of fossil fuel companies.
  2. WAPO reported that clients of Hart’s firm include Exxon Mobil Corp. and the major liquefied natural gas exporter Cheniere Energy Inc. Market rate rent in the area run at more than $3,000 for two bedrooms per month.
  3. On Friday, WAPO reported Pruitt is paying just $50 per night for the nights he stays in the condo. According to EPA officials, Pruitt has paid a total of $6,100 to stay in the condo for roughly six months.
  4. ABC News reported that Pruitt’s daughter also stayed in the condo. Justina Fugh, a EPA ethics lawyer, did not know about the arrangement, but said she did not immediately see it as an ethical concern since Pruitt was paying for the room.
  5. On Friday, CNN reported that according to a letter by Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse, Pruitt used his security detail while on non-official business, including trips home to Tulsa, a family vacation to Disneyland, and the Rose Bowl.
  6. According to a July 2014 memo obtained by MSNBC, Rudy Giuliani’s law firm warned Cambridge Analytica foreign citizens could not play “substantive management” roles in the running of US election campaigns.
  7. On Sunday, Sen. Mark Warner told “Meet the Press” that Facebook has not been fully transparent with Congress about the data leak, saying when he questioned the company about Cambridge Analytica they “blew that off.”
  8. Corey Lewandowski said Sunday he never approved contact with Cambridge Analytica while working for Trump, saying, “They pitched me three times, three times I said no.”
  9. On Monday, watchdog group Common Cause filed legal complaints with the FEC and DOJ accusing Cambridge Analytica, SCL Group, Nix, Christopher Wylie, and others of violating US election laws as non-US citizens by participating in the decision-making process of US political campaigns.
  10. Mark Zuckerberg has been called to testify before Congress on April 10 at a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on data privacy, and on April 12 before the House Energy and Commerce Committee.
  11. NYT reported that an employee of Palantir, the data analysis company co-founded by Trump supporter Peter Thiel, was directly involved with Cambridge Analytica and the creation of an app that was used to scrape Facebook users’ data.
  12. Cambridge Analytica whistleblower Christopher Wylie alleged that pro-Brexit campaign Vote Leave engaged in fraud to skirt election spending laws.
  13. In an interview with The Daily Beast Wylie said he didn’t come forward earlier with information about Cambridge Analytica, waiting until long after the US election and Brexit, because he “didn’t fully appreciate the impact.”
  14. A super PAC run by John Bolton was one of the first organizations to use the Facebook data mined by Cambridge Analytica in 2014. The super PAC held a $454,700 contract with the company to gain “behavioral microtargeting with psychographic messaging.”
  15. On Thursday, Bloomberg reported, according to records released to the UK Parliament, Cambridge Analytica gave Bolton’s PAC data harvested from millions of Facebook users. The papers were produced by Wylie.
  16. Emails released show SCL Group discussed with Aggregate IQ, a Canadian company that worked closely with both Cambridge Analytica and SCL, how it could release information on how to target voters in several US states to Bolton’s PAC.
  17. On Sunday, Stephanie Clifford appeared on “60 Minutes,” saying she stayed silent because of fear. She said she was threatened with a lawsuit by Michael Cohen in 2011 after selling her story for $15,000.
  18. Shortly after, she was approached by a stranger in a parking lot who told her, “Leave Trump alone. Forget the story,” adding, of her daughter, “That’s a beautiful little girl, it would be a shame if something happened to her mom.”
  19. The night they met, Clifford said she told Trump, “Someone should take that magazine and spank you with it,” to get him to stop talking about himself. It was a magazine with Trump on the cover, and she claims she spanked him with it, wearing his underwear.
  20. Trevor Potter, former chair of the Federal Election Commission, was also interviewed and compared the case to John Edwards, but said the paying off was worse because it happened right before election day on a hot topic.
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New York City, February 2018.
  1. Potter also said Mueller could look into Clifford’s case as part of his investigation of Cohen, also the middleman for the Trump Organization for negotiations with Russia for a Trump Tower Moscow.
  2. The interview was the highest-rated episode of “60 Minutes” in 10 years, attracting 22 million viewers.
  3. On Monday, Trump was uncharacteristically silent on Clifford’s interview, refraining from sending a single tweet or making any comment.
