W

November 17, 2018

Week 105

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

Reporting this week indicates Trump is reeling from the midterms, as additional House seats were called for Democrats, possibly leading to a 40 seat pick-up, as well as the Mueller probe, from which additional indictments are expected soon. This week Trump skipped many duties typically carried out by a head of state, instead brooding and threatening to fire more cabinet level officials — the regime continues to operate in utter dysfunction.

As wildfires raged in California, with 71 dead and more than a thousand missing, Trump blamed forest management, insulted the firefighters risking their lives, and showed a complete lack of empathy for the residents impacted. Trump skipped more ceremonies for fallen soldiers in Paris for Armistice Day and in the U.S. for Veterans Day.

Trump stoked fear of election tampering with false allegations, as other Republicans in close races followed his lead. His tone continued to be divisive, as the FBI reported an alarming rise in anti-Semitic and other hate crimes. Trump continues to alienate the country’s traditional allies, while taking unusual actions seeming to protect Kim Jong-Un and the Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia.

  1. The estimated voter turnout for 2018 midterms was over 115 million votes, or roughly 49% of the eligible voters, the highest turnout of any midterm since 1914.
  2. The Democrats’ “blue wave” was propelled by an increase in Latino vote margin from a 26% in 2014 to 40% in 2018, women vote from 4% to 19%, single voters from 13% to 24%, and college graduates from -3% to 20%.
  3. Democrats also benefited from voters under 30, whose margin grew from 11% to 35%, as well as a slight tick up in Black American voters and some GOP voters. Independent voter margin went from -12% to 12%.
  4. Federal Election Commission filings revealed that Republican campaigns and PACs spent at least $3.2 million at Trump-owned and branded properties in the two years leading up to the midterms.
  5. Oxford Dictionaries announced the Word of 2018 is “toxic,” citing a 45% increase in look-ups of the word, and that it was used in many situations.
  6. On Thursday, the Toronto Star reported by their count, Trump made 815 false claims in the month leading up to midterms. Previously, it took Trump 286 days from the time of taking office to make 815 false claims.
  7. On Saturday, the president of the California Professional Firefighters (CPF) ripped Trump for his tweets earlier in the day to withhold federal payments to the state for what is the deadliest wildfire in the state.
  8. In a statement, the CPF president said, “threatening to withhold aid to the victims of the cataclysmic fires is ill-informed, ill-timed and demeaning to those who are suffering as well as the men and women on the front lines.”
  9. On Sunday, Trump tweeted “With proper Forest Management, we can stop the devastation constantly going on in California. Get Smart!”
  10. On Sunday, Axios reported Trump also threatened to cut off federal relief for Puerto Rico, claiming, without evidence, that the island’s government is using federal disaster relief money to pay off debt.
  11. On Monday, Trump tweeted “The California Fire Fighters, FEMA and First Responders are amazing and very brave. Thank you,” and changed course, saying he “approved an expedited request for a Major Disaster Declaration.”
  12. On Sunday, Trump traveled separately from other world leaders in Paris, and didn’t join the other leaders when they walked side-by-side while bells tolled to mark the signing of the armistice to end World War I, 100 years ago.
  13. Trump reportedly looked on to the ceremonies grimly, except brightening and flashing a smile when Vladimir Putin approached, in contrast to Emmanuel Macron and Angela Merkel who had switched their demeanor to “steel resolve.”
  14. A White House spokeswoman said Trump arrived separately due to “security protocols.” Putin also did not participate in the procession, and told Russia’s RT network that he and Trump spoke during the luncheon.
  15. In a speech, Macron issued a rebuke of Trump’s label of nationalist, saying “patriotism is exactly the opposite of nationalism,” and soldiers died to reject “selfishness of nations only looking after their own interest.”
  16. On Monday, Trump stayed at the White House and did not visit Arlington National Cemetery, skipping the Veterans Day observance held there every year since 1954.
