AuthorTopic: Amy Siskind's List  (Read 303 times)

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Amy Siskind's List
« on: May 27, 2018, 07:15:43 AM »
I have been publishing this on Diner social media for a year and a half. Why I haven't posted it on the Forum can only be the result of a brain bubble.

Amy Siskind compiles this list every week of the fresh insults, bruises and finger-fuckings of the criminal Trump administration. The Weekly List reminds us that the so-called “new normal” of American politics is not normal.  On a weekly basis, the List tracks specific news stories representing eroding norms under the current regime. Taken together, they reveal a nation pushed towards authoritarianism, the wielding of unchecked governmental authority by one person or group at the expense of the freedom of those who oppose them.

How is this possible? Weary from the 2016 election, many voters embraced uninformed obliviousness, unquestioning optimism, or an uncritically visceral reaction for or against the new administration. Instead, Amy Siskind sought facts. The Weekly List was born on November 20, 2016, chronicling Amy’s findings. Originally for her friends and social media followers, the List quickly went viral. The earliest weeks listed fewer than a dozen items. Now, nearly a year later, each week brings with it at least one-hundred new abnormalities.

This week, as Trump floats evidence-free “Spygate” to rile his base and hurt the credibility of the FBI, Justice, and Mueller , the media was nonetheless consumed with covering this manufactured storyline like a shiny coin. As a result,  important stories and storylines received scant national coverage. Which is likely the point.

Amy Siskind's List Week 80-

[html]

Week 80

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

 

This week, despite the White House providing no evidence to back Trump’s claim that the Obama administration spied on his 2016 campaign for political reasons, and despite Trump ostensibly branding “spy” and “Spygate” to rile his base and hurt the credibility of the FBI, Justice Department, and Mueller probe, the media was nonetheless consumed the entire week with covering this manufactured storyline. Reminiscent of Trump’s success in using the Nunes memo as a shiny coin to distract in Week 64, this week important stories and storylines received little or no national coverage.

 

After a social media barrage at the end of the week, the story that finally captured the country’s and some media attention was the Trump regime’s increasingly cruel and racist policies at the border. Immigrants are being dehumanized by Trump in words, and his regime is enacting inhumane policies resulting in families being separated, and children going missing.

This week had numerous examples of assaults on the First Amendment, including arrests of high school students protesting gun violence, media outlets being barred from an EPA event, and NFL owners banning public protests by their players in an effort to appease Trump.