  4. On Monday, Clifford’s lawyer Michael Avenatti sued Cohen for defamation, saying Cohen defamed Clifford by insinuating she lied about an affair with Trump. The complaint also says the hush agreement is invalid since Trump did not sign it.
  5. Press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders angrily deflected questions about Stephanie Clifford at a press conference on Tuesday, two days after Clifford’s appearance on “60 Minutes.”
  6. On Wednesday, Michael Avenatti filed a motion in a federal court in California seeking to depose Trump and Trump’s lawyer Michael Cohenover the $130,000 payment made to Clifford.
  7. On Wednesday, David Schwartz, the lawyer for Cohen, said in an CNN interview that Cohen did not tell Trump about the hush agreement to pay Clifford $130,000 in 2016.
  8. Avenatti said Schwartz’s comments prove the hush agreement was invalid. Experts say Schwartz’s comments could also result in an ethics complaintagainst Cohen with the New York bar association.
  9. On Monday, Dan Webb, a prominent white-collar-defense lawyer for the firm Winston and Strawn, declined an offer to lead Trump’s legal defensein the Mueller probe.
  10. Trump had also reached out to Tom Buchanan, a DC-based partner of Winston and Strawn, to join his legal team. The firm issued a statement citing “business conflicts” for why the two declined.
  11. Most top-tier lawyers have refused to represent Trump in Mueller’s Russia investigation. Instead, Reuters reports, an assistant DA from Georgia, Andrew Ekonomou, has been elevated on Jay Sekulow’s legal team working on the case.
  12. On Monday, a new CNN poll found Trump’s approval up to 42%, the highest in eleven months. Trump showed improvement from February with Republican voters (80% to 86%) and independents (35% to 41%).
  13. On Monday, NYT reported with Trump’s inner circle thinning, he is increasingly in touch with Rob Porter. Trump has spoken with aides about bringing Porter back, although he knows he probably cannot do so.
  14. On Monday, WSJ reported White House attorneys are examining whethertwo loans, from Apollo and Citigroup, to Kushner’s family business may have violated any criminal laws or federal ethics regulations.
  15. The Office of Government Ethics is investigating after receiving a letter from Rep. Raja Krishnamoorthi, a Democrat on the House Oversight Committee, saying the loans, “raise serious ethical questions that need to be investigated.”
  16. Reps. Elijah Cummings and Krishnamoorthi wrote attorney Don McGahn requesting documents from a White House review into dealings Kushner Cos. had with Citigroup and Apollo Group Management. Jared held meetings in the White House with leaders from both financial groups.
  17. On Monday, Politico reported associates of Trump are concerned about what Rick Gates may reveal to Robert Mueller following last month’s plea deal. One Republican consultant commented, “He saw everything.”
  18. On Tuesday Mueller’s team filed court papers arguing for jail time for Alex van der Zwaan, a lawyer and Dutch citizen who lied about his interactions with Gates and an unidentified person. Van der Zwaan will be the first person to be sentenced in the investigation.
  19. Sen. Ron Wyden requested internal records from the NRA regarding foreign funding received over the past three years. Wyden wants to determine if any foreign funds were used to influence US elections.
  20. On Tuesday, Mueller released documents revealing top Trump campaign official Gates had frequent conversations in September and October 2016 with a person believed to have active links to Russian spy services.
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East Village, New York City. February 2018.
  1. The documents revealed Gates told an associate his contact “was a former Russian Intelligence Officer with the G.R.U.,” the Russian military intelligence agency. In the document, he is known as “Person A.”
  2. The document states communications between Gates and Person A are “pertinent to the investigation.” Sources say Person A is likely Konstantin Kilimnik, Manafort’s right-hand man in Ukraine.
  3. The document is a sentencing memo for Alex van der Zwaan, who worked closed with Gates and Person A to prepare a report used to defend Viktor Yanukovych, and in Week 67 was revealed to have lied to Mueller’s team.
  4. On Friday, VICE reported Congress is looking into an August 2016 flight on a private jet linked to Deripaska which traveled from Moscow to Newark, then flew back to Moscow that same afternoon.
