POLITIKS OF GRAFFITI 128: “I’M F***ED!”

APRIL 20, 2019

Week 127

Experts in authoritarianism advise to keep a list of things
subtly changing around you, so you’ll remember. https://theweeklylist.org/weekly-list/week-127/
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I captured this in NYin November 2018.

This week Attorney General William Barr publicly released a redacted version of the Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s report, almost a month after he delivered it to Barr. The redacted report differed substantially from Barr’s March 24 letter, as well as from statements delivered by Barr at a press conference hours before the report’s release — casting Barr more as a defense attorney for Trump than an attorney general. Concerns grew further when it was revealed Trump’s White House attorneys had previewed the report in consultation with the Justice Department days earlier.

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Brooklyn, NY in October 2018

 

On Thursday, as the redacted report was released, Trump, who had expressed no interest in reading the report, seemed confident he had turned the corner and was in the clear. As the press and public finally dug into the contents of the redacted report and statements by current and former White House official witnesses, by Friday, Trump shifted back to anger and attack mode, starting by retaliating against former White House counsel Don McGahn. After reading the report, Senator Elizabeth Warren became the first 2020 contender to call for impeachment hearings.

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I found this in Miami, FL in December 2018. 

 

Trump’s attorneys continued to stonewall and seek to block requests from House Democrats for information, alarming even Senate Republicans who this week spoke out on his empowering his office at the expense of Congress. Republicans also for the first time publicly spoke out on Trump’s reliance on acting secretaries, with the regime shrinking, and power increasingly consolidating to Trump, his family, and a few trusted aides’ hands.

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 JIM CARREY THIS WEEK 
It’s not illegal for Trump’s head to spin around while he vomits copious amounts of green bile either, but he’s definitely not fit to be President, he’s definitely not exonerated and Barr definitely couldn’t go any lower.

 

