Dec18 Wynwood Miami Florida



DECEMBER 22, 2018

Week 110

Experts in authoritarianism advise to keep a list of things
subtly changing around you, so you’ll remember.
“As Syria swings in the balance…” by Miami-based, Colombian artist, Daniel Osorno. Miami. December 2018.
Artist SacSix. New York City. November 2018.

This week Defense Secretary Jim Mattis, thought to be one of the sane and sober voices remaining in the regime, resigned in a public letter rebuking Trump’s treatment of allies and deference to authoritarians. Trump’s abrupt withdrawal of U.S. troops from Syria was the last straw for Mattis, a decision reportedly made on a call with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan the week before. Mattis’ departure elicited bipartisan concern, and placed the country on edge.

This week Trump’s beloved stock market continued to crater, as the markets entered a correction period with Dow Jones Industrial Average’s worst weekly performance in 10 years, and on track for the worst December since the Great Depression. By the week’s end, Trump was privately agitating about firing Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell, in what would be an unprecedented act.

In the final week Congress was in session ahead of the holidays, Trump abruptly changed his position on funding for his wall, bowing to pressure from the likes of commentator Ann Coulter and radio host Rush Limbaugh, precipitating a government shutdown Friday at midnight — the third this year, even as Republicans control the House, Senate, and White House.

Investigations under the Mueller probe and other jurisdictions progressed this week, as every part of Trump’s life is now under investigation. In a remarkable hearing, Judge Emmet Sullivan delayed sentencing for Michael Flynn, after castigating him for his role in working against U.S. interests. A pair of shocking reports made public by the Senate Intelligence Committee detailed Russia’s extensive interfering in the 2016 election in support of Trump, and another report by the Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats indicated Russia was at it again in the 2018 midterms.