  5. The flight arrived with hours of a meeting in Manhattan between Manafort and Kilimnik. Weeks prior, Manafort had Kilimnik reach out to Deripaska and told him “to extend an offer of ‘private briefings.’”
  6. On Wednesday, NYT reported Dowd broached the idea of Trump pardoning Manafort and Michael Flynn with their attorneys, suggesting Trump’s lawyers were concerned the two would cut a deal in exchange for leniency.
  7. The revelation raises concerns that Dowd, who resigned as Trump’s lead counsel in Week 71, was offering pardons to influence their decisions on whether to plead guilty and cooperate in the Mueller probe.
  8. Dowd’s conversation with Flynn’s attorney took place during the summerof 2017, at a time when a grand jury was hearing evidence against Flynn. His conversation with Manafort’s attorney took place before Manafort was indicted in October.
  9. It is not known if Dowd discussed the pardons with Trump. When contacted by the NYT, Dowd said, “There were no discussions. Period. As far as I know, no discussions.”
  10. On Thursday, The Guardian reported that in 2010 a small group of businessmen, including wealthy supporters of Putin, started working with Trump on plans for a glitzy hotel in Riga, the capital of Latvia.
  11. Talks with Trump’s company were abandoned after Russian Igor Krutoy, who had met with Trump and Ivanka at Trump Tower, was questioned by Latvian authorities as part of a major criminal inquiry. Latvian authorities also reached out to the FBI.
  12. Krutoy has written music for Emin Agalarov, the Russian singer involved with setting up the June 9, 2016 meeting at Trump Tower. Krutoy was also a celebrity representative for Putin’s 2018 election campaign.
  13. On Thursday, Reuters reported Mueller’s team is questioning witnesses about the Trump campaign’s contact with Russians at the Republican National Convention in July 2016 in Cleveland, Ohio.
  14. Witnesses have been asked about a convention-related event attended by both Kislyak and Sessions, and also about why Republican Party platformlanguage hostile to Russia was deleted from a section on Ukraine.
  15. One witness said they were also asked by Mueller’s team about a meeting Sessions had with Kislyak on the sidelines of a campaign speech Trump gave at Washington’s Mayflower Hotel in April 2016.
  16. The government of Ecuador cut off Julian Assange’s internet access after he made a series of tweets stating that the evidence Russia poisoned a former spy and his daughter was “circumstantial.” Assange lives in the London embassy of Ecuador, where he is seeking asylum.
  17. On Friday, Ted Malloch, an American touted as a possible candidate to serve as US ambassador to the EU last year, was detained as he landed at Logan Airport, and issued a subpoena to testify in the Mueller probe.
  18. Malloch is a controversial London-based academic with close ties to Nigel Farage. Guardian reported Malloch was questioned about his involvement in the Trump campaign and instructed lying to the FBI is a felony.
  19. Malloch said the FBI asked about Roger Stone, and whether he had ever visited the Ecuadorian embassy in London where Assange resided. He will appear before Mueller’s grand jury in Washington DC on April 13.
  20. On Friday, Yevgeniy Nikulin, a Russian accused of hacking US technology companies in 2012, was extradited to the Czech Republic. Sessions called the case “deeply troubling behavior once again emanating from Russia.”
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Wynwood, Miami, Florida. December 2017.
  1. The Fulbright-Clinton Public Policy Fellowship has been renamed by the State Department as the Fulbright Public Policy Fellowship. An insider suggested it may have been renamed to escape Trump’s budget cuts.
  2. Seth Rich’s brother has filed a lawsuit accusing right-wing activists Ed Butowsky and Matt Crouch, Crouch’s media company America First Media, and The Washington Times of acting “with reckless disregard for the truth” by perpetuating conspiracy theories.
  3. On Wednesday Trump tweeted that his administration “stands in solidarity” with Orange County, which joined the administration’s lawsuit challenging the “sanctuary state” law, SB 54.
  4. On Wednesday, all 22 female senators wrote in a letter to Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and Minority Leader Chuck Schumer that the Senate must begin to debate anti-harassment legislation.