  1. For the third year in a row, U.S. standing in Reporters Without Borders’ annual World Press Freedom Index declined. The U.S. fell three spots to 48th of 180 countries, just below Romania.
  2. For the first time since the index was established, the U.S. fell into the ranks of countries whose treatment of journalists is considered “problematic.” The group cited Trump’s rhetorical hostility.
  3. TIME reported it has been over 300 days since the Pentagon held a press briefing. Defense officials have also stopped identifying senior officials given prominent assignments.
  4. Part of the shift is from Trump’s penchant for surprises. There is also a reluctance to deal with the media. The role of Defense Secretary, vacated by Jim Mattis in December, remains with an acting secretary.
  5. White House daily press briefings have also been dramatically cut back: there have been just two briefings so far in 2019 — the last one took place 38 days ago.
  6. On Saturday, Trump tweeted the NYT story on him offering a pardon to his incoming Secretary of Homeland Security Kevin McAleenan was “wrong on almost every fact,” adding the Times “will lie & cheat anyway possible.”
  7. Trump also tweeted the Times had to beg their fleeing subscribers for forgiveness in that they covered the Election (and me) so badly,” and, “they even apologized to me,” and, “now they are even worse, really corrupt.”
  8. Trump also tweeted the false claim that he “never ordered anyone to close our Southern Border, adding, “although I have the absolute right to do so, and may if Mexico does not apprehend the illegals coming to our Border.”
  9. Trump also sent a series of tweets about sending detainees to sanctuary cities, saying “The USA has the absolute legal right to have apprehended illegal immigrants transferred to Sanctuary Cities.”
  10. Trump also tweeted, “Democrats must change the Immigration Laws FAST,” adding if not, they should take care of migrants including “Gang Members, Drug Dealers, Human Traffickers, and Criminals of all shapes.”
  11. On Sunday, deputy press secretary Hogan Gidley told NPR Trump’s remarks are “not political retribution,” but rather recharacterized them, saying Democrats should consider the remarks “to be an olive branch.”
  12. On Sunday, reporter Jon Karl said on “This Week” that the White House has been briefed about the Mueller report and “there is significant concern on the president’s team about what will be in this report.”
  13. Karl also said “what worries them most is what Don McGahn told the special counsel.”
  14. On Sunday, as the country braced for release of the Mueller report, press secretary Sarah Sanders told Fox New Sunday, “We consider this case to be closed. There was no collusion. There was no corruption.”
  15. On Sunday, WSJ reported lawyers for Trump have been working on a counter report which is 140-pages long, but according to Rudy Giuliani, the lawyers plan to whittle down to 50-pages.
  16. On Sunday, NYT reported that since the Barr letter, Trump has felt emboldened, confident and liberated. As staffers brace for the redacted report to be released, Trump has no interest in reading the full report.
  17. Aides say Trump plans to act as if the redacted report is extraneous to the Barr letter, which in his mind said case closed. He is escalating his language to feed his base, and also to enrage the media and political rivals.
  18. On Sunday, Sanders on “This Week” denied Trump ordered McAleenan to close the border and would pardon him, saying Trump “is not asking anybody to do anything outside of those bounds.”
  19. Sanders also said of Trump’s attacks on Rep. Ilhan Omar, that he wishes her “no ill will and certainly not violence towards anyone,” but added he is calling her out for her “history of anti-Semitic comments.”
  20. On Sunday, Speaker Nancy Pelosi took the extraordinary step of asking the U.S. Capitol Police and the House sergeant-at-arms to work to “safeguard Congresswoman Omar, her family and her staff.”
  21. An aide to Rep. Omar told Politicothere has been an increase in threats” against the Congresswoman since Trump’s Friday tweet. Omar’s office reported the threats to the FBI and Capitol Police.
  22. NYT reported Trump has stepped up his attack of Rep. Omar ahead of 2020 and has privately said his attacks on Muslims are being well received by his base — similar to his success with this line of attack in 2016.
  23. On Monday, Trump tweeted again about Rep. Omar, saying Speaker Pelosi should look at Omar’s “anti-Semitic, anti-Israel and ungrateful U.S. HATE statements,” adding, “she is out of control.”
  24. Later, Trump said in an interview with a local news affiliate in Rep. Omar’s home state, “She’s been very disrespectful to this country” and to Israel, adding, “She’s got a way about her that’s very, very bad for our country.”
  25. On Monday, former NYPD Commissioner Bernard Kerik told Fox News host Sean Hannity that Rep. Omar “is infatuated with al Qaeda, with Hamas, Hezbollah,” and that she “should be removed from Congress.”
  26. On Friday, federal authorities arrested a Florida man, John Kless, 49, for leaving voicemails threatening to kill Rep. Omar, the other freshman Muslim woman Rashida Tlaib, Rep. Eric Swalwell, and Sen. Cory Booker.
  27. Kless’s voicemails were laced with bigotry and profanity, including telling Rep. Tlaib, “It was your Taliban bitch, the one who opened up her fucking towel-head mouth…She’s lucky she’s just getting death threats, bitch.”
  28. Politico reported that Trump will not nominate anyone to serve on a United Nations committee on racism, continuing the regime’s retreat from international bodies that monitor human rights.
  29. On Sunday, AP reported a Wisconsin middle school gym teacher was placed on indefinite leave after she separated students by race and asked black students to research games enslaved children played.
  30. On Tuesday, the Advocate reported the California National Guard will not discharge transgender troops. Maj. Gen. Matthew Beevers said, “as long as you fight, we don’t care what gender you identify as.”
  31. On Wednesday, Map Pesqueira, a student at UT-Austin, told NBC News he is set to lose his army scholarship following Trump’s transgender military ban, saying, “I’m so far into my transition, I’m unable to serve.”
  32. On Monday, Immigration and Customs Enforcement reversed its decision to deport Jose Gonzalez Carranza, the spouse of a soldier killed in Afghanistan and parent of a 12 year-old, allowing him to return to the U.S.
  33. On Tuesday, in a lawsuit brought against DHS and ICE by two migrant families, a federal appeals court in the 4th District ruled detainees do not have to be held in the same state as their children.
  34. On Tuesday, Daily Beast reported a draft report released to McAleenan by members of an advisory council recommended “emergency action” to implement what the report dubbed as the “Flores Fix.”
  35. The report recommended Congress enact emergency legislation to make it easier for the Trump regime to detain children with their parents indefinitely — calling for legislation to roll back the Flores agreement.
  36. On Thursday, the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals upheld that most of California’s “sanctuary” laws can be enforced, rejecting the bulk of a lawsuit brought by the Trump regime.
  37. The decision was authored by a Republican appointee. The panel refused to block California’s law prohibitingpolice from notifying federal immigration authorities of the release dates of immigrant inmates.
  38. On Thursday, a new Housing and Urban Development proposal rolled out by Secretary Ben Carson would evict families from public housing if just one member is considered to be undocumented.
  39. The current practice is to adjust families’ benefits, while the new policy would evict entire families. Carson tweeted, “Thanks to Donald Trump’s leadership, we are putting America’s most vulnerable first.”
  40. On Monday, as the centuries-old Notre Dame cathedral was engulfed in flames, Trump tweeted, encouraging France, “perhaps flying water tankers could be used to put it out,” adding, “Must act quickly!”
  41. The French government responded in a series of tweets in French and English, dismissing the suggestion, saying “The drop of water by air on this type of building could indeed result in the collapse of the entire structure.”
  42. Several far-right pundits and websites started conspiracies on what caused the blaze, with some attempting to blame racial or religious minorities for the outbreak of the fire.
  43. Later at a roundtable, Trump invoked conspiracy theories as the cause, saying “they think it was caused by — at this moment, they don’t know. But they think it was caused by renovation, and I hope that’s the reason.”
  44. On Saturday, NYT reported that although Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell has denied Trump is influencing Fed policy, the central bank has largely moved in the direction that Trump wants in recent months.
  45. On Sunday, Trump again attacked and blamed the Federal Reserve, tweeting, “If the Fed had done its job properly, which it has not, the Stock Market would have been up 5000 to 10,000 additional points.”
  46. Trump also tweeted, “GDP would have been well over 4% instead of 3%…with almost no inflation,” adding, “Quantitative tightening was a killer, should have done the exact opposite!”
  47. On Monday, WSJ reported former Federal Reserve officials and foreign central bankers at the International Monetary Fund event expressed concern Trump has weakened the central bank and its global role.
  48. Officials expressed concern that Trump has interfered with the Fed’s independence, with his continued public criticism and nominating cronies who are extremists and loyal to him.
  49. On Tuesday, Bloomberg reported the White House is talking to candidates to replace Stephen Moore and Herman Cain as Trump’s nominees for the Federal Reserve Board.
  50. On tax day CNN noted with changes under the GOP tax bill, the 10 states with the largest increase in refunds for 2018 were all red states in 2016, and the 10 states with the largest decrease in refunds were all blue states.
  51. On Wednesday, AP reported that Ivanka said Trump asked her if she was interested in the job of World Bank chief, but she passed on the opportunity, saying she was “happy with the work” she is doing.
  52. On Wednesday, Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin said he planned to hire Fox News contributor Monica Crowley as his spokeswoman. The hire comes as House Democrats demanded Trump’s tax returns.
  53. Crowley previously withdrew her nomination by Trump for a position at the National Security Council after allegations she plagiarized portions of her 2012 book and 2000 Ph.D. thesis, which she called a “political hit job.”
  54. On Wednesday, Bloomberg reported Rick Perry is planning to resign as Energy Secretary in the coming weeks. Perry would become the 16th member of Trump’s cabinet to depart.
  55. On Monday, the Interior Department’s internal watchdog said in a letter that it has opened an investigation into ethics complaints against Secretary David Bernhardt, who was confirmed by the senate last week.
  56. On Monday, the House’s Intelligence and Financial Services committees subpoenaed Deutsche Bank and other banks for documents related to Trump and the Trump Organization’s finances.
  57. The committees also subpoenaed banks including JPMorgan Chase, Bank of America, and Citigroup, and is also seeking information related to possible money-laundering by people in Russia and Eastern Europe.
  58. Alan Garten, the Trump Organization’s lawyer, said the company is weighing trying to block the subpoena. While Deutsche Bank has been cooperative, its lawyers said they will consult with the White House.
  59. On Monday, Politico reported Trump lawyers William Consovoy and Stefan Passantino urged Mazars USA not to comply with a subpoena House Oversight Committee Chair Elijah Cummings issued Monday.
  60. The lawyers warned of potential legal action, putting Mazars “on notice,” and calling the subpoena a politically motivated scheme by Democrats to take down Trump.
  61. On Monday, CNN reported Republican lawmakers are concerned with the White House snubbing House Democrats, saying the failure to comply bolsters the power of Trump’s office at the expense of Congress.
  62. Several Senate Republicans also voiced concern with Trump’s growing reliance on using acting secretaries, circumventing the Senate process, and his threats to send migrants to sanctuary cities.
  63. On Tuesday, WAPO reported Trump’s attorneys are not planning to comply with Congressional requests for information, likely resulting in a protracted legal fight that could test the power of congressional subpoenas.
  64. Trump’s lawyers have already refused to turn over information on granting security clearances and meetings with foreign leaders. White House Counsel Pat Cipollone is also preparing for legal battles over subpoenas.