  17. On Tuesday, in a tweet, Trump blamed the Secret Service for him skipping the scheduled Saturday visit to a cemetery for fallen U.S. soldiers outside Paris in Week 104, saying he “suggested driving. Secret Service said NO.”
  18. Trump also attacked Macron in a series of tweets, threatening tariffs, erroneously claiming Macron wanted a European army against the U.S., and saying Macron “suffers from a very low Approval Rating in France.”
  19. Trump also tweeted, “By the way, there is no country more Nationalist than France,” adding, “MAKE FRANCE GREAT AGAIN!”
  20. On Wednesday, a spokesperson for the French government criticized Trump, saying, “Yesterday was November 13, we were marking the murder of 130 of our people…common decency would have been appropriate.”
  21. On Sunday, the incoming chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, Jerry Nadler, told “Meet the Press” that acting Attorney General Matthew Whitaker would be his committee’s first witness come January.
  22. Axios reported incoming House Intelligence Committee chairman Adam Schiff plans to probe whether Trump abused White House power by targeting and trying to punish the Washington Post and CNN.
  23. On Monday, a prom photograph taken last spring of roughly 60 high school boys from the Baraboo School District in Wisconsin making a Nazi salute went viral online, sparking outrage.
  24. The photo was tagged #Barabooproud, with the boys dressed up in suits. School and police officials are now promising to look into the photo, while The Auschwitz Memorial Twitter page and others denounced it.
  25. WAPO reported a photo taken from further back also shows parents or other adults taking their own pictures of the group. The photo was posted on Twitter in May 2018 by Jake Boll, a history teacher at the school.
  26. On Tuesday, the FBI released its annual hate crimes statistics: overall hate crimes rose 17% in 2017, a jump that was partly driven by a spike in anti-Semitic incidents up 37%, to 938, while anti-Muslim incidents fell.
  27. Hate crimes based on race or ethnicity jumped by 18% in 2017 to 4,131, with crimes against black people increasing by 16%, the most in the category. The rise in total hate crimes is the biggest since 2001.
  28. On Tuesday, a D.C. area man who described himself as a white nationalist and became a follower of the Pittsburgh synagogue shooter on social media was arrested on gun charges after relatives contacted authorities.
  29. Authorities seized two kits to convert semi-automatic AR-15s into fully automatic rifles. Authorities said the man, Jeffrey Clark, “fantasized about killing ‘Jews and blacks’” and believed there would be a civil war.
  30. On Wednesday, a drunk man attending a performance of “Fiddler on the Roof” in Baltimore stood up in the balcony and shouted “Heil Hitler, Heil Trump” while reportedly making a Nazi salute.
  31. Many in the audience went running, and one attendee said, “I was waiting to hear a gunshot. I thought, ‘Here we go.’” Police said the man was motivated by his hatred for Trump.
  32. On Thursday, a federal judge in Montana ruled against neo-Nazi site Daily Stormer, saying coordinating a “terror campaign” against a Jewish real estate agent cannot be dismissed on First Amendment grounds.
  33. NPR reported on Trump reshaping the judiciary, and the breakdown of his nominees: 77% of Trump’s 152 nominees are men, compared to 58% Obama’s 392 nominees.
  34. On race, 84% of Trump’s nominees are white, compared to 63% under Obama. Of Trump’s 48 appellate nominations, none are African-American or Latino, and only nine are women.
  35. On Friday, Education Secretary Betsy DeVos announced a sweeping overhaul coming soon of how colleges and universities handle allegations of sexual assault and harassment, giving new rights to the accused.
  36. The new proposal would replace Obama-era guidance, and would reduce liability for universities, tighten the definition of sexual harassment, and allow schools to use a higher standard in evaluating claims.
  37. In Week 42, DeVos rescinded Obama’s 2011 guidance and promised to replace it. The proposal, cheered by men’s rights groups, also gives the accused the ability to cross-examine their accusers.
  38. On Monday, NBC News reported information technology glitches at the Department of Veterans Affairs have resulted in GI Bill benefit payments covering education and housing to be delayed, or never delivered.