  5. On Wednesday, a federal judge in Maryland ruled a lawsuit accusing Trump of violating the emoluments clause by refusing to divorce himself from his businesses may proceed.
  6. The judge refused a plea from Sessions’ DOJ to dismiss the lawsuit. A similar lawsuit was dismissed in New York in December, when the judge ruled the watchdog group CREW did not have standing.
  7. On Wednesday, CBS News reported as communication director Hope Hicks prepares to leave the White House, the communication department is filled with chaos and in-fighting.
  8. Staffers are reportedly unsure what to expect “in a lawless White House,” noting Trump thrives on chaos and resents authority, process and order.
  9. Hicks’ last day of work was Wednesday. As Wednesday came to a close, even though Hicks resigned in Week 68, Trump had yet to name an interim communication director.
  10. On Wednesday, Trump hired 22 year-old Disney star Caroline Sunshine to join the White House communications team as a press assistant. Sunshine has no prior relevant experience in communications.
  11. Trump is reportedly being told by outside advisers that the doesn’t need a communications or chief of staff. Trump is frustrated at the management structure in the West Wing, believing it doesn’t suit his freewheeling style.
  12. On Thursday, Bloomberg reported John Kelly is losing some clout in Trump’s White House as he has been out of the decision making process on several occasions recently, including the firing of H.R. McMaster in Week 71.
  13. Kelly is also now rarely on the line when Trump speaks with foreign leaders, including Trump’s recent call with Putin. Aides say recently Kelly is less aware of what’s on Trump’s mind and what he’s planning to do next,
  14. On Wednesday Trump fired Veterans Affairs Secretary David Shulkin and hopes to replace him with the White House doctor Ronny Jackson, a White House physician and rear admiral in the Navy.
  15. Trump announced his nomination via Twitter. Jackson has no experience running a bureaucratic institution, and would inherit an agency with major problems and quickly face crucial, multibillion-dollar decisions.
  16. On an op-ed Wednesday, Shulkin said he was fired so Trump could privatize the VA and turn into a money making operation for his friends, warning they would put their personal agendas in front of the well-being of our veterans.
  17. On Friday, Shulkin told MSNBC he spoken to Trump hours before he was fired, and Trump didn’t mention his imminent firing. Shulkin said he was informed by Kelly of his firing shortly before Trump’s tweet.
  18. Trump had considered “Fox & Friends Weekend” co-host Pete Hegseth for the position of VA Secretary, but reportedly Hegseth, who has had issues in his personal life, did not want to go through the confirmation process.
  19. Defense Secretary James Mattis is finding himself more isolated in the administration after Trump appointed the aggressive hawks John Bolton to national security adviser and Mike Pompeo as Secretary of State.
  20. WAPO reported Trump’s Presidential Personnel Office (PPO), the office responsible for recruiting and vetting thousands of political appointees, ishobbled by inexperience and being short-staffed.
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New York City, February 2108.
  1. PPO is responsible for recruiting and vetting candidates for more than 4,000 jobs, more than 1,200 requiring Senate approval. The office has just 30 employees, less than a third of prior administrations.
  2. Six of the staffers over the age of 35 left shortly after Trump took office.Most staffers are in their 20s and have not relevant experience but worked on the Trump campaign. The PPO floor has become a social hub.
  3. On Monday, the US and 14 European Union members expelled scores of Russian diplomats in response to Russia’s alleged poisoning of a former Russian spy and his daughter in Britain.
  4. Trump ordered the expulsion of 60 Russians, including 12 people identified as Russian intelligence officers who have been stationed at the United Nations, as well as closing the Russian consulate in Seattle.
  5. On Thursday, the Kremlin ordered an equivalent number of expulsions, as well as the closing of the American Consulate in St. Petersburg, Russia’s second-largest city, citing an “anti-Russian campaign” orchestrated by the US and UK.
  6. On Thursday, NBC News reported that when Trump finally signed off on providing US weapons to Ukraine to help in their fight against Russian-backed separatists, Trump told aides not to talk about it publicly.
  7. Reportedly, Trump was concerned speaking about it publicly may agitate Putin. However officials claim in Trump’s phone call to congratulate Putin, he also said, “If you want to have an arms race we can do that, but I’ll win.”