  65. Protracted legal fights will drain lawmakers’ times and resources, and the cases could drag beyond the end of the Congressional session. Trump has told aides he is furious with the inquiries and does not want to cooperate.
  66. On Tuesday, Rusal, the aluminum company partially owned by Russian oligarch Oleg Deripaska which was recently removed from the U.S. sanctions list, announced it will invest in a Kentucky aluminum mill.
  67. Rusal will invest $200 million in a taxpayer-backed aluminum mill Braidy Industries plans to build in exchange for a 40% stake. Braidy would not have been able to form the partnership if sanctions were still in place.
  68. On Tuesday, Trump vetoed a resolution to end military assistance in Saudi Arabia’s war in Yemen — his second veto. Trump said the measure harms bilateral relations and interferes with his power as commander in chief.
  69. On Monday, the DOJ announced a redacted version of the Mueller report will be released on Thursday, the day before Passover and Easter Weekend, and during the two weeks when Congress is out of session.
  70. Shortly after, Trump tweeted, “Since there was no Collusion, why was there an Investigation in the first place!” adding, “Answer — Dirty Cops, Dems and Crooked Hillary!”
  71. Trump also tweeted the report “was written by 18 Angry Democrats who also happen to be Trump Haters (and Clinton Supporters)…who SPIED” on his campaign and others “who fabricated the whole Russia Hoax.”
  72. On Tuesday, NBC News reported former and current White House officials are concerned the Mueller report will expose them as a source of damaging information on Trump, and his wrath will follow.
  73. Some officials and their attorneys sought clarity from the DOJ on whether names of those who cooperated would be redacted from the public version, but said the DOJ refused to provide a response.
  74. On Tuesday, U.S. District Court Judge Reggie Walton, a George W. Bush appointee, in response to a lawsuit by BuzzFeed to release the full Mueller report said Barr has sowed public mistrust with his handling of the report.
  75. Judge Walton said Barr “created an environment that has caused a significant part of the public … to be concerned about whether or not there is full transparency,” but denied BuzzFeed’s request.
  76. Monmouth polls found 28% say the country is headed in the right direction and 62% say things are on the wrong track. Trump’s net approval fell from -7 in March to -14 in April (40% approve/54 disapprove).
  77. On Wednesday, Trump tweeted the “FBI made 11 payments to Fake Dossier’s discredited author,” adding the “Witch Hunt has been a total fraud…brought to you by Dirty Cops, Crooked Hillary and the DNC.”
  78. On Wednesday, Trump said in an interview he is considering doing his own news conference after attorney general Barr, saying “Barr is going to be giving a news conference. Maybe I’ll do one after that; we’ll see.”
  79. Trump also said “You’ll see a lot of very strong things come out,” indicating he has apparently been briefed ahead of the news conference.
  80. Shortly after, the DOJ announced Barr would hold a press conference at 9:30 a.m. on Thursday ahead of the release of the report. Deputy attorney general Rod Rosenstein will join, but Robert Mueller and his staff will not.
  81. The DOJ said the press conference will take place before the release of the redacted report to the media and the public. Journalist noted the unusual nature of holding a press conference without providing materials.
  82. On Wednesday, a new Politico/Morning Consult poll found 38% believe Trump’s campaign was spied on. The spying allegations were revived in Week 126 when Barr testified to lawmakers he believed “spying did occur.”
  83. On Wednesday, NYT reported DOJ officials have had numerous discussions with White House lawyers about conclusions in the Mueller report in recent days.
  84. The talks have helped Trump’s legal team prepare its strategy and response. The discussions have added to concerns about how Barr has conducted himself since he received the Mueller report four weeks ago.
  85. There is also a sense of paranoia among Trump aides about his reaction, and that the report will provide a road map for retaliation by Trump against current and former officials who spoke to Mueller’s team.
  86. DOJ rules do not require Barr to make the report public. The House Judiciary Committee has already voted to authorize a subpoena of Barr to release the full report — which could be sent within a day.
  87. On Wednesday, House Judiciary Chair Jerrold Nadler told reporters Congress will receive a copy of the redacted report hours after the press conference, adding he is troubled the White House has been briefed.
  88. In the evening, Rep. Nadler held an impromptu press conference, saying Barr “appears to be waging a media campaign” on behalf of Trump, “the very subject of the investigation at the heart of the Mueller report.”
  89. Shortly after, WAPO reported according to anonymous sources the DOJ will be releasing a lightly redacted version of the Mueller report, offering a granular look at the ways Trump may have obstructed justice.
  90. The DOJ also revealed in a court filing that a “limited number” of lawmakers would be allowed to review, in a private setting, part of the Mueller report related to the criminal case against Roger Stone.
  91. On Thursday, days after positive tweets by Trump about Kim Jong Un, North Korea’s Central News Agency said it test-fired a new type of “tactical guided weapon.”
  92. On Thursday, BuzzFeed reported for the first time, Australian officials confirmed in a letter a meeting betweenformer high commissioner Alexander Downer and former Trump adviser George Papadopoulos.
  93. At the March 2016 meeting in London, Papadopoulos told Downer that Russia had political dirt on Hillary Clinton. The meeting led to the FBI opening an investigating into Trump’s links with Russia.
  94. On Thursday, ahead of Barr’s new conference, Trump sent a total of 11 tweets, some quoting Fox News shows hosts and conservative group Judicial Watch.
  95. Trump also tweeted, “The Greatest Political Hoax of all time! Crimes were committed by Crooked, Dirty Cops and DNC/The Democrats,” and, “PRESIDENTIAL HARASSMENT!”
  96. On Thursday, Barr held a news conference, hours before the Mueller report was released and without Muellerof a member of his team present. He said the report will be released to Congress between 11 a.m. and noon.
  97. Barr made repeated reference to the phrase “no collusion,” echoing language frequently used by Trump, even though collusion is not a legal term.
  98. Barr also said Trump was “frustrated and angered by a sincere belief that the investigation was undermining his presidency.” Journalists noted the tone sounded more like a defense attorney than a U.S. Attorney General.
  99. Barr said that he and Rosenstein “disagreed with some of the special counsel’s legal theories and felt that some of the episodes did not amount to obstruction as a matter of law,” but that used their “legal framework.”
  100. Fox News host Chris Wallace said Barr “seemed almost to be acting as the counselor for the defense, the counselor for the president, rather than the attorney general, talking about his motives, his emotions…making a case for the president.”
  101. After Barr’s conference, Trump tweeted a “Game of Thrones” type image of him staring into the mist with the words, “No collusion, no obstruction … For the haters and the radical left Democrats … Game Over.”
  102. HBO rebuked Trump for using a “Game of Thrones” meme, saying in statement we “prefer our intellectual property not be used for political purposes.” Nonetheless, Trump pinned the tweet to his page for two days.
  103. Axios reported Jay Sekulow said he first saw the Mueller report on Tuesday afternoon, and that Trump’s legal team made two visits to the DOJ to view the report securely late Tuesday and early Wednesday.
  104. In a letter, Speaker Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, said they wanted testimony “as soon as possible” from Mueller. Rep. Nadler released a letter to Mueller seeking his testimony no later than May 23.
  105. There were several major inconsistencies between what was in the redacted Mueller report, and what Barrcited in his March 24 letter and news conference. WAPO gave Barr a “Three Pinocchios” rating.
  106. False statements included saying the White House “fully cooperated” with Mueller, saying Barr followed precedent releasing the report to Trump’s lawyer early, and indicating he and Rosenstein should have the last word.
  107. Of the 448-page redacted version report released, more than one-third of the Mueller report’s pages contain at least one blacked-out word. Some pages were almost entirely blacked out.
  108. The redacted report was released on April 18, almost a full month after Mueller delivered his report to Barr on March 22.
  109. Barr heavily redacted the sections relating to evidence of the Trump campaign’s outreach to WikiLeaks. Much of what was included in the unredacted report had been previously reported by the media.
  110. The report summarized Trump’s written responses to Mueller’s questions as “inadequate.” Trump said he either could not remember, could not recall or could not recollect a total of 36 times.
  111. Mueller said “we had the authority and legal justification to issue a grand jury subpoena” for Trump’s testimony, but chose not to because “of the substantial delay that such an investigative step would likely produce.”
  112. The report did not exonerate Trump on obstruction, stating “if we had confidence after a thorough investigation of the facts that the president clearly did not commit obstruction of justice, we would so state.”
  113. The report found 10 episodes involving Trump potentially obstructing justice. The report also found a pattern of behavior by Trump to harm the Mueller investigation.
  114. Mueller did reach a conclusion on obstruction, citing under DOJ practice, a sitting president cannot be charged with a crime, and has a great deal of constitutional authority to give orders to other government employees.
  115. Mueller said “Congress may apply the obstruction laws to the President’s corrupt exercise of the powers of office accords with our constitutional system of checks and balances,” adding, “no person is above the law.”
  116. The report said the term “collusion” does not have a settled definition in federal criminal law and was not used. Mueller instead looked for “coordination” between Trump’s campaign and Russia.
  117. The report found that in May 2017, when then AG Jeff Sessions told Trump a special counsel had been appointed, Trump responded, “Oh my God. This is terrible. This is the end of my presidency. I’m fucked.”
  118. Trump then said to Sessions, “How could you let this happen, Jeff?” adding something to the effect of, “You were supposed to protect me…This is the worst thing that ever happened to me.”
  119. The report found Trump told Corey Lewandowski to tell Sessions to curtail the investigation. Lewandowski set up a meeting but it never happened, then delivered the message to Sessions through an intermediary.
  120. The report found Trump also told then chief of staff Reince Priebus to secure Sessions’ resignation, but he did not follow through. Sessions carried a resignation letter whenever he visited the White House.
  121. Mueller found “numerous” links between the Trump campaign and Russian government as it carried out its social media influence and hacking campaigns, but evidence was not sufficient for criminal charges.
  122. The report found “several individuals affiliated with the Trump Campaign lied to the Office, and to Congress, about their interactions” and those lies “materially impaired the investigation of Russian election interference.”
  123. The report found the Russian government “interfered in the 2016 presidential election in sweeping and systematic fashion,” and that Internet Research Agency (IRA) began targeting the U.S. in early 2014.
  124. The report identified “two different forms of connections between the IRA and members of the Trump Campaign” — including with Donald Jr. and Eric — “linking, retweeting” or other reposting, and “communications.”
  125. The report found Papadopoulos suggested to a representative of a foreign government that the Trump campaign had received an explicit offer from Russia for help by releasing Hillary’s hacked emails.
  126. The report found Trump repeatedly asked campaign aides to find Hillary Clinton’s deleted emails. As part of that effort, Michael Flynn reached out to GOP operative Peter Smith and former Senate staffer Barbara Ledeen.
  127. The report found that Paul Manafort discussed with Konstantin Kilimnik a plan to let Russia control part of Ukraine, and discussed Manafort’s strategy for winning Democratic votes in Midwestern states.