  39. Hundreds of thousands are believed to be affected overall. More than 82,000 are waiting for their housing payments as of November 8, with only weeks remaining in the school semester, leaving some homeless already.
  40. On Monday, WAPO reported Trump is preparing to fire Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen in the coming weeks, or sooner. Trump has bemoaned Nielsen’s lackluster performance on immigration enforcement.
  41. Trump is expected to nominate a hardliner. Meanwhile, firing Nielsen would leave a leadership void at the third-largest agency. The deputy secretary job at DHS has been vacant since February, and has no nominee.
  42. On Tuesday, ABC News reported that amidst the latest staff shakeup, Trump is also actively looking at replacements for Chief of Staff John Kelly, including Vice President Mike Pence’s Chief of Staff Nick Ayers.
  43. On Tuesday, the office of First Lady Melania Trump issued a statement calling for the firing of deputy national security adviser Mira Ricardel, after she had a series of run-ins with the first lady’s office.
  44. On Wednesday, Mira Ricardel left her role at the White House, where she was one of the highest-ranking female members in the regime, and was reassigned. It was unclear what Ricardel’s next position will be.
  45. On Tuesday, Scott Phillips, Trump’s appointee to Southeast regional administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency, was indicted by a grand jury on Alabama ethic charges.
  46. Charges include soliciting a thing of value from a principal, lobbyist, or subordinate. In his prior job, Phillips accepted money from and worked with a law firm and one of its clients to fight the EPA.
  47. Trump nominated Lana Marks, a handbag designer and member of Trump’s Mar-a-Lago to be his ambassador to South Africa. Marks is the fourth Mar-a-Lago member to get a U.S. ambassador position.
  48. A spokesperson for the first lady announced Trump and Melania will not attend the 2018 Kennedy Center Honors, marking the first time a head of state will miss the ceremony twice in the history of the awards.
  49. The U.S. recorded a $100.5 billion budget deficit in October, a 59% increase from $63.2 billion from a year earlier. The ballooning shortfall is driven by the GOP tax cuts, spending hikes, and an aging population.
  50. On Monday, as stocks sold off, Trump blamed the sell-off on the Democrats, tweeting “The prospect of Presidential Harassment by the Dems is causing the Stock Market big headaches!”
  51. NYT reported conservative lawyers who are part of the Federalist Society are forming a group called “Checks and Balances,” organized by George Conway, husband of Kellyanne and a frequent Trump critic.
  52. More than a dozen lawyers will be part of the group, warning peers to speak up about what they say are the Trump regime’s betrayals of bedrock legal norms, and to do more to protect the Constitution.
  53. On Sunday, top Democrats in the House and Senate sent a letter to Lee Lofthus, an assistant attorney general and the Justice Department’s chief ethics officer, asking whether he had advised Whitaker to recuse himself.
  54. On Tuesday, the state of Maryland asked a federal judge for an order declaring that deputy attorney general Rod Rosenstein is the acting attorney general, not Trump appointee Matt Whitaker.
  55. Maryland says Whitaker’s selection violated federal law and exceeded the appointment authority in the Constitution, and that federal laws say when the attorney general role is vacant, the deputy attorney general takes over.
  56. On Tuesday, amid pressure from Democrats, Whitaker said he would consult with Justice Department ethics officials about “matters that may warrant recusal.” He is not obliged to act on the advice.
  57. On Wednesday, GOP Sen. Jeff Flake and Democrat Sen. Chris Coons went to the Senate floor and tried to bring up legislation which would protect special counsel Robert Mueller from being fired.
  58. Sen. Flake said Trump “now has this investigation in his sights and we all know it.” Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell objected, saying the legislation is unnecessary because he believes Mueller will not be fired.
  59. Later Wednesday, Sen. Flake, who sits on the Senate Judiciary Committee, announced that he will not vote to let judicial nominees advance or be confirmed unless GOP leaders hold a vote on the legislation.
  60. On Wednesday, WSJ reported in early 2015, Whitaker called the owner of Ripoff Report and angrily demanded the removal of all negative reports about World Patent Marketing (WPM).