  8. On Friday, Russia released a video of a missile test for ‘Satan 2,’ its new intercontinental ballistic missile. Sputnik claimed the missile is “capable of striking targets both via the North and South Poles.”
  9. On Wednesday, Axios reported that, according to inside sources, Trump is “obsessed with Amazon” and wants “to go after Amazon with antitrust or competition law.”
  10. Amazon’s owner, Jeff Bezos, owns The Washington Post — a media outlet frequently attacked by Trump. Reportedly, Trump’s friends in real estate are also upset about Amazon’s impact on their shopping mall holdings.
  11. On Wednesday, Amazon stock dropped more than 4%, wiping out more than $31 billion in shareholder value, and was down 6% for the week.
  12. On Thursday, Trump tweeted attacks on Amazon: “Unlike others, they pay little or no taxes to state & local governments, use our Postal System as their Delivery Boy,” and “Amazon is doing great damage to tax paying retailers.”
  13. On Saturday, Trump was again tweeting about Amazon, calling the company a “scam” and falsely claiming the post offices loses “Billions of Dollars” because of Amazon.
  14. At a speech at Yale, after joking he wasn’t going to talk about the 2016 election, saying “I’m still in therapy,” Jeb Bush attacked Trump as “Republican in basically name only,” adding he goes home to children who “actually love me.”
  15. Eric and Donald Jr. took to Twitter to fire back at Bush, with Donald Jr. tweeting, Trump learned enough about politics in a few weeks to “dismantle you piece by piece despite it being your life’s work.”
  16. On Thursday, in what was billed as an infrastructure event before a crowd of union builders in Richfield, Ohio, Trump instead turned it into stream of consciousness-type of campaign rally-style speech.
  17. Trump harped on his Mexico wall, while comparing the border to the “demilitarized zone between North and South Korea,” adding “But our own border, we don’t take care of it. Think of it.”
  18. Trump mocked Obama for leaving so many judicial posts vacant, ignoring the Republican-controlled Senate for two years, “When I got in, we had over 100 federal judges that weren’t appointed…Why the hell did he leave that?”
  19. Trump also dismissed the country’s community colleges saying, “We do not know what a ‘community college’ means,” saying “call it vocational and technical,” indicating he didn’t know the difference between the two.
  20. Trump also said the US will end its military presence in Syria “very soon,” contradicting statements by his new SoS Pompeo and his incoming national security John Bolton, who have both said US troops should stay there for the foreseeable future.
  21. Trump also touched on random topics including the firing of Shulkin, North Korea, and complimented the success of his supporter Roseanne Barr’s reboot of her sitcom, “Look at Roseanne — look at her ratings.”
  22. On Friday, Roseanne tweeted, “Trump has freed so many children held in bondage to pimps all over this world. Hundreds each month.” This pro-Trump conspiracy theory originated with QAnon, a user on the anonymous message board 4chan.
  23. On Thursday, Andrew McCabe set up a GoFundMe page to raise money for his legal fees. In the first 24 hours, McCabe raised close to half a million dollars.
  24. On Thursday, Sessions rebuffed a call by Republicans to appoint a second special counsel to look into the FBI’s handling of its most high profile probes, saying such appointments occur only in “extraordinary circumstances.”
  25. Sessions revealed he instead has named US Attorney John Huber to look into these topics, including the DOJ’s and FBI’s actions in 2016 and 2017, and several matters related to Hillary Clinton and her family’s foundation.
  26. On Friday, after apologizing for mocking Parkland student David Hogg, and losing 14 of her show’s sponsors, Fox News host Laura Ingraham announced on her show that she would be taking a break being on-air.
  27. Despite being accused by at least 15 women of sexual misconduct, several of which are currently live cases, Trump issued a proclamation Friday designating April National Sexual Assault Awareness month.
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New York City, February 2018.

POLITIKS OF GRAFFITI 70: DICTATOR (wannabe)

Week 69 of this presidency: Experts in authoritarianism advise to keep a list of things subtly changing around you, so you’ll remember.