  128. The report found Trump’s legal team told Michael Cohen to keep his Congressional testimony “short and tight, not elaborate, stay on message, and not contradict” Trump, but made no mention of Trump’s involvement.
  129. The report found Trump’s “efforts to influence the investigation were mostly unsuccessful,” but largely because the people surrounding Trump “declined to carry out orders or accede to his requests.”
  130. The report found Erik Prince arranged his 2017 Seychelles meeting with Russian Kirill Dmitriev in advance with George Nader. Nader told Dmitriev, “This guy is designated by Steve [Bannon] to meet you!”
  131. The report found Trump directed White House counsel Don McGahn to lie to the media and say he had not directed him in June 2017 to fire Mueller. McGahn refused and took notes during the conversation.
  132. The report found Trump directed Deputy National Security Advisor K.T. McFarland to draft an internal lettersaying he had not directed Flynn to discuss sanctions with Russia ambassador Sergey Kislyak. She refused.
  133. The report found Trump’s personal lawyer told Flynn’s lawyer after he refused to share information about what Flynn was telling the special counsel that Trump would be informed of his “hostility.”
  134. The report found Trump tried to limit what was disclosed about Donald Jr.’s Trump Tower meeting, including his role in drafting a statement that the meeting was about adoptions. His lawyers denied he played a role.
  135. Days before the Trump Tower meeting, Donald Jr. said he was pursuing a lead to get negative information about the Clinton foundation. At the meeting were Rick Gates, Eric Trump, Manafort, Hope Hicks, Ivanka, and Kushner.
  136. The report found Sarah Sanders said she lied — calling it a “slip of the tongue” — to the White House press on two occasions saying “countless” FBI agents had told her they were thankful Trump fired FBI Director James Comey.
  137. The special counsel found evidence of other crimes, and made 14 criminal referrals. Only two of the 14 — cases involving Michael Cohen and Gregory Craig in Week 126 — are publicly known.
  138. The report said in March 2017, after Comey briefed the “Gang of Eight,” Senate Intelligence Chair Richard Burr shared “information about the status of the FBI investigation” with the White House counsel’s office.
  139. As the report was released, Trump told reporters at the White House it was a “good day,” adding “this should never happen to another president again. This hoax should never happen to another president again.”
  140. Conservative media matched Trump’s take on the report, with Fox News writing “AG BARR: Special Counsel Found No Collusion,” and Breitbart writing, “MORE EXONERATION! NO COLLUSION, NO OBSTRUCTION.”
  141. As the report was released, Georgy Borisenko of the Russian Foreign Ministry’s North America Department, said, “Not a single piece of evidence is there,” adding investigators “confessed they have nothing to report.”
  142. Rolling Stone rewrote Barr’s four-page letter to include full quotes from the Mueller report which Barr has selectively edited down to partial quotes. The meaning of several passages was dramatically different.
  143. The NYT Editorial Board called for the release of the uncensored Mueller report, saying Trump has not earned the benefit of the doubt, nor can people “depend on the word of Mr. Trump’s handpicked attorney general.”
  144. On Thursday, reporters waited at the White House South Lawn to ask Trump about the Mueller report as he left for the holiday weekend for Mar-a-Lago. Trump avoided his customary stop to take a few questions.
  145. White House senior adviser Kellyanne Conway called Thursday the “best day since he got elected,” while Trump’s legal team decided not to publish a counter-report they had spent months compiling.
  146. Later Thursday, Trump tweeted “Anything the Russians did concerning the 2016 Election was done while Obama was President,” adding Obama “did nothing,” but “the vote was not affected.”
  147. Mueller’s report covered possible coordination between the Trump campaign and Russia, but the team did not investigate whether Russian attempts to access voting systems, which occurred, were successful.
  148. Trump also tweeted a series of four quotes from Fox News hosts and contributors, including Jesse Watters saying “‘Donald Trump was being framed, he fought back. That is not Obstruction.”
  149. Trump added, “I had the right to end the whole Witch Hunt if I wanted. I could have fired everyone, including Mueller, if I wanted. I chose not to,” adding, “I had the RIGHT to use Executive Privilege. I didn’t!
  150. Trump also tweeted a quote by Tucker Carlson, saying, “The Mueller Report is perhaps the single most humiliating thing that has ever happened to the White House Press in the history of this Country. They know they lied.”
  151. WAPO reported the Mueller report revealed how Trump bred an atmosphere of chaos, dishonesty, and malfeasance in the upper echelons of the regime, not seen since the Nixon administration.
  152. Trump spent months plotting to thwart the Mueller probe and enlist his senior aides to help — most refused orders. Trump repeatedly ask regime members to lie to the public, deny true stories, and craft false storylines.
  153. Bloomberg reported Trump grew angry by Friday, particularly at McGahn and former Staff Secretary Rob Porter, who both spoke extensively to Mueller. Aides wondered if Trump might seek retribution against the two.
  154. On Friday, Trump sent a series of angry tweets, saying that statements made about “in the Crazy Mueller Report,” which was “written by 18 Angry Democrat Trump Haters,” are “fabricated & totally untrue.”
  155. Trump also “because I never agreed to testify” it was not necessary for him to respond to “statements made in the “Report” about me, some of which are total bullshit,” adding, “this was an Illegally Started Hoax.’
  156. Trump also tweeted “Watch out for people that take so-called “notes,” when the notes never existed until needed,” in apparent reference to McGahn and possibly his chief of staff Annie Donaldson.
  157. The report revealed Trump asked McGahn, “Why do you takes notes? Lawyers don’t take notes. I never had a lawyer who took notes,” and McGahn responded because he was a “real lawyer.”
  158. Trump then headed to play golf with conservative talk show host Rush Limbaugh, who defended Trump on his show saying, “It was an attempt at a coup. It was an attempt to…nullify the election results of 2016.”
  159. Eight hours later, Trump finished the series of tweets which had ended with “a….,” adding “big, fat, waste of time, energy and money — $30,000,000 to be exact,” adding, “This should never happen again!”
  160. Trump also threatened, tweeting, “It is now finally time to turn the tables and bring justice to some very sick and dangerous people who have committed very serious crimes, perhaps even Spying or Treason.”
  161. On Friday, Dmitry Peskov, the top spokesman for Russian President Vladimir Putin, said the report “does not present any reasonable proof at all that Russia allegedly meddled in the electoral process in the U.S.”
  162. On Friday, Sanders tried to defend her Comey comment on “Good Morning America,” saying “Actually, if you look at what I said, I said the ‘slip of the tongue’ was in using the word ‘countless.’”
  163. When asked about her other false statement to the media that Trump did not dictate Donald Jr.’s Trump Tower statement, Sanders responded, “That was the information I was given at the time.”
  164. On Friday, Rep. Nadler’s committee issued a subpoena to the DOJ demanding access to the full Mueller report, including grand jury testimony and other material not made public, by May 1.
  165. On Friday, a DOJ spokesperson called the request “premature and unnecessary,” claiming Barr released the report with only “minimal redactions,” and would allow lawmakers to see a less-redacted version.
  166. On Friday, Speaker Pelosi and Minority Leader Schumer rejected a DOJ offer for 12 senior lawmakers to see a less-redacted version of the report, demanding all members of Congress be able to see the full report.
  167. On Friday, Rudy Giuliani pushed back on McGahn’s account, saying in an interview, “It can’t be taken at face value. It could be the product of an inaccurate recollection or could be the product of something else.”
  168. On Friday, the Trump campaign hired its own in-house attorney for its 2020 reelection bid, shifting the business away from Jones Day, the law firm where McGahn is a partner.
  169. Jones Day has represented Trump since his first run for president. Trump advisers said the switch was payback, with one commenting, “Why in the world would you want to put your enemy on the payroll?”
  170. On Friday, Sen. Mitt Romney became the first GOP lawmaker to speak out, saying “I am sickened at the extent and pervasiveness of dishonesty and misdirection by individuals in the highest office of the land.”
  171. Romney also said he was “appalled” that the Trump campaign welcomed help from Russia, and called the report “a sobering revelation of how far we have strayed from the aspirations and principles of the founders.”
  172. On Friday, Sen. Elizabeth Warren became the first 2020 candidate to call for Congress to begin impeachment hearings after reading the redacted report and citing the “severity” of “misconduct” detailed.
  173. Warren warned of normalizing Trump’s behavior, tweeting, “To ignore a President’s repeated efforts to obstruct an investigation into his own disloyal behavior would inflict great and lasting damage on this country.”
  174. On Friday, Trump attacked the media, tweeting, “The Washington Post and New York Times are, in my opinion, two of the most dishonest media outlets around,” adding, “Truly, the Enemy of the People!”
  175. Trump also retweeted a post by a fantasy football league owner who slammed WAPO’s front page, adding, “This is why nobody but the @DNC circle jerk takes this seriously anymore.”
  176. On Friday, in the first poll conducted since the redacted Mueller report was released, Reuters/Ipsos poll found Trump’s approval fell to 37%, down 3 points from an April 15 poll, and the lowest level in 2019.
  177. The same poll found Trump’s approval at 43% shortly after the Barr letter, which shared a much more flattering and limited version of the report.
  178. On Friday, lawyers for Maria Butina asked in a court filing that when she is sentenced next Friday, after spending nine months in jail for acting as a foreign agent of the Russian government, that she be sent back to Russia.
  179. On Friday, House Democrats said they will examine Prince’s testimony to the House Intelligence Committee in November 2017, which is different in several key respects from the Mueller report, for possible perjury.
  180. Inconsistencies include that Prince told Congress the meeting with Dmitriev happened by chance, and that he was not acting as a representative for the Trump transition team or the campaign.
  181. On Saturday, NYT reported the Mueller report revealed that contact by Russians like Dmitriev was part of the Kremlin’s outreach efforts during the campaign, which then shifted into high gear after Trump’s victory.
  182. The report revealed Putin sought back-channels of contact and influence with Trump’s team, and many Americans participated on topics from Trump’s desire to build a Moscow hotel to U.S. policy toward Ukraine.
  183. The report also revealed in December 2016, Putin convened an “all-hands” meeting of his top oligarchs to discuss the risk of the U.S. imposing further sanctions to retaliate for Russia’s interfering in the election.
  184. On Saturday, Trump attacked the Mueller report in a series of tweets, saying the report “should not have been authorized in the first place,” and “was written as nastily as possible”
  185. Trump added the report was written “by 13 (18) Angry Democrats who were true Trump Haters” including “highly conflicted Bob Mueller” but found “No Collusion, No Obstruction!”
  186. Trump also attacked the media, saying “The Fake News Media is doing everything possible to stir up and anger,” adding they seldom mention “there was NO COLLUSION WITH RUSSIA. The Russia Hoax is dead!”
  187. Shortly after, Trump tweeted, “The end result of the greatest Witch Hunt in U.S. political history is No Collusion with Russia (and No Obstruction),” adding, “Pretty Amazing!”
  188. On Saturday, McGahn broke his silence on MSNBC, confirming that details within the Mueller Report were “accurately described.”
  189. The Congressional Budget Office estimated an increase of 1.4 million uninsured Americans from 2016 to 2018, with much coming from Medicaid where the Trump regime has imposed new work requirements.
  190. America Media Inc. sold The National Enquirer to James Cohen, the CEO of Hudson News, ending the publication’s longtime association with Trump and its efforts to promote him and bury embarrassing stories.