  1. Merriam-Webster chose “justice” as the 2018 word of the year, noting the word consistently bubbled into the top lookups on its website for uses such as obstruction of justice, social justice, and the Justice Department.
  2. A survey of more than 110 CEOs done by the Yale School of Management found 75% often had to apologize to international partners for Trump’s “embarrassing diplomatic messages” when traveling abroad for business.
  3. Also, 87% of CEOs agreed Trump’s negotiating style had cost the country the trust of allies. A senior associate dean added that “divisiveness of pitting people against each other…has worn the business community down.”
  4. WAPO reported in Trump’s first 700 days in office, he has made 7,546 false or misleading claims. In the first eight months, he averaged five per day — more recently, in October he averaged 39 per day and in November 29 per day.
  5. On Sunday, CNN noted Trump entities are the focus of at least six investigations, including the Trump campaign, transition team, inaugural committee, administration, foundation, and organization.
  6. On Sunday, Trump attacked SNL over the depiction of him in a sketch, tweeting “A REAL scandal is the one sided coverage, hour by hour, of networks like NBC & Democrat spin machines like Saturday Night Live.”
  7. Trump also tweeted, “Should be tested in courts, can’t be legal? Only defame & belittle! Collusion?” Trump drew rebukes that he was again threatening the Constitution’s First Amendment protection.
  8. On Sunday, Trump also invoked mob slang tweeting, “Michael Cohen only became a ‘Rat’” after the FBI did something “absolutely unthinkable & unheard of” when “they BROKE INTO AN ATTORNEY’S OFFICE!”
  9. Trump also quoted WSJ’s Daniel Henninger, tweeting, “It looks here as though General Flynn’s defenses are incidental to something larger…to figure out if it can find a path to Donald Trump.”
  10. Trump also tweeted about “The Russian Witch Hunt Hoax, started as the “insurance policy” long before I even got elected,” adding, “they are Entrapping people.” This is false: the Mueller probe started in May 2017.
  11. A NBC-WSJ poll found 62% of Americans believe Trump has not been honest and trustworthy about the Mueller probe, up from 56% in August. Just 34% believe he is being honest and trustworthy.
  12. A USA TODAY/Suffolk University Poll found 59% of Americans have “little or no trust” in Trump’s denial that there was collusion in his campaign with Russia, while just 24% have “a lot of trust.”
  13. On Monday, Reuters reported Maria Meza and her children, the mother photographed running with her daughters from tear gas at the U.S.-Mexico border in Week 107, began seeking U.S. asylum.
  14. On Monday, Reps. Nanette Barragán and Jimmy Gomez from the Congressional Hispanic Caucus live-tweeted about migrants’ attempts to apply for asylum, citing long wait times and migrants being ignored.
  15. On Tuesday, a local bank in the suburbs of Cleveland called 911 when Paul McCowns, a Black man, tried to cash his first paycheck. McCowns was asked for two forms of ID, which he provided.
  16. On Wednesday, a New Jersey high school wrestler was forced by referee Alan Maloney to cut off his dreadlocks minutes before his match or forfeit the competition. The wrestler, who is a Black teen, had to cover his hair.
  17. The state’s Interscholastic Athletic Association said in a statement they are recommending Maloney, who is white, not be assigned to referee any more matches until the matter has been thoroughly reviewed.
  18. On Thursday, the Philadelphia Inquirer reported four teen girls dropped letters at non-white homes praising Trump, Pence, and saying “there is now a law against filthy nutheads like you,” along with a death threat.
  19. High school students believe two of the teens who dropped off the letters are the same two youths posing in Ku Klux Klan hoods that circulated on Snapchat on Tuesday, and all are students at Strath Haven High School, in an affluent part of Delaware County.
  20. Detroit Free Press reported a noose was found in a boys’ locker room at Athens High School in Troy on Thursday. After an investigation, the student responsible was found and suspended. The principal called it a “cry for help.”
  21. On Wednesday, a federal judge rejected the Trump regime’s request to dismiss a lawsuit challenging its plan to add a question regarding citizenship to the 2020 census, paving the way for a trial in January.
  22. Financial Times named George Soros the “Person of the Year” for 2018. The editorial board explained the pick“is usually a reflection of their achievements…his selection is also about the values he represents.”
  23. On Thursday, AP reported on the scope of the migrant children program under Trump, decades after the U.S. had stopped institutionalizing kids because large, crowded orphanages were causing lasting trauma.
  24. According to government data, of the 14,300 migrant children in government care, about 5,400 are sleeping in shelters with more than 1,000 other children, and 9,800 are in facilities with 100-plus kids.
  25. When Trump took office, the same federal program had 2,720 migrant children in its care, and most were in shelters with a few dozen kids or in foster programs.
  26. NPR reported nearly 15,000 migrant children are now held in government custody. According to the Department of Health and Human Services, the national network of more than 100 shelters are 92% full.
  27. The largest migrant youth shelter are the tent cities in Tornillo, Texas, set up in a patch of desert. The heated tents can hold up to 3,800, but will require hiring more staff.
  28. On Thursday, Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen testified before the House Judiciary Committee over the death of Jakelin Caal Maquin, a 7-year-old Guatemalan girl.
  29. Rep. Hank Johnson asked Nielsen about the girl’s death, and how many other children had died in the custody of DHS. Nielsen responded, “I’ll get back to you on that figure. I’m not going to guess under oath.”
  30. Nielsen told the committee under the Trump regime’s new “Catch and Return” policy, some migrants will return to Mexico while their immigration proceedings go forward rather than remain in the U.S.
  31. Nielsen said the new policy will apply to both asylum seekers who entered the U.S. legally at border crossings, as well as those apprehended after entering the country illegally.
  32. The incoming Democratic chairs of the House Judiciary Committee and House Homeland Security Committee told Nielsen they would be conducting further oversight when they take over the committees.
  33. On Monday, Fox News host Tucker Carlson defended his comments in Week 109, tweeting, “We spend a lot of time talking about the threat to free speech.” That day, three more sponsors dropped.
  34. Carlson doubled down on his show Monday, saying migrants make our country “poorer and dirtier.” As of Tuesday evening, more than 15 sponsors had dropped from the show.
  35. On Wednesday, Carlson’s show cut to fewer commercial breaks, as advertisers continued to flee. Contributor Alan Dershowitz appeared saying he felt “compelled” to say that he disagreed with Carlson’s comments.
  36. On Tuesday, a panel of judges in the 10th Circuit dismissed 83 ethics complaints against Brett Kavanaugh, citing he is no longer covered by the judiciary’s disciplinary process since he is on the Supreme Court.
  37. Chief justice of the 10th district Timothy Tymkovich refused to recuse himself despite claims that Kavanaugh advocated to get him his position. Tymkovich was on Trump’s short-list of candidates for the Supreme Court.
  38. On Wednesday, a federal judge again ruled against the Trump regime, blocking its new policy that bars asylum for those who cross into the country without authorization.
  39. On Monday, a pair of comprehensive reports made public by the Senate Intelligence Committee revealed Russian teams using social media platforms to influence the 2016 election, and cited efforts are ongoing.
  40. The Russian influence campaign in 2016 was run by Internet Research Agency (IRA). The reports cite an extraordinary effort to target African-Americans on social media in an effort to suppress Democratic voters.
  41. The reports indicated Instagram, owned by Facebook, generated responses on a scale beyond any of the others — with 187 million comments, likes, and other user reactions, more than Twitter and Facebook combined.
  42. The reports also cited that “pro-Bernie Sanders and Jill Stein content” were among the IRA’s go-to themes across other platforms. Throughout her campaign, Stein had called for a conciliatory approach with Russia.
  43. The reports also cited after Trump took office, Russian operatives targeted Robert Mueller, appointed in May 2017, seeking to neutralize what they saw as the biggest threat to Trump remaining in office.
  44. The NAACP called for a week-long boycott of Facebook, saying its business practices and spreading of “disingenuous portrayals of the African American community” should prompt further congressional investigation.
  45. The WAPO Editorial Board noted from the reports’ findings, “the Russia operation is staggering in its scale, precision and deceptiveness,” saying Russia’s support for Trump’s election is “no longer disputable.”
  46. On Tuesday, NYT reported according to Facebook internal documents, as the company raised a privacy wall, it also gave some of the world’s largest technology companies more intrusive access to users’ personal data.
  47. Personal data has become a prized commodity. Facebook allowed Microsoft’s Bing search engine to see the users’ friends without consent, and gave Netflix and Spotify the ability to read users’ private messages.
  48. On Wednesday, the attorney general for the District of Columbia sued Facebook for allowing Cambridge Analytica to gain access to tens of millions users’ information without their permission.
  49. On Friday, Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats delivered a report, which details Russian internet propagandists tried to influence American voters ahead of the 2018 midterms, to the White House.
  50. Coats said that “Russia, and other foreign countries, including China and Iran, conducted influence activities and messaging campaigns” to further their strategic interests here. The report is not yet publicly available.
  51. On Monday, Roger Stone settled a defamation suit brought against him by an exiled Chinese businessman seeking $100 million, admitting to publishing false and misleading statements on InfoWars.
  52. In lieu of money, the agreement requires Stone to run ads in national newspapers, including WSJ, apologizing and admitting he lied, as well as publishing a retraction of the false statements on social media.
  53. On Monday, two former business associates of Michael Flynn, Bijan Rafiekian (aka Bijan Kian) and Kamil Alptekin, were charged in a Virginia court with trying to influence U.S. politicians to extradite a Turkish cleric.
  54. In court papers, Flynn is referred to as “Person A,” although he is not charged in the case, and is instead cooperating with Mueller’s team.
  55. Kian and Alptekin, who lied about the involvement of Turkish government officials in the project, are charged with conspiracy and acting as agents of a foreign government; Alptekin is also accused of making false statements.
  56. Kian, a former official for Trump’s transition team, made a brief appearance in Virginia federal court. Alptekin, a dual Turkish-Dutch citizen living in Istanbul, remains at large.
  57. On Monday, Mueller’s office released notes of Flynn’s interview with FBI agents on January 24, 2017, ahead of his sentencing Tuesday in connection with his guilty plea.
  58. The notes show Flynn made false statements about his communications with Russian ambassador Sergey Kislyak during the transition, and also lied about his ties to Turkey.
  59. On Monday, the GOP led House Intelligence Committee again interviewed James Comey behind closed doors. Transcripts of the interview revealed Comey was asked to defend the FBI’s interview of Michael Flynn.
  60. After, Comey told reporters, “People who know better, including Republican members of this body, have to have the courage to stand up and speak the truth, not be cowed” adding “their silence is shameful.”
  61. On Tuesday, press secretary Sarah Sanders criticized Comey and the FBI, telling reporters at the White House briefing, “the FBI broke standard protocol in the way that they came in and ambushed Gen. Flynn”
  62. On Tuesday, Trump tweeted to Flynn in the morning, “Good luck today in court to General Michael Flynn,” citing “tremendous pressure being put on him,” and adding of the campaign, “There was no Collusion!”
  63. On Tuesday, at an extraordinary sentencing hearing, Judge Emmet Sullivan made clear he was infuriated by Flynn’s conduct, including the suggestion by Flynn and his supporters that he had been duped by the FBI.
  64. Sullivan forced Flynn to admit publicly he knew he was lying to the FBI about conversations related to Russian sanctions, and berated the three-star general for his misdeeds, saying “arguably, you sold your country out.”
  65. Also citing Flynn’s clandestine work for the Turkish government, Sullivan asked a prosecutor with the special counsel’s office whether Flynn could be charged with “treason,” adding, “I’m not hiding my disgust, my disdain.”
  66. Later, Sullivan walked back his treason questions, saying “I’m not suggesting” Flynn committed treason, adding “I was just trying to determine the benefit and the generosity of the government.”
  67. Mueller’s team said Flynn has “provided substantial assistance to the attorneys in the Eastern District of Virginia in obtaining that charging document,” relating to charges against Kian and Alptekin.
  68. Mueller’s team moved to sentence Flynn now because “the vast majority” of his cooperation was complete.Sullivan postponed sentencing for Flynn for 90 days. Flynn left the courtroom to chants of “lock him up!”
  69. On Sunday, Trump attorney Rudy Giuliani told CNN that a letter of intent for Trump Tower Moscow had not been signed: “It was a real estate project. There was a letter of intent to go forward, but no one signed it.”
  70. On Tuesday, CNN obtained a signed copy of the letter of intent dated October 28, 2015 bearing Trump’s signature. The letter opened negotiations for Trump condominiums, a hotel and commercial property.
  71. On Wednesday, when asked about the signed copy, Giuliani changed his story, telling CNN, “I was wrong if I said it. I haven’t seen the quote, but I probably meant to say there was never a deal much less a signed one.”
  72. On Tuesday, the New York attorney general’s office announced the Trump Foundation has agreed to dissolve, following a court decision last month to allow the AG’s lawsuit to move forward.
  73. Attorney General Barbara Underwood accused the foundation of “a shocking pattern of illegality,” and saying it functioned “as little more than a checkbook to serve Mr. Trump’s business and political interests.”
  74. Allen Weisselberg told state investigators of the foundation’s policies, “There’s no policy, just so you understand.” Underwood said the foundation’s remaining $1.75 million will be distributed to other charities.
  75. On Wednesday, Trump complained about his foundation being dissolved in three tweets, saying he is getting “slammed by (Gov. Andrew) Cuomo and the Dems” and that he would “never be treated fairly by these people.”
  76. Trump also attacked the former attorney general “sleazebag AG Eric Schneiderman,” saying he was “ head of New Yorkers for Clinton,” and claimed “the Trump Foundation has done great work.”
  77. A federal judge ruled in favor of BuzzFeed in a lawsuit brought by businessman Aleksej Gubarev, based in Cyprus, who said he and his companies were falsely linked in the Steele dossier to Russia hacking.
  78. Judge Ursula Ungaro ruled that BuzzFeed cannot be found liable for publishing a document that had become the subject of official government conduct, adding BuzzFeed’s article was “fair and true.”
  79. On Wednesday, Oleg Deripaska agreed to cut his stake in Russian steel giant Rusal to below 50% in exchange for the Treasury Department lifting sanctions — a move expected to be closely monitored by the Kremlin.
  80. On Wednesday, the Center for Responsive Politics reported Trump’s 2020 campaign routed money through a secret LLC, used as a shell company to illegally coordinate ad buys with the National Rifle Association.
  81. Trump’s 2020 campaign continued to use the same individuals working for the firms as and make payments through Harris Sikes Media LLC, also at the center of the 2016 campaign’s illegal coordination with the NRA.
  82. National Media, Red Eagle Media Group, and American Media & Advocacy Group — which share staff, resources, and adjacent storefronts in Alexandria, Virginia — are also facing allegations of illegal coordination.
  83. A Trump super PAC, Rebuilding America Now, which in Week 109 was being scrutinized in the Mueller probe,is also alleged to have routed payments through National Media’s affiliates in a campaign coordination scheme.
  84. On Thursday, BuzzFeed reported Russian agents sought sensitive financial information on its enemies through the U.S. Treasury, including backers of Hillary Clinton weeks before the June 9, 2016 Trump Tower meeting.
  85. Officials at the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) said they reported the use of the back channel to Treasury’s counterterrorism unit and security office, and requested an investigation.
  86. FinCEN officials believed the Russian agency making the requests was Rosfinmonitoring, set up by Putin in 2001 and closely tied to Russia’s espionage apparatus. The group started cultivating civil servants in 2015.
  87. On Wednesday, there was a docket entry at the U.S. District Court in Manhattan, which was sealed from public view and place in a vault, and was related to a criminal case against Michael Cohen.
  88. On Wednesday, WSJ reported testimony by Trump in 2000 as part of a regulatory investigation and in 1988for a government-integrity commission revealed he has a deep understanding of campaign-finance laws.
  89. Giuliani has argued that Trump has limited understanding of campaign-finance laws. Experts say his deep understanding could be critical if investigators ever pursue a case over directing hush money payments.