March 10, 2018 https://medium.com/@Amy_Siskind/week-69-experts-in-authoritarianism-advise-to-keep-a-list-of-things-subtly-changing-around-you-so-da89823dc88b

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Artist: Tee Wat

This week, Trump acted like a dictator, taking policy matters into his own hands. After praising China’s President Xi for ending term limits, Trump took controversial actions, imposing tariffs and setting up a meeting with Kim Jong-un — both against his party’s positions, and taken after foregoing or ignoring experts’ and allies’ advice.

Amid record turnover, Trump’s inner-circle continues to shrink, which is likely to continue as Trump reportedly tells friends the White House problems come from those around him, not him. With almost one-third of key roles in the executive branch key roles remaining unfilled, and many senior White House roles vacated, increasingly power and control lies in the hands of Trump alone, while the legislative branch remains largely compliant.

Despite Trump’s success in taking back the narrative this week by diverting media attention with the shiny coins of tariffs and a North Korea meeting, trouble lies ahead. This week a new cooperating witness was reported in the intensifying Mueller probe, and the Stormy Daniels story entered potentially dangerous legal territory for Trump and Michael Cohen.

  1. On Saturday, WAPO reported on the air of anxiety and volatility inside the White House as Trump rages. White House officials say these are darkest days in at least half a year, with one adding, “We haven’t bottomed out.”
  2. Retired four-star Army general Barry McCaffrey warned the American people and especially Congress should be alarmed, saying Trump is “starting to wobble in his emotional stability and this is not going to end well.”
  3. On Saturday, CNN obtained a recording of a closed-door campaign fundraiser at Mar-a-Lago that evening. Trump complained that his campaign was still under scrutiny while Hillary’s is not, blaming a “rigged system” that doesn’t have the “right people” in place to fix it.
  4. Trump called the Iraq invasion “the single worst decision ever made,” criticizing George W. Bush, “That was Bush. Another real genius,” as well as US intelligence: “Great intelligence agency there.”
  5. Trump praised China’s President Xi, who in Week 68, did away with term limits, saying “He’s now president for life. President for life,” adding, “I think it’s great. Maybe we’ll have to give that a shot some day.”
  6. On Monday, NY Post reported a New Jersey Transit worker made an announcement on a Manhattan-bound train warning passengers that ICE agents were on board “looking for illegals.” The worker was suspended.
  7. On Monday, fights broke out and police made arrests as white supremacists clashed with protesters ahead of Richard Spencer delivering a speech at Michigan State University to what was reportedly a tiny crowd.
  8. AP reported Trump’s Department of Health and Human Services issued new guidelines and priorities for $260 million of Title X grant applications, giving preference to groups that stress abstinence at the expense of reproductive health organizations.
  9. The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists called it turning “back the clock on women’s health,” and others noted the regime’s continued practice of shifting away from science to unscientific ideologies.
  10. On Thursday, Mississippi legislature passed a ban on abortion after 15 weeks, the nation’s most restrictive abortion bill. The bill will now head to the governor, who has publicly said he will sign it.
  11. Des Moines Register reported the Iowa Senate approved a ban on abortions after a fetal heartbeat is detected. The ban will now move to the state’s House of Representatives where its outcome is uncertain.
  12. Alejandra Pablos, a 32-year-old prominent reproductive justice activist, was detained by ICE while traveling to Phoenix from Virginia this week to check in with immigration officials, necessitated by a DUI three years ago.
  13. Pablos will be held in a detention center outside Tucson until her December court date. The Supreme Court ruled in Week 68 that people being held for deportation are not entitled to a bond hearing.
  14. On Friday, the ACLU filed a class-action suit against the Trump regime, accusing it of broadly separating immigrant families seeking asylum. The lawsuit follows a case in Week 68 of ICE separating a Congolese woman from her 7-year-old daughter.
  15. Trump’s DHS has not announced a formal policy to separate adults seeking asylum from their children, but the regime has said they are considering doing this broadly to discourage asylum seekers from coming to the US.
  16. Dallas Morning News reported that Stacy Bailey, a popular art teacher at Charlotte Anderson Elementary School in Mansfield, was suspended for asking that LGBTQ language be added to school district’s policy.