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

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

A journalist reads a redacted court filing from the Special Counsel Robert Mueller in the Paul Manafort case. The final report from Mueller’s Russia investigation released on April 18, 2019 left much of the public unsatisfied because it was heavily redacted, stripped of significant evidence and testimony that the investigators gathered.D4mkbXbXkAAAf-8.jpg-large

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POLITIKS OF GRAFFITI 127: IMMIGRANTS HELP MAKE AMERICA GREAT

APRIL 13, 2019

Week 126

Experts in authoritarianism advise to keep a list of things
subtly changing around you, so you’ll remember. FROM AMY SISKIND’S WEEKLY LIST: https://theweeklylist.org/weekly-list/week-126/
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Since immigration was such a big story yet again this week, here is a photo I took of a wheatpaste in Miami, Florida in December 2018. Artist: Marisa Velázquez-Rivas https://www.instagram.com/marisa.vr/
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This is a mural I photographed in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, New York, in February 2018. “Give me your tired, your poor, Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free, The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.” Unfortunately, some people have apparently forgotten…

This week, Trump’s frustration with migrants coming to the southern border boiled over, as he purged the Department of Homeland Security, and empowered immigrant hardliner Stephen Miller to be in charge of the regime’s immigration policy. As the week ended, 12 of the 30 senior roles at DHS were either vacant or filled with “acting” leaders. Departures of senior officials at the cabinet level and below are at record levels. Meanwhile, Trump continues to consolidate power, act unilaterally, and welcome the “flexibility” of using “acting” directors whom he can hire and fire at will — without needing the oversight of the Senate to confirm them.