  61. The angry calls suggests Whitaker took a more active role than previously known in shielding WPM, where he was a paid advisory-board member. The company was shut down last year by the Federal Trade Commission.
  62. The anonymous complaint on Ripoff Report, dated Jan. 9, was posted by a person claiming to be a former WPM employee. Whitaker was paid $9,375 as an advisory-board member, and appeared in two promotional videos.
  63. On Wednesday, top Democrats in the House who will chair committees in January sent letters to Whitaker, the FTC, the founder of WPM, and others requesting more information about Whitaker’s role.
  64. On Friday, Washington lawyer Tom Goldstein, on behalf of opponents to Whitaker’s appointment, filed a motion asking the Supreme Court to rule that Whitaker is not legally qualified for the job.
  65. The motion asserts Whitaker cannot be in the position because he was not Senate confirmed and the Constitution requires confirmation for a cabinet-level job, so Rod Rosenstein should be acting attorney general.
  66. On Monday, NYT reported a Center for Strategic and International Studies study revealed satellite images of 16 hidden bases in North Korea, showing the country is moving ahead with its ballistic missile program.
  67. The sites were long known to U.S. intelligence agencies, but left undiscussed since Trump claimed he had neutralized the nuclear threat. North Korea offered to dismantle a major launching site, but did not do so.
  68. On Tuesday, Trump tweeted that the NYT story is “inaccurate” and “more fake news,” saying, “We fully know about the sites being discussed, nothing new,” and “I will be the first to let you know if things go bad!”
  69. On Tuesday, LA Times reported after midterm losses and knowing Democrats will investigate him, along with indictments likely coming in the Mueller probe, Trump has “retreated into a cocoon of bitterness and resentment.”
  70. Trump has reportedly lashed out at both senior and junior aides, with aides saying he is furious and trying to decide who to blame for midterm loses. Trump has retreated from typical duties of the head of state.
  71. Trump skipped a meeting with Jordan’s King Abdullah II on Tuesday, and a Wednesday trip by Defense Secretary James Mattis to the U.S.-Mexico border to visit troops ordered there by Trump because of the “caravans.”
  72. After making the “caravans” a central issue ahead of midterms, Trump has not mentioned them since the election. Troops remain at the border until Trump gives the order for them to leave.
  73. Trump is also skipping the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation summit, sending Pence instead. Leaders of Russia, India, South Korea, and China are all attending regional summits to broaden their influence.
  74. On Tuesday, WAPO reported on Trump’s “five days of fury” including a call from British PM Theresa May to congratulate him on the midterms on Friday, on which he proceeded to berate her on several unrelated issues.
  75. Trump officials also noted his foul mood, saying he is brooding over midterm losses and the Florida recount. He erupted at his staff over the media coverage of his decision to skip the cemetery visit last Saturday.
  76. Trump was also angry at Macron’s comments. A senior official said Trump was frustrated with the trip, and wants to make changes to his staff, including considering names for a new chief of staff on the flight home.
  77. On Wednesday, Defense Secretary Jim Mattis and Nielsen visited troops at the southern border. Mattis described the deployments to the border as “great training,” and warned troops not to pay attention to news coverage.
  78. On Wednesday, Vanity Fair reported on Trump’s post-midterm blues and one of the most turbulent weeks of his time in office, with one former West Wing staffer saying “This is a level of insanity I’ve never seen before.”
  79. Trump initially took midterm losses in stride, thinking he won, but as he heard commentary about the suburbs not liking him, he became furious and proceeded to fire Jeff Sessions and attack reporters.
  80. According to one Republican briefed on the discussions, the real reason Trump did not want to go to the cemetery outside Paris on Saturday was because he was worried “his hair was going to get messed up in the rain.”
  81. On Monday, conservative author Jerome Corsi told listeners on his daily live-stream that he expects to be indicted in the Mueller probe for lying to investigators probing Russian interference in the 2016 campaign.