  17. WAPO reported on a nationwide analysis issued by California’s insurance marketplace which found premiums for ACA health insurance plans could rise by 35–94% around the country in the next three years.
  18. In a Fish and Wildlife Service memorandum quietly issued by the Trump regime last Thursday, the regime said it will now consider elephant trophy imports from Zimbabwe and Zambia on a case-by-case basis.
  19. In South Cumberland Elementary School, 100 miles east of Nashville, amural depicting a lynching was removed from the gymnasium wall after months of calls and emails to the superintendent and the school board.
  20. On Monday, California-based cartoonist Matt Furie, who created Pepe the Frog, sued website Infowars for selling a poster using the character alongside Alex Jones, Trump, Milo Yiannopoulos, and other right-wing figures.
  21. HuffPost reported Ben Carson changed the Department of Housing and Urban Development’s mission statement, deleting a reference to protecting consumers, and removing the mandate to “build inclusive and sustainable communities free from discrimination.”
  22. On Monday, a federal judge declined a request from the state of California to immediately stop enforcement of a key part of the Trump regime’s policy to punish sanctuary cities for protecting undocumented immigrants.
  23. On Tuesday, Jeff Sessions’ Department of Justice sued the state of California and two top state officials for impeding immigration enforcement, citing the Constitution gives the government sweeping authority over immigration.
  24. Sessions’ DOJ claims California is blocking enforcement efforts by DHS. Tuesday evening, Gov. Jerry Brown responded calling the federal lawsuit a political stunt and “SAD!
  25. On Sunday, NYT reported Rex Tillerson’s State Department has yet to spend any of $120 million it was allocated since late 2016 to counter Russia’s efforts to meddle in elections and sow distrust in democracy.
  26. None of the 23 analysts in the State Department’s Global Engagement Center, tasked with countering Moscow’s disinformation, speak Russian. A hiring freeze has hindered bringing on computer experts to track Russian efforts.
  27. Tillerson continues to focus on drastically shrinking the State Department. Last year, the department spent just 79% of the money allocated by Congress, the lowest in 15 years.
  28. Axios reported VA secretary David Shulkin started handling his own media, saying Trump appointees in his agency are conspiring to undermine him. Shulkin also told Politico he has the green light to “purge” his agency.
  29. On Friday, WAPO reported Shulkin has canceled morning meetings with Trump’s political appointees, gathering instead with only aides he trusts. Shulkin has also placed an armed guard outside his office.
  30. William Otis, a Trump pick for a seat on the US Sentencing Commission, the body that sets policy used to punish federal criminals, has called for abolishing the agency and made racially charged comments about crime.
  31. On Tuesday, AP reported John Konkus, a Republican consultant and key aide to Scott Pruitt, was granted permission by the Environmental Protection Agency to make extra money moonlighting for private clientswhose identities are being kept secret.
  32. The letter detailing the arrangement, which was released to Democrats on the House Energy and Commerce Committee, gave Konkus approval to work for at least two clients, whose names were redacted in the letter.
  33. On Tuesday, the US Office of Special Counsel announced Kellyanne Conway had violated the Hatch Act on two cable-TV interviews by “advocating for and against candidates” in last year’s Alabama Senate special election.
  34. OSC special counsel, Henry Kerner, said Conway “impermissibly mixed official government business with political views,” and referred her violation to Trump for “consideration of appropriate disciplinary action.”
  35. On Tuesday, the White House said Conway did not violate the Hatch Act because she “did not advocate for or against the election of any particular candidate,” rather broadly for people who would support Trump’s agenda.
  36. Rep. Elijah Cummings, ranking member on the House Oversight Committee, called on Trump to take disciplinary action. UN ambassadorNikki Haley and social media director Dan Scavino have also received reprimands or warnings on the Hatch Act.
  37. On Tuesday, Gary Cohn resigned as head of the National Economic Council, saying there was no single factor in his decision, but Trump’s choice to impose tariffs seemed to be the final straw.
  38. On Wednesday, ABC News reported John Kelly has terminated or reassigned several White House staffers for issues related to their security clearances, including at least one staffer who worked in the Office of the First Lady.