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“If Kirstjen only had a heart, she wouldn’t have been hired in the first place.” A quote from Jim Carrey, to go along with his depiction of the OUSTED TIN WOMAN this week. 

 

Troubling reporting this week indicated Trump instructed his incoming Secretary of DHS to break the law, assuring him he would be pardoned. Reporting also indicated Trump and Miller had contemplated releasing migrant detainees into sanctuary cities as a means to punish political enemies. When confronted with the story, the White House pushed back, only to have Trump say indeed that was his plan. Trump also looked for ways to increasingly use military troops at the border, including in ways that violate the law.

Attorney General William Barr delivered concerning Congressional testimony, refusing to answer if he has briefed the White House on the Mueller probe, and said he believed “spying” by the FBI on the Trump campaign did occur. Trump seized on Barr’s words to claim he was a victim of an “attempted coup,” and continued this week to discredit Mueller and his team. Three weeks after Mueller delivered his report to Barr, it has yet to be released to Congress or the American people.

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Jim Carrey’s latest depiction of the most dangerous, unlawful man in the country. And that says a lot, considering who the president is. But, I dare to say that 45 is stupid, can barely read, and has never known the law. Barr, however, does know the law, he just chooses to BREAK IT. That is what makes him the MOST DANGEROUS

 

  1. On Sunday, Trump renewed his attacks on Mueller, tweeting: “Looks like Bob Mueller’s team of 13 Trump Haters & Angry Democrats” are illegally leaking information to the press.
  2. Trump also tweeted that the “Fake News Media” makes up stories, adding, “sources no longer matter to our corrupt & dishonest Mainstream Media,” and, “they are a Joke!”
  3. On Sunday, Rudy Giuliani also attacked Mueller’s team, telling the AP “You’re darn right I’m going after them again,” adding, “they were forced to admit they couldn’t find anything on him. They sure tried.”
  4. On Monday, Trump quoted Charles Hurt, an opinion writer at the Washington Times, tweeting: “The reason the whole process seems so politicized is that Democrats made up this complete lie about Collusion.”
  5. Trump also quoted Katie Pavlich, editor of Townhall.com, tweeting: “Jerry Nadler is not entitled to this information. He is doing this to get it to the Democrat 2020 nominee.”
  6. Trump later tweeted: “The Democrats will never be satisfied, no matter what they get, how much they get, or how many pages they get,” adding, “It will never end, but that’s the way life goes!”
  7. On Sunday, Mick Mulvaney, the acting White House chief of staff, told “Fox New Sunday” that House Democrats will “never” see Trump’s tax returns, saying, “That’s an issue that was already litigated during the election.”
  8. Axios reported former White House counsel Don McGahn told a group of senior Republican Senate aidesTrump uses a “hub and spokes model” — with no staff member empowered and Trump making all the decisions.
  9. On Sunday, Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen resigned, bowing to pressure from Trump over his frustration over the failure to stop the flow of immigrants crossing the southern border.
  10. Trump tweeted about her resignation, with her formal letter following shortly after. Tension between the two was exacerbated by Trump withdrawing Ronald Vitiello’s nomination to be the director of ICE without consulting Nielsen last week.
  11. Fox News’ anchors had repeatedly called for Nielsen’s resignation in recent weeks. DHS is the subject of numerous House subpoenas and more than 20 investigations by the agency’s inspector general.
  12. Nielsen’s resignation marked the 15th Trump cabinet member to depart — a faster turnover pace than Obama, W. Bush, or Clinton, as nearly 50 senior officials have departed since Trump took office.
  13. Nielsen was also the third woman to resign from Trump’s cabinet, leaving just three women out of 24 positions — the least diverse cabinet by gender since President Reagan.
  14. On Monday, NBC News reported Trump’s renewed support for months of reinstating large-scale separation of migrant families crossing the border put him at odds with Nielsen and was part of what led to her resignation.
  15. Nielsen told Trump federal court orders prohibited DHS from reinstating the policy. Kevin McAleenan, the head of Customs and Border Protection whom Trump is likely to name secretary, has not ruled out family separation.
  16. On Monday, Randolph “Tex” Alles was removed as U.S. Secret Service Director. After his departure, Alles sent a message to the Secret Service saying he had not been fired by Trump. Alles reported to Nielsen.
  17. Alles was a retired Marine Corps general and former acting deputy commissioner of CBP — the first Secret Service Director not to come up the agency ranks in at least 100 years, and the latest general to depart.
  18. On Monday, Sen. Chuck Grassley warned Trump to stop ousting top immigration officials, saying he was “very, very concerned” Lee Francis Cissna, director of Citizenship and Immigration Services, could be next.
  19. Reports indicated Cissna and DHS’s general counsel, John Mitnick, could be the next to go in Trump’s purge of DHS leaders. Grassley told WAPO he planned to go on Fox News to make his case for keeping Cissna.
  20. On Monday, WSJ reported Trump has been pushing to reinstate the family separation policy since the day it stopped. Recently, Trump reportedly told Stephen Miller: “You’re in charge” of the regime’s immigration policy.
  21. CNN reported in an Oval Office meeting three weeks ago, Trump, while “ranting and raving” ordered Nielsen and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo to shut down the port of El Paso the next day. Mulvaney talked him out of it.
  22. Also, last Friday during his visit to Calexico, Trump reportedly told border agents to not let migrants in. When Trump left, their leaders said if they did so, they would take on personal liability, and to instead follow the law.
  23. On Monday, a federal judge issued a preliminary injunction blocking a Trump regime experimental policy requiring asylum seekers to remain in Mexico while their cases made their way through immigration courts.
  24. Under the policy known as Migrant Protection Protocols (MPP), several hundred migrants had been returned to Mexico. The judge’s ruling took away one of the regime’s remaining tools to stem the flow of migrants.
  25. On Monday, Florida Congresswomen Debbie Wasserman Schultz, Debbie Mucarsel-Powell, and Donna Shalala vowed to take legal action against the regime after they were denied entry to the Homestead facility in Miami.
  26. An estimated one-in-six migrant children will be housed at for-profit Homestead. The Congresswomen cited a new law which affirms members of Congress “must be given access to conduct oversight.”
  27. On Tuesday, Trump told reporter he was continuing an Obama policy, saying “Obama had child separation,” adding, “Obama had the law. We changed the law.” The claim that Obama separated families is false.
  28. Trump claimed because he changed Obama’s policy, “once you don’t have it, that’s why you have many more people coming,” adding, “They’re coming like it’s a picnic, like ‘let’s go to Disneyland.’”
  29. Trump also denied he planned to reinstate family separation, and told reporters, “I never said I was cleaning house.”
  30. On Tuesday, Fox News host Tucker Carlson called for militarization of the southern border, saying “we need martial law on the border,” and claiming large-scale migration “is how countries collapse.”
  31. On Tuesday, NYT reported the Trump Organization has begun to quietly take steps to eliminate any remaining undocumented workers from its workforce at its properties in South Florida, facing charges of hypocrisy.
  32. Seven veteran maintenance workers at Trump National Jupiter were told they had to show proof of legal residency to keep their jobs. Only one was legal — and six were from El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, and Mexico.
  33. On Tuesday, Claire Grady, the acting number two at DHS, resigned in the evening. Grady had 28 years of experience at the Departments of Homeland Security and Defense. Nielsen tweeted out Grady’s resignation.
  34. TIME reported Grady, who was next in line to become acting secretary, was forced to resign as Trump chose Kevin McAleenan to take the role.
  35. On Wednesday, Ronald Vitiello, who was acting director of ICE since June 2018, and had his nomination to head ICE suddenly withdrawn by Trump last week, told staffers his last day of work will be on Friday.
  36. Described as a “purge” of DHS leadership, roles of Secretary, Deputy Secretary, Under Secretary for Management, CBP Commissioner, ICE Director, Secret Service Director, and FEMA Administrator were vacant.
  37. Overall within DHS, 12 of the 30 leadership positions on the department’s organization chart are “vacant” or filled by an “acting” leader.
  38. Several Senate Republicans publicly expressed concern about the purge at DHS, and the growing leadership void. Several, including Majority Leader Mitch McConnell praised Nielsen on her way out.
  39. WAPO reported Trump’s agencies have spent much more time being led by acting directors than any in history — and with Nielsen’s departure, he has the second most acting agency heads in modern history.
  40. Acting roles included: DHS, Interior Secretary, Budget Director, Chief of Staff, U.N. Ambassador, FEMA Administrator, ICE Director, administrator of the Small Business Administration, and CBP Commissioner.
  41. Trump has said he likes to have acting directors, saying in January: “It gives me more flexibility. Do you understand that? I like acting.” Acting directors have become a feature of the Trump regime.
  42. On Wednesday, at a roundtable in Texas, Trump lamented troops cannot get “rough” at the border, saying “our military…can’t act…like they would normally act…or like…another military from another country would act.”
  43. On Thursday, a  former Trump campaign chairman told Politico if Trump wins in 2020, the country is going to get “pure Trump off the chain,” and the second term will be “four years of Donald Trump in payback mode.”
  44. On Thursday, Trump named acting deputy director Matthew Albence, an immigration hardliner who has compared migrant detention centers to “summer camps,” to become the director of ICE.
  45. On Thursday, WAPO reported White House officials pressured U.S. immigration authorities to release detainees onto the streets of “sanctuary cities” to retaliate against Trump’s political adversaries.
  46. According to DHS officials and emails reviewed, the Trump regime has proposed doing this at least two times: in November with “caravans” approaching and in February during his standoff with Democrats.
  47. The Trump regime considered targeting Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s district and other Democratic strongholds, and told ICE the plan was meant to alleviate a shortage of detention space and to send a message to Democrats.
  48. A whistleblower told the Post the Trump regime believed it could punish Speaker Pelosi and Democrats by busing detainees into their districts before their release. Stephen Miller discussed the proposal with ICE.
  49. Asked for comment, the White House and a DHS spokesperson sent similar messages to the Post, saying, “This was just a suggestion that was floated and rejected, which ended any further discussion.”
  50. A spokesperson for Speaker Pelosi accused the regime of “cruelty,” adding, “Using human beings — including little children — as pawns in their warped game to perpetuate fear and demonize immigrants is despicable.”
  51. Later that evening, a White House official characterized the idea of steering migrants to sanctuary cities as being “informally asked,” adding, “The idea was briefly and informally raised and quickly rejected.”
  52. On Friday, Speaker Pelosi told reporters the idea was “just another notion” showing Trump is “unworthy of the presidency of the United States and disrespectful of the challenges we face.”
  53. On Friday, Trump contradicted statements by the White House and DHS, tweeting that the regime is “indeed, as reported, giving strong considerations to placing Illegal Immigrants in Sanctuary Cities only”
  54. Trump tweeted he is considering this plan “due to the fact that Democrats are unwilling to change our very dangerous immigration laws,” adding, “The Radical Left always seems to have an Open Borders…so this should make them very happy!
  55. New York University journalism professor Jay Rosen continued to warn the media, “there is no White House. Not as conventionally defined. Now it’s just Trump… and people who work in the building.”
  56. On Friday, NBC News reported that at a Tuesday meeting of Trump’s top national security advisers at the White House, advisers discussed increasingly military involvement at the border.
  57. Advisers discussed using the military to build tent city detention camps for migrants, and also whether the military could run the camps. U.S. law prohibits the military from directly interacting with migrants.