  90. On Wednesday, WAPO reported Mueller asked the House Intelligence Committee last Friday for an official transcript of Roger Stone’s testimony, a sign prosecutors could be moving to charge him with a crime.
  91. This marks the first formal request by Mueller’s team to the committee. Stone denied lying to Congress, telling WAPO, no “reasonable attorney who looks at it would conclude that I committed perjury.”
  92. The special counsel has had an unofficial copy of Stone’s testimony from September 2017 for weeks. Experts say prosecutors cannot bring charges without an original, certified copy of the transcript.
  93. On Wednesday, WSJ reported that William Barr, Trump’s nominee for attorney general, sent an unsolicited 20-page document to the DOJ criticizing aspects of the Mueller probe.
  94. The documents excoriated Mueller’s inquiry into obstruction of justice by Trump, saying it is based on a “fatally misconceived” theory that would cause lasting damage to the presidency and the executive branch.
  95. On Thursday, CNN reported acting Attorney General Matt Whitaker consulted with ethics officials at the DOJ, and has been advised that he does not need to recuse himself from the Mueller probe.
  96. A source said Whitaker has been in ongoing discussions since early November after his appointment. Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein is still managing the Mueller probe on a day-to-day basis.
  97. Hours later, the official who had said ethics officials had advised Whitaker did not need to recuse himselfretracted that description of events.
  98. WAPO reported a senior DOJ ethics official concluded Whitaker should recuse himself from overseeing the Mueller probe. Whitaker never asked DOJ ethics officials for a formal recommendation, nor did he receive one.
  99. Instead, days after being appointed, Whitaker tapped a veteran U.S. attorney to become part of a four-person team of advisers on his new job, including giving guidance on recusal from the Mueller probe.
  100. Whitaker met repeatedly with DOJ ethics officials to discuss the facts and the issues. A senior ethics official told Whitaker’s advisers on Tuesday that it was a “close call” but that Whitaker should recuse himself.
  101. Whitaker’s advisers disagreed, recommending to Whitaker on Wednesday not to recuse, saying there was no precedent. Whitaker ignored the ethic official’s advice, and had it not been leaked, it would not be public.
  102. On Friday, CNN reported Trump has lashed out at Whitaker at least twice in the past few weeks, angered that federal prosecutors referenced him in Michael Cohen’s crimes, starting just weeks into Whitaker taking the job.
  103. The first instance happened when Cohen pleaded guilty to lying to Congress about a proposed Trump Tower project in Moscow, and second when Cohen implicated Trump in the hush-money scheme.
  104. Trump did not ask Whitaker to stop the investigations, but vented at what he felt was an unfair situation. Sources say Trump believes the attorney general should serve as his personal protector, and settle his scores.
  105. On Friday, NBC News reported Mueller is nearing the end of his team’s investigation of Russian election interference, and is expected to submit a confidential report to the attorney general as early as mid-February.
  106. On Monday, in an interview with MSNBC, Sen. Bob Corker would not say if Trump should be primaried, responding “What is happening right now is not the standard Republicanism that we’ve had in our country.”
  107. On Tuesday, Politico reported Trump is planning to launch an unprecedented structure for his 2020 reelection, streamlining the Republican National Committee and his campaign into a single entity.
  108. Trump’s reelection campaign and the RNC will merge their field and fundraising programs into a joint outfit, even sharing office space. Typically reelection campaigns work in tandem with the RNC.
  109. On Wednesday, the Washington Examiner reported the South Carolina Republican Party could cancel its early 2020 primary, usually third in the presidential nominating calendar, in order to protect Trump.
  110. On Wednesday, two more Kansas Republicans, state Sen. Dinah Sykes and Rep. Stephanie Clayton, switched parties to become Democrats.
  111. On Monday, CNBC reported the stock market is on pace for its worst December since the Great Depression, with the Dow Jones Industrial Average and S&P 500 down 7.6% and 7.8%, respectively in December.
  112. On Tuesday, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin downplayed Trump’s promise of a middle class tax cut ahead of the midterms, telling Bloomberg “I’m not going to comment on whether it is a real thing or not a real thing.”
  113. On Tuesday, a federal commission led by Education Secretary Betsy DeVos recommended rescinding Obama-era guidance meant to help reduce the racial disparity in school discipline.
  114. The commission claimed the guidance made schools reluctant to address unruly students or violent incidents, and recommended “partnering with local law enforcement in the training and arming of school personnel.”
  115. According to a report by the Government Accountability Office, the Veterans Affairs Department has spent just $57,000 of the $6.2 million available for suicide prevention outreach in fiscal year 2018 budget.
  116. The report also stated that the VA had identified suicide prevention as its highest clinical priority in 2018: an average of 20 veterans die by suicide per day.
  117. According to a report from the Center for Public Integrity, Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross failed to sell $15,000 in bank shares until October 2018, after signing ethics documents saying he sold the shares in 2017.
  118. CNBC reported Robert and Rebekah Mercer have disappeared from the political donor scene this election and donated less in 2018, after their involvement with Trump had cast them into the public spotlight.
  119. The Palm Beach Post reported after a five-year legal battle over the taxable value of Trump National Golf Club in Jupiter, Florida, Trump will be getting a $10.6 million tax refund for taxes he overpaid.
  120. On Wednesday, Trump abruptly announced his decision to withdraw U.S. troops from Syria, reversing his position in September 2018, shocking people in the U.S. government and around the world.
  121. WAPO reported Trump made the decision on Tuesday, after a small meeting attended only by senior White House aides and the secretaries of defense and state, most of whom, if not all, sharply disagreed with him.
  122. Senior lawmakers from both parties were not informed in advance, nor were close U.S. allies who are members of the U.S.-led coalition against the Islamic State. Defense Secretary Mattis was informed Tuesday night.
  123. Trump canceled a scheduled meeting with Senate Foreign Relations Committee chair Bob Corker in the afternoon, instead communicating via Twitter, sending a video of himself outside the Oval Office.
  124. On Wednesday, TASS reported Russia praised Trump for the withdrawal. A Russian Foreign Ministry Spokesman called it a “milestone story which might evolve from this decision is a real prospect for a political solution.”
  125. AP reported Trump agreed to withdraw troops from Syria on a December 14 call with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, the day after Secretary of State Mike Pompeo spoke with his Turkish counterpart.
  126. Pompeo was notified of Erdogan’s threat to launch a military operation against U.S.-backed Kurdish rebels in northeast Syria, where American forces are based. He then set up the call between the two leaders.
  127. Pompeo, Mattis, and others on the national security team prepared a list of talking points for Trump to use in his phone call, in order to tell Erdogan to back off; but instead Trump ignored the script and sided with Erdogan.
  128. National security advisor John Bolton stressed on the call that victory over the Islamic State had to be enduring, but Trump was not dissuaded, and quickly capitulated by pledging to withdraw, shocking both Bolton and Erdogan.
  129. Erdogan on the call cautioned Trump over a hasty withdrawal. Over the weekend, the national security team raced to come up with a plan that would reverse, delay, or somehow limit effects of the withdrawal.
  130. In addition, officials urged Trump to at least delay the decision to withdraw, in order to give the military and Kurdish forces time to prepare. Trump was unmoved.
  131. On Thursday, Trump attacked an ally for criticizing his plan, tweeting, “So hard to believe that Lindsey Graham would be against saving soldier lives & billions of $$$…Time to focus on our Country & bring our youth” home.
  132. On Thursday, WSJ reported Trump ordered the start of a reduction of American forces in Afghanistan. More than 7,000 troops will begin to return home in the coming weeks out of 14,000 troops stationed there.
  133. The withdrawal coupled with more than 2,000 troops returning from Syria announced Wednesday, mark a dramatic shift in the U.S. approach to military engagement in the region.
  134. On Thursday, according to commentary published by the state-run Korean Central News Agency, North Korea will not denuclearize until the U.S. completely eliminates “the American nuclear threat to North Korea.”
  135. On Thursday, just after 5 p.m., Trump tweeted “General Jim Mattis will be retiring, with distinction, at the end of February,” adding, “A new Secretary of Defense will be named shortly. I greatly thank Jim for his service!”
  136. NYT reported earlier in the day Mattis went to the White House with his resignation letter already written, but made one last attempt to persuade Trump to reverse his decision on pulling out 2,000 troops from Syria.
  137. After Mattis was rebuffed by Trump, he returned to the Pentagon and asked aides to print out 50 copies of his resignation letter and distribute them around the building.
  138. Mattis is the fourth member of Trump’s cabinet to resign or be forced out since the midterm elections, and the third in the last two weeks.
  139. With the resignations of John Kelly and Mattis, the last of Trump’s old-guard national security team, policy will be left in the hands of Pompeo, the second Secretary of State, and Bolton, Trump’s third NSA.
  140. Also notably, with Mattis’ resignation, what Trump once called the array of high-ranking military officers he appointed, “my generals” — including Michael Flynn, H.R. McMaster and John Kelly — are all gone.
  141. Mattis’s resignation letter was the sharpest, and most public rebuke from inside the regime over the Trump’s foreign policy, including rejection of the alliances and partnerships, and tending towards authoritarianism.
  142. In his letter, Mattis did not offer any praise of Trump in the letter, or thank him in any way; rather saying, “I very much appreciate this opportunity to serve the nation and our men and women in uniform.”
  143. Mattis wrote we must be “clear-eyed” about threats from groups such as Islamic State, saying, “We must do everything possible to advance an international order that is most conducive to our security, prosperity and values.”
  144. Mattis also wrote about democratic allies: “our strength as a nation is inextricably linked to the strength ofour unique and comprehensive system of alliances and partnerships.”
  145. And warned we must be “resolute and unambiguous in our approach” to countries like China and Russia, who “want to shape a world consistent with their authoritarian model.”
  146. Mattis wrote, “Because you have the right to have a Secretary of Defense whose views are better aligned with yours on these and other subjects, I believe it is right for me to step down from my position.”
  147. Mattis’ letter triggered a bipartisan chorus of concern, with Sen. Mark Warner saying “This is scary,” Sen. Chris Murphy calling it a “national security crisis,” and Sen. Ben Sasse saying it was “a sad day for America.”
  148. Sen. Marco Rubio tweeted the letter made it abundantly clear “we are headed towards a series of grave policy errors which will endanger our nation, damage our alliances & empower our adversaries.”
  149. Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, who rarely challenges Trump publicly, said in a statement: “We must also maintain a clear-eyed understanding of our friends and foes, and recognize that nations like Russia are among the latter.”
  150. McConnell also said of Trump’s next Defense Secretary, “I urge him to select a leader who shares Secretary Mattis’s understanding of these vital principles and his total commitment to America’s servicemembers.”
  151. Mattis’ departure also left the Pentagon in a state of despair, with one official describing the mood in the building as “eerie, and another official saying “the building is in shock.”
  152. On Sunday, White House senior adviser Stephen Miller told “Face the Nation” that Trump was “absolutely” willing to shut down the government if Congress does not authorize funding for his wall.
  153. On Tuesday, in an abrupt shift, press secretary Sarah Sanders backed off from the threat, telling Fox News, “At the end of the day, we don’t want to shut down the government, we want to shut down the border.”
  154. On Wednesday, the Senate approved a stopgap spending bill. Voting was pushed back to late in the day, and some senators sang Christmas carols in the chamber as they prepared to leave for the holiday break.
  155. On Thursday, Trump again abruptly changed course, informing House Republican leaders he would not sign a short-term funding bill that does not include money for his wall. Some senators flew back to Washington.
  156. Reportedly, Trump was rattled by accusations from conservatives like Rep. Mark Meadows, commentator Ann Coulter, and talk radio host Rush Limbaugh that he was caving on his promised border wall.
  157. Shortly after, Trump tweeted a video clip of him singing in a duet of the theme song to “Green Acres” from the 2006 Emmy awards, saying “Farm Bill signing in 15 minutes! #Emmys #TBT.”
  158. On Friday, in a series of nine morning tweets, Trump warned, “Shutdown today if Democrats do not vote for Border Security!” encouraging Majority Leader Mitch McConnell to “use the Nuclear Option and get it done!”
  159. Shortly after, several Republican senators, including Sens. Orrin Hatch and Lamar Alexander, said that they do not support doing away with the legislative filibuster, known as the Nuclear Option.
  160. The Senate could not get the 60 votes needed to move the House bill forward. Republicans conceded that one of their biggest hurdles was Trump’s unpredictability and proclivity for abruptly changing his mind.
  161. On Friday, in an attempt to claim victory, Trump tweeted he would accept money for a “Steel Slat Barrier” with spikes on the top, which he said would be just as effective as a “wall” and “at the same time beautiful.”
  162. Trump also tweeted a photo from the Oval Office of him saying “some of the many Bills that I am signing in the Oval Office right now.” Upon closer inspection, the piece of paper he is signing in the photo is blank.
  163. On Friday evening, with Trump unwilling to drop his demand for $5 billion of funding for his wall, the House and Senate adjourned with no spending deal. The government partially shut down after midnight.
  164. This marked the third shutdown of 2018, the first time in 40 years the government has been closed three times in a year.
  165. Sen. Lindsey Graham, who this week had been the subject of Trump’s Twitter ire, told Fox News of Democrats and the shutdown, “if he doesn’t break ’em now, it’s going to be a terrible 2019. So Mr. President, dig in.”
  166. A GoFundMe campaign started by Trump supporter Brian Kolfage, a disabled Florida veteran, raised $14 million from donors as of Saturday. The goal of the campaign is to raise $5 billion to fund the wall.
  167. On Friday, the Supreme Court said Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg had undergone surgery to remove two malignant growths in her left lung, discovered during tests after she fractured ribs on November 7.
  168. On Friday, the Supreme Court upheld the block on Trump’s asylum ban, with Chief Justice John Roberts siding with the four liberal justices. NBC News reported Justice Ginsburg voted from her hospital bed.
  169. On Friday, the Dow Jones fell another 400 points, falling nearly 7% and ending its worst week since the financial crisis in 2008. A Fed rate hike, trade tensions with China, and a government shutdown weighed in.
  170. The stock market ended the final week of 2018 on the Dow Jones on brink of a bear market, and the NASDAQ down 22% from its highs. All stock market averages are now posting negative returns for 2018.
  171. On Saturday, Bloomberg reported Trump has discussed firing Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell, following this week’s interest-rate hike. Trump also blames Powell for the stock market losses.
  172. Advisers close to Trump are hoping his anger will dissipate, but reportedly he has repeatedly spoke of firingPowell in private conversations over the past few days.
  173. The Federal Reserve Act states governors may be “removed for cause by the President,” so it is unclear how much authority Trump would have for such an unprecedented challenge to the Fed’s independence.
  174. On Saturday, Brett McGurk, the U.S. envoy to the global coalition fighting the Islamic State group, resigned in protest of Trump’s abrupt decision to withdraw from Syria. McGurk had served in the position since 2015.
  175. On Saturday, Politico reported Trump is facing a dangerous erosion of support among Republicans, following recent moves like backing Saudis in the Khashoggi killing, and his abrupt decision to pull out of Syria.
  176. Rank-and-file Republicans are also concerned that Trump is acting recklessly and hijacking the party, catering only to his base, and making moves like the government shutdown to please hard-liners.
  177. On Saturday, Trump canceled his scheduled flight to Mar-a-Lago, but the Capitol was largely quiet, with no meetings among House and Senate leaders scheduled, and most lawmakers gone for the holidays.
  178. GOP leaders are frustrated by how quickly things unraveled in the past 48 hours. There does not appear to be any deal in sight, or plans from leaders on how to move forward ahead of the holidays.


Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis arrives for a closed intelligence briefing at the U.S. Capitol with members of the House of Representatives December 13, 2018 in Washington, DC. Mattis and U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo briefed House members on the death of Jamal Khashoggi. This week, Mattis resigned in a letter widely viewed as a sharp rebuke of Trump and his foreign policy.


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Wynwood, Miami, FL December 2018

Week 109: Experts in authoritarianism advise to keep a list of things subtly changing around you, so you’ll remember.

December 15, 2018

As I’ve been listing, I’ve always suspected things would crescendo as we were moving towards the end of the Trump era. Week 109 is the longest list so far, with 181 not normal items. Up until now, Trump has never been questioned or countered in his authority, other than in rulings by the Judicial branch. Soon he will be facing Democrats as equals — a House that can hold him accountable — as well as the multiple investigations and lawsuits steaming ahead and expanding in scope. Trump is unprepared and understaffed for what is coming his way starting January. He is going to hate 2019.

This week, confronted by presumptive House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, his first check on power in person, Trump cowered and retreated — ill-prepared for how to face a direct challenge to his previously unequivocal power and authority. The Republicans, in small measure, stood up to him on the slaying of journalist Jamal Khashoggi, condemning Saudi crown prince MBS and approving a resolution to end its military support for the Saudi-led war in Yemen. Trump’s small inner circle is in disarray and shrinking — even replacing the chief of staff role became an arduous task.

This week reporting indicates a possible new phase in the Mueller probe relating to Middle East countries, and their attempts to influence the 2016 election to gain access. Meanwhile, cases against Michael Cohen, Michael Flynn, Paul Manafort, and Maria Butina progressed, bringing the investigations closer to Trump, his campaign, and regime. Also this week there were three bombshell stories on Trump’s inaugural committee, relating to unaccounted monies and pay for play, foreign contributions, and overpaying for the Trump Hotel DC with Ivanka a part of negotiations. As Trump prepares to depart for Mar-a-Lago for a 16 day holiday, new or expanding investigations threaten to engulf every part of his life, including his campaign, regime, family and business — with possible felony charges after his time in office.