  82. Corsi, who is also an associate of Roger Stone, told listeners “the Department of Justice is run by criminals,” adding: “I think my crime really was that I supported Donald Trump.”
  83. On Monday, in a text message to WAPO, Stone said he has not been contacted by Mueller’s team, and that “perhaps they have squeezed poor Dr. Corsi to frame me,” adding of Corsi, “He has his own demons.”
  84. On Monday, an ABC News reporter caught Michael Cohen walking in Union Station in Washington D.C. CNBC reported Cohen was there, along with his attorney Guy Petrillo, to speak with Mueller’s team.
  85. On Tuesday, NBC News reported Trump’s legal team is close to completing written answers to questions posed by Mueller. The answers pertain only to Russian interference in the 2016 election, not obstruction of justice.
  86. On Wednesday, WSJ reported Mueller’s team is investigating whether Roger Stone tried to intimidate and discredit radio personality Randy Credico, a possible witness in the Mueller probe.
  87. Filmmaker David Lugo said he testified to a grand jury about a blog post Stone helped him draft which was harshly critical of Credico. Bill Samuels said he was questioned about Credico’s reaction to threatening messages.
  88. Prosecutors are examining emails between Stone and Credico that involve his decision to plead the Fifth Amendment before Congress. Samuels said Credico was intimidated almost to the point of a nervous breakdown.
  89. On Wednesday, NBC News reported six days before WikiLeaks began releasing John Podesta’s emails, Roger Stone exchanged text messages with Credico, with Credico texting: “Hillary’s campaign will die this week.”
  90. Two days later, Credico texted “I think it’s on for tomorrow.” Stone texted “I have total confidence that @wikileaks and my hero Julian Assange will educate the American people soon #LockHerUp.”
  91. On Friday, a U.S. attorney inadvertently revealed in an unsealed court filing that Julian Assange has been charged. The attorney working on the case had urged the judge to keep the matter sealed “until Assange is arrested.”
  92. The case had been sealed until early September, but was noticed by Seamus Hughes, deputy director of the Program on Extremism at George Washington University, who tweeted about it Thursday night.
  93. On Friday, WSJ reported the DOJ is preparing to prosecute Assange, and is increasingly optimistic it will be able to get him into a U.S. courtroom. Assange has recently clashed with his Ecuadorian hosts.
  94. Prosecutors have considered publicly indicting Assange to try to trigger his removal from the Ecuadorian embassy. Charges may involve the Espionage Act for disclosure of national defense-related information.
  95. Assange’s attorney said they have heard nothing which would indicate a criminal case against his client is imminent. An extradition request from the U.S. for Assange would likely go to British authorities.
  96. On Thursday, a judge refused to dismiss Mueller’s indictment of Concord Management and Consulting, owned by Yevgeniy Prigozhin, a Russian oligarch known as “Putin’s chef” due to his close ties to Putin.
  97. The indictment related to Concord’s funding part of a Russian effort to influence the 2016 election. Concord is accused of using a sophisticated fraudulent social media campaign to influence the election.
  98. In October, the DOJ also charged Concord’s accountant and Prigozhin’s bookkeeper, Elena Khusyaynova, for seeking to interfere with the 2018 U.S. midterm elections by sowing “discord in the U.S. political system.”
  99. On Thursday, in a four tweet tirade under continued pressure for appointing Whitaker, Trump lashed out at Mueller, claiming, without evidence “the inner workings of” Mueller’s “investigation are a total mess.”
  100. Trump also tweeted of Mueller’s team, “They have found no collusion and have gone absolutely nuts. They are screaming and shouting at people, horribly threatening them to come up with the answers they want.”
  101. Trump also tweeted of Mueller’s team that “they are a disgrace to our Nation” and a “gang of Democrat thugs,” calling the probe, “A TOTAL WITCH HUNT LIKE NO OTHER IN AMERICAN HISTORY!”
  102. Trump also falsely claimed, “The only “Collusion” is that of the Democrats with Russia and many others. Why didn’t the FBI take the Server from the DNC?” adding “Check out how biased Facebook, Google and Twitter are.”