  58. The military may also be used to assess land before the construction of new tent cities in Texas. A new processing center is also being built similar to the one in McAllen, where children were kept in cage-like areas.
  59. The new tent cities will hold the overflow, while ICE detention facilities are at capacity. An official said using the military allows for faster construction than private contractors, who can protest decisions.
  60. On Friday, NYT reported that Trump privately urged Kevin McAleenan, during his visit to Calexico last week, to close the southwestern border to migrants, despite Trump saying last week he would delay for a year.
  61. Trump also reportedly told McAleenan he would pardon him if he encountered legal challenges for closing the border. Federal judges have blocked the regime’s efforts to limit asylum as unlawful.
  62. Nielsen had refused to carry out Trump’s order to close the border, saying it was not illegal. Trump told McAleenan to disregard Nielsen’s concern. Two days later she resigned. Trump has been eager to stop immigration.
  63. A spokesman for the Department of Homeland Security told the Times, “At no time has the president indicated, asked, directed or pressured the acting secretary to do anything illegal,” adding nor would they.
  64. On Tuesday, Republicans on the House Judiciary Committee released a 152-page transcript of former FBI general counsel James Baker, as part of entering testimony from last year’s investigation into the congressional record.
  65. Baker also told lawmakers there was widespread concern inside the FBI that Trump had attempted to obstruct the investigation into his campaign’s links to Russians when he fired former FBI director James Comey.
  66. Baker testified he was told by former Deputy FBI Director Andrew McCabe that Rod Rosenstein told McCabe two members of Trump’s cabinet had endorsed the notion of invoking the 25th Amendment to remove Trump from office.
  67. Baker also said last October that he not did think deputy attorney general Rosenstein was joking about wearing a wire or invoking the 25th Amendment — but that he did not connect the two discussions.
  68. On Tuesday, Russian President Vladimir Putin mocked the Mueller probe at a forum in St. Petersburg, saying, “It was clear for us from the start that it would end like this,” adding, “a mountain gave birth to a mouse.”
  69. Putin also said, “Trump knows better than us what a ‘witch hunt’ is. We know that this is a black page in American history,” adding, “I don’t want [this page] to ever be repeated.”
  70. On Tuesday, Barr testified before the House Appropriations Committee for 2 1/2 hours. Barr said the Justice Department will release the Mueller report “within a week,” reiterating his promise of a mid-April release.
  71. Barr admitted Mueller’s team may have preferred for him to release more information up front, and they “did not play a role in drafting” his letter. Mueller was offered to review the letter, but declined.
  72. Barr said he would redact grand-jury material, information on intelligence sources and methods on ongoing investigations, and details that would affect the privacy of people “peripheral” to Mueller’s investigation.
  73. Notably, Barr refused to answer whether whether he has briefed the White House on the report. He said he would color-code redactions, so the reason would be more clear.
  74. Barr said Congress will not receive the unredacted report, and that he will not ask the judge for an exception in order to release secret grand-jury information to Congress.
  75. Barr also asked the committee for an additional $72.1 million to fund 100 new immigration judges, but claimed he was “not familiar with” discussions of Trump’s renewed push to separate families at the border.
  76. On Tuesday, Bloomberg reported Barr has assembled a team to review counterintelligence decisions made by DOJ and FBI officials, including actions taken related to the Trump campaign in the summer of 2016.
  77. On Monday, the White House threatened that Trump would veto the Democrats’ bill to reinstate net neutrality rules, claiming it would “return to the heavy-handed regulatory approach of the previous administration.”
  78. On Monday, Guardian reported the Trump regime has quietly withdrawn federal funding for Landscape Conservation Cooperatives, a large conservation program, putting years of scientific study at risk.
  79. On Tuesday, Trump threatened to put $11 billion of tariffs on the E.U. over subsidies given to Boeing’s European rival Airbus, tweeting: “The EU has taken advantage of the U.S. on trade for many years. It will soon stop!”
  80. On Tuesday, Twitter disabled a video tweeted by Trump featuring “The Dark Knight” music, after Warner Bros. said it would be filing a copyright infringement complaint.
  81. On Tuesday, Fox News reported Rep. Devin Nunes filed a $150 million lawsuit against The McClatchy Company, alleging it conspired to derail his oversight of the Clinton campaign and Russian election interference.
  82. On Tuesday, in House appropriations subcommittee testimony, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin revealed lawyers from his agency consulted with the White House general counsel’s office about Trump’s tax returns.
  83. Conversations took place before the House Democrats made their request for Trump’s returns. Mnuchin said he personally did not participate in the conversations and was not briefed on the discussions.
  84. On Tuesday, Mnuchin squabbled with House Financial Services Committee Chair Maxine Waters at a hearing,saying she should dismiss the meeting, “take the gavel and bang it,” since he had a “very important meeting.”
  85. Rep. Waters responded, “Please do not instruct me as to how I am to conduct this committee.” Mnuchin also said, “I will cancel my meeting and I will not be back here.”
  86. On Tuesday, YouTube disabled comments on a livestream of a House Judiciary Committee hearing on hate crimes and white nationalism on social media, after being flooded with racist and anti-Semitic comments.
  87. What was meant to be a serious inquiry by the committee devolved into a circus type atmosphere when Republicans invited Candace Owens, a 29-year-old African American provocateur to testify.
  88. Owens was named as “the person who has influenced me above all” in the manifesto of the New Zealand killer, and said in December, “if Hitler just wanted to make Germany great and have things run well, okay, fine.”
  89. On Tuesday, more than 80 House Democrats unveiled a resolution condemning white supremacy at a news conference. Although the sponsors did not name Trump, they referenced the impact of his rhetoric.
  90. On Tuesday, the Charlotte Observer reported Brandon Lecroy, a 26 year-old white man, was sentenced to 10 years in prison for trying to hire a hitman from the South Carolina Klu Klux Klan to kill a black neighbor.
  91. On Tuesday, the president of the NAACP called a series of four suspicious blazes at historically black churches in Louisiana in a 10-day span an act of “domestic terrorism” emboldened by racial rhetoric across the country.
  92. KVUE ABC News reported a principal in Austin, Texas was removed after allegations she discriminated against immigrant parents and joked in a newsletter about Trump’s “Make America Great Again” campaign slogan.
  93. On Wednesday, WAPO reported the Texas House heard debate on a bill that could impose the death penalty for women who get abortions. A similar measure was not brought up for debate in 2017.
  94. WAPO reported students at George Mason University, including sexual assault survivors, have petitioned school leadership to remove Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh from teaching and issue an apology.
  95. On Thursday, Forbes reported a new policy proposal being considered by the Trump regime would monitor the social media profiles of disabled people and flag content that shows them doing physical activities to root out false claims.
  96. On Wednesday, a man wearing a Trump t-shirt yelled disparaging words at members of a Muslim communitygathering at one of the mosques targeted in the Christchurch terror attack in New Zealand.
  97. On Monday, Rep. Ilhan Omar tweeted, “Stephen Miller is a white nationalist. The fact that he still has influence on policy and political appointments is an outrage.”
  98. On Tuesday, Trump responded, tweeting a quote from Fox Business show “Varney & Co.”: “What’s completely unacceptable is for Congresswoman Omar to target Jews, in this case Stephen Miller.”
  99. On Wednesday, “Fox & Friends” co-host Brian Kilmeade slammed Rep. Omar over her 9/11 comments at a Council on American-Islamic Relations banquet, saying “You have to wonder if she is an American first.”
  100. On Thursday, the New York Post cover featured a take-off of a partial quote by Rep. Omar — “some people did something” — writing “Here’s your something,” with a photo of the Twin Towers after the planes hit.
  101. On Friday, Trump tweeted an edited video showing Rep. Omar’s speech to the CAIR interspersed with video of the 9/11 attacks, and Trump added the words: “WE WILL NEVER FORGET!”
  102. Shortly after, Sen. Elizabeth Warren tweeted Trump “is inciting violence against a sitting Congresswoman– and an entire group of Americans based on their religion,” and called on other elected officials to condemn it.
  103. On Saturday, other Democrats came to Rep. Omar’s defense, saying Trump’s tweet was endangering her life. Trump pinned the tweet to his profile to highlight it.
  104. On Friday, the Houston Chronicle reported Laura Maradiaga, 11, who was apprehended in October 2018 along with her mother and sister, could be deported back to El Salvador without her family because of a clerical error.
  105. On Tuesday, Democratic chairs of five House committees sent a letter to the White House, DOJ, and top regime health officials seeking information on the shift in the DOJ’s legal strategy on the Affordable Care Act.
  106. The letter noted the DOJ seeking the elimination of the ACA constituted a “sudden and significant reversal” that violated the federal government’s long standing precedent of defending its own laws.
  107. On Wednesday, Rep. Matt Gaetz introduced the “PENCIL” resolution, after Trump referred to Rep. Adam Schiff as a “pencil neck,” calling for Schiff to be ousted as committee chair and have his security clearance revoked.
  108. On Wednesday, House Oversight Committee Chair Elijah Cummings threatened in a letter to Barr to hold John Gore, a principal deputy assistant attorney general, in contempt of Congress.
  109. Rep. Cummings said in his letter that Barr appears “to be instructing” Gore “to defy a duly authorized congressional subpoena” requesting his testimony about a citizenship question added to the 2020 census.
  110. On Wednesday, at a Senate Appropriations Committee subcommittee budget hearing, Barr seemed to embrace talking points used by Trump’s Republican allies casting doubt on the origins of the Mueller probe.
  111. When asked about his investigation into officials who investigated Trump, Barr parroted a right-wing conspiracy theory about the FBI, saying, “I think spying on a political campaign is a big deal,” and, “I think spying did occur.”
  112. When pressed, Barr said, “I have no specific evidence that I would cite right now,” saying he was not launching an investigation of the FBI, but “there was probably a failure among a group of leaders” at the upper echelon.
  113. When asked specifically whether the Mueller investigation was a witch hunt, Barr responded, “it depends on where you sit,” adding people who were “falsely accused” could see it that way.
  114. Barr later walked back claims of spying on the Trump campaign, saying at the end of the hearing, “I am not saying that improper surveillance occurred. I am saying that I am concerned about it and I’m looking into it.”
  115. At the same time, Trump spoke to reporters on the White House South Lawn, saying the investigation into Russian election interference and obstruction of justice was “an attempted coup” against his presidency.
  116. Trump claimed the Mueller probe was “started illegally” and “every single thing about it” was “crooked,” adding, “we fight back” because we know “how illegal this whole thing was, it was a scam.”
  117. Trump also said it “all started, because this was an illegal witch hunt,” adding, “there were dirty cops, these were bad people,” naming former FBI officials Comey, McCabe, Peter Strzok, and Lisa Page.
  118. On Wednesday, Speaker Pelosi said in an interview with the AP that she was “very concerned” about Barr’shandling of Mueller’s report, saying “I don’t trust Barr, I trust Mueller.”
  119. Pelosi also said of Barr’s testimony that he will pursue Trump’s claims about “spying” during his 2016 campaign, “He is not the attorney general of Donald Trump. He is the attorney general of the United States.”
  120. Later, at a news conference, Pelosi told reporters, regarding Barr, that she found it “very, very dismaying and disappointing that the chief law enforcement officer of our country is going off the rails, yesterday and today.”
  121. On Wednesday, including Speaker Pelosi, all four Democratic members of the Gang of Eight condemned Barr’s comments about intelligence officials “spying.” The four Republicans did not comment publicly.