  1. Border Patrol detained and questioned two women for 35 minutes after hearing them speak Spanish at a gas station in Havre, Montana, a town in the northern part of the state, near the border with Canada.
  2. On Monday, Rep. Steve King introduced the Mayor Libby Schaaf Act of 2018, named for the Oakland mayor,which calls for up to five years’ imprisonment for officials who warn residents of ICE raids.
  3. On Monday, former Maricopa County sheriff Joe Arpaio, pardoned by Trump last year after being convicted of contempt of court in a racial profiling case, filed a petition to run for U.S. Senator of Arizona.
  4. On Monday, tripling-down on Trump’s “animals” comments in Week 79, the White House issued a statement saying, “The violent animals of MS-13 have committed heinous, violent attacks in communities across America.”
  5. On Tuesday, in testimony before the House, Education Secretary Betsy DeVos said it’s up to individual schools to decide whether to call ICE if they suspect their students are undocumented.
  6. Civil rights groups said DeVos’ comments violate the Supreme Court‘s 1982 ruling in Plyler v. Doe, which guarantees the rights of students to receive a public education regardless of their immigration status.
  7. NBC News reported as the Trump regime prepares to ramp up separating immigrant children from their parents coming over the border, that from October 2017 to mid-April, more than 700 children have been separated.
  8. Children are turned over to the Office of Refugee Resettlement, and the government tries to connect them with family members in the US. Under a new proposal from the Department of Homeland Security, relatives would also need to go through security checks, making it less likely they will come forward.
  9. On Wednesday, NPR reported according to an ACLU report, immigrant children who are detained by border patrol suffer physical, verbal, sexual, and psychological abuse, including denial of drinking water and food.
  10. Allegations in the ACLU report included denying a pregnant teen medical care, forcing a 16 year-old girl to forcibly spread her legs and be touched, and threatening a child with sexual abuse by an adult male detainee.
  11. The Arizona Daily Star reported Alma Jacinto, a 36 year-old from Guatemala, was separated from her sons, ages 8 and 11, and forced to wear a yellow bracelet on her left wrist.
  12. The yellow bracelet identifies parents who are arrested with their children and prosecuted in Operation Streamline, a fast-track program of the Trump regime. Prosecutors refuse to tell Jacinto where her children are.
  13. According to The Arizona Republic, the Office of Refugee Resettlement reported that at the end of 2017 the agency did not know the location of 1,475 of the that of the 7,635 children placed with sponsored individuals.
  14. PBS reported Department of Health and Human Services officials came under fire during Congressional testimony in April for the missing children. It was revealed that some of the children had been victims of sex trafficking.
  15. Steven Wagner, the acting assistant secretary of HHS’ Administration for Children and Families said fromOctober 2016 and December 2017 the agency was unable to locate 19% of immigrant children taken in.
  16. NYT reported most of the children taken into government care are from Honduras, El Salvador, and Guatemala, and were fleeing from drug cartels, gang violence, and domestic abuse, government data shows.
  17. The Trump regime appointed Ronald Mortensen, an immigrant hard-liner who advocates for restricting legal and illegal immigration and is opposed to DACA, to a senior role in the Bureau of Population, Refugees and Migration.
  18. CNN reported an undocumented woman, Claudia Patricia Gomez Gonzalez, 20, from Guatemala was shot in the head and killed by a Border Patrol agent near Laredo, Texas on Wednesday. The agent claimed he came under attack by migrants armed with “blunt objects.”
  19. On Friday, Border Patrol changed their account of shooting of the undocumented woman, saying the migrants did not have blunt objects, but “rushed” the officer after ignoring orders to get on the ground.
  20. The revised statement also refers to the gunshot victim as a “member of the group.” Customs and Border Protection canceled a press conference that was supposed to take place on Friday.
  21. WAPO reported in addition to Trump’s tirade against DHS Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen in Week 78, he has been berating her all spring over a rise in illegal crossings. The rise, due to migration patterns returning to historic seasonal norms, has stripped Trump of his proudest accomplishment.
  22. Trump is also furious at Nielsen for not securing money for his border wall, even though she was not party to the spending deal struck by senior White House aides that Trump signed.
  23. Nielsen has said Trump doesn’t understand the nuances of immigration law. One expert said Trump wants Nielsen to deliver a crackdown that looks like the Iraq War: “He wants to do shock and awe,”
  24. Trump met with Stephen Miller and Kushner ahead of his February 2017 speech to Congress, and acting like he was at a rally, “recited a few made-up Hispanic names and described potential crimes they could have committed, such as rape or murder.” Miller and Kushner laughed.
  25. LA Times reported that Brandon Judd, president of the National Border Patrol Council union which represents 15,000 agents, called Trump’s National Guard deployment to the border a “colossal waste.”
  26. The union endorsed Trump in 2016. Judd said when he heard the National Guard was going to the border “I was extremely excited” for help to alleviate the Border Patrol workload, but “that has not happened at all.”
  27. Houston Chronicle reported on Esteban Pastor, a 28 year-old escaping from Guatemala who was detained in Texas and separated from his sick 18 month-old crossing the border. When he was deported three months later, agents were unable to locate his baby.
  28. Few procedures are in place to track and reunify families. Nielsen has defended the regime’s practice of separating parents from children, saying children are taken from criminals imprisoned for breaking the law.
  29. Before the Trump regime, most parents with children weren’t prosecuted for crossing the border illegally, a misdemeanor for first offenders, but deported or freed together under a practice called “catch and release.”
  30. On Saturday, facing pressure for news about separated families and missing children, Trump tweeted blaming Democrats for the “horrible horrible law that separates children from there parents.”
  31. Trump also blamed Democrats for “PROTECTING MS-13 THUGS,” and added, “ Catch and Release, Lottery and Chain must also go with it.” Trump also said we “MUST continue building the WALL!”
  32. On Friday, DHS said, for a second year in a row, it would issue 15,000 additional guest workers visas for 2018, following an outcry from businesses over being hurt by the country’s labor squeeze.
  33. Capitol Police arrested four of the eights students from the Montgomery County Students for Gun Controlwho staged a sit-in outside of Speaker Paul Ryan’s office last Friday. The students were calling on Ryan to pass common-sense gun control legislation.
  34. On Tuesday, AP reported the Environmental Protection Agency barred the Associated Press, CNN, and the environmental-focused news organization E&E from a national summit on harmful water contaminants convened by Scott Pruitt in Washington DC.
  35. According to AP, when their reporter asked to speak to an EPA public-affairs person, “the security guards grabbed the reporter by the shoulders and shoved her forcibly out of the EPA building.”
  36. On Tuesday, when asked at the press briefing about the EPA turning away reporters, press secretary Sarah Sanders said she would “look into” it, saying “I can’t speak to a situation I don’t have a lot of visibility into.”
  37. On Wednesday, reporters were again barred from attending the EPA water pollution event. Journalists from AP, Politico, and many others were turned away, told the sessions were were closed to reporters.
  38. On Wednesday, a federal judge ruled that Trump cannot blocking Twitter users, saying it is a violation of the First Amendment. Twitter is a public forum and silencing critics is not permissible under the U.S. Constitution.
  39. On Wednesday, the NFL announced players will be allowed to stay in the locker room during the national anthem, but teams will be fined if their players kneel during the anthem.
  40. The policy was adopted without the players’ union involvement. In a statement Wednesday, the union said it would review and “challenge any aspect of it that is inconsistent with the collective bargaining agreement.”
  41. On Thursday, when asked about the NFL move on “Fox & Friends,” Trump said the owners did the right thing, “You have to stand proudly for the national anthem…maybe they shouldn’t be in the country.”
  42. Conversely, NBA commissioner Adam Silver told athletes, “do not [just] stick to sports.” This week,Milwaukee police released a disturbing video of Bucks player, Sterling Brown’s arrest, with obvious racial undertones.
  43. On Monday, at a private White House signing ceremony, Trump repealed auto-lending guidance from the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau that protected minority customers from predatory practices.
  44. Trump’s Interior Department said it would reverse Obama-era rules barring hunters in Alaska from baiting brown bears with bacon and doughnuts and using spotlights to shoot mother black bears and cubs hibernating in their dens.
  45. On Tuesday, Trump’s DHS unveiled the regime’s proposed regulations which would ban organizations that perform or refer patients for abortions from receiving Title X dollars.
  46. The regulation would also remove “medically approved” family planning services from the requirement, meaning formerly ineligible organizations, some of which oppose contraception, could now received Title X funding.
  47. Rep. Dana Rohrabacher told a group of realtors that homeowners should be able to refuse to sell their homes to gays and lesbians, saying they should not be forced to do business with “someone they think is doing something that is immoral.”
  48. On Thursday, the House passed a bill to reauthorize funds for the military, which includes authorization for Trump’s request to hold a military parade.
  49. Speaking at a Naval Academy commencement, Trump told graduates, “our ancestors tamed a continent,” adding “We are not going to apologize for America. We are going to stand up for America.”
  50. The Arizona Republic reported the Arizona Department of Education plans to make changes to the K-12 curriculum, including removing the word “evolution” in some areas and describing it as a “theory” in others.
  51. In a letter, Democrat Sen. Jeff Merkley and GOP Sen. Pat Toomey, demanded the FCC investigate identity theft and fraud of two million Americans, including the two senators, in public comments for net neutrality.
  52. Politico reported that John Bolton relied on Matthew Freedman, a consultant and former lobbyist who worked for Paul Manafort and was fired from Trump’s transition team, to meet with potential job applicants for the National Security Council.
  53. Mark Inch, a retired Army major general who was appointed nine months ago to oversee the Federal Bureau of Prisons and its more than 180,000 inmates, resigned citing the regime continually flouting “departmental norms.”
  54. On Saturday, Trump attacked the FBI and DOJ, tweeting, “If the FBI or DOJ was infiltrating a campaign for the benefit of another campaign, that is a really big deal,” and called for the release or review of documents.
  55. On Saturday, Jeanine Pirro opened her Fox News show, calling Jeff Sessions, “the single most dangerous person,” saying that Sessions is,“the most of powerful prosecutor in the world,” who “hides behind” Rosenstein.
  56. On Sunday, Fox News host Maria Bartiromo told “Fox & Friends” that either Obama or Hillary “were sort of masterminding all of this,” saying agencies “were all involved in trying to take down Donald Trump.”
  57. On Sunday, Trump vented in a series of seven tweets, deriding the “$20,000,000 Witch Hunt,” and attacking his political opponents, including Hillary Clinton, Andrew McCabe, Obama and the Podesta brothers.
  58. Trump also tweeted “The Failing and Crooked” NYT published a “long & boring story,” adding the “World’s most expensive Witch Hunt” found nothing on Russia, so “now they are looking at the rest of the World!
  59. Later Sunday, Trump tweeted, “I hereby demand….the Department of Justice look into whether or not the FBI/DOJ infiltrated or surveilled the Trump Campaign for Political Purposes,” and if the requests came from the Obama administration.
  60. Hours later, Rod Rosenstein announced the Justice Department inspector general will expand an ongoing review to include an inquiry to determine “whether there was any impropriety or political motivation in how the FBI conducted its counterintelligence investigation.”
  61. Over the weekend, media widely reported Stefan Halper is the FBI source. Halper is a Republican who worked for Nixon and Ford and donated to George W. Bush, and is an emeritus professor at the University of Cambridge.
  62. On Sunday, former CIA director John Brennan tweeted at Speaker Ryan and Leader Mitch McConnell, saying Trump was on a “disastrous path” and Republican leaders would bear responsibility for the “harm done to our democracy” if they did not intervene.
  63. On Monday, hours before attending the swearing in of his new CIA director, Trump attacked Brennan in a series of tweets, saying he “has disgraced” himself, the country, and the entire intelligence community.
  64. Trump also quoted Dan Bongino who had appeared on “Fox & Friends” that morning, saying of Brennan, “This was a Political hit job, this was not an Intelligence Investigation,” and Brennan is “worried about staying out of Jail.”
  65. On Monday, Michael Caputo hinted on Fox News that there is a second informant that penetrated Trump’s campaign, adding when the truth comes out, “[James] Clapper and the rest of them are going to be wearing some orange suits.”
  66. On Monday, Trump met privately for about an hour with Rosenstein, Christopher Wray, and Daniel Coats. Sanders said the meeting had been on the schedule since last week.
  67. After the meeting, the White House announced John Kelly would convene another gathering between the officials and congressional leaders to “review highly classified and other information.”
  68. On Monday, Rudy Giuliani told HuffPost that Robert Mueller will not be allowed to interview Trump until Trump learns more about the secret FBI informant, saying “I don’t care so much about the name as I do about the content.”
  69. On Tuesday, Rep. Lee Zeldin and 11 House conservatives introduced a resolution calling for a second special counsel to investigate possible misconduct by the Justice Department and FBI during the 2016 election.
  70. On Tuesday, DHS Secretary Nielsen told a reporter she was unaware of the finding in the January 2017 intelligence community’s assessment that Russia intervened to help Trump win: “I do not believe that I’ve seen that conclusion.”
  71. On Wednesday, Trump tweeted, saying things have turned for the “Criminal Deep State,” saying they are “caught in a major SPY scandal” and calling the Russia probe, “phony” and a “made up Scam.”
  72. Trump later tweeted his branded term for the ongoing attack on the FBI and Justice Department: “SPYGATEcould be one of the biggest political scandals in history!”
  73. On Wednesday, as he left the White House, Trump told reporters asking for proof of his spying allegations, Trump, “All you have to do is look at the basics and you’ll see it. Looks like a very serious event, but we’ll find out.”
  74. On Thursday, Trump tweeted, “Clapper has now admitted that there was Spying in my campaign,” adding, “Starting to look like one of the biggest political scandals in U.S. history. SPYGATE.”
  75. Trump incorrectly attributed a statement by former DNI Clapper on “The View” speaking about his new book. Clapper had said, “They were spying on — a term I don’t particularly like … what the Russians were doing.”
  76. On Thursday, Trump also tweeted, without citing evidence, “Large dollars were paid to the Spy, far beyond normal,” adding this is “one of the biggest political scandals in U.S. history.”
  77. On Thursday, AP reported Trump told an ally this week that he wanted “to brand” the informant a spy, believing the term would resonate more in the media and with the public, and came up with the term “Spygate.”
  78. On Tuesday, the White House announced that FBI and Justice Department officials would brief only Reps. Devin Nunes and Trey Gowdy on confidential intelligence on the FBI’s Russia informant.
  79. After complaints by top House and Senate Democrats Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer, a second meeting was scheduled at 2 p.m., including the “Gang of Eight” and Gowdy, immediately after the noon meeting for Nunes and Gowdy.
  80. At the last minute, Rep. Adam Schiff, the top Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee, was also invited to attend both meetings. Speaker Ryan said due to a scheduling conflict, he would attend the first meeting.