Lower East Side, New York City. November 2018
  1. WAPO Fact Checker introduced a new category, the “Bottomless Pinocchio.” The category will apply to politicians who “repeat a false claim so many times that they are, in effect, engaging in campaigns of disinformation.”
  2. To be included, a claim must have received three or four Pinocchios, and have been repeated at least 20 times. So far, 14 statements repeatedly made by Trump qualify for the new category.
  3. TIME named “The Guardians,” journalists who have been targeted for their work, as the 2018 Person of the Year, in what the magazine calls “the War on Truth,” citing the “manipulation and abuse of the truth.”
  4. The journalists included Jamal Khashoggi; journalists at the Capital Gazette; Wa Lone and Kyaw Soe Oo, Reuters journalists arrested in Myanmar; and Maria Resser, CEO of the Philippine news website Rappler.
  5. On Sunday, WAPO reported Trump’s Republican allies are growing concerned that he and his White House have no real plan for dealing with the Russia crisis, as well as a host of problems foreign and domestic.
  6. GOP senators were shaken by revelations that Michael Flynn met with Mueller’s team 19 times, and the extent of the probe. One senator said abreaking point would be if Mueller finds Trump conspired with Russia.
  7. Trump believes he can outsmart his adversaries. The White House isadopting a “shrugged shoulders” strategy for the Mueller findings, with Trump being of the opinion his voters will believe what he tells them to.
  8. While allies have been pushing Trump to bolster his legal team, hiring remains difficult as potential staffers worry about whether they will need to hire a personal lawyer, and express concern about the constant turmoil.
  9. On Sunday, Yahoo News reported in the spring of 2017, Trump tried asking William Barr, whom he appointed to attorney general in Week 108, to spearhead his defense in the Mueller probe. Barr declined.
  10. On Sunday, incoming House Intelligence Committee chair Adam Schiff told “Face the Nation” that Trump may “face the real prospect of jail time” after he leaves office, over directing payments to silence women.
  11. On Sunday, Nick Ayers, thought likely to be John Kelly’s replacement, tweeted that he will not take the position as Trump’s chief of staff and will depart the White House at the end of the year.
  12. On Sunday, Trump downplayed Ayers’ announcement, tweeting, “I am in the process of interviewing some really great people” adding: “Fake News has been saying with certainty it was Nick Ayers…decision soon!”
  13. Names being floated around on Sunday included Office of Management and Budget Director Mick Mulvaney, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer, and Rep. Mark Meadows.
  14. Trump also tweeted, “the Trump Administration has accomplished more than any other U.S. Administration,” adding, “Fake News Media, which has gone totally out of its mind-truly the Enemy of the People!
  15. A viral video showed police officers ripping a one-year old from his mother’s arms at a welfare office in Brooklyn. Jazmine Headley can be heard yelling, “They’re hurting my son! They’re hurting my son!”
  16. Police were called because Headley, who is a Black woman, was sitting on the floor because no chairs were available. She was arrested for trespassing and other charges, and held without bail on Rikers Island.
  17. A viral video showed Julian von Abele, a white Columbia University student, ranting about the superiority of his race and praising Trump to a group of fellow students, a number of whom are black.
  18. Jonathan Hart, a 21 year-old homeless man, was shot by a Walgreens security guard who falsely assumed he was shoplifting. An attorney for the family said in a lawsuit Hart was targeted because he was black and gay.
  19. New York Post reported Nazi-themed posters containing Hitler and swastikas were found scattered across SUNY Purchase’s campus. Governor Andrew Cuomo directed the state police Hate Crimes Unit to investigate.
  20. The Washington DC headquarters of the American Federation of Teachers was defaced, including an outside wall of the building, with a yellow spray-painted message that said “I want Jexit!”
  21. Kentucky Gov. Matt Bevin sought to discredit an investigation of a state government program by Louisville Courier-Journal in partnership with ProPublica, saying the latter is “funded by the likes of George Soros.”
  22. The San Francisco Chronicle reported that from late July through late November ICE arrested 170 potential sponsors coming forward to adopt unaccompanied migrant children — 109 (64%) had no criminal record.
  23. Before Trump, the government typically released unaccompanied migrant children into the custody of a qualified adult without a background check.Migrant children in government custody has surged to 14,700, and rising.
  24. On Monday, about 200 faith leaders gathered at the U.S.-Mexico border on Human Rights Day to send a message to the Trump regime that migrants have a right under international law to seek asylum.
  25. As the faith leaders’ press conference was happening, U.S. officials announced the number of active military troops at the border would go down from 5,400 to about 3,000.
  26. On Tuesday, the Justice Department asked the Supreme Court to restore Trump’s order barring asylum for immigrants who enter the U.S. illegally. In Week 108 the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled against the order.
  27. On Thursday, WAPO reported Jakelin Caal Maquin, a 7-year-old girl from Guatemala, died of dehydration and shock after she was taken into Border Patrol custody last week, after crossing the U.S.-Mexico border illegally.
  28. Maquin and her father were taken into custody as part of a group of 163 people who turned themselves in to U.S. agents. Eight hours later, she had seizures. She “had not eaten or consumed water for several days.”
  29. On Friday, Department of Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen blamed the migrant family for the girl’s death, telling Fox News it “is a very sad example of the dangers to migrants,” and “this child’s father made a dangerous journey.”
  30. On Wednesday, The Atlantic reported the Trump regime is resuming its efforts to deport certain protected Vietnamese immigrants who have lived in the U.S. for decades, as announced in Week 96, after backing off months ago.
  31. On Friday, insurance company Pacific Life announced it is pausing and reevaluating its advertising on Tucker Carlson’s Fox News show after a segment in which he suggested mass immigration makes the U.S. “dirtier.”
  32. On Friday, luxury fashion brand Prada pulled a display in its Manhattan storefront, after images surfaced of the products depicting monkey-like figures with black faces and large red lips.
  33. On Sunday, Trump lashed out at James Comey, tweeting, without evidence, that on 245 occasions Comey “didn’t know, didn’t recall, or couldn’t remember things when asked” by lawmakers last Friday.
  34. Trump also tweeted, “Leakin’ James Comey must have set a record for who lied the most to Congress in one day,” adding, “this whole deal is a Rigged Fraud headed up by dishonest people,” concluding, “They are now exposed!”
  35. On Sunday, NYT reported that federal prosecutors are wrapping things up with Michael Cohen and are now shifting to the Trump family business — in recent weeks renewing a request for documents and other materials.
  36. On Sunday, conspiracy theorist Jerome Corsi sued Mueller, the DOJ, CIA, FBI, and NSA for $350 million, accusing them of blackmailing him to lie as part of a “legal coup d’etat” against Trump.
  37. On Monday, in a pair of tweets, Trump asserted his payments to silence women were a “simple private transaction,” saying the Dems “wrongly call it a campaign contribution, which it was not.”
  38. Trump also tweeted, “it is only a CIVIL CASE,” not criminal, and added, “Cohen just trying to get his sentence reduced,” “WITCH HUNT!” and “there was NO COLLUSION.”
  39. Trump also quoted a commentator on Fox News, tweeting, “Democrats can’t find a Smocking Gun tying the Trump campaign to Russia after James Comey’s testimony. No Smocking Gun…No Collusion.”
  40. Merriam-Webster again mocked Trump’s misspellings, tweeting, “today in Spellcheck Can’t Save You: ‘Smocking’ is a type of embroidery made of many small folds sewn into place.”
  41. On Monday, CNN reported that Maria Butina, an accused Russian spy who infiltrated the NRA ahead of the 2016 election, has been cooperating with federal prosecutors, and that her lawyer has filed a “change of plea.”
  42. The filing revealed that Butina “agreed and conspired, with a Russian government official and at least one other person, for Butina to act in the United States under the direction of Russian Official.”
  43. The filing noted she relied on the assistance of Paul Erickson and took direction from Russian Alexander Torshin to “establish unofficial lines of communication with Americans having power and influence over US politics.”
  44. The filings noted Torshin asked her to provide a note justifying his attendance at the 2016 NRA meeting. Butina did so “partly because of the opportunity to meet political candidates.” The two met Donald Jr. there.
  45. ABC News reported during the FBI raid of Erickson’s home, investigators found his handwritten note saying, “How to respond to FSB offer of employment?,” an apparent reference to the Russian intelligence services.
  46. On Thursday, Butina pleaded guilty to conspiring with Torshin to infiltrate the conservative movement in the U.S. as an agent for the Kremlin from 2015 until her arrest in July 2018 in an effort called “Diplomacy Project.”
  47. Butina became the first Russian national convicted as a foreign agent trying to influence U.S. policy in the run-up and through the 2016 election to agree to cooperate in a plea deal, in exchange for less prison time.
  48. Butina admitted to working with Erickson, under Torshin’s direction, to forge bonds with officials at the National Rifle Association, conservative leaders, and 2016 presidential candidates, including Trump.
  49. The judge also revealed a situation involving Butina’s lawyer Robert Driscoll, and concern by the government that Butina might be serving as a conduit between the press and her lawyer, who is bound by a gag order.
  50. On Tuesday, attorneys for Paul Manafort told the court they may not contest Mueller’s accusations that Manafort breached his plea agreementby lying to federal prosecutors.
  51. On Tuesday, in a memo, Michael Flynn’s attorneys asked a federal judge to spare him prison time, echoing Mueller, and saying Flynn’s cooperation “was not grudging or delayed.”
  52. The memo also criticized the FBI for choosing not to involve the Justice Department, and FBI agents not warning “Flynn that it was a crime to lie during an FBI interview because they wanted Flynn to be relaxed.”
  53. On Wednesday, Michael Cohen was sentenced to three years in prison in a federal court in Manhattan for his role in the scheme to buy the silence of two women ahead of the 2016 election who said they had affairs with Trump.
  54. Cohen’s lawyer had argued that he should serve no prison time. Federal prosecutors in the Southern District of New York said in their filings that Cohen should serve four years.
  55. On Wednesday, the U.S. attorney general for the SDNY also announced they would not prosecute American Media Inc. (AMI), National Enquirer’s parent, for its role in a scheme to help Trump win the 2016 election.
  56. AMI had signed an agreement in September with the SDNY agreeing to cooperate, and admitted it paid $150,000 to Karen McDougal before the 2016 election to silence her allegations of an affair with Trump.
  57. The agreement stated “AMI further admitted that its principal purpose in making the payment was to suppress the woman’s story so as to prevent it from influencing the election.”
  58. Prosecutors allege David Pecker, CEO of AMI, and AMI also played a key role in the effort to silence Stormy Daniels. The agreement also suggested Pecker is of ongoing use to prosecutors.
  59. Also per the agreement, Pecker met with Cohen “and at least one other member of the campaign” in August 2015 to discuss handling negative stories about Trump’s relationships with women.
  60. On Thursday, NBC News reported Trump was the third person in the room with Pecker and Cohen in August 2015. Experts say this could place Trump in the middle of a conspiracy to commit campaign fraud.
  61. Incoming House committee chairs Reps. Jerrold Nadler and Schiff said they will subpoena for information on Trump’s involvement with the hush payments, which Nadler described as “impeachable offenses.”
  62. On Thursday, in a series of tweets on Cohen, Trump said, “I never directed Michael Cohen to break the law,” adding Cohen is lawyer and “he is supposed to know the law. It is called “advice of counsel.””
  63. Trump also tweeted, “I did nothing wrong with respect to campaign finance laws,” and “Cohen was guilty on many charges unrelated to me, but he plead to two campaign charges which were not criminal.”
  64. Trump also tweeted about Flynn, saying the FBI gave him “a great deal because they were embarrassed by the way he was treated,” adding, “They want to scare everybody into making up stories that are not true.”
  65. On Thursday, Trump told reporters he was glad the judge is taking a closer look at the case, saying, “The FBI said Michael Flynn, a general and a great person, they said he didn’t lie, and Mueller said, well, maybe he did.”
  66. On Thursday, Trump told Fox News that he bears no responsibility for the campaign finance violations committed by Cohen, saying of the charges, “They put that on to embarrass me…They’re not criminal charges.”
  67. On Friday, in an interview with ABC, Cohen said he “gave loyalty to someone who, truthfully, does not deserve loyalty,” and that he “will not be the villain of [Trump’s] story.”
  68. Cohen said of Trump’s denials, “nothing at the Trump organization was ever done unless it was run through Mr. Trump. He directed me to make the payments, he directed me to become involved in these matters.”
  69. On Friday, in court, Mueller’s team rejected Flynn’s assertion he had been tricked into lying to the FBI, but said they would not change its recommendation that Flynn receive no jail time.
  70. In a filing, prosecutors laid out a pattern of lies by Flynn to Vice President Mike Pence, senior White House aides, federal investigators, and the media about his conversations with Russian ambassador Sergey Kislyak.
  71. The filing also states, “A sitting National Security Advisor, former head of an intelligence agency, retired Lieutenant General, and 33 year veteran of the armed forces knows he should not lie to federal agents.”
  72. So far the Mueller probe has issued more than 100 criminal counts against 33 people and three companies. Cohen is the fourth to face prison time, following Alex van der Zwaan, George Papadopoulos, and Paul Manafort.
  73. On Thursday, NBC News reported that Trump has in recent days told close friends that he is alarmed by the prospect of impeachment. Allies believe holding support of establishment Republicans is now critical.
  74. One Trump ally said Trump avoiding impeachment now comes down to the testimony of Pecker and Allen Weisselberg, both cooperating witnesseswith the SDNY. Trump maintains a confident posture publicly.
  75. Trump has yet to put together a team to deal with the expected influx of congressional investigations and continued fallout from multiple federal investigations. He has been calling around to allies to get input and vent.
  76. A new CNN poll found just 29% approve of Trump’s handling of the Russia investigation, matching a low previously hit in June of this year. Mueller’s approval is at 43%, down from 48% in early October.
  77. On Monday, protestors at the UN climate talks in Poland disrupted a Trump regime presentation extolling the virtues of fossil fuels with loud roars of laughter and chants of “Shame on you!”
  78. On Monday, the LA Times reported the Trump regime is set to roll back Obama-era Clean Water Act protections on millions of acres of waterwaysand wetlands, including up to two-thirds of California’s inland streams.
  79. The rollback follows through on a promise to agriculture interests and real estate developers, opening billions of dollars in potential development rights. Quality of drinking water and wildlife habitat will be affected.
  80. France launched a probe into possible Russian interference behind the Yellow Vest protests, after reports that social-media accounts linked to Moscow have increasingly been active in targeting the movement.
  81. On Wednesday, a Ukraine court ruled officials in the country violated the law by revealing, during the 2016 election, details of illegal payments to Manafort. Ukraine is reliant on the U.S. for military and financial aid.
  82. On Wednesday, UK Prime Minister May survived a no-confidence vote by Conservative lawmakers that would have ended her leadership of party and country over her handling of Britain’s exit from the European Union.
  83. On Wednesday, Hungary passed a law to set up courts overseen directly by the government. In September, the EU voted to impose sanctions on Hungary for flouting its rules on democracy, civil rights, and corruption.
  84. On Tuesday, Trump told Reuters he could intervene in the U.S. case against Huawei Technologies if it would serve U.S. national security interests and help close “the largest trade deal ever made” with China.
  85. On Wednesday, Assistant Attorney General John Demers told a Senate panel, “We are not a tool of trade when we bring the cases,” adding, “what we do at the Justice Department is law enforcement. We don’t do trade.”
  86. On Wednesday, Canada’s Foreign Ministry said it has been unable to contact Canadian businessman Michael Spavor. Former diplomat Michael Kovrig, a Canadian, was also detained on Monday.
  87. Trump also told Reuters in the interview that he was not concerned about being impeached because he “hasn’t done anything wrong and who’s created the greatest economy in the history of our country.”
  88. Trump said of the hush payments, “Number one, it wasn’t a campaign contribution. If it were, it’s only civil,” and “there was no violation based on what we did,” adding if he were impeached, “the people would revolt.”
  89. Trump turned the topic to Hillary Clinton, saying “her husband got money, she got money, she paid money, why doesn’t somebody talk about that?”and called the Mueller probe a witch hunt, saying, “There’s no collusion.”
  90. Trump also stood by Saudi Crown Prince MBS on the murder of Khashoggi, saying he “vehemently denies” involvement in the killing, and adding, “He’s the leader of Saudi Arabia. They’ve been a very good ally.”
  91. NYT reported Jared Kushner has become Saudi Crown Prince MBS’s most important defender in the White House. The crown prince has been cultivating Kushner for more than two years.