  122. On Thursday, Trump told reporters he was pleased with Barr’s claim there was spying on his 2016 campaign, saying “Yes, I am,” adding, “I think what he said was absolutely true. There was absolutely spying.”
  123. Trump also said “I’ll go a step further…it was illegal spying and unprecedented spying and something that should never be allowed to happen in our country again.”
  124. Trump said of the Mueller probe, “You’re just lucky I happen to be the President because a lot of other presidents would have reacted very differently than I’ve reacted,” adding, “no collusion no obstruction.”
  125. On Thursday, Trump tweeted a video of Fox Business host Maria Bartiromo saying “Biggest scandal of our time — the coup that failed!
  126. On Thursday, deputy attorney general Rosenstein defended Barr, telling the WSJ Barr is “being as forthcoming as he can,” and “this notion that he’s trying to mislead people, I think is just completely bizarre.”
  127. On Thursday, Rep. Nunes told Fox News host Sean Hannity that he plans to meet with Barr to send eight “criminal referrals” against individuals involved in the investigation of Trump’s 2016 campaign.
  128. Barr told lawmakers “I haven’t seen the referrals yet” but added “if there’s a predicate for an investigation it’ll be conducted.” Nunes was formerly chair of the House Intelligence Committee (recused then returned).
  129. Democrats on the committee cried foul, with one aide saying we expect the DOJ to follow appropriate protocol, and for Barr to hold “any such meeting only with representatives of the majority and minority present.”
  130. Trump also retweeted a video from Fox Business host Lou Dobbs claiming his approval was up to 55%, tweeting “Great news! #MAGA.” His actual approval was 43% — the 55% was actually Trump’s disapproval number.
  131. On Monday, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo said he would support a bill that would permit the NY Dept of Taxation and Finance to release any state tax returns requested by leaders of three congressional committees.
  132. On Tuesday, Trump’s IRS commissioner, Charles Rettig, told the House Appropriations Committee during testimony that there are no rules prohibiting taxpayers under audit from releasing their tax information.
  133. On Wednesday, Trump also said he would not release his tax returns on the day of the deadline set by House Democrats, falsely claiming, “I would love to give them, but I’m not going to do it while I’m under audit.”
  134. On Thursday, the Illinois state senate passed a bill requiring presidential candidates to release five years of tax returns in order to get on the ballot in 2020. Similar legislation is in play in 17 other states.
  135. On Wednesday, Mnuchin said in letter to House Ways and Means Committee Chair Richard Neal that the Treasury would miss the deadline for Trump’s tax returns, and would consult with the DOJ on how to proceed.
  136. On Tuesday, the Guardian reported recent filings reveal a new DOJ stance on the emoluments clause, allowing Trump to accept unlimited amounts from foreign governments if it comes through commercial transactions.
  137. The new stance would exempt Trump’s hotels, including Trump Hotel DC. The DOJ shift started in June 2017, and now closely paralleling arguments made in a January 2017 by Trump Organization lawyer Sheri Dillon.
  138. On Tuesday, Public Citizen, a consumer advocacy group, sued the Department of Education and Secretary Betsy DeVos, claiming the agency is blocking access to its website, in violation of the First Amendment.
  139. On Monday, Roll Call reported recently posted versions of acting Interior Secretary David Bernhardt’s daily schedules contained at least 260 entries differing from his original schedules.
  140. In the newer version, meetings previously described as “external” or “internal” were actually meetings with representatives of the fossil fuel, timber, mining, and other industries.
  141. The new schedule included a keynote address at the Trump Hotel DC for Domestic Energy Producers Alliance, meetings with oil company executives, and a group focused on weakening the Endangered Species Act.
  142. On Thursday, Bernhardt was confirmed by the Senate as Interior Secretary, even as more than a dozen Democrats and government ethics watchdog groups called for formal investigations into his past conduct.
  143. On Thursday, Wikileaks founder Julian Assange was arrested after being expelled from the Ecuadoran Embassy on U.S. hacking charges, seven years after his group published classified information on the internet in 2010.
  144. U.S. officials acknowledged they had secretly charged Assange last year with conspiring with Chelsea Manning to illegally obtain secret U.S. military and diplomatic documents, by hacking a government password.
  145. Assange’s lawyer said he will fight extradition to the U.S. She called the action against him “a dangerous precedent for all news media.” Assange was told by the Ecuadoran ambassador his asylum was being revoked.
  146. In Mueller’s indictments of 12 Russian military intelligence officers, he charged they “discussed the release of the stolen documents and the timing of those releases” with WikiLeaks. Assange has not been charged.
  147. The indictment said stolen emails were released “to heighten their impact on the 2016 presidential election.” Wikileaks began releasing emails on the same day in October 2016 the “Access Hollywood” tape surfaced.
  148. On Thursday, when asked about Wikileaks and the arrest of Assange, Trump told reporters, “I know nothing about WikiLeaks. It’s not my thing. I know there is something to do with Julian Assange.”
  149. During the campaign, Trump mentioned WikiLeaks 141 times at 56 events in the final month before the election, saying at events, “WikiLeaks, I love WikiLeaks,” and, “This WikiLeaks is like a treasure trove.”
  150. Trump also said he did not “really have an opinion” about Assange’s arrest by British authorities in response to a U.S. extradition request, adding the matter was being handled “mostly by the attorney general.”
  151. Vice President Mike Pence told CNN on Trump’s past comments on Wikileaks, “I think the president always, as you in the media do, always welcomes information,” adding, “but that was in no way an endorsement.”
  152. Lawmakers from both parties condemned Assange and called for his immediate extradition for hacking classified information and his role in the 2016 election. He will face extradition hearings on May 2 and June 12.
  153. On Wednesday, CNN reported Jeff Bezos will meet with federal prosecutors in New York, indicating the inquiry into Saudi Arabia’s involvement with the National Enquirer story is moving forward.
  154. On Thursday, Gregory Craig, former Obama White House counsel, was charged with lying to federal prosecutors about legal work for Ukraine he did for Paul Manafort while a partner at law firm Skadden, Arps.
  155. Craig was charged with two felony counts for alleged false statements made to DOJ officials and later Mueller’s prosecutors over whether he should have registered as a foreign agent. The case grew out of the Mueller probe.
  156. Legal experts noted the charges indicate cases farmed out from the Mueller probe could continue to yield newevidence and even more charges for months or even years.
  157. In his testimony to lawmakers, Barr said DOJ lawyers are working with the special counsel’s office to redact information before its release, such that it does not harm “a number of cases that are still being pursued.”
  158. On Monday, prosecutors told the judge that Sam Patten, a lobbyist who steered foreign money to Trump’s inaugural campaign, provided “substantial assistance” to Mueller and other investigators, asking for no jail time.
  159. On Friday, Patten was sentenced to three years of probation with no jail time. Patten pleaded guilty in August, and has cooperated with still unknown investigations which grew out of Mueller’s work.
  160. On Wednesday, a court filing revealed Trump’s older sister, Maryanne Trump Barry, 82, retired as a federal appellate judge after an investigation was opened into whether she violated judicial conduct rules.
  161. The investigation came after four citizens filed complaints arising from a NYT story from October which alleged Trump and his siblings evaded inheritance taxes by participating in fraudulent tax schemes.
  162. In February 2017, Barry told the court that she would stop hearing cases, without specifying the reason why.By retiring, she ends the court inquiry into her role in the tax scheme.
  163. On Wednesday, Benjamin Netanyahu narrowly won re-election for a fifth term as prime minister of Israel, securing 65 of the 120 seats in Parliament. Several world leaders, especially nationalists like Trump, rushed to congratulate Netanyahu.
  164. On Thursday, in an Oval Office meeting with South Korean President Moon Jae-in, Trump told reporters he is considering a third nuclear summit with North Korea’s Kim Jong Un.
  165. Trump also said, “I enjoy the summits, I enjoy being with the chairman,” adding, “I really believe over a period of time, a lot of tremendous things will happen. I think North Korea has a tremendous potential.”
  166. On Friday, Herman Cain withdrew his name from consideration for appointment to the Federal Reserve, after several Republican senators came out against his potential nomination.
  167. On Friday, CNN reported in past speeches, Trump’s other Fed pick, Stephen Moore, has described himself as “radical” and said he is not “a big believer in democracy,” adding, “capitalism is a lot more important.”
  168. Moore said in February Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell was one of Trump’s “worst appointments” and said hundreds of employees at the Fed whom he called “worthless” economists should be fired.
  169. On Friday, WAPO reported federal investigation found rampant sexual harassment and retaliation at AccuWeather under the leadership of Barry Myers, Trump’s nominee to lead the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.
  170. Trump nominated Myers in 2017, but his nomination stalled in the Senate. Republican leaders had planned to renominate him without a hearing, despite ethics concerns raised when he first went through the process.
  171. On Friday, Democratic Sens. Patty Murray and Tim Kaine demanded in a letter that the DOJ “make public all findings” of an investigation into Labor Secretary Alexander Acosta’s conduct in the Jeffrey Epstein case.
  172. On Friday, in a memo to his committee, Rep. Cummings said he is moving forward on Monday to issue a “friendly” subpoena to accounting firm Mazars USA to obtain 10 years of Trump’s financial records.
  173. On Friday, after a lengthy battle with multiple federal court injunctions, Trump’s controversial transgender military ban took effect. Trump first tweeted about the idea of the ban in July 2017.
  174. The version of the ban that went into effect prohibited new military recruits from transitioning, and also allows the military to discharge troops who do not present as their birth gender.
  175. On Friday, prosecutors indicted Yujing Zhang, who was arrested on the ground of Mar-a-Lago, on charges oflying to a federal officer and entering restricted grounds, but does not include espionage charges.
  176. The Miami Herald reported a source claims Zhang knew before leaving China that the function she claimed she was attending had been canceled. Zhang will likely move to a detention and be scheduled for deportation.
  177. On Saturday, in a letter, House Ways and Means Committee Chair Richard Neal gave the IRS a deadline of April 23 to turn over Trump’s tax returns, threatening otherwise to bring the dispute into federal court.
  178. Rep. Neal argued in his letter to IRS Commissioner Rettig the 1920-era law that says the IRS “shall furnish” any tax return requested by Congress “is unambiguous and raises no complicated legal issues.”
  179. Mnuchin, who oversees the IRS, cited “complicated legal issues” and complained of the “arbitrary deadline” set by House Democrats, but said he would answer in that time frame.
  180. On Saturday, Trump again teased a third summit, tweeting “I agree with Kim Jong Un of North Korea that our personal relationship remains very good, perhaps the term excellent would be even more accurate.”
  181. Trump also blasted Democrats for demanding release of the Mueller report, tweeting: “Why should Radical Left Democrats in Congress have a right to retry and examine the $35,000,000 No Collusion Mueller Report.”

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U.S. soldiers install barb wire by the USMexico border fence reading ‘Because in such way God has loved the world he has given his son’ in El Paso, Texas state, US, as seen from Ciudad Juarez, Chihuahua state, Mexico.
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And the scariest moment, in my opinion, of this entire regime, was yesterday’s video from 45 basically rallying his base to direct their ire towards this great American Muslim woman, Ilhan Omar. And we’ve seen what his base is capable of doing, with their vans and their guns and their red hats…ALL THE WHILE, the sickest video emerged of 45 himself bragging that his building was “now the tallest in NYC,” as the towers recently burned to the ground…He does not care about America, people. If you are with him, you are VOTING AGAINST YOUR BEST INTERESTS.