  81. On Thursday, without advance notice and raising suspicions from lawmakers on both sides, chief of staff Kelly and White House lawyer Emmet Flood attended both meetings.
  82. Reportedly, Kelly and Flood delivered a message from Trump and then left. Rep. Schiff said Flood’s “involvement — in any capacity — was entirely improper, and I made this clear to him.”
  83. Later Thursday, the White House released a statement, saying Kelly and Flood made only, “brief remarksbefore the meetings started to relay the President’s desire for as much openness as possible under the law.”
  84. After the meeting, Schiff read a statement on behalf of Pelosi, Schumer, Warner and himself: “Nothing we heard today has changed our view that there is no evidence to support any allegation that the FBI or any intel agency placed a spy in the Trump campaign.”
  85. Sen. McConnell told Fox News of the meeting that he learned “nothing particularly surprising.” He also told NPR he supports the Mueller investigation, as well as the inspector general’s investigation of the Justice Department.
  86. On Friday, Trump again attacked the FBI on Twitter, repeating his claim without evidence that the informant was “paid a fortune.”
  87. Trump also tweeted, without evidence, “imagine having Spies placed in a competing campaign, by the people and party in absolute power,” saying it was for “political advantage and gain,” but they still “LOST!”
  88. On Friday, Giuliani told the AP Trump’s legal team wants a briefing on the classified information shared with lawmakers, and may use it to take to the Justice Department as part of an effort to try to end the Mueller probe.
  89. Giuliani said the White House is hoping for a readout next week, adding “If the spying was inappropriate, that means we may have an entirely illegitimate investigation.”
  90. On Thursday, WSJ reported, according to emails reviewed by the Journal, Roger Stone privately sought emails he thought were damaging to Hillary Clinton from WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange.
  91. In a September 18, 2016 message, Stone asked Randy Credico, a New York radio personality who had interviewed Assange, for Hillary’s emails related to the 2011 Libyan peace deal. Credico eventually responded, “That batch probably coming out in the next drop.”
  92. Credito told WSJ he first got to know Stone in August 2016 when Stone agreed to be on his show. Credito said Stone had claimed to be in touch with Assange, and had predicted the release of damaging information.
  93. The emails contradict Stone’s testimony to Congress, in which he said he “merely wanted confirmation” from an acquaintance that Assange had information on Hillary. Stone maintains he hasn’t been contacted by Mueller’s office.
  94. On Wednesday, Mueller’s team asked a federal judge to deny a request by AP, CNN, NYT, Politico, and WAPOfor a “broad unsealing” of search warrants, affidavits, and other materials related to Manafort.
  95. Mueller’s team argued in its filing that the investigation is “not a closed matter but an ongoing criminal investigation with multiple lines of non-public inquiry.”
  96. The filing noted the probe has resulted in criminal charges against 22 individuals and entities, adding unsealing materials would create “a serious risk of jeopardizing the ongoing and interconnected aspects of the investigation.”
  97. On Saturday, NYT reported on a meeting arranged by Erik Prince at Trump Tower on August 3, 2016 between Donald Jr., George Nader, and Joel Zamel, an Israeli specialist in social media manipulation.
  98. Nader, an emissary for Crown Prince Mohammed bin Zayed al-Nahyan of the UAE and Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman of Saudi Arabia, said the princes were eager to help Trump win the election.
  99. Zamel came to with a multimillion-dollar proposal for a social media manipulation. Reportedly, Donald Jr. responded positively to the offers for help, and Nader was embraced as a close ally by Trump campaign advisers.
  100. After Trump was elected, Nader paid Zamel as much as $2 million after a presentation by Zamel demonstrating the significance of their help. Mueller is investigating these interactions, and Nader is cooperating.
  101. On Saturday, WSJ said it has reviewed a subpoena by Mueller team for Zamel, which has not yet been issued. Zamel runs two companies that were involved in the 2016 election, Wikistrat and Psy-Group. Mueller’s team has conducting interviews about Zamel’s work.
  102. Psy-Group, which is a secretive private intelligence firm with the motto “shape reality,” has veteran Israeli intelligence officials linked to it. Wikistrat uses a network of experts to analyze geopolitical problems.
  103. Zamel’s attorney said his client offered nothing to and received nothing from the Trump campaign. Donald Jr.’s attorney said in a statement that Donald Jr. “was not interested and that was the end of it.”
  104. On Tuesday, Bloomberg reported Mueller’s team has subpoenaed bank records for payments made to Psy-Group’s Cyprus bank accounts. While Psy-Group is based in Israel, it’s headquartered in Cyprus.
  105. Following Trump’s victory, Psy-Group formed an alliance with Cambridge Analytica to try to win U.S. government business. A proposal sent to the State Department offers Psy-Group “has conducted messaging/influence operations in well over a dozen languages and dialects.”
  106. Mueller’s team interviewed people associated with Psy-Group’s U.S. operation in February. Shortly after, the company’s CEO Royi Burstien told employees in Tel Aviv the company was closing down. Burstien is a former commander of an Israeli psychological warfare unit.
  107. On Wednesday, WSJ reported Mueller’s team has also interviewed Zamel, likely as part of their investigation into the influence of the UAE in the 2016 election. Zamel is said to be close to top officials in the UAE.
  108. Zamel starting making contacts with the UAE in 2014, and founded Psy-Group in 2016. Some of Psy-Group’s work included setting up “honey traps” — creating compromising information to be used for leverage.
  109. On Sunday, WAPO reported Andrew Intrater, chief executive of Columbus Nova and cousin of Viktor Vekselberg, not only made donations to Trump, but also signed a $1 million annual contract with Cohen for help finding investors.
  110. Intrater was reportedly impressed with the large number of wealthy people Cohen seemed to know, but afterCohen was unable to identify any new investors, the contract was terminated and Cohen was paid $500,000.
  111. On Sunday, a newly-filed Federal Election Commission report showed the RNC paid $451,780 to Trout Cacheris & Janis, a law firm that represents Hope Hicks and others Mueller’s Russia probe.
  112. On Tuesday, NYT reported Evgeny Freidman, a Russian immigrant known as the Taxi King, and significant business partner of Cohen, has agreed to cooperate with state or federal investigations as part of a plea deal.
  113. Friedman is accused of failing to pay more than $5 million in taxes and faced four counts of criminal tax fraud and one of grand larceny. Under the plea deal, he will plead guilty to a single count and get no jail time.
  114. Giuliani changed his position on whether Trump would speak to Mueller — telling the WSJ he opposed it, then WAPO he was for it. Giuliani later told BuzzFeed that he and Trump last talked a “couple weeks ago.
  115. Giuliani also told WAPO he was concerned about a perjury trap saying the “truth is relative,” adding, reminiscent of Kellyanne Conway’s alternative facts, “They may have a different version of the truth than we do.”
  116. CNN reported Trump’s lawyers are trying to narrow the scope of the Mueller interview to limit or eliminate questions regarding Trump’s conduct after he took office, especially related to obstruction of justice.
  117. Mueller is reportedly against written responses, and will insist on asking Trump questions about his time in office. The Mueller team continues to be tight lipped, not speaking publicly, about the investigation.
  118. On Tuesday, AP reported based on a review of the emails and documents, Elliott Broidy and Nader worked to cultivate the princes of Saudi Arabia and the UAE, then lobby Congress and the White House on the gulf state’s behalf.
  119. Summaries written by Broidy reveal he had two meeting with Trump. Broidy was also passing messages to the Trump from the two princes, and told Trump he was seeking business with them.
  120. Neither Broidy or Nader registered under Foreign Agents Registration Act, although both waged an anti-Qatar campaign on behalf of foreign client. Broidy came close to netting more than $1 billion in business as payment for his work.
  121. Cadre, a real estate technology startup co-founded and partly owned by Kushner, is in discussions about a$100 million investment with SoftBank, a private fund that gets almost half its capital from the governmentsof Saudi Arabia and the UAE.
  122. On Wednesday, BBC reported Cohen received a payment of at least $400,000 through an intermediary to broker talks between the Ukrainian president Poroshenko and Trump. The meeting took place at the White House last June.
  123. A senior intelligence official in Kiev said that Sater also helped Cohen. A week after Poroshenko returned home, Ukraine’s National Anti Corruption Bureau announced it was dropping its investigation of Manafort.
  124. On Wednesday, Mueller’s team asked a federal judge to start the process of preparing a pre-sentencing report for George Papadopoulos.
  125. On Friday, NYT reported according to video footage from C-Span and and an interview with Intrater who also attended, Donald Jr. and Cohen met with Vekselberg at Trump Tower on January 9, 2017.
  126. According to Intrater, the meeting took place in Cohen’s office on the 26th floor. The topics discussed were shared interests and a mutual desire to strengthen Russia’s relations with the U.S. under Trump.
  127. Intrater claimed Vekselberg, his cousin and biggest client, had no role in Columbus Nova’s decision to hire Cohen for $1 million contract shortly after the election, or the multiple donations made to Trump.
  128. On Friday, Politico reported bankruptcy lawyers for Jeffrey Yohai, Manafort’s son-in-law who is cooperating in the Mueller probe, are seeking to drop partial representation citing unpaid bills and lack of candor.
  129. On Friday, Yahoo News reported the FBI has obtained a secret wiretaps collected by Spanish police of conversations involving Alexander Torshin that lead up to his meeting with Donald Jr. at the NRA convention in May 2016.
  130. The conversations took place between Torshin and Alexander Romanov, a convicted Russian money launderer, and were wiretapped as part of officials’ investigation into Spanish organized crime.
  131. Despite allegations of ties to Russian money laundering, Torshin continues to travel to the U.S., including to the National Prayer Breakfast in February 2017 where he was supposed to meet with Trump, but that meeting was canceled the night prior.
  132. On Sunday, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said the regime had decided to put the trade war with China “on hold,” despite the fact that meetings in Beijing and Washington DC produced no major agreement.
  133. On Tuesday, following action rebuking Trump in the House in Week 79, the Senate Banking Committee voted 23-2 to make it harder for Trump to modify penalties against ZTE.
  134. On Tuesday, speaking at the White House, Trump floated a new plan to fine ZTE and shake up its management in lieu of sanctions, saying the company has been hurt by an April Commerce Department decision.
  135. On Friday, the Trump regime told Congress it had a new deal to revive ZTE, under which the company would pay a substantial fine, hire an American compliance officers, and change its management team.
  136. WAPO reported a letter being circulated to dozens of wealthy entrepreneurs in China last week, topped with the insignia of a real Republican committee, offered access to Trump at a fundraiser.
  137. The invitation offers a handshake and a one-on-one photo with Trump for $100,000. U.S. election law allows foreign visitors to attend fundraisers as long as they do not pay their own entry, but the invitation does raise ethical concerns.
  138. Watchdog group CREW noted that Ivanka’s business has won approval for Chinese trademarks recently, including on May 7 her business received “registration” approval for five trademark applications.
  139. Politico reported that Trump uses at least two at least two iPhones to contact friends and tweet, which are not equipped with sophisticated security features designed to shield his communications.
  140. On Thursday, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo began testimony before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee by reading a letter from Trump to Kim Jong Un cancelling the Singapore summit.
  141. The letter thanked Kim Jong Un for releasing three prisoners, but included a threat, “You talk about your nuclear capabilities, but ours are so massive and powerful that I pray to God they will never have to be used.”
  142. Shortly after canceling the summit, Trump told the press, “It’s possible that the existing summit could take place, or a summit at some later date.”
  143. South Korea President Moon, who had visited Trump at the White House Tuesday, convened an emergency meeting after the announcement. Spokesman Kim Eui-kyeom told reporters, “We are trying to figure out what President Trump’s intention is and the exact meaning of it.
  144. On Friday, NYT reported the summit with North Korea may be on again, a startling reversal which speaks to Trump improvising and erratic style, as well as deep divisions within the regime on how to proceed.
  145. On Saturday, Trump tweeted attacked the NYT in two tweets, saying unlike what “the Failing and Corrupt New York Times” has said, there is “ZERO disagreement” in the regime on how to deal with North Korea.
  146. Trump also said the “Failing” Timesquotes “a senior White House official,” who doesn’t exist.” The NYT countered, saying Trump falsely claimed the Times made up a source.
  147. On Wednesday, CNN reported Kushner had his White House security clearance restored, after months of uncertainty stemming in part from Kushner being questioned in the Mueller probe.
  148. Kushner’s attorney Abbe Lowell said Kushner met with Mueller’s team for a second time in April for a seven hour interview. Lowell claimed Kushner is finished with Mueller’s inquiries. Mueller did not comment.
  149. On Thursday, Axios reported Ivanka now also has full security clearance. Both Ivanka and Kushner were reportedly given full Top Secret clearance on May 1.
  150. USA Today reported T Retail LLC, a company formed in May 2017 and listed in Trump’s financial disclosure statement as earning over $100,000, is a store that sells items from t-shirts to hats to dog leashes, branded with the “Trump” name.
  151. On Thursday, in a statement, T-Mobile said it hired Turnberry Solutions in August to help in the lobbying effort to secure federal approval for its proposed takeover of Sprint. Corey Lewandowski is affiliated with Turnberry.
  152. WSJ reported Lewandowski receives a cut of the fees paid to the lobbying firm on the T-Mobile contract. Lewandowski has denied any relationship to Turnberry, although they share Capitol Hill office space.
  153. On Friday, in three executive orders, Trump rolled back civil-service protections federal employees have enjoyed for a generation, making it easier to fire poor performers and change rules related to unions.
  154. One order will limit the time federal employees can spend doing union business to no more than a quarter of their workday on “official time,” taking away a benefit granted by Congress four decades ago.
  155. Firing based on performance will change a long-standing tradition of basing layoffs on seniority. The order will now require agencies to charge unions for space in federal buildings they now use for free.
  156. WAPO reported it has now been more than two weeks since First lady Melania Trump was seen in public, prior to her kidney procedure. Melania was last seen on May 10. There has been no update on her health.
  157. On Friday, a reporter asked Trump as he was boarding Marine One about Melania, and Trump pointed to a window in the White House residence, and said: “She’s doing great. She’s looking at us right there.” She was not there.
  158. On Tuesday, women of color, LGBTQ women, and women who have served in the military made historic firstswinning their Democratic primaries. Stacey Abrams of Georgia will have a shot to become the first black female governor.
  159. The Center for American Women and Politics found in primaries so far, women make up more than 40% of House Democratic nominees, a record. Republican House women are down from prior years to under 10%.
  160. The Senate, led by Amy Klobuchar and Roy Blunt, passed a long-stalled bill to overhaul how sexual harassment complaints are made and handled, and to make lawmakers pay settlements out of their own pockets.
  161. On Friday, Harvey Weinstein, whose allegations of sexual assault were part of the start of the #MeToo movement, came handcuffed into a courtroom where he was charged with rape and sexual abuse.