  92. On Monday, CNN revealed excerpts from the transcript of an audio recording of Khashoggi’s last moments: “I can’t breathe. I can’t breathe. I can’t breathe.” Then sounds of his body being dismembered by a saw.
  93. On Thursday, in a rebuke of Trump’s defense of the MBS, the Senate voted 56–41 to withdraw American military assistance for Saudi Arabia’s war in Yemen, a four-year conflict that has brought civilian death and famine.
  94. On Thursday, in another rebuke of Trump, the Senate voted to condemn Saudi Crown Prince MBS for the death of Khashoggi. The resolution was sponsored by Sens. Bob Corker and Majority Leader Mitch McConnell.
  95. AP reported Jared Kushner could benefit from The Opportunity Zone, a program promoted by Ivanka and Jared as White House advisers, which offers tax breaks to developers who invest in downtrodden communities.
  96. Kushner holds a large stake in a real estate investment firm, Cadre, which launched a fund to take advantage of the tax breaks. The Kushner family has properties in New Jersey, New York, and Maryland that could benefit.
  97. On Monday, Politico obtained an unpublished Consumer Financial Protection Bureau report through a FOIA request which revealed Wells Fargo charged college students fees several times higher than average.
  98. The fees charged during the 2016–17 academic year, the first year colleges were required to report information, may violate Education Department rules by being “inconsistent with the best financial interests” of students.
  99. The report was prepared by the office led by Seth Frotman, who resigned in protest in Week 94. The Education Department, which also did notmake the report public, refused to comment on whether it took any action.
  100. On Wednesday, Politico reported Trump’s Education Department will forgive $150 million in student debt, after DeVos’ efforts to stop the 2016 Obama-era “borrower defense” were halted in a court battle.
  101. The Daily Beast reported the financial adviser for James Inhofe, chair of the Senate Armed Services Committee, bought him between $50–100,000 in Raytheon stock Tuesday, days after he pushed for record defense spending.
  102. After The Daily Beast contacted Inhofe about the purchase, his office saidthe senator contacted his financial adviser to cancel the transaction and instructed him to avoid defense and aerospace purchases going forward.
  103. On Wednesday, his office said he had been unaware of the stock purchase. A spokesperson for Inhofe said in statement, “the transaction was canceled before it was settled; the Senator never took ownership of it.”
  104. Bloomberg reported the Treasury Department delayed imposing sanctions on Russia’s largest aluminum producer, Rusal, for the fifth time amid talks with Russian oligarch Oleg Deripaska about giving up control.
  105. On Tuesday, WAPO reported after Nick Ayers said no to the chief of staff position, Trump had no Plan B. This left the White House scrambling to find candidates as other top candidates turned Trump down.
  106. On Tuesday, Trump tweeted “Fake News has it purposely wrong” in saying no one wants the chief of staff position, adding “many, over ten, are vying for and wanting the White House Chief of Staff position.”
  107. On Tuesday, Kellyanne Conway announced that Kelly will remain as chief of staff at least through January 2 to ensure “a very peaceful and pragmatic transition” for his successor.
  108. On Wednesday, Rick Santorum bowed out as a possible chief of staff pick, and Trump reportedly turned down Rep. Mark Meadows for the position.
  109. On Thursday, HuffPost reported Trump is considering Jared to be his chief of staff. According to a top Republican, Trump met with Kushner about the job on Wednesday.
  110. Axios reported Chris Christie met with Trump on Thursday evening to discuss the chief of staff role, and is Trump’s top candidate. On Friday, in a statement, Christie said he was withdrawing from consideration.
  111. On Tuesday, Trump met with Democratic leaders Chuck Schumer and Nancy Pelosi in an explosive meeting on his border wall and his threat to shut down the government, partly in public with reporters.
  112. Pelosi said, “We must keep the government open. We cannot have a Trump shutdown.” Trump responded, “A what?” Trump also said, “I am proud to shut down the government for border security.”
  113. When Trump told reporters it was hard for Pelosi to talk right now, she responded, “please don’t characterize the strength that I bring to this meeting as the leader of the House Democrats, who just won a big victory.”
  114. NBC News fact checked Trump’s claims about his border wall at the meeting, and found several to be false, including a lot of the wall has been built, 10 terrorists have been caught, and that migrants bring disease.
  115. In a post meeting huddle with her caucus, Pelosi said of the wall, “It’s like a manhood thing with him — as if manhood can be associated with him,” compared Trump to a skunk, and said she was “trying to be the mom.”
  116. LA Times reported according to one administration official Trump appeared upset after leaving the meeting, and said he flicked “a folder and sending its papers flying out.” Aides went into damage control mode.
  117. On Wednesday, Trump repeated a false claim, tweeting “Democrats and President Obama gave Iran 150 Billion Dollars” but they won’t give $5 billion for his wall. This was Iran’s frozen funds, and closer to $55 billion.
  118. On Thursday, Trump claimed in a tweet that as part of the trade deal, “MEXICO IS PAYING FOR THE WALL!” Mexican officials said there was no discussion in the trade deal negotiations about Mexico paying for the wall.
  119. On Thursday, Pelosi said Democrats on the House Ways and Means Committee will “take the first steps,” to begin the process of obtaining Trump’s tax returns in January.
  120. On Thursday, WSJ reported the Manhattan U.S. attorney’s office is in the early stages of a criminal probe into whether Trump’s inaugural committeemisspent some of the record $107 million it raised from donations.
  121. The probe is also examining whether some of the top donors gave money in exchange for access to the Trump regime, policy concessions, or to influence officials — a violation of federal corruption laws.
  122. The investigation partly arises from materials seized in the April raid on Cohen, including a recording of a conversation between Cohen and Stephanie Winston Wolkoff, a former adviser to Melania Trump.
  123. Wolkoff, who worked on the inaugural events, expressed concern about how the committee was spending money. The inaugural committee has publicly identified vendors accounting for just $61 million of money spent.
  124. The top-paid vendor was an event-production firm led by Wolkoff called WIS Media Partners, paid $25.8 million. The committee was headed by Thomas Barrack Jr., who has not made the outside audit available.
  125. Prosecutors have asked Franklin Haney for documents on his $1 million donation to the committee. Haney hired Cohen in April to help obtain a $5 billion loan from the Energy Department. The application is pending.
  126. On Thursday, NYT reported Mueller is investigating whether foreigners illegally funneled donations to Trump’s inaugural committee and a pro-Trump super PAC in hopes of buying influence over U.S. policy.
  127. The investigation is focused on whether people from Middle Eastern nations, including Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates disguised donations. Trump ally Barrack raised money for both.
  128. Federal law prohibits foreign contributions to PACs and inaugural funds.The super PAC, Rebuilding America Now, was created at the suggestion of Manafort by Barrack in the summer of 2016 when Trump needed funds.
  129. Although federal election law mandates a period of at least 120 days before campaign staff members can join a PAC, Manafort sent Laurance Gay and Ken McKay from the campaign to run the operation right away.
  130. The PAC raised $23 million. Prosecutors from New York and from Mueller’s team have asked witnesses whether anyone from Qatar or other Middle Eastern countries contributed through an American intermediary.
  131. On Friday, WNYC and ProPublica reported according to receipts, Trump’s inauguration paid the Trump Organization for rooms, meals, and event space at the Trump Hotel DC, possibly overpaying in violation of tax laws.
  132. Ivanka was involved in negotiating the price for venue rentals. Wolkoff emailed her and others to “express my concern” on overcharging for its event space, worrying of what would happen “when this is audited.”
  133. Emails also revealed some vendors for the inauguration expressed concern when Rick Gates, a top inaugural committee official, asked them to take payments outside of the normal committee invoicing process.
  134. On Friday, incoming House Intelligence Committee chair Adam Schiff said his panel plans to investigate possible “illicit foreign funding or involvement in the inauguration” of Trump.
  135. So far there has been one guilty plea in August by political consultant Samuel Patten, who admitted to steering $50,000 from a Ukrainian politician to the inaugural committee, and is cooperating with Mueller.
  136. On Thursday, The Daily Beast reported Mueller is preparing to reveal a second phase of the probe, relating to Middle Eastern countries’ attemptsto influence American politics through the Trump regime.
  137. Witnesses associated with the Trump campaign have been interviewed about their conversations with connected individuals from the United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia, and Israel.
  138. Sources say Mueller’s team is preparing to outline foreigners’ plans to help Trump win the presidency. Notably, Flynn was involved in conversations with influential individuals from UAE, Saudi Arabia, and Israel.
  139. On Thursday, the House and Senate passed a bill to combat sexual harassment in Congress by unanimous consent. The bill comes one year after the #MeToo movement went viral, after several attempts to pass the legislation.
  140. In the past year, several members of Congress were forced to resign over sexual harassment. The bill makes members personally liable for all harassment settlements and retaliation for harassment claims.
  141. On Tuesday, when asked about Trump’s involvement with Cohen’s crimes,Sen. Orrin Hatch told CNN, “The Democrats will do anything to hurt this President,” adding, “all I can say is he’s doing a good job as President.”
  142. Three other Republican senators also went on the record saying they did not care about Trump being implicated in felonies, including Sens. Susan Collins, John Thune, and Bill Cassidy.
  143. On Wednesday, in his farewell speech after serving for four decades, Sen. Hatch said the Senate “is in crisis,” saying “the committee process lies in shambles,” and compromise is “now synonymous with surrender.”
  144. On Friday, Sen. Hatch said he regretted his comments to CNN, saying in a statement that they were “irresponsible and a poor reflection on my lengthy record of dedication to the rule of law.”
  145. On Wednesday, Kansas state senator Barbara Bollier changed party affiliation to Democrat, saying “morally, the party is not going where my compass resides,” and citing LGBTQ issues pushed her over the edge.
  146. On Thursday, the Kansas City Star reported several other moderate Kansas Republicans are considering switching to be Democrats in the wake of Bollier’s defection.
  147. On Thursday, CALmatters reported California Chief Justice Tani Cantil-Sakauye dropped her registration as a Republican and re-registered with no-party-preference, following the confirmation of Brett Kavanaugh.
  148. On Thursday, Fox News reported Trump canceled the White House holiday party for the media, breaking a decades-old tradition. The party was considered a perk for those covering the White House and Washington.
  149. On Monday, Florida officials told a federal judge that 6,670 ballots mailed ahead of the November 6 midterm election were not counted because they were not received by Election Day. The lawsuit on the votes is still pending.
  150. On Tuesday, the North Carolina Republican Party said a new election should be held in the 9th District if Democrat’s allegations that results of early votes were shared improperly before the election is true.
  151. On Friday, outgoing Wisconsin governor Scott Walker signed a sweeping lame-duck Republican bill which restricts early voting and weakens and restricts the incoming Democratic governor and attorney general.
  152. On Thursday, the Palm Beach Post reported according to alert issued by the Federal Aviation Administration, Trump is expected to spend 16 days at Mar-a-Lago over the Christmas and New Year’s holidays.
  153. The visit at Mar-a-Lago, dubbed the Southern White House, will beTrump’s longest since taking office. Trump is scheduled to remain until January 6, after the new Congress is sworn in on January 3.
  154. On Thursday, a Treasury Department report noted the widest November budget deficit on record as spending doubled revenue, leaving a $205 billion shortfall, compared with a $139 billion gap a year earlier.
  155. The deficit in fiscal 2018 is the largest in six years, reflecting the first full year of Trump and the Republican party enacting a tax-cut package and raising federal spending for the military and other priorities.
  156. On Friday, The Weekly Standard, a conservative magazine which had been critical of Trump, announced it would be closing after 23 years in business.
  157. On Saturday, Trump celebrated the demise of The Weekly Standard, calling it “pathetic and dishonest” and “run by failed prognosticator Bill Kristol,” adding “Too bad. May it rest in peace!”
  158. On Friday, another sell-off drove the Dow Jones Industrial Average down by almost 500 points. The Standard & Poor 500 and Dow are in correction territory (down more than 20%), and are down for the year.
  159. On Friday, on the eve of the deadline for Americans to sign up for healthcare coverage for 2019, a federal judge in Texas ruled the Affordable Care Act is unconstitutional because the GOP tax law gutted the individual mandate.
  160. The lawsuit was filed in January by the Texas attorney general in alliance with 18 other states. In June, Sessions’ DOJ took the unusual step of telling the court that it will not defend the ACA against the lawsuit.
  161. Shortly after, Trump tweeted his pleasure: “As I predicted all along, Obamacare has been struck down as an UNCONSTITUTIONAL disaster!” The Supreme Court will now decide the fate of Obamacare.
  162. On Friday, at a DC federal courthouse, reporters staked out to try to gain information on a secret and mysterious argument about a grand jury subpoena challenge that has been under seal in the Mueller probe.
  163. An entire floor of the courthouse was closed to the public and press for more than an hour. CNN reported no recognizable attorneys were spotted coming in and out of the courtroom or even the building.
  164. Politico reported as reporters looked for leads, several were reprimanded for waiting in stairwells, and that additional measures undertaken surprised many people familiar with the federal building’s practices.
  165. On Friday, the New York Daily News reported the New Jersey attorney general launched an investigation into claims of widespread harassment and immigration fraud at the Trump National Golf Club in Bedminster.
  166. Victorina Morales and Sandra Diaz spoke to NYT in Week 107. Since then,three more undocumented women have come forward to their attorney with allegations of harassment and immigration fraud.
  167. On Friday, Trump named Mick Mulvaney, his budget director, to serve as acting chief of staff. Trump announced the pick on Twitter in the late afternoon, hours after Christie took himself out of consideration.
  168. A senior official told NYT there was no end date to Mulvaney’s role despite his “acting” title. Trump later tweeted, “For the record, there were MANY people who wanted to be the White House Chief of Staff.”
  169. On Friday, according to expenditure data released, the Mueller probe cost $25 million through the end of September, including $8.4 million from April 1, in line with spending for previous special counsels.
  170. In recent weeks, Trump has exaggerated the cost of the probe, tweeting a “a cost of over $30,000,000,” and also, “more than $40,000,000 (is that possible?),” and finding “NO COLLUSION!”
  171. On Saturday, Trump announced in a pair of tweets that Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke will leave the regime at the end of year, adding he “will be announcing the new Secretary of the Interior next week.”
  172. Trump tweets followed Bloomberg News reporting that Zinke had notified the White House of his intention to resign amid a swirl of federal investigations into his travel, political activity, and conflicts of interest.
  173. The move also comes as Democrats take control of the House in January, and have vowed to grill Zinke over his conduct, raising the prospect of heightened oversight and high legal bills to defend himself.
  174. WAPO reported the White House pushed Zinke to quit for weeks and told him he would be fired if he did not, but he wanted to host his Christmas party Thursday, where he invited activists, lobbyists, donors, and more.
  175. On Thursday, a DOJ watchdog investigation recovered thousands of missing texts from Peter Strzok and Lisa Page on agency issued phones. The report cites the cause was technology failure, not malicious intent.
  176. The report found a more widespread failure than previously known: “The FBI’s collection tool was not only failing to collect any data on certain phones… it also does not appear that it was collecting all text messages.”
  177. On Saturday, at 1:00 a.m., Rudy Giuliani tweeted “How can Mueller’s gang get away with erasing over 19,000 texts” adding, “Mueller’s angry Democrats fall under the Hillary exception” of erasing emails.
  178. On Saturday, Trump tweeted “19,000 Texts between Lisa Page and her lover, Peter S of the FBI, in charge of the Russia Hoax” were “wiped clean,” adding, “Such a big story that will never be covered by the Fake News.”
  179. A new CNN poll found First Lady Melania Trump’s approval has fallen 11 points, from 54% in October to 43%. The biggest drop came from liberals and white college graduates — with approval dropping 17 points for both.
  180. On Saturday, WAPO reported diplomats from Slovenia, in their first official visit with the Trump regime, warned of waning U.S. influence in Europe as China and Russia expand their influence around the world.
  181. The diplomats said that as America is turning inward and looking to cut back aid, China and Russia are increasing aid, and warning countries in the Balkans and Eastern Europe are gravitating to Beijing and Moscow.