  103. House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi criticized the tweets, saying Trump “continues to wage an all-out campaign to obstruct” Mueller, adding that he put Whitaker in charge “for one purpose — to end the investigation.”
  104. On Thursday, WAPO reported Trump spent more than four hours meeting with his attorneys Monday, and 90 minutes Wednesday night working on written answers to Mueller’s questions.
  105. Rudy Giuliani said Trump’s legal team has not decided if they will answer all of Mueller’s questions, which are exclusively about events pre-election, saying “there are some that create more issues for us legally than others.”
  106. On Friday, Trump told reporters he had finished answering Mueller’s questions but has not submitted answers yet, saying “I write the answers. My lawyers don’t write answers,” adding, “I answered them very easily.”
  107. Trump also expressed concern that even though his lawyers helped, investigators are looking to catch him perjuring himself, saying “I’m sure they’re tricked up, because, you know, they like to catch people.”
  108. When asked about his anti-Mueller Twitter storm on Thursday, Trump said “No, I’m not agitated. It’s a hoax,” adding “The witch hunt, as I call it, should never have taken place. It continues to go on.”
  109. On Wednesday, NYTreported that Facebook leaders, Mark Zuckerberg and Sheryl Sandberg were absent as the platform was exploited to disrupt elections and inspire deadly campaigns of hate around the globe.
  110. When news became public, Sandberg used a Republican opposition-research firm to discredit activist protesters, in part by linking them George Soros, and worked to shift public anger to rivals and ward off regulations.
  111. On Thursday, Facebook said it has removed 1.5 billion fake accounts in between April and September which shared content that violated its rules against hate speech, terrorist propaganda and child exploitation.
  112. On Friday, NBC News reported lawyers for Russian operative Maria Butina have entered into negotiations with federal prosecutors. Butina is accused of acting as an agent of Russia in the D.C. area.
  113. In the court filing Friday, prosecutors requested the court extend the current phase of the case for an additional two weeks, to give both sides time to continue the negotiations.
  114. On Saturday, on Fox News host Jeanine Pirro’s show, GOP Rep. Yvette Herrell alleged voter fraud and voting irregularities in her midterm loss, without providing any evidence to back her claims.
  115. On Monday, Trump tweeted the Florida races should be called for Republicans Rick Scott and Ron DeSantis, saying an “honest vote count is no longer possible” and claiming without evidence ballots were “massively infected.”
  116. In an email to her supporters, GOP Rep. Mimi Walters accused Democrats of trying to “steal this Republican seat” in California, and overturn “the will of the voters” by advocating for the counting of all votes.
  117. Also in California, Republican Young Kim accused her opponent’s campaign of “physical ballot tampering” even though the county registrar denied this, then suggested something nefarious could be afoot.
  118. In a video published Sunday, Sen. Cindy Hyde-Smith (R-Mississippi.), who is in a runoff against Democrat Mike Espy, who is a Black American, said if a cattle rancher “invited me to a public hanging, I’d be on the front row.”
  119. Rep. Bennie Thompson (D-Mississippi) said in statement Hyde-Smith’s comment on public hanging was “beyond disrespectful and offensive,” adding the state’s history includes “one of the highest numbers of public lynching.”
  120. On Monday, Sen. Hyde-Smith refused to apologize, and Mississippi Governor Phil Bryant defended her saying, “I am confused about where the outrage is at about 20 million African-American children that have been aborted.”
  121. On Tuesday, Georgia state senator Nikema Williams, a Black woman, was arrested by capitol police during a protest over ballot counts. Williams told Mother Jones, “Never did I imagine my day was going to end in jail.”
  122. On Friday, Democrat Stacey Abrams ended her fight for Georgia governor without formally conceding, saying declaring that an “erosion of our democracy” had kept many of her backers from the polls.
  123. Abrams offered a blistering attack of Brian Kemp, and said she will launch Fair Fight Georgia to pursue accountability in Georgia’s elections and integrity in the process of maintaining our voting rolls.