 

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Re: Amy Siskind's List Week 81
« Reply #1 on: June 04, 2018, 06:33:59 AM »
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Thrilled to announce we are launching The Weekly List podcast this week, to supplement the items you can find here. The podcast will summarize items on this list, as well as discuss trends and patterns developing. The podcast will drop late Sunday, in time for your Monday commute (you can find it here).

I’ve observed each week our media tends each week to devote the majority of their time to covering a minority of the stories in the lists. This week for example, stories that speak to critical degradations of the fabric of our country — the inhumane treatment of immigrants at our border and calamity unfolding in Puerto Rico — got drowned out by drama and controversies fueled by, and in some cases, created by Trump. I hope The Weekly List podcast can help rectify this issue in some small way, by covering stories and trends that deserve more attention.

This week, Trump is pushing for meetings with North Korea and Russia, while aggressively confronting some of our closest allies, Canada, Mexico, and the European Union with an ill-planned, unprovoked trade war — reminiscent of a theme we’ve covered at The Weekly List: Trump cozying up to authoritarian regimes and alienating our democratic allies. As noted before, this new world alignment, distancing our country from our democratic allies, benefits and empowers Russia.

  1. WAPO reported the number of migrant children held in custody without their parents has surged 21% in the past month up to 10,773 under the Trump regime’s new policy of “zero tolerance.”
  2. A Health and Human Services official said shelters are at 95% capacity, and as the agency prepares to add thousands of new bed spaces in the coming weeks, the agency is exploring housing children on military bases.
  3. In Texas, Dennis Rivera-Sarmiento, a “quiet kid” and an undocumented Honduran immigrant was flagged for deportation by ICE after a schoolyard scuffle with a girl who bullied him. He was released from detention after efforts by the school, community, and lawyers.
  4. ICE still classifies schools as “sensitive locations” where enforcement actions are generally prohibited, but a pronouncement by Education Secretary Betsy DeVos in Week 80 may open the door to more referrals.
  5. Advocates also note that in the era of Trump, ICE makes arrests of parents picking up children at school, and in some cases, school disciplinarians have helped to build ICE cases against students.
  6. Houston Chronicle reported on a leaked photo image which shows dozens of immigrants in orange jumpsuits with their hands and feet shackled, undergoing a “mass trial” in Pecos, Texas.
  7. The mass trial comes as the Trump regime implements its zero-tolerance policy announced by Jeff Sessionswhich orders prosecutors to criminally charge 100 percent of immigrants entering the country illegally.
  8. VICE reported, as the Trump regime ramps up separating parents from children, the Office of Refugee Resettlement (ORR) has quietly informed organizations it is cutting a federal program in place for decades that helps at least 1,000 immigrant minors each year.
  9. ORR will no longer fund organizations representing unaccompanied minors in immigration court. In the past two weeks alone, 658 kids were divided from their mothers and fathers as they crossed the border.
  10. BuzzFeed reported a Salvadoran mother who applied for asylum on May 2 as part of a caravan of Central Americans, and passed the first steps of the process, said her sons ages 2 and 7 were taken away from her on May 8.
  11. She was given no explanation, “The official said you have 10 minutes to say goodbye…they kept asking me why they were leaving me. I couldn’t tell them why.” Her sons were placed in the care of the federal government in New York.
  12. On Friday, WAPO reported the number of migrants attempting to cross illegally into the U.S. remained high in May, despite implementation of the regime’s zero-tolerance measures and deployment of the National Guard.
  13. In the coming days, the Department of Homeland Security will release the numbers of May arrests along the Southwest border. Trump has used this measure to gauge the success of his hard-line immigration policies.
  14. Midwest farmers are becoming desperate for workers. In Week 80, Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen said the Department of Homeland Security would issue 15,000 seasonal guest-worker visas. Border agents said families and teenagers traveling alone make up most of the increase this spring.
  15. The New England Journal of Medicine published a Harvard study on mortality in Puerto Rico after Hurricane Maria, estimating 4,645 may have died, many from delayed medical care. The official death count is 64.
  16. The report also found the mortality rate remained high as of the end of December 2017, with roughly one-third of the deaths attributed to delayed or interrupted health care.
  17. Researchers from Harvard’s T.H. Chan School of Public Health and other institutions who conducted the study for a cost of about $50,000 said the territory’s government refused to provide data to them.
  18. The Harvard numbers make Hurricane Maria the single most deadly natural disaster in modern America. NPR noted the federal government had three times as many people on the ground in Texas (Harvey), and twice as many in Florida (Irma).
  19. National Nurse United, the largest union for registered nurses, said the study confirmed what nurses who went to the island witnessed: residents “left to die” by a federal response that “failed its own American citizens.”
  20. NBC News reported the mountain areas of Puerto Rico are still living in desperation, one sign reads, “We need light!” Puerto Ricans told NBC, “we are suffering here,” and “we feel like we’ve been forgotten.”
  21. On Friday, the Puerto Rico Institute of Statistics (PRIS) filed a lawsuit to compel Puerto Rico’s public officials to publish in an open source way preliminary and daily updates about deaths in Puerto Rico.
  22. In Week 47, Trump praised his regime’s relief response as “incredible,” bragging “only 16 people are known to have died,” many less than Katrina (1,833 deaths). Trump has made no mention of Puerto Rico in many months.
  23. On Saturday, Trump lashed out at the Mueller probe, saying, “whole Russia Probe is Rigged,” and attacking the “13 Angry Democrats,” a reference to Mueller’s team. Mueller is a Republican and others on his team owe their jobs to Republican presidents.
  24. Trump also tweeted, “#SPYGATE & CONFLICTS OF INTEREST!” and asking when the 13 will “reveal their disqualifying Conflicts of Interest?” saying, “the only Collusion is with the Dems, Justice, FBI & Russia.”
  25. On Sunday, Rudy Giuliani said on “State of the Union” that Trump’s use of “Spygate” is a PR tactic to sway public opinion and avoid impeachment, “Members of Congress…are going to be informed a lot by their constituents.”
  26. On Sunday, in a series of tweets, Trump attacked Obama for doing nothing “about the so-called Russian Meddling” because Obama thought Hillary would win. Trump has not acknowledged Russian meddling.
  27. Trump also asked why the “13 Angry Democrats” have not investigated “Crooked Hillary Clinton” and her “ many crimes, much Collusion with Russia?” adding, “Rigged Investigation!”
  28. Trump sent a strange tweet, “Who’s going to give back the young and beautiful lives (and others) that have been devastated and destroyed by the phony Russia Collusion Witch Hunt?” saying they came to Washington DC with “stars in their eyes” and “ went back home in tatters!”
  29. On Sunday, Sen. Marco Rubio told “This Week” that he sees “no evidence” to support Trump’s claims that the FBI spied on his campaign, saying the FBI was, “investigating individuals with a history of links to Russia.”
  30. On Sunday, Rubio also told “Face the Nation” that Congress would take steps to challenge Trump and prevent ZTE from operating in the U.S., saying China uses companies like ZTE for espionage.
  31. On Monday, Memorial Day, Trump sent a tone-deaf tweet, saying “those who died for our country would be very happy,” saying “Best economy in decades, lowest unemployment numbers for Blacks and Hispanics EVER.”
  32. On Monday, Trump also attacked Sally Yates in a tweet, quoting Jonathan Turley on Fox News, “Sally Yates is part of concerns people have raised about bias in the Justice Dept. I find her actions to be really quite unbelievable.”
  33. On Monday, NYT reported with “Spygate,” Trump, who has trafficked in conspiracy theories for decades, is again using elaborate, unproven theories to erode public trust, and his efforts are having an effect.
  34. Critics worry Trump is sowing distrust in institutions, and in undermining the idea of objective truth, creating widespread suspicions of the government and news media. Some Republicans have joined Trump in spreading conspiracy theories.
  35. On Monday, WAPO reported that increasingly in the White House, Trump is unilaterally making decisions. Key roles like communications director, formerly held by Hope Hicks, remain unfilled.
  36. In recent months, Trump has unofficially performed the roles of many other senior staffers, leaving those employees to carry out his decisions. Staffers also focus on trying to curb Trump’s most outlandish impulses.
  37. Warring factions within the regime are largely gone, and replaced by solo players seeking to win favor with Trump. Remaining staffers say they “get” Trump.
  38. On Tuesday, Rep. Trey Gowdy, who attended the classified briefing last week, told Fox News the FBI was not “spying” on the Trump campaign, saying “the FBI did exactly what my fellow citizens would want them to do.”
  39. Judge Andrew Napolitano, a close ally of Trump, also appeared on Fox News and agreed with Gowdy, saying of the spy accusations, “There is no evidence for that whatsoever.”
  40. On Wednesday, Gowdy told “This Morning,” that Trump’s lawyers “have an obligation to go share with him” what lawmakers learned, repeating “Russia’s intentions toward our country were the target.”
  41. On Friday, Politico reported that Gowdy is under fire from his GOP colleagues for challenging Spygate. Trump allies have been branding him gullible or clueless backer of the intelligence community.
  42. Gowdy, who in the past shouldered politically explosive investigations led by the Republican Party, now finds himself getting little support from his House colleagues.
  43. A federal court blocked DeVos’s Department of Education from paring back a loan relief program for defrauded students at failed Corinthian College. The agency under DeVos has shown leniency for for-profit education scams.
  44. DeVos had said some students would only get a part of their federal student loan forgiven, based on their earning. The court said the agency’s use of Social Security Administration data violates the Privacy Act.
  45. Politico reported that Sinclair Broadcasting, forced to sell two dozen television stations to comply with federal ownership rules, is making side-deals which allows it to continue to dictate programming at four stations.
  46. John Bolton tapped Fred Fleitz as National Security Council chief of staff. Fleitz last worked at the Center for Security Policy, designated by the Southern Poverty Law Center as a hate group for espousing espouses anti-Muslim conspiracy theories.
  47. Trump appointed Diane Foley to help manage the federal government’s family-planning program at DHS.Foley, an anti-science religious fundamentalist is also staunchly anti-choice.
  48. In her new role, Foley will be a primary overseer of Title X, the federal program that provides subsidized contraception and screenings for cancer and STIs for low-income Americans.
  49. On Friday, a judge in Des Moines, Iowa temporarily blocked the nation’s most restrictive abortion law, which bans most abortions if a fetal heartbeat can be detected.
  50. On Sunday, California Women’s head basketball coach Lindsay Gottlieb was confronted by a Southwest Airline employee at the Denver Airport, and asked to prove that her biracial son was hers.
  51. In Northern California, Jonathan McConkey, a pilot and certified flight instructor and his assistant, Kelsi Hoser, tried to kidnap a Chinese student and send him “back to China.” Police foiled the plot.
  52. On Thursday, HuffPost reported a Washington, DC judge dismissed felony charges against 10 people arrested while protesting Trump’s inauguration, saying the government prosecutors withheld evidence.
  53. The government withheld undercover videos that James O’Keefe’s Project Veritas had turned over. The judge called it a “serious violation,” and said the government is barred from bringing charges in the future.
  54. WSJ reported that Deutsche Bank’s U.S. operations were secretly downgraded by the Federal Reserve about a year ago, saying the bank is in “troubled condition,” a rare censure for a financial institution.
  55. The punitive action by the Fed means U.S. overseers have a say in Deutsche Bank’s U.S. hiring and firing, and also has pressured the bank to improve controls and oversight.
  56. On Thursday, the largest federal employee union sued the Trump regime, saying his executive order in Week 80 which severely restricts the time employees can spend on union activity violates the First Amendment.
  57. The FBI issued an urgent bulletin for people with a home or small office internet router to turn it off and on in order to thwart the spread of foreign malware, called VPNFilter, is linked to Russia.
  58. More than half a million devices worldwide have been compromised so far. The Justice Department has linked the malware to a hacking group including the Sofacy Group, apt28, fancy bear, and sandworm.
  59. On Wednesday, a U.S. judge dismissed two lawsuits by Moscow-based Kaspersky Lab that sought to overturn bans on the security software maker’s products in U.S. government networks.
  60. The bans were issued last year after U.S. officials said the software products could enable Russian espionageand threaten national security. Kaspersky is a graduate of the KGB, and has ties to the Kremlin.
  61. A federal study conducted by DHS found signs of sophisticated surveillance devices for intercepting cell phone calls and texts operating near the White House and other sensitive locations in Washington, DC.
  62. The study was prompted by a Sen. Ron Wyden pushing for a more aggressive response to cellular system insecurity. The study suggests foreign intelligence agencies are using sophisticated technology to spy on U.S. officials.
  63. On Tuesday, Trump held a rally in Nashville. Trump continued his focus on M-13 gang members, leading the crowd in chants to call them “animals,” and saying of Rep. Nancy Pelosi,“She loves MS-13, can you imagine?”
  64. Trump also incited the crowd onto chants of “lock her up!” evoking “Crooked Hillary,” and tried to get the crowd to boo George W. Bush.
  65. He also said Mexico was going to pay for The Wall, made factually incorrect and embellished statements on a number of topics, and falsely accused unnamed people of “infiltrating” his campaign.
  66. NYT listed the crowd size as 1,000 in Nashville. Trump complained Wednesday, tweeting, “The Failing and Corrupt @nytimes…This is the way they demean and disparage. They are very dishonest people.”
  67. On Wednesday, NYT issued a correction of its crowd-size estimate for the Trump rally, saying “the fire marshall’s office estimated that approximately 5,500 people attended the rally.”
  68. On Tuesday, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said of the Mueller probe to reporters, “it’s called passing water through a sieve” — a Russian expression that means flogging a dead horse.
  69. On Tuesday, NYT reported on a confrontation between Sessions and Trump at Mar-a-Lago, after Sessions flew down in March 2017 to ask a pressing question on the travel ban after Trump refused to take his calls.
  70. Trump berated Sessions, and pressured him to reverse his decision to recuse himself. Mueller’s team is investigating Trump’s public and private attacks on Sessions, and efforts to get him to resign.
  71. Mueller’s team interviewed Sessions at length in January, as well as other current and former White House staffers. Eight of Mueller’s 49 questions for Trump relate to why he tried to get Sessions to reverse his recusal.
  72. On Wednesday, in a tweet, Trump said he wished he had had picked someone else as attorney general, and not Sessions.
  73. On Wednesday, late in the evening, Trump quoted his ally Joe diGenova, who appeared on Fox News, tweeting “The recusal Of Jeff Sessions was an unforced betrayal of the President of the United States.”
  74. On Thursday, Trump quoted Gowdy in his tweets about firing Sessions, “Sessions should have shared these reasons for recusal before he took the job, not afterward.”
  75. On Thursday, Axios reported Trump pressured Sessions to reverse his recusal on at least four times, three times in person and once over the phone. Officials say the four interactions happened throughout 2017, including at the end of the year.
  76. Trump reportedly told Sessions he would be a “hero” to conservatives if he did the “right thing” and reversed his recusal. Trump also urged him to investigate Hillary Clinton.
  77. On Wednesday, NYT reported Andrew McCabe wrote a confidential memo last spring in the chaotic days after James Comey was fired, detailing a conversation he had at the Justice Department with Rod Rosenstein.
  78. The memo reportedly describes that Trump originally asked Rosenstein to reference Russia in his memo, including that he was not under investigation. Rosenstein said this was unnecessary and did not include it.