Wynwood, Miami, Florida. 8dec18

DECEMBER 08, 2018

Week 108

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

This week featured the normalcy and tranquility of the funeral of George H.W. Bush, juxtaposed with bombshells of damning information on Trump coming from the Mueller probe and other investigations. As the Mueller probe is reportedly nearing its close, Mueller’s team filed court memos relating to three of its most high profile defendants: Michael Flynn, Michael Cohen, and Paul Manafort. The Southern District of New York also filed a memo on Trump Friday —including the clearest implication yet that Trump committed felonies. As the country awaits Mueller’s final report, Trump’s White House has no plans to counter it in place, but rather will reportedly wing it.

This week major stock indexes tumbled more than 4%, erasing all the year’s gains, as economic data softened, showing Trump’s trade tariffs and the growing budget deficit are slowing the economy. As Trump’s second year comes to a close, he reportedly has no vision or strategy for 2019, save for his xenophobic and racist agenda, and instead is distracted by the Mueller probe and the incoming Democratic House majority. Continued shake-up in personnel plague the regime, and many key roles remain vacant, or are filled with loyalists who are unqualified.

Artist: Claudia Labianca. 3dec18. Wynwood, Miami, Florida.
  1. As votes continued to be tallied, Democrats secured the largest midterm margin in history for House races of 9.6 million votes (8.5%). The previous record was 8.7 million votes in 1974, months after Watergate.
  2. Bloomberg reported Trump and Putin did chat Friday night on the sidelines of the G20. Trump had canceled a scheduled formal meeting. Russian media had insisted the two would have an “impromptu” meeting.
  3. Press secretary Sarah Sanders defended the informal meeting in a statement, saying “As is typical at multilateral events,” Trump “had a number of informal conversations with world leaders.”
  4. On Sunday, Axios reported Alan Dershowitz is still advising Jeffrey Epstein about legal issues. Dershowitz helped Epstein get a sweetheart plea deal from then-U.S. Attorney Alexander Acosta, now Trump’s labor secretary.
  5. A bombshell story in the Miami Herald revealed dozens of women alleged Epstein molested and raped them when they were underage. Epstein has ties to Trump, Bill Clinton, Dershowitz, and other powerful men.
  6. On Monday, Sen. Ben Sasse sent three letters to senior Justice Department officials, asking them to open investigations into federal officials who handled the Epstein case, calling it an “epic miscarriage of justice.”
  7. On Tuesday, Epstein settled a suit filed by lawyer Bradley Edwards, who said Epstein had damaged his reputation, silencing women who were his alleged victims and were expected to testify.
  8. The Houston Chronicle reported Peter Sean Brown, 68, a U.S. citizen born in Philadelphia, was held for deportation to Jamaica by ICE after being processed for a probation violation over testing positive for marijuana.
  9. ICE was called in by Monroe County’s sheriff Richard Ramsey, who is being sued by the ACLU and Southern Poverty Law Center for unlawfully arresting and detaining a U.S. citizen.
  10. Monroe is one of more than a dozen Florida counties that in January 2018 entered a new arrangement with ICE under which sheriffs are compensated $50 for extending the detention of “criminal aliens.”
  11. The new NAFTA deal, signed at the G20 summit, watered down protections for LGBTQ individuals, taking away the wording that prevented discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity.
  12. The Justice Department named Kerri Kupec as a senior spokesperson. Previously, Kupec worked at Alliance Defending Freedom, an anti-LGBTQ group, designated as a hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center.
  13. Boston Globe reported police are investigating a man who allegedly pushed over a Hanukkah menorah near Harvard University’s campus, then rode away on his bicycle, as a possible hate crime.
  14. Schindler’s List,” the epic film about the Holocaust, returned to theaters, 25 years after its initial release.
  15. Conservative pastor and commentator E.W. Jackson lamented the election of two Muslims, saying “The floor of Congress is now going to look like an Islamic republic,” adding, “The threat to humanity is Islam, period.”
  16. Rep.-elect Ilhan Omar, one of the first two Muslim women elected to serve in Congress, responded tweeting, “Well sir, the floor of Congress is going to look like America…And you’re gonna have to just deal.”
  17. On Thursday, monthly figures released by the Department of Homeland Security show the number of people arrested or denied entry along the Mexico border reached a new high in November.
  18. U.S. Customs and Border Protection detained a record 25,172 members of “family units,” and 5,283 “unaccompanied minors.” Together these make up 60% of the 62,456 arrested or denied entry, up from 60,772 in October.
  19. On Thursday, NYT reported Victorina Morales, who served as Trump’s housekeeper at his golf club in Bedminster for five years, is an undocumented immigrant, having crossed the U.S. border illegally.
  20. Morales, who is Guatemalan, say she was hurt by Trump’s equating Latin American migrants with violent criminals. She also said there are several undocumented immigrants working for Trump’s club in Bedminster.
  21. Morales said when she was interviewed for the job, she had no legal working documents. When Trump announced his candidacy in 2015, a maintenance worker helped her procure a realistic-looking green card.
  22. On Thursday, BuzzFeed reported days before migrants set out from Honduras, an imposter hijacked the Facebook account of Bartolo Fuentes, and used it to boost the caravan’s numbers.
  23. Fuentes is a well-known activist, journalist, and lawyer. The imposter used the phony account to send Facebook messages falsely claiming that established migrant groups were organizing the caravan.
  24. On Wednesday, WAPO reported according to email obtained under the Freedom of Information Act, a White House appointee at Veterans Affairs silenced a VA diversity chief in the aftermath of Charlottesville.
  25. Diversity chief Georgia Coffey, who pushed for a forceful condemnation by Trump and a statement from VA leaders (40% of VA employees are minorities), was told to stand down as part of a White House directive.
  26. WAPO reported Veterans Affairs Secretary Robert Wilkie in a 1995 speech praised Jefferson Davis, the president of the Confederacy as a “martyr to the ‘Lost Cause,’” and an “exceptional man in an exceptional age.”
  27. On Friday, self-professed neo-Nazi James Fields Jr. was found guilty of first-degree murder for killing Heather Heyer in Charlottesville during the white-supremacist “Unite the Right” rally and counter-protests.
  28. Fields will now face a federal trial on hate crimes that carries the possibility of the death penalty. There aremore trials and lawsuits to come, including one against Jason Kessler, one of the rally’s organizers.
  29. Ammon Bundy quit the militia movement in solidarity with the migrants in a video on Facebook, saying nationalism is the opposite of patriotism, and criticizing Trump for demonizing Central American migrants.
  30. On Monday, in a pair of tweets, Trump lashed out at Michael Cohen, who he said has done “TERRIBLE” things “unrelating to Trump,” has “lied for this outcome,” and should “serve a full and complete sentence.”
  31. Trump also tweeted that Cohen “makes up stories to get a GREAT & ALREADY reduced deal for himself, his wife and father-in-law (who has the money?) off Scott Free.”
  32. Merriam-Webster reported online searches for the definition or spelling of scot-free spiked 3,100 %, and mused on Twitter: “‘Scot-free’: completely free from obligation, harm, or penalty. ‘Scott Free’: some guy, probably.”
  33. Also on Monday morning, Trump tweeted praise of Roger Stone, saying “he will not be forced by a rogue and out of control prosecutor to make up lies” about Trump, and “nice to know that some people still have ‘guts!’”
  34. Trump also tweeted “Bob Mueller (who is a much different man than people think) and his out of control band of Angry Democrats” only want lies, adding “The truth is very bad for their mission!”
  35. Trump’s tweet was widely condemned. George Conway, husband of Kellyanne, tweeted “File under 18 U.S.C. §§ 1503, 1512,” the sections of the federal code dealing with obstruction of justice and witness tampering.
  36. On Monday, Eric Trump attacked Conway, tweeting “Of all the ugliness in politics, the utter disrespect George Conway shows,” adding Kellyanne “is great person and frankly his actions are horrible.”
  37. On Monday, NYT reported that in May 2017, Manafort discussed a deal with Ecuador’s incoming president, Lenín Moreno, to help negotiate a deal to hand over Julian Assange to the U.S., in exchange for a fat commission.
  38. Manafort also pitched himself to a range of governments facing various challenges, including Puerto Rico, Iraqi Kurdistan, and the United Arab Emirates, presenting himself as a liaison to the new Trump regime.
  39. On Monday, a federal judge said the attorneys general of the District of Columbia and Maryland could move forward with subpoenas for records from Trump’s hotels in their emoluments clause lawsuit.
  40. On Monday, Yahoo News reported Mueller’s prosecutors have told defense lawyers in recent weeks that they are “tying up loose ends” in their investigation of the probe into Russian interference in the 2016 election.
  41. Mueller’s team has told Congressional investigators looking to issue new subpoenas for testimony that their investigation has reached a mature stage and they have spoken to almost everybody they want to talk to.
  42. On Monday, Roger Stone’s attorney said in a letter that he was invoking Fifth Amendment’s protection, declining to share documents and testimony requested by the Senate Judiciary Committee.
  43. On Tuesday, in a heavily redacted sentencing memo filed by the special counsel, Mueller recommended that Michael Flynn serve no prison time, citing his “substantial assistance” with several ongoing investigations.
  44. Flynn has been cooperating since he was forced out as national security adviser in February 2017, including19 interviews, providing “firsthand information,” and turning over documents and communications.
  45. The memo noted Flynn’s “early cooperation was particularly valuable” given his “long-term and firsthand insight,” and his guilty plea “likely affected the decisions of related firsthand witnesses to be forthcoming.”
  46. The memo also noted Flynn’s “record of military and public service distinguish him from every other person who has been charged,” adding, “senior government leaders should be held to the highest standards.”
  47. An addendum to the memo identified three matters in which Flynn is cooperating: collusion with Russia, and heavily redacted sections possibly related to obstruction of justice, and an unknown “Criminal Investigation.”
  48. On Tuesday, Rudy Giuliani told NBC News that he is not concerned about Flynn, saying “If he had information to share with Mueller that hurt the president, you would know it by now,” adding, “They don’t have bupkis.”
  49. On Thursday, WSJ reported a federal grand jury in Virginia has sought more information on efforts overseen by Michael Flynn’s private company Flynn Intel Group to discredit a U.S.-based Turkish cleric, Fethullah Gulen.
  50. Federal prosecutors have also asked for information on several people involved in the project, including Ekim Alptekin, the Turkish businessman who financed it. Alptekin claims the Turkish government is not involved.
  51. On Monday, in a rare lame-duck session, Wisconsin Republicans moved ahead with a bill to move the 2020 presidential primary date, costing the state millions, to benefit a conservative state Supreme Court justice.
  52. With an incoming Democratic governor, the proposal would also shift power to the GOP-controlled legislature. Protestors banged on the Capitol doors and chanted “Respect our votes!” and “Shame!”
  53. A spokesperson for the Democratic Governors Association called the GOP “banana republic dictators,” and said they are ignoring the will of the people. A top GOP legislator said they “don’t trust” the incoming governor.
  54. In Michigan, where Democrats won governor, attorney general, and secretary of state, GOP lawmakers introduced measures that would water down authority on campaign finance oversight and other legal matters.
  55. On Tuesday, the Wisconsin senate approved 81 of outgoing GOP Gov. Scott Walker’s appointees for membership on boards, authorities, and councils. Walker also appointed a judge and two district attorneys.
  56. On Wednesday, Wisconsin’s Republican-controlled legislature passed legislation which consolidates power in the GOP-led legislature at the expense of the incoming governor and attorney general, both Democrats.
  57. Among other things, the legislation erodes the ability of the governor to enact laws, and requires the legislature to approve whether the state can pull out of a federal lawsuit, like repeal of the Affordable Care Act.
  58. Hours later, Republicans who control Michigan’s legislature striped campaign-finance oversight power from the incoming secretary of state, and moved to give the GOP-led legislature additional powers.
  59. On Monday, the Charlotte Observer reported Leslie McCrae Dowless, who worked for Republican Mark Harris’ campaign in North Carolina’s 9th Congressional District, is at the center of a voter fraud investigation.
  60. Dowless has a criminal record, including felony fraud. The election board subpoenaed Harris’ campaign Monday, and has collected information that high-level campaign officials may have been aware of Dowless’ activities.
  61. The probe is focused in on irregularities in mail-in balloting, mostly from Bladen County, where an unusually high percentage of Black (36%) and Native American (55%) ballots were not returned, versus whites (18%).
  62. On Tuesday, a North Carolina woman admitted to “harvesting” ballots for Harris. She was paid $75 to $100 a week and gave the ballots to Dowless. It is illegal in North Carolina for a third party to turn in absentee ballots.
  63. On Thursday, Democrat Dan McCready, who conceded the day after the election, withdrew his concession. Harris said Friday he would back a new election if potential fraud altered the election result.
  64. The Charlotte Observer called for a new election. However, after past unsubstantiated accusations of voter fraud by Trump, Vice President Mike Pence, Kris Kobach, and others, national Republicans were silent.
  65. HuffPost reported incoming House Oversight Committee chair Rep. Elijah Cummings wants to call Brian Kemp to testify before Congress about allegations of voter suppression to help his campaign.
  66. An analysis by Forbes revealed that Trump shifted $1.1 million of campaign-donor money donors meant for his 2020 re-election into his business by continuing to charge his campaign for hotels, food, and rent.
  67. Politico reported email accounts of four senior aides at the National Republican Congressional Committee were surveilled for several months. The intrusion was detected in April 2018 and reported to the FBI.
  68. Senior Republicans were not informed about the hack. NRCC officials said they were conducting their own investigation and feared that revealing the hack would compromise efforts to find the culprit.
  69. On Monday, in a memo published to the FCC website, chair Ajit Pai admitted “half-million comments” on net neutrality were “submitted from Russian e-mail addresses.” Pai had earlier denied Russian involvement.
  70. The memo also indicated that over half of the almost 22 million comments came from phony, temporary, or duplicate email addresses, and reportedly only 17.4% of the comments were unique.
  71. Pai also rejected two Freedom of Information Act requests filed by NYT and BuzzFeed, seeking “IP addresses” and “server logs,” respectively, associated with public comments submitted on net neutrality.
  72. On Tuesday, more than 400 former Justice Department officials and attorneys serving both parties said in a letter they are “disturbed” by Trump’s appointment of Matthew Whitaker as acting attorney general.
  73. On Tuesday, Democrats on the Senate Judiciary Committee expressed concern in a letter to DOJ officials about Whitaker’s financial disclosure forms, which were only recently certified as true by ethics officials.
  74. Whitaker also has not confirmed whether he has initiated an ethics review of possible conflicts, now four weeks after his appointment. The DOJ declined to discuss recusal issues.
  75. On Tuesday, Defense Secretary Mattis approved an extension of active duty troops at the U.S.-Mexico border through January 31. The Pentagon estimated the cost of the deployment through December 15 is $72 million.
  76. On Tuesday, WAPO reported that under acting director Mick Mulvaney, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s publicly announced enforcement actions by the bureau have dropped about 75% from recent years.
  77. In the past year, at least 129 employees have left. Mulvaney appointed staffers with no relevant experience, who previously worked for the financial sector or against the bureau, and paid salaries of up to $259,500.
  78. On Thursday, the Senate voted 50-49, along party lines to confirm Trump nominee Kathleen Kraninger to lead the CFPB. Kraninger has no relevant experience, and is expected to continue a business friendly approach.
  79. Trade group Consumer Bankers Association, whose members include Bank of America and Wells Fargo, celebrated Kraninger’s confirmation, as she becomes one of the country’s most powerful banking regulators.
  80. On Monday, Larry Kudlow, director of the National Economic Council, called for the end of Obama-era subsidies for electric vehicle purchases, which were created by Congress, without specifying how he would do so.
  81. On Wednesday, nations assembled in Poland for climate talks. Reports show global carbon emissions reached a record in 2018, an estimated growth of 2.7%.