  124. Abrams and Democrat Andrew Gillum of Florida both lost battles for governor by a narrow margin. Abrams would have been the first black woman governor in the country, and Gillum Florida’s first black governor.
  125. On Wednesday, in an interview with the Daily Caller, Trump renewed his call for national voter ID laws, falsely claiming, “If you buy a box of cereal, you have a voter ID.”
  126. Trump also complained, without providing evidence, about illegal voting in Florida, and stated that Democrats “sometimes they go to their car, put on a different hat, put on a different shirt, come in and vote again.”
  127. Trump also bragged about his victory in Florida in 2016, saying “the panhandle was so devastating to ‘Crooked Hillary’…And I won by, you know, I won by a lot of votes. I call it four Yankee stadiums.”
  128. When asked about Whitaker, Trump changed the subject to Mueller, saying “He’s heading this whole big thing; he’s not Senate confirmed.” The special counsel is not a position that requires senate confirmation.
  129. Trump also falsely claimed of Mueller’s team, “You have 17 people — half, many of them worked for Hillary Clinton, some on the foundation.” No members worked for Clinton, and just one was connected to the Clinton Foundation.
  130. Trump also warned, without evidence, that violent leftists and Antifa members may “mobilize,” saying it would mean “big trouble,” and the left “better hope that the opposition to Antifa decides not to mobilize.”
  131. On Tuesday, CNN sued the Trump regime, asking a court to restore Jim Acosta’s White House press pass, alleging violations of the First Amendment, the Fifth Amendment, and the Administrative Procedure Act.
  132. On Wednesday, the deputy assistant attorney general representing the regime said in court that Trump could bar “all reporters” from the White House for any reason he sees fit, saying there is no First Amendment right.
  133. On Wednesday, Fox News filed an amicus brief in support of CNN, saying “passes for working White House journalists should never be weaponized,” adding “we do support a free press, access and open exchanges.”
  134. On Friday, in a win for CNN, the federal judge ruled that Trump must immediately restore Acosta’s White House pass.
  135. Later Friday, press secretary Sarah Sanders her team is working on establishing “standard practices” for reporters for future press briefings, saying “we’ll see how long that process takes.”
  136. Sanders also said “I think the very basic minimum is that if certain reporters like Jim Acosta can’t be adults, then CNN needs to send somebody in there who can be.”
  137. On Thursday, NBC News reported the White House is looking for ways to expel Turkish cleric Fethullah Gulen, who lives in Pennsylvania, in order to appease Turkish President Recep Erdogan, who views Gulen as an enemy.
  138. Last month, the Trump regime asked federal law enforcement agencies to examine legal ways of remove Gulen, in order to persuade Erdogan to ease pressure on the Saudi government over the death of Jamal Khashoggi.
  139. The regime had the DOJ and FBI reopen Turkey’s case for his extradition, and asked Homeland Security for information about Gulen’s legal status. Career officials at the agencies pushed back at the White House.
  140. Gulen has lived in the U.S. for almost two decades under a Green Card and denies any involvement in the failed coup in Turkey in 2016. The White House made requests after Secretary of State Pompeo returned from Riyadh.
  141. This marks the second time the Trump regime has re-examined extraditing Gulen. The first took place under the former national security adviser, Michael Flynn, whose ties to Turkey were investigated in the Mueller probe.
  142. On Friday, WAPO reported that the CIA has concluded that Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman ordered the assassination of Khashoggi, in contrast to the Saudi government’s claim he was not involved.
  143. CIA officials said they have high confidence in their assessment after examining multiple sources of intelligence, including a phone call between the prince’s brother and Khashoggi, and an audio recording from inside the Saudi consulate.
  144. Over the past weeks, the Saudis have offered multiple explanations for the killing, then last week a Saudi prosecutor charged 11 alleged Saudi participants and said he would seek the death penalty against five of them.
  145. Trump has avoided pinning the blame on the Crown Prince, who is a close friend of Jared Kushner, despite seeing evidence. This week the Treasury Department sanctioned 17 individuals involved in Khashoggi’s death.