  79. In a court filed update on Tuesday, Barbara Jones, the special master appointed by the judge in the Michael Cohen case, said prosecutors have released 300,000 pieces of potential evidence to prosecutors seized from Cohen.
  80. So far, 252 items have been flagged as privileged. Jones will make a recommendation to the court about that material by June 4. She also released one million files from three of his cell phones on Wednesday.
  81. On Wednesday, Jones said she had received “data from a video recorder, two computers, and mobile storage devices” that “includes various video, electronic communications and documents” in the last two weeks.
  82. Prosecutors said the government was piecing together documents from a paper shredder seized during the Cohen raid, noting “absent a search warrant, these records could have been deleted without record.”
  83. Cohen attorney’s said they have received 3.7 million files, of which 1.3 million have been turned over to Jones. The judge set a June 15 deadline for Cohen’s lawyers to determine what is privileged and turn over the rest.
  84. On Wednesday, Russian dissident journalist Arkady Babchenko sent shock waves around the world when he appeared at a news conference in Ukraine, less than 24 hours after being reported as dead.
  85. On Wednesday, CNN reported that the Senate Intelligence Committee is divided along party lines as to whether the Trump campaign colluded with Russia, making it unlikely the committee will reach a consensus.
  86. Daily Beast reported the Senate Intelligence Committee sent a document request to Roger Stone last week, and plans to call him in for an interview. Stone said he has “already begun to think about what to wear.”
  87. On Friday, NBC News reported Jared Kushner’s close friend, hedge fund manager Rick Gerson, is under investigation by Mueller’s team for a meeting with UAE’s Crown Prince Mohammed in Seychelles in January 2017.
  88. The meeting took place less than two week before Trump’s inauguration, and around the time Erik Prince met with Russian and UAE officials. Prince Mohammed has close ties to George Nader, who organized the meeting.
  89. Gerson had met Nader weeks earlier at a secret meeting with Prince Mohammed, Kushner, Michael Flynn, and Steve Bannon at the Four Seasons in New York. UAE’s ambassador to the U.S., Yousef Otaiba, also attended.
  90. On Thursday, Trump quoted Rush Limbaugh, tweeting, “If they were really concerned about the Russians infiltrating a campaign (hoax)…Why not tell Trump?” Trump was warned by U.S. intelligence in August 2016.
  91. On Thursday, WAPO reported the D.C. U.S. Attorney’s Office recently interviewed Comey as part of an investigation of into whether his deputy McCabe lied to federal agents, and should be charged with a crime.
  92. The Justice Department Inspector General referred the case after accusing McCabe in April of misleading investigators and Comey four times, three of which were under oath, about authorizing a disclosure to the WSJ.
  93. On Thursday, Trump continued his lie about Spygate, tweeting, “the corrupt Mainstream Media is working overtime not to mention the infiltration of people, Spies (Informants), into my campaign!”
  94. Trump also contradicted his own statement to Lester Holt in Week 26 about his rationale for firing Comey, tweeting, “Not that it matters but I never fired James Comey because of Russia!”
  95. Trump also contradicted what he said about firing Comey to Lavrov and Kislyak in the Oval Office in Week 26: “I faced great pressure because of Russia. That’s taken off.”
  96. On Thursday, the Justice Department said the Mueller probe spent $4.5 million on between October 2017 and March 2018. The Justice Department spent another $5.5 million on supporting the investigation.
  97. Including prior expenditures, both direct and indirect, for the first six months, this brings total spending to $16.7 million. Mueller team’s cost is $7.7 million to date. Previous special counsels did not report indirect costs.
  98. In Week 80, Trump called the special counsel a “$20,000,000 Witch Hunt,” in a tweet. Kenneth Starr spent more than $52 million investigating Bill Clinton.
  99. On Friday, Trump tweeted, “A.P. has just reported that the Russian Hoax Investigation” cost “over $17 million, and going up fast.” The AP said it did not report the costs are going up, and that $9 million would have been spent absent the Mueller probe.
  100. On Saturday, Trump attacked the Mueller probe, parroting Dan Bongino on “Fox & Friends” — “$17 million spent, it’s a scam Investigation…We now know there was Russian collusion, with Russians and the Democrats.”
  101. Politico reported Trump lashed out at Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross, saying he’s “past his prime” and “no longer a killer.” Ross has been increasingly marginalized by Trump, and barred from making trade deal decisions.
  102. On Wednesday, Trump threatened sweeping tariffs on steel and aluminum imports from Canada, Mexico, and the European Union, saying those U.S. trading partners failed to agree to a range of demands.
  103. Politico reported a carefully organized trade policy process put together by Rob Porter for coordination between Cabinet officials and senior aides is not being followed. Instead, Trump is deciding himself.
  104. Prior to Trump’s announcement on Thursday, following whipsawing statements from factions within the regime warring over global trade policy, Trump had grown impatient with lack of action.
  105. On Thursday, Trump imposed tariffs of 25% on steel and 10% on aluminum from the European Union, Canada, and Mexico, an action which will further strain diplomatic relationships and provoke retaliation.
  106. On Thursday, Mexico and the European Union announced steps to retaliate. European leaders also vowed to proceed with a complaint to the World Trade Organization.
  107. Canadian Prime Minister Trudeau said, “Over the past 150 years, Canada has been America’s most steadfast ally,” adding the tariffs are “an affront” and the idea that Canada could be considered a national security threat to the U.S. “inconceivable.”
  108. On Friday, Canada filed a challenge with the World Trade Organization, and said it will request a panelunder the North American Free Trade Agreement. Canada said it will “closely collaborate with the European Union.”
  109. On Friday, Reuters reported Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin was isolated at the G7 meeting in Canada over tariffs. French finance minister Bruno Le Maire said “we are going to have a G6 plus one.”
  110. On Tuesday, ABC canceled “Roseanne” after Roseanne Barr sent a series of vitriolic and racist tweets, first at Chelsea Clinton, and later at Valerie Jarrett, saying of Jarrett, “muslim brotherhood & planet of the apes had a baby=vj.”
  111. In an exchange with Chelsea, Roseanne sent anti-Semitic tweets about George Soros, a Holocaust survivor, calling him a Nazi “who turned in his fellow Jews 2 be murdered in German concentration camps & stole their wealth.”
  112. On Wednesday, Trump ripped Disney CEO Bob Iger for apologizing to Jarrett, but not him: “he never called President Donald J. Trump to apologize for the HORRIBLE statements made and said about me on ABC.”
  113. Trump, however, did not directly address Roseanne’s tweets, or condemn them in any way.
  114. At the daily briefing, when asked about Trump’s non-comment, press secretary Sarah Sanders said, “No one is defending what she said,” adding Trump is “simply calling out media bias,” and is owed an apology.
  115. Trump again demanded an apology from Iger, still without commenting on Roseanne’s words, tweeting, “Iger, where is my call of apology? You and ABC have offended millions of people, and they demand a response.”
  116. Iger and Trump have been on bad terms since Iger left Trump’s business advisory council after Trump pulled out of the Paris climate agreement. Iger has also been critical of Trump for ending DACA.
  117. On Wednesday, reality TV star Kim Kardashian West met with Trump and Kushner at the White House to advocate for a pardon for Alice Marie Johnson, 63, a woman serving a life sentence for drug offenses.
  118. Kardashian West posed for photos in front of the West Wing before entering. Trump tweeted about the meeting along with a photo, saying, “Great meeting…talked about prison reform and sentencing.”
  119. On Thursday, Trump pardoned conservative commentator and outspoken critic of the Obama administration, Dinesh D’Souza, who was convicted in 2014 of funneling illegal campaign contributions, tweeting D’Souza “was treated very unfairly by our government!”
  120. In 2014, D’Souza voluntarily pled guilty to making illegal contributions, admitted he knew what he did was against the law, and apologized for his conduct. The judge found no unfairness.
  121. Experts noted that D’Souza faced charges in the Southern District of New York, same court where Cohen faces possible campaign-finance violations and other possible crimes.
  122. Roger Stone called the pardon “a signal to Mike Flynn and Paul Manafort and even Robert Mueller,” adding “the special counsel has awesome powers, as you know, but the president has even more awesome powers.”
  123. D’Souza did not apply for a pardon through the Justice Department office, as would be typical. Trump told reporters “nobody asked me to do it,” saying he has never met D’Souza, but has seen him on television.
  124. Trump also said he is considering commuting Rod Blagojevich’s sentence and pardoning Martha Stewart, and has already pardoned Joe Arpaio, Kristian Saucier, Lewis “Scooter” Libby, and Jack Johnson.
  125. New York Attorney General Barbara Wood issued a statement of rebuke, saying, “Trump’s latest pardon make crystal clear his willingness to use his pardon power to thwart the cause of justice, rather than advance it.”
  126. Wood also called on state lawmakers to close a loophole in New York’s double jeopardy law to ensure people who break New York law could not “evade accountability” through “a strategically-timed pardon” by Trump.
  127. On Wednesday, Ivanka dropped off a White House conference call with press in advance of “White House Sports and Fitness Day,” after a reporter asked about Chinese trademarks being awarded to her fashion brand.
  128. On Thursday, comedian Samantha Bee apologized for calling Ivanka Trump a “feckless cunt” on her TBS show in a segment criticizing Ivanka for her silence on the regime’s separating children from parents at the border.
  129. On Thursday, Sanders condemned Samantha Bee’s words as “vile and vicious,” and urged executives at Time Warner and TBS to act, citing “explicit profanity about female members of this administration.”
  130. On Friday, Trump tweeted that Samantha Bee should be fired, “Why aren’t they firing no talent Samantha Bee for the horrible language used on her low ratings show?” TBS and CNN are owned by Time Warner.
  131. On Friday, Trump broke decades of protocol, tweeting about the jobs reports before the release. Treasury yields moved sharply higher within seconds of his tweet. Trump was briefed on the numbers Thursday night.
  132. At 7:21 a.m., Trump tweeted, “Looking forward to seeing the employment numbers at 8:30 this morning.” At 8:30 a.m., the Bureau of Labor Statistics announced the numbers.
  133. On Friday, Bloomberg reported that two South Korean firms have bought $100 million in junior debt on a Citigroup deal for a New Jersey residential building partly owned by Kushner Cos.
  134. Prior to receiving the Citigroup loan in early 2018, shortly after the bank’s CEO met with Kushner at the White House, Kushner Cos and its partner had trouble finding a firm to refinance more than $180 million of loans.
  135. Kushner drew scrutiny in Week 26 when his sister mentioned him by name and the EB-5 visa program, visas which allow immigrants a path to a green card for investing $500,000, to market the loan to Chinese investors.
  136. Daily Beast reported ZTE hired Bryan Lanza, a veteran of the Trump 2016 presidential campaign who works for Mercury Public Affairs, a powerhouse lobbying and public relations in Washington DC, on May 14.
  137. NBC News reported on a new U.S. intelligence assessment which concluded North Korea does not intend to give up its nuclear weapons, contrary to Trump’s public statements as he tries to get the summit back on track.
  138. The CIA report says Kim Jong Un, in a peaceful gesture towards Trump whose love of fast-food burgers is well known, may instead offer to open a Western hamburger franchise in Pyongyang as a show of goodwill.
  139. Foreign Policy reported Secretary of State Mike Pompeo met with North Korea’s Kim Yong Chol, a four-star army general and former military intelligence chief. Chol has served three regimes, and helped groom Kim Jong Un.
  140. Kim Young Chol is linked to some of the country’s highest-profile military operations, including two deadly attacks in 2010 that killed 50 South Koreans and an alleged 2014 cyberattack on Sony Pictures.
  141. The meetings, which took place in New York, was the highest-level visit to the U.S. by a North Korean in 18 years. The two had dinner together on Wednesday, then formal talk on Thursday morning.
  142. On Friday, with little public notice, Trump met with Kim Yong Chol in the Oval Office for over an hour. Afterwards, Trump told reporters that the June 12 summit in Singapore is on, despite canceling it in Week 80.
  143. Trump also showed reporters a letter from Kim Jong Un delivered by Kim Young Chol, and said it was “ a very nice letter” and “very interesting.” Trump later admitted that he had not opened the letter yet.
  144. Asked by a reporter if Kim Jong Un is committed to denuclearization, Trump said, “Yeah, I think so. He’d like to see it happen.” The June 12 meeting will be North Korea’s first-ever summit with a U.S. president.
  145. On Friday, WAPO reported cash-strapped North Korea is requiring that a foreign country pick up Kim Jong Un’s $6,000 hotel bill for the summit in Singapore. The Trump regime is trying to find a discrete way to do so.
  146. On Friday, WSJ reported the White House is preparing for a potential summit between Trump and Putin of Russia. Jon Huntsman, the U.S. ambassador to Russia, is working to arrange the meeting.
  147. Politico reported on a recent closed-door fundraiser for Trump, at which he bragged to donors, using classified information, about a February skirmish between U.S. troops and Russian mercenaries in Syria.
  148. The New York City fundraiser was attended by about 100 of Trump’s top-dollar supporters. Trump reportedly shared the strikes may have been as brief as “10 minutes” and took out 100 to 300 Russians.
  149. In an op-ed, former CIA director John Brennan said he would speak out until integrity returns. Brennan fears Trump’s lying, “mean-spirited and malicious behavior, and his self-absorption” will be emulated by young people.
  150. Brennan, who served four presidents, said Trump “has shown highly abnormal behavior by lying routinely,” and “intentionally fueling divisions in our country,” and actively working to degrade our institutions.
  151. On Saturday, Trump attacked Brennan, citing “Fox & Friends” guest Dan Bongino in a tweet, “no single figure in American history has done more to discredit the intelligence community than this liar.”
  152. WAPO reported emails released as part of a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) lawsuit by the Sierra Club, show Scott Pruitt spent $1,650 of taxpayer money on 12 customized fountain pens.
  153. Emails released as part of a FOIA request by the Environmental Defense Fund and the Southern Environmental Law Center, and provided to AP reveal cooperation between Pruitt’s Environmental Protection Agency and climate-change deniers.
  154. John Konkus, the EPA’s deputy associate administrator, emailed with Heartland Institute seeking suggestions for scientists and economists who reject man-made climate-change, for an EPA public hearing in 2017.
  155. Emails from Konkus and the EPA’s Liz Bowman with Heartland also complain about critical coverage from media such as the Post and AP, and celebrating a reporter leaving the Times, “Ding Dong, the Witch is Dead.”
  156. On Friday, the Hill reported Williams & Jensen, the firm chaired by J. Steven Hart, who along with his wife rented a condo to Pruitt, did in fact lobby the EPA on behalf of three clients last year.
  157. Hart left the firm in April after the fallout from the condo rental. Williams & Jensen then hired outside counsel to comb through its disclosure filings from 2017 and 2018, and filed 14 amendments to Hart’s forms.
  158. NYT reported in December, at one of the biggest games of the University of Kentucky basketball season,Pruitt and his son were given courtside seats belonging to Joseph W. Craft III, a billionaire coal executive.
  159. Craft has engaged in an aggressive campaign to reverse the Obama administration’s environmental crackdown on the coal industry. He and his wife also donated $2 million to Trump’s candidacy and inauguration.
  160. Agency records show Pruitt met with Craft at least seven times during his first 14 months as head of the EPA. Coal companies have welcomed what they consider a sea of change under the Trump regime.
  161. On Friday, Trump left for Camp David but First Lady Melania Trump did not accompany him. Melania has not been seen publicly since May 10, and has missed several joint appearance that would be typical for a first lady.
  162. A tweet from the @FLOTUS Twitter account this week read, “I see the media is working overtime speculating where I am,” adding I am “great” and “working hard” — terms commonly used by Trump on Twitter.