  82. The biggest growth in emissions came from India (6%), China (5%), and the U.S. (2.5%), while dropping in the European Union (-0.7%). The United Nations Secretary General said, “We are in deep trouble.”
  83. On Thursday, Trump’s EPA proposed rolling back a major Obama-era climate rule, loosening restrictions on future coal power plants. Coal advocates cheered, although the industry has not been adding capacity.
  84. On Thursday, the Trump regime said it would roll back Obama-era protections of the habitat of the endangered sage grouse bird, in a move to free up nine million acres of land for oil and gas drilling.
  85. On Sunday, Trump bragged of reaching a trade truce with China at the G20 summit, claiming China will “immediately” begin buying more American agricultural products and drop its 40% tariffs on American cars.
  86. Meng Wanzhou, the chief financial officer and daughter of the founder of the Chinese tech giant Huawei, was arrested in Canada and extradited to the U.S. to stand trial for violating sanctions against Iraq.
  87. On Tuesday, amid President Xi’s silence on a supposed deal, Trump tweeted “I am a Tariff Man,” saying he was prepared to impose higher levies if Xi did not live up to the agreement Trump claims they reached.
  88. In a break from the usual protocol for top-level trade talks, the U.S. and China did not release a joint statement on the talk that took place Saturday, instead issuing two very different readouts of what occurred.
  89. On Tuesday, the Dow tumbled more than 800 points and bond yields plummeted on investors’ doubts over the U.S.-China trade truce.
  90. On Tuesday evening, Trump tweeted, “we are either going to have a REAL DEAL with China, or no deal at all,” claiming we will reach a deal “either now or into the future,” adding, “China does not want Tariffs!”
  91. On Wednesday, while the markets were closed for the funeral of George H.W. Bush, Trump tried to assure markets, tweeting, “Not to sound naive or anything, but I believe President Xi meant every word of what he said.”
  92. On Wednesday, during the funeral for George H.W. Bush, observers noted a feeling of nostalgia for a bygone era of mutual respect and admiration of leaders pre-Trump. At the request of the Bush family, Trump was invited.
  93. The scene was palpably awkward as Trump and Melania sat next to former presidents and first ladies, including Obama, whom he called illegitimate, Hillary whom he said should be in prison, and Bill, whom he said assaulted women.
  94. Trump sat with his arms crossed, and did not recite the Apostles’ Creed or sing hymns. NYT reported Trump was miffed by so many ceremonial events not related to him, but proud of himself for remaining civil.
  95. On Wednesday, Daily Beast reported that when aides and advisors tried to get Trump to tackle the growing budget deficit in April 2017, which was projected to continue to grow, he said, “Yeah, but I won’t be here.”
  96. On Wednesday, General Motors CEO Mary Barra said she will keep an “open mind” about closing an Ohio plant, acknowledging the anger publicly expressed by Trump and the Ohio’s two U.S. senators.
  97. On Thursday, the Commerce Department announced the U.S. trade deficit hit a 10-year high, increasing 1.7% to $55.5 billion, the highest level since October 2008.
  98. On Thursday, the stock market plummeted again on fears over U.S.-China trade relations at a global economic slowdown, down again by 780 before rebounding to close the day slightly lower.
  99. On Friday, the Dow tumbled again, losing more than 500 points, and wiping out all gains for the year, amid a weaker-than-expected jobs report and China-U.S. trade tensions.
  100. On Tuesday, CIA director Gina Haspel briefed a group of Senate leaders on the agency’s conclusions on the murder of Jamal Khashoggi. Senators from both parties said it was clear that the Saudi crown prince was behind it.
  101. Leading Democrats called for a full Senate briefing by Haspel. It was unclear what, if any, actions the Senate would take. In Week 107, Mike Pompeo and Mattis had echoed Trump’s reluctance to blame the crown prince.
  102. On Wednesday, WAPO reported within months of the 2016 election, Saudi-funded lobbyists booked 500 rooms at Trump Hotel DC, spending more than $270,000 to house six groups of visiting veterans.
  103. On Wednesday, Republican Sen. Jeff Flake, a member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, stood by his commitment to not vote to advance Trump’s judicial nominees until the bill to protect Mueller gets a vote.
  104. Democrats on the House Intelligence Committee said in January they plan to refer transcripts to Mueller’s team of interviews with Kushner, Donald Jr., Stone, Corey Lewandowski, Rhona Graff, Hope Hicks, and Keith Schiller — to be reviewed for possible falsehoods.
  105. On Wednesday, Daily Beast reported on a target letter sent to Paul Erickson, a longtime Republican operative who was Maria Butina’s boyfriend, from federal investigators saying they may bring charges.
  106. The letter sent in September by the U.S. attorney’s officer in Washington, says investigators are considering charging him under Section 951, the law barring people from secretly acting as agents of foreign governments.
  107. On Thursday, Mother Jones reported the Trump campaign and the National Rifle Association used intertwined consultants to spearhead TV ad buys at the height of the 2016 election.
  108. Both the NRA’s and the Trump campaign’s ad buys were authorized by the same person: National Media’s chief financial officer Jon Ferrell. Experts say the arrangement appears to violate campaign finance laws.
  109. On Thursday, CNN reported prosecutors and defense attorneys for Maria Butina, may be near a plea deal. The judge canceled an upcoming hearing and said subpoenas planned for American University may be withdrawn.
  110. On Thursday, Trump cited his 50% approval at Rasmussen, and blamed Mueller for it not being higher, tweeting “Without the phony Russia Witch Hunt” it would be at 75%, adding, “It’s called Presidential Harassment!”
  111. On Thursday, the Atlantic reported Trump’s White House has no plan for how to counter the Mueller report. Instead the regime is winging it, with no strategy in place for responding, other than an expected Twitter spree.
  112. Aides say Trump would likely ignore a plan anyway, so crafting one is futile. Former officials also noted the difficulty in coming up with a strategy when Trump has not been forthright about what happened.
  113. On Thursday, CNN reported in the days after Trump fired Comey, then-acting FBI director Andrew McCabe opened an obstruction of justice investigation before special counsel Robert Mueller was appointed.
  114. McCabe and deputy attorney general Rod Rosenstein viewed Trump as a leader who needed to be reigned in. An obstruction probe was previously considered, but did not start until Trump fired Comey on May 9, 2017.
  115. The probe included the Comey firing, and the Oval Office conversation where Trump asked Comey to drop the investigation of Flynn. Sources say the FBI would only open an investigation if a crime was suspected.
  116. On Thursday, shortly before 10 p.m., CNN’s New York offices received a phoned-in bomb threat, indicating there were five bombs in the building.
  117. The NYPD said they responded to a call from CNN reporting the threat at 10:08 p.m. The building was evacuated and shortly after, the show was broadcast from the street. Employees returned shortly before midnight.
  118. On Thursday, Trump tweeted “FAKE NEWS — THE ENEMY OF THE PEOPLE!” at 10:08 p.m.
  119. On Thursday, the Guardian reported that Mueller’s team has interviewed Trump’s adviser in London, Ted Malloch, about his frequent appearances on RT, considered by U.S. intelligence to be Russian propaganda.
  120. Malloch was contacted by Jerome Corsi on August 2, 2016 at Stone’s behest, to visit Assange and get an update on email releases. On that day, Assange appeared on RT and said he would release additional emails.
  121. On Friday, in a series of seven angry morning tweets, Trump attacked Mueller and his team, accusing them of conflicts of interest saying, “Robert Mueller and Leakin’ Lyin’ James Comey are Best Friends.”
  122. Trump also claimed prosecutors have “wrongly destroyed people’s lives,” citing “Andrew Weissman’s horrible and vicious prosecutorial past,” and the woman prosecutor whose name he could not remember in Corsi’s case.
  123. Trump also mentioned Rosenstein, who he said is conflicted, along with “Bruce Ohr (and his lovely wife Molly), Comey, Brennan, Clapper, & all of the many fired people of the FBI.”
  124. Trump also responded to the Atlantic story, tweeting “We will be doing a major Counter Report to the Mueller Report,” adding “This should never again be allowed to happen to a future President.”
  125. On Friday, Comey testified behind closed door to the House Intelligence Committee. An exasperated Comey told reporters he had been aggressively questioned about the Hillary Clinton email investigation.
  126. Comey had fought the congressional subpoena in court, pushing for a public hearing. Republicans, who will have a House majority for just two more weeks, will call Comey back on December 17.
  127. Politico reported amid slow-motion staff shake-ups, the regime is in a holding pattern: Trump has offered almost nothing in the way of a legislative vision for 2019 beyond border security and a new trade deal.
  128. Of the 706 key roles in the executive branch which require Senate confirmation, just 382 (54%) have a confirmed nominee, while 125 (18%) positions have not had a nominee named yet.
  129. On Thursday, in his first speech since being fired as secretary of state, Rex Tillerson said Trump directed him to do things that were illegal, and that he learned of his firing through Trump’s tweet congratulating Pompeo.
  130. On Friday, Trump responded, tweeting “Pompeo is doing a great job,” but Tillerson “didn’t have the mental capacity needed,” and was “dumb as a rock” and “lazy as hell,” adding, “I couldn’t get rid of him fast enough.”
  131. On Friday, CNN reported chief of staff John Kelly is expected to resign in the coming days. Although in the summer, Trump had asked Kelly to stay on for two more years, the two are no longer on speaking terms.
  132. On Friday, CNN reported Mueller’s team has questioned Kelly on his recollection of an episode that took place after new reporting emerged that Trump had tried to fire Mueller.
  133. On Friday, Trump appointed former Fox News anchor Heather Nauert as U.S. ambassador to the UN. Nauert had little experience in government or foreign policy before joining the State Department in April 2017.
  134. As the State Department spokesperson, Nauert has made missteps, including citing D-Day as the height of U.S.-German relations. At Fox News, she spread conspiracy theories and shared xenophobic storylines.
  135. On Friday, also via Twitter, Trump announced the nomination of William Barr, who served as attorney general for the George H.W. Bush administration from 1991 to 1993, to become his attorney general.
  136. Barr supports a strong vision of executive powers. He also has criticized aspects of the Russia investigation, saying Mueller hired too many prosecutors who had donated to Democratic campaigns.
  137. Barr also has defended Trump calling for a new criminal investigation into Hillary Clinton, saying he saw more basis for investigating Uranium One than the alleged conspiracy between Trump’s associates and Russia.
  138. On Saturday, Trump said Kelly will leave the White House by the end of the year. While Nick Ayers is the leading candidate to become chief of staff, the replacement for Kelly is still unclear.
  139. On Friday, a new NPR/PBS NewsHour/Marist poll found overall 54% of Americans believe the Mueller probe is fair, versus 33% who say it is a “witch hunt,” and 13% are unsure.
  140. Only Republicans were against Mueller, with 17% saying the probe is fair and 77% a witch hunt. Democrats (82%) and Independents (55%) said the probe was fair, versus a witch hunt (10% and 30%).
  141. On Friday, Giuliani told CNN that Mueller’s team believes Manafort is lying to them about Trump, although he said he was not sure the information would show up in the special counsel’s filing today.
  142. On Friday, the Southern District of New York and special counsel Robert Mueller filed new, separate court papers ahead of next Wednesday’s sentencing of Cohen.
  143. The documents portrayed Cohen as a criminal who deserves little sympathy or mercy, and who lied and held back information from the FBI. The document said he should be sentenced to “substantial” prison time.
  144. The documents said “Cohen successfully convinced numerous major corporations to retain him as a ‘consultant’” by promising access to to the Trump regime, and profited by “more than $4 million dollars.”
  145. The SDNY memo said “While many Americans who desired a particular outcome to the election knocked on doors, toiled at phone banks, or found any number of other legal ways to make their voices heard, Cohen sought to influence the election from the shadows.”
  146. The SDNY memo said “Individual 1” (Trump) was directly involved in efforts to buy the silence two women, intended to influence the campaign, and thereby constituted violations of campaign finance law, a felony.
  147. Mueller’s memo revealed a previously unknown November 2015 contact between Cohen and a “trusted person” in the Russian Federation offering the campaign “political synergy” and “synergy on a government level.”
  148. Mueller’s memo described planning a meeting between Trump and Putin, and that Cohen discussed this with Trump prior to suggesting it in a September 2015 radio interview, as Putin was about to visit New York City.
  149. Mueller’s memo also cited Cohen’s lies to Congress “obscured the fact that the Moscow Project was a lucrative business opportunity that sought, and likely required, the assistance of the Russian government.”
  150. Mueller’s memo said if completed, the Trump Organization could have received “hundreds of millions of dollars from Russian sources in licensing fees and other revenues,” and discussions continued during the campaign.
  151. Mueller’s memo said Cohen also provided “relevant information” about contacts with people connected to the White House between 2017 and 2018, the first indication of his involvement with post-election matters.
  152. On Friday, in a heavily redacted document, Mueller’s team said Manafort lied about five major issues after agreeing to cooperate with prosecutors, including his “contact with administration officials.”
  153. The document also revealed that despite Manafort saying he had no contacts with the Trump administration post-inauguration, he was in contact with officials in early 2018, even after being indicted in late 2017.
  154. The document also cited evidence of undisclosed electronic communications with Konstanin Kilimnik, who Mueller has said has ties to a Russian military intelligence unit, as well as travel records and meetings.
  155. The filing said Manafort has met with Mueller’s team 12 times, and at four of those meetings, prosecutors from outside the special counsel’s office attended. He also testified twice before a Mueller grand jury.
  156. The special counsel also said Manafort of lied about a $125,000 wire transfer, and lied in connection with an investigation separate from the Mueller probe. Manafort will be sentenced in March.
  157. Shortly after the documents were released, Trump tweeted, “Totally clears the president. Thank you!” Sarah Sanders added the Cohen filings “tell us nothing of value that wasn’t already known.”
  158. On Saturday, Trump tweeted “AFTER TWO YEARS AND MILLIONS OF PAGES OF DOCUMENTS (and a cost of over $30,000,000), NO COLLUSION!”
  159. Later that morning, Trump quoted Fox News commentator Geraldo Rivera, tweeting, “This is collusion illusion, there is no smoking gun here…after millions have been spent, we have no Russian Collusion.”
  160. Trump also tweeted, “Time for the Witch Hunt to END!”
  161. On Friday, a panel of the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in a 2-1 decision denied the Trump regime’s request to enforce a ban on asylum for any immigrants who illegally cross the U.S.-Mexico border.
  162. The panel said the regime’s ban is inconsistent with an existing U.S. law: “Just as we may not, as we are often reminded, ‘legislate from the bench,’ neither may the Executive legislate from the Oval Office.”
  163. On Saturday, the fourth weekend of anti-government protests turned violent in Paris, as police cracked down on thousands of “Yellow Vests” protesting a planned increase in a fuel tax and Macron’s economic policies.
  164. On Saturday, Trump tweeted, erroneously blaming the riots on the climate change agreement, saying “People do not want to pay large sums of money… in order to maybe protect the environment.”
  165. Trump later tweeted, “Maybe it’s time to end the ridiculous and extremely expensive Paris Agreement,” falsely claiming the U.S. was “the only major country where emissions went down last year!
  166. The State Department told a senate subcommittee China has “indefinitely detained” at least 800,000 Muslim minorities in internment camps, forcing them to renounce Islam and embrace the Chinese communist party.
  167. NYT reported Denmark’s immigration minister announced that roughly 100 unwanted migrants who have been convicted of crimes but cannot be returned to their homeland will be housed on a tiny, hard-to-reach island.
  168. Like much of Europe, Denmark has had a surge in migration in 2015 and 2016, prompting a populist, nativist backlash. Advocates say they are monitoring for possible violations of Denmark’s international obligations.
  169. Trump’s Department of Agriculture finalized the rollback of the school lunch regulations championed by former first lady Michelle Obama. The program was designed to provide healthier foods for 30 million children.


Jose Mertz

My Dog Sighs in progress

Renda Writer



Marina Capdevila

5dec18 Wynwood, Miami, Florida


4dec18 Wynwood, Miami, Florida