  39. In an op-ed John Feeley, US ambassador to Panama resigned “because the traditional core values of the US…have been warped and betrayed.” Feeley said he made a private decision to step down after Charlottesville.
  40. On Wednesday, NPR reported that 13 1/2 months in a record-setting 43% of top-level positions in the Trump White House have seen turnover. After two full years, Obama was at 24% and George W. Bush at 33%.
  41. On Tuesday, during Congressional testimony, Secretary of Transportation Elaine Chao admitted that Trump personally killed the Gateway project, a plan for a new tunnel between Manhattan and New Jersey, in Week 60.
  42. On Wednesday, Betsy DeVos visited Parkland high school. One student tweeted, “Betsy Devos came to my school, talked to three people, and pet a dog.” DeVos also held a press conference which lasted only eight minutes.
  43. CNN reported on a Sinclair internal memo, branded an “anchor delivered journalistic responsibility message,” telling local TV stations to decry “fake stories” from national news outlets — echoing Trump’s “fake news” claims.
  44. AP reported the Interior Department plans to spend $139,000 to upgrade three sets of double doors in Secretary Ryan Zinke’s office. Zinke’s spokesperson said he was not aware. The contractor at Conquest Solutions hung up on AP.
  45. On Thursday, White House Director of Legislative Affairs Marc Short declined to provide the details to the House Oversight Committee on how Rob Porter was permitted to work for the White House with an interim security clearance
  46. On Friday, Rep. Cummings, ranking Democrat on the House Oversight Committee, wrote a letter to Trey Gowdy, chair of the committee, asking that a subpoena be issued to force the White House to turn over the security clearance documents.
  47. On Friday, NYT reported EPA chief Pruitt wanted to host public debates challenging climate change science, but Kelly nixed the idea. Pruitt said Trump has expressed enthusiasm for the idea.
  48. WAPO reported the Trump regime’s Domestic Policy Council and the Department of Justice is studying new policy which would allow prosecutors to seek the death penalty for drug dealers.
  49. The regime cites the death penalty as part of their strategy to address the opioid crisis. As per Week 68, Trump has said he admires the Chinese and Filipinos who don’t have drug problem, because “they just kill them.”
  50. On Monday, calling it “Bigger than Watergate,” Trump took to Twitter to blame Obama for launching the Russia probe in order to discredit his campaign “so Crooked H would win.” Trump also tweeted Obama “did NOTHING about Russian meddling.”
  51. On Tuesday, Trump denounced as “wrong” reporting that his White House is in chaos, tweeting it is a “Fake News narrative,” and his White House has “great Energy!” adding “I still have some people that I want to change.”
  52. On Sunday, Axios reported on a grand jury subpoena sent to a witness by Robert Mueller last month seeking all communications sent and receivedwith Carter Page, Corey Lewandowski, Trump, Hope Hicks, Keith Schiller, Michael Cohen, Paul Manafort, Rick Gates, Roger Stone, and Steve Bannon from November 1, 2015 to the present.
  53. Trump launched his campaign 4 1/2 months earlier. On Monday, NBC News reported Sam Nunberg was the witness who received the subpoena. Nunberg spent much of Monday making media appearances.
  54. After telling the media Monday that he would defy a subpoena from Mueller, on Tuesday, Nunberg changed course, telling AP, “I’m going to end up cooperating with them.”
  55. On Friday, Nunberg appeared at the federal courthouse in Washington, DC. Nunberg is the first Trump campaign affiliate to appear in front of a grand jury in the Mueller probe and walk through the main entrance.
  56. On Saturday, after spending six hours in front of the grand jury, Nunberg told ABC News he now believes the Mueller probe is “warranted,” adding “there’s a lot there.”
  57. On Monday, a deep dive on Christopher Steele by Jane Mayer in The New Yorker revealed several previously unreported stories. Mayer says Steele’s life “is sort of a mess at this point, thanks to American politics.”
  58. Initially Steele did not know he was doing research for the Clinton campaign. The campaign in turn didn’t know at the time that Steele had gone to the FBI with his findings, or that the FBI opened an investigation.