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Re: Amy Siskind's List Week 82
« Reply #2 on: June 11, 2018, 01:44:12 AM »
https://theweeklylist.org/weekly-list/week-82/

JUNE 09, 2018

Week 82

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

This week started with Trump pushing yet another norm, saying he could pardon himself. This comes after a string of recent pardons, and Trump bragging to reporters that he is considering 3,000 more—crowning himself the arbiter of what is fair, not the judicial branch. In two moves that alarmed legal experts, Sessions’ Justice Department sided with a frivolous lawsuit instead of defending the Affordable Care Act, and seized phone and email records from a New York Times reporter.

Trump continued to divide the country, creating controversy by disinviting the NFL champions the Philadelphia Eagles from the White House, and later in the week, the NBA champions. The regime continues its cruel Zero Tolerance policy at the southern border, which has drawn international outcry and lawsuits.

Trump continues to act as if he is solely in charge, attending the Group of Seven summit in Quebec where he arrived late, left early, delivered a harsh, toothless speech, and complained Russia wasn’t invited — further alienating our former allies and achieving nothing before leaving for his summit with Kim Jong Un next Tuesday. However, this week, the Republican Party showed signs of standing up to Trump on several issues including trade, the FBI informant, ZTE and protections for “dreamers.”

  1. On Sunday, Sen. Jeff Merkley posted a video showing he was denied entry to a former Walmart in Brownsville, Texas used as a detention center for migrant children who had been separated from their parents.
  2. The facility in Brownsville is overseen by the Department of Health and Human Service’s Office of Refugee Resettlement. Merkley tweeted, “Asked repeatedly to speak to a supervisor — he finally came out and said he can’t tell us anything. Police were called on us.”
  3. On Monday, Ray Zaccaro, a spokesperson for Merkley, added that on Sunday, in a separate visit to a Border Patrol processing center in McAllen, Texas, “Senator Merkley and his staff saw children in cages.”
  4. On Monday, deputy press secretary Hogan Gidley accused Merkley of “irresponsibly spreading blatant lies” and “smearing hardworking, dedicated law enforcement officials.”
  5. On Tuesday, in one of a series of 13 tweets, Trump also attacked Merkley and Democrats, tweeting, “Separating families at the Border is the fault of bad legislation passed by the Democrats.” This statement is false.
  6. On Tuesday, the United Nations human rights office called on the Trump regime to “immediately halt” its policy of separating children from their parents after they cross the U.S. border with Mexico.
  7. A U.N. spokeswoman said, “The use of immigration detention and family separation as a deterrent runs counter to human rights standards and principles,” adding, “the child’s best interest should always come first.”
  8. On Tuesday, Jeff Sessions defended separating migrant parents and children, telling conservative radio host Hugh Hewitt, “If people don’t want to be separated from their children, they should not bring them with them.”
  9. Sessions also likened the practice to what happens in the U.S., saying when an American “gets prosecuted” for a crime, “American citizens, and they go to jail, they’re separated from their children.”
  10. On Wednesday, the Department of Homeland Security announced for a third month in a row, U.S. border agents made more than 50,000 arrests in May, triple the amount in May 2017, despite the Trump regime separating children from their parents.
  11. NYT reported police departments in several cities with large Hispanic populations are seeing a decline in reports of domestic violence and sexual assault. Police blame fear of being deported.
  12. Cities experiencing a decline include Los Angeles, Denver, San Diego, and Houston, which saw a decline from 7,460 reports from Hispanics in 2016, to 6,273 in 2017.
  13. WAPO reported about 200 ICE officers blitzed two locations of Corso’s Flower and Garden Center in Ohio in an immigration raid. They arrested 114 workers thought to be illegal and loaded them on buses to be taken to ICE detention centers.
  14. Local activists say dozens of children were left stranded at daycare centers and with babysitters. ICE plans to charge the undocumented workers with identity theft and tax evasion. ICE is also investigating the employer.
  15. This marks third mass round-up conducted by ICE. In April, 97 immigrants were arrested at a meat-processing plant in rural Tennessee, and in January, ICE raided 98 7-Eleven stores.
  16. Daily Beast reported Honduran native Martina Blasina Romero, the mother of Ronal Francisco Romero, an undocumented immigrant who died of bacterial meningitis while in ICE custody, is preparing to sue.
  17. Border Patrol arrested Romero on May 9 as he illegally entered the U.S. He died May 16. Advocates say thefacility where Romero was held is severely lacking in medical assistance, one saying it is “virtually nonexistent.”
  18. On Wednesday, a U.S. District Judge in San Diego denied a motion made by the Trump regime to dismiss an ACLU lawsuit which argues that splitting up families at the border violates their due process rights.
  19. The judge wrote that allegations that the government “arbitrarily tears at the sacred bond between parent and child,” if true, “is brutal, offensive, and fails to comport with traditional notions of fair play and decency.”
  20. Intercept reported that the ACLU estimates between 1,500 and 2,000 migrant children have been separated from their parents at the southern border, with the number escalating with Sessions’ Zero Tolerance policy.
  21. According to a police report obtained by WAPO, a Honduran father separated from his wife and child suffered a breakdown at a Texas jail and killed himself in a padded cell on May 13.
  22. The Starr County sheriff’s deputy reports quotes Border Patrol agents. The death of Marco Antonio Muñoz, 39, has not been publicly disclosed by the Department of Homeland Security.
  23. The Des Moines Register reported Manuel Antonio Cano Pacheco, who was scheduled to graduate high school in Des Moines last month, died a brutal death in Mexico three weeks after being escorted out of the U.S. by ICE.
  24. Cano Pacheco had been granted DACA status under the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, but it was revoked over a speeding ticket. He was the oldest of four siblings.
  25. For a second year in a row, Trump failed to recognize LGBTQ Pride Month. Shortly after his inauguration, the Trump regime removed references to LGBTQ people from a number of federal government websites.
  26. On Monday, the Supreme Court ruled that the baker who refused to bake a cake for a gay couple was discriminated against by a Colorado agency which displayed religious bias when it sanctioned him.
  27. The narrow Supreme Court ruling did not address whether businesses can refuse service to same-sex couples based on religious beliefs. Trump fanned misinformation, tweeting, “Big Supreme Court ruling for Baker just out!”
  28. On Monday, following the ruling, state Rep. Michael Clark of South Dakota wrote on Facebook that businesses should be able to turn away customers based on race. He later apologized.
  29. Following the ruling, Jeff Amyx, owner of a hardware store in Tennessee, displayed a sign which read, ‘No Gays Allowed.’ Amyx said, “Christianity is under attack…this is not the end, this is just the beginning.”
  30. Amyx had first posted the sign in the store window in 2015 when gay marriage became legal, but later removed it after facing a sharp backlash.
  31. On Thursday, an Arizona appeals court ruled that a Phoenix-based calligraphy business cannot refuse service to same-sex couples.
  32. After the White House drew fired in 2017 for not hosting an Iftar dinner to commemorate the Muslim holy month of Ramadan, this year the regime hosted a dinner, but failed to invite any Muslim-American leaders or activists.
  33. NYT reported on a 20-page confidential letter sent to Robert Mueller on January 29 from Trump attorneys John Dowd and Jay Sekulow, making the untested assertion that Trump cannot illegally obstruct any aspect of the Russia investigation.
  34. Trump’s lawyers argue it is impossible for him to obstruct justice by shutting down a case or firing a subordinate, no matter his motivation, since the Constitution gives him power to supervise the executive branch.
  35. Trump’s attorneys are looking to head off a subpoena for fear that if he answers questions in front of a grand jury, he risks exposing himself to accusations of lying to investigators, a potential crime or impeachable offense.
  36. To counter Mueller, Trump and his lawyers are attacking James Comey’s credibility, and have started a public-relations campaign to discredit the investigation to preempt a potentially damaging special counsel report.
  37. Trump’s lawyers also disclosed in the letter that Trump “dictated a short but accurate response to the New York Times article on behalf of his son” relating to the June 2016 Trump Tower meeting with Russians.
  38. Shortly after the NYT article came out, Trump tweeted, “Is the Special Counsel/Justice Department leaking my lawyers letters to the Fake News Media?” adding “When will this very expensive Witch Hunt Hoax ever end?”
  39. This statement contradicts multiple public statements made by both Sekulow and press secretary Sarah Sanders in the past year, both who asserted to the press that Trump did not dictate the misleading statement.
  40. On Monday, at the daily briefing, when asked about her past false statements, Sanders refused to explain, saying, “You’re referencing a letter that came directly from outside counsel and I would refer you to them,”
  41. On Sunday, Rudy Giuliani told “This Week” that Trump has the ability to pardon himself, but said it is “unthinkable” he would pardon himself, saying, “He has no intention of pardoning himself.”
  42. On Sunday, Giuliani told HuffPost, “In no case can he be subpoenaed or indicted,” claiming Trump’s Constitutional powers are that broad.
  43. On Sunday, Rep. Kevin McCarthy, who hopes to take over House leadership when Paul Ryan retires, told “State of the Union” regarding the Mueller probe, “if there is no collusion, it’s time to wind this down.”
  44. On Monday, Trump tweeted, “As has been stated by numerous legal scholars, I have the absolute right to PARDON myself,” adding “ but why would I do that when I have done nothing wrong?”
  45. Trump also called the Mueller probe “the never ending Witch Hunt, led by 13 very Angry and Conflicted Democrats,” and said, “The appointment of the Special Counsel is totally UNCONSTITUTIONAL!”
  46. In a scathing op-ed “Mourning America,” by Patti Davis, Ronald Reagan’s daughter, Davis accused Trump of “sullying” the American dream,” and called out Republicans in Congress for refusing to stand up to him.
  47. WAPO reported that in Trump’s first 497 days, he has made 3,251 false or misleading claims. In his first 100 days, Trump averaged 4.9 false claims a day. Now, Trump is up to 6.5 false claims each day.
  48. On Monday, the Pentagon inspector general issued a statement, saying the watchdog has “initiated an investigation into allegations” against Trump’s former personal physician, Ronny Jackson.
  49. U.S. ambassador to Germany, Richard Grenell told Breitbart London he wants to “empower other conservatives” to rise up against “elites.” Sen. Jeanne Shaheen said Grenell should be recalled if political statements continue.
  50. Trump nominated Michael Pack, a conservative filmmaker and close Steve Bannon ally, to lead the Broadcasting Board of Governors, the agency which oversees U.S.-funded media outlets, including Voice of America.
  51. WSJ reported the Trump regime has put the search for the Justice Department’s number 3 position on hold, after failing to lure several candidates, who would take over the Mueller probe if Rod Rosenstein were fired.
  52. The Justice Department has been a frequent target for Trump. The department lacks permanent, appointed leaders to oversee at least five high-profile units, including the criminal, civil, and tax divisions.
  53. On Tuesday, Trump continued to attack Sessions, tweeting, “The Russian Witch Hunt Hoax continues, all because Jeff Sessions didn’t tell me he was going to recuse himself,” adding, “So much time and money wasted.”
  54. On Wednesday, WAPO reported Mick Mulvaney fired the 25-member advisory board of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, after 11 of its members Monday publicly criticized his leadership of the agency.
  55. Carl Higbie, a former Trump appointee, resigned from Trump-aligned America First Policies after companies said they would no longer donate due to his racist comments, like black women “think that breeding is a form of government employment.”
  56. On Thursday, in a big victory for the chemical industry after heavy lobbying, Trump’s EPA is scaling back the way the government determines health and safety risks associated with the most dangerous chemicals.
  57. According to documents released last week by the Environmental Protection Agency, testing will now exclude potential exposure caused by the substances’ presence in the air, the ground or water, and instead focus on direct contact with a chemical.
  58. Politico reported Trump has considered Judge Jeanine Pirro for a senior job in the regime. The two speak by phone frequently, and Trump watches her Fox News show every Saturday night, sometimes calling in.
  59. On Monday, WAPO reported Scott Pruitt had aides do various personal tasks, including having the EPA’s chief’s director of scheduling call the Trump International DC to inquire about purchasing one of its used mattresses.
  60. Emails released under a Freedom of Information Act request by the Sierra Club reveal Pruitt tried twice to get a job for his wife. Federal ethics laws bar public officials from using their position or staff for private gain.
  61. On Wednesday, a second top Pruitt aide, senior adviser Sarah Greenwalt, resigned from the EPA and said she is returning to Oklahoma to work at a state agency.
  62. On Thursday, WAPO reported Pruitt enlisted his 24/7 security detail to run errands for him, including picking up his dry cleaning and picking up his favorite moisturizing lotion.
  63. Documents obtained by The Hill under the FOIA reveal Bob Murray, CEO of coal company Murray Energy, offered six suggested executive orders on coal to the EPA and Department of Energy. In Week 62, a photographer was fired for leaking a photo of Rick Perry hugging Bob Murray.
  64. The executive orders would have halted and repealed rules on coal pollution. Although Trump did not sign the orders, the regime has started to implement many of those policies.
  65. On Friday, Trump said he continues to back Pruitt despite the growing list of ethical scandals, saying Pruitt is “doing a great job.”
  66. Documents obtained by BuzzFeed in a FOIA lawsuit reveal that as head of DHS, John Kelly instructed an official not to email staffers for fear of scrutiny of the FOIA. At the time, the agency’s main focus was immigration.
  67. WAPO reported that in early 2018, China hacked the computers of a Navy contractor, stealing massive amounts of highly sensitive data, including secret plans to develop a supersonic anti-ship missile by 2020.
  68. On Thursday, the House voted 210-206 to rescind $15 billion in unspent funding that had been approved, including $7 billion for the Children’s Health Insurance Program, or CHIP, which covers low-income children.
  69. Late Monday, Mueller’s team accused Paul Manafort of witness tampering by contacting two witnesses by phone and through encrypted messaging apps, and asked a federal judge to consider revoking or revising Manafort’s release.
  70. Mueller’s team said Manafort and an unnamed associate linked to Russian intelligence repeatedly contactedtwo members of a public relations firm and asked them to falsely testify about secret lobbying.
  71. On Tuesday, a federal judge ordered Manafort to respond by Friday to Mueller’s request to revoke or revise his release, and set a June 15 hearing date.
  72. On Thursday, Reuters reported Bruce Baldinger, a longtime lawyer for Manafort hired Marc Garfinkle, a New Jersey ethics attorney, to advise him.
  73. On Friday, Manafort and Konstantin Kilimnik, a Russian national, were indicted by Mueller on charges of obstructing justice: trying to influence two witnesses relating to the failure to register as foreign lobbyists.
  74. Manafort and Kilimnik allegedly began reaching out in February and April and tried to convince former colleagues to lie that Manafort’s lobbying work was done exclusively in Europe, and not in the U.S.
  75. Kilimnik has worked with Manafort since 2005. Mueller’s team claimed in a court filing this year that the FBI believes Kilimnik still has “ties to a Russian intelligence service.”
  76. Rick Gates, Manafort’s former business partner, who is cooperating in the probe, has said Kilimnik is a former officer of Russia’s foreign military intelligence agency, the GRU.
  77. With these indictments, the year-old Mueller probe has thus far resulted in 20 individuals and three businesses having been either indicted or pled guilty, and a total of 75 charges have been filed.
  78. On Tuesday, Simona Mangiante, wife of George Papadopoulos, changed her previous account of her husband’s intentions, and asked Trump on Fox News to pardon him.
  79. On Tuesday, Alex van der Zwaan, the first person to serve prison time in the Mueller probe, was deported to the Netherlands.
  80. On Wednesday, Speaker Ryan said he agreed with Rep. Trey Gowdy’s initial assessment that there is no evidence the FBI spied on the Trump’s campaign.
  81. Shortly after, Sen. Richard Burr also said he agreed with Gowdy. So far Gowdy and three of the four Republicans (Mitch McConnell, Ryan, Burr) in the Gang of Eight agree there is no evidence. Only Devin Nunes differs.
  82. On Wednesday, the Guardian reported according to visitor logs, Brittany Kaiser, then a director at Cambridge Analytica, visited Julian Assange in February 17, 2017 to discuss what happened in the U.S. election.
  83. Kaiser also claimed to have channelled cryptocurrency payments and donations, given to her by a third party, to WikiLeaks. In a tweet Wednesday, WikiLeaks said, “WikiLeaks has no knowledge of donations.”
  84. According to emails reviewed and sources, BuzzFeed reported during the campaign Ivanka emailed with former Olympic weightlifter Dmitry Klokov, who offered to introduce Trump to Putin to facilitate a Trump tower in Moscow.
  85. Ivanka connected Klokov with Michael Cohen. Reportedly congressional investigators have reviewed the emails and questioned witnesses, as has Mueller’s team.
  86. Late Monday, Trump abruptly disinvited the Philadelphia Eagles from a White House Super Bowl celebration, saying in a statement, “They disagree with their President because he insists that they proudly stand for the National Anthem.”
  87. The regime claimed 70 Eagles had promised to come, then 10 to 12 said they would attend Monday. Aides said Trump deemed the smaller crowd unsatisfactory. No Eagles knelt during the national anthem last season.
  88. On Tuesday, Fox News’ reporting on the canceled trip featured images of Eagles players down on a knee. The players were praying, not protesting. Fox News later apologized.
  89. On Tuesday, the White House issued another statement saying, “the vast majority of the Eagles decided to abandon their fans.” The White House claimed 81 players had last week committed to come.
  90. On Tuesday, in lieu of welcoming the Eagles, Trump held a “Celebration of America” event at the White House. Trump appeared alongside U.S. flags and military troops.
  91. The event, which Trump hailed as a “beautiful, big celebration,” lasted about 10 minutes. At the ceremony,Trump struggled with lyrics to “God Bless America,” and took the opportunity to talk about the economy.
  92. On Tuesday, AP reported stars from the teams in the NBA finals, Stephen Curry and LeBron James, said they will not go to the White House. James said “I know no matter who wins this series, no one wants the invite anyway.”
  93. AP also reported Trump did not invite the WNBA champions the Minnesota Lynx to the White House to celebrate their most recent title. LeBron James called this “laughable.”
  94. On Thursday, Yahoo Sports reported Colin Kaepernick’s lawyers are expected to subpoena to compel testimony from Trump, Pence, and other officials familiar with Trump’s agenda on protesting NFL players.
  95. As part of the lawsuit, lawyers will seek information on the Trump regime’s political involvement with the NFL during Kaepernick’s free agency and the league’s handling of player protests.
  96. On Friday, ahead of the NBA championship game, Trump told reporters that he will not invite the NBA champions to the White House.
  97. On Wednesday, Trump gathered his cabinet at FEMA headquarters for an annual briefing. Trump praised his entire cabinet except Sessions.
  98. While at FEMA, Trump made no mention of the revised death toll estimates in Puerto Rico, and gave no indication the regime was reviewing its response to the hurricane in Puerto Rico.
  99. First Lady Melania Trump also appeared with Trump at FEMA — her first time in public in nearly a month. Trump said, “The people of our country love you. So thank you, honey.”
  100. Trump chastised the media, saying, “The Fake News Media has been so unfair, and vicious, to my wife.” Kellyanne Conway called the media’s coverage of Melania “conspiracy theories that have no basis in fact.”
  101. On Friday, when asked why Melania did not accompany him to the G7 summit and Singapore, Trump said, “Can’t fly for one month, the doctors say. She had a big operation, that was close to a four-hour operation.”
  102. Medical experts said it would be unusual for the procedure Melania received to last four hours, and that doctors don’t typically curtail flying after an embolization procedure, if it went normally as described.
  103. On Tuesday, Senate Majority Leader McConnell canceled three of the four weeks of August recess. Democrats are defending 26 seats in November to Republicans’ nine, and would typically use that time to campaign. The House, however, will recess for the entire month.
  104. On Tuesday, the LA Times reported 118,522 voters were accidentally left off the voting rosters in California’s primary due to a printing error. About 35% of L.A. County’s 4,357 precincts were affected.
  105. Santa Clara County residents voted 59-39 to recall Superior Court Judge Aaron Persky, the judge who presided over Brock Turner’s sexual assault case. He is the first California judge to be recalled in more than 85 years.
  106. On Tuesday, CNN reported Kelly Sadler, the White House communications aide who made disparaging comments about Sen. John McCain and refused to publicly apologize, is no longer working at the White House.
  107. On Tuesday, in tweets, Trump criticized “numerous delays” in release of the report on Clinton emails: “What is taking so long with the Inspector General’s Report on Crooked Hillary and Slippery James Comey.”
  108. On Thursday, Trump again urged the Justice Department to investigate his political enemies, tweeting, “Justice Department must not let Awan & Debbie Wasserman Schultz off the hook,” adding “Where is Server? Really bad!”
  109. Trump also accused the Obama administration of “trying to give Iran secret access to the financial system,” and using his new term for Mueller’s team, the “13 Angry Democrats,” telling them to investigate.
  110. On Wednesday, Trump commuted the sentence of Alice Marie Johnson, a first-time nonviolent drug offender. In Week 81, Kim Kardashian West visited Trump in the Oval Office to make this request.
  111. On Friday, Trump told reporters he is considering pardoning some 3,000 people, including Muhammad Ali.
  112. Ron Tweel, an attorney for Ali, who died in 2016, said in a tweet, “a pardon is unnecessary.” Ali’s conviction was overturned in 1971.
  113. On Tuesday, a federal judge ruled Trump can be deposed in the Summer Zervos defamation lawsuit. Zervos’ attorneys have already issued a subpoena to the Trump campaign related to other women accused.
  114. Trump lawyer Marc Kasowitz said before the case moves forward, the issue of whether or not a sitting president can be sued in state court should be taken up by the U.S. Supreme Court.
  115. On Wednesday, Stephanie Clifford’s attorney filed a lawsuit saying Cohen “colluded” with her then-lawyer, Keith Davidson, in an attempt to get her to go on Fox News’ “Hannity” in January and deny she had an affair with Trump.
  116. On Wednesday, at an investment conference in Israel, Giuliani told the audience why the summit with North Korea was off, then on: “Well, Kim Jong Un got back on his hands and knees and begged for it.”
  117. Giuliani said of Mueller’s team, “They are a group of 13 highly partisan Democrats” who are “trying very, very hard to frame” Trump. He also repeated his claim that Trump could pardon himself of any federal crimes.
  118. Giuliani also said derogatory things about Clifford, including “I’m sorry I don’t respect a porn star,” and a woman who respects herself, “isn’t going to sell her body for sexual exploitation.”
  119. Giuliani also he finds Clifford to be unattractive and therefore not credible, saying Trump’s three wives are “Beautiful women, classy women, women of great substance. Stormy Daniels? Pfft.”
  120. Giuliani drew sharp rebukes from many, calling him sexist and misogynist. Sen. Elizabeth Warren said his comments were a slur and “an insult to every woman in this country.”
  121. On Friday, when asked about Giuliani’s comments, Trump said, “I’m not going to disagree with him on that.” Trump has appeared in three Playboy videos between 1994 and 2001.
  122. On Thursday, Sessions’ DOJ filed a brief supporting an obscure lawsuit brought by conservative states, led by Texas, arguing the protections for people with preexisting conditions under ACA should be invalidated.
  123. If those protections are invalidated, according to the Kaiser Family Foundation, approximately 52 million Americans under the age of 65 could lose access to health care.
  124. Legal experts expressed shock that the DOJ sided with a frivolous lawsuit. Law professor Nicholas Bagley wrote,“the Justice Department has a durable, longstanding, bipartisan commitment to defending the law.”
  125. On Thursday, James Wolfe, a former Senate Intelligence Committee director of security, was arrested and charged with lying repeatedly to FBI investigators about his contacts with three reporters.
  126. The DOJ seized records of a Times reporter, Ali Watkins, who had been in a three-year relationship with Wolfe. This is the first known instance of Trump’s Justice Department going after a reporter’s data.
  127. Watkins’s data, which was seized without her being notified, included phone records from her time working at BuzzFeed and Politico. She disclosed her personal relationship with Wolfe to all three employers.
  128. Wolfe was responsible for safeguarding classified and sensitive information. Court documents describe Wolfe’s communications with four reporters, including Watkins, using encrypted messaging applications.
  129. On Thursday, the Times denounced the seizure of Atkins’ phone and email records, saying the move “will endanger reporters’ ability to promise confidentiality to their sources and, ultimately, undermine the ability of a free press.”
  130. On Friday, the Committee to Protect Journalists also expressed concern about the seizure, and called the move “a fundamental threat to press freedom.”
  131. On Friday, Trump applauded the arrest, saying, “I’m a very big believer in freedom of the press, but I’m also a believer that you cannot leak classified information.” Trump has been pressuring Sessions to take action.
  132. On Friday, Jim Jordan, a senior member of the House Oversight Committee, said he was “very nervous” about the DOJ’s surveillance of a NYT reporter, and said he may hold hearings.
  133. On Thursday, Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross told CNBC that at about 6 a.m., the Trump regime “executed a definitive agreement with ZTE.” China lobbied the Trump regime for a compromise on ZTE.
  134. On Thursday, senators, including Trump ally Tom Cotton, said they would introduce an amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act which would restore penalties on ZTE for violating sanctions against Iran and North Korea.
  135. The amendment would also ban government agencies from buying or leasing equipment and services from ZTE and Chinese telecom company Huawei, citing national security concerns about spying.
  136. On Friday, the Chairman of ZTE apologized to staff and customers in a memo, saying the company had agreed to pay a $1 billion fine and overhaul its leadership. ZTE said it will restart restart operations.
  137. On Wednesday, Sen. Bob Corker, along with eight Democratic and Republican co-sponsors, introduced a bill to check Trump’s tariff authority, rebuffing a personal request from Trump to back off.
  138. This marks the first time Republicans have stood up to Trump on trade. The U.S. Chamber of Commerce and Koch Industries backed the bill, but McConnell said he would not bring it to the floor as a stand-alone bill.
  139. On Thursday, a group of two dozen moderate House Republicans broke from Trump, demanding a vote to reinstate deportation protections for “dreamers” taken away by the regime.
  140. On Thursday, former House Speaker John Boehner said at the Mackinac Policy Conference in Michigan, “There is no Republican Party. There’s a Trump party. The Republican Party is kind of taking a nap somewhere.”
  141. CNN reported on a testy conversation between Trump and Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau on May 25, in which Trump invoked the War of 1812 to justify tariffs, “Didn’t you guys burn down the White House?” That was British troops.
  142. On Thursday, ahead of the G7 meeting in Quebec, France’s Prime Minister Macron tweeted, the will to have a text “signed by 7 countries” must not overcome the content, adding, “we must not rule out a 6+1 agreement.”
  143. On Thursday, Trudeau tweeted an article detailing an “even closer collaboration” with France.
  144. Trump responded in a series of tweets, saying, “Please tell Prime Minister Trudeau and President Macron that they are charging the U.S. massive tariffs,” and accusing Trudeau of “being so indignant.”
  145. Late Thursday, the White House announced Trump would leave the G7 summit early, after sparring with Macron and Trudeau on the issue of trade.
  146. On Friday morning, before heading to the G7 summit, Trump told reporters Russia should be reinstated in the group, saying “Russia should be in this meeting…They should let Russia come back in.”
  147. Russia was suspended from the then G8 in 2014 over the annexation of Crimea, the first violation of a European country’s borders since World War II. Trump’s statement signals the growing divide with former allies.
  148. On Saturday, Trump arrived late to the G7 summit breakfast on empowering women, and walked in after Trudeau had welcomed everyone to the session.
  149. On Saturday, Trump delivered his most defiant trade threat yet, telling the G7 summit that they must dramatically reduce trade barriers, “We’re like the piggy bank that everybody is robbing. And that ends.”
  150. Trump asked the six countries to remove every single tariff or trade barrier on American goods and in return, he would do the same for products from their countries. Else, they risk severe penalties.
  151. He also said of trade wars, “We win that war a thousand times out of a thousand.” WAPO reported beforeTrump had grumbled about having to attend the G7, and had considered sending Pence in his place.
  152. Trump also again called for readmitting Russia to the G7, and said “Crimea was let go during the Obama administration…I might have had a very different” response.
  153. Trump departed early Saturday, skipping meetings on climate change, energy policy and oceans. The White House Trump will leave early to prepare for his summit in Singapore on June 12 with Kim Jong Un.
  154. On Thursday, Politico reported National security adviser John Bolton has yet to convene a cabinet-level meeting to discuss Trump’s upcoming summit with Kim Jong Un, a striking break from decades of precedent.
  155. On Thursday, when asked about preparation by reporters at the White House before a meeting with Japanese Prime Minister Abe, Trump said “I don’t think I have to prepare very much. It’s about attitude.”
  156. On Tuesday, New York Post reported former NBA player Dennis Rodman will be in Singapore for the Trump-Kim summit. Sources say Rodman may play some part in the negotiation, and “One thing’s for sure the ratings will be huge.”
  157. On Thursday, Trump said that Rodman had not been invited to the summit but called him a “nice guy.” Trump added that he did not know about Rodman’s intention to be in Singapore during the summit.
  158. On Friday, Rodman confirmed on Instagram that he’s heading to Singapore to “give whatever support is needed to my friends, President Trump and Marshall Kim Jong Un.”