  146. On Friday, portions of a “Fox News Sunday” interview of Trump were released. The host, Chris Wallace, said after interviewing Trump he does not think there is a chance he will sit for an interview with Mueller.
  147. Wallace noted Trump makes a big point of emphasizing that he “wrote the questions and then they were edited by the lawyers,” and that Trump spent several hours this week, including Monday, with his lawyers.
  148. Trump uncharacteristically admitted he had made a mistake, saying he “should have” visited Arlington National Cemetery for Veterans Day ceremonies on Monday, adding, “I was extremely busy on calls for the country.”
  149. Trump told Wallace the regime is going to “create rules and regulations for conduct…We’re doing that,” and if Acosta “misbehaves” at a future press conference “we’ll throw him out or we’ll stop the news conference.”
  150. When Wallace asked Trump whether he agrees that climate change may have contributed to the fires in California, Trump said, “Maybe it contributes a little bit. The big problem we have is management.”
  151. Trump again blamed poor forest management for the wildfires, telling Wallace “I’ve really learned a lot,” and if the forest areas had been raked out “you wouldn’t have the fires.”
  152. As of Friday, at least 71 were dead and more than 1,000 listed as missing in California’s deadliest and most destructive fire. Nearly 10,000 homes have been destroyed.
  153. On Saturday, speaking to reporters, Trump blamed California’s forest management for the wildfires as he left for California, “We will be talking about forest management…It should have been a lot different situation.”
  154. Trump added, “There is no reason for these massive, deadly and costly forest fires in California except that forest management is so poor.” Trump has gone back and forth from praising to criticizing fire fighters this week.
  155. Trump also told reporters he is prepared to shut down the federal government next month if Congress fails to give him the money he wants to build his wall, saying “this would be a good time to do a shutdown.”
  156. Trump invoked the caravan for the first time since the midterms, saying “when you look at the caravan, when you look at the mess, when you look at the people coming in,” to make the case for his wall.
  157. Democrats have accused Trump of using the deployment as a political stunt. The Pentagon plans to recall the troops on December 15 unless Trump extends their “border support” mission.
  158. On Saturday, Trump said he would speak with his appointee, CIA Director Gina Haspel, about Khashoggi’s killing, after telling reporters that morning “we haven’t been briefed yet,” before leaving for California.
  159. Trump was briefed by Haspel and Pompeo on the flight to California. Trump had already been shown evidence of the prince’s alleged involvement in the killing, but has looked for ways not to blame MBS.
  160. WSJ reported that with midterms completed, drug company Pfizer plans to raise prices on 41 drugs in January, after bowing to pressure from Trump over the summer when the company rolled back some increases.
  161. As the week came to a close, the Democratic lead in the U.S. House popular vote moved up to 7.3%. In 2010, widely seen as a GOP “wave” cycle, Republicans won the U.S. House popular vote by 6.6%.
  162. On Saturday, about 25 self-described conservatives, including members of white nationalist groups the Proud Boys and Three Percenters, showed up for what had been billed a “We the People” rally at Independence Mall in Philadelphia.
  163. Hundreds of counter-protesters showed up to protest fascism and hate. For weeks, the event has attracted intense reaction online due to comments made or shared on social media.
  164. The rally location was close to historic Congregation Mikveh Israel synagogue, where 35 people were worshiping at the regular weekly Shabbat service in progress, in what person said was “in defiance.”
  165. At the rally, multiple fights erupted between counter-protestors and white supremacist group the Proud Boys. At least four people were arrested near Philadelphia’s National Constitution Center.

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WASHINGTON, DC — NOVEMBER 14: (L-R) Representatives-elect Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY), Debbie Mucarsel-Powell (D-FL) Abby Finkenauer (D-IA), and Sharice Davids (D-KS) join with other newly elected members of the House of Representatives for an official class photo of new House members at the U.S. Capitol. Newly elected members of the House are in Washington this week for orientation meetings.