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The German government released this photo of Chancellor Angela Merkel and other world leaders speaking with Trump at the Group of 7 summit Friday in Canada. (Steffen Seibert/German Information Ministry)

"It is difficult to write a paradiso when all the superficial indications are that you ought to write an apocalypse." -Ezra Pound

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Amy Siskind's List Week 93
« Reply #3 on: August 26, 2018, 08:12:36 AM »
Week 93: Experts in authoritarianism advise to keep a list of things subtly changing around you, so you’ll remember.

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Week 93: Experts in authoritarianism advise to keep a list of things subtly changing around you, so you’ll remember.

August 25, 2018

This was an ominous week for Trump, as three longtime allies turned on him. If you’ve come to one of my book events, I’ve said one of the three paths to ending Trump’s time in office was through the #MeToo movement, as in this case with hush money payments to silence women and the cover-up. This week in court, Michael Cohen essentially called Trump an unindicted co-conspirator in the crime of making hush money payments with the “principal purpose of influencing” the 2016 presidential election. Cohen was also subpoenaed in New York’s probe of the Trump Foundation. News later in the week indicated Trump’s bookkeeper for decades, Allen Weisselberg, and his longtime ally David Pecker, chairman and CEO of American Media, were both granted immunity in Manhattan court in exchange for their testimony.

As Cohen was pleading guilty, Paul Manafort was simultaneously being found guilty of eight felony counts in Virginia — his first of two trials. After initial denials by his press secretary that a pardon was under consideration, Trump spent the week publicly praising Manafort while attacking the Mueller probe, setting the stage for what aides believe is a coming pardon.

And yet not a single Republican spoke out against Trump this week. By the end of the week, leading Senate Republicans seemed open to Trump firing Attorney General Jeff Sessions after the midterms, potentially leaving the Mueller probe vulnerable. As news on Cohen and Manafort came out, Republicans and Fox News focused on the death of a University of Iowa student who was killed by an undocumented immigrant from Mexico, with Trump ally Newt Gingrich telling Axios, “If Mollie Tibbetts is a household name by October, Democrats will be in deep trouble.”

  1. On Saturday, Trump responded to the NYT story in Week 92 on White House counsel Don McGahn cooperating, tweeting he “allowed” McGahn and others “to fully cooperate” and turned over documents.
  2. Trump also tweeted, “we readily gave over one million pages of documents,” adding, “Most transparent in history. No Collusion, No Obstruction. Witch Hunt!
  3. On Saturday, Fox News host Jeanine Pirro bashed Mueller and linked him to Benghazi, saying, “you testified…to cover for Hillary Clinton’s incompetence,” adding on the probe, “you got nothing.”
  4. On Sunday, on Meet the Press, when asked about his comments that Trump testifying in the Mueller probe would be a perjury trap, Trump’s lawyer Rudy Giuliani said, “No, truth isn’t truth. Truth isn’t truth.”
  5. Giuliani’s assertion is reminiscent of Kellyanne Conway’s in Week 11 of “alternative facts.” After the interview, Merriam Webster tweeted the definition of “truth.”
  6. Giuliani also lied, claiming Donald Trump Jr. did not know Natalia Veselnitskaya was Russian ahead of the June 9 Trump Tower meeting, saying he did not know if “she was Russian at the time. All they had was her name.”
  7. On Sunday, in a series of six tweets, Trump lashed out at “the Failing New York Times” who he said wrote a “Fake piece,” adding “this is why the Fake News Media has become the Enemy of the People. So bad for America!”
  8. Trump also claimed, without offered proof, that some members of the media are “very Angry at the Fake Story in the New York Times,” claiming they “actually called to complain and apologize” for the story.
  9. Trump tweeted that the NYT implied that by McGahn giving “testimony to the Special Councel, he must be a John Dean type ‘RAT,’” adding “ So many lives have been ruined over nothing.”
  10. Trump also referred to the Mueller probe as “McCarthyism at its WORST!” and repeated the false charge, “No Collusion and No Obstruction, except by Crooked Hillary and the Democrats.”
  11. Trump also compared the Mueller investigation to McCarthyism, “Study the late Joseph McCarthy,” because we are in a period when “Mueller and his gang … make Joseph McCarthy look like a baby!
  12. On Sunday, Cohen’s lawyer Lanny Davis said in the past few months,Cohen has reached out regularly to John Dean, the former White House counsel who helped bring down the presidency of Richard Nixon.
  13. On Sunday, NYT reported Trump’s legal team does not know what McGahn told Mueller’s team when the team was fully cooperating, a potentially damaging mistake. McGahn has offered a limited accounting.
  14. After McGahn was first interviewed in November 2017, Trump’s legal team did not ask for a complete description, and McGahn’s lawyer, William Burck, did not inform them of what was said in subsequent interactions.
  15. On Sunday, on State of the Union, Trump surrogate Rick Santorum saidMueller could avoid charges of McCarthyism by investigating the FBI and Department of Justice.
  16. On Sunday, NYT reported federal investigators looking into whether Cohen committed bank and tax fraud are focusing on the more than $20 million in loans obtained by taxi businesses owned by Cohen and his family.
  17. On Monday, CNN reported Darren Beattie, a speechwriter for Trump who attended a conference frequented by white nationalists, the H.L. Mencken Club Conference, in 2016, has left the White House.
  18. On Tuesday, WAPO reported Trump adviser Larry Kudlow hosted Peter Brimelow, the publisher of a website that serves as a platform for white nationalism, at his home last weekend for his birthday party.
  19. On Monday, at a White House ceremony for Border Patrol agent Adrian Anzaldua, Trump introduced him without attempting to pronounce his last name, and said Adrian could speak “perfect English.”
  20. New Jersey Globe reported that Rick Jankowski, a Monroe Township school board candidate, made racist and homophobic comments on Facebookbetween 2013–2016, including calling black people “fucking monkeys.”
  21. On Wednesday, NBC News reported Christine Hallquist, who in Week 92became the first transgender gubernatorial candidate, is now getting a steady stream of death threats and other personal attacks.
  22. Kansas City Star reported Michael Dargy Jr., a Westport security guard, ordered a “Trayvon Martini” from a black bartender at a Westport bar on Monday. On Wednesday, Dargy Jr. was fired.
  23. Atlanta-Journal Constitution reported Buford City Schools superintendent Geye Hamby was named in a race-discrimination lawsuit, with recordings, for yelling racist slurs at a group of black workers at a construction site.
  24. On Friday, Texas Monthly reported on a complaint filed by a Honduran woman who entered the U.S. in June, was separated from her nine-year-old daughter. and met an immigration officer nicknamed the “deporter” who told her, “You are all ignorant and keep coming.”
  25. In the complaint, she says, “He called me in to sign my deportation papers a couple days after I was told I did not qualify for asylum,” adding, “Don’t you understand that we don’t want you in this country?
  26. On Friday, PBS reported according to a status update by the federal government, 528 migrant children remained separated from their parents. Of those, 23 children are under the age of 5.
  27. There are also 343 children whose parents are no longer in the U.S. TheTrump administration has made almost no progress in reunification since the court-imposed deadline passed.
  28. On Thursday, Adam Housley became the second Fox News reporter to resign in recent weeks. Housley, who was at Fox News for two decades, left over frustrations with the direction and tone of coverage in the Trump-era.
  29. Politico reported Betsy DeVos’s Department of Education has dismissed at least five investigations involving transgender students who were denied bathroom access. Another has been delayed for at least three years.
  30. AP reported Federal Communications Commission chair Ajit Pai told a Senate panel that Don McGahn called him for a “status update” on the agency’s action on the Sinclair-Tribune deal on July 16 or 17. Pai expressed “serious concerns” about the merger.
  31. On Monday, Bloomberg reported that Trump complained to wealthy Republican donors at a Hamptons fundraiser last Friday about Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell’s interest rate hikes.
  32. On Monday, Trump told Reuters he is “not thrilled” with Powell, adding, while he is negotiating with other countries, he “should be given some help by the Fed. The other countries are accommodated.”
  33. NBC News reported across the federal government, the Trump administration is emphasizing a less-punitive approach to combat white-collar crime and civil violations, reversing steps by the Obama administration.
  34. The regime plans to reward companies that report violations and take steps to fix them in areas such as failing to pay overtime and committing financial fraud, as well as smaller fines for polluters that come forward.
  35. On Monday, acting Environmental Protection Agency director Andrew Wheeler signed a plan to weaken regulation of coal-fired power plants, replacing the Obama-era Clean Power Plan with the Affordable Clean Energy Rule.
  36. On the heels of an earlier decision to let automobiles pollute more, the new plan erases the Obama administration’s efforts to impose pollution controls on carbon dioxide pollution and transition to cleaner energy.
  37. The Trump proposal will give states more authority to make their own plans for regulating greenhouse gas emissions. The regime has routinely dismissed the threat of climate change and questioned its cause.
  38. Bloomberg reported despite Trump’s promises, the coal industry is losing customers as utilities turn to natural gas and renewable power to generate electricity. Coal production and consumption continue to decrease.
  39. Trump nominated Kathy Kraninger, an architect of his family separation policy who has no background in financial regulation or consumer protection, to lead the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.
  40. Kraninger refused to answer about her role in the zero-tolerance policy at her Senate confirmation hearing, saying she would not discuss the “general topic” of immigration because it would be a “slippery slope.”
  41. Reuters reported Pentagon officials are sounding the alarm inside the Trump regime about the sharp drop in Iraqi refugees who have helped American troops in battle coming to the U.S. as a safe haven.
  42. So far just 48 Iraqis have been admitted, compared to more than 3,000 in 2017 and about 5,100 in 2016. The Pentagon is concerned the drop will harm national security by dissuading locals from cooperating with the U.S.
  43. On Wednesday, NYT reported DeVos is considering a plan to allow states to use federal funding to purchase guns for educators.
  44. The plan would undermine efforts by Congress to restrict federal funding on guns and would to be the first time that a federal agency has authorized the purchase of weapons without a congressional mandate.
  45. On Sunday, on “Meet the Press,” former CIA director John Brennan said he is willing to take Trump to court to prevent other current and former intelligence officials from having their clearances stripped.
  46. On Monday, in a series of tweets, Trump escalated his attacks on Mueller, calling him “disgraced and discredited,” saying his “whole group of Angry Democrat Thugs spent over 30 hours with the White House Councel.”
  47. Trump also said that “Mueller’s Angry Dems” are “enjoying ruining people’s lives” but “REFUSE” to look at corruption on the Democrats’ side, adding, “They are a National Disgrace!”
  48. Trump also tweeted that he hoped Brennan, whom he called “the worst CIA Director in our country’s history,” brings a lawsuit so he can get documents on how Brennan was “involved with the Mueller Rigged Witch Hunt.”
  49. Trump also said in his tweets that DOJ official Bruce Ohr, who he said is “at the center of FALSE ALLEGATIONS” in the Steele dossier should be “fired from the Jeff Sessions “Justice” Department,” putting justice in quotes.
  50. On Monday, as Trump was sending his tweets, First Lady Melania Trump was giving a speech about the “destructive and harmful” uses of social media at a cyberbully summit as part of her “Be Best” campaign.
  51. Also on Monday, Melania announced she plans to travel to Africa without Trump in October, saying, “I am excited to educate myself on the issues facing children throughout the continent.”
  52. On Monday, more than 175 former U.S. intelligence community and national security officials said in the third open-letter on the topic that they are deeply concerned by the politicization of security clearances.
  53. On Tuesday, Trump tweeted “even James Clapper” has admonished Brennan after Clapper said his rhetoric is concerning, adding, maybe Clapper is “being nice to me so he doesn’t lose his Security Clearance.”
  54. On Monday, in an interview with Reuters, Trump said he was concerned the Mueller probe would be a perjury trap, saying “it’s my word against his (Comey), and he’s best friends with Mueller.”
  55. Trump also asserted that he retained the power to intervene in the Mueller probe, “I can go in, and I could do whatever — I could run it if I want. But I decided to stay out…So far, I haven’t chosen to be involved.”
  56. Trump also said the Mueller probe has hampered his efforts to improve relations with Russia and refused to blame Russia for interfering in the 2016 election, if it was Russia “they played right into the Russians’ hands.”
  57. Reuters reported the FBI is probing cyber-attacks on the California congressional campaigns of David Min and Hans Keirstead. Both lost primaries in races critical to Democrats taking control of the House.
  58. On Sunday, Senator Rand Paul rode on Air Force One and played a round of golf with Trump. Paul recently visited Moscow and, in Week 92, had been advocating to dropping U.S. sanctions on two Russian lawmakers.
  59. On Tuesday, a report released by Microsoft revealed that the Russian military intelligence unit that attacked the 2016 election is targeting conservative U.S. think tanks that have broken with Trump on Russia.
  60. Microsoft said it detected and seized websites created in recent weeks by hackers linked to Russia’s G.R.U. that tried to trick people into thinking they were clicking on the think tanks’ websites before being redirected.
  61. The think tanks targeted have been critical of Trump’s interactions with and handling of Russia, including continued sanctions and pressing for human rights. Microsoft also found websites imitating the U.S. Senate.
  62. On Tuesday, Christopher Steele won a U.S. libel case brought by three Russian oligarchs — Mikhail Fridman, Petr Aven and German Khan — who claimed Steele defamed them in his dossier.
  63. The three own a stake in Russia’s Alfa Bank. In Week 21, the FBI was investigating ties between Alfa Bank and the Trump Organization. The judge threw out the case, citing free speech under the First Amendment.
  64. On Thursday, Reality Winner, the former government contractor whopleaded guilty to mailing a classified U.S. report to a news organization, got a five-year sentence, the longest ever imposed for a leak.
  65. Winner had leaked information to the Intercept which detailed Russiangovernment efforts to penetrate a Florida-based supplier of voting software and the accounts of election officials ahead of the 2016 election.
  66. Civil rights activists mobilized to try to stop Georgia from closing seven of nine polling precincts in a predominantly black county ahead of the midterms. Stacey Abrams, a black American, is running for governor.
  67. The Randolph County elections board claims the seven polling places are being shuttered because they are not ADA compliant. The polling places were used during the May 22 primary election and July 24 primary runoff.
  68. On Friday, after facing intense national scrutiny, the Randolph County board of elections voted to keep the seven polling places open. The consultant who recommended closings was fired Thursday.
  69. The Young Turks reported an election day computer “glitch” in Kansas’ most populous county, has cast a shadow over the legitimacy of Kris Kobach’s victory in the state’s governor primary, which he won by about 300 votes.
  70. On Tuesday, the Democratic National Committee alerted the FBI of an attempted hack of its voter database. The DNC said the attempt failed, and the culprit is not known.
  71. On Thursday, DNC Chief Security Officer Bob Lord said in a statement that hack was actually a test built by an unnamed third party and that the test was not authorized by the DNC or any of the party’s security vendors.
  72. On Thursday, Yahoo News reported the White House blocked a bipartisan bill in the Senate which would have significantly bolstered defenses against election interference.
  73. The Secure Elections Act previously had widespread bipartisan support. On Wednesday, GOP Senate Rules Committee chair Roy Blunt canceled the markup, the next step for the bill. No explanation was given.
  74. On Friday, Google informed Senator Pat Toomey that hackers with ties to a “nation-state” sent phishing emails to old campaign email accounts during 2016 to try to hack his campaign. The infiltration was not successful.
  75. On Friday, Detroit Free Press reported clerks in every Michigan county received identical Freedom of Information Act requests seeking copies of the ballots and other records from the 2016 election.
  76. The requests are signed by “Emily,” with no last name, and requests that records be sent to a United Action Group at a post office box in Astoria, New York. Messages from the Detroit Free Press were not returned.
  77. Information requested includes: absentee ballots, envelopes the absentee ballots were mailed in, records listing the names of voters who requested absentee ballots, and provisional ballots, both counted and uncounted.
  78. On Monday, concern was raised that Trump’s continued tweets and public statements in support of Manafort and deriding the Mueller probe, while the jury was not sequestered, could impact their deliberations.
  79. On Monday, a Defense Department spokesman contradicted Trump’s rationale for canceling the military parade, saying Trump was not briefed on the cost estimate and that the $92 million estimate was not valid.
  80. On Tuesday, Michael Cohen, Trump’s former personal attorney, pleaded guilty to eight counts of tax evasion, bank fraud, and campaign finance violations, including two charges related to hush money payments.
  81. Cohen said he made the payments “at the direction” of an unnamed candidate in 2016, and that a $150,000 payment in August 2016 was for the “principal purpose of influencing” the 2016 presidential election.
  82. The judge asked Cohen if he knew what he did was illegal, and he responded he did. Cohen said, “at the direction” of a candidate, he used the money from a home equity line to pay $130,000 to Stephanie Clifford.
  83. Cohen said at the direction of a candidate, he and David Pecker arranged to keep one of the alleged affairs from the public with a payment by National Enquirer of $150,000 to Karen McDougal.
  84. According to Cohen’s plea filing, in January 2017, executives at the Trump Organization directed Cohen be paid $420,000, reimbursing him for his payment, along with money for taxes and expenses and a $60,000 bonus.
  85. According to the filing, the Trump Organization relied on sham invoices by Cohen to conceal the nature of the payments. Cohen submitted monthly invoices, and received all monthly checks totaling $420,000.
  86. Cohen is out on bail until his scheduled sentencing in December. According to court filings, Cohen faces a recommended prison sentence of 46 to 63 months. He is not cooperating in the Mueller probe at this point.
  87. Almost simultaneously, Trump’s former campaign manager Paul Manafort was convicted by a federal jury in Virginia on eight felony counts. The judge declared a mistrial on the other 10 counts where unanimous jury consensus was not reached.
  88. The eight charges include five counts of tax fraud, one count of failure to file a report of foreign bank and financial accounts, and two counts of bank fraud. Manafort faces seven to nine years in prison.
  89. On Tuesday, Trump told reporters as he arrived in West Virginia for a campaign rally that he feels “very badly” for Manafort and a “sad thing that happened,” but that it has “nothing to do with Russian collusion.”
  90. Trump said of Manafort “he was a great man, he was with Ronald Reagan and many people over the years,” adding, “It doesn’t involve me.” Trump also called the Mueller probe “a witch hunt and a disgrace.”
  91. On Tuesday, Cohen attorney Lanny Davis said Cohen has information that would be of interest to Mueller and is happy to share it, including the crime of hacking and whether Trump knew about it ahead of time.
  92. On Tuesday, Trump held a rally in West Virginia, a state he won by 40 points. He covered a bevy of topics, but did not mention Cohen or Manafort.
  93. The closest he got was attacking the Mueller probe, saying, “Fake news and the Russian witch hunt…Where is the collusion? You know, they’re still looking for collusion. Where is the collusion? Find some collusion!”
  94. On Tuesday, Rep. Duncan Hunter and his wife were indicted for using campaign funds for personal use. Hunter was the second GOP Congressman to endorse Trump after Rep. Chris Collins, who was indicted in Week 91.
  95. On Thursday, Hunter shifted blame to his wife for the alleged campaign fund abuses, telling Fox News, “She was also the campaign manager, so whatever she did that’ll be looked at too.”
  96. On Wednesday, in morning tweets, Trump attacked Cohen, saying, “If anyone is looking for a good lawyer, I would strongly suggest that you don’t retain the services of Michael Cohen!&rd
"It is difficult to write a paradiso when all the superficial indications are that you ought to write an apocalypse." -Ezra Pound